from May 13, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Sunday,
2018. (This is an ordinary crisis file, but fairly late yesterday I uploaded a
non-crisis file, namely the third and probably last file on the Diggers.)
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.
2. Crisis Files
These are five crisis files
that are all well worth reading:
A. Selections from May 13, 2018
1. When Spies Hack Journalism
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:
2. White House Refuses to Apologize for Kelly Sadler’s Joke
3. A Last-Ditch Battle for 'Net Neutrality'
4. 'Bloody Gina' Hearing Does Not Bode Well for Us
5. A Brief Chat With Noam Chomsky
Spies Hack Journalism
article is by Scott Shane on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
For decades, leakers
of confidential information to the press were a genus that included
many species: the government worker infuriated by wrongdoing, the
ideologue pushing a particular line, the politico out to savage an
opponent. In recent years, technology has helped such leakers operate
on a mass scale: Chelsea Manning and the WikiLeaks diplomatic cables, Edward
Snowden and the stolen National Security Agency archive, and the
still-anonymous source of the Panama Papers.
now this disparate cast has been joined by a very different sort of
large-scale leaker, more stealthy and better funded: the intelligence
services of nation states, which hack into troves of documents and then
use a proxy to release them. What Russian intelligence did with
shocking success to the Democrats in 2016 shows every promise of
becoming a common tool of spycraft around the world.
Yes indeed, although I don´t quite agree on the
the NYT is taking on Russia. Here is more:
does this mean for journalism? The old rules say that if news
organizations obtain material they deem both authentic and newsworthy,
they should run it. But those conventions may set reporters up for spy
agencies to manipulate what and when they publish, with an added
danger: An archive of genuine material may be seeded with slick
In fact, I think ¨journalism¨ (between quotes, because
there are several kinds of journalism) will continue to do as
before, that is ¨if news
organizations obtain material they deem both authentic and newsworthy,
they should run it.¨
It is true that ¨news organizations¨
may be more easily duped in several ways, but that cannot be helped.
Besides, if a ¨news
organizations¨ does get
duped by trickery, it should report this,
and as prominently as they reported the ¨news¨ when they first
And indeed, here is a final bit from this article:
But that also is the risk
of the reporter. And ¨the
imperative to publish scoops is likely to prevail¨. I do not think that the problems Shane addresses are
very important, although I agree that they are real.
the hazards, the imperative to publish scoops is likely to prevail. Far
from being wary of leaks, most news outlets are inviting them like
recent years, The Times and many other outlets have added to their web
pages a “secure drop” that can offer leakers
total anonymity. That may be a crucial attraction for a whistle-blower
deep inside an American institution, but it will also protect a hacker
sitting in Moscow or Beijing. The reporter may never be the wiser.
House Refuses to Apologize for Kelly Sadler’s Joke About McCain
article is by Peter Baker on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
The White House
declined on Friday to renounce or apologize for an aide whose joke at a
meeting that Senator John McCain was irrelevant because he would soon
die went viral, outraging relatives, friends and admirers of the ailing
Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said she would not
comment on a closed-door meeting where the joke was made. And she
offered no words of regret over the remark or sympathy for Mr. McCain,
a Republican senator and two-time presidential candidate who is battling brain cancer at his Arizona
I say! What would The White House or Sanders say if I -
or anybody else - said that Trump will soon die (and how soon is
¨soon¨?), and that therefore I - or anybidy - can say what I
And while I don´t agree with Senator McCain on
most political issues, I think he is a brave man who got
terribly abused by ¨an aide¨ and then by Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
also is either a dirty liar or else a total idiot (and I am telling it
as I see it):
she denied that President Trump, who in 2015 said that Mr. McCain was “not a war hero” because he spent more
than five years as a prisoner in North Vietnam and that he preferred
“people who weren’t captured,” had set a tone of disrespect. “We have a
respect for all Americans and that is what we try to put forward in
everything we do, both in word and in action, focusing on doing things
that help every American in this country, every single day,” Ms.
Trump clearly disrespected McCain (and avoided
himself by stating what I regard as evident lies), while
Sanders does not ¨have
all Americans¨, for these
include Senator McCain, who gets a lot of disrespect from both
Trump and Sanders.
