Re: [SystemSafety] A thought about recent matters that concern us all

From: Les Chambers < >
Date: Mon, 26 Aug 2013 22:40:41 +1000

Thank you for your thoughts on this issue. The phrase "if you are a law-abiding citizen ... You have nothing to fear" must be on some list of scripts that are required learning for the ruling class and their enforcers. Queensland's police commissioner uttered this exact phrase not long ago. It is of course, drivel. Democratic governments all over the world, staffed by good men and fair, routinely execute (by mistake) innocent people; which seems to indicate that if you, an average Joe, find yourself in the crosshairs of the Law you are by definition in a lot of trouble regardless of your innocence. The only remedy for us, the powerless, is to meet these ridiculous statements with ridicule, laughter - as often as possible. I could go on but Tolstoy covered this issue brilliantly in his 1894 essay "The Kingdom of God is Within You". In this essay gives many examples of good men performing evil deeds in the interests of maintaining order. This story sounds horribly familiar. For example: ------- Start of Quote ----------
This is what took place in Orel. Just as here in the Toula province, a landlord wanted to appropriate the property of the peasants and just in the same way the peasants opposed it. The matter in dispute was a fall of water, which irrigated the peasants' fields, and which the landowner wanted to cut off and divert to turn his mill. The peasants rebelled against this being done.

{to restore order the flogging of the peasants began} The peasant attempted to supplicate for mercy, but seeing it was useless, he crossed himself and lay down.

When more than fifty strokes had been given, the peasant ceased to shriek and writhe, and the doctor, who had been educated in a government institution to serve his sovereign and his country with his scientific attainments, went up to the victim, felt his pulse, listened to his heart, and announced to the representative of authority that the man undergoing punishment had lost consciousness, and that, in accordance with the conclusions of science, to continue the punishment would endanger the victim's life. But the miserable governor, now completely intoxicated by the sight of blood, gave orders that the punishment should go on, and the flogging was continued up to seventy strokes,

Thus they flogged each of them up to the twelfth, and each of them received seventy strokes. They all implored mercy, shrieked and groaned. The sobs and cries of the crowd of women grew louder and more heart−rending, and the men's faces grew darker and darker. But they were surrounded by troops, and the torture did not cease till it had reached the limit which had been fixed by the caprice of the miserable half−drunken and insane creature they called the governor. {Tolstoy's conclusions:}
The Elements that Made up the Force Sent to Toula, and the Conduct of the Men Composing it.How these Men Could Carry Out such Acts.The Explanation is Not to be Found in Ignorance, Conviction, Cruelty, Heartlessness, or Want of Moral Sense. They do these Things Because they are Necessary to Support the Existing Order, which they Consider it Every Man's Duty to Support. The Basis of this Conviction that the Existing Order is Necessary and Inevitable. In the Upper Classes this Conviction is Based on the Advantages of the Existing Order for Themselves. But what Forces Men of the Lower Classes to Believe in the Immutability of the Existing Order, from which they Derive no Advantage, and which they Aid in Maintaining, Facts Contrary to their Conscience? This is the Result of the Lower Classes being Deluded by the Upper, Both as to the Inevitability of the Existing Order and the Lawfulness of the Acts of Violence Needed to Maintain it.

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Monday, August 26, 2013 6:51 AM
Subject: [SystemSafety] A thought about recent matters that concern us all

Like many, I have been following the recent revelations about US and UK government surveillance of electronic communications with interest and considerable worry.

If you are an engineer, you may or may not think this matter concerns you. If you travel into and out of the UK frequently, as I must, then you might be somewhat more interested in the reasoning behind the detention at LHR last Sunday of an assistant to the Guardian's investigation.

If you don't think this concerns you, I think you may be wrong. I think every professional who has access to privileged information has reason to worry about the direction the arguments justifying the apprehension are taking.

The Guardian and other sources are covering the bases pretty well, but I haven't seen this argument yet, and I think it needs to be in the public domain. I wrote it up:

Let me point out that this note specifically concerns the public reasons given by officers of the UK government for arbitrary detention in ports in the UK. It does not concern the more general issue of electronic surveillance, its extent, its justification or lack of it.


Prof. Peter Bernard Ladkin, Faculty of Technology, University of Bielefeld, 33594 Bielefeld, Germany
Tel+msg +49 (0)521 880 7319

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Received on Mon Aug 26 2013 - 14:41:06 CEST

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