This starts as follows:
surveillance agency has secretly developed an arsenal of cyberweapons
capable of stealing data and destroying adversaries’ infrastructure,
according to newly revealed classified documents.
Establishment, or CSE, has also covertly hacked into computers across
the world to gather intelligence, breaking into networks in Europe,
Mexico, the Middle East and North Africa, the documents show.
The revelations, reported Monday by CBC News in
collaboration with The Intercept, shine a light for the first
time on how Canada has adopted aggressive tactics to attack, sabotage
and infiltrate targeted computer systems.
The latest disclosures
come as the Canadian government debates
whether to hand over more powers to its spies to disrupt threats as
part of the controversial
anti-terrorism law, Bill C-51.
I say. In fact, here
are some Nederlogs of this year in which I reviewed articles
Canada's secret services: January 29,
March 6, March 15 and March 18 (and also one fell out because
reviewed it and then my text disappeared). They are all well worth
reading, and are connected to the present article.
Here are two
quotations from the present article. First, there is this:
document from CSE, dated from 2011, outlines the range of methods
the Canadian agency has at its disposal as part of a “cyber activity
spectrum” to both defend against hacking attacks and to perpetrate
them. CSE says in the document that it can “disable adversary
infrastructure,” “control adversary infrastructure,” or “destroy
adversary infrastructure” using the attack techniques. It can also
insert malware “implants” on computers to steal data.
Note that all
"methods" are done in secret, by anonymous secret people,
who are acting
on secret plans, even though all gets paid by the Canadian
taxpayers (who should not know a thing, because of "national
security" - which is grossly false bullshit).
And next, there is
Notably, CSE has gone
beyond just adopting a range of tools to hack computers.
According to the Snowden
documents, it has a range of “deception techniques” in its toolbox.
These include “false flag” operations to “create unrest,” and using
so-called “effects” operations to “alter adversary perception.” A
false-flag operation usually means carrying out an attack, but making
it look like it was performed by another group — in this case, likely
another government or hacker. Effects operations can involve sending
out propaganda across social media or disrupting communications
services. The newly revealed documents also reveal that CSE says it can
plant a “honeypot” as part of its deception tactics, possibly a
reference to some sort of bait posted online that lures in targets so
that they can be hacked or monitored.
There is more in the
article - and no: These methods should not be unchecked, and
checked in public courts. That is: If Canada is still a
review of benefit sanctions urgently needed,
item is an article by Patrick Butler on The Guardian:
This starts as
independent review of the government’s controversial benefit sanctions
regime is urgently needed to address widespread concerns that it is
unfair, excessively punitive, and does little to help people get into
work, according to a cross-party committee of MPs.
The MPs’ report follows a
short inquiry undertaken amid public concern that sanctions were being
imposed inappropriately, causing hardship, destitution and ill-health, and
routinely forcing jobseekers to rely on food banks to survive.
Sanctions are financial
penalties, stopping claimants’ benefit payments for at least four weeks
for apparent breaches of jobcentre rules, such as missing appointments
or failing to carry out enough job searches.
But the inquiry heard
evidence that sanctions were often imposed for trivial infringements.
Claimants often did not understand why they had been given sanctions,
and often struggled to cope without income.
Fresh legal safeguards
are needed to ensure that vulnerable claimants who are most at risk of
sanctions are properly protected, especially those with mental illness
or a learning disability, the work and pensions select committee says.
In fact, you mostly
owe this to the fact that I am ill
since 37 years, although the
Amsterdam dole still refuses to admit it, just as it still
also does not answer my polite mails. And I have very
much to complain
about the Amsterdam dole, but
the English system seems even worse, and pays less.
Here is one bit:
Debbie Abrahams, Labour
MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, who instigated the DWP select
committee’s inquiry, said: “The mountain of evidence that was put
before the select committee by religious organisations, academics and
charities, not to mention those actually affected by inappropriate
sanctions themselves, pointed overwhelmingly to a system that is
inhumane and deliberately created to skew unemployment figures.”
I agree - but am I too
cynical if I suppose this political interest is mostly due to the
coming English elections? (I really don't know.)
3. 'Recipe for Disaster' as US Supreme
Court Refuses Challenge to Voter ID Law
item is an article by Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams:
This starts as
In a move that will
impact hundreds of thousands of voters and may carry national
implications, the Supreme Court on Monday refused
to hear a challenge to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's restrictive
voter identification law.
Immediately after the
high court rejected, without comment, to hear the case of Frank
v. Walker, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed an
emergency motion with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asking that
the court stop the law from taking immediate effect. In Wisconsin,
voting is currently underway in the April 7 general election as
absentee ballots have already been sent to voters and early voting
began Monday morning. ACLU warned that if the law is immediately
enacted, some 300,000 Wisconsin voters will be impacted.
"Imposing a new
restriction in the midst of an election will disenfranchise voters who
have already cast their ballots," said
Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project. "It is a recipe
The "disaster" may
well be that the next president of the U.S. may be a Republican because
millions of potential black and Latino voters have been
right to vote because they lack the requisite IDs.
There is considerably
more in the article.
the 99 Percent Keeps Losing
item is an article by Robert Kuttner on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
And this is a good
article that should be read completely. I will copy only the seven
reasons (and not the explanatory text: click the last dotted
make one additional remark.
Our current political
situation is unprecedented. The vast majority of Americans keep falling
behind economically because of changes in society's ground rules, while
the rich get even richer -- yet this situation doesn't translate into a
If anything, the right
keeps gaining and the wealthy keep pulling away. How can this possibly
Let me suggest seven
Here are the seven reasons (minus explanatory texts):
One. The Discrediting of Politics Itself.
Yes, indeed. As to the
additional remark: This pertains to part of the text under Reason
Two. Compromised Democrats.
Three. The Reign of Politicized Courts and
Four. The Collapse of Equalizing Institutions.
Bewildering Changes in How Jobs Are
Six. The Internalization of a Generation's Plight.
Reason Seven. The Absence of a Movement.
In the face of all
these assaults on the working and middle class, there are many
movements but no Movement. The Occupy movement, which gave us the
phrase, "The One Percent," was too hung up on its own procedural purity
to create a broad movement for economic justice.
I agree. And the
"procedural purity" refers (among other things) to there being no leaders
and no clear plans: You really
need to know what you want and
have a plan for achieving it before you start actions, and you really
need leaders to articulate the plans, make proposals, and unify
movements (and I know they
may easily be corrupted , but even so: they are
5. Comments on David Harvey’s “A Brief History
item is an article by Lambert Strether on Naked Capitalism:
This is a fairly long
review of some ideas in Harvey's "A Brief History of Neoliberalism",
followed by a long discussion, that is here because I have a
It is probably not for everyone (and Naked Capitalism is mostly a site
for people with some economical knowledge), but I liked it (though I
did not read the discussion).
I take up two quotations. First, there is this, by Lambert Strether:
And it does seem
clear that since what Harvey labels “the neo-liberal turn” in the
mid-70s — marked, if not defined, by the Powell Memo, the formation of
the Business Roundtable, the advent of Thatcher and Reagan, and after
which real wages were flattened and most gains from productivity
necessarily accrued to the 1% and the 0.01% — the relationship of the
citizen (now we say “consumer”) to the state changed.
I agree these were crucial years, that mark a radical turn. What I
would like to know (but which I very probably never will) is this: How
much of these events - and of later events - were in fact secretly
I know this suggests "conspiracy theories", which all suffer from the
problem that the evidence is not easy to find; because if
it exists, it
nearly always exists secretly, and therefore often is not
sufficient or missing - but that doesn't mean there are no
conspiracies. (It does mean they are often very hard to prove).
In any case, I find this quotation (from the Lewis
Powell, Jr entry on
Wikipedia) about Powell's Memorandum at least suggestive:
The memo called
for corporate America to become more aggressive in molding politics and
law in the US and may have sparked the formation of several influential
right-wing think tanks and lobbying
organizations, such as The Heritage Foundation and the American Legislative
Exchange Council (ALEC), as well as inspiring the U.S. Chamber of
Commerce to become far more politically active.
Marxist academic David Harvey traces the rise of neoliberalism in the US to this memo.
And second, here is
Harvey's definition of "neoliberalism":
in the first instance a theory of political economic practices that
proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating
individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional
framework characterized by strong private property rights, free
markets, and free trade. The role of the state is to create and
preserve an institutional framework appropriate to such practices.
That seems fair enough,
and the thing that strikes me is that - at least as formulated
describes an ideal of the "entrepreneurs" (but of nobody else)
"freedoms" they want, and the "free markets, and free trade" they pretend to advocate  are the freedoms
non-entrepreneurs (the 99 %) mercilessly, as these are "freed"
from almost any
protection of the state, and of almost any effective rights.
Anyway - there is a whole lot more under the last dotted link.
Rise of the National Security State — An American History Lesson With
The last item
today is an article by Don Quijones on Raging
This starts as follows,
with a quote from Gore Vidal:
“Today we’re in a peculiar limbo. Nine-eleven
proved to be a pretext for getting rid of the old republic, which has
not been in good shape for a long, long time. Now we’re in a strange,
strange situation. There is nothing in our history to guide us… We just
go further and further along the road toward total war. We’re like
somebody going through a minefield dropping matches, waiting to hear
the bang. Well, the bang might take us all out.”
In fact, this
is mostly about and contains 3 videos, each of almost 10 minutes, made
by the Real News, that together give nearly half an hour of Gore Vidal (<- Wikipedia) who explains recent
American history in 2008.
I think this is quite interesting, and I did not see this
before. (For more on Vidal see e.g. August
11, 2012, when I first discovered him.)
 As most of "the student left" of
my generation ceased being leftish as soon as they ceased being
and started to make money and/or because being "a leftist" became
unfashionable. (It was quite
fashionable in the 1970ies and 1980ies in Holland.)
there are no "free markets" or "free trade" without considerable
support and maintenance by states.
Besides "freedom" has a very different meaning in "the freedom
citizen" (protected by laws that guarantee everyone's basic rights) and
freedom of the entrepreneur" (to exploit
anyone exploitable for profit, while the exploited have neither
freedoms - in
the first sense - nor rights).