position:assistant

  • Criminal Shocked When Congresswoman Says His Crimes Out Loud
    http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/02/criminal-shocked-when-congresswoman-says-his-crimes-out-loud.html

    America loves a feel-good story. How else to explain our government’s appetite for redemption arcs? Elliott Abrams was once convicted of lying to Congress and on Wednesday, he got to testify before Congress again, this time in his capacity as our special envoy to Venezuela. But not everyone was happy to see him. Representative Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, questioned the former Assistant Secretary of State about his old misdeeds. “In 1991, you pleaded guilty to two counts of withholding information from Congress regarding your involvement in the Iran-Contra affair, for which you were later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush,” Omar began, before asking Abrams why the committee should believe anything he had to say.

    A spluttering Abrams complained that Omar did not give him a chance to respond, but the congresswoman continued. “You dismissed as ‘communist propaganda’ reports about the massacre of El Mozote in which more than 800 civilians, including children as young as 2 years old, were brutally murdered by U.S.-trained troops,” she said. “You later said the U.S. policy in El Salvador was a ‘fabulous achievement.’ … Do you think that massacre was a ‘fabulous achievement?”



  • From zero to graph hero, in 5 days and 5 steps
    https://hackernoon.com/from-zero-to-graph-hero-in-5-days-and-5-steps-34a1853b75c8?source=rss---

    Sharing my playbook for graph #database projects. Will be happy to answer any questions or offer advice.Ask Siri who is the quarterback of the New York Jets and you get a list of the current quarterbacks right away. Ask Siri who is Taylor Swift’s boyfriend, and it will know.Ask who are the members of the Irish band, The Chieftains, and Siri doesn’t know. Even if you ask about who are the members of the Irish Band U2, it doesn’t know. It can provide you information about Bono, but doesn’t have an idea of the members of U2.However, Google Assistant know to answer the questions above. Can you guess what happened?Despite an almost 50% growth YoY of graphs, the tech sees a small fraction of the database market share. Yet it’s power, flexibility and speed of development reamins amongst one of the (...)

    #business-intelligence #innovation #business-development #sql


  • World War II : Operation Barbarossa - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2011/07/world-war-ii-operation-barbarossa/100112

    Operation Barbarossa : 9 popular myths busted - History Extra
    https://www.historyextra.com/period/second-world-war/operation-barbarossa-9-popular-myths-busted

    Mass surrenders by Soviet soldiers

    “The enemy is fighting with the utmost stamina and courage,” Heeresgruppe Mitte [German Army group centre] reported to the German Army High Command on 28 June. German 4th Army described the Soviet soldiers as “exceptionally tough and stalwart.” “White” émigres who had fled Russia after the October Revolution were used to try to convince the encircled Red Army troops to surrender and join the anti-Bolshevik side, but this was “categorically refused,” according to a German Army report. Another German account reads: “What has become of the Russian of 1914–17, who ran away or approached us with his hands in the air when the firestorm reached its peak? Now he remains in his bunker and forces us to burn him out, he prefers to be scorched in his tank, and his airmen continue firing at us even when their own aircraft is set ablaze. What has become of the Russian? Ideology has changed him!”


    Les atrocités contre les femmes commis par les soldats allemands ont changé les relations entre les sexes en Allemagne. Après la guerre les hommes n’étaient plus les mêmes. Ils s’étaient transformés en bombes à retardement pour toute femme qui les laissait trop approcher.
    J’en ai eu un echo récemment quand mon père mentionnait qu’il a été embauché comme assistant par une rédactrice du Ullstein Verlag parce qu’il était le seul homme qu’elle connaissait avec qui elle pouvait avoir des rapports de travail rapprochés sans qu’il prenne la situation comme invitation à des rapports sexuels.

    The unknown wave of mass rape on the Eastern Front

    Western writers have been quite successful in establishing the terrible wave of rapes committed by Soviet soldiers in Germany and Poland towards the end of the war as a general public knowledge. For instance, in his epic book on the battle of Berlin, historian Antony Beevor deals with the rape of German or Polish women by Soviet soldiers on 28 different pages. When dealing with rape, the victim’s perspective must of course dominate, and thus it is absolutely justified and a moral obligation to deal with these atrocities. What makes the whole matter even more tragic is that German rapes of Polish and Soviet women, probably on an even larger scale and definitely preceding these Soviet rapes, are ignored by nearly all Western historians. Although probably millions of Soviet citizens, primarily women and girls, became rape victims, the topic has been grossly understudied.

    There is also a widespread myth that Jews were not sexually assaulted by Germans. Evidence from all over Europe, including the occupied territories and the concentration camps, prove that this is not true. The Nazi laws against having sex with a Jewish woman only pertained in cases of consensual sex.

    Even in spite of their official military and racial laws and rules, Germans of the Wehrmacht, the SS, the police, the civilian administration and their allies engaged in mass rape, including gang rape on an enormous and routine scale, in the occupied territories of the Soviet Union and Poland. The victims were Jews as well as gentiles; women and girls as well as men and boys; and victims were from the youngest of ages. There are examples of a 90-year old female rape victim as well as nine- or eight-year-old girls.

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    #guerre #viol #URSS #opération_barbarossa #nazis


  • Elliott Abrams Isn’t Going to Bring “Democracy” to Venezuela
    https://theintercept.com/2019/01/30/elliott-abrams-venezuela-coup

    On December 11, 1981 in El Salvador, a Salvadoran military unit created and trained by the U.S. Army began slaughtering everyone they could find in a remote village called El Mozote. Before murdering the women and girls, the soldiers raped them repeatedly, including some as young as 10 years old, and joked that their favorites were the 12-year-olds. One witness described a soldier tossing a 3-year-old child into the air and impaling him with his bayonet. The final death toll was over 800 people.

    The next day, December 12, was the first day on the job for Elliott Abrams as assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs in the Reagan administration. Abrams snapped into action, helping to lead a cover-up of the massacre. News reports of what had happened, Abrams told the Senate, were “not credible,” and the whole thing was being “significantly misused” as propaganda by anti-government guerillas.

    This past Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo named Abrams as America’s special envoy for Venezuela. According to Pompeo, Abrams “will have responsibility for all things related to our efforts to restore democracy” in the oil-rich nation.

    The choice of Abrams sends a clear message to Venezuela and the world: The Trump administration intends to brutalize Venezuela, while producing a stream of unctuous rhetoric about America’s love for democracy and human rights. Combining these two factors — the brutality and the unctuousness — is Abrams’s core competency.


  • Legos have a surprisingly high price on the second-hand market - Vox

    https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/1/29/18202463/lego-resale-market-high-return-rate

    Comment je suis devenu un ultra-riche

    According to research from Russia’s Higher School of Economics, Lego boasts an extremely high value when sold secondhand — and it actually has a higher rate of return than gold, bonds, and stocks.

    The study, published last month by assistant professor Victoria Dobrynskaya, is titled “The Toy of Smart Investors.” Dobrynskaya studied 2,000 Lego sets that were released between 1980 to 2014. She then compared their retail cost to how much they’d yield on the secondhand market in 2015. Dobrynskaya was surprised to find that plenty of Lego sets yielded a return rate of 11 percent, while others could be flipped at a whopping 613 percent.

    #lego


  • Project Alias

    Through a simple app the user can train Alias to react on a custom wake-word/sound, and once trained, Alias can take control over your home assistant by activating it for you.
    (...) When you don’t use it, Alias will make sure the assistant is paralysed and unable to listen by interrupting its microphones.

    http://bjoernkarmann.dk/project_alias
    (The training of the parasite is done locally, no cloud involved)

    #openSource #privacy


  • GIVE ENGINEERS AN ASSISTANT
    https://hackernoon.com/give-engineers-an-assistant-6a23bbd80dc8?source=rss----3a8144eabfe3---4

    Left: images from the 1977 NASA SP-413 “Space Settlements — A Design Study,” Right: Isaac Asimov (Photo: Toronto Star)Maximizing access to the best methods & tools benefits us allIn 1977, the NASA report Space Settlements — A Design Study published a grand vision of the future where among many accomplishments there would be space stations orbiting earth devoted to beaming down plentiful concentrated solar energy. The report stated: “power stations are placed in orbit around the Earth to which they deliver copious and valuable electrical energy. The economic value of these power stations will go far to justify the existence of the colony and the construction of more colonies.” Thirty Five years ago, the famous writer and futurist Isaac Asimov wrote predictions for 2019 in the Toronto Star. One (...)

    #engineering #hpc #hackernoon-top-story #climate-change #ai


  • As Trial Starts for Border Humanitarian Volunteers, New Documents Reveal Federal Bureaucrats’ Obsession With Stopping Activists
    https://theintercept.com/2019/01/17/no-more-deaths-border-documents-trial

    Trump administration prosecutors argued this week that members of the borderland faith-based organization No More Deaths broke the law by leaving jugs of water and cans of beans for migrants trekking through a remote wilderness refuge in the Sonoran Desert. The arguments came in the first of a series of high-profile federal trials in Tucson, Arizona, where humanitarian aid volunteers are facing prosecution under a litany of charges. Assistant U.S. Attorney Anna Wright, who is currently (...)

    #activisme #migration #surveillance


  • [Revision] « Tell Me How This Ends » | Harper’s Magazine
    https://harpers.org/archive/2019/02/american-involvement-in-syria

    Dans cet article très USA-centré, le récit des premiers temps de la guerre en #Syrie par l’ancien ambassadeur US à Damas. (J’ai grasseyé certains passages. Le récit US passe égaleemnt sous silence la présence à Hama de l’ambassadeur français et de quelques invités...) L’histoire de ce conflit commence petit à petit à s’écrire...

    The vulnerable regimes in early 2011 were in the American camp, a coincidence that the Syrian president, Bashar al-­Assad, interpreted as proof that the Arab Spring was a repudiation of American tutelage. As Russia’s and Iran’s only Arab ally, he foresaw no challenge to his throne. An omen in the unlikely guise of an incident at an open-­air market in the old city of Damascus, in February 2011, should have changed his mind. One policeman ordered a motorist to stop at an intersection, while another officer told him to drive on. “The poor guy got conflicting instructions, and did what I would have done and stopped,” recalled the US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, who had only just arrived in the country. The second policeman dragged the driver out of his car and thrashed him. “A crowd gathered, and all of a sudden it took off,” Ford said. “No violence, but it was big enough that the interior minister himself went down to the market and told people to go home.” Ford reported to Washington, “This is the first big demonstration that we know of. And it tells us that this tinder is dry.”

    The next month, the security police astride the Jordanian border in the dusty southern town of Daraa ignited the tinder by torturing children who had scrawled anti-­Assad graffiti on walls. Their families, proud Sunni tribespeople, appealed for justice, then called for reform of the regime, and finally demanded its removal. Rallies swelled by the day. Ford cabled Washington that the government was using live ammunition to quell the demonstrations. He noted that the protesters were not entirely peaceful: “There was a little bit of violence from the demonstrators in Daraa. They burned the Syriatel office.” (Syriatel is the cell phone company of Rami Makhlouf, Assad’s cousin, who epitomized for many Syrians the ruling elite’s corruption.) “And they burned a court building, but they didn’t kill anybody.” Funerals of protesters produced more demonstrations and thus more funerals. The Obama Administration, though, was preoccupied with Egypt, where Hosni Mubarak had resigned in February, and with the NATO bombing campaign in Libya to support the Libyan insurgents who would depose and murder Muammar Qaddafi in October.

    Ambassador Ford detected a turn in the Syrian uprising that would define part of its character: “The first really serious violence on the opposition side was up on the coast around Baniyas, where a bus was stopped and soldiers were hauled off the bus. If you were Alawite, you were shot. If you were Sunni, they let you go.” At demonstrations, some activists chanted the slogan, “Alawites to the grave, and Christians to Beirut.” A sectarian element wanted to remove Assad, not because he was a dictator but because he belonged to the Alawite minority sect that Sunni fundamentalists regard as heretical. Washington neglected to factor that into its early calculations.

    Phil Gordon, the assistant secretary of state for European affairs before becoming Obama’s White House coordinator for the Middle East, told me, “I think the initial attitude in Syria was seen through that prism of what was happening in the other countries, which was, in fact, leaders—the public rising up against their leaders and in some cases actually getting rid of them, and in Tunisia, and Yemen, and Libya, with our help.”

    Ambassador Ford said he counseled Syria’s activists to remain non­violent and urged both sides to negotiate. Demonstrations became weekly events, starting after Friday’s noon prayer as men left the mosques, and spreading north to Homs and Hama. Ford and some embassy staffers, including the military attaché, drove to Hama, with government permission, one Thursday evening in July. To his surprise, Ford said, “We were welcomed like heroes by the opposition people. We had a simple message—no violence. There were no burned buildings. There was a general strike going on, and the opposition people had control of the streets. They had all kinds of checkpoints. Largely, the government had pulled out.”

    Bassam Barabandi, a diplomat who defected in Washington to establish a Syrian exile organization, People Demand Change, thought that Ford had made two errors: his appearance in Hama raised hopes for direct intervention that was not forthcoming, and he was accompanied by a military attaché. “So, at that time, the big question for Damascus wasn’t Ford,” Barabandi told me in his spartan Washington office. “It was the military attaché. Why did this guy go with Ford?” The Syrian regime had a long-standing fear of American intelligence interference, dating to the CIA-­assisted overthrow in 1949 of the elected parliamentary government and several attempted coups d’état afterward. The presence in Hama of an ambassador with his military attaché allowed the Assad regime to paint its opponents as pawns of a hostile foreign power.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Columbia University to Support Smart Contract R&D
    https://hackernoon.com/columbia-university-to-support-smart-contract-r-d-c595ec815255?source=rs

    Despite its incredible proliferation in the past two years, the #blockchain is still a relatively novel technology, requiring continual development and maturation before it can attain the prominent role that many expect it to play in the digital age.QTUM, an open sourced public blockchain initiative, is donating $400,000 to academics at the University of Columbia who are advancing blockchain #research in several ways. The grant is being extended to Ronghui Gu, Columbia University’s assistant CS professor who will oversee blockchain research being conducted by post-doctorate and Ph.D. students.As it relates to its original purpose, facilitating cryptocurrency transactions, the blockchain has made incredible cultural inroads, inspiring hundreds of token projects and facilitating the global (...)

    #smart-contracts #columbia-university #qtum


  • Fires in the Void : The Need for Migrant Solidarity

    For most, Barcelona’s immigrant detention center is a difficult place to find. Tucked away in the Zona Franca logistics and industrial area, just beyond the Montjuïc Cemetery, it is shrouded in an alien stillness. It may be the quietest place in the city on a Saturday afternoon, but it is not a contemplative quiet. It is a no-one-can-hear-you-scream quiet.

    The area is often described as a perfect example of what anthropologist Marc Augé calls a non-place: neither relational nor historical, nor concerned with identity. Yet this opaque institution is situated in the economic motor of the city, next to the port, the airport, the public transportation company, the wholesale market that provides most of the city’s produce and the printing plant for Spain’s most widely read newspaper. The detention center is a void in the heart of a sovereign body.

    Alik Manukyan died in this void. On the morning of December 3, 2013, officers found the 32-year-old Armenian dead in his isolation cell, hanged using his own shoelaces. Police claimed that Manukyan was a “violent” and “conflictive” person who caused trouble with his cellmates. This account of his alleged suicide was contradicted, however, by three detainees. They claimed Alik had had a confrontation with some officers, who then entered the cell, assaulted him and forced him into isolation. They heard Alik scream and wail all through the night. Two of these witnesses were deported before the case made it to court. An “undetectable technical error” prevented the judge from viewing any surveillance footage.

    The void extends beyond the detention center. In 2013, nearly a decade after moving to Spain, a young Senegalese man named #Alpha_Pam died of tuberculosis. When he went to a hospital for treatment, Pam was denied medical attention because his papers were not in order. His case was a clear example of the apartheid logic underlying a 2012 decree by Mariano Rajoy’s right-wing government, which excluded undocumented people from Spain’s once-universal public health care system. As a result, the country’s hospitals went from being places of universal care to spaces of systematic neglect. The science of healing, warped by nationalist politics.

    Not that science had not played a role in perpetuating the void before. In 2007, during the Socialist government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, #Osamuyi_Aikpitanyi died during a deportation flight after being gagged and restrained by police escorts. The medical experts who investigated Aikpitanyi’s death concluded that the Nigerian man had died due to a series of factors they called “a vicious spiral”. There was an increase in catecholamine, a neurotransmitter related to stress, fear, panic and flight instincts. This was compounded by a lack of oxygen due to the flight altitude and, possibly, the gag. Ultimately, these experts could not determine what percentage of the death had been directly caused by the gag, and the police were fined 600 euros for the non-criminal offense of “light negligence”.

    The Romans had a term for lives like these, lives that vanish in the void. That term was #homo_sacer, the “sacred man”, who one could kill without being found guilty of murder. An obscure figure from archaic law revived by the philosopher #Giorgio_Agamben, it was used to incorporate human life, stripped of personhood, into the juridical order. Around this figure, a state of exception was produced, in which power could be exercised in its crudest form, opaque and unaccountable. For Agamben, this is the unspoken ground upon which modern sovereignty stands. Perhaps the best example of it is the mass grave that the Mediterranean has become.

    Organized Hypocrisy

    Its name suggests that the Mediterranean was once the world’s center. Today it is its deadliest divide. According to the International Organization for Migration, over 9,000 people died trying to cross the sea between January 1, 2014 and July 5, 2018. A conservative estimate, perhaps. The UN Refugee Agency estimates that the number of people found dead or missing during this period is closer to 17,000.

    Concern for the situation peaks when spectacular images make the horror unavoidable. A crisis mentality takes over, and politicians make sweeping gestures with a solemn sense of urgency. One such gesture was made after nearly 400 people died en route to Lampedusa in October 2013. The Italian government responded by launching Operation #Mare_Nostrum, a search-and-rescue program led by the country’s navy and coast guard. It cost €11 million per month, deploying 34 warships and about 900 sailors per working day. Over 150,000 people were rescued by the operation in one year.

    Despite its cost, Mare Nostrum was initially supported by much of the Italian public. It was less popular, however, with other European member states, who accused the mission of encouraging “illegal” migration by making it less deadly. Within a year, Europe’s refusal to share the responsibility had produced a substantial degree of discontent in Italy. In October 2014, Mare Nostrum was scrapped and replaced by #Triton, an operation led by the European border agency #Frontex.

    With a third of Mare Nostrum’s budget, Triton was oriented not towards protecting lives but towards surveillance and border control. As a result, the deadliest incidents in the region’s history occurred less than half a year into the operation. Between April 13 and April 19, 2015, over one thousand people drowned in the waters abandoned by European search and rescue efforts. Once again, the images produced a public outcry. Once again, European leaders shed crocodile tears for the dead.

    Instead of strengthening search and rescue efforts, the EU increased Frontex’s budget and complemented Triton with #Operation_Sophia, a military effort to disrupt the networks of so-called “smugglers”. #Eugenio_Cusumano, an assistant professor of international relations at the University of Leiden, has written extensively on the consequences of this approach, which he describes as “organized hypocrisy”. In an article for the Cambridge Review of International Affairs (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0010836718780175), Cusumano shows how the shortage of search and rescue assets caused by the termination of Mare Nostrum led non-governmental organizations to become the main source of these activities off the Libyan shore. Between 2014 and 2017, NGOs aided over 100,000 people.

    Their efforts have been admirable. Yet the precariousness of their resources and their dependence on private donors mean that NGOs have neither the power nor the capacity to provide aid on the scale required to prevent thousands of deaths at the border. To make matters worse, for the last several months governments have been targeting NGOs and individual activists as smugglers or human traffickers, criminalizing their solidarity. It is hardly surprising, then, that the border has become even deadlier in recent years. According to the UN Refugee Agency, although the number of attempted crossings has fallen over 80 percent from its peak in 2015, the percentage of people who have died or vanished has quadrupled.

    It is not my intention, with the litany of deaths described here, to simply name some of the people killed by Europe’s border regime. What I hope to have done instead is show the scale of the void at its heart and give a sense of its ruthlessness and verticality. There is a tendency to refer to this void as a gap, as a space beyond the reach of European institutions, the European gaze or European epistemologies. If this were true, the void could be filled by simply extending Europe’s reach, by producing new concepts, mapping new terrains, building new institutions.

    But, in fact, Europe has been treating the void as a site of production all along. As political theorist #Sandro_Mezzadra writes, the border is the method through which the sovereign machine of governmentality was built. Its construction must be sabotaged, subverted and disrupted at every level.

    A Crisis of Solidarity

    When the ultranationalist Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini refused to allow the MV #Aquarius to dock in June 2018, he was applauded by an alarmingly large number of Italians. Many blamed his racism and that of the Italians for putting over 600 lives at risk, including those of 123 unaccompanied minors, eleven young children and seven pregnant women.

    Certainly, the willingness to make a political point by sacrificing hundreds of migrant lives confirms that racism. But another part of what made Salvini’s gesture so horrifying was that, presumably, many of those who had once celebrated increasing search and rescue efforts now supported the opposite. Meanwhile, many of the same European politicians who had refused to share Italy’s responsibilities five years earlier were now expressing moral outrage over Salvini’s lack of solidarity.

    Once again, the crisis mode of European border politics was activated. Once again, European politicians and media talked about a “migrant crisis”, about “flows” of people causing unprecedented “pressure” on the southern border. But attempted crossings were at their lowest level in years, a fact that led many migration scholars to claim this was not a “migrant crisis”, but a crisis of solidarity. In this sense, Italy’s shift reflects the nature of the problem. By leaving it up to individual member states, the EU has made responding to the deaths at the border a matter of national conviction. When international solidarity is absent, national self-interest takes over.

    Fortunately, Spain’s freshly sworn-in Socialist Party government granted the Aquarius permission to dock in the Port of #Valencia. This happened only after Mayor Ada Colau of Barcelona, a self-declared “City of Refuge”, pressured Spanish President Pedro Sánchez by publicly offering to receive the ship at the Port of Barcelona. Party politics being as they are, Sánchez authorized a port where his party’s relationship with the governing left-wing platform was less conflictive than in Barcelona.

    The media celebrated Sánchez’s authorization as an example of moral virtue. Yet it would not have happened if solidarity with refugees had not been considered politically profitable by institutional actors. In Spain’s highly fractured political arena, younger left-wing parties and the Catalan independence movement are constantly pressuring a weakened Socialist Party to prove their progressive credentials. Meanwhile, tireless mobilization by social movements has made welcoming refugees a matter of common sense and basic human decency.

    The best known example of this mobilization was the massive protest that took place in February 2017, when 150,000 people took to the streets of Barcelona to demand that Mariano Rajoy’s government take in more refugees and migrants. It is likely because of actions like these that, according to the June 2018 Eurobarometer, over 80 percent of people in Spain believe the country should help those fleeing disaster.

    Yet even where the situation might be more favorable to bottom-up pressure, those in power will not only limit the degree to which demands are met, but actively distort those demands. The February 2017 protest is a good example. Though it also called for the abolition of detention centers, racial profiling and Spain’s racist immigration law, the march is best remembered for the single demand of welcoming refugees.

    The adoption of this demand by the Socialist Party was predictably cynical. After authorizing the Aquarius, President Sánchez used his momentarily boosted credibility to present, alongside Emmanuel Macron, a “progressive” European alternative to Salvini’s closed border. It involved creating detention centers all over the continent, with the excuse of determining people’s documentation status. Gears turn in the sovereign machine of governmentality. The void expands.

    Today the border is a sprawling, parasitic entity linking governments, private companies and supranational institutions. It is not enough for NGOs to rescue refugees, when their efforts can be turned into spot-mopping for the state. It is not enough for social movements to pressure national governments to change their policies, when individual demands can be distorted to mean anything. It is not enough for cities to declare themselves places of refuge, when they can be compelled to enforce racist laws. It is not enough for political parties to take power, when they can be conditioned by private interests, the media and public opinion polls.

    To overcome these limitations, we must understand borders as highly vertical transnational constructions. Dismantling those constructions will require organization, confrontation, direct action, sabotage and, above all, that borderless praxis of mutual aid and solidarity known as internationalism. If we truly hope to abolish the border, we must start fires in the void.

    https://roarmag.org/magazine/migrant-solidarity-fires-in-the-void
    #solidarité #frontières #migrations #réfugiés #asile #détention_administrative #rétention #Barcelone #non-lieu #Espagne #mourir_en_détention_administrative #mort #décès #mourir_en_rétention #Alik_Manukyan #renvois #expulsions #vie_nue #Méditerranée #hypocrisie #hypocrisie_organisée #ONG #sauvetage #sabotage #nationalisme #crise #villes-refuge #Valence #internationalisme #ouverture_des_frontières #action_directe

    signalé par @isskein


  • Actions on #google: The Voice-triggered Business Opportunity
    https://hackernoon.com/actions-on-google-the-voice-triggered-business-opportunity-911459aef9c4?

    “I am not sure I know that.”Does your Google Assistant say this often? Well, not anymore.Actions on Google extends the functionality of Google Assistant with its all-new set of ‘Actions’. These actions enable users to perform day-to-day tasks through a voice interface. Basically, it is of two types: Direct and Conversational Actions.Asking a question and receiving its answer is a Direct Action. Turning off the music is also a Direct Action. And likewise, there are many one-time actions performed via Google Assistant.Conversational Actions are performed with the help of a tool named Dialogflow. Here, back and forth conversations happen between the user and Google Assistant. You also can add your own Actions to customize the experience. Although, you will need a developer’s help to do it.If (...)

    #actions-on-google #artificial-intelligence


  • Erik Jan Hanussen
    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erik_Jan_Hanussen


    Heute nehmen wir Wikipedia als Einstieg in eine Untersuchung des #Mythos Hanussen , der gut und gerne als Vorläufer zu den Irrungen und Wirrungen um den Tod der Gefangenen von #Stammheim gelten kann. ab ’33 wurde es immer verrückter. Vom #Reichstagsbrand über das #Kenndy-Attentat bis zu #911, Manipulation und Vertuschung überall. Unser Mann wohnte im Jahr 1933 #Kudamm_16 , nachzulesen auf Seite_17 unseres Kudammbuchs. (https://seenthis.net/messages/745723)
    Andere Quellen sprechen von einer Adresse in der #Lietzenburger_Straße, wo er zum Zeitpunkt seiner Ermordunge gewohnt hätte.

    Erik Jan Hanussen, eigentlich Hermann Chajm Steinschneider, (* 2. Juni 1889[1] in Wien-Ottakring; † in der Nacht vom 24. auf den 25. März 1933[2] in Berlin) war ein unter anderem als „Hellseher“ bekannter österreichischer Trickkünstler. Trotz jüdischer Herkunft agierte er als Sympathisant der Nationalsozialisten.

    So geht das immer los mit den #Veschwörungstheorien. Angeblich weiß man nüscht , weil einem keiner was verrät. Meistens steckt aber bloß Faulheit dahinter. Ist ja auch viel bequemer, einfach zu behaupten, dass keena von nüchscht nix wissen kann , als sich aufzumachen ins Archiv oder wenigstens die zweite Seite der Google-Suchergebnisse zu lesen. Wir vertrauen jedenfalls auf das archivarische Gespür und die hochnotpeinliche Genauigkeit von Birgit Jochens und Sonja Miltenberger: Hanussen wohnte Kudamm 16.

    Hitlers Monsters A Supernatural History of the Third Reich - PDF Free Download
    https://mxdoc.com/hitlers-monsters-a-supernatural-history-of-the-third-reich.html

    At a seance on the night of 26 February 1933 the clairvoyant Erik Hanussen – a close friend of Nazi stormtroopers – ‘predicted’ next day’s Reichstag fire, which helped justify the Nazi imposition of martial law.

    Erik Jan Hanussen: Hellseher der Nazis - Politik - Süddeutsche.de
    https://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/mordfall-erik-jan-hanussen-der-hellseher-und-die-nazis-1.3994752

    Er unterstützte die NSDAP bei ihrem Aufstieg bis zu ihrer Machtergreifung im Januar 1933, über die er in der Hanussen-Zeitung laut jubelte.

    Ein paar Wochen später eröffnete Hanussen an der Lietzenburger Straße in Berlin seinen Palast des Okkultismus. Das Prunkstück war die astrologische Bar mit einem kreisrundem Tisch aus Glas und Hanussen als eine Art mystischer Barkeeper in der Mitte.

    Doch bei der Eröffnungsfeier ging er zu weit. Die Schauspielerin Maria Paudler ließ er in Trance „Feuer, Flammen, Verbrecher am Werk!“ verkünden. Schon am nächsten Tag bewies der Reichstagsbrand, was gemeint gewesen war, das Fanal, mit dessen propagandistischer Ausschlachtung die Nazis ihre Macht schließlich festigten. Seither gilt die Vorankündigung dieses historischen Ereignisses als eines der Motive für den bald folgenden Mord an dem umstrittenen Varieté-Künstler.

    Na also, ein akuter Fall von Faulheit. Die Adresse in der Lietzenburger war keien Wohnung sondern das magische Thaeter des Illusionisten Hanussen.

    Laut Tagesspiegel befand sich der Palast des Okkultismus in der Hausnummer 16. Das bleibt zu prüfen, denn die idnetische Hausnummer mit der Wohnandresse am Kurfürstendann kann wieder eine der beliebten Verwechslungen oder Zuschreibungen aus Nachlässigkeit sein. Leider bestand der Palast des Okkultismus nur so kurze Zeit, dass er kaum EIngang in die historischen Adreßbücher gefunden haben dürfte.

    Erik Jan Hanussen - Wikiwand
    http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Erik_Jan_Hanussen

    In 1931 Hanussen purchased a Breslau printing firm and began publishing an occult journal, Hanussen Magazin and Bunte Wochenschau, a popular biweekly Berlin tabloid which included astrological columns.[6] He used the proceeds from his publishing ventures and stage shows to purchase a mansion which became known as “The Palace of the Occult”, which he renovated and turned into a luxurious interactive theatre for fortune telling games. Guests would sit around a large circular table and place their palms on glass with symbols lit from beneath; the room lights would be lowered in a séance-like fashion; and various gimmicks would highlight Hanussen’s dramatic verbal presentation of prophecies to the guests. He predicted events in the lives of the individuals present, but controversy arose when he predicted the future of Germany. He became successful, was always in demand in various venues, and had a full-time valet.

    Alfred Neubauer, a famous motor racing team manager, refers to Hanussen in his autobiography, Speed Was My Life (first published in English in 1960). In the chapter ’A Prophecy Comes True’, he describes a prediction made by Hanussen before the race at AVUS in Germany in May 1932. While at the Roxy Bar with other drivers, Neubauer challenged Hanussen to predict the winner of the following day’s race. After some ’leg pulling’, Hanussen wrote two names on a piece of paper, which he folded, and put in an envelope. This was placed in the custody of the barman. He had strict instructions that it be left unopened until after the race. Hanussen announced, ’One of us at this table will win tomorrow, another will die. The two names are in this envelope.’ During the race, driver Prince Lobkowicz was killed, and Brauchitsch won. After the race, Neubauer states he opened the envelope and found those names inside. Several days later, a Berlin newspaper reported that Hanussen had urged the German Automobile Club to persuade Prince Lobkowicz not to take part in the race, but Club officials had taken no action.

    Erik Jan Hanussen : le médium juif d’Hitler | Terre Promise
    http://www.terrepromise.fr/2016/11/07/erik-jan-hanussen-le-medium-juif-dhitler

    Quelques jours avant la course, Hanussen avait prédit que Lobkiwicz aurait un accident. Après quelques minutes de course, sa Mercedes fut percutée, tuant le jeune homme sur le coup. Une enquête montra que la tragédie résultait d’une panne mécanique bizarre.

    Même les sceptiques les plus acharnés d’Hanussen furent bien en peine d’expliquer comment il avait pu trafiquer le véhicule. Ses ennemis ne se privèrent pas de suggérer que le médium était de connivence dans le sabotage de la voiture de Lobkowicz, de mèche avec des parieurs. Le jeune tchèque avait aussi fait des avances à une femme qu’Hanussen désirait, la jalousie était donc un mobile possible. Pour la plupart des gens, l’accident était une vraie preuve des dons de voyance du danois. Arthur Magida se demande si grâce à des années de discipline mentale, Hanussen n’aurait pas vraiment développé des pouvoirs psychiques.

    Une rencontre avec Hitler suivit peu après et Hanussen assura un Adolf angoissé qu’il n’avait pas à s’inquiéter pour les élections à venir. Sans surprise, les nazis enregistrèrent un immense succès au scrutin de juillet, doublant leurs sièges pour devenir le plus grand parti du Reichstag. Le jour de l’An 1933, Hanussen distribua un horoscope et déclara qu’Hitler serait chancelier avant la fin du mois. C’est ce qui se passa [élections du 30 janvier].
    Le Palais de l’Occulte et l’incendie du Reichstag

    Hanussen semblait au sommet de son pouvoir. Il n’était pas associé aux nazis, il en était un.

    Même son fidèle secrétaire, Ismet Dzino, appartenait au parti et à la SA.

    En plus d’être le devin favori du nouveau régime, il était sur le point d’ouvrir son opulent Palais de l’Occulte. L’élite de la capitale réclamait à cor et à cris des invitations. Mais les ennuis couvaient. Son parti pris pour les nazis valurent à Hanussen l’hostilité de la presse communiste qui avait publié des preuves de son ascendance juive. Hanussen fit de son mieux pour noyer le poisson et certains de ses copains nazis, tel Helldorf, firent preuve de loyauté envers lui jusqu’à la fin.

    Le Palais de l’Occulte ouvrit ses portes le soir du 26 février.

    Lors d’une séance semi-privée, l’une des médiums d’Hanussen, l’ancienne actrice Maria Paudler, eut une vision fatidique. En transe, elle déclara voir un « grand bâtiment » en feu. La presse attribua la prédiction à Hanussen lui-même. Moins de 24 heures plus tard, le Reichstag était en flammes. Les nazis mirent l’incendie sur le compte d’un complot communiste et prirent des mesures extraordinaires qui donnèrent à Hitler un contrôle dictatorial.

    La police de Berlin arrêta Marinus van der Lubbe, un hollandais au passé d’incendiaire en lien avec les communistes. On suppose classiquement que les nazis étaient derrière l’incendie et qu’ils se servirent de van der Lubbe comme bouc émissaire. Kugel suggère qu’Hanussen avait manipulé le hollandais par hypnose. Gerson et Mariel suggèrent une autre possibilité : le médium aurait été l’instigateur de l’incendie sur ordre de quelqu’un voulant discréditer Hitler. Si c’est bien le cas, le complot échoua lamentablement.

    À la mi-mars, la plupart des amis nazis d’Hanussen, dont Helldorf, se retrouvèrent congédiés ou réaffectés ailleurs. Le 24 mars, deux membres de la SA traînèrent le médium au quartier général de la Gestapo pour l’interroger. Ils le relâchèrent, mais le soir suivant trois hommes s’emparèrent de lui dans la rue et on ne le revit jamais vivant.

    Erik Jan Hanussen: Hellseher der Nazis - Politik - Süddeutsche.de
    https://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/mordfall-erik-jan-hanussen-der-hellseher-und-die-nazis-1.3994752

    Er unterstützte die NSDAP bei ihrem Aufstieg bis zu ihrer Machtergreifung im Januar 1933, über die er in der Hanussen-Zeitung laut jubelte.

    Ein paar Wochen später eröffnete Hanussen an der Lietzenburger Straße in Berlin seinen Palast des Okkultismus. Das Prunkstück war die astrologische Bar mit einem kreisrundem Tisch aus Glas und Hanussen als eine Art mystischer Barkeeper in der Mitte.

    Doch bei der Eröffnungsfeier ging er zu weit. Die Schauspielerin Maria Paudler ließ er in Trance „Feuer, Flammen, Verbrecher am Werk!“ verkünden. Schon am nächsten Tag bewies der Reichstagsbrand, was gemeint gewesen war, das Fanal, mit dessen propagandistischer Ausschlachtung die Nazis ihre Macht schließlich festigten. Seither gilt die Vorankündigung dieses historischen Ereignisses als eines der Motive für den bald folgenden Mord an dem umstrittenen Varieté-Künstler.

    (PDF) Hatten die Nazis etwas gegen Hypnose?
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317339412_Hatten_die_Nazis_etwas_gegen_Hypnose

    Erik Jan Hanussen, l’hypnotiseur du 3ème Reich - Hypnose
    https://www.peyrega-hypnose-paris.fr/blog/erik-jan-hanussen-hypnotiseur-hitler.html

    Quel type d’hypnose pratiquait Jan Hanussen ?

    Malheureusement, il n’y a aucun récit ou écrit expliquant précisément les techniques d’hypnose que pouvait utiliser Jan Hanussen ( c’est malheureusement valable pour toutes les anciennes techniques d’hypnose de scène ) , mais lorsque l’on sait que ce dernier faisait construire avant sa mort un “ palais de l’occultisme “ il ne faut pas se leurrer sur sa vision de l’hypnose….

    Cependant pour replacer la place de l’hypnose à cette époque dans un contexte historique, nous pouvons rappeler qu’aujourd’hui encore, de grandes stars de l’hypnose comme Messmer prétendent encore user de pouvoir psychique ou de magnétisme dans leurs spectacles, cela fait sans doute partie du jeu pour le l’hypnose de spectacle qui n’a d’autre but que de divertir le public, et c’était encore plus vrai à cette époque.

    N’oublions pas qu’à peine quelques dizaines d’années avant la mort de Jan Hanussen, d’éminents représentants de l’hypnose comme Jean-Martin Charcot utilisaient encore de grandes plaques aimantées “ pour “ déclencher “ des transes hypnotiques.

    Hitlers Monsters A Supernatural History of the Third Reich - PDF Free Download
    https://mxdoc.com/hitlers-