organization:pentagon

  • The New York Times and its Uyghur “activist” - World Socialist Web Site
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/05/09/uygh-m09.html

    9 May 2019 - The New York Times has furnished a case study of the way in which it functions as the conduit for the utterly hypocritical “human rights” campaigns fashioned by the CIA and the State Department to prosecute the predatory interests of US imperialism.

    While turning a blind eye to the gross abuses of democratic rights by allies such as Saudi Arabia, the US has brazenly used “human rights” for decades as the pretext for wars, diplomatic intrigues and regime-change. The media is completely integrated into these operations.

    Another “human rights” campaign is now underway. The New York Times is part of the mounting chorus of condemnation of China over its treatment of the Turkic-speaking, Muslim Uyghur minority in the western Chinese province of Xinjiang.

    In an article on May 4 entitled “In push for trade deal, Trump administration shelves sanctions over China’s crackdown on Uyghurs,” the New York Times joined in criticism of the White House, particularly by the Democrats, for failing to impose punitive measures on Beijing.

    The strident denunciations of China involve unsubstantiated allegations that it is detaining millions of Uyghurs without charge or trial in what Beijing terms vocational training camps.

    The New York Times reported, without qualification, the lurid claims of US officials, such as Assistant Secretary of Defence Randall Schriver, who last Friday condemned “the mass imprisonment of Chinese Muslims in concentration camps” and boosted the commonly cited figure of up to a million to “up to three million” in detention. No evidence has been presented for either claim.

    The repression of the Uyghurs is completely bound up with the far broader oppression of the working class by the Chinese capitalist elites and the Chinese Communist Party regime that defends their interests. The US campaign on the Uyghurs, however, has nothing to do with securing the democratic rights of workers, but is aimed at stirring up reactionary separatist sentiment.

    The US has longstanding ties to right-wing separatist organisations based on Chinese minorities—Tibetans as well as the Uyghurs—that it helped create, fund and in some cases arm. As the US, first under President Obama and now Trump, has escalated its diplomatic, economic and military confrontation with China, the “human rights” of Uyghurs has been increasingly brought to the fore.

    Washington’s aim, at the very least, is to foment separatist opposition in Xinjiang, which is a crucial source of Chinese energy and raw materials as well as being pivotal to its key Belt and Road Initiative to integrate China more closely with Eurasia. Such unrest would not only weaken China but could lead to a bloody war and the fracturing of the country. Uyghur separatists, who trained in the US network of Islamist terrorist groups in Syria, openly told Radio Free Asia last year of their intention to return to China to wage an armed insurgency.

    The New York Times is completely in tune with the aims behind these intrigues—a fact that is confirmed by its promotion of Uyghur “activist” Rushan Abbas.

    Last weekend’s article highlighted Abbas as the organiser of a tiny demonstration in Washington to “pressure Treasury Department officials to take action against Chinese officials involved in the Xinjiang abuses.” She told the newspaper that the Uyghur issue should be included as part of the current US-China trade talks, and declared: “They are facing indoctrination, brainwashing and the elimination of their values as Muslims.”

    An article “Uyghur Americans speak against China’s internment camps” on October 18 last year cited her remarks at the right-wing think tank, the Hudson Institute, where she “spoke out” about the detention of her aunt and sister. As reported in the article: “I hope the Chinese ambassador here reads this,” she said, wiping away tears. “I will not stop. I will be everywhere and speak on this at every event from now on.”

    Presented with a tearful woman speaking about her family members, very few readers would have the slightest inkling of Abbas’s background, about which the New York Times quite deliberately says nothing. Abbas is a highly connected political operator with long standing ties to the Pentagon, the State Department and US intelligence agencies at the highest level as well as top Republican Party politicians. She is a key figure in the Uyghur organisations that the US has supported and funded.

    Currently, Abbas is Director of Business Development in ISI Consultants, which offers to assist “US companies to grow their businesses in Middle East and African markets.” Her credentials, according to the company website, include “over 15 years of experience in global business development, strategic business analysis, business consultancy and government affairs throughout the Middle East, Africa, CIS regions, Europe, Asia, Australia, North America and Latin America.”

    The website also notes: “She also has extensive experience working with US government agencies, including Homeland Security, Department of Defense, Department of State, Department of Justice, and various US intelligence agencies.” As “an active campaigner for human rights,” she “works closely with members of the US Senate, Congressional Committees, the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, the US Department of State and several other US government departments and agencies.”

    This brief summary makes clear that Abbas is well connected in the highest levels of the state apparatus and in political circles. It also underscores the very close ties between the Uyghur organisations, in which she and her family members are prominent, and the US intelligence and security agencies.

    A more extensive article and interview with Abbas appeared in the May 2019 edition of the magazine Bitter Winter, which is published by the Italian-based Center for Studies on New Religions. The magazine focuses on “religious liberty and human rights in China” and is part of a conservative, right-wing network in Europe and the United States. The journalist who interviewed Abbas, Marco Respinti, is a senior fellow at the Russell Kirk Centre for Cultural Renewal, and a board member of the Centre for European Renewal—both conservative think tanks.

    The article explains that Abbas was a student activist at Xinjiang University during the 1989 protests by students and workers against the oppressive Beijing regime, but left China prior to the brutal June 4 military crackdown that killed thousands in the capital and throughout the country. At the university, she collaborated with Dolkun Isa and “has worked closely with him ever since.”

    Dolkun Isa is currently president of the World Uyghur Congress, established in 2004 as an umbrella group for a plethora of Uyghur organisations. It receives funding from the National Endowment for Democracy—which is one of the fronts used by the CIA and the US State Department for fomenting opposition to Washington’s rivals, including so-called colour revolutions, around the world.

    Isa was the subject of an Interpol red notice after China accused him of having connections to the armed separatist group, the East Turkestan Liberation Organisation, a claim he denied. East Turkestan is the name given to Xinjiang by Uyghur separatists to denote its historic connections to Turkey. None of the Western countries in which he traveled moved to detain him and the red notice was subsequently removed, no doubt under pressure from Washington.

    Bitter Winter explained that after moving to the US, Abbas cofounded the first Uyghur organisation in the United States in 1993—the California-based Tengritagh Overseas Students and Scholars Association. She also played a key role in the formation of the Uyghur American Association in 1998, which receives funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Last year its Uyghur Human Rights Project was awarded two NED grants totaling $320,000. Her brother Rishat Abbas was the association’s first vice-chairman and is currently the honorary chairman of the Uyghur Academy based in Turkey.

    When the US Congress funded a Uyghur language service for the Washington-based Radio Free Asia, Abbas became its first reporter and news anchor, broadcasting daily to China. Radio Free Asia, like its counterpart Radio Free Europe, began its existence in the 1950s as a CIA conduit for anti-communist propaganda. It was later transferred to the US Information Agency, then the US State Department and before being incorporated as an “independent,” government-funded body. Its essential purpose as a vehicle for US disinformation and lies has not changed, however.

    In a particularly revealing passage, Bitter Winter explained: “From 2002–2003, Ms. Abbas supported Operation Enduring Freedom as a language specialist at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.” In the course of the interview with the magazine, Abbas attempted to explain away her involvement with the notorious prison camp by saying that she was simply acting on behalf of 22 Uyghurs who were wrongfully detained and ultimately released—after being imprisoned for between four to 11 years!

    Given the denunciations of Chinese detention camps, one might expect that Abbas would have something critical to say about Guantanamo Bay, where inmates are held indefinitely without charge or trial and in many cases tortured. However, she makes no criticism of the prison or its procedures, nor for that matter of Operation Enduring Freedom—the illegal US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq that resulted in the deaths of a million civilians.

    It is clear why. Abbas is plugged into to the very top levels of the US state apparatus and political establishment in Washington. Her stints with Radio Free Asia and at Guantanamo Bay are undoubtedly not the only times that she has been directly on the payroll.

    As Bitter Winter continued: “She has frequently briefed members of the US Congress and officials at the State Department on the human rights situation of the Uyghur people, and their history and culture, and arranged testimonies before Congressional committees and Human Rights Commissions.

    “She provided her expertise to other federal and military agencies as well, and in 2007 she assisted during a meeting between then-President George W. Bush and Rebiya Kadeer, the world-famous moral leader of the Uyghurs, in Prague. Later that year she also briefed then First Lady Laura Bush in the White House on the Human Rights situation in Xinjiang.”

    It should be noted, Rebiya Kadeer is the “the world-famous moral leader of the Uyghurs,” only in the eyes of the CIA and the US State Department who have assiduously promoted her, and of the US-funded Uyghur organisations. She was one of the wealthiest businesswomen in China who attended the National People’s Congress before her husband left for the US and began broadcasting for Radio Free Asia and Voice of America. She subsequently fled China to the US and has served as president both of the World Uyghur Congress and the American Uyghur Association.

    The fact that Russan Abbas is repeatedly being featured in the New York Times is an indication that she is also being groomed to play a leading role in the mounting US propaganda offensive against China over the persecution of the Uyghurs. It is also a telling indictment of the New York Times which opens its pages to her without informing its readers of her background. Like Abbas, the paper of record is also plugged into the state apparatus and its intelligence agencies.

    #Chine #Xinjiang_Weiwuer_zizhiqu #USA #impérialisme #services_secretes

    新疆維吾爾自治區 / 新疆维吾尔自治区, Xīnjiāng Wéiwú’ěr zìzhìqū, englisch Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

  • A new deepfake detection tool should keep world leaders safe—for now - MIT Technology Review
    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/613846/a-new-deepfake-detection-tool-should-keep-world-leaders-safefor-no

    An AI-produced video could show Donald Trump saying or doing something extremely outrageous and inflammatory. It would be only too believable, and in a worst-case scenario it might sway an election, trigger violence in the streets, or spark an international armed conflict.

    Fortunately, a new digital forensics technique promises to protect President Trump, other world leaders, and celebrities against such deepfakes—for the time being, at least. The new method uses machine learning to analyze a specific individual’s style of speech and movement, what the researchers call a “softbiometric signature.”

    The team then used machine learning to distinguish the head and face movements that characterize the real person. These subtle signals—the way Bernie Sanders nods while saying a particular word, perhaps, or the way Trump smirks after a comeback—are not currently modeled by deepfake algorithms.

    In experiments the technique was at least 92% accurate in spotting several variations of deepfakes, including face swaps and ones in which an impersonator is using a digital puppet. It was also able to deal with artifacts in the files that come from recompressing a video, which can confuse other detection techniques. The researchers plan to improve the technique by accounting for characteristics of a person’s speech as well. The research, which was presented at a computer vision conference in California this week, was funded by Google and DARPA, a research wing of the Pentagon. DARPA is funding a program to devise better detection techniques.

    The problem facing world leaders (and everyone else) is that it has become ridiculously simple to generate video forgeries with artificial intelligence. False news reports, bogus social-media accounts, and doctored videos have already undermined political news coverage and discourse. Politicians are especially concerned that fake media could be used to sow misinformation during the 2020 presidential election.

    Some tools for catching deepfake videos have been produced already, but forgers have quickly adapted. For example, for a while it was possible to spot a deepfake by tracking the speaker’s eye movements, which tended to be unnatural in deepfakes. Shortly after this method was identified, however, deepfake algorithms were tweaked to include better blinking.

    “We are witnessing an arms race between digital manipulations and the ability to detect those, and the advancements of AI-based algorithms are catalyzing both sides,” says Hao Li, a professor at the University of Southern California who helped develop the new technique. For this reason, his team has not yet released the code behind the method .

    Li says it will be particularly difficult for deepfake-makers to adapt to the new technique, but he concedes that they probably will eventually. “The next step to go around this form of detection would be to synthesize motions and behaviors based on prior observations of this particular person,” he says.

    Li also says that as deepfakes get easier to use and more powerful, it may become necessary for everyone to consider protecting themselves. “Celebrities and political figures have been the main targets so far,” he says. “But I would not be surprised if in a year or two, artificial humans that look indistinguishable from real ones can be synthesized by any end user.”

    #fake_news #Deepfake #Video #Détection

  • Le propriétaire d’un pétrolier japonais nie que son navire ait été touché par une mine, car les membres d’équipage ont vu des « objets volants » avant l’attaque (Zerohedge)
    https://www.crashdebug.fr/international/16134-le-proprietaire-d-un-petrolier-japonais-nie-que-son-navire-ait-ete-

    Pendant un moment jeudi, il est apparu que la marine américaine avait produit le "pistolet fumant" auquel le secrétaire d’État Mike Pompeo avait fait allusion dans sa déclaration du début de la journée : Des images du CENTCOM qui, selon la marine, montrent l’IRGC iranien "pris sur le fait" en train d’essayer de retirer une mine non explosée du Kokuka Courageous, l’un des deux pétroliers endommagés lors des attaques de jeudi, d’après la marine.

    Le CENTCOM a déclaré que la vidéo qu’il a diffusée montrait l’IRGC en train d’enlever une mine marine limpet non explosée du côté d’un des pétroliers, suggérant que Téhéran avait cherché à enlever des preuves de la scène.

    Just in : Pentagon video of what it says is an Iranian boat removing an unexploded mine from (...)

    #En_vedette #Actualités_internationales #Actualités_Internationales

  • U.S. and Russia trade blame over near collision in East Asian waters - Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-navy-incident-idUSKCN1T80LR
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QeNcKRkvDY

    Russia and the United States blamed each other for a near collision between their warships in East Asian waters on Friday with both countries accusing one another of dangerous and unprofessional behavior.

    Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Washington would lodge a formal diplomatic protest to Russia, while a senior Russian parliamentarian said such episodes could easily escalate tensions, which he said were already balanced “on a razor’s edge”.

    Russia’s Pacific Fleet said that the USS Chancellorsville, a guided-missile cruiser, had come within just 50 meters (165 feet) of the Russian destroyer Admiral Vinogradov which was forced to take emergency action to avoid a collision, Russian news agencies reported.

    They cited a Russian Pacific Fleet statement as saying the incident took place in the early hours of Friday morning in the eastern part of the East China Sea at a time when a group of Russian warships was on a parallel course with a U.S. naval strike group.

    The U.S guided-missile cruiser Chancellorsville suddenly changed course and cut across the path of the destroyer Admiral Vinogradov coming within 50 meters of the ship,” the statement said.

    A protest over the international radio frequency was made to the commanders of the American ship who were warned about the unacceptable nature of such actions,” it said.

    The U.S. Navy rejected that version of events, saying the behavior of the Russian ship had been “unsafe and unprofessional”.

    While operating in the Philippine Sea, a Russian Destroyer ... made an unsafe maneuver against USS Chancellorsville,” U.S. Seventh Fleet spokesman Commander Clayton Doss said.

    This unsafe action forced Chancellorsville to execute all engines back full and to maneuver to avoid collision.

    He described a Russian assertion that the U.S. ship had acted dangerously as “propaganda”. The Russian destroyer came within 50 to 100 feet of the Chancellorsville, he said, putting the safety of its crew and the ship at risk.

    Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Shanahan said Washington would formally protest.

    We’ll have military-to-military conversations with the Russians, and of course we’ll demarche them, but to me safety at the end of the day is the most important (part),” he told reporters outside the Pentagon.

    It will not deter us from conducting our operations.

    The incident comes days after Washington and Moscow sparred over an allegedly unsafe spy plane intercept by a Russian fighter jet near Syria.

    Alexei Pushkov, a senior Russian parliamentarian, said the near naval miss and other incidents like it were dangerous.

    We’re balancing on a razor’s edge,” he wrote on social media.

    Pour les Russes, ça s’est passé à l’est de la #Mer_de_Chine_orientale, pour les États-Uniens en #mer_des_Philippines


    WP


    WP

    • Vues de l’hélicoptère de l’USS Chancellorsville :


      et

      sur le site de la Marine états-unienne, ainsi que le communiqué.
      7th Fleet Statement on Unsafe Maneuver by Russian Destroyer
      /submit/display.asp ?story_id=109833

      PHILIPPINE SEA (NNS) — At approximately 11:45 am on June 7, 2019 while operating in the Philippine Sea, a Russian Destroyer (UDALOY I DD 572) made an unsafe maneuver against guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG-62), closing to approximately 50-100 feet putting the safety of her crew and ship at risk. 

      While USS Chancellorsville was recovering its helicopter on a steady course and speed when the Russian ship DD572 maneuvered from behind and to the right of Chancellorsville accelerated and closed to an unsafe distance of approximately 50-100 feet. This unsafe action forced USS Chancellorsville to execute all engines back full and to maneuver to avoid collision. 
      We consider Russia’s actions during this interaction as unsafe and unprofessional and not in accordance with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS), “Rules of the Road,” and internationally recognized maritime customs.

    • Les images aériennes sont impressionnantes et montrent bien qu’on est passé tout près d’une collision. Ce dont ne rendent absolument pas compte les vidéos tournées de la passerelle du Chancellorsville où l’on ne voit que les deux navires en route parallèle. On jurerait presque qu’ils sont en manœuvre de ravitaillement à la mer…

      Les sillages montrent sans ambiguïté que c’est le navire russe qui a manœuvré in extremis. Tout le reste est difficile à interpréter.

      • d’après les É.-U., le Chancellorsville récupère son hélicoptère. Or d’après les images celui-ci est déjà à une distance certaine sur l’avant du navire. On pourrait imaginer qu’il a interrompu son approche (forcément par l’arrière) au vu de l’incertitude de la situation tactique, en ce cas je ne connais pas la procédure de dégagement, certainement une reprise d’altitude, mais dans quelle direction relative au navire ? Ça me paraît étonnant que l’hélico puisse se retrouver aussi loin sur l’avant aussi rapidement.

      Quant à l’application des règles de route du #RIPAM, elle ne me paraît pas aussi évidente que certains commentateurs l’affirment.
      • certes le russe est sur le tribord de l’états-unien, ce qui normalement oblige ce dernier à laisser le passage, mais,…
      • s’il est en route aviation pour l’appontement de son hélico (cf. premier point, douteux) il est alors en manœuvrabilité restreinte et il doit en arborer à son mat la marque (1 boule, 1 icône, 1 boule superposées .
      • on peut aussi se poser la question de l’angle entre les deux sillages. S’il fait moins de 67,5° (de nuit, le russe ne verrait que le feu de poupe, pas le feu de tribord), alors le navire russe est en situation de dépassement et c’est à lui de manœuvrer. Dans le cas contraire, c’est à l’américain. _A priori
      , on est autour des 45°, mais la projection de l’angle due à la perspective vue de l’hélico rend l’évaluation malaisée.
      • enfin, il est aussi difficile de juger si le Chancellorsville bat effectivement en arrière toute. L’absence de sillage sur la deuxième image, alors que sur la première on en perçoit un léger, ainsi que l’écume sur l’arrière du bateau vont dans ce sens, mais des nuages commencent à s’interposer. Par ailleurs, sur les vidéos on ne perçoit pas vraiment de changement de la vitesse relative entre les deux bateaux.

      Au vu de tout ça, il me semble bien que l’Admiral Vinogradov est effectivement navire rattrapant et que la manœuvre qu’il effectue est extrêmement tardive…

  • Inside the Close Naval Encounters in the South China Sea - Bloomberg

    On notera que la seule chose que confient les officiers interrogés sur ce navire amiral est que le comportement des navires qui les ont pistés à de multiples reprises à toujours été extrêmement sûr. Ils ne disent pas a toujours été extrêmement professionnel, car cela contredirait trop ouvertement les déclarations officielles.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-13/south-china-sea-naval-encounters


    The U.S. Navy’s USS Blue Ridge in Singapore on May 9.
    Photographer : Bryan van der Beek/Bloomberg

    The voice on the radio in the middle of the South China Sea follows a familiar script for Captain Eric Anduze, who helms the USS Blue Ridge. It’s China on the phone.

    They’ll contact us and they’ll go — ‘U.S. government vessel, this is Chinese Navy vessel’ number whatever — ‘we will maintain five miles from you and escort you as you make your transit,”’ Anduze said, describing the English-speaking voice from a rival Chinese warship.

    The U.S. response is short: “Chinese vessel, this is government vessel 1 9, copy, out.” From there on, silence, as the vessels of the world’s rival powers steam onward together.

    The ship-to-ship interactions are a regular potential flash point for the world’s two biggest militaries in contested waters. In September, a Chinese destroyer sailed within a football field’s distance of the USS Decatur in what the U.S. said was an “unsafe and unprofessional” maneuver. That hasn’t deterred future sailings — the U.S. sent two guided-missile destroyers within 12 nautical miles of disputed islands earlier this month.

    Based in Japan, the Blue Ridge is a frequent traveler through the South China Sea, which Beijing considers its waters against an international community increasingly concerned by its encroachment. The area is home to key shipping lanes and fisheries that have sparked dispute between China and its neighbors.
    […]
    The U.S. Navy allowed media outlets, including Bloomberg, an inside look at the sort of ship it’s using to sail through the disputed waters. The oldest operational warship in the American Navy, the Blue Ridge is the flagship of the 7th Fleet, and docked in Singapore as part of a tour of southeast Asian port cities.

    The Blue Ridge is billed as one of the most technologically advanced ships in the world. It operates as a central information node for a fleet whose range stretches from the Indian-Pakistan border to the International Date Line in the Pacific Ocean. Through its several computers flow a database the Navy says gives it a “complete tactical picture of air, surface and subsurface contacts.” That’s what it does: it sails and it knows things.

    The ship is a small floating town of more than 1,000 sailors at any given time. There are beds and cafeterias, fitness centers and a post office. A miniature hospital has sick beds and an operating room, along with a dentist who can fill a cavity or pull a tooth — unless the waves get too rough. Up on deck, sailors can jog around a makeshift track around the ship, at about seven laps to a mile.

    Since February, Captain Anduze said the Blue Ridge has been escorted by Chinese vessels about six times in an almost unremarkable and now routine manner.

    In Washington, the view is that China uses “coercive tactics” including its naval and paramilitary vessels to enforce claims in the South China Sea, the Pentagon said last week in its annual report on China’s military power. Those are targeted “in ways calculated to be below the threshold of provoking conflict,” though have escalated into near-misses with U.S. warships.

    Naval officials on the Blue Ridge declined to comment in detail on those more aggressive encounters, except to say nothing similar had happened with them as they passed through the South China Sea’s shipping lanes.

    We have had ships that come about three to four miles away and then just navigate with us throughout the area,” Anduze said. Those interactions have been “very safe.

  • Global military spending tops $1.8 trillion, highest on record

    Global military spending has reached a new post-Cold War high, topping $1.8 trillion in 2018, according to an annual report published this week by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). This marks a 2.6 percent increase over the previous annual record for worldwide military expenditures in 2017.

    Most notably, US military spending increased by 4.6 percent in 2018, to $649 billion, the first annual US spending hike recorded by SIPRI since 2011. This trend is set to continue, with President Donald Trump having signed a $686 billion budget for 2019 and requesting $718 billion for the Pentagon in 2020. The Congressional Budget Office projects that if current funding trends continue, the US will spend $7 trillion on its military over the next decade, equivalent to the amount which will be spent on education, infrastructure and public health programs combined.


    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/04/30/pers-a30.html#disqus_thread
    #industrie_militaire #business #armes #commerce_d'armes #statistiques #chiffres #2018

  • China’s vast fleet is tipping the balance in the Pacific

    The Chinese navy, which is growing faster than any other major fleet, now controls the seas off its coast. Once dominant, the United States and its allies sail warily in these waters. A former U.S. naval officer says China’s advances have caught America napping.
    https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/china-army-navy
    #chine #etatsunis

    • la version en ligne “ classique ” de ce très bel article interactif :

      Special Report: China’s vast fleet is tipping the balance in the Pacific - Reuters
      https://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFKCN1S6139


      FILE PHOTO - Warships and fighter jets of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy take part in a military display in the South China Sea April 12, 2018.
      REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

      For now, many of China’s warships are smaller vessels, including a big fleet of fast missile-attack craft. But Chinese shipyards are launching surface warships that are closing the gap in size, quality, and capability with the best of their foreign counterparts, according to interviews with veterans of the U.S., Taiwanese and Australian navies. China’s big fleet of conventional and nuclear submarines is also improving rapidly, they say.

      By 2020, the PLA navy will boast more big surface warships and submarines than the Russian navy, the former head of the U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Harry Harris, told a congressional committee last year. Some American naval experts believe China could achieve rough parity with the U.S. Navy in numbers and quality of major surface warships by 2030.

      Crucially, the Chinese navy already has an edge in hitting power, according to senior officers from the U.S. and other regional navies. The best Chinese destroyers, frigates, fast attack craft and submarines are armed with anti-ship missiles that in most cases far outrange and outperform those on U.S. warships, these officers say.

      This firepower explains why Washington keeps its carriers at a distance. The last U.S. carrier to pass through the Taiwan Strait was the now-decommissioned USS Kitty Hawk, which made a transit with its battle group in late 2007 after being denied a port visit to Hong Kong.

      The U.S. Navy and other foreign navies still sail near the Chinese mainland. But they avoid overt shows of force that would increase the risk of clashes with modern Chinese warships and submarines. Retired U.S. Navy carrier-fleet officers say that in recent years the Pentagon has also avoided sending carriers to the Yellow Sea between the Korean Peninsula and the Chinese mainland, amid repeated Chinese warnings.

      An example of China’s determination to control its near waters came this month, when a French warship passed through the Taiwan Strait. After the April 6 transit of the frigate Vendemiaire, China informed Paris that France was no longer welcome to attend celebrations last week to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese communist navy, U.S. officials told Reuters.

    • On peut mettre cet article en perspective avec celui sur les conséquences de l’austérité sur l’armée britannique (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/27/world/europe/austerity-britain-military.html) alors que partout les dépenses augmentent (https://www.courrierinternational.com/une/rearmement-le-boom-des-depenses-militaires-un-parfum-de-guerr) ; La Russie est en recul, dépassée notamment par la France (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures)

  • Upgraded Russian SPY PLANE makes maiden flight over US nuclear & military sites – report — RT World News
    https://www.rt.com/news/457679-russian-spy-plane-us


    A Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-214ON at Ramenskoye Airport in Moscow region.
    © Wikipedia / Oleg Belyakov

    A Russian Tu-214ON spy plane has reportedly made a reconnaissance tour over the southwestern US, taking a glimpse at an array of military bases as well as nuclear and chemical weapons depots as part of the #Open_Skies treaty.

    The Drive reported, citing FlightRadar 24 tracking service data, that the newest version of the Tu-214 observation aircraft graced US skies after taking off from Rosecrans Air National Guard Base in St. Joseph, Missouri on Thursday.

    The flight reportedly lasted six hours and saw the surveillance aircraft fly over a series of US defense and storage facilities scattered over the territory of West Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. The plane is reported to have flown over the Kirtland Air Force Base, which hosts the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center and functions as a nuclear storage site. In Colorado, the plane passed over the Pueblo Chemical Depot, one of the last two sites in the US with chemical munitions and materials.

    The flight itself had been authorized by the US under the Treaty on Open Skies, which allows its signatories to conduct short inspections of each other’s territory. The treaty was signed in 1992, but did not come into force until 2002. The US and Russia are among its 34 members.

    The Russian Defense Ministry has not commented on the details of the mission. Earlier, Sergey Ryzhkov, head of the Russian Center for Reduction of Nuclear Threat, announced that the Tu-214ON would be conducting surveillance from Missouri Airport between 22 April and April 27. Under the treaty, the flight has to be monitored by US specialists on board the plane.

    Washington eventually greenlighted the Tu-214ON flyover after initially refusing to certify the Russian “spy eye,” claiming that its digital surveillance equipment was more advanced than Moscow had declared and might manipulate digital data. After some back-and-forth, the US approved the plane for the flights over its territory in September last year.

    Tu-214ON is an updated version of the regular Tu-214. Its cockpit can fit two more people, which allowed the manufacturer to install more modern electronics. Its range has increased to a reported 6,500km (4,040 miles). The aircraft boasts three sensor arrays that include a digital photo camera, an infrared camera, and a TV camera complete with a sideways-looking synthetic aperture radar.

    • Il y a 2 mois, c’était en sens inverse.

      ‘Sign of good will’: US spy plane carries out 1st observation flights over Russia in 2 years — RT Russia News
      https://www.rt.com/russia/452169-us-open-skies-russia


      An American OC-135B taxiing to the runway
      © AFP / US AIR FORCE / CHARLES J. HAYMOND

      On Thursday and Friday, a US spy plane performs observation flights over Russia as part of the Open Skies pact, the first action of the kind in months. It can be also considered a sign of “good will” from Moscow, RT was told.
      The Pentagon has confirmed that an OC-135B plane, fitted with high-resolution cameras and infrared sensors, is indeed performing the flyovers, and that Moscow is fully aware of the action. The flights are the first since November 2017, according to spokesman Lt. Col. Jamie Davis.

      He said Russia is aware of the flight and the American spy plane has six of the country’s military observers on board to ensure the mission goes according to the treaty. The Pentagon did not expand on this, nor did the Russian military comment on it.

      Moscow “is demonstrating goodwill” quite apart from treaty obligations by allowing an American plane in its airspace despite major strains in relations, Konstantin Sivkov, a military expert and retired navy officer, told RT. The US is unlikely to stick to the treaty for very long, as accords like this are seen as unnecessary restraints in Washington, he believes.

      The Open Skies Treaty, a crucial multinational accord that allows signatories to perform mutual surveillance flights, has recently been placed in jeopardy by US lawmakers. In August of last year, Congress suspended US-Russia ties under the pact, citing alleged violations by Moscow. The latter denied all of the claims.

      Separately, Washington also curbed funding for any modifications to America’s own surveillance planes. Technical glitches on the ageing US Open Skies aircraft have left the country unable to carry out its missions over Russia. In 2017, only 13 of the 16 missions were actually flown.

      The OC-135B, specifically built for Open Skies missions in 1993, is based up the OC-135 Stratolifter cargo plane. It seats 35, including cockpit crew, aircraft maintenance staff, and foreign observers.

      Russia uses the Tu-214 ON and the Tu-154 ON derived from civilian versions of Tupolev airliners. The former was finally cleared for Open Skies flights over the US last year after months of political flip-flops and media frenzy, with numerous publications claiming Russia benefits too much from the Open Skies initiative.

    • L’article original de The Drive cité par RT

      Russia’s New Surveillance Plane Just Flew Over Two Of America’s Top Nuclear Labs - The Drive
      https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/27678/russias-new-surveillance-plane-just-flew-over-two-of-americas-top-nuclear-


      The route across Los Alamos National Laboratory.
      FLIGHTRADAR24

      One Russia’s two Tu-214ON aircraft has conducted what appears to be its first-ever flight over the United States under the Open Skies Treaty. This agreement allows member states to conduct aerial surveillance missions, with certain limitations in hardware and in the presence of monitors from the surveilled country, over each other’s territory. Today’s sortie took the Russian plane over parts of West Texas, through New Mexico, and into Colorado, including overflights of Fort Bliss, White Sands Missile Range, Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories, and finally hitting up the Pueblo Chemical Depot.

      et photos aériennes des différentes bases et sites avec trajectoire de l’avion de reconnaissance.

    • RF-64525 is set to depart Rosecrans at around 12:30 PM on Apr. 26, 2019 for another mission over areas of Colorado and Nebraska. This could take it over a number of other strategic sites, such as Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha and the Cheyenne Mountain Complex bunker outside Colorado Springs.

      The plane is then scheduled to head back to Russia on Apr. 27, 2019, but with Open Skies back in full swing, we could easily be seeing one of the Kremlin’s surveillance planes come back later in the year for another visit.

  • Notes après la chute d’Assange
    http://www.dedefensa.org/article/notes-apres-la-chute-dassange

    Notes après la chute d’Assange

    14 avril 2019 – Comme l’on sait, il y a près de 50 ans éclatait l’affaire des Pentagon Papers qui reste une des sommets de l’action décisive d’intrusion de la presse dans le pouvoir politique et ses illégalités. L’affaire avait été déclenchée par l’icône des “lanceur d’alerte” (whistleblowers), Daniel Ellsberg, qui agit au péril de sa liberté et peut-être bien de sa vie. Le même Ellsberg, qui garde bon pied bon œil et poursuit ce même combat pour la liberté de la presse, a publié un communiqué à l’occasion de l’emprisonnement de Julian Assange, que quelques gros-bras du MI5 sont venus chercher dans son refuge minuscule de la minuscule ambassade d’Équateur à Londres, devenue pour lui, depuis un an, une véritable prison.

    « C’est une agression très grave contre le Premier Amendement. (...)

    • lien propre:

      Glen Greenwald, Micah Lee - 20190412

      https://theintercept.com/2019/04/11/the-u-s-governments-indictment-of-julian-assange-poses-grave-threats-t

      In April, 2017, Pompeo, while still CIA chief, delivered a deranged speech proclaiming that “we have to recognize that we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us.” He punctuated his speech with this threat: “To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now.”

      From the start, the Trump DOJ has made no secret of its desire to criminalize journalism generally. Early in the Trump administration, Sessions explicitly discussed the possibility of prosecuting journalists for publishing classified information. Trump and his key aides were open about how eager they were to build on, and escalate, the Obama administration’s progress in enabling journalism in the U.S. to be criminalized.

      Today’s arrest of Assange is clearly the culmination of a two-year effort by the U.S. government to coerce Ecuador — under its new and submissive president, Lenín Moreno — to withdraw the asylum protection it extended to Assange in 2012. Rescinding Assange’s asylum would enable the U.K. to arrest Assange on minor bail-jumping charges pending in London and, far more significantly, to rely on an extradition request from the U.S. government to send him to a country to which he has no connection (the U.S.) to stand trial relating to leaked documents.

      Indeed, the Trump administration’s motive here is clear. With Ecuador withdrawing its asylum protection and subserviently allowing the U.K. to enter its own embassy to arrest Assange, Assange faced no charges other than a minor bail-jumping charge in the U.K. (Sweden closed its sexual assault investigation not because they concluded Assange was innocent, but because they spent years unsuccessfully trying to extradite him). By indicting Assange and demanding his extradition, it ensures that Assange — once he serves his time in a London jail for bail-jumping — will be kept in a British prison for the full year or longer that it takes for the U.S. extradition request, which Assange will certainly contest, to wind its way through the British courts.

      The indictment tries to cast itself as charging Assange not with journalistic activities but with criminal hacking. But it is a thinly disguised pretext for prosecuting Assange for publishing the U.S. government’s secret documents while pretending to make it about something else.

      Whatever else is true about the indictment, substantial parts of the document explicitly characterize as criminal exactly the actions that journalists routinely engage in with their sources and thus, constitutes a dangerous attempt to criminalize investigative journalism.

      The indictment, for instance, places great emphasis on Assange’s alleged encouragement that Manning — after she already turned over hundreds of thousands of classified documents — try to get more documents for WikiLeaks to publish. The indictment claims that “discussions also reflect Assange actively encouraging Manning to provide more information. During an exchange, Manning told Assange that ‘after this upload, that’s all I really have got left.’ To which Assange replied, ‘curious eyes never run dry in my experience.’”

      But encouraging sources to obtain more information is something journalists do routinely. Indeed, it would be a breach of one’s journalistic duties not to ask vital sources with access to classified information if they could provide even more information so as to allow more complete reporting. If a source comes to a journalist with information, it is entirely common and expected that the journalist would reply: Can you also get me X, Y, and Z to complete the story or to make it better? As Edward Snowden said this morning, “Bob Woodward stated publicly he would have advised me to remain in place and act as a mole.”

      Investigative journalism in many, if not most, cases, entails a constant back and forth between journalist and source in which the journalist tries to induce the source to provide more classified information, even if doing so is illegal. To include such “encouragement” as part of a criminal indictment — as the Trump DOJ did today — is to criminalize the crux of investigative journalism itself, even if the indictment includes other activities you believe fall outside the scope of journalism.

      As Northwestern journalism professor Dan Kennedy explained in The Guardian in 2010 when denouncing as a press freedom threat the Obama DOJ’s attempts to indict Assange based on the theory that he did more than passively receive and publish documents — i.e., that he actively “colluded” with Manning:


      The problem is that there is no meaningful distinction to be made. How did the Guardian, equally, not “collude” with WikiLeaks in obtaining the cables? How did the New York Times not “collude” with the Guardian when the Guardian gave the Times a copy following Assange’s decision to cut the Times out of the latest document dump?

      For that matter, I don’t see how any news organisation can be said not to have colluded with a source when it receives leaked documents. Didn’t the Times collude with Daniel Ellsberg when it received the Pentagon Papers from him? Yes, there are differences. Ellsberg had finished making copies long before he began working with the Times, whereas Assange may have goaded Manning. But does that really matter?

      Most of the reports about the Assange indictment today have falsely suggested that the Trump DOJ discovered some sort of new evidence that proved Assange tried to help Manning hack through a password in order to use a different username to download documents. Aside from the fact that those attempts failed, none of this is new: As the last five paragraphs of this 2011 Politico story demonstrate, that Assange talked to Manning about ways to use a different username so as to avoid detection was part of Manning’s trial and was long known to the Obama DOJ when they decided not to prosecute.

      There are only two new events that explain today’s indictment of Assange: 1) The Trump administration from the start included authoritarian extremists such as Sessions and Pompeo who do not care in the slightest about press freedom and were determined to criminalize journalism against the U.S., and 2) With Ecuador about to withdraw its asylum protection, the U.S. government needed an excuse to prevent Assange from walking free.

      A technical analysis of the indictment’s claims similarly proves the charge against Assange to be a serious threat to First Amendment press liberties, primarily because it seeks to criminalize what is actually a journalist’s core duty: helping one’s source avoid detection. The indictment deceitfully seeks to cast Assange’s efforts to help Manning maintain her anonymity as some sort of sinister hacking attack.

      The Defense Department computer that Manning used to download the documents which she then furnished to WikiLeaks was likely running the Windows operating system. It had multiple user accounts on it, including an account to which Manning had legitimate access. Each account is protected by a password, and Windows computers store a file that contains a list of usernames and password “hashes,” or scrambled versions of the passwords. Only accounts designated as “administrator,” a designation Manning’s account lacked, have permission to access this file.

      The indictment suggests that Manning, in order to access this password file, powered off her computer and then powered it back on, this time booting to a CD running the Linux operating system. From within Linux, she allegedly accessed this file full of password hashes. The indictment alleges that Assange agreed to try to crack one of these password hashes, which, if successful, would recover the original password. With the original password, Manning would be able to log directly into that other user’s account, which — as the indictment puts it — “would have made it more difficult for investigators to identify Manning as the source of disclosures of classified information.”

      Assange appears to have been unsuccessful in cracking the password. The indictment alleges that “Assange indicated that he had been trying to crack the password by stating that he had ‘no luck so far.’”

      Thus, even if one accepts all of the indictment’s claims as true, Assange was not trying to hack into new document files to which Manning had no access, but rather trying to help Manning avoid detection as a source. For that reason, the precedent that this case would set would be a devastating blow to investigative journalists and press freedom everywhere.

      Journalists have an ethical obligation to take steps to protect their sources from retaliation, which sometimes includes granting them anonymity and employing technical measures to help ensure that their identity is not discovered. When journalists take source protection seriously, they strip metadata and redact information from documents before publishing them if that information could have been used to identify their source; they host cloud-based systems such as SecureDrop, now employed by dozens of major newsrooms around the world, that make it easier and safer for whistleblowers, who may be under surveillance, to send messages and classified documents to journalists without their employers knowing; and they use secure communication tools like Signal and set them to automatically delete messages.

      But today’s indictment of Assange seeks to criminalize exactly these types of source-protection efforts, as it states that “it was part of the conspiracy that Assange and Manning used a special folder on a cloud drop box of WikiLeaks to transmit classified records containing information related to the national defense of the United States.”

      The indictment, in numerous other passages, plainly conflates standard newsroom best practices with a criminal conspiracy. It states, for instance, that “it was part of the conspiracy that Assange and Manning used the ‘Jabber’ online chat service to collaborate on the acquisition and dissemination of the classified records, and to enter into the agreement to crack the password […].” There is no question that using Jabber, or any other encrypted messaging system, to communicate with sources and acquire documents with the intent to publish them, is a completely lawful and standard part of modern investigative journalism. Newsrooms across the world now use similar technologies to communicate securely with their sources and to help their sources avoid detection by the government.

      The indictment similarly alleges that “it was part of the conspiracy that Assange and Manning took measures to conceal Manning as the source of the disclosure of classified records to WikiLeaks, including by removing usernames from the disclosed information and deleting chat logs between Assange and Manning.”

  • F-35 Far, Far from Ready...
    http://www.dedefensa.org/article/f-35-far-far-from-ready

    F-35 Far, Far from Ready...

    The Navy’s version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, recently declared ready for combat, has netted unacceptably low “fully mission capable” rates—meaning it’s in fact almost never fully ready for combat—according to a document obtained by the Center for Defense Information at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO).

    The fact that the Navy is pushing ahead with the aircraft in spite of evidence that it is not ready for combat and could therefore put at risk missions, as well as the troops who depend on it to get to the fight, comes at the same time as the Pentagon’s annual operational testing report for fiscal year 2018 shows that the entire F-35 program, the most expensive weapon system in history, is not ready to face current or future threats.

    Sold in (...)

  • Navy Bid to Retire Truman Stirs Debate Over Aircraft Carriers - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-21/navy-bid-to-retire-truman-stirs-debate-over-aircraft-carriers


    The USS Harry S. Truman transits the Strait of Hormuz on Dec. 26, 2015
    Photographer: Mass Communication Specialist 2n/U.S. Navy

    Visiting the USS Gerald R. Ford two years ago, U.S. President Donald Trump extolled the importance of an enlarged naval force featuring a dozen aircraft carriers—including the Ford, the most expensive ship ever built.

    Having 12 of these behemoths—sometimes accompanied by a half-dozen other ships—would send an international signal of U.S. resolve and restore the fleet to its post-Cold War size during the 1990s.

    The Pentagon’s latest budget proposal, however, seems to do the opposite.

    The Defense Department is seeking to—at least for now—shrink the carrier fleet, proposing that the USS Harry Truman be effectively decommissioned in 2024. This would mean that a multibillion-dollar, nuclear-powered super-carrier deployed in 2000 would be mothballed two decades before the end of its service life. 

    The Pentagon plan would skip the vessel’s $6.5 billion midlife nuclear refueling and overhaul to save funds for other military priorities. The Ford alone costs $13 billion.

    The proposal—which already faces congressional headwinds—would for a time leave the Navy with 10 carriers, one fewer than the congressionally mandated fleet size. Senator James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican and chairman of the Armed Services Committee, signaled last week that he opposes the plan. “I’m a little disturbed by the idea,” he said.

    Patrick Shanahan, the acting U.S. secretary of defense, said the decision “represents some of the strategic choices we made in this year’s budget.

    Being forced to choose, however, may prompt Congress to simply find more money to rehabilitate the Truman and move forward with an existing deal to buy a second and third Ford-class carrier. A similar quandary during the Obama administration was resolved this way. Indeed, there’s some question as to whether the Truman proposal is simply a feint: The Navy’s new 30-year shipbuilding plan has a section called “Navy The Nation Needs,” which includes 12 carriers as part of a desired 355-vessel fleet.

  • Watchdog: Pentagon doesn’t know where $2.1B was spent on #F-35 parts | TheHill
    https://thehill.com/policy/defense/434280-watchdog-pentagon-doesnt-know-where-21b-was-spent-on-f-35-parts

    Pentagon officials did not account for and manage $2.1 billion worth of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter parts and must now rely on the aircraft’s maker, #Lockheed_Martin, to tell them where and when it spent the funds, according to a new watchdog report.

    The scathing report from the Defense Department’s (DOD) Office of Inspector General found that Pentagon officials “failed to implement procedures, and failed to appoint and hold officials responsible, to account for and manage government property for more than 16 years.”

    As a result of major oversights, “the DoD does not know the actual value of the F‑35 property and does not have an independent record to verify the contractor‑valued government property of $2.1 billion for the F‑35 Program,” the report states.

    The implications are significant, the inspector general noted, since without accurate records, F‑35 program officials have no metrics to hold Lockheed accountable for how it managed 3.45 million pieces of government property.

    #pentagone #dépenses #etats-unis

  • Russian state TV shows map of potential US nuclear targets | World news | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/25/russian-state-tv-map-potential-us-nuclear-targets-hypersonic-missile

    Russian state television has broadcast a map of the US showing military facilities Moscow would target in the event of a nuclear strike, in a report that was unusual even by its own bellicose standards.

    The targets included the Pentagon and the presidential retreat in Camp David, Maryland. A hypersonic missile Russia is developing would be able to hit them in less than five minutes, it said.

    #nucleaire #russie #etats-unis

  • Is Climate the Worst Casualty of War?
    https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/07/31/climate-worst-casualty-war

    the big environmental organizations seem to have tacitly agreed that the U.S. military is the entity we won’t talk about when we talk about the biggest contributors to climate change.

    The Pentagon uses more petroleum per day than the aggregate consumption of 175 countries (out of 210 in the world), and generates more than 70 percent of this nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions, based on rankings in the CIA World Factbook. “The U.S. Air Force burns through 2.4 billion gallons of jet fuel a year, all of it derived from oil,” reported an article in the Scientific American. Since the start of the post-9/11 wars, U.S. military fuel consumption has averaged about 144 million barrels annually. That figure doesn’t include fuel used by coalition forces, military contractors, or the massive amount of fossil fuels burned in weapons manufacturing.

    #guerre #écologie #pollution #pétrole

  • Google Hired Gig Economy Workers to Improve Artificial Intelligence in Controversial Drone-Targeting Project
    https://theintercept.com/2019/02/04/google-ai-project-maven-figure-eight

    Millions of gig economy workers around the world now earn a living on so-called crowd worker websites — work that falls under the umbrella of crowdsourcing, or dividing up tasks into minuscule portions to spread over a large number of people. The sites pay as little as $1 an hour for individuals to perform short, repetitive tasks, such as identifying images seen in pictures and churning out product reviews. Some of these crowd workers were unknowingly helping to build out the Pentagon’s (...)

    #Google #algorithme #drone #militarisation #BigData #ProjectMaven #travail

  • Huntington Ingalls wins $15 billion deal for two aircraft carriers | Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-huntington-us-pentagon-idUSKCN1PP336

    The Pentagon said on Thursday it awarded Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc a $15.2 billion contract to build two nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.

    The U.S. Navy told lawmakers in December it intended to pursue a block purchase of two Ford-class aircraft carriers, a step officials have said could save billions of dollars as the Trump administration tries to expand the size of the fleet.

    The Navy commissioned the first Ford-class aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, in July 2017, three years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget. The Ford cost about $13 billion.

    The ships, which will be built at the Newport News shipyard in Virginia, are scheduled to be delivered in 2028 and 2032, Huntington Ingalls said.

    The largest military shipbuilding company said the two-ship deal would save the Navy more than $4 billion.

    15 milliards de dollars, un vrai prix d’ami !
    À ce prix-là, tu avais le Gerald R. Ford (qui ne marche toujours pas,…)
    J’te fais une ristourne supérieure à 4 milliards !

  • Palestinian Authority tells U.S. it will stop taking aid to avoid multi-million dollar lawsuits - U.S. News - Haaretz.com

    https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-pa-informs-u-s-it-will-stop-receiving-aid-to-avoid-multi-million-d

    WASHINGTON – The Palestinian Authority informed the Trump administration that it will stop taking any form of government assistance from the United States at the end of the month, as a result of legislation passed last year by Congress.

    The law that led the PA to make this decision is the “Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act”, known as ATCA, which makes it possible for U.S. citizens to sue foreign entities that receive U.S. assistance for past acts of terrorism.

    The Palestinian decision could lead to the end of the U.S. support for the PA’s security forces. These forces work regularly with the Israeli military to thwart terror attacks. In his last appearance before the Israeli government last week, outgoing IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot said that the security coordination between Israel and the PA’s forces helps save lives and maintain stability in the region.

    >> Trump’s ’Arab NATO’ push against Iran comes to a head, and he’s the biggest obstacle | Analysis

    During 2018, the Trump administration cut all forms of U.S. civil assistance to the Palestinians, but it did not touch the security assistance, stating that the security coordination between the PA and Israel serves American foreign policy interests. Now, however, U.S. support for the PA security forces could end at the end of January, putting at risk the continuation of efficient security coordination.

    The ATCA bill, which the PA blamed for its decision, was promoted last year in Congress in response to rulings by U.S. courts that rejected multi-million dollar lawsuits against the PA. These lawsuits were filed by American citizens who were injured or lost loved ones in terror attacks committed by Palestinians, mostly during the Second Intifada. The Supreme Court in Washington affirmed a ruling by a lower court that the American legal system does not have jurisdiction to deal with such lawsuits.

    This led members of Congress to promote the ATCA bill, which states that U.S. courts will have jurisdiction to hear terrorism-related lawsuits against any foreign entity reviving U.S. government assistance. This means that if the PA will receive even one dollar of U.S. funding, it could face lawsuits asking for hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation. The law has also created concern in other countries in the Middle East that rely on U.S. assistance. It would not apply to Israel, however, because of the specific sources of funding through which Israel receives U.S. security assistance.
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    Only after the bill passed Congress and was signed into law by President Trump, senior administration officials became aware of its possible impact on security coordination. In recent months, the administration tried to negotiate a “fix” to the law together with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. As reported in Haaretz two weeks ago, these efforts have stalled because of the ongoing government shutdown.

    The PA’s letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, which was first reported over the weekend by NPR, could create a sense of urgency in Washington to solve the security assistance question.

    Two sources who are involved in the negotiations on the subject told Haaretz that a possible solution could emerge with the involvement of the CIA or the Pentagon, but its exact mechanism hasn’t yet been drawn in full. “Everyone wants a fix, but it’s still not clear how we can get it,” explained one of the sources, who asked not to be named in order to discuss politicallly-sensitive negotiations.

  • Troops To Be Deployed To Border To Build And Upgrade 160 Miles Of Fencing

    More troops are expected to be deployed to the Southern border to construct or upgrade 160 miles of fencing and provide medical care to a steady stream of migrant families arriving from Central America, according to military sources.

    The deployment and fence construction along the California and Arizona borders would be paid for by the Pentagon, from the Department of Defense’s discretionary funding.

    The move comes as President Trump continues to demand more than $5 billion from Congress for border security and a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Congressional Democrats oppose the move, and parts of the federal government have been shut down because of the impasse.

    The Department of Defense has not been affected by the shutdown.

    Last month Trump tweeted that “the Military will build the remaining sections of the Wall” after he said that much of it already has been built. The president was referring to several hundred miles of existing fencing along the Southern border.

    A few days later, Trump repeated his intention to have the Defense Department do the job, saying in another tweet that because of crime and drugs flowing through the border “the United States Military will build the Wall!”

    The Department of Homeland Security — which has had to cease some operations, although not border security — made the request for more troops to shore up the border with Mexico.

    The request will very likely mean the deployment of more forces, including combat engineers and aviation units. There are now some 2,300 active troops on the border and an additional 2,100 National Guard troops.

    The active-duty deployment was scheduled to be completed at the end of January, while the Guard troops are scheduled to remain until September.

    A senior military official said the new request could include thousands more troops and that installing the fencing could take months. The Pentagon is now considering which units to send.

    With the partial government shutdown now in its second week, Trump made a short and unannounced appearance in the White House briefing room Thursday to press for border wall funding.

    “The wall — you can call it a barrier, you can call it whatever you want — but essentially we need protection in our country,” he said.

    https://www.npr.org/2019/01/03/681971323/troops-to-be-deployed-to-border-to-build-160-miles-of-fencing

    #Trump #frontières #armée #militarisation_des_frontières #USA #Etats-Unis

  • American Exceptionalism Is a Dangerous Myth
    http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/01/american-exceptionalism-is-a-dangerous-myth.html

    Having a global hegemon that preaches human rights — while propping up dictators and incinerating schoolchildren — is bad. But having one that does those things while preaching nihilism is worse; not least because even a nominal commitment to liberal values can function as a constraint against their violation. Trump’s distaste for the whole “shining city on a hill” shtick has, among other things, enabled the Pentagon to tolerate higher levels of civilian casualties in the Middle East, the Israeli government to accelerate settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, and the Saudi crown prince to take a bonesaw to international law.

    #etats-unis

  • Quoi qu’il en soit, Trump ne quittera pas la Syrie et l’Afghanistan Stephen Gowans - 2 Janvier 2019 - Investigaction
    https://www.investigaction.net/fr/117672

    Il ne fait que transférer le fardeau sur les alliés et compter davantage sur les mercenaires

    Le retrait annoncé des troupes américaines de #Syrie et la diminution des troupes d’occupation en #Afghanistan ne correspondent très probablement pas à l’abandon par les #États-Unis de leurs objectifs au #Moyen-Orient, mais bien plutôt à l’adoption de nouveaux moyens pour atteindre les buts que la politique étrangère américaine vise depuis longtemps. Plutôt que de renoncer à l’objectif américain de dominer les mondes arabe et musulman par un système colonialiste et une occupation militaire directe, le président #Donald_Trump ne fait que mettre en œuvre une nouvelle politique – une politique basée sur un transfert plus important du fardeau du maintien de l’#Empire sur ses alliés et sur des soldats privés financés par les monarchies pétrolières.

    Le modus operandi de Trump en matière de relations étrangères a été constamment guidé par l’argument que les alliés des États-Unis ne parviennent pas à peser leur poids et devraient contribuer davantage à l’architecture de la sécurité américaine. Recruter des alliés arabes pour remplacer les troupes américaines en Syrie et déployer des #mercenaires (appelés par euphémisme des fournisseurs de sécurité) sont deux options que la Maison-Blanche examine activement depuis l’année dernière. De plus, il existe déjà une importante présence alliée et mercenaire en Afghanistan et le retrait prévu de 7000 soldats américains de ce pays ne réduira que marginalement l’empreinte militaire occidentale.

    Le conflit entre le secrétaire américain à la Défense #Jim_Mattis et Trump quant à leurs visions du monde est perçu à tort comme l’expression d’opinions contradictoires sur les objectifs américains plutôt que sur la manière de les atteindre. Mattis privilégie la poursuite des buts impériaux des États-Unis par la participation significative de l’armée américaine tandis que Trump favorise la pression sur les alliés pour qu’ils assument une plus grande partie du fardeau que constitue l’entretien de l’empire américain, tout en embauchant des fournisseurs de sécurité pour combler les lacunes. Le but de Trump est de réduire la ponction de l’Empire sur les finances américaines et d’assurer sa base électorale, à qui il a promis, dans le cadre de son plan « #America_First », de ramener les soldats américains au pays.

    Fait significatif, le plan de Trump est de réduire les dépenses des activités militaires américaines à l’étranger, non pas comme fin en soi mais comme moyen de libérer des revenus pour l’investissement intérieur dans les infrastructures publiques. De son point de vue, les dépenses pour la république devraient avoir la priorité sur les dépenses pour l’#Empire. « Nous avons [dépensé] 7 mille milliards de dollars au Moyen-Orient », s’est plaint le président américain auprès des membres de son administration. « Nous ne pouvons même pas réunir mille milliards de dollars pour l’infrastructure domestique. »[1] Plus tôt, à la veille de l’élection de 2016, Trump se plaignait que Washington avait « gaspillé 6 trillions de dollars en guerres au Moyen-Orient – nous aurions pu reconstruire deux fois notre pays – qui n’ont produit que plus de terrorisme, plus de mort et plus de souffrance – imaginez si cet argent avait été dépensé dans le pays. […] Nous avons dépensé 6 trillions de dollars, perdu des milliers de vies. On pourrait dire des centaines de milliers de vies, parce qu’il faut aussi regarder l’autre côté. » [2]

    En avril de cette année, Trump « a exprimé son impatience croissante face au coût et à la durée de l’effort pour stabiliser la Syrie » et a parlé de l’urgence d’accélérer le retrait des troupes américaines. [3] Les membres de son administration se sont empressés « d’élaborer une stratégie de sortie qui transférerait le fardeau américain sur des partenaires régionaux ». [4]

    La conseiller à la Sécurité nationale, #John_Bolton, « a appelé Abbas Kamel, le chef par intérim des services de renseignement égyptiens pour voir si le Caire contribuerait à cet effort ». [5] Puis l’#Arabie_ saoudite, le #Qatar et les Émirats arabes unis ont été « approchés par rapport à leur soutien financier et, plus largement, pour qu’ils contribuent ». Bolton a également demandé « aux pays arabes d’envoyer des troupes ». [6] Les satellites arabes ont été mis sous pression pour « travailler avec les combattants locaux #kurdes et arabes que les Américains soutenaient » [7] – autrement dit de prendre le relais des États-Unis.

    Peu après, #Erik_Prince, le fondateur de #Blackwater USA, l’entreprise de mercenaires, a « été contactée de manière informelle par des responsables arabes sur la perspective de construire une force en Syrie ». [8] À l’été 2017, Prince – le frère de la secrétaire américaine à l’Éducation #Betsy_De_Vos – a approché la Maison Blanche sur la possibilité de retirer les forces étasuniennes d’Afghanistan et d’envoyer des mercenaires combattre à leur place. [9] Le plan serait que les monarchies pétrolières du golfe Persique paient Prince pour déployer une force mercenaire qui prendrait la relève des troupes américaines.

    En avril, Trump a annoncé : « Nous avons demandé à nos partenaires d’assumer une plus grande responsabilité dans la sécurisation de leur région d’origine. » [10] La rédaction en chef du Wall Street Journal a applaudi cette décision. Le plan de Trump, a-t-il dit, était « la meilleure stratégie » – elle mobiliserait « les opposants régionaux de l’Iran », c’est-à-dire les potentats arabes qui gouvernent à la satisfaction de Washington en vue du projet de transformer « la Syrie en un Vietnam pour l’Ayatollah ». [11]

    En ce moment, il y a 14 000 soldats américains reconnus en Afghanistan, dont la moitié, soit 7 000, seront bientôt retirés. Mais il y a aussi environ 47 000 soldats occidentaux dans le pays, y compris des troupes de l’#OTAN et des mercenaires (14 000 soldats américains, 7 000 de l’OTAN [12] et 26 000 soldats privés [13]). Diviser la contribution étasunienne de moitié laissera encore 40 000 hommes de troupes occidentales comme force d’occupation en Afghanistan. Et la réduction des forces américaines peut être réalisée facilement en engageant 7000 remplaçants mercenaires, payés par les monarques du golfe Persique. « Le retrait », a rapporté The Wall Street Journal, « pourrait ouvrir la voie à un plus grand nombre d’entrepreneurs privés pour assumer des rôles de soutien et de formation », comme le souligne « la campagne de longue date d’Erik Prince ». Le Journal a noté que le frère de la secrétaire à l’Éducation « a mené une campagne agressive pour convaincre M. Trump de privatiser la guerre ». [14]

    La démission de Mattis a été interprétée comme une protestation contre Trump, qui « cède un territoire essentiel à la Russie et à l’Iran » [15] plutôt que comme un reproche à Trump de se reposer sur des alliés pour porter le fardeau de la poursuite des objectifs étasuniens en Syrie. La lettre de démission du secrétaire à la Défense était muette sur la décision de Trump de rapatrier les troupes américaines de Syrie et d’Afghanistan et insistait plutôt sur « les alliances et les partenariats ». Elle soulignait les préoccupations de Mattis sur le fait que le changement de direction de Trump n’accordait pas suffisamment d’attention au « maintien d’alliances solides et de signes de respect » à l’égard des alliés. Alors que cela a été interprété comme un reproche d’avoir abandonné le fer de lance américain en Syrie, les Kurdes, Mattis faisait référence aux « alliances et aux partenariats » au pluriel, ce qui indique que ses griefs vont plus loin que les relations des États-Unis avec les Kurdes. Au contraire, Mattis a exprimé des préoccupations cohérentes avec une plainte durable dans le milieu de la politique étrangère américaine selon laquelle les efforts incessants de Trump pour faire pression sur ses alliés afin qu’ils supportent davantage le coût du maintien de l’Empire aliènent les alliés des Américains et affaiblissent le « système d’alliances et de partenariats » qui le composent. [16]

    L’idée, aussi, que la démission de Mattis est un reproche à Trump pour l’abandon des Kurdes, est sans fondement. Les Kurdes ne sont pas abandonnés. Des commandos britanniques et français sont également présents dans le pays et « on s’attend à ce qu’ils restent en Syrie après le départ des troupes américaines ». [17] Mattis semble avoir été préoccupé par le fait qu’en extrayant les forces américaines de Syrie, Trump fasse peser plus lourdement le poids de la sécurisation des objectifs étasuniens sur les Britanniques et les Français, dont on ne peut guère attendre qu’ils tolèrent longtemps un arrangement où ils agissent comme force expéditionnaire pour Washington tandis que les troupes américaines restent chez elles. À un moment donné, ils se rendront compte qu’ils seraient peut-être mieux en dehors de l’alliance américaine. Pour Mattis, soucieux depuis longtemps de préserver un « système global d’alliances et de partenariats » comme moyen de « faire progresser un ordre international le plus propice à la sécurité, à la prospérité et aux valeurs [des États-Unis], le transfert du fardeau par Trump ne parvient guère à « traiter les alliés avec respect » ou à « faire preuve d’un leadership efficace », comme Mattis a écrit que Washington devrait le faire dans sa lettre de démission.

    Le président russe #Vladimir_Poutine a accueilli l’annonce de Trump avec scepticisme. « Nous ne voyons pas encore de signes du retrait des troupes américaines », a-t-il déclaré. « Depuis combien de temps les États-Unis sont-ils en Afghanistan ? Dix-sept ans ? Et presque chaque année, ils disent qu’ils retirent leurs troupes. » [18] Le #Pentagone parle déjà de déplacer les troupes américaines « vers l’#Irak voisin, où environ 5000 soldats étasuniens sont déjà déployés », et qui ‘déferleront’ en Syrie pour des raids spécifiques ». [19] Cette force pourrait aussi « retourner en Syrie pour des missions spéciales si des menaces graves surgissent » [20] ce qui pourrait inclure les tentatives de l’armée syrienne de récupérer son territoire occupé par les forces #kurdes. De plus, le Pentagone conserve la capacité de continuer de mener des « frappes aériennes et de réapprovisionner les combattants kurdes alliés avec des armes et du matériel » depuis l’Irak. [21]

    Trump n’a jamais eu l’intention d’apporter à la présidence une redéfinition radicale des objectifs de la politique étrangère américaine, mais seulement une manière différente de les atteindre, une manière qui profiterait de ses prouesses autoproclamées de négociation. Les tactiques de négociation de Trump n’impliquent rien de plus que de faire pression sur d’autres pour qu’ils paient la note, et c’est ce qu’il a fait ici. Les Français, les Britanniques et d’autres alliés des Américains remplaceront les bottes étasuniennes sur le terrain, avec des mercenaires qui seront financés par les monarchies pétrolières arabes. C’est vrai, la politique étrangère des États-Unis, instrument pour la protection et la promotion des profits américains, a toujours reposé sur quelqu’un d’autre pour payer la note, notamment les Américains ordinaires qui paient au travers de leurs impôts et, dans certains cas, par leurs vies et leurs corps en tant que soldats. En tant que salariés, ils ne tirent aucun avantage d’une politique façonnée par « des #élites_économiques et des groupes organisés représentant les intérêts des entreprises », comme les politologues Martin Gilens et Benjamin I. Page l’ont montré dans leur enquête de 2014 portant sur plus de 1700 questions politiques américaines. Les grandes entreprises, concluaient les chercheurs, « ont une influence considérable sur la politique gouvernementale, tandis que les citoyens moyens et les groupes fondés sur les intérêts des masses n’ont que peu d’influence ou pas d’influence du tout ». [22] Autrement dit, les grandes entreprises conçoivent la politique étrangère à leur avantage et en font payer le coût aux Américains ordinaires. 

    C’est ainsi que les choses devraient être, selon Mattis et d’autres membres de l’élite de la politique étrangère américaine. Le problème avec Trump, de leur point de vue, est qu’il essaie de transférer une partie du fardeau qui pèse actuellement lourdement sur les épaules des Américains ordinaires sur les épaules des gens ordinaires dans les pays qui constituent les éléments subordonnés de l’Empire américain. Et alors qu’on s’attend à ce que les alliés portent une partie du fardeau, la part accrue que Trump veut leur infliger nuit est peu favorable au maintien des alliances dont dépend l’Empire américain. 

    Notes :
    1. Bob Woodward, Fear : Trump in the White House, (Simon & Shuster, 2018) 307.

    2. Jon Schwarz, “This Thanksgiving, I’m Grateful for Donald Trump, America’s Most Honest President,” The Intercept, November 21, 2018.

    3. Michael R. Gordon, “US seeks Arab force and funding for Syria,” The Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2018.

    4. Gordon, April 16, 2018.

    5. Gordon, April 16, 2018.

    6. Gordon, April 16, 2018.

    7. Gordon, April 16, 2018.

    8. Gordon, April 16, 2018.

    9. Michael R. Gordon, Eric Schmitt and Maggie Haberman, “Trump settles on Afghan strategy expected to raise troop levels,” The New York Times, August 20, 2017.

    10. Gordon, April 16, 2018.

    11. The Editorial Board, “Trump’s next Syria challenge,” The Wall Street Journal, April 15, 2018.

    12. Julian E. Barnes, “NATO announces deployment of more troops to Afghanistan,” The Wall Street Journal, June 29, 2017.

    13. Erik Prince, “Contractors, not troops, will save Afghanistan,” The New York Times, August 30, 2017.

    14. Craig Nelson, “Trump withdrawal plan alters calculus on ground in Afghanistan,” The Wall Street Journal, December 21, 2018.

    15. Helene Cooper, “Jim Mattis, defense secretary, resigns in rebuke of Trump’s worldview,” The New York Times, December 20, 2018.

    16. “Read Jim Mattis’s letter to Trump : Full text,” The New York Times, December 20, 2018.

    17. Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Eric Schmitt, “Pentagon considers using special operations forces to continue mission in Syria,” The New York Times, December 21, 2018.

    18. Neil MacFarquhar and Andrew E. Kramer, “Putin welcomes withdrawal from Syria as ‘correct’,” The New York Times, December 20, 2018.

    19. Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Eric Schmitt, “Pentagon considers using special operations forces to continue mission in Syria,” The New York Times, December 21, 2018.

    20. Gibbons-Neff and Schmitt, December 21, 2018.

    21. Gibbons-Neff and Schmitt, December 21, 2018.

    22. Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, “Testing Theories of American Politics : Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens,” Perspectives on Politics, Fall 2014.
    Traduit par Diane Gilliard
    Source : https://gowans.wordpress.com/2018/12/22/no-matter-how-it-appears-trump-isnt-getting-out-of-syria-and-afgha

  • 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 !