operatingsystem:isis

  • On a mission from God : Pompeo messages evangelicals from the Middle East - Asia Times
    http://www.atimes.com/article/on-a-mission-from-god-pompeo-messages-evangelicals-from-the-middle-east

    Commentaire ironique d’Elijah Magnier sur Twitter (https://twitter.com/ejmalrai/status/1085258903045238784) : Al-Baghdadi a également une « mission divine » et Dieu doit vraiment s’intéresser au Moyen-Orient pour y envoyer autant d’envoyés !

    “This trip is especially meaningful for me as an evangelical Christian, coming so soon after the Coptic Church’s Christmas celebrations. This is an important time. We’re all children of Abraham: Christians, Muslims, Jews. In my office, I keep a Bible open on my desk to remind me of God and His Word, and The Truth.”

    He added that he was in Cairo to herald another truth, that America was a “force for good” in the Middle East.

    Pompeo then proceeded to rip into former president Barack Obama, who some fringe evangelists have accused of being a secret Muslim and even the Antichrist. The secretary of state used his speech to air domestic grievances, blaming Obama for the rise of Islamic State (ISIS) and the empowerment of Iran.

    “Remember: It was here, here in this city, that another American stood before you. He told you that radical Islamist terrorism does not stem from an ideology. He told you that 9/11 led my country to abandon its ideals, particularly in the Middle East.

    “The results of these misjudgments have been dire,” Pompeo told an assembled group of blank-faced students, eliciting little palpable reaction.

    “We grossly underestimated the tenacity and viciousness of radical Islamism, a debauched strain of the faith that seeks to upend every other form of worship or governance. ISIS drove to the outskirts of Baghdad as America hesitated. They raped and pillaged and murdered tens of thousands of innocents. They birthed a caliphate across Syria and Iraq and launched terror attacks that killed all across continents,” he said.


  • Donald J. Trump sur Twitter : “Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions. Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds . Create 20 mile safe zone....” / Twitter
    https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1084584259510304768

    #Turquie #etats-unis #syrie #Kurdes


  • #conte_de_fee_academique
    #yezidi
    #Lund #professor freed student from Islamic State #war zone - The Local
    https://www.thelocal.se/20181213/lund-professor-freed-student-from-islamic-state-warzone

    A chemistry professor at Lund University dispatched a team of #mercenaries into an Islamic State (also known as IS, Isis or Daesh) war zone to free one of her doctoral students and his family.

    She contacted the university’s then security chief Per Gustafson.

    “It was almost as if he’d been waiting for this kind of mission,” Turner said. “Per Gustafson said that we had a transport and security deal which stretched over the whole world.”

    Over a few days of intense activity, Gustafson hired a security company which then arranged the rescue operation.

    A few days later two Landcruisers carrying four heavily-armed mercenaries roared into the area where Jumaah was hiding, and sped him away to Erbil Airport together with his wife and two small children.



  • Netanyahu will do all he can to destroy Jewish-Arab alliances

    The alliance between Palestinian citizens of Israel and the Jewish left has historically been viewed as a threat to the rule of the right. That’s why Netanyahu is doing everything he can to undermine it.

    By Eli Bitan

    https://972mag.com/netanyahu-will-do-all-he-can-to-destroy-jewish-arab-alliances/139103

    The Israeli right knows exactly how to harm the left: by making its alliance with Palestinian citizens not only impossible but illegitimate, thus drawing away its power. The Jewish left, for its part, has historically done enough to undermine this alliance. But recent events have created new possibilities — and that’s why the right is coming out with guns blazing.

    Related stories
    This is how to fight Israel’s Jewish Nation-State Law By Said Zeedani | November 29, 2018
    The right keeps winning in Israel because Israelis are right wing By Dahlia Scheindlin | November 19, 2018
    In the age of Trump and Netanyahu, progressive values are winning By Bar Gissin and Maya Haber | November 16, 2018
    The case for a unified Palestinian protest movement By Rabeea Eid | September 24, 2018
    This dynamic is currently playing out in Haifa, where in the recent municipal elections, newly-elected Mayor Einat Kalisch-Rotem appointed Raja Zaatry, a veteran activist from the Jewish-Arab Hadash party, to be her deputy. Kalisch-Rotem, who defeated incumbent Yona Yahav from the Labor Party, was elected with the support of the left and the ultra-Orthodox community. In early December, she announced her coalition, which excluded the right-wing Likud, and included the Haredi party, Hadash, and Meretz.

    Then, on Dec. 4, Makor Rishon, the newspaper of Israel’s religious-nationalist community, published an article on Zaatry, which painted him as a supporter of BDS and a Hezbollah sympathizer who previously compared Israel to ISIS.

    The furor came almost immediately. Interior Minister Aryeh Deri demanded Kalisch-Rotem walk back from her decision, while Prime Minister Netanyahu opened his weekly cabinet meeting by discussing Zaatry. Yair Lapid, who in the eyes of many Israelis has come to represent an opposition to the Netanyahu government, decried Zaatry’s appointment on Facebook.

    On Wednesday afternoon, Netanyahu even phoned the mayor in an attempt to persuade her to change her mind. Kalisch-Rotem, however, made clear to him that her coalition agreement would remain unchanged. The controversy might appear like a tempest in a teapot, but it is evidently enough to concern both Netanyahu and Lapid. Kalisch-Rotem’s coalition, it turns out, is a threat to the right’s rule in Israel.


  • Opinion | Who’s the Real American Psycho? - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/10/opinion/sunday/dick-cheney-donald-trump-vice-movie.html

    Par #Maureen_Dowd

    Even for Washington, the capital of do-overs and the soulless swamp where horrendous mistakes never prevent you from cashing in and getting another security clearance, this is a repellent spectacle. War criminals-turned-liberal heroes are festooned with book and TV contracts, podcasts and op-ed perches.

    Those who sold us the “cakewalk” Iraq war and the outrageously unprepared Sarah Palin and torture as “enhanced interrogation,” those who left the Middle East shattered with a cascading refugee crisis and a rising ISIS, and those who midwifed the birth of the Tea Party are washing away their sins in a basin of Trump hate.

    #criminels #etats-unis


  • Croatia, criminalisation of solidarity

    With 700 cases of reports of violence and theft against migrants at the border, Croatia holds the negative record among the countries of the area. Meanwhile, intimidation against solidarity increases and the first convictions pour down.

    “At the end of August 2015, when the first wave of refugees came to our territory, with a group of friends we went every day to help in Bapska, in Tovarnik, later in Opatovac. It was solidarity that moved me. Here in Croatia many were refugees not so long ago and still remembered what it means to be driven out of your home. At that time, the borders were open and refugees were still seen as human beings. We worked together, volunteers from all over the world, the police, the locals who collected food and basic necessities. It was nice to see how people managed to organise, and very quickly”, recalls Dragan Umičević.

    Dragan, a retired veteran from Osijek, has continued to volunteer for refugees both in Croatia and in Serbia and Greece. When the Balkan route was already closed, in collaboration with the NGO Are you syrious? (AYS), he assisted some refugees by going personally to the border with Serbia, to be sure they were allowed to apply for asylum in Croatia. In fact, for some time now, many NGO testimonies on the field agree that the Croatian police carries out illegal rejections of refugees, accompanied by violence, denying them the right to asylum.
    “Unwitting negligence”

    On the night of March 21st, 2018, being the closest volunteer, Dragan went to Strošinci on the recommendation of AYS, that was in contact with a group of refugees who had just entered Croatian territory. Among them were the family members of Madina Hussiny, the little Afghan girl who was hit by a train after her group, in a previous attempt to cross the border, had been illegally returned to Serbia by the Croatian police.

    “In a group of 14 people there were 11 minors, including some very young children. There was a storm, they were frozen, wet, worn out. At the border I contacted the police, explaining the situation, and acted in cooperation with them. It would not have been possible to do otherwise”, continues Umičević, who then indicated the way to the refugees by flashing the headlights of his car. “When the refugees arrived, the police told me I could go home, but I preferred to take them to the police station to make sure that their asylum application was presented. After an informal interview, during which no accusation against me was advanced, I left”.

    Two weeks later, however, Umičević learned that he had earned the ungrateful role of the first activist targeted by a judicial proceeding for a crime of solidarity in Croatia. Charges questioned both the fact that the police had authorised him to flash to the group of refugees and his awareness, at the time, of the exact position of the refugees in relation to the Croatian border.

    In first instance, he was found guilty of “unwitting negligence” – as, despite being notified of the geolocation of the group of refugees, already in Croatia, he acted without being able to verify it – and sentenced to pay a fine of 60,000 kunas (over 8,000 Euros). The prosecution, however, had requested a fine of 320,000 kunas, two months in prison for the volunteer, and the ban on the activity of AYS.

    “The purpose of the sentence is to discourage volunteers, who will think twice before engaging, especially if the sentence is confirmed, and then the police will have their hands free. This can be transferred to other segments of everyday life”, concludes Umičević, who is now awaiting the appeal. In the meantime, he has received the solidarity of the people around him, civil society, and some media. “That I know of, no politician has expressed solidarity. They have nothing to gain from that”. Indeed, the Croatian political scene has been silent not only in front of his case, but in the face of the systematic violations of refugee rights in general.
    Violations of human rights

    On October 23rd, Platforma 112 , which brings together many Croatian human rights organisations, once again invited Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Interior Minister Davor Božinović to suspend attacks on associations supporting refugees, demanding independent investigations and punishment not of those who defend human rights, but those who violate them.

    This was only the last of the appeals, which followed the letter from Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović to Prime Minister Plenković, in which the Croatian government was asked to stop police violence on refugees trying to enter the country.

    The reticence of the Croatian police in providing access to information was also highlighted in the 2017 report by ombuswoman Lora Vidović, whose office, as reported on the official site itself , receives daily inquiries by foreign and local media on cases of violence and violation of rights – impossibility of applying for asylum in the country – to the detriment of refugees.

    The appeal by Platforma 112 has fallen on deaf ears, with no reaction from either Croatian politics or European governments. For a European Union that seeks to outsource the management of refugee flows as much as possible and no matter what, violence on its doorsteps is not news. According to UNHCR report Desperate Journeys , with 700 reported cases of violence and theft at the border, Croatia holds the negative record among the countries of the area, compared to 150 and 140 cases, respectively, in Hungary and Romania.

    Intimidations against solidarity in Croatia have intensified since Madina’s family entered the country. The family was detained in the Tovarnik closed camp for over two months after applying for asylum in Croatia, and transferred to an open structure only after repeated interventions by the European Court of Human Rights. The NGOs (AYS and Center for Peace Studies) and lawyers (Ivo Jelavić and Sanja Bezbradica) who supported the family in their search for the truth received pressures. Umičević’s conviction is part of this framework.
    The media debate

    The Croatian events cannot be separated from the European context of criminalisation of solidarity, with a series of judicial proceedings in Italy, France, Hungary, and elsewhere. Moreover, the collaboration of border police in implementing chain rejections from Italy to Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina was exposed by a recent report by La Stampa .

    However, what currently stands out in Croatia is the aggressive media campaign against refugees, also stimulated in recent weeks by the news from Velika Kladuša, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where thousands of individuals are pressing at the borders of the European Union.

    In particular, a piece by a well-known right-wing opinionist can be seen as a sort of manifesto of the new right wing – sovereignist, anti-migrant, and contrary to secularisation.

    On Večernji List, Nino Raspudić compared those who selflessly help refugees to the bizarre case of a Dutch tourist hospitalised for the bite of a viper she had tried to pet. Both cases would show a deformed view of reality typical of Western civilisation, unable to recognise true evil and danger, but “happy to kill unborn children and send parents to euthanasia”. The article continues by attacking NGOs, defined as “traffickers”, “criminals, mobsters, mercenaries”, attached “to Soros’ breast”. These are the same accusations periodically circulated by obscure media and Serbian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Hungarian, and now also Italian politicians, conflating otherwise conflicting extreme right discourses in the hate speech against refugees.

    In the column Reakcija, also hosted by Večernji List, opinionist Mate Miljić stated that the European Union is to blame for the pressure of migrants at Croatian borders because, “in its will to create a multicultural melting pot, it has allowed mass illegal immigration”. Moreover, in his opinion, the left would be ready to cut pensions for war veterans to “give them to illegal migrants”.

    Trvtko Barun, director of Jesuit Refugee Service, replied to Raspudić on the same newspaper. Pointing to the dangers of calling to hatred and using distorted images, Barun cited Pope Bergoglio’s positions on refugees, that struggle to be received in the Croatian Catholic Church.
    Narratives of fear

    In addition to direct crusades, however, the Croatian press is spreading narratives that stimulate the construction of barriers, fuelling suspicion, fear, and lack of empathy toward refugees.

    In the days of pressure on the borders of Velika Kladuša, following a declaration by a local police inspector, the news circulated for days that a migrant suspected of murdering five people in Macedonia had been arrested, even after this was categorically denied by the sources of the Macedonian Interior Ministry.

    The very hierarchy of the news shows the construction – intentional or not – of a narrative of suspicion and fear, with refugees (now called “illegal migrants”) without faces, names, and stories, seen exclusively as a threat to public order.

    The story of some refugees who, in days of bad weather, allegedly entered some vacant holiday homes in the mountain region of Gorski Kotar, to seek shelter and dry clothes, received great attention nationally, although the damage amounted to a few hundred Euros.

    As elsewhere in Europe, also in Croatia the many fake news and the prejudices circulating on the web – both on registered outlets and on social networks – find in the fear of the other fertile ground to build easy consensus and grab clicks. In a piece on Novi List, however, Ladislav Tomičić recalled that the habit of resorting to lying will leave a mark in society, which will pay the price also when the wave of refugees is exhausted.

    https://www.balcanicaucaso.org/eng/Areas/Croatia/Croatia-criminalisation-of-solidarity-190998
    #Croatie #asile #migrations #réfugiés #solidarité #délit_de_solidarité

    • La Croatie criminalise la solidarité

      6 novembre — 14h15 : Le 23 octobre, la plate-forme 112, qui réunit de nombreuses associations d’aide aux réfugiés, a appelé le Premier ministre Andrej Plenković et le ministre de l’Intérieur Davor Božinović à suspendre les attaques judiciaires en cours contre les associations de solidarité, qui se sont multipliées ces derniers mois. Dans le même temps, la majorité des médias croates, notamment le quotidien Večernji List multiplient les articles et les éditoriaux très hostiles aux réfugiés, réclamant parfois la création d’un mur sur la frontière avec la Bosnie-Herzégovine.

      via Courrier des Balkans : https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Bosnie-police-renforts-frontieres

    • Croatie : sale temps pour les ONG d’aide aux réfugiés

      Les bénévoles et employés d’ONG d’aide aux réfugiés en Croatie sont confrontés quasiment tous les jours à des intimidations, dénonce le réseau de médias européens Euractiv. Des menaces anonymes et actes de vandalisme qui font suite aux tentatives du ministère de l’Intérieur de criminaliser les activités de ces organisations humanitaires.

      Le ministère de l’Intérieur a récemment refusé de prolonger son accord de coopération avec le Centre pour les études de la paix (CMS), une organisation qui s’occupe des réfugiés et demandeurs d’asile depuis quinze ans. Suite à cette décision, le CMS est désormais interdit de se rendre dans les centres d’accueil, tandis que ses bénévoles ne peuvent plus enseigner le croate ni fournir une aide juridique aux réfugiés qui suivent un parcours d’intégration.

      L’ONG Are You Syrious (AYS), qui travaille avec les réfugiés depuis 2015, a quant à elle vu ses bureaux vandalisés à plusieurs reprises au cours des dernières semaines. Les murs et un véhicule de l’organisation ont été tagués. Lors d’attaques précédentes, des briques avaient été jetés sur les fenêtres et les véhicules de l’organisation.

      Des attaques qui se produisent alors que les discours de haine à l’encontre des réfugiés se généralisent en Croatie et dans le reste de l’Europe. Pour Sara Kekuš (CMS), citée par Euractiv, c’est résultat de « la politique européenne actuelle envers les réfugiés [...] que la droite extrême qualifie fréquemment de migrants illégaux et présente comme une menace pour toute l’Europe », déclare-t-elle.

      AYS est également l’objet d’intimidations sur les réseaux sociaux avec des messages les accusant d’être « à la solde de Soros pour islamiser l’Europe », d’aider « les terroristes et les violeurs », et les menaçant de « punitions conséquentes ». Mi-novembre, le Centre pour l’intégration, qui dépend d’AYS, et son entrepôt à Novi Zagreb ont été vandalisés avec un graffiti « Les immigrants ne sont pas les bienvenus » inscrit sur un mur et « Fuck Isis » tagué sur leur véhicule. « Tout cela a lieu, alors que le ministre de l’Intérieur Davor Božinović a déclaré au Parlement que notre organisation était impliquée dans d’obscures activités de trafic », rappelle Asja Korbar d’AYS.

      Le ministère de l’Intérieur a exercé des pressions sur le CMS et AYS après que ces deux ONG ont publié des témoignages de récurrentes violences policières à l’encontre des réfugiés. La situation s’est détériorée après la mort de Madini Husini, une fillette qui a perdu la vie le 21 novembre 2017 le long de la voie ferrée Tovarnik-Šid, près de la frontière serbe. « Quand on s’est saisi de l’affaire, le ministère de l’Intérieur a commencé à nous criminaliser », explique Sara Kekuš. « Il s’est mis à associer notre organisation à des trafiquants et à criminaliser notre travail plutôt que d’enquêter sur cette mort et de résoudre l’affaire. »

      Les déclarations du ministère de l’Intérieur ont été fermement condamnées par la médiatrice de la Réublique, Lora Vidović. « Les trafiquants sont les ennemis des droits humains et constituent une menace pour les migrants, ils ne doivent donc pas être associés aux ONG qui agissent conformément aux lois croates », a-t-elle affirmé, avant de conclure : « Je suis sûre qu’il ne s’agit que d’une poignée d’individus et que la majorité des citoyens condamne ces violences, mais il est très important que les institutions fassent passer le même message et poursuivent les responsables ».

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Croatie-ONG-refugies


  • National Security Pros, It’s Time to Talk About Right-Wing Extremism

    Ask any of us who works in national security what to do about ISIS, and we’d have no problem pitching you ideas. Even if we lack expertise in the topic or don’t work directly on it, we’d still have opinions and thoughts, because we’ve been swimming in a sea of articles, op-eds, books, hearings, programs, and overall research and debate for years. But ask us about right-wing extremism, a violent ideology that’s killed more Americans than ISIS in the last decade, and most of us would pause — either because we were unaware of the problem or, worse, we were afraid to speak openly about it.

    So let’s talk about it now.

    Over the last decade, individuals and groups fueled by this virulent ideology have committed 71 percent of the known politically or religiously inspired killings in our country — that is, 274 of the 387 Americans murdered by extremists. Reports now indicate it was part of the recent murder of 17 school children and teachers in Florida, just as it was part of mass shootings that have happened everywhere from California to Charleston. It has not just hit inside the US, but has struck many of our closest allies, both causing near-tragedies and horrible massacres. It is not a new threat; it has killed hundreds of Americans in past decades. But it is growing in power and influence, worrisomely being stoked by foreign nations like Russia that wish our nation harm. It is a clear, present, and proven danger to the United States. Yet we find it awkward to talk about.

    There are many reasons why we have a hard time acknowledging the deadly threat from the cluster of groups that gather inside our country under the hateful flags of white nationalism, white supremacy, anti-government militia, and Neo-Nazism. One reason is to avoid appearing too partisan, a desire to be even-handed. There is irony in that we seek to avoid appearing biased, even when the threat espouses bias to the point of justifying hating and even killing their fellow Americans. So, after each episode of right-wing violence, we avoid talking about it, even to the point of reaching in the opposite direction. For instance, after these groups united to march on Charlottesville, culminating in the killing of a young woman, major U.S. papers ran more op-eds condemning the counter-protesters, who have yet to commit a mass killing, than those who committed the crime.

    I must pause here to pre-empt the inevitable “what-aboutism” — the kind of attempts to change the conversation that wouldn’t happen in an article on a group like ISIS. Yes, far-left violence is bad. (See how easy it is to write that? There’s no need to caveat violent extremists of any flag as “very fine people.”) But over the last decade, 3 percent of extremist killings in the U.S. have been committed by members of far left-wing groups — a fraction of the 71 percent by right-wing extremists and 26 percent by Islamic extremists. Those figures are the ADL’s, which documents them case by case. If you don’t like the ADL’s categorization, you could use the data gathered by colleagues of mine at the New America Foundation, which drew on the statements of law enforcement officials to determine motivation in the various attacks. That dataset shows that attacks by right-wing extremists outnumber those by left-wing groups more than 17 to one. Or you could use the one compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which since the rise of the “alt-right” in 2014, has documented 43 people killed and more than 60 injured by young men whose social media use evinced a similar ideology — and often a “lone-wolf” style familiar from other forms of terrorism. And this was before Parkland. In short, from a standpoint of scale, trends, and impact, we have a problem that shouldn’t require what-aboutism or ignoring the bulk of the problem. Nor is the “alt-left,” or “violent left,” a viable political movement. Certainly, it has not bled into the broader mainstream of party politics and key media outlets, nor held multiple armed standoffs after seizing government facilities, nor even paralyzed entire American cities in fear.

    We also have to admit that we are quiet about right-wing extremist violence out of calculation. The cost-vs.-gain equations that shape our choices are simply different from other topics. Compare the professional benefits to the potential risks of publishing an article, creating a college course, writing a book or dissertation, organizing a conference, hosting a speech, creating a university or thinktank project, funding a foundation program, etc., on right-wing extremism. It is not just that there is no great profit in it. It is that every one of these endeavors would be far more difficult, and would likely create far more headaches for us and our bosses, than a similar project on pretty much any other topic in our field.

    This isn’t to say there aren’t fantastic researchers on this topic; there are many, who have valuably shaped much of what we know about the issue. But we in the rest of the field must acknowledge that they’ve chosen a more professionally risky path than most of us, even though the very object of their study has killed more Americans over the last few years than essentially any other problem we are working on.

    The same problem plagues government. For an elected official, or, worse, a U.S. government employee, to speak about this threat carries proven political and professional risks; doing so has literally cost people their jobs. And that was before we had the first president in the modern era to express sympathy for and be celebrated by these groups.

    The result is that far-right extremism mirrors that of Islamic extremism in its forms, spread, and goals. The head of counter-terrorism policing in the U.K., which broke up four planned far-right terrorist attacks in just the last year, says both groups “create intolerance, exploit grievances, and generate distrust of state institutions.” But the politics of doing something about these two dangers are directly opposite. In America, it is politically savvy to talk strongly and repeatedly about terrorism and extremism, except the version of it that has killed the largest number of our fellow citizens over the last decade.

    Finally, we avoid talking about right-wing extremism because to do so invites personal risks and annoyances that, generally speaking, don’t much afflict other areas of security studies. These range from online harassment (via social networks that have become a breeding ground for it) to physical stalking and violence.

    I don’t have all the answers about what to do about the plague of violence fueled by right-wing hate groups. But I do know we’ll never find them as long as those of us interested in national security downplay and avoid it. It is long past time to start talking about a threat that is regularly killing our fellow citizens.


    https://www.defenseone.com/threats/2018/02/national-security-pros-its-time-talk-about-right-wing-extremism/146319
    #sécurité #sécurité_nationale #USA #Etats-Unis #extrême_droite #extrémisme #massacres #violence

    Over the last decade, individuals and groups fueled by this virulent ideology have committed 71 percent of the known politically or religiously inspired killings in our country — that is, 274 of the 387 Americans murdered by extremists.


  • One man’s (very polite) fight against media Islamophobia | News | The Guardian

    https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/oct/18/miqdaad-versi-very-polite-fight-against-british-media-islamophobia

    News about Muslims in the British press is rarely positive, but it is never scarce. Consider these stories, published across a typical month towards the end of 2016. In the Times on 9 November 2016, an article announced: “Islamist School Can Segregate Boys and Girls.” On the Daily Express website, nine days later: “Anger as less than A THIRD of Muslim nations sign up to coalition against Isis.” In the Sun online, on 1 December: “SECRET IS SAFE: Half of British Muslims would not go to cops if they knew someone with Isis links.” On the Daily Express site the day after: “New £5 notes could be BANNED by religious groups as Bank CAN’T promise they’re Halal.” On ITV News, the same day: “Half of UK Muslims would not report extremism.” Two days later, in the Sunday Times: “Enclaves of Islam see UK as 75% Muslim.” The Mail on Sunday, that same day: “Isolated British Muslims are so cut off from the rest of society that they see the UK as 75% Islamic, shock report reveals.” And another version, in the Sun online: “British Muslims are so cut-off from society they think 75% of the UK is Islamic, report reveals.”

    Lose yourself in a great story: Sign up for the long read email
    Read more
    No other community in Britain receives such regular torrents of bad press. But that is not the most shocking thing about these articles. Every single one of them was misleading. And they were not just lightly dotted with inaccuracies. The chief premise of each piece – the premise articulated in the headline – was dead wrong.


  • The Vulnerability Contest

    Traumatized Afghan child soldiers who were forced to fight in Syria struggle to find protection in Europe’s asylum lottery.

    Mosa did not choose to come forward. Word had spread among the thousands of asylum seekers huddled inside Moria that social workers were looking for lone children among the general population. High up on the hillside, in the Afghan area of the chaotic refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, some residents knew someone they suspected was still a minor. They led the aid workers to Mosa.

    The boy, whose broad and beardless face mark him out as a member of the Hazara ethnic group, had little reason to trust strangers. It was hard to persuade him just to sit with them and listen. Like many lone children, Mosa had slipped through the age assessment carried out on first arrival at Moria: He was registered as 27 years old. With the help of a translator, the social worker explained that there was still time to challenge his classification as an adult. But Mosa did not seem to be able to engage with what he was being told. It would take weeks to establish trust and reveal his real age and background.

    Most new arrivals experience shock when their hopes of a new life in Europe collide with Moria, the refugee camp most synonymous with the miserable consequences of Europe’s efforts to contain the flow of refugees and migrants across the Aegean. When it was built, the camp was meant to provide temporary shelter for fewer than 2,000 people. Since the European Union struck a deal in March 2016 with Turkey under which new arrivals are confined to Greece’s islands, Moria’s population has swollen to 9,000. It has become notorious for overcrowding, snowbound tents, freezing winter deaths, violent protests and suicides by adults and children alike.

    While all asylum systems are subjective, he said that the situation on Greece’s islands has turned the search for protection into a “lottery.”

    Stathis Poularakis is a lawyer who previously served for two years on an appeal committee dealing with asylum cases in Greece and has worked extensively on Lesbos. While all asylum systems are subjective, he said that the situation on Greece’s islands has turned the search for protection into a “lottery.”

    Asylum claims on Lesbos can take anywhere between six months and more than two years to be resolved. In the second quarter of 2018, Greece faced nearly four times as many asylum claims per capita as Germany. The E.U. has responded by increasing the presence of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and broadening its remit so that EASO officials can conduct asylum interviews. But the promises that EASO will bring Dutch-style efficiency conceal the fact that the vast majority of its hires are not seconded from other member states but drawn from the same pool of Greeks as the national asylum service.

    Asylum caseworkers at Moria face an overwhelming backlog and plummeting morale. A serving EASO official describes extraordinary “pressure to go faster” and said there was “so much subjectivity in the system.” The official also said that it was human nature to reject more claims “when you see every other country is closing its borders.”

    Meanwhile, the only way to escape Moria while your claim is being processed is to be recognized as a “vulnerable” case. Vulnerables get permission to move to the mainland or to more humane accommodation elsewhere on the island. The term is elastic and can apply to lone children and women, families or severely physically or mentally ill people. In all cases the onus is on the asylum seeker ultimately to persuade the asylum service, Greek doctors or the United Nations Refugee Agency that they are especially vulnerable.

    The ensuing scramble to get out of Moria has turned the camp into a vast “vulnerability contest,” said Poularakis. It is a ruthless competition that the most heavily traumatized are often in no condition to understand, let alone win.

    Twice a Refugee

    Mosa arrived at Moria in October 2017 and spent his first night in Europe sleeping rough outside the arrivals tent. While he slept someone stole his phone. When he awoke he was more worried about the lost phone than disputing the decision of the Frontex officer who registered him as an adult. Poularakis said age assessors are on the lookout for adults claiming to be children, but “if you say you’re an adult, no one is going to object.”

    Being a child has never afforded Mosa any protection in the past: He did not understand that his entire future could be at stake. Smugglers often warn refugee children not to reveal their real age, telling them that they will be prevented from traveling further if they do not pretend to be over 18 years old.

    Like many other Hazara of his generation, Mosa was born in Iran, the child of refugees who fled Afghanistan. Sometimes called “the cursed people,” the Hazara are followers of Shia Islam and an ethnic and religious minority in Afghanistan, a country whose wars are usually won by larger ethnic groups and followers of Sunni Islam. Their ancestry, traced by some historians to Genghis Khan, also means they are highly visible and have been targets for persecution by Afghan warlords from 19th-century Pashtun kings to today’s Taliban.

    In recent decades, millions of Hazara have fled Afghanistan, many of them to Iran, where their language, Dari, is a dialect of Persian Farsi, the country’s main language.

    “We had a life where we went from work to home, which were both underground in a basement,” he said. “There was nothing (for us) like strolling the streets. I was trying not to be seen by anyone. I ran from the police like I would from a street dog.”

    Iran hosts 950,000 Afghan refugees who are registered with the U.N. and another 1.5 million undocumented Afghans. There are no official refugee camps, making displaced Afghans one of the largest urban refugee populations in the world. For those without the money to pay bribes, there is no route to permanent residency or citizenship. Most refugees survive without papers on the outskirts of cities such as the capital, Tehran. Those who received permits, before Iran stopped issuing them altogether in 2007, must renew them annually. The charges are unpredictable and high. Mostly, the Afghan Hazara survive as an underclass, providing cheap labor in workshops and constructions sites. This was how Mosa grew up.

    “We had a life where we went from work to home, which were both underground in a basement,” he said. “There was nothing (for us) like strolling the streets. I was trying not to be seen by anyone. I ran from the police like I would from a street dog.”

    But he could not remain invisible forever and one day in October 2016, on his way home from work, he was detained by police for not having papers.

    Sitting in one of the cantinas opposite the entrance to Moria, Mosa haltingly explained what happened next. How he was threatened with prison in Iran or deportation to Afghanistan, a country in which he has never set foot. How he was told that that the only way out was to agree to fight in Syria – for which they would pay him and reward him with legal residence in Iran.

    “In Iran, you have to pay for papers,” said Mosa. “If you don’t pay, you don’t have papers. I do not know Afghanistan. I did not have a choice.”

    As he talked, Mosa spread out a sheaf of papers from a battered plastic wallet. Along with asylum documents was a small notepad decorated with pink and mauve elephants where he keeps the phone numbers of friends and family. It also contains a passport-sized green booklet with the crest of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is a temporary residence permit. Inside its shiny cover is the photograph of a scared-looking boy, whom the document claims was born 27 years ago. It is the only I.D. he has ever owned and the date of birth has been faked to hide the fact that the country that issues it has been sending children to war.

    Mosa is not alone among the Hazara boys who have arrived in Greece seeking protection, carrying identification papers with inflated ages. Refugees Deeply has documented the cases of three Hazara child soldiers and corroborated their accounts with testimony from two other underage survivors. Their stories are of childhoods twice denied: once in Syria, where they were forced to fight, and then again after fleeing to Europe, where they are caught up in a system more focused on hard borders than on identifying the most damaged and vulnerable refugees.

    From Teenage Kicks to Adult Nightmares

    Karim’s descent into hell began with a prank. Together with a couple of friends, he recorded an angsty song riffing on growing up as a Hazara teenager in Tehran. Made when he was 16 years old, the song was meant to be funny. His band did not even have a name. The boys uploaded the track on a local file-sharing platform in 2014 and were as surprised as anyone when it was downloaded thousands of times. But after the surprise came a creeping sense of fear. Undocumented Afghan refugee families living in Tehran usually try to avoid drawing attention to themselves. Karim tried to have the song deleted, but after two months there was a knock on the door. It was the police.

    “I asked them how they found me,” he said. “I had no documents but they knew where I lived.”

    Already estranged from his family, the teenager was transported from his life of working in a pharmacy and staying with friends to life in a prison outside the capital. After two weeks inside, he was given three choices: to serve a five-year sentence; to be deported to Afghanistan; or to redeem himself by joining the Fatemiyoun.

    According to Iranian propaganda, the Fatemiyoun are Afghan volunteers deployed to Syria to protect the tomb of Zainab, the granddaughter of the Prophet Mohammad. In reality, the Fatemiyoun Brigade is a unit of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, drawn overwhelmingly from Hazara communities, and it has fought in Iraq and Yemen, as well as Syria. Some estimates put its full strength at 15,000, which would make it the second-largest foreign force in support of the Assad regime, behind the Lebanese militia group Hezbollah.

    Karim was told he would be paid and given a one-year residence permit during leave back in Iran. Conscripts are promised that if they are “martyred,” their family will receive a pension and permanent status. “I wasn’t going to Afghanistan and I wasn’t going to prison,” said Karim. So he found himself forced to serve in the #Fatemiyoun.

    His first taste of the new life came when he was transferred to a training base outside Tehran, where the recruits, including other children, were given basic weapons training and religious indoctrination. They marched, crawled and prayed under the brigade’s yellow flag with a green arch, crossed by assault rifles and a Koranic phrase: “With the Help of God.”

    “Imagine me at 16,” said Karim. “I have no idea how to kill a bird. They got us to slaughter animals to get us ready. First, they prepare your brain to kill.”

    The 16-year-old’s first deployment was to Mosul in Iraq, where he served four months. When he was given leave back in Iran, Karim was told that to qualify for his residence permit he would need to serve a second term, this time in Syria. They were first sent into the fight against the so-called Islamic State in Raqqa. Because of his age and physique, Karim and some of the other underage soldiers were moved to the medical corps. He said that there were boys as young as 14 and he remembers a 15-year-old who fought using a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

    “One prisoner was killed by being hung by his hair from a tree. They cut off his fingers one by one and cauterized the wounds with gunpowder.”

    “I knew nothing about Syria. I was just trying to survive. They were making us hate ISIS, dehumanizing them. Telling us not to leave one of them alive.” Since media reports revealed the existence of the Fatemiyoun, the brigade has set up a page on Facebook. Among pictures of “proud volunteers,” it shows stories of captured ISIS prisoners being fed and cared for. Karim recalls a different story.

    “One prisoner was killed by being hung by his hair from a tree. They cut off his fingers one by one and cauterized the wounds with gunpowder.”

    The casualties on both sides were overwhelming. At the al-Razi hospital in Aleppo, the young medic saw the morgue overwhelmed with bodies being stored two or three to a compartment. Despite promises to reward the families of martyrs, Karim said many of the bodies were not sent back to Iran.

    Mosa’s basic training passed in a blur. A shy boy whose parents had divorced when he was young and whose father became an opium addict, he had always shrunk from violence. He never wanted to touch the toy guns that other boys played with. Now he was being taught to break down, clean and fire an assault rifle.

    The trainees were taken three times a day to the imam, who preached to them about their holy duty and the iniquities of ISIS, often referred to as Daesh.

    “They told us that Daesh was the same but worse than the Taliban,” said Mosa. “I didn’t listen to them. I didn’t go to Syria by choice. They forced me to. I just needed the paper.”

    Mosa was born in 2001. Before being deployed to Syria, the recruits were given I.D. tags and papers that deliberately overstated their age: In 2017, Human Rights Watch released photographs of the tombstones of eight Afghan children who had died in Syria and whose families identified them as having been under 18 years old. The clerk who filled out Mosa’s forms did not trouble himself with complex math: He just changed 2001 to 1991. Mosa was one of four underage soldiers in his group. The boys were scared – their hands shook so hard they kept dropping their weapons. Two of them were dead within days of reaching the front lines.

    “I didn’t even know where we were exactly, somewhere in the mountains in a foreign country. I was scared all the time. Every time I saw a friend dying in front of my eyes I was thinking I would be next,” said Mosa.

    He has flashbacks of a friend who died next to him after being shot in the face by a sniper. After the incident, he could not sleep for four nights. The worst, he said, were the sudden raids by ISIS when they would capture Fatemiyoun fighters: “God knows what happened to them.”

    Iran does not release figures on the number of Fatemiyoun casualties. In a rare interview earlier this year, a senior officer in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard suggested as many as 1,500 Fatemiyoun had been killed in Syria. In Mashhad, an Iranian city near the border with Afghanistan where the brigade was first recruited, video footage has emerged of families demanding the bodies of their young men believed to have died in Syria. Mosa recalls patrols in Syria where 150 men and boys would go out and only 120 would return.

    Escaping Syria

    Abbas had two weeks left in Syria before going back to Iran on leave. After 10 weeks in what he describes as a “living hell,” he had begun to believe he might make it out alive. It was his second stint in Syria and, still only 17 years old, he had been chosen to be a paramedic, riding in the back of a 2008 Chevrolet truck converted into a makeshift ambulance.

    He remembers thinking that the ambulance and the hospital would have to be better than the bitter cold of the front line. His abiding memory from then was the sound of incoming 120mm shells. “They had a special voice,” Abbas said. “And when you hear it, you must lie down.”

    Following 15 days of nursing training, during which he was taught how to find a vein and administer injections, he was now an ambulance man, collecting the dead and wounded from the battlefields on which the Fatemiyoun were fighting ISIS.

    Abbas grew up in Ghazni in Afghanistan, but his childhood ended when his father died from cancer in 2013. Now the provider for the family, he traveled with smugglers across the border into Iran, to work for a tailor in Tehran who had known his father. He worked without documents and faced the same threats as the undocumented Hazara children born in Iran. Even more dangerous were the few attempts he made to return to Ghazni. The third time he attempted to hop the border he was captured by Iranian police.

    Abbas was packed onto a transport, along with 23 other children, and sent to Ordugah-i Muhaceran, a camplike detention center outside Mashhad. When they got there the Shia Hazara boys were separated from Sunni Pashtuns, Afghanistan’s largest ethnic group, who were pushed back across the border. Abbas was given the same choice as Karim and Mosa before him: Afghanistan or Syria. Many of the other forced recruits Abbas met in training, and later fought alongside in Syria, were addicts with a history of substance abuse.

    Testimony from three Fatemiyoun child soldiers confirmed that Tramadol was routinely used by recruits to deaden their senses, leaving them “feeling nothing” even in combat situations but, nonetheless, able to stay awake for days at a time.

    The Fatemiyoun officers dealt with withdrawal symptoms by handing out Tramadol, an opioid painkiller that is used to treat back pain but sometimes abused as a cheap alternative to methadone. The drug is a slow-release analgesic. Testimony from three Fatemiyoun child soldiers confirmed that it was routinely used by recruits to deaden their senses, leaving them “feeling nothing” even in combat situations but, nonetheless, able to stay awake for days at a time. One of the children reiterated that the painkiller meant he felt nothing. Users describe feeling intensely thirsty but say they avoid drinking water because it triggers serious nausea and vomiting. Tramadol is addictive and prolonged use can lead to insomnia and seizures.

    Life in the ambulance had not met Abbas’ expectations. He was still sent to the front line, only now it was to collect the dead and mutilated. Some soldiers shot themselves in the feet to escape the conflict.

    “We picked up people with no feet and no hands. Some of them were my friends,” Abbas said. “One man was in small, small pieces. We collected body parts I could not recognize and I didn’t know if they were Syrian or Iranian or Afghan. We just put them in bags.”

    Abbas did not make it to the 12th week. One morning, driving along a rubble-strewn road, his ambulance collided with an anti-tank mine. Abbas’ last memory of Syria is seeing the back doors of the vehicle blasted outward as he was thrown onto the road.

    When he awoke he was in a hospital bed in Iran. He would later learn that the Syrian ambulance driver had been killed and that the other Afghan medic in the vehicle had lost both his legs. At the time, his only thought was to escape.

    The Toll on Child Soldiers

    Alice Roorda first came into contact with child soldiers in 2001 in the refugee camps of Sierra Leone in West Africa. A child psychologist, she was sent there by the United Kingdom-based charity War Child. She was one of three psychologists for a camp of more than 5,000 heavily traumatized survivors of one of West Africa’s more brutal conflicts.

    “There was almost nothing we could do,” she admitted.

    The experience, together with later work in Uganda, has given her a deep grounding in the effects of war and post-conflict trauma on children. She said prolonged exposure to conflict zones has physical as well as psychological effects.

    “If you are chronically stressed, as in a war zone, you have consistently high levels of the two basic stress hormones: adrenaline and cortisol.”

    Even after reaching a calmer situation, the “stress baseline” remains high, she said. This impacts everything from the immune system to bowel movements. Veterans often suffer from complications related to the continual engagement of the psoas, or “fear muscle” – the deepest muscles in the body’s core, which connect the spine, through the pelvis, to the femurs.

    “With prolonged stress you start to see the world around you as more dangerous.” The medial prefrontal cortex, the section of the brain that interprets threat levels, is also affected, said Roorda. This part of the brain is sometimes called the “watchtower.”

    “When your watchtower isn’t functioning well you see everything as more dangerous. You are on high alert. This is not a conscious response; it is because the stress is already so close to the surface.”

    Psychological conditions that can be expected to develop include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Left untreated, these stress levels can lead to physical symptoms ranging from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS or ME) to high blood pressure or irritable bowel syndrome. Also common are heightened sensitivity to noise and insomnia.

    The trauma of war can also leave children frozen at the point when they were traumatized. “Their life is organized as if the trauma is still ongoing,” said Roorda. “It is difficult for them to take care of themselves, to make rational well informed choices, and to trust people.”

    The starting point for any treatment of child soldiers, said Roorda, is a calm environment. They need to release the tension with support groups and physical therapy, she said, and “a normal bedtime.”

    The Dutch psychologist, who is now based in Athens, acknowledged that what she is describing is the exact opposite of the conditions at #Moria.

    Endgame

    Karim is convinced that his facility for English has saved his life. While most Hazara boys arrive in Europe speaking only Farsi, Karim had taught himself some basic English before reaching Greece. As a boy in Tehran he had spent hours every day trying to pick up words and phrases from movies that he watched with subtitles on his phone. His favorite was The Godfather, which he said he must have seen 25 times. He now calls English his “safe zone” and said he prefers it to Farsi.

    When Karim reached Greece in March 2016, new arrivals were not yet confined to the islands. No one asked him if he was a child or an adult. He paid smugglers to help him escape Iran while on leave from Syria and after crossing through Turkey landed on Chios. Within a day and a half, he had passed through the port of Piraeus and reached Greece’s northern border with Macedonia, at Idomeni.

    When he realized the border was closed, he talked to some of the international aid workers who had come to help at the makeshift encampment where tens of thousands of refugees and migrants waited for a border that would not reopen. They ended up hiring him as a translator. Two years on, his English is now much improved and Karim has worked for a string of international NGOs and a branch of the Greek armed forces, where he was helped to successfully apply for asylum.

    The same job has also brought him to Moria. He earns an above-average salary for Greece and at first he said that his work on Lesbos is positive: “I’m not the only one who has a shitty background. It balances my mind to know that I’m not the only one.”

    But then he admits that it is difficult hearing and interpreting versions of his own life story from Afghan asylum seekers every day at work. He has had problems with depression and suffered flashbacks, “even though I’m in a safe country now.”

    Abbas got the help he needed to win the vulnerability contest. After he was initially registered as an adult, his age assessment was overturned and he was transferred from Moria to a shelter for children on Lesbos. He has since been moved again to a shelter in mainland Greece. While he waits to hear the decision on his protection status, Abbas – like other asylum seekers in Greece – receives 150 euros ($170) a month. This amount needs to cover all his expenses, from food and clothing to phone credit. The money is not enough to cover a regular course of the antidepressant Prozac and the sleeping pills he was prescribed by the psychiatrist he was able to see on Lesbos.

    “I save them for when it gets really bad,” he said.

    Since moving to the mainland he has been hospitalized once with convulsions, but his main worry is the pain in his groin. Abbas underwent a hernia operation in Iran, the result of injuries sustained as a child lifting adult bodies into the ambulance. He has been told that he will need to wait for four months to see a doctor in Greece who can tell him if he needs another operation.

    “I would like to go back to school,” he said. But in reality, Abbas knows that he will need to work and there is little future for an Afghan boy who can no longer lift heavy weights.

    Walking into an Afghan restaurant in downtown Athens – near Victoria Square, where the people smugglers do business – Abbas is thrilled to see Farsi singers performing on the television above the door. “I haven’t been in an Afghan restaurant for maybe three years,” he said to explain his excitement. His face brightens again when he catches sight of Ghormeh sabzi, a herb stew popular in Afghanistan and Iran that reminds him of his mother. “I miss being with them,” he said, “being among my family.”

    When the dish arrives he pauses before eating, taking out his phone and carefully photographing the plate from every angle.

    Mosa is about to mark the end of a full year in Moria. He remains in the same drab tent that reminds him every day of Syria. Serious weight loss has made his long limbs – the ones that made it easier for adults to pretend he was not a child – almost comically thin. His skin is laced with scars, but he refuses to go into detail about how he got them. Mosa has now turned 18 and seems to realize that his best chance of getting help may have gone.

    “Those people who don’t have problems, they give them vulnerability (status),” he said with evident anger. “If you tell them the truth, they don’t help you.”

    Then he apologises for the flash of temper. “I get upset and angry and my body shakes,” he said.

    Mosa explained that now when he gets angry he has learned to remove himself: “Sometimes I stuff my ears with toilet paper to make it quiet.”

    It is 10 months since Mosa had his asylum interview. The questions he expected about his time in the Fatemiyoun never came up. Instead, the interviewers asked him why he had not stayed in Turkey after reaching that country, having run away while on leave in Iran.

    The questions they did ask him point to his likely rejection and deportation. Why, he was asked, was his fear of being persecuted in Afghanistan credible? He told them that he has heard from other Afghan boys that police and security services in the capital, Kabul, were arresting ex-combatants from Syria.

    Like teenagers everywhere, many of the younger Fatemiyoun conscripts took selfies in Syria and posted them on Facebook or shared them on WhatsApp. The images, which include uniforms and insignia, can make him a target for Sunni reprisals. These pictures now haunt him as much as the faces of his dead comrades.

    Meanwhile, the fate he suffered two tours in Syria to avoid now seems to be the most that Europe can offer him. Without any of his earlier anger, he said, “I prefer to kill myself here than go to Afghanistan.”

    #enfants-soldats #syrie #réfugiés #asile #migrations #guerre #conflit #réfugiés_afghans #Afghanistan #ISIS #EI #Etat_islamique #trauma #traumatisme #vulnérabilité

    ping @isskein


  • C.I.A. Drone Mission, Curtailed by Obama, Is Expanded in Africa Under Trump

    The C.I.A. is poised to conduct secret drone strikes against Qaeda and Islamic State insurgents from a newly expanded air base deep in the Sahara, making aggressive use of powers that were scaled back during the Obama administration and restored by President Trump.

    Late in his presidency, Barack Obama sought to put the military in charge of drone attacks after a backlash arose over a series of highly visible strikes, some of which killed civilians. The move was intended, in part, to bring greater transparency to attacks that the United States often refused to acknowledge its role in.

    But now the C.I.A. is broadening its drone operations, moving aircraft to northeastern Niger to hunt Islamist militants in southern Libya. The expansion adds to the agency’s limited covert missions in eastern Afghanistan for strikes in Pakistan, and in southern Saudi Arabia for attacks in Yemen.

    Nigerien and American officials said the C.I.A. had been flying drones on surveillance missions for several months from a corner of a small commercial airport in Dirkou. Satellite imagery shows that the airport has grown significantly since February to include a new taxiway, walls and security posts.

    One American official said the drones had not yet been used in lethal missions, but would almost certainly be in the near future, given the growing threat in southern Libya. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the secretive operations.

    A C.I.A. spokesman, Timothy Barrett, declined to comment. A Defense Department spokeswoman, Maj. Sheryll Klinkel, said the military had maintained a base at the Dirkou airfield for several months but did not fly drone missions from there.

    The drones take off from Dirkou at night — typically between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. — buzzing in the clear, starlit desert sky. A New York Times reporter saw the gray aircraft — about the size of Predator drones, which are 27 feet long — flying at least three times over six days in early August. Unlike small passenger planes that land occasionally at the airport, the drones have no blinking lights signaling their presence.

    “All I know is they’re American,” Niger’s interior minister, Mohamed Bazoum, said in an interview. He offered few other details about the drones.

    Dirkou’s mayor, Boubakar Jerome, said the drones had helped improve the town’s security. “It’s always good. If people see things like that, they’ll be scared,” Mr. Jerome said.

    Mr. Obama had curtailed the C.I.A.’s lethal role by limiting its drone flights, notably in Yemen. Some strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere that accidentally killed civilians, stirring outrage among foreign diplomats and military officials, were shielded because of the C.I.A.’s secrecy.

    As part of the shift, the Pentagon was given the unambiguous lead for such operations. The move sought, in part, to end an often awkward charade in which the United States would not concede its responsibility for strikes that were abundantly covered by news organizations and tallied by watchdog groups. However, the C.I.A. program was not fully shut down worldwide, as the agency and its supporters in Congress balked.

    The drone policy was changed last year, after Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director at the time, made a forceful case to President Trump that the agency’s broader counterterrorism efforts were being needlessly constrained. The Dirkou base was already up and running by the time Mr. Pompeo stepped down as head of the C.I.A. in April to become Mr. Trump’s secretary of state.

    The Pentagon’s Africa Command has carried out five drone strikes against Qaeda and Islamic State militants in Libya this year, including one two weeks ago. The military launches its MQ-9 Reaper drones from bases in Sicily and in Niamey, Niger’s capital, 800 miles southwest of Dirkou.

    But the C.I.A. base is hundreds of miles closer to southwestern Libya, a notorious haven for Al Qaeda and other extremist groups that also operate in the Sahel region of Niger, Chad, Mali and Algeria. It is also closer to southern Libya than a new $110 million drone base in Agadez, Niger, 350 miles west of Dirkou, where the Pentagon plans to operate armed Reaper drone missions by early next year.

    Another American official said the C.I.A. began setting up the base in January to improve surveillance of the region, partly in response to an ambush last fall in another part of Niger that killed four American troops. The Dirkou airfield was labeled a United States Air Force base as a cover, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential operational matters.

    The C.I.A. operation in Dirkou is burdened by few, if any, of the political sensitivities that the United States military confronts at its locations, said one former American official involved with the project.

    Even so, security analysts said, it is not clear why the United States needs both military and C.I.A. drone operations in the same general vicinity to combat insurgents in Libya. France also flies Reaper drones from Niamey, but only on unarmed reconnaissance missions.

    “I would be surprised that the C.I.A. would open its own base,” said Bill Roggio, editor of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Long War Journal, which tracks military strikes against militant groups.

    Despite American denials, a Nigerien security official said he had concluded that the C.I.A. launched an armed drone from the Dirkou base to strike a target in Ubari, in southern Libya, on July 25. The Nigerien security official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the classified program.

    A spokesman for the Africa Command, Maj. Karl Wiest, said the military did not carry out the Ubari strike.

    #Ubari is in the same region where the American military in March launched its first-ever drone attack against Qaeda militants in southern Libya. It is at the intersection of the powerful criminal and jihadist currents that have washed across Libya in recent years. Roughly equidistant from Libya’s borders with Niger, Chad and Algeria, the area’s seminomadic residents are heavily involved in the smuggling of weapons, drugs and migrants through the lawless deserts of southern Libya.

    Some of the residents have allied with Islamist militias, including Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which operates across Algeria, Mali, Niger and Libya.

    Dirkou, in northeast Niger, is an oasis town of a few thousand people in the open desert, bordered by a small mountain range. For centuries, it has been a key transit point for travelers crossing the Sahara. It helped facilitate the rise of Islam in West Africa in the 9th century, and welcomed salt caravans from the neighboring town of Bilma.

    The town has a handful of narrow, sandy roads. Small trees dot the horizon. Date and neem trees line the streets, providing shelter for people escaping the oppressive midday heat. There is a small market, where goods for sale include spaghetti imported from Libya. Gasoline is also imported from Libya and is cheaper than elsewhere in the country.

    The drones based in Dirkou are loud, and their humming and buzzing drowns out the bleats of goats and crows of roosters.

    “It stops me from sleeping,” said Ajimi Koddo, 45, a former migrant smuggler. “They need to go. They go in our village, and it annoys us too much.”

    Satellite imagery shows that construction started in February on a new compound at the Dirkou airstrip. Since then, the facility has been extended to include a larger paved taxiway and a clamshell tent connected to the airstrip — all features that are consistent with the deployment of small aircraft, possibly drones.

    Five defensive positions were set up around the airport, and there appear to be new security gates and checkpoints both to the compound and the broader airport.

    It’s not the first time that Washington has eyed with interest Dirkou’s tiny base. In the late 1980s, the United States spent $3.2 million renovating the airstrip in an effort to bolster Niger’s government against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, then the leader of Libya.

    Compared with other parts of Africa, the C.I.A.’s presence in the continent’s northwest is relatively light, according to a former State Department official who served in the region. In this part of Niger, the C.I.A. is also providing training and sharing intelligence, according to a Nigerien military intelligence document reviewed by The Times.

    The Nigerien security official said about a dozen American Green Berets were stationed earlier this year in #Dirkou — in a base separate from the C.I.A.’s — to train a special counterterrorism battalion of local forces. Those trainers left about three months ago, the official said.

    It is unlikely that they will return anytime soon. The Pentagon is considering withdrawing nearly all American commandos from Niger in the wake of the deadly October ambush that killed four United States soldiers.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/09/world/africa/cia-drones-africa-military.html
    #CIA #drones #Niger #Sahel #USA #Etats-Unis #EI #ISIS #Etat_islamique #sécurité #terrorisme #base_militaire

    • Le Sahel est-il une zone de #non-droit ?

      La CIA a posé ses valises dans la bande sahélo-saharienne. Le New-York Times l’a annoncé, le 9 septembre dernier. Le quotidien US, a révélé l’existence d’une #base_de_drones secrète non loin de la commune de Dirkou, dans le nord-est du Niger. Cette localité, enclavée, la première grande ville la plus proche est Agadez située à 570 km, est le terrain de tir parfait. Elle est éloignée de tous les regards, y compris des autres forces armées étrangères : France, Allemagne, Italie, présentes sur le sol nigérien. Selon un responsable américain anonyme interrogé par ce journal, les drones déployés à Dirkou n’avaient « pas encore été utilisés dans des missions meurtrières, mais qu’ils le seraient certainement dans un proche avenir, compte tenu de la menace croissante qui pèse sur le sud de la Libye. » Or, d’après les renseignements recueillis par l’IVERIS, ces assertions sont fausses, la CIA a déjà mené des opérations à partir de cette base. Ces informations apportent un nouvel éclairage et expliquent le refus catégorique et systématique de l’administration américaine de placer la force conjointe du G5 Sahel (Tchad, Mauritanie, Burkina-Faso, Niger, Mali) sous le chapitre VII de la charte des Nations Unies.
      L’installation d’une base de drones n’est pas une bonne nouvelle pour les peuples du Sahel, et plus largement de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, qui pourraient connaître les mêmes malheurs que les Afghans et les Pakistanais confrontés à la guerre des drones avec sa cohorte de victimes civiles, appelées pudiquement « dégâts collatéraux ».

      D’après le journaliste du NYT, qui s’est rendu sur place, les drones présents à Dirkou ressembleraient à des Predator, des aéronefs d’ancienne génération qui ont un rayon d’action de 1250 km. Il serait assez étonnant que l’agence de Langley soit équipée de vieux modèles alors que l’US Air Force dispose à Niamey et bientôt à Agadez des derniers modèles MQ-9 Reaper, qui, eux, volent sur une distance de 1850 km. A partir de cette base, la CIA dispose donc d’un terrain de tir étendu qui va de la Libye, au sud de l’Algérie, en passant par le Tchad, jusqu’au centre du Mali, au Nord du Burkina et du Nigéria…

      Selon deux sources militaires de pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest, ces drones ont déjà réalisé des frappes à partir de la base de Dirkou. Ces bombardements ont eu lieu en Libye. Il paraît important de préciser que le chaos existant dans ce pays depuis la guerre de 2011, ne rend pas ces frappes plus légales. Par ailleurs, ces mêmes sources suspectent la CIA d’utiliser Dirkou comme une prison secrète « si des drones peuvent se poser des avions aussi. Rien ne les empêche de transporter des terroristes de Libye exfiltrés. Dirkou un Guantanamo bis ? »

      En outre, il n’est pas impossible que ces drones tueurs aient été en action dans d’autres Etats limitrophes. Qui peut le savoir ? « Cette base est irrégulière, illégale, la CIA peut faire absolument tout ce qu’elle veut là-bas » rapporte un officier. De plus, comment faire la différence entre un MQ-9 Reaper de la CIA ou encore un de l’US Air Force, qui, elle, a obtenu l’autorisation d’armer ses drones (1). Encore que…

      En novembre 2017, le président Mahamadou Issoufou a autorisé les drones de l’US Air Force basés à Niamey, à frapper leurs cibles sur le territoire nigérien (2). Mais pour que cet agrément soit légal, il aurait fallu qu’il soit présenté devant le parlement, ce qui n’a pas été le cas. Même s’il l’avait été, d’une part, il le serait seulement pour l’armée US et pas pour la CIA, d’autre part, il ne serait valable que sur le sol nigérien et pas sur les territoires des pays voisins…

      Pour rappel, cette autorisation a été accordée à peine un mois après les événements de Tongo Tongo, où neuf militaires avaient été tués, cinq soldats nigériens et quatre américains. Cette autorisation est souvent présentée comme la conséquence de cette attaque. Or, les pourparlers ont eu lieu bien avant. En effet, l’AFRICOM a planifié la construction de la base de drone d’Agadez, la seconde la plus importante de l’US Air Force en Afrique après Djibouti, dès 2016, sous le mandat de Barack Obama. Une nouvelle preuve que la politique africaine du Pentagone n’a pas changée avec l’arrivée de Donald Trump (3-4-5).

      Les USA seuls maîtres à bord dans le Sahel

      Dès lors, le véto catégorique des Etats-Unis de placer la force G5 Sahel sous chapitre VII se comprend mieux. Il s’agit de mener une guerre non-officielle sans mandat international des Nations-Unies et sans se soucier du droit international. Ce n’était donc pas utile qu’Emmanuel Macron, fer de lance du G5, force qui aurait permis à l’opération Barkhane de sortir du bourbier dans lequel elle se trouve, plaide à de nombreuses reprises cette cause auprès de Donald Trump. Tous les présidents du G5 Sahel s’y sont essayés également, en vain. Ils ont fini par comprendre, quatre chefs d’Etats ont boudé la dernière Assemblée générale des Nations Unies. Seul, le Président malien, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, est monté à la tribune pour réitérer la demande de mise sous chapitre VII, unique solution pour que cette force obtienne un financement pérenne. Alors qu’en décembre 2017, Emmanuel Macron y croyait encore dur comme fer et exigeait des victoires au premier semestre 2018, faute de budget, le G5 Sahel n’est toujours pas opérationnel ! (6-7) Néanmoins, la Chine a promis de le soutenir financièrement. Magnanime, le secrétaire d’Etat à la défense, Jim Mattis a lui assuré à son homologue, Florence Parly, que les Etats-Unis apporteraient à la force conjointe une aide très significativement augmentée. Mais toujours pas de chapitre VII en vue... Ainsi, l’administration Trump joue coup double. Non seulement elle ne s’embarrasse pas avec le Conseil de Sécurité et le droit international mais sous couvert de lutte antiterroriste, elle incruste ses bottes dans ce qui est, (ce qui fut ?), la zone d’influence française.

      Far West

      Cerise sur le gâteau, en août dernier le patron de l’AFRICOM, le général Thomas D. Waldhauser, a annoncé une réduction drastique de ses troupes en Afrique (9). Les sociétés militaires privées, dont celle d’Erik Prince, anciennement Blackwater, ont bien compris le message et sont dans les starting-blocks prêtes à s’installer au Sahel (10).


      https://www.iveris.eu/list/notes_danalyse/371-le_sahel_estil_une_zone_de_nondroit__


  • The White House has revealed massive mission creep in Syria. Here’s why.
    https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-air-force/2018/09/25/the-white-house-just-revealed-massive-mission-creep-in-syria-heres-wh

    Officially, the only mission for U.S. troops on the ground in the region ― including about 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and 2,200 in Syria ― is to defeat and destroy ISIS.

    But recently the White House has begun to reveal a massive new mission on the horizon for U.S. troops in the Middle East: containing Iran.

    National security adviser John Bolton on Monday said countering Iran’s influence in Syria and elsewhere is a major goal of the U.S. military mission in the Middle East.

    “We’re not going to leave as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders, and that includes Iranian proxies and militias,” Bolton said, signaling a fundamental shift from the current counter-terrorism operations to a mission focused more on geopolitical maneuvering and proxy warfare.


  • Credibility Gap
    United Kingdom civilian harm assessments for the
    battles of Mosul and Raqqa.
    PDF . https://airwars.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Credibility-Gap-Airwars-submission-to-UK-Parlt-Defence-Select-Committee-Sep

    The United Kingdom’s role in the battles of Mosul
    and Raqqa represented some of the heaviest military
    action by its forces in over a half century. The MoD
    deployed a range of fighter and bomber aircraft
    and armed Reaper RPAs, which launched significant
    numbers of munitions at almost 1,000 targets.
    Yet the patterns and indicators of civilian harm are also there:
    Coalition and British strikes took place in large numbers in densely
    populated areas. These strikes frequently hit buildings, the likely
    location of ISIS fighters. Yet according to conservative estimates by
    researchers at Airwars, at least 2,600 civilians and possibly many
    more were killed by Coalition actions during the battles for both
    cities – most reported killed when buildings collapsed around them.
    After the US, the United Kingdom was the largest single international
    contributor to the successful campaign to dislodge ISIS from
    its strongholds. However, unlike the United States (as well as
    Australia, which conducted markedly fewer strikes) British
    authorities have not admitted to a single incident of civilian harm
    in either city. All evidence nevertheless points to the inevitability
    of such casualties in a hard-fought urban-focused war. The UK’s nonadmission
    of harm therefore represents a shortfall in accountability.
    As of this report, Airwars is not aware of any specific claims that
    UK forces might have violated International Humanitarian Law.56
    To date, the broader Coalition has admitted to 892 civilian deaths
    in Iraq and Syria, including 367 fatalities at Mosul and Raqqa –
    all without finding that its forces had violated international law.
    The issue here however is also one of civilian harm mitigation.
    Even accepting that civilians were not unlawfully killed by Coalition
    actions, it is still incumbent upon all belligerents properly to
    understand where, when and how such casualties might have
    resulted from their own actions. Only then can lessons be learned,
    and future conflict casualties reduced.
    By claiming zero civilian casualties from its actions at Mosul and
    Raqqa, the Ministry of Defence is demonstrably failing in this task.
    This disparity additionally sets a poor example to others, providing
    the UK with less leverage when criticizing belligerents such as
    Russia or Syria, which take far fewer precautions or indeed may
    deliberately target civilians or civilian infrastructure – while
    insisting that their own actions too result in no civilian harm.
    Part of the way forward lies in addressing systemic challenges in UK
    civilian harm assessments from the air. At present there is a clear bias
    towards acknowledging incidents that are observable, primarily using
    ISR tools. This is a Coalition-wide problem – and one which the
    United Kingdom government can help take the lead in addressing.


  • The major uprising in Basra and southern Iraq is what the world should be worrying about in the Middle East right now | The Independent
    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/basra-iraq-protests-oil-uprising-patrick-cockburn-government-a8527521

    The causes of the protests are self-evident: Iraq is ruled by a kleptomaniac political class that operates the Iraqi state apparatus as a looting machine. Other countries are corrupt, notably those rich in oil or other natural resources, and the politically well connected become hugely wealthy. However big the rake-off, something is usually built at the end of the day.

    [...]

    Iraq will most likely continue to be misruled by a weak dysfunctional government, thereby opening the door to various dangers. Isis is down but not entirely out: it could rally its forces, perhaps in a different guise, and escalate attacks. Divisions within the Shiah community are growing deeper and more rancorous as the Sadrists – whose offices, unlike those of the other parties, have not been burned by demonstrators – grow in influence.

    A festering political crisis will not be confined to Iraq. The outside world should have learned this lesson from the aftermath of the US-led invasion of 2003. Rival Iraqi parties always seek foreign sponsors whose interests they serve as well as their own. The country is already one of the arenas of the escalating US-Iran confrontation. As with the threat of a cholera epidemic in Basra, Iraqi crises tend to spread swiftly and infect the whole region.

    #Irak #dirigeants_arabes #kleptocrates #indigents_arabes


  • Did IDF admit giving weapons to Islamists in Syria? Explosive Israeli news report vanishes — RT World News
    https://www.rt.com/news/437677-israel-weapons-jerusalem-post-idf

    One of at least seven groups believed to have received weapons from Israel, Fursan al-Joulan, or ‘Knights of Golan,’ reportedly participated in the Israeli-led operation to evacuate hundreds of members of the controversial White Helmets group out of Syria. The group is also believed to have received upwards of $5,000 per month from Israel.

    The deleted report comes on the heels of another major disclosure: On Monday the IDF announced that Israel has carried out more than 200 strikes in Syria in the past year and half.

    The Israeli military usually declines to comment on missile strikes attributed to Israel, although Tel Aviv has repeatedly claimed that it has the right to attack Hezbollah and Iranian military targets inside Syria. Damascus has repeatedly claimed that Israel uses Hezbollah as a pretext to attack Syrian military formations and installations, accusing Tel Aviv of “directly supporting ISIS and other terror organizations.”

    Le lien vers l’article en cache : https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:5JDOiVV-EgUJ:https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/IDF-confirms-Israel-provided-light-weapons-to-Syrian-reb

    #israël #syrie

    • Le Wall Street Journal en parlait l’an dernier,
      https://www.wsj.com/articles/israel-gives-secret-aid-to-syrian-rebels-1497813430

      Report: Israel Gives Secret Aid to Syrian Rebels | Israel Defense
      http://www.israeldefense.co.il/en/node/30036

      “Israel stood by our side in a heroic way,” a spokesman for the rebel group #Fursan_al-Joulan, or Knights of the Golan, Moatasem al-Golani, told the Journal. “We wouldn’t have survived without Israel’s assistance.”

      Abu Suhayb, a nom de guerre of the commander who leads the group, told the newspaper he receives approximately $5,000 a month from Israel. According to the report, the group made contact with Israel in 2013 after a raid on regime forces and turned to Israel for help with its wounded. The group said it was a turning point as Israel then began sending funds and aid, assistance soon extended to other groups.

      In response to the Wall Street Journal report, the IDF said Israel was “committed to securing the borders of Israel and preventing the establishment of terror cells and hostile forces… in addition to providing humanitarian aid to the Syrians living in the area.”


  • MI5 head Andrew Parker summons Jeremy Corbyn for ‘facts of life’ talk on terror | News | The Sunday Times
    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/mi5-head-andrew-parker-summons-jeremy-corbyn-for-facts-of-life-talk-on-t

    Jeremy Corbyn has been summoned for a personal briefing by the head of MI5 on the terrorist threat to Britain amid questions about his approach to national security.

    Andrew Parker, the director-general of the Security Service, is expected to give the Labour leader a “full briefing” on the threat from Islamists in Britain and Isis jihadists returning from the Middle East to plot atrocities on home soil.

    The MI5 boss also wants to prime Corbyn on the extent of hostile Russian espionage activity and the growing threat from far-right extremists.

    Two senior government sources said the meeting was scheduled for Tuesday so that Corbyn could “begin to understand the facts of life” about threats he has a habit of playing down.


  • Tricks in using #javascript Apply function
    https://hackernoon.com/tricks-in-using-javascript-apply-function-148b1dcb9503?source=rss----3a8

    Photo by Isis França on UnsplashDid you ever feel cumbersome when you use the built in JavaScript Functions Math.max and Math.min?Image from google.comWe already know that this two built functions accepts a variable argument-list. For instance when using the Math.max to get the highest value it may be written in this wayMath.max(5,2,1,3,4) // Outputs 5. Works pretty well. How about if we’re dealing with array of values we might write our code in this way.const list = [5,2,1,3,4];Math.max(list[0],list[1],list[2],list[3],list[4],list[5]);What’s wrong in this Implementation?I guess you know what’s wrong in this. As you may notice this implementation is not flexible. What if the size of array grows? We add more values in Math.max argument. As a developer we didn’t want to do that we do hard code (...)

    #javascript-tips #es6 #javascript-development #es5


  • The Fake-News Fallacy | The New Yorker
    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/09/04/the-fake-news-fallacy

    Not so very long ago, it was thought that the tension between commercial pressure and the public interest would be one of the many things made obsolete by the Internet. In the mid-aughts, during the height of the Web 2.0 boom, the pundit Henry Jenkins declared that the Internet was creating a “participatory culture” where the top-down hegemony of greedy media corporations would be replaced by a horizontal network of amateur “prosumers” engaged in a wonderfully democratic exchange of information in cyberspace—an epistemic agora that would allow the whole globe to come together on a level playing field. Google, Facebook, Twitter, and the rest attained their paradoxical gatekeeper status by positioning themselves as neutral platforms that unlocked the Internet’s democratic potential by empowering users. It was on a private platform, Twitter, where pro-democracy protesters organized, and on another private platform, Google, where the knowledge of a million public libraries could be accessed for free. These companies would develop into what the tech guru Jeff Jarvis termed “radically public companies,” which operate more like public utilities than like businesses.

    But there has been a growing sense among mostly liberal-minded observers that the platforms’ championing of openness is at odds with the public interest. The image of Arab Spring activists using Twitter to challenge repressive dictators has been replaced, in the public imagination, by that of ISIS propagandists luring vulnerable Western teen-agers to Syria via YouTube videos and Facebook chats. The openness that was said to bring about a democratic revolution instead seems to have torn a hole in the social fabric. Today, online misinformation, hate speech, and propaganda are seen as the front line of a reactionary populist upsurge threatening liberal democracy. Once held back by democratic institutions, the bad stuff is now sluicing through a digital breach with the help of irresponsible tech companies. Stanching the torrent of fake news has become a trial by which the digital giants can prove their commitment to democracy. The effort has reignited a debate over the role of mass communication that goes back to the early days of radio.

    The debate around radio at the time of “The War of the Worlds” was informed by a similar fall from utopian hopes to dystopian fears. Although radio can seem like an unremarkable medium—audio wallpaper pasted over the most boring parts of your day—the historian David Goodman’s book “Radio’s Civic Ambition: American Broadcasting and Democracy in the 1930s” makes it clear that the birth of the technology brought about a communications revolution comparable to that of the Internet. For the first time, radio allowed a mass audience to experience the same thing simultaneously from the comfort of their homes. Early radio pioneers imagined that this unprecedented blurring of public and private space might become a sort of ethereal forum that would uplift the nation, from the urban slum dweller to the remote Montana rancher. John Dewey called radio “the most powerful instrument of social education the world has ever seen.” Populist reformers demanded that radio be treated as a common carrier and give airtime to anyone who paid a fee. Were this to have come about, it would have been very much like the early online-bulletin-board systems where strangers could come together and leave a message for any passing online wanderer. Instead, in the regulatory struggles of the twenties and thirties, the commercial networks won out.

    Corporate networks were supported by advertising, and what many progressives had envisaged as the ideal democratic forum began to seem more like Times Square, cluttered with ads for soap and coffee. Rather than elevating public opinion, advertisers pioneered techniques of manipulating it. Who else might be able to exploit such techniques? Many saw a link between the domestic on-air advertising boom and the rise of Fascist dictators like Hitler abroad.

    Today, when we speak about people’s relationship to the Internet, we tend to adopt the nonjudgmental language of computer science. Fake news was described as a “virus” spreading among users who have been “exposed” to online misinformation. The proposed solutions to the fake-news problem typically resemble antivirus programs: their aim is to identify and quarantine all the dangerous nonfacts throughout the Web before they can infect their prospective hosts. One venture capitalist, writing on the tech blog Venture Beat, imagined deploying artificial intelligence as a “media cop,” protecting users from malicious content. “Imagine a world where every article could be assessed based on its level of sound discourse,” he wrote. The vision here was of the news consumers of the future turning the discourse setting on their browser up to eleven and soaking in pure fact. It’s possible, though, that this approach comes with its own form of myopia. Neil Postman, writing a couple of decades ago, warned of a growing tendency to view people as computers, and a corresponding devaluation of the “singular human capacity to see things whole in all their psychic, emotional and moral dimensions.” A person does not process information the way a computer does, flipping a switch of “true” or “false.” One rarely cited Pew statistic shows that only four per cent of American Internet users trust social media “a lot,” which suggests a greater resilience against online misinformation than overheated editorials might lead us to expect. Most people seem to understand that their social-media streams represent a heady mixture of gossip, political activism, news, and entertainment. You might see this as a problem, but turning to Big Data-driven algorithms to fix it will only further entrench our reliance on code to tell us what is important about the world—which is what led to the problem in the first place. Plus, it doesn’t sound very fun.

    In recent times, Donald Trump supporters are the ones who have most effectively applied Grierson’s insight to the digital age. Young Trump enthusiasts turned Internet trolling into a potent political tool, deploying the “folk stuff” of the Web—memes, slang, the nihilistic humor of a certain subculture of Web-native gamer—to give a subversive, cyberpunk sheen to a movement that might otherwise look like a stale reactionary blend of white nationalism and anti-feminism. As crusaders against fake news push technology companies to “defend the truth,” they face a backlash from a conservative movement, retooled for the digital age, which sees claims for objectivity as a smoke screen for bias.

    For conservatives, the rise of online gatekeepers may be a blessing in disguise. Throwing the charge of “liberal media bias” against powerful institutions has always provided an energizing force for the conservative movement, as the historian Nicole Hemmer shows in her new book, “Messengers of the Right.” Instead of focussing on ideas, Hemmer focusses on the galvanizing struggle over the means of distributing those ideas. The first modern conservatives were members of the America First movement, who found their isolationist views marginalized in the lead-up to the Second World War and vowed to fight back by forming the first conservative media outlets. A “vague claim of exclusion” sharpened into a “powerful and effective ideological arrow in the conservative quiver,” Hemmer argues, through battles that conservative radio broadcasters had with the F.C.C. in the nineteen-fifties and sixties. Their main obstacle was the F.C.C.’s Fairness Doctrine, which sought to protect public discourse by requiring controversial opinions to be balanced by opposing viewpoints. Since attacks on the mid-century liberal consensus were inherently controversial, conservatives found themselves constantly in regulators’ sights. In 1961, a watershed moment occurred with the leak of a memo from labor leaders to the Kennedy Administration which suggested using the Fairness Doctrine to suppress right-wing viewpoints. To many conservatives, the memo proved the existence of the vast conspiracy they had long suspected. A fund-raising letter for a prominent conservative radio show railed against the doctrine, calling it “the most dastardly collateral attack on freedom of speech in the history of the country.” Thus was born the character of the persecuted truthteller standing up to a tyrannical government—a trope on which a billion-dollar conservative-media juggernaut has been built.

    The online tumult of the 2016 election fed into a growing suspicion of Silicon Valley’s dominance over the public sphere. Across the political spectrum, people have become less trusting of the Big Tech companies that govern most online political expression. Calls for civic responsibility on the part of Silicon Valley companies have replaced the hope that technological innovation alone might bring about a democratic revolution. Despite the focus on algorithms, A.I., filter bubbles, and Big Data, these questions are political as much as technical.

    #Démocratie #Science_information #Fake_news #Regulation


  • The Islamic fundamentalist Jeremy Corbyn should be ashamed of himself – if only he’d behaved more like Margaret Thatcher | The Independent
    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/jeremy-corbyn-islam-jewish-antisemitism-israel-labour-party-margaret-

    Un peu d’humour (anglais) ne fait jamais de mal en politique.

    It gets worse and worse for Jeremy Corbyn and Labour. There’s a rumour that photos have emerged of a courgette grown on his allotment which is a similar shape to a rocket propeller used by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

    This comes on top of revelations that he has a beard, much like Palestinian terrorists, and his constituency is Islington, which starts with IS, or Islamic State. As a vegetarian he doesn’t eat pork, his friend John McDonnell’s initials are JM – that stands for Jihadist Muslim – and he travels on underground trains, that are under the ground, just like the basements in which Isis make their little films.

    The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and various others have also published a photo of him folding his thumb while holding up his fingers, in a way they describe as a salute to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. That settles it. If you don’t constantly check the shape of your thumb to make sure it’s not folded in a way similar to the way it’s folded by Muslim groups in Egypt, you might as well strap Semtex to your chest and get a bus to Syria.

    Thankfully there are some brave journalists who discovered the truth: that Corbyn laid a wreath in Tunisia at a memorial for civilians who were bombed, but also buried in that cemetery are the “Munich terrorists”. It turned out that the terrorists are not buried there at all, as they’re buried in Libya, but you can’t expect those journalists to get bogged down in insignificant details like that.

    We’ve all turned up for a funeral to be told we’re in the wrong country. “I’m afraid the service for your Uncle Derek is in Eltham Crematorium,” we’re told, “and you’ve come to Argentina.” It doesn’t make any difference to the overall story.

    Because there are Palestinian leaders who may have been terrorists in that cemetery. And when you attend a memorial service, you are clearly commemorating everyone in the cemetery, and the fact that you’ve probably never heard of most of them is no excuse.
    Corbyn takes on Margaret Thatcher over homelessness in Parliament in 1990

    If it’s possible to bring comfort to all those shocked by this outrage, it may be worth recalling that one of the first scandals about Corbyn after he became leader was that he wasn’t dressed smartly enough when he laid a wreath at the Cenotaph, which was an insult to our war dead. He’s just as scruffy in the pictures from Tunisia, so perhaps what he’s actually doing is insulting the terrorists, by laying a wreath near them while his coat is rumpled.

    I suppose it may just be possible that the wreath he laid at an event organised to mark the bombing of civilians in 1985 was actually put there to mark the bombing of civilians in 1985.

    But it’s much more likely that secretly, Jeremy Corbyn supports Palestinian terrorists who murder athletes. You may think that if you hold such an unusual point of view, it might have slipped out in conversation here and there. But the fact he’s never said or done anything to suggest he backs the brutal murder of civilians only shows how clever he is at hiding his true thoughts.

    This must be why he’s always been a keen supporter of causes beloved by Islamic jihadists, such as gay rights. For example, Jeremy Corbyn was a passionate opponent of Margaret Thatcher’s Section 28 law that banned the mention of homosexuality in schools. He supported every gay rights campaign at a time when it was considered extremist to do so. And the way he managed to be an extremist Islamic fundamentalist and an extremist gay rights fanatic at the same time only shows how dangerous he is.

    One person who appears especially upset by all this is Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and it’s always distressing when someone that sensitive gets dragged into an issue.

    Sadly he’s going to be even more aghast when he reads about another event in which wreaths were laid for terrorists. Because a plaque was unveiled to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the bombing of the King David Hotel, in which 91 people died, mostly civilians and 28 of them British. This was carried out by the Irgun, an Israeli terror gang, and one man, who by coincidence was also called Benjamin Netanyahu, declared the bombing was “a legitimate act with a military target”.
    The most ridiculous claims made about Jeremy Corbyn
    He called Hezbollah and Hamas ‘friends’
    ‘Jeremy Corbyn thinks the death of Osama bin Laden was a tragedy’
    He is ‘haunted’ by the legacy of his ‘evil’ great-great-grandfather
    Jeremy Corbyn raised a motion about ‘pigeon bombs’ in Parliament

    When Benjamin Netanyahu hears about this other Benjamin Netanyahu he’ll be furious.

    The Labour MPs who pine for Tony Blair are even more enraged, and you have to sympathise. Because when Blair supported murderers, such as Gaddafi and Asad, he did it while they were still alive, which is much more acceptable.

    So you can see why Conservative politicians and newspapers are so disgusted. If you subjected the Conservative Party to a similar level of scrutiny, you’d find nothing comparable. There might be the odd link to torturers, such as their ex-leader Margaret Thatcher describing General Pinochet, who herded opponents into a football stadium and had them shot, as a close and dear friend. Or supporting apartheid because “Nelson Mandela is a terrorist”. But she was only being polite.

    We can only guess what the next revelation will be. My guess is “Corbyn supported snakes against iguanas in Attenborough’s film. Footage has emerged of the Labour leader speaking alongside a snake, and praising his efforts to catch the iguana and poison and swallow him. One iguana said he was ‘shocked and horrified’ at the story, told in this 340-page special edition, and one anti-Corbyn Labour MP said, ‘I don’t know anything about this whatsoever, which is why I call on Mr Corbyn to do the decent thing and kill himself.’”

    #Jeremy_Corbin #Fake_news #Calomnies #Violence


  • The Islamic fundamentalist Jeremy Corbyn should be ashamed of himself – if only he’d behaved more like Margaret Thatcher | The Independent
    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/jeremy-corbyn-islam-jewish-antisemitism-israel-labour-party-margaret-

    It gets worse and worse for Jeremy Corbyn and Labour. There’s a rumour that photos have emerged of a courgette grown on his allotment which is a similar shape to a rocket propeller used by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

    This comes on top of revelations that he has a beard, much like Palestinian terrorists, and his constituency is Islington, which starts with IS, or Islamic State. As a vegetarian he doesn’t eat pork, his friend John McDonnell’s initials are JM – that stands for Jihadist Muslim – and he travels on underground trains, that are under the ground, just like the basements in which Isis make their little films.

    The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and various others have also published a photo of him folding his thumb while holding up his fingers, in a way they describe as a salute to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. That settles it. If you don’t constantly check the shape of your thumb to make sure it’s not folded in a way similar to the way it’s folded by Muslim groups in Egypt, you might as well strap Semtex to your chest and get a bus to Syria.

    Thankfully there are some brave journalists who discovered the truth: that Corbyn laid a wreath in Tunisia at a memorial for civilians who were bombed, but also buried in that cemetery are the “Munich terrorists”. It turned out that the terrorists are not buried there at all, as they’re buried in Libya, but you can’t expect those journalists to get bogged down in insignificant details like that.

    We’ve all turned up for a funeral to be told we’re in the wrong country. “I’m afraid the service for your Uncle Derek is in Eltham Crematorium,” we’re told, “and you’ve come to Argentina.” It doesn’t make any difference to the overall story.

    Because there are Palestinian leaders who may have been terrorists in that cemetery. And when you attend a memorial service, you are clearly commemorating everyone in the cemetery, and the fact that you’ve probably never heard of most of them is no excuse.
    Corbyn takes on Margaret Thatcher over homelessness in Parliament in 1990

    If it’s possible to bring comfort to all those shocked by this outrage, it may be worth recalling that one of the first scandals about Corbyn after he became leader was that he wasn’t dressed smartly enough when he laid a wreath at the Cenotaph, which was an insult to our war dead. He’s just as scruffy in the pictures from Tunisia, so perhaps what he’s actually doing is insulting the terrorists, by laying a wreath near them while his coat is rumpled.
    British Expats: Discover How the UK Pension Refor…Abbey Wealth
    Propriétaire en Occitanie ? N’acheter pas vos …Eco-Astuce.com
    Prostate : ces 5 actifs améliorent drastiquement vos…Laboratoire Cell’innov

    by Taboola
    Sponsored Links

    I suppose it may just be possible that the wreath he laid at an event organised to mark the bombing of civilians in 1985 was actually put there to mark the bombing of civilians in 1985.

    But it’s much more likely that secretly, Jeremy Corbyn supports Palestinian terrorists who murder athletes. You may think that if you hold such an unusual point of view, it might have slipped out in conversation here and there. But the fact he’s never said or done anything to suggest he backs the brutal murder of civilians only shows how clever he is at hiding his true thoughts.

    This must be why he’s always been a keen supporter of causes beloved by Islamic jihadists, such as gay rights. For example, Jeremy Corbyn was a passionate opponent of Margaret Thatcher’s Section 28 law that banned the mention of homosexuality in schools. He supported every gay rights campaign at a time when it was considered extremist to do so. And the way he managed to be an extremist Islamic fundamentalist and an extremist gay rights fanatic at the same time only shows how dangerous he is.

    One person who appears especially upset by all this is Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and it’s always distressing when someone that sensitive gets dragged into an issue.

    Sadly he’s going to be even more aghast when he reads about another event in which wreaths were laid for terrorists. Because a plaque was unveiled to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the bombing of the King David Hotel, in which 91 people died, mostly civilians and 28 of them British. This was carried out by the Irgun, an Israeli terror gang, and one man, who by coincidence was also called Benjamin Netanyahu, declared the bombing was “a legitimate act with a military target”.
    The most ridiculous claims made about Jeremy Corbyn
    He called Hezbollah and Hamas ‘friends’
    ‘Jeremy Corbyn thinks the death of Osama bin Laden was a tragedy’
    He is ‘haunted’ by the legacy of his ‘evil’ great-great-grandfather
    Jeremy Corbyn raised a motion about ‘pigeon bombs’ in Parliament

    When Benjamin Netanyahu hears about this other Benjamin Netanyahu he’ll be furious.

    The Labour MPs who pine for Tony Blair are even more enraged, and you have to sympathise. Because when Blair supported murderers, such as Gaddafi and Asad, he did it while they were still alive, which is much more acceptable.

    So you can see why Conservative politicians and newspapers are so disgusted. If you subjected the Conservative Party to a similar level of scrutiny, you’d find nothing comparable. There might be the odd link to torturers, such as their ex-leader Margaret Thatcher describing General Pinochet, who herded opponents into a football stadium and had them shot, as a close and dear friend. Or supporting apartheid because “Nelson Mandela is a terrorist”. But she was only being polite.

    We can only guess what the next revelation will be. My guess is “Corbyn supported snakes against iguanas in Attenborough’s film. Footage has emerged of the Labour leader speaking alongside a snake, and praising his efforts to catch the iguana and poison and swallow him. One iguana said he was ‘shocked and horrified’ at the story, told in this 340-page special edition, and one anti-Corbyn Labour MP said, ‘I don’t know anything about this whatsoever, which is why I call on Mr Corbyn to do the decent thing and kill himself.’”


  • The Islamic fundamentalist Jeremy Corbyn should be ashamed of himself – if only he’d behaved more like Margaret Thatcher
    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/jeremy-corbyn-islam-jewish-antisemitism-israel-labour-party-margaret-

    This comes on top of revelations that he has a beard, much like Palestinian terrorists, and his constituency is Islington, which starts with IS, or Islamic State. As a vegetarian he doesn’t eat pork, his friend John McDonnell’s initials are JM – that stands for Jihadist Muslim – and he travels on underground trains, that are under the ground, just like the basements in which Isis make their little films.



  • Russia. Winning in Syria and the Middle East - By David W. Lesch and Kamal Alam - Syria Comment

    https://www.joshualandis.com/blog/25520-2

    Winning in Syria and the Middle East
    By David W. Lesch and Kamal Alam
    For Syria Comment – July 16, 2018

    The common perception today is that Russia has won in Syria, having supported the government of Bashar al-Assad, which is now steadily reasserting its control over previously lost territory. As a result, Russia has inserted itself as the power broker in Syria, if not the entire Middle East.  The summit between Presidents Trump and Putin on Monday in Helsinki, where the subject of Syria was high on the agenda, seems to have consecrated Russia’s victory. Countries tend to gravitate toward winners, not losers.

    Kamal Alam

    The United States, on the other hand, directly and indirectly intervened in multiple conflicts in the Middle East since 9/11, first in Afghanistan, then Iraq, followed by involvement in a series of upheavals brought on by the Arab Spring:  Libya and Syria most notably. No one would say the US has won in any of these cases—far from it.

    On the surface, this is difficult to comprehend.  After all, the US has by far the most powerful military on earth. The image of Russia’s only aircraft carrier limping toward, breaking down, and being towed in the eastern Mediterranean in support of Assad’s forces was a stark reminder of this reality.  So how did Russia win—and why did the US fail over and over again?

    There is one outstanding difference in the Russian versus American military interventions in internal national conflicts in the Middle East:  in Syria, the Kremlin supported the entrenched state. In Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria, the US supported opposition forces seeking the overthrow of the entrenched state.

    For the sake of argument, let’s say the US and NATO reversed their policy and actually wanted Libyan President Muammar Gadafi to remain in power against the opposition forces unleashed by the Arab spring. Is there any doubt that with US military support he would still be in power today?  Perhaps he too would be mopping up pockets of resistance much as Assad is doing today in Syria.  However illogical or immoral it may have seemed at the time to most in the West, let’s say Washington wanted Assad to stay in power seven years ago when the Arab spring hit Syria. Would not the US be the one crowning its success there, not Russia? Ironically, the US supported the Iraqi state against ISIS—and won.  But the US is not going to get much credit for solving a problem it largely created when it dissolved the state via the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and its chaotic aftermath.


  • ’This is Iraq’: Rapper decries US legacy in Iraq in bitter parody of Childish Gambino (VIDEO) — RT World News
    https://www.rt.com/news/433651-iraq-rapper-us-torture-video

    A musical video by an Iraqi rapper calling out the US on its abuses at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere in the war-ravaged country following the 2003 invasion has gone viral, racking up over 500,000 views.

    The video was filmed by rapper I-NZ as another parody of Childish Gambino’s ’This is America.’ While Gambino took on police brutality and racial bias in his acclaimed work, the Iraqi rapper chose to cast the light on the ugly results of the Iraq War, with its well-documented instances of maltreatment and humiliation of detainees by US soldiers. The name of the former US military prison, Abu Ghraib, the video’s supposed set, became synonymous with abuse after harrowing images and accounts of physical and psychological torture within its walls became public in 2004.

    (...) The rapper, who was born to Iraqi parents and grew up in New Zealand and has never actually been to Iraq in his life, highlights the lack of coverage on the issue and the impunity of foreign forces and local corrupt elites with the line: “They’re immune, this is telly, that’s the news, media blackout, then it’s lights out, keep sniffin’ the tar.” The video also mocks former US President George W Bush for his infamous May 2003 speech, which he delivered under a “Mission Accomplished” banner, and after which the war continued for eight more years, arguably paving the way for the rise of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and for leaving the country in economic and political disarray.

    The video was released on July 4, and it has been watched over 500,000 times on YouTube since. Speaking to VICE Arabic, the rapper said that he did not initially plan for it to coincide with the US Independence Day, however, he then decided to speed up the release to draw more attention to the issue.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvxZLKtkgiM

    #irak #rap

    • أدب .. بدر شاكر السياب : النهر و الموت
      http://www.adab.com/modules.php?name=Sh3er&doWhat=shqas&qid=68099

      بويب
      بويب
      أجراس برج ضاع في قرارة البحر
      الماء في الجرار و الغروب في الشجر
      و تنضح الجرار أجراسا من المطر
      بلورها يذوب في أنين
      بويب يا بويب
      فيدلهم في دمي حنين
      إليك يا بويب

    • The River And The Death Poem by Badr Shakir al-Sayyab - Poem Hunter
      https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-river-and-the-death

      Buwaib , Oh Buwaib ,
      Bells of a lighthouse lost at the bottom of the sea ,
      Water is in the pots , and the sunset in the trees ,
      The pots ooze bells of rain ,
      Their crystal melts away in wailing .

      Buwaib , Oh Buwaib !
      Sympathy for you , Buwaib darkens in my blood ,
      Sad like rain , O my river ,
      I wish I could run in the darkness ,
      Tightening my both fists to carry ,
      In each finger , a year of yearning ,
      As if I were carrying votive offerings ,
      Of wheat and roses .
      I wish I could approach from the hills beds ,
      To glance the moon ,
      Wading between your banks ,
      Planting shadows and filling the baskets ,
      With water , fish and roses .
      I wish I could wade you , to follow the moon ,
      And hear the pebbles rattle in the bottom ,
      The rattling of thousands of sparrows on the trees .
      Are you a wood of tears or a river ?
      And will the fish sleep at dawn ?
      And will these stars stay waiting ,
      To feed with silk thousands of needles ?
      And you , Buwaib , how I wish I could sink into you ,
      To pick up oyster shells to build a house out of them ,
      To enlighten with it the verdancy of water and trees ,
      Of what the stars and the moon ooze ,
      To reach the sea in you with the ebb ,
      For death is a strange world ,
      That enchants the young ,
      And its hidden door was with you , Buwaib .

      Buwaib , O Buwaib .
      Twenty years have gone , every year is like ages ,
      And today , when darkness overcast ,
      To stay up sleepless in bed ,
      And to delicate the conscience up to the daylight ,
      Like a tree with delicate branches , birds and fruits .
      I feel the blood , the tears as the rain ,
      Ooze by the sad world .
      Bells of the dead are shaking in my veins ,
      To darken sympathy in my blood ,
      Sympathy for a bullet to cut open the depths of my heart ,
      With its constrictive ice ,
      To burn up the bones like the hell .
      I wish I could run to support the strugglers ,
      To tighten my both fists and slap the fate .
      I wish I could drown in my blood to the bottom ,
      To bear the burden with human beings ,
      To infuse life . My death is then triumph .

      Translated by : Jamil Azeez Mohammad
      Badr Shakir al-Sayyab

    • Badr Shakir al-Sayyab — Wikipédia
      https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Badr_Shakir_al-Sayyab

      Badr Shakir al-Sayyab (en arabe : بدر شاكر السياب ; Djaykur, 24 décembre 1926 - Koweït, 24 décembre 1964) est un poète et traducteur irakien de langue arabe. Il est la référence incontestée de la poésie arabe moderne et l’un des fondateurs du Vers libre dans la littérature arabe.

    • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Buwaib

      Battle of Buwaib - Wikipedia
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Buwaib

      Battle of Buwaib (Arabic: معركة البويب‎) was fought between Sassanid Empire and Rashidun Caliphate soon after Battle of the Bridge.
      […]
      The war ended with huge success to the Muslims in which they killed the Persian leader Mihran bin Badhan, and got momentum to further expand their wars against the Sassanids and their allies.

    • بدر شاكر السياب - انشودة المطر - song of the rain
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NTD35zenp0

      Rain Song Poem by Badr Shakir al-Sayyab - Poem Hunter
      https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/rain-song-7

      [… 7:12]
      In every drop of rain
      A red or yellow color buds from the seeds of flowers.
      Every tear wept by the hungry and naked people
      And every spilt drop of slaves’ blood
      Is a smile aimed at a new dawn,
      A nipple turning rosy in an infant’s lips
      In the young world of tomorrow, bringer of life.
      Drip.....
      Drop..... the rain . . .In the rain.
      Iraq will blossom one day ’
      I cry out to the Gulf: ’O Gulf,
      Giver of pearls, shells and death!’
      The echo replies
      As if lamenting:
      ’O Gulf,
      Giver of shells and death.’
      And across the sands from among its lavish gifts
      The Gulf scatters fuming froth and shells
      And the skeletons of miserable drowned emigrants
      Who drank death forever
      From the depths of the Gulf, from the ground of its silence,
      And in Iraq a thousand serpents drink the nectar
      From a flower the Euphrates has nourished with dew.
      I hear the echo
      Ringing in the Gulf:
      ’Rain . . .
      Drip, drop, the rain . . .
      Drip, drop.’

      In every drop of rain
      A red or yellow color buds from the seeds of flowers.
      Every tear wept by the hungry and naked people
      And every spilt drop of slaves’ blood
      Is a smile aimed at a new dawn,
      A nipple turning rosy in an infant’s lips
      In the young world of tomorrow, bringer of life.
      And still the rain pours down.

      Translated by: Lena jayyusi and Christopher Middleton


  • Bolton : US Will Keep Its Troops in Syria Until ’Iranian Menace’ Eliminated - Sputnik International
    https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201807161066395610-us-troops-syria-iranian-menace

    “But I think the president has made it clear that we are there until the ISIS* [Daesh] territorial caliphate is removed and as long as the Iranian menace continues throughout the Middle East,” he said.

    On se perd un peu dans les déclarations US sur le Moyen-Orient mais on est malgré tout content d’apprendre que les USA interviennent officiellement en Syrie pour « contrer la menace iranienne ».

    #syrie #propagande