1. Google Publishes Eight
Secret FBI Requests
Greg Palast: By Rejecting Recount, Is Michigan Covering
Up 75,000 Ballots Never
3. William Binney, Ray McGovern and Other Intel Experts
Call Russian Hacking
4. Trump’s Dark Cloud of Illegitimacy
5. The Cult of Trump
is a Nederlog of Wednesday, December 14, 2016.
is a crisis
log with 5 items and 5 dotted links: Item 1
is about Google's redacted publication of 8 (eight) FBI requests - out of
hundreds of thousands they receive each year, all with gag orders that
deny any right on any publi- cation (which is how the Gestapo and the KGB
would have loved it); item 2 is about a
plausible explanation of how Trump won the elections: By seeing to it
that tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of mostly black votes
were excluded from counting; item 3 is about a
letter from VIPS - responsible former intelligence officials - that
explains why there is no evidence for a Russian hacking of the American
elections; item 4 is about an article of Robert
Reich who complains about Trump's illegitimacy; and item 5 is about an
article by a philosophy professor who considers Trump and his
part, for the moment --
In case you visit my
Dutch site: It keeps being horrible most days and was so on most days in
But on 2.xii and 3.xii it was correct. Since then it mostly wasn't
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. 
In case you visit my
Danish site: This was so-so till 18.xi
and was correct since then (most or all days).
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.
keep this introduction until I get three successive days
in which both providers work correctly. I have not seen
for many months now.
1. Google Publishes Eight Secret FBI Requests
The first item
today is by Jenna McLaughlin on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
Google revealed in October it had been freed
from a gag order preventing it from talking about a secret FBI
request for customer data made in 2015.
The internet search company chose at the
time not to publish the actual subpoena, but it is
now releasing redacted versions of that letter and seven others,
as well as correspondence with the FBI pertaining to their release.
I say. In fact, I wonder how long this
will last under Trump, for this is one of the means with which he can
do extremely much harm without anybody knowing it.
Indeed, here is the scale on which
these secret FBI requests with secret gag orders have
operated in the last 15 years without Trump as president:
While these letters are merely a handful
out of several hundred thousand subpoenas major tech companies receive
every year — the overwhelming majority of them still under seal —
Google’s release gives some insight into the types of information being
demanded by the FBI, and demonstrates Google’s record of fighting those
demands in court.
National security letters are secret
administrative subpoenas the FBI uses to force third parties — tech
companies, telecoms, and banks — to hand over information about their
customers as part of a government investigation. While the letters
carry the weight of law, no judge signs off on them, and they always
come with a gag order.
This means that the "major tech companies"
each received "several hundred thousand subpoenas" each year (for a long time now, also), which means
very probably over a million such requests + gag orders for
most of the "major tech companies". Each
For me, it sounds very much a
process like that used by the Gestapo or the KGB: In a real
democracy, the law must operate publicly. In the United States,
the law has been switched off and has allowed the
police to do as they please and do so with gag orders that
forbid anybody else from knowing this:
The use of national security letters
comes with a long history of controversy and alleged abuse. Government
watchdogs, technology executives, and civil libertarians have
criticized their use as being overbroad, and impinging on First
Amendment protected speech, while limiting people’s rights to seek
redress. The Department of Justice inspector general issued several
scathing reports over the years, reprimanding the FBI and suggesting
The FBI is now legally required to
review the gag orders on the letters, either three years after the date
they were sent, or at the conclusion of the relevant investigation.
Still, the public has only seen a small handful of those letters in
As I said, these Gestapo/KGB practices of
the FBI will continue and will very probably be much
intensified under Trump.
And it is quite questionable whether anyone
(outside the FBI) will know much about it, since by now many
millions already have been forbidden to say anything
whatsoever to anyone about their gag orders (except a
lawyer, who also is gagged).
Greg Palast: By Rejecting Recount, Is Michigan Covering Up 75,000
Ballots Never Counted?
The second item is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:
This starts with the following
Investigative reporter Greg
Palast has just returned from Michigan, where he went to probe the
state’s closely contested election. Trump won Michigan by fewer than
11,000 votes out of nearly 4.8 million votes cast. Green Party
presidential contender Dr. Jill Stein attempted to force Michigan to
hold a recount, but a federal judge ordered Michigan’s Board of
Elections to stop the state’s electoral recount. One big question
remains: Why did 75,335 ballots go uncounted?
This article is reviewed mostly because I
know there are many kinds of ways in which elections may be falsified -
see also item 3 - and this is one of them:
Donald Trump won Michigan by 10,704 votes. But a record 75,335 votes
were never counted. Most of these votes that went missing were in
Detroit and Flint, Michigan, majority-black cities. How could this
happen? Did the Russians do it? Nyet. You don’t need Russians
to help the Michigan GOP. How exactly do you
disappear 75,000 votes? They call them spoiled votes. How do you spoil
votes? Not by leaving them out of the fridge. Most are lost because of
the bubbles. Thousands of bubbles couldn’t be read by the optical
That is: These voting machines were not
manipulated "by the Russians" (which is very plausibly rejected
in item 3) but by Americans. And the way to do it,
at least in Michigan and Wisconsin, was not by falsifying the votes, but by effectively eliminating votes, to the tune of 75,335 votes
that were not counted in Michigan, where Trump won by 10,704
votes (of the counted ones).
The machines in Michigan and Wisconsin
can’t read these bubbles. But a much better machine, the human eyeball,
can easily read what the voter intended.
And here is Greg Palast on "the Russians" and on what really
PALAST: Well, you know,
people are looking for Russians, but what we had is a real Jim Crow
election. Trump, for example, in Michigan, won by less than 11,000
votes. It looks like we had about 55,000 voters, mostly minorities,
removed by this racist system called Crosscheck. In addition, you had a
stoppage—even before the courts ordered the complete stop of the vote
in Michigan, you had the Republican state officials completely sabotage
the recount. They said, in Detroit, where there were 75,335 supposedly
blank ballots for president—75,000—they said you can’t count 59 percent
of the precincts, where most of the votes were missing. There were 87
machines in Detroit that were—that didn’t function. They were supposed
to count about a thousand ballots each. You’re talking about a massive
blockade of the black vote in Detroit and Flint, enough votes,
undoubtedly, to overturn that election.
In brief: (i) at least 75,000 votes were
simply not counted, and (ii) when Jill Stein wanted to
count all the votes this was denied by the courts, and was also
(iii) "sabotaged" by the Republican state officials.
I think this is a plausible story, which is also backed up by the next
item, that considers "the Russians" hacking the votes (for Trump):
William Binney, Ray McGovern and Other Intel Experts Call Russian
Hacking Allegations ‘Baseless’
The third item is by Natasha Hakimi Zapata on
This starts as follows:
In a letter published on Consortium News
regarding claims that Russia interfered in the recent U.S. elections,
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity penned a powerful rebuke
of the narrative being spread. Signed by retired intelligence officials
William Binney, Mike Gravel, Larry Johnson,
Ray McGovern, Elizabeth Murray and Kirk
Wiebe, the memorandum offered a bold rethinking of the alleged “hack”
because “given what we know of [the National Security Agency’s]
existing capabilities, it beggars belief that NSA would be unable to
identify anyone — Russian or not — attempting to interfere in a U.S.
election by hacking.”
Note that all who signed the letter are former
intelligence officials (and several leading ones, like
Binney and McGovern), who simply but quite effectively point out that with
the NSA's controlling everyone's computers in the USA, it is quite
incredible that a hacking effort from outside the USA would not
have been registered by the NSA.
There is this from the VIPS' letter - and
"VIPS" abbreviates "Veteran Intelligence
Professionals for Sanity":
A New York Times report on Monday
alluding to “overwhelming circumstantial evidence” leading the CIA to
believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin “deployed computer
hackers with the goal of tipping the election to Donald J. Trump” is,
sadly, evidence-free. This is no surprise, because harder evidence of a
technical nature points to an inside leak, not hacking—by Russians or
Here is more from the letter, that
explains why the New York Times in fact had no evidence, and why the NSA must have known
whether such a Russian hack took place:
In what follows, we draw on decades of
senior-level experience—with emphasis on cyber-intelligence and
security—to cut through uninformed, largely partisan fog. Far from
hiding behind anonymity, we are proud to speak out with the hope of
gaining an audience appropriate to what we merit—given our long labors
in government and other areas of technology. And corny though it may
sound these days, our ethos as intelligence professionals remains,
simply, to tell it like it is—without fear or favor.
We have gone through the various claims
about hacking. For us, it is child’s play to dismiss them. The email
disclosures in question are the result of a leak, not a hack. Here’s
the difference between leaking and hacking:
Leak: When someone physically takes data
out of an organization and gives it to some other person or
organization, as Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning did.
Hack: When someone in a remote location
electronically penetrates operating systems, firewalls or any other
cyber-protection system and then extracts data.
All signs point to leaking, not hacking.
If hacking were involved, the National Security Agency would know
it—and know both sender and recipient.
Yes, indeed. And in the
previous item Greg Palast explained the nature of the leak: Many
votes that were made, simply were not registered as
being made, it seems in part "because the voting machines had
trouble reading them" (but in fact it seems because they were black
votes, that were probably in large majority pro Democrats).
In fact, the same applies to Hillary Clinton's private mail server:
In other words, any data that is passed
from the servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) or of
Hillary Rodham Clinton (HRC)—or any other server in the U.S.—is
collected by the NSA. These data transfers carry destination
addresses in what are called packets, which enable the transfer to be
traced and followed through the network.
I think this is a very plausible
4. Trump’s Dark Cloud of Illegitimacy
The fourth item is by Robert Reich on his site:
This starts as follows -
and apart from the first sentence, I only copy the bold parts.
There is is some more text (though not much) for each of them, which
you can read by clicking the last dotted link:
A dark cloud of illegitimacy hangs over
the pending presidency of Donald
1. The CIA has
concluded that Russia intervened in the
election in order to
help Trump become president.
2. Trump has close
business ties to Russian
friends of Putin, who have
financed his projects (..)
3. Several of Trump’s
key campaign aides have close ties
to Putin (..)
4. During the campaign, Trump said he admired
questioned whether the
should continue to support
that Putin was justified in
5. Trump has picked for Secretary of
CEO of ExxonMobil, who is also close
6. Trump was defeated in the actual
voting by a
I mostly agree with the points, but the
first one is a conclusion without any evidence, that also is
contradicted by the previous item, while the other items
are circumstantial evidence.
Here is Reich's ending of his article:
The dark cloud of illegitimacy continues
to grow darker.
Before the Electors submit their ballots
for president next week, Trump must
release his tax returns and the CIA must make public its report on
intervention in the U.S. elections in support of Trump.
I do not think either will happen.
I think the CIA has no real evidence (see item 3
for good reasons); I do not think Trump will release his tax returns;
and I will
be much amazed if the Electoral College stops Trump becoming
But I agree Trump's government will be a probable disaster for
the USA (as I have known it since the 1950ies) and indeed probably also
for the rest of the world.
5. The Cult of Trump
The fifth and last item today is by David Dillard-Wright on AlterNet:
This is from the beginning
- and David Dillard-Wright happens to be a professor of philosophy of
whom I have never heard :
The Trump regime seems so far like it
will promote an uglier and more aggressive version of the standard
Republican policies: deregulation, privatization and tax cuts for the
wealthy. We can expect to see over the coming years the continued
decline of the middle class, a shrinking social safety net, an
acceleration of environmental catastrophe, unchecked corporate
malfeasance, expanding federal deficits, and a deepening of the
surveillance state. There will most likely be diversionary tactics in
the form of more warfare abroad and the concomitant curtailing of civil
liberties at home.
Yes, I agree: I expect similar things.
Here is Dillard-Wright on Trump's supporters:
His followers view him as a sort of
prophet of American triumphalism. The stadium becomes the evangelical
circus tent of renewal and transformation: a purgation of America
through ecstatic trampling of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities.
The cult of personality around Trump and his family goes a long way
towards explaining his popularity. His followers support him through a
maneuver of sympathetic magic: by supporting this bombastic billionaire
(a euphemistic phrase, but words fail the sheer scope of his ego), they
hope to imbibe some of his Midas touch.
I don't know, for I don't live in the USA.
I have seen some of some videos of Trump's campaigning, which I agree
(it seems) seems attractive only to the extremely stupid and the wholly
ignorant, but then I know that there are far more stupid or ignorant
people than intelligent knowledgeable ones, and especially so in The
Land of Exceptionalism.
But I have one bit of criticism: Trump may
be a "bombastic billionaire"
(the "may be" is there because Trump refused to disclose his finances)
but there are better terms than "bombastic", and one is that he is a
megalomaniac and the other its current psychiatrese equivalent, that he
is a grandiose narcissist. And I think either term very well describes
him (and I do have an excellent M.A. in psychology).
Here is more:
The disturbing part about the religious
narrative now interacting with American politics is that the next
logical phase in the evangelical story is one of an end-times cosmic
battle. The Dear Leader/Savior Figure must now battle the Forces of
Darkness, which, in this case, means that Trump must defeat liberal
democracy or die trying. (...) But Trump will have something these
other cult leaders did not have: access to the full resources, both
public and covert, of the United States Government.
Again I do not know about "the religious narrative", but
Dillard-Wright is quite right about Trump's presidency - and the extreme
dangers these imply for everybody.
Here is more on the USA that Dillard-Wright expects:
American oligarchy will become more and
more like Russian kleptocracy. Constitutional niceties will be eroded.
Dissidents will be jailed or slandered. Vast sums of money will
disappear. And yet the pageantry of democracy will remain intact. Trump
will still give speeches from the White House rose garden and the oval
office. Those who wish to pretend that nothing is amiss will be given
adequate materials, photo ops to supply their fantasies.
I agree with Dillard-Wrigth's
expectations, but wonder about democracy. Two reasons are that this
depends much on the cooperation of the media, who by now may have
realized that Trump's supporters are a minority (but who may continue
to lie to the public), and also because Trump seems inclined to look
upon his presidency much like he looked on his campaign (which will
soon be considerably less popular, but that's only my guess).
But I don't know. Here is Dillard-Wright's
It is not time to “give Trump a chance”
or “wait and see what happens.” We should assume that Trump plans to
deport millions of people, move backward on climate change, roll back
the rights of women, harass ethnic and religious minorities, restrict
the rights of a free press, and, well, do the things that he promised
to do on the apparently ongoing campaign trail. His agenda threatens
democracy as we know it, and resisting Trump and his cronies in the
white nationalist Republican Party is a humanitarian duty. Remaining
silent will only worsen the situation: we must speak loudly and speak
Again I mostly agree, except that my
expectation is that Trump will simply try to destroy
democracy, and will try do so by new laws, which he probably will
succeed in getting accepted because the Republicans now control
everything in the USA.
But we will soon find out, and meanwhile this is a recommended article.
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
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
 As I have explained several times, I am
first and foremost a philosopher who has an excellent B.A. in it but
who was denied - I think as the only Dutchman since
1945 - the right of taking an M.A. in philosophy briefly before taking it, because I
was not a Marxist; I was pro science; I was pro
truth; and I had spoken the truth (in public, as an invited speaker) about those who were paid lots of
money to teach me and others philosophy at the University of Amsterdam:
They were incompetent lazy fools only interested in money and status.
When you say a thing like that in Amsterdam, you then get excluded from the right of taking your M.A.
and indeed also excluded from the right of getting any answer to your
many mails and letters.
That is why I took an - excellent - M.A. in psychology, though I still
am more interested in philosophy.
As to David Dillard-Wright: The
fact that I have not heard of him makes it pretty certain that he is
not a somewhat widely known philosopher in the USA,
but is not a criticism.