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Nederlog


  July
24, 2014
Crisis: Rulebook, Palestinians, CDC, Terrorism, Ignorance, British Spies
  "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.
The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a
     Terrorist

2. The Palestinians’ Right to Self-Defense
3. CDC Head: Age of Antibiotic Resistance Is Nigh
4.
You’re Much More Likely to Be Killed By ... Than By
     Terrorists

5. Paying the Price for Financial Ignorance
6.
British Spies Controlling the Past, Present and Future |
     Interview with Annie Machon


About ME/CFS


Introduction:

This is the Nederlog of July 24. It is a crisis log.

The first four items are regular crisis items, by which I mean that they have been added to the internet the last few days. (I surely do not get everything, but I do check some 40 sites each day. This also is about as much as I can do: It takes between 1 and 2 hours, and that is my present limit.)

These are a piece by The Intercept; one by Chris Hedges; one on the decline of antibiotic resistance (which is here because it may kill very many); and one on the likelihood of getting killed by A Terrorist, which turns out to be negligible in the last 13 years of rampant "terrorism": See item 4.

The other two pieces are from sites I discovered the last four months or so: One is an older article by Raging Bull-Shit, which I put up here because I like it; and the other a recent interview with Annie Machon on Abby Martin's site (Machon has been mentioned before in Nederlog: Ex-Cambridge, ex-MI-5, rather smart).
 

1. The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist

The first item is an article by Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:

The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept.

The “March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance,” a 166-page document issued last year by the National Counterterrorism Center, spells out the government’s secret rules for putting individuals on its main terrorist database, as well as the no fly list and the selectee list, which triggers enhanced screening at airports and border crossings. The new guidelines allow individuals to be designated as representatives of terror organizations without any evidence they are actually connected to such organizations, and it gives a single White House official the unilateral authority to place “entire categories” of people the government is tracking onto the no fly and selectee lists. It broadens the authority of government officials to “nominate” people to the watchlists based on what is vaguely described as “fragmentary information.” It also allows for dead people to be watchlisted.

I say. To start with, I refer you to item 4, that gives the empirical frequencies of your being killed by "a terrrorist". These are almost negligible since 9/11. This is also not due to the persistent efforts of the Bush and Obama administrations, but to the fact that there simply are not many real terrorists.

It is true there are some; it is also true that they may do considerable harm; but the real problem is not with political terrorists who do not belong to a government: the real problem in the world is state terrorism rather than political terrorism (by some private person(s) or group(s)), and the United States has surrected an enormous apparatus of state terrorism, including at least one concentration camp and the widespread use of torture, on the pretext that this is to protect "the people" from political terrorism.

Indeed, I am quite willing to grant that the Bush and Obama governments have done something against political terrorism, but they also succeeded in getting a great amount of secret state terrorism in place, that includes stealing the private data of almost all Americans, to the best of my knowledge, and indeed also of very many (hundreds of millions) of citizens of other countries.

Here is some more, also from the beginning:
Because the government tracks “suspected terrorists” as well as “known terrorists,” individuals can be watchlisted if they are suspected of being a suspected terrorist, or if they are suspected of associating with people who are suspected of terrorism activity.

“Instead of a watchlist limited to actual, known terrorists, the government has built a vast system based on the unproven and flawed premise that it can predict if a person will commit a terrorist act in the future,” says Hina Shamsi, the head of the ACLU’s National Security Project. “On that dangerous theory, the government is secretly blacklisting people as suspected terrorists and giving them the impossible task of proving themselves innocent of a threat they haven’t carried out.” Shamsi, who reviewed the document, added, “These criteria should never have been kept secret.”

Once again I point out that the premise that the goverment "can predict if a person will commit a terrorist act in the future" is at least as old as 1969.
Also, it seems to me that this is not so much an "
unproven and flawed premise" as it is a vague and bullshit one.

For consider: I can predict that you - whoever you are - will commit a terrorist act in the next 25 years, with a probability p that is larger than 0. That is - as far as predictions go - also true, in a weak sense, at least, and whatever p is, even if you are at present a saint. Indeed, as a rule and in general p will be quite small for nearly everyone, but this also shows everyone may be suspected of terrorism: p is larger than 0. "Therefore", either you are on the secret list or you are at least a candidate for the secret list.

And this is what this bureaucratic insanity amounts to: Everyone who is alive may be a terrorist, and therefore may be on the list; everyone who is dead has a name that may be used by a terrorist, and therefore the dead ones should be on the list (this is also the actual rule!); so everyone may be on the list of suspected terrorists.

Also, this is the total breakdown of the former somewhat decent reason that somebody may be watched: If there is a proof given to a judge that somebody is busy with something criminal, and if the judge pronounces the proof is sufficient evidence to watch him. That I also agree with.

But this has now been replaced by bureaucratic insanity that is kept wholly secret and in fact makes everyone a suspected terrorist - and note that being listed as a suspected terrorist (which happened to nearly half a million people in 2013 alone) may make your life (and that of your family, your friends, and the friends of your friends as well, at least possibly) a whole lot harder.

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

2. The Palestinians’ Right to Self-Defense

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

This starts as follows:

If Israel insists, as the Bosnian Serbs did in Sarajevo, on using the weapons of industrial warfare against a helpless civilian population then that population has an inherent right to self-defense under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. The international community will have to either act to immediately halt Israeli attacks and lift the blockade of Gaza or acknowledge the right of the Palestinians to use weapons to defend themselves.

No nation, including any in the Muslim world, appears willing to intervene to protect the Palestinians. No world body, including the United Nations, appears willing or able to pressure Israel through sanctions to conform to the norms of international law. And the longer we in the world community fail to act, the worse the spiral of violence will become.

I mostly agree, although the invocation of Article 51 may be spurious, since that refers quite explicitly to "a Member of the United Nations" and it may be that the Gazans are not such "Members". I simply don't know, although I agree with the argument: If the Xs are bombing you, you may defend yourself against the Xs.

There is also this on page 2:

Israel, as an occupying power, is in direct violation of Article III of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. This convention lays out the minimum standards for the protection of civilians in a conflict that is not international in scope. Article 3(1) states that those who take no active role in hostilities must be treated humanely, without discrimination, regardless of racial, social, religious or economic distinctions. The article prohibits certain acts commonly carried out against noncombatants in regions of armed conflict, including murder, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture. It prohibits the taking of hostages as well as sentences given without adequate due process of law. Article 3(2) mandates care for the sick and wounded.

This I agree with, though the reference shows it is "Article 3" rather than "III".

The piece ends as follows:

There is little in life that Palestinians can choose, but they can choose how to die. And many Palestinians, especially young men trapped in overcrowded hovels where they have no work and little dignity, will risk immediate death to defy the slow, humiliating death of occupation.

I cannot blame them.

I disagree and my reasons are that I am ill for 36 years, in which I have been terrorized in total for 6 years, first by a completely insane man, and later by illegal drugsdealers protected by the Amsterdam mayors, aldermen, police and bureaucracy, from 1988 till 1992. (I think but cannot prove for a percentage of the 10 billion dollars a year that are turned over in soft drugs alone in Holland: money always is a very good reason for most men). In neither case anyone did anything effective, precisely as happens now with the Palestinians, while I was also ill and believed myself to live in a state of law and a democracy. [2]

So... if you are young, intelligent and healthy, even if you are a Palestinian in Gaza, you have more choices than I had, and to throw away your chances - which I agree may be small and may be quite difficult to realize - seems to me despair rather than reason. (But I also grant I dislike violence.)

3. CDC Head: Age of Antibiotic Resistance Is Nigh

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

This starts as follows:

The growing threat of antibiotic resistance requires imminent action, the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned Tuesday.

Speaking at a National Press Club event, Dr. Tom Frieden said, "Antimicrobial resistance is a big problem and it's getting worse." It's a problem that costs lives as well as $20 billion in healthcare costs, he said.

"We talk about a pre-antibiotic era and the antibiotic era. If we're not careful, we will soon be in a post-antibiotic era. And in fact for some patients and some pathogens, we're already there."

The CDC issued a report last year to increase awareness of the problem of some infections becoming resistant to antibiotics as a result of both overuse and misuse in humans and farm animals. The World Health Organization also issued a warning earlier this year, stating that a post-antibiotic era, "far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, is instead a very real possibility for the 21st century."

There is more there but - having learned quite a lot about the CDC in relation to my disease M.E., in which it has played a very lousy and quite corrupt role - I must warn you that Frieden said so because he wants more money.

I agree there are these dangers, but I doubt the CDC is the best investment for stopping them: it is a large bureaucratic organization, and it has really misbehaved to people with my disease, indeed up to the point of making them ridiculous and driving them to suicide.

So while I think more money is needed, I think the CDC is not the right recipient.

4. You’re Much More Likely to Be Killed By ... Than By Terrorists

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

I have to start with saying I abbreviated the title, which runs on for four lines.
But th
e article does give some relevant information on the frequencies of getting killed by X. Here are some:
  • You are 35,079 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack
  • You are 33,842 times more likely to die from cancer than from a terrorist attack
  • That makes obesity 5,882 to times 23,528 more likely to kill you than a terrorist.
  • you are 5,882 times more likely to die from medical error than terrorism.
  • you’re 4,706 times more likely to drink yourself to death than die from terrorism.
  • you are 1,904 times more likely to die from a car accident than from a terrorist attack
  • your prescription meds are more likely to kill you than any other source of injury. So your meds are thousands of times more likely to kill you than Al Qaeda.
  • Americans are 2,245 times more likely to die from a financial crisis that a terrorist attack. 
  • you’re 2,059 times more likely to kill yourself than die at the hand of a terrorist.
  • you’re 452 times more likely to die from risky sexual behavior than terrorism
  • you’re 353 times more likely to fall to your death doing something idiotic than die in a terrorist attack.
Note I have lifted them from various places in the article, that contains considerably more, and that gives details. (They have been lifted literally.)

In brief, and judged by the actual frequencies over the past 13 years, terrorism killed very few. The reason it nevertheless is appealed to by our governors has the following explanation:

(Yes, I have shown this before. The reason is that it is quite clear. And it also shows something about "the common people".)

5. Paying the Price for Financial Ignorance

The next item is an article by Don Quijones on Raging Bull-Shit:
This is here because I like it. It is from the end of 2013 and it starts as follows

The Western world is currently undergoing one of the most drastic redistributions of wealth in its history, with almost all new money flowing in one direction: upwards. While its roots may date back decades, this trend has accelerated dramatically since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 and the subsequent reordering of the Western banking sectors.

And despite what we might hear in the MSM, this ongoing shift is not the result of mere chance or circumstance.

At every step of the way since the crisis began, conscious decisions have been taken at the uppermost reaches of government to protect one class of people — the financial and corporate elite — at the expense of all others. Politicians and central bankers on both sides of the Atlantic have trotted out the same old meme to defend their never-ending bailouts of the financial sector: “We had no choice; things would have been unimaginably worse if we hadn’t taken the decisive action we did.”

That this is so, incidentally, is shown by - among other things - (1) the evergrowing riches of the rich and (2) the evergrowing rise of income inequalities between the rich and the poor. (These I regard here and now as demonstrated: See the crisis index, though I agree I tend to have too many items to be able to make proper titles.)

There is also this, on the way the banks make money:

Yet ironically, most people continue to suffer under the dual delusions that most new money is created by the government and that private banks make loans by drawing on their customers’ deposits. The reality could not be further from the truth, as Washington’s Blog explains:

1) Each private bank “creates loans” out of thin air by entering into binding loan commitments with borrowers;

2) If the bank doesn’t have the required level of reserves, it simply borrows them from the central bank (or from another bank);

3) The central bank, in turn, creates the money which it lends to the private banks out of thin air.

One can but marvel at the simple audacity of the enterprise. In a nutshell, it is the most audacious con trick of modern human history.

Finally, this leads to facts like this:
(...) one solitary U.S. bank, JP Morgan Chase, faces total derivatives exposure of over $70 trillion, far surpassing global GDP. In other words, as incredible as it may seem, one single bank has on its books financial instruments presumed to be worth more than the total value of all that is produced by every country on this planet in one year.
This has Jamie Dimon as "Chairman, CEO & President". It's total assets are US$ 2.515 trillion, according to Wikipedia.

6. British Spies Controlling the Past, Present and Future | Interview with Annie Machon

The next item is not an article but a video of Abby Martin' interviewing Annie Machon:
This is a really good interview with Annie Machon, who is a Cambridge graduate and a former MI-5 secret agent, who also is a whistleblower. One of the things she says is
(..) we have indeed slid into an era of fascism. If you go back to Benito Mussolini's definition of fascism, which is the merger of the corporate and the state, what we've seen through the Edward Snowden disclosures is that very fact, where all the major big internet giants from the USA have been at least complicit and in many cases very willing to help the NSA and the GCHQ and other agencies to spy on citizens.
Indeed - and I do not think Annie Machon is "a radical", while she does know quite a lot about the British intelligence services.
 

---------------------------------
P.S. July 25, 2014: Corrected some small things and added two links.

Notes
[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.)

[2] These were illusions I have long since been cured of: There is something like a democracy and a state of law in Holland IF you are healthy, and you are very normal, and you do not say anything against the government or the mayor or the universities, and you always dress in orange on all festive days. Otherwise, you get into problems - and no, I am not, and not by far, the only one who was critical and therefore not helped in any way, and also not even answered in any way, except by pure bullshit, and that also no more than twice in 25 years of complaining about murder threats, illegal drugsdealing or an evident insane and dangerous person.


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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