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Nederlog


  May
30, 2014
Crisis: Snowden, Debate, Kerry, Impeachment, Elites
   "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
















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Sections
Introduction

1. NSA releases email in dispute over Snowden 'internal
     whistleblowing'

2. The Debate We Should Be Having Is Whether Keith
     Alexander Is a Hero or Traitor, Not Snowden

3. John "Man Up" Kerry Faces Firestorm for Snowden
     Remarks

4. Bush’s Anti-Terror Chief: Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld Can
     Be Tried at the Hague for War Crimes 

5. From Elections to Mass Movements: How Wealthy Elites
     Are Hijacking Democracy All Over the World


About ME/CFS


Introduction:

This is the Nederlog of May 30. It is an ordinary crisis log.

I suppose the most interesting news is the NBC-interview with Edward Snowden, and indeed I have succeeded in seeing it, though I also saw NBC has been pulling if from some internet sites as well. I saw it here, today, on Youtube:
There are no guarantees this will work for you. Also, I am not going to reproduce the interview, neither in full nor in part.

I suppose it was a more or less decent interview, which is all or almost all due to Edward Snowden, who handled the questions he got quite well, but it was not well-framed by NBC, and no doubt intentionally so, for they framed it as
"Edward Snowden: Hero or Traitor", much rather than as the really important questions for over 300 million Americans:
"Our government spies secretively on everything everyone does with a computer or cell phone: Should it? Does it have a right? Should it have a right?"
This is also the reason Edward Snowden did risk his life for. (See also item 2 below.)

But OK - this was the main part of today's crisis news. I hope you can see it, but I really do not know: I suppose it is a matter of time, since NBC seems to be insisting on its copyright everywhere - which also means that far fewer can see it than want to.

The rest of the
crisis news today is in part related to the interview, but not all of it is.

1. NSA releases email in dispute over Snowden 'internal whistleblowing'

The first item today is an article by Dan Roberts on The Guardian:
This arose from the interview, in which Edward Snowden said he had several times made efforts to raise his concerns about the surveillance practices. The reply by the NSA amounts to this:

The National Security Agency has disputed Edward Snowden's insistence that he made efforts to raise his concerns about its surveillance practices internally before he decided to go public.

Releasing an email exchange it claimed to be the only record it could find of such an effort by Snowden, the agency said on Thursday he was merely “asking for an explanation of some material that was in a training course he had just completed”.

Six months ago, the agency issued a statement saying it had “not found any evidence to support Mr Snowden's contention that he brought these matters to anyone's attention”.

The email exchange with the NSA's Office of General Counsel, dated April 2013, emerged after Snowden repeated his claim to have attempted an internal whistleblowing during an interview with NBC that aired on Wednesday night.
I do not trust the NSA, or rather: I trust them to lie or mislead, so I merely relay here the account of Snowden's US lawyer:
Ben Wizner, Snowden’s legal adviser, said of the email: “This whole issue is a red herring. The problem was not some unknown and isolated instance of misconduct. The problem was that an entire system of mass surveillance had been deployed – and deemed legal – without the knowledge or consent of the public. Snowden raised many complaints over many channels. The NSA is releasing a single part of a single exchange after previously claiming that no evidence existed.”
There is considerably more under the last dotted link, and I do not think we've heard the last of this particular issue, but I also do not think it is very important.

2. The Debate We Should Be Having Is Whether Keith Alexander Is a Hero or Traitor, Not Snowden

The next item is an article by Juan Cole on Truthdig, but it originates on Juan Cole's website:

This starts as follows:

NBC News’s Brian Williams interviewed Edward Snowden in Moscow on Wednesday night.  But then Mr. Williams followed it up with a panel discussion of whether Snowden is a hero or traitor.  It was a cowardly and venal thing to do, and Mr. Williams should be ashamed of himself.  By framing the post-interview discussion in these inflammatory and black-and-white terms, NBC nearly undid all the good journalism they accomplished with the interview.  It was one more sad example of the broken ‘one the one hand, on the other hand’ model of news that dominates the US airwaves, which gave us the Iraq War (Saddam Hussein: WMD menace to the U.S. or mere evil dictator?) and global warming denial as equal to science.

That seems fair enough to me. Here is Juan Cole's reasoning as to what should have happened, in his opinion:

The question Mr. Williams and his guests should have been discussing is whether Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former National Security Agency head Keith Alexander are criminals.

What happened is fairly obvious.  The U.S. national security apparatuses took advantage of the rise of the internet and its dominance by U.S. firms to subvert the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution and mountains of case law.  They collected and stored the cellphone records and therefore the private lives and locations of tens of millions of innocent Americans.  They inserted themselves secretly into Google’s servers and those of many other giant tech companies. They weakened encryption standards. They turned much American technology and software into spyware.  They scooped up not only information about who Americans called, and when and where they were when they did it, but also used the transnational character of the internet to collect the actual texts of emails and the electronic files of telephone calls. 

They used this data collection not against terrorists but in drug and other petty crime cases, sharing the illegally-gathered information with the DEA and local law enforcement agencies, who then lied to judges about how they had come to investigate these individuals in the first place.  The domestic surveillance not only undermined the Constitution, it corrupted the entire justice system.
I agree with the second and third paragraph (that is not fully quoted here). As to the first paragraph: Yes and no, and my "no" is mainly based on the fact that to insist that the present NBC should do this is quite irrealistic - in an ideal world, they clearly should, but that is not the world I am living in.

There is quite a bit more under the last dotted link, that also has a link to a video that was supposed to give the whole interview, but it doesn't anymore, as the NBC claimed copyright.

3. John "Man Up" Kerry Faces Firestorm for Snowden Remarks

The next item is an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is facing widespread criticism for his comment that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden—increasingly seen by the American public as a heroic figure for exposing government surveillance—should "man up" by returning home to face criminal charges.

“This is a man who has betrayed his country,” Kerry told CBS News on Wednesday, just hours before the airing of highly anticipated interview between Snowden and NBC News' Brian Williams. “He should man up and come back to the US.”

Seen widely as an attempt by Kerry and the Obama administration to turn public opinion against the 30-year-old former intelligence contractor, for many it had the opposite effect: making the Secretary look both petty and misogynistic—not to mention "wrong"—by characterizing Snowden as "less than a man" for his actions.

I'd say Kerry is being stupid and unreasonable as usual, and indeed the next paragraph has an adequate reply, by Peter Van Buren, who also worked for the US government until he turned whistleblower:

Responding to Kerry's remarks on his website, Peter Van Buren, a former government employee and whistleblower himself said that the Secretary of State—who at this point sounds "more like Grandpa Simpson than America’s Senior Diplomat"—has apparently been "relegated within the Obama administration to the role of mumbling bully-boy statements, faux-machismo rantings whose intended audience and purpose are very, very unclear."

There is quite a bit more under the last dotted link.

4. Bush’s Anti-Terror Chief: Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld Can Be Tried at the Hague for War Crimes They Committed In Iraq

The next item is an article by Washington's Blog on his site:

This starts as follows (with the colors as in the original):

Obama Has Also Committed War Crimes

Bush’s top counter-terrorism official for his first year as president – Richard Clarke – tells Democracy Now that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld committed war crimes in Iraq … and that they can be tried at the Hague:

After this there is a piece of video with Richard Clarke, who retired in protest at the start of the Iraq war, who indeed does say they committed war crimes and who also is right about that.

There is more there - calls for impeachments of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and also Obama - but while I agree in principle, these people will not be judged in The Hague.

5. From Elections to Mass Movements: How Wealthy Elites Are Hijacking Democracy All Over the World

The next item is an article by Sonali Kolhatkar on Truthdig:

This starts as follows:

Mass street protests are usually seen as a hallmark of democratic aspirations. And elections are meant to be a culmination of such aspirations, affording people the opportunity to choose their own leaders and system of government. But in country after country these days, the hallmarks of democracy are being dangerously subverted and co-opted by powerful elites. The question is, are we recognizing what is happening under our noses? Three examples unfolding right now are indicators of this trend: Thailand, Ukraine and Egypt.

These examples are then discussed over two pages.

---------------------------------
Note
[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)

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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