Prev-IndexNL-Next

Nederlog


  June
12, 2014
Crisis: Terrorism, May, Stone, Hayek, Personal: five shocks
   "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
   -- Benjamin Franklin [1]
   "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. Key elements of secret terror trial can be heard in public,
     court rules

2. Theresa May admits government has failed to win
     public's support for surveillance

3. Oliver Stone Snowden movie to be part-based on
     fictionalised account

4. Bill Black: How Hayek Helped the Worst Get to the Top in
     Economics and as CEOs

5. Personal: Five computer shocks

About ME/CFS


Introduction:

This is the Nederlog of June 12. It is an ordinary crisis log.

I will not summarize it here, except by saying that the last personal bit is a fairly quick survey of five computer shocks I lived through, which were all beneficent and extended my possibilities, until the last, that may end up as the beginning of the end of civilization as I have known it.

1. Key elements of secret terror trial can be heard in public, court rules

The first item is an article by Owen Bowcott on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:

An attempt by the Crown Prosecution Service to hold a terrorism trial entirely in secret has been overturned by the court of appeal.

The request, unprecedented in recent criminal justice history, would have prevented anyone knowing even the identity of the two accused, known only as AB and CD.

They can now be named as Erol Incedal, who was AB, and Mounir Rarmoul-Bouhadjar, who was CD.

The decision by three court of appeal judges, Lord Justice Gross, Mr Justice Simon and Mr Justice Burnett, will now mean that the opening and closing sections of the trial will be held in public. Gross said the court was not convinced of the need for the defendants to be anonymised and for their trial to be held entirely in secret.

The application to hold the whole of the trial behind closed doors was opposed by lawyers for the Guardian and other media.

In their decision, the judges said the "core" part of the trial must take place in secret.

Well... it is something, but it is not by far enough, and it still seems a totally unjustified and very unjust attempt of the English government to install the authoritarian practice of secret fascist [2] courts in England: Apart from two real modern Guy Fawkes who have been arrested while sitting on a ton of explosives under the Parliament, I cannot conceive of any eventuality to make a trial secret or partially secret - and even that eventuality ought to be dealt with in a public court (whatever the government says or thinks also: the government is supposed to be there for the benefit of the people, and not the people for the benefit of the government).

Also, the following seems sick to me:

The application for an entirely secret trial was supported by certificates from the home secretary, Theresa May, and the foreign secretary, William Hague, stating that it was required on the grounds of national security.

The court of appeal authorised "a small number of accredited journalists drawn from the media parties to these proceedings" to attend the "bulk" of the secret part of the hearing.

They will not be allowed to report what they witness until the situation is reviewed at the end of the case. Any notes made will have to be stored in court. The proposal was made by ministers. A transcript of the case could eventually be released after further legal argument.

The mere invocations of "the grounds of national security" is sick and meaningless blather without evidence to prove it, which one cannot have on "the grounds of national security" - which makes it all circular and completely invalid.

And the limitations imposed on the few and selected journalists who may attend some of the court proceedings are draconian and sick: "
Any notes made will have to be stored in court" (and such journalists must also crawl backwards if within 50 foot of a judge, and let themselves be kicked and trampled upon, except that this demeaning nonsense has not yet also been introduced, on "the grounds of national security").

England is thoroughly sick, and with its present government and GCHQ it certainly ceased being a full democracy, and soon may be a police state, which indeed also is very much handier for May and Hague: Simply arrest anyone who disagrees with you, and have them convicted by a secret court in secrecy.


2.  Theresa May admits government has failed to win public's support for surveillance

The next item is an article by Alan Travis on The Guardian:
This starts as follows, under a photograph of the very dishonest looking May:
Theresa May has, for the first time, acknowledged that the British government has failed to get the public to understand its case for the use of surveillance to tackle national security threats in the wake of revelations of mass harvesting of personal data by Britain's GCHQ and the US National Security Agency.
Clearly, she was, quite consciously also, lying.

While I do not have a high opinion of either the average Briton or of his understanding of surveilling, indeed quite like Ms May - and in my case there is nothing special about the British: most folks anywhere do not adequately understand the dangers of being completely surveilled, and indeed until very recently no one ever was told about
being completely surveilled! - and although Ms May is far less honest than I am, I am also quite sure that since Snowden's revelations the British public for the first time has had any good evidence to be able to know how much they have been deceived, lied to, and misled by both their government and by the spokesmen of the GCHQ, and also to know how extremely many personal and private data have been stolen from them by one of the secret services of "the Five Eyes".

But it is true that "
the British government has failed to" do something they should and would have done if they were democratic and if they were not massively corrupted by the enormous powers the GCHQ made available to them:

They failed to inform their British public; they failed to control their secret services; they failed to speak the truth, and instead permitted lies, deceptions and falsehoods, and they did so from 2001 onwards, always pretending their failures and falsehoods were "to protect against terrorism", which was and is an evident lie: The GCHQ and their backers are out for total power and control.

Next paragraph:
The home secretary admitted to defence and security experts that individual privacy and mass surveillance by the security services had become "a much more salient question for the public in the last year or so". Under questioning, she agreed that the public lacked any real understanding of the role intelligence played in tackling threats, including organised crime.

The reason "the public lacked any real understanding of the role intelligence played" is not that the public is stupid, but that the public has been systematically deceived and lied to - and indeed for good reasons: The vast majority of "the public" would have strongly objected to being surveilled as in fact they are, if their governments had honestly, honorably and democratically put the case to them. And this also is the reason they did not.

Next paragraph:

May said the Home Office and security chiefs must "find innovative ways" to make their case to the public about the security services' activities in the wake of disclosures by Edward Snowden, a former CIA contractor.

What she meant was: She needs better lies, more deceptive propaganda, more usage of "terrorism" and "bombs". Clearly, speaking the truth is quite impossible in the present case, for the British government and the GCHQ have been lying for fourteen years, while the GCHQ was secretively harvesting all personal data of everyone, at least since 2007, or indeed led the NSA do that (for non-Americans have no protection of anything, at least according to the US government).

Next paragraph:
"There is a need to get out there more generally the importance of intelligence in fighting all of these national security threats. We will try to find innovative ways of getting the importance of these activities to members of the public," she said. "People talk about national security versus civil liberties, but you can only enjoy your liberty if you have security."

The "people" the lying Ms May must have had in mind was in fact Benjamin Franklin and he said the opposite of what the totalitarian liar May said:

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

What the lying Ms May wants and has furthered is that all of the British loose all of their privacy and all of their personal data, which all is and was done in secret, merely because she and her political cronies want this, and without their being any real threat of "national security".

In Benjamin Franklin's terms Ms May deserves neither liberty nor safety, and should be in prison.

There is more under the last dotted link, but it does not get any better.

3.  Oliver Stone Snowden movie to be part-based on fictionalised account

The next item is an article by Shaun Walker on The Guardian:

This opens as follows:

The film director Oliver Stone has bought the rights to a forthcoming novel based on the life of the whistleblower Edward Snowden and written by Snowden's Russian lawyer.

Time of the Octopus will be published later this year, and is authored by Anatoly Kucherena, one of the few people who has had regular access to Snowden since he arrived in Moscow nearly a year ago. The former National Security Agency contractor retained Kucherena when he was stuck in limbo in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport.

Stone, who has long been a critic of the US establishment, has met Kucherena to discuss the film project, and said he would use both Kucherena's book and The Snowden Files by Guardian reporter Luke Harding as the basis for the screenplay of his movie, which is due to begin production later this year.

I say. Well... I like Oliver Stone, and he may be able to do it better than most other directors, but it is to be fictional, though in part based on fact. My assumption is also that this coheres with Snowden's wishes, although I have no direct evidence for that (but he has been quite admirably reticent about himself).

There is more under the last dotted link, and here is the last paragraph:

Of the Russian's novel, Stone said: "Anatoly has written a 'grand inquisitor' style Russian novel weighing the soul of his fictional whistleblower, Joshua Cold, against the gravity of a '1984' tyranny that has achieved global proportions. His meditations on the meaning of totalitarian power in the 21st century make for a chilling, prescient horror story."

4.  Bill Black: How Hayek Helped the Worst Get to the Top in Economics and as CEOs

The next item is an article by Bill Black (<- Wikipedia) on Naked Capitalism:

This is a fairly long criticism (I dislike "critique") of Friedrich Hayek. It is here mainly because I like Bill Black. I know little of Hayek, and that is mainly because I happen to dislike his style.

Black may be right on Hayek, who certainly functions as a conservative beacon, but I simply do not know.

5. Personal: Five computer shocks

This item is not about the crisis, for the most part at least, but charts five computer shocks I have lived through, so to speak, in the sense that my life got seriously altered by computing five times, while also each time the shocks got bigger.

It is a personal story, that charts my relations with computers, and I use the term "shock" mostly because these events did
seriously alter quite a lot of my possibilities, but except for the last shock, they were not negative. Also, I tell it here in an abbreviated form, and I do so - the telling - because (as Socrates said) "the unexamined life is not worth living".

Circa 1973, when I was 23, there were computers for nearly a quarter century, and they also were used in business and in banks, but they were not practically important, I would say, although I had by then bought a programmable calculator and also had read a fair amount of logic, including Marvin Minsky's "Computation - Finite and Infinite Machines", that I liked a lot.

And it so happened that I got a job, initially as a typist, for a firm that specialized in renting out programmers, mostly to banks, to program the computers, which I then also learned, although this was very different from programming a PC: it all was done on paper, that then had to be typed in on punch cards, normally by a special typist, that one then had to deliver to a computer operator, who took care of an enormous machine in a special room almost no one had access to, after which, usually at least some days later, one got the output of the program printed out on computer paper, in a faint greyish machine-like font.

Actually, the programming - in Cobol or Algol - wasn't very difficult, and also it mostly was quite simple: adding columns of numbers and printing them out decently, but it also wasn't very interesting. I left there after some months, after having solved a puzzle that had defeated one of the directors for weeks on end
[3], mostly because I did not like the greedy and dishonest atmosphere, for it was, already then, quite greedy, which it was because they had something of an oligopoly, and could mostly ask what they wanted, which they did.

But this was not a shock, and I tell it only to clarify that I did know something of computers, both in practice, and a lot better in theory, when I was 23.

The first shock came in 1980, at the time I was 30, when a friend bought an Apple II, still with a cassette tape for storage, which ran Applebasic, in a green font, on something like a small television screen: Applebasic was a quite clear language that was easy to learn; the programming was all done by typing, and it got interpreted directly, so that one could see the output immediately on screen; and it really worked, quite well also, and could also be used commercially, as my friend also soon did.

This was a shock, because it showed me the first personal computer that really worked in a useful way, although it also could not do much else than Applebasic, but that was sufficient to make it quite interesting, and indeed also to write some programs that tested some ideas I had about logic. [4]

But at the time I had no money to buy one for myself, and all I did was program it a little. In any case, this was the start of personal computing, and it certainly was very impressive, at least on an Apple II (basically a box, a monitor and a typing board, quite a lot like the later PCs, except for the tapes one had to store one's data on).

The second shock came in 1987 when I got a personal computer through the father of my then girl friend, who was a middle manager for Philips, and had several PCs, but did not quite know what to do with them, for he really could not handle them well at all.

I first got an Osborne Carry Computer, I think it was called [5], which was from 1982, and had a very small own screen, although that could easily be replaced by a monitor; 64 Kb of memory; floppy disks (of the bendable form, that saved no less and no more than 128 Kb); and which ran Wordstar, for writing and editing text; Visicalc, which was an early spreadsheet; the operating system CP/M; and that in fact could do most of the stuff a modern PC can do, although in a  somewhat primitive form, and with a 0.6 Mhz processor and maximally 64 Kb of memory, which also took some 16 Kb for the OS (so effectively one had 48 Kb).

This was quite a shock, for it clearly enlarged the powers I had: For example, writing in Wordstar on a computer was a lot handier than writing on a typewriter, which I had done since 1966. And indeed one of the first things I wrote on the Osborne was "Multatuli en de Filosofie", in September of 1987, that is still on my site.

Again by 1988 the Osborne was replaced by a Philips, with 256 Kb memory, soon to be replaced by another Philips with all of 512 Kb of memory, which Bill Gates then declared to be enough for anybody's needs, and by several more machines, soon also with colors, but basically this was more Osborne, though some of the new things, that could not be done on an Osborne, were Turbo Pascal and Turbo Prolog, both from Borland, that each were a great lot better than the GWBasic that came with DOS, and which I used quite a lot (and wrote an excellent editor with, called "Edith", that I used for five years and would have made commercial had I not been ill and on the dole).

The third shock came in 1996, when I got internet. Until 1995, I had been one of the few who had a computer and who did a great lot with it, but this all was private: the computer was not connected to any other computer. This worked quite well, but was fundamentally private and, until the middle 90ies, also was very to fairly rare. [6]

From 1995, when Windows 95 arrived, this rapidly changed, for it was fairly easy to connect to the internet. I did so as well as soon as I could (later than some but earlier than most) and this considerably extended both my input, from the internet, and also my output: My site exists since November 1996, and this allowed me to publish things without getting in a hassle with the dole, which prevented and prevents me from publishing anything on paper.

Windows 95 also was the first time I had a graphical interface, which was a lot more pleasant than the text based DOS, but it also had the habit of crashing a lot, while surfing was quite expensive for me, who lived and lives on the Dutch dole, because I had a telephone modem, and had to pay every telephone tick, every minute, which added up fast and thus rather severely limited my surfing, that anyway was slow, for it was maximally 28 Kb per second, and normally less.

The fourth shock came in 2009 - after 13 years of internet, and 22 years of daily computing - when I got installed fast internet, still through the phone, but effectively much cheaper with a very much extended input, that included films, videos etc. and in fact made the PC quite a bit like a TV.

This enormously extended my input, and made a real difference, that in fact was considerably larger than the previous shock, which had allowed me to be on line for half an hour a day, and on a 28 Kb modem, that often worked a lot slower. Also, this was mostly quite pleasant, because I had Windows XP from 2002 onwards, and that was the only somewhat satisfactory OS that I used from Microsoft, simply judged from crashing: Only XP did not crash on me daily, and indeed did so very rarely. (I have since used Windows 7, but only very briefly, since I moved to Linux in 2012, and do neither intend nor like to turn back.)

The fifth shock came in 2013, when I learned through Snowden that the hypotheses I had formulated on December 25, 2012 (in fact these were written out two weeks earlier, and date back in pencil form to October 2012, and also are a bit better formatted this year: January 31, 2014), without knowing anything of Snowden, were spectacularly confirmed:

Everybody's personal and private data, anything he or she does by a computer or a cell phone, wherever he or she lives, regardless of whatever he or she has not done, is being tracked, saved and stored by the NSA (and/or one of the four other secret services of Canada, Great Britain, Australia or New Zealand) as if everyone is a common criminal, on which all data one can get may be gathered without any limit or sanction, in utter secrecy, to be used against him of her, quite possibly in totally secret court cases, by any government at any time.


This was the greatest shock for me, because it meant that the nightmare scenario I had hypothetically construed was in fact in full force since 9/11/2001:

The Western governing elites, and especially the US and Great Britain, all have gone thoroughly fascist - defined as: anti-democratic, authoritarian, secretive governments who work for and are paid by the big corporations, and whose methods of government rely on lies, falsehoods, deceptions, force, coercion, violence and secret courts - by doing and protecting this incredible powergrab, of what certainly is the greatest power there ever has been, totally in secret, without any effective parliamentary control, guarded by completely undemocratic secret courts, quite possibly manned by heavily blackmailed judges, on the utterly false pretext that this would protect "the people" from "the dangers of terrorism" while in fact delivering everything anyone does or say (by computer or cell phone) to the anonymous secret operators of the secret services.

This indeed was the greatest shock, and it was wholly negative. It also is the reason that - at long last - I am glad I could not have any children because I am ill (I probably would have, had I not been ill, indeed in the beginning 80ies), and that is mainly because my personal probability is that this will end very badly:

Either the fascist terrorists win, and there may be many centuries of decline, poverty and misery for most, who will not be able to defend themselves because whatever they think, do or say is being noticed by the secret services and may be punished by secret courts, or else there will be another economical collapse, that will destroy most of civilization.

I grant you that there are other and more optimistic possibilities, but as matters stand, it seems to me these are the two most probable ones, and that especially because "the democratic majority" cannot be convinced of the fact that nobody should have the secret permission to track everything everyone does.

But OK: I am very willing to be surprised and to be mistaken, but I see little reason for it, though now and then some things that happen are good.
---------------------------------
Note
[1] Here it is necessary to insist, with Aristotle, that the governors do not rule, or at least, should not rule: The laws rule, and the government, if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn Greenwald:
It is more proper that law should govern than any one of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servants of the laws.
(And I note the whole file I quote from is quite pertinent.)

[2] Yes, I know what this means, and very probably a lot better than you do. Wholly apart from that: I think that any modern government that protects its secret service to store all the data that anyone produces by either a computer of a cell phone, to be a very sick, thoroughly undemocratic and indeed a fascist government, that is out to eradicate all opposition of any kind, and that behaves like a police state. (But I know very few will say so unless it is too late to do anything about it.)

[3] This is the problem: There are 12 coins, of which 11 weigh precisely the same, and one has a different weight, that is either higher or lower than the other 11 coins, but you do not know which. There also is a balance, with two arms. Prove that you can find which coin differs and whether it weighs more or less than the other coins, in maximally 3 weighings with that balance. I wish you luck! (And yes, there are several deductively valid proofs.)

[4] It may have been possible to write text on it: I forgot. In any case, one could write text on it in the Applebasic interpreter, and that went also quite well and quite easy. But in any case, he and I used it almost solely for programming.

[5] Indeed it could be carried around and it was designed for that purpose - but it had the size and the weight of a sewing machine - say 10 to 15 laptops.
Even so, for the time it was quite innovative and quite powerful.

[6] There was an exception, that I also had known and occasionally used: Most of the staff of the university had - for free - Apple Macs, which ca. 1988 were boxes with a fairly small black and white graphical screen. This was a good choice, for they were more powerful than DOS-based computers, that also weren't graphical. I certainly first saw internet on them, and also the first browser (Mosaic), both some years later than 1988, but I did not work a lot with them because I was not a staff member.


About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

2. Malcolm Hooper THE MENTAL HEALTH MOVEMENT:  
PERSECUTION OF PATIENTS?
3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
9.
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)



       home - index - summaries - mail