1. From the People Who Gave Us the Internet, the Amazing and
Appalling Story of DARPA
2. A Big Blow to Bannon
3. No One to Blame But Trump
This is a Nederlog of Thursday, April 6, 2017.
Summary: This is an
ordinary crisis log with three items and three links: Item 1 is about DARPA, which is in fact a part of American military intelligence, that produced
many technological innovations, including personal computers and the internet; item 2 is about the fact that Bannon was removed as a member from the National Security Council; and item 3 is about an article about Trump that is more opinion than fact.
April 6: As to the
The Danish site was again
on time today; but the Dutch site again failed to upload and
now got stuck on Tuesday, April 4. These horrors happen now for the 16th month in
1. From the People Who Gave Us the Internet, the Amazing and Appalling Story of DARPA
And I have to add that about where my site on xs4all.nl stuck for others
I have NO idea AT ALL: It
2015. (Xs4all wants immediate
payment if you are a
week behind. Xs4all.nl has been destroying
my site now for over
a year. I completely distrust them, but I also do not
know whether they are doing it or some secret service is.)
The first article today is by Jefferson Morley on AlterNet:
This starts as follows (and is in fact the review of the book that is mentioned):
Indeed. To start with, here is some background: DARPA (<-Wikipedia).
Imagineers of War is
a history of the Defense Advanced Research and Projects Agency, or
DARPA, the obscure government enterprise that (to oversimplify only
slightly) gave us the internet, Agent Orange, driverless cars, armed
drones, and a host of lesser accomplishments ranging from the sublime to
the sinister to the absurd.
Founded in 1958, DARPA has funded
scientific research and development in support of the U.S. national
security mission for 60 years.
What I am interested in is especially the arisal of the internet
and the personal computer from DARPA-projects, and the connection
between national security and the internet and the personal computer, but unfortunately there is not much in the present article that sheds light on these questions.
Here is some more on DARPA and also on ARPA (which is an alternative name for it):
DARPA was born in the wake of the Soviet Union’s successful launch of
the Sputnik satellite in October 1957. With a little encouragement from
elected officials, Americans grew fearful and then hysterical that the
world’s first global orbiting vehicle was built by communist scientists.
Unfortunately, the Wikipedia lemma for DARPA does not contain the word "secret", although I suppose it is mostly secret. And this is from the beginning of Wikipedia's DARPA lemma:
The Advanced Research and Projects Agency (ARPA), established in
February 1958, was the answer: a government agency that would empower
scientists to dream up new ways to defend the country and its allies
from a rival superpower. (“Defense” was added to the name in 1972,
supposedly to protect it from congressional budget-cutters.)
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military.
Here I note that all this research that DARPA organizes is "for use by the military". I will return to this below.
DARPA is independent from other military research and development
and reports directly to senior Department of Defense management. DARPA
has about 240 employees, of whom 13 are in management, and close to 140
are technical staff.
This is from the article and describes a few of the things DARPA did fund:
To improve command and control of the U.S. nuclear arsenal in the 1960s,
DARPA funded research into interactive computing. The result was
ARPANet, the first network of linked computers. In October 1969, the
system crashed midway through the world’s first email message. But
ARPANet, nurtured by government funding, evolved into the internet of
the early 1990s, which transformed the world.
But this also does not say much. In fact, what I am looking for is an explanation for two rather odd facts.
The first fact is as follows, and is based on a text
that was published in May of 1969 ("The Year of The Young Rebels" by
Stephen Spender) that reported the following from 1968 or 1967 (and for more see this Nederlog from 2012):
idea of the
technotronic society seems to be under the
The rather amazing fact here is that the second paragraph, written in 1967 or 1968, quite correctly predicted what personal computers would do, but some 25 or 30 years (or more) in the future. And this is quite amazing because no one seems to be capable of accurately predicting what will
be the case 25 years into the future, at least not in any specific
detail and without having specific - technological - fore- knowledge.
Brezezinski, until recently a member of
Staff of the State Department, and now
Research Institute of Communist Affairs at
'it will soon be possible to assert almost
surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-
containing even personal information
personal behaviour of the citizen, in
customary data.' Moreover it will be
and plan to meet any uprisings in the
will even be able to forecast crises before the
conscious of wanting them.
Put otherwise, this suggests that Brzezinski (the spelling of his name meanwhile changed) did have - around 1968! - specific foreknowledge of what would be possible with computers, and indeed of what was being planned that computers should do - although what Brzezinski described in 1968 was quite totalitarian: "continuous
surveillance over every citizen", "personal information about
personal behaviour of the citizen", with the police being capable (in the future of 1968) "to forecast crises before the rioters
conscious of wanting them".
That is precisely what the NSA started to deliver from 2000 onwards, and one wonders how Brzezinksi could foresee that in 1968.
The second somewhat amazing fact may be introduced by the following enthusiastic summary from Wikipedia's History of the internet (minus a note number):
In the 1980s, research at CERN in Switzerland by British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee resulted in the World Wide Web,
linking hypertext documents into an information system, accessible from
any node on the network. Since the mid-1990s, the Internet has had a
revolutionary impact on culture, commerce, and technology, including
the rise of near-instant communication by electronic mail, instant messaging, voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone calls, two-way interactive video calls, and the World Wide Web with its discussion forums, blogs, social networking, and online shopping sites.
This completely fails to mention the fact that everyone who uses a computer or a cellphone to transmit any private information can be virtually certain that this private information will be copied in secret and added to an also secret database that
is maintained by the NSA (and the GCHQ and so on for very many secret services), precisely because all this private information is send around in an unencrypted form (on cables that can be easily tapped in principle).
And what amazes me is especially the fact that Tim Berners-Lee should have recognized that sending private information in an unencrypted form was equivalent to inviting extremely widespread abuse - as did happen, indeed on an enormous scale, and especially since 9/11 supplied motivations to try to find out - as was written in 1968 - about "crises before the rioters
conscious of wanting them".
But I admit that the present article didn't deliver much information
about DARPA and therefore I will give my explanation for these two
rather amazing facts hypothetically:
It seems as if the most probable explanation for
Brzezinski's amazing foreknowledge (extending some 30 years into
the future) and for Berners-Lee forgetting encryption is that it was all planned:
The freedom promised by personal computers and by the internet was a bait to trap billions of persons into the files of the secret services, that from then on have the possibility to check and control everything any formerly private individual does, wants and thinks: everything is known to the secret services.
2. A Big Blow to Bannon
The second article is by Steven Rosenfeld on AlterNet:
This starts as follows:
In a shakeup by President Trump, top White House political strategist
Steve Bannon has been removed from the National Security Council’s
principals committee, which is comprised of top military service chiefs
and intelligence agency heads. Bannon, who never should have been on the
committee in the first place, was removed via an executive order that
restored the traditional White House balance of keeping political
appointees out of the military and intelligence chain of command.
I say, for this is quite unexpected,
at least for me. We'll get an explanation by Rosenfeld, but first here
is Bannon's position (or so it seems) on his removal:
The decision suggests that Bannon’s still-substantial power in the White
House is being restrained and limited—though public statements by
Bannon and the White House are offering other excuses.
In a statement reported by the Journal, Bannon reverted to his
Breitbart conspiracy theory mode, predictably blaming not only the Obama
administration for his ouster, but pointing fingers at Susan Rice, the
latest Obama administration figure the far-right is seeking to ensnare
in its change-the-topic defense of Trump’s campaign contacts with
I checked out Susan Rice (<- Wikipedia) but only found she arose in the Clinton administration.
This is more interesting, and gives Rosenfeld's explanation for Bannon's removal:
What this means is that the so-called deep state, or Washington
institutions that endure throughout changes of administrations, like the
Pentagon and intelligence agencies, are reasserting their power by
pushing political operatives like Bannon back into a more limited sphere
of influence. It means he will not have equal say in military and
intelligence agency analysis and decision-making.
Quite possibly so, although I am not happy with the equation of the deep state and "Washington
institutions that endure throughout changes of administrations": That seems a rather peculiar euphemism for what Wikipedia describes as:
State within a state is a political situation in a country when an internal organ ("deep state"), such as the armed forces and civilian authorities (intelligence agencies, police, administrative agencies and branches of governmental bureaucracy), does not respond to the civilian political leadership.
Then again, Rosenfeld may well be correct in saying that Bannon's removal is the outcome of the deep state's "reasserting their power".
3. No One to Blame But Trump
This starts as follows:
The third article is by Elizabeth Drew on The New York Review of Books:
Donald Trump’s substance-free approach to governing may be comfortable for him but it’s caused his presidency big problems.
I think that both the title and the beginning indicate that this is more opinion than fact based, but as long as that is clear there is nothing wrong with it.
This is about Trump's beginnings as president:
Trump’s first great legislative defeat threatens to define his
presidency. He came across as blundering and incompetent. He is the
first modern president to lose his first major piece of legislation.
This came on top of other unfortunate firsts: Trump is the first
president whose approval ratings began to go down after he won the
election and then after the inauguration, and that have kept doing so
since. Recent polls show his approval ratings to be from 35 percent to
42 percent, not enough to form a governing majority.
I think it is too early to say much about Trump's presidency, but I agree that his beginnings were far
from triumphant. Then again, I don't think Trump's (im)popularity with
voters will play a big role, unless Trump gets impeached.
Then there is this:
Trump apparently didn’t grasp that in political negotiations, unless one
is very skilled, the more you give away the more insatiable the forces
you give away to become. It’s not like business trading, where both
sides have an incentive to reach a deal. Since conservative Republicans
hadn’t ever wanted the government to get in the business of providing
health care, they had nothing to lose from continuing to extract more
and more from the president and still voting against the bill. Trump
didn’t understand this.
I think this is speculation. I have no idea whether this is correct. But the following is presented as fact, and seems interesting:
There’s been a great deal of speculation about shifting alliances among
Trump’s White House staff—it’s virtually a daily exercise—but in the end
Donald Trump defines his administration. Trump has a mediocre staff,
whom he doesn’t treat well. They’re hesitant to give him news he won’t
like for fear of being screamed at, a frequent event. Experienced
potential aides haven’t been keen to work in a Trump White House and
though it’s not widely known by the outside world many of those who are
there are unhappy. As one close observer put it to me, “They came to
work for the president but found themselves working for Donald Trump.”
This is interesting, especially about Trump's temperament .
Here is the last opinion I will quote from this article:
The discontent with Donald Trump on Capitol Hill runs very deep and also
very wide. I’ve been told that upwards of two-thirds of the Senate
Republicans, in particular, discuss—in the gym and in clusters on the
Senate floor—their desire to see him gone. These senators talk rather
openly—even with their Democratic colleagues—about their fear of Trump’s
recklessly getting the country into serious danger, about the
embarrassment he causes it in the world (his petulantly refusing to
shake hands with Angela Merkel was just one example of his mishandling
of foreign leaders), about his overall incompetence.
I say! Again this is opinion, but I suppose Drew is correct in reporting that she has been "told that upwards of two-thirds of the Senate
Republicans, in particular, discuss (..) their desire to see him gone", and that points to a lot of Republican unhappiness - which is quite justified in view of Trump's temperament  and his tweets.
And even while this is opinion, it is somewhat heartening to me to read
that Senate Republicans desire to see Trump gone, among other things
because they are afraid that
Trump will get the USA "into serious danger".
I think they are right in that, but as I said the present
article is more opinion than fact, although I am willing to suppose
that the supposed facts in the presented opinions ("I've been told
that" etc.) are indeed as supposed. (But this also shows that opinions are considerably less secure than - purported - facts.)
 In fact - as is supported by many psychiatrists and psychologists - I think that Trump is not sane
(<- letter to Obama by three professors of psychiatry or psychology
from November 2016), but I choose to formulate this as "a problem with
his temperament" here to avoid problems: He certainly has problems with his temperament.