This is a Nederlog of
January 14, 2015.
This is a crisis log. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1 is on Cameron's - state terrorist's - desire to
read anything by anyone (in deep secret) and undo all
encryption; item 2 is about Glenn Greenwald (and
others) on how to pose as a "terror expert"; item 3
is in fact a video interview with Chris Hedges; item 4
is Robert Reich explaining why wages won't rise; and item
5 is Jon Queally on how the European political leaders want more
spy powers (which will help them, but not the population, but
this they will not say).
Also, earlier today there was a fairly long Nederlog called "Index of the posts by Maarten Maartensz on
Phoenix Rising in 2010" which indeed is just that. It is here
because these posts are still regularly searched: now that is a lot
easier; and it is here now mostly because I did not have the health to
do it sooner. (But this item
will be only interesting for people with M.E.)
1. Cameron wants to ban encryption – he can say
goodbye to digital Britain
The first item today is an
article by James Ball on The Guardian:
“[I]n our country, do we
want to allow a means of communication between people which we cannot
read?”, the prime minister asked rhetorically.
To most people in a
supposed liberal democracy, the answer would surely be “yes”: the right
to privacy runs right in parallel to our right for free expression. If
you can’t say something to a friend or family member without the fear
the government, your neighbour or your boss will overhear, your free
expression is deeply curtailed.
This means that even in
principle Cameron’s approach is darkly paradoxical: the attack on Paris
was an attack on free expression – but it’s the government that intends
to land the killing blow.
I have read similar
comments as Cameron's by the Dutch minister Plasterk, and it would seem
to me both are serious. And the reason is not "terrorism": The reason
is that allowing the government to know everything about anybody
is a dream of power very few corrupt politicians can withstand,
and most politicians these days are corrupt (right, left and center:
Plasterk is supposed to be "a social democrat").
There is considerably more in the article, that ends as follows:
The fear is that he
[Cameron - MM] is serious, and understands so little of what he is
legislating that he really believes it would be possible to somehow
stop terrorists communicating privately without astonishing collateral
damage to Britain’s economy, freedom, and security.
If that’s the
circumstance, then the prime minister needs urgently to abdicate his
responsibility in favour of someone with more digital nous. He could
begin with a concussed kitten on a ketamine trip, and work up from
Well... I believe he is
serious, but his real reason is the immensepower - very,
very, very much greater than the Stasi or the KGB ever had or
could dream of - this would give to any future British government. 
What I do not know is whether he will succeed, but given the chances on
a total power that no politician ever had, anything
seems possible that will further that political
2. Glenn Greenwald on How to Be a Terror "Expert": Ignore
Facts, Blame Muslims, Trumpet U.S. Propaganda
The next item is an article by
Amy Goodman on Democracy Now:
This is well worth
reading in full. I quote just two bits by Glenn Greenwald (there also
are other people interviewed):
The concept of terrorism is a very widely debated concept all over the
world, and there are incredibly divergent opinions, even about what
terrorism is, about who it is who’s perpetrating it, about how it is
that you define it and understand it, and whether or not there’s even a
meaningful definition of the term at all. And yet you have all of these
so-called terrorism experts employed by leading American television
networks—all of them, really—and on whom most establishment newspapers
rely, who are called terrorism experts and yet who are incredibly
homogenous in their views, because they spout the very homogenized
American conception of all of those questions.
It’s an incredibly
propagandized term. It’s an incredibly
propagandistic set of theories that they have. And that’s really what
these media outlets are doing, is they’re masquerading pro-U.S.
propaganda, pro-U.S. government propaganda, as expertise, when it’s
really anything but. These are incredibly ideological people. They’re
very loyal to the view of the U.S. government about very controversial
questions. They certainly have the right to express their opinions, but
the pretense to expertise is incredibly fraudulent.
Yes, precisely. And
there is also this:
MATÉ: Glenn, do you personally use the word "terror," or do
you avoid it entirely?
I generally avoid it. I mean, you could probably find instances in my
writing where I’ve invoked the term, usually just ironically or to
refer to the fact that somebody else is using it. But I do think that
until we have an understanding of what the term means, it really is a
term that ought to be avoided.
Well, I don't know. I
agree with Greenwald that "terrorism" (the term) is almost only used
these days in the papers and on TV as a propaganda
term, and I also agree that one group's "freedom fighters" are another
group's "terrorists" and conversely (which makes the U.S. - state -
terrorists or, if you please, "state terrorists" in quite a few
regions ) but I do not quite see that this makes
it necessary to -
completely - avoid the term.
Here is my own definition of "terrorism" (in part) which dates from
Terrorism: Attempt to get one's way in
politics or religion by violence and murder. 
Very many religious and
have indulged in terrorism, if given the chance, though the
perpetrators of terrorism almost always call it by a different name,
such as "fight for freedom", "guerilla", "righteousness of the
faithful", or "Holy War".
One of the functions of
protect its population from
terrorism, which often happens by denying the population the right to
bear arms. The great danger of states is that state-terrorism has
been by far the most dangerous and succesful form of terrorism:
Hundreds of millions of individual human beings were murdered in the
20th C alone by state-terrorism. (Fascism, Communism).
The normal effect of
oppose some state - including those merely called so by organs of state
security - is to increase the powers and
practices of state-terrorism in order "to fight terrorism".
Clearly, by the above
definition the Muslims who indulge in terrorism (violence and murder)
are terrorists, and so are the state terrorists who oppose(d) them:
Bush, Blair, Obama, and Cameron, for example. 
And clearly, you may like one kind of terrorism a lot better than the
other kind of terrorism, but it also remains an evident fact that both
groups do use terror (that is: violence and murder or also - by
the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary - coercive intimidation).
The main reason I am doubtful that it is wise not to discuss
terrorism at all is this quotation from George Orwell - who does not
praise this, but who sees it as totalitarian
and as deeply immoral or amoral:
"Actions are held
to be good or bad, not on their own merits but according to who does
them, and there is almost no outrage - torture, the use of hostages,
forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonments without trial, forgery,
assassination, the bombing of civilians, which does not change its
moral colour when it is committed by 'our' side." (The Collected
Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell, vol 3, p. 419,
written in May 1945.)
is the card most politicians and all terrorists try to play: Their
violence and murder is terrorism; our violence
and murder is a
fight for the good.
Hedges on the Roots of Terrorism
next item is nominally an article by Peter Z. Scheer on Truthdig:
In fact, it is a link
to an interview Abby Martin had yesterday with Chris Hedges,
that is in part (in the beginning) about his last piece on Truthdig,
that I criticized a few days ago.
Here is a video link
to the interview, and in fact to all of an issue of Abby Martin's
program on RT:
In case you want to
see only the interview with Chris Hedges, this starts after 8 min and
10 sec. (And no, I don't think his answers are very convincing, and he
also isn't asked difficult questions, but I like Chris Hedges, for he
is one of the
few really responsible and informed journalists, and I like him also
when I disagree with him.)
Wages Won’t Rise The
next item is an article by Robert Reich on his site:
Reich explains quite well why
wages in the U.S. will not rise (for the most part:
if you are a bankmanager your pay will rise, of course) and ends as
Since 1979, the nation’s
productivity has risen 65
percent, but workers’ median compensation has increased by just 8
percent. Almost all the gains from growth have gone to the top.
This is not a winning
corporate strategy over the long term because higher returns ultimately
depend on more sales, which requires a large and growing middle class
with enough purchasing power to buy what can be produced.
But from the limited
viewpoint of the CEO of a single large firm, or of an investment banker
or fund manager on Wall Street, it’s worked out just fine – so far.
Low unemployment won’t
lead to higher pay for most Americans because the key strategy of the
nation’s large corporations and financial sector has been to prevent
wages from rising.
And, if you hadn’t
noticed, the big corporations and Wall Street are calling the shots.
Yes, but with the
help of most American politicians and the government.
Europe: First the Calls for 'Unity,' Then the Calls for 'More Spy Power'
The last item today is
article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
Less than a week
after the massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo and a related
hostage situation at a kosher grocery in Paris, the calls for 'unity'
and occasions for mourning are being punctuated by familiar demands
from goverment officials for additional measures of response: More
surveillance and the criminalizing of provocative speech.
Yes, indeed. There is also
meanwhile, a joint
statement (pdf) put out by the interior ministers of twelve
European nations called for, as Natasha Lomas at TechCrunch
powers of digital surveillance to preemptively thwart acts
of terror." Known derisively as the "Snoopers' Charter" by
critics, the ministers indicate their support for a new set of
regulations across Europe that would coordinate surveillance of the
internet with a specific aim to shut down dialogue determined to be
"terrorist propaganda" or communications capable of "fueling hatred and
Our Western state terrorists are "fueling
hatred and violence" in Muslim countries with drones and troops, which
they defend by blaming groups of Muslisms of being terrorists who are "fueling hatred and violence" in Western
Both are right in their claims that their opponents
are terrorists, simply because both use violence and murder as
means to further their political plans (and either could avoid that as
well (!)). 
Personally, I don't want either, but I fear the Western state
terrorists more, because I am a Westerner, and I see that the Western
political leaders are using all their power and all their propaganda to
remove almost all powers from any private person and to know everything
that anyone does with a computer or cellphone. The Western
leaders also are doing this in deep secret, indeed so deep that
most of their parliamentarians know little about it.
Also, the Western state terrorists have far more troops, far
more weapons, and far more money than their opponents - and
they have killed far more people (it seems 1 million Ïraqi's
have been killed since 2001, though not only by Western troops).
Incidentally, here is the definition of my Shorter Oxford English
Dictionary, in part, of what is a "Terrorist": "Anyone who
attempts to further his view by a system of coercive intimidation".
Note this is a wider definition than I gave; note also that reading
your mails to see whether you are misbehaving is
an act that qualifies clearly as "coercive intimidation".