ugust 17, 2013
Crisis: Government spying, Clapper, tip of iceberg, corruption, disturbance?
  "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. You Won’t BELIEVE What’s Going On with Government
     Spying on Americans

2. White House insists James Clapper will not lead NSA
     surveillance review

NSA revelations of privacy breaches 'the tip of the
     iceberg' – Senate duo

4. NSA Spying: The Three Pillars of Government Trust Have

5. A Disturbance in the Force?
About ME/CFS


I'll leave out, from now on, saying that the plan to translate "About terrorism" is "still on hold, for lack of energy": If and when I can do it, it will be there, and else it won't.

Next, today there is a bit more on the crisis than yesterday. I will not list it here, taking the above and below to be sufficient indications.

(Also, here are two administrative points: I still have to update the
crisis series, and probably start a new one; and the titles I am using are not as long (usually) or brief (sometimes) as I make them, because they are usually copied, for clarity's sake.)

1.  You Won’t BELIEVE What’s Going On with Government Spying on Americans

First, a piece from Washington's Blog, that surveys the news on the surveillance by the U.S. government:
I don't think the title is very good, but indeed I also have been reporting 2 1/2 months now on the subject of U.S. governmental spying. In any case, there are - I think - 44 points there, that I agree would have all defied belief of almost anyone prior to 9/11. Here are the first 10 of the 44:
  • NSA whistleblowers say that the NSA collects all of our conversations word-for-word

As I said, there are 34 more points there (and I do believe most of them, at least). And I kept the links, because they are relevant to the points.

2. White House insists James Clapper will not lead NSA surveillance review

Next, I reported some days ago that one of the "changes" that president Obama is bringing to the spying of the NSA is an "independent" committee to survey it, that is to be headed by ... James Clapper Jr., who lied while under oath, though he says he spoke "the least untrue" (which is lying, but the meanings a Clapper or an Obama give to words are quite often not the regular ones).

It seems now that I - and many others - have been mistaken or else that president Obama is reconsidering this "change". This is a piece by Ewen MacAskill in the Guardian:
Here are the first three paragraphs:

The White House has moved to dampen controversy over the role of the director of national intelligence James Clapper in a panel reviewing NSA surveillance, insisting that he would neither lead it nor choose the members.

Statements by Barack Obama and Clapper on Monday night were widely interpreted as the director of national intelligence being placed in charge of the inquiry, which the president had announced on Friday would be "independent".

The apparent involvement of Clapper, who has admitted lying to Congress over NSA surveillance of US citizens, provoked a backlash, with critics accusing the president of putting a fox in charge of the hen house.

There is rather a lot more there, but none of it is very clear. In any case, there always are, as alternative presidential candidates for the job, such great and honest and objective men as Keith Alexander or Michael Hayden, who may head an "independent" panel or comittee. (I don't say they will be elected, but I do strongly suggest that the "changes" Obama are going to bring will be quite  "independent", much rather than that they will be independent.)

3. NSA revelations of privacy breaches 'the tip of the iceberg' – Senate duo

Then there are senators Wyden and Udall, who know a lot more than most Americans about the spying their government does, but who are silenced from revealing it. Here is a report in the Guardian by Spencer Ackerman:
And here are its first three paragraphs:

Two US senators on the intelligence committee said on Friday that thousands of annual violations by the National Security Agency on its own restrictions were "the tip of the iceberg."

"The executive branch has now confirmed that the rules, regulations and court-imposed standards for protecting the privacy of Americans' have been violated thousands of times each year," said senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, two leading critics of bulk surveillance, who responded Friday to a Washington Post story based on documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

"We have previously said that the violations of these laws and rules were more serious than had been acknowledged, and we believe Americans should know that this confirmation is just the tip of a larger iceberg."

Then again, they do not reveal the iceberg (that's for at least 90% under water) and get some criticism for not doing so, which I don't know is justified:

Firstly, it is also unknown what they are threatened with; secondly, they have been trying many times to get more clarity; thirdly, they have reported their concerns, publicly, and quite often; and fourthly, if they were to be removed, one is stuck with such fine senators as Feinstein to give report on the still hidden iceberg, and the reports by Feinstein may be safely assumed to be as honest, as complete and as forthright as those of general Clapper.

4. NSA Spying: The Three Pillars of Government Trust Have Fallen

Next, a piece I found on Common Dreams that is originally on the DeepLinks Blog by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It is by Cindy Cohn and Mark J. Jaycox:
Here are the first two paragraphs:

With each recent revelation about the NSA's spying programs government officials have tried to reassure the American people that all three branches of government—the Executive branch, the Judiciary branch, and the Congress—knowingly approved these programs and exercised rigorous oversight over them. President Obama recited this talking point just last week, saying: "as President, I've taken steps to make sure they have strong oversight by all three branches of government and clear safeguards to prevent abuse and protect the rights of the American people."  With these three pillars of oversight in place, the argument goes, how could the activities possibly be illegal or invasive of our privacy? 

Today, the Washington Post confirmed that two of those oversight pillars—the Executive branch and the court overseeing the spying, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA court)—don't really exist. The third pillar came down slowly over the last few weeks, with Congressional revelations about the limitations on its oversight, including what Representative Sensennbrenner called "rope a dope" classified briefings. With this, the house of government trust has fallen, and it's time to act. Join the over 500,000 people demanding an end to the unconstitutional NSA spying.

The rest of the article supports that the three pillars of the government have fallen.

But here are two critical points:

  • The point about James Clapper - see section 2 - is made as I (and most others) made it originally, and more importantly:
  • when I checked the Join the over 500,000 people link, it turned out the letter one has to sign is unreadable: the link is to "#", which just cannot work.
I am saying this here and now - on Augist 17, 2013 - because the people behind it only are reachable by Twitter, and I simply don't do that. (But one seems to be able to sign without reading the letter.)

A Disturbance in the Force?

Finally, an opinion by Yves Smith on Naked Capitalism:
This starts as follows:

Perhaps I’m just having a bad month, but I wonder if other readers sense what I’m detecting. I fancy if someone did a Google frequency search on the right terms, they might pick up tangible indicators of what I’m sensing (as in I’m also a believer that what people attribute to gut feeling is actually pattern recognition).

The feeling I have is that of heightened generalized tension, the social/political equivalent of the sort of disturbance that animals detect in advance of earthquakes or volcanic eruptions, of pressure building up along major fault lines. The other way to articulate this vibe is that it is as if events are being influenced by a large unseen gravitational or magnetic force, as if a black hole had moved into the ‘hood. We can’t see the hidden superdense object, but we can infer that it’s distorting the space around it.

As I said immediately, it is opinion, and she also explains what she means rather well in the rest of the piece.

There are - at the time of my writing this - 307 comments, that I read for the most part, but it is, at least from my point of view, mostly useless, except for the observation that most who comment do seem to agree that we live in dark times. [2]

But then indeed the times are dark, and may grow much darker soon. (Also, those who want to escape from this should read note
[2], for that shows how to do it quite well.)
[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.)

I did find two interesting comments, both by "from Mexico", and both relating to WW II. I'll put this in the present note, and not in the text, since I have learned in Holland that these issues are never discussed in public.
And besides, I also have been removed as a student from the University of Amsterdam's philosophy department, briefly before my M.A., and quite specifically as "a fascist" and as "a terrorist", for that is what 16 academically employed local "philosophers" screamed at me, in 1988, after I had read my questions, while they did not know that my parents and grandparents were communists; nor did they know that my father and grandfather were convicted to German concentration camps as "political terrorists". In any case, I was indeed removed
from a Dutch university, briefly before taking my M.A. there, and this was done to me - then already ill - as the only Dutch student since the end of WW II, and it was done specifically for asking these questions.

Anyway - here is the first comment  by "from Mexico", that deals with the responses of the average Germans to the raise of Hitler:

Describing how the average German adapted to the new (National Socialist) order, William Shirer in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich writes,

The overwhelming majority of Germans did not seem to mind that their personal freedom had been taken away, that so much of culture had been destroyed and replaced with a mindless barbarism, or that their life and work had become regimented to a degree never before experienced even by a people accustomed for generations to a great deal of regimentation…. The Nazi terror in the early years affected the lives of relatively few Germans and a newly arrived observer was somewhat surprised to see that the people of this country did not seem to feel that they were being cowed…. On the contrary, they supported it with genuine enthusiasm. Somehow it imbued them with a new hope and a new confidence and an astonishing faith in the future of their country.

Yes, that is true to the best of my knowledge, though I should add that there were political concentration camps nearly immediately after Hitler's arisal. See e.g. Dachau concentration camp, that was created "within days" of Hitler's coming to power in 1933, and the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, that my father survived, that was started in 1936.

I merely note here and now that there are no concentration camps - at least not yet - in the U.S., though there may be preparations for them.

The second comment by "from Mexico" deals with Holland under the Germans - and I should also say that, in my - very well-informed and quite Dutch - opinion, nearly the whole Dutch written history of WW II consists mainly of elaborate lies, that talk around but not about such facts as the following, that was written in California, and not in Holland:

In her recent book, “Beyond Anne Frank,” Diane Wolf, a professor of sociology at University of California, Davis, writes:

The Nazis found little resistance to their occupation in the Netherlands; rather, they enjoyed acquiescence and cooperation from the Dutch state and its institutions, including the civil service and, for the most part, the police. Indeed, Holland did quite well on the Nazi report card for good behavior: even Eichmann is reported to have said, “it was a pleasure to work with them.” The history of acquiescence during the Nazi occupation, in the Netherlands, especially regarding the fate of Dutch Jews, challenges popular assumptions… Despite images to the contrary, historians confirm that those who helped save Jews consisted of a small minority… [The] number of Dutch collaborators with the Nazis exceeded the number of those in the Resistance. Relative to the population, the Netherlands had the highest number of Waffen-SS volunteers in Western Europe. [34]

More Jews died (per capita) in Holland, than anywhere else in Europe, except for Poland — three times (per capita) the number in France. The odds of being a Jew deported and murdered from Holland compared with France were about 3-to-1. Wolf cites the statistics, which appeared in Raul Hilberg’s “The Destruction of the European Jews” as early as 1961.
"from Mexico" has considerable trouble understanding this - which indeed is quite understandable.

So here is a small and partial explanation (and for more see the note on my father of October 2010, that was also given, with lots of other materials, to the present-day Cohen and Asscher, who were, when these materials reached them, respectively mayor and alderman of Amsterdam, and who did not reply - and yes: to be silent is to agree):

Part of the reason was the enormous Dutch collaboration - that was since May 1945 as much denied as it happened, if not more: according to the Dutch, almost all the Dutch were in the Resistance, whereas in fact very few were. Next, another important part of the reason were the Jewish (great-)grandfathers of the recent mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen, mayor of Amsterdam from 2000-2009, and of the present Dutch vice-president, Lodewijk Asscher, who was alderman of Amsterdam before that, who also were called Cohen and Asscher, and of the grandfather of the minister of Justice, until some years ago, both called Donner: They all collaborated with the Nazis and survived, also with their wealth mostly intact:

The WW II Cohen and Asscher told the Jews to register themselves as Jews, which most did, because - Cohen and Asscher said - the worst they had to fear was to do some work; while the WW II Donner did his work as a collaborating Dutch judge, and may have convicted my father and grandfather to concentration camp imprisonment, and anyway was co-responsible for those convictions, as a member of the Dutch collaborating Supreme Court. The WW II Cohen, Asscher and Donner survived, and indeed never needed to face a judge, while the great majority of the Dutch Jews were gassed.

Also, after the war, from the 1980ies onwards, their (great-)grandsons collaborated again, this time with the Dutch drugsmafia, that turns over, every year, at least, and since the 1980ies, 10 billion euros in illegal soft drugs. (I do not know which percentage the mayor and aldermen of Amsterdam get, but 5% of 10 billion euros = 500 million euros, each year.)

To this day - 2013 - and since 1988, these facts are not discussed in Holland, even though since 1988 250 billions of euros - 250.000 milion euros, at least - have been turned over in Holland in soft drugs alone, all quite illegally, all with help and support by the Dutch and specifically by the Amsterdam mayors and aldermen.

The Dutch papers do not discuss this, not even when they know that legislation implies taxation, which would solve a lot of the current Dutch problems.

Dutchmen who want to know more about this can consult ME in Amsterdam, but extremely few do (and indeed it disposes to pessimism).

As to the lessons of WW II in case of major trouble: Collaborate with the powers that be, and you will be safe - and after the fact you insist that you were a Hero of the Resistance, since those who know you are not will be mostly killed.

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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