from February 10, 2018.
This is a
Nederlog of Saturday,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last five years:
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.
Section 2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from February 10, 2018
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
1. U.S. Secretly Negotiated With Russians to Buy Stolen NSA
2. Trump Blocks Release of Memo Rebutting Republican Claims
3. Lawrence Wilkerson: I Helped Sell the False Choice of War
with Iraq; It’s
Happening Again with Iran
4. Trump Is Totally Ignoring
Daily Advice From the CIA
5. Democrats Can't Run and Win on the Fact That Trump's an
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:
Secretly Negotiated With Russians to Buy Stolen NSA Documents
is by James Risen on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
The United States
intelligence community has been conducting a top-secret operation to
recover stolen classified U.S. government documents from Russian
operatives, according to sources familiar with the matter. The
operation has also inadvertently yielded a cache of documents
purporting to relate to Donald Trump and Russian meddling in the 2016
Over the past year,
American intelligence officials have opened a secret communications
channel with the Russian operatives, who have been seeking to sell both
Trump-related materials and documents stolen from the National Security
Agency and obtained by Russian intelligence, according to people
involved with the matter and other documentary evidence. The channel
started developing in early 2017, when American and Russian
intermediaries began meeting in Germany. Eventually, a Russian
intermediary, apparently representing some elements of the Russian
intelligence community, agreed to a deal to sell stolen NSA documents
back to the U.S. while also seeking to include Trump-related materials
in the package.
The CIA declined to
comment on the operation. The NSA did not immediately respond to a
request for comment.
I say, and I do so
mostly because this is not so much about politics (though it
course, indirectly), but about the secret services that are behind
politics, most of the doings of which tend to be made complete
Otherwise, it is
somewhat self-explanatory: If
secret service attempts to steal secret materials from other secret
services, it may succeed, and if it does, the other secret services may
try to get it back by paying the first secret service.
And this seems to have
happened, although it should be added that, while on may know something
about some secret services (notably those of one's own country), and
may do so by inference or by direct communication, I do not
is anyone outside the secret services
of any country who knows everything or indeed most things,
secret services do.
Here is some more:
In fact, this does give
reason why one secret service would want to pay another secret
service. In this case it is because "U.S. officials wanted to identify which NSA documents the
Shadow Brokers had stolen, so they could determine how badly the agency
had been damaged by the theft."
At the time, the NSA was
desperate to recover documents that intelligence officials believed
Russia had obtained through a mysterious group known as the Shadow
Brokers. The group stole highly secret NSA hacking tools and began
releasing them on the internet in the summer of 2016. The Shadow
Brokers theft of the hacking tools devastated
morale at the NSA, putting its custom-built offensive cyber weapons
out in the open. It was as if a bioweapons laboratory had lost some of
its most deadly and dangerous viruses. U.S. officials wanted to
identify which NSA documents the Shadow Brokers had stolen, so they
could determine how badly the agency had been damaged by the theft.
But once the communications
channel opened, the Russians on the other side offered to sell
documents related to Trump along with the stolen NSA documents
But there is a lot of uncertainty when secret services deal
Further, it is not
known whether the Russians involved in the channel are acting on their
own or have been authorized by the Russian government to try to sell
the materials to the United States. As a result, the Americans are
uncertain whether the Russians involved are part of a disinformation
campaign orchestrated by Moscow, either to discredit Trump or to
discredit efforts by American officials investigating Trump’s possible
ties to Russia, including Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Well... I certainly
do not know what the Russians may know and want (and probably nobody
really does, if not one of the leading Russians).
Here is the last bit thay I quote from this article:
The existence of the
off-the-books communications channel, which has been a closely guarded
secret within the U.S. intelligence community, has been highly
controversial among those officials who know about it, and has begun to
cause rifts between officials at the CIA and the NSA who have been
involved with it at various times over the past year.
I say, which I do this
time because - while I agree that making deals with other
secret services about material they stole or claim to have stolen is
not the typical activity of secret services - it seems
to me fairly self-explanatory why a
service might want to do so.
There is considerably more in this article, which is recommended.
Blocks Release of Memo Rebutting Republican Claims
is by Michael D. Shear and Nicolas Fandos on The New York Times. It
starts as follows:
President Trump on
Friday blocked the release of a classified Democratic memo rebutting
Republican claims that top federal law enforcement officials had abused
their powers in spying on a former Trump campaign aide, a move that
Democrats denounced as politically motivated hypocrisy.
Last week, the president moved quickly, over the objections
of the Justice Department and the F.B.I., to
declassify the contents of a rival Republican memo
drafted by House
Intelligence Committee staff members. He claimed, incorrectly, that the
Republican memo had vindicated him in the special counsel investigation
into Russian election interference.
This does not come as a surprise to me, and I think
that "the Democrats" may indeed very well be quite right that
Trump is in fact indulging in "politically motivated hypocrisy".
Here is some more, that also happens to support the
position of the Democrats:
Democrats expressed outrage at the president’s decision.
“Republicans and Democrats on the Intelligence Committee voted
UNANIMOUSLY to release this memo,” Representative Terri Sewell of
Alabama, a Democratic member of the committee, wrote
on Twitter. “@realDonaldTrump
is not interested in transparency, he is interested in protecting
himself and derailing the Russia investigation.”
Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the top
Democrat on the committee, had said earlier in the week that he feared
that Mr. Trump would play politics with the dueling memos.
Mr. Schiff, who
has traded bitter Twitter messages with the president after Mr. Trump
called him one of “the
biggest liars and leakers” in Washington, warned this week that Mr.
Trump might call for “political edits” intended to erase embarrassing
parts of the memo, not information related to national security.
more in the article. I think Schiff may well be right, and this is a
Wilkerson: I Helped Sell the False Choice of War with Iraq; It’s
Happening Again with Iran
is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following
Fifteen years ago
this week, Secretary of State General Colin Powell gave a speech to the
United Nations arguing for war with Iraq, saying the evidence was
clear: Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. It was a speech
Powell would later call a blot on his career. Is President Trump doing
the same thing now with Iran? We speak to Powell’s former chief of
staff, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson. He recently wrote a piece titled “I
Helped Sell the False Choice of War Once. It’s Happening Again.”
Powell's saying that
Powell's speech was "a
blot on his career" is an enormous
He was lying
- quite consciously: see below - to billions
of people who watched his speech, and he did so in order to
unleash a major war in which hundreds of thousands of Iraqis
But here is Lawrence
Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson
served as chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell from 2002
to 2005, during which time he helped prepare Powell’s infamous speech
to the U.N. claiming Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Powell’s
speech was given 15 years ago this week, February 5th, 2003.
OF STATE COLIN POWELL: One of the most worrisome things
that emerges from the thick intelligence file we have on Iraq’s
biological weapons is the existence of mobile production facilities
used to make biological agents. Let me take you inside that
intelligence file and share with you what we know from eyewitness
accounts. We have firsthand descriptions of biological weapons
factories on wheels and on rails. The trucks and train cars are easily
moved and are designed to evade detection by inspectors. In a matter of
months, they can produce a quantity of biological poison equal to the
entire amount that Iraq claimed to have produced in the years prior to
the Gulf War.
GOODMAN: That was
then-Secretary of State General Colin Powell speaking February 5th,
2003, before the U.N. Security Council. Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, his
chief of staff, has since renounced the speech, which he helped write.
Well, his new op-ed
for The New York Times is headlined “I Helped Sell the False
Choice of War Once. It’s Happening Again.”
That was the
background. Here is why Colin Powell was an enormous -
very conscious - liar:
WILKERSON: Amy, we put the
speech together with, arguably, the entire U.S. intelligence community,
led by George Tenet, the director of central intelligence, literally at
Powell’s right hand all the time, seven days, seven nights, at Langley
and then in New York, before we presented.
When I saw Nikki Haley give
her presentation, certainly there was not the gravitas of a Powell, not
the statesmanship of a Powell, not the popularity of a Powell. What I
saw was a John Bolton. And remember, John Bolton was her predecessor,
in terms of being a neoconservative at the United Nations representing
the United States. I saw a very amateurish attempt.
But nonetheless, these
kinds of things, when they’re made visual and the statements are made
so dramatically, have an impact on the American people. I saw her doing
essentially the same thing with regard to Iran that Powell had done,
and I had done, and others, with regard to Iraq. So it alarms me. I
don’t think the American people have a memory for these sorts of
things. Gore Vidal called this the “United States of Amnesia,” with
In fact, Nikki Haley - the
current US ambassador to the United Nations - did very recently
say roughly the same things about Iran as Powell did
fifteen years ago about Iraq.
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this fine interview:
GOODMAN: Colonel Lawrence
Wilkerson, it’s very interesting that you have this moment now in U.S.
history where the Republicans—some of them—are joining with President
Trump in trying to discredit the intelligence agencies. And yet you go
back to 2003, when you have a fierce criticism of the intelligence
agencies, saying they were being used to politicize information, which,
oddly, is what President Trump is saying, in a very different context.
WILKERSON: You would have
a lot of sympathy if you asked me if I have some doubts about the U.S.
intelligence agencies, all 17 of them now, definitely. But let me tell
you what I’ve done over the last 11 or 12 years, on two university
campuses with really brilliant students, in terms of enlightening
myself, gaining new insights into what happened not only in 2002 and
'03, but what's been happening ever since and, for that matter, what
happened ever since Richard Nixon, with regard to the intelligence
What happens is you get people
like Tenet, you get people like John Brennan, you get people like John
McLaughlin, you get people like Chris Mudd, for example—Phil Mudd, who
was head of counterterrorism for George Tenet and who tried at the last
minute to get me to put even more stuff into his presentation about the
connections between Baghdad and al-Qaeda. You get people like that who
are at the top. That screens all the many dedicated, high-moral,
high-character professionals down in the bowels of the DIA, the CIA, the NSA and elsewhere.
Well... I think
with Wilkerson on the level of the current leaders of "the U.S.
intelligence services", but then I also think this does not
from the same level of the leaders of "the U.S. intelligence services" fifteen
But this is an
interesting article, that is strongly recommended.
Is Totally Ignoring Daily Advice From the CIA
is by Brendan Gauthier on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
Post reported on Friday that Trump is the first president in over
half-a-century to forgo
the President’s Daily Brief (PDB), a written intelligence
document compiled primarily by CIA analysts.
Trump—whose Fox & Friends dependence
and accompanying short attention span are hardly secrets—prefers an
oral briefing, “according to three people familiar with his briefings.”
The PDB is highly
classified, and it’s impossible to know how much detail is lost in its
oral translation. But former CIA Director Leon Panetta worries that
President Trump will miss important context, to the detriment of
I say and I
do so for two reasons.
The first is
that I read myself about three times faster than I can talk.
And while I know that is fairly fast, I would assume that the
of the USA, who himself thinks - or says he thinks - that he is a
Genius, also should be able to read considerably faster than he talks.
can not, and in any case it seems he does not. And my second reason is
that I think Panetta is right - that is, I think that an oral
presentation will be less complete and detailed than a written
presentation, which a somewhat intelligent president should be
able to get through considerably faster than an orial
But no. Then
again, it seems Trump does read stuff - Yes!
Yes! - namely this
kind of material:
I say, again. Well... I've
said a long time ago that this psychologist sides with the more than
70,000 psychologists and psychiatrists who have said that he definitely
looks as if he is a
grandiose aka malignant narcissist.
In August, VICE
that President Trump also twice daily requires so-called “propaganda
folders,” containing “screenshots of positive cable news chyrons (those
lower-third headlines and crawls), admiring tweets, transcripts of
fawning TV interviews, praise-filled news stories, and sometimes just
pictures of Trump on TV looking powerful.”
Can't Run and Win on the Fact That Trump's an Idiot
is by John Atcheson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Democrats are marching,
lemming-like, towards disappointment in November. They seem to
think that all they need to do is point out that Trump is an idiot, a
plutocrat, a liar, and that he probably colluded with Russians in the
2016 elections, and they’ll win.
They’re wrong, and here’s
This election will be about
turnout, just as 2016 was. And telling everyone how bad the other folks
are, didn’t work then and it won’t work now.
I do not know whether
Atcheson is right (of course), but I think he probably is, and here is
his main reason:
Yes indeed: I think that
very well may be true, and I totally agree with Atcheson on his
why: Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans really
speak "for the
people" that they all, nominally at least, represent.
What folks wanted then, and
still want, is a Party that represents them. And they know that neither
party really does. Oh yeah, the Democrats use better rhetoric, and
practice a slightly saner brand of sell-out, but they’re still
sell-outs, and it’s the people’s wealth, rights and future they’re
And as long as that’s the
case, they won’t recapture Congress in the midterms and they might not
even beat Trump in 2020.
What most Senators and Congressmen really represent is not
the people, but the people who pay
them, which very
often happen to be the very rich bankers.
There is also another major problem:
Because the Democrats are
trying to substitute a change in rhetoric for a change in course, the
past is likely to be prologue, so let’s look at the
numbers from 2016.
- 65.5 million voted for
- 62.9 million voted for
- 6.9 million voted for a
third party candidate; and
- 96 million didn’t bother
There are nearly 231 million
eligible voters in the US, but only 135 million voted in the 2016
election. Judged against recent turnout rates going back two
decades or so, that’s not bad, but historically, it’s well below
average, and it lags well behind other democracies.
In fact, this means
that over 4 out of 10 (or 2 our of 5) of the American
did not vote in 2016.
Here is Atcheson's
explanation for the fact that there are so many American non-voters:
I agree - I think - with the
first paragraph, but with the note that the numbers presented are from
2014 and, more seriously, that these numbers represent
majority of the Americans think "on an issue-by-issue basis".
of Americans hold progressive views on an issue-by-issue basis.
They support expanding Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare and
they’re willing to pay for it; they want strong environmental
protection laws and aggressive policies on climate change; they favor
reigning in Wall Street, big banks, and corporate abuses; they favor
strong campaign finance laws, and measures to roll back gerrymandering
and voter suppression; they want schools that work, colleges that are
affordable; a single payer health care system and a $15 minimum wage …
the list goes on and on.
They don’t call themselves
“liberal” or “progressive” because these terms have been negatively
branded by the oligarchy, and because no one has been willing to
package them into a coherent whole. Sanders was the first to do
so, and he remains the most popular politician in America.
Then again, this is not what Americans vote for, if
What they vote for, if they vote, has been heavily polluted by
and lies, and
these again are capable of heavily
polluting the outcomes because many Americans are stupid or ignorant
This is Atcheson's ending:
But the Democrats, for the
most part, run from these things, not on them. They support
social justice issues like immigration because these issues don’t
threaten their corporate benefactors or their fat cat campaign
contributors. This is not to say these kinds of issues aren’t important
– they are. But until and unless the Democrats take on the oligarchy,
and back a specific progressive agenda, they will have little
credibility with many voters. As a result, many in the
progressive majority will stay home.
The Republicans run on
hate, greed, envy, fear, racism, xenophobia and a host of other limbic
lizard-brained isms – all of which come straight from the oligarch’s
playbook. This appeals to a small, but passionate group who will
show up at the polls.
The fact is, the majority
of Americans know Trump is unfit to be president, but if they’re not
offered a substantive alternative, the passionately ignorant minority
will control the elections once again.
I do not know.
Atcheson may well be correct about the American voters, and he is
- in my opinion - correct about the betrayals of most Democrats. I hope
he is wrong about the American voters, but 62.9 million voters for
Trump may be a "passionately
ignorant minority", but they are also
nearly half of the Americans who voted in 2016.
And this is a recommended