1. Vindication for Edward
Snowden From a New Player in
NSA Whistleblowing Saga
2. Exclusive: Source Reveals How Pentagon Ruined
Whistleblower's Life and Set
Stage for Snowden's Leaks
3. Establishment Democrats Fight to Defeat
Measure in Colorado
Inside the West's Cynical Plan to Keep Refugees out of
Europe by Trapping Them in
This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, May 24,
is a crisis log with 4 items and 4 dotted links: Item 1
is about a major vindication of both Edward Snowden and Thomas Drake; item 2
has more about this and has interviews with the latest whistleblower
and a journalist who used his evidence (this is too long to excerpt
properly, but is recommended); item 3 is about
medicare in the U.S.: it seems that most politicians choose for the
pharmaceutical riches rather than patients' interests in decent health
care (which more or less exists everywhere in the West, except
in the Exceptional USA); while item 4 is a fine
article about the horrible situation of refugees from the
Middle East, who are not
treated as if they are human beings with human rights and a legitimate
refugee status by all the leading politicians and military in both
Europe (that refuses to take care of them) and the USA (which
has been screwing over the Middle East for 15 years
1. Vindication for Edward Snowden From a New Player in NSA
Also, while this is a fairly brief NL, all items in it are recommended.
This also appears earlier than is normal.
The first item is by Jenna
McLaughlin and Dan Froomkin on The Intercept:
This starts as
The Guardian published a stunning
new chapter in the saga of NSA whistleblowers on Sunday, revealing
a new key player: John Crane, a former assistant inspector general at
the Pentagon who was responsible for protecting whistleblowers, then
forced to become one himself when the process failed.
An article by Mark Hertsgaard, adapted
from his new book, Bravehearts:
Whistle Blowing in the Age of Snowden, describes how
former NSA official Thomas Drake went through proper channels in his
attempt to expose civil-liberties violations at the NSA — and was
punished for it. The article vindicates open-government activists who
have long argued that whistleblower protections aren’t sufficient in
the national security realm.
This is just a summary that provides some
backgrounds. Here is some more on
Drake (<- Wikipedia) and John
Crane (<- Wikipedia):
Drake initially took his concerns about
wasteful, illegal, and unconstitutional actions by the NSA
to high-ranking NSA officials, then to appropriate staff and
members of Congress. When that didn’t work, he signed onto a
whistleblower complaint to the Pentagon inspector general made by some
recently retired NSA staffers. But because he was still working at the
NSA, he asked the office to keep his participation anonymous.
Now, Hertsgaard writes that Crane
alleges that his former colleagues in the inspector general’s office
“revealed Drake’s identity to the Justice Department; then they
withheld (and perhaps destroyed) evidence after Drake was indicted;
finally, they lied about all this to a federal judge.”
Note that the three acts described in the
last paragraph are all - at least - misdemeanors. Also, this shows the
US government did not work to implement its laws, but to
protect governmental criminals or at least the "civil-liberties violations at the NSA".
Finally, here is a bit about John Crane:
Crane brings unprecedented evidence from
inside the system that ostensibly protects whistleblowers that the
system isn’t working. And defenders of the system can’t accuse him of
having an outside agenda. Crane has never taken a position for or
against the NSA’s programs, or made contact with Drake during the
There is considerably more in the article,
that is recommended.
Source Reveals How Pentagon Ruined Whistleblower's Life and Set Stage
for Snowden's Leaks
The second item is by Amy Goodman on Democracy
This is a long and fine interview with John
Crane (see item 1), that is too long to properly
excerpt. Here are four bits, all of which provide backgrounds.
The first is from the introduction:
John Crane worked 25 years for
the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, which helps
federal employees expose abuse. He now says whistleblowers have little
choice but to go outside the system, and is speaking out about what
happened to NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake,
who revealed the existence of a widespread illegal program of domestic
surveillance. Crane describes how in December 2010 Drake’s lawyers
filed a complaint with the inspector general alleging he had been
punished in retaliation for his whistleblowing, and that the crimes
Drake was later charged with were "based in part, or entirely," on
information he provided to the Pentagon inspector general. Mark
Hertsgaard recounts Crane’s story in his new book, "Bravehearts:
Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden," and shows how Drake’s
persecution sent an unmistakable message to Edward Snowden: Raising
concerns within the system meant he would be targeted next.
This sketches the backgrounds. Note that John
Crane did work for the Department of Defense for a long
time, and that he defends both Thomas Drake
(<- Wikipedia)'s position and Edward Snowden's
(<-Wikipedia) position that was based on Thomas Drake's case:
There was no decent way to work "within
the system" and be heard by the public
(whose rights are royally screwed by the NSA).
Next, this sketches some more backgrounds and introduces John
Crane (<- Wikipedia):
AMY GOODMAN: Today, a Democracy Now!
broadcast exclusive: A former senior Pentagon official speaks out for
the first time about how his superiors broke the law to punish a key
National Security Agency whistleblower. By now, everyone knows how
Edward Snowden revealed the government spying on hundreds of millions
of people around the world. But if you want to know why Snowden did it,
and the way he did it, you need to know the story of John Crane, who
worked 25 years for the Department of Defense Inspector General’s
Office, which helps federal employees expose abuse and corruption. He
now says whistleblowers have little choice but to go outside the system.
Crane is coming forward to speak about
what happened to NSA whistleblower Thomas
Drake, who revealed the existence of a widespread illegal program of
domestic surveillance. Drake’s house was raided by the FBI in 2007. He was charged in 2010 under the
Espionage Act. In 2011, he pled guilty to a minor misdemeanor of
unauthorized use of a government computer. He did not serve jail time.
And here is John Crane explaining what is
- in his opinion - wrong with the
way the US government (mis)treats whistleblowers:
AMY GOODMAN: So, John Crane, talk about why
you are coming out publicly for the first time.
JOHN CRANE: I’m coming out publicly for the
first time because what Edward Snowden did is it was the largest, most
massive classified leak in this country’s history. And so we have two
separate issues here, that one is we, I think, need to make sure that
there won’t be any more massive disclosures like that, but we can only
assure that, should we have a whistleblower protection system in place
that will make sure, one, whistleblowers have the confidence to step
forward without having their own individual identities compromised, and
when they step forward, that they’re not subject to multiyear
Incidentally: I think this is what
John Crane wants, but my own guess is that
both ends are quite unlikely.
Here are my reasons: I think the NSA
has been so fundamentally illegal since 15 years (at least) that
someone who tells the approximate truth about it will be a traitor
according to the criminals who head the NSA (which indeed also is
consistent from their point of view), while I
think it is a pipedream to believe here will be decent
protections for whistle-blowers who work in a fundamentally criminal
and illegal service like the NSA.
Then again, I do not know how likely it is that there are more
people like Edward Snowden who do currently work for the NSA, nor
do I know how likely it is - if they are there - that they are willing
to endanger themselves, having seen
what Snowden had to go through. 
Finally, here is journalist Mark
Hertsgaard (who sounds very differently here when
compared to the report he and three
journalists from Spiegel International wrote that I reviewed
As I said, there is a whole lot more
in the interview, which is recommended reading.
MARK HERTSGAARD: Well, because, as you said at
the top of the show, everybody knows what Snowden did at this point,
but to really understand it, what Snowden did and why he did it the way
he did it—he did it, you need to know the stories of two other men. And
one is Thomas Drake, as you said, and the other is the third man. And
that third man is Mr. John Crane. And I called him that partly because
I needed to keep his identity confidential myself, until we broke the
story here today in New York on Democracy Now!, but also in The
Guardian and Der Spiegel newspapers. And I chose to work
with The Guardian and Der Spiegel because they
broke the original Snowden stories, and they understood just how
significant Crane’s revelations are, because when you see everything
that John Crane tells us about how the whistleblower protection system
inside the Pentagon is broken, only results in a whistleblower having
his life ruined, as we saw with Tom Drake, you see that really Edward
Snowden had no other choice but to go public.
3. Establishment Democrats Fight to Defeat
Medicare-for-All Ballot Measure in Colorado
The third item is by Nika Knight on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
Highlighting the divisions in the
Democratic party this election, Colorado’s ballot measure for a
universal, single-payer healthcare plan is facing unexpected resistance
from the very same party that has been calling for such a healthcare
plan since the 1990s.
“There is a disconnect between the
powers that be and the people,” said
state senator Irene Aguilar, a former doctor and the chief architect of
the statewide ‘Medicare-for-all,’ called ColoradoCare, in an interview
with the Guardian. “The powers that be are incrementalists.
There hasn’t been a courage of conviction to try and deal with
If it passes, ColoradoCare would make
Colorado the first state in the nation with universal healthcare.
healthcare" is what nearly all Western nations -
somehow  - have. Only the USA is
"Exceptional" enough not to have it,
and to cost a lot more than in most other Western countries.
Here are three positions on healthcare in the US: The public's;
Sanders' and Hillary Clinton's:
Most Americans support
replacing Obamacare with a single-payer system, and Bernie Sanders
has made his support for universal healthcare a central pillar of his
presidential campaign. His rival Hillary Clinton, on the other hand,
continues to support the least popular position of maintaining the
Affordable Care Act (ACA) with only incremental and modest
It seems to me that the reason Hillary
Clinton is so strongly for the ACA because she has been
I completely agree with Perkins, though I add
that this will not happen in the present situation, which
simply has been designed by healthcare professionals,
Moreover, Clinton herself “has
received $13.2m in donations from the health sector over the years,
according to nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. This
well-funded industry is also the chief financial backer of the effort
to destroy ColoradoCare,” notes the Guardian.
“There is huge money from the [health
insurance] industry involved in financing not only the campaign against
ColoradoCare, but also in financing the politicians who decide on
health care legislation,” Owen Perkins, communications director for
ColoradoCareYes, a group advocating for the ballot measure, told the Guardian.
“The role that big money, big medicine
plays in funding campaigns and influencing political votes is certainly
a good reason to take [healthcare] out of the insurance industry and
politicians and put it in the hands of the people,” Perkins added.
pharmaceutical corporations, and politicians so that each of these
three groups profit a lot, at the costs of the patients who
are the public.
This is again a recommended article.
Inside the West's Cynical Plan
to Keep Refugees out of Europe by Trapping Them in Libya
The fourth item is by Sarah Lazare on AlterNet:
This starts as
Western countries’ callous response to
the greatest crisis of human displacement since World War II has
reached new heights with the latest push to fashion—and arm—a Libyan
state in part so that it can help trap refugees in that country and
prevent them from reaching European shores.
European heads of state have already
unleashed a brutal crackdown on people fleeing war and poverty,
including through the EU’s “Operation Sophia” military force in the
Mediterranean, which was established last May to prevent refugees
stranded in Libya from journeying to the continent in search of
Yes, indeed: This is how it seems to me as
Put otherwise, it seems that the
politicians and military who rule the USA attack the people in the
Middle East and drive them out of their homes and their countries,
politicians and military who rule Europe do everything they can to keep
the refugees in some very poorly designed camps in the Middle East.
That is what it seems to boil down
to, at least to me, and "human rights" or even the
status as a legitimate refugee do not apply anymore to
people born in the Middle East.
Here is some more on the inhumanity of the degenerates who organized
and named "Operation Sophia" (meaning: wisdom):
In other words, politicians and the
figures behind Operation Sophia argue that intercepting and destroying
refugee boats in international waters is not, in fact, preventing
displaced people from attempting the voyage. In order to offshore the
Libyan crisis from Europe, they insist, refugees must be prevented from
leaving that country’s waters, and that requires an effective state.
So while ordinary people in the
Middle East might think they have human rights and the status of
legitimate refugees, the politicians and military who also are
responsible for blowing up the Middle East now act as if people from
the Middle East (if non-governmental and non-military, to be
sure) are to be treated as if they are hardly human.
Here is some evidence that this is
the real policy (behind all humanitarian propaganda political
liars are so good at, verbally):
Here is the ending of the article, that again
seems justified to me:
(...) all of the available evidence
suggests that the plan is aimed at preventing displaced people from
journeying across the Mediterranean.
This amounts to trapping refugees in
dire conditions in Libya, which has no
domestic refugee laws or asylum procedures. In an international
briefing published last May, Amnesty International outlined the
abuses that refugees stranded in Libya are forced to endure, from rape
to torture to slave labor:
Torture and other ill-treatment in
immigration detention centers have remained widespread. In many cases,
migrants and refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea have
been subjected to prolonged beatings in such facilities following their
interception and arrest by the Libyan coastguard or militias acting on
their own initiative in the absence of strong state institutions. Women
held in these facilities, which lack female guards, are vulnerable to
sexual violence and harassment.
To keep the refugee crisis away
from Europe’s shores, western states are willing to funnel arms into a
war-torn country to shore up a government whose stablity is suspect at
best. Behind the potentially catastrophic gambit lies a plan to trap
survivors of violence and poverty in deplorable conditions. If those
refugees manage to escape from the conflict zone, they will be met not
by humanitarian relief, but by hostile military patrols. Beyond the
walls of Fortress Europe, a vast, aquatic graveyard may soon expand.
There is considerably more in the article,
which again is recommended.
is motivated by the fact that for something like one or two years after
Edward Snowden manifested himself, there were quite a few
articles proudly announcing there would be more whistleblowers.
My reason to doubt these certainties (which the last year have mostly
disappeared) is that I
come from an extra-ordinary family, with both parents in the resistance
against the Nazis in WW II, and with a father and a grandfather being
arrested for resisting the Nazis in the early summer of 1941, and
convicted to concentration camp imprisonment, that killed my
And having that background I know that very few did
dare to do what my parents and grandparents dared to do (there were six
times more Dutchmen in
the SS than in the resistance; there were over 100.000 Jews - 1% of
the Dutch population then - who were arrested in Holland and murdered
in German camps;
but immediately after the war it seemed as if "there had been 7 million
leaders of the resistance" (as Piet de Jong, prime minister of Holland
in the 1960ies testified).
I think I was quite right, although this doesn't please me.
(There are few real
heroes, though many fake ones, especially if Dutch.)
 This remark - "somehow" - is motivated
by the fact that health care in Europe is also not what many
Americans claim it is:
It is not free, it is not paid by the taxes, and it
has been lately (after being sold by the local politicians to
private corporations) made something like nine times more
expensive (while being considerably worse) than I paid in
In brief: It used to be good and quite payable the first 50
years of my life; since then it has been much worsened
through the consistent efforts of many Dutch politicians (who I suspect
are being paid in secret).
Then again, even this lousy system is a lot better than the US system.