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. I can upload normally again
2. Crisis materials (links with small reviews)
is a Nederlog of Thursday July 9, 2015.
It also is the first - somewhat - normal Nederlog that I wrote since
June 30. The reasons are explained in the Nederlogs I wrote between
July 1 and July 9, and briefly in item 1.
In fact, this is a
crisis blog, and the first
somewhat normal Nederlog I wrote since 10 days. It is fairly long, and
contains brief reviews of 9 articles plus 1 interview.
Since these are
all reviewed in one section, there are only 2 items: item
outlines I can upload again, indeed as I did the last three years
(after a re-install and a change of passwords), and item
2 contains 9
articles plus 1
interview, with brief reviews.
can upload normally again
The title says it all, or at least for the most part: I
can - again - upload as I did before, for more than three years. It
took trouble and time to get there, but in the end it worked.
However, for the moment I will report as I did the last 8 days: I will
give a list
of articles that I found today that relate to the crisis, and I will
give only brief reviews.
There are several reasons but the two main ones are time and health (I
need time for doing other things, and I have little health: it has been
worse, but it is not good. I'll probably get over it if the weather
remains under 24 degrees Celsius, but it may get hotter again next
week, and then I will not be able to do much.)
(links with small reviews)
Thursday today and I found 9 files with 10 links. This is too much to
comment, and indeed I will only provide short reviews at most. (I have
other things as well, and I want to write about other things
than the crisis as
The first article is by Reuters in Berlin on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
The US National Security Agency tapped phone calls
involving German chancellor Angela Merkel and her closest advisers for
years and spied on the staff of her predecessors, according to
A report released by the
group on Wednesday suggested NSA spying on Merkel and her staff had
gone on far longer and more widely than previously realised. WikiLeaks said the NSA targeted 125 phone
numbers of top German officials for long-term surveillance.
“The names associated with
some of the targets indicate that spying on the Chancellery predates Angela Merkel as it includes staff of former
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder (in office 1998-2002), and his predecessor
Helmut Kohl,” WikiLeaks added in a statement.
The next article is by Ryan
Gallagher on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
Late Sunday, hackers
dumped online a massive trove of emails and other documents obtained
from the systems of Italian surveillance firm Hacking Team. The
company’s controversial technology
is sold to governments around the world, enabling them to infect
smartphones and computers with malware to covertly record conversations
and steal data.
For the last few days, I have been reading through the hacked files,
which give remarkable insight into Hacking Team, its blasé attitude
toward human rights concerns, and the extent of its spyware sales to
government agencies on every continent. Adding to the work
of my colleagues
the 400 gigabyte trove of hacked data, here’s a selection of the
notable details I have found so far:
And this it does.
The next article +
transcript it by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
In fact, this is the
buildup for a - very praising - review of a book by Max Blumenthal:
One year ago today,
Israel invaded, bombed and shelled Gaza, and continued to do that
for the next seven weeks. According
to the U.N., at least 2,104 Gazans were killed — 1,462 of whom (69
percent) were civilians, including 495 children. A total of 6 Israeli
civilians, and 66 soldiers, were killed. The shockingly high civilian
death rate in Gaza included the now-iconic imagery of four young boys
from the same family being
killed by Israeli warships while they played on a beach in
front of a hotel filled with foreign journalists.
Months after the attack
concluded, U.N. Chief Ban Ki-moon visited Gaza and labeled
the destruction “beyond description,” far worse than prior Israeli
attacks. At least 17,000 homes “were obliterated or severely damaged
during the conflict,” and it
will take two decades to rebuild them; that means
that “nearly 60,000 people have lost their homes.” On countless
occasions, entire large families of Gazans were instantly extinguished
by Israeli violence. Because the
population of Gaza is so young — 43 percent are under the age of
15, while 64 percent are under the age of 24 — the majority of its
residents know little beyond extreme suffering, carnage, violence
As harrowing as that data
is, it tells only a small part of the story. Statistics like
these have an abstract property to them: cold and clinical.
Viewing the devastation of Gaza through their lens can have a
distancing effect. They erase the most affecting facts: the
stories of human suffering and devastation caused by this attack, the
sadism and savagery that drove it.
That is what
makes Max Blumenthal’s new
book about this Israeli attack so compelling, so necessary.
51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza, it humanizes this
event like nothing else I’ve read.
Here is some more praise:
views on Israel and Gaza, Blumenthal is articulate, thoughtful
and deeply knowledgeable, and has done extensive, real reporting
to write this book. He’s very worth listening to, and the book is
highly worth the read.
Glenn Greenwald also did
an interview with Max Blumenthal, which comes in a separate file:
This is a good interview,
that is well worth reading.
The next article is
by Jenna McLaughlin on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
The FBI and Department of
Justice on Wednesday targeted a new set of threats to national security
and law enforcement: not ISIS, or pedophiles, but Apple and Google.
Those companies and
others that provide or will soon provide end-to-end encryption make it
impossible to read intercepted digital messages — and without naming
names, FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally
Quillian Yates said that they will “work with” those companies to
ensure access to their customers’ communications.
In a Senate Judiciary
hearing Wednesday morning, Yates and Comey said companies that “do not
retain access” to consumers’ information can complicate authorized
criminal and national security investigations.
Google and Apple, in
response to demands from consumers who request higher levels of privacy
and security, have been slowly rolling out stronger end-to-end
encryption on their devices and services such as Gmail and iPhones.
When messages are
encrypted end-to-end, only the sender and the recipient have access to
those messages, which are decrypted by means of specific “keys.”
Without those keys, the messages look like “gobbledygook,” as Comey put
it during the hearing.
There is considerably more
in the article. I very strongly hope they fail (for I think the
collecting of all information deeply criminal and extremely
it threatens everyone who does not belong to the
goverment, and everyone who does not agree with the
government), but I am not
confident they will.
article is by Ian Traynor on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
There is quite a bit more in
the article. The last term seems to be midnight today:
Greece is under intense pressure to table a
last-chance blueprint for radical economic reform, tax increases and
spending cuts on Thursday in order to secure a future in the euro and
stave off financial collapse.
The reform proposals are
to be sent to Greece’s creditors with negotiations at the critical
stage. The embattled Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, accused his eurozone creditors
on Wednesday of exploiting his country as an “austerity laboratory” for
the past five years while formally asking Europe for three more years
of rescue funds.
The countdown to Greece’s
financial collapse shifted into its gravest phase after European
leaders set Sunday as the deadline by which Tsipras has to capitulate
to their menu of cuts, tax rises and fundamental reforms of the Greek
economy in return for bailout money. Otherwise, EU leaders said, Greece
will be cut off from the eurozone, triggering banking chaos,
insolvency, and likely an exit from the single European currency.
With the five-year
crisis entering a climactic five days, much will hinge on the details
of the reforms that Athens is to send to the troika of bailout
supervisors on Thursday. The European Central Bank, the International
Monetary Fund and the European commission are to receive the details by
midnight on Thursday, giving them 48 hours to examine them, negotiate,
and reach a verdict before another European summit on Sunday either
blesses the proposed deal or focuses on plans for coping with a new
Greek currency and how to mitigate the expected post-euro humanitarian
crisis in Greece.
The next article is
by Seumas Milne on The Guardian:
This starts with the
following summary (quite adequate in my opinion):
The budget is a
cynical one-nation fraud. The reality is a huge transfer of resources
from poor to rich
The article itself starts
This is a good article, that
does make it clear that the Convervative budget is a fraud, and
that ends thus:
It’s a long-established
Tory tradition to play their most outrageous cards as soon as possible
after winning an election: impose the most savage cuts and stuff the
pockets of their friends without restraint. Margaret Thatcher could
barely contain herself in 1979, abolishing exchange controls and
cutting the top rate of tax for the wealthiest from 83% to 60% a month
after coming to power. Her chancellor, Nigel Lawson, hacked it back
again to 40% in his first post-election budget in 1988, fuelling boom
and bust in the process. And George Osborne unveiled his calamitous programme of
cuts, tax breaks for the rich and tax rises for the poor the month
after the 2010 election.
But he was at it again today in the first fully Conservative budget for a generation:
inheritance tax is to be abolished on homes worth up to £1m and
corporation tax on company profits is to be slashed further, while
benefits and tax credits for the sick, large families, the working poor
and the young are to be cut or ditched altogether.
What Cameron and
Osborne have succeeded in doing is set us on course for US-style levels
of public spending, and loaded the costs of a continuing crisis on to
the backs of those least able to shoulder the burden – while dressing
it up as an even-handed necessity, and convincing Labour leaders to
dance to their tune on the back of 37% of the vote. That’s what the chancellor
means by a “new settlement”. How long any such settlement will be
accepted, as Europe is demonstrating, is another matter.
The next article is
by Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan on Truthdig
This starts as follows:
The Internet, the
electronic nervous system of the planet, has changed human society,
profoundly altering the way we conduct our lives. It has been a great
leveler, allowing people to connect, publish and share on a global
scale. You can write, shop and bank online, or organize a demonstration
that could overthrow a dictatorship. But the Internet also opens us to
intense monitoring, exposing our most personal, private communications
to the prying eyes of corporations and government spies, not to mention
criminals. One way we can protect ourselves is with encryption, which
provides security for our data, allowing us to send and store digital
information safely, essentially scrambling the information. In order to
unscramble it, you need a key, a password. The ability of regular
people to access encryption tools has prompted the governments of both
the United States and the United Kingdom to propose special access to
all communications. They want a master key to everyone’s digital life.
Despite the lofty pledge, Comey and others in the so-called
intelligence community want unlimited access to all communications, all
the time. They want what digital security experts call “extraordinary
access mandates.” This means that any encryption tool would be required
to have a “back door,” through which the FBI, the CIA or whomever
possesses the requisite authority could access and read the
communication, whether it is email, text, video chat or any other
format. Why do they want this unlimited access? As Comey and Yates
said, “When changes in technology hinder law enforcement’s ability to
exercise investigative tools and follow critical leads, we may not be
able to identify and stop terrorists who are using social media to
recruit, plan and execute an attack in our country.”
Once again (since 29
october 2005...): Terrorism is only a pretext, and
his mates want is total control over everyone. If they get it, as they
well may, it will be a radical decline in freedom and civilization, and
will mean the start of a new corporate authoritarian state run by the
big corporations in the exclusive interests of the rich.
This is a good article, explaining the fundaments. Here is the ending:
Ultimately, it is
democracy that is at risk. The freedom to communicate without the
government spying on us is essential to the functioning of a free and
The next article is
by Jennifer Hynton on The Guardian:
This comes with the
The contradiction of
capitalism is that growth just feeds those who are already wealthy.
Instead Greece should regain the drachma and keep for-profits at bay
It starts as follows:
Greece’s no vote
has left everyone wondering what it all means. While the topline
summary is that no won with 61.3% of the vote, this is perhaps
not the landslide victory it has been hailed to be.
In fact, Jennifer Hynton
advices the Greeks to exit the Euro and try to do it alone.
For a start, there is
confusion around what the referendum was actually about. Were Greek
people voting to decide whether to stay in the Euro? Was it about saying no to more
austerity? Or defending national pride and southern European culture?
Talking to Greeks yesterday, you might have thought there were several
referendums happening simultaneously – a perfect illustration of just
how muddy the waters of the debt crisis are.
For many following the
crisis for the last five months, it has become clear that it is not
just about Greek debt. Beneath the cultural tensions and ugly
stereotypes, an ideological war is taking place. This battle is
happening because the current economic system has only two answers to
debt crises, recessions and slow economic growth: stimulus and austerity.
Indeed that may be the best plan, but it will be very difficult
realize, also because there are other parties in Greece.
There is considerably more in the article, including a 6-point plan.
The last article I will treat
today is by Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams:
This has the following summary:
social justice groups warn that resolution promotes corporate interests
above public health, safety, environment, and democracy
The article starts as follows:
In case you wonder why the
MEPs are so much bound on defrauding their populations: (1) they will personally
grow a lot richer, and (2) the majority
Members of European
Parliament (MEPs) on Wednesday passed a resolution on the pending trade
deal between Europe and the United States, backing a controversial
provision that critics warn places corporate profits above the health
and safety of the people and puts the continent's fragile democracy at
disagreement within European Parliament (EP) over the inclusion of a
modified version of the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)
provision, MEPs voted 436-241 in favor of a draft text of the
Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
While MEPs have no direct
role in the secret talks between nations, the draft will influence the
way the European Commission proceeds with negotiations. Once
negotiations are complete, MEPs will vote as to whether to accept or
reject the final agreement.
Wednesday's vote came
after contentious manipulations on the part of EP President Martin
Schulz—for which he was accused of "shredding the rules of
procedure"—to a remove an amendment that would have taken ISDS off the
acts as if they are already bought:
"Almost all the
MEPs that voted in Parliament today have received many thousands of
emails from their constituents wanting them to vote against TTIP,"
trade campaigner Guy Taylor wrote Wednesday. The roll
call of the vote, Taylor adds, "shows who’s paying the piper in
Strasbourg that MEPs can ignore such a strongly articulated public
mandate and instead vote in favour of corporate interests."
Yes, indeed. There is
considerably more in the article.
Citing the more than 2.3
million people who are calling for an end to the TTIP negotiations,
John Hilary, executive director of the international social justice
group War on Want, also remarked, "Yet MEPs have chosen to ignore the
wishes of their own constituents, siding instead with the business
lobby against the people of Europe."
And Nick Dearden with the
UK-based Global Justice Now added,
"The only reason that MEPs are still trying so desperately to push this
through is because of the enormously powerful corporate lobby machine
in Brussels. TTIP is fundamentally an issue of people and democracy
versus encroaching corporate power."
And that was the last of