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."
America Made ISIS: Their Videos and Ours, Their
Telling the ‘Big Lie’ on Ukraine?
3. Challenge to Sweeping NSA
Dragnet Reaches Highest
4. Scots voting no to
independence would be an astonishing
act of self-harm
Gitmo Exclusive Part I: An Untold History of Occupation,
Torture & Resistance
This is a Nederlog of
September 3. It is a crisis log.
There are 5 items and 6 dotted links. Also, this Nederlog has been
uploaded a bit earlier than normal, because the weather is nice in
Amsterdam, and I may cycle.
How America Made ISIS: Their Videos and Ours, Their
item is an article by Tom Engelhardt that I found on Truthdig, but that
orginates on TomDispatch:
This starts as follows:
You should realize that much
of the above - at least the last two paragraphs - is written in irony.
This does not mean ISIS (or IS) isn't bad: it means that the existence
of ISIS is mostly due to the U.S.'s policies, that now uses this latest
of its creatures in a new propaganda war designed to make yet more war:
Whatever your politics,
you’re not likely to feel great about America right now. After
all, there’s Ferguson (the whole
world was watching!), an increasingly
unpopular president, a Congress whose approval
ratings make the president look like a rock star, rising poverty,
weakening wages, and a growing inequality gap just to start what could
be a long list. Abroad, from Libya
and Ukraine to Iraq and the South
China Sea, nothing has been coming up roses for the U.S.
Polls reflect a general American gloom,
of the public claiming the country is “on the wrong track.” We
have the look of a superpower down on our luck.
What Americans have
needed is a little pick-me-up to make us feel better, to make us, in
fact, feel distinctly good.
Certainly, what official Washington has needed in tough times is a bona
fide enemy so darn evil, so brutal, so barbaric, so inhuman that, by
contrast, we might know just how exceptional, how truly necessary to
this planet we really are.
In the nick of time,
riding to the rescue comes something new under the sun: the Islamic
State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), recently renamed Islamic State
(IS). It’s a group so extreme that even al-Qaeda rejected
it, so brutal that it’s brought back crucifixion,
and amputation, so fanatical that it’s ready to persecute
any religious group within range of its weapons, so grimly beyond
morality that it’s made the beheading of an innocent American a global
propaganda phenomenon. If you’ve got a label that’s really,
really bad like genocide
cleansing, you can probably apply it to ISIS’s actions.
It calls for
Washington to transform Iraq’s leadership (a process no longer termed
“regime change”) and elevate a new
man capable of reuniting the Shiites, the Sunnis, and the Kurds,
now at each other’s throats, into one nation capable of turning back
the extremist tide. If not American “boots on the ground,” it
calls for proxy ones of various sorts that the U.S. military will
naturally have a hand in training, arming, funding, and advising.
Facing such evil, what other options could there be?
That was quoted from the
end of page 1. There are four pages in all, and they are well worth
reading. And in case you doubt Engelhardt's motives, here is his very
If all of this sounds
strangely familiar, it should. Minus a couple of invasions, the
steps being considered or already in effect to deal with “the threat of
ISIS” are a reasonable summary of the last 13 years of what was once
called the Global War on Terror and now has no name at all. New
as ISIS may be, a little history is in order, since that group is, at
least in part, America’s legacy in the Middle East.
record in these last 13 years is a shameful one. Do it again should not be an option.
I agree, though I much
doubt this sane desire will be gratified: There is too much money
involved, and there are strong parties in the U.S. that favor war,
basically because it makes a lot of money and neither
they nor their children are in danger of having to do any real fighting.
2. Who’s Telling the ‘Big Lie’ on Ukraine?
item is an article by Robert Parry on Consortiumnews:
This starts with the
Washington draws the Ukraine crisis in black-and-white
colors with Russian President Putin the bad guy and the
U.S.-backed leaders in Kiev the good guys. But the reality is much more
nuanced, with the American people consistently misled on key facts,
writes Robert Parry.
I review it because I am
still mostly avoiding the Ukraine, since I do not know any of the
languages spoken there, and since I got the feeling of being mostly propagandized
rather than informed. Also, I trust Robert Parry considerably more than
the ordinary media.
The article starts as follows:
Yes. That is both what I
feel may happen and the sort of propaganda I
get, also in Holland, also in Dutch. Parry develops the theme quite
well, and ends the first part of his story as follows:
If you wonder how the
world could stumble into World War III – much as it did into World War
I a century ago – all you need to do is look at the madness that has
enveloped virtually the entire U.S. political/media structure over
Ukraine where a false narrative of white hats vs. black hats took hold
early and has proved impervious to facts or reason.
The original lie behind
Official Washington’s latest “group think” was that Russian President
Vladimir Putin instigated the crisis in Ukraine as part of some
diabolical scheme to reclaim the territory of the defunct Soviet Union,
including Estonia and other Baltic states. Though not a shred of U.S.
intelligence supported this scenario, all the “smart people” of
Washington just “knew” it to be true.
But the hysteria
over Ukraine – with U.S. officials and editorialists now trying to
rally a NATO military response to Russia’s alleged “invasion” of
Ukraine – raises the prospect of a nuclear confrontation that could end
all life on the planet.
Yes. And note that the
atomic weapons that were installed during the Cold War still are mostly
Yes. And in fact there
is this on today's The Guardian:
And now there’s the
curious case of Russia’s alleged “invasion” of Ukraine, another
alarmist claim trumpeted by the Kiev regime and echoed by NATO
hardliners and the MSM.
While I’m told that
Russia did provide some light weapons to the rebels early in the
struggle so they could defend themselves and their territory – and a
number of Russian nationalists have crossed the border to join the
fight – the claims of an overt “invasion” with tanks, artillery and
truck convoys have been backed up by scant intelligence.
Of course, how long that
will last is a good question, but it seems currently like some
to Sweeping NSA Dragnet Reaches Highest Court Yet
item is an article by Nadia Prupis on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Clearly - I would say -
the American government cannot prove at all that it has the right to
steal "all Americans’ call
records, over a twelve-year period (and counting)", while if it could prove so, against the
Constitution's amendment, it has proved that the United States no
longer is an open, free or democratic society, for that protects
the privacy of the vast majority of its inhabitants much rather than steal
them. (Indeed, that is also the main reason the stealing and the
thieves - the NSA - are all kept secret.)
Lawyers for the
ACLU on Tuesday presented arguments before a federal court as they challenged
the U.S. government's claimed authority to bulk collect and search
America's cell phone data, which the group argues is
unconstitutional and exceeds Congressional authority provided by the
“The government cannot
demonstrate, as the statute requires it to, that there are reasonable
grounds to believe that all Americans’ call records, over a twelve-year
period (and counting), are ‘relevant’ to an ongoing investigation,” the
ACLU wrote in its brief
(PDF) to the court.
By hearing the case, ACLU
vs. Clapper, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals becomes the
highest level federal court yet to consider the Obama administration's
claims that it can warrantlessly collect the phone records of tens of
millions of Americans based on secret approval by the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) or whether its interpretation of
the 2012 FISA Amendment, which governs the court, comports with
There is also this:
Quite so - and
neither the Constitution or its Amendments are
negotiable, let it be noted, though I agree that the American
governments since 9/11 have ignored them.
Government officials have
claimed the collection of their private data is not damaging to
Americans, but ACLU argues that it is both unlawful and
unconstitutional, involving “collection on a scale far beyond what the
statute permits on its face, and far beyond what Congress intended.”
The lawsuit states:
[T]he program violates
the Fourth Amendment. Phone records reveal personal details and
relationships that most people customarily and justifiably regard as
private. The government’s dragnet collection of this information
invades a reasonable expectation of privacy and constitutes a search.
[T]he program violates
the First Amendment. Government surveillance that substantially burdens
First Amendment rights, as this program does, must survive “exacting
scrutiny.” A program on this scale, however—one that involves the
indefinite and dragnet collection of sensitive information about
hundreds of millions of Americans—simply cannot survive that scrutiny.
Also, I should say that it seems pretty insane to me that the ACLU,
that has started or supported quite a few courtcases against the U.S.
government, has been voted out of court many times - which also means,
at least in my eyes,
that the U.S. government knows or suspects it cannot defend its
policies in an
open and fair trial. And no, this is no criticism of the ACLU; it is a
criticism of U.S. governments.
voting no to independence would be an astonishing act of self-harm
item is an article by George Monbiot on The Guardian:
I'll start with
quoting the summary:
England is dysfunctional,
corrupt and vastly unequal. Who on earth would want to be tied to such
I agree with the
argument, but it is not quite convincing, because it would also need a
good argument that, by itself, Scotland can and will avoid being
"dysfunctional, corrupt and vastly unequal".
Here is some from
George Monbiot, from near the beginning:
So what would you say
about a country that sacrificed its sovereignty without collapse or
compulsion; that had no obvious enemies, a basically sound economy and
a broadly functional democracy, yet chose to swap it for remote
governance by the hereditary elite of another nation, beholden to a corrupt financial centre?
What would you say about
a country that exchanged an economy based on enterprise and
distribution for one based on speculation and rent? That chose
obeisance to a government that spies on its own citizens, uses the
planet as its dustbin, governs on behalf of a transnational elite that
owes loyalty to no nation, cedes public services to corporations, forces terminally ill people to work and can’t be
trusted with a box of fireworks, let alone a fleet of nuclear
submarines? You would conclude that it had lost its senses.
There is also this:
To vote no is to choose
to live under a political system that sustains one of the rich world’s
highest levels of inequality and deprivation. This is a system in which
all major parties are complicit, which offers no obvious exit from a
model that privileges neoliberal economics over other aspirations.
It treats the natural world, civic life, equality, public health and
effective public services as dispensable luxuries, and the freedom of
the rich to exploit the poor as non-negotiable.
That is a fairly
strong argument, although again no argument is given that with Scotland
independent, it will be considerably less neoliberal. (Though yes: at
least it will have a chance to be, which it now does not
Anyway - the article
is fair, and is pro Scottish independence.
5. Gitmo Exclusive Part I: An Untold
History of Occupation, Torture & Resistance
item is not an article but a video by Abby Martin and
Breaking the set:
Here is the text under the
On this episode
of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin features Part I of her exclusive
coverage from Guantanamo Bay Prison in Cuba, outlining the history of
the notorious base and prison from 1898 to today. Abby then goes over
some of the most egregious examples of torture committed against
detainees, highlighting everything from sensory manipulation to
physical beatings and sexual abuse. Abby then goes over the detainees
still at Gitmo and why over 70 prisoners who have been cleared for
release remain rotting away indefinitely. BTS wraps up the show with
interviews with Navy Captain and Joint Task Force spokesperson, Tom
Gresback and Lisa Hajjar, a sociology professor at UCSB, about why the
military is no longer releasing information concerning hunger striking
prisoners and the ethics of force feeding ‘non-compliant’ detainees.
The video takes 28 m 25
s but it is well made and well worth seeing, although it will not make
you happier. Also, Abby Martin is one of the very few who
makes such videos.
 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: