A. Selections from August 13, 2017
This is a Nederlog of
This is a
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:
I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) and about
the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and
by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I probably will
continue with it, but on the moment
I have several problems with the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible 
and with my health.
explained, the crisis files will have a different
format from July 1, 2017: I will now list the items
I selected as I did before (title + link) but I add one
selection from the selected item to give my readers a bit
of a taste of the item linked.
So the new format is as follows:
Link to an item with its orginal title,
One selection (usually) from that item
Possibly followed by a brief comment by
me (not indented).
This is illustrated below, in selections A.
2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
A. Selections from
August 13, 2017
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:
War of Words that Could Go Nuclear
article is by five journalists (too many to mention here) on Spiegel
International. It starts as follows:
Here is another bit:
It's always the same
ritual in August in South Korea. Not far from the shared border on the
38th parallel, artillery fires at targets supposed to represent North
Korean tanks. Helicopters fly at low altitudes, fighter jets thunder
through the air and tanks roll across beaches as around 80,000 South
Korean soldiers and American troops conduct joint exercises simulating
a defense against an attack from the north. The maneuver has already
triggered serious crises in the past.
But this year, the
nervousness peaked two weeks before the maneuvers. No tanks or troop
deployments were required, all it took was these words: "North Korea
best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met
with fire and fury like the world has never seen."
Donald Trump fired off these
words on Tuesday night, slightly hunched forward, with his arms crossed
and chandeliers and golfing plaques in the background, terrifying the
rest of the world. It was the sharpest warning yet to the regime in
Pyongyang, bordering a declaration of war. By doing so, Trump ignored
the unwritten doctrine that a U.S. president doesn't boast of his
nuclear arsenal like a teenager. He doesn't seem to care that the
weapons are intended as a deterrent and that they do not exist to be
used. Had he gone one step further, by threatening to lay Pyongyang to
waste, it would have been difficult to distinguish him from Dictator
Kim Jong Un.
Even the North Koreans,
who do not shy away from making their own abrasive threats, criticized
his "nuclear war hysteria" and described the statement as "extremely
is a lot more, with a second installment at the end of the first. I do not
know whether the analysis is correct, but it is done more or less
decently. This is a recommended article , but it
should be contrasted with the next article, that starts from somewhat
A war would likely mean
the deaths of hundreds of thousands, the destruction of the South
Korean capital city of Seoul, possible attacks on U.S. military bases
in East Asia and maybe even on American cities. North Korea would be
laid to ruins and it would create a shock to the entire global economy.
Given its grave potential
consequences, nobody is interested in this war, not even Donald Trump
-- at least that's the hope.
Korea: Headlines full of “Fire and Fury” Signifying Nothing
This article is by
Kit on the Off-Guardian. It starts as follows, and from a rather
different premise than the previous article, as gets illustrated by
the first quotation:
In truly perverse
fashion, the newspapers have all suddenly remembered that Nuclear war
is possible, and that it’s probably not a good idea. This is all built
on the developing war of words between Trump’s administration and North
North Korea. Who haven’t
successfully launched a missile further than their own backyard. Who
have no money and no resources and no international pull. North Korea
who are surrounded by larger, more powerful countries easily capable of
applying pressure to resolve any situation (in fact just two days ago China, South Korea, Russia and North Korea held joint
diplomatic talks. The US was not invited).
North Korea who have
been, until very recently, an international punchline.
This whole scenario is
simply the next step in evolution in news as theatre, which is to say,
theatre as news. These are non-existent worries, concerning a
non-problem in a false reality.
I think this is
the more or less rational argument as far as North Korea is
concerned: It really cannot blow up much before it gets blown up
But I also think that
this fact gets confused here with the - I agree - generally
horrible quality of "the news" as brought by the mainstream
media, while it also seems to forget that neither of the two main
players - Kim and Trump - is known for their rationality, their sanity
or their carefulness.
More specifically, it
seems that one of the premises the Off-Guardian assumes here is the
So why all
the big screamy headlines?
It’s important to
realise, if you’re to understand the modern world, that news coverage
has virtually nothing to do with reality. Modern news agencies have
literally no regard for true or false. They simply exist to serve the
agenda. “Facts” are reported and dropped as convenient. Truth is
inconsequential. Any resemblance to reality purely coincidental.
This seems too
strong: Either you cannot rely at all anymore on "news"
reported in the mainstream media, as absolutely everything may have
been made up to suit the propagandistic
ends of its editors or else there still is some
factuality in "news reports". And I think the second alternative is considerably
more plausible than the first.
And this article ends
IF a nuclear war
comes, it will be with a cornered Russia or a threatened China, not
North Korea. It will far more likely be the accidental result of
arrogance, stupidity and ambition than any malicious tin-pot dictator.
There are no scary headlines about any of that. No headlines at all.
Only non-stories about a puppet-idiot using weapons he doesn’t control
to threaten an impotent lunatic with weapons that don’t work. A non
story, full of fire and fury and signifying nothing.
I think this is also
too strong, and it seems to rely too much on the rationality of
political leaders other than Trump or Kim.
So on the whole I
disagree more than I agree with the present article, but it still is
Battle for Venezuela and Its Oil
is by Jeremy
Scahill (<- Wikipedia) on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
Despite the public battles between the New York Times and
President Donald Trump, the two seem to be on a similar page about
the unfolding crisis in Venezuela. Last week, the administration
announced it had “designated” President Nicolas Maduro and other
Venezuelan officials, freezing their U.S. assets and barring Americans
from doing business with them. The Times called that the best way to
confront the Venezuelan government. The Times, though, went a step
further calling on European and other nations to join what it called a
“quarantine” of Maduro. It was an interesting word choice. That was
also the term used for the early days of the U.S. economic blockade
against Cuba. Interestingly, none of these players — Trump or the New
York Times — are calling for a boycott on Venezuelan oil, which is
heavily consumed by Americans.
U.S. hostile posturing toward Venezuela is nothing new.
Washington, under both Democrats and Republicans, loathed the late
President Hugo Chavez and his Bolivarian revolution. Chavez enjoyed
sticking it to Washington and viewed each attack against him as a badge
of honor in his struggle against Yankee imperialism. But Chavez’s
successor, Maduro, does not have nearly the charisma or credibility
among Venezuelans and progressive forces in Latin America enjoyed by
Chavez. And Maduro’s recent actions have been disturbing even to some
of Chavez’s close allies.
fact, I do not know much about Venezuela. The above is a very
brief summary of the last twenty years or so. It introduces a fairly
long interview with Eva Gollinger, who has been much involved with
Chavez and Maduro:
To discuss this complex unfolding situation, I interviewed
attorney Eva Gollinger this week on Intercepted. She was one of Hugo
Chavez’s most prominent supporters, was very close to the late
president and knows many of the players in Venezuela personally,
including Maduro. She is the author of several books, including The
Chavez Code which is based on documents she obtained detailing U.S.
interference in Venezuela, including the brief coup against Chavez in
I think the interview that follows is fair and
balanced, but I may be mistaken, simply because I do not
know much about Venezuela. But I did learn various things from it that
I did not know, and this article is recommended.
Fang on How a Little-Known U.S. Libertarian Think Tank Is Remaking
Latin American Politics
This article is by Amy
Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
A new investigation
published by The Intercept exposes how a libertarian think tank called
the Atlas Network is remaking Latin American politics with the help of
powerful conservative institutions and funders in the United States,
some of whom you may recognize, such as the Koch brothers. The
Intercept reports the Atlas Network is behind dozens of prominent
groups that have supported right-wing forces in the antigovernment
movement in Venezuela, as well as those who ousted Brazilian President
Dilma Rousseff. We are joined by The Intercept’s Lee Fang, who covers
the intersection of money and politics. His new piece is tilted Sphere
of Influence: How American Libertarians Are Remaking Latin American
The interview with Lee Fang
starts as follows:
GOODMAN: This is Democracy
Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m
Amy Goodman. A new investigation
published by The Intercept exposes how a libertarian think
tank called the Atlas Network is remaking Latin American politics with
the help of powerful conservative institutions and funders in the
United States, some of whom you may recognize, like the Koch brothers.
This is part of a promotional video released by the Atlas Network.
ATLAS NETWORK VIDEO: Welcome to the Atlas Network.
We’re your connection to a network of freedom champions across the
United States and around the world in more than 80 countries. Atlas
freedom champions are knocking down barriers to wealth creation,
fighting corruption and fostering free enterprise by reducing the role
of government and protecting individual liberty. While politicians
operate within the confines of what they consider politically possible,
Atlas and our global partners think it’s more cost-effective in the
long term to change what is considered politically possible.
Intercept reports the Atlas Network is behind dozens of prominent
groups that have supported right-wing forces in the antigovernment
movement in Venezuela, as well as those that ousted Brazilian President
Here is one point from the
(..) And one of the other
revelations in our piece today is basically that, you know, the Atlas
Network talks about how any government funding is illegitimate, that
foreign aid is basically a bribe, and they’re against foreign aid. At
the same time, Atlas Network think tanks all over the world, including
in Brazil, including in Venezuela, and in other countries, have relied
on U.S. government money. The State Department, the National Endowment
for Democracy, which is a government-funded think tank that’s funded by
taxpayer dollars, has quietly financed think tanks and Atlas affiliates
in Venezuela and many of these other countries. And I think the simple
reason is they hope that the Atlas Network helps to push
American-friendly governments, that they help transform the politics of
the developing world to be more friendly to American foreign policy
aims. But it is kind of an interesting irony or hypocrisy that this
libertarian think tank network has relied for a very long time on U.S.
There is a lot more in the
interview, which I thought fairly interesting.
Escape Hatches Republicans May End Up Using to Avoid an Imploding
article is by Jefferson Morley on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
I say. I do not
know whether this is correct, but I tend to agree that one has
to be interpreting various signs (that also may be false) to understand
the courses and plans of the Republican Party, for these tend to be
While the downfall of
President Donald Trump is far from assured, the signs are multiplying
that the Republicans are preparing for a world in which Trump is no
longer commander-in-chief. This is not the dreaming of the liberal
resistance or the conservative #NeverTrump crowd; we’re talking about
the actions of the Republican leadership, rank and file and Vice
President Mike Pence himself.
No, the Republicans are
not going to impeach Trump, demand his resignation or invoke the 25th
Amendment to say he is incapacitated. But they are preparing escape
routes from the fallout from his dismal poll
numbers, stalled legislative agenda and
Morley discusses five possible escape routes that various Republicans
may be contemplating, that I leave to your interests.
The article ends as follows:
Rep. Charles Dent, a
senior Republican from Pennsylvania and a relative moderate, said many
in the party would welcome Trump’s exit.
“For some, it is for
ideological reasons, and for others it is for stylistic reasons,” Dent
said, complaining about the “exhausting” amount of “instability, chaos
and dysfunction” surrounding Trump.
Six months ago, the
Republicans gave Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt. Now they doubt
he will benefit them, and they are acting accordingly.
I have now been saying since the 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.
They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie.
They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.
And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my
ideas. They have behaved now for 1 1/2 years as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will
from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).
The only 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.
remind you (again) that when I say
"an article is recommended" I mean that I recommend you to read it all
(which you can do by clicking its title).