February 1, 2015
Crisis: Guantánamo, Trade Deal, Assange, Justice Deferred, Blogging, Medicine
  "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
   -- Benjamin Franklin
   "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


1. How Guantánamo Diary Escaped the Black Hole and Got
     Past the Censors (Mostly)

2. The Worst Trade Deal You Never Heard Of
Glimmer of Hope for Assange
Justice Deferred Is Justice Denied
Blogging Isn't Dead. But Old-School Blogging Is Definitely

6. not their round… 


This is a Nederlog of Sunday, February 1, 2015.

This is a crisis log.
There are 6 items with 7 dotted links: Item 1 gives some background to the Guantánamo Diary that was recently published; item 2 is by Robert Reich on the TTP (repeated from yesterday, with the excellent video); item 3 is about Julian Assange's plight; item 4 is about the massive judicial
American scams that keep enriching the richest; item 5 is about the supposed
end of "old-school blogging"; and item 6 is about the many corruptions in
medical science (by a medical scientist).

1. How Guantánamo Diary Escaped the Black Hole and Got Past the Censors (Mostly)

The first item today is an article by Cora Currier on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:

The first word of Guantánamo Diary is a black bar.

The book, in which Guantanamo detainee Mohamedou Ould Slahi tells of his odyssey through overseas prisons and his torture and abuse by the US and its counterterrorism allies, is pockmarked with redactions left by military censors.

The diary was finally published last week, more than nine years after Slahi wrote it, and it jumped onto bestseller lists. But the details of how his lawyers fought for its release are still under seal – highlighting the secrecy that still surrounds everything to do with the U.S. military prison and the 122 men who remain there.

“The starting point is that everything that Mohamedou says, like anything that any Guantanamo detainee says, is considered classified and has to be cleared by the government,” said Hina Shamsi, the director of the National Security Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, who was involved in the negotiations for the manuscript’s release.

That "everything that Mohamedou says, like anything that any Guantanamo detainee says, is considered classified and has to be cleared by the government"
makes this American concentration camp look even more like a Nazi concentration camp, I like to point out - and yes, I know more about Nazi concentration camps than most, because my grandfather was murdered there, and my father survived more than 3 years, 9 months and 15 days there, all because they were arrested as "political terrorists" in 1941, in occupied Holland (where they also got convicted as "political terrorists" by Dutch judges, who were never punished or prosecuted, and continued as judges after Holland was freed in 1945).

There is considerably more under the last dotted link.

2. The Worst Trade Deal You Never Heard Of

The next item is an article + a video by Robert Reich on his site:
This starts as follows:
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, now headed to Congress, is a product of big corporations and Wall Street, seeking to circumvent regulations protecting workers, consumers, and the environment. Watch this video, and say “no” to fast-tracking this bad deal for the vast majority of Americans.
The rest is a very good quite brief (2 min 26 sec) video:

Alternatively (it works in KompoZer, but the above does not get uploaded in Holland, I do not know why):
And please note that the reason you never heard of the TPP (as you probably haven't, unless you followed the alternative free press pretty well) is that Obama's government - that is very strongly for this utterly sick degeneracy -
has classified everything about it: everything is secret. (See also item 1.)

3. Glimmer of Hope for Assange

The next item is an article by Gustavo Capdevila on Commom Dreams:
This starts as follows:

There is a window of hope, thanks to a U.N. human rights body, for a solution to the diplomatic asylum of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, holed up in the embassy of Ecuador in London for the past two and a half years.

Authorities in Sweden, which is seeking the Australian journalist’s extradition to face allegations of sexual assault, admitted there is a possibility that measures could be taken to jumpstart the stalled legal proceedings against Assange.

I say. The problems are - as far as I can see - that (1) the "allegations of sexual assault" are ill founded and based on "crimes" that are only "crimes" under Swedish law, and nowhere else, while also (2) the Swedes have done nothing effective to proceed with the case for 2 1/2 years now, and (3) also have not said that Assange will not be handed to the United States (4) who want him on charges of "espionage" because he did a real journalist's job (while the U.S. hope to lock him up for life, it seems).

And here is the "glimmer of hope"
talked about in the title:
The final report by the U.N. Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR), adopted Thursday Jan. 28 in Geneva, Switzerland, contains indications that a possible understanding among the different countries concerned might be on the horizon.
That is: There are "indications" that there "might" be "a possible understanding".

I must say that seems to be a very, very tiny glimmer - but OK.

Here is what Assange's defence team (led by Balthasar Garzón, who was a judge in Spain) says:

Assange’s legal defence team complains that Sweden’s public prosecutor’s office is delaying the legal proceedings and refuses to question him by telephone, email, video link or in writing.

Garzón noted that parallel to the lack of action by the Swedish prosecutor’s office, there is a secret U.S. legal process against Assange and other members of Wikileaks, the organisation he created in 2006.

“The origin of the U.S. legal proceedings against Assange was the mass publication by Wikileaks of documents, in many cases sensitive ones, which affected the United States,” said Garzón.

Yes indeed: That is the "real crime" Assange is accused of (doing a journalist's job which - these days - is supposed to equal the crime of "espionage" according to Obama and his government, who want to keep secret anything that might make trouble or cause serious opposition, and who largely succeeded in this).

There is considerably more in the article, and I hope it is right, but at the speed with which the Swedes move, they
"might" arrive at some "possible understanding", around 2040 or so - if Assange has not been evicted from the Ecuadorian Embassy by then, which is what the Swedes have been playing for the last 2 1/2 years. (Or so it seems to me.)

4.  Justice Deferred Is Justice Denied

The next item is an article by Jed S. Rakoff on the New York Review of Books:
In fact, this is a review of the book "Too Big to Jail: How Prosecutors Compromise with Corporations" by Brandon L. Garrett. It starts as follows:

So-called “deferred prosecutions” were developed in the 1930s as a way of helping juvenile offenders. A juvenile who had been charged with a crime would agree with the prosecutor to have his prosecution deferred while he entered a program designed to rehabilitate such offenders. If he successfully completed the program and committed no other crime over the course of a year, the charge would then be dropped.

The analogy of a Fortune 500 company to a juvenile delinquent is, perhaps, less than obvious. Nonetheless, beginning in the early 1990s and with increasing frequency thereafter, federal prosecutors began entering into “deferred prosecution” agreements with major corporations and large financial institutions. In the typical arrangement, the government agreed to defer prosecuting the company for various federal felonies if the company, in addition to paying a financial penalty, agreed to introduce various “prophylactic” measures designed to prevent future such crimes and to “rehabilitate” the company’s “culture.” The crimes for which prosecution was thus deferred included felony violations of the securities laws, banking laws, antitrust laws, anti-money-laundering laws, food and drug laws, foreign corrupt practices laws, and numerous provisions of the general federal criminal code.

To me, this seems THE way to protect the abuses, thefts, and corruptions from the richest degenerates there ever have been, and make sure they can happen again, and again, and again, and again - see the next paragraph - but then I am neither an American nor rich.

There is a lot more in the article, including a brief history of Pfizer's degeneracies, who got three of these "deferred prosecutions" - in 2002, in 2004, and in 2007, that harmed none of their managers and took only a little of their profits (I do hope they thanked Eric Holder!), that are dealt with in some detail in the article, after which this happened:

Despite these three consecutive deferred prosecution agreements requiring enhanced compliance, in 2009 Pfizer, the parent company, was detected engaging in the same lucrative but flagrantly illegal marketing activities, including bribes to doctors to promote off-label uses of Pfizer’s drugs, bribes to medical journals to publish articles promoting such uses, and much more. And how did the Department of Justice deal with the fact that, despite all the prior deferred prosecution agreements and promises of enhanced compliance, the same illegal marketing activities had now come to pervade the parent corporation itself?

The government did not prosecute the senior executives who were alleged to have known of, in some cases orchestrated, and in other cases covered up these illegal activities. Instead, the Department of Justice entered into still another deferred prosecution agreement with Pfizer by which it paid penalties of $2.3 billion—which the government trumpeted as the largest criminal fine ever imposed to that date, but which analysts suggested was a small fraction of the profits derived from the illegal activity—and by requiring still further compliance improvements.
But this is an article well worth reading in full, even though I think both Jed Rakoff and Brandon Garrett seem a bit too kind to this completely evident total legal corruption that keeps effectively delivering tens of billions of dollars to completely corrupt managers, on the scheme of (my words):

"we don't prosecute you; we offer you complete legal freedom of any guilt, though we know you engineered it all, if only you promise us to mend your ways and hand us over a relatively small part of your enormous profits - for we have to live too"

- but then they are American, and I am not, and this may force them to be
more careful with what they say. (I don't know, though.)

5. Blogging Isn't Dead. But Old-School Blogging Is Definitely Dying

The next item is an article by Kevin Drum on Mother Jones:
This starts as follows (and no, I don't have any idea who Andrew Sullivan might be, and I also don't feel like finding out):
With Andrew Sullivan giving up his blog, there are fewer and fewer of us old-school bloggers left. In this case, "old school" pretty much means a daily blog with frequent updates written by one person (or possibly two, but not much more).
I suppose I am interested, for I have now a website for over 18 years, and I
have "blogged" there (is the term, it seems) since August 2004 [1]. This was until 2010 mostly in Dutch (and the blog is part of my much larger site), but from 2010 onwards the blog (like most of my site) was written in English (almost totally: there are a few Dutch pieces, but not many).

And yes, I suppose my blog is
"old school": it is a daily blog, and it gets written by just one person (me) who also is ill since 1.1.1979 (with M.E., that is not supposed to exist in Holland, so I am now for the 37th year physically ill, but since the disease is unexplained, psychiatrists - English and American ones - have decided that there are no unexplained diseases (they said, I did not) for which reason everyone with any unexplained disease is ... insane, and the Dutch bureaucrats have accepted that, because that is the cheapest solution. [2]

Anyway, here are Kevin Drum's reasons why he thinks "old-school blogs are definitely dying" (gathered from various places in the article):
  • traffic is now driven far more by Facebook links than by links from fellow bloggers
  • multi-person blogs, which began taking over the blogosphere in the mid-aughts, make conversation harder
  • conversation has moved on: first to comment sections, then to Twitter and other social media
  • blog readers are casual readers (...) So keep it short and focused.
  • professional blogs prefer to link to their own content, rather than other people's
  • most conversation now seems to have moved to Twitter.
I say. Well... it is a fact that I often "link to [my] own content", but there are over 300.000 links on my site, and most are to pieces that are not on my site.

Apart from that it seems to me that people are less and less well educated (since the middle 1960ies, in fact, at least in Holland), and therefore more and more ignorant (o yes!), and indeed most do love Facebook and Twitter, with which I do not want to do anything, and indeed am neither a member of nor a subscriber to, and never have been, and never will be (unless my IQ drops 50 points or more): these are for the very stupid, the eagerly surveilled, or for those who want to be vastly popular by any means - and I just don't like them at all.

Kevin Drum also says:

Personally, I miss old-school blogging and the conversations it started. But I also recognize that what I'm saying about Twitter is very much what traditional print journalists said about blogging back in the day. You have to respond within a day! You have to make your point in 500 words or less!
Actually - except for two sites for patients, that I rapidly left, and some sites for programmers - I absolutely never "started a conversation" on the internet, I must admit.

So in fact it seems "old-school blogging" is dying, because the internet is getting fully democratized, and the fully democratized only communicate in Twitter bits
and on surveilled Facebook "sites", where they are all vastly liked by hundreds, thousands or tenthousands of "friends", and their articles (?) usually are "
in 500 words or less!" Triumph of intelligence!

O Lord! (But I do blog on, whether or not the blog is dying. Not everyone is an idiot, after all.)

6. not their round…

The last item today is an article by 1 boring old man (in fact: a mostly pensioned psychiatrist with a good mind):

This starts as follows:
When I open a medical journal and look at an article, there’s something called a by-line under the title that lists the authors of the article, usually with some little subscripts that lead to a footnote that lists the academic institutions they represent. Sometimes there’s one name. Sometimes it looks like a small army. But until a few years ago, I assumed that those were the people who wrote the article. And it’s also my assumption that the article wouldn’t have been published in a peer-reviewed journal if it wasn’t submitted as written by a peer.

Now, we’ve arrived at a point in time where the published results from a number of these articles are being questioned, and the broad consensus is that the raw data from these articles needs to be reanalyzed by independent investigators. It’s not just an academic interest that drives this call for reanalysis. It’s because these drugs remain in wide use based on the efficacy and safety results published in those articles – often certified by the FDA in the drug approval process.

And yet when we read about the process of making this data available in articles such as the one below, nowhere are the authors on that by-line mentioned, nor the academic institutions they represent, nor the peer-reviewed journals that published the original articles – nor, for that matter, do we hear about the clinical research centers where the studies were conducted, nor the clinical research organization that oversaw the studies, nor the medical writing  companies that wrote the articles. All we hear about are the sponsoring pharmaceutical companies we know collectively as PHARMA (...)
Yes, indeed - and this is why I cannot trust many doctors of medicine anymore, since I found out, mostly because I am ill and cannot get any help for 37 years now, that much of the "medical research" that gets published was not written by the medical Key Opinion Leaders who sign them, but by propagandists employed by Big Pharma, and that most of the data that their supposed "evidence-based medical science" is based on, these days in fact the private property of Big Pharma, who do not like most others to see these data, for they might use this for conclusions that do not agree with Big Pharma's (financial) interests.

For me, that is the end of medical science as a real science - and it ended somewhere in the 1990ies - it seemed in part also driven by the successes of the DSM-III, that was in fact an utter fraud, but got welcomed as A Renovation Of Psychiatry, and allowed psychiatrists to go really wild on prescribing - very expensive, patented, often quite doubtful - medicines to hundreds of millions of people. (Read the second and third paragraph above again, in case you doubt this.) [2]

And no, I don't distrust my own G.P. nor most Dutch medical doctors I have seen (though I do not have a high opinion of most, although I do of some).

It is just that it seems to me that real medical science has been strangled by the financial interests of the extremely well paid managers of Big Pharma, and there really are no means left to base a rational judgement about many of the experiments that medical science is (or: was) based on: You need all the facts for that, but you may not see these, for they are - it is claimed, also on very shaky grounds - the property of Big Pharma.

All you have left is "Trust Us", but since I am not religious (and the financial interests run into tens or hundreds of billions of dollars!) I cannot.

[1] I more or less know what a blog is, and I write one (that is in fact now going on since 2004 and is over 250 MB on my own harddisk, though probably some 40 MB less on the site), but I must also point out that I have always denied that I am "a journalist" and also have always insisted that I just state my own opinions (but that I do quite honestly indeed), and that is all I do.

[2] Actually, I am not insane, nor mad, nor a psychiatric patient. In fact, I am a psychologist with one of the best M.A.s ever awarded, and I also hold an excellent B.A. in philosophy (worth 3 years of studying: this was in the old days, while presently you are nearly a Ph.D, after three years of studying, that is,  supposing you are a bit intelligent). All of this was also done while I was ill, which also prevented me from leaving Holland, and from accepting any job. (But I am still not regarded as ill, after being physically ill since 1.1.1979, because that is much cheaper for the bureaucrats and the - anyway very, very rich - Dutch politicians.)
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