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Nederlog


  October
28, 2013
Crisis: Revolution, Embassy, Spain, Uruguay, reform, Stasi, NSA, personal
  "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
   -- Benjamin Franklin [1]
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
"
   -- I.F. Stone.











Sections
Introduction
  1. Our Invisible Revolution
  2. Embassy Espionage: The NSA's Secret Spy Hub in Berlin
  3. Spain summons US ambassador over claim NSA tracked
       60m calls a month

  4. Can the First Country to Fully Legalize the Sale and Use
       of Pot End Illegal Drug Trade?
 
  5.
'It Is Time for Reform': Thousands Rally to End
       Government Spying

  6. Stasi Meets Steve Jobs
  7. NSA Says It Stopped Spying on Angela Merkel "This
       Summer"
  8. Personal
About ME/CFS

Introduction

There are today seven articles in the crisis series, and there was yesterday a bit of information about what I may be doing to Nederlog, though none of that got to be a certainty.

Also, today's issue is a bit shorter than it would have been if I had not just heard that my English girlfriend Stephanie is dead, since 1996, which is a great pity.

1.  Our Invisible Revolution

The first article today is by Chris Hedges, in Truth Dig:

The previous article was a week ago, and I wrote a fairly long criticism of it, that I ended as follows:
(..) Chris Hedges is an honorable man (quite straightly, without Shakespearean overtones) and means well, and I also agree with his diagnosis of the actual facts more than I disagree, but I also see neither much of a hope nor much of a chance to start a "class war" in the existing situation.

But I think he deserves reading and he also knows more about the US than I do, and he is certainly right in considerable parts of his analysis.

That still holds, and indeed I see a lot less to criticize in his present piece. In any case, he starts as follows:

“Did you ever ask yourself how it happens that government and capitalism continue to exist in spite of all the evil and trouble they are causing in the world?” the anarchist Alexander Berkman wrote in his essay “The Idea Is the Thing.” “If you did, then your answer must have been that it is because the people support those institutions, and that they support them because they believe in them.”

Berkman was right. As long as most citizens believe in the ideas that justify global capitalism, the private and state institutions that serve our corporate masters are unassailable. When these ideas are shattered, the institutions that buttress the ruling class deflate and collapse. The battle of ideas is percolating below the surface. It is a battle the corporate state is steadily losing. An increasing number of Americans are getting it. They know that we have been stripped of political power. They recognize that we have been shorn of our most basic and cherished civil liberties, and live under the gaze of the most intrusive security and surveillance apparatus in human history. Half the country lives in poverty. Many of the rest of us, if the corporate state is not overthrown, will join them. These truths are no longer hidden.

There is rather a lot more, but I mostly agree, and only quote this part:
Corporations, freed from all laws, government regulations and internal constraints, are stealing as much as they can, as fast as they can, on the way down. The managers of corporations no longer care about the effects of their pillage. Many expect the systems they are looting to fall apart. They are blinded by personal greed and hubris. They believe their obscene wealth can buy them security and protection. They should have spent a little less time studying management in business school and a little more time studying human nature and human history. They are digging their own graves. 
I think they are, but I also think that one's chances with money or gold are a lot better than without it.

In any case, this essay as well is well worth reading, and I mostly agree with it.


2.  Embassy Espionage: The NSA's Secret Spy Hub in Berlin

Next, a fairly long and thorough article in Der Spiegel, English edition, by the staff of Der Spiegel:
This starts as follows, and the bolding is in the original:

According to SPIEGEL research, United States intelligence agencies have not only targeted Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone, but they have also used the American Embassy in Berlin as a listening station. The revelations now pose a serious threat to German-American relations.

It's a prime site, a diplomat's dream. Is there any better location for an embassy than Berlin's Pariser Platz? It's just a few paces from here to the Reichstag. When the American ambassador steps out the door, he looks directly onto the Brandenburg Gate.

When the United States moved into the massive embassy building in 2008, it threw a huge party. Over 4,500 guests were invited. Former President George H. W. Bush cut the red-white-and-blue ribbon. Chancellor Angela Merkel offered warm words for the occasion. Since then, when the US ambassador receives high-ranking visitors, they often take a stroll out to the roof terrace, which offers a breathtaking view of the Reichstag and Tiergarten park. Even the Chancellery can be glimpsed. This is the political heart of the republic, where billion-euro budgets are negotiated, laws are formulated and soldiers are sent to war. It's an ideal location for diplomats -- and for spies.

Please note that this is in three parts: You'll find links at the end.

3. Spain summons US ambassador over claim NSA tracked 60m calls a month

Next, an article by Paul Hamilos in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:

The Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, has summoned the US ambassador to explain the latest revelations to emerge from the files leaked by Edward Snowden, which suggest the National Security Agency tracked more than 60m phone calls in Spain in the space of a month.

Spain's European secretary of state, ═˝igo MÚndez de Vigo, is meeting James Costos as the White House struggles to contain a growing diplomatic crisis following accusations that the NSA monitored the phones of scores of allies, including the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.

El Mundo newspaper reported on Monday that it had seen an NSA document that showed the US spy agency had intercepted 60.5m phone calls in Spain between 10 December 2012 and 8 January this year.

Note that 60.5m = 60,500,000 Spanish phone calls, in one month.

4. Can the First Country to Fully Legalize the Sale and Use of Pot End Illegal Drug Trade?

Then we get to an article by April M. Short on AlterNet:
This starts as follows:

In Uruguay, it has long been legal to smoke cannabis, but growing, buying, selling or carrying it can result in prison time. However, the Uruguayan House passed a cannabis legalization bill in late July and contingent on a senate vote set for November, Uruguay is readying to become the first country in the world to completely legalize the government-controlled sale, cultivation, and consumption of cannabis. And as sales will start at just $1 per gram, it is likely to provide the most accessible cannabis anywhere in the world.

The Uruguayan system will operate similarly to the new system of legalized cannabis in Colorado, where people can buy the herb at licensed stores and grow alimited amount in their homes.

Since I have not much time (see item 8) I will just answer the question the title asks: No, but it is a great step forward.

5.  'It Is Time for Reform': Thousands Rally to End Government Spying

Next, a brief article by Laura McCauley on Common Dreams:
I use this to reproduce Edward Snowden's full statement, that the article prints:

In the last four months, we’ve learned a lot about our government. We’ve learned that the US Intelligence Community secretly built a system of pervasive surveillance.

Today, no telephone in America makes a call without leaving a record with the NSA. Today, no Internet transaction enters or leaves America without passing through the NSA’s hands. Our representatives in Congress tell us this is not surveillance. They’re wrong.

We’ve also learned this isn’t about red or blue party lines. Neither is it about terrorism.

It is about power, control, and trust in government; about whether you have a voice in our democracy or decisions are made for you rather than with you. We’re here to remind our government officials that they are public servants, not private investigators.

This is about the unconstitutional, unethical, and immoral actions of the modern-day surveillance state and how we all must work together to remind government to stop them. It’s about our right to know, to associate freely, and to live in an open society.

We are witnessing an American moment in which ordinary people from high schools to high office stand up to oppose a dangerous trend in government.

We are told that what is unconstitutional is not illegal, but we will not be fooled. We have not forgotten that the Fourth Amendment in our Bill of Rights prohibits government not only from searching our personal effects without a warrant but from seizing them in the first place.

Holding to this principle, we declare that mass surveillance has no place in this country.

It is time for reform. Elections are coming and we’re watching you.

Quite so. But still I found the attendance disappointing, though I also know that, so far, at least, I am living in apathetic times.

6. 
Stasi Meets Steve Jobs

Next, an article by Eric Margolis on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
“Gentlemen do not read other gentlemen’s mail” sniffed US Secretary of State Henry Stimson in 1929 when told that American cryptographers had broken Japan’s naval and diplomatic codes.

Stimson, who later headed the War Department, ordered code-breaking shut down.

Alas, there are not any old-school gentlemen left in Washington these days. Revelations of US electronic spying by whistleblower Edward Snowden have ignited a furor across Latin America and now Europe.

For more, click the last dotted link.

7.
NSA Says It Stopped Spying on Angela Merkel "This Summer"

This is an article by Kevin Drum in Mother Jones:
This starts as follows:

Is this story actually true, or is it a desperate attempt by the NSA to pretend that they had stopped spying on foreign leaders before they got caught with their hands in the cookie jar? Beats me, but here it is:

The National Security Agency ended a program used to spy on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and a number of other world leaders after an internal Obama administration review started this summer revealed to the White House the existence of the operation, U.S. officials said.

....The White House cut off some monitoring programs after learning of them, including the one tracking Ms. Merkel and some other world leaders, a senior U.S. official said. Other programs have been slated for termination but haven't been phased out completely yet, officials said.

....The senior U.S. official said that the current practice has been for these types of surveillance decisions to be made at the agency level. "These decisions are made at NSA," the official said. "The president doesn't sign off on this stuff." That protocol now is under review, the official added.

I think think it is a desperate attempt: They really had not expected they were outed by Edward Snowden.

8. Personal

Actually, this issue of Nederlog is smaller than I expected - but I just got the news that my English girlfriend Stephanie F. died in 1996, from a very aggressive cervical cancer, probably at age 53. I am not very amazed, because I believed I would have, somehow, heard of her if she were alive, since she was very special, but I am rather struck. It's a great pity.

---------------------------------
Note

[1] Here it is necessary to insist, with Aristotle, thay 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 of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servant of 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 machine) which is a disease that 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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