May 18, 2018

Crisis: U.S. Sadist Haspel, On Gaza, American Poverty, Haspel A Criminal, Nader


1. Summary
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from May 18, 2018

This is a Nederlog of Friday, May 18, 2018.

1. Summary

This is a crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was until 2013:

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.

2. Crisis Files

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

A. Selections from May 18, 2018:
1. U.S. Navy Reserve Doctor on Gina Haspel Torture Victim 
2. Canadian Doctor Shot by Israeli Forces Monday While Treating Gaza’s

3. 43 Percent of American Households Can’t Afford Basic Needs
4. Haspel Could Be Subject to Arrest Abroad Under Universal Jurisdiction
5. Trump: Making America Dread Again
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. U.S. Navy Reserve Doctor on Gina Haspel Torture Victim

This article is by Jeremy Scahill on The Intercept. It starts as follows:

An American doctor and Naval reserve officer who has done extensive medical evaluation of a high-profile prisoner who was tortured under the supervision of Gina Haspel privately urged Sen. Mark Warner, the vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to oppose Haspel’s confirmation as CIA director, according to an email obtained by The Intercept.

“I have evaluated Mr. Abdal Rahim al-Nashiri, as well as close to 20 other men who were tortured” in U.S. custody, including several who were tortured “as part of the CIA’s RDI [Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation] program. I am one of the only health professionals he has ever talked to about his torture, its effects, and his ongoing suffering,” Dr. Sondra Crosby, a professor of public health at Boston University, wrote to Warner’s legislative director on Monday. “He is irreversibly damaged by torture that was unusually cruel and designed to break him. In my over 20 years of experience treating torture victims from around the world, including Syria, Iraq, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mr. al-Nashiri presents as one of the most severely traumatized individuals I have ever seen.”

Nashiri was snatched in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates in 2002 and “rendered” to Afghanistan by the CIA and eventually taken to the Cat’s Eye prison in Thailand that was run by Haspel from October to December 2002. He was suspected of involvement in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen. He is currently being held at Guantánamo Bay prison.
I say! And I also think this was quite brave of Dr. Crosby. Here is more from Crosby:
Crosby told Senate staffers that the CIA’s “methodology consisted of strategic assaults — multiple traumas inflicted simultaneously, as well as consecutively, in a manner designed to instill terror and maximize harm in the prisoners.” The interrogation program, she stated, showed that “torture is not just a crime of physical violence, but a way of destroying someone’s humanity.” Crosby added: “It is important to note that the barbarity of the torture methods used were shrouded and concealed in sterile euphemisms.”

In the briefing, Crosby described the torture in graphic, albeit unclassified, terms:

The terror of being kept naked in pitch-black, shackled to the ceiling while music blared, covered in urine and feces while insects crawled on their bodies, in dank cells that were freezing cold or unbearably hot. The horrific conditions in between interrogations were in some cases as bad as the interrogations. These torture methods were inflicted for hours and days, for weeks at a time, over the course of years. The men became disoriented with no sense of when the abuse would stop. Some of the men wished for death.

She concluded her briefing: “The devastating human cost to this torture program cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, this toll is largely hidden due to ongoing secrecy and control that the CIA exercises. This is what I can say due to security restrictions.”

I say, again. I do believe everything Dr. Crosby said, and I agree that what the CIA tried to do was ¨a way of destroying someone’s humanity¨ (quite consciously so, also).

But then the Senate chose to make a sadist, a torturer and a liar the new head of the CIA. And I say that, given of what I know about the torturing by and the torturers of the CIA, which is ¨
largely hidden due to ongoing secrecy and control that the CIA exercises¨ as Dr. Crosby said, and given what I know about what the Senators know about the torturing by and the torturers of the CIA, that those who voted for Gina Haspels probably also mostly are sadists, who indeed also opposed many international laws against torture.

This is a strongly recommended article.

2. Canadian Doctor Shot by Israeli Forces Monday While Treating Gaza’s Wounded

This article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
As Palestinians vow to continue protesting against the Israeli occupation of Gaza, we speak to a Canadian doctor who was shot by Israeli forces in both legs Monday while he was helping injured Palestinians. Israeli forces shot dead at least 61 unarmed Palestinian protesters taking part in the Great March of Return Monday, including one doctor. Canada, Britain, Germany, Ireland and Belgium have called for an investigation into the killings. The United Nations Human Rights Council has announced that it will hold a special session Friday to discuss escalating violence in Gaza. We speak with Dr. Tarek Loubani, an emergency room medical doctor, one of 19 medical personnel shot in Gaza on Monday. Loubani is an associate professor at Western University in London, Ontario. He is a Palestinian refugee and a member of the Glia Project creating open-source medical devices for low-resource settings.
More below, but I start by quoting the Israeli sadist Lieberman, who appears to think he is a superman (¨Übermensch¨ in German):
DEFENSE MINISTER AVIGDOR LIEBERMAN: [translated] I want to emphasize, the leadership of Hamas is a gang of cannibals, who treat also their own children as ammunition. They have rocket ammunition. There is personal ammunition, and there is a different kind of ammunition: children or women.
I am not sorry for qualifying somebody who says that Palestinian children and women are treated ¨as ammunition¨, while his Israeli Army has been shooting over 2700 hundred of them, and killing 61 of them, as a sadist and an apparent superman, in his own opinion.

Here is more about the shootings of both the Palestinians and the doctors who are trying to help them:
DR. TAREK LOUBANI: Thank you for having me, Amy. Basically, on Monday, I was doing what I’ve been trained to do for years. I’ve been a field medic for quite a while. I’m an emergency physician with specialization in trauma. I do trauma work in London, Ontario, in Canada, where I spend most of the year. And I also do lots of trauma work here. I know where to be. I’ve been around gunfire an awful lot.
We were away from the protest area, about 25 meters west, 25 meters south of the protesters. It was calm. Everybody was sort of loitering. There were no tires on fire. There was no chaos. It was a very controlled scene. We knew where we were. We could see the sniper posts. For sure, they could see us. And I was just sort of talking to the medical team. We were testing out some medical devices that we’ve been trying to make in Gaza because of a shortage. And we had resupplied, because we ran out. It was very early in the day, and yet we had run out of our entire supply, so we resupplied. That’s when, unfortunately, I heard a loud bang, found myself on the ground and realized I had been shot.
And here is more on the - deliberate, conscious - shootings of persons that were very clearly marked as medical people (and the person Loubani is talking about is somebody who also was a medical person who helped him after he was shot, and who was killed a little later by Israeli bullets):
DR. TAREK LOUBANI: They couldn’t get to him, no. There was so much fire there. And anybody who sort of like peeked out was shot. So, even though the rule for us is we just don’t put ourselves in a situation where we get shot, we’re incredibly careful. We’re incredibly careful. He was wearing a high-visibility orange jacket, that had been submitted by the International Committee of the Red Cross to the Israeli army as a paramedic service. I was wearing greens, hospital greens. We were all marked in high visibility. And yet, unfortunately, he was shot. And his colleagues, who were all highly marked, were being targeted anytime that they showed themselves.
That is to say: It seems rather certain that people who were explicitly and clearly marked as medical people were intentionally targeted and shot by the Israeli army:

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Loubani, do you think you, do you think the other paramedics—how many altogether? Nineteen killed or wounded, just on Monday alone. Do you think you were targeted by the Israeli military?

DR. TAREK LOUBANI: I don’t know the answer to that. I don’t know what orders they received or what was in their heads, so I can’t tell you if we were deliberately targeted. What I can tell you is the things that I do know. In the six weeks of the march, there were no paramedic casualties. And in one day, 19 paramedics—18 wounded plus one killed—and myself were all injured, so—or were all shot with live ammunition.
Well... I also do not know what orders the Israeli gave, but the above very strongly suggests that the Israeli army now is deliberately shooting medical people who are helping the Palestinians.

And this is a strongly recommended article, in which there is considerably more than I quoted.

3. 43 Percent of American Households Can’t Afford Basic Needs

This article is by Ilana Novick on Truthdig. This is from near the beginning:

On Thursday, the United Way’s ALICE project released a study showing, as CNN reports, “Nearly 51 million households don’t earn enough to afford a monthly budget that includes housing, food, child care, health care, transportation and a cell phone.”

These numbers include both the 16.1 million families living at or below the federal poverty line (currently $24,600 for a family of four) and the 34.7 million families the United Way calls ALICE, or Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. This means people who earn too much to qualify for federal poverty programs but are still unable to cover their monthly expenses.

I say, which I do because I had not read this before. And while I do not know the above is quite correct (among other things because I have earned less than the legal Dutch minimum wage for 50 years, and currently also have a sub-minimal pension), I certainly agree that
     (1) there are many millions of very poor people in the USA, and
     (2) there are now getting to be more and more poor people in the USA, because
     (3) the very few rich of the USA are - in part - getting their riches because these are stolen
          from the poor.

Indeed here is more on the last point (and these numbers are very probably correct):

According to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finance, the top 1 percent of wealthy Americans now holds 38.6 percent of the nation’s wealth, up from 33.7 percent in 2007. The bottom 90 percent of Americans had only 22.8 percent of the nation’s total wealth in 2017, down from 28.5 percent in 2007.

Quite so. And this is a recommended article.

4. Haspel Could Be Subject to Arrest Abroad Under Universal Jurisdiction

This article is by Dennis Bernstein on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
Francis Boyle is professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. He is the author of many books on International Law and an outspoken critic of US policy in the Middle East. Boyle’s books include Foundations of World Order and the sequel, Destroying World Order. In the following interview with Pacifica Radio host Dennis J Bernstein, Boyle warns that, among other things, given her background as key implementer of the US torture program, Gina Haspel is vulnerable to be arrested for war crimes and crimes against humanity if she travels abroad.
I think Boyle is quite correct. Here is more on Gina Haspel, who now is the CIA director and who tortured for the USA:
DB: [We now have a new ] a new CIA director who likes to get her hands dirty and participate directly in torture. She has also been actively involved in making sure nobody finds out that torture takes place.

FB: “Bloody” Gina Haspel is her nickname at the CIA. She was directly involved in the extraordinary rendition program, which is a euphemism for the enforced disappearance of human beings and their consequent torture. This was in the complaint I filed against Bush and company in 2010 with the International Criminal Court for this crime against humanity.
In my opinion, Gina Haspel is a presumptive war criminal and torturer. [We now] have a torturer and war criminal as head of the CIA.

As I have argued in anti-CIA cases here in the United States, the CIA is an organized criminal conspiracy like the SS and the Gestapo.
I more or less agree with Boyle but not quite. Part of the reason is that the SS and the Gestapo were from the very start part of Hitler´s dictatorship. Also, I think they did more harm than the CIA, although it is difficult to compare them, because much of what the CIA does is kept secret.

And by and large my own position on the CIA is related to my own position on terrorism:

There are two kinds of terrorists, namely terrorists who are not part and parcel of national states, of which there are quite a few, and terrorists who are part and parcel of national states, in which they are almost called something like ¨national security¨.

The second group are the states´ terrorists, and their dangers and their methods are tied fairly closely to the kinds of states they serve. Thus, they are not very dangerous nor very cruel in the case of most (more or less real) democracies, while they are very dangerous and very cruel in case they serve dictatorships like Hitler´s or Stalin´s (where they ran many concentration camps and destruction camps).

And the CIA falls somewhere between - say - the secret services of Norway and Denmark, and the secret services of Hitler and Stalin: They are worse and more dangerous than the former, but not as bad - yet - as the latter, though a problem with compiling a more or less fair and informed judgement on the CIA is that most of what it does is done in secret.

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

DB: Will it be difficult for our director of the CIA to travel abroad? Maybe she has to be covert forever.

FB: That is correct. Under international law today–following a terrible decision by the International Court of Justice–heads of state and foreign ministers have diplomatic immunity while there are in office. But that is not going to apply to the head of the CIA.

I have a whole dossier here against Bush, Jr. and the rest of them for the extraordinary rendition program. We scared him out of Switzerland over that. A Swiss prosecutor demanded that Bush be prosecuted if he showed up in Switzerland. I know that Amnesty International and the Center for Constitutional Rights also have extensive dossiers against high-level US officials involved in these torture programs, including Haspel. She would be a sitting duck for international human rights lawyers. The evidence is there.

I think that is quite correct. And this is a recommended article.

5. Trump: Making America Dread Again

This article is by Ralph Nader on Common Dreams. This is from near its beginning:

Trump’s flagrant disregard for the safety of the American people has been punctuated by the proposed elimination of the budget reserved for containing an Ebola epidemic. Earlier this year, Trump pushed through Congress an additional $84 billion for the bloated, unauditable military budget—more than the Pentagon had requested.

Callous Donald is determined to enable and even abet companies that are spewing dangerous toxics into our air, water, and food-growing areas. Many of these companies have contributed to his campaign. This serial failed gambling czar’s coldblooded personality is anti-law. President Trump and his agency chiefs are violating federal statutory mandates to protect the health and safety of Americans.

In case you were to say that Ralph Nader is angry, I agree with you, but then I add that Ralph Nader has every right to be very angry.

Here is more:

Trump’s drive to take the federal cops off the corporate crime beats started early and recklessly. On the day he took office, Trump ordered an “immediate regulatory freeze” on the entire federal government. This stopped federal lifesavers in their rescues of endangered American workers, patients, travelers, vulnerable children, and frail, impoverished elderly.

He went from recklessness to ignorant idiocy by ordering all regulatory agencies to repeal two regulations for every one they were going to issue in the future.
Precisely so. Here is more:

Trump’s marauders are raging through one agency after another, revoking, freezing, or suspending lifesaving health/safety protections. Weaker job safety, auto safety, air and water pollution standards, and pesticide protections spell death, sickness, and illnesses with their attendant family anguish and costs, including to taxpayers.

The Trumpsters are destroying federal protections from the corporate fraudsters who have been caught cheating, lying, and stealing from savers, investors, patients, student loan borrowers, travelers, and insurance policy-holders.
Again, precisely so.
Trump wants to take America back to the days of “caveat emptor,” “let the buyer beware,” to the days of horrifying influenza epidemics, to the days of giving corporate crooks— that liberals and conservative Americans want prosecuted and jailed – a “get-out-of-jail-free” card.

I agree 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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