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Nederlog


  November
3, 2013
Crisis: Taxes, NSA, Snowden, Terrorism and more
  "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. Want To Pay Zero Taxes? Become A Large Corporation
  2. Germany 'should offer Edward Snowden asylum after
       NSA revelations'

  3. Metropolitan police detained David Miranda for
       promoting 'political' causes

  4. National security: our spy chiefs won't be losing any
       sleep over their summons by MPs

  5. All we ask is for transparency to inform the surveillance
       debate

  6. Portrait of the NSA: no detail too small in quest for total
       surveillance

  7. UK Claim That 'Journalism Equals Terrorism' Sparks
       Outrage

  8. Prof Simon Wessely - Right or Wrong?
  9. SHIT Happens – 2
10. Personal
About ME/CFS

Introduction

There is today again "a normal NL" with ten entries, of which the first seven are crisis-related, while items 8 and 9 are health-related, namely about a sick ME-shrink and about the enormous corruption of Big Pharma almost no one does anything about, and the last item is a brief personal one.

1. Want To Pay Zero Taxes? Become A Large Corporation

To begin with, 3 minutes and 40 seconds of video by TYT (aka The Young Turks):

This is about the fact that 1 in 9 of the 500 top U.S. corporations pay no taxes - something I consider to be quite insane, but I agree that I am morally quite naive and also that this is a sign of the times and of who really has the power: The heads and owners of the firms who do not pay taxes.

2. Germany 'should offer Edward Snowden asylum after NSA revelations'

Next, an article by Philip Olterman in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:

An increasing number of public figures are calling for Edward Snowden to be offered asylum in Germany, with more than 50 asking Berlin to step up it support of the US whistleblower in the new edition of Der Spiegel magazine

Heiner Geissler, the former general secretary of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, says in the appeal: "Snowden has done the western world a great service. It is now up to us to help him."

The writer and public intellectual Hans Magnus Enzensberger argues in his contribution that "the American dream is turning into a nightmare" and suggests that Norway would be best placed to offer Snowden refuge, given its track record of offering political asylum to Leon Trotsky in 1935. He bemoans the fact that in Britain, "which has become a US colony", Snowden is regarded as a traitor.

Personally, I think this is a bad idea: I don't think a country with an extradition treaty with the U.S. should offer refuge to Snowden, and that basically because even 5000 "big names" - if there are as many such names in Germany - can stop or undo an arrest, and probably also can only lengthen Snowden's stay in Germany until he is delivered to the U.S. police.

But I think Snowden got that.

3.
Metropolitan police detained David Miranda for promoting 'political' causes

Next, an article by Jamie Doward in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:

The detention of the partner of a former Guardian journalist has triggered fresh concerns after it emerged that a key reason cited by police for holding him under terrorism powers was the belief that he was promoting a "political or ideological cause".

The revelation has alarmed leading human rights groups and a Tory MP, who said the justification appeared to be without foundation and threatened to have damaging consequences for investigative journalism.

Yes, indeed. And here is the passage of the - several times redacted - text that motivated the British police to arrest Miranda:

The notice then went on to explain why police officers believed that the terrorism act was appropriate.

"We assess that Miranda is knowingly carrying material, the release of which would endanger people's lives. Additionally the disclosure or threat of disclosure is designed to influence a government, and is made for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause. This therefore falls within the definition of terrorism and as such we request that the subject is examined under schedule 7."

Which is to say that he is a terrorist because he was supposed to carry unknown material that was alleged to be:
designed to influence a government, and is made for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause.
I say. Well... anyone who criticizes any aspect of the British government is clearly "a terrorist", according to the present British goverment and its very eager flunkeys. I do understand: They can't wait for the full police-state.

4. National security: our spy chiefs won't be losing any sleep over their summons by MPs

Next, an article by Andrew Ransley in the Observer:

This has the following

Over here, David Cameron rejects calls for a debate by scoffing that it is all "airy-fairy". Over there, Barack Obama acknowledges that there is cause for grave concern. Over here, William Hague says: "The innocent have nothing to fear", that most chilling of reassurances. Over there, John Kerry has conceded that the NSA was allowed to run on "autopilot" and American surveillance "has reached too far inappropriately". Over here, parliament has barely opened a sleepy eyelid. Over there, the chair of the Senate intelligence committee has called for a total review: "Congress needs to know exactly what our intelligence community is doing."

Bipartisan legislation has already been introduced to Congress to try to address the fundamental issue, which is that the technological capability now available for intelligence gathering has far overtaken the capacity of slow-footed politicians and creaky laws to ensure that its use is proportionate and safeguarded against abuse.
Yes indeed - I complained that very few British parliamentarians seem to be able to program, and Chris Huhne complained he did not get any information that he could not find in the paper.

There is considerably more in the article, but I leave this topic with its ending, that seems to me quite correct:
You may enjoy the spectacle of the trio of intelligence chiefs making their first joint outing in the public gaze, but be aware that spectacle is all that it is likely to amount to. This has all the signs of an essentially cosmetic exercise designed to give the appearance that they are accountable to scrutiny without subjecting them to the real thing.
5. All we ask is for transparency to inform the surveillance debate

Next, an article by Henry Porter in the Observer:
Here is a small part of the article, that is mostly about the British almost total silence as their democratic freedoms are denied and their personal data stolen:

The way this debate has been silenced at both ends of the UK is not just deeply depressing – it is extremely dangerous. For it gives the impression that we don't care about our freedom and that as long as we believe we are safe from terrorists, the government can do what the hell it likes with our information, even if that means building an invincible political power over trade unions, dissenting minorities, legitimate protesters, environmental activists, Her Majesty's opposition... you name it!

In contrast to Britain, the reaction in Germany, France, Spain, Brazil and the United States to the NSA leaks has included protest, vigorous debate and in America the admission from the secretary of state, John Kerry, that the NSA has gone too far and the policy of bulk data collection must be looked at again. Last week's disclosure about Europe-wide surveillance of phone and internet traffic, going on, presumably, without the knowledge of democratically elected assemblies, has caused further outrage.
The writer also did something: He organized a meeting with quite a few sponsors at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London. But he is indeed in what seems to be a small minority in Great Britain, that indeed once was an open and free society, but is so no more.

6.
All we ask is for transparency to inform the surveillance debate

Next, an article by Ewen MacAskill and James Ball in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:

Barack Obama hailed United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon as a "good friend" after the two had sat down in the White House in April to discuss the issues of the day: Syria and alleged chemical weapons attacks, North Korea, Israel-Palestine, and climate change.

But long before Ban's limousine had even passed through the White House gates for the meeting, the US government knew what the secretary general was going to talk about, courtesy of the world's biggest eavesdropping organisation, the National Security Agency.

One NSA document – leaked to the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden just a month after the meeting and reported in partnership with the New York Times - boasts how the spy agency had gained "access to UN secretary general talking points prior to meeting with Potus" (president of the United States). The White House declined to comment on whether Obama had read the talking points in advance of the meeting.

Note this is a long article, that gives quite a lot of background. I leave it to you, but I wish to quote this bit:

The NSA operates in close co-operation with four other English-speaking countries - the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand - sharing raw intelligence, funding, technical systems and personnel. Their top level collective is known as the '5-Eyes'.

Beyond that, the NSA has other coalitions, although intelligence-sharing is more restricted for the additional partners: the 9-Eyes, which adds Denmark, France, the Netherlands and Norway; the 14-Eyes, including Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Sweden; and 41-Eyes, adding in others in the allied coalition in Afghanistan.

The exclusivity of the various coalitions grates with some, such as Germany, which is using the present controversy to seek an upgrade. Germany has long protested at its exclusion, not just from the elite 5-Eyes but even from 9-Eyes.
The reasons to quote this is to have a listing of the various secret communities that spy on the rest of the world, the 5-eyes, the 9-eyes, the 14-eyes and the 41-eyes, and to have it confirmed how the German government is playing Merkel's more than ten years being tapped: It is using the controversy to get its spooks an upgrade, and closer to the NSA.

7.
UK Claim That 'Journalism Equals Terrorism' Sparks Outrage

Next, in the last of today's crisis-related materials an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams, that continues item 3:
As I have reported this above, I'll start with quoting from the middle:

The use of the words "espionage" and "terrorism" to describe what Miranda was doing immediately generating outrage among journalists and open government advocates across the world.

"For all the lecturing it doles out to the world about press freedoms, the UK offers virtually none," said Greenwald to Reuters in response to the news about his Brazilian husband, David Miranda.

"They are absolutely and explicitly equating terrorism with journalism," he added while condemning the language.

But Greenwald was not alone in his repudiation

After which several others are cited, some at considerable length. This you can find yourselves. I only quote the ending, and then explain why I hold a somewhat different opinion:

In post earlier this year exploring why the word's use is not just a question of semantics, Greenwald wrote:

Whether something is or is not "terrorism" has very substantial political implications, and very significant legal consequences as well. The word "terrorism" is, at this point, one of the most potent in our political lexicon: it single-handedly ends debates, ratchets up fear levels, and justifies almost anything the government wants to do in its name.

And as he tweeted on Saturday following the latest revelation from Scotland Yard:

As I have argued quite a few times, I have already in 2005 explained, in considerable (if also Dutch) detail, why "terrorism" as used by Western governments (and also terminology like "Al Qaeda") is utterly false bullshit.

But there is more to it than utterly false and intentionally deceiving
bullshit:

It also hides the fact that it are the states - those that uphold the 5-eyes, the 9-eyes, the 14-eyes and the 41-eyes - and their present governors, and those that governed since 9/11, who have implemented their own state terrorism against their own populations (or those of another country, that then is exchanged for the same information from another country).

And this state terrorism is not an empty term: It is the largest and most powerful attempt towards authoritarian governments that I've ever seen.

8. 
Prof Simon Wessely - Right or Wrong?

Next, on to another theme, namely ME/CFS. The following is an article by Margaret Williams on that light of the easy "scientific" essay and that eager servant of the British military and secret services, professor sir Simon Wessely:
The reason it is listed here is that I usually like Margaret Williams's articles, and I think it is always justified to attack professor Wessely, at least in writing, video and drawings, for he truly is the equivalent of those he so eagerly serves: his masters in the military and/or the GCHQ.

Then again, I must also admit that these days I spend very little time on reading about ME/CFS and on patients' lists: The news about ME/CFS is basically that there is no news, and no research money, and that the situation for patients gets worse and worse, and buck up!

Also the patients, on average, have an IQ that is maximally 100, and - alas for my life's chances and careers - I do score a whole lot higher. Also, much to the detriment of my own career, I am honest, and it has been made devastatingly clear to me that only decent deserving ordinary people and trolls get anything to say or decide on any patient's list.

I have learned that lesson really well, meanwhile - and indeed am also not the only one with real brains and a real education to learn this: Quite a few of these relatively rare individuals have been hunted from patients' lists, always in the same completely unfair manner. (Also, I am soon to be pensioned, so I have little to fear anymore from the Dutch authorities, although I certainly will not get any help.)

9. SHIT Happens – 2

Finally, the second file on "SHIT happens" by Dr David Healy - and please note that "SHIT" is an acronym for "Secret Health Ingredient in Treatment":
This starts as follows - and I added two boldings:
SHIT stands for Secret Health Ingredient in Treatment – see SHIT Happens.  In the early twentieth century SHIT was some supposedly secret magic chemical.  In the early twenty-first century SHIT is important information about adverse effects of a drug that has been kept hidden.
Also, although this probably will not interest most of my non-sick readers, they should know that (1) everyone is being lied to and manipulated by the copywriters of Big Pharma, and not only in the case of psychiatric drugs, but quite generally, and (2) this again can happen because these corporations are - somehow, inexplicably - only "punished", if at all, by "settlements" in which they return a small bit of their billions of profits, to buy not being researched by the law and also often being declared guiltless, because they have paid a small part of their profits back.

10. Personal

As for me: I am still doing a bit but not much better than I did the last 1 1/2 years, that were pretty awful, and for the moment I am occupied by trying to copy Stephanie Faulkner's letters to me to html.

If I want to publish them, which I strongly tend to do, I need to do that, and in any case most of her letters were handwritten, in a not very clear handwriting. This also has its special difficulties for me, because my eyes, although they have improved and are improving, are still not OK, and very probably will not be, for at least one more year.

Then again, copying her letters - of which I have at least 105 pages - is  something I like to do, in any case, whatever I do with the result, which is worth something, also because they give me much to think.

---------------------------------
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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