who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin
"All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
"Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
1. US intelligence chief: NSA
should have been more open
about data collection
2. Edward Snowden 'humbled' by his election as Glasgow
3. Scott Ludlam's support of
treachery', says Brandis
4. Snowden Documents Reveal
Covert Surveillance and
Pressure Tactics Aimed at
WikiLeaks and Its Supporters
5. The Best and Worst US
6. Intelligence Boss: We Should
Have Told You We’re
Spying On You … But
Snowden Is a Traitor
This is another ordinary
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:
However, as Spencer
Ackerman very rightly remarks, Clapper is remarkably inconsistent:
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.
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
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.
There is more, that is quoted below in item 6. I
only want to quote here some more of Clapper's inconsistencies:
To start with, I note
Spencer Ackerman is quite right in his first paragraph to say that
Clapper's statement was an evident lie.
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
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
article is by Ewen MacAskill in the Guardian:
This starts as
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
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
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
"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
Scott Ludlam's support of
Next, an article by Daniel Hurst in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:
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
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
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:
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.
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:
There's also this:
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
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.
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
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
article by Robert Parry on Consortium News:
This starts as follows:
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.
6. 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
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.
“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?
 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
if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my
More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn
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
from is quite pertinent.)
(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: