Sunday, July 9, 2017

Crisis: Hamburg, US Military, Nuclear Weapons, Trump's Qualities, The NSA - More on 14.04

Sections                                                                     crisis index

1. Summary
2. Crisis Files
    A. Selections from July 9, 2017 
On the problems with 14.04

This is a Nederlog of Sunday, July 9, 2017.

1. Summary

This is a crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:

I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) and about the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I probably will continue with it, but on the moment I have several problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible and with my health.

As I explained, the crisis files will have a different format from July 1, 2017: I will now list the items I selected as I did before (title + link) but I add one selection from the selected item to give my readers a bit of a taste of the item linked.

So the new format is as follows:

      Link to an item with its orginal title, followed by
      One selection from that item (indented)
      Possibly followed by a brief comment by me (not indented).

This is illustrated below, in selections A.

2. Crisis Files

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

A. Selections from July 9, 2017

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. ‘Everybody Went Totally Mad’: 2nd Night of Violence in Hamburg

This is by Melissa Eddy and David Shimer on The New York Times. It starts thus:
Tens of thousands of people swarmed into the streets of Hamburg on Saturday for demonstrations against the Group of 20 summit meeting after two consecutive nights of clashes between the police and protesters.

Organizers of the main march said that about 76,000 people were taking part, and tens of thousands of police officers were mobilized to keep watch over the demonstrations. Holding signs that said “No G20,” the marchers hoped to show that a peaceful protest was possible after violence erupted on Thursday and Friday, when some protesters burned cars and smashed shop windows.
Hours later, 1,500 black-clad anarchists rampaged through the streets of the city’s Schanzen district, plundering shops and setting fire to cars and trash cans for several hours, the police said. An elite unit of special forces was called in to quell the violence, but only after extensive damage had been done.

The police said on Saturday that they had arrested 43 people in connection with the violence on Friday night. Ninety-six others remained in detention, pending an investigation. The police also said that 213 officers had been injured. Activists reported multiple injuries among the protesters, at least two of whom were hospitalized.

I say. There is considerably more in the article.

2. Risk of Unleashing ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis

This is by David Marks on Consortiumnews, and it starts as follows:

During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump boasted that he would “bomb the hell out of ISIS,” but he also suggested a reversal of the “regime change” strategies of his recent predecessors. So, some peace voters thought Trump might actually be preferable to Hillary Clinton, who often came across as the more hawkish candidate.

However, in Trump’s near-half-year in office, he has slid more into line with the war hawks both by continuing to beat his chest over his own application of military force and by shifting control over many attack decisions to military field commanders and the Pentagon high command.

In mid-April, after a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan, President Trump explained his thinking as he reveled in the first use of the massive “mother of all bombs” that was dropped on an Islamic State target in Afghanistan.

Trump said, “What I do is I authorize my military, we have the greatest military in the world, and they’ve done the job, as usual. We have given them total authorization, and that’s what they’re doing. Frankly, that’s why they’ve been so successful lately. If you look at what’s happened over the last eight weeks and compare that really to what has happened over the last eight years, you’ll see there is a tremendous difference.”

What Trump said was probably mostly motivated by his megalomania. There is also this about "Mad Dog" Mattis:

Although Mattis intentionally limits his contact with the public and the press, some of his past statements reveal his mindset. In Iraq in 2003, Mattis coached arriving Marines, “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.” And in 2005, the man who has been unleashed by the President said, “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up there with you. I like brawling.”

There is considerably more in the article.

3. US a No-Show as Historic Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty Adopted

This is by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams:

The United States has joined a small group of global outliers on Friday after a historic United Nations treaty to ban nuclear weapons was adopted by a majority of the world's nations.

"The adoption of the nuclear weapons ban treaty marks an historic turning point in the centuries-old battle to eliminate all weapons of mass destruction," said Jeff Carter, executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Ahead of its adoption, Elayne Whyte Gómez, Coasta Rica's ambassador to the U.N. and president of the United Nations Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, championed the "historic"agreement, calling it "the first multilateral nuclear disarmament treaty to be concluded in more than 20 years."

Noting that the landmark moment comes 72 years after the atomic-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, an editorial in Japan's Mainichi said: "The international community's firm determination not to repeat these tragedies is the linchpin of the convention."

I say, but I am sorry that I cannot take this very seriously without the USA (and indeed also not with the USA with the current president).

4. Chart of the Day: Everyone Now Agrees That Trump Is an Idiot

This is by Kevin Drum on Mother Jones. It starts as follows
Here’s a fascinating chart from Patrick Egan:

Everyone seems to have figured out that Trump is a moron, and they’re not too thrilled by his nonexistent leadership skills either. But how is it that he’s lost only a few points on honesty? He lied about his inauguration turnout. He lied about Obama wiretapping him. He lied about 3 (or 5) million votes from illegal immigrants causing him to lose the popular vote. He lied about London’s mayor because of a petty grudge. He lied (repeatedly) about saving money on an order for F-35 jets. Hell, the New York Times has a comprehensive list of hundreds of lies here.
Yes indeed, and the file on Trump's very many very gross lies is interesting.

5. “The NSA Is Still Collecting the Full Content Of U.S. Domestic E-Mail, Without a Warrant …"

This starts as follows:
The man who designed the NSA’s electronic intelligence gathering system (Bill Binney) sent us an affidavit which he signed on the Fourth of July explaining that the NSA is still spying on normal, every day Americans … and not focused on stopping terror attacks (I’ve added links to provide some background):
For Wiliam Binney see the last Wikipedia link. Here is some of what he wrote:

The attacks on September 11, 2001 completely changed how the NSA conducted surveillance …. the individual liberties preserved in the U.S. Constitution were no longer a consideration. In October 2001, the NSA began to implement a group of intelligence activities now known as the “President’s Surveillance Program.”

The President’s Surveillance Program involved the collection of the full content of domestic e-mail traffic without any of the privacy protections built into [the program that Binney had designed]. This was done under the authorization of Executive Order 12333. This meant that the nation’s e-mail could be read by NSA staff members without the approval of any court or judge.


The NSA is still collecting the full content of U.S. domestic e-mail, without a warrant. We know this because of the highly-detailed information contained in the documents leaked by former NSA-contractor, Edward Snowden. I have personally reviewed many of these documents.

I can authenticate these documents because they relate to programs that I created and supervised during my years at the NSA.

[U.S. government officials] have also admitted the authenticity of these documents.


The NSA is creating a program that shows the real-time location of all cell phones, tablets and computers in the world, at any time. To have a state-actor engaging in this sort of behavior, without any court supervision, is troubling.


In their public statements, [government officials] claim that collection of information is limited, and is being done pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”). FBI Director James Comey recently described Section 702 of FISA as the “crown jewel” of the intelligence community.


it is my understanding that the European Union intends to adopt legislation requiring its intelligence community to get out of the business of bulk collection, and implement smart selection.


Smart selection is not enough. Governments, courts and the public need to have an absolute means of verifying what intelligence agencies are doing. This should be done within government by having a cleared technical team responsible to the whole of government and the courts with the authority and clearances to go into any intelligence agency and look directly into databases and tools in use. This would insure that government as a whole could get to the bottom line truth of what the intelligence agencies were really doing

I would also suggest that agencies be required to implement software that audits their analytic processes to insure compliance with law and to automatically detect and report any violations to the courts and others.

There is more under the last numbered link.

B. On the problems with 14.04

The day before yesterday - Friday, July 7 - I told my readers that I have successfully updated my system from Ubuntu 12.04 tot Ubuntu 14.04.

Everything worked unproblematically, but yesterday I found that every site I download from somewhere else in my Firefox blacks out (it also turns black-and-white, from colors), blocks all input from my mouse and my keyboard, and then, after a little wait, restores itself again.

Well... today the problem stopped after another download of more files from Ubuntu 14.04. So 14.04 works again as it should, although I still have to sort out several things.

I will probably keep you updated on 14.04 for a while, simply because changing OS is a fairly major operation.

But this is Linux, which is very much better than Windows or indeed any other non-open OS, and I do like to say that my site was maintained since June of 2012 only because I then had switched to Ubuntu, that in 12.04 had the possibility of changing white to black and black to white in system settings, which was extremely helpful with my bad and painful eyes.

I am missing this option on 14.04, alas. But my eyes have improved some over the last 1 1/2 years. On the moment I have some problems with my eyes, but so far they are manageable.

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