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Nederlog


  August
4, 2014
Crisis: Israel*4, UK &CIA-report, Germany & TPP, 4th Branch
  "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.
Cash, Weapons and Surveillance: the U.S. is a Key Party
     to Every Israeli Attack

2. Why Israel Lies 
3. UK Accused of 'Censoring' Torture Report to Hide Own
     Role in Secret Renditions

4. 
Germany U-Turns, Torpedoes Corporate Sovereignty
     Charter in Trade Agreements With US and Canada (..)

5.
Tomgram: Engelhardt, Who Rules Washington?
6. Israel spied on John Kerry during peace effort – report
7.
Two Jewish Voices Fiercely Debate Gaza Siege | Max
     Blumenthal vs. ZOA’s Morton Klein


About ME/CFS


Introduction:

This is the Nederlog of Monday, August 4. It is a crisis log.

This is an ordinary crisis file with seven items, though four are about Israel & Gaza (and one is about John Kerry's being spied on by the Israeli secret service).

The article on the Fourth Branch of government, which are the security services, of which there are 17 in the U.S., seems the most important, at least in terms of long term developments.

Also, this file is uploaded sooner than is usual: I've got to do some other things as well.

Note: It seems several hundreds are busy finding On Good and Bad - 1, and use a link to the Notebook I had in 2012, when my eyes were very bad and painful. I'm sorry: I deleted the Notebook as my eyes got a bit better and moved everything to Nederlog. The last link works and it is a good file.
 
1. Cash, Weapons and Surveillance: the U.S. is a Key Party to Every Israeli Attack

The first item is an article by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:

The U.S. government has long lavished overwhelming aid on Israel, providing cash, weapons and surveillance technology that play a crucial role in Israel’s attacks on its neighbors. But top secret documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden shed substantial new light on how the U.S. and its partners directly enable Israel’s military assaults – such as the one on Gaza.

Over the last decade, the NSA has significantly increased the surveillance assistance it provides to its Israeli counterpart, the Israeli SIGINT National Unit (ISNU; also known as Unit 8200), including data used to monitor and target Palestinians. In many cases, the NSA and ISNU work cooperatively with the British and Canadian spy agencies, the GCHQ and CSEC.

The relationship has, on at least one occasion, entailed the covert payment of a large amount of cash to Israeli operatives. Beyond their own surveillance programs, the American and British surveillance agencies rely on U.S.-supported Arab regimes, including the Jordanian monarchy and even the Palestinian Authority Security Forces, to provide vital spying services regarding Palestinian targets.

The new documents underscore the indispensable, direct involvement of the U.S. government and its key allies in Israeli aggression against its neighbors. That covert support is squarely at odds with the posture of helpless detachment typically adopted by Obama officials and their supporters.

There is a lot more that supports these initial statements, but I leave them to you.

2. Why Israel Lies 

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

This starts as follows:
All governments lie, as I.F. Stone pointed out, including Israel and Hamas. But Israel engages in the kinds of jaw-dropping lies that characterize despotic and totalitarian regimes. It does not deform the truth; it inverts it. It routinely paints a picture for the outside world that is diametrically opposed to reality. And all of us reporters who have covered the occupied territories have run into Israel’s Alice-in-Wonderland narratives, which we dutifully insert into our stories—required under the rules of American journalism—although we know they are untrue.
This has no evidence - that wil come in the next quotation - but in case you want to hear some of "Israel’s Alice-in-Wonderland narratives" you could listen to Morton Klein in item 7. And yes: I agree he is not a good pro-Israeli spokesman, but he is strongly pro-Israeli, and he also seems to believe what he says.

Now for the evidence, that starts in the next paragraph:
I saw small boys baited and killed by Israeli soldiers in the Gaza refugee camp of Khan Younis. The soldiers swore at the boys in Arabic over the loudspeakers of their armored jeep. The boys, about 10 years old, then threw stones at an Israeli vehicle and the soldiers opened fire, killing some, wounding others. I was present more than once as Israeli troops drew out and shot Palestinian children in this way. Such incidents, in the Israeli lexicon, become children caught in crossfire. I was in Gaza when F-16 attack jets dropped 1,000-pound iron fragmentation bombs on overcrowded hovels in Gaza City. I saw the corpses of the victims, including children. This became a surgical strike on a bomb-making factory. I have watched Israel demolish homes and entire apartment blocks to create wide buffer zones between the Palestinians and the Israeli troops that ring Gaza. I have interviewed the destitute and homeless families, some camped out in crude shelters erected in the rubble. The destruction becomes the demolition of the homes of terrorists. (...)
I, along with every other reporter I know who has worked in Gaza, have never seen any evidence that Hamas uses civilians as “human shields.”

Whereas Morton Klein "knows" Hamas does this all the time. (I trust Hedges here, who has worked in Gaza as a journalist.)

Hedges goes on relating Israel's policies to Hitler's Big Lie and to racism in several paragraphs. I do not think these are happy allusions. While I agree the Israelis lie, I see no need to involve Hitler, and while I agree the Israelis may sound like racists when talking about Palestinians, this in fact derives from their religion, which makes them God's Chosen People.

At the end of his first page, Hedges says:
This irrationality explains why the reaction of Israeli supporters to those who have the courage to speak the truth—Uri Avnery, Max Blumenthal, Noam Chomsky, Jonathan Cook, Norman Finkelstein, Amira Hass, Gideon Levy, Ilan Pappé, Henry Siegman and Philip Weiss—is so rabid. That so many of these voices are Jewish, and therefore have more credibility than non-Jews who are among Israel’s cheerleaders, only ratchets up the level of hate.
Again I can point to item 7, where Morton Klein, who is debating Max Blumenthal, shows this.

Then again, I would like to make a distinction: "Jews" applies to those who have the Jewish religion (which again can take various forms, that may be internally quite opposed), whereas those who don't have the religion are of "Jewish background". This seems to me elementary and helpful but it is not common. [2]


There is more on page 2, although this again is phrased in terms of "the Big Lie", which I think is unfortunate. I do believe the Israelis lie, and are the much stronger party, and have destroyed many lives, many mosques, many hospitals and many houses, but one can say so without somehow seeming to equate them with Hitler.

3. UK Accused of 'Censoring' Torture Report to Hide Own Role in Secret Renditions 

The next item is by Sarah Lazare on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

The British government is being accused of pushing to "censor" the U.S. Senate report on CIA torture to hide its own role in unlawful secret renditions.

Due to be partially declassified in the coming days, the report is said to be the most comprehensive account of the U.S. government's post 9/11 torture and unlawful detention of people in secret prisons across the globe.

Former British Foreign Secretary William Hague admitted to the legal charity Reprieve that the U.K. government has been engaged in discussions with the U.S. about the information that will be revealed in the report, in what Reprieve charges is a bid to conceal information about British complicity.

“We have made representations to seek assurance that ordinary procedures for clearance of UK material will be followed in the event that UK material provide [sic] to the Senate Committee were to be disclosed,” Hague wrote in a letter to Reprieve, according to a statement released by the charity on Sunday. 

“This shows that the UK Government is attempting to censor the US Senate’s torture report," said Reprieve Director Cori Crider. "In plain English, it is a request to the US to keep Britain’s role in rendition out of the public domain."

I say. Well... I am not amazed: The CIA also tries to censor the report - and it is totally unclear to me what percentage will be "partially declassified in the coming days".

4. Germany U-Turns, Torpedoes Corporate Sovereignty Charter in Trade Agreements With US and Canada, Resistance Grows

The next item is an article by Don Quijones on Wolf Street:

I merely quote a summary from the beginning:

Published on July 28th by the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, the article’s basic premise is that the German government will not accept CETA, the Canadian-European trade agreement, if it contains a corporate sovereignty chapter in its present form:

German EU diplomats confirmed in Brussels on Friday that the [German] federal government could not sign the agreement with Canada “as it is now negotiated.” Germany is, in principle, ready to initial the agreement in September, but the chapter on the legal protection of investors is “problematic” and currently not acceptable.

The reason this could be of paramount importance – not only for Germans but for all Europeans, Canadians and Americans – is that the investor state dispute settlements (ISDS) that Germany now seems reluctant to accept are precisely what give trade agreements like CETA, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) their long canine teeth: they allow private companies to sue entire nations whenever they feel that a new law lost them money on their investment.

There is a lot more in the article, but indeed all that is certain at the moment is that the Germans could throw a spanner in the works of the secret TTIP and secret TPP.

I hope they do, for these secret "agreements" secretly make an end to democracy (in so far as this survives) and replaces it by corporatocracy, but nothing is certain yet, and all is done in deep secrecy.


5. Tomgram: Engelhardt, Who Rules Washington?

The next item is an article by Tom Engelhardt on tomdispatch:

This starts as follows:

As every schoolchild knows, there are three check-and-balance branches of the U.S. government: the executive, Congress, and the judiciary. That’s bedrock Americanism and the most basic high school civics material. Only one problem: it’s just not so.

During the Cold War years and far more strikingly in the twenty-first century, the U.S. government has evolved.  It sprouted a fourth branch: the national security state, whose main characteristic may be an unquenchable urge to expand its power and reach.  Admittedly, it still lacks certain formal prerogatives of governmental power.  Nonetheless, at a time when Congress and the presidency are in a check-and-balance ballet of inactivity that would have been unimaginable to Americans of earlier eras, the Fourth Branch is an ever more unchecked and unbalanced power center in Washington.  Curtained off from accountability by a penumbra of secrecy, its leaders increasingly are making nitty-gritty policy decisions and largely doing what they want, a situation illuminated by a recent controversy over the possible release of a Senate report on CIA rendition and torture practices.

Yes, quite so, and indeed it is a Fourth Branch of government, as the title of the article says.

This is a good article, that I recommend you read all of. I only quote the ending:

The fact is that, for the Fourth Branch, this remains the age of impunity.  Hidden in a veil of secrecy, bolstered by secret law and secret courts, surrounded by its chosen corporations and politicians, its power to define policy and act as it sees fit in the name of American safety is visibly on the rise.  No matter what setbacks it experiences along the way, its urge to expand and control seems, at the moment, beyond staunching.  In the context of the Senate’s torture report, the question at hand remains: Who rules Washington?

To answer the last question: A combination of elected officials and non-elected secret services (of 17 kinds), where the secret services have the advantages that they work in secret, and may blackmail everyone, indeed also both truly and falsely, the last through framing. (And "truly" on the basis of stolen private mails.)

6. Israel spied on John Kerry during peace effort – report

The next item is an article by Rory Carroll on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Israel spied on the US secretary of state, John Kerry, during peace talks with Palestinians and Arab states last year, the magazine Der Spiegel has reported.

The German weekly said on Sunday that Israeli intelligence and at least one other secret service intercepted Kerry’s phone calls during a doomed, nine-month effort to broker a peace deal.

If confirmed, the report will further sour the diplomat’s relationship with Binyamin Netanyahu’s government and raise fresh questions about the vulnerability of phone communications to eavesdropping.

There was no immediate reaction from Jerusalem or Washington. The State Department did not respond to a request for comment.

There is a considerable amount more, that you can check out for yourself. I merely quote the last paragraph to keep you updated - and "Sunday" is yesterday:
Sunday’s attack on the school in Gaza was the third time in 10 days that a UN school had been hit. Regional efforts to broker a diplomatic end to the fighting between Israel and Hamas have so far proved elusive; the conflict is now in its 27th day and more than 1,700 people have been killed.
7. Two Jewish Voices Fiercely Debate Gaza Siege | Max Blumenthal vs. ZOA’s Morton Klein

Finally, not an article but a video: Abby Martin's interview with Max Blumenthal and Morton Klein debating the events in Gaza:

I should warn you that this takes 27 m 59 s, consists of talking heads, and indeed is "fierce". I have watched it all, but switched it off several times, mostly because I don't much like talking heads, and because the debate is fierce without being reasonable.

But it is somewhat interesting, especially because of Morton Klein, who is an Israeli faithful, who really seems to believe the propaganda he utters, and who has an annoying habit, at the end, to interject his opponent constantly with "you lie, you lie, you lie, you lie, you lie", and who also seems most shocked to find that A Jew does not stand 100% behind Netanyahu.

And while Mr Klein is not credible - for me, at least - he seems to believe what he says, and what he says is the story of the Israeli government that also is accepted by most of the American media, while he does get a fair treatment of Abby Martin (although she does not believe him).

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

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] Several of my father's best friends were supposed to be "Jews" and some had spend times in concentration camps as "Jews", while others had spend times in concentration camps as non-Jewish communists or socialists, since they had  denied they were Jews, because they were communists or socialists, and never had had a religious faith.

This is in part what motivates the distinction: many of the "Jews" I have personally known, of my parents' generation and my own, were atheist communists or socialists, and never had the Jewish faith, nor had their parents sometimes.

But I suppose this is easier for me because most of the supposed Jews I have known - quite a lot - did not have the Jewish faith, and also did not strike me as special in any particular way, though I tended to like them, and also because I am not an American, who all seem to have been educated on nationalistic myths, that take the form, at least in crude and simple cases, that human individuals are all mostly explained by their national identity: you are not so much an individual  person as that you are a Pole, a Kraut, a Wop, a Dago or a Jew, and that fixes your interests and values. It's a myth, well illustrated by e.g. All in the Family, but it is a prominent and widely believed myth in the U.S.


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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