Thursday, November 16, 2017

Crisis: Independent Media, Nuclear, Climate Change, JFK Files, Spying On All

Sections                                                crisis index

1. Summary
Crisis Files
    A. Selections from November 16, 2017 


This is a Nederlog of Thursday
, November 16, 2017.

1. Summary

This is a
crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:

I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) and about the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I will continue with it.

On the moment and since nearly two years (!!!!) I have problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible [1] and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and will continue.

2. Crisis Files

These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:

A. Selections from November 16, 2017
1. Why Science Says You Should Be Reading Small
     Independent Media

2. Does Congress Think Trump Can Be Trusted With
     Nuclear Weapons?

3. Scientists Issue Dire Warning on Climate Change
4. 5 of the Most Important JFK Files the CIA Is Still

5. At Least 30 Countries Use Social Media to
     Influence Elections Across the World
The items 1 - 5 are today's selections from the 35 sites that I look at every morning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:

1. Why Science Says You Should Be Reading Small Independent Media

This article is by Jo Ellen Green Kaiser on AlterNet and originally on Yes! Magazine. It starts as follows:

Google, Facebook, and Twitter were hauled in front of Congress this month to explain how Russian bots were able to spread fake news on their platforms. The concern—and a very real one—is that these bots and fake news sites had a significant impact on the 2016 election.

Fighting fake news, however, is not the only or best way to ensure that our content ecosystem prioritizes real news. Last week, a groundbreaking article in Science proved that a better way to secure a media system that works for democracy is to strengthen independent news outlets.

I say, which I do because I don´t believe the above:

First, if there are Russian bots, they probably do not come from Russia; second - and see item 5 below - there are many countries that do these days try to manipulate their voters; third ¨[t]he concern¨ about ¨Russian bots¨ does not seem to me to be realistic, but to be inspired by Hillary Clinton´s Democrats (for we have been waiting for a year now for real evidence, but it still is almost completely missing); so that, fourth, the whole first paragraph seems false.

In fact, I selected this article for its title, but it seems I was misdirected by the title. First, there is this:

The five-year-long study published last week in Science, directed by Harvard professor Gary King and supported in part by Voqal, shows that even small independent news outlets can have a dramatic effect on the content of national conversation. King, along with his now former graduate students Ben Schneer and Ariel White, found that if just three outlets write about a particular major national policy topic—such as jobs, the environment, or immigration—discussion of that topic across social media rose by as much as 62.7 percent of a day’s volume, distributed over the week.

This may sound impressive, except if you know about statistics in the social sciences, as I do: Then the above finding may well be a fluke.

And here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

Over 60 percent of the participating outlets were members of the Media Consortium, the organization I direct. The Media Consortium outlets that had the highest participation rates in the Science study, in order: Truthout, In These Times, Bitch Media, The Progressive, Earth Island Journal, Feministing, Generation Progress, Ms. Magazine, and YES! Magazine. The median outlet size was The Progressive, with about 50,000 subscribers.

I say! Of these, I only know Truthout, and it seems to me also this article is seriously tilted propaganda: It is written by the director of the consortium that was investigated by the publication in Science, and it starts with obvious falsities.

My conclusion is that you should read small independent media, but the present article seems rather misleading.

2. Does Congress Think Trump Can Be Trusted With Nuclear Weapons?

This article is by David Corn on Mother Jones. It starts as follows:

This past summer, I explored probably one of the most important questions facing the nation and the world: could President Donald Trump be stopped from recklessly using nuclear weapons? Interviews with several experts in nuclear command and control yielded an answer that was not encouraging: probably not, unless his order to launch was met with a full-scale mutiny from the military. On Tuesday, the Senate foreign relations committee examined this topic, and it hardly presented a clearer or more reassuring picture.

I hope this comes as an inspiration to some of my readers:

No, Donald Trump is quite capable of launching nukes by himself, and the only way to block this is the - thoroughly irrealistic - possibility that such an order to launch nuclear arms ¨was met with a full-scale mutiny from the military¨.

Here is more on Donald Trump´s quite realistic possibilities for blowing up the world:

As senators questioned three experts—retired Gen. C. Robert Kehler, a former commander of the US Strategic Command, Peter Feaver, a professor at Duke University, and Brian McKeon, a former acting undersecretary of policy at the Pentagon—the point was repeatedly made that Trump has the ultimate and sole authority to send nuclear weapons flying. This is especially true in the case of the United States facing an imminent threat, such as a foreign adversary launching (or preparing to launch) a nuclear strike against the United States. In these circumstances, the president would have minutes to decide whether to order a nuclear assault. There would be little time for the president to consult with anyone but a few advisers before reaching a decision. The nation and the rest of the world would be at his mercy.

And in fact, things are more serious than these three experts reported:

Watching the hearing, Joe Cirincione, a nuclear weapons expert and president of the Ploughshares Fund, tweeted, “Those defending the status quo, like Kehler, pretend that a ‘conference’ or ‘consultation’ must take place. This is not true. POTUS can make decision all by himself.” He added, “Kehler is trying desperately to avoid the obvious: If a crazy President orders a legal nuclear strike from one of the already vetted war plans, there is no one that can stop him.”

I take it this is true - which means that the fate of the world may be effectively in Donald Trump´s hands, and in only these hands.

Here is the end of the article:

That’s what Trump has done: he has made nuclear fears quite real again. The witnesses tried to depict the current policy as generally safe and reasonable. But they could not avoid a basic fact: the system ultimately depends on the judgement of one person. Trump is an erratic and impulsive man who has repeatedly demonstrated minimal devotion to facts. He also has expressed troubling views about nuclear weapons, sometimes adopting a fatalistic stance toward nuclear war. This hearing did little to allay reasonable worries about Trump and nukes. The only consolation prize is that it demonstrated that if you’re losing sleep about Trump possessing the power to destroy the civilized world, you are not alone.

I agree, but since I am a psychologist I add that I think - and at least 62,000 psychologists and psychiatrists agree, by now - that Trump is not just ¨an erratic and impulsive man who has repeatedly demonstrated minimal devotion to facts¨:

Having read the evidence, and being capable of interpreting it as a psychologist, I concluded (already on March 14, 2016) that the strong probability is that Trump is mad, and suffers from malignant narcissism (aka megalomania).

This means that the decision whether or not to use nuclear arms may very well be in fact the decision of one man, who is not sane at all.

And this is a recommended article.

3. Scientists Issue Dire Warning on Climate Change

This article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:

At COP23, the International Energy Agency predicts U.S. oil production is expected to grow an an unparalleled rate in the coming years—even as the majority of scientists worldwide are saying countries need to cut down on fossil fuel extraction, not accelerate it. Meanwhile, a group of 15,000 scientists have come together to issue a dire “second notice” to humanity, 25 years after a group of scientists issued the “first notice” warning the world about climate change. We speak with the co-author of this report, Kevin Anderson, one of the world’s leading climate scientists. Anderson is deputy director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and professor of energy and climate change at the University of Manchester in Britain. The report is entitled “Can the Climate Afford Europe’s Gas Addiction?”

Again, I chose this article because of its title, and again I think I was misled a little. Perhaps I was not, but in any case I will only give one more quote from this article:

AMY GOODMAN: You have coined the term “the climate glitterati.” What do you mean?

KEVIN ANDERSON: I think there have been—for many years, there have been people, you know, the great and the good, in the climate world. And they have certainly tried very hard to address the issue of climate change, though I think, with the latest data, we can see that emissions are going up, even this year, in 2017. So, fundamentally, they and the rest of us have actually failed in delivering what we expected to or what we hoped for.
About 50 percent of global emission has just come from about 10 percent of the global population. And the climate glitterati are quite clearly—and I include myself there—are in that particular group. And we have to demonstrate leadership in what we do. And I think if people are going to take our very careful analysis seriously, then we have to lend that analysis credibility by demonstrating that we are adjusting our own lives accordingly.

I may agree with Kevin Anderson, although I am not certain. In any case, here is a repeat from something I wrote on November 14:

As to the 1992 plea, that also bears comparison with the 1972 plea of ¨The Limits to Growth¨, here is - once again - what has been happening to save the environment since 1972:

Since this is virtually a straight line (and the world population has tripled since I was born in 1950) the fair deduction is that what was done to save the environment from being destroyed balanced everything that was done to save profits for the few rich: Otherwise, it does not seem to have made a difference.

And that is the sad conclusion I draw.

4. 5 of the Most Important JFK Files the CIA Is Still Hiding

This article is by Jefferson Morley on AlterNet. It starts as follows:

The government’s release of long-secret JFK assassination records is generating headlines and hype worldwide. But the truth is the majority of the JFK files that were supposed to be released last month remain secret—and may forever if the CIA has its way.

Yes indeed: This seems to be a quite good guess. Incidentally, one of my reasons to select this article is that I do recall Kennedy´s murder, that happened when I was 13, and another one of my reasons is that it is not at all impossible that Kennedy was murdered by agents of the CIA.

Here is some more on what was and what was not published:

Even after the latest file dump on November 9, at least two-thirds of the never-seen JFK files that were supposed to be released—some 2,538 records—remain secret, according to the foundation's analysis.

At least one-third of the JFK files that were previously released with redactions—a total of about 12,000 files—have still not been made public in unexpurgated form, he said.

In fact, this means - I think - (i) that it is still not possible to say much of what did happen on November 22, 1963, and also (ii) because the CIA was involved in 1963, and is blocking much of the information 54 years later, it would seem that the CIA has quite a few things to hide.

Here is some more on the files, as released, and as partially or completely hidden:

The still-secret files document the careers of five top CIA officers implicated in the events that culminated in the murder of the popular liberal president in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

The publicly available portions of these files do not contain “smoking gun” proof of conspiracy. But they do refute the official story that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone and unaided. While incomplete, the new JFK files show that Oswald did not act alone in the years, months and weeks leading up to Kennedy's murder. The files confirm he acted while being monitored and surveilled by top undercover CIA officers.

I did read several books about the 1963 murder of Kennedy, mostly in the later 1960ies and early 1970ies, and both conclusions quoted above (Oswald did not act alone, and Oswald was monitored by CIA officers) were known as speculations then.

This goes further, except that the CIA seems to hide all or most evidence that it was involved (somehow) in the murder of Kennedy:

On the website of the Assassination Archives and Research Center in Washington, D.C., Hardway writes:

"There has been no explanation, let alone a presidential certification, that the massive redactions in these 'released in full' documents meet any of the mandatory exemptions that allow withholding. No identifiable harm is specified. No rationale is given as to why the secrets protected outweigh the public interest in disclosure. These files are not in compliance with the law no matter what the mainstream media says.”

That is, according to this website the files that were (not) released (in  a redacted form) were (not) released without any legal justification, which does suggest that the explanation for not releasing or redacting this information is that the CIA was - somehow - involved in murdering Kennedy.

Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

Was the CIA’s monitoring and use of Oswald part of a conspiracy to kill the liberal president? There’s no definitive proof of that, but given the extraordinary secrecy still surrounding these records 54 years after the fact, it would be willfully naïve to rule out the possibility. Until all of the JFK files are released, the conspiracy question will be unresolved because of CIA secrecy.

I think that conclusion is quite correct, and this is a recommended article. 

5. At Least 30 Countries Use Social Media to Influence Elections Across the World

This article is by Alex Hern on AlterNet and originally on The Guardian. It starts as follows:

The governments of 30 countries around the globe are using armies of so called opinion shapers to meddle in elections, advance anti-democratic agendas and repress their citizens, a new report shows.

Unlike widely reported Russian attempts to influence foreign elections, most of the offending countries use the internet to manipulate opinion domestically, says US NGO Freedom House.

“Manipulation and disinformation tactics played an important role in elections in at least 17 other countries over the past year, damaging citizens’ ability to choose their leaders based on factual news and authentic debate,” the US government-funded charity said.
In fact, this information is about at least 30 countries plus (bolding added) ¨at least 17 other countries¨, while this also precisely concerns one of the tasks of the secrets services that has been made a billion-fold or more times as easy as it was until 2000:

Keeping track of absolutely everyone´s private opinions, private values, private ideas, private mails and full websites in order to manipulate and influence everyone.

Now everyone is fully known (in principle: it is unlikely all dossiers are read by human eyes) to the very few in government and the very few in the secret services, which means that these very few mostly totally secret ¨services¨ can do absolutely everything (as they fully know themselves:)

So absolutely everyone may be Denied/Disrupted/Degraded or Deceived, all in the deepest secret, by the secret services, for ends that - at best - are only known to the completely anonymous but extremely powerful members of the secret services.

And in fact this is also why I think the internet was invented in the way it was: To give the secret services and their governments all the powers, both legal and illegal, to maintain themselves against anyone.

You may not believe this, but if you do not, check out this article, that I found in 2012:
Crisis: Propaganda and Control: Brezezinski 1968

Either Brezezinski was the greatest genius there ever was, that also enabled him to predict what personal computers were like in the 2000s back in 1967 when there were no personal computers as yet (which is a feat no one else can mimic), or else the personal computer as it was released in the 1990ies was explicitly designed (what with sending all mails without any encryptions whatsoever) to be used as a spying instrument for the secret services.

Back to the article:
Even in those countries that didn’t have elections in the last year, social media manipulation was still frequent. Of the 65 countries surveyed, 30, including Venezuela, the Philippines and Turkey, were found to be using “armies of opinion shapers” to “spread government views, drive particular agendas, and counter government critics on social media”, according to Freedom House’s new Freedom on the Net report. In each of the 30 countries it found “strong indications that individuals are paid to distort the digital information landscape in the government’s favour, without acknowledging sponsorship”.
Precisely, and as the article I found on Brezezinski in 1967/8 shows, this was one of the two ends for which the internet was probably invented:

(1) to keep track, know and compile personal dossiers on absolutely everyone that contain absolutely everything, and
(2) to use these dossiers to keep power of the few over the many forever

Here is some more:
“The effects of these rapidly spreading techniques on democracy and civic activism are potentially devastating … By bolstering the false perception that most citizens stand with them, authorities are able to justify crackdowns on the political opposition and advance anti-democratic changes to laws and institutions without a proper debate.”
Yes indeed - and be sure that you have only seen the beginning of the beginning. Besides, there is another development that makes secret Deceiving/Disrupting/Degrading and Deceiving very much easier:

The addition of no less than over 2 billion persons most of whom hardly can write; prefer to write messages of 140 or 280 characters max; cannot write their own html; know very little about computing and computers; belong for the most part to the most stupid and the most ignorant folks there are; are already almost fully known (in complete secret) by the proprietors of Facebook and Twitter; and that also reject the notion that anyone - apart from the Kardashians, of course - is any better than they are (which they keep afloat by being fully anonymous, that is, except for the secret services and the
proprietors of Facebook and Twitter).

Here is more:

“Governments are now using social media to suppress dissent and advance an anti-democratic agenda,” said Sanja Kelly, director of the Freedom on the Net project. “Not only is this manipulation difficult to detect, it is more difficult to combat than other types of censorship, such as website blocking, because it’s dispersed and because of the sheer number of people and bots deployed to do it.”

“The fabrication of grassroots support for government policies on social media creates a closed loop in which the regime essentially endorses itself, leaving independent groups and ordinary citizens on the outside,” Kelly said.

Quite so - and as I said: This was one of the two ends for which the internet was probably invented:

(1) to keep track, know and compile personal dossiers on
       absolutely everyone that contain absolutely everything, and
(2) to use these dossiers to keep power of the few over the many


I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that is systematically ruining my site by NOT updating it within a few seconds, as it did between 1996 and 2015, but by updating it between two to seven days later, that is, if I am lucky.

They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie. They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.

And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my ideas. They have behaved now for 1 1/2 years as if they are the eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).

The only two reasons I remain with xs4all is that my site has been there since 1996, and I have no reasons whatsoever to suppose that any other Dutch provider is any better (!!).

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