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. FBI Director: Government
2. Blowing the Whistle on CIA Torture from Beyond the
3. The US justice divide: why
crime and punishment in Wall
Street and Ferguson are so
4. The Neocons — Masters of Chaos
This is a Nederlog of Saturday, October 18. It is a crisis log.
Then again, as it is a
Saturday today, I found only four crisis items, for there definitely is
at least on average less crisis news in weekends. This is probably due
to the fact that several good providers of crisis news either do not
work at all or work less in the weekends, which is quite OK with me.
(That is, I like the weekend to continue to exist.)
I will give the items I found below. There are four items with four links: Item 1
is on the duplicity of the current FBI director; item 2
is mostly about American psychology that was seriously sick
for eight years; item 3 is on the enormous
differences in judicial treatments between poor blacks and rich whites,
and especially bank managers; and item 4 is on the
neocons and their war games.
FBI Director: Government Surveillance 'Enhances Liberty'
item is an article by Nadia Prupis on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
In fact, Comey seems to
have taken his inspiration from Orwell's "Nineteen
In a speech on Thursday,
FBI director James Comey invoked
"national security and public safety" to push for more permissive
government surveillance policies, claiming new encryption technologies
are poised to leave law enforcement agencies "in the dark" as they try
to hunt down terrorists and child molesters.
Civil liberties watchdogs
criticized Comey's claims, saying that the encryption tools would have
no bearing on police and FBI operations, and that privacy is a
federally guaranteed right.
Laura W. Murphy, director
of the Washington Legislative Office of the American Civil Liberties
Union, said Comey "is wrong in asserting that law enforcement cannot do
its job while respecting Americans’ privacy rights. In fact, federal
law explicitly protects the right of companies to add encryption with
Comey rejected that
argument, claiming that agents in "law enforcement, national security,
and public safety are looking for security that enhances liberty."
Eighty-four". In order to see why I think this, next to his making
outrageous claims, his trying to scare his audience, and his idiotic
claim that he and his fellows "are looking for security that enhances liberty", which is like
saying he wants to rape people in order to make them more happy, and
which also completely and quite intentionally contradicts
who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety,
deserve neither liberty nor safety"
(which means that according to
Franklin FBI-director Comey deserves neither liberty nor safety), there
is this quotation from the Wikipedia's "Orwellian":
I would say that the present
day U.S. and the present day FBI are quite far on this Orwellian path:
The adjective Orwellian
refers to these behaviours of The Party, especially when the Party is
- Invasion of personal
privacy, either directly physically or indirectly by surveillance.
- State control of its
citizens' daily life, as in a "Big Brother" society.
- Official encouragement
of policies contributing to the socio-economic disintegration of the
- The adoration of state leaders and their
- The encouragement of "doublethink",
whereby the population must learn to embrace inconsistent concepts
without dissent, e.g. giving up liberty for freedom. Similar terms used
are "doublespeak", and "newspeak".
- The revision of
history in the favour of the State's interpretation of it.
- A (generally) dystopian
- The use of euphemism
to describe an agency, program or other concept, especially when the
name denotes the opposite of what is actually occurring. E.g. a
department that wages war is called the "Ministry of Peace"
While there is not yet state control of American citizens daily lives
(but the mass media all bring the same news, including the
same non-mentioning of very important themes), and while there also
is not yet official encouragement of policies that lead to the
desintegration of the familly (but everyone who is poor has to work
more), and while there also is not yet any wild adoration of state
leaders (Obama is black), the other five Orwellian points are getting
closer and closer:
Invasion of personal liberty; the encouragement of the doublethink (<-
Wikipedia) that giving up liberty for safety is good and desirable; the
revision of history; the enormous use of euphemisms; and a generally
dystopian future have been reached or are at the very least
getting closer and closer - and quite intentionally so, given
the words of FBI-director Comey.
the Whistle on CIA Torture from Beyond the Grave
item is an article by Cora Currier on The Intercept:
This is in small part
about the subject of Cora Currier's article, but mostly, since I happen
to be a Dutch M.A. in psychology, this is about the American
Psychological Association, that did something in 2002 I did not
know till today.
article is about the late Scott Gerwehr, about whom it says, among a
lot more, that
If you want to know more
about Gerwehr, consult the article. Here I am mostly concerned about the American Psychological Association (APA,
incidentally the same acronym as is used by the American Psychiatric
Association: this is no doubt to make things easier for laymen), and
specifically with this:
In 2008, at the age of
40, Gerwehr died in a motorcycle accident on Sunset Boulevard. Years
after Gerwehr died, New York Times reporter James Risen
obtained a cache of Gerwehr’s files, including emails that identify him
as part of a group of psychologists and researchers with close ties to
the national security establishment. Risen’s new book, Pay Any
Price, uses Gerwehr’s emails to show close collaboration between
staffers at the American Psychological Association (APA) and government
officials, collaboration that offered a fig leaf of health-professional
legitimacy to the CIA and military’s brutal interrogations of terror
The APA in 2002
famously revised its ethics code to permit a psychologist to
follow “governing legal authority” even if it clashed with the APA’s
own code of ethics. It was, essentially, the Nuremberg Defense of “just
following orders.” (In 2010 the APA definitively
Here is a quotation from
the last link, that show the extent of the principles of science and
morals in the APA:
There is a considerable
amount more there, on the same pattern (look for yourself), one of the
basic innovations was this, which in fact was inserted at many
places in this supposed "Ethics Code", that thereby became the excuse
for being as unethical as one pleased to be:
Language of the 2002
Ethics Code with Changes Marked
If psychologists’ ethical responsibilities
conflict with law, regulations, or other governing legal authority,
psychologists make known their commitment to this Ethics Code and take
steps to resolve the conflict in a responsible manner
. If the
conflict is unresolvable via such means, psychologists may adhere to
the requirements of the law, regulations, or other governing authority
in keeping with basic principles of human rights.
Between Ethics and Law, Regulations, or Other Governing Legal Authority
If psychologists’ ethical responsibilities
conflict with law, regulations, or other governing legal authority,
psychologists clarify the nature of the conflict, make known
their commitment to the Ethics Code and take reasonable steps
to resolve the conflict consistent with the General Principles and
Ethical Standards of the Ethics Code.
If the conflict is
unresolvable via such means, psychologists may adhere to the
requirements of the law, regulations, or other governing legal
authority.Under no circumstances may this standard be used to
justify or defend violating human rights.
Between Ethics and Organizational Demands
If the demands of an organization with which
psychologists are affiliated or for whom they are working are in
conflict with this Ethics Code, psychologists clarify the nature of the
conflict, make known their commitment to the Ethics Code, and
the extent feasible, resolve the conflict in a way that permits
adherence to the Ethics Code. take reasonable steps to resolve
the conflict consistent with the General Principles and Ethical
Standards of the Ethics Code. Under no circumstances may this standard
be used to justify or defend violating human rights.
Note the crossings out are
from 2010. From 2002 to 2010, what the "Ethics Code" told American
psychologists to do, was to make an assumption that the
conflict they are making good money from is in fact "unresolvable"
(this must always be an assumption), and to conclude
from this that if "the government" meanwhile has turned christian or
authoritarian or fascist or
anything else, then still
American psychologists could continue to make good money by watching
"enhanced interrogations" and such - for the government is
If the conflict
is unresolvable via such means, psychologists may adhere to the
requirements of the law, regulations, or other governing legal
I say. I did not know this, which may be explained by noting
that, while in 2002 I was still regularly visiting the faculty of
psychology in Amsterdam (since when I stopped this, mostly for reasons
of lack of health), in fact Dutch psychologists are hardly concerned
with the doings and draftings and publishings of the APA.
In any case, this 2002 change and its change in 2010 strongly suggest I
was and am right in my conclusion - from 1980 - that in actual fact psychology is mostly
not a science. (And yes, it is true this was a change in ethics
that completely did in ethics, and made American psychologists very
little different from better trained policemen, and it is also true
that ethics is not science. Even so, I very much doubt this
kind of change would even have started under - say - physicists.)
US justice divide: why crime and punishment in Wall Street and Ferguson
are so different
item is an article by Matt Taibbi on The Guardian:
This seems to be an
excerpt from Taibbi's latest book "The Divide". Here are three
quotations from it.
The first deals with the very assymmetric system of prosecution and
punishment that arose in the U.S. since 2001 (at the latest): if you
are poor and black, you risk many years in jail for small misdemeanors;
if you are white and rich, especially if you are a bank manager, you
can steal millions or billions and nothing will ever be done
against you, other than that your salary is increased:
I’d spent years
chronicling the ingenious crimes of scale that characterised the
financial crisis era. These ranged from the mass frauds of the US
sub-prime mortgage meltdown to the
fraud-and bribery-induced bankruptcy of Jefferson County, Alabama
to multitrillion-dollar market manipulation cases like the Libor
scandal, so well known to British readers (but less well known
to American ones).
The punchline to all
these stories in the US was and is always the same. No matter how great
the crime or how much money was stolen, none of the Wall Street
principals is ever indicted or, for that matter, punished at all.
Even in the most abject
and horrific cases – such as the scandal surrounding HSBC, which admitted to laundering
more than $800m for central and South American drug cartels – no
individual ever has to do a day in jail or pay so much as a cent in
What punishments there
are in the US for these firms – usually some version of a “We really, really promise
never to do it again” deferred prosecution agreement, accompanied
by superficially large fines – are always paid by the shareholder,
not the actual wrongdoer.
Here are "the
reasons" of this extreme asymmetry, first the false one (one example)
and then the true one:
When I asked another why
no one went to jail in the HSBC narco-laundering case, given that our
prisons were teeming with people who’d sold small quantities of drugs,
he answered, again totally deadpan: “Have you been to a jail?
Those places are dangerous!”
There is no way to talk
about how preposterous all of this is without first answering one basic
question: who does go to jail in the US?
The simplified answer is
that the poorer and less white you are, the easier it is to end up in
jail. If you live in the wrong neighbourhood and you’re broke, on the
dole, or, worse, undocumented, your chances of seeing the back of a
squad car are better than fair every time you walk outside.
I know this is not
exactly breaking news. In this country – and everywhere else – the rich
have always had an easier time in the courts than the poor. But the
sheer breadth of the current justice gap in the US blows the mind when
viewed up close.
Finally, here is the -
enormous - difference between the early nineties and the present
Millenium - that started within ten years of the early nineties:
In the early 90s, the US convicted more than 900 people in criminal
prosecutions connected to the savings and loan crisis, a mass-fraud
scheme similar to the sub-prime mess, but far less serious. This time
around, the number is zero. Not one significant Wall Street executive has seen the inside
of a jail cell for even one night for the egregious crimes
connected to the financial crisis.
Meanwhile, the US boasts
the largest prison population in the history of humanity, edging out even the gulag under Stalin.
Note that the present
day US even outdid the gulag under Stalin - and many of those jailed
are jailed in 'for profit' jails, in which they are effectively slaves.
Neocons — Masters of Chaos
item is an article by Robert Parry on Consortium News:
I will only quote the
theme and the conclusion. The theme is this:
Of course, there
are other factors pushing Europe’s economy to the brink of a triple-dip
recession and threatening to stop America’s fragile recovery, too.
But the neocons’ “regime change” strategies, which have unleashed
violence and confrontations across Iraq, Syria, Libya, Iran and most
recently Ukraine, have added to the economic uncertainty.
destabilization of the world economy began with the U.S.-led invasion
of Iraq in 2003 under President George W. Bush who squandered some $1
trillion on the bloody folly. But the neocons’ strategies have
continued through their still-pervasive influence in Official
Washington during President Barack Obama’s administration.
The neocons and their
“liberal interventionist” junior partners have kept the “regime change”
pot boiling with the Western- orchestrated overthrow and killing of
Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the proxy civil war in Syria to oust
Bashar al-Assad, the costly economic embargoes against Iran, and the
U.S.-backed coup that ousted Ukraine’s elected President Viktor
Yanukovych last February.
All these targeted
governments were first ostracized by the neocons and the major U.S.
news organizations, such as the Washington Post and the New York Times,
which have become what amounts to neocon mouthpieces. Whenever the
neocons decide that it’s time for another “regime change,” the
mainstream U.S. media enlists in the propaganda wars.
Here are two
clarifications: First, the "$1
trillion" that were spent
by George W. Bush on his war against Iraq - "a window of opportunity" -
of course all came with considerable profits for the U.S. military-industrial
complex (<- Wikipedia). Second, I agree that the present Washington Post and New York Times do seem to
have become, for the most part at least, "neocon mouthpieces", though
this is not yet true of all their journalists. 
And here is the conclusion:
(...) the world’s economy
usually can withstand some natural and manmade challenges. The real
problem comes when a combination of catastrophes pushes the
international financial system to a tipping point. Then, even a single
event can dump the world into economic chaos, like what happened when
Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008.
It’s not clear whether
the world is at such a tipping point today, but the stock market
volatility suggests that we may be on the verge of another
worldwide recession. Meanwhile, the neocon masters of chaos seem
determined to keep putting their ideological obsessions ahead of the
risks to Americans and people everywhere.
Yes indeed, though it is also
true that, more generally, almost every politician is doing ideology much
more than anything else, for politicians know as a rule a great lot
less about real
politics and real history than they should. Also, it seems
quite possible that the neo-conservative ideology, or the ideologists,
is even more stupid and less informed than most other ideologies, if
only because the neocons
seem to believe their political propaganda.
 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.)
 Incidentally, this is a part of the reason that I
do not daily check on the New York Times or The Washington Post, though
another part is that The Guardian, which I do check, simply is the
(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: