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. Alan Rusbridger: Home
Office must not remove right to
2. Our ‘impartial’
broadcasters have become mouthpieces
of the elite
Cyber Proposals Sound Good, But Erode
Dispatches from the War on Terror: Ex-CIA Officer
John Kiriakou Speaks
5. The Dire State of Our Nation
(What You Won’t Hear from
This is a Nederlog of
January 21, 2015.
This is a crisis log. It has 5 items and 5 dotted links: Item
1 is about the dangers to real - investigative, free, uncontrolled
- journalism, as stated by Alan Rusbridger; item 2
is about an article by George Monbiot that shows there is hardly any
impartial broadcasting left in England; item 3 is
Dan Froomkin on Obama's latest proposals to effectively spy on
everyone; item 4 is about an interview with John
Kiriakou (the only CIA agent who got imprisoned - mostly because he
protested torture); and item 5 is a fine article by
John Whitehead, that I copied all because I think this ought to be
better known (and no: Whitehead's opinions you will not read or
about in America's main media).
There also probably will be a crisis log tomorrow, though that may
be dedicated to my own opinions, for I realized I have been part of two
enormous social experiments, each of which lasted 35 years, and I do
want to compare these.
(I don't know yet: I am doing fairly well at the moment, but I do need
to sleep well to write out the idea that I just mentioned.)
1. Alan Rusbridger: Home Office must not
remove right to
The first item today is
article by Ewen MacAskill on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Yes, indeed, though
perhaps too soft and friendly, for while Alan Rusbridger is saying
Journalism will be
changed forever if the Home Office goes ahead with a proposal to remove
the right to protect anonymous sources, the Guardian’s editor, Alan
Rusbridger, warned in a speech on Monday.
He also expressed concern
that the right to confidentiality that lawyers, doctors, MPs, priests
and others in the church are supposed to enjoy is also under threat.
His comments came the day before the deadline for responses to the Home
Office consultation paper on extending police powers.
“Journalism, which relies
on unauthorised sources for much that is good and valuable, would be
changed forever in this country,” Rusbridger said. “That’s not
something to sneak in in a few paragraphs of an obscure Home Office
He added: “These are
things that are core to how we live and work in a free country. It
cannot be for a few security officials in the Home Office to overthrow
“These are things
that are core to how we live and work in a free country. It cannot be
for a few security officials in the Home Office to overthrow them.”
it are precisely a few -
unelected - security officials who have overthrown the "core" of "how we live and work in a free
Also, while Alan Rusbridger is saying that
relies on unauthorised sources for much that is good and valuable,
would be changed forever in this country”
he might as well have
said that The Guardian's journalism will be killed, and will be
replaced by a paper that has no choice but to offer constant applause
for anything the government does, or wants, or says, all sauced by
articles that are meant to amuse the readers, written by "journalists"
who deserve to be called whorenalists, but without any serious crticism
of anything English, and also without any serious investigative
It will be the end of the free state, but that fact also will be lost
under "no criticism" and "lots of amusements for the readers'
enjoyment", together with the continued insistence of the governors
that they "have been democratically elected" (in England?!) so
everything must be fine and dandy, and no one should complain one bit
that all of his computers and all of his cellphones are under
continuous surveillance of the secrer members of the secret servives,
unless of course "they have to hide something" from the very benevolent
and quite anonymous secret services, who are to defend the country from
"terrorism" (which is anything thus called by Our Beloved Political
Leaders Who Mean Very Well).
Am I exaggerating? Well... we aren't there yet, quite, but if it is up
to David Cameron or Sir Malcolm Rifkind, this is the press they
Well behaved; always mirroring the government's opinions; quite
thankful also that they have been given "that freedom" to agree; no
investigative journalism whatsoever (that is not fully controlled by
and known to, and also possibly secretly manipulated by the secret
services); and even full of articles that praise "The Freedom Of
Our Proud West", that are being threatened by evil terrorists, but are
always saved by Our Heroes from Our Secret Services (who alas have to
remain anonymous, but know everything about anyone, and
Praise The Lord).
As to Sir Malcolm Rifkind, there is this:
especially scathing about the role of the parliamentary intelligence
committee, headed by former Conservative foreign secretary Sir Malcolm
Rifkind, which keeps tabs on the MI6, MI5 and GCHQ. Rifkind
“occasionally pops up on radio when there are terror outrages or
demands for greater powers. It is not always clear from his tone
whether he regards himself as a regulator or an advocate on behalf of
the agencies he oversees”.
He clearly is an
advocate for MI6, MI5 and
GCHQ and never was anything else.
It is conceivably possible Rifkind knows the meaning of "civil
liberties", but then the reason for that must be that he has
consistently helped the secret services to undermine these.
But Rifkind is not important. What is important is Rusbridger's
Journalism will be
changed forever if the Home Office goes ahead with a proposal to remove
the right to protect anonymous sources (..)
Free journalism will be
killed, as will be any free state with protected civil liberties: There
is no real democracy without a really free press.
2. Our ‘impartial’ broadcasters have become
The next item is an article by
George Monbiot on The Guardian:
This starts with a
story about gross corruption in the CBC, which is Canada's counterpart
to the BBC. If you want to check this out, use the above dotted link.
This is summed up by Monbiot as follows:
I agree the story about
the CBC is "symptomatic of
a much wider problem in journalism", which is very worrisome (and see item 1), and I also agree that the root of the problem
among journalists is that "those
who are supposed to scrutinise the financial and political elite are
embedded within it", but I
disagree they do this "often
unwittingly" - come on!
This is grotesque. But
it’s symptomatic of a much wider problem in journalism: those who are
supposed to scrutinise the financial and political elite are embedded
within it. Many belong to a service-sector aristocracy, wedded
metaphorically (sometimes literally) to finance. Often unwittingly,
they amplify the voices of the elite, while muffling those raised
These are not stupid people, these are not uneducated
people - all that is the matter with them is that they are corrupt, and
have been corrupted by money, which is a very easy motive to
understand, and works on nearly everyone. 
But here is a list of points that George Monbiot makes, generally with
a lot more text, that is here left out and replaced by "(...)":
- A study by academics at
the Cardiff School of Journalism examined the BBC Today programme’s reporting of the bank
bailouts in 2008. It discovered that the contributors it chose were
“almost completely dominated by stockbrokers, investment bankers, hedge
fund managers and other City voices. (...)
- The same goes for
discussions about the deficit and the perceived need for austerity. The
debate has been dominated by political and economic elites, while
alternative voices – arguing that the crisis has been exaggerated, or
that instead of cuts, the government should respond with Keynesian
spending programmes or taxes on financial transactions, wealth or land
– have scarcely been heard. (...)
- The BBC’s business
reporting breaks its editorial guidelines every day by failing to
provide alternative viewpoints (...)
- On BBC News at Six, the
Cardiff researchers found, business representatives outnumbered trade union representatives by 19 to one.
- Another study reveals a
near total collapse of environmental coverage on ITV and BBC news (...)
I agree - except for
the fact that I really cannot believe that the people who do
the above, do so "often unwittingly" (but then I suppose I may have a very bad
character, that does not easily trust such noble journalists and such
noble members of the elites, who also have so much to gain by their own
corruptions) - while
I do not doubt there are very many more such examples.
Here is the last line
of George Monbiot's article:
If even the public
sector broadcasters parrot the talking points of the elite, what hope
is there for informed democratic choice?
None whatsoever, I
agree. And if it is up to David Cameron and Malcolm Rifkind, either The
Guardian will be closed soon, or it will have to fundamentally change
all its principles to be allowed by the British government (!) to serve
The Cause of Freedom And To Fight Terrorism (as by that time may be The
Duty Of Anyone English).
Meanwhile, this is an
interesting article that I recommend you read all of.
3. Obama’s Cyber Proposals Sound Good, But Erode
next item is an article by Dan Froomkin on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
The problem is "if you cut through the spin": Very few do. Here is a small part of
Dan Froomkin's sum-up:
The State of the Union
address President Obama delivers tonight will include a slate of cyber
proposals crafted to sound like timely government protections in an
era beset by villainous hackers.
They would in theory help
the government and private sector share hack data more effectively;
increase penalties for the most troubling forms of hacking; and require
better notification of people when their personal data has been stolen.
But if you cut through the
spin, it turns out that the steps Obama is proposing would likely
erode, rather than strengthen, information security for citizens and
computer experts trying to protect them.
In brief, Obama's
"solution" for the gigantic problems with spying on everyone,
which is done both by his NSA (etc.) and by very many
American firms (Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Verizon etc. etc.)
though indeed not for quite the same reasons as the NSA, is to propose
... more spying and fewer punishments (for spies, you must understand).
The explanation for the
mismatch between Obama administration goals and policy is,
unfortunately, a familiar one: The pull of moneyed corporate interests.
“The reason why we don’t
have any serious proposals on the table that would improve
cybersecurity,” says Soghoian, “is because big companies don’t actually
want to be held accountable.” And Obama “doesn’t want to take on big
of Commerce and National
Retail Federation are among the biggest fans of the proposals. And
that’s a feature, not a bug.
By offering liability
protection in return for something companies are doing already, Obama
is not only protecting them from consequences, he’s even encouraging
companies to spy on users more than they do already, knowing they
couldn’t get in trouble anymore.
Again, this is a good article that I recommend you read all of.
Dispatches from the War on Terror: Ex-CIA Officer John Kiriakou Speaks
next item is an article by Andrew Jerrel Jones on The Intercept:
This starts as
John Kiriakou is the only
CIA employee to go to prison in connection with the agency’s torture
program. Not because he tortured anyone, but because he revealed
information on torture to a reporter.
Kiriakou is the
Central Intelligence Agency officer who told ABC News in 2007 that the
suspected al-Qaeda prisoners after the September 11 attacks, namely
Abu Zubaydah, thought to be a key al Qaeda official. Although he felt
at the time that waterboarding probably saved lives, Kiriakou
nevertheless came to view the practice as torture and
later claimed he
unwittingly understated how many times Zubaydah was subjected to
In January 2012, Kiriakou
was charged by the Justice Department for allegedly and repeatedly
disclosing classified information to journalists.
There is also this on
Kiriakou's background and future:
Kiriakou is not without
support from former colleagues. His friend and former boss, Bruce
Riedel, sent a letter to President Obama, signed by other CIA officers,
urging him to commute Kiriakou’s prison sentence. That did not happen.
A father of five
children, Kiriakou says the CIA asked his wife to resign from her job
at the agency immediately following his arrest, and he is in major debt
from his legal fees.
Kiriakou is is scheduled for
early transfer out of federal prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania on
The rest of this is mostly
the text of a telephone interview with Kiriakou, that is quite good. I
quote only one point, about responsibility, notably of Bush Jr.:
They knew about it all
the way up to the top. I remember sitting at a meeting with one of the
top three officials at the CIA when the program was approved. And
throughout the conversation, he kept on saying, “I can’t believe the
president signed off on that program. I can’t believe it.” He kept
saying it. Because it was so radical and violent that even internally
we didn’t think there would be permission forthcoming. And there was.
And it got out of hand, and it was a slippery slope and the ball kept
rolling down the hill. And the next thing you know, we’re killing
For more, use the
last dotted link.
Dire State of Our Nation (What You Won’t Hear from the Politicians)
The last item today is
article by John Whitehead, on Washington's Blog:
This starts as follows:
By John Whitehead, constitutional and human rights
attorney, and founder of the Rutherford Institute.
“As nightfall does not
come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a
twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such
twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air – however
slight – lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.” ― Supreme
Court Justice William O. Douglas
No matter what the
politicians say about how great America is and how we, as a people,
will always triumph, the fact is that the nation seems to be imploding.
Despite the dire state of
our nation, however, you can rest assured that none of the problems
that continue to plague our lives and undermine our freedoms will be
addressed by our so-called elected representatives in any credible,
helpful way, and certainly not during a State of the Union address.
Here is the rest of this
fine article, that I give in full because it seems mostly quite
adequate, though indeed it is not optimistic (but neither am I):
Consider the following
Our government is
massively in debt. Currently, the national debt is somewhere in the
vicinity of $18
trillion. More than a third of our debt is owned
by foreign countries, namely China and Japan.
Our education system is
abysmal. Despite the fact that we
spend more than most of the world on education ($115,000 per
student), we rank 36th
in the world when it comes to math, reading and science, far
below most of our Asian counterparts. Even so, we continue to insist on
programs such as Common Core, which teach students to be
test-takers rather than thinkers.
Our homes provide little
protection against government intrusions. Police agencies, already
empowered to crash through your door if they suspect you’re up to no
good, now have radars
that allow them to “see” through the walls of your home.
Our prisons, housing the
largest number of inmates in the world and still growing,
have become money-making
enterprises for private corporations that rely on the
inmates for cheap labor.
We are no longer a
representative republic. The U.S. has become a corporate oligarchy. As
a recent survey indicates, our elected officials, especially
those in the nation’s capital, represent the interests of the rich and
powerful rather than the average citizen.
We’ve got the most
expensive, least effective health care system in the world
compared to other western, industrialized nations.
pollution levels are dangerously high for almost half of the U.S.
population, putting Americans at greater risk of premature
death, aggravated asthma, difficulty breathing and future
amounts of money being spent on the nation’s “infrastructure,” there
than 63,000 bridges—one out of every 10 bridges in the country—in
urgent need of repair. Some of these bridges are used
250 million times a day by trucks, school buses, passenger cars and
know little to nothing about their rights or how the government is
supposed to operate. This includes educators and
politicians. For example, 27 percent of elected officials cannot name
even one right or freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment, while 54
percent do not know the Constitution gives Congress the power to
out of every three American children live in poverty,
ranking us among the worst in the developed world. 
Patrolled by police, our
schools have become little more than quasi-prisons in which kids
as young as age 4 are being handcuffed for “acting up,”
subjected to body searches and lockdowns, and suspended for childish
We’re no longer innocent
until proven guilty. In our present
surveillance state, that burden of proof has now been
shifted so that we
are all suspects to be spied on, searched, scanned, frisked, monitored,
tracked and treated as if we’re potentially guilty of some
wrongdoing or other.
Parents, no longer viewed
as having an inherent right to raise their children as they see fit,
are increasingly being arrested
for letting their kids walk to the playground alone, or play
outside alone. Similarly, parents who challenge a doctor’s finding or
request a second opinion regarding their children’s health care needs
are being charged
with medical child abuse and, in a growing number of cases,
losing custody of their children to the government.
property means little at a time when SWAT teams and other government
agents can invade your home, break down your doors, kill your dog,
wound or kill you, damage your furnishings and terrorize your family.
Likewise, if government officials can fine and arrest you for growing
vegetables in your front yard, praying with friends in your living
room, installing solar panels on your roof, and raising chickens in
your backyard, you’re no longer the owner of your property.
Court rulings undermining the Fourth
Amendment and justifying invasive strip searches have left
us powerless against police empowered to forcefully draw our blood,
forcibly take our DNA, strip search us, and probe us intimately.
Accounts are on the rise of individuals—men and women alike—being
subjected to what is essentially government-sanctioned rape by police
in the course of “routine” traffic stops.
Americans can no longer
rely on the courts to mete out justice. The courts were
established to intervene and protect the people against the government
and its agents when they overstep their bounds. Yet the courts
increasingly march in lockstep with the police state, while concerned
themselves primarily with advancing the government’s agenda, no matter
how unjust or illegal.
Americans have no
protection against police abuse. It is no longer unusual to hear
about incidents in which police
shoot unarmed individuals first and ask questions later.
What is increasingly common, however, is the news that the officers
involved in these incidents get off with little more than a slap on the
If there is any absolute
maxim by which the federal government seems to operate, it is that the American
taxpayer always gets ripped off. This is true, whether
you’re talking about taxpayers being forced
to fund high-priced weaponry that will be used against us, endless
wars that do little for our safety or our freedoms, or bloated
government agencies such as the National Security Agency
with its secret budgets, covert agendas and clandestine activities.
Rubbing salt in the wound, even monetary awards in lawsuits against
government officials who are found guilty of wrongdoing are paid by the
Americans are powerless
in the face of militarized police. In early America, government
agents were not permitted to enter one’s home without permission or in
a deceitful manner. And citizens could resist arrest when a police
officer tried to restrain them without proper justification or a
warrant. Daring to dispute a warrant with a police official today who
is armed with high-tech military weapons would be nothing short of
suicidal. Moreover, as police forces across the country continue to be
transformed into extensions of the military, Americans
are finding their once-peaceful communities transformed into military
outposts, complete with tanks, weaponry, and other equipment
designed for the battlefield.
Now these are not
problems that you can just throw money at, as most politicians are
inclined to do. As I point out in my book A
Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State,
these are problems that will continue to plague our nation unless and
until Americans wake up to the fact that we’re the only ones who can
For starters, we’ll need
to actually pay attention to what’s going on around us, and I don’t
mean by turning on the TV news, which is little more than government
propaganda. Pay attention to what your local city councils are
enacting. Pay attention to what your school officials are teaching and
not teaching. Pay attention to whom your elected officials are allowing
to wine and dine them.
Most of all, stop acting
like it really matters whether you vote for a Republican or Democrat,
because it doesn’t, and start acting like citizens who expect the
government to work for them, rather than the other way around.
While that bloated beast
called the federal government may not listen to you, you can have a
great impact on your local governing bodies. This will mean gathering
together with your friends and neighbors and, for example, forcing your
local city council to start opposing state and federal programs that
are ripping you off. And if need be, your local city council can refuse
to abide by the dictates that continue to flow from Washington, DC.
All of the signs point to
something nasty up ahead. The time to act is now.
I quite agree, apart
from some minor niggles (and I note the evidence is generally linked
in, and I left the links as they were).
Very few Englishmen read Dutch, but if you have read the Dutch NRC
Handelsblad for 40 years, as I have, namely from 1970-2010, and read
the present horror that goes by the same name, you may know what I
mean: At present, that paper mostly amuses its would-be
"academic audience" (with an IQ of ca. 105, I am afraid, these days)
and does so by means of a couple of totally untalented whorenalists
(the term I first read in a piece by the late W.F. Hermans) who excel
in just one thing: Making clowns' faces for the NRC's awful
website, I suppose again to amuse the readers, and to show how funny
Incidentally: That is also the explanation why the very great majority
of all the lecturers and all the professors of the University of
Amsterdam I knew between 1977 and 1995 - quite a lot: I did three
studies, and was ill all the time - had "great sympathy", "considerable
admiration", "a real interest" (etc. etc.) in ... Karl Marx.
The reasons were that (1) from 1971-1995 all Dutch universities
were in fact owned by the students (a totally unique
situation in the world) who were all that time for the most
part "very leftist" and "very much interested" (at least: they claimed
to be) in Marx, while (2) the lecturers and professors were all paid very
well by the state. This gave great opportinunities to study the
behavior of the corrupt - except that very few saw it that way, though
the very great majority of all
the lecturers and all the professors of the University of Amsterdam were
quite corrupt (as shown by the fact that all ceased to show any
interest in anything Marx had said from 1995 onwards, when the state
again reclaimed the universities).
Also, I should add that a very small minority of my lecturers
and professors were not corrupt - and they tended to be the
best, but they also either tended to be removed from the Dutch
universities quite soon or to shut up completely (Daudt, Van der
Grinten, Rentes de Carvalho, all in the University of Amsterdam).
I have also heard it is not 1/3rd but 1/2, which is 1/6th more. In
either case: it is absurd that 2/6th or 3/6th of the American
children these days are living in poverty - but they do, whether the
proportion is 2 in 6 or 3 in 6.