This is a Nederlog of Friday, November 21. It is a crisis log.
There are 6 items with 6 dotted links and while, as usual, most of the
news I report is not good, items 2 and 6 are quite
good: Item 1 is about Julian Assange and the
Swedish court; item 2 is about a new tool supported
by Amnesty and quite a few others to scan for spyware on computers; item 3 shows how much
of the press in the U.S. engages these days in neocon groupthink; item 4 asks a very good question:Should U.S. chief
justice Roberts be impeached; item 5 charts another
sickening step in Cameron's selling out Great Britain, this time the
National Health System; and item 6 gives very
good news about encrypting the entire web, for free also.
Also, this was uploaded a bit sooner than is normal for me.
And here goes:
Assange: Swedish court rejects appeal to lift
item today is an article by David Crouch on The Guardian:
Stockholm’s appeal court
has rejected a demand by Julian Assange’s lawyers to lift the arrest
warrant against him, leaving the WikiLeaks founder still facing
extradition to Sweden should he renounce his asylum in Ecuador’s London
“In making this
assessment, account must be taken of the fact that Julian Assange is
suspected of crimes of a relatively serious nature,” the court said in a
statement on Thursday. A Swedish prosecutor first sought Assange’s
arrest four years ago following sexual assault and rape allegations,
which he denies.
“There is a great risk
that he will flee and thereby evade legal proceedings if the detention
order is set aside. In the view of the court of appeal, these
circumstances mean that the reasons for detention still outweigh the
intrusion or other detriment entailed by the detention order.”
Well, that is basically
cowardly nonsense - and no, I am not taking a position on
It is nonsense because the court apparently completely disregarded why
Assange is effectively locked up in the Ecuadorian embassy: Because he
fears being handed over in Sweden to the U.S. - and this is a
quite realistic fear. It is cowardly, because the least the
court ought to have done is to explicitly discuss and weigh his
Here is part of my reason to call this cowardly:
Assange has always
claimed he is innocent and that he would be prepared to face a Swedish
court were it not for a threat that he would be extradited to the US
for political crimes. Neither the US nor Swedish governments have
responded to his requests for guarantees. Assange has not been charged
with any crime, but is being investigated over allegations of rape and
Note Assange has not
been charged with any crime, as yet - but even so, the Swedish
prosecuter refuses to go to London to interview him, though this would
be quite easy, and in the circumstances - there still is no
whatsoever on guaranteeing Assange will not be handed over to the U.S.
- also quite justified.
In response to the
appeal, the Swedish prosecutors in the case, Marianne Ny and Ingrid
Isgren, said they accepted there was “a temporary obstacle” to
executing the arrest warrant, but that it was nonetheless essential to
prevent Assange from evading justice. His presence in the Ecuadorian
embassy was voluntary and so did not constitute a deprivation of
liberty, they said, thereby nullifying defence arguments about
Here Ms Ny and Ms Isgren are
clearly lying: Assange's presence in the Ecuadorian embassy is as
"voluntary" as saying that the persons waterboarded by the CIA were
waterboarded "voluntary" because
they did not give the information asked from them.
backs Detekt tool to scan for state spyware on computers
item is an article by Matthew Taylor on The Guardian:
Human rights experts and
technology groups have launched a new tool allowing members of the
public to scan their computers for surveillance spyware used by
Amnesty says Detekt is
the first tool freely available that will allow activists and
journalists to find out if their PCs are being monitored without their
Marek Marczynski, head of
military, security and police at Amnesty, said: “Governments are
increasingly using dangerous and sophisticated technology that allows
them to read activists’ and journalists’ private emails and remotely
turn on their computer’s camera or microphone to secretly record their
activities. They use the technology in a cowardly attempt to prevent
abuses from being exposed. Detekt is a simple tool that will alert
activists to such intrusions so they can take action.”
I say: that seems quite
good news to me, although I am not sure it will work - but that will
also be always the case: Can you trust any program that says it
can't find anything? No, probably not - but it is nice to be able to
have a program that looks for spying malware.
Here is some
developed by Germany-based security researcher Claudio Guarnieri after
discussions with human rights activists. It will be launched on
Thursday in partnership with Amnesty International, British charity
Privacy International, German civil rights group Digitale Gesellschaft
and US digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
So this is supported by
quite a few good organizations. There is more under the last dotted
link, but this is a good idea.
3. Delusional US ‘Group Think’ on Syria, Ukraine
item is an article by Robert Parry on Consortium News:
Neocon ideology appears
to have seized near total control over the editorial pages of America’s
premier news organizations, including the New York Times and the
Washington Post, contributing to an information crisis inside “the
world’s superpower,” a development that should unnerve both Americans
and the world community.
The rest of the article makes
a good case why indeed there is a kind of groupthink
going on in "the editorial pages
of America’s premier news organizations, including the New York Times
and the Washington Post". (The
last link is my own, and explains it quite well.)
I will leave that to your interests. Here is the last paragraph, that
states quite well why this neocon groupthink is very dangerous, not
only for the U.S. but also for everybody else:
But it is really the
whole world that is on the hook of neocon ideology with the major U.S.
news media now incapable of wriggling off and presenting anything
approaching an objective analysis of what is happening in either the
Middle East or Eastern Europe.
4.Should We Impeach Chief Justice John Roberts?
item is an article by William Greider on Common Dreams:
Republicans like to talk
about impeaching President Obama, but there is a far more deserving
candidate for impeachment—Chief Justice John Roberts of the Supreme
Court. While the Republicans in Congress have blocked Democrats from
enacting much of substance, the GOP majority in control of the Court
has been effectively legislating on its own, following an agenda neatly
aligned with their conservative party. Step by step, the five
right-wing justices are transforming the terms of the American
political system—including the Constitution.
They empowered “dark
money” in politics and produced the $4 billion by-election of 2014.
They assigned spiritual values to soulless corporations who thus gained
First Amendment protection of free speech and religion. The justices
effectively gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965, even as they allowed
state governments to create new obstacles for minority voting. The High
Court made it okay to take guns to church and more difficult to keep
guns from dangerous people. It rendered a series of decisions that
collectively shifted political power from the many to the few.
Yes, indeed! For these
were utterly crazy decisions, also without the least properly legal
justifications. And there is this:
This power grab by
the unelected—and supposedly non-partisan—justices has already produced
a historic rewrite of America democracy. But it was done by blatantly
usurping the decision-making authority that belongs to the elected
government in Congress and the executive branch. The Republican
justices are not finished with their undeclared revolution. They will
continue unless and until people rise up and stop them.
Of course, in Roberts'
opinion Roberts did never anything wrong, underhanded, immoral or
Roberts himself takes
offense at accusations that the Roberts Court renders politicized
decisions. He has frequently denied the charge. “We’re not Republicans
or Democrats,” Roberts told students at the University of Nebraska law
school. Unlike some of his right-wing colleagues, Roberts wants to have
it both ways. He’s not an ideologue, just an earnest umpire calling
balls and strikes.
Precisely. There is a
considerable amount more under the last dotted link, but yes: I'd much
to see Roberts in court, even though I expect the chances are slim.
5.'Shock' As Global Arms Manufacturer
Jockeys to Get Piece of UK's Privatized Health System
item is an article by Sarah Lazare on Common Dreams:
As one of the largest
arms manufacturers in the world, Lockheed Martin has made billions off
wars waged by governments from the United States to Colombia. Now the
company appears to be maneuvering to profit from the British public's
need for health care as the English government moves to privatize and
outsource what's left of its National Health Service.
At stake is a lucrative
NHS England contract to operate support services—from maintaining
medical records to administering prescription payments—for primary care
providers. The deal has a value of £1 billion (more than US$1.5
billion) over the course of ten years, making it NHS England's sweetest
yet, Health Service Journalreports.
I say. There is also
this, if this does not upset you:
Lockheed isn't the
only multinational among the potential bidders that makes money from
state violence. Private Security Company G4S—which is implicated
in torture and unlawful incarceration of Palestinians, as well as human
rights abuses in Britain and South Africa—also reportedly participated
in the meeting.
Let's all thank David
Cameron for this...
How to Encrypt
the Entire Web for Free
item and last item today is an article by Micah Lee on The Intercept:
If we’ve learned one
thing from the Snowden revelations, it’s that what can be
spied on will be spied on. Since the advent of what used to
be known as the World Wide Web, it has been a relatively simple
matter for network attackers—whether it’s the NSA, Chinese
intelligence, your employer, your university, abusive partners, or
teenage hackers on the same public WiFi as you—to spy on almost
everything you do online.
HTTPS, the technology
that encrypts traffic between browsers and websites, fixes this
problem—anyone listening in on that stream of data between you and,
say, your Gmail window or bank’s web site would get nothing but useless
random characters—but is woefully under-used. The ambitious new
non-profit Let’s Encrypt
aims to make the process of deploying HTTPS not only fast, simple, and
free, but completely automatic. If it succeeds, the project will
render vast regions of the internet invisible to prying eyes.
good! Here is a video that explains it (in outline) with some more text
by Micah Lee:
What does Let’s
Encrypt do differently?
Let’s Encrypt, which was
announced this week but won’t be
ready to use until the second quarter of 2015, describes itself as “a
free, automated, and open certificate authority (CA), run for the
public’s benefit.” It’s the product of years of work from engineers at
Mozilla, Cisco, Akamai, Electronic Frontier Foundation, IdenTrust, and
researchers at the University of Michigan. (Disclosure: I used to work
for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and I was aware of Let’s
Encrypt while it was being developed.)
good! I will certainly try to install it on my Danish site. And this is
really good news, that is also quite rare in this series.
It is more
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
from is quite pertinent.
(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: