14, 2014
Crisis: Snowden *3, Gaza, Greenwald, Wessely
  "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

The most wanted man in the world
2. Edward Snowden: Surveillance, Spying Practices Have
     Brought U.S. to ‘Brink of the Abyss’
3. Snowden Reveals NSA Program Described as 'Last Straw'
     Before Leak

4. Going Wild in the Gaza War
Glenn Greenwald on Iraq: Is U.S. "Humanitarianism" Only
     Summoned to Control Oil-Rich Areas?

6. Two-thirds of Britons with depression get no treatment

About ME/CFS


This is a Nederlog of Thursday, August 14. It is a crisis log.

The first three items are about Snowden, and in fact about item 1, but then this is a good long interview with Snowden by James Bamford. The last is about one of the few consequences of the crisis I like:

There is no more money to pay psychiatrists and the expensive pills they prescribe in England, for which reason The Guardian interviewed my favorite psychiatric fraud Simon Wessely - who promptly pretends cancer (a real disease) and psychiatry (for the most part a fraudulent business) or psychiatric "disorders", are somehow "the same".

They are not at all, but try telling that to Wessely or The Guardian's Boseley! Well, in fact I do so below, but not with any expectation of converting them to reason.

1. The most wanted man in the world

The first item is an article by James Bamford on Wired:

This article is based on the longest interview yet with Snowden, made by James Bamford (<-Wikipedia).

Bamford, who is 4 years older than I am, is an interesting man, who wrote the first book on the NSA, in 1982, and wrote two more books since on the same subject. He also helped Thomas Drake (<- Wikipeda). It is therefore not strange that he made the longest interview yet with Snowden, and the above link is his write up.

I think you should read all of it, that is: if you are interested in Snowden or a free internet, but I will quote only two pieces from it (and not quote quite a few other quotable pieces), and the first is this, about the last step that moved Snowden to become a whistleblower:

On March 13, 2013, sitting at his desk in the “tunnel” surrounded by computer screens, Snowden read a news story that convinced him that the time had come to act. It was an account of director of national intelligence James Clapper telling a Senate committee that the NSA does “not wittingly” collect information on millions of Americans. “I think I was reading it in the paper the next day, talking to coworkers, saying, can you believe this shit?”

Snowden and his colleagues had discussed the routine deception around the breadth of the NSA’s spying many times, so it wasn’t surprising to him when they had little reaction to Clapper’s testimony. “It was more of just acceptance,” he says, calling it “the banality of evil”—a reference to Hannah Arendt’s study of bureaucrats in Nazi Germany.

“It’s like the boiling frog,” Snowden tells me. “You get exposed to a little bit of evil, a little bit of rule-breaking, a little bit of dishonesty, a little bit of deceptiveness, a little bit of disservice to the public interest, and you can brush it off, you can come to justify it. But if you do that, it creates a slippery slope that just increases over time, and by the time you’ve been in 15 years, 20 years, 25 years, you’ve seen it all and it doesn’t shock you. And so you see it as normal. And that’s the problem, that’s what the Clapper event was all about. He saw deceiving the American people as what he does, as his job, as something completely ordinary.

Yes indeed: That - the boiling frog - seems a good explanation for a considerable amount of evil that people do. I do not know whether it applies to James Clapper, though it may, for I am quite certain that quite a few of the political and bureau-
cratic leaders anywhere are deceivers and liars from the start, and know this quite well, and engage in it simply to improve themselves at the cost of those they deceive, and do so quite knowingly, indeed quite often with some sadism. ("I am more clever than you idiots, and so I can abuse you. Serves you well!")

But yes, apart from those who start as deceivers and liars, quite a few who start quite honestly and indeed idealistically (as applies also to Snowden) are corrupted by a steady increase of bits of evil - which I agree with Snowden is objectively there if people knowingly lie and deceive. It is not merely subjective appraisal. (For more, see my "On "The Logic of Moral Discourse"".)

Next, there is this on what Snowden thinks is the way out:

Another concern for Snowden is what he calls NSA fatigue—the public becoming numb to disclosures of mass surveillance, just as it becomes inured to news of battle deaths during a war. “One death is a tragedy, and a million is a statistic,” he says, mordantly quoting Stalin. “Just as the violation of Angela Merkel’s rights is a massive scandal and the violation of 80 million Germans is a nonstory.”

Nor is he optimistic that the next election will bring any meaningful reform. In the end, Snowden thinks we should put our faith in technology—not politicians. “We have the means and we have the technology to end mass surveillance without any legislative action at all, without any policy changes.” The answer, he says, is robust encryption. “By basically adopting changes like making encryption a universal standard—where all communications are encrypted by default—we can end mass surveillance not just in the United States but around the world.”

Yes, I agree, although it probably also is true that this needs steady pressure from the public, because it will cost money, time and some trouble.

For more, you have to click the above dotted link.

Edward Snowden: Surveillance, Spying Practices Have Brought U.S. to ‘Brink of the Abyss’ 

The next item is an article by Kasia Anderson on Truthdig:

This is about the same article as item 1. It starts as follows:

Edward Snowden has just been granted three more years of asylum in Russia, and the former NSA contractor-turned-
whistle-blower is understandably choosy about whom he meets with in person. In June, he gave top NSA expert James Bamford a good deal of his time for an in-depth Wired story, and Bamford didn’t waste it.

Yes, indeed. It ends like this:

Bamford also writes that, in researching the material Snowden leaked, he came to a similar conclusion as Glenn Greenwald and reckons that there is another whistle-blower working with the press while attributing the leaks to Snowden. Bamford follows a lead to another of Snowden’s press contacts to investigate the possibility of additional informants flying under Snowden’s wing.

Various news outlets are teasing out particular threads from the Wired story, some debating Snowden’s decision to cradle the American flag for the cover photo, and others zooming in on Snowden’s reveal about a cyberwarfare program called MonsterMind. But this is one of those old-school, in-depth pieces that’s best read in its entirety—and worth the time.

I agree.

3. Snowden Reveals NSA Program Described as 'Last Straw' Before Leak

The next item is an article by Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams:

This is also about item 1. It starts as follows:
In an in-depth interview published by Wired Magazine on Wednesday, Edward Snowden discloses what government activities proved to be the "last straw," prompting the whistleblower to expose the depths of the National Security Agency's secret surveillance operation.

Speaking with investigative journalist James Bamford—who blew the whistle on a government eavesdropping program when stationed in Hawaii during the Vietnam War and later wrote a number of best-selling books about government secrecy and the NSA—Snowden reveals how a botched U.S. government hacking operation caused Syria's 2012 internet blackout.

You can find out more about this by following the dotted link in item 1.

The article ends as follows - and for more on Monstermind see item 1:

Further, for the system [Monstermind - MM] to work, the NSA must access virtually all "traffic flows," or communications, coming in from overseas to people in the United States.

“And if we're analyzing all traffic flows, that means we have to be intercepting all traffic flows," said Snowden. "That means violating the Fourth Amendment, seizing private communications without a warrant, without probable cause or even a suspicion of wrongdoing. For everyone, all the time.”

Snowden spoke at length with Bamford about his motivations for blowing the whistle on the NSA, but said it was learning about these two particular government operations—along with the existence of the NSA's massive data repository center located in Utah—that finally pushed him over the edge.

"Given the NSA's new data storage mausoleum in Bluffdale, its potential to start an accidental war, and the charge to conduct surveillance on all incoming communications, Snowden believed he had no choice but to take his thumb drives and tell the world what he knew," Bamford writes, adding that more NSA revelations will be forthcoming.

So those are the main reasons Edward Snowden turned into a whistleblower.

4. Going Wild in the Gaza War

The next item is an article by Tom Engelhardt that I found on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

The carnage in the Gaza Strip has been horrendous: more than 1,900 dead, mainly civilians; its sole power plant destroyed (and so electricity and water denied and a sewage disaster looming); 30,000 to 40,000 homes and buildings damaged or destroyed; hundreds of thousands of residents put to flight with nowhere to go; and numerous U.N. schools or facilities housing some of those refugees hit by Israeli firepower. And then there was the evident targeting by the Israelis of the Gazan economy itself: 175 major factories taken out, according to the New York Times, in a place that already had an estimated unemployment rate of 47%.

It ends like this, after a lot more information that is quite harrowing but also very probably quite true:

In other words, a world is being unified in turmoil and extremism, as thousands die and millions are uprooted from their homes, and all of this now surrounds the volatile, still destabilizing center that is the Palestinian/Israeli nightmare. There, as Sandy Tolan, a TomDispatch regular and the author of The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East, points out, both Tel Aviv and Washington have, in recent years, ignored every chance to take a less violent path and so encouraged the arrival of the maelstrom.

For more, consult the last dotted link.

5.  Glenn Greenwald on Iraq: Is U.S. "Humanitarianism" Only Summoned to Control Oil-Rich Areas?

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

This starts as follows:

We discuss the situation in Iraq with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald. In a recent article for The Intercept, "U.S. 'Humanitarian' Bombing of Iraq: A Redundant Presidential Ritual," Greenwald reviews news headlines related to U.S. military action in Iraq over the past two decades. He cites a 1991 New York Times headline, "U.S. and Allies Open Air War on Iraq; Bomb Baghdad and Kuwaiti Targets; 'No Choice' But Force, Bush Declares," and a CNN headline from 2003 titled "Blair Likens Saddam to Hitler." Then, closer to the present, he cites a Daily Beast story titled "ISIS 'Worse Than Al Qaeda,' Says Top State Department Official."

It is an interview, stopped by several glitches, with Glenn Greenwald in Rio de Janeiro. It is a good interview, and I will quote one bit of it, which is the last part before a third glitch:
We all like to think that we’re good people. And so, one of the ways that you get a population to acquiesce to a permanent state of warfare, which is obviously what the United States government is in, and has been in for decades—how do you convince the population to continue to acquiesce to the continuous slaughter of people around the world, to the bombing of multiple countries, in a way that no other country would contemplate? Really, the only way that you can do that is by continuously telling them that it’s being done because you’re benevolent, because we just love humanity and love freedom and love democracy so much that we constantly bomb people in pursuit of those goals. And I think the combination of how adept this propaganda is, when it’s done by the U.S. government and U.S. media jointly, combined with the desire that we all as human beings have to think good things about ourselves, makes it so that, even contrary to all evidence as it is—
First, indeed the United States is unique both in warfare and in the variety and extent of its many wars, that these days cannot be defended anymore as "against communism".

Second, the reason this is sold so well and to so many, indeed mainly by propaganda, including the non-existence of much information in the main media, while it is present outside the main media, is not merely and perhaps not mostly because ordinary people want to think they are good, but  is because they are scared by "terrorism", even though that is very much less of a real danger than communism was, if considered rationally, and also because most do not know much about politics or history, especially if they mainly rely on the main media.

But OK - for more, see the interview.

6. Two-thirds of Britons with depression get no treatment

The last item of today is an article by Sarah Boseley on The Guardian:
This starts as follows, which explains my reason to include it here:

Less than a third of people with common mental health problems get any treatment at all – a situation the nation would not tolerate if they had cancer, according to the incoming president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

While the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has pledged to deliver "parity of esteem" for mental and physical health services, the treatment gap is now so huge that it may prove impossible to bridge in the current financial climate, said Professor Simon Wessely of King's College London in his first interview since election to the post.

That is excellent news for me - and I am a psychologist and a philosopher with excellent degrees (all A's), but who did hardly get any help for 36 years now, thanks in large part to the efforts, the lies, and the intentional deceptions of psychiatrist Simon Wessely.

This is another example of his self-serving duplicity: Cancer is a real disease, whereas psychiatry asserts, without any rational foundation, that there now are over 400 mental "disorders", the vast majority of which have been dreamt up from thin air since 1980.

In fact - and professors of psychiatry agree - there are between 10 and 20 mental diseases, but nearly all of them are not easily diagnosed, and they are nearly all ill defined and ill understood (which in itself is not harmful: there simply is not enough relevant knowledge).

The rest of the "disorders" in the DSM-5 are mostly nonsense, and are all very ill-defined as well. In fact, psychiatrists tend to privately agree that no one of them knows even how to define madness in a rational way!

Furthermore, most of these "disorders" are not disorders (you have - for example - according to psychiatry a "disorder" if you grief longer than two weeks over the loss of life of someone you lived with for 30 years, so as to enable a psychiatrist to prescribe you the latest patented anti-depressant) and nearly all of these "disorders" will cause a psychiatrist not to listen to your problems, but to prescribe you some recently patented expensive "medicine
", that very probably was ill researched, has side-effects that are vastly underplayed or denied, and is of doubtful efficacy in the majority of cases anyway, even if you are well diagnosed, which generally you will not be.

Please note that I do not deny some people get mad (though I would say this happens to at most 2-3%, and often reverses itself without much or any help); I am not opposed to helping people with psychological problems; and I am not an opponent of psychiatry - although I am, if this is of the kind developed since 1980, which in my learned opinion was and is a fraudulent pseudoscience.

Before 1980 psychiatry also was not a real science, and some psychiatrists, like Ewen Cameron, did major harm to many, in Cameron's case no doubt inspired by sadism, but much of the rest could be excused, intellectually at least, by the lack of knowledge about the brain - which in fact still is the case, even though more is known, but not by far enough to confidently ground nearly all "diagnoses" psychiatrists reach.

For psychiatrists do not deal with diseases: they deal with psychological problems of various kinds, that they themselves cannot diagnose well. Now psychological problems are real, and may be quite annoying or frightening, but most of them are not reducible these days to "chemical imbalance" (a favorite trick of psychiatrists since 1980, also meant to "justify" their prescribing pills) nor to any other specific known cause, and indeed most
psychological problems disappear in time.

To suggest, as Wessely does, that psychiatry is in any way comparable to the medical knowledge about cancer is simply a gross lie. But he does:
Wessely said there would be a public outcry if those who went without treatment were cancer patients rather than people with mental health problems. Imagine, he told the Guardian, the reaction if he gave a talk that began: "'So, we have a problem in cancer service at the moment. Only 30% of people with cancer are getting treatment, so 70% of them don't get any treatment for their cancer at all and it's not even recognised."
Again, cancer is a real disease, with real tests, and real treatments; most of psychiatry's "disorders" are not real diseases, there are no real tests (other than agreement between psychiatrists, that often is difficult to get), and the treatments are mostly the prescription of some expensive patented "medicine" about which only two things are definitely and certainly known: it is expensive, which helps the psychiatrists and the pharmacological corporations, and it usually is of doubtful efficacy, with quite a few side-effects patients are not warned about.

Then he says:

"I think what [the NHS England chief executive] means is basically, if people really want true parity in the sense of actual 90% of mental health patients treated within 18 weeks, just like they are for other disorders, that is going to have to mean money will have to move from acute to mental health. Genuine money.

"As there is no more money, that would mean significant losses in other sectors."
Again there is a huge difference Wessely tries to wipe out of sight: The real diseases that real medicine treats are not "disorders" but real diseases (in the majority of cases with real tests and real treatments); only psychiatrists deal with "disorders", and these they do not know how to define rationally, and mostly do not treat except by prescribing expensive medicines of doubtful efficacy.

And of course there is this, for this is what he pleads for:
The concern over pills for common mental disorders – for depression, anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), for instance – could be misplaced, Wessely argued.
He says "could", basically because he can't honestly say "is", but what he means is: The more expensive patented pills against depression, anxiety and ADHD are prescribed, the better he feels - for that is why modern psychiatry exists: To make people take expensive patented medicines, not for their benefit but for the financial benefit of psychiatrists (who get paid somehow, in money or trips) and of the pharmacological corporations.

There is a lot more, and Ms Boseley is clearly charmed and tricked by Wessely, but I say this is one of the few good things lack of money has done: Fewer people get prescribed expensive drugs for minor psychological problems in England.

P.S August 15, 2014: For a somewhat ironic if bitter comment on this item, see the NL of August 15, 2014.

[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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