organization:american government

  • The Power Elite
    https://www1.udel.edu/htr/Psc105/Texts/power.html

    Thomas Dye, a political scientist, and his students have been studying the upper echelons of leadership in America since 1972. These “top positions” encompassed the posts with the authority to run programs and activities of major political, economic, legal, educational, cultural, scientific, and civic institutions. The occupants of these offices, Dye’s investigators found, control half of the nation’s industrial, communications, transportation, and banking assets, and two-thirds of all insurance assets. In addition, they direct about 40 percent of the resources of private foundations and 50 percent of university endowments. Furthermore, less than 250 people hold the most influential posts in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the federal government, while approximately 200 men and women run the three major television networks and most of the national newspaper chains.

    Facts like these, which have been duplicated in countless other studies, suggest to many observers that power in the United States is concentrated in the hands of a single power elite. Scores of versions of this idea exist, probably one for each person who holds it, but they all interpret government and politics very differently than pluralists. Instead of seeing hundreds of competing groups hammering out policy, the elite model perceives a pyramid of power. At the top, a tiny elite makes all of the most important decisions for everyone below. A relatively small middle level consists of the types of individuals one normally thinks of when discussing American government: senators, representatives, mayors, governors, judges, lobbyists, and party leaders. The masses occupy the bottom. They are the average men and women in the country who are powerless to hold the top level accountable.

    The power elite theory, in short, claims that a single elite, not a multiplicity of competing groups, decides the life-and-death issues for the nation as a whole, leaving relatively minor matters for the middle level and almost nothing for the common person. It thus paints a dark picture. Whereas pluralists are somewhat content with what they believe is a fair, if admittedly imperfect, system, the power elite school decries the grossly unequal and unjust distribution of power it finds everywhere.

    People living in a country that prides itself on democracy, that is surrounded by the trappings of free government, and that constantly witnesses the comings and goings of elected officials may find the idea of a power elite farfetched. Yet many very intelligent social scientists accept it and present compelling reasons for believing it to be true. Thus, before dismissing it out of hand, one ought to listen to their arguments.

    #politique #théorie_politique #USA #États_Unis #gouvernement #idéologie #impérialisme

  • Syria Latest: Day-to-Day Life in War-Weary Damascus - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-04-26/waiting-19-hours-for-gas-in-a-lifeless-city

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

    [..,]

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

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

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

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

    #Syrie #sanctions #civils #etats-unis

    • EDUCATION THAT LEADS TO LEGISLATION

      ‘Segregated By Design’ examines the forgotten history of how our federal, state and local governments unconstitutionally segregated every major metropolitan area in America through law and policy.

      Prejudice can be birthed from a lack of understanding the historically accurate details of the past. Without being aware of the unconstitutional residential policies the United States government enacted during the middle of the twentieth century, one might have a negative view today of neighborhoods where African Americans live or even of African Americans themselves.

      We can compensate for this unlawful segregation through a national political consensus that leads to legislation. And this will only happen if the majority of Americans understand how we got here. Like Jay-Z said in a recent New York Times interview, “you can’t have a solution until you start dealing with the problem: What you reveal, you heal.” This is the major challenge at hand: to educate fellow citizens of the unconstitutional inequality that we’ve woven and, on behalf of our government, accept responsibility to fix it.

      https://www.segregatedbydesign.com

    • The Color of Law

      This “powerful and disturbing history” exposes how American governments deliberately imposed racial segregation on metropolitan areas nationwide (New York Times Book Review).

      Widely heralded as a “masterful” (Washington Post) and “essential” (Slate) history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law offers “the most forceful argument ever published on how federal, state, and local governments gave rise to and reinforced neighborhood segregation” (William Julius Wilson). Exploding the myth of de facto segregation arising from private prejudice or the unintended consequences of economic forces, Rothstein describes how the American government systematically imposed residential segregation: with undisguised racial zoning; public housing that purposefully segregated previously mixed communities; subsidies for builders to create whites-only suburbs; tax exemptions for institutions that enforced segregation; and support for violent resistance to African Americans in white neighborhoods. A groundbreaking, “virtually indispensable” study that has already transformed our understanding of twentieth-century urban history (Chicago Daily Observer), The Color of Law forces us to face the obligation to remedy our unconstitutional past.


      https://books.wwnorton.com/books/detail.aspx?id=4294995609&LangType=1033
      #livre

  • Top White House Official Involved in Saudi Sanctions Resigns - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/17/us/politics/trump-khashoggi-saudi-arabia.html

    A top White House official responsible for American policy toward Saudi Arabia resigned on Friday evening, a move that may suggest fractures inside the Trump administration over the response to the brutal killing of the dissident Jamal Khashoggi.

    The official, Kirsten Fontenrose, had pushed for tough measures against the Saudi government, and had been in Riyadh to discuss a raft of sanctions that the American government imposed in recent days against those identified as responsible for the killing, according to two people familiar with the conversations. Specifically, she advocated that Saud al-Qahtani, a top adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, be added to the list, and he ultimately was.

    Mauvais timing pour le renvoi de cette fonctionnaire de la Maison blanche en charge du dossier saoudien et qui souhaitait apparemment des sanctions : cela vient juste au moment des fuites sur le rapport de la CIA mettant en cause #MBS et, par dessus le marché, une vidéo (totalement invérifiable) se met à circuler montrant des morceaux choisis (!) du démantèlement (https://twitter.com/mazmbc/status/1063753281099325440)

    #gore de gore #arabie_saoudite #grand_jeu

  • Uganda’s refugee policies: the history, the politics, the way forward

    Uganda’s refugee policy urgently needs an honest discussion, if sustainable solutions for both refugees and host communities are to be found, a new policy paper by International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI) reveals.

    The paper, entitled Uganda’s refugee policies: the history, the politics, the way forward puts the “Ugandan model” in its historical and political context, shines a spotlight on its implementation gaps, and proposes recommendations for the way forward.

    Uganda has since 2013 opened its borders to hundreds of thousands of refugees from South Sudan, bringing the total number of refugees to more than one million. It has been praised for its positive steps on freedom of movement and access to work for refugees, going against the global grain. But generations of policy, this paper shows, have only entrenched the sole focus on refugee settlements and on repatriation as the only viable durable solution. Support to urban refugees and local integration have been largely overlooked.

    The Ugandan refugee crisis unfolded at the same time as the UN adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, and states committed to implement a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF). Uganda immediately seized this opportunity and adopted its own strategy to implement these principles. As the world looks to Uganda for best practices in refugee policy, and rightly so, it is vital to understand the gaps between rhetoric and reality, and the pitfalls of Uganda’s policy. This paper identifies the following challenges:

    There is a danger that the promotion of progressive refugee policies becomes more rhetoric than reality, creating a smoke-screen that squeezes out meaningful discussion about robust alternatives. Policy-making has come at the expense of real qualitative change on the ground.
    Refugees in urban areas continue to be largely excluded from any support due to an ongoing focus on refugee settlements, including through aid provision
    Local integration and access to citizenship have been virtually abandoned, leaving voluntary repatriation as the only solution on the table. Given the protracted crises in South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, this remains unrealistic.
    Host communities remain unheard, with policy conversations largely taking place in Kampala and Geneva. Many Ugandans and refugees have neither the economic resources nor sufficient political leverage to influence the policies that are meant to benefit them.

    The policy paper proposes a number of recommendations to improve the Ugandan refugee model:

    First, international donors need to deliver on their promise of significant financial support.
    Second, repatriation cannot remain the only serious option on the table. There has to be renewed discussion on local integration with Uganda communities and a dramatic increase in resettlement to wealthier states across the globe.
    Third, local communities hosting refugees must be consulted and their voices incorporated in a more meaningful and systematic way, if tensions within and between communities are to be avoided.
    Fourth, in order to genuinely enhance refugee self-reliance, the myth of the “local settlement” needs to be debunked and recognized for what it is: the ongoing isolation of refugees and the utilization of humanitarian assistance to keep them isolated and dependent on aid.


    http://refugee-rights.org/uganda-refugee-policies-the-history-the-politics-the-way-forward
    #modèle_ougandais #Ouganda #asile #migrations #réfugiés

    Pour télécharger le #rapport:
    http://refugee-rights.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/IRRI-Uganda-policy-paper-October-2018-Paper.pdf

    • A New Deal for Refugees

      Global policies that aim to resettle and integrate displaced populations into local societies is providing a way forward.

      For many years now, groups that work with refugees have fought to put an end to the refugee camp. It’s finally starting to happen.

      Camps are a reasonable solution to temporary dislocation. But refugee crises can go on for decades. Millions of refugees have lived in their country of shelter for more than 30 years. Two-thirds of humanitarian assistance — intended for emergencies — is spent on crises that are more than eight years old.

      Camps are stagnant places. Refugees have access to water and medical care and are fed and educated, but are largely idle. “You keep people for 20 years in camps — don’t expect the next generation to be problem-free,” said Xavier Devictor, who advises the World Bank on refugee issues. “Keeping people in those conditions is not a good idea.” It’s also hard to imagine a better breeding ground for terrorists.

      “As long as the system is ‘we feed you,’ it’s always going to be too expensive for the international community to pay for,” Mr. Devictor said. It’s gotten more and more difficult for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to raise that money; in many crises, the refugee agency can barely keep people from starving. It’s even harder now as nations turn against foreigners — even as the number of people fleeing war and violence has reached a record high.

      At the end of last year, nearly 70 million people were either internally displaced in their own countries, or had crossed a border and become a refugee. That is the largest number of displaced in history — yes, more than at the end of World War II. The vast majority flee to neighboring countries — which can be just as badly off.

      Last year, the United States accepted about 30,000 refugees.

      Uganda, which is a global model for how it treats refugees, has one-seventh of America’s population and a tiny fraction of the wealth. Yet it took in 1,800 refugees per day between mid-2016 and mid-2017 from South Sudan alone. And that’s one of four neighbors whose people take refuge in Uganda.

      Bangladesh, already the world’s most crowded major nation, has accepted more than a million Rohingya fleeing ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. “If we can feed 160 million people, then (feeding) another 500,00-700,000 …. We can do it. We can share our food,” Shiekh Hasina, Bangladesh’s prime minister, said last year.

      Lebanon is host to approximately 1.5 million Syrian refugees, in addition to a half-million Palestinians, some of whom have been there for generations. One in three residents of Lebanon is a refugee.

      The refugee burden falls heavily on a few, poor countries, some of them at risk of destabilization, which can in turn produce more refugees. The rest of the world has been unwilling to share that burden.

      But something happened that could lead to real change: Beginning in 2015, hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees crossed the Mediterranean in small boats and life rafts into Europe.

      Suddenly, wealthy European countries got interested in fixing a broken system: making it more financially viable, more dignified for refugees, and more palatable for host governments and communities.

      In September 2016, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously passed a resolution stating that all countries shared the responsibility of protecting refugees and supporting host countries. It also laid out a plan to move refugees out of camps into normal lives in their host nations.

      Donor countries agreed they would take more refugees and provide more long-term development aid to host countries: schools, hospitals, roads and job-creation measures that can help both refugees and the communities they settle in. “It looked at refugee crises as development opportunities, rather than a humanitarian risk to be managed,” said Marcus Skinner, a policy adviser at the International Rescue Committee.

      The General Assembly will vote on the specifics next month (whatever they come up with won’t be binding). The Trump administration pulled out of the United Nations’ Global Compact on Migration, but so far it has not opposed the refugee agreement.

      There’s a reason refugee camps exist: Host governments like them. Liberating refugees is a hard sell. In camps, refugees are the United Nations’ problem. Out of camps, refugees are the local governments’ problem. And they don’t want to do anything to make refugees comfortable or welcome.

      Bangladesh’s emergency response for the Rohingya has been staggeringly generous. But “emergency” is the key word. The government has resisted granting Rohingya schooling, work permits or free movement. It is telling Rohingya, in effect, “Don’t get any ideas about sticking around.”

      This attitude won’t deter the Rohingya from coming, and it won’t send them home more quickly. People flee across the closest border — often on foot — that allows them to keep their families alive. And they’ll stay until home becomes safe again. “It’s the simple practicality of finding the easiest way to refuge,” said Victor Odero, regional advocacy coordinator for East Africa and the Horn of Africa at the International Rescue Committee. “Any question of policies is a secondary matter.”

      So far, efforts to integrate refugees have had mixed success. The first experiment was a deal for Jordan, which was hosting 650,000 Syrian refugees, virtually none of whom were allowed to work. Jordan agreed to give them work permits. In exchange, it got grants, loans and trade concessions normally available only to the poorest countries.

      However, though the refugees have work permits, Jordan has put only a moderate number of them into jobs.

      Any agreement should include the views of refugees from the start — the Jordan Compact failed to do this. Aid should be conditioned upon the right things. The deal should have measured refugee jobs, instead of work permits. Analysts also said the benefits should have been targeted more precisely, to reach the areas with most refugees.

      To spread this kind of agreement to other nations, the World Bank established a $2 billion fund in July 2017. The money is available to very poor countries that host many refugees, such as Uganda and Bangladesh. In return, they must take steps to integrate refugees into society. The money will come as grants and zero interest loans with a 10-year grace period. Middle-income countries like Lebanon and Colombia would also be eligible for loans at favorable rates under a different fund.

      Over the last 50 years, only one developing country has granted refugees full rights. In Uganda, refugees can live normally. Instead of camps there are settlements, where refugees stay voluntarily because they get a plot of land. Refugees can work, live anywhere, send their children to school and use the local health services. The only thing they can’t do is become Ugandan citizens.

      Given the global hostility to refugees, it is remarkable that Ugandans still approve of these policies. “There have been flashes of social tension or violence between refugees and their hosts, mostly because of a scarcity of resources,” Mr. Odero said. “But they have not become widespread or protracted.”

      This is the model the United Nations wants the world to adopt. But it is imperiled even in Uganda — because it requires money that isn’t there.

      The new residents are mainly staying near the South Sudan border in Uganda’s north — one of the least developed parts of the country. Hospitals, schools, wells and roads were crumbling or nonexistent before, and now they must serve a million more people.

      Joël Boutroue, the head of the United Nations refugee agency in Uganda, said current humanitarian funding covered a quarter of what the crisis required. “At the moment, not even half of refugees go to primary school,” he said. “There are around 100 children per classroom.”

      Refugees are going without food, medical care and water. The plots of land they get have grown smaller and smaller.

      Uganda is doing everything right — except for a corruption scandal. It could really take advantage of the new plan to develop the refugee zone. That would not only help refugees, it would help their host communities. And it would alleviate growing opposition to rights for refugees. “The Ugandan government is under pressure from politicians who see the government giving favored treatment to refugees,” Mr. Boutroue said. “If we want to change the perception of refugees from recipients of aid to economic assets, we have to showcase that refugees bring development.”

      The World Bank has so far approved two projects — one for water and sanitation and one for city services such as roads and trash collection. But they haven’t gotten started yet.

      Mr. Devictor said that tackling long-term development issues was much slower than providing emergency aid. “The reality is that it will be confusing and confused for a little while,” he said. Water, for example, is trucked in to Uganda’s refugee settlements, as part of humanitarian aid. “That’s a huge cost,” he said. “But if we think this crisis is going to last for six more months, it makes sense. If it’s going to last longer, we should think about upgrading the water system.”

      Most refugee crises are not surprises, Mr. Devictor said. “If you look at a map, you can predict five or six crises that are going to produce refugees over the next few years.” It’s often the same places, over and over. That means developmental help could come in advance, minimizing the burden on the host. “Do we have to wait until people cross the border to realize we’re going to have an emergency?” he said.

      Well, we might. If politicians won’t respond to a crisis, it’s hard to imagine them deciding to plan ahead to avert one. Political commitment, or lack of it, always rules. The world’s new approach to refugees was born out of Europe’s panic about the Syrians on their doorstep. But no European politician is panicking about South Sudanese or Rohingya refugees — or most crises. They’re too far away. The danger is that the new approach will fall victim to the same political neglect that has crippled the old one.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/21/opinion/refugee-camps-integration.html

      #Ouganda #modèle_ougandais #réinstallation #intégration

      avec ce commentaire de #Jeff_Crisp sur twitter :

      “Camps are stagnant places. Refugees have access to water and medical care and are fed and educated, but are largely idle.”
      Has this prizewinning author actually been to a refugee camp?

      https://twitter.com/JFCrisp/status/1031892657117831168

    • Appreciating Uganda’s ‘open door’ policy for refugees

      While the rest of the world is nervous and choosing to take an emotional position on matters of forced migration and refugees, sometimes closing their doors in the face of people who are running from persecution, Uganda’s refugee policy and practice continues to be liberal, with an open door to all asylum seekers, writes Arthur Matsiko

      http://thisisafrica.me/appreciating-ugandas-open-door-policy-refugees

    • Ouganda. La générosité intéressée du pays le plus ouvert du monde aux réfugiés

      L’Ouganda est le pays qui accueille le plus de réfugiés. Un million de Sud-Soudanais fuyant la guerre s’y sont installés. Mais cette noble intention des autorités cache aussi des calculs moins avouables : l’arrivée massive de l’aide internationale encourage l’inaction et la #corruption.

      https://www.courrierinternational.com/article/ouganda-la-generosite-interessee-du-pays-le-plus-ouvert-du-mo

    • Refugees in Uganda to benefit from Dubai-funded schools but issues remain at crowded settlement

      Dubai Cares is building three classrooms in a primary school at Ayilo II but the refugee settlement lacks a steady water supply, food and secondary schools, Roberta Pennington writes from Adjumani


      https://www.thenational.ae/uae/refugees-in-uganda-to-benefit-from-dubai-funded-schools-but-issues-remai

    • FUGA DAL SUD SUDAN. LUIS, L’UGANDA E QUEL PEZZO DI TERRA DONATA AI PROFUGHI

      Luis zappa, prepara dei fori per tirare su una casa in attesa di ritrovare la sua famiglia. Il terreno è una certezza, glielo ha consegnato il Governo ugandese. Il poterci vivere con i suoi cari non ancora. L’ultima volta li ha visti in Sud Sudan. Nel ritornare a casa sua moglie e i suoi otto figli non c’erano più. É sicuro si siano messi in cammino verso l’Uganda, così da quel giorno è iniziata la sua rincorsa. É certo che li ritroverà nella terra che ora lo ha accolto. Quella di Luis è una delle tante storie raccolte nei campi profughi del nord dell’Uganda, in una delle ultime missioni di Amref, in cui era presente anche Giusi Nicolini, già Sindaco di Lampedusa e Premio Unesco per la pace. 



      Modello Uganda? Dell’Uganda il mondo dice «campione di accoglienza». Accoglienza che sta sperimentando da mesi nei confronti dei profughi sud sudanesi, che scappano da uno dei Paesi più drammaticamente in crisi al mondo. Sono 4 milioni le persone che in Sud Sudan hanno dovuto lasciare le proprie case. Chi muovendosi verso altri Paesi e chi in altre regioni sud sudanesi. In questi ultimi tempi arrivano in Uganda anche persone che fuggono dalla Rep. Democratica del Congo.

      https://www.amref.it/2018_02_23_Fuga_dal_Sud_Sudan_Luis_lUganda_e_quel_pezzo_di_terra_donata_ai_pro

    • As Rich Nations Close the Door on Refugees, Uganda Welcomes Them

      President Trump is vowing to send the military to stop migrants trudging from Central America. Europe’s leaders are paying African nations to block migrants from crossing the Mediterranean — and detaining the ones who make it in filthy, overcrowded camps.

      But Solomon Osakan has a very different approach in this era of rising xenophobia. From his uncluttered desk in northwest Uganda, he manages one of the largest concentrations of refugees anywhere in the world: more than 400,000 people scattered across his rural district.

      He explained what he does with them: Refugees are allotted some land — enough to build a little house, do a little farming and “be self-sufficient,” said Mr. Osakan, a Ugandan civil servant. Here, he added, the refugees live in settlements, not camps — with no barbed wire, and no guards in sight.

      “You are free, and you can come and go as you want,” Mr. Osakan added.

      As many nations are securing their borders and turning refugees away, Uganda keeps welcoming them. And they keep coming, fleeing catastrophes from across this part of Africa.

      In all, Uganda has as many as 1.25 million refugees on its soil, perhaps more, making it one of the most welcoming countries in the world, according to the United Nations.

      And while Uganda’s government has made hosting refugees a core national policy, it works only because of the willingness of rural Ugandans to accept an influx of foreigners on their land and shoulder a big part of the burden.

      Uganda is not doing this without help. About $200 million in humanitarian aid to the country this year will largely pay to feed and care for the refugees. But they need places to live and small plots to farm, so villages across the nation’s north have agreed to carve up their communally owned land and share it with the refugees, often for many years at a time.

      “Our population was very few and our community agreed to loan the land,” said Charles Azamuke, 27, of his village’s decision in 2016 to accept refugees from South Sudan, which has been torn apart by civil war. “We are happy to have these people. We call them our brothers.”

      United Nations officials have pointed to Uganda for its “open border” policy. While the United States, a much more populous nation, has admitted more than three million refugees since 1975, the American government settles them in the country after they have first been thoroughly screened overseas.

      By contrast, Uganda has essentially opened its borders to refugees, rarely turning anyone away.

      Some older Ugandans explain that they, too, had been refugees once, forced from their homes during dictatorship and war. And because the government ensures that spending on refugees benefits Ugandans as well, younger residents spoke of how refugees offered them some unexpected opportunities.

      “I was a farmer. I used to dig,” Mr. Azamuke said. But after learning Arabic from refugees from South Sudan, he got a better job — as a translator at a new health clinic that serves the newcomers.

      His town, Ofua, is bisected by a dirt road, with the Ugandans living on the uphill side and the South Sudanese on the downhill side. The grass-thatched homes of the Ugandans look a bit larger and sturdier, but not much.

      As the sun began to set one recent afternoon, a group of men on the Ugandan side began to pass around a large plastic bottle of waragi, a home brew. On the South Sudanese side, the men were sober, gathered around a card game.

      On both sides, the men had nothing but tolerant words for one another. “Actually, we don’t have any problems with these people,” said Martin Okuonzi, a Ugandan farmer cleaning his fingernails with a razor blade.

      As the men lounged, the women and girls were still at work, preparing dinner, tending children, fetching water and gathering firewood. They explained that disputes did arise, especially as the two groups competed for limited resources like firewood.

      “We’ve been chased away,” said Agnes Ajonye, a 27-year-old refugee from South Sudan. “They say we are destroying their forests.”

      And disputes broke out at the well, where Ugandan women insist they should be allowed to skip ahead of refugees.

      “If we hadn’t given you the land you live on, wouldn’t you be dying in Sudan?” said Adili Chandia, a 62-year-old refugee, recounting the lecture she and others got from a frustrated Ugandan woman waiting in line.

      Ugandan officials often talk about the spirit of Pan-Africanism that motivates their approach to refugees. President Yoweri Museveni, an autocratic leader who has been in power for 32 years, says Uganda’s generosity can be traced to the precolonial days of warring kingdoms and succession disputes, when losing factions often fled to a new land.

      This history of flight and resettlement is embedded in some of the names of local groups around western Uganda, like Batagwenda, which means “the ones that could not continue traveling.”

      The government encourages the nation to go along with its policy by directing that 30 percent of foreign aid destined for refugees be spent in ways that benefit Ugandans nearby. So when money for refugees results in new schools, clinics and wells, Ugandans are more likely to welcome than resent them.

      For Mr. Museveni, hosting refugees has given him relevance and political capital abroad at a time when he would otherwise have little.

      A former guerrilla fighter who quickly stabilized much of his country, Mr. Museveni was once hailed as an example of new African leadership. He was relatively quick to confront the AIDS epidemic, and he invited back Ugandans of Indian and Pakistani descent who had been expelled during the brutal reign of Idi Amin in the 1970s.

      But his star has fallen considerably. He has clung to power for decades. His security forces have beaten political opponents. Freedom of assembly and expression are severely curtailed.

      Even so, Uganda’s openness toward refugees makes Mr. Museveni important to European nations, which are uneasy at the prospect of more than a million refugees heading for Europe.

      Other African nations also host a significant number of refugees, but recent polls show that Ugandans are more likely than their neighbors in Kenya or Tanzania to support land assistance or the right to work for refugees.

      Part of the reason is that Ugandans have fled their homes as well, first during the murderous reign of Mr. Amin, then during the period of retribution after his overthrow, and again during the 1990s and 2000s, when Joseph Kony, the guerrilla leader who terrorized northern Uganda, left a trail of kidnapped children and mutilated victims.

      Many Ugandans found refuge in what is today South Sudan. Mark Idraku, 57, was a teenager when he fled with his mother to the area. They received two acres of farmland, which helped support them until they returned home six years later.

      “When we were in exile in Sudan, they also helped us,” Mr. Idraku said. “Nobody ever asked for a single coin.”

      Mr. Idraku has since returned the favor, loaning three acres to a South Sudanese refugee named Queen Chandia, 37. Ms. Chandia said the land — along with additional plots other Ugandans allow her to farm — has made all the difference.

      Her homestead of thatched-roof huts teemed with children tending their chores, grinding nuts into paste and maize into meal. Ms. Chandia is the mother of a girl and two boys. But over the years, as violence hollowed out her home country, Ms. Chandia started taking in the orphaned children of relatives and friends. Now 22 children call her “mom.”

      A refugee for nearly her entire life, Ms. Chandia arrived in Uganda as a young girl nearly 30 years ago. For years, she worried about being expelled.
      Image

      “Maybe these Ugandans will change their minds on us,” she said, describing the thought that plagued her. Then one day the worry stopped.

      But Mr. Osakan, the administrator who oversees refugee affairs in the country’s extreme northwest, is anxious. There is an Ebola outbreak over the border in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mr. Osakan fears what might happen if — or when — a refugee turns up in Uganda with the dreaded illness.

      “It would destroy all the harmony between refugees and host communities,” he said, explaining that it would probably lead to calls to seal the border.

      For now, the border is very much open, although the number of refugees arriving has fallen significantly. In one of the newer settlements, many of the refugees came last year, fleeing an attack in a South Sudanese city. But some complained about receiving too little land, about a quarter acre per family, which is less than previous refugees had received.

      “Even if you have skills — in carpentry — you are not given a chance,” said one refugee, Simon Ludoru. He looked over his shoulder, to where a construction crew was building a nursery school. The schoolhouse would teach both local Ugandan and South Sudanese children together, but the workers were almost entirely Ugandan, he said.

      At the construction site, the general contractor, Sam Omongo, 50, said he had hired refugees for the job. “Oh, yes,” he exclaimed.

      How many?

      “Not a lot, actually,” he acknowledged. “I have about three.” Mr. Omongo called one over.

      “Are you a refugee?” Mr. Omongo asked the slight man.

      “No, I’m from Uganda,” he said softly. His name was Amos Chandiga, 28. He lived nearby and owned six acres of land, though he worked only four of them. He had lent the other two to a pair of refugees.

      “They asked me, and I gave it to them,” Mr. Chandiga explained. He patted his chest. “It comes from here, in my heart.”


      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/28/world/africa/uganda-refugees.html?smtyp=cur&smid=tw-nytimes

    • Uganda: a role model for refugee integration?

      Uganda hosts the largest refugee population in Africa and is, after Turkey and Pakistan, the third-largest refugee recipient country worldwide. Political and humanitarian actors have widely praised Ugandan refugee policies because of their progressive nature: In Uganda, in contrast to many other refugee-receiving countries, these are de jure allowed to work, to establish businesses, to access public services such as education, to move freely and have access to a plot of land. Moreover, Uganda is a pilot country of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF). In this Working Paper the authors ascertain whether Uganda indeed can be taken as a role model for refugee integration, as largely portrayed in the media and the political discourse. They identify the challenges to livelihoods and integration to assess Uganda’s self-reliance and settlement approach and its aspiration towards providing refugees and Ugandan communities receiving refugees with opportunities for becoming self-reliant. Drawing on three months of field research in northern and southern Uganda from July to September of 2017 with a particular focus on South Sudanese refugees, the authors concentrate on three aspects: Access to land, employment and education, intra- and inter-group relations. The findings show that refugees in Uganda are far from self-reliant and socially integrated. Although in Uganda refugees are provided with land, the quality and size of the allocated plots is so poor that they cannot earn a living from agricultural production, which thus, rather impedes self-reliance. Inadequate infrastructure also hinders access to markets and employment opportunities. Even though most local communities have been welcoming to refugees, the sentiment has shifted recently in some areas, particularly where local communities that are often not better off than refugees feel that they have not benefitted from the presence of refugees....

      https://www.ssoar.info/ssoar/handle/document/62871

  • Bruce Springsteen Speaks Out About the “Disgracefully Inhumane and Un-American” Scenes at the Border | The New Yorker
    https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/bruce-springsteen-speaks-out-about-the-disgracefully-inhumane-and-un-amer

    Springsteen has done his Broadway show, a tightly scripted narrative in words and song, a hundred and forty-six times, but, on Tuesday night, shaken by the scenes and sounds and images coming from the Texas-Mexico border, he briefly abandoned his script. He spoke in the voice of an American outraged, disgusted, bewildered by what is happening in his own country. Standing on a bare stage and under a simple spotlight, he said:

    I never believed that people come to my shows, or rock shows, to be told anything. But I do believe that they come to be reminded of things. To be reminded of who they are, at their most joyous, at their deepest, when life feels full. It’s a good place to get in touch with your heart and your spirit. To be amongst the crowd. And to be reminded of who we are and who we can be collectively. Music does those things pretty well sometimes, particularly these days, when some reminding of who we are and who we can be isn’t such a bad thing.

    That weekend of the March for Our Lives, we saw those young people in Washington, and citizens all around the world, remind us of what faith in America and real faith in American democracy looks and feels like. It was just encouraging to see all those people out on the street and all that righteous passion in the service of something good. And to see that passion was alive and well and still there at the center of the beating heart of our country.

    It was a good day, and a necessary day, because we are seeing things right now on our American borders that are so shockingly and disgracefully inhumane and un-American that it is simply enraging. And we have heard people in high position in the American government blaspheme in the name of God and country that it is a moral thing to assault the children amongst us. May God save our souls.

    There’s the beautiful quote by Dr. King that says the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice. Now, there have been many, many days of recent when you could certainly have an argument over that. But I’ve lived long enough to see that in action and to put some faith in it. But I’ve also lived long enough to know, that arc doesn’t bend on its own. It needs all of us leaning on it, nudging it in the right direction, day after day. You’ve gotta keep, keep leaning. I think it’s important to believe in those words, and to carry yourself, and to act accordingly.

    And, with that, Springsteen sang “The Ghost of Tom Joad.”

    #Bruce_Springsteen #Migrants #Politique_USA

  • Army Green Berets Secretly Help Saudis Combat Threat From Yemen Rebels - The New York Times

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/03/us/politics/green-berets-saudi-yemen-border-houthi.html

    By Helene Cooper, Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Eric Schmitt
    May 3, 2018
    WASHINGTON — For years, the American military has sought to distance itself from a brutal civil war in Yemen, where Saudi-led forces are battling rebels who pose no direct threat to the United States.

    But late last year, a team of about a dozen Green Berets arrived on Saudi Arabia’s border with Yemen, in a continuing escalation of America’s secret wars.

    With virtually no public discussion or debate, the Army commandos are helping locate and destroy caches of ballistic missiles and launch sites that Houthi rebels in Yemen are using to attack Riyadh and other Saudi cities.

    Details of the Green Beret operation, which has not been previously disclosed, were provided to The New York Times by United States officials and European diplomats.
    ADVERTISEMENT

    They appear to contradict Pentagon statements that American military assistance to the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen is limited to aircraft refueling, logistics and general intelligence sharing.

    There is no indication that the American commandos have crossed into Yemen as part of the secretive mission.

    But sending American ground forces to the border is a marked escalation of Western assistance to target Houthi fighters who are deep in Yemen.

    Beyond its years as a base for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen has been convulsed by civil strife since 2014, when the Shiite Muslim rebels from the country’s north stormed the capital, Sana. The Houthis, who are aligned with Iran, ousted the government of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the Americans’ main counterterrorism partner in Yemen.

    In 2015, a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia began bombing the Houthis, who have responded by firing missiles into the kingdom. Yet there is no evidence that the Houthis directly threaten the United States; they are an unsophisticated militant group with no operations outside Yemen and have not been classified by the American government as a terrorist group.

    The Green Berets, the Army’s Special Forces, deployed to the border in December, weeks after a ballistic missile fired from Yemen sailed close to Riyadh, the Saudi capital. The Saudi military intercepted the missile over the city’s international airport, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman renewed a longstanding request that the United States send troops to help the kingdom combat the Houthi threat.

  • The US Army is developing AI that can recognize faces in the dark and through walls
    https://thenextweb.com/artificial-intelligence/2018/04/18/the-us-army-is-developing-ai-that-can-recognize-faces-in-the-dark-and-th

    The US Army is developing a machine learning method for identifying faces from thermal imagery. Soon the American government will be able to film people from outside of buildings, using cameras that can see through walls in near-total darkness, and an AI will recognize the people in the images. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) scientists Benjamin S. Riggan, Nathaniel J. Short, and Shuowen Hu recently released a white paper detailing military efforts to develop a method for applying facial (...)

    #algorithme #biométrie #thermique #facial

  • Opinion | Can Europe Lead on Privacy? - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/01/opinion/europe-privacy-protections.html

    The American government has done little to help us in this regard. The Federal Trade Commission merely requires internet companies to have a privacy policy available for consumers to see. A company can change that policy whenever it wants as long as it says it is doing so. As a result, internet companies have been taking our personal property — our private information — while hiding this fact behind lengthy and coercive legalese and cumbersome “opt out” processes.

    The European rules, for instance, require companies to provide a plain-language description of their information-gathering practices, including how the data is used, as well as have users explicitly “opt in” to having their information collected. The rules also give consumers the right to see what information about them is being held, and the ability to have that information erased.

    Why don’t we have similar protections in the United States? We almost did. In 2016, the Federal Communications Commission imposed similar requirements on the companies that provide internet service, forcing them to offer an explicit “opt in” for having personal data collected, and to protect the information that was collected.

    This didn’t last. Internet service providers like Comcast and AT&T and companies that use their connections, like Facebook and Google, lobbied members of Congress. Congress passed a law this year, signed by President Trump, that not only repealed the protections but also prohibited the F.C.C. from ever again imposing such safeguards. The same coalition of corporate interests succeeded in discouraging California from passing a state privacy law similar to the 2016 F.C.C. requirements.

    The New World must learn from the Old World. The internet economy has made our personal data a corporate commodity. The United States government must return control of that information to its owners.

    Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission from 2013 to 2017, is a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution and a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School.

    #Vie_privée #RGPD #FCC

  • The Song Sisters Facts
    http://biography.yourdictionary.com/the-song-sisters

    By marrying men of political distinction and adhering to their own political pursuits, the Song sisters— who included Ailing (1890-1973), Meiling (born 1897), and Qingling (1892?-1981) Song— participated in Chinese political activities and were destined to play key roles in Chinese modern history.

    Charlie Song and Guizhen Ni had three daughters and three sons, all of whom received American educations at their father’s encouragement. Though dissimilar political beliefs led the Song sisters down different paths, each exerted influence both on Chinese and international politics; indeed, Meiling’s influence in America was particularly great.

    In childhood, Ailing was known as a tomboy, smart and ebullient; Qingling was thought a pretty girl, quiet and pensive; and Meiling was considered a plump child, charming and headstrong. For their early education, they all went to McTyeire, the most important foreign-style school for Chinese girls in Shanghai. In 1904, Charlie Song asked his friend William Burke, an American Methodist missionary in China, to take 14-year-old Ailing to Wesleyan College, Georgia, for her college education. Thus, Ailing embarked on an American liner with the Burke family in Shanghai, but when they reached Japan, Mrs. Burke was so ill that the family was forced to remain in Japan. Alone, Ailing sailed on for America. She reached San Francisco, to find that Chinese were restricted from coming to America and was prevented from entering the United States despite a genuine Portuguese passport. She was transferred from ship to ship for three weeks until an American missionary helped solve the problem. Finally, Ailing arrived at Georgia’s Wesleyan College and was well treated. But she never forgot her experience in San Francisco. Later, in 1906, she visited the White House with her uncle, who was a Chinese imperial education commissioner, and complained to President Theodore Roosevelt of her bitter reception in San Francisco: “America is a beautiful country,” she said, “but why do you call it a free country?” Roosevelt was reportedly so surprised by her straightforwardness that he could do little more than mutter an apology and turn away.

    In 1907, Qingling and Meiling followed Ailing to America. Arriving with their commissioner uncle, they had no problem entering the United States. They first stayed at Miss Clara Potwin’s private school for language improvement and then joined Ailing at Wesleyan. Meiling was only ten years old and stayed as a special student.
    The First and Second Revolutiona

    Ailing received her degree in 1909 and returned to Shanghai, where she took part in charity activities with her mother. With her father’s influence, she soon became secretary to Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the Chinese revolutionary leader whose principles of nationalism, democracy and popular livelihood greatly appealed to many Chinese. In October of 1911, soldiers mutinied in Wuhan, setting off the Chinese Revolution. Puyi, the last emperor of China, was overthrown and the Republic of China was established with Sun Yat-sen as the provisional president. Charlie Soong informed his daughters in America of the great news and sent them a republican flag. As recalled by her roommates, Qingling climbed up on a chair, ripped down the old imperial dragon flag, and put up the five-colored republican flag, shouting “Down with the dragon! Up with the flag of the Republic!” She wrote in an article for the Wesleyan student magazine:

    One of the greatest events of the twentieth century, the greatest even since Waterloo, in the opinion of many well-known educators and politicians, is the Chinese Revolution. It is a most glorious achievement. It means the emancipation of four hundred million souls from the thralldom of an absolute monarchy, which has been in existence for over four thousand years, and under whose rule “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” have been denied.

    However, the “glorious achievement” was not easily won. When Qingling finished her education in America and went back in 1913, she found China in a “Second Revolution.” Yuan Shikai, who acted as president of the new Republic, proclaimed himself emperor and began slaughtering republicans. The whole Song family fled to Japan with Sun Yat-sen as political fugitives. During their sojourn in Japan, Ailing met a young man named Xiangxi Kong (H.H. Kung) from one of the richest families in China. Kong had just finished his education in America at Oberlin and Yale and was working with the Chinese YMCA in Tokyo. Ailing soon married Kong, leaving her job as secretary to Qingling, who firmly believed in Sun Yat-sen’s revolution. Qingling fell in love with Sun Yat-sen and informed her parents of her desire to marry him. Her parents, however, objected, for Sun Yat-sen was a married man and much older than Qingling. Charlie Soong took his family back to Shanghai and confined Qingling to her room upstairs. But Qingling escaped to Japan and married Sun Yat-sen after he divorced his first wife.

    Meanwhile, Meiling had transferred from Wesleyan to Massachusetts’s Wellesley College to be near her brother T.V. Song, who was studying at Harvard and could take care of her. When she heard of her parent’s reaction to Qingling’s choice of marriage, Meiling feared that she might have to accept an arranged marriage when she returned to China; thus, she hurriedly announced her engagement to a young Chinese student at Harvard. When her anxiety turned out to be unnecessary, she renounced the engagement. Meiling finished her education at Wellesley and returned to China in 1917 to become a Shanghai socialite and work for both the National Film Censorship Board and the YMCA in Shanghai.

    Ailing proved more interested in business than politics. She and her husband lived in Shanghai and rapidly expanded their business in various large Chinese cities including Hongkong. A shrewd businesswoman, who usually stayed away from publicity, Ailing was often said to be the mastermind of the Song family.

    Qingling continued working as Sun Yat-sen’s secretary and accompanied him on all public appearances. Though shy by nature, she was known for her strong character. After the death of Yuan Shikai, China was enveloped in the struggle of rival warlords. Qingling joined her husband in the campaigns against the warlords and encouraged women to participate in the Chinese revolution by organizing women’s training schools and associations. Unfortunately, Sun Yat-sen died in 1925 and his party, Guomindang (the Nationalist party), soon split. In the following years of struggles between different factions, Chiang Kai-shek, who attained the control of Guomindang with his military power, persecuted Guomindang leftists and Chinese Communists. Qingling was sympathetic with Guomindang leftists, whom she regarded as faithful to her husband’s principles and continued her revolutionary activities. In denouncing Chiang’s dictatorship and betrayal of Sun Yat-sen’s principles, Qingling went to Moscow in 1927, and then to Berlin, for a four year self-exile. Upon her return to China, she continued criticizing Chiang publicly.

    In 1927, Chiang Kai-shek married Meiling, thereby greatly enhancing his political life because of the Song family’s wealth and connections in China and America. Whereas Qingling never approved of the marriage (believing that Chiang had not married her little sister out of love), Ailing was supportive of Chiang’s marriage to Meiling. Seeing in Chiang the future strongman of China, Ailing saw in their marriage the mutual benefits both to the Song family and to Chiang. Meiling, an energetic and charming young lady, wanted to make a contribution to China. By marrying Chiang she became the powerful woman behind the country’s strongman. Just as Qingling followed Sun Yat-sen, Meiling followed Chiang Kai-shek by plunging herself into all her husband’s public activities, and working as his interpreter and public-relation officer at home and abroad. She helped Chiang launch the New Life Movement to improve the manners and ethics of the Chinese people, and she took up public positions as the general secretary of the Chinese Red Cross and the secretary-general of the commission of aeronautical affairs, which was in charge of the building of the Chinese air force. Under her influence, Chiang was even baptized.

    Meiling’s marriage to Chiang meant that the Song family was deeply involved in China’s business and financial affairs. Both Ailing’s husband Kong and her brother T.V. Song alternately served as Chiang’s finance minister and, at times, premier. In 1932, Meiling accompanied her husband on an official trip to America and Europe. When she arrived in Italy, she was given a royal reception even though she held no public titles.
    The Xi-an Incident

    In 1936, two Guomindang generals held Chiang Kaishek hostage in Xi-an (the Xi-an Incident) in an attempt to coerce him into fighting against the Japanese invaders, rather than continuing the civil war with Chinese Communists. When the pro-Japan clique in Chiang’s government planned to bomb Xi’an and kill Chiang in order to set up their own government, the incident immediately threw China into political crisis. In a demonstration of courage and political sophistication, Meiling persuaded the generals in Nanjing to delay their attack on Xi-an, to which she personally flew for peace negotiations. Her efforts not only helped gain the release of her husband Chiang, but also proved instrumental in a settlement involving the formation of a United Front of all Chinese factions to fight against the Japanese invaders. The peaceful solution of the Xi-an Incident was hailed as a great victory. Henry Luce, then the most powerful publisher in America and a friend to Meiling and Chiang, decided to put the couple on the cover of Time in 1938 as “Man and Wife of the Year.” In a confidential memo, Luce wrote "The most difficult problem in Sino-American publicity concerns the Soong family. They are … the head and front of a pro-American policy.

    "The United Front was thereafter formed and for a time it united the three Song sisters. Discarding their political differences, they worked together for Chinese liberation from Japan. The sisters made radio broadcasts to America to appeal for justice and support for China’s anti-Japanese War. Qingling also headed the China Defense League, which raised funds and solicited support all over the world. Ailing was nominated chairperson of the Association of Friends for Wounded Soldiers.
    Meiling’s Appeal to United States for Support

    The year 1942 saw Meiling’s return to America for medical treatment. During her stay, she was invited to the White House as a guest of President Franklin Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor. While there, she was asked by the President how she and her husband would deal with a wartime strike of coal miners, and she was said to have replied by drawing her hand silently across her throat. In February of 1943, she was invited to address the American Congress; she spoke of brave Chinese resistance against Japan and appealed to America for further support:

    When Japan thrust total war on China in 1937, military experts of every nation did not give China a ghost of a chance. But, when Japan failed to bring China cringing to her knees as she vaunted, the world took solace ….Letusnot forget that during the first four and a half years of total aggression China had borne Japan’s sadistic fury unaided and alone.

    Her speech was repeatedly interrupted by applause. In March, her picture again appeared on the cover of Timeas an international celebrity. She began a six-week itinerary from New York to Chicago and Los Angeles, giving speeches and attending banquets. The successful trip was arranged by Henry Luce as part of his fund-raising for United China Relief. Meiling’s charm extended past Washington to the American people, and the news media popularized her in the United States and made her known throughout the world. Indeed, her success in America had a far-reaching effect on American attitudes and policies toward China.

    Soon afterward, Meiling accompanied Chiang to Cairo and attended the Cairo Conference, where territorial issues in Asia after the defeat of Japan were discussed. The Cairo Summit marked both the apex of Meiling’s political career and the beginning of the fall of Chiang’s regime. Corruption in his government ran so rampant that—despite a total sum of $3.5 billion American Lend-Lease supplies—Chiang’s own soldiers starved to death on the streets of his wartime capital Chongqing (Chungking). While China languished in poverty, the Songs kept millions of dollars in their own American accounts. In addition to the corruption, Chiang’s government lost the trust and support of the people. After the victory over Japan, Chiang began a civil war with Chinese Communists, but was defeated in battle after battle. Meiling made a last attempt to save her husband’s regime by flying to Washington in 1948 for more material support for Chiang in the civil war. Truman’s polite indifference, however, deeply disappointed her. Following this rebuff, she stayed with Ailing in New York City until after Chiang retreated to Taiwan with his Nationalist armies.

    Ailing moved most of her wealth to America and left China with her husband in 1947. She stayed in New York and never returned to China. She and her family worked for Chiang’s regime by supporting the China Lobby and other public-relations activities in the United States. Whenever Meiling returned to America, she stayed with Ailing and her family. Ailing died in 1973 in New York City.
    Differing Beliefs and Efforts for a Better China

    Meanwhile, Qingling had remained in China, leading the China Welfare League to establish new hospitals and provide relief for wartime orphans and famine refugees. When Chinese Communists established a united government in Beijing (Peking) in 1949, Qingling was invited as a non-Communist to join the new government and was elected vice-chairperson of the People’s Republic of China. In 1951, she was awarded the Stalin International Peace Prize. While she was active in the international peace movement and Chinese state affairs in the 1950s, she never neglected her work with China Welfare and her lifelong devotion to assisting women and children. Qingling was one of the most respected women in China, who inspired many of her contemporaries as well as younger generations. She was made honorary president of the People’s Republic of China in 1981 before she died. According to her wishes, she was buried beside her parents in Shanghai.

    Because of their differing political beliefs, the three Song sisters took different roads in their efforts to work for China. Qingling joined the Communist government because she believed it worked for the well-being of the ordinary Chinese. Meiling believed in restoring her husband’s government in the mainland and used her personal connections in the United States to pressure the American government in favor of her husband’s regime in Taiwan. Typical of such penetration in American politics was the China Lobby, which had a powerful sway on American policies toward Chiang’s regime in Taiwan and the Chinese Communist government in Beijing. Members of the China Lobby included senators, generals, business tycoons, and former missionaries. In 1954, Meiling traveled again to Washington in an attempt to prevent the United Nations from accepting the People’s Republic of China. After Chiang’s death and his son’s succession, Meiling lived in America for over ten years. The last remaining of three powerfully influential sisters, she now resides in Long Island, New York.
    Further Reading on The Song Sisters

    Eunson, Roby. The Soong Sisters. Franklin Watts, 1975.

    Fairbank, John. China: A New History. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1992.

    Hahn, Emily. The Soong Sisters. Greenwood Press, 1970.

    Li Da. Song Meiling and Taiwan. Hongkong: Wide Angle Press, 1988.

    Liu Jia-quan. Biography of Song Meiling. China Cultural Association Press, 1988.

    Seagrave, Sterling. The Soong Dynasty. Harper and Row, 1985.

    Sheridan, James E. China in Disintegration. The Free Press, 1975.

    #Chine #USA #histoire

  • Why US aid to Egypt is never under threat | News | Al Jazeera
    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/10/aid-egypt-threat-171002093316209.html

    For a country to become an eligible recipient of US aid, it must align itself with American interests and foreign policy, analysts say.

    In the case of Egypt, US aid granted since the signing of the 1978 Camp David Accords was “untouchable compensation” for maintaining peace with Israel.This deal is considered a cornerstone of US-Egyptian relations.

    Robert Springborg, a Middle East expert and non-resident fellow at the Italian Institute of International Affairs, told Al Jazeera that US economic support was intended to stabilise Anwar Sadat’s [former Egyptian president] government and succeeding ones.

    How does the US benefit?

    The primary benefit is the “cessation of hostilities against Israel” by Egypt and “other Arab states that could not wage war against Israel in the absence of Egyptian participation”, Springborg said.

    In addition to Egyptian support for American “counterterrorism and counterinsurgency” campaigns, Springborg says the US also enjoys marginal benefits, including access to Egyptian airspace and the prioritisation of US naval vessels through the Suez Canal.

    The high amount of military aid, in particular, has also helped to create jobs and to reduce unemployment in the US. More than 1.3 million Americans work in manufacturing weaponry for defence companies, and more than three million others support the industry indirectly.

    The US is among the world’s top five arms producers and distributors, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

    “The United States does not give money to Egypt for military equipment; it gives the Egyptian military a list of equipment the American government will purchase on its behalf in the United States,” Gelvin told Al Jazeera.

    What about economic aid?

    Economic assistance, or American “investments” in Egypt, are a relatively small part of the package, analysts say.

    Economic aid now stands at less than $200m annually, compared with more than $1bn from the early 1980s through the early 2000s, Springborg said.

    #Egypte #etats-unis

  • Netanyahu announces policy of restrained settlement construction in ’show of good will’ to Trump

    Prime Minister informs ministers that while no formal understandings have been reached in talks with the White House, Israel will unilaterally limit new construction almost exclusively to already-developed areas of existing settlements.

    Barak Ravid Mar 31, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.780641

    Israel will adopt a policy of limiting new construction in West Bank settlements to within the boundaries of areas that have already been built upon or in some specific cases precisely adjacent to them, Prime Minister Netanyahu said at a security cabinet meeting late Thursday night
    >> Get all updates on Israel, Trump and the Palestinians: Download our free App, and Subscribe >>
    A minister who was present at the meeting and requested to remain anonymous said Netanyahu informed the cabinet that despite several weeks of discussions on the issue, no understandings have yet been reached between Israel and the United States regarding settlement construction and that the differences between the sides remained unchanged.
    >>U.S. senator slams decision to build new settlement: ’Netanyahu not serious about two states’>>
    However, Netanyahu said he had decided to respond to U.S. President Donald Trump’s reservations regarding the settlements by unilaterally adopting a policy of restrained construction that will almost exclusively include building in already-developed areas of existing settlements to avoid appropriating new land or expanding the territory of established settlements.
    “There are no understandings with the Americans and this wasn’t agreed one with the administration, but rather these are restrictions that Israel is taking upon itself in response to the president’s request,” said the minister. “In any case, the ’payment’ to the Americans isn’t over.”

    >> Israel’s settlers are beginning to miss Obama | Analysis >>
    Another senior source who also requested to remain anonymous said Netanyahu told the cabinet ministers that out of consideration for Trump’s positions, Israel will take significant steps to reduce, in so much as possible, the expansion of existing settlement territory beyond already-developed areas and that this too would be significantly restricted to allow for the progress of a peace process.
    At the meeting, Netanyahu presented four main points outlining Israel’s new policy in the settlements:
    1. Israel will continue construction, when permissible, within previously developed areas.
    2. Where this is not permissible, Israel will allow construction in areas adjacent to those already developed.
    3. Where neither of these criteria are met, due to legal, security or topographical constraints, Israel will allow construction on the closest land possible to developed areas.
    4. Israel will not allow the creation of any new illegal outposts.
    A second minister who participated in the meeting said that Netanyahu said no understanding had been reached in the talks with the White House and that, in effect, the sides had decided “to agree to disagree.”
    However, Israel unilaterally agreed to adopt a policy that would take into consideration Trump’s concerns that continued construction in the settlements would expand its West Bank territory to a point that would prevent the creation of a Palestinian country in the future.
    “This isn’t an agreement with the Americans, but rather unilateral policy by the government of Israel,” said the second minister. “The Americans said that they don’t agree with construction in the settlements in any case, but that they can live with it and there won’t be an international crisis over every new home that’s built.”
    Netanyahu told the ministers in the meeting that he believes Israel should limit construction in a show of good will toward Trump.
    “This is a very friendly administration and we need to take his requests into consideration,” Netanyahu told the ministers. No vote was taken during the meeting, but all the ministers agreed to the policy of restrained construction and there were no arguments or conflicts between Netanyahu and any of the ministers.
    “This is moderate, reasonable policy,” said one of the cabinet ministers. “There’s no limit on the number of housing units and no distinction between the blocs and the solitary settlements. It will be possible to build, but in a gradual and measured way and without taking more and more hills.” 
    Netanyahu’s announcement of new policy came as the cabinet approved the construction of a new settlement for the first time in over 20 years, in part to house those evacuated from the illegal outpost of Amona in February. 
    A White House official told Haaretz that Netanyahu had informed the Trump administration that he intended to stand by his commitment to build this new settlement, but that a new policy would then be adopted that would restrict new construction in consideration of Trump’s concerns.
    Over the past few weeks, Netanyahu mostly kept the minister’s in the dark on the details of the talks with the American government and managed them with only his closest advisors. The only minister who was briefed was Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who had to know because the Civil Administration, which is responsible for planning and building in the settlements, is under his authority.
    Last week, Netanyahu’s senior advisors held four days of talks in Washington with U.S. envoy Jason Greenblatt and his team, but didn’t succeed in reaching a final understanding. However, in a joint statement released by the two sides at the end of the round of talks, they said that Israel is prepared, in principle, to restrict construction in the settlements in consideration of Trump’s desire to push forward with a peace process.
    Israel’s umbrella organization for settlers, the Yesha Council, responded to the news, but did not attack the decision. “In wake of the decision and despite some restrictions, the understandings reached between the governments of Israel and the U.S. administration permit the continued settlement construction in all the communities in Judea and Samaria, and even the establishment of a new settlement for the residents of Amona,” the council said.
    “The true test will be the immediate renewal of planning and development throughout the settlements. We will stand guard and work to make sure that the Israeli government will actualize this plan,” they said.

  • Snowden’s Chronicler Reveals Her Own Life Under Surveillance | WIRED
    https://www.wired.com/2016/02/snowdens-chronicler-reveals-her-own-life-under-surveillance


    La déscripion que donne Laura Poitras des effets nocifs causées par la surveillance risquent de modifier la vie des peuples du monde entier.

    Being Constantly Watched

    Private as ever, Poitras declined to detail to WIRED exactly how she experienced that federal investigation in the years that followed. But flash forward to late 2012, and the surveillance targeting Poitras had transformed her into a nervous wreck. In the book, she shares a diary she kept during her time living in Berlin, in which she describes feeling constantly watched, entirely robbed of privacy. “I haven’t written in over a year for fear these words are not private,” are the journal’s first words. “That nothing in my life can be kept private.”

    She sleeps badly, plagued with nightmares about the American government. She reads Cory Doctorow’s Homeland and re-reads 1984, finding too many parallels with her own life. She notes her computer glitching and “going pink” during her interviews with NSA whistleblower William Binney, and that it tells her its hard drive is full despite seeming to have 16 gigabytes free. Eventually she moves to a new apartment that she attempts to keep “off the radar” by avoiding all cell phones and only accessing the Internet over the anonymity software Tor.

    When Snowden contacts her in January of 2013, Poitras has lived with the specter of spying long enough that she initially wonders if he might be part of a plan to entrap her or her contacts like Julian Assange or Jacob Appelbaum, an activist and Tor developer. “Is C4 a trap?” she asks herself, using an abbreviation of Snowden’s codename. “Will he put me in prison?”

    #politique #psychologie #surveillance

  • South Sudan civil war causing widespread famine - World Socialist Web Site

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/03/01/suda-m01.html

    South Sudan civil war causing widespread famine
    By Thomas Gaist
    1 March 2017

    The 2011 partition of Sudan has proven a fateful moment in the neocolonial Africa policy pursued by American imperialism during the quarter century following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It is now clear that the carve-up of Sudan has set the stage for a historic catastrophe.

    Less than six years after celebrating its “independence,” the criminal regime installed by Washington in Juba presides over one of the worst humanitarian crises worldwide. South Sudan is joining the long list of countries destroyed as functioning societies by the predatory wars and geopolitical operations of the American government.

    #conflits #guerre #réfugiés #famine #Faim #alimentation #soudan #soudan_du_sud

  • Edward Snowden’s Long, Strange Journey to Hollywood
    (Irina Alexander, August 2016)

    A long but interesting read about how Oliver Stone’s “Snowden” came to be.

    Oliver Stone, director
    Moritz Borman, the producer
    Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden’s Russian lawyer
    Ben Wizner, Snowden’s lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/04/magazine/edward-snowdens-long-strange-journey-to-hollywood.html

    On “Snowden,” he and Borman became so preoccupied with American government surveillance that they had their Los Angeles offices swept for bugs more than once.

    ...

    [Wizner said] that Snowden wasn’t profiting from Stone’s film in any way. “One hard-and-fast rule Ed always had was, I’m not selling my life rights,” Wizner said. Snowden’s participation in a Hollywood movie would only fuel the claims of his critics — that he was a narcissist eager to cash in. That said, Stone’s film would be seen by millions of people, which meant it could sway public opinion. “We were choosing between two bad options,” Wizner said.

    ...

    Wizner had negotiated veto control over any footage featuring Snowden in the film. After we spoke, the lawyer says he asked Borman to put that in writing. He also reiterated that if Stone took a reporter along, Snowden would not participate. Stone and I eventually reached a compromise: I wouldn’t observe the shoot, but I could still come and meet Kucherena.

    ...

    Anticipating a homesick Snowden, [Stone’s co-writer] hauled over a duffel bag packed with the stuff of Americana dreams: Kraft macaroni and cheese, Jell-O cups, Oreos, Pepperidge Farm cookies, Twizzlers, peanut butter, Spam, an Orioles baseball cap and a pair of Converse sneakers. “It was like delivering a care package to a kid at summer camp,” [he said.] He also slipped in a copy of “The Odyssey” translated by his grandfather “I thought it was appropriate, since Ed was on his own kind of odyssey trying to get home.”

    ...

    Wizner, who is 45, has been at the A.C.L.U. since 2001. Before Snowden, he tried to bring several suits to increase oversight over the intelligence community. Wizner likes to say that he spent a decade banging his head against a wall, and then Snowden came along and brought that wall down. Snowden had not only revealed the scope of the surveillance apparatus, but also that top government officials routinely misled the public about it. Since becoming Snowden’s advocate, Wizner has become a figure of not insignificant geopolitical importance. Those revelations have since formed a critical backdrop for legislative reforms, and there are few things that irritate Wizner more than claims that threaten to tarnish Snowden’s character and their common cause.

    It would not be a stretch to say that for Wizner, Kucherena has become a bit of a liability. Since 2013, the Russian lawyer has announced that Snowden landed a job at a major Russian website — news that turned out to not be true — and has supplied the news media with photos of his client enjoying his new life in Russia, attending an opera at the Bolshoi Theater and cheerfully hugging a dog named Rick. (Rick later turned out to be the dog of one of Kucherena’s friends). Now Kucherena had sold a novel to Stone, making it seem as if the director had to pay a Russian fixer to have access to Snowden — or worse, that Snowden was somehow under the lock and key of the Russian authorities, lent to Stone for a Hollywood movie.

    ...

    According to Wizner, [Snowden] leads a free existence in Russia, making appearances via live video and publishing op-eds against Russia’s human rights violations. “I think people are inclined to believe that Russia would never let him stay there unless he was paying for it in some way,” Wizner said. “But it’s just not true. Not only is he not cooperating, but he’s actually being critical.”

    ...

    Oliver Stone, Edward Snowden, Anatoly Kucherena and Kieran Fitzgerald in Kucherena’s office in Moscow.


    The shoot took place at Kucherena’s dacha. The day went long. Stone’s idea was to interview Snowden and capture an affecting moment that would give the film its dramatic ending. But the first takes were stiff. “Ed is used to answering questions on a level of intelligence,” Stone said. “But I was interested in the emotional, which is difficult for him.”

    ...

    “Suddenly this little creature comes teetering in — so fragile, so lovely, such a charming, well-­behaved, beautiful little man,” the cinematographer, Anthony Dod Mantle, told me. “He’s like an old soul in a very young body. He’s got fingers like violins.” Filming Snowden reminded Mantle of shooting other men with outsize reputations and slight builds. “It’s like Bono or Al Pacino,” he added. “Those guys are teeny-­weenies. But if you isolate him into a frame, he can be as big as anybody else.”

    ...

    Convinced that making the film on American soil would be too risky, Stone decided to film in Germany, where Borman was able to score some tax subsidies. With roughly 140 script pages to shoot in 54 days, the crew sprinted from Munich to Washington, to Hawaii, to Hong Kong, and then back to Munich. Often, Mantle wouldn’t get to see locations before he had to film in them. To cut costs, the suburbs of Munich had to stand in for rural Maryland and Virginia, with German extras cast as Americans. “Thank God the Germans act like Americans,” Stone said.

    The production itself resembled a covert operation, with a code name (“Sasha” had stuck) and elaborate security protocols. Worried that “Sasha” would be of interest to the N.S.A., Borman and Stone avoided discussing production details by phone or email — “It was all handwritten notes and long walks in the park,” Borman said — and kept the script on air-­gapped computers, ones that have never been connected to the internet. If it had to be mailed, Borman would mix up the pages into four packages, which he would send with four different couriers to four different addresses. “Maybe nobody gave a [expletive],” Borman told me. “Or maybe the N.S.A. is laughing at us like, ‘Look at those idiots — of course we copied everything that came through DHL and FedEx!”

    ...

    In the spring of 2014, Stone flew to Berlin and met with Poitras. The meeting did not go well. According to Poitras, Stone proposed that she delay the release of “Citizenfour,” which she was then in the middle of editing, to time up with his film. “Because his film would be the real movie — because it’s a Hollywood movie,” Poitras told me. “Obviously I wasn’t interested in doing that. To have another filmmaker ask me to delay the release of my film was — well, it was somewhat insulting.”

    ...

    If Poitras had a strong reaction to Stone’s proposal, it was because she had already been hounded by Sony. After the studio optioned Greenwald’s book, Poitras says Sony asked to buy her life rights — an offer she declined. Sony suggested that she come on as a consultant, but when the contract arrived, it stipulated that the studio would have access to Poitras’s tapes and notebooks. “So I’d already gone through that when Oliver came in trying to position himself,” she said.

    ...

    Stone was right about Gordon-­Levitt. His performance is not an interpretation so much as a direct replica of the whistle-­blower’s even demeanor and intonation. Quinto plays Greenwald with such intensity that he appears perpetually enraged. Melissa Leo’s Poitras is in turn warm and protective, almost maternal.

    ...

    Snowden’s N.S.A. boss is unsubtly named Corbin O’Brian, after the antagonist in Orwell’s “1984.” “Most Americans don’t want freedom,” O’Brian tells Snowden. “They want security.

    ...

    Snowden’s many storytellers all tell a similar hero narrative. But if Greenwald’s account is about journalism, Poitras’s is a subtle and artful character study and Kucherena’s is an attempt at the Russian novel — a man alone in a room, wrestling with his conscience — Stone’s is the explicit blockbuster version, told in high gloss with big, emotional music and digestible plot points that will appeal to mass audiences. As Wizner wisely anticipated, it is the narrative most likely to cement Snowden’s story in Americans’ minds.

    ...

    Snowden declined to comment for this article, but Stone told me he had seen the film and liked it. At a screening at Comic-­Con a few months later, Snowden would beam in via satellite to give his somewhat wary approval. “It was something that made me really nervous,” he said of Stone’s film. “But I think he made it work.”

    ...

    Gordon-­Levitt was so moved by Snowden’s story that he donated most of his salary from the film to the A.C.L.U. and used the rest to collaborate with Wizner on a series of videos about democracy.

  • Laura Poitras reveals her own life under surveillance
    (Andy Greenberg, February 2016)

    https://www.wired.com/2016/02/snowdens-chronicler-reveals-her-own-life-under-surveillance

    “After returning to the United States [from Iraq] I was placed on a government watchlist and detained and searched every time I crossed the US border. It took me ten years to find out why.”

    [...]

    She sleeps badly, plagued with nightmares about the American government. She reads Cory Doctorow’s Homeland and re-reads 1984, finding too many parallels with her own life. She notes her computer glitching and “going pink” during her interviews with NSA whistleblower William Binney, and that it tells her its hard drive is full despite seeming to have 16 gigabytes free. Eventually she moves to a new apartment that she attempts to keep “off the radar” by avoiding all cell phones and only accessing the Internet over the anonymity software Tor.

    When Snowden contacts her in January of 2013, Poitras has lived with the specter of spying long enough that she initially wonders if he might be part of a plan to entrap her or her contacts like Julian Assange or Jacob Appelbaum, an activist and Tor developer. “Is C4 a trap?” she asks herself, using an abbreviation of Snowden’s codename. [Citizenfour] “Will he put me in prison?”

    [...]

    In the end, Poitras has not only escaped the arrest or indictment she feared, but has become a kind of privacy folk hero: Her work has helped to noticeably shift the world’s view of government spying, led to legislation, and won both a Pulitzer and an Academy Award. But if her ultimate fear was to “become the story,” her latest revelations show that’s a fate she can no longer escape–and one she’s come to accept.

    #Snowden #Edward_Snowden
    #Poitras #Laura_Poitras

  • Oskar Lafontaine, James Madison et Friedrich August von Hayek
    http://www.jungewelt.de/m/2016/02-20/013.php


    Oskar Lanfontaine cite James Madison dans son discours pour la conférence permanente du Plan B en Europe.

    Nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg wurde der Traum von einem vereinten Europa, den Victor Hugo auf der Pariser Friedenskonferenz am 21. August 1849 geboren hat, wieder lebendig. Die Menschen wollten endlich Frieden, sie wollten Demokratie, Wohlstand und soziale Sicherheit.

    Das heutige Europa ist nicht das Europa Victor Hugos, sondern das Europa, das der Säulenheilige des Neoliberalismus, Friedrich August von Hayek, entworfen hat. Internationale Verträge, so seine Idee, sollten sicherstellen, dass das Wirken der Marktkräfte nicht durch demokratische Entscheidungen behindert werden könne. Das ist der Geist, der die europäischen Verträge und die transatlantischen Verträge wie TTIP bestimmt. Es ist derselbe Geist, der schon die Gründerväter der Vereinigten Staaten leitete: » The Primary function of Goverment is to protect the minority of the opulent from the majority of the poor .« »Die vorrangige Funktion einer Regierung ist es, die Minderheit der Reichen vor der Mehrheit der Armen zu schützen«, sagte James Madison, einer der Gründerväter der amerikanischen Verfassung.

    Je connaissais le célèbre dicton de Waren Buffet , mais je suis surpris par ces mots énoncés sans ambiguïté par l’auteur de la constitution de 1776 qui promet le bonheur à chacun.

    Quand on regarde la phrase dans son contexte elle est encore plus révélatrice.
    http://politics.stackexchange.com/questions/8793/what-did-james-madison-try-to-say-when-talking-about-agraria

    In 1787, James Madison, the fourth President of the United States, traditionally regarded as the Father of the United States Constitution, in the debates on Constitution, declared the following:

    “The man who is possessed of wealth, who lolls on his sofa or rolls in his carriage, cannot judge the wants or feelings of the day-laborer. The government we mean to erect is intended to last for ages. The landed interest, at present, is prevalent; but in process of time, when we approximate to the states and kingdoms of Europe, — when the number of landholders shall be comparatively small, through the various means of trade and manufactures, will not the landed interest be overbalanced in future elections, and unless wisely provided against, what will become of your government? In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place. If these observations be just, our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, and to balance and check the other. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. The senate, therefore, ought to be this body; and to answer these purposes, they ought to have permanency and stability.”

    Après la lecture de ce classique on comprend mieux les textes modernes :

    Why It’s Impossible to Indict a Cop
    http://www.thenation.com/article/why-its-impossible-indict-cop

    SCOTUS and the license to kill

    Chapter 563 of the Missouri Revised Statutes grants a lot of discretion to officers of the law to wield deadly force, to the horror of many observers swooping in to the Ferguson story. The statute authorizes deadly force “in effecting an arrest or in preventing an escape from custody” if the officer “reasonably believes” it is necessary in order to “to effect the arrest and also reasonably believes that the person to be arrested has committed or attempted to commit a felony…or may otherwise endanger life or inflict serious physical injury unless arrested without delay.”

    But this law is not an outlier, and is fully in sync with Supreme Court jurisprudence.

    The feeling of being under occupation by an armed force that cares more about meeting revenue quotas than public security corrodes all trust in law enforcement, and is the sort of environment in which police are more likely to open fire.

    The state of emergency that Missouri governor Jay Nixon declared on November 17 seems all too likely to encourage the police overkill, both petty and heavily militarized, that shocked the world over the summer, when much of the state’s use of force against demonstrators was of dubious legality.

    Malheureusement ces observations ne se limitent pas aus États-Unis. Quand on ouvre le livre Les Raisins de la colère , on y rencontre des déscriptions qui ressemblent trop à la situation des réfugiés en route pour l’Europe aujourd’hui. Pourvu que les peuples d’Europs sachent les acceuillir autrement que les carliforniens chez Steinbeck.

    The Theos Project : The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    http://theosproject.blogspot.de/2010/05/grapes-of-wrath-by-john-steinbeck.html?m=1

    They are heading west! To California! They know there is work in California, because they have handbills that say so—printed handbills—handbills that say there is a need for workers: fruit pickers and farm hands. Why, a fella’ could work for a while, picking oranges and grapes, then buy himself a nice plot of land. Those handbills wouldn’t have been printed out if there were no jobs. That’d just be a waste of money.

    So the Joes follow the handbills to California. It’s a difficult journey. Grandma and Grandpa die, and some desert the family when times get tough.

    When they arrive in California, things go from bad to worse. There are no jobs in California. The land owners printed the handbills in order to flood the state with desperate, hungry workers. With a massive surplus of labor, land owners can hire workers to work for food, or in some cases for less than enough to feed a family. The plan works great for the land owners. The only problem is that there are now hundreds of thousands migrant workers hungry and virtually homeless.

    Les autre se disent que ce n’est pas grave, le système fonctionne même si pour nous il est kaputt .

    The system is working fine - AMERICAblog News
    http://americablog.com/2015/10/system-working-fine.html

    “The system is broken” can be cut-and-pasted into speeches about wealth inequality, racist police terror, regulatory laxity, and nearly every other problem politicians claim to have an answer to. Unfortunately for speechwriters everywhere, the slogan demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the American system’s purpose. The system isn’t broken; it’s working exactly as intended.

    The system does not exist for the people. It never has. James Madison, one of the most prominent framers of the new republic, declared at the secretly-held constitutional convention of 1787 that the primary function of the American government was “to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority.”

    –----------------
    source de la citation de James Madison :
    Notes of the Secret Debates of the Federal Convention of 1787, Taken by the Late Hon Robert Yates, Chief Justice of the State of New York, and One of the Delegates from That State to the Said Convention , TUESDAY JUNE 26TH, 1787, The Avalon Project, Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy, Lilian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School, http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/yates.asp

    #propagande #USA #libéralisme #lutte_de_classes #rêve_américan

  • U.S. Admits: We Can’t Protect Syrian Allies From Russia’s Bombs - The Daily Beast
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/10/01/u-s-admits-we-can-t-protect-syrian-allies-from-russia-s-bombs.html

    Putin’s warplanes are targeting the CIA’s rebel friends. And the U.S. doesn’t know yet if there’s any way to respond.

    United States officials conceded Thursday that there is little the they could do in Syria to protect CIA-vetted rebels, the very people the American government trained and armed, who are now coming under fire from Russian airstrikes.

    The military isn’t willing to intervene on behalf of the rebels, given the potentially disastrous consequences of an escalation with Russian forces, U.S. defense officials and top lawmakers told The Daily Beast. No one wants to accidentally touch off a showdown between superpowers.

    We are not going to shoot Russian airplanes. We are not going to hit their airfields [in Syria]. And we are not going to equip [rebels] with MANPADs,” one U.S. defense official told The Daily Beast, using the acronym for shoulder-fired, surface-to-air missiles. Previous programs to hand out those weapons have sometimes gone disastrously wrong.

    But as it turns out, those rebel forces might not have been doing what their U.S. backers want the fighters to focus on now, yet another potential setback in an already problematic program.

    The rebels attacked by Russian forces on Wednesday and Thursday were in western Syria, alongside al Qaeda affiliates and far from any ISIS positions. That suggests the rebels were not there to fight the self-proclaimed Islamic State, as the Obama administration called the top priority. Instead, they were battling the Assad regime.

    We don’t believe that [Russia] struck [ISIS] targets. So that is a problem,” Army Col. Steven Warren, spokesman for U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic militants, explained to reporters Thursday.

    But if ISIS was not in the area, why were U.S. vetted fighters there, hundreds of miles away from ISIS strongholds and in the same garrison as al Qaeda affiliates?

    This should give us a strong impetus to clarify our strategy, if not for the rest of the world, then at least for ourselves,” said Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “It’s a mess. It’s been a mess for a long time but it is becoming an increasingly risky mess.

    Excellente question !

  • US government hack stole fingerprints of 5.6 million federal employees | Technology | The Guardian
    http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/sep/23/us-government-hack-stole-fingerprints

    The number of people applying for or receiving security clearances whose fingerprint images were stolen in one of the worst government data breaches is now believed to be 5.6 million, not 1.1 million as first thought, the Office of Personnel Management announced on Wednesday.

    The agency was the victim of what the US believes was a Chinese espionage operation that affected an estimated 21.5 million current and former federal employees or job applicants. The theft could give Chinese intelligence a huge leg up in recruiting informants inside the US government, experts believe. It also could help the Chinese identify US spies abroad, according to American officials.

    The White House has said it’s going to discuss cybersecurity with Chinese president Xi Jinping when he visits Barack Obama later this week.

    • Blog: OPM fingerprint hack 5 times worse than previously thought
      http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2015/09/opm_fingerprint_hack_5_times_worse_than_previously_thought.html

      The hack of personal information from the Office of Personnel Management is easily the most underreported big story of the year, and a catastrophe that will directly affect our national security for years to come.

      At first, the OPM admitted that a few million records had been exposed. Then it become 14 million. Now it’s up to 21 million federal employees, contractors, and, in many cases, their families. Social Security numbers, personal medical information, background checks – all have been exposed to the hackers, thought to work for the Chinese government.

      The agency’s original estimate was 1.1 million fingerprints.

      This is extremely sensitive information that poses an immediate danger to American spies and undercover law enforcement agents.

      As an OPM spokesman told CNNMoney in July: “It’s across federal agencies. It’s everybody.

      Hackers now have a gigantic database of American government employee fingerprints that can be used to positively identify those employees.

      Anyone with these records could check to see if a diplomat at a U.S. embassy is secretly an employee of an American intelligence agency. That person could then be targeted for arrest or assassination.

    • Clapper: ‘We Don’t Know Exactly What Was Taken in the OPM Breach’ | Foreign Policy
      http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/09/24/clapper-we-dont-know-exactly-what-was-taken-in-the-opm-breach

      We don’t actually know what was actually exfiltrated,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said during an appearance at Georgetown University. “So what you’re hearing about is absolutely the worst case.

      On Wednesday, OPM revealed that as many as 5.6 million fingerprint records were among the data stolen in a breach disclosed in June. That’s up from their previous estimate of 1.1 million fingerprint records. The 5.6 million people whose fingerprint records were compromised are a subset of the total number of people whose records were stolen from OPM. The total number of people whose records — including documents gathered during the course of background investigations for current, former, and prospective federal employees seeking security clearances — were compromised remains at 21.5 million.
      […]
      Clapper has said previously that the U.S. government has no indication that the stolen information has been used against American agents, and said Thursday that the intelligence community has been searching for “evidence of it turning up some place,” but it so far hasn’t.

  • Israeli Terrorists, Born in the U.S.A. - The New York Times
    By SARA YAEL HIRSCHHORNSEPT. 4, 2015

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/06/opinion/sunday/israeli-terrorists-born-in-the-usa.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0

    Jerusalem — ON July 31, in the West Bank village of Duma, 18-month-old Ali Dawabsheh was burned alive in a fire. All available evidence suggests that the blaze was a deliberate act of settler terrorism. More disturbingly, several of the alleged instigators, currently being detained indefinitely, are not native-born Israelis — they have American roots.

    But there has been little outcry in their communities. Settler rabbis and the leaders of American immigrant communities in the West Bank have either played down their crime or offered muted criticism.

    It’s worth recalling the response of the former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin to another heinous attack two decades ago, when an American-born doctor, Baruch Goldstein, gunned down dozens of Palestinians while they prayed in Hebron.

    “He grew in a swamp whose murderous sources are found here, and across the sea; they are foreign to Judaism, they are not ours,” thundered Mr. Rabin before the Knesset in February 1994. “You are a foreign implant. You are an errant weed. Sensible Judaism spits you out.”

    The shocking 1994 massacre was, at the time, the bloodiest outbreak of settler terrorism Israelis and Palestinians had ever seen. Less than two years later, Mr. Rabin himself would be dead, felled by an ultranationalist assassin’s bullet.

    Suddenly, a group of American Jewish immigrants that had existed on the fringes of society became a national pariah. A former president of Israel, Chaim Herzog, labeled the United States “a breeding ground” for Jewish terror; the daily newspaper Maariv castigated American Jews who “send their lunatic children to Israel.” One Israeli journalist even demanded “operative steps against the Goldsteins of tomorrow” by banning the immigration of militant American Jews.

    But tomorrow has arrived.

    After years of impunity for settlers who commit violent crimes, Israel’s internal security agency, the Shin Bet, has now supposedly cracked down by rounding up a grand total of four youths believed to be connected to recent acts of settler terrorism — three of whom trace their origins to the United States.

    The agency’s “most wanted” Jewish extremist is 24-year-old Meir Ettinger, who has an august pedigree in racist and violent circles. He is a grandson of Meir Kahane, a radical American rabbi who in 1971 immigrated to Israel, established the Kach party and served as its lone Knesset member until it was banned in 1988. (Kahane was assassinated in New York in 1990, but his career laid the groundwork for ultranationalist and antidemocratic parties in Israel.)

    Another is Mordechai Meyer, 18, from the settlement of Maale Adumim outside Jerusalem. He is the son of American immigrants who claimed he simply wanted to study the Torah and have an adventure in the West Bank. Another American settler, Ephraim Khantsis, was detained for threatening Shin Bet agents in court. The fourth, Eviatar Slonim, is the child of Australian Jews.

    Mr. Ettinger, Mr. Meyer and Mr. Khantsis join a long list of settler extremists with American roots. A Brooklyn-born settler, Era Rapaport, played a prominent role in the car-bombing of the mayor of Nablus in 1980. In 1982, a Baltimore transplant, Alan Goodman, opened fire at the Dome of the Rock, killing two Palestinians and wounding 11. That same year, a former Brooklynite, Yoel Lerner, was jailed for leading a movement to overthrow the Israeli government and blow up the Temple Mount.

    These days, rabbis like the St. Louis-born Yitzhak Ginsburg, who heads a yeshiva in the radical settlement of Yizhar, are inculcating the next generation.

    Today, according to American government sources and several other studies, an estimated 12 to 15 percent of settlers (approximately 60,000 people) hail from the United States. This disproportionately large American contingent — relative to the total number of American-Israelis — has joined secular, religious and ultra-Orthodox Israelis, and other more recent immigrants. Few of them live in extremist hilltop outposts; a majority live in suburbanized settlements near Jerusalem, but they are considered among the most highly ideological.

    RATHER than quoting the Bible or rhapsodizing about a messianic vision, they tend to describe their activities in the language of American values and idealism — as an opportunity to defend human rights and live in the “whole land of Israel” — often over a cup of Starbucks coffee in their boxy aluminum prefab houses or in the mansions of settlement suburbia. To them, living in the West Bank is pioneering on the new frontier; it’s merely an inconvenience that they’re often staking their claims on private Palestinian land. And for a fanatical fringe among them, this Wild West analogy has extended to indiscriminate violence.

  • Jeb Bush Comes Out Against Encryption
    https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/08/19/jeb-bush-comes-encryption

    “If you create encryption, it makes it harder for the American government to do its job—while protecting civil liberties—to make sure that evildoers aren’t in our midst,” Bush said [...]

    Bush said “we need to find a new arrangement with Silicon Valley in this regard because I think this is a very dangerous kind of situation.”

    #Cryptographie #Jeb_Bush #Parti_républicain_(États-Unis) #Silicon_Valley #Surveillance_de_masse #Vie_privée #Élection_présidentielle_américaine_de_2016 #États-Unis

    • whaaaat ?

      this so makes it sound like the people should be serving the government, and not the other way around.

      a bit like in some companies where the IT department acts as if the rest of the company’s needs should be in function of IT law and convenience, instead of the IT department being in service of the business needs.

      evildoers

      ooOOOooOOOOHOOoooo !

      #wtf

  • America’s billion-dollar mission in Lebanon
    http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/america-s-billion-dollar-mission-lebanon-9828512

    The recent revelation of US plans for a ginormous new embassy in Lebanon - right next door to the current ginormous US embassy in the village of Awkar north of Beirut- further underscores America’s hypocrisy in decrying alleged Iranian violations of its own backyard while setting up camp in Iran’s.

    During remarks at a 27 May news conference at the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, US Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale gushed over the “sustainable and eco-friendly facility” that will soon be erected, complete with “water-saving native plantings” and installations of “American and Lebanese art.”

    In the words of Hale, the “project represents a nearly $1bn dollar investment by the American government in our partnership between America and Lebanon” and “will give us more space to advance our common interests and reflect the growing and deepening ties between our two countries.”

  • The Free Syrian Army: 4,000 or 60,000? - Al Arabiya News
    http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2015/02/02/Abdulrahman al-Rashed

    The current puzzling question regarding the size of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) highlights just how vague the situation is and how easily propaganda is marketed on both sides. The Syrian regime is pushing the idea that the opposition is divided and has been wiped out, while the opposition says it is reorganizing 60,000 fighters who are members of the FSA.

    What is certain is that Western support the FSA is receiving has decreased. A Wall Street Journal report said American military support for the Syrian opposition had regressed, and that the U.S. only gave the equivalent of 16 bullets a month per fighter.

    The U.S. State Department said on Wednesday : “ Since the first of the year, we have delivered approximately 2.7 million in nonlethal supplies and equipment to the moderate opposition, including water trucks, back hoes, generators, winterization gear, and more than 17,000 food baskets.”

    Despite the restraints levied against it, the FSA is on the verge of consolidating its control of southern Syria. Despite this scarcity, the FSA and the moderate Syrian opposition in general deserve appreciation for their steadfastness despite a lull in support, and despite the restraints placed against them (they are no longer able to move freely in northern Syria due to constant targeting by the extremist al-Nusra Front).

    Added to that, Turkey has also begun to restrain the activity of the FSA and its leaders, perhaps as a result of foreign pressures.

    Consolidating control
    Despite the restraints levied against it, the FSA is on the verge of consolidating its control of southern Syria - in Daraa and its surroundings - even though many of the fighters have not received salaries in months.

    Salim Idriss, minister of defense in the opposition government, said the opposition had begun to unite factions to establish a united army that will include 60,000 fighters. Idriss further hypothesized that the world will realize that its only option to confront the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is to topple the Syrian regime and support the moderate opposition which represents all Syrian people of different religions, sects and tribes.

    Some American politicians and legislators agree with this opinion when it comes to the topic of confronting ISIS and the threats it poses to the world.

    A member of the U.S. Senate Defense Affairs Committee said : “ The American government must support the Free Syrian Army because it’s the only option. Despite the hesitation to support [the FSA], its leadership will be capable of altering the vision of regional countries in support of the Syrian people and [will also be capable] of altering the vision of suspicious Western countries if it really manages to reunite itself and if it really succeeds at uniting the ranks of, at least, its military leaderships [especially since] rival and competing political leaderships are not as significant during this difficult phase.”

    This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on February 2, 2015.

    Abdulrahman al-Rashed
    The current puzzling question regarding the size of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) highlights just how vague the situation is and how easily propaganda is marketed on both sides. The Syrian regime is pushing the idea that the opposition is divided and has been wiped out, while the opposition says it is reorganizing 60,000 fighters who are members of the FSA.

    What is certain is that Western support the FSA is receiving has decreased. A Wall Street Journal report said American military support for the Syrian opposition had regressed, and that the U.S. only gave the equivalent of 16 bullets a month per fighter.

    The U.S. State Department said on Wednesday: “Since the first of the year, we have delivered approximately 2.7 million in nonlethal supplies and equipment to the moderate opposition, including water trucks, back hoes, generators, winterization gear, and more than 17,000 food baskets.”

    Despite the restraints levied against it, the FSA is on the verge of consolidating its control of southern Syria

    Abdulrahman al-Rashed
    Despite this scarcity, the FSA and the moderate Syrian opposition in general deserve appreciation for their steadfastness despite a lull in support, and despite the restraints placed against them (they are no longer able to move freely in northern Syria due to constant targeting by the extremist al-Nusra Front).

    Added to that, Turkey has also begun to restrain the activity of the FSA and its leaders, perhaps as a result of foreign pressures.

    Consolidating control
    Despite the restraints levied against it, the FSA is on the verge of consolidating its control of southern Syria - in Daraa and its surroundings - even though many of the fighters have not received salaries in months.

    Salim Idriss, minister of defense in the opposition government, said the opposition had begun to unite factions to establish a united army that will include 60,000 fighters. Idriss further hypothesized that the world will realize that its only option to confront the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is to topple the Syrian regime and support the moderate opposition which represents all Syrian people of different religions, sects and tribes.

    Some American politicians and legislators agree with this opinion when it comes to the topic of confronting ISIS and the threats it poses to the world.

    A member of the U.S. Senate Defense Affairs Committee said: “The American government must support the Free Syrian Army because it’s the only option. Despite the hesitation to support [the FSA], its leadership will be capable of altering the vision of regional countries in support of the Syrian people and [will also be capable] of altering the vision of suspicious Western countries if it really manages to reunite itself and if it really succeeds at uniting the ranks of, at least, its military leaderships [especially since] rival and competing political leaderships are not as significant during this difficult phase.”

    This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on February 2, 2015.