person:george w. bush

  • Le projet de loi anti-Opep refait surface au Congrès américain
    https://www.latribune.fr/economie/international/le-projet-de-loi-anti-opep-refait-surface-au-congres-americain-807056.html

    Aux États-Unis, des parlementaires ont récemment remis sur la table un projet de loi visant à empêcher l’Organisation des pays exportateurs de pétrole (Opep) d’influencer les cours de l’or noir mais risquant aussi de provoquer de forts remous géopolitiques et financiers.

    Le projet de loi baptisé "No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act of 2019" ou #NOPEC a été déposé la semaine dernière à la fois devant la Chambre des représentants et devant le Sénat américain. Cette loi, si elle était adoptée, permettrait aux autorités américaines de poursuivre tout groupe de pays s’accordant pour influencer les prix du pétrole en ajustant leur production. L’idée est d’abaisser in fine le prix de l’essence à la pompe. Pour l’heure, aucune date n’a été fixée pour son examen en séance plénière.

    L’#Opep, et son chef de file l’#Arabie_saoudite, sont directement visés. Le cartel a notamment décidé fin 2016, en association avec plusieurs pays partenaires dont la Russie, de s’imposer des quotas pour tenter de redresser les cours de l’or noir.

    Proposé pour la première fois en 2000, le projet de loi NOPEC réapparaît depuis par intermittence au Congrès américain malgré l’opposition de la Chambre américaine de commerce et de la fédération du secteur pétrolier API. Il n’a toutefois jamais été adopté. Les présidents républicain George W. Bush et démocrate Barack Obama avaient toujours averti qu’ils y mettraient leur veto.

    Le projet de loi apporte à l’administration américaine « un moyen de pression important si les prix devaient grimper », estimaient récemment dans une note les analystes de Barclays.

    Il pourrait aussi fournir « des options législatives pouvant être considérées comme des sanctions au regard du meurtre (du journaliste saoudien Jamal) Khashoggi, des tensions entre la Russie et l’Ukraine et des arrangements que l’Opep et ses partenaires pourraient envisager le mois prochain à Bakou », relevaient-ils.
    Le cartel et ses partenaires doivent discuter en Azerbaïdjan d’éventuels ajustements à l’accord les liant. Donald Trump appelle régulièrement l’Opep, parfois vertement, à ouvrir plus grand les vannes.

    Si le texte devait être adopté, le cartel - Arabie saoudite en tête -, « n’aurait alors plus aucun intérêt à se réserver une marge de manœuvre en cas de troubles », souligne James Williams de WTRG Economics.

    L’Opep maintient en effet depuis plusieurs décennies de quoi augmenter rapidement sa production pour pouvoir maintenir l’offre d’or noir sur le marché mondial, et Ryad est plusieurs fois monté au créneau pour éviter une flambée des prix, au moment des guerres en Irak ou des combats en Libye par exemple. Mais c’est coûteux. Or sans ce coussin de sécurité, « les prix fluctueront au moindre pépin », affirme M. Williams.

    « Toute loi NOPEC soulève le problème des relations entre les Etats-unis et l’Arabie saoudite », rappelle Harry Tchilinguirian de BNP Paribas. Certes les Etats-Unis, grâce à l’essor du pétrole de schiste, sont désormais moins dépendants des importations de pétrole. Mais Ryad reste « la pierre angulaire de la politique étrangère de Donald Trump au Moyen-Orient, en particulier pour tout ce qui concerne l’Iran_ », ajoute-t-il. Et le royaume est un important acheteur d’armes américaines.

    Par ailleurs, « si les prix du pétrole descendaient trop, les revenus des pays du Moyen-Orient chuteraient d’autant et leur population pourrait de nouveau manifester son mécontentement comme lors du Printemps arabe », remarque M. Williams.
    Pour tous ces risques économiques et géopolitiques, l’administration américaine n’aurait pas intérêt, selon lui, à promulguer le texte. Mais, ajoute-t-il, « avec ce président, on n’est jamais certain de rien ».


  • How Trump’s decision to tear up the INF nuclear treaty could spiral out of control – Alternet.org
    https://www.alternet.org/2019/02/how-trumps-decision-to-tear-up-the-inf-nuclear-treaty-could-spiral-out-of-

    US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev signed the treaty on December 8 1987 to give effect to their declaration that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”.

    The treaty prohibited the development, testing and possession of ground-launched cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 500km to 5,500km, whether armed with nuclear or conventional warheads.

    A joint statement from Reagan and Gorbachev noted:

    This treaty is historic both for its objective – the complete elimination of an entire class of US and Soviet nuclear arms – and for the innovative character and scope of its verification provisions.

    It entered into force on June 1, 1988. By its implementation deadline of June 1, 1991, 859 US and 1,752 Soviet missiles had been destroyed.

    Reflecting the dominant Cold War architecture of nuclear arms control, the INF Treaty was bilateral. US National Security Adviser John Bolton, writing in 2011 as a private citizen, conceded the treaty had successfully “addressed a significant threat to US interests”. The threat was a surprise Soviet/Russian nuclear attack in Europe using missiles in the 500-5,500km range.

    But the arms control architecture began fraying when US President George W. Bush pulled out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in 2001. Signed in 1972, the ABM controlled systems designed to counter “strategic” ballistic missiles, such as intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

    With the INF Treaty now dead and another arms control treaty, New Start, set to expire in 2021, the world will be left without any limits on the two major nuclear arsenals for the first time since 1972.

    The collapse of the INF Treaty and deployment of China-specific US missiles could compel China to institute counter-measures – such as rapidly expanding its warhead numbers and missile-delivery systems – to protect vital security interests, including nuclear assets deep in its interior.

    China’s response in turn may trigger re-adjustments to India’s doctrine of credible minimum deterrence and could produce matching re-adjustments by Pakistan. The nuclear arsenals of both these countries is presently limited to under 150 each.

    In a worst-case scenario, China, India and Pakistan could engage in a sprint to parity with the US with a rapid expansion of warhead numbers and missile-delivery capabilities, and perhaps even move to keeping a stock of nuclear weapons on high alert just like Russia and the US.

    However, economic and technological limitations will constrain India and Pakistan’s ability to engage in an open-ended nuclear arms race.
    Expanding arms control

    The sensible alternative would be to begin urgently multilateralising the Cold War bilateral structure of nuclear arms control regimes. This means involving more countries than just Russia and the US in arms control treaties, and in particular involving China.

    #Armes_nucléaires #Multilatéralisme #Traités #Guerre_froide #Guerre


  • Why a #high-tech border wall is as silly as a physical one

    Opinion: Technology is an attractive answer, but it’s no panacea for economic and geopolitical problems at the border.

    There’s a loud and growing chorus of opposition to a physical border wall. That view is shared by leaders of border cities like McAllen, Texas, by every congressman representing a district along our 2000-mile-long southern border, and by the majority of Americans (to say nothing of a long list of bygone societies stretching from the Ming Dynasty to East Germany). Tying a partial government shutdown to funding for the wall has also been deeply unpopular, and the president’s historically low approval ratings were slumping further during the shutdown.

    Out of the political jockeying during the longest partial government shutdown in American history, there’s one idea everyone seems eager to agree on: Technology can help redress serious problems at the border. It’s an attractive, almost magic-sounding solution, lending a Silicon Valley ring to a stale debate. In the rhetorical shoving match over a physical wall, it’s become the rallying cry for those seeking sensible alternatives.

    Unfortunately, border technology is not the panacea many people think. And in many of its applications it runs counter to our core values.

    Increasing border security with a force field of sensing and response technology, what many are calling a digital or virtual wall, isn’t a new idea — in fact, it’s about 50 years old and grew out of strategies and technologies first developed during the Vietnam War. And it hasn’t worked.

    Technology already in place

    There are currently about 12,000 motion and seismic sensors along the U.S. border with Mexico, along with a vast electronic perimeter of radar and high definition cameras. Predator B drones have extended the radar net in places and can pick out a snake slithering through brush a mile away. Miniature facial recognition drones, 3D mapping technology, tethered blimps first developed to guard forward operating bases in Afghanistan, tunnel-navigating ground robots used in Iraq, invisible dyes dropped from the air to mark migrants, and acoustic deterrents of various types have all been tested or deployed along the border. (Here’s an excellent article on the history of this technology buildup by Lauren Etter and Karen Weise.)

    Meanwhile, electronic fingerprinting has been in use by immigration enforcement officials since the 1990s to track the massive flow of people, legal and illegal, across U.S. borders. Border security agents currently have access to military-grade technology like nightscopes, suppressors, infrared and holographic sights, and a thick catalog of tactical weapons and gear.

    We’re not talking about small-scale pilot programs or testbeds, either — far from it. In the mid-2000s, the America’s Shield Initiative and Integrated Surveillance Intelligence System cost taxpayers billions. The objective was “to use the right technology at the right places for the right terrain to … have the rapid response capability to get to the points of intrusions to increase our overall apprehension rate,” CBP Commissioner Robert Bonner told the House Appropriations subcommittee on Homeland Security in 2006.

    Soon after, George W. Bush kicked off the #Secure_Border_Initiative, what he called “the most technologically advanced border security initiative in American History.” And just this past March, the latest government spending bill allocated $400 million for border technology. During what’s become a perennial state of frenzy over illegal immigration, it’s safe to say there’s been a decades-old gold rush to bring tech to the border. Rather than promoting new technology development, battle tested technology has migrated over from the defense sector. Contractors are reaping the benefits.

    And what are the results of all this technology on immigration? Well, here’s how President Trump feels: “We can’t have people pouring into our country like they have over the last 10 years.”

    Scrutinizing that assertion through the lens of reality is an exercise in confronting just how bellicose and misinformed the immigration debate has become, but the important takeaway is that a lot of people believe there’s still a big problem at the border despite the massive investment in technology. Maybe it’s time to reevaluate our faith in a digital fix. Maybe it’s also time to reevaluate the problem.

    https://www.zdnet.com/article/why-a-high-tech-border-wall-is-as-silly-as-a-physical-one
    #technologie #murs #barrières_frontalières #frontières #migrations


  • Trump starts fundraising minutes after his first primetime Oval Office address – Alternet.org
    https://www.alternet.org/2019/01/trump-starts-fundraising-minutes-after-his-first-primetime-oval-office-add

    Non, mais on vit où là ?
    Ainsi donc Trump constitue un fichier des « vrais américains » qui payent pour construire son mur... que fera-t-on des autres demain ?

    The Trump presidency has been little more than an extension of his presidential campaign, starting when he filed papers for re-election the day he was sworn in to office.

    So perhaps it comes as no surprise that literally minutes after delivering his first primetime Oval Office address to the nation on what he labeled the “crisis” at the border, Trump was fundraising off his speech.

    A primetime address from the Oval Office is generally reserved for the absolute, most important events in a president’s time in office. It is literally an attempt to place the weight and magnitude of the entire presidency in view of the American people, in order to convey the extreme magnitude of the President’s speech and the issue at hand.

    President John F. Kennedy addressed the nation on the Cuban Missile Crisis from the Oval Office.

    President Ronald Reagan spoke to comfort the nation from the Oval Office after the Challenger space shuttle disaster.

    President George W. Bush addressed the nation from the Oval Office the night of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

    President Barack Obama used the Oval Office to address the nation on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

    None of them fundraised off their speeches.

    On Tuesday night, about 15 minutes after President Trump finished his speech, likely thousands if not millions of supporters received a text asking them to “Donate to the Official Secure the Border Fund NOW.”

    MSNBC’s Joy Reid posted a screenshot of the text:

    If that weren’t enough, Trump sent a fearmongering fundraising email, trashing Democratic leaders and urging supporters to donate half a million dollars by 9 PM, the time of his speech. The email was sent around 5:30 PM.

    “Drugs are poisoning our loved ones,” it reads. “MS-13 gang members are threatening our safety.” “Illegal criminals are flooding our nation,” it warns.

    “I want to make one thing clear to Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi: Your safety is not a political game or a negotiation tactic!”

    If these scare tactics weren’t enough, Trump used high-pressure tactics to eek every dime out of his supporters – many of whom are low income earners or retirees.

    “I want to know who stood with me when it mattered most so I’ve asked my team to send me a list of EVERY AMERICAN PATRIOT who donates to the Official Secure the Border Fund,” the email reads.

    In other words, the President of the United states is saying if you don’t send him money, you’re not a patriotic American. And he’s taking names. Literally.

    “Please make a special contribution of $5 by 9 PM EST to our Official Secure the Border Fund to have your name sent to me after my speech.”

    The Official Secure the Border Fund is not a fund that will actually secure the border. It’s just Trump’s re-election campaign fund.

    Here’s the email:

    #Trump #Fichier


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • USA : Le débat sur le mur éclipse d’autres problèmes à la frontière américaine Elliot Spagat et Colleen Long - Associated Press à San Diego - 5 Janvier 2019 - Le Devoir
    https://www.ledevoir.com/monde/etats-unis/544912/le-debat-sur-le-mur-eclipse-nombre-d-autres-problemes-a-la-frontiere

    À Washington, tout tourne autour du mur. À la frontière avec le Mexique, ce n’est pourtant qu’une partie de l’histoire.

    Les autorités frontalières se débattent avec des installations obsolètes mal équipées pour faire face à l’augmentation croissante du nombre de familles de migrants, ce qui entraîne le relâchement au quotidien d’immigrants dans la rue. Le système judiciaire d’immigration est tellement encombré que certains attendent des années avant que leurs affaires ne soient résolues et manquent de fonds pour des services de base comme celui d’un traducteur en personne.


    Photo : Daniel Ochoa de Olza Associated Press Une femme se promène sur le flanc mexicain de la clôture frontalière qui sépare San Diego, aux États-Unis, et Tijuana, au Mexique.

    Une augmentation du nombre d’enfants malades arrivant à la frontière pèse aussi lourdement sur les ressources en santé.

    Malgré tout, le débat à Washington a porté presque exclusivement sur les 5 milliards de dollars de financement réclamés par le président Donald Trump pour un mur. Les autres propositions en cours de discussion maintiendraient le financement du reste du département de la Sécurité intérieure aux niveaux existants.

    « Le mur est un outil. Malheureusement, même s’il est construit tout au long de la frontière, il ne résoudra pas tous les problèmes », a souligné Victor M. Manjarrez, ancien chef des patrouilles frontalières avec plus de 20 ans d’expérience, et aujourd’hui professeur à l’Université du Texas-El Paso.

    Le président Trump a laissé entendre que les migrants ne prendraient pas la peine de venir s’il parvenait à ses fins avec le mur frontalier, ce qui rendrait d’autres enjeux d’immigration moins problématiques. Des murs et des clôtures couvrent actuellement environ un tiers de la frontière — principalement construits sous le gouvernement du président George W. Bush — et M. Trump souhaite les prolonger et les fortifier. Toutefois, la sous-traitance, la conception et la construction de nouveaux systèmes de murs dotés de technologies de pointe pourraient prendre des années.

    M. Trump a rencontré vendredi les leaders du Congrès américain qui ont déclaré que le président prévenait que la paralysie budgétaire pourrait durer encore « des années ». Le président a dit plus tard qu’il envisagerait d’utiliser le pouvoir exécutif pour construire un mur à la frontière.

    « Vous pouvez appeler cela une barrière, vous pouvez appeler ça comme vous voulez », avait déclaré M. Trump un jour plus tôt, accompagné de représentants de travailleurs à la frontière. « Mais essentiellement, nous avons besoin de protection dans notre pays. Nous allons y arriver. Les gens de notre pays le veulent. »

    Dans le même temps, la Chambre a adopté un projet de loi jeudi soir visant à financer le gouvernement sans les 5 milliards souhaités par M. Trump, la nouvelle présidente démocrate Nancy Pelosi qualifiant le mur « d’immoral ».

    Des familles qui ne veulent pas échapper à la capture
    Le débat néglige d’importants goulots d’étranglement dans le système d’immigration alors que de plus en plus de familles et d’enfants voyageant seuls se présentent aux autorités pour demander l’asile, au lieu d’essayer d’échapper à la capture, comme presque tout le monde le faisait il y a quelques années. Dans certains cas, des migrants escaladent la barrière frontalière existante et recherchent des agents pour se rendre.

    L’arriéré des tribunaux d’immigration a plus que doublé pour atteindre 1,1 million de cas depuis peu avant l’entrée en fonction de M. Trump, selon Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse de l’Université de Syracuse. Les familles et les enfants comptent maintenant pour environ six sur 10 arrestations par des patrouilles frontalières, mais il n’y a qu’environ 3300 lits de détention pour les familles et le nombre d’enfants non accompagnés pris en charge par le gouvernement a considérablement augmenté sous l’administration Trump.

    Les migrants ayant traversé la frontière sont bloqués dans des cellules de détention à court terme pendant plusieurs jours et le nombre d’enfants migrants malades a atteint des sommets. Deux enfants sont morts en détention.

    En outre, le mur fera peu pour résoudre le problème des visas échus — lorsque des immigrants arrivent dans le pays légalement et y restent après l’expiration de leurs papiers. Selon les autorités, il y a eu près de 740 000 séjours prolongés après l’échéance d’un visa au cours d’une période récente de 12 mois.

    Et les agents frontaliers continuent de composer avec un nombre croissant d’enfants et de familles. Les responsables disent qu’ils interceptent environ 2000 personnes par jour, dont plus de 60 pour cent sont des enfants et des familles, une proportion plus grande que pendant plusieurs périodes sous le président Barack Obama. Ils ont relayé 451 cas à un fournisseur de soins de santé du 22 au 30 décembre, plus de la moitié des enfants.

    Des responsables « dépassés » par les événements
    David Aguilar, chef de la police des frontières de 2004 à 2010 et ancien commissaire par intérim aux douanes et à la protection des frontières, a soutenu que les agences responsables de la détention à long terme en immigration avaient besoin de fonds supplémentaires pour pouvoir intervenir immédiatement après l’interpellation à la frontière. Il dit croire que les responsables sont « dépassés » par le sort de tous les enfants et de toutes les familles traversant la frontière, ce qui est très différent de la situation des années 1990 et 2000.

    « Les données démographiques et les flux à la frontière sud sont très différents de ceux observés lors de la construction des murs d’origine… en 2006 et 2008 », a-t-il déclaré.

    M. Trump a augmenté de façon importante le nombre de juges de l’immigration, mais Ashley Tabaddor, présidente de l’Association nationale des juges de l’immigration, a fait valoir que le personnel de soutien était insuffisant. Environ une semaine avant le « shutdown » au gouvernement fédéral, on a dit aux juges que les tribunaux étaient à court d’argent pour de nombreux traducteurs en personne et que, par conséquent, ils devraient les joindre par téléphone. Une audience qui aurait généralement duré trois minutes s’étalerait sur une vingtaine de minutes.

    #murs #inefficacité #USA #Mexique #migrants #frontières #barrières_frontalières #absurdité #réalité #Etats-Unis #barack_obama #george_w_bush #donald_trump


  • Macron, Hitler, Marx, Staline, Trump, Lincoln, Jean-Baptiste et Le Monde... (quand l’Absente tue le game !)

    Branle bas de combat ! #Le_Monde aurait osé « la #caricature de trop » ! Comme l’explique brillamment #André_Gunthert sur son « carnet de recherches d’image sociale », cette #Une, grandiloquente et #en_même_temps irrévérencieuse, « vient clore l’impressionnante dégringolade du président Macron »
    http://imagesociale.fr/6975
    seenthissé par @colporteur : https://seenthis.net/messages/747820

    Le récit, commencé en fanfare et qui se clôt sur un champ de bataille, est illustré en couverture du magazine par un photomontage du graphiste Jean-Baptiste Talbourdet

    Mais bien qu’elle contienne toutes les références nécessaires, je ne partage pas les conclusions de cette note, qui prête à l’auteur #Jean-Baptiste_Talbourdet une intension volontairement malveillante sans l’avoir questionné.

    Suite, donc, à cette couverture pour le moins « audacieuse », une shitstorm s’est installée, sur les limites de la représentation du #Chef de l’#État, on croirait presque à un blasphème tant la bronca est générale. #Luc_Bronner, directeur de la rédaction du Monde, oppose un petit justificatif, et c’est là, selon moi, que se joue une couardise dommageable pour tou-te-s :
    https://www.lemonde.fr/m-le-mag/article/2018/12/29/a-nos-lecteurs-a-propos-de-la-une-de-m-le-magazine-du-monde_5403549_4500055.
    Il avait tous les éléments pour faire une démonstration historique avec un filage magistral et ... non, il se réfugie derrière une rapide référence de l’Histoire de l’Art, en bon #sachant, et prend pour exemple... d’autres couvertures du Monde ! En bref, il lâche le choix politique pour une excuse graphique, esthétisante... alors qu’elle-même est issue d’une tradition politique !

    #Hubert_de_Jenlis, en bon chevalier de #Macron, pense porter un coup de grâce par la preuve irréfutable d’un #plagiat de #Lincols_Agnew qui portraitise #Hitler :
    https://twitter.com/HubertdeJenlis/status/1079143667724627968

    Hors, cet portrait a servi pour illustrer un essai ô combien intéressant paru dans le Harpers en juillet 2017 : The Reichstag Fire Next Time, The coming crackdown par #Masha_Gessen :
    https://harpers.org/archive/2017/07/the-reichstag-fire-next-time
    Le portrait, donc, est signé #Lincoln_Agnew et fait partie d’un diptyque où on retrouve donc Hitler :

    Illustrations by Lincoln Agnew. Source photographs: Adolf Hitler © Hulton Archive/Getty Images; crowd saluting Hitler © Visual Studies Workshop/Getty Images

    Mais aussi #Trump, #Putin, #Obama, #Bush :

    Source photographs: Donald Trump © JB Lacroix/WireImage; Vladimir Putin © Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images; Barack Obama © Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images; George W. Bush © Luke Frazza/AFP/Getty Images; protest © Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto/Getty Images; drone © Erik Simonsen/Getty Images

    Ce qui semblait de toute évidence être une copie se révèle, si on prend le temps de lire l’article, puis de chercher les sources d’inspiration de Lincoln Agnew, être un hommage, dans le fil d’une tradition de représentation de la #Puissance et du #Pouvoir de figures d’autorité, dans la _#Droite ligne de #Gauche_ de l’#iconographie #Russe.
    Et il se trouve que Agnew lui-même s’inspire de #Gustav_Klutsis qui portraitise #Marx, #Engels, #Lenine et #Staline de la même manière en... 1933 !

    Gustav Klutsis, Raise Higher the Banner of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin ! 1933

    (L’année même de l’incendie du du Reichstag dont il est question plus haut.) Portrait qu’on peut retrouver dans la superbe exposition de nov 2017 à février 2018 au musée #Tate : Red Star Over Russia at Tate Modern
    https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/red-star-over-russia
    Il est vraiment intéressant de regarder la vidéo faite par le Tate Modern pour l’exposition : https://youtu.be/Kd_GHlMkwpQ

    qui revient sur

    the story behind graphic designer #David_King's collection of 250,000 artworks, photographs and documents from the Soviet Union.

    Et cette histoire, derrière la collection, c’est le point de départ sur une #Disparition, une #Invisibilisation. Celle de Léon #Trotski. C’est donc l’histoire de la construction de l’image de la Puissance, du Pouvoir, et la représentation de l’Homme Fort, et comment celle-ci écrase tout sur son passage. Pas grand chose à voir donc avec un parti politique particulier, mais bien plus avec une #oppression_systémique, la plus rependue au monde...

    L’affiche de l’expo est peut-être même la première inspiration de la série, et il est troublant de la mettre à côté du portrait de Macron tant les deux visages se répondent ! Elle est datée de 1923 et signée #Strakhov (Braslavsky) Adolf Yosypovych :

    Elle est issue d’une campagne de propagande pour... l’émancipation féminine ! Et ... combien avez-vous vu de #femmes dans cette suite de portraits, jusqu’à présent ? Hein ?!

    Quel dommage ! Quel dommage que les gonades qui s’expriment contre la pseudo-insulte faite au Chef de la France soient quasiment, uniquement, masculines ou assimilées. Quel dommage aussi que pour défendre un choix, d’autres gonades masculines n’osent aller au bout de la filiation. Je n’irait pas jusqu’à dire quel dommage que si peu soient encore #Charlie, mais ceci dit, ça a quand même son sens. L’année 2018 a vu augmenter, terriblement, la pression du #patriarcat, du #masculinisme même, et la #répression, partout : cette fin d’année est maculée de sang sous les coups frénétiques d’un service régalien qui ne fait que protéger un président fantoche dont quasi plus personne ne veut. Et quand, enfin, arrive une occasion de justifier le maintien de leur chef au Pouvoir, la meute de déchaine, écrasant, une fois de plus la continuité des leçons de l’Histoire, de sa contextualisation globale nécessaire, et participe ainsi, encore plus, au #confusionnisme plutôt qu’à l’#éducation_populaire...
    Quelle misère !

    Épilogue : Toute #oppression crée un état de #guerre.
    #Simone_de_Beauvoir, in Le Deuxième #sexe, t.2, L’expérience vécue


  • The Holocaust and the Bush family fortune - World Socialist Web Site

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/12/05/intr-d05.html

    Ouh la la ...

    This article exposes the fact—well known to the corporate media and the politicians of both parties—that a substantial portion of the Bush family fortune was derived from the extensive business relations over many years between the Nazis and the family patriarch, Prescott Bush, George Bush Senior’s father and “Junior’s” grandfather.

    #bush #nazis #fortune quels autres hashtags ?


  • Maroc-Israël : Hassan II, la grande imposture, par René Naba – Salimsellami’s Blog
    https://salimsellami.wordpress.com/2018/11/22/maroc-israel-hassan-ii-la-grande-imposture-par-rene-naba

    Le Roi Hassan II du Maroc, Président du Comité Al Qods » (Jérusalem), hôte du premier sommet islamique de l’époque contemporaine (Rabat 1969), apparaît rétrospectivement comme l‘un des grands traîtres à la cause arabe et son long règne de 38 ans (Mars 1961-Juillet 1999) une vaste supercherie, si toutefois sont avérées les révélations contenues dans le livre du journaliste israélien Ronen Bergman « Rise and Kill First : The secret History of Israel’s targeted assassinations », ED. Penguin Random House.

    LES DIRIGEANTS ARABES PLACÉS SUR ÉCOUTE SUR ORDRE DE RABAT
    Réputé pour son sérieux, chroniqueur militaire de Yedioth Aharonoth et du New York Times, l’auteur soutient que les dirigeants arabes ont été placés sur écoute des services israéliens grâce à la connivence marocaine lors du Sommet arabe de Casablanca de septembre 1965. Du jamais vu même dans les fictions les plus satiriques, cette trahison dénote la désinvolture du monarque chérifien à l’égard de ses pairs et de son mépris pour la cause palestinienne.

    Version arabe de ce récit selon la recension de l’ouvrage établi par le site en ligne Ar Rai Al Yom à l’intention du locuteur arabophone.
    https://www.raialyoum.com/?p=821705

    La date n’est pas anodine. Scellé par la signature d’un pacte de solidarité et de coexistence pacifique entre régimes arabes, ce sommet s’est tenu en septembre 1965, au terme d’un été particulièrement brûlant au Maroc, marqué par la terrible répression de la révolte étudiante de Casablanca (23 mars 1965) qui fit officiellement 7 morts et 168 blessés. En fait 400 morts selon l’ambassade de France à Rabat.

    Sentant le vent du boulet, le jeune monarque a eu la lumineuse idée de se tourner alors vers les Israéliens, comme garde fou aux débordements de son opposition interne et externe. Autrement dit, contre la volonté de son peuple, il s’allia aux ennemis du Monde arabe pour la survie de son trône, dans la pure tradition de la servitude coloniale. Un schéma identique sera observé 70 ans plus tard par le trône wahhabite, bradant la Palestine, par une alliance ouverte avec Israël.

    Dans une sorte d’échange de bons procédés, Hassan II percevra le prix de sa forfaiture au plan arabe, un mois plus tard, par l’élimination d’un des espoirs de la renaissance arabe, Mehdi Ben Barka.

    Figure mythique de l’opposition démocratique marocaine, l’ancien professeur de mathématiques d’Hassan II sera enlevé en octobre 1965 à Paris avec la complicité du Mossad, et carbonisé par des sbires marocains, un mois après la tenue du sommet de Casablanca.

    Principal opposant socialiste au roi Hassan II et leader du mouvement tiers-mondiste et panafricaniste, Mehdi Ben Barka a été enlevé le 29 octobre 1965 à Paris alors qu’il tentait, en sa qualité de « commis-voyageur de la révolution », de fédérer les mouvements révolutionnaires du tiers-monde en vue de la Conférence Tri-continentale devant se tenir en janvier 1966 à la Havane en vue de faire converger « les deux courants de la révolution mondiale : le courant surgi avec la révolution d’Octobre et celui de la révolution nationale libératrice ». Pour l’historien René Galissot, « c’est dans cet élan révolutionnaire de la Tri-continentale que se trouve la cause profonde de l’enlèvement et de l’assassinat de Ben Barka ».

    Sur ce lien, Le rôle de Mehdi Ben Barka et de la tri-continentale dans le réveil des peuples colonisés

    https://www.madaniya.info/2015/12/20/non-alignes-tricontinentale-60-eme-anniversaire-1-2
    https://www.madaniya.info/2015/12/26/non-alignes-tri-continentale-60-eme-anniversaire-2-2
    La mise sur écoute des dirigeants arabes a permis aux Israéliens de prendre note de la stratégie de reconquête de la Palestine, comme des divergences inter arabes. La décision marocaine aura constitué « Le plus grand trésor stratégique d’Israël ». Le journaliste israélien a estimé que cette information était « la raison principale qui a poussé Israël à prendre la décision de faire la guerre aux États arabes en Juin 1967 », deux ans après le sommet de Casablanca, et qui a infligé une terrible défaite à l’Égypte, à la Syrie et à la Jordanie.

    L’incendie de la Mosquée Al Aqsa par un illuminé israélien, en 1969, donne l’occasion au souverain chérifien de se refaire une virginité politique à l’occasion du sommet Islamique de Rabat, en 1969. Deux ans après la défaite de juin 1967, dont il en a été indirectement responsable, le « Commandeur des Croyants » va cumuler cette fonction spirituelle avec celle plus politique de président du « Comité Al Qods ».

    Le sommet islamique de Rabat a marqué, sur le plan idéologique, le début de l’instrumentalisation de l’Islam comme arme politique contre l’athéisme soviétique et le nationalisme arabe, et, sur le plan stratégique, le détournement du combat pour la libération de la Palestine, vers des contrées périphériques, à des milliers de km du champ de bataille de la Palestine, avec Al Qaida en Afghanistan et les djihadistes arabo afghans au Caucase et en Bosnie au Kosovo, avant d’être dirigé contre les pays arabes à structure républicaine (Libye, Syrie) à l’occasion du déclenchement de la séquence dite du « printemps arabe » et le surgissement de groupements terroristes islamistes Daech, Jabat An Nosra, Jaych al Islam, opérant, dans le sud de la Syrie, en coopération avec Israël.

    Le Maroc figurera lors de cette séquence comme l’un des plus gros exportateurs du terrorisme islamique vers l’Europe occidentale (Attentat de Madrid 2004 qui a fait 200 morts, l’assassinat de Théo Van Gogh, les attentats de Bruxelles en 2015 et les attentats de Barcelone en 2017).

    Pour aller plus loin sur ce thème

    http://www.renenaba.com/de-l-instrumentalisation-de-l-islam-comme-arme-de-combat-politique

    Nonobstant la coopération sécuritaire entre le Maroc et Israël, Hassan II, fait rarissime dans les annales, devra faire face à deux séditions militaires, à son palais de Skhirat, le 10 juillet 1971, jour de son anniversaire, puis l’année suivante contre son propre Boeing par un groupe d’aviateurs ; indice d’un fort ressentiment à son égard, deux ans après son sacre de Rabat.

    Au delà du rôle du Mossad dans l’enlèvement de Mehdi Ben Barka, la vassalité du trône alaouite à l’égard de l’État Hébreu s’est concrétisée sous le règne de son successeur Mohammad VI avec le scandale du « Collier de la Reine » dans sa version tropicale ; un scandale qui titre son nom du bijou offert par l’épouse du Roi à Tzipi Livni, ancien ministre israélien des Affaires étrangères, dans la foulée de la destruction de la bande de Gaza (2007-2008), dont l’ancienne agent du Mossad en Europe en a été la coordonnatrice.

    Pour aller plus loin sur l’affaire du collier de la reine
    http://www.renenaba.com/le-collier-de-la-reine

    LE MAROC, PIVOT CENTRAL DU DISPOSITIF OCCIDENTAL EN AFRIQUE VIA LE SAFARI CLUB
    Pivot central du dispositif occidental en Afrique, le Royaume fondera, en 1976, avec la France, l’Egypte, l’Iran et l’Arabie saoudite, le « Safari Club », se donnant ainsi l’illusion de « jouer dans la cour des grands ». En pleine négociation de paix égypto-israélienne, il assumera le rôle de gendarme, non sur le champ de la confrontation israélo-arabe, mais à des milliers de kilomètres de là, non pour la récupération des Lieux Saints de l’Islam, mais pour le maintien au pouvoir d’un des dictateurs les plus corrompus de la planète le Zaïrois Mobutu, agent attitré des Américains dans la zone centrale de l’Afrique, l’assassin de Patrice Lumumba, le chef charismatique de l’Indépendance du Congo ex belge.

    En soutien à Jonas Savimbi, l’agent de la CIA en Angola ; ou encore l’ivoirien Félix Houphouet Boigny, le principal pourvoyeur des djembés et des mallettes à une caste politico médiatique française vénale.

    Le Maroc était représenté au sein de cette structure par le général Ahmad Dlimi, un des artisans de la liquidation de Mehdi Ben Barka, l’ancien lieutenant du général Mohamad Oufkir, l’homme des basses oeuvres de la dynastie alaouite, tous les deux liquidés sans autre forme de procès sur ordre du Palais royal.

    À propos du safari Club

    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safari_Club

    La dynastie chérifienne a constamment justifié sa relation privilégiée avec Israël par la spécificité du judaïsme marocain.

    Cf sur ce point, l’analyse d’Abraham Sarfati, l’un des plus célèbres opposants marocain à Hassan II.
    http://www.renenaba.com/jordanie-et-maroc-additif

    Il n’en demeure pas moins que le règne d’Hassan II, malgré les prosternations d’une presse française vénale, sera néanmoins qualifié de « Règne du Bagne et de la Terreur », dont le cas le plus illustre aura été le bagne de Tazmamart et l’arbitraire qui frappa notamment les Frères Bourequat.

    Pour aller plus loin sur cette affaire, cf le lien suivant
    http://www.renenaba.com/maroc-les-trois-freres-bourequat-40-ans-apres-le-retour-des-fantomes-vivan

    LE MAROC, POURVOYEUR DE PROSTITUÉES POUR LES PÉTROMONARCHIES ET REFUGE DE LA MAFIA ISRAÉLIENNE
    Un des principaux pourvoyeurs de la prostitution à destination du Golfe pétro monarchique, où près de vingt mille marocaines y font l’objet d’exploitations sexuelles, le Maroc passe de surcroît pour être un refuge pour la mafia israélienne. Le royaume aurait accueilli plusieurs anciens membres de la mafia israélienne, selon le quotidien israélien Haaretz, en date du vendredi 14 septembre 2012.

    Gabriel Ben-Harush et Shalom Domrani, deux figures puissantes de la mafia israélienne, recherchées depuis des années par l’Interpol, figuraient parmi les noms cités par le journal. Cf à ce propos : http://www.yabiladi.com/articles/details/12903/maroc-refuge-pour-mafia-israelienne.html

    Pour aller plus loin sur ce sujet cf :
    http://www.renenaba.com/yves-mamou-et-le-phenomene-de-serendipite

    Ronen Bergman mentionne 2700 assassinats ciblés orchestrés par Israël ; soit en moyenne 40 opérations par an. Les Israéliens n’auront fait que reprendre les méthodes en vigueur en Palestine par les britanniques, notamment le général Orde Wingate, qui avait créé dans la décennie 1930 les « Special Night Squads », les « Escadrons Nocturnes Spéciaux » composés de combattants juifs chargés des raids contre les villages arabes en procédant à l’élimination des meneurs.

    La France en a fait usage pendant la guerre d’Algérie et François Hollande a même admis que Paris y avait eu recours dans le cadre de la lutte contre le terrorisme. Les deux derniers présidents américains ont eu également recours aux « assassinats extrajudiciaires », George W. Bush jr, après les attentats terroristes du 11 Septembre 2001, et Barack Obama a ordonné plusieurs centaines d’exécutions ciblées par drones.

    YASSER ARAFAT, CHEIKH AHMAD YASSINE, ABDEL AZIZ RANTISSI
    La connivence israélo-marocaine s’est poursuivie en dépit de la décapitation du leadership palestinien, par les Israéliens, et le recours aux assassinats « extra judiciaires » des deux principaux dirigeants du Hamas, Cheikh Ahmad Yassine et son successeur Abdel Aziz Rantissi. Une collision qui acte une forme de forfaiture de la part du pouvoir chérifien.

    Le livre suggère aussi clairement qu’Israël a utilisé un poison radioactif pour tuer Yasser Arafat, le chef historique palestinien, ce que les dirigeants israéliens ont toujours nié. Bergman écrit que la mort d’Arafat en 2004 correspondait à un modèle et avait des partisans. Mais il évite d’affirmer clairement ce qui s’est passé, expliquant que la censure militaire israélienne l’empêche de révéler ce qu’il pourrait savoir.

    Deux monuments ont été édifiés au Maroc pour immortaliser l’oeuvre d’Hassan II : son mausolée à Rabat et la Mosquée de Casablanca, l’une des plus grandes du monde, qui porte son nom. Mais celui que la presse occidentale, particulièrement la presse française engourdie par la diplomatie de la Mamouniya, encensait comme un « Machiavel arabe doté de la baraka », se révélera être, à la lecture des révélations du livre de Ronen Bergman, un mauvais génie, une imposture.

    Et les deux monuments édifiés à la gloire posthume du Commandeur des Croyants et Président du comité Al Qods, -mais néanmoins un des principaux artisans du bradage de la Palestine, au même titre que l’Arabie saoudite-, se perçoivent, rétrospectivement, comme les stigmates du règne hideux d’un parfait sous traitant de l’impérium israélo-occidental. D’un être maléfique. D’un souverain vil et servile.

    Source : Madaniya, René Naba, 17-11-2018                                           https://www.les-crises.fr/maroc-israel-hassan-ii-la-grande-imposture-par-rene-naba


  • Are Jared and Ivanka Good for the Jews? - The New York Times

    Jewish communities stand more divided than ever on whether to embrace or denounce Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

    By Amy Chozick and Hannah Seligson
    Nov. 17, 2018

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/17/style/ivanka-trump-jared-kushner.html

    On election night in Beverly Hills, Jason Blum, the hot shot horror-movie producer, was accepting an award at the Israel Film Festival. The polls in a string of midterm contests were closing, and Mr. Blum, a vocal critic of President Trump, was talking about how much was at stake.

    “The past two years have been hard for all of us who cherish the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of this country,” Mr. Blum said.

    That’s when the crowd of mostly Jewish producers and power brokers started to chant, “We like Trump!” An Israeli man stepped onto the stage to try to pull Mr. Blum away from the microphone as the crowd at the Saban Theater Steve Tisch Cinema Center cheered.

    “As you can see from this auditorium, it’s the end of civil discourse,” Mr. Blum said, as security rushed the stage to help him. “Thanks to our president, anti-Semitism is on the rise.”
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    In the weeks after a gunman killed 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, in one of the most horrific acts of anti-Semitism in years, debates about the president’s role in stoking extremism have roiled American Jews — and forced an uncomfortable reckoning between Mr. Trump’s rhetoric and his daughter and son-in-law’s Jewish faith.
    Rabbi Jeffrey Myers greets Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump near the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
    Credit
    Doug Mills/The New York Times

    Image

    Rabbi Jeffrey Myers greets Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump near the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times
    Rabbis and Jewish leaders have raged on Twitter and in op-eds, in sermons and over shabbat dinners, over how to reconcile the paradox of Jared Kushner, the descendant of Holocaust survivors, and Ivanka Trump, who converted to Judaism to marry Mr. Kushner.

    To some Jews, the couple serves as a bulwark pushing the Trump administration toward pro-Israel policies, most notably the decision to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. To many others, they are the wolves in sheep’s clothing, allowing Mr. Trump to brush aside criticism that his words have fueled the uptick in violent attacks against Jews.

    “For Jews who are deeply opposed to Donald Trump and truly believe he is an anti-Semite, it’s deeply problematic that he’s got a Jewish son-in-law and daughter. How can that be?” said Dr. Jonathan D. Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University.
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    Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump serve as senior advisers in the White House. At a time when Judaism is under assault — the F.B.I. said this week that anti-Semitic attacks have increased in each of the last three years — they are unabashedly Orthodox, observing shabbat each week, walking to an Orthodox Chabad shul near their Kalorama home in Washington, D.C., dropping their children off at Jewish day school and hanging mezuzas on the doors of their West Wing offices.

    After the Pittsburgh attack, Mr. Kushner played a key role in Mr. Trump (eventually) decrying “the scourge of anti-Semitism.” And Mr. Kushner helped arrange the president’s visit to the Squirrel Hill synagogue, including inviting Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the United States to accompany them. There, in Pittsburgh, thousands marched to protest what one organizer described as the insult of the Mr. Trump’s visit.
    Arabella Kushner lights the menorah as her parents look on during a Hanukkah reception in the East Room of the White House in 2017.
    Credit
    Olivier Douliery/Getty Images

    Image

    Arabella Kushner lights the menorah as her parents look on during a Hanukkah reception in the East Room of the White House in 2017.CreditOlivier Douliery/Getty Images
    The White House has referenced Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump’s religion to dismiss accusations that Mr. Trump’s rhetoric has emboldened anti-Semites. “The president is the grandfather of several Jewish grandchildren,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, told reporters.

    Using the couple in this way has unnerved many Jews who oppose the president and say Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump violated the sacred, if sometimes unspoken, communal code that mandates Jews take care of each other during times of struggle. “I’m more offended by Jared than I am by President Trump,” said Eric Reimer, a lawyer in New York who was on Mr. Kushner’s trivia team at The Frisch School, a modern Orthodox yeshiva in New Jersey that they both attended.

    “We, as Jews, are forced to grapple with the fact that Jared and his wife are Jewish, but Jared is participating in acts of Chillul Hashem,” said Mr. Reimer, using the Hebrew term for when a Jew behaves immorally while in the presence of others.
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    For Mr. Reimer, who hasn’t spoken to Mr. Kushner since high school, one of those incidents was the administration’s Muslim ban, which prompted members of the Frisch community to sign an open letter to Mr. Kushner imploring him “to exercise the influence and access you have to annals of power to ensure others don’t suffer the same fate as millions of our co-religionists.”

    Leah Pisar, president of the Aladdin Project, a Paris-based group that works to counter Holocaust denial, and whose late father, Samuel Pisar, escaped Auschwitz and advised John F. Kennedy, said she found it “inconceivable that Jared could stay affiliated with the administration after Pittsburgh” and called Mr. Kushner the president’s “fig leaf.”

    Those kinds of accusations are anathema to other Jews, particularly a subset of Orthodox Jews who accused liberal Jews of politicizing the Pittsburgh attack and who say that any policies that would weaken Israel are the ultimate act of anti-Semitism.
    Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner at the opening ceremony of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem in May.
    Credit
    Sebastian Scheiner/Associated Press

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    Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner at the opening ceremony of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem in May.CreditSebastian Scheiner/Associated Press
    “Jared and Ivanka are one of us as traditional Jews who care deeply about Israel,” said Ronn Torossian, a New York publicist whose children attend the Ramaz School, the same Upper East Side yeshiva where Mr. Kushner’s eldest daughter Arabella was once enrolled. “I look at them as part of our extended family.”

    Even some Jews who dislike Mr. Trump’s policies and recoil at his political style may feel a reluctance to criticize the country’s most prominent Orthodox Jewish couple, grappling with the age-old question that has haunted the Jewish psyche for generations: Yes, but is it good for the Jews?
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    To that end, even as liberal New York Jews suggest the couple would be snubbed when they eventually return to the city, many in the Orthodox community would likely embrace them. “They certainly won’t be banned, but I don’t think most synagogues would give them an aliyah,” said Ethan Tucker, a rabbi and president of the Hadar yeshiva in New York, referring to the relatively limited honor of being called to make a blessing before and after the reading of the Torah. (Mr. Tucker is also the stepson of Joe Lieberman, the first Jewish candidate to run on a major party ticket in the U.S.) “I don’t think people generally honor people they feel were accomplices to politics and policies they abhor,” Mr. Tucker said.

    Haskel Lookstein, who serves as rabbi emeritus of the Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, the modern Orthodox synagogue on the Upper East Side that Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump attended, wrote in an open letter to Mr. Trump that he was “deeply troubled” by the president saying “You also had people that were very fine people, on both sides,” in response to the white nationalist riots in Charlottesville, Va.

    When reached last week to comment about the president’s daughter and son-in-law days after the Pittsburgh attack, Mr. Lookstein said simply, “I love them and that’s one of the reasons I don’t talk about them.”

    Talk to enough Jews about Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump, and you begin to realize that the couple has become a sort of Rorschach test, with defenders and detractors seeing what they want to see as it relates to larger rifts about Jewish identity.

    “It’s not about Jared and Ivanka,” said Matthew Brooks, the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition. “People look at them through the prism of their own worldviews.”
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    From left to right on front row, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his wife Sara Netanyahu, Mr. Kushner, Ms. Trump, and the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at the opening ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.
    Credit
    Sebastian Scheiner/Associated Press

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    From left to right on front row, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his wife Sara Netanyahu, Mr. Kushner, Ms. Trump, and the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at the opening ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.CreditSebastian Scheiner/Associated Press
    Those worldviews are rapidly changing. One in five American Jews now describes themselves as having no religion and identifying as Jews based only on ancestry, ethnicity or culture, according to Pew. By contrast, in the 1950s, 93 percent of American Jews identified as Jews based on religion.
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    As Jews retreat from membership to reform synagogues, historically made up of political liberals who were at the forefront of the fight for Civil Rights and other progressive issues, Chabad-Lubavitch, the Orthodox Hasidic group with which Mr. Kushner is affiliated, has become a rapidly-growing Jewish movement. The growth of Chabad correlates with fierce divisions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a small but growing contingent of American Jews who prioritize Israel above any other political or social issue.

    Mr. Kushner, in particular, has become a sort of proxy for these larger schisms about faith and Israel, according to Jewish experts. “There is a great deal of anxiety around the coming of the Orthodox,” said Dr. Sarna, the Brandeis professor. “Jared in every way — his Orthodoxy, his Chabad ties, his views on Israel — symbolizes those changes.”

    Mr. Kushner is the scion of wealthy real-estate developers and his family has donated millions of dollars to the Jewish community, including through a foundation that gives to settlements in the West Bank. Mr. Kushner influenced the Trump administration’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy, to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, and to shutter a Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington.

    “You’d be hard pressed to find a better supporter of Israel than Donald Trump and Jared plays a role in that,” said Ari Fleischer, a former White House press secretary under President George W. Bush. Mr. Kushner is currently working on a Middle East peace plan expected to be rolled out in the coming months.

    Haim Saban, an entertainment magnate and pro-Israel Democrat, is optimistic about Mr. Kushner’s efforts. He said in an interview from his hotel in Israel that although he disagrees with some of Mr. Trump’s policies, “Jared and by extension the president understand the importance of the relationship between the U.S. and Israel on multiple levels — security, intelligence, but most of all, shared values.”
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    That embrace has only exacerbated tensions with secular Jews who overwhelmingly vote Democratic and oppose Mr. Trump. According to a 2018 survey by the American Jewish Committee, 41 percent of Jews said they strongly disagree with Mr. Trump’s handling of U.S.-Israeli relations and 71 percent had an overall unfavorable opinion of Mr. Trump. (In response to questions for this story, a White House press aide referred reporters to an Ami magazine poll of 263 Orthodox Jews in the tristate area published in August. Eighty-two percent said they would vote for President Trump in 2020.)

    “To wave a flag and say ‘Oh, he’s obviously pro-Jewish because he moved the embassy’ just absolutely ignores what we know to be a deeply alarming rise of anti-Semitism and all sorts of dog-whistling and enabling of the alt-right,” said Andy Bachman, a prominent progressive rabbi in New York.
    President Trump praying at the Western Wall.
    Credit
    Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

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    President Trump praying at the Western Wall.CreditStephen Crowley/The New York Times
    In September, Mr. Kushner and his top advisers, Jason D. Greenblatt and Avi Berkowitz, hosted a private dinner at the Pierre Hotel on the Upper East Side. Over a kosher meal, Mr. Kushner, aware of concerns within the Jewish community that Israel policy had become an overly partisan issue, fielded the advice of a range of Jewish leaders, including hedge-fund billionaire and Republican donor Paul Singer and Mr. Saban, to craft his Middle East peace plan. “He called and said ’I’ll bring 10 Republicans and you bring 10 Democrats,’” Mr. Saban said.

    The undertaking will only bring more kvetching about Mr. Kushner. Indeed, some of Mr. Trump’s most ardent Jewish supporters have already expressed their displeasure at any deal that would require Israel to give up land.

    “I’m not happy with Jared promoting a peace deal that’s sending a message that we’re ready to ignore the horrors of the Palestinian regime,” said Morton A. Klein, the president of the Zionist Organization of America and a friend of Republican megadonor Sheldon G. Adelson.

    “But …” Mr. Klein added, as if self-aware of how other Jews will view his position, “I am a fanatical, pro-Israel Zionist.”
    Amy Chozick is a New York-based writer-at-large and a frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine, writing about the personalities and power struggles in business, politics and media.



  • Kavanaugh, Bolsonaro et leurs copains
    https://joellepalmieri.wordpress.com/2018/10/14/kavanaugh-bolsonaro-et-leurs-copains

    Le 6 octobre 2018, Brett Kavanaugh est nommé de justesse – par 51 sénateurs contre 49 – juge à la Cour suprême des États-Unis. Compte tenu du curriculum de l’intéressé, cet épisode de l’histoire nord-américaine constitue une attaque en règle contre les féministes et, en particulier, la mouvance #Metoo. La candidature de ce magistrat, soupçonné de plusieurs … Lire la suite →

    #Humeurs #dépolitisation #domination #fascisme #masculinisme #militarisation #racisme #violences


    https://0.gravatar.com/avatar/9756ba41fe8333157071419a20733f4a?s=96&d=https%3A%2F%2F0.gravatar.com%2Fa

    • Cette lecture des faits rend compte d’une première facette de cette descente aux enfers. Ancien conseiller et soutien indéfectible du Président républicain George W. Bush, Brett Kavanaugh est un homme, jeune, blanc, riche, hétérosexuel, catholique pratiquant et se plait à en faire la démonstration. Comme son mentor, il affiche son attachement au droit de port des armes à feu, son mépris des questions écologiques, son opposition à l’avortement et son homophobie. En faisant nommer à vie son protégé à la plus haute instance judiciaire de son pays, le Président des États-Unis rend majoritaire et pour une longue durée son équipe ultraréactionnaire (ils sont maintenant cinq juges républicains non modérés sur neuf) et choie son électorat. La constitution peut désormais être défaite et orienter les lois vers davantage de libéralisme sécuritaire (extension du port d’armes, de la peine de mort), de protectionnisme (fermeture des frontières), d’impérialisme religieux, de régression des droits des homosexuels, des non Blancs et des femmes.


  • Venezuela : invasion ou pas invasion ?
    #Remember_Panamá

    ¿Nos invadirán, no nos invadirán ?
    http://www.el-nacional.com/noticias/columnista/nos-invadiran-nos-invadiran_252909

    El presidente de Estados Unidos, Donald Trump, hablará en la próxima sesión de la Asamblea General de la ONU y allí tocará el tema Venezuela. Sin duda será un discurso duro y muy probablemente dicte sentencia de muerte contra la dictadura de Nicolás Maduro, que no otra cosa significaría que la catalogase como una amenaza para Estados Unidos, pues así comenzó el desenlace de la dictadura de Manuel Noriega en Panamá.

    Me atrevo a vaticinar que pronto se producirá una imputación formal de la Fiscalía de Estados Unidos por lo menos contra Diosdado Cabello por una cadena de delitos relacionados con el narcotráfico y se dictará su detención, si no es que ya ha ocurrido y se mantiene bajo secreto (sellada), lo cual es permisible en el proceso penal (Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure) que estipula la denuncia ante un Gran Jurado como punto de inicio, en el que se determina si hay causa probable y en caso positivo este formaliza acusación (Indictment) y se ordena la detención. Así ocurrió, por ejemplo, con el caso de los sobrinos Flores. No es imposible que en tal caso también se incluya a Maduro, Padrino y otros, y allí estará no solo la justificación legal sino la obligación de buscarlos para llevarlos ante un tribunal federal.

    Dos más dos siguen siendo cuatro
    Recordemos que los más altos funcionarios del gobierno estadounidense han estado denunciando las actividades ilícitas de Maduro y de Cabello. El lenguaje de Trump al respecto es cada vez más duro; la embajadora ante las Naciones Unidas, Nikki Haley, ha declarado que el pueblo de Venezuela “es víctima de un narcoestado criminal” y que “para la seguridad de todos los pueblos de América Latina es hora de que Maduro se vaya”. Mike Pompeo, secretario de Estado, también ha estado haciendo alusiones y hasta anuncios indicativos de que algo fuerte ocurrirá. Trump no ha escatimado señalamientos contra el régimen, lo tiene entre ceja y ceja. Y si seguimos en las matemáticas tenemos que sumar el hecho de la significativa abstención de Estados Unidos y Colombia a firmar el comunicado del Grupo de Lima negando la posibilidad de una salida distinta a la negociación.

    Otros detalles
    Aquí en Miami tengo un buen amigo que hace política y que es también amigo del senador Marco Rubio. Meses atrás le pedí que fuéramos a hablar con él sobre la necesidad de una intervención militar. Mi amigo me respondió: “Ni se te ocurra, ¡en esa oficina está prohibido hasta hablar de ese tema!”, y de repente el senador aparece hablando sobre la amenaza a la seguridad de la región que implica el régimen madurista y que “las circunstancias han cambiado” a favor de la opción militar.

    Qué ganaría Trump
    En Estados Unidos está próximo un proceso electoral para formar el Congreso, que implica un juzgamiento a la mitad del período presidencial. Una actuación de rescate de Venezuela será factor decisivo para conquistar el cada vez más grande mercado del voto latino.

    Remember Panamá
    En el mes de mayo de 1988 la Fiscalía de Estados Unidos presentó una denuncia contra el general Manuel Antonio Noriega, a la postre jefe del gobierno de Panamá, ante la Corte del Distrito Sur de Miami bajo cargos de narcotráfico y lavado de dinero. Se convocó a un jurado, que decidió formalizar acusación y ordenar la detención para llevarlo a juicio, todo lo cual se mantuvo en secreto, o sellado, que es como se le denomina en las reglas procesales, como antes dijimos. Con base en tal actuación judicial el presidente de Estados Unidos, George W. Bush, ordenó la operación denominada “Just Cause” para ejecutar el arresto. Tal fue la justificación para que fuerzas militares norteamericanas iniciaran el operativo de captura en Panamá el 20 de diciembre de 1989, que culminó con Noriega juzgado y condenado a 40 años de cárcel según sentencia que dictó la Corte en julio de 1992 y que se cumplió hasta el último día.

    ¿Habrá una operación “Just Cause” en Venezuela?
    ¿Por qué no?

    Hay muchas similitudes

    El cielo encapotado anuncia tempestad.

    ¡Te lo pedimos Señor!


  • Alexis Spire : « Les classes populaires ressentent un très fort sentiment d’injustice fiscale » | Alternatives Economiques
    https://www.alternatives-economiques.fr/alexis-spire-classes-populaires-ressentent-un-tres-fort-sentiment-d/00086038

    Directeur de recherche au CNRS, Alexis Spire travaille depuis plusieurs années sur les inégalités sociales et les rapports ordinaires à l’Etat, après avoir travaillé sur les politiques d’immigration. Il vient de publier les résultats d’une enquête statistique inédite et d’entretiens auprès de contribuables dans « Résistances à l’impôt, attachement à l’Etat », aux Editions du Seuil. Il revient sur les ressorts sociologiques de la contestation de l’impôt par les classes populaires, et sur la réforme du prélèvement de l’impôt à la source qui entrera bien en vigueur début 2019.

    Pensez-vous que l’introduction du prélèvement à la source puisse changer le rapport des Français à l’impôt ?

    C’est une réforme qui peut sembler logique, mais il aurait fallu l’accompagner d’une individualisation de l’impôt ainsi que d’un nettoyage de toutes les niches fiscales. Le fait qu’en France, l’impôt sur le revenu soit conjugal ou familial complique considérablement le prélèvement à la source. Il pourrait notamment être problématique pour les femmes qui vivent en couple avec un conjoint mieux payé qu’elles et qui vont être confrontées au choix suivant : soit conserver le taux du ménage au risque d’informer leur employeur qu’elles vivent plus confortablement que ne le laisse penser leur salaire, soit opter pour le taux neutre au risque de faire augmenter les impôts de leur conjoint.
    Commentaires récents (3)
    si les classes populaires payaient un impôt sur le revenu même faible, elles seraient en fait moins exclues du système 19/09/2018
    Voilà une étude digne d’intérêt qui devrait être communiquée à l’ensemble de la population sans omettre nos "décideurs"( 19/09/2018
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    Nous avons été abreuvés de sondages sur le « ras-le-bol fiscal », alors qu’il y a très peu d’enquêtes sociologiques et statistiques sur ce que les Français pensent de l’impôt Twitter

    Cette réforme en apparence technique va donc quand même modifier, au moins dans les premiers mois, les arrangements implicites qui existent dans les ménages et les entreprises, entre les conjoints ayant des revenus différents, et entre collègues ayant des situations familiales variées. Mais sur le long terme, je ne suis pas certain que cette réforme du recouvrement change fondamentalement le rapport des contribuables à l’impôt. Dans la période récente, nous avons été abreuvés de sondages sur le « ras-le-bol fiscal ». Cependant, il y a très peu d’enquêtes sociologiques et statistiques sur ce que les Français pensent de l’impôt.

    J’ai essayé de synthétiser plusieurs années de réflexion et de recherche sur le rapport des contribuables à l’impôt, en prenant pour fil rouge la question de l’effritement du soutien à l’Etat social.

    Comment avez-vous procédé ?

    Ce livre repose sur une enquête qualitative et surtout quantitative, auprès d’un échantillon représentatif de 2 700 personnes, tirées de façon aléatoire sur la base du recensement grâce au panel Elipss (Etude longitudinale par Internet pour les sciences sociales). Les résultats montrent que le sentiment d’un niveau excessif des prélèvements est largement répandu, mais il est très difficile de cerner précisément l’évolution de cette question sur une longue période. L’enquête la plus ancienne est celle de Jean Dubergé dans « La psychologie sociale de l’impôt », publiée en 1961, à une époque où seulement un quart des ménages payait l’impôt sur le revenu.

    Tout se passe comme si la question fiscale était devenue le centre de gravité des débats publics et que la question des salaires n’était plus d’actualité Twitter

    Dans les années 1960 et 1970, la question des inégalités tournait autour du partage de la valeur ajoutée entre salaires et profits. Depuis plusieurs années, tout se passe comme si la question fiscale, celle de la répartition des prélèvements, était devenue le centre de gravité des débats publics, comme si la question des salaires n’était plus d’actualité. C’est une vraie transformation.

    Aujourd’hui, le débat public se focalise donc sur le thème du « ras-le-bol fiscal » qui mélange deux dimensions bien différentes, celle du civisme fiscal et celle de l’acceptation politique de l’impôt. D’un côté, on peut dire que plus de 95 % des contribuables remplissent leurs obligations, ce qui place la France assez haut sur le plan du civisme fiscal. Mais de l’autre, plus de 80 % des enquêtés estiment qu’il y a trop de prélèvements. Or, si on veut comprendre ce qui se joue derrière cette forme de protestation, il y a un enjeu fondamental à déconstruire cette notion générique de contribuable.

    Le problème des prélèvements ne se pose pas du tout de la même façon pour les membres des classes populaires, moyennes et supérieures Twitter

    J’ai essayé de montrer que le problème des prélèvements ne se pose pas du tout de la même façon pour les membres des classes populaires, moyennes et supérieures. J’ai aussi introduit d’autres distinctions entre jeunes et vieux, salariés et indépendants, travailleurs du public et du privé, diplômés et non-diplômés. Ce sont toutes ces distinctions qui rendent visibles les fractures de la société française autour de la question fiscale.

    Par ailleurs, cette approche sociologique permet de comprendre un paradoxe qui avait déjà été soulevé par les politistes américains au moment de la suppression par George W. Bush des droits de succession, à savoir l’adhésion du plus grand nombre à des politiques fiscales bénéficiant à une petite minorité. De façon cyclique, les classes populaires portent en effet au pouvoir des gouvernants qui agissent à l’encontre de leurs intérêts.

    De façon cyclique, les classes populaires portent au pouvoir des gouvernants qui agissent à leur encontre de leurs intérêts Twitter

    On l’a vu encore récemment avec l’élection de Donald Trump aux Etats-Unis et d’Emmanuel Macron en France. Ces deux dirigeants politiques ont été portés au pouvoir sur la base d’un programme qui visait à avantager les plus riches – avec notamment la baisse drastique de l’impôt sur les sociétés pour Trump, et la suppression de l’impôt sur la fortune pour Macron.

    Comment peut-on l’expliquer ?

    Un des résultats étonnants de l’enquête quantitative que j’ai menée porte sur la critique du niveau des prélèvements : elle est plus forte au sein des classes populaires et moyennes qu’au sein des classes supérieures. Ce résultat se confirme si on prend d’autres indicateurs : ce sont les plus faibles revenus et les moins diplômés qui pensent que l’impôt est trop élevé. Il en est de même si l’on raisonne en termes de catégories socioprofessionnelles. Dans un pays comme la France où l’impôt est au cœur du système de redistribution et demeure malgré tout un outil de lutte contre les inégalités, il peut paraître paradoxal qu’il soit à ce point discrédité au sein des classes moyennes et populaires.

    D’où vient ce désamour ?

    On peut l’expliquer par trois séries de raisons : il y a une première façon très « économique » de formuler cette équation, en considérant que les prélèvements proportionnels (dont le taux est le même pour tous) tels que la CSG ou la TVA, l’emportent sur les impôts progressifs (dont l’ampleur augmente avec le niveau de richesse). Ainsi, la part des recettes fiscales liées à l’impôt sur le revenu a beaucoup baissé depuis le début des années 1980 ; l’impôt sur la fortune (ISF) a été vidé de sa substance et remplacé par l’impôt sur la fortune immobilière (IFI) ; et, enfin, l’impôt sur les successions peut être largement neutralisé par des montages fiscaux, et surtout des donations anticipées...

    Les gouvernements ont rendu le système fiscal plus inégalitaire, ce qui a pu contribuer à délégitimer l’impôt aux yeux des membres des classes moyennes et populaires Twitter

    En réduisant à la portion congrue tous ces impôts progressifs et en laissant peser discrètement les impôts proportionnels, les gouvernements successifs ont rendu le système fiscal plus inégalitaire, ce qui a pu contribuer à délégitimer l’impôt aux yeux des membres des classes moyennes et populaires. Cette explication qui suppose implicitement que les contribuables sont tous rationnels et conscients des règles de répartition effective de la charge fiscale est en fait assez théorique. Dans la réalité, cela ne se passe pas tout à fait comme ça : les personnes que l’on a interrogées se montrent attachées à certains principes en matière de politique économique, ce qui ne veut pas dire pour autant que tout le monde maîtrise parfaitement les mécanismes fiscaux de tel ou tel prélèvement.

    Une deuxième explication, plus sociologique et plus convaincante à mon sens, consiste à tenir compte de la dimension pratique du rapport à l’impôt. Les représentations de l’impôt sont fortement structurées par les expériences pratiques des contribuables, qui sont elles-mêmes variables selon leur position sociale. Pour les membres des classes moyennes et supérieures, l’adhésion au système fiscal repose en partie sur la démultiplication des possibilités de baisser ses prélèvements grâce à diverses formes d’exonérations, de déductions, d‘abattements et de crédits d’impôt.

    Plus on monte dans la hiérarchie sociale, plus la probabilité de bénéficier de dispositifs d’exonérations, abattements et crédits d’impôt augmente Twitter

    Un résultat important de l’enquête est que, toutes choses égales par ailleurs, plus on bénéficie de ces dispositifs (dons aux association, déduction pour les emplois à domicile, les économies d’énergie, etc.), moins on se plaint de payer l’impôt. Les contribuables qui bénéficient de ces arrangements s’accommodent de l’impôt, car ils ont ainsi l’impression d’être dans une relation contractuelle avec l’Etat : ils acceptent de contribuer à condition de pouvoir domestiquer la contrainte fiscale. Et bien sûr, plus on monte dans la hiérarchie sociale, plus la probabilité de bénéficier de ces dispositifs augmente.

    L’enquête fait aussi ressortir un résultat plus surprenant : au sein des classes moyennes, les salariés du public bénéficient plus souvent que ceux du privé de dispositifs de défiscalisation (dons aux partis, associations ou syndicats, emplois à domicile ou dépenses pour l’habitation.). En revanche, en bas de l’échelle sociale, les membres des classes populaires sont en majorité non imposables à l’impôt sur le revenu, ce qui les exclut d’une part importante de ces dispositifs d’exonération et crédits d’impôt. Pour ces contribuables, ce sont essentiellement la TVA, la CSG, la redevance télévisuelle et les taxes sur les carburants qui constituent l’essentiel de leurs prélèvements et, dans ces cas-là, il n’y a guère d’accommodements ou de dispositifs dérogatoires.

    On pourrait ajouter une troisième explication qui tient aux transformations dans la gestion des illégalismes fiscaux. Pendant très longtemps, des marges de manœuvre existaient à tous les niveaux de la société pour contourner l’impôt, masquer certains revenus et ne pas tout déclarer à l’administration. Or, le recul de l’argent liquide, l’informatisation des fichiers des bénéficiaires de prestations sociales et l’emprise grandissante de l’administration fiscale sur certaines transactions ont fortement limité les possibilités qu’avaient les classes populaires de s’émanciper de certaines contraintes fiscales. Ce qu’on pourrait appeler la fraude artisanale, celle qui consiste à simplement dissimuler une part de ses revenus ou de ses prestations, est rendue plus difficile, même pour les indépendants.

    Ce recul des petits contournements de la loi fiscale en bas de la société n’est pas sans incidence sur la contestation politique de l’impôt Twitter

    Cela apparaît dans beaucoup d’entretiens : « J’aimerais bien faire du black, mais je ne sais pas comment faire sans risquer d’être attrapé. » Aujourd’hui, si on veut prendre des libertés avec ses obligations fiscales, cela suppose de faire appel à des professionnels capables de faire des montages qui échapperont à la vigilance des contrôleurs. Mais beaucoup n’en ont pas les moyens. Ce recul des petits contournements de la loi fiscale en bas de la société n’est pas sans incidence sur la contestation politique de l’impôt.

    Enfin, une quatrième explication tient à la visibilité des investissements publics et des prestations que verse l’Etat. L’impôt en France est encore assez redistributif comparé à d’autres pays. Les travaux de Thomas Piketty ont montré que l’Europe reste un continent relativement moins inégalitaire que les Etats-Unis ou la Russie, et le système fiscal joue évidemment un rôle majeur dans cette singularité.

    Mais les contribuables ne savent pas nécessairement ce que l’Etat fait de cet argent...

    C’est effectivement une dimension fondamentale de la question fiscale. J’ai justement choisi d’intituler mon livre Résistances à l’impôt, attachement à l’Etat pour tenir ensemble ces deux aspects. Le plus souvent, l’impôt est traité uniquement sous l’angle du prélèvement, sans tenir compte des réalisations qu’il rend possibles. Une des thèses que je défends est que le rapport à l’impôt ne peut pas se comprendre indépendamment des expériences pratiques accumulées au contact de l’Etat et de ses agents.

    Le rapport à l’impôt ne peut se comprendre indépendamment des expériences pratiques accumulées au contact de l’Etat et de ses agents Twitter

    Or, un vaste ensemble de prestations et d’actions de l’Etat demeurent relativement invisibles aux yeux de ceux qui en bénéficient. C’est ce que j’ai appelé « l’Etat souterrain », qui est source d’un grand nombre de malentendus largement entretenus par le pouvoir politique. Depuis plusieurs années, il existe un consensus politique pour considérer que les prélèvements doivent toujours être revus à la baisse, mais personne ne s’aventure à préciser quels sont les services publics et les dépenses qu’il faudrait sacrifier.

    Tout un ensemble d’équipements font marcher la société et sont rarement présentés comme la contrepartie de l’impôt. Leur importance n’est mise en lumière que lorsque leur existence est remise en question : l’exemple le plus récent est celui de la carte du réseau ferroviaire ; de nombreuses lignes non rentables contribuent au désenclavement de certaines régions et pour lesquelles les populations se mobilisent lorsqu’il est souvent trop tard et que leur disparition a déjà été programmée. Le système de protection sociale est aussi un très bon exemple des contradictions hexagonales. Tous les jours, des économistes et des politiques s’alarment du niveau de prélèvements obligatoires qui serait trop élevé par rapport à celui de nos voisins. En réalité, l’essentiel de cette différence tient à la part prise par les cotisations sociales qui sont au fondement d’un système de protection sociale auquel les contribuables restent très attachés.

    Et ce, toutes classes sociales confondues ?

    Pas tout à fait. Les membres des classes populaires sont beaucoup plus attachés à cette fonction de protection sociale que ne le sont ceux des classes supérieures. J’ai aussi essayé de mesurer l’évolution dans le temps de cet attachement à l’Etat en comparant deux séries de questions, posées dans les mêmes termes, à quarante-cinq ans d’intervalle : une enquête de 1970 intitulée « Les Français et l’Etat » et mon questionnaire administré en février 2017. En 1970 comme en 2017, la mission de l’Etat qui recueille le plus l’adhésion est celle de « protéger contre les risques sociaux ».

    Cet attachement des Français au système de protection sociale est une constante qui ressort de façon extrêmement forte Twitter

    Bien sûr, on peut considérer que cette mission repose davantage sur les cotisations sociales que sur les impôts mais, en réalité, les enquêtés ne font pas nécessairement la différence entre les deux. Et dans les entretiens tout comme dans les résultats statistiques, cet attachement au système de protection sociale apparaît comme une constante qui ressort de façon extrêmement forte.

    Mais quelles sont alors les évolutions dans l’attachement à l’Etat ?

    En l’espace de plus de quarante ans, les attentes ont beaucoup évolué. L’attachement aux fonctions sécuritaires de l’Etat comme « assurer l’ordre public » ou « assurer la défense du pays » ont fortement progressé dans la hiérarchie des priorités. A ce sujet, il y a toutes les raisons de penser que le contexte créé par les attentats a sans doute beaucoup contribué à une telle évolution. Mais j’ai aussi été surpris de constater que les missions de l’Education nationale sont également devenues des préoccupations de premier plan. Cela traduit un très fort attachement à l’école comme instance permettant d’espérer une ascension sociale. L’idée qu’on puisse réussir comme autodidacte a presque disparu. L’institution scolaire incarne aujourd’hui, bien plus que dans les années 1970, l’espoir que les enfants puissent réussir mieux que leurs parents et s’élever ainsi dans la hiérarchie sociale.

    Y a-t-il du même coup une plus grande injustice fiscale et sociale qu’auparavant ?

    Selon l’enquête statistique que j’utilise, les classes populaires ressentent un très fort sentiment d’injustice fiscale, qui se traduit par une contestation politique de l’impôt. Mais dans le même temps, j’ai pu aussi mesurer un très fort sentiment d’incompétence par rapport à l’impôt : ce qui ressort, c’est l’impression d’être trop prélevé par rapport à ses ressources, même si on ne connaît pas exactement dans le détail les mécanismes des différents prélèvements. Par exemple, l’Impôt sur la fortune est considéré par une écrasante majorité des enquêtés comme un impôt juste, même si beaucoup ne savent pas précisément comment il fonctionnait. C’est encore plus frappant pour la CSG : beaucoup de nos enquêtés ne le connaissent pas ou sont convaincus, à tort, de ne pas le payer, ce qui ne les empêche pas de porter un jugement sur ce prélèvement à la source.

    Quelle est la responsabilité des gouvernements dans cette méconnaissance ?

    Cette méconnaissance tient d’abord à la technicité de la matière fiscale. Pendant les débats qui ont précédé la réforme du code du travail, l’argument de la simplification a beaucoup été utilisé par les représentants du patronat. Pour ce qui est du code des impôts, la stigmatisation d’un droit illisible et inaccessible est beaucoup moins répandue. Le législateur n’est d’ailleurs pas le seul en cause.

    Les journalistes ont aussi une part de responsabilité dans certains biais du débat fiscal Twitter

    Les journalistes ont aussi une part de responsabilité dans certains biais du débat fiscal. J’ai essayé de mesurer à partir des archives de l’Inathèque quels étaient les prélèvements les plus souvent cités dans les journaux télévisés. L’impôt sur le revenu arrive largement en tête, alors qu’il représente à peine un quart des recettes fiscales et ne concerne qu’un peu plus de 40 % des ménages.

    Ce gouvernement, comme les précédents, sait parfaitement jouer de cette méconnaissance des mécanismes fiscaux. Il est par exemple parvenu à focaliser l’attention sur la taxe d’habitation en présentant sa suppression comme une mesure populaire, alors que beaucoup de ménages à faibles revenus en sont déjà dispensés ou ne la payent pas en totalité, en raison des nombreuses possibilités d’abattements et autres dégrèvements. Ceux qui la payent en intégralité appartiennent plutôt aux classes moyennes et supérieures. Et dans sa volonté de réformer la fiscalité locale, ce gouvernement a complètement passé sous silence la taxe foncière qui, selon les résultats de mon enquête, est considérée comme plus injuste. Et pour cause : elle n’est pas calculée en fonction du revenu et s’applique de la même façon aux ménages pleinement propriétaires et à ceux qui sont endettés sur plus de vingt ans ; elle ne donne lieu à aucun abattement ni dégrèvement, avec l’idée que si vous êtes propriétaire, vous êtes forcement riche, ce qui est loin d’être toujours le cas.

    Pourrait-on mieux faire vivre le débat public autour de ces questions ?

    Il faudrait faire preuve d’un peu plus de pédagogie pour que les contribuables puissent se réapproprier l’impôt comme un outil fondamental pour l’avenir de la société. Dans de nombreux pays, on assiste à une fuite en avant dans la baisse des prélèvements et à une remise en cause de la légitimité de l’Etat dans sa capacité à réguler les activités économiques et à lutter contre les inégalités. Derrière la question de l’endettement public se joue l’équilibre entre l’Etat et le marché.

    Il est possible de redonner un contenu positif à l’impôt en montrant que la préservation de l’intérêt général reste mieux assurée par la puissance publique Twitter

    Pour réhabiliter l’impôt, il faut éviter les constructions intellectualistes et repartir des préoccupations des contribuables. La question environnementale au sens large est sans doute un bon exemple, car les populations sont de plus en plus conscientes du caractère urgent des mesures à prendre, et rares sont ceux qui sont prêts à s’en remettre au marché ou à la sphère privée pour garantir l’avenir dans ce domaine. La qualité de l’air, de l’eau, de la nourriture est considérée comme un bien public et on ne voit pas bien comment le marché pourrait prendre en charge ces questions-là. D’autant plus que ces enjeux environnementaux dépassent largement les frontières nationales.

    De la même façon, la protection sociale et la préservation de la santé publique sont des préoccupations très fortes, car beaucoup considèrent qu’elles sont mieux prises en charge par la puissance publique que par les forces du marché ou les acteurs privés. L’éducation est une autre dimension fondamentale de la puissance publique à laquelle les contribuables restent très attachés.

    A partir de ces trois grandes prérogatives de l’Etat, il est possible de redonner un contenu positif à l’impôt, en montrant que la préservation de l’intérêt général reste mieux assurée par la puissance publique, à condition qu’elle dispose des moyens suffisants.


  • CIA and Saudi Arabia Conspired To Keep 9/11 Details Secret, New Book Says
    https://www.newsweek.com/cia-and-saudi-arabia-conspired-keep-911-details-secret-new-book-says-10919

    But Duffy and Nowosielski come to the story with a noteworthy credential: In 2009 they scored an astounding video interview with Richard Clarke, a White House counterterrorism adviser during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. In it, Clarke raged that top CIA officials, including director George Tenet, had withheld crucial information from him about Al-Qaeda’s plotting and movements, including the arrival in the U.S. of future hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi. In The Watchdogs Didn’t Bark: The CIA, NSA, and the Crimes of the War on Terror, the authors assemble a compelling case of a government-wide cover-up of Saudi complicity in the affair.

    #9/11 #conspirationnisme


  • Des polices pour détecter la contrefaçon
    Jeanne Corriveau - 8 août 2018 - Le Devoir _
    https://www.ledevoir.com/societe/533921/des-polices-pour-detecter-la-contrefacon

    Les polices de caractères ont souvent une histoire étonnante, dans laquelle s’entremêlent enjeux graphiques, économiques et sociopolitiques. Cinquième texte d’une série estivale consacrée à ce sujet.

    Le commun des mortels ne prête pas toujours attention aux caractères typographiques avec lesquels les textes qu’il lit sont composés. Dans certains cas, toutefois, le choix d’une police de caractères peut avoir des conséquences politiques insoupçonnées. C’est ainsi qu’au cours des dernières années, les polices Calibri et Times New Roman se sont retrouvées au coeur de polémiques concernant la contrefaçon de documents.

    En 2016, embourbés dans une affaire de corruption à la suite de la publication des Panama Papers, Nawaz Sharif, alors premier ministre du Pakistan, et sa fille Maryam avaient remis à la justice des documents en preuve dans une tentative pour se disculper. Parmi ces documents figurait une déclaration faite par Maryam Sharif prétendument signée en février 2006.

    Or, ont découvert les enquêteurs, la déclaration était composée en Calibri, une police de caractères qui n’a été distribuée commercialement par #microsoft qu’en 2007, ce qui laisse croire que le document a été contrefait. Calibri allait-elle faire tomber le premier ministre ?

    En entrevue au journal pakistanais Dawn, le bureau du designer Lucas de Groot, qui a conçu la police Calibri pour Microsoft, a précisé qu’une version bêta de Calibri était disponible en 2006, mais que celle-ci était destinée aux programmeurs et aux « freaks » de technologie. Il paraissait donc « très peu probable » que quelqu’un ait pu utiliser cette police pour des documents officiels.

    Condamné à 10 ans de prison pour corruption, Nawaz Sharif a finalement pris le chemin du pénitencier au début du mois de juillet dernier. De son côté, sa fille a reçu une sentence de sept ans de prison.

    Le « Rathergate »
    La police Times New Roman a elle aussi été mêlée à une controverse politique. En 2004, le journaliste #Dan_Rather, de l’émission 60 minutes, diffusée sur #CBS, avait présenté en ondes des documents qui semblaient démontrer que le président américain George W. Bush avait pu bénéficier d’un traitement de faveur pour être affecté à la Garde nationale du Texas dans les années 1970 et, du même coup, échapper à la guerre du #Vietnam. Il s’agissait de rapports internes du colonel Jerry Killian, mort en 1984, qui dirigeait l’escadron de la Garde du Texas.

    La veuve du colonel Killian, de même que plusieurs blogueurs et médias ont mis en doute l’authenticité du document, relevant diverses incongruités, dont l’utilisation de fontes dites proportionnelles, par opposition à celles de taille fixe, ainsi que la présence des caractères « th » mis en exposant dans « 111 th » ou « 147 th ». Les machines à écrire des années 1970 étaient-elles en mesure de produire de telles fontes ? Selon divers experts, le document en question semblait plutôt avoir été réalisé par ordinateur avec la police Times New Roman, offerte avec le logiciel Word de Microsoft. L’affaire a embarrassé CBS.

    Dan Rather a par la suite présenté ses excuses et quitté ses fonctions.

    L’univers numérique
    Calibri et Times New Roman ont deux points en commun : non seulement se sont-elles retrouvées au centre de controverses, mais elles ont toutes deux été lancées dans l’univers numérique comme police par défaut dans le logiciel Word de Microsoft, la Calibri ayant délogé son aînée en 2007. Mais alors que la Calibri a à peine 10 ans d’âge, la création de la Times New Roman remonte à 1931.

    Cette police de caractères avait été commandée auprès du typographe Stanley Morison par le quotidien britannique Times. Stanley Morison fit appel à l’artiste Victor Lardent, qui dessina cette police de caractères. Inspirée des fontes Plantin et Perpetua, la police Times New Roman, dotée d’empattements, est étroite, ce qui permet de corder plus de mots dans une ligne. Un avantage pour les journaux. Elle est aussi vantée pour sa lisibilité.

    Conçue pour la presse écrite et largement utilisée dans l’édition, la police Times New Roman a connu une seconde vie dans l’espace numérique. Mais une telle gloire a ses revers. Surexposée et omniprésente, elle rappelle à certains leurs travaux scolaires. D’autres diront qu’elle est fade, sans émotion et qu’elle dénote la paresse de l’auteur qui ne se serait pas donné la peine de chercher une autre police plus originale et plus proche de sa personnalité.

    Jamais à la mode
    Le designer graphique Denis Dulude reconnaît que la police Times New Roman n’est guère prisée par les professionnels de la typographie et du graphisme. « Elle est un peu mal-aimée. À l’époque où elle est arrivée, elle venait dans la boîte. Beaucoup de gens l’avaient utilisée pour faire des lettres et des logos qui n’étaient pas nécessairement faits par des designers graphiques. Elle n’a jamais été à la mode. Pour cette raison, on a peut-être été un peu frileux avec cette police. »

    Denis Dulude a toutefois osé utiliser Times New Roman pour un projet de catalogue de photos. Or, il y a mis sa touche personnelle en retirant de tous les « S » majuscules l’empattement du bas. « Je me la suis appropriée en faisant ma propre version. J’ai aussi brisé un peu l’espacement entre les lettres pour qu’elle soit un peu plus maladroite et saccadée. C’est la seule façon que j’ai trouvée pour être à l’aise avec cette police », admet-il.

    #Panama_Papers #typographie #Calibri #Times_New_Roman #Pakistan #Imprimerie #Police de #Caractère #Histoire #médias #art #typographique #mise_en_page #Lay_out


  • Opinion | The Pragmatic Left Is Winning - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/09/opinion/columnists/left-sanders-ocasio-cortez-primaries.html

    On Tuesday, Rashida Tlaib, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, won her primary in Michigan, and she is now overwhelmingly likely to become the first Muslim woman in Congress. In a referendum, people in Missouri voted 2 to 1 to overturn an anti-union “right to work” law passed by the Republican legislature. In an upset, Wesley Bell, a progressive city councilman from Ferguson, Mo., effectively ousted the longtime St. Louis County prosecutor, who many civil rights activists say mishandled the investigation into the police shooting of Michael Brown, the African-American teenager whose 2014 killing set off riots.

    So it was strange to see headlines in the following days arguing that the left wing of the Democratic Party had hit a wall. “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s movement failed to deliver any stunners Tuesday night,” said CNN. “Down Goes Socialism,” announced Politico Magazine, despite the fact that Tlaib’s victory doubles the D.S.A.’s likely representation in Congress. “Socialist torchbearers flame out in key races, despite blitz by Bernie Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez,” said a Fox News headline.

    In part, this spin might just be the inevitable backlash to Ocasio-Cortez’s sudden celebrity. Her primary victory was thrilling and hard-earned, and she’s a charismatic and rousing spokeswoman for her values. But her overnight anointment as the new face of the Democratic Party has created absurdly outsize expectations of her power as kingmaker.

    In truth, there’s nothing surprising about left-wing candidates losing their primaries. The happy surprise is how many are winning. Unsexy as it sounds, the real story of progressive politics right now is the steady accumulation of victories — some small, some major — thanks to a welcome and unaccustomed outbreak of left-wing pragmatism.

    The new generation of left-wing activists, by contrast, is good at self-multiplication. The Democratic Socialists of America alone has done more to build left political power since the 2016 election than the Green Party did in the 18 years after Nader helped elect George W. Bush.

    Just as the Christian Right did in the 1990s, the new electoral left — which also includes groups like Justice Democrats and the Working Families Party — is trying to take over the Democratic Party from the ground up. These activists have, significantly, focused on races for prosecutor, which is a way to create immediate local criminal justice reform. (In Philadelphia, left-wing organizers last year helped elect civil rights lawyer Larry Krasner as district attorney. Among his reforms is the end of cash bail for many misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies.)

    It’s true that several candidates endorsed by Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders lost on Tuesday, including Abdul El-Sayed in Michigan’s gubernatorial primary and Brent Welder in a congressional primary in Kansas. But it’s testament to how far left the Democratic Party’s center of gravity has moved that the winners in those two races — Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan and Sharice Davids in Kansas — could be considered establishment.

    Whitmer supports a $15 minimum wage, marijuana legalization and statewide universal preschool. Davids, a Native American lesbian, former mixed martial arts fighter and lawyer, is running as a bad-ass feminist. One of her ads shows her training in a boxing gym. “It’s 2018, and women, Native Americans, gay people, the unemployed and underemployed have to fight like hell just to survive,” she says. “And it’s clear, Trump and the Republicans in Washington don’t give a damn.”

    It’s certainly true that Davids’s campaign put more emphasis on identity and representation, while Welder, a 2016 Sanders delegate, stressed populist economics. The Democratic Party will likely be weighing the precise balance between those progressive priorities for a long time. But the point is, they are all progressive priorities. After Davids’s victory, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted her congratulations: “Your win is an incredible inspiration to so many, myself included.”

    #Politique_USA #Politique_identité


  • Prada Marfa’s immigrant architecture is more relevant than ever - Archpaper.com
    https://archpaper.com/2018/08/prada-marfa-immigrant-architecture

    Political Context

    Prada Marfa is a building born out of the political tensions arising in post-9/11 America, in which Afghanistan, Iraq, and Mexico become scapegoats. In 2003, a United States-led coalition invaded Iraq, beginning an eight-year war, and in 2005, Duncan Hunter, who at the time was chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, called for the construction of a wall along the entire border between the U.S. and Mexico. This led to his amendment to the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005, which called for 698 miles of wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. This paved the way for the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which President George W. Bush signed to “help protect the American people” from several purported threats, but primarily terrorism, which was the major focus of the era’s political rhetoric.

    Borderlands Architecture

    Prada Marfa is constructed out of traditional adobe bricks which have long been used in the region but are frequently perceived as an inferior material despite their ecological and climatological responsiveness. Adobe bricks provide the foundation for the oldest extant buildings in the region, as well as many of the area’s most important cultural and heritage sites, including artist Donald Judd’s own Block compound in Marfa. Directly referencing Judd and the military building traditions he emulated, the adobe bricks are intentionally set in a cement-based mortar. Judd recognized that this was the technique employed in the construction of barracks, hangars, and forts in the region, and Prada Marfa is constructed to reflect this mistrust of local traditions of the militaristic architecture that secures the border displays. Adobe brick was validated as a construction material, but not adobe mortar, which is more likely to be used on the humble houses of Mexicans and Mexican Americans on both sides of the contemporary border.

    #frontières #mexique #états-unis #architecture


  • Politics Over Principle
    https://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/16/opinion/politics-over-principle.html

    The trauma of Sept. 11, 2001, gave rise to a dangerous myth that, to be safe, America had to give up basic rights and restructure its legal system. The United States was now in a perpetual state of war, the argument went, and the criminal approach to fighting terrorism — and the due process that goes along with it — wasn’t tough enough. President George W. Bush used this insidious formula to claim that his office had the inherent power to detain anyone he chose, for as long as he chose, (...)

    #FBI #législation #militarisation #surveillance


  • Nikki Haley’s Loyalty Test Backfires – Foreign Policy
    http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/04/30/nikki-haleys-loyalty-test-backfires


    U.N. General Assembly votes overwhelming to reject President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 21, 2017 in New York City.
    Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

    The U.S. ambassador’s threat to punish states for voting against the U.S. at the U.N. didn’t work out so well.

    In her first day on the job, Nikki Haley issued a stern warning to her U.N. colleagues from the lobby of U.N. headquarters: back American initiatives at Turtle Bay or face unspecified consequences. There was a new sheriff in town, Haley made clear, and she “would be taking names” of those who crossed the United States.

    The combative phrase, which Haley has used time and again to underscore Washington’s expectation of loyalty, reflects a deeply held view by President Donald Trump and his U.N. envoy that the United States is not shown the respect it deserves as the organization’s biggest financial backer. But Haley’s strategy has failed to broaden support for American positions at the U.N.

    In her first year as U.S. ambassador, the U.S. has lost support in the United Nations, with only 31 percent of States voting alongside the United States on controversial resolutions before the U.N. General Assembly, the lowest number since 2008, when states voted 25 percent of the time alongside President George W. Bush’s administration. During the final year of the Obama administration’s states voted with the United States 41 percent of the time, according to a recently published State Department report on U.N. voting practices.

    The voting outcome raises questions about the effectiveness of Washington’s use of threats to secure international backing for its policies. But Haley has not chosen to hide from that record. On the contrary, Haley has embraced it, highlighting the gap to justify the need for more punishment.

    We care more about being right than popular,” Haley said in a statement issued last week. “President Trump wants to ensure that our foreign assistance dollars – the most generous in the world – always serve American interests, and we look forward to helping him see that the American people are no longer taken for granted.


  • Trump’s sending troops to the border to take on 200 kids and parents

    According to President Donald Trump, the mightiest, richest country in the world is under a threat so huge and scary that it will require the deployment of military forces — as many as 2,000 to 4.000, Trump said Thursday — along its 2,000-mile southern border. The danger consists of a ragtag caravan formed by several hundred impoverished people, many of them children from tiny Central American nations. Yes, the time has come to protect America from marauding youngsters and their parents.

    https://edition.cnn.com/2018/04/05/opinions/trump-has-no-shame-on-immigration-fernandez-kelly-opinion/index.html?sr=twCNN040518trump-has-no-shame-on-immigration-fernandez-ke
    #Trump #frontières #armée #militarisation_des_frontières #USA #Etats-Unis

    • The cost of 2 National Guard border arrests would help a homeless vet for a year

      President Donald Trump’s decision to send #National_Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border has drawn a mixed response. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey welcomed the move, while California Gov. Jerry Brown’s National Guard said it would “review” the request.

      Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., had a specific complaint: He said it was a poor use of tax dollars.

      “Using the National Guard to do border security is very expensive,” Gallego tweeted April 3. “For what it would cost the Guard to make just TWO arrests at the border, we could give a homeless veteran permanent housing for an entire year.”


      http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2018/apr/05/ruben-gallego/arizona-rep-cost-2-national-guard-border-arrests-w
      #USA #Etats-Unis #coût #économie #prix #surveillance_des_frontières

    • Guard border deployment creates issues for Pentagon

      Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) have now sent two requests for assistance to the Pentagon’s new Border Security Support Cell, which was hastily established to help coordination between the Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Homeland Security.

      It’s estimated that it will cost $182 million to keep 2,093 guardsmen at the border through the end of September, which represents just more than half of the personnel approved.

      The amount covers $151 million in pay and allowances for the 2,093 personnel, as well as $31 million for 12,000 flying hours for 26 UH-72 Lakota helicopters, according to a defense memo on the amount.

      http://thehill.com/policy/defense/386617-guard-border-deployment-creates-issues-for-pentagon

      #CBP #gardes-frontière #frontières

    • The Cal. National Guard Is Working At the Mexican Border, But Mostly Behind The Scenes

      In California - a state with strong differences with the White House on immigration policy - about 400 troops are on border duty. But they’re keeping a low profile.


      http://tpr.org/post/cal-national-guard-working-mexican-border-mostly-behind-scenes

      Signalé par Reece Jones sur twitter, avec ce commentaire:

      What are US National Guard troops doing at the border? Analyze intelligence, work as dispatchers, and monitor cameras “but not cameras that look across the border into Mexico”

    • L’armée américaine mobilisée pour défendre la frontière

      En campagne pour les élections américaines de mi-mandat, le président Trump a focalisé son discours sur la caravane de migrants d’Amérique centrale qui fait route à travers le Mexique. Il a promis de tout faire pour empêcher ces demandeurs d’asile de pénétrer sur le territoire américain (“Personne n’entrera”), y compris de déployer “entre 10 000 et 15 000 soldats” en plus de la police aux frontières et de la police de l’immigration.

      L’armée estime que seuls 20 % des migrants, soit 1 400 selon les estimations les plus hautes, iront jusqu’à la frontière qui se trouve encore à quelque 1 300 kilomètres et plusieurs semaines de marche, rapporte le Los Angeles Times. Le chiffre de 15 000 hommes correspond à peu près au nombre de soldats déployés en Afghanistan, observe le même quotidien. Les militaires envoyés à la frontière peuvent se poser des questions sur le sens de cette mission, comme l’illustre ici le dessinateur Chappatte.


      https://www.courrierinternational.com/dessin/larmee-americaine-mobilisee-pour-defendre-la-frontiere

    • U.S. Troops’ First Order at the Border: Laying Razor Wire

      Soldiers fill local hotels, joke about finding ways to keep busy.
      On Monday morning in this border town, about a dozen U.S. Army soldiers unfurled reams of razor wire on top of a wrought-iron fence alongside a bridge to Mexico.

      The soldiers from the 36th Engineer Brigade at Fort Riley, Kan., who wore helmets but didn’t appear to be armed, are among thousands of troops deployed in recent days to the southwest U.S. border as part of Operation Faithful Patriot.

      Around border crossings throughout Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, military personnel have filled up hotels and delivered trucks packed with coils of razor wire as they begin to support U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.
      The personnel were sent in advance of the anticipated arrival of thousands of Central Americans, including children, traveling in caravans currently several hundred miles south of the nearest U.S. border crossing.

      At the DoubleTree Suites Hotel in McAllen, Texas, the bar did brisk business Sunday night as soldiers who had changed into civilian clothes chatted over drinks. Some joked about needing to find ways to keep soldiers busy during their deployment.

      The Anzalduas International Bridge, where the Kansas-based troops were working, is used only for vehicle traffic to and from the Mexican city of Reynosa. The wire was placed on top of fences at least 15 feet high along each side of the bridge that sat several dozen feet above an embankment.

      Outside the port of entry where vehicles from Mexico are stopped after crossing the bridge, shiny razor wire recently placed around the facility glistened in the afternoon sun.

      Migrants seeking asylum who cross the border illegally generally don’t come to the port, but swim or wade across the Rio Grande and turn themselves in to Border Patrol agents.

      Near another bridge connecting Hidalgo, Texas, to Reynosa, a concertina wire fence was recently erected along the river edge, a placement more likely to impede illegal migrants who arrive on foot.

      U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have determined where the military placed razor wire, Army Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters Monday during a briefing.

      It is part of an effort previously announced by Air Force Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, commander of the U.S. Northern Command, to “harden the points of entry and address key gaps.”

      Near the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge about 22 miles southeast of McAllen, troops on Monday were working on what looked to be a staging area to prepare for coming work. Two armed military police officers stood guard, opening and closing a gate as flatbed trailers carrying heavy military trucks and transports with troops inside arrived. At least one tent apparently intended to house troops was in place Monday.

      President Trump ordered the deployment last month after the first caravan made its way into Mexico. He had described the impending caravan’s arrival as an “invasion.”

      The Pentagon said Monday that more than 5,000 troops are at or would be on their way to the U.S.-Mexico border by the end of the day, with about 2,700 in Texas, 1,200 in Arizona and 1,100 in California. Eventually, nearly 8,000 will be deployed, according to a U.S. official. Officials from the Department of Homeland Security have said the troops won’t be used to enforce immigration laws but will provide backup for Border Patrol agents and Customs and Border Protection officers.

      At the Vaquero Hangout, an open-air bar within eyesight of the Anzalduas bridge, a flag declaring support for the U.S. military hung from the rafters. It was business as usual on Sunday evening. Some patrons watched the Houston Texans’ NFL game, while others were focused on a live band, George and the Texas Outlaws.

      A few folks briefly took notice of flashing lights from a U.S. Customs and Border Protection vehicle parked on the bridge as the soldiers lay down razor wire, an effort they would continue the next day.

      https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-troops-first-order-at-the-border-laying-razor-wire-1541509201
      #fil_barbelé #barbelé

    • Pentagon to begin drawdown of troops at border: report

      The Pentagon is planning to begin a drawdown of troops at the southern border as soon as this week, the Army commander overseeing the mission told Politico on Monday.

      Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan told the news outlet that the 5,800 active-duty troops sent to assist Customs and Border Protection at the U.S.-Mexico border should be home by Christmas.
      ADVERTISEMENT

      “Our end date right now is 15 December, and I’ve got no indications from anybody that we’ll go beyond that,” said Buchanan, who is overseeing the mission from Texas.

      Buchanan said engineer and logistics troops, which make up the largest parts of the deployment, will begin returning home soon.

      According to Politico’s report, some troops will begin leaving the area before the so-called migrant caravan arrives at the border.

      The news of the troops’ return comes as critics call President Trump’s request to send thousands of troops to the border a “political stunt.”

      Trump before Election Day stoked fears over an approaching group of Central American migrants heading towards the southern border, which he referred to as an “invasion.” He requested the deployment of thousands of troops to the border in a support mission just before Nov. 6.

      Some lawmakers have accused Trump of wasting resources and manpower on the mission, as reports have emerged that the troops are restless and underutilized.

      Thousands of participants in the caravan over the weekend reached Tijuana, Mexico, where they were met with vast protests. Some of the protesters are echoing Trump’s language, calling the group a danger and an invasion, The Associated Press reported.

      Most of the members of the caravan are reportedly escaping rampant poverty and violence in their home countries.

      https://thehill.com/policy/defense/417503-pentagon-to-begin-drawdown-of-troops-at-border-report

      –-> commentaire sur twitter:

      Just 3 weeks after deployment, Trump’s Pentagon is sending the military home from the border. They’ve served their purpose as the GOP’s 11th hour campaign force. Now we’re stuck with a hundred miles of trashy concertina wire and a $200 million bill.

      https://twitter.com/LaikenJordahl/status/1064644464726048768

    • Troops at U.S.-Mexican border to start coming home

      All the troops should be home by Christmas, as originally expected, Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan said in an interview Monday.

      The 5,800 troops who were rushed to the southwest border amid President Donald Trump’s pre-election warnings about a refugee caravan will start coming home as early as this week — just as some of those migrants are beginning to arrive.

      Democrats and Republicans have criticized the deployment as a ploy by the president to use active-duty military forces as a prop to try to stem Republican losses in this month’s midterm elections.

      The general overseeing the deployment told POLITICO on Monday that the first troops will start heading home in the coming days as some are already unneeded, having completed the missions for which they were sent. The returning service members include engineering and logistics units whose jobs included placing concertina wire and other barriers to limit access to ports of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border.

      All the troops should be home by Christmas, as originally expected, Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan said in an interview Monday.

      “Our end date right now is 15 December, and I’ve got no indications from anybody that we’ll go beyond that,” said Buchanan, who leads the land forces of U.S. Northern Command.

      The decision to begin pulling back comes just weeks after Trump ordered the highly unusual deployment.

      In previous cases in which the military deployed to beef up security at the border, the forces consisted of part-time National Guard troops under the command of state governors who backed up U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other law enforcement agencies.

      But the newly deployed troops, most of them unarmed and from support units, come from the active-duty military, a concession the Pentagon made after Trump insisted that the deployment include “not just the National Guard.”

      Buchanan confirmed previous reports that the military had rejected a request from the Department of Homeland Security for an armed force to back up Border Patrol agents in the event of a violent confrontation.

      “That is a law enforcement task, and the secretary of Defense does not have the authority to approve that inside the homeland,” Buchanan said.

      The closure earlier Monday of one entry point along the California border near Tijuana, Mexico, was only partial and did not require more drastic measures, Buchanan said.

      “About half of the lanes were closed this morning, but that’s it,” he reported. “No complete closures.”

      Other ports might be closed fully in the future, he said, but he did not anticipate any need to take more drastic measures.

      “If CBP have reliable information that one of their ports is about to get rushed with a mob, or something like that that could put their agents at risk, they could ask us to completely close the port,” Buchanan said. “You understand the importance of commerce at these ports. Nobody in CBP wants to close a port unless they’re actually driven to do so.”

      The troop deployment should start trailing off as engineer and other logistics troops wind down their mission of building base camps and fortifying ports of entry for the Border Patrol.

      Army and Marine engineers have now emplaced about 75 percent of the obstacles they planned to, including concertina wire, shipping containers, and concrete barriers at ports of entry. “Once we get the rest of the obstacles built, we don’t need to keep all those engineers here. As soon as I’m done with a capability, what I intend to do is redeploy it,” Buchanan said. “I don’t want to keep these guys on just to keep them on.”

      Logistics troops, too, will be among the first to head home. “I will probably ask to start redeploying some of our logistic capability,” Buchanan predicted. “Now that things are set down here, we don’t need as many troops to actually build base camps and things like that, because the base camps are built."

      Among the troops who will remain after construction engineers and logisticians start departing are helicopter pilots, planners, medical personnel, and smaller “quick response” teams of engineers who can help Border Patrol personnel shut down traffic at their ports of entry.

      In contrast to the speed of the deployment in early November and the fanfare surrounding it, the withdrawal promises to be slower and quieter — but Buchanan expects it to be done before Christmas.

      “That doesn’t mean it’s impossible,” he added. “But right now, this is a temporary mission, and we’re tasked to do it until the 15th of December.”

      https://www.politico.com/story/2018/11/19/troops-us-mexico-border-come-home-1005510

    • Trump’s Border Stunt Is a Profound Betrayal of Our Military

      The president used America’s military not against any real threat but as toy soldiers, with the intent of manipulating a domestic midterm election.

      A week before the midterm elections, the president of the United States announced he would deploy up to 15,000 active duty military troops to the United States-Mexico border to confront a menacing caravan of refugees and asylum seekers. The soldiers would use force, if necessary, to prevent such an “invasion” of the United States.

      Mr. Trump’s announcement and the deployment that followed (of roughly 5,900) were probably perfectly legal. But we are a bipartisan threesome with decades of experience in and with the Pentagon, and to us, this act creates a dangerous precedent. We fear this was lost in the public hand-wringing over the decision, so let us be clear: The president used America’s military forces not against any real threat but as toy soldiers, with the intent of manipulating a domestic midterm election outcome, an unprecedented use of the military by a sitting president.

      The public debate focused on secondary issues. Is there truly a threat to American security from an unarmed group of tired refugees and asylum seekers on foot and a thousand miles from the border? Even the Army’s internal assessment did not find this a very credible threat.

      Can the president deny in advance what could be legitimate claims for asylum, without scrutiny? Most likely, this violates treaty commitments the United States made as part of its agreement to refugee conventions in 1967, which it has followed for decades.

      The deployment is not, in the context of the defense budget, an albatross. We are already paying the troops, wherever they’re deployed, and the actual incremental costs of sending them to the border might be $100 million to $200 million, a tiny fraction of the $716 billion defense budget.

      Still, we can think of many ways to put the funds to better use, like improving readiness.

      It’s also not unusual for a president to ask the troops to deploy to the border in support of border security operations. Presidents of both parties have sent troops to the border, to provide support functions like engineering, logistics, transportation and surveillance.

      But those deployments have been generally in smaller numbers, usually the National Guard, and never to stop a caravan of refugees and asylum seekers.

      So, generously, some aspects of the deployment are at least defensible. But one is not, and that aspect is the domestic political use — or rather, misuse — of the military.

      James Mattis, the secretary of defense, asserted that the Defense Department does not “do stunts.” But this was a blatant political stunt. The president crossed a line — the military is supposed to stay out of domestic politics. As many senior military retirees have argued, the forces are not and should not be a political instrument. They are not toy soldiers to be moved around by political leaders but a neutral institution, politically speaking.
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      Oh, some might say, presidents use troops politically all the time. And so they do, generally in the context of foreign policy decisions that have political implications. Think Lyndon Johnson sending more troops to Vietnam, fearing he would be attacked for “cutting and running” from that conflict. Or George W. Bush crowing about “mission accomplished” when Saddam Hussein was toppled. Those are not the same thing as using troops at home for electoral advantage.

      Electoral gain, not security, is this president’s goal. Two of us served in the military for many years; while all troops must obey the legal and ethical orders of civilian leaders, they need to have faith that those civilian leaders are using them for legitimate national security purposes. But the border deployment put the military right in the middle of the midterm elections, creating a nonexistent crisis to stimulate votes for one party.

      When partisan actions like this occur, they violate civil-military traditions and erode that faith, with potentially long-term damage to the morale of the force and our democratic practice — all for electoral gain.

      The deployment is a stunt, a dangerous one, and in our view, a misuse of the military that should have led Mr. Mattis to consider resigning, instead of acceding to this blatant politicization of America’s military.


      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/19/opinion/president-trump-border-military-troops.html

    • The Military Is ’Securing’ a 1,900-Mile Border with 22 Miles of Razor Wire

      #Operation_Faithful_Patriot” is nothing more than a very expensive, politically motivated P.R. campaign.
      Skim through the Pentagon’s media site for Operation Faithful Patriot—the fittingly ridiculous name for the deployment of some 7,000 American troops to various spots along the Mexican border—and you’ll see lots of razor wire.

      There are photos of American troops laying razor wire (technically known as concertina wire) along the California-Mexico border. Of wire being affixed to the top of fences and to the sides of buildings. Everywhere you look on the Pentagon’s site, you find wire, wire, and more wire. Photos of soldiers carrying rolls of unused wire, snapshots of forklifts bringing more of the stuff to the border, and even videos of wire being unrolled and deployed. It’s thrilling stuff, truly.

      The message is not subtle. President Donald Trump might not have convinced Congress to blow billions for a fully operational border wall, but good luck to any immigrant caravan that happens to stumble into the thorny might of the American military’s sharpest deterrents.

      The focus on concertina wire isn’t just in the Pentagon’s internal media. The Wall Street Journal dedicated an entire Election Day story to how troops in Granjeno, Texas, had “unfurled reams of razor wire on top of a wrought-iron fence alongside a bridge to Mexico.” Troops stringing wire also appeared in The New York Post, The Washington Post, and elsewhere.

      There is so much concertina wire deployed to the southern border that if it were all stretched out from end to end, it would reach all the way from Brownsville, Texas, on the Gulf Coast to....well, whatever is 22 miles west of Brownsville, Texas.

      Yes. Despite the deluge of photos and videos of American troops are securing the southern border with reams of razor wire, Buzzfeed’s Vera Bergengruen reports that “troops have deployed with 22 miles of the wire so far, with 150 more available.”

      The U.S.–Mexico border is roughly 1,950 miles long.

      The wire doesn’t seem to be getting strung with any sort of strategic purpose, either. That WSJ story about the troops in Texas hanging wire from a bridge says that the “wire was placed on top of fences at least 15 feet high along each side of the bridge that sat several dozen feet above an embankment” while the bridge itself remains open to vehicle traffic from Mexico. If there is a goal, it would seem to be making the border look more prickly and dystopian while not actually creating any sort of barrier.

      It’s no wonder, then, that the troops deployed to the border are confused about why they are there. On Wednesday, when Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visited some of the troops stationed near McAllen, Texas, he was met with lots of questions and provided few answers.

      “Sir, I have a question. The wire obstacles that we’ve implanted along the border....Are we going to be taking those out when we leave?” one of the soldiers asked Mattis, according to Bergengruen. Another asked Mattis to explain the “short- and long-term plans of this operation.”

      “Short-term right now, you get the obstacles in so the border patrolmen can do what they gotta do,” Mattis responded. “Longer term, it’s somewhat to be determined.”

      Even at a time when most American military engagements seem to be conducted with a “TBD” rationale, this feels especially egregious. Mattis did his best on Wednesday to make the effort seem like a meaningful attempt to secure the border, while simultaneously admitting that he does not expect the deployed troops to actually come into contact with any immigrant caravans. Lately he’s been talking about how the deployment is supposedly good training for unconventional circumstances.

      It’s becoming increasingly obvious that Operation Faithful Patriot—a name so silly that the Pentagon has decided to stop using it—is nothing more than a very expensive, politically motivated P.R. campaign. Of the 39 units deployed, five of them are public affairs units. There seems to be no clear mission, no long-term objective, and no indication that the troops will add meaningful enforcement to existing border patrols.

      As for all that wire? It doesn’t really seem to be working either.

      https://reason.com/blog/2018/11/19/the-military-is-securing-a-1900-mile-bor
      #Faithful_Patriot #barbelé


  • A l’encontre » #Etats-Unis. Les opulents imprésarios du #cirque électoral
    http://alencontre.org/ameriques/americnord/usa/etats-unis-les-opulents-impresarios-du-cirque-electoral.html

    (2014)

    ...le nombre de #petits_donateurs – ceux qui payent moins de 250 dollars – est censé démontrer qu’un candidat est soutenu par le peuple et non par des #ploutocrates.

    Cette idée a été vigoureusement proclamée lors de la campagne d’Obama en 2008. A cette occasion, l’accent a été mis sur développement d’un réseau de base de petits contributeurs. [...]

    Une analyse de la machine à sous d’Obama effectuée après l’élection a montré que seuls 26% de ses fonds provenaient de personnes qui avaient versé 200 dollars ou moins, soit un pourcentage équivalant à celui des petits donateurs ayant contribué à la campagne de George W. Bush en 2004.
    [...]
    Pourtant, à chaque cycle d’élections, les campagnes politiques essaient au contraire de nous persuader que dans la politique états-unienne l’opinion et le vote de chaque personne ont le même poids.

    Avant d’examiner les chiffres, il est utile de faire un rappel de la réalité. [...]

    Pour une famille états-unienne médiane, 250 dollars correspondent à environ 0.5% du revenu médian familial – l’équivalent d’environ un mois de dépenses pour les charges courantes (électricité, chauffage, eau). Si l’on pense au nombre de personnes aux Etats-Unis qui disent vivre d’une paie à l’autre, cela donne déjà une idée du fait que même les « petits donateurs » si convoités appartiennent plus probablement à la classe moyenne au-dessus de la ligne médiane.

    Le Center for Responsive Politics estime que lors du cycle d’élections de 2013-2014, seuls 723’000 états-uniens sur les 311 millions de citoyens ont donné plus de 200 dollars aux candidats politiques fédéraux, soit environ 0.23% de la population. Sur ces donateurs, 127’000 ont donné plus de 2600 dollars, ce qui fait 1,2 milliard, soit trois fois le nombre de 596’000 donateurs qui ont donné entre 200 et 2600 dollars pour un total de 433 millions de dollars.

    En fait, dans le détail, les contributions versées lors les élections de mi-mandat [pour l’ensemble de la Chambre des représentants et un tiers du Sénat] de 2014 étaient encore plus concentrées, avec un peu moins de 32’000 donateurs qui ont versé environ 1,2 milliard. Trois personnes – Tom Steyer, milliardaire démocrate, Michael Bloomberg, ex-maire de New York, et Paul Singer, gestionnaire de hedge funds – ont versé plus de 10 millions chacun. Même si le gros de l’argent est allé aux républicains, les démocrates ont eu leur part. Il faut noter que Steyer seul a dépensé plus d’argent pour les élections de mi-mandat de 2014 que la National Education Association (Association nationale de l’éducation), le Service Employees International Union (Union internationale des employés de service) et l’American Federation of Teachers (Fédération américaine des enseignants) combinés [pour les démocrates].

    #élections #démocratie



  • Saudis Said to Use Coercion and Abuse to Seize Billions - The New York Times

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/11/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-corruption-mohammed-bin-salman.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Hom

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Businessmen once considered giants of the Saudi economy now wear ankle bracelets that track their movements. Princes who led military forces and appeared in glossy magazines are monitored by guards they do not command. Families who flew on private jets cannot gain access to their bank accounts. Even wives and children have been forbidden to travel.

    In November, the Saudi government locked up hundreds of influential businessmen — many of them members of the royal family — in the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton in what it called an anti-corruption campaign.

    Most have since been released but they are hardly free. Instead, this large sector of Saudi Arabia’s movers and shakers are living in fear and uncertainty.

    During months of captivity, many were subject to coercion and physical abuse, witnesses said. In the early days of the crackdown, at least 17 detainees were hospitalized for physical abuse and one later died in custody with a neck that appeared twisted, a badly swollen body and other signs of abuse, according to a person who saw the body.

    In an email to The New York Times on Sunday, the government denied accusations of physical abuse as “absolutely untrue.”

    Continue reading the main story
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    To leave the Ritz, many of the detainees not only surrendered huge sums of money, but also signed over to the government control of precious real estate and shares of their companies — all outside any clear legal process.

    The government has yet to actually seize many of the assets, leaving the former detainees and their families in limbo.

    One former detainee, forced to wear a tracking device, has sunk into depression as his business collapses. “We signed away everything,” a relative of his said. “Even the house I am in, I am not sure if it is still mine.”

    As the architect of the crackdown, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, prepares to travel to the United States this month to court American investment, Saudi officials are spotlighting his reforms: his promise to let women drive, his plans to expand entertainment opportunities and his moves to encourage foreign investment. They have denied any allegations of abuse and have portrayed the Ritz episode as an orderly legal process that has wound down.

    But extensive interviews with Saudi officials, members of the royal family, and relatives, advisers and associates of the detainees revealed a murkier, coercive operation, marked by cases of physical abuse, which transferred billions of dollars in private wealth to the crown prince’s control.

    Corruption has long been endemic in Saudi Arabia, and many of the detainees were widely assumed to have stolen from state coffers. But the government, citing privacy laws, has refused to specify the charges against individuals and, even after they were released, to clarify who was found guilty or innocent, making it impossible to know how much the process was driven by personal score settling.

    Part of the campaign appears to be driven by a family feud, as Crown Prince Mohammed presses the children of King Abdullah, the monarch who died in 2015, to give back billions of dollars that they consider their inheritance, according to three associates of the Abdullah family.

    And although the government said the campaign would increase transparency, it has been conducted in secret, with transactions carried out in ways that avoid public disclosure, and with travel bans and fear of reprisals preventing detainees from speaking freely.

    Most people interviewed for this article spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid the risk of appearing to criticize Crown Prince Mohammed.

    The government said in its email that “the investigations, led by the Attorney General, were conducted in full accordance to Saudi laws. All those under investigation had full access to legal counsel in addition to medical care to address pre-existing, chronic conditions.”

    The government, and several Saudi officials contacted separately, declined to answer further questions about the crackdown.

    They have argued, however, that it was a necessarily harsh means of returning ill-gotten gains to the treasury while sending a clear message that the old, corrupt ways of doing business are over. And they have defended the process as a kind of Saudi-style plea bargain in which settlements were reached to avoid the time and economic disruption of a drawn-out legal process.

    In a separate statement on Sunday announcing new anti-corruption departments in the Attorney General’s office, the government said that King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed “are keen to eradicate corruption with utmost force and transparency.”

    But the opaque and extralegal nature of the campaign has rattled the very foreign investors the prince is now trying to woo.

    “At the start of the crackdown they promised transparency, but they did not deliver it,” said Robert Jordan, who served as American ambassador to Saudi Arabia under President George W. Bush. “Without any kind of transparency or rule of law, it makes investors nervous that their investments might be taken and that their Saudi partners might be detained without any rationale to the charges.”


  • Putin’s Syrian dilemma: Back Israel or Iran?

    All of the Russian president’s achievements in Syria could come crashing down unless he answers this one fundamental question

    Anshel Pfeffer Feb 19, 2018

    Russian President Vladimir Putin thought he could succeed where the U.S.’s then-President Barack Obama failed. Pacify Syria, rescue the regime of his client, President Bashar Assad, and balance the conflicting interests of Iran and Israel in the war-torn country. All this he did with a relatively small investment: the deployment of a couple of dozen aircraft and 2,000 men. As foreign campaigns go, it was power projection on the cheap. The United States on a similar mission would have used a force 10 times the size – aircraft carrier groups and hundreds of fighter jets, aerial tankers and electronic warfare planes. Not to mention boots on the ground.
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    But Russia could pull it off thanks to the cannon fodder supplied by Iran. Tens of thousands of Shi’ite mercenaries, mainly refugees from Afghanistan, propped up Assad’s failing battalions. Hezbollah fighters came from Lebanon to carry out the more difficult operations. Russia made do with small teams of special-force troops and, where more muscle was needed, its own mercenaries.
    It was a relatively small investment with few casualties and not, as some predicted two years ago, a rerun of the Soviet Union’s disastrous occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

    President Vladimir Putin addressing Russian troops at Hemeimeem air base during a surprise visit to Damascus, December 12, 2017.Mikhail Klimentyev/AP
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    >> Iran and the Assad regime are drawing a line in Syria’s skies | Analysis <<

    With perfect timing, and taking advantage of the vacuum left by Obama’s decision not to get involved in Syria, Putin had put Russia back on the geopolitical map. He made a surprise visit to Damascus in December to declare: Mission accomplished. He should have learned from former U.S. President George W. Bush never to say that – because now everything is starting to fall apart for the Russians.

    A serviceman holds a portrait of Russian air force pilot Roman Fillipov, who was killed after his aircraft was shot down over rebel-held territory in Syria, February 8, 2018.\ HANDOUT/ REUTERS
    There was last month’s Sochi conference, where attempts to agree a political process for Syria’s future under Assad, with the usual farce of elections, failed even before the delegates arrived. Turkey has launched a large-scale incursion into northwestern Syria, in an attempt to prevent Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units) forces from establishing a military presence on its border. Meanwhile, the Turks are clashing with the Iranians as well, and as of Monday with regime forces too.
    Much more worrying for Russia is that in the east of the country, another Kurdish force – the Syrian Democratic Forces, which also includes Arab, Turkmen, Assyrian and Armenian forces – is widening its control of areas once held by the Islamic State. The SDF is now the only player in Syria with U.S. military support: During a clash 10 days ago between the SDF and regime forces working together with Russian mercenaries, the United States launched a devastating airstrike. The Kremlin still won’t acknowledge any casualties, but unofficial reports from Russia claim that as many as 200 Russian mercenaries died.
    And then last week there was the first direct confrontation between Israel and Iran.
    The Turkish front is less concerning for Putin, since it doesn’t directly threaten Russia’s main interests. The clashes in the northeast are a much larger problem as they are sending coffins back home to Russia – the last thing Putin needs before the presidential election in mid-March.
    For now at least, the Israeli-Iranian front may not directly put Russian personnel in the line of fire. But it is a much greater threat to the Assad regime itself. Damascus is close to the Israeli border and Assad, with Iranian encouragement, is trying to assert himself by firing anti-aircraft missiles at Israel Air Force planes.
    >> Delve deeper into the week’s news: Sign up to Chemi Shalev’s weekly roundup
    For the past two and a half years, the deal between Jerusalem and Moscow was simple: Israel allowed Russia to resupply Assad’s army and help the regime – through aerial bombardments of rebel-held areas, indiscriminately killing thousands of civilians – to retake large swaths of territory. Russia, meanwhile, turned a blind eye as Israel continued its periodic attacks on convoys and depots of Iranian-supplied weapons destined for Hezbollah. Russia collaborated with Iran in reviving the regime, while not intervening when Israel struck at Iran’s proxies.
    When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded that Russia prevent Iran’s forces from building permanent bases on Syrian soil, Putin tried to strike a compromise. Iran continued entrenching its Shi’ite militias, but at the same time didn’t come too close to the Israeli border or begin building large bases.

    Israeli soldiers in the northern Golan Heights after an Iranian drone penetrated Israeli airspace and was shot done, February 10, 2018.Gil Eliahu
    That balance can no longer hold. The decision by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) to send a drone into Israeli airspace in the early hours of Saturday February 10, followed by Israel’s retaliation against the Iranian command unit that launched the drone and the ensuing air battle between Israeli fighter jets and Syrian air defense batteries, was proof that Russia can no longer contain the interests of all the different sides within Syria.
    Putin has utilized “hybrid warfare” – a combination of military power, deniable proxies and cyberattacks – to destabilize neighboring countries like Georgia and Ukraine, which tried to get too close to the West. Relatively small investments for major gain.
    But just like Russian interference with the U.S. presidential election, where the Kremlin wanted only to undermine America’s democratic process but never actually believed it could help get Donald Trump elected, he may have gone too deep. What was supposed to be an exercise in troublemaking is, despite Trump’s reluctance, now a full-blown confrontation with the U.S. intelligence services.
    Managing a multitrack Middle East policy and engaging simultaneously with all of the regional players takes time, resources and, especially, experience. Until recently, the United States had the combination of seasoned diplomats, military and intelligence officers – with extensive contacts and time spent in the region – to maintain such a complex operation.
    Under President Trump, many of these professionals have left the administration, and there is no clear sense of direction from the White House for those remaining. But the lack of any real U.S. presence or policy doesn’t mean someone else can just come along and take over its traditional role.
    It’s not just that the Kremlin doesn’t have anything resembling this kind of network. Putin’s centralized way of doing business means that every decision goes through him in Moscow. This isn’t helping Russia keep a handle on evolving events on the ground, but it is an advantage for Netanyahu – who is currently the regional player with the best personal relationship with Putin.
    There are currently two schools of thought within the Israeli intelligence community. The skeptics believe Putin will not give up on his Shi’ite boots on the ground and will ultimately limit Israel’s freedom to operate in the skies above Syria – pushing Israel to make a difficult choice between sitting on the sidelines while Iran and Hezbollah build up their outposts or confronting Russia as well. The optimists believe Putin knows Israel has the power to jeopardize its achievements and threaten the Assad regime, and will therefore rein in the Iranians.
    Netanyahu’s team has been working closely with the Russian president for years, and the two leaders speak regularly on the phone and meet every few months. When they’re on their own, with just fellow Likud lawmaker Zeev Elkin to interpret, does Netanyahu openly threaten to destabilize the Assad regime? Probably not. The implied threat is enough.
    Putin will have to make the call on Israel or Iran soon – or risk losing all he has invested in Syria.