ugust 16, 2013
Crisis: 'War on Terror', Chomsky, 'Jaw-Dropping' NSA violations
  "Those who sacrifice liberty for
   security deserve neither."
   -- Benjamin Franklin [1]
    "All governments lie and nothing
    they say should be believed.
   -- I.F. Stone.

1. The Permanent 'War on Terror'
2. Chomsky: The U.S. Behaves Nothing Like a Democracy,
     But You'll Never Hear About It in Our 'Free Press'

3. 'Jaw-Dropping' Record of Violations Reveals Perils of
     NSA Self-Policing
About ME/CFS


The plan to translate "About terrorism" is still on hold, for lack of energy, mostly because I do not sleep enough.

And there isn't much - that I found - that relates to the crisis, so I'll have only three or four items today.

1. The Permanent 'War on Terror'

First, a piece in Consortiumnews by Lawrence Davidson, who is a professor of history at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. It is mostly about Hedges vs. Obama, that I have written about before, that was initially won by Hedges, and then lost on appeal:
This starts as follows:

In January 2012, former war correspondent Christopher Hedges and others, including Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg, filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and specifically the Act’s Section 1021(b)(2), which allows for indefinite detention by the U.S. military of people “who are part of or substantially support Al Qaeda, the Taliban or associated forces engaged in hostilities against the United States.”

This detention denies those held of the ability to “contest the allegations against them because they have no right to be notified of the specific charges against them,” according to the complaint. The particular issue in question was the vagueness of the terms “substantially support” and “associated forces.”

A little further on, it is explained that

The plaintiffs claimed that the NDAA violated various constitutional amendments: the First (free speech), Fifth (due process as well as the stipulation that people must be able to understand what actions break the law) and Fourteenth (equal protection).

This seems all quite reasonable, and indeed judge Kathleen Forrest sided with Hedges. The government went in immediate appeal, and won the appeal, and not because it said anything specific, but because
as Carl Mayer, the lawyer for Christopher Hedges, had noted earlier, “The government has not put in any evidence. They just keep making these broad assurances. It’s all a ‘trust us’ proceeding.” And trust them is exactly what the appellate judges did.

Next, Davidson discusses another case, that you have to check out yourself using the link. But here is the conclusion Lawrence Davidson draws, from his whole piece:

As it stands now, in terms of civil liberties there is not much “daylight” between Obama’s practice and the past behavior of neoconservative vulgarians such as George W. Bush.

Or in other words: Obama simply continues the policies of Bush Jr. And indeed, there is much governmental lying, as I.F. Stone also said.

2.  Chomsky: The U.S. Behaves Nothing Like a Democracy, But You'll
             Never Hear About It in Our 'Free Press'

Next, a fairly long piece by Noam Chomsky that I found on Alternet:
This starts as follows:
I'd like to comment on topics that I think should regularly be on the front pages but are not - and in many crucial cases are scarcely mentioned at all or are presented in ways that seem to me deceptive because they're framed almost reflexively in terms of doctrines of the powerful.
And it ends thus:
The general picture is pretty grim, I think. But there are shafts of light. As always through history, there are two trajectories. One leads towards oppression and destruction. The other leads towards freedom and justice. And as always - to adapt Martin Luther King's famous phrase - there are ways to bend the arc of the moral universe towards justice and freedom - and by now even towards survival.
In between, there are many Chomskyan points of view, that I do not all agree with, though overall I agree considerably more than not.

In fact, I had decided to discuss quite a few of these points, but again ran into the consequences of too little sleep, and had to put this plan aside.

So I mention just one disagreement, that also is a bit philosophical:

While I agree with Chomsky that the present is explained by the past, I'd say that most that needs explaining in the present can be explained by going back as far as the 1970ies and 1960ies, but not much further back. Of course there are traditions that can be traced back much further, indeed till ca. 1215 A.D., which are the days of the original Magna Charta, that now is being destroyed, as the previous item makes clear, but I do believe in free will.

But as I said, I agree more than I disagree, and also Chomsky is one of the very few truly enlightened intellectuals, who deserves to be read and pondered, which is also my reason to list him here: You may not - wholly - agree, but he does have a sincere, intelligent and rational vision.

3. 'Jaw-Dropping' Record of Violations Reveals Perils of NSA

Finally, in fact two pieces, of which the shortest one is by John Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
An internal National Intelligence Agency audit and other documents leaked to the Washington Post by whistleblower Edward Snowden show that despite official claims to the contrary, the spy agency broke its own guidelines, breaking "privacy rules" and overstepping "its legal authority" thousands of times each year as it collected online and phone data on Americans without a warrant or due process.

As the Post's Barton Gellman reports:

Most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by statute and executive order. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and telephone calls.

There is rather a lot more under the last dotted link, and quite a lot more under the last link, that I here reproduce for your convenience. This is by Barton Gellman, in the Washington Post, and is based, like Quelly's piece, on material provided by Edward Snowden:
This is in four internet pages on the Washington Post site, and it is not easy to follow, which is not Gellman's fault, but is due to the complexity of the material.

So I just finish with the "jaw-dropping" comment from Queally's piece:

Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director for the ACLU, called the scale of the violations "jaw-droppping."

"The rules around government surveillance are so permissive that it is difficult to comprehend how the intelligence community could possibly have managed to violate them so often,” said Jaffer in a statement. “Obviously it’s important to know what precisely these compliance incidents involved, and some are more troubling than others. But at least some of these incidents seem to have implicated the privacy of thousands or millions of innocent people.”

Note the stress: it is on the permissiveness of the - mostly secret - rules around government surveillance (that in fact is often done by private contractors, and overseen by secret judgments by secret courts, in the U.S. democracy).

Finally, what also should be noted in a context like the present one is James Clapper's lying "least untrue speaking":  Often, the mistakes are made on purpose, and only then, when things have - or may have - been found, restyled as "mistakes".
[1] Here it is necessary to insist, with Aristotle, that the governors do not rule, or at least, should not rule: The laws rule, and the government, if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn Greenwald:
It is more proper that law should govern than any one of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servants of the laws.
(And I note the whole file I quote from is quite pertinent.)

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)

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)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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