organization:pentagon

  • Who Is Paying for the War in Yemen? - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/12/pentagon-refueling-controversy-saudi-led-war-yemen/577666

    The Pentagon says that “#errors_in_accounting ” mean Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have not been properly charged for  refueling.

    President Donald Trump, who repeatedly complains that the United States is paying too much for the defense of its allies, has praised Saudi Arabia for ostensibly taking on Iran in the Yemen war. It turns out, however, that U.S. taxpayers have been footing the bill for a major part of the Saudi-led campaign, possibly to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.

    The revelation—detailed in a Defense Department letter obtained by The Atlantic—is likely to raise further ire among senators who have grown ever-more critical of Saudi conduct in the war, which has resulted in a growing number of civilian casualties, and U.S. support for it.

    Since the start of the Saudi-led intervention, in March 2015, and up until last month, the United States provided mid-air refueling for Saudi-led coalition aircraft that then flew missions related to the Yemen campaign. Getting heavy U.S. tankers into the air and carrying out this job is enormously expensive. The recipient country is required by law to pay the costs, but that isn’t what happened here. In a mea culpa of sorts, the Pentagon’s November 27 letter states that while the Defense Department “believed” Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates “had been charged for the fuel and refueling services, they in fact had not been charged adequately.” How inadequately, the Pentagon will not yet say; it is “currently calculating the correct charges,” the letter states.

    #erreur_comptable !


  • 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.


  • US to Extract Minerals From Afghanistan to ‘Defray Cost of US Assistance’

    The U.S. military has had its eyes on Afghan mineral deposits for some time. A 2007 Pentagon memo that the New York Times quoted in a 2010 article says that Afghanistan could be the “Saudi Arabia of lithium.”

    https://www.mintpressnews.com/us-to-extract-minerals-from-afghanistan-to-defray-cost-of-us-assistance/232333

    #extractivisme #Afghanistan #USA #Etats-Unis #mines #lithium
    ping @albertocampiphoto @daphne

    Quelle belle blague! “US assistance”, comme dit @isskein sur FB: “Bastards”


  • Britain funds research into drones that decide who they kill, says report
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/10/autonomous-drones-that-decide-who-they-kill-britain-funds-research

    Investigation reveals that technology for autonomous lethal weapons with artificial intelligence is being funded by MoD Technologies that could unleash a generation of lethal weapons systems requiring little or no human interaction are being funded by the Ministry of Defence, according to a new report. The development of autonomous military systems – dubbed “killer robots” by campaigners opposed to them – is deeply contentious. Earlier this year, Google withdrew from the Pentagon’s Project (...)

    #BAE_Systems #algorithme #drone #militarisation


  • Dernier rapport de « Inspector General for #Afghanistan Reconstruction » (SIGAR) : les #talibans, les trafiquants de drogue et les contractuels privés des #Etats-Unis ne se sont jamais aussi bien portés

    The Taliban is stronger now than at any time since Afghanistan war
    https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2018/11/1/afghan-forces-losing-kabul-control-to-taliban-us-watchdog

    “From the period of May 1 to the most current data as of October 1, 2018, the average number of casualties the (Afghan forces) suffered is the greatest it has ever been during like periods,” it said. 

    The report also noted that “the Taliban now controls more territory than at any time since 2001”.

    Afghanistan : le contrôle des autorités au plus bas depuis 2015, selon un rapport - L’Orient-Le Jour
    https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1141602/afghanistan-le-controle-des-autorites-au-plus-bas-depuis-2015-selon-u

    Military contractor received $1.6 billion to advise Afghans but results unknown | Ottawa Citizen
    https://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/military-contractor-received-1-6-billion-to-advise-afghans-but-result

    The Afghan mission continues to be a money pit for the U.S. government and a cash cow for private military contractors. On Wednesday, the U.S. government’s Afghan mission watchdog produced a report on the Pentagon program to advise the Afghan Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Afghan Ministry of the Interior (MOI).

    Afghanistan : un rapport déplore le cuisant échec de Washington dans la lutte contre l’opium — RT en français
    https://francais.rt.com/international/55077-afghanistan-rapport-denonce-retentissant-echec-washington-dans-lu

    Washington a dépensé 8,8 milliards de dollars depuis 2002 contre le trafic de drogue, selon un organisme public américain. Résultat ? La production d’opium a connu un essor rapide, permettant aux talibans de tenir tête à Kaboul.


  • Trump deploys military to confront “immigrant invasion” - World Socialist Web Site

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/10/30/pers-o30.html

    Donc, l’armée le plus puisante du monde pour faire face à quelques réfugiés misérables.

    On Monday, the Trump administration and the Pentagon announced the deployment of 5,200 soldiers across the US-Mexico border by the end of the week. This will be the largest combat-ready military mobilization on US soil since the urban rebellions of the late 1960s. The military has given the initiative the mission name “Operation Faithful Patriot.”

    Thousands of troops and billions of dollars’ worth of equipment are being mobilized in advance of a major national address by Trump announcing further restrictions on immigration.


  • Google Drops Out of Pentagon’s $10 Billion Cloud Competition
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-08/google-drops-out-of-pentagon-s-10-billion-cloud-competition

    Alphabet Inc.’s Google has decided not to compete for the Pentagon’s cloud-computing contract valued at as much as $10 billion, saying the project may conflict with its corporate values. The project, known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud, or JEDI, involves transitioning massive amounts of Defense Department data to a commercially operated cloud system. Companies are due to submit bids for the contract, which could last as long as 10 years, on Oct. 12th. Read more : Why (...)

    #Alphabet #Google #Amazon #algorithme #bénéfices #cloud #profiling #USDepartmentOfDefense


  • 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__


  • Des insectes pour disséminer des virus : une arme incontrôlable ?
    https://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2018/10/04/des-insectes-pour-disseminer-des-virus-une-arme-incontrolable_5364811_3244.h

    Les #insectes pourraient-ils bientôt être utilisés comme #arme_biologique ? C’est la question que se pose une équipe de chercheurs dans un article paru dans la revue Science, jeudi 4 octobre. Composé de juristes (université de Fribourg) et de scientifiques (Max-Planck Institute de Plön et université de Montpellier), ce groupe de recherche a étudié un projet américain nommé « #Insect_Allies ».

    Ce programme, financé à hauteur de 27 millions de dollars par l’agence pour les projets de recherche avancée de défense (Darpa) du département de la défense des Etats-Unis, prévoit d’utiliser des insectes pour modifier génétiquement des plantes.

    Il a attiré l’attention des chercheurs par l’utilisation de nouveaux agents : les Horizontal Environmental Genetic Alteration Agents (#HEGAAs). Il s’agit de virus qui ont été génétiquement modifiés pour les rendre capables de transformer les chromosomes d’une espèce cible, animale ou végétale. Ces agents vont permettre d’altérer l’ADN de certaines plantes directement dans leur environnement. Ils pourraient donc rendre une plante résistante à un certain pathogène en cours de saison.

    #paywall



  • US to transfer Coast Guard ships to #Ukraine amid Russia tensions - CNNPolitics
    https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/25/politics/us-transfer-coast-guard-ships-ukraine/index.html


    La photo représente le WPB 1326 Monomoy, de même classe que les Drummond et Cushing, ceux-ci portant les numéros de coque 1323 et 1321.

    The US Coast Guard plans to transfer two former 110-foot Coast Guard ships to Ukraine during a ceremony on Thursday in Baltimore.

    Coast Guard Vice Adm. Michael McAllister and Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko are expected to attend the transfer ceremony.

    The transfer of the two armed Coast Guard cutters come as tensions between Ukraine and Russia in the Sea of Azov have increased in recent weeks, with Kiev and the US accusing Moscow of interfering with Ukrainian shipping in the region.

    The United States condemns Russia’s harassment of international shipping in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement late last month.

    Russia has delayed hundreds of commercial vessels since April and in recent weeks has stopped at least 16 commercial ships attempting to reach Ukrainian ports,” she added.

    A US defense official told CNN that the cutters Drummond and Cushing were purchased by Ukraine from the Pentagon’s Excess Defense Articles program.
    PUBLICITÉ
    The Island-class cutters are typically armed with a 25 mm machine gun mount and four .50-caliber machine guns.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Island-class_patrol_boat

    #poussière_navale

    Note : le fait d’armes du Drummond est d’avoir patrouillé dans le Détroit de Floride et d’y avoir intercepté (au moins) 550 immigrants cubains illégaux depuis 2004 (source : WP)…


  • Google erases ’Don’t be evil’ from code of conduct after 18 years | ZDNet
    https://www.zdnet.com/article/google-erases-dont-be-evil-from-code-of-conduct-after-18-years

    At some point in the past month, Google removed its famous ’Don’t be evil’ motto from the introduction to its code of conduct.

    As spotted by Gizmodo, the phrase was dropped from the preface of Google’s code of conduct in late April or early May.

    Until then, ’Don’t be evil’ were the first words of the opening and closing sentences of Google’s code of conduct and have been part of it since 2000.

    The phase occasionally guides debate within the company. The 4,000 staff protesting Google’s work for the Pentagon’s AI Project Maven referred to the motto to highlight how the contract conflicted with the company’s values.

    Google’s parent company, Alphabet, also adopted and still retains a variant of the motto in the form of ’Do the right thing’.

    A copy of the Google’s Code of Conduct page from April 21 on the Wayback Machine shows the old version.

    "’Don’t be evil.’ Googlers generally apply those words to how we serve our users. But ’Don’t be evil’ is much more than that. Yes, it’s about providing our users unbiased access to information, focusing on their needs and giving them the best products and services that we can. But it’s also about doing the right thing more generally — following the law, acting honorably, and treating co-workers with courtesy and respect.

    "The Google Code of Conduct is one of the ways we put ’Don’t be evil’ into practice. It’s built around the recognition that everything we do in connection with our work at Google will be, and should be, measured against the highest possible standards of ethical business conduct.

    “We set the bar that high for practical as well as aspirational reasons: Our commitment to the highest standards helps us hire great people, build great products, and attract loyal users. Trust and mutual respect among employees and users are the foundation of our success, and they are something we need to earn every day.”

    The whole first paragraph has been removed from the current Code of Conduct page, which now begins with:

    "The Google Code of Conduct is one of the ways we put Google’s values into practice. It’s built around the recognition that everything we do in connection with our work at Google will be, and should be, measured against the highest possible standards of ethical business conduct.

    “We set the bar that high for practical as well as aspirational reasons: Our commitment to the highest standards helps us hire great people, build great products, and attract loyal users. Respect for our users, for the opportunity, and for each other are foundational to our success, and are something we need to support every day.”

    While the phrase no longer leads Google’s code of conduct, one remnant remains at the end.

    “And remember... don’t be evil, and if you see something that you think isn’t right — speak up.”

    #Google #Histoire_numérique #Motto #Evil


  • Venezuela : arrivée à La Guaira du navire hôpital chinois Hé Píng Fāng Zhōu (ou Arche de la Paix)

    Buque Chino llegó a Venezuela para «iniciar operación estratégica»
    http://www.el-nacional.com/noticias/politica/buque-chino-llego-venezuela-para-iniciar-operacion-estrategica_252868


    Foto: @ArmadaFANB

    Este sábado arribó al Puerto de La Guaira, estado Vargas, el Buque Hospital chino «Arca de la Paz».

    Bienvenidos. Sigamos estrechando nuestros lazos de amistad y cooperación, para la paz”, escribió Vladimir Padrino López, ministro de Defensa, en su Twitter.

    El ministro detalló que el “Arca de la Paz” atenderá a personas de todas las nacionalidades, incluyendo a 1.200 colombianos.

    La visita de este buque hospital también se inscribe en una operación defensiva estratégica. Va a ser muy satisfactorio tener este buque en Venezuela”, precisó.

    El Ministerio de Comunicación e Información detalló que el buque tiene 500 camas, 35 unidades de ciudados intensivos y 12 quirófanos.

    «Sus equipos permiten atender problemas cardiovasculares, ginecología, odontología, oftalmología, pediatría y medicina interna, entre otros», informó el Ministerio en su página web.

    • Pour l’opposition, ce sont les conseils communaux qui désigneraient («  choisiraient  ») les patients à traiter à bord du navire chinois.

      Le ministre de la Défense répond qu’il va (même !…) soigner 1200 Colombiens…
      Rocío San Miguel : Consejos comunales « escogerán » pacientes del buque chino
      http://www.el-nacional.com/noticias/politica/rocio-san-miguel-consejos-comunales-escogeran-pacientes-del-buque-chino

      Rocío San Miguel, abogada y defensora de Derechos Humanos, denunció este sábado que los consejos comunales «escogerán» a los pacientes que recibirán atención médica por parte del buque hospital chino «Arca de la Paz».

    • Durée du séjour non précisé dans l’article. Lors de son escale à Papeete fin août, il était précisé qu’il repasserait à Tahiti le 22 décembre.

      Le He Ping Fang Zhou a accosté au port de Papeete | La Dépêche de TAHITI
      http://www.ladepeche.pf/he-ping-fang-zhou-a-accoste-port-de-papeete


      Photo : Yan Roy

      Le navire hôpital chinois, He Ping Fang Zhou, était attendu mardi dans la rade de Papeete. Il a finalement accosté ce vendredi matin dans le port de Papeete, après avoir passé près de trois jours au large de Tahiti, pour des raisons administratives. Cependant, le bâtiment militaire ne va pas s’attarder dans nos eaux. Il repartira dès 20 heures ce vendredi soir, après avoir refait le plein en carburant. À noter qu’un retour du navire est prévu le 22 décembre prochain, selon le calendrier des arrivées du Port autonome de Papeete.

      Pour rappel, cette « arche de la paix » a déjà pris en charge 90 000 patients, et intervient principalement dans les zones de guerre, peu équipées ou nécessitant une aide humanitaire. Le navire comprend à son bord une pharmacie, une salle de radiothérapie, un scanner, huit salles d’opération, un laboratoire d’analyses, une salle d’examens, une zone de stérilisation des instruments, des services gynécologiques, stomatologie, ophtalmologie, pédiatrie, médecine interne,…

    • Double nom, double lecture évidente : #soft_power ou #bâtiment_de_soutien_d'assaut_amphibie.

      Mystery Chinese Hospital Ship : What’s It For ? | WIRED
      (article de novembre 2008)
      https://www.wired.com/2008/11/mystery-chinese

      Late last month, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) accepted its first purpose-built floating hospital, the 10,000-ton “Ship 866.” While seemingly innocuous on the surface, ships like this are windows into an evolving military strategy for an emerging world power. Hospital ships can be used for a wide range of missions, from supporting full-scale amphibious assaults against heavily defended targets, to humanitarian “soft-power” expeditions winning hearts and minds.

      The question is: what is Ship 866 intended for? I asked two leading naval analysts for a new piece in World Politics Review.

      • It’s for #soft_power, contends Bob Work, from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. He says Ship 866 has its roots in the 2004 tsunami. Many world powers sent ships to help out in the aftermath of the storm, which killed more than 200,000 people in countries bordering the Indian Ocean. But not China: the PLAN didn’t have any ships capable of assisting. “The tsunami embarrassed them,” he says. “The Chinese respond to embarrassments in very focused ways.” In this case by building a hospital ship.

      • John Pike from Globalsecurity.org disagrees. He says Ship 866 is probably intended to support the growing Chinese amphibious fleet, which in turn is meant for enforcing China’s claim to South China Sea oil reserves. It’s a far cry from humanitarian soft-power missions.

      Of course, intentions are only intentions. Regardless of the original motive, the PLAN now has a ship capable of both humanitarian missions and supporting amphibious assaults. The Chinese are still decades from matching the U.S. Navy’s huge amphibious and humanitarian fleet, but it’s a start.

      Pour mémoire, la marine états-unienne dispose de 2 navires-hôpitaux (3 fois plus gros)
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USNS_Mercy_(T-AH-19)

      La France ne peut se payer ce luxe et utilise ses navires de soutien amphibie (à coque grise donc) pour ces missions humanitaires, les 3 BPC de la classe Mistral qui ont succédé aux 2 TCD de la classe Foudre.

      cf. Irma en septembre 2017
      Ouragan Irma : première mission humanitaire | colsbleus.fr : le magazine de la Marine Nationale
      http://www.colsbleus.fr/articles/10267

      A la fois bâtiment amphibie, porte-hélicoptères, bâtiment de commandement et navire hôpital, le bâtiment de projection et de commandement (BPC) présente une polyvalence exceptionnelle dont le déploiement du Tonnerre aux Antilles a montré une nouvelle fois. Mis en alerte le 8 septembre, après le passage de l’ouragan Irma, le Tonnerre a appareillé, avec un préavis très court, dès le 12 septembre, pour apporter son soutien aux populations de l’île sinistrée de Saint-Martin. Retour sur cette mission.

      Le module de rétablissement sommaire sur la plage à Saint-Martin

    • Tiens, d’ailleurs, après l’ouragan Maria à Porto-Rico en septembre-octobre 2017…

      Navy Hospital Ship USNS Comfort Will Deploy to Colombia to Care for Venezuelan Refugees - USNI News
      (article du 20/08/2018)
      https://news.usni.org/2018/08/20/35918


      The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) arrives in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Oct. 3, 2017. Comfort will help support Hurricane Maria aid and relief operations.
      US Air Force photo.

      The Navy’s hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) is being deployed to Colombia this fall to provide medical care to a growing regional humanitarian crisis, as Venezuelans steadily pour over the border to escape a deteriorating health and political climate.

      While visiting Colombia late last week, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced he was sending Comfort at the request of Colombia’s government. The hospital ship will assist the Colombian medical services network in providing medical care to what has been reported as an influx of more than 1 million Venezuelans into neighboring Colombia.

      The plan is for that hospital ship, USNS Comfort, to deploy this fall,” Col. Robert Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, said during a Monday media briefing. “The details are being worked out as far as a detailed timeline.

      A departure date has not been set, and medical staffing needs aboard the ship are still being determined, Manning said.


  • Bomb in #Yemen school bus strike was US-supplied - CNN
    https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/17/middleeast/us-saudi-yemen-bus-strike-intl/index.html

    Working with local Yemeni journalists and munitions experts, CNN has established that the weapon that left dozens of children dead on August 9 was a 500-pound (227 kilogram) laser-guided MK 82 bomb made by Lockheed Martin, one of the top US defense contractors.

    Qu’en dit la porte-parole des #Etats-Unis à l’#ONU Nikki Haley ?
    https://seenthis.net/messages/652281

    Via @tparsi sur twitter


  • War Without End - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/08/magazine/war-afghanistan-iraq-soldiers.html

    Still he wondered: Was there no accountability for the senior officer class? The war was turning 17, and the services and the Pentagon seemed to have been given passes on all the failures and the drift. Even if the Taliban were to sign a peace deal tomorrow, there would be no rousing sense of victory, no parade. In Iraq, the Islamic State metastasized in the wreckage of the war to spread terror around the world . The human costs were past counting, and the whitewash was both institutional and personal, extended to one general after another, including many of the same officers whose plans and orders had either fizzled or failed to create lasting success, and yet who kept rising. Soto watched some of them as they were revered and celebrated in Washington and by members of the press, even after past plans were discredited and enemies retrenched.

    #états-unis#élite#guerre


  • Why the hybrid #cloud is no longer the best option
    https://hackernoon.com/why-the-hybrid-cloud-is-no-longer-the-best-option-61eaf922d10d?source=rs

    Many businesses are afraid to move their mission-critical systems and workloads to the cloud, due to multiple security breaches that are frequently reported. However, this cannot be less true.There are only two types of businesses out there, the ones already in the cloud, and the ones who will be in the cloud sooner or later. The age of on-prem infrastructures is rapidly coming to an end, as the benefits of the cloud — high availability, scalability, virtualization, and cost-efficiency — are too large to neglect.However, many businesses are concerned with the constantly revealed cases of cloud security breaches (like the regularly updated celebrity naked photo leaks or the infamous Pentagon security cloud security breach that happened in the November of 2017). Cases like that seem to heat the (...)

    #cloud-computing #hybrid-cloud #devops #why-hybrid-cloud


  • U.S. Was Right to Give China’s Navy the Boot - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-08-02/u-s-was-right-to-give-china-s-navy-the-boot

    By James Stavridis
    [ex-SACEUR]

    The vast annual military operation known as the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (simply #RIMPAC in Pentagon jargon) just concluded on the beaches of Southern California with a huge demonstration of an amphibious assault, which involves sending troops ashore from warships at sea — a highly complex maneuver whether D-Day or present day.

    The exercise is held every two years all over the Pacific Basin, and is the largest international maritime exercise in the world. It is globally regarded by naval officers as the Olympic Games of naval power. Run by the U.S. Pacific Fleet, which is headquartered in Pearl Harbor, it normally includes warships and troops from every branch of the U.S. armed forces, and those of than 20 foreign nations.
    […]
    But this year, in a break with recent tradition, China was “disinvited” in May because of its militarization of a variety of artificial islands in the volatile #South_China_sea, where it is sending troops and setting up combat-aircraft, runways and missile systems. There was also a distinct undercurrent of opposition to China’s presence by the Donald Trump administration, which sensibly criticizes Beijing for trade practices and theft of intellectual property.

    While I’ve repeatedly criticized Trump for his dealings with allies and foes, cutting Beijing “out of the pattern” this year was the right decision. It deprived China of not only the chance to observe and learn about allied naval practices, but also of the prestige of engaging with the top navies in the world. The increasing involvement of India — the obvious strategic counterweight to China — as well as this year’s addition of Vietnam — a growing naval actor deeply concerned about Chinese dominance in the South China Sea — sends a powerful signal.

    #mer_de_Chine_méridionale


  • Navy Seeks $30 Million to Fix Gear That Hobbled Its New Carrier - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-25/navy-seeks-30-million-to-fix-gear-that-hobbled-its-new-carrier

    The Navy is asking Congress to shift $30 million from other accounts to start repairing a damaged gear on the service’s costliest warship, the Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier.

    The request for funds to repair the $13 billion carrier is part of a Pentagon package asking congressional approval to shift $4.7 billion in previously approved Army, Air Force and Navy funding into new programs or higher-priority projects. The package must be approved by all four congressional defense committees, where it’s pending.

    The $30 million is needed to pay for repairs to the propulsion-system gear while the carrier’s builder, Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc., “seeks compensation from the original manufacturer for warranty defects,” Naval Sea Systems spokesman William Couch said in an email.

    The Ford was forced to return to port after the failure in January of a “main thrust bearing” that’s a key propulsion system component. It returned to sea after the damage was contained. The defective gear was the result of “machining errors” by a General Electric Co. unit, according to Navy documents. Full repairs will take place during the vessel’s current yearlong shakeout period.


  • War Doesn’t Make Sense Anymore | The American Conservative
    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/war-doesnt-make-sense-anymore

    America spends more on its military than all its enemies put together yet it still can’t win wars. Failed adventures in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan have drained America’s power and diminished its prestige. The bloated Pentagon budget actually makes us weaker.

    Here’s the weird bit: nobody seems to care. If any other government department spent as much and accomplished as little, the populace would be in arms, complaining about wasteful government spending. Instead we mumble “Thank you for your service” and increase defense appropriations.

    [...]

    Maybe the extravagant expense of the Pentagon budget is a feature, not a bug. Maybe no one objects when we spend a quarter of a billion dollars ineffectually bombing Syria or several trillion ineffectually invading Iraq because these days war profiteers make their money not by looting their enemies’ cities, stealing their land, and selling their women into slavery, but from their own governments’ spending.

    My own life confirms this intuition. The invasion of Iraq has been a disaster for the United States, for the Middle East, and for the long-suffering people of Iraq, but for many of us, it was a cash cow. For a decade, I earned a solid middle-class living working just four months a year as a news cameraman in Iraq. The war on terror bought me my house.

    Thousands of Americans (perhaps not coincidentally mostly from red states) worked as contractors for the U.S. military and pulled down salaries much higher than they would have earned in the private sector back home. A truck driver from Mississippi made over $100,000 a year hauling in supplies from Kuwait. It is shocking how little of the money America spent in that misbegotten conflict ever trickled into the Iraqi economy.

    #objectif #guerres #Etats-Unis


  • Trump’s ‘America First’ Policy Could Leave U.S. Defense Industry Behind – Foreign Policy
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/07/18/trumps-america-first-policy-could-leave-u-s-defense-industry-behind
    #America_Last (appel de une…)

    Signs that President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy could harm U.S. businesses and curb the United States’ clout around the world surfaced this week in an unexpected place—a small town outside London, during the world’s largest civil and military air event.

    The biennial gathering at the #Farnborough International Airshow in the United Kingdom brings together military officials, diplomats, and arms dealers from around the world for plane-watching and deal-making. In other years, the United States has sent the Defense Department’s top weapons buyers, and top-end American products, such as the F-35 stealth fighter jet, have taken center stage.

    But this year’s event is being held in the shadow of Trump’s most controversial policies: his erratic approach to foreign affairs and his economic protectionism, including steep tariffs he has imposed on steel and aluminum.

    Those measures and the resulting uncertainty are prompting some European countries to go their own way on major industry projects, including the development of a next-generation fighter jet, potentially leaving U.S. firms behind.

    I think it is forcing Europe together in ways that have unanticipated consequences for the U.S. defense industry,” said Byron Callan, an analyst with Capital Alpha Partners.
    […]
    So it came as no surprise when the Trump administration announced the decision to send a large delegation to help sell U.S. products at Farnborough, including top officials such as Navarro. The administration also used the opportunity to roll out the Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) Policy, also known as the “Buy America” plan, an initiative to improve U.S. arms transfer processes and increase the competitiveness of U.S.-made products.

    But the U.S. government showing at Farnborough was disappointing from the start of the weeklong exhibition Monday. Navarro pulled out at the last minute, as did Ellen Lord, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer; Heidi Grant, the U.S. Air Force’s head of international affairs; and other U.S. government officials. At the show itself, only five U.S. military aircraft appeared on static display in the Defense Department corral that normally showcases products built for the armed services by Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and other U.S. defense giants.
    […]
    It’s the lowest number of aircraft in the U.S. corral I’ve ever seen,” said Joel Johnson, an analyst with the Teal Group. “There’s this huge push in theory to go sell American … but the U.S. government [showing] in all its majesty is the smallest I’ve seen in all my years at trade shows.


  • A Nation Challenged: Hearts And Minds; Pentagon Readies Efforts To Sway Sentiment Abroad - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/19/world/nation-challenged-hearts-minds-pentagon-readies-efforts-sway-sentiment-abro

    Février 2002, (via Assaad abouKhalil)

    The Pentagon is developing plans to provide news items, possibly even false ones, to foreign media organizations as part of a new effort to influence public sentiment and policy makers in both friendly and unfriendly countries, military officials said.

    #fake_news #Etats-Unis


  • The secret story of how America lost the drug war with the Taliban - POLITICO
    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/08/obama-afghanistan-drug-war-taliban-616316

    For decades, much of the region’s narcotics trade had been controlled by the Quetta Alliance, a loose confederation of three powerful tribal clans living in the Pakistani border town of the same name. At a June 1998 summit, the clan leaders gathered secretly to approve another alliance — with the Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan at the time, according to classified U.S. intelligence cited in Operation Reciprocity legal documents.

    Under the “Sincere Agreement,” the drug lords pledged their financial support for the Taliban in exchange for protection of their vast swaths of poppy and cannabis fields, drug processing labs and storage facilities. The ties were solidified further when the U.S. invasion toppled the Taliban after 9/11 and forced top commanders to flee to Quetta, where they formed a shura, or leadership council.

    In the early years of the U.S. occupation, the Pentagon and CIA cultivated influential Afghan tribal leaders who were not part of the Quetta Alliance, even if they were deeply involved in drug trafficking, in order to turn them against the Taliban. That willingness to overlook drug trafficking was assisted by their belief that the drugs were going almost entirely to Asia and Europe.


  • Behind the secret U.S. war in Africa - POLITICO
    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/02/secret-war-africa-pentagon-664005

    American special operations teams are playing a more direct role in military actions against suspected terrorists in Africa than the Pentagon has publicly acknowledged, planning and participating in combat raids by African troops in multiple countries including Somalia, Kenya, Tunisia and Niger, under a set of classified programs.

    #africom


  • Mattis’s Last Stand Is Iran – Foreign Policy
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/06/28/mattiss-last-stand-is-iran

    As the U.S. defense secretary drifts further from President Donald Trump’s inner circle, his mission gets clearer: preventing war with Tehran.

    Long point de vue de Mark Perry (The Pentagon’s Wars). Après avoir décrit l’état d’usure et de fatigue des différentes forces armées états-uniennes, puis décrit en détail une attaque en règle de l’Iran,…

    At the end of the air campaign, Iran’s nuclear and military capabilities would be in ruins. But the worry for senior military war planners is that the end of the U.S. campaign would not mark the end of the war, but its beginning. Retired Army Lt. Gen. James Dubik, a senior fellow at the Institute for the Study of War and a former professor at Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program (and one of the Army’s most sophisticated strategic thinkers), argued that a conflict with Iran would not be confined to a U.S. attack — or Iran’s immediate response. Tehran, he said, would not surrender. “We should not go into a war with Iran thinking that they will capitulate,” he argued. “Al Qaeda did not capitulate; the Taliban did not capitulate. Enemies don’t capitulate. And Iran won’t capitulate.” Nor, Dubik speculated, would the kind of air campaign likely envisioned by U.S. military planners necessarily lead to the collapse of the Tehran government — a notion seconded by Farley. “There is very little reason to suppose that anything other than an Iraq-style war would lead to regime change in Iran,” Farley said. “Even in a very extensive campaign, and absent the use of ground troops in a major invasion, the Iranian regime would survive.” That is to say that, while Iran’s military would be devastated by a U.S. attack, the results of such a campaign would only deepen and expand the conflict.

    Shaping and executing an exit strategy after an attack is likely the most difficult task we will face,” [John Allen] Gay [the co-author of the 2013 book War with Iran] said. “While an overwhelming airstrike may end the war for us, it will not end it for Iran. Our conventional capabilities overawe theirs, but their unconventional capabilities favor them. Assassinations, terror attacks, the use of Hezbollah against Israel, and other options will likely be used by them over an extended period of time. All of this has to be factored in: Even if we destroy their nuclear capabilities, we will have to ask whether it will be worth it.
    […]
    In truth, the unease over any future conflict goes much deeper — and is seeded by what one senior and influential military officer called “an underlying anxiety that after 17 years of sprinkling the Middle East with corpses, the U.S. is not any closer to a victory over terrorism now than it was on September 12.

    #sprinkle_the_Middle_East_with_corpses
    #parsemer_le_Moyen-Orient_de_cadavres


  • “National security” cited as reason Al Jazeera nixed Israel lobby film | The Electronic Intifada
    https://electronicintifada.net/content/national-security-cited-reason-al-jazeera-nixed-israel-lobby-film/24566

    Al Jazeera’s investigative documentary into the US Israel lobby was censored by Qatar over “national security” fears, The Electronic Intifada has learned.

    These include that broadcast of the film could add to pressure for the US to pull its massive Al Udeid air base out of the Gulf state, or make a Saudi military invasion more likely.

    A source has confirmed that broadcast of The Lobby – USA was indefinitely delayed as “a matter of national security” for Qatar. The source has been briefed by a high-level individual in Doha.

    One of the Israel lobby groups whose activities are revealed in the film has been mounting a campaign to convince the US to withdraw its military forces from Qatar – which leaders in the emirate would see as a major blow to their security.

    The tiny gas-rich monarchy houses and funds satellite channel Al Jazeera.

    In April, managers at the channel were forced to deny a claim by a right-wing American Zionist group that the program has been canceled altogether.

    In October 2017, the head of Al Jazeera’s investigative unit promised that the film would be aired “very soon.”

    Yet eight months later, it has yet to see the light of day.

    In March, The Electronic Intifada exclusively published the first concrete details of what is in the film.

    The film reportedly identifies a number of lobby groups as working directly with Israel to spy on American citizens using sophisticated data gathering techniques. The documentary is also said to cast light on covert efforts to smear and intimidate Americans seen as too critical of Israel.

    Some of the activity revealed in the film could include US organizations acting as front operations for Israel without registering as agents of a foreign state as required by US law.

    The latest revelation over the censored film shows how seriously Qatar’s leadership is taking threats of repercussions should it air.

    Threats
    The Israel lobby groups reported on in the film could be expected to take legal action against Al Jazeera if it is broadcast.

    However, such threats alone would be unlikely to deter Al Jazeera from broadcasting the film.

    The network has a history of vigorously defending its work and it was completely vindicated over complaints about a documentary aired in January 2017 that revealed how Israel lobby groups in Britain collude with the Israeli embassy, and how the embassy interfered in British politics.

    Israel’s supporters are also pushing for the US Congress to force the network, which has a large US operation, to register as a “foreign agent” in a similar fashion to Russian channel RT.

    But the high-level individual in Doha’s claim that the film is being censored as “a matter of national security” ties the affair to even more serious threats to Qatar and bolsters the conclusion that the censorship is being ordered at the highest level of the state.

    A year ago, with the support of US President Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar and imposed a transport and economic blockade on the country.

    Saudi rulers and their allies see Qatar as too independent of their influence and too open to relations with their regional rival Iran, and the blockade was an attempt to force it to heel.

    The Saudis and Israel accused Qatar of funding “terrorism,” and have taken measures to restrict Al Jazeera or demanded it be shut down altogether over what they perceive as the channel’s anti-Israel and anti-Saudi-monarchy biases.

    The blockade and the diplomatic assault sparked existential fears in Qatar that Saudi-led forces could go as far as to invade and install a more pliant regime in Doha.

    French newspaper Le Monde reported on Friday that the Saudi king has threatened “military action” against Qatar should it go ahead with a planned purchase of a Russian air defense missile system.

    In 2011, Saudi and Emirati forces intervened in Bahrain, another small Gulf nation, at the request of its ruling Khalifa monarchy in order to quell a popular uprising demanding democratic reforms.

    For three years, US and British-backed Saudi and Emirati forces have been waging a bloody and devastating war on Yemen to reimpose a Saudi-backed leadership on the country, clear evidence of their unprecedented readiness to directly use military force to impose their will.

    And no one in the region will have forgotten how quickly Iraqi forces were able to sweep in and take over Kuwait in August 1990.

    Air base
    The lesson of the Kuwait invasion for other small Gulf countries is that only the protection of the United States could guarantee their security from bigger neighbors.

    Qatar implemented that lesson by hosting the largest US military facility in the region, the massive Al Udeid air base.

    The Saudi-led bloc has pushed for the US to withdraw from the base and the Saudi foreign minister predicted that should the Americans pull out of Al Udeid, the regime in Doha would fall “in less than a week.”

    US warplanes operate from the Al Udeid air base near Doha, Qatar, October 2017. US Air Force Photo
    It would be a disaster from the perspective of Doha if the Israel lobby was to put its full weight behind a campaign to pull US forces out of Qatar.

    Earlier this year, an influential member of Congress and a former US defense secretary publicly discussed moving the US base out of Qatar at a conference hosted by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).

    FDD is a neoconservative Israel lobby group that happens to be one of the subjects of the undercover Al Jazeera film.

    As The Electronic Intifada revealed in March, FDD is one of the groups acting as an agent of the Israeli government even though it is not registered to do so.

    In July 2017, FDD’s Jonathan Schanzer testified to Congress that it would be an “insane arrangement” to keep US forces at the Al Udeid air base while Qatar continued to support “terror.”

    It will concentrate minds in Doha that FDD was one of the lobby groups most dedicated to destroying the international deal with Iran over its nuclear energy program, a goal effectively achieved when the Trump administration pulled out of it last month.

    In a sign of how vulnerable Qatar feels over the issue, Doha has announced plans to upgrade the Al Udeid base in the hope, as the US military newspaper Stars and Stripes put it, “that the strategic military hub will be counted as one of the Pentagon’s permanent overseas installations.”

    The final straw?
    The cornerstone of Qatar’s effort to win back favor in Washington has been to aggressively compete with its Gulf rivals for the affections of Israel and its Washington lobby.

    Their belief appears to be that this lobby is so influential that winning its support can result in favorable changes to US policy.

    Qatar’s charm offensive has included junkets to Doha for such high-profile Israel supporters as Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz and Morton Klein, the head of the Zionist Organization of America who publicly took credit for convincing Qatar’s ruler Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to veto broadcast of the documentary.

    While an all-out Saudi invasion of Qatar over a film series may seem far fetched, the thinking in Doha seems to be that broadcast of The Lobby – USA could be the final straw that antagonizes Qatar’s enemies and exposes it to further danger – especially over Al Udeid.

    With an administration in Washington that is seen as impulsive and unpredictable – it has just launched a trade war against its biggest partners Canada and the European Union – leaders in Doha may see it as foolhardy to take any chances.

    If that is the reason Al Jazeera’s film has been suppressed it is not so much a measure of any real and imminent threat Qatar faces, but rather of how successfully the lobby has convinced Arab rulers, including in Doha, that their well-being and longevity rests on cooperating with, or at least not crossing, Israel and its backers.

    Asa Winstanley is associate editor and Ali Abunimah is executive director of The Electronic Intifada.

    Qatar Al Jazeera The Lobby—USA Al Udeid air base Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani Donald Trump Jared Kushner Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates Bahrain Iran Kuwait Foundation for the Defense of Democracies Jonathan Schanzer Morton Klein Alan Dershowitz Zionist Organization of America

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