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Nederlog


  May
14, 2014
Crisis: Greenwald, GCHQ *2, EU Court, Pay Inequality, NSA Reform
   "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
















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Sections
Introduction

1. "Collect It All": Glenn Greenwald on NSA Bugging Tech
     Hardware, Economic Espionage & Spying on U.N.

2. GCHQ's spy malware operation faces legal challenge
3. British Spies Face Legal Action Over Secret Hacking
     Programs

4. EU court backs 'right to be forgotten': Google must
     amend results on request

5. Pay inequality is suffocating Britain's economic recovery
     – and our society

6. NSA reform: lawmakers aim to bar agency from
     weakening encryption

About ME/CFS


Introduction:

This is the Nederlog of May 14. It is a fairly ordinary crisis issue, but with quite a lot of interesting stuff.

As to the
crisis reports, of which I am probably writting the 500th (since Sep 1, 2008) tomorrow: I am thinking about making the weekends, when there tend to be fewer crisis items, into two non-crisis days for Nederlog, by which I also mean that I will not check some 40+ sites those two days, which will be something of a relief. (And I said: "thinking about" - no decision has been taken yet.)

Here is the summary for today, that has quite a few interesting items:

I start with a link to an interview with Glenn Greenwald on "Democracy Now!". I like the interview, and you should read it all (or watch it all, but I normally read when given the choice: that is much faster), and I also should say I could have three or four
bits on Greenwald, but I do not want to flood you, and some may also be dealt with a bit later.

The next two items are on a legal challenge to the GCHQ by Privacy International, that I quite like. The fifth item is a fine one on income inequalities in Great Britain, where there are more than 100 billionaires now, whereas many ordinary and poor people hardly know how to survive. And the last item is on the NSA reforms, that I cannot take too serious since the bill that was supported by Edward Snowden since has been gutted, and passed for treatment.

1. "Collect It All": Glenn Greenwald on NSA Bugging Tech Hardware, Economic Espionage & Spying on U.N.

The first item is an article by
Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:
This is an interview with Glenn Greenwald that you also can see on video. I read it and here are two bits, that are both related to the sick madness of the NSA that consists in knowing and controlling everything everyone says, writes, or mails
to anyone. In both csdes the speaker is Glenn Greenwald:
(...) I think what became apparent to people is that literally the mission of the NSA—and this is them in their own words—is to eliminate privacy globally. And that’s not hyperbole. Literally, their institutional mandate is to collect and store and, when they want, analyze and monitor all forms of electronic communication that take place between human beings around the planet. And once people understood that this extraordinary system of suspicionless surveillance, which was truly unprecedented in scope, had been created completely in the dark—I mean, no one knew about any of this, even though it had been done by allegedly democratic governments—it became more than a surveillance story. It became a story about government secrecy and accountability and the role of journalism, and certainly privacy and surveillance in the digital age.
Yes, quite so - and indeed it is these three things that I find (after a year) still shocking: (1) the desire "to eliminate privacy globally", which resulted in (2) an
"extraordinary system of suspicionless surveillance, which was truly unprecedented in scope", while (3) it "had been created completely in the dark" by "allegedly democratic governments".

Also - as I have been saying from October 29, 2005, albeit in Dutch - "terrorism" and Feinstein's "big bombs" enter in it only as a pretext, a trick, a deception: namely to do it and to do it, by "
by allegedly democratic governments" in total secret - and yes, this also means that the governments which do this - notably: the U.S., Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand etc. - are not democratic anymore, in no conceivable clear and classical sense of the term: They spy on their total populations, and do so in order to control everyone.

Here is the second quote, illustrating the same point, of what I called "sick madness", not because it cannot be done - it is being done - but because the people doing it must have extra-ordinary notions about their own totally unexampled enormous extra-ordinariness, that allows them to spy into anyone's private thoughts, mails, images, sites, and to do that in billion-fold, on all the billions who do not belong to their own small set of secret spying supermen:
And, you know, the documents demonstrate that there have been tens—hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars spent to make certain that the NSA and the GCHQ can listen to any in-flight cellphone calls that they want, from those phones that are embedded on the seats in front of you, and, more importantly, to be able to monitor all Internet activity that takes place over the wi-fi service of a commercial jet. And they didn’t do this because there was a case where someone on a plane plotted something that they weren’t able to monitor. They’re not doing it because there are specific, targeted concerns. The reason they’re doing this is because they are obsessed with the idea that there might be some place on the planet that you can go for a few hours and communicate without their being able to monitor what it is that you’re saying. That shows the institutional mindset, which is there should never be a moment where you can develop the capability to go and speak without their surveillance net. And that’s the reason why they targeted airplanes as the one place left in the world, other than in person in the middle of nowhere, that you can actually speak or do things without their knowledge.
Anyway: you should read or view all of it: See the last dotted link.

2. GCHQ's spy malware operation faces legal challenge

The next item is article by Owen Bowcott on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

GCHQ, the government's monitoring agency, acted illegally by developing spy programs that remotely hijack computers' cameras and microphones without the user's consent, according to privacy campaigners.

A legal challenge lodged on Tuesday at the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT) calls for the hacking techniques – alleged to be far more intrusive than interception of communications – to be outlawed. Mobile phones were also targeted, leaked documents reveal.

The claim has been submitted by Privacy International following revelations by the whistleblower Edward Snowden about the mass surveillance operations conducted by GCHQ and its US counterpart, the National Security Agency (NSA).

There is also this, to make clear what it is that Pricvacy International claims and wants:

GCHQ, the government's monitoring agency, acted illegally by developing spy programs that remotely hijack computers' cameras and microphones without the user's consent, according to privacy campaigners.

A legal challenge lodged on Tuesday at the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT) calls for the hacking techniques – alleged to be far more intrusive than interception of communications – to be outlawed. Mobile phones were also targeted, leaked documents reveal.

The claim has been submitted by Privacy International following revelations by the whistleblower Edward Snowden about the mass surveillance operations conducted by GCHQ and its US counterpart, the National Security Agency (NSA).

And this:

Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International, said: "The hacking programmes being undertaken by GCHQ are the modern equivalent of the government entering your house, rummaging through your filing cabinets, diaries, journals and correspondence, before planting bugs in every room you enter. Intelligence agencies can do all this without you even knowing about it, and can invade the privacy of anyone around the world with a few clicks.

"All of this is being done under a cloak of secrecy without any public debate or clear lawful authority. Arbitrary powers such as these are the purview of dictatorships, not democracies. Unrestrained, unregulated government spying of this kind is the antithesis of the rule of law and government must be held accountable for their actions."

Yes, indeed. And there is more in the next item:

3. British Spies Face Legal Action Over Secret Hacking Programs 

The next item is an article by Ryan Gallagher on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

The United Kingdom’s top spy agency is facing legal action following revelations published by The Intercept about its involvement in secret efforts to hack into computers on a massive scale.

Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, has been accused of acting unlawfully by helping to develop National Security Agency surveillance systems capable of covertly breaking into potentially millions of computers and networks across the world.

In a legal complaint filed on Tuesday, the London-based civil liberties group Privacy International alleges that the hacking techniques violated European human rights law and are not subject to sufficient safeguards against abuse. The complaint cites a series of details contained in a report published by The Intercept in March, which exposed how GCHQ was closely involved in the NSA’s efforts to rapidly expand its ability to deploy so-called “implants” to infiltrate computers.

To start with here are the details and the link to the complaint

I have read this last dotted link only once (so far) and did so in a fast way, but this seems to me an excellent document. Here are the main articles from the European Convention of Human Rights (that are derived from the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that you find here on my site) they appeal to:

Article 8 of the Convention provides:
1.
Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
2.
There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Article 10 provides:
1.
Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
2.
The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and
responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

The 21 pages make - on a first fast reading - an excellent case against the GCHQ, that were met by its usual sick lies. These are the last two paragraphs from Gallaghers article:

Eric King, head of research at Privacy International, said in a statement on Tuesday that GCHQ’s hacking programs were “done under a cloak of secrecy without any public debate or clear lawful authority,” adding that “unrestrained, unregulated government spying of this kind is the antithesis of the rule of law and government must be held accountable for their actions.”

A GCHQ spokesperson declined to comment on the complaint, saying only that the agency’s work is “carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorized, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight.”

Anyway...I like the legal challenge, and the more so now that I have read it, which I recommend you do as well. (Also, while it is legalese, it is quite readable.)

4. EU court backs 'right to be forgotten': Google must amend results on request

The next item is an article by Alan Travis and Charles Arthur on The Guardian:

In fact, this is from another court case held in Europe, where the legal defenses against being spied upon appear to be better than in the U.S., possibly apart from Great Britain, and at least since Bush Jr. was given the elections by the Supreme Court and since Obama simply carried on his policies (often in a worse way).

This starts as follows:

The top European court has backed the "right to be forgotten" and said Google must delete "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant" data from its results when a member of the public requests it.

The test case privacy ruling by the European Union's court of justice against Google Spain was brought by a Spanish man, Mario Costeja González, after he failed to secure the deletion of an auction notice of his repossessed home dating from 1998 on the website of a mass circulation newspaper in Catalonia.

Costeja González argued that the matter, in which his house had been auctioned to recover his social security debts, had been resolved and should no longer be linked to him whenever his name was searched on Google.

He told the Guardian: "Like anyone would be when you tell them they're right, I'm happy. I was fighting for the elimination of data that adversely affects people's honour, dignity and exposes their private lives. Everything that undermines human beings, that's not freedom of expression."

Good. There is rather a lot more in the article, including the fact that the British justice secretary, Chris Grayling, is against the decision.

5. Pay inequality is suffocating Britain's economic recovery – and our society

The next item is an article by Deborah Hargreaves on The Guardian:
This is about the following, as the subtitle makes clear:
When a CEO can take home in three days what it takes the rest of us a year to earn, we really need to question our priorities
Precisely! And no CEO is worth such excessive amounts, and anybody who says they do is either a sick mega-rich filthy liar or else acts as their willing lying slave. Here are some of the backgrounds:

This week the High Pay Centre has launched an animation highlighting the growing difference in pay for Brenda, an experienced nurse earning the UK's average annual salary of £27,000, and Brian, the boss of a big company, who makes £4.3m a year. (This is the average pay package for a FTSE 100 chief executive in 2012, for which full data is available).

It is only in recent history that people have been able to become seriously rich by climbing the executive ladder in large, established companies. This has opened up a stark disparity between incomes of those at the top and those at the bottom. Wealth then becomes entrenched in an elite who live on a different level from the rest of us.

This is a fine article that I recommend you read all of. Also, the video above makes things very clear - and note the above is especially about Great Britain, where since Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron the few rich have been growing a lot richer than elsewhere, at the costs of the many poor.

6. NSA reform: lawmakers aim to bar agency from weakening encryption

The next item is an article by Spencer Ackerman on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:

US legislators concerned about weaknesses in a major surveillance reform bill intend to insert an amendment barring the National Security Agency from weakening the encryption that many people rely on to keep their information secure online, or exploiting any internet security vulnerabilities it discovers.

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, told the Guardian that she and a group of colleagues want to prevent the NSA from “utilizing discovered zero-day flaws,” or unfixed software security vulnerabilities, and entrench “the duty of the NSA and the government generally not to create them, nor to prolong the threat to the internet” by failing to warn about those vulnerabilities.

Since the discovery of the Heartbleed bug afflicting web and email servers, the NSA has faced suspicions that it has exploited the vulnerability, which the agency has strenuously denied. Beyond Heartbleed, documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden have revealed that the NSA has weakened online encryption, causing consternation among technology companies as well as privacy advocates.

There is a lot more there. The brief of it seems to amount to this: The present bill that has been accorded treatment (not: passed) and that was supported by Edward Snowden since has been rewritten and is mostly gutted, and namely to the extent that even Mike Rogers supported it.
---------------------------------
Note
[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)

2. Malcolm Hooper THE MENTAL HEALTH MOVEMENT:  
PERSECUTION OF PATIENTS?
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)
9.
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)



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