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Nederlog


  August
1, 2014
Crisis: Whistleblowers, Russia, CIA lied, Germany, "evidence"
  "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.
Public service whistleblowers 'treated shockingly', report
     finds

2. Russia tightens controls on blogosphere
3. Yes, Admits CIA Chief, We Spied on Senate Panel
     Investigating Torture

4.
Bug spotting: Germans hold 'nature walks' to observe
     rare NSA spy

5.
the illusion of evidence…

About ME/CFS


Introduction:

This is the Nederlog of August 1. It is a crisis log.

There is a mostly Dutch file earlier today, which is part II of my "Over geestelijke gezondheid en gestoordheid" ("On mental health and being disturbed").

This part is about the crisis and is in English.
 
1.  Public service whistleblowers 'treated shockingly', report finds

The first item is an article by Rajeev Syal on The Guardian (and this is about the English treatment of whistleblowers):
This starts as follows:

Whistleblowers who risk their careers to uncover wrongdoing within public services are being victimised by managers who nearly always escape sanction, a public accounts committee report will say on Friday.

MPs were told that only one senior manager who has victimised a whistleblower has ever faced disciplinary procedures, while many government departments are still failing to support employees who come forward in the public interest.

Indeed. Since I am a double whistleblower myself (on the shocking state of the Dutch universities in the 1980ies and on the gigantic Dutch drugs-corruption in the 1990ies) I know you literally risk your life, while what you get - and I got - tends to be complete dismissals or pretensions that you do not even exist by nearly everyone you address (who has some sort of responsibility).

Part of the reason for this is that the politicians and the bureaucrats tend to be the worst much rather than the best people (I am very certain) although they do have these days enormous propaganda departments that put out false stories about the great goodness of the politicians and the political system they function in.

But that is merely what I learned, and most Dutchmen, who certainly are a lot dumber than I am, and none of whom has as excellent a background of resistance fighters in their family as I have, will see this quite differently.

Here is some more:

Margaret Hodge, the committee chair, said she had been dismayed by the way ministers and senior managers have failed to protect the public interest.

"A positive approach to whistleblowing should exist wherever the taxpayer's pound is spent, by private and voluntary sector providers as well as public bodies. However, far too often, whistleblowers have been shockingly treated, and departments have sometimes failed to protect some whistleblowers from being victimised."

MPs found there was a "startling disconnect" between Whitehall's generally good whistleblowing policies and the way they operated in practice.
It is probably the same in England as it is in Holland, where whistleblowers - other than me: Fred Spijkers and Ad Bos - have been frightfully mistreated, lied about and victimized because they dared to speak up.

Again, the main reason is that, in Holland at least, the worst people rather than the best get to be leaders in politics and in the bureaucracies, and I am afraid that as long as that is the case, whistleblowers will not be thanked, not be paid, and much risk being legally or otherwise victimized for their troubles and courage.

This is also all I got for speaking up - and in fact it is not far from a miracle, because I am also ill since 1.1.1979 and because I objected to illegal drugsdealers who were and are protected by Amsterdam's mayors, aldermen, lawyers and bureaucracy, that I am still alive. [2]

2.
Russia tightens controls on blogosphere 

The next item is an article by Alec Luhn on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

A law that comes into effect in Russia on Friday will place tighter controls on the blogosphere, one of the few remaining places where people can freely criticise the government.

The federal mass media watchdog has said the law is meant to "de-anonymise popular websites". Prominent bloggers argue it is yet another step to crack down on free expression and will be wielded against critics of the regime.

Popularly known as the "law on bloggers," the legislation requires users of any website whose posts are read by more than 3,000 people each day to publish under their real name and register with the authorities if requested. It also holds popular bloggers to the same standards as the mass media, forbidding false information and foul language, although it doesn't guarantee them the same rights. Violators could incur fines of up to 50,000 rubles (£800) and be blacklisted.

There is also this:

Popular blogger and media entrepreneur Anton Nosik called the law on bloggers unconstitutional and said it was meant to intimidate regime critics.

"It's about creating a situation where big brother is watching you," said Nosik. "You are part of a list, you are being watched, being observed, you are being served notices and could even serve a criminal sentence if you choose to speak out."

I am not amazed, but then this is Russia.

3. Yes, Admits CIA Chief, We Spied on Senate Panel Investigating Torture

The next item is by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

The findings of an internal investigation at the Central Intelligence Agency made available to the public on Thursday show that CIA agents did, in fact, spy on the Senate Intelligence Committee panel set up to investigate post-9/11 government torture under the Bush administration.

Lawmakers were briefed on the report by the CIA Inspector General's Office earlier this week and the head of the agency, John Brennan, issued an in-person apology to lawmakers on Tuesday over the agency's behavior during a meeting with Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif), who chairs the Intelligence Committee, and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ala.), the committee's vice chair.

There is also this, that refers to an earlier story that was reviewed in Nederlog:

During the public imbroglio that followed between Feinstein and Brennan, as the Washington Post points out, the CIA chief said lawmakers would regret accusing the agency of misconduct.

“When the facts come out on this, I think a lot of people who are claiming that there has been this tremendous sort of spying and monitoring and hacking will be proved wrong,” Brennan said at the time.

To the contrary, it seems now that those concerned about the CIA's attempt to infiltrate the panel's investigation have been quite vindicated for holding those concerns.

And there is this:

“The CIA Inspector General has confirmed what Senators have been saying all along: The CIA conducted an unauthorized search of Senate files, and attempted to have Senate staff prosecuted for doing their jobs,” said Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said. “Director Brennan’s claims to the contrary were simply not true."

There is a lot more on this topic, also elsewhere. But the brief of it is probably this: Brennan has "apologized"; he will not go; Obama will not ask him to go; and things will go on as they have been: Lying spy masters are these days common in the U.S. and also simply get away with it.

As an aside: I also still do not know whether the Senate's report on the CIA will be published, in full, or in part, or in some redacted form that bears the blessings of Brennan and Tenet.

We live in interesting and corrupt times... [2]

4. Bug spotting: Germans hold 'nature walks' to observe rare NSA spy

The next item is an article by Philip Oltermann on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

One morning last July, the German intelligence service knocked on Daniel Bangert's door. They had been informed by the US military police that Bangert was planning to stage a protest outside the Dagger Complex, an American intelligence base outside Griesheim in the Hesse region. Why hadn't he registered the protest, and what were his political affiliations? they asked.

Bangert explained that he wasn't planning a protest and that he didn't have any links to political groups. All he had done was put a message on Facebook inviting friends to go on a "nature walk" to "explore the endangered habitat of NSA spies". Eventually, the agents left in frustration.

Twelve months later, Bangert's nature trail has not only become a weekly ritual in Griesheim, but also the frontrunner of a new multi-generational German protest movement against digital surveillance.

Well... I hope so, but I must admit I have to see it before I believe it. Then again, the Germans may start such a protest, because they have had both Nazism and Communism on their own territory.

5. the illusion of evidence… 

The next item is an article by 1 boring old man on his site:

This is about the corruptions of medicine and psychiatry, especially in the U.S.
And 1 boring old man is a mostly pensioned psychiatrist with a good mind.

First, a quotation (the bolding is in the original) - and perhaps I need to remind you that "evidence based medicine" (which is a pleonasm, at least if medicine is a real science) is supposed to be the rule in what once was the science of medicine, and indeed has largely replaced the real science:
… “The whole thing is profit driven,” says Michael Carome at Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy organization in Washington, D.C. “You can see where corners might be cut, looking the other way when there might be concerns about an investigator.” Some experts argue that the FDA’s entire rulebook for clinical trials, with its talk of things like “institutional” review boards, reflects the academic past of clinical research — not today’s industrial juggernaut of for-profit clinical trials firms and for-hire review boards, which oversee a workforce of doctors drawn from regular medical practice. “They are regulations for a world that doesn’t exist anymore,” says Elizabeth Woeckner, president of Citizens for Responsible Care and Research, which campaigns for the safety of medical research volunteers.
I agree, and "the entire rulebook for clinical trials" has been replaced by a mostly secret rulebook that is used by the big pharmaceutical corporations, who also write most of the articles (that then are signed by Key Opinion Leaders with medical titles, and published in reputable medical journals) and keep most of the data secret, especially if these do not support the efficacy of expensive patented drugs.

The science of medicine has been replaced by science of profitmaking, much like the politics of democracy has been replaced by the politics of propaganda and authority.

There also is this:

The ersatz authors are usually listed with their academic rank and university affiliations as if either have much to do with the initiation or conduct of the studies themselves, other that as perhaps a locus for recruitment and administration [if even that]. More bizarre, in many cases, the authors don’t come into the picture in a substantive way until the final revision process. The fact that the trial was conducted by a contracted commercial enterprise, analyzed by the industrial sponsor, and written by a ghost is rarely apparent on reading the article. Likewise, the appearance of the published articles on Clinical Trials in peer-reviewed professional journals lends a further aura of academic legitimacy – rarely earned in the case of Clinical Trials.
Yes. This is also why I have given up on the science of medicine and the pseudoscience of psychiatry: You simply cannot trust what you read, also
not if it is published in a reputable medical journal. I suppose matters are
worse in the U.S. than in Europe, but the big pharmaceutical corporations
all are American, and Europeans generally follow Americans, especially if
it concerns making things worse, for that is both a lot easier and more
profitable than making things better.

And this is the ending of the article:
Many of these trials and the publications they’ve generated give only the illusion of evidence worth attending to – a sham exercise of the scientific method. Speaking of illusions, it is unlikely that regulations per se will ever fix the problems so long as the current levels of conflict of interest remain in the system. The biggest illusion of all may well be that conflicts of interest are relative, or that they can be regulated. Almost by definition, they can either be allowed to continue to dominate this scene or be eliminated…
Yes. What needs to happen is that the profit motive is removed from the practice of "medical science" - and the profit motive got instituted there from 1980 onwards, by those making billions from the selling of their drugs: the big pharmaceutical corporations.

I do not know how to do this, but I do know that I cannot trust any "science" which is profit oriented first, and is hardly truth oriented anymore.

Also, I do not say you should distrust your medical doctor: he or she knows more of medicine than you do or than I do, and may help you with many medical problems you may have.

But you should realize that your medical doctor reads medical journals that contain a good amount of effective pseudoscience, and also may not see that, for it is all well hidden and secretive, and indeed not many medical doctors seem to care, either because they indeed don't care (for most doctors are doctors because of the money they earn with it, after all) or because they lack the time and the resources to verify that what is presented to them as science indeed is real science.


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

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] I still do not mind having spoken up, firstly because it was the right thing to do, secondly because my parents and grandparents also went into the resistance in WW II, when there also wasn't much support for what they dared, and thirdly because I was and am ill. But it also is true that if I had not been ill, I would not have spoken up in either case, for then I would have left Holland in 1980, when I had made my B.A. in philosophy: I much dislike the country I have to live in simply to survive. (And anyone with my experiences would.)

[3] I realize some readers may not recognize that "May you live in interesting times!" is - or so I've been told - a Chinese curse: Interesting times are times of great upheavals and many pains and great troubles for many.


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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