30, 2014
Crisis: GCHQ*2, FBI, U.S. Warrior Cops, Assange, Snail Mail, "terrorism", Citizenfour
  "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

GCHQ views data without a warrant, government admits
FBI demands new powers to hack into computers and
     carry out surveillance

3. Arming the Warrior Cop: From Guns to Drones, Inside the
     Booming Business of Police Militarization

4. ‘When Google Met WikiLeaks’: An Exclusive Excerpt
5. Government Agencies Are Secretly Going Through Your
     Snail Mail, Too

6. Our Warped Idea of Terrorism: It Only Applies to People
     Who Oppose America and Its Allies

7. British Spy Agency: We Don't Need Warrant for
     Americans' Data. We Have 'Arrangements'

8. "Citizenfour" Directly Confronts the Intelligence
     Apparatus' Subversion of Democracy

About ME/CFS


This is a Nederlog of Thursday, October 30. It is a
crisis log.

There are 8 items with 8 dotted links: Item 1 and item 7 are about the state terrorism that the British state does against the rights of its inhabitants, which indeed is justified by "Citizenfour" in item 8, that is, what is justified is that the
state behaves as a terrorist, for it steals all the information anybody puts on the internet, on the pretext that they are battling "terrorism"; item 2 shows that the FBI is now asking for pemission to invest any computer anywhere with malware; item 3 is about the arisal of the warrior cop in the U.S.; item 4 is by Julian Assange on a meeting he had (in 2011) with Google's CEO; item 5 shows that in the U.S. all snail mail gets photographed, and much opened; and item 6 explains that "terrorism" is mostly a pretext for state terrorism.

Here goes:

1. GCHQ views data without a warrant, government admits

The first item is an article by James Ball on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:

British intelligence services can access raw material collected in bulk by the NSA and other foreign spy agencies without a warrant, the government has confirmed for the first time.

GCHQ’s secret “arrangements” for accessing bulk material are revealed in documents submitted to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, the UK surveillance watchdog, in response to a joint legal challenge by Privacy International, Liberty and Amnesty International. The legal action was launched in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations published by the Guardian and other news organisations last year.

The government’s submission discloses that the UK can obtain “unselected” – meaning unanalysed, or raw intelligence – information from overseas partners without a warrant if it was “not technically feasible” to obtain the communications under a warrant and if it is “necessary and proportionate” for the intelligence agencies to obtain that information.

Which is to say - and I formulate it crudely because this is a crude crime:
The GCHQ can do as it fucking well pleases (in a few cases: provided some of their heads mumbles the phrase
“necessary and proportionate”).

As Privacy International said:

Privacy International, one of several advocacy groups mounting legal challenges against GCHQ and NSA surveillance, said the revelation should cast further doubts on legal safeguards in the UK.

“We now know that data from any call, internet search, or website you visited over the past two years could be stored in GCHQ’s database and analysed at will, all without a warrant to collect it in the first place,” said deputy director Eric King. “It is outrageous that the government thinks mass surveillance, justified by secret “arrangements” that allow for vast and unrestrained receipt and analysis of foreign intelligence material is lawful.”

I agree, except that I do not think the British government thinks this is "lawful":
They keep things as secret as they can, in which they still also have largely succeeded, because they know it is not lawful. In fact, they do not care that it is unlawful: They want all the information they can get, and are willing to lie thermselves blue in the face, which again they can do, because the government agrees with the spies: They want all information of almost anyone, because this makes them more powerful than any British government has ever been.

And no: this has nothing to do with "terrorism" however defined, except with the word "state" prefixed (see also items 6 and 8 below): it is state terrorism that
aims at making the state the clearinghouse by which all ideas, all policies, all values, all secrets have to be vetted for approval (in secret, most of the time, but Big Brother Is Watching You).

There is considerably more under the last dotted link.

2. FBI demands new powers to hack into computers and carry out surveillance  

The next item is an article by Ed Pilkington on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

The FBI is attempting to persuade an obscure regulatory body in Washington to change its rules of engagement in order to seize significant new powers to hack into and carry out surveillance of computers throughout the US and around the world.

Civil liberties groups warn that the proposed rule change amounts to a power grab by the agency that would ride roughshod over strict limits to searches and seizures laid out under the fourth amendment of the US constitution, as well as violate first amendment privacy rights. They have protested that the FBI is seeking to transform its cyber capabilities with minimal public debate and with no congressional oversight.

There is also this:

The proposed operating changes related to rule 41 of the federal rules of criminal procedure, the terms under which the FBI is allowed to conduct searches under court-approved warrants. Under existing wording, warrants have to be highly focused on specific locations where suspected criminal activity is occurring and approved by judges located in that same district.

But under the proposed amendment, a judge can issue a warrant that would allow the FBI to hack into any computer, no matter where it is located. The change is designed specifically to help federal investigators carry out surveillance on computers that have been “anonymized” – that is, their location has been hidden using tools such as Tor.

And this:

Were the amendment to be granted by the regulatory committee, the FBI would have the green light to unleash its capabilities – known as “network investigative techniques” – on computers across America and beyond. The techniques involve clandestinely installing malicious software, or malware, onto a computer that in turn allows federal agents effectively to control the machine, downloading all its digital contents, switching its camera or microphone on or off, and even taking over other computers in its network.

“This is an extremely invasive technique,” said Chris Soghoian, principal technologist of the American Civil Liberties Union, who will also be addressing the hearing. “We are talking here about giving the FBI the green light to hack into any computer in the country or around the world.”

There is a considerable amount more under the last dotted link.

3. Arming the Warrior Cop: From Guns to Drones, Inside the Booming Business of Police Militarization 

The next item is an article by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now!:

This starts as follows:

In a new cover story for Mother Jones magazine, "The Making of the Warrior Cop," senior reporter Shane Bauer goes inside the corporations and government departments involved in enabling police departments to acquire anything from bayonets to semi-automatic rifles and drones. Reporting from the exposition called "Urban Shield" — which organizers call the largest first-responder training in the world — Bauer says that the equipment police departments have received from the military pales in comparison to the amount of gear purchased from private companies. The Department of Homeland Security has provided some $41 billion in funding to local police departments to buy the equipment from various corporations, on top of more than $5 billion from the Pentagon since 1997.

In fact, this is an interview with Shane Bauer, who also was imprisoned for two years in Iran. You can read the interview using the last dotted link.

Here I only want to make the points that the militarization of the police is extremely well funded by the governments; that it comprises very much more than buying surplus military material from the Pentagon; that it started under Clinton; that it became Big Business after 9/11; and that this is probably all planned: the American goverment is investing billions of tax dollars to buy
themselves the best protection there is - for no: again this has only to do with
"terrorism" if this is state terrorism, and yes, the police exists in the first place
to defend the government and not the people.

4. ‘When Google Met WikiLeaks’: An Exclusive Excerpt 

The next item is an article by Julian Assange on Truthdig:

This is a fairly long record of a talk Julian Assange had with Google chairman Eric Schmidt and some others in 2011, that is in turn lifted from Assange's new book "When Google Met Wikileak".

I quote just two brief bits, with Julian Assange speaking in both cases:
Yes we have these heroic moments with Watergate and so on, but actually, come on, the press has never been very good. It has always been very bad. Fine journalists are an exception to the rule. When you are involved in something yourself, like I am with WikiLeaks, and you know every facet of it, you look to see what is reported about it in the mainstream press and you see naked lie after naked lie. You know that the journalist knows it’s a lie; it is not a simple mistake. Then people repeat lies and so on.
Yes indeed - and I have noticed and indeed repeatedly written the same:

If you know something about what the journalist writes about, you very often see quite a view mistakes. But nearly all people who read the article that the journalist wrote, do not know anything about whatever the journalist wrote about, and therefore do not see the mistakes.

I have seen this quite a few times, but I should add - also having lived several years with a journalist, and worked with her - that this quite often is not direct lying, but miscomprehension, lack of adequate knowledge, guesses or surmises etc. though I agree there may be lies as well, and especially if the lying favors a politician or a corporation, or avoids that the journalist is endangered.

And there is this bit, from the end of the article:
I don’t see a difference between government and big corporations and small corporations. This is all one continuum; these are all systems that are trying to get as much power as possible. A general is trying to get as much power for his section of the army, and so on. They advertise, they produce something that they claim is a product, people buy it, people don’t buy it, they complexify in order to hide the flaws in their product, and they spin. So I don’t see a big difference between government and nongovernment actors in that way.
Yes, indeed. And in fact the big corporations and government tend to work closely together, or indeed, as in the United States, the big corporations have invested a lot of money in the government (which they tend to get back with huge interest).

5. Government Agencies Are Secretly Going Through Your Snail Mail, Too

The next item is an article by  Natasha Hakimi Zapata on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
Apparently the National Security Agency is not the only government organization violating Americans’ privacy rights by collecting massive amounts of data. It turns out law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Postal Service are also looking through our mail. So much for the “sweet land of liberty.”
In fact, in 2013 there were nearly 50,000 requests to check mail, which is a strong increase over the 8,000 requests in previous years. The source of the article is a fairly long article in the New York Times by Ron Nixon, from which I quote to brief bits.

First, there is this on the procedure:
The audit, which was reported on earlier by Politico, found that in many cases the Postal Service approved requests to monitor an individual’s mail without adequately describing the reason or having proper written authorization.
And there is this on photography: every letter that reaches the United States
gets photographed, no doubt because "it may be by A Terrorist":

The Postal Service also uses a program called Mail Imaging, in which its computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail sent in the United States. The program’s primary purpose is to process the mail, but in some cases it is also used as a surveillance system that allows law enforcement agencies to request stored images of mail sent to and received by people they are investigating.

6. Our Warped Idea of Terrorism: It Only Applies to People Who Oppose America and Its Allies

The next item is an article by Alex Kane on AlterNet:

This starts as follows:

The definition of terrorism seems simple enough. The Merriam-Webster dictionary states that it is “the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal.”

But America’s leaders and corporate media have a radically different definition of terrorism.

“In the mainstream American media, the ‘terrorist’ label is usually reserved for those opposed to the policies of the U.S. and its allies,” Tomas Kapitan, professor emeritus at Northern Illinois University, recently wrote in a column for the New York Times. This terrorist label is usually slapped on Muslims, even when they use violence in the context of a war zone like the Gaza Strip over the summer.

Yes indeed - and in fact I pointed this out in 2005, in Dutch, when I also added that the supposed "terrorism", that was used to legitimize the governmental onslaught on the rights and freedoms of everyone, was in fact not worth 1% of 1% of the dangers the Soviet Union and its allies formed for the West during the Cold War, which means that the supposed "terrorism" functioned as a pretext for the real state terrorism that was the onslaught on the rights and freedoms of everyone, that also was the real point.

The terms "terrorism" and "terrorist" are used to scare the population, and to justify the real state terrorism that these abused terms introduced:

Yes, there was and is terrorism, but it was nearly all done by the secret services, the police forces and the military of Western governments, and it was not directed against a few groups of supposed "terrorists" (without territory, without armies, without atomic weapons), though that was the pretext: it was directed against the rights and the freedoms of the Western civil inhabitants.

And it nearly completely succeeded. The state terrorism, I mean.

7. British Spy Agency: We Don't Need Warrant for Americans' Data. We Have 'Arrangements'

The next item is an article by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows (and is about the same subject as item 1):

British intelligence agencies can access Americans' communications data without a warrant and keep it for two years, newly released documents show.

The British spy agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), revealed the practices, called "arrangements" by the government, to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), a watchdog for national surveillance practices.

Some of the details of of these "arrangements" were provided to human rights organizations including Privacy International, Liberty and Amnesty International, which had brought a challenge regarding GCHQ's surveillance activities to the IPT following revelations made possible by Edward Snowden.

The policies allow the British agencies to receive bulk data from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) as well as other foreign agencies.

In fact, this corresponds to what I've claimed all the time: The secret services of the Five Eyes circumvent the law by spying on other countries - e.g. the NSA on the British and the GCHQ on the Americans - and then exchanging their results, possibly mumbling that what they are doing must be “necessary and proportionate”, while acting as if they are gravely offended if anyone suggests that they are spying on their own citizens: They are not (or may be not: they let their friends and comrades do it, and then exchanged).

This ends as follows:

"We now know that data from any call, internet search, or website you visited over the past two years could be stored in GCHQ's database and analyzed at will, all without a warrant to collect it in the first place," Eric King, Deputy Director of Privacy international, said in a press statement.

Yes, indeed. And see item 1 which is about the same facts and contains more quotes.

8. "Citizenfour" Directly Confronts the Intelligence Apparatus' Subversion of Democracy

The next and last item of today is an article by Geoff Gilbert on Truthout, which is basically a long and sound reflection on "Citizenfour" (that I haven't seen, so far):
This starts as follows:
To challenge the radical claim frequently made by defenders of the national security status quo that mass, suspicionless surveillance is justified by the threat of terrorism, Laura Poitras' new documentary Citizenfour puts forth an equally ambitious argument: mass surveillance has almost nothing to do with terrorism.
As I have argued already in 2005, in Dutch, indeed not based on any information about the governmental spying on everyone (which did start to happen then, but about which I had neither information nor suspicion), that happens, with the illegal protection of the various governments everywhere in the West, but based on a realistic assessment of the differences between the enormous dangers the Soviet Union and its allies posed until 1989 (very large professional armies, thousands of atomic weapons, own territories, working economies, hundreds of millions of civilians) compared with the - comparatively - extremely small dangers of "jihadi terrorists" (without armies, without territories, with little money, few supporters, and no atomic weapons).

But this is a good article that you should read for yourself. And here is Laura Poitras herself, quoted from "Citizenfour":
"For now, know that every border you cross, every purchase you make, every call you dial, every cell phone tower you pass, friend you keep, site you visit and subject line you type, is in the hands of a system whose reach is unlimited, but whose safeguards are not."
Quite so.

The only other thing I quote is
United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which is sufficient to clarify that the leaders of the NSA and the GCHQ, and the presidents and prime ministers who head them, and their ministers, behave as gross criminals:
Article 17 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states, "no one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home and correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour or reputation."
But everyone is now subjected to completely arbitrary interference, on the pretext that he or she might be "a terrorist", or a contact of "a terrorist", or the contact of a contact of "a terrorist", but with the real aim to surrect an authoritarian police state: were it otherwise, the governments would have been much more open, much more democratic, indeed much more legalistic.

There is a lot more under the last dotted link.

[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)

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)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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