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. US torture report:
psychologists should no longer aid
Our Freedom with
Abandon - Robert Scheer
on Reality Asserts Itself
3. 71% of the World’s Population
Survives on Less Than $10
Warfare Against a Hegemonic Power’: The
Challenge and Promise of Greece
5. Caught Between 'Grexit' and
'Hell No' — Greece Submits
To Austerity's Knife
is a Nederlog of Sunday July 12, 2015.
This is a
crisis blog. There are 5 files with 5 dotted links: Item
1 is about the American Psychological Association and its -
effective - more than ten years
defense of torture and psychologists who took part in
torture (but the quoted response seems mistaken and wrong to me); item 2 is about interview nr 9 in a series of 10 that
Paul Jay did with Robert Scheer; item 3 is about
the amount of money most people who are alive at present can dispose
over (and some about the riches I receive...); item 4
is about an article by Ellen Brown on Greece, that I liked but that
gives little reason to be hopeful about Greece; and item
5 is about an article by Jon Queally that tries to hold the middle
between those advicing the Greeks about what they should do.
torture report: psychologists should no longer aid military, group says
The first article today is by Spencer Ackerman on The Guardian:
This continues an
article from the day before, that I reviewed yesterday (which gives some background
that I will not repeat again). The present article starts as follows:
I say?! You may
be a bit
amazed at my amazement, but then I am a psychologist (in terms of
degrees) and this seems the other extreme.
A representative of the
US’s largest professional association of psychologists, which is in the
throes of crisis after an independent review found it to be complicit in torture, has said psychologists
should no longer participate in US detentions and interrogations.
Nadine Kaslow, a former
president of the beleaguered American Psychological Association, told the
Guardian that psychologists should no longer aid the military at
Guantánamo Bay and elsewhere – in effect reversing more than a decade
of institutional insistence that such participation was responsible and
“I personally think the
council needs to adopt a policy to prohibit psychologists from being
involved in interrogation, people being held in military custody at
Gitmo and other sites,” said Kaslow.
For consider, according to
the American Psychological Association, the following is true:
So why would a former
president of the APA very suddenly insist psychologists should not
be present when persons are being interrogated by military specialists?
And - for example - insist that military specialists have no right
to deprive the persons they interrogate from sleep? And no right
to use violence?
- Psychology is a
- Psychologists are
thoroughly trained, intelligent, professional persons.
- Psychologists have
consciences and have their own professional ethics.
Note that my above conclusion depends on the three points that the APA
definitely presumes, if perhaps not precisely in my terms - but these
were also the terms under which I was educated (in
Holland) as a
psychologist. And indeed something similar would hold for
degreed medics and lawyers (though law is not a
science, in my opinion): it seems you want some of these professions
present, to see to it that those who are arrested and are being
interrogated are not
abused by their interrogators.
But not according to the quoted past president of the APA. Here
is some more on that opinion (and you can find out more about the
Hoffman report yesterday):
Note that it seems quite
clear to me that what Hoffman complained about (and seems to have
proved beyond reasonable doubt) are two things: (i) "numerous senior officials within the APA"
were corrupted by the Defense Department (that did pay the two
psychologists who seem to have designed its torture program with 80
million dollars) and (ii) indeed the main reason for being thus
That 542-page report, by
former federal prosecutor David Hoffman, found that numerous senior
officials within the APA aided torture by changing internal rules – and
collaborated with defense personnel in doing so – to permit
psychologists’ assistance. The APA further spent more than a decade
denying it had opened the door to abuses; aggressively misrepresenting
its collusion to the media and the public; and stifling internal
Hoffman found that APA
officials were motivated to collaborate with the Defense Department by
“the very substantial benefits that DoD had conferred and continued to
confer on psychology as a profession”. Collaboration was “enhanced by
personal relationships between APA staff and DoD personnel”, including
a marriage between an APA executive and “one of the military’s lead
psychologists who supported interrogations at Guantánamo Bay”.
“the very substantial
benefits that DoD had conferred and continued to confer on psychology
as a profession”.
I'd say this is a very strong fact-based argument against corruption
and its dangers; it is not an argument that would lead to
excluding professionals from witnessing the interrogation of prisoners
by trained military personnel (and saying
loudly: "No, you are going too far: you have no right to abuse
But not according Nadine Kaslow: She seems to think that the fewer
professional psychologists (and lawyers and medics) witness the
interrogations, the better this is, for their professional
reputations, and the professional reputations of their professional
I do not think so at all, for I do not trust military interrogators.
Then again, if a past president of the APA believes psychologists
are all too easily corrupted, and do not have
sufficiently strong individual consciences to protest the abuse of
prisoners, I say that if that is so, she ought to be for the
abandonment of psychology as a real science - for indeed, as I
psychology is not a real science (see the article of Paul
psychologists are not thoroughly trained (no one was,
educated as "a psychologist" in the University of Amsterdam
between 1978 and 1993, and I suppose it was no better in any other
And now I suppose one must add to the facts that psychologists are not
real scientists, and are not thoroughly trained professionals,
the fact - at least: according to the past president of the APA - that
American psychologists also
lack the consciences to practice the ethics they
learned as psychologists, because they are easily corrupted with
I don't say "No!" - remember: I have been trained as a
psychologist, and have made one of the best M.A.'s ever - but it
doesn't seem right to me.
Freedom with Abandon - Robert Scheer on Reality Asserts Itself (9/10)
The next article today is by Anonymous at The Real News Network:
To start with, I have
been looking for the text of this video for some days at Truthdig,
where it cannot be found. So I decided to try the website of
- lo and behold! - there it was.
The reason I was interested is that I like the interviews, and have
been reviewing the first 8 parts pf the series. Since I did so, and
since you can find the
last one here (where you also find
links to previous ones, and see the
index of Nederlog for 2015), I will once again jump in without
PAUL JAY: (..) Nine/eleven
was a critical moment in American history, obviously. It prepared the
conditions for something that many people in the elites and in the
military circles had been complaining about, which is it's going to be
very difficult to get over what they called the Vietnam syndrome. How
do we get America ready to go back to war again? And the attacks on
9/11 got people in the mood. You wrote a book called The Pornography of
Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America. How did
they do that?
Actually, this is a
theme that hasn't sufficiently been commented upon, also not in this
interview: the enormous differences that arose after the Soviet
Union collapsed in 1989. For until the collapse (that started in 1989
and took some years, viz. either to the end of 1992, when the Soviet
Union was laid to rest, or to 1999, when Yeltsin gave up power) there
were two enormous blocs with major armies and many atomic weapons who
were bound to destroy each other if engaged in a major war, while after
the collapse of the Soviet Union, the USA had essentially won.
ROBERT SCHEER, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: Well, it was
absolutely the moment of truth for our society. We had an enemy. We can
argue about did we have to have that enemy in the Soviet Union and
China the way we described it. But nonetheless, it was, you know, once
the Cold War got going, you had an enemy with a military and the
ability to destroy you, and we had the ability to destroy them with
nuclear weapons and so forth. It had a certain dynamic. People had
adjusted to that dynamic. They figured out limits to it, arms control
agreements and so forth.
One would assume this implied a radical decline in spending on arms and
armies, but this did not really happen at all.
What happened was this:
SCHEER: What happened was 9/11.
And you can argue about how it was interpreted and what it meant, but
it certainly traumatized the nation and certainly gave the super hawks
an opportunity to--what I argue in my book they did, which is hijack
the meaning of 9/11, and which--after all, the people that were your
enemy on 9/11 were first of all in part monsters of your own creation.
It certainly traumatized
the nation - and the nation got treated, from 9/11 onwards, to enormous
amounts of propaganda,
that defended the most authoritarian measures, such as secretly
surveilling the whole American population and the rest
of the world as if they were (and are) spies, without
any rights, any secrets or any
privacy, all merely on the basis of propaganda
This is another major theme that has not been sufficiently commented
I will not do it either, here and now, and continue with more Scheer:
SCHEER: (..) The
forces of irrationality, the Project for the New American Century and
all that, seized this moment. The other forces capitulated, the more
rational, reasonable people around Bush, who exist to this day, you
know, and who are critical. Colin Powell would be in that camp.
That is Scheer's opinion
(and he knows these circles a lot better than I do). Whether you agree
or not, the upshot is this:
I would say that the--and
here you get to the whole use of classification and what do we
know--that when it comes to discussing not only this chapter but just
about any chapter in the evolution of foreign policy, most of us are in
the dark. That doesn't mean you can then endorse this theory or that
theory. One thing we can know for sure is that the explanation that has
been offered to us should be assumed to be bogus. Okay? That doesn't
mean you have the alternative explanation.
I agree, and it makes
sense to outline the points:
all, we are at the mercy of people who benefit from waging war, or at
least preparing war, to do most of the evaluation about the enemy.
Right? We get this from people who are in the military-industrial
complex. That's what that whole book The Pornography of Power--as you
were talking about, the reason they could hijack it is because you have
a revolving door between them and the Defense Department, and the very
people who are going to benefit from these contracts, are trying to
sell these military contracts and so forth, are on both sides of the
Indeed, the point I just
made about the major print media is also made by Robert Scheer:
- The irrational
extremists in and around the American governmnent took over most of the
and most of the propaganda
(helped by the fact that the major
print media were in major financial trouble for loosing most of their
- As to the foreign
policies of the USA: Hardly anyone knows most he or she should
much one learns is propaganda rather than fact; and
the officialese explanations the government offers are "bogus".
- Those who give or
at least concoct the officialese explanations benefit a lot
war, especially since most nowadays also are in and out
of government through revolving doors.
SCHEER: You have to throw in
another factor, that the conventional news organizations were in a
weakened economic position by this point. They're worried if they go
out on a limb, whether it was opposing the Iraq War--by opposing I mean
showing the contradictions--they might never get their readers or
viewers back, that they no longer have the authority of a monopoly
market or you can print money and, okay, we'll be Walter Cronkite, and
quite late in the Vietnam War, but we'll still challenge it. CBS will
not go out of business. Okay. Now you had a feeling if The New York
Times challenges the move to the Iraq War too aggressively, you could
maybe lose your business. And you don't have that. And they have it to
That is not very well
expressed, but is the same point: Trying to write the truth "could
maybe lose your business".
And so they lied and propagandized
rather than go out of business.
And here is one of the (many) consequences:
So what is interesting is
you would think that one of the great things about our system of
government, an open trial, is we'd learn who these people are. They'd
be cross examined. The case would be made. That's never happened.
Here is the
Well, you've got to think the reason it never happened is 'cause
there's something to hide.
that's my suggestion. This also is about 9/11,
by the way: Responsible journalists know that they have been lied to by
the government, but don't know the real truth.
JAY: Go back to the
again. The mainstream media has more or less just accepted the
conclusions of 9/11 Commission. Almost no critique. And everyone moves
on. Like, okay, that's that story, even though it's riddled with
Well... I do not know the
persons, but clearly the corporations that were being
protected were those that made enormous amounts of money,
part through being represented in government via revolving doors:
the big banks and the big corporations making armaments,
like Lockheed - in brief the
SCHEER: It's appalling that
they did not deal
disclaimer. I mean, that would just be solid reporting. You know,
here's the commission says this whole narrative was basically handed to
us by the U.S. government. Then why do you need a commission? If at the
end of the day they're going to take the handout from the government,
you're not going to raise any tough questions about what they did,
didn't do, what they knew. It's astounding. And given the importance of
this event to what happened to the quality of our life, to our freedom,
and so forth, it's incredibly irresponsible. You know? Here is an
example where the wisdom of our founders in protecting our individual
freedom is warranted. We have the right to free speech, free assembly.
We should be able to ask what happened on 9/11. Who were they
main representatives of the
Anyway - this was the last bit I've quoted and reviewed. I think it's
somewhat odd that I couldn't find the text of this on Truthdig, but I
did find it
on The Real News Network, where I also found the 10th interview from
10, so I will probably treat that tomorrow.
3. 71% of the World’s Population Survives on
Less Than $10 a Day
The next article
by Roisin Davies on Truthdig:
This is from "a new Pew Research Center report that
looked at changes in income for 111 countries between 2001 and 2011":
It may interest my
readers that I have lived since my 24th year (which fell in 1974)
on considerably less than $14,600 a year, thanks to the enormous solidarity of
the Heroic Dutch with the poor, the deprived and the ill...
As defined in this study,
people who are middle income live on $10-20 a day, which translates to
an annual income of $14,600 to $29,200 for a family of four. That range
merely straddles the official poverty line in the United States—$23,021
for a family of four in 2011.
Perhaps more importantly
from an international perspective, the gap in living standards between
the world’s economically advanced countries and emerging and developing
nations barely narrowed in the first decade of this century. In 2001,
91% of the world’s high-income people lived in North America and
Europe; in 2011, the share was 87%.
Globally, there was little
change in the share of people living at the higher ends of the income
scale. As noted, only 16% of the global population lived on more than
the middle-income level in 2011, up slightly from 14% in 2001.
‘Guerrilla Warfare Against a Hegemonic Power’: The Challenge and
Promise of Greece
The next article
today is by Ellen
Brown (<- Wikipedia) on Truthdig (but originally
on the Web of Debt):
This is here mainly
because it is by Ellen Brown, whose ideas I like. This is from the
As usual, this is a good
article, but it will not make you happier.
The Greek crisis is a
banking crisis, and it was precipitated largely by the Mafia-like
tactics of the European Central Bank and the international banks it
serves (notably Goldman Sachs). As Jeffrey
Sachs observed in the Financial Times in 2012:
The Greek economy is
collapsing not mainly from fiscal austerity or the lack of external
competitiveness but from the chronic lack of working capital. Greece’s
small and medium-sized enterprises can no longer obtain funding. . . .
The shutdown of Greece’s banking sector brings to mind the dramatic
shrinkage of bank lending during 1929-33 in the Great Depression.
Caught Between 'Grexit'
and 'Hell No' — Greece Submits To
The last item of today is by
Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
proposal for consideration by foreign creditors overnight, the Greek
government of Alexis Tsipras on Friday presented the plan to a full
meeting of Parliament, in hopes of securing backing for a plan that
would keep Greece in the eurozone by exchanging long-term debt relief
and further financial assistance for a new set of of harsh austerity
programs and conditions.
There is also this, by Alex
Andreou, who is a Greek economist that supports Tsipras:
"We are confronted with
crucial decisions," a government official quoted Tspiras as telling Syriza lawmakers during
the morning session. "We got a mandate to bring a better deal than the
ultimatum that the Eurogroup gave us, but certainly not given a mandate
to take Greece out of the eurozone."
While acknowledging the
plan is not ideal, he said: "We are all in this together."
The €53.5 billion
plan—which calls for surplus budgets, cuts to pensions, controversial
tax increases, and further privatization of industries and assets—looks
much like a similar proposal that was put to a vote and rejected by
Greek voters on Sunday, but includes important differences when it
comes to the prospect of debt relief and includes longer pay-off
periods. The Guardian looks
at the details of the plan here.
pantomime reactions of the type "Tsipras just destroyed Greece" and
"Tsipras just saved Europe" are numerous and deeply unhelpful. He has
done neither. This isn't a booing or cheering moment. He simply has
tried to balance his two basic mandate commands to a. end austerity and
b. stay within the Euro, which turned out to be pretty much mutually
exclusive, in an ideologically propagated, German-controlled climate.
As that became clear, one had to be prioritized over the other. It is
fair to say that a shrewder assessment at the start may have revealed
them to be mutually exclusive, but shoulda-coulda-wouldas are also not
Well... I can
but it's not hopeful: it means bending to the strong bastards
who run the ECB and the IMF, simply because one doesn't
believe the Greeks are strong enough to go back to the drachma and
survive (which may be right: if it happens, it will be an enormous
13, 2015: Inserted a "by" that got lost, and outdented a bit in item 2.