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. The Guardian view on the
2. Online surveillance
undermines trust in intelligence
services, says Tory peer
defence of surveillance unconvincing, says
4. Call to open RAF base for
investigation into NSA tapping
of Merkel's phone
5. WikiLeaked Doc Reveals Wall
Street Plan for Global
Exposes Super Secret, Regulation-Gutting
Financial Services Pact
7. Partial Disclosure
This is the Nederlog of June
20. It is an ordinary crisis log.
Also, I corrected an odd mistake I made in dating: the files
named NL140311a.html -
NL140317a.html either had wrong dates themselves, with an extra zero,
or link to files with wrong dates. I removed the zeros and uploaded
these 7 files again. It should work correctly now, on my sites, and
with the correct dates.
1. The Guardian view on the government's right to snoop
item is an article by Editorial on The Guardian:
I start with
quoting the subtitle, which is quite correct, and namely, but
not solely, because of Article 12 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights:
says it has the legal right to snoop on our internet communications.
That is a breach of the right to privacy
In case you want that
Article 12, here it is - and it seems to me quite sufficient as well,
and does not in any way refer to technology, which also is not really
relevant, at least not legally and morally:
starts as follows:
- No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference
with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon
his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of
the law against such interference or attacks.
So now we know.
The government has set out the legal basis for its mass surveillance of
communications data. The director general of the Office for Security
and Counter-Terrorism, Charles Farr, has explained – in a confusing
departure from a previous argument – that when communication involves a
foreign-based platform it can be treated not as "internal", needing a
warrant to intercept, but as "external". This comprehensive ruling
means that each tweet, each update on a Facebook page, and most webmail
becomes a legitimate target with no need for a warrant, even where it
is between two British citizens. But since every communication – down
to the merest text message – has to be examined to see which category
it falls into, literally nothing is truly private.
There is more that I
skip, that is followed by this:
are not indifferent to privacy. (...) Yet the
implications of the Edward Snowden
revelations, of Britain and the US sweeping up the minutiae of our
online lives, are still under-appreciated. That needs to change.
Quite so. And indeed
they also make a proposal:
find some backbone in the face of the advance of the security state.
Here is a simple prescription. Rather than try to wrestle with the
details of the technology, focus on the one vital principle: the right
to privacy. Internet communications between UK citizens should be as
sacrosanct as a letter.
Indeed - and I think the
proposal is sound, and based on centuries of laws, inside
Britain, outside Britain, and international, as in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights.
There is more there, and I agree. I have one more suggestion:
The old laws - Article 12 above, and the Fourth Amendment for the U.S.
- (i) are quite sufficient legal grounds and (ii) they do not
need to be "updated": They simply need to be applied, and
honestly and fully so, to start with.
My reasons for saying so
are two: First, it seems to me to be quite true. Second, it is also
true that very few parliamentarians have anything like a good
understanding of computer technology, so it is utterly pointless for
them to "agree" on stuff they do not understand.
2. Online surveillance undermines trust in intelligence
services, says Tory peer
item is an article by Owen Bowcott on The Guardian:
This article starts as follows:
OK - that is something.
She is also quoted as saying (among other things):
The UK government's legal
justification for mass surveillance of the
undermining public confidence in the intelligence services, a former
Conservative security minister has warned.
Speaking at a debate in
University College London, Lady Neville-Jones, who has chaired
Whitehall's joint intelligence committee, backed calls for the law
governing surveillance, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act
(Ripa) to be tightened up.
Neville-Jones, who served
as security and counter-terrorism minister between 2010 and 2011, is
normally a staunch defender of the way the security services operate.
Indeed. I must say I do
not know what difference her opinions will make, but she is a
conservative peer who has served as security and counter-terrorism
minister, so she will at least be heard by the British
"If it's the case that
officials are exploiting loopholes in the law to get externally
generated information that they would not otherwise be able to get
[without a warrant] then that's something I would not endorse," she
"That kind of suggestion
would undermine confidence in the system if that is what is happening
and we need to tighten it up.
The article ends thus:
director of Liberty who also took part in the debate, said that
extracting even only metadata about online communications was an
invasion of privacy showing which
websites people had visited.
services] didn't come to parliament to get a mandate for blanket
surveillance," she said. "They made monkeys of us all."
3. Government's defence of surveillance
item is an article by Vikram Dodd on The Guardian:
This article starts as
So this is another
(formerly) high ranking person in British surveillance (i.e. spying)
who asserted things at least have to change. He also was not convinced
by Charless Farr's arguments:
arguments for justifying the mass monitoring of the internet are
"unconvincing" and based on exploiting "loopholes" in legislation, the
former chief surveillance
inspector has said.
Sam Lincoln, who served
for seven years as the head of the Office of Surveillance
Commissioners, said the revelations by Edward Snowden had damaged
public confidence, and security establishment arguments were not being
accepted by sections of the public.
I do not think Farr's
arguments are legal, though I agree that if they are (they are completely
untested) they depend on existing loopholes that urgently need to
be removed. And I also agree with Lincoln that far more than
merely legal opinions, or indeed court cases, is involved: Yes, there
all manner of "moral,
ethical and social considerations", namely about the kind of society one wants
to live in, and indeed it were considerations such as these that
convinced Edward Snowden that he should become a whistleblower.
On Tuesday the
government's top security official, Charles Farr, said searches on
Google on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as well as supposedly private
messages on social media among UK citizens can be monitored by the
security services because they are legally judged to be "external
Lincoln said he was
unconvinced by Farr's arguments: "Technically they are correct, yes it
is legal. These are the sort of loopholes in the legislation which they
can exploit, but it is a pretty unconvincing argument. It is a
convenient and unconvincing argument, however legal it may be.
"A lot of these issues go
beyond legal questions, they bring in moral, ethical and social
There is considerably more there, which shows that Lincoln at least has
a mind and that he uses it, which I leave to you, except for the ending:
He said security chiefs
need to be more willing to explain and engage with the public: "The
approach of 'why are you challenging us, we are the good guys' doesn't
wash … The 'looking for a needle in a haystack' argument has so far
been unconvincing. I haven't been convinced."
"National security", the
justification for mass surveillance revealed by Snowden, was too
nebulous a term and needed better definition.
Yes, indeed - and I'd like
to remark that he does sound a bit like William
Binney and Thomas Drake,
who were quite happy to work for the NSA as long as that did work in a
(mostly) legal fashion, and who were no radicals at all (and very
probably are not, either).
open RAF base for investigation into NSA tapping of Merkel's phone
item is an article by Nicholas Watt on The Guardian:
This article starts
I say. There is
considerably more under the last dotted link, but it seems to me to be very
unlikely to happen.
Britain should grant
Germany's federal prosecutor access to an RAF base which is alleged to
have acted as a relay station for data intercepted from Angela Merkel's
mobile phone by the US National
Security Agency (NSA), the Labour MP Tom Watson has said.
In a letter to the prime
minister Watson said that full British co-operation with Harald Range,
the German federal prosecutor who has announced an investigation into the alleged tapping of
Merkel's mobile phone, would ensure that Anglo-German relations are
Der Spiegel last year revealed that Merkel's phone had been tapped
after an investigation based on the NSA files leaked by the US
whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Doc Reveals Wall Street Plan for Global Financial Deregulation
item is an article by the Common Dreams staff on Common Dreams:
This article starts
WikiLeaks published a
previously tightly-held and secretive
draft of a trade document on Thursday that, if enacted, would give
the world's financial powers an even more dominant position to control
the global economy by avoiding regulations and public accountability.
Known as a Trade in
Services Agreement (TISA), the draft represents the negotiating
positions of the U.S. and E.U. and lays out the deregulatory strategies
championed by some of the world's largest banks and investment firms.
According to WikiLeaks:
Despite the failures in
financial regulation evident during the 2007-2008 Global Financial
Crisis and calls for improvement of relevant regulatory structures,
proponents of TISA aim to further deregulate global financial services
markets. The draft Financial Services Annex sets rules which would
assist the expansion of financial multi-nationals – mainly
headquartered in New York, London, Paris and Frankfurt – into other
nations by preventing regulatory barriers. The leaked draft also shows
that the US is particularly keen on boosting cross-border data flow,
which would allow uninhibited exchange of personal and financial data.
I take it this "uninhibited exchange of personal and
financial data" would, of
course, all end up in Utah, in the offices of the NSA. Well, I a firm
proponent of regulations, for that is what I pay taxes
for: "Taxes are what we pay for civilized society",
and a civilized society arises from publicly approved regulations
- and see my Crisis + DSM-5:
There is also this:
Lori Wallach, director of
Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, said the deal described in the
draft, if approved by national governments, would be a disaster for any
regulatory efforts designed to put a check on global finance.
In a statement
responding to the TISA draft released by WikiLeaks on Thursday,
“If the text that was
leaked today went into force, it would roll back the improvements made
after the global financial crisis to safeguard consumers and financial
stability and cement us into the extreme deregulatory model of the
1990s that led to the crisis in the first place and the billions in
losses to consumers and governments.
"This is a text that
big banks and financial speculators may love but that could do real
damage to the rest of us. It includes a provision that is literally
called ‘standstill’ that would forbid countries from improving
financial regulation and would lock them into whatever policies they
had on the books in the past.”
Thus, the deregulators want
to regulate their deregulation - which only serve the rich few.
6. Wikileaks Exposes Super Secret, Regulation-Gutting Financial
item is an article by Yves Smith on Naked Capitalism:
This also deals with
TISA (see: previous item) but from a somewhat
different perspective, that shows how well and and how honestly the
press prints all the news that is fit to print:
Wikileaks published an April draft of a
critical section of pending “trade” deal called the Trade in Services
Agreement, which is being negotiated among 50 countries, including the
US, the member nations of the EU, Australia, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica,
Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, New Zealand,
Norway, Panama, Peru, South Korea, and Switzerland. TISA would
liberalize, as in reduce the ability of nations to regulate, a large
range of services.
The document that
Wikileaks exposed on Thursday is a portion of the financial services
section. It is clearly designed to serve the pet interests of big
international players. This agreement is designed to institutionalize
the current level of deregulation as a baseline and facilitate the
introduction of new products, further ease the movement of funds, data,
and key personnel, and facilitate cross-border acquisitions and other
forms of market entry.
It is distressing to see how
the media is pointedly ignoring this damning Wikileaks revelation. As
of this hour, my Google News search does not show a single mainstream
media outlet reporting on this story. .
Indeed: The press
these days - for the most part: there still are a few exceptions, such
as The Guardian - works very ill, is quite
dishonest, and thus succeeds in ignoring and not even mentioning many
of the most important decisions of almost any kind, while it keeps
their readers fully informed about soccer and quaint news about silly
individuals, that at most will harm the individuals.
There also is quite a
bit more that analyses the TISA, which shows it is the wet dream of the
mega-rich, and also that this is again a deep secret, which is
done wholly behind the backs of the peoples and representatives they
wish to lord over:
The TISA text is
classified for five years after it becomes effective or negotiations
are terminated (..)
You can read the
analysis yourself. I only quote the ending, which is about the nicely
smiling and kind president Obama, who means so very, very well:
If readers had any
doubt, this Wikileaks release should settle conclusively that Obama’s
finance-friendly policies were not the product of his letting Geithner
manage that store, but one of his major initiatives. A deal that cedes
national sovereignity and puts in place the conditions for an even more
spectacular financial train wreck is treasonous. But loyalty to
communities or countries is so
20th century, and Obama has always styled himself as someone who looks
forward, not back.
The last item is by
Sue Halpern on the New York Review of Books, whose July issue is going
to be about (I quote) "Power!":
In fact, this is a long
article that reviews three books, including Glenn Greenwald's latest,
and one film, that are all dedicated to the NSA or Snowden. It also is
a good and a clear article, that gives a good overview of what it
treats, which is mainly Greenwald's book.
I think you should read it all, especially if you do not know much
I have three quotes, from much more, each about another subject. The
first is about the importance of a free press (and I add "free" because
that really is essential):
Quite so. And I remark
that "terrorism" was and is utter bullshit, when
compared with the threat of terror from the Soviet Union from
1950-1989: That had huge and well-trained armies and lots of atomic
bombs, while the "terrorists" have nothing of the kind. This is
also what moved me, already in 2005, to insist that terrorism was a
pretext, and everything I've read, seen and heard since only
bolstered that up.
A democracy without a
press that is able to track down and publish evidence of malfeasance
loses a critical check on unbridled government power. This is why the
United States has a free press and a constitutional amendment
enshrining it, just as there is a fourth amendment to protect privacy.
Reading Greenwald’s account, or watching the Frontline documentary United States of Secrets,
or parsing the government’s cases against the New York Times
reporter James Risen, who has been under threat of jail for refusing to
disclose a source, one sees how both amendments have been compromised
by the open-ended “war on terror.” In the words of jailed former CIA
analyst John Kiriakou, who leaked information about torture to
reporters and in the process revealed the name of a colleague:
First, it was
anarchism, then socialism, then communism. Now, it’s terrorism. Any
whistleblower who goes public in the name of protecting human rights or
civil liberties is accused of helping the terrorists.
The next quote is about personalizing Greenwald (and I removed a
In his review of
Greenwald’s book, Kinsley calls Greenwald a “sourpuss” and chastises
him for a number of personality defects. This has been a common theme
in the book’s reviews, especially those written by mainstream
journalists. They don’t like Greenwald’s attitude. And the reason they
don’t like his attitude is because, for the most part, he doesn’t like
theirs. As much as No Place to Hide is a catalog of the many
ways the government casts wide spy nets using computers and cell
phones, it is also one man’s rage against the corporate journalism
machine, in which most reporters and editors and newspaper companies
are cast as spineless government collaborators. Greenwald is indignant,
self-righteous, and self-aggrandizing—but so what? It’s a red herring,
just as focusing on Snowden—who is he, where is he—is a distraction.
The matter at hand is not their
story; as long as this is a democracy, it has to be ours.
My final quote is the ending:
Yes. And as I said,
there is a whole lot more under the last dotted link, and it is all
Though it is too early to
know if any of the proposed reforms will be meaningful, and history
bends toward cynicism, the need for radical change, at least, has been
made clear in many forums, including the President’s Review Group. Why
this matters was put most succinctly in the group’s report:
discount the risk, in light of the lessons of our own history, that at
some point in the future, high-level government officials will decide
that this massive database of extraordinarily sensitive private
information is there for the plucking. Americans must never make the
mistake of wholly “trusting” our public officials.
In that regard, the
president’s men could not agree more with Glenn Greenwald and Edward
 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: