"Those who sacrifice liberty for
security deserve neither."
-- Benjamin Franklin 
| "All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
1. The Permanent 'War on
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
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.
'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
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
A little further on, it is
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
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).
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:
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
Record of Violations Reveals Perils of NSA
Finally, in fact
two pieces, of which the shortest one is by John Queally on Common
This starts as follows:
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.
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:
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.
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:
Note the stress: it is on the permissiveness
of the - mostly secret - rules around
surveillance (that in fact is often done by private contractors, and
overseen by secret judgments by secret courts, in the U.S. democracy).
Jameel Jaffer, deputy
legal director for the ACLU, called the scale of the violations
"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.”
Finally, what also should be noted in a context like the present one is
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".
 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
if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my
More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn
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
from is quite pertinent.)
ME/CFS (that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: