1. Obama Worries
Future Presidents Will Wage
Perpetual, Covert Drone War
Detainees Describe 'Terrifying' Unreported
3. Who’s to Blame for the Rise of Donald Trump?
4. Do We Really Want Nuclear War with Russia?
5. In Boon for Big Pharma, TTIP Would Lock In High Drug
This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
is a crisis log with 5 items and 5 dotted links: Item 1
is about Obama's saying one thing while doing the
precise opposite (here: as regards to his and future presidents'
private warring); item 2 is about some more
horrible details about the torture techniques introduced by the two
American psychologists James
Mitchell and Bruce Jessen (who got $80 million to do so); item 3 is about the rise of Donald Trump (I give a
somewhat different story than is in the article); item 4
is about the increasing likelihood of a nuclear war with Russia; and item 5 is - again - about the TTIP, this time with
special attention for increasing the anyway enormous
profits of pharmaceutical multi-nationals.
part, for the moment --
In case you visit my
Dutch site: I do not know, but it may be you need
to click/reload twice or more
to see any changes I have made. This certainly held for
possible this was caused by the fact that I am also writing it from my
In any case, I am now (again) updating
the opening of my site with the last day it was updated.
(And I am very sorry if you have to click/reload several times
last update: It is not what I wish, nor how it was. 
C. In case you visit my Danish site: It now
works again (!), but I do not know how long it will. ("xs4all" did OK
for one - 1 - day, and then reverted to showing very
old openings, also at a wrong place, while I had to click several
times to see any new file I had added.)
I am very sorry, and none of it is due to me. I
am simply doing the same things as I did for 20 or for 12 years, that
also went well for 20 or for 12 years.
I will keep this introduction until I get three successive days (!!!)
in which both providers work correctly. I have not seen that
for many months now.
1. Obama Worries Future Presidents Will Wage Perpetual, Covert
item today is by Ryan
Deveraux and Alex Emmons on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
President Obama warns in a new interview of
a future in which a U.S. president could engage in perpetual covert
wars “all over the world.” But he claims that the accountability and
transparency measures he is instituting will make that less likely.
In the interview, with New York
magazine’s Jonathan Chait, Obama expressed agreement with one of the
most salient critiques of his drone war, that it risks creating
“institutional comfort and inertia with what looks like a pretty
antiseptic way of disposing of enemies.”
Obama explained that he had looked
at “the way in which the number of drone strikes was going up and the
routineness with which, early in my presidency, you were seeing both
DOD and CIA and our intelligence teams think about this.”
He continued: “And it troubled me,
because I think you could see, over the horizon, a situation in which,
without Congress showing much interest in restraining actions with
authorizations that were written really broadly, you end up with a
president who can carry on perpetual wars all over the world, and a lot
of them covert, without any accountability or democratic debate.”
I think that - as usual - Obama is lying. This can be
illustrated by rewriting the beginning and the ending of the
above quotation. The quotes are literal: only the bolded words
make a difference:
President Obama warns in a new interview of
a future in which a U.S. president could engage in perpetual covert
wars “all over the world.” But he claims that the "accountability"
and "transparency" measures he is instituting
will make that more likely.
(..) [and therefore]
" (..) you end up with a president who can
carry on perpetual wars all over the world, and a lot of them covert,
without any accountability or democratic debate."
For that is my explanation for the
fact that both Bush Jr. and Obama have been organizing wars for 15
years now (and note the bold quote-marks).
Here is more of the same, with the
original words struck out, and the real terms (in my view) in
“By the time I leave here, the American
people are going to have a
better worse sense
of what their president is doing,” Obama said. “Their president is
going to have to be more less accountable
than he or she otherwise would have been. The world, I think, will have
a better worse sense of what we’re trying to
do and what we stand for. And I think all of that will serve the
American people well badly in the future.”
But the one existing transparency
measure Obama touts as an example in the interview — the
administration’s release of its tally on civilian casualties from drone
strikes in Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia — was viewed by many in the
human rights community as a farce, largely because it pointed to a
death toll far lower than outside observer tallies.
The release, made
public on the Friday afternoon of Fourth of July weekend,
reported that between 64 and 116 civilians were killed during Obama’s
two terms. The Bureau
of Investigative Journalism, by comparison, has estimated that
between 492 and 1,077 civilians have been killed by drone strikes
during the eight years of Obama’s presidency.
As I said, I made the changes in the text,
indeed in part to account for the fact of 15 years of continued wars,
and in part for the fact that the American warring government declares
there is about 1 civilan killed for 8 times as many in
And I am (by far) not the only one who thinks Obama is lying.
Here is a director of Amnesty International:
Precisely - although the strangeness
results from the radical
difference between Obama's pretensions and promises, and Obama's
What’s more, the alarming changes that
Obama describes as over the horizon are already here.
“What’s so interesting is that President
Obama acknowledges this problem — that future presidents will be
empowered to kill globally, and in secret. What he doesn’t acknowledge
is how much of a role his administration had in making that a bizarre
normal,” Naureen Shah, director of national security and human rights
at Amnesty International, told The Intercept.
“There is something so strange about the
person who many would say is very responsible for this situation
actually acknowledging it and saying he tried to plan for it,” Shah
added. “What we’ll be left with from the Obama administration is a far
more dangerous precedent of secret, global killings than what we
2. Ex-CIA Detainees Describe
'Terrifying' Unreported Torture Techniques
The second item is by Nadia Prupis on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
In a new Human Rights Watch (HRW) report
released Monday, two former CIA detainees described previously
unreported torture techniques used in secret U.S. prisons overseas,
shedding new light on the program the government fought for years to
Ridha al-Najjar, 51, and Lotfi al-Arabi
El Gherissi, 52, both Tunisian men recently repatriated after being in
CIA custody for 13 years without charge, independently described being
threatened with a makeshift electric chair, deprived of sleep, subject
to multiple forms of water torture, chained by their wrists to the
ceilings of their cells for extended periods of time, and severely
I say. Here is some more (and I must add
that I don't much like substituting abbreviations everywhere,
though that is a side remark):
of El Gherissi's experience:
He said the chair was made of metal,
or perhaps iron. It had clips with wires attached to it intended to be
fit on fingers, and a helmet with wires. His description suggested
something makeshift, attached to a pipe that came out of a wall. His
interrogators put him in the chair and threatened to use it on him
unless he gave them more information, though they did not. He said this
terrified him and he was trembling. The room also had a board that they
threatened to put him on, but never did. He said he understood that
water would be used on him while he was on the board.
Al-Najjar separately recounted similar
It was made out of metal or iron, had
plugs attached to wires for fitting on fingers, and a headset with
wires. The description suggested make-shift apparatus, attached to a
wall pipe. His U.S. interrogators threatened during interrogations to
use the chair on him, but never actually did. The room also contained
other instruments used for torture, including a board that he believes
his interrogators used on him on various occasions for different types
of water torture, and a coffin in which they threatened to place him.
"These terrifying accounts of previously
unreported CIA torture methods show how little the public still knows
about the U.S. torture program," said HRW senior U.S. national security
counsel Laura Pitter.
Yes indeed, for the torture program also
was mostly kept secret by very active interference of
the CIA. The two men who organized the torturing of American
prisoners are the American psychologists (see here)
James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, who received
together (it seems) a mere $80 million dollar for it (see here), who both therefore became
Here is what they seemed to have arranged, among other things:
Again, those who took care that he was a "clearly broken man" are the American psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, who got to
be multi-millionaires for doing this and other things for the
The most abuse took place at a facility
known as Cobalt, a site in Afghanistan, which al-Najjar and El Gherissi
called the "Dark Prison." Other detainees have referred to it
alternately as the Dark Prison or the "Salt Pit" as well. Al-Najjar
recounted his interrogators at Cobalt "threatening the 'well-being of
his family,' using 'sound disorientation techniques,' denying him sleep
using round-the-clock interrogations, depriving him of any 'sense of
time,' keeping him in 'isolation in total darkness; lowering the
quality of his food,' using cold temperatures, playing music '24 hours
a day, and keeping him shackled and hooded.'"
A CIA cable issued September 21, 2002
described him as a "clearly broken man" who was "on the verge of a
complete breakdown." He remained in CIA custody for another 13 years.
And this is what happened to El Gherissi and
Al-Najjar (and again I note that "HRW" sounds rather different
to me than "Human Rights Watch"):
Both men were set free in 2015
with no compensation or support from the U.S. or Tunisian governments,
which violated international human rights law, HRW said—particularly
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the
Convention Against Torture, both of which the U.S. has ratified. Under
those laws, "governments have obligations to ensure the right to an
effective remedy for victims of serious human rights violations,
including torture and other ill-treatment," the human rights group
wrote. "Although these violations did not take place in the United
States, they occurred while the individuals were under the effective
control of U.S. security forces."
So they were tortured, beaten and abused for
13 years without receiving any compensation, while the
two psychologists who organized their tortures, beatings and abuses
- who bear the names James Mitchell and Bruce
Jessen - were rewarded with $80 million dollars for
organizing the tortures. 
