This is a Nederlog
of Sunday, December 13, 2015.
is a crisis blog. There are 4 items with 5 dotted links: Item
1 is about the radical decline of France: Out go "Liberté!
Egalité! Fraternité!" and in come the police and the secret
services that now can do as they please; item 2 is
about the accord in Paris, that seems to me mostly propaganda (and I
explain); item 3 is about Google who is now spying
on 40 million American children, to deliver their full details to
advertisers; and item 4 is about William Binney and
spying: I once again insist that the "war on terrorism" was a pretext
for spying on everyone, which was the aim from the beginning:
The foundations for more power than anyone ever had.
And I also uploaded an updated version of the crisis
1. “Emergency” Measures May Be
Written Into The French Constitution
The first item is by Martin Untersinger on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
JUST HOURS INTO A
TERRORIST ATTACK that
started on the evening of Nov. 13, and would eventually claim 130
lives, François Hollande announced that France was reestablishing
border controls, and used a 1955 law to proclaim a state of emergency.
This 60-year-old law
gives French law
enforcement wide and sweeping powers, freeing them from much of the
normal judicial oversight. The law gives prefects, the French
government’s local representatives, the ability to place people under
house arrest, based merely on the suspicion of the intelligence service
that they pose a threat to national security. They can also order
police raids targeting any place where they think information about
terrorism may be found, without a warrant.
Initially intended to
last 12 days, the
state of emergency was extended on November 19 for an additional
three months by both chambers of parliament. During the vote in the
lower house, only six MPs voted against the extension.
To start with, I also
should honestly admit that I detest His Excellency premier
Hollande about as much as I detest Tony Blair. A
"democracy" that repeatedly elected persons of this sick
careerist level cannot be much of a real democracy.
But OK: He is not the only one responsible
for making France a police state, for that is what it is now - since
nearly all parliamentarians supported his sick proposals.
In case you think I formulated my distaste in
an extreme fashion, please consider this:
Since last month’s attacks, there have
been some 2,500 police raids, and nearly a thousand people have been
arrested or detained. French local and national press are now full
of reports of questionable police raids. So outrageous were some cases
that the French Interior Ministry had to send a letter to all prefects reminding
them to “abide by the law.”
The state of emergency, which was initially
supposed to mitigate the threat posed by Islamic terrorism, has been
used to target environmental and political activists who have nothing
to do with radical Islam, let alone terrorism.
As to the second
paragraph: Of course! That is much of the point of the
"War on Terrorism": It is and always was a pretext for a war on
anyone who disagrees with the government or its secret
services. So I am not amazed that as soon as the police
can do as it pleases, and stands beyond the law, it immediately started
to arrest "environmental and political activists".
As to the first paragraph: It seems to me
that the letter from the French Interior Ministry - written in a
situation where the police and the secret services can do as they
please - in fact had the opposite meaning: "We remind you
that now you can do as you please and arrest anyone you want: Take
the chance! There is no law that will be used against you!" (That
at least is a logical explanation!)
Finally, there is this:
Yet rather than be
regarded as a
temporary measure for extraordinary circumstances, the government’s
ability to declare an extended state of emergency may soon be written
into the constitution. François Hollande, speaking in front of both
chambers summoned in Versailles two days after the attacks, announced
his plan to modify the French constitution in response to terrorism.
Although some members
of parliament were
stunned by the boldness of the proposal, most welcomed the news.
In brief: Down with
liberty! Down with fraternity! Down with brotherhood! France fears the
terrorists, and hides behind its liberated police and secret service
men, who can now arrest whom they please without any fear for any
That is what His
Excellency Hollande and the vast majority of the political careerists want
- for they (and only they) profit from the vast increase of their
2. Landmark Climate Accord in Paris
The second item is by
Roisin Davies on Truthdig:
starts as follows
(and was chosen because it is brief and clear, and also because I do not
believe this will change much - I explain myself below):
I say. I had not expected that they would
reach an agreement, so to that extent I am refuted. Will this make any
or an appreciable difference? Here is a summary of what was achieved:
Representatives of 195 countries reached
a landmark deal Saturday night at the COP21 climate change summit in
Paris that will, for the first time, commit nearly every country to
cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
The agreement, which follows two weeks of
negotiations, sets the goal of limiting the world’s rise in average
temperature to “well below 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels
and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees
organization Earthjustice summarizes the main tenets of
—Hold the average
increase in global
temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels
and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees, a
goal that reflects the most current science on the maximum allowable
rise in warming to reduce the risk of the most catastrophic impacts of
—Review progress every
five years, with
the first review before 2020, and bring countries back to the table to
increase their emissions reduction efforts.
provisions to hold
nations accountable to carry through on their pledges.
—Provide support to
poorer countries to
help them leapfrog to low-carbon development, adapt to climate change
and cope with unavoidable loss and damage.
“Critics said the
agreement would still
condemn hundreds of millions of people living in low-lying coastal
areas and small islands,” The Guardian comments. “But supporters said the negotiations
took a significant step forward in getting countries to act together on
a global challenge of immense complexity, and in sending a signal to
sorry, but this sounds mainly like propaganda.
What is the legal basis? Who will act against those
countries - say: the USA or China - who don't want to keep
their side of the deal? What can they do against such
countries? I don't see any answers.
Next, here is a much
longer item by Coral Davenport on the New York Times:
This starts as follows:
LE BOURGET, France — With the
sudden bang of a gavel Saturday night, representatives of 195 nations
reached a landmark accord that will, for the first time, commit nearly
every country to lowering planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions to
help stave off the most drastic effects of climate change.
The deal, which was met with an
eruption of cheers and ovations from thousands of delegates gathered
from around the world, represents a historic breakthrough on an issue
that has foiled decades of international efforts to address climate
Traditionally, such pacts have required developed economies
like the United States to take action to lower greenhouse gas
emissions, but they have exempted developing countries like China and
India from such obligations.
The accord, which United Nations diplomats have been working
toward for nine years, changes that dynamic by requiring action in some
form from every country, rich or poor.
Again, my problem is how this is going to be effected.
You can decide what you please, but without firm legal foundations this
will rarely work, especially if "working" means that
some of the profits of multi-national corporations may be
endangered. (And these are the holy of holies, especially if the TTP,
TTIP and TiSA are signed into law.)
Indeed, there is this:
The new deal will not, on its own, solve global warming. At
scientists who have analyzed it say, it will cut global greenhouse gas
emissions by about half enough as is necessary to stave off an increase
in atmospheric temperatures of 2 degrees Celsius or 3.6 degrees
First, it will cut emissions only if the
plan succeeds. Second, as The Guardian correctly inferred (I quote from
the agreement would still
condemn hundreds of millions of people living in low-lying coastal
areas and small islands.
This means in effect saying goodbye to New York (barely
above the present sea level) and to Amsterdam and most of
Holland's West (2 meters below the present sea level).
Third, there is also this (and a whole lot more in
Which is to say (again): There is no
legal agreement, and in fact all will depend on "peer pressure"
(amongst goverments) and the good will of future
Despite the historic nature of the Paris climate accord, its
still depends heavily on two factors outside the parameter of the deal:
global peer pressure and the actions of future governments.
In brief, I am afraid
that whoever enjoys this "Landmark Climate Accord" is enjoyed -
as the Dutch say - by a dead sparrow (i.e.: effectively nothing), that
is mostly made up of propaganda and hope, and is without any assurance
it will work or get practiced.
Finally, why do I think this
will not change much?
Basically because I am
interested in the climate and the environment since 1971, after
Population Bomb", and briefly before reading the Limits to
Growth, which was published by the Club of Rome in
At that time there were less than 4 billion
people. 45 years later there are more than 7 billion people. And most
that I have heard about the climate, the population, industrialisation,
pollution, food production and resources depletion (the main variables
in Limits to
Growth) was simply idle chatter.
Here is how things appeared in 2008, from the
to Growth lemma on Wikipedia (without note numbers):
In 2008 Graham Turner at the Commonwealth
Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in
Australia published a paper called "A Comparison of `The Limits to
Growth` with Thirty Years of Reality".It
examined the past thirty years of reality with the predictions made in
1972 and found that changes in industrial production, food production
and pollution are all in line with one of the book's three scenarios so
far- that of 'business as usual'. This set of predictions in LtG goes
on to forecast economic and societal collapse in the 21st century.
In 2010, Peet, Nørgård, and Ragnarsdóttir called the book a "pioneering
report". They said that, "its approach remains useful and that its
conclusions are still surprisingly valid... unfortunately the report
has been largely dismissed by critics as a doomsday prophecy that has
not held up to scrutiny."
In a 2009 article published in American Scientist titled
"Revisiting the Limits to Growth After Peak Oil," Hall and Day noted
that "the values predicted by the limits-to-growth model and actual
data for 2008 are very close."
These findings are consistent with the above-mentioned 2008 CSIRO study
which concluded: "The analysis shows that 30 years of historical data
compares favorably with key features… [of the Limits to Growth]
‘standard run’ scenario, which results in collapse of the global system
midway through the 21st Century."
As far as I am
concerned, this - still - seems to be the most probable prediction, that
is also based on nearly 40 years of mostly sustained data and
predictions: Most probably, there will be
collapse of the global system
midway through the 21st Century.
I've seen no good evidence of any
kind to oppose that very sad conclusion.
Is Accused of Spying on
third item is by Thor Benson on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
Most people know that
Google mines user
data for information that can help it improve advertising and search
results, but they may not realize that an enormous amount of that
personal information is coming from students in kindergarten through
the 12th grade, according to the digital rights advocacy group
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
This month, EFF filed
a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleging that
Google is violating the “K-12 School Service Provider Pledge to
Safeguard Student Privacy” that it signed
in January by spying on as many as 40
million students, teachers and administrators who use the
company’s Chromebook laptops.
are very concerned about their
children’s privacy and do not want their personal information
data-mined or used for targeted advertising,” Leonie Haimson, co-chair
of Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, told Truthdig. “The FTC
complaint against Google reinforces our conviction that far stronger
laws and enforcement mechanisms are necessary to protect students from
these sorts of harmful practices.”
to the complaint,
Google is tracking students with Chrome Sync, a feature of the Chrome
Web browser that allows the sharing of bookmarks, browser histories and
other data between computers that use the feature. Google is also
monitoring students logged into educational Google accounts.
If you trust Google, you
can't be quite sane, rationally speaking. Anyway: So Google is now
tracking 40 million American children, mostly - it seems - to hand over
their preferences to advertisers:
4. The Courage from Whistle-blowing
track all the activity of
students as they use various Google services and products on Google
domains (e.g. everything from Google Docs to YouTube),” Jeremy Gillula,
a staff technologist at EFF, told Truthdig. “For a small subset of
these services (i.e. Google Apps for Education), Google has committed
to not feeding that data into an advertising profile; however, for
services like YouTube, Blogger, News, and Books (just to name a few)
Google feeds that data into its ‘interest-based’ advertising profile
linked to each student account, by default.”
The fourth item is by Ray McGovern on
This starts as follows:
Here is the
Wikipedia lemma on Bill Binney.
Here is some from that lemma (minus note numbers):
Edward Snowden in early June 2013
began to reveal classified data showing criminal collect-it-all
surveillance programs operated by the U.S. government’s National
Security Agency, former NSA professionals became freer to spell out the
liberties taken with the Bill of Rights, as well as the feckless,
counterproductive nature of bulk electronic data collection.
7, 2014, four senior retired
specialists with a cumulative total of 144 years of work with NSA –
William Binney, Thomas Drake, Edward Loomis, and Kirk Wiebe – prepared
a Memorandum for the President
providing a comprehensive account of the problems at NSA, together with
suggestions as to how they might be best addressed.
purpose was to inform President
Obama as fully as possible, as he prepared to take action in light of
23, 2015 in Berlin, Binney was
honored with the annual Sam Adams Award for Integrity in
Intelligence. Ed Snowden was live-streamed-in for the occasion,
and said, “Without Bill Binney there would be no Ed
Snowden.” (Binney had been among the first to speak out publicly
about NSA abuses; apparently that emboldened Snowden to do what he did.)
During interviews on Democracy Now! in April and May 2012
with elaboration in July 2012 at 2600's hacker conference HOPE
and at DEF
CON a couple weeks later,
Binney repeated estimates that the NSA (particularly its Stellar Wind
had intercepted 20 trillion communications "transactions" of Americans
such as phone calls, emails, and other forms of data (but not including
financial data). This includes most of the emails of US citizens.
Binney disclosed in an affidavit for Jewel
that the agency was "purposefully violating the Constitution".
Binney also notes that he found out after retiring that the NSA was
pursuing collect-it-all vs. targeted surveillance even before the 9/11
Binney was invited as a witness by the NSA
commission of the German Bundestag.
On July 3, 2014 Der Spiegel wrote, he said that the NSA wanted
to have information about everything. In Binney's view this is a totalitarian approach, which had
previously been seen only in dictatorships.
Binney stated that the goal was also to control people.
Yes, indeed (as I have
argued independently in 2012 and 2005): The NSA wants to know everything,
and never discards anything: it is all saved on
Back to the article:
As Snowden has quipped,
with mass surveillance is when you collect everything, you understand
The net result is that
first. Only then do detectives and law enforcement go wading into
their vast data, focus on possible perpetrators of the crime and often
find related information. This is, of course, exactly the reverse
of how the security services should proceed – assuming the main
priority is to thwart terrorist or other attacks. And yet the U.S.
government proceeds willy-nilly with its SOS (Stasi-On-Steroids)
But I do not think
(and indeed never thought) that the "the main
priority" of the US government ever was "to thwart terrorist", simply because it always seemed to me that the the US government wanted the Stasi-On-Steroids approach very much, simply
because that gives the more power over more people than anyone has ever