organization:british government

  • Irish Boundary Commission - Wikipedia

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Boundary_Commission

    The Irish Boundary Commission (Irish: Coimisiún na Teorainne) met in 1924–25 to decide on the precise delineation of the border between the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland. The 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty, which ended the Irish War of Independence, provided for such a commission if Northern Ireland chose to secede from the Irish Free State, an event that occurred as expected two days after the Free State’s inception on 6 December 1922.[1] The governments of the United Kingdom, of the Irish Free State and of Northern Ireland were to nominate one member each to the commission. When the Northern government refused to cooperate, the British government assigned a Belfast newspaper editor to represent Northern Irish interests.

    #irlande #frontière

  • Move over darling

    The UK’s Conservative government is taking a leaf out of France’s book by promoting the English language in sub-Saharan Africa, including those countries normally considered exclusively within the French sphere of influence and where Paris defends and promotes francophonie. It’s part of a drive by the British government to establish new, post-Brexit trading links.

    https://www.africa-confidential.com/article-preview/id/12637/Move_over_darling
    #langue #langues #francophonie #Afrique #colonialisme #anglophonie #français #anglais #Angleterre #UK #compétition #néo-colonialisme #Afrique_sub-saharienne #post-Brexit #Brexit #commerce

  • Tom Stevenson reviews ‘AngloArabia’ by David Wearing · LRB 9 May 2019
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/v41/n09/tom-stevenson/what-are-we-there-for

    It is a cliché that the United States and Britain are obsessed with Middle East oil, but the reason for the obsession is often misdiagnosed. Anglo-American interest in the enormous hydrocarbon reserves of the Persian Gulf does not derive from a need to fuel Western consumption . [...] Anglo-American involvement in the Middle East has always been principally about the strategic advantage gained from controlling Persian Gulf hydrocarbons, not Western oil needs. [...]

    Other parts of the world – the US, Russia, Canada – have large deposits of crude oil, and current estimates suggest Venezuela has more proven reserves than Saudi Arabia. But Gulf oil lies close to the surface, where it is easy to get at by drilling; it is cheap to extract, and is unusually ‘light’ and ‘sweet’ (industry terms for high purity and richness). It is also located near the middle of the Eurasian landmass, yet outside the territory of any global power. Western Middle East policy, as explained by Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was to control the Gulf and stop any Soviet influence over ‘that vital energy resource upon which the economic and political stability both of Western Europe and of Japan depend’, or else the ‘geopolitical balance of power would be tipped’. In a piece for the Atlantic a few months after 9/11, Benjamin Schwarz and Christopher Layne explained that Washington ‘assumes responsibility for stabilising the region’ because China, Japan and Europe will be dependent on its resources for the foreseeable future: ‘America wants to discourage those powers from developing the means to protect that resource for themselves.’ Much of US power is built on the back of the most profitable protection #racket in modern history.

    [...]

    It is difficult to overstate the role of the Gulf in the way the world is currently run. In recent years, under both Obama and Trump, there has been talk of plans for a US withdrawal from the Middle East and a ‘#pivot’ to Asia. If there are indeed such plans, it would suggest that recent US administrations are ignorant of the way the system over which they preside works.

    The Arab Gulf states have proved well-suited to their status as US client states, in part because their populations are small and their subjugated working class comes from Egypt and South Asia. [...] There are occasional disagreements between Gulf rulers and their Western counterparts over oil prices, but they never become serious. [...] The extreme conservatism of the Gulf monarchies, in which there is in principle no consultation with the citizenry, means that the use of oil sales to prop up Western economies – rather than to finance, say, domestic development – is met with little objection. Wearing describes the modern relationship between Western governments and the Gulf monarchs as ‘asymmetric interdependence’, which makes clear that both get plenty from the bargain. Since the West installed the monarchs, and its behaviour is essentially extractive, I see no reason to avoid describing the continued Anglo-American domination of the Gulf as #colonial.

    Saudi Arabia and the other five members of the Gulf Co-operation Council are collectively the world’s largest buyer of military equipment by a big margin. [...]. The deals are highly profitable for Western arms companies (Middle East governments account for around half of all British arms sales), but the charge that Western governments are in thrall to the arms companies is based on a misconception. Arms sales are useful principally as a way of bonding the Gulf monarchies to the Anglo-American military. Proprietary systems – from fighter jets to tanks and surveillance equipment – ensure lasting dependence, because training, maintenance and spare parts can be supplied only by the source country. Western governments are at least as keen on these deals as the arms industry, and much keener than the Gulf states themselves. While speaking publicly of the importance of fiscal responsibility, the US, Britain and France have competed with each other to bribe Gulf officials into signing unnecessary arms deals.

    Control of the Gulf also yields less obvious benefits. [...] in 1974, the US Treasury secretary, William Simon, secretly travelled to Saudi Arabia to secure an agreement that remains to this day the foundation of the dollar’s global dominance. As David Spiro has documented in The Hidden Hand of American Hegemony (1999), the US made its guarantees of Saudi and Arab Gulf security conditional on the use of oil sales to shore up the #dollar. Under Simon’s deal, Saudi Arabia agreed to buy massive tranches of US Treasury bonds in secret off-market transactions. In addition, the US compelled Saudi Arabia and the other Opec countries to set oil prices in dollars, and for many years Gulf oil shipments could be paid for only in dollars. A de facto oil standard replaced gold, assuring the dollar’s value and pre-eminence.

    For the people of the region, the effects of a century of AngloArabia have been less satisfactory. Since the start of the war in Yemen in 2015 some 75,000 people have been killed, not counting those who have died of disease or starvation. In that time Britain has supplied arms worth nearly £5 billion to the Saudi coalition fighting the Yemeni Houthis. The British army has supplied and maintained aircraft throughout the campaign; British and American military personnel are stationed in the command rooms in Riyadh; British special forces have trained Saudi soldiers fighting inside Yemen; and Saudi pilots continue to be trained at RAF Valley on Anglesey. The US is even more deeply involved: the US air force has provided mid-air refuelling for Saudi and Emirati aircraft – at no cost, it emerged in November. Britain and the US have also funnelled weapons via the UAE to militias in Yemen. If the Western powers wished, they could stop the conflict overnight by ending their involvement. Instead the British government has committed to the Saudi position. As foreign secretary, Philip Hammond pledged that Britain would continue to ‘support the Saudis in every practical way short of engaging in combat’. This is not only complicity but direct participation in a war that is as much the West’s as it is Saudi Arabia’s.

    The Gulf monarchies are family dictatorships kept in power by external design, and it shows. [...] The main threat to Western interests is internal: a rising reminiscent of Iran’s in 1979. To forestall such an event, Britain equips and trains the Saudi police force, has military advisers permanently attached to the internal Saudi security forces, and operates a strategic communications programme for the Saudi National Guard (called Sangcom). [...]

    As Wearing argues, ‘Britain could choose to swap its support for Washington’s global hegemony for a more neutral and peaceful position.’ It would be more difficult for the US to extricate itself. Contrary to much of the commentary in Washington, the strategic importance of the Middle East is increasing, not decreasing. The US may now be exporting hydrocarbons again, thanks to state-subsidised shale, but this has no effect on the leverage it gains from control of the Gulf. And impending climate catastrophe shows no sign of weaning any nation from fossil fuels , least of all the developing East Asian states. US planners seem confused about their own intentions in the Middle East. In 2017, the National Intelligence Council described the sense of neglect felt by the Gulf monarchies when they heard talk of the phantasmagorical Asia pivot. The report’s authors were profoundly negative about the region’s future, predicting ‘large-scale violence, civil wars, authority vacuums and humanitarian crises persisting for many years’. The causes, in the authors’ view, were ‘entrenched elites’ and ‘low oil prices’. They didn’t mention that maintenance of both these things is US policy.

    #etats-unis #arabie_saoudite #pétrole #moyen_orient #contrôle

  • Homeless asylum-seekers fall through the cracks in the UK

    When asylum-seekers register for asylum in Britain, having fled their home countries, they qualify for asylum support while their claim is assessed by the Home Office. This support should include safe, clean accommodation and a living allowance for food and other necessities.

    If the asylum-seeker’s claim is granted, they then gain refugee status, which means they can live in the UK as a settled person – they can then take on work or study, as they wish.

    If their claim is refused however, the asylum-seeker is given a strict 14-day deadline in which to lodge an appeal. This deadline is usually even shorter in practice, as it corresponds with the date provided on the refusal letter, which is usually dated a few days before it is received. If they do not lodge this appeal in time, they lose their right to remain in the UK, along with all forms of asylum support.

    While many would argue that this process – on paper – makes sense, there are certain flaws it presents when put into practice and when considered alongside the British government’s current attitudes towards asylum and immigration.

    The number of initial asylum denials which are overturned at the appeal stage year-on-year is rising. While in 2017 the number of rejected asylum claims which were granted on appeal was 57%, in 2018 this figure rose to 75% – in other words, three-quarters of all the asylum claims that were denied were later found to be genuine.

    This number shows the frequency with which the Home Office misjudges asylum claims in the first instance, begging the question, what happens to all the genuine asylum-seekers who do not lodge an appeal in time?

    Unable to return to their home countries, many turn to the streets and become part of the ever-growing UK homeless community.

    Homelessness in the UK is steadily rising. Shelter released analysis this winter that showed an increase of 13,000 people becoming homeless in 2018, with an average of 1 in every 200 people across the UK now homeless (including those sleeping on the streets and in temporary accommodation).

    In 2018, the outsourcing giant Serco, which is responsible for housing many asylum-seekers across the UK, launched a mass-eviction policy for those it deemed to be “failed asylum-seekers”. The contractor changed the locks on hundreds of asylum-seekers’ doors, including many who still had a legal right to remain in the UK. The occupants, most of whom were Glasgow-based, were then left to fend for themselves and many slept rough on the streets.

    This is one instance which shows the severity of the impact that the “hostile environment” policy has had on vulnerable people. The policy, which was first introduced by (then Home Secretary) Theresa May in 2012, targeted “illegal immigrants” with the sole aim of making the UK so inhospitable and unwelcoming to them that they would choose to “leave voluntarily”. It culminated last summer with the Windrush scandal, which saw hundreds of Windrush-generation citizens threatened and deported by the Home Office after their documents had been lost and destroyed by the Government. Following this, Home Secretary Sajid Javid has rebranded the policy, replacing “hostile environment” with the phrase “compliant environment.”

    Despite this change in name, the programs developed under the policy continue to impact the lives of legitimate migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees.

    For example, asylum-seekers are still not able to work in most instances in the UK while they wait for the outcome of their claim. The only current exception to this is for those who are able to fill a role on the UK Shortage Occupation list. This list is a resource used by the British government showing the professions that cannot be filled with domestic workers. Roles on this list include chemical engineers, physical scientists and classical ballet dancers – all positions which most asylum-seekers (many of whom are from war-torn or less-developed countries where access to wealth and education is limited) cannot fill. Even if an asylum-seeker were able to fill one of these positions, that person could only do so after being in Britain for 12 months.

    It is this restriction that makes life even harder for vulnerable asylum-seekers, who are seeking much needed refuge in the UK. With no access to work, individuals are unable to save funds, making them entirely reliant on the GBP 5.50 per day that they receive as support. If they then have their initial claim refused, they have nothing to fall back on – no income and no network of work colleagues. It is no wonder then that asylum-seekers are turning to the streets, falling through the cracks of the system.

    It is vital that the asylum process is reviewed, to account for this issue. The UK is able to welcome those who are fleeing from persecution: we must continue to meet our responsibilities if we are to consider ourselves an ethical nation.

    http://rightsinexile.tumblr.com/post/183856311837/homeless-asylum-seekers-fall-through-the-cracks-in
    #UK #Angleterre #hébergement #logement #réfugiés #demandeurs_d'asile #migrations #asile #SDF #sans-abri

  • The 10 Computer Scientists That Made Computers Mainstream
    https://hackernoon.com/10-greatest-computer-scientists-who-ever-lived-c4ee813bbba3?source=rss--

    These are scientists that made a significant contribution to the field and will be forever remembered for their work.Here are 10 Computer Scientists who made history.1. Alan TuringAlan Turing is an English computer scientist, widely considered to be the father of computer #science. The prestigious “Turing Award” was named after him — an award given to those in computer science who make a significant contribution to the industry. Turing worked for the British Government, playing a pivotal role in cracking intercepted coded messages and enabling the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many crucial engagements. Despite the sheer brilliance of his work, he was not fully recognised for his contributions as he was a homosexual, which was illegal in the UK at the time.Alan Turing’s biography2. Tim (...)

    #technology #computer-science #programming #tech

  • #Kajsa_Ekis_Ekman : A Name Of One’s Own – Or How Women Became the Second Sex of the Second Sex
    https://tradfem.wordpress.com/2019/03/18/a-name-of-ones-own-or-how-women-became-the-second-sex-of-the-seco

    In a recent letter to the United Nations, the British government recommended that the term “pregnant woman” be replaced with “pregnant person”. This since the term “woman” might offend and exclude pregnant men.

    Now we don’t want to offend, do we?

    Thus, the word “woman” is removed, having been deemed too narrow and exclusionary. But anyone who supports the principles of inclusion will soon find that they also come with a new definition of gender.

    According to this definition, gaining ground without having really been debated, a person’s sex is rooted not in their body, but in their mind. Several countries, including Norway and Greece, have already amended their laws so that people now can self-define their sex with no requirement for surgical intervention. If the current Swedish bill becomes law, this policy will soon also apply here. Faced with the issue, the International Olympic Committee has issued recommendations according to which an athlete can compete as the gender he/she chooses, as long as one has lived as that gender for four years and meets the hormonal criteria. Further, the British Labour Party has published new guidelines concerning its all-women candidates lists, so that anyone who identifies as a woman can enter.

    This change is generally viewed as progressive. From now on, sex will no longer be reduced to biology and transgender people will finally be recognized by law! Positing the change as a question of identity, rather than one of ideology, has made debating difficult – because how can you question somebody’s identity? – when the matter actually concerns society as a whole.

    Version française de #Tradfem : https://tradfem.wordpress.com/2019/01/14/ce-sexe-qui-na-plus-de-nom

    #identité_de_genre #politique_d'identité #féminisme

  • ’Macron’s arrogance is exceeded only by his stupidity’ - Telegraph readers on the week’s top stories By Telegraph Readers - 8 March 2019 - www.telegraph.co.uk/
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/08/macrons-arrogance-exceeded-stupidity-telegraph-readers-weeks

    In a week that saw the UK hit yet another Brexit deadlock, French President Emmanuel Macron added fuel to the fire by launching his own bitter attack on negotiation proceedings.

    Telegraph readers shared their thoughts on President Macron’s vision for the EU’s future which was published in newspapers across Europe Credit: CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP

    Attorney General Geoffrey Cox returned home from Brussels empty-handed this week when his attempts to secure backstop concessions proved fruitless. Is defeat now looming for Theresa May in Tuesday’s forthcoming meaningful vote ?

    The current Brexit deadlock is not, however, the only headache facing the British government. An increase in knife crime related . . . . . . . .
    La suite de l’article sur inscription ou payante

    #emmanuel_macron #arrogance #stupidité #ue #union_européenne

  • Israel just admitted arming anti-Assad Syrian rebels. Big mistake - Middle East News
    Haaretz.com - Daniel J. Levy Jan 30, 2019 5:03 PM
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-israel-just-admitted-arming-anti-assad-syrian-rebels-big-mistake-1

    In his final days as the Israel Defense Forces’ Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot confirmed, on the record, that Israel had directly supported anti-Assad Syrian rebel factions in the Golan Heights by arming them.

    This revelation marks a direct break from Israel’s previous media policy on such matters. Until now, Israel has insisted it has only provided humanitarian aid to civilians (through field hospitals on the Golan Heights and in permanent healthcare facilities in northern Israel), and has consistently denied or refused to comment on any other assistance.

    In short, none other than Israel’s most (until recently) senior serving soldier has admitted that up until his statement, his country’s officially stated position on the Syrian civil war was built on the lie of non-intervention.

    As uncomfortable as this may initially seem, though, it is unsurprising. Israel has a long history of conducting unconventional warfare. That form of combat is defined by the U.S. government’s National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 as “activities conducted to enable a resistance movement or insurgency to coerce, disrupt or overthrow an occupying power or government by operating through or with an underground, auxiliary or guerrilla force in a denied area” in the pursuit of various security-related strategic objectives.

    While the United States and Iran are both practitioners of unconventional warfare par excellence, they primarily tend to do so with obvious and longer-term strategic allies, i.e. the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance fighters in Afghanistan, and various Shia militias in post-2003 Iraq.

    In contrast, Israel has always shown a remarkable willingness to form short-term tactical partnerships with forces and entities explicitly hostile to its very existence, as long as that alliance is able to offer some kind of security-related benefits.

    The best example of this is Israel’s decision to arm Tehran during the Iran-Iraq War, despite the Islamic Republic of Iran’s strong anti-Zionist rhetoric and foreign policy. During the 1980s, Iraq remained Jerusalem’s primary conventional (and arguably existential) military threat. Aiding Tehran to continue fighting an attritional war against Baghdad reduced the risk the latter posed against Israel.

    Similarly, throughout the civil war in Yemen in the 1960s, Israel covertly supported the royalist Houthi forces fighting Egyptian-backed republicans. Given Egypt’s very heavy military footprint in Yemen at the time (as many as a third of all Egyptian troops were deployed to the country during this period), Israelis reasoned that this military attrition would undermine their fighting capacity closer to home, which was arguably proven by Egypt’s lacklustre performance in the Six Day War.

    Although technically not unconventional warfare, Israel long and openly backed the South Lebanon Army, giving it years of experience in arming, training, and mentoring a partner indigenous force.

    More recently, though, Israel’s policy of supporting certain anti-Assad rebel groups remains consistent with past precedents of with whom and why it engages in unconventional warfare. Israel’s most pressing strategic concern and potential threat in Syria is an Iranian encroachment onto its northern border, either directly, or through an experienced and dangerous proxy such as Hezbollah, key to the Assad regime’s survival.

    For a number of reasons, Israel committing troops to overt large-scale operations in Syria to prevent this is simply unfeasible. To this end, identifying and subsequently supporting a local partner capable of helping Israel achieve this strategic goal is far more sensible, and realistic.

    Open source details of Israel’s project to support anti-Assad rebel groups are sparse, and have been since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war.

    Reports of this first arose towards the end of 2014, and one described how United Nations officials had witnessed Syrian rebels transferring injured patients to Israel, as well as “IDF soldiers on the Israeli side handing over two boxes to armed Syrian opposition members on the Syrian side.” The same report also stated that UN observers said they saw “two IDF soldiers on the eastern side of the border fence opening the gate and letting two people enter Israel.”

    Since then, a steady stream of similar reports continued to detail Israeli contacts with the Syrian rebels, with the best being written and researched by Elizabeth Tsurkov. In February, 2014 she wrote an outstanding feature for War On The Rocks, where she identified Liwaa’ Fursan al-Jolan and Firqat Ahrar Nawa as two groups benefiting from Israeli support, named Iyad Moro as “Israel’s contact person in Beit Jann,” and stated that weaponry, munitions, and cash were Israel’s main form of military aid.

    She also describes how Israel has supported its allied groups in fighting local affiliates of Islamic State with drone strikes and high-precision missile attacks, strongly suggesting, in my view, the presence of embedded Israeli liaison officers of some kind.

    A 2017 report published by the United Nations describes how IDF personnel were observed passing supplies over the Syrian border to unidentified armed individuals approaching them with convoys of mules, and although Israel claims that these engagements were humanitarian in nature, this fails to explain the presence of weaponry amongst the unidentified individuals receiving supplies from them.

    Writing for Foreign Policy in September 2018, Tsurkov again detailed how Israel was supporting the Syrian rebel factions, stating that material support came in the form of “assault rifles, machine guns, mortar launchers and transport vehicles,” which were delivered “through three gates connecting the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights to Syria - the same crossings Israel used to deliver humanitarian aid to residents of southern Syria suffering from years of civil war.” She also dates this support to have begun way back in 2013.

    The one part of Israel’s involvement in the Syrian Civil War which has been enthusiastically publicised, though, has been its ongoing humanitarian operations in the Golan. Dubbed “Operation Good Neighbor,” this was established in June 2016, and its stated aim is to “provide humanitarian aid to as many people as possible while maintaining Israel’s policy of non-involvement in the conflict.”

    Quite clearly, this is - at least in parts - a lie, as even since before its official commencement, Israel was seemingly engaging with and supporting various anti-Assad factions.

    Although Operation Good Neighbor patently did undertake significant humanitarian efforts in southern Syria for desperate Syrian civilians (including providing free medical treatment, infrastructure support, and civilian aid such as food and fuel), it has long been my personal belief that it was primarily a smokescreen for Israel’s covert unconventional warfare efforts in the country.

    Although it may be argued that deniability was initially necessary to protect Israel’s Syrian beneficiaries who could not be seen to be working with Jerusalem for any number of reasons (such as the likely detrimental impact this would have on their local reputation if not lives), this does not justify Israel’s outright lying on the subject. Instead, it could have mimicked the altogether more sensible approach of the British government towards United Kingdom Special Forces, which is simply to restate their position of not commenting, confirming, or denying any potentially relevant information or assertions.

    Israel is generous in its provision of humanitarian aid to the less fortunate, but I find it impossible to believe that its efforts in Syria were primarily guided by altruism when a strategic objective as important as preventing Iran and its proxies gaining a toehold on its northern border was at stake.

    Its timing is interesting and telling as well. Operation Good Neighbor was formally put in place just months after the Assad regime began its Russian-backed counter-offensive against the rebel factions, and ceased when the rebels were pushed out of southern Syria in September 2018.

    But it’s not as if that September there were no longer civilians who could benefit from Israeli humanitarian aid, but an absence of partners to whom Israel could feasibly directly dispatch arms and other supplies. Although Israel did participate in the rescue of a number of White Helmets, this was done in a relatively passive manner (allowing their convoy to drive to Jordan through Israeli territory), and also artfully avoided escalating any kind of conflict with the Assad’s forces and associated foreign allies.

    Popular opinion - both in Israel and amongst Diaspora Jews - was loud and clear about the ethical necessity of protecting Syrian civilians (especially from historically-resonant gas attacks). But it’s unlikely this pressure swung Israel to intervene in Syria. Israel already had a strong interest in keeping Iran and its proxies out southern Syria, and that would have remained the case, irrespective of gas attacks against civilians.

    Although Israel has gone to great lengths to conceal its efforts at unconventional warfare within the Syrian civil war, it need not have. Its activities are consistent with its previous efforts at promoting strategic objectives through sometimes unlikely, if not counter-intuitive, regional partners.

    Perhaps the reason why Eisenkot admitted that this support was taking place was because he knew that it could not be concealed forever, not least since the fall of the smokescreen provided by Operation Good Neighbor. But the manner in which Israel operated may have longer-term consequences.

    Israel is unlikely to change how it operates in the future, but may very well find future potential tactical partners less than willing to cooperate with it. In both southern Lebanon and now Syria, Israel’s former partners have found themselves exposed to dangers borne out of collaboration, and seemingly abandoned.

    With that kind of history and record, it is likely that unless they find themselves in desperate straits, future potential partners will think twice before accepting support from, and working with, Israel.

    For years, Israel has religiously adhered to the official party line that the country’s policy was non-intervention, and this has now been exposed as a lie. Such a loss of public credibility may significantly inhibit its abilities to conduct influence operations in the future.

    Daniel J. Levy is a graduate of the Universities of Leeds and Oxford, where his academic research focused on Iranian proxies in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine. He lives in the UK and is the Founding Director of The Ortakoy Security Group. Twitter: @danielhalevy

    #IsraelSyrie

  • Pan Am Flight 103 : Robert Mueller’s 30-Year Search for Justice | WIRED
    https://www.wired.com/story/robert-muellers-search-for-justice-for-pan-am-103

    Cet article décrit le rôle de Robert Mueller dans l’enquête historique qui a permis de dissimuler ou de justifier la plupart des batailles de la guerre non déclarée des États Unis contre l’OLP et les pays arabes qui soutenaient la lutte pour un état palestinien.

    Aux États-Unis, en Allemagne et en France le grand public ignore les actes de guerre commis par les États Unis dans cette guerre. Vu dans ce contexte on ne peut que classer le récit de cet article dans la catégorie idéologie et propagande même si les intentions et faits qu’on y apprend sont bien documentés et plausibles.

    Cette perspective transforme le contenu de cet article d’une variation sur un thème connu dans un reportage sur l’état d’âme des dirigeants étatsuniens moins fanatiques que l’équipe du président actuel.

    THIRTY YEARS AGO last Friday, on the darkest day of the year, 31,000 feet above one of the most remote parts of Europe, America suffered its first major terror attack.

    TEN YEARS AGO last Friday, then FBI director Robert Mueller bundled himself in his tan trench coat against the cold December air in Washington, his scarf wrapped tightly around his neck. Sitting on a small stage at Arlington National Cemetery, he scanned the faces arrayed before him—the victims he’d come to know over years, relatives and friends of husbands and wives who would never grow old, college students who would never graduate, business travelers and flight attendants who would never come home.

    Burned into Mueller’s memory were the small items those victims had left behind, items that he’d seen on the shelves of a small wooden warehouse outside Lockerbie, Scotland, a visit he would never forget: A teenager’s single white sneaker, an unworn Syracuse University sweatshirt, the wrapped Christmas gifts that would never be opened, a lonely teddy bear.

    A decade before the attacks of 9/11—attacks that came during Mueller’s second week as FBI director, and that awoke the rest of America to the threats of terrorism—the bombing of Pan Am 103 had impressed upon Mueller a new global threat.

    It had taught him the complexity of responding to international terror attacks, how unprepared the government was to respond to the needs of victims’ families, and how on the global stage justice would always be intertwined with geopolitics. In the intervening years, he had never lost sight of the Lockerbie bombing—known to the FBI by the codename Scotbom—and he had watched the orphaned children from the bombing grow up over the years.

    Nearby in the cemetery stood a memorial cairn made of pink sandstone—a single brick representing each of the victims, the stone mined from a Scottish quarry that the doomed flight passed over just seconds before the bomb ripped its baggage hold apart. The crowd that day had gathered near the cairn in the cold to mark the 20th anniversary of the bombing.

    For a man with an affinity for speaking in prose, not poetry, a man whose staff was accustomed to orders given in crisp sentences as if they were Marines on the battlefield or under cross-examination from a prosecutor in a courtroom, Mueller’s remarks that day soared in a way unlike almost any other speech he’d deliver.

    “There are those who say that time heals all wounds. But you know that not to be true. At its best, time may dull the deepest wounds; it cannot make them disappear,” Mueller told the assembled mourners. “Yet out of the darkness of this day comes a ray of light. The light of unity, of friendship, and of comfort from those who once were strangers and who are now bonded together by a terrible moment in time. The light of shared memories that bring smiles instead of sadness. And the light of hope for better days to come.”

    He talked of Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” and of inspiration drawn from Lockerbie’s town crest, with its simple motto, “Forward.” He spoke of what was then a two-decade-long quest for justice, of how on windswept Scottish mores and frigid lochs a generation of FBI agents, investigators, and prosecutors had redoubled their dedication to fighting terrorism.

    Mueller closed with a promise: “Today, as we stand here together on this, the darkest of days, we renew that bond. We remember the light these individuals brought to each of you here today. We renew our efforts to bring justice down on those who seek to harm us. We renew our efforts to keep our people safe, and to rid the world of terrorism. We will continue to move forward. But we will never forget.”

    Hand bells tolled for each of the victims as their names were read aloud, 270 names, 270 sets of bells.

    The investigation, though, was not yet closed. Mueller, although he didn’t know it then, wasn’t done with Pan Am 103. Just months after that speech, the case would test his innate sense of justice and morality in a way that few other cases in his career ever have.

    ROBERT S. MUELLER III had returned from a combat tour in Vietnam in the late 1960s and eventually headed to law school at the University of Virginia, part of a path that he hoped would lead him to being an FBI agent. Unable after graduation to get a job in government, he entered private practice in San Francisco, where he found he loved being a lawyer—just not a defense attorney.

    Then—as his wife Ann, a teacher, recounted to me years ago—one morning at their small home, while the two of them made the bed, Mueller complained, “Don’t I deserve to be doing something that makes me happy?” He finally landed a job as an assistant US attorney in San Francisco and stood, for the first time, in court and announced, “Good morning your Honor, I am Robert Mueller appearing on behalf of the United States of America.” It is a moment that young prosecutors often practice beforehand, and for Mueller those words carried enormous weight. He had found the thing that made him happy.

    His family remembers that time in San Francisco as some of their happiest years; the Muellers’ two daughters were young, they loved the Bay Area—and have returned there on annual vacations almost every year since relocating to the East Coast—and Mueller found himself at home as a prosecutor.

    On Friday nights, their routine was that Ann and the two girls would pick Mueller up at Harrington’s Bar & Grill, the city’s oldest Irish pub, not far from the Ferry Building in the Financial District, where he hung out each week with a group of prosecutors, defense attorneys, cops, and agents. (One Christmas, his daughter Cynthia gave him a model of the bar made out of Popsicle sticks.) He balanced that family time against weekends and trainings with the Marines Corps Reserves, where he served for more than a decade, until 1980, eventually rising to be a captain.

    Over the next 15 years, he rose through the ranks of the San Francisco US attorney’s office—an office he would return to lead during the Clinton administration—and then decamped to Massachusetts to work for US attorney William Weld in the 1980s. There, too, he shined and eventually became acting US attorney when Weld departed at the end of the Reagan administration. “You cannot get the words straight arrow out of your head,” Weld told me, speaking of Mueller a decade ago. “The agencies loved him because he knew his stuff. He didn’t try to be elegant or fancy, he just put the cards on the table.”

    In 1989, an old high school classmate, Robert Ross, who was chief of staff to then attorney general Richard Thornburgh, asked Mueller to come down to Washington to help advise Thornburgh. The offer intrigued Mueller. Ann protested the move—their younger daughter Melissa wanted to finish high school in Massachusetts. Ann told her husband, “We can’t possibly do this.” He replied, his eyes twinkling, “You’re right, it’s a terrible time. Well, why don’t we just go down and look at a few houses?” As she told me, “When he wants to do something, he just revisits it again and again.”

    For his first two years at so-called Main Justice in Washington, working under President George H.W. Bush, the family commuted back and forth from Boston to Washington, alternating weekends in each city, to allow Melissa to finish school.

    Washington gave Mueller his first exposure to national politics and cases with geopolitical implications; in September 1990, President Bush nominated him to be assistant attorney general, overseeing the Justice Department’s entire criminal division, which at that time handled all the nation’s terrorism cases as well. Mueller would oversee the prosecution of Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, mob boss John Gotti, and the controversial investigation into a vast money laundering scheme run through the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, known as the Bank of Crooks and Criminals

    None of his cases in Washington, though, would affect him as much as the bombing of Pan Am 103.

    THE TIME ON the clocks in Lockerbie, Scotland, read 7:04 pm, on December 21, 1988, when the first emergency call came into the local fire brigade, reporting what sounded like a massive boiler explosion. It was technically early evening, but it had been dark for hours already; that far north, on the shortest day of the year, daylight barely stretched to eight hours.

    Soon it became clear something much worse than a boiler explosion had unfolded: Fiery debris pounded the landscape, plunging from the sky and killing 11 Lockerbie residents. As Mike Carnahan told a local TV reporter, “The whole sky was lit up with flames. It was actually raining, liquid fire. You could see several houses on the skyline with the roofs totally off and all you could see was flaming timbers.”

    At 8:45 pm, a farmer found in his field the cockpit of Pan Am 103, a Boeing 747 known as Clipper Maid of the Seas, lying on its side, 15 of its crew dead inside, just some of the 259 passengers and crew killed when a bomb had exploded inside the plane’s cargo hold. The scheduled London to New York flight never even made it out of the UK.

    It had taken just three seconds for the plane to disintegrate in the air, though the wreckage took three long minutes to fall the five miles from the sky to the earth; court testimony later would examine how passengers had still been alive as they fell. Nearly 200 of the passengers were American, including 35 students from Syracuse University returning home from a semester abroad. The attack horrified America, which until then had seen terror touch its shores only occasionally as a hijacking went awry; while the US had weathered the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, attacks almost never targeted civilians.

    The Pan Am 103 bombing seemed squarely aimed at the US, hitting one of its most iconic brands. Pan Am then represented America’s global reach in a way few companies did; the world’s most powerful airline shuttled 19 million passengers a year to more than 160 countries and had ferried the Beatles to their US tour and James Bond around the globe on his cinematic missions. In a moment of hubris a generation before Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, the airline had even opened a “waiting list” for the first tourists to travel to outer space. Its New York headquarters, the Pan Am building, was the world’s largest commercial building and its terminal at JFK Airport the biggest in the world.

    The investigation into the bombing of Pan Am 103 began immediately, as police and investigators streamed north from London by the hundreds; chief constable John Boyd, the head of the local police, arrived at the Lockerbie police station by 8:15 pm, and within an hour the first victim had been brought in: A farmer arrived in town with the body of a baby girl who had fallen from the sky. He’d carefully placed her in the front seat of his pickup truck.

    An FBI agent posted in London had raced north too, with the US ambassador, aboard a special US Air Force flight, and at 2 am, when Boyd convened his first senior leadership meeting, he announced, “The FBI is here, and they are fully operational.” By that point, FBI explosives experts were already en route to Scotland aboard an FAA plane; agents would install special secure communications equipment in Lockerbie and remain on site for months.

    Although it quickly became clear that a bomb had targeted Pan Am 103—wreckage showed signs of an explosion and tested positive for PETN and RDX, two key ingredients of the explosive Semtex—the investigation proceeded with frustrating slowness. Pan Am’s records were incomplete, and it took days to even determine the full list of passengers. At the same time, it was the largest crime scene ever investigated—a fact that remains true today.

    Investigators walked 845 square miles, an area 12 times the size of Washington, DC, and searched so thoroughly that they recovered more than 70 packages of airline crackers and ultimately could reconstruct about 85 percent of the fuselage. (Today, the wreckage remains in an English scrapyard.) Constable Boyd, at his first press conference, told the media, “This is a mammoth inquiry.”

    On Christmas Eve, a searcher found a piece of a luggage pallet with signs of obvious scorching, which would indicate the bomb had been in the luggage compartment below the passenger cabin. The evidence was rushed to a special British military lab—one originally created to investigate the Guy Fawkes’ Gunpowder Plot to blow up Parliament and kill King James I in 1605.

    When the explosive tests came back a day later, the British government called the State Department’s ambassador-at-large for combating terrorism, L. Paul Bremer III (who would go on to be President George W. Bush’s viceroy in Baghdad after the 2003 invasion of Iraq), and officially delivered the news that everyone had anticipated: Pan Am 103 had been downed by a bomb.

    Meanwhile, FBI agents fanned out across the country. In New York, special agent Neil Herman—who would later lead the FBI’s counterterrorism office in New York in the run up to 9/11—was tasked with interviewing some of the victims’ families; many of the Syracuse students on board had been from the New York region. One of the mothers he interviewed hadn’t heard from the government in the 10 days since the attack. “It really struck me how ill-equipped we were to deal with this,” Herman told me, years later. “Multiply her by 270 victims and families.” The bombing underscored that the FBI and the US government had a lot to learn in responding and aiding victims in a terror attack.

    INVESTIGATORS MOVED TOWARD piecing together how a bomb could have been placed on board; years before the 9/11 attack, they discounted the idea of a suicide bomber aboard—there had never been a suicide attack on civil aviation at that point—and so focused on one of two theories: The possibility of a “mule,” an innocent passenger duped into carrying a bomb aboard, or an “inside man,” a trusted airport or airline employee who had smuggled the fatal cargo aboard. The initial suspect list stretched to 1,200 names.

    Yet even reconstructing what was on board took an eternity: Evidence pointed to a Japanese manufactured Toshiba cassette recorder as the likely delivery device for the bomb, and then, by the end of January, investigators located pieces of the suitcase that had held the bomb. After determining that it was a Samsonite bag, police and the FBI flew to the company’s headquarters in the United States and narrowed the search further: The bag, they found, was a System 4 Silhouette 4000 model, color “antique-copper,” a case and color made for only three years, 1985 to 1988, and sold only in the Middle East. There were a total of 3,500 such suitcases in circulation.

    By late spring, investigators had identified 14 pieces of luggage inside the target cargo container, known as AVE4041; each bore tell-tale signs of the explosion. Through careful retracing of how luggage moved through the London airport, investigators determined that the bags on the container’s bottom row came from passengers transferring in London. The bags on the second and third row of AVE4041 had been the last bags loaded onto the leg of the flight that began in Frankfurt, before the plane took off for London. None of the baggage had been X-rayed or matched with passengers on board.

    The British lab traced clothing fragments from the wreckage that bore signs of the explosion and thus likely originated in the bomb-carrying suitcase. It was an odd mix: Two herring-bone skirts, men’s pajamas, tartan trousers, and so on. The most promising fragment was a blue infant’s onesie that, after fiber analysis, was conclusively determined to have been inside the explosive case, and had a label saying “Malta Trading Company.” In March, two detectives took off for Malta, where the manufacturer told them that 500 such articles of clothing had been made and most sent to Ireland, while the rest went locally to Maltese outlets and others to continental Europe.

    As they dug deeper, they focused on bag B8849, which appeared to have come off Air Malta Flight 180—Malta to Frankfurt—on December 21, even though there was no record of one of that flight’s 47 passengers transferring to Pan Am 103.

    Investigators located the store in Malta where the suspect clothing had been sold; the British inspector later recorded in his statement, “[Store owner] Anthony Gauci interjected and stated that he could recall selling a pair of the checked trousers, size 34, and three pairs of the pajamas to a male person.” The investigators snapped to attention—after nine months did they finally have a suspect in their sights? “[Gauci] informed me that the man had also purchased the following items: one imitation Harris Tweed jacket; one woolen cardigan; one black umbrella; one blue colored ‘Baby Gro’ with a motif described by the witness as a ‘sheep’s face’ on the front; and one pair of gents’ brown herring-bone material trousers, size 36.”

    Game, set, match. Gauci had perfectly described the clothing fragments found by RARDE technicians to contain traces of explosive. The purchase, Gauci went on to explain, stood out in his mind because the customer—whom Gauci tellingly identified as speaking the “Libyan language”—had entered the store on November 23, 1988, and gathered items without seeming to care about the size, gender, or color of any of it.

    As the investigation painstakingly proceeded into 1989 and 1990, Robert Mueller arrived at Main Justice; the final objects of the Lockerbie search wouldn’t be found until the spring of 1990, just months before Mueller took over as assistant attorney general of the criminal division in September.

    The Justice Department that year was undergoing a series of leadership changes; the deputy attorney general, William Barr, became acting attorney general midyear as Richard Thornburgh stepped down to run for Senate back in his native Pennsylvania. President Bush then nominated Barr to take over as attorney general officially. (Earlier this month Barr was nominated by President Trump to become attorney general once again.)

    The bombing soon became one of the top cases on Mueller’s desk. He met regularly with Richard Marquise, the FBI special agent heading Scotbom. For Mueller, the case became personal; he met with victims’ families and toured the Lockerbie crash site and the investigation’s headquarters. He traveled repeatedly to the United Kingdom for meetings and walked the fields of Lockerbie himself. “The Scots just did a phenomenal job with the crime scene,” he told me, years ago.

    Mueller pushed the investigators forward constantly, getting involved in the investigation at a level that a high-ranking Justice Department official almost never does. Marquise turned to him in one meeting, after yet another set of directions, and sighed, “Geez, if I didn’t know better, I’d think you want to be FBI director.”

    The investigation gradually, carefully, zeroed in on Libya. Agents traced a circuit board used in the bomb to a similar device seized in Africa a couple of years earlier used by Libyan intelligence. An FBI-created database of Maltese immigration records even showed that a man using the same alias as one of those Libyan intelligence officers had departed from Malta on October 19, 1988—just two months before the bombing.

    The circuit board also helped makes sense of an important aspect of the bombing: It controlled a timer, meaning that the bomb was not set off by a barometric trigger that registers altitude. This, in turn, explained why the explosive baggage had lain peacefully in the jet’s hold as it took off and landed repeatedly.

    Tiny letters on the suspect timer said “MEBO.” What was MEBO? In the days before Google, searching for something called “Mebo” required going country to country, company to company. There were no shortcuts. The FBI, MI5, and CIA were, after months of work, able to trace MEBO back to a Swiss company, Meister et Bollier, adding a fifth country to the ever-expanding investigative circle.

    From Meister et Bollier, they learned that the company had provided 20 prototype timers to the Libyan government and the company helped ID their contact as a Libyan intelligence officer, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, who looked like the sketch of the Maltese clothing shopper. Then, when the FBI looked at its database of Maltese immigration records, they found that Al Megrahi had been present in Malta the day the clothing was purchased.

    Marquise sat down with Robert Mueller and the rest of the prosecutorial team and laid out the latest evidence. Mueller’s orders were clear—he wanted specific suspects and he wanted to bring charges. As he said, “Proceed toward indictment.” Let’s get this case moving.

    IN NOVEMBER 1990, Marquise was placed in charge of all aspects of the investigation and assigned on special duty to the Washington Field Office and moved to a new Scotbom task force. The field offce was located far from the Hoover building, in a run-down neighborhood known by the thoroughly unromantic moniker of Buzzard Point.

    The Scotbom task force had been allotted three tiny windowless rooms with dark wood paneling, which were soon covered floor-to-ceiling with 747 diagrams, crime scene photographs, maps, and other clues. By the door of the office, the team kept two photographs to remind themselves of the stakes: One, a tiny baby shoe recovered from the fields of Lockerbie; the other, a picture of the American flag on the tail of Pan Am 103. This was the first major attack on the US and its civilians. Whoever was responsible couldn’t be allowed to get away with it.

    With representatives from a half-dozen countries—the US, Britain, Scotland, Sweden, Germany, France, and Malta—now sitting around the table, putting together a case that met everyone’s evidentiary standards was difficult. “We talked through everything, and everything was always done to the higher standard,” Marquise says. In the US, for instance, the legal standard for a photo array was six photos; in Scotland, though, it was 12. So every photo array in the investigation had 12 photos to ensure that the IDs could be used in a British court.

    The trail of evidence so far was pretty clear, and it all pointed toward Libya. Yet there was still much work to do prior to an indictment. A solid hunch was one thing. Having evidence that would stand up in court and under cross-examination was something else entirely.

    As the case neared an indictment, the international investigators and prosecutors found themselves focusing at their gatherings on the fine print of their respective legal code and engaging in deep, philosophical-seeming debates: “What does murder mean in your statute? Huh? I know what murder means: I kill you. Well, then you start going through the details and the standards are just a little different. It may entail five factors in one country, three in another. Was Megrahi guilty of murder? Depends on the country.”

    At every meeting, the international team danced around the question of where a prosecution would ultimately take place. “Jurisdiction was an eggshell problem,” Marquise says. “It was always there, but no one wanted to talk about it. It was always the elephant in the room.”

    Mueller tried to deflect the debate for as long as possible, arguing there was more investigation to do first. Eventually, though, he argued forcefully that the case should be tried in the US. “I recognize that Scotland has significant equities which support trial of the case in your country,” he said in one meeting. “However, the primary target of this act of terrorism was the United States. The majority of the victims were Americans, and the Pan American aircraft was targeted precisely because it was of United States registry.”

    After one meeting, where the Scots and Americans debated jurisdiction for more than two hours, the group migrated over to the Peasant, a restaurant near the Justice Department, where, in an attempt to foster good spirits, it paid for the visiting Scots. Mueller and the other American officials each had to pay for their own meals.

    Mueller was getting ready to move forward; the federal grand jury would begin work in early September. Prosecutors and other investigators were already preparing background, readying evidence, and piecing together information like the names and nationalities of all the Lockerbie victims so that they could be included in the forthcoming indictment.

    There had never been any doubt in the US that the Pan Am 103 bombing would be handled as a criminal matter, but the case was still closely monitored by the White House and the National Security Council.

    The Reagan administration had been surprised in February 1988 by the indictment on drug charges of its close ally Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, and a rule of thumb had been developed: Give the White House a heads up anytime you’re going to indict a foreign agent. “If you tag Libya with Pan Am 103, that’s fair to say it’s going to disrupt our relationship with Libya,” Mueller deadpans. So Mueller would head up to the Cabinet Room at the White House, charts and pictures in hand, to explain to President Bush and his team what Justice had in mind.

    To Mueller, the investigation underscored why such complex investigations needed a law enforcement eye. A few months after the attack, he sat through a CIA briefing pointing toward Syria as the culprit behind the attack. “That’s always struck with me as a lesson in the difference between intelligence and evidence. I always try to remember that,” he told me, back when he was FBI director. “It’s a very good object lesson about hasty action based on intelligence. What if we had gone and attacked Syria based on that initial intelligence? Then, after the attack, it came out that Libya had been behind it? What could we have done?”

    Marquise was the last witness for the federal grand jury on Friday, November 8, 1991. Only in the days leading up to that testimony had prosecutors zeroed in on Megrahi and another Libyan officer, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah; as late as the week of the testimony, they had hoped to pursue additional indictments, yet the evidence wasn’t there to get to a conviction.

    Mueller traveled to London to meet with the Peter Fraser, the lord advocate—Scotland’s top prosecutor—and they agreed to announce indictments simultaneously on November 15, 1991. Who got their hands on the suspects first, well, that was a question for later. The joint indictment, Mueller believed, would benefit both countries. “It adds credibility to both our investigations,” he says.

    That coordinated joint, multi-nation statement and indictment would become a model that the US would deploy more regularly in the years to come, as the US and other western nations have tried to coordinate cyber investigations and indictments against hackers from countries like North Korea, Russia, and Iran.

    To make the stunning announcement against Libya, Mueller joined FBI director William Sessions, DC US attorney Jay Stephens, and attorney general William Barr.

    “We charge that two Libyan officials, acting as operatives of the Libyan intelligence agency, along with other co-conspirators, planted and detonated the bomb that destroyed Pan Am 103,” Barr said. “I have just telephoned some of the families of those murdered on Pan Am 103 to inform them and the organizations of the survivors that this indictment has been returned. Their loss has been ever present in our minds.”

    At the same time, in Scotland, investigators there were announcing the same indictments.

    At the press conference, Barr listed a long set of names to thank—the first one he singled out was Mueller’s. Then, he continued, “This investigation is by no means over. It continues unabated. We will not rest until all those responsible are brought to justice. We have no higher priority.”

    From there, the case would drag on for years. ABC News interviewed the two suspects in Libya later that month; both denied any responsibility for the bombing. Marquise was reassigned within six months; the other investigators moved along too.

    Mueller himself left the administration when Bill Clinton became president, spending an unhappy year in private practice before rejoining the Justice Department to work as a junior homicide prosecutor in DC under then US attorney Eric Holder; Mueller, who had led the nation’s entire criminal division was now working side by side with prosecutors just a few years out of law school, the equivalent of a three-star military general retiring and reenlisting as a second lieutenant. Clinton eventually named Mueller the US attorney in San Francisco, the office where he’d worked as a young attorney in the 1970s.

    THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY of the bombing came and went without any justice. Then, in April 1999, prolonged international negotiations led to Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi turning over the two suspects; the international economic sanctions imposed on Libya in the wake of the bombing were taking a toll on his country, and the leader wanted to put the incident behind him.

    The final negotiated agreement said that the two men would be tried by a Scottish court, under Scottish law, in The Hague in the Netherlands. Distinct from the international court there, the three-judge Scottish court would ensure that the men faced justice under the laws of the country where their accused crime had been committed.

    Allowing the Scots to move forward meant some concessions by the US. The big one was taking the death penalty, prohibited in Scotland, off the table. Mueller badly wanted the death penalty. Mueller, like many prosecutors and law enforcement officials, is a strong proponent of capital punishment, but he believes it should be reserved for only egregious crimes. “It has to be especially heinous, and you have to be 100 percent sure he’s guilty,” he says. This case met that criteria. “There’s never closure. If there can’t be closure, there should be justice—both for the victims as well as the society at large,” he says.

    An old US military facility, Kamp Van Zeist, was converted to an elaborate jail and courtroom in The Hague, and the Dutch formally surrendered the two Libyans to Scottish police. The trial began in May 2000. For nine months, the court heard testimony from around the world. In what many observers saw as a political verdict, Al Megrahi was found guilty and Fhimah was found not guilty.

    With barely 24 hours notice, Marquise and victim family members raced from the United States to be in the courtroom to hear the verdict. The morning of the verdict in 2001, Mueller was just days into his tenure as acting deputy US attorney general—filling in for the start of the George W. Bush administration in the department’s No. 2 role as attorney general John Ashcroft got himself situated.

    That day, Mueller awoke early and joined with victims’ families and other officials in Washington, who watched the verdict announcement via a satellite hookup. To him, it was a chance for some closure—but the investigation would go on. As he told the media, “The United States remains vigilant in its pursuit to bring to justice any other individuals who may have been involved in the conspiracy to bring down Pan Am Flight 103.”

    The Scotbom case would leave a deep imprint on Mueller; one of his first actions as FBI director was to recruit Kathryn Turman, who had served as the liaison to the Pan Am 103 victim families during the trial, to head the FBI’s Victim Services Division, helping to elevate the role and responsibility of the FBI in dealing with crime victims.

    JUST MONTHS AFTER that 20th anniversary ceremony with Mueller at Arlington National Cemetery, in the summer of 2009, Scotland released a terminally ill Megrahi from prison after a lengthy appeals process, and sent him back to Libya. The decision was made, the Scottish minister of justice reported, on “compassionate grounds.” Few involved on the US side believed the terrorist deserved compassion. Megrahi was greeted as a hero on the tarmac in Libya—rose petals, cheering crowds. The US consensus remained that he should rot in prison.

    The idea that Megrahi could walk out of prison on “compassionate” ground made a mockery of everything that Mueller had dedicated his life to fighting and doing. Amid a series of tepid official condemnations—President Obama labeled it “highly objectionable”—Mueller fired off a letter to Scottish minister Kenny MacAskill that stood out for its raw pain, anger, and deep sorrow.

    “Over the years I have been a prosecutor, and recently as the Director of the FBI, I have made it a practice not to comment on the actions of other prosecutors, since only the prosecutor handling the case has all the facts and the law before him in reaching the appropriate decision,” Mueller began. “Your decision to release Megrahi causes me to abandon that practice in this case. I do so because I am familiar with the facts, and the law, having been the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the investigation and indictment of Megrahi in 1991. And I do so because I am outraged at your decision, blithely defended on the grounds of ‘compassion.’”

    That nine months after the 20th anniversary of the bombing, the only person behind bars for the bombing would walk back onto Libyan soil a free man and be greeted with rose petals left Mueller seething.

    “Your action in releasing Megrahi is as inexplicable as it is detrimental to the cause of justice. Indeed your action makes a mockery of the rule of law. Your action gives comfort to terrorists around the world,” Mueller wrote. “You could not have spent much time with the families, certainly not as much time as others involved in the investigation and prosecution. You could not have visited the small wooden warehouse where the personal items of those who perished were gathered for identification—the single sneaker belonging to a teenager; the Syracuse sweatshirt never again to be worn by a college student returning home for the holidays; the toys in a suitcase of a businessman looking forward to spending Christmas with his wife and children.”

    For Mueller, walking the fields of Lockerbie had been walking on hallowed ground. The Scottish decision pained him especially deeply, because of the mission and dedication he and his Scottish counterparts had shared 20 years before. “If all civilized nations join together to apply the rules of law to international terrorists, certainly we will be successful in ridding the world of the scourge of terrorism,” he had written in a perhaps too hopeful private note to the Scottish Lord Advocate in 1990.

    Some 20 years later, in an era when counterterrorism would be a massive, multibillion dollar industry and a buzzword for politicians everywhere, Mueller—betrayed—concluded his letter with a decidedly un-Mueller-like plea, shouted plaintively and hopelessly across the Atlantic: “Where, I ask, is the justice?”

    #USA #Libye #impérialisme #terrorisme #histoire #CIA #idéologie #propagande

  • The boy left behind in Nazi Vienna - BBC News

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/left_behind_in_nazi_vienna

    In fear for her life, Kurt’s Jewish single mother fled Nazi Vienna for the UK in 1939, leaving him behind. This 14-year-old’s story of abandonment and adversity can be told for the first time, through recently discovered letters.

    It is mid-March 1939 and 14-year-old Kurt and his devoted Jewish single mother Hedwig are standing on the platform of a train station in Nazi Vienna saying their tearful goodbyes.

    The destination of the impending journey is the UK, and the purpose is to escape the intensifying persecution of Austria’s Jewish citizens.

    Since December 1938, trains have been carrying Jewish children from Germany and German-annexed Europe to safety in the UK, thanks to the Kindertransport operation, a charity-run scheme sanctioned by the British Government.

    Many children have already fled Austria, leaving selfless parents behind to face an uncertain fate - in most cases, a barbaric death.

    #shoah #nazisme #vienne

  • Investment platforms vie to capture a share of global #remittances

    Investment platforms are vying to capture a share of global remittances
    IN 2016 AYO ADEWUNMI, a Nigerian-born agricultural trader living in London, bought a five-hectare farm in
    his homeland. It has produced little since. “I am not in the country, so I have to rely on third parties. It’s just
    not good enough,” he says.
    Mr Adewunmi has since discovered another, potentially more satisfactory way to make such investments:
    through #FarmCrowdy (https://www.farmcrowdy.com), a crowdfunding platform that lends to Nigerian farms and provides technical
    assistance to their owners. The two-year-old startup, which is considering expanding into Ghana, places high
    hopes in the African diaspora as a source of funds.
    The case for such platforms goes beyond agriculture. Global remittances are expected to soar from $468bn
    in 2010 to $667bn in 2019. They are among the top two foreign-currency sources in several countries,
    including Kenya and the Philippines. Yet hardly any of the money is invested.
    In part, this is because recipients use three-quarters of the money for basics such as food and housing. But it
    is also because emigrants who want to invest back home have few options. New investment channels could
    attract lots of extra cash—about $73bn a year in Commonwealth countries alone, according to research by
    the 53-country grouping.

    Crowdfunding platforms would enable investors to put modest sums directly into smaller businesses in
    developing countries, which are often cash-starved. Yet of the emerging world’s 85 debt- and
    equity-crowdfunding ventures, only a handful raise money abroad. Several platforms set up in rich countries
    over the past decade to invest in developing countries, including Emerging Crowd, Homestrings and Enable
    Impact, quickly folded.
    A big problem is that few developing countries have rules about crowdfunding. Many have allowed activity
    so far chiefly because the industry is so small, says Anton Root of Allied Crowds, a consultancy. Cross-border
    transfers using such platforms easily fall foul of rich countries’ rules intended to stop money-laundering and
    the financing of terrorism.
    Some developing countries have realised that they need to act. Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia
    have all recently passed regulations on equity crowdfunding or peer-to-peer lending. But from a
    cross-border perspective, Africa seems most inventive, owing to active entrepreneurs and Western help.

    Last month the British government approved a grant of £230,000 ($300,000) to the African Crowdfunding
    Association to help it craft model accreditation and investor-protection rules. Elizabeth Howard of
    LelapaFund, a platform focused on east Africa, is part of an effort to see such rules adopted across the
    continent. That would help reassure sending countries that transfers do not end up in the wrong hands, she
    says. She hopes to enlist the support of the Central Bank of West African States, which oversees eight
    Francophone countries, at a gathering of crowdfunders and regulators sponsored by the French
    government in Dakar, in Senegal, this month.
    Thameur Hemdane of Afrikwity, a platform targeting Francophone Africa, says the industry will also study
    whether prospective laws could be expanded to the Central African Economic and Monetary Community, a
    grouping of six countries. Harmonised rules will not guarantee crowdfunders’ success, but would be a useful
    step towards raising the amount of diaspora capital that is put to productive use.


    https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/2018/11/08/investment-platforms-vie-to-capture-a-share-of-global-remittances?fsrc=scn/tw/te/bl/ed/investmentplatformsvietocaptureashareofglobalremittancesitscominghome
    #agriculture #crowdfunding #migrations #investissement #développement

  • Codename Cuckoo: Who was Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi? | Middle East Eye
    https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/who-was-ibn-al-sheikh-al-libi-libyan-cia-detainee-iraq-war

    Born in Ajdabiya, Libya in 1963, Libi is believed to have been a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), a militant group opposed to Libyan long-term leader Muammar Gaddafi that was once accused of links to al-Qaeda by the US and UK - allegations the group always rejected.

    The British government and its security services had a complicated and opaque relationship with the LIFG that warmed and cooled as their relationship with Gaddafi also evolved.

    [...].

    The UK’s #MI6 security service was reported to have been involved in a failed LIFG attempt to assassinate Gaddafi in 1996, while many LIFG members were allowed to claim asylum and settle in the UK.

    #royaume_uni

  • Reckless campaign of cyber attacks by Russian military intelligence service exposed - NCSC Site
    https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/news/reckless-campaign-cyber-attacks-russian-military-intelligence-service-expos

    The GRU are associated with the names:

    APT 28
    Fancy Bear
    Sofacy
    Pawnstorm
    Sednit
    CyberCaliphate
    Cyber Berkut
    Voodoo Bear
    BlackEnergy Actors
    STRONTIUM
    Tsar Team
    Sandworm

    Today, the UK and its allies are once again united in demonstrating that the international community will stand up against irresponsible cyber attacks by other Governments and that we will work together to respond to them. The British Government will continue to do whatever is necessary to keep our people safe.

    via @maliciarogue
    https://twitter.com/MaliciaRogue/status/1047757956828282880

    (Il va de soi que les piratages, attaques et surveillance perpétrées par UK+Alliés c’est pas irresponsable.)

    #Russie #UK #cyberattaques

  • Afghan father who sought refuge in UK ’shot dead by Taliban’ after being deported by Home Office.
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/zainadin-fazlie-deport-home-office-taliban-afghanistan-shot-dead-refu

    An Afghan man who sought refuge from the Taliban in the UK has been shot dead in his home town after being deported by the British government.

    Zainadin Fazlie had lived in London with his wife, who had refugee status, and their four British-born children. But after committing a number of minor offences, the 47-year-old was sent back to Afghanistan after 16 years in Britain, despite threats to his life.

    Last Friday, his wife Samira Fazlie found out he had been shot by Taliban forces after seeing an image of his dead body on Facebook.
    The 34-year-old told The Independent: “When I first heard, I felt like I had to stop living. When I saw that picture, I couldn’t even move from my bed. For three nights I didn’t sleep.

    “My eldest son was crying at my feet. He said mum, I didn’t know my dad was going to die. He said I can’t believe they sent my dad to the country where he was going to be killed by these people.

  • British universities criticised over pursuit of Egyptian links | Education | The Guardian

    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/aug/22/uk-colleges-accused-of-ignoring-human-rights-abuse-in-egypt

    Leading British universities have been accused of turning a blind eye to human rights abuses in Egypt in pursuit of opening campuses under the country’s authoritarian regime.

    More than 200 prominent academics and others in the UK university sector have signed a letter to the Guardian opposing the collaboration against the backdrop of unanswered questions about the abduction and murder of the Cambridge PhD student Giulio Regeni.

    The letter writers also highlight wider concerns about academic freedom, the welfare of LGBT staff, and the trend towards what they say is a marketisation of higher education.

    The British government and the advocacy group Universities UK are promoting partnerships between British higher education institutions and their Egyptian counterparts.

    A series of memorandum of understanding (MoU) agreements and talks have opened up the possibility of British bodies establishing international branch campuses and what Universities UK describes as “partnerships, collaborative research, student and staff exchange programmes, joint funding applications, and capacity building”.

  • Hackers once stole a casino’s high-roller database through a thermometer in the lobby fish tank
    http://www.businessinsider.fr/us/hackers-stole-a-casinos-database-through-a-thermometer-in-the-lobby-

    LONDON — Hackers are increasingly targeting “internet of things” devices to access corporate systems, using things like CCTV cameras or air-conditioning units, according to the CEO of a cybersecurity firm.

    The internet of things refers to devices hooked up to the internet, and it has expanded to include everything from household appliances to widgets in power plants.

    Nicole Eagan, the CEO of Darktrace, told the WSJ CEO Council Conference in London on Thursday: “There’s a lot of internet-of-things devices, everything from thermostats, refrigeration systems, HVAC systems, to people who bring in their Alexa devices into the offices. There’s just a lot of IoT. It expands the attack surface, and most of this isn’t covered by traditional defenses.”

    Eagan gave one memorable anecdote about a case Darktrace worked on in which a casino was hacked via a thermometer in an aquarium in the lobby.

    “The attackers used that to get a foothold in the network,” she said. “They then found the high-roller database and then pulled that back across the network, out the thermostat, and up to the cloud.”

    Robert Hannigan, who ran the British government’s digital-spying agency, Government Communications Headquarters, from 2014 to 2017, appeared alongside Eagan on the panel and agreed that hackers’ targeting of internet-of-things devices was a growing problem for companies.

    “With the internet of things producing thousands of new devices shoved onto the internet over the next few years, that’s going to be an increasing problem,” Hannigan said. “I saw a bank that had been hacked through its CCTV cameras, because these devices are bought purely on cost.”

    He called for regulation to mandate safety standards.

    “It’s probably one area where there’ll likely need to be regulation for minimum security standards, because the market isn’t going to correct itself,” he said. “The problem is these devices still work — the fish tank or the CCTV camera still work.”

    #Cybersécurité #Internet_Objets

  • Austria Immigration Detention

    Austria has sharply increased the number of people it places in immigration detention after years of declining detainee populations. While it continues the controversial practice of placing immigration detainees in “Police Detention Centres,” the country opened a new dedicated immigration detention centre in 2014, which is partly operated by the multinational security company G4S. The country has also announced plans to significantly boost removals, focusing mainly on people from the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.

    https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/countries/europe/austria
    #Autriche #détention_administrative #privatisation #G4S #rétention #asile #migrations #réfugiés #statistiques #chiffres

  • Bahrain: Another Year of Deep State Repression – LobeLog
    http://lobelog.com/bahrain-another-year-of-deep-state-repression

    by Emile Nakhleh

    This past year in Bahrain, much like those preceding it since the popular uprisings of 2011, was one of unending repression and persecution of human rights activists. Yet, the Trump administration and the British government, arguably two of the most influential actors in Bahrain, have remained silent in the face of the Al Khalifa atrocities against human rights activists, especially within the Shia majority.

    When it comes to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other serial violators of human rights and basic freedoms, the American and British governments have allowed arms sales and lucrative money deals benefitting them to trump their traditional commitments to the principles of justice, democracy, peaceful dissent, and freedom. They seem to view Bahrain and its autocratic Sunni neighbors as “cash cows” with an unending source of money. Washington and London are constantly pressured by hordes of lobbyists and consultant—retired diplomats, senior military officers, businessmen, think tanks, and some academics—who do business with autocrats and tribal potentates to take a lenient attitude toward these repressive regimes.

    America and Britain have traditionally protected their own people’s freedoms of speech, assembly, and peaceful protest but not those of the peaceful protesters in Bahrain and elsewhere. Bahraini human rights activists have suffered severely from government repression, yet Washington and London continue to treat the Bahraini regime with velvet gloves.

    An American-educated Bahraini national in a recent conversation with me expressed skepticism about the efficacy of my frequent articles denouncing human rights abuses in his country. He said, “You keep writing, yet your government has given the green light to the Bahraini regime to continue its torture of its peaceful dissidents without fear of retribution or censure from Washington.”

  • How trafficked children are being hidden behind a focus on modern slavery

    The crime of modern slavery has received much attention in the last few years. The British government introduced the Modern Slavery Act in 2015, and the prime minister, Theresa May, said she wanted “tough new penalties to put slave masters behind bars where they belong”.

    https://theconversation.com/how-trafficked-children-are-being-hidden-behind-a-focus-on-modern-s

    #esclavage_moderne #enfants #enfance #traite #trafic_d'êtres_humains
    cc @reka

  • Can research quality be measured quantitatively?

    In this article I reflect on ways in which the neoliberal university and its administrative counterpart, #new_public_management (NPM), affect academic publishing activity. One characteristic feature of NPM is the urge to use simple numerical indicators of research output as a tool to allocate funding and, in practice if not in theory, as a means of assessing research quality. This ranges from the use of journal impact factors (IF) and ranking of journals to publication points to determine what types of work in publishing is counted as meritorious for funding allocation. I argue that it is a fallacy to attempt to assess quality of scholarship through quantitative measures of publication output. I base my arguments on my experiences of editing a Norwegian geographical journal over a period of 16 years, along with my experiences as a scholar working for many years within the Norwegian university system.

    https://fennia.journal.fi/forthcoming/article/66602/27160
    https://fennia.journal.fi/forthcoming/view/index
    #qualité #recherche #quantitativisme #université #édition_scientifique #publications_scientifiques #indicateurs #indicateurs_numériques #impact_factor #impact-factor #ranking

    • How global university rankings are changing higher education

      EARLIER this month Peking University played host to perhaps the grandest global gathering ever of the higher-education business. Senior figures from the world’s most famous universities—Harvard and Yale, Oxford and Cambridge among them—enjoyed or endured a two-hour opening ceremony followed by a packed programme of mandatory cultural events interspersed with speeches lauding “Xi Jinping thought”. The party was thrown to celebrate Peking University’s 120th birthday—and, less explicitly, China’s success in a race that started 20 years ago.

      In May 1998 Jiang Zemin, China’s president at the time, announced Project 985, named for the year and the month. Its purpose was to create world-class universities. Nian Cai Liu, a professor of polymeric materials science and engineering at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, got swept up in this initiative. “I asked myself many questions, including: what is the definition of and criteria for a world-class university? What are the positions of top Chinese universities?” Once he started benchmarking them against foreign ones, he found that “governments, universities and stakeholders from all around the world” were interested. So, in 2003, he produced the first ranking of 500 leading global institutions. Nobody, least of all the modest Professor Liu, expected the Shanghai rankings to be so popular. “Indeed, it was a real surprise.”

      People are suckers for league tables, be they of wealth, beauty, fame—or institutions of higher education. University rankings do not just feed humanity’s competitive urges. They are also an important source of consumer intelligence about a good on which people spend huge amounts of time and money, and about which precious little other information is available. Hence the existence of national league tables, such as US News & World Report’s ranking of American universities. But the creation of global league tables—there are now around 20, with Shanghai, the Times Higher Education (THE) and QS the most important—took the competition to a new level. It set not just universities, but governments, against each other.

      When the Shanghai rankings were first published, the “knowledge economy” was emerging into the global consciousness. Governments realised that great universities were no longer just sources of cultural pride and finishing schools for the children of the well-off, but the engines of future prosperity—generators of human capital, of ideas and of innovative companies.

      The rankings focused the minds of governments, particularly in countries that did badly. Every government needed a few higher-educational stars; any government that failed to create them had failed its people and lost an important global race. Europe’s poor performance was particularly galling for Germany, home of the modern research university. The government responded swiftly, announcing in 2005 an Exzellenzinitiative to channel money to institutions that might become world-class universities, and has so far spent over €4.6bn ($5.5bn) on it.

      Propelled by a combination of national pride and economic pragmatism, the idea spread swiftly that this was a global competition in which all self-respecting countries should take part. Thirty-one rich and middle-income countries have announced an excellence initiative of some sort. India, where world rankings were once regarded with post-colonial disdain, is the latest to join the race: in 2016 the finance minister announced that 20 institutions would aim to become world-class universities. The most generously funded initiatives are in France, China, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. The most unrealistic targets are Nigeria’s, to get at least two universities in the world’s top 200, and Russia’s, to get five in the world’s top 100, both by 2020.

      The competition to rise up the rankings has had several effects. Below the very highest rankings, still dominated by America and western Europe—America has three of the THE’s top five slots and Britain two this year—the balance of power is shifting (see chart). The rise of China is the most obvious manifestation. It has 45 universities in the Shanghai top 500 and is now the only country other than Britain or America to have two universities in the THE’s top 30. Japan is doing poorly: its highest-ranked institution, the University of Tokyo, comes in at 48 in the THE’s table. Elsewhere, Latin America and eastern Europe have lagged behind.

      The rankings race has also increased the emphasis on research. Highly cited papers provide an easily available measure of success, and, lacking any other reliable metric, that is what the league tables are based on. None of the rankings includes teaching quality, which is hard to measure and compare. Shanghai’s is purely about research; THE and QS incorporate other measures, such as “reputation”. But since the league tables themselves are one of its main determinants, reputation is not an obviously independent variable.

      Hard times

      The research boom is excellent news for humanity, which will eventually reap the benefits, and for scientific researchers. But the social sciences and humanities are not faring so well. They tend to be at a disadvantage in rankings because there are fewer soft-science or humanities journals, so hard-science papers get more citations. Shanghai makes no allowance for that, and Professor Liu admits that his ranking tends to reinforce the dominance of hard science. Phil Baty, who edits the THE’s rankings, says they do take the hard sciences’ higher citation rates into account, scoring papers by the standards of the relevant discipline.

      The hard sciences have benefited from the bounty flowing from the “excellence initiatives”. According to a study of these programmes by Jamil Salmi, author of “The Challenge of Establishing World-Class Universities”, all the programmes except Taiwan’s focused on research rather than teaching, and most of them favoured STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). This is no doubt one of the reasons why the numbers of scientific papers produced globally nearly doubled between 2003 and 2016.

      The rankings may be contributing to a deterioration in teaching. The quality of the research academics produce has little bearing on the quality of their teaching. Indeed, academics who are passionate about their research may be less inclined to spend their energies on students, and so there may be an inverse relationship. Since students suffer when teaching quality declines, they might be expected to push back against this. But Ellen Hazelkorn, author of “Rankings and the Reshaping of Higher Education”, argues that students “are buying prestige in the labour market”. This means “they want to go to the highest-status university possible”—and the league tables are the only available measure of status. So students, too, in effect encourage universities to spend their money on research rather than teaching.

      The result, says Simon Marginson, Oxford University’s incoming professor of higher education, is “the distribution of teaching further down the academic hierarchy”, which fosters the growth of an “academic precariat”. These PhD students and non-tenured academics do the teaching that the star professors, hired for their research abilities, shun as a chore. The British government is trying to press universities to improve teaching, by creating a “teaching-excellence framework”; but the rating is made up of a student-satisfaction survey, dropout rates and alumni earnings—interesting, but not really a measure of teaching quality. Nevertheless, says Professor Marginson, “everybody recognises this as a problem, and everybody is watching what Britain is doing.”

      A third concern is that competition for rankings encourages stratification within university systems, which in turn exacerbates social inequality. “Excellence initiatives” funnel money to top universities, whose students, even if admission is highly competitive, tend to be the children of the well-off. “Those at the top get more government resources and those at the bottom get least,” points out Ms Hazelkorn. That’s true even in Britain, which, despite not having an excellence initiative, favours top universities through the allocation of research money. According to a study of over 120 universities by Alison Wolf of King’s College London and Andrew Jenkins of University College London, the Russell Group, a self-selected elite of 24 universities, get nearly half of the funding for the entire sector, and increased their share from 44.7% in 2001-02 to 49.1% in 2013-14.

      The rankings race draws other complaints. Some universities have hired “rankings managers”, which critics argue is not a good use of resources. Saudi Arabian universities have been accused of giving highly cited academics lucrative part-time contracts and requiring them to use their Saudi affiliation when publishing.

      Intellectual citizens of nowhere

      Notwithstanding its downsides, the rankings race has encouraged a benign trend with far-reaching implications: internationalisation. The top level of academia, particularly in the sciences, is perhaps the world’s most international community, as Professor Marginson’s work shows. Whereas around 4% of first-degree students in the OECD study abroad, a quarter of PhD students do. Research is getting more global: 22% of science and engineering papers were internationally co-authored in 2016, up from 16% in 2003. The rankings, which give marks for international co-authorship, encourage this trend. That is one reason why Japan, whose universities are as insular as its culture, lags. As research grows—in 2000-14 the annual number of PhDs awarded rose by half in America, doubled in Britain and quintupled in China—so does the size and importance of this multinational network.

      Researchers work together across borders on borderless problems—from climate change to artificial intelligence. They gather at conferences, spend time in each other’s universities and spread knowledge and scholarship across the world. Forced to publish in English, they share at least one language. They befriend each other, marry each other and support each other, politically as well as intellectually. Last year, for instance, when Cambridge University Press blocked online access to hundreds of articles on sensitive subjects, including the Tiananmen Square massacre, at the request of the Chinese government, it faced international protests, and an American academic launched a petition which was signed by over 1,500 academics around the world. CUP backed down.

      The rankings race is thus marked by a happy irony. Driven in part by nationalistic urges, it has fostered the growth of a community that knows no borders. Critics are right that governments and universities obsess too much about rankings. Yet the world benefits from the growth of this productive, international body of scholars.


      https://www.economist.com/international/2018/05/19/how-global-university-rankings-are-changing-higher-education?frsc=dg%7Ce

      #Chine #classement_de_Shanghai #compétition #classement #ranking #QS #Times_Higher_Education #THE #excellence #Exzellenzinitiative #Allemagne #Inde #France #Singapour #Taïwan #Corée_du_Sud #Nigeria #Russie #USA #Etats-Unis #Angleterre #UK #recherche #publications #publications_scientifiques #enseignement #réputation #sciences_sociales #sciences_dures #précarité #précarisation #travail #inégalités #anglais #langue #internationalisation #globalisation #mondialisation

      La fin est très en phase avec le journal qui a publié cet article, hélas :

      Critics are right that governments and universities obsess too much about rankings. Yet the world benefits from the growth of this productive, international body of scholars.

      La première version de cet article a été apparemment corrigée :

      Correction (May 22nd, 2018): An earlier version of this piece suggested that non-English data and books are not included in the rankings. This is incorrect. The article has been amended to remove that assertion.

      –-> mais en fait, en réalité, il n’aurait pas dû l’être. Pour avoir expérimenté moi-même une fois le #H-index sur ma liste de publications, je peux vous dire qu’aucun article en d’autres langues que l’anglais avait été retenu dans l’index. Et même pas tous les articles en anglais que j’ai publiés...

  • Brexit: “One United Kingdom” Except for Northern Ireland – Random Public Journal
    https://randompublicjournal.com/2017/12/04/brexit-one-united-kingdom-except-for-northern-ireland

    The exception that the north of Ireland is about to be given shows that the UK has now begun the process of disintegration. Now is the time for Scotland to get cracking with another referendum.

    “Because we voted in the referendum as one United Kingdom,” said Theresa May to the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, “we will negotiate as one United Kingdom, and we will leave the European Union as one United Kingdom. There is no opt-out from Brexit.” Shortly after her disastrous general election in June Mrs May dipped deep into the public coffers to buy support from Northern Ireland’s extremist Democratic Unionist Party, presumably to deliver her “one United Kingdom” Brexit. Two months on from that conference and she has sold the DUP down the river and offered the first exception to her rule.

    At long last the unionists in the north of Ireland have experienced first-hand what the rest of Ireland has known for well over a century; if England doesn’t buy you, it will sell you. Theresa May’s present inconsistency is entirely consistent with how London operates. The British government is the political head of the English state and it will always act in its own interests regardless of the thoughts and requirements of any other nation of the “United Kingdom.”

  • Ignorance of Irish history means Brexit talks will not end well
    https://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/ignorance-of-irish-history-means-brexit-talks-will-not-end-well-1.330581
    https://www.irishtimes.com/image-creator/?id=1.3305817&origw=1440

    I’d heard of Michael Collins before I moved to Ireland through my Irish grandmother who, with a father from Clonakilty, was convinced she was related to someone who played a major role in the formation of modern Ireland. Hence, I was amused to learn of a family legend that claimed we were linked to a long-dead figure from Ireland’s revolutionary past. It’s only through living here for the past three decades that I began to know anything of the reality of Collins in particular and Ireland in general. One of the many things I learned is that Irish interest in Britain is not reciprocated. I was ignorant before I came here and most of my countrymen remain so today.

    It is to the discredit of the British government that they continue a baleful tradition of assuming things about foreigners that have few roots in fact. It’s partly about history. The fiction that Britain joined an economic union in 1973 and was subsequently shocked by the discovery of a political heart beating at Europe’s core is maintained in every discussion of Brexit. There is no awareness either of history or the deeply held continental view that politics comes first. It’s not a belief in politics versus economics but more that unless the politics are right, prosperity is always under threat. The political primacy of ever-closer union has always been visible and readily apparent to anyone who has ever read the first chapter of any European history book.

    Every British negotiator in the run-up to 1973 knew about Europe’s politics. They were confronted with reality every time they met their counterparts at the negotiating table. And they were properly briefed by the British civil service. Many high-profile British politicians, including (Tory) prime minister Ted Heath and (Labour, ex-communist) chancellor Denis Healey had distinguished second World War records and experiences that meant they had views wholly aligned with Europe’s federalists. But too many of them, aware of the visceral hostility to Europe running through many members of the two main political parties, played down the political truth and spoke only of the economics.
    Left also ignores facts

    The British public was told, repeatedly, that Europe in practice meant only a free trade zone. All the rest, it was asserted, was continental waffling. The Tory right has campaigned against Europe for the subsequent 40-plus years, sinking ever deeper into an empire-centric nostalgia as rooted in historical fact as my grandmother’s blood links to Michael Collins.


    Parts of the Labour Party have been as deluded, but from a different perspective: the EU is a capitalist conspiracy against workers. This thinking leads directly to the sight, this week, of Jeremy Corbyn voting alongside David Davis for departure from the customs union. The left also ignores facts: workers’ rights enshrined in EU law and the awesome gift of freedom of movement (not least to where the jobs are).

    An awareness of Irish history – even a nodding acquaintance – would help British politicians appreciate what happened to Collins, the first and last Irish politician to sign up to a hard border. The idea that Leo Varadkar, or anybody else in this State, would under any circumstances sign up to another hard border displays so much ignorance, so much arrogance, so much stupidity that I am left wondering about all those stereotypes of my fellow Brits – stereotypes that I have wearily tried to reject and counter over the past 30 years.

    Brexit has poisoned British political life and it now threatens something similar for relations between the UK and Ireland. Being a Brit in Ireland has mostly been a smooth experience for this immigrant. The cultural differences between the two islands run deeper than many of us care to admit, but Ireland does a terrific job of assimilation. It may be coincidence but I was, for the first time ever, the other day told to “F*** off back to where you come from” (I never lost the accent). Was this a small Brexit effect?

  • Davis promises City of London special post-Brexit travel regime
    https://www.ft.com/content/9e637940-c95a-11e7-ab18-7a9fb7d6163e

    Bankers and other professionals have been promised a special post-Brexit travel regime to allow them to move freely across Europe, as the British government sought to reassure the City of London its future was safe.

    David Davis, Brexit secretary, told about 700 investors, financiers and regulators on Tuesday that Britain would also seek to reach an agreement in principle with the EU on a transition deal lasting “around two years” by January 2018 at the latest.

  • Opinion: The game industry must face up to its gambling problem
    https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/308232/Opinion_The_game_industry_must_face_up_to_its_gambling_problem.php

    Chickens have a way of coming home to roost in the tech industry—and gaming hasn’t been immune to the lawless, “that’s tomorrow’s problem” mentality that leads to one ballooning crisis of irresponsibility after another. Instead of getting out in front of a predictable problem and putting guardrails around it, the industry tends to let things explode before admitting anything is even remotely wrong.

    This was on my mind as I saw the latest debates about microtransactions and gambling swirl around. It’s all been discussed by popular gaming YouTubers like Jim Sterling and TotalBiscuit, as well as gaming journalists, the ESRB weighed in (with predictable cowardice), and it’s even been brought to the attention of the British government.

    That last bit should worry the industry. Its failure to self-regulate, to develop wide ranging ethical standards for the practice, will lead inevitably to the imposition of regulations from without. Gaming studios have, for the moment, been glorying in the grey area created by technological novelty, after all. Most people still don’t know or care what a “lootbox” is, much less regard its contents as in any way valuable.

    I welcome your article here, I’ve been one of the most outspoken critics of these tactics in the world community for some time. When I published “Monetizing Children” (https://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/RaminShokrizade/20130620/194429/Monetizing_Children.php) here on Gamasutra in mid 2013, it was the first article of its kind published anywhere. I believe that is because it was the ultimate taboo subject. Now more than 4 years later, it still is. That article caused me to be summoned to Panama for the ICPEN summit where international regulators met to decided how to protect children from a threat they still did not understand.

    USA regulators were a no show at the summit. Apple and Google were invited and declined. Disney did send a VP and when I presented slides of a Disney product made for young children that included a roulette wheel in the tutorial, the Disney exec ended up fleeing the summit before answering a single question from international regulators. She literally threw down her translator and went directly to the airport as regulators were attempting to question her.

    Even as governments in Asia attempt to regulate gacha boxes, many of the largest Western gaming companies feel themselves too big to regulate and do their best to avoid compliance. When China mandated the exposure of gacha box potential drops and their odds, instead of complying Activision Blizzard responded by changing the method that the random reward was deployed in Overwatch ever so slightly in an effort to avoid the letter of the law but not the effect. When a Blizzard business intelligence exec asked me my opinion about the monetization system for Overwatch earlier this year, i told him it was not in the interests of consumers to not comply, and that challenging the Chinese government would not be in the interests of the company long term. He just smiled and shrugged.

    And yes of course the ESRB is going to avoid regulating America’s industry. That’s what they do. But when other countries do act to protect their citizens, the result is a patchwork of global regulation that is very complex for Western game developers to navigate. So ultimately they will be forced to comply with the stricter regulations as that’s easier than having a different product in every country.

  • Les gouvernements européens renvoient près de 10000 Afghans dans leur pays, où ils risquent d’être torturés et tués

    Les États européens mettent en danger des milliers d’Afghans, en les renvoyant de force dans un pays où ils courent un risque considérable d’être torturés, enlevés, tués ou soumis à d’autres atteintes aux droits humains, écrit Amnesty International dans un nouveau rapport publié jeudi 5 octobre.

    Selon des informations dignes de foi, cette « nécessité » aurait été exprimée par des pressions exercées sur le gouvernement afghan. Le ministre afghan des Finances, Ekil Hakimi, a déclaré devant le Parlement : « Si l’Afghanistan ne coopère pas avec les pays de l’Union européenne dans le cadre de la crise des réfugiés, cela aura des conséquences négatives pour le montant de l’aide allouée à notre pays. »

    –-> #chantage

    https://www.amnesty.org/fr/latest/news/2017/10/european-governments-return-nearly-10000-afghans-to-risk-of-death-and-tortu

    #afghanistan #renvois #expulsions #asile #migrations #torture #réfugiés #UE #EU

    @reka : on parle de cas en #Norvège...

    • Afghan father who sought refuge in UK ’shot dead by Taliban’ after being deported by Home Office

      #Zainadin_Fazlie, father of four British-born children, forced to return to Afghanistan after 16 years in UK despite threats to his life - and killed two years later.

      An Afghan man who sought refuge from the Taliban in the UK has been shot dead in his home town after being deported by the British government.

      Zainadin Fazlie had lived in London with his wife, who had refugee status, and their four British-born children. But after committing a number of minor offences, the 47-year-old was sent back to Afghanistan after 16 years in Britain, despite threats to his life.

      Last Friday, his wife Samira Fazlie found out he had been shot by Taliban forces after seeing an image of his dead body on Facebook.

      The 34-year-old told The Independent: “When I first heard, I felt like I had to stop living. When I saw that picture, I couldn’t even move from my bed. For three nights I didn’t sleep.

      “My eldest son was crying at my feet. He said mum, I didn’t know my dad was going to die. He said I can’t believe they sent my dad to the country where he was going to be killed by these people.

      “My six-year-old is asking to go see her dad because she missed him. I haven’t told her yet. How can they do this to a person who has four kids in the UK? I was begging the government and the judge not to send him back.”

      Mr Fazlie arrived to the UK in 2000 after the Taliban gained control of his home town in Maidan Wardak province. He was granted indefinite leave to remain and had four children now aged 16, 13, six and three.

      He was issued a deportation notice in 2015 after recieving an eight-week suspended sentence for a violent offence. Due to a recent change in the law, he was unable to exercise his right to appeal in the UK and was removed to Afghanistan in April 2016.

      Ms Fazlie said her husband had been suffering with depression and poor mental health when he committed the offence, but that he had since been receiving support in the UK.

      “He wasn’t a killer, he wasn’t a drug dealer. He had a depression problem he was dealing seeing a doctor about. When he was depressed, he was doing bad things. Then after he apologised. He needed help. But they sentenced him to death,” she said.

      “I’m struggling right now without him. It’s really hard. I’ve gone back to work. I have to keep living for my kids. But I feel helpless.”

      Mr Fazlie was deported to the Afghan capital Kabul. With no connections there and in a city with a faltering economy, he struggled to find work and decided to return to his home town.

      His wife said that once he was there, it became difficult to maintain contact. She said he would tell her that if he came out from where he was, they were “going to kill him”.

      The family’s solicitor, Nasir Ata of Duncan Lewis Solicitors, told The Independent he had received confirmation of the death. He said the family had an appeal hearing set for 28 September to bring him back, which they would have had a “good chance” of winning.

      “I last spoke to him around March this year. He told me it was difficult and that he was in danger from the Taliban. He said he had to pick up guns to protect himself. I struggled to get hold of him after that,” said Mr Ata.

      “We had a good chance at the hearing on 28 of this month, but it was too late. There are a lot of practical difficulties with bringing someone back. The main issue was the fact that he wasn’t given the opportunity to appeal the decision from the UK.”

      Labour’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said: “This is a truly shocking story. The Tory Government’s hostile environment policy ignores the fact that real people’s lives are harmed. Tragically, sometimes the consequences are fatal.

      A Home Office spokesperson said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases.”

      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/zainadin-fazlie-deport-home-office-taliban-afghanistan-shot-dead-refu