from May 10, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Thursday,
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.
2. Crisis Files
These are five crisis files
that are all well worth reading:
A. Selections from May 10, 2018
1. Gina Haspel Debate Spotlights America's Soul Sickness
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:
2. This New Tool Helps You Turn Off Facebook’s Surveillance
3. Trump Pulls United States Out of Iran Nuclear Deal,
Escalating Threat of War with
4. The Caliphate of Trump
5. Haspel Won't Say CIA 'Tortured' and Refuses to Say If
Haspel Debate Spotlights America's Soul Sickness
article is by John
Kiriakou on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Editor’s note: John
Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer. He served 23 months
in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush
administration’s torture program.
The Senate Select Committee
on Intelligence will hold hearings Wednesday to decide if Gina Haspel
should be the next CIA director. The vote in committee and on the floor
of the Senate is going to be close. And if Haspel wins, we will have
the Democrats to thank for it.
You remember “Bloody Gina”
Haspel. She’s already the CIA’s acting director and has had just about
every high-level job in the building. She’s the godmother of the CIA’s
immoral, unethical and illegal George W. Bush-era torture program. She
was the chief of a secret prison, where she oversaw the implementation
of the torture program and was personally responsible for directing the
torture of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the alleged mastermind of the USS
Cole bombing. Nashiri’s attorneys say the torture of their client was
so severe that he has lost
his mind and can no longer participate in his own defense.
I take it my readers
know who are John Kiriakou and Gina Haspel, and
if not you can read the links. And the last paragraph I quoted above is
completely true to the best of my knowledge.
Here is more by
I merely remark here that
Kiriakou was the only one of 14 people from the
CIA who were asked whether they wanted to be ¨trained in the use of enhanced interrogation
techniques¨ who declined.
think this is evidence about the average human qualities of
work for the CIA, but this is an aside.)
I had personal experience
with Haspel. She was my boss in the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center
(CTC). She worked directly for the notorious Jose Rodriguez, the
creator of the torture program, who trusted his protégé and confidante
to implement it.
I chose to go another
direction. In May 2002, a senior CTC officer asked me if I wanted to be
“trained in the use of enhanced interrogation techniques.” I declined.
I’m sorry to say that I was the only one to decline out of 14 people
approached. A few months later, the CIA began to torture Abu Zubaydah,
the first high-value detainee.
Here is more:
In December 2007, I
decided to go public. I told ABC News that the CIA was torturing its
prisoners, that torture was official U.S. government policy and that
the torture had been personally approved by President Bush. Three years
later, I was charged with five felonies coming out of that interview,
including three counts of espionage. I later took a plea to a lesser
charge and served 23 months in a federal prison. It was worth it.
Yes, and I entirely
agree with Kiriakou that ¨the
CIA was torturing its prisoners, that torture was official U.S.
government policy and that the torture had been personally approved by
Then again, it should not have come as a surprise (indeed also
not given the fact that Kiriakou belonged to the 7% of members
of the CIA who refused to torture people
(at least of those who were asked) that it was Kiriakou who
was prosecuted in the USA, and not Haspels or other torturers.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
administration wants you to forget the CIA’s sordid history of torture.
It wants you to believe that the torture program was legal, that it was
patriotic, that it was necessary to protect Americans—lies that were
dispensed with before the Bush people even left office. The Trump
administration wants you to believe that Haspel is the only perfect
candidate for the job. And the Washington chattering class has jumped
on the bandwagon.
Yes indeed: Quite
So let me repeat: The torture program of the CIA was NOT legal,
and strongly contravenes international laws; the torture program of the
CIA was NOT patriotic but was sick sadism,
implemented by people who seem to have been (or be) sadists; the
torture program of the CIA was NOT necessary to
protect American lives.
And if Gina Haspels
gets to be director of the CIA, I will conclude that under Trump the
CIA has degenerated to a group of eager sadists who love
are protected by the president of the USA.
New Tool Helps You Turn Off Facebook’s Surveillance and Reclaim Some
article is by David Dayen on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
Well.... hello you
two billion dumb fucks who
trust(ed) Mark Zuckerberg! And no, I am not
calling you anything that the sick and degenerate but -
therefore? - popular head of Facebook did not call you long before. And
in fact I agree with him, although
he will now probably call his dumb fucks, at least in
public (and since he is now making $70 billions from exploiting his
dumb fucks), something else.
Typically, ad campaigns
have the goal of getting people to do something. But the one launched
today by the activist group Citizens Against Monopoly
is instead intended to show how hard something is to do.
The campaign, called “I’m Not Your Product,”
gives Facebook users a step-by-step guide to opting out of as much ad
targeting and surveillance as possible. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
told Congress that users have “complete
control” over advertising data, during two days of testimony
related to the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which
illicitly obtained information on 87 million Facebook users.
But Citizens Against
Monopoly discovered that Facebook makes it difficult to exert that sort
of control. The steps for opting out of ad targeting are almost
endless: visiting 11 different areas of Facebook’s user
preferences section, clearing out three different caches of personal
interests, disallowing four different types of ads, and limiting seven
different actions on the site to friends only. And even all
of that doesn’t completely turn off ads.
In private, I guess his estimate of the two billion dumb
fucks who trusted them has not changed one whit, and that is
also why any Facebook user who does not want to be snowed under
by ¨helpful advertisements¨ (?!) has to go to 11 different areas,
clear out 3 different caches, must disallow 4 different
types of ads, and limit 7 different actions ¨on the site to friends only¨.
These are ¨a mere:" 25 different things Facebook users must do
to limit advertisements (i.e. carefully contrived lies to consumers).
And if they have done that ¨even
of that doesn’t completely turn off ads¨. (And that is because the keeper of 2 billion dumb fucks wants to earn $550,000 an hour,
Here is some more:
“We wanted to create
a how-to guide to be helpful, and then as we were working through it,
we thought, ‘This is so frustrating,’” said Sarah Miller, director of
Citizens Against Monopoly. “We think people will have the same
experience seeing how intentionally hard this is.”
Yes indeed. And here is
the last bit that I quote from this article:
The likely reason for the
friction around opting out is obvious: Facebook thrives off mass data
collection, essentially renting people’s private information out to
advertisers. The more users opt out, the less profitable Facebook Inc.
becomes — a financial incentive that is at odds with the social
network’s self-presentation as a safe, private, customizable space.
In addition to their
how-to guide, which will be promoted through display ads across the
web, including on Facebook, the website ImNotYourProduct.com
I completely agree
that Facebook is ¨operating
in bad faith¨ (for that
makes Mark Zuckerberg $550,000 an hour) but I think that the aim of reforming
and restructuring Facebook is far too large: I think a
surveillance site like Facebook must be destroyed and
forbidden because they are stealing the privacies, the
mails and most that they can get from their - usually extremely
naive - users.
includes a petition to Zuckerberg asking
him to distill Facebook’s various opt-out steps down to a single click.
Since making it easy for users to opt out of ad targeting would be at
odds with Facebook’s business model, there’s little expectation that
Facebook will comply with this request. The real goal is to display the
futility of self-regulation for Facebook’s surveillance machine.
“We want to show that these
platforms are operating in bad faith, so we can reform and restructure
them to make them safe for democracy,” said Matt Stoller, a fellow with
the Open Markets Institute, the umbrella organization for Citizens
In exchange for offering them advertisements
that serve to
mislead). Anyway... this is a recommended article.
Pulls United States Out of Iran Nuclear Deal, Dramatically Escalating
Threat of War with Iran
article is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! It starts
with the following introduction:
European nations are
scrambling to save the landmark nuclear agreement with Iran, one day
after President Trump announced he would pull the United States out of
the deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran. The 2015 agreement was worked
out by the United States, five other world powers and Iran. Former
President Obama described Trump’s decision to withdraw as a serious
mistake and warned it could lead to another war in the Middle East.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responded by saying Iran would
continue to abide by the agreement and would not renew its nuclear
program for now. For more, we speak with Trita Parsi, founder and
president of the National Iranian American Council. His most recent
book is titled “Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran, and the Triumph of
Diplomacy.” We also speak with Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CodePink.
Her latest book is titled “Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics
of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” She is also the author of “Kingdom of
the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection.”
In fact, I usually copy
the introductions to the interviews on Democracy Now! that I review,
simply because they are good introductions, and because I never
quote all of the text of an article I review.
And it is the same here, and there is much more in the article
than I will quote. Here is the first bit I do quote:
PARSI: I think we need to
stop underestimating Trump. People didn’t think that he was going to
win the elections; he did. People didn’t think that he would pull out
of Paris; he did. People didn’t think that he would dismantle many of
these other agreements that he’s been talking about, and he has done
that. And now he’s also walked out of the Iran deal. He imposed the
Muslim ban. All of the things that he said that he would do, he has
done. And as a result, we should be very careful not to underestimate
the risk of war now, mindful of the warlike language that Trump now has
begun to use, with John Bolton standing right behind him.
I think this is an
extremely dangerous situation, much more dangerous than we had in 2011
and 2012, because even though the United States was inching closer to a
war with Iran back then and Iran was moving forward with its nuclear
program, back then there was still a diplomatic option that had not
been exhausted, and there was political will on both sides to pursue
that diplomatic option. Trump has eliminated all diplomatic options,
and he clearly doesn’t have any political will to pursue diplomacy. So,
as we are now back into a situation in which we’re inching closer to a
war, we’re in a worse situation because we don’t see any exit ramps.
I agree with the second
paragraph, but not with the first, that starts with ¨I think we need to
stop underestimating Trump¨.
My reasons are that this is followed three times by ¨People
didn´t think¨, which Parsi argues, quite correctly also, were in
each of the three cases quite mistaken.
And my own inference from that (even while
granting that ¨People
didn´t think¨ is very vague) is that not only should Trump be
reconsidered, but ¨People¨ as well or more, for ¨People¨
(who ¨didn´t think¨) did - nevertheless - approve of much that Trump
Then again, I agree
with Parsi that ¨we should
be very careful not to underestimate
the risk of war now¨.
Here is some more by
BENJAMIN: Well, you said
it, Amy. President Trump is allying with a very narrow—very, very
narrow sliver of countries. And that is basically Israel and Saudi
Arabia. He is talking about Iran as the spreader of terrorism in the
Middle East. But look at who has been the basis of the—ISIS and
al-Qaeda: has been Saudi Arabia, not Iran. You look at who has been
meddling in the internal affairs in the Middle East. First of all, it’s
the U.S. The U.S. has no business to be in the Middle East, but we have
been, since the time of the invasion of Iraq, destroying country after
And you look at the issue
of who has nuclear weapons. I think it’s important just to say the
incredible hypocrisy, first, of the United States, that has thousands
of nuclear weapons, as does Russia, but then, of Netanyahu being the
one to, quote, “expose” Iran, when Israel has lied about its nuclear
weapons program. Israel has hundreds of nuclear weapons.
Well... I agree more or
less with Benjamin, but not completely. There is considerably
more in the article, which is recommended.
Caliphate of Trump
article is by Tom Engelhardt on Truthdig and originally on TomDisPatch.
This is from near the beginning:
We here in the United
States are, of course, eternally shocked by their extremism, their willingness
to kill the innocent without compunction, particularly in the case of
Islamist groups, from the 9/11 attacks to ISIS’s more recent slaughters.
However, one thing is,
almost by definition, obvious. We are not a nation of extreme acts or
extreme killers. Quite the opposite. Yes, we make mistakes. Yes, we
sometimes kill. Yes, we sometimes even kill the innocent, however
mistakenly. Yes, we are also exceptional, indispensable, and great (again), as so many politicians and
presidents have been telling us for so many years now. And yes, you
might even say that in one area we are extreme — in the value we put on
American lives, especially military ones. The only thing this country
and its leaders are not is extremist in the sense of an al-Qaeda or an
ISIS, an Assad regime or a South Sudanese one. That goes without
saying, which is why no one here ever thinks to say it.
This is - I think - an
ironic introduction. I will pass it without comment but one: I do not
think it is true that ¨We¨ - that is: the inhabitants of the USA
- ¨ are not a nation of
extreme acts or
extreme killers. Quite the opposite.¨
My reason is fairly
simple and is related to the American laws about guns: Far
more Americans are killed, by Americans, than Europeans are killed by
Europeans. And while I do not know whether this fact proves that the USA is or is not ¨a nation of extreme acts or
extreme killers¨ it surely is quite different from Europe in
Here is more by Engelhardt:
Keep in mind as well that,
between December 29, 2001, when U.S. B-52 and B-1B bombers killed more
than 100 revelers at a wedding in a village in eastern Afghanistan, and
December 2013 when a CIA drone took out a… yep… Yemeni wedding party,
U.S. air power wiped out all or parts of at least eight weddings, including brides,
grooms, and even musicians, killing and wounding hundreds of
participants in three countries (and only apologizing in a single
case). The troops of present Secretary of Defense James Mattis, when he
was commanding the 1st Marine Division in Iraq in 2004, were
responsible for one of those slaughters. It took place in Western Iraq
and was the incident in which those musicians died, as reportedly did
14 children. When asked about it at the time, Mattis responded: “How many people go to
the middle of the desert… to hold a wedding 80 miles from the nearest
civilization?” And that response was no more callous or extreme than
the New York Daily News’s front-page headline, so many
years later, for that U.S. drone strike in Yemen: “Bride and Boom!”
Yes. All I say to this
paragraph is that Mattis seems sick to me, as does the Daily News.
Next, in the following
quotation an important part of
Engelhardt´s argument starts that I cannot adequately summarize
in this brief review. It starts as follows:
I think all of that is
quite true (and there is more than I quoted). Here is some more on the
second category of Engelhardt´s ¨six-category rundown of what [Engelhardt] would call
extremity on a global scale¨:
Now, for a moment, let’s
consider the possible extremism of Washington in a more organized way.
Here, then, is my six-category rundown of what I would call American
extremity on a global scale:
Garrisoning the globe:
The U.S. has an estimated 800 or so military bases or
garrisons, ranging from the size of American small towns to tiny
outposts, across the planet. They exist almost everywhere — Europe,
South Korea, Japan, Australia, Afghanistan, the Middle East, Africa,
The United States, as I said, has at least 800 of them, a number that
puts in the shade the global garrisons of any other great power in
history, and to go with them, more than 450,000 military
personnel stationed outside its borders.
military: The U.S. puts approximately a trillion dollars annually in
taxpayer funds into its military, its 17 intelligence agencies, and
what’s now called “homeland security.” Its national security budget
is larger than those of the next
eight countries combined and still rising yeary (..)
Yes indeed. And in fact,
there are four more categories, all with considerable texts,
that I here only mention:
In fact, all of the above
is very well worth reading, but too long for reviewing in Nederlog. The
article ends as follows:
Arming the planet (and its
own citizens as well): (..)
this perhaps as a new kind of death cult, which means that Donald Trump
might be considered the superpower version of an Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
As with all such things, this particular cult did not come from
nowhere, but from a land of growing extremity, a country that now, it
seems, may be willing to preside over not just cities in ruin but a
planet in ruin, too. Doesn’t that seem just a little extreme to you?
Yes indeed: It does
¨seem just a little extreme¨ to me, and this is a strongly
Won't Say CIA 'Tortured' and Refuses to Say If Torture Is 'Immoral'
article is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
After presenting herself as
"a typical middle-class American" who was brought up with a strong
"moral compass" in her opening remarks before the Senate Intelligence
Committee on Wednesday, Gina Haspel—President Donald Trump's pick to
head the CIA—would not admit that the agency has ever tortured nor
would she say that she believes torture is immoral.
Asked repeatedly by Sen.
Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) to provide a "yes or no" answer to whether the
CIA's torture techniques used in the aftermath of 9/11 were immoral,
Haspel repeatedly dodged and at one point strongly endorsed the tactics
she reportedly oversaw as an a CIA official, saying the agency "did
extraordinary work to prevent another attack on this country."
Haspel went on to say that
while she doesn't believe "torture works" as Trump has suggested, she
does think the CIA's "program" elicited "valuable information" from
I say, and I do so not
because of Jake Johnson but because of the sadist and liar Gina Haspel. And
I will not disentangle the last two paragraphs I just quoted, but only
Haspels is NOT "a
typical middle-class American": These work neither for the CIA nor
do they have a record of torturing; it is conceivably possible
that she was raised ¨with a
"moral compass"¨ but if she was that moral compass (that is totally
unspecified) did not eradicate her sadism; she ¨would not admit that the agency has ever
tortured¨, while she has been
torturing for years to the best of my knowledge (but indeed she called
it ¨extraordinary interrogation¨); and while she refuses to ¨say that she believes torture is immoral¨ almost all of the lawyers of nearly all of
the countries that did forbid torture would (or did) say that
they believe that torture is immoral.
In brief, my own psychologist´s diagnosis of her is
that she is a sadist
who wants to continue her sadism as leader of the CIA (and who doesn´t
even agree with international laws she must have some
Here is the last bit I quote
from this article:
Responding to Senate
hearing on Twitter, The Intercept's Jeremy Scahill denounced
Haspel's answers to even the most mild and poorly framed questions
raised by lawmakers.
"Even through the most
mainstream bullshit prism of Senate politics, Haspel's answers were a
disgrace," Scahill wrote. "Any Democrat that votes to confirm Haspel
should never be allowed to live it down."
the two-and-a-half hour hearing was finally brought to a close, Scahill
concluded, "My god, that was horrid."
I did neither see nor
hear it, but I think I do agree (given from what I have read
about her hearing) with Scahill that "My god, that was horrid."
this is a recommended article.
have now been
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 (!!).