in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from June 1, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Saturday,
There will be more about computers and Ubuntu in Nederlog soon, but I
am happy to announce that Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, that I installed in 2017,
works again as it did before on May 24, and after 24 hours of misery.
And on May 23 I also got a working computer with 18.04 LTS
worse than 16.04 LTS because its Firefox also is a menuless
horror that I refuse to use, but
happily SeaMonkey is not, for it still has it menus and can be
installed on 18.04), so I
present - and after two weeks of struggling - in the possession of two
more or less, though not yet quite decently working computers.
So today there is a more or less common Nederlog, where "common" is the
style I developed in 2013.
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
four crisis files
that are mostly well worth reading:
A. Selections from June 1, 2019:
1. U.N. Special Rapporteur Calls for
Julian Assange to Be Freed,
The items 1 - 4 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:
Citing “Psychological Torture”
2. Did the Left Betray Israel and
3. Alabama lawmakers compare abortion to Nazi genocide
4. Edward Snowden: With Technology, Institutions Have Made
'Most Effective Means of Social
Control in the History of Our
Special Rapporteur Calls for Julian Assange to Be Freed, Citing
article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the
The United Nations
rapporteur on torture is warning that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
is suffering from the effects of “psychological torture” due to his
ongoing detention and threats of possible extradition to the United
States. The U.N. expert, Nils Melzer, also warned that Assange would
likely face a “politicized show trial” if he were to be extradited to
the United States. Melzer writes, “In 20 years of work with victims of
war, violence and political persecution, I have never seen a group of
democratic states ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonize and
abuse a single individual for such a long time.” Julian Assange is
currently serving a 50-week sentence for skipping bail in 2012 at
London’s Belmarsh Prison, after he was forcibly removed from the
Ecuadorean Embassy by British police last month. Last week, the U.S.
Justice Department announced it was charging Assange with 17 counts of
violating the Espionage Act for his role in publishing U.S. classified
military and diplomatic documents exposing U.S. war crimes in Iraq and
Afghanistan. Assange, who had already been charged on one count of
hacking a government computer, now faces up to 170 additional years in
prison under the new charges—10 years for each count of violating the
Espionage Act. Assange was due to appear by video link before a
magistrates’ court on Thursday but failed to appear, reportedly due to
health problems. We speak with U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils
Yes indeed, and I have
reported repeatedly before on Assange. On the above bit I have I have
The first is about this
quotation of Melzer: "In
20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political
persecution, I have never seen a group of democratic states ganging up
to deliberately isolate, demonize and abuse a single individual for
such a long time."
My remark is - rather
simply - is that indeed because Melzer has not seen this in "20
years of work" it seems fair to me to reject the term
"democratic states" and replace this by the term "partially
And my second remark is
about the fact that Assange "now faces up to 170 additional years in prison under the new
charges": I think that such
"legal punishments" are quite crazy, both for Assange, and also
in general, for no one ever got to be 170 years old.
Anyway. Here is some
GOODMAN: (..) Melzer
writes, quote, “In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and
political persecution, I have never seen a group of democratic states
ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonize and abuse a single
individual for such a long time.” Melzer spoke to reporters this
morning in Geneva, Switzerland.
MELZER: And our finding
was that Mr. Assange shows all the symptoms of a person who has been
exposed to psychological torture for a prolonged period of time. So
what we’re speaking about is severe stress and constant stress, a
chronic anxiety, severe psychological trauma. The psychiatrists that
accompanied my mission said that his state of health is critical, and
if he did not get urgent relief, that we would have to expect a rapid
deterioration of that state of health, and possibly with irreparable
I commented on what Amy
Goodman said above, but the evidence given by Melzer seems to me rather
important (if you care for rational and reasonable law and
for Assange, at least).
Here is some more by Melzer:
MELZER: Thank you, Amy.
Well, I did visit Mr. Assange in prison, Belmarsh Prison, on the 9th of
May in the company of two medical experts. And my primary concerns
really are that I’m extremely worried about his current state of
health, which was alarming already when I visited him and which seems
to have deteriorated rapidly since then, to the point where he’s no
longer even able to stand trial and to participate in court hearings.
I must say that I’m
appalled at the sustained and concerted abuse that this man has been
exposed to at the hands of several democratic states over a period of
almost a decade. And I’m gravely concerned about the prospects of a
possible extradition to the United States. As I have indicated this
morning in Geneva, I worry that he would be exposed to a politicized
show trial in violation of his human rights.
I completely agree
with Melzer, except for his reference to "democratic states", for I think it is fair to observe that states that abuse
a person like that, and besides have other characteristics - such
as surveillance of everybody - are no longer fully
democratic in any clear sense, and should be called (still
optimistically, in my eyes) "partially democratic".
Here is some more by Melzer
on the quality of the evidence he gives:
MELZER: Yes. Well, I think
it’s very important to say that I went to the prison with two very
experienced and specialized medical experts, so experts that are
specialized in examining and identifying and documenting symptoms of
torture—physical torture or psychological torture. And we ran medical
protocols, called the Istanbul Protocol, which are recognized protocols
to examine torture victims, to have an objective medical assessment.
So, Mr. Assange showed all
the symptoms that are typical for persons that have been exposed to
prolonged psychological torture. My assessment is that Mr. Assange has
been exposed to various forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment
that cumulatively have the same effect as psychological torture.
I think this is good
evidence. Here is some more:
GOODMAN: The British
Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt has responded to your report by saying,
quote, “This is wrong. Assange chose to hide in the embassy and was
always free to leave and face justice. The UN Special Rapporteur should
allow British courts to make their judgments without his interference
or inflammatory accusations.” Nils Melzer, your response?
MELZER: Well, I—actually,
I have responded to him. And I said that, “With all due respect, sir,
but Mr. Assange was about as free to leave as someone who is sitting on
a rubber boat in a shark pool.”
I completely agree
with Melzer (and regard Hunt as an obvious liar). Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
GOODMAN: And finally, Nils
Melzer, what Julian Assange would face in this country, in the United
States, if he were extradited here, a country that has the death
penalty? Talk about the trial, what you see—you’ve talked about the
elephant in the room.
MELZER: Yes, I’m gravely,
gravely concerned. I’m almost, you know, certain that he would not get
a safe—a fair trial and a safe treatment in the United States. The
public prejudice, including on the part of former and current officials
in the United States, has been so predominant for several years now,
and so that it would be almost impossible to have an impartial court
hearing where he could actually be heard of his concerns. When we see
the charges that have been added now, recently, under the Espionage
Act, most of them really relate to activities that any investigative
journalist is conducting every day. So, it’s really a reason for
concern for press freedom around the world.
Yes, I completely
agree with Melzer and this is a strongly recommended
the Left Betray Israel and Zionism?
article is by Robert
Scheer on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Israel and the Zionist
ideology that its founding is based on have been topics at the heart of
global politics for decades. On the left, progressives, especially
Jewish intellectuals such as Noam
Chomsky, have become increasingly critical of the Israeli
occupation of Palestinian territories. At the same time, the
self-defined Jewish state has lurched further right with each election.
In her recent book, “The
Lion’s Den: Zionism and the Left from Hannah Arendt to Noam Chomsky,”
New York University professor Susie Linfield traces the history behind
what she views as a leftist abandonment of Zionism.
Scheer, a Jewish journalist who
himself has been critical of the Israeli occupation, disagrees
strongly throughout the discussion with Linfield’s extreme
condemnations of Chomsky, Arendt, I.F. Stone and others he views as
having presaged the contradictions inherent in Zionism at an early
Well... I thought
that by selecting and reviewing this article, I might have been able to
say something somewhat interesting about Israel, which I have
hardly been following since Netanyahu became its prime minister, but it
turned out that I was quite mistaken, mostly because I
almost completely disagree with Linfield in general terms, whereas the
specific arguments she gives are much too detailed to review in
So I only want to say
something about the above bit, and about one more bit that I quote
First the above bit, which
makes me ask, in view of "Jewish
intellectuals such as Noam
Chomsky" and "Scheer, a Jewish journalist": What is a Jew?! (In fact, I did
know Chomsjy "has a Jewish background", but I did not even know
that Scheer has one as well.)
My reasons for asking
this question (apart from the fact that my father and grandfather were
locked up as "political terrorists" in German concentration camps by
the Nazis, which happened in part because they tried to defend the
Jews) is that the answers seem quite confused, for on the
one hand (at least in the USA but also elsewhere) one is "a
Jew" because one's parents or grandparents were "Jews", which
seems to me almost as stupid as Archie Bunker's calling people
"Polacks" or "Wops" or "Dagos" because their parents or
grandparents did not come from the USA, while on the other hand, being
a Jew is defined by having the Jewish religion, as one is
e.g. a Catholic because one has the Catholic religion, and is no longer
either Jewish or Catholic if one ceases to believe in these religions.
Of course, I take it that the
present mix-up in the meaning of "being a Jew" is mainly
due to the fact that some 6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis.
Then again, I also think that it is considerably more correct
to say that being Jewish depends on having the Jewish religion (and I'd
say it is more correct to say that those who lost the
Jewish religion but had parents or grandparents who were Jewish are
"having a Jewish background").
Anyway. Here is the one other
bit I quote from this article:
Yes, I think that is
[O]ne point that your book makes in, I think, a compelling way, is that
Zionism, prior to the rise of German-inspired fascism, was not a
popular movement among Jews. Whether they were of the left, center, or
right. And–that’s correct, right?
it took the Holocaust to make Zionism a viable and significant force in
Jewish life, right?
Zionism is not at all a, much less the, major movement among
politically active Jews. Many, many, many more were drawn to socialism
or drawn to communism.
3. Alabama lawmakers compare abortion to Nazi
This article is by Chauncey DeVega on AlterNet and originally on Salon.
It starts as follows:
I think this is more or less
correct (although perhaps I should add that I did read Arendt's
"The Origins of Totalitarianism", but was not impressed by it,
though this is a side-remark).
Who owns history? Who
controls the truth?
Hannah Arendt signaled to
these questions in her classic work “The
Origins of Totalitarianism,” where she wrote, “Before mass leaders
seize the power to fit reality to their lies, their propaganda is
marked by its extreme contempt for facts as such, for in their opinion
fact depends entirely on the power of man who can fabricate it.”
Arendt’s wisdom and warning
resonates loudly in the ongoing struggle to protect women’s
reproductive rights and freedoms in the United States.
Denying women control over
their own bodies is antithetical to real and full democracy.
Reproductive rights are human rights. To restrict or otherwise limit
women’s reproductive rights and freedoms is to diminish their full and
equal membership in political society.
In this way,
authoritarianism and patriarchy are conjoined monsters.
For these and many other
reasons, the fight for women’s reproductive rights and freedoms is
central to defending democracy in the Age of Trump.
Here is some more:
Alabama recently voted
law a forced-birth bill which bans women from ending their pregnancies
except when their lives are in danger. This new law does not provide
exemptions for when a woman — or a girl — is a victim of rape or
incest. The new Alabama law also demands criminal punishments for
doctors and other health care providers who help women end their
pregnancies. Under this new law, doctors who
terminate pregnancies can be put in prison for up to 99 years. When
put into effect in November, Alabama will have the most draconian
forced-birth laws in the United States.
I agree this
seems factually correct, and I agree with DeVega that these new
laws are anti-democratic, anti-women and quite cruel.
Here is more on the
justifications the Alabama lawmakers has for their new law:
Alabama’s new forced-birth law is no different.
One of its footnotes reads as follows:
So it appears that the
governor and legislators who passed this new law — and those others in
Alabama and elsewhere who support it — believe that women who
choose to end their pregnancies are morally equivalent to, and perhaps
worse than, Adolf Hitler and the Soviet police state and Pol Pot’s
regime in Cambodia
i) It is estimated that
6,000,000 Jewish people were murdered in German concentration camps
during World War II; 3,000,000 people were executed by Joseph Stalin’s
regime in Soviet gulags; 2,500,000 people were murdered during the
Chinese “Great Leap Forward” in 1958; 1,500,000 to 3,000,000 people
were murdered by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia during the 1970s; and
approximately 1,000,000 people were murdered during the Rwandan
genocide in 1994. All of these are widely acknowledged to have been
crimes against humanity. By comparison, more than 50 million babies
have been aborted in the United States since the Roe decision in 1973,
more than three times the number who were killed in German death camps,
Chinese purges, Stalin’s gulags, Cambodian killing fields, and the
Rwandan genocide combined.
Yes, I think that is a fair
inference - and the Alabama lawmakers also were quite incorrect
in saying this concerned "babies": No, it did not, for babies
have been born.
Anyway. Here is some more:
Pitzer, who is an expert on genocide and concentration camps, also
highlighted the ahistorical and intellectually dishonest nature of such
abortion as a tragedy that surpasses the Holocaust, Stalin’s crimes,
the Great Leap Forward, and the Cambodian genocide combined is a gross
abuse of history,” she said. “The political and genocidal horrors of
the 20th century shouldn’t be used as a prop for some other issue,
particularly an unrelated one.”
I completely agree
with Pitzer. Here is some more:
Neiwert, investigative journalist and author of “Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical
Right in the Age of Trump,” offered this context in an email to
The dynamics of heroism
and the mythologizing around it are really the keys to how right-wing
authoritarians, and especially the real extremists among them, produce.
The self-conception as heroic, as acting to save either their community
or their nation or their race, is fundamental to how they think and how
they then act. So for the anti-abortion extremists, if abortion is
murder, then they are acting to prevent a Holocaust itself. One that
only just accidentally dwarfs the unpleasantness that befell their
Yes, I also agree
with Neiwert, and this is a strongly recommended article.
Snowden: With Technology, Institutions Have Made 'Most Effective Means
of Social Control in the History of Our Species'
article is by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Yes, I completely agree
with Snowden, and in fact reached a position that is quite similar
to his half a year before knowing Snowden existed. See here: Crisis:
Christmas sermon: Hypotheses about CF+SS - and I think that is still an excellent
analysis that I strongly recommend you to read.
NSA whistleblower Edward
Snowden said Thursday that people in systems of power have exploited
the human desire to connect in order to create systems of mass
Snowden appeared at Dalhousie
University in Halifax, Nova Scotia via livestream from Moscow to give a
for the Canadian university's Open Dialogue Series.
Right now, he said,
humanity is in a sort of "atomic moment" in the field of computer
"We're in the midst of the
greatest redistribution of power since the Industrial Revolution, and
this is happening because technology has provided a new capability,"
"It's related to influence
that reaches everyone in every place," he said. "It has no regard for
borders. Its reach is unlimited, if you will, but its safeguards are
Here is some more from this article:
Yes, I quite
agree. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Without such defenses,
technology is able to affect human behavior.
Institutions can "monitor
and record private activities of people on a scale that's broad enough
that we can say it's close to all-powerful," said Snowden. They do this
through "new platforms and algorithms," through which "they're able to
shift our behavior. In some cases they're able to predict our
decisions—and also nudge them—to different outcomes. And they do this
by exploiting the human need for belonging."
Yes, I completely agree
and add that I dislike Facebook and Google very much, but they
are, so to speak, the corporate wing of mass surveillance,
whereas there is also the governmental wing of mass surveillance,
which is the NSA in the United States, the GCHQ in Great Britain etc.
"We don't sign up for
this," he added, dismissing the notion that people know exactly what
they are getting into with social media platforms like Facebook.
"How many of you who have a
Facebook account actually read the terms of service?" Snowden asked.
"Everything has hundreds and hundreds of pages of legal jargon that
we're not qualified to read and assess—and yet they're considered to be
binding upon us."
"It is through this sort of
unholy connection of technology and sort of an unusual interpretation
of contract law," he continued, "that these institutions have been able
to transform this greatest virtue of humanity—which is this desire to
interact and to connect and to cooperate and to share—to transform all
of that into a weakness."
"And now," he added, "these
institutions, which are both commercial and governmental, have built
upon that and... have structuralized that and entrenched it to where it
has become now the most effective means of social control in the
history of our species."
"Maybe you've heard about
it," Snowden said. "This is mass surveillance."
Finally, as I have been saying many times already in Nederlog, I
think the internet was created for mass
surveillance and for neofascism, as can be - to some extent -
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 (!!).