Controlling the coronavirus narrative: China’s propaganda push | China | Al Jazeera
Controlling the coronavirus narrative: China’s propaganda push | China | Al Jazeera
En 2015, Krasznahorkay et ses collègues de l’ATOMKI postulèrent l’existence d’un nouveau boson d’une masse de 17 MeV, seulement 3’ fois plus lourds qu’un électron7. Dans le cadre de leurs recherches sur la matière noire, l’équipe hongroise bombarda du lithium 7 avec des protons ce qui créa un atome de beryllium 8 instable qui se désintégra rapidement en paires d’électrons et de positrons. La désintégration et le rejet de particule se fit avec un angle de 140° entre l’électron et le positron avec un dégagement d’énergie de 17MeV qui indique qu’une petite partie du beryllium 8 se transforme en énergie sous la forme d’une nouvelle particule. L’expérience fut depuis reproduite plusieurs fois par Krasznahorkay et par une autre équipe américaine8.
Refugee stories could do more harm than good
The pressure of storytelling can leave refugees feeling tokenised and disempowered.
Ever since I was forced to leave Syria five years ago, I have been sharing my personal story in the hope of raising awareness about the human rights violations in my home country. My experience of storytelling has been both positive and disappointing. On the one hand, it has enabled me to make connections with several supportive individuals who made me feel welcome. But on the other hand, the way that refugees are expected to share and curate their stories can do more harm than good.
Last year, I was approached by a prominent TV news network to discuss US airstrikes in Syria. I saw the invitation as an opportunity to share my academic perspective as the topic was closely related to what I was researching as part of my doctoral degree at the time. The interview proceeded with personal questions focused on my life in Syria. As I was not being asked about the airstrikes, I requested to share my view and they agreed.
A few days later, the reporter emailed with me the news clip of their coverage of the strikes. The clip started with a brief summary of what happened. I was then featured for a few seconds, half in tears and conspicuously traumatised while mentioning the loss of my brother and father. The clip then continued with a white Australian observer who gave his “objective” and scholarly analysis of the situation. While the journalist apologised for the “heavy editing”, this humiliating experience taught me that despite my background as a citizen journalist and an academic, for some I will forever be a traumatised Syrian refugee whose primary role is to evoke sympathy and tears.
Many organisations that work with refugees and asylum seekers also fall into this trap. While most of these organisations are well-meaning and do not directly coerce refugees to share their stories, there is often an expectation that refugees owe the wider public their stories. Thus, the expectation of sharing one’s story can transform into an obligation. I realised this when I politely declined an invitation to share my story from an institution that supported me in the past. Instead of the usual understanding response, a senior staff member at the institution said he was “very disappointed” that I could not save a few minutes of my time to help with their outreach work given what they have done for me.
Although refugees are free to choose the content of their stories, there is an expectation that they should include some details about their past in order to “move the audience” and inspire sympathy. In preparation for refugee events, some organisers send a list of prompt questions to refugee speakers about their life in their home country, their reasons for leaving, the challenges they have faced and how they have overcome them. There is an implicit narrative logic to the questions: ‘tragedy’ to ‘success’, ‘hell’ to ‘paradise’.
“The curated form of storytelling prevalent nowadays tends to marginalise or oversimplify.”
Some might claim that sharing refugee stories helps to raise awareness about important issues and generate positive social change by inspiring people and helping them better relate to the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers. Of course, personal stories contribute to achieving these goals. However, the curated form of storytelling prevalent nowadays tends to marginalise or oversimplify the complex context surrounding these stories.
While many refugees inspire others with their perseverance and resilience, their trauma and their stories should not be packaged in order to inspire. Refugees are not objects or vehicles of inspiration and sympathy. By repeatedly requesting refugees to share stories of why they have sought refuge, we essentialise their identities. People with disabilities face similar objectification when people treat their very existence and ability to lead their lives as inspiring.
The whole paradigm of using stories to raise awareness and change hearts and minds warrants further research. In my experience, the main audience of refugee narratives are people who support refugees already and tend to perceive these stories as a powerful demonstration of resilience and contribution to society. But we should be aware that the fetishisation of success stories can ignore the painful reality that for many refugees, surviving and adapting to a new life outside of their home country is often overwhelming, difficult and painful.
“Empowering refugees does not have to come through emphasising their heartbreaking stories.”
It is critical that refugees and the institutions that work closely with them are cognisant of the potential risks of sharing painful details of refugee stories. Because many refugees may feel obliged to accept requests of their supporters, being aware of the power imbalance is critical. People also need to recognise that refugees and asylum seekers have agency, and respect their right to determine how and when they share their stories. Empowering refugees does not have to come through emphasising their heartbreaking stories. Resisting the urge to ask refugees about their past life in their home country can be difficult, especially given their unique first-hand accounts. And while many refugees do not mind sharing their perspectives, we need to be careful not to trigger painful memories.
Once they are resettled, most refugees try to move on with their lives, focus on their families, establish new careers and contribute to the society that has taken them in. How many stories do we hear about the challenges of young people adapting to a completely new education system? The difficulty of finding employment? The joy of discovery in a new country? If we are genuinely interested in supporting refugees, then we should focus on stories about their present and future, not just their past.
#témoignage #storytelling #réfugiés #migrations #empowerment #disempowerment #personnification #humiliation #victimisation #obligation #émotions #narrative #dépolitisation #essentialisation #histoires #risques #présent #passé
How Britain stole $45 trillion from India | Colonialism | Al Jazeera
There is a story that is commonly told in Britain that the #colonisation of India - as horrible as it may have been - was not of any major economic benefit to Britain itself. If anything, the administration of India was a cost to Britain. So the fact that the empire was sustained for so long - the story goes - was a gesture of Britain’s benevolence.
New research by the renowned economist Utsa Patnaik - just published by Columbia University Press - deals a crushing blow to this #narrative. Drawing on nearly two centuries of detailed data on tax and trade, Patnaik calculated that Britain drained a total of nearly $45 trillion from India during the period 1765 to 1938.
Hanna La Rouge n’est ni un jeu ni une enquête. C’est votre mission, et la première fiction historique en temps réel réalisée par Anita Hugi, co-écrite par David Dufresne et illustrée par Anja Kofmel. Grève générale, novembre 1918 : plongez dans l’Europe Moderne Année Zéro. Vous êtes l’archiviste d’une banque suisse, chargé de détruire les traces de la Grande Grève de 1918. Vous allez suivre l’histoire d’Hanna, une manifestante de l’époque. Allez-vous obtempérer ? Irez-vous sur les routes d’Europe à la (...)
What Empire Loyalists Are Really Saying When They Bash Julian Assange – Caitlin Johnstone
So when you see some political writer yukking it up about Julian Assange and kitty litter, what they are really saying is, “Hey! Look at me! You can count on me to advance whatever #narratives get passed down from on high! I’ll cheer on all the wars! I’ll play up the misdeeds of our great nation’s rivals and ignore the misdeeds of our allies! I’ll literally spit on Assange if you’ll give my career a boost!”
They are saying, “I support everything the media-controlling oligarchs support, and I hate everything they hate. I will be a reliable mouthpiece of the ruling class regardless of who is elected in our fake elections to our fake official government. I will say all the right things. I will protect what you need protected. I will hide what you want hidden. I understand what you want me to do without your explicitly telling me to do it. I’ve got what you need. I have no principles. Look, I’m even joining in the dog pile against a political prisoner who can’t defend himself.”
Sanders Hears the Plight of Workers, but His Amazon Bill is Misguided | Op-Eds & Columns | CEPR
“Pay-go” rules — rules that say new programs need to be paid for with tax hikes or cuts in other programs — prevented Democrats the last time they were the majority party in Congress from implementing policies to help workers and communities devastated by the offshoring of manufacturing or the collapse of the housing bubble regain their economic footing.
They should not once again buy into the false #narrative that taxes need to be raised before government can spend. There are limits to spending on programs, of course, but these are not set by tax revenue. They are set instead by available resources — workers, equipment, natural resources that can be put to work.
When resources are fully employed, further attempts by companies to expand production or government to expand programs will translate into inflation rather than higher GDP.
At that point, tax increases to reduce demand and bring spending in line with resource capabilities are in order. Rolling back Trump administration tax cuts that benefit the wealthiest would be a good place to start.
How the UAE is destroying #Yemen | Middle East Eye
Et encore une guerre par procuration qui n’intéresse pas du tout les #MSM,
The UAE’s rift with Saudi Arabia has also been problematic. Riyadh has supported Islah, Yemen’s Muslim Brotherhood branch, as a stable ally on the ground. But the UAE opposes the Brotherhood, instead backing militants who maintain non-hostile relations with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) - which it is supposed to be fighting - to counteract Islah, researcher Helen Lackner notes in her book Yemen in Crisis. As such, the UAE is in a proxy war with Saudi Arabia in Yemen.
Why We Know So Little About the U.S.-Backed War in Yemen – Rolling Stone
What the U.N. calls the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis” is an unhappy confluence of American media taboos
How the Corporate Media Enslave Us to a World of #Illusions
For several years now, I have been writing regular posts on my blog with one end in mind: to help open a door for readers and encourage them to step through. I select issues, usually those that dominate western media coverage and represent a #consensus that we might term the Great Western #Narrative, and try to show how this narrative has been constructed not to inform and enlighten but to conceal and deceive.
Twelve Tips For Making Sense Of The World – Caitlin Johnstone
In an environment that is saturated with mass media propaganda, it can be hard to figure out which way’s up, let alone get an accurate read on what’s going on in the world. Here are a few tips I’ve learned which have given me a lot of clarity in seeing through the haze of spin and confusion. Taken separately they don’t tell you a lot, but taken together they paint a very useful picture of the world and why it is the way it is.
1. It’s always ultimately about acquiring power.
... all of mankind’s irrational behavior can be explained by the basic human impulse to amass power and influence over one’s fellow humans, combined with the fact that sociopaths tend to rise to positions of power.
2. Money rewards sociopathy.
The less empathy you have, the further you are willing to go, and the further up the ladder you can climb.
3. Wealth kills empathy.
4. Money is power.
This is because the ability to use corporate lobbying and campaign donations effectively amounts to the legalized bribery of elected officials, which means that money translates directly into political power.
5. This same ruling class controls the media.
... the first thing a new plutocrat does as soon as rising to a certain level of wealth is start buying up media influence, like Jeff Bezos did when he bought the Washington Post in 2013.
6. People are always manipulating each other.
Again, humans are social creatures, and we do what we can to increase our standing within our social circles.
The big problem is when skillful manipulators find their way into positions of large-scale influence like government or media.
7. Society is made of #narrative.
Maintaining an awareness that there is always an unending battle to control the narrative and manipulate it to advance plutocratic interests is an essential part of understanding the world.
8. The lines between nations are imaginary.
Those lines drawn on the map between countries are pure narrative as well; they’re only as real as the collective public agrees to pretend they are. The ruling elites know this and exploit this. They don’t think in terms of nations and governments, they think in terms of individuals and groups of individuals.
9. Powerful forces are naturally incentivized to collaborate with each other toward mutual interests.
You can be a low-grade millionaire and still live like a relatively normal civilian, but once you start obtaining giant amounts of wealth control you need to start collaborating with existing power structures or they’ll snuff you out to prevent you from rocking their boat, because again, money equals power. This is why Jeff Bezos contracts with the CIA and sits on a Pentagon advisory board, and it’s why Facebook and Google collaborate extensively with government agencies; they never would have been allowed to grow to their size if they had not. Plutocratic dynasties which have been in place since long before Amazon, Facebook and Google figured this out many generations ago, and have agreed to push forward in a direction of mutual interest that doesn’t upset the status quo that their wealth is built upon.
10. There is an immense amount of wealth that can be grabbed in the chaos of war and conflict.
11. The neocons are always wrong.
12. The push towards truth always starts with yourself.
You can’t out-manipulate seasoned manipulators. The main error most people make when trying to deal with a sociopath is to try and manipulate them back. Don’t even try. They have years of experience on you because they literally have done nothing else. While you were laughing and crying and worrying and connecting and relating to people, they were working out how to play humans like Garry Kasparov worked out how to play chess. And when you have literal teams of sociopaths collaborating together to amass power, you my dear child, do not have a chance. Don’t play their game. You will lose.
The only way to win this is to set your compass resolutely to “true.” Always be honest with yourself. Find all the different ways that you are manipulating others and see them and acknowledge them. Find your tribal allegiances and your desire to be right, and tip your hat to their existence. The more self-aware we are, the less levers we have to be manipulated by. If you are blindly partisan or loyal to a particular faction, that makes you gullible to propaganda because your wishful thinking and your desire to be right come into play. Get honest with yourself about who you are and what you want, and you will start to become an un-playable piece on the board.
If we can’t beat these bastards with truth, we don’t deserve to win.
Remi Brulin on Twitter: “A thread about the assassination attempt against the US Ambassador to Lebanon, Gunther Dean, in August of 1980; about new revelations that might finally help reveal who was behind this attack; and a call on US journalists to investigate”
U.S. Ambassador Dean Ambushed in Lebanon, Escapes Attack Unhurt - The Washington Post
U.S. Ambassador John Gunther Dean escaped unharmed tonight after gunmen in a speeding Mercedes attacked his bulletproof limousine as he was leaving his Hazmieh residence in a convoy.
The ensuing battle between the ambasador’s bodyguards and the gunmen left the embassy car demolished on the passenger side, with window glass shattered and tires flat, embassy sources said.
Later this evening, Dean appeared at the gate of the embassy and waved to bystanders but refused to make a statement on the incident. He showed no signs of injury. [The Associate Press, quoting security sources, said Dean’s wife Martine and daughter Catherine also were unharmed.]
It was the first attempt on an American ambassador’s life in Lebanon since June 16, 1976, when ambassador Francis E. Eloy, economic counselor Robert O. Waring and their chauffeur were kidnaped and killed on their way from West Beirut to East Beirut during the civil war.
[Several hours after the attack on Dean, gunmen with automatic rifles dragged the Spanish ambassador and his wife from their car and drove away in the embasy vehicle. Ambassador Luis Jordana Pozas told the Associated Press. Jordana said five men pushed them from the car in mostly Moslem West Beirut. There was no indication whether the theft of Jordana’s car was related to the attack on the American diplomat.]
Today’s attack came just hours after Dean said the United States was working with Israel and the United Nations to end the violence among Christian militiamen and Palestinian guerrillas in southern Lebanon. It was his first public statement since Aug. 21, when he created an uproar by condemning an Israeli raid on Palestinian guerilla strongholds in the area. The U.S. State Department later disavowed the statement.
There were conflicting reports about the kind of explosive that was aimed at the ambassador’s car. Some local radio stations said it was a rocket, while others said it was a rifle grenade. None of the reports could be confirmed.
The shooting took place as Dean was driving to Beirut. Excited security guards outside the U.S. Embassy told reporters that a spurt of machine-gun fire followed the explosion.
The attackers, who abandoned their car, fled into the woods on the side of the highway, Beirut’s official radio said.
Lebanese Army troops and internal security forces were quickly moved to the ambush site and an all-night search was begun to track down the would-be killers. Reliable police sources said two Lebanese suspected of being linked to the assassination attermpt were taken in for questioning.
Following a meeting with Lebanese Foreign Minister Fuad Butros today, Dean stressed that "American policy includes opposition to all acts of violence which ignore or violate the internationally recognized border between Lebanon and Israel.
The remarkable disappearing act of Israel’s car-bombing campaign in Lebanon or : What we (do not) talk about when we talk about ’terrorism’
Rémi Brulin, MondoWeiss, le 7 mai 2018
La remarquable occultation de la campagne israélienne d’attentats à la voiture piégée au Liban ou : Ce dont nous (ne) parlons (pas) quand nous parlons de terrorisme
Rémi Brulin, MondoWeiss, le 7 mai 2018
Remi Brulin on Twitter:
“Dean concludes: “I know as surely as I know anything that Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, was somehow involved in the attack. Undoubtedly using a proxy, our ally Israel had tried to kill me.” ( see Haaretz: ▻https://t.co/5qyKzTnS81 ; The Nation: ▻https://t.co/OytBrJPm5r )"
Did Israel try to kill the U.S. ambassador in Lebanon in the early 1980s?Haggai Hadas’ experience is not necessarily an advantage in the talks over Gilad Shalit’s release The Israeli intelligence community has committed quite a number of crimes against the United States during its 60-year lifetime. In the early 1950s it recruited agents from among Arab officers serving in Washington (with the help of military attache Chaim Herzog). In the 1960s it stole uranium through Rafi Eitan and the Scientific Liaison Bureau in what came to be known as the Apollo Affair, when uranium was smuggled to Israel from Dr. Zalman Shapira’s Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation - in Apollo, Pennsylvania). In the 1980s it operated spies (Jonathan Pollard and Ben-Ami Kadish), and used businessmen (such as Arnon Milchan) to steal secrets, technology and equipment for its nuclear program and other purposes.
Now the Israeli government is being accused of attempted murder. John Gunther Dean, a former U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, claims in a memoir released last week that Israeli intelligence agents attempted to assassinate him. Dean was born in 1926 in Breslau, Germany (today Wroclaw, Poland), as John Gunther Dienstfertig. His father was a Jewish lawyer who described himself as a German citizen of the Jewish religion who is not a Zionist. The family immigrated to the U.S. before World War II. As an adult Dean joined the State Department and served as a diplomat in Vietnam, Afghanistan and India, among other states.
Remi Brulin on Twitter:
“Bergman himself does not mention the assassination attempt against Dean. But we know that the FLLF took credit for this attack at the time. That Dean’s own investigation pointed to Israel & to its Lebanese proxies. And we now know that the FLLF was CREATED and RUN by Israel.”
Remi Brulin on Twitter: "Shlomo Ilya was, in the early 1980s, the head of the IDF liaison unit in Lebanon. He is also (in)famous for declaring, at the time, that he only weapon against terrorism is terrorism, and that Israel had options for “speaking the language the terrorists understand.” ▻https://t.co/TKx02n2SpA"
Richard Jackson on Twitter:
“Fascinating story about Israeli state terrorism in the 1980s, and how the US can’t face it, no doubt because it unsets all the certainties of its terrorism #narrative...”
Une vision orientaliste, par Juan Goytisolo (Le Monde diplomatique, juillet 2002)
La prétention de Bernard Lewis à l’impartialité professorale fait problème lorsque, par exemple, il retrace l’histoire du problème palestinien : « Entre 1947 et 1949, une grande partie des habitants arabes des territoires inclus dans le nouvel Etat d’Israël quittèrent leurs maisons et se réfugièrent sur la rive occidentale, dans la bande de Gaza et dans les pays voisins. Les Israéliens prétendent qu’ils s’en allèrent à l’instigation de leurs propres chefs, lesquels leur dirent de partir afin de ne pas gêner les mouvements des troupes et leur promirent qu’ils reviendraient sous peu sur les traces des armées arabes victorieuses. Les Arabes maintiennent qu’ils furent poussés dehors par les Israéliens. Les deux thèses sont vraies : toutes deux sont fausses (p. 176). »
Du chaos irakien à l’escalade contre l’Iran, par Alain Gresh (Les blogs du Diplo, 30 octobre 2007)
Ainsi a-t-on entendu l’universitaire Bernard Lewis, qui a servi de caution « orientaliste » à l’intervention américaine en Irak, annoncer le plus sérieusement du monde que Téhéran s’apprêtait à lancer une bombe atomique (qu’il n’a pas !) sur Israël le 22 août 2006 car ce jour correspond, dans le calendrier musulman, au voyage que fit le prophète Mahomet à Jérusalem puis au ciel, le président iranien pensant que l’apocalypse accélérera le retour de l’« imam caché ».
La Corée du Nord a montré comment jouer au #poker #nucléaire avec Trump – l’#Iran pourrait bien suivre | Middle East Eye
Par Trita Parsi
Tout au long des négociations sur le nucléaire, les deux parties ont dû constamment concilier deux intérêts opposés : d’un côté, le désir de progresser pour parvenir à un accord final – et donc à la fois éviter les fuites et faire le moins de vagues possible – de l’autre, la nécessité de préparer un plan B afin de rejeter sur l’autre camp la responsabilité de l’échec éventuel des pourparlers.
Plus les deux camps s’efforçaient de se rejeter la responsabilité des échecs, par le biais de fuites stratégiques, plus ils sapaient la véritable #diplomatie.
Très tôt, les Iraniens ont opté pour une stratégie qui allait minimiser la tension entre ces deux tendances, affichant un optimisme presque exagéré quant aux avantages de parvenir à un accord et jouant pleinement la carte de la raison.
Cette stratégie a contribué à améliorer le climat des pourparlers, ce qui, à son tour, a accru les chances de succès. Mais elle a également permis à l’Iran d’avoir une longueur d’avance au petit jeu des reproches si les pourparlers étaient venus à échouer. Bref, une situation toujours gagnante pour l’Iran. Une fois l’accord conclu, le pays a poursuivi cette même stratégie.
Le régime iranien a décidé de strictement respecter l’accord afin de regagner la confiance de la communauté internationale et de priver ses opposants de tout prétexte pour le briser, tout en s’arrangeant pour que l’Iran sorte vainqueur si l’accord venait à avorter.
Jusqu’à ce jour, l’Iran a suivi cette stratégie avec beaucoup de discipline et d’implication : l’Agence internationale de l’énergie atomique (#AIEA) a publié dix rapports consécutifs certifiant la totale adhésion de l’Iran à l’accord.
Pourtant, à tant s’efforcer d’adhérer à l’accord, Téhéran s’est trouvée confrontée à une situation imprévue : l’émergence d’un contexte propice à la fabrication d’un faux récit par les opposants à l’accord, pour qui l’Iran en était réduit, en fait, à conserver l’accord à tout prix.
Working class in Britain? You must be white | New Internationalist
Kam Sandhu questions why the British working class is inevitably conceived of as white, despite ethnic minority communities being at the sharpest end of inequality
Then They Came for the Globalists
See, the problem for the capitalist ruling classes is that global neoliberalism (i.e., globalism) is a really tough sell to regular folks. They can’t just come out and explain to people that national sovereignty is essentially dead, and that political power now resides among a network of global corporations (which couldn’t care less about their “nationality”) exploiting a globalized labor market (which is why their “good jobs” are not coming back) and a globalized financial market (which is why almost everything is being privatized and their families are being debt-enslaved). Nor can they admit that the “War on Terror” and the European refugee crisis it has caused, and the chaos and slaughter in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Syria, et cetera, is the predictable result of global capitalism aggressively restructuring the Greater Middle East, which it started doing more or less immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union (i.e., as soon as the final impediment to its pursuit of global hegemony was removed). This kind of thing doesn’t go over very well, not with most regular working class people.
So what the global capitalist ruling classes have to do is … well, they have to lie. They have to disseminate a different #narrative, a narrative that has nothing to do with the hegemony of global capitalism, the dissolution of national sovereignty, and the privatization of virtually everything. Because people aren’t total morons, this narrative needs to bear some resemblance to the actual conflict taking place. So, all right, a little rebranding is in order. Global neoliberalism becomes “Western democracy,” neo-nationalism becomes “Nazism,” and Vladimir Putin becomes Adolf Hitler.
#PhoneStories invité de la Nuit des Idées et de la Presse
L’Institut français, Reporters sans frontières et la Gaîté Lyrique proposent une « Nuit de la presse », autour de la liberté de la presse, des résistances à la censure et du futur du journalisme. Durant cette soirée alterneront table-rondes, cartes blanches et présentation de contenus numériques sur le journalisme. Notre collection PhoneStories sera présentée. PHONESTORIES.ME Une collection de récits du réel en mobile conçue par David Dufresne pour #Narrative_Boutique et Grand Garage. Produite par #Akufen (...)
/ Une, #Paris, Akufen, Narrative Boutique
HCDH | UN expert on extreme poverty and human rights to visit USA, one of the wealthiest countries in the world
Les #États-Unis exigent des autres pays (ou plutôt des pays qui ne leur sont pas inféodés) le respect de droits humains qu’eux-mêmes refusent formellement de respecter.
“Some might ask why a UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights would visit a country as rich as the United States. But despite great wealth in the US, there also exists great poverty and inequality,” said Mr. Alston.
“I would like to focus on how poverty affects the civil and political rights of people living within the US, given the United States’ consistent emphasis on the importance it attaches to these rights in its foreign policy , and given that it has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”
Why the UN is investigating extreme poverty … in America, the world’s richest nation | World news | The Guardian
The US poses an especially challenging subject for the UN special rapporteur because unlike all other industrialized nations, it fails to recognize fundamental social and economic rights such as the right to healthcare, a roof over your head or food to keep hunger at bay. The federal government has consistently refused to sign up to the international covenant on economic, social and cultural rights – arguing that these matters are best left to individual states.
Hey Reuters : Ken Roth’s Deep Devotion to US Empire Should Be Reported|Opinion|teleSUR
Ken Roth wrote in 2015, “For all its faults, the U.S. government remains the world’s most powerful proponent of human rights.”
Dans les pays ennemis seulement ; dans les pays inféodés leur violation est au contraire fortement encouragée.
Dire poverty in US to worsen under Trump, threatening democracy, top UN official says | Article [AMP] | Reuters
One illustration of horrific poverty and inequality, he said, was the comeback of hookworm, an intestinal parasite, in the South where local governments fail to provide clean water and sanitation and force people to pay for such services themselves.
While statistics show 14 percent of Americans live in poverty, so many more people live precariously on the edge that 20 percent is a more realistic figure, he said.
For example, he cited Wal-Mart Stores Inc workers who rely on government-issued food stamps because they cannot survive on what they earn at their fulltime jobs.
The United States has the lowest rate of social mobility among the world’s rich countries, meaning “the American dream is rapidly becoming the American illusion ,” he said.
“A child who is born into poverty has almost no chance of getting out of poverty in today’s United States,” he said.
“Current trends in the United States are actually undermining democracy,” he added. “Poor people have no chance of having their voices heard, no chance of influencing public policy.”
Alston said he was struck by views he encountered across the country that people see the rich as “enterprising, altruistic, hard-working, dedicated” and the poor as “losers, scammers, people trying to profit from the system.”
Those views are promoted by politicians to justify cuts in services and tax reforms that benefit the wealthy, he said.
“The spiral downwards is fueled by public policy,” he said.
Leaked memo schooled Tillerson on human rights - POLITICO
The May 17 memo reads like a crash course for a businessman-turned-diplomat, and its conclusion offers a starkly realist vision: that the U.S. should use human rights as a club against its adversaries, like Iran, China and North Korea, while giving a pass to repressive allies like the Philippines, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Syria, ’#Experts,’ and George Monbiot - Antiwar.com Original
That is not to say Assad, or at least sections of the Syrian government, could not have carried out the attack on Khan Sheikhoun. But it is to argue that in a matter like this one, where so much is at stake, the evidence must be subjected to rigorous scrutiny, and that critics, especially experts who offer counter-evidence, must be given a fair hearing by the left. It is to argue that, when the case against Assad fits so neatly a long-standing and self-serving western #narrative, a default position of skepticism is fully justified. It is to argue that facts, strong as they may seem, can be manipulated even by expert bodies, and therefore due weight needs also to be given to context – including an assessment of motives.
This is not “denialism”, as Monbiot claims. It is a rational strategy adopted by those who object to being railroaded once again – as they were in Iraq and Libya – into catastrophic regime change operations.
New Texts Out Now: Nader Hashemi and Danny Postel, eds. Sectarianization: Mapping the New Politics of the Middle East
Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book?
Danny Postel and Nader Hashemi (DP and NH): Over the last several years, a narrative has taken root in Western media and policy circles that attributes the turmoil and violence engulfing the Middle East to supposedly ancient sectarian hatreds. “Sectarianism” has become a catchall explanation for virtually all of the region’s problems. Thomas Friedman, for instance, claims that in Yemen today “the main issue is the seventh century struggle over who is the rightful heir to the Prophet Muhammad — Shiites or Sunnis.” Barack Obama has been one the biggest proponents of this thesis. On several occasions, he has invoked “ancient sectarian differences” to explain the turmoil in the region. In his final State of the Union address, he asserted that the issues plaguing the Middle East today are “rooted in conflicts that date back millennia.” A more vulgar version of this view prevails among right-wing commentators. But in one form or another, this new sectarian essentialism, which is lazy and convenient — and deeply Orientalist — has become the new conventional wisdom in the West.
Our book forcefully challenges this narrative and offers an alternative set of explanations for the rise in sectarian conflict in the Middle East in recent years. Emphasis on recent: the book demonstrates that the sharp sectarian turn in the region’s politics is largely a phenomenon of the last few decades — really since 1979 — and that pundits who imagine it as an eternal or fixed feature of the Middle East are reading history backwards. So the book is an exercise in refutation and ideology critique on the one hand, while also offering a set of rigorous social scientific arguments about what exactly is driving the intensification of sectarian conflict in the Middle East today. Our contributors come from political science, history, anthropology, and religious studies, and it is from this range of disciplines that we present a social and political theory as well as a critical history of sectarianism.
Syria the Latest Case of US ‘Stumbling’ Into War | FAIR
The US didn’t enter the conflict in Syria in September 2014 deliberately; it was forced into it by outside actors. The US didn’t arm and fund anti-Assad rebels for four years to the tune of $1 billion a year as part of a broader strategy for the region; it did so as a result of some unknown geopolitical dark matter.
L’armée américaine prépare ses soldats à la guerre spatiale - Sciences - Numerama
Ces derniers sont une équipe de soldats américains, qui « jouent aux #méchants » pour mettre dans des condition imprévisibles les troupes classiques. Captain Christopher Barnes, directeur de l’entrainement du 26th Space Aggressors Squadron, décrit le travail de cette unité des plus originales : « Notre travail est non seulement de comprendre les différents types de menaces et de potentiels ennemis, mais également d’être capable de les décrire et les reproduire pour les #gentils, notre Air Force. »
#Israel backs Saudi Arabia in confrontation with Qatar | The Electronic Intifada
“New line drawn in the Middle Eastern sand,” Michael Oren, Israel’s deputy minister for diplomacy, proclaimed on Twitter. “No longer Israel against Arabs but Israel and Arabs against Qatar-financed terror.”
Wolfgang Streeck: The Return of the Repressed. New Left Review 104, March-April 2017.
Lies, even blatant lies, have always existed in politics. We need think only of Colin Powell’s PowerPoint presentation to the United Nations Security Council, with his aerial photographs proving the existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. As to Germany, one still remembers a defence minister, greatly revered up to this time as a social democrat of the old school, who claimed that the German troops sent into Afghanistan at the urging of the US were defending, ‘at the Hindu Kush’, the security of Germany. However, with the neoliberal revolution and the transition to ‘post-democracy’  associated with it, a new sort of political deceit was born, the expert lie. It began with the Laffer Curve, which was used to prove scientifically that reductions in taxation lead to higher tax receipts.  It was followed, inter alia, by the European Commission’s ‘Cecchini Report’ (1988), which, as a reward for the ‘completion of the internal market’ planned for 1992, promised the citizens of Europe an increase in prosperity of the order of 5 per cent of the European Union’s GDP, an average 6 per cent reduction in the price of consumer goods, as well as millions of new jobs and an improvement in public finances of 2.2 per cent of GDP. In the US, meanwhile, financial experts such as Bernanke, Greenspan and Summers agreed that the precautions taken by rational investors in their own interest and on their own account to stabilize ever ‘freer’ and ever more global financial markets were enough; government agencies had no need to take action to prevent the growth of bubbles, partly because they had now learned how to painlessly eliminate the consequences if bubbles were to burst.
At the same time, the ‘#narratives’  disseminated by mainstream parties, governments and PR specialists, and the decisions and non-decisions associated with them, became ever more absurd. The penetration of the machinery of government by previous and future Goldman Sachs managers continued apace, in recognition of their indispensable expertise, as if nothing had changed. After several years during which not a single one of the bank managers who had shared responsibility for the crash of 2008 had been brought to justice, Obama’s attorney general Eric Holder returned to the New York law firm from which he had come, which specializes in representing financial companies under government investigation—and to a princely million-dollar salary. And Hillary Clinton, who together with her husband and daughter had amassed a fortune in the hundreds of millions in the sixteen years since leaving the White House—from Goldman Sachs speaking fees among other things, far above the earnings even of a Larry Summers—entered the election campaign as the self-designated representative of the ‘hardworking middle class’, a class that in reality had long since been reduced by capitalist progress to the status of a surplus population.
The return of a Shia-order in the Middle East ? | Politics | Al Jazeera
Too much emphasis on the narrative of the “return” of the “historically marginalised Shia communities”, however, risks overshadowing the living experience of a region in which religious boundaries were, for most of its history, shifting, blurred, and ambiguous.
Despite what the ongoing debates would seem to imply, Sunnis and Shias, but also Christians, Jews and other religious groups or confessions have in fact lived for centuries in the region, reaching a level of coexistence - a concept that does not erase the existence of boundaries but implicitly acknowledges that such boundaries are negotiable - higher than any registered in most of the rest of the world, Europe included.
This should not suggest that communal conflict was historically unknown. As this article also confirms, instances of Sunni-Shia violence have been documented as early as the Middle Ages. Yet, they don’t mirror the actual history of most of the region’s past (pdf). More importantly, their nature and scope are hardly comparable to more recent times.