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. UN Report Finds Mass
Surveillance Violates International
Treaties and Privacy Rights
service strikers are standing up for the real Britain
3. Markets Panicked Over Deteriorating
4. NSA Documents Suggest a Close Working Relationship
Between NSA, U.S. Companies
5. Hidden Agenda Behind Free
Trade Deals: “Everyone but
This is a Nederlog of Thursday, October 16. It is a crisis log.
Although today is Thursday, I did not manage to find more than five
crisis items, that follow. Item 1 is the most
important, and you should read all of the text: Glenn Greenwald on the
UN Report. The other items are less important, and mostly provide
background or extensions to previous materials.
In any case, I do my best, but I can't deal with more than I can find.
Report Finds Mass Surveillance Violates
International Treaties and Privacy Rights
item is an article by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
Nations’ top official for counter-terrorism and human rights (known as
the “Special Rapporteur”) issued a
formal report to the U.N. General Assembly today that condemns mass
electronic surveillance as a clear violation of core privacy rights
guaranteed by multiple treaties and conventions. “The hard
truth is that the use of mass surveillance technology effectively does
away with the right to privacy of communications on the Internet
altogether,” the report concluded.
Quite so. In fact, I reviewed this UN report yesterday (here) and it is well to notice right at
the start that I liked all of it, except that I think that "the right to privacy of communications on the
asssured by the right to privacy of communications outside the
Internet, and in ordinary mail.
Indeed, the position of the U.S. government is crooked (and
They have the private data of all of their citizens illegally stolen
the NSA, and argue this is allowed (in secret, also) because
communication by internet is not supposed to be private, by
them, while ordinary mail clearly is and has been for
150 years at least. They lie.
Anyway, the report is quite good:
Quite so - and note the "existing concepts of privacy", which in my eyes are sufficient to
cover the use of the internet as well, which is not to say I object to
new laws, but is to say I insist these are supplementary rather
Central to the
Rapporteur’s findings is the distinction between “targeted
surveillance” — which “depend[s] upon the existence of prior suspicion
of the targeted individual or organization” — and “mass surveillance,”
whereby “states with high levels of Internet penetration can
 gain access to the telephone and e-mail content of an
effectively unlimited number of users and maintain an overview of
Internet activity associated with particular websites.” In a system of
“mass surveillance,” the report explained, “all of this is possible
without any prior suspicion related to a specific individual or
organization. The communications of literally every Internet user are
potentially open for inspection by intelligence and law enforcement
agencies in the States concerned.”
Mass surveillance thus
“amounts to a systematic interference with the right to respect
for the privacy of communications,” it declared. As a result, “it is
incompatible with existing concepts of privacy for States to collect
all communications or metadata all the time indiscriminately.”
Quite so - and mark that
the U.S. ratified the treaty as did almost any other country.
that mass surveillance impinges core privacy rights, the report
was primarily focused on the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a treaty
enacted by the General Assembly in 1966, to which all of the members of
the “Five Eyes” alliance are signatories. The U.S. ratified the
treaty in 1992, albeit with various reservations that allowed
for the continuation of the death penalty and which rendered its
domestic law supreme. With the exception of the U.S.’s Persian Gulf
allies (Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar), virtually every major country has
Article 17 of the
Covenant guarantees the right of privacy, the
defining protection of which, the report explained,
is “that individuals have the right to share information and ideas
with one another without interference by the State, secure in the
knowledge that their communication will reach and be read by the
intended recipients alone.”
There is rather a lot more under the last dotted link, but I am going
to leave that to you, noting that I think you should read all of it.
Here is one more bit:
Quite so - and do not
forget to read the rest.
The report was most
scathing in its rejection of a key argument often
made by American defenders of the NSA: that mass surveillance is
justified because Americans are given special protections
(the requirement of a FISA court order for targeted surveillance) which
non-Americans (95% of the world) do not enjoy. Not only does this
scheme fail to render mass surveillance legal, but it itself
constitutes a separate violation of international treaties (emphasis
The Special Rapporteur
concurs with the High Commissioner for Human Rights that where States
penetrate infrastructure located outside their territorial
jurisdiction, they remain bound by their obligations under the
Covenant. Moreover, article 26 of the Covenant prohibits discrimination
on grounds of, inter alia, nationality and citizenship. The Special
Rapporteur thus considers that States are legally obliged to
afford the same privacy protection for nationals and non-nationals and
for those within and outside their jurisdiction. Asymmetrical privacy
protection regimes are a clear violation of the requirements of the
That principle — that the
right of internet privacy belongs to all individuals, not just
Americans — was invoked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden when he
explained in a
June, 2013 interview at The Guardian why he
disclosed documents showing global surveillance rather than just
the surveillance of Americans: “More fundamentally, the ‘US Persons’
protection in general is a distraction from the power and danger of
this system. Suspicionless surveillance does not become okay
simply because it’s only victimizing 95% of the world instead of 100%.”
service strikers are standing up for the real Britain
item is an article by Seumas Milne on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
The reason this is here
is mainly to point out - once again - that the current English
government steals from the many poor to give the results to the
rich, as I think is quite clear, and which also is obvious from this:
After years of real pay
cuts, public service workers are striking back. Up to a million public
sector employees walked out in July in protest against continuous cuts
in living standards. On Monday, hundreds of thousands of health service
workers went on strike after the government refused them even a 1%
Midwives took action for
the first time. On Wednesday, they were joined by low-paid workers from
courts and job centres to airports and driving test centres – some of whose
take-home pay has fallen by 20%, courtesy of year-on-year wage
freezes, pay caps and rising pension contributions.
There is rather a lot
more in the article, that ends like so:
British workers have had
the longest and
deepest fall in real earnings since the 1860s: an average 8% cut
since 2007. Even as inflation has fallen to 1.2% – and the rate is double that for the low paid
– pay is still lagging behind, as rising inequality in the UK has
outstripped the other leading economies.
When you add in four
years of sweeping cuts in benefits, the impact is severe. You can see
it on the streets of a town like Blackpool, where each
working-age resident will have lost £900 a year as a result by 2015.
Ministers trumpet the drop in unemployment, but the swelling number of
involuntary part-time, self-employed and zero hours workers tells
Turning round the living
standards crisis demands a radical programme of public intervention and
investment, not a slower programme of austerity. But this week’s
strikes – and the TUC’s pay march
at the weekend – offer a chance to shift the political focus
from Westminster infighting and the arch
privatiser Nigel Farage, to the crisis actually faced by the
majority. It’s Care UK, health and public service workers who represent
the real Britain.
Panicked Over Deteriorating Fundamentals (Updated)
item is an article by Yves Smith on Naked Capitalism:
This is here mainly to
show that the next crisis will be rather sooner than later, and that
mainly because the US government chose not to prosecute the
fraudulent bankers, and instead forced the ordinary people to pay
for the billions these bankers wasted. For that is the brief
summary of what happened since 2008.
This starts like this:
The S&P 500
has been falling even more while I compose this this short post. It
went from down over 2.2% to off 2.9% of this writing and the Dow went
from down 2.1%. to down 2.6%, Ten-year Treasury yields dropped to below
2%. They recovered briefly to 2.05% but are now 1.99%. Oil fell sharply
There is a considerable amount
more, at least for those who are fairly familiar with this kind of
Documents Suggest a Close Working
Relationship Between NSA, U.S. Companies
item is an article by Jeff Larson and Julia Langwin on ProPublica:
This starts as
Newly disclosed National
Security Agency documents suggest a closer relationship between
American companies and the spy agency than have been previously
The documents, published
last week by The Intercept, describe "contractual relationships"
between the NSA and U.S. companies, as well as the fact that the NSA
has "under cover" spies working at or with some U.S. companies.
While not conclusive, the
material includes some clear suggestions that at least some American
companies are quite willing to help the agency conduct its massive
The precise role of U.S.
companies in the NSA's global surveillance operations remains unclear.
Documents obtained by Edward Snowden and published by various news
organizations show that companies have turned over their customers'
email, phone calling records and other data under court orders. But the
level of cooperation beyond those court orders has been an open
question, with several leading companies, such as Apple, Google,
Microsoft and Facebook, asserting
that they only turn over customer information that is "targeted and
specific" in response to legal demands.
Well...I'd say that
as long as Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook cheat with their
taxes, which all seem to do in very major ways, which also means in
fact stealing large amounts of money from ordinary people, I
would also not trust their honesty in these matters.
There is more under
the last dotted link.
5. Hidden Agenda Behind Free Trade Deals:
“Everyone but China”
item is an article by Don Quijones on Wolf Street:
This starts as
On Saturday, people
hit the streets of Europe to protest the Transatlantic Trade and
Investment Deal (TTIP), a hyper-secret, so-called “free” trade
agreement that aims to bind together two of the world’s biggest markets
that together represent more than 800 million consumers and 45% of
But “free trade” is at
best a misnomer, at worst an oxymoron: TTIP contains surprisingly
little related to trade, as Ben Beachy of the Public Citizen’s Global
Trade Watch explains.
In the TPP deal (DQ: TPP stands for
the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is currently stalled in the U.S.
Congress but which Obama seeks to revive during the lame duck session)…
only five of 29 chapters have anything to do with what is traditionally
defined as trade (i.e. customs, tariffs and other barriers to trade).
[Most are] so-called “non-traditional” trade issues, which would
include, for example, the right of a corporation to have a monopoly
patent over some drug that it produces, a right that is fundamentally
antithetical to free trade.
Indeed, what gets rarely
mentioned in the debate is the fact that trade between the U.S. and
Europe has never been freer, with the average tariff between the two
regions already as low of 3%. Which begs the question: why the sudden
need for a new, game-changing transatlantic trade agreement?
This question gets
answered in the article, along lines such as these (that I think are
So, if it’s not about
trade, what is the TTIP really about? As I previously reported (here and here), one of the primary goals of 21st century
trade deals like TTIP is to enshrine into law the corporate takeover of
the political, cultural, economic, financial, agricultural, scientific,
digital and public space, as well as remove any remaining barriers on
the ability of multinational corporations to exploit the world’s
resources – including, of course, its human resources.
Also, the TTIP is
deeply secret. There is a lot more under the last dotted link.
 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
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
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: