from December 26, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Wednesday,
Also, the present Nederlog is to an extent part of the many
commemorations that occur at the end of the year, so the following five
or six days may have some of that, as does today, for it has three
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 three 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 December 26, 2018:
1. Banishing Truth
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. Intercept Summaries of 2018
3. The Best Truthdig Originals of 2018
4. Noam Chomsky: Social media outlets have ‘become major
5. Pilger: ‘Julian is a touchstone for opposition’
This article is by Chris
Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
In fact, this article is
Hersh (and that link is the Wikipedia on him) and indeed
he deserves being written about, for reasons that are well
The investigative reporter Seymour Hersh,
in his memoir “Reporter,”
describes a moment when as a young reporter he overheard a Chicago cop
admit to murdering an African-American man. The murdered man had been
falsely described by police as a robbery suspect who had been shot
while trying to avoid arrest. Hersh frantically called his editor to
ask what to do.
“The editor urged me to do
nothing,” he writes. “It would be my word versus that of all the cops
involved, and all would accuse me of lying. The message was clear: I
did not have a story. But of course I did.” He describes himself as
“full of despair at my weakness and the weakness of a profession that
dealt so easily with compromise and self-censorship.”
I think the last quotation
shows that Hersh is a great investigative reporter. As to his ¨candid admission, familiar to any reporter,
that there are crimes and events committed by the powerful you never
write about, at least if you want to keep your job¨: I think that is quite true, and indeed has
for many decades, and very probably a lot longer.
greatest investigative reporter of his generation, uncovered the
U.S. military’s chemical weapons program, which used thousands of
soldiers and volunteers, including pacifists from the Seventh-day
Adventist Church, as unwitting human guinea pigs to measure the impact
of biological agents including tularemia, yellow fever, Rift Valley
fever and the plague. He broke the story of the My Lai massacre.
He exposed Henry Kissinger’s wiretapping of his closest aides at the
National Security Council (NSC) and journalists, the CIA’s funding of
violent extremist groups to overthrow the Chilean President Salvador
Allende, the CIA’s spying on domestic dissidents within the United
States, the sadistic torture practices at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq
by American soldiers and contractors and the lies told by the Obama
administration about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Yet he
begins his memoir by the candid admission, familiar to any reporter,
that there are crimes and events committed by the powerful you never
write about, at least if you want to keep your job. One of his laments
in the book is his decision not to follow up on a report he received
that disgraced President Richard Nixon had hit his wife, Pat, and she
had ended up in an emergency room in California.
Here is some more on Hersh and current journalism:
Yes, I think all of that
is - unfortunately - quite true. Also, here is a partial explanation:
Reporters embedded with
military units in Iraq and Afghanistan routinely witness atrocities and
often war crimes committed by the U.S. military, yet they know that
access is dependent on keeping quiet. This collusion between the press
and the powerful is a fundamental feature of journalism, one that even
someone as courageous as Hersh, at least a few times, was forced to
accept. And yet, there comes a time when reporters, at least the good
ones, decide to sacrifice their careers to tell the truth. Hersh,
relentlessly chronicling the crimes of the late empire, including the
widespread use of torture, indiscriminate military strikes on civilian
targets and targeted assassinations, has for this reason been virtually
blacklisted in the American media. And the loss of his voice—he used to
work for The New York Times and later The New Yorker—is evidence that
the press, always flawed, has now been neutered by corporate power.
Hersh’s memoir is as much about his remarkable career as it is about
the death of investigative journalism and the transformation of news
into a national reality television show that subsists on gossip,
invective, officially approved narratives and leaks and entertainment.
Yes indeed - and I have many
times indicated that I regard wholesale
surveillance - which is
happening since 2001, and was enabled by the Internet, that in my
opinion was expressly designed by DARPA to surveil everyone (see here
for more) - as the most dangerous thing there is at present in the
The government’s wholesale
surveillance, however, has crippled the ability of those with a
conscience, such as Chelsea Manning or Edward Snowden, to expose the
crimes of state and remain undetected. The Obama administration charged
eight people under the Espionage Act of leaking to the media—Thomas
Drake, Shamai Leibowitz, Stephen Kim, Chelsea Manning, Donald
Sachtleben, Jeffrey Sterling, John Kiriakou and Edward
Snowden—effectively ending the vital connection between investigative
reporters and sources inside the government.
This government persecution
has, by default, left the exposure of government lies, fraud and crimes
to hackers. And this is the reason hackers, and those who publish their
material such as Julian
Assange at WikiLeaks, are relentlessly persecuted. The goal of
the corporate state is to hermetically seal their activities,
especially those that violate the law, from outside oversight or
observation. And this goal is very far advanced.
Also, I think Hedges is quite right in insisting that ¨The goal of the corporate state is to
hermetically seal their activities, especially those that violate the
law, from outside oversight or observation. And this goal is very far
If you want considerably more, try yesterday´s
Nederlog. Here is the
ending of Hedges´ article:
Yes, I agree, and
a strongly recommended article with a lot more.
Hersh resigned. He
the account of the raid in the London Review of Books, the beginning of
his current exile to foreign publications. When we most urgently need
Hersh and good investigative reporters like him, they have largely
disappeared. A democracy, at best, tolerates them. A failed democracy,
like ours, banishes them, and when it does, it kills its press.
Summaries of 2018
This article is the first of
three files that I announced in my introduction. It is by The
Intercept, and starts like this:
on private citizens to revelatory details about Russian interference in
the 2016 election to Washington’s draconian efforts to track and punish
whistleblowers and journalists, surveillance and spying have been
recurring themes this year. Influence-peddling has been rampant, with
Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies cozying up to the Trump
administration in exchange for insider information, freedom to silence
dissidents, and crucial assistance for their brutal war in Yemen. The
U.S. government, meanwhile, has been up to its old tricks, honoring war
criminals and promoting a notorious overseer of torture to lead the
CIA, while pursuing Muslims at home and harming civilians in
distant conflict zones.
Yes indeed, and this brief
introduction is followed by 16 well-chosen selections from what
Intercept published in 2018. I think I can all strongly recommend them.
There also is a second
commemorative file on the Intercept, namely here.
This is about technology. It starts like this:
This will likely go down as
the year in which technology, once envisioned as an empowering and
equalizing force, finally went headlong down the path toward dystopia
and oppression. Our story this summer about Google planning to return
to China with censored search at first shocked Silicon Valley, but it
was the dark nature of what followed — internal dissent squelched,
executives dissembling, Chinese users to be closely tracked — that
proved most surprising.
developments seemed right out of an ominous sci-fi film like “Blade
Runner,” whether it was reporting that revealed the National Security
Agency’s prowess at voice recognition, Facebook’s plans to use
artificial intelligence to predict users’ future behavior, or just how
badly ultrawealthy Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was exploiting underlings. As
tech enters 2019, its brightest days seem to be well behind it.
Yes, and this is followed by 14
well-chosen selections from what The Intercept
published in 2018 on
technology. Again I think I can strongly recommend all of them.
Best Truthdig Originals of 2018
is the third of three files that I announced in my introduction. It
starts as follows:
top Truthdig Original pieces include stark warnings from Chris Hedges,
Bill Boyarsky and several regular contributors, as well as a peek into
the possible future of U.S. banking courtesy of Ellen Brown and a
debunking of an American myth by Jacob Bacharach. Click on the headline
to read the full story.
There are 20
well-chosen selections from what Truthdig published in 2018. I think I
can strongly recommend all of them.
Chomsky: Social media outlets have ‘become major forces for undermining
is on AlterNet by an unnamed author. It starts as follows:
Yes, I think that is quite
correct (just as it is typical of the American mainstream media
not to interview
One of the most
ludicrous—and debunked—claims of the far right is that the mainstream
media in the United States has an inherent liberal/progressive bias.
But Noam Chomsky tore that claim apart in his 1988 book, “Manufacturing
Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media” (which he co-wrote
with the late economist/media scholar Edward S. Herman). The real media
bias, Chomsky stressed, was a corporate bias dictated by
advertising and soundbites. And 30 years later, the 90-year-old Chomsky
revisited his book during a recent interview
with Al Jazeera English.
“The myth is that the media
are independent, adversarial, courageous, struggling against power,”
Chomsky told Al Jazeera, stressing what while the United States often
has “very fine reporters, correspondents” who do “an honest, courageous
job,” they “must operate within a framework that determines what to
discuss, what not to discuss. What we try to demonstrate in the book is
that if you simply look at the institutional structure of the media
within a state capitalist society like ours, they are performing pretty
much the way you would expect.”
Then there is this:
In fact, I don´t know
whether that is correct. In my experience it is only partially
for I have been reading 35 sites since 2013, and at least two of these,
namely AlterNet and Mother Jones, got a whole lot
worse this year:
Mother Jones suddenly became totally uncopyable, which means that I
have totally given it up (and don´t read it anymore either), while
AlterNet is, at least, in a present mess.
Much has changed
technologically since the release of “Manufacturing Consent” 30 years
ago, including the rise of the Internet. Chomsky told Al Jazeera that
having so much of the mainstream media owned by giant corporations
“cheapens and reduces the access to information.” But he quickly added,
“There is a way to compensate for that. The Internet does allow us
to….overcome the impact of the concentration of media—and in fact, can
be done pretty effectively.”
Back to the article:
Chomsky described social
media outlets like Facebook as “double-edged,” noting, “Sometimes, they
are used for constructive purposes. But they have also become major
forces for undermining democracy.” Chomsky cited Brazil as an example,
noting how effectively the far-right Jair Bolsonaro used social media
to win Brazil’s presidential election this year.
I suppose I am more
about Facebook than Chomsky. My own opinion is that it is a lying,
deceiving, propagandizing bunch of privacy-stealing shit that is only
fit for people with an IQ considerably less than 100.
This article ends as follows:
Well... I have been
New York Times all year (very much in part, but even so) but lately
got a whole lot worse, namely by
removing most of its texts. Therefore,
if I have to evaluate the New York Times at present, I disagree
with Chomsky, for the simple reason that
And [Chomsky] praised the
York Times, saying that “with all of its flaws….it still has the
broadest and most comprehensive coverage of, I think, any newspaper in
while I assume his words still fit the paper edition, they no longer
fit the internet edition, which
is the only one I read. Also, this is a recommended article.
‘Julian is a touchstone for opposition’
This article is on Consortium
News by Joe Lauria. It starts as follows:
Julian Assange has vehemently denied that he ever met Donald Trump’s
former campaign manager, according to journalist and filmmaker John
Pilger, who met with Assange at Ecuador’s embassy in London last week.
I like both Julian Assange
and John Pilger,
and the links are to Wikipedia articles on them (although I will not
vouch for the correctness of any Wikipedia article).
Pilger said Assange told him
the story published by The Guardian on Nov. 27 was a “total
fabrication.” Pilger told Consortium News in an interview for the
Unity4J vigil on Friday that “I personally can confirm that did not
happen. He said it was a fabrication. It was not possible. The way
internal security works at that embassy, it was not possible.”
Pilger called The Guardian
story “an indication of a kind of degradation of the media today and
especially of the ‘respectable’ media. We discussed that a great deal.”
As to Assange and Manafort: I have written about this before in
Nederlog, and I completely believe Assange and Pilger.
And I agree with Pilger that The Guardian has grown very much worse
since Viner succeeded Rusbridger in 2015 as chief editor, and indeed
turned itself into
something uncopyable. (I still read parts of it, but without liking it
Here is more from the article:
Pilger had not
visited Assange since before March, when the Ecuadorian government
imposed a ban on his internet and phone connection, and limited
visitors to his lawyers and family members.
Well... the above sounds a
bit more positive about Assange than I have read in the last 9
months. I suppose Pilger speaks the truth, but I do not envy
Pilger’s impression on seeing
him again is that Assange has lost no sharpness of mind after more than
six years confined to a small space in the embassy, and now nine months
cut off from the outside world.
“He’s in very good spirits,”
Pilger said. “The extraordinary resilience of this man is something to
behold. In his own personality, intellectually he is Julian.”
“I can’t say what he’s
feeling. His health is probably holding steady but he urgently needs
comprehensive diagnostic work done,” said Pilger.
“But people should know that
Julian’s spirits, his whole sense of ‘to hell with them,’ and his own
resolve to stand up to those who would want to do a great injustice to
him is undiminished,” he said. “He’s not leaving, they will have to
throw him out. He’s not going anywhere.”
Here is the last bit that I quote from this story:
The Guardian story was the best example he could think of that
expresses today’s Cold War. “I’ve never known it to be as explicit as
it is now. And that fabricated Guardian story … is an example of that.”
Yes, I agree and
this is a
recommended article, but there is no video link on Consortium News to
the interview with Assange that John Pilger made. I think it is this (that I
found on Youtube). And this is a recommended article.
He said: “In the first Cold War there was an opposition in those days.
There isn’t a popular opposition now. The so-called liberal opposition
is so confused, so disorientated, and so, almost wretched, in its
uncertainty of its true allegiances, in its collusion, that there isn’t
a major anti-war movement.”
“In many ways, Julian is a touchstone for opposition to so much of what
is happening in our world. Of all the cases that illustrate resistance
to that, there is none like that of Julian Assange.
“And he needs public, popular support. He needs people to go into the
street outside the embassy. To go in the streets all over the world, as
they have done in the past,” Pilger said.
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 (!!).