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."
Surveillance Engine: How the NSA Built Its Own
2. Snowden Documents Reveal
NSA's 'Own Secret Google'
3. Gaza Update: Don’t Expect
Quick Action by the
International Criminal Court
4. When Did it Become the Norm
for Police to Crush
5. Back to School, and to
This is a Nederlog of Tuesday,
August 26. It is a crisis log.
There are five items, and I have updated the crisis file
1. The Surveillance Engine: How the NSA Built Its Own Secret
item is an article by Ryan Gallagher on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
Next, there is this on
the reach of ICREACH:
The National Security
Agency is secretly providing data to nearly two dozen U.S. government
agencies with a “Google-like” search engine built to share more than
850 billion records about phone calls, emails, cellphone locations, and
internet chats, according to classified documents obtained by The
The documents provide the
first definitive evidence that the NSA has for years made massive
amounts of surveillance data directly accessible to domestic law
enforcement agencies. Planning documents for ICREACH, as the search
engine is called, cite the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug
Enforcement Administration as key participants.
information on the private communications of foreigners and, it
appears, millions of records on American citizens who have not been
accused of any wrongdoing. Details about its existence are contained in
the archive of materials provided to The Intercept by NSA
whistleblower Edward Snowden.
ICREACH has been
accessible to more than 1,000 analysts at 23 U.S. government agencies
that perform intelligence work, according to a
2010 memo. A planning document
from 2007 lists the DEA, FBI, Central Intelligence Agency, and the
Defense Intelligence Agency as core members. Information shared through
ICREACH can be used to track people’s movements, map out their networks
of associates, help predict future actions, and potentially reveal
religious affiliations or political beliefs.
The creation of ICREACH
represented a landmark moment in the history of classified U.S.
government surveillance, according to the NSA documents.
Yes, indeed: It
realized Brezezinski's 1969 ideas:
Now the U.S. secret services can and
do spy on everyone, abd "track
people’s movements, map out their networks of associates, help predict
future actions, and potentially reveal religious affiliations or
political beliefs", and all
without any warrant, in the deepest secrecy, and covered by the U.S.
The U.S. population
owes this system to General Alexander:
behind ICREACH was recently retired NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander,
who outlined his vision for the system in
a classified 2006 letter to the then-Director of National
Intelligence John Negroponte. The search tool, Alexander wrote, would
“allow unprecedented volumes of communications metadata to be shared
and analyzed,” opening up a “vast, rich source of information” for
other agencies to exploit.
There is also this on
the numbers involved - and I quote a graphic (note that all the
data have been illegally stolen, according to the Fourth
billions of records
People on earth
......................................... 7 billion
Seconds since the birth of Christ .................... 64 billion
Google searches per month .......................... 100 billion
Stars in the Milky Way (estimated) ................ 400 billion
Records available via ICREACH (estimated) ..... 850 billion
There is a lot more
in the article, which I recommend you read for yourself.
2. Snowden Documents Reveal NSA's 'Own
item is an article by Nadia Prupis on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows
(and is a review of item 1):
Note that averaged out -
see item 1 - this means the NSA has over a 100 documents
on each and every living person on earth. And everything has
been collected illegally, without any warrant, and in secret.
"Yes, we scan!"
The National Security
Agency has for years been giving hundreds of billions of
telecommunications records about foreigners and U.S. citizens to dozens
of government bureaus, the Intercept reported
Documents linked to
Edward Snowden's leak last year, obtained by the Intercept,
show the NSA shared and continues to share more than 850 billion
records of emails, cell phone calls and locations, internet chats, and
other metadata sent and received by people throughout the world — who
have not been accused of any wrongdoing — by using a "Google-like"
search engine called ICREACH, which was built specifically for the
According to a 2010 CIA memo
on the program, which agency colleagues "enthusiastically welcome[d],"
over 1,000 analysts from 23 government agencies had access to the NSA’s
cache of information, all of which was collected without a warrant.
Records were regularly shared with the FBI, the Drug Enforcement
Administration, the CIA, and the Defense Intelligence Agency,
among other bureaus, the documents reveal.
3. Gaza Update: Don’t Expect Quick Action by
the International Criminal Court
item is an article by Bill Blum on Truthdig:
This starts as
Even if a newly proposed temporary
cease-fire takes hold in Gaza, it won’t erase the devastation that
has occurred since the breakdown of the last truce, or diminish the
need to refer the conflict now well into its second month to the
International Criminal Court.
Unfortunately, even if a
fresh cease-fire were in place, the prospects for speedy action by the
ICC would remain dim. This is a war, not only an open war between
Israel and the Palestinians, or Israel and Hamas, but a covert war of
the Palestinian Authority based in the West Bank under the leadership
of President Mahmoud Abbas against Hamas and its militant ally, the
Islamic Jihad. Like most wars, events on the battlefield, both public
and hidden, will have to play out fully before judges and lawyers can
I would guess that
one priority of the ICC is to put an end to ongoing conflicts,
rather than do justice after the fighting has been done. But
here is the beginning of the Wikipedia on the ICC (minus eight
references to footnotes):
Criminal Court (ICC or ICCt)
is a permanent international tribunal
to prosecute individuals for genocide,
crimes against humanity, war
crimes, and the crime of aggression (although
jurisdiction for the crime of aggression
will not be active until 2017 at the earliest).
The ICC was created by
the Rome Statute which came
into force on 1 July 2002.
The Court is headquartered in The
Hague, Netherlands, but its proceedings may take place anywhere. It
is intended to complement existing national judicial systems, and may
only exercise its jurisdiction when national courts are unwilling or
unable to investigate or prosecute such crimes.
The article is much
longer, and tells among many other things that Israel is not one of the
122 countries who agreed to the ICC.
There is considerably
more in both articles, but it seems Bill Blum's title is quite
justified (also for reasons not included in this review).
Did it Become the Norm for Police to Crush Americans' Rights?
item is an article by Alex Kane on AlterNet:
This starts as
The militarized police
force unleashed in Ferguson, Missouri over the past two weeks has
crushed the civil liberties of black residents angry over the killing
of 18-year-old Michael Brown. That law enforcement has shown utter
disregard for the rights of protesters and the press is no surprise to
many, especially black people, who have had to contend with pervasive
surveillance and harassment in varied forms for much of American
history. Yet what makes the situation in Ferguson look especially scary
and dystopic are the militarized weapons being used to crush
Yes. That is, to
reduce this to two statements: (1) The American police has been very
heavily militarized, and (2) the American police no longer even has a semblance of
maintaining constitutional rights: these are crushed intentionally.
There is considerably
more, and this is from the last paragraph:
Ferguson is no anomaly.
There will be plenty of lawsuits filed against the police for violating
constitutional rights. But the trampling of civil liberties points to a
systemic problem that individual court orders and settlements won’t
fix. The police in America have decided that when it suits them, the
Constitution doesn’t matter one bit.
Incidentally, as to the question the title asks:
I do not think there
is a precise when, though I agree with Alex Kane that crushing
Americans' constitutional rights does seem to be one of the
ends of the current, very heavily armed, militarized U.S.
But since the
militarization has been steadily going on since 1990, while the only
reason I can see for it is that the Pentagon or the government has
seriously counted, and seriously counts, with the possibility that they
have to submerge
large people's movements by military violence,
and in the interests of the rich and the government much rather than
If I have to pick a
date, the Occupy
movement (<- Wikipedia) of 2011 seems to have flipped the switch
(but as I said: the militarization of the police started already in
5. Back to School, and to Widening Inequality
item is an article by Robert Reich on his site:
This starts as
American kids are getting
ready to head back to school. But the schools they’re heading back to
differ dramatically by family income.
Which helps explain the
growing achievement gap between lower and higher-income children.
Thirty years ago, the
average gap on SAT-type tests between children of families in the
richest 10 percent and bottom 10 percent was about 90 points on an
800-point scale. Today it’s 125
in the mathematical abilities of American kids, by income, is one
of widest among the 65 countries participating in the Program for
International Student Achievement.
On their reading
skills, children from high-income families score 110 points higher,
on average, than those from poor families. This is about the same
disparity that exists between average test scores in the United States
as a whole and Tunisia.
I say. There is
rather a lot more in the article, but this is one of the constantly
growing differences between the rich and the poor of the last 30 years
(!), that are only exacerbated by the lack of tax money, and especially
in poor communities.
This will probably go
on and on, namely until the banks and their managers are tamed and
regulated; the taxes on the rich are significantly increased; money is
taken out of politics; and the corporations - "Corporation, n.
An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual
responsibility."  - have gotten dehumanized
again, and gotten much better regulated.
In short, this will
go on until radical change.
P.S. Aug 27, 2014: I added this
link Brezezinski's 1969 ideas because I
think it is true and important to realize that spying on everyone is an
old, and extremely totalitarian
idea. Indeed, it is at least 2000 or 2400 years old - but it only could
be realized from the year 2000 onwards, and the only thing that is
about that is that it is done illegally and in deep secret
U.S., though of course also with the government's and the judiciary's
 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.)
 From Ambrose Bierce's "The devil's
(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: