4, 2014
Crisis: Clegg * 2, Editorial, Government Interruptions, Chomsky
   "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. Nick Clegg orders review into data gathering by spy

2. Surveillance: Westminster faces up to the facts
Edward Snowden's revelations made it clear: security
     oversight must be fit for the internet age

4. How The Government Can Destroy Your Reputation

Chomsky: An Ignorant Public Is the Real Kind of Security
     Our Govt. Is After
About ME/CFS


This is the crisis file of March 4. The first three items are all about Great Britain and from the Guardian (which is the best paper I know, and much better than any Dutch one). I do not really know how important they are, but I suspect they are not: they are merely moves in the games politicians play to deceive the electorate, I am afraid. The fourth item is a video by The Young Turks that I like, and that I think you should see. The fifth is by Noam Chomsky. Of these, the fourth item is the most interesting, in my opinion, by far also.

1. Nick Clegg orders review into data gathering by spy agencies

The first article is by Patrick Wintour in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, has commissioned a review into the new intrusive capabilities of British intelligence agencies and the legal framework in which they operate, after failing to persuade David Cameron that the coalition government should act now to tighten the accountability of Britain's spies.

Clegg has been trying for months inside government to persuade the Conservatives and intelligence agencies that the existing accountability structure is inadequate and could corrode trust, but in a Guardian article before a big speech on Tuesday the deputy prime minister admits he has failed to persuade Cameron of the need for reform.

What am I supposed to say? That it seems to me politics-as-usual, and seems to have much more to do with the general elections than with any real concern. Thus:

The Clegg initiative by coincidence comes the day after Labour fully joined the debate for the first time when Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, called for a thorough overhaul of the way in which UK intelligence agencies are held to account. But Clegg appears to go further than Labour by questioning in greater detail the extent to which agencies are now routinely gathering data on private citizens.

The Lib Dem leader stresses he is not in principle opposed to the state gathering big data, but says this has to be governed by the principle that the government should intrude as little as possible into private affairs.

Note "by coincidence" and "The government should intrude as little as possible". There is rather a lot more, but it is mostly of the quoted level, and there also is Clegg's own piece in item 3.

2. Surveillance: Westminster faces up to the facts

The next article is by Editorial and in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:

It is now eight months since Edward Snowden first broke cover with his revelations about the extent to which the American and British states were collecting and storing previously unimaginable amounts of data on millions of unsuspecting and wholly innocent citizens. For much of that time, Westminster has behaved as if it hoped the problem would go away. There was the "if you've got nothing to hide" school. There was the "shoot the messenger" club. There was the "airy fairy la-di-da" brigade. And there were the long-grass merchants: give it all to Sir Malcolm Rifkind to ponder and come back some time next year.

In the United States, it has been very different. Within the same time period, the president commissioned, published and responded to a detailed 300-page report by a review panel of experts who proposed more than 40 reforms. A parallel report by the independent Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board was published at the same time, while Congress began an animated debate about the proper limits of surveillance and the appropriate legal framework for the digital age.

It is one way of seeing it. And it sounds quite optimistic, which I am not. Then again, I am also not a British editor, nor am I an American, and I am really not impressed by Obama's actions, though I grant it was not quite as measly as the reactions of Sir David Omand (who is much more clever than anyone working at the NSA, or so he thinks) and such.

Anyway - the Editorial is quite upbeat about the present British situation, and is so because Yvette Cooper for Labour and Nick Clegg for the Lib Dems have found it in them, after at least eight months, to criticize their government - a bit softly, it is true, but they did dare criticize.

Well... I fear the Editorial is far too optimistic, but I grant I like to be mistaken about this.

Edward Snowden's revelations made it clear: security oversight must be fit for the internet age

The next article is by Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and appeared in the Guardian:

My problems with Nick Clegg are that he is a British political leader of a small party that anyway is very prone to double talking; that I know he has double talked before (about M.E.); and that I can see he has a nice position, a nice income, a nice house, and a possibly quite nice future (all of which I do not have) that all depend on his facility for more double talking (which I can't do, is fair to add, at least not on his level).

Here are the points he raises in this article, in his own words, and I should also say he does not dot them as I have, and he has more text surrounding the points, while also I have removed some initial capitalized letters. Otherwise, these are Nick Clegg's proposals:

  • annual transparency reports detailing the requests for data which government makes
  • a new web portal (which could be
  • the membership of the committee should be expanded from nine to 11
  • the chair should in future be an opposition party member
  • hearings should be held wherever possible in public
  • budgets should be set for five years ahead,
  • changes should also be made to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal,
  • finally, we should create an inspector general for the UK intelligence services
He advances these points - he says - so as to make the GCHQ and its four direct allied secret spy organizations, who have given tens of millions of dollars to the GCHQ, somehow amenable to democratic control. The Guardian also welcomes this, and gave him the space to publish the article I am reviewing.

Meanwhile - and you would not at all think so from Clegg's writing - the spies have taken at least a 100,000 nude pictures from English men and women, and also have stolen all their private data that are processed on line, from anyone, and both those from their computers and from their cell phones, as if they owe them (which indeed they pretend to think and say they do: anything anyone puts on line in any form "thereby" is theirs, and f*ck you if you protest).

