who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin
"All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
"Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
to The Intercept
NSA’s Secret Role in the U.S. Assassination Program
3. Is Obama Full Of It On
4. ACLU to Obama: No, You
Can't Just Murder an American
5. Dean Starkman: How Lapdog
Journalism Led to the
6. Frank Zappa - The Biggest Problem In The
This is another crisis file. It's a bit special in that it welcomes
The Intercept, which is a part of First Look Media, which is financed
by Pierre Omidhyar and done by Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy
Scahill and Laura Poitras. See the first two articles below.
Next, there is a video by
TYT, that explains, quite clearly also, that Obama is full of shit when
talking about drone strikes, followed by an article on the ACLU, who
also has had it with the many arbitrary killings committed by U.S.
drones. The fifth is a brief bookreview that seems to be about a
sensible theme, and the last item is a minute of video of Frank Zappa
from 1976, about "The Biggest Problem In The World" (the quality of the
That last item - a mere
minute of video - is in Nederlog because I think more or less the same,
and indeed also thought so in 1976, but I did not know Zappa had
pronounced on it. Almost 40 years later, there are also a few
consequences, of which I spell out only one.
Also, the present Nederlog
got uploaded earlier than usual.
to The Intercept
First, an article by Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Jeremy
Scahill in The Intercept, that they founded with financial help from Pierre Omidhyar
This starts as follows:
It surely is good news.
It took them about three months, but since I do not know about modern
internet magazines, I can't say whether this was fast.
We are very excited to
welcome everyone to The Intercept, a publication of First
Look Media (FLM). The Intercept, which the three of us
created, is the first of what will be numerous digital magazines
published by FLM.
As soon as we resolved to
build The Intercept, we set out to recruit many of the
journalists whose work we have long respected and admired: those who
have a proven track record of breaking boundaries, taking risks, and
producing innovative, rigorous journalism.
We have assembled a team
of experienced and independent journalists and editors (see our
Our central mission is to hold the most powerful governmental and
corporate factions accountable, and to do so, we will report on a wide
and varied range of issues.
They also say:
Yes, quite so. And about
the other mission:
has a two-fold mission: one short-term, the other long-term.
Our short-term mission is
limited but critically important: to provide a platform and an
editorial structure in which to aggressively report on the disclosures
provided to us by our source, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. We
decided to launch now because we believe we have a vital and urgent
obligation to this story, to these documents, and to the public.
This also is very
important, for most papers and most media companies do not do this
Our longer-term mission
is to provide aggressive and independent adversarial journalism across
a wide range of issues, from secrecy, criminal and civil justice abuses
and civil liberties violations to media conduct, societal inequality
and all forms of financial and political corruption. The editorial
independence of our journalists will be guaranteed, and they will be
encouraged to pursue their journalistic passion, areas of interest, and
We believe the prime
value of journalism is that it imposes transparency, and thus
accountability, on those who wield the greatest governmental and
corporate power. Our journalists will be not only permitted, but
encouraged, to pursue stories without regard to whom they might
Then again, I suppose everybody who reads this will read all of the
2. The NSA’s Secret Role in the U.S.
Next, an article by Jeremy
Scahill and Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance,
rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets
for lethal drone strikes – an unreliable tactic that results in the
deaths of innocent or unidentified people.
There is a lot more,
which I trust you can read for yourselves. Besides, it is also the
subject of the next item:
According to a former
drone operator for the military’s Joint Special Operations Command
(JSOC) who also worked with the NSA, the agency often identifies
targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone
tracking technologies. Rather than confirming a target’s identity with
operatives or informants on the ground, the CIA or the U.S. military
then orders a strike based on the activity and location of the mobile
phone a person is believed to be using.
The drone operator, who
agreed to discuss the top-secret programs on the condition of
anonymity, was a member of JSOC’s High Value Targeting task force,
which is charged with identifying, capturing or killing terrorist
suspects in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
3. Is Obama Full Of It On Drone Strikes?
Next, a video by The Young Turks, who have as their text the previous piece:
As you can see, it is a long
video (for TYT), but it is good. (And yes, president Obama is full of
Also, since I assume that you will see this or have read all of the
previous item, I infer that I need not give more information.
to Obama: No, You Can't Just Murder an American
Next, an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as
published Monday cites unnamed U.S. government officials saying the
Obama administration is considering its options for assassinating an
American citizen it accuses of being involved in terrorism.
Also, as to these "vague
and shifting legal standards": One of the things you may have learned
from either of the previous two items is that drone killings are in
fact usually killings of those who are close to a certain cell-phone,
whoever that may be.
According to AP,
"one U.S. official said the Defense Department was divided over whether
the man"--said to be affiliated with Al-Qaida and engaged in alleged
terrorist plots--"is dangerous enough to merit the potential domestic
fallout of killing an American without charging him with a crime or
trying him." However, the report continues: "the Pentagon did
ultimately decide to recommend lethal action."
But the ACLU, which is
fighting an ongoing legal battle with the White House over the CIA and
Pentagon's use of drones and Obama's secretive assassination program,
responded to the leaked details of the internal deliberations by
issuing a serious warning against an attempted assassination.
“The government’s killing
program has gone far beyond what the law permits, and it is based on
secret evidence and legal interpretations," said Hina Shamsi, director of the American
Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project. "The targeted
killing of an American being considered right now shows the inherent
danger of a killing program based on vague and shifting legal
standards, which has made it disturbingly easy for the government to
operate outside the law."
Anyway - this is another article that I recommend you read all of.
Starkman: How Lapdog Journalism Led to the Financial
Next, an article by - it seems - Aaron Cantú on
In fact, this is the review of
a recent book by Dean Starkman, called "The Watchdog That Didn't Bark".
I do not know who Dean Starkman is, but he is right about the following:
It seems to me that the most
important of these reasons is the second, that is "the changes induced by the Internet on the
press's traditional revenue generating models". This certainly is the
case in Holland, where I saw the NRC Handelsblad collapse between
2008-2011 from a decent paper for intellectuals that I read for 40
years, to an eager servant of Louis Vuitton and Mercedes Benz, who are
served between trivia about Our Dutch Team in Sotchi.
Starkman explains that
heavier regulation in the past allowed the business press to be more
adversarial because they could uncover information on corporate
corruption via government reports. As business became less regulated
throughout the 1980s, publications could no longer rely on public
channels for insider information, and resumed the sort of affable ties
with the business sector they had at their start.
In addition to
deregulation, Starkman articulates two other reasons why the business
press grew so uncritical of their reporting subjects in the last
decade: The "stampede of the middle class into the stock market," which
heightened demand for business insider intelligence among the public,
and the changes induced by the Internet on the press's traditional
revenue generating models, which decimated funds for investigative
reporting (an expensive undertaking) and made publishers skittish about
Zappa - The Biggest Problem In The World
that I hadn't seen till today, although it is from 1976 (and one reason
I did not see it is that I don't have a TV since 1970). It is by Frank
Zappa; it appeared originally in some German program, for which reason
it has German subtitles, and it takes less than a minute:
Because I mostly agree,
indeed from before 1970, I first give the statement:
explain something to you. You know what my idea of a good time is,
ladies and gentlemen of the German nation, or whoever else is watching
this stupid broadcast? My idea of a good time is: the biggest problem
facing the world today is mental health. If everybody had good mental
health, then all the other problems would be solved. Because in order
to take care of mechanical and practical problems, you have to have the
mental health in order to attack those problems. If people have motives
that are not worthwile, then those bad motives are always going to
creep into their activities. You see that every day from the way
political people work. If people were just in the position of having
their minds functioning right, then everything else would fall into
line. Now that's where I am at, that's a dream. Now that is a dream
that is probably not going to happen, but that is my dream.
I agree, except for one
thing:it is not primarily about "mental health", which is
difficult to define and only obscures the problem. It is about rational
Next, it seems also to be the case - nearly 40 years later - that
people in general just are not capable of getting into "the position of having their minds
simply because they both lack the native intelligence and also did not
have good, intelligent and honest parents. (If people in general were
thus capable, it would have come out during these nearly 40 years,
which surely were richer in the West and gave the people living there
better chances than there were at any
other time or place.)
However, I am willing to assume Zappa would agree to my restatements,
although I am not certain - and besides, it also is over twenty years
too late to
There is a lot more I could say about the consequences of this biggest
problem in the world, which is the average lack of rational
intelligence, but in fact I did do so already in my
This is from 2002, and
still seems quite good to me. Here is small quote from it:
Indeed, with men like
Clapper, Alexander, Hayden and Obama in power, it seems less likely
there will be many human beings in a hundred years, and it seems more likely that if any survive, it will be in a very
unequal "civilization" where the few have almost all, and the many are
like their functional very well surveilled slaves, who proudly serve.
(See Aldous Huxley's
"Brave New World".)
beings were on average like the men and women whose ideas they claim to
practise, the human world would be a very different place.
Alas, it isn't - and one cannot blame the human average for not being
like the intellectually or morally best, just as one cannot blame
the human average for neither being pretty nor smart: Thus they are
born, and they never asked to be born, nor to be born with their
limitations, appearance, needs and shortcomings.
human beings on average remain as they have been these last 25
Centuries - say: per one genius a hundredthousand hooligans, cowards,
hypocrites, fools, followers and supposedly decent average conformists
- there soon will be no more human beings, for they will exterminate
one another, very probably for the purportedly best of moral
I agree that one
problem with this diagnosis is that it leaves little hope - but then
that is what
most really intelligent men had, or lacked, once they had overcome
teenage dreams: the vast majority is not intelligent, and instead is conformist,
and that is the biggest problem of mankind.
But yes, it is also true that history never develops as any man thinks
it does - and that
may, perhaps, give a little hope.
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
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.
note the whole file I
quote from is quite pertinent.)
(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: