who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin
"All governments lie and
say should be believed."
"Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
amendment would allow US to jail foreigners for
2. "Where Does This End?": After Drone Papers
Gov't Has a Kill List of Its
3. What Clinton Got Wrong
4. Painting Palestinians as Nazis, Netanyahu Incites a Wave
of Vigilante Violence
Ample Presence of Corpses: The Legacy of George W.
This is a Nederlog
of Friday, October 23, 2015.
This is a crisis
blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1
is about an utterly crazy or extremely authoritarian amendment of CISA;
item 2 is about drones and American and
British kill lists; item 3 is about Hillary
Clinton, who indeed was quite wrong about Snowden, but - I think - very
purposively so; item 4 is - once more - about
Netanyahu's imaginary baloney; and item 5 is about
George W. Bush and his collaborators, though it ends with a plan that
just doesn't work in the West (unfortunately).
amendment would allow US to jail foreigners for crimes committed abroad
The first item today is by Sam
Thielman on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
This is quite insane,
and - I doubt not - quite intentional. I see it as follows (and see here) and yes, I have to make a few
guesses, but these are consistent
with everything I know:
An amendment to a
controversial cybersecurity bill will allow US courts to pursue and
jail foreign nationals even if the crimes they commit are against other
foreigners and on foreign soil.
The main aim of the
amendment to the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (Cisa), which
passed a key Senate hurdle on Thursday, is to lower the barrier for
prosecuting crimes committed abroad. But the amended law would make it
a crime punishable by US prison time not merely to clone the credit
card or steal the Netflix password of an American citizen, but to take
unauthorized information from any American company, no matter where it
In other words, if a
French national hacks a Spanish national’s MasterCard, she could be
subject to 10 years in US prison under laws changed by the bill.
By the - secret - TTP and the - secret - TTIP, the
leaders of the American multi-national corporations have in principle
broken national laws and national governments, and
subjected them to the dominance of the quasi-"courts" manned by lawyers
working for the multi-national corporations, who can impose hundreds of
millions or billions in damages for the benefit of multi-national
corporations, on the accusation that the multi-national corporations' profits
were not as high as the corporations projected, e.g. because some
nation's parliament thought these profits opposed to the rights
of its inhabitants. Nonsense: profit rules all, and
those who diminish the multi-national profits are evil, and must be
gravely punished, according to the managers of the multi-national
And by the CISA
(<-Wikipedia) every foreign national who does anything
that touches the profits or the self-perceived rights of American
corporations may get arrested and condemned under American law,
also if there are no such laws in his or her own country, and
risks imprisonment in an American jail, possibly for a very long time.
These are two examples of the spreading of the absolute powers
of the American multi-national corporations: No more
effective national governments or national parliaments - everything
is subjected to the quasi- "courts" manned by the lawyers of
multi-national corporations; no more effective national laws -
all national laws that oppose the dominance of American
multi-nationals are punishable by American "laws" in American
courts, as if the foreigners are Americans, subject to American
And yes, I know I have been generalizing in the last three
paragraphs, but it seems justified so long as it is clear these are
rational guesses and not yet facts.
Here are some criticisms of the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
The law has
already attracted heavy criticism from American privacy advocates. The
Electronic Frontier Foundation points out that the computer fraud laws that
would be broadened by Cisa were used to prosecute the late founder of
Demand Progress, Aaron Swartz, for downloading articles from JSTOR, the
digital library of academic journals.
Which in fact Swartz was
driven to suicide by (threatened by a 35 years jail sentence for doing
things he probably was justified to do).
Here is the thoroughly crazy schema of CISA (as it is spelled on Wikipedia):
Which is to say: They
claim that the personal private information of users is "voluntarily shared information" (although in fact it can be stolen
Cisa’s stated purpose is
to create a reporting system for private industry allowing any company
with a digital record of consumer behavior to send “cyber threat
indicators” to the Department of Homeland Security. DHS is then
required to pass the information on the FBI and the director of
national intelligence, to whom the director of the CIA reports. The DHS
has come out against the bill, arguing it could
sweep away “important privacy protections”. Cisa is also facing
mounting pressure from tech companies, which have called for it to be
rewritten or scrapped.
The bill would also block
any disclosures, with specific mention of the Freedom of Information
Act, about what information had been shared.
Cyber threat indicators
and defensive measures provided to the Federal Government under this
Act shall be deemed voluntarily shared information and exempt from
disclosure under [FOIA] and any State, tribal, or local law requiring
disclosure of information or records; and withheld, without discretion,
from the public [...] and any State, tribal, or local provision of law
requiring disclosure of information or records.
it is unencrypted) while once the "voluntarily
shared information" gets
handed to the government it all becomes completely secret and is
totally withheld from "the public".
As I have said before: These are the kinds of "laws" the Gestapo would
have been proud of. (We read your mail, keep it secret, and prosecute
you for anything Our Proud Government doesn't like.)
2. "Where Does This End?": After Drone
Papers Leaks, U.K.
Gov't Has a Kill List of Its Own
next item is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:
This starts as
follows (and this is a link to "The Drone
Last week, The
Intercept published the most in-depth look at the U.S.
drone assassination program to date. "The Drone Papers" exposed the
inner workings of how the drone war is waged, from how targets are
identified to who decides to kill. They reveal a number of flaws,
including that strikes have resulted in large part from electronic
communications data, or "signals intelligence," that officials
acknowledge is unreliable. We are joined by Clive Stafford Smith,
founder and director of the international legal charity Reprieve, who
says the British government also has a secret kill list in Afghanistan.
In fact, it seems as if
in nearly 90% of cases, the US government is not sure
of who it kills by drones.
And here is the lawyer:
CLIVE STAFFORD SMITH:
Well, it’s something that just horrifies me, that, you know, I voted
for President Obama, twice, and yet every Tuesday they have "Terror
Tuesday," where there’s a PowerPoint display in the White House, and
they decide, much like Nero did back in the Colosseum in Rome, whether
to give the thumbs-up or the thumbs-down for human beings who we’re
just going to murder around the world. And, you know, it begins with
terrorism, but it will move on. The British, horrifyingly, have already
got a list of people on their list in Afghanistan, where they’re saying
they’re going to kill pedophiles, for goodness’ sake. I mean, where
does this end, that we just murder people worldwide? I mean, we plan to
do a lot to publicize that in the upcoming months.
doesn't give evidence, but given his role in defending persons, I think
he may be believed.
Then again, this is another insane idea: The British are going
to drone Afghani's about whom they have evidence they are pedophiles?!
Why not Dutchmen who smoke marijuana, Germans who oppose the English
Queen, or Frenchmen who are trade unionists?! Or any European who may
be a pedophiles (if it is not an English lord, of course)?!
I will suppose these Europeans are safe for the moment, because they
are Europeans, but then that shows the total arbitrariness of
what the British are supposed to do: They permit themselves to drone
Afghani's because they are
Clinton Got Wrong About Snowden
next article is by John Kiriakou
(<-Wikipedia) on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
Hillary Clinton is wrong
about Edward Snowden. Again.
candidate and former secretary of state insisted during the recent
Democratic debate that Snowden should have remained
in the United States to voice his concerns about government spying
on U.S. citizens. Instead, she claimed, he “endangered U.S. secrets by
fleeing to Russia.”
After accusing Snowden of
stealing “very important information that has fallen into the wrong
hands,” she added: “He should not be brought home without facing the
Clinton should stop
rooting for Snowden’s incarceration and get her facts straight.
First, Snowden is a
whistleblower, not a leaker. Whistleblowing is the act of bringing to
light evidence of waste, fraud, abuse, law-breaking, or dangers to
public health or safety. Snowden did exactly that when he divulged
proof that the National Security Agency was illegally snooping on all
Second, Snowden knew it
was impossible to report this wrongdoing through his chain of command
at the NSA, where he was working as a contractor employed by the
consulting giant Booz Allen Hamilton.
Yes, indeed. But clearly
Clinton knows what she is talking about (she has had over two
years to find out about Snowden). Therefore she lied.
Then there is this:
The sad fact is that many
national security chains of command are overtly hostile to people who
report wrongdoing. I learned this firsthand when I spent nearly two
years behind bars for denouncing the CIA’s use of torture years after I
left the agency. And I didn’t go to any country club. I went to a real
Indeed, one of my former
supervisors at the CIA called whistleblowing “institutionalized
insubordination.” In other words, employees should just “follow
orders,” even if those orders are illegal.
Didn’t Nazi war criminals
say that they were just following orders, too? To me, their compliance
Yes, indeed. Also,
that the compliance of the Nazis was criminal is the outcome of the Nuremberg Trials
(<- Wikipedia), while Snowden also repeatedly has pointed out that
he signed an oath on the Constitution, which is stronger than
the oaths made to persons, and that he acted legally with reference to
Here is another
evident lie by Clinton:
Clearly Clinton - who
was secretary of state recently - knows this. It is just very
convenient for her to pretend she does not.
Third, Clinton claimed
that Snowden would have enjoyed protection from the Whistleblower Protection Act
if he’d remained in the United States to make his revelations.
frankly, that somebody running for president of the United States
doesn’t know that the Whistleblower Protection Act exempts national
security whistleblowers. There are no protections for you if you work
for the CIA, NSA, or other federal intelligence agencies — or serve
them as a contractor. You take a grave personal risk if you decide to
report wrongdoing, and there’s nobody who can protect you.
And there is this:
Yes. But it is the same in the
other three cases: You cannot trust Hillary Clinton.
Finally, let’s get this
straight: Snowden didn’t “flee to Russia.” Snowden stopped in Moscow on
his way from Hong Kong to South America when Secretary of State John
Kerry revoked his U.S. passport. Snowden never intended to move to
Moscow. Kerry made that decision for him.
Of all people, Hillary
Clinton — Kerry’s predecessor at State — should know that.
4. Painting Palestinians as Nazis, Netanyahu
Incites a Wave of Vigilante Violence
next article is
Blumenthal (<- Wikipedia) on AlterNet:
I have written about this
before (see here), but this is a
clear statement by Max Blumenthal (who has a Jewish background; I don't
know his religion, if any) about utter nonsense mouthed by
Israel's prime minister:
It is Springtime
for Hitler. The genocidal dictator who presided over the murder of
millions of Jews across Europe during World War Two has been absolved
of his most heinous crime by the elected leader of the self-proclaimed
Jewish state. According to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,
the blame for the Final Solution lay not with Der Fuhrer, but with Hajj
al-Amin Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who oversaw holy sites
during the 1920’s and 30’s. In Netanyahu’s version of Holocaust
history, Hitler was just following orders.
For anybody who has seriously
read about the massmurder of the Jews by the Nazis, this is pretty
incredible. But Benjamin
Netanyahu really said so (although that Hitler was following orders is
want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews,”
Netanyahu declared. “And Hajj Amin al-Husseini [the Mufti] went to
Hitler and said, ‘If you expel them, they'll all come here.’ ‘So what
should I do with them?’ he asked. He said, ‘Burn them.’ And he was
sought in, during the Nuremberg trials for prosecution.”
I said immediately that
is mere baloney according to many thousands of historians who
Here is Max Blumenthal:
So yes, I think that is
settled (and was settled since 1946 or so). What remains are
Netanyahu's motives for his completely false lies:
There is no
evidence to support Netanyahu’s statements about the Mufti’s malignant
influence over Hitler. According to a full readout of the November 28,
1941 meeting between the two, the Mufti never urged Hitler to “burn
[the Jews],” as Netanyahu alleged. Hitler’s discussion with the Mufti
occurred months after the liquidation of nearly the entire Jewish
population of Lithuania and weeks after the slaughter at Babi Yar,
where over 34,000 Ukrainian Jews were killed in one of the largest
massacres of World War Two. Contrary to Netanyahu’s claims, the engines
of genocide were roaring by the time the Mufti and Hitler met.
Almost every aspect of
Netanyahu’s screed was false, down to his claim that Husseini died in
Cairo before he could be summoned to testify at the Nuremberg Tribunal.
(He died in Beirut in 1974).
Over the course of
his career, Netanyahu’s seemingly outlandish behavior has always been
animated by a cynical logic. By projecting the phantasms of the
Holocaust onto the stark tableau of the Arab Muslim world, he has
expertly exploited the psychological vulnerabilities of Jewish
Israelis. His perseverance is perhaps the best validation of the
phenomenon known as Terror Management
Theory, in which average people turn to militaristic and
authoritarian political leadership to cope with frightening encounters
I think that is a very
5. An Ample Presence of Corpses: The Legacy
of George W. Bush
by William Rivers Pitt on Truth-out:
This has the following
in the beginning:
These are three successive
paragraphs (the last a mere beginning). The general point is that
there were no good grounds for a war in Iraq, but that Bush and Blair
wanted it anyway, and had more than a year to prepare their lies -
after which Iraq was attacked and destroyed, which still is the case,
12 years later.
On March 28, 2002,
Secretary of State Colin Powell sent a memo to President George W. Bush outlining
the details of Bush's upcoming summit with UK Prime Minister Tony
Blair. In it Powell made it manifestly clear that Blair was on board
and ready to play spin-doctor defense for the already-made decision to
invade and occupy Iraq. In one telling line, Powell stated that Blair
would make it clear that both administrations had comprehensive plans
for "the day after," i.e. the post-invasion consequences.
Mass deaths in Khalis,
al-Zubair, Husseiniya, Tarmiyah, Mahmudiya and Youssifiyah. More than
700 dead in September alone. ISIS running wild. A cholera epidemic. All
in the last seven weeks. "The day after" has become an international
nightmare, a murder machine, thanks to Bush and Blair chumming it up a
year before the war to decide how they were going to lie to the world
about the invasion.
None of this is new news, in
There is also this:
Besides which, no WMD
were ever found in Iraq. No connections to 9/11 or al Qaeda were ever
established in Iraq. The "We're bringing democracy" canard fell apart
before it began, ink-stained fingers notwithstanding. As I said more than 12 years ago, the invasion and
occupation of Iraq was a smash-and-grab robbery writ large, an act of
theft and first-degree murder that has unleashed an ocean of blood. It
will take ten generations to recover from what was done, and only if
So here is a modest
proposal, based upon this new Powell-memo documentation as well as the
barrels of evidence already in hand: Arrest the perps. Slap Bush,
Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and every other soul-vacant Bush
administration vampire who participated in handcuffs. Put them on trial
for war crimes. Make no mistake: This happened because they wanted to
gut the Treasury in order to "prove" that government doesn't work; they
wanted to give that money to their friends; they wanted to win
elections; they wanted to establish a permanent military foothold over
the oil sands of Iraq and they wanted to create enough chaos in the
Middle East to ensure that the gravy train for the "defense" industry
would roll unchecked for years to come.
I agree with everything
from "This happened" onwards, but clearly Pitt's "modest proposal" is
never going to work, not because what he says is mistaken, but
because the West doesn't work that way, at least not with Western
political and military leaders: These are protected until their death,