in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from March 24, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Sunday,
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 three 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 March 24, 2019:
1. The Threat Within
The items 1 - 5 are today's
selections from the 35 sites that I look at
everyorning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the
link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:
2. The U.S. Deserves Its Own Nuremberg
3. One Million+ March in UK to Demand Brexit Rethink
4. The DCCC’s Undemocratic Decision
5. U.S. to ICC: We Will Break Your Legs
This article is by
Anonymous on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
Well... in fact it is
Sunday today, which still has the least News of the week, and I decided
this time to draw the attention of my readers to a series on
Intercept. The series consists of five parts, and you can read all of
them starting here: Read the
ABOUT THIS SERIES
Since the 9/11 attacks, the
U.S. government and federal law enforcement agencies have equated
terrorism with Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and other international
extremist groups. As a result, many Americans have come to view
terrorism as a uniquely Muslim phenomenon.
In the past week, news
coverage has focused on horrific massacres at two New Zealand mosques,
where 50 people were killed by a white supremacist. But these were only
the latest in a long series of attacks that have gained international
attention since the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville,
Virginia, in August 2017, when another white supremacist drove his car
into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing a young woman. In a single
month last year, a Donald Trump supporter sent pipe bombs to Democratic
Party leaders and critics of the president, and a man walked into a
Pittsburgh synagogue and gunned down 11 worshippers in the deadliest
anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history. In the wake of these violent acts,
the conversation about terrorism in the United States has slowly
shifted to domestic extremists.
“The Threat Within”
examines how the arbitrary nature of federal terrorism prosecutions has
warped our understanding of ideologically inspired violence in the
I do not know yet whether I am going to review any of it, but
that decision (or lack of a decision) is mostly due to my decision that
I review at most 5 articles a day in Nederlog (which again has
to do with the facts that I have been ill for over 40 years and am
In any case, I like the idea of the series, although I also
have a comment, which is this:
When I read that (because of how the US government present its cases) ¨As a result, many Americans have come to view
terrorism as a uniquely Muslim phenomenon¨ my own reaction is that - if so - as many
Americans must be quite stupid or quite
and very probably both.
I am sorry if you disagree, but this seems to me to be a simple fact. Here is some
more on the series:
An Intercept analysis of
federal prosecutions since 9/11 found that the Justice Department has
routinely declined to bring terrorism charges against right-wing
extremists, even when their alleged crimes appear to have met the legal
definition of domestic terrorism: ideologically motivated acts that
are harmful to human life and intended to intimidate civilians,
influence policy, or change government conduct. According to The
Intercept’s review, the Justice Department applied anti-terrorism laws
against only 34
of the 268 right-wing extremists prosecuted for such crimes in
federal court since 9/11. In the same period, they used those laws
against more than 500 alleged international terrorists.
What is abundantly clear from our analysis of this data is that
terrorism is a political construct. “The Threat Within” demonstrates
that what critics of the Patriot Act predicted has come to
pass: The country’s anti-terrorism laws have been used
disproportionately to punish people whose political views are unpopular
or perceived as foreign.
I take it most of the above
is correct, although I also stick to what I wrote above: If you are an
American who presently believes that (I quote from the previous
quotation) ¨terrorism [i]s a
uniquely Muslim phenomenon¨ I
think you do not know the meaning of the term ¨terrorism¨ nor
anything about history.
Also, I think the above is mistaken
when it says ¨ What is
abundantly clear from
our analysis of this data is that terrorism is a political construct¨: No,
for the ¨terrorism¨ that the American government admits is based on a
very partial definition, and also seems to pretend as if
the only thing that matters is what Americans think.
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
reporting for this series was informed by the collection and analysis
of data for federal prosecutions of domestic extremists since 9/11.
Contributing writer Trevor Aaronson and researcher Margot Williams
examined hundreds of prosecutions to identify crimes that appear to
have met the Patriot Act definition of domestic terrorism: “acts
dangerous to human life” intended to intimidate civilians or influence
government in the service of a domestic extremist ideology. A second
analysis, of federal prosecutions of radical environmentalists and
animal rights activists, included cases that were prosecuted under the
Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act or its precursor, or described publicly
by the Justice Department as domestic terrorism. The Intercept’s data
can be downloaded for analysis from GitHub.
