5, 2014
Crisis: Great Brittain, Snowden, Siegman, Greenwald*3, U.S. Law
  "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

Whitehall tries to revive plans to share confidential
     personal data

2. Snowden Documents Detail Spying Partnership Between
     US, Israel That Enables Occupation of Palestine

3. U.S. Jewish Leader Henry Siegman to Israel: Stop Killing
     Palestinians and End the Occupation

4. Glenn Greenwald on Deserving an Audience and His
     Funder’s Beneficence

A Web Guerrilla Breaking News From the Jungle
6. Greenwald: NSA Docs Show 'Israeli Action in Gaza has US
     Fingerprints All Over It'

The Highest Law of the Land REQUIRES the Government
     Prosecute All of Those Who Authorized Torture …

About ME/CFS


This is the Nederlog of Tuesday, August 5. It is a crisis log.

This has three articles on Glenn Greenwald, but that is only because I found them today. It is an ordinary crisis report.
1. Whitehall tries to revive plans to share confidential personal data

The first item is an article by Rowena Mason on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:

Whitehall officials are trying to revive plans that could allow the government to share confidential details about people's finances, health and criminal records across different providers of public services.

The data sharing plans being drawn up by the Cabinet Office appear to be similar to proposals dropped by Labour in 2009 after a backbench revolt. At the time, the plans were described by critics as having the potential to "wipe out privacy at a stroke".

Details emerged in minutes of a meeting held in April by the Cabinet Office's data team. Under the most radical option, data could even be shared with "all bodies providing public services", which might allow private contractors to gain access to the data.

"The key bodies may include government departments, local authorities, local emergency services, police, schools," the document said.

This time privacy must disappear so as to give the supermen and superwoman who work for "government departments, local authorities, local emergency services, police, schools" (and private contractors working for them), who know everything, while their "clients" know nothing, including how much these bureaucratic supermen and superwomen know ... better possibilities to deal with "fraud".

There is also this, further on - and the first paragraph is quoted because it is evident total bureaucratic bullshit, that is also very dishonest:

"The Cabinet Office is leading an open policy-making process, working in partnership with civil society and privacy organisations to develop policy proposals for areas where we believe data sharing, as one possible option, could significantly improve the way we currently work. This process is ongoing and we cannot pre-empt the solutions that it may produce."

The latest move comes months after Revenue & Customs drew up plans that could involve selling the personal financial data of millions of taxpayers to private firms. The move was branded dangerous by tax professionals and as "borderline insane" by the senior Conservative MP David Davis.

In brief: None of your personal and private data are safe in any sense, if you live in the UK, and the government (and the previous Labour government) much likes to owe the lot and indeed also sell the lot, no doubt because they respect ordinary Englishmen so very much.

Well... it probably will happen, if the British do not protest, I am very sorry to say.

2. Snowden Documents Detail Spying Partnership Between US, Israel That Enables Occupation of Palestine

The next item is an article by Kevin Gosztola on Firedoglake:

This starts as follows:

Documents provided by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden to journalist Glenn Greenwald reveal specific details on the close relationship between the NSA and Israeli spy agencies and how cooperation enables military operations, such as the assault that has been ongoing in Gaza and has now killed over 1,800 Palestinians.

Previously, Greenwald reported in September 2013 on a “memorandum of understanding” between the NSA and Israeli intelligence from Snowden, which showed the NSA shared “raw intelligence” including the data of Americans with Israel. It also noted a document that stated, ”The survival of the state of Israel is a paramount goal of US Middle East policy.”

There is also this, further down:

Other documents highlighted in Greenwald’s report show that the British spy agency, GCHQ, and Canadian spy agency, CSEC, work with the NSA and ISNU to collect intelligence on Palestinians. In early 2009, GCHQ on emails and phone numbers ISNU requested the agency spy upon and ISNU “thanked” the agency “many times over.”

And there is a lot more in support of the title, which I will leave to you.

3.  U.S. Jewish Leader Henry Siegman to Israel: Stop Killing Palestinians and End the Occupation 

The next item is by Amy Goodman 

This starts as follows:

In the second part of our interview, Henry Siegman, the former head of the American Jewish Congress and the Synagogue Council of America, discusses the assault on Gaza, Hamas’ rocket attacks on Israel, and how peace could be attainable if the Obama administration reverse decades-long support for the Israeli occupation. Born in 1930 in Germany, Siegman fled as the Nazis came to power, eventually arriving in the United States. His father was a leader of the European Zionist movement pushing for the creation of a Jewish state. In New York, Siegman studied and was ordained as an Orthodox rabbi by Yeshiva Torah Vodaas. He now serves as president of the U.S./Middle East Project. Commenting on the Hamas charter that calls for Israel’s destruction, Siegman says: "The difference between Hamas and Israel is that Israel is actually implementing [a destruction policy] — actually preventing a Palestinian state which doesn’t exist. Millions of Palestinians live in this subservient position without rights, without security, without hope, and without a future." Commenting on Israeli justifications for killing Palestinians in the name of self-defense from 1948 through today, Siegman responds: "If you don’t want to kill Palestinians, if that’s what pains you so much, you don’t have to kill them. You can give them their rights, and you can end the occupation. And to put the blame for the occupation and for the killing of innocents that we are seeing in Gaza now on the Palestinians — why? Because they want a state of their own? They want what Jews wanted and achieved? This is a great moral insult."

The rest is a good interview, which I recommend to you. I will only quote two bits, the first a statement by Golda Meir that I commented on before (and my father and grandfather were convicted to the concentration camp for being in the communist resistance and helping Jews, which my grandfather did not survive):

(...) Golda Meir, one of Israel’s early leaders, which might have been said yesterday: "We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children," she said, "but we can never forgive them for forcing us to kill their children."

Here is Siegman's comment, that starts of as a reply to Amy Goodman's "You knew Golda Meir":

HENRY SIEGMAN: Yes, I did. I wasn’t a friend of hers, but I knew her, and I heard her when she made that statement. And I thought then, and think now, that it is an embarrassingly hypocritical statement. This statement was made by a woman who also said "Palestinians? There are no Palestinians! I am a Palestinian." If you don’t want to kill Palestinians, if that’s what pains you so much, you don’t have to kill them. You can give them their rights, and you can end the occupation. And to put the blame for the occupation and for the killing of innocents that we are seeing in Gaza now on the Palestinians—why? Because they want a state of their own? They want what Jews wanted and achieved? I find that, to put it mildly, less than admirable. There is something deeply hypocritical about that original statement and about repeating it on the air over here as a great moral insight.

Yes. It is not a "moral insight" at all: it is an immoral intentional misrepresent- ation, that shifts the blame of the killing of children from the killers to the killed. It is deeply irresponsible intentional propaganda, and Siegman is quite right in saying: "If you don’t want to kill Palestinians, if that’s what pains you so much, you don’t have to kill them."

4.  Glenn Greenwald on Deserving an Audience and His Funder’s Beneficence

The next item is an article by Alexander Reed Kelly on Truthdig:

This starts as follows:

From his jungle abode overrun with animals high above Rio de Janeiro, crusading journalist Glenn Greenwald spoke with New York Times columnist David Carr about experimenting with his new reporting enterprise, public distrust of its money-soaked patron and the need for strong points of view in the news.

In the prickly manner characteristic of his public persona—or so the quotation in Carr’s article reads—Greenwald disputed growing concerns that Pierre Omidyar, the financier of First Look Media, the investigative news organ Greenwald co-founded, should be regarded with suspicion as an emerging influence in public affairs.

“There’s a lot of distrust of billionaires and the oligarchic model,” Greenwald told Carr. “People don’t believe that you’re really going to get to be journalistically independent. But you can’t complain that there’s not serious investigative journalism against big corporate and governmental outlets and then at the same time oppose every single model that lets you have the kind of funding that you need.”

There is some more, but not a lot, though it does refer to the next item. As to Omidyar: I don't mind him, and he must be thanked for investing 250 million. And I have read some about him and also some by him, and thought neither impressive, and indeed I also know that I do not know much about him.

But there are two things I find slightly bothersome about The Intercept, although I guess nothing will be done about them. First, I had expected that The Intercept would have published more, not so much by Greenwald, but by the other journalists they employ. Second, I dislike the comments section that is printed under the articles.

Then again, the last reservation I have is definitely personal: I just will not read hundreds of comments by anonymous reviewers. They are not worth my attention, firstly because most is uninteresting or shit anyway, and secondly because I do not know anything about the anonymous persons who wrote them, and I tend to find it a waste of time to try to understand the prose of persons who insist on making themselves wholly unknown. (This holds in general, not just for The Intercept. And I have tried, and this is the result of my trying: I won't do it anymore. It really is a waste of my time and of my intelligence.)

As to the first reservation: This also is based on a personal expectation and considerable lack of real relevant knowledge.

Now to the source of Kelly's article:

5.  A Web Guerrilla Breaking News From the Jungle

The next item is an article by David Carr on The New York Times:

This is basically the report of an interview that Carr had with Greenwald at Greenwald's home.

I will only quote something I did not know:

The day before, Mr. Omidyar had written that First Look, which initially said it would build a large, general-interest site featuring a number of digital magazines, would instead concentrate on the two sites it has already started: The Intercept, which includes Mr. Greenwald, the documentarian Laura Poitras and the journalist Jeremy Scahill, along with others; and a yet-to-be-named project led by Matt Taibbi, the former Rolling Stone reporter.

The readjustment is a recognition that web journalism that gains traction usually emanates from lone voices with a strong point of view. It’s a reset, but from Mr. Greenwald’s perspective the Internet is defined by reiteration and experimentation.

OK... that indeed is rather different from the original plan, and it is nice to know.

Then again, although this helps some, I will have to wait and see what comes out of this new plan.

6. Greenwald: NSA Docs Show 'Israeli Action in Gaza has US Fingerprints All Over It'

The next item is an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This is basically about an article by Glenn Greenwald I reviewed yesterday, but is worth reading. It starts as follows:

A new analysis of the intelligence and military relationship between the U.S. and Israeli governments—bolstered by new top secret NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden—exposes the deep complicity of American foreign policy when it comes to enabling Israel's continued occupation of the Palestinian territories and its ongoing aggressive military assault on the Gaza Strip.

Reported by The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald on Monday, the new NSA documents show how the U.S. spy agency "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."

According to Greenwald, the "new Snowden documents illustrate a crucial fact: Israeli aggression would be impossible without the constant, lavish support and protection of the U.S. government, which is anything but a neutral, peace-brokering party in these attacks. And the relationship between the NSA and its partners on the one hand, and the Israeli spying agency on the other, is at the center of that enabling."

There is considerably more, and it ends with these penultimate paragraphs, that sketch the situation yesterday (August 4, 2014):

On Monday, the Ma'an News Agency reports:

According to the Ministry of Health, the Israeli offensive on Gaza has left over 1,822 Palestinians dead, including 398 children. Some 9,370 Palestinians have been injured, 2,744 of them children.

Approximately 373,000 children are in need of psychological support as a result of the trauma of the war, according to UN figures.

Over a quarter of Palestinians in Gaza have been forced to leave their homes throughout the assault.

7. The Highest Law of the Land REQUIRES the Government Prosecute All of Those Who Authorized Torture …

Finally, an article by Washington's Blog on his site (and I abbreviated the four lined heading):

This starts as follows, with the colors as in the original:

Preface: This is not a partisan issue. As shown below, Democrats are complicit in high crimes as well.

The Government Is Breaking the Law By Failing to Prosecute Torture

President Ronald Reagan signed a treaty legally requiring the U.S. to prosecute everyone who authorizes torture.

Specifically, the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (signed by the U.S. under Ronald Reagan) provides:

Article 2

1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.

2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture. . . .

Article 4

1. Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture.

Article 7

1. The State Party in territory under whose jurisdiction a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is found, shall in the cases contemplated in article 5, if it does not extradite him, submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.

Article 15

Each State Party shall ensure that any statement which is established to have been made as a result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings, except against a person accused of torture as evidence that the statement was made.

This is not some non-binding, touchy-feeley resolution … it is the law of the land.

Specifically, Article 6 of the United States Constitution dictates:

This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

And that is just the beginning, though this is quite convincing, for it shows that both the Bush and the Obama government did (and do) break the law, and quite grossly and systematically and intentionally as well.

After skipping a lot, including videos in which Cheney and Bush admit they ordered the torture (aka "enhanced interrogation"), there is this on Obama's administration - and again I only copy the beginning:

Democrats Are Complicit

It’s not just Republicans … Democrats are complicit.

For example, Nancy Pelosi, Harman and Rockefeller all knew about – and covered up – the torture program.

And Obama and Attorney General Holder are also complicit for failing to prosecute those who ordered or covered up torture.  As progressive writer Dan Froomkin reported last year:

The Constitution Project’s Task Force on Detainee Treatment … lays the blame fully at the feet of the current administration, for covering up what happened and stifling any sort of national conversation on the topic — and the media, for splitting the difference between the facts and the plainly specious argument made by torture regime’s architects that what occurred should be defined as something other than what it so obviously was.

The report points out, as I have in the past, that neither Obama nor Congress have done a thing to make sure that, the next time a perceived emergency comes up, some other president or vice president won’t decide to torture again.

Again there is considerably more, which you can check out yourself. Here is the last paragraph:
And Obama appears to be continuing the “extraordinary rendition” type of torture.
Which - incidentally - also allows the torturers to do much more than they could do in the U.S. itself.


[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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