• The New York Times and its Uyghur “activist” - World Socialist Web Site

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    #Chine #Xinjiang_Weiwuer_zizhiqu #USA #impérialisme #services_secretes

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

  • Call immigrant detention centers what they really are: concentration camps

    If you were paying close attention last week, you might have spotted a pattern in the news. Peeking out from behind the breathless coverage of the Trump family’s tuxedoed trip to London was a spate of deaths of immigrants in U.S. custody: Johana Medina Léon, a 25-year-old transgender asylum seeker; an unnamed 33-year-old Salvadoran man; and a 40-year-old woman from Honduras.

    Photos from a Border Patrol processing center in El Paso showed people herded so tightly into cells that they had to stand on toilets to breathe. Memos surfaced by journalist Ken Klippenstein revealed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s failure to provide medical care was responsible for suicides and other deaths of detainees. These followed another report that showed that thousands of detainees are being brutally held in isolation cells just for being transgender or mentally ill.

    Also last week, the Trump administration cut funding for classes, recreation and legal aid at detention centers holding minors — which were likened to “summer camps” by a senior ICE official last year. And there was the revelation that months after being torn from their parents’ arms, 37 children were locked in vans for up to 39 hours in the parking lot of a detention center outside Port Isabel, Texas. In the last year, at least seven migrant children have died in federal custody.

    Preventing mass outrage at a system like this takes work. Certainly it helps that the news media covers these horrors intermittently rather than as snowballing proof of a racist, lawless administration. But most of all, authorities prevail when the places where people are being tortured and left to die stay hidden, misleadingly named and far from prying eyes.

    There’s a name for that kind of system. They’re called concentration camps. You might balk at my use of the term. That’s good — it’s something to be balked at.

    The goal of concentration camps has always been to be ignored. The German-Jewish political theorist Hannah Arendt, who was imprisoned by the Gestapo and interned in a French camp, wrote a few years afterward about the different levels of concentration camps. Extermination camps were the most extreme; others were just about getting “undesirable elements … out of the way.” All had one thing in common: “The human masses sealed off in them are treated as if they no longer existed, as if what happened to them were no longer of interest to anybody, as if they were already dead.”

    Euphemisms play a big role in that forgetting. The term “concentration camp” is itself a euphemism. It was invented by a Spanish official to paper over his relocation of millions of rural families into squalid garrison towns where they would starve during Cuba’s 1895 independence war. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered Japanese Americans into prisons during World War II, he initially called them concentration camps. Americans ended up using more benign names, like “Manzanar Relocation Center.”

    Even the Nazis’ camps started out small, housing criminals, Communists and opponents of the regime. It took five years to begin the mass detention of Jews. It took eight, and the outbreak of a world war, for the first extermination camps to open. Even then, the Nazis had to keep lying to distract attention, claiming Jews were merely being resettled to remote work sites. That’s what the famous signs — Arbeit Macht Frei, or “Work Sets You Free” — were about.

    Subterfuge doesn’t always work. A year ago, Americans accidentally became aware that the Trump administration had adopted (and lied about) a policy of ripping families apart at the border. The flurry of attention was thanks to the viral conflation of two separate but related stories: the family-separation order and bureaucrats’ admission that they’d been unable to locate thousands of migrant children who’d been placed with sponsors after crossing the border alone.

    Trump shoved that easily down the memory hole. He dragged his heels a bit, then agreed to a new policy: throwing whole families into camps together. Political reporters posed irrelevant questions, like whether President Obama had been just as bad, and what it meant for the midterms. Then they moved on.

    It is important to note that Trump’s aides have built this system of racist terror on something that has existed for a long time. Several camps opened under Obama, and as president he deported millions of people.

    But Trump’s game is different. It certainly isn’t about negotiating immigration reform with Congress. Trump has made it clear that he wants to stifle all non-white immigration, period. His mass arrests, iceboxes and dog cages are part of an explicitly nationalist project to put the country under the control of the right kind of white people.

    As a Republican National Committee report noted in 2013: “The nation’s demographic changes add to the urgency of recognizing how precarious our position has become.” The Trump administration’s attempt to put a citizenship question on the 2020 census was also just revealed to have been a plot to disadvantage political opponents and boost “Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites” all along.

    That’s why this isn’t just a crisis facing immigrants. When a leader puts people in camps to stay in power, history shows that he doesn’t usually stop with the first group he detains.

    There are now at least 48,000 people detained in ICE facilities, which a former official told BuzzFeed News “could swell indefinitely.” Customs and Border Protection officials apprehended more than 144,000 people on the Southwest border last month. (The New York Times dutifully reported this as evidence of a “dramatic surge in border crossings,” rather than what it was: The administration using its own surge of arrests to justify the rest of its policies.)

    If we call them what they are — a growing system of American concentration camps — we will be more likely to give them the attention they deserve. We need to know their names: Port Isabel, Dilley, Adelanto, Hutto and on and on. With constant, unrelenting attention, it is possible we might alleviate the plight of the people inside, and stop the crisis from getting worse. Maybe people won’t be able to disappear so easily into the iceboxes. Maybe it will be harder for authorities to lie about children’s deaths.

    Maybe Trump’s concentration camps will be the first thing we think of when we see him scowling on TV.

    The only other option is to leave it up to those in power to decide what’s next. That’s a calculated risk. As Andrea Pitzer, author of “One Long Night,” one of the most comprehensive books on the history of concentration camps, recently noted: “Every country has said their camps are humane and will be different. Trump is instinctively an authoritarian. He’ll take them as far as he’s allowed to.”
    #terminologie #vocabulaire #mots #camps #camps_de_concentration #centres_de_détention #détention_administrative #rétention #USA #Etats-Unis

    • ‘Some Suburb of Hell’: America’s New Concentration Camp System

      On Monday, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez referred to US border detention facilities as “concentration camps,” spurring a backlash in which critics accused her of demeaning the memory of those who died in the Holocaust. Debates raged over a label for what is happening along the southern border and grew louder as the week rolled on. But even this back-and-forth over naming the camps has been a recurrent feature in the mass detention of civilians ever since its inception, a history that long predates the Holocaust.

      At the heart of such policy is a question: What does a country owe desperate people whom it does not consider to be its citizens? The twentieth century posed this question to the world just as the shadow of global conflict threatened for the second time in less than three decades. The dominant response was silence, and the doctrine of absolute national sovereignty meant that what a state did to people under its control, within its borders, was nobody else’s business. After the harrowing toll of the Holocaust with the murder of millions, the world revisited its answer, deciding that perhaps something was owed to those in mortal danger. From the Fourth Geneva Convention protecting civilians in 1949 to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the international community established humanitarian obligations toward the most vulnerable that apply, at least in theory, to all nations.

      The twenty-first century is unraveling that response. Countries are rejecting existing obligations and meeting asylum seekers with walls and fences, from detainees fleeing persecution who were sent by Australia to third-party detention in the brutal offshore camps of Manus and Nauru to razor-wire barriers blocking Syrian refugees from entering Hungary. While some nations, such as Germany, wrestle with how to integrate refugees into their labor force—more and more have become resistant to letting them in at all. The latest location of this unwinding is along the southern border of the United States.

      So far, American citizens have gotten only glimpses of the conditions in the border camps that have been opened in their name. In the month of May, Customs and Border Protection reported a total of 132,887 migrants who were apprehended or turned themselves in between ports of entry along the southwest border, an increase of 34 percent from April alone. Upon apprehension, these migrants are temporarily detained by Border Patrol, and once their claims are processed, they are either released or handed over to ICE for longer-term detention. Yet Border Patrol itself is currently holding about 15,000 people, nearly four times what government officials consider to be this enforcement arm’s detention capacity.

      On June 12, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that Fort Sill, an Army post that hosted a World War II internment camp for detainees of Japanese descent, will now be repurposed to detain migrant children. In total, HHS reports that it is currently holding some 12,000 minors. Current law limits detention of minors to twenty days, though Senator Lindsey Graham has proposed expanding the court-ordered limit to 100 days. Since the post is on federal land, it will be exempt from state child welfare inspections.

      In addition to the total of detainees held by Border Patrol, an even higher number is detained at centers around the country by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency: on a typical day at the beginning of this month, ICE was detaining more than 52,500 migrants. The family separation policy outraged the public in the 2018, but despite legal challenges, it never fully ended. Less publicized have been the deaths of twenty-four adults in ICE custody since the beginning of the Trump administration; in addition, six children between the ages of two and sixteen have died in federal custody over the last several months. It’s not clear whether there have been other deaths that have gone unreported.

      Conditions for detainees have not been improving. At the end of May, a Department of Homeland Security inspector general found nearly 900 migrants at a Texas shelter built for a capacity of 125 people. On June 11, a university professor spotted at least 100 men behind chain-link fences near the Paso del Norte Bridge in El Paso, Texas. Those detainees reported sitting outside for weeks in temperatures that soared above 100 degrees. Taylor Levy, an El Paso immigration lawyer, described going into one facility and finding “a suicidal four-year-old whose face was covered in bloody, self-inflicted scratches… Another young child had to be restrained by his mother because he kept running full-speed into metal lockers. He was covered in bruises.”

      If deciding what to do about the growing numbers of adults and children seeking refuge in the US relies on complex humanitarian policies and international laws, in which most Americans don’t take a deep interest, a simpler question also presents itself: What exactly are these camps that the Trump administration has opened, and where is this program of mass detention headed?

      Even with incomplete information about what’s happening along the border today and what the government plans for these camps, history points to some conclusions about their future. Mass detention without trial earned a new name and a specific identity at the end of the nineteenth century. The labels then adopted for the practice were “reconcentración” and “concentration camps”—places of forced relocation of civilians into detention on the basis of group identity.

      Other kinds of group detention had appeared much earlier in North American history. The US government drove Native Americans from their homelands into prescribed exile, with death and detention in transit camps along the way. Some Spanish mission systems in the Americas had accomplished similar ends by seizing land and pressing indigenous people into forced labor. During the 245 years when slavery was legal in the US, detention was one of its essential features.

      Concentration camps, however, don’t typically result from the theft of land, as happened with Native Americans, or owning human beings in a system of forced labor, as in the slave trade. Exile, theft, and forced labor can come later, but in the beginning, detention itself is usually the point of concentration camps. By the end of the nineteenth century, the mass production of barbed wire and machines guns made this kind of detention possible and practical in ways it never had been before.

      Under Spanish rule in 1896, the governor-general of Cuba instituted camps in order to clear rebel-held regions during an uprising, despite his predecessor’s written refusal “as the representative of a civilized nation, to be the first to give the example of cruelty and intransigence” that such detention would represent. After women and children began dying in vast numbers behind barbed wire because there had been little planning for shelter and even less for food, US President William McKinley made his call to war before Congress. He spoke against the policy of reconcentración, calling it warfare by uncivilized means. “It was extermination,” McKinley said. “The only peace it could beget was that of the wilderness and the grave.” Without full records, the Cuban death toll can only be estimated, but a consensus puts it in the neighborhood of 150,000, more than 10 percent of the island’s prewar population.

      Today, we remember the sinking of the USS Maine as the spark that ignited the Spanish-American War. But war correspondent George Kennan (cousin of the more famous diplomat) believed that “it was the suffering of the reconcentrados, more, perhaps, than any other one thing that brought about the intervention of the United States.” On April 25, 1898, Congress declared war. Two weeks later, US Marines landed at Fisherman’s Point on the windward side of the entrance to Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. After a grim, week-long fight, the Marines took the hill. It became a naval base, and the United States has never left that patch of land.

      As part of the larger victory, the US inherited the Philippines. The world’s newest imperial power also inherited a rebellion. Following a massacre of American troops at Balangiga in September 1901, during the third year of the conflict, the US established its own concentration camp system. Detainees, mostly women and children, were forced into squalid conditions that one American soldier described in a letter to a US senator as “some suburb of hell.” In the space of only four months, more than 11,000 Filipinos are believed to have died in these noxious camps.

      Meanwhile, in southern Africa in 1900, the British had opened their own camps during their battle with descendants of Dutch settlers in the second Boer War. British soldiers filled tent cities with Boer women and children, and the military authorities called them refugee camps. Future Prime Minister David Lloyd George took offense at that name, noting in Parliament: “There is no greater delusion in the mind of any man than to apply the term ‘refugee’ to these camps. They are not refugee camps. They are camps of concentration.” Contemporary observers compared them to the Cuban camps, and criticized their deliberate cruelty. The Bishop of Hereford wrote to The Times of London in 1901, asking: “Are we reduced to such a depth of impotence that our Government can do nothing to stop such a holocaust of child-life?”

      Maggoty meat rations and polluted water supplies joined outbreaks of contagious diseases amid crowded and unhealthy conditions in the Boer camps. More than 27,000 detainees are thought to have died there, nearly 80 percent of them children. The British had opened camps for black Africans as well, in which at least 14,000 detainees died—the real number is probably much higher. Aside from protests made by some missionaries, the deaths of indigenous black Africans did not inspire much public outrage. Much of the history of the suffering in these camps has been lost.

      These early experiments with concentration camps took place on the periphery of imperial power, but accounts of them nevertheless made their way into newspapers and reports in many nations. As a result, the very idea of them came to be seen as barbaric. By the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, the first camp systems had all been closed, and concentration camps had nearly vanished as an institution. Within months of the outbreak of World War I, though, they would be resurrected—this time rising not at the margins but in the centers of power. Between 1914 and 1918, camps were constructed on an unprecedented scale across six continents. In their time, these camps were commonly called concentration camps, though today they are often referred to by the more anodyne term “internment.”

      Those World War I detainees were, for the most part, foreigners—or, in legalese, aliens—and recent anti-immigration legislation in several countries had deliberately limited their rights. The Daily Mail denounced aliens left at liberty once they had registered with their local police department, demanding, “Does signing his name take the malice out of a man?” The Scottish Field was more direct, asking, “Do Germans have souls?” That these civilian detainees were no threat to Britain did not keep them from being demonized, shouted at, and spat upon as they were paraded past hostile crowds in cities like London.

      Though a small number of people were shot in riots in these camps, and hunger became a serious issue as the conflict dragged on, World War I internment would present a new, non-lethal face for the camps, normalizing detention. Even after the war, new camps sprang up from Spain to Hungary and Cuba, providing an improvised “solution” for everything from vagrancy to anxieties over the presence of Jewish foreigners.

      Some of these camps were clearly not safe for those interned. Local camps appeared in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921, after a white mob burned down a black neighborhood and detained African-American survivors. In Bolshevik Russia, the first concentration camps preceded the formation of the Soviet Union in 1922 and planted seeds for the brutal Gulag system that became official near the end of the USSR’s first decade. While some kinds of camps were understood to be harsher, after World War I their proliferation did not initially disturb public opinion. They had yet to take on their worst incarnations.

      In 1933, barely more than a month after Hitler was appointed chancellor, the Nazis’ first, impromptu camp opened in the town of Nohra in central Germany to hold political opponents. Detainees at Nohra were allowed to vote at a local precinct in the elections of March 5, 1933, resulting in a surge of Communist ballots in the tiny town. Locking up groups of civilians without trial had become accepted. Only the later realization of the horrors of the Nazi death camps would break the default assumption by governments and the public that concentration camps could and should be a simple way to manage populations seen as a threat.

      However, the staggering death toll of the Nazi extermination camp system—which was created mid-war and stood almost entirely separate from the concentration camps in existence since 1933—led to another result: a strange kind of erasure. In the decades that followed World War II, the term “concentration camp” came to stand only for Auschwitz and other extermination camps. It was no longer applied to the kind of extrajudicial detention it had denoted for generations. The many earlier camps that had made the rise of Auschwitz possible largely vanished from public memory.

      It is not necessary, however, to step back a full century in American history to find camps with links to what is happening on the US border today. Detention at Guantánamo began in the 1990s, when Haitian and Cuban immigrants whom the government wanted to keep out of the United States were housed there in waves over a four-year period—years before the “war on terror” and the US policy of rendition of suspected “enemy combatants” made Camps Delta, X-Ray, and Echo notorious. Tens of thousands of Haitians fleeing instability at home were picked up at sea and diverted to the Cuban base, to limit their legal right to apply for asylum. The court cases and battles over the suffering of those detainees ended up setting the stage for what Guantánamo would become after September 11, 2001.

      In one case, a federal court ruled that it did have jurisdiction over the base, but the government agreed to release the Haitians who were part of the lawsuit in exchange for keeping that ruling off the books. A ruling in a second case would assert that the courts did not have jurisdiction. Absent the prior case, the latter stood on its own as precedent. Leaving Guantánamo in this gray area made it an ideal site for extrajudicial detention and torture after the twin towers fell.

      This process of normalization, when a bad camp becomes much more dangerous, is not unusual. Today’s border camps are a crueler reflection of long-term policies—some challenged in court—that earlier presidents had enacted. Prior administrations own a share of the responsibility for today’s harsh practices, but the policies in place today are also accompanied by a shameless willingness to publicly target a vulnerable population in increasingly dangerous ways.

      I visited Guantánamo twice in 2015, sitting in the courtroom for pretrial hearings and touring the medical facility, the library, and all the old abandoned detention sites, as well as newly built ones, open to the media—from the kennel-style cages of Camp X-Ray rotting to ruin in the damp heat to the modern jailhouse facilities of Camp 6. Seeing all this in person made clear to me how vast the architecture of detention had become, how entrenched it was, and how hard it would be to close.

      Without a significant government effort to reverse direction, conditions in every camp system tend to deteriorate over time. Governments rarely make that kind of effort on behalf of people they are willing to lock up without trial in the first place. And history shows that legislatures do not close camps against the will of an executive.

      Just a few years ago there might have been more potential for change spurred by the judicial branch of our democracy, but this Supreme Court is inclined toward deference to executive power, even, it appears, if that power is abused. It seems unlikely this Court will intervene to end the new border camp system; indeed, the justices are far more likely to institutionalize it by half-measures, as happened with Guantánamo. The Korematsu case, in which the Supreme Court upheld Japanese-American internment (a ruling only rescinded last year), relied on the suppression of evidence by the solicitor general. Americans today can have little confidence that this administration would behave any more scrupulously when defending its detention policy.

      What kind of conditions can we expect to develop in these border camps? The longer a camp system stays open, the more likely it is that vital things will go wrong: detainees will contract contagious diseases and suffer from malnutrition and mental illness. We have already seen that current detention practices have resulted in children and adults succumbing to influenza, staph infections, and sepsis. The US is now poised to inflict harm on tens of thousands more, perhaps hundreds of thousands more.

      Along with such inevitable consequences, every significant camp system has introduced new horrors of its own, crises that were unforeseen when that system was opened. We have yet to discover what those will be for these American border camps. But they will happen. Every country thinks it can do detention better when it starts these projects. But no good way to conduct mass indefinite detention has yet been devised; the system always degrades.

      When, in 1940, Margarete Buber-Neumann was transferred from the Soviet Gulag at Karaganda to the camp for women at Ravensbrück (in an exchange enabled by the Nazi–Soviet Pact), she came from near-starvation conditions in the USSR and was amazed at the cleanliness and order of the Nazi camp. New arrivals were issued clothing, bedding, and silverware, and given fresh porridge, fruit, sausage, and jam to eat. Although the Nazi camps were already punitive, order-obsessed monstrosities, the wartime overcrowding that would soon overtake them had not yet made daily life a thing of constant suffering and squalor. The death camps were still two years away.

      The United States now has a vast and growing camp system. It is starting out with gruesome overcrowding and inadequate healthcare, and because of budget restrictions, has already taken steps to cut services to juvenile detainees. The US Office of Refugee Resettlement says that the mounting number of children arriving unaccompanied is forcing it to use military bases and other sites that it prefers to avoid, and that establishing these camps is a temporary measure. But without oversight from state child welfare inspectors, the possibilities for neglect and abuse are alarming. And without any knowledge of how many asylum-seekers are coming in the future, federal administrators are likely to find themselves boxed in to managing detention on military sites permanently.

      President Trump and senior White House adviser Stephen Miller appear to have purged the Department of Homeland Security of most internal opposition to their anti-immigrant policies. In doing so, that have removed even those sympathetic to the general approach taken by the White House, such as former Chief of Staff John Kelly and former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, in order to escalate the militarization of the border and expand irregular detention in more systematic and punitive ways. This kind of power struggle or purge in the early years of a camp system is typical.

      The disbanding of the Cheka, the Soviet secret police, in February 1922 and the transfer of its commander, Felix Dzerzhinsky, to head up an agency with control over only two prisons offered a hint of an alternate future in which extrajudicial detention would not play a central role in the fledgling Soviet republic. But Dzerzhinsky managed to keep control over the “special camps” in his new position, paving the way for the emergence of a camp-centered police state. In pre-war Germany in the mid-1930s, Himmler’s struggle to consolidate power from rivals eventually led him to make camps central to Nazi strategy. When the hardliners win, as they appear to have in the US, conditions tend to worsen significantly.

      Is it possible this growth in the camp system will be temporary and the improvised border camps will soon close? In theory, yes. But the longer they remain open, the less likely they are to vanish. When I visited the camps for Rohingya Muslims a year before the large-scale campaign of ethnic cleansing began, many observers appeared to be confusing the possible and the probable. It was possible that the party of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi would sweep into office in free elections and begin making changes. It was possible that full democracy would come to all the residents of Myanmar, even though the government had stripped the Rohingya of the last vestiges of their citizenship. These hopes proved to be misplaced. Once there are concentration camps, it is always probable that things will get worse.

      The Philippines, Japanese-American internment, Guantánamo… we can consider the fine points of how the current border camps evoke past US systems, and we can see how the arc of camp history reveals the likelihood that the suffering we’re currently inflicting will be multiplied exponentially. But we can also simply look at what we’re doing right now, shoving bodies into “dog pound”-style detention pens, “iceboxes,” and standing room-only spaces. We can look at young children in custody who have become suicidal. How much more historical awareness do we really need?

    • #Alexandria_Ocasio-Cortez engage le bras de fer avec la politique migratoire de Donald Trump

      L’élue de New York a qualifié les camps de rétention pour migrants érigés à la frontière sud des Etats-Unis de « camps de concentration ».


    La guerre ou l’affrontement est le dernier point à réaliser. Même si la guerre est la continuité de la politique autrement.

    Il ne faut pas oublier que l’Iran est en guerre des nerfs avec USA depuis la chute du Chah en 1979 ; il est donc à tenir compte de la volonté et de la capacité militaire et civile comme les kamikazes engagés pour la cause de l’Islam chiite . Par voie de conséquence, l’Iran est plus prête que jamais pour crever cette abcès avec les américains.

    Il y a un point qui me semble important est le mélange des genres entre un pouvoir exécutif qui gouverne et un peuple divisé en opposition et pro-État islamique , je veux dire qu’une guerre civile est vite déclenchée comme la situation au Maroc qui ne cesse de se dégrader entre des pro-système de Makhzen et des oppositions qui veulent un autre système politique ,par exemple une première république marocaine. Donc si l’étincelle prend effet nous n’assisterons pas à une guerre classique ,une guerre des tranchés mais un coup de pousse à l’opposition à l’intérieure de la société iranienne.

    Et la question des missiles iraniens qui peuvent atteindre le burg Al Arab en Emirate ou l’autre burg de bouregrgue à Rabat n’est pas là, la question mais plutôt de s’interroger sur la concentration autour de l’Iran et de Téhéran que les iraniens sont censés défendre avant toute autre contre-attaque dans les bases américaines qui encerclent l’Iran .

    À l’exception d’Israël qui peut être la cible de premier plan et une valse des missiles qui détruiront les bases symboliques ,à savoir le mur de lamentation ,le knesset, le centre nucléaire dans le désert de Negev, précision des missiles est devenues aujourd’hui,un jeu d’enfant.

    Mais il existe un autre point plus psychologique est celui de la mentalité de Trump à supposer qu’il s’agit d’un va-t-en-guerre . Or Trump cache toujours son jeu politique et la question qui s’impose qui est l’identité de celui qui pousse Trump à la guerre ? Sans doute ses conseillés tel Bolton qui a une force d’influence et qui est un pro Israël dont personne ne sait pourquoi et comme indication ce genre de conseillers travaillent avec des petits calculs, une cuisine interne et profonde.

    Et le renforcement des militaires dans la régions est pour consolider les bases américaines car Trump ne fait pas confiance au régimes des mollahs qui peuvent s’aventurer facilement or la réalité est à l’opposée car Khameneï ne s’aventure pas et le régime iranien fait la séparation des variables et donc tout est calculé au moindre détail y compris l’aventurisme des kamikazes et je dirais plus Nasrallah qui est un fervent partisan de l’Iran ne peut s’aventurer en direction d’Israël qu’après le feu vert de Téhéran .

    Il faut aussi souligner que si les bases américaines sont détruites et militairement possible ,vu l’arsenal des missiles que l’Iran en possède ,alors ,il y va de soi, que tous ces pays arabes tomberont comme un château de carte et cette chute favoriserait ainsi une guerre civile et une opposition plus musclée. Et tout cela n’est pas dans l’intérêt des américains donc l’affrontement n’aura pas cet ampleur mais ce qui existe une sorte de dissuasion de l’autre . D’autres analystes poussent le jalon encore plus loin et avertissent Trump de ne pas s’enliser comme cela fut autrefois avec le Vietnam .

    Si Trump s’engage c’est pour sa politique intérieure , il veut un deuxième mandat et il n’y a pas mieux que la guerre à outrance. Il est rare qu’un président élu remet tout en cause la politique de son prédécesseur et c’est là où le bât blesse , quel est le jeu politique qui est toujours caché de Trump de dire la chose et son contraire de promettre et de ne pas tenir de ses propres promesses et quel est donc cette quintessence qui peut engendrer la libération des peuples arabo-musulmans surtout dans le monde arabe ? Car le reste du monde est calme et vit paisiblement … il ne faut pas oublier que Biden qui se prépare à la prochaine élection américaine est pour la poursuite de la politique d’Obama et donc à son tour de remettre en cause tout ce que fait actuellement Trump y compris cette guerre supposée avec l’Iran .

    Pour Trump , il s’agit d’un autre mode de fonctionnement ou de communication sur une guerre car selon d’autres conseils des lobbys juifs ,les mollahs ou les arabes sont comme des enfants gâtés qu’il faut être sévère et frapper fort pour qu’ils aient peur et d’exploiter l’Iran , une idée forte connues des colonialistes d’autrefois et qui marche ,sous conditions, encore aujourd’hui ,par exemple la politique étrangère de la France liées le plus souvent par le côté militaire , la destruction de la Libye,Syrie,Irak, Maroc, Algérie...

  • #CBP terminates controversial $297 million #Accenture contract amid continued staffing struggles

    #Customs_and_Border_Protection on Thursday ended its controversial $297 million hiring contract with Accenture, according to two senior DHS officials and an Accenture representative.
    As of December, when CBP terminated part of its contract, the company had only completed processing 58 applicants and only 22 had made it onto the payroll about a year after the company was hired.
    At the time, the 3,500 applicants that remained in the Accenture hiring pipeline were transferred to CBP’s own hiring center to complete the process.

    CBP cut ties with Accenture on processing applicants a few months ago, it retained some services, including marketing, advertising and applicant support.
    This week, the entire contract was terminated for “convenience,” government speak for agreeing to part ways without placing blame on Accenture.
    While government hiring is “slow and onerous, it’s also part of being in the government” and that’s “something we have to accept and deal with as we go forward,” said one of the officials.
    For its efforts, CBP paid Accenture around $19 million in start-up costs, and around $2 million for 58 people who got job offers, according to the officials.
    Over the last couple of months, CBP explored how to modify the contract, but ultimately decided to completely stop work and return any remaining funds to taxpayers.
    But it’s unclear how much money, if any, that will be.

    In addition, to the funds already paid to Accenture, CBP has around $39 million left to “settle and close the books” with the company, an amount which has yet to be determined.
    In November 2017, CBP awarded Accenture the contract to help meet the hiring demands of an executive order on border security that President Donald Trump signed during his first week in office. The administration directed CBP to hire an additional 7,500 agents and officers on top of its current hiring goals.
    “We were in a situation where we needed to try something new” and “break the cycle of going backwards,” said a DHS official about why the agency started the contract.

    Meanwhile, hiring remains difficult for the agency amid a surge of migrants at the southern border that is stretching CBP resources thin.
    It “continues to be a very challenging environment,” said one official about hiring efforts this year.

    In fact, one of the reasons that CBP didn’t need Accenture to process applicants, is because the agency didn’t receive as many applications as it initially planned for.
    The agency has been focused on beating attrition and has been able to recently “beat it by a modest amount,” said the official. “Ultimately we would like to beat it by a heck of a lot, but we’re not there yet.”
    #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #USA #Ests-Unis #complexe_militaro-industriel #business

    • Border Profiteers

      On a recent sunny spring afternoon in Texas, a couple hundred Border Patrol agents, Homeland Security officials, and salespeople from a wide array of defense and security contractors gathered at the Bandera Gun Club about an hour northwest of San Antonio to eat barbecue and shoot each other’s guns. The techies wore flip-flops; the veterans wore combat boots. Everyone had a good time. They were letting loose, having spent the last forty-eight hours cooped up in suits and ties back at San Antonio’s Henry B. Gonzalez convention center, mingling and schmoozing, hawking their wares, and listening to immigration officials rail about how those serving in enforcement agencies are not, under any circumstances, Nazis.

      These profiteers and bureaucrats of the immigration-industrial complex were fresh from the 2019 #Border_Security_Expo —essentially a trade show for state violence, where law enforcement officers and weapons manufacturers gather, per the Expo’s marketing materials, to “identify and address new and emerging border challenges and opportunities through technology, partnership, and innovation.” The previous two days of panels, speeches, and presentations had been informative, a major in the Argentine Special Forces told me at the gun range, but boring. He was glad to be outside, where handguns popped and automatic rifles spat around us. I emptied a pistol into a target while a man in a Three Percenter militia baseball hat told me that I was a “natural-born killer.” A drone buzzed overhead until, in a demonstration of a company’s new anti-drone technology, a device that looked like a rocket launcher and fired a sort of exploding net took it down. “This is music to me,” the Argentine major said.

      Perhaps it’s not surprising the Border Security Expo attendees were so eager to blow off steam. This year’s event found many of them in a defensive posture, given the waves of bad press they’d endured since President Trump’s inauguration, and especially since the disastrous implementation of his family separation policy, officially announced by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in April of 2018, before being rescinded by Trump two-and-a-half months later. Throughout the Expo, in public events and in background roundtable conversations with reporters, officials from the various component parts of the Department of Homeland Security rolled out a series of carefully rehearsed talking points: Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) need more money, personnel, and technology; taking migrants to hospitals distracts CBP officers from their real mission; and the 1997 Flores court settlement, which prohibits immigration enforcement agencies from detaining migrant families with children for more than twenty days, is undermining the very sovereignty of the United States. “We want a secure border, we want an immigration system that has integrity,” Ronald Vitiello, then–acting head of ICE, said in a keynote address to the hundreds of people gathered in San Antonio. “We have a generous immigration system in this country, but it has to have integrity in order for us to continue to be so generous.”

      More of a technocrat than his thuggish predecessor Thomas Homan, Vitiello also spoke at length about using the “dark web” to take down smugglers and the importance of having the most up-to-date data-management technology. But he spoke most adamantly about needing “a fix” for the Flores settlement. “If you prosecute crimes and you give people consequences, you get less of it,” he said. “With Flores, there’s no consequence, and everybody knows that,” a senior ICE official echoed to reporters during a background conversation immediately following Vitiello’s keynote remarks. “That’s why you’re seeing so many family units. We cannot apply a consequence to a family unit, because we have to release them.”

      Meanwhile, around 550 miles to the west, in El Paso, hundreds of migrants, including children and families, were being held by CBP under a bridge, reportedly forced to sleep on the ground, with inadequate medical attention. “They treated us like we are animals,” one Honduran man told Texas Monthly. “I felt what they were trying to do was to hurt us psychologically, so we would understand that this is a lesson we were being taught, that we shouldn’t have crossed.” Less than a week after the holding pen beneath the bridge closed, Vitiello’s nomination to run ICE would be pulled amid a spate of firings across DHS; President Trump wanted to go “in a tougher direction.”

      Family Values

      On the second day of the Border Security Expo, in a speech over catered lunch, Scott Luck, deputy chief of Customs and Border Protection and a career Border Patrol agent, lamented that the influx of children and families at the border meant that resources were being diverted from traditional enforcement practices. “Every day, about 150 agents spend their shifts at hospitals and medical facilities with illegal aliens receiving treatment,” he said. “The annual salary cost for agents on hospital watch is more than $11.5 million. Budget analysts estimate that 13 percent of our operational budget—the budget that we use to buy equipment, to buy vehicles for our men and women—is now used for transportation, medical expenses, diapers, food, and other necessities to care for illegal aliens in Border Patrol custody.”

      As far as Luck was concerned, every dollar spent on food and diapers is one not spent on drones and weapons, and every hour an agent spends guarding a migrant in a hospital is an hour they don’t spend on the border. “It’s not what they signed up for. The mission they signed up for is to protect the United States border, to protect the communities in which they live and serve,” he told reporters after his speech. “The influx, the volume, the clutter that this creates is frustrating.” Vitiello applied an Orwellian inversion: “We’re not helping them as fast as we want to,” he said of migrant families apprehended at the border.

      Even when discussing the intimate needs of detained migrant families, the language border officials used to describe their remit throughout the Expo was explicitly militaristic: achieving “operational control,” Luck said, requires “impedance and denial” and “situational awareness.” He referred to technology as a “vital force multiplier.” He at least stopped short of endorsing the president’s framing that what is happening on the border constitutes an invasion, instead describing it as a “deluge.”

      According to the Migration Policy Institute, a non-partisan think tank, the U.S. immigrant population has continued to grow—although at a slower rate than it did before the 2007 recession, and undocumented people appear to make up a smaller proportion of the overall population. Regardless, in fiscal year 2018, both ICE and CBP stepped up their enforcement activities, arresting, apprehending, and deporting people at significantly higher rates than the previous year. More than three times as many family members were apprehended at the border last year than in 2017, the Pew Research Center reports, and in the first six months of FY 2019 alone there were 189,584 apprehensions of “family units”: more than half of all apprehensions at the border during that time, and more than the full-year total of apprehended families for any other year on record. While the overall numbers have not yet begun to approach those of the 1980s and 1990s, when apprehensions regularly exceeded one million per year, the demographics of who is arriving at the United States southern border are changing: fewer single men from Mexico and more children and families from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador—in other words, an ever-wider range of desperate victims of drug gangs and American policies that have long supported corrupt regimes.

      This change has presented people like Luck with problems they insist are merely logistical: aging Border Patrol stations, he told us at the Expo, “are not luxurious in any way, and they were never intended to handle families and children.” The solution, according to Vitiello, is “continued capital investment” in those facilities, as well as the cars and trucks necessary to patrol the border region and transport those apprehended from CBP custody to ICE detention centers, the IT necessary to sift through vast amounts of data accumulated through untold surveillance methods, and all of “the systems by which we do our work.”

      Neither Vitiello nor Luck would consider whether those systems—wherein thousands of children, ostensibly under the federal government’s care, have been sexually abused and five, from December through May of this year, have died—ought to be questioned. Both laughed off calls from migrant justice organizers, activists, and politicians to abolish ICE. “The concept of the Department of Homeland Security—and ICE as an agency within it—was designed for us to learn the lessons from 9/11,” Vitiello said. “Those needs still exist in this society. We’re gonna do our part.” DHS officials have even considered holding migrant children at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, according to the New York Times, where a new $23 million “contingency mass migration complex” is being built. The complex, which is to be completed by the end of the year, will have a capacity of thirteen thousand.

      Violence is the Point

      The existence of ICE may be a consequence of 9/11, but the first sections of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border—originally to contain livestock—went up in 1909 through 1911. In 1945, in response to a shift in border crossings from Texas to California, the U.S. Border Patrol and the Immigration and Naturalization Service recycled fencing wire and posts from internment camps in Crystal City, Texas, where more than a hundred thousand Japanese Americans had been imprisoned during World War II. “Although the INS could not erect a continuous line of fence along the border, they hoped that strategic placement of the fence would ‘compel persons seeking to enter the United States illegally to attempt to go around the ends of the fence,’” historian Kelly Lytle Hernández, quoting from government documents, writes in Migra! A History of the U.S. Border Patrol. “What lay at the end of the fences and canals were desert lands and mountains extremely dangerous to cross without guidance or sufficient water. The fences, therefore, discouraged illegal immigration by exposing undocumented border crossers to the dangers of daytime dehydration and nighttime hypothermia.”

      Apprehension and deportation tactics continued to escalate in the years following World War II—including Operation Wetback, the infamous (and heavily propagandized) mass-deportation campaign of 1954—but the modern, militarized border era was greatly boosted by Bill Clinton. It was during Clinton’s first administration that Border Patrol released its “Strategic Plan: 1994 and Beyond,” which introduced the idea of “prevention through deterrence,” a theory of border policing that built on the logic of the original wall and hinges upon increasing the “cost” of migration “to the point that many will consider it futile to continue to attempt illegal entry.” With the Strategic Plan, the agency was requesting more money, officers, and equipment in order to “enhance national security and safeguard our immigration heritage.”

      The plan also noted that “a strong interior enforcement posture works well for border control,” and in 1996, amid a flurry of legislation targeting people of color and the poor, Congress passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, which empowered the federal government to deport more people more quickly and made it nearly impossible for undocumented immigrants to obtain legal status. “Before 1996, internal enforcement activities had not played a very significant role in immigration enforcement,” the sociologists Douglas Massey and Karen A. Pren wrote in 2012. “Afterward these activities rose to levels not seen since the deportation campaigns of the Great Depression.” With the passage of the Patriot Act in 2001 and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2002, immigration was further securitized and criminalized, paving the way for an explosion in border policing technology that has further aligned the state with the defense and security industry. And at least one of Border Patrol’s “key assumptions,” explicitly stated in the 1994 strategy document, has borne out: “Violence will increase as effects of strategy are felt.”

      What this phrasing obscures, however, is that violence is the border strategy. In practice, what “prevention through deterrence” has meant is forcing migrants to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in the desert, putting already vulnerable people at even greater risk. Closing urban points of entry, for example, or making asylum-seekers wait indefinitely in Mexico while their claims are processed, pushes migrants into remote areas where there is a higher likelihood they will suffer injury and death, as in the case of seven-year-old Jakil Caal Maquin, who died of dehydration and shock after being taken into CBP custody in December. (A spokesperson for CBP, in an email response, deflected questions about whether the agency considers children dying in its custody a deterrent.) Maquin is one of many thousands who have died attempting to cross into the United States: the most conservative estimate comes from CBP itself, which has recovered the remains of 7,505 people from its southwest border sectors between 1998 and 2018. This figure accounts for neither those who die on the Mexican side of the border, nor those whose bodies remain lost to the desert.

      Draconian immigration policing causes migrants to resort to smugglers and traffickers, creating the conditions for their exploitation by cartels and other violent actors and increasing the likelihood that they will be kidnapped, coerced, or extorted. As a result, some migrants have sought the safety of collective action in the form of the “caravan” or “exodus,” which has then led the U.S. media and immigration enforcement agencies to justify further militarization of the border. Indeed, in his keynote address at the Expo, Luck described “the emerging prevalence of large groups of one hundred people or more” as “troubling and especially dangerous.” Later, a sales representative for the gun manufacturer Glock very confidently explained to me that this was because agents of al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia, were embedded with the caravans.

      Branding the Border

      Unsurprisingly, caravans came up frequently at the Border Security Expo. (An ICE spokesperson would later decline to explain what specific threat they pose to national security, instead citing general statistics about the terrorist watchlist, “special interest aliens,” and “suspicious travel patterns.”) During his own keynote speech, Vitiello described how ICE, and specifically its subcomponent Homeland Security Investigations, had deployed surveillance and intelligence-gathering techniques to monitor the progress of caravans toward the border. “When these caravans have come, we’ve had trained, vetted individuals on the ground in those countries reporting in real time what they were seeing: who the organizers were, how they were being funded,” he said, before going on an astonishing tangent:

      That’s the kind of capability that also does amazing things to protecting brands, property rights, economic security. Think about it. If you start a company, introduce a product that’s innovative, there are people in the world who can take that, deconstruct it, and create their own version of it and sell it as yours. All the sweat that went into whatever that product was, to build your brand, they’ll take it away and slap it on some substandard product. It’s not good for consumers, it’s not good for public safety, and it’s certainly an economic drain on the country. That’s part of the mission.

      That the then–acting director of ICE, the germ-cell of fascism in the bourgeois American state, would admit that an important part of his agency’s mission is the protection of private property is a testament to the Trump administration’s commitment to saying the quiet part out loud.

      In fact, brands and private industry had pride of place at the Border Security Expo. A memorial ceremony for men and women of Border Patrol who have been killed in the line of duty was sponsored by Sava Solutions, an IT firm that has been awarded at least $482 million in federal contracts since 2008. Sava, whose president spent twenty-four years with the DEA and whose director of business development spent twenty with the FBI, was just one of the scores of firms in attendance at the Expo, each hoping to persuade the bureaucrats in charge of acquiring new gear for border security agencies that their drones, their facial recognition technology, their “smart” fences were the best of the bunch. Corporate sponsors included familiar names like Verizon and Motorola, and other less well-known ones, like Elbit Systems of America, a subsidiary of Israel’s largest private defense contractor, as well as a handful of IT firms with aggressive slogans like “Ever Vigilant” (CACI), “Securing the Future” (ManTech), and “Securing Your Tomorrow” (Unisys).

      The presence of these firms—and indeed the very existence of the Expo—underscores an important truth that anyone attempting to understand immigration politics must reckon with: border security is big business. The “homeland security and emergency management market,” driven by “increasing terrorist threats and biohazard attacks and occurrence of unpredictable natural disasters,” is projected to grow to more than $742 billion by 2023 from $557 billion in 2018, one financial analysis has found. In the coming decades, as more people are displaced by climate catastrophe and economic crises—estimates vary between 150 million and 1 billion by 2050—the industry dedicated to policing the vulnerable stands to profit enormously. By 2013, the United States was already spending more on federal immigration enforcement than all other federal law enforcement agencies combined, including the FBI and DEA; ICE’s budget has doubled since its inception in 2003, while CBP’s has nearly tripled. Between 1993 and 2018, the number of Border Patrol agents grew from 4,139 to 19,555. And year after year, Democrats and Republicans alike have been happy to fuel an ever more high-tech deportation machine. “Congress has given us a lot of money in technology,” Luck told reporters after his keynote speech. “They’ve given us over what we’ve asked for in technology!”

      “As all of this rhetoric around security has increased, so has the impetus to give them more weapons and more tools and more gadgets,” Jacinta Gonzalez, a senior campaign organizer with Mijente, a national network of migrant justice activists, told me. “That’s also where the profiteering comes in.” She continued: “Industries understand what’s good for business and adapt themselves to what they see is happening. If they see an administration coming into power that is pro-militarization, anti-immigrant, pro-police, anti-communities of color, then that’s going to shape where they put their money.”

      By way of example, Gonzalez pointed to Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, who spent $1.25 million supporting Trump’s 2016 election campaign and followed that up last year by donating $1 million to the Club for Growth—a far-right libertarian organization founded by Heritage Foundation fellow and one-time Federal Reserve Board prospect Stephen Moore—as well as about $350,000 to the Republican National Committee and other GOP groups. ICE has awarded Palantir, the $20 billion surveillance firm founded by Thiel, several contracts worth tens of millions of dollars to manage its data streams—a partnership the agency considers “mission critical,” according to documents reviewed by The Intercept. Palantir, in turn, runs on Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing service provided by the world’s most valuable public company, which is itself a key contractor in managing the Department of Homeland Security’s $6.8 billion IT portfolio.

      Meanwhile, former DHS secretary John Kelly, who was Trump’s chief of staff when the administration enacted its “zero-tolerance” border policy, has joined the board of Caliburn International—parent organization of the only for-profit company operating shelters for migrant children. “Border enforcement and immigration policy,” Caliburn reported in an SEC filing last year, “is driving significant growth.” As Harsha Walia writes in Undoing Border Imperialism, “the state and capitalism are again in mutual alliance.”

      Triumph of the Techno-Nativists

      At one point during the Expo, between speeches, I stopped by a booth for Network Integrity Systems, a security firm that had set up a demonstration of its Sentinel™ Perimeter Intrusion Detection System. A sales representative stuck out his hand and introduced himself, eager to explain how his employer’s fiber optic motion sensors could be used at the border, or—he paused to correct himself—“any kind of perimeter.” He invited me to step inside the space that his coworkers had built, starting to say “cage” but then correcting himself, again, to say “small enclosure.” (It was literally a cage.) If I could get out, climbing over the fencing, without triggering the alarm, I would win a $500 Amazon gift card. I did not succeed.

      Overwhelmingly, the vendors in attendance at the Expo were there to promote this kind of technology: not concrete and steel, but motion sensors, high-powered cameras, and drones. Customs and Border Patrol’s chief operating officer John Sanders—whose biography on the CBP website describes him as a “seasoned entrepreneur and innovator” who has “served on the Board of Directors for several leading providers of contraband detection, geospatial intelligence, and data analytics solutions”—concluded his address by bestowing on CBP the highest compliment he could muster: declaring the agency comparable “to any start-up.” Rhetoric like Sanders’s, ubiquitous at the Expo, renders the border both bureaucratic and boring: a problem to be solved with some algorithmic mixture of brutality and Big Data. The future of border security, as shaped by the material interests that benefit from border securitization, is not a wall of the sort imagined by President Trump, but a “smart” wall.

      High-ranking Democrats—leaders in the second party of capital—and Republicans from the border region have championed this compromise. During the 2018-2019 government shutdown, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson told reporters that Democrats would appropriate $5.7 billion for “border security,” so long as that did not include a wall of Trump’s description. “Walls are primitive. What we need to do is have border security,” House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said in January. He later expanded to CNN: “I’ve said that we ought to have a smart wall. I defined that as a wall using drones to make it too high to get over, using x-ray equipment to make it too wide to get around, and using scanners to go deep enough not to be able to tunnel under it. To me, that would be a smart thing to do.”

      Even the social democratic vision of Senator Bernie Sanders stops short at the border. “If you open the borders, my God, there’s a lot of poverty in this world, and you’re going to have people from all over the world,” he told Iowa voters in early April, “and I don’t think that’s something that we can do at this point.” Over a week later, during a Fox News town hall with Pennsylvania voters, he recommitted: “We need border security. Of course we do. Who argues with that? That goes without saying.”

      To the extent that Trump’s rhetoric, his administration’s immigration policies, and the enforcement agencies’ practices have made the “border crisis” more visible than ever before, they’ve done so on terms that most Democrats and liberals fundamentally agree with: immigration must be controlled and policed; the border must be enforced. One need look no further than the high priest of sensible centrism, Thomas Friedman, whose major complaint about Trump’s immigration politics is that he is “wasting” the crisis—an allusion to Rahm Emanuel’s now-clichéd remark that “you never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” (Frequently stripped of context, it is worth remembering that Emanuel made this comment in the throes of the 2008 financial meltdown, at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council, shortly following President Obama’s election.) “Regarding the border, the right place for Democrats to be is for a high wall with a big gate,” Friedman wrote in November of 2018. A few months later, a tour led by Border Patrol agents of the San Ysidro port of entry in San Diego left Friedman “more certain than ever that we have a real immigration crisis and that the solution is a high wall with a big gate—but a smart gate.”

      As reasonable as this might sound to anxious New York Times readers looking for what passes as humanitarian thinking in James Bennet’s opinion pages, the horror of Friedman’s logic eventually reveals itself when he considers who might pass through the big, smart gate in the high, high wall: “those who deserve asylum” and “a steady flow of legal, high-energy, and high-I.Q. immigrants.” Friedman’s tortured hypothetical shows us who he considers to be acceptable subjects of deportation and deprivation: the poor, the lazy, and the stupid. This is corporate-sponsored, state-sanctioned eugenics: the nativism of technocrats.

      The vision of a hermetically sealed border being sold, in different ways, by Trump and his allies, by Democrats, and by the Border Security Expo is in reality a selectively permeable one that strictly regulates the movement of migrant labor while allowing for the unimpeded flow of capital. Immigrants in the United States, regardless of their legal status, are caught between two factions of the capitalist class, each of which seek their immiseration: the citrus farmers, construction firms, and meat packing plants that benefit from an underclass of unorganized and impoverished workers, and the defense and security firms that keep them in a state of constant criminality and deportability.

      You could even argue that nobody in a position of power really wants a literal wall. Even before taking office, Trump himself knew he could only go so far. “We’re going to do a wall,” he said on the campaign trail in 2015. However: “We’re going to have a big, fat beautiful door on the wall.” In January 2019, speaking to the American Farm Bureau Association, Trump acknowledged the necessity of a mechanism allowing seasonal farmworkers from Mexico to cross the border, actually promising to loosen regulations on employers who rely on temporary migrant labor. “It’s going to be easier for them to get in than what they have to go through now,” he said, “I know a lot about the farming world.”

      At bottom, there is little material difference between this and what Friedman imagines to be the smarter, more humane approach. While establishment liberals would no doubt prefer that immigration enforcement be undertaken quietly, quickly, and efficiently, they have no categorical objection to the idea that noncitizens should enjoy fewer rights than citizens or be subject to different standards of due process (standards that are already applied in deeply inequitable fashion).

      As the smorgasbord of technologies and services so garishly on display at the Border Security Expo attests, maintaining the contradiction between citizens and noncitizens (or between the imperial core and the colonized periphery) requires an ever-expanding security apparatus, which itself becomes a source of ever-expanding profit. The border, shaped by centuries of bourgeois interests and the genocidal machinations of the settler-colonial nation-state, constantly generates fresh crises on which the immigration-industrial complex feeds. In other words, there is not a crisis at the border; the border is the crisis.

      CBP has recently allowed Anduril, a start-up founded by one of Peter Thiel’s mentees, Palmer Luckey, to begin testing its artificial intelligence-powered surveillance towers and drones in Texas and California. Sam Ecker, an Anduril engineer, expounded on the benefits of such technology at the Expo. “A tower doesn’t get tired. It doesn’t care about being in the middle of the desert or a river around the clock,” he told me. “We just let the computers do what they do best.”

  • Les négociations secrètes et les espoirs déçus de Varoufakis avec la Chine, Obama et le FMI | Eric Toussaint

    Les propositions que Varoufakis a faites aux autorités chinoises sont inadmissibles : emprunter à la Chine pour rembourser le FMI ; abandonner le contrôle de la Grèce sur ses chemins de fer ; procéder à d’autres privatisations ! Source : CADTM

  • « Whiteness studies » : il était une fois les Blancs…

    L’historienne américaine Nell Irvin Painter publie une ambitieuse « Histoire des Blancs », qui montre que l’humanité s’est bien longtemps passée du concept de « races ». Née en Europe au XVIIIe siècle, l’idée de la supériorité des « Caucasiens » jouera un rôle central dans la construction de l’identité américaine.

    « Whiteness studies » : il était une fois les Blancs raconte que l’idée d’écrire une Histoire des Blancs lui est venue en lisant le New York Times, chez elle, à Princeton. Une photo montrait Grozny, la capitale tchétchène, rasée par les Russes. « Une question m’est alors venue : pourquoi appelle-t-on les Blancs américains les "Caucasiens" ? Ça n’a aucun sens. Autour de moi personne n’avait de réponse. Tous me disaient s’être déjà posé la question sans jamais oser demander… Un non-dit. » On est en 2000 et Nell Irvin Painter, historienne afroaméricaine jusqu’alors spécialisée dans l’histoire des Etats-Unis, se lance dans une longue recherche qui s’achèvera dix ans plus tard avec la parution, outre-Atlantique, de son livre The History of White People . Il vient d’être traduit et paraît ces jours-ci en France, aux éditions Max Milo.

    « La plus belle race d’hommes, la géorgienne »

    Sa quête la mène d’abord à Göttingen, en Allemagne, sur les traces du médecin Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752-1840), l’inventeur de la notion de « race caucasienne ». Ses caractéristiques : « La couleur blanche, les joues rosées, les cheveux bruns ou blonds, la tête presque sphérique », écrit le savant dans De l’unité du genre humain et de ses variétés . L’homme classe dans cette catégorie « tous les Européens, à l’exception des Lapons et des Finnois », et l’étend aux habitants du Gange et de l’Afrique du Nord. « J’ai donné à cette variété le nom du mont Caucase, parce que c’est dans son voisinage que se trouve la plus belle race d’hommes, la géorgienne », conclut Blumenbach.

    Nell Irvin Painter poursuit ensuite le fil de ses recherches en France, dans les salons de Mme de Stael qui publie en 1810 un livre à succès, De l’Allemagne . L’ouvrage popularise en France la manie qu’ont les savants allemands (ils ne seront bientôt plus les seuls) à classer les Européens entre différentes « races ». Mme de Stael en voit trois : la latine, la germanique et la slave. L’enquête de Painter la porte encore vers l’Angleterre de l’écrivain Thomas Carlyle, dont la théorie de la « race saxonne » traversera l’Atlantique et exerça une grande influence sur le poète et philosophe américain Emerson (1803-1882). Celui-ci, père de la philosophie américaine, abolitionniste convaincu, est aussi l’un de ceux qui a lié pour longtemps la figure de « l’Américain idéal » à celui de l’Anglais, parangon de beauté et de virilité. Son idéologie « anglo-saxoniste » marquera, selon Nell Irvin Painter, la conception de la « blanchité » américaine jusqu’au XXe siècle.

    Car pour le reste, l’histoire que retrace Nell Irvin Painter dans son livre est bien celle des Blancs d’Amérique. « Painter montre la construction endémique, aux Etats-Unis, de la question raciale, analyse l’historienne Sylvie Laurent, qui a coordonné le livre De quelle couleur sont les Blancs ? (La Découverte, 2013). Dès la fondation des Etats-Unis, les Américains se sont construits comme une nation blanche. Sa généalogie de la "race blanche" est un travail passionnant, même s’il n’est pas transposable à la situation française. »

    En France, parler de « Blancs » (plus encore qu’évoquer les « Noirs ») reste très polémique. Notamment parce que parler de « race » (une notion construite de toutes pièces et qui n’a rien de biologique), comme de couleur de peau, pourrait finir par leur donner une réalité qu’elles n’ont pas. Sans doute aussi parce qu’il est difficile pour un groupe majoritaire, les personnes perçues comme blanches, d’accepter qu’elles bénéficient de privilèges sans même s’en rendre compte… Les récents passages de Nell Irvin Painter à la radio ou à la télévision ont suscité des mails outrés d’auditeurs. « C’est touchant, ironise l’historienne américaine, lors d’un passage à Paris. Mais cette crispation face à ces questions passera. » Déjà, des chercheurs, comme Maxime Cervulle à l’université Paris-VIII, revendique la notion émergente de « blanchité » : « Alors que le terme "blancheur" renvoie à une simple propriété chromatique, parler de blanchité, c’est parler de la façon dont le fait de se dire ou d’être perçu comme blanc a été investi d’un rapport de pouvoir : l’idéologie raciste qui continue d’associer la blancheur de la peau à la pureté, la neutralité ou l’universalité. »

    « La question raciale, indissociable de la question sociale »

    Aux Etats-Unis, les whiteness studies se sont développées dès les années 80 et 90. Des départements d’université ou des maisons d’édition y sont consacrés. « Les années Reagan ont accouché de ce nouveau champ d’études, explique l’historien Pap Ndiaye, spécialiste des Etats-Unis et auteur de la Condition noire (Calmann-Lévy, 2008). Reagan s’est fait le porte-parole des Blancs "abandonnés" par le Parti démocrate… Un discours qu’on retrouve aujourd’hui avec Trump. Des historiens ont voulu étudier ce backlash conservateur. » L’historien David Roediger est l’un des premiers à travailler sur l’invention de la « race » blanche. En 1991, il publie The Wages of Whiteness . « Il a montré que la blanchité n’était pas un universel fixe et sans histoire. Et qu’on pouvait donc faire l’histoire des Blancs », note Pap Ndiaye. Roediger, marqué par le marxisme, relit la culture ouvrière au prisme de la « race ». « La question raciale est indissociable de la question sociale, confirme Pap Ndiaye. Les immigrés italiens aux Etats-unis ont été animalisés et victimes d’un racisme incroyable. Ils ne se sont "blanchis" qu’au fil de leur ascension sociale. Quand on est tout en bas de l’échelle, on n’est jamais totalement blanc. Les hiérarchies de races sont aussi des hiérarchies de classes. » Au fil des années, les whiteness studies ont diversifié leur approche s’ouvrant largement à la dimension du genre, et dépassant les frontières américaines pour tenter d’écrire une histoire transnationale des « races ».

    Pourtant, selon l’américaniste Sylvie Laurent, « les recherches sont sans doute aujourd’hui plus stimulantes parmi les working class studies ou les gender studies, que dans les départements de whiteness studies des universités ». « Au fond, dit-elle aussi, les chercheurs des whiteness studies se sont toujours appuyés sur les grands penseurs noirs, ceux qui ont été exclus du groupe des Blancs : le sociologue et militant pour les droits civiques W.E.B. DuBois (1868-1963) ou James Baldwin, qui a été un grand théoricien du "pourquoi les Blancs se pensent blancs". Aujourd’hui encore, ce n’est pas un hasard si cette vaste Histoire des Blancs est écrite par une femme noire, Nell Irvin Painter. »

    « Embrasser une histoire beaucoup plus large »

    Née en 1942, celle-ci a été parmi les premières femmes noires a devenir professeure d’histoire dans les facs américaines - elle a enseigné à Princeton. Elle a consacré un livre à la migration de Noirs vers le Kansas après la guerre de Sécession et a écrit une biographie reconnue de la féministe et abolitionniste Sojourner Truth. « Cette Histoire des Blancs je l’ai écrite en tant qu’historienne, pas en tant qu’afroaméricaine. Je suis noire, c’est un fait, mais "it’s not my job" », prévient-elle. Painter n’est pas issue des départements de whiteness studies et revendique un regard différent de celui de la plupart de ses collègues. « A travers leurs recherches, ils ont retracé leur généalogie : leurs grands-pères étaient juifs d’Europe de l’Est ou italiens… Ils commencent donc leur histoire des Blancs à la fin du XIXe siècle, le moment où leurs aïeux ont débarqué du bateau. Je voulais au contraire embrasser une histoire beaucoup plus large. »

    A tel point que Nell Irvin Painter fait démarrer son livre… dans l’Antiquité. Manière de démontrer à quel point le concept de « race » est récent. « Contrairement à ce que croient des gens très éduqués encore aujourd’hui, les Anciens ne pensaient pas en terme de race », insiste Nell Irvin Painter. Les Grecs distinguaient les hommes en fonction de leur lieu d’origine ou du climat de leur région. Les Romains pensaient en terme de degrés de civilisation. Les Blancs ne sont donc pas les illustres et exclusifs descendants des démocrates grecs. « C’est le XIXe siècle qui a "racialisé" l’Antiquité, précise l’historienne. Des historiens de l’art, comme Johann Joachim Winckelmann notamment, s’en sont servis pour glorifier les Européens blancs, cette fois dans une perspective esthétique : "Nous n’avons pas seulement le génie de gouverner les autres, nous avons également toujours été les plus beaux." Un tableau exposé au Boston Museum représente ainsi des Grecs beaux et blonds, dont même les montures sont blondes ! »

    L’humanité a donc passé le plus clair de son temps à se passer des « races ». « Celles-ci sont nées au XVIIIe siècle dans les travaux de savants qui cataloguaient le monde entier : les plantes, les oiseaux, les rochers, les abeilles… et bientôt les êtres humains, dit encore l’historienne Nell Irvin Painter. Leur visée n’était pas raciste, mais chauviniste plutôt. Ethnocentriste. »

    Il est une autre idée - fausse - qui a pour longtemps suggéré une différence d’essence entre les Blancs et les Noirs, « creusant définitivement un abîme entre eux », écrit Painter. Etre noir, ce serait avoir été esclave ; être blanc, serait donc ne jamais l’avoir été. Or des Blancs, rappelle-t-elle, furent longtemps esclaves ou serfs : les Vikings ont massivement déplacé les peuples européens, et au XIe siècle, au moins un dixième de la population britannique a été réduit en esclavage. « P artout où il y a des gens pauvres, il y a de l’esclavage. Si nous le relions aujourd’hui aux Noirs, c’est parce que la traite africaine a coïncidé avec le moment où ont émergé les théories racialistes. Avant, il n’y avait pas le "langage racial" pour "légitimer" ce phénomène. C’est important de le dire : cela montre que l’esclavage n’est pas un problème racial, c’est un problème de droits humains. »

    « Discours embrouillés et changeants »

    Dernière idée que cette Histoire des Blancs met en charpie : il n’y a jamais eu une « race » blanche bien définie. Construction sociale et imaginaire comme toutes les races, la « blanchité » n’a jamais été stable, mais au contraire le fruit de « discours embrouillés et changeants », explique Nell Irvin Painter. Au XIXe siècle, les Saxons étaient censés être des Blancs supérieurs aux Celtes (ce qui expliquera en partie le racisme des Américains descendants des Anglais envers les Irlandais). « L’histoire des Blancs américains n’a pas de sens si on ne parle pas des vagues successives d’immigration aux Etats-Unis. » Progressivement, les Irlandais, les Italiens, les Juifs d’Europe de l’Est, les Grecs… intégreront et construiront l’identité américaine. C’est ce que Painter appelle les « élargissements » successifs de la figure de « l’Américain ». L’ère Obama, en est la dernière étape. « Qu’on ait la peau noire ou brune, pourvu qu’on soit riche, puissant ou beau, on a désormais accès aux atouts et privilèges de la blanchité », conclut Nell Irvin Painter.

    L’élection de Trump a représenté un point de bascule pour l’identité blanche, estime encore l’historienne : « Avant Trump, les Blancs se considéraient comme des individus. Les "races", les "communautés", c’était les autres : les Noirs, les Mexicains… Mais pendant sa campagne, le slogan "Make America great again" a été clairement entendu comme "Make America white again". Et les Blancs, même ceux qui n’étaient pas des suprémacistes, se sont découverts blancs. »

    Au fil de ses recherches, Painter a trouvé, bien sûr, l’origine du mot « caucasien ». Dans son cabinet d’anthropologue, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, le savant de Göttingen, conservait des crânes. Il estimait que le plus « parfait » d’entre eux était celui d’une jeune fille géorgienne, une « caucasienne », qui fut violée et mourut d’une maladie vénérienne. Le terme « caucasien », qui devait devenir au fil des siècles le mot de ralliement de « Blancs » qui, dans le monde entier, se sentiront supérieurs, venait en fait d’une petite esclave sexuelle.

    Sonya Faure

  • « Notre pays vit un enfer en ce moment » : la rappeuse Cardi B accuse Trump et s’attire l’attention de sénateurs

    Cardi B a donné son avis sur le shutdown aux Etats-Unis à ses 40 millions de followers, dont certains élus démocrates qui n’ont pas osé aller jusqu’au retweet.

    C’est une véritable salve contre Donald Trump himself. La rappeuse américaine Cardi B s’en est prise à au président américain dans un message virulent posté sur Instagram, lui reprochant d’avoir forcé des milliers de fonctionnaires à reprendre le travail sans salaire pour limiter les effets du « shutdown ».

    « Notre pays vit un enfer en ce moment, tout ça pour un putain de mur », a lancé l’artiste originaire du Bronx dans la vidéo, en référence au refus de Donald Trump de voter un projet de budget fédéral qui n’inclurait pas de financement pour un mur à la frontière américano-mexicaine.

    Faute de budget, quelque 800 000 employés fédéraux sont au chômage technique ou travaillent sans toucher de salaire depuis près de quatre semaines. Ces derniers jours, l’administration Trump a ordonné à des milliers de fonctionnaires au chômage technique de revenir travailler, sans salaire, pour limiter les effets de la paralysie administrative.

    « Je ne veux pas entendre (…) “Oh, Obama a fermé le gouvernement pendant dix-sept jours” » (en 2013), s’emporte la rappeuse au verbe fleuri. C’était « pour le système de santé, pour que ta grand-mère puisse aller faire prendre sa tension », dit-elle en référence au « #shutdown » provoqué en 2013 par un désaccord sur l’« Obamacare ». « Je sais que beaucoup d’entre vous s’en foutent parce que vous ne travaillez probablement pas pour le gouvernement ou que vous n’avez peut-être même pas de boulot, a-t-elle poursuivi, mais cette merde est grave, cette merde est vraiment dingue. Je crois que nous devons faire quelque chose. »
    « Les gars, je retiens mon souffle. Allez-vous retweeter Cardi B ou pas ? », a réagi, toujours sur Twitter, le chef de file des démocrates au Sénat, Chuck Schumer. « Nous avons décidé de ne pas le faire, a répondu Brian Schatz [sénateur démocrate d’Hawaï]. Ce ne serait pas sénatorial. »

  • Pan Am Flight 103 : Robert Mueller’s 30-Year Search for Justice | WIRED

    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

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

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

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

  • Before the Trump Era, the “Wall” Made In Arizona as Political Performance

    “Trump’s Wall” illustrates the US obsession with ever-greater militarization of the Mexican border, independently of the actual numbers of unauthorized crossings. Yet these debates began revolving around the slogan “Build The Wall” long before the rise of Trump. Between 2010 and 2013, the activities of a coalition of activists, politicians and Arizona security experts had already legitimized recourse to a “wall”. Border-security debates thus concern more than mere control of border crossings. More crucially, they structure local and national political life in accordance with the interests and agendas of the political players whom they bring together.

    The Governors of California and Arizona reacted unevenly to President Trump’s announcement on April 4th, 2018, that National Guard soldiers were to be sent to the Mexican border1 to reinforce the Border Patrol and local police. Doug Ducey, Republican Governor of Arizona, displayed his enthusiasm: “I’m grateful today to have a federal administration that is finally taking action to secure the border for the safety of all Americans” 2. Jerry Brown, Democrat Governor of California, was more circumspect. He insisted upon the limits of such a measure: “”This will not be a mission to build a new wall […] It will not be a mission to round up women and children or detain people escaping violence and seeking a better life. […] Here are the facts: There is no massive wave of migrants pouring into California3”. These contrasting reactions illustrate the US rift over migration and border-security issues. To the anti-migrant camp, the border is insufficiently secured, and is subject to an “invasion4”. For opponents of the border’s militarization, this deployment is futile.

    On the anti-migrant side, between 2010 and 2013, Republican state congressmen in Arizona set up a unified Committee to gather all the political players who demanded of President Obama that he increases militarization of the border5. This included Sheriffs and Arizona State ministers—but also a breeders’ organization, the border Chambers of Commerce, militiamen who patrol the desert, and Tea Party groups. In May 2011, this Committee launched a fundraising drive dubbed “Build the Border Fence”. They portrayed cross-border migration as a threat to the public, consecrated the “Fence” as a legitimate security tool, and, seeking to force the hand of the Federal Government, accused it of failing in its duty to protect. Examining this mobilization prior to Trump’s election enables illustrating how militarization and the debates around it came to acquire legitimacy—and therefore to shed light on its current crystallization around the rhetoric of the “Wall”. This article will, first, briefly describe stages in the performative militarization of the border within which this political mobilization is embedded. It then presents three stages in the legitimization of the “Wall”, drawing on pro-“Border Wall” activism in Arizona.

    #Militarization by One-Upmanship

    Parsing differences over migration debates in the United States requires situating them within the framework of the long-term political performance of militarization of the border. The process whereby the border with Mexico has become militarized has gone hand in hand with the criminalization of unauthorized immigration since the 1980s-6. In the border area, militarization is displayed through the deployment of technology and surveillance routines of transborder mobility, both by security professionals and by citizen vigilantes7. The construction of “fences”8 made the borderline visible and contributed to this policy of militarization. The Trump administration is banking on these high-profile moments of wall-construction. In doing so, it follows in the footsteps of the G.W.Bush administration through the 2006 Secure Fence Act, and California Republicans in the 1990s. This is even while the numbers of unauthorized crossings are at historically low levels9, and federal agencies’ efforts are more directed towards chasing down migrants within the US. At various stages in the development of this policy, different players, ranging from federal elected officials through members of civil society to the security sector, local elected officials and residents, have staged themselves against the backdrop of the territory that had been fenced against the “invaders”. They thereby invest the political space concerned with closing this territory,against political opponents who are considered to be in favor of its remaining open, and of welcoming migrants. The latter range from players in transborder trade to religious humanitarian and migrant rights NGOs. Border security is therefore at the core of the political and media project of portraying immigration in problematic and warlike terms. Beyond controlling migrants, the issue above all orbits around reassuring the citizenry and various political players positioning themselves within society-structuring debates.
    Why Demand “Fences”?

    First and foremost, Arizona’s pro-fence players package transborder mobility as a variety of forms of violence, deriving from interpretation, speculation and—to reprise their terms—fantasies of “invasion”. In their rhetoric, the violence in Mexico has crossed the border. This spillover thesis is based on the experience of ranchers of the Cochise County on the border, who have faced property degradations since the end of the 1990s as a result of migrants and smugglers crossing their lands. In January 2013, the representative of the Arizona Cattlemen Association struck an alarmist tone: “Our people are on the frontline and the rural areas of our border are unsecured10”. The murder of an Association member in March 2010 was cited as evidence, swiftly attributed to what was dubbed an “illegal alien11”.

    “Border security also reflects domestic political stakes.”

    Based on their personal experiences of border migration, the pro-fence camp has taken up a common discursive register concerning the national stakes tied to such mobility. As Republican State Senator Gail Griffin explains, they express a desire to restore public order over the national territory, against the “chaos” provoked by these violent intrusions:

    “People in larger communities away from the border don’t see it as we do on the border but the drugs that are coming in though my backyard are ending up in everybody’s community in the State of Arizona and in this country. So it’s just not a local issue, or a county issue or a state issue, it’s a national issue 12.”

    In their view, the threat is as much to public order as it is to national identity. These fears denote a preoccupation with the Hispanization of society and cultural shifts affecting a nation that they define as being “Anglo-Saxon”. When the Build the Border Fence fundraising drive was launched on July 27, 2011, for example, Representative Steve Smith pronounced himself “horrified” by a development that he called “Press 2 for Spanish” in telephone calls. He also condemned the lack of integration on the part of Mexican migrants:

    “If you don’t like this country with you, you wanna bring your language with you, your gangfare with you, stay where you were! Or face the consequences. But don’t make me change because you don’t want to13.”

    Finally, border security also reflects domestic political stakes. It is a variable in the political balance of power with the federal government to influence decisions on immigration policy. Arizona elected representatives condemn the federal government’s inefficiency and lay claim to migration decision-making powers at the state-level. The “fence” is also portrayed a being a common sense “popular” project against reticent decision-making elites.
    “Fences”—or Virtual Surveillance?

    Control of the border is already disconnected from the border territory itself, and virtual and tactical technologies are prioritized in order to manage entry to the US. “Fences” appear archaic compared to new surveillance technologies that enable remote control. In the 2000s, the “virtualization” of border control was favored by the Bush and Obama administrations. Since 2001-2002, it has been embedded in the strategic concept of “Smart Borders” within the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This aims to filter authorized migration through programs that grant expedited- and preregistered-entry to US ports of entry, and through the generalization of biometric technologies. This strategy also rests upon integrating leading-edge technologies, such as the Secure Border Initiative (SBI) program that was in place from 2006 to 2011. At the time, the border area (including South-West Arizona) acquired watchtowers equipped with cameras and radar. Fences are, moreover, costly—and the financial and human costs of the construction, guarding and upkeep of these fences raise doubts over the benefits of such infrastructure. These doubts are expressed at security-technology fairs, where security professionals and industrialists gather14. There, the “fence” is ultimately understood as being a marginal control technology.

    Regardless, pro-fence activism in Arizona grants a key role to those military and police who help legitimate the recourse to “fences”. In particular, they draw on such models of securitization as the California border, that has been gradually been sealed since 1991, as well as, since 2006-07, the triple-barrier of Yuma, in South-West Arizona. Sheriff Paul Babeu, an ex-military National Guardsman who erected the “fences” in Yuma, assesses that they provide a tactical bonus for Border Patrol agents in smuggling centers, urban areas and flatlands15. Mainly, Arizona security professionals articulate their defense of the “fence” within the pursuit of personal political agendas, such as Republican sheriffs who are both security and political professionals.

    Attacking the Federal Government for Failure to Protect

    The spread of the pro-fence narrative largely rests upon widely-covered events designed to symbolize the process of militarization and to call for federal intervention. The materiality of “fences” elicits easy media coverage. The pro-fence camp are well aware of this, and regularly stage this materiality. During such public events as the 4thof July national holiday, they erect fake wooden fences on which they encourage participants to write “Secure the Border”. These pro-fence political players also seek out media coverage for their public statements.

    “Republicans consecrate Arizona as their laboratory for immigration and border security policy.”

    Such media as Fox News follow their activities to the extent of turning pro-fence events into a regular series. On August 25, 2011, on the Fox News program On The Record, presenter Greta Van Susteren invited Republican Representative Steve Smith and publicized the fundraising drive using visuals drawn from the initiative’s website 16. The presenter framed the interview by gauging that Arizona parliamentarians had “got a grip on things to get the White House’s attention”. At no point was Steve Smith really challenged on the true cost of the fence, nor on opposition to the project. This co-production between the channel’s conservative editorial line and the pro-fence narrative enables the border area to be presented as a warzone, and amplifies the critique of the federal government.

    This staging of the debate complements lobbying to set up direct contact with federal decision-makers, as well as legal actions to pressure them. Pro-barrier activists in Arizona thus set out plans to secure the border, which they try to spread among Arizona authorities and federal elected officials-17. Sheriff Paul Babeu, for instance, took part in consultations on border security conducted by Senator John McCain and Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. By passing repressive immigration laws and mobilizing Arizona legal advisors to defend these laws when they are challenged in court, Republicans consecrate Arizona as their laboratory for immigration and border security policy.
    Twists and Turns of “Build The Wall”

    Portraying transborder mobility as a “problem” on the local and, especially, the national levels; Legitimizing a security-based response by promoting the “fence” as only solution; And accusing the federal government of failing to protect its citizens. These are the three pillars of “The Fence”, the performance by pro-fence activists in the early 2010s. These moves have enabled making militarization of the border and the “Build The Wall” trope banal. Its elements are present in the current state of the discourse, when Donald Trump resorts to aggressive rhetoric towards migrants, touts his “Wall” as the solution, and stages photo-ops alongside prototypes of the wall—and when he accuses both Congress and California of refusing to secure the border. The issue here has little to do with the undocumented, or with the variables governing Central American migration. It has far more to do with point-scoring against political opponents, and with political positioning within debates that cleave US society.
    #performance #performance_politique #spectacle #murs #barrières #barrières_frontalières #USA #Etats-Unis #Arizona #surveillance #surveillance_virtuelle #sécurité

    signalé par @reka

  • Ce n’était pas un héros – John McCain était un criminel de guerre – Salimsellami’s Blog

    Le décorum et la décence humaine exigent que nous nous abstenions de parler mal d’un malade aux portes de la mort. Cette règle est nulle et non avenue lorsque la personne qu’on est censé pleurer est responsable de la mort et du massacre continu d’innombrables humains à travers le monde. Pardonnez-moi si je refuse de faire l’éloge de ce sénateur de l’Arizona, un belliciste. Même un rendez-vous imminent avec son créateur ne peut modérer la désinvolture de McCain. Comme un barbare montrant ses stéroïdes, Johnny Boy insiste pour pousser à déclencher une guerre impie après l’autre.

    McCain a utilisé le fait d’être un ancien du Vietnam pour se catapulter au sommet de la classe politique, même s’il a peu fait pour aider les anciens combattants qui subissent les ravages des guerres qu’il ne cesse de pousser à faire. Je ne cache pas mon admiration pour les anciens combattants. Après avoir été confronté à deux ans de difficultés et avoir appelé des vétérans sans abri, mes voisins et mes amis, je peux témoigner de la valeur et de la gentillesse de ceux qui ont servi dans notre armée. Ce qui fait des anciens combattants des héros, ce n’est pas le nombre de fois où ils ont déclenché des guerres et leur valeur n’est pas quantifiée par le nombre de tués à leur actif. C’est leur générosité et leur esprit de don qui en font de véritables guerriers dignes d’éloges et d’honneur.

    Les vrais héros sont ceux qui se battent dans les guerres et qui rentrent chez eux pour servir même s’ils combattent leurs propres démons. J’ai écrit sur mes expériences avec des anciens combattants à de nombreuses occasions. Cela me brise le cœur tous les jours en voyant des vétérans aux prises avec le PTSD (syndrome de stress post-traumatique) et aux immenses difficultés à se réadapter à la vie après avoir vu l’enfer déchaîné contre leurs semblables. Mon propre père était un vétéran et mes deux grands-pères étaient des héros de guerre qui ont combattu l’armée de Mussolini pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Par conséquent, je suis un homme qui a toujours vénéré les gens qui portent l’uniforme pour servir leur pays. Cette révérence a été amplifiée par la magnitude lorsque je me suis fait des amis au cours des deux dernières années parmi une litanie de vétérans de Caroline du Sud, de Géorgie, du Tennessee et de l’Iowa jusqu’au Colorado. La gentillesse des vétérans qui m’ont maintenu dans la bonne humeur pendant ma période d’adversité est une dette que je ne pourrai jamais rembourser. Beaucoup étaient confrontés à des difficultés d’indigence et de détresse, tout en continuant à aider les autres – c’est la quintessence d’être un héros.

    Je connais des héros de guerre ; J’ai rencontré des héros de guerre. John McCain n’est pas un héros de guerre. Les réalisations passées ne compensent pas la malveillance actuelle. À l’origine de la souffrance humaine de ce monde, il y a un complexe militaro-financier hors de contrôle qui n’existe que pour voler la richesse des autres nations et tuer des millions de personnes à travers le monde. Cette même machine de mort est à l’origine des luttes que traversent les anciens combattants. Nos politiciens immoraux – des présidents aux sénateurs et aux membres du Congrès – continuent de déclarer les guerres illégales en utilisant des prétextes mensongers comme la « protection de la démocratie » pour commettre des crimes en violation directe des Conventions de Genève. S’il y avait une justice dans ce monde, Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump et chaque marchand de guerre néo-conservateur et néo-libéral seraient envoyés au Tribunal International de La Haye et jugés pour crimes contre l’humanité. Si Clinton, Bush, Obama et Trump auraient été des as dans le jeu de cartes des criminels de guerre, John McCain serait le roi de cœur. Cet homme n’avait jamais assez de guerres. C’est un mélange de Dr. Folamour et de major frappant les tambours de guerre. Pendant près de quatre décennies, il a défilé devant le Sénat et a encouragé un flux continu de guerres. Liban, Grenade, Panama, Irak 1, Somalie, Bosnie, Kosovo, Irak 2, Afghanistan, Libye et Syrie ne sont là que quelques-unes des guerres que notre gouvernement en état de guerre continue a faites pour des profits et des massacres. Et si l’on commence à compter les guerres secrètes causées par notre gouvernement, la liste des pays frappés avec des balles et des bombes par nous dépasse la liste des pays que nous n’avons pas encore agressés. Mon pays natal L’Ethiopie est victime de cette atroce machine de guerre. Ce qui se fait sous nos noms est en train d’arriver à nos côtes alors que les mondialistes dépravés détruisent maintenant l’Amérique de l’intérieur (lire en anglais « When a Conscience Begets a Colonial Bullet ».)

    McCain a approuvé chacune de ces guerres. Il n’y a pas eu une guerre contre laquelle il s’est opposé pendant sa carrière à Washington DC. Après avoir vu les horreurs de la guerre, la plupart des gens reviennent avec le but d’y mettre fin. Pas McCain ! Ce qu’il a connu à Hanoi Hilton est bien inférieur aux ravages qu’il a commis dans le monde, car il a été l’un des principaux défenseurs de la guerre et le plus grand partisan de la politique guerrière au Congrès. S’il ne consacrait qu’une partie de l’effort qu’il déploie pour pousser à faire des guerres à aider les anciens combattants, je pourrais lui donner au moins un petit peu de crédit comme être humain. Au lieu de cela, il a voté à plusieurs reprises contre les droits des Anciens Combattants et hier, il s’est envolé pour Washington DC pour voter contre les soins de santé.

    Je n’écris pas cela comme un parti pris comme la plupart des experts des médias de l’établissement. Je reste très claire au sujet de l’Obamacare. L’Affordable Care Act a été une arnaque et un cafouillage qui a profité au secteur des assurances, car il nous a tous jetés dans un système de soins de santé cassé qui va rapidement imploser (lire en anglais « Obamacare, Obama’s Scam »). Cependant, McCain ne s’est pas rendu à Washington DC pour défendre les petites gens ou pour promouvoir un système d’assurance maladie plus équitable. Il a pris le micro pour défendre les intérêts des entreprises et à nouveau pour colporter l’idéologie brisée de l’économie par ruissellement. McCain ne voit rien de mal à dépenser des billions de dollars sur le complexe militaro-financier, mais il refuse de soutenir des politiques de santé qui garantiraient aux anciens combattants et au reste des Américains le même type de couverture dont lui et ses collègues législateurs bénéficient. Nous sommes une nation dirigés par des hommes sans loi et des criminels de guerre. Trop souvent, nous appelons héros des canailles non pas parce qu’ils le méritaient, mais parce qu’ils ont réussi à gagner la gloire et le statut. Avoir combattu dans une guerre ne fait pas de lui un héros car si tel était le cas, Hitler en serait un lui-aussi parce qu’il a également combattu dans une guerre (la Première Guerre mondiale) et a été victime d’armes chimiques. Nous avons raison de qualifier Adolf de monstre parce que nous le jugeons en fonction de ce qu’il a fait après avoir quitté l’uniforme. Dans le même esprit, je juge McCain non pas pour son service au Vietnam, mais pour ce qu’il a fait une fois devenu sénateur. Les mains de McCain sont couvertes par le sang de millions de personnes qui ont péri au cours des 40 dernières années de guerres interminables qu’il a endossé et poussé à faire. Ce n’est pas un héros, c’est un criminel de guerre.

    Pour conclure, une phrase de Kennedy :

    « L’humanité doit mettre fin à la guerre avant que la guerre ne mette fin à l’humanité. » ~ John F. Kennedy

    Teodrose Fikre

    Article original :

    Traduit de l’anglais par La Gazette du Citoyen

    Paru le 26 juillet 2017 sous le titre No Hero : John McCain is a War Criminal                                                                                                                                   

    • John McCain : salut pourriture ! Gabriel PROULX - 3 septembre 2018 - Le Grand Soir
      . . . . .
      Alors qu’il était jeune pilote dans l’aviation de guerre des États-Unis, John McCain, fils d’un amiral 4 étoiles, forge son mythe héroïque dans le ciel du nord du Vietnam. Là-bas, il bombarde une usine de fabrication d’ampoules électriques et quelques champs de riz, avant que ceux qu’il bombardait n’osent répliquer en abattant avec précision son avion de guerre. Il aurait pu être lynché sur place par une foule en colère, mais il a plutôt été sauvé par ceux qu’il bombardait. Ayant eu droit à un logement adéquat pour son statut de fils d’amiral, les histoires sur les tortures qu’il aurait subi, appartiennent plus à la catégorie des rumeurs qu’à celle des faits historiques, en l’absence de preuves. C’est ici que s’arrête le mythe sur son héroïsme militaire supposé.

      Quoi qu’il en soit, John McCain a toujours gardé une haine raciste pleinement assumée en public contre le peuple vietnamien qu’il a bombardé, mais qui ne l’a pas tué en retour. Alors qu’il participait en 2000 à la course pour l’investiture républicaine à la présidence des États-Unis, John McCain lançait encore des insultes racistes contre le peuple vietnamien.

      Dans les années 70, après son retour du Vietnam, John McCain a milité aux États-Unis pour le maintien de la politique de bombardements massifs contre le Cambodge, sous prétexte que les Vietnamiens avaient des lignes logistiques dans la jungle de ce pays. Les bombardements aveugles des États-Unis contre des villages cambodgiens, qui ont causé des dizaines de milliers de morts parmi la population rurale du Cambodge, sont la cause directe de la montée au pouvoir de Pol Pot et de ses Khmers Rouges, principalement un mouvement de fermiers enragés par les morts dans leurs familles sous les bombes des États-Unis.

      John McCain, qui était pilote de guerre dans cette région quelques années plus tôt, devait être au courant de l’ampleur des destructions dans la campagne du Cambodge, mais il est évident que tout ce qui lui importait à ce moment était de tuer des Vietnamiens, qu’ils soient militaires ou civils.

      John McCain a ensuite soutenu, avec un fanatisme peu commun, chaque guerre d’agression des États-Unis, ainsi que chaque action militaire, ouverte ou par procuration, contre des socialistes, partout dans le monde. Durant sa croisade anti-communiste, il n’a pas hésité un seul instant à collaborer avec des nazis, des terroristes et même les fondateurs du groupe terroriste Al-Qaïda.

      Après l’implosion et la chute de l’URSS, John McCain a soutenu la destruction de la Yougoslavie par l’OTAN, avant de soutenir avec zèle le bombardement massif des infrastructures civiles de la Serbie.

      Devenu sénateur républicain de l’Arizona, où les gens voteraient pour tout candidat investi par le parti républicain, John McCain a voté en faveur de l’invasion de l’Afghanistan, au nom de la guerre contre ses anciens amis anti-communistes d’Al-Qaïda.

      Il a ensuite soutenu la guerre d’agression illégale des États-Unis contre l’Irak, basée sur une montagne de mensonges peu convaincants. McCain a défendu l’invasion de l’Irak par son pays pendant des années, malgré l’absence d’un début d’argumentaire crédible pour défendre sa position. Peu de temps avant sa mort, il aurait laissé entendre que la guerre qui a complètement détruit l’Irak et a causé la mort de plus d’un million de citoyens de ce pays, aurait été « peut-être une erreur ». Dans le merveilleux monde de l’impérialisme occidental, détruire un pays au complet sur la base de purs mensonges inventés pour faire rouler le complexe militaro-industriel et voler du pétrole, ce n’est pas un crime, mais une malheureuse erreur...

      Soutien indéfectible de l’apartheid sioniste israélien, John McCain n’a jamais exprimé assez bruyamment son adoration pour chaque crime de guerre commis par l’armée israélienne contre le peuple palestinien sous son occupation militaire coloniale. Quand il se rendait en Israël, à de multiples reprises, avec son ami et collègue sénateur de Caroline du Sud, Lindsay Graham, John McCain n’était plus le « grand patriote » des EU, mais un valet d’Israël, un pays étranger qui a long savoir-faire dans le domaine de l’ingérence dans les affaires internes occidentales par corruption de politiciens.

      Le même John McCain a dénoncé en 2008 la réaction défensive de la Russie devant une attaque de l’armée géorgienne contre la force de maintien de la paix russe en Ossétie du Sud. La deuxième guerre d’Ossétie du Sud a duré 4 jours. Dans son attaque suicidaire basée sur les mauvais calculs géopolitiques du gouvernement géorgien du fasciste Mikhail Saakachvili (qui milite aujourd’hui en Ukraine du côté des nazis les plus fanatiques), l’armée géorgienne a essuyé la perte de 171 morts et de 1 147 blessés. 224 civils géorgiens ont trouvé la mort durant ces 4 jours de combats, alors qu’environ 300 civils sud-ossètes ont été tués durant l’attaque initiale de leur capitale, Tskhinvali, par l’armée géorgienne.

      Sur la base de ces données, John McCain, qui était en campagne électorale en tant que candidat officiel du parti républicain à la présidence des États-Unis, a déclaré que s’il était élu président, il allait bombarder la Russie, une puissance nucléaire, pour sa « guerre d’agression sauvage » contre la Géorgie. Rien de moins, de la part d’un homme qui retirait une grande fierté des guerres de son pays contre des nations pauvres, causant au passage des millions de victimes civiles, allant des centaines de milliers de morts au nombre incalculable de blessés et de réfugiés.

      McCain a ensuite apporté un support bien sélectif aux révoltes du mal nommé « printemps arabe » à partir de 2011. Après avoir complètement ignoré les événements de Tunisie, McCain a soutenu la campagne de destruction de la Libye par l’aviation de l’OTAN et ses mercenaires islamistes sur le sol libyen, dont Al-Qaïda. John McCain et ses collègues Lindsay Graham et Marco Rubio (sénateur républicain de Floride) se sont rendus en Libye occupée pour apporter de vive voix leur soutien à des miliciens islamistes qui commettaient à ce moment même des exactions contre les libyens noirs, qu’ils accusaient de tous leurs problèmes.

      Il faut savoir que la Libye était au début de 2011 le pays le plus prospère du continent africain, avec un indice de développement humain et un niveau de vie comparable à celui des pays européens de la Méditerranée. Aujourd’hui, la Libye « démocratisée » à la sauce libérale occidentale est un enfer terrestre, avec l’un des pires niveaux de vie du monde, une infrastructure en ruines, jamais reconstruite après les bombardements de l’OTAN, une guerre civile qui s’éternise, des ressources pétrolières en cours de pillage par des compagnies occidentales et pour couronner cette grande réussite d’exportation de la démocratie libérale par une « intervention humanitaire » de l’OTAN : des marchés d’esclaves à ciel ouvert.

      Dans le cadre du printemps arabe, John McCain n’avait rien à faire des répressions violentes subies par le peuple du Bahreïn. Après tout, le monarque absolu du Bahreïn est un allié des États-Unis et de l’Arabie saoudite, dont le régime totalitaire fut un autre parrain de la carrière politique de McCain.

      John McCain s’est ensuite rendu en Syrie, pour apporter son soutien aux fameux « rebelles modérés » qui venaient d’un peu partout dans le monde dans le but parfaitement altruiste de créer un régime « démocratique » en coupant les têtes des infidèles et en pratiquant l’esclavage sexuel des femmes et des petites filles qui appartenaient à la mauvaise religion. Sur les photos de sa réunion avec les bons rebelles, on retrouve un McCain souriant, entouré de membres d’Al-Qaïda et flanqué d’un certain Abou Bakr al-Baghdadi, avant que ce terroriste irakien ne soit mieux connu comme le chef du mouvement terroriste État Islamique (Daech).

      John McCain retournera ensuite à ses racines anti-communiste et russophobe, lorsqu’il se rendra à Kiev pour se mêler directement des affaires politiques internes de l’Ukraine. Il monte sur un podium pour livrer un discours « pro-démocratie » profondément anti-russe, flanqué d’un certain Oleh Tyahnybok, chef d’un parti politique ukrainien ouvertement nazi qui appelle assez régulièrement à exterminer les russes et la « juiverie bolchévique ». Un autre nazi ukrainien bien connu, Andriy Parubiy, sera plus tard reçu par McCain dans son bureau de sénateur aux États-Unis. Il est important de noter que les alliés sionistes et israéliens de McCain n’ont jamais vu le moindre problème dans ses relations avec des nazis ukrainiens.

      Enfin affaibli par la maladie, John McCain, qui était considéré par la base Démocrate comme la risée de la politique étasunienne pour sa campagne présidentielle de 2008 assez désastreuse, sera élevé au rang de héros de la « résistance » contre le président Donald Trump en 2017 pour avoir accusé ce dernier d’être un agent russe. John McCain s’est ensuite mis à voir des espions et des ingérences russes partout.

      Jusqu’à son dernier souffle, John McCain aura défendu bec et ongles la guerre génocidaire infligée par le régime saoudien au peuple yéménite. Il a voté contre toutes les propositions visant à mettre un terme aux livraisons d’armes au régime saoudien dans le cadre de sa guerre d’agression contre le Yémen, tout comme il a voté contre toutes les propositions pour améliorer l’accès de ses compatriotes moins fortunés à des soins de santé abordables. Lui avait droit aux meilleurs soins pour sa maladie, mais pas les pauvres et les exploités du système.

      Pour un homme qui nous est présenté comme ayant été « héroïque » dans sa vie, qui voulait déclencher la Troisième Guerre mondiale pour répondre à 4 jours de guerre entre la Russie et la Géorgie, il est assez révélateur qu’il n’avait strictement rien à faire du sort du peuple yéménite. Sur les bombardements aveugles de l’Arabie saoudite contre des marchés, des fermes et des écoles au Yémen, qui ont causé un grand nombre de morts et de blessés chez les enfants yéménites, John McCain s’acharnait à dire que les saoudiens étaient « justifiés » dans leurs actions, que les victimes de cette guerre étaient toutes à blâmer sur les Houtis, qui ne font pourtant que défendre leur territoire. Sans le soutien des États-Unis et des Britanniques, les Saoudiens seraient incapables de continuer leur campagne de bombardements aveugles contre les infrastructures civiles du Yémen. Si cela devait arriver, quelques fabricants d’armes aux États-Unis feraient un peu moins de bénéfices et c’est le droit de ces marchands de morts de profiter d’un génocide que McCain a défendu jusque sur son lit de mort.

      Conclusion sur une vie trop longue :
      John McCain était visiblement un homme de peu de jugement, qui n’avait rien à faire des victimes des bombes fabriquées aux EU. Après tout, qu’est-ce qu’un enfant mort ou mutilé sous les bombes de son pays ou d’un de ses alliés, dans un pays pauvre situé de l’autre côté du monde, quand les grands fabricants d’armes sont aussi généreux pour les coffres-forts de votre carrière politique ? John McCain avait bien compris cela. Ce n’est pas pour rien que les milieux réellement progressistes aux États-Unis considèrent McCain comme le politicien le plus militariste de mémoire d’homme dans leur pays.

      Criminel de guerre, terroriste, sioniste, grand ami des nazis, des monarques absolus et autres ennemis des peuples, la disparition de John McCain est une bonne nouvelle pour la paix dans le monde. Il aura au moins vécu assez longtemps pour voir cette Russie qu’il détestait tant, faire échouer ses sinistres plans pour l’Ukraine et la Syrie.

      Les grands médias se lamenteront de l’hostilité entre Trump et McCain. Le manque de respect de Trump pour McCain sera dénoncé sur toutes les tribunes. Pourtant, les seuls qui devraient pouvoir s’exprimer aux funérailles de McCain, se sont les familles de ses innombrables victimes.

      Voici donc l’expression de tout mon respect pour John McCain et l’ensemble de son œuvre :

      John McCain : Salut pourriture !

      Gabriel Proulx 
Coporte-parole du PCQ

  • La politiqueSystème dopée au Russiagate

    La politiqueSystème dopée au Russiagate

    Le commentateur russe Sergei Latichev a développé un texte d’analyse d’une récente audition devant la commission des affaires étrangères du Sénat US, de Wess Mitchell, assistant au Secrétaire d’État pour l’Europe et l’Eurasie (poste où il a succédé à Victoria Nuland, la fameuse architecte du coup d’État du Maidan, à Kiev, en février 2014). L’intérêt de cette audition est que rien, absolument rien n’est dissimulée des ambitions des USA, ou dans tous les cas du département d’État, de poursuivre une super-politiqueSystème (ou une politiqueSystème super-turbo, puisqu’Obama lui-même avait trouvé la formule de la politiqueSystème-turbo).

    Pompeo, le nouveau secrétaire d’État-poids lourd avait déjà émis les fondements de la chose dans un discours d’une exceptionnelle brutalité, où Dieu (...)

  • A superb new book on the 2011 Egyptian uprising shows how Israel helped thwart democracy there – Mondoweiss

    Kirkpatrick quotes Leon Panetta, at the time the head of the CIA, who says the new Egyptian strongman, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, recognized that the American threats were bluffs partly because Sisi was confident the Israel lobby would protect the Egyptian military. 

    The [U.S.] Congress knew that in a part of the world where Israel does not have a lot of friends, it does not make a heck of a lot of sense to kick Egypt in the ass, because they are one of the few players in that area that are a friend to Israel.

    Israel was not the only reason the U.S. betrayed democracy in Egypt. America’s other allies in the region, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf oil kingdoms, also preferred military rule there. Senior U.S. commanders, like Generals James Mattis and Michael Flynn, had personal ties to Sisi and other Egyptian top brass. Kirkpatrick also notes that Hillary Clinton “saw the generals as a source of stability.” But remove Israel from the equation and it is more likely that the minority of moderates in the Obama administration, which included Obama himself, might have prevailed.

    #Egypte #Israel #démocratie

  • The Maps of Israeli Settlements That Shocked Barack Obama | The New Yorker

    One afternoon in the spring of 2015, a senior State Department official named Frank Lowenstein paged through a government briefing book and noticed a map that he had never seen before. Lowenstein was the Obama Administration’s special envoy on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, a position that exposed him to hundreds of maps of the West Bank. (One adorned his State Department office.)

    Typically, those maps made Jewish settlements and outposts look tiny compared to the areas where the Palestinians lived. The new map in the briefing book was different. It showed large swaths of territory that were off limits to Palestinian development and filled in space between the settlements and the outposts. At that moment, Lowenstein told me, he saw “the forest for the trees”—not only were Palestinian population centers cut off from one another but there was virtually no way to squeeze a viable Palestinian state into the areas that remained. Lowenstein’s team did the math. When the settlement zones, the illegal outposts, and the other areas off limits to Palestinian development were consolidated, they covered almost sixty per cent of the West Bank.

    Lowenstein showed the small map to Secretary of State John Kerry and said, “Look what’s really going on here.” Kerry brought the map to his next meeting with President Obama. The map was too small for everyone in the Situation Room to see, so Lowenstein had a series of larger maps made. The information was then verified by U.S. intelligence agencies. Obama’s Presidency was winding down, but Lowenstein figured that he could use the time left to raise awareness about what the Israelis were doing. “One day, everyone’s going to wake up and go, ‘Wait a minute, we’ve got to stop this to at least have the possibility of a two-state solution,’ ” Lowenstein said.

    The State Department presentation, which was prepared in 2015 and updated in 2016, showed examples of what the State Department identified as “Palestinian incitement” and maps depicting Israel’s settlement growth in the West Bank. One of the maps was titled “What a One State Reality Looks Like,” and included a bullet point that read, “In the combined areas of Israel, Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Jews no longer represent the majority.” (Israeli officials have said that the number of Jews and Arabs is at or near parity.)

  • How Four U.S. Presidents, including Obama and Trump, Helped Protect Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal | The New Yorker

    ... the issue is central for Netanyahu because the nuclear arsenal fuels his “sense of impunity, sense of Israel being so powerful, that it can dictate its own terms in the region and beyond.”

    #Israel #nucléaire #impunité

  • Some of Trump’s Biggest Donors Are Profiting Big-Time on Immigration Detention Centers | Alternet

    The giant retail stores being converted into detention centers and these large tent cities cropping up to house immigrants, where did they come from? As always, it is important to follow the money. This plan to lock-up asylum-seeking migrants may seem like it happened overnight, but it has been years in the making. Only weeks after Donald Trump put his filthy hand on Lincoln’s Bible and took the Oath of Office, this was the February 24, 2017, headline at CNN Money:

    The actions Donald Trump, his sycophant Stephen Miller and Minister of White Supremacy Jeff Sessions are taking today are a huge payoff to the prison lobbyists and the border security industry that spent millions helping to get Donald Trump elected. Private for-profit prison executives were furious that President Obama decided to end the practice of using private prisons. They poured everything into Donald Trump and his campaign, maxing out $250,000 donations and even helping Trump raise $100 million in sketchy, secret money for his “inauguration committee.” And it paid off, as one of the first decisions from the Trump administration was to rescind Obama’s order to phase out private prisons.

    They didn’t stop there. These groups have been spending lavishly at Trump’s private business as well. The Miami New Times noted the private prison company GEO Group was one of the newest big spenders at Trump’s Doral property in Florida.

    In March of 2017, then Homeland Security chief John Kelly told Wolf Blitzer on CNN that he was considering a plan to separate families and detain them.

    “We have tremendous experience of dealing with unaccompanied minors,” he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room.” "We turn them over to (Health and Human Services) and they do a very, very good job of putting them in foster care or linking them up with parents or family members in the United States."

    It didn’t take long for Kelly to publicly walk back that statement, denying he meant it would be a cruel, intentional warning or deterrent to others who might be thinking of seeking asylum in the U.S. But we can clearly see now, they’ve been plotting this for quite some time.

    [UDPATE] Bloomberg reports a Texas non-profit got a nearly $500 million contract to take care of the immigrant kids.

    The Trump administration plans to pay a Texas nonprofit nearly half a billion dollars this year to care for immigrant children who were detained crossing the U.S. border illegally, according to government data.

    The nonprofit, Southwest Key Programs Inc., is to be paid more than $458 million in fiscal 2018, according to the data — the most among the organizations, government agencies and companies that run a detention and care system for immigrant children on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services. Southwest Key has about a dozen facilities in Texas, including a site at a former WalMart in Brownsville that has drawn attention from members of Congress and national news organizations.

    #Capitalisme_carcéral #Prédation #Conflits_intérêt

  • The Human Right to Dominate

    A controversial thesis that shows how human rights — generally conceived as a counter-hegemonic instrument for righting historical injustices — are being deployed to subjugate the weak and reinforce their domination.
    The book analyzes the inversions that can take place when emancipatory discourses are appropriated by the dominant group in contexts of political asymmetry.


    Introduction: Human Rights as Domination
    Chapter 1: The Paradox of Human Rights
    Chapter 2: The Threat of Human Rights
    Chapter 3: The Human Right to Kill
    Chapter 4: The Human Right to Colonize
    Conclusion: What Remains of Human Rights?
    #domination #néo-colonialisme #droits_humains #droits_de_l'homme #livre #colonialisme

    • Is There a Human Right to Kill ?

      How governments, NGOs, and conservative think tanks turned the language of human rights on its head.

      Commentaire dans l’article de cette #affiche de #Amnesty :

      The poster was part of a public campaign against President Obama’s declared intention of withdrawing US and NATO troops from #Afghanistan. Under the banner “NATO: Keep the progress going!” there was notification about a “Shadow Summit for Afghan Women” that was to take place alongside the #NATO summit. Sponsoring the event was not a Republican think tank or a defense corporation, such as Lockheed Martin, but Amnesty International, the first and one of the most renowned human-rights organizations across the globe.

      The idea that the most prominent international human rights NGO was campaigning against the withdrawal of US and NATO military forces from a country halfway around the globe is something worth dwelling on. The assumption underlying Amnesty’s campaign that the deployment of violence is necessary to protect human rights suggests that violence and human rights are not necessarily antithetical. Violence protects human rights from the violence that violates human rights. Violence is not only the source of abuse but, as Amnesty’s placard clearly implies, can also be the source of women’s liberation. Yet if violence is traditionally associated with domination and human rights with emancipation, then the connection between the two seems odd. Are human rights unavoidably connected to domination, or is this campaign just an exceptional case?

      #OTAN #violence

  • Je suis attaqué et dévoré
    Par une femme
    Dans une photo de Winogrand

    Quarante ans plus tard
    Je rejoue au golf indoors
    Avec mon hôte anglais

    Émile de bonne humeur matinale !
    Zoé debout sans effort !
    Sarah partie à la fac sans un bruit !

    Mon psychanalyste me parle du passé
    Comme d’un foyer de douleurs
    Pour moi c’est un havre

    Il paraît étonné
    Je lui parle
    De mes Je me souviens

    De ce que j’essaye
    De faire ressurgir
    De doux

    Et d’ailleurs
    J’y retourne
    Je relis ma fin

    Catastrophe !
    J’ai vingt-huit morts
    De plus que de fantômes !

    Du calme !
    J’ai la fin des Fantômes
    Va chercher dans tes rêves !

    En Frôlé par un V1

    Et j’ai peut-être trouvé
    Le moyen de raconter enfin
    Ce fameux V1 dans le ciel de Lille

    Quand je pense que je peux me prévaloir
    D’avoir croisé dans ma chienne de vie
    À la fois le Pape et la Reine d’Angleterre !

    Deux présidents de la République
    Trois ministres de la Culture
    Et Lino Ventura

    Et en rêve : Hervé Villechaize, Niels Arelstrup
    Les New York Dolls (dans les Cévennes !)
    Fred Frith et Luis Sepúlveda

    Et, naturellement, les Beatles, Zappa
    Les Obama
    Marie Richeux et John Cale


  • How the World May End – Consortiumnews

    The “sanctions” are aimed at Europe, too, mainly Germany, which depends on Russian natural gas and on European companies that do legitimate business with Russia. In what passed for debate on Capitol Hill, the more garrulous senators left no doubt that the embargo was designed to force Europe to import expensive American gas.

    Their main aim seems to be war – real war. No provocation as extreme can suggest anything else. They seem to crave it, even though Americans have little idea what war is. The Civil War of 1861-65 was the last on their mainland. War is what the United States does to others.

    The only nation to have used nuclear weapons against human beings, they have since destroyed scores of governments, many of them democracies, and laid to waste whole societies – the million deaths in Iraq were a fraction of the carnage in Indochina, which President Reagan called “a noble cause” and President Obama revised as the tragedy of an “exceptional people.” He was not referring to the Vietnamese.


    Traduction disponible ici :

  • The Killing of History

    I watched the first episode in New York. It leaves you in no doubt of its intentions right from the start. The narrator says the war “was begun in good faith by decent people out of fateful misunderstandings, American overconfidence and Cold War misunderstandings.”

    The dishonesty of this statement is not surprising. The cynical fabrication of “false flags” that led to the invasion of Vietnam is a matter of record – the Gulf of Tonkin “incident” in 1964, which Burns promotes as true, was just one. The lies litter a multitude of official documents, notably the Pentagon Papers, which the great whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg released in 1971.

    There was no good faith. The faith was rotten and cancerous. For me – as it must be for many Americans – it is difficult to watch the film’s jumble of “red peril” maps, unexplained interviewees, ineptly cut archive and maudlin American battlefield sequences. In the series’ press release in Britain — the BBC will show it — there is no mention of Vietnamese dead, only Americans.

    “We are all searching for some meaning in this terrible tragedy,” Novick is quoted as saying. How very post-modern.

    All this will be familiar to those who have observed how the American media and popular culture behemoth has revised and served up the great crime of the second half of the Twentieth Century: from “The Green Berets” and “The Deer Hunter” to “Rambo” and, in so doing, has legitimized subsequent wars of aggression. The revisionism never stops and the blood never dries. The invader is pitied and purged of guilt, while “searching for some meaning in this terrible tragedy.” Cue Bob Dylan: “Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?”

    What ‘Decency’ and ‘Good Faith’?

  • Frieden’s Next Act : Heart Disease and Preparing for New Epidemics - The New York Times

    After running the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for eight years under President Obama, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden is starting a global health initiative that will focus on two big areas: heart health and epidemic preparedness.

    Called #Resolve, it is funded with $225 million over five years by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The program will be based at Vital Strategies, a public health nonprofit in New York, the city where Dr. Frieden served as health commissioner under Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
    The top priority
    Hands down, blood pressure control is the most important thing you can do in health care. Globally, we’re at 14 percent control. U.S. is about 54, 55 percent. At the C.D.C. we did a couple of pilots; Malawi went from 0 to 35 percent in 15 months.

    You can have big improvements, but you’ll only do that if you simplify treatment, if you decentralize it so people close to the patient can do it and if you use an information system that tells you how you’re doing.

    All the medicines are generic. The costs that people are paying and that governments are paying are probably well over twice as much as they need to be.

    If you decided as a country or a state or a province or a world, we’re going to use these four drugs, your costs would come down many many fold.

    Of the 1.5 billion today people with #hypertension 1.1 billion don’t have it controlled.

    • Trump is ending restrictions that limit the military from giving surplus gear to police

      President Trump moved Monday to again allow the Pentagon to distribute surplus armored vehicles, grenade launchers and large-caliber weapons to local police, his latest reversal of an Obama-era policy intended to stop militarization of law enforcement.

      Trump signed an executive order reversing the limits that President Obama had imposed after heavily armed police had used military equipment to quell street protests in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014.

      Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, who has sought to restore tough-on-crime policies and remove what he sees as shackles on law enforcement, told a police union Monday that Obama’s restrictions “went too far.”

      Trump’s order, he told the group, "will ensure that you can get the lifesaving gear that you need to do your job and send a strong message that we will not allow criminal activity, violence, and lawlessness to become the new normal.”

  • White House announces move to restrict birth control coverage

    In yet another blow to women’s reproductive health rights, the White House Office of Management and Budget has announced that it will review rules that require most employers to provide free contraception coverage in their health insurance plans for female employees.

    Under the contraception mandate outlined by President Obama in 2012, birth control coverage was judged an essential preventative health service. As a result, birth control coverage was guaranteed to more than 55 million women in the U.S. and women saved an estimated $1.4 billion in birth control pill costs in the mandate’s first year alone. In addition to saving women money, the rule was also credited with helping lower the U.S.’s abortion rate to its lowest recorded point since abortion was made legal in 1973.
    #USA #Trump #Etats-Unis #contraception #femmes #santé #avortement