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. Net Neutrality Is Here —
Thanks To an Unprecedented
Guerrilla Activism Campaign
2. Why Does the FBI Have to
Manufacture its Own Plots if
Terrorism and ISIS Are Such
tactics at US police
'black site' ring alarm from
Chicago to Washington
in D.C.: FCC Votes in Favor of New Net Neutrality
NAFTA Could Spoil a Keystone XL Rejection
How Many Constitutional Rights Have We Lost?
7. This is early, for I am going to cycle
This is a Nederlog of Friday,
February 27, 2015.
This is a crisis blog and there are 7 items in it with 6 dotted links: Item 1 and item 4 are about net
neutrality (that was passed); item 2 is about the
FBI; item 3 is about the black site employed by the
Chcago police; item 5 is about the Keystone pipe
line veto (that may still be upset); item 6 is a -
long and thorough - article about the major decline in constitutional
rights in the U.S. and item 7
is a brief explanation why I am glad that I can go cycling this
afternoon. (In part: Because I just couldn't, from 1998-2013: I was too
miserable and ill).
1. Net Neutrality Is Here — Thanks To an
Unprecedented Guerrilla Activism Campaign
The first item
article by Lee Fang on The Intercept:
This starts as
follows (and "this morning" is on February 26, 2015):
This morning, the Federal
Communications Commission voted to guarantee the open Internet through
so-called net neutrality rules, and with it, forged ahead with one of
the biggest policy accomplishments of the Obama administration.
“This is probably the
most important ruling in the history of the FCC,” says Tim Karr,
campaign director for Free Press.
Net neutrality, a
principle that all Internet traffic must be treated equally, was a
founding concept for the web. But many Internet service providers have
attempted to change that. Cell phone companies have attempted to block apps that could compete with
their services and cable companies have pressed for paid prioritization, seeking extra income by
forcing users to pay for faster connections to select websites.
I say! Well, this is
Really Good News, it seems. And as to the attempts sketched in the last
There is also this:
Now, with the FCC voting
to reclassify Internet access providers under Title II of the
Communications Act, net neutrality rules are stronger than ever. The
credit for such a seachange, say activists who agitated for the
decision, belongs to a mix of online and traditional activism.
To be sure,
telephone and Internet companies are likely to try to undermine the
rules that were voted on today.
But it seems the
first and the biggest fight has been won. There is more under the last
dotted link, and the fight isn't over yet, but this is a good
2. Why Does the FBI Have to Manufacture its Own
Plots if Terrorism and ISIS Are Such Grave Threats?
item is an article by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This starts as
media outlets yesterday trumpeted
the agency’s latest counterterrorism triumph: the arrest of three
Brooklyn men, ages 19 to 30, on charges of conspiring to travel to
Syria to fight for ISIS (photo of joint FBI/NYPD press
conference, above). As my colleague Murtaza Hussain ably
documents, “it appears that none of the three men was in any
condition to travel or support the Islamic State, without help from the
FBI informant.” One of the frightening terrorist
villains told the FBI informant that, beyond having no money, he
had encountered a significant problem in following through on the FBI’s
plot: his mom had taken away his passport. Noting the bizarre and
unhinged ranting of one of the suspects, Hussain noted
on Twitter that this case “sounds like another victory for the FBI over
the mentally ill.”
In this regard, this latest
arrest appears to be quite similar to the overwhelming majority of
terrorism arrests the FBI has proudly touted over the last decade.
Yes, indeed. Glenn
Greenwald also quotes from an article he and Andrew Fishman wrote last
The known facts from
this latest case seem to fit well within a
now-familiar FBI pattern whereby the agency does not disrupt
planned domestic terror attacks but rather creates them, then
publicly praises itself for stopping its own plots.
Precisely - and this
is in fact a very dangerous strategy: the FBI (and the CIA, the
NSA, the GCHQ etc.) should be forbidden to create (apparent) "domestic terror attacks", for then they can (and do) secretly
create the terror they themselves are supposed to secretly
Glenn Greenwald also says:
Precisely - and you should, in
a free and democratic state, not prosecute
people for the opinions they hold. You may disagree with them,
One can, if one really
wishes, debate whether the FBI should be engaging in such behavior. For
reasons I and many
others have repeatedly argued, these cases are unjust in the
extreme: a form
of pre-emptory prosecution where vulnerable individuals are targeted and
manipulated not for any criminal acts they have committed but rather
for the bad political views they have expressed. They end up sending
young people to prison for decades for “crimes” which even their
sentencing judges acknowledge they never would have seriously
considered, let alone committed, in the absence of FBI trickery.
and point out why they are mistaken (in your opinion), but that's it,
as it remain mere opinions (as they usually are, also often of very
young men with little education).
But Glenn Greenwald puts the question aside, and instead discusses how
real "the threats of terrorism" are, and points out - among other
things - that there have been nearly 120,000 gun murders in the
U.S. between 2002 and 2011, while there were no more than around 3000
victims of terrorism, and nearly all on 9/11.
I'll leave that to your interests, but I do want to quote an UPDATE
that was later added, because it seems as if the FBI's assistant
director has learned from Hermann Goering:
The ACLU of Massachusetts’s Kade Crockford notes this
extraordinarily revealing quote from former FBI assistant director
Thomas Fuentes, as he defends one of the worst FBI terror “sting”
operations of all (the Cromitie prosecution we describe at length here):
If you’re submitting
budget proposals for a law enforcement agency, for an intelligence
agency, you’re not going to submit the proposal that “We won the war on
terror and everything’s great,” cuz the first thing that’s gonna happen
is your budget’s gonna be cut in half. You know, it’s my opposite of
Jesse Jackson’s ‘Keep Hope Alive’—it’s ‘Keep Fear Alive.’ Keep
That is the FBI’s
terrorism strategy — keep fear alive — and it drives
everything they do.
And this is one possible
source for it:
"It works the same in every
tactics at US police 'black site' ring alarm from Chicago to Washington
item is an article by Spencer Ackerman, Zach Stafford, Mark Guarino,
and Oliver Laughland on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
There is a lot more in
The US Department of
Justice and embattled mayor Rahm Emanuel are under mounting pressure to
investigate allegations of what one politician called “CIA or Gestapo
tactics” at a secretive Chicago police facility exposed by the Guardian.
civil-rights groups across the US expressed shock upon hearing
descriptions of off-the-books interrogation at Homan Square, the
Chicago warehouse that multiple lawyers and one shackled-up protester likened to a US counter-terrorist black site in a
Guardian investigation published this week.
As three more people came
forward detailing their stories of being “held hostage” and “strapped”
inside Homan Square without access to an attorney or an official public
record of their detention by Chicago police, officials and activists said
the allegations merited further inquiry and risked aggravating wounds
over community policing and race that have reached as high as the White
4. Victory in D.C.: FCC Votes in Favor of New Net
item is an article by Kasia Anderson on Truthdig, with some further
details on the event reported in item 1:
This starts as follows:
OK - and this last
decision ("It is
reclassifying Internet service as a Title II telecommunications
service, a regulatory designation akin to that of a utility") is one I missed in the other report.
Score one for net
neutrality advocates, and strike one for big telecom and cable
companies—not to mention a good many Republicans.
Communications Commission voted Thursday, on a 3-2 tally, to approve
the new guidelines for Internet regulation that FCC Chairman Tom
Wheeler proposed Feb. 4.
Also read: The
Activists Won: FCC Chairman Proposes Strongest-Ever Protection of
The vote represents a big
victory for supporters of a more open Internet than many vested
corporations would prefer, as Variety reported after the announcement:
The FCC’s approach is
one favored by many public interest groups, Hollywood content creators
and a large number of web companies including Netflix and Twitter: It
is reclassifying Internet service as a Title II telecommunications
service, a regulatory designation akin to that of a utility.
Is the battle over? No:
divided 3-2 vote on Thursday may not spell the end of a decade-long
debate over net neutrality but a new period of contentiousness. The
FCC’s approach is strongly opposed by cable and telecom companies which
provide wired and wireless Internet service, along with congressional
Republicans who have already launched hearings and inquiries into the
But the beginning of the
present article ("Score
one for net neutrality advocates, and strike one for big telecom and
cable companies—not to mention a good many Republicans") is accurate.
How NAFTA Could Spoil a Keystone XL Rejection
item is an article by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows - and
this explains in part why I was skeptical about Obama's rejection of
the Keystone pipeline (also in part because Obama is a strong
proponent of the horrible - and secret - TTP and
TTIP, that bring
much more of the same as NAFTA did):
And the problem with
NAFTA (and the TTP and the TTIP) gets explained by Senator Elizabeth
Warren as follows, in a recent op-ed in The Washington Post:
cheered this week when President Barack Obama vetoed
a Congressional bill approving the Keystone XL
pipeline, and urged him to stand up for the climate and fully reject
TransCanada's tar sands pipeline project.
Yet if that rejection
happens, observers point out that it could put a costly burden on U.S.
That's because of the
corporate-friendly North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Imagine that the
United States bans a toxic chemical that is often added to gasoline
because of its health and environmental consequences. If a foreign
company that makes the toxic chemical opposes the law, it would
normally have to challenge it in a U.S. court. But with ISDS, the
company could skip the U.S. courts and go before an international panel
of arbitrators. If the company won, the ruling couldn’t be challenged
in U.S. courts, and the arbitration panel could require American
taxpayers to cough up millions — and even billions — of dollars in
damages. If that seems shocking, buckle your seat belt. ISDS could lead
to gigantic fines, but it wouldn’t employ independent judges. Instead,
highly paid corporate lawyers would go back and forth between
representing corporations one day and sitting in judgment the next.
In fact, that is a very
"If the pipeline
is actually vetoed on so-called environmental grounds, I think there is
a very strong case for a NAFTA challenge," former Canadian ambassador
to the U.S. Derek Burney, a senior negotiator on the landmark North
American trade deal and its U.S.-Canada predecessor, said in an
There is more in the
article, that ends as follows, with a quote from Lori Wallach, who is
the director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch:
record of damage, it is equal parts disgusting and infuriating that now
President Barack Obama has joined the corporate Pinocchios who lied
about NAFTA in recycling similar claims to try to sell the
Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is NAFTA-on-steroids.
Quiz: How Many Constitutional Rights
Have We Lost?
item for today is an article by Washington's Blog on his site:
This starts as follows (colors in the
It is the beginning of a long,
thoughtful article with many links, that I leave to your interests.
This is a brief quotation from near the end:
How Many Constitutional Freedoms Have We Lost?
This post explains the
liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights – the first 10 amendments to
the United States Constitution – and provides a scorecard on the extent
of the loss of each right. (This is an updated version of an essay
we wrote in February. Unfortunately, a lot of information has come
out since then.)
Indeed, the federal
government is doing everything it can to stick its nose into every
aspect of our lives … and act
like Big Brother.
Conclusion: While a few
of the liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights still exist, the vast
majority are under heavy
This is early, for I am going to cycle
This is merely
to explain the title of this section: I heard yesterday on the radio
that it will be dry and sunny in Amsterdam today, which indeed so far
it is, and
so I decided to go cycling this afternoon.
This may not sound like much to most - indeed it isn't
- but I have not been able to cycle since 1998 (I think
- anyway: since the previous millenium) and did not have a bike till
September 2013, when I started again, and have since kept this up
(carefully, and not more than an hour maximally, and not more than
maximally twice a week).
You ask why I was so miserable for at least 15 years?
Because mayor Van Thijn of Amsterdam did not answer any
of my mails about the Amsterdam corrupt city police, who helped the illegal
that were given illegal "personal permission" by Van Thijn to
deal illegal drugs from the bottom floor in the house where I
lived (not where he lived); illegal drugsdealers who
threatened me repeatedly with murder when I complained about their
noise, that the City police refused to take any complaint about, for
years on end; who tried to gas me and almost succeeded (I did fall
unconscious to the floor); and who were defended ever since, even
when they were arrested with 2 kilos of heroin and 1 kilo of cocaine in
the summer of 1991, by everyone who worked in any
capacity for the City of Amsterdam (where most of the at least
10 billion euros only in marijuana and hashish that are turned
over illegally in Holland each year since the 1980ies).
And because no official medical doctor - employed by the City
of Amsterdam - saw it fit to rule that I was ill, in spite of the fact
that I fell ill on 1.I.1979 as a first year student, and finished with
a 9.3 average (out of maximally 10) with an M.A. in psychology. I did
not even get 10 euros a week to clean my house, and
mayor Cohen, like mayor Van Thijn, pretended for nearly 10 years
that I do not exist, and certainly deserve no answer
for being gassed, for being threatened with murder, and
for not being able to sleep properly for nearly four years.
So yes...it is pretty amazing I am still alive, and well enough
is also why I think illegal drugsdealing was and is the main business
that is being done in Amsterdam since 30 years - billions of illegal
euros turned over each year - simply because it is extremely
profitable to very many, and is being presided by the mayor,
the aldermen and the lawyers of the City of Amsterdam, who act like
criminals every since Van Thijn started it his illegal
protection of illegal drugsdealers. (Can there be done anything
about it? Not by the Dutch: They profited far too much, far too
long, and are far too corrupt.)