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Nederlog


  July
8, 2014
Crisis: "Terrorism", CIA, Assange, Sports, Clinton, NSA, Chomsky
   "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
Sections
Introduction

1. Islamist terror threat to west blown out of proportion -
     former MI6 chief

2. White House on the back foot over CIA role in German
     spying scandal

3. Exclusive: Democracy Now! Goes Inside Embassy
     Refuge, Talks w/ Julian Assange

4. 
Kneeling in Fenway Park to the Gods of War
5. 
Hillary Clinton Flaunts Her Surveillance State Baggage
6.  NSA’s Misguided Mission
7.  Noam Chomsky: America Is the World Leader at
      Committing 'Supreme International Crimes'

About ME/CFS


Introduction:

This is the Nederlog of July 8. It is an ordinary crisis log, and that is all.

1. Islamist terror threat to west blown out of proportion - former MI6 chief

The first item is an article by Richard Norton-Taylor on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:

The government and media have blown the Islamist terrorism threat out of proportion, giving extremists publicity that is counter-productive, a former head of Britain's intelligence service has said.

Sir Richard Dearlove, chief of MI6 at the time of the Iraq invasion, said that Britons spreading "blood-curdling" messages on the internet should be ignored. He told an audience in London on Monday there had been a fundamental change in the nature of Islamist extremism since the Arab spring. It had created a major political problem in the Middle East but the west, including Britain, was only "marginally affected".

Unlike the threat posed by al-Qaida before and in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks 13 years ago, the west was not the main target of the radical fundamentalism that created Isis, (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant), Dearlove said.

Addressing the Royal United Services Institute, the London-based security and defence thinktank, he said the conflict was "essentially one of Muslim on Muslim".

I say. I am a bit amazed at agreeing with a former chief of MI6, but this seems quite sane. Also, it very strongly contrasts with the utterances of the Dutch Leibniz, politician, biologist, singer, and more, "who is good at everything he does" (I am repeating, not concurring: he is a firm revolving door idiot) minister Ronald Plasterk, who was a few days ago on the Dutch radio, to tell his audience that The Threat Of Terrorism was Bigger Than Ever, what with all these ISIS-fighters who might return to Holland. That is: Keep the dumbos scared!

In contrast, Sir Richard Dearlove told his audience:
He made it clear he believed the way the British government and the media were giving the extremists the "oxygen of publicity" was counter-productive. The media were making monsters of "misguided young men, rather pathetic figures" who were getting coverage "more than their wildest dreams", said Dearlove, adding: "It is surely better to ignore them."
He clearly had not spoken with the Dutch ministerial genius, but I agree with him that the "media were making monsters of "misguided young men, rather pathetic figures"": that seems to be about the size of it.

The Dutch ministerial genius, who spent about half his life as a biologist and half his life as a politician, that is, when he is not imitating Bob Dylan, or taking photographs, or singing in a choir, or sketching (after photographs) or - a large task - being interviewed about his own amazing excellencies, instead speculated about A New Model for The Terrorist Threat, in Holland, making it Very Much More Dangerous. As I said: Keep the dumbos scared!

Sir Richard Dearlove told his audience:

MI5, MI6, and GCHQ devoted a greater share of their resources to countering Islamist fundamentalism than they did to the Soviet Union during the cExclusive: Democracy Now! Goes Inside Embassy Refuge, Talks w/ Julian Assange About WikiLeaks, Snowdenold war, or to Irish terrorism that had cost the lives of more UK citizens and British soldiers than al-Qaida had done, Dearlove noted.

A massive reaction after the 9/11 attacks was inevitable, he said, but it was not inevitable the 2001 attacks would continue to "dominate our way of thinking about national security". There had been a "fundamental change" in the nature of the threat posed by Islamist extremists. Al-Qaida had largely failed to mount the kind of attacks in the US and UK it had threatened after 9/11.

Yes indeed - and not through the actions of the Western secret services, that were far too busy Collecting Everything: they just didn't have the people or the plans.

But OK: I do expect to read much more on the Extreme Dangers that Islamic Terrorism poses for All Westerners. It's nearly all baloney in my judgment - they have no large well-trained professional armies nor atomic bombs, as the Soviet Union did: they do not even hold much territory, and they don't have much money - but o, how very well it serves the plans of corrupt Western politicians, out for more and more power for their own kind.


But it's a bit nice to read a rare voice of reason, even if it is a former head of MI6.

2. White House on the back foot over CIA role in German spying scandal 

The next item is an article by Dan Roberts, Spencer Ackerman and Philip Oltermann on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

The White House was forced to defend its increasingly fraught relationship with Berlin on Monday as the Central Intelligence Agency maintained a conspicuous silence about new allegations linking it to a spying scandal involving a German intelligence official.

Reuters quoted two US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, who told the news agency that the CIA was involved in the alleged recruitment of the official, a 31-year-old employee of the German intelligence agency (BND).

The official was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of having sold secret documents to a contact at the CIA.

The controversy has threatened to upend an uneasy, monthslong diplomatic rapproachement between the two allies after chancellor Angela Merkel revealed the National Security Agency had monitored her cellphone, causing widespread outrage in Germany and even on Capitol Hill. President Barack Obama was prompted to pledge an end to spying on the leaders of allied nations.

There is rather a lot more under the last dotted link, but most of it is none too clear, which is explained again by the fact that the democratic governments and their democratic spy masters all are very carefully very silent.

I suppose more will follow and I merely remark here and now that the total surveillance Obama is in favor of - except of course for twenty to thirty persons who now happen to be "the leaders of allied nations" (that is: if you believe him) - on everything everybody who is not "an allied leader" does with a computer or cell phone, (1) is both very criminal and deeply undemocratic, but indeed I agree it also is (2) very well fit to start an authoritarian state.

3.  Exclusive: Democracy Now! Goes Inside Embassy Refuge, Talks w/ Julian Assange About Wikileaks, Snowden

The next item is an article by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:

This starts as follows (and Amy Goodman was in Europe):

In a Democracy Now! special, we go inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London to interview Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. He has been holed up there for more than two years, having received political asylum. He faces investigations in both Sweden and the United States. In the U.S., a secret grand jury is investigating WikiLeaks for its role in publishing a trove of leaked documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as classified State Department cables. In Sweden, Assange is wanted for questioning on allegations of sexual misconduct, though no charges have been filed. Late last week, there was the first break in the latter case in two years, when a Swedish court announced it would hold a hearing on July 16 about a request by his lawyers for prosecutors to hand over new evidence and withdraw the arrest warrant. In the first of a two-part interview, Assange discusses his new legal bid in Sweden, the ongoing grand jury probe in the United States, and WikiLeaks’ efforts to assist National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

In fact, this is a fairly long interview with Julian Assange, that you can read for yourself. I did not notice anything new in it that has not been reported here, except for a bit in which Assange says he is sure there is another Edward Snowden now, but without giving any evidence.

Well... actually I reported that as well, and said I didn't know, which is still the case. But it is a decent interview and Amy Goodman did go to the Ecuadorian Embassy where Assange now spent two years, while it is not even known what crime he is supposed to have committed.

4. Kneeling in Fenway Park to the Gods of War

The next item is an article by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:

Chris Hedges went to watch a baseball game. Here is the second paragraph of the piece he wrote about it:
The religious reverie—repeated in sports arenas throughout the United States—is used to justify our bloated war budget and endless wars. Schools and libraries are closing. Unemployment and underemployment are chronic. Our infrastructure is broken and decrepit. And we will have paid a crippling $4 trillion for the useless and futile wars we waged over the last 13 years in the Middle East. But the military remains as unassailable as Jesus, or, among those who have season tickets at Fenway Park, the Red Sox. The military is the repository of our honor and patriotism. No public official dares criticize the armed forces or challenge their divine right to more than half of all the nation’s discretionary spending. And although we may be distrustful of government, the military—in the twisted logic of the American mind—is somehow separate.
Yes, and there is a lot more, such as this - which also holds for the Dutch, except that their sport is soccer, while their supposed religion, that few really believe in, is Calvinism:
The collective euphoria experienced in stadiums, especially among those struggling to survive in the corporate state, gives to many anxious Americans what they crave. They flock to the temples of sport while most places of traditional religious worship in the United States are largely deserted on the Sabbath. Those packed into the stadiums feel as if they and everyone around them speak the same language. They believe those in the crowd are one entity. And they all hate the same enemy.
Yes. One major problem is that half of the population has an IQ that is 100 at best, while the education they did get was mostly quite bad. It also is especially this half + 1 that is the target of the politicians: Make your case so that the half that is least intelligent will seem to get it and approve it, and you've won.

And thus they win, de-mo-cra-tic-al-ly, since a long time. I have solutions for this, but they are not popular and will not be adopted. Instead, the clever crooks who are politicians will continue to mislead the half who is neither intelligent nor learned, and thus it will go on and on until it finally breaks. (And that also will be far from pretty.)

Anyway - Chris Hedges is right that there is a strong tie between sports and politics, and it seems (to me) that tie is mostly due to the great intelligence and high education of sports fans.

5. Hillary Clinton Flaunts Her Surveillance State Baggage

The next item is an article by Robert Scheer on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:

Who is the true patriot, Hillary Clinton or Edward Snowden? The question comes up because Clinton has gone all out in attacking Snowden as a means of burnishing her hawkish credentials, eliciting Glenn Greenwald’s comment that she is “like a neocon, practically.”

On Friday in England, Clinton boasted that two years ago she had favored a proposal by a top British General to train 100,000 “moderate” rebels to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria, but Obama had turned her down. The American Thatcher? In that same interview with the Guardian she also managed to get in yet another shot against Snowden for taking refuge in Russia “apparently under Putin’s protection,” unless, she taunted, “he wishes to return knowing he would be held accountable.”

Accountable for telling the truth that Clinton concealed during her tenure as secretary of state in the Obama Administration? Did she approve of the systematic spying on the American people as well as of others around the world, including the leaders of Germany and Brazil, or did she first learn of all this from the Snowden revelations?

My guess is that she knew something about the systematic spying on the American people while she was secretary of state, as indeed did Obama, but she simply did not care, and neither did he. But I can't prove it, although I think
I can prove that both were legally required to know.

But the short of it is: The NSA lies; Obama lies; Clinton lies, while most Americans don't care, it seems mostly because they agree their politicians and their government are liars, and there is hardly anything they can do about it. And no ordinary American has any say about who will be the presidential candidates.

O beautiful democracy!

6.   NSA’s Misguided Mission

The next item
is an article by Eugene Robinson on Truthdig:
This starts  as follows:
Even those who believe the National Security Agency’s vacuum-cleaner surveillance of electronic communications does not trample privacy rights should be troubled by this practical implication: If you try to know everything, you end up knowing nothing.
The concluding mock-certainty in the quotation is just a bit of propaganda, or perhaps it is bullshit - I don't rightly know: Does he really believe that? "If you try to know everything, you end up knowing nothing"? (Certainly not from his own experience, it follows logically.)

In any case, I just don't agree with Robinson, who argues a case that seems to amount to the following: OK, the NSA can spy all they like, but they should do it more like Eugene Robinson thinks it should be done. Witness this for example:
These NSA programs are designed to snoop on foreigners. Snowden has expressed the view that citizens of other countries have privacy rights, too. You don’t have to agree with him to wonder why the personal emails of, say, a college professor in Germany or an insurance salesman in Brazil should not be purged once the material is determined irrelevant to any investigation.
First, these NSA programs are grossly illegal (and if the laws are changed enough so that they are "legal" I say the laws are bad: Bad laws have happened many times before). Second, the NSA spies on everyone (and the few they - perhaps - avoid ("wittingly") are spied on by one of the Five Eyes, quite wittingly). Third, I do have privacy rights, by international treaty, and I do not like being told Americans are "exceptional": That's just stupd flattering nonsense. Fourth, a "college professor or an assurance salesman" should not have their private and personal data stolen from them, period. (Except if there is plausible proof according to an objective judge, who does not hide in secrecy nor behind classified documents.)

Finally, Eugene Robinson is far too trustful of his NSA and also doesn't know enough: Their job is - as they themselves say - "to collect everything" anyone does with a computer or says into a cell phone. And they do not collect everything anyone does because they want to fight "terrorism", but because
collecting everything anyone does is to know all (in principle) and thereby to control all, if only by the threat that something might be known about one that the authorities don't like (whatever it is).

It is power politics, just like the Stasi did in Eastern Germany - except that the NSA knows far, far more about far, far more persons, almost none of whom did
anything wrong or has any ties to any "terrorist".

It all happens on purpose, and in fact the whole plan to spy on everyone dates back to 1968. Here is Brezezinski circa 1968:
(..) Mr Brezezinski does not expect that the Luddite
lovers of freedom and anarchy will seriously obstruct the new
order. For one thing, 'it will soon be possible to assert almost
continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain  up-to-
date, complete files, containing even personal information
about the health and personal behaviour of the citizen, in
addition to the more customary data.' Moreover it will be
possible to anticipate and plan to meet any uprisings in the
future. The police will even be able to forecast crises before the
rioters themselves are conscious of wanting them.
He had to wait till 2007, but then everything fell into place.

But what does Eugene Robinson know?

7. Noam Chomsky: America Is the World Leader at Committing 'Supreme International Crimes'

The next item
is an article by Noam Chomsky on AlterNet:
This starts as follows:

The front page of The New York Times on June 26 featured a photo of women mourning a murdered Iraqi.

He is one of the innumerable victims of the ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) campaign in which the Iraqi army, armed and trained by the U.S. for many years, quickly melted away, abandoning much of Iraq to a few thousand militants, hardly a new experience in imperial history.

Right above the picture is the newspaper's famous motto: "All the News That's Fit to Print."

There is a crucial omission. The front page should display the words of the Nuremberg judgment of prominent Nazis - words that must be repeated until they penetrate general consciousness: Aggression is "the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."

And alongside these words should be the admonition of the chief prosecutor for the United States, Robert Jackson: "The record on which we judge these defendants is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well."

I think that is fair - and I also think few will pay attention. But it is correct, and shows the United States have done very little to heed the outcome of the Nuremberg Trials. Perhaps that was to be expected - I mean: past law versus the reality of everyday politics - but it certainly was not what the Nuremberg Trials promised, and indeed goes completely counter to it.

There is considerably more under the last dotted link, that I will leave to your interests.

---------------------------------

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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