March 15, 2018

Crisis: ¨Bloody Gina¨, Torture Crimes, CIA As Torturers, The Millennials, Warren´s Opposition


1. Summary
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from March 15, 2018.


This is a Nederlog of Thursday, March 15, 2018.

1. Summary

This is a
crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was the last five years:

I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch, but since 2010 in English) and about the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I will continue with it.

On the moment and since more than two years (!!!!) I have problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible [1] and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and I shall continue.

Section 2. Crisis Files

These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:

A. Selections from March 15, 2018
1. 'Bloody Gina' Should Not Lead the CIA 
2. Jeremy Scahill: Gina Haspel Should Be Answering for Her Torture
     Crimes, Not Heading the CIA
3. Torture-Tainted CIA and State Nominees Recall Failure to Prosecute
     Bush-Era Abuses

4. 6 Ways Millennials Will Clean Up the Mess Baby Boomers Left Them
5. Warren Unveils "The Ending Too Big to Jail Act" to Fight Wall Street
The items 1 - 5 are today's selections from the 35 sites that I look at every morning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:

1. 'Bloody Gina' Should Not Lead the CIA

This article is by John Kiriakou on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
President Trump’s nomination of CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel to be the new director returns the country to the bad old days of torture and secret prisons. Trump couldn’t be any clearer that he has come down on the side of the architects of the George W. Bush-era torture policy. Haspel was a protégé of Jose Rodriguez, the CIA’s notorious former deputy director for operations and former director of the Counterterrorism Center (CTC), known as the godfather of the torture program. Haspel served as Rodriguez’s chief of staff at CTC.
Yes indeed. Also, I reviewed an article on Sadistic Torturer Haspels yesterday. And if you do not know who John Kiriakou is, you should read (at least) the last link.

Here is more by Kiriakou:
The CIA will not permit me to talk about Haspel’s time overseas. Suffice it to say that others already have, and her career has been well documented in the media. Most importantly, it was Haspel whom Rodriguez ordered to destroy videotaped evidence of the torture of Abu Zubaydah, who many of us believed, incorrectly, to be the third-ranking person in al-Qaida. And that was after the White House counsel told her to preserve everything. She never apologized or even attempted to explain herself. Rodriguez called her a patriot. I would say that she committed “obstruction of justice,” a felony.
And I - who has a father and a grandfather who were into the anti-Nazi Resistance in WW II, who were betrayed in August 1941 and condemned by collaborating Dutch judges to concentrationcamp imprisonment, which my grandfather did not survive - would say she is an obviously pathological sick sadist (which I also say as an M.A. in psychology).

Here is why nominating Haspel as CIA director is wrong, according to John Kiriakou:

Haspel’s appointment as CIA director is wrong for a number of reasons. First, just imagine the message this sends to the CIA workforce: Engage in whatever war crimes or crimes against humanity you want, and there won’t be any repercussions. Don’t worry about ethics. Don’t worry about morality. We’ll cover for you. And you can destroy the evidence, too.

What message does that send to other countries around the world? What do we tell our allies, the same ones we criticize every year in the State Department’s annual Human Rights Report? We tell them: “You know how we always say that we’re a beacon of respect for human rights and the rule of law? Well, that’s nonsense. We say those things only when it’s expedient. Do as we say, not as we do.”

Well... I can´t say I disagree, although I personally would go further: Nominating Haspels as the leader of the CIA changes the CIA into a bunch of sadistic, neofascistic torturers whose only ¨limit¨ is the personal limit on their personal sadism (which may be wholly non-existent).

Here is the last bit I quote from this article:

If there was ever a time for Senate Democrats to stand together, it is now. Our nation cannot afford to backslide into lawlessness. We cannot countenance torture. We cannot look the other way. We cannot reward the torturers. Gina Haspel more appropriately should be facing a judge to answer to charges of war crimes. She ought not be in the director’s office at the CIA.

Yes indeed and this is a recommended article. O and as an aside on Trump: He not only is a sick madman and a neofascist, he also is an evident sadist.

2. Jeremy Scahill: Gina Haspel Should Be Answering for Her Torture Crimes, Not Heading the CIA

This article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
Trump has tapped CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel to replace outgoing CIA Director Mike Pompeo, after Pompeo was named to succeed Rex Tillerson as secretary of state. Haspel was directly involved in the CIA’s torture program under George W. Bush. She was responsible for running a secret CIA black site in Thailand in 2002 where one prisoner was waterboarded 83 times and tortured in other ways. But she enjoys broad support, including from the intelligence community and Democrats in the Senate. For more, we speak with Jeremy Scahill, co-founder of The Intercept.
And see above. Here is Jeremy Scahill:
JEREMY SCAHILL: (..) I think that there is substantial evidence to suggest that some of the people involved with this program—I don’t know directly about Gina Haspel, but others—seemed to really enjoy torturing people, placing them in boxes, exploiting their fears by using psychologists and other mental health professionals to come in and say, “What are they actually really afraid of? What’s their deepest, darkest fears?” and then exploiting those. So, if someone was afraid of spiders, they would put them inside of a box, that they referred to as a coffin, and then they would put a caterpillar inside of the box and tell the person that it was a tarantula that was in the box with them. They did something called walling, where they would have a rope that was on the other side of a wall, and they would, out of nowhere, just slam a prisoner and yank him on a kind of jerk chain, or like he was a dog on a leash, against the wall. And then you had the kinds of extreme torture that Gina Haspel was involved with. And both Jose Rodriguez and Gina Haspel, in addition to being involved with the outright torture of people, both of them were involved with the destruction of videotapes that were filmed at these black sites that showed, we understand, torture.
Yes indeed. And since Gina Haspels is an obvious sadist and clearly also a very dishonest person (who took care that the Senate could not read the evidence about her own sadism) my own conclusion is that under Donald Trump the CIA is extremely rapidly transforming itself into the Gestapo - the secret police of the state, in translation - of Donald Trump.

And in case you doubted it, I think that last conclusion is correct. Here is more by Scahill:
I think is also important for people to realize right now, Gina Haspel is not considered some extremist in the CIA community. In fact, President Obama’s director of central intelligence, John Brennan, was on MSNBC all throughout the day yesterday singing her praises. In fact, at one point, an MSNBC anchor asked John Brennan—or said to John Brennan, “Now, you demoted her when you were at the CIA.” And he goes, “No, no, no, no, no. I didn’t demote her. In fact, she’s wonderful and has all this integrity. And she was tasked with very difficult operations, you know, and persevered and did it with gusto.” And, you know, then you have James Clapper, same thing. It was a lovefest on the so-called like opposition media yesterday throughout the day. And MSNBC actually created a—they had a graphic up that was describing Gina Haspel’s track record. And they said that she was involved with sending terror suspects to put them in the hands of foreign governments to be tortured, but they described what she did in Thailand as, quote-unquote, “rough interrogation.” Now, already it’s an abomination that anyone refers to this as “enhanced interrogation,” but, out of nowhere, MSNBC starts referring to torture by the CIA as “rough interrogation.”
As I just said: Gina Haspels is a ¨wonderful¨ torturer who has all the ¨integrity¨ she needs to torture anyone, on a black site anywhere, according to John Brennan. And the NSA´s James Clapper fully agrees with Brennan: The USA needs vastly more sadistic torturers, if these two are to be believed.

Here is Scahill´s judgement on Haspels:

Gina Haspel does not belong as head of the CIA. She belongs in front of a judge, answering to what she was doing, running a torture operation at a black site in Thailand and destroying evidence. And then, John Brennan, Obama’s CIA director—while the Senate was investigating the torture that Gina Haspel was a key player in, John Brennan’s CIA starts spying on the United States Senate. This is the investigators who were investigating the very torture that Gina Haspel was directly involved with. It was Obama’s CIA director who was spying on the Senate.
I completely agree and this is a strongly recommended article, in which there is considerably more than I reviewed. 

3. Torture-Tainted CIA and State Nominees Recall Failure to Prosecute Bush-Era Abuses

This article is by Nat Parry on Washington´s Blog and originally on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:

President Donald Trump’s nominations of Gina Haspel to lead the CIA and Mike Pompeo to be America’s top diplomat are the latest indications of steadily eroding human rights standards in the United States and the rollback of the rule of law that has characterized U.S. counterterrorism policies since Sept. 11, 2001.

Haspel, a CIA operative who oversaw the torture of terrorism suspects at a secret prison in Thailand and then helped destroy tapes of the interrogations, and Pompeo, who has made statements in support of torture and mass surveillance, are both expected to be confirmed by the Senate with little fanfare.

As I said above, if you erode ¨human rights standards" in the secret state police of the USA,
what you built up is an institution led by sadists and torturers who can do as nominated terrorism specialists please to do, as sadists and torturers who are effectively beyond control.

And that is what is being instituted in the USA now. Here is some more:

Shortly following Pompeo’s confirmation, his deputy director at the CIA was named as Gina Haspel, who “played a direct role in the CIA’s ‘extraordinary rendition program,’ under which captured militants were handed to foreign governments and held at secret facilities, where they were tortured by agency personnel,” the New York Times reported last year.

She also ran the CIA’s first black site prison and oversaw the brutal interrogations of two detainees, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. In addition, she played a vital role in the destruction of interrogation videotapes that showed the torture of detainees both at the black site she ran and other secret agency locations. The concealment of those interrogation tapes violated both multiple court orders as well the demands of the 9/11 Commission and the advice of White House lawyers, as Glenn Greenwald has reported.

Quite so. And for more on Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri see the links: Their lives have been totally destroyed by Haspels.

Then there is this on Charles Schumer:

Despite these serious misgivings, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he is not currently urging Democrats to oppose Pompeo’s nomination to be Secretary of State or Haspel’s nomination to lead the CIA. So much for the #Resistance.

The Democratic acquiescence follows a long pattern of tolerating human rights abuses and normalizing torture. When President Barack Obama declared that he wanted to “look forward, not backward,” and to close the chapter on the CIA’s torture practices under the Bush administration without allowing any prosecutions for crimes that were committed, he ensured torture would remain a “policy option” for future presidents, in the words of Human Rights Watch.

Precisely: Bush Jr. had prisoners tortured; Obama had prisoners tortured; and Donald Trump likes to see prisoners tortured and nominates one of the worst sadists amd worst torturers to be the head of his CIA. And the Democrats embrace the sadist and the torturer whom Trump nominates.

Finally, here is the last bit I quote from this article:

International law prohibits the granting of immunity to public officials who have engaged in acts of torture, Emmerson pointed out. He further emphasized the United States’ international obligation to criminally prosecute the architects and perpetrators of the torture methods described in the report:

“As a matter of international law, the U.S. is legally obliged to bring those responsible to justice. The UN Convention Against Torture and the UN Convention on Enforced Disappearances require States to prosecute acts of torture and enforced disappearance where there is sufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction. States are not free to maintain or permit impunity for these grave crimes.”

Precisely. But under Donald Trump there are no laws maintained that are disliked by the president - or so it seems.

4. 6 Ways Millennials Will Clean Up the Mess Baby Boomers Left Them

This article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:

Baby Boomers – my generation, born between 1946 and 1964 – dominated politics and the economy for years. There were just more Boomers than people of any other generation.  But that’s no longer the case. Now, the biggest generation is the Millennials, born between 1983 and 2000. 

Millennials are different from boomers in 6 important ways that will shape the future.

Well... it so happens that I am a Baby Boomer as well, since I was born in 1950. Then again, I immediately add that I was not a Baby Boomer in any sound sense that does apply to the vast majority of them:

I never - not in 68 years - succeeded in even getting as much as the legal minimum I should have gotten; I was intentionally, with evident sadistic glee, denied my legal right to take the M.A. examination in the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam in philosophy because I was not a Marxist nor desired to pretend I was; and I was gassed by the illegal drugsdealer that mayor Ed van Thijn gave his ¨personal permission¨ to deal in illegal drugs from the bottom floor of the house where I lived, and then forced me to stay in that extremely dangerous house for 3 1/2 years, where I could be gassed again any day, while I was also repeatedly threatened with murder for protesting against the illegal drugsdealers - who are still there, after 30 years of illegal dealings, and are still dealing illegal drugs that Dutch mayors can permit to be dealt for 30 years (for a total turnover of some $300 billions of the illegal Dutch drugsdealers in soft drugs, who are all ¨personally permitted¨ to deal in soft drugs, and around $600 billions if the hard drugs - cocaine, heroin, amphetamines - are also counted in).

So I am not a typical greedy, lying, pretending and deceiving Baby Boomer, although I grant very willingly that I am one of the very few in Holland who is not.

Next, here is a shortened summary of Reich´s six points about the Millennials. What I did was copying the bold text in Reich´s list, while deleting the accompanying short elucidations:

1. Millennials are more diverse than boomers – so as Millennials gain clout,
     expect America to become more open.
2. Millennials are more distrustful of the political system than Boomers –
     so as Millennials gain power, expect more anti-establishment politics.
3. Most Millennials have a tougher financial road than Boomers – so expect
     them to demand changes in how we finance higher education
4. Millennials view the social safety net differently than boomers – so
     expect them to demand that Medicare and Social Security are
. (...)
5. Millennials care more about the environment – so expect them to
     demand stronger environmental protection
6. Finally, as wealthy Boomers transfer $30 trillion to their lucky Millennial
     heirs, expect Millennials to demand a fairer inter-generational tax

I say and I add that I am not at all convinced, in fact because I am of the generation of the Baby Boomers. I explain that in a moment, but first I make a brief remark on the above quoted points.

The brief remark is that all of Reich´s six points are construed thus: it is a fact that ... and therefore expect Millennials to demand or become ---. And I think that also is a fair way to do it.

Next, the reason that I am not at all convinced that ¨the Millennials¨ will do or demand the quite reasonable things Reich asserts they will do or demand is precisely that I am a Baby Boomer, who still can recall very well the promises made about the Baby Boomers in the Sixties (though not in these terms, but in terms like ¨our enlightened generation of sub-30s¨), and I did not believe them then and was completely justified: The vast majority of the Baby Boomers pretended, lied, deceived, was greedy and eventually got a large part of the wealth that they now are handing over to some of their own families.

Why should I believe that ¨the Millennials¨ are any better than ¨the Baby Boomers¨?!

I see no reason whatsoever, although I am quite willing to agree that in both generations there is a - quite small - minority that will behave rationally and reasonably. I see no reason to assume something else.

Here is Reich´s ending of his article:

As I said, I’m a Boomer – born the same year as Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Dolly Parton, among others. It’s up to you – the Millennials – to fix a  system we Boomers broke.

I was born four years later than each of those mentioned and I don´t think it is quite reasonable to settle for the Millennials in the way Reich did. First, most of the Millennials will probably choose for themselves as soon as they get 25 or 30 or older; second, I don´t see any reason why the members of the so-called Generation X are wholly excluded; and third, I think that, in the end, everyone who is alive has some duty to try to leave the Earth a better place than they found it.

Finally and fourth, my 68 years convinced me that the rational and reasonable persons I put most of my hopes in always and in each and every generation are a small minority, while the only thing that helped them somewhat is that they are more intelligent and better educated than the vast majority.

5. Warren Unveils "The Ending Too Big to Jail Act" to Fight Wall Street Greed

This article is by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
With the Senate voting on a Wall Street deregulation bill as early as Wednesday evening, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) marked today's 10-year anniversary of the financial crisis by unveiling new legislation that—in contrast to the "Bank Lobbyist Act"—aims to curb the fraud and greed of large financial institutions.

"When Wall Street CEOs break the law, they should go to jail like anyone else. The fraud on Wall Street won't stop until executives know they will be hauled out in handcuffs for cheating their customers and clients," Warren declared in a statement.
I completely agree although I do not expect that Warren´s bill we be acceptable to the majority of the - grossly corrupt, mostly lying and deceiving - Senate.

Here is a bit more about Warren´s bill:

Entitled "The Ending Too Big to Jail Act," the legislation (pdf) calls for three major changes to address the problem of financial executives not being held criminally responsible for the 2008 crisis.
Instead of passing the Bank Lobbyist Act, formally known as S. 2155, Warren said that "Congress should be marking the tenth anniversary of the financial crisis by strengthening rules on banks and bankers so Wall Street can never again get away with cheating Americans and crashing the economy."

As I said, I completely agree, but do not expect this to be acceptable in the present Senate.

Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

Warren has been a vocal opponent of the deregulation bill—which the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found would be a massive gift to some of the same Wall Street banks that led to the 2008 crash—and has also spoken out against her Democratic colleagues that are backing it.

Speaking on the Senate floor on Wednesday, Warren said that S. 2155 not only increases the chance for another financial meltdown, it has "landmines for American families." If it passes, she argued, the bill "guts protections for families that buy traditional and mobile homes and undermines our ability to enforce civil rights laws. And for what? So that banks that are already making record profits can tack on a little more to their bottom line?"

Yes indeed. And this is a recommended article.


[1] I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that is systematically ruining my site by NOT updating it within a few seconds, as it did between 1996 and 2015, but by updating it between two to seven days later, that is, if I am lucky.

They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie. They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.

And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my ideas. They have behaved now for 2 years as if they are the eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).

The only two reasons I remain with xs4all is that my site has been there since 1996, and I have no reasons whatsoever to suppose that any other Dutch provider is any better (!!).

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