16, 2014
Crisis: Cheney, Tories, Pills, CIA, ISIS, Torture, Propaganda
  "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

Torture, ‘Meet the Press’ and Cheney’s Quest for

The Tories’ plan for poor people: stop them breeding
Prescribing ever more pills is bad for the public's health
 4. The CIA tortured Abu Zubaydah, my client. Now charge
      him or let him go

 5. ISIS—the New Israel
Cheney on Torture: Lying or Ignorant?
War by Media and the Triumph of Propaganda

About ME/CFS


This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, December 16. It is a crisis log.

There are 7 items with 7 dotted links: Item 1 is on Cheney; item 2 is on the Tories who try the poor to stop breeding; item 3 is on medicine (which I think is thoroughly sick, and made sick by Big Pharma); item 4 is about the CIA; item 5 is about ISIS (and a parallel with Israel that I mostly reject); item 6 is about torture (and Cheney); and item 7 is about the media and propaganda, and makes some good points.

And here goes:

1. Torture, ‘Meet the Press’ and Cheney’s Quest for Revenge

The first item is an article by Dan Froomkin on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:

Dick Cheney gave no ground in his “Meet the Press” interview on Sunday, but he did something arguably even better: He bared his twisted soul.

Parrying questions from Chuck Todd with what he must have figured were winning talking points about the 9/11 terror attacks, Cheney unwittingly demonstrated how profoundly he has renounced fundamental American concepts of morality and justice.

Cheney’s most telling response was to Todd’s questions about people who were detained completely by mistake but who were nevertheless tortured — in at least one case to death.

You have to be something other than a normal human being not to be troubled by that.

But Cheney’s response was: “I’m more concerned with bad guys who got out and released than I am with a few that, in fact, were innocent.”

And he would famously do it all again. “I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective,” he said. “‘I’d do it again in a minute.”

I say. I knew all that, I think, but it is nice to have it in a few short paragraphs. There is more under the last dotted link, but this is the essence.

2. The Tories’ plan for poor people: stop them breeding  

The next item is an article by Polly Toynbee on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

There can rarely have been a better fit for Ebenezer Scrooge than Iain Duncan Smith. He told Andrew Neil on the BBC’s Sunday Politics that he wants child benefit limited to a family’s first two children. It would save money and prompt “behavioural change”.

For a country already failing to replace its population, with just 1.9 babies per woman, dissuading child-bearing is a mistaken and nasty ambition. When Scrooge asks, “Are there no workhouses?” he is told that many would rather die than go into one. “If they would rather die,” Scrooge replies, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

Well... I much dislike Iain Duncan Smith, but I should say that I myself would
not object to a general fall in the population, nor object if this were done by
denying anyone to have more than two children.

My reasons are that I think 7 billion human beings on earth, with the present techniques of production and systems of extremely unequal distribution, is far
too much.

But I agree with Polly Toynbee that this is not at all what
Iain Duncan Smith is doing and saying: What he is doing is making the poor a lot poorer, so that he can make the rich richer, and what he is saying is - in effect - that only the rich should have the right to reproduce themselves.

What he is insisting on, in other words, is that there are two kinds of people in Great Britain: On the one hand, the human beings who are rich, usually since generations, white, well-educated, preferably Tory, who are allowed to try to get everything there is to get, and on the other hand the sub-human beings who are poor, who may not be white, who often are not well-educated, who rarely - unless very stupid or ignorant - are Tory, and who are not allowed almost anything (and get hardly any money anyway).

Of course, he doesn't say they are sub-human. He just treats them as if they are. In fact, here is Polly Toynbee again:

Some themes deep in the heart of Toryism just never go away. Up they pop, over and over. Control the lower orders, stop them breeding, check their spending, castigate their lifestyles. Poking, sneering, moralising and despising is hardwired within Tory DNA.

Yes, except that it is not their DNA, for one thing because they are nothing special intellectually or morally, nearly all of them: They just were born rich, inherited the attitudes of the rich, and now talk quite unrestrainedly (though not completely so), because they have the power, and use it to destroy as much of the welfare state and of human(e) decency as they can, because neither the one nor the other is profitable for them.

There is a considerable amount more under the last dotted link, and the title is well supported: Indeed the Tories want to prevent the poor from breeding.

3. Prescribing ever more pills is bad for the public's health

The next item is an article by Margaret McCarthy, who is a GP in Glasgow, on The Guardian:
This starts as follows - and this article is here because I am 36 years ill now while hardly getting any help, and from having researched medicine and psychiatry the last 4 years, which have taught me that both have grown extremely corrupt while psychiatry is a huge scam and a complete pseudoscience since 1980 (and also before, but on a far lesser scale, financially).

And no, the article is far from good, but here are a few bits with my comments:
Last week, we learned that 43% of men and 50% of women in England are taking at least one prescription medication. Of those surveyed by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, 22% of men and 24% of women are taking at least three.

In England alone, 2.7m prescription items are dispensed every day, adding up to a total cost of £15bn a year.

Is this a success story – that more people are living longer is at least in part due to pharmaceuticals – or a case of too much medicine prescribed too liberally?

Clearly, if you must ask: I have been ill now for 36 years, and I never took more than 2 prescription medicines, and one is to sleep - which I have to pay, at nearly 30 cents a day - and the other to see better, and by God's grace this get paid for me (at a cost less than the sleeping pills).

Also, clearly Big Pharma has been going after English doctors for at least a generation now, and seems to have most doing what Big Pharma wants: Endlessly prescribe expensive patented pills for extremely vague complaints, simply because that is most profitable - and f*ck the patients! (O yes!!)

There is this on "a change of attitudes":

We have left “doctor knows best” behind. Now it’s about discussing numbers and trying to make sense of whether the evidence is enough to make otherwise healthy people want to become patients.
First, if that is what you are doing as a GP, you are not acting as medical doctor but as a medical salesperson, out to sell as many expensive patented pills to your population of "patients" as you possibly can.

Second, what you call "evidence" really is not "evidence", in any sense tha term is used in philosophy of science, for it has been very much manipulated by Big Pharna, that now even completely owns all the data - and tends to publish only what supports their claims.

But the rise of preventative medication marks a shift from population health measures to an adventure in individual riskfactorology. Every 40- to 74-year-old in England is now offered a five-yearly health check. Of the people who attend (fewer than half do), about half end up on a statin – increasing the rate of prescription from 24.9% to 43.4%.

But we have no evidence that this health check intervention actually works. A Cochrane review and a recent randomised trial of a similar intervention in Denmark found no evidence of efficacy. Even Public Health England says that it is being done “in the absence of direct randomised controlled trial evidence to guide it”.
If this is the case - and indeed I have no reason to distrust you - this means that most English doctors are enriching themselves by poisoning their patients: Statins
are recent, expensive, and very probably were not properly researched by the pharmaceutical corporations that marketed it - but still nearly half of the 40-74
year old Britains are put on it by their doctors. For how much per patient per month for the doctor, I wonder?

There is also this, which indeed is a real danger, and probably larger than McCarthy thinks it is:

The other major problem we face is “polypharmacy” – people taking multiple medications that may react with one another. We know that about 6.5% of hospital admissions are due to the side effects of medication.
Again, this is mostly due to (i) gigantic overprescription - because the doctor profits from it (and f*ck the patient) and (ii) the minimal and often falsified medical research that is done to have a medicine patented - and please note that currently 1 in 15 hospital admissions are because of interactions of prescribed drugs.

McCarthy ends as follows, but does not say who the doctors are supposed to justify themselves to, as regards what they are not prescribing:

For too long the pressure has been on doctors to justify why they are not prescribing, rather than why they are.
I strongly suspect that these justifications "why they are not prescribing" are to Big Pharma and/or their weekly or bi-weekly visitor from them.

4. The CIA tortured Abu Zubaydah, my client. Now charge him or let him go

The next item is an article by Helen Duffy, who is a lawyer for Abu Zubaydah (who seems to be completely innocent, but has been jailed for 12 years now, and has been seriously tortured by the Americans), on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Even for those accustomed to the horrors of the CIA’s secret detention, torture and extraordinary rendition regime, the summary of the US Senate select committee on intelligence report makes chilling reading. It chronicles a systematic programme of prisoner torture and abuse, led by the CIA, but with the involvement of all levels of government and a multitude of other states. But it also reveals the extent of the misinformation surrounding the programme, and the pervasive sense of impunity that made it possible.
Yes, indeed. And this is about her client Abu Zubaydah:
Today, 12 years after he was captured and subjected to this torture by the CIA, Abu Zubaydah, our client, remains in unlawful detention at Guantánamo Bay. He has had no review of the lawfulness of his detention, no criminal charges laid against him, no trial (despite his US counsel making a plea for him to be tried, noting that even trial by military justice is better than no trial at all), and he is not slated for trial. Instead, the US baldly asserts the right to detain him indefinitely under supposed “law of war” detention. The Senate report notes that, after taking custody of Abu Zubaydah, CIA officers concluded that he “should remain incommunicado for the remainder of his life”. Thus far, that is effectively what has happened.
Indeed. There is considerably more under the last dotted link.

5. ISIS—the New Israel

The next item is an article by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is our Frankenstein. The United States after a decade of war in Iraq pieced together its body parts. We jolted it into life. We bathed it in blood and trauma. And we gave it its intelligence. Its dark and vicious heart of vengeance and war is our heart. It kills as we kill. It tortures as we torture. It carries out conquest as we carry out conquest. It is building a state driven by hatred for American occupation, a product of the death, horror and destruction we visited on the Middle East. ISIS now controls an area the size of Texas. It is erasing the borders established by French and British colonial powers through the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement. There is little we can do to stop it.

ISIS, ironically, is perhaps the only example of successful nation-building in the contemporary Middle East, despite the billions of dollars we have squandered in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its quest for an ethnically pure Sunni state mirrors the quest for a Jewish state eventually carved out of Palestine in 1948. Its tactics are much like those of the Jewish guerrillas who used violence, terrorism, foreign fighters, clandestine arms shipments and foreign money, along with horrific ethnic cleansing and the massacre of hundreds of Arab civilians, to create Israel. Antagonistic ISIS and Israeli states, infected by religious fundamentalism, would be irreconcilable neighbors. This is a recipe for apocalyptic warfare. We provided the ingredients.

Well... yes and no. There is a lot more under the last dotted link, most of which seems to be based on a talk Chris Hedges had with Loretta Napoleoni, and mostly about ISIS, but I will leave that to your interests.

Here I merely explain why I said "
yes and no" to the quoted two paragraphs, which I also precede by the remarks that I have never been to Israel nor to any Arabic country, and do not know the languages either. This will be the case for most of my readers also. (It does make a considerable difference.)

As to paragraph 1: I broadly agree that ISIS is the outcome of especially American interference in Iraq, and that it is in quite a few ways like the American occupiers. Then again, I disagree with saying "We" ("bathed in blood") etc. simply because I did not and most Americans did neither. It seems to me you must criticize those who decided things and those who executed them, but avoid tarring everybody in the nation with the same pitch. Cheney did it, Rumsfeld did it, Bush did it, Bremer did it etc. etc. and they did it from American tax money - OK. But most Americans, whether they are deceived into thinking these are noble true Americans or not, did not do it. Period.

As to paragraph 2: There is this that directly compares the present day ISIS with the activities of the Jews who created the state of Israel in 1948:
"Its tactics are much like those of the Jewish guerrillas who used violence, terrorism, foreign fighters, clandestine arms shipments and foreign money, along with horrific ethnic cleansing and the massacre of hundreds of Arab civilians, to create Israel."
Well...there are parallels, but there also are huge distinctions, though indeed, not having any religious faith whatsoever, I agree it was a mistake to try to create Israel. But then again, (1) this was also immediately after WW II in which over 6 million Jews were murdered as much worse than cattle and (2) the Jews were special, since many centuries also, for not having a country of their own [2], while also (3) the Israel that was originally founded - mistakenly, I agree - was very much different from Netanyahu's modern Israel, that indeed I much dislike, because it does appear as very close to religiously based totalitarianism, and (4) the amount of violence was a lot less - if reprehensible, I agree - than what ISIS engages in.

Anyway...there is a lot more under the last dotted link.

6. Cheney on Torture: Lying or Ignorant?

The next item is an article by David Corn on Mother Jones:
This starts as follows:

On Sunday, days after the release of the Senate torture report, former Vice President Dick Cheney appeared on Meet the Press to defend the Bush-Cheney administration's use of harsh interrogation practices and to deny that these methods were torture. It was a typical no-retreat/no-surrender performance by Cheney. Asked by host Chuck Todd to define torture, Cheney repeatedly said torture was what happened on 9/11: "what the Al Qaeda terrorists did to 3,000 Americans." That is, he defined torture as an act of mass violence that targets civilians.

This was a confusing, non-logical talking point that Cheney gripped tightly. Yet on the specific matter of waterboarding—which he defended—Cheney simply resorted to false statements. He insisted that waterboarding "was not torture."
Clearly, Cheney was lying about torture: Waterboarding is torture, according to very many courts also, while terrorism, which is what happened on 9/11, is not torture. (But a man like Cheney seems to lie always, on camera.)

There is also this:
Cheney insisted the extreme interrogation practices "absolutely did work," though the Senate report offers numerous examples of instances when torture did not yield pivotal information and did not contribute to thwarting attacks. Cheney asserted that waterboarding in the defense of the United States is no vice.
Either Cheney lies or else the Senate's report lies. I take it Cheney lies, and he certainly lied when he said that waterboarding is no vice.

It ends thus:
"We did the right thing," Cheney told Todd. But for more than a decade now, Cheney has been peddling false information to the American public: Saddam was amassing WMDs to use against the United States, Iraq had obtained aluminum tubes so it could create a nuclear weapon, a 9/11 ringleader met with an Iraqi intelligence officer. And now: Torture wasn't torture, and it worked. After all that—though he's still afforded elder statesman status by much of the media—he probably deserves derision more than rebuttal.
Clearly, Cheney is an enormous liar. I don't think he deserves derision, but he does deserve opposition, especially since he seems to have the GOP with him,
as strong supporters of torture.

7. War by Media and the Triumph of Propaganda

The next and last item for today is an article by John Pilger (<- Wikipedia) on Truthout:
This has the following summary
The times we live in are so dangerous and so distorted in public perception that propaganda is no longer, as Edward Bernays called it, an "invisible government." It is the government.
No, precisely because the vast majority believe most of the bullshit they are fed daily by their trusted media. Pilger is quite right it is nearly all propaganda, also amidst an enormous amount of - sometimes quite important - subjects that simply are hardly or never mentioned, but it still is mostly invisible to most, and it is not seen nor identified as propaganda, except by a few, who rarely are admitted in the mainstream media.

It  starts as  follows:

Why has so much journalism succumbed to propaganda? Why are censorship and distortion standard practices? Why is the BBC so often a mouthpiece of rapacious power? Why do The New York Times and The Washington Post deceive their readers?

Why are young journalists not taught to understand media agendas and to challenge the high claims and low purpose of fake objectivity? And why are they not taught that the essence of so much of what's called the mainstream media is not information, but power?

These are urgent questions.
Yes, indeed. And although it pains me, I must suppose that most questions can be answered along the following lines (also noting my father and grandfather were two of the very few who went into the resistance against the Nazis in Holland, for which both were severely punished by the Nazis): The vast majority of those presently employed in journalism doesn't care, as long as they are reasonably paid, and indeed have been elected as journalists precisely for that reason.

There is also this:

The times we live in are so dangerous and so distorted in public perception that propaganda is no longer, as Edward Bernays called it, an "invisible government." It is the government. It rules directly without fear of contradiction, and its principal aim is the conquest of us: our sense of the world, our ability to separate truth from lies.

The information age is actually a media age. We have war by media; censorship by media; demonology by media; retribution by media; diversion by media - a surreal assembly line of obedient clichés and false assumptions.

This again fails to make the distinction I started with: Most ordinary people just do not see that what they are fed by the mainstream media is propaganda. Also, the problem is not with the media, as such, but with the majority of the men and women who rule the mainstream media, and who decide what will and will not be served forth by the media, and in which fashions it will be served forth to the mostly unsuspecting and naive and mostly ignorant public.

Then there is this, which is quite good and quite serious:

In 2003, I filmed an interview in Washington with Charles Lewis, the distinguished American investigative journalist. We discussed the invasion of Iraq a few months earlier. I asked him, "What if the freest media in the world had seriously challenged George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld and investigated their claims, instead of channeling what turned out to be crude propaganda?"

He replied that if we journalists had done our job, "There is a very, very good chance we would have not gone to war in Iraq."

There is considerably more on this issue in the article (that originally was a speech) and I think Pilger, Lewis and others are quite right about this - which
also shows that by 2001 the mainstream media had been taken over by the propagandizers, which again is not to say all were, but most who decided what would be published and not be published were.

Here is a final quote:

Why are millions of people in Britain persuaded that a collective punishment called "austerity" is necessary?

Following the economic crash in 2008, a rotten system was exposed. For a split second the banks were lined up as crooks with obligations to the public they had betrayed.

But within a few months - apart from a few stones lobbed over excessive corporate "bonuses" - the message changed. The mugshots of guilty bankers vanished from the tabloids and something called "austerity" became the burden of millions of ordinary people. Was there ever a sleight of hand as brazen?

Today, many of the premises of civilized life in Britain are being dismantled to pay back a fraudulent debt - the debt of crooks. The "austerity" cuts are said to be £83 billion. That's almost exactly the amount of tax avoided by the same banks and by corporations like Amazon and Murdoch's News UK. Moreover, the crooked banks are given an annual subsidy of £100bn in free insurance and guarantees - a figure that would fund the entire National Health Service.

The economic crisis is pure propaganda. Extreme policies now rule Britain, the United States, much of Europe, Canada and Australia. Who is standing up for the majority? Who is telling their story? Who's keeping record straight? Isn't that what journalists are meant to do?

Yes, indeed: Quite so. But unfortunately, the first three questions John Pilger asks must be answered by: very few, and the last by: not anymore, for most journalists these days that are being published by the mainstream media are quite happy propagandists and deceivers for the rich, who also pay them. And as the Dutch proverb has it:

"Whose bread one eats, that one's song one sings".

[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.)

[2] This also was part of the reasons, though not by far all of them, that
caused many centuries of widespread discrimination of the Jews: For one
thing, they were discriminated because they were not Christians, and for
another they could not go to other countries without risking further dis-
crimination. Then again, the idea that Israel - until 1948 a part of
Palestine - was theirs because this was said in the Torah seems a most
unhappy religious choice.

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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