Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Other Snowden Revelations

Allow me to hop on the bandwagon and make a few comments about Edward Snowden from a slightly different angle.

There have been legitimate questions concerning the apparent ease with which he copied highly confidential information, his background, and the escape. They seem sensible queries, without the fingerprints of Disinformation Agents. However, observations and gut feelings have convinced me that Snowden is genuine. 

Most of these operational puzzles can be answered if we let go of one assumption: That the US secret machinery, powerful as it is, must be competent like what we see in movies. People who have worked for major multinationals might agree that the functioning of huge organisations is appallingly less coherent and rational than what outsiders might perceive. A simple example: The computer servers of most companies, big or small, are maintained by an outside contractor or a relatively junior staff member. No highly paid senior person is willing — or capable of — maintaining the system. Now, unless top executives exchange confidential correspondence by hand-written notes, relatively junior technicians could access them if they want to, including an audit trail of the Chairman’s furtive visits to unwholesome websites during office hours.





Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

I recently learned three things from Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s Hong Kong retreat.

The first thing was mindful eating: chew every mouthful thirty times before swallowing (if the food has not yet disappeared). I had known this for decades, but never put into practice. But during communal meals at the retreat, everyone chewed relentlessly. I did not want to be the first one to swallow, so I munched on doggedly. Then it clicked — a sudden enlightenment!