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. Social media mass
surveillance is permitted by law, says
top UK official
2. Up Close and Personal With
George W. Bush’s Horrifying
3. Americans Are Dangerously
Politically Ignorant -- The
Numbers Are Shocking
4. Treating Snowden as a
5. National Socialism, World
Jewry, and the History of
Being: Heidegger’s Black
This is the Nederlog of June
18. It is an ordinary crisis log.
Well, it is - except for the last item, that you owe to my being a
philosopher; its being about Heidegger, whom I have looked upon as an
utter fraud since I first read him, at 17, 18 or 19; and also to the
fact that I wrote about him before in Nederlog. It turns out he was
even worse than I thought.
Now for today's items - and you should realize I am reacting to what I
could find when writing about the crisis.
Social media mass surveillance is permitted by law, says
top UK official
item is an article by Owen Bowcott and James Ball on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
It is indeed the first
time; it would not have happened without Snowden's revelations; and it
clearly is an intentional confusion:
The true extent of the
government's interception of Google, Facebook and Twitter – including
private messages between British citizens – has been officially
confirmed for the first time.
The government's most
senior security official, Charles Farr, detailed how searches on
Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as emails to or from
non-British citizens abroad, can be monitored by the security services
because they are deemed to be "external communications".
It is the first time that
the government has admitted that UK citizens, talking via supposedly
private channels in social media such
as Twitter direct messages, are deemed by the British government to be
legitimate legal targets that do not require a warrant before
There is a fundamental difference between Facebook or a website
on the one hand, which I am willing to agree are public, and can be
seen and copied by anyone, and e-mail, that replaced most or
all of the ordinary mail for almost everyone with a computer, which is private,
and never was declared to be non-private, until Snowden's
revelations, and then only by the thieves and those who profit from stealing
everyone's e-mails, e.g. in the British government and other
Also, there is this:
released on Tuesday, provoked calls for the Regulation of Investigatory
Powers Act (Ripa) to be overhauled urgently, as well as allegations
that the government was exploiting loopholes in the legislation of
which parliament was unaware.
Yes, indeed - although I
am a bit in doubt both about "loopholes in the legislation" and that "parliament
was unaware". Leaving the
latter, my own assumption is that about ten years ago, there was a
conversation that may have gone as follows, between some high official
in the NSA and a ditto in the U.S. government, whom I will call First
First: Hi, Second! We decided that, since all these
mailproviders forgot to encrypt
the mails of anyone using them, to simply take the whole lot, and store
and search them. You know, we can and it will incredibly
increase the powers of the government: No government ever had such
powers. So we do. Any thoughts or objections?
Second: Well, there is the Fourth Amendment, but we
easily can find some lawyer who will dream up some confusing bullshit.
Don't you worry, we'll cover you!
First: Thanks! What if anyone does find out?
Second: Don't worry! We can extend our obfuscations,
memos, classified memos, secret courts with secret decisions till
Kingdom come - I mean, apart from the Senate and the House, but we can
blackmail the lot of them with your findings.
So go ahead!
Of course, this is
imagined, but something like this likely happened, and indeed quite a
few years ago.
Then there is this about the de facto workings of the GCHQ:
Tempora taps into
the network of fibre-optic cables which carry the world's phone calls
and online traffic. Its designer described it as "Mastering the Internet", enabling
GCHQ and the NSA to process vast quantities of communications between
entirely innocent people, as well as targeted suspects. As many as 600m
"telephone events" a day can be recorded.
Yes, and indeed I fully
agree almost anyone surveilled is "entirely innocent". However, a Mr Charles Farr, who speaks
for the British state's terrorists, uttered as follows, and grossly and
Farr says: "Any regime
that … only permitted interception in relation to specific persons or
premises, would not have allowed adequate levels of intelligence
information to be obtained and would not have met the undoubted
requirements of intelligence for the protection of national security."
Drake and Edward
Snowden completely disagree. Here is Snowden (quoted in the
Wikipedia article on him):
The 4th and
Amendments to the Constitution of my country, Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, and numerous statutes and treaties forbid such
systems of massive, pervasive surveillance. While the US Constitution
marks these programs as illegal, my government argues that secret court
rulings, which the world is not permitted to see, somehow legitimize an
I believe in the principle
declared at Nuremberg in 1945:
"Individuals have international duties which transcend the national
obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty
to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity
Secondly, the whole
paragraph is pure presumption ("would not", "would not"). Third, what are "adequate
levels" is anyway a matter of arbitration, but I completely distrust
any goverment that implicitly treats everyone as a terrorist.
Fourth, I am wholly disinterested in any "national security": That is a
term that does not mean any protection for anyone who is not
a member of the government or its bureaucracy, and any government or
bureaucracy that spies on everyone's personal mail is deliberately
engaging in extremely sickening theft, and seems to prepare for
absolute power for itself, under the pretext of "terrorism" and "Al
Then there is this
combination of obfuscation and lies:
No, state terrorists'
advocate: That is complete crap. First, a "web-based platform" is a pure invention
without any legal status. Second, the whole notion of "external communications" completely
denies any right to any privacy of anyone who lacks the divine blessing
of being British born, and is a complete and utter falsehood.
Third, the deduction that "external
communica- tions" do not
"require a person or a set of premises to be named in the interception
warrant" derives from lies, obfuscations and falsehoods. Fourth, that "Emails sent or received from abroad" are free
game for the British state's secret terrorists is a complete denial
of my right on privacy and anyone's right on privacy if non-British.
Fifth, your own secret state terrorists and thieves work around this by
letting their mates from Five Eyes spy on all persons' mail if
not in their country, and then kindly exchanging it.
His submission explains
that searches on Google, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are likely to
involve communicating with a "web-based platform" abroad and are
therefore "external communications" which do not "require a person or a
set of premises to be named in the interception warrant". Emails sent
or received from abroad could be intercepted in a similar way.
There is rather a lot more in the article, which you can find your
self. I merely quote one more bit:
Yes, and "flimsy legal justification" is polite for "utter bullshit,
legally speaking". Also, while I agree to the urgent need for an
independent inquiry, I do not have much trust this will happen.
Anne Jellema, chief
executive of the World Wide Web Foundation, said: "It seems the UK's
spy agencies are using flimsy legal justification to sidestep the need
for individual warrants and feel able to indiscriminately collect and
monitor the private social media and web communications of anyone.
"[The] revelations mean
it is simply unacceptable for the UK government to delay a single day
longer in launching a full and independent inquiry into GCHQ's
activities, leading to far-reaching changes in law and practice."
Close and Personal With George W. Bush’s Horrifying
item is an article by Robert Scheer on Truthdig:
This starts as
The Iraq disaster remains
George W. Bush’s enduring folly, and the Republican attempt to shift
the blame to the Obama presidency is obscene nonsense. This was, and
will always be, viewed properly as Bush’s quagmire, a murderous killing
field based on blatant lies.
This showcase of American
deceit, obvious to the entire world, began with the invented weapons of
mass destruction threat that Bush, were he even semi-cognizant of the
intelligence data, must have known represented an egregious fraud. So
was his nonsensical claim that Saddam Hussein had something to do with
the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, when in
fact he was Osama bin Laden’s most effective Arab opponent.
Yes, indeed. There is
considerably more under the last dotted link.
Are Dangerously Politically Ignorant -- The Numbers Are Shocking
item is an article by C.J. Werleman on AlterNet:
This starts as
The health of a
democracy is dependent on an educated citizenry. Political
illiteracy is the manure for the flourishing of political appeals based
on sheer ignorance.
Yes - although I
should say this also indicates my reservations about "democracy": it
seems to me that Disraeli served conservative interests extremely
well by propounding full democracy (for men, then), since this
virtually guaranteed that half of the electorate had IQs under 100, and
much of the electorate would be moved by ignorance and wishful thinking.
But that is an aside,
although it is quite relevant, also seeing the following about the
present day Americans (and I am quoting, but dotting the points myself):
- Two-thirds of Americans
couldn’t name all three branches of the U.S. federal government, nor a
single Supreme Court justice.
- 91 percent couldn’t name
the current Chief
- When respondents were
asked whether they
could recall any of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, a
majority could name only free speech.
- More than a third were
unable to list any
First Amendment rights.
- 42 percent of Americans
Constitution explicitly states that “the first language of the United
States is English
- 25 percent believe
established in the Constitution as the official government religion.
- Only 40 percent of
adults know that there are
100 Senators in the U.S. Congress
- A great majority of
Americans have no idea of when or by whom the Constitution was written.
There is considerably
more in the article, with which I also do not all agree, but the
examples are - how shall I say it - fairly convincing, and indeed
explain a lot about the many idiots that are getting elected.
Snowden as a ‘Personality’
item is an article by William R. Polk on Consortiumnews:
This has the
following subtitle or introduction:
The mainstream U.S. media
prefers personalities over substance, so it was perhaps not a
surprise that its focus at the first anniversary of Edward Snowden’s
NSA leaks was on his alleged peculiarities, not the frightening
prospect of a Big Brother state, says ex-State Department official
William R. Polk.
Yes, indeed. As to
"Snowden's personality" there is this:
Snowden’s personality is
presented as paradoxical (he wanted to be a Special Forces soldier and
favored the invasion of Iraq), amusing (he apparently had an adolescent
view of espionage), limited (with no education to match his self-taught
training), shrewd (building up his stock portfolio for a rainy day),
naive (assuming that suddenly the public would accept him as a hero),
fearful (expecting a Mafia-style hit), etc.
One of the amazing things
about this rot is that it must all have been composed by persons who
really do not know more about Snowden than I do - and I would
never write such things about a man I hardly know anything about.
Then there is this:
Even The Guardian
pieces, which do concentrate on the documents, do little to put the
disclosures about the National Security Agency’s massive surveillance
in perspective. Yet that perspective was there long before Snowden.
Sen. Frank Church summed
it all up in a sentence or two in his 1975 Senate Committee
investigation on intelligence activities:
“If a dictator ever
took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the
intelligence community has given the government could enable it to
impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back. … We
must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this
technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that
we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there
is no return.”
Frank Church was
extremely prescient, indeed. As to The Guardian: I do not know. For one
thing, they did publish a fair amount, and most that I read was good.
For another thing, they are a daily paper, and as such a lot better
than any Dutch one. For a third thing, something may be left to their
readers: it is not as if the Guardian may be expected to hold all
relevant information on anything important.
Here is a last bit:
Simply put, the real
message of Snowden’s disclosures is that there is a growing capacity
that could be used by any future government, Left, Right or Center, to
subvert freedom completely. As Church rightly said, once the line is
crossed, there is no return.
Yes, quite so: "any future government, Left, Right or
Center", and I really do
not care either way: With the knowledge the NSA gathers, as Church said
the government could
enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight
And so far I've seen
few results in preventing that - and Church was quite right
about the extreme dangers the American government poses at present for
its complete population.
Socialism, World Jewry, and the History of Being: Heidegger’s Black
The last item is not
about the crisis. It is about Heidegger, the late great admirer of
Adolf Hitler, and the creator and popularizer of completely bullshit
In fact, this is an
article in the Jewish Review of Books, but it reminded me of some
things I wrote about Heidegger in several Nederlogs, but since most of
that is in Dutch, I will not mention it here, and instead make do with
Bertrand Russell's opinion of him:
in its terminology, his philosophy is extremely obscure. One cannot
help suspecting that language is here running riot. An interesting
point in his speculations is the insistence that nothingness is
something positive. As with much else in Existentialism, this is a
psychological observation made to pass for logic.
And this seems to have
been without Russell knowingn much about Heidegger's being an active
Now to the above article, which is quite long. It is occasioned by by
the appearance of "The Black Notebooks", as the last part of the
102-volume long (!) edition of his works. It turned out that indeed
Heidegger was an active and proud Nazi, who did not even want to give
up his support for it after WW II:
publication of the Black Notebooks, what has now become indubitably
clear is that racial prejudice against non-Germanic peoples—the
English, the Russians, the French, the Americans, and, especially, the
Jews—lies at the very center of Heidegger’s philosophical project. It
is inseparable from the Volk-concept that he had embraced
already in Being and Time (1927) and that he continued to exalt
throughout his lectures and seminars of the 1930s. Heidegger’s belief
in the ontological superiority of the German Volk underwrites
his political view that inferior peoples may be justly persecuted in
the name of “the history of Being,” (..)
There also is Karl Jaspers, who
had a Jewish wife, and who criticized Heidegger after WW II, when
Heidegger also was defended by Hannah Arendt
(who also had a Jewish background and had been his lover before WW II).
Here is a small bit on Jaspers on Heidegger:
It was precisely
this style of unfounded, mystagogical assertion to which Jaspers was
pointing when he described Heidegger’s thinking as “unfree,
dictatorial, and incapable of communication.” In fact, Jaspers’
criticism may have been even more far-sighted than he realized. Not
only was such “thinking” pedagogically disastrous for German students
immediately after the war, in many respects it remains so today.
Finally, there is this,
curious that Heidegger’s supporters could doubt the depth of his
commitment to anti-Semitism in view of the fact that, as the
Black Notebooks reaffirm unequivocally, he was such an enthusiastic
supporter of a regime whose alpha and omega was, in the words of
historian Saul Friedländer, “redemptive anti-Semitism.” Moreover,
during the 12 years of Nazi rule, Heidegger was hardly an innocent
bystander. Nor did he opt for the solitude of inner emigration.
Instead, he was a Nazi Party member who paid his dues in full until the
Yes, indeed. In fact,
having read in Wolin's essay that Heidegger thought that he was
the greatest philosopher since Heraclitos - exit Plato,
Aristotle, Lucretius, Aquinas, Ockham, Montaigne, Descartes, Berkeley,
Hume etc. - I think it is fair to consider him to have been quite
mad, in the way a German professor could be, and also seeing his
virtually unreadable and rather crazy prose (which you can get a
summary of in Wolin's essay).
But no, I do not
think this will settle much: He will continue to be the sort of
philosopher the philosophically talentless - of which there are many,
especially in universities - feel much attracted to, and that because
he wrote so very ill, and with such enormous
 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: