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Nederlog

November 7, 2015
Crisis: Fascist TTP*2, Kunduz Attack, German BND, End of crisis series
"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

Sections
Introduction

1.
TPP Trade Pact Would Give Wall Street a Trump Card
     to Block Regulations

2. The Kunduz Hospital Attack
3. The Most Brazen Corporate Power Grab in American
     History

4.
Governments and NGOs: Germany Spied on Friends
     and Vatican

5. The Guardian can't be copied anymore


Introduction

This is a Nederlog of Saturday, November 7, 2015.

This is a crisis blog. There are 5 sections with 4 dotted links: Item 1 is on the TPP, that finally got published, and is - even - much worse than the most skeptic thought; item 2 is about an article by Glenn Greenwald on the American attack on the hospital of MSF in Kunduz; item 3 is an excellent article by Chris Hedges on the TPP; item 4 is about how the German counterpart of the NSA spied on anything and anyone as it pleased, in spite of assurances by Chancellor Merkel; and item 5 is about another radical change in policy by The Guardian: I can't copy anymore (without extensive steps and troubles, for which I do not have either the health or the taste).

The last item also explains why I will probably end the crisis-series: My father and mother didn't stop political fascism, in spite of 45 years trying; and I didn't stop anything about corporate fascism, that will very probably completely succeed by 2016 or 2017 (thank you, Obama: thank you very, very much!), and I also am meanwhile 65, and have spend most of my time and energy the last 2 1/2 years trying to excerpt and review the most important journalistic articles I could find about the growth of fascism (identified by me on December 25, 2012, before knowing anything about Snowden, while knowing hardly anything about the NSA or the TPP).

I am sorry, but I can't do it well without being able to copy from The Guardian - but I take it the present plan of The Guardian, like the previous plan that so incredibly much increased Javascript on the Guardian, was very well considered, and not at all discussed with any readers.

It's too bad, but this will therefore probably be the end of the crisis-series-as-was since June 10, 2013. You can thank The Guardian. I suppose there will be a few more crisis items, but basically I intend to switch back to the Nederlog there was from 2008-2012, although it probably will remain in English and also will have a lot less on M.E. than there was in 2010 and 2011. (I still have it and will continue my monthly update on it, but that's about it, until someone arrives at a really scientific theory to account for it, that is also very well confirmed. But I think the chances of that, while I live, are quite small.)

1. TPP Trade Pact Would Give Wall Street a Trump Card to Block Regulations

The first item today is by David Dayen on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

Banks and other financial institutions would be able to use provisions in the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership to block new regulations that cut into their profits, according to the text of the trade pact released this week.

In what may be the biggest gift to banks in a deal full of giveaways to Hollywood, the drug industry and technology firms, financial institutions would be able to appeal any national rules they didn’t like to independent, international tribunals staffed by friendly corporate lawyers.

That could nullify a proposal by Hillary Clinton to impose a “risk fee” on financial firms — or the Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders plan to reinstate the firewall between investment and commercial banks.

Financial firms could demand compensation for these measures that would make them too expensive to manage.

Yes, indeed. The TPP was and is a fascistic [1] corporatist plan to take almost all powers from any democratically elected government, and give these powers to the leaders of the multi-national corporations.

Here is some more on it e.g. in case you disbelieve this:

The TPP, a 12-nation pact with countries in Asia and the Americas that requires congressional approval, includes an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system. This allows foreign companies operating in TPP member countries to enforce the agreement without using that country’s court system. Instead, corporations can sue for monetary damages in independent tribunals before corporate lawyers who can rotate between advocating for investors and judging the cases themselves.

The lawyers have an inherent incentive to encourage more challenges with favorable rulings, so they can be paid to arbitrate them. Labor unions who allege violations of the trade deal cannot use ISDS directly; only international investors, i.e. large corporations, can.

The ISDS are fascistic courts of corporate arbitration. They are completely anti-democratic, and were designed to be completely anti-democratic and auithoritarian, and were designed to maximize the profits of the fascist corporations.

Here is why the ISDS is a fascist "court":

In prior deals, financial services providers were limited to making ISDS challenges based on discrimination — where foreign companies were subject to more stringent rules than their domestic counterparts — or an illegal “taking” of their investments. These types of challenges have been largely unsuccessful in ISDS tribunals.

But now, for the first time, financial institutions could make an ISDS claim based on not receiving a “minimum standard of treatment.” This is the most flexible type of claim. “Over time, tribunals have interpreted this to mean that the company gets compensation if the change in policy disappoints their expectations of future profits,” said Lori Wallach of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

Article 11.2 of the agreement confirms that financial services providers are covered under the minimum standard of treatment obligation. This means that almost any change in financial regulations affecting future profits could be challenged in an extra-judicial tribunal, even if they equally applied to foreign and domestic firms and even if they were enacted in response to a crisis.

Precisely: Anything which lowers the expectations of a fascist multi-national corporation concerning its profits can go to the fascist ISDS. Exit democracy. Exit national laws. Exit rigths of everyone who is not a fascist corporate lawyer or a fascist corporate manager.

Here is how Exxon increased its profits in Canada:

Public Citizen estimates that ISDS rulings carried out under U.S. free trade agreements and bilateral treaties have ordered over $3.6 billion in compensation to investors. To use one example, Exxon-Mobil won $17.3 million from Canada this year in an ISDS tribunal, after claiming that a law forcing offshore oil drillers to spend a percentage of revenues on local economic development violated the North American Free Trade Agreement. With the far larger amounts at stake in U.S. financial regulations, the compensation awards could be much higher.

Importantly, there is no ability to appeal an ISDS ruling, so even if countries believe it has been interpreted poorly, they cannot change the outcome and would owe potentially billions in compensation.

Of course the compensations will be very much higher. And of course there is not even a right to appeal to the fascist pronouncements of the courtiers of the fascist ISDS.

2. U.S. Journalists Who Instantly Exonerated Their Government of the Kunduz Hospital Attack, Declaring it an “Accident”

The next item is by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:
Shortly after the news broke of the U.S. attack on a Doctors without Borders (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, there was abundant evidence suggesting (not proving, but suggesting) that the attack was no accident: (1) MSF repeatedly told the U.S. military about the precise coordinates of its hospital, which had been operating for years; (2) the Pentagon’s story about what happened kept changing, radically, literally on a daily basis; (3) the exact same MSF hospital had been invaded by Afghan security forces three months earlier, demonstrating hostility toward the facility;  (4) the attack lasted more than 30 minutes and involved multiple AC-130 gunship flyovers, even as MSF officials frantically pleaded with the U.S. military to stop; and, most compellingly of all, (5) Afghan officials from the start said explicitly that the hospital was a valid and intended target due to the presence of Taliban fighters as patients.
Yes, indeed - I had read the first four points before, but not the fifth, and this is an excellent sum-up of the reasons why I think Kunduz was far more probably intentionally than accidentally targeted by the American military.

Here is more evidence:
Since then, the evidence that the attack was intentional has only grown. Two weeks ago, AP reported that “the Army Green Berets who requested the Oct. 3 airstrike on the Doctors without Borders trauma center in Afghanistan were aware it was a functioning hospital but believed it was under Taliban control.” Last night, NBC News cited a new MSF report with this headline: “U.S. Plane Shot Victims Fleeing Doctors Without Borders Hospital: Charity.” As the New York Times put it yesterday, the “hospital was among the most brightly lit buildings in Kunduz on the night a circling American gunship destroyed it” and “spread across the hospital roof was a large white and red flag reading ‘Médecins Sans Frontières.’”
And there is this:

This was not the first time top officials from the universally respected MSF have said this. Three weeks ago, Stokes said in an interview with AP that “the extensive, quite precise destruction of this hospital … doesn’t indicate a mistake. The hospital was repeatedly hit.” He added that “all indications point to a grave breach of international humanitarian law, and therefore a war crime.” That’s “all indications” point to a “war crime.”

The point here isn’t that it’s been definitively proven that the U.S. attack was deliberate. What exactly happened here and why won’t be known, as MSF itself has said, until there is a full-scale, truly independent investigation — precisely what the U.S. government is steadfastly blocking.
OK, although it is not quite true that MSF is "universally respected": The politicians of no less than 76 countries failed to honor the calls of the MSF for an objective investigation, although these calls are perfectly justified. I agree that numerically that is a very small group, but they do have the power.

Then there is this on modern American journalism:
American Journalism is the ultimate accountability-free profession, as demonstrated by the fact that every journalist not named “Judy Miller” who uncritically regurgitated and advocated false government claims about Iraq not only paid no price but has thrived.
In fact, one fine reason to read all of Glenn Greenwald's article is that he cites quite a few of these sick and degenerate American quasi-journalists (many of whom indeed argue as if their prejudice that Americans never do harm is more than sufficient to justify their idiotic judgements that Americans never do harm).

Glenn Greenwald also has this:
I genuinely don’t understand why the White House or Pentagon bothers to spend money on official spokespeople. It’s such a redundant function given how many in the U.S. media eagerly perform that role.
I agree that it seems as if many American "journalists" ceased being journalists and mostly simply relay the news (or "news") they get from the official "journalistic" spokespersons for the government.

But I do understand why the government still pays its own journalists: To have full control.

3. The Most Brazen Corporate Power Grab in American History

The next article is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:

This starts as follows:

The release Thursday of the 5,544-page text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership—a trade and investment agreement involving 12 countries comprising nearly 40 percent of global output—confirms what even its most apocalyptic critics feared.

“The TPP, along with the WTO [World Trade Organization] and NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement], is the most brazen corporate power grab in American history,” Ralph Nader told me when I reached him by phone in Washington, D.C. “It allows corporations to bypass our three branches of government to impose enforceable sanctions by secret tribunals. These tribunals can declare our labor, consumer and environmental protections [to be] unlawful, non-tariff barriers subject to fines for noncompliance. The TPP establishes a transnational, autocratic system of enforceable governance in defiance of our domestic laws.”

In other words: it is explicitly fascist, and was designed to be explicitly fascist, which is also the reason why (1) it was kept secret so long by Obama, who is extremely much in favor of the TPP (and the TTIP and the TISA) and why (2) none of it can be amended in any way by the American Congress, that once was the supreme power in the USA.

This is what the TPP is (very briefly):

The TPP is part of a triad of trade agreements that includes the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). TiSA, by calling for the privatization of all public services, is a mortal threat to the viability of the U.S. Postal Service, public education and other government-run enterprises and utilities; together these operations make up 80 percent of the U.S. economy. The TTIP and TiSA are still in the negotiation phase. They will follow on the heels of the TPP and are likely to go before Congress in 2017.

Yes. Here is what these agreements really do and are:

These three agreements solidify the creeping corporate coup d’état along with the final evisceration of national sovereignty. Citizens will be forced to give up control of their destiny and will be stripped of the ability to protect themselves from corporate predators, safeguard the ecosystem and find redress and justice in our now anemic and often dysfunctional democratic institutions. The agreements—filled with jargon, convoluted technical, trade and financial terms, legalese, fine print and obtuse phrasing—can be summed up in two words: corporate enslavement.

Well... I add two words: by fascism. For this is precisely what fascism means: The complete dominance of the multi-national corporations over everything, including the governments and the people.

Here is the mechanism (in brief):

The TPP removes legislative authority from Congress and the White House on a range of issues. Judicial power is often surrendered to three-person trade tribunals in which only corporations are permitted to sue. Workers, environmental and advocacy groups and labor unions are blocked from seeking redress in the proposed tribunals. The rights of corporations become sacrosanct. The rights of citizens are abolished.

Precisely. And fascism - whether as "inverted totalitarianism" or simply as totalitarianism (by the corporations, for the corporations) - is what will result.

Here is Chis Hedges' prediction about the future:
If there is no sustained popular uprising to prevent the passage of the TPP in Congress this spring we will be shackled by corporate power. Wages will decline. Working conditions will deteriorate. Unemployment will rise. Our few remaining rights will be revoked. The assault on the ecosystem will be accelerated. Banks and global speculation will be beyond oversight or control. Food safety standards and regulations will be jettisoned. Public services ranging from Medicare and Medicaid to the post office and public education will be abolished or dramatically slashed and taken over by for-profit corporations. Prices for basic commodities, including pharmaceuticals, will skyrocket. Social assistance programs will be drastically scaled back or terminated. And countries that have public health care systems, such as Canada and Australia, that are in the agreement will probably see their public health systems collapse under corporate assault. Corporations will be empowered to hold a wide variety of patents, including over plants and animals, turning basic necessities and the natural world into marketable products. And, just to make sure corporations extract every pound of flesh, any public law interpreted by corporations as impeding projected profit, even a law designed to protect the environment or consumers, will be subject to challenge in an entity called the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) section. The ISDS, bolstered and expanded under the TPP, will see corporations paid massive sums in compensation from offending governments for impeding their “right” to further swell their bank accounts. Corporate profit effectively will replace the common good.
As far as I can see, that is all literally true - and no: the chance that there willl be a "sustained popular uprising" "this spring" is close to zero. (Most Americans don't even know what the TPP is, simply because it was kept secret.)

Here is how the TPP will very probably pass - and this is the work of that superdemocratic president Obama (who is very much for the TPP, the TTIP and the TiSA, and will be much rewarded as soon as he ceases to be president):
The TPP, because of fast track, bypasses the normal legislative process of public discussion and consideration by congressional committees. The House and the Senate, which have to vote on the TPP bill within 90 days of when it is sent to Congress, are prohibited by the fast-track provision from adding floor amendments or holding more than 20 hours of floor debate. Congress cannot raise concerns about the effects of the TPP on the environment. It can only vote yes or no. It is powerless to modify or change one word.
So this is another fascist feature of these fascist laws. Here is the diagnosis of attorney Kevin Zeese:
“It is a global corporate coup d’état. Corporations will become more powerful than countries. Corporations will force democratic systems to serve their interests. Civil courts around the world will be replaced with corporate courts or so-called trade tribunals. This is a massive expansion that builds on the worst of NAFTA rather than what Barack Obama promised, which was to get rid of the worst aspects of NAFTA.”
Obama promised anything that would increase his popularity, and did almost nothing to keep any of his promises. And this is not just "a global corporate
coup d’état
": it is the beginning of global corporate fascism.

Here is more by Kevin Zeese:
"The thrust of the agreement is the privatization and commodification of everything. The agreement has built within it a deep antipathy to state-supported or state-owned enterprises. It gives away what is left of our democracy to the World Trade Organization.”
Yes, indeed. And that is fascism. Then there is this on some of the very many lies Obama told:
“Obama has misled the public throughout this process,” Dr. Flowers said. “He claimed that environmental groups were supportive of the agreement because it provided environmental protections, and this has now been proven false. He told us that it would create 650,000 jobs, and this has now been proven false. He calls this a 21st century trade agreement, but it actually rolls back progress made in Bush-era trade agreements."
Of course - but Obama will get his dream: He will also become a millionair after he ceases to be president, though he probably (because he is half black) will not get as much as the $111 million dollars Bill Clinton made, or the 50 million pounds (at least) that Tony Blair made, but he and his family will do very well. (That is also why one becomes president or prime minister, these days, or so it seems: To become filthy rich.)

Finally, there is this (and the whole article is recommended and well worth reading):

The agreement, in essence, becomes global law. Any agreements over carbon emissions by countries made through the United Nations are effectively rendered null and void by the TPP.

“Trade agreements are binding,” Flowers said. “They supersede any of the nonbinding agreements made by the United Nations Climate Change Conference that might come out of Paris.”

And there went the decent future of 98% of mankind! Thank you, Obama!

4. Governments and NGOs: Germany Spied on Friends and Vatican 

The next article is by Spiegel Staff on Spiegel On Line:
This starts as follows:
Three weeks ago, news emerged that Germany's foreign intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), had systematically spied on friends and allies around the world. In many of those instances, the BND had been doing so of its own accord and not at the request of the NSA. The BND came under heavy criticism earlier this year after news emerged that it had assisted the NSA in spying on European institutions, companies and even Germans using dubious selector data.
Am I amazed? No, not a bit, for I have meanwhile learned that the governmental spies do precisely as they please, and wipe their asses with parliamentary instructions.

Here is some more on German governmental spying (and watch the terroristic organizations they wanted to find everything about):

The German intelligence service's interest wasn't restricted to state institutions either: It also spied on non-governmental organizations like Care International, Oxfam and the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. In Germany, the BND's own selector lists included numerous foreign embassies and consulates. The e-mail addresses, telephone numbers and fax numbers of the diplomatic representations of the United States, France, Great Britain, Sweden, Portugal, Greece, Spain, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and even the Vatican were all monitored in this way.
For these - Care International, Oxfam and the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva - are evidently muslim terrorist organizations, according to the BND, it must be presumed, as indeed are all the diplomatic representations they also spied on.

And here is the German chancellor:
In October 2013, Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned spying on her mobile phone by saying, "Spying among friends? That's just not done." Apparently these words didn't apply to the BND.
Precisely.

5. The Guardian can't be copied anymore

Actually, this space was reserved for a reflection on The Guardian, but since
I did so in the introduction, I leave it out.

---------------------------------------------
P.S. Nov 14, 2015: Reformatted.
Note

[1] I will be using this adjective a lot, in this Nederlog, in good part because I do not understand why almost nobody else sees that the TPP, the TTIP and the TiSA are deeply fascistic plans, or at least is incapable of using the term. Well... I am not and here is why (but this also will be one of the last times, I guess):

A. My father and mother were two of the most anti-fascist Dutchmen of their generation (say: From 1910-1990), and were members of the Dutch communist party for 45 years mostly because these were anti-fascists, and were the only Dutch political party - of ca. 10,000 members - that went into the resistance against the Nazis.

My father and his father (also a communist) were arrested by the SS in 1941, and convicted, by collaborating Dutch judges (most Dutchmen collaborated) to the concentration-camp. My grandfather was murdered there; my father survived 3 years, 9 months and 15 days as a "political terrorist" (being a communist) of 4 German concentration camps.

After WW II my father and mother were mostly discriminated by many Dutchmen (many Nazi-collaborators) because they were supposed to be "traitors" because they were communists. (They were not. In fact, they explicitly gave their three sons Dutch names, while very many Dutch children born briefly after the war got English/Canadian names - "Tommy", "Johnny" etc. - quite possibly after their actual fathers.)

B. My father and mother were also swindled out of a decent resistance pension for my father, who was one of longest survivors of German concentration-camps, because he was a communist. (He got the pension because it was impossible to refuse him, but it was as minimal as they could make it, also quite unlike others, who all got very much better pensions. He even was one of the two communists who got knighted in Holland, briefly before he died. The rest wasn't, however heroic they may have been, because they were traitors, as communists.)

C. I gave up on marxism and communism by the time I was 20, and turned to science as the way to emancipate people, but when I started studying, and found that the University of Amsterdam was mostly completely anti-science, and protested, I was for 12 years scolded as "a dirty fascist" by the quasi-communist assholes of the Asva, who insisted on saying or screaming so because they did not know my background, and because I was a believer in science and in truth (which were both deeply despised and strongly denied in the UvA, in most faculties, from 1971-1995) and had also said that I considered Peirce a greater philosopher than Marx. (Reply by the head of the Asva: "Then you must be a fascist, because Peirce was an American." (And Americans were all imperialists, and imperialists were all fascists, all according to the Asva, that really "reasoned" thus. No kidding!)

D. Clearly, I am and never was a fascist in any sense. Also, I always liked and admired my parents (without agreeing with them on communism), indeed to the extent that I hold that most Dutchmen are compared with them fascists, or as little different from fascists that it hardly matters (and that especially applies to all the members from the Asva who year after year after year insistted that I was a fascist).

E. So now that we are very little removed from the triumph of fascism in Europe and America, I am using the term for once as I please.

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