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Nederlog

May 16, 2015
Crisis: Binney, Intelligence officers, Obama, Bill Black, Cameron, Hume
  "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

Sections
Introduction

1.
NSA Whistleblower William Binney: Seeking Blackmail
     Power, U.S. Officials Enabled 9/11

2. Intelligence officers given immunity from hacking laws,
     tribunal told

3.
The Obamas’ Net Worth Is as Much as $6.9 Million
4.
Bill Black: New Labour Leaders Want to Go Back to Blair’s
     Policies That Blew Up the UK

5. 
UK PM David Cameron Proclaims: It’s Not Enough To
     Follow The Law, You Must Love Big Brother
6. On Hume's Treatise: Notes to Book I are done


Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Saturday, May 16, 2015.

This is a crisis log. There are 6 items with 7 dotted links: Item 1 is about an article about William Binney, who outlines the decline and corruption of the NSA; item 2 is an article on The Guardian that says that now "intelligence officers" may take over any computer without doing anything criminal, which gives me the occasion to outline that there are now four different classes in England; item 3 is about Obama's current net worth: He'll be a 1 percenter or a 0.1 percenter real soon now; item 4 is about an article by Bill Black about Tony Blair that I found quite good; item 5 is about Cameron's decision that - in effect - Real Englishman must love the Tories and consent to what they say, or else they may be arrested; while item 6 is not about the crisis, but about the standing of my annotating Hume's Treatise: Book I (out of three) was done, yesterday. (You may skip that.)

1.  NSA Whistleblower William Binney: Seeking Blackmail Power, U.S. Officials Enabled 9/11

The first item today is an article by Alexander Reed Kelly on Truthdig:
This starts as follows - and both the first and the second link in the quote that follows also are well worth reading:

William Binney, a 31-year NSA veteran, blew the whistle on the agency when he realized technology that he had developed to protect Americans was being used to spy on them. In a wide-ranging, 45-minute discussion (produced by Josh Scheer with support from KPFK Radio), he and Truthdig Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer discussed who’s responsible for the surveillance, how authorities’ desire for blackmail power was a factor in their failure to stop the 9/11 attacks, and more.

Scheer and Binney spoke during the period of discussion that followed the publication of “They Know Everything About You: How Data-Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies Are Destroying Democracy,” Scheer’s book about the surveillance of Americans by both the U.S. government and corporations that deal in digital data. A Cold Warrior against the Soviet Union and totalitarian East Germany for 21 years, Binney left the NSA when he realized the U.S. government had adopted the anti-democratic practices of its former adversaries.

This also contains the following discussion between Robert Scheer and William Binney. It starts with Robert Scheer:
"They basically betrayed the security of the country by not using a program that you and your team had developed and that worked, and taking that program and distorting it so it didn’t work.”

“Is that correct?” Scheer asked.

Binney responded: “Yeah, and they did that for money. And also for power and control because when you take in all this data about individuals in the country and around the world, that gives you power over them. So you have the ability to blackmail them. Like in your book, ‘They Know Everything About You,’ well, they know a hell of a lot about you, and so that means they probably know something that you might be embarrassed (sic), and if so they can use it and leverage it against you. If they don’t know something about you but they know something about someone you care about, that’s also leverage. So they can use that kind of information to do that.”

Yes, indeed. Let me put this a bit more clearly, and extend it.

First, Binney said that the motives of the NSA and its officials are power and control for the top of the NSA and the top of the government, while the individuals working for the NSA are, next to that, doing what they do for money. Also, the power they have, by having all the information they got, gives them the ability to blackmail most, either by threatening to quote something you did or said, or by doing the same about people you care for. (And note that blackmail tends to remain secret.)

Second, to extend this somewhat: I do not think they will stop at blackmail. They will also start arresting people for the criticisms they have made of the govern- ment or the NSA. And initially, such arrested persons will be portrayed as "extre- mists", "terrorists" or "helpers of terrorists", which will also allow them to
prosecute them in secret courts.

Third, once this works, they may extend this to take out any opponent of the government, simply because he or she is an opponent, and - probably - also  independently from whether such an opponent can be painted as "a terrorist" or "a  sympathizer with terrorists": It'll be probably like the Soviet Union, except that the powers of the government are extremely much larger, and the ideology
of the government will be (as it is now, effectively) corporate multi-national capitalism, which will differ from earlier forms of capitalism in not allowing
those who oppose it to publish their criticisms or to live outside a prison or camp.

I agree that the second and third parts are extensions, but I think they are quite likely extensions - and Cameron is already extending his powers and those of his GCHQ to threaten people that they are only properly English if they love and support the Tory party, and are financially well provided for. See item 5.


2. Intelligence officers given immunity from hacking laws, tribunal told

The next item today is an article by Owen Bowcott on The Guardian:
There are now four classes of people in Great Britain, which I will sketch below, after quoting the beginning of the article:

GCHQ staff, intelligence officers and police have been given immunity from prosecution for hacking into computers, laptops and mobile phones under legislative changes that were never fully debated by parliament, a tribunal has been told.

The unnoticed rewriting of a key clause of the Computer Misuse Act has exempted law enforcement officials from the prohibition on breaking into other people’s laptops, databases, mobile phones or digital systems. It came into force in May.

The amended clause 10, entitled somewhat misleadingly “Savings”, is designed to prevent officers from committing a crime when they remotely access computers of suspected criminals. It is not known what category of offences are covered.

The act is primarily deployed to provide legal cover for domestic investigations. It is thought that individual warrants are not being obtained to justify each inquiry. Different legislation – section 7 of the Intelligence Services Act, nicknamed the “James Bond clause” – is believed to permit activities abroad that would otherwise be illegal.
These four kinds are the following:

On top are the Tory politicians, prominent Tory backers, and prominent Tory lords and journalists. Essentially they may do as they please, regardless of any law, moral or legal, as long as they remain prominent Tories. (This seems to extend also to pedophilia, especially in Lords and journalists.)

Second are the secret services, policemen, and military men who protect the first class. Basically, as the quote conveys, they too are beyond almost any English law (as long as they behave, more or less), and they can do, spy, blackmail, misinform, and deceive as they please, and will never be prosecuted for any spying, blackmailing, misinforming and deceiving they do (if this served the government).

Third are the ordinary people, provided they have not criticized the government, the GCHQ, the police, or the military, and are well-behaved, with a good job, and hardly an original idea of themselves. It is these people who have to obey the laws, and also pay for them, and the government, and the GCHQ, the police and the military, that are all there, it is pretended, "to protect them".

Fourth are the opponents of the government, the GCHQ, the police or the military, and the ill and the poor. In the end, all of them must either credibly convert to Toryism (see item 5), and until then they may be spied upon, blackmailed, deceived, misinformed, criticized by The Good People of class three,
and arrested, psychiatrized, convicted, or kept on hold for ten or more years,
without any money, simply because they dared to criticize someone of class one or class two superior citizens.

Am I making fun of the English? No, I like them (at least: as I've known them, fairly well also, in the Seventies and Eighties), and here I have just been slightly extending and translating the news
(and see item 5).

Indeed, here is how the "new laws" were introduced: In secret, in the best democratic, honest and forthright Obama-tradition:

Changes to the Computer Misuse Act were introduced by the Serious Crime Act 2015 which received royal assent on 3 March 2015. No reference to the true impact of the changes was made in the parliamentary explanatory notes that accompanied the bill, according to Privacy International.

Nor was there any public debate, the organisation claimed. “No NGOs, regulators, RIPA commissioners, the Information Commissioners Office, industry, or the public were notified or consulted about the proposed legislative changes,” it added.

“The underhand and undemocratic manner in which the government is seeking to make lawful GCHQ’s hacking operations is disgraceful,” Eric King, the organisation’s deputy director said after the hearing. “Hacking is one of the most intrusive surveillance capabilities available to any intelligence agency, and its use and safeguards surrounding it should be the subject of proper debate.

So only class I and class II knew, and everyone else was not told, which is as "the law" is being practiced now, both in the U.S. and Great Britain.

To end this item, here is a thought of Owen Bowcott, or at least - one must be very careful in Tory Britain - what he alleges that some unspecified body alleged:
The removal of criminal liability for enforcement officers also, it is alleged, opens the way for the intelligence agencies to conduct cyber-attacks within the UK.
3. The Obamas’ Net Worth Is as Much as $6.9 Million

The next item is an article by Roisin Davies on Truthdig, that is about Obama's real motives:

This starts as follows:

The first family almost qualifies as 1 percenters; and financial disclosures released Friday revealed that President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, own assets worth between $1.9 million and $6.9 million.

Under federal law, the president, senior administration officials and members of Congress must report their annual financial holdings. These statements allow for disclosure to be revealed in broad ranges and do not include financial information related to personal residences and government retirement plans.

Of course, you may doubt that a man like Obama works for money, but meanwhile he did pretty well. And he will do - if America doesn't collapse - even a lot better after his presidency:

While they’d have to earn a household income of at least $521,411 to make it into the 1 percent, the Obamas will likely experience their biggest financial gain upon leaving the White House. As Bloomberg explains, “Barack Obama, 53, and Michelle Obama, 51, don’t have to report the value of their largest asset: his status as a future ex-president. When he leaves office in January 2017, he will be able to make millions of dollars giving speeches and selling books.”

Thus, Bill and Hillary Clinton made a mere 25 million dollars by giving speeches in the last 1 1/2 years. Clearly, something similar will be possible to the Obamas.

4. Bill Black: New Labour Leaders Want to Go Back to Blair’s Policies That Blew Up the UK

The next item is an article by Bill Black (<- Wikipedia) on Naked Capitalism:

This starts with a brief introduction by Yves Smith, that I quote:

Yves here. Get yourself a cup of coffee. This is a meaty, meaning lengthy but rewarding post. Black focuses on a seminal Tony Blair speech to show how Labor sold radical deregulation, with its now all too well known disastrous results. But Black’s close reading of that speech is also instructive in showing the rhetorical sleight of hand Blair used to legitimate bad policy. That type of dissimulation is why these failed prescriptions keep being revived successfully, with little to no change in substance and messaging.

Yes, indeed: quite so (except that I would - and do - write "Labour" if I refer to the English Labour Party, but this is a merely grammatical remark).

That is: I read and I liked the article, but I know it is not for all. But it is good, and here are two quotes that show this:

Second, despite the UK’s already pathetic financial regulation, Blair said it was essential to “roll back the tide of regulation.” The reality in the U.S. and the EU was a Bay of Fundy-magnitude tide of the three “de’s” (deregulation, desupervision, and de facto decriminalization) under the gravitational pull of the financial regulatory race to the bottom. Blair trumpeted, in his best Orwellian style that “Better regulation will be a central theme of the UK Presidency of the EU later this year.” “Better regulation” was Blair’s Orwellian euphemism for the worst of the three “de’s” that was making the City ever more criminogenic.
(...)
As Blair knew, and intended, the three “de’s” required no “assessments” and were inflicted on the people of the EU with no “proper debate about the costs and benefits of proposed measures” where those measures deregulated, desupervised, or effectively decriminalized elite frauds.

And note that deregulation, desupervision, and decriminalization all involved the repealing of many democratic laws, normally without any discussion, and merely on the ground - if a ground was given - that "this would help deregulation" (<- good reference).

Here is the second quote:

Blair’s speech proposed to “represent the interests of labourers” by degrading their safety, health, and incomes in order to increase the wealth of the senior officers of massive corporations.

To Americans this seems a bit odd. It is most akin to President Obama pushing the odious Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with a passion that we have not seen during his entire term of office and insulting the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party while allying with the worst elements of the Republican Party’s congressional leadership.

Indeed: Blair, Clinton and Obama are (in Bill Black's words) "red tories", that is they are real tories who try to get rich (and succeeded: all are millionaires) by bamboozling, defrauding, deceiving and lying to "the left", whose parties they have come to lead, usually not on the basis of their qualities, but by quirky chance.

So... in case you want a moral lesson:

You can't trust politicians. Not at all: Either they are rich men who serve rich men, or they are poor men who want to get rich by serving rich men. Nearly all lie. Nearly all are nothing but posture. Nearly all are frauds. Hardly any is honest. There are some exceptions, but they are normally quite powerless, and rarely have long careers in politics, and especially not since politics (<- good reference) is a field were psychopaths have the largest chances of great success.

And I'm sorry, but these seem to me to be the facts, at least for the most part, for there are a few exceptions, and at least of the present century, in which indeed very many things changed, mostly because of 9/11, and almost all for the worse for anybody who wasn't rich already.

5. UK PM David Cameron Proclaims: It’s Not Enough To Follow The Law, You Must Love Big Brother

The final crisis item today is an article by Mike Krieger on Washington's Blog (and before on Liberty Blitzkrieg):

This starts as follows:

It’s not just those domestic extremists and crazy “conspiracy theory” kooks who took serious issue with UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent overtly fascist language when it comes to freedom of expression in Great Britain. For example, in a post published today, the UK Independent describes the quote below as “the creepiest thing David Cameron has ever said.”

This is followed by a huge photograph of David Cameron, with the following quoted text, that I put in bold, because they are large in the picture:

"For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone."

Next, the text continues as follows:

This statement, and others like it, are a huge deal. This isn’t how the leader of a major civilized Western so-called “democracy” speaks to the citizenry. It is how a master talks to his slaves. How a ruler addresses his subjects. I think the following tweet by Glenn Greenwald earlier today sums up David Cameron’s attitude perfectly well:

Those of us who are in disbelief over David Cameron’s recent language, don’t have to just point to the quote above. There’s a lot more to it than a simple quote. For example, the Guardian reports:

The measures would give the police powers to apply to the high court for an order to limit the “harmful activities” of an extremist individual. The definition of harmful is to include a risk of public disorder, a risk of harassment, alarm or distress or creating a “threat to the functioning of democracy”.

A “risk of public disorder,” or a “risk of harassment alarm or distress.” Think about that for a second. Pretty much 90% of all speech could be classified as posing a risk to all of those things. It’s basically banning any criticism the government doesn’t like. Truly remarkable.

Yes, indeed - except that I don't think it is "truly remarkable", because I was afraid of these developments already in 2005, when I criticized similar "laws".

And there is this:

Now here’s how the magnificent “democracy” of Great Britain plans on dealing with such “extremists.”

They would include a ban on broadcasting and a requirement to submit to the police in advance any proposed publication on the web and social media or in print. The bill will also contain plans for banning orders for extremist organizations which seek to undermine democracy or use hate speech in public places, but it will fall short of banning on the grounds of provoking hatred.

I wonder how long it will last until The Guardian (if it still is a bit radical) and The Independent will have to submit their copy to the police, to have it okayed, prior to publication, by their kind police overseers, if they don't want to be arrested for "anti-democratic terrorism" [1] - and no, I am not joking, even though I am thinking a - little? - bit ahead, and even though such measures would clearly mean that all democracy, all laws, all morality, and all fairness have disappeared from Tory England (that is: for everyone who does not belong class I or class II).

Also incidentally: The Tories commanded between 25 and 33 % of the English votes, but won. And that is the basis for Cameron's degenerate impertinence that he - King Cameron - will not be tolerant to anyone who dares to oppose him, also not if it is a law-abiding citizen. (This was once a legal principle: If you don't break the law, you will be left alone. But not in England anymore.)

6. On Hume's Treatise: Notes to Book I are done


This is not a crisis item. It is about my annotating David Hume's Treatise of Human Nature (surely a topic that interests very few, really), and consists of two parts: A republishing of my note of February 10, and the present position.

It started like so, on February 10, 2015 (and you do not need to read this unless you are really interested in philosophy):

A.
This merely to announce that I will be putting an edition of Hume's "A Treatise Of Human Nature" on my site, and will write extensive comments to it.

In fact, I already have editions of Hume's

on my site (and my notes - including quotations - are in each case about as long as the works they annotate).

This will take considerable work on my part, not so much for putting the Treatise on line (I found a good edition, though this requires splitting up) but for writing my notes.

I also do not expect many readers, but I will do it anyway because I am a real philosopher. And this also may limit my contributions to Nederlog somewhat (I don't know), although this also will continue.

And I do not know how long this will take me, though I much hope I will be finished this year.

----

This is from May 15, 2015:

B. In fact I have worked on steadily most of the time (I also was too ill some weeks) and yesterday wrote my last note to Book I of the Treatise. Here is the summary:

These are my remarks on when what was made, and how much was made.
The sizes only relate to the html. Also, the size of the notes may be slightly off, because of later corrections. The numbers for Book I on May 15, 2015 are as follows:

Book I:

Part I.I.         Feb 10 - Feb 17, 2015: Original: 124.8 Kb Notes: 145.2 Kb
Part I.II.        Feb 18 - Feb 24, 2015: Original: 123.7 Kb Notes:  
85.9 Kb
Part I.III.       Feb 25 - Apr 17, 2015: Original: 331.6 Kb Notes: 320.3 Kb
Part I.IV.       Apr 19 - May 15, 2015: Original: 240.8 Kb Notes: 188.2 Kb
                                                           
---------+          ---------+
                                                              753.5 Kb           739.6 Kb

As I said: Being a real philosopher I know how very few are real philosophers, so I will not say more than the following:

My notes are longer than they would be if I had not decided to quote the parts I comment, but I did quote, because that makes my notes much easier to read. (Also, quite a few of the notes are new, in the sense that I did not read - in over 45 years of reading philosophy - anything similar in others, and I have read rather well about Hume. Notably, my ideas on epistemology and induction are original with me, and are new.)

The notes still have to be corrected some, and I also still have to write summaries
of my notes to the four parts of Book I. (Indeed, this may well become a book.)

Most has not yet been published. I very probably will publish Book I with my notes, but haven't yet decided whether this will include my own - as yet unwritten - summaries of my notes. More later.

---------------------------------------------------------------------
Note

[1] Incidentally: If this happens - as it well may - it will probably be hardly noticed, for publishing things need to be okayed by the police, and news that
some editor didn't want to be censored will not be publishable (unless he also is to be punished in a major way). This will also be made a lot easier if similar "laws" or "principles" are decided by The Leaders of the other English countries.

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