30, 2014
Crisis: EO 12333 *3, Neoliberalism, "Terror", U.S. Medicine, English "democracy"
  "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

Prev- crisis -Next

Revealed: The Little-Known Executive Order Behind Our
     'Collect It All' Spy State

2. New Documents Shed Light on One of the NSA's Most
     Powerful Tools
3. Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us
4. The Fake Terror Threat Used To Justify Bombing
5. The Ghost of Ronald Reagan Authorizes Most NSA Spying
6. What We’ve Learned From Four Years of Diving Into
     Dollars for Docs

7. The cradle of democracy? Westminster is seen by many
     as an occupying power

About ME/CFS


This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, September 30. It is a
crisis log.

As you see, I am here, and indeed with a quite interesting Nederlog, namely
on an Executive Order of 33 years ago that underlies most current U.S. spying while it is totally unknown to Congress (!); on how the U.S. government propagandizes à la Goering; on how very corrupt the current U.S. medical world is; and on English "democracy" (that gives no choice between neoliberalism and neoliberalism, apart from terminological bullshit).

Also, this is uploaded a little earlier than normal. Here goes:

1.  Revealed: The Little-Known Executive Order Behind Our 'Collect It All' Spy State

The first item is an article by Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:

The powers granted to the National Security Agency to spy on millions of Americans and people abroad were vested by a little-known executive order that—until now—has received scant scrutiny or oversight, newly uncovered government documents revealed on Monday.

Executive Order 12333, passed in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan, is the "main game in town for NSA surveillance," according to Alex Abdo, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, which obtained internal documents on the order through a Freedom of Information request.

One of the documents, an internal surveillance manual published by the NSA, describes EO 12333 as the "primary source" of their intelligence-gathering authority. And a "Legal Fact Sheet," distributed by the NSA two weeks after Edward Snowden disclosed their widespread surveillance, says that the agency conducts the majority of their intelligence gathering through signal interruption (or SIGNIT) "pursuant to the authority by EO 1233."

I say - for note that this executive order is 33 years old. That is, it is from before the internet, even before almost anyone had a computer. Here is the ending of the article:

According to Abdo's analysis of the documents, which were published by the NSA as well as the Defense Intelligence Agency among others, EO 12333 allows the government to monitor any international communication that contains any alleged "foreign intelligence information."

"That phrase is defined so nebulously that it could be read to encompass virtually every communication with one end outside the United States," Abdo writes. He adds that the documents "make it clearer than ever that the government's vast surveillance apparatus is collecting information—including from Americans — about much more than just terrorist threats."

There is considerably more in the next item, but meanwhile it makes sense to remember that (1) this order was formulated - intentionally, no doubt, and in 1983 - so that almost anything could be monitored, while (2) as I have been saying from 2005 onwards: it is not "terrorism" that is the end of surveilling: it is surveilling - the stealing of any and all private data on any computer used by anyone anywhere: "The NSA wants it all" - that is the primary end, while much more power for the government's executives is the secondary end.

Next, we get to the documents themselves:

2. New Documents Shed Light on One of the NSA's Most Powerful Tools

The next item is an article by Alex Abdo on Common Dreams:

This continues the previous item, and gives much more detail. Note that Alex Abdo is a staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project. The article starts as follows:
Today, we're releasing several key documents about Executive Order 12333 that we obtained from the government in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that the ACLU filed (along with the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic at Yale Law School) just before the first revelations of Edward Snowden. The documents are from the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and others agencies. They confirm that the order, although not the focus of the public debate, actually governs most of the NSA's spying.
The above quotation gives a - presently working - link to the Executive Order. Again, I first point out this order is 33 years old, from before the internet, and with hardly anyone having a real computer.

Second, there is this on its scope and its "democratic status":
In some ways, this is not surprising. After all, it has been reported that some of the NSA's biggest spying programs rely on the executive order, such as the NSA's interception of internet traffic between Google's and Yahoo!'s data centers abroad, the collection of millions of email and instant-message address books, the recording of the contents of every phone call made in at least two countries, and the mass cellphone location-tracking program. In other ways, however, it is surprising. Congress's reform efforts have not addressed the executive order, and the bulk of the government's disclosures in response to the Snowden revelations have conspicuously ignored the NSA's extensive mandate under EO 12333.
That is: Most of the spying that the NSA does is "justified" by this Executive Order of 33 years ago (again: before the internet, and before almost anyone had a personal computer of some kind), while the Executive Order was never as much as seen by Congress: It has no democratic status, in that it never was considered or approved by Congress.

Here are some of the things Abdo establishes:

First, the Executive Order is "the primary source of NSA intelligence-gathering authority".

Second, as I argued already in 2005, though without then knowing anything about the NSA or its activities (and the bolding is in the original):

The documents make it clearer than ever that the government's vast surveillance apparatus is collecting information — including from Americans — about much more than just terrorist threats. The government generally defends its sweeping surveillance authorities by pointing to the threat of terrorism. But the truth is that its surveillance powers bear little relationship to that narrow goal. They reach far more broadly, allowing the government to monitor any international communication that contains "foreign intelligence information." That phrase is defined so nebulously that it could be read to encompass virtually every communication with one end outside the United States.

Third, there is this on the word games the NSA and the U.S. government play all the time, without ever openly acknowledging it:
The documents openly acknowledge the word games that the government plays when describing its surveillance. Two of my colleagues have previously highlighted the NSA's "vocabulary of misdirection — a language that allows [it] to say one thing while meaning quite another." One of the slippery words that the NSA uses is the seemingly straightforward "collect," which the NSA has redefined to let it simultaneously acquire huge amounts of data while denying that it is "collecting" anything at all.

An "intelligence law handbook" disclosed by the Defense Intelligence Agency acknowledges this misdirection, admonishing intelligence analysts to "adjust" their surveillance vocabulary. It is a case study in Orwellian doublespeak (...)
This followed by a quotation that shows this, that includes this:
To begin the journey, it is necessary to stop first and adjust your vocabulary. The terms and words used in DoD 5240.1-R have very specific meanings, and it is often the case that one can be led astray by relying on the generic or commonly understood definition of a particular word.
In brief: The whole world is spied upon by the NSA based on the force of a document that is 33 years old, was written before the arrival of the internet and the PC, was never seen by Congress, and is done to gather any information that the NSA can find, to be stored and used for any governmental purpose, and not overseen at all by Congress, and which is all defended by (explicit!) word games that give many essential terms completely false and phony new meanings, when these are compared to the ordinary dictionaries.

That is American "democracy" at work...

3. Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us

The next item is an article by Paul Verhaeghe on The Guardian:
This has a subtitle that deserves to be quoted:
An economic system that rewards psychopathic personality traits has changed our ethics and our personalities
It starts as follows:
We tend to perceive our identities as stable and largely separate from outside forces. But over decades of research and therapeutic practice, I have become convinced that economic change is having a profound effect not only on our values but also on our personalities. Thirty years of neoliberalism, free-market forces and privatisation have taken their toll, as relentless pressure to achieve has become normative. If you’re reading this sceptically, I put this simple statement to you: meritocratic neoliberalism favours certain personality traits and penalises others.
I should start this by saying that Verhaeghe is a Belgian professor of psychoanalysis and counseling psychology, and these are the areas of his
"research and therapeutic practice".

And I leave this to your interests, though I will remark that Verhaeghe refers to Robert Hare, who did write interestingly about psychopaths, which to my and Hare's mind is the preferred term, namely over "sociopath".

4. The Fake Terror Threat Used To Justify Bombing Syria

The next item is an article by Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

As the Obama Administration prepared to bomb Syria without congressional or U.N. authorization, it faced two problems. The first was the difficulty of sustaining public support for a new years-long war against ISIS, a group that clearly posed no imminent threat to the “homeland.” A second was the lack of legal justification for launching a new bombing campaign with no viable claim of self-defense or U.N. approval.

The solution to both problems was found in the wholesale concoction of a brand new terror threat that was branded “The Khorasan Group.”

This "Khorasan Group” then is carefully built up through the article, using governmment materials, and is then revealed near the end as follows:

As The Intercept was finalizing this article, former terrorism federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy wrote in National Review that the group was a scam: “You haven’t heard of the Khorosan Group because there isn’t one. It is a name the administration came up with, calculating that Khorosan … had sufficient connection to jihadist lore that no one would call the president on it.”

What happened here is all-too-familiar. The Obama administration needed propagandistic and legal rationale for bombing yet another predominantly Muslim country. While emotions over the ISIS beheading videos were high, they were not enough to sustain a lengthy new war.

So after spending weeks promoting ISIS as Worse Than Al Qaeda™, they unveiled a new, never-before-heard-of group that was Worse Than ISIS™. Overnight, as the first bombs on Syria fell, the endlessly helpful U.S. media mindlessly circulated the script they were given (...)

Yes, indeed.

5. The Ghost of Ronald Reagan Authorizes Most NSA Spying

The next item is an article by Cora Currier amd Ryan Devereaux on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

U.S. intelligence agents have broad authority to spy on U.S. companies as long as they are “believed to have some relationship with foreign organizations or persons” — a description that could conceivably apply to any company with foreign shareholders, subsidiaries, or even employees—according to newly released government documents published this morning by the ACLU.

The trove, which includes documents from the NSA, Department of Justice, and Defense Intelligence Agency, confirms long-standing suspicions that the bulk of U.S. foreign surveillance operations are governed not by acts of Congress, but by a 33-year-old executive order issued unilaterally by President Ronald Reagan.

The documents were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the ACLU and the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic at Yale Law School, and they detail the extent of the order — which is extraordinarily broad and until recently largely obscure — and which underpins expansive U.S. surveillance programs, like siphoning internet traffic from Google and Yahoo’s overseas data centers, recording every call in the Bahamas, and gathering billions of records on cellphone locations around the world.

There also is a reference to a large collection of documents on the ACLU site:

I think this is quite interesting, and so I link it, but I have read little of it, so far at least. But here is one relevant consequence from the article:

A legal factsheet from the NSA, dated June 2013, states that the FISA, which requires judicial oversight over spying on Americans, “only regulates a subset of the NSA’s signals intelligence activities. NSA conducts the majority of its SIGINT activities solely pursuant to the authority provided by Executive Order 12333.”

And note that Congress in fact does not know and never even saw Executive Order 12333! That is, as the ACLU notes (and I quote it):

“because the executive branch issued and now implements the executive order all on its own, the programs operating under the order are subject to essentially no oversight from Congress or the courts.”

That is, it is completely undemocratic. There is considerably more in the article, which I leave to you, and that I recommend you to read, even though:

Numerous passages in the newly released documents from the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel are redacted, and dozens of pages are withheld in full.

6. What We’ve Learned From Four Years of Diving Into Dollars for Docs

The next item is an article by Charles Ornstein, Eric Sagara and Ryann Grochowski Jones on Pro Publica:

This starts as follows, and concerns the great corruption in the American health industry, that comprises the pharmaceutical corporations and the American medical doctors of all kinds:

On Tuesday, the federal government is expected to release details of payments to doctors by every pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturer in the country.

The information is being made public under a provision of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. The law mandates disclosure of payments to doctors, dentists, chiropractors, podiatrists and optometrists for things like promotional speaking, consulting, meals, educational items and research.

It's not quite clear what the data will show — in part because the first batch will be incomplete, covering spending for only a few months at the end of 2013 — but we at ProPublica have some good guesses. That's because we have been detailing relationships between doctors and the pharmaceutical industry for the past four years as part of our Dollars for Docs project.

There is a whole lot more, that includes this:

Dollars for Docs now includes 3.4 million payments since 2009, totaling more than $4 billion, of which $2.5 billion was for research. For 2013 alone, there were 1.2 million payments valued at nearly $1.4 billion.
Excluding research payments, the drugmaker Pfizer appeared to have interactions with the most health care professionals last year — about 142,600. AstraZeneca came in second with about 111,200. Johnson & Johnson and Forest Labs each had nearly 100,000. There are an estimated 800,000 to 900,000 active doctors in the United States.

This is all quite interesting, and indeed it establishes that many American doctors are in the pay of pharmaceutical corporations.

Also, to see how this is done, you should check out these two references

The first is my own summary on the DSM-5 of 2012; the second is an excellent site by Gwen Olsen, who was a sales rep for 15 years for various big names in the pharmaceutical industry.

Here is something she said in one of her interesting videos that I quoted in 2012:

A large number of psychiatrists are dishonest. Because I see them giving people drugs that they know are brain damaging therapeutics; that they know do not have positive long term outcomes; that they know will not cure anything. They just take a list of symptoms and then they call it 'a mental illness' or 'a mental disorder', and these are voted upon, by psychiatrists. We can define people as mentally ill, and therefore we can sell more drugs for the pharmaceutical industry. This is an extremely lucrative alliance because there is no scientific data that is required for a psychiatrist to diagnose a mental illness. There is no blood test; there is no urine test; there is no PET scan. There is no medical evidence required. And so therefore that broadens the potential patient population considerably.

Yes, indeed! And they make billions of dollars a year, fundamentally on the basis of fraud and pseudoscience for that is what the above amounts to.

7. The cradle of democracy? Westminster is seen by many as an occupying power

The next and last item of today is an article by Richard Seymour on The Guardian:
This starts as follows (and is about Great Britain only):

No one can say they don’t have it coming. The Westminster elite, who may be just as hated as the wretched bankers, are being pounded.

Both Alex Salmond and Nigel Farage, for example, have roundly abused this clique to great effect. Salmond’s biggest surge in the referendum campaign followed his attack on the Westminster parties for privatising the NHS and agreeing on austerity. With this deft move, he took big chunks of Labour’s base into the yes camp.

In his conference speech at the weekend, Farage told delegates that the dominant parties look the same, sound the same, and differ on little of substance – particularly when it comes to Europe and immigration. The same message has come from two defecting Tory MPs, Douglas Carswell, Mark Reckless. and

Yes, but my problem with this (and Seymour's as well, it seems) that Salmond's days are over, while Farage is a rightist populist, even though he is right that the dominant parties in Great Britain are currently mostly exchangeable.

Here is a better analysis by George Monbiot, from a while ago, that still applies:
George Monbiot wrote, at the zenith of New Labourism, that Britain had become a “captive state”. It was a society where corporations penetrated the epicentre of government, where politicians of all major parties converged on a single model of statecraft – neoliberalism – and where more and more democratic functions were outsourced to quangos and businesses.
And here is the last paragraph of Seymour, that seems quite correct to me:
This is the problem. If the right leads the way in reorganising the British state, then the populist energies harnessed to that purpose will only be rallied behind a new elite – one still addressed at Westminster.
[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)

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)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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