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. UK rights groups reject
official inquiry into
post-September 11 rendition
2. Berlin’s digital exiles: where tech activists go to escape
3. 80% vote in favour of split as
Catalans vow to push for
4. Saving the Planet, One
Meal at a Time
5. Beneath the Republican Wave,
Voters Still Reject
6. Belying 'No Boots on Ground'
Promises, Number of U.S.
Troops in Iraq Set to Double
This is a Nederlog of Monday, November 10. It is a crisis log.
There are 6 items with 6 dotted links: Item 1 is
about a (justified) withdrawal of British rights group from an official
inquiry into post 9/11; item 2 is about Berlin as a
- relative - "free haven" for tech activists and is good; item 3 is about Catalonia, that voted for
independence, though the vote had no official weight; item
4 is Chris Hedges on the virtues of veganism; item 5
is about what American voters will think now they voted a majority of
Republicans (and seems a bit naive); and item 6
considers one of the false promises of Obama.
Incidentally: I am now for nearly a month adding summaries like the
above one to the summary index.
And the present file got uploaded a bit earlier than is normal.
And here goes:
1. UK rights groups reject official inquiry into
post-September 11 rendition
item is an article by Mark Townsend on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
I say. Well... this
seems the right decision to me, because I agree the British government
is grossly corrupt. There is a considerable amount more under the last
dotted link, but the above suffices here.
Britain’s leading human
rights groups are to boycott the official investigation into the UK’s
involvement in torture and rendition in the years after 9/11,
grievously undermining the controversial inquiry.
Nine organisations have
announced that they want nothing to do with the parliamentary inquiry
by the intelligence and security committee (ISC) into Britain’s alleged
role in the ill-treatment of detainees.
A strongly worded letter
to the committee team investigating detainee allegations says that,
despite raising concerns with the government more than six months ago
over whether its decision to allow the ISC to lead the inquiry was
“lawful or appropriate”, their concerns of an establishment cover-up
The letter, obtained by
the Observer, says the coalition of groups – including
Reprieve, Amnesty International and Liberty – have lost all trust in
the committee’s ability to uncover the truth. “Consequently, we as a
collective of domestic and international non-governmental organisations
do not propose to play a substantive role in the conduct of this
inquiry,” the letter states.
2. Berlin’s digital exiles: where tech activists
go to escape the NSA
item is an article by Carole Cadwalladr on The Observer:
This starts as
It’s the not knowing
that’s the hardest thing, Laura Poitras tells me. “Not knowing whether
I’m in a private place or not.” Not knowing if someone’s watching or
not. Though she’s under surveillance, she knows that. It makes working
as a journalist “hard but not impossible”. It’s on a personal level
that it’s harder to process. “I try not to let it get inside my head,
but… I still am not sure that my home is private. And if I really want
to make sure I’m having a private conversation or something, I’ll go
Yes, indeed: "It’s the not knowing that’s the hardest thing" - and this applies to everyone
who fears being tracked by one of the secret services of the Five Eyes
or one of their secret mates, though I agree it applies a lot
Laura Poitras than to most.
Here is some more on the
is that my conversation with Poitras will be the first of a whole
series of conversations I have with people in Berlin who either are
under surveillance, or have been under surveillance, or who campaign
against it, or are part of the German government’s inquiry into it, or
who work to create technology to counter it. Poitras’s experience of
understanding the sensation of what it’s like to know you’re being
watched, or not to know but feel a prickle on the back of your neck and
suspect you might be, is far from unique, it turns out.
I'd say: Of course
it "is far from unique": At least hundreds of millions are
somehow being tracked, traced and spied upon, and considerably more if
you also count the spying of Google, Facebook etc. - but indeed almost
everyone is placed as Laura Poitras is: You do not know
how much, or when, or what for, nor do you have any idea about
the dossiers that are compiled on you by the secret services, nor any
idea about what these are going to be used for in the future.
You don't know, except perhaps that you are being secretively
researched. Here is another quotation:
Yes, indeed. Anyway -
this is a good series of interviews, and there is much more under the
link. I think you should read all of this.
But then Hubertus Knabe
tells me: “The minister of the Stasi always said, ‘We have to answer
the question, who is who?’ Those were his words. That means, who thinks
what? It used to be an obvious fundamental difference between a
democratic state and a dictatorial one that you don’t investigate
someone until they did a criminal act. Innocent people are not
surveiled. And in this, the difference between how a democratic state
acts and how a totalitarian one acts has diminished. And this is very,
I don’t know the English word. Besorgniserregend? Hold on, I
will look it up,” and he taps into his phone. “Alarming! This is very
alarming to me.”
3. 80% vote in favour of split as Catalans vow
to push for independence
item is an article by Agence France-Presse on The Guardian:
This starts as
government vowed to step up its secession drive after early results
showed four out of five voters in the region backed independence in a
referendum which Spain’s central government dismissed as “useless”.
Artur Mas, the regional
president, called the verdict by more than two million voters “a total
success” and said it “made it very clear that we want to govern
I say. I have been to
Spain, but briefly, on holidays, and over 35 years ago, but I know a
fair amount about the war of the 1930s, of which the most memorable
book I read - over forty years ago - is George Orwell's "Homage to
Then again, although
I'm pleased that it seems some of the spirit that Orwell met in the
late thirties still exists, it is a long time ago, while the present
outcome, that was quite strong, indeed also was much more symbolic than
anything else, and it will be mostly neglected - it seems - by the
Even so, it seems to me that the outcome was good and strong, and
indeed much more so than the Scottish vote, that served as its
There is more under
the last dotted link.
4. Saving the Planet, One Meal at a Time
item is an article by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
My attitude toward
becoming a vegan was similar to Augustine’s
attitude toward becoming celibate—“God grant me abstinence, but not
yet.” But with animal agriculture as the leading cause of species
extinction, water pollution, ocean dead zones and habitat destruction,
and with the death spiral of the ecosystem ever more pronounced,
becoming vegan is the most important and direct change we can
immediately make to save the planet and its species. It is one that my
wife—who was the engine behind our family’s shift—and I have made.
And there is this, set
apart and bold in the original:
A person who is
vegan will save 1,100 gallons of water, 20 pounds CO2
equivalent, 30 square feet of forested land, 45 pounds of grain and one
sentient animal’s life every day.
I am a bit skeptical
about these numbers (and have been a farmer - quite a long while ago,
is true - and also have a diploma from an agricultural school), but OK:
I side with the argument, sort of.
But personally I will not heed it: I am poor, I am ill, I live and eat
but I do eat some meat, some eggs and some fish, though not much, and
continue to do so mostly because I am ill.
Then again, Chris Hedges gives a fairly strong argument for veganism, while the
last link also explains a fair amount (on Wikipedia).
Beneath the Republican
Wave, Voters Still Reject Right-Wing Ideology
item is an article by Joe Conason on Truthdig:
This starts as
In the wake of the 2014
midterm “wave election,” Americans will soon find out whether they
actually want what they have wrought. The polls tell us that too many
voters are weary of President Barack Obama, including a significant
number who actually voted for him two years ago. Polls likewise suggest
that most voters today repose more trust in Republicans on such
fundamental issues as economic growth, national security and budget
discipline. But do they want what Republicans in control will do now?
If they are faithful to
their beliefs, the Republican leaders in Washington will now seek to
advance a set of policies that are simply repugnant to the public—most
notably in the Paul Ryan budget, which many Republicans have signed up
to promote (though the caucus of ultra-right Republicans considers that
wild plan too “moderate”).
House Speaker John
Boehner and Mitch McConnell, who will be the Senate majority leader in
January, will have to try to repeal Obamacare—but they will very likely
be pushed further than that. Proposals to reduce Medicare to vouchers,
privatize Social Security and gut the federal agencies that protect the
health and safety of ordinary citizens and the preservation of clean
water and air will soon emerge. They will continue to let the nation’s
infrastructure crumble. And they will attempt to shift the burden of
taxation from the wealthy to the middle class, working families and
even the poor.
Well...yes and no.
More precisely, I agree with the consequences, but I doubt the premiss
that "Americans will soon
find out whether they actually want what they have wrought": Clearly, some will, but how
many (or what percentage)?
Indeed, how many
Americans do watch more than the big media and try to keep informed
about politics? I don't know, but it cannot be a majority, or else the
elections would have had another outcome.
This is also why I
doubt many or most will find out about politics,
if they haven't found
out now, and most haven't - I am quite sorry to say. (The last
link probably will help the more intelligent, though.)
6. Belying 'No Boots on Ground' Promises, Number
of U.S. Troops in Iraq Set to Double
and last item for today is an article by Deirdre Fulton on Common
This starts as
his insistence that the U.S. campaign against Islamic State militants
will not involve American boots on the ground, President Obama on
the deployment of an additional 1,500 troops to Iraq, a plan that would
cost $5.6 billion and would more than double the size of the U.S. force
in the nation.
"As a part of our
strategy for strengthening partners on the ground, President Obama
today authorized the deployment of up to 1500 additional U.S. military
personnel in a non-combat role to train, advise, and assist Iraqi
Security Forces, including Kurdish forces," the White House said
in a statement. "The President also authorized U.S. personnel to
conduct these integral missions at Iraqi military facilities located
outside Baghdad and Erbil. U.S. troops will not be in combat, but they
will be better positioned to support Iraqi Security Forces as they take
the fight to ISIL."
I say. Here is Jodie
Evans from CODEPINK:
"For months we’ve
been hearing 'no boots on the ground' over and over from the
administration, but with an additional 1,500, we now have 3,000
American soldiers in Iraq. When will we learn from our mistakes and
stop repeating history?" asked
CODEPINK co-founder Jodie Evans. "Shame on the President for approving
airstrikes without Congressional approval, sending more soldiers to
Iraq, giving away weapons that are falling into the wrong hands, and
now talking about keeping soldiers in Afghanistan. How did the Peace
President become a warmonger?"
Yes - but he only was
a "Peace President" in the campaign that led to his first
election, and since then has shown he simply mostly continued Bush
policies in almost all respects. I am very sorry, but that is the case.
But OK: This is what
Obama means by "no boots on the ground". (Maybe he should have said
"feet" and should have forbidden his soldiers to take of their socks?
 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: