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. Laura Poitras Sues U.S.
Government to Find Out Why She
Was Repeatedly Stopped at the
Guardian view on the Greek deal: it solves nothing
and holds many dangers
3. 'A national hero':
psychologist who warned of torture
collusion gets her due
4. 'Austerity Has Won':
Greece Submits to Divisive Reforms
5. Chart of the Day: The
Recession Still Isn't Over For Most
is a Nederlog of Tuesday July 14, 2015.
This is a
crisis blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item
1 is about an article that explains why Laura Poitras sued the U.S.
government; item 2 is about an Editorial in The
Guardian about the agreement about Greece's debts; item
3 is about
American psychology and a - rare - psychologist who disagreed with the
APA at a time very many psychologists found it safer to conform; item 4 is about an article on Common Dreams that
discusses the agreement the Greeks have reached; and item
5 presents a nice chart that shows it still is crisis
("recession", for the more mealy mouthed) for 80 to 90%
of the populations in the USA and the EU. (I said so, but it is nice to
have some evidence.)
Also, there probably will be another issue of my autobiography tomorrow
and a treatment of interview 10 in the series of 10 that Paul Jay did
with Robert Scheer.
1. Laura Poitras Sues U.S. Government to
Find Out Why She Was Repeatedly Stopped at the Border
The first article today is by Jenna McLaughlin on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
I agree with Laura
Poitras' lawsuit even though I also guess it will land her in many
difficulties and it will probably not get her far. 
Over six years, filmmaker
Laura Poitras was searched, interrogated and detained more than 50
times at U.S. and foreign airports.
When she asked why, U.S.
agencies wouldn’t say.
Now, after receiving no
response to her Freedom of Information Act requests for documents
pertaining to her systemic targeting, Poitras is suing
the U.S. government.
In a complaint filed on
Monday afternoon, Poitras demanded that the Department of Justice, the
Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of the Director of
National Security release any and all documentation pertaining to her
tracking, targeting and questioning while traveling between 2006 and
“I’m filing this lawsuit
because the government uses the U.S. border to bypass the rule of law,”
Poitras said in a statement. Poitras co-founded The Intercept
with Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill.
She said she hopes to
draw attention to how other people, who aren’t as well known, “are also
subjected to years of Kafkaesque harassment at the borders.”
My reasons for this estimate are, briefly, as follows:
I agree with the lawsuit because she simply is right. American citizens
who didn't do anything wrong and against whom there are no legal
proceedings should not be held at borders as she was.
Then again, having myself tried to keep the Dutch nation to its own
drugs laws, and having totally failed ,
basically because I was massively lied to and bureaucratic- ally
hindered in all possible ways, I am doubtful about her legal chances.
And I do not expect her to get very far, mostly because I think the
exercise of the law in the United States by now has been corrupted too
much, and especially from the inside, by police officers and
prosecutors and the Department of Justice.
But since in the end a decent law that is decently maintained is
the only civil defense there is, I agree one should try.
The Guardian view on
the Greek deal: it solves nothing and holds many dangers
The next article today is by Editorial on The Guardian:
This has a summary,
which is as follows:
The Greek deal is
unfair and unlikely to work. Far from easing the pace of austerity, the
agreement embeds it
I agree. Also, it was a
successful attempt by the rich bullies - mostly non-elected - who rule
the EU to bully and humiliate the Greeks. Then again, realistically
speaking this was to be expected: Poor people with debts are abused as
a matter of course by bailiffs, in my own experience, and bailiffs are
almost always sadists and bullies (for else they would have chosen
another profession) - and no, it is not amazing nor surprising
that the leading European politicians think and act like bailiffs.
Anyway - here is the beginning of The Guardian's assessment:
Europe after the
Greek talks resembles a battlefield the day after the armies have
stumbled away – wreckage everywhere, and everyone counting the cost.
What are the essential facts about the agreement? First, it has been
reached under duress. The Greek government did not want this deal, does
not regard it as even remotely reasonable or fair. The Greek people voted overwhelmingly against a less severe package
of measures a little over a week ago. Second, it will be a bitter
pill to swallow everywhere else in the eurozone, too. The legislation
enabling it will be passed in a resentful mood in every national
capital concerned. Third, we very nearly did not have an agreement at
all, and things could still unravel. Fourth, while critics of austerity
economics have already decided it will not work, even those, like the
Germans, who believe that it could are far from certain that it will.
I mostly agree, although
the agreement seems to be a bit of a triumph for those who
pushed it: Merkel, Juncker, Draghi, Lagarde and Schaüble, and the
bankers they spoke for, did get what they wanted, and also got
their full share of humiliating
An agreement that nobody
likes and that may very well fail to achieve its objective of rescuing
the Greek economy, and eventually also balancing the European Union’s
books as a proportion of Greek debt is paid off, is no triumph.
the Greeks. (And it is not as if they, personally, are in it
financially: they are not. Those who pay the loan are the
European people; those who have to repay the loan are the Greek
people; those who profit are the bankers and the
politicians. Everybody else looses.)
3. 'A national hero': psychologist who warned of
torture collusion gets her due
The next article
by Spencer Ackerman on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
I say - which I say mostly
because I don't believe it. More precisely: I do believe that Arrigo's
inbox is filling with apologies from American psychologists who earlier
attacked her; what I don't believe is that these apologies are really
Jean Maria Arrigo’s inbox
is filling up with apologies.
For a decade, colleagues
of the 71-year-old psychologist ignored, derided and in some cases
attacked Arrigo for sounding alarms that the American Psychological
Association was implicated in US torture. But now that a devastating report has exposed deep APA
complicity with brutal CIA and US military interrogations – and a smear
campaign against Arrigo herself – her colleagues are expressing
“I have been wanting to
email you since reading the Hoffman report on Wednesday to let you know
how ashamed I am about not believing what you and others had been
saying about APA’s actions,” wrote a psychologist Arrigo wished to
The reasons I do not believe in their sincerity are mainly
(1) it was from the beginning clear to very many
lawyers and scientists that quite a few things in the American military
and in the set-ups and procedures for interrogation of prisoners were morally
and legally wrong and were torture in many ways.
For example, here is the opening of the Wikipedia article "Abu
Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse" (minus note numbers):
During the war in
Iraq that began in March 2003, personnel of the United States Army and the Central Intelligence Agency
committed a series of human rights
violations against detainees in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.These
violations included physical and sexual
sodomy, and murder.
The abuses came to light with reports published in late 2003 by Amnesty International and the Associated Press. The incidents received
widespread condemnation both within the United States and abroad,
although the soldiers received support from some conservative media
within the United States.
And mind you: I am not
quoting this as specifically supporting Jean Mario Arrigo: I am quoting
this to make clear that all the psychologists who apologize now could
have (and probably did) know that the American military
were engaged in procedures that were widely described and decried as
torture in 2005, at the latest.
The administration of George W. Bush
attempted to portray the abuses as isolated incidents, not indicative
of general U.S. policy. This was contradicted by humanitarian
organizations such as the Red Cross, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch. After multiple
investigations, they stated that the abuses at Abu Ghraib were not
isolated but were part of a wider pattern of torture and brutal
treatment at American overseas detention centers, including those in
Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay.
Documents popularly known as
the Torture Memos came to light a few years
later. These documents, prepared shortly before the Iraq invasion by the United States Department
of Justice, authorized certain enhanced interrogation
techniques, generally held to involve torture of foreign detainees.
The memoranda also argued that international humanitarian laws, such as
the Geneva Conventions, did not apply to
American interrogators overseas.
(2) I have an - excellent - M.A. in psychology, and what I have learned
about that supposed science and those supposed scientists is that the
science is not a real science (for the most part: outside
statistics and a few other mathematical or methodological subjects) and
the scientists are not real scientists - but they are extremely
good at lying, posturing and pretending, which is indeed what one would
expect from a majority of mock "scientists" who build
their careers on pretensions they know (or should know) that they can't
really hold up.
So I am quite confident that most American psychologists did
know that the American military were torturing some of their prisoners;
that those who denied so ten years ago were mostly lying, but
were lying with the majority opinion; and that those who are now sorry
for lying then, are again lying, and also are again lying with
the majority opinion. (In fact, the main reason for their attitudes is conformity to
what the majority believes.)
Back to Arrigo and the article:
I think I agree with her
(though the reference to the Stasi may be a bit strong).
Arrigo herself is fearful
that the APA will ride out the wave of bad publicity rather then remove
the rot of torture from the root. More personally, she told the
Guardian, it has been jarring to see what her colleagues were saying –
and doing – about her behind closed doors.
“I think the effect on
me, which has intensified, may be more like what happened to people in
East Germany when the Stasi records were opened,” she told the
In any case, judging from my own - rich - experiences, she is right in
What was more
troubling to her, she said, were the well-meaning members of APA who
did not challenge the attacks.
Yes. Most psychologists I know
are out and out conformists,
and one major reason for their conformism is that most know
what they publicly deny with disdain: That they are not
real scientists (as physicists and chemists are); that their science
helps very few - except those who earn their salary as
psychologists; and that most psychologists don't know much statistics,
and don't have any adequate ideas about science.
“Not only did they do
nothing, but they allowed themselves to be used,” she said.
And indeed if that is true (which I think it is, and I did have one of
the best possible degrees in the supposed "science"), that is a very
good reason (if you are a fraud anyway,
as most are) to conform
as much as you can to keep your own salary safe.
4. 'Austerity Has Won': Greece Submits to
The next article
today is by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
As to the "social enslavement", there is also this (and
After 31 hours of tense
weekend talks—and five years of crippling austerity—Greece and its
foreign creditors have struck a deal: an €86 billion bailout that will
keep Greece in the Eurozone in exchange for controversial economic
reforms that include tax hikes, pension overhauls, and severe budget
cuts if the nation misses fiscal targets imposed and monitored by the
president Donald Tusk made the announcement of what he referred to as
early Monday morning following a 17-hour round of negotiations in
The deal was immediately
blasted as a "humiliating"
surrender of national sovereignty.
on the Iskra website, which reflects the views of anti-austerity Syriza
hardliners, charges that the agreement reestablishes and extends the
guardianship of the Troika and solidifies "social enslavement."
And Nick Dearden, of
Global Justice Now, said the circumstances surrounding the negotiations
"rather resemble the imperial politics of the 19th century."
"Is it so unthinkable to
put the rights and livelihoods of ordinary people ahead of threatening
the interests of the banks?" Dearden asked. "The European governments
and institutions seem to think so. The lives and rights of millions of
Greeks, and now the very existence of the EU as a democratic union,
come a poor second to the economic fundamentalism of Merkel and the
Yes, that seems to
it up fairly well.
5. Chart of the Day: The Recession Still
Isn't Over For Most Of Us
The final article
for today is by Kevin Drum on Mother Jones:
I have been saying
several times now that I still believe it still is crisis ("recession")
for the majority of the people who live in the USA or the EU, and
therefore it is nice to reproduce this chart from the U.S. Bureau of
may be a bit difficult to read, but the blue and red lines trace the
losses or gains in wages and compensations from 2007-2014, and they
show that a little less than 20% of those receiving
compensation lately gained a little (around 4%), and a little more
than 10% of those having wages lately gained a little (around 1.5%)
- and everybody else (80% and 90%) still has less money than they
had in 2007.
As Kevin Drum says:
might be over for those with high incomes, but not for anybody else.
For everyone with modest or low incomes, they're still making less than
they made in 2007.
And as I have been
saying, but it is nice to have some evidence.
This is based in
part on my own court cases, that I mostly won, but which were also made
impossible by quite a few Dutch lawyers who all said, against
"I have the
right not to be gassed and not to be threatened with
murder by the illegal drugs dealers Mayor Van Thijn gave his personal
permission to deal illegal drugs from the bottom floor from the house
where I lived";
"I have the
right to protest against being removed from the University of Amsterdam
as a "fascist terrorist" because I protested that truth does
with the following
"I will do
nothing for you because I think your case is too political".
The law in Holland is
for at least 99% the willing and eager servant of the interests of the
rich, the corrupt, and the sick politicians. And I can say so because I
really tried, and I was really rebuffed by
conformist legal servants of power.
And I do not have the rights - for 27 years now! - I do
have in law, because Dutch lawyers chose for their incomes much rather
than for the law.
 The real situation, according to the Parliamentary Van Traa report,
that no one did anything with after Van Traa "got killed in a car
accident in 1997" comes to this:
Major Van Thijn and his lawyers created "personal permissions" that did
give "personal permissions by the mayor" to break the law and deal
publicly in illegal soft drugs from 1987 onwards, which
made at least 10 billion euros a year for those illegal
dealers, of which I assume a percentage also went to the lawyers and
the mayors who gave their illegal friends these personal
permissions to deal in illegal drugs - and that is how it
has been from 1987 till 2015, i.e. for 28 years, bringing in at
least 280 billion dollars to the Dutch drugs criminals and
their political personal friends. (See here
if you read Dutch: The numbers are accurate.)
The hundreds of "coffee shops" (in Amsterdam alone) in which illegal
drugs can be bought are not evidence that soft drugs are legal in
Holland. They are evidence that
drugs are illegal but can be as-it-were-legally sold by personal
friends of the Dutch mayors, who all will claim that they
did not receive anything from these extremely wealthy friends of them
in compensation (and that they never ever lied to anyone).
All in all the schema gives the most profits to the drugs
dealers; provides ample chances of getting extremely rich to
the personal friends of the dealers, the Dutch mayors, their lawyers,
and the district attorneys; provides illegal drugs without problems
to a sizable part of the Dutch population; and is a major source of
investment in building, housing and banking for the drugs dealers,
since these are the most profitable ways of legalizing their drugs
It is the triumph of Dutch dealing over the Dutch laws, and is extremely
profitable for everyone involved. And it is extremely
profitable because it is illegal: It could have been legalized
long ago, as the Portugese did, but this would have meant loosing billions
of profits each year.
I failed to change anything, and what remained of my health was
destroyed. But even if I am the only Dutchman who writes the truth
about drugs in Holland, I will keep doing so, for I think it is a fraud
and a great shame that Holland provides drugs to all of Europe (for a
considerable part of the yearly billions are made by exporting
soft and hard drugs).