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Nederlog


  November
26, 2014
Crisis: Malware, Risen, American Dream, Ferguson, Masters of War
  "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
Sections
Introduction

1.
 Secret Malware in European Union Attack Linked to U.S.
     and British Intelligence

2.
Talking to James Risen About “Pay Any Price,” the War
     on Terror and Press Freedoms

3. The American Dream Has Moved to Scandinavia
4. Michael Brown family say 'process is broken' after grand
     jury decision leads to night of riots

5.
  Masters of War

About ME/CFS


Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, November 26. It is a
crisis log.

There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1 is about an article on The Intercept on highly complicated secret malware used to spy on the European Union; item 2 is about an interview Glenn Greenwald had with James Risen; item 3 shows that
the American Dream lives on, but not in the U.S. but in Scandinavia; item 4 is
about Ferguson; and item 5 is a song by Bob Dylan, in a life version of 1963: Masters of War (you should listen to it if you don't know it).

And here goes:

1. Secret Malware in European Union Attack Linked to U.S. and British Intelligence

The first item today is an article by Morgan Marquis-Boire, Claudio Guarnieri and Ryan Gallagher on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

Complex malware known as Regin is the suspected technology behind sophisticated cyberattacks conducted by U.S. and British intelligence agencies on the European Union and a Belgian telecommunications company, according to security industry sources and technical analysis conducted by The Intercept.

Regin was found on infected internal computer systems and email servers at Belgacom, a partly state-owned Belgian phone and internet provider, following reports last year that the company was targeted in a top-secret surveillance operation carried out by British spy agency Government Communications Headquarters, industry sources told The Intercept.

The malware, which steals data from infected systems and disguises itself as legitimate Microsoft software, has also been identified on the same European Union computer systems that were targeted for surveillance by the National Security Agency.

The hacking operations against Belgacom and the European Union were first revealed last year through documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The specific malware used in the attacks has never been disclosed, however.

There is a lot more under the last dotted link, and it is all well worth reading (though I guess many will find it a bit technical further on: I even saw a listing of assembler).

The very brief is this: Regin is one of the most complicated pieces of spying software that has been discovered; it is rather like Stuxnet; it gets installed on Windows in parts, and with false names; and as the above quotation says, it has been used against (at least) the European Union and a Belgian telecommuni- cations company.

But as I said: there is a lot more under the last dotted link, and this includes even a zipped version of Regin.

2. Talking to James Risen About “Pay Any Price,” the War on Terror and Press Freedoms  

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

This starts as follows:

Jim Risen, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for exposing the NSA warrantless eavesdropping program, has long been one of the nation’s most aggressive and adversarial investigative journalists. Over the past several years, he has received at least as much attention for being threatened with prison by the Obama Justice Department (ostensibly) for refusing to reveal the source of one of his stories, a persecution that, in reality, is almost certainly the vindictive by-product of the U.S. Government’s anger over his NSA reporting.

He has published a new book on the War on Terror entitled “Pay Any Price: Greed, Power and Endless War.” There have been lots of critiques of the War on Terror on its own terms, but Risen’s is one of the first to offer large amounts of original reporting on what is almost certainly the most overlooked aspect of this war: the role corporate profiteering plays in ensuring its endless continuation, and how the beneficiaries use rank fear-mongering to sustain it.

Most of the rest is a quite interesting interview with James Risen by Glenn Greenwald. I will leave that to your interests, but want to say something about the above quotation, and also about the next and last one.

First about the ending of the last quotation, namely this part:
(...) Risen’s is one of the first to offer large amounts of original reporting on what is almost certainly the most overlooked aspect of this war: the role corporate profiteering plays in ensuring its endless continuation, and how the beneficiaries use rank fear-mongering to sustain it.
Quite so, also to my knowledge - but note how strange this is, if you think a moment:

The U.S. are now in the thirteenth year of war; that war costs many tens of billions of dollars each year; preseident Eisenhower's speech about the military-industrial complex is over 50 years old; the U.S. has over 300 milion inhabitants - but almost no one engages in "Follow The Money!"?!

It seems to me that the only possible explanations are these two: 1. there is
very little truly free press left in the U.S. - and not because the press is (currently) actively censored by the government, but because the press "from its own free will" neglects to do many things that were a matter of course in the 1970ies and 1980ies, and 2. most journalists know that they are spied upon by the government and again
"from their own free will" avoid stories and themes that risk the government's ire.

There is a lot to say about this, such as that it is (also) true that the financial situation of the press got a lot worse, while there are far fewer independent
papers, and I have put the two bits on free will between quotes because it is both true and more complicated than that - but in the end, it is a fact that few American journalists make (or have made) a study of the enormous flows of money from the U.S. government to private companies and the NSA and the military.

There is one more bit I want to quote and comment on:
(...) what independently interests me about Risen is how he seems to have become entirely radicalized by what he’s discovered in the last decade of reporting, as well as by the years-long battle he has had to wage with the U.S. Government to stay out of prison. He now so often eschews the modulated, safe, uncontroversial tones of the standard establishment reporter (such as when he called Obama “the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation” and said about the administration’s press freedom attacks: “Nice to see the US government is becoming more like the Iranian government”). He at times even channels radical thinkers, sounding almost Chomsky-esque when he delivered a multiple-tweet denunciation – taken from a speech he delivered at Colby College – of how establishment journalists cling to mandated orthodoxies out of fear, arguing:

It is difficult to recognize the limits a society places on accepted thought at the time it is doing it. When everyone accepts basic assumptions, there don’t seem to be constraints on ideas. That truth often only reveals itself in hindsight. Today, the basic prerequisite to being taken seriously in American politics is to accept the legitimacy of the new national security state. The new basic American assumption is that there really is a need for a global war on terror. Anyone who doesn’t accept that basic assumption is considered dangerous and maybe even a traitor. The crackdown on leaks by the Obama administration has been designed to suppress the truth about the war on terror. Stay on the interstate highway of conventional wisdom with your journalism, and you will have no problems. Try to get off and challenge basic assumptions, and you will face punishment.

First, I do not think Risen is exaggerating when he called Obama “the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation” - for while there clearly are many more enemies of press freedom in the current U.S. (although they will not often say so in public), there is only one president, and president Obama is much against press freedom, is for the NSA, and is for keeping - literally - millions of his or his government's decisions classified, which again means that the press doesn't know and/or can't report on these secret decisions.

I also have no problems with the other things Greenwald quotes, were it only because Risen does risk to be condemned to go to jail.

Second, as to the longer quote: I think Risen is quite correct when he wrote:
Today, the basic prerequisite to being taken seriously in American politics is to accept the legitimacy of the new national security state. The new basic American assumption is that there really is a need for a global war on terror. Anyone who doesn’t accept that basic assumption is considered dangerous and maybe even a traitor.
In fact, what most Americans do not seem to see is that (1) by far the greatest terrorists in human history are governments (especially their police, secret police, and military); (2) there is, therefore, ample reason to consider state terrorism (or governmental terrorism) by far the most dangerous terrorism there is (they have both "the law" and the military on their sides); while (3) under Bush and Cheney the U.S. has developed into the greatest terrorists there were, the last 69 years at least, and that was done quite deliberately as well; and (4) with the utterly false excuse that this was made necessary by "the terrorism" of a few civilian groups, without an army, without a territory, without atomic weapons,  and with little money, and with few people, and that also did not constitute 1% of 1% of 1% of the powers of the Soviet Union and China until 1989.

Third, Risen also seems quite correct that the present choice the U.S. government offers to journalists is: Either tell our story and get our support or else try to tell the truth and you will find the government against you. And this again happens also at the time when there are very few independent and well-funded papers left.

Anyway... the interview is good and I recommend that you read it.

3. The American Dream Has Moved to Scandinavia

The next item is an article by Washington's Blog on his site:

This starts as follows:

We noted in 2010 that the American Dream – the possibility of a “rags to riches” success story – has moved abroad … since social mobility in the U.S. is much lower than in many other developed nations.

(And we pointed out that conservatives are as disturbed as liberals by the collapse of social mobility in modern America.)

A paper published last year by University of Ottawa economics professor Miles Corak tells us exactly where the American Dream has gone … to Scandinavia.  Here’s a chart from the study:


Denmark, Norway and Finland have the most social mobility (and Sweden is not that far behind).

On the other hand, the UK, Italy and America have the least social mobility.

True, the UK and Italy are a tiny bit worse than the U.S. in terms of social mobility.  But the U.S. has the most inequality.  Indeed, the U.S. arguably has the worst inequality anywhere in the world at any time in history. Indeed, inequality is so severe in America that most of the profits are flowing into the hands of an incredibly small group of people … and you’re not very likely to become one of them.

I say - well, not really, for I knew this in general terms, but not with the detail of the graphic. There is a bit more in the article (under the last dotted link) but I want to make two remarks that are not in the article.

First, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland are not socialist countries, as many people in the U.S. seem to think. I lived for nearly three years - the happiest of my life - in Norway, and it was then a deeply christian country, where 95% of the people belonged to the state's church, as it also is known in Norway. (For yes, it is the state's church.)

Second, it was the biggest mistake in my life to leave Norway in order to study in Amsterdam, where I indeed also was born. I should have stayed in Norway, and could have, but didn't.

But yes: It is quite true that "the American dream" has been realized in Scandinavia, while it has been destroyed in the U.S.

4.
Michael Brown family say 'process is broken' after grand jury decision leads to night of riots

The next item is an article by Jon Swaine, Paul Lewis and Adam Gabbatt on The Guardian:

First a small clarification: I was in doubt whether I wanted this in the crisis series but decided to put it here mostly because I deeply despise racism, and the grand jury decision was a racist decision.

This is the beginning of the article:

The family of an unarmed 18-year-old shot dead by a police officer in Missouri accused the US justice system on Tuesday of systematically failing young black people, after the decision not to charge his killer led to America’s worst night of race-related riots in a generation.

Lawyers for the parents of Michael Brown said that “the process is broken” after a grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson, the white officer whose shooting of Brown in Ferguson in August led to intense unrest and revived a furious debate about race and law enforcement.

There is a lot more under the last dotted link.

5. Masters of War

The next and last item today is not an article but a song, by Bob Dylan, from 1963:

Actually, the idea to do this is due to Raging Bull-Shit, but I took another
version than he did: A life version by Bob Dylan in 1963 (51 years ago!)
of what is probably his best song, that I knew by heart in 1964, and of which
I still perfectly remember the end to this day - and it is about the Masters of War, and this is the end:

And I hope that you die
And your deaths will come soon
I'll follow your casket
On a pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand over your grave
Till I am sure that you're dead.
---------------------------------
Notes
[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)

2. Malcolm Hooper THE MENTAL HEALTH MOVEMENT:  
PERSECUTION OF PATIENTS?
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)
9.
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)



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