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JackRiddler

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 21,947

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Greenwald: Approve or Disapprove?

As a whole and on balance, have the works of Glenn Greenwald in the last few years been...

ON EDIT: Added "Not of great impact" as an option. (At that point there were 40 votes: 27 "Good" for both, 12 "Bad" for both, 1 pass.)

Let's be clear, it's not policy, it's a criminal case.

And a long overdue one. Of course it is also policy in the sense that the N.D. government is playing it as a shift to grab the center while reabsorbing the G.D. vote.

You are consistently missing what happened, however, when you write: "The government moved on them after the murder because it was politically convenient, not because they give a damn." I don't agree at all. I refuse to downplay the role of the people. The government was forced by the popular response and the revelations to act. The latter provided the evidence of a criminal organization engaged in multiple assaults and killings.

That is what made it "politically convenient." It could have brought them down, in combination with the rest of the Greek situation. This government has been unstable during its entire tenure, just like the last two Greek governments. (They lost one junior partner in June and barely have a majority, with PASOK possibly in its final death throes.)

Of course the government doesn't give a damn! This is a victory of the people. Forced to act, the government is now claiming full ownership of it as policy, acting with vigor and playing the game to their advantage without scruples. This is to be expected from a fairly canny and authoritarian government that was already playing political "shock and awe" in their other policies (immigrant concentration camps, ERT shutdown, forced-work orders on strikers, arrests of journalists demanding their sources, etc.).

My "approval of the arrests" does not rest on the idea that justice will be done. It may not be, unfortunately. The arrests were something that should have started happening several murders ago. These are not just scumbags with an ugly line, they were planning and executing murders on the street.

They are "going after GD thugs who commit crimes."

They should have done so years ago.

The GD leadership are among the thugs who commit crimes, including murders. This has been well known for years. Planners and dispatchers of a murder are considered the main perpetrators of the murder, even if they never get their hands wet with blood.

This government has already criminalized dissent - on the left. As for G.D., this government was facilitating their violence because it was directed against dissent. This government was protecting them, adopting their rhetoric, and cozying up to them right up until the murder of Fyssas. Without the outrage following the murder, they would not have finally acted to arrest the criminal organization.

Now your response wants to make these murderers into victims of an attack on dissent. Please. Your post shows you out of touch with Greece - or you'd know that the Nikaia attack battalions that committed the Fyssas murder are a project overseen by the G.D. leadership - and callous about the real victims of this mafia.

Watch out, he almost certainly does.

This is a very popular and academically sanctioned form of history. For example, tell us how a world war that inevitably came about because of imperialism, capitalism, racism and militarized states in an arms race (sort of like what we have now with the cyber arms-race, among other things) was actually caused by Baron de Blowhard's failure of protocol in communicating with the Marquis de Bullshit at Lord Pisspot's grand ball, etc. etc., all to be documented extensively with archival cites in big, fat square books that win Pulitzers. The Barbara Tuchman school, among others. (And I say that as an admirer - she's a great read!)

Important background on Golden Dawn crackdown...

Concerns about the government crackdown and how it will function to strengthen a government that is actually responsible for Golden Dawn's rise due to its neoliberal austerity policies are valid...

However, it must be understoodd this was not simply a move of ideological preference or political opportunism by the government.

To review:

A criminal organization explicitly devoted to German National Socialism engaged for years in racketeering and typical gangster activities, in addition to many violent acts based on racism and ideology. Right now G.D. is going to be charged with up to 10 known murder cases that weren't pursued before.

At their local chapter in the Nikaia neighborhood, G.D. put together at least one showcase attack force of dozens of beefed-up men, which they called the "attack battalion." G.D. MPs praised this group in public as the model for the party throughout Greece. This attack battalion would do public shows but was also dispatched to hit targets, sometimes for show or business reasons.

A couple of weeks ago the attack battalion were sent in helmets with clubs to assault the KKE in Perama, hospitalizing nine people whom they caught distributing leaflets. Leaflets! Then they were present at the killing of Fyssas, in which they surrounded and fell upon a group of seven coming out of a cafe. Activists coming out of a cafe, are you getting the picture yet? Does this sound like something a lot of DUers may do on a daily or weekly basis, meet activists at a cafe? One of the Nikaia chapter executive committee members stabbed Fyssas in a fashion of a professional killer, according to the coroner.

At that point hundreds of thousands took to the streets in response to the escalation of murdering a well-known Greek activist. Greece was on the brink. There were also protests in multiple cities each of UK, France, Germany and Spain, as well as New York and Copenhagen, and many other manifestations.

The crime here on the government's side is not that the authorities are finally moving against this organization. It's that the authorities didn't respond after earlier murders and assaults, because these acts were directed mainly against immigrants and didn't bring hundreds of thousands into the streets in protest and raise international attention.

It's that people in the police were protecting G.D. and feeding them information. At least one cop is among those rounded up yesterday.

Concerns about the government promoting a "narrative of the extremes" that equates the left with the Nazis and later turning the repression on others who state opposition to austerity and neo-liberal policies are entirely appropriate.

Concerns about austerity as the bigger problem also. The government, the memoranda, the debt deals and state authoritarianism remain the main problem, and provide the main context that helped the rise of Golden Dawn. You are right that in the long term you end fascism by dealing with the conditions that foster it. Repression is not the ideal way and this government is doing the opposite, as far as the conditions are concerned. They have employed a great deal of repression so far, against all opponents to their policies, and have begun to dismantle democracy in Greece. Before this, many N.D. party members were talking about going into the next elections with G.D.! To reabsorb their votes, N.D. has largely adopted their anti-immigrant rhetoric and committed extremely harsh crackdowns on immigrants - Athens is a stop and frisk town for foreigners or those who look foreign, by the way.

But the rounding up of Golden Dawn as a criminal organization was overdue, absolutely necessary. And it wouldn't have happened without outcry from the antifascist movement and the civil society following the assassination of Pavlos Fyssas. Whatever happens next (and things can get a lot uglier), what happened yesterday was an initial victory for justice.

Your concerns about the government crackdown are valid...

You've got to understand this was not simply a move of ideological preference or political opportunism by the government.

To review:

A criminal organization explicitly devoted to German National Socialism engaged in racketeering and typical gangster activities in addition to many violent acts based on racism and ideology.

At their local chapter in the Nikaia neighborhood, they put together at least one showcase attack force of dozens of men, which they called the "attack battalion." G.D. MPs praised this group in public as the model for the party throughout Greece. This attack battalion would do public shows but was also dispatched to hit targets, sometimes for show or business reasons.

A couple of weeks ago the attack battalion were sent in helmets with clubs to assault the KKE in Perama, hospitalizing nine people whom they caught distributing leaflets. Leaflets! Then they were present at the killing of Fyssas, in which they surrounded and fell upon a group of seven coming out of a cafe. Activists coming out of a cafe, are you getting the picture yet? Does this sound like something a lot of DUers may do on a daily or weekly basis, meet activists at a cafe? One of the Nikaia chapter executive committee members stabbed Fyssas in a fashion of a professional killer, according to the coroner.

At that point hundreds of thousands took to the streets in response to the escalation of murdering a well-known Greek activist. Greece was on the brink. There were also protests in multiple cities each of UK, France, Germany and Spain, as well as New York and Copenhagen, and many other manifestations.

The crime here on the government's side is not that the authorities are finally moving against this organization. It's that the authorities didn't respond after earlier murders and assaults, because these acts were directed mainly against immigrants and didn't bring hundreds of thousands into the streets in protest and raise international attention.

It's that people in the police were protecting G.D. and feeding them information. At least one cop is among those rounded up yesterday.

Concerns about the government promoting a "narrative of the extremes" that equates the left with the Nazis and later turning the repression on others who state opposition to austerity and neo-liberal policies are entirely appropriate.

Concerns about austerity as the bigger problem also. The government, the memoranda, the debt deals and state authoritarianism remain the main problem, and provide the main context that helped the rise of Golden Dawn. You are right that in the long term you end fascism by dealing with the conditions that foster it. Repression is not the ideal way and this government is doing the opposite, as far as the conditions are concerned. They have employed a great deal of repression so far, against all opponents to their policies, and have begun to dismantle democracy in Greece. Before this, many N.D. party members were talking about going into the next elections with G.D.! To reabsorb their votes, N.D. has largely adopted their anti-immigrant rhetoric and committed extremely harsh crackdowns on immigrants - Athens is a stop and frisk town for foreigners or those who look foreign, by the way.

But the rounding up of Golden Dawn as a criminal organization was overdue, absolutely necessary. And it wouldn't have happened without outcry from the antifascist movement and the civil society following the assassination of Pavlos Fyssas. Whatever happens next (and things can get a lot uglier), what happened yesterday was an initial victory for justice.

No, it didn't. Your initial premise: ridiculous. Microscopic.

The idea, prevalent among the "Great Powers," that some countries should get to rule over and exploit all others by virtue of their racial or systemic or moral or religious or cultural superiority, led to World War I and "allowed Pearl Harbor to happen."

The only example they presented in detail...

would have to be a strong one, right? And then it turned out NSA surveillance had nothing to do with catching the suspects in that case.

If that was the best they could do - you gotta wonder how they couldn't manufacture anything better, but it was basically an act of contempt, another fuck-you to us, like: We're full of bullshit but people believe us anyway, what are you going to do about it?

But that prompts a key question:

So what is the NSA for?

(Spontaneous notes)

(1) Among other things, it's an industrial policy. For ideological reasons, the U.S. pretense is that the government does not subsidize technological development, that this is one of the worst Sins Against Capitalism. Now this is a tough one, since of course government has always subsidized R&D and that's how most R&D happens in the capitalist and imperialist powers, whatever our myths of lone geniuses. So we have outfits like NSA and DARPA to develop computing and telephony (going back to the Bell Labs days) and eventually spawning (directly or indirectly) the basis for www, Oracle, Google, Facebook, etc.

And so industrial policy, an indispensable component of modern capitalism (which according to ideology is a European-Chinese sin only, we just have a "market" do everything by magic) is implemented in the form of a so-called "security agency" that subsidizes industries but does not actually provide any security. (In fact, it's part of a larger apparatus that makes enemies, and if it doesn't make enough of those, it makes them up.)

And what is the particular technology that is being developed?

(2) A general surveillance apparatus of Americans, Earthians and all of their businesses and corporations, with all of the power and benefits for those who have access to it that such an apparatus implies.

While:

(3) Making a lot of money for the contractors and, importantly, their executives and consultants, who are recruited through the revolving door after an early retirement from "service," so that it becomes a massive self-licking ice-cream cone, the equal of Wall Street in corruption and self-deceiving justifications - and, fatally, power, fully unaccountable power - plus all those wonderful jobs jobs jobs to justify it.

And

(4) Because like any institution it's got to have an internal morality or religion, and because this is going to have to be a lie (since it is a primarily superfluous and parasitic institution) it turns into, along with the rest of the "intelligence" and "security" and "homeland" "communities," a dictatorship over a separate, extraconstitutional realm of government -- a parallel state that provides "security" against "enemies" and is expected to break the rules and "Do business with unsavory characters." With a nearly totalitarian ideology in place that most of them always believe and usually become fanatic about. Everything they do is justified and much worse will be justified besides, because all this is for America to survive through a perpetual death-match with World Communism.

Sorry, terrorism. I meant terrorism. Communism, where did that come from?

NSA: Shut it down?

Oh no, I'd feel so vulnerable if the NSA stopped!

Isn't it time to figure out that "terrorism" is the biggest protection racket ever perpetrated on the U.S. people? If there was a threat to show, they would have shown it. Their efforts in this regard are indicative. They give bullshit about threats they've supposedly prevented, and then it gets documented as bullshit, but the machine goes on anyway.
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