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Nederlog


  August
17, 2014
Crisis: SWAT teams, Kerry and Clinton, UK, internet
  "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.
How the Excessive Militarization of the Police Is Turning
     Cops Into Counterinsurgents 
2. Germany 'spied' on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton – Der
     Spiegel

3. UK ambassador 'lobbied senators to hide Diego Garcia
     role in rendition'

4. So the internet's winners are finally chipping in? About
     time…

About ME/CFS


Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Sunday, August 17. It is a crisis log.

There is an earlier Nederlog of today that is in Dutch apart from the introduction, and is Part III of "Over geestelijke gezondheid en gestoordheid".

The earlier two parts were published in May 2013 and on August 1, 2014. There are two more parts, but they are less ready than the first three parts, and I do not yet know what I will do with them, also because everything was in fact written in 1986-1987, but I will let you know in Nederlog when I decide.

The present Nederlog has four items since I couldn't find more. Some of them are interesting, and I especially liked item 4.
 
1.  How the Excessive Militarization of the Police Is Turning Cops Into Counterinsurgents

The first item is an article by Matthew Harwood on The Huffington Post (but  originally on tomdispatch):

This is a fairly long article about the SWAT teams that have arisen in the United States. I quote just two things:

The cancer of militarized policing has long been metastasizing in the body politic.  It has been growing ever stronger since the first Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams were born in the 1960s in response to that decade's turbulent mix of riots, disturbances, and senseless violence like Charles Whitman's infamous clock-tower rampage in Austin, Texas.

While SWAT isn't the only indicator that the militarization of American policing is increasing, it is the most recognizable. The proliferation of SWAT teams across the country and their paramilitary tactics have spread a violent form of policing designed for the extraordinary but in these years made ordinary.
There is a considerable amount more in the article about the arisal of SWAT teams, and their extent and their weapons. As to the weapons, there is - among other things - this:
Astoundingly, one-third of all war materiel parceled out to state, local, and tribal police agencies is brand new. This raises further disconcerting questions: Is the Pentagon simply wasteful when it purchases military weapons and equipment with taxpayer dollars? Or could this be another downstream, subsidized market for defense contractors? Whatever the answer, the Pentagon is actively distributing weaponry and equipment made for U.S. counterinsurgency campaigns abroad to police who patrol American streets and this is considered sound policy in Washington. The message seems striking enough: what might be necessary for Kabul might also be necessary for DeKalb County.
I agree with the suggestion: The U.S. government has been seriously preparing for civil war in the U.S. and has been doing so for quite a long time.

There is a lot more under the last dotted link.


2.  Germany 'spied' on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton – Der Spiegel

The next item is an article by Martin Williams on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

German intelligence services eavesdropped on calls made by US secretary of state John Kerry and his predecessor Hillary Clinton, Der Spiegel has reported.

The German foreign intelligence agency, BND, tapped a satellite phone conversation Kerry made in 2013 and also recorded a conversation between Clinton and former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan a year earlier, according to the magazine.

The three officials were not directly targeted with phone calls collected by accident within the context of other operations, according to the report. In Clinton's case, the call reportedly took place on the same "frequency" as a terror suspect.

Really? These are "phone calls collected by accident"? It is possible, but it seems less likely to me. Anyway, the following was intentional, though not German:

Earlier this month Der Spiegel reported that John Kerry's phone was tapped by Israeli spies during Middle East peace talks last year, who listened to his conversations with officials from Israel, Palestinian territories and Arab states.

The Israeli government then used the information obtained in negotiations to try to reach a settlement.

One question this raises is: Who is more important - the NSA or the U.S. secretary of state? Part of the answer is - it seems to me - that the NSA is institutional; Kerry is accidental and temporary.

In any case, not only ordinary people's data are being tapped, although this does not make me feel any happier about mass surveillance.

3.  UK ambassador 'lobbied senators to hide Diego Garcia role in rendition'

The next item is an article by Jamie Doward on The Observer:

This starts as follows:

Logs released under the Freedom of Information Act have reinforced claims that the UK lobbied to keep its role in the CIA's torture and interrogation programme out of what is expected to be a damning Senate report.

