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."
Snowden's NSA leaks 'an important service',
2. An Ignored Pre-9/11
Warning on Spying
Too Big To Comply? NSA Says
It’s Too Large, Complex to
Comply With Court Order
4. Unchallenged by craven
Labour, Britain slides towards
ever more selfishness
5. GOP House Majority Leader
(2 videos with Glenn Greenwald)
This is the Nederlog of June
11. It is an ordinary crisis log.
I will not give a summary, and only say that the last autobiographical
part I wrote - mostly in Dutch - now is in the autobiography-section
and has some additions as well (since last Sunday) - but this was for
the very few.
Now to the latest crisis news.
Snowden's NSA leaks 'an important service', says Al Gore
item is an article by Ewen McAskill on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
I say. Since I have
followed the story closely for over a year now (as indeed has Ewen
McAskill) I can report that this is not much different from
what I reported on June 17, 2013, so I am not much impressed.
has secured his highest endorsement yet in the US when former
vice-president Al Gore described the
leaking of top secret intelligence documents as "an important service".
Asked if he regarded
Snowden as a traitor or whistleblower, Gore veered away from the
"traitor" label. He refused to go as far as labelling him a
whistleblower but signalled he viewed him as being closer to that
category than a traitor, saying: "What he revealed in the course of
violating important laws included violations of the US constitution
that were way more serious than the crimes he committed."
What I am also not impressed with is this passage:
Gore replied: "I
would push it more away from the traitor side. And I will tell you why.
He clearly violated the law so you can't say OK, what he did is all
right. It's not. But what he revealed in the course of violating
important laws included violations of the US constitution that were way
more serious than the crimes he committed."
My reason for not being
impressed is that it keeps this on the level of law-breaking and
blaming Snowden, if not as much as some, whereas it is quite clear that
the whole US government broke and breaks many laws
very willingly: the whole
operation is an enormous breakage of the law, against hundreds
of millions of Americans, every day again and again.
As to "He clearly violated
the law so you can't say OK, what he did is all
No, that seems
mostly nonsense to me in a society were war criminals like Kissinger,
Bush Jr, Cheney and Rumsfeld are cleared as a matter of course of all
wrongdoing by the president, as if on that level any crime passes as a
Besides: Snowden may have broken the law in some sense, but he did it
out of loyalty to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which he also
had sworn to uphold, and which he saw daily were broken
billionfold against hundreds of millions of American citizens
who had not done
And what I am also not impressed with is this:
Gore called on the
internet companies to work with the public to help draw up a "digital
Magna Carta" that provides protection of freedoms. "They need to pay
attention to correcting some of these gross abuses of individual
privacy that are ongoing in the business sphere," he said.
This seems gross
obfuscation to me: The existing Bill of Rights is quite
adequate to the
so-called "digital era", and it clearly forbids the
the US government and its contractors and employees.
It would have been much better if Gore had pointed out that,
instead of pretending there are no rules. There are legal
rules; they are in the Bill of Rights; and they are
being broken billions of times a day, by criminals who hide
their crimes behind their being government employees, while pretending
they do should be trusted, and may not be investigated, because it is
done by or for the government.
To end the present
subject, here is a video of 2 m 52 s by The Young Turks, that is considerably
more pro Gore than I am:
But indeed: I
neither met, nor worked for, nor am beholden to Al Gore.
An Ignored Pre-9/11
Warning on Spying
item is an article by Arjen Kamphuis on Consortiumnews:
This starts as follows:
In fact, the report is indeed on line (but I should warn
you it is nearly 800 Kb of rather formalistic prose). The above
In the first 21 months of
the Twenty-first Century, the dot-com stock bubble burst and then
the 9/11 attacks propelled the United States into the “global war on
terror.” Yet, between those two events a largely forgotten report
to the European Parliament was issued on July 11, 2001, describing the
scale and impact of electronic espionage in Europe by the U.S. and its
“Echelon” partners (Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand).
Speculation about this
surveillance network had existed for years but it wasn’t until 1999
when a journalist published a report on the topic that the danger began
to be taken seriously. That gave rise to the parliamentary report which
– besides offering a detailed analysis of the problem – urged European
governments to inform their citizens about Echelon and provided
concrete examples of policies that Europe could take to significantly
limit foreign intelligence spying.
I agree, and this was a
particularly good and prescient report - but I also note the "had" and
the "might": In fact, the recommendations were not implemented.
Under the heading,
“Measures to encourage self-protection by citizens and enterprises,”
the report suggested improved data security and confidentiality for
communications by EU citizens. The document also recommended “practical
assistance in designing and implementing comprehensive protection
measures, including the security of information technology.”
Europe was urged to “take
appropriate measures to promote, develop and manufacture European
encryption technology and software and, above all, to support projects
aimed at developing user encryption technology, which are open-source.”
The report recommended software projects whose source text is
published, thereby guaranteeing that the software has no “back doors”
built in so intelligence services can steal information.
If those recommendations had
been implemented, history might have taken a very different course.
Kamphuis does a decent job of outlining what might have been (I do
think he is a bit too optimistic as to people's average abilities, but
OK), and he also supports free
software, and - quite correctly - points out this is the much
safer and much cheaper alternative that should have
been followed, in 2001.
He ends thus:
And he is right, and the
linked examples in the last paragraph are good ...
Europe could still
change. It has everything it needs to make and implement these more
independent and secure IT policies. No matter how regrettable the
policy failures of the last decade and no matter how many wasted
billions of dollars, it is not too late to make the turn.
Today could be the first
day of such a new course. Concrete examples in the Netherlands,
UK and many other places show that this is not only possible, but
almost immediately leads to huge savings, improved safety and
independence from foreign parties in future IT choices.
and why are you
not running Linux yet?! It really
is easy now.
Big To Comply? NSA Says It’s Too Large, Complex to Comply With Court
item is an article by Patrick Toomey on Common Dreams:
This starts as
In an era of
too-big-to-fail banks, we should have known it was coming: An
intelligence agency too big to rein in — and brazen enough to say so.
In a remarkable legal filing
on Friday afternoon, the NSA told a federal court that its spying
operations are too massive and technically complex to comply with an
order to preserve evidence. The NSA, in other words, now says that it
cannot comply with the rules that apply to any other party before a
court — the very rules that ensure legal accountability — because it is
There is also this:
Perhaps most troubling,
the new assertions continue the NSA's decade-long effort to evade
judicial review — at least in any public court. For years, in cases
like the ACLU's Amnesty
v. Clapper, the NSA evaded review by telling courts that
plaintiffs were speculating wildly when they claimed that the agency
had intercepted their communications. Today, of course, we know those
claims were prescient: Recent disclosures show that the NSA was
scanning Americans' international emails en masse all along. Now, the
NSA would put up a new roadblock — claiming that it is unable to
preserve the very evidence that would allow a court to fully and fairly
review those activities.
As Brett Max Kaufman and I
before, our system of oversight is broken — this is only the latest
warning sign flashing red. The NSA has grown far beyond the ability of
its overseers to properly police its spying activities.
Yes, though it is
noteworthy that the line that "the NSA evaded review by telling courts that plaintiffs were
speculating wildly when they claimed that the agency had intercepted
their communications" now
seems to have been blocked: They are spying on everyone, and it
That they are too big
to comply with the rules for evidence of a court indeed is a new and
brazen defense, which indeed is not legally valid.
4. Unchallenged by
craven Labour, Britain slides towards ever more selfishness
item is an article by George Monbiot on The Guardian:
As my readers may
know, I am a psychologist (though in fact mostly because I was kicked
out of the faculty of philosophy briefly before taking my M.A. as "a
fascist" and "a terrorist" because I asked questions about the
degenerate sickness that ruled the University of
Amsterdam from 1971-1995), which also means (besides having only
straight A's when taking the M.A. in psychology) that I am incapable of
trusting "the psychological research" that marrs much of the beginning
of Monbiot's article (for me, at least).
Sorry, but I do
the degree. Then again, I agree with what it leads up to, which is this:
There is no better
political passion killer than Labour's Zero-Based Review. Its cover is Tory blue. So
are the contents. It promises to sustain the coalition's programme of
cuts and even threatens to apply them to the health service. But,
though it treats the deficit as a threat that must be countered at any
cost, it says not a word about plugging the gap with innovative
measures such as a Robin Hood tax on financial transactions, a land
value tax, a progressively banded council tax or a windfall tax on
extreme wealth. Nor does it mention tax avoidance and evasion. The poor
must bear the pain through spending cuts, sustaining a cruel and wildly
unequal social settlement.
Last month Chris Leslie,
Labour's shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, promised, like George
Osborne, that the cuts would be sustained for "decades ahead". He
asserted that Labour's purpose in government would be to "finish that
task on which [the chancellor] has failed": namely "to eradicate the
deficit". The following day the shadow business secretary, Chuka
Umunna, sought to explain why Labour had joined the political arms race
on immigration. In doing so, he revealed that his party will be
"radical in reforming our economy" in support of "a determinedly pro-business agenda". They
appear to believe that success depends on becoming indistinguishable
from their opponents.
What this shows me
- much rather than the applicability of some extremely doubtful
"psychological research" - is that Blair and Brown have succeeded
destroying Labour, just as Clinton and Obama succeeded in
the Democrats: All ruling political parties these days serve the
corporations, and indeed are paid by the corporations. (See: Third Way,
incidentally utter propaganda
trash: "William K. Black said that "Third Way is
this group that pretends sometimes to be center-left but is actually
completely a creation of Wall Street--it's run by Wall Street for Wall
Street with this false flag operation as if it were a center-left
group. It's nothing of the sort.")
It is that
which the latest blue Labour report shows (and it is the same in
Holland, by the way).
5. GOP House Majority Leader Ousted in
item is an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This is about the fall,
or at least: the defeat,
of Eric Cantor, and I could have taken it from many places, since it is
Big News. It starts as follows:
In a historic
primary upset in Virginia on Tuesday, House Majority Leader and
Republican Congressman Eric Cantor, was defeated by his Tea
Party-backed challenger Dave Brat.
There is considerably
more in the article, but this suffices, except for the remarks that
Cantor is the
first House Majority leader to loose an election since 1899.
The defeat is being
treated as a shocking political development by national media outlets
and pundits, as few thought it possible that Cantor—one of the most
powerful GOP leaders in Washington—was under serious threat from Brat,
a college professor who ran as "the true conservative" to the right of
the Majority Leader as he took a specifically hardline and regressive
stance on immigration.
Though Cantor raised a
reported $5.4 million compared to Brat's $200,000 and outspent him
20-to-1, his challenger was ahead by a margin of 56 to 44 percent when
Cantor conceded the race just before 8:30 PM.
6. Personal (2 videos with Glenn Greenwald)
last item also is crisis related, and it is personal only
because I made the selections, namely of two recent videos with Glenn
Greenwald, and also because I have a brief introduction that outlines
of my reservations about many talks that I have seen on video.
Here it is:
To start with, I should remark that while I have linked to
quite a few videos the last 4 years or so, quite a few of which were
videos of people talking, I am not somebody who likes
them a lot, and that applies especially to what are called
"talking heads": Videos of talks by persons, that visually consist of
their talking heads.
My main problem with them, apart from the fact that those talking
almost always express themselves better (or at least: less bad) in
the fact that most talkers are quite bad, for various reasons -
which are that either they are trained political liars who mostly lie,
and deliver their lies fairly well, but which still remain lies and deceptions, or
that they simply do not talk well at all even if they are quite
honest - and most importantly: I read a whole lot
faster than any talker can
talk, which means that I tend to be bored by both the audio and the
video of most talks.
Then again, I do realize that "the talking heads format" is there for a
reason - it is the personal
(or on video, mostly: "personal") format any human being is most used
to: someone is talking to you - and it will also not disappear or be
replaced by text. (As an aside: I do like the policy of
Democracy Now!, for they decided that while their main format is
video-interviews, they do also give the spoken text in written form,
which is what I read: I never watch their videos, since that
takes at least 5 times longer.)
Anyway, having outlined some of my reasons why I am not a big favorite
of "talking heads", here are two videos of talking heads:
First, a good brief interview with Glenn Greenwald: The questions are
mostly good, as are the answers:
Next, and from the same
source, a decently done interview, including Q&A, with Glenn
Greenwald in Germany:
I think you may learn
some from either interview, but as I said, I agree I am not
a big fan of "the talking heads format", indeed since a very long
time (I tend to avoid set talks of any kind since at least 45
years: they almost always bore me very much).
P.S. 12 jun 2014: I corrected a few typos.
 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: