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Nederlog


  July
11, 2014
Crisis: Cameron, Germany*2, Goal of NSA*2, Guardian, me+M.E.
  "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
Sections
Introduction

1.
David Cameron makes concessions to rush through
     snooping law

2. Germany asks top US intelligence official to leave country
     over spy row

3. Retaliation for Spying: Germany Asks CIA Official to
     Leave Country

4.
The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control
5.
Forcing through the surveillance laws is a further erosion
     of political trust

6. NSA’s Retention of Intimate Details and Photos of
     Innocent Americans

7. The Guardian view on David Cameron's scramble for
     emergency data laws

8. me + M.E.

About ME/CFS


Introduction:

This is the Nederlog of July 11. It is an ordinary crisis log.

There are today seven crisis items, which is three less than yesterday. There also is a very brief item on me+M.E. at the end.

1.  David Cameron makes concessions to rush through snooping law

The first item is an article by Patrick Wintour, Rowena Masson and James Ball on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:

David Cameron abandoned his year-long resistance to tightening the accountability of the security services as the price for winning Liberal Democrat and Labour support for emergency surveillance laws.

Standing alongside Nick Clegg, the prime minister unveiled emergency laws, to be bundled through parliament in days, designed to shore up the powers of spies, police and government agencies. But Cameron agreed to a "sunset clause" time-limiting the bill to 2016, a full-scale review of intercept laws, a new oversight board and restrictions on the number of public bodies that can make use of surveillance data.

Ministers said the apparent sudden need for new laws stemmed partly from a European court of justice (ECJ) ruling in April restricting state access to citizens' data. They also warned that foreign-based phone and internet companies were imminently going to stop handing over the content of individual communications in response to UK warrants.

Theresa May, the home secretary, told the Commons: "Without this legislation, we face the very real prospect of losing access to this data overnight, with the consequence that police investigations would suddenly go dark and criminals would escape justice."

Actually, these "emergency laws" are indeed caused by a ruling of the European court of justice, and are in fact hardly discussed in parliament, and result from a deal between party leaders, as sketched in the first two paragraphs. And I included the fourth paragraph to mark the bullshit of Theresa May, who doesn't say that the new laws are criminal if the old laws were (and who very much exaggerates).

There is also this:

The new data retention and investigation powers bill (DRIP) will reassert the duty of internet firms to retain most data, including emails, texts and phone data, for up to 12 months.

Civil liberties campaigners, including the Labour MP Tom Watson, said "a last-minute stitch-up by the elite" meant laws would be passed in days next week that might expand, rather than simply shore up, the presupposed powers of the security services.

Yes, for the one thing that is sure is that these laws cannot be rationally consented to by the parliament: they are simply a deal by the political leaders that is forced through without almost any debate.

Also see item 7.

2.  Germany asks top US intelligence official to leave country over spy row 

The next item is an article by Philip Oltermann and Spencer Ackerman on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

Diplomatic relations between Germany and the US plunged to a new low after Angela Merkel's government asked the top representative of America's secret services in Germany to leave the country.

While not formally amounting to a full expulsion, the move nonetheless sends a dramatic signal: after a year-long dispute triggered by the revelations of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Merkel seems to have finally run out of patience with Washington's failure to explain itself.

According to Süddeutsche Zeitung, the US embassy staffer who has been asked to leave is a CIA "chief of station" who coordinates secret service activity in Germany, and who emerged as the key contact for two German officials recently arrested for allegedly spying for the US.

According to German media reports, such drastic action had previously only been thinkable when dealing with "pariah states like North Korea or Iran".

There is rather a lot more in the article, but there also is another article about the same subject:

3. Retaliation for Spying: Germany Asks CIA Official to Leave Country

The next item is an article by Matthias Gebauer on Spiegel On Line (and see the previous item):

This starts with a bold summary:

In what amounts to a diplomatic earthquake, Berlin has asked the country's top CIA official to leave Germany. The measures comes in response to the second allegation in a week of a German government employee spying for the US.

Actually, there is more: It seems the US is totally irresponsive both to Merkel's person and to her government asking for any data or information about the NSA's tapping of Merkel's phone or insight into her American dossier.

The article itself starts as follows:

Marking its most vocal response yet to the United States for alleged spying and a tough new tone, the government in Berlin asked Washington's top CIA official in Germany to leave the country on Thursday. The news followed a meeting of the Parliamentary Control Panel (PKGR) in the federal parliament responsible for scrutiny of intelligence services.

Next, it explains that there are now two German persons suspected of spying for the NSA, and then says:

The revelations of the past week show that, in addition to conducting signals intelligence to gather information on Germany, US intelligence agencies are also using human intelligence. They strongly suggest that US services in Germany continue to collect large amounts of intelligence, and all this despite the outrage over the NSA scandal and news in October 2013 that the Americans had been spying on Chancellor Merkel's mobile phone.

Yes - and "strongly suggests" is quite weak, in the circumstances, given Snowden's revelations. The article also says:

On a diplomatic level, it is no less than an earthquake and represents a measure that until Thursday would have only been implemented against pariah states like North Korea or Iran. It also underscores just how deep tensions have grown between Berlin and Washington over the spying affair.

There is considerably more in the article. 

4. The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control

The next item is an article by Antony Loewenstein on The Guardian:

This starts as follows, and is a quite interesting article:

William Binney is one of the highest-level whistleblowers to ever emerge from the NSA. He was a leading code-breaker against the Soviet Union during the Cold War but resigned soon after September 11, disgusted by Washington’s move towards mass surveillance.

On 5 July he spoke at a conference in London organised by the Centre for Investigative Journalism and revealed the extent of the surveillance programs unleashed by the Bush and Obama administrations.

“At least 80% of fibre-optic cables globally go via the US”, Binney said. “This is no accident and allows the US to view all communication coming in. At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US. The NSA lies about what it stores.”

Not only that:

The NSA will soon be able to collect 966 exabytes a year, the total of internet traffic annually. Former Google head Eric Schmidt once argued that the entire amount of knowledge from the beginning of humankind until 2003 amount to only five exabytes.

Binney, who featured in a 2012 short film by Oscar-nominated US film-maker Laura Poitras, described a future where surveillance is ubiquitous and government intrusion unlimited.

“The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control”, Binney said, “but I’m a little optimistic with some recent Supreme Court decisions, such as law enforcement mostly now needing a warrant before searching a smartphone.”
First the exabytes (<- Wikipedia), which I also had to look up: This is the name for 10006=1018 bytes. This probably still doesn't mean much, but here is a clarification from Wikipedia:
The world's technological capacity to store information grew from 2.6 (optimally compressed) exabytes in 1986 to 15.8 in 1993, over 54.5 in 2000, and to 295 (optimally compressed) exabytes in 2007. This is equivalent to less than one CD (650 MB) per person in 1986 (539 MB per person), roughly 4 CDs per person of 1993, 12 CDs per person in the year 2000, and almost 61 CDs per person in 2007. Piling up the imagined 404 billion CDs from 2007 would create a stack from the earth to the moon and a quarter of this distance beyond (with 1.2 mm thickness per CD).
Note that we live 7 years after 2007, and from the 966 exabytes per year, that means over 180 CDs of 650 MB per person, per year. Here is another estimate (from many more):
one exabyte could hold a hundred thousand times the printed material, or 500 to 3,000 times all content of the Library of Congress.
Next the future: I completely agree with Binney on the goal of the NSA:
“The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control”, Binney said (...)
The main reason why I completely agree is that this is the only adequate explanation for the behavior of the NSA, and indeed that behavior has been going on since 2001 and was already planned in 1968, although in 1968 there were not yet any private computers.

Also, when that goal has been reached, which it seems is mostly the case, the complete political landscape will radically change, and indeed the preparations for that - militarized police, no more effective Bill of Rights, detention without court orders and without appearing in court - also seem to be well on the way.

There is also this by Binney ((<- Wikipedia):

“The Fisa court has only the government’s point of view”, he argued. “There are no other views for the judges to consider. There have been at least 15-20 trillion constitutional violations for US domestic audiences and you can double that globally.”

A Fisa court in 2010 allowed the NSA to spy on 193 countries around the world, plus the World Bank, though there’s evidence that even the nations the US isn’t supposed to monitor – Five Eyes allies Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – aren’t immune from being spied on. It’s why encryption is today so essential to transmit information safely.
There is considerably more in the article, which you should read all of. It ends like this - and this extends to Obama, Feinstein, Clapper, Alexander etc. etc. for in indeed are the politicians of all kinds and colors who further this, very consciously also, and always lying about "terrorism" and "security":
With evidence that there could be a second NSA leaker, the time for more aggressive reporting is now. As Binney said: “I call people who are covering up NSA crimes traitors”.
Here is most of the last paragraph of the Wikipedia on Binney (with one note removed):
Binney was invited as a witness by the NSA commission of the German Bundestag. On July 3, 2014 the Spiegel wrote, he said that the NSA wanted to have information about everything. In Binney's view this is a totalitarian approach, which had previously been seen only in dictatorships. Binney stated the goal was also to control people. Meanwhile, he said it is possible in principle to survey the whole population, abroad and in the US, which in his view contradicts the United States Constitution. In October 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks, the NSA began with its mass surveillance, he said. Therefore, he left the secret service shortly afterwards, after more than 30 years of employment. Binney mentioned that there were about 6000 analysts in the surveillance at NSA already during his tenure. According to him, everything changed after 9/11. The NSA used the attacks as a justification, to start a giant mass surveillance "This was a mistake. But they still do it", he said. The secret service was saving the data as long as possible: "They do not discard anything. If they have anything they keep it." The NSA was saving the data quasi infinitely. Binney said he deplored the NSA 's development of the past few years, not only to collect data on groups who are suspicious for criminal or terrorist activities. "We have moved away from the collection of these data to the collection of data of the 7 billion people on our planet."
Yes, indeed.

5. Forcing through the surveillance laws is a further erosion of political trust

The next item
is an article by Tom Watson on The Guardian:
This starts with the following subtitle, and refers to item 1:
The secret deal to make law a bill that is in breach of our human rights takes parliament a step further away from the people

Yes indeed - and please note that in a state of law you cannot make a law "that is in breach of our human rights", from which it follows that Great Britain is no longer a state of law, but has an illegal government that spies on its population with the end of totally controlling them in the none to far future (see item 4).

It says among other things:

Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband and David Cameron are going to railroad surveillance laws through parliament in just three days. Apparently it doesn't have time to discuss this properly. Yet parliament went into recess a week early in May because we were told there was no need to debate further legislation. Something isn't right about representatives of the people being told by their party leaders to pass laws that they've barely read, let alone properly considered.

The bill was published in draft form a few hours ago. It's pointless attempting to scrutinise it because, thanks to the secret deal, we know it will be law by the end of next week.

That is how real politics is done, especially by leaders who all crave complete power over everyone, for that is the only possible tenable explanation. As Watson says:

A secret deal between elites has removed the possibility of parliamentary scrutiny and engagement with civic society. The bill, warts and all, will be law next week. Theresa May has in the past stood strongly for the idea of policing by consent. What a shame she doesn't think the same principles apply to our security services.

The party leaders will get their way next week, but the price will be further erosion of the authority of our political institutions.

6. NSA’s Retention of Intimate Details and Photos of Innocent Americans

The next item is an article by Washington's Blog, with a very long title that I print once:
This contains the following:

Boing Boing notes:

The collateral targets — who far outnumber [actual targets] — have intimate, totally irrelevant information about their lives collected and retained by the spies, where it is routinely accessed by spies, analysts, and private-sector contractors.

Almost everything in the NSA cache is haystack, in other words, with just a few needles. And the hay is deliberately collected and retained, even though it consists of things like love notes, baby pictures, medical records, and other intimate data belonging to people who are under no suspicion at all.

So why does the NSA retain these intimate – but wholly irrelevant – details and images of innocent Americans?  In other words, even if they were – as the NSA claims – accidentally collected, why on earth is the NSA keeping them?

Washington Post reporters asked an NSA official why the information was retained even though it was “useless”.

According to one of the co-authors of the Washington Post story – Ashkan Soltani – the NSA’s response was that it might become “of interest” at some time in the future (starting at 50:50):

It’s very difficult to ascertain the intelligence value of a particular collection, either a photo or a  communication.

It’s very hard to be absolutely sure that it’s not going to be of interest.

The answer to the question "So why does the NSA retain these intimate – but wholly irrelevant – details and images of innocent Americans?" is simple, it seems to me and indeed also is given:

Indeed, the NSA itself admitted in writing that its “collection posture” is:

“Collect it All,” “Process it All,” “Exploit it All,” “Partner it All,” “Sniff it All” and, ultimately, “Know it All.”

 

Indeed, for 5,000 years straight, mass surveillance on one’s own people has always aimed at crushing dissent.  Former top-level NSA officials say that this is “J. Edgar Hoover on super steroids“, and that we’ve turned into Stasi Germany or the Soviet Union.  They say we’ve turned into a police state.

What J. Edgar Hoover, the Stasis and the Soviets did was collect information on people, and then use it to discredit, harass or blackmail those they decide they don’t like … including the nation’s most powerful politicians and military leaders.

Yes, indeed: I think that is correct and is by far the most probable future, unless the NSA (and Five Eyes) get radically tamed. But then the question is: Who will do this? Who can do this?

There are some who try, such as Alan Grayson and others, and of course Glenn Greenwald and others, but they do oppose a massively funded very powerful secret organization that is being actively protected by the government, by most politicians, and by much of the media.


7. The Guardian view on David Cameron's scramble for emergency data laws

The next and last crisis item is an Editorial on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:

At his press conference today, the prime minister rattled off so many threats that listeners were, in effect, asked to pick their own rationale for his emergency data legislation. The myriad dangers – paedophile networks, organised crime, an unstable Middle East – have little in common, save for the fact that they are not passing exigencies at all, but chronic problems. The real emergency is not any sort of hidden plot; it is a ruling by the court of justice of the European Union which rejected virtually limitless state snooping on telephone and email data as disproportionate.

The EU directive thus struck down was a British concoction, pushed through in the post-7/7 mood, when an entirely understandable urge to give the authorities the anti-terror tools they required was intensified by New Labour's authoritarian posturing. It allowed governments to command communications companies to maintain for 12 months complete logs of who was ringing, emailing or texting whom when, and granted the authorities access to these revealing details of day-to-day personal life in sweeping circumstances.
That is mostly correct, though I reject the "entirely understandable urge" - that is, if one rejects the notion that all or at least most politicians are out for total power over their own population, and will stop at almost nothing to get it.

Then again, at least the three English political leaders do seem to want total power, and have made a deal, and it will be accepted without almost any debate or argument.

The article ends thus:
A British parliament that is far too relaxed about officialdom listening in must not, once again, tune out of a conversation that needs to be had.
Well, it has, once again.

8.  me+M.E.

The final item of today is about me and my M.E. and only serves to tell those who are interested that I did have a fairly good and a rather productive week.

---------------------------------

Note
[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)

2. Malcolm Hooper THE MENTAL HEALTH MOVEMENT:  
PERSECUTION OF PATIENTS?
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)
9.
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)



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