A. Selections from September 6, 2017
This is a Nederlog of
This is a
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.
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,
One selection (usually) from that item
Possibly followed by a brief comment by
me (not indented).
This is illustrated below, in selections A.
2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
A. Selections from
September 6, 2017
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:
In fact, this is a ¨database of
terrorism prosecutions and sentencing information¨ that was prepared by the staff of The Intercept. This
covers the years since 9/11/2001, is updated till September 5, 2017,
and is well worth looking at. It starts with a summary:
The U.S. government has
prosecuted 810 people for
terrorism since the 9/11 attacks. Most of them never even got close to
committing an act of violence.
Here is part of the
text (bold in the original):
This means - I´d say -
that there was about one supposed terrorist arrested approximately
each week since 9/11, of whom around
half have been
The U.S. government
segregates terrorism cases into two categories — domestic and
international. This database contains cases classified as international
terrorism, though many of the people charged never left the United
States or communicated with anyone outside the country.
Since the 9/11 attacks, most of the 810 terrorism
defendants prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice have been
charged with material support for terrorism, criminal conspiracy,
immigration violations, or making false statements — vague, nonviolent
offenses that give prosecutors wide latitude for scoring quick
convictions or plea bargains.
defendants have pleaded guilty to
charges, while the courts found 176
guilty at trial. Just 2
have been acquitted and 3
have seen their charges dropped or dismissed, giving the Justice
Department a near-perfect record of conviction in terrorism cases.
Today, 355 people
charged with terrorism-related offenses are in
custody in the United States, including 62
defendants who are awaiting trial and
innocent until proven guilty.
Very few terrorism defendants had the means or opportunity to commit an
act of violence. The majority had no direct connection to terrorist
organizations. Many were caught up in FBI stings, in which an informant or undercover
agent posed as a member of a terrorist organization. The U.S.
government nevertheless defines such cases as international terrorism.
defendants have been released
from custody, often with no provision for supervision or ongoing
surveillance, suggesting that the government does not regard them as
imminent threats to the homeland.
¨ The majority
had no direct connection to terrorist organizations. Many were caught
up in FBI stings, in
which an informant or undercover agent posed as a member of a terrorist
the end there are two links: Explore the
database, which gives
access to a nice database, and Read the
stories, which assembles links
and pictures to many articles.
This is a recommended article:
It shows that in 16 years of daily - indeed in Holland hourly:
almost every radio news mentions ¨terrorism¨ and/or ¨terrorists - propaganda
since the war that opened on 9/11, in which at least 500.000 Iraqis
and at least three countries (Iraq, Syria, Yemen) were
destroyed by US military violence, and in spite of constant universal
spying on everyone, somewhat over 350 people are in custody in the
United States for terrorism...
Metro: A Toxic Tour of Houston from Refineries to Superfund Sites in
Wake of Harvey
article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! This starts with the
following introduction (and may be soon followed by news about an even
more destructive hurricane):
In Texas, the
devastation from Hurricane Harvey continues. At least 63 people have
died, more than 40,000 homes have been lost, and as many 1 million cars
have been destroyed. Meanwhile, the long-term environmental impact of
the storm is just beginning to be felt. The Center for Biological
Diversity reports flooded oil refineries and chemical plants released
as much as 5 million pounds of pollutants into the air during the
storm. On Friday night, another large fire broke out at the flooded
Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas. Then, on Sunday, authorities
set fire to six remaining containers of chemicals in what was described
as a controlled burn. The company continues to refuse to inform local
residents of what chemicals burned at the site. For more, Democracy
Now!'s Amy Goodman, Renée Feltz and Hany Massoud take a "toxic tour" of
Houston's fenceline communities, led by environmental justice organizer
This is here in part
because of the above sketched situation that the Texan ¨authorities set fire to six remaining
containers of chemicals in what was described as a controlled burn. The
company continues to refuse to inform local residents of what chemicals
burned at the site¨ and
indeed of any other relevant information, as
Here is some more:
weekend, Democracy Now! headed to Texas. I went there with Democracy
Now!'s Renée Feltz and Hany Massoud—both are from Houston. We went
to get a closer look at the environmental and public health impact of
Hurricane Harvey and related flooding. Houston, the Petro Metro, is
home to a quarter of the petroleum refining capacity in the United
States; include the entire Gulf Coast, and the percentage increases to
half. Some of the major refineries in the region are run by ExxonMobil,
Valero and the Saudi-owned Motiva. This weekend, we took a "toxic tour"
of the facilities along the Houston Ship Channel, where plants spewed
toxins into the air of nearby neighborhoods, so often poor communities
There is a lot more in the
interviews that follow. This is a recommended article.
the Brink of Nuclear War
This - quite long -
article is by William
R. Polk (<-Wikipedia) on Consortiumnews.
It starts with the following summary:
As nuclear war looms in Korea, the life-or-death question is whether
President Trump and his team can somehow marshal the skill and strength
of President Kennedy in the Cuban Missile Crisis, writes historian
William R. Polk.
In fact, this article is 256.6
Kbs and I think it is too long. Also, while I do not
like discrimination for age, William Polk is from 1929, which means
that he is around 88.
He evidently does
recall a lot
of the Kennedy-days, but he does not make the relevance of
those days to these days quite clear, apart from the facts that Kennedy
and Khrushchev were more competent and informed than Trump and Kim,
which I think is obvious anyway.
And he also writes
things like these:
Now I want to undertake a
refinement of the record I have laid out. I want first to show how our
perception, the interpretation we place on the events that swirl past
us, adds a new and formative element to them. Whether consciously or
not, we tend to put events into a pattern. So the pattern itself
becomes part of the problem we face in trying to understand events.
Staking out a path – an interpretation or a theory of what random bits
and pieces mean or how they will be interpreted and acted upon by
others — is a complex and contentious task.
Getting it wrong can lead
us astray or even be very dangerous. So the interpreter, the
strategist, must always be tested to see if his interpretation makes
sense and the path he lays out is the one we want to travel. I will
make this explicit below.
I´m sorry but this is
completely obvious (almost everything is patterned in
many ways) and it is also quite misleading in what follows
after ¨So¨: Most of the patterns we see (hear, read, believe)
problematic for us, indeed rightly or wrongly.
So in reviewing this
I have to pick out some bits here and there from a flood of 256 Kb of
information. Here is the first bit:
I will speculate below on
how the actual events of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the result of the
war game might apply to the current conflict in Korea. Here let me
anticipate by saying that we have no reason to believe that the men who
will decide the issue are of the caliber of Kennedy and Khrushchev.
I agree. I also tend
to agree with the following bit:
I see no evidence that
Mr. Trump knows what a nuclear war would actually do. Indeed, he is
quoted as saying, “what is the point of having nuclear weapons if you
don’t use them?” He will find advisers who will tell him that they must
Probably so, although
there also is this bit on a meanwhile ousted (former) collaborator of
As Steven Bannon,
President Trump’s former “Chief Strategist” is quoted as saying,
“There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear
threats], forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation
that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first
30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking
about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.”
I think Bannon had
this right - and the ¨ten
million people in Seoul¨
who will very probably die if the conflict becomes nuclear may
also very well be the first ten million of many
millions or tens of millions deads to come in that case.
Here is a conclusion
I am convinced that it
will not be possible in the foreseeable future to get Kim Jong Un or
any conceivable successor to give up deliverable nuclear weapons. Thus,
there can be no “success,” as described in current policy statements by
the Trump administration. But, arrangements can be created – by
enlisting China and Russia as partners in negotiations and by
renouncing threats and such damaging (and ineffective) policies as
sanctions – to gradually create an atmosphere in which North Korea can
be accepted as a partner in the nuclear “club.”
Quite possibly so, at least
in principle, and - at least - for the coming 5 or 10 years, is my guess
(after which Kim may have atomic weapons that are capable of blowing up
major parts of the USA). Also, 10 years will tide humanity past
Trump, though indeed only if he does not blast up human
civilization before that.
Here is Polk´s ending
(after 256 Kb of mostly text):
I more or less agree
with the first two paragraphs, but not with the last: Clearly,
Trump is incapable of being ¨the teacher¨ of the USA.
As I have suggested, Mr.
Trump has shown no comprehension of the costs of war in a nuclear
context. Nor has the general public. The pictures of children on Guam
being told not to look at the flash of the fireball reminds one of the
ridiculous advice to school children in America in the Cold War to take
refuge under their desks.
The reality of a modern
war must be explained and taught. I do not know if Korean children are
so taught, but their parents or grandparents knew it firsthand. This
generation of Americans has never seen war up-close in America although
some of their fathers saw it in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Unfortunately, memories fade and Americans today do not want to be
informed of the danger of a new war. Escapism is one of the great
dangers we face.
In the American tradition,
the President is the nation’s teacher. We must
insist he perform that task
or we could pay the supreme price of falling off the edge into the dark
void of nuclear war.
And all in all I think this was too much historical text for too little
to Democracy': New Project Reveals Corrupting Web of Trump Empire
article is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. It starts with the
"The information in this
report should provide a clarion call to Congress to require him to
disclose his taxes and to establish prohibitions on Trump using his
office to enrich himself."
Yes indeed, and this is
above a picture of Trump amidst his many existing business connections.
The text starts as follows:
Public Citizen on Tuesday
a new project aimed at documenting President Donald Trump's vast
entanglement of business interests and highlighting "the urgent
need for the president to disclose his tax returns so Americans can
determine the extent of his business holdings and how they may be
affecting his policy decisions."
"Our current president
has two jobs: leader of the free world and owner of hundreds of
business entities worldwide. That combination is toxic for democracy,"
Michael Tanglis, a senior researcher for Public Citizen's Congress
Watch division who coordinated the project, said in a statement.
Ahem. I agree that Trump
must disclose his tax returns, but I do like to remark that his
position as the ¨leader of the
free world¨ seems too propagandistic,
at least in my eyes.
Here is more by Tanglis:
"The risk of
self-dealing, conflicts, and corruption is just as great as if there
were no separation at all," Tanglis notes.
map and a
downloadable dataset, both released alongside the new report, show
the complexity of Trump's business ties, revealing the vast number of
potential conflicts of interest.
"The knowledge that
[Trump] is still ultimately in control of his businesses alone is
enough to invite corruption," Tanglis adds. "It's a recipe for
Well... Trump may insist
that he handed his business to his sons, but in the end it simply is true
that (i) the chances of corruption with a
president who also is
(directly or indirectly) doing business are far too large, and
(ii) previous presidents have declared their taxes.
This article ends as
As Common Dreams
Trump is currently facing several
lawsuits that allege he has used the office of the presidency to
turn a profit.
Tanglis observes at the
close of his report that while Trump may be an "unprecedented" case as
the first president with "a global business empire," he is nonetheless
a "natural culmination of the decades-long stranglehold wealthy
individuals and corporations have had on public policy."
"For far too long, they
have achieved an outsized influence on public policy by filling the
coffers of elected officials who in turn craft policy to their
benefit," Tanglis concludes.
Yes indeed - although
I also think again that Tanglis´s own description of Trump as the ¨leader
of the free world¨ is too
Are Impeachable Offenses?
article - a review of two books - is by Noah Feldman and Jacob Weisberg
on The New York Books Exchange. This starts as follows:
As more and more
evidence of collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and
Russia has come to light, the analogy to Watergate has grown ever
stronger. In both cases, a burglary of the Democratic National
Committee, undertaken to influence the outcome of an election, ignited
a burgeoning scandal. Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey and
warnings to Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller conjure President Nixon’s
Saturday Night Massacre. Trump echoes Nixon in raging against leaks and
decrying the investigation of his office as a “witch hunt.”
Because it has
been used so rarely, and because it is a power entrusted to Congress,
not the courts, impeachment as a legal process is poorly understood.
There are no judicial opinions that create precedents for how and when
to proceed with it. Past cases are subject to competing and often
The legal limits
of the impeachment power are subject to debate. Yet it is clear both
historically and logically that impeachment was designed to deal with
abuses committed while in office, not prior crimes. Any wrongdoing of
Trump’s before he assumed the presidency must be considered separately
from offenses he…
And then (and only
then) I get to read this:
article is available to subscribers only.
Well... to me it is an
impeachable offense to trick your readers like this.
Please choose from one of the options below to access this article:
Subscription — $69.00
One-Week Access —
I do not have the money to pay $25 dollars a day ($750 a month)
in order to review (for free) a few articles that I think are
helpful in considering the political and the human world, and to have
to be tricked into reading and then stopped because I have
to pay 5 dollars to continue reading an article is sick
and sickening in my eyes, and also completely contrary
to - at least - the traditions of internet.
For me this is just one bit of the neofascism
that seems to be the real intent behind internet (as designed)
- and see here for more: Crisis: Propaganda
and Control: Brezezinski 1968 and here: On Fascism and
It´s sick. It´s sickening. It´s morally degenerate. I also agree it is very
common - The Guardian, Huffington Post, the NRC Handelsblad and
quite a few more do (almost) precisely the same: They give up
informing their readers, and only want to make a profit
of them, and exclude them from reading or from copying without
being able - each and everyone - to make a profit on anyone:
You can only contribute to political discussions by paying,
paying, paying and paying those who are supposed to bring you the news
and the necessary information.
Well... for me these are signs neofascism is
coming, and these former printed papers are a part of its instruments
and its tools, indeed whether they know this or not (and they are
knowingly greedy, greedy, greedy, greedy).
And I am glad I am 67 rather than 17, for I lived most of my life without
universal surveillance and without being a mere and totally
expendable commodity for the very rich.
I am quite afraid that those who are 50 years younger than I am cannot
avoid it. 
 I have now been saying since the 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.
They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie.
They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.
And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my
ideas. They have behaved now for 1 1/2 years as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will
from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).
The only 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 (!!).
 I realize there probably are some who think
that I am exaggerating. Well... you are free to think what you please,
but (i) you very probably know a lot less about fascism and neofascism
than I do, and (ii) the few things I complained about are in
fact from a long list of many things (not just
the news, or journalism) that disappeared for me since 2002
(such as: decent shopping, a good health-insurance, a somewhat decent
education, a radio I could listen to, personal freedom without
universal surveillance, and many more things: all are gone for
me, and indeed for everyone who is not rich).