19, 2014
Crisis: NSA *3, Cheney, Reich, Nader, Sheldon Wolin
   "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

Prev- crisis -Next

1. How Secret Partners Expand NSA’s Surveillance Dragnet
2. NSA ‘third party’ partners tap the Internet backbone in global
     surveillance program
3. New NSA Revelations: Inside Snowden's Germany File
4. Dick Cheney’s Chutzpah
5. Real Business Leaders Want to Save Capitalism
Hillary’s Haughty Hyperbole!
7. A Kind of Fascism Is Replacing Our Democracy

About ME/CFS


This is the Nederlog of June 19. It is an ordinary crisis log.

I think this is a quite interesting Nederlog: Two items on the countries that cooperate with the NSA to assure the NSA (and its mates) they really get everything, all in the deepest secret; a long text from Der Spiegel, that includes 53 items "from Snowden's
archive" (40.7 Mb); and bits on Cheney, by Reich and by Nader, plus a retake on Sheldon Wolin, who in 2003 already warned that "a kind of fascism is replacing our democracy".

1. How Secret Partners Expand NSA’s Surveillance Dragnet

The first item is an article by Ryan Gallagher on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:

Huge volumes of private emails, phone calls, and internet chats are being intercepted by the National Security Agency with the secret cooperation of more foreign governments than previously known, according to newly disclosed documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The classified files, revealed today by the Danish newspaper Dagbladet Information in a reporting collaboration with The Intercept, shed light on how the NSA’s surveillance of global communications has expanded under a clandestine program, known as RAMPART-A, that depends on the participation of a growing network of intelligence agencies.

Most of this we - that is: those who read Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept and The Guardian - knew, but now there is more information. First, there is this about RAMPART-A:

The secret documents reveal that the NSA has set up at least 13 RAMPART-A sites, nine of which were active in 2013. Three of the largest – codenamed AZUREPHOENIX, SPINNERET and MOONLIGHTPATH – mine data from some 70 different cables or networks. The precise geographic locations of the sites and the countries cooperating with the program are among the most carefully guarded of the NSA’s secrets, and these details are not contained in the Snowden files. However, the documents point towards some of the countries involved – Denmark and Germany among them.

There are some special reasons why Denmark and Germany are mentioned, but to find these you have to consult the orginal. Here is more information about RAMPART-A:
A shortlist of other countries potentially involved in the RAMPART-A operation is contained in the Snowden archive. A classified presentation dated 2013, published recently in Intercept editor Glenn Greenwald’s book No Place To Hide, revealed that the NSA had top-secret spying agreements with 33 third-party countries, including Denmark, Germany, and 15 other European Union member states:

For any foreign government, allowing the NSA to secretly tap private communications is politically explosive, hence the extreme secrecy shrouding the names of those involved. But governments that participate in RAMPART-A get something in return: access to the NSA’s sophisticated surveillance equipment, so they too can spy on the mass of data that flows in and out of their territory.
Note that the above means that almost all of the nations of the European Union - though not, a bit oddly also: Luxemburg - have populations that are being massively spied upon and stolen the personal and private data from, by the NSA or by associated secret services. (Why not Luxemburg? I can only hazard a guess: It is the country of the postbox firms that really own most of the large corporations - but this is a mere guess on my part.)

There is more under the last dotted link, and you are adviced to read it all, especially if you inhabit one of the above countries: All you do or say with your computer or cell phone is being stored, no one knows how long or what for, eventually.
They will want you to believe this is "to catch terrorists", but if that were their end they could do it much better, so it isn't: they are out for absolute control of everyone, indeed as already outlined in 1968.

NSA ‘third party’ partners tap the Internet backbone in global surveillance program 

The next item is an article by Dagbladed Information that lists no authors, except that it is written "in collaboration" with The Intercept:

But it certainly is not the same, and this report starts as follows:
Top-secret NSA documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden provide insight into a new and controversial chapter in the NSA's global mass surveillance plot. Under the codename RAMPART-A, ‘third party’ countries tap fiber optic cables carrying the majority of the world's electronic communications in collaboration with the NSA. These partnerships are among the NSAs closest-guarded secrets, and play a central role in the NSA’s ambition to be able to intercept any electronic communication, anywhere in the world. 

And here is the SSO's mission:

Special Source Operations (SSO), a top-secret NSA division, referred to by Snowden as the NSA’s »crown jewel« oversees the corporate and foreign intelligence partnerships that make the NSA’s vital cable access programs possible. Its logo, an eagle clasping trunks of brightly lit fiber crisscrossing the globe, leaves little room for interpretation: The SSO’s mission is to intercept and extract large data volumes from cables and networks worldwide.

Why would they want "to intercept any electronic communication, anywhere in the world"? I can give only one reason: Knowledge is power, and someone who knows everything (written on computers and said on phones) thereby has absolute power, not only over all the people, but also over all trade secrets of any kind (that are on computers, or spoken about on a cell phone).

Here is some more information on RAMPART-A:

An excerpt from the US Intelligence »Black Budget« detailing the »Foreign Partner Access Project« provides insight into how important RAMPART-A is to the US government. In 2011, the NSA spent a total of $91 million on foreign cable access programs, out of which RAMPART-A accounted for $76.55 million, or 84 per cent.
Note that this is only about RAMPART-A: There is a lot more money going to the NSA. Next, about what RAMPART-A delivers:
The »Black Budget« also provides details about the volume of data collected by the NSA via third party cable taps. The introductory project description states that »RAMPART-A has access to over 3 Terabits per second of data streaming world-wide«. According to analysis provided by TeleGeography this was more than five times the average international traffic from Denmark in 2013, or 362 million ordinary CD-ROMs if stored on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, this is not clear: Is this per second or per year or per what? There also is this bit about Germany and Denmark:
Based on the documents and extensive reporting, however, Dagbladet Information can identify Germany as among the NSA’s partners in the RAMPART-A-program. Denmark, most likely, is a partner too.
Finally, about all the "solid guarantees that 'We shall not spy on You'", there is this clarification:
»Remember, if there’s an intercept in Denmark, and the NSA has agreed [not - MM] to spy on the Danes, and there’s one in Germany, and the NSA has an agreement not to spy on the Germans there, they can spy on the Germans from Denmark, and the Danes from Germany«, Schneier says.
Again there is a lot more under the last link, that you should read all of (that is: if you dislike being spied upon by secret persons from secret services from just about anywhere in the West).

3. New NSA Revelations: Inside Snowden's Germany File

The next item is an article by the Spiegel Staff on the English edition of Der Spiegel:

In fact, this is three long pages written by 10 German journalists and 1 American one, Laura Poitras.

Before going on here is an internet link that will give you 53 pdf-documents from "Edward Snowden's archive":

I downloaded them all, and may even read them all, but this is something: 40.7 MB of pdf-files about the subject of the title.

Next, here are some brief selections from the first of the above last two dotted links:

One year after Edward Snowden made the breadth of the NSA's global data monitoring public, much remains unknown about the full scope of the intelligence service's activities in Germany. We know that the Americans monitored the mobile phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and we know that there are listening posts in the US Embassy in Berlin and in the Consulate General in Frankfurt.

But much remains in the dark.
Yes, indeed - and they might as well truly have said: Nearly all remains in the dark, even though we now know something about universal surveillance, all thanks to Snowden.

Indeed, one major problem I have with learning more is that - I think - one cannot trust one's government to do it well or indeed at all. They may lie, they may posture, they may invoke the name of "Terrorism! Big bombs!" to scare you, but I do not think they will provide reliable information or more than they can get away with. (My latest reasons for completely distrusting them are in the previous two items.)

This is a major problem: Who else could do it? Not the police and the judiciary: they are part of the government anyway, and they do not have any executive power that will help them gain access to known NSA-sites.

But OK - I have registered it. Next, there is this:

German Left Party politician Jan Korte recently asked just how much the German government knows about American spying activities in Germany. The answer: Nothing. The NSA's promise to send a package including all relevant documents to re-establish transparency between the two governments has been quietly forgotten by the Americans.

In response, SPIEGEL has again reviewed the Snowden documents relating to Germany and compiled a Germany File of original documents pertaining to the NSA's activities in the country that are now available for download here.
I much doubt whether the German government is honest, but apart from that: They also probably know far less than they would like to know. And I have given the last internet link above.

As to the German law, there is this, which I did not know, not being German, but which is quite interesting:

According to Paragraph 99 of Germany's criminal code, spying is illegal on German territory, yet German officials would seem to know next to nothing about the NSA's activity in their country. For quite some time, it appears, they didn't even want to know. It wasn't until Snowden went public with his knowledge that the German government became active.

That means that the complete NSA - all its facilities, and all of its personnel - is illegal in Germany: They all are spies, and for the most part, at least, they also are not Germans. This is quite interesting, and I am curious about the legalese double-talk the German government is going to use.

Then there is this, about the openness of the U.S. government:
On June 11, August 26 and October 24 of last year, Berlin sent a catalogue of questions to the US government. During a visit to NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland at the beginning of November, German intelligence heads Gerhard Schindler (of the BND) and Hans-Georg Maassen (of the domestic intelligence agency, known as the Office for the Protection of the Constitution or BfV) asked the most important questions in person and, for good measure, handed over a written list. No answers have been forthcoming.
That is, the U.S. government is closed as an oyster: one can ask, and ask, but no answers are coming. There is also this (and remember that spying is forbidden in Germany):
The documents in Snowden's archive raise the question of whether Germany has become a beachhead for America's deadly operations against suspected terrorists -- and whether the CIA and the American military use data collected in Germany in the deployment of its combat drones. When asked about this by SPIEGEL, the NSA declined to respond.
Amazing, but not really. Finally - after skipping a whole lot - there is this on what the German government does know (without admitting it):

Is it possible that the German government really knew nothing about all of these NSA activities within Germany? Are they really -- as they claimed in August 2013 in response to a query from the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) -- "unaware of the surveillance stations used by the NSA in Germany"?

That is difficult to believe, especially given that the NSA has been active in Germany for decades and has cooperated closely with the country's foreign intelligence agency, the BND, which is overseen by the Chancellery. A top-secret NSA paper from January 2013 notes: "NSA established a relationship with its SIGINT counterpart in Germany, the BND-TA, in 1962, which includes extensive analytical, operational, and technical exchanges."

That is, in fact - according to the NSA - the German government knows since 52 years that there is spying going on in Germany, it seems by the Americans also.

There is a lot more under the first of the last two dotted links.

4. Dick Cheney’s Chutzpah

The next item is an article by E.J. Dionne Jr. on Truthdig:

This starts as follows:

The infinitely valuable Yiddish word “chutzpah” is defined as “shameless audacity” or “impudence.”

It’s singularly appropriate for the astonishing op-ed piece that former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz published in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. It’s not every day that a leader of the previous administration suggests that the current president is a “fool” and accuses him of intentionally weakening the United States.

“President Obama seems determined to leave office ensuring he has taken America down a notch,” the Cheneys write. Are they charging our president with treason? “President Obama,” they write, “is on track to securing his legacy as the man who betrayed our past and squandered our freedom.”

Squandered our freedom?

“Only a fool,” they say, “would believe American policy in Iraq should be ceded to Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terror.” As if this is what Obama is doing—and as if it wasn’t the invasion Cheney so passionately supported that vastly strengthened Iran’s hand long before Obama took office.

There is rather a lot more, but the above is what Cheney wrote.

5. Real Business Leaders Want to Save Capitalism

The next item is an article by Robert Reich on his site:

Basically, this is just what the title says: Robert Reich notes that some real business leaders have recognized that the only way the US can get out of the recession is by having an affluent middle class, that can buy the commodities capitalism produces. However:

Since the depths of the Great Recession in 2009, median real household income has fallen 4.4 percent, according to an analysis by Sentier Research. 

These business leaders know the U.S. economy can’t get out of first gear as long as wages are declining. And their own businesses can’t succeed over the long term without a buoyant and growing middle class.

Reich also mentions a number of - quite rich - business men who agreed with him, at least on this topic.

And he says:

Unfortunately, the voices of these forward-thinking business leaders are being drowned out by backward-lobbying groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that are organized to reflect the views of their lowest common denominator.

And by billionaires like Charles and David Koch, who harbor such deep-seated hatred for government they’re blind to the real dangers capitalism now faces.

That is true - but it seems to me his ending is very optimistic:

America’s real business leaders understand unless or until the middle class regains its footing and its faith, capitalism remains vulnerable.

This seems very optimistic to me, simply because the business leaders Reich quotes are right: If there is no market for them to sell to, they will be out of business, and that will also happen to capitalism, if these are sufficiently many, and it seems there are, given how much poorer the Americans are now.

6. Hillary’s Haughty Hyperbole!

The next item is an article by Ralph Nader on his site:
This starts as follows:

Last Sunday’s New York Times Book Review section featured a one page interview with Hillary Clinton, author of the just released Hard Choices which brought her a $14 million advance from Viacom’s Simon and Schuster.

My first reaction was “Can anybody believe this?” I’m referring to the replies by Mrs. Clinton to questions about her book reading habits which turn out to be prodigious. How can such a super-busy person have the time to absorb such a staggering load of diverse books?

There is more:

Revving up, she took on with gusto the question “Who are your favorite contemporary writers,” including “any writers whose books you automatically read when they come out?” She replied that she “automatically” reads “anything by Laura Hillenbrand, Walter Isaacson, Barbara Kingsolver, John le Carré, John Grisham, Hilary Mantel, Toni Morrison, Anna Quindlen and Alice Walker,” plus “the latest installments from Alex Berenson, Linda Fairstein, Sue Grafton, Donna Leon, Katherine Hall Page, Louise Penny, Daniel Silva, Alexander McCall Smith, Charles Todd and Jacqueline Winspear.”

Whew! That’s not all of her responses. I have read some of this popular New York Times column’s interviews over the years, many with professional authors, fiction and non-fiction, and not one replied with such an oceanic immersion, even though many of these authors regularly read many books for their craft.

Yes, of course. And no, Hillary Clinton does not have time to read books, except rarely, and so she is lying, but she does have something almost no author has: Personal assistants who do it for her, and who write brief summaries. I think that is the plausible explanation.

7. A Kind of Fascism Is Replacing Our Democracy

The last item is an item I have mentioned before, namely here. It dates back to 2003 and was published then by Sheldon Wolin, who is now in his nineties, and was then in his eighties:

In fact, I was reminded of him because of Richard Wolin's name, whose article on Heidegger I dealt with yesterday. I do not know what his relation is to Sheldon Wolin,
about whom I will repeat a few bits from my article of 2013:

I was quite pleased to find out that there is a man like Sheldon Wolin in the US, about whom I do not know much, but who clearly has brains and guts.

Today my subject is a brief article he got published a few months after the previous one, also in 2003:

I quote:

No administration before George W. Bush's ever claimed such sweeping powers for an enterprise as vaguely defined as the "war against terrorism" and the "axis of evil." Nor has one begun to consume such an enormous amount of the nation's resources for a mission whose end would be difficult to recognize even if achieved.

Like previous forms of totalitarianism, the Bush administration boasts a reckless unilateralism that believes the United States can demand unquestioning support, on terms it dictates; ignores treaties and violates international law at will; invades other countries without provocation; and incarcerates persons indefinitely without charging them with a crime or allowing access to counsel.

I quite agree and note this is from nearly 10 years ago, during which time the situation has grown much worse:

First, the economic crisis was added in 2008 - but nothing effective was done against it, while it seems to have been used on purpose to destroy or undermine or cow the middle class; and second, Obama was elected in 2008, and did nothing effective against the totalitarian tendencies I cannot believe he did not know were mentioned by professor Wolin, Gore Vidal, Noam Chomsky, and others. Instead, under Obama the powers of the US state grew, and grew illegally, against the rulings of the US Constititution, as Obama also must know very well indeed, as a former professor of constitutional law.
There is more by professor Wolin that applies specifically to the US, but the following has turned out to hold for parts - at least - of Western Europe as well:
In institutionalizing the "war on terrorism" the Bush administration acquired a rationale for expanding its powers and furthering its domestic agenda. While the nation's resources are directed toward endless war, the White House promoted tax cuts in the midst of recession, leaving scant resources available for domestic programs. The effect is to render the citizenry more dependent on government, and to empty the cash-box in case a reformist administration comes to power.
There are benefit cuts for the poor and unemployed in Europe now as well, while the taxes on the ever poorer middle classes are raised to pay for the crisis, while  the rich managerial classes still take home their millions of yearly salaries plus perhaps millions of bonuses as if there is no crisis, no moraity, and no justice, and as if greed of the rich is good, while the masses of the unemployed and ill suffer.

Finally, while professor Wolin may have hoped for "
a reformist administration", and while Obama promised change, what he delivered was more of the recipe Bush Jr. followed, in part even by the same men Bush Jr. employed, though indeed with another style of rhetorics - "Yes, we can!" - for what were essentially the same policies, that seem to be directed by lobbyists for corporations or the military-industrial complex rather than by honest politicians.
Actually, this is repeated because of my name "corporate fascism" for what I saw (and see) emerging in the U.S. - see my Crisis: Hypotheses about the causes of the crisis - but it seems that this choice of name (that I did hesitate about) was not due to Sheldon Wolin, since I heard of him for the first time in 2013.

Of course, the present situation is much worse than in 2003, as outlined above: There was an enormous recession in 2008, that still lasts (except for the rich, who these days also manipulate the news), and there were Snowden's revelations: The Western secret services track, trace, and surveil everybody's mail, websites and cell phones, and do so at least since 2007 quite successfully.

But Sheldon Wolin was quite perceptive. Here is a repeat of a two-part interview with him, almost certainly from the nineties, by a considerably younger-than-now looking Bill Moyers - and note each episode is slightly more than 6 minutes:
It is all relevant to what is happening now.
[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)

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)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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