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. Greece faces banking crisis
after eurozone meeting
2. How Jeffrey Sterling Took on
the CIA — and Lost
3. All 50 US states fail to meet
global police use of force
standards, report finds
Dems' in House Blasted as Fast Track Fight
Heads Back to Senate
5. Fast Track Ping Pongs Back to
the Senate As the
is a Nederlog of Friday June 19, 2015.
is a crisis blog. There are 5 items with
5 dotted links: Item 1 is about Greece, where there
may be a banking crisis next week; item 2 is about
Sterling, who got 3 1/2 years in prison because (his judge said) he did
not plead guilty and admitted no wrongdoing (?!); item 3
is about the very many failures
in proper police rules in all US states; and item 4
and item 5 are both about
the TPP (and the TTIP and the TiSA) which are all secret laws
that make multi-national corporations much more powerful than governments,
will allow them to prosecute governments for any law or rule they make
the corporations do not like.
1. Greece faces banking crisis after
eurozone meeting breaks
item is an article by Ian Traynor and Phillip Inman on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Greece is facing a
full-blown banking crisis after a meeting of eurozone finance ministers broke down in
acrimony and recrimination on Thursday evening, bringing the prospect
of Greek exit from the eurozone a step nearer.
I say. There is considerably
more in the article, but I take it we will know
Some €2bn of deposits have
been withdrawn from Greek banks so far this week – including a record
€1bn yesterday – triggering fears that a breakdown in talks would spark
a further flight of funds. The German leader Angela Merkel, French
president François Hollande and Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras
agreed to stage an emergency EU summit on Monday as a last critical
attempt to prevent Greece going bankrupt. A representative of the European Central Bank told the meeting it was
unsure whether Greek banks would have the funds to be able to open on
more next week.
Meanwhile, I have two observations:
(1) since governments can get money at virtually zero interest, and
since it concerns relatively small sums (some billions of Euros), I
don't think it is about the money: it seems to be about power, and
(2) probably most European leading politicians do not like the
present leftist Greek government.
It remains to be seen whether the European Union wants to risk a
wider crisis by trying to force Greece out of the EU. I think this
stupid, but then again I think that most of them are, not because they
unintelligent, but because they have too much personal power and - in
fact - they have hardly any personal responsibility whatsoever
(as long as
they keep their sex lives with chamber maids etc. secret).
More next week.
How Jeffrey Sterling Took
on the CIA — and Lost Everything
item is an article by Peter Maass on The Independent:
This starts as follows:
THIS IS HOW
it ended for Jeffrey Sterling.
There is rather a lot more in
the article (that I didn't like much, but that
A former covert officer
for the Central Intelligence Agency, Sterling sat down in a federal
courtroom with a lawyer on either side, looking up at a judge who would
announce in a few moments whether he would go to prison for the next 20
years. A few feet away, three prosecutors waited expectantly, hoping
that more than a decade of investigation by the FBI would conclude with
a severe sentence for a man who committed an “unconscionable” crime, as
one of them told the judge.
In Sterling’s blind spot,
behind his left shoulder, his wife tried not to sob so loudly that the
judge would hear. A social worker, she had been interrogated by FBI
agents, her modest home was searched, she had been made to testify
before a grand jury, and she had given up her hopes for an ordinary
life — a child or two rather than the miscarriages she had, a husband
who could hold a job, a life that was not under surveillance, and
friends who were free of harassment from government agents asking for
information about her and her husband.
One of Sterling’s lawyers
stood up to ask for leniency. Sterling was a good person, the lawyer
said, not a traitor. He was the first in his family to graduate from
college. After leaving the CIA, he worked as a healthcare investigator
and won awards for uncovering millions of dollars in fraud. He loved
his wife. He did not cause any harm and did not deserve to be locked up
until he was an old man for talking to a New York Times reporter about a classified program
that he believed had gone awry. Please let the sentence be fair, the
may be just me: I didn't like the style).
(<- Wikipedia) was accused of being James Risen's
(<- Wikipedia) source, but there was no real evidence. He
also was proscecuted under the Espionage Act as a traitor, again with no
He risked a jail sentence of 19 to 24 years, and was convicted to 3 1/2
years of prison, because the judge
said there was "no
more critical secret" than revealing the identity of a man working with
the CIA, and that Sterling deserved a harsher penalty than other recent
leakers because he had not pleaded guilty or admitted wrongdoing.
This last quotation is not
from the article, but from the Wikipedia lemma on
Sterling. Also, indeed Sterling is not a
four-star general, like David Petraeus, and he also is black,
and he committed the crime - his judge said - of saying he was not
guilty and that he did nothing wrong. (So pleading not guilty
now is a crime ?!?!)
All 50 US states fail to meet global police use of force standards,
item is an article by Oliver Laughland and Jamiles Lartey on The
This starts as
Every state in the US
fails to comply with international standards on the lethal use of force
by law enforcement officers, according to a report by Amnesty
International USA, which also says 13 US states fall beneath even lower
legal standards enshrined in US constitutional law and that nine states
currently have no laws at all to deal with the issue.
The stinging review comes
amid a national debate over police violence and widespread protest
following the high-profile deaths of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri;
43-year-old Eric Garner in New York; 50-year-old Walter Scott in South Carolina; and
25-year-old Freddie Gray in Baltimore – all unarmed black
men killed by police within the past 11 months.
Amnesty USA’s executive
director, Steven Hawkins, told the Guardian the findings represented a
“shocking lack of fundamental respect for the sanctity of human life”.
if that "human life" happens to be the life of a black person,
it may be added.
There is considerably
more in the article, including this:
Amnesty found that
in all 50 states and Washington DC, written statutes were too broad to
fit these international standards, concluding: “None of the laws
establish the requirement that lethal force may only be used as a last
resort with non-violent means and less harmful means to be tried first.
The vast majority of laws do not require officers to give a warning of
their intent to use firearms.”
I say. And there is
investigation into deaths at the hands of law enforcement officers in
the US has so far documented 515 people killed by police
this year. The statistics reveal that black people are more than twice as likely as
white people to be unarmed during fatal encounters with police, and
show that black Americans are killed by police at more than twice the
rate as white Americans.
This means that for all
of 2015 there will be over 1000 people killed in the U.S. by the police
(supposed to be there "to serve and protect"), which is nearly
3 each day.
4. 'Turncoat Dems' in House Blasted as Fast
Track Fight Heads Back to Senate
item is by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
There is more in the article,
but I admit it is not easy to understand or predict.
Drawing the swift ire of
progressives around the country, the U.S. House of Representatives on
Thursday took a step to revive President Barack Obama's faltering
corporate trade agenda, passing Fast Track, or Trade Promotion
Authority, in a 218-208
lawmakers voted in favor of Fast Track, which would make it easier for
Obama to ram through controversial trade deals like the Trans Pacific
Partnership, reducing the role of Congress to an up-or-down vote on
such mammoth agreements.
"Thanks to House
Republicans and a handful of turncoat Democrats, the army of corporate
execs and industry lobbyists who wrote the job-killing Trans-Pacific
Partnership will now have an easier time shoving it down the throats of
an American public that's broadly opposed to more NAFTA-style trade
deals," Democracy for America chair Jim Dean said after the vote.
"While we will continue to work to defeat fast-track for the
job-killing TPP in the U.S. Senate, we will never forget which House
Democrats stood with American working families against Fast Track and
who sold them out."
Then again, it is very important that the TPP, the TTIP and the
TiSA - all secret proposed "laws" - are stopped, for if
they are not stopped, multinational corporations will be much
more powerful than (democratic) governments, and can sue them
as they please, e.g. simply because the corporations expected
their profits to be higher than they were: Sue the government; let the
case be settled, in secret, by corporate lawyers; and let the
taxpayers pay for their governments' laws that harmed the expected
profits of the multinational corporations.
Therefore, I included another article on the same subject:
Fast Track Ping Pongs Back to the Senate As the Administration's
item for today is an article by Jeremy Malcolm on the Electronic
This starts as follows:
If you're finding
it hard to follow the machinations over the Fast Track bill, you're not
alone—even Washington insiders are finding it hard to predict the
administration's next move, as it changes from day to day. As of this
morning, the House of Representatives has passed the Fast Track or
Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill—but not the associated Trade
Adjustment Assistance (TAA) bill that is a precondition of accepting
Fast Track for pro-trade Democrats. This means that it's now up to the
Senate to pass both bills if they can, and then to send TAA back to the
House, on the strength of the assurance of Republican leaders that they
will pass it there too—and that President Obama will wait to see both
bills on his desk before he signs either.
This is fairly clear -
but in fact it is more complicated, as the article tries to explain.
For those who want to understand more: Here is the end of the article:
And note please that the
TPP - like the TTIP and the TiSA - is secret, and also
Read about all of our
concerns with the TPP:
designed to remain secret for four or five years after they are
This is Obama handing the multinational corporations all the powers
they please to have, for Obama is very much for the
TPP, the TTIP, and the TiSA, and he let
corporate lawyers write these laws, and he kept them secret,
and even forbade all members of Congress to make notes if they
read them, or to discuss them with others.
And that is what all these shenanigans are about:
Secret laws that cannot be discussed, that give
the multinational corporations far more powers than governments,
that were written by
working for these corporations, but that have to remain secret
until four or five years after they are passed.