22, 2014
Crisis: Bletchley Park, Gitmo, Global Corporatocracy, American media
   "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. The newly restored Bletchley Park and the fast-eroding
     freedoms it was set up to defend

2. News Outlets: Public Must See 'What Is Done in Their
     Name at Gitmo'

3. Trade Treaties and the Coming Rule of the Global

4. Americans Agree: The Media Sucks [DEVASTATING POLL]

About ME/CFS


This is the Nederlog of June 22. It is an ordinary crisis log.

It also is a Sunday and it is summer. In Amsterdam, I haven't seen much spring, but that may have been a fluke (though I am sure there were not many real spring days).

Anyway - I found 4 pieces (and threw away one that was on the list: too speculative) and I liked especially item 1 and item 3, and you should read all of especially
item 3: it does give a plausible sketch of a very dystopian future, if there is not another major crisis soon, that is. (And I agree it will not make you happier.)

Also, I updated the
crisis index till today.

1.  The newly restored Bletchley Park and the fast-eroding freedoms it was set up to defend

The first item is an article by John Naughton on The Guardian:
This is mostly an article about Bletchley Park - and if you do not know what that was, try the last link, which will explain to you that this is were Alan Turing and others decoded German encrypted messages, and also this one: Marian Rejewski, for he was a Polish mathematician who first broke the German Enigma.

Part of the reason is that - at long last (!) - Bletchley Park has been restored, and can be visited by the public. Also, John Naughton has been there before, and he does understand the dangers of the GCHQ, as can be seen from his last two paragraphs:

And yet there's an ironic twist to the story. Two of the huts in the Park were where what is now GCHQ originated. The opinion polls suggest that most Britons think that the vast, sprawling organisation that is the modern GCHQ does a good or, at any rate, important job.

But there is a significant minority that is troubled about the "mission creep" that has been revealed by Edward Snowden and now confirmed by the Home Office document. The spooks are puzzled and offended by this. Do the critics not understand, they protest, that there's a war on? Ah, yes, but this "war on terror" is a rhetorical device, not the existential threat that Bletchley Park was created to combat. That's the difference and it matters.

These opinion polls - which I trust - mostly indicate that vast amounts of the Britons have been successfully deceived by governmental propaganda, for in fact the GCHQ is totally different and in many ways quite opposite to what happened at Bletchley Park:
  • At Bletchley Park, some of the best mathematicians broke the code of the German military, who worked for Hitler, who had an enormous army and constituted the gravest danger to Great Britain; the GCHQ does not break any code, to my knowledge: they are far to busy hoovering up all the personal and private data of anyone it can get, because this prepares for an authoritarian state where the corporatocracy will rule everyone.
  • Bletchley Park was a deep military secret for a very good reason: WW II was going on; the GCHQ pretends it has to be secret because of the complete lie of the "war on terrorism", which they use to hide their stealing of everyone's private data for the corporatocracy they further.
  • Bletchley Park opposed Hitler, Hitler's Germany and Hitler's Wehrmacht, to save British democracy; the GCHQ opposes everyone with any private data, and does so because it is the very willing handmaiden for founding an anti-democratic, authoritarian corporatocracy, where all the common people will be completely known and constantly surveilled by their masters, who also will be able to select any opponent and convict these in secret courts for secret reasons to secret fates.
That is: the present GCHQ (and its allied Five Eyes, and their secret services mates from all over Europe) are the opposite of Bletchley Park: They spy on everyone so as to end democracy and a free and open society, and they do so on the pretext of "terrorism" - which in ten years killed a bit over 3000 people in the U.S., and nearly all of them during 9/11. I quote from 9/11 (Wikipedia) (bolding added):
In total, almost 3,000 people died in the attacks, including the 227 civilians and 19 hijackers aboard the four planes. It also was the deadliest incident for firefighters and for law enforcement officers in the history of the United States, with 343 and 72 killed respectively.
In contrast, there is e.g. this - which is just about the (relatively safe!) year of 2010, and limited to the U.S. (bolding added):
In 2010, there were an estimated 5,419,000 crashes, killing 32,885 and injuring 2,239,000. The 32,367 traffic fatalities in 2011 were the lowest in 62 years (1949). Records indicate that there has been a total of 3,551,332 motor vehicle deaths in the United States from 1899 to 2012.
That is: each year at least ten times more people die in a car accident than died on 9/11, which means 130 times more people died in car incidents in the last 13 years than died by "terrorism" in the U.S. alone.

And I am not saying these are fully comparable, if only because few car incidents happen on purpose, but 1 death = 1 death.

News Outlets: Public Must See 'What Is Done in Their Name at Gitmo'

The next item is an article by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:
A group of news organizations on Friday filed a motion (pdf) in a federal court seeking the right of the public to see videotape evidence of force-feedings of a Guantanamo detainee in order to be able to "exercise democratic oversight of its Government."

The 16 news organizations, which include the McClatchy Company, First Look Media, the Guardian US, Reuters and the Washington Post, seek to intervene in the case of Abu Wa'el Dhiab, a 42-year-old Syrian man who has been held at the offshore prison for over ten years without charge, and was cleared for release in 2009. With no other recourse, he has turned to a hunger strike.

In the case in which the news outlets seek to intervene, Dhiab is seeking a stop to his forcible cell extractions and "torturous" force-feedings.

The government was ordered last month to release to Dhiab's lawyers video of his force-feedings, but the evidence is classified as "Secret" by the government and as such the public has been prevented from viewing it.  Yet "the public has a qualified right under both the First Amendment and the common law to inspect and copy this evidence," the news outlets state.

Incidentally, this clarifies the meaning of "secret" and "classified" as used by the US government:

It helps to suppress evidence, that should be seen and judged by the public, according to the Bill of Rights, even if it is evidence about the gross mistreatment of a man held for over ten years without any charge, who was cleared for release five years ago, in 2009.

There is considerably more under the last dotted link.

3. Trade Treaties and the Coming Rule of the Global Corporatocracy

The next item is an article by Don Quijones on Naked Capitalism (originally on Testosterone Pit):
This is an excellent article you should read in full. Here is its beginning:

Quietly, subtly, almost imperceptibly, the rules governing global trade and financial markets are changing. It is not happening by accident, but by wilful design. Despite the enormous impact it will have on all our lives, the public is not being consulted on any aspects of the process. Most people are not even aware it is happening.

The main driver of this change are the bilateral and multilateral trade and investment treaties being negotiated in complete secrecy and behind closed doors between corporate lobbyists, free trade activists and our own elected “representatives” (a term I use in the loosest possible sense, especially given the context). The ultimate goal of these treaties is to reconfigure the legal apparatus and superstructures that govern national, regional and global trade and business – for the primary, if not exclusive, benefit of the world’s largest multinational corporations.

Corporations have long been powerful economic and political entities, but in recent decades some have grown to dwarf even middling-sized national economies. According to a ranking published by Global Trends, 58 percent of the world’s biggest 150 economic entities in 2012 were corporations. They include oil, natural gas, and mining majors, banks and insurance firms, telecommunications giants, supermarket behemoths, car manufacturers, and pharmaceutical companies.

Changing the Law

Right now, the representatives of many of these firms are engaged in late-stage negotiations with the U.S. and European political leaders that would make it financially calamitous for a nation-state to take any actions against the interest of corporations. If passed — and at this rate, it almost certainly will be — it will be the biggest bilateral trade deal in the history of mankind.

What’s up for grabs in the innocuously named “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” (TTIP) is nothing short of the control and ownership of virtually every economic sector and public service in both Europe and the U.S. – with the exception, at the insistence of the U.S. government, of the financial services industry. Unbeknownst to almost all Europeans, the European Commission has shown a keen interest in opening up all public services to foreign corporate ownership, from health care to education, pensions to water provision.

Here is what it is all about:

Based on the draft copy recently released by Wikileaks, the treaty seeks to (among many other things):

  • “Lock in” the privatisations of services – even in cases where private service delivery has failed – meaning governments can never return water, energy, health, education or other services to public hands.
  • Restrict a government’s right to regulate stronger standards in the public’s interest. For example, it will affect environmental regulations, licensing of health facilities and laboratories, waste disposal centres, power plants, school and university accreditation and broadcast licenses.
  • Specifically limit the ability of governments to regulate the financial services industry at exactly the time when the global economy is still recovering from a crisis caused by financial deregulation.
And this is the end:

And yet, in the most perverse of ironies, it is a system that appears to be almost universally endorsed by our political leaders. It is an irony that was not lost on the Spanish arbitrator Juan Fernandez-Armesto, who had the following to say:

When I wake up at night and think about arbitration, it never ceases to amaze me that sovereign states have agreed to investment arbitration at all […]. Three private individuals are entrusted with the power to review, without any restriction or appeal procedure, all actions of the government, all decisions of the courts, and all laws and regulations emanating from parliament.

As I warned in early November 2013, the global corporatocracy is almost fully operational. The intentions of those negotiating the multiple trade treaties are now crystal clear: to place complete power and control over our economies in the hands of the largest global corporations, many of which bear the lion’s share of responsibility for the economic and environmental mess we’re already in.

In the meantime, the clock continues to tick down. At any moment, a few quiet strokes of a pen behind the tightly closed doors of a luxury conference room could usher in a new age of corporate domination. With it will come a new kind of dystopia, bearing an uncanny likeness to the inverted totalitarianism foreseen by Sheldon Wolin.

Yes, indeed - and it also is the corporate fascism I envisioned in December of 2012, given this year in a briefer and a bit clearer format here: Crisis: Hypotheses about the causes of the crisis, since that hypothesis was spectacularly well confirmed by Snowden's revelations. (I like to be right, but about this I would have much liked to be wrong.)

4. Americans Agree: The Media Sucks [DEVASTATING POLL]

The next item is not an article but a 3 m 52 s video by The Young Turks:

Basically, it is about this poll - and the graphic is a bit vague, for which I am sorry, but it is still readable:

What this means - and this is a Gallup poll - is that Americans these days have about equal trust in their papers, their TVs and the internet. And they trust it all less and less: About 20% has a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in the news they are fed and the media that feed them.

However, I do not think this is "DEVASTATING": The trust fell by about 10% in 20 years - as indeed it should have, for there are fewer papers, with less money, and most of the news is partisan, and grew more partisan since 9/11 (and this includes the balancing acts of the TV corporations that either say nothing or personalize the news - "Edward Snowden: Traitor or Hero?", instead of "Hundreds of Millions of Innocent Americans pirated by the NSA/GCHQ" - and then only say "X said Yes and Y said No").

The main problem I see is that most Americans lack the time or the brains to inform themselves properly: Even while distrusting most of the news they do get, which indeed seems quite correct to me, that is most of the information they get.

And in fact the same holds for me: I have more time than most, being ill, and I think I have, after more than a year of daily grinding through the possible crisis-related offerings on over 40 carefully selected sites, which takes a lot of time, a fairly good grasp of most of the crisis-related news, but that is about it, and being bright I often am not confident.

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

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