from June 26, 2018
The Political George Orwell
This is a
Nederlog of Tuesday,
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 two 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 June 26, 2018:
1. The Wiretap Rooms
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. 'Most Important Surveillance Story You Will See for Years'
3. Donald Trump’s Space Force and the Dangerous
Militarization of Outer
4. Trump’s Fourth of July
5. Detained Children Forced to Recite Pledge of Allegiance
This article is by
Ryan Gallagher and Henrik Moltke on The Intercept. It starts as follows
and also is commented in the second item today,
while what follows in this item is only from the beginning:
The secrets are hidden behind fortified walls
in cities across the United States, inside towering, windowless
skyscrapers and fortress-like concrete structures that were built to
withstand earthquakes and even nuclear attack. Thousands of people pass
by the buildings each day and rarely give them a second glance, because
their function is not publicly known. They are an integral part of one
of the world’s largest telecommunications networks – and they are also
linked to a controversial National Security Agency surveillance program.
Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas,
Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington,
D.C. In each of these cities, The Intercept has identified an AT&T
facility containing networking equipment that transports large
quantities of internet traffic across the United States and the world.
A body of evidence – including classified NSA documents, public
records, and interviews with several former AT&T employees –
indicates that the buildings are central to an NSA spying initiative
that has for years monitored billions of emails, phone calls, and
online chats passing across U.S. territory.
I suppose quite so. In
fact, I don´t know, but I am quite willing to believe The
Indeed, one reason is that I - probably - go a bit further than The
I know how to program
(on cards) since 1973; I had a best friend with an Apple II
since 1979; I got my first personal computer - an Osborne: 8
bits with 45 Kb memory - in 1987, and my first PC in 1988;
I got internet connection-with-a-telephone-modem in 1996 and
then received for a few years a reasonable quantity of mail about my
site, until 2007, when I changed to fast internet; and since 2007 I
have hardly received any mail about my site (which had hundreds
of thousands of visits every year till 2015, when that reporting
also was killed) except - of all people - about Ludwig
And I do not
think that is accidental: It is on purpose, and any mail that
is not about a very abstruse philosopher gets filtered away by someone,
for I don´t think you can have two sites
with hundreds of thousands of visitors each year and receive only 10
mails or so, all but once about Ludwig Wittgenstein, in the last 11
Also I have been
commenting on this a lot, and my conclusion (which I first reached by myself in 2012)
is that the internet = the intentionally designed instrument to
state terrorism, and nearly complete
degeneracy of everyone who is not major millionaire and dares to
question the policies of his state.
probably do not believe that. Well, here is a bit from July 23, 2018:
You may disagree (you always
may, indeed) but I am sorry that I am not impressed by anyone
who does not have my academic degrees, my intelligence, and my
family (and all three are quite uncommon).
Here is Article 12
from the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights of
This right (and
others) that are 70 years old this year has been systematically
by the internet, by the so-called "security" - i.e. the anonymous spies
- for any government, and by Facebook, Google, Apple and Microsoft etc.
who all and systematically interfere with the "privacy, family,
home" and "correspondence" of absolutely everyone
with an internet computer.
- No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference
with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon
his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of
the law against such interference or attacks.
Moreover, these systematic
attacks on the privacies of
been going on from when the internet started, which I take it
1995 (a little bit later than the actual start).
that - e.g. - the American Supreme Court has been walking FAR behind the facts for
23 years now.
situation is in fact that everyone
with an internet computer is
completely open to anyone who
has the money or the power to find out
absolutely everything about him
And I think that is the most frightening fact
about our time:
That a few anonymous freaks can and do know absolutely
principle: the information is there, but it may not have been read by
human eyes) in complete detail (including your private thoughts,
correspondence, values, ideas and pornography).
It is the most frightening fact because this means that absolutely
everyone can be completely controlled, known, manipulated, deceived or
- indeed - arrested by a few handfuls of the richest or the most
Also, I fear very much the above sketches the most likely future of
everyone, for which reason I am extremely glad I have no
Back to the article. Here is more on AT&T:
The NSA considers AT&T
to be one of its most trusted partners and has lauded the company’s
“extreme willingness to help.” It is a collaboration that dates back
decades. Little known, however, is that its scope is not restricted to
AT&T’s customers. According to the NSA’s documents,
it values AT&T not only because it “has access to information that
transits the nation,” but also because it maintains unique
relationships with other phone and internet providers. The NSA exploits
these relationships for surveillance purposes, commandeering AT&T’s
massive infrastructure and using it as a platform to covertly tap into
communications processed by other companies.
I think that is also
quite correct. Here is some about what the present article is about:
Much has previously been
reported about the NSA’s surveillance programs. But few details have
been disclosed about the physical infrastructure that enables the
spying. Last year, The Intercept highlighted
a likely NSA facility in New York City’s Lower Manhattan. Now, we are
revealing for the first time a series of other buildings across the
U.S. that appear to serve a similar function, as critical parts of one
of the world’s most powerful electronic eavesdropping systems, hidden
in plain sight.
“It’s eye-opening and
ominous the extent to which this is happening right here on American
soil,” said Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National
Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. “It puts a face on
surveillance that we could never think of before in terms of actual
buildings and actual facilities in our own cities, in our own
There are hundreds of
AT&T-owned properties scattered across the U.S. The eight
identified by The Intercept serve a specific function, processing
AT&T customers’ data and also carrying large quantities of data
from other internet providers. They are known as “backbone” and
Actually, Goitein seems
a little bit confused, for there was some information about
how the NSA+AT&T tapped the internet: See Mark Klein (that
is - still: I do not know how long - on the ever worsening
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this quite interesting article (still from its
AT&T currently boasts
of presence” in 149 countries where internet traffic is exchanged.
But only eight of the company’s facilities in the U.S. offer direct
access to its “common backbone” – key data routes that carry vast
amounts of emails, internet chats, social media updates, and internet
browsing sessions. These eight locations are among the most important
in AT&T’s global network. They are also highly valued by the NSA,
The data exchange between
AT&T and other networks initially takes place outside AT&T’s
control, sources said, at third-party data centers that are owned and
operated by companies such as California’s Equinix. But the data is
then routed – in whole or in part – through the eight AT&T
buildings, where the NSA taps into it. By monitoring what it calls the
“peering circuits” at the eight sites, the spy agency can collect “not
only AT&T’s data, they get all the data that’s interchanged between
AT&T’s network and other companies,” according to Mark Klein, a
former AT&T technician who worked with the company for 22 years. It
is an efficient point to conduct internet surveillance, Klein said,
“because the peering links, by the nature of the connections, are
liable to carry everybody’s traffic at one point or another during the
day, or the week, or the year.”
There is a lot
the article, that is strongly recommended. And here follows one
Important Surveillance Story You Will See for Years'
This article is by
Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows and can be seen as
an important comment on the previous item:
"The most important
surveillance story you will see for years just went online, revealing
how AT&T became the internet's biggest enemy, secretly
collaborating against its customers and partners to destroy your
I think Edward Snowden is quite
right, and I also infer from what he is saying that he does not
seem to expect any more important whistleblowers from the NSA.
That was how whistleblower and
privacy advocate Edward Snowden reacted
to the publication of an explosive
story by The Intercept on Monday, which reveals for the
first time how "fortress-like" AT&T buildings located in eight
major American cities have played a central role in a massive National
Security Agency (NSA) spying program "that has for years monitored
billions of emails, phone calls, and online chats passing across U.S.
on this second point because I - who had very
parents and grandparents, who were some of the
very few who went into the Dutch real resistance (in which 99%
Dutchmen claimed to have cooperated immediately after WW II: they
were lying) -
concluded immediately when I learned about him that he is an
extra-ordinary person. I think I am and was quite right, and you
can check yourself what I wrote in
Here is more on the role of AT&T:
"It's eye-opening and
ominous the extent to which this is happening right here on American
soil," Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National
Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, told The
Intercept in an interview. "It puts a face on surveillance that we
could never think of before in terms of actual buildings and actual
facilities in our own cities, in our own backyards."
detailed report—based on a large body of evidence that includes public
NSA documents, and interviews with former AT&T employees—shows
how the telecom giant has willingly helped the NSA collect the data of
its own customers and those of other companies, thanks to its "unique
relationships with other phone and internet providers."
Yes indeed. Here is
"The eight locations are
featured on a top-secret NSA map, which depicts U.S. facilities that
the agency relies upon for one of its largest surveillance programs,
code-named FAIRVIEW," Gallagher and Moltke write. "AT&T is the only
company involved in FAIRVIEW, which was first established in 1985,
according to NSA documents, and involves tapping into international
telecommunications cables, routers, and switches."
The report continues:
In 2003, the NSA launched
new internet mass surveillance methods, which were pioneered under the
FAIRVIEW program. The methods were used by the agency to collect—within
a few months—some 400 billion records about people's internet
communications and activity, the New York Times previously
reported. FAIRVIEW was also forwarding more than one million emails
every day to a "keyword selection system" at the NSA's Fort Meade
So... AT&T has been
systematically spying on everyone since 1985; the NSA
collecting absolutely everything it could get in 2003 (at the
and collected in the first few months already 400 billion
records (that ought to have been completely forbidden:
see above) and ever since then the hundreds of
billions of private records have
been streaming into the NSA´s computers ever since.
Here is the last bit I
quote from this article:
Fight for the Future
(FFTF), an open internet advocacy group, reacted with alarm to The
Intercept's reporting on Monday, writing on Twitter, "AT&T has
bent over backwards to help the U.S. government spy on essentially all
"Giant telecom companies
aren't just "anti-consumer," they're actively helping authoritarian
governments and pushing for policies that endanger free expression,"
Yes, except that I am a
little bit further in my own conclusions: see above. That is: Neofascism is
fast as the NSA and AT&T can bring it closer. And neofascism
end in an absolute authoritarianism in which there will be two
people: (i) those in the NSA, the government, and the very rich,
will be fully human, and (ii) the rest, that is disposable at will by
the former, and who will only be human enough to work (and may
I am a pessimist? Read
George Orwell, and see below.
Trump’s Space Force and the Dangerous Militarization of Outer Space
This article is by -
it seems - Gbenga Oduntan on AlterNet and originally on The
Conversation. It starts as follows:
In a recent speech,
President Donald Trump announced a new policy for the American space
programme. It is time, he
argued, for America to create a “Space Force”. As ever, the policy
announcement was full of glittering ideas but short on detail, largely
unspecific and even inaccurate. What we do know is that this would be a
new and separate military command, “equal” to the American Airforce.
But like much of Trumpian vision, superlative expressions shroud
reality and do great injustice to the serious issues at stake.
We should all be concerned
by the prospect of the nuclearisation and militarisation of outer
space. It is crucial for world, and perhaps even intergalactic, peace
that the legality of his plans are subject to the fiercest domestic and
international scrutiny. At the moment it is unclear how they could
possible fit in with existing international legal frameworks.
Yes indeed - and to the
extent of my legal comprehension (which is not very large, but
exists to some extent for the Netherlands and the USA) I´d say this
Trumpian ¨plan¨ does contradict ¨existing international legal frameworks¨ on many points.
Here is some more:
Yes indeed. Here is some
more, that outlines that Trump´s ¨dominance¨ is very probably quite
illegal - unless he succeeds in destroying the laws (which is quite
And America is not alone in
the quest for a military presence in space. All modern armies rely on
space-based applications, such as satellites, and jostle for military
advantages in space. Although, military uses of technologies in space
may be more useful for domestic conflicts where large swathes of
territory fall under terrorist control, such as the Sambisa forest in
northern Nigeria, where Boko Haram operates.
China and Russia have space
militarisation programmes of their own, much of which take place out of
sight. Recently, China attracted
suspicion by shooting down one of its own satellites.
But certain aspects of Trump’s
recent policy announcement should raise serious alarm. Trump said: “It
is not enough to have American presence in space we must have American
dominance.” This deviates dangerously from the historical and legal
norm. To ensure America’s security interests is one thing. To dominate
outer space is another.
The moon and other
celestial bodies, according to the 1967
UN Space Treaty, must be used exclusively for peaceful purposes.
The establishment of military bases, installations and fortifications,
the testing of any type of weapons and the conduct of military
manoeuvres on celestial bodies including asteroids is forbidden. The UN
demands that the exploration and use of outer space should be carried
out for the benefit and in the interest of all countries.
There is a complete
ban on placing nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction in
outer space or around the atmosphere of the earth. Other leading space
treaties ban the placement of alternative weapons of mass destruction
in space. But there is a loophole in that they do not specifically
prevent placement of other types of weapons in space.
And besides there is a lot of
space, and there is in fact very little effective control. Here is the
ending of this article:
Yes indeed. And this is a
We should try our utmost to
make sure the future carries on this tradition. The cooperation of
humankind in space exploration, which exists in every aspect of space
science, space law, space economics and policy must not be sacrificed
because of Trump’s dangerous ideas.
4. Trump’s Fourth of July
This article is by Robert
Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
On this coming Fourth of
worth pondering the true meaning of American patriotism – as opposed to
malignant, distorted view of it propounded by Donald J. Trump.
For Trump, the central
American patriotism is to secure our borders. “Without borders, there
can be no
nation,” he says.
But excluding foreigners
been a dominant part of American patriotism. For most
of its existence America has been relatively open to people from the
the world, especially those fleeing tyranny and violence.
America’s core struggle has
one of inclusion, not exclusion. We have strived to extend equal
Native Americans, African Americans, women, and
Yes indeed. Here is
Trump’s patriotism centers
symbolic displays of loyalty like standing for the national anthem and
the American flag.
But such displays haven’t
the center of American patriotism, either. Historically, American
has meant taking a fair share of the burdens of keeping the nation
This includes volunteering
energy to improving the community and country. It has meant paying
full rather than lobbying for lower taxes, seeking tax loopholes, or
squirreling away money abroad.
It also means refraining
making political contributions that corrupt our politics, and blowing
whistle on abuses of power even at the risk of losing one’s job.
Yes, although one may
well ask what is the proportion of decent and honest persons among
for example - the members of the Senate and of Congress: I must say
that I fear that is a small minority.
Here is more, in fact
about the contrast between true patriots and Donald Trump:
True patriots don’t
government with industry lobbyists, attack the freedom of the press,
judges who disagree with them, or fill the airwaves with lies. They
direct employers to fire employees who exercise their freedom of speech.
True patriots don’t court
dictators, and don’t excuse tyranny by denigrating America.
True patriots don’t fuel racist,
religious or ethnic divisions. They aren’t homophobic or sexist. To the
contrary, true patriots seek to confirm and strengthen and celebrate
in “we the people of the United States.”
I agree, but I am not
optimistic. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Our national identity has
If we are losing our
identity it is because we are losing those ideals: a
commitment to the rule of law, to our democratic
institutions, to truth, to tolerance of our differences, to equal
rights and equal opportunity, to participating in our civic life and
necessary sacrifices for these ideals we hold in common.
We must share these ideals
if we are
to have a functioning society. Without them, there is no America.
Trump is doing everything he
destroy these ideals.
In fact, while I
believe Trump is both a
madman (I am a psychologist) and a neofascist
(I am a philosopher - and check my links if you
did not!) I think there is something far more threatening to
and fair government and that is the fact that the NSA and most
secret services have been downloading everything they could get from
anyone (as have been Facebook, Google and more) in order to
much they conform to the governments´ standards, and have been doing so
from 1985 or 2003 onwards.
But for more see item 1. And this is a recommended article.
Children Forced to Recite Pledge of Allegiance
is by Julia Conley on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Yes indeed, quite so: This
is calculated sadism
(of a very sick and ugly kind as well).
Here is some more:
While tearing children away
from parents under a policy designed to keep asylum seekers from
entering U.S. society, the Trump administration is forcing those same
children to pledge their allegiance to the country that is actively
trying to expel them.
We make the
children recite a pledge of allegiance to the country that took them
from their parents. This is calculated sadism.
— matt blaze
President Donald Trump
signed an executive
order last week stating that families would be detained together
under his "zero tolerance" immigration policy, but thousands of
children remain separated from their parents.
The Washington Post on
the conditions in which many of those children are
living, in detention centers like Casa Padre in Brownsville, Texas,
describing "a converted Walmart where each morning they are required to
stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, in English, to the country
that holds them apart from their parents."
A facility employee told
the Post, "We tell them, 'It's out of respect.'"
No, you do this because you
are sick sadists, who treat these children and their parents as if they
are sub-humans and you are super-humans.
Here is a sum-up from the
ending of this article:
Let me make sure I have this straight: babies and children
who have done nothing wrong are being ripped away from their parents,
locked in cages, and being forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in
front of murals of Donald Trump, but the biggest crisis of today is
— Evan Greer
Yes, I agree and this is a
strongly recommended article.
an extra bit in the crisis series. I did so before a few times. This
time it is about
is by David N. Smith on Jacobin Magazin: It starts with the
following introduction (and ¨today¨= June 25):
George Orwell was
born 115 years ago today. He is often remembered as a paragon of
lucidity and truth-telling. But he was also deeply serious about
I had forgotten that (and tend
not to memorize dates of birth, except for the year). But today it is
the next day, and I consider Orwell to be one of the best and most
interesting writers of the 20th Century, and indeed also one of
most intelligent, for Orwell was very intelligent (and won a
scholarship to Eton because of his brilliance).
And this is the start of the article, which is quite good:
George Orwell was
serious about politics.
That might seem obvious,
given the pervasively political valence of “Orwellian” discourse and
the politically charged touchstones of Orwell’s famous novels, the
Bolshevik revolution in Animal Farm and totalitarian thought
control in Nineteen Eighty-Four. But the degree to which
Orwell was steeped in the crosscurrents of radical politics has been
routinely underestimated. So much has been said about Orwell’s
legendarily plain speech and his free-thinking worldview that he now
figures, for many, as an icon of non-doctrinaire and even
George Orwell, whose most
celebrated novel features a thirty-page tract by a fiery Trotsky-like
ideologue on “the theory and practice of oligarchical collectivism,” is
often treated as a quixotic naïf whose socialism was moral rather than
theoretical, intuitive rather than intellectual. The truth is more
Orwell was an iconoclast,
but within the socialist tradition, not outside it. His satires of
ideological excesses rang true because he knew those excesses
intimately — ideologically, culturally, and theoretically.
Yes, I agree. And since
I have read almost everything Orwell has written (that is in
contained in his Collected
Journalism, Essays and Letters that were
edited by his second wife, and that are quite important) and I am
philosopher and psychologist of 68 (academically), who first read
Orwell when he was
18, I can add that anyone who classifies Orwell as ¨a quixotic naïf whose socialism was moral
rather than theoretical, intuitive rather than intellectual¨ either is a liar or a major ignorant,
if he or she is not (also) quite stupid.
Here is some more:
Orwell never romanticized
left groups, even those he favored, like the Independent Labour Party
in Britain or the militia of Spain’s Workers’ Party of Marxist
Unification, with which he fought in the Spanish civil war. But he
admired dissent, and he knew that building an oppositional force,
however small, is an achievement. “I have never seen him so
enthusiastic,” Arthur Koestler later reminisced, as when they decided
to work together to found a human rights organization in 1946.
When groups he opposed but
respected were victimized, he rallied to their defense, both privately
and publicly. During the war he was sharply critical of anarchist war
resisters, but when Scotland Yard raided their press in 1944, Orwell
published a stinging criticism in the socialist Tribune.
Yes indeed, again. And
in fact here is a personal memory about Orwell:
My parents were both
members of the Dutch Communist Party for 45 years each. They were quite
intelligent, but not well educated. I stopped being a communist (and a
when I was 20 (and I was the only one with my background who
did) and one part of my reasons was Orwell.
More precisely, I had
heard about Orwell since I was 16 or so, and what I had heard - in the
communist environment I grew up in - was that he was ¨a traitor¨
liar and dishonest),
but since I was persistent I also soon heard, from virtually everybody
who told me the above that
¨Of course, I have never read any of the books of this
I thought that was
quite strange, and decided to look for a book of Orwell myself (in
Dutch: my English was not very good when I was 16 or 17), and
eventually found one, namely a Dutch translation of ¨Homage to
Catalonia¨. What I discovered was a man who could really
write, and who
could really think, indeed in both respects much better
than any of his
And that set me on the
course which led me quickly away from communism and Marxism (although
am a philosophical anarchist since 1971, where the ¨philosophical¨ is
meant to stress that I then had concluded - correctly I think,
not pleasantly - that the vast majority of men who are alive do not
have the intelligence
to develop rational ideas themselves).
Back to the article:
This is not how Orwell is
ordinarily understood. His publishers, and his critics, capitalized on
his early death to promote the stereotype of the steadfastly
anti-intellectual prophet, whose dystopian fables sprang from either
good common sense or pitiable idiosyncrasy.
Neither stereotype is
helpful. Orwell wrote lucidly, and he scorned casuistic hair-splitting,
but he was far from naïve or anti-intellectual. Even in his tubercular
final years, as his energy flagged and he labored to finish Nineteen
Eighty-Four, he read prolifically.
In fact, Orwell was
of the most intelligent Englishmen of his own time, and a far
essayist than almost anyone.
Here is the ending of
Fortunately, Orwell’s vast
readership takes him much more seriously. And those among his readers
who dig deeply — reading his lesser-known essays and reviews as well as
his prophetic novels — soon learn that his fiction was rooted in a
familiarity with real-world politics that was no less expert for being
unpretentious. In these days of disinformation, political clarity and
integrity are rare and precious.
Orwell was, and remains, a
paragon of lucidity, truth-telling, and genuine insight. May he find an
even wider audience.
Yes indeed, I quite
agree. And this is a strongly recommended article.
 I have
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 (!!).