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Nederlog

October 17, 2015
Crisis: Holder, Snowden, Scahill on Drone Papers, Sanders, TTIP, Euro
 "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















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Sections
Introduction

1.
Eric Holder: Mega-rich fraud, liar and moral degenerate
2. Snowden vs Clinton
3. Jeremy Scahill on U.S. Kill Program's Secrets & the
     Whistleblower Who Leaked Them

4.
Sanders and Clinton: How Change Comes
5.
TTIP Is a ‘Revolution Against International Law'
6.
Visualizing The Demise Of The Once Mighty Euro

This is a Nederlog of Saturday, October 17, 2015.

This is a crisis blog. There are 6 items with 8 dotted links: Item 1 is about two articles by Dan Froomkin on the lying fraud Eric Holder; item 2 is about two articles on the lies Clinton spread about Snowden; item 3 is about an interview of Jeremy Scahill about the drone papers; item 4 is a well-written article with quite a few quotations about Sanders and Clinton; item 5 is a strongly recommended article by a human rights expert of the UN who - quite deservedly - trashes the TTIP as an illegal revolution against international law, which is quite good; and item 6 is about a large graphic about the Euro, that is worth less and less and less. (I know, for I have a very minimal pension after 31 years of even more minimal dole).

1. Eric Holder: Mega-rich fraud, liar and moral degenerate

There are two first items today (in an attempt at some small renewal in the crisis series) and they are collected under the above title (1) because the title is quite adequate (in my opinion) and (2) the two articles in this section are both by Dan Froomkin and appeared on The Intercept.

The first is this:

This is from the beginning:
(...) I noted his failure to hold accountable the people responsible for the wide-scale financial fraud that led to the massive economic recession of 2007-9. And I noted that after he stepped down from his post in April, he went back to his job at Covington & Burling, the gigantic D.C. law firm whose clients have included many of the big banks which Holder chose not to prosecute.
There he "earned" before being nominated to the government a mere $3 million dollar per year. His present salary is unknown.

Here is the liar's - the best friend the corrupt stealing bankers ever had - response to Froomkin's question:

Holder bristled at my suggestion that there might be a connection between his current employer and his conduct at Justice,  saying that many top prosecutors at Justice had pursued cases as best they could. “We were simply unable to do it under the existing statutes that we had, and given the ways the decision-making worked at those institutions,” he said.

However, Holder had all the statutory authority he needed to prosecute straightforward crimes such as robosigning fraud, perjury in front of Congress by Goldman Sachs executives, or for that matter, HSBC’s money laundering for Mexican drug cartels. He simply chose not to.
Of course he had. But he wants everything: At least 3 million dollars a year; not to prosecute any of the banking frauds, who stole billions; not prosecuting any of the torturers of the CIA and a lily-blank reputation.

At Wednesday’s event, Holder continued: “It’s an easy thing for people who are not a part of the process” to “ask questions,” he said. “It pisses me off, on the other hand,” for people “not conversant” in the process to “somehow say that I did something that was inconsistent with my oath or that I’m not a person of integrity.”

“I’m proud to be back at the firm,” he said. “It’s a great firm. And I’m proud of the work I did at the Justice Department.”

What pisses me off is that a sick mega-rich fraud, liar and moral degenerate
like Holder is not in jail for life, for failing and wanting to fail in the most important cases his job offered.

The second article, also by Froomkin, is this:

This starts as follows:

Former attorney general Eric Holder on Wednesday called for the public release of details of the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into CIA abuse of detainees, saying it would show the world how hard his prosecutors tried to bring Bush-era torturers to justice.

I think this was a double lie: First, he very probably knows that the government will not publicly "release of details of the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into CIA abuse of detainees", and second he is lying when he says he tried "hard" "to bring Bush-era torturers to justice". I think he did the opposite (and see below).

Here is some about "
the Justice Department’s criminal investigation":

The DOJ investigation into torture, led by special counsel John Durham under a carefully circumscribed mandate from Holder, ended in 2011 with no charges being filed against anyone at the CIA despite the massive amount of evidence showing that they had engaged in extraordinary brutality that went well beyond even what was sanctioned by the Bush Justice Department’s infamous “torture memos.”

And here is how Holder prevented that any real justice was being done:

Holder explicitly barred Durham from investigating either the senior officials who approved the torture regime or anyone who followed their orders. “The Department of Justice will not prosecute anyone who acted in good faith and within the scope of the legal guidance given by the Office of Legal Counsel regarding the interrogation of detainees,” Holder said at the time.

To the best of my knowledge these were some flimsy, brief handwritten notes by some lawyers working for the government who said that, in their opinion, torture - called otherwise, but that also was trickery - was legal (which is a lie), and that is "the scope of the legal guidance" the torturers got.

As I said: In my opinion Eric Holder is a mega-rich fraud, a liar and a moral degenerate who intentionally obstructed the doing of real justice while he headed the DoJ.

2. Snowden vs Clinton 
The next item also consists of two articles, one on The Intercept and one ine The Guardian, because both are about Snowden and Clinton.

The first is by Jenna McLaughlin on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

Hillary Clinton twice this week has insisted, contrary to the facts, that former NSA contractor Edward Snowden could have accomplished his goals and avoided punishment if he’d raised his concerns through the proper channels.

Clinton first made that assertion at Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate, and again at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire on Friday.

“I firmly believe that he could have gone public and released the information about the collection of information on Americans under whistleblower protections, and he could have done it within the tradition in our country that shields people that come forth acting out of conscience to present information that they believe the public should have,” she said on Friday.

Clearly Hillary Clinton was consciously lying: Anybody who knows something about Snowden knows that her "firm beliefs" either show, if she really has them, that she is insane, or else (as I think) that she was impertinently and grossly lying.

As Snowden said:

Snowden had earlier tweeted that he was “sad to see Hillary repeat a false claim despite fact check. She could develop a reputation.”

Even so, Snowden said the fact that none of the candidates at the Democratic debate called him a traitor was a positive sign. “Many candidates wanted to prosecute me. But I would actually argue that [the debate was] an extraordinary leap forward in terms of recognition by the establishment that the actions of 2013 were not so harmful as originally claimed.”

I don't think he harmed anyone except the corrupt and fraudulent officials of the American government and/or the NSA (or one of its other 16 secret incarnations).

The second is by Tom McCarthy on The Guardian:
 This starts as follows:

Edward Snowden has accused Hillary Clinton of “a lack of political courage” for her assertion during the Democratic presidential debate this week that the whistleblower had bypassed options for disclosing illegal government spying programs that would have protected him and not violated the law.

Speaking via satellite at a privacy conference at New York’s Bard College on Friday, Snowden said: “Hillary Clinton’s claims are false here.”

“This is important, right?” Snowden told an audience at the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College. “Truth should matter in politics, and courage should matter in politics, because we need change. Everyone knows we need change. And we have been aggrieved and in many ways misled by political leaders in the past.”

Yes, indeed - I quite agree. And there is this:
Multiple passes at fact-checking Clinton’s claim this week have concluded that “the protections of being a whistleblower” do not exist in the real world and did not apply to Snowden. A 1989 whistleblower law, for example, does not apply to intelligence community employees. A separate law for would-be intelligence whistleblowers has been deemed a trap because it has led not to protections but to prosecutions.
Indeed (as also has been many times explained in the past more than two years).

3. Jeremy Scahill on U.S. Kill Program's Secrets & the Whistleblower Who Leaked Them

The next article is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now!:

This starts as follows:
One of the most secretive military campaigns in U.S. history is under the microscope like never before. In a major exposé based on leaked government documents, The Intercept has published the most in-depth look at the U.S. drone assassination program to date. "The Drone Papers" exposes the inner workings of the U.S. military’s assassination program in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia, revealing a number of flaws and far more casualties than the intended targets. The documents were leaked to The Intercept by an unnamed U.S. intelligence source who says he wanted to alert Americans to wrongdoing. We are joined by The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill, lead author of the exposé, "The Drone Papers."
Incidentally, "The Drone Papers" is written by 7 journalists of The Intercept, including Scahill.

Here is Amy Goodman on the significance of the leaked documents:

AMY GOODMAN: The documents were leaked to The Intercept by an unnamed U.S. intelligence source who says he wanted to alert Americans to wrongdoing. With obvious comparisons to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Snowden himself weighed in, tweeting, quote, "When we look back on today, we will find the most important national security story of the year." In a statement, Amnesty International said the leaks should spark an independent congressional inquiry over, quote, "whether the USA has systematically violated international law, including by classifying unidentified people as 'combatants' to justify their killings."
I quite agree. There is more in the original, which is a recommended read, and I will finish with Scahill's answer to who the person is who leaked the documents:

AMY GOODMAN: Before we go to break, your source, this second Edward Snowden, who is this person?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, do you want to give me your pin to your ATM card? I mean, look, this is a very brave whistleblower. And this administration has been relentless in its war against whistleblowers. And, you know, I mean, Chelsea Manning is rotting right now in a prison cell for exposing U.S. war crimes. Edward Snowden is in exile. Thomas Drake and Bill Binney, you know, were smeared in public and had their reputations ruined. Jeffrey Sterling is in prison right now. Our source is an incredibly principled, brave individual. And, you know, I worry because the government is—this government has been relentless in its pursuit of people of conscience who blow the whistle, and has characterized them as traitors and spies, and, in the process, has criminalized the ability to do independent journalism that is meant to hold them accountable, the government accountable, without fear that your sources, or in some cases the journalists themselves, are going to be put in the crosshairs of the so-called justice system.

Yes, indeed.

As an aside: Yesterday we learned there are about 7 million Americans working in secret who have
access to “confidential and secret” information. I have since Snowden revealed himself in June of 2013 read quite a few articles that contained the claim that there soon would be more Snowdens.

I doubted that, mostly because in my experience there are few truly intelligent people who are honest and moral, and since this is "the second Snowden" in 2 years plus 4 months, I think this supports that I am right.

This does not please me, but it does seem to be a fact. And I said on June 10, 2013 that Snowden is an extra-ordinary man, and here repeat it, though I am also quite glad he is not unique (as indeed is also clear from Manning).

4. Sanders and Clinton: How Change Comes

The next article is by Robert Borosage on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
One of the most striking contrasts between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in the first Democratic debate is their starkly different theories of how change will take place. Yet it is this difference that is at the center of the Sanders surge, and particularly of the remarkable excitement that he has stirred among the young.
One reason to select this article is that it gives several quite good quotes of both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. I will leave these mostly to your interest, but quote one, from Sanders:
I believe that the power of corporate America, the power of Wall Street, the power of the drug companies, the power of the corporate media is so great that the only way we really transform America and do the things that the middle class and working class desperately need is through a political revolution when millions of people begin to come together and stand up and say: Our government is going to work for all of us, not just a handful of billionaires.
I quite agree. There is considerably more quoted from Sanders and about as much from Clinton, but I will here only quote from the ending of the article:

Waiting for a political revolution seems a bit like waiting for Godot. But ask yourself, which of these views is more realistic? Clinton’s claim is a less bumptious version of Donald Trump: “Trust me. I know how to do this. I can get this done.” How plausible is it to believe that Clinton’s experience and expertise can enable her to work with Republicans to effect the change we need? We know there are bad deals that can be cut. But real reform?

“Revolution soon come” seems like a fantasy. But Sanders’ view that nothing will change unless people rise up, demand change, go to the polls in large numbers and hold their representatives accountable is compelling. And by not raising money from millionaires and billionaires, by not setting up a super PAC.
Yes. And no, there will be no real reform if Hillary Clinton gets to be president, and there is a large chance of real reform if Bernie Sanders gets to be president, supposing - and I think this is a real worry - he doesn't get killed.

I agree that Clinton is better than any of the Republicans, but Sanders is a credible leftist and progressive, whereas Clinton only is a make belief progressive (that is: in talk, but not in decisions).

Also, the sort of "revolution" Sanders is hoping for is a democratic revolution:
He wants to convince the people that his ideas are better than Clinton's and than the Republicans, and that is all quite legitimate, and indeed quite American.

5. TTIP Is a ‘Revolution Against International Law'

The next article is by Nick Dearden on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows, and is quite important:

“Globalization cannot be allowed to become the grand global casino where investors rig the system to guarantee that they always win.” UN human rights expert Alfred-Maurice de Zayas doesn’t mince his words when it comes to the new generation of trade deals like TTIP.

He believes the corporate court system at the centre of the deal, which allows foreign companies to sue governments in secret “is tantamount to a revolution against law, it is retrogression in terms of legality and predictability, a no-man’s land of arbitrary arbitrations.”

Quite so! Also, these "arbitrations" are by "courts" manned with lawyers who work for the multi-national corporations.

There is this:

Globalization cannot be allowed to become the grand global casino where investors rig the system to guarantee that they always win. A democratic and equitable international order is not possible if this “Hotel Brave New World” is allowed to ensnare States, letting them check in but never leave. Since the siren call of foreign direct investment has proven deceptive, Governments must move away from easy mythologies and demand empirical evidence of job creation through foreign direct investment and reject a “race to the bottom” in human rights terms. 
Again: Quite so! Here is an analysis of the "corporate courts system":

The ‘corporate courts’ system is “a Trojan horse” threatening “a privatized system of dispute settlement, outside and contrary to … the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

And there’s more.

“Experience shows that many of the 608 arbitration awards that have become known,  have overridden national law and hindered States in the sovereign determination of fiscal and budgetary policy, labour, health and environmental regulation, and have had adverse human rights impacts, also on third parties, including a “chilling effect” with regard to the exercise of democratic governance.”

Incidentally: president Obama was a professor of international law. He surely knows this, but he wipes his ass with it, and is strongly for the TTP and the TTIP, which will destroy democracy, law and national governments.

Not only that:

Officially known as Investor State Dispute Settlement or ISDS, corporate courts bring us closer to a private international system of law which threatens the whole basis of human rights and democracy. De Zayas says:

“An international order of sovereign and equal States … must not be undermined by private attempts to replace it with an international order ruled by investors, speculators and transnational enterprises lacking democratic legitimacy.. international investment agreements are usurping State functions as if the only rights were the rights to trade and to invest.”

But that is precisely what is happening, and ISDS are supposed to claim hundreds of millions - or more! - for multi-national corporations that claimed they made less profit than they said they should. And no, these are not real courts either, nor is this real law: This is just the absolute authoritarian rule of the multi- national corporations working to get the maximal profits - and to get these from nations' taxes if they are not as large as they expected.

Here is de Zayas own program:

To start off, de Zayas lays down straightforward guidelines for the British and other governments contemplating deals like TTIP. First, “ISDS should be abolished” as it has no place in a democratic world. He believes states must defy corporate court decisions that violate human rights and even suggests appealing to the World Court to prove “the invalidity of ISDS awards that are arbitrary and manifestly ill-founded.” 

Second, government need to “conduct human rights, health and environmental impact assessments” and give maximum transparency to the negotiations which “must not be secret or ‘fast-tracked’”. Deals must not involve “unreasonable ‘survival clause’”, something which surely covers the 20 years it would take a government to withdraw from TTIP.

Finally de Zayas urges states to work together against this corporate coup, because a “democratic and equitable international order can only be achieved by States in international solidarity.”

I agree, and note that de Zayas is not opposing a TTIP, but merely this specific (secret and classified) one.

Will this succeed? I must say I am skeptical, but this is because I am skeptical about the UN (having known someone who worked there for quite a while and who deemed it wholly corrupt, and had quite convincing stories).

But at least it is quite good that he said so; I agree with all his points; and he is a UN human rights expert. This is a
strongly recommended article.

6. Visualizing The Demise Of The Once Mighty Euro

The final article today is by Tyler Durden on Zeroedge, that I found on Raging Bull-Shit:

This is here mostly because of its illustration, that follows this text, that is the end of a brief introduction:

The euro itself has dropped precipitously, particularly in terms of USD but also in terms of GBP and CNY. In the beginning of 2008, a US dollar could buy only €0.65 euros. Today, on average through 2015, one US dollar can buy €0.91 euros.

With European demographics getting more challenging by the year, and deflation stalking the eurozone, problems don’t seem to be going away for the euro. The crises in Ukraine and Greece continue on without much resolved, and the ECB is continuing on with its QE program. Meanwhile, the Refugee Crisis has created another political distraction that has its own challenges for the people of Europe.

Next, there is a large graphical illustration, called "The Shrinking Euro", that takes some 13 screens full on my (not so large but quite decent) monitor, and which is a good summary of basic points.

I don't completely agree, but it is a decent survey, and I leave this to your interests.

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