from November 17, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Saturday,
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 November 17, 2018:
1. Prosecution of Julian Assange for Publishing Documents
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:
Threats to Press Freedom
2. WikiLeaks Lawyer Warns U.S. Charges Against Assange
3. Chuck Schumer Shouldn’t Lead Senate Democrats.
4. Facebook Used a Republican Firm to Attack Critics &
5. The Biggest Threat to Free Speech No One Is Talking About
1. Prosecution of Julian Assange for
Publishing Documents Poses Grave Threats to Press Freedom
This article is by Glenn
Greenwald on The Intercept. I abbreviated the title. It starts as
The Trump Justice
revealed in a court filing that it has charged Julian Assange in a
sealed indictment. The disclosure occurred through a remarkably
amateurish cutting-and-pasting error in which prosecutors
unintentionally used secret language from Assange’s sealed charges in
a document filed in an unrelated case. Although the document
does not specify which charges have been filed against Assange, the
Wall Street Journal reported
that “they may involve the Espionage Act, which
criminalizes the disclosure of national defense-related information.”
Yes indeed. Here is more:
and/or WikiLeaks for publishing classified documents would be in an
entirely different universe of press freedom threats. Reporting on the
secret acts of government officials or powerful financial actors –
including by publishing documents taken without authorization – is at
the core of investigative journalism. From the Pentagon Papers to the
Panama Papers to the Snowden disclosures to publication of Trump’s tax
returns to the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, some of the most
important journalism over the last several decades has occurred because
it is legal and constitutional to publish secret documents even if the
sources of those documents obtained them through illicit or even
The Obama DOJ – despite launching
notoriously aggressive attacks on press freedoms – recognized this
critical principle when it came to WikiLeaks. It spent years exploring
whether it could criminally charge Assange and WikiLeaks for publishing
classified information. It ultimately decided it would not do so, and could
not do so, consistent with the press freedom guarantee of the
First Amendment. After all, the Obama DOJ concluded, such a prosecution
would pose a severe threat to press freedom because there would be no
way to prosecute Assange for publishing classified documents without
also prosecuting the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian
and others for doing exactly the same thing.
Yes again. Here is more:
But the grand irony is that
many Democrats will side with the Trump DOJ over the Obama DOJ. Their
emotional, personal contempt for Assange – due to their belief that he
helped defeat Hillary Clinton: the gravest crime – easily outweighs any
concerns about the threats posed to press freedoms by the Trump
administration’s attempts to criminalize the publication of documents.
This reflects the broader
irony of the Trump era for Democrats. While they claim out
of one side of their mouth to find the Trump administration’s
authoritarianism and press freedom attacks so repellent, they use the
other side of their mouth to parrot the authoritarian mentality of Jeff
Sessions and Mike Pompeo that anyone who published documents harmful to
Hillary or which have been deemed “classified” by the U.S.
Government ought to go to prison.
Yes, precisely so. Here
is the last bit that I quote from this article:
What has changed since that
Obama-era consensus? Only one thing: in 2016, WikiLeaks published
documents that reflected poorly on Democrats and the Clinton campaign
rather than the Bush-era wars, rendering Democrats perfectly willing,
indeed eager, to prioritize their personal contempt for Assange over
any precepts of basic press freedoms, civil liberties, or
Constitutional principles. It’s really just as simple – and as ignoble
– as that.
It is this utterly craven
and authoritarian mentality that is about to put Democrats of all
sorts in bed with the most extremist and dangerous of the Trump
faction as they unite to create precedents under which the publication
of information – long held sacrosanct by anyone caring about press
freedoms – can now be legally punished.
Yes, I think this is
also correct and this is a strongly recommended article.
Lawyer Warns U.S. Charges Against Assange Endanger Press Freedom
This article is by
Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! I abbreviated the title. It starts with
the following introduction:
Department has inadvertently revealed that it has prepared an
indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In an unusual
development, language about the charges against Assange was copied and
pasted into an unrelated court filing that was recently unsealed. In
the document, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer wrote, “Due to
the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the
case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that
Assange has been charged.” The news broke on Thursday night just hours
after The Wall Street Journal reported the Justice Department was
planning to prosecute Assange. Assange has been living since 2012 in
the Ecuadorean Embassy in London where he has sought refuge and
political asylum. It’s unclear what charges may be brought against
Assange (...) We speak with human rights attorney Jennifer Robinson,
who has been advising Julian Assange and WikiLeaks since 2010.
Yes - and yes, this
duplicates a bit with the previous item. Here is
more, this time by a lawyer of Assange:
This is confirmation of what we’ve been concerned about and been
talking about since 2010. It is the reason, of course, that Julian
Assange was—sought asylum and granted asylum inside the Ecuadorean
Embassy and the reason he remains there today. This confirms what we’ve
been saying, that there is a very real risk that the United States is
going to seek to prosecute him for his publishing activities and
potentially seek to extradite him, and that if there was to be an
indictment, it would be sealed, it would be secret, and we wouldn’t
know that it existed until such time as he was in custody.
Yes. I also have a
question: How can indictments of persons - who are innocent at least
until convicted - be sealed and secret? I am sure there is some
answer to my question, but I don't know it.
Here is more:
And that a publisher could face prosecution in the United States—and we
now have confirmation that they’ve sought an indictment—over publishing
such truthful public interest information is a real concern. And this
is a concern not just for us and not just for Julian Assange, which is
what we’ll be discussing later today, but is also a concern for all of
the press, all of the domestic press in the United State, but also what
it says about what the United States is doing in terms of exercising
jurisdiction over publishers all over the world. What does this mean?
Does this mean that the U.S. could seek to prosecute a publisher who’s
publishing information from abroad about material about the United
States? Will Russia, will Saudi Arabia, will China start to follow suit?
Yes indeed. And yes,
Robinson is quite correct that this indictment not only
Assange, but the whole free press, also outside the USA, for it
especially if Assange gets convicted, that the USA could prosecute
anyone anywhere for publishing truthful public interest information,
namely simply on the ground that the USA's government doesn't like
these truths to be seen by the public.
Here is more:
Yes indeed. Robinson is quite
correct and this is a strongly recommended
GOODMAN: Let me go to
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Last year, just after he became CIA director, in Pompeo’s first major address, he
POMPEO: It’s time to
call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: a nonstate, hostile
intelligence service, often abetted by state actors like Russia. … In
reality, they champion nothing but their own celebrity. Their currency
is clickbait, their moral compass nonexistent. Their mission, personal
self-aggrandizement through destruction of Western values.
ROBINSON: Well, Pompeo’s
statements, as the head of the CIA,
demonstrate the fervor within the CIA in
certainly to be seeking WikiLeaks’ prosecution. But to say that
receiving and publishing information in the public interest is an
attack on Western values is, frankly, wrong and a dangerous statement
to be coming from the head of the CIA and
someone who’s been very senior in the Trump administration. This cuts
at the heart of constitutional protections for free speech. It is
protected under the U.S. Constitution to receive and publish
information that’s in the public interest, even classified information.
And that any publisher, including WikiLeaks, could be called a hostile
nonstate intelligence agency, when media organizations around the world
all the time, including The New York Times, including The
Washington Post, receive classified information and publish it
when it’s in the public interest—to say that that is an attack on
Western values is a very dangerous statement from the head of the CIA that ought to be investigated.
Schumer Shouldn’t Lead Senate Democrats.
is by Medhi Hasan on The Intercept. I abbreviated the title. It starts
It wasn’t Donald Trump who said
he opposed the nuclear deal with Iran because “we will be worse off
with this agreement than without it,” while lying
about the contents of that deal.
It wasn’t Mike Pence who said
that “since the Palestinians in Gaza elected Hamas … to strangle them
economically until they see that’s not the way to go makes sense.”
It wasn’t John Bolton who voted
for the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2002, saying that
Saddam Hussein was engaged in a “vigorous pursuit of biological,
chemical, and nuclear weapons.”
It wasn’t Mike Pompeo who said, “It’s
easy to sit back in the armchair and say that torture can never be
used. But when you’re in the foxhole, it’s a very different deal.”
It wasn’t Stephen Miller
who responded to the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris by suggesting
“a pause may be necessary” in the resettlement of Syrian refugees in
the United States.
It wasn’t Betsy DeVos who
joined a group of finance industry executives for breakfast only a few
weeks after the 2008 financial crash and told
them, “We are not going to be a bunch of crazy, anti-business
Forget the hawks,
blowhards, and kakistocrats of the Trump administration. You know who
made all these statements? It was Chuck Schumer.
Yes, the fourth-term
Democratic senator from New York has a long history of making really
right-wing and rancid remarks. Yet on Wednesday morning, Schumer was
re-elected as minority leader by
acclamation in a closed-door meeting of Senate Democrats. They
didn’t even bother to vote on it.
By Wednesday evening,
though, the New York Times had published a blockbuster
investigation into Facebook, which reminded us how Schumer, in
the words of my colleague Glenn Greenwald, “has long been the
embodiment of everything sleazy, legally corrupt, corporatist and
craven in Washington.”
Yes, precisely so, and
see item 1. Here is the final bit that I quote from
For the corrupt and lawless
Trump, having his old
friend Schumer — to whom he has donated
thousands of dollars — in charge of the Senate Democrats is a blessing.
Schumer is bent on negotiating
with this president, whether over immigration reform or infrastructure.
That Trump can’t be trusted, or that Trump is leading a white
nationalist movement from the White House, doesn’t seem to bother him.
As one of the young organizers of a November 2016 protest at the Senate
office of the minority leader told the Village
Voice: “What’s really dangerous about Chuck Schumer and the
Democratic leadership is they don’t understand the stakes of what’s
happening in this country.”
“Dangerous” is the correct
word. Schumer has voted in favor of Trump cabinet appointees and Trump
judicial appointees. He has downplayed the threat posed by the more
deranged members of the Trump base by equating it to nonviolent
protests from the left. And he refuses
to talk impeachment.
Yes, although I think
Schumer does "understand
the stakes of what’s happening in this country": He has chosen the best paying side. And this
is a recommended article.
Used a Republican Firm to Attack Critics & Spread Disinformation
is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! I abbreviated the title. It starts
with the following introduction:
“Delay, Deny and
Deflect.” That’s the name of a new bombshell investigation by The New
York Times revealing that Facebook executives, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer
Sheryl Sandberg, were aware of a Russian misinformation campaign on the
social media network and took a series of extraordinary private actions
to preserve the company’s reputation, launching an aggressive lobbying
campaign to combat critics and spread misinformation. The New York
Times investigation reveals that Facebook hired the Republican
opposition-research firm Definers Public Affairs to discredit critics
of Facebook, linking them to the billionaire liberal donor George
Soros. Facebook also allegedly lobbied the Anti-Defamation League to
condemn criticism of the company as anti-Semitic. Since the publication
of the investigation, Facebook has announced it will cut ties with
Yes indeed, although I
personally add that nothing that gets published about the utter
rottenness of Facebook will amaze me. Here is some more:
SIVA VAIDHYANATHAN: The
big picture is, Facebook is impossible to govern, impossible to
control. And Facebook had explicitly encouraged, for instance, all of
our personal data to go out to third parties and fourth parties and
fifth parties, like Cambridge Analytica. We can’t even know where all
this data went. That was one scandal. The other scandal is, Facebook is
susceptible to—beyond susceptible. Facebook amplifies all sorts of
misinformation, propaganda, disinformation, much of which came from
Russia trying to mess with American democracy. But a lot of it comes
domestically, too, comes from domestic hate groups, comes from
political operatives who seem a bit more mainstream.
Well... I disagree mostly
about Russia. But I utterly despise Facebook and its members,
sooner Facebook gets blown up somehow, the better it seems to me.
this is a recommended article.
Biggest Threat to Free Speech No One Is Talking About
is by Robert Scheer on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
I completely agree with
but only printed the start of his interview for reasons of space.
If you clicked this story,
or have any desire to listen to the interview embedded within, odds are
you’re a consumer of independent media. Yet even as you’re reading
these words, your ability to do so in a timely manner is in grave
Since the repeal
in June of Obama-era rules guaranteeing net neutrality, websites
like Truthdig, Democracy Now!, Common Dreams and more risk
being pushed into an internet slow lane that could severely hamper
their readership, if not drive them out of business entirely. For Jeff
Cohen, editor and co-founder of the media watchdog Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
(FAIR), it may be the most urgent threat to the First Amendment no one
is talking about.
“The biggest issue of
freedom of the press is not that Trump is mean to reporters, as he was
last week with CNN’s Jim Acosta and Yamiche Alcindor of “PBS NewsHour,”
he tells Robert Scheer. “The biggest freedom-of-the-press issue is that
Trump is working with Comcast and AT&T and Verizon to end net
neutrality. … Ownership of the media and the ownership of the internet,
the fact that these big internet providers are [a] few giant companies
that also produce content—it’s very, very dangerous.”
In the latest installment of
“Scheer Intelligence,” Cohen plumbs a range of topics, including the
myriad failures of our political press and the Blue Wave election that
wasn’t (quite), as well as the future of the progressive movement. No
matter how many congressional seats it ends up flipping, he contends,
the Democratic Party is unlikely to change course until it replaces its
leadership: “It’s too indebted to the donor class."
This is a recommended article.
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 (!!).