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Nederlog


  September
5, 2014
Crisis: CIA-journo, Celebs & NSA, Limits, Corporations, Bees, Le Carré, Gitmo
  "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
















Sections
Introduction

1.
The CIA’s Mop-Up Man
2. What Hackers Did to Celebs? The NSA’s Been Doing That
     to All of the U.S. Instead of Predicting ISIL

3. Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're
     nearing collapse
4. Corporate Deadbeats: How Companies Get Rich Off Of
     Taxes
5. Canadian Beekeepers Launch Class Action Suit Against
     Pesticide Makers

6. John Le Carré: “The U.S. Has Gone Mad!”
7. Gitmo Exclusive Part II: Media Brainwashing, Sham Trials
     & Closing Gitmo for Good

About ME/CFS


Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Friday, September 5. It is a crisis log.

There are seven items with seven dotted links. You may be especially interested in item 3, item 4 (from Newsweek!), item 6 and item 7.

1. The CIA’s Mop-Up Man

The first item is an article by Ken Silverstein on The Intercept (with a three-line title, that I think is too long and therefore abbreviated):
This starts as follows:

A prominent national security reporter for the Los Angeles Times routinely submitted drafts and detailed summaries of his stories to CIA press handlers prior to publication, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.

Email exchanges between CIA public affairs officers and Ken Dilanian, now an Associated Press intelligence reporter who previously covered the CIA for the Times, show that Dilanian enjoyed a closely collaborative relationship with the agency, explicitly promising positive news coverage and sometimes sending the press office entire story drafts for review prior to publication. In at least one instance, the CIA’s reaction appears to have led to significant changes in the story that was eventually published in the Times.

Mr Dilanian is quite a careerist! And I write this knowing - I think - that Dilanian's way of making a career seems quite normal to me, at least judging by my - very extensive - Dutch experiences with political, jpurnalistic, legal and drugs- corruption. [2]

Indeed, that is brought out by the rest of the article, that gives a lot more information on Dilanian's relations with the CIA, and also on other journalists who "work very closely" with the CIA.

Is everybody corrupt? Of course not. But journalism has changed, and there may be many more Dilanians than is currently known, if only because the government approves, the CIA approves, the GOP approves, nobody knows (except for Snowden's revelations), and the pay is fine.

So what would prevent a journalist these days to secretively collaborate with the CIA? [3]
2. What Hackers Did to Celebs? The NSA’s Been Doing That to All of the U.S. Instead of Predicting ISIL

The next item is another article by Juan Cole on Truth Dig:

This starts as follows:

There has been a lot of justifiable outrage about the invasion of privacy of celebrities and the posting of their private, nude photos at 4Chan by hackers who apparently got into their cloud accounts.

It seems odd to me that the discussion of this issue has been completely unconnected to the Snowden revelations that the U.S. government has been assiduously spying on everyone’s cloud.    (...)
Barack Obama’s glib assurances that they haven’t been recording our emails notwithstanding, they’ve been recording our emails (they can actually read them in real time), as well as sweeping up the content of phone calls as data files. NSA personnel routinely passed around nude photos of people captured from the internet, Snowden has revealed, calling it a perk of the job.  Some NSA personnel misused their position to spy on ex-girlfriends. 

Actually, it is not - quite - true that "the discussion of this issue has been completely unconnected to the Snowden revelations" for I quoted yesterday a piece that did so, and that was also not the only one to do so.

But I agree that far fewer picked this up than were (or acted) outraged over the stealing of the nude pictures of a few well-known sexy women, while there has been very much more theft of nude pictures by the NSA and GCHQ, but indeed in secret, and not - so far as is known - of well-known sexy women.

Anyway - here is the end of the article, that seems correct to me:

But just as you feel sorry for high-strung celebs distressed over being violated, you have to feel sorry for the whole American public, who have been being unconstitutionally violated for years.

3. Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're nearing collapse  

The next item is an article by Graham Turner and Cathy Alexander on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

The 1972 book Limits to Growth, which predicted our civilisation would probably collapse some time this century, has been criticised as doomsday fantasy since it was published. Back in 2002, self-styled environmental expert Bjorn Lomborg consigned it to the “dustbin of history”.

