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Nederlog


  December
12, 2013
Crisis: Whistleblowers, Clapper, Alexander, France, Budget Deal, "regulations"
  "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. Former whistleblowers: open letter to intelligence
       employees after Snowden

  2. Obama Urged to Fire DNI Clapper
  3. NSA chief on spying programs: 'There is no other way to
       connect the dots'

  4. French officials can monitor internet users in real time
       under new law

  5.
A Cruel, Irresponsible and Dysfunctional Budget Deal
  6. Here's Why Wall Street Regulations Are A Joke
About ME/CFS

Introduction

This is another crisis item, that again has six items and six dotted links. And this Nederlog has been produced a little earlier than is normal.

1. Former whistleblowers: open letter to intelligence employees after Snowden

To start with, an article - an open letter - by Thomas Drake, Daniel Ellsberg, Katharine Gun, Peter Kofod, Ray McGovern, Jesselyn Raddack, and Coleen Rowley (all whistleblowers) in the Guardian:

This starts as follows:

At least since the aftermath of September 2001, western governments and intelligence agencies have been hard at work expanding the scope of their own power, while eroding privacy, civil liberties and public control of policy. What used to be viewed as paranoid, Orwellian, tin-foil hat fantasies turned out post-Snowden, to be not even the whole story.

Yes, quite so - and not only have "intelligence agencies" been very busy at "expanding the scope of their own power", they also have redesigned their own field. They are no longer tracking spies: they are tracking everyone.

What's really remarkable is that we've been warned for years that these things were going on: wholesale surveillance of entire populations, militarization of the internet, the end of privacy. All is done in the name of "national security", which has more or less become a chant to fence off debate and make sure governments aren't held to account – that they can't be held to account – because everything is being done in the dark. Secret laws, secret interpretations of secret laws by secret courts and no effective parliamentary oversight whatsoever.

Yes indeed - and the involvement of "national security" is only a pretext to steal everyone's data and copy everyone's mails and sites, for it is utter baloney hundreds of millions of Americans are spies or are dangerous.

Next two paragraphs:

By and large the media have paid scant attention to this, even as more and more courageous, principled whistleblowers stepped forward. The unprecedented persecution of truth-tellers, initiated by the Bush administration and severely accelerated by the Obama administration, has been mostly ignored, while record numbers of well-meaning people are charged with serious felonies simply for letting their fellow citizens know what's going on.

It's one of the bitter ironies of our time that while John Kiriakou (ex-CIA) is in prison for blowing the whistle on US torture, the torturers and their enablers walk free.

Yes, quite so. In fact, this is one of the most astounding things of all: Not that a set of spies redesign their own tasks and start spying on everybody, but that the news that they have done so is being "paid scant attention to" by nearly all of the media.

And indeed the Kiriakou case is bitterly ironic. Then there is this (skipping some):

Numerous ex-NSA officials have come forward in the past decade, disclosing massive fraud, vast illegalities and abuse of power in said agency, including Thomas Drake, William Binney and Kirk Wiebe. The response was 100% persecution and 0% accountability by both the NSA and the rest of government.
(...)
Since the summer of 2013, the public has witnessed a shift in debate over these matters. The reason is that one courageous person: Edward Snowden. He not only blew the whistle on the litany of government abuses but made sure to supply an avalanche of supporting documents to a few trustworthy journalists. The echoes of his actions are still heard around the world – and there are still many revelations to come.

Yes - but this also introduces a problem:

For every Daniel Ellsberg, Drake, Binney, Katharine Gun, Manning or Snowden, there are thousands of civil servants who go by their daily job of spying on everybody and feeding cooked or even made-up information to the public and parliament, destroying everything we as a society pretend to care about.

And that is a very serious problem, because it means that almost everyone - the vast majority - are trying to live lives of conformism, of falsehood, of lying, and do not really take serious most or all of the ideals the society they work in or for is based on:

Most human lying is in fact done by the conscious non-saying of truths one does know but rather does not give voice to in public, whether from cowardice or self-interest. A large part of public lying - as in the tale of the emperor's clothes - is collective collaborative public non-saying of things, that may indeed be motivated by justified self-interest, as in dictatorships, or common politeness, but also by conformist egoism.
(From: Lie, Philosophical Dictionary)

Next, they say:

Hidden away in offices of various government departments, intelligence agencies, police forces and armed forces are dozens and dozens of people who are very much upset by what our societies are turning into: at the very least, turnkey tyrannies.

One of them is you.

You're thinking:

● Undermining democracy and eroding civil liberties isn't put explicitly in your job contract.
● You grew up in a democratic society and want to keep it that way
● You were taught to respect ordinary people's right to live a life in privacy
● You don't really want a system of institutionalized strategic surveillance that would make the dreaded Stasi green with envy – do you?

Perhaps. That is: there probably are a few more (potential) whistleblowers - but the main problem I see is that they are a small minority amidst armies of comformist collaborators, who do as they are told, take their salaries, and keep silent about the crimes they witnessed, help perpetuate, and condone.

They conclude as follows:

There IS strength in numbers. You won't be the first – nor the last – to follow your conscience and let us know what's being done in our names. Truth is coming – it can't be stopped. Crooked politicians will be held accountable. It's in your hands to be on the right side of history and accelerate the process.

Courage is contagious.

I hope so, but I have seen very few truly courageous men or women in my life. [2] I very much do hope there will be more Edward Snowdens, but the fact is that Snowden is a rare man with a brain and a conscience, and especially the latter seems to make him one of the very few in 800.000 mostly willing collaborators who said goodbye to ther consciences, while saying hello to their paychecks for the work they do.

So... while I hope this works, I am under no illusions about how many Snowdens or whistleblowers there will be: Such persons are rare, and there are far more rotters, and very far more conformists than there are honest, forthright people of principle.

2. Obama Urged to Fire DNI Clapper

Next, an interesting article on Consortium News, that is in fact a memorandum to president Obama, that is prepared by VIPS i.e. Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, that indeed comprises four of the signers to the the previous open letter

This starts as follows:

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Fire James Clapper

We wish to endorse the call by Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Chair of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, Committee on the Judiciary, that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper should be removed and prosecuted for lying to Congress. “Lying to Congress is a federal offense, and Clapper ought to be fired and prosecuted for it,” the Wisconsin Republican said in an interview with The Hill. “The only way laws are effective is if they’re enforced.”

Sensenbrenner added, “If it’s a criminal offense — and I believe Mr. Clapper has committed a criminal offense — then the Justice Department ought to do its job.”

Yes, quite so. They then say:

This brief Memorandum is to inform you that we agree that no intelligence director should be able to deceive Congress and suffer no consequences. No democracy that condones such deceit at the hands of powerful, secretive intelligence directors can long endure.

After which they summarize the evidence, and include links to various videos, that I leave to you.

I quite agree - but I do not think Obama will read this, and I will be quite amazed if Clapper is being prosecuted for his evident lying. Then again, I think the memorandum is useful, if only to explain why the American democracy will - probably - not endure long, given the qualities of its government, governors, and most senators and congress-
men.

3. NSA chief on spying programs: 'There is no other way to connect the dots'

Next, an article by Spencer Ackerman in the Guardian:

This starts as follows:

Senior US officials, fighting to forestall a push to end the bulk collection of Americans' phone data, told a Senate panel they would be "failing" the country if the controversial surveillance practice ceased, and suggested that a congressional move to stop it would not be the final word on the matter.

National Security Agency director Keith Alexander, in an indication of the political crisis roiling his agency, compared the bulk collection on Wednesday to "holding a hornet's nest," but said he did not know how to detect future domestic terrorist attacks without swooping up the phone records of every American.

"There is no other way we know of to connect the dots," Alexander told a nearly empty Senate judiciary committee hearing (..)

As usual, Keith Alexander was lying: William Binney (<- Wikipedia) has explained, more than ten  years ago already, that "the dots" can be far better connected if there are far less of them, and indeed left the NSA over that disagreement.

But then again, it is not really about "connecting dots": It is about getting information about anyone and everyone that can be used later to control them, and it is about a new state organization that has far more powers and far fewer responsibilities than is the case in any open and free society.

There is considerably more in the article.

4. French officials can monitor internet users in real time under new law

Next, an article by Kim Willsher in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:

French intelligence and government officials will be able to spy on internet users in real time and without authorisation, under a law passed on Wednesday.

The legislation, which was approved almost unnoticed, will enable a wide range of public officials including police, gendarmes, intelligence and anti-terrorist agencies as well as several government ministries to monitor computer, tablet and smartphone use directly.

And there is this:
Article 13 of the new law will allow not just the security forces but intelligence services from the defence, interior, economy and budget ministries to see "electronic and digital communications" in real time to discover who is connected to whom, what they are communicating and where they are.
There is considerably more in the article, but this is the probable path Europe will go: Everything to the authorities; nothing to the people.

5.  A Cruel, Irresponsible and Dysfunctional Budget Deal

Next, an article by John Nichols that originally was published in The Nation, but that I found on Common Dreams:

I think the title says it all, and if not there is this:

But the agreement does not address the crises that matters. "This plan won't create jobs, get the economy back on track, or meaningfully cut the deficit," explains Congressman Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon. 

And that's not the worst of it.

What of the 1.3 million jobless Americans who -- with a fully Dickensian twist -- now stand to lose Federal unemployment benefits three days after Christmas?

These 1.3 million people should think that since they are poor they do not deserve support: the only ones who deserve support are the rich, the very rich, and the bank managers, who then may be so kind as to trickle down a little, where a few of these 1.3 million may get a little, if they are well-behaved and polite.

There is more in the article.

6. Here's Why Wall Street Regulations Are A Joke

Finally, a video by The Young Turks, that have a fine sarcastic explanation of "the new rules for the banks":

Here is a part of it:

Banks

So everything will be quite OK, if the banks' managers are honest and forthright...

---------------------------------
P.S. Dec 13, 2013: Added "after the war" to note [2] (to clarify that during the war 95% at the very least was not a member of the resistance, and after the war at least 95% was). Also, I'd like to say that the Dutch historical writings that have been done on "Holland during WW II", that I heard yesterday on the radio "is accepted by 95% of Dutchmen as politically correct" (I quoted), is not accepted by me. It is true it is accepted by most Dutchmen, it is also true it is "politically correct", but it is not a true history. What is the truth? I don't know. No one knows, and much has been falsified and lied about, such as the collaboration of the complete Dutch Supreme Court, and of nearly all Dutch judges, that I only learned about... last year. But I do know that the official history was written by a guy who wasn't even in Holland during all those war years, and who was so aggressive that no one dared to object that he systematically wrote "aggressief" in Dutch, as he had learned in England, where he survived WW II, while the Dutch is "agressief" for the English "aggressive". (This is a story I've read - I think - in Vrij Nederland, that I have not controlled, because the very many volumes the man wrote are almost completely unreadable, and were indeed not read by me, nor by my parents, who concluded after one volume that "this is not how it was", and that also seem to have been fully read by very, very few Dutchmen, though most were quite willing to declare that this was how it had been.)
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.)

[2] To go back to WW II: While it was everybody's duty to resist Nazism, in Holland very few people did, although this comprised my parents and grandparents. As a result, more than 1% of the Dutch population was gassed, for being "of the wrong race". In Holland, almost everybody collaborated - the judges did, the police did, the mayors did, the aldermen did - and almost no one had even to face a court after the war.

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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