19, 2014
Crisis: Clapper * 2, Snowden, Brandis, Greenwald, Parry
   "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
   -- Benjamin Franklin [1]
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
   -- I.F. Stone.
   "Power tends to corrupt, and   
   absolute power corrupts
   absolutely. Great men are        
   almost always bad men."
   -- Lord Acton

Prev- crisis -Next


1. US intelligence chief: NSA should have been more open
     about data collection

2. Edward Snowden 'humbled' by his election as Glasgow
     University rector

3. Scott Ludlam's support of Snowden 'celebrates
     treachery', says Brandis

4. Snowden Documents Reveal Covert Surveillance and
     Pressure Tactics Aimed at WikiLeaks and Its Supporters

5.  The Best and Worst US Presidents
6. Intelligence Boss: We Should Have Told You We’re
     Spying On You …
But Snowden Is a Traitor
About ME/CFS


This is another ordinary crisis file. 

1. US intelligence chief: NSA should have been more open about data collection

The first article is by Spencer Ackerman in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:

The US director of national intelligence has conceded that the US government ought to have told American citizens that the National Security Agency collects their phone data in bulk.

James Clapper, whose misleading testimony to the Senate about the mass surveillance now overshadows his nearly four years atop the US intelligence agencies, continued to defend the bulk domestic phone, fax and other “telephony” data collection, as well as his honesty.

But in an interview released late Monday with the Daily Beast’s Eli Lake, Clapper said that crucial moment was the first revelations from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden on 5 June last year, when the Guardian revealed the bulk phone records collection, which claims legal authority under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. “What did us in here, what worked against us was this shocking revelation,” Clapper said.

However, as Spencer Ackerman very rightly remarks, Clapper is remarkably inconsistent:

His admission contradicts months of warnings, from his office and from elsewhere in the administration, that disclosure of the bulk data collection jeopardized US national security.

“Terrorists and other adversaries of this country are going to school on US intelligence sources, methods and trade craft and the insights that they are gaining are making our job much, much harder,” Clapper told the Senate intelligence committee last month – during which he implied that the journalists working off the Snowden documents were “accomplices” to the former contractor’s alleged crimes.

But Clapper’s admission also reflects a fight to preserve, in a modified form, the NSA’s authorities to collect phone data in bulk at a time of great flux.

And Ackerman is also right that Clapper's new position, that seems to make him an accomplice's accomplice - is taken in order to keep the NSA having all personal data of everyone, because this gives the U.S. state total power.

There is more, that is quoted below in item 6. I only want to quote here some more of Clapper's inconsistencies:

In his interview, Clapper continued to deny lying to Congress in March 2013, when he said the NSA did “not wittingly” collect data of any sort on millions of Americans, a lie he has apologized for.

As he has since July, Clapper insisted he “wasn’t even thinking” of the bulk phone data collection during his March 2013 testimony, and suggested that only mind-readers could say for sure that he was lying.

“There is only one person on the planet who actually knows what I was thinking,” Clapper told the Daily Beast. “Not the media, and not certain members of Congress, only I know what I was thinking.”

But Clapper initially said that he provided the “least untruthful” answer he could in a public setting, not that his answer was unfocused on the bulk phone records collection. Additionally, aides to his questioner, senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, have repeatedly said they alerted Clapper’s office to his error and unsuccessfully requested Clapper correct the public record.

To start with, I note Spencer Ackerman is quite right in his first paragraph to say that Clapper's statement was an evident lie.

Furthermore, Clapper had been cued by Ron Wyden within 24 hours of the interview that he would get the question. Also, while Clapper may be right he is the only person to know what he was thinking, everybody who saw his antics as he replied to the question (which are on film), could know he was in trouble. And besides, he admitted himself that what he said was
the “least untruthful” answer, which simply logically implies that his answer was "untruthful”, which in turn logically implies he either was consciously lying or else that both his statement "No" and his later statement that this (qualified by "not wittingly") was "untruthful" were the ravings of a madman or of a druggee.

I do not believe myself that James Clapper was mad or drugged. For more, see
item 6.

2. Edward Snowden 'humbled' by his election as Glasgow University rector

The next article is by Ewen MacAskill in the Guardian:

This starts as follows:

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said he was humbled and honoured after Glasgow University students voted overwhelmingly for him to serve as their rector for the next three years.

In a statement to the Guardian, Snowden described it as bold and historic decision in support of academic freedom. "In a world where so many of our developing thoughts and queries and plans must be entrusted to the open internet, mass surveillance is not simply a matter of privacy, but of academic freedom and human liberty," Snowden said.

The vote is purely symbolic as Snowden is unlikely to be in a position to become a working rector, able to represent students at meetings of the university's administrators. He is wanted by the US for leaking tens of thousands of documents to journalists and has been granted temporary asylum in Russia.

Quite so: it clearly is irrealistic. Then again, nearly all of the students who voted for him must have known that as well, but they voted for him nevertheless. However, I agree that it seems a bit difficult to do the job well from Russia, where Snowden is bound to stay if he wants to avoid arrest.

Also, Snowden said this:

Snowden, in his statement, said: "I am humbled by and grateful to the students of Glasgow University for this historic statement in defence of our shared values.

"We are reminded by this bold decision that the foundation of all learning is daring: the courage to investigate, to experiment, to inquire."

He added: "If we do not contest the violation of the fundamental right of free people to be left unmolested in their thoughts, associations, and communications - to be free from suspicion without cause - we will have lost the foundation of our thinking society. The defence of this fundamental freedom is the challenge of our generation, a work that requires constructing new controls and protections to limit the extraordinary powers of states over the domain of human communication."

And that is quite correct.

3. Scott Ludlam's support of Snowden 'celebrates treachery', says Brandis

Next, an article by Daniel Hurst in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:

Australia’s attorney general, George Brandis, has criticised a senator for celebrating “the American traitor Edward Snowden”, arguing the disclosures about western intelligence gathering has “put Australian lives at risk”.

Brandis asked in parliament how the Greens senator Scott Ludlam could hold his head up high while honouring the former US National Security Agency contractor’s “criminal conduct and treachery”.

The trigger for the criticism was a question from Ludlam about “indiscriminate government surveillance” and whether the government recognised the legitimate concerns of Australians and the need to follow the US in reforming intelligence practices.

Who is George Brandis, I asked myself, and consulted Wikipedia, where I read that he poses as if he were a liberal, is fat, bald and 7 years younger than I am, and seems to have temperamental problems of various kinds, of which the above and the following opinion are clear evidence:

"I intend to continue to call to the attention of the Australian people to the extremely alarming, frightening similarities between the methods employed by contemporary green politics and the methods and the values of the Nazis".

I say?! I am not myself a sympathizer of green parties, but this is totally inane, and apart from its utter inanity quite despicable, that is, supposing Mr Brandis was sane at the time.

Having found this (and Wikipedia has more information about Mr Brandis's temperamental problems, that seem to be quite plentiful) I agree with Senator Ludlam:

Ludlam later characterised Brandis’ comments as “embarrassing and borderline hysterical”. He told the chamber the highest law officer in Australia was “behaving like an infant” and millions of Australians with legitimate concerns deserved better than such a contemptuous display.

“Senator Brandis accused Mr Edward Snowden, a whistleblower whom I hold in extremely high regard – as do, I imagine, a majority of Australians and millions of people around the world – of being a traitor. You could almost see the spittle flying from his lips,” Ludlam said.

“No evidence or justification was provided for the accusation that the revelations put into the public domain by Mr Snowden – through the Guardian, the New York Times, the ABC and other news organisations doing their job around the world – had created risk for Australians.

Quite so.

4. Snowden Documents Reveal Covert Surveillance and Pressure Tactics Aimed at WikiLeaks and Its Supporters

Next an article by
Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher in The Intercept:
This starts as follows:

Top-secret documents from the National Security Agency and its British counterpart reveal for the first time how the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom targeted WikiLeaks and other activist groups with tactics ranging from covert surveillance to prosecution.

The efforts – detailed in documents provided previously by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden – included a broad campaign of international pressure aimed not only at WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but at what the U.S. government calls “the human network that supports WikiLeaks.” The documents also contain internal discussions about targeting the file-sharing site Pirate Bay and hacktivist collectives such as Anonymous.

One classified document from Government Communications Headquarters, Britain’s top spy agency, shows that GCHQ used its surveillance system to secretly monitor visitors to a WikiLeaks site.
There's also this:
Illustrating how far afield the NSA deviates from its self-proclaimed focus on terrorism and national security, the documents reveal that the agency considered using its sweeping surveillance system against Pirate Bay, which has been accused of facilitating copyright violations. The agency also approved surveillance of the foreign “branches” of hacktivist groups, mentioning Anonymous by name.
I quote this mainly to stress that the NSA is only using "terrorism and national security" as pretexts for their own program of spying on everything anyone does, so as to have means to shut them up.

And there is a whole lot more, that I recommend you read yourself.

5.  The Best and Worst US Presidents

Next an article by Robert Parry on Consortium News:

This starts as follows:
Special Report: From the start of the Republic, some U.S. presidents favored government activism to address the nation’s problems, while others let the states do what they wanted and business tycoons have their way, a distinction that Robert Parry says can define the best and worst.
It is here because I liked the article and like the site, among other things because it has quite a number of former CIA operatives, whose articles (that I read: I do not read everything) generally are good, which in turn helps to show how very far to the right George Bush Jr. and Barack Obama have moved.

In any case, this is an interesting article.

Intelligence Boss: We Should Have Told You We’re Spying On You … But Snowden Is a Traitor for Telling You that We’re Spying On You

Finally, an article on Washington's Blog, that has the same subject as the first item above: This quotes another bit from Spencer Ackerman's article, that I dealt with as item 1. I first quote James Clapper, and end with Wshington Blog's question:

“What did us in here, what worked against us was this shocking revelation,” he said, referring to the first disclosures from Snowden. If the program had been publicly introduced in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, most Americans would probably have supported it. “I don’t think it would be of any greater concern to most Americans than fingerprints. Well people kind of accept that because they know about it. But had we been transparent about it and say here’s one more thing we have to do as citizens for the common good, just like we have to go to airports two hours early and take our shoes off, all the other things we do for the common good, this is one more thing.”

Unbelievable. So the very same disclosure that turned Edward Snowden into a traitor and was going to do so much harm to American security is something Clapper says he should have done in the first place?

Yes, indeed: That is what he says. Then again, he very probably is lying again, notably when equalizing giving fingerprints and giving all your and anyone's  personal data to some anonymous creeps of the NSA, to do with it as they please, which may include indefinite incarceration without a trial.
[1] Here it is necessary to insist, with Aristotle, that the governors do not rule, or at least, should not rule: The laws rule, and the government, if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn Greenwald:
It is more proper that law should govern than any one of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servants of the laws.
(And I note the whole file I quote from is quite pertinent.)

About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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