It doesn’t belong there. Research from the University of Melbourne has found the book’s forecasts are accurate, 40 years on. If we continue to track in line with the book’s scenario, expect the early stages of global collapse to start appearing soon.

Limits to Growth was commissioned by a think tank called the Club of Rome. Researchers working out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, including husband-and-wife team Donella and Dennis Meadows, built a computer model to track the world’s economy and environment. Called World3, this computer model was cutting edge.
I say. I have read the book, indeed in 1972 or 1973, and indeed was then and am now convinced that the central thesis of the book is correct:
The book’s central point, much criticised since, is that “the earth is finite” and the quest for unlimited growth in population, material goods etc would eventually lead to a crash.
However, a "cutting edge" model in 1972 is hardly cutting edge now, and how sensible the 1972 predictions were must depend on (i) the central parameters that were selected, and (ii) on the facts since 1972, and (iii) on how other models performed after the fact, given the same factual data.

The article claims that the model - and more specifically, the "business as usual" model - was quite correct, and indeed "other models" were not, and it underlines the first point by showing three graphs, that indeed are quite close.

I do not know whether this is correct, but it may be, and if it is, the future is dark indeed, especially from 2015-2020 onwards, especially around 2050, and until the end of this century, by which time - in 2100 - the population will have fallen back to 1980 levels (and the world will be very much poorer, and in quite a deplorable state).

Anyway... here is a 1972 prediction from "Limits to Growth":
If the present growth trends in world population, industrialisation, pollution, food production, and resource depletion continue unchanged, the limits to growth on this planet will be reached sometime within the next one hundred years. The most probable result will be a rather sudden and uncontrollable decline in both population and industrial capacity.
After 40 years, that still seems quite correct, and you can study it in some more detail in the article.

4. Corporate Deadbeats: How Companies Get Rich Off Of Taxes

The next item is an article by David Cay Johnson on Newsweek:

This starts as follows:

You and your wallet have a big stake in huge tax-dodging deals being crafted by big American companies, like Burger King merging with Tim Hortons, the Canadian coffee and doughnut chain.

Burger King is looking to swap the 35 percent corporate tax rate in the U.S. for Canada’s 15 percent rate, even though its working headquarters will remain in Miami. The little people—the millions of us who pay our taxes week to week—will pick up some of the tax burden Burger King and other multinationals shirk through these so-called inversions, in which they move their headquarters, on paper, to escape taxes while continuing to enjoy all the benefits of doing business in America.

It’s just one of several ways multinationals don’t pay their fair share, and they get away with it because the federal government encourages such behavior. If Congress taxed you the way it taxes multinational corporations, you would have a much fatter wallet. If you were Apple, General Electric, Google or Microsoft, taxes would not be a burden at all. Instead, taxes would help you prosper.

Indeed, these corporations get enormous interest-free loans:

Apple and GE owe at least $36 billion in taxes on profits being held tax-free offshore, Microsoft nearly $27 billion and Pfizer $24 billion, according to Citizens for Tax Justice (..)

This is how it gets done:

How can a tax burden become a boon? Simple. Congress lets multinationals earn profits today but pay their taxes by-and-by. In effect, Uncle Sam is loaning these companies all that money they do not immediately turn over as taxes. And all of these loans come with the same attractive interest rate: zero.

Also, since corporations are people, according to that brave protector of rights that is the U.S. Supreme Court, there is this difference between people and corporations:

For the vast majority of people with regular W-2 jobs, income taxes are taken out before you get your check. Congress does not trust you, so it demands its cut up front and requires your employer, bank and stockbroker to verify what they paid you.

But if you are a multinational, the government takes your word on how much you owe, subject only to the increasingly rare audits by the IRS.
And besides:
For multinationals, the taxes on each year’s profits do not come due immediately, but often years or decades later. If a company goes broke before the taxes come due, they might never be paid, as happened with Enron, which, subpoenaed documents show, regarded its tax department as a “profit center.”
Anyway... there is a lot more in the article, and I must say I found it at least a bit amazing, since it is in Newsweek and it is well worth reading.

5. Canadian Beekeepers Launch Class Action Suit Against Pesticide Makers 

The next item is an article by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows - and I wrote about this before, repeatedly, and this seems good news to me:

Beekeepers in the Canadian province of Ontario have launched a class action lawsuit against makers of a class of pesticides linked to the decline of bees.

The claim (pdf) filed Tuesday in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice seeks $450 million in damages going back to 2006 for the "chronic effects of the use of the Neonicotinoids [...] felt by Canada’s Beekeepers annually."

The effort targets agribusiness giants Bayer and Syngenta, whom the claims states were "negligent in permitting or failing to prevent the damages caused by the Neonicotinoids to the Beekeepers."

The claim, led by two Ontario-based honey producers and filed by Siskinds LLP, charges that agribusiness giants Bayer and Syngenta's "continued production, marketing and sale of the Neonicotinoids" poses "ongoing" damage. "Beekeepers have suffered, and will continue to suffer, devastating economic hardships as a result of the continued use of Neonicotinoids," it states.

There is considerably more in the article, and this seems to me to be the way to go, and especially in the U.S. and Canada, where neonicotinoids still are normally used and produced, which is not the case in the European Union.

6.  John Le Carré: “The U.S. Has Gone Mad!”

The next item is not an article but a video of John le Carré (<-Wikipedia), who reads from an essay he wrote in 2003, briefly before the invasion of Iraq, that I liked:

I owe this reference to the site Raging Bull-Shit. It is from 2010 and by Amy Goodman, and the title (in quotes) is the title of the essay. It takes 8 m 51 s, though not all of that is reading by Le Carré (he finishes by 7 m 6 s).

Note again that this was originally written briefly before the attack on Iraq.

7. Gitmo Exclusive Part II: Media Brainwashing, Sham Trials & Closing Gitmo for Good

The next and last item is also not an article but a video, this time by Abby Martin.
It is part II of her series on Gitmo:

Here is the text under this video:

On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin features Part II of her exclusive coverage from Guantanamo Bay Prison in Cuba, starting by going over how difficult it is for the press to cover Gitmo due to extreme military restrictions. Abby then speaks with Lt. Col. Myles Caggins, Spokesperson for Detainee Policy, about the absurd bureaucracy of the Periodic Review Board and why the prison remains open nearly six years after Obama signed an executive order to close down the facility. Several prominent Gitmo defense attorneys and a sociology professor then explain why the military trials of the alleged 9/11 conspirators have become a complete sham. Abby then speaks with another Gitmo defense attorney, James Connell about the extreme secrecy and overclassfication that plagues the prison and harms the attorney-client relationship. BTS wraps up the show with a call to action to close the prison for good and how shutting down the facility could be done in quick and timely manner.

As I said the day before yesterday, when I put up a link to part I: The video takes 28 m 3 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.

And especially the interview with James Connell is well worth seeing.

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

[2] I am very sorry but I have never believed that "all men are equal" (except possibly in rights, but that is something different, and indeed was also never said: What was said was that everyone is equal, and not that everyone deserves equal rights), and I also never have believed that "everyone knows that truth does not exist", even though these two statements are about the only thing I "learned" in the University of Amsterdam (that I did leave with an excellent M.A. and B.A.), and these two theses have been systematically endorsed from resp. 1970 and 1978 till 1995 in that university.

I must also be one of the very, very few who did not believe this (!), and I explain this by the fact that I am also the only Dutchman living in Holland with a (genuinely marxist) father and a grandfather convicted as "political terrorists" by the Germans in 1941, and sent to concentration camps. For this tended to be extremely rare among the heroic Dutch, who had more voluntary members of the SS between 1940 and 1945 than members of the resistance.

This is also the probable reason (or background) that I was kicked out from the faculty of philosophy in 1988 by 16 academic philosophers and the Board of Directors as "a fascist" and "a terrorist", after having been invited to speak there, and having only posed questions. (<- The questions. They were not friendly but were very much justified. No one ever answered them, except by scolding.)

And no one else in Holland has been thus honored since 1945 but me.

[3] A moral backbone, considerable intelligence and personal courage - is one answer.


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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