13, 2014
Crisis: Greenwald, Feinstein * 3, Goodman, Black, US psychiatry
   "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. How the NSA Plans to Infect ‘Millions’ of Computers with  

2. The Double Life of Dianne Feinstein
CIA Spies and Tortured Lies
4. Bill Black at TED Explains How Insiders Rob Banks and
     Cause Crises

Drug Company Agrees to Pay $27.6 Million to Settle
     Allegations Involving Chicago Psychiatrist
About ME/CFS


This is the Nederlog of March 13.

It is about the
crisis, and it contains rather a lot about Senator Feinstein, which can't really be helped, at least not if you want to get a fair view of what is involved. But you can skip it all, by skipping items 2 and 3 (although they are rather important, and also explain things fairly well).

The fourth item is a very good explanation by William K. Black of how banks currently work, often, in the form of a TED talk (which I think are overrated, but let that be): by organized fraud, done by the top, mostly because their behavior is deregulated: See my
Crisis + DSM-5: It's deregulation, stupid!

The fifth item is and is not about the crisis: It gives some details on what seems to be a very well earning US psychiatrist, who earned so very well because he prescribed more clozapine as a Medicaid doctor, than did all of the doctors in Texas, Florida and North Carolina. It's here because it seems to me typical of U.S. psychiatry.

1. How the NSA Plans to Infect ‘Millions’ of Computers with Malware

The first article is by Ryan Gallagher and Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:

Top-secret documents reveal that the National Security Agency is dramatically expanding its ability to covertly hack into computers on a mass scale by using automated systems that reduce the level of human oversight in the process.

The classified files – provided previously by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden – contain new details about groundbreaking surveillance technology the agency has developed to infect potentially millions of computers worldwide with malware “implants.” The clandestine initiative enables the NSA to break into targeted computers and to siphon out data from foreign Internet and phone networks.

The covert infrastructure that supports the hacking efforts operates from the agency’s headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, and from eavesdropping bases in the United Kingdom and Japan. GCHQ, the British intelligence agency, appears to have played an integral role in helping to develop the implants tactic.

This is a long article that you should read by yourself. The main point is, again, that the NSA - plus the secret services of Five Eyes - tries to control the internet, in secret also, which is in fact a task that never was assigned to it, and that gives the few who rule, whoever they are, enormous power over everyone.

There is a summary of the file here, in an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
Here is part of a quotation from the article by Gallagher and Greenwald, that sums up some of the things the NSA can do to your computer:

One implant, codenamed UNITEDRAKE, can be used with a variety of “plug-ins” that enable the agency to gain total control of an infected computer.

An implant plug-in named CAPTIVATEDAUDIENCE, for example, is used to take over a targeted computer’s microphone and record conversations taking place near the device. Another, GUMFISH, can covertly take over a computer’s webcam and snap photographs. FOGGYBOTTOM records logs of Internet browsing histories and collects login details and passwords used to access websites and email accounts. GROK is used to log keystrokes. And SALVAGERABBIT exfiltrates data from removable flash drives that connect to an infected computer.

The implants can enable the NSA to circumvent privacy-enhancing encryption tools that are used to browse the Internet anonymously or scramble the contents of emails as they are being sent across networks. That’s because the NSA’s malware gives the agency unfettered access to a target’s computer before the user protects their communications with encryption.

As I said, there is a lot more, and perhaps the last article, which is a lot shorter than the first article, is a decent summary (though it does leave out a lot).

2. The Double Life of Dianne Feinstein

The next article is in fact an Editorial of the Guardian that I found on Common Dreams:
This article starts as follows:
Senator Dianne Feinstein is frequently exasperating. The Democratic senator from California is one day ultra-liberal, in the lead in calling for gun reform. The next she is ultra-conservative, one of the staunchest defenders of the embattled National Security Agency.

The senator's contradictory nature was on show for all to see on Tuesday, when she delivered an extraordinary speech from the Senate floor. It amounted to the biggest and most public rift between Congress and the spy community since the 9/11 attacks. Ms Feinstein, who chairs the Senate intelligence committee, which has oversight of America's myriad spy agencies, accused the CIA of breaking into the committee's computers. It is an extremely serious charge: a breach of the constitution, the executive branch tampering with the elected branch. She described it as "a defining moment for the oversight of our intelligence community".

Yes, indeed. I've also checked out Dianne Feinstein's Wikipedia file, which taught me she is 80, is the oldest senator at present, is a Democrat, and has been mayor of San Francisco from 1978-1988. Also, her net worth is between $ 43 million and $ 99 million; she is married to an investment banker; and she has a B.A. in history since 1955.

And there is this:

After Barack Obama became president in 2009 and Ms Feinstein became head of the intelligence committee, she started an exhaustive inquiry into the torture, and this is at the centre of the current rift. She claims that the CIA, headed by John Brennan, recently conducted searches of the committee's computers. Mr Brennan, in response, denied that the CIA had hacked into the Senate computers.

It is right that Ms Feinstein should raise this. It is a huge issue, one that at the very least will see calls for Mr Brennan's resignation. Her pursuit of the CIA is the fulfilment of her role as chair of the intelligence committee. It is what she should be doing, the monitoring of the spy agencies.

The exasperation with Ms Feinstein is that she directs her sense of outrage only at the CIA. It seems restricted to issues that impact on her. She is outraged when the CIA allegedly hacked into her committee's computers. She is upset over the alleged intrusion into the privacy of her own staff. And yet this is the same senator who could not empathise with Americans upset at the revelations in the Snowden documents of millions of citizens whose personal data has been accessed by the NSA.
Yes, quite so. In fact, she seems to have two sets of rules: One for those in power; the other for those without power. At least, that seems a decent explanation of her factual behavior.

There is also this, still on Feinstein, by Robert Scheer on Truth Dig:
This starts as follows:

It was a truly historic moment Tuesday when Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein took to the Senate floor to warn that the CIA’s continuing cover-up of its torture program is threatening our constitutional division of power. By blatantly concealing what Feinstein condemned as “the horrible details of a CIA program that never, never, never should have existed,” the spy agency now acts as a power unto itself, and the agency’s outrages have finally aroused the senator’s umbrage.

As Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, chair of the Judiciary Committee that will be investigating Feinstein’s charges noted, “in 40 years here, it was one of the best speeches I’d ever heard and one of the most important.” That was particularly so, given that Feinstein’s searing indictment of the CIA’s decade-long subversion of congressional oversight of its torture program comes from a senator who previously has worked overtime to justify the subversion of democratic governance by the CIA and other spy agencies.

And it has this detail on what actually happened:

Feinstein defended the committee staff’s spiriting information away from the CIA:

“As I have detailed, the CIA has previously withheld and destroyed information about its Detention and Interrogation Program. ... There was a need to preserve and protect the Internal Panetta Review in the committee’s own secure spaces.”

The response of the CIA was to hack the computers that Senate staffers had been using at the CIA off-site location, and the agency’s acting general counsel filed a crimes report with the Department of Justice against the Senate committee’s staff.

That was too much for Feinstein, who outed the CIA’s counsel:

“I should note that for most, if not all, of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program, the now acting general counsel was a lawyer in the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center—the unit within which the CIA managed and carried out this program. From mid-2004 until the official termination of the Detention and Interrogation Program in January 2009, he was the unit’s chief lawyer. He is mentioned by name more than 1,600 times in our study. And now this individual is sending a crimes report to the Department of Justice on the actions of congressional staff—the same congressional staff who researched and drafted a report that details how CIA officers—including the acting general counsel himself—provided inaccurate information to the Justice Department about the program.”

This is quite interesting, and Feinstein did, here, the right thing.

Finally, there is this article, by David Corn on Mother Jones:

This starts as follows:
Sen.  Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chair of the Senate intelligence committee, kicke off  a Washnington kerfuffle with significant constitutional implications when she took to the Senate floor on Tuesday to accuse the CIA of spying on her committee's investigation into its controversial interrogation and detention program. As pro-CIA partisans and the agency's overseers on Capitol Hill squared off for a DC turf battle—with finger-pointing in both directions—lost in the hubbub was a basic and troubling fact: Feinstein had contended that this all began because, years ago, the spies of Langley had severely misled the legislators responsible for overseeing the intelligence agencies.
At the start of her speech, Feinstein laid out the back story, and her account is a tale of a major CIA abuse. The CIA's detention and interrogation (a.k.a. torture) program began in 2002. For its first four years, the CIA only told the chairman and vice-chairman of the Senate intelligence committee about the program, keeping the rest of the panel in the dark. In September 2006, hours before President George W. Bush was to disclose the program to the public, then CIA Director Michael Hayden informed the rest of the committee. This piece of history shows the limits of congressional oversight. If only two members of the committee were informed, it meant that the panel could not provide full oversight of this program.
Not only that:
[General Hayden] offered Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who was then chairing the committee, the opportunity to review these thousands of cables. Rockefeller dispatched two staffers to peruse these records.

It took the pair about a year to sift through all the material and produce a report for the intelligence committee. That report, Feinstein noted, was "chilling." The review, she said, showed that the "interrogations and the conditions of confinement at the CIA detention sites were far different and far more harsh than the way the CIA had described them to us."

That is, the CIA had misled the Capitol Hill watchdogs.

And this in turn moved the Senate's intelligence committee to do "a full-fledged review of the CIA's detention and interrogation program".

There is more in this article as there is in the others, but I think I now have a somewhat clearer view of what is involved.

3.   CIA Spies and Tortured Lies

Next, an article by Amy Goodman that I found on Truth Dig, which is once more about Senator Feinstein:

This starts as follows:

“What keeps me up at night, candidly, is another attack against the United States,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein said last month in what was, then, her routine defense of the mass global surveillance being conducted by the National Security Agency and other U.S. intelligence agencies. All that has changed now that she believes that the staff of the committee she chairs, the powerful, secretive Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, was spied on and lied to by the CIA. The committee was formed after the Watergate scandal engulfed the Nixon administration. The Church Committee, led by Idaho Democratic Sen. Frank Church, conducted a comprehensive investigation of abuses by U.S. intelligence agencies, of everything from spying on anti-war protesters to the assassination of foreign leaders. Thus began the modern era of congressional and judicial oversight of U.S. intelligence.

And it ends thus:

The torture was widespread, vicious and conducted in secret “black sites” around the globe. This is what is being lost in the Beltway power struggle between Sen. Feinstein and the CIA. Lives have been ruined; some in U.S. detention died violent deaths at the hands of their captors. In the grim American gulag at Guantanamo Bay, hunger-striking prisoners charged with no crime, some of whom have been cleared for release for more than a decade, are subjected to vicious force-feeding and torture techniques that date back to the Spanish Inquisition.

Let’s hope Feinstein’s indignation is not quickly salved, and that the Intelligence Committee’s oversight of the sprawling U.S. intelligence agencies is invigorated, with real teeth. NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden weighed in from political asylum in Russia, saying, “We’re seeing another ‘Merkel Effect,’ where an elected official does not care at all that the rights of millions of ordinary citizens are violated by our spies, but suddenly it’s a scandal when a politician finds out the same thing happens to them.”

Yes, indeed.

4.  Bill Black at TED Explains How Insiders Rob Banks and Cause Crises

Next, an article by Yves Smith on naked capitalism:
In fact, the article is a brief introduction to a TED talk by William K. Black
on the causes of the economical crisis we are still in.

Here is the talk, which is very clear, requires no economic knowledge whatsoever, and takes only 19 minutes: It will almost certainly improve your understanding of the causes of the crisis:

Drug Company Agrees to Pay $27.6 Million to Settle Allegations Involving Chicago Psychiatrist

Finally, an article by Kara Brandeisky on Pro Publica:

This starts as follows, and is mainly of interest to those who are interested in psychiatry, and especially as this business is currently practised in the US:
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. has agreed to pay more than $27.6 million to settle state and federal allegations that it induced Chicago psychiatrist Michael Reinstein to overprescribe clozapine, a powerful antipsychotic drug.
What is clozapine (<- Wikipedia, probably written, in part, by a psychiatrist)?
Generic clozapine, an anti-schizophrenia drug manufactured by Teva, is approved to treat cases that don't respond to other medications. But clozapine can have dangerous side effects, including seizures, inflammation of the heart muscle and a drop in white blood cells. The drug is considered to be particularly dangerous for elderly patients.
Also, schizophrenia (however defined, in fact) is relatively rare. Even so,
dr. Michael Reinstein in 2007:
(..) had prescribed more clozapine to patients in Medicaid's Illinois program than all of the doctors in the Medicaid programs of Texas, Florida and North Carolina combined. At least three of Reinstein's patients died of clozapine intoxication.
Then, last spring, ProPublica reported that Reinstein prescribed even more of the drug in Medicare's prescription drug program for seniors and the disabled.
There is more in the article, and I also should say that I do not think this kind of behavior, that also involves a pharmaceutical company to pay $27.6 million, in part because "the settlement does not mean that the company has admitted any liability", and does mean the company does not have to face a court, would be possible in Holland. (But I may be mistaken.)

In any case, this is psychiatry U.S. style: You get poisoned by your doctor through expensive medicines that he prescribes mostly because they are expensive and he gets subsidized by the pharmaceutical company who makes them to have them  prescribed. Also, all complaints are "settled": there is no court case and there is no responsibility, because these are bought off by millions. In short: everybody profits, except for the patients. (But these are poor, old or disabled, so who cares.)

P.S. Mar 14, 2014: I recast the last paragraph a little.
[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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