Dec 30, 2016

Crisis: "Russian Hacking", The Guardian, Internet Archive, Nuclear, Theresa May
Sections                                                                     crisis index

Top-Secret Snowden Document Reveals What the NSA
     Knew About Previous Russian Hacking

2. The Guardian’s Summary of Julian Assange’s Interview
     Went Viral and Was Completely False

3. Facing Possible Threats Under Trump, Internet Archive
     to Build Server in Canada

4. Donald Trump’s New Nuclear Instability
5. Theresa May Seeks to Pull UK from European
     Convention on Human Rights

This is a Nederlog of Friday, December 30, 2016.

This is a crisis log with 5 items and 5 dotted links: Item 1 is about the presumed Russian hacking that is presumed to have given the victory to Trump: I think it is baloney, and so does Sam Biddle, who wrote the article; item 2 is by Glenn Greenwald about The Guardian as the spreader of "Fake News", and I think this is correct (though not realistic in its expectations); item 3 is about the Internet Archive that I like a lot; item 4 is about nuclear weapons under Donald Trump, which I consider very frightening; and item 5 is about Theresa May who seeks to pull out from the European Convention on Human Rights: I am ambiguous, for I much dislike Theresa May but I also dislike the European Convention on Human Rights, which is in fact not about human rights but about the rights of the state's terrorists to spy on everyone for any conceivable reason.

-- Constant part, for the moment --
B. In case you visit my Dutch site: It keeps being horrible most days and was so on most days in November 2016. But on 2.xii and 3.xii it was correct. Since then it mostly wasn't (until and including 27.xii).

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 to see the last update: It is not what I wish, nor how it was. [0]

In case you visit my Danish site: This was so-so till 18.xi
and was correct since then (most or all days), but not on 25.xii: Then it moved back to 2015 (!!).

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. Top-Secret Snowden Document Reveals What the NSA Knew About Previous Russian Hacking

The first item today is by
Sam Biddle on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

To date, the only public evidence that the Russian government was responsible for hacks of the DNC and key Democratic figures has been circumstantial and far short of conclusive, courtesy of private research firms with a financial stake in such claims. Multiple federal agencies now claim certainty about the Kremlin connection, but they have yet to make public the basis for their beliefs.

Yes indeed. And it is not only "[m]ultiple federal agencies" who do so: There also are people like Robert Reich who repeat it as if it were fact. (See here.)

There are various ways to refute or undermine the story. Sam Biddle does it in part by considering the story about the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, (<-Wikipedia) who was murdered in 2006 in Russia.

I think the case is a good one, but will completely skip it: If you like to know more about it, click the above dotted link.

Here is one conclusion:

Simply, the public evidence that the Russian government hacked the Democrats isn’t convincing. Too much of what’s been passed off to the public as proof of Kremlin involvement is based on vague clues and educated guesses of what took place.

Yes indeed. (And incidentally: How many of the journalists who write about hacking and internet spying are decent programmers themselves? They never say anything, so I must answer this by guessing: Few. [2])

Snowden did not accept "the evidence" (which were mostly claims and not evidence) and neither did the following persons:

The ex-U.S. intelligence personnel who comprise the group Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, including fellow high-profile NSA whistleblower William Binney, echoed Snowden’s assessment earlier this month:

The bottom line is that the NSA would know where and how any “hacked” emails from the DNC, HRC or any other servers were routed through the network. This process can sometimes require a closer look into the routing to sort out intermediate clients, but in the end sender and recipient can be traced across the network.

Yes, indeed. I reviewed their article on December 14 and still see no reason to doubt it, for they really know about spying by internet, and they also really proved their independence from the NSA. (And I know neither in any sense about nearly all journalists: I do not know what they know about programming and spying, and I do not know whether they are not somehow funded, indirectly perhaps, by the NSA. And see the next item for a specific case.)

Here is finally what is known about the gathering of intelligence by means of the internet:
(..) But we know intelligence is being gathered on a fine enough level to pin the breach of a single inbox on the Russian government. If the NSA could use signals intelligence to track a specific hack of an American email account in 2005, it’s not too much to assume that, 10 years later, the agency possesses the same or better capability. And signals intelligence is the type of evidence that the American people are owed from the federal government today, as we contemplate a possible confrontation with Russia for interfering in our most important of democratic processes.
But to the best of my knowledge, there is no evidence from signals intelligence that Russia successfully hacked the internet and falsified the outcomes of the American elections.

Yet it is repeated by many as if it has all or most of the evidence it needs, or it is simply asserted as if it is plain fact. It is neither, and this is a recommended article.

Here is some more:

2. The Guardian’s Summary of Julian Assange’s Interview Went Viral and Was Completely False

The second item is by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

Julian Assange is a deeply polarizing figure. Many admire him and many despise him (into which category one falls in any given year typically depends on one’s feelings about the subject of his most recent publication of leaked documents).

But one’s views of Assange are completely irrelevant to this article, which is not about Assange. This article, instead, is about a report published this week by The Guardian that recklessly attributed to Assange comments that he did not make. This article is about how those false claims — fabrications, really — were spread all over the internet by journalists, causing hundreds of thousands of people (if not millions) to consume false news. The purpose of this article is to underscore, yet again, that those who most flamboyantly denounce Fake News, and want Facebook and other tech giants to suppress content in the name of combating it, are often the most aggressive and self-serving perpetrators of it.

Yes indeed. And this article of Greenwald is mostly about The Guardian, on which I have radically changed my opinions since 2013 (as may Glenn Greenwald have, though he doesn't speak about this).

Here is what The Guardian did wrong (in Glenn Greenwald's eyes, but these tend to be quite fair in my extensive experience of Greenwald's articles):

The shoddy and misleading Guardian article, written by Ben Jacobs, was published on December 24. It made two primary claims — both of which are demonstrably false. The first false claim was hyped in the article’s headline: “Julian Assange gives guarded praise of Trump and blasts Clinton in interview.”
The second claim was an even worse assault on basic journalism. Jacobs set up this claim by asserting that Assange “long had a close relationship with the Putin regime.” The only “evidence” offered for this extraordinary claim was that Assange, in 2012, conducted eight interviews that were broadcast on RT.

I take this for granted, and if you do not, then you can click on the last of the above dotted articles to read more.

Here is Greenwald's first conclusion after his outlining of his case against Jacobs and The Guardian:

The people who should be most upset by this deceit are exactly the ones who played the leading role in spreading it: namely, those who most vocally claim that Fake News is a serious menace. Nothing will discredit that cause faster or more effectively than the perception that this crusade is really about a selective desire to suppress news that undermines one’s political agenda, masquerading as concern for journalistic accuracy and integrity. Yet, as I’ve repeatedly documented, the very same people most vocal about the need to suppress Fake News are often those most eager to disseminate it when doing so advances their agenda.

Yes, I agree and also like to put this a bit sharper:

All the sites that I have seen who are much against "Fake News" in fact are
(i) mainstream media, that mostly lie and deceive in so far as the real news is concerned, and (ii) that spread fake news themselves as "true", or "credible" or "well supported" if it lines up with their editorial policies.

And this also extends to the present The Guardian, that is now a mainstream medium that gave up its earlier commitment to bringing the news, and replaced it by a commitment to the incomes of the - very often: Blairite - journalists who are supposed to write it, and who made it very much more difficult to copy them [3], and who these days force you to download at least as much JavaScript programming code designed to find out anything about whoever downloads it as it offers texts in their articles (which you can't even copy anymore).

This article ends as follows:

By all means: Let’s confront and defeat the menace of Fake News. But to do so, it’s critical that one not be selective in which type one denounces, and it is particularly important that one not sanction Fake News when it promotes one’s own political objectives. Most important of all is that those who want to lead the cause of denouncing Fake News not convert themselves into its most prolific disseminators whenever the claims of a Fake News account are pleasing or self-affirming.

That’s exactly what those who spread this disgraceful Guardian article did. If they want credibility when posing as Fake News opponents in the future, they ought to acknowledge what they did and retract it — beginning with The Guardian.

Actually, I don't think any of this is going to happen:

"Fake news" will continue to be spread, especially by the mainstream media; The Guardian - which has totally collapsed as a progressive newspaper that tries to bring the real news, and which has converted to an eager bringer of mainstream news (with a very vaguely "leftist" taste) - will continue to bring it; and The Guardian will not acknowledge they spread fake news.

If I am mistaken in any of the three claims in the last paragraph, I will admit it in Nederlog, but I think the chances are small.

3. Facing Possible Threats Under Trump, Internet Archive to Build Server in Canada

The third item is by Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh on Democracy Now!:

This starts with the following introduction:

In the wake of Trump’s election, the Internet Archive has announced it will be moving a copy of its archive to Canada. The archive is one of the world’s largest public digital libraries. Part of the site includes the Wayback Machine, which preserves old websites, allowing researchers to access pages deleted by politicians and others. We speak to the founder of the Internet Archive, Brewster Kahle.

And here is "my personal revelation" (well...): I like the Internet Archive and am a member of it since quite a few years. In fact, I do not think that is much
of a personal revelation, but it is true and may be a bit relevant.

Here is Brewster Kahle:

BREWSTER KAHLE: The Wayback Machine operates by crawling the World Wide Web, and, actually, with many, many partners, crawling the World Wide Web, and adding those into the Internet Archive’s collections. And those collections become something that, from, you can type in a URL or search to go and find a website to be able to then see the web as it was and surf the web as it was. You could see President-elect Trump’s 2008 and 2012 election websites or Hillary Clinton’s old Senate websites. So these websites are now available again as they were. But they’re just pictures of webpages, so they’re not the services behind it.

Yes, indeed. Here are two specifications, which I make mostly because I have read so many false statements to the contrary, e.g. as "Nothing that's on the internet will ever disappear".

In fact, everything that is not paid for is bound to disappear very quickly:

First, anybody who has done any serious internet searching will know that very many things that are older than a few years, including whole sites, may have completely disappeared.

Second, while the Internet Archive is one of the few sites that tries to save the past, it can save specific pages and specific sites, but it cannot also bring back the links in the pages and sites it saved.

These are just the facts. Here is more on the motives of the Internet Archive:

AMY GOODMAN: And this whole issue of climate change and the Trump administration, Donald Trump a climate change denier, what in particular are you doing? And if you can talk about moving—well, not exactly moving, but mirroring Internet Archive in Canada, why you’re doing that?

BREWSTER KAHLE: So, there are groups that are collecting the web FTP sites now. They’re going in and trying to do special scripts to go and download all of the different data records that are in these databases. There’s groups in Toronto. There’s going to be a hackathon at the Internet Archive in—on January 7th to try to help tour through the important parts of the federal record, that we can then make a record outside of the government to make sure that it’s permanently available. Then we need to do—beyond that, we need to move it to other countries, because the history of libraries is one of loss. Usually libraries are burned, like the Library of Alexandria in ancient times, and they’re burned by governments. Just the new guys don’t want the old stuff around. They’re often sorry about it tens or hundreds of years later. But if you didn’t make a copy, then it’s just gone. So the idea of having multiple copies keeps stuff safe.

I think that is wholly creditable and very necessary, for yes: The same applies to the sites of previous governments: If there is no one who pays for their being there, they will completely disappear (and so will all the promises and all the real and unreal facts propounded by previous governments).

