country:united states

  • Low wages are passé - #Shenzhen is about know-how. Key manufacturing knowledge may currently exist only there: #China #manufacturing

    "While intellectual property seems to be mostly ignored, tradecraft and trade secrets seem to be shared selectively in a complex network of family, friends and trusted colleagues. This feels a lot like open source, but it’s not. The pivot from piracy to staking out intellectual property rights isn’t a new thing. The United States blatantly stole book copyright until it developed it’s own publishing very early in US history. The Japanese copied US auto companies until it found itself in a leadership position. It feels like Shenzhen is also at this critical point where a country/ecosystem goes from follower to leader"

  • Abbas, in protocol of Doha meeting: PA will give Israel authority of West Bank if border talks fail - Diplomacy and Defense Israel News | Haaretz
    By Jack Khoury | Sep. 1, 2014 |

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has reportedly told Israel that if negotiations with the United States about establishing a Palestinian state within the 1967 lines fail, he will transfer responsibility of West Bank lands to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    The report emerged Monday in the Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar, citing transcripts of a meeting in Doha between Abbas and Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. The newspaper published a photograph of the document, which appeared to come from the emir’s office.

    According to the published protocol, Abbas conveyed this messages to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a meeting with an unnamed Israeli defense official in his Ramallah offices around two weeks ago.

    Abbas reportedly told his counterparts at the Doha meeting that he told the Israeli official: "The peace process failed after 20 years, so our new strategy is that the United States and Israel agree to establish a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital in a limited amount of time, and that both sides immediately begin determining the borders.

    “If both sides agree,” Abbas continues, "we will continue the talks about the rest of the core issues. And if not, we will take the following measure: Cessation of the security coordination and transfer of responsibility for PA territory to Netanyahu, who will bear the responsibility for them.”

  • ‘U.S. monopoly over Internet must go’ - The Hindu

    Most of Pouzin’s career has been devoted to the design and implementation of computer systems, most notably the CYCLADES computer network.

    Interview with Louis Pouzin, a pioneer of the Internet and recipient of the Chevalier of Légion d’Honneur, the highest civilian decoration of the French government

    Louis Pouzin is recognised for his contributions to the protocols that make up the fundamental architecture of the Internet. Most of his career has been devoted to the design and implementation of computer systems, most notably the CYCLADES computer network and its datagram-based packet-switching network, a model later adopted by the Internet as Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)/Internet Protocol (IP). Apart from the Chevalier of Légion d’Honneur, Mr. Pouzin, 83, was the lone Frenchman among American awardees of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, given to the inventors of Internet technology in its inaugural year, 2013.

    Ahead of the ninth annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) from September 2-5 in Istanbul, Mr. Pouzin shared his concerns regarding the monopoly enjoyed by the U.S. government and American corporations over the Internet and the need for democratising what is essentially a global commons. Excerpts from an interview, over Skype, with Vidya Venkat.

    What are the key concerns you would be discussing at the IGF ?

    As of today, the Internet is controlled predominantly by the U.S. Their technological and military concerns heavily influence Internet governance policy. Unfortunately, the Brazil Netmundial convened in April, 2014, with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), following objections raised by [Brazilian] President Dilma Rousseff to the National Security Agency (NSA) spying on her government, only handed us a non-binding agreement on surveillance and privacy-related concerns. So the demand for an Internet bill of rights is growing loud. This will have to lay out what Internet can and cannot do. Key government actors must sign the agreement making it binding on them. The main issue pertaining to technological dominance and thereby control of the network itself has to be challenged and a bill of rights must aim to address these concerns.

    What is the way forward if the U.S. dominance has to be challenged?

    Today, China and Russia are capable of challenging U.S. dominance. Despite being a strong commercial power, China has not deployed Internet technology across the world. The Chinese have good infrastructure but they use U.S. Domain Naming System, which is a basic component of the functioning of the Internet. One good thing is because they use the Chinese language for domain registration, it limits access to outsiders in some way.

