February 26, 2015
Crisis: Gemalto, Canadian Spies, British Loyalty, Black Site *2,  Warming World
  "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. Gemalto Doesn’t Know What It Doesn’t Know
2. Canadian Spies Collect Domestic Emails in Secret
     Security Sweep

Why are we questioning the loyalty of British Muslims?
     We never ask anyone else

The disappeared: Chicago police detain Americans at
     abuse-laden 'black site'

The Warming World: Is Capitalism Destroying Our

6. Secret CIA Black Sites In American Heartland For
     'Disappearing' Citizens


This is a Nederlog of Thursday, February 26, 2015.

This is a crisis log, and I should say first that late yesterday I also uploaded the last
crisis index that now covers the - currently - 777 (plus 10 later added) crisis files I wrote, starting on September 1, 2008 (in Dutch).

There are 6 items with 6 dotted links: Item 1 is about the French-Dutch corporation Gemalto, that seems more interested in its own profits than in maintaining security; item 2 is about Canada's secret service, that currently
steals more than 1000 pages of text per Canadian citizen per month (all for
your security - they claim); item 3 is about discriminating Muslims in Great Britain (and extended by me to free speech); item 4 is about a black site
maintained by Chicago police, it seems with the end of forcing confessions
out of people, without anyone - including lawyers - knowing where they are
or what is happening to them; item 5 is about a long article in the International Spiegel Online that is decent, except for two silly last sentences; and item 6
is not an article but a video about the black site documented in item 4.

1. Gemalto Doesn’t Know What It Doesn’t Know

The first item today is an article by Jeremy Scahill on The Intercept:

This starts as follows (and I like the title):

Gemalto, the French-Dutch digital security giant, confirmed that it believes American and British spies were behind a “particularly sophisticated intrusion” of its internal computer networks, as reported by The Intercept last week.

This morning, the company tried to downplay the significance of NSA and GCHQ efforts against its mobile phone encryption keys — and, in the process, made erroneous statements about cellphone technology and sweeping claims about its own security that experts describe as highly questionable.

In case you're interested: I reviewed the above linked paper on February 20.
You may be interested because that review also contains links to and quotations from two other articles. And it contains this diagnosis by me:

The American, English and other secret services are not out "to fight terrorism", though that is their pretext: They are out to implement state terrorism by knowing in principle everything anybody ever wrote with a computer or said into a cell-phone - and that was and is their main aim from the beginning, which started around 9/11/2001, because then they got the pretext, the money and the liberties signed by the U.S. president.

In fact, this idea of mine goes back to October 29, 2005 (in Dutch), though it is also true this got a whole lot strengthened by Snowden's revelations (of nearly 8 years later), for in 2005 I did not know about the NSA, the GCHQ, and other criminal secret services.

Back to the article under the last dotted link. This contains rather a lot more, that mostly centers around Gemalto's claims that its leaks are a lot less serious than it seems, which seem to be founded on nothing but their desires to keep making profits:

The company was eager to address the claims that its systems and encryption keys had been massively compromised. At one point in stock trading after publication of the report, Gemalto suffered a half billion dollar hit to its market capitalization. The stock only partially recovered in the following days.

After the brief investigation, Gemalto now says that the NSA and GCHQ operations in 2010-2011 would not allow the intelligence agencies to spy on 3G and 4G networks, and that theft would have been rare after 2010, when it deployed a “secure transfer system.”

That seems baloney: Gemalto thought everything was OK with their systems until The Intercept told them that was false, and they simply cannot have seriously investigated the leaks in the few days since they know about them, and also
they give no evidence whatsoever for their claims.

I'd say Gemalto is in deep trouble: The Germans are preparing an investigation;
the Chinese, who also use Gemalto-"secured" mobile phones are "investigating
the breach", and the general atmosphere seems well caught by this:

While Gemalto is clearly trying to calm its investors and customers, security experts say the company’s statements appear intended to reassure the public about the company’s security rather than to demonstrate that it is taking the breach seriously.

There is a lot more under the last dotted link.

2. Canadian Spies Collect Domestic Emails in Secret Security Sweep

The next item is an article by Ryan Gallagher and Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

Canada’s electronic surveillance agency is covertly monitoring vast amounts of Canadians’ emails as part of a sweeping domestic cybersecurity operation, according to top-secret documents.

The surveillance initiative, revealed Wednesday by CBC News in collaboration with The Intercept, is sifting through millions of emails sent to Canadian government agencies and departments, archiving details about them on a database for months or even years.

The data mining operation is carried out by the Communications Security Establishment, or CSE, Canada’s equivalent of the National Security Agency. Its existence is disclosed in documents obtained by The Intercept from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

There is also this:

Under Canada’s criminal code, CSE is not allowed to eavesdrop on Canadians’ communications. But the agency can be granted special ministerial exemptions if its efforts are linked to protecting government infrastructure — a loophole that the Snowden documents show is being used to monitor the emails.

Incidentally, this seems like the "European Convention on Human Rights", that in fact are the opposite of the original 1948 "Universal Declaration of Human Rights", since the "European Convention on Human Rights" seems mostly to consist of very many "exceptions" to human rights, where the secret services are allowed (according to this "European Convention") to spy on anyone for almost any reason. [1]

Here is a brief overview on the incredible amount of data the Canadians are and have been gathering for years and years, in the deepest secret:

In a top-secret CSE document on the security operation, dated from 2010, the agency says it “processes 400,000 emails per day” and admits that it is suffering from “information overload” because it is scooping up “too much data.”

The document outlines how CSE built a system to handle a massive 400 terabytes of data from Internet networks each month — including Canadians’ emails — as part of the cyber operation. (A single terabyte of data can hold about a billion pages of text, or about 250,000 average-sized mp3 files.)

So merely the Canadians - a country of slightly over 35 million people - gathers 400 billion pages of text (all illegaly stolen) each month (which is more than 1000 pages per Canadian, per month, though indeed the Canadians seem to gather illegal information from everywhere, because they can, and the government allows them to, and nearly wholly in secret).

There is a lot more under the last dotted link.

3. Why are we questioning the loyalty of British Muslims? We never ask anyone else

The next item is an article by Suzanne Moore on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
How loyal are you to this country? How proud are you of it? Answer exactly. Explain yourself to me. Tell me how safe you feel. Tell me what you think other people think of you. Let me then declare the truth about you, your family, your faith. You are a Muslim and I am British, you see, so I can ask these things. My loyalty is taken for granted, though it shouldn’t be. Yours is always suspect. Though it shouldn’t be.
The article is fairly interesting and mostly right, and I leave it to your interests, but I do have some remarks on a related theme, which is this:

Remember George Orwell? (<- Wikipedia) Well, he went to Spain, in order to fight for the Republican government, got shot but survived, narrowly escaped as Republican Spain was collapsing, and went back to Great Britain, where he published a book about his experiences in Spain ("Homage to Catalonia", which you should read), and was not bothered by the English government, though that disagreed a lot with him.

These days, in contrast, at least in France, one may not praise ISIS or terrorism, and if one does - merely verbally! - one may end up in prison. The Dutch are preparing a similar law.

I think this is sick, for it effectively terminates free speech by punishing certain kinds of free speech with imprisonment. One must be able - in a free and democratic state - to say what one thinks, and to explain it, without fearing that one gets imprisoned for expressing one's opinions.

For the right of free speech = the right to say or write and publish things (without offending or threatening people) that may be very impopular (here and now).

More about this later.

4. The disappeared: Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden 'black site'

The next item is an article by Spencer Ackerman on The Guardian (which I got indirectly, because the site of the Guardian has now been remade into a 1992 style horror, almost purely text, displayed against large colored expanses, and is thoroughly unworkable, and completely unlike the previous fine site, that was contemporary, and like most other papers' sites, though often better):

This starts as follows:
The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.
I say. There is also this (and this is a rather long article):

The secretive warehouse is the latest example of Chicago police practices that echo the much-criticized detention abuses of the US war on terrorism. While those abuses impacted people overseas, Homan Square – said to house military-style vehicles, interrogation cells and even a cage – trains its focus on Americans, most often poor, black and brown.

Unlike a precinct, no one taken to Homan Square is said to be booked. Witnesses, suspects or other Chicagoans who end up inside do not appear to have a public, searchable record entered into a database indicating where they are, as happens when someone is booked at a precinct. Lawyers and relatives insist there is no way of finding their whereabouts. Those lawyers who have attempted to gain access to Homan Square are most often turned away, even as their clients remain in custody inside.

As I said, the article is long and good, and well worth reading. And I am afraid that this does show the way in which the U.S. are heading:

Towards a police state, where people may be arrested for their opinions, or because of what their friends or family members thought, said or wrote; where they may be seriously mistreated by police officers and be forced into confessions of things they did not do; and where the police and the military have the power to disappear people in secret and to stop any public reports on this.

5. The Warming World: Is Capitalism Destroying Our Planet?

The next item is an article by Alexander Jung, Horand Knaup, Samiha Shafy and Bernhard Zand on the International Spiegel Online site:
This  starts as follows, with this introduction (in bold, in the original):
World leaders decided in Copenhagen that global warming should be limited to 2 degrees Celsius. Achieving that target, though, would take nothing less than a miracle. With another round of climate negotiations approaching, it is becoming increasingly clear that mankind has failed to address its most daunting problem.
Yes. The article starts with a pretty amazing picture from Quzho in China and with the following text:
Humans are full of contradictions, including the urge to destroy things they love. Like our planet. Take Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Like everyone living Down Under, he's extremely proud of his country's wonder of the world, the Great Barrier Reef. At the same time, though, Abbott believes that burning coal is "good for humanity," even though it produces greenhouse gases that ultimately make our world's oceans warmer, stormier and more acidic. In recent years, Australia has exported more coal than any other country in the world. And the reef, the largest living organism on the planet, is dying. Half of the corals that make up the reef are, in fact, already dead.
There is also this:
Since 1880, when global temperatures began to be systematically collected, no year has been warmer than 2014. The 15 warmest years, with one single exception, have come during the first 15 years of the new millennium. Indeed, it has become an open question as to whether global warming can be stopped anymore -- or at least limited as policymakers have called for. Is capitalism ultimately responsible for the problem, or could it actually help to solve it?
And this:
But as things currently look, the 2-degree target is hopelessly utopian. It is supposed to sound reassuring, but it is little more than hot air. Since 1880, average global temperatures have already increased by 0.8 degrees Celsius, and the consequences have become widely evident.
There is a lot more under the last dotted link, including graphics. This is a decent article, except for its ending that also totally contradicts the rest, and especially the opening sentence "Humans are full of contradictions, including the urge to destroy things they love."  Here are the two last sentences:
Perhaps one should seek to think a bit more daringly here: Maybe humankind will pull off a miracle in the end. After all, destroying the things we love is by no means a law of nature.
I'm sorry: There are no miracles, and it is "a law of nature" that "we" also can destroy what we love: everybody who is an adult must have done such things sometimes. (But as I said: the rest is contradictory with these two last silly statements.)

6. Secret CIA Black Sites In American Heartland For 'Disappearing' Citizens

The last item for today is not an article but a video by The Young Turks:
This is a decent summary of item 4. This takes 6 m 24 s and contains quotations.


[1] I agree some spying is necessary, but I insist that any spy agency that hoovers up, tries to hoover up, or desires to hoover up (as they all seem to, from Snowden's documents) all mails and all cell phone data on the pretext of "fighting terrorism" is not "fighting terrorism" but is preparing for an authoritarian anti-democratic state, quite knowingly so, also, and is committing what counts as state terrorism, at least for anyone committed to freedom and democracy.

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