1. What We Talk About
When We Don’t Want to Talk
About Nuclear War
May Have Let the Government Spy on Emails.
Now Will We Embrace Encryption?
3. Shadow Broker? NSA Contractor Arrested for Allegedly
Stealing Classified Code
4. Where Does the Hate Come From?
This is a Nederlog of Thursday, October 6, 2016.
is a crisis log with 4 items and 4 dotted links: Item 1
is about an article I mostly agree with, except that I think the writer
should have shown less irritation and more contempt for the language
both presidential candidates use; item 2 is about
another article I mostly agree with, except that I would have
formulated it all a bit sharper; item 3
is about a fundamentally vague article about the arrest of an NSA
contractor in August: I don't blame the journalist, but I do blame the
American government for keeping things as unclear as they can; and item 4 is about an article in Spiegel I think is quite
incompetent, for it effectively says "East Germans" (I quote) "behave less like free citizens and more like released
prisoners", because they
have been living in the Communist past, the last 27 years, and that explains "German hate". (If
that holds, any fantasy holds, in my opinion: it is just stupid bullshit.)
part, for the moment --
In case you visit my
Dutch site: I do not know, but it may be you need
to click/reload twice or more
to see any changes I have made. This certainly held for
possible this was caused by the fact that I am also writing it from my
In any case, I am now (again) updating
the opening of my site with the last day it was updated.
(And I am very sorry if you have to click/reload several times
last update: It is not what I wish, nor how it was. 
C. In case you visit my Danish site: It now
works again (!), but I do not know how long it will keep working.
I am very sorry, and none of it is due to me. I
am simply doing the same things as I did for 20 or for 12 years, that
also went well for 20 or for 12 years.
I will keep this introduction until I get three successive days (!!!)
in which both providers work correctly. I have not seen that
for many months now.
1. What We Talk About When We Don’t Want to Talk About Nuclear
This first item is by Andrew J. Bacevich
on Truthdig and originally on TomDispatch:
This is from near the beginning (and
incidentally the "We" in the title does not refer to you and
me, but to the U.S. presidential candidates):
With regard to the issue of
“first use,” every president since Harry Truman has subscribed to the
same posture: the United States retains the prerogative of employing
nuclear weapons to defend itself and its allies against even nonnuclear
threats. In other words, as a matter of policy, the United States
rejects the concept of “no first use,” which would prohibit any
employment of nuclear weapons except in retaliation for a nuclear
Yes, indeed: This is what I thought I knew
since the 1960ies. And I take it I was correct all the time, which is a
bit important because what I (and many others) knew implies that the
leaders of the USA do believe they can attack
anyone else with atomic weapons as a first user.
And this is different from a set of nations that do have atomic
weapons but who committed themselves not to use them first. To
be sure, words are one thing, and deeds another, but if
the nation that first built atomic weapons, and first used atomic
weapons, does not want to verbally commit itself against using
them first, the situation is worse than it could have been.
Then there is something else about the present article. There is considerable irritation
with Trump as a speaker. On one level, I entirely agree, for Trump is a
lousy speaker who doesn't speak in proper sentences, and who does
repeat many things three times in as many "sentences".
Then again, I skipped all of it (i) because I think contempt
would have been better in an article like this, and (ii) because
Bacevich also criticizes the language of Hilary Clinton, in the
following terms, using characterizations that
are nearly a century old and were not applied
originally to her:
In contrast to Trump, however, Clinton
did speak in complete sentences, which followed one another in an
orderly fashion. She thereby came across as at least nominally
qualified to govern the country, much like, say, Warren G. Harding
nearly a century ago. And what worked for Harding in 1920 may
well work for Clinton in 2016.
Of Harding’s speechifying, H.L. Mencken
wrote at the time, “It reminds me of a string of wet sponges.”
Mencken characterized Harding’s rhetoric as “so bad that a sort
of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itsuelf out of the dark abysm of pish, and crawls insanely up
the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It
is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash.” So, too, with
Hillary Clinton. She is our Warren G. Harding. In her
oratory, flapdoodle and balderdash live on.
I like Mencken. He was a bright man and he
could write. And I agree Hilary Clinton is not a great speaker
and only served propaganda when she talked about nuclear weapons.
But I think Bacevich should have attacked Clinton on
these issues and not, instead, borrowed Mencken's words of 96
years ago describing a completely different president with completely
But I do understand one can get angry when
seeing both presidential candidates lie. What are the questions
America's serious presidential candidates, when discussing nuclear
arms, should have answered (but did not, indeed)?
Here are three or four of them:
I agree. Then again, I doubt these
issues could have been discussed properly in a verbal debate on
TV, but I agree that they should have been discussed on
paper, and the American voters should have received a fairly
clear answer from both presidential candidates on these issues.
In the nuclear arena, the issue of first
use is only one of several on which anyone aspiring to become the next
commander-in-chief should be able to offer an informed judgment.
Others include questions such as these:
- What is the present-day justification
for maintaining the U.S. nuclear “triad,” a strike force consisting of
manned bombers and land-based ballistic missiles and
submarine-launched ballistic missiles?
- Why is the Pentagon embarking upon a
program to modernize that triad, fielding a new generation of
bombers, missiles, and submarines along with an arsenal of new
warheads? Is that program necessary?
Beyond the realm of nuclear strategy, there
are any number of other security-related questions about which the
American people deserve to hear directly from both Trump and Clinton,
testing their knowledge of the subject matter and the quality of their
- How do advances in non-nuclear
weaponry—for example, in the realm of cyberwarfare—affect theories of
nuclear deterrence devised by the likes of Kahn and Wohlstetter during
the 1950s and 1960s? Does the logic of those theories still
With Election Day now merely a month away,
there is no more reason to believe that such questions will receive
serious consideration than to expect Trump to come clean on his personal
finances or Clinton to release the transcripts of her handsomely
compensated Goldman Sachs speeches.
They did not, indeed not at all. As an aside, here are the brief
versions of my own answers to the above three dotted questions:
Question 1: More power for the USA. Question 2: Totally unncessary,
except if you want the USA to be the absolutely dominant military force
in the next 25-50 years. Question 3: No, and Kahn and Wohlstetter's
"analysis" was already baloney when it was published.
But I grant my own answers are about the briefest possible, and
presuppose - for proper understanding - rather a lot (such as: who
knows who Kahn (<- Wikipedia) was, these days? I do, but that is because I am 66 and I
was also interested in nuclear war 50 years ago, but no: he wasn't really interesting).
Anyway... here is the end of the article:
What do our presidential
candidates talk about when they don’t want to talk about nuclear
war? The one, in a vain effort to conceal his own ignorance,
offers rambling nonsense. The other, accustomed to making her own
rules, simply changes the subject.
I mostly agree, but should say again that I don't
think Trump and Clinton "collaborated" on this: Trump doesn't even know
enough about nuclear arms
The American people thereby remain
in darkness. On that score, Trump, Clinton, and the parties they
represent are not adversaries. They are collaborators.
to collaborate with Clinton.
2. Yahoo May Have Let the Government
Spy on Emails. Now Will We Embrace Encryption?
The second item is by Trevor Timm on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
In a blockbuster scoop, Reuters’ Joseph
reporting that Yahoo secretly built a software program in 2015 that
scanned all its millions of customers’ incoming emails at the
behest of US intelligence officials, which led to its chief security
officer resigning in protest.
We don’t know exactly what the US
government might have been searching for, but we do know that this is
potentially a huge privacy violation that strikes at the heart of the
fourth amendment’s prohibition on indiscriminate search and seizure.
Yahoo’s reported secret collaboration with the US government also
brings up several points that warrant further investigation. (“Yahoo is
a law abiding company, and complies with the laws of the United
States,” the company said in a statement to Reuters.)
Yes, indeed. I paid some attention to this
yesterday, but Trevor Timm is quite
right: This is "a huge privacy violation
that strikes at the heart of the fourth amendment’s prohibition on
indiscriminate search and seizure" and (by
implication, at least) Yahoo's statement on its law abidingness are
pure propaganda lies.
Then there is this:
This Yahoo story seems to be an
escalation of this type of “about” or “upstream” surveillance, which
was once done by the NSA by secretly wiretapping internet cables owned
by AT&T and others. Since many email companies have started
encrypting their emails in transit since that story came out, the NSA probably can’t do that type of surveillance unilaterally
the help of AT&T) anymore. The US government now seems to be
moving to force internet companies to do this type of mass surveillance
for them, on the companies’ servers, where the data remains accessible.
I agree, although I would formulate it a
bit stronger: The NSA got everything it could get simply by tapping the
cables, but now that email often is being sent in an encrypted form,
the NSA gets everything it cab get from the providers' servers, where
the mails still are unencrypted.
And I agree this is happening, and is no
improvement for most users of email. Then there is this, which I also
would have formulated in a stronger form, simply because "mass
surveillance" - meaning in fact: the NSA tries to get everything from
anyone - has been going on for 15 years now:
Civil liberties groups have
been calling this type of “about” mass surveillance – in which the
government scans all emails for certain keywords – illegal and
unconstitutional for years. But so far, no court has ruled definitively
one way or another (mainly because the US has been hiding behind
official secrecy to prevent it).
Now the question reporters should be
asking is: if Yahoo received this secret order, what about the other tech
giants? Did Google, Facebook and Microsoft receive similar demands to
wiretap their own systems for searching all emails at the behest of the
US government or others?
In fact, I do not think that the defense
that "the US has been hiding behind official
secrecy to prevent it"
makes much sense, after no less than 15 years: This seems much more
like systematic irresponsibility in judiciary circles, or that is at
least what it seems to me.
Here is one reason why encrypted emails
(by Yahoo and others) are more of a scam than a real service:
This is exactly the type of mass
surveillance that end-to-end encryption would prevent. Currently, Yahoo
emails are encrypted as they travel from one server to another, but can
be read by Yahoo at the company’s discretion.
And this makes emails capable of being
read just like they were before they were encrypted.
Here is the last bit, that I would have
formulated again a bit stronger:
Finally, Yahoo’s possible betrayal of
its users is another example of why whistleblowers and leaks to the
press are so important. The US government considers this type of
surveillance “legal” even though it shocks the conscience of many
ordinary Americans and dozens of civil liberties groups have been
attempting to have courts rule it illegal for years. The only reason we
know about it is because brave people came forward at the risk of their
freedom to tell us. For that, we owe them a great debt.
I totally agree, but would have said
instead that the US government simply consciously and since 15 years
lies about mass surveillance, and they lie because they want mass
surveillance very much. And they have had it now for 15 years, and do
not plan on giving it up.
Shadow Broker? NSA Contractor
Arrested for Allegedly Stealing Classified Code
The third item is by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
The FBI in August secretly arrested a
National Security Agency (NSA) contractor for allegedly stealing
"highly classified computer codes," the New York Times reported Wednesday, citing anonymous government sources.
The court complaint
released Wednesday names the contractor as 51-year-old Harold Martin
III, a Navy veteran living in Maryland. Like NSA whistleblower Edward
Snowden, Martin reportedly worked for the consulting firm Booz Allen
Hamilton. A statement
from the Department of Justice (DOJ) states that Martin "had a top
secret national security clearance."
I say, for I had no idea about this, and
August is more than a month ago. There is also the following bit, "in clarification":
The Times reported that Martin
"is suspected of taking the highly classified 'source code' developed
by the agency to break into computer systems of adversaries like
Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea."
As the quotes around "in clarification" indicate, I don't
think this is much of a clarification.
What is a bit surprising is the following
- and the Tweet you read is by Snowden:
On Twitter, Snowden and others noted
that Martin appears to not face espionage charges—as Snowden does.
correct in reading they didn't charge him under the Espionage Act?
Under this administration, that's a noteworthy absence.
indeed. But what it means will only become clear after more is known
about Harold Martin III and what he did take from the NSA.
Does the Hate Come From?
The fourth and last item today is by Stefan Berg on Spiegel
This has a summary which I quote:
Hatred of refugees is
widespread in Germany, but it seems particularly prominent in the
eastern half of the country. There are several reasons for that, and
many of them stem from life under communism -- and unfulfilled
I am sorry, but this sounds like nonsensical
fantasies dreamt up by some journalistic Freudian: 1989 is 27 years
ago, which means that at least a third of the present East
Germans don't even recall socialism, and those who do are at
least 35 years old.
But no matter, and so I must take it that either Mr. Berg is both a
journalist and a genius compared to whom Freud's gigantic
genius is as nought, or else he is fantasizing. 
Here is some more from his mighty pen:
In its report on the state of German
unity, which was celebrated on Monday, the government warned that
Eastern Germany's xenophobia represents a danger to social harmony. No
matter where it takes place, xenophobia can be dangerous for its
victims, whether in East or West. But the government in Berlin has
identified a greater danger in Eastern Germany -- one that threatens
society as a whole.
Every time a snarling horde marches
against a refugee home in Saxony, every time the chancellor is
confronted with hateful tirades during a public appearance, I wonder if
this behavior is typical for Eastern Germany. At first glance, my
answer is: No. The majority of Eastern Germans clearly adhere to the
rules of decency and democracy. Nevertheless, something "typically
Eastern German" can still be identified in these excesses.
Clearly, you need Spiegel to tell
you that (bolding added) "xenophobia can
be dangerous for its victims", while also the
majority of Spiegel's readers need to be told that this is also
the case "[n]o matter where it takes place" (it "can" be "dangerous" for "its victims") - which
suggests that specifications like "East or
West" are remarkably terse, at least given
the supposed intelligence of the majority of Spiegel's readers: Surely,
"and North or South, and inside or outside of Germany, and Europe (inside or outside)" would
have been a required addition?!
Then again, Mr. Berg is absolutely
certain: "something "typically Eastern
German" can still be identified in these excesses"! Twentyseven years
after "socialism" died! Maybe the East Germans are all born with half
the IQ of West Germans? I don't know what Mr. Berg thinks, for I don't have Mr. Berg's
incredible genius, but it seems as if something like this may have been suggested.
You don't think so? Here is more of Mr.
Berg's "personal diagnosis":
See? "In the East" "lots of people" "only briefly experienced reunification as liberation", 27
years ago, and "many" have since then behaved (all these 27
years, to be sure, according to Mr. Berg) "less like free citizens and more like released prisoners".
According to my personal diagnosis, such
types of behavior cannot be blamed on the current material situation in
which these people find themselves. They are more indicative of a
surfeit of emotional tension.
In the East, there is an exhaustion
syndrome: Lots of people were forced to dramatically change their lives
following 1989. They only briefly experienced reunification as
liberation and many now behave less like free citizens and more like
released prisoners whose learned demeanor does not correspond to
Why they would have done so totally escapes
me, but then I am neither a journalist nor do I have Freud's gigantic
Here is the explanation by the Freudian genius of the behavior of "the
From their days behind the Iron
Curtain, they are still carrying the baggage of political expectations
that today cannot be fulfilled. This includes the demand to be noticed
and recognized by those in power -- just as they were before.
See? And "before" means: before 1989. For "[i]n the East" people are so incredibly stupid that for
27 years "they are still carrying the
baggage of political expectations that today cannot be fulfilled":
One of East Germany's legacies is
the model of a closed society in which uniformity is more important
than diversity. People learned little about interacting with people of
different faiths and origins. In Eastern Germany, one's own religious
tradition is largely irrelevant. The communists systematically gave
preferential treatment to atheists over Christians and new cities were
forced to make do without church towers. As such, it's hardly
surprising that people now feel threatened by the arrival of those who
define themselves outwardly by their religion.
That is: Because the communists in
the 70ies and 80ies "gave preferential
treatment to atheists over Christians", in 2016
"it's hardly surprising that people now feel
threatened by the arrival of those who define themselves outwardly by
See? And in case you doubt or don't see this, there is also this:
Communist rule may have ended in
1989, but the desperate yearning for homogeneity didn't change much in
I take it that this must be due to the peculiar
lack of intelligence of the East Germans, or else I
must take it that - also - the West Germans are still Nazis
like their fathers, grandfathers or greatgrandfathers were ...
... but seriously: This
manner of idiocy
is now printed by Spiegel, as if this is serious journalism. It is not,
and I am sorry, though I did not have any hand in it. 
But this is not the Spiegel I knew
in the 1960ies - which is a relevant remark, because according
to Spiegel it is. I have meanwhile read enough of Spiegel since
2013 to think that is propaganda.
this is precisely as I said it does, and it goes on for
months now. I
do not know who does it, and I refuse to call the liars of
(really: the KPN), simply because these have been lying to me from
2002-2009, and I do not trust anything they say I cannot control
myself: They have treated me for seven years as a liar because
"you complain about things other people do not complain about" (which
is the perfect excuse never to do anything
 Actually, I don't believe Freud was a
genius in any other sense than a fraud of genius size, but let that be.
 For - in case you need an explanation - Mr. Berg does not say that many Germans are stupid; he does not say that many Germans are ignorant; he does not say that quite a few Germans are racists; he does not say that most Germans have been propagandized and lied to by their own press since decades.
He does not even mention any of these eventualities, but he does say that "East Germans" "behave less like free citizens and more like
released prisoners" since the last 27 years because they still have a "learned demeanor [that] does not correspond to
... I am sorry, but that is just plain bullshit.