who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin
"All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
"Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
the NSA Helped Turkey Kill Kurdish Rebels
Gasp of Climate Change Liberals
3. Michael Fallon hits out at
Ashdown's criticism of
4. To really combat terror,
end support for Saudi Arabia
The 7th year of the crisis
This is a Nederlog of Monday,
September 1. It is a crisis log.
How the NSA Helped Turkey Kill Kurdish Rebels
item is an article by Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach, Michael Sontheimer,
and Holger Stark on The Intercept:
These are two contiguous
paragraphs from the article:
Documents from the
archive of U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden that Der
Spiegel and The Intercept have seen show just how
deeply involved America has become in Turkey’s fight against the Kurds.
For a time, the NSA even delivered its Turkish partners with the mobile
phone location data of PKK leaders on an hourly basis. The U.S.
government also provided the Turks with information about PKK money
flows, and the whereabouts of some of its leaders living in exile
There is a lot more in
the article. It probably will not make the U.S. government happy, but
this is modern spying.
At the same time, the Snowden documents also show that
Turkey is one of the United States’ leading targets for spying.
Documents show that the political leadership in Washington, D.C., has
tasked the NSA with divining Turkey’s “leadership intention,” as well
as monitoring its operations in 18 other key areas. This means that
Germany’s foreign intelligence service, which drew criticism in recent
weeks after it was revealed it had been spying on Turkey, isn’t the
only secret service interested in keeping tabs on the government in
2. The Last Gasp of Climate Change Liberals
item is an article by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
Yes, indeed - but this
is one of the differences between the U.S. and Europe: In Europe most
people, including the governments, do believe in climate
change. The U.S. stands apart from the rest of the world, mostly
because the GOP in majority still rejects climate change.
The climate change march in New York on Sept.
21, expected to draw as many as 200,000 people, is one of the last
gasps of conventional liberalism’s response to the climate crisis. It
will take place two days before the actual gathering of world
leaders in New York called by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to
discuss the November 2015 U.N. Climate Conference in Paris. The
marchers will dutifully follow the route laid down by the New York City
police. They will leave Columbus Circle, on West 59th Street and Eighth
Avenue, at 11:30 a.m. on a Sunday and conclude on 11th Avenue between
West 34th and 38th streets. No one will reach the United Nations, which
is located on the other side of Manhattan, on the East River beyond
First Avenue—at least legally. There will be no speeches. There is no
list of demands. It will be a climate-themed street fair.
The march, because its
demands are amorphous, can be joined by anyone. This is intentional.
But as activist Anne
Petermann has pointed out, this also means some of the groups
backing the march are little more than corporate fronts. The Climate
Group, for example, which endorses the march, includes among its
members and sponsors BP, China Mobile, Dow Chemical Co., Duke Energy,
HSBC, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Greenstone.
In fact, the first file of the crisis, that I wrote precisely 6
years ago, namely on September 1, 2008,
in Dutch, was mostly given to a large corporate-funded pure propaganda advertisement
that called for "help for the little ice-bears" and urged putting
ordinary democratic processes aside "to built more windmills".
The undersigned varied from the biggest trade union, the City of
Amsterdam, the University of Delft to Royal Haskoning, Nuon, the
Rabobank, the Triodos Bank - in short "everyone who is someone" (and
makes enormous profits somehow and is corrupt in Holland).
So in Europe the topic of climate change is mostly a governmental
topic (as was the Kyoto
Treaty, though that didn't work as planned and meanwhile also has
Back to Chris Hedges. He doesn't expect anything from "the climate
change march", and I think he is right. What Hedges wants is
considerably more radical:
Our democracy is
an elaborate public relations charade. And the longer we accept this
charade the longer we will be irrelevant. Only when we understand power
can we fight it. This fight must be waged on two fronts. We must
disrupt the machinery of corporate capitalism and at the same time
build parallel, autonomous structures for self-governance that address
basic needs such as food and green energy. (...) “The ruling
ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant
material relationships,” Marx wrote, “the dominant material
relationships grasped as ideas.” And this makes our struggle a battle
for ideas as well as a battle for power.
I agree with Hedges'
diagnosis of current democracy ("an elaborate public relations charade"). But (1) I see very little
hope at present for disrupting "the machinery of corporate capitalism" in any major way, and even less for
autonomous structures for self-governance" while (2) I do not think Marx meant what Hedges
thinks he meant - and if Marx were right, the "battle for ideas" is lost anyway. 
Indeed, Hedges also says that "This is not a battle I would have picked", but ends the
paragraph in which he says so by insisting that he also does not live
in a system that works the way he wants it to work.
Hedges' last paragraph is as follows:
come from those willing to breach police barricades. Resistance will
mean jail time and direct confrontation. Resistance will mean
physically disrupting the corporate machinery. Resistance will mean
severing ourselves from the dominant culture to build small,
self-sustaining communities. This resistance will be effective only
when we refuse to do what we are told, when we turn from a liberal
agenda of reform to embrace a radical agenda of revolt.
Well...yes and no. I am
in principle in favor of resistance, and indeed my parents were in the
resistance in World War II, and also afterward, as members of the
Communist Party. But few Dutchmen were in the resistance during WW II
(fewer than went into the SS, for example: that was quite popular in
Holland, until April 1945); my father and his father were locked up as
"political terrorists" in German concentration camps, which killed my
grandfather; and my father, who died in 1980, never saw anything like a
social revolution in his life, although he expected it.
So the first conclusion I draw is that few people will resist, and I
mean actively resist. (Very many more will talk endlessly about
how one ought to resist, somehow.) My second conclusion is that one
needs ideas before resisting, and these ideas need to be good
if the resistance is going to have any chance of success. I do not
see them in the U.S. (with a few exceptions that do not matter much,
for making revolutions, I mean), and indeed there is hardly a real
Left since Bill Clinton sold out - "it's the economy, stupid!" - to the
My third and last conclusion is that I first want to see something like
a real left, and also something like a collapse in capitalism
(which is far more probable to happen than not, in my opinion, if the
banks are not regulated), before I counsel people to resist.
On the moment neither condition obtains, so I think it is high time for
Fallon hits out at Ashdown's criticism of
item is an article by Nicholas Watt, Toby Helm and Jamie Doward on The
gentleman speaks of "kneejerks"; another honorable gentleman in reply
"hits out"... and here is the beginning of the article:
Tensions between Conservatives and
the Liberal Democrats
over how to counter the terrorism threat from extremists has blown into
the open after the defence secretary, Michael Fallon,
dismissed claims by Paddy Ashdown that Tory ministers are guilty of
Speaking in the wake of
the accusation by the former Liberal Democrat leader that Tory
ministers took to the airwaves on Friday to warn people "how frightened
we should be", Fallon warned of "very real threats" from extremists.
The defence secretary
told Sky News's Murnaghan programme: "We've had tube trains blown up,
London buses, Glasgow airport attacked, a soldier murdered in broad
daylight – these are very real threats we are dealing with. This isn't
any kind of kneejerk response. The prime minister made clear on Friday
we need to be calm and measured about how we do this."
O Lord! More people
die in ordinary traffic each day, but Michael Fallon, who also was with
Thatcher, tells the public "Trust me! You have much to fear, and
therefore I want all the powers the government can get".
He plays the Goering
card, as did Cameron, and not "to protect the public" but to get all
the powers they can possibly get:
really combat terror, end support for Saudi Arabia
item is an article by Owen Jones on The Guardian:
Here is most of the
The so-called war on
terror is nearly 13 years old, but which rational human being will be
cheering its success? We’ve had crackdowns on civil liberties across
the world, tabloid-fanned generalisations about Muslims and, of course,
military interventions whose consequences have ranged from the
disastrous to the catastrophic. And where have we ended up? Wars that Britons believe have made them less safe; jihadists too
extreme even for al-Qaida’s tastes running amok in Iraq and Syria; and
nations like Libya succumbing to Islamist militias.
