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. How the National
Security State Kills a Free Society
2. On 6/5, 65 Things We Know
About NSA Surveillance That
We Didn’t Know a Year Ago
3. Edward Snowden, a year on:
reformers frustrated as NSA
preserves its power
4. Britain's first secret
trial: this way lies trouble
Edward Snowden changed the world – and
why the fight's not over
6. Vodafone reveals existence
of secret wires that allow
7. First Federal Media Shield
Legislation Passes House of
8. Seattle is Right
9. 'We Are Resetting the
Net to Shut Off Mass Surveillance'
This is the Nederlog of June
6. It is an ordinary crisis log.
1. How the
National Security State Kills a Free Society
item is an article by Edward Snowden on Common Dreams:
In fact, it seems the
article consists of the text of a mail Snowden wrote to a person or
persons at the ACLU. It starts as follows:
This means that (1) "the
government" - that of the United States of America - is treating its
people as if it is a fascist, a totalitarian, and an illegal
government, for it has usurped far more powers than any
government ever had, and has done so in secret, while willfully
breaking both the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and (2) "the government" has effectively made
two classes of persons: Extremely powerful supermen, who work for the
government or its contractors and who can, secretively, anonymously,
but freely, survey all the personal and private
data of hundreds of millions or indeed billions (taking
into account non-Americans) of what must be regarded - by them, not by
me - as powerless and rightless surveilled subhumans, almost all
surveilled completely regardless of any harm, and also (for American
citizens) (3) completely regardless of the Constitution and the Bill of
It's been one year.
Technology has been a
liberating force in our lives. It allows us to create and share the
experiences that make us human, effortlessly. But in secret, our very
own government—one bound by the Constitution and its Bill of Rights—has
reverse-engineered something beautiful into a tool of mass surveillance
and oppression. The government right now can easily monitor whom you
call, whom you associate with, what you read, what you buy, and where
you go online and offline, and they do it to all of us, all the time.
I really cannot make this into anything else. I might have taken out
terms the purist and rather sick Godwins object to: "fascism",
"totalitarian", "superman", "subhuman", but these seem to me -
a 64 year old son and grandson of persons
committed to Nazi concentration camps as "political terrorists" for
being in the resistance  - accurate enough,
although the full scale of the powers of the US government so
far have not been shown (and most of these powers are secret,
and are controlled by secret courts, with secret powers and secret
orders that few dare to oppose in public).
These terms are accurate enough, because a government - of mere
mortal men, not long ago your equals, at least in law - that arrogates
itself such powers as the US government arrogated to itself, in secret,
which are far greater than any government has ever had,
will abuse these, and indeed is abusing these,
and on an enormous scale. (But you do not need to use my terms:
it probably is somewhat risky, especially in The New America Surveilled
By The Supermen Of The NSA, or else by one of the Five Eyes secret
The article/mail continues:
These "capabilities" are
in "the wrong hands": Every
government, any government, that arrogates to itself the powers
to surveil everything anyone does is an
authoritarian and anti-democratic government and wants to be such a
Today, our most intimate
private records are being indiscriminately seized in secret, without
regard for whether we are actually suspected of wrongdoing. When these
capabilities fall into the wrong hands, they can destroy the very
freedoms that technology should be nurturing, not extinguishing.
Surveillance, without regard to the rule of law or our basic human
dignity, creates societies that fear free expression and dissent, the
very values that make America strong.
In the long, dark shadow
cast by the security state, a free society cannot thrive.
"Power tends to
corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost
always bad men."
These are by far the
greatest powers anyone has ever had: To know - in
principle - everything about everyone, in secret,
and overseen by secret courts, with secret powers.
-- Lord Acton
And this holds in particular for the present U.S. government, because
it should have been bound by its Constitution and its Bill of
Rights that clearly forbid these things. But "absolute power corrupts absolutely", and it has corrupted the US government.
There is more there I leave to you, but it ends like this:
But now it's time to keep
the momentum for serious reform going so the conversation does not die
Only then will we get the
legislative reform that truly reins in the NSA and puts the government
back in its constitutional place. Only then will we get the secure
technologies we need to communicate without fear that silently in the
background, our very own government is collecting, collating, and
crunching the data that allows unelected bureaucrats to intrude into
our most private spaces, analyzing our hopes and fears. Until then,
every American who jealously guards their rights must do their best to
engage in digital self-defense and proactively protect their electronic
devices and communications. Every step we can take to secure ourselves
from a government that no longer respects our privacy is a patriotic
We've come a long way,
but there's more to be done.
— Edward J. Snowden,
2. On 6/5, 65 Things We Know About NSA Surveillance That We
Didn’t Know a Year Ago
item is an article by Nadia Kayyali and Katitza Rodrigues on Common
Dreams. They work for the Electronic Frontiers Foundations:
This has a brief
introduction, that ends like this:
anniversary of that first leak, here are 65 things we know about NSA
spying that we did not know a year ago:
And it follows by giving
a list - one of the few times an article should be
allowed in the form of a list, by the way - of which I select a few
points, if only for those who doubt my qualifications that this
behavior is, in fact, behavior of a government that is
fascistic, totalitarian and authoritarian, for otherwise they would not
do it - and indeed I am also not an opponent
of spying, provided it is spying on selected targets for which
there is probable cause. (And in case you haven't seen this:
See Abby Martin:
Interview, with two former leading NSA employees.)
But I am a total opponent of gathering up all data one
can find (which is at the moment: nearly all the data people produce
with their computers or phones): To desire that is fascistic, totalitarian and
authoritarian, and yes: I know very well what these terms mean.
(In fact, if you oppose my terminology, I question whether you know
what you are talking about. This is evil, and one needs evil names to
accurately name it. And no, you do not need to use the names,
and I have no children whose lives I may put in danger, and I have
lived 64 years.)
Here is a selection of the 65 points - which I recommend you read all:
intelligence budget in 2013 alone was $52.6 billion— this number was
revealed by a leaked document, not by the government. Of that budget, $10.8
billion went to the NSA. That’s approximately $167 per person in
the United States.
21. Although most NSA
reform has focused on Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, and most
advocates have also pushed for reform of Section 702 of the FISA
Amendments Act, some of the worst NSA spying happens under the
authority of Executive Order 12333, which President Obama could
repeal or modify today.
23. In one month, March
2013, the NSA collected 97
billion pieces of intelligence from computer networks worldwide,
billion pieces of intelligence from US computer networks.
31. When the DEA acts on
information its Special Operations Division receives from the NSA, it cloaks
the source of the information through “parallel construction,”
going through the charade of recreating an imaginary investigation to
hide the source of the tip, not only from the defendant, but from the
court. This was intended to ensure that no court rules on the legality
or scope of how NSA data is used in ordinary investigations.
34. The NSA has plans to infect
potentially millions of computers with malware implants as part of
its Tailored Access Operations.
50. NSA documents show that
not all governments are clear
about their own level of cooperation with the NSA. As the Intercept
reports, “Few, if any, elected leaders have any knowledge of the
52. The NSA monitored
phone calls of at least 35 world leaders.
57. The NSA stored data from
German communications connections per month.
65. Norwegian daily Dagbladet
reported (Link in Norwegian) that the NSA acquired data on
million Norwegian cell phone calls in one 30-day period.”
There’s no question
that the international relationships Obama pledged to repair, as well
as the confidence of the American people in their privacy and
constitutional rights, have been damaged by the NSAs dragnet
surveillance. But one year later, both the United States and
international governments have not taken the steps necessary to ensure
that this surveillance ends. That’s why everyone must take action— contact
your elected representative, join Reset the Net, and learn about
how international law
applies to U.S. surveillance today.
Incidentally: You can
do quite a few things against surveillance: See item 9.
3. Edward Snowden, a year on: reformers
frustrated as NSA preserves its power
item is an article by Spencer Ackerman on The Guardian:
This starts as
follows - and it is a good long article by someone who was there from
For two weeks in May, it
looked as though privacy advocates had scored a tenuous victory against
the widespread surveillance practices exposed by Edward Snowden a year
ago. Then came a resurgent intelligence community, armed with pens, and
dry, legislative language.
During several protracted
sessions in secure rooms in the Capitol, intelligence veterans, often
backed by the congressional leadership, sparred with House aides to
abridge privacy and transparency provisions contained in the first bill
rolling back National Security Agency spying powers in more than three
decades. The revisions took place in secret after two congressional
committees had passed the bill. The NSA and its allies took creative
advantage of a twilight legislative period permitting technical or
cosmetic language changes.
The episode shows the
lengths to which the architects and advocates of bulk surveillance have
gone to preserve their authorities in the time since
the Guardian, 12 months ago today, began disclosing the scope of NSA
data collection. That resistance to change, aided by the
power and trust enjoyed by the NSA on Capitol Hill, helps explain why
most NSA powers remain intact a year after the largest leak in the
There is a lot more,
and it explains well what the last line says:
most NSA powers remain
intact a year after the largest leak in the agency's history.
Incidentally: You can
do quite a few things against surveillance: See item 9.
first secret trial: this way lies trouble
item is an article by Owen Jones on The Guardian:
This starts as
Yes, indeed. There is a
lot more in the article, which is quite good.
The Daily Mail and the
left don't often find themselves on the same side, but when they do it
is worth paying attention. The Daily Mail is absolutely right (not a
sentence you will catch me typing on a regular basis) to splash on "Britain's first secret trial". It's an affront to basic
principles of justice, and a frightening precedent to boot. At risk of
sounding like a Mail columnist myself: where will it end?
Two men, known only as AB and CD, have been charged with
terrorism; journalists were forbidden from disclosing even this
simple fact until newspapers overturned a gagging order. But for the
first time in centuries – and in a direct challenge to the Magna Carta
of 1215 – the entire trial will be held in secrecy.
A basic principle that
democrats of all hues should surely champion is that justice is done,
and is seen to be done. As Liberty's Shami Chakrabarti has put it: "Transparency isn't an optional luxury in the justice system –
it's key to ensuring fairness and protecting the rule of law." But
it is the precedent that should disturb us. It isn't one of the
authoritarian anti-terror laws passed by New Labour or the coalition
responsible for this assault on justice, it is being justified with
provisions under common law. Yet once this precedent is established and
a centuries-old tradition of justice broken, it will be much easier to
hold trials in total secrecy in future.
Edward Snowden changed the world – and why the fight's not over
item is an article by Trevor Timm on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Thursday marks one year
since the Guardian published
the first in a
of eye-opening stories about surveillance based on documents
provided by Edward Snowden. The events
in the 52 weeks since have proven him to be the most significant
in American history – and have reverberated throughout the world.
This is a good and a long
survey article, that you should read all of. It ends as follows (and I
have skipped quite a few quotable bits):
But with no
legislative reform yet, the
fight is far from over. As
Snowden said around the six-month anniversary of his
leaks, "I didn't want to
change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it
change itself." In the coming year, the public will have to decide: are
willing to continue to fight for real and permanent change, or will the
sink back into the shadows, allowed to continue its mass surveillance,
unabated, until the next Snowden comes along?
Incidentally: You can do
quite a few things against surveillance: See item 9.
reveals existence of secret wires that allow state surveillance
item is an article by Juliette Garside on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
This also is a long and
good article, which includes information like this:
Vodafone, one of the
world's largest mobile phone groups, has revealed the existence of
secret wires that allow government agencies to listen to all
conversations on its networks, saying they are widely used in some of
the 29 countries in which it operates in Europe and beyond.
The company has broken
its silence on government surveillance in
order to push back against the increasingly widespread use of phone and
broadband networks to spy on citizens, and will publish its first Law
Enforcement Disclosure Report on Friday . At 40,000 words, it is the
most comprehensive survey yet of how governments monitor the
conversations and whereabouts of their people.
The company said wires
had been connected directly to its network and those of other telecoms
groups, allowing agencies to listen to or record live conversations
and, in certain cases, track the whereabouts of a customer. Privacy campaigners said
the revelations were a "nightmare scenario" that confirmed their worst
fears on the extent of snooping.
Incidentally: You can do quite a few
things against surveillance: See item 9.
Direct-access systems do
not require warrants, and companies have no information about the
identity or the number of customers targeted. Mass surveillance can
happen on any telecoms network without agencies having to justify their
intrusion to the companies involved.
Industry sources say that
in some cases, the direct-access wire, or pipe, is essentially
equipment in a locked room in a network's central data centre or in one
of its local exchanges or "switches".
The staff working in that
room can be employed by the telecoms firm, but have state security
clearance and are usually unable to discuss any aspect of their work
with the rest of the company.
Federal Media Shield Legislation Passes House of
item is an article by Alexander Reed Kelly on Truthdig:
This is the first good bit of
news today. It starts as follows:
Late in May, the
House of Representatives approved an amendment to an appropriations
bill that would bar the Justice Department from compelling reporters to
reveal the identities of and other information about their confidential
sources. The “media shield” legislation, which has long been a goal for
press advocates, was sponsored by Rep. Alan Grayson.
And it ends as follows:
Quite rightly so, and for the
following reasons: (1) the government may be quite wrong in its
interpretation of laws, and (2) the laws may be quite or subtly
wrong or mistaken, while (3) a reporter only reports what he
found, and should not be held responsible for the things he is
writing a report about, nor should he be forced to reveal his sources:
that would be to prejudice the previous points.
Grayson, a former Truthdigger of the Week, stated in a press release, “The purpose of this
amendment is to raise the possibility of a Federal shield law that
corresponds to shield law already in place in 49 States, but not at the
level of the Federal Government.
“A shield law is
legislation designed to protect a reporter’s privilege or the right of
news reporters to refuse to testify as to information and sources of
information obtained during a news gather and dissemination process. In
short, a reporter should not be forced to reveal his or her source.”
item is an article by Robert Reich on his site:
starts as follows:
By raising its
minimum wage to $15, Seattle is leading a long-overdue movement toward
a living wage. Most minimum wage workers aren’t
teenagers these days. They’re major breadwinners who need a higher
minimum wage in order to keep their families out of poverty.
is considerably more on how to do this - it must be done gradually, and
indeed it is done gradually in Seattle - but Reich welcomes this, and I
Resetting the Net to Shut Off Mass Surveillance'
item is an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This is the second piece of
good news today, and it starts as follows:
To mark the one year
anniversary of the first reporting based on information revealed by NSA
whistleblower Edward Snowden on June 5, 2013, privacy advocates,
organizations, and technology companies all over the world on Thursday
are participating in 'Reset
The Net'—an online day of action in which participants
pledge to take real steps to protect online freedoms and fight back
against mass surveillance.
"Don't ask for your
privacy," goes the call issued by the campaign, "Take it back."
Coordinated by a broad
coalition of policy organizations and activist groups—and initiated by Fight For the Future—'Reset The Net' calls
on websites, app developers, organizations, and individual internet
users to promote what they call "privacy
packs" so that people everywhere can have better access to online
privacy and encryption tools.
On Wednesday, as a way to
show its support for the day, internet giant Google announced new
end-to-end encryption methods for its widely used Gmail service.
Websites, tech companies,
and advocacy organizations of all stripes—including Amnesty
International, Greenpeace, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Common
Dreams and scores
of others—have all signed on and pledged to improve their privacy
protections for their members and users.
This is good news
and indeed Edward Snowden supports this. Here is what he wrote:
One year ago, we learned
that the internet is under surveillance, and our activities are being
monitored to create permanent records of our private lives — no matter
how innocent or ordinary those lives might be.
Today, we can begin the work of effectively shutting down the
collection of our online communications, even if the US Congress fails
to do the same. That’s why I’m asking you to join me on June 5th for
Reset the Net, when people and companies all over the world will come
together to implement the technological solutions that can put an end
to the mass surveillance programs of any government. This is the
beginning of a moment where we the people begin to protect our
universal human rights with the laws of nature rather than the laws of
We have the technology, and adopting encryption is the first effective
step that everyone can take to end mass surveillance. That’s why I am
excited for Reset the Net — it will mark the moment when we turn
political expression into practical action, and protect ourselves on a
Join us on June 5th, and don’t ask for your privacy. Take it back.
In case you missed it: Here
is the main link:
I think this is all a good
idea - but what is needed is the radical cleaning up of the NSA and the
legal limitation of spying on everyone:
That is not compatible with a democratic or a free and open
society, and should be forbidden, and indeed can be
forbidden: it is quite possible to ward of "terrorism" without spying
on everyone or on most, and a state that denies this is a terroristic
state, whatever it pretends to be.
 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.)
 Also, I have been called "a fascist"
many more times than I recall, and was called "a fascist" and "a terrorist" by the fascist
terrorist careerist quasi- "marxists" of the ASVA (a "marxist"
student-party in the University of Amsterdam) whose political plans I
opposed in the name of real
science, and whose ideology I knew far better than they did
it themselves, because my family was one of the few really
marxist families there were in Holland. (Did they mean it? Probably
not, for they did not mean anything: They just wanted to be as
offensive as they could be, in order to make a career. And where are
they now, these ASVA-assholes? In high-paying jobs, often posing as
(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: