Saturday, September 23, 2017

Crisis: Nuclear Bans, Anti-Fascism, JFK Disclosures (?), On ¨Russia-gate¨

Sections                                                                     crisis index

1. Summary
Crisis Files
    A. Selections from September 23, 2017 


This is a Nederlog of Saturday, September 23, 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 will continue with it.

On the moment I have problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible [1] and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and will continue.

2. Crisis Files

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

A. Selections from September 23, 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:

This article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:

Amid tensions over North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests, 51 countries have signed the world’s first legally binding treaty banning nuclear weapons. It prohibits the development, testing and possession of nuclear weapons, as well as using or threatening to use these weapons. It was first adopted in July by 122 U.N. member states, despite heavy U.S. opposition. None of the nine countries that possess nuclear weapons signed the measure, including Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel. We speak with Susi Snyder, nuclear disarmament program manager for the Netherlands-based group PAX and author of the report "Don’t Bank on the Bomb."

I happen to be Dutch, and think I should say that I never heard of Susy Snyder, and that if I heard of Pax (or PAX) it must have been before 2000. (I think I did.) Then again, this being said, I should add that I have mostly skimmed Dutch newspapers since 2010, when the until then decent NRC-Handelsblad, that I had been reading daily since 1970, collapsed, collapsed again, and then was changed into something horrible led by a horrible Belgian editor, from which point I have mostly given up on Dutch media, also because I have never had a TV, and I can only hear the hourly news on the radio on one sender, that seems to be dedicated to serving the needs of those with IQs of maximally 85. (And this seems to be the case with most media in Holland.)

Anyway... I was not criticizing Susy Snyder, only explaining that she and her organization are hardly known to me (which also does mean that I never saw either mentioned on the daily summaries of Dutch news that I do still read daily).

Here is some more:

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about what happened this week at the U.N.

SUSI SNYDER: So, this week, 50 countries said, "We ultimately reject nuclear weapons. We find them completely illegitimate, and we are willing to sign the first treaty that makes them totally illegal." And this is the first 50. There were 42 in an hour. And it’s the first time that nuclear weapons are categorically prohibited. This is new, and it is an effective measure that responsible countries are taking to make sure to reduce nuclear dangers.

I do not know whether I should be impressed by that, especially since (1) the earth can be completely destroyed (for most life) by the existing atomic bombs anyway, and (2) designing atomic weapons + rockets to launch them still is fairly costly, and (3) this also is frowned upon by the nations which do have nuclear arms.

But I am willing to assume this is some progress. Here is the last bit from this article that I´ll quote:

AMY GOODMAN: So what does it mean that the nuclear countries, none of them participated?

SUSI SNYDER: Yeah, well, it’s really unfortunate, especially since five them are required by the Non-Proliferation Treaty to negotiate nuclear disarmament. They did not do that. And they are missing an opportunity. The countries that led this process recognize that it’s the impact of nuclear weapons, that we need to talk about them as weapons, not as tools. And that is what reframed the debate. It reframed the discussion. And the impact it will have on the nuclear-armed states is that we’re strengthening a norm, and we’re making their weapons illegitimate. And that has led historically to disarmament.

I say, but not really.

And again, I do suppose this is in some sense an improvement, but I also should say that if the improvement consists in the fact that now, by 2017, ¨we¨ can talk about nuclear arms, that were designed to be more powerful weapons than any developed until 1945 ¨we¨ can ¨
talk about them as weapons, not as tools¨ I should add that all of the many anti-nuclear arms demonstrations that I did attend in the Sixties, and all of the Greenham Commons actions of the 1980ies, seem to have delivered extremely little or nothing to those who held and hold political powers then and now.

So all in all I am not much impressed, even though I welcome the fact that, after a mere 72 years, nuclear weapons are regarded as weapons and not as ¨tools¨.

But for me (and for the physicists who designed them) that was always the case.

2. Anti-Fascist Heroines Then and Now

This article is by Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan on Truthdig. It starts as follows:

The torchlit procession and violent rally of neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan members in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month, and President Donald Trump’s repeated defense of the racist gathering, mark a turning point in modern America. Trump doubled down last week when he blamed both sides again, denouncing some anti-racist and anti-fascist protesters as “bad dudes,” a day after meeting with the Senate’s lone black Republican, Sen. Tim Scott, whom the White House called “Tom” Scott.

To recap: Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old activist, was killed, and at least 19 more were injured, when a neo-Nazi rammed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters on Aug. 12. Hate groups and white supremacists, on the rise since Barack Obama became the first African-American president, are emboldened by Trump.

The history of resistance to fascism is worth recalling at this critical moment in U.S. politics, and also at this time of the Jewish High Holy Days, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. The stories of Anne Frank and Sophie Scholl — two young German women, one a Jew, another a Christian — should guide and inspire us in this darkening time.

Hm. Both of my parents were antifascists for 45 years, and my father and grandfather were commited to Nazi concentration camps in 1941 for resisting the Nazis, which my grandfather did not survive.

Also, I know about Sophie Scholl and Anne Frank since the early Sixties at the latest, indeed in part because my father then was designing and bullding what in the end became the National Exhibition about Fascism and the Resistance (back in the 1970ies, for it has now been terminated) for which he also, in the end, in 1980, briefly before his death, was knighted (as a communist also, which seems to be the first time a communist was knighted in Holland).

But I more or less agree with what Goodman and Moynihan said. Here is some more about Sophie Scholl (<-Wikipedia):

In 1942, Sophie Scholl, a 21-year-old college student in Munich, and her older brother Hans, a medical student, formed the White Rose collective with a small circle of friends. They decided to produce a series of pamphlets exposing Nazi atrocities and urging resistance to Hitler. The first pamphlet appeared in June 1942, mailed anonymously to Munich citizens who the White Rose members thought would be sympathetic. Leaflets were dropped at bus stops and doorways, anywhere they could be delivered clandestinely. To be caught would mean imprisonment and possibly death.

“Since Poland was conquered, 300,000 Jews have been murdered in that country in the most bestial manner imaginable,” read their second pamphlet. “Jews are human beings too.” They encouraged passive resistance and sabotage, writing in their fourth communique, “Every person is in a position to contribute something to the overthrow of this system.”

I agree and Sophie Scholl and the others she was associated with were very courageous - and were guillotined to death in 1943 for writing what they wrote and for daring to do as they did (namely speaking up in protest).

The last but one sentence Sophie Scholl spoke before being guillotined seems to have been this:

How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause?

I think that was a good and a brave question, but by 1943, after ten years of Nazi- totalitarianism, in the midst of WW II, there was not much chance of awakening many others in Germany, I am afraid.

Also, knowing more than most about the resistance of WW II, I feel somewhat sickened by reading this (on Wikipedia):

Playwright Lillian Garrett-Groag stated in Newsday on 22 February 1993, that "It is possibly the most spectacular moment of resistance that I can think of in the twentieth century... The fact that five little kids, in the mouth of the wolf, where it really counted, had the tremendous courage to do what they did, is spectacular to me. I know that the world is better for them having been there, but I do not know why."

I understand that she had her play about Sophie Scholl to consider, and I agree Sophie Scholl was quite brave, but what they did was definitely not ¨the most spectacular moment of resistance (...) in the twentieth century¨ and to say so (it seems to me) is to trivialize the heroism of many others, inside and outside Germany.

There is this about Anne Frank:

Meanwhile, 13-year-old Anne Frank and her family were suffering increasing anti-Jewish persecution in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. They had already fled anti-Semitism in their native Germany. The U.S. repeatedly denied visas for the Frank family to seek refuge in the United States. In desperation, in 1942, they moved into a hidden section of the building where Anne’s father Otto’s office was located — what Anne called “the Secret Annex” in her famous diary. They remained in hiding there for two years.

And they were betrayed, probably for money, in 1944, and were all arrested, and were all murdered except Otto Frank, who survived WW II.

Then there is this:

Now, more than 70 years later, armed neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan groups march with torches in the United States, chanting “Blood and Soil!,” a Nazi slogan from the 1930s, and “Jews will not replace us!”
“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention,” was the quote featured on Heather Heyer’s Facebook page when she died. Like Anne Frank and Sophie Scholl before her, Heather was killed resisting fascism. Let all their stories inspire a new wave of bold resistance.

But what is ¨fascism¨? I have been reading this term (and related ones, like ¨neo- fascism¨, though this last one considerably less) quite a few times since the end of 2015, and knowing a fair amount about fascism and neofascism I have also written repeatedly about it, but by now I really want some definition of either term that makes sense, but I have never seen ¨fascism¨ defined by any journalist I have read, although rather a lot have used it.

So once again: I did investigate the many meanings of the term ¨fascism¨; I wrote a long Nederlog about this investigation: On Fascism and Neofascism: Definitions ; and I still have not read any definition of either ¨fascism¨ or ¨neofascism¨.

None at all, while the terms are used as if they are as clear in meaning as ¨white¨ or ¨strawberry¨ or ¨square¨.

They are not, for ¨fascism¨ has at least 21 different ¨definitions¨. Here are - once again - my definitions of both terms:

Fascism: Fascism is a. A social system that is marked by a government with centralized authority and a dictator, that suppresses the opposition through propaganda, censorship and terror, that propounds an ethics founded on discipline, virility, and collectivism, that has a politics that is totalitarian, anti-liberal, anti-individualist, anti-equality, and anti-Marxist, that is also authoritarian, rightwing and nationalistic, and often racist, and that has a corporative organization of the economy, b. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a social system.

Neofascism is a. A social system that is marked by a government with a centralized powerful authority, where the opposition is propagandized and suppressed or censored, that propounds an ethics which has profit as its main norm, and that has a politics that is rightwing, nationalistic, pro-capitalist, anti-liberal, anti-equality, and anti-leftist, and that has a corporative organization of the economy in which multi-national corporations are stronger than a national government or stateb. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a social system.
You may disagree (and in the last definition I avoided all references to the fact that the secret services now can follow, trace and store almost anything almost anyone writes on the internet these days, which does belong there, at least since 9/11/2001) but please... define the terms you use, if there are many different known definitions for them, as is the case for ¨fascism¨.

3. Two Top Republicans to Call for Full JFK Disclosure

This article is by Jefferson Morley on AlterNet. It starts as follows:

Two senior Capitol Hill Republicans plan to introduce a congressional resolution calling for full disclosure of U.S. government records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) will introduce their JFK resolution before the end of the month, according to Jones.

“I want to make sure that the information that is owed the American people is made available,” the veteran North Carolina conservative said in an exclusive interview with AlterNet. “The American people are sick and tired of not being given the truth. “

The JFK Records Act of 1992 mandated full disclosure of all government records related to the assassination within 25 years. Some four million pages of records were released in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Another 100,000 pages of assassination-related material from a dozen government agencies must be made public by the statutory deadline of Oct. 26, 2017.

Under the law, the CIA, FBI and other government agencies can postpone release of still-secret JFK records after October 26—but only with the written permission of the president.

I knew all of this except the last bits, that ¨all government records related to the assassination¨ should be released by this year, and that this can be postponed ¨only with the written permission of the president¨.

And I also think that the official reports on Kennedy´s murder were basically flukes, falsifications and government propaganda, in fact rather like the official reports about 9/11/2001 (I did read some of both official reports, and also several books criticizing these reports), but I have no well-founded ideas about what really happened, neither in 1963 nor in 2001 - except that the official reports were not fully true, nor did they report all the relevant facts and considerations.

I am (somewhat) curious about both cases, so I welcome the possibility that everything that the American government did know about the murder of J.F. Kennedy will be released this year - if it is not postponed by the president.

And there is this:

The unreleased records include CIA files on two senior officers involved in assassinations and four Watergate burglars, as well as the secret congressional testimony of numerous JFK witnesses.

“I hope they will not request any postponement,” Jones said. “We’re talking about something that happened 54 years ago.”

While JFK scholars and journalists have called on Trump to "give us the full story of the JFK assassination," Jones and Grassley are the first elected officials to lend their clout to the cause.

I agree.

4. The Crazy Imbalance of Russia-gate

This article is by Robert Parry on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:

The core absurdity of the Russia-gate frenzy is its complete lack of proportionality. Indeed, the hysteria is reminiscent of Sen. Joe McCarthy warning that “one communist in the faculty of one university is one communist too many” or Donald Trump’s highlighting a few “bad hombres” raping white American women.

It’s not that there were no Americans who espoused communist views at universities and elsewhere or that there are no “bad hombre” rapists; it’s that these rare exceptions were used to generate a dangerous overreaction in service of a propagandistic agenda. Historically, we have seen this technique used often when demagogues seize on an isolated event and exploit it emotionally to mislead populations to war.

Yes indeed - and I am as regards ¨Russia-gate¨ much like Robert Parry, William Binney and the VIPS, and this is a valid point (for indeed, like them, I do not think the Russians did nothing, but I do like convincing evidence, and that has been absent now for more than a year).

Here is some more:

But why stop there? If the concern is that American political campaigns are being influenced by foreign governments whose interests may diverge from what’s best for America, why not look at countries that have caused the United States far more harm recently than Russia?

After all, Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Wahabbi leaders have been pulling the U.S. government into their sectarian wars with the Shiites, including conflicts in Yemen and Syria that have contributed to anti-Americanism in the region, to the growth of Al Qaeda, and to a disruptive flow of refugees into Europe.

And, let’s not forget the 8,000-pound gorilla in the room: Israel. Does anyone think that whatever Russia may or may not have done in trying to influence U.S. politics compares even in the slightest to what Israel does all the time?

These are at least fair questions. And there is this on Hillary Clinton and Russia:

So, instead of a balanced and comprehensive assessment of this problem, the powers-that-be concentrate on the infinitesimal case of Russian “meddling” as the excuse for Hillary Clinton’s shocking defeat. But the key reasons for Clinton’s dismal campaign had virtually nothing to do with Russia, even if you believe all the evidence-lite accusations about Russian “meddling.”

The Russians did not tell Clinton to vote for the disastrous Iraq War and play endless footsy with the neocons; the Russians didn’t advise her to set up a private server to handle her State Department emails and potentially expose classified information; the Russians didn’t lure Clinton and the U.S. into the Libyan fiasco nor suggest her ghastly joke in response to Muammar Gaddafi’s lynching (“We came, we saw, he died”); the Russians had nothing to do with her greedy decision to accept millions of dollars in Wall Street speaking fees and then try to keep the speech contents secret from the voters; the Russians didn’t encourage her husband to become a serial philanderer and make a mockery of their marriage; nor did the Russians suggest to Anthony Weiner, the husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, that he send lewd photos to a teen-ager on a laptop also used by his wife, a development that led FBI Director James Comey to reopen the Clinton-email investigation just 11 days before the election; the Russians weren’t responsible for Clinton’s decision not to campaign in Wisconsin and Michigan; the Russians didn’t stop her from offering a coherent message about how she would help the struggling white working class; and on and on.

I agree. And this is a recommended article.

5. Nuclear Plants Plus Hurricanes: Disasters Waiting to Happen

This article is by Harvey Wasserman on Common Dreams and originally on The Progressive.

It starts as follows:

Although the mainstream media said next to nothing about it, independent experts have made it clear that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma threatened six U.S. nuclear plants with major destruction, and therefore all of us with apocalyptic disaster. It is a danger that remains for the inevitable hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural disasters yet to come.

During Harvey and Irma, six holdovers from a dying reactor industry—two on the Gulf Coast at South Texas, two at Key Largo and two more north of Miami at Port St. Lucie—were under severe threat of catastrophic failure. All of them rely on off-site power systems that were extremely vulnerable throughout the storms. At St. Lucie Unit One, an NRC official reported a salt buildup on electrical equipment requiring a power downgrade in the midst of the storm.

Loss of backup electricity was at the core of the 2011 catastrophe at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan when the tsunami there and ensuing flood shorted out critical systems. The reactor cores could not be cooled. Three melted. Their cores have yet to be found. Water pouring over them flooded into the Pacific, carrying away unprecedented quantities of cesium and other radioactive isotopes. In 2015, scientists detected radioactive contamination from Fukushima along the coast near British Columbia and California.

Four of six Fukushima Daichi reactors suffered hydrogen explosions, releasing radioactive fallout far in excess of what came down after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Extreme danger still surrounds Fukushima’s highly radioactive fuel pools, which are in varied stages of ruin.

Yes indeed. And it ends thus:

Throughout the world, some 430 reactors are in various stages of vulnerability to natural disaster, including ninety-nine in the United States. Numerous nuclear plants have already been damaged by earthquakes, storms, tsunamis, and floods. The complete blackout of any serious discussion of what Harvey and Irma threatened to do to these six Texas and Florida reactors is cause for deep concern.

I completely agree. And this is a recommended article.


[1] I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that 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 (!!).

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