They show that the UK ambassador to the US met members of the Senate select committee on intelligence 11 times between 2012 and 2014 – as they were investigating the CIA's rendition programme. This included two meetings with the committee's chair, Diane Feinstein, which took place as crucial decisions were being made regarding how much of its report into the programme should be made public.

The revelation has prompted fresh concern that the government lobbied for key parts of the report referring to Diego Garcia, a British territory in the Indian Ocean leased to the US as a military base, to be redacted. Human rights groups believe that the territory played a key role in facilitating the CIA's extraordinary rendition programme – the movement of high-value terrorist suspects to "black sites" around the world without legal oversight.

Note that the "extraordinary rendition programme" in fact gives the CIA the means to torture people outside the USA, in which context I recall a quotation from a member of the CIA, of some six years ago, to the effect that he thought his victims "would be more amenable to reason once they started losing some nails", in this case in some Egyptian torture center.

There is considerably more in the article on dates, that indeed does suggest the British ambassador has been very busy to try to suppress Britain's role in renditioning and torturing suspects.

Here is the last paragraph that explains why:

Confirmation that a British territory was involved in extraordinary rendition could leave the government vulnerable to legal action. Last month the European court of human rights ruled that the Polish government had actively assisted the CIA's European "black site" programme.

4. So the internet's winners are finally chipping in? About time…

The last item of today is an article by John Naughton on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something," wrote Upton Sinclair, the great American muckraking journalist, "when his salary depends on his not understanding it." That was in 1935, so let us update it for our times: "It is impossible to get an executive of an internet company to understand anything if the value of his (or her) stock options depends on not understanding it."

There are two things in particular that the various infant prodigies, charlatans, megalomaniacs, sociopaths and venture capitalists who run our great internet companies have a vested interest in not understanding.

I will get to the two things in a moment, but insert here that I like the description of those who rule a considerable part of the world as "infant prodigies, charlatans, megalomaniacs, sociopaths and venture capitalists" (1) because I do not think that they are for the most part that special, except in sheer ambition and egoism, and (2) because I think their feelings of responsibility are firmly tied to their monetary interests.

John Naughton proceeds to explain the two things these folks do find important. First, there is this:
The first is that the state is not the almighty pain in the ass that they constantly maintain it is. To listen to some of them you'd think that the only thing standing between us and nirvana is the nation-state, with its clueless legislators, obsolete laws, red tape and regulatory reflexes.
(...)
What this crazed neoliberalism overlooks is that without the state and its baleful agencies these corporations couldn't exist, never mind thrive. It's the state, for example, that provides the courts and the legal system that protects their intellectual property, the roads and infrastructure on which their self-driving cars travel and so on.
Yes, indeed. Also, I do not for one moment believe that these rich moguls really believe what they say about the state: They are clearly propagandizing their own "right" to be billionaires and not pay taxes, and any bullshit will do, also if it is clear nonsense to anyone who seriously thought about things.

And there is next this (after skipping some that is interesting):

The second thing that the geniuses of Silicon Valley have a vested interest in not understanding is that all of their wealth stems ultimately from something built by the hated nation-state, and some of it depends on things built by people who gave it away for free. For without the internet none of the great digital corporations would exist. And the internet was built not by private enterprise but by the US government which funded the Arpanet and then the "internetworking" project that built the network on which we – and Google, Amazon, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft et al – all now depend.
Yes, that is simply true, except the bit on "the geniuses of Silicon Valley": I really fail to see that. They are clever, most of them are quite egoistic, and they were lucky, but not because they thought of something very few can and do.

Then there is this:
Almost every broadband modem, for example, runs on the Linux
operating system, which is free software created by programmers for the love of it. The corporations who make the modems profit from them; but they never paid a cent for Linux.
The reason they do use Linux (as I do) is simply that it is better than Windows or Mac, besides being free.

Here is the last bit by John Naughton:
I have no problem with that. What I do have a problem with, however, is that these neoliberal free riders on public resources seem to feel no obligation to give anything back. For not only do they go to fantastic lengths to avoid paying tax, but they also feel little obligation to contribute to the upkeep of the public-domain code that enables them to function.
I quite agree, and indeed Apple is an excellent example. Anyway, this is a fine piece that deserves to be read in full.

---------------------------------
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.)  


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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