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Nederlog


  November
27, 2013
Crisis: NSA, Justice, Assange, Pope Francis, Snowden, Corporations, idealism
  "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. NSA surveillance: Europe threatens to freeze US
       data-sharing arrangements

  2. Justice Department urged to make public secret
       surveillance documents

  3.
A Leak of All Things Suggests U.S. Won’t Prosecute
       Assange

  4. Pope Francis: Unfettered Capitalism Is a ‘New Tyranny’
  5. Is 'Doomsday Cache' Story Latest Effort to Smear
       Snowden?

  6. Corporate Espionage Undermines Democracy
  7.
as for idealism… 
About ME/CFS

Introduction

This is another crisis item, which consists of 9 articles spread over 7 sections:
Two items have two articles. Also, the last is and isn't about the crisis, since
it is about the enormous corruptions - billions of dollars have been made - in the medical and pharmacological worlds, that are quite clear, but again are not
what the media write or talk about, and also not what the DoJ investigates,
except by forcing clear criminals to give up a small part of their profits.

1. NSA surveillance: Europe threatens to freeze US data-sharing arrangements

To start with, an article in the Guardian by Ian Traynor:

This starts as follows:

The EU executive is threatening to freeze crucial data-sharing arrangements with the US because of the Edward Snowden revelations about the mass surveillance of the National Security Agency.

The US will have to adjust their surveillance activities to comply with EU law and enable legal redress in the US courts for Europeans whose rights may have been infringed, said Viviane Reding, the EU's justice and rights commissioner who is negotiating with the US on the fallout from the NSA scandal.

European businesses need to compete on a level playing field with US rivals, Reding told the Guardian.

There also is information about what she can't do, which seems to me quite a lot, and about the firm opposers of her plan: Lady Ashton and the British government, who want to know all about you, without your knowing it or approving it. Also, the Brits will block anything they don't like, if they can, and Reding claims that she herself has no power over secret services, that are 'national' - in spite of the European Union.

So it would seem to me that, at least officially, the main thing that may effect a
change is the law proposed by Sensenbrenner and Leahy, in the United States.

But I do not hold my breath.

2.  Justice Department urged to make public secret surveillance documents

Next, an article by Spencer Ackerman in the Guardian:

This starts as follows:

Federal appeals judges in Washington will soon decide whether the public has the right to see secret Justice Department documents setting out the legality of surveillance practices – which powerful senators say amount to a body of secret law.

A panel of three judges from the District of Columbia circuit court of appeals met on Tuesday morning to hear arguments related to the government's ability to withhold from public view a 2010 ruling from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) about the FBI's ability to get customer data from telecommunications firms without any legal encumbrances.

The case, Electronic Frontier Foundation v Department of Justice, is one of several recent transparency lawsuits launched in the wake of the Snowden revelations in the Guardian and other news organisations. The lawsuits are designed to shed light on what senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, members of the intelligence committee, call anti-democratic "secret law." But the surveillance practice at issue is not believed to involve the sort of bulk data collection that the NSA engages in.

Note this is a fairly specific case about something that seems to have stopped.
It's here mostly because I am an opponent of secret courts that shield the secret doings of secret and other services.

There is considerably more in the article.

3.  A Leak of All Things Suggests U.S. Won’t Prosecute Assange

Next, a brief article by Peter Scheer on Truth Dig:

This starts as follows:

U.S. officials speaking anonymously to The Washington Post said the Justice Department is unlikely to prosecute WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange because of a “New York Times” problem:

If the Justice Department indicted Assange, it would also have to prosecute the New York Times and other news organizations and writers who published classified material, including The Washington Post and Britain’s Guardian newspaper, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

It's also said that Assange's attorney has asked for a formal declaration, but not said with what success. In fact, I doubt there will be any formal declaration, although there should be one: Obama's government likes doing things in secret. 

4.  Pope Francis: Unfettered Capitalism Is a ‘New Tyranny’

Next two pieces on the same subject, namely one by Natasha Hakimi on Truth Dig, followed by one by Katie McDonough on Salon. I start with the first:

The first item starts:
Though he may not come down strongly on discrimination against the LGBT community or women, if there’s one thing this latest pope knows how to condemn it’s greed.
Indeed, he is quoted to the following effect:

“Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills,” Francis wrote in the document issued on Tuesday.

“How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”

Quite so - although the explanation is fairly easy: This is because most "journalists" are no longer journalists but are "journalistic" eager lackeys of those who rule.

Not only that, he also wrote:

“As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems,” he wrote.

Next, we have on the same subject Katie McDonough in Salon:

This starts as follows:

Pope Francis on Tuesday called capitalism “a new tyranny” and very explicitly called on global leaders to act on poverty and growing inequality.

Francis’ remarks are part of an 84-page document known as an apostolic exhortation, which makes official the platform for his papacy.

The document is incredibly direct in its call for specific, policy-level action to fight institutional inequality rather than speaking broadly and loftily about poverty as some kind of abstraction or something to be addressed exclusively by charitable giving at the community level, as some of his predecessors have been content to do.

And here is part of what he wrote:

Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “disposable” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.

In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and na´ve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.
I say. Well... perhaps he makes a difference, although he is 76, which also is my reason to quote him: There are over a billion Catholics, and this pope at least
has interesting ideas.

5. Is 'Doomsday Cache' Story Latest Effort to Smear Snowden?

Next, again two pieces, of which the first is by Alex Kane on AlterNet

This mainly reports. It begins thus:

Does whistleblower Edward Snowden have a secret cache of National Security Agency documents?  U.S. and British intelligence officials now say he does.  They claim that “the worst is yet to come” from Snowden.

Reuters reports that intelligence officials claim that there exists a “doomsday” cache of secret documents hidden on an Internet data cloud.  The heavily protected crop of documents allegedly includes the names of U.S. and allied intelligence personnel.  The data cloud is protected by encryption and multiple passwords.  The material is allegedly separate from the other documents Snowden gave to journalists.

Reuters also relays U.S. intelligence officials’ worry that China and Russia could get their hands on the material, though no evidence has ever been produced to support those claims.

Of course, US and British "intelligence officials" and Reuters can be trusted!
Well... they "claim" and say things "allegedly", and that is about it.

Then there is the report on Common Dreams by Lauren McCauley:

This starts as follows (and rather differently):

A piece by Reuters' Mark Hosenball, published late Monday, cites unnamed officials who suggest Edward Snowden is hoarding a 'doomsday cache' of names of intelligence personnel to be leveraged as an "insurance policy" should the NSA whistleblower face "arrest or physical harm."

The story, which independent journalist and commentator Kevin Gosztola called a "spoon-fed national security state propaganda intended to smear Snowden," has drawn significant attention.

Yes: I think Gosztola has it right. Also, this report quotes Glenn Greenwald:

"This 'threat' fiction is just today's concoction to focus on anything but the revelations about US government lying to Congress and constitutionally and legally dubious NSA spying," Greenwald added and then accurately predicted, "Yesterday, it was something else, and tomorrow it will be something else again."

Indeed. And you can't trust anonymous "officials" if there non-anonymous
leaders lie under oath, as they did.

6.  Corporate Espionage Undermines Democracy

Next, an article by Ralph Nader that I found on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

It’s not just the NSA that has been caught spying on Americans. Some of our nation’s largest corporations have been conducting espionage as well, against civic groups.

For these big companies with pliable ethics, if they don’t win political conflicts with campaign donations or lobbying power, then they play dirty. Very dirty.

That’s the lesson of a new report on corporate espionage against nonprofit organizations, by my colleagues at Essential Information. The title of the report is Spooky Business, and it is apt.

Spooky Business is like a Canterbury Tales of corporate snoopery. The spy narratives in the report are lurid and gripping. Hiring investigators to pose as volunteers and journalists. Hacking. Wiretapping. Information warfare. Physical intrusion. Investigating the private lives of nonprofit leaders. Dumpster diving using an active duty police officer to gain access to trash receptacles. Electronic surveillance. On and on. What won’t corporations do in service of profit and power?

Quite so - and you can download "Spooky Business" from the last link, and you will find an interesting report, that is also quite explicit about its own partial nature.

7.  as for idealism…

Finally, an item by 1 boring old man, who is a pensioned American psychiatrist:

This is the beginning, that also makes clear why it is reported as a crisis item:
I think, by nature, I might be an idealist – someone who thinks that right will prevail sooner or later. I never really thought that, but it seems to be true. Watching what happened in psychiatry in the 80s didn’t fit for me personally, but I thought things would strike a balance sooner or later. But later didn’t come, and much "later," I learned that the reason was because the pharmaceutical industry had essentially purchased psychiatry and our literature, or at least a big enough piece at the top of the heap to carry the day. That put a real damper on that that idealism I think I had. And seeing the same forces ripple throughout Medicine hasn’t helped a bit. So these days, I can get just as disillusioned as many of psychiatry’s critics, maybe even more so  because it’s my hood that has been invaded.

Peter G°tzsche calls what happened Organized Crime [a major force…]. Just a couple of years ago, I would have seen that as a gross exaggeration, but not any more. Nowadays, I think he’s hit the nail on the head, and if anything, we probably needed to face up to that some years back rather than "finally." Talk about tarnished idealism. This exceeds anything that I could have ever imagined. And I think that in my case, idealism about Medicine and The Academy actually interfered with my seeing what is now so damned obvious.

The reason this is a crisis item is that you - whoever you are, whatever your medical complaint - cannot rationally trust medicine anymore, for that has become a subjunct from big pharmaceutical companies:

You do not know that the well-known names that signed a paper, also wrote it, because many supposedly scientific publications are in fact written by Big Pharna's copywriters, rather than by their supposed authors; you do not know whether the pills that are proscribed to you really work, because no one has a right to see the original data, for these are claimed to be Big Pharma's; and in psychiatry you may be almost certain your diagnosis is contrived and artificial, and only serves to make higher profits for both Big Pharma and the many psychiatric shills that work for it.

And it is also true that three years ago, when I had not read a lot of evidence,
I would not have believed so either. Now I do.


Anyway - there is a lot more in the article, and far more on the site, and yes:
This psychiatrist does understand and use statistics.
---------------------------------
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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