Here is the last bit from this article that I quote:
Sadler’s comment came on the same day a retired Air Force three-star
general went on Fox Business Network to deride Mr. McCain’s conduct as
a prisoner of war. Mr. McCain was brutally and repeatedly beaten but
refused early release unless other captives were also freed. But in
discussing Ms. Haspel’s nomination, the retired general, Thomas G.
McInerney, rejected Mr. McCain’s opposition to torture.
fact is, is John McCain, it worked on John,” he said. “That’s why they
call him ‘Songbird John.’”
Well... I think McInerney is a sick bastard who
probably would have talked if he had been exposed to the same tortures
as McCain did (if McCain did talk). Besides, I think McCain
acted very bravely when he ¨refused early release unless other captives
were also freed¨.
Last-Ditch Battle for 'Net Neutrality'
article is by Ilana Novick on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
“Net neutrality” laws are
set to expire June 11, the Federal Communications Commission announced
Thursday, and now a number of senators, mainly Democrats, are staging a
last-ditch effort to save them.
The Obama-era rules,
enacted in 2015, aimed to create a free and open internet by preventing
telecommunications companies from charging more for faster internet
service, or otherwise privileging their own material or that of their
advertisers online. If the rules are allowed to expire, companies will
have “broad new power over how consumers can access the internet,”
In repealing the rules, the
government is favoring the interests of giant telecoms over those of
American consumers, effectively limiting the information they can
consume based on their ability to pay for it.
Multiple state and federal
officials have spoken against repeal. Barbara Underwood, the acting
attorney general for New York, told Reuters that “the repeal of net
neutrality would allow internet service providers to put their profits
before the consumers they serve and control what we see, do, and say
To the best of my
knowledge, this is all perfectly true. Then again, it will probably fail
for the following reason:
Michael Fauscette, an
expert in net neutrality and chief research officer of G2 Crowd, a
software and services review company, said in a statement, “There is
some momentum in the Senate, with two Republicans already defecting and
promising to vote for the bill when it comes in the floor next week,
which is only 1 vote shy of the simple majority required to pass.”
continues, “the attempt seems doomed either in the House or with the
President, who would most certainly refuse to sign the bill.”
Yes indeed, and I agree
with Fauscette. Unfortunately, net neutrality is almost certainly
Gina' Hearing Does Not Bode Well for Us
article is by Joe Lauria on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Instead of facing a
judge to defend herself against prosecution for violating U.S. law
prohibiting torture, 33-year CIA veteran Gina Haspel on Wednesday faced
the Senate Intelligence Committee in a hearing to confirm her as
director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Yes indeed - and note that
Haspel should be prosecuted ¨for violating U.S. law
prohibiting torture¨, for
that is the law. And she isn´t, because that law is widely
disobeyed, since 17 years at least, and because the present U.S.
government likes torturing, in spite of the law.
Here is more on Haspel:
perfectly typical middle class American personally supervised a black
site in Thailand where terrorism suspects were waterboarded. It remains
unclear whether she had a direct role in the torture. The CIA said she
arrived at the black site after the waterboarding of senior al-Qaeda
operative Abu Zubaydah had taken place. Some CIA officials
disputed that to The New York Times. The newspaper
also reported last
year that Haspel ran the CIA Thai prison in 2002 when another suspect,
Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, was waterboarded.
Even if she did not have a
direct hand in overseeing the torture, she certainly acquiesced to it.
And if that were not bad enough, Haspel urged the destruction of 92
videotaped CIA “enhanced interrogations,” conducted at the prison in
Thailand, eliminating evidence in a clear-cut obstruction of justice to
cover-up her own possible crimes.
Quite so - and I´d say
that any rational person would say that someone who ¨urged the destruction of 92
videotaped CIA “enhanced interrogations” should be prosecuted for intentionally obstructing
justice, indeed regardless of the question whether she tortured
prisoners in Thailand (which is more probable, because she
urged destroying the evidence).
Haspel testified that the
U.S. has a new legal framework that governs detentions and
interrogations forbidding what she refused to call torture. But the
U.S. already had a law on the books against it when the Senate ratified
the international Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel,
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment on October 21, 1994. Every
time the U.S. “tortured some folks” after that, as Barack Obama put, it
broke U.S. law.
In speaking about it in a
folksy way, Obama was minimizing the enormity of the crime and
justifying his decision to not prosecute any American who may have
taken part in it. That includes Haspel. So instead of facing the law
she’s facing a career promotion to one of the most powerful positions
in the United States, if not the world.
Precisely. Then there
is this about Ray
Because she wasn’t giving
any straight answers, Ray McGovern, a CIA veteran of 27 years and
frequent contributor to Consortium News, stood up in the hearing room
and began asking his own questions. Capitol police were immediately
ordered by the chairman, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), to physically remove
McGovern from the room. As he continued turning towards the committee
to shout his questions, four officers hauled him out. They ominously
accused him of resisting arrest. Once they got him into the hallway,
rather than letting him go his way, four policemen wrestled him to the
ground, re-injuring his dislocated left shoulder, as they attempted to
I say! There is also
In 1975, Sen. Frank Church
(D-ID) conducted hearings that revealed a raft of criminality committed
by the CIA, the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of
Investigation over a period of thirty years from the end of the Second
World War. It has been more than 40 years since that Senate
investigation. After the release of the CIA Torture Report by the
Senate in 2014 and the revelations about the NSA by Edward Snowden, a
new Church Committee-style expansive probe into the intelligence
agencies is long overdue.
Quite so - and for Sen.
Church´s opinions, including a fine and important
quote, see here - which I only now
see I reviewed before.
Well... I am sorry,
but this is a fine article. (And my mistake has to do with the horrors
that are happening presently on AlterNet´s site, that was recently
sold, and that currently is being served by some sort on Tweeting
program, that produces tens of ¨articles¨ a day of a few statements
long. Possibly more on this tomorrow.)
A Brief Chat With Noam Chomsky
article is by Dan Brook on Truthout. It starts as follows:
Noam Chomsky is
an exceptionally influential figure. Author of well over 100 books (as
well as many articles, letters, speeches and
interviews) published over the past 60 years, Chomsky is integral to
cognitive science, modern linguistics, philosophy, mass media criticism
and political analysis -- especially of US foreign policy, the
military-industrial complex, capitalism and imperialism. Chomsky is a
defender of free speech and is one of the most cited authors.
Chomsky was kind enough to
take some time out of his extraordinarily busy schedule to give what he
described as "much too brief" responses to Truthout's questions.
This is more or less
correct (although not well written). Here is some more:
Despite all the
fraud, voter suppression, corporate mass media biases, political party
duopoly, plutocracy, etc., votes are still mostly counted in this very
imperfect, top-down democracy. Yet, only a little more than half the
electorate, and a little less than half of millennials, voted in 2016.
There's an excellent study of these matters by two
outstanding political scientists, Walter Dean Burnham and Thomas
Ferguson. They focus in detail on the 2014 election, but the
conclusions are general. As they point out, participation is
reducing to the level of the days when voting was restricted to white
males with property qualifications. The reasons are not hard to
figure out. People don't have to read the academic work in political science (these authors, Gilens, Bartels, Page) to know that the large majority are
essentially unrepresented, in that their opinions and choices are
ignored by their own representatives, who, like others, listen to the
voices of the ultra-rich and corporate sector, overwhelmingly. So
Well... one answer to
Chomsky´s last question would be that, even if ¨their own representatives, (..) listen to the
voices of the ultra-rich and corporate sector¨ there are several styles amongst the
ultra-rich and in the corporate sector. Then again, I agree
that is probably not a strong argument in the eyes of most non-voters.
Here is the last bit I
quote from this - indeed brief - interview:
Quite so. And this is a
The Sanders campaign,
the most remarkable feature of the '16 election by far, broke with the
long-standing pattern of reliance on wealth and corporate
power. He might well have won the nomination, maybe the election,
had it not been for the machinations of the Obama-Clinton "New
Democrat" party managers. But without a mass popular and
activist-engaged base, Sanders couldn't have done anything even if he
had been elected. There's lots more to say about this.
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 (!!).