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Archive for the ‘Is everything propaganda then?’ Category

The latest Facebook ‘app‘ is of German origin: the Zuckerberg Thumbscrew… an old device of restrain and pain put to new use after the recent FB IPO demise.

There is also an improvised cheap app version of the ‘Zuckerberg Thumbscrew’ which can be found at any hardware store…

There is a flipside to everything including the Facebook singular thump-up-like-strategy and the likejacking/clickjacking that comes with such commercial deviation of social media.

click book cover to read a limited selections from one of the many books how the Zuckberg empire works… “The Like Economy: How Businesses Make Money With Facebook” by Brian Carter (*) Click book cover for GoogleBooks link

BE AWARE: what you and me may see as something semi-privat and social is of course nothing else than selling our vanities to the advertisement industry, or is it more a schizophrenic situtaion with us users also profiting from the profit of Facebook by having handy communication tool for “free”?

“In 2011, Facebook made $4 per user per year. To earn its market cap of $100 billion today, it would have to earn five-times that figure per user. This sets up a tug-of-war over user information.”

Click stats to go source web page “Facebook’s Value: What’s the Price of a Billion People Watching Each Other?” by Derek Thompson of ‘The Atlantic’.

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(*) To find it in a library nearby  go to worldcat.org for this book and fill in your country

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‎”Flux de bouche” we say in dutchified French, whereas the French say “flux de paroles”, ‘flood of words’ in English. For all those who are following the French TV news (‘Le Journal de France 2 sur TV5’ here in the Netherlands) that is what is awaiting us with the new Parti Socialiste Prime Minster (PS/PM), Jean-Marc Ayrault, who was interviewed yesterday first time by anchor man ‘le toupet’ (our tv-divan pet name for David Pujadas, because of his well groomed hair that seems not to be all his). Ayrault certainly creates a ZAPMOMENT with his autonomous avalanche of memorised catch words making one forget what again was the question posed by the interviewer… It will be a verb soon ‘ayrauliser’ and – by mere chance – it is meaningful as the surname ‘ayrault’ is an older French spelling of ‘herault’ or ‘herald’ in English. Indeed ‘a herald’ does not answer questions, a herald proclaims!

As is often the case with a new dignitary the ‘homophone’, or ‘homonym’, or transliterated versions of his name into other languages, do produce some embarrassment, in this case in Arabic speaking countries, where his name is conceived as the name for the male sex organ (like the name of late Dutch Prime Minister Kok, is perceived as ‘cock’ in English).

Ayrault on his first introductory interview on France 2 news did not get any embarrassing questions – though – from ‘le toupet’, like one about his local ‘favoritisme’ scandal during his office as a mayor of  the town of Nantes, triggered by a municipal contract for a news and publicity service without a public tender. This was fifteen years ago, and it did produce a six-month suspended prison sentence and a fine for Ayrault in 1997. Ayrault did not appeal against this ruling at that time.

As François Hollande did announce during his campaign that his new government would consist of impeccable persons only, tens of thousands professional and self-proclaimed defamers where sitting behind their computers and waiting for the moment the first nomination would appear from the confines of the new master in the Élysée, to cut & paste it into their favourite internet search engine. One of the first to post their resulted defamation was the fifth column of Sarkozy with their Facebook page “Non au PS” (has just 8.753 likes). Their home banner reads: “NON AU SOCIALISTES; NON AUX COMMUNISTES; NON AUX MODEMS, NON AU VERTS; NON A HOLLANDE ET LA GAUCHE” (‘MODEM” is ‘Mouvement Démocrat of François Bayrou; “Verts” is Green Party; “GAUCHE” is left). It is claimed that the post below did get the eager inquiry machine rolling, though the exposed  disgraceful event must have been public knowledge anyhow.

“- The first (premier) “prime minster” nominated with a condemnation of 6 years of prison; – 62 years, must be pensioned by now like he advocates for others.” Click picture to check out the Facebook page with other examples of bashing the socialists.

In times we are progressively losing our ability to remember, because of electronic memory devices that have taken over that function, the instant recall of cases from the past by our ubiquitous digital machines, does pose a problem. The ‘waning of time’ ceases to exist. Forgetfulness which is a social device leading to leniency and clemency , forming the basis of human cohabitation, is made impossible. A “minor affair” from the past is easily turned into a ‘major’ one in the present.

We need to come to terms with this new social phenomenon. I would say that a conviction in the past of someone running for public office, is not necessary a negative thing. A convicted person, who has done his or her term, or who has been given a provisional sentence, can not be excluded from participating into politics or government all his or her life. Also, such a person may have gained – because of a punishing sentence – a better insight in the realities of life, in some cases even better than all those impeccable careerist bureaucrats. The fact that the past of Ayrault could be checked so easily renders his case ‘transparent’, though some sources (Le Monde 15/6/1996; a pay archive link) suggest that the legal construction of the publishing tender in Nantes, were “rather opaque.”  The French web site “@rrets sur l’image” of May 11th 2012 has a detailed overview article on the case with this long title: “AYRAULT ET LA “BOULE PUANTE” : UNE AFFAIRE DE 1997 REFAIT SURFACE – Mais la presse n’a pas mis le nez dans ses archives pour en fournir les détails” (Ayrault and the stink bomb: an affair of 1997 surfaces again – But the press did not put its nose in its (own) archives to supply the details about it).

Scrutiny of acts and proclamations of the new Prime Minster is enhanced by all such bad publicity, which may hopefully help him sobering his ‘flux de paroles’.

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I was reading yet another article about the case of the Chinese dissident Chen Guang Cheng (陈光诚) in Le Monde today which mentioned that his case may be head lines in the world, but not so in China itself (it almost sounds like a definition of what ‘a dissident’ actually is). Chinese media if mentioning the case at all are referring to him as “a marionette of the USA.”

The article brought some emblematic pictures to my mind and so I did an image search on Google on marionettes and ‘puppets on a string’ and the last one brought me the image that opens this small note. Paper puppets that when they act become puppets on a string. It is a typical ready-made image to be sold to web sites for may different uses. So I will put the allegory of the picture to my own use here….

Click picture to do a Google search on: ‘puppets on a string’

With the Chinese dissident case in the head lines of the “free world” we seem to be back all the way in the Cold War and its definition and use of ‘dissidents’ who would raise issues felt  as a danger to the existing rule in their own countries. There are always many more dissents around in far away countries than we will ever hear about, protesting paper puppets hidden from our view. The ones that manage to come on stage are the ones that will get strings attached to them, if they want it or not. The hand of the puppet player may change during the performance.

Smart and lucky dissidents would manage at one moment or another to get their message across their state  borders and raise enough attention elsewhere to create – at some moment in time – an opportunity to be shuffled into what is supposed to be a heroic exile.

The same kind of dissident criticism at home can also be applied to similar circumstances in any of the dissident hosting countries, but as courtesy and realism makes an exiled dissident cautious, exiled dissidents tend to be silent about their host. This is the sad fate of who – in order to safe his own life – is forced to become a hero-dissident, who will nevertheless have a hard time to defend her/himself against accusations of being just a marionette of a foreign power. The possible hosting country of Chen Guang Chen – the United States of America – does have a long long history of schizophrenic political morality and changing interpretations of the the word ‘freedom’. It is unavoidable that the shadow side of a rescuing power will reflect on a rescued dissident.

The manipulating hand of state power with the people as multiplied paper puppet marionettes in the picture is reflecting in the floor space and so the position of the expelled dissident elsewhere becomes a mere mirror image.

Chen Guang Chen – when he manages to get out safely – is said to get the opportunity to study law in the United States. He is not the first and certainly not the last getting such a chance. Imagine when all the world dissidents would gather in the United States and study, discuss and further their insight by exchanging experiences. Then, the mere quantity of dissidence could create a new quality and such a combined insight in world political matters could reflect back onto the United States itself. The marionettes would come alive and become players without strings.

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A sitting president of any nation at the end of his term always has stains on his/her presidential uniform and the frequency with which the presidential suit has to be brought to the state-media-dry-cleaning-services may increase when she or he is so bold to want a second term. Sarkozy is no exception to this rule and indeed his stains are numerous, some are hard to remove older stains on the shirts he was wearing during earlier stages of his career: Karachi-gate (1994)  Bettencourt (2007), La Garde-Tapie (1993-2007), and several stains by ‘the always well documented slander’ of Le Canard Enchainé (like the October 2011 article on how a death sentence of Gaddafi has been instrumented by French Military Intelligence). Last stain thrown at him was by Dominique Strauss Kahn saying his sexual misconduct in New York was manipulated by the French government to keep him from running for President . Yes, the same DSK who is like Sarkozy a master of doing things and than saying he has not done them.

There is a method to remove such scandalous stains  in one go from the president uniform and that is an old governmental recipe: WAGE WAR!

War is is something as glorious as it is dirty and a president that leads a nation into  war – even when it is just a small one – will not be judged anymore for his civil stains. A president in the double role of a warrior wears the military stains that come with that exercise like medals of honour on his uniform.

This understanding of the manipulation of the mood of a nation made me write several weeks ago this small article which may have still some informative relevance today, only one week from the final decisive presidential elections in France.

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Election Marathon for the Presidential Election in France today and how Sarkozy tries to distinguish himself from his opponents… as a world leader taking the lead in liberating an oppressed people and killing the dictator that suppressed them, a man capable of bringing democracy by decisive force. A glorious picture that has more than one layer….

Below some pictures of Sarkozy’s enjoying his greatest moment during a visit to Libya in September 2011. Applauded as the embodiment of the liberating force of France, France  of the Great Revolution centuries ago, still bringing liberty, equality and fraternity.

L’Express September 16., 2011: “A Tripoli, Sarkozy savoure sa victoire libyenne” (in Tripoli Sarkozy savours hisLibyan victory). Pictures from both Benghazi and Tripoli.

“Amis de Benghazi, nous vous demandons une chose: nous croyons dans la Libye unie, pas dans la Libye divisée.” Aujourd’hui, “vous devez montrer un nouveau courage, celui de la réconciliation”. (Friends of Benghazi, we are asking you one thing: we believe in an united Libya, not in a divided Libya.” Today, “you must show a new courage, the one of reconciliation.”)

The words of Sarkozy about a needed ‘reconciliation’ were spoken in Benghazi on the 15th of September 2011.  It is now one year ago that the revolt against the Gaddafi regime in Libya started and the USA, Canada  and its West-European Allies intervened on behalf of  anti-Gaddafi insurgents. The step from support of insurgents – who would not have been able themselves to beat the troops of Gaddafi on a short term – with aerial bombardments, to a civil reconciliation process, has been impossible to take. The way in which a regime change takes place also determines what kind of new social structure will appear. There have been over 25.000 air missions by NATO, but,  throwing bombs from high in the sky and repairing means not only repairing material devastation on the ground. Repairing the social devastation is an even bigger task. The military victory and the jubilant proclamation of a new order leave the population a weak non-elected self-appointed government in Tripoli, secessionist regions, all sorts of retaliation against all kind of layers in society that have been closely allied with the former regime. How else could it be after a regime that has been busy establishing and keeping its power during four decades.

Click image to do a new Google Image Search with the text string “la france forte”


Nota Bene the news tableau has five layers:
1 – the picture in the centre is from Le Petit Journal exactly one hundred years ago glorifies military aviation in its earliest days.

2 – French airplanes returning to their base in Corsica after flying a bombing mission over Libya, article in Los Angeles Times March 21, 2011, taken over by Australian web site. “Gaddafi fervour wanes as bombs hit” is the header of the article.

3 – the picture of Sarkozy with Gaddafi dates from 2007 made at his state visit to Libya posing in the head quarters of Gaddafi Bab-Al-Zizia, which were later bombed by French airplanes. The monument with the clenched fist destroying a jet fighter is a monument commemorating the USA air attack on Gaddafi on April 15th 1986, ordered by the President Reagan government in retaliation of the bomb attack on a dancing in West Berlin which fitted in a whole series of Libyan involvements in terrorist activities (Italian Red Brigades, the German Red Army Fraction (Rote Armee Fraktion)and the Irish republican Army). on From 2003 onward the Gaddafi regime had started a diplomatic normalisation process, moving away from their earlier hard line violent international policies. The header for this article in which this picture appears is: “Libyan market seen as a bonanza.”

Picture as published by US Today on March 8, 2007. With the following caption: “Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi right, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy stand while national anthems are being played, at the Bab Azizia Palace in Tripoli, in this July 25, 2007, file photo. European defense and aviation group EADS said Friday it had finalized two military contracts with Libya to supply anti-tank missiles and communications systems. French Defense Minister Herve Morin said the contracts had not yet been formally signed, despite the comments of a Libyan official, who said Thursday in Tripoli that Libya had signed the contracts. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)”

The same photograph appeared  since 2007 illustrating different articles and also an article that sheds an other light on the Sarkozy Gaddafi ‘amourette’. I just choose one of the many English language articles that followed on a report published by the French journalist research web site ‘MediaPart’ on the history of Sarkozy and Gaddafi contacts starting in the year 2005 (when Sarkozy was Minister of Interior under President Chirac). The web site Business Insider of March 12, 2012 starts of with: “Nicolas Sarkozy allegedly received €50 million ($65.8 million) in illegal campaign contributions from Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi when he first ran for president of France in 2007.” Sarkozy and his party have denied all allegations and “as France’s head of state, Sarkozy cannot be prosecuted while in office, but if he loses the upcoming elections (which seems likely) a full investigation could be conducted into his party’s finances.”

Cropped version of the Michel Euler photograph of Sarkozy’s visit to Gaddafi in 2007.

Somehow the detailed report of Mediapart first published on March 12, 2012, has been maneuvered  out of the public eye and some of the persons cited in the Mediapart documents have publicly distanced themselves from references to them. The allegations are not much part now of the last week debates before the French presidential elections, though suspicion is lingering on. Reading though the complicated relationships of the various ‘strawmen’ and other profiteering intermediaries involved,explains that such wheeling and dealing is part of regular politics, and that the players involved in it have learned enough lessons to obscure and hide their traces. The answer of the Sarkozy election campaign office came this week end with an article in Le Monde “Pour Sarkozy, Mediapart est “une officine au service de la gauche” (for Sarkozy Mediapart is “an office at the service of the Left.”)

The French language web page that refers to the alleged financing of the Sarkozy presidential campaign in the year 2007 (one needs to be subscribed to see the full French text) There is an English summary also, that opens in this way: “According to information contained in a confidential report prepared by a recognised French expert on terrorism and terrorist financing, President Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign received up to 50 million euros in secret funds from the regime of the late Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.”

Another bit of news shedding light of the Gaddafi-Sarkozy relationship before the French President choose to attack his former ally, is March 16, 2012, interview with the son of Gaddafi for the Television station of EuroNews. Saif al-Islam did survive until now and has not been silenced yet, though he may use some of his knowledge first of all to protect himself. If he ever will face the International criminal Court in The hague, remains doubtful.

21011 March 16, Saif al-Islam: “Sarkozy must first give back the money he took from Libya to finance his electoral campaign. We funded it and we have all the details and are ready to reveal everything. The first thing we want this clown to do is to give the money back to the Libyan people. He was given assistance so that he could help them. But he’s disappointed us: give us back our money. We have all the bank details and documents for the transfer operations and we will make everything public soon.”

4 – Vehicles belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi explode after an air strike by coalition forces along a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah, Sunday, March 20.

This map that appeared on many  web sites shows the French participation in the aerial bombardment  in March 2011 of strongholds of the former ally of Sarkozy, Gaddafi.

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Dominique Strauss Kahn flanked by security guards explains how to drag global economy out of its actual slump using the famous 1926 diagram of Fritz Kahn published in "Das Leben des Menschen/Life of Man" as a concrete metaphor of how to stimulate economic growth. Seven steps can be distinguished: 1) Die Geslechtsdrüsse/Sexual glands; 2) Erotische Eindrücke/Erotic impressions; 3) geslechtlige Eregung/Sexual arousal; 4) Hemmungen wie moralische Bedenken/Inhibitions like moral considerations (that have to be overcome); 5) Rückenmark/Spinal cord (transporting the accumulated data to...); 6) Erektionszentrum/Erectional centre; 7) Schwellkörpernadern/Erectile tissue (that will produce the intended rise). ---- click picture for full size view ----

For an inside report of the lecture in the guarded off hall of Cambridge Student’s ‘Union Society’ I can recommend the student’s paper ‘The TAB Cambridgetab.co.uk” in its issue of Saturday, 10 March 2012 which has several readers comments from within the Cambridge student community:

<quote> Dominique Strauss-Kahn managed to talk about economics for most of the evening to an under-capacity Union, but the ex-IMF Chief was forced from home turf when a student asked about rape allegations made earlier this year. Will Lawn, a 3rd year student from King’s College asked Strauss-Kahn to “explain why Diallo had vaginal bruising the day after you met her,” referring to the hotel maid who alleges that DSK raped her in May 2011. Security, who flanked DSK throughout the talk, tried to rush him out, but both Strauss-Kahn and Union President Katie Lam let him finish his question. Strauss-Kahn responded by saying: “I’m not quite sure that’s the topic of this evening. New York dismissed the case… What more do you want?”</quote>

 <quote>But while there was limited opposition within the chamber, outside the Union the atmosphere was vitriolic. Behind the debating chamber over 200 protesters clashed with police and security, parading anti-DSK placards and chanting slogans such as “No more violence, no more rape” and ”DSK, go away, justice for Diallo.” Activists also clashed with a pro-DSK campaigner, ripping the sign he was carrying, which was covered in free speech slogans.</quote>

 <quote>Chants were audible throughout the talk, but when asked about the protests Strauss-Kahn said: ”We live in a culture of freedom; they are allowed to do what they want, even if I think they are wrong.”</quote>

 <quote>In a statement released shortly after the event, the Union emphasised that: “there was no restriction on questions from the audience or on their content”, adding that Lawn was approached by security after his question because “a private security guard mistakenly interpreted this question as an attempt to disrupt the event… his actions had not breached the code of conduct for the event.”</quote>

I id post a reaction on this blog that can be found at the end of this posting. (**)

The lecture took place on Friday, March 9 at the University of Cambridge with a confident Strauss Kahn in spite of protests outside the lecture hall.

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(*) Documentation on the mechanical schemes of the functioning of the human body by Fritz Kahn, can be found here…

(** )My reaction on the TAB Cambridge blog and its comments:

Not guilty until proven” seems to be a strong proDSK argument, but those who use it apparently did NOt follow the way how someone with lots of power and lots of money could wriggle out of almost any justice procedure.

 Casting doubt on the status of a victim is one of the ugly aspects of such a process. Next are conspiracy theories and there were several suggestions of attempts at framing a prospected French President candidate. The the colour of the victim versus the colour of the perpetrator and discriminatory law practices was brought in also, amplified with the aspect of class differences and discrimination of women. Differences also of culture, between a more protective attitude toward private life of politicians and officials in France versus the overt judgemental morality stance taken in the USA further obscured the issue. This bristle cloud of public debate has thrown so much dust in the air that Dominique Strauss Kahn’s lawyers managed to wriggle him out of prison, into a luxurious safe house and finally had him acquitted and free to leave the USA. There is NO Truth to be found in this kind of sensational cases. They do get Mythical and a myth is a unstable piece of lore that – nevertheless – does have some founding in a real event that occurred in whatever way  in the past.

 There was an escapade of DSK in a New York Hotel and the chances that this was just a spontaneous consensual ‘rendezvous’ are at best hypothetical. More important DSK has a history of non-consensual relieve of his libido upon the bodies of ladies of which some have found the courage to express their disgust and anger publicly. All cases not formerly proved, none that has lead to a conviction. Muffling by hired lawyers of free speech, and whatever undisclosed means of pressure available to a man of political power like DSK, form the basis of his actual standing. Arguing that honouring an earlier invitation to the Student Union of Cambridge (as I understood) of DSK should be kept in the name of ‘free speech’ is preposterous.

 What remains is DSK’s record as an economist and his abilities to influence the global market in a remarkable way. None of this seems to be true in the eyes of economists, there are monitoring and evaluation reports of his own International Monetary Fund – nicely put on-line – that take a critical stance at his performance in this field. Here is an introductory text and the source link “The affair DSK and the forgotten IMF self-criticism report of May 20, 2011”: http://wp.me/pw0cu-11S

 My suggestion is a less emotional and more analytical approach to the now historic DSK in Cambridge case. What I did find most ‘endearing’ was not only reading your magazine, but also the photographof the actual crummy stage of the Student Union lecture hall, that must have been such a non-glorious and shaming stand for Dominique Strauss Kahn to end up as a speaker in such an environment. Just compare it with the glamorous settings of his Far East come back attempt as a speaker on an economic conference in Bejing in December 2011: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76fm35fycG4

Comment on TAB student paper blog by 'Cambridge Moonion': Re: "crummy stage". The actual room is a pretty amazing example of Victorian architecture. He was just giving his speech from the back of the room rather than the front because he needed to be near a door for security reasons. The lecture is since monday March 12 also available in video on the official web site of the Cambridge Union Society. (****)

In contrast an image of the Beijing business conference performance of Dominique Strauss Kahn, this come back event was arranged before DSK was once more publicly associated with a prostitution ring embracing two continents, form Lille in the North of France to New York. (***)

Former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn delivers a speech at an economy conference organized by Chinese Internet company Netease in Beijing, China, Monday, Dec. 19, 2011. -- click picture for link to original article ---

(***) Le Monde: Infographie Comprendre l’affaire du Carlton en trois minutes. Mis à jour le 20.02.12. An animated information graphic in the form of a narrated organigram that explains the complicated set up of the Lille/New York prostitution ring (L’Affaire Carlton) in which Dominique Strauss Kahn also plays his own role. The narration is in French.

Comprendre l'affaire du Carlton en trois minutes (Understanding the Carlton Affaire in three minutes) - click image to go directly to the page of Le Monde and click the button 'démarrer' to start the info graphic.

(****) “The global financial climate, globalization and the Eurozone” at http://www.cus.org with several applauding comments in favour of DSK..

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‎”PUTIN ASSASSINATION PLOT DENOUNCED AS RUSSIAN ELECTION SPECTACLE'” The Guardian 27th February 2012. (1)

There are multiple meanings to this news, but they all end up with the same conclusion in favour of strong man Putin running once more for president: a win win situation.

There is first of all a historical analogy and reference…. which fits in with Putin’s role of the new Czar.

An attempt at the life of Putin to take place – as news sources say – in Moscow the day after his election, on his usual ride to work through the capital. Supposedly a bomb attack, which  in the Russian mind traces back to the assassination of Russian Czar Alexandre II in 18881, March the first, by conspirators of the ‘Narodniki’ followers  of the Narodnaya Volya (Peoples’s Will) movement. An act to show to the poor and subjugated majority class of the peasants that the Czar  was not an omnipotent supernatural being, that his life could be taken and their position of powerless could be changed.

Pages from Russian history: Newspaper photograph of a Putin convoy heading to the Kremlin in Moscow May 2007; illustrate magazine engraving reconstructing the bomb attack on Czar Alexandre II 1881 in St. Petersburg. The killing of the Alexandre II - who had a dual policy of allowing some reforms and at the same time strengthening reaction - in 1881 lead to the cancellation of all reforms and a period of a quarter of a century of bolstering of central czarist power.

If the plot against Putin was real, the Chechen conspirators would have revenged the suppression of their revolt against the Moscow reign of Chechen people. An answer to the Second Chechen War, a merciless clamp down strongly supported by Vladimir Putin. An act of tyrannicide by the Chechens as a symbol, a start to liberate themselves from Putin’s yoke. For many Russians such an act of revenge would prove the need of a strong figure like Putin to protect their homeland from the rebellion of insurgent regions, religions and nationalities. Putin as the man to stand up against those threatening the unity of what is left over of the great Russian empire. Something constantly expressed in the core message of Putin’s rhetoric: the protection of the Russian fatherland.

использовать свое воображение (use your imagination)

If the plot was – completely or even half – staged (by provocative methods), Putin’s secret service entourage would have used Putin’s widely expressed negative appraisal to create an event that can be imagined to be true. The proposed story line of a newly elected president killed straight after the day he has been elected fires the imagination and changes – even if it did not actually happen –  his position. We know, that when it would have had happened in real, all forging of election results would be overshadowed by such a drama and soon be forgotten. Putin’s role would have changed from ‘a tyrant’ into ‘a martyr for democracy’. Real or fake, it hardly matters. Putin’s Plot has enough verisimilitude to fire people’s imagination and he will profit from that.

использовать свое воображение (use your imagination)


Tyrannicide is the assassination of a tyrant for the common good. A tyrant in classical Greek history was someone who had taken power in a ‘polis’ by illegal or unconvential means. In the year 514  Aristogeiton (the bearded one) and Harmodius assassinated one of the two sons of the tyrant of  Athens, Peisistratus. Their deed is said to have helped the establishment of Athenian democracy. A bronze statue has been made of the two ‘tyrannicides’ by Antenor and placed to their honour in the Agora, the public meeting space close to the town’s assembly. We all do know that ‘Athenian democracy’ was something meant only for the local male population, excluding women and Athenian residents originating from other poli and not to forget: slaves. 

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(1) A choice of three news source renderings of the alleged plot agains Putin

THE GUARDIAN, Miriam Elder in Moscow, February 27., 2012: “This is part of a clear election campaign,” said Yevgeniya Chirikova, a leader of the protest movement that has brought tens of thousands of people onto the streets of Moscow calling on Putin to quit. “It’s to bring attention to Vladimir Putin, and to develop this idea that there’s a threat everywhere. It’s a spectacle.” Putin’s press secretary described such statements as “blasphemous”. (…) State-run Channel One television reported that two men arrested by Russian and Ukrainian special forces in the Ukrainian port of Odessa earlier this year had been dispatched to kill Putin by Chechen rebel Doku Umarov, the leader of Russia’s separatist Islamist movement. (…) Channel One said it received information about the assassination attempt 10 days ago but did not explain why it did not release the news sooner. (…) Putin’s critics allege that a series of apartment block bombings on the eve of his first election in 2000 were orchestrated by the Kremlin to boost the then unknown politician’s popularity, rather than by Chechen rebels, as claimed. A similar assassination attempt on Putin was allegedly foiled on the day of Russia’s last presidential election in March 2008.”

CBS ATLANTA, Vladimir Isachenkov Associated Press, February 27. 2012: “The Ukrainian Security Service said earlier this month it had detained a man sought by Russian authorities on charges of terrorism and two of his accomplices in Odessa on Feb. 4, but said nothing at the time about linked them to an anti-Putin plot. (…) Channel One said the source for its information was Russia’s Federal Security Service, the main KGB successor agency dealing with domestic security. The agency refused to comment. (…) A Chechen rebel website, KavkazCenter, shrugged off the report about the assassination plot as “election propaganda nonsense.” The website noted that the explosion in Odessa was initially reported to be a gas leak and the men were said to be preparing explosives for a contract hit on a local businessman. (…) The nationalist party leader, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, said the assassination plot was invented by political spin doctors and designed to appeal to “poorly educated old ladies” and housewives, the news agency reported.”

KAVKAZ CENTER web site (a channel used regularly by Chechen opposition), February 27., 2012: Putin said that the victory over the Chechen rebels is one of the major achievements of his reign. Putin has counted the victory over Chechen rebels as one of the key achievements of his rule, and the report about the alleged plot is likely to further boost support “, АР reports from Moscow. An influential French daily, Le Monde, writes: “For Frederick Longuet-Marx, chairman of the conference at Caen University, an expert on Islam and national identity in the Caucasus, “it was clearly a pre-election manipulation”. “Vladimir Putin just want to inflate a bit his pre-election rating and play on the fear of the Chechens. Indeed, during his 12 years of rule in Russia, Vladimir Putin has created an image of a strongman over his fierce struggle with Chechen terrorists. “Thanks to the assassinations of 1999, which were clearly the work of Russian secret services, the public opinion was prepared to resume the war against Chechnya”, recalled Frederick Longuet-Marx. Today, the prime minister is opposed by the growing mass of people, and he is forced to use once again the bogey of Chechen terrorism, which helped him so well in the past. However, other people seem to doubt. () “Osmayev is completely unknown in the ranks of the Chechen movement, and the name” Pyaznin” sounds absolutely non-Kazakh”, explains Frederick Longuet-Marx. He has also doubts about the very existence of the alleged terrorist organization. () “For an Islamic terrorist, it makes no sense to take refuge in Ukraine. The laws there are the same as in Russia”. () Another major French newspaper Le Figaro quotes an independent Moscow sociologist Dmitry Oreshkin on KGB anti-putinist radio Ekho Moskvy: () “This is a sign that people from the FSB are trying to use the tools to mobilize public opinion in an old way: “We are surrounded by the enemies. There is only one strong, intelligent and courageous leader, whom they are trying to eliminate”.

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"Hotline MOE-landers (middle and East Europeans (...) leave your story here" click picture for full size. For rough translation of the PVV text in this picture see further on in this article.

A ‘détournement‘ for the latest campaign of PVV/Wilders group targeting Middle & East European workers… what I see when I check out the Complain Web Site of the PVV.

The word ‘MOE-Landers’ is a post Cold War invention, before there was  the monolithic term  ‘Oostblok (East-block from the East germany/DDR all the way to Vladivostok in Siberia ). MOE is an ‘acronym’ of Midden Oost Europees (Middle East European), which is then glued to the word ‘lander’ (someone from a certain land or country).

The word ‘MOE’ in Dutch means being tired. This is an interesting association as the MOE-landers may be coming to the Netherlands because the Ducth lower paid classes are tired (moe) of working for too low wages and in too bad circumstances. The Dutch entrepeneurs are of course the last to complain about willing Middle-East-Europe employees.

Wilders and his PVV movement specialise in using generalised ‘statistic group names  for humans’ as a basis for their pointing-a-finger-to-others politics. It is not just those belonging to a religious entity like Islam that are targeted by the PVV. The party of Wilders also points to other groupings of people, often groups that have been defined as a specific statistical category by the State Statistical Bureau (CBS). Autochtoon (Old-Greek: αὐτος; autos = “self” and χθων chthoon = “land/earth”)  and Allochtoon (ἄλλος (allos) = other; + land/earth) are important ‘catchwords’ to be found in the ‘policy nets’ of the PVV. ‘Native’ and ‘alien’ to use other dividing terms, or simply ‘us and them’.

The above ethnic scheme is taken from Wikipedia and I found this comment of an expat in the Netherlands web blog DutchDirt, on the social labelling tradition in the Netherlands: "Why do the Dutch continually focus on this condescending word? What is 100% allochtoon anyway? Did they forget the history of the Netherlands and who their ancestors are? Even the Royal Family are Allochtonen… Anyway to me the whole allochtoon situation is totally absurd and ridiculous. They have in general not yet been able to realize that this whole ‘putting people in boxes’ system is what is causing a lot of social issues and friction. The word has been abused and consequently a negative connotation has stuck. Alas, as it seems it is a cultural thing to give people labels. So maybe we haven’t come that far from apartheid (literal translation = being different) either, oh yeah that’s also a Dutch word." (the author makes only one mistake in the origin and connotations for the word 'Apartheid': it is a Dutch language word originating from the Afrikaans/Dutch spoken in South Africa. The Dutch word 'apart' comes from the French (à part) and is used in three ways: separate in space, separate in circumstances, and extraordinary; 'heid' means 'state of being' (apart))

Sub-categories – all neatly defined by the Dutch State Statistic Bureau – are singled out by PVV strategists for their populist campaigns, like the seemingly geographic notion of ‘Niet Westerse Allochtoon’ (non Western Allochtones). NWAers would be an acronym for this group, proposed to us as a non-adaptive foreign element in the mythically national entity of ‘echte Nederlanders’ (real Netherlanders) originating from ‘non Western countries. The last thing is historically and geographically such an absurd notion that it will take a separate article (in the making) to explain it in maps. For the rest I need not detail here the fact that all nations exist only by the grace of migration. The ethnographer searching for a real aboriginal Dutch will have a hard time finding one.

This map (by me tj.) does NOT appear on the web site of the State Statistical Bureau of the Netherlands, but is construed from the textual information they give. I made it to understand what this idiot term 'Niet Westerse Allochtoon' means. Just before the elections in the year 2010, the PVV financed a study by consultancy bureau NYFER, that managed to construct a demagogical interpretation of the social costs of migration (benefits were not mentioned) focussing on the statistical category of Non Western Allochtones (NWA), claiming this group "costs Dutch society 7,2 milliard Euros a year." These 'statistical lies' were cleverly launched just before people went to the ballots.(*) As the financial crisis had been a part of all television debates between the candidates, who had to explain how they would cut in state budgets and who would suffer from that, and the magic number was 15 milliard, Wilders put forward triumphal how he would solve the 'crisis', by getting rid of NAW citizens. The NYFER report (**) of Wilders failed to be sufficiently discredited (in time) by trade unions, academics, other political parties and so on. (***) It brought Wilders to power with 24 seats in parliament (before he had 9 seats) and the extra-governmental position of power to deliver a majority to a minority cabinet of VVD (liberals) and CDA (Christian centrists).

The singling out of MOE-landers as a target is not a new PVV policy. It fits in their long term structural policy of ‘the Netherlands for the Netherlanders’ (Nederland voor de Nederlanders). The definition of what a real Netherlander is – according to the PVV – remains kind of vague. I do not see a ‘jus sanguinis‘ (the fact of being born in a country) approach by the PVV as a basis for citizenship, as Dutch citizenship is something in their opinion that can be taken away from first, second – who knows where it ends – generations of migrants, that have committed a crime. “Send them back to their homeland” is the adage, while – crime or not – these are Dutch citizen born and educated in this country.

Middle and East Europeans in the Netherlands: (blue) not registered employee in the GBA (Gemeentelijke Basis Administratie Persoonsgegevens/Municipal Basic Administration of Persons Information); (brown) idem registered. Source CBS . Click image to go the CBS web page.

It is certainly not only the PVV who is campaigning against former East-blockers, East-Europeans or MOE-landers. The Liberal Party for Freedom (VVD) – the main power in government now – is in fact the main motor behind the PVV action against MOE-landers. The VVD minister of Social Affairs and Employment, Henk Kamp, proposed already a year ago to expel unemployed Polish workers, not withstanding European accords on free movement of employees. The number of problem cases of such economic migrants, as suggested by the minister last year, have been criticised and relativized by informed sources and members of parliament, accusing the minister of a party-politic election show over the backs of EU migrant workers.

What we see is an orchestrated campaign whereby the PVV takes an extremist  stand by actions like the call to complain on a web site about MOE-landers (anonymous and without check on double entries if wanted), while the VVD plays it more subtle and indirect. Minister Kamp has a personal campaign, often televised by the NOS television or the State Information Service (RVD), whereby he draws his double sided sword: threatening to scrap the welfare benefit of Dutch unemployed workers, if they refuse to do the jobs now done by the MOE-landers and at the same time move MOE-landers out of their Dutch jobs. Jobs often in the greenhouses of the agrarian export sector. Double sided sword, double side profit, especially for the state, who can earn a few milliards of Euros on this move.

Minister Henk Kamp (VVD) of Social Welfare and Employment in a video during a working visit to horticulture firms in the Noord-Oost Polder, filmed by the Dutch State Information Service (RVD), later broadcasted without mentioning its original source by the NOS tv news: "..if you can work and there is work, than you must work." Click picture to go to the RVD information page of this work visit. Kamp (his name means 'camp' in English) speaks about the number of unemployed Dutch workers in the 'polder region', being the same as the number of MOE-lander workers employed there the horticulture . The horticulture entrepeneur explains on camera that these MOE-landers can be called to work on short notice and even for short time contracts only, whereas the Dutch looking for employment in the region are looking for an all around year job. Nobody seems to know the historically speaking distressing association that the Noord-Oost Polder (new land on what once was an inner sea) has consumed a lot of real 'forced labour' when it was laid bare and made into farmland during World War II, including arrested Jewish men that had some (ill-fated) hope to survive here.

The agrarian sector itself certainly does not embrace this proposal for a number of reasons: refusal or incapacity of the “real Dutch” unemployed to do this kind of work, because of what is not said in the VVD minister’s campaign, the not so brilliant economic and social conditions offered to workers employed in EU competitive factory greenhouses and the fact that many jobs a only for a short time. The horticulture industry thrives on EU seasonal migrant workers.

The media performance of VVD and PVV is perfectly orchestrated these days, with Geert Wilders being attacked for his discriminatory MOE-landers campaign while Henk Kamp appears on television giving him indirect support by saying that it is up to any parliament fractions to take on measures and do researches they deem necessary. What is ‘discrimination’ for one, is ‘freedom of expression’ for another, according to Minister Henk Kamp, being asked about his opinion on the complaint against the anti-MOE-lander campaign by the Polish ambassador to the Netherlands.

The text below is a GoogleTranslation of  the PVV new anti-MOE-lander campaign web site on February the 9th 2012 (it is an automatic translation of PVV prose, that is as much as I am willing to do about rendering PVV Dutch in some kind of English, it is enough to get the gist of it):

“Reporting Central and Eastern Europeans

 Since May 1, 2007 there is free movement of workers between the Netherlands and eight countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) countries. At present the estimates to the number of people from these countries, which resides in the Netherlands, apart from 200,000 to 350,000 people. As one of the few parties, the Freedom Party from the beginning against the opening of the labor market to Poland and other CEE nationals. Given all the problems associated with the massive arrival of especially Poland, is that attitude materialized. Recently, the PVV whatsoever against further opening of the labor market for Romanians and Bulgarians voted.

 This massive labor migration leads to many problems, nuisance, pollution, displacement and integration in the labor and housing problems. For many people, these things a serious problem. Complaints are often not reported, because the idea that nothing is done.

 Do you have trouble of CEE nationals? Or have you lost your job on a Pole, Bulgarian, Romanian or other Central or Eastern European? We would like to hear. The Freedom Party has a platform on this website to your symptoms to report. These complaints, we will identify and offer the results to the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment.

 Submit your story here”

Original Dutch web site for complaint hot-line by the PVV is here: http://www.meldpuntmiddenenoosteuropeanen.nl/

———–
EPILOGUE

… in Dutch by farmer Merijntje produced by a farmers son, Rinus van Wezel, a 8 minute discourse with birds singing in the background with the title:”Minister Kamp sends forced labourers to the horticulture”

A long and well argued call to the minister that “forced labour tomato picking will be a disastrous undertaking”; Merijntje describes what will happen with strawberry harvesting by workers that are forced and try to evade it in all kind of creative ways. In all detail farmer Merijntje sketches the fanatic posture of  VVD minister Kamp in his zealous campaign to have Dutch workers to pick Dutch fruits and the consequences it will have for those law abiding farmers like him. “Just imagine”, he says lifting his arms in the sky, “government falls because of strawberry picking.” The horticulture entrepreneur also knows his classics on prudent politics when he uses the metaphor of the need for the Minister to stop being a hardliner to become “bendable… in the wind, bendable like the reed.” The European Union reality is better understood by farmer Merijntje, than Minister Kamp, when he comes to the plight of all those Bulgarian and Rumanian workers that are employed as season helps by him, already for years, and he recalls the expectation they have to earn something once in a while in the Netherlands. Think about their families, their situation at home often without work.The contrast between the PVV and VVD campaigns and this video discourse from the other side of the field is enormous. Recently similar reasoning by other employers of MOE-landers could be heard in the Dutch media.

Still the low level of payment (I doubt if the Collective Payment Agreements (CAO) by the trade unions for this sector of industry is always applied), the meagre working conditions and the social impact of  this new kind of EU seasonal migration work, must not be forgotten. We also need to get a better understanding of horticulture market prices, European and international competition, economic risks and profits that are or could be made, to be able to better judge the claims that no other employment schemes – as the one we see now – can be deployed.

Having looked at the case at hand of the public discrimination of “MOE-landers”, it seems to be such an anachronism with high overtones of xenophobia and authoritarian control of the labour market. A minister of employment accusing – underneath well formulated lines – ‘profiteering lazy bones’ that do not want to work for a living, threatening them with good beating by cutting their social welfare. Anachronism also of  a ‘liberal’ and ‘free market’ propagating VVD party, that  switches for electoral reasons to a social poker game. A game that supports a statistical based discrimination of EU citizens. Political liberals that have switched to protectionism and support for outmoded forms of  fear and hate of foreigners. Does the VVD of today still fits their own image of a liberal and somewhat progressive party? Are VVD and PVV by now not two faces of the same Janus head?

(*) Below the PVV web page on the NYFER report.

"10 YEARS IMMIGRATION COSTS 72 MILLIARD EUROS" This web page, dated May 19th. 2010, neatly documents how main stream media have amplified this instance of semi-academic statistical lies: Elsevier Weekly; free newspater De Pers; De Telegraaf a big right from the middle newspaper; RTL television news; NOS Journal (state television news, though they like to see themselves to be independent). Click picture to go to the PVV web page with all these links (all in Dutch).

(**) Het NYFER report has  a much more blank title as the rendering of its content in the words of Geert Wilders: “Budgettaire effecten van immigratie van niet-westerse allochtonen.” (Budget effects of immigration of non-western-allochtones)

(***) There were of course many reacting who did not get sufficient platform for their criticism to have an impact on the elections in February 2010. I just give here a link to one example by a young trade unionist Vicent Bontrop: “Wilders en het NYFER rapport.”

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