I think the above is the correct
procedure, and this is a recommended article.
U.S. Deserves Its Own Nuremberg Trials
article is by Robert Scheer on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Well... I am quite
capable of believing that ¨Americans [are] capable of committing atrocities on the same
as Germans did under Nazi rule¨ but then again I know quite a bit about WW II (in
which my grandfather was murdered by the Nazis and my father spent more
than 3 years and 9 months in German concentration camps, both for being
in the resistance), and in WW II around 73 million people were
killed, and while I do not like the American war crimes
since the end of WW II at all, I certainly do not believe they
killed 73 million persons, even if I count Korea (in the early 1950ies)
Are Americans capable of
committing atrocities on the same scale as Germans did under Nazi rule?
That is the question that University of San Francisco ethics professor
Rebecca Gordon and Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer grapple with
in the latest installment of “Scheer Intelligence.” Gordon, author of
“Mainstreaming Torture” and “American Nuremberg,” posits that if
America’s actions in the Middle East, especially in Iraq, were to be
scrutinized the way Nazi Germany’s crimes were probed in the aftermath
of World War II, the U.S. would likely also be found guilty of crimes
Besides, there is another difficulty (which is not at all
this article), namely that the Nuremberg Trials were both
and morally rather special. I shall not discuss this
either, but I do
want to make the remark.
Here is some more:
I read neither book. Then
again, since I do know a fair amount of history, I do not
think that ¨the Germans¨ in WW II committed ¨the worst crimes of modern history¨ (other than numerically,
formed ¨an aberration in
the development of the human race¨. Similar things happened throughout human
though indeed not quite on the same scale.
wrote two very important books, maybe the most important in some ways.
One is called Mainstreaming Torture, and another is called American
Nuremberg. So the question I want to ask you, you know, because
we’ve always treated the crimes of others, particularly the Germans,
the worst crimes of modern history, as an aberration in the development
of the human race. Those people went berserk, crazy, and they were
evil; now we have another category, Muslims are evil, they do terrible
things. We’re recording this on a day where in New Zealand, some 48
people trying to practice their religion were killed. So we see a lot
of crime against Muslims, as there was obviously a lot of crimes
against Jews and other people.
Here is some more:
(..) [C]oming to Nuremberg, what I was trying to do in the book is to
say how important the principle was that was established at Nuremberg,
which is that international law is real law. And when you break
international law, there are genuine consequences, and people can and
should be held accountable. So what I looked at was the conduct of this
so-called War on Terror in the post-September 11th period, and asked:
Could the United States be accused of the same categories of crimes for
which the Nazi leadership were held accountable? And there were three
categories that were established by the prosecution, and these were
crimes against peace; ordinary war crimes, which had already been well
described in the body of international law; and a new category, crimes
against humanity, which was created in order to take in the enormity of
what had been done in Europe by the Nazis.
Yes, this is
mostly correct - and Gordon is also correct that there was ¨the principle was that was established at
Nuremberg, which is that international law is real law¨, and something similar
holds for ¨crimes against
Here is some more:
RG: And of course
Bush-Cheney administration very early on decided to create a third,
nonexistent category called unlawful combatants. But this designation
doesn’t exist in the International Red Cross’s understanding; it
doesn’t exist in the Geneva Convention’s. It was just a convenient way
of saying this particular group of people, whoever it is that we choose
to capture, detain forever, torture–they have no legal standing in the
world. They exist outside of international law.
Yes indeed - and I quite
agree this was a crime. Here is some more:
RG: But in fact,
Iraq, we don’t know because there are many different counts, but
anywhere between 500,000 and a million people have died in the U.S.
invasion and occupation in Iraq. And when you lay that against the
3,000 people who died on September 11th, none of whom were killed by
anyone even from Iraq, you also see that we have violated another rule
of just war theory, which is proportionality. We have destroyed human
life out of all proportion.
Yes again, although there
would be quite a lot to say on the assumptions being made here, which I
will again not do here and now.
Here is more:
Yes indeed: I think Scheer
was quite right when he said that ¨American exceptionalism (..) [is] the most profound problem that American
people have to face¨.
exceptionalism–I’ve mentioned this a number of times on this podcast–to
my mind, is a really, it’s the most profound problem that American
people have to face.
RG: It’s a
vicious idea. And it’s been taken up in different ways by both the
liberal democratic world, and by the, you know, the hard right in this
country. The idea that by definition, the United States can do no
wrong, because we are the leader of the so-called free world. Which is
a locution I don’t even understand anymore, given that we’re not
competing anymore with the unfree communist world that supposedly we
were in opposition to. But the idea that–and this was the argument,
actually, that the Bush administration made about torture. By
definition, the United States is a country that does not torture.
Therefore, whatever it is that you are observing, it cannot be torture,
because that would be a logical contradiction, because we are the
nation that doesn’t do that.
And I think Gordon´s reply also is adequate. Here is the last bit that
I quote from this article:
if there’s one virtue I would like to see developed, and that I try to
develop in my own students, it’s this virtue of practical wisdom, where
you actually are responsible for what the effects of your actions can
reasonably be foreseen to be. And this is something that we in the
United States really don’t have. It’s trained out of us, we don’t have
it. And part of it, yes, is that capacity to understand that the
ability to do evil things exists in all of us, and it’s also to
understand that when you multiply that capacity by the technological
and economic power that a country like the United States has, the
results–well, the results could be the end of human society, because of
climate change. I mean, the results are so terrible, and we need to be
able to see it.
I think I agree more with
Gordon than not, but I do like to point out that (i) every adult
is ¨responsible for what the
effects of your
actions can reasonably be foreseen to be¨ under virtually any legal
system, and quite regardless of ¨this
virtue of practical wisdom¨, and
also that (ii) I do not believe that ¨this is something that we in the United
States really don’t
have¨, for the simple reason
most Americans keep to the American laws, especially if they know they
are observed. But this is a recommended article.
Million+ March in UK to Demand Brexit Rethink
This article is by
Jon Queally on Common Dreams. I abbreviated the title. It starts as
I say, and I do believe
the above is correct. Here is some more:
With the right-wing U.K.
government of Prime Minister Theresa May under fire for the chaos
unleashed by failed Brexit negotiations—and a final deadline swiftly
approaching—more than a million people took to the streets of London
and other cities on Saturday as part of "People's Vote" demonstrations
demanding a new referendum on whether or not the country should leave
the European Union.
According to the
Independent: the estimate of over one million demonstrators, "provided
by the People's
Vote UK, would make it the biggest march to be held in the UK since
the Iraq War protest in 2003."
And this article (which
has a lot of Tweets, which I dislike) ends as follows:
The streets around Park
Lane were teeming with people hours ahead of the march's scheduled 1pm
start, having come from all corners of the country - and some from
blue and yellow of the EU was splashed all over the ever-expanding
crowd, which was full of groups of families, friends, colleagues and
people came draped in flags and carried homemade signs, featuring
slogans ranging from playful - "Never gonna give EU up" - to political
- "Forget the Ides of March - beware the Brexit of May". And then there
were the plain angry - "Brexit is treason".
He is just one man, but I
quite agree that Brexit at present is ¨a total mess¨. And this is a recommended article.
Worthy, a 62-year-old unemployed grandfather told the BBC he
was not the typical political activist, but said the demonstration was
vital for the nation's future.
is the first time in my life at the age of 62 that I've come to
something to make a statement because I see no future for this country,
for my kids or my grandkids," Worthy said. "It's just a total mess so I
thought I've got to make a stand."
DCCC’s Undemocratic Decision
This article is by
Elizabeth Bruenig on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
On Friday, the Democratic
Congressional Campaign Committee, House Democrats’ campaign arm,
announced that it will refuse to do business with vendors or
consultants who support Democrats attempting to primary incumbent
Democrats in blue districts. Firms that contract with the DCCC learned
of its decision via a list of new hiring standards sent out Friday
morning. “The core mission of the DCCC is electing House Democrats,
which includes supporting and protecting incumbents,” the form reads.
“To that end, the DCCC will not conduct business with, nor recommend to
any of its targeted campaigns, any consultant that works with an
opponent of a sitting Member of the House Democratic Caucus.”
I have commented on
this before, and my general response is that (i) I completely agree
with the title: This is an undemocratic and indeed an
decision, that (ii) smells far too much as if the elected
Democrats are all of a quite different and considerably better
than any of their opponents (who try to take their positions, by
getting elected by the common people of the USA), and that (iii) is
utter rot and totally undemocratic bullshit. (Though I do also have
somewhat dark guess about what the elected House Democrats mean
they suggest that they are all of a considerably better class than
their opponents: They mean that the majority of them are corrupt, and
that they love that.)
Here is some more from
The DCCC’s move to
primary challengers comes at a particularly ironic moment for the
Democrats: 2020 candidates such as Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren
have advanced the idea of abolishing
the electoral college in order to empower the popular vote;
meanwhile, Andrew Gillum has launched a massive
voter registration drive in Florida; and Georgia’s Stacey Abrams is
pushing back against voter
suppression in her state. It would be fair to characterize the 2020
Democratic message as primarily centering on the importance of
democracy itself, with due focus on enacting the will of the people.
Well... I think I would have
said or added that ¨It would be
fair to characterize the 2020 DCCC´s message as primarily
centering on the UNimportance of democracy itself, withOUT
ANY focus on
enacting the will of the people.¨
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
But the DCCC’s decision,
establishment Democrats’ placid acceptance of it, call into question
just how serious the party of democracy is about the practice of
democracy. The committee doubtlessly has its reasons for jealously
protecting its incumbents, but its members should ask themselves if
those reasons ought to supersede the voters’ right to choose among
candidates in free and fair elections carried out on even fields.
Well... again I am a
bit more radical (it seems) than the writer of this article, for I
think that - in a real democracy, at least - there are NO
¨reasons¨ to ¨supersede
the voters’ right to choose among
candidates in free and fair elections carried out on even fields¨, for that is an essential part of
what ¨democracy¨ means. And this is a recommended article.
to ICC: We Will Break Your Legs
This article is
by Andre Vltchek on the Off-Guardian. It starts as follows:
I agree that the title of
this article is a bit strong, and I agree with the rest of the
above, and indeed I also think that the International Criminal Court did have no
other reply than it gave, if it is to be taken seriously, which I think
Well, not exactly like
that, but in a way, yes. Now, finally, ‘the gloves are off’. The U.S.
is openly threatening the historically timid ICC (International
Criminal Court) and its judges. And unexpectedly, the ICC is hitting
back. It refuses to shut up, to kneel, and to beg for mercy.
Suddenly, even the Western
mass media outlets cannot conceal the aggressive mafia-style outbursts
of the U.S. government officials. On March 15, Reuters reported:
The United States will
withdraw or deny visas to any International Criminal Court personnel
investigating possible war crimes by U.S. forces or allies in
Afghanistan, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday.
The court, which sits in
The Hague, responded that it was an independent and impartial
institution and would continue to do its work “undeterred” by
Here is some more:
Or in other terms: We
Americans (who love Pompeo) disagree with international law, and say
Fuck You to it. For this is what is happening.
Washington took the first
step on Friday with Pompeo’s announcement.
“I’m announcing a
policy of U.S. visa restrictions on those individuals directly
responsible for any ICC investigation of U.S. personnel,” Pompeo
told a news conference in Washington.
restrictions may also be used to deter ICC efforts to pursue allied
personnel, including Israelis, without allies’ consent.”
And so it goes… Mike
Pompeo’s arrogant facial expression appeared above countless reports
and it said it all: the world has to listen to the US dictates, or else!
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Yes indeed: I completely
agree, and this is a strongly recommended article.
Human Rights Watch called
it “a thuggish attempt to penalize investigators” at the ICC.
“The Trump administration
is trying an end run around accountability,” it said. “Taking
action against those who work for the ICC sends a clear message to
torturers and murderers alike: Their crimes may continue unchecked.”
Amnesty International described the move as “the latest
attack on international justice and international institutions by an
administration hellbent on rolling back human rights protections.”
The American Civil Liberties Union, which represents three
people before the ICC who say they were tortured in Afghanistan, called
the decision “misguided and dangerous” and “an unprecedented attempt to
skirt international accountability for well-documented war crimes that
haunt our clients to this day.”
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 3 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 (!!).