• The New York Times and its Uyghur “activist” - World Socialist Web Site

    9 May 2019 - The New York Times has furnished a case study of the way in which it functions as the conduit for the utterly hypocritical “human rights” campaigns fashioned by the CIA and the State Department to prosecute the predatory interests of US imperialism.

    While turning a blind eye to the gross abuses of democratic rights by allies such as Saudi Arabia, the US has brazenly used “human rights” for decades as the pretext for wars, diplomatic intrigues and regime-change. The media is completely integrated into these operations.

    Another “human rights” campaign is now underway. The New York Times is part of the mounting chorus of condemnation of China over its treatment of the Turkic-speaking, Muslim Uyghur minority in the western Chinese province of Xinjiang.

    In an article on May 4 entitled “In push for trade deal, Trump administration shelves sanctions over China’s crackdown on Uyghurs,” the New York Times joined in criticism of the White House, particularly by the Democrats, for failing to impose punitive measures on Beijing.

    The strident denunciations of China involve unsubstantiated allegations that it is detaining millions of Uyghurs without charge or trial in what Beijing terms vocational training camps.

    The New York Times reported, without qualification, the lurid claims of US officials, such as Assistant Secretary of Defence Randall Schriver, who last Friday condemned “the mass imprisonment of Chinese Muslims in concentration camps” and boosted the commonly cited figure of up to a million to “up to three million” in detention. No evidence has been presented for either claim.

    The repression of the Uyghurs is completely bound up with the far broader oppression of the working class by the Chinese capitalist elites and the Chinese Communist Party regime that defends their interests. The US campaign on the Uyghurs, however, has nothing to do with securing the democratic rights of workers, but is aimed at stirring up reactionary separatist sentiment.

    The US has longstanding ties to right-wing separatist organisations based on Chinese minorities—Tibetans as well as the Uyghurs—that it helped create, fund and in some cases arm. As the US, first under President Obama and now Trump, has escalated its diplomatic, economic and military confrontation with China, the “human rights” of Uyghurs has been increasingly brought to the fore.

    Washington’s aim, at the very least, is to foment separatist opposition in Xinjiang, which is a crucial source of Chinese energy and raw materials as well as being pivotal to its key Belt and Road Initiative to integrate China more closely with Eurasia. Such unrest would not only weaken China but could lead to a bloody war and the fracturing of the country. Uyghur separatists, who trained in the US network of Islamist terrorist groups in Syria, openly told Radio Free Asia last year of their intention to return to China to wage an armed insurgency.

    The New York Times is completely in tune with the aims behind these intrigues—a fact that is confirmed by its promotion of Uyghur “activist” Rushan Abbas.

    Last weekend’s article highlighted Abbas as the organiser of a tiny demonstration in Washington to “pressure Treasury Department officials to take action against Chinese officials involved in the Xinjiang abuses.” She told the newspaper that the Uyghur issue should be included as part of the current US-China trade talks, and declared: “They are facing indoctrination, brainwashing and the elimination of their values as Muslims.”

    An article “Uyghur Americans speak against China’s internment camps” on October 18 last year cited her remarks at the right-wing think tank, the Hudson Institute, where she “spoke out” about the detention of her aunt and sister. As reported in the article: “I hope the Chinese ambassador here reads this,” she said, wiping away tears. “I will not stop. I will be everywhere and speak on this at every event from now on.”

    Presented with a tearful woman speaking about her family members, very few readers would have the slightest inkling of Abbas’s background, about which the New York Times quite deliberately says nothing. Abbas is a highly connected political operator with long standing ties to the Pentagon, the State Department and US intelligence agencies at the highest level as well as top Republican Party politicians. She is a key figure in the Uyghur organisations that the US has supported and funded.

    Currently, Abbas is Director of Business Development in ISI Consultants, which offers to assist “US companies to grow their businesses in Middle East and African markets.” Her credentials, according to the company website, include “over 15 years of experience in global business development, strategic business analysis, business consultancy and government affairs throughout the Middle East, Africa, CIS regions, Europe, Asia, Australia, North America and Latin America.”

    The website also notes: “She also has extensive experience working with US government agencies, including Homeland Security, Department of Defense, Department of State, Department of Justice, and various US intelligence agencies.” As “an active campaigner for human rights,” she “works closely with members of the US Senate, Congressional Committees, the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, the US Department of State and several other US government departments and agencies.”

    This brief summary makes clear that Abbas is well connected in the highest levels of the state apparatus and in political circles. It also underscores the very close ties between the Uyghur organisations, in which she and her family members are prominent, and the US intelligence and security agencies.

    A more extensive article and interview with Abbas appeared in the May 2019 edition of the magazine Bitter Winter, which is published by the Italian-based Center for Studies on New Religions. The magazine focuses on “religious liberty and human rights in China” and is part of a conservative, right-wing network in Europe and the United States. The journalist who interviewed Abbas, Marco Respinti, is a senior fellow at the Russell Kirk Centre for Cultural Renewal, and a board member of the Centre for European Renewal—both conservative think tanks.

    The article explains that Abbas was a student activist at Xinjiang University during the 1989 protests by students and workers against the oppressive Beijing regime, but left China prior to the brutal June 4 military crackdown that killed thousands in the capital and throughout the country. At the university, she collaborated with Dolkun Isa and “has worked closely with him ever since.”

    Dolkun Isa is currently president of the World Uyghur Congress, established in 2004 as an umbrella group for a plethora of Uyghur organisations. It receives funding from the National Endowment for Democracy—which is one of the fronts used by the CIA and the US State Department for fomenting opposition to Washington’s rivals, including so-called colour revolutions, around the world.

    Isa was the subject of an Interpol red notice after China accused him of having connections to the armed separatist group, the East Turkestan Liberation Organisation, a claim he denied. East Turkestan is the name given to Xinjiang by Uyghur separatists to denote its historic connections to Turkey. None of the Western countries in which he traveled moved to detain him and the red notice was subsequently removed, no doubt under pressure from Washington.

    Bitter Winter explained that after moving to the US, Abbas cofounded the first Uyghur organisation in the United States in 1993—the California-based Tengritagh Overseas Students and Scholars Association. She also played a key role in the formation of the Uyghur American Association in 1998, which receives funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Last year its Uyghur Human Rights Project was awarded two NED grants totaling $320,000. Her brother Rishat Abbas was the association’s first vice-chairman and is currently the honorary chairman of the Uyghur Academy based in Turkey.

    When the US Congress funded a Uyghur language service for the Washington-based Radio Free Asia, Abbas became its first reporter and news anchor, broadcasting daily to China. Radio Free Asia, like its counterpart Radio Free Europe, began its existence in the 1950s as a CIA conduit for anti-communist propaganda. It was later transferred to the US Information Agency, then the US State Department and before being incorporated as an “independent,” government-funded body. Its essential purpose as a vehicle for US disinformation and lies has not changed, however.

    In a particularly revealing passage, Bitter Winter explained: “From 2002–2003, Ms. Abbas supported Operation Enduring Freedom as a language specialist at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.” In the course of the interview with the magazine, Abbas attempted to explain away her involvement with the notorious prison camp by saying that she was simply acting on behalf of 22 Uyghurs who were wrongfully detained and ultimately released—after being imprisoned for between four to 11 years!

    Given the denunciations of Chinese detention camps, one might expect that Abbas would have something critical to say about Guantanamo Bay, where inmates are held indefinitely without charge or trial and in many cases tortured. However, she makes no criticism of the prison or its procedures, nor for that matter of Operation Enduring Freedom—the illegal US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq that resulted in the deaths of a million civilians.

    It is clear why. Abbas is plugged into to the very top levels of the US state apparatus and political establishment in Washington. Her stints with Radio Free Asia and at Guantanamo Bay are undoubtedly not the only times that she has been directly on the payroll.

    As Bitter Winter continued: “She has frequently briefed members of the US Congress and officials at the State Department on the human rights situation of the Uyghur people, and their history and culture, and arranged testimonies before Congressional committees and Human Rights Commissions.

    “She provided her expertise to other federal and military agencies as well, and in 2007 she assisted during a meeting between then-President George W. Bush and Rebiya Kadeer, the world-famous moral leader of the Uyghurs, in Prague. Later that year she also briefed then First Lady Laura Bush in the White House on the Human Rights situation in Xinjiang.”

    It should be noted, Rebiya Kadeer is the “the world-famous moral leader of the Uyghurs,” only in the eyes of the CIA and the US State Department who have assiduously promoted her, and of the US-funded Uyghur organisations. She was one of the wealthiest businesswomen in China who attended the National People’s Congress before her husband left for the US and began broadcasting for Radio Free Asia and Voice of America. She subsequently fled China to the US and has served as president both of the World Uyghur Congress and the American Uyghur Association.

    The fact that Russan Abbas is repeatedly being featured in the New York Times is an indication that she is also being groomed to play a leading role in the mounting US propaganda offensive against China over the persecution of the Uyghurs. It is also a telling indictment of the New York Times which opens its pages to her without informing its readers of her background. Like Abbas, the paper of record is also plugged into the state apparatus and its intelligence agencies.

    #Chine #Xinjiang_Weiwuer_zizhiqu #USA #impérialisme #services_secretes

    新疆維吾爾自治區 / 新疆维吾尔自治区, Xīnjiāng Wéiwú’ěr zìzhìqū, englisch Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

  • Call immigrant detention centers what they really are: concentration camps

    If you were paying close attention last week, you might have spotted a pattern in the news. Peeking out from behind the breathless coverage of the Trump family’s tuxedoed trip to London was a spate of deaths of immigrants in U.S. custody: Johana Medina Léon, a 25-year-old transgender asylum seeker; an unnamed 33-year-old Salvadoran man; and a 40-year-old woman from Honduras.

    Photos from a Border Patrol processing center in El Paso showed people herded so tightly into cells that they had to stand on toilets to breathe. Memos surfaced by journalist Ken Klippenstein revealed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s failure to provide medical care was responsible for suicides and other deaths of detainees. These followed another report that showed that thousands of detainees are being brutally held in isolation cells just for being transgender or mentally ill.

    Also last week, the Trump administration cut funding for classes, recreation and legal aid at detention centers holding minors — which were likened to “summer camps” by a senior ICE official last year. And there was the revelation that months after being torn from their parents’ arms, 37 children were locked in vans for up to 39 hours in the parking lot of a detention center outside Port Isabel, Texas. In the last year, at least seven migrant children have died in federal custody.

    Preventing mass outrage at a system like this takes work. Certainly it helps that the news media covers these horrors intermittently rather than as snowballing proof of a racist, lawless administration. But most of all, authorities prevail when the places where people are being tortured and left to die stay hidden, misleadingly named and far from prying eyes.

    There’s a name for that kind of system. They’re called concentration camps. You might balk at my use of the term. That’s good — it’s something to be balked at.

    The goal of concentration camps has always been to be ignored. The German-Jewish political theorist Hannah Arendt, who was imprisoned by the Gestapo and interned in a French camp, wrote a few years afterward about the different levels of concentration camps. Extermination camps were the most extreme; others were just about getting “undesirable elements … out of the way.” All had one thing in common: “The human masses sealed off in them are treated as if they no longer existed, as if what happened to them were no longer of interest to anybody, as if they were already dead.”

    Euphemisms play a big role in that forgetting. The term “concentration camp” is itself a euphemism. It was invented by a Spanish official to paper over his relocation of millions of rural families into squalid garrison towns where they would starve during Cuba’s 1895 independence war. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered Japanese Americans into prisons during World War II, he initially called them concentration camps. Americans ended up using more benign names, like “Manzanar Relocation Center.”

    Even the Nazis’ camps started out small, housing criminals, Communists and opponents of the regime. It took five years to begin the mass detention of Jews. It took eight, and the outbreak of a world war, for the first extermination camps to open. Even then, the Nazis had to keep lying to distract attention, claiming Jews were merely being resettled to remote work sites. That’s what the famous signs — Arbeit Macht Frei, or “Work Sets You Free” — were about.

    Subterfuge doesn’t always work. A year ago, Americans accidentally became aware that the Trump administration had adopted (and lied about) a policy of ripping families apart at the border. The flurry of attention was thanks to the viral conflation of two separate but related stories: the family-separation order and bureaucrats’ admission that they’d been unable to locate thousands of migrant children who’d been placed with sponsors after crossing the border alone.

    Trump shoved that easily down the memory hole. He dragged his heels a bit, then agreed to a new policy: throwing whole families into camps together. Political reporters posed irrelevant questions, like whether President Obama had been just as bad, and what it meant for the midterms. Then they moved on.

    It is important to note that Trump’s aides have built this system of racist terror on something that has existed for a long time. Several camps opened under Obama, and as president he deported millions of people.

    But Trump’s game is different. It certainly isn’t about negotiating immigration reform with Congress. Trump has made it clear that he wants to stifle all non-white immigration, period. His mass arrests, iceboxes and dog cages are part of an explicitly nationalist project to put the country under the control of the right kind of white people.

    As a Republican National Committee report noted in 2013: “The nation’s demographic changes add to the urgency of recognizing how precarious our position has become.” The Trump administration’s attempt to put a citizenship question on the 2020 census was also just revealed to have been a plot to disadvantage political opponents and boost “Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites” all along.

    That’s why this isn’t just a crisis facing immigrants. When a leader puts people in camps to stay in power, history shows that he doesn’t usually stop with the first group he detains.

    There are now at least 48,000 people detained in ICE facilities, which a former official told BuzzFeed News “could swell indefinitely.” Customs and Border Protection officials apprehended more than 144,000 people on the Southwest border last month. (The New York Times dutifully reported this as evidence of a “dramatic surge in border crossings,” rather than what it was: The administration using its own surge of arrests to justify the rest of its policies.)

    If we call them what they are — a growing system of American concentration camps — we will be more likely to give them the attention they deserve. We need to know their names: Port Isabel, Dilley, Adelanto, Hutto and on and on. With constant, unrelenting attention, it is possible we might alleviate the plight of the people inside, and stop the crisis from getting worse. Maybe people won’t be able to disappear so easily into the iceboxes. Maybe it will be harder for authorities to lie about children’s deaths.

    Maybe Trump’s concentration camps will be the first thing we think of when we see him scowling on TV.

    The only other option is to leave it up to those in power to decide what’s next. That’s a calculated risk. As Andrea Pitzer, author of “One Long Night,” one of the most comprehensive books on the history of concentration camps, recently noted: “Every country has said their camps are humane and will be different. Trump is instinctively an authoritarian. He’ll take them as far as he’s allowed to.”
    #terminologie #vocabulaire #mots #camps #camps_de_concentration #centres_de_détention #détention_administrative #rétention #USA #Etats-Unis

    • ‘Some Suburb of Hell’: America’s New Concentration Camp System

      On Monday, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez referred to US border detention facilities as “concentration camps,” spurring a backlash in which critics accused her of demeaning the memory of those who died in the Holocaust. Debates raged over a label for what is happening along the southern border and grew louder as the week rolled on. But even this back-and-forth over naming the camps has been a recurrent feature in the mass detention of civilians ever since its inception, a history that long predates the Holocaust.

      At the heart of such policy is a question: What does a country owe desperate people whom it does not consider to be its citizens? The twentieth century posed this question to the world just as the shadow of global conflict threatened for the second time in less than three decades. The dominant response was silence, and the doctrine of absolute national sovereignty meant that what a state did to people under its control, within its borders, was nobody else’s business. After the harrowing toll of the Holocaust with the murder of millions, the world revisited its answer, deciding that perhaps something was owed to those in mortal danger. From the Fourth Geneva Convention protecting civilians in 1949 to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the international community established humanitarian obligations toward the most vulnerable that apply, at least in theory, to all nations.

      The twenty-first century is unraveling that response. Countries are rejecting existing obligations and meeting asylum seekers with walls and fences, from detainees fleeing persecution who were sent by Australia to third-party detention in the brutal offshore camps of Manus and Nauru to razor-wire barriers blocking Syrian refugees from entering Hungary. While some nations, such as Germany, wrestle with how to integrate refugees into their labor force—more and more have become resistant to letting them in at all. The latest location of this unwinding is along the southern border of the United States.

      So far, American citizens have gotten only glimpses of the conditions in the border camps that have been opened in their name. In the month of May, Customs and Border Protection reported a total of 132,887 migrants who were apprehended or turned themselves in between ports of entry along the southwest border, an increase of 34 percent from April alone. Upon apprehension, these migrants are temporarily detained by Border Patrol, and once their claims are processed, they are either released or handed over to ICE for longer-term detention. Yet Border Patrol itself is currently holding about 15,000 people, nearly four times what government officials consider to be this enforcement arm’s detention capacity.

      On June 12, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that Fort Sill, an Army post that hosted a World War II internment camp for detainees of Japanese descent, will now be repurposed to detain migrant children. In total, HHS reports that it is currently holding some 12,000 minors. Current law limits detention of minors to twenty days, though Senator Lindsey Graham has proposed expanding the court-ordered limit to 100 days. Since the post is on federal land, it will be exempt from state child welfare inspections.

      In addition to the total of detainees held by Border Patrol, an even higher number is detained at centers around the country by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency: on a typical day at the beginning of this month, ICE was detaining more than 52,500 migrants. The family separation policy outraged the public in the 2018, but despite legal challenges, it never fully ended. Less publicized have been the deaths of twenty-four adults in ICE custody since the beginning of the Trump administration; in addition, six children between the ages of two and sixteen have died in federal custody over the last several months. It’s not clear whether there have been other deaths that have gone unreported.

      Conditions for detainees have not been improving. At the end of May, a Department of Homeland Security inspector general found nearly 900 migrants at a Texas shelter built for a capacity of 125 people. On June 11, a university professor spotted at least 100 men behind chain-link fences near the Paso del Norte Bridge in El Paso, Texas. Those detainees reported sitting outside for weeks in temperatures that soared above 100 degrees. Taylor Levy, an El Paso immigration lawyer, described going into one facility and finding “a suicidal four-year-old whose face was covered in bloody, self-inflicted scratches… Another young child had to be restrained by his mother because he kept running full-speed into metal lockers. He was covered in bruises.”

      If deciding what to do about the growing numbers of adults and children seeking refuge in the US relies on complex humanitarian policies and international laws, in which most Americans don’t take a deep interest, a simpler question also presents itself: What exactly are these camps that the Trump administration has opened, and where is this program of mass detention headed?

      Even with incomplete information about what’s happening along the border today and what the government plans for these camps, history points to some conclusions about their future. Mass detention without trial earned a new name and a specific identity at the end of the nineteenth century. The labels then adopted for the practice were “reconcentración” and “concentration camps”—places of forced relocation of civilians into detention on the basis of group identity.

      Other kinds of group detention had appeared much earlier in North American history. The US government drove Native Americans from their homelands into prescribed exile, with death and detention in transit camps along the way. Some Spanish mission systems in the Americas had accomplished similar ends by seizing land and pressing indigenous people into forced labor. During the 245 years when slavery was legal in the US, detention was one of its essential features.

      Concentration camps, however, don’t typically result from the theft of land, as happened with Native Americans, or owning human beings in a system of forced labor, as in the slave trade. Exile, theft, and forced labor can come later, but in the beginning, detention itself is usually the point of concentration camps. By the end of the nineteenth century, the mass production of barbed wire and machines guns made this kind of detention possible and practical in ways it never had been before.

      Under Spanish rule in 1896, the governor-general of Cuba instituted camps in order to clear rebel-held regions during an uprising, despite his predecessor’s written refusal “as the representative of a civilized nation, to be the first to give the example of cruelty and intransigence” that such detention would represent. After women and children began dying in vast numbers behind barbed wire because there had been little planning for shelter and even less for food, US President William McKinley made his call to war before Congress. He spoke against the policy of reconcentración, calling it warfare by uncivilized means. “It was extermination,” McKinley said. “The only peace it could beget was that of the wilderness and the grave.” Without full records, the Cuban death toll can only be estimated, but a consensus puts it in the neighborhood of 150,000, more than 10 percent of the island’s prewar population.

      Today, we remember the sinking of the USS Maine as the spark that ignited the Spanish-American War. But war correspondent George Kennan (cousin of the more famous diplomat) believed that “it was the suffering of the reconcentrados, more, perhaps, than any other one thing that brought about the intervention of the United States.” On April 25, 1898, Congress declared war. Two weeks later, US Marines landed at Fisherman’s Point on the windward side of the entrance to Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. After a grim, week-long fight, the Marines took the hill. It became a naval base, and the United States has never left that patch of land.

      As part of the larger victory, the US inherited the Philippines. The world’s newest imperial power also inherited a rebellion. Following a massacre of American troops at Balangiga in September 1901, during the third year of the conflict, the US established its own concentration camp system. Detainees, mostly women and children, were forced into squalid conditions that one American soldier described in a letter to a US senator as “some suburb of hell.” In the space of only four months, more than 11,000 Filipinos are believed to have died in these noxious camps.

      Meanwhile, in southern Africa in 1900, the British had opened their own camps during their battle with descendants of Dutch settlers in the second Boer War. British soldiers filled tent cities with Boer women and children, and the military authorities called them refugee camps. Future Prime Minister David Lloyd George took offense at that name, noting in Parliament: “There is no greater delusion in the mind of any man than to apply the term ‘refugee’ to these camps. They are not refugee camps. They are camps of concentration.” Contemporary observers compared them to the Cuban camps, and criticized their deliberate cruelty. The Bishop of Hereford wrote to The Times of London in 1901, asking: “Are we reduced to such a depth of impotence that our Government can do nothing to stop such a holocaust of child-life?”

      Maggoty meat rations and polluted water supplies joined outbreaks of contagious diseases amid crowded and unhealthy conditions in the Boer camps. More than 27,000 detainees are thought to have died there, nearly 80 percent of them children. The British had opened camps for black Africans as well, in which at least 14,000 detainees died—the real number is probably much higher. Aside from protests made by some missionaries, the deaths of indigenous black Africans did not inspire much public outrage. Much of the history of the suffering in these camps has been lost.

      These early experiments with concentration camps took place on the periphery of imperial power, but accounts of them nevertheless made their way into newspapers and reports in many nations. As a result, the very idea of them came to be seen as barbaric. By the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, the first camp systems had all been closed, and concentration camps had nearly vanished as an institution. Within months of the outbreak of World War I, though, they would be resurrected—this time rising not at the margins but in the centers of power. Between 1914 and 1918, camps were constructed on an unprecedented scale across six continents. In their time, these camps were commonly called concentration camps, though today they are often referred to by the more anodyne term “internment.”

      Those World War I detainees were, for the most part, foreigners—or, in legalese, aliens—and recent anti-immigration legislation in several countries had deliberately limited their rights. The Daily Mail denounced aliens left at liberty once they had registered with their local police department, demanding, “Does signing his name take the malice out of a man?” The Scottish Field was more direct, asking, “Do Germans have souls?” That these civilian detainees were no threat to Britain did not keep them from being demonized, shouted at, and spat upon as they were paraded past hostile crowds in cities like London.

      Though a small number of people were shot in riots in these camps, and hunger became a serious issue as the conflict dragged on, World War I internment would present a new, non-lethal face for the camps, normalizing detention. Even after the war, new camps sprang up from Spain to Hungary and Cuba, providing an improvised “solution” for everything from vagrancy to anxieties over the presence of Jewish foreigners.

      Some of these camps were clearly not safe for those interned. Local camps appeared in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921, after a white mob burned down a black neighborhood and detained African-American survivors. In Bolshevik Russia, the first concentration camps preceded the formation of the Soviet Union in 1922 and planted seeds for the brutal Gulag system that became official near the end of the USSR’s first decade. While some kinds of camps were understood to be harsher, after World War I their proliferation did not initially disturb public opinion. They had yet to take on their worst incarnations.

      In 1933, barely more than a month after Hitler was appointed chancellor, the Nazis’ first, impromptu camp opened in the town of Nohra in central Germany to hold political opponents. Detainees at Nohra were allowed to vote at a local precinct in the elections of March 5, 1933, resulting in a surge of Communist ballots in the tiny town. Locking up groups of civilians without trial had become accepted. Only the later realization of the horrors of the Nazi death camps would break the default assumption by governments and the public that concentration camps could and should be a simple way to manage populations seen as a threat.

      However, the staggering death toll of the Nazi extermination camp system—which was created mid-war and stood almost entirely separate from the concentration camps in existence since 1933—led to another result: a strange kind of erasure. In the decades that followed World War II, the term “concentration camp” came to stand only for Auschwitz and other extermination camps. It was no longer applied to the kind of extrajudicial detention it had denoted for generations. The many earlier camps that had made the rise of Auschwitz possible largely vanished from public memory.

      It is not necessary, however, to step back a full century in American history to find camps with links to what is happening on the US border today. Detention at Guantánamo began in the 1990s, when Haitian and Cuban immigrants whom the government wanted to keep out of the United States were housed there in waves over a four-year period—years before the “war on terror” and the US policy of rendition of suspected “enemy combatants” made Camps Delta, X-Ray, and Echo notorious. Tens of thousands of Haitians fleeing instability at home were picked up at sea and diverted to the Cuban base, to limit their legal right to apply for asylum. The court cases and battles over the suffering of those detainees ended up setting the stage for what Guantánamo would become after September 11, 2001.

      In one case, a federal court ruled that it did have jurisdiction over the base, but the government agreed to release the Haitians who were part of the lawsuit in exchange for keeping that ruling off the books. A ruling in a second case would assert that the courts did not have jurisdiction. Absent the prior case, the latter stood on its own as precedent. Leaving Guantánamo in this gray area made it an ideal site for extrajudicial detention and torture after the twin towers fell.

      This process of normalization, when a bad camp becomes much more dangerous, is not unusual. Today’s border camps are a crueler reflection of long-term policies—some challenged in court—that earlier presidents had enacted. Prior administrations own a share of the responsibility for today’s harsh practices, but the policies in place today are also accompanied by a shameless willingness to publicly target a vulnerable population in increasingly dangerous ways.

      I visited Guantánamo twice in 2015, sitting in the courtroom for pretrial hearings and touring the medical facility, the library, and all the old abandoned detention sites, as well as newly built ones, open to the media—from the kennel-style cages of Camp X-Ray rotting to ruin in the damp heat to the modern jailhouse facilities of Camp 6. Seeing all this in person made clear to me how vast the architecture of detention had become, how entrenched it was, and how hard it would be to close.

      Without a significant government effort to reverse direction, conditions in every camp system tend to deteriorate over time. Governments rarely make that kind of effort on behalf of people they are willing to lock up without trial in the first place. And history shows that legislatures do not close camps against the will of an executive.

      Just a few years ago there might have been more potential for change spurred by the judicial branch of our democracy, but this Supreme Court is inclined toward deference to executive power, even, it appears, if that power is abused. It seems unlikely this Court will intervene to end the new border camp system; indeed, the justices are far more likely to institutionalize it by half-measures, as happened with Guantánamo. The Korematsu case, in which the Supreme Court upheld Japanese-American internment (a ruling only rescinded last year), relied on the suppression of evidence by the solicitor general. Americans today can have little confidence that this administration would behave any more scrupulously when defending its detention policy.

      What kind of conditions can we expect to develop in these border camps? The longer a camp system stays open, the more likely it is that vital things will go wrong: detainees will contract contagious diseases and suffer from malnutrition and mental illness. We have already seen that current detention practices have resulted in children and adults succumbing to influenza, staph infections, and sepsis. The US is now poised to inflict harm on tens of thousands more, perhaps hundreds of thousands more.

      Along with such inevitable consequences, every significant camp system has introduced new horrors of its own, crises that were unforeseen when that system was opened. We have yet to discover what those will be for these American border camps. But they will happen. Every country thinks it can do detention better when it starts these projects. But no good way to conduct mass indefinite detention has yet been devised; the system always degrades.

      When, in 1940, Margarete Buber-Neumann was transferred from the Soviet Gulag at Karaganda to the camp for women at Ravensbrück (in an exchange enabled by the Nazi–Soviet Pact), she came from near-starvation conditions in the USSR and was amazed at the cleanliness and order of the Nazi camp. New arrivals were issued clothing, bedding, and silverware, and given fresh porridge, fruit, sausage, and jam to eat. Although the Nazi camps were already punitive, order-obsessed monstrosities, the wartime overcrowding that would soon overtake them had not yet made daily life a thing of constant suffering and squalor. The death camps were still two years away.

      The United States now has a vast and growing camp system. It is starting out with gruesome overcrowding and inadequate healthcare, and because of budget restrictions, has already taken steps to cut services to juvenile detainees. The US Office of Refugee Resettlement says that the mounting number of children arriving unaccompanied is forcing it to use military bases and other sites that it prefers to avoid, and that establishing these camps is a temporary measure. But without oversight from state child welfare inspectors, the possibilities for neglect and abuse are alarming. And without any knowledge of how many asylum-seekers are coming in the future, federal administrators are likely to find themselves boxed in to managing detention on military sites permanently.

      President Trump and senior White House adviser Stephen Miller appear to have purged the Department of Homeland Security of most internal opposition to their anti-immigrant policies. In doing so, that have removed even those sympathetic to the general approach taken by the White House, such as former Chief of Staff John Kelly and former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, in order to escalate the militarization of the border and expand irregular detention in more systematic and punitive ways. This kind of power struggle or purge in the early years of a camp system is typical.

      The disbanding of the Cheka, the Soviet secret police, in February 1922 and the transfer of its commander, Felix Dzerzhinsky, to head up an agency with control over only two prisons offered a hint of an alternate future in which extrajudicial detention would not play a central role in the fledgling Soviet republic. But Dzerzhinsky managed to keep control over the “special camps” in his new position, paving the way for the emergence of a camp-centered police state. In pre-war Germany in the mid-1930s, Himmler’s struggle to consolidate power from rivals eventually led him to make camps central to Nazi strategy. When the hardliners win, as they appear to have in the US, conditions tend to worsen significantly.

      Is it possible this growth in the camp system will be temporary and the improvised border camps will soon close? In theory, yes. But the longer they remain open, the less likely they are to vanish. When I visited the camps for Rohingya Muslims a year before the large-scale campaign of ethnic cleansing began, many observers appeared to be confusing the possible and the probable. It was possible that the party of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi would sweep into office in free elections and begin making changes. It was possible that full democracy would come to all the residents of Myanmar, even though the government had stripped the Rohingya of the last vestiges of their citizenship. These hopes proved to be misplaced. Once there are concentration camps, it is always probable that things will get worse.

      The Philippines, Japanese-American internment, Guantánamo… we can consider the fine points of how the current border camps evoke past US systems, and we can see how the arc of camp history reveals the likelihood that the suffering we’re currently inflicting will be multiplied exponentially. But we can also simply look at what we’re doing right now, shoving bodies into “dog pound”-style detention pens, “iceboxes,” and standing room-only spaces. We can look at young children in custody who have become suicidal. How much more historical awareness do we really need?

    • #Alexandria_Ocasio-Cortez engage le bras de fer avec la politique migratoire de Donald Trump

      L’élue de New York a qualifié les camps de rétention pour migrants érigés à la frontière sud des Etats-Unis de « camps de concentration ».

  • Trump administration ban on cruises to Cuba creates chaos for U.S. travelers - Reuters

    The Trump administration banned cruises to Cuba under new restrictions on U.S. travel to the Caribbean island imposed on Tuesday to pressure its Communist government to reform and stop supporting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

    The tightening of the decades-old U.S. embargo on Cuba will further wound its crippled economy, as well as hurt U.S. travel companies that had built up Cuban business during the brief 2014-2016 detente between the old Cold War foes.

    The State Department said the United States will no longer permit visits to Cuba via passenger and recreational vessels, including cruise ships and yachts, as well as private and corporate aircraft.

    The U.S. Commerce Department told Reuters the ban would be effective from Wednesday, giving cruise lines no grace period to change destinations and creating confusion among cruise passengers.

  • Chinese Surveillance Complex Advancing in Latin America

    In February, 2019, in a story that went almost unnoticed in Washington, the small South American nation of #Uruguay began installing the first of 2,100 surveillance cameras, donated by the People’s Republic of China to improve control of its borders with neighboring Argentina and Brazil.

    The move highlights the significant deepening of the Uruguay-PRC relationship over the last decade, including their establishment of a “Strategic Partnership” in October 2016, and the signing of a memorandum of understanding in August 2018 for Uruguay to join China’s Belt and Road initiative (despite being about as far from the PRC as is geographically possible).

    Beyond Uruguay, the development also highlights a little-discussed but important dimension of China’s advance: its expanding global sales of surveillance and control technologies. Although the press and U.S. political leadership have given significant attention to the risks of employing Chinese telecommunications companies such as Huawei the equally serious but newer issue of expanding sales of Chinese surveillance systems has been less discussed.

    The installation of Chinese surveillance systems, acquired through PRC government donations or commercial contracts, is a growing phenomenon in Latin America and elsewhere.

    Such systems began to appear in the region more than a decade ago, including in 2007, when then mayor of Mexico City (now Mexican Foreign Minister) Miguel Ebrard returned from a trip to the PRC with a deal to install thousands of Chinese cameras to combat crime in the Mexican capital. More recent examples include ECU-911 in Ecuador, a China-built national system of surveillance and communication initially agreed to by the administration of anti-U.S. populist president Rafael Correa. The system, which has expanded to currently include 4,300 cameras and a command center manned by thousands of Ecuadorans, has been built almost completely from Chinese equipment, designed for a range of otherwise noble purposes from emergency response and combatting crime, to monitoring volcanoes. Bolivia boasts a similar Chinese built system, albeit more limited in scope, BOL-110, in addition to hundreds of surveillance cameras donated by the PRC to at least four of Bolivia’s principal cities.

    In Panama, which abandoned Taiwan to establish relations with the PRC in 2017, the government of Juan Carlos Varela has agreed to allow Huawei to install a system of cameras in the crime-ridden city of Colon and the associated free trade zone. Not by coincidence, in July 2019, Hikivision, China’s largest producer of surveillance cameras, announced plans to set up a major distribution center in Colon to support sales of its products throughout the Americas.

    In northern Argentina, near where the Chinese are developing a lithium mining operation and constructing the hemisphere’s largest array of photovoltaic cells for electricity generation, the Chinese company ZTE is installing another “911” style emergency response system with 1,200 cameras.

    In Venezuela, although not a surveillance system per se, the Chinese company ZTE has helped the regime of Nicholas Maduro implement a “fatherland identity card” linking different kinds of data on individuals through an identity card which allows the state to confer privileges (such as rationing food) as a tool for social control.

    As with sectors such as computers and telecommunications, the PRC arguably wishes to support the global export of such systems by its companies to advance technologies it recognizes as strategic for the Chinese nation, per its own official policy documents such as Made In China 2025.

    The risks arising from spreading use of Chinese surveillance equipment and architectures are multiple and significant, involving: (1) the sensitivity of the data collected on specific persons and activities, particularly when processed through technologies such as facial recognition, integrated with other data, and analyzed through artificial intelligence (AI) and other sophisticated algorithms, (2) the potential ability to surreptitiously obtain access to that data, not only through the collection devices, but at any number of points as it is communicated, stored, and analyzed, and (3) the long-term potential for such systems to contribute to the sustainment of authoritarian regimes (such as those in Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, and formerly Ecuador) whose corrupt elites provide strategic access and commercial benefits to the Chinese state.

    The risk posed by such Chinese architectures is underestimated by simply focusing on the cameras and sensors themselves.

    Facial and other recognition technologies, and the ability to integrate data from different sensors and other sources such as smartphones enables those with access to the technology to follow the movement of individual human beings and events, with frightening implications. It includes the ability to potentially track key political and business elites, dissidents, or other persons of interest, flagging possible meetings between two or more, and the associated implications involving political or business meetings and the events that they may produce. Flows of goods or other activities around government buildings, factories, or other sites of interest may provide other types of information for political or commercial advantage, from winning bids to blackmailing compromised persons.

    While some may take assurance that the cameras and other components are safely guarded by benevolent governments or companies, the dispersed nature of the architectures, passing information, instructions, and analysis across great distances, means that the greatest risk is not physical access to the cameras, but the diversion of information throughout the process, particularly by those who built the components, databases and communication systems, and by those who wrote the algorithms (increasingly Chinese across the board).

    With respect to the political impact of such systems, while democratic governments may install them for noble purposes such as crimefighting and emergency response, and with limitations that respect individual privacy, authoritarian regimes who contract the Chinese for such technologies are not so limited, and have every incentive to use the technology to combat dissent and sustain themselves in power.

    The PRC, which continues to perfect it against its own population in places like Xinjiang (against the Uighur Muslims there), not only benefits commercially from selling the technology, but also benefits when allied dictatorships provide a testing ground for product development, and by using it to combat the opposition, keeping friends like Maduro in power, continuing to deliver the goods and access to Beijing.

    As with the debate over Huawei, whether or not Chinese companies are currently exploiting the surveillance and control systems they are deploying across Latin America to benefit the Chinese state, Chinese law (under which they operate) requires them to do so, if the PRC government so demands.

    The PRC record of systematic espionage, forced technology transfer, and other bad behavior should leave no one in Latin America comfortable that the PRC will not, at some point in the future, exploit such an enormous opportunity.

    #Amérique_latine #Chine #surveillance #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #Argentine #Brésil
    ping @reka

  • Dans son reportage « Les nouveaux ordres de tuer de l’armée inquiètent les troupes » publié samedi, le journaliste dénonce le fait que l’armée exige que ses troupes « doublent » les pertes et les captures au combat, sans leur demander « perfection » ni totale « précision » au moment de « l’exécution d’attaques létales ». Il affirme avoir consulté des documents officiels de l’armée et interviewé des officiers de haut rang.

    S’agit-il du Vénézuela ? De Cuba ? De la Russie ou de l’Iran ?

    Suspens insoutenable. Mais pas d’inquiétude, l’article est strictement neutre et aucune réelle condamnation n’est même qu’envisagée. Le journaliste est parti, il a pu faire son travail, alors bon hein, on va pas s’offusquer plus que nécessaire.

    Ne rigolez-pas, ce WE, le chef de gang de l’univers a promis la « fin officielle » d’un pays. Lui aussi, on l’a cité religieusement, presque en se félicitant qu’enfin quelqu’un agisse dans ce monde de confusionnisme et de pseudogauchisme.

    Et chez nous, le chef du service d’ordre du gang au pouvoir, plutôt que de s’occuper d’organiser le référendum que l’on attend tous, a décidé de s’en prendre à un chanteur (noir, c’est bien la preuve qu’il est pas tout à fait artiste), chanteur qui a eu l’odieuse idée de raconter une histoire où on évoque la mise à feu du pays. Le dit chanteur aurait mieux fait d’en annoncer la « fin officielle ».

  • Dans la lignée de son rôle très actifs dans les accords de paix en Colombie, la Norvège, qui n’a pas reconnu Juan Guaidó comme président, entretient de longue date des contacts avec gouvernement et opposants du Venezuela. Des rencontres ont eu lieu mardi 14 et mercredi 15à Oslo.

    Qué tienen los noruegos para abonar una solución a la crisis en Venezuela

    Noruega ha hecho del apoyo a la paz en el mundo una verdadera política de Estado”. Son palabras del ex presidente colombiano Juan Manuel Santos en la obra La batalla por la paz, en la que desgrana desde las vivencias personales en el arduo camino hasta la firma de los acuerdos de paz en Colombia. En esta complicada tarea participó una delegación noruega encabezada por el diplomático Dag Nylander.

    Noruega, junto con Cuba, fueron los países garantes presentes en la mesa de negociaciones. Con esa labor, Noruega se ganó el crédito de todos, incluidos cubanos y venezolanos, subraya al diario ALnavío Leiv Marsteintredet, profesor asociado de Política Comparada de la Universidad de Bergen. Este experto noruego es investigador de fenómenos políticos y especialista en estudios de resolución de conflictos, con un marcado interés por América Latina, especialmente Venezuela.

    Ahora el foco negociador vuelve de nuevo a Noruega. Esta vez por la crisis venezolana. Según adelantó el diario ALnavío -y se hacen eco medios noruegos y españoles- el martes y el miércoles delegados de la oposición y del régimen de Nicolás Maduro mantuvieron dos encuentros en Oslo. Ya están de regreso a Caracas. En ambos encuentros estuvo presente un grupo de intermediarios, un equipo noruego. Marsteintredet subraya que parte de ese equipo es el mismo que participó en la mesa de negociación de los acuerdos de paz en Colombia, incluido Nylander.

    Noruega lleva ya probablemente un año o más hablando con las dos partes, con gobierno y oposición de Venezuela. Por lo menos por separado. Lo confirmó la ministra de Exteriores noruega, Ine Eriksen Søreide”, recalca este experto.

    El rumor de que Noruega podría tener un papel en la mediación entre ambas partes despertó cuando Yván Gil, viceministro para Europa de Nicolás Maduro, visitó Oslo a mediados de febrero. Gil se reunió con el diplomático noruego Nylander, el mismo de las negociaciones de paz en Colombia años atrás.

    Intercambiamos opiniones sobre la situación de Venezuela, pero en el marco de la posición oficial de Noruega”, dijo Gil a Aftenposten.

     Hasta ahora Noruega no ha reconocido a Juan Guaidó como presidente encargado de Venezuela.

    ¿Por qué los noruegos están mediando en la crisis venezolana? “Es natural ver esto como una continuación del buen contacto que Noruega obtuvo en la negociación de los acuerdos de paz en Colombia tanto con los cubanos como con el gobierno de Venezuela, primero de Hugo Chávez y ahora de Nicolás Maduro, ya que Venezuela también formó parte de las conversaciones para el tratado de paz en Colombia”, explica Marsteintredet.

    Este experto subraya que Noruega ha mantenido una presencia en Colombia para seguir la implementación del acuerdo de paz, que “se ha ganado el respeto del gobierno de Venezuela” y que “ha aprovechado esos contactos para seguir trabajando”, esta vez por la resolución del conflicto venezolano.

    • Le point de vue du «  boss  » : négocier, c’est bien, faut essayer, mais faut pas que ça serve à gagner du temps ; négocier, c’est pour virer Maduro.
      Intéressante base de «  négociations  ». Un peu comme pour Bachar,…

      Rubio : Guaidó y su equipo no caerán en negociaciones falsas

      Marco Rubio, senador estadounidense por el estado de Florida, dijo este viernes que el presidente interino Juan Guaidó merece crédito por «explorar nuevas posibilidades para encontrar una transición pacífica a la democracia en Venezuela». 

      Señaló que tanto Estados Unidos como el Grupo de Lima son conscientes de que Nicolás Maduro utilizó las oportunidades de diálogo pasadas para ganar tiempo. «El presidente Guaidó y su equipo no van a caer en una negociación falsa», aseguró en Twitter. 

      El martes Noruega recibió a representantes de Nicolás Maduro y de la oposición para explorar eventuales conversaciones a fin de buscar solución a la crisis política. Por parte del oficialismo participaron Jorge Rodríguez y Héctor Rodríguez y por la oposición asistieron Gerardo Blyde, Fernando Martínez y Stalin González, segundo vicepresidente del Parlamento.

      Guaidó informó el jueves en rueda de prensa que se trataba de «un esfuerzo de Noruega por una mediación, que tiene meses. Esta fue la segunda invitación a Oslo (...) Es la intención de un país, así como la tienen el Grupo de Contacto, el Grupo de Lima, Canadá y otras naciones, de mediar en la crisis. Es una iniciativa más de un país que quiere colaborar».

      @marcorubio - Twitter
      17:36 - 17 may. 2019

      .@jguaido deserves credit for exploring new every possibility at finding a peaceful transition to democracy in #Venezuela#LimaGroup & #EU well aware #Maduro used past negotiations to buy time & President Guaido & his team aren’t going to fall for a fake negotiation

  • Venezuela : les Etats-Unis dans l’impasse

    Editorial du « Monde ». Les choses ne se passent pas comme prévu au Venezuela – du moins pas comme les Etats-Unis les avaient prévues. Ou, pour être encore plus précis, comme les avait prévues John Bolton, le très belliqueux conseiller à la sécurité nationale du président Donald Trump. Ayant lamentablement sous-estimé la résistance du président Nicolas Maduro, la Maison Blanche, qui reste déterminée à ce qu’il quitte le pouvoir d’une manière ou d’une autre, se retrouve aujourd’hui face à un choix peu attrayant : intervenir directement ou attendre que la situation pourrisse lentement.
    Les erreurs de jugement de Washington sur la réalité des rapports de force entre l’opposition et le régime hérité d’Hugo Chavez sont apparues au grand jour au moment des événements du 30 avril. Selon des informations concordantes publiées depuis par les médias américains, des pourparlers secrets avec quelques figures-clés du régime avaient conduit le chef de l’opposition, Juan Guaido, à penser qu’il pouvait désormais compter sur un nombre suffisant de défections dans les rangs du pouvoir pour lancer l’offensive finale contre M. Maduro.

    C’est ce qu’il a tenté de faire à l’aube du 30 avril, avec, à ses côtés, quelques militaires et Leopoldo Lopez, autre dirigeant de l’opposition, jusque-là en résidence surveillée, mais que l’une de ces défections avait permis de libérer. Au cours de la journée, cependant, il est devenu clair que ceux qui avaient promis d’abandonner Nicolas Maduro avaient changé d’avis et que l’armée restait loyale au régime.

    « L’offensive finale » de Juan Guaido – qu’une cinquantaine de pays, dont les Etats-Unis et de nombreux Européens, considèrent comme le président légitime – a tourné au fiasco. Leopoldo Lopez s’est réfugié à l’ambassade d’Espagne et, le lendemain, Nicolas Maduro paradait dans les rues avec l’armée, avant de faire arrêter, quelques jours plus tard, le bras droit de M. Guaido, Edgar Zambrano, vice-président de l’Assemblée nationale. Bien que de plus en plus affaibli, le régime a repris la main.

    Furieux devant la tournure des événements, John Bolton a tweeté les noms des personnalités qui avaient planifié de faire défection et affirmé que M. Maduro lui-même était prêt à fuir pour Cuba, mais en avait été dissuadé par Moscou. Selon le Washington Post, M. Trump n’a pas apprécié la fougue de M. Bolton dans cette affaire ; il estime avoir été mal conseillé et induit en erreur sur la longévité de l’équipe Maduro. Depuis, il a eu une longue conversation téléphonique avec le président russe, Vladimir Poutine, et en a conclu que la Russie n’a « aucune envie de s’impliquer au Venezuela », où elle soutient M. Maduro, avec des effectifs toutefois nettement inférieurs à ceux des Cubains. Engagé dans une épreuve de force d’une tout autre ampleur avec l’Iran, M. Trump, qui s’est fait élire en promettant de renoncer à l’aventurisme militaire à l’étranger, n’a aucune envie non plus d’intervenir plus directement au Venezuela.

    Le pays, cependant, ne peut pas rester dans une telle impasse. La situation humanitaire est insupportable pour la population, qui se jette sur les routes de l’exil. Une lueur d’espoir est apparue ces derniers jours : le fil du dialogue semble avoir été renoué entre le pouvoir et l’opposition, notamment grâce à une médiation norvégienne. Une transition négociée vers de nouvelles élections, sans interventions étrangères autres que l’assistance aux pourparlers, est la seule issue possible à cette tragédie vénézuélienne.

    • L’édito du Monde en 2 phrases :

      • la situation humanitaire est insupportable, c’est la faute à Maduro [ce n’est pas dit, mais évident pour tout Le Monde]
      • et comme le coup d’État contre Maduro a raté, il faut donc que ce dernier parte, mais de lui-même (pardon, de façon négociée)…

  • Venezuela : sondage réalisé avant le 30 avril (tentative de coup d’État)
    Une société profondément divisée :
    • PSUV (parti au pouvoir) : 28%
    • Anti-régimes : 41%
    • Sans partis : 31%
    Les soutiens du gouvernement sont les plus nombreux chez les plus de 50 ans, à faible niveau d’instruction, ruraux. «  base similaire à l’électorat de Trump  » (c’est dans le texte…)

    • 75% désapprouvent la gestion du gouvernement actuel

    • les institutions du régime (Constituante, Tribunal suprême, Conseil électoral) sont désapprouvées à 66%
    • l’Assemblée nationale (d’opposition) approuvée à 59%

    • Guaidó est soutenu par 54% des sondés, loin devant Leopoldo López (39%), Maria Corina Machado (30%) et Enrique Capriles (29%)

    • dans un duel électoral, Maduro-Guaidó ce dernier l’emporterait avec 61% des suffrages, 75% des sans-partis votant pour lui (les pros et les antis votant comme on s’y attend)

    La fotografía antes del 30-A no deja dudas de la salida de Maduro

    El estudio de opinión pública fue realizado en la segunda quincena de abril, por las firmas americanas GBAO y Albright Stonebridge Group (ASG) con una contraparte en Venezuela que hizo el trabajo de campo y participó en el desarrollo de la metodología. No fue encargada por una empresa privada ni para un partido político. El objetivo era entender la realidad venezolana y la percepción de la participación de los actores internacionales en ella.

    Una de las grandes conclusiones indica que Venezuela es una sociedad polarizada, mas no dividida, entre los partidarios del PSUV 28%, las organizaciones Anti-Régimen (AR) 41%, y los que no tienen Ningún Partido político (NP) 31%. Al segmentar los simpatizantes de cada agrupación, se observa que Maduro tiene un mayor apoyo en personas con 50 años o más, con baja instrucción académica y que viven en zonas rurales, una coalición similar a la que tiene hoy el presidente Trump en Estados Unidos.

    Este clima político volátil en Venezuela con condiciones económicas extremas plantea múltiples desafíos para los actores nacionales e internacionales que buscan influir en el curso de los hechos. 

    Otra conclusión es que los venezolanos rechazan abrumadoramente el régimen de Maduro. Su gestión es fuertemente negada por 3 de cada 4 venezolanos, 99% de los AR y 95% de los NP. La aprobación de su gestión, 1 de cada 4, la obtiene de los seguidores del PSUV, a pesar de la grave crisis socioeconómica que atraviesa el país. 

    Asimismo, se observa que Maduro está perdiendo el apoyo de los grupos sociales más bajos, D y E. Cuenta con el respaldo de 31% de las personas sin educación secundaria -una caída de 40% con respecto a Hugo Chávez-, 29% con grado de bachiller, 16% con algunos estudios técnicos y universitarios, y 17% con tercer y cuarto nivel educativo.

    El rechazo hacia el liderazgo de la clase política en el PSUV no es solo hacia Nicolás Maduro, también Diosdado Cabello y Vladimir Padrino López, quienes obtienen el mismo resultado. Una opinión compartida tanto por el sector militar (la tropa) y su familia como por la parte civil, ubicándose en 68% promedio.

    En cuanto a la crisis económica, los apagones y la falta de ayuda humanitaria, Maduro y su régimen son los responsables, alcanzando 64%, 68% y 73% respectivamente.

    La asamblea nacional constituyente, el Tribunal Supremo de Justicia y el Consejo Nacional Electoral salen desaprobados en su desempeño con dos tercios de la población, mientras que la Asamblea Nacional cuenta con un respaldo de 59%. 

    Se encontró que el éxodo venezolano continuará sucediendo en los próximos meses. Los más proclives a marcharse del país son los AR (40%) y los de NP (47%), lo que afectaría la correlación entre las fuerzas políticas, porque los del PSUV quieren quedarse en Venezuela. En consecuencia, el escenario político futuro sería dominado por el PSUV con 40% de seguidores.

    En esta fotografía de la realidad política venezolana Juan Guaidó cuenta con un fuerte respaldo, 54%. Supera por 15 puntos a Leopoldo López, por 24 a María Corina Machado y por 25 a Henrique Capriles. Es el único político con rating favorable.

    Además, Guaidó tiene la confianza para liderar la transición política en Venezuela y conducir los destinos del país, luego de la elección presidencial (60%). En una contienda electoral contra Maduro, Guaidó lo derrotaría fácilmente con 61% de los votos, aunque el sustituto de Chávez perdería bajo cualquier escenario en una elección presidencial si se enfrenta a un candidato único opositor.

    El estudio de opinión pública encontró que una mayoría clara (58%) quiere que la FAN apoye a Guaidó, incluyendo al estamento militar y su familia militar, y el sector civil. Además, los AR y de NP apoyan la amnistía para el régimen y el ejército, 64% y 70% respectivamente. 

    En cuanto a la solución para la ingobernabilidad en Venezuela, las opciones que tuvieron un apoyo mayoritario fueron:

    “Nicolás Maduro renuncia y se celebran nuevas elecciones bajo la presidencia provisional de Juan Guaidó" (65%) ,
    «Los países extranjeros sancionan a más funcionarios venezolanos congelando sus activos y prohibiendo su capacidad de viajar a ciertos países» (62%), y
    "El Ejército venezolano saca a Nicolás Maduro de la presidencia (60%)”.
    También se dio una opción en la que no se observó la polarización: “Los mediadores internacionales convocan una negociación entre el gobierno y la oposición”.

    En cambio, hay una división sobre una intervención militar extranjera: para los AR y de NP el apoyo excede 50%. Sucede lo mismo con las sanciones de Estados Unidos a Pdvsa: los AR, 73% y NP, 53% apoyan la acción. Al evaluar esta medida en los sectores sociales, las clases D y E se sienten muy perjudicadas. Y los habitantes de las zonas rurales son los más afectados.

    Los países que apoyan a Maduro en la usurpación de la presidencia son evaluados negativamente. En el último lugar se ubica Cuba con 63% negativo. Mientras Colombia, Estados Unidos, Brasil, Unión Europea, Canadá y México obtienen una valoración positiva por encima de 50%. China obtiene 48% positivo.

    Todos coinciden en que es necesaria la inversión extranjera para recuperar la economía venezolana.

    Por último, el estudio evalúa el legado de Chávez, determinado un deterioro en el mismo. La mayoría quiere mantener algunas políticas del fallecido presidente, sobre todo las misiones.

    La fotografía de la realidad en Venezuela antes del 30-A muestra que los venezolanos quieren un cambio de gobierno. Les gustaría que fuera una salida pacífica y democrática. Además, consideran que Juan Guaidó debe liderarlo con el acompañamiento de los sectores militar y civil, y la comunidad internacional democrática.

    Debe tomarse otra fotografía después de los eventos del 30-A. Sin embargo, esta foto tendrá muchos de los elementos del retrato anterior. Por lo tanto, hay que asumir cualquier reto que se presente en la nueva imagen para restaurar la democracia en Venezuela, entendiendo “la falacia de la concreción injustificada”.

  • Tout ça, c’est la faute aux Cubains,… et de leur entrisme sournois de longue date.
    (j’ai pas tout lu,…)

    Venezuelan Democracy Was Strangled by Cuba – Foreign Policy

    Decades of infiltration helped ruin a once-prosperous nation.
    During the following years, especially after Chávez’s death in 2013, Havana would continue to exert its influence over the South American nation. Cuba has become critical to keeping Maduro’s regime in place in an “oil for repression” scheme in which Havana helped the socialist leader in his power struggle with the opposition in exchange for fuel, contributing to the country’s political, social, and economic crisis today. Last year, Reuters reported that Venezuela had bought nearly $440 million worth of foreign oil and shipped it to Cuba to fulfill its commitments to Havana. The Caribbean country, along with Russia, is one of the few backers holding off the abrupt collapse of the current Venezuelan regime. The destiny of Venezuela’s democracy could lie in Cuba’s hands. A far economically and militarily stronger country has ended up ideologically conquered—and politically devastated—by a far smaller and poorer one.

  • Cartographie numérique : L’Atlas de #Woodbridge et la première carte des isothermes à l’échelle mondiale (1823) : quand la géographie scolaire était en avance sur la publication scientifique

    La commémoration des 250 ans de la naissance d’Alexandre de Humboldt (1769-1859) est l’occasion de (re)découvrir l’oeuvre du célèbre géographe allemand. Son expédition dans les Amériques – Vénézuela, Colombie, Équateur, Pérou, Cuba, Mexique et États-Unis - qu’il a réalisée entre 1799 et 1804 avec le biologiste français Aimé Bonpland, a contribué à en faire un géographe de terrain fondant son approche scientifique sur l’observation. De retour en Europe, il publie une oeuvre monumentale. Considéré comme le père de la géographie moderne, il montre les interactions des phénomènes humains avec les phénomènes géologiques, météorologiques, biologiques ou physiques.

    En 1817, il publie « Des lignes isothermes et de la distribution de la chaleur sur le globe », Mémoires de Physique et de Chimie de la Société d’Arcueil (consulter l’ouvrage). Il faut cependant attendre 1838 pour qu’il élabore sa fameuse carte des isothermes à l’échelle mondiale (voir la carte sur la collection David Rumsey). Entre temps, un éducateur peu connu du Connecticut, William Woodbridge, qui a voyagé en Europe et a fréquenté Humboldt à Paris, publie en 1823 un Atlas scolaire qui contient une carte de répartition des isothermes qui est la plus ancienne carte connue à cette échelle. Retour sur une histoire originale à travers ce fil Twitter qui fait suite à un article publié par Gilles Fumey sur le blog Géographie en mouvement de Libération : Alexandre de Humbolt, le premier écologiste (8 mai 2019).

    #cartographie #atlas #humboldt

  • Où est le mandat d’arrêt suédois ? — Craig MURRAY, Naomi WOLF

    Dans le cas de l’accusation en Suède dont le délai de prescription a été dépassé, l’accusation était que pendant un acte sexuel consensuel, Julian Assange a délibérément déchiré le préservatif, sans consentement. Je suis tout à fait d’accord que si c’est vrai, cela équivaudrait à une agression sexuelle.

    Mais le préservatif déchiré remis à la police suédoise comme preuve ne contenait pas l’ADN d’Assange - une impossibilité physique s’il l’avait porté pendant les rapports sexuels. Et l’auteur de l’accusation avait déjà été expulsé de Cuba parce qu’elle travaillait pour la CIA. Alors je répète :devons-nous toujours croire l’accusateur ?

    Pour une fois, je suis d’accord avec les blairites pour dire que si un mandat était émis par Suède, la demande suédoise devrait supplanter la demande américaine, notamment parce que le viol est un crime beaucoup plus grave. Comme la seule raison pour laquelle Julian Assange a demandé l’asile était qu’il considérait les accusations suédoises comme une ruse pour le mettre en détention en vue de son extradition vers les États-Unis, je dirais également que, si un mandat de la Suède devait apparaître, Assange devrait pouvoir partir volontairement et sans résistance juridique supplémentaire, la demande d’extradition américaine étant supplantée par la suédoise.

    Mais ne retenez pas votre souffle. Aucun mandat ne viendra. Les États qui ont si soigneusement coordonné son arrestation et sa détention, synchronisée avec la publication du rapport Muellergate et les affirmations démentes du gouvernement équatorien sur les excréments [que Julian Assange aurait étalé] sur les murs [de l’Ambassade], n’ont plus besoin de l’affaire suédoise.

    Encore une fois. Où est le mandat d’arrêt de la Suède ? Y a-t-il encore des gens qui ne comprennent pas que les accusations suédoises n’ont jamais été qu’une ruse de la CIA ?

    Craig Murray
    ex-ambassadeur du Royaume-Uni

  • Donald Trump, commentant un échange téléphonique d’une bonne heure : «  Poutine n’a aucune ntention d’intervenir au #Venezuela, si ce n’est qu’il souhaite qu’il s’y passe quelque chose de positif, position que je partage.  »

    Trump : Putin no quiere intervenir en Venezuela

    El mandatario estadounidense aseguró que tuvo una “conversación muy positiva” con su homólogo ruso

    Donald Trump, presidente de Estados Unidos, contradijo este viernes la posición oficial de su gobierno al asegurar que su homólogo ruso, Vladímir Putin, no quiere intervenir en Venezuela, mientras el Pentágono debatía opciones militares ante la crisis política en este país.

    Después de hablar por teléfono durante más de una hora con Putin, Trump ofreció una lectura de una conversación sobre Venezuela que prometía estar cargada de tensión, dado que Washington y Moscú se acusan mutuamente de prolongar la crisis política en sta nación mediante acciones intervencionistas.

    Creo que es una conversación muy positiva, la que he tenido con el presidente Putin sobre Venezuela. Putin no está pensando en absoluto en implicarse en Venezuela, más allá de que quiere ver que ocurra algo positivo en Venezuela, y yo siento lo mismo”, aseguró Trump.

    Las declaraciones de Trump marcan un fuerte contraste con la posición expresada hasta ahora por la Casa Blanca y el Departamento de Estado, que han responsabilizado a Rusia y Cuba de la permanencia en el poder de Nicolás Maduro.

    John Bolton, asesor de Seguridad de la Casa Blanca, indicó que Maduro se aferra al poder por el apoyo de Rusia y Cuba, “las únicas fuerzas militares extranjeras en Venezuela”.

    Estados Unidos no tolerará ninguna interferencia militar extranjera en el continente americano”, advirtió Bolton.

    Las críticas a Moscú en relación con Venezuela, no obstante, han llegado hasta ahora casi siempre del entorno de Trump y no del propio presidente, que el martes pasado amenazó con sanciones a Cuba por su presunto respaldo militar a Maduro, pero no mencionó a Rusia.

  • Mike Pompeo : que la Russie et Cuba cessent de déstabiliser le Venezuela !

    Mike Pompeo a Serguéi Lavrov : Rusia desestabiliza Venezuela

    El secretario de Estado norteamericano Mike Pompeo reclamó otra vez a su homólogo ruso Serguéi Lavrov que su país “desestabiliza” Venezuela.

    El funcionario estadounidense destacó que la intervención de Cuba y Rusia es desestabilizadora para el país y para la relación bilateral entre Estados Unidos y Rusia.

    Pompeo aseguró este miércoles que su país está preparado para colaborar militarmente con Venezuela en caso de que las circunstancias lo requieran.

    El ministro ruso advirtió a Pompeo contra la continuación de los pasos agresivos en Venezuela. «Se dijo que la continuación de los pasos agresivos tendrá las más graces consecuencias. Solo el pueblo venezolano tiene derecho a determinar su destino, para lo que es necesario un diálogo entre todoas las fuerzas políticas del país, que es lo que desde hace largo tiempo pide el gobierno», indicó.

    Lavrov subrayó que «la destructiva injerencia exterior, más aún con el uso de la fuerza, no tiene nada en común con los procesos democráticos».

  • Venezuela. L’« escarmouche putschiste » mise en échec - Monde -

    Selon Nicolas Maduro, l’« escarmouche putschiste » de soldats ayant fait défection pour rallier Juan Guaido a été mise en échec, le président vénézuélien annonçant, par ailleurs, des « poursuites pénales » contre les responsables.
    Nicolas Maduro a, en outre, démenti les propos de Mike Pompeo, qui avait affirmé qu’il comptait fuir le Venezuela pour se rendre à Cuba, raillant le « manque de sérieux » du secrétaire d’État américain.

    De son côté, Juan Guaido, qui, rappelons-le, s’est autoproclamé président par intérim le 23 janvier, a appelé ses partisans à poursuivre les manifestations ce mercredi. « J’appelle les Forces armées à continuer d’avancer dans l’opération « Liberté ». En ce 1er mai, nous continuerons (…). Dans tout le Venezuela, nous serons dans la rue_ », a-t-il lancé.

  • Tu lèves le matin et illico tu te dis que l’article à la une de Gougoule News, il est totalement fumeux : La Russie a dissuadé Nicolas Maduro de quitter le Venezuela pour trouver refuge à Cuba

    Donc clic pour voir quelle est leur source, et dès le premier paragraphe :

    Le secrétaire d’Etat américain Mike Pompeo a affirmé que le président vénézuélien Nicolas Maduro était prêt à s’envoler ce mardi matin pour Cuba, avant d’en être dissuadé par la Russie.

    « Il avait un avion sur le tarmac, il était prêt à partir ce matin, d’après nos informations, et les Russes lui ont dit de rester », a déclaré Mike Pompeo sur CNN, précisant que Nicolas Maduro avait l’intention de trouver refuge à La Havane.


  • Syria Latest: Day-to-Day Life in War-Weary Damascus - Bloomberg

    Instead of a frenzy of reconstruction and the promise of revival, Syrians have found themselves fighting another battle. Weary and traumatized from the violence, they’re focused on trying to survive in a decimated economy that shows no signs of imminent revival and with no peace dividend on the horizon.


    Robert Ford, a former U.S. ambassador to Syria, said the Trump administration is much more aggressive than under Barack Obama, using more secondary penalties that target those doing business with sanctioned individuals or companies.

    In November, the U.S. Treasury Department added a network of Russian and Iranian companies to its blacklist for shipping oil to Syria and warned of significant risks for those violating the sanctions.

    “It is a conscious policy of the American government to try to strangle to death the Iranian government in Tehran and the Syrian government in Damascus,” said Ford, who’s now a fellow at the Middle East Institute. “They don’t want to fight a military war with the Syrian government, but they’re perfectly willing to fight an economic war.”

    Ford likened the situation in Syria to the one in Cuba after the economy collapsed in the Soviet Union in the late 1980s. Cuba had financial difficulties, “but the Castros are still there,” he said.

    #Syrie #sanctions #civils #etats-unis

  • Julian Assange a subi de graves sévices psychologiques et physiques à l’ambassade de l’Équateur, disent les médecins (Theintercept)

    Je n’ai pas pus intégrer les docs médicaux pdf, aussi je vous les ai mis en ligne sur le site via hyperlien.

    Un médecin américain qui a effectué plusieurs évaluations médicales et de santé mentale du fondateur de WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, à l’ambassade de l’Equateur à Londres au cours des deux dernières années, dit qu’elle croit avoir été espionnée et que la confidentialité de sa relation médecin-patient avec Assange a été violée.

    La Dre Sondra Crosby, professeure agrégée de médecine et de santé publique à l’Université de Boston et spécialiste des conséquences physiques et psychologiques de la torture, a évalué les personnes détenues par les États-Unis, notamment dans leur prison de Guantánamo Bay à Cuba. Elle a tranquillement commencé à rencontrer et à évaluer Assange en 2017 à (...)

    #En_vedette #Actualités_internationales #Actualités_Internationales

  • #CBP terminates controversial $297 million #Accenture contract amid continued staffing struggles

    #Customs_and_Border_Protection on Thursday ended its controversial $297 million hiring contract with Accenture, according to two senior DHS officials and an Accenture representative.
    As of December, when CBP terminated part of its contract, the company had only completed processing 58 applicants and only 22 had made it onto the payroll about a year after the company was hired.
    At the time, the 3,500 applicants that remained in the Accenture hiring pipeline were transferred to CBP’s own hiring center to complete the process.

    CBP cut ties with Accenture on processing applicants a few months ago, it retained some services, including marketing, advertising and applicant support.
    This week, the entire contract was terminated for “convenience,” government speak for agreeing to part ways without placing blame on Accenture.
    While government hiring is “slow and onerous, it’s also part of being in the government” and that’s “something we have to accept and deal with as we go forward,” said one of the officials.
    For its efforts, CBP paid Accenture around $19 million in start-up costs, and around $2 million for 58 people who got job offers, according to the officials.
    Over the last couple of months, CBP explored how to modify the contract, but ultimately decided to completely stop work and return any remaining funds to taxpayers.
    But it’s unclear how much money, if any, that will be.

    In addition, to the funds already paid to Accenture, CBP has around $39 million left to “settle and close the books” with the company, an amount which has yet to be determined.
    In November 2017, CBP awarded Accenture the contract to help meet the hiring demands of an executive order on border security that President Donald Trump signed during his first week in office. The administration directed CBP to hire an additional 7,500 agents and officers on top of its current hiring goals.
    “We were in a situation where we needed to try something new” and “break the cycle of going backwards,” said a DHS official about why the agency started the contract.

    Meanwhile, hiring remains difficult for the agency amid a surge of migrants at the southern border that is stretching CBP resources thin.
    It “continues to be a very challenging environment,” said one official about hiring efforts this year.

    In fact, one of the reasons that CBP didn’t need Accenture to process applicants, is because the agency didn’t receive as many applications as it initially planned for.
    The agency has been focused on beating attrition and has been able to recently “beat it by a modest amount,” said the official. “Ultimately we would like to beat it by a heck of a lot, but we’re not there yet.”
    #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #USA #Ests-Unis #complexe_militaro-industriel #business

    • Border Profiteers

      On a recent sunny spring afternoon in Texas, a couple hundred Border Patrol agents, Homeland Security officials, and salespeople from a wide array of defense and security contractors gathered at the Bandera Gun Club about an hour northwest of San Antonio to eat barbecue and shoot each other’s guns. The techies wore flip-flops; the veterans wore combat boots. Everyone had a good time. They were letting loose, having spent the last forty-eight hours cooped up in suits and ties back at San Antonio’s Henry B. Gonzalez convention center, mingling and schmoozing, hawking their wares, and listening to immigration officials rail about how those serving in enforcement agencies are not, under any circumstances, Nazis.

      These profiteers and bureaucrats of the immigration-industrial complex were fresh from the 2019 #Border_Security_Expo —essentially a trade show for state violence, where law enforcement officers and weapons manufacturers gather, per the Expo’s marketing materials, to “identify and address new and emerging border challenges and opportunities through technology, partnership, and innovation.” The previous two days of panels, speeches, and presentations had been informative, a major in the Argentine Special Forces told me at the gun range, but boring. He was glad to be outside, where handguns popped and automatic rifles spat around us. I emptied a pistol into a target while a man in a Three Percenter militia baseball hat told me that I was a “natural-born killer.” A drone buzzed overhead until, in a demonstration of a company’s new anti-drone technology, a device that looked like a rocket launcher and fired a sort of exploding net took it down. “This is music to me,” the Argentine major said.

      Perhaps it’s not surprising the Border Security Expo attendees were so eager to blow off steam. This year’s event found many of them in a defensive posture, given the waves of bad press they’d endured since President Trump’s inauguration, and especially since the disastrous implementation of his family separation policy, officially announced by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in April of 2018, before being rescinded by Trump two-and-a-half months later. Throughout the Expo, in public events and in background roundtable conversations with reporters, officials from the various component parts of the Department of Homeland Security rolled out a series of carefully rehearsed talking points: Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) need more money, personnel, and technology; taking migrants to hospitals distracts CBP officers from their real mission; and the 1997 Flores court settlement, which prohibits immigration enforcement agencies from detaining migrant families with children for more than twenty days, is undermining the very sovereignty of the United States. “We want a secure border, we want an immigration system that has integrity,” Ronald Vitiello, then–acting head of ICE, said in a keynote address to the hundreds of people gathered in San Antonio. “We have a generous immigration system in this country, but it has to have integrity in order for us to continue to be so generous.”

      More of a technocrat than his thuggish predecessor Thomas Homan, Vitiello also spoke at length about using the “dark web” to take down smugglers and the importance of having the most up-to-date data-management technology. But he spoke most adamantly about needing “a fix” for the Flores settlement. “If you prosecute crimes and you give people consequences, you get less of it,” he said. “With Flores, there’s no consequence, and everybody knows that,” a senior ICE official echoed to reporters during a background conversation immediately following Vitiello’s keynote remarks. “That’s why you’re seeing so many family units. We cannot apply a consequence to a family unit, because we have to release them.”

      Meanwhile, around 550 miles to the west, in El Paso, hundreds of migrants, including children and families, were being held by CBP under a bridge, reportedly forced to sleep on the ground, with inadequate medical attention. “They treated us like we are animals,” one Honduran man told Texas Monthly. “I felt what they were trying to do was to hurt us psychologically, so we would understand that this is a lesson we were being taught, that we shouldn’t have crossed.” Less than a week after the holding pen beneath the bridge closed, Vitiello’s nomination to run ICE would be pulled amid a spate of firings across DHS; President Trump wanted to go “in a tougher direction.”

      Family Values

      On the second day of the Border Security Expo, in a speech over catered lunch, Scott Luck, deputy chief of Customs and Border Protection and a career Border Patrol agent, lamented that the influx of children and families at the border meant that resources were being diverted from traditional enforcement practices. “Every day, about 150 agents spend their shifts at hospitals and medical facilities with illegal aliens receiving treatment,” he said. “The annual salary cost for agents on hospital watch is more than $11.5 million. Budget analysts estimate that 13 percent of our operational budget—the budget that we use to buy equipment, to buy vehicles for our men and women—is now used for transportation, medical expenses, diapers, food, and other necessities to care for illegal aliens in Border Patrol custody.”

      As far as Luck was concerned, every dollar spent on food and diapers is one not spent on drones and weapons, and every hour an agent spends guarding a migrant in a hospital is an hour they don’t spend on the border. “It’s not what they signed up for. The mission they signed up for is to protect the United States border, to protect the communities in which they live and serve,” he told reporters after his speech. “The influx, the volume, the clutter that this creates is frustrating.” Vitiello applied an Orwellian inversion: “We’re not helping them as fast as we want to,” he said of migrant families apprehended at the border.

      Even when discussing the intimate needs of detained migrant families, the language border officials used to describe their remit throughout the Expo was explicitly militaristic: achieving “operational control,” Luck said, requires “impedance and denial” and “situational awareness.” He referred to technology as a “vital force multiplier.” He at least stopped short of endorsing the president’s framing that what is happening on the border constitutes an invasion, instead describing it as a “deluge.”

      According to the Migration Policy Institute, a non-partisan think tank, the U.S. immigrant population has continued to grow—although at a slower rate than it did before the 2007 recession, and undocumented people appear to make up a smaller proportion of the overall population. Regardless, in fiscal year 2018, both ICE and CBP stepped up their enforcement activities, arresting, apprehending, and deporting people at significantly higher rates than the previous year. More than three times as many family members were apprehended at the border last year than in 2017, the Pew Research Center reports, and in the first six months of FY 2019 alone there were 189,584 apprehensions of “family units”: more than half of all apprehensions at the border during that time, and more than the full-year total of apprehended families for any other year on record. While the overall numbers have not yet begun to approach those of the 1980s and 1990s, when apprehensions regularly exceeded one million per year, the demographics of who is arriving at the United States southern border are changing: fewer single men from Mexico and more children and families from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador—in other words, an ever-wider range of desperate victims of drug gangs and American policies that have long supported corrupt regimes.

      This change has presented people like Luck with problems they insist are merely logistical: aging Border Patrol stations, he told us at the Expo, “are not luxurious in any way, and they were never intended to handle families and children.” The solution, according to Vitiello, is “continued capital investment” in those facilities, as well as the cars and trucks necessary to patrol the border region and transport those apprehended from CBP custody to ICE detention centers, the IT necessary to sift through vast amounts of data accumulated through untold surveillance methods, and all of “the systems by which we do our work.”

      Neither Vitiello nor Luck would consider whether those systems—wherein thousands of children, ostensibly under the federal government’s care, have been sexually abused and five, from December through May of this year, have died—ought to be questioned. Both laughed off calls from migrant justice organizers, activists, and politicians to abolish ICE. “The concept of the Department of Homeland Security—and ICE as an agency within it—was designed for us to learn the lessons from 9/11,” Vitiello said. “Those needs still exist in this society. We’re gonna do our part.” DHS officials have even considered holding migrant children at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, according to the New York Times, where a new $23 million “contingency mass migration complex” is being built. The complex, which is to be completed by the end of the year, will have a capacity of thirteen thousand.

      Violence is the Point

      The existence of ICE may be a consequence of 9/11, but the first sections of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border—originally to contain livestock—went up in 1909 through 1911. In 1945, in response to a shift in border crossings from Texas to California, the U.S. Border Patrol and the Immigration and Naturalization Service recycled fencing wire and posts from internment camps in Crystal City, Texas, where more than a hundred thousand Japanese Americans had been imprisoned during World War II. “Although the INS could not erect a continuous line of fence along the border, they hoped that strategic placement of the fence would ‘compel persons seeking to enter the United States illegally to attempt to go around the ends of the fence,’” historian Kelly Lytle Hernández, quoting from government documents, writes in Migra! A History of the U.S. Border Patrol. “What lay at the end of the fences and canals were desert lands and mountains extremely dangerous to cross without guidance or sufficient water. The fences, therefore, discouraged illegal immigration by exposing undocumented border crossers to the dangers of daytime dehydration and nighttime hypothermia.”

      Apprehension and deportation tactics continued to escalate in the years following World War II—including Operation Wetback, the infamous (and heavily propagandized) mass-deportation campaign of 1954—but the modern, militarized border era was greatly boosted by Bill Clinton. It was during Clinton’s first administration that Border Patrol released its “Strategic Plan: 1994 and Beyond,” which introduced the idea of “prevention through deterrence,” a theory of border policing that built on the logic of the original wall and hinges upon increasing the “cost” of migration “to the point that many will consider it futile to continue to attempt illegal entry.” With the Strategic Plan, the agency was requesting more money, officers, and equipment in order to “enhance national security and safeguard our immigration heritage.”

      The plan also noted that “a strong interior enforcement posture works well for border control,” and in 1996, amid a flurry of legislation targeting people of color and the poor, Congress passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, which empowered the federal government to deport more people more quickly and made it nearly impossible for undocumented immigrants to obtain legal status. “Before 1996, internal enforcement activities had not played a very significant role in immigration enforcement,” the sociologists Douglas Massey and Karen A. Pren wrote in 2012. “Afterward these activities rose to levels not seen since the deportation campaigns of the Great Depression.” With the passage of the Patriot Act in 2001 and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2002, immigration was further securitized and criminalized, paving the way for an explosion in border policing technology that has further aligned the state with the defense and security industry. And at least one of Border Patrol’s “key assumptions,” explicitly stated in the 1994 strategy document, has borne out: “Violence will increase as effects of strategy are felt.”

      What this phrasing obscures, however, is that violence is the border strategy. In practice, what “prevention through deterrence” has meant is forcing migrants to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in the desert, putting already vulnerable people at even greater risk. Closing urban points of entry, for example, or making asylum-seekers wait indefinitely in Mexico while their claims are processed, pushes migrants into remote areas where there is a higher likelihood they will suffer injury and death, as in the case of seven-year-old Jakil Caal Maquin, who died of dehydration and shock after being taken into CBP custody in December. (A spokesperson for CBP, in an email response, deflected questions about whether the agency considers children dying in its custody a deterrent.) Maquin is one of many thousands who have died attempting to cross into the United States: the most conservative estimate comes from CBP itself, which has recovered the remains of 7,505 people from its southwest border sectors between 1998 and 2018. This figure accounts for neither those who die on the Mexican side of the border, nor those whose bodies remain lost to the desert.

      Draconian immigration policing causes migrants to resort to smugglers and traffickers, creating the conditions for their exploitation by cartels and other violent actors and increasing the likelihood that they will be kidnapped, coerced, or extorted. As a result, some migrants have sought the safety of collective action in the form of the “caravan” or “exodus,” which has then led the U.S. media and immigration enforcement agencies to justify further militarization of the border. Indeed, in his keynote address at the Expo, Luck described “the emerging prevalence of large groups of one hundred people or more” as “troubling and especially dangerous.” Later, a sales representative for the gun manufacturer Glock very confidently explained to me that this was because agents of al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia, were embedded with the caravans.

      Branding the Border

      Unsurprisingly, caravans came up frequently at the Border Security Expo. (An ICE spokesperson would later decline to explain what specific threat they pose to national security, instead citing general statistics about the terrorist watchlist, “special interest aliens,” and “suspicious travel patterns.”) During his own keynote speech, Vitiello described how ICE, and specifically its subcomponent Homeland Security Investigations, had deployed surveillance and intelligence-gathering techniques to monitor the progress of caravans toward the border. “When these caravans have come, we’ve had trained, vetted individuals on the ground in those countries reporting in real time what they were seeing: who the organizers were, how they were being funded,” he said, before going on an astonishing tangent:

      That’s the kind of capability that also does amazing things to protecting brands, property rights, economic security. Think about it. If you start a company, introduce a product that’s innovative, there are people in the world who can take that, deconstruct it, and create their own version of it and sell it as yours. All the sweat that went into whatever that product was, to build your brand, they’ll take it away and slap it on some substandard product. It’s not good for consumers, it’s not good for public safety, and it’s certainly an economic drain on the country. That’s part of the mission.

      That the then–acting director of ICE, the germ-cell of fascism in the bourgeois American state, would admit that an important part of his agency’s mission is the protection of private property is a testament to the Trump administration’s commitment to saying the quiet part out loud.

      In fact, brands and private industry had pride of place at the Border Security Expo. A memorial ceremony for men and women of Border Patrol who have been killed in the line of duty was sponsored by Sava Solutions, an IT firm that has been awarded at least $482 million in federal contracts since 2008. Sava, whose president spent twenty-four years with the DEA and whose director of business development spent twenty with the FBI, was just one of the scores of firms in attendance at the Expo, each hoping to persuade the bureaucrats in charge of acquiring new gear for border security agencies that their drones, their facial recognition technology, their “smart” fences were the best of the bunch. Corporate sponsors included familiar names like Verizon and Motorola, and other less well-known ones, like Elbit Systems of America, a subsidiary of Israel’s largest private defense contractor, as well as a handful of IT firms with aggressive slogans like “Ever Vigilant” (CACI), “Securing the Future” (ManTech), and “Securing Your Tomorrow” (Unisys).

      The presence of these firms—and indeed the very existence of the Expo—underscores an important truth that anyone attempting to understand immigration politics must reckon with: border security is big business. The “homeland security and emergency management market,” driven by “increasing terrorist threats and biohazard attacks and occurrence of unpredictable natural disasters,” is projected to grow to more than $742 billion by 2023 from $557 billion in 2018, one financial analysis has found. In the coming decades, as more people are displaced by climate catastrophe and economic crises—estimates vary between 150 million and 1 billion by 2050—the industry dedicated to policing the vulnerable stands to profit enormously. By 2013, the United States was already spending more on federal immigration enforcement than all other federal law enforcement agencies combined, including the FBI and DEA; ICE’s budget has doubled since its inception in 2003, while CBP’s has nearly tripled. Between 1993 and 2018, the number of Border Patrol agents grew from 4,139 to 19,555. And year after year, Democrats and Republicans alike have been happy to fuel an ever more high-tech deportation machine. “Congress has given us a lot of money in technology,” Luck told reporters after his keynote speech. “They’ve given us over what we’ve asked for in technology!”

      “As all of this rhetoric around security has increased, so has the impetus to give them more weapons and more tools and more gadgets,” Jacinta Gonzalez, a senior campaign organizer with Mijente, a national network of migrant justice activists, told me. “That’s also where the profiteering comes in.” She continued: “Industries understand what’s good for business and adapt themselves to what they see is happening. If they see an administration coming into power that is pro-militarization, anti-immigrant, pro-police, anti-communities of color, then that’s going to shape where they put their money.”

      By way of example, Gonzalez pointed to Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, who spent $1.25 million supporting Trump’s 2016 election campaign and followed that up last year by donating $1 million to the Club for Growth—a far-right libertarian organization founded by Heritage Foundation fellow and one-time Federal Reserve Board prospect Stephen Moore—as well as about $350,000 to the Republican National Committee and other GOP groups. ICE has awarded Palantir, the $20 billion surveillance firm founded by Thiel, several contracts worth tens of millions of dollars to manage its data streams—a partnership the agency considers “mission critical,” according to documents reviewed by The Intercept. Palantir, in turn, runs on Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing service provided by the world’s most valuable public company, which is itself a key contractor in managing the Department of Homeland Security’s $6.8 billion IT portfolio.

      Meanwhile, former DHS secretary John Kelly, who was Trump’s chief of staff when the administration enacted its “zero-tolerance” border policy, has joined the board of Caliburn International—parent organization of the only for-profit company operating shelters for migrant children. “Border enforcement and immigration policy,” Caliburn reported in an SEC filing last year, “is driving significant growth.” As Harsha Walia writes in Undoing Border Imperialism, “the state and capitalism are again in mutual alliance.”

      Triumph of the Techno-Nativists

      At one point during the Expo, between speeches, I stopped by a booth for Network Integrity Systems, a security firm that had set up a demonstration of its Sentinel™ Perimeter Intrusion Detection System. A sales representative stuck out his hand and introduced himself, eager to explain how his employer’s fiber optic motion sensors could be used at the border, or—he paused to correct himself—“any kind of perimeter.” He invited me to step inside the space that his coworkers had built, starting to say “cage” but then correcting himself, again, to say “small enclosure.” (It was literally a cage.) If I could get out, climbing over the fencing, without triggering the alarm, I would win a $500 Amazon gift card. I did not succeed.

      Overwhelmingly, the vendors in attendance at the Expo were there to promote this kind of technology: not concrete and steel, but motion sensors, high-powered cameras, and drones. Customs and Border Patrol’s chief operating officer John Sanders—whose biography on the CBP website describes him as a “seasoned entrepreneur and innovator” who has “served on the Board of Directors for several leading providers of contraband detection, geospatial intelligence, and data analytics solutions”—concluded his address by bestowing on CBP the highest compliment he could muster: declaring the agency comparable “to any start-up.” Rhetoric like Sanders’s, ubiquitous at the Expo, renders the border both bureaucratic and boring: a problem to be solved with some algorithmic mixture of brutality and Big Data. The future of border security, as shaped by the material interests that benefit from border securitization, is not a wall of the sort imagined by President Trump, but a “smart” wall.

      High-ranking Democrats—leaders in the second party of capital—and Republicans from the border region have championed this compromise. During the 2018-2019 government shutdown, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson told reporters that Democrats would appropriate $5.7 billion for “border security,” so long as that did not include a wall of Trump’s description. “Walls are primitive. What we need to do is have border security,” House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said in January. He later expanded to CNN: “I’ve said that we ought to have a smart wall. I defined that as a wall using drones to make it too high to get over, using x-ray equipment to make it too wide to get around, and using scanners to go deep enough not to be able to tunnel under it. To me, that would be a smart thing to do.”

      Even the social democratic vision of Senator Bernie Sanders stops short at the border. “If you open the borders, my God, there’s a lot of poverty in this world, and you’re going to have people from all over the world,” he told Iowa voters in early April, “and I don’t think that’s something that we can do at this point.” Over a week later, during a Fox News town hall with Pennsylvania voters, he recommitted: “We need border security. Of course we do. Who argues with that? That goes without saying.”

      To the extent that Trump’s rhetoric, his administration’s immigration policies, and the enforcement agencies’ practices have made the “border crisis” more visible than ever before, they’ve done so on terms that most Democrats and liberals fundamentally agree with: immigration must be controlled and policed; the border must be enforced. One need look no further than the high priest of sensible centrism, Thomas Friedman, whose major complaint about Trump’s immigration politics is that he is “wasting” the crisis—an allusion to Rahm Emanuel’s now-clichéd remark that “you never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” (Frequently stripped of context, it is worth remembering that Emanuel made this comment in the throes of the 2008 financial meltdown, at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council, shortly following President Obama’s election.) “Regarding the border, the right place for Democrats to be is for a high wall with a big gate,” Friedman wrote in November of 2018. A few months later, a tour led by Border Patrol agents of the San Ysidro port of entry in San Diego left Friedman “more certain than ever that we have a real immigration crisis and that the solution is a high wall with a big gate—but a smart gate.”

      As reasonable as this might sound to anxious New York Times readers looking for what passes as humanitarian thinking in James Bennet’s opinion pages, the horror of Friedman’s logic eventually reveals itself when he considers who might pass through the big, smart gate in the high, high wall: “those who deserve asylum” and “a steady flow of legal, high-energy, and high-I.Q. immigrants.” Friedman’s tortured hypothetical shows us who he considers to be acceptable subjects of deportation and deprivation: the poor, the lazy, and the stupid. This is corporate-sponsored, state-sanctioned eugenics: the nativism of technocrats.

      The vision of a hermetically sealed border being sold, in different ways, by Trump and his allies, by Democrats, and by the Border Security Expo is in reality a selectively permeable one that strictly regulates the movement of migrant labor while allowing for the unimpeded flow of capital. Immigrants in the United States, regardless of their legal status, are caught between two factions of the capitalist class, each of which seek their immiseration: the citrus farmers, construction firms, and meat packing plants that benefit from an underclass of unorganized and impoverished workers, and the defense and security firms that keep them in a state of constant criminality and deportability.

      You could even argue that nobody in a position of power really wants a literal wall. Even before taking office, Trump himself knew he could only go so far. “We’re going to do a wall,” he said on the campaign trail in 2015. However: “We’re going to have a big, fat beautiful door on the wall.” In January 2019, speaking to the American Farm Bureau Association, Trump acknowledged the necessity of a mechanism allowing seasonal farmworkers from Mexico to cross the border, actually promising to loosen regulations on employers who rely on temporary migrant labor. “It’s going to be easier for them to get in than what they have to go through now,” he said, “I know a lot about the farming world.”

      At bottom, there is little material difference between this and what Friedman imagines to be the smarter, more humane approach. While establishment liberals would no doubt prefer that immigration enforcement be undertaken quietly, quickly, and efficiently, they have no categorical objection to the idea that noncitizens should enjoy fewer rights than citizens or be subject to different standards of due process (standards that are already applied in deeply inequitable fashion).

      As the smorgasbord of technologies and services so garishly on display at the Border Security Expo attests, maintaining the contradiction between citizens and noncitizens (or between the imperial core and the colonized periphery) requires an ever-expanding security apparatus, which itself becomes a source of ever-expanding profit. The border, shaped by centuries of bourgeois interests and the genocidal machinations of the settler-colonial nation-state, constantly generates fresh crises on which the immigration-industrial complex feeds. In other words, there is not a crisis at the border; the border is the crisis.

      CBP has recently allowed Anduril, a start-up founded by one of Peter Thiel’s mentees, Palmer Luckey, to begin testing its artificial intelligence-powered surveillance towers and drones in Texas and California. Sam Ecker, an Anduril engineer, expounded on the benefits of such technology at the Expo. “A tower doesn’t get tired. It doesn’t care about being in the middle of the desert or a river around the clock,” he told me. “We just let the computers do what they do best.”

  • #Venezuela : un groupe d’avocats (dans l’orbite de l’Assemblée nationale vénézuélienne, dominée par l’opposition) empêche le transfert à un groupe privé des 10 milliards de dollars de PDVSA séquestrés aux É.-U. dans le cadre d’un contentieux avec Citgo, filiale locale de PDVSA.

    Abogados evitaron que un grupo se adueñara de fondos congelados de Pdvsa

    Dos abogados y un economista venezolanos evitaron que un grupo de estafadores se hiciera con 10.000 millones de dólares que el gobierno de Estados Unidos había congelado a Petróleos de Venezuela. Norma Camero, Carlos Ramírez López y Federico Alves actuaron ante el Tribunal del Distrito Sur del estado de Florida para detener una acción que terceros interpusieron con la intención de quedarse con el dinero.

    • La tribune de Carlos Ramirez López, avocat dans cette affaire.
      (je dois dire que je ne comprends pas très bien…)

      Batalla legal por botín de Pdvsa

      Las formas de robar han evolucionado tanto que en vez de pistolas y ametralladoras ahora se usa como arma al sistema judicial internacional. Dos bandas delictivas la han pretendido utilizar, primero en Estados Unidos, y al fracasar ahora lo están intentando en Suiza. Estamos hablando de sofisticadas agrupaciones hamponiles que manejan softwares desde donde se controlan las operaciones comerciales de la que hasta hace poco fue una de las empresas petroleras más importantes del mundo, Pdvsa.

      Esta es la historia
      El negocio petrolero venezolano fue la “joya de la corona” de nuestras riquezas, en la que Hugo Chávez clavó los ojos para utilizarla como poderosa arma de su proyecto de dominación socialista continental que incluyó a Estados Unidos. Desde 2005, a través de la filial Citgo, inició y mantuvo por años un increíble proceso para abastecer gratuitamente combustible a familias pobres en New Jersey y en lo cual se declaró haber invertido 700 millones de dólares. En esa política invasiva con dinero Chávez mantuvo en primer lugar a Cuba, pero también a 18 naciones caribeñas y centroamericanas y para lo cual se crearon estructuras como el ALBA y Petrocaribe, integrado por 18 naciones caribeñas y centroamericanas.

      Siendo Rafael Ramírez presidente de Pdvsa, y Wilmer Ruperti uno de los ungidos de Chávez, un grupo de alta confianza atrapó el control de los centros computarizados desde donde se manejaban los negocios de la empresa, las licitaciones para compras y ventas de sus productos. De antemano sabían cuales eran los precios mínimos a los que se podía vender y los máximos a los que se podía comprar. Este grupo incluso hizo duplicados –clonó– los cerebros de las computadoras de Pdvsa y las manejaban fuera, todo en complicidad con los que estaban dentro, y así llegaron a robar más de 10.000 millones de dólares, todo lo cual aparece explicado con detalles en la demanda que interpuso una famosa firma de abogados en un tribunal de Miami reclamando ese dinero a la parte del grupo delictivo que al dividirse formó tienda aparte.

      La demanda
      El 5 de marzo de 2018, Boies Schiller Flexner, mismo bufete de abogados que bajo contrato del empresario petrolero Wilmer Ruperti representó a los sobrinos de Cilia Flores en el juicio por narcotráfico en una Corte de Nueva York, consignó una demanda en la Corte Federal del Distrito Sur de Florida contra 40 empresas de diversas partes del mundo, reclamando la devolución de los dineros defraudados a Pdvsa, que según el escrito ocurrió durante 14 años.

      En la demanda se describen los detalles del delito y de su ejecución se imputa específicamente a los demandados, entre los que figura incluso un banco, así como importantes compañías dedicadas al comercio petrolero, y se exige la devolución de la gigantesca fortuna que robaron a Venezuela; pero el detalle es que dicho retorno no lo pedían para nuestro país sino para una firma privada a la que insólitamente Pdvsa le cedió esos derechos mediante un documento notariado en Nueva York el 27 de julio de 2017 y que en su nombre firmaron el entonces ministro de Petróleo y presidente de la petrolera venezolana Nelson Martínez, el tesorero Miguel Bolívar, la consultora jurídico Vicki Zárate y el abogado de la nación, el procurador Reinaldo Muñoz.

      Detalles inexplicables
      1. En la demanda se relata que la trama fraudulenta fue descubierta tras una intensa labor de investigación privada realizada durante dos años, es decir, desde 2015. Esto lleva a la pregunta ¿por qué no denunciaron en Venezuela, lugar desde donde partía el delito?

      2. Dicen que la investigación abarcó desde 2004 hasta 2014, es decir, exactamente el lapso durante el cual Rafael Ramírez presidió Pdvsa A) ¿Fue Rafael Ramírez partícipe de este robo? ¿Por qué ni lo mencionan? B) ¿Sería posible que él siendo jefe absoluto de la empresa no tuviera conocimiento de ese escandaloso robo?

      3. La referida cesión de derechos que sin autorización de la Asamblea Nacional se firmó en Nueva York sin duda constituyó un intento de fraude, con el cual se pretendió utilizar al sistema judicial norteamericano para consolidarlo, lo que constituyen hechos delictivos perseguibles en Venezuela y en Estados Unidos.

      Se les cayó el primer intento en Miami
      Como ha sido público, un grupo de venezolanos intervinimos en el juicio para denunciar su ilegalidad. La Corte de Miami rechazó la demanda y cerró el caso. Hasta allí llegó el intento delictivo de US Pdvsa Litigation Trust, pero los complotados no se han rendido en su empeño. Ahora están litigando en Suiza, específicamente en Ginebra, donde se quitaron la máscara de dicha firma privada y accionan directamente en nombre de Pdvsa con la misma historia. Esto evidencia lo truculento que fue lo de la cesión firmada en Nueva York, lo cual tiene connotaciones delictivas que deben ser perseguidas penalmente, y quien teniendo esa responsabilidad no lo haga se convierte en cómplice y también tendrá que responder por la omisión en el cumplimiento del deber de salvaguarda de los intereses de la patria.

      Juicio penal ahora en Ginebra
      El nuevo episodio en tribunales suizos extiende la territorialidad del delito que se viene cometiendo con este asunto, pues ahora se pretende allá utilizar aquel sistema judicial por acción interpuesta ante el Ministerio Público de Ginebra. Ya se abrió una investigación criminal fundamentalmente contra Francisco Morillo, quien luego de ser el principal socio de Wilmer Ruperti en esta trama se pelearon y es lo que ha dado lugar al conflicto. Es rencilla personal y pelea por el botín, pero ese dinero no es de ellos, es de Venezuela y debe regresar para la reconstrucción del país que también requiere castigo ejemplar para los partícipes de este crimen que ha llevado a la tragedia humanitaria que hoy se vive.

      Esta historia continúa.

      ¡Ya estamos preparando viaje para ir donde ese fiscal y los jueces de Ginebra!

  • La réalisatrice Agnès Varda, pionnière de la Nouvelle Vague, est morte
    Par Clarisse Fabre Publié aujourd’hui à 11h27, mis à jour à 11h32

    Agnès Varda en quelques dates

    30 mai 1928 Naissance à Ixelles (Belgique)

    1951 Photographe du Festival d’Avignon

    1955 « La Pointe courte »

    1962 « Cléo de 5 à 7 »

    1965 « Le Bonheur », prix Louis-Delluc

    1968 « Black Panthers »

    1985 « Sans toit ni loi », Lion d’or à Venise

    1991 « Jacquot de Nantes »

    2003 Expose à la Biennale de Venise

    2007 « Les Plages d’Agnès », César du meilleur documentaire

    2016 Expose au Centre Pompidou ses photos de Cuba prises en 1962

    2017 Oscar d’honneur et sortie de « Visages Villages » avec JR

    29 mars 2019 Mort à l’âge de 90 ans à Paris

  • Informatique, astronomie ou chimie : toutes ces inventions de femmes attribuées à des hommes - Politique - Numerama

    Le Wi-Fi, la fission nucléaire ou le pulsar : quel est le point commun entre ces inventions ? Elles ont toutes été créées par des inventrices, éclipsées dans l’ombre de leurs confrères masculins. Nous rappelons leur histoire ce 8 mars 2019.

    Où sont les femmes dans les technologies et les sciences ? Dans l’ombre de leurs homologues masculins, pour nombre d’entre elles. À l’occasion de la journée internationale des droits des femmes, le 8 mars 2019, nous avons décidé de revenir sur le parcours d’inventrices éclipsées par l’Histoire, dont les exploits ont été notamment attribués à des hommes.

    On parle d’effet Matilda pour désigner la manière dont la contribution de nombreuses femmes scientifiques a été minimisée, voir attribuée à des confrères masculins.

    Son manuscrit en atteste encore aujourd’hui : Ada Lovelace, née en 1815 et décédée à 37 ans, a réalisé le premier programme informatique. Entre 1842 et 1843, la comtesse traduit en anglais un article du mathématicien Federico Luigi, qui décrit la machine analytique de Babbage. Sur les conseils de ce dernier, elle va enrichir cette traduction avec ses propres notes, dont le volume est plus imposant que le texte de départ.

    Dans la note G, elle présente un algorithme particulièrement détaillé. Ce travail est considéré comme le premier programme informatique du monde, rédigé dans un langage exécutable par une machine. Charles Babbage, qui a consacré sa vie à la construction de cette fameuse machine analytique, a bien bénéficié du travail sur l’algorithme mené par Ada Lovelace.
    Ada Lovelace. // Source : Wikimedia/CC/Science Museum Group (photo recadrée)
    Hedy Lamarr et le Wi-Fi

    On ne doit pas seulement à Hedy Lamarr, actrice autrichienne naturalisée américaine, une trentaine de films. L’inventrice, née en 1914 et décédée en 2000, a aussi joué un autre rôle important dans l’histoire de nos télécommunications. Le brevet qu’elle a déposé en 1941 (enregistré l’année suivante) en atteste encore : Hedy Lamarr avait inventé un « système secret de communication » pour des engins radio-guidés, comme des torpilles. La découverte, à l’origine du GPS et du Wi-Fi, était le fruit d’une collaboration avec George Antheil, un pianiste américain.

    Le brevet ainsi déposé permettait à l’Armée des États-Unis de l’utiliser librement. La technologie n’a pourtant pas été mobilisée avant 1962, lors de la crise des missiles de Cuba. La « technique Lamarr » a valu à l’actrice un prix en de l’Electronic Frontier Foundation… en 1997.
    Hedy Lamarr en 1944. // Source : Wikimedia/CC/MGM (photo recadrée)
    Alice Ball et le traitement contre la lèpre

    Pendant 90 ans, l’université d’Hawaï n’a pas reconnu son travail. Pourtant, Alice Ball a contribué au développement d’un traitement efficace contre la lèpre au cours du 20e siècle. Cette chimiste, née en 1892 et morte en 1916 à l’âge seulement de 24 ans, est devenue la première afro-américaine diplômée de cet établissement. Plus tard, elle y est devenue la première femme à enseigner la chimie.

    Alice Ball s’est penchée sur une huile naturelle produite par les arbres de l’espèce « Chaulmoogra », réputée pour soigner la lèpre. En isolant des composants de l’huile, elle est parvenue à conserver ses propriétés thérapeutiques tout en la rendant injectable dans le cops humain. Décédée avant d’avoir eu le temps de publier ses travaux, Alice Ball est tombée dans l’oubli tandis qu’Arthur L. Dean, le président de l’université d’Hawaï, s’est attribué son travail.
    Alice Ball (1915). // Source : Wikimedia/CC/University of Hawaii System
    Grace Hopper et le premier compilateur

    En 1951, Grace Hopper a conçu le premier compilateur, c’est-à-dire un programme capable de traduire un code source (écrit dans un langage de programmation) en code objet (comme le langage machine). Née en 1906 et décédée en 1992, cette informaticienne américaine a fait partie de la marine américaine où elle s’est hissée au grade d’officière générale.

    Pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, elle a travaillé sur le Harvard Mark I, le premier grand calculateur numérique construit aux États-Unis. Le mathématicien John von Neumann est présenté comme celui qui a initié l’un des premiers programmes exécutés par la machine. Grace Hopper faisait pourtant partie de l’équipe des premiers programmateurs du Mark I.
    Grace Hopper (1984). // Source : Wikimedia/CC/James S. Davis (photo recadrée)
    Esther Lederberg et la génétique bactérienne

    Cette spécialiste de microbiologie était une pionnière de la génétique microbienne, une discipline croisant la microbiologie (l’étude des micro-organismes) et le génie génétique (l’ajout et la suppression de l’ADN dans un organisme). La génétique microbienne consiste à étudier les gènes des micro-organismes.

    Esther Lederberg est née en 1922 et décédée en 2006. Elle a découvert ce qu’on appelle le « phage lambda », un virus qui infecte notamment la bactérie E.coli. Le phage lambda est très étudié en biologie et il est utilisé pour permettre le clonage de l’ADN. Esther Lederberg l’a identifié en 1950. Elle collaborait régulièrement avec son mari Joshua Ledeberg : c’est lui qui a obtenu le prix Nobel de médecine en 1958, récompensant ces travaux sur la manière dont les bactéries échangent des gènes sans se reproduire.
    Esther Lederberg. // Source : Wikimedia/CC/Esther M. Zimmer Lederberg
    Jocelyn Bell et le pulsar

    En 1974, le prix Nobel de physique est remis à l’astronome britannique Antony Hewish. Pourtant, ce n’est pas lui qui a découvert le pulsar, un objet astronomique qui pourrait être une étoile à neutrons tournant sur elle-même. Antony Hewish était le directeur de thèse de Jocelyn Bell : il s’est contenté de construire le télescope nécessaire à ces observations. C’est bien l’astrophysicienne, née en 1943, qui a identifié la première le pulsar.

    En 2018, elle a finalement reçu le Prix de physique fondamentale. Elle a choisi d’utiliser les 3 millions de dollars qui lui ont été offerts pour encourager les étudiants sous-représentés dans le domaine de la physique.
    Jocelyn Bell (2015). // Source : Wikimedia/CC/Conor McCabe Photography (photo recadrée)
    Chien-Shiung Wu et la physique nucléaire

    Chien-Shiung Wu, née en 1912 et décédée en 1997, était une spécialiste de la physique nucléaire. En 1956, elle démontre par l’expérience la « non conservation de la parité dans les interactions faibles », au cours de ses travaux sur les interactions électromagnétiques. C’est une contribution importante à la physique des particules.

    Deux physiciens théoriciens chinois, Tsung-Dao Lee et Chen Ning Yang, avaient mené des travaux théoriques sur cette question. Tous deux ont reçu le prix Nobel de physique en 1957. Il faut attendre 1978 pour que la découverte expérimentale de Chien-Shiung Wu soit récompensée par l’obtention du prix Wolf de physique.
    Chien-Shiung Wu en 1963. // Source : Wikimedia/CC/Smithsonian Institution (photo recadrée)
    Rosalind Franklin et la structure de l’ADN

    La physico-chimiste Rosalind Franklin, née en 1920 et décédée en 1958, a joué un rôle important dans la découverte de la structure de l’ADN, notamment sa structure à double hélice. Grâce à la diffraction des rayons X, elle prend des clichés d’ADN qui permettent de faire cette découverte. Elle présente ses résultats en 1951 au King’s College.

    Un certain James Dewey Watson assiste à cette présentation. Ce généticien et biochimiste informe le biologiste Francis Crick de la découverte de Rosalind Franklin. En utilisant les photos de la physico-chimiste, ils publient ce qui semble être leur découverte de la structure de l’ADN. En 1953, ils publient ces travaux dans la revue Nature. Ils obtiennent un prix Nobel en 1962, sans mentionner le travail pionnier de Rosalind Franklin.
    Rosalind Franklin. // Source : Flickr/CC/retusj (photo recadrée)
    Lise Meitner et la fission nucléaire

    Nommée trois fois pour recevoir un prix Nobel, cette physicienne autrichienne n’a jamais reçu la précieuse distinction. C’est pourtant une collaboration entre Elise Meitner et Otto Frisch, son neveu, qui permis d’apporter la première explication théorique de la fusion, en 1939.

    La scientifique, née en 1878 et décédée en 1968, n’a jamais reçu du comité remettant la distinction la même estime que celle que lui portaient ses collègues. En 1944, le prix Nobel de chimie fut donné à Otto Hahn, chimiste considéré à tort comme le découvreur de la fission nucléaire.
    Lise Meitner (1906). // Source : Wikimedia/CC (photo recadrée)
    Katherine Johnson et la navigation astronomique

    L’action déterminante de Katherine Johnson dans les programmes aéronautiques et spatiaux de la Nasa a fait l’objet d’un film, Les Figures de l’ombre. Née en 1918, cette physicienne et mathématicienne a calculé de nombreuses trajectoires et travaillé sur les fenêtres de lancement de nombreuses missions. Véritable « calculatrice humaine », elle a vérifié à la main des trajectoires de la mission Mercury-Atlas 6, qui a envoyé un homme en orbite autour de la Terre.

    En 1969, elle calcule des trajectoires essentielles lors de la mission Apollo 11. C’est à cette occasion que des humains — des hommes — se sont posés pour la première fois sur la Lune. En 2015, elle est récompensée et reçoit la médaille présidentielle de la Liberté.
    Katherine Johnson en 1966. // Source : Wikimedia/CC/Nasa (photo recadrée)

    #femmes #historicisation #effet_Matilda #sexisme #discrimination #invisibilisation #science

  • La guerre nucléaire qui vient | AOC media - Analyse Opinion Critique

    par Jean-Pierre Dupuy

    Chacun des deux partenaires accuse l’autre d’être de mauvaise foi et d’avoir violé le traité INF depuis longtemps. L’un et l’autre ont de bonnes raisons pour le faire. Ensemble, ils se comportent comme des garçons de onze ans se querellant dans une cour de récréation et répondant au maître : « M’sieu, c’est pas moi qui ai commencé ». À ceci près que l’enjeu n’est pas moins que la paix du monde. L’opinion internationale – « le maître » – craint une nouvelle course aux armements. Si ce n’était qu’une question de moyens ! La fin, c’est les centaines de millions de morts que j’annonçais en commençant.

    On a accusé Donald Trump de n’avoir en tout domaine d’autre politique que celle qui consiste à détricoter tout ce que son prédécesseur Barack Obama a fait, mais sur ce point il est son digne successeur. C’est dès 2014 que l’administration américaine s’est inquiétée du déploiement par les Russes d’un missile de croisière conforme en tous points aux systèmes bannis par le traité INF. Les Russes ont mis ce missile à l’essai dès 2008, sans s’en cacher puisque Poutine se plaignait en 2013 que la Russie, contrainte par le traité, se trouvait entourée en Asie par des pays, la Chine en premier lieu, qui eux étaient libres de se doter d’armes nucléaires de moyenne portée. Après pas mal d’hésitations sur la riposte adéquate, l’Amérique a tranché : le traité est mort.

    De son côté, la Russie accuse l’Amérique de tricher, par exemple en se croyant libre d’installer en Europe de l’Est des systèmes de défense faits de missiles antimissiles. Outre qu’ils violent le traité dit ABM (Anti Ballistic Missile) par lequel les présidents Nixon et Brejnev se sont engagés en 1972 à limiter drastiquement le recours aux technologies de défense contre des attaques nucléaires portées par des missiles balistiques intercontinentaux, ils peuvent se transformer aisément en armes offensives. De plus, il n’y avait pas en 1987 de drones armés, et ceux-ci peuvent avoir le même office que des missiles.

    D’abord, on ne peut pas gagner une guerre nucléaire. La question de la parité des forces en présence est donc non pertinente. La France de Mitterrand aurait dû le savoir, puisque sa doctrine s’appelait « dissuasion du faible au fort ». L’instinct de Jimmy Carter aurait dû l’emporter sur la panique de l’Europe. L’Amérique elle-même n’avait cependant pas à donner de leçon : en 1961, les dirigeants américains s’affolaient d’avoir moins de missiles nucléaires stratégiques que les Soviétiques alors qu’ils en avaient dix fois plus [1]. Avec des armes conventionnelles, c’est la force relative des armements en présence qui dissuade. Rien de tel avec l’arme nucléaire.

    Ensuite, les armes à portée intermédiaire aux côtés de celles à courte portée étaient envisagées pendant la crise comme des armes d’emploi sur le « théâtre » européen plutôt que comme des armes dissuadant l’ennemi de frapper en premier. Cela présupposait que l’on puisse envisager une guerre nucléaire limitée avec un gagnant et un perdant, où la dissuasion faisait partie de la bataille elle-même (point précédent). Or dans le domaine nucléaire, on ne dissuade pas une attaque limitée en rendant hautement crédible une menace de riposte limitée. On la dissuade en maintenant à un niveau modique la probabilité de l’anéantissement mutuel.

    Il faut noter aussi que la défense contre une attaque nucléaire surprise est impossible. Le bouclier antimissile rêvé par Reagan ne pourrait être efficace que s’il l’était à 100%. Le premier missile qui passerait au travers serait le missile de trop. Aucune technique connue à ce jour n’est à la hauteur de cette exigence de perfection absolue.

    La dissuasion nucléaire prend acte de cette impuissance de la défense. Elle la remplace par la menace de représailles « incommensurables » si l’ennemi attaque vos « intérêts vitaux ». Il est essentiel de comprendre que la défense est non seulement mise hors circuit mais qu’elle est interdite. C’est le sens du traité ABM : on ne se défend pas. C’est en effet la meilleure garantie que l’on donne à l’ennemi qu’on ne l’attaquera pas en premier. Si on le faisait, sous l’hypothèse qu’il conserve une capacité de seconde frappe, on se suiciderait. Inversement, si l’on installe des systèmes de défense par missiles antimissiles, comme les États-Unis l’ont fait autour de la Russie en violant le traité ABM, on envoie à l’ennemi le signal qu’on est prêt à l’attaquer. Celui-ci peut alors décider qu’il lui faut prendre l’autre de vitesse et l’attaquer en premier. C’est ce qu’on appelle la préemption.

    Enfin, en langage militaire américain, le petit nom de la préemption, expression d’un paradoxe révélateur, est « striking second first », qu’on peut traduire par : être le premier à frapper en second, riposter avant l’attaque, exercer des représailles avant même que l’ennemi lance ses missiles, punir le criminel en l’éliminant avant qu’il commette son crime, c’est par le second que le premier est premier, etc. Dans son dernier livre déjà cité, The Doomsday Machine (la machine du jugement dernier) Daniel Ellsberg défend la thèse que les États-Unis n’ont jamais pris la dissuasion au sérieux et qu’ils se sont toujours préparés à frapper en premier.

    L’Amérique d’abord, bientôt suivie par la Russie, a trouvé une solution à ce problème sous le nom de « launch on warning » (« lancement déclenché par une alerte »). Si un système défensif détecte le lancement de missiles nucléaires ennemis, il déclenche immédiatement ses propres missiles sans attendre que les premiers atteignent leurs cibles. On s’assure ainsi contre le risque de se retrouver sans force défensive une fois celle-ci détruite par les missiles ennemis. Le problème est que les systèmes d’alerte sont connus pour fonctionner de manière très approximative. On ne compte plus les erreurs d’interprétation, les mauvais calculs, les fausses alertes.

    Ce qui risque de déclencher la guerre nucléaire à venir, ce ne sont donc pas les mauvaises intentions des acteurs. L’incrédulité générale par rapport à cette éventualité vient de la question que l’on pose immédiatement et par laquelle nous avons commencé : qui pourrait bien vouloir une telle abomination ? Ni Kim ni Trump ne veulent la guerre vers laquelle peut-être ils entraînent le monde tels des somnambules, pas plus que ne la voulaient Kennedy et Khrouchtchev pendant la crise des missiles de Cuba. Le tragique, c’est que cela n’a aucune importance. Comme dans les mythes les plus antiques, la tragédie s’accomplira par le truchement d’un accident, la nécessité par celui d’une contingence.

    #Guerre #Nucléaire

  • Old Palestinian photos & films hidden in IDF archive show different history than Israeli claims

    Palestinian photos and films seized by Israeli troops have been gathering dust in the army and Defense Ministry archives until Dr. Rona Sela, a curator and art historian, exposed them. The material presents an alternative to the Zionist history that denied the Palestinians’ existence here, she says.

    The initial reaction is one of incredulity: Why is this material stored in the Israel Defense Forces and Defense Ministry Archive? The first item is labeled, in Hebrew, “The History of Palestine from 1919,” the second, “Paintings by Children Who Go to School and Live in a Refugee Camp and Aspire to Return to Palestine.” The third is, “Depiction of the IDF’s Treatment and Harsh Handling of Palestinians in the Territories.”

    Of all places, these three reels of 16-mm film are housed in the central archive that documents Israel’s military-security activities. It’s situated in Tel Hashomer, near the army’s National Induction Center, outside Tel Aviv.

    IDF archive contains 2.7 million photos, 38,000 films

    The three items are barely a drop in an ocean of some 38,000 films, 2.7 million photographs, 96,000 audio recordings and 46,000 maps and aerial photos that have been gathered into the IDF Archive since 1948, by order of Israel’s first prime minister and defense minister, David Ben-Gurion. However, a closer perusal shows that this particular “drop in the ocean” is subversive, exceptional and highly significant.

    The footage in question is part of a collection – whose exact size and full details remain unknown – of “war booty films” seized by the IDF from Palestinian archives in raids over the years, though primarily in the 1982 Lebanon War.

    Recently, however, following a persistent, protracted legal battle, the films confiscated in Lebanon, which had been gathering dust for decades – instead of being screened in cinematheques or other venues in Israel – have been rescued from oblivion, along with numerous still photos. The individual responsible for this development is Dr. Rona Sela, a curator and researcher of visual history at Tel Aviv University.

    For nearly 20 years, Sela has been exploring Zionist and Palestinian visual memory. She has a number of important revelations and discoveries to her credit, which she has published in the form of books, catalogs and articles. Among the Hebrew-language titles are “Photography in Palestine/Eretz-Israel in the ‘30s and ‘40s” (2000) and “Made Public: Palestinian Photographs in Military Archives in Israel” (2009). In March, she published an article in the English-language periodical Social Semiotics on, “The Genealogy of Colonial Plunder and Erasure – Israel’s Control over Palestinian Archives.”

    Now Sela has made her first film, “Looted and Hidden: Palestinian Archives in Israel,” an English-language documentary that surveys the fate of Palestinian photographs and films that were “captured” and deposited in Israeli archives. It includes heretofore unseen segments from films seized by the IDF from Palestinian archives in Beirut. These documentary records, Sela says, “were erased from consciousness and history” for decades.

    Sela begins journey in 1998

    Getting access to the films was not easy, Sela explains. Her archival journey began in 1998, when she was researching Zionist propaganda films and photos that sought to portray the “new Jew” – muscular, proudly tilling the soil – in contradistinction, according to the Zionist perception, to the supposedly degenerate and loutish Palestinian Arab.

    “After spending a few years in the Central Zionist Archive in Jerusalem and in other Zionist archives, researching the history of Zionist photography and the construction of a visual propaganda apparatus supporting the Zionist idea, I started to look for Palestinian visual representation as well, in order to learn about the Palestinian narrative and trace its origins and influence,” she says.

    That task was far more complicated than anyone could have imagined. In some of the Zionist films and photos, Sela was able to discern, often incidentally, episodes from Palestinian history that had “infiltrated” them, as she puts it. For example, in Carmel Newsreels (weekly news footage screened at local cinemas) from 1951, showing the settlement of Jews in Jaffa, demolished and abandoned Arab homes are clearly visible.

    Subsequently, Sela spotted traces and remnants of a genuine Palestinian visual archive occasionally cropping up in Israeli archives. Those traces were not immediately apparent, more like an elusive treasure concealed here and there beneath layers of restrictions, erasures and revisions.

    Khalil Rassass, father of Palestinian photojournalism

    Thus, one day she noticed in the archive of the pre-state Haganah militia, stills bearing the stamp “Photo Rissas.” Digging deeper, she discovered the story of Chalil Rissas (Khalil Rassass, 1926-1974), one of the fathers of Palestinian photojournalism. He’s unknown to the general public, whether Palestinian or Israel, but according to Sela, he was a “daring, groundbreaking photographer” who, motivated by a sense of national consciousness, documented the pre-1948 Palestinian struggle.

    Subsequently she found hundreds of his photographs, accompanied by captions written by soldiers or Israeli archive staff who had tried to foist a Zionist narrative on them and disconnect them from their original context. The source of the photographs was a Jewish youth who received them from his father, an IDF officer who brought them back with him from the War of Independence as booty.

    The discovery was unprecedented. In contrast to the Zionist propaganda images that exalted the heroism of the Jewish troops and barely referred to the Palestinians, Rissas’ photographs were mainly of Palestinian fighters. Embodying a proud Palestinian stance, they focused on the national and military struggle and its outcome, including the Palestinians’ military training and deployment for battle.

    “I realized that I’d come across something significant, that I’d found a huge cache of works by one of the fathers of Palestinian photography, who had been the first to give visual expression to the Palestinian struggle,” Sela recalls. “But when I tried to learn more about Chalil Rissas, I understood that he was a forgotten photographer, that no one knew the first thing about him, either in Israel or elsewhere.”

    Sela thereupon decided to study the subject herself. In 1999, she tracked down Rissas’ brother, Wahib, who was working as a photographer of tourists on the Temple Mount / Haram a-Sharif in Jerusalem’s Old City. He told her the story of Chalil’s life. It turned out that he had accompanied Palestinian troops and leaders, visually documenting the battles fought by residents of the Jerusalem area during the 1948 War of Independence. “He was a young man who chose the camera as an instrument for changing people’s consciousness,” Sela says.

    Ali Za’arur, forgotten Palestinian photographer

    Around 2007, she discovered the archive of another forgotten Palestinian photographer, Ali Za’arur (1900-1972), from Azzariyeh, a village east of Jerusalem. About 400 of his photos were preserved in four albums. They also depicted scenes from the 1948 war, in which Za’arur accompanied the forces of Jordan’s Arab Legion and documented the battle for the Old City of Jerusalem. He photographed the dead, the ruins, the captives, the refugees and the events of the cease-fire.

    In the Six-Day War of 1967, Za’arur fled from his home for a short time. When he returned, he discovered that the photo albums had disappeared. A relative, it emerged, had given them to Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek as a gift. Afterward, the Jerusalem Foundation donated them to the IDF Archive. In 2008, in an unprecedented act, the archive returned the albums to Za’arur’s family. The reason, Sela surmises, is that the albums were captured by the army in battle. In any event, this was, as far as is known, a unique case.

    Sela took heart from the discoveries she’d made, realizing that “with systematic work, it would be possible to uncover more Palestinian archives that ended up in Israeli hands.”

    That work was three-pronged: doing archival research to locate Palestinian photographs and films that had been incorporated into Israeli archives; holding meetings with the Palestinian photographers themselves, or members of their families; and tracking down Israeli soldiers who had taken part in “seizing these visual spoils” and in bringing them to Israel.

    In the course of her research Sela met some fascinating individuals, among them Khadijeh Habashneh, a Jordan-based Palestinian filmmaker who headed the archive and cinematheque of the Palestinian Cinema Institute. That institution, which existed from the end of the 1960s until the early ‘80s, initially in Jordan and afterward in Lebanon, was founded by three pioneering Palestinian filmmakers – Sulafa Jadallah, Hani Jawhariyyeh and Mustafa Abu Ali (Habashneh’s husband) – who sought to document their people’s way of life and national struggle. Following the events of Black September in 1970, when the Jordanian army and the Palestine Liberation Organization fought a bloody internecine war, the filmmakers moved to Lebanon and reestablished the PCI in Beirut.

    Meeting with Habashneh in Amman in 2013, Sela heard the story of the Palestinian archives that disappeared, a story she included in her new documentary. “Where to begin, when so much material was destroyed, when a life project falls apart?” Habashneh said to Sela. “I can still see these young people, pioneers, bold, imbued with ideals, revolutionaries, who created pictures and films and documented the Palestinian revolution that the world doesn’t want to see. They refused to be faceless and to be without an identity.”

    The archive established by Habashneh contained forgotten works that documented the Palestinians’ suffering in refugee camps, the resistance to Israel and battles against the IDF, as well as everyday life. The archive contained the films and the raw materials of the PCI filmmakers, but also collected other early Palestinian films, from both before and after 1948.

    Spirit of liberation

    This activity reflects “a spirit of liberation and revolt and the days of the revolution,” Habashneh says in Sela’s film, referring to the early years of the Palestinian national movement. That spirit was captured in underground photographs and with a minimal budget, on film that was developed in people’s kitchens, screened in tents in refugee camps and distributed abroad. Women, children, fighters, intellectuals and cultural figures, and events of historic importance were documented, Habashneh related. “As far as is known, this was the first official Palestinian visual archive,” Sela notes.

    In her conversation with Sela, Habashneh nostalgically recalled other, better times, when the Palestinian films were screened in a Beirut cinematheque, alongside other works with a “revolutionary spirit,” from Cuba, Chile, Vietnam and elsewhere. “We were in contact with filmmakers from other countries, who saw the camera as an instrument in the hands of the revolution and the people’s struggle,” she recalled.

    “Interesting cultural cooperation developed there, centering around revolutionary cinema,” Sela points out, adding, “Beirut was alive with an unprecedented, groundbreaking cultural flowering that was absolutely astonishing in terms of its visual significance.”

    IDF confiscates film archive

    But in 1982, after the IDF entered Beirut, that archive disappeared and was never seen again. The same fate befell two films made by Habashneh herself, one about children, the other about women. In Sela’s documentary, Habashneh wonders aloud about the circumstances in which the amazing collection disappeared. “Is our fate to live a life without a past? Without a visual history?” she asks. Since then, she has managed to reconstruct a small part of the archive. Some of the films turned up in the United States, where they had been sent to be developed. Copies of a few others remained in movie theaters in various countries where they were screened. Now in her seventies, Habashneh continues to pursue her mission, even though, as she told Sela during an early conversation, “the fate of the archive remains a puzzle.”

    What Habashneh wasn’t able to accomplish beginning in 1982 as part of a worldwide quest, Sela managed to do over the course of a few years of research in Israel. She began by locating a former IDF soldier who told her about the day on which several trucks arrived at the building in Beirut that housed a number of Palestinian archives and began to empty it out. That testimony, supported by a photograph, was crucial for Sela, as it corroborated the rumors and stories about the Palestinian archives having been taken to Israel.

    The same soldier added that he had been gripped by fear when he saw, among the photos that were confiscated from the archive, some that documented Israeli soldiers in the territories. He himself appeared in one of them. “They marked us,” he said to Sela.

    Soldiers loot Nashashibi photos & possessions, take photo from corpse

    Another former soldier told Sela about an unusual photo album that was taken (or looted, depending on one’s point of view) from the home of the prominent Nashashibi family in Jerusalem, in 1948. The soldier added that his father, who had served as an IDF officer in the War of Independence, entered a photography studio and made off with its archive, while other soldiers were busy looting pianos and other expensive objects from the Nashashibis. Another ex-soldier testified to having taken a photo from the corpse of an Arab. Over time, all these images found their way to archives in Israel, in particular the IDF Archive.

    Sela discovers IDF archive

    In 2000, Sela, buoyed by her early finds, requested permission from that archive to examine the visual materials that had been seized by the army in the 1980s. The initial response was denial: The material was not in Israel’s hands, she was told.

    “But I knew what I was looking for, because I had soldiers’ testimonies,” she says now, adding that when she persisted in her request, she encountered “difficulties, various restrictions and the torpedoing of the possibility of perusing the material.”

    The breakthrough came when she enlisted the aid of attorneys Michael Sfard and Shlomi Zacharia, in 2008. To begin with, they received word, confirmed by the Defense Ministry’s legal adviser, that various spoils taken in Beirut were now part of the IDF Archive. However, Sela was subsequently informed that “the PLO’s photography archive,” as the Defense Ministry referred in general to photographic materials taken from the Palestinians, is “archival material on matters of foreign affairs and security, and as such is ‘restricted material’ as defined in Par. 7(a) of the Archives Regulations.”

    Then, one day in 2010, Sela received a fax informing her that Palestinian films had been found in the IDF Archive, without elaboration, and inviting her to view them. “There were a few dozen segments from films, and I was astonished by what I saw,” she says. “At first I was shown only a very limited amount of footage, but it was indicative of the whole. On the basis of my experience, I understood that there was more.”

    A few more years of what Sela terms “endless nagging, conversations and correspondence” passed, which resulted in her being permitted to view dozens of segments of additional films, including some that apparently came from Habashneh’s archive. Sela also discovered another Palestinian archive that had been seized by the IDF. Established under the aegis of the PLO’s Cultural Arts Section, its director in the 1970s was the Lod-born painter and historian Ismail Shammout (1930-2006).

    One of the works in that collection is Shammout’s own film “The Urgent Call,” whose theme song was written and performed by the Palestinian singer Zainab Shathat in English, accompanying herself on the guitar. “The film was thought to be lost until I found it in the IDF Archive,” says Sela, who describes “The Urgent Call” as “a cry about the condition of Palestine, its sons and its daughters.”

    Viewing it takes one back in time to the late 1960s and early ‘70s, when the cinema of the Palestinian struggle briefly connected with other international revolutionary film movements.

    Legendary French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard

    For example, in 1969 and 1970 Jean-Luc Godard, the legendary filmmaker of the French New Wave in cinema, visited Jordan and Lebanon several times with the Dziga Vertov Group of French filmmakers (named after the Soviet pioneer documentarian of the 1920s and ‘30s), who included filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorin, who worked with Godard in his “radical” period. They came to shoot footage in refugee camps and in fedayeen bases for Godard’s film “Until Victory.” Habashneh told Sela that she and others had met Godard, assisted him and were of course influenced by his work. [Ed. note: Godard’s work on Palestine caused him to be accused of antisemitism by the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen and others. “In Hollywood there is no greater sin,” the Guardian reported.]

    Along with “The Urgent Call” – excerpts from which are included in her “Looted and Hidden” documentary – Sela also found another Shammout work in the IDF Archive. Titled “Memories and Fire,” it chronicles 20th-century Palestinian history, “from the days depicting the idyllic life in Palestine, via the documentation of refugeehood, to the documentation of the organizing and the resistance. To use the terms of the Palestinian cinema scholar and filmmaker George Khleifi, the aggressive fighter took the place of the ill-fated refugee,” she adds.

    Sela also found footage by the Iraqi director Kais al-Zubaidi, who worked for a time in the PLO’s Cultural Arts Section. His films from that period include “Away from Home” (1969) and “The Visit” (1970); in 2006 he published an anthology, “Palestine in the Cinema,” a history of the subject, which mentions some 800 films that deal with Palestine or the Palestinian people. [Ed. note: unfortunately it appears this book has never been translated into English.]

    IDF seals the archive for decades

    Some of the Palestinian movies in the IDF Archive bear their original titles. However, in many other cases this archival material was re-cataloged to suit the Israeli perspective, so that Palestinian “fighters” became “gangs” or “terrorists,” for example. In one case, a film of Palestinians undergoing arms training is listed as “Terrorist camp in Kuwait: Distribution of uniforms, girls crawling with weapons, terrorists marching with weapons in the hills, instruction in laying mines and in arms.”

    Sela: “These films and stills, though not made by Jewish/Israeli filmmakers or military units – which is the central criterion for depositing materials in the Israeli army archive – were transferred to the IDF Archive and subordinated to the rules of the State of Israel. The archive immediately sealed them for many decades and cataloged them according to its terminology – which is Zionist, Jewish and Israeli – and not according to the original Palestinian terminology. I saw places where the word ‘terrorists’ was written on photographs taken by Palestinians. But after all, they do not call themselves as such. It’s part of terminological camouflaging, which subordinated their creative work to the colonial process in which the occupier controls the material that’s captured.”

    Hidden Palestinian history

    Sela’s discoveries, which are of international importance, are not only a research, documentation and academic achievement: They also constitute a breakthrough in regard to the chronicling of Palestinian history. “Palestinian visual historiography lacks many chapters,” she observes. “Many photographs and archives were destroyed, were lost, taken as spoils or plundered in the various wars and in the course of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

    From her point of view, the systematic collecting of Palestinian visual materials in the IDF Archive “makes it possible to write an alternative history that counteracts the content created by the army and the military archive, which is impelled by ideological and political considerations.” In the material she found in the army archive, she sees “images that depict the history of the Palestinian people and its long-term ties to this soil and this place, which present an alternative to the Zionist history that denied the Palestinians’ existence here, as well as their culture and history and the protracted tragedy they endured and their national struggle of many years.”

    The result is an intriguing paradox, such as one often finds by digging deep into an archive. The extensive information that Sela found in the IDF Archive makes it possible to reconstruct elements of the pre-1948 existence of the Palestinians and to help fill in the holes of the Palestinian narrative up until the 1980s. In other words, even if Israel’s intention was to hide these items and to control the Palestinians’ historical treasures, its actions actually abet the process of preservation, and will go on doing so in the future.

    Earlier groundbreaking discovery – confiscated Palestinians books & libraries

    Sela’s research on visual archival materials was preceded by another groundbreaking study – dealing with the written word – conducted by Dr. Gish Amit, an expert on the cultural aspects of Zionism at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Amit chronicled the fate of Palestinian books and libraries that, like the photographs and films Sela found, ended up in Israeli archives – including in the National Library in Jerusalem.

    In his 2014 book, “Ex-Libris: Chronicles of Theft, Preservation, and Appropriating at the Jewish National Library” (Hebrew), Amit trenchantly analyzes the foredoomed failure of any attempt to conceal and control the history of others. According to him, “an archive remembers its forgettings and erasures,” “documents injustice, and thus makes it possible to trace its paths” and “paves a way for forgotten histories which may, one day, convict the owners” of the documents.

    However, Amit also sees the complexity of this story and presents another side of it. Describing the operation in which the Palestinian books were collected by Israeli soldiers and National Library personnel during the War of Independence, he raises the possibility that this was actually an act involving rescue, preservation and accessibility: “On the one hand, the books were collected and not burned or left in the abandoned houses in the Arab neighborhoods that had been emptied of their inhabitants. Had they not been collected their fate would have been sealed — not a trace of them would remain,” he writes, adding, that the National Library “protected the books from the war, the looting and the destruction, and from illegal trade in manuscripts.”

    According to the National Library, it is holding about 6,500 Palestinian books and manuscripts, which were taken from private homes whose owners left in 1948. The entire collection is cataloged and accessible to the general public, but is held under the responsibility of the Custodian of Absentees’ Property in the Finance Ministry. Accordingly, there is no intention, in the near future, of trying to locate the owners and returning the items.

    Israeli control over history

    Sela views the existence of these spoils of war in Israel as a direct expression of the occupation, which she defines, beyond Israel’s physical presence in the territories, as “the control of history, the writing of culture and the shaping of identity.” In her view, “Israel’s rule over the Palestinians is not only geographic but extends also to culture and consciousness. Israel wants to erase this history from the public consciousness, but it is not being successful, because the force of the resistance is stronger. Furthermore, its attempts to erase Palestinian history adversely affect Israel itself in the end.”

    At this point, Sela resorts to a charged comparison, to illustrate how visual materials contribute to the creation of personal and collective identity. “As the daughter of Holocaust survivors,” she says, “I grew up in a home without photographic historical memory. Nothing. My history starts only with the meeting of my parents, in 1953. It’s only from then that we have photos. Before that – nothing.

    “I know what it feels like when you have no idea what your grandmother or grandfather looked like, or your father’s childhood,” she continues. “This is all the more true of the history of a whole people. The construction of identity by means of visual materials is very meaningful. Many researchers have addressed this topic. The fact is that Zionist bodies made and are continuing to make extensive and rational use of [such materials too] over a period that spans decades.”

    Sela admits that there is still much to be done, but as far as she’s concerned, once a crack appeared in the wall, there was no turning back. “There is a great deal of material, including hundreds of films, that I haven’t yet got to,” she notes. “This is an amazing treasure, which contains information about the cultural, educational, rural and urban life of the Palestinian people throughout the 20th century – an erased narrative that needs to be restored to the history books,” she adds.

    Asked what she thinks should be done with the material, she asserts, “Of course it has to be returned. Just as Israel is constantly fighting to retrieve what the Nazis looted from Jews in the Holocaust. The historical story is different, but by the same criterion, practice what you preach. These are cultural and historical materials of the Palestinian people.”

    The fact that these items are being held by Israel “creates a large hole in Palestinian research and knowledge,” Sela avers. “It’s a hole for which Israel is responsible. This material does not belong to us. It has to be returned to its owners. Afterward, if we view it intelligently, we too can come to know and understand highly meaningful chapters in Palestinian history and in our own history. I think that the first and basic stage in the process of conciliation is to know the history of the Other and also your own history of controlling the Other.”

    Defense Ministry response

    A spokesperson for the Defense Ministry, which was asked to comment on the holdings in the IDF Archive, the archive contains 642 “war booty films,” most of which deal with refugees and were produced by the UNRWA (the United Nations refugee relief agency) in the 1960s and 1970s. The ministry also noted that 158 films that were seized by the IDF in the 1982 Lebanon War are listed in orderly fashion in the reading-room catalog and are available for perusal by the general public, including Arab citizens and Palestinians.

    As for the Palestinian photographs that were confiscated, the Defense Ministry stated that there is no orderly record of them. There are 127 files of photographs and negatives in the archive, each of which contains dozens of photographs, probably taken between the 1960s and the 1980s, on a variety of subjects, including visits of foreign delegations to PLO personnel, tours of PLO delegations abroad, Palestinian art and heritage, art objects, traditional attire and Palestinian folklore, factories and workshops, demonstrations, mass parades and rallies held by the PLO, portraits of Arab personalities and PLO symbols.

    The statement adds that a few months ago, crates were located that were stamped by their original owners, “PLO/Department of Information and National Guidance and Department of Information and Culture,” during the evacuation of the archive’s storerooms in the Tzrifin base.
    #historicisation #Israël #Palestine #photographie #films #archive #histoire #Khalil_Rassass #Ali_Za’arur
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