4. Donald Trump’s New Nuclear Instability

The fourth item today is by Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan on Truthdig:

This starts as follows:

President-elect Donald Trump exploded a half-century of U.S. nuclear-arms policy in a single tweet last week: “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.” With that one vague message, Donald Trump, who hasn’t even taken office yet, may have started a new arms race.
Trump’s statement set off alarms around the world, necessitating a cadre of his inner circle to flood the airwaves with now-routine attempts to explain what their boss “really meant.”

I should start this by saying that I did not grow as panicky as some did, but then again this was mostly due to my prior existing conviction that Donald Trump is basically a vain braggart, a megalomaniac, and somebody who does not know very many things an aspiring president should know.

Also, I think it was an exaggeration to state that by this single extra- ordinarily vague tweet "Donald Trump" "may have started a new arms race" (if only because that means the investment of billions of dollars).

Then again, I think the following is reasonable:

While Obama’s nuclear spending continues what Albert Einstein called, in 1946, the “drift toward unparalleled catastrophe,” it still adheres to the current in-force nuclear-reduction treaty between the U.S. and Russia, called New START. This calls for the reduction in the number of warheads in both nations’ stockpiles from the current amount of roughly 7,000 warheads each, to 1,550 warheads each by February 2018. Trump’s declarations suggest he would scrap New START and relaunch a new nuclear-arms race between the U.S. and Russia. This, in turn, could easily trigger the desire among other existing nuclear states, like India, Pakistan and Israel, to increase their stockpiles.

I do not know how "easily" this triggering would be, but if indeed START is scrapped this is a serious possibility. Also, I should add at this place that I
think that Obama, who has unveiled a plan in which trillions of dollars are being invested in new American nuclear arms, has not been doing much to decrease the number of nuclear warheads.

This ends as follows:

Yes, Obama should take the weapons off high alert, but that’s not enough. Donald Trump’s finger on the nuclear trigger is a terrifying prospect. It’s the anti-nuclear movement that needs to go on high alert to make sure that trigger never gets pulled.

I do not think that Obama will "take the [nuclear] weapons off high alert" (and he has a somewhat plausible reason: If it gets known he has done so, the Russians might attack), and I do not know how "the anti-nuclear movement" can "make sure that trigger never gets pulled".

And while I am sorry to be a pessimist, I do think that Donald Trump's election has made it far more probable that within four or eight years we are all blown up. (Here and here are some of my reasons. You don't need to believe them, but then you probably know less about politics and fascism than I do, and very probably you are also not a psychologist.)

5. Theresa May Seeks to Pull UK from European Convention on Human Rights

The fifth and last item today is by Nadia Prupis on Common Dreams

This starts as follows:

British Prime Minister Theresa May will campaign to withdraw the United Kingdom from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in 2020, according to new reports.

May is expected to make the withdrawal a central mandate of her campaign to be formally voted into office in 2020. She became the unelected leader of the U.K. after former Prime Minister David Cameron stepped down in July following the Brexit referendum.

The new conservative government is also separately seeking to replace its current Human Rights Act—the U.K.'s implementation of the ECHR—with a new set of rules which critics say actually cracks down on free speech and peaceful protest.

I say, for I didn't know May planned on withdrawing from "the European Convention on Human Rights". Then again, I must say I am a bit ambiguous about this, and here are my reasons:

First, I strongly dislike Theresa May: She is indeed quite unelected, which is a bitter shame; she is very much for the GCHQ, who are and have been implementing the neofascistic program of knowing everything about anyone for over fifteen years now, and indeed I think her latest plans for the GCHQ, that give it even more powers and liberties, are awful, and effectively turned Great Britain into a neofascistic state (in my sense of the term: see note [1]).

But second, I am very doubful about the European Convention on Human Rights, for I don't think that "Convention" is about Human Rights at all, at least not as these were understood in 1948, which the reader can see here.

In fact, here is a note from December 12:

What this so-called "European Convention on Human Rights" are in fact about are the rights of the secret services to spy on anyone for any conceivable reason whatsoever:

I am speaking of the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights, which the interested reader can find under the link. What replaced that in Europe, the so-called "European Convention on Human Rights" is not a convention on real human rights, but is an utter blasphemy of human rights, for it encodes all the rights of the secret services to secretly surveil everyone. That is not a human right: It is an inhuman governmental force that excludes all real rights.

Here is - for just one example - Article 8 of the
so-called "European Convention on Human Rights" that supposedly corresponds to the original Article 12:

Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life

1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

The first clause of this neofascistic sick bit of total bullshit denies you any legal right and replaces this by the totally void "right to respect"; the second clause carefully specifies which rights the police and the secret services may trample, destroy and deny:

Anything which might conflict with:
  • the interests of national security
  • the interests of public safety
  • the economic well-being of the country
  • the prevention of disorder
  • the prevention of crime
  • the protection of health
  • the protection of morals
  • the protection of the rights of others, or
  • the protection of the rights of others
is NOT a human right anymore, as it IS under Article 12, but all belongs to the freedoms of the police and the governments secret services.

So in fact I don't care for the
"European Convention on Human Rights": I think it is a carefully construed fraud that pretends to be about human rights but is in fact about the rights of secret governmental spies to trample, destroy and deny human rights.

There is more in the article, but since this consists mainly from people who falsely claim that the
"European Convention on Human Rights" is about human rights rather than about the rights of the secret spies, I skip them.
[0] Alas, 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 "xs4all"(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 whatsoever for anyone).

I am saying this not because I want to offend but because I want to explain, and my own explanatory definition of neofascism is this:
Neofascism is a. A social system that is marked by a government with a centralized powerful authority, where the opposition is propagandized and suppressed or censored, that propounds an ethics which has profit as its main norm, and that has a politics that is rightwing, nationalistic, pro-capitalist, anti-liberal, anti-equality, and anti-leftist, and that has a corporative organization of the economy in which multi-national corporations are stronger than a national government or stateb. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a social system.
Also, I am rather certain that most (not: all) of those who style themselved as "neoliberals" in fact are neofascists as defined (even though they probably do not like the term).

And this is fascism as I defined it:
Fascism is a. A social system that is marked by a government with centralized authority and a dictator, that suppresses the opposition through propaganda, censorship and terror, that propounds an ethics founded on discipline, virility, and collectivism, that has a politics that is totalitarian, anti-liberal, anti-individualist, anti-equality, and anti-Marxist, that is also authoritarian, rightwing and nationalistic, and often racist, and that has a corporative organization of the economy, b. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a social system.
See the following if you are interested: On Fascism and Neofascism: Definitions. (This lists 22 definitions of the term "fascism", and critically reflects on them.)

[2] This is a guess, that is based on earlier information that at most 1 in a 100 people do any serious programming.

It seems programming is difficult for many, which very probably is true, but I learned it three times: In 1973, for mainframes (quite different than for PCs: These were the days one's programs had to be delivered as cards); in 1979/80 with AppleBasic (which was quite neat and a real experience: this was the first time I could type in a program as text, and debug it as it ran); and once again between 1988 and 2007 with various languages one could get free or cheap programming environments for (Pascal, Prolog, Smalltalk, Python, Assembler).

The main reason for me to say this is not to brag, but to point out that (i) any real learning of a programming language will take (at least, providing one is not a mathematical genius) several weeks or months of work, and that (ii) it seems this is rather difficult - which means few journalists will really know it.

And this is also one of my explanations why in fact so few take the amazing thefts of everyone's privacy seriously: Few seem to have any realistic ideas about what this may involve.

[3] In fact, both changes happened in 2015 and are commented on February 15, 2015 and November 8, 2015. Since then, I know The Guardian definitely sold out: They care much more for the financial interests of its few journalists than for telling the truth to its buyers, or so it seems. (And now they also want special financial support for doing - what they call - "investigatory journalism".)
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