Ofcourse, the outrage is all for public consumption, as the BBC journalist admits towards the end of today’s article. The French equivalent of the NSA , the DGSE, has been actively spying on its own citizens for years, with hardly any complaints from either its citizens or from independent watchdog groups. Curiously, whenever I go to France–which is quite often–I always feel safer from terrorist attacks than I do in other countries because I am fully aware that the DGSE is such an effective operation, having sweeping powers to anticipate problems long before they get out of control. This is also one of the reasons why France’s neighbours –England and Spain in particular–attract more terrorists groups. In France the radical terrorists can hardly get a foothold…
But I digress…the outrage in France should really be about the Americans’ spying on the French spying on whoever it is they are spying on. Snowden leaked that just in one 30-day period (stretching from December of last year to early January this year) some 70 million phonecalls were intercepted by the NSA. Probably billions of emails, texts and other electronic forms of communication were swept up also. Snowden is on record as saying the NSA simply captures EVERYTHING from EVERYBODY, EVERYWHERE.
So clearly, no one is exempt, –especially the French political class and its business leaders–and that is why the outrage in France today. Brazil has already put its relationship with the USA on ice because of the same thing. Imagine, EVEN the French President having to worry everytime he sends or receives an email! There is simply no privacy. Snowden also let it be known that the NSA has actively promoted the commercialization of faulty encryption techniques–so that they can read anything that is sent with such encryption.
What does it all mean for the average guy like you or me or your next door neighbour? Very little, assuming we have nothing to hide. DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO HIDE? A recent YOUGOV poll in England shows that most English don’t really care if the government snoops around today more than they did in the past. Probably more an indication of apathy than ignorance, speculated one writer.
A Canadian friend of mine boasted that he did not care if the government knew how much porno he watches, that he had nothing to hide and was not embarrassed about it. But he failed to understand that it is not the information that is the problem, it is HOW that information can be manipulated against you. For instance, while the government will never confront you and slap you on the wrist for liking porno, one day you might find that a promotion slips from you because that information was leaked by someone to your boss at exactly that crucial moment in your life. You either fight for your right to privacy or you abdicate it. And nothing in between…
Getting shafted in Germany ?!
Recently, a colleague of mine , the young American GM Robert Hungaski, whom I got to know during the Sants tournament in Barcelona last year, wrote to me telling of a very unfortunate incident this past summer at the Pegasus Chess Summit in Dresden involving his teacher and friend, GM William Lombardy, Apparently the organizers shafted Lombardy of his promised appearance fee of 2000 euros!
Can you recognize Spassky,Lombardy, Taimanov,Vasiukov,Ivkov, Olafsson and Uhlmann?
Hungaski wrote ”We were recently at an event in Dresden where the organizers refused to pay William his pre-arranged honorarium. They first told him they would pay him once he arrived in Germany. Then they ignored the issue when he was there. Now that he’s back in the US they refuse to answer his emails…” Robert also provided me with some communication between Lombardy and Germany:
Dear Dr. Jordan:
I thank you and your distnguished committee for your kind invitation to your sterling August event, from the 15th to the 17th of August 2013. I should like to accept by adding the following condi tions. (1) At this point in my life, I prefer not to travel alone. I would appreciate that your organization could provide for the accompaniment of Robert Hungaski. Robert is likely my last most productive student and in January last has been certified as International Grandmaster. (2) I require a fee of two thousand Euros. If such is acceptable to you, I shall be delighed to appear.
As for further communicating with me, please use the above information. That since I have long ceased any meaningful communication with US-Chess ( US Chess Federation). If you are aware of any party that might be interested in contacting me, please feel free to provide my contact information as given above.
I was delighted to hear from you and once more thank you for writing. May I add that I was most saddened to hear of the death of the most distinguished Grandmaster and gentle person, Lothar Schmid. I was hoping that he would make the Century Mark, but that was not meant to be. He had contributed much to my own learning and, when I was a Young Master, extended to me much hospitality. The World will miss him and he should be acclaimed.
Cordially yours, William Lombardy
REPLY BY DR. G. SCHMIDT:Mon, 10 Jun 2013
Dear Mr. Lombardy,
Meanwhile I got new informations by our sponsor Mr. Dr. Maas. He wrote me in German language:
mir ist es lieber, wenn wir die Flugtickets von Dresden aus organisieren, das spart ahrscheinlich viel Geld. Wir brauchen die Angaben zum Heimatflughafen und die Personaldaten der Passagiere, außerdem die gewünschten Flugdaten. Den Rest erledigen wir. Ich sende ungern Euro 2.000 durch die weite Welt, … , abgesehen davon, dass es wuchhalterisch wesentlich aufwändiger ist.”
In english language: “I think it would be better, that we organize the flight-tickets in Dresden. Probably this saves much money. We need the information about the departure-airport and the personal dates of all passengers, besides the wanted dates of flight (departure-time, number of the flight, flight-line, arrival-airport and arrival-time).
The rest we will do. I don’t like to send 2.000 € around the world, …, by the way, that it is easyer for the bookkeeping.” Therefore I ask you, to accept this way. Please send me as soon as possible the named information about your trip. Then we will organize the tickets and send they to “William J. Lombardy, 12 Stuyvesant Oval-6B, New York, NY 10009.” If you and your companion go over Berlin, we can also organize the tickets for bus Berlin – Dresden and send to you.
I beg your pardon for the confusion about payment. But I hope, now all is o.k. and the best of all.
I expect your answer.
Best regards Dr. Gerhard Schmidt
If this is just a misunderstanding, then I hope that it can be quickly cleared up. It is not a lot of Money, but whenever an invited player is not paid what he is due, then the tournament can develop a bad reputation. I will keep my readers up to date with how things play out.