from February 12, 2018.
This is a
Nederlog of Monday,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last five years:
I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch, but
since 2010 in English) 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.
moment and since more than two years
problems with the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible 
and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and
I shall continue.
Section 2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from February 12, 2018
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
1. The Deadly Rule of the Oligarchs
2. Journalist Warns About Ex-Intelligence Officials in Media
3. U.S. Intelligence Crisis Poses a Threat to the World
4. Donald Trump v. the Spooks
5. Sinclair Solicits Contributions From Employees for
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:
Deadly Rule of the Oligarchs
This article is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Oligarchic rule, as Aristotle
pointed out, is a deviant form of government. Oligarchs care nothing
for competency, intelligence, honesty, rationality, self-sacrifice or
the common good. They pervert, deform and dismantle systems of power to
serve their immediate interests, squandering the future for short-term
personal gain. “The true forms of government, therefore, are those in
which the one, or the few, or the many, govern with a view to the
common interest; but governments that rule with a view to the private
interest, whether of the one, of the few or of the many, are
perversions,” Aristotle wrote. The classicist Peter L.P. Simpson calls
these perversions the “sophistry of
oligarchs,” meaning that once oligarchs take power, rational, prudent
and thoughtful responses to social, economic and political problems are
ignored to feed insatiable greed. The late stage of every civilization
is characterized by the sophistry of oligarchs, who ravage the decaying
carcass of the state.
Yes indeed, though I
should point out that "oligarchy" means "rules of the few", while
Aristotle's judgement of "perversion" does not apply to the
rules of the few as such, but to the rule of the few in the
interests of the few.
And also it should be pointed out - see oligarchy - that
Aristotle considered that oligarchy (in the last sense, as rule
by the few for the few) normally is rule by the rich, that also
may be named plutocracy.
Then there is this:
they speak of deconstructing the administrative state, actually
increase deficits and the size and power of law enforcement and the
military to protect their global business interests and ensure domestic
social control. The parts of the state that serve the common good
wither in the name of deregulation and austerity. The parts that
promote the oligarchs’ power expand in the name of national security,
economic growth and law and order.
Well... yes and no.
I agree with Hedges that the present government of the USA is
like an oligarchy, in Aristotle's second sense, and I also agree
Hedges that the current oligarchs of the USA, who are the rich and
those in government in their pay or under their influence, does the
things he says they do.
But I probably disagree with him in his implication that the
modes of enrichment of the rich are the same as they were a hundred
years ago, two hundred years ago etc.
And in fact I also think that the present tactics of the rich - I think
that is a somewhat better term than "oligarch" - have several
that were absent or much less prominent in previous tactics of the rich:
the rich independent from the
incomes of their home nations, and is anyway a new tactic
(that opposes Keynesianism,
that tried to impose
capitalism-with-a- human- face, but failed over the
oppositions of the
rich, that first got power with Reagan and Thatcher), while the
surveillance by the secret services of almost any state of the
opinions, the values, the private opinions, the incomes, the health,
the education and indeed absolutely anything whatsoever that can be
downloaded by way of the internet, is a source of power
possibility to tyrannize - literally - billions by the -
- few that absolutely no one - also not Hitler, Stalin or Mao -
had as much as 1 promille of, in spite of having very
effective secret services and police.
Here is more by Hedges on oligarchs:
Oligarchs, who do
not serve in the military and who ensure their children do not serve in
the military, pretend to be great patriots. They attack those who
oppose them as anti-American, traitors or agents for a foreign power.
They use the language of patriotism to stoke hatred against their
critics and to justify their crimes. They see the world in black and
white—those who are loyal to them and those who are the enemy.
Again yes and no, and on
the same grounds as above, and with an addition by me:
For this kind of propaganda
to be successful, it is required that those
who are to be deceived by it need to be a considerable group and
to be too stupid
or too ignorant
to see through the fact that the black
and white reality they approve of is in fact not real but made
lies and propaganda.
And this is about the facts of the American oligarchic state:
There is little
dispute that we live in an oligarchic state. The wealthiest 1 percent
of America’s families control 40 percent of the nation’s wealth, a
statistic similar to what is seen globally: The wealthiest 1 percent of
the world’s population owns more than half of the world’s wealth. This
wealth translates into political power.
Yes. Incidentally: (1)
"oligarchy" means "rule of the few"; (2) "the few" in the
are the rich; (3) the proof that the few rich are an
oligarchy is that
1% of all human beings control half or more of everything there is to
control; and also (4) in the present world, it simply is a fact
money = power if one has enough of money: money easily
buys power, and
power easily grabs more money.
Here is more by Chris Hedges:
social, political, cultural and economic collapse. The unchecked
plunder leads to systems breakdown. The refusal to protect natural
resources, or the economic engines that sustain the state, means that
poverty becomes the norm and the natural world becomes a toxic
wasteland. Basic institutions no longer work. Infrastructure is no
longer reliable. Water, air and soil are poisoned. The population is
left uneducated, untrained, impoverished, oppressed by organs of
internal security and beset by despair. The state eventually goes
bankrupt. Oligarchs respond to this steady deterioration by forcing
workers to do more for less and launching self-destructive wars in the
vain attempt to restore a lost golden age. They also insist, no matter
how bad it gets, on maintaining their opulent and hedonistic lifestyles.
Again this does seem to me
to describe the current oligarchs (of whom Trump is an
example), but less obviously earlier oligarchs.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
“The political role
of corporate power, the corruption of the political and representative
processes by the lobbying industry, the expansion of executive power at
the expense of constitutional limitations, and the degradation of
political dialogue promoted by the media are the basics of the system,
upon it,” the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin wrote in “Democracy
Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted
Yes indeed. Wolin was
quite right that a political system that requires that one has -
somehow - available a million dollars to become a member of the
or a judge in the present USA is in fact out and out oligarchic,
simply from the meaning of that term.
" In the last analysis, the
much-lauded stability and conservatism of the American system owe
nothing to lofty ideals, and everything to the irrefutable fact that it
is shot through with corruption and awash in contributions primarily
from wealthy and corporate donors. When a minimum of a million dollars
is required of House candidates and elected judges, and when patriotism
is for the draft-free to extol and for the ordinary citizen to serve,
in such times it is a simple act of bad faith to claim that
politics-as-we-now-know-it can miraculously cure the evils which are
essential to its very existence.”
There also is considerably more on Sheldon Wolin in several of
my Nederlogs from 2014, and the best entry to all of them I wrote on November 8, 2014 (with quite a
few links to earlier articles by Hedges on Wolin).
Finally as to this article: I agree with Aristotle and
Hedges that oligarchy is a clear sign of corruption, and that the
present USA is an oligarchy, but I don't quite agree with Hedges on
past oligarchs, though I agree with him on the present
oligarchs in the USA.
And this is a recommended article.
Warns About Ex-Intelligence Officials in Media
This article is by Emily Wells on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
officers are joining mainstream news networks as analysts with
increasing frequency—a pattern that threatens the independence of the
American press, warns journalist Caitlin Johnstone, who writes at Consortium
I completely agree with
Caitlin Johnstone: Media that pay (previous) spies and deceivers
to bring the news are completely corrupt and in fact
probably buy these spies and deceivers in order to deceive their
More and more of
the outlets from which Americans get their information are being filled
not just with garden variety establishment loyalists, but with
longstanding members of the U.S. intelligence community. These men got
to their positions of power within these deeply sociopathic
institutions based on their willingness to facilitate any depravity in
order to advance the secret agendas of the U.S. power establishment,
and now they’re being paraded in front of mainstream Americans on cable
news on a daily basis. The words of these “experts” are consistently
taken and reported on by smaller news outlets in print and online media
in a way that seeds their authoritative assertions throughout public
A recent example is John
Brennan, who was CIA director from 2013 to 2017 and who joined NBC News
and MSNBC this month as a senior national security and intelligence
Also - since Frank
Maher and myself seem to
be the only people who complain about the stupidity and
of the majority of the American voters, at least to the best
of my rather extensive knowledge - let me state again
that one important condition for the corrupt spies to be successful
deceiving the majority of the public) is that the majority of the
public either is naturally stupid or else has been made
stupid by very bad education.
And the majority of the American voters are being deceived
Here is more on more former American spies who now deceive the public
Real News names other former U.S. intelligence officers who can be
seen on television and points out that these hires are not always
friendly to journalists. Michael Hayden, who was the director of both
the CIA and the National Security Agency, was hired as a CNN national
security analyst, though he has likened Pulitzer Prize-winning
journalist Glenn Greenwald to the devil and joked about wanting to put
whistleblower Edward Snowden on a kill list. Others include John Kirby,
a retired admiral and a former spokesman for the State Department, and
Lisa Monaco, who was Homeland Security adviser under President Obama.
CNN also hired Phil Mudd, former deputy director of the CIA’s
Counterterrorist Center, as an analyst.
Yes, I agree with
Johnstone, and this is a recommended article.
Time and again you
see connections between the plutocratic class which effectively owns America’s
elected government, the intelligence and defense agencies which
operate behind thick veils of secrecy in the name of “national
security” to advance agendas which have nothing to do with the wishes
of the electorate, and the mass media machine which is used to manufacture the
consent of the people to be governed by this exploitative power
Intelligence Crisis Poses a Threat to the World
This article is by George Eliason on Consortiumnews. It is
the first of three articles (and I do not know yet
whether I will review the other two) and it starts as follows, with a
politicized intelligence is undermining the mission of providing
unbiased information to both high-level decision makers and the
American public, explains George Eliason in this first of a three-part
Well... I agree to a
considerable extent, but I would have replaced the term
by a term like "lies
(for it is biased information).
Here is the plan for the three-part series by Eliason:
(..) if U.S.
intelligence are questionable and untrustworthy, there is no single
greater threat to the planet today. Members of an intelligence
community who try to circumvent the democratic process should be
prosecuted no matter who they are or who they are trying to undermine.
This three-part article
series is a top-down look at the deep state. Its purpose isn’t to
identify every company and every player. Instead, this lead-in is a
primer showing the layout of the land at the highest levels and why
things have gone so very wrong inside the intelligence community.
In fact - and see e.g. item 1 - I do not think that the vast majority
of the "[m]embers of an
intelligence community who try to circumvent the democratic process" will be prosecuted. (I agree
with Eliaston that they should be, but with Hedges that it is too
late for this to happen, except very occasionally, perhaps).
As to the deep state:
See here and here. This is
about part two of the series:
The second part will show
how the top level relates to the next level down with contractors and
companies that deal with public issues, public policy, and commit
illegal actions. You’ll see what it looks like when people that have
taken the mantle of national security use the tools for their own
profit, politics, and prejudices.
And this is about part
The third part will
explicitly show how this threat translates into the real world to
unsuspecting people because they didn’t agree with someone they don’t
even know exists. This is the reality when the destruction of your
life, reputation, wealth, employment, and relationships become a
payable item on someone else’s invoice. The sad fact is your innocence
means as much to them as the pleas for mercy from the last “bad guy”
they shot in a video game. For them, it’s only a game. You are a troll,
not a human being.
I haven't seen these
two parts either.
Also, as to the last
quoted bit: In fact, I guess that the vast majority of those
currently use computers (i) do know very little and do care
little about the fact that everything they do with a computer
may be -
and probably is - downloaded by competely anonymous members of very
many secret services (that include the Chinese and the American
which also means that (ii) the vast majority now may be
arrested by the
police for doing something that "didn’t agree with someone they don’t even know exists", namely one of very many
services that in fact know most or all things the subjects they spy
upon do with their computers, and that happens to be friends with
police in one's country.
Here is more by Eliason:
For all practical purposes,
effective control of the NSA is with private corporations, which run
its support and management functions. As the Washington Post’s Walter
Pincus reported last year, more than 70 percent of the staff
of the Pentagon’s newest intelligence unit, Counterintelligence Field
Activity, is made up of corporate contractors.
Defense Intelligence Agency
(DIA) lawyers revealed at a conference in May that contractors make up
51 percent of the staff in DIA offices. At the CIA, the situation is
similar. Between 50 and 60 percent of the workforce of the CIA’s most
important directorate, the National Clandestine Service (NCS),
responsible for the gathering of human intelligence, is composed of
employees of for-profit corporations.
I did not know
this (and like some confirmation by other sources), but
if this is true it means that the American secret services are in
fact mostly run by private corporations
- which means in all
probability that most of what "the U.S. secret services know" in
fact also will be known by their private contractors, and by
the bosses of these private contractors (for they
menials who work for the secret services, and not - anymore - the
Here is more on the
I say - and no (or yes): I do
regard all of this private contracting by national secret
itself. (There need to be secret services of some kind
in the present world. But these must only report to their
while absolutely everything should be done to keep them from
corrupt. The present set-up seems the precise opposite of
“More than 70 percent of
the Pentagon’s Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA) unit is
staffed by contractors, known as ‘green badgers,’ who also
represent the majority of personnel in the DIA, the CIA’s National
Clandestine Service, and the National Counterterrorism Center,”
according to an article by Simon Chesterman in The
European Journal of International Law. At the CIA’s station in
Islamabad contractors reportedly outnumber government employees three
to one, Chesterman points out.
Private companies have been
utilized to carry out torture and have misused sensitive information
collected by intelligence agencies, and yet almost every intelligence
and most field roles are being turned over to private companies that
get contracts because of “new” problems – crises, influence operations,
hacking, danger, threats, or dossiers their companies or related
companies happen to find.
And here is still more on the subject:
identifies work given to corporations or individuals that should
remain a strictly governmental function is now in the hands of
companies that do it for hire. For-profit companies are behind most of
what the intelligence the agency heads and the president see.
For-profit, companies look after their own bottom line, often producing
biased information in the hopes of getting repeat business.
Also, because they are
committed to their companies and not public service, the lines have
been blurred to the point that some of these contractors no longer
distinguish between the work they do for U.S. intelligence and security
and what they can do legally in the civilian world. There is no
difference and they have no problem plying the same tools and
techniques on an unsuspecting public.
Yes, I agree this is
the very likely outcome of the situation Eliason has sketched
Here is the last bit I quote from the present article:
And this is another likely
outcome of the situation Eliason sketched above.
a 2015 article at The Nation titled “How Private Contractors
Have Created a Shadow NSA,” Tim Shorrock describes what he
calls “the cyberintelligence ruling class.”
“Over the last 15 years,
thousands of former high-ranking intelligence officials and operatives
have left their government posts and taken up senior positions at
military contractors, consultancies, law firms, and private-equity
firms. In their new jobs, they replicate what they did in
government—often for the same agencies they left. But this time, their
mission is strictly for-profit,” Shorrock wrote.
I admit I did not know most of the things Eliason says in this
article. And I certainly am curious about the other two articles. And
this is a recommended article.
Trump v. the Spooks
This article is by Annie
Machon on Consortiumnews. I selected it because I have done earlier
reviews of things she wrote. Also, it is a repeat on
Consortiumnews (which I missed the first time):
Archive: Just before Trump took office last year,
ex-British intelligence officer Annie Machon wrote about the battle he
was facing with U.S. intelligence agencies. As Russia-gate morphs into
Intel-gate, we re-publish her prescient article today.
This is from
the beginning of the article:
The clash between
plutocratic President-elect Trump and the CIA is shaping up to be the
heavyweight prize fight of the century, and Trump at least is
approaching it with all the entertaining bombast of Mohammed Ali at the
top of his game. Rather than following the tradition of doing dirty
political deals in dark corners, more commonly known as fixing the
match, Trump has come out swinging in the full glare of the
Yes, though this does not
mean Trump will not - also - follow "the tradition of doing dirty political deals in dark corners".
But OK. Here are the opponents of Trump:
In the opposite
corner, Trump’s opponents have pushed the CIA into the ring to deliver
the knock-out blow, but this has yet to land.
But who are "the
opponents of Trump", that is, in the context of the American
government, the American secret services, and the American rich?
Here is Machon's answer:
So who are the
opponents ranged behind the CIA, yelling encouragement through the
ropes? The obvious culprits include the U.S. military-industrial
complex, whose corporate bottom line relies on an era of unending war.
As justification for extracting billions – even trillions – of dollars
from American taxpayers, there was a need for frightening villains,
such as Al Qaeda and even more so, the head choppers of ISIS.
And I agree that "the U.S. military-industrial
complex" - a term of
Eisenhower, in 1961 - are
an important item, although Trump in fact has given them many
billions in 2017 (after Machon wrote this article).
Here is more by Machon:
As former British MP
and long-time peace activist George Galloway so eloquently said in a recent interview,
an unholy alliance is now being formed between the “war party” in the
U.S., the military-industrial-intelligence complex and those who would
have previously publicly spurned such accomplices: American
progressives and their traditional host, the Democratic Party.
I agree with
the main reasons that the Democratic Party now works much more for the military-industrial-intelligence complex than
for the American population that may have voted them in, is that one
now needs a million dollars to make a chance of being elected to
Senate or the House, and these dollars have been provided by the
to hopeful Democrats. And in effect this is corruption (which also made
considerable millionaires out of the Clintons).
Here is Machon's opinion on "the
two-party system in both the U.S. and the U.K.":
forces have also revealed to the wider world a fact long known but
largely dismissed as conspiracy theory by the corporate mainstream
media, that the two-party system in both the U.S. and the U.K. is a
sham. In fact, we are governed by a globalized elite, working in its
own interest while ignoring ours.
Yes, I agree this is very
probably quite true, and the reason is quite simple: By now, the
rule everywhere, which they do in part by having corrupted the
politicians who get elected.
Here is the last bit from Annie Machon that I quote:
Whether that was
indeed the case, the CIA has certainly held back no
Yes indeed - and now that
we are more than a year further (for Machon's article was
published in January 2017), all that bullshit from
the CIA still stands, at least for the mainstream media.
election. First the evidence-lite assertion that it was the Russians
who hacked the DNC emails and leaked them to WikiLeaks: then the fake
news about Russia hacking the voting computers; that then morphed into
the Russians “hacked the election” itself; then they “hacked” into the
U.S. electric grid via a Vermont utility. All this without a
shred of fact-based evidence provided (...)
And this is a recommended article.
Solicits Contributions From Employees for Right-Wing PAC
This article is by Jessica Corbett on
Common Dreams. This is from near the beginning:
case you need some background on the Sinclair
Broadcast Group, it is
under the last link and tells you that the group currently provides
"the news" (and a lot more) to no less than 40% of all American
households, while it also is known "for the conservative slant of
their stations' local news reporting and other programming decisions".
In a Jan. 31 letter to
newsroom directors from David Amy, the broadcaster's vice chairman and
head of the Sinclair Political Action Committee, the company—known for
slant and fighting
federal regulations to acquire 42 more stations from Tribune
Media—urged its employees to "please take the time to evaluate the
importance that the Sinclair PAC can have towards benefitting our
company and the needs of the industry as a whole."
While a screenshot of the
letter was posted to a television blog earlier this month, one of
Sinclair's senior vice presidents confirmed its veracity to the Washington
Post on Saturday, emphasizing
that it was sent to news directors—"as a result of being part of our
managerial level, not because of their role in editorial"—but not to
reporters, anchors, or other lower-level employees.
Lewis Friedland, a
journalism professor at the University of Wisconsin and a former TV
news producer, told the Post that Sinclair's move
"violates every standard of conduct that has existed in newsroom for
the past 40 or 50 years."
"I've never seen anything
like this," Friedland added. "They certainly have the right to do it,
but it's blatantly unethical."
"In addition to breaking
with journalistic tradition, the company's request could put its news
directors in an untenable position," the Post notes. "Some
news directors might feel that opting out would be perceived by their
superiors as an act of disloyalty."
Second, I have to admit that I am not quite certain of the
the news this article brings, but it seems as if the Sinclair
Group wants its journalists to be loyal and self-declared proponents of
its rightwing policies, and wants them to do so in
personal statements to their directors.
More to follow, I suppose - and this article is here not
because it is very clear, but because Sinclair does broadcast its
rigth-wing news to no less than 4 out of every 10 American
have now been
end of 2015 that
xs4all.nl 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.
claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie.
They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.
just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my
ideas. They have behaved now for 2 years
as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I
from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).
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 (!!).