April 30, 2018

Crisis: Poor & Black, Gaza, Next Crash, "Fake News!", About 9/11, The Trap


1. Summary
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from April 30, 2018
     B. One extra bit

This is a Nederlog of Monday, April 30, 2018.

1. Summary

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.

On the moment and since more than 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 I shall continue.

2. Crisis Files

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

A. Selections from April 30, 2018
1. The Crime of Being Poor and Black
2. Arms Embargo on Israel Is Needed as Military Unlawfully Kills and
     Maims Gaza Protesters

3. There's a Uncovered Beltway Story Hiding in Plain Sight -- With Trillions
     of Dollars In Play

4. What Trump Really Means When He Cries 'Fake News!'
5. Lawyers for 9/11 families launch petition for new inquiry
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. The Crime of Being Poor and Black

This article is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig. This is from near its beginning:

Mervilus is 6 feet tall and broad-shouldered and has long, thick dreads. He was never in a gang. He was not a drug dealer. He had a job. He came from a good and loving family. But he was cursed with being black and poor and living in a city, Elizabeth, N.J., where if you are black and poor you are always one step away from being arbitrarily shot or arrested or tossed into jail. This is true in nearly every city in America.

There are cops in poor communities who hunt black boys and men as if they are prey. To them it is a sport. These cops are not always white, although they are often white. But they are always sadists. Intoxicated by the power to instill fear, use lethal force indiscriminately and destroy lives—and allowed to do so by a judicial system that no longer protects the most basic rights of the poor, including due process, adequate legal representation and the right to a jury trial—they circle around their victims like human vultures. If we were to use the strict dictionary definition, these police officers are criminals.

Yes, I mostly agree, and I also agree - as a psychologist - with the judgement that most of these policemen are sadists. Then again, Hedges' whole article is about the case of Mervilus, which is quite OK with me (and Mervilus case is rather special, if only because it has "a good ending"), but which is a bit less interesting in the context of Nederlogs dedicated to the crisis.

So I only quote the ending of this article:

The prosecutor offered him a deal of five years in prison if he would plead guilty to the crime in which the man was stabbed and robbed. He refused. He was facing 20 years. He went to trial. The victim changed his story several times and at one point when asked if his assailant was in the courtroom pointed to someone other than Mervilus. It did not matter. Mervilus was sentenced to 11 years for first-degree robbery.

His younger brother worked at any job he could find to pay for a lawyer for Emmanuel. When the brother got the $12,000 needed to retain an attorney, Emmanuel filed an appeal. The lawyer exposed a series of discrepancies and inconsistencies in the testimony of the man who had been stabbed. Mervilus was retried, acquitted by a jury and freed after having been behind bars for four years. The process, which cost his brother $32,000, achieved an almost unheard-of result for a poor person in our dysfunctional court system. The lawyer, John Caruso, called the acquittal “a Halley’s Comet occurrence.”

As I said, this was "a good ending" (four years innocent in prison, and $32,000 in costs to prove Mervilius's innocence), which in fact is pretty rare in the present USA, at least for people who are black and poor. And this is a recommended article.

2. Arms Embargo on Israel Is Needed as Military Unlawfully Kills and Maims Gaza Protesters

This article is by Amnesty International. It starts as follows:

Israel is carrying out a murderous assault against protesting Palestinians, with its armed forces killing and maiming demonstrators who pose no imminent threat to them, Amnesty International revealed Friday, based on its latest research, as the “Great March of Return” protests continued in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military has killed 35 Palestinians and injured more than 5,500 others—some with what appear to be deliberately inflicted life-changing injuries—during the weekly Friday protests that began on 30 March.

Amnesty International has renewed its call on governments worldwide to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel following the country’s disproportionate response to mass demonstrations along the fence that separates the Gaza Strip from Israel.

“For four weeks the world has watched in horror as Israeli snipers and other soldiers, in full-protective gear and behind the fence, have attacked Palestinian protesters with live ammunition and tear gas. Despite wide international condemnation, the Israeli army has not reversed its illegal orders to shoot unarmed protesters,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

I agree with Amnesty International about the facts of the case: Israeli soldiers have been shooting, killing and wounding Palestinian protestors with live ammunition and tear gas,
and killed 35 of them and injured over 5,500.

Then again - while I also do ask myself: What else could Amnesty do? - I don't think that Amnesty's call "on governments worldwide to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel" will succeed.

Here is more:

“The time for symbolic statements of condemnation is now over. The international community must act concretely and stop the delivery of arms and military equipment to Israel. A failure to do so will continue to fuel serious human rights abuses against thousands of men, women and children suffering the consequences of life under Israel’s cruel blockade of Gaza. These people are merely protesting their unbearable conditions and demanding the right to return to their homes and towns in what is now Israel.”

The USA is by far Israel’s main supplier of military equipment and technology, with a commitment to provide $38 billion in military aid over the next 10 years. But other countries, including EU member states such as France, Germany, the UK and Italy, have licensed large volumes of military equipment for Israel.

Well... again I agree with Amnesty on the facts, but I strongly doubt that "the international community" will listen to Amnesty's demands.

Here are more particulars on what the Israelis have been doing:

In most of the fatal cases analysed by Amnesty International victims were shot in the upper body, including the head and the chest, some from behind. Eyewitness testimonies, video and photographic evidence suggest that many were deliberately killed or injured while posing no immediate threat to the Israeli soldiers.

Among the victims are 23-year-old football player Mohammad Khalil Obeid, who was shot in both knees as he filmed himself with his back towards the border fence at a protest east of al-Breij Camp on 30 March.

And here is Amnesty on the legalities of this:
“The nature of these injuries shows that Israeli soldiers are using high-velocity military weapons designed to cause maximum harm to Palestinian protesters that do not pose imminent threat to them. These apparently deliberate attempts to kill and main are deeply disturbing, not to mention completely illegal. Some of these cases appear to amount to wilful killing, a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions and a war crime,” said Magdalena Mughrabi.

I quite agree and this is a recommended article.

3. There's a Uncovered Beltway Story Hiding in Plain Sight -- With Trillions of Dollars In Play

This article is by Nomi Prins on AlterNet and originally on TomDispatch. It starts as follows:
Note for TomDispatch Readers: Nomi Prins is one of the most regular of TomDispatchregulars, so I have no doubt that you’ve come to know her work well. As it happens, her striking new bookCollusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World, a piercing look at the 2007-2008 global economic meltdown and the responses to it in the years since, has just been published. As Jeremy Scahill writes, “Prins has emerged as one of the fiercest critics of crony capitalism and its sustained attacks against poor and working people. This is the book that the financial elites don’t want you to read.” Ralph Nader adds, “Taxpayers, workers, and consumers who will suffer from another bailout, all better read this clear, concise compelling book.”
In fact, this is from Tom Engelhardt's introduction to the article by Nomi Prins.

I selected this and the next bit from Engelhardt in part because I believed I had reviewed Prins's article already, but under another title, and in part because I like and admire Nomi Prins, and this introduction gives some good backgrounds.

And I was right in my belief that I had reviewed Prins's article: It was reviewed on April 27, under the title "Donald Trump and the Next Big Crash", and was then strongly recommended.

So here is another bit by Tom Engelhardt on Nomi Prins:

In her new book, Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World, Nomi Prins remembers how the 9/11 attacks affected her. She was, at the time, working for Goldman Sachs (which has been sending key former employees directly into top government posts ever since, most recently, of course, Steven Mnuchin as Donald Trump’s Treasury secretary). Before that, she had been working for the investment bank Lehman Brothers, which crashed and burned so dramatically, helping trigger the great financial crisis of 2007-2008. Here’s what she writes:

“We each have our stories from those days, where we were, what went through our minds, how it changed us as people, as a nation. For me, those tense moments walking up Broadway away from Wall Street, with the acrid, debris-filled smoke of the Twin Towers in the air, was a last straw. I left Goldman Sachs. Partly because life was too short. Partly out of disgust at how citizens everywhere had become collateral damage, and later hostages, to the banking system. Since then, I’ve dedicated my work to exposing the intersections of money and power and deciphering the impact of the relationships between governments and central and private bankers on the citizens of the world.”

Because 9/11 did something similar to me, and this website, TomDispatch, resulted from my own urge to decipher a puzzling post-9/11 world, I couldn’t be more sympathetic.
I leave Nomi Prins's article to your interests. It is strongly recommended.

4. What Trump Really Means When He Cries 'Fake News!' 

This article is by Amanda Marcotte on AlterNet and originally on Salon. It starts as follows:

One of the distinguishing traits of the troll-style politics that dominates Trump-era conservatism is the utter disregard for any values outside of winning at all costs and, perhaps even more importantly, defeating liberals. Decency, political norms and truth itself are all treated as acceptable casualties in the endless quest to fuck with the left.

But while many of the excesses of the right seem new, the real­ity is that the Trumpian right is just the outgrowth from roots laid years, even decades ago, in the American right. The racism and sexism, the conspiracy theories, the harping about political correctness? All of it goes back decades and is only exploding out of control now because the right wing political infrastructure has let these foul ideologies and stupid ideas flourish for so long.

Yes, I agree with this, though I have some supplementations that I will give below, and namely because for me it started over 40 years ago, in the "University" of Amsterdam, which was factually in the hand of the students between 1971 and 1995 (that is: for 25 years and around five generations of students). And most of these students were first (quasi-)Marxists, then postmodernists, and now nearly all claim to be "neoconservatives" or "libertarians".

What they also did, for 25 years, in all Dutch universities, was insist over and again that

  • Everybody knows that truth does NOT exist

At the same time, around 95% of the students agreed with this all these 25 years, and indeed got much easier degrees than those before them. Then again, higher education was mostly destroyed - quite intentionally, as well: Truth did NOT exist in the "University" of Amsterdam (nor in the other Dutch universities) - but this destruction of (real, proper) higher education again was denied by the collaborating staff and by almost all of the students.

Also, before quoting more, I should say that what I am quoting from is in fact a part of a book by Marcotte: Troll Nation: How the Right Became Trump-Worshipping Monsters Set on Rat-F*cking Liberals, America, and Truth Itself”. (By the way: I disagree with the title: Either say "Rat-Fucking" or else delete the whole term: Everybody knows what is meant.)

And in fact, while I mostly agree with her about the USA, I disagree with her if she would have used the same explanation for Holland (which she does not do): In Holland, from 1971 till 1995, it were the quasi-leftist universities that insisted that truth does not exist. And almost everybody in all the Dutch universities, both students and staff, agreed with this, at least from 1971 till 1995 (in fact nearly all for political reasons).

Here is more on Trump and the USA:

Nowhere is this more obvious than when it comes to Donald Trump’s war on the media. All his lies and outrageous accusations can be traced directly back to decades of right-wing pundits and politicians encouraging conservative voters to believe that main­stream media sources have a “liberal bias” and are not to be trusted. Trump simply takes it to the next level, dispensing with the notion that truth and facts themselves are relevant and insist­ing that the validity of a news report depends entirely on how flattering he finds it.

This is more or less correct (I think) - except that my own experiences with the (quasi-)Left in Holland, in the "University" of Amsterdam, where I was called very many times "a dirty fascist" (in spite of my being a leftist with a better leftist family-background than I know of anyone else in Holland) and also a "terrorist" in 1988 (!!), and I was illegally denied the right to take my final M.A. examination in philosophy because I was not a Marxist and was in favor of being taught rational real science instead of political prejudices. (Only 5% of the students agreed with me: 95% rather were "taught" the prejudices they had already.)

And because all of this happened on the highest level of formal education in Holland my own explanation is different from Marcotte's explanation:

I think that real science and real scientific truth are of real interest only to the few (around 1 in 50) whose IQs are over 130, and I think most others do not have any good idea of either real science or of real scientific truth, and indeed did not receive the necessary education to get a real understanding of either truth or science.

Also, denying truth exists and denying that science is relevant happens at both extremes: At the left, in Holland, for 25 years, in all Dutch "universities", and at the right, as in the USA, indeed also for a long time now (and there are more examples of the same, both with leftists and with rightists, but I know less about them).

Here is more by Marcotte:

It’s particularly disconcerting to witness the way conserva­tives yell “fake news” at every unfavorable news story with an unmitigated glee. They know that cavalierly dismissing obviously factual stories as “fake” really aggravates liberals, and trolling the left is, for right-wingers circa 2018, an activity more pleasurable than sex.

Calling obviously true news “fake news” is gaslighting, a form of manipulation where the manipulator tells blatant lies to the victim and, when called out, stands by the lies, often blaming the target’s supposed mental damage if the target insists that the truth is true.

As I have explained, very similar things happened in the Dutch universities (but not in the rest of Dutch society) between 1971 and 1995, except that they were caused by the quasi-Left.

Also, I do not quite agree with Marcotte's explanation: The reason I was called "a fascist" so many times was not so much because it was "an activity more pleasurable than sex", but it simply was a quite automatic reaction to things that were strongly disliked, rather like American cops were called "fascist pigs" by many of the young in the 1960ies and 1970ies (although very few who called them "fascist pigs" knew what fascism had been like).

And while it probably is true that I was "gaslighted", I almost never replied anything at all, simply because I knew both my parents were real communists (whom I liked and admired, but did not agree with), whereas everyone I "knew" from the students who tried to "gaslight" me (I only knew faces, not names, at least for the most part) may have been members of the Dutch Communist Party, as both my parents were for 45 years each, but these students - between 19 and 24 - were, at least in my opinion, not real communists at all: They were merely pretending.

Then there is this by Marcotte:

What are conservatives thinking when they call something “fake news”? What is Trump thinking? It’s hard to imagine con­servatives literally believe that the media is making stories up about the Trump-Russia investigation or that Trump had smaller inauguration crowds than Obama. Instead, the Republican war on media needs to be understood more as a rejection of truth as a value. To call something “fake news” isn’t to say that it’s real or not real, but a way of indicating that truth itself doesn’t matter — that the only thing that matters is loyalty to Trump and the right-wing tribe. Telling lies, in fact, is recast as a fun, sporting way to annoy liberals, and to punish liberals for their goody-two-shoes politically correct insistence that facts matter.

Well... for me the question (back in the 70ies and 80ies) was whether the quasi-leftist students meant what they said when they said that "Everybody knows that truth does NOT exist", and as I have indicated, I more or less agree with Marcotte's "[t]elling lies, in fact, [was] recast as a fun, sporting way to annoy", and namely to those of your political opponents whom you wanted to annoy or discriminate.

But this is "just politics" and it happens in the left as well as in the right. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

Against this backdrop, mainstream media doesn’t even have a chance. Journalists can carefully double check all their facts and gather multiple reliable sources for any report, but if the story is ideologically inconvenient for conservatives, it will be dismissed as “fake news.” Truth is something those liberals care about, and refusing to care about anything liberals care about is a point of pride for troll nation.

The utter shamelessness of conservatives on this front can be breathtaking, but this contempt for truth was not a trait that was formed overnight. Instead, it took years of careful propaganda, geared at provoking conservative insecurities and resentments, to get right-wingers to the point where they care less about facts than they care about sticking it to those liberals.

I mostly disagree with this bit. First, denying that the truth exists is done by both the right and the left. Second, it is not done (for the most part) for intellectual or sound reasons, but for political and emotional reasons. And third, while I agree that in both cases it took some time, I also think that denying that truth exists is fairly natural for most people whose IQ is not high, for the simple reason that they do not know what science, mathematics, or rationality really are, which again is true of most who never attended a university (and also for many who did).

And while this is a recommended article, it has to be read with care.

5. Lawyers for 9/11 families launch petition for new inquiry   

This article is - I believe, but am not sure because it is not explicitly listed - by the Lawyers' Committtee for 9-11 Inquiry. Here is the beginning, which is bold in the original:

On April 10 this year, the Lawyers’ Committee for 9-11 Inquiry, a group representing families of the 9/11 victims, filed a petition with the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York to demand a fresh investigation into 9/11. The Lawyers’ Committee claims to have conclusive evidence explosives were used to bring down all three of the WTC buildings that collapsed that day (WTC1,2 & 7).

To start with, I am not American but Dutch. Then again, while this saves me some knowledge of the USA, it also saves me from having some American prejudices, and one of the - currently widespread - prejudices I don't share is about 9/11.

And in fact I agree with the above: It seems that the best explanation for the facts about 9/11 that I have seen is that "
explosives were used to bring down all three of the WTC buildings that collapsed that day".

Here is some of the evidence that has been gathered:
The petition cites many sources of hard evidence, beginning with two scientific papers claiming thermite (an incendiary) and nano-thermite (an explosive) have been found in the WTC dust. According to Activist Post the evidence cited is as follows:
  • Independent scientific laboratory analysis of WTC dust samples showing the presence of high-tech explosives and/or incendiaries in the form of thermite or thermate.
  • Expert analysis of seismic evidence that explosions occurred at the WTC towers on 9/11 prior to the airplane impacts on the WTC Towers, and prior to the building collapses.
  • Technical analysis of video evidence of the WTC building collapses.
  • Firefighter reports of explosions, and of seeing “molten iron like in a foundry.” The petition states that the presence of molten iron would require temperatures higher than jet fuel and building contents could create when burned, but consistent with the use of the high tech explosive and incendiary thermite or thermate.
  • The presence of previously molten iron microspheres, which have been established by electron microscope analysis of WTC dust samples, by both government and independent scientists, is another phenomenon that would be scientifically impossible based on the burning of jet fuel and office contents alone.
  • Video and eyewitness testimony of the ejection during the collapse of WTC 1 and 2 of heavy steel elements laterally from the buildings which would not be possible from a gravity collapse.
  • Scientific analysis, eyewitness testimony, and government reports confirming sulfidation and high-temperature corrosion of the steel found in the rubble after the collapse of the WTC towers and WTC 7, a phenomenon not expected in a jet fuel fire and gravity collapse but consistent with the use of thermate and high explosives.
I have seen quite a few videos about 9/11 and have also read quite a few articles and reports about it, but most of that happened between 2005 and 2012, which in turn means that I have forgotten quite a bit of the evidence, and also lost quite a few of the links.

But my general conclusion, which in fact was mostly due to seeing and reading material from the Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, is that 9/11 was a false flag operation that started the war on Iraq.

Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
According to the 52-page petition, which is accompanied by 57 exhibits, federal statute requires the U.S. Department of Justice to relay citizen reports of federal crimes to a special grand jury. The unprosecuted crime alleged to have taken place on 9/11 is the bombing of a place of public use or a government facility — as prohibited under the federal bombing statute or 18 U.S.C. § 2332f — as well as a conspiracy to commit, or the aiding and abetting of, said offense…
As I said, I agree with both the Architects & Engineers and with the Lawyers' Committee, at least in their main contentions, but I must add - also referring to the murder of John F. Kennedy, about which much relevant materials seem to be hidden to the public - that I much doubt that either group will get a court case. And this is a recommended article.

B. One extra bit

Persons who read considerably more of Nederlog than a few daily bits - Nederlog exists since 2006 (or indeed, but the first two years only about Holland, since 2004) and is fully present on my site - know that until a couple of years ago I regularly reviewed seven or eight articles a day.

I stopped doing so for various reasons some years ago. The most important one is that I have a serious chronic disease since 1.i.1979 (and meanwhile am almost 68, and also got serious eye- problems in 2012, that have lessened but have not disappeared), while a secondary important one is that I thought reviewing 5 of the best or most interesting articles I could find every day on 35 sites was generally sufficient (while it is also something I do not know anyone else does).

But occasionally I do find special bits, and this is one:
In fact, I have given a link to this (the first of three programs, collectively called "The Trap") before, but that link disappeared.

If you want to know more about the whole series, here is a link: The Trap (TV Series). The series  was released in 2007, and I am a philosopher and a psychologist who likes the series, without agreeing with all of it.


[1] 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 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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