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 Secret Partners
NSA’s Surveillance Dragnet
2. NSA ‘third party’ partners
tap the Internet backbone in global
3. New NSA Revelations:
Inside Snowden's Germany File
4. Dick Cheney’s Chutzpah
5. Real Business Leaders
Want to Save Capitalism
6. Hillary’s Haughty Hyperbole!
7. A Kind of Fascism Is
Replacing Our Democracy
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
item is an article by Ryan Gallagher on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
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
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.
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:
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.
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
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.
2. NSA ‘third party’ partners tap the Internet backbone in
global surveillance program
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:
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
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
power, not only over all the people, but also over all trade secrets of
kind (that are on computers, or spoken about on a cell phone).
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
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,
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
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
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
being spied upon by secret persons from secret services from just about
anywhere in the West).
NSA Revelations: Inside Snowden's Germany File
item is an article by the Spiegel Staff on the English edition of Der
In fact, this is
three long pages written by 10 German journalists and 1 American one,
Before going on here
is an internet link that will give you 53 pdf-documents from
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:
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.
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.
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
But OK - I have registered it. Next, there is this:
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.
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.
As to the German law, there is this, which I did not know, not being
German, but which is quite interesting:
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.
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.
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
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):
That is, in fact -
according to the NSA - the German government knows since 52 years
there is spying going on in Germany, it seems by the Americans
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
There is a lot more under the first of the last two dotted links.
item is an article by E.J. Dionne Jr. on Truthdig:
This starts as
The infinitely valuable
Yiddish word “chutzpah” is defined as “shameless audacity” or
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.
Business Leaders Want to Save Capitalism
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:
Reich also mentions a
number of - quite rich - business men who agreed with him, at least on
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.
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.
item is an article by Ralph Nader on his site:
This starts as follows:
There is more:
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?
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
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
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.
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:
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.
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
Today my subject is a
article he got published a few months after the previous one, also in
I quite agree and note this
from nearly 10 years ago, during which time the situation has grown
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
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.
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:
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.
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.
 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: