in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from April 27, 2019
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 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 April 27, 2019:
1. What's Really Behind Julian Assange's
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. Facebook Partners With Notorious
Far-Right Site on Fact-Checking
3. Assange’s Imprisonment Reveals More Corruption Than
4. "I'm a Capitalist," Says Warren…But Why?
5. Trump Signs Order to Withdraw From Global Arms Treaty
Really Behind Julian Assange's Arrest
article is by Robert Scheer on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Yes, I entirely agree.
Here is some more:
The recent arrest of
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has provoked a wide spectrum of
responses in the media, but many journalists seem to recognize the
Trump administration’s attack on the publisher as setting a dangerous
precedent for freedom of the press. Many reports have focused on what
Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer deems a mischaracterization of
Assange’s character that is used to justify a heinous persecution and
bury the fact that Assange, in his publishing of news, has acted much
like any newspaper.
“It’s kind of a shame that
we have to say, put in this disclaimer, ‘whatever you think of Julian
Assange,’ ” the Truthdig editor in chief tells his guest, Bruce
Shapiro, in the latest installment of “Scheer Intelligence.” “Because
of course, any whistleblower is going to be attacked, and it’s the
traditional argument of shooting the messenger. […] Julian Assange, and
Chelsea Manning more spectacularly […] distributed at least 700,000
military, war and diplomatic records. And there is no question of the
news value of those records, the right of the public to know that
information, the need of the public to know that information. There has
not been one documented example of an injury or death as a result of
the release of that information.”
[T]he reason I wanted to talk to you, Bruce Shapiro, is that you wrote
a number of articles, but most recently in The Nation, the
indictment of Julian Assange as a threat to press freedom. So can you
basically summarize your view of this?
Bruce Shapiro: Sure.
And I suppose I should start by saying that my view of this is
that it’s a mess. It’s contradictory, it’s complicated. And I think
it’s important to separate, for this conversation, whatever personal
views or political views we may have of Julian Assange as an
individual, or WikiLeaks as an institution. And instead, look at the
indictment and say, what are its implications for the work of
journalism and journalists, what are its implications for publishing,
what are its implications for free expression. That’s what I’ve tried
First of all, the underlying charge is not just the limited charge of
having tried to crack a password; that’s sort of a predicate to get him
extradited and maybe add more later, who knows. But even in this
limited indictment, it’s a conspiracy charge.
And so this indictment in order to get to this limited act of
password-cracking, is criminalizing the work, the day-to-day work of
investigative reporting. That seems to me to be very dangerous. I think
the government, the Trump administration is counting on a lot of
people’s dislike of Julian Assange personally to get this through to,
to establish the precedent for criminalizing investigative reporters’
relationships with leakers.
I more or less
agree, but not quite, and what I mostly disagree with is this
bit: "I think the
government, the Trump administration is counting on a lot of people’s
dislike of Julian Assange personally to get this through", and what I disagree with is not what
is being said about the Trump administration, but about "a lot of people’s dislike of Julian Assange".
What is it based on?
In fact, I have no idea, just as, in fact, I never met
Assange, never mailed with Assange, never discussed with him
anywhere, which - I take it - is the same for almost
everybody else who dislikes or likes Assange.
And if that is all
"a lot of people" believe about Assange, I say that is a very vague
basis of judging a person you never met or mailed with.
Anyway. Here is some
it’s kind of a shame that we have to say, put in this disclaimer,
“whatever you think of Julian Assange.” Because of course, any
whistleblower is going to be attacked, and it’s the traditional
argument of shooting the messenger. The fact of the matter is, there’s
two points to be made. First of all, Julian Assange, and Chelsea
Manning more spectacularly, and the real victim of prosecution here so
far, has–you know, they distributed at least 700,000 military, war, and
diplomatic records. And there is no question of the news value of those
records, the right of the public to know that information, the need of
the public to know that information. There has not been one documented
example of an injury or death as a result of the release of that
information. So the rump of this whole issue here, the documents that
were released, that really showed evidence of serious war crimes, the
killing of civilians, shooting of reporters, everything else–no one has
gone for jail on the other end. No one has, you know, been held
accountable for any of those crimes.
Here is some more:
BS: You know,
there’s a big argument within journalism right now about whether
Assange is really a journalist and whether WikiLeaks is really
journalism. I actually think this is an irrelevant argument, because
whether or not you think a public interest document dump is journalism
or meets the best ethical standards or whatever, what Julian Assange
unquestionably is a publisher. And the First Amendment doesn’t only
protect journalists; in fact, journalism as a profession didn’t really
exist when the First Amendment was passed back in 1789. The First
Amendment protects publication and publishers, and that was the meaning
as well of the Pentagon Papers case, right?
I agree, and like to
add I am not impressed by the (supposed) fact that "there’s a big argument within journalism
right now about whether Assange is really a journalist", if only because I do not like most
products of journalism that I've seen (in fact, in my case, for
a very long time, namely at least 50 years), for I think many
journalists (whatever that is, or they are) write more like propagandists
than as relayers of objective facts.
Here is some more:
RS: (..) [A] lot
are very angry with Julian Assange because of what happened in the
election, and basically, the release of material that had nothing to do
with this charge. But the Podesta file showing that the Democratic
National Committee had basically tried to undermine the Bernie Sanders
campaign. And the other important thing that was revealed, again having
nothing at all to do with this charge or Chelsea Manning, was the
content of the speeches that Hillary Clinton gave for three quarters of
a million dollars to Goldman Sachs, saying that she would like to bring
these wonderful bankers back to Washington with her to straighten out
the problems that we have, that of course the banks caused.
And there seems to be no concern, in this zeal to get Chelsea Manning
or Julian Assange convicted of additional charges, of what about the
crimes that they revealed? What about the killing of civilians? What
about the invasion of a country and doing this, the dismemberment of a
whole region? And there is absolutely no sense at all–which we usually
bring to whistleblowing cases; we usually say, was the information
important? Did the public have a right to know it? That is, after all,
the First Amendment basic argument in defense of the press, that you
need a vital press. And you could not have a better example of the
vitality of a press, in terms of the documents revealed by WikiLeaks.
No one can challenge that, I don’t think. And yet there’s no mention of
Yes, I completely
agree. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
RS: And you have to
really ask a question: why are there so few whistleblowers? If we’re
such a great, free society, you know, where are the people of courage?
Are they so worried–what are the risks they would be taking, there
would be a slight kink in their career curve? But how many people, how
many people on the inside, with security clearances, whether they’re in
the academic world, the military world or so forth, have stepped
forward and told the American people the truth they need to know in
order to make intelligent decisions as an electorate? In national
security, 95 to 99 percent of the information we operate on is
government-tailored information, quite often fraudulent. You have that
rare person, like a Julian Assange, an Edward Snowden, a Daniel
Ellsberg and so forth, you can name them all right now on this program
in a few minutes, and you have to ask the basic question: Where are the
other folks? Where are the people with the security clearances who keep
quiet while lies are sold to the American people that they know are
Precisely, and this
is a very good question to which I have a rather simple answer (as
the son and grandson of a father and a grandfather committed by
collaborating Dutch judges as "political terrorists" to Nazi
concentration camps, where my grandfather was murdered) that I think is
quite adequate: There simply are very few
people like Assange, like Snowden and like Ellsberg, as can be easily deduced from their rarity. By far
the most people - at least 95% - are conformists
and collaborators from self-interest,
for by far the most persons are ordinary people.
And this is a strongly recommended article.
Partners With Notorious Far-Right Site on Fact-Checking
article is by Ilana Novick on Truthdig. I abbreviated the title. It
starts as follows:
Yes - or to be a bit more
precise: Supposedly in order to get the real
Facebook partners with right-wing organizations, who indeed do
"check facts", but who also and at the same time promote right-wing
The right-wing Daily Caller
is the latest site to partner with Facebook on its controversial
fact-checking platform, Axios
for-profit subsidiary of The Daily Caller, is, like all of Facebook’s
fact-checking partners, including the Associated Press and PolitiFact,
approved by the Poynter Institute’s International Fact Checking Network.
Still, the parent company,
as The Guardian’s Sam Levin explained
Wednesday, is “a rightwing website that has pushed misinformation and
is known for pro-Trump content.” CheckYourFact.com, on the other hand,
says it is “loyal to neither people nor parties.”
I grant that is not an impossibility, but I wonder how many
supposed facts are checked for whether they are really true, and how
many supposedly factual statements are (also) checked whether they are
Here is some more:
That is, Facebook pointed
to the Poynter certification from the Poynter Institute - that accepted
funding from the far-right Koch brothers.
When Facebook was asked by
The Guardian about its decision to partner with The Daily Caller,
Facebook pointed to The Daily Caller’s Poynter certification.
The Poynter Institute, a
nonprofit school for journalism in Florida, owns the Tampa Bay Times.
The organization, which advises multiple news organizations as well as
trains early and mid-career journalists, came under fire in 2018 after
accepting funding from the far-right Charles Koch Foundation, whose
founders, the Columbia
Journalism Review (CJR) observed at the time, are “famous for their
efforts to discourage and discredit journalism critical of their
business and political operations.”
In an interview with CJR,
the New Yorker writer Jane Mayer said the Foundation’s grants to
Poynter and other media organizations are an attempt at “whitewashing”
its reputation for being anti-press.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
In February, Snopes, a
dedicated to fact-checking news stories, hoaxes and urban legends,
announced it was ending its partnership with Facebook.
“They’ve essentially used us for crisis PR,” Brooke Binkowski, former
managing editor of Snopes, told The Guardian in February.
I think Binkowski is
right. Besides, to get the truth about
Facebook what you do not need is either Facebook or its
partners. And this is a recommended article.
Imprisonment Reveals More Corruption Than WikiLeaks Did
This article is by
Caitlin Johnstone on Consortium News. I abbreviated the title. It
starts as follows:
News has launched a new series titled “The Revelations of WikiLeaks”,
geared toward helping readers come to a full appreciation of just how
much useful information the outlet has made available to the world with
its publications. Which is good, because there’s a whole lot of it.
Understanding everything that WikiLeaks has done to shine light in
areas that powerful people wish to keep dark makes it abundantly clear
why powerful people would want to dedicate immense amounts of energy
toward sabotaging it.
mostly agree, but not with Johnstone's "the (..) arrest and imprisonment of
Julian Assange arguably exposes more malfeasance by government and
media powers than than what has been revealed in all WikiLeaks
publications combined since its inception", for that seems nonsense to me.
What’s even more
interesting to me right now, though, is that if you think about it, the
completely fraudulent arrest and imprisonment of Julian Assange
arguably exposes more malfeasance by government and media powers than
than what has been revealed in all WikiLeaks publications combined
since its inception. And we can use that as a weapon in waking the
world up to the dystopian manipulations of the powerful, in the same
way we can use WikiLeaks publications.
Here is some more:
these things are of course hugely significant. But are they anywhere
near as significant as the earth-shakingly scandalous revelation that
the U.S. government and its allies conspired to imprison a journalist
for reporting facts about the powerful? That the governments of
America, Ecuador, the UK and Australia all worked in concert to arrange
a series of bureaucratic technicalities which all aligned perfectly to
create a situation that just so happens to look exactly the same as
imprisoning a journalist for telling the truth?
Again yes and no,
for while I strongly dislike the behaviors of "the governments of America,
Ecuador, the UK and Australia" I also think this simply was to be expected.
Here is some more:
only thing which keeps this scandalous revelation from registering in
the minds of the greater public with the magnitude it deserves is the
fact that the mass media doesn’t treat it like the scandal that it so
clearly is. If, for example, the mass media were treating this open act
of tyranny with the same enthusiasm they treated the Democratic Party
emails as they were published drop by drop in the lead-up to the
presidential election, or the same enthusiasm they regarded the
diplomatic cables or the “Collateral Murder” video, everyone would be
up in arms at the fact that their government was acting in a way that
is functionally indistinguishable from what’s done to journalists by
the most totalitarian dictatorships in the world.
yes... but governments are very often not honest about many
things they do, and they strongly like to keep these things
secret. ("All governments lie." I.F. Stone.)
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
legal precedent that they are attempting to set with the extradition,
persecution and prosecution of Julian Assange for everyday acts of
journalism will affect every journalist on the planet, working or
retired, professional or citizen. This literally endangers the lives
and freedom of every single person working in every single one of those
outlets, and they are all either ignorantly cheering it on, or too
scared to care.
this illustrates why I remain a bit skeptical about Caitlin
Johnstone, who seems to identify very strongly with
"journalists" (every one of them, included the retired ones and
the non-professional ones) and who also seems to think that she
is unique among journalists, for she writes that "they" - all kinds of
journalists - "are all either ignorantly cheering it on, or too scared to
that is, I take it, with the exception of Caitlin Johnstone.
a Capitalist," Says Warren…But Why?
This article is by
Frances Moore Lappé on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
My headline poses a
question I struggle with.
“Capitalism” refers to an
economy driven by owners of private capital, typically with the aim of
bringing the highest possible return to themselves, and I am sure that
is not what Senator Elizabeth Warren stands for.
Warren has made clear that
what she wants (and I do, too!) is “accountable
capitalism,” a market economy that works for all of us because it
responds to all of us—a market that’s truly competitive and always open
to newcomers. Not what we have now.
Today in the US, just two
companies control more than half the market in twelve major
industries. Four control nearly 90
percent of the total global grain trade. Six control 90 percent of American
media, and four control over 80
percent of air travel.
lauds are “fair markets, markets with rules.” Without them, she
explains, it’s “about the rich tak[ing] it all… And that’s what’s gone
wrong in America.”
So, I wonder, why call
Well... the question in
the title is a good one, but I am afraid Moore Lappé's treatment of it is shoddy, and I
make two points - to start with - to show this:
capitalism" seems mostly bullshit to me:
Most capitalists do not want to be "accountable" (for quite a
few things) and disagree with laws that make it clear what they
really do (rather than their advertisements
claim they do).
Second, "fair markets, markets with rules" is definitely bullshit, for there are no markets without
rules (and laws and standards), while "fair markets" is a phrase that
seems to completely forget the differences between
millionaires and poor people, including the 60% of all American adults
who have less than $1000 dollars available for all their choices.
Here is more of the same:
This also seems bullshit to me:
A vibrant market economy,
welcoming all these forms of ownership, needs a polity creating values
boundaries in which it operates. As noted, Warren made this point
strongly. A “fair market,” as opposed to the fictional “free market,”
requires a democracy enforcing rules already on the books—those, for
example, preventing monopoly and protecting health and safety—and
creating new rules as needed.
If “capitalism” is
inaccurate, what term does best capture the goal of such a vibrant,
fair market economy? One with more accountable forms of ownership and
protected from private, monopoly power or bureaucratic overreach?
“Socialism” can mislead
because it’s often equated with top-down government control.
So, I vote for “economic
democracy” enabling a “fair market”.
What is so desirable about a "market economy"? And what is
that? And why would one "welcome" many "forms of ownership"?
And WTF is "a polity
creating values boundaries in which it operates"?! Also, while I agree
"free markets" are fictional, I certainly would also insist that "fair
markets" are fictional. And if not, what are "fair markets"?
Next, who has said that "“capitalism”
is inaccurate"? And in what
sense? Also, why dismiss "socialism" with total bullshit?! (It "can mislead because it’s often equated with
top-down government control":
Exit socialism, for Moore Lappé.)
And what is "economic
democracy"?! How does this differ
from "political democracy"? (Besides, as I said a "fair market" is as fictional as a "free market".)
Here is what this article is in aid of:
That is to say: Let's drop
all debate about capitalism versus socialism; let's forget
about over 150 years of discussions between philosophers, economists,
sociologists, politicians and many more, in many thousands of books,
or indeed let's not read them at all: the one clear
conception we all like is the "open,
fair, and accountable market essential to real democracy".
So, let’s drop the
debate of capitalism versus socialism and focus on choosing terms that
capture what we really mean—an open, fair, and accountable market
essential to real democracy. Thank you, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for your
courage in opening this dialogue.
To me, that sounds like metaphysics, in Hume's sense: Nonsense.
Signs Order to Withdraw From Global Arms Treaty
article is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. I abbreviated the title.
It starts as follows:
I say, for I did not
know this. Here is some more:
President Donald Trump
announced during a speech to the National Rifle Association Friday that
he is withdrawing the U.S. from a global arms treaty that aims to
restrict the flow of weapons to human rights abusers.
"I hope you're happy,"
the crowd gathered at the NRA's annual convention in Indianapolis as he
a letter asking the Senate to stop the treaty ratification process.
Well... I think I agree
with Akwei, but I do basically because he speaks for Amnesty
Adotei Akwei, deputy
director for advocacy and government relations for Amnesty
International USA, warned in a statement
that the president's move could open the "floodgates for arms sales
with weakened human rights criteria, which could potentially fuel
brutal conflicts and make everyone less safe."
"This announcement is a
misguided blow to efforts to promote international peace and security,"
said Akwei. "As the biggest arms exporter, the U.S. signature to the
ATT was an important step towards ensuring that dangerous weapons stay
out of the wrong hands."
Here is some background:
And soon the USA will also
belong to the last three countries, at least with regards to selling
arms. This is a
to the Washington Post, the ATT "seeks to prevent illicit
arms transfers that fuel destructive conflicts, making it harder to
conduct weapon sales in violation of arms embargoes. About 100
countries, including U.S. allies in Europe, have ratified the treaty
while more than 30 others have signed but not ratified. Countries that
have shunned the treaty entirely include Russia, North Korea, and
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 3 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 (!!).