15, 2014
Crisis: International=national, new NSA plan (?), Intercept * 4, Feinstein
   "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.
   "Power tends to corrupt, and   
   absolute power corrupts
   absolutely. Great men are        
   almost always bad men."
   -- Lord Acton

Prev- crisis -Next

1. US to UN: We Can Disregard Int'l Human Rights Treaty
2. Top Democrat on House intelligence panel offers new NSA
     reform plan

The White House Has Been Covering Up the Presidency’s
     Role in Torture for Years

4. Foreign Officials In the Dark About Their Own Spy
     Agencies’ Cooperation with NSA
5. Calls for Brennan’s Ouster Emerge Along With Details of
     CIA Search of Senate Computers

6. CIA Search of Congressional Computer Sparks
     Constitutional Crisis

Read Feinstein’s Full Speech Blasting the CIA (Updated)

  About ME/CFS


This is the Nederlog of March 15.

It is about the
crisis, but to start with I should say that I have re-uploaded Feb 14 - Mar 14 of 2014, because the bottom "data" linked wrongly. Now it works again.

Next, I said yesterday
that I saved some from The Intercept for today, and this is it, or at least the items 3 - 6. The first two items are from today, and the last item is in fact from a link given by The Intercept, for whoever might want to read all of Senator Feinstein's speech. (I don't think you cannot live without having read it, but it marks an interesting - partial - about-turn, that also happened for good reasons.)

1.  US to UN: We Can Disregard Int'l Human Rights Treaty

The first article is by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:
A United Nations panel called out the United States' litany of human rights failures as the U.S. sought to defend its reputation by saying that an international treaty outlying human rights doesn't apply to its military operations abroad.

The grilling happened Thursday in Geneva during the first of a two-day session held by the 18-member UN Human Rights Committee that looked at the United States' implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) — a U.S.-ratified treaty that bans torture, arbitrary killings and detention, and ensures the right to habeas corpus.

Here is "the argument" of the U.S. - which is a stinking and degenerate complete lie:
"The United States continues to believe that its interpretation — that the covenant applies only to individuals both within its territory and within its jurisdiction — is the most consistent with the covenant’s language and negotiating history," the Times reports Mary McLeod, the State Department’s acting legal adviser, as saying during the session.
Not only does "international" mean "national" in the U.S. Newspeak; it also holds drone killings are quite OK:
The U.S. delegation told the panel that its drone strikes were “in compliance with international law.”
2.  Top Democrat on House intelligence panel offers new NSA reform plan

The next article is
by Spencer Ackerman in The Guardian:
This starts as follows:

Supporters of a stalled congressional effort to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ metadata are looking warily at an alternative proposal by a key NSA advocate purporting to seek the same goal.

This week, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, who represents the Maryland district home to the NSA’s Fort Meade headquarters, came out in favor of a remedy for the controversial surveillance.

Ruppersberger, in interviews with the Washington Post, National Journal and Politico, said he was working to craft a proposal that would require court orders for government requests for Americans’ phone records – perhaps on an individual basis – from the telephone companies, without requiring the companies to expand retention of their customer records beyond current practice.

I am Dutch, and I do not believe him. Indeed, the whole point is, in the immortal words of the GCHQ, to Deny, Disrupt, Degrade and Deceive the much better proposals that are already there.

Indeed, Spencer Ackerman remarks:
But his idea also attracted suspicion. Not only has Ruppersberger been a staunch advocate for the NSA – and a fervent critic of Snowden – but his proposal would compete with the civil-libertarian alternative, the USA Freedom Act, that has 163 co-sponsors in both congressional chambers and would go further than Ruppersberger’s effort, as initially described.
There is considerably more in the article, but this seems to me correct.

3.  The White House Has Been Covering Up the Presidency’s Role in Torture for Years 

The next four articles are all by The Intercept. First, an article by Marcy Wheeler:

This starts as follows:

The fight between the CIA and the Senate Intelligence Committee over the Committee’s Torture Report – which Dan Froomkin covered here – has now zeroed in on the White House.

Did the White House order the CIA to withdraw 920 documents from a server made available to Committee staffers, as Senator Dianne Feinstein says the agency claimed in 2010? Were those documents – perhaps thousands of them – pulled in deference to a White House claim of executive privilege, as Senator Mark Udall and then CIA General Counsel Stephen Preston suggested last fall? And is the White House continuing to withhold 9,000 pages of documents without invoking privilege, as McClatchy reported yesterday?

We can be sure about one thing: The Obama White House has covered up the Bush presidency’s role in the torture program for years. Specifically, from 2009 to 2012, the administration went to extraordinary lengths to keep a single short phrase, describing President Bush’s authorization of the torture program, secret.

I suggest the questions in the second paragraph are all to be answered by "yes", and my main reason is the next paragraph.

There is a lot more under the last dotted link, followed by 238 comments, that I have not read.

4.  Foreign Officials In the Dark About Their Own Spy Agencies’ Cooperation with NSA

Next, an article by Glenn Greenwald:
This starts as follows, and answers an interesting question:
One of the more bizarre aspects of the last nine months of Snowden revelations is how top political officials in other nations have repeatedly demonstrated, or even explicitly claimed, wholesale ignorance about their nations’ cooperation with the National Security Agency, as well as their own spying activities. This has led to widespread speculation about the authenticity of these reactions: Were these top officials truly unaware, or were they pretending to be, in order to distance themselves from surveillance operations that became highly controversial once disclosed?
The answer is this, which I believe to be correct, since I know I live in a mock-democracy aka demockracy, which is a state of affairs in which the total population and most of its elected leaders and parliamentarians are completely kept in the dark about what a few leaders and the secret services secretly do:
A new NSA document published today by The Intercept sheds considerable light on these questions. The classified document contains an internal NSA interview with an official from the SIGINT Operations Group in NSA’s Foreign Affairs Directorate. Titled “What Are We After with Our Third Party Relationships? — And What Do They Want from Us, Generally Speaking?”, the discussion explores the NSA’s cooperative relationship with its surveillance partners. Upon being asked whether political shifts within those nations affect the NSA’s relationships, the SIGINT official explains why such changes generally have no effect: because only a handful of military officials in those countries are aware of the spying activities. Few, if any, elected leaders have any knowledge of the surveillance.

Again there is a lot more under the last dotted link, followed this time by 185 comments, that I have not read. (I do not like disqus, and I also do not trust it, and I very much dislike anonymous commenters. Also, I suggest that either there are no comments, or they are heavily edited, and most thrown out.)

5. Calls for Brennan’s Ouster Emerge Along With Details of CIA Search of Senate Computers

Next, an article by Dan Froomkin:

This begins as follows:

CIA Director John Brennan’s decision to search Senate committee computers was such a blatant violation of the constitutional separation of powers that some pro-accountability groups in Washington are starting to seek his ouster.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) disclosed in a fiery speech on Tuesday that Brennan told her in January that CIA personnel had conducted a search on  computers at a CIA-leased facility that had been reserved for the use of committee staffers investigating the agency’s role in the Bush-era torture of detainees.

The Constitution clearly gives the legislative branch the authority to investigate the executive branch — and not the other way around.

More even than the act itself, some critics see Brennan’s lack of recognition of the extent of his violation of key constitutional principles to be the biggest cause for him to be fired.

Indeed. The sooner he goes, the better it is, and see the third paragraph, but I do not think Obama will give him up.

There is considerably more in the article, that also has 102 comments I did not read.

6.  CIA Search of Congressional Computer Sparks Constitutional Crisis

Finally in this series of four articles by The Intercept, an article by Dan Froomkin:
This is from March 11, and starts as follows:

Two top Senate leaders declared Tuesday that the CIA’s recent conduct has undermined the separation of powers as set out in the Constitution, setting the stage for a major battle to reassert the proper balance between the two branches.

Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), in a floor speech (transcript; video) that Judiciary Committee chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) immediately called the most important he had heard in his career, said the CIA had searched through computers belonging to staff members investigating the agency’s role in torturing detainees, and had then leveled false charges against her staff in an attempt to intimidate them.

“I have grave concerns that the CIA’s search may well have violated the separation of powers principle embodied in the United States Constitution, including the speech and debate clause,” she said. “It may have undermined the constitutional framework essential to effective congressional oversight of intelligence activities or any other government function.”

She concluded: “The recent actions that I have just laid out make this a defining moment for the oversight of our intelligence community. How Congress responds and how this is resolved will show whether the Intelligence Committee can be effective in monitoring and investigating our nation’s intelligence activities, or whether our work can be thwarted by those we oversee. I believe it is critical that the committee and the Senate reaffirm our oversight role and our independence under the Constitution of the United States.”

I have several times written about this, because I think it is important. Also, there is a lot more in the article that is well worth reading. (It also has 322 comments that I did not read, which brings my total for today on 847 unread comments.)

7. Read Feinstein’s Full Speech Blasting the CIA (Updated) (Video)

Finally, an article by Steven Dennis, although it is almost only text by Dianne Feinstein:
It is here because it is an important speech.

[1] Here it is necessary to insist, with Aristotle, that 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 one of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servants of the 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 machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

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[2]
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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