January 8th, 2011

The long arm of the law

Today it was announced that on December 15th, the US subpoenaed a.o. the twitter accounts of Rob Gongrijp (a Dutchman, he is the guy behind the “we don’t trust voting computers” here, there is more on this blog about that) and an Icelandic member of parliament Birgitta Jónsdóttir (she has pushed lawmaking in favor of protecting “leakers”). The subpoena was held secret for 3 weeks, by order of the US magistrate Theresa Buchanan.

Lessons kearned:

  • If one uses US based cloud services, accept they are bound by US law (google, microsoft, twitter, this blog)
  • accept there is no such thing as respect for foreign law, on the contrary: in my experience, for US law enforcement, a non-American citizen is one step lower on the ladder (sorry to be so blunt)
  • accept in a broad sense that to plead for a transparent government, one is probably a Wikileaks supporter, and therefor somehow a terrorist, or at least there is some sort of smell. (see this youtube how Wikileaks REALLY works)
  • accept that this smell is enough to tear down a lot of intrinsic mechanisms to protect the average Joe from it’s, or in this case somebody else’s government.

A sad state of affairs.

And just for the record: my country is not a shred better in cases like this. Just more silent.

February 11th, 2010

The account data (updated)

According to local news outlets secretary Clinton…

…. urged EU parliament by letter to share bank account data of European citizens with American authorities. This data is needed in our “mutual effort to counter terrorism”.

This red flags the hell out of me. What would you guys think if our Secret Service type of guys wanted to browse though your transactions?

Parliament seems to be against sharing, but expect members to fall like domino bricks under US pressure. One member though explained there was not a single concession in Clintons letter to the EU and basically said there was room for ‘discussion’ after legislation to share would have passed. wtf?

Added 2/11: Today, the European parliament, for the first time since it’s power was raised by the Lisbon treaty, rejected above treaty 378 against 196 with the US. Reasoning was

  • Unclear which US authorities would have access to EU bank data
  • Impossible for inhabitants to see what data is shared
  • No appeal procedure if shared data is false

Note: the treaty was approved by the member states one day before the Lisbon treaty came into effect, which was seen by a lot of people as a hasty push-through. Also note that the treaty in itself was deemed “needed” since Swift moved it’s operation from US soil, and thereby falling under US anti-terrorism laws (read: we can see everything we want to see), to the Netherlands. If I find the time I will try to find out why Swift decided to do that.

Added: here is a statement from Swift, give a tiny bit of insight.

February 10th, 2009

Obama ducks question from Helen Thomas – THE ANSWER IS ISRAEL!

There’s a reason why “Bush the Lesser” refused to take questions from White House correspondent Helen Thomas – she asks REAL questions. So at last nights press conference President Obama ducked one of Helen’s two questions. While I’m thrilled he called on her (did he really have any choice – I thought she’d be first in line?) he didn’t answer her question and that to me was very disappointing – who is it, on the Israeli right President Obama is protecting? Our “Middle East” foreign policy must be based on pragmatism, but President Obama is unable, or unwilling to speak the truth.

Obama: All right. Helen. This is my inaugural moment here. (Laughter.) I’m really excited.

Helen Thomas:…. And also, do you know of any country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons?


Obama: With respect to nuclear weapons, you know, I don’t want to speculate. What I know is this: that if we see a nuclear arms race in a region as volatile as the Middle East, everybody will be in danger.

And one of my goals is to prevent nuclear proliferation generally.

I think that it’s important for the United States, in concert with Russia, to lead the way on this. And you know, I’ve mentioned this in conversations with the Russian president, Mr. Medvedev, to let him know that it is important for us to restart the conversation, about how we can start reducing our nuclear arsenals in an effective way, so that —

[CK: at this point Obama cuts Helen off and moves on to another reporter]

Who Mr. President, who has nuclear weapons in the “Middle East?” Come now – I hope you know the answer. :(

January 22nd, 2009

Obama’s first major blunder and he’s only been in office for how long?

Obama wants to appoint George Mitchel a long time Israeli apologist as Middle East envoy. Unless Mitchell has had some sort of religious (and foreign policy) epiphany since he last dealt with issues in the Middle East – we are in a heap of hurt. So it’s business as usual and nothing will be solved, but the U.S. Zionist lobby and my former neighbors in Brooklyn will be happy. Of course I can hope that Mitchel’s experience in Northern Ireland has changed his world view, but if I were betting in Vegas I’d bet against those odds. Too bad for us and the world.

I hope I am wrong!

Just to refresh your memory:

“In October 2000, when 14 out of 15 members of the UN Security Council voted to condemn Israel’s excessive force against civilians, it was the US alone that abstained. Then-US Ambassador Richard Holbrooke threatened to veto any further resolution. The Israeli government rejected any fact-finding commission that might be authorized by the UN, insisting it would be nothing but a “kangaroo court,” and instead demanded an investigation led by the US. Shortly thereafter, the parties agreed to accept a fact-finding commission led by former US Senator George Mitchell, not under UN auspices.”

from: http://www.fromoccupiedpalestine.org/node/222