    India too is a big country. It helps that it is not an authoritarian country and has many languages. It should make the most of its regional languages, but with regard to technology itself, India has to tread more carefully in developing independent capabilities in this area.

    As far as European countries are concerned, they are mostly allies of the U.S. and may not have a strong inclination to develop independent capabilities in this area. Africa again has potential; it can establish its own independent Internet network which will be patronised by its burgeoning middle classes.

    So you are saying that countries should have their own independent Internet networks rather than be part of one mega global network ?

    Developing independent networks will take time, but to address the issue of dominance in the immediate future we must first address the monopoly enjoyed by ICANN, which functions more or less as a proxy of the U.S. government. The ICANN Domain Naming System (DNS) is operated by VeriSign, a U.S. government contractor. Thus, traffic is monitored by the NSA, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) can seize user sites or domains anywhere in the world if they are hosted by U.S. companies or subsidiaries.
    ICANN needs to have an independent oversight body. The process for creating a new body could be primed by a coalition of states and other organisations placing one or several calls for proposals. Evaluation, shortlist, and hopefully selection, would follow. If a selection for the independent body could be worked out by September 2015, it would be well in time for the contract termination of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) with the U.S. government.

    The most crucial question is should governments allow citizens to end up as guinea pigs for global internet corporations ?

    Breaking that monopoly does not require any agreement with the U.S. government, because it is certainly contrary to the World Trade Organization’s principles. In other words, multiple roots [DNS Top Level Domains (TLD)] are not only technically feasible; they have been introduced in the Internet back in 1995, even before ICANN was created. This avenue is open to entrepreneurs and institutions for innovative services tailored to user needs, specially those users unable to afford the extravagant fees raked in by ICANN. The deployment of independent roots creates competition and contributes to reining in devious practices in the domain name market.
    The U.S. government is adamant on controlling the ICANN DNS. Thus, copies (mirrors) should be made available in other countries out of reach from the FBI. A German organisation Open Root Server Network is, at present, operating such a service. To make use of it, users have to modify the DNS addresses in their Internet access device. That is all, usage is free.

    But would this process not result in the fragmentation of the Internet ?

    Fragmentation of the Internet is not such a bad thing as it is often made out to be. The bone of contention here is the DNS monopoly. On August 28, nearly 12 millions Internet users subscribing to Time Warner’s cable broadband lost connectivity due to a sudden outage in one day. In a world of fragmented Internet networks, such mass outages become potentially impossible. The need of the hour is to work out of the current trap to use a more interoperable system.
    In this context, a usual scarecrow brandished by the U.S. government is fragmentation, or Balkanisation, of the Internet. All monopolies resort to similar arguments whenever their turf is threatened by a looming competition. Furthermore, the proprietary naming and unstable service definitions specific to the likes of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and more, have already divided the Internet in as many closed and incompatible internets of captive users.

    Recently, the Indian External Affairs Minister had objected to U.S. spying on the Bharatiya Janata Party. Can governments like India use a forum like IGF to raise concerns relating to surveillance ?

    Even if governments do attend IGF, they do not come with a mandate. A major problem with the Internet governance space today is that they are under the dominance of corporate lobbies. So it is a bit hard to say what could be achieved by government participation in the IGF. This is a problem of the IGF : it has no budget or secretary general, it is designed to have no influence and to maintain the status quo. That is why you have a parallel Internet Ungovernance Forum which is not allying with the existing structure and putting forth all the issues they want to change. Indian citizens could participate in this forum to raise privacy and surveillance-related concerns.

    Do you feel Internet governance is still a very alien subject for most governments and people to engage with ?

    Unfortunately, the phrase “Internet governance” is too abstract for most people and governments to be interested in. The most crucial question is what kind of society do you want to live in? Should governments allow citizens to end up as guinea pigs for global Internet corporations? The revelations by NSA contractor Edward Snowden have proved beyond doubt that user data held by Internet companies today are subject to pervasive surveillance. Conducting these intrusive activities by controlling the core infrastructure of the Internet without obtaining the consent of citizen users is a big concern and should be debated in public. Therefore, debates about Internet governance are no longer alien; they involve all of us who are part of the network.❞

  • To really combat terror, end support for Saudi Arabia | Owen Jones | Comment is free | The Guardian

    Take Qatar. There is evidence that, as the US magazine The Atlantic puts it, “Qatar’s military and economic largesse has made its way to Jabhat al-Nusra”, an al-Qaida group operating in Syria. Less than two weeks ago, Germany’s development minister, Gerd Mueller, was slapped down after pointing the finger at Qatar for funding Islamic State (Isis).

    While there is no evidence to suggest Qatar’s regime is directly funding Isis, powerful private individuals within the state certainly are, and arms intended for other jihadi groups are likely to have fallen into their hands. According to a secret memo signed by Hillary Clinton, released by Wikileaks, Qatar has the worst record of counter-terrorism cooperation with the US.

    And yet, where are the western demands for Qatar to stop funding international terrorism or being complicit in the rise of jihadi groups? Instead, Britain arms Qatar’s dictatorship, selling it millions of pounds worth of weaponry including “crowd-control ammunition” and missile parts. There are other reasons for Britain to keep stumm, too. Qatar owns lucrative chunks of Britain such as the Shard, a big portion of Sainsbury’s and a slice of the London Stock Exchange.

    Then there’s Kuwait, slammed by Amnesty International for curtailing freedom of expression, beating and torturing demonstrators and discriminating against women. Hundreds of millions have been channelled by wealthy Kuwaitis to Syria, again ending up with groups like Jabhat al-Nusra.

    Kuwait has refused to ban the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society, a supposed charity designated by the US Treasury as an al-Qaida bankroller. David Cohen, the US Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, has even described Kuwait as the “epicentre of fundraising for terrorist groups in Syria”. As Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, an associate fellow at Chatham House, told me: “High profile Kuwaiti clerics were quite openly supporting groups like al-Nusra, using TV programmes in Kuwait to grandstand on it.” All of this is helped by lax laws on financing and money laundering, he says.

    But don’t expect any concerted action from the British government. Kuwait is “an important British ally in the region”, as the British government officially puts it. Tony Blair has become the must-have accessory of every self-respecting dictator, ranging from Kazakhstan to Egypt; Kuwait was Tony Blair Associates’ first client in a deal worth £27m. Britain has approved hundreds of arms licences to Kuwait since 2003, recently including military software and anti-riot shields.

    And then, of course, there is the dictatorship in Saudi Arabia. Much of the world was rightly repulsed when Isis beheaded the courageous journalist James Foley. Note, then, that Saudi Arabia has beheaded 22 people since 4 August. Among the “crimes” that are punished with beheading are sorcery and drug trafficking.

    Around 2,000 people have been killed since 1985, their decapitated corpses often left in public squares as a warning. According to Amnesty International, the death penalty “is so far removed from any kind of legal parameters that it is almost hard to believe”, with the use of torture to extract confessions commonplace. Shia Muslims are discriminated against and women are deprived of basic rights, having to seek permission from a man before they can even travel or take up paid work.

    Even talking about atheism has been made a terrorist offence and in 2012, 25-year-old Hamza Kashgari was jailed for 20 months for tweeting about the prophet Muhammad. Here are the fruits of the pact between an opulent monarchy and a fanatical clergy.

    This human rights abusing regime is deeply complicit in the rise of Islamist extremism too. Following the Soviet invasion, the export of the fundamentalist Saudi interpretation of Islam – Wahhabism – fused with Afghan Pashtun tribal code and helped to form the Taliban. The Saudi monarchy would end up suffering from blowback as al-Qaida eventually turned against the kingdom.

  • US and Europe escalate provocations against Russia - World Socialist Web Site

    The European Union summit held in Brussels over the weekend was a major escalation of the aggression by the Western powers against Russia, raising the specter of full-blown war in Europe and even a nuclear war between NATO and Russia.

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, the business oligarch and leader of the right-wing regime installed by the Western powers in Kiev, set the tone for the summit. He urged the EU to take a tougher stance against Russia, which he accused of “military aggression and terror.”

    #ukraine #russie

  • The U.S. Government Can Brand You a Terrorist Based on a Facebook Post | Alternet

    Civil Liberties
    The Guardian / By Arjun Sethi

    The US government’s web of surveillance is vast and interconnected. Now we know just how opaque, inefficient and discriminatory it can be.

    As we were reminded again just this week, you can be pulled into the National Security Agency’s database quietly and quickly, and the consequences can be long and enduring. Through ICREACH, a Google-style search engine created for the intelligence community, the NSA provides data on private communications to 23 government agencies. More than 1,000 analysts had access to that information.

    This kind of data sharing, however, isn’t limited to the latest from Edward Snowden’s NSA files. It was confirmed earlier this month that the FBI shares its master watchlist, the Terrorist Screening Database, with at least 22 foreign governments, countless federal agencies, state and local law enforcement, plus private contractors.

    The watchlist tracks “known” and “suspected” terrorists and includes both foreigners and Americans. It’s also based on loose standards and secret evidence, which ensnares innocent people. Indeed, the standards are so low that the US government’s guidelines specifically allow for a single, uncorroborated source of information – including a Facebook or Twitter post – to serve as the basis for placing you on its master watchlist.

    Of the 680,000 individuals on that FBI master list, roughly 40% have “no recognized terrorist group affiliation”, according to the Intercept. These individuals don’t even have a connection – as the government loosely defines it – to a designated terrorist group, but they are still branded as suspected terrorists.

    The absurdities don’t end there. Take Dearborn, Michigan, a city with a population under 100,000 that is known for its large Arab American community – and has more watchlisted residents than any other city in America except New York.

  • New Facts Revealed on 2010 Ousting of Australian PM

    Interviews with senior Labor Party figures, both past and present, published in the new book Triumph and Demise by the Australian newspaper’s leading political journalist Paul Kelly, cast a further revealing light on the circumstances surrounding the June 23-24, 2010 coup that ousted Labor leader Kevin Rudd as prime minister and installed Julia Gillard.

    Kelly does not delve into the driving forces of the coup, in particular the role played by the United States as the Obama administration set in place the anti-China “#pivot” to Asia. However, what he does present demolishes the fiction that Rudd’s removal was about poor public opinion poll ratings or his dysfunctional management style.


    Kelly concludes: “The argument of the anti-Rudd faction chiefs that Rudd was in an irrecoverable position is unpersuasive. Former Prime Minister John Howard and his deputy, Peter Costello, said later they believed Rudd would have won any 2010 election against Tony Abbott.”

    Polls, however, did play an important part in creating the conditions for carrying out the coup. But they were not those conducted by established polling organisations and published in the daily newspapers. These were “internal” polls conducted by the right-wing leadership of the New South Wales branch of the Labor Party, which had a leading role in the coup. They purportedly showed a 7 percent swing against Labor in four marginal seats and that the party was heading for a major electoral defeat.


    In December 2010, leaked US diplomatic cables provided by #WikiLeaks showed that the main plotters in the anti-Rudd coup within the Labor Party and the trade unions, including Mark Arbib, David Feeney and the then Australian Workers Union chief Paul Howes, provided the US embassy with regular updates on internal government discussions and were characterised as “protected sources.”

    While domestic factors such as the mining companies’ heavily-funded campaign against the proposed resource rent tax undoubtedly helped create an air of “crisis” around the government, the coup was the outcome of geo-political shifts emanating from Washington.

    In 2010, the Obama administration was setting in place the foundations for its anti-China pivot to Asia. As events over the past four years have made clear, Australia and Japan are the two major anchor points for US preparations for military activities against China. However, before they could go ahead, political changes had to be carried out.

    #geopolitique #Chine #Etats-Unis #Australie

  • A note on terminology : U.S. current immigration law enforcement regime is one of “mass deportation.”

    My forthcoming book is tentatively titled “Mass Deportation and Global Capitalism.” People sometimes ask if “mass deportation” is an appropriate way to describe the current moment. I think it is. Here’s why.

    The term “mass incarceration” has been deployed to explain how and why the United States locks up a higher percentage of its citizens than any other country as well as much more than in the past. The term “mass deportation” draws from the conceptual logic of “mass incarceration.”

    #terminologie #déportation #migration #déportation_de_masse #renvoi #expulsion #USA #Etats-Unis #visualisation #vocabulaire

  • The Cyber-Terror Bailout: They’re Already Talking About It, and You May Be on the Hook

    Bankers and U.S. officials have warned that cyber-terrorists will try to wreck the financial system’s computer networks. What they aren’t saying publicly is that taxpayers will probably have to cover much of the damage.

  • “Zombie” Servers and Inefficiency Drive Energy Waste at Data Centers

    The high energy demand of those servers is well documented, but up to 30 percent of them are drawing power without actually doing anything.

    These “zombie,” or comatose, servers are among the examples of energy waste documented in a report about U.S. data centers released Tuesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). If those facilities were to cut electricity consumption by 40 percent—half of what is possible using the tools now available to improve efficiency—the electricity savings would amount to $3.8 billion and 39 billion kilowatt-hours, according to the report.

    (...) Large companies such as Google, Facebook, eBay, and Microsoft are already highly efficient, a result of major resources and huge scale, but their share of electricity use is just 5 percent of total data center consumption in the United States.

    “Our concern is more about the other 95 percent”

    #énergie #datacenters #zombies

  • The Islamic State effect: Lebanon’’s new security symbiosis
    By #Nicholas_Noe – 28 Aug 14

    The full report from the European Council on Foreign Relations can be found here:


    Key Findings:

    – Several months before the Islamic State (IS) surge in Mosul, a preponderant majority of Lebanon’’s political elite, backed by a rare regional and international consensus, recognized the common threat that IS and its fellow travelers represent and, as a result, coordinated an effective security response built, first, on a new power-sharing agreement and, second, on a recognition that violent Sunni extremist groups are best fought by Sunnis themselves, especially within Lebanon’s borders.

    – Had this arrangement not taken hold in March 2014, it is likely that an IS surge in Lebanon post-Mosul – via the Bekka township of Arsal and/or the Northern city of Tripoli – would have significantly fractured the Lebanese state and led to a level of sustained fighting not seen since the end of the Lebanese Civil War in 1990.

    – An unprecedented level of US and European intelligence sharing with all Lebanese security agencies – including those perceived as close to the militant Shiite movement #Hezbollah –played and is still playing a significant, positive role in shoring up Lebanon’s security architecture.

    – At the same time, these gains are crucially dependent on the continued success of Hezbollah’s military actions along the border and in Syria against violent Sunni extremists – much as Hezbollah is now finding itself dependent on the gains of Lebanon’s security agencies, even those formerly at odds with it.

    – The new security symbiosis that has emerged is fragile, with longstanding domestic, regional and international conflicts barely concealed for the moment. A more powerful surge by IS or renewed enmity by any combination of larger geopolitical actors like Iran, Saudi Arabia and the US could overwhelm the local arrangement.

    – Building further on what is working now could, if not properly balanced, aid and protect Hezbollah to such an extent that its authoritarian, chauvinistic and violent aspects – at home and abroad – are encouraged and accelerated.

    – The most effective way to blunt this outcome and further buffer Lebanon from IS is to provide the quantity and quality of weapons and training that the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) has long requested but which, still to this day, have been denied largely as a result of misplaced and counter-productive concerns regarding any change in the Qualitative Military Edge between Israel and Lebanon. More Hellfire missiles for the LAFs hopelessly outdated (and now outgunned) Cessnas will simply not do.

    – Either way, Hezbollah is now playing a starring role in the emerging regional containment strategy for IS, despite its terrorist labeling by some actors.

    – As this is happening, attitudes in Beirut are changing on all sides and in an unprecedented fashion: Key Hezbollah officials now say, privately, that the US is a “factor for stability” in Lebanon while key Future movement leaders also now acknowledge, in private, that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will likely have to stay if a durable regional response to IS and #JAH is to be put in place. Both parties are only now, however, beginning the difficult process of preparing their respective constituencies for what would be quite dramatic and politically difficult about-faces.

    #Liban #ISIS

  • L’armée syrienne libre, ces « rebelles démocratiques modérés » – que nous armons –, qui décapite ses prisonniers et poste les photos sur Facebook…
    American Fighting for ISIS Is Killed in Syria

    The rebels who killed him were fighting for the Free Syrian Army, a rival group backed by the United States, and they went on to behead six ISIS fighters — but not Mr. McCain — and then posted the photographs on Facebook.

    (via Angry Arab évidemment)

  • Five Myths about the Islamic State | Brookings Institution

    As the United States widens its battle in Iraq against the Islamic State and contemplates strikes against it in Syria, the policy debate at home surrounding the intervention is heating up. Here are five myths circulating in the media that are clouding the discussion.

    #is #irak #syrie

  • Debunking 8 Myths About Why Central American Children Are Migrating - Centre Tricontinental - CETRI

    Debunking 8 Myths About Why Central American Children Are Migrating

    ‘Lax enforcement’ is not the culprit—U.S. trade and immigration policies are.

    by David Bacon

    The mass migration of children from Central America has been at the center of a political firestorm over the past few weeks. The mainstream media has run dozens of stories blaming families, especially mothers, for sending or bringing their children north. The president himself has lectured them, as though they were simply bad parents. “Do not send your children to the borders,” he said in a June 27 interview with George Stephanopoulos. “If they do make it, they’ll get sent back. More importantly, they may not make it.”

    #migrations #asile #enfance #amérique_centrale

  • 40 Percent of Restaurant Workers Live in Near-Poverty | Mother Jones
    Tiens juste à l’heure du déjeûner

    The industry’s wages have stagnated at an extremely low level. Restaurant workers’ median wage stands at $10 per hour, tips included—and hasn’t budged, in inflation-adjusted terms, since 2000. For nonrestaurant US workers, the median hourly wage is $18. That means the median restaurant worker makes 44 percent less than other workers. Benefits are also rare—just 14.4 percent of restaurant workers have employer-sponsored health insurance and 8.4 percent have pensions, vs. 48.7 percent and 41.8 percent, respectively, for other workers

    As a result, the people who prepare and serve you food are pretty likely to live in poverty. The overall poverty rate stands at 6.3 percent. For restaurant workers, the rate is 16.7 percent. For families, researchers often look at twice the poverty threshold as proxy for what it takes to make ends meet, EPI reports. More than 40 percent of restaurant workers live below twice the poverty line—that’s double the rate of nonrestaurant workers.

    #salaires #restauration_industrielle #alimentation #pauvreté #discriminations sexistes et raciales

  • US “errors” and the debacle in the Middle East - World Socialist Web Site

    More pro-war propaganda from NY Times columnist Roger Cohen
    US “errors” and the debacle in the Middle East
    By Bill Van Auken
    28 August 2014

    With the Obama administration on the brink of launching yet another war in the Middle East, this time extending its resumption of the US intervention in Iraq across the border into Syria, the US media has gone into overdrive in churning out propaganda justifying military action. Exploiting the revulsion over the recent execution of American photojournalist Richard Foley, the attempt is being made to present the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has overrun large swathes of both countries, as evil incarnate and an imminent terrorist threat.

    #moyen-orient #guerre

  • Ground water is depleting in the Colorado River Basin - World Socialist Web Site

    Ground water is depleting in the Colorado River Basin
    By Stuart Winter
    28 August 2014

    A recent study of water loss in the Colorado River Basin since late 2004, published in Geophysical Research Letters, has determined that 75 percent of the loss came from underground sources. Seven western US states (Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and California) rely on the Colorado River and its tributaries for water for both individual use and agriculture. It is estimated that agriculture by itself currently uses approximately 60 percent of Colorado River ground water.

    #eau #états-unis #environnement #sécheresse #colorado

  • NATO steps up military preparations against Russia - World Socialist Web Site

    NATO steps up military preparations against Russia
    By Kumaran Ira
    28 August 2014

    The US and European powers are stepping up their reckless military escalation against Russia, citing the crisis in Ukraine and Russia’s annexation of Crimea as a pretext to deploy troops to new bases throughout Eastern Europe.

    Ahead of next week’s NATO summit in Cardiff, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen bluntly accused Russia of destabilizing eastern Ukraine and all but threatened Russia with war. According to the Guardian, he indicated that the NATO summit would agree to “new deployments on Russia’s borders—a move certain to trigger a strong reaction from Moscow.”

    #ukraine #russie #otan

  • The long and ugly tradition of treating Africa as a dirty, diseased place

    This week’s Newsweek magazine cover features an image of a chimpanzee behind the words, “A Back Door for Ebola: Smuggled Bushmeat Could Spark a U.S. Epidemic.” This cover story is problematic for a number of reasons, starting with the fact that there is virtually no chance that “bushmeat” smuggling could bring Ebola to America. (The term is a catchall for non-domesticated animals consumed as a protein source; anyone who hunts deer and then consumes their catch as venison in the United States is eating bushmeat without calling it that.) While eating bushmeat is fairly common in the Ebola zone, the vast majority of those who do consume it are not eating chimpanzees. Moreover, the current Ebola outbreak likely had nothing to do with bushmeat consumption.


    Newsweek’s piece is in the worst tradition of what journalist Howard French calls “#Ooga-Booga” journalism, the practice of writing in exoticizing and dehumanizing ways about Africa. In case you haven’t read the #Newsweek story, here’s one summary, from a political scientist on Twitter:

    siddhartha mitter @siddhmi
    Africans! Bushmeat! Rituals! Immigrants! Smuggling! Contamination! Monkeys! The Bronx! Disease! Heat & Stench! Bats! Pandemic! FEARFEARFEAR!
    4:26 PM - 23 Aug 2014

  • The 19th Century Map That Shows the U.S.’s Politicial Polarization | New Republic

    We live in what is endlessly described as an era of unprecedented partisanship, with Americans polarized into red and blue camps and no convergence in sight. But much of the nation’s history was characterized by intense political rivalry, especially the late nineteenth century.

    In 1876 the United States celebrated its centennial in the midst of a terrible depression sparked by the Panic of 1873. In some cities unemployment reached 25 percent, casting a significant pall over the celebration mounted in Philadelphia that spring. The mood worsened after the November presidential elections, which left Democrat Samuel Tilden in an electoral tie with Republican Rutherford Hayes. The atmosphere was chaotic, with accusations of voter suppression, rigged ballots, questionable returns, and eleventh-hour statehood for Colorado, which threw three crucial electoral votes to Hayes. The election was ultimately decided by a committee, which gave Republicans ongoing control of the White House.

    #états-unis #histoire #cartographie #visualisation

  • U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

    Flood hazard information from FEMA has been combined with EIA’s energy infrastructure layers as a tool to help state, county, city, and private sector planners assess which key energy infrastructure assets are vulnerable to rising sea levels, storm surges, and flash flooding. Note that flood hazard layers must be zoomed-in to street level before they become visible. For a full set of energy infrastructure layers refer to the U.S. Energy Mapping System.

    #cartographie #énergie #environnement #climat #états-unis

  • John J. Mearsheimer | How the West Caused the Ukraine Crisis | Foreign Affairs

    the United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for the crisis. The taproot of the trouble is NATO enlargement, the central element of a larger strategy to move Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and integrate it into the West. At the same time, the EU’s expansion eastward and the West’s backing of the pro-democracy movement in Ukraine — beginning with the Orange Revolution in 2004 — were critical elements, too. Since the mid-1990s, Russian leaders have adamantly opposed NATO enlargement, and in recent years, they have made it clear that they would not stand by while their strategically important neighbor turned into a Western bastion. For Putin, the illegal overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected and pro-Russian president — which he rightly labeled a “coup” — was the final straw. He responded by taking Crimea, a peninsula he feared would host a NATO naval base, and working to destabilize #Ukraine until it abandoned its efforts to join the West.

  • Palestinians to UN, Western states: Try citizens who served in the IDF for war crimes
    Palestinian FM sends letter calling for foreign volunteers in Israeli army who served in Gaza to be investigated under Geneva Convention.
    By Barak Ravid | Aug. 27, 2014

    Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki has sent a letter to UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon and a number of Western foreign ministers asking them to bring to trial their citizens who serve in the Israeli army or volunteer with the military for alleged war crimes commited in Gaza. 

    Haaretz received a copy of the letter Maliki sent Tuesday to his U.S., British, French, Australian, Canadian and South African counterparts. In the letter, he emphasized that UN member states bear the responsibility of investigating and putting on trial people in their jurisdictions who have violated international law. 

    “The Israeli military currently has approximately thousands in its ranks. This total includes both Israeli dual nationals and non-Israeli volunteers enlisted through so-called “Mahal” programs,” Maliki wrote. “These dual nationals and foreign nationals participate in Israeli combat operations within the territory of the occupied State of Palestine, including the current offensive in the Gaza Strip. Additionally, foreign nationals volunteering with the so-called “Sar-El” program provide non-combat maintenance and logistics support to the Israeli occupation forces.”

    The Mahal program enables young Jews aged 18 to 24 years from around the world who don’t have Israeli citizenship to volunteer for the Israeli military. They serve in combat units for one-and-a-half years, and volunteers get temporary residency status. The Sar-El program, a joint initiative of the Jewish Agency and the Israel Defense Forces, brings Jewish volunteers from around the world to Israel for a period of one week to one year during which time they volunteer with bases around the country.

    In the letter, Maliki says that IDF forces have carried out a long line of war crimes in the Gaza Strip, in the past and in the current round of fighting, which has caused the deaths of many innocent civilians and the destruction of key infrastructure. Under the Geneva Convention, which all the recipients of the letter are signatories of, “States are obligated to take all measures necessary to suppress violations of international humanitarian law, including grave breaches, i.e. war crimes,” he added.  

    “Palestine hereby calls upon all member States of the United Nations to meet these legal obligations with regard to the potential involvement of its nationals in international crimes relating to Israel’s occupation of Palestine, including the ongoing Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip,” he wrote.

    Maliki then identified a number of steps the Palestinians want the recipients of the letter to take:

    1. Identifying all of its nationals who are serving in or otherwise aiding Israeli occupation forces, including participants in the so-called “Mahal” volunteer brigade and the so-called “Sar-El” volunteer program;

    2. Notifying all such persons of alleged violations and war crimes committed by Israel during the current offensive in the Gaza Strip, the potential criminal liability for committing or contributing to the commission of war crimes, and each State’s obligation under international humanitarian law to investigate potential war crimes within its jurisdiction and prosecute where appropriate; and

    3. Investigating any allegations that its nationals were involved in the commission and/or the aiding and abetting of war crimes during the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, and prosecuting these individuals where appropriate. 

    It remains to be seen how practical the Palestinian request from Western countries to investigate their citizens who served in the IDF is. There is reason to believe that most of the countries that received the letter will be reluctant to do anything about it. And even if they wanted to advance the issue, it would prove extremely difficult for them to identify and locate those individuals.

    However, Maliki’s letter is another attempt to increase the diplomatic and legal pressure internationally after the Gaza operation. It was only a few weeks ago that the Palestinian Authority pushed for the establishment of a Gaza war crimes commission in the UN Human Rights Council to investigate alleged Israeli crimes during the fighting in Gaza.

    In addition, the PA is holding discussions and consultations with Hamas about the possibility of signing the Rome Statute and applying to the International Criminal Court in the Hague. But despite the surge in Palestinian statements on this topic, it seems that Abbas, fearing an Israeli response and harsh international criticism, is not interested, at this time, to move further along that path.