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Nederlog


 
June 16, 2013
Crisis: Spying, activists, Pentagon, learning, young people, Turkish doctors


   "Those who sacrifice liberty for  
     security deserve neither."
     -- Benjamin Franklin







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Sections

Introduction

1.  The Government's Spying Is Not As Bad...
2.  Are environmental activists really a spying priority?
3.  The Pentagon's Preparations for War Against Us
4.  Learning from the spying scandal
5.  About young people
6.  Turkish Doctors Threatened for Aiding Protestors  

About ME/CFS


Introduction:

It still is the case that sleeping remains quite difficult for me. This also makes my life rather difficult, at the moment.

Anyway. Today it is weekend, and I still try to do a bit less, and shift back to matters that mostly relate to Snowden's revelations, plus a bit on young people and a bit on Turkey, the last of which I take in because it seems to illustrate a new depth of abuse.

1. The Government's Spying Is Not As Bad...

This is again from Washington's Blog, that I like: Clear writing, and good documentation. Here is a link plus the full title:

And here are a few excerpts from it. First, as to the legality of it all:
A requirement of the 2008 law is that the NSA “may not intentionally target any person known at the time of acquisition to be located in the United States.” A possible interpretation of that language, some legal experts said, is that the agency may vacuum up everything it can domestically — on the theory that indiscriminate data acquisition was not intended to “target” a specific American citizen.
This explains Clapper's lies: He knew everything is taken, but only a very small part is being used, right now (and anything else in the indefinite future, under an indefinite government).

Second, as to who do it:
Remember that Snowden also revealed that the NSA is tapping into the servers of 9 big internet companies. Two government officials have admitted that as many as 50 American companies are now feeding the NSA with real-time user data.
Third, as to what these secret operators can get:

“I’m much more frightened and concerned about real-time monitoring on the Internet backbone,” said Wolf Ruzicka, CEO of EastBanc Technologies, a Washington software company. “I cannot think of anything, outside of a face-to-face conversation, that they could not have access to.”

***

Schneier, the author and security expert, said it doesn’t really matter how Prism works, technically. Just assume the government collects everything, he said.

He said it doesn’t matter what the government and the companies say, either …. “No one is telling the truth.”

There is a lot more in the article.

2
. Are environmental activists really a spying priority?

Next, why would they want to know everything there is to know about anyone? I'll come to that in some more detail in the next section, but here quote the concluding lines from

My three reasons to list this and quote the last two paragraphs are that it is by Annie Machon (<- good video) who worked for MI5 but stepped out, and was briefly dealt with by me here; that the piece is from January 2011; and that she sounds just as Snowden does, especially in her last paragraph:

The core idea should be safeguarding the nation's integrity. A group of well-meaning environmental protesters should not even be on the radar. And, no matter how awful, the occasional terrorist attack is not an existential threat to the fabric of the nation in the way of, say, the planned Nazi invasion in 1940. Nor is it even close to the sustained bombing of government, infrastructure and military targets by the Provisional IRA in the 70s-90s.

Once we understand the real threats, we as a nation can discuss the steps to take to protect ourselves; what measures should be taken and what liberties occasionally and legally compromised, and what democratic accountability exists to ensure that the security forces do not exceed their remit and work within the law.

Indeed but I would say, it should be quite clear by now that this is not about "the real threats", which indeed exist. These are only a pretext. So what is it really about?

3. The Pentagon's Preparations for War Against Us

Here is, to start with
This starts with the following two paragraphs:

A score of recent defense department and other official documents warn that climate change, energy shocks and economic crisis could trigger waves of civil unrest. The understanding seems to explain the proliferation of security and surveillance programs over the last decade.

The preparation makes sense from the perspective of governments (four of which—the U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand—appear to have been granted access to data collected by the NSA spying program disclosed in recent weeks, as members of an international intelligence alliance known as “Five Eyes”). The world can unravel in at least three different ways. If and when it does, those in power will want the means to keep their grip. Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges has been warning us about this for a while now.

This seems plausible to me, and indeed I have mentioned Chris Hedges repeatedly before, in Nederlog. Next, part of the sources of the above article were gathered by
Nafeez Ahmed, the Guardian contributor who deserves great credit for compiling excerpts from these documents for the public, concluded his article on the subject by saying:

“The Pentagon knows that environmental, economic and other crises could provoke widespread public anger toward government and corporations in coming years. The revelations on the NSA’s global surveillance programmes are just the latest indication that as business as usual creates instability at home and abroad, and as disillusionment with the status quo escalates, Western publics are being increasingly viewed as potential enemies that must be policed by the state.”

Here is that article:
That has rather a lot of references, that indeed lead to the concluding paragraph I already cited. What more is there to be learned?

4. Learning from the spying scandal

In fact, I think a lot could be learned, but the problem is whether this will be done by the public at large or indeed by the journalists who work "for them" (that public). Here is one contribution:
And here is a quote from it, to which I have added a link to Wikipedia:

We also learned most of the big internet brands played along, without disclosing anything, silenced by secrecy or being complicit due to a simple desire to stay on Washington's good side. Only Google seems to be fighting back, but after the fact. So much for all the sanctimonious privacy codes they all promote.

Clearly that old military-industrial complex, first condemned by President Eisenhower in 1960, now has expanded into a far larger behemoth, incorporating digital media, co-opting the internet, integrating the intelligence community, winning over Congress and the press, and giving the president even more power to launch cyber-wars and to target whomever he wants.

And here is another journalist, who seems to be somewhat in two minds:
Here are its first 2 1/2 paragraphs:

With revelations (yet again) that we are all essentially being watched virtually all the time, we might expect a popular backlash against such a massive and unprecedented intrusion on privacy. Americans may differ on a plethora of political issues, but there’s a common wisdom suggesting broad agreement on core principles such as individual liberty. Alas, widespread pushback against a total surveillance society seems unlikely to emerge, and having the full scope of such a program become publicly known may only increase its acceptability.

Modern America is built on the ethos of the “reality show” -- and people want to be watched.

An intrusive, Orwellian government apparatus is like a high-tech paparazzi that actually cares about your movements and relationships enough to hound you in your wanderings. Big Brother watching you means higher “ratings” for the spectacle that is your life, which is suddenly rendered worthwhile by virtue of having such a dedicated viewership.
I do not know whether this last bit is true, though it may very well be. Then again, the journalist does not have Snowden's intransigence:
And that is the real point. Neither do I, but meanwhile I am rather old(ish).

5. About young people

As I have explained quite a few times in Nederlog - currently over 200 MB - I was born in 1950; had my teens in the 1960ies; have been whistleblowing twice about Dutch affairs (the educational steep decline and the trafficking in illegal drugs, for both of which see ME in Amsterdam), without getting any satisfaction;  and I am at least a bit amazed about the segment of the population that is between 15 and 50 now, because I think the vast majority of them is far more docile than they should be.

Then again, I am different from other people, and indeed I would not know at all what I would do if I had been dumber or had had a different education from the one I received.

But it remains - at least - a bit odd, and it is mainly for this reason that I link in the following:
Here is its first paragraph, by a clinical psychologist, Bruce E. Levine:

Many young people diagnosed with mental disorders are essentially anarchists who have the bad luck of being misidentified by mental health professionals, who 1) are ignorant of the social philosophy of anarchism; 2) embrace, often without political consciousness, its opposite ideology of hierarchism; and 3) confuse the signs of anarchism with symptoms of mental illness.

Actually, I do not think so, in general terms, although this will be true of - what I suspect is - a relatively small group. But I grant that I have no good statistics and not much experience with "young people", while I do think that shrinks are pseudoscientists, with very few exceptions, and I would agree with Mr Levine that they medicalize everything, on no real scientific basis whatsoever.

Also, I agree with this, which is another reason to link this:

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control on May 17, 2013, in “Mental Health Surveillance Among Children—United States, 2005–2011,” reported: “A total of 13%–20% of children living in the United States experience a mental disorder in a given year, and surveillance during 1994–2011 has shown the prevalence of these conditions to be increasing.”

Is there an epidemic of childhood mental illness, or is there a curious revolt?
That is: It is not sane to classify 1 in 8 to 1 in 5 of children as "mentally ill" and give them strong psychotropic drugs, but indeed this does happen, and it also happens as a matter of course, in good part because it is strongly supported by the honorable gentlemen of the American Psychiatric Association.

6.
Turkish Doctors Threatened for Aiding Protestors

Finally, a bit that struck me as showing things are derailing:
The point is not whether or not you agree with the Turkish protestors: the point is whether you agree with dr. Flowers that Turkish doctors should have the right to treat those who get wounded:
The Turkish Health Ministry issued a threat to take medical licenses to practice away from doctors who have been providing treatment to the protesters in Istanbul. They are also demanding the names of all medical volunteers including Emergency Medicine Technicians. This threat constitutes a violation of the human right of the protesters to receive treatment and the principle of medical neutrality.
In case you did not know, another quotation of dr. Flowers:

Health professionals have the right by international law to treat those in need. According to Physicians for Human Rights, which documents abuses around the globe, the principle of medical neutrality states that:

“Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are trained to treat those in need—regardless of politics, race, or religion. Attacks on health professionals violate the principle of medical neutrality and are grave breaches of international law.”

Quite so!
--------------------------------- 

About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

2. Malcolm Hooper THE MENTAL HEALTH MOVEMENT:  
PERSECUTION OF PATIENTS?
3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
9.
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)


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