3. Who’s to Blame for the Rise of
The third item is by Juan Cole on Truthdig and originally on Informed
This starts as follows:
Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign
platform has from the beginning been based on racism, religious
bigotry, class warfare of the rich on workers, hatred of women, and a
whole series of other unacceptable and disgusting planks. Not
David Duke of the Ku Klux Klan ran for the senate in Louisiana in
1990 (and got 60% of the white vote) have we seen so extreme a
candidate have such a good chance of winning national office. Yet
despite Trump’s black soul (in the phrase of Khizr Khan), the polls in
September had showed him competitive.
What in the world so degraded our
politics such that a candidate as bad as Duke in most respects was not
disavowed (as Duke was) by the Republican National Committee?
That he was given thousands of hours of free airtime by cable news
networks like CNN and MSNBC, who simply switched to his daily rallies
as “breaking news,” in prime time! I can’t remember seeing them
do that for a Hillary Clinton speech even once in prime time; maybe on
a Saturday afternoon when no one is watching.
Yes, indeed. And the question "What in the world so degraded our politics such that a
candidate as bad as Duke in most respects" - that is to say: Donald
Trump - "was not disavowed (as Duke was) by the Republican National
Committee?" is a good one.
Here is Juan Cole's list of reasons, but I should say
immediately that the list of seven points Cole gives is copied from the
article, but their accompanying texts have been deleted in this
Obviously, the national kid gloves with
which Trump has been treated didn’t come out of nowhere. The US
political and information system was softened up for him over the past
decade and a half. So here are some turning points that led us
down this primrose path to the new American fascism.
1. The use of media by
politicians to create an alternative
2. Elevating terrorism above other
crimes, to the status
of existential threat.
5. The replacement of television journalism with
6. Climate Change Denial.
As I said, each of the above seven points has
texts explaining them in the article. I will say something about the
points, but first quote the end of the article:
That is not a strong ending. But I
agree there are quite a few alternative possible lists of
points that explain "this primrose path to the
new American fascism" and I want to add one that
definitely should have been on any such list, and I also want
to consider three of the points on the list in a little detail.
There are lots of other culprits.
You can make your own lists.
But basically what I am saying is, a lot
of powerful Americans have a lot to be ashamed about.
First, the point that should have been on the list in any case:
And next, there are three changes that
are quite different from the other four changes:
- The enormous gains in power the rich
attained through 35 years of systematic
deregulations of all laws that protected
the non-rich against the depradations of the rich.
The first point, about "terrorism",
started nearly immediately in 2002, and was in fact, in my opinion, a
careful plan that aimed at giving the secret services of the West the
full powers to collect any information they could get from the
internet about everyone who has internet.
- Making terrorism a
crime above all other crimes.
- Making an alternative reality
in the media.
- Replacing television journalism by infotainment.
This made the Western secret services into institutions which know
hundreds, thousands or tenthousands time more about everyone
with internet connection than even the KGB and the Stasi could
collect under Soviet "socialism" about anyone.
I think it is extremely dangerous, for it gives the very few
that govern all the powers to grow very quickly into the most awful
The second point, about the very radical changes in the media,
seems to date back to the nineties, and imply that none
of the viewers of TV, whether Fox or MSNBC, are offered a view of
reality that is remotely correct: All views presented by
"TV News" are very strongly doctored alternative reality shows,
where most of the news that would help viewers to make ip their minds
has been deleted and replaced by infotainments.
And that also is the third point: Neither the TV nor the main
media that still print "the news" (on paper) give all or most of the
news: What they give is
mostly either propaganda
or amusement, although the propaganda is never identified as
propaganda, while the amusements tends to be presented as "the Real
I think myself these four points are the most important. They all imply
that real journalism has been killed everywhere in the mainstream
media, and I think that is correct or mostly correct. 
Also, I do not know what one can do about this, other than trying to
keep up with the few sources of real news and real journalism there
still are: The Real News Network, Truthdig, Common Dreams and AlterNet,
to name the main ones.
And all of these seem to be threatened, to depend on a few persons, and
to have very little money...
4. Do We Really Want Nuclear War with Russia?
The fourth item today is by Robert Parry on Consortiumnews:
This starts as follows:
Through an endless barrage of ugly
propaganda, the U.S. government and the mainstream American press have
put the world on course for a potential nuclear showdown with Russia,
an existential risk that has been undertaken cavalierly amid bizarre
expressions of self-righteousness from Western institutions.
This extraordinarily dangerous moment
reflects the insistence of the Establishment in Washington that it
should continue to rule the world and that it will not broach the
possibility of other nations asserting their own national interests
even in their own neighborhoods.
I think this is correct, and in fact it
goes back to 1990/1991 when the Soviet Union and its attendant
"socialist" countries collapsed which, from that time on, made the USA
the one and only most powerful nation on earth.
And the USA chose to extend its powers as
much as it could, and absolutely everywhere, and did so with military
violence, first against Iraq in the beginning of the 1990ies, and then
again against Iraq in the early 2000s, and then rapidly against more Islamic
states in the Middle East in the next 15 years.
Next, there is this:
Rather than adjust to a new multi-polar
world, the powers-that-be in Washington have deployed a vast array of
propaganda assets that are financed or otherwise encouraged to escalate
an information war so aggressively that Russia is reading this
onslaught of insults as the conditioning of the Western
populations for a world war.
While that may not be the intention of
President Obama, who in his
recent United Nations address acknowledged the risks from
imposing uni-polar order on the world, a powerful bureaucratic
machinery is in place to advance U.S. propaganda goals. It is operating
on a crazed auto-pilot hurtling toward destruction but beyond anyone’s
ability to turn it off.
I believe this also is correct, but I am a
bit less certain.
What is true - at least, in my opinion - is that (i)
the Americans interpreted the changes of 1990/1991 as showing that they,
and they alone, where to be the rulers of the world from the
1990ies onwards, and (ii) this viewpoint was expressed militarily
in the Middle East and Afghanistan, and was accompanied
with a very "powerful bureaucratic machinery" "to advance U.S. propaganda"
that in fact was briefly described in the previous item, and that seems
to be located mostly in the Pentagon (that these days swallows up most
of the taxes Americans pay).
Here is more:
This also seems correct to me. There is a
whole lot more in the article, that is recommended.
This machinery consists not just of
outlets and activists funded by U.S. tax dollars via the National
Endowment for Democracy or the U.S.
Agency for International Development or NATO’s
Strategic Communications Command, but like-minded “human
rights” entities paid for by billionaire currency speculator George
Soros or controlled by neoconservative ideologues who now run major
U.S. newspapers, such as The Washington Post and The New York Times.
This propaganda apparatus now has so
many specialized features that you get supposedly “progressive” and
“anti-war” organizations promoting a major U.S. invasion of Syria under
the guise of sweet-sounding policies like “no-fly zones” and “safe
zones,” the same euphemisms that were used as the gateway to bloody
“regime change” wars in Iraq and Libya.
O, and as to a nuclear war (which seems closer with the changes that
came since the 1990ies): Reagan - quoted yesterday - was quite
right that "a nuclear war cannot be won and must
never be fought".
But I do not know (at all) what percentage of the
presently ruling American governors and military see it in similar
5. In Boon for Big Pharma, TTIP Would Lock In High Drug Prices:
The fifth and last item today is by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:
This starts as
Yes, indeed. And the TTIP will not only give
the - anyway extremely greedy - American pharmaceuticals the powers and
the riches to earn even more by even more expensive drugs, but it will
also destroy all European governments that care more for their
inhabitants than Texas, to be brought down to the level of Texas, and
indeed to destroy everything that remains of Europe's states, Europe's
national governments, Europe's natioal parliaments, and Europe's
national laws and judiciaries: These must all go and be replaced by a
Texan sort of "civilization", in which the few rich rule, and the many
poor have absolutely nothing to say.
As E.U. and U.S. officials meet in New
York this week for the 15th round of Transatlantic Trade and
Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, a new report warns of
how the corporate-friendly, increasingly
unpopular deal could "lock in" high drug prices and "help entrench
a broken medical innovation system."
Specifically, the analysis explains how
expanding intellectual property rules and monopoly protections for
medicines, which the TTIP seeks to do, is counterproductive at a time
when E.U. member states and the U.S. "are facing a looming access to
According to the report:
TTIP could impede change
towards affordability, needs-driven innovation and alternative
incentive structures. TTIP may add to existing monopoly protections for
medicines; reinforce the current trend of industry claiming trade
secret protection to limit access to crucial information on medicines'
safety, efficacy and development; rein in the freedom of national
governments to make decisions on pricing and reimbursement to ensure
affordability; and establish global standards that are harmful for
Here is some more:
As I said: The American plan seems to amount
to: Make Europe like Texas. (And be assured that the European rich,
including the frauds who lead the European Union, are as much for
these changes as the American rich are, simply because they
know the changes will make them much richer and much more powerful.)
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins sans
Frontières has similarly
warned that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)—also stalled
largely due to public opposition—contains "aggressive intellectual
property (IP) rules that would restrict access to affordable,
lifesaving medicines for millions of people."
What's more, the groups express
concern that the TTIP would create more opportunities "for
industry to influence national pharmaceutical policies." As the report
The recently leaked text has
confirmed widely held concerns that the Regulatory Cooperation chapter
poses a major threat to health, safety, environmental, labor, consumer,
civil and political rights, and other regulatory protections. The U.S.
proposals in the Regulatory Cooperation chapter seek to export many of
the worst features of U.S. rulemaking. If the United States succeeds in
its project, large corporations, including pharmaceutical companies,
would gain enormous power to block, slow, undermine, and repeal
"Big Pharma expects negotiators to serve
its corporate profit interests in these talks," said Peter Maybarduk,
director of Public Citizen's Access to Medicines program.
"Unfortunately, trade agreements have become one more mechanism for
drug corporations to expand their monopoly power."
But I have said many times, meanwhile, why I think the TTP, the TTIP,
the TISA and the CETA are all plans that aim at one thing only:
To make the very few rich much richer and much more powerful, by stealing
more riches and what remains of the power from the many poor (who have
been systematically exploited already since 1980, and who did not
get any richer all these 36 years, while the few very rich got enormously
So here is one last remark on the "medicines crisis":
It is not merely that - for example - myself has now to pay, in
Holland, about 7 times as much as I had to pay in the late
1980ies for a "health insurance" that I am now legally forced
to take, while it is at most half as much worth as the previous
health insurance was. 
For there now is the quite serious threat that many of
the medicines that have been relied upon for decades will soon be quite
worthless because the organisms they killed have meanwhile become resistant
Then again, this last part of the current "medicines crisis"
seems - at the moment - mainly to worry medical doctors, and not the
pharmaceutical corporations (that only care for maximal profits for
this is precisely as I said it does, and it goes on for
months now. I
do not know who does it, and I refuse to call the liars of
(really: the KPN), simply because these have been lying to me from
2002-2009, and I do not trust anything they say I cannot control
myself: They have treated me for seven years as a liar because
"you complain about things other people do not complain about" (which
is the perfect excuse never to do anything
 This is here mostly not to forget the
names of the two American psychologists who organized the torture; got
paid $80 million dollars for it;
and were not punished at all (except by some small sanctions of the
James Mitchell and Bruce
 Here are two further remarks, both
brief (here and now):
First, the killing of real journalism started in the late 1980ies and
early 1990ies (when there was almost no real news whatsoever
from the first Iraq War), and got very much more serious with
the collapse of many papers due to a radical lack of advertisements,
and their being bought up by the few very rich.
Second, I am not saying all the news that all
the mainstream media give is all of the same very low quality:
There still is considerable variance
between Fox News and the others, while on the others there still are a
few programs that can bear watching (such as Rachel Maddows and Bill
But by and large, real journalism on American TV these days is rare,
whereas it was mostly normal (though far from excellent) from
1960 till 1990 (which are years I can all recall very well).
 I do want to insist here that many of
the things I've heard on American TV about the blessings of the
Europeans are quite false. Here are just three of the quite
(1) it is not true - in Holland, at least - that the Europeans
have "free healthcare" "paid from their taxes": In Holland health care was
good, and was paid for by private citizens; it now is still paid for by
private citizens, who have to pay 7 times as much for a "health
service" that is twice (or more) as bad as it was till 1995, and are now legally obliged to take this "health
(2) It is not true - in Holland, at least - that the Europeans
have "free access to studies" because these are
"paid from their taxes": They are not,
and at present it is some 15 to 25 times as expensive to study
for 4 years in which one can get a B.A. that is at most half
the worth of the B.A.s I got (in the early 1980ies). Everyone
now has to pay thousands or more than tenthousand euros a year
for the right to hear lectures, that cost between 100 euros and 500
euros in the 1970ies and 1980ies.
(3) It is not true - in Holland, at least, and everywhere
in Europe apart from Portugal - that drugs like marijuana and
hashish are legal: They are not, and they have been
illegal since 1965 (in Holland). What is true is that the
drugs can be freely bought, in considerable part because such
pretensions made it possible to turn over each year, in Holland alone,
and since 1986 or so, 50 billion euros in various illegal drugs
each year (which I think went in part to the mayors and their
lawyers, who took care that marijuana and hashish were freely
available while quite illegal).