And not only that
(wars that make the military-industrial complex billions of dollars),
but also total surveillance by the secret services of anyone,
by stealing everyone's private data because the
government refuses to keep up the law (especially in the U.S.), and an incredible
increase in the powers of the state, which is again at the cost of the
great majority of the population (who anyway are not listened to, and
are getting less powerful and less rich by the day).
There is a lot more,
all worth reading, and it ends thus:
So much rhetoric about
terrorism; so many calls to act. Yet Britain’s foreign policy
demonstrates how empty such words are. Our allies are up to their necks
in complicity with terrorism, but as long as there is money to be made
and weapons to sell, our rulers’ lips will remain stubbornly sealed.
5. The 7th year of the crisis
This is the seventh year
of the crisis. I date it as starting today, since I started my crisis
series on September 1, 2008 (in
Dutch), but the precise date is not
very important, though it does fall in the summer of 2008, and before
I will write something about the crisis now, but I start with my
writings about the crisis (<- the last index file), and only
arrive at some things I have learned.
A. My writing about the crisis
Since the crisis started six years ago, I have written
over 600 files about it (or mostly about it: some files that
are in the crisis index also have some other materials),
and I do not know of anyone else who did so. This doesn't mean no one
else did, but it does mean few did the same.
I have to admit that while I have a site of more than 520 MB (which is
more than 500 middlesized Penguin Classics, in case you want some
comparisons, and yes: by far the most of it is text and is written in
html), which I mostly wrote myself since 1996, when it started, I do not
reread much of what I wrote, except briefly after first publishing it,
and that is mainly for correcting typing mistakes (for I still
write without a spelling corrector: I much dislike them).
So I have to admit that while I did read all of the files in the crisis index at least twice, I haven't read most of the files
since briefly after publishing them.
The main reason not to reread them is that they are mine and have been
published, and I do know what and how I think, which also
hasn't changed very much the last 40+ years, though I did read a very
amount in these years. (I have no TV and am ill.)
Then again, I may have forgotten much of the details, also since I tend
to publish something new on the site every day, and indeed have
done so since 2009, with few exceptions, and also did so mostly, though
less constantly, since 2002.
In any case: there is at least 5 MB of text in the crisis files alone, and you are welcome to them.
of what I learned about the crisis
I was far
hopeful that the crisis would soon be dissolved in 2008 and 2009. This
was mostly because I did not understand it then as I do now:
These are just five
things that emerged the last six years. There is more to be told, but I
have to reserve that for another time.
- The crisis of 2008
is the direct result of the banks' freedom to do as they
please, which they mostly got from Bill Clinton ("it's the economy,
- The crisis has not
been resolved in any way except in saving the banks
with many billions from the taxes, because this would decrease the
banks' chances on further profits: In fact, the situation with the
banks seems now
worse than in 2008.
- The crisis in a broad
sense (that covers the economy, education, health care, public debate,
politics and law, and the climate) has several roots that go
back to the Eighties and the Sixties (notably surveillance of everyone
- Brezezinski, 1969; lowering the taxes of the rich - Reagan, 80ies;
removing the regulations of the banks and the corporations - Clinton,
90ies; and Lewis
Powell's secret program that seems to have mostly united the rich
and powerful - 70ies).
- The crisis is
basically a struggle of the few rich and powerful for more riches and
more power, at the cost of the poor and the middle class, and in the
U.S. the Republicans and the Democrats are just two sides of the same
coin, that almost always falls to please the rich and the powerful.
- The crisis also
continues because most of the free press and the media have been broken
down or replaced by propagandists for the rich and powerful, and
because the U.S. governments spend their billions of tax money much
rather on war than on civilization.
P.S. Sep 2, 2014: I corrected
 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
if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my
More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn
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
from is quite pertinent.)
 The quotation of Marx was meant as one of the
foundations of historical materialism, that held that in the end
everything in any human society depends on and derives from the economical
relations. I disagree, but it would lead too far to explain why.
(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: