organization:congress

  • Saudi Arabia Declares War on America’s Muslim Congresswomen – Foreign Policy
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/12/11/saudi-arabia-declares-war-on-americas-muslim-congresswomen

    The rise of politicians like El-Sayed, Omar, and Tlaib also undermines a core argument advanced by dictators in the Middle East: that their people are not ready for democracy. “People would not have access to power in their countries but they would if they leave; this destroys the argument by Sisi or bin Salman,” El-Sayed said, referring to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “What’s ironic is there is no way I would aspire to be in leadership in Egypt, the place of my fathers.”

    American allies in the region also fear that the Democratic Party’s new Arab leaders will advocate for political change in their countries. Having spent millions of dollars for public relations campaigns in Western capitals, the Persian Gulf countries feel threatened by any policymakers with an independent interest in and knowledge of the region. They have thus framed these officials’ principled objections to regional violations of human rights and democratic norms as matters of personal bias. One commentator, who is known to echo government talking points and is frequently retweeted by government officials, recently spread the rumor that Omar is a descendent of a “Houthi Yemeni” to undermine her attacks on the Saudi-led war on Yemen.

    The most common attack online by the Saudi-led bloc on the Muslim-American Democrats has been to label them as members of the Muslim Brotherhood, or more generally as ikhwanji, an extremist catch-all term. These attacks started long before this year’s elections. In 2014, the UAE even announced a terror list that included the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for its alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood.

    The attacks attempting to tie Omar and Tlaib to the Muslim Brotherhood started in earnest after CAIR publicly welcomed their election to Congress. One UAE-based academic, Najat al-Saeed, criticized Arabic media for celebrating the two Muslim women’s victories at the midterms, and pointed to CAIR’s support for them as evidence of their ties to the Brotherhood.


  • China’s losing its taste for nuclear power. That’s bad news. - MIT Technology Review
    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/612564/chinas-losing-its-taste-for-nuclear-power-thats-bad-news

    Most beautiful wedding photos taken at a nuclear power plant” might just be the strangest competition ever. But by inviting couples to celebrate their nuptials at the Daya Bay plant in Shenzhen and post the pictures online, China General Nuclear Power (CGN), the country’s largest nuclear power operator, got lots of favorable publicity.
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    A year later, the honeymoon is over.

    For years, as other countries have shied away from nuclear power, China has been its strongest advocate. Of the four reactors that started up worldwide in 2017, three were in China and the fourth was built by Beijing-based China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC) in Pakistan. China’s domestic nuclear generation capacity grew by 24% in the first 10 months of 2018.

    The country has the capacity to build 10 to 12 nuclear reactors a year. But though reactors begun several years ago are still coming online, the industry has not broken ground on a new plant in China since late 2016, according to a recent World Nuclear Industry Status Report.

    Officially China still sees nuclear power as a must-have. But unofficially, the technology is on a death watch. Experts, including some with links to the government, see China’s nuclear sector succumbing to the same problems affecting the West: the technology is too expensive, and the public doesn’t want it.

    #Nucléaire #Chine


  • A historian explains why right-wing criticism of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s clothing mirrors the response to early female labor activists | Alternet
    https://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/historian-explains-why-right-wing-criticism-alexandria-ocasio-cortezs-clot

    It seems that some critics just can’t accept the fact that an unapologetic Democratic socialist like Ocasio-Cortez – who calls for a more equal distribution of wealth and fair shake to workers – can also wear designer clothes.

    To a historian like me who writes about fashion and politics, the attention to Ocasio-Cortez’s clothing as a way to criticize her politics is an all-too-familiar line of attack.

    Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the first woman or even the first outsider to receive such treatment.

    In particular, I’m reminded of Clara Lemlich, a young radical socialist who used fashion as a form of empowerment while she fought for workers’ rights.
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    Lemlich – like Ocasio-Cortez – wasn’t afraid to take on big business while wearing fancy clothes.
    ‘We like new hats’

    In 1909, when she was only 23 years old, Lemlich defied the male union leadership whom she saw as too hesitant and out of touch.

    In what would come to be known as the “Uprising of the 20,000,” Lemlich led thousands of garment workers – the majority of them young women – to walk out from their workplace and go on a strike.

    As historian Nan Enstad has shown, insisting on their right to maintain a fashionable appearance was not a frivolous pursuit of poor women living beyond their means. It was an important political strategy in strikers’ struggle to gain rights and respect as women, workers and Americans.

    Two women strikers on picket line during the ‘Uprising of the 20,000’ in New York City. Library of Congress

    When they picketed the streets wearing their best clothes, strikers challenged the image of the “deserving poor” that depicted female workers as helpless victims deserving of mercy.

    Wearing a fancy dress or a hat signaled their economic independence and their respectability as ladies. But it also spoke to their right to be taken seriously and to have their voices heard.

    Despite the criticism, Lemlich and her fellow strikers were able to win concessions from factory owners for most of their demands. They also turned Local 25 of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union into one of the most influential labor unions in the country, changing for the better the lives of millions of workers like themselves.

    But more importantly, Lemlich and her colleagues changed the perception of what politically radical women should look like. They demonstrated that socialism and labor struggles were not in opposition to fashionable appearances.

    Today, their legacy is embodied in Ocasio-Cortez’s message. In fact, if Clara Lemlich were alive today, she would probably smile at Ocasio-Cortez’s response to her critics.

    The reason some journalists “can’t help but obsess about my clothes [and] rent,” she tweeted, is because “women like me aren’t supposed to run for office – or win.”

    Ocasio-Cortez has already begun to fashion an image for women who, as her worn-out campaign shoes can attest, not only know how to “talk the talk,” but can also “walk the walk.”

    #Féminisme #Politique #Lutte #Fashion #Alexandria_Ocasio_Cortez


  • Rashida Tlaib Plans to Lead Delegation to Palestine
    Alex Kane, Lee Fang | December 3 2018
    https://theintercept.com/2018/12/03/rashida-tlaib-palestine-israel-aipac-congress-trip

    Rashida Tlaib, a Democratic representative-elect from Michigan, belongs to a cohort of incoming members of Congress who’ve vowed to upend the status quo — even on third-rail issues in Washington like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. To that end, Tlaib is planning to lead a congressional delegation to the Israeli-occupied West Bank, she told The Intercept. Her planned trip is a swift rebuke of a decades-old tradition for newly elected members: a junket to Israel sponsored by the education arm of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, known as AIPAC, the powerful pro-Israel lobby group.

    The AIPAC trips are among the lesser-known traditions for freshman members of Congress. They’re typically scheduled during the first August recess in every legislative session and feature a weeklong tour of Israel and meetings with leading Israeli figures in business, government, and the military. Both critics and proponents of the AIPAC freshmen trip say the endeavor is incredibly influential, providing House members with a distinctly pro-Israel viewpoint on complex controversies in the region. In recent years, the Democratic tour has been led by incoming Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md. Incoming Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., traditionally leads the Republican trip. (...)

    #Rashida_Tlaib

    • Et affiche son soutien au mouvement BDS :

      Tlaib’s challenge to AIPAC isn’t limited to leading a separate trip to the region. In her interview with The Intercept, she for the first time came out in support of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, the movement known as BDS that seeks to punish Israel over its human rights abuses.

      “I personally support the BDS movement,” said Tlaib. She added that economic boycotts are a way to bring attention to “issues like the racism and the international human rights violations by Israel right now.”


  • CIA Intercepts Underpin Assessment Saudi Crown Prince Targeted Khashoggi - WSJ
    Conclusion that Mohammad ‘probably ordered’ killing relies in part on 11 messages he sent to adviser who oversaw hit squad around time it killed journalist

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/cia-intercepts-underpin-assessment-saudi-crown-prince-targeted-khashoggi-154364

    WASHINGTON—Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent at least 11 messages to his closest adviser, who oversaw the team that killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in the hours before and after the journalist’s death in October, according to a highly classified CIA assessment.

    The Saudi leader also in August 2017 had told associates that if his efforts to persuade Mr. Khashoggi to return to Saudi Arabia weren’t successful, “we could possibly lure him outside Saudi Arabia and make arrangements,” according to the assessment, a communication that it states “seems to foreshadow the Saudi operation launched against Khashoggi.”

    Mr. Khashoggi, a critic of the kingdom’s leadership who lived in Virginia and wrote columns for the Washington Post, was killed by Saudi operatives on Oct. 2 shortly after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he sought papers needed to marry his Turkish fiancée.

    Excerpts of the Central Intelligence Agency’s assessment, which cites electronic intercepts and other clandestine information, were reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

    The CIA last month concluded that Prince Mohammed had likely ordered Mr. Khashoggi’s killing, and President Trump and leaders in Congress were briefed on intelligence gathered by the spy agency. Mr. Trump afterward questioned the CIA’s conclusion about the prince, saying “maybe he did; and maybe he didn’t.”

    The previously unreported excerpts reviewed by the Journal state that the CIA has “medium-to-high confidence” that Prince Mohammed “personally targeted” Khashoggi and “probably ordered his death.” It added: “To be clear, we lack direct reporting of the Crown Prince issuing a kill order.”

    The electronic messages sent by Prince Mohammed were to Saud al-Qahtani, according to the CIA. Mr. Qahtani supervised the 15-man team that killed Mr. Khashoggi and, during the same period, was also in direct communication with the team’s leader in Istanbul, the assessment says. The content of the messages between Prince Mohammed and Mr. Qahtani isn’t known, the document says. It doesn’t say in what form the messages were sent.

    It is unclear from the excerpts whether the 2017 comments regarding luring Mr. Khashoggi to a third country cited in the assessment are from Prince Mohammed directly, or from someone else describing his remarks.

    Saudi Arabia has acknowledged Mr. Khashoggi was murdered in the consulate. But it has denied Prince Mohammed had any role and blamed the operation on rogue operatives. The Saudi Public Prosecutor’s office last month announced charges against 11 Saudis in connection with Mr. Khashoggi’s death, saying it would seek the death penalty in five cases. The office didn’t release their names.

    The U.S. Treasury Department in mid-November slapped sanctions on 17 Saudis whom it linked to the killing. But Mr. Trump, in a statement days later, said he intended to maintain strong relations with the crown prince because of Saudi Arabia’s opposition to Iran, its investments in the U.S. and its role in the oil market.

    The Trump administration’s posture has angered many in Congress, and the intercepts and intelligence gathered by the CIA may complicate Mr. Trump’s efforts to maintain relations with Prince Mohammed, the de facto leader one of the world’s biggest oil producers. The two are among the world’s leaders meeting this weekend in Buenos Aires for a summit of Group of 20 nations.

    Earlier this week, the Senate voted to begin consideration of a resolution to withdraw U.S. support for a Saudi-led military coalition fighting against Houthi rebels in Yemen, with senators venting their frustration over Mr. Trump’s reluctance to hold Prince Mohammed responsible for Mr. Khashoggi’s death.


  • Exclusive: The Pentagon’s Massive Accounting Fraud Exposed
    https://www.thenation.com/article/pentagon-audit-budget-fraud

    Now, a Nation investigation has uncovered an explanation for the Pentagon’s foot-dragging: For decades, the DoD’s leaders and accountants have been perpetrating a gigantic, unconstitutional accounting fraud, deliberately cooking the books to mislead the Congress and drive the DoD’s budgets ever higher, regardless of military necessity. DoD has literally been making up numbers in its annual financial reports to Congress—representing trillions of dollars’ worth of seemingly nonexistent transactions—knowing that Congress would rely on those misleading reports when deciding how much money to give the DoD the following year, according to government records and interviews with current and former DoD officials, congressional sources, and independent experts.

    “If the DOD were being honest, they would go to Congress and say, ‘All these proposed budgets we’ve been presenting to you are a bunch of garbage,’ ” said Jack Armstrong, who spent more than five years in the Defense Department’s Office of Inspector General as a supervisory director of audits before retiring in 2011.

    The fraud works like this. When the DoD submits its annual budget requests to Congress, it sends along the prior year’s financial reports, which contain fabricated numbers. The fabricated numbers disguise the fact that the DoD does not always spend all of the money Congress allocates in a given year. However, instead of returning such unspent funds to the US Treasury, as the law requires, the Pentagon sometimes launders and shifts such moneys to other parts of the DoD’s budget.



  • Nancy Pelosi and Israel: Just how hawkish is the likely next speaker of the house? - Israel News - Haaretz.com

    Plus pro-israélien, on ne peut pas imaginer ! la probable future présidente de la chambre des représentants

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/nancy-pelosi-and-israel-why-the-house-s-pro-israel-stance-is-unlikely-to-ch

    Pelosi has also held staunchly pro-Israel views that have at times even out flanked the GOP from the right.
    In 2005, while addressing AIPAC, Pelosi had waxed poetic about her personal experiences in Israel and how they shaped her views: “This spring, I was in Israel as part of a congressional trip that also took us to Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq. One of the most powerful experiences was taking a helicopter toward Gaza, over the path of the security fence. We set down in a field that belonged to a local kibbutz. It was a cool but sunny day, and the field was starting to bloom with mustard. Mustard is a crop that grows in California, and it felt at that moment as if I were home.”
    Pelosi, who was the 52nd Speaker of the House, previously served from 2007 to 2011 in the position which coincided with the 2008-2009 Israel-Gaza war known as Operation Cast Lead. In 2009, Pelosi sponsored a resolution that passed the House by a 390-5 majority blaming the Palestinian side for the violence and reaffirming U.S. support for Israel and a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    The resolution quoted then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who said in 2008, “We strongly condemn the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and hold Hamas responsible for breaking the cease-fire and for the renewal of violence there.”
    Stephen Zunes, author and professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco, pointed out at the time that the language in the House decision was even to the right of the Bush administration, which supported the UN Security Council resolution condemning “all acts of violence and terror directed against civilians” - the congressional resolution only condemns the violence and terror of Hamas.
    Pelosi’s resolution also called for “the immediate release of the kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been illegally held in Gaza since June 2006.”
    The Shalit kidnapping was a personal issue for Pelosi, who in 2008, while meeting with then Israeli Knesset speaker Dalia Itzik, held up dog tags of three Israeli soldiers kidnapped in 2006.  Two of them belonged to Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, whose bodies were repatriated to Israel earlier that year. The third belonged to Gilad Shalit, who at the time was still believed to be held by Hamas in Gaza. Shalit was famously freed in 2011 as part of a prisoner exchange deal.
    Pelosi said she kept them as a “symbol of the sacrifices made, sacrifices far too great by the people of the state of Israel.”
    However, she hasn’t always been been on the right side of the pro-Israel divide. In 2014 Pelosi was criticized for suggesting Hamas is a humanitarian organization. On CNN she said, “And we have to confer with the Qataris, who have told me over and over again that Hamas is a humanitarian organization.” The host of the segment Candy Crowley then interrupted her to ask, “The U.S. thinks they’re a terrorist organization though, correct? Do you?” Pelosi responded with, “Mmm hmm.”
    After receiving a lashing from the likes of Megyn Kelly on Fox News and The Republican Jewish Coalition Matthew Brook, Pelosi’s office released a statement, “As Leader Pelosi reiterated in her CNN interview, Hamas is a terrorist organization.”
    Pelosi was also a vocal critic of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to a joint session of the U.S. Congress denouncing then-President Obama’s nuclear deal, which she supported.
    After the speech she released a very harshly worded condemnation saying, “That is why, as one who values the U.S. – Israel relationship, and loves Israel, I was near tears throughout the prime minister’s speech – saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States as part of the P5 +1 nations, and saddened by the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran and our broader commitment to preventing nuclear proliferation.”
    Pelosi, who was endorsed this week by J Street in her bid for speaker, addressed the 2017 AIPAC Policy Conference by reading a J Street-backed letter, which was signed by 191 members of Congress, mostly Democrats, urging U.S. President Donald Trump to support a two-state solution.
    “As strong supporters of Israel, we write to urge you to reaffirm the United States’ long-standing, bipartisan commitment to supporting a just and lasting two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Pelosi said.
    “It is our belief that a one-state outcome risks destroying Israel’s Jewish and democratic character, denies the Palestinians fulfillment of their legitimate aspirations, and would leave both Israelis and Palestinians embroiled in an endless and intractable conflict for generations to come,” she continued.
    Pelosi, at 78, represents the Democratic establishment’s traditional position on Israel, coupling unwavering support for Israeli defense and the two-state solution for peace between Israel and Palestinians, a bipartisan position that courts both AIPAC and J Street and doesn’t diverge too far from that of centrist Republicans. Unlike some new members of her caucus who criticize Israel for “occupying” the West Bank or for human rights abuses, Pelosi reservers her criticism only for Israeli leaders or policies she disagrees with, most prominently Netanyahu.


  • Two Muslim Women Are Headed to Congress. Will They Be Heard? – Foreign Policy
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/11/12/two-muslim-women-are-headed-to-congress-will-they-be-heard-midterms-r

    In January 2019, Ilhan Omar, the congresswoman-elect from Minnesota’s 5th District—who wears a headscarf—will become the first veiled woman to serve in Congress. Much has changed in the past 17 years. The myth of saving Afghan women by bombing their country into oblivion has shown itself to be a devastating proposition. The Taliban are still around, and there is talk of making peace with them as the United States wearies of trying and failing to produce some sort of victory. Maloney is also around, winning her 14th term in last week’s midterm elections, even as Omar won her first. Nor will Omar be the lone Muslim: Joining her will be Rashida Tlaib, a longtime activist of Palestinian descent, who was elected in Michigan’s 13th District.


  • Alarm over talks to implant UK employees with microchips
    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/nov/11/alarm-over-talks-to-implant-uk-employees-with-microchips

    Trades Union Congress concerned over tech being used to control and micromanage Britain’s biggest employer organisation and main trade union body have sounded the alarm over the prospect of British companies implanting staff with microchips to improve security. UK firm BioTeq, which offers the implants to businesses and individuals, has already fitted 150 implants in the UK. The tiny chips, implanted in the flesh between the thumb and forefinger, are similar to those for pets. They enable (...)

    #puce #sécuritaire #travailleurs #surveillance


  • Scum vs. Scum
    https://www.truthdig.com/articles/scum-vs-scum

    Scum versus scum. That sums up this election season. Is it any wonder that 100 million Americans don’t bother to vote? When all you are offered is Bob One or Bob Two, why bother? One-fourth of Democratic challengers in competitive House districts in this week’s elections have backgrounds in the CIA, the military, the National Security Council or the State Department. Nearly all candidates on the ballots in House races are corporate-sponsored, with a few lonely exceptions such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, members of the Democratic Socialists of America who are running as Democrats. The securities and finance industry has backed Democratic congressional candidates 63 percent to 37 percent over Republicans, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics. Democratic candidates and political action committees have received $56.8 million, compared with Republicans’ $33.4 million, the center reported. The broader sector of finance, insurance and real estate, it found, has given $174 million to Democratic candidates, against $157 million to Republicans. And Michael Bloomberg, weighing his own presidential run, has pledged $100 million to elect a Democratic Congress.

    #etats-unis « #élite » #corruption


  • UAE. The Other Murderous Gulf - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

    https://carnegieendowment.org/2018/10/30/other-murderous-gulf-pub-77606

    Since the murder of Jamal Khashoggi by a Saudi hit squad in early October, Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and patron of Saudi Arabia’s own crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), has resembled the cat that swallowed the canary. The disastrous regional adventurism and ruthless despotism of his protégé has averted Washington’s gaze from the UAE’s own responsibility for the carnage that is roiling the region. But the UAE should not be given a get out jail free card. If the White House refuses to hold the Emirates accountable for undermining U.S. interests, Congress should use its constitutional power to step into the leadership void.

    Richard Sokolsky

    Richard Sokolsky is a nonresident senior fellow in Carnegie’s Russia and Eurasia Program. His work focuses on U.S. policy toward Russia in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.
    Throughout Yemen’s three-and-a-half-year civil war, the Emiratis have been as brutal and reckless as the Saudis. While Saudi aircraft slaughter innocent civilians at wedding halls, funerals, homes, markets, schools, and ports, UAE boots on the ground have also contributed to the humanitarian disaster. The UAE-led military offensive in and around the port city of Hodeidah has been a catastrophe: over 400,000 Yemenis have been displaced since June and the fighting has considerably worsened the country’s already alarming food crisis and famine. Human rights organizations have reported on secret UAE-administered detention facilities where torture, beatings, electric shocks, and killings have occurred. The UAE royal family has paid retired U.S. Special Forces soldiers to track down and assassinate Yemeni political figures that it believes are in league with the wider Muslim Brotherhood movement. In Aden, the UAE has organized, supplied, and paid militias to foment fractious proxy violence. Yemenis who once saw the Emirati intervention as an heroic act to defend their nation’s sovereignty from a ruthless Iran-supported militia are now depicting it as an occupation, if not colonization.

    The UAE is part of the coalition of “Saudi-led” Arab countries (along with Bahrain and Egypt) that imposed a blockade against Qatar in May 2017. These nations were attempting to, among other things, end Qatar’s “terrorism,” cut its ties to Iran, get it to stop meddling in the internal affairs of other countries, and force it to pursue a less independent foreign policy. The UAE has taken an even more hardline stance against the Qataris than the Saudis, in part because it is more fanatical than Riyadh about eradicating any trace of Muslim Brotherhood influence in Qatar and the region more broadly. The boycott, which has divided America’s partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council, has been a disaster for both the UAE and Saudi Arabia, affording both Iran and Turkey opportunities to expand their influence in Doha. Nor has it worked out well for Washington, which hoped to forge a united Gulf front to contain Iranian influence. But for the UAE, the Saudis have been a useful surrogate for outsized regional ambitions; the Emiratis’ relationship with the Kingdom has allowed them to punch well above their weight. That’s not a good thing.


  • The Abandoned Mine Problem: Who Should Bear the Burden?

    Thousands of abandoned and orphaned mines dot the American West. They pose a danger to both public and environmental health, and responsible parties are difficult to find, differentiate, or hold accountable. Why do inactive mines continue to pose safety hazards and pollute our waterways? The laws in place simply don’t have teeth. The Gold King Mine wastewater spill in southwestern Colorado in 2015 was a good reminder of the scope of the problem of abandoned and orphaned mines and how our current regulatory framework falls short.

    There are three laws that generally govern mining law in the United States: the 1872 Mining Law, the Clean Water Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). These laws lack concrete measures to prevent mine spills from occurring as well as reliable methods to ensure that all mines receive the necessary attention in the case of a spill (or better yet, to prevent one). In addition, these laws can create liabilities and disincentives on parties who might otherwise be willing to come in and remediate the mine on their own. However, some states are turning towards a non-traditional form of legislation: Good Samaritan laws, in which citizens, companies, and organizations would be not liable in the case they decide to take on the task of cleaning up acid mine drainage.

    The abandoned mine problem in the United States is striking. Specifically, hard rock mines (including metals like gold, silver, iron, copper, and zinc) are predominant in the West as a result of the discovery of gold and silver during the era of western expansion. Up until the 1970s, the federal government engaged in little oversight on mining across much of the West. During the mining era, there were few expectations about environmental safeguards, and as a result, historic mining operations often went largely unregulated. Before the 1970s, it was common for mining companies to abandon mine sites after mineral extraction was completed or no longer profitable. The land was often left exposed, with waste materials in piles or dumped into mine cavities and pits. At the time, mining companies had no requirement to restore mine lands to their original condition. Today, it is almost impossible to hold these mine owners financially responsible because records of original ownership have been lost and accountable individuals have long passed away. There are over 500,000 abandoned hardrock mine sites across the nation, and the cost for cleaning up these inactive mines is estimated to be between $33 and 72 billion dollars. Today, these abandoned mines are capable of polluting adjacent streams, lakes, and groundwater with high volumes of toxic waste. In doing so, contamination from spills has the potential to—and often does—harm marine ecosystems, poison local drinking water, and pose serious health risks to local communities.

    What Laws Are in Place?

    The Mining Law of 1872, or the General Mining Law, governs the transfer of rights to mine gold, silver, copper, uranium and other hardrock minerals from federal lands. Under the law, citizens may enter and explore the public domain, and if they find valuable mineral deposits, they may obtain title to the land through the Department of the Interior. The law has jurisdictional coverage over 270 million acres of publicly owned land, which is almost one-fourth of all land in the United States. In essence, mining companies are able to search for minerals without any authorization from any government agency. The law contains little to no environmental protections for using use of the land and it does not include any royalty or bonding provisions (to help fund cleanup in case of an accident). As a result, many have criticized the law for giving away public land to private companies practically for free, leaving the public to bear the burden for cleaning up the spills. Since there is no requirement to pay royalties or report extraction volume, the government does not keep track of the volume of hardrock minerals being extracted from federal public lands each year. Consequently, this aspect of mines is largely unchecked and has disparate effects.

    But the issue of abandoned mines has not entirely been overlooked. In September 2017, Senator Tom Udall (Arizona) introduced legislation to reform the General Mining Law and address many of the above-mention criticisms. If passed, the legislation would help fund clean-up activities through fees and royalties. In March 2018, the House Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing on the issue of abandoned mines.

    The Clean Water Act (CWA) is aimed at restoring and maintaining the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation’s waters. The Act splits the responsibility to state agencies and some responsibility to the EPA to carry out the regulatory purposes. The Act requires would-be polluters to obtain a permit for any kind of discharge of a pollutant from a point source (such as mine waste) into the navigable waters of the United States. While the structure of the Act enforces a basic foundation for protecting water resources, one consequence of the permitting system is that parties who own or attempt to clean up mines will likely become subject to its extensive permitting requirements and face liability. This being said, when parties do attempt to clean up mines, their actions could still constitute a violation of the CWA. Under the Act, a party seeking to engage in cleanup activity would need a permit regardless of whether their actions aggravate or improve the water quality.

    CERCLA allows for the cleanup of sites that are already contaminated with hazardous substances and pollutants. It is also referred to as the “Superfund,” due to the large fund that it created for cleanup of contaminated sites. CERCLA is intended to spread the cost of cleanup among responsible parties, and allows the government to undertake cleanup of contaminated property or compel private parties to undertake the cleanup themselves. Like the CWA, CERCLA creates potential liability for parties that might attempt to clean up abandoned mines, which usually takes form of lawsuits. Under 107(a)(4)(B), private parties can recover from a potential responsible party (PRP) for the cleanup costs they “directly incur.” Under this broad liability scheme, people who own property containing hazardous substances can be held liable for enormous cleanup costs even though they were not involved in any hazardous waste disposal activities. Even with some liability defense for certain types of innocent landowners and bonafide prospective purchaser, CERCLA has in effect discouraged the purchase and reuse of properties that may be contaminated. As a result, the overwhelming costs of cleanups (and potential liability) have been the primary restraining factors for people otherwise interested in reusing and restoring contaminated properties.

    Good Samaritan Legislation

    There has been no shortage of offered fixes to the problem of abandoned and orphaned mines, but one solution that has seemed to be getting more traction recently is the idea of Good Samaritan legislation. While potential liability under the CWA and CERCLA has discouraged parties from cleaning up abandoned mines or reusing and restoring contaminated properties, Good Samaritan legislation may provide new hope for parties who want to attempt to clean up mines but do not have the resources to take on the liability that might accompany cleanup efforts. These parties may include citizens, government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and mining companies.

    Pennsylvania implemented the Environmental Good Samaritan Act in 1999 and has completed fifty projects since. Those protected by this legislation include individuals, corporations, nonprofit organizations, and government entities. The Act protects them if they meet several requirements, including they that did not cause/create the abandoned mineral extraction land or water pollution, and that they provide equipment and/or materials for the project. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) administers and reviews project proposals to determine project eligibility. While the Act has been used for mine reclamation in the past, DEP has also applied it to other environmental remediation projects, achieving success so far. In 2017, the Act has been applied to two oil and gas well projects, which are estimated to have saved DEP $60,000 to $85,000, in addition to administrative cost savings related to contract development and management. Three more projects are currently under review.

    Recently, members of Congress have made efforts to enact something similar at the federal level. In 2016, three members of the Colorado delegation to Congress proposed the Good Samaritan Cleanup of Orphan Mines Act of 2016 with the help of environmental groups Trout Unlimited and Earthworks. The bill, ultimately, was not successful.

    The practical reality of Good Samaritan legislation is that most parties who are interested in cleaning up the spills will not have the funds to effectuate a successful cleanup. While Good Samaritan laws appear to be a reasonable way to encourage cleanups, they are not enough to solve the multifaceted abandoned mine issue that has a variety of stakeholders- including the mining companies who are often let off the hook. This is why most environmental advocates tend to reject Good Samaritan proposals, as they distract from the bigger picture that the mining companies are causing the spills and are not taking responsibility to clean them up. While the EPA has issued guidance on Good Samaritan laws, few parties are willing to proceed with cleanup projects because the EPA has failed to engage in regulatory rulemaking and enforce law on the subject.

    This being said, Good Samaritan legislation alone will not solve the abandoned and orphaned mine issue. Conservation groups have proposed increased liability for mining companies. At the state level, conservation groups like San Juan Citizens Alliance and Conservation Colorado have supported the

    Thus, what seems to be the closest thing to an answer to the abandoned and orphaned mine problem is some sort of combination of many proposed solutions: Good Samaritan laws, imposition of royalties, creation of a hardrock reclamation fund, etc. At this point, the main question is where resources should be allocated and at what cost, especially amidst federal laws and agencies that often disagree on how and to what extent…” to protect the environment.


    http://duwaterlawreview.com/the-abandoned-mine-problem-who-should-bear-the-burden
    #mines #abandon #fermeture #extractivisme #pollution #mines_abandonnées #environnement #santé

    ping @albertocampiphoto @daphne


  • The wealth of America’s three richest families grew by 6,000% since 1982 | Chuck Collins | Opinion | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/oct/31/us-wealthiest-families-dynasties-governed-by-rich

    Usually wealth diminishes over multiple generations, as money is spent, passed down to heirs, given to charity and paid in taxes. Only when families aggressively intervene to arrest this cycle does wealth continue to expand over multiple generations, even as the number of heirs increases.

    Several dynastic families have used their considerable clout to stage just such an intervention, spending millions to save themselves billions.

    They’ve lobbied Congress to tip the rules in favor of dynastic wealth, including tax cuts and public policies that will further enrich their enterprises. In the early 2000s, the Mars, Walton and Gallo families actively lobbied to abolish the federal estate tax, a tax paid exclusively by multimillionaires and billionaires. The Koch brothers have since organized their famous donor network to lobby for tax cuts for the rich and to roll back regulations on the energy industry, the source of their wealth.

    Others aggressively use dynasty protection techniques to hide wealth and transfer it to heirs. They hire armies of tax accountants, wealth managers and trust lawyers to create trusts, shell corporations and offshore accounts to move money around and dodge taxation and accountability.

    #acheter_les_lois #ploutocratie


  • Brazilian media report that police are entering university classrooms to interrogate professors

    In advance of this Sunday’s second-round presidential election between far-right politician Jair #Bolsonaro and center-left candidate Fernando Haddad, Brazilian media are reporting that Brazilian police have been staging raids, at times without warrants, in universities across the country this week. In these raids, police have been questioning professors and confiscating materials belonging to students and professors.

    The raids are part a supposed attempt to stop illegal electoral advertising. Brazilian election law prohibits electoral publicity in public spaces. However, many of the confiscated materials do not mention candidates. Among such confiscated materials are a flag for the Universidade Federal Fluminense reading “UFF School of Law - Anti-Fascist” and flyers titled “Manifest in Defense of Democracy and Public Universities.”

    For those worrying about Brazilian democracy, these raids are some of the most troubling signs yet of the problems the country faces. They indicate the extremes of Brazilian political polarization: Anti-fascist and pro-democracy speech is now interpreted as illegal advertising in favor of one candidate (Fernando Haddad) and against another (Jair Bolsonaro). In the long run, the politicization of these two terms will hurt support for the idea of democracy, and bolster support for the idea of fascism.

    In the short run, the raids have even more troublesome implications. Warrantless police raids in university classrooms to monitor professor speech have worrisome echoes of Brazil’s 1964-1985 military regime — particularly when the speech the raids are seeking to stop is not actually illegal.

    Perhaps the most concerning point of all is that these raids are happening before Bolsonaro takes office. They have often been initiated by complaints from Bolsonaro supporters. All of this suggests that if Bolsonaro wins the election — as is widely expected — and seeks to suppress the speech of his opponents, whom he has called “red [i.e., Communist] criminals,” he may have plenty of willing helpers.

    https://www.vox.com/mischiefs-of-faction/2018/10/26/18029696/brazilian-police-interrogate-professors
    #université #extrême_droite #Brésil #police #it_has_begun
    Je crois que je vais commencer à utiliser un nouveau tag, qui est aussi le nom d’un réseau : #scholars_at_risk

    • Brésil : à peine élu, Jair Bolsonaro commence la chasse aux opposants de gauche

      Les universités dans le viseur

      Enfin, toujours pour lutter contre l’opposition à gauche, Jair Bolsonaro entend faire pression sur les professeurs d’université qui parleraient de politique pendant leurs cours.

      Le président élu a récemment scandalisé une partie du monde éducatif en accusant des professeurs, cités avec leurs noms et prénoms, de défendre les régimes de Cuba et de Corée du Nord devant leurs élèves, dans une vidéo diffusée sur Internet.

      Et pour y remédier, il compte installer des pancartes devant les salles de cours pour appeler les étudiants à dénoncer leurs professeurs par le biais d’une « hotline » téléphonique dédiée à la question.

      https://www.bfmtv.com/international/bresil-a-peine-elu-jair-bolsonaro-commence-la-chasse-aux-opposants-de-gauche-

    • Au Brésil, vague de répression dans les universités à la veille du second tour

      Quelques jours avant le second tour de l’élection présidentielle brésilienne, qui voit s’affronter le candidat d’extrême droite Jair Bolsonaro et le candidat du Parti des travailleurs (PT) Fernando Haddad, les campus universitaires du pays ont fait face à une vague inédite de répression de la liberté d’expression. Jeudi 25 octobre, la police a investi 27 universités, à la demande des tribunaux électoraux, dont les juges sont chargés de faire respecter les règles de communication et de propagande électorales des partis en lice. Les forces de police étaient à la recherche de supposé matériel de propagande électorale illégale. En fait, ces opérations ont visé des banderoles antifascistes, de soutien à la démocratie, un manifeste en soutien à l’université publique, des débats et des cours sur la dictature, la démocratie et les « fakes news » – ces mensonges ayant été largement diffusés pendant la campagne, en particulier par l’extrême-droite… [1]

      À Rio, une juge a ainsi fait enlever une banderole du fronton du bâtiment de la faculté de droit de l’université fédérale Fluminense (UFF), sur laquelle était inscrit, autour du symbole antifasciste du double drapeau rouge et noir, « Droit UFF antifasciste ». À l’université de l’État de Rio, les agents électoraux ont retiré une banderole en hommage à Marielle Franco, l’élue municipale du parti de gauche PSOL assassinée en pleine rue en mars dernier.

      220 000 messages de haine en quatre jours contre une journaliste

      Dans une université du Pará, quatre policiers militaires sont entrés sur le campus pour interroger un professeur sur « son idéologie ». L’enseignant avait abordé la question des fake news dans un cours sur les médias numériques. Une étudiante s’en est sentie offensée, alléguant une « doctrine marxiste », et l’a dit à son père, policier militaire. Une enquête du journal la Folha de São Paulo a pourtant révélé mi-octobre que des entreprises qui soutiennent le candidat d’extrême droite avaient acheté les services d’entreprises de communication pour faire envoyer en masse des fausses nouvelles anti-Parti des travailleurs directement sur les numéros whatsapp – une plateforme de messagerie en ligne – des Brésiliens. L’auteure de l’enquête, la journaliste Patricia Campos Melo, et le quotidien de São Paulo, ont ensuite reçu 220 000 messages de haine en quatre jours ! [2] Le journal a demandé à la police fédérale de lancer une enquête.

      Mais ce sont des conférences et des débats sur la dictature militaire et le fascisme qui ont pour l’instant été interdits. C’est le cas d’un débat public intitulé « Contre la fascisme, pour la démocratie », qui devait avoir lieu à l’université fédérale de Rio Grande do Sul (la région de Porto Alegre). Devaient y participer l’ex-candidat du parti de gauche PSOL au premier tour de la présidentielle, Guilherme Boulos, un ancien ministre issu du Parti des travailleurs, des députés fédéraux du PT et du PSOL. « J’ai donné des cours et des conférences dans des universités en France, en Angleterre, au Portugal, en Espagne, en Allemagne, en Argentine, et ici, même pendant la dictature. Aujourd’hui, je suis censuré dans l’État, le Rio Grande do Sul, que j’ai moi-même gouverné. Le fascisme grandit », a réagi l’un des députés, Tarso Genro, sur twitter.

      Une banderole « moins d’armes, plus de livres » jugée illégale

      Dans le Paraíba, les agents du tribunal électoral se sont introduits dans l’université pour retirer une banderole où était simplement inscrit « moins d’armes, plus de livres ». « Cette opération de la justice électorale dans les universités du pays pour saisir du matériel en défense de la démocratie et contre le fascisme est absurde. Cela rappelle les temps sombres de la censure et de l’invasion des facultés », a écrit Guilherme Boulos, le leader du PSOL, sur twitter, ajoutant : « Le parti de la justice a formé une coalition avec le PSL », le parti de Bolsonaro. « De telles interventions à l’intérieur de campus au cours d’une campagne électorale sont inédites. Une partie de l’appareil d’État se prépare au changement de régime », a aussi alerté l’historienne française, spécialiste du Brésil, Maud Chirio, sur sa page Facebook.

      Dimanche dernier, dans une allocution filmée diffusée pour ses supporters rassemblés à São Paulo, Jair Bolsonaro a proféré des menaces claires à l’égard de ses opposants. « Ou vous partez en exil ou vous partez en prison », a-il dit, ajoutant « nous allons balayer ces bandits rouges du Brésil », et annonçant un « nettoyage jamais vu dans l’histoire de ce pays ». Il a précisé qu’il allait classer le Mouvements des paysans sans Terre (MST) et le Mouvement des travailleurs sans toit (MTST) comme des organisations terroristes, et menacé Fernando Haddad de l’envoyer « pourrir en prison aux côtés de Lula ».


      https://www.bastamag.net/Au-Bresil-vague-de-repression-dans-les-universites-a-la-veille-du-second-t

    • We deplore this attack on freedom of expression in Brazil’s universities

      107 international academics react to social media reports that more than 20 universities in Brazil have been invaded by military police in recent days, with teaching materials confiscated on ideological grounds

      Reports have emerged on social media that more than 20 universities in Brazil have been subjected in recent days to: invasions by military police; the confiscation of teaching materials on ideological grounds; and the suppression of freedom of speech and expression, especially in relation to anti-fascist history and activism.

      As academics, researchers, graduates, students and workers at universities in the UK, Europe and further afield, we deplore this attack on freedom of expression in Brazil’s universities, which comes as a direct result of the campaign and election of far-right President Bolsonaro.

      Academic autonomy is a linchpin not only of independent and objective research, but of a functioning democracy, which should be subject to scrutiny and informed, evidence-based investigation and critique.

      We call on co-workers, colleagues and students to decry this attack on Brazil’s universities in the name of Bolsonaro’s wider militaristic, anti-progressive agenda. We will not stand by as this reactionary populist attacks the pillars of Brazil’s democracy and education system. We will campaign vigorously in whatever capacity we can with activists, educators and lawmakers in Brazil to ensure that its institutions can operate without the interference of this new – and hopefully short-lived – government.
      Dr William McEvoy, University of Sussex, UK (correspondent)
      Dr Will Abberley, University of Sussex
      Nannette Aldred, University of Sussex
      Patricia Alessandrini, Stanford University, USA
      Dr Michael Alexander, University of Glasgow
      Steven Allen, Birkbeck, University of London
      Dr Katherine Angel, Birkbeck, University of London
      Pedro Argenti, University of Antwerp, Belgium
      Nick Awde, International Editor, The Stage newspaper, London
      Professor Ian Balfour, York University, Toronto, Canada
      Lennart Balkenhol, University of Melbourne, Australia
      Nehaal Bajwa, University of Sussex
      Dr Louis Bayman, University of Southampton
      Mark Bergfeld, former NUS NEC (2010-2012)
      Professor Tim Bergfelder, University of Southampton
      Dr Patricia Pires Boulhosa, University of Cambridge
      Dr Maud Bracke, University of Glasgow
      Max Brookman-Byrne, University of Lincoln
      Dr Conrad Brunström, Maynooth University, Ireland
      Dr Christopher Burlinson, Jesus College, Cambridge
      Professor Martin Butler, University of Sussex
      Professor Gavin Butt, University of Sussex
      Cüneyt Çakirlar, Nottingham Trent University
      Guilherme Carréra, University of Westminster
      Geoffrey Chew, Royal Holloway, University of London
      Dr Maite Conde, University of Cambridge
      Dr Luke Cooper, Anglia Ruskin University, UK, and Institute of Human Sciences, Vienna, Austria
      Dr Sue Currell, University of Sussex
      Professor Dimitris Dalakoglou, Vrije University, Amsterdam, Netherlands
      William Dalziel, University of Sussex
      Dr April de Angelis, Royal Holloway, University of London
      Dr Olga Demetriou, Durham University
      Dr Stephanie Dennison, University of Leeds
      Dr Steffi Doebler, University of Liverpool
      Dr Sai Englert, SOAS University of London
      James Erskine, University of Sussex and Birkbeck, University of London
      Professor Martin Paul Eve, Birkbeck, University of London
      John Fallas, University of Leeds
      Dr Lynne Fanthome, Staffordshire University
      Dr Hannah Field, University of Sussex
      Dr Adrian Garvey, Birkbeck, University of London
      Dr Laura Gill, University of Sussex
      Dr Priyamvada Gopal, University of Cambridge
      Bhavini Goyate, University of Sussex
      Dr Craig Haslop, University of Liverpool
      Professor Björn Heile, University of Glasgow
      Dr Phil Hutchinson, Manchester Metropolitan University
      Professor Martin Iddon, University of Leeds
      Dr Eleftheria Ioannidou, University of Groningen, Netherlands
      Dr Chris Kempshall, University of Sussex
      Andrew Key, University of California, Berkeley, USA
      Professor Laleh Khalili, SOAS University of London
      Dr Theodore Koulouris, University of Brighton
      Professor Maria Lauret, University of Sussex
      Professor Vicky Lebeau, University of Sussex
      Professor James Livesey, University of Dundee, Scotland
      Professor Luke Martell, University of Sussex
      Dr N Gabriel Martin, Lebanese American University, Lebanon
      Wolfgang Marx, University College, Dublin, Ireland
      Andy Medhurst, University of Sussex
      Professor Philippe Meers, University of Antwerp, Belgium
      Dr Shamira A Meghani, University of Cambridge
      Niccolo Milanese, CESPRA EHESS, Paris, France and PUC Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
      Dr Ian Moody, CESEM – Universidade Nova, Lisbon
      Professor Lucia Naqib, University of Reading
      Dr Catherine Packham, University of Sussex
      Professor Dimitris Papanikolaou, University of Oxford
      Mary Parnwell, University of Sussex
      Professor Deborah Philips, University of Brighton
      Dr Chloe Porter, University of Sussex
      Dr Jason Price, University of Sussex
      Dr Duška Radosavljević, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London
      Francesca Reader, University of Sussex and University of Brighton
      Naida Redgrave, University of East London
      Professor Nicholas Ridout, Queen Mary, University of London
      Professor Lucy Robinson, University of Sussex
      Dr Kirsty Rolfe, University of Sussex
      Dr Joseph Ronan, University of Brighton
      Dr Michael Rowland, University of Sussex
      Dr Zachary Rowlinson, University of Sussex
      Professor Nicholas Royle, University of Sussex
      Dr Eleanor Rycroft, University of Bristol
      Dr Jason Scott-Warren, University of Cambridge
      Dr Deborah Shaw, University of Portsmouth
      Dr Lisa Shaw, University of Liverpool
      Kat Sinclair, University of Sussex
      Sandrine Singleton-Perrin, University of Essex
      Despina Sinou, University of Paris 13 – Sorbonne Paris Cité, France
      Dave Smith, University of Hertfordshire
      John Snijders, Durham University
      Dr Samuel Solomon, University of Sussex
      Dr Arabella Stanger, University of Sussex
      Professor Rob Stone, University of Birmingham
      Bernard Sufrin, Emeritus Fellow, Dept of Computer Science, University of Oxford
      Dr Natasha Tanna, University of Cambridge
      Professor Lyn Thomas, University of Sussex
      Simon Thorpe, University of Warwick
      Dr Gavan Titley, Maynooth University, Ireland
      Dr Pamela Thurschwell, University of Sussex
      Dr Dominic Walker, University of Sussex
      Dr Ed Waller, University of Surrey and University of Portsmouth
      Dr Kiron Ward, University of Sussex
      Helen Wheatley, University of Warwick
      Ian Willcock, University of Herfordshire
      Professor Gregory Woods, Nottingham Trent University
      Dr Tom F Wright, University of Sussex
      Dr Heba Youssef, University of Brighton

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/01/we-deplore-this-attack-on-freedom-of-expression-in-brazils-universities
      #liberté_d'expression

    • Brazil Court Strikes Down Restrictions on University Speech

      Brazil´s Supreme Court issued an important decision striking down restrictions on political speech on university campuses in a unanimous ruling yesterday. Meanwhile, president-elect Jair Bolsonaro´s allies in Congress are pressing ahead with efforts to restrict what students and educators can discuss in the classroom.

      The court ruling overturned decisions by electoral court judges who recently ordered universities across the country to clamp down on what they considered illegal political campaigning. The orders were spurred by complaints from anonymous callers and, in a few cases, by members of conservative groups.

      For example, at Grande Dourados Federal University, court officials suspended a public event against fascism, according to the student group that organized it. At Campina Grande Federal University, police allegedly seized copies of a pamphlet titled “Manifesto in defense of democracy and public universities” and hard drives, said a professors´ association.

      At Rio de Janeiro State University, police ordered the removal of a banner honoring Marielle Franco, a black lesbian human rights defender and councilwoman murdered in March, despite not having a judicial order.

      The attorney general, Raquel Dodge, asked the Supreme Court to rule the electoral court judges´ decisions unconstitutional, and Supreme Court justice Cármen Lúcia Rocha issued an injunction stopping them. The full court upheld that decision on October 31.

      “The only force that must enter universities is the force of ideas,” said Rocha.

      “The excessive and illegitimate use of force by state agents … echoes somber days in Brazilian history,” said Justice Rosa Weber, referring to Brazil´s 1964 – 1985 military dictatorship.

      The ruling comes as Bolsonaro, who remains in Congress until he assumes the presidency on January 1, and his allies push a bill that would prohibit teachers from promoting their own opinions in the classroom or using the terms “gender” or “sexual orientation,” and would order that sex and religious education be framed around “family values.”

      A state representative-elect from Bolsonaro´s party has even called on students to film and report teachers who make “political-partisan or ideological statements.” Bolsonaro made a similar call in 2016. State prosecutors have filed a civil action against the representative-elect, alleging she instituted “an illegal service for the political and ideological control of teaching activities.”

      In his long career in Congress, Bolsonaro has endorsed abusive practices that undermine the rule of law, defended the dictatorship, and has been a vocal proponent of bigotry.

      More than ever, Brazil needs its judiciary to defend human rights within and outside the classroom.


      https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/11/01/brazil-court-strikes-down-restrictions-university-speech
      #cour_suprême #justice

    • Présidentielle au Brésil : relents de dictature militaire

      Présidentielle au Brésil : Bolsonaro et le « risque d’un retour à l’ordre autoritaire en Amérique latine »

      Porté par plus de deux cents universitaires, responsables politiques et citoyens d’Europe et du Canada, ce manifeste s’inscrit dans un mouvement mondial de soutien à la démocratie face à la violence déchaînée par la candidature de Jair Bolsonaro au Brésil. Il est ouvert aux démocrates de toutes les sensibilités politiques. Face au risque imminent d’un retour à l’ordre autoritaire en Amérique latine, la solidarité internationale est impérative.

      Nous, citoyens, intellectuels, militants, personnalités politiques vivant, travaillant et étudiant en Europe et au Canada, exprimons notre vive inquiétude face à la menace imminente de l’élection de Jair Bolsonaro à la présidence du Brésil le 28 octobre 2018.

      Le souvenir de la dictature militaire

      La victoire de l’extrême droite radicale au Brésil risque de renforcer le mouvement international qui a porté au pouvoir des politiciens réactionnaires et antidémocratiques dans de nombreux pays ces dernières années.

      Bolsonaro défend ouvertement le souvenir de la dictature militaire qui a imposé sa loi au Brésil entre 1964 et 1985, ses pratiques de torture et ses tortionnaires. Il méprise le combat pour les droits humains. Il exprime une hostilité agressive envers les femmes, les Afro-descendants, les membres de la communauté LGBT +, les peuples autochtones et les pauvres. Son programme vise à détruire les avancées politiques, économiques, sociales, environnementales et culturelles des quatre dernières décennies, ainsi que l’action menée par les mouvements sociaux et le camp progressiste pour consolider et étendre la démocratie au Brésil.

      L’élection de Bolsonaro menace les fragiles institutions démocratiques pour la construction desquelles les Brésilien·ne·s ont pris tant de risques. Son arrivée au pouvoir serait aussi un frein majeur à toute politique internationale ambitieuse en matière de défense de l’environnement et de préservation de la paix.

      Premiers signataires : Martine Aubry , maire de Lille, ancienne ministre (PS) ; Luc Boltanski , sociologue, directeur d’études, EHESS ; Peter Burke , historien, professeur émérite à l’université de Cambridge ; Roger Chartier , historien, directeur d’études EHESS/Collège de France ; Mireille Clapot , députée de la Drôme, vice-présidente de la commission des affaires étrangères (LRM) ; Laurence Cohen , sénatrice du Val-de-Marne (PCF) ; Didier Fassin , professeur de sciences sociales, Institute for advanced study, Princeton ; Carlo Ginzburg , professeur émérite à UCLA et à l’Ecole normale supérieure de Pise ; Eva Joly , députée européenne (groupe Verts-ALE) ; Pierre Louault , sénateur d’Indre-et-Loire (UDI) ; Paul Magnette, bourgmestre de Charleroi, ex-ministre président de la Wallonie, ex-président du Parti socialiste belge ; Thomas Piketty , directeur d’études à l’EHESS.

      http://jennifer-detemmerman.fr/index.php/2018/10/23/presidentielle-au-bresil-relents-de-dictature-militaire

    • Une pétition qui a été lancé avant l’élection...
      Defend Democracy in Brazil. Say No to Jair Bolsonaro

      Defend Democracy in Brazil,

      Say No to Jair Bolsonaro

      We, citizens, intellectuals, activists, politicians, people living, working, and studying in Europe and Canada, wish to express our growing alarm at the imminent threat of Jair Bolsonaro’s election to the presidency on October 28, 2018. The potential victory of a far-right radical in Brazil would reinforce a dangerous international trend of extremely reactionary and anti-democratic politicians gaining state power in recent years.

      Bolsonaro explicitly defends the Brazilian military dictatorship that ruled the country from 1964-85 and praises torture and torturers. He condemns human rights efforts. He has expressed aggressive and vile hostility toward women, people of African descent, the LGBT+ community, indigenous people, and the poor. His proposed policies would effectively undo all of the political, social, economic, labor, environmental, and cultural gains of the last four decades, efforts by social movements and progressive politicians to consolidate and expand democracy in Brazil. A Bolsonaro presidency also threatens to undermine the still fragile democratic politics that people throughout Brazil have risked so much to build.

      His election would seriously hamper any ambitious international effort for environmental protection, against climate change and for the preservation of peace.

      Adapted version of the text « Defend Democracy in Brazil, Say No to Jair Bolsonaro! »

      https://www.change.org/p/association-pour-la-recherche-sur-le-br%C3%A9sil-en-europe-pour-la-d%C3%A9fe



  • Why the Khashoggi murder is a disaster for Israel -
    The grisly hit-job on Khashoggi has implications far beyond its exposure of the Saudi Crown Prince as brutal and reckless. In Jerusalem and D.C., they’re mourning their whole strategic concept for the Mideast - not least, for countering Iran

    Daniel B. Shapiro
    Oct 17, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-why-the-khashoggi-murder-is-a-disaster-for-israel-1.6569996

    For Israel, this sordid episode raises the prospects that the anchor of the new Middle East realities it has sought to promote - an Israeli-Sunni Arab coalition, under a U.S. umbrella, to check Iran and Sunni jihadists - cannot be counted upon.
    And Israel must be careful how it plays its hand. There will, without question, be a U.S. response to Khashoggi’s murder, even if it is resisted by the Trump administration. It will not lead to a total dismantlement of the U.S.-Saudi alliance, but Congressional and public revulsion will have its price. 

    President Hassan Rouhani giving a speech on Iranian TV in Tehran on May 8, 2018.HO/AFP
    The price could include significant restrictions on arms sales that had been contemplated. It is already leading key U.S. investors to distance themselves from the major development projects MBS has promoted. At a minimum, there will be no replay of the warm, PR-friendly visit by MBS to multiple U.S. cities last March, no more lionizing of him in the American press as a reformer who will reshape the Middle East.
    Israel, which has a clear interest in keeping Saudi Arabia in the fold of U.S. allies to maximize the strategic alignment on Iran, will need to avoid becoming MBS’s lobbyist in Washington. Israel’s coordination with its partners in the region is still necessary and desirable. Simple realpolitik requires it. But there is a new risk of reputational damage from a close association with Saudi Arabia. 
    It won’t be easy for Israel to navigate these waters, as the Washington foreign policy establishment has quickly splintered into anti-Iran and anti-Saudi camps. The idea that the United States should equally oppose Iranian and Saudi brutality toward their peoples, and not let MBS’s crimes lead to a lessening of pressure on Iran over its malign regional activities, is in danger of being lost.
    For Israelis, that may be the biggest blow in the fallout of Khashoggi’s murder. MBS, in his obsession with silencing his critics, has actually undermined the attempt to build an international consensus to pressure Iran.
    The damage is broad. Trump may be an outlier. But what Member of Congress, what European leader, would be willing to sit with MBS for a consultation on Iran now?
    That is the greatest evidence of MBS’s strategic blindness, and the damage will likely persist as long as he rules the kingdom.
    Daniel B. Shapiro is Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Israel, and Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa in the Obama Administration. Twitter: @DanielBShapiro


  • John Boehner Unchained - POLITICO Magazine
    https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/10/29/john-boehner-trump-house-republican-party-retirement-profile-feature-21574

    “We’ve got some of the smartest people in America who serve in the Congress, and we’ve got some of the dumbest. We have some of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet, and some that are Nazis. Congress is nothing more than a slice of America.”

    Confessions d’un leader républicain à peine à la retraite.


  • The Problem Isn’t Fake News From Russia. It’s Us. – Foreign Policy
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/10/03/the-problem-isnt-fake-news-from-russia-its-us

    In 1934, the investigative journalist and novelist Upton Sinclair ran in the California gubernatorial election as part of the End Poverty in California movement (EPIC). He proposed a sweeping progressive agenda that featured the introduction of pensions, increased income and property taxes on wealthy Californians, and the creation of a state-run network of cooperatives that put the unemployed to work. Business leaders and trade associations around the country, alarmed by the socialist elements of his agenda, put forth millions of dollars to support incumbent Gov. Frank Merriam.

    That outside money was used to promote lies and disinformation through leaflets, radio spots, newspaper hits, and a new media invention: partisan attack ads disguised as newsreels that ran before motion pictures in California movie theaters. The clips featured actors who, posing as ordinary citizens, recited scripted lines containing falsehoods about the EPIC movement and Sinclair. Such fake news proved highly effective; Merriam handily beat his opponent. And even before the vote, Sinclair wrote to Congress demanding an investigation into what he called “false propaganda,” adding, “Whether or not you sympathize with me on my platform is beside the point.” If the motion picture industry, he continued, “can be used to influence voters justly, it can be used to influence voters unjustly.” No investigation ever occurred; influence campaigns and disinformation simply became a normal and tolerated part of U.S. elections.

    #propagande #mensonges #désinformation #élections #états-unis #démocraties


  • A Local Food Revolution in Puerto Rico
    https://foodtank.com/news/2018/10/a-local-food-revolution-in-puerto-rico

    The story of Puerto Rico’s food production is also the story of the island’s own colonial history. Large-scale plantations replaced native farming during Puerto Rico’s days as a Spanish colony, resulting in the consolidation of agricultural land and landholding, as well as the number of crops being grown on it. When the United States took over the island in the wake of the Spanish-American War in 1898, economic restructuring meant that the remaining agricultural activity focused only on cash crops like sugarcane and coffee.

    Then, in the 1940s, Congress launched Operation Bootstrap, a campaign to overhaul the Puerto Rican economy that focused on manufacturing and tourism—moving even further away from agriculture. Subsequent tax breaks and economic initiatives to encourage investment in these sectors solidified these moves. Deliberately, over the course of years, an import-driven food system was put in place in Puerto Rico, and all other farming fell by the wayside.

    “Puerto Rico’s economy has always been categorized by being an import economy: we produce things we do not consume but then we have to import things we do consume, especially in agriculture,” notes Gladys González-Martínez, a professor of agricultural economics at the University of Puerto Rico.

    Still, Puerto Rican local farming had been experiencing the beginning stages of a renaissance even before the storm hit, spurred by the economic crisis of 2006. According to statistics provided by the governor’s office, farm income grew 25 percent from 2012 to 2014, while the number of acres under cultivation rose by 50 percent between 2012 and 2016, generating at least 7,000 jobs.

    #Porto_Rico #agriculture #plantations #agroécologie


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Les USA seuls maîtres à bord dans le Sahel

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

      Far West

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


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


  • Rifts Break Open at Facebook Over Kavanaugh Hearing
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/04/technology/facebook-kavanaugh-nomination-kaplan.html

    “I want to apologize,” the Facebook executive wrote last Friday in a note to staff. “I recognize this moment is a deeply painful one — internally and externally.” The apology came from Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s vice president for global public policy. A day earlier, Mr. Kaplan had sat behind his friend, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, when the judge testified in Congress about allegations he had sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford in high school. Mr. (...)

    #Facebook #viol #lobbying #harcèlement


  • US Gross National Debt Soars $1.27 Trillion In Fiscal 2018, Hits $21.5 Trillion.
    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-10-02/us-gross-national-debt-soars-127-trillion-fiscal-2018-hits-215-trillion

    But wait — these are the Boom Times!
    The US gross national debt jumped by $84 billion on September 28, the last business day of fiscal year 2018, the Treasury Department reported Monday afternoon. During the entire fiscal year 2018, the gross national debt ballooned by $1.271 trillion to a breath-taking height of $21.52 trillion.

    Just six months ago, on March 16, it had pierced the $21-trillion mark. At the end of September 2017, it was still $20.2 trillion. The flat spots in the chart below, followed by the vertical spikes, are the results of the debt-ceiling grandstanding in Congress:

    These trillions are whizzing by so fast they’re hard to see. What was that, we asked? Where did that go?

    Over the fiscal year, the gross national debt increased by 6.3% and now amounts to 105.4% of current-dollar GDP.

    But this isn’t the Great Recession when tax revenues collapsed because millions of people lost their jobs and because companies lost money or went bankrupt as their sales collapsed and credit froze up; and when government expenditures soared because support payments such as unemployment compensation and food stamps soared, and because there was some stimulus spending too.

    But no – these are the good times. Over the last 12-month period through Q2, the economy, as measured by nominal GDP grew 5.4%. “Nominal” GDP rather than inflation-adjusted (“real”) GDP because the debt isn’t adjusted for inflation either, and we want an apples-to-apples comparison.

    The increases in the gross national debt have been a fiasco for many years. Even after the Great Recession was declared over and done with, the gross national debt increased on average by $954 billion per fiscal year from 2011 through 2017.

    And the regular debt-ceiling fights in Congress, rather than accomplishing something noticeable in terms of fiscal rectitude, are just political charades that leave some flat spots in the chart above followed by some dizzying spikes right afterwards.

    But now we have even more profligacy: Increased spending combined with tax cuts. As a result, the surge in the debt in fiscal 2018 of $1.27 trillion was 33% more than the already mind-blowing average surge in the debt over the past seven fiscal years ($954 billion).

    For the first 11 months of fiscal 2018, through August, total tax receipts inched up by only $19 billion, or by 1%, according to the CBO, though the economy, as measured by nominal GDP, grew at an annual rate of about 5.4% (none of the figures are adjusted for inflation).


  • [Projet] Altaïr - Human mobility knowledge | Vedecom - UTBM

    Altaïr est un projet de Vedecom, réalisé en collaboration avec Média Mobiles et l’UTBM (Université Technologique de Belfort Montbéliard) issu du projet ANR Norm Atis (Nouveaux standards pour développer des services de mobilité intelligents) du programme Transports durables et mobilités.

    En savoir plus sur le projet : http://www.agence-nationale-recherche.fr/Projet-ANR-13-TDMO-0007

    Aussi ici : http://www.vedecom.fr/normatis

    Altaïr est un modèle mathématique de prédiction (apprentissage automatique) de flux Origine-Destination réalisé par fusion de données hétérogènes, telles le fichier MOBPRO (INSEE), des données de comptage routier, de Floating car data (Média mobile), des enregistrements GPS, des fonds de carte, des variables telles le mode de transport, etc.

    Une application de visualisation de flux illustrant les résultats du modèle à été présentée à l’ITS World Congress (17-21 September 2018) Copenhague.

    ‏ht @GuilhemSanmarty

    MAJ : 25/09/2018

    #flowmap #projet #application #flux #reseau #matriceOD #MOBPRO #Altaïr


  • How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahideen » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names
    http://archive.is/VH3r#selection-801.1-919.214

    January 15, 1998

    by Alexander Cockburn And Jeffrey St. Clair

    Q: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs ["From the Shadows"], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

    Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

    Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

    Brzezinski: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

    Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?

    Brzezinski: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

    Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic [integrisme], having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

    Brzezinski: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

    Q: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated: Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.

    Brzezinski: Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn’t a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.

    * There are at least two editions of this magazine; with the perhaps sole exception of the Library of Congress, the version sent to the United States is shorter than the French version, and the Brzezinski interview was not included in the shorter version.
    The above has been translated from the French by Bill Blum author of the indispensible, “Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II” and “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower”

    #Afghanistan #USA #URSS #histoire