from July 23, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Monday,
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 July 23, 2018:
1. The Arrest of Julian Assange Appears Near
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:
Messaging Apps Increasingly Used for Public Business
3. With Nationality Law, Israel Openly Declares Apartheid and
4. Social Media Misinformation Campaigns Are 'Big Business'
5. Neoliberalism Is Being Rejected Around the World
Arrest of Julian Assange Appears Near
This article is by
The Truthdig Staff. It starts as follows:
so, and I completely agree. Truthdig also prints a list of some
other articles they have published or republished on Assange. I copy
Intercept and other media outlets are reporting that the arrest of
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has had sanctuary in the
Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012, is imminent.
In light of this breaking news, Truthdig
reposting a July
15 article (at bottom here) by vacationing Truthdig columnist Chris
Hedges that explores the persecution of Assange.
We also call to your attention a few of the other
on Assange that have been posted or reposted on Truthdig:
Is the Outrage Against Julian Assange’s Silencing?” by Teodrose
Fikre, April 3, 2018
Defense of Julian Assange and Free Speech” by John Pilger, March
31, 2018 [my review]
Drops Rape Inquiry Against Julian Assange” by Donald Kaufman, May
Assange Strikes Back at the CIA Director: WikiLeaks Is Not ‘Omnipotent’ ”
by Eric Ortiz, April 20, 2017
of the Week: Julian Assange, Publisher of the Clinton Campaign Emails”
by Alexander Reed Kelly, Oct. 23, 2016
Assange Explains Why Voting for Hillary Clinton Will ‘Spread Terrorism’
” by Natasha Hakimi Zapata, Feb. 24, 2016
Assange: The Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice” by John
Pilger, Aug. 4, 2015
Death of Truth” by Chris Hedges, May 6, 2013
Chris Hedges Interviews Julian Assange,” May 6, 2013
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article, with a small addition:
addition is that I added the link to the original in the above
quotation, while here is also my review
of it. And this is a strongly recommended article.
Here’s a repost of Chris
recent column, titled “The
War on Assange Is a War on Press Freedom”:
Messaging Apps Increasingly Used for Public Business
article is by
Ryan J. Foley on Truthdig and originally on The Associated Press. It
starts as follows:
One app promotes
itself as a way to discuss sensitive negotiations and human resources
problems without leaving a digital record.
Another boasts that
disappearing messages “keep your message history tidy.” And a popular
email service recently launched a “confidential mode” allowing the
content of messages to disappear after a set time.
The proliferation of
digital tools that make text and email messages vanish may be welcome
to Americans seeking to guard their privacy. But open government
advocates fear they are being misused by public officials to conduct
business in secret and evade transparency laws.
I say, which I do
because this sounds mostly quite odd.
Here are my reasons:
First, while this or
that (probably anonymous) maker may advertise that his (or her)
app will disappear text and email messages directly or a short while
after they have been read, these messages generally are being copied as they are being
send to one, and unless what you send is heavily encrypted (which is unlikely), it
will be completely readable to anyone who can
catch it, which are
generally the secret services and Facebook, Google, Microsoft and
Second, I must say that
I wipe my ass with the purported sayings of purported ¨open government advocates¨: Open government is one
thing, but that anyhow is completely
impossible if the secret services + Facebook + Google anyway can
read all or most of the emails anyone sends. And they can, since 2001 at the latest, and have
been doing that ever since.
Here is more, that is equally
Whether communications on
those platforms should be part of the public record is a growing but
unsettled debate in states across the country. Updates to transparency
laws lag behind rapid technological advances, and the public and
private personas of state officials overlap on private smartphones and
social media accounts.
“Those kind of technologies
literally undermine, through the technology itself, state open
government laws and policies,” said Daniel Bevarly, executive director
of the National Freedom of Information Coalition. “And they come on top
of the misuse of other technologies, like people using their own
private email and cellphones to conduct business.”
What the fuck are ¨open government laws and policies¨?! Are they perhaps made up of all communications
that the secret services can intercept?!
And since when is one ¨misusing¨
one´s own email or one´s own cellphone ¨to conduct¨ one´s own ¨business¨?!
What utter rot is that?!
For me the only
sensible interpretation of what Bevarly said is: Anything Our Secret
Services cannot catch is close to treason/misuse/abuse.
If that is what
he meant (and I do not know) I don´t want anything to
do with him or his institution.
Here is more of what
appears to me as bullshit
The issue exploded into
public view last year amid reports that several employees in the office
of Greitens, then Missouri’s governor, had accounts on Confide. The app
makes messages disappear immediately after they are read and doesn’t
allow them to be saved, forwarded, printed or captured by screenshot.
Well, if they reached you they
passed the internet, and if they passed the internet (unless they
are strongly encrypted) then they very probably are being read by
the secret services (of almost any state), by Facebook, by
Google, and by more.
There is a considerable
amount more in the article, but this article seems mostly nonsense to me.
Nationality Law, Israel Openly Declares Apartheid and Racial Supremacy
article is by
Juan Cole on Truthdig and originally on Informed Comment. It starts as
Israel has for decades been
running the occupied territories of Palestine—Gaza and the West
Bank—with apartheid tactics. As with black South Africans under
apartheid, most Palestinians have been deprived of citizenship in a
real, recognized state. Their villages have been isolated by a network
of what often amount to Jewish-only highways. They have trouble getting
to the hospital through checkpoints. Their territory in the West
Bank is patrolled by the Israeli army, and the Israeli state is
actively depriving them of their property and giving it to white
One reply had been that
while the Occupation regime may have apartheid characteristics, it is
temporary. It has become abundantly clear, however, that the Occupation
is forever and the Palestinians will be kept stateless in perpetuity
(they are the largest group of human beings in the world entirely
lacking citizenship and nationality– a condition much worse than having
a nationality you don’t want, as with many Kurds).
I do not know
everything said in the above article is true, but I think most is.
Also, as an aside: My grandfather was
murdered by the Nazis for being in the resistance; my father survived
more than 3 year and 9 months of 4 German concentration camps, and was
eventually knighted; my mother was in the resistance but was never
arrested, and all three were strongly moved in their
decisions to resist then by what they considered the inhuman treatments
gave to the Jews.
And I mostly keep apart
from commenting on Israel, although I strongly dislike
Nethanyahu. But he and his government now have introduced laws which
can only be understood as Apartheid laws.
Here is more on that decision:
Another reply had been that
in Israel proper, 20% of the population is Arab (i.e.
Palestinian-Israeli), and they are equal citizens of the Israeli state
with full democratic rights. That assertion was all along de facto
untrue, since Palestinian-Israelis suffered various forms of
discrimination. Some of their villages were unrecognized, and were
hence forbidden to conduct repairs or building expansions. Only 1% of
Bedouin Israelis have a college degree.
But now the Israeli
parliament or Knesset has passed a law openly declaring Palestinians
to be second-class citizens. Building squatter settlements on
Palestinian land is made the official policy of the state (well, it has
been for decades de facto, but now it is de jure). Arabic is demoted
from being an official language.
It would be as though the
US passed a law designating America as a state for white Christians,
excluding African-Americans and Latinos, and making English the only
I say. Again, I do not
know whether all of this is true, but I don´t like it at all.
Here is the last bit that I copy from this article:
It is difficult to see how
Zionist Jews can complain about being second-class citizens in
Christian societies if their movement treats non-Jews this way in
Sovereignty is vested
solely in the 80% majority of Jewish Israelis. Israel is no more a
democracy now than Turkey is. Both have regular elections and in both
the Right routinely wins, and probably fairly so.
The Palestinian Liberation
Organization correctly declared this
system to be unadorned Apartheid.
Well... I think the
first paragraph is false for various reasons. First, I do not
see why ¨Zionist Jews¨ should not complain about ¨being second-class citizens¨ if they are, and second, they have
complained about such things while the Arabs were abused in Israel, so
I see no reason why they would or should stop complaining now.
But yes, I agree
that the above either makes or comes close to making Israel an Apartheid state,
and I am an opponent of all Apartheid states.
Media Misinformation Campaigns Are 'Big Business' Worldwide
Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. It has a subtitle:
"In emerging and
Western democracies, data analytics and political bots are being used
to poison the information environment, promote skepticism and distrust,
polarize voting constituencies, and undermine the integrity of
I agree but I do want to add some
necessary conditions why these
They succeed mostly because the majority of the people these bots seek
to manipulate can be manipulated (in the present climate of
opinion, that may soon be worse, at least in the USA)
because the majority is ignorant, stupid, conformist
Indeed, this is the more so as currently anyone
reasonable intelligence and some time
can - still (?) - be informed
mostly rationally simply by reading the non-mainstream sites:
Try to read Truthdig, Democracy Now!, and Common Dreams, for example,
for three months, together with your normal mainstream sites.
This is from near the beginning of the article:
[A]n Oxford Internet
published Friday found that use of social media by governments looking
junk information and propaganda to voters" has become a global
"Social media manipulation
is big business," the researchers found. "We estimate that tens of
millions of dollars are being spent on social media manipulation
campaigns, involving tens of thousands of professional staff."
there is nothing new about political parties and governments using
disinformation to manipulate elections at home and abroad, the Oxford
researchers note that the massive, easily accessible, and lightly
regulated platforms offered by Facebook and Twitter have become
enormously powerful tools in the hands of political actors, who have
used social media to kick their propaganda campaigns into overdrive and
cast doubt on science and public institutions.
closely related to some of the dirty tricks and negative
campaigning we might expect in close races (and which have always
played a part in political campaigning ), what makes this phenomenon
unique is the deliberate use of computational propaganda to
manipulate voters and shape the outcome of elections," the study notes.
yes and no, but in fact mostly no.
reasons are that I have no idea what ¨computational propaganda¨ is supposed to mean, while the
main thing that is different since 20 years is not even mentioned:
The fact that the secret services (from virtually anywhere) can read
absolutely everything anyone writes on a computer with an internet
connection, while the same goes for
enormous advertisers like Facebook
secret services (from anywhere) and Facebook and Google have freedoms
to know absolutely everything about absolutely everyone they should
never had had in the first place.
that is the basic problem, indeed since 2001,
for then the secret
services, starting with the American ones, were let loose on the public.
is the last bit that I quote from this article:
media have gone from being the natural infrastructure for sharing
collective grievances and coordinating civic engagement, to being a
computational tool for social control, manipulated by canny political
consultants, and available to politicians in democracies and
dictatorships alike," the study concludes. "We cannot wait for national
courts to sort out the technicalities of infractions after running an
election or referendum. Protecting our democracies now means setting
the rules of fair play before voting day, not after."
was never anything else but manipulators of their members and
collectors of all the information they could get from them, and damn
the legalities, in part because they did not and do not exist, or are
completely non-maintained (such as my right to send private mail
will not be read by many tens of secret
services, like the post once
I can ¨wait for
national courts to sort out the technicalities of infractions¨ and I can, because I have concluded
after 20 years of this not
happening, my own conclusion is that it is
not happening because the governments and the secret services do not
want it to happen. For they want to know everything you write, for
this will give them more power than anyone
Is Being Rejected Around the World
This article is by
Conor Lynch on AlterNet and originally on Salon. This is from near the
beginning, about an asserted similarity between Trump and López
(who was recently elected as president of Mexico):
“Those who have
compared his populism to Trump’s are fundamentally mistaken, in my
view,” wrote Anderson, who explained that the Mexican president-elect’s populism is “built not on a hatred of ‘the other,’ or on a
need to prevail at the expense of others, but rather on an intuitive
faith that Mexicans can overcome their current reality with a
redeployment of their most outstanding national traits — hard work,
resourcefulness, pride, modesty, and bravery.”
The knee-jerk comparisons
of the two leaders were lazy (albeit predictable), and lumping together
politicians based on personality traits is typical of our
current era of personality-driven politics, where the
press often focuses more on a politician than his or her politics.
(To be fair, it is hard not to focus on personality when discussing
President Trump, whose politics seem inseparable from his personality.)
In fact, most of this
sounds like propaganda.
Here is more:
While they stand on
opposite sides of the political spectrum, both Trump and López Obrador
are part of the global revolt against what critics
call neoliberalism, and this is important for understanding our
The past 30-plus years has
been defined by the political project of neoliberalism,
spearheaded by the U.S. government and international financial
institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World
Bank, with the utopian aim of creating a global capitalist
economy perfectly guided by the invisible hand of the
market (for neoliberals and free-market fundamentalists, the invisible
hand is an almost divine concept, worshipped in economics
departments around the country). The neoliberal era peaked in the
1990s, and in America it was Democratic President Bill Clinton who
accomplished neoliberal “reforms” that right-wingers had long dreamed
of, including financial deregulation, NAFTA and “ending welfare as we
knew it” (he would probably have privatized Social Security too had it not
been for Monica Lewinsky).
Well... first of all,
it were not only ¨critics¨ who called ¨neoliberalism¨
did the neoliberalists themselves, indeed also if their ¨neoliberalism¨
in fact was a lot like neofascism.
Second, neoliberalism became an
important political force in 1979 and 1980, with the elections
Thatcher and Reagan. Third, ¨free markets¨ are and have been pure
since God knows how long. Fourth, the neoliberal era did not
peak in the 1990s, but since the 2000s.
So in fact I do not
know whether Lynch knows much about what he writes about, or at least
not whether we are addressing the same issues if we are using
the same words, although I agree that Bill Clinton
ruled for the rich, who also afterward helped to make him a
considerable millionaire, as they did with Tony Blair, in thanks
precisely the same services.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this rather vague article:
According to Oxfam, 82
percent of the wealth created in 2017 went to the top one percent, while the poorest
half got nothing. In America alone, inequality is at historic
levels and more than 40 million people live in poverty; a UN report from
last month notes that the U.S. “now has one of the lowest rates of
intergenerational social mobility of any of the rich countries,” and
zip codes “are tragically reliable predictors of a child’s future
employment and income prospects.”
Yes. There is a lot more but
I shall not quote it because it is again very vague.