will destroy millions of American calling records 'as
soon as possible'
2. On the freedom I gained
This is a Nederlog of Tuesday
July 28, 2015.
I have said yesterday that there is a
pause in the crisis series, but that I will continue to write
Nederlogs. And this is in support of these statements: I did select an
item about the NSA, that is item 1 below, while item 2 is a brief reflection on the freedom that I
NSA will destroy
millions of American calling records 'as soon as possible'
The following article
is by Associated Press and appeared on yesterday's The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
administration has decided that the National Security Agency will soon
stop examining – and will ultimately destroy – millions of American
calling records it collected under a controversial program revealed by
former agency contractor Edward Snowden.
I say - and I think the
basic questions are: Do you believe this? And what difference does this
When Congress passed a
law in June ending the NSA’s bulk collection of American calling
records after a six-month transition, officials said they were not sure
whether they would continue to make use of the records that had already been
collected, which generally go back five years.
agencies are extremely reluctant to part with data they consider
lawfully obtained. The program began shortly after the September 2001
terrorist attacks, but most of the records are purged every five years.
The NSA’s collection of
American phone metadata has been deeply controversial ever since
Snowden disclosed it to the Guardian in 2013. President Barack Obama sought, and Congress passed, a
law ending the collection and instead allowing the NSA to request the
records from phone companies as needed in terrorism investigations.
That still left the
question of what to do about the records already in the database. On
Monday, the director of national intelligence said in a statement those
records would no longer be examined in terrorism investigations after
29 November, and would be destroyed as soon as possible.
First, do you believe this? This is an anonymous statement by some
completely anonymous reporter ("Associated Press"), so I don't see why
I should believe this is Gospel Truth.
Besides, I think I.F. Stone spoke the truth, and also
said something important when he said:
"All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
Notably, he did not say "All
governments always lie",
which indeed is false.
To bring out why I think he said something important, I shall slightly
reformulate Stone's statement:
You should not
believe anything the government says,
And none of the above
quoted statements from The Guardian come with any evidence: In
fact, you don't have even have any idea about who wrote it.
because all governments may
and quite often do lie:
You always need good
to support their statements.
This means that I am not going to believe the Obama government
on this, except in very broad terms: they made a statement that
- eventually - they may stop examining the data they collected and that
- eventually - they may
even destroy the records.
Do I believe that? Well... they may have said so. Whether they meant
what they said is a wholly different question, as is the next one: If
they meant what they said, is there any evidence that what they
said is true? You don't know, for you don't know who they are,
just as you don't even know who the reporter is. (He or she may work
for Associated Press, but even that is not known.)
The same holds for other statements, like "most of the records are purged every five years". Who reported it? Unknown. Who said it?
Unknown. If they said it, how credible are they? Unknown. Why would I
believe any of this? I got no evidence of any
kind about anyone, not even about the anonymous reporter(s).
But I will leave that to your interests, and turn to my second
question: What difference does this make - and more
specifically: What about Obama's
"allowing the NSA
to request the records from phone companies as needed in terrorism
My point is simply this: What
I do know - I think, basically from Snowden and Greenwald - is
that the NSA can get anything they want that is on any
or cell phone anywhere, provided that it is connected
to the internet and provided it is not strongly encrypted. (And
the encryption may be undone by having learned passwords, e.g. by
Given that, I infer that the NSA certainly can get any phone
data they want, especially from telephone companies that have been
cooperating with them since circa 2007 anyway.
Therefore, Obama's "allowing the
NSA to request the records from phone companies" seems a totally empty
piece of baloney to me, especially as the NSA is not controlled
effectively by anyone outside the NSA - and this last point is
again to the best of my knowledge, and is mostly based on information
supplied by Snowden.
In brief: I was served a piece of US government propaganda
without any source (not even a reporter's name) and without any
evidence, that is served as if it is plain incontestable fact.
Well... it is not, and without good evidence it may be
anything, from Gospel Truth to devious propaganda lies.
I don't know and neither do you - but I do know that I.F. Stone
was right, and that, therefore, this report is a shoddy bit of
"journalism", for you should not present as fact what you do
not present any evidence of any kind for, especially
not about a very important secret service.
2. On the freedom I
I do feel
rather good about not having to plow through around 40 sites looking
for articles about the crisis every day, for this really was a chore.
But I will keep up with the news, and I will write
about it when it is interesting.
And the above article is interesting, though not for what it says
(which is very vague and very uncertain and is offered completely
without any evidence), but for what it pretends (that totally
anonymous statements without any evidence are statements of facts) and what it
assumes (that Obama's government's speakers are a reliable source of
information about its own secret services).
Because, as W.K.
"It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to
believe anything upon insufficient evidence".