Why does Nick Clegg not just say "No, you cannot spy on everyone, and certainly not without a specific cause, that is also overseen by a public judge"?

Well, he is a double talker, who is propping up David Cameron's government, and he would like to have more votes.

So I am sorry, but I do not believe him, not at all, and I also do not believe his points will make any major changes, although I do believe they indeed are not meant to: All Nick Clegg wants is more spying, with a bit more control for him.

4.  How The Government Can Destroy Your Reputation (Report)

Next, a video by The Young Turks, that takes 11 minutes and 12 seconds, but which also, and quite unlike Nick Clegg, is quite clear:
I should start with giving you a reference to the recent article by Glenn Greenwald that TYT treats in this video:
I strongly recommend that you read this.

In any case, as Cenk Uygur says, this is about "how to do propaganda on line". In fact, his theme is the following - which I quote from his presentation, that in turn quotes Glenn Greenwald. Also, you might take a look in my
On Deception - 1
On Deception - 2 + Propaganda techniques which are from a little over a year ago:

Note, to start with, that this "Art of Deception" is not directed against terrorists, nor even against "terrorists", as they also explain themselves, in secret:

That is, the "'targets'" - note the post-modernistic quotation marks!-  are anyone who did or said anything that his or her government, or an allied government, does not like (and the government, as you all know, always knows best):

That is: everybody who does not welcome the present government's policies will
be - in the words of the GCHQ themselves: see below - denied, disrupted, degraded and deceived, by Her Majesty's anonymous spooks of the secret services, and all for the simple reason that they are known not to welcome
the present government's policies (or those of any of its allies).

And please note none of this has anything to do with "terrorism", and indeed is specifically directed,
by Her Majesty's anonymous spooks of the secret services, all working on tax money or on gifts from the US, instead of 'traditional law enforcement', against anyone who does not like or who dares to oppose the present government, and who does so on line, also when he or she does so quite legally.

Here are some slides that show the techniques the GCHQ uses - and again: NOT against "terrorists", but against opponents of the government, or indeed opponents of the GCHQ.

First, here is a list of things they allow themselves and take pride in doing to others (who do not know them and may not even suspect them):

Next, here is a list of techniques they recommend to upset people (who oppose the government) - and "a honey-trap" is an attempt to abuse their sex lives:

Note they are very willing - being anonymous spooks and spies who are very well protected by their governments, and who are paid from the tax money - to falsify everything they can possibly falsify: photos, stories, and "emails to colleagues, neighbours, friends etc."

Here is a
a list of techniques that they recommend to destroy (deny, disrupt, deceive, degrade) any firm who may do things the anonymous spooks of the GCHQ, or indeed any of the anonymous spooks of the Five Eyes, are not pleased with:

They may leak whatever they please, and especially anonymous falsehoods, but Edward Snowden may not leak anything, not even under his own name and when it is all perfectly true. Of course, they may spread any amounts of false negative "information" on any forum, and clearly they may ruin your whole business. (For, remember: you are an opponent of the government.)

Here is a list of things they can effect and the techniques they use - again, not against "terrorists", but against any opponent of the government. This includes Deny / Disrupt / Degrade / Deceive, for it doesn't matter whether what they say is true: it only matters whether it works:

Finally, here is a picture of the "Gambits for Deception" these anonymous tax paid spooks and spies may play, always in total anonymity and utter secrecy, on anyone for any reason (supposing they don't much like and admire the government):

So: it's secret, it's of the state, and they are policing, by hook and by crook, and not hindered by any law or any consideration of legality, against anyone who disagrees with the government, and all is completely regardless of his or her legal rights or indeed of any moral considerations. All it needs is that one gets classified, also in secret, very possibly on false information, as some sort of an opponent.

Which government would not love to have such secret services? As Cenk Uygur ended his presentation:
"It's scary stuff. (..) Big Brother is here and he has got some unbelievable propaganda headed in your direction."
5. Chomsky: An Ignorant Public Is the Real Kind of Security Our Govt. Is After

Finally, here is Noam Chomsky on Alternet:
This starts as follows: 

A leading principle of international relations theory is that the state's highest priority is to ensure security. As Cold War strategist George F. Kennan formulated the standard view, government is created "to assure order and justice internally and to provide for the common defense."

The proposition seems plausible, almost self-evident, until we look more closely and ask: Security for whom? For the general population? For state power itself? For dominant domestic constituencies?

Depending on what we mean, the credibility of the proposition ranges from negligible to very high.

Security for state power is at the high extreme, as illustrated by the efforts that states exert to protect themselves from the scrutiny of their own populations.

Yes, indeed. There is a considerable amount more under the last dotted link, and that piece also is the first half of more to come.

The point I want to retain is that "security" is a very elastic term, and rarely means what one thinks it means, and always requires some context: security for whom?  And from whom? And against what costs? Not only in money but in rights?

And I suggest "security" usually means, when used by any government or its "journalists": security for the governors, from any criticism by any means, and if necessary by the population loosing some of their rights, were it only because the population is not supposed to criticize their governments anymore, all as outlined in item 4.
[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[2]
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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