October 23, 2015
Crisis: CISA, Drones, Clinton vs Snowden, Netanyahu, Bush Jr.
"They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
  -- Benjamin Franklin
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
   -- I.F. Stone

   "Power tends to corrupt, and   
   absolute power corrupts
   absolutely. Great men are        
   almost always bad men."
   -- Lord Acton

Prev- crisis -Next


Cisa amendment would allow US to jail foreigners for
     crimes committed abroad
2. "Where Does This End?": After Drone Papers Leaks, U.K.
     Gov't Has a Kill List of Its Own

 What Clinton Got Wrong About Snowden
Painting Palestinians as Nazis, Netanyahu Incites a Wave
     of Vigilante Violence

An 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).

1. Cisa 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:

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 happens.

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.

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:

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 corporations.

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 "laws".

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):

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.

Which is to say: They claim that the personal private information of users is "voluntarily shared information" (although in fact it can be stolen only because
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

The next item is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:

This starts as follows (and this is a link to "The Drone Papers"):
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.
Unfortunately, he 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
not Europeans.

3. What Clinton Got Wrong About Snowden   

The next article is by John Kiriakou (<-Wikipedia) on Truthdig:

This starts as follows:

Hillary Clinton is wrong about Edward Snowden. Again.

The presidential 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 music.”

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 of us.

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 prison.

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 was criminal.

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 the Constitution.

Here is another evident lie by Clinton:

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.

I’m disappointed, 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.

Clearly Clinton - who was secretary of state recently - knows this. It is just very convenient for her to pretend she does not.

And there is this:

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.

Yes. But it is the same in the other three cases: You cannot trust Hillary Clinton.

4. Painting Palestinians as Nazis, Netanyahu Incites a Wave of Vigilante Violence

The next article is by Max 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 an inference):
“Hitler didn’t 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 investigated Nazism.

Here is Max Blumenthal:

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).
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:
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 with mortality.
I think that is a very good guess.

5. An Ample Presence of Corpses: The Legacy of George W. Bush

The last article is by William Rivers Pitt on Truth-out:
This has the following in the beginning:

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 the main.
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.

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 we're lucky.

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, at least.


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