1. Diederik Stapel arranges with prosecuters
2. Senators accuse government of
using 'secret law'
3. US army blocks access to Guardian website
It still is the case
that sleeping remains quite
difficult for me. This also makes my life rather difficult, at
Anyway. Yesterday there were varia on the crisis, plus (a link to) some
pictures of the Statue of Liberty, and today there is another brief
choice from items relating to the crisis
we're in, which is preceded by a brief piece + some reflections by me
on Diederik Stapel's getting out from facing a court.
Diederik Stapel arranges with prosecuters
This is in today's NRC, and I will translate all of it,
basically because it seems to open the door wide, in Holland, for more
of the same, as I will explain after having translated it:
with public prosecuters:
And that's it. A small entry
on the bottom
of page 2: No court case, no public investigation, no judgmental
statement. A mere 120 hours of "work punishment", which means 3 weeks
of work for the state, and as far as the Dutch laws are concerned,
that's it. 
120 hours of work in punishment
The Tilburg psychologist Diederik Stapel gets a punishment of 120 hours
of work for the falsification of research data. This the Office of
Public Prosecution arranged with him. Also, he gave up the sickness-
and unfit-to-work payment that he is judicially entitled to by the
collective work agreement.
The Public Prosecution investigated six subsidized publications of
Stapel. This confirmed the findings of the Levelt-commission, that
investigated Stapel's work before. The Public Prosecution did not find
evidence for the abuse of subsidized money. The money was especially
intended for paying personnel. The personnel did, according to the
Public Prosecution, do the work they were expected to do, albeit in
part on the basis of data Stapel had imagined. Stapel did harm the
integrity of science and the interests of his promovendi, the Public
The Public Prosecution thinks the working punishment is sufficient. It
also weighs that Stapel has not personally enriched himself, has
experienced important consequences of his actions and has returned his
title of doctor on his own initiative. Also, the dupes of Stapel did
rather not repeat their stories in front of a judge.
You get off in Holland for publishing at least 50 fraudulent articles,
over a period of at least 15 years, by 3 weeks of work for the state,
without even appearing before a judge.
Now I have written before that I doubted the court is the place
things have to get settled, and this shows why:
If you publish at least 50 fraudulent articles, over a period
of 15 years, with the purpose of becoming a leading
psychologist, which you also succeed in, and then you are found out as
an out and out fraud, and
several professors take over a year trying to establish your many
frauds, which you only very superficially admit, then the Dutch public
prosecution office arranges with you a private deal to the effect that
you need not go to court if you do three weeks of work for the
Meanwhile, you have not met the press, you have published a
book, you have set up your own company, and you have found work in your
own speciality of lying for profit, except that this time the implied
lying is part of the job.
It seems to me that this should enormously support everyone who
wants to be a real scientific fraud in Holland, which according to
Stapel are many, since he claims that he mostly did what most of his
university colleagues did anyway.
The chances of discovery are very small, and if you are discovered, 120
hours of work without even a court case is your punishment, in Holland,
if you play it somewhat well.
Ordinary science pays well, at least if you've assured a university
position, but deeply fraudulent science pays better, and may make
you quite famous, unless you are discovered (after 15 years with
at least 50 frauds), of which the chance are very small anyway
- and a legal punishment, at least in Holland, does hardly exist.
And that seems to me the moral of the story.
I do agree that there are much bigger frauds in e.g. psychiatry
who are not punished at all, or only very ineffectively - see my Jan
18, 2013 Diederik Stapel,
the DSM-5 and medical and scientific fraud - while I am rather doubtful this can be
effectively dealt with in court, but all in all the
outcome seems to me an effective goodbye to real science, at
least in what I regarded and regard as partial or nearly total pseudosciences
anyway, such as psychology and psychiatry.
It's sad, very sad, also because I see no solution.
2. Senators accuse government of
using 'secret law'
There is now a movement in the
senate of the U.S. that goes back to Snowden's revelations. It gets
reported in the Guardian in this article:
It starts as follows:
A bipartisan group of 26
US senators has
written to intelligence chiefs to complain that the administration
is relying on a "secret body of law" to collect massive amounts of data
on US citizens.
The senators accuse
officials of making misleading statements and demand that the director
of national intelligence James Clapper answer a series of specific
questions on the scale of domestic surveillance as
well as the legal justification for it.
their strongly-worded letter to Clapper, the senators said they
believed the government may be misinterpreting existing legislation to
justify the sweeping collection of telephone and internet data revealed by the
Note the "strongly worded
letter" and "revealed by the Guardian", which revelations were mostly
written by Glenn Greenwald, on the basis of information mostly given to
him by Edward Snowden.
Next there is this quote
from the letter:
"We are concerned that by
depending on secret interpretations of the Patriot Act that differed
from an intuitive reading of the statute, this program essentially
relied for years on a secret body of law," they say.
"This and misleading
statements by intelligence officials have prevented our constituents
from evaluating the decisions that their government was making, and
will unfortunately undermine trust in government more broadly."
The senators also published
a press statement, in which they said:
Again: Quite so. Next, they
"The recent public
disclosures of secret government surveillance programs have exposed how
secret interpretations of the USA Patriot Act have allowed for the bulk
collection of massive amounts of data on the communications of ordinary
Americans with no connection to wrongdoing."
secret law to conduct domestic surveillance activities raises serious
civil liberty concerns and all but removes the public from an informed
national security and civil liberty debate."
And that is very important.
For more, see the last dotted link, that includes a list of points that
the senators want answered and clarified.
By the way, if you think that this may be read by US military persons:
not if their government can help it. See the following item.
US army blocks
access to Guardian website
The full title is
this, that mentions the reason: network hygiene. Yes, network hygiene:
Here are the first three
There is quite a bit more,
including very evasive statements, but the DoD does block
parts of sites to members of the defense.
The US army has admitted
to blocking access to parts of the Guardian
website for thousands of
defence personnel across the country.
A spokesman said the
military was filtering out reports and content relating to government
surveillance programs to preserve "network hygiene" and prevent any
classified material appearing on unclassified parts of its computer
The confirmation follows
reports in the Monterey Herald that staff at the Presidio military base
south of San Francisco had complained of not being able to access the
Guardian's UK site at all, and had only partial access to the US site,
following publication of leaks from whistleblower Edward Snowden.
"O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O'er the land of the
free and the home of the brave?".
The Star-Spangled Banner (U.S. national anthem)
 I had to face a court over a
period of 3 years and 10 days, after which the court said I had been
right, and the University of Amsterdam wrong. After that, my letters to
the University were never answered, except by saying that I, who was
admitted of being seriously ill should go somewhere else if I wanted a
I list this not to brag or to complain, but to show the Dutch "justice"
does not work, for, although I agree with the court's general decision,
it was simply ignored, and I had to wait for over 3 years on it.
Stapel got off very much better than I did, and the difference is
probably mainly due to the facts that he was an arrived professor who
was a major fraud, and I was a non-arrived student who was a major
critic of the university.
Also, Stapel never was physically ill, and I was and am.
ME/CFS (that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: