from August 11, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Saturday,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was until 2013:
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
five crisis files
that are mostly well worth reading:
A. Selections from August 11, 2018:
1. Google Censorship Plan Is “Not Right” and “Stupid,” Says
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:
Google Head of Free Expression
2. The Trillion-Dollar Fantasy at the Heart of the Global
3. Why This Watergate Anniversary Says So Much About Donald
4. Cables From Secret CIA Black Site Read Like Gina Haspel's
5. “What Harm Can There Be in
One Little Question?”: How the Horrific
Grows in Small Steps
Censorship Plan Is “Not Right” and “Stupid,” Says Former Google Head of
This article is by
Ryan Gallagher on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
Google’s former head of
free expression issues in Asia has slammed the
internet giant’s plan to launch a censored search engine in China,
calling it a “stupid
move” that would violate widely held human rights principles.
The Intercept first reported last week,
Google has been quietly developing a search platform for China that would remove content that China’s authoritarian government views as
sensitive, such as information about political opponents, free speech,
democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest. It
would “blacklist sensitive queries” so that “no results will be
shown” at all when people enter certain words or phrases, according to
internal Google documents.
in fact I do not know how correct Lokman Tsui (Google’s former head of free expression
issues in Asia) is, for the simple reason that I think Google, and
Apple, and Microsoft are helping themselves, their own profits, and the
secret services from virtually anywhere to acquire full insight into
what anyone does on a computer connected to the internet - which in
end will make the whole world totalitarian.
Besides, while I
suppose Gallagher correctly reports that ¨internal Google
show that Google-China will “blacklist sensitive queries” so that “no results will be
shown” it is evident that
they leave the rest, such as arresting those who asked these
¨sensitive querie¨ to the Chinese - but Google will find them for
Here is more:
I more or less agree with
Tsui - except that (i) I do not know whether this will cost
Google, and (ii) similar things happen everywhere outside China:
are on a computer connected with internet, your emails and everything
else will be tapped - by most secret services, and by Google,
Microsoft, Facebook etc.
Tsui, Google’s head of free expression for Asia and the Pacific between 2011 and 2014, read the leaked censorship plans and said
he was disturbed by the details. “This is just a really bad idea, a stupid, stupid move,” he told The Intercept in an interview. “I feel compelled to speak out
and say that this is not right.”
previously launched a censored search engine in China in 2006, but
pulled the service out of the country in 2010, citing Chinese government efforts to limit free speech, block
websites, and hack Google’s computer systems. Tsui said the situation since 2010 has
worsened, with new national security and cybersecurity laws resulting
in more government
censorship and surveillance of China’s internet.
can’t see how Google would be able to negotiate any kind of a deal that
would be positive. I can’t see a way to operate Google search in China
without violating widely held international human rights standards.”
This is about the past (when Google had less money):
Google pulled its search engine out of the country in 2010, it was a major rebuke to the Chinese government and its policies. Returning to China and embracing
the censorship would send the opposite message, according to Tsui.“Google made a grand statement in 2010. The message was
that ‘We care about human rights and we care about free expression, we
are the champions of this, we have responsibility, we don’t want to
self-censor any more,’” said Tsui. “So for
Google to then go back with search — not just any product, but with
search — would be giving a green light to every other company.
Yes, I agree.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
current legal environment in China makes it difficult, if not
impossible, to operate in a way that would allow Google to protect its
users,” said Tsui. “The government would have the legal authority to
just seize the data. If it wanted to play hardball, it could raid data
centers and grab hard drives. That is the risk.”
precisely. And this is a strongly recommended article.
Tsui said the app itself could pose
more risks from a privacy standpoint than would a desktop version of
Google search, because the app may be able to collect other data on
people’s devices, such as location data or call records. “It wouldn’t
be that difficult for
the app to
keep track of who is searching for what, where, at what time,” he said.
Trillion-Dollar Fantasy at the Heart of the Global Economy
This article is by
Jacob Bacharach on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
approximately 1 trillion stars in the Andromeda Galaxy, one for every
dollar in Apple’s current market capitalization. Andromeda is 2.5
million light-years distant from our own Milky Way, however, so by the
time any Andromedans read this, Apple will be long gone, melted or
drowned like the rest of the artifacts of our Ozymandian civilization.
I think Bacharach is right
- which is to say that Apple is currently vastly overvalued.
some of Bacharach´s reasons:
I guess what I am saying is that this number, 1 trillion, is absurd.
It is also not terribly meaningful, except perhaps as a signpost on the
route to the next recession. It is not, for instance, tied to any
particular measurement of Apple’s performance as a company. Apple’s
total balance-sheet assets are about $375 billion.
The iPhone is more
than a decade old and hasn’t improved meaningfully in several
generations. Newer iterations have mostly grown more inconvenient, as
Apple has turned its innovative energies to selling dongles and
otherwise scamming customers into its proprietary peripherals ecosystem
to goose revenues. Its last really good device, the iPod, is dead.
I take it that is correct
(but I never used Apple, except briefly around 1980 and in the
university, and that was also
in the 1980ies, and not my machine, and I also never used
do not want such a phone that relays everything I do or say to
Here is the basic reason for Bacharach´s opinion:
I think this is correct as
well (and I absolutely never liked Steve Jobs, in contrast with
Wozniak, who designed the early Apples, with which I worked as
because a good friend bought an Apple II in 1979).
Rather, its market
capitalization, a pure reflection of stock price, is a product of
speculation. Oh, sure, institutional investors care about quarterly
earnings, but no one is really making bets on new products in the
pipeline. They’re just watching pigeons fly like augurs in the ancient
world. They are not investing in Apple; they are investing in Apple stock,
something between a separate emanation and a magical élan vital.
There are plenty of overvalued
companies, and Apple is only the most ridiculous because of the
combination of the transcendent hugeness of its valuation and the
cultish devotion of its most avid consumers, who respond to the
company’s ever-blander aesthetic like John Ruskin swooning over
Here is the final bit I copy from this article:
And we should worry
as well because companies like Apple, besides making gadgets, have
essentially locked up huge libraries of the cultural patrimony of our
era—our music and literature and correspondence and movies and
television. What happens if one, or several, of these new for-profit
Alexandrias starts to burn?
I take it this is about similar
things as Google did, which was - supposedly - to copy
all books there
are, on computers. I always was against this because I
thought and think
this was and is Google´s way of factually appropriating all the
books there are.
I can also report you that the actual copying Google did was horrible
and that the associated texts (.txt) with the original pdfs tend to
horrible and hardly readable messes.
And while I admit I do not know whether Apple shared in this, I
that I strongly dislike Apple, and indeed always did, after Apple II,
that is (in the early 1980ies).
This Watergate Anniversary Says So Much About Donald Trump
article is by Matthew Rosza on AlterNet and originally on Salon. This
starts as follows:
Forty-four years ago as of
today, Richard Nixon resigned from the office of President of the
It's pretty amazing that
this fact hasn't been brought up by other major media outlets. Right
now America is facing a presidential scandal that bears striking
similarities to Watergate, the event that ultimately caused Nixon to
leave office in disgrace. On both occasions, the scandal occurred
because a Republican presidential candidate — Richard Nixon in 1972,
Donald Trump in 2016 — used trickery in the hope that
doing so would reveal dirt that could undermine the campaign of
their Democratic opponent. To the credit of the Democratic nominee from
1972, George McGovern, Nixon's snoops and scoundrels weren't able to
find anything about him, forcing them to resort to distorting his
progressive ideology; to the discredit of the Democratic nominee from
2016, Hillary Clinton, there was plenty of dirt to be had on her.
In fact, this is from
yesterday (August 10: I am always one day behind, in Nederlog), but
otherwise it is quite correct. Here is more:
Yes, I agree. Here is more:
And now we arrive at the
main reason why this Watergate anniversary matters more than the
forty-three other Watergate anniversaries which came before it.
By this time in Nixon's
presidency, the sins of how he was elected to his then-current term had
finished catching up with him. He was already reckoning with
near-certain impeachment and, to avoid dragging the nation through that
trauma and himself through further anguish, he resigned.
And yet Trump is not only
still in office. The prospect that he would be impeached, even if he
was guilty, is at best remote.
If Trump is guilty
of breaking the law, this Congress would happily choose not knowing
about it over doing the right thing.
This is also correct, I
think. Here is the ending of the article:
The midterm elections are
unlikely to change the dynamic either. Even if Democrats overperform to
an unprecedented degree, it will be impossible for them to obtain 67
seats in the United States Senate — and that's the minimum they would
have to reach in order to be able to remove Trump from office if the
House should choose to impeach him. The situation in the House, by the
way, is hardly a sure thing for the Democrats either.
seems, is the question of whether Trump actually colluded with a
hostile foreign power in order to steal documents about his opponents
in order to win a presidential election.
No, I am sorry: I completely
disagree, and I do because I am interested in the truth and not
in journalistic agreements on what they consider ¨relevant¨.
And it is the same with justice as
If he did that, then the
needs of justice require Trump meet the same fate as Nixon.
The needs of justice, as we have seen, don't seem to matter that much
From Secret CIA Black Site Read Like Gina Haspel's "Torture Journaling"
article is by Jessica Corbett on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
in the New York Times on Friday "read like torture
journaling," critics said
after reviewing the "loud noise, sleep deprivation, forced nudity,
wall-slamming, and waterboarding" that CIA interrogators used on an
al-Qaida suspect in 2002 at a secret prison run by Gina Haspel,
whom the Senate confirmed
as agency chief in May despite widespread
outrage over her torturous
In fact, this is new
evidence about Haspel´s past as a torturer. And Abd
al-Rahim al-Nashiri is according to the Wikipedia article on him
(see last link):
Tom Blanton, director of the
National Security Archive at George Washington University—which
obtained the 11 top secret cables through a Freedom of Information Act
(FOIA) lawsuit—explained that as chief of the base at the CIA black
site, Haspel would have either written or authorized the cables that
outline how the CIA tortured Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who remains
imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba.
According to Richard
Kammen, Nashiri's chief lawyer, psychiatric expert Sondra Crosby believes Nashiri is "one of
the most damaged victims of torture" she has ever examined.
Indeed, he may have been
tortured for four years. Here is more:
Nashiri's former attorney
Richard Kammen—who quit amid allegations
that the U.S. government was spying on the defense team's private
meetings with the prisoner—told the Times he hopes the full
truth about how agents interrogated Nashiri is revealed before his
trial, because "ultimately, the public will be horrified by the level
of brutality employed by the CIA."
While human rights
advocates vocally protested President Donald Trump's appointment of
Haspel to run the CIA earlier this year—as well as the "robust"
public relations campaign which some said amounted to "domestic
propaganda" ahead of her confirmation—they pointed to these newly
released cables as further evidence "that she is totally unfit to lead
Yes, I totally
Here is the ending of the article:
Well... yes. And in any
case Gina Haspel tortured, and torturers should not be head of
but be prosecuted. This is a recommended article.
Others highlighted the
issue that Haspel, as the CIA's acting director, had final
say over what was released during her confirmation process—the
National Security Archive's request to obtain the secret cables before
the Senate's vote was denied—and emphasized that while it is now "too
late" to block her nomination, senators should wait for "all relevant
documents" before voting on Trump's highly
contested U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.
Harm Can There Be in One Little Question?”: How the Horrific Grows in
is by Dianne Monroe on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
He asked that they not
answer the question. “What harm can there be in one little question?”
his colleagues replied.
He argued with them to no
avail. In the end they all answered the question. Within the next four
years, over 100,000 people were murdered. Because of that one little
The man was L. E. Visser.
When Nazi Germany invaded Holland on May 10, 1940, he was President of
the High Court of Holland. Visser was also Jewish. The people he argued
with so forcefully were his fellow High Court Justices. The question
was “are you Aryan or non-Aryan?” It was called the Aryan Attestation.
Well... yes and no, and
I am Dutch, and both of my parents and
one grandparent were part of the
Dutch resistance against the Nazis (and my grandfather was murdered by
In any case: It was not
precisely ¨Because of that
one little question.¨ There
are several complicating factors, and one is that all of the
in the Supreme Court were not Jewish, and they all
signed the ¨harmless little question¨, and effectively collaborated.
Another is that most other Dutch judges and most Dutch
policemen did the same. And the final complicating factor is that the
heads of the Jewish Council, professor David Cohen and Abraham Asscher,
actively cooperated with
the SS, and personally
with the head of the SS Willy Lages, for
their own release and the keeping of their - large
amounts - of money, which the SS agreed to, and indeed honored.
But these things indeed
are not often mentioned in
Holland, indeed in part because something
like 90% of the Dutch collaborated with
the Nazis, although I
should add that there were considerable differences in the
motives for collaboration, and quite a few may have felt forced to
In October of 1940, the
Germans distributed their Aryan Attestation. All Civil Servants were to
fill one out within 8 days. People (both Jews and Aryans) discussed and
agonized over whether or not to answer. What harm would it do to
answer? What were the possible penalties if one refused to answer? What
were the possible penalties if one was caught lying?
Visser argued that to make
any distinction among Dutch citizens (based on religion or any other
reason) was in conflict with Dutch law and tradition – and thus in
violation of the German’s promise that Dutch law would be maintained.
What might have happened if the entire Dutch High Court had ruled on
the Aryan Attestation in this way?
In November the Germans began dismissing all Jewish Civil Servants –
including the President of the High Court, L.E. Visser. In January of
1941, all Jews were required to register (including full Jews,
half-Jews and quarter-Jews).
From there followed an
increasingly onerous series of restrictions, all designed to separate
Jews from the larger Dutch population. Jews could not attend school
with non-Jews. Jews were barred from public parks, restaurants, hotels,
theaters, beaches, swimming pools, concerts, libraries, museums, and
more. Eventually all Jews had to wear the yellow Star of David on their
Yes - but as I said, all
Dutch Supreme Court judges except the Jewish Mr. Visser collaborated,
as did most Dutch judges. (Indeed, my father and grandfather were
convicted as ¨political terrorists¨ in September 1941 to concentration
camp imprisonment by collaborating Dutch judges.)
Also, Cohen and Asscher
actively helped the Germans in registering all Jews
(and half-Jews, and
quarter Jews) as Jews, which very much helped the Germans a
later to round up almost every Jew - but Cohen and Asscher did not even
have to face any judge (!) after WW II had ended (and 106,000
And while Visser
succumbed to a heart-attack, his wife was sent to Auschwitz in 1942 and
Anyway... back to the
USA and the article:
As I write this article,
the Trump regime wants to add one simple question to the census – Are
you a US Citizen? What harm can there be in answering this simple
question – if you are living here legally? If you are a citizen?
Our government has already
ripped children from the arms of their parents, who come asking for
asylum in accordance with US and international law. Our government is
legal residents with minor legal blemishes from decades past. Just
Google “legal immigrants deported.”
I don´t think anyone
should use Google, and indeed I don´t, though I am willing to agree I
am one of the few. And one can do the same by using DuckDuckGo, and the
results are both interesting and horrible.
Visser and his fellow High
Court Justices had achieved stature and power. They were the final
arbiters of Dutch law, which the invading Nazi’s had pledged to
respect. What might have happened if all the justices had refused to
identify themselves as Aryan or non-Aryan, ruling that this question
was contrary to Dutch law? How might the flow of history have been
changed? How many of the over 100,000 Dutch Jews who perished in the
Holocaust might have been saved?
More importantly – how may
learning from this history show us ways we can respond today?
Well... as I explained
90% of all Dutchmen, including all Supreme Court judges other
than the Jewish Mr. Visser collaborated. Also, while I have no
idea whether a different decision of most judges of the Dutch Supreme
Court would have made much of a difference, but Cohen´s and
assistance with making all Dutch Jews register as Jews made it a whole
lot easier for the Germans to arrest most Dutch Jews, prior to
Finally, the parallel
with the Dutch in 1940-1941 is far from complete: WW II was going on;
Holland had been beaten and was occupied by the Germans; the Germans
had full power in Holland, and more.
B. One Extra Bit
This is an
extra bit that belongs more to health or health matters than to the
crisis. It is about ME/CFS, which
my ex and myself have for almost 40
years now. This article is by Frank Twisk on MDPI:
My ex and I both have
ME/CFS since January 1979. And it turned out in March of 2018 (!!!)
that - in
effect, but we will never get any restitution - we have been
discriminated by 90% of the Dutch doctors, and 99% of the Dutch
bureaucracy (that insisted until I was 61 that I was ¨fit
Also, I have three comments on this article:
First, I agree with it. I think Twisk is quite correct, and the
introduction of yet another name for ME/CFS (namely SEID) will help to
trivialize the findings that a few doctors did make between
Second, I am probably going considerably further than Twisk, when I say
that I discovered soon after returning to Holland in 1977 (from
where I lived and could have studied), that the whole system of
education that had been pretty well from 1865 till 1965 was
completely destroyed - and current medical people get about
half of the
education doctors did get between 1865 and 1965, for which they have to
pay also vast sums.
Third, both my ex and I succeeded - in spite of the fact that
not follow lectures - in getting very good M.A.s in psychology.
am almost 40 years ill without receiving any help, I expect
no help whatsoever, and have totally given up on Dutch
medicine (other than for things that I know that they know).
I also expect to be dead before any good cure of ME/CFS arises (which
may take another 40 years if it is up to Dutch ¨medicine¨ or Dutch
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 (!!).