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. Inside the NSA’s Secret
Efforts to Hunt and Hack System
2. NSA Attorney: Tech Companies Knew About
3. Report: NSA Can Swallow a "Nation’s Telephone Network
Radical U.N. Report Promotes Democratic Control of Food
and an End to Corporate
5. The World Wars on
This is the Nederlog of March
21. It is again a crisis
issue, though I have to admit I've found only four items the last two
days. But here they are, joined to a non-crisis item about seeing both
World Wars as presented on TV, and a brief personal column that details
And it is Spring today, above the equator, which I like - and I am
going to cycle as soon as I have uploaded this file. Nice!
1. Inside the NSA’s Secret Efforts to Hunt and Hack System
The first article is by Ryan
Gallagher and Peter Maass on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
There is a lot more in
the original, that also stresses that system administrators generally
have done nothing wrong.
Across the world, people
who work as system administrators keep computer networks in order – and
this has turned them into unwitting targets of the National Security
Agency for simply doing their jobs. According to a
secret document provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the
agency tracks down the private email and Facebook accounts of system
administrators (or sys admins, as they are often called), before
hacking their computers to gain access to the networks they control.
The document consists of
several posts – one of them is titled “I hunt sys admins” – that were
published in 2012 on an internal discussion board hosted on the
agency’s classified servers. They were written by an NSA official
involved in the agency’s effort to break into foreign network routers,
the devices that connect computer networks and transport data across
the Internet. By infiltrating the computers of system administrators
who work for foreign phone and Internet companies, the NSA can gain
access to the calls and emails that flow over their networks.
The classified posts
reveal how the NSA official aspired to create a database that would
function as an international hit list of sys admins to potentially
target. Yet the document makes clear that the admins are not suspected
of any criminal activity – they are targeted only because they control
access to networks the agency wants to infiltrate. “Who better to
target than the person that already has the ‘keys to the kingdom’?” one
of the posts says.
NSA Attorney: Tech
Companies Knew About Bulk Data Mining
The next article is by
Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Despite months of
denial from leading tech companies that they were aware of the
government's mining of user information, the National Security Agency's
senior attorney testified Wednesday that information was obtained with
the "full knowledge and assistance" of those firms.
It also turns out there was an
ambiguity about the name "PRISM", that probably was not known to Yahoo, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook,
Paltalk, and AOL, but apart from that, they seem all have to known.
Appearing before a
hearing of Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, NSA general
counsel Rajesh De responded to questions regarding the agency's bulk
collection of information under the FISA Amendments Act (“FAA”), also
known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
When asked if bulk
collection occurrs with the “full knowledge and assistance of any
company from which information is obtained,” De responded, “Yes.”
The Guardian's Spencer
Ackerman responded on Twitter following this revelation:
Also, it is not clear to me to what extent these companies were legally
forced to do as they did.
And finally, it is a bit difficult to trust the leading attorney of an
institution that lives by the Deny,
Disrupt, Degrade and
Deceive program of the GCHQ.
3. Report: NSA Can Swallow a "Nation’s
Telephone Network Whole"
The next article is
by Sarah Lazare on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
The National Security
Agency has the ability to record every single phone call made in an
unnamed foreign country and can rewind and revisit those calls up to a
month later, The Washington Post revealed Tuesday.
Citing "people with
direct knowledge of the effort and documents supplied by former
contractor Edward Snowden," reporters Barton Gellman and Ashkan Soltani
outline the NSA's "MYSTIC" voice interception program and its RETRO
(retrospective retrieval) tool, which was first used against a country
"In the initial
deployment, collection systems are recording “every single”
conversation nationwide, storing billions of them in a 30-day rolling
buffer that clears the oldest calls as new ones arrive, according to a
classified summary," according to The Washington Post.
I say. And why the "30-day rolling buffer"? Anyway... it is a safe bet your telephone
calls are stored by the NSA, for 30 days at least.
4. Radical U.N. Report Promotes
Democratic Control of Food and an End to Corporate Domination
Next, an article by
Sonali Kolhatkar on Truth Dig:
This starts as follows:
Also, in case you wanted
report submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council on the
“Right to Food” took aim at the entire basis on which food is produced
and distributed on a global scale. Reflecting the type of progressive
analysis of our food system from experts like Vandana Shiva and Michael
Pollan, report author Olivier De Schutter called for an undermining of
large agribusinesses and an infusion of democratic control.
Although the report’s
recommendations are revolutionary, news of its release went largely
unreported in the major U.S. media.
De Schutter, the U.N.
special rapporteur on the right to food, spent six years visiting more
than a dozen countries and concluded that the world’s entire food
system should be rebuilt, starting with the promotion of local,
sustainable farming so that ordinary people have control over what they
can grow and eat. This certainly does not sound radical to those of us
in U.S. cities where there has been a rapid expansion of farmers
markets and an explosion in backyard farming. But in poor American
communities and in poor countries as a whole, it is a radical notion
for food to be grown locally, sustainably and democratically.
The World Food Programme estimates
that there are 842 million hungry people worldwide.
To me these are 842
million reasons to change the current corporation-driven set-up.
I find this quite interesting, and it goes on for two pages. Here is a
quotation from the end:
Like other basic
human needs such as water, shelter and health care, our food shouldn’t
be subject to the drive for profit. In calling for democratic control
of our food, De Schutter and Patel are threatening the business
interests of some of the world’s largest and wealthiest corporations.
Given that De Schutter’s report has been submitted to the highest
international representatives of civil society, it has the potential to
effect change, but only if there is enough pressure from below.
Again, there are 842
million reasons to favor this - for there is food enough to feed all,
except for the ways the food is distributed and sold, which are for
profit of a few large corporations, rather than to feed the people.
5. The World Wars
have said several times in Nederlog, I do not have a TV since 1970: I'd
found by then it did not teach me much, and certainly far less
than books, and I found that most that I saw on TV was, well
considered, pretty boring, while I have a strong distaste, from
a very early age onwards, of being lied to and flattered by
I must be fairly unique, not having a TV for 44 years now, and I still
do not want it, and I also believe that while I certainly have missed
some, I gained more. Then again, you are free to choose otherwise, and
I certainly do not hold that all the choices and preferences that are
fit for me are fit for others.
Also, while I missed a few programs I would have liked to
see, it turned out that most that was good since the 1960ies is on
Youtube these days, and that is how I did succeed in seeing most of "All in the Family" a couple of months ago,
which I also wrote about in the last link.
After that, which was quite enjoyable, I thought a more serious subject
deserved my attention, namely World War I and World War II, at least as
these have been put on films, and especially films for TV.
So I saw most or all of three or four series on World War I, and saw
several in color, which was added in later, but indeed adds some, and
then did the same for World War II.
It did not teach me much, but here are some numbers about WW I:
That sums to nearly 39
millions killed or wounded in WW I alone, apart from the Spanish Flu,
that followed on its heels, and killed about as many. The numbers for
WW II are worse, though it wasn't followed by an epidemy.
What are the reasons I did not learn much?
One part of the reason is that I read a fair amount about both wars,
from general interest, and also from particular interest: Both of my
parents were in the real resistance
in WW II, which few Dutchmen were,
and less than there were in the Dutch SS, for example, and my father
and his father were convicted as "political terrorists" in 1941, by
collaborating Dutch judges, and sentenced to concentration camp
imprisonment, which my grandfather did not survive.
Another part of the reason is that the spoken comments to the films
fairly ordinary and middle of the road, and also are neither extensive
very specific. In part, this was due to their audiences, and in part to
the fact that speech is fairly slow.
I did see a lot of moving images I had not seen before, which was
sometimes interesting, but also often were - much too often, for my
of firing large guns.
In fact, the main things I learned, that I also did not know before, or
at least hadn't realized as clearly, were about clothes and personal
For it turns out that a 100 years ago, in 1914, men looked more or less
the same as they do now, in ordinary circumstances. There are of course
quite a few differences - men far more often wore a cap or a hat then,
and much more often had moustaches, for example, and there are many
small differences in cuts and fabrics - but by and large they looked
rather similar to the men of 2014. (Note this must be in part due to
the rapid advance of the safety razor, that was introduced around 1900.)
But for women it was quite different in 1914: Even in
factories, their skirts were hanging on their heels, and were closed up
from the neck downwards; they used very little make-up; and there were
no bras yet.
All of that was quite radically changed by the time WW II broke
out: Far shorter skirts, both below (to the knees) and above (with some
nakedness); far more make-up, though not as much as at present; and by
and large looking as they are now, although again with differences in
styles, fabrics, cuts and fashions.
There were quite large and quite visible differences between males and
females in the two wars, and indeed women also had fewer children, and
had a bit more independence, and also had the vote from the 1920ies
But this - the rather radical differences in clothing styles for women
between 1914 and 1939, say - was the main thing I learned from around 7
series of programs about WW I and WW II, all made - compiled at least -
between 1964 and 2007, and all directed at general audiences.
And while this was interesting, I did not learn many other things, so
by and large this was a bit disappointing.
here is a survey
of Nederlog, that is currently in
its 11th year, and that seems to be
the best read part of my > 500 MB site (mostly filled with html,
generally in the directories philosophy, logic, computing, me, me in amsterdam, and
indeed nederlog, and mostly written by me):
Note 2014 is not in the
above table, and I only included the NL...html items, with a date on
the dots: there are considerably more items if I count the
307 - 3.3 MB
2005 - 130 - 1.6 MB
2006 - 171 - 2.6 MB
2007 - 235 - 3.6 MB
2008 - 378 - 10.3 MB
2009 - 391 - 12.5 MB
2010 - 296 - 12.7 MB
2011 - 320 - 14.0 MB
2012 - 265 - 11.3 MB
2013 - 383 - 14.2 MB
jr - 2611 - 86.1 MB
Finally, it is pleasant that the older Nederlogs are read
- it seems - at least as much as the newer ones, even though Nederlog
was mostly in Dutch from 2004-2009, and is mostly in English since
2010, and I also should
remark that the most read file on the site, since many years also, is not
part of Nederlog, but is this: Why philosophy
is important (in the philosophy section).
I agree that is a
P.S. Mar 22, 2014: Made some corrections and a
 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: