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. UK Media Regulator Again
Threatens RT for “Bias”: This
Time, Airing “Anti-Western Views”
2. Is Isis the ultimate
evil? They would love you to think so
3. Noam Chomsky: Edward
Snowden a True Patriot Who
Should be Honored
Official Confirms Obama's AUMF Intentionally
Ambiguous to Allow Broad War
Police: Mercenaries for the American Police State
This is a Nederlog of
March 4, 2015.
This is a crisis blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1 is about the rise of state censorship - o yes!
- in Great Britain; item 2 is about Isis and the
current impossibility to have a rational debate (!!) in Great
Britain about it; item 3 is about Chomsky's
praising Snowden, and about Chomsky's saying that the primary aim of
the NSA is "to control the population (as I have been saying since
2005, and I give a translation of the last bit of my 2005 article); item 4 is about Obama's opening the way for his doing
all manner of warlike things without any Congress interference; and item 5 is on a frightening development in the U.S.:
there are now twice as many "private policemen" who have
the powers but lack the accountability (such as it is) of the
1. UK Media Regulator Again Threatens RT
for “Bias”: This
Time, Airing “Anti-Western Views”
today is an article by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
I would say it ought to be very
clear that the “Office of
Communications” (Ofcom) was intended to do censorship. For
clearly (1) no public media are
In 2001, Her Majesty
Queen Elizabeth II used the
occasion of the annual “Queen’s Speech” to unveil a new
statutory proposal to regulate all media
operating in her realm, one provision of which was the
creation of the “Office of Communications” (Ofcom) to monitor and
punish television outlets which
exhibit “bias.” In 2008, the BBC heralded the
Queen’s Speech as “one of the high points of the parliamentary
calendar, unrivalled in its spectacle and tradition,” as the monarch
“delivers the speech from the grand throne in the House of Lords.” The
press monitor’s Twitter account boasts: “We
keep an eye on the UK’s telecoms, television, radio and postal
industries to make sure they’re doing the best for all of us.”
free from "bias", indeed of many kinds (to be sure: in a real
freedom of opinion and publication are maintained), and (2) this is
also as it ought to be (in a real democracy), simply
because everyone should have the right to hear or read all
opinions, and to make up his or her own mind, for his or her own
But not according to Queen Elizabeth II: She wants "to monitor and punish television outlets" that do not properly enough reflect her
bias. Besides, she seems to insist that the people of Ofcom can
think, but ordinary British citizens cannot think, and should only
get those materials that steer them in the direction of the Queen's
And as Glenn Greenwald states:
Ofcom has rarely
punished establishment British media outlets for “bias” even though the
British media is notoriously and slavishly loyal to the state and other
British political and financial elites. Just last week, Guardian editor
Seumus Milne noted:
academic study after
another has demonstrated . . . . from the coverage of
wars to economics, [the BBC] has a pro-government, elite and
corporate anchor. The BBC is full of Conservatives and former New
Labour apparatchiks with almost identical views about politics,
business and the world.”
Quite so. But there is a
contrast, that I present to you in three quotations, pulled from
considerably more (and you can check the original article under the
last dotted link):
By rather stark
contrast, Ofcom has repeatedly threatened the Russian-state television
outlet RT with revocation of its license.
I am sorry, and Glenn
Greenwald does not say so, but to me the last point - "they are prohibited by law from publicly
discussing these threats" - seems to
Today, Ofcom announced a new
“bias” investigation into RT. The offense this time, according
to the Guardian, is the broadcasting of “anti-western
comments in a late-night discussion on Ukraine.”
Unfortunately, RT told the
Intercept this morning that it was barred by Ofcom regulations
even from commenting on this new investigation. Not only are they being
threatened for the crime of airing “anti-western views,” but they are
prohibited by law from publicly discussing these threats.
me a fascist law. To attack RT because it is "biased", while pretending
the BBC is not, is plain bullshit, that
should be discussed - but to legally forbid that this bullshit is being
discussed in public is the beginning of fascism.
And as Glenn Greenwald does state:
compel media “objectivity” is always about imposing a very
specific and subjective agenda masquerading as impartiality.
Which is totalitarian.
There is considerably more under the last dotted link.
That is the classic hallmark
of how a government propagandizes its citizens: ensuring that they hear
only those views of which the government approves and which serve its
interests and agenda.
2. Is Isis
the ultimate evil? They would love you to think so
item is an article by Owen Jones on The Guardian:
This seems to confirm what Glenn Greenwald
said in item 1, for it is concerned with the following supposed fact (that is -
seem - part of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's preferred bias):
(Isis) is now the iconic demon, the stuff of nightmares – which is
exactly what it wants, of course.
The point is this:
Here’s an example
from a recent column in a British newspaper: “In Isis
we are observing a level of atrocity towards mankind that, post-Nazism,
we hoped we would never again witness.” Really? What about Pol Pot and
his killing fields? The mass murder of a million communists in
Indonesia in the 1960s, which turned rivers red with blood? The war in
the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which killed up to 6 million
people and featured mass cannibalism? The US carpet
bombing of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia?
Yes, indeed: Compared to
the many millions cruelly killed in the above mentioned mass horrors,
Isis did not do much. That is: they very probably are quite capable of
mass murders on a horrific scale, but so far they have not
The frightening part is
the last paragraph of the article (here quoted minus the last
conversation about causes and possible solutions is all but impossible.
We must simply say that Isis is evil in its rawest form, apparently
more evil than anything that has gone before, and leave it at that.
Bombs and prisons: that’s the only legitimate response, and anyone who
says otherwise is an apologist, a traitor or both.
But that is evil
to me: To exclude the possiblity of having a "rational conversation", and to insist one
can, in the current Great Britain, only repeat
such biased propaganda
as the British government deigns to admit is
morally degenerate and evil.
Chomsky: Edward Snowden a True Patriot Who Should be Honored
item is an article by Andrea Germanos on CommonDreams:
This starts as follows:
Quite so - and indeed
you can watch this interview with Chomsky, with some other interviews
with him, on Democracy Now!
Noam Chomsky said that
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden
is a true patriot who revealed vast surveillance programs that have
nothing to do with combating terrorism.
The noted intellectual
made the comment in an extended interview
with Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman which aired Tuesday.
Chomsky said Snowden
should be welcomed back to the country from Russia, where he has
received asylum, with honors because he "carried out the obligations of
American citizens of what their government is doing to them. That’s
exactly what a person who has real patriotism, not the flag-waving
type, but real patriotism, would do. So he should be honored, not just
allowed back," Chomsky said.
"It’s the people in the
government who should be on trial, not him," he continued.
But he said more, and that seems quite important to me:
Precisely! And as I have been saying since 2005 (in
Dutch): Combatting "terrorism" never was the primary aim of the
NSA. "Terrorism" was the
Chomsky added that
neither the surveillance system Snowden exposed nor the drone
program—despite claims by officials—have combating terrorism as their
NSA programs are "intended
to control the population," he said.
pretext under which the secret services started
stealing absolutely everything they could lay their hands on, which
they did because they want the U.S.government to be the most powerful
government in the world - which it
can only be if (1) it knows everything its inhabitants
(and anyone else) thinks or wants or desires, and if (2) it can
get rid of the limitations that the Constitutional Rights imposed on
the U.S. government.
And here is the ending of the article I wrote on October 29, 2005, translated to
English (and the bolding is in the original):
principle that I use is very clear, very understandable, and exists
since ages, and can be found in texts that even a [minister of justice]
Donner and [prime minister] Balkenende must have read for their
university examinations: The best and often the only defense
against state terrorism is a maintained state of law without a secret
police, with habeas corpus, without imprisonment merely on suspicion,
without a special kind of crimes against the state, whether or not
these are called "terrorism", without systematic suveillance, espionage
and the breaking of the secrecy of letters, with freedom of expression,
including those opinions that go against current ideas or laws.
I still think so. And
the dangers are far greater than I thought ten years ago, for
as Snowden revealed, the NSA, the GCHQ and other secret services are pirating
any computer anywhere for any
Because by far the greatest and most dangerous
terrorist organizations are and always were the police and the secret
services of states. Always, during all of known history.
Official Confirms Obama's AUMF Intentionally Ambiguous to Allow Broad
item is an article by Sarah Lazare on Common Dreams:
This starts as
Obama administration official confirmed on Tuesday that the White
House's proposed Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) in
the war on ISIS was left intentionally vague to allow for expansive—and
potentially limitless—presidential war-making powers.
Since the AUMF was submitted
to Congress last month, it has been the topic of debate within and
beyond Washington, DC. Many have raised concerns about its broad terms,
which impose no geographic limitations, broadly define the "enemy,"
allow for deployment of ground combat forces, and leave the controversial
2001 AUMF intact.
O that great
democratic president Obama! Here is some more on him:
The Obama administration
has waffled on just how extensive the powers granted in the proposed
AUMF are. When he initially
submitted the proposal on February 11, Obama claimed it "would not
authorize long-term, large-scale ground combat operations like those
our Nation conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan."
As I have meanwhile
said quite a few times: What the president says and what the
president does are far too often in conflict not
to infer that he intentionally says one thing, and intentionally
does the opposite thing. And indeed:
However, White House
Press Secretary Joshua Earnest stated
the same day that the proposed AUMF's language was left intentionally
vague because "we believe it's important that there aren't overly
burdensome constraints that are placed on the commander in chief."
For the White House does not
want constraints on the commander in chief, as regards wars, drone
killings, locking people up without trial etc. etc. What could possibly
be against that? Well.. this, as Sarah Lazare very correctly points out:
Critics have warned
that, if the 2001 AUMF is any indication, ill-defined language will be
abused to wage potentially global war.
Passed after the
September 11th attacks, the 2001 legislation has been invoked by the
Bush and Obama administrations to authorize the ongoing war in
Afghanistan; covert drone wars in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia;
military intervention in countries from Ethiopia to Iraq; and
indefinite detentions at Guantanamo Bay and Bagram prison.
Police: Mercenaries for the American Police State
The final item for today is an article by John Whitehead on
This starts as
America is using police forces as their mercenaries.”—Ray
Lewis, Retired Philadelphia Police Captain
It’s one thing to know
and exercise your rights when a police officer pulls you over, but what
rights do you have when a private cop—entrusted
with all of the powers of a government cop but not held to the same
legal standards—pulls you over and subjects you to a
stop-and-frisk or, worse, causes you to “disappear” into a Gitmo-esque
detention center not unlike the one employed by Chicago police at Homan
For that matter, how do
you even begin to know who you’re dealing with, given that these
private cops often wear
police uniforms, carry police-grade weapons, and perform many of the
same duties as public cops, including carrying out SWAT team
raids, issuing tickets and firing their weapons.
This is the growing
dilemma we now face as private police officers outnumber public
officers (more than two to one), and the corporate elite transforms the
face of policing in America into a privatized
affair that operates beyond the reach of the Fourth Amendment.
Part of the problem
is that there are more private than public police officers; the
ones are far less constrained; and there is a considerable overlap
between the private and the public police.
There's also this:
Second, these private
contractors are operating beyond the reach of the law. For example,
although private police in Ohio are “authorized
by the state to carry handguns, use deadly force and detain, search and
arrest people,” they are permitted to keep their arrest and
incident reports under wraps. Moreover, the public is not permitted to “check
the officers’ background or conduct records, including their
use-of-force and discipline histories.” As attorney Fred
Gittes remarked, “There
is no accountability. They have the greatest power that
society can invest in people — the power to use deadly force and make
arrests. Yet, the public and public entities have no practical access
to information about their behavior, eluding the ability to hold anyone
There is considerably
more under the last dotted link, including this:
In fact, the Department
of Justice has been one of the most vocal advocates for the benefits
that private security—which has twice the budget and manpower as their
government counterparts—can provide in partnership with public police.
And private policemen are
almost completely without rules...