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. Snowden Documents: The NSA
and the GCHQ evidently
have access to telecom networks
International Law a la Carte
3. Is US Waging War? Top Obama Admin Officials Give
4. Playing God
Leaked Docs Show Spyware Used to Snoop on U.S.
This is a Nederlog of Sunday,
September 14. It is a crisis log.
It is a Sunday, and I found only five items, that follow.
1. Snowden Documents: The NSA and the GCHQ evidently have
access to telecom networks
item is an article in the German Der Spiegel. I've translated the title
from German and will translate from the article:
This starts as follows
(in German, here translated):
The NSA and
the Briish GCHQ evidently have their own secret entry points to the
networks of Deutsche Telekom and the provider from Cologne, Netcologne,
which they themselves classify as top secret. This follows from
graphical images that were made by a NSA program called Treasure Map,
that Der Spiegel could look into. In the undated document Deutsche
Telekom and Netcologne are explicitly named and marked with a red dot.
In a legend to the image it is explained that the red dot means that
"inside" these networks "points of entry" are present for technical
This sounds much like
the "points of
entry" that Mark
Klein (<- Wikipedia) revealed in 2006: See Room 614A (<-
Wikipedia). Indeed, according to William
Binney (<- Wikipedia) there are (at least) 10 or 20 such "points of entry" in the U.S. alone.
Der Spiegel clarifies as follows (in German, here translated):
Map program accords with the goal "to map the complete internet". Inside the major fiber optic cables
the analysts of the secret services can visualize in "near reality"
single routers, and even computers, smartphones and tablets, if these
are connected to the internet. The end is to make visible "each tool,
everywhere, at any time" it is claimed in a presentation that is
published by Der Spiegel. The program, a sort of Google Earth for the
internet, serves among other things for "the planning of computer
attacks" and "spying by internet". Tĥe NSA and GCHQ are not willing to
The main point here is
that spying is forbidden in Germany, which means that the NSA
and the GCHQ are clearly breaking the German law, and are doing
so on German territory.
Then again, by now it seems that the German government is willing to
allow this, not because they like it, but mostly because they want to
avoid a serious hassle with the U.S.
Thus politics also - so far - switched off the upkeeping of the law and
of human rights in Germany, simply because this is more convenient for
the leading politicians.
2. Dishing Up International Law a la Carte
item is an article by Lawrence Davidson on Consortiumnews:
This has the
Washington honors international law when it’s politically useful, such
as in condemning a global adversary, but then dismisses it as useless
if it gets in the way of some desired U.S. action. This “international
law a la carte” undermines the concept’s fundamental value, says
And it begins as
International law is
vital to the welfare of every man, woman and child on this planet,
although the vast majority of them do not know this is so. The vital
aspect lies in the fact that the universally applicable nature of human
rights – which prohibit such actions as the use of torture, arbitrary
arrest and detention while supporting freedom of movement, conscience,
cultural rights and the right to a standard of living adequate for
health and well-being, among other things – has its primary foundation
in international law.
Examples of this can be
found in the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights and the various Geneva
Quite so - and
problem with this noble enterprise (yes, it is) is also clearly
seen and stated by
Such flouting of
international law is common among democracies as well. It is even
noticeable in the behavior of the United States. Take for instance the
current treatment of illegal immigrants. Their human rights are
certainly not respected in this country which, historically, is a
nation of immigrants.
The problem goes beyond
the maltreatment of immigrants. In fact, the current dismissive
attitude toward human rights and the international laws that uphold
them has its roots in the fear of terrorism. Such actions as arbitrary
arrest, indefinite detention, the use of torture, and so forth are all
justified by the so-called “war on terror.”
These actions by the U.S.
government are illegal under international law, but because the
enforcement of law is almost always the business of the state, and the
United States is a “superpower,” who is to call U.S. officials to
account for their crimes? No one. International law has no designated
That is: Because "the enforcement of law is almost always the
business of the state" and
because there is no superstate that sees to it that states behave
themselves and act according to the treaties they signed, many states,
and especially the U.S., do not live by the international laws
they themselves signed: Politics transcends laws any time this is
I wrote it out for
you, and I mostly agree with Davidson. Here is his last paragraph:
It is this insularity and
the know-nothing attitude that goes along with it that has allowed
special interests to become the main center of political power in
America. Short of catastrophic political breakdown, this arrangement is
not going to change. The only thing that those who value international
law and human rights can do is to continue to build their own special
interest lobbies and compete for influence in government against the
dehumanizers and other assorted international law breakers.
US Waging War? Top Obama Admin Officials Give Conflicting Answers
item is an article by Sarah Lazare on Common Dreams:
This starts with the
"This is what
happens when you don't have congressional debate," says Robert Naiman
of Just Foreign Policy. "There is no accountability for administration
statements... There is no truth."
And that is also what
the U.S. government wants: It does not want to tell the truth,
doesn't do so unless it is forced to (in any case of importance), and
until then it propagandizes,
lies and bullshits, for
these are the tools of powerful politicians everywhere: "All
governments lie and nothing they
say should be believed." - I.F. Stone.
Also, the question in the title is quite apt and indeed gets
answered in at least two contradictory ways by the U.S. government:
And that is what it is going
to be for the U.S. government: It will speak of "war" whenever that is
most convenient, and it will deny it is at "war" whenever that is most
convenient. In either case, it will do what it pleases, and bomb, drone
and kill whoever they call "terrorists".
The White House and
Pentagon on Friday used the word "war" to describe U.S. military
actions in Iraq and Syria.
"In the same way that we
are at war with Al Qaeda and its affiliates around the globe, we are at
war with ISIL," declared White House press secretary Josh Earnest in briefing
to reporters on Friday.
"What I said was this is
not the Iraq war of 2002. But make no mistake, we know we are at war
with ISIL in the same way we're at war and continue to be at war with
Al Qaeda and its affiliates," said Real Admiral John Kirby in a
Department of Defense press
briefing, also on Friday.
But in numerous media
interviews on Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry emphasized that
the U.S. is not at war with ISIL.
"I think war is the wrong
terminology and analogy but the fact is that we are engaged in a very
significant global effort to curb terrorist activity," Kerry told CBS
Reporter Margaret Brennan in an interview
from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia where Kerry is currently traveling in a bid
to build a coalition against ISIL.
item is an article by Steve Frases with an introduction by Tom
Engelhardt. It is on tomdispatch:
In fact, while the
article is quite interesting about the new strong men in the U.S., who
all are billionaires, I will not quote from it but only from its
introduction by Tom Engelhardt.
The introduction starts as follows:
Think of this as
the year that democracy of, by, and for the billionaires shall not
perish from the Earth -- not when we’re on a new electoral playing
field in a political world in which distinctions are no longer made
between unlimited money and unlimited speech. In other words,
these days, if you have billions of dollars, you can shout from the
skies and the rest of us have to listen.
And it may be well to
add that you can be both a billionair and an ignorant asshole, though
indeed there all kinds of billionairs, and there are even some who play
(But don't count on that.)
As I said yesterday, the U.S. is no longer a democracy: The people have
been switched off by the Supreme Court, that counts money as free
speech, and considers corporations as people (or better, for they have
more rights than people).
Part of what the present U.S. are is a plutocracy: The rich have the
power, and the richer you are, the more power you have, for - once
again - money now
counts as free speech and corporations count as people.
There is considerably more in the introduction, and this is from its
In all of this,
you can see the urge of America's new crop of billionaires to “play
god” at our expense and with our lives -- to decide for us, ad by ad,
dark-money outfit by dark-money outfit, how we should organize
Yes - and indeed not all
billionaires try to play god, but sufficiently many do to have major
influence, that is nearly always very bad for everyone who is not a
5. Leaked Docs Show Spyware Used to Snoop on
item is an article by Jeff Larson and Mike Tigas on Propublica:
This starts as follows:
Software created by the
controversial U.K. based Gamma Group International was used to spy on
computers that appear to be located in the United States, the U.K.,
Germany, Russia, Iran and Bahrain, according to a leaked trove of
documents analyzed by ProPublica.
It's not clear whether
the surveillance was conducted by governments or private entities.
Customer email addresses in the collection appeared to belong to a
German surveillance company, an independent consultant in Dubai, the
Bosnian and Hungarian Intelligence services, a Dutch law enforcement
officer and the Qatari government.
The leaked files
— which were posted
online by hackers — are the latest in a series of revelations
about how state actors including repressive regimes have used Gamma's
software to spy on dissidents, journalists and activist groups.
There is a lot more in the
article on various software by the Gamma Group International.
 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: