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. The Digital Arms Race: NSA
Preps America for Future
2. Justice Department
Tracked International Calls in Secret
Nation in Decline': Majority of US Public School
Students Live in Poverty
5. TV wide shots reveal a
different perspective on world
This is a Nederlog of
January 18, 2015.
This is a crisis log. It has 5 items and 5 dotted links: Item
1 is about a - long, thorough - article in the international
Spiegel, also 36 pdf's of Snowden's materials; item 2
is a brief item that shows international phonecalls to and from the
U.S. were tracked since the 1990s; item 3 is a good
article on the neo-cons, who indeed have hardly any tie to reality (and
this is about politicians rather than Fox News); item 4
shows good evidence that at present over half of the public school
pupils in the U.S. live in poverty; and item 5
shows a photo taken from French TV that suggests that "Our Political
Leaders" in fact were not part of the "Je Suis Charlie"
demonstration in Paris they were supposed to lead (but instead they
posed in a site
1. The Digital Arms Race: NSA Preps America for
The first item today is an
article by 9 authors (including Appelbaum and Poitras) on the
This is a fairly long
(on the computer) that also comes with 36 pdfs, that take together over
338 MB. This
looks a lot like a continuation of "Prying
Eyes: Inside the NSA's War on Internet Security" of December 29, that I reviewed on
that day, and that came with 44 pdfs, that took almost 236 MB.
In fact, I've downloaded all (over 500 MB), simply because that
is the best way to have a peep into Edward Snowden's
materials. In case you
are really interested, I recommend you do the same, for indeed I know
no other source. (I did look at some 5 of these files, and may return
to some later in Nederlog.)
And here are two quotations from the article (which I think you should
read all of).
The first is on the wars of the future that the NSA is preparing for:
The second is on the safety of civlians and non-combatants:
According to top secret
documents from the archive of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden seen
exclusively by SPIEGEL, they are planning for wars of the future in
which the Internet will play a critical role, with the aim of being
able to use the net to paralyze computer networks and, by doing so,
potentially all the infrastructure they control, including power and
water supplies, factories, airports or the flow of money.
During the 20th century,
scientists developed so-called ABC weapons -- atomic, biological and
chemical. It took decades before their deployment could be regulated
and, at least partly, outlawed. New digital weapons have now been
developed for the war on the Internet. But there are almost no
international conventions or supervisory authorities for these D
weapons, and the only law that applies is the survival of the fittest.
Quite so. For more, use
the last dotted link.
In this guerilla war over
data, little differentiation is made between soldiers and civilians,
the Snowden documents show. Any Internet user could suffer damage to
his or her data or computer. It also has the potential to create perils
in the offline world as well. If, for example, a D weapon like Barnfire
were to destroy or "brick" the control center of a hospital as a result
of a programming error, people who don't even own a mobile phone could
have adopted "plausible deniability" as their guiding principle for
Internet operations. To ensure their ability to do so, they seek to
make it impossible to trace the author of the attack.
It's a stunning approach
with which the digital spies deliberately undermine the very
foundations of the rule of law around the globe. This approach
threatens to transform the Internet into a lawless zone in which
superpowers and their secret services operate according to their own
whims with very few ways to hold them accountable for their actions.
2. Justice Department Tracked International
Calls in Secret
The next item is an article by
Alexander Reed Kelly on Truthdig:
This starts as follows (and
It is claimed that the secret
database started in the 1990s and was stopped in August 2013. And it is
claimed the secret database was deleted.
The U.S. Justice
Department kept a secret database of U.S. calls made to and from
foreign countries, a new court filing and officials familiar with the
The filing, which was in
regard to a man accused of conspiring to illegally export electronics
to Iran, did not say how many or which countries were involved.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
A Drug Enforcement
Administration official said in the three-page filing that the agency
has long used administrative subpoenas—not federal court orders—to
collect the metadata of U.S. calls to and from foreign countries “that
were determined to have a demonstrated nexus to international drug
trafficking and related criminal activities.’’
Indeed, I am willing to believe it, for the NSA now has much better
access, or so it seems to me. The interesting thing is that - although
I can understand why drug traffickers may be tracked - this again seems
to have happened illegally (with "administrative
subpoenas—not federal court orders").
next item is an article by Robert Parry on Consortiumnews:
This starts as follows:
It is a good article that I
recommend you read all of. It ends as follows:
Historically, one of the
main threads of U.S. foreign policy was called “realism,” that is the
measured application of American power on behalf of definable national
interests, with U.S. principles preached to others but not imposed.
This approach traced back
to the early days of the Republic when the first presidents warned of
foreign “entangling alliances” – and President John Quincy Adams, who
was with his father at the nation’s dawning, explained
in 1821 that while America speaks on behalf of liberty, “she has
abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when
conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last
vital drop that visits the heart. …
“Wherever the standard of
freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her
heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in
search of monsters to destroy.”
However, in modern times,
foreign policy “realism” slid into an association with a cold
calculation of power, no longer a defense of the Republic and broader
national interests but of narrow, well-connected economic interests.
The language of freedom was woven into a banner for greed and plunder.
Liberty justified the imposition of dictatorships on troublesome
populations. Instead of searching for monsters to destroy, U.S. policy
often searched for monsters to install.
What the neocons have
constructed through their skilled propaganda is a grim wonderland
where no one foresees the dangers of encouraging Islamist
fundamentalism as a geopolitical ploy, where no one takes heed of the
historic hatreds of Sunni and Shiite, where no one suspects that the
U.S. military slaughtering thousands upon thousands of Muslims might
provoke a backlash, where no one thinks about the consequences of
overthrowing regimes in unstable regions, where no one bothers to study
the bitter history of a place like Ukraine, and where no one worries
about spreading turmoil to nuclear-armed Russia.
Yet, this neocon madness
– this “anti-realism” – has been playing out in the real world on a
grand scale, destroying real lives and endangering the real future of
Nation in Decline': Majority of US Public
School Students Live in Poverty
next item is an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
There is considerably
more under the last dotted link - but this illustrates also why the crisis does continue, though indeed not for the top
10% of the incomes:
The 90% remain as poor as they were - or grow poorer.
study released on Friday shows that more than half of students
enrolled in U.S. public schools live in poverty, a measurement that the
report's authors say places the U.S. on the road to overall social
Released by the Southern
Education Foundation, the new analysis (pdf) used the most recent
national census figures available to confirm that 51 percent of the
students across the nation’s public schools were low income in 2013.
shots reveal a different perspective on world leaders
The last item today is
article by Adam Withnall on The Independent:
This contains the
following screenshot from French TV News "of the Leaders of the
Demonstration" (and the feet in the top of the picture may be anyone's):
And it has -
i.a. - the following text:
Now, a different
perspective on the leader’s portion of the march has emerged in the
form of a wide shot displayed on French TV news reports.
It shows that the front
line of leaders was followed by just over a dozen rows other
dignitaries and officials – after which there was a large security
presence maintaining a significant gap with the throngs of other
The measure was
presumably taken for security reasons – but political commentators have
suggested that it raises doubts as to whether the leaders were really
part of the march at all.