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. Citizenfour review
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
5. Lockheed announces
breakthrough on nuclear fusion
6. James Risen’s Painful
7. Leaked TPP Chapter Exposes
Sweet Deals for Big Pharma
and US Bully Tactics
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.
review – gripping Snowden documentary offers portrait of power,
paranoia and one remarkable man
item is an article by Peter Bradshaw on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Yes, indeed - and let me
note two points on which this opening is good.
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.
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
abolished", 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
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
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
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
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'
item is an article by Sarah Lazare on Common Dreams:
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
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
item is an article by Marjorie Cohn on Truth-Out:
This starts as follows:
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.
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.
There is a lot more under the last dotted link.
4. New Zealand Cops Raided Home of
Reporter Working on Snowden Documents
item is an article by Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher on The
This starts as
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
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
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
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
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
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:
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.
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.
But the reason this item is here (and will be followed up) is well
expressed by the last paragraphs of the article:
6. James Risen’s Painful Truths
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”.
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.
item is an article by Norman Solomon on Consortium News:
This starts as
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
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
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
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
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
US Bully Tactics
item today is an article by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:
This starts as
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
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.
 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
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
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: