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."
1. No, Snowden’s Leaks
Didn’t Help The Terrorists
Ground Troops Back in Iraq? General Hints Broader
Military Effort May Be Needed
to Fight ISIS
3. Laura Poitras Documentary Depicting First Contact With
Snowden Slated For Release
4. Bill Black: The New York
Times’ Coverage of EU Austerity
A Public Bank Option for Scotland
This is a Nederlog of Thursday,
September 18. It is a crisis log.
There are today 5 items with 5 dotted links. I think most items are interesting, although for the
most part they are about various backgrounds. But surely, it is
relevant to know that Snowden did probably not help any
terrorists, not even unconsciously; that Poitras
has a new film about Snowden; that Black
explains the New York Times's very misleading coverage of the
crisis and the massive betrayals of the leftist ideals and
practices by prominent "leftist" political leaders; and that Brown explains how an independent Scotland has much to
gain with a public bank.
Snowden’s Leaks Didn’t Help The Terrorists
item is an article by Murtaza Hussain on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
That also seems
eminently reasonable: Clearly, there were jihadis a long time
before Edward Snowden became prominent, and clearly they did encrypt
their mails, also for a long time.
Did Edward Snowden’s
revelations on NSA surveillance compromise the ability of intelligence
agencies to monitor terrorist groups? Contrary to lurid claims made by
U.S. officials, a new independent analysis of the subject says no. As
reported by NBC:
Partners, a private security firm, examined the frequency of releases
and updates of encryption software by jihadi groups….. It found no
correlation in either measure to Snowden’s leaks about the NSA’s
surveillance techniques, which became public beginning June 5, 2013.”
itself goes on to make the point that, “Well prior to Edward
Snowden, online jihadists were already aware that law enforcement and
intelligence agencies were attempting to monitor them.” This point
would seem obvious in light of the fact that terrorist groups have been
employing tactics to evade digital surveillance for years. Indeed, such
concerns about their use of sophisticated encryption technology predate
even 9/11. Contrary to claims that such groups have fundamentally
altered their practices due to information gleaned from these
revelations, the report concludes. “The underlying public
encryption methods employed by online jihadists do not appear to have
significantly changed since the emergence of Edward Snowden.”
As the article also makes clear, this will not stop well-known
liars lying, but it is noteworthy that they have no factual
2. U.S. Ground Troops Back in Iraq? General Hints Broader
Military Effort May Be Needed to Fight ISIS
item is an article by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:
This starts as follows:
A week after
President Obama vowed not to send ground troops into Iraq
to fight the Islamic State, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chair of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, admitted ground troops may be needed. “If there are
threats to the U.S., I would of course go back to the president and
make a recommendation that may include the use of U.S. military ground
forces,” Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.
President Obama is expected to visit U.S. Central Command headquarters
in Florida today to discuss his strategy to confront the Islamic State
in Iraq and Syria. Meanwhile, Congress is voting this week on a request
from Obama for authorization to arm and train Syrian rebels. We speak
to Rep. Jim McDermott, Democrat from Washington state.
And that indeed is the
main reason this is here:
"A week after President Obama vowed not to
send ground troops (..) Gen.
Martin Dempsey (..) admitted
ground troops may be needed".
It seems to me that was also
true on the day Obama made his speech, but OK: I merely register it.
One other thing is Obama's betrayal of the Constitution, which also is
the title of an article by Yale's law professor Bruce Ackerman:
Well, that is at least
clear. And I agree with McDermott that Obama does not have the
authority to start wars without the prior approval of Congress (apart
from some eventualities everyone agrees do not obtain here).
GOODMAN: I want to turn
to a recent opinion piece
by Yale law professor Bruce Ackerman in The New York Times,
the article headlined "Obama’s Betrayal of the Constitution." In it,
Ackerman writes that some senators and representatives would, quote,
"prefer to let the president plunge ahead and blame him later if things
go wrong. But this is precisely why the War Powers Resolution sets up
its 60-day deadline: It rightly insists that unless Congress is willing
to stand up and be counted, the war is not worth fighting in the name
of the American people." Your response to this, Congressmember
McDermott, and what President Obama says about going to Congress?
Well, I disagree with the president on that. When George Bush was
hurtling toward Iraq and saying he had all the power to do it because
he was commander-in-chief and all that stuff, we ultimately brought him
to the point where he called for a vote in the House. Now, I didn’t
like the way the vote came out, but from a democratic standpoint, from
a democracy standpoint, it was absolutely what must happen. The
Congress must say, "Yes, Mr. President, we back you when you go into
Iraq." And I think that the president, President Obama, is in that same
3. Laura Poitras Documentary Depicting
First Contact With Snowden Slated For Release
item is an article by Sarah Lazare on Common Dreams:
This starts as
That is good news. It will
support Edward Snowden and the cause of a free internet without
spying (except as regulated by the
Laura Poitras' new
documentary about Edward Snowden's revelations of National Security
Agency surveillance will have its global premiere on October 10 at the
New York Film Festival, event organizers announced
Poitras, an award-winning
filmmaker and journalist, was the first reporter to communicate with
whistle-blower Edward Snowden about his evidence of NSA spying. Her
film is called "CITIZENFOUR," the name that Snowden used when he
reached out to Poitras in 2013 via encrypted emails. The documentary
includes footage of the encounters that took place, five months after
the initial contact, when Poitras flew with journalist Glenn Greenwald
to Hong Kong to meet with Snowden.
Poitras has been
personally monitored by the U.S. government, placed on the watch list
of the Department of Homeland Security, and sustained border harassment
and detentions in numerous instances for her journalistic work,
including that prior to her contact with Snowden. She told
the Associated Press that she chose to edit CITIZENFOUR
in Berlin because she felt her material was not safe in the United
Also, you should realize that the following quotation from Edward
Snowden is true:
Laura and Glenn
are among the few who reported fearlessly on controversial topics
throughout this period, even in the face of withering personal
criticism, [which] resulted in Laura specifically becoming targeted by
the very programs involved in the recent disclosures. She had
demonstrated the courage, personal experience and skill needed to
handle what is probably the most dangerous assignment any journalist
can be given—reporting on the secret misdeeds of the most powerful
government in the world—making her an obvious choice.
My main reason to quote
that is in fact "the few": This seems to me to be both correct,
and not a reason to face the future with little care. There
simply are not many persons like Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and
Finally, here is first a quotation about Laura Poitras, who is,
according to Glenn Greenwald:
"(..) easily one
of the bravest and most brilliant people I’ve ever met."
And then one by her:
It’s not OK that
we have a secret court that has secret interpretations of secret laws;
what kind of democracy is that? I felt like, this is a fight worth
having. If there’s fallout, if there’s blowback, I would absolutely do
it again, because I think this information should be public. Whatever
part I had in helping to do that I think is a service.
Yes, indeed. The only
thing that is missing is the secret spying on everyone that
these secret courts cover by secret interpretations of secret laws, and
no, it is not democratic at all.
4. Bill Black: The New York Times’ Coverage
of EU Austerity Remains Pathetic
item is an article by Bill Black
(<- Wikipedia) on Naked Capitalism:
I like Bill Black,
who is one of the few to consistently have opposed the banks, their
corrupt managers, and the crisis, and who has done so in fine articles.
I select two quotations.
First, on what his
article is about and, especially, about Clinton, Blair, Brown and
Yes, that seems all
quite correct, and certainly neither Clinton nor Blair nor Brown has ever
appeared leftish to me, except in their evident lying and posturing,
which borrowed a lot of the leftist rhetoric, and at the same time also
often falsified it.
The article focuses on
the betrayal of the people of France and his own Party by President
Hollande, but you won’t learn that by reading the article.
Instead, you’ll learn that Hollande is following the pattern of Tony
Blair. Of course, the article doesn’t mention four things about
Hollande’s copying Blair’s neo-liberalism, slavish devotion to big
finance, his view of even the most helpful and desirable budget
deficits as undesirable, and his betrayal of labor.
First, Blair was copying
Bill Clinton. Second, Clinton and Blair’s embrace of these
policies ended in economic catastrophe. Third, Blair and Gordon
Brown devastated the Labor Party.
Fourth, Clinton and Blair
had the immense luck of governing during bubbles that collapsed under
their successors. This meant that their devotion to austerity bit
their successors. Brown and Hollande’s refusal to fight for
essential stimulus has prevented any meaningful economic recovery and
discredited their Parties. Hollande promised in his campaign to
fight against austerity, but when push came to shove he purged the
members of his cabinet pushing for stimulus.
Second, there is this:
“critics” falsely claim (without any cited factual support) that
“welfare systems” created a “debt crisis” in an unstated nation or
nations – presumably Greece, the only nation that even remotely comes
close to that description. Austerity, by contrast, is the product
of the right wing of eurozone and it sent the entire region into a
second Great Recession, parts of the periphery into a second Great
Depression, and Italy into a third Great Recession. So, why is
the “existential crisis” not the crisis of the “right?” Yes, if
“the left” renounces the exceptionally effective programs that produced
a superb quality of life and made their policies immensely popular,
what would “it stand for?” It would, like Clinton, Blair, Brown,
and Hollande, stand for the neo-liberal practices that caused
catastrophic damage to the economy, massive inequality, rewarded the
most venal and corrupt members of our society, betrayed all of the
left’s principles, led to crony capitalism, and caused their parties to
suffer severe losses at the polls.
Yes, quite so,
and that also is one important reason why I like neither the political
right nor the political left: The political right is in favor of the
rich, period; the political left is also in favor of the rich, but
dishonestly so. And yes, I have been adding "political" in both cases
to indicate it are especially the leaders who betray the
people, and less the people themselves (though these tend to be deceived in majority by their
And no, not everyone. But "the left" is mostly quite dead, and
was not only killed by Clinton, Blair and Brown, but also first by
quasi-marxism  and then by postmodernism that
ruled much of the universities and the intellectuals from 1970 till
The quasi-marxist years, from 1970-1985, followed by the postmodernistic
years, from ca. 1980-2000, have failed everyone of genuine
intelligence in the universities (always a minority, by the way), and
indeed played major havoc with the truth, which is
what universities were supposed to study. For the quasi- marxists
insisted that truth is not objective, but is partial, and sided, and
depends on one's class; while the postmodernists insisted that truth
does not exist at all, and all there is are "narratives" and "texts".
Anyway - there is considerably more text in the article, but I think
the two selected quotations are rather important, and explain quite a
lot quite well, and also make clear that what one has to explain is the
betrayal of the leftist political leaders.
5. A Public Bank Option for Scotland
next and last
item is an article by Ellen Brown (<- Wikipedia) that I found on
Washington's Blog but that originates on her site:
This starts as
Scottish voters will go
to the polls on September 18th to decide whether Scotland
should become an independent country. As viv blogger Ian
R. Crane colorfully puts the issues and possibilities:
[T]he People of
Scotland have an opportunity to extricate themselves from the
socio-psychopathic global corporatists and the temple of outrageous and
excessive abject materialism. However, it is not going to be an easy
ride . . . .
At least this gives
my own reasons to support Scottish independence, and also my own
But to start with,
here are some of the things Crane thinks are possible, with a majority
To achieve true
independence, Crane suggests the following, among other mandates:
- Establish an
independent Central Bank of Scotland.
- Issue a new Scottish
(Debt Free) Currency.
- Settle any outstanding
debt with new Scottish Currency.
- Take Scotland out of
- Take Scotland out of
- Establish strict
currency controls for the first 3 years of independence.
- Nationalize the
Scottish oil & gas industry.
- Re-take control of the
National Health Service.
- Establish a State
Employment Agency to provide work/training for all able-bodied
And here starts Ellen
If Scotland were to say,
“We’re starting a new round based on our own assets, via our own new
bank,” exciting things might be achieved. A publicly-owned bank with a
mandate to serve the interests of the Scottish people could help give
the newly independent country true economic sovereignty.
This then gets explained in
the rest of the article, which I leave to your interests, except that I
like to say that publicly owned banks are quite possible, since
they exist, even in the United States.
So no, it is not a
mere dream: it is based on fact, and it is quite possible.
 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.)
 The "quasi-" is prefixed to "marxists" because (i)
it is quite true for the most part: I met few marxists who knew Marx,
or more than a few thin books, and also because (ii) my parents were real
marxists, for something like forty years, and especially my father knew
quite a lot about Marx. Also, I definitely did not meet anyone
like my father in the university.
(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: