who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin
"All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
"Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
the Excessive Militarization of the Police Is Turning
'spied' on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton – Der
3. UK ambassador 'lobbied senators to hide Diego Garcia
role in rendition'
4. So the internet's winners
are finally chipping in? About
This is a Nederlog of
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
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:
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:
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
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
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
item is an article by Martin Williams on The Guardian:
This starts as
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
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
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
item is an article by Jamie Doward on The Observer:
This starts as
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
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
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.
internet's winners are finally chipping in? About time…
The last item of
is an article by John Naughton on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
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.
"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.
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.
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
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.
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:
broadband modem, for example, runs on the Linux
The reason they do use
Linux (as I do) is simply that it is better than Windows or Mac,
besides being free.
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.
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
I quite agree, and
indeed Apple is an excellent example. Anyway, this is a fine piece that
deserves to be read in full.
 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
if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my
More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn
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
from is quite pertinent.)
(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: