17, 2014
Crisis: Citizenfour, Warmaking, Vietnam, New Zealand, Fusion, Risen, TPP
  "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

 Citizenfour review
Obama's Claimed War-Making Authority for Syria and
     Iraq Called 'Preposterous'

3. US Government Sanitizes Vietnam War History
4. New Zealand Cops Raided Home of Reporter Working on
     Snowden Documents

5. Lockheed announces breakthrough on nuclear fusion

6. James Risen’s Painful Truths
7. Leaked TPP Chapter Exposes Sweet Deals for Big Pharma
     and US Bully Tactics

About ME/CFS


This is a Nederlog of Friday, October 17. It is a
crisis log.

There are 7 items and 8 dotted links:

Item 1 is a good review of Citizenfour; item 2 shows Obama's justifications for his wars are false; item 3 is about a rewrite of history by the Pentagon; item 4 is about a case against a New Zealand journalist, who is close to The Intercept;
item 5 considers fusion (which is very important, but sofar more as a hope than as a technology); item 6 is about James Risen's latest book, that seems very good; and item 7 is about the TPP, once again outed by Wikileaks.

This again - I am pleased to say - is a good collection of
crisis items, but as I said yesterday, I do my best, but I can't deal with more than I can find.

But today the findings were rather good, or at least interesting. And this file was also uploaded earlier than is usual.

1. Citizenfour review – gripping Snowden documentary offers portrait of power, paranoia and one remarkable man

The first item is an article by Peter Bradshaw on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

This documentary is about that very remarkable man, the former NSA intelligence analyst and whistleblower Edward Snowden, shown here speaking out personally for the first time about all the staggering things governments are doing to our privacy.

Fundamentally, privacy is being abolished – not eroded, not diminished, not encroached upon, but abolished. And being constructed in its place is a colossal digital new Stasi, driven by a creepy intoxication with what is now technically possible, combined with politicians’ age-old infatuation with bullying, snooping and creating mountains of bureaucratic prestige for themselves at the expense of the snooped-upon taxpayer.

Yes, indeed - and let me note two points on which this opening is good.

First, I agree Snowden is a remarkable man: In fact I described him on June 10, 2013, when I had first heard about him as "An extra-ordinary man". I stand by that characterization, which also seems factually quite correct: There are several hundreds of thousands of NSA-folks, but very few contemplated, let alone did, what Snowden dared to do.

Then again, this corresponds to one of my longstanding differences of opinion with the sickly ideology I am and have been surrounded by all my life in Holland, that insists, quite falsely, that "everybody is equal". First, that is simply not true: there are great differences between individual men; second, it seems to confuse, possibly intentionally, the desirable legal equality with the non-existent factual equality (as if we are all Hitlers, or all Einsteins, which we are not).

Only a small minority is really intelligent, and only a small minority has the guts to do real resistance against real Nazis, and it so happens that I am a child of parents who were quite intelligent although they were poor and not very well educated, and who did - father, grandfather, mother - belong to the factually very small number of persons who resisted the Nazis in Holland (that was numerically 1/6th of the Dutch who volunteered as SS between 1940 and 1945
- but these are facts the Dutch do not want to hear or deny).

Then again, in the sickly egalitarian Dutch "civilization" in which I am forced to survive, being ill, you probably need a background like mine to think thoughts like mine - and yes: I really think individual people are all different, and I really think that most are not special, but that a few are.

Second, I like the second paragraph, because it seems to me quite true: "
privacy is being abolished – not eroded, not diminished, not encroached upon, but
", for indeed that has happened, ever since 2007 at the latest, even though billions of people still do not know how much their secret services have collected on them. And yes, "being constructed in its place is a colossal digital new Stasi, driven by a creepy intoxication with what is now technically possible"
is what it is like and will end up as if it does not get killed before; and yes, I agree with the cynical and sarcastic characterization of the folks who do this to billions of people: all in all a couple of hundreds of thousands of sick degenerates mostly marked by a talent for bullying and snooping and little else, but now handed incredible powers; and finally I agree the tax-payers are beings sorely abused and betrayed by the sick and fundamentally fascist schema that the present day politicians, left, right and center, and with very few exceptions, try to impose on the people who elected them.

I also like the next paragraph, for it sketches many reactions to Snowden's revelations quite well:
Yet in spite of the evidence put in the public domain about this – due to Snowden’s considerable courage – there has been a bafflingly tepid response from the libertarian right, who have let themselves be bamboozled by the “terrorism” argument. There’s also been a worrying placidity from some progressive opinion-formers who appear to assume that social media means we have surrendered our right to privacy. But we haven’t.
Indeed - but in fact I am rather amazed by the slow, tepid and partial response to Snowden's revelations, that indeed amount to the thesis that a few hundreds of thousands of politicians and bureaucrats have been laying the foundations to make all of the earth into a police state, and have been so far very successful as well. And yes, “terrorism” was a false argument from the very start: it was abused, completely falsely also, and possibly even designed, to instill the fear that made the spying on everyone possible, and it was the spying on everyone that was the aim from the beginning, indeed from 1969 at the latest (<- interesting reference!) - "terrorism" merely was the Goeringesque pretext for it, and served as a pretext to install state terrorism, which is and always was far more dangerous than the terrorism, real or propagandized, of small groups of folks without an army and a territory.

And there is this, that is also quite correct:
Snowden risked his neck, revealing that despite official statements to the contrary, the US and the UK were widely using their ability to eavesdrop upon every phone call, every email, every internet search, every keystroke. The pre-emptive mining of data has gone beyond suspicion of terrorist activity. As Snowden says: “We are building the biggest weapon for oppression in the history of mankind,” and a martial law for intercepting telecommunication is being created by stealth. This is despite the bland denials of every official up to and including President Obama
That is: "every phone call, every email, every internet search, every keystroke" is presumably bugged and may be recorded, for completely uncertain later use by "the authorities", perhaps even twenty or forty years in the future, and "terrorism" had nothing to do with it, except as a pretext to steal everyone's privacy and secrets and institute state terrorism.

This is a very good review, and you should read all of it.

2. Obama's Claimed War-Making Authority for Syria and Iraq Called 'Preposterous'

The next item is an article by Sarah Lazare on Common Dreams: 

This starts as follows:

The White House is facing criticism for its declaration on Wednesday that it can continue to escalate war in both Iraq and Syria without approval from Congress because it is granted authority from two pieces of legislation passed 12 and 13 years ago.

"These are illegal underpinnings for what is a new war in the Middle East," Stephen Miles of Win Without War told Common Dreams.

Under the War Powers Resolution, the president is forbidden from unilaterally waging military hostilities for more than 60 days without authorization from Congress. But October 7 marked 60 days since the U.S. began launching air bombardments on Iraq, which have since spread to Syria, and White House and Pentagon officials this week warned that the war is likely to last years.

On Wednesday, over a week after the expiration of the 60-day window, a top administration official declared that the limit does not apply to this current war. “Because the 2001 and 2002 [Authorizations for Use of Military Force] constitute specific authorization within the meaning of the War Powers Resolution, the War Powers Resolution’s 60-day limitation on operations does not apply here,” said Bernadette Meehan, spokesperson for the National Security Council, as quoted in the Guardian.

Note how crazy this is: First, the 2001 and 2002 decisions, that have been appealed to by the U.S. government to "justify" the present wars in Iraq and Syria, constitute no such justification at all. Period.

I mean: the war might be justified somehow - I don't know - but it cannot be justified by appealing to two decisions in other circumstances about other things that were taken 12 years ago: That is merely being totally irresponsible to the need for justification, which is legally necessary, and rightly so.

But now the National Security Council wants you to believe that these 12 year old decisions do justify the present war - but that their 60-day limitation does not apply, though otherwise these decisions of 2001 and 2002 do allow Barack Obama to kill whom he pleases now.

There is considerably more under the last dotted link, but it is as crazy as I said. 

3.  US Government Sanitizes Vietnam War History

The next item is an article by Marjorie Cohn on Truth-Out:

This starts as follows:

For many years after the Vietnam War, we enjoyed the "Vietnam syndrome," in which US presidents hesitated to launch substantial military attacks on other countries. They feared intense opposition akin to the powerful movement that helped bring an end to the war in Vietnam. But in 1991, at the end of the Gulf War, George H.W. Bush declared, "By God, we've kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all!"

With George W. Bush's wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and Barack Obama's drone wars in seven Muslim-majority countries and his escalating wars in Iraq and Syria, we have apparently moved beyond the Vietnam syndrome. By planting disinformation in the public realm, the government has built support for its recent wars, as it did with Vietnam.

Now the Pentagon is planning to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War by launching a $30 million program to rewrite and sanitize its history. Replete with a fancy interactive website, the effort is aimed at teaching schoolchildren a revisionist history of the war. The program is focused on honoring our service members who fought in Vietnam. But conspicuously absent from the website is a description of the antiwar movement, at the heart of which was the GI movement.

Indeed the government wants to thoroughly "sanitize" the story, and in fact replaces the truth by its propagandistic lies and misrepresentations, which are well documented in this article by a professor of law at the Thomas Jefferson school of law.

There is a lot more under the last dotted link.

4.  New Zealand Cops Raided Home of Reporter Working on Snowden Documents  

The next item is an article by Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

Agents from New Zealand’s national police force ransacked the home of a prominent independent journalist earlier this month who was collaborating with The Intercept on stories from the NSA archive furnished by Edward Snowden. The stated purpose of the 10-hour police raid was to identify the source for allegations that the reporter, Nicky Hager, recently published in a book that caused a major political firestorm and led to the resignation of a top government minister.

But in seizing all the paper files and electronic devices in Hager’s home, the authorities may have also taken source material concerning other unrelated stories that Hager was pursuing. Recognizing the severity of the threat posed to press freedoms from this raid, the Freedom of the Press Foundation today announced a global campaign to raise funds for Hager’s legal defense.

There is a considerable amount more that explains - in so far as is currently possible - the background, which may be New Zealandish, or also may be related to the NSA, or possibly both.

5. Lockheed announces breakthrough on nuclear fusion energy 

The next item is an article by Reuters on The Guardian:

This starts as follows - and is very important if true:

Lockheed Martin Corp said on Wednesday it had made a technological breakthrough in developing a power source based on nuclear fusion, and the first reactors, small enough to fit on the back of a truck, could be ready for use in a decade.

Tom McGuire, who heads the project, said he and a small team had been working on fusion energy at Lockheed’s secretive Skunk Works for about four years, but were now going public to find potential partners in industry and government for their work.

Initial work demonstrated the feasibility of building a 100-megawatt reactor measuring seven feet by 10 feet, which could fit on the back of a large truck, and is about 10 times smaller than current reactors, McGuire told reporters.

In a statement, the company, the Pentagon’s largest supplier, said it would build and test a compact fusion reactor in less than a year, and build a prototype in five years.

The reason this is very important if true is that mankind's most needed resource is energy: oil and gas are running out; coal and atomic fission energy are both  dangerous (and coal is also quite insufficient); and there is an urgent need for a source of atomic fusion energy that is both safe and plentiful.

Then again, energy from fusion has been investigated for a long time now, without there having been any major breakthroughs. So here is another article from The Guardian:
This starts as follows:

Scientists have responded with scepticism to the announcement of a breakthrough in nuclear fusion by Lockheed Martin.

The arms manufacturer announced on Wednesday that it was “working on a new compact fusion reactor (CFR) that can be developed and deployed in as little as 10 years”. But Lockheed’s four paragraph press release and accompanying video are heavy on hyperbole and light on detail.

Project leader Tom McGuire, whose company is the Pentagon’s largest supplier of armaments, says the project could usher in a new era of peace and energy security.

“As a defence company our increasing mission is to enhance global security and this is how we do that in the energy realm,” says McGuire. “The old promise of atoms for peace was a noble one, but ultimately flawed because the technology wasn’t right for it. We can achieve that grand vision and bring clean power to the world. The true atomic age can start.”

But fusion researchers have responded coolly to the Lockheed announcement.

There is considerably more under the last dotted link, that may be summarized as: Experts in the field who are not bound to Lockheed are very skeptical, also because no technical details have been given.

But the reason this item is here (and will be followed up) is well expressed by the last paragraphs of the article:

Fusion power has long been the sun that never rises. As the Guardian’s Leo Hickman observed in 2011, it is “perpetually 30 years away”.

Paradoxically, breakthroughs are announced with monotonous regularity. The hysteria that accompanies every false dawn is a reflection of the hope invested in fusion. It is seen as the silver bullet for the world’s troubled energy system and climate change – a zero-carbon, non-polluting energy source that uses elements mined from seawater.

6. James Risen’s Painful Truths

The next item is an article by Norman Solomon on Consortium News:

This starts as follows:

No single review or interview can do justice to Pay Any Price – the new book by James Risen that is the antithesis of what routinely passes for journalism about the “war on terror.” Instead of evasive tunnel vision, the book offers big-picture acuity: focusing on realities that are pervasive and vastly destructive.

Published this week, Pay Any Price throws down an urgent gauntlet. We should pick it up. After 13 years of militarized zealotry and fear-mongering in the name of fighting terrorism, the book — subtitled “Greed, Power, and Endless War” — zeros in on immense horrors being perpetrated in the name of national security.

Indeed, it does - and please note that James Risen may have to go to prison because he refuses to tell who his sources are.

Here are some quotations from the book:

– “Obama performed a neat political trick: he took the national security state that had grown to such enormous size under Bush and made it his own. In the process, Obama normalized the post-9/11 measures that Bush had implemented on a haphazard, emergency basis. Obama’s great achievement — or great sin — was to make the national security state permanent.”

– “In fact, as trillions of dollars have poured into the nation’s new homeland security-industrial complex, the corporate leaders at its vanguard can rightly be considered the true winners of the war on terror.”

Yes, indeed. Also note that Obama got elected to do the opposite, and that indeed "follow the money" is very wise advice. And indeed the few who make big money by war, by propaganda, by lies and by deceptions have won - so far at least.

As to who profit:

– “There is an entire class of wealthy company owners, corporate executives, and investors who have gotten rich by enabling the American government to turn to the dark side. But they have done so quietly.  … The new quiet oligarchs just keep making money.  … They are the beneficiaries of one of the largest transfers of wealth from public to private hands in American history.”

Yes indeed - again "follow the money", indeed much rather than believing their words.

And there is this, which is also quite true, alas:

– “Of all the abuses America has suffered at the hands of the government in its endless war on terror, possibly the worst has been the war on truth. On the one hand, the executive branch has vastly expanded what it wants to know: something of a vast gathering of previously private truths. On the other hand, it has ruined lives to stop the public from gaining any insight into its dark arts, waging a war on truth. It all began at the NSA.”

Quite so - and if this cannot be stopped, it is the end of the world as I've known it, and as existed since the Romans: it will be taken over by a small class of very rich men; by their political foremen; and by their bureaucrats, and it will effectively enslave everybody else, even if they do not know this, and call it differently.

7. Leaked TPP Chapter Exposes Sweet Deals for Big Pharma and US Bully Tactics

The last item today is an article by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

WikiLeaks on Thursday released a second updated version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Intellectual Property Rights chapter, charging that it will hinder affordable access to medicines globally, increase online surveillance, and impinge on civil liberties while benefiting Big Pharma and other corporate interests.

"Our first impression in reading the document is the extent to which the United States has sought hundreds of changes in intellectual property norms, some small and subtle, others blunt and aggressive, nearly of all of which favor big corporate right holders, and undermine the public’s freedom to use knowledge," declared James Love of Knowledge Ecology International.

The TPP is the world's largest economic trade agreement that will, if it goes into effect, encompass more than 40 percent of the world's GDP. The IP chapter covers topics from pharmaceuticals, patent registrations, and copyright issues to digital rights.

The trade pact has been mostly negotiated in secret, with only select government officials and corporations able to see the text. To that end, WikiLeaks has released several draft chapters. A previous draft of the IP chapter was leaked in November 2013.

There is considerably more under the last dotted link. In case you need some background on the TPP: See yesterday.

[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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