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."
1. Britain Used Spy Team to Shape
Opinion on Falklands
2. HSBC is 'cast-iron certain'
banking rules again,
3. The American people are
clueless: Why income
is so much worse than we
Iran and P5+1 Announce Consensus on
5. Bernie Sanders Goes
Biblical on Income Inequality
Ayaan Hirsi Ali : "We Are At War With
This is a Nederlog of Friday, April 3, 2015.
is a crisis blog. There are 6 items with 7 dotted links:
Item 1 is about the involvement of secret
spy teams by Great Britain "to shape Latin American Public Opinion" by
lies, deceptions and frauds; item 2 is about a high
executive of the HSBC bank who says it is "cast-iron certain" HSBC will
engage in further frauds; item 3 is aboyt income
equality with a very good video and a good article (from
American); item 4 is a - quite rare - piece of
Good News: There is agreement about Iran and its nuclear framework; item 5 is about a good recent
interview with Sen. Bernie Sanders; and item 6 is
about a decent video on The Young Turks about Ayaan Hirsi Ali (about
whose fundamental dishonesty and many exaggerations I know a lot more
than most, simply because I am Dutch, and she started her career
towards big money in Holland).
1. Britain Used Spy Team to Shape Latin American
Public Opinion on Falklands
item is an article by Andrew Fishman and Glenn Greenwald on The
This starts as follows:
I start with noting that
the Falkland War
(<- Wikipedia) was in 1982, and while the present conflict, in which
the GCHQ and JTRIG are involved, does go back to that time, it seems
mostly related to a quite recent finding, that gets reported in the
present article thus:
Faced with mounting international pressure over the
Falkland Islands territorial dispute, the British government enlisted its spy service, including
a highly secretive unit known for using “dirty tricks,” to covertly
launch offensive cyberoperations to prevent Argentina from taking the
A shadowy unit of the British spy agency Government
Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) had been preparing a bold, covert
plan called “Operation QUITO” since at least 2009.
Documents provided to The Intercept by National Security
Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, published in partnership with
Argentine news site Todo Notícias, refer to the mission
as a “long-running, large scale, pioneering effects operation.”
At the heart
of this operation was the Joint Threat Research and Intelligence Group,
known by the acronym JTRIG, a secretive unit that has been involved in
between the two nations, which fought a war over the small archipelago
in the South Atlantic Ocean in 1982, reached a boil in 2010 with the
British discovery of large, offshore oil and gas reserves potentially
worth billions of dollars.
As to JTRIG, there is
this in the article (and a lot more):
the full extent of JTRIG’s tactics used in the Falklands mission is
unclear, the scope of JTRIG’s approved capabilities offers an idea of
what may have been done. The group, first revealed last year by NBC
News and The
Intercept, has developed various
techniques — including “false flag” operations, sexual “honey traps,”
and implanting computer viruses — to collect intelligence, plant
propaganda and diminish or discredit opponents. As reported in The
Intercept last year, JTRIG “has developed covert tools to seed
the internet with false information, including the ability
to manipulate the results of online polls, artificially inflate
pageview counts on web sites, ‘amplif[y]’ sanctioned messages on
YouTube,” and plant false Facebook wall posts for “entire countries.”
According to a study of the group by the U.K.’s Defence Science
and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), “the language of JTRIG’s operations
is characterized by terms such as ‘discredit,’ promote ‘distrust,’
‘dissuade,’ ‘deceive,’ ‘disrupt,’ ‘delay,’ ‘deny,’ ‘denigrate/degrade,’
There is considerably
more in the article.
One of the things it shows is that, especially in conflicts, but also
quite generally, you cannot trust what you read anymore to a much
larger extent than it used to be (which also means that you should
check and doublecheck more):
Your government - and certainly those of "The Five
Eyes" - may be deceiving you and lying to you; the government's
bureaucrats - especially the anonymous supermen (Übermenschen) who
are in the secret services - may be deceiving you and lying to you (for
you may be "a terrorist" and they "serve the national
security"); much that you read may not be written by those it
is said to be written by; and much that you find may be intentionally
created dishonest, false, or misleading
information. And that is merely if you try to find some information.
I think these are the facts and it is a real problem, indeed
not because "you cannot trust anything anymore" (if you believe that
you are probably rather paranoid (<-
Wikipedia)), but simply because especially in conflicts and
threatening conflicts decisions may be forced by intentionally
created false information, that has been put on line - if
you were to know - by the supermen (Übermenschen) of some of the secret services that are
involved, that all are very much more powerful than they ever
were, and that still are almost completely beyond any effective
policial and judicial control.
For more see the last dotted article, that is good.
is 'cast-iron certain' to breach banking rules again, executive admits
item is an article by Harry Davies and James Ball on The Guardian:
This starts as follows
There is a lot more under the last
A senior HSBC executive has privately admitted that the
bank is “cast-iron certain” to have another major regulatory breach in
the future, and is struggling on multiple fronts to clean up its
Global head of sanctions
Lee Hale – whose recorded comments appear to contrast with public
statements from HSBC’s chief executive that the bank has fundamentally
transformed itself after recent scandals – said gaps remained in the
bank’s compliance with sanctions policies and the screening of certain
Stuart Gulliver, HSBC’s
chief executive since 2011, and Rona Fairhead, chair of HSBC North
America as well as the BBC Trust, have repeatedly assured the UK
parliament that the bank today is markedly different from when its Swiss branch facilitated large-scale tax evasion,
or when its Mexican branch was found by US authorities to be complicit
in multimillion-dollar money-laundering for drug cartels.
I merely observe that Gulliver and Fairhead said what they may be
expected to say; that the profits of deals the HSBC made, e.g. working
for the Mexican drugs cartels, quite illegally also, were enormous;
that there is no really effective way of regulating a
multi-national bank that makes billions by fraud except to prosecute
and jail the major bankers; but that Eric Holder has - since
1999 also - claimed again and again that he will not do that,
and indeed he has not.
So yes: I agree with the "senior
It is “cast-iron certain”
that it will happen again (and again, and again, and not only at the
HSBC) for the simple reason that the profits are enormous and
there are no legal consequences whatsoever, as long as a -
relatively small - part of the profits gets returned to the U.S.
government, that will respond by washing the bank's managers clean of
any legal responsibility.
American people are clueless: Why income inequality is
so much worse than we realize
item is an article by Nicholas Fitz, that I found on Salon, but that
first appeared in the Scientific American (and that addresses a
This starts as follows:
In a candid conversation with Frank Rich last fall, Chris
Rock said, “Oh, people don’t even know. If poor people knew how rich
rich people are, there would be riots in the streets.” The findings of
three studies, published over the last several years in Perspectives
on Psychological Science, suggest that Rock is right. We have no
idea how unequal our society has become.
The first thing you
should now do - if you did not see or do not recall the infographic
video - is to watch it, for it is quite good and quite
In their 2011 paper, Michael Norton and Dan Ariely analyzed
beliefs about wealth inequality. They asked more than 5,000 Americans
guess the percentage of
wealth (i.e., savings, property, stocks, etc., minus debts) owned by
each fifth of the population. Next, they asked people to construct
their ideal distributions. Imagine a pizza of all the wealth in the
United States. What percentage of that pizza belongs to the top 20% of
Americans? How big of a slice does the bottom 40% have? In an ideal
world, how much should they have?
The average American
believes that the richest fifth own 59% of the wealth and that the
bottom 40% own 9%. The reality is strikingly different. The top 20%
of US households own more than 84% of the wealth, and the bottom 40%
combine for a paltry 0.3%. The Walton family, for example, has more
wealth than 42% of American families combined.
We don’t want to live
like this. In our ideal distribution, the top quintile owns 32% and the
bottom two quintiles own 25%. As the journalist Chrystia Freeland put it, “Americans actually live in
Russia, although they think they live in Sweden. And they would like to
live on a kibbutz.” Norton and Ariely found a
surprising level of consensus: everyone — even Republicans and the
wealthy—wants a more equal distribution of wealth than the status quo.
This all might ring a
bell. An infographic video of the study went viral and
has been watched more than 16 million times.
Here is a picture from
the video that shows, from the bottom up: The ideal
distribution of wealth in the U.S. according to the American people
(!); what the American people believe is the distribution; and
the actual distribution:
people watching this on the Danish site: I have tried to upload the
image 10 times but it doesn't display because I can transport only
18106 of 18171 bytes.
Whatever I try. It works unproblematically on the Dutch site: link.
I'm sorry. And see bottom note.]
thing to consider is this:
American estimated that the CEO-to-worker pay-ratio was 30-to-1, and
that ideally, it’d be 7-to-1. The reality? 354-to-1. Fifty years ago, it was 20-to-1. Again, the patterns were the same for all
subgroups, regardless of age, education, political affiliation, or
opinion on inequality and pay. “In sum,” the researchers concluded,
“respondents underestimate actual pay gaps, and their ideal pay gaps
are even further from reality than those underestimates.”
And the third thing is
to ask yourself: Why don't far more Americans know
these facts?! It is true Nocholas Fitz's article does have an
explanation, which is this:
At the core of the
American Dream is the belief that anyone who works hard can move up
economically regardless of his or her social circumstances.
I do not doubt that is
true, I meean that most Americans believe in the American Dream - but
again that is utter baloney if you know the facts: The whole of
the above video shows this belief is completely false.
So in the end I am driven again to the sad fact that most Americans are
stupid - and I am very sorry, but it is a fact, and it is also the
one fact that makes it so
easy for the many highly paid liars for the 1% to get their gross lies accepted.
Agree': Iran and P5+1 Announce Consensus on Nuclear Framework
item is an article by Common Dreams staff on Common Dreams - and this
is a quite rare bit of good news:
This starts as follows:
I say. That sounds good, and one reason it sounds good
is that many in the American Senate and Congress seem intent on war.
After days of marathon
negotiations in Switzerland, foreign ministers from the U.S., the U.K.,
Russia, China, France, plus Germany (known as the P5 + 1 nations) and
Iran emerged from closed-door talks on Thursday to announce they have
reached an 'historic' framework agreement regarding Iran's nuclear
program and the lifting of international sanctions.
Reading out a joint
statement, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini
hailed the framework agreement as a "decisive step" which sets the
stage for an ultimate deal which the parties hope to finalize in June.
As summarized by the Guardian, Mogherini said:
- “Today we have taken a
decisive step. We have reached solutions on key parameters for a
comprehensive future nuclear deal.”
- She said the solutions
agreed at Lausanne create the basis of a future comprehensive nuclear
agreement between Iran and the six powers - to be concluded by 30 June.
- She said the EU and US
will terminate the implementation of all nuclear-related economic
- She said the deal
could not have gone forward without the political determination and
goodwill of all parties.
- There will be limited
enrichment capacity at the Fordow uranium enrichment site. It will be
converted into a nuclear physics site, with no fissile material present
on premises and international cooperation for R&D is encouraged.
- The international
monitoring agency will have enhanced access to technologies to clarify
past and present issues.
- A future deal between
Iran and P5+1 powers will include UN security council endorsement.
- Another important area
of cooperation will be in the field of nuclear safety and security.
- “We will now work to
write the text of a joint comprehensive plan of action.”
There is considerably more in the article.
5. Bernie Sanders Goes Biblical on Income Inequality
item is an article by Josh Harkinson on Mother Jones:
This starts as follows:
Sanders of Vermont, the longest-serving independent in Congress and its
only self-described democratic socialist, is best known for his stands
against wealthy special interests and in favor of government programs
that help the poor and the middle class. Now 73, Sanders announced last year that he may run for president
in 2016. During a swing through San Francisco this week, he stopped by Mother
Jones HQ to talk to us about America's greed problem, the
fecklessness of Democrats, and how to catalyze the progressive movement.
So the rest is an interview,
that is good. I'll quote two pieces. First the beginning:
And I think Bernie
Sanders is quite right: THE problem with the U.S.A. is "the grotesque level of income and wealth
I'm going around the country talking about what I believe is the most
important issue facing the American people: the grotesque level of
income and wealth inequality. The Koch brothers and a few others are
attempting to buy the United States government, and that should be of
concern to everybody.
bad is inequality now, in your view?
Between 2013 and 2015, the wealthiest 14 people saw their wealth
increase by $157 billion. This is their wealth increase, got
it? Not what they are worth. Increase. That $157 billion is
more wealth than is owned by the bottom 40 percent of the American
people. One family, the Walton family, owns more wealth than the bottom
The second quotation is whether Sanders will be running for president:
OK - that is a sensible
answer as well. There is considerably more in the interview, that is
you running for president?
BS: I am
thinking about running for president. I want to make sure that if I do
it, I do it well. Not just for my own ego, but if we run a poor
campaign then what I believe in becomes discredited. I am trying to
ascertain if I can do it well.
6. Ayaan Hirsi Ali : "We Are At War With
item today is not an article but a video by The Young Turks:
This is here mostly because I
am Dutch and know a lot more about Ayaan Hirsi Ali than I would
have otherwise. The video is adequate and correctly notes several of
her wild exaggerations, and also correctly notes she is a
neoconservative supporter of Dick Cheney
and a member of his "thinktank" AEI - which I think should give
anyone pause who is not himself (or herself) a member of the AEI.
P.S. Apr 5, 2015: Today I succeeded in uploading
the correct number of bytes of the image to the Danish site, so it
works again (and did not work there two days ago).