January 27, 2015
Crisis: Mass surveillance, Smartphones, Cameron's Cuts, Leaks, Wall Street
  "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
   -- Benjamin Franklin
   "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


1. Mass surveillance is fundamental threat to human rights,
     says European report

2. Secret ‘BADASS’ Intelligence Program Spied on

Cameron cuts, and the money is recycled to the rich
The war on leaks has gone way too far when journalists'
     emails are under surveillance

 Wall Street’s Threat to the American Middle Class  


This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, January 27, 2015.

This is a crisis log. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1 is about mass surveillance, with my comparisons of Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights with Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (of 1948); item 2 is about smartphones, with an extension to the internet; item 3 is about how Cameron's cuts nearly all favor the few British rich; item 4 is about Wikileaks (and the rest of the once "free press"); and item 5 is about Robert Reich on Wall Street.

1. Mass surveillance is fundamental threat to human rights, says European report

The first item today is an article by Luke Harding on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:

Europe’s top rights body has said mass surveillance practices are a fundamental threat to human rights and violate the right to privacy enshrined in European law.

The parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe says in a report that it is “deeply concerned” by the “far-reaching, technologically advanced systems” used by the US and UK to collect, store and analyse the data of private citizens. It describes the scale of spying by the US National Security Agency, revealed by Edward Snowden, as “stunning”.

The report also suggests that British laws that give the monitoring agency GCHQ wide-ranging powers are incompatible with the European convention on human rights. It argues that British surveillance may be at odds with article 8, the right to privacy, as well as article 10, which guarantees freedom of expression, and article 6, the right to a fair trial.

“These rights are cornerstones of democracy. Their infringement without adequate judicial control jeopardises the rule of law,” it says.

I say. And they came to this conclusion that "the scale of spying" is - wait for it - "stunning" within a mere 1 1/2 years since Snowden! I say!

No, it is not "criminal" - let alone "fascistic"! - for a couple of tenthousands of secret and anonymous supermen (I mean: Übermenschen, for that is what these secret types who may know everything about anyone must be) from the American secret service to treat everyone as a terrorist, hoover up all his e-mails and all his cell-phone data, to find out (in secret, covered by secret courts) what he or she can be accused of, and I mean of everyone everywhere, and then pretend there is nothing to fear for "everyone who has not done anything wrong". O no!

Well OK... let's first see what is the power of what is presented to be "
Europe’s top rights body":
Though the recommendations are not binding on governments, the European court of human rights looks to the assembly for broad inspiration, and occasionally cites it in its rulings.
Which is to say: It is completely powerless (though all these parliamentarians that make it up are extremely well paid): it is an utter sham, though also a very expensive one.

Next, let us look at article 8. Currently, that reads as follows in the so-called
European Convention on Human Rights:
Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life

1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

This sounds as if it has been crafted by a bunch of Dutch moral degenerates, for in Holland absolutely everyone [1] has "the right to respect", from Hitler and Goebbels to Einstein and Schweitzer: all are "respected" in Holland, for in Holland absolutely "everbody" is "of the same value as absolutely everybody else" by law: You, Hitler, Einstein, Goebbels, Schweitzer, Mengele: All are persons of precisely the same value as everybody else. And deserves respect, Respect, RESPECT! Legally! According to Dutch law! Proposed by a Dutch "communist"! Accorded by Dutch Parliament!

You think I am angry without reason? Well... here is the article the above sick and degenerate piece of legal shit
replaced - and yes: of course Clapper and Alexander are brimming with "respect" for your "private and family life", and of course they are allowed to spy on your data to their hearts' content if all they need is show "respect" while doing it.

From the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948:

Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
You see: That was a law when a law still was a law, rather than a piece of bureaucratic shit full of stinking hypocritical "respect" and full of loopholes, evasions, degeneracies, means of equivocation, doubletalk and plain bullshit, that replaced article 12 by sick and degenerate claims of respect "for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence" while striking out that "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation."

And while article 12 clearly insisted that "Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks" the respectful degenerates who crafted article 8 excepted everyone who is not a public authority (so at least Google, Apple, Microsoft etc. can spy as they damn well please: they are not "public authorities"), excepted all breakages of article 12 because of some "law", excepted all spying "for national security", excepted all spying deemed to be for "public safety", excepted all spying that was claimed to help "economic wellbeing", excepted all spying claimed to be against "disorder", excepted all spying claimed to be against "crime", excepted all spying for reasons of preserving "health", excepted all spying for saving "morals", excepted all spying for saving "rights" and excepted all spying claimed to be for "freedoms of others".

That is what article 8 says, in total contrast with article 12. So.... the GCHQ, the NSA, the AIVD etc. etc. may spy [2] (in secret) and interfere (in secret) to their hearts content wherever it concerns "
national security", "public safety", "economic well-being", "disorder", "crime", "health", "morals", "rights" and "freedoms of others", but apart from these exceptions (that allow them to do as they fucking well please) they have to .... show "respect" for your "private and family life".

That is the "protection" the European Convention of Human Rights offer your "
private and family life": Any secret service can do anything they please, provided they spy on you - they claim, and the rest is for secret courts with secret judgments based on secret "evidence" - to further "national security", or "public safety", or "economic well-being", or they claim (and etc.) to oppose "disorder" or "crime", or they claim (and etc.) to further "health", or "morals", or "rights" or "freedoms of others" - BUT also and always provided they show "RESPECT!" while doing it, for that is what "our people" want: RESPECT.

I really cannot see why they did not replace article 8 by the following
Article 8' – Right to respect for private and family life
8'.1. Everyone and every family is fully entitled to full doses of deep RESPECT, in equal amounts, measured out fairly and regularly by Honest European Parliamentarians.
8'.2. Whoever has done nothing wrong has nothing to fear.
8'.3. We fully trust our very brave and heroic secret services!
O no, sorry: I do. Bullshit, crap, evasions and loopholes sell a lot better.

2.  Secret ‘BADASS’ Intelligence Program Spied on Smartphones

The next item is an article by Micah Lee on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

British and Canadian spy agencies accumulated sensitive data on smartphone users, including location, app preferences, and unique device identifiers, by piggybacking on ubiquitous software from advertising and analytics companies, according to a document obtained by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The document, included in a trove of Snowden material released by Der Spiegel on January 17, outlines a secret program run by the intelligence agencies called BADASS. The German newsweekly did not write about the BADASS document, attaching it to a broader article on cyberwarfare. According to The Intercept‘s analysis of the document, intelligence agents applied BADASS software filters to streams of intercepted internet traffic, plucking from that traffic unencrypted uploads from smartphones to servers run by advertising and analytics companies.

There is a lot more under the last dotted link, most of which is about smartphones, but at the end it is also concluded, quite justifiedly, that much that was said holds for the internet in general (with unencrypted data and without https rather than mere unencrypted http).

(Incidentally, this is based on documents Der Spiegel put on line, that I recommended you to download on January 18.)

3.  Cameron cuts, and the money is recycled to the rich

The next item is an article by Polly Toynbee on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:

David Cameron spread out a fabulous feast of bribes. Outlining his party’s tax plans in a speech yesterday, the prime minister made clear that lavish tax cuts for the better off will be the £7bn prize for returning him to Downing Street. This comes after a famine of £48bn in public service cuts, the like of which the country has never known. The Institute for Fiscal Studies says there has never been so great a difference in economic plans between the two main parties.

“The people whose hard work and personal sacrifices have got us through these difficult times should come first,” Cameron said. So who exactly worked hardest and took the heaviest burdens – and what will be their reward? Certainly not those who made most sacrifices – the same low earners whose working tax credits and benefits George Osborne will cut again by another £12bn.

With bottomless cynicism, Cameron relies on public ignorance on tax. Like the Liberal Democrats, he hopes most people are clueless as to the true effect of raising the personal threshold.
 Yes, indeed. Here is a sum-up of Cameron's policies:
So there you have it: the feast is for Conservative core voters; famine for those least likely to vote Cameron. The windfall for the better-off comes cleverly disguised as kindness to low earners.

As he spoke he stood in front of the slogan “A Britain that rewards work”. That’s news to all those hard workers miserably under-rewarded.
 There is considerably more detail in the article under the last dotted link.

4. The war on leaks has gone way too far when journalists' emails are under surveillance

The next item is an article by Trevor Timm on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

The outrageous legal attack on WikiLeaks and its staffers, who are exercising their First Amendment rights to publish classified information in the public interest—just like virtually every other major news organization in this country—is an attack on freedom of the press itself, and it’s shocking that more people aren’t raising their voices (and pens, and keyboards) in protest.

In the past four years, WikiLeaks has had their Twitter accounts secretly spied on, been forced to forfeit most of their funding after credit card companies unilaterally cut them off, had the FBI place an informant inside their news organization, watched their supporters hauled before a grand jury, and been the victim of the UK spy agency GCHQ hacking of their website and spying on their readers.

Related: WikiLeaks demands answers after Google hands staff emails to US government

Now we’ve learned that, as The Guardian reported on Sunday, the Justice Department got a warrant in 2012 to seize the contents – plus the metadata on emails received, sent, drafted and deleted – of three WikiLeaks’ staffers personal Gmail accounts, which was inexplicably kept secret from them for almost two and a half years.

Yes, indeed. There is considerably more under the last dotted link, including this:

Unfortunately the news world has never rallied around WikiLeaks’ First Amendment rights they way they should – sometimes even refusing to acknowledge they are a journalism organization, perhaps because they dare to do things a little differently than the mainstream media, or because WikiLeaks tweets provocative political opinions, or because they think its founder, Julian Assange, is an unsympathetic figure.

Those are all disgraceful excuses to ignore the government’s overreach: the rights of news organizations everywhere are under just as much threat whether the government reads the private emails of staffers at WikiLeaks, Fox News or the Associated Press. In the eyes of the law, the organizations are virtually indistinguishable, as legal scholars from across the political spectrum have documented for years.

Quite so. (For more, use the last dotted link. It is a good article.)

5. Wall Street’s Threat to the American Middle Class 

The next and last item today is an article by Robert Reich on his site:

This starts as follows:

Presidential aspirants in both parties are talking about saving the middle class. But the middle class can’t be saved unless Wall Street is tamed.

The Street’s excesses pose a continuing danger to average Americans. And its ongoing use of confidential corporate information is defrauding millions of middle-class investors.

Yet most presidential aspirants don’t want to talk about taming the Street because Wall Street is one of their largest sources of campaign money.

Yes indeed - and Robert Reich talks about a schema I summarized in 2012 as follows (though you may replace "Economic decline" by "Wall Street's riches"):


For it comes to the same: Wall Street's riches result from the Economic decline of the middle and lower classes, for as Robert Reich continues:

Do we really need reminding about what happened six years ago? The financial collapse crippled the middle class and poor — consuming the savings of millions of average Americans, and causing 23 million to lose their jobs, 9.3 million to lose their health insurance, and some 1 million to lose their homes.

And then the banks were saved by Obama, Paulson, and Geithner in the interests of the banks' (mega-rich) managers. There is considerably more under the last dotted link, including this:

In the 2008 presidential campaign, the financial sector ranked fourth among all industry groups giving to then candidate Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee. In fact, Obama reaped far more in contributions from the Street than did his Republican opponent.

Wall Street also supplies both administrations with key economic officials. The treasury secretaries under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush – Robert Rubin and Henry Paulson, respectfully, had both chaired Goldman Sachs before coming to Washington.

And before becoming Obama’s treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner had been handpicked by Rubin to become president of Federal Reserve Bank of New York. (Geithner is now back on the Street as president of the private-equity firm Warburg Pincus.)

In brief: It is extremely hard to beat Wall Street, simply because they have Big Money and can buy almost any politician. And as to "buying almost any politician": please note that the Supreme Court of the United States has decided that corporations = people and money = votes.


[1] That is: Except me, for I am a "fascist terrorist" according to 16 academic philosophers from the University of Amsterdam (all equals of Aristotle, Newton and Einstein), which was upheld by its Board of Directors, who kicked me from the faculty of philosophy as a student briefly before getting my M.A. there (as the only student since WW II to be kicked from a university for honestly stating his opinions), after which I was allowed to be gassed (literally!) by the mayor of Amsterdam's personal drugsdealers who were permitted by him to deal illegal drugs from the bottom floor where I lived, and who were allowed to threaten me with murder for more than 3 1/2 years, for the police refused to do anything for me, even after the drugsdealers were arrested with a kilo of heroin and two kilos of cocaine in 1991. That is "the freedom of Amsterdam", as proudly preserved by its mayors and aldermen!

There are Dutch exceptions, but I am one of the very few Dutchmen you need not respect, and one of the very, very, very few Dutchmen who is not a legal equal of Aristotle, Hitler, Einstein, and Goebbels in Holland, and who does not have many rights, because he had the guts to oppose the utter incompetents in the university and to criticize the now more than 30 years of illegal drugsdealing in Amsterdam, worth at least 300 bilions of dollars in merely marijuana and hashish turned over in Holland (and much more if the illegal sales in heroin, cocaine, speed, ecstasy etc. are counted!) , and these are the major crimes that I committed (protesting totally incompetent rich profiteers and protesting illegal drugsdealers who tried to gas me and threatened me with murder) that merit, according to Dutch morals and Dutch laws - at present - 27 years of discrimination, neglect, and denials that I am physically ill, which I am. But not according to the drugsdealing mayors and aldermen of Amsterdam...

[2] As they say, and according to all the exceptions of Article 8 - rejected by me as an affront to reason, but that is just me - they also are right: The laws also have been intentionally corrupted by the same breed of politicians who intentionally helped to deregulate the banks (or acted as if this did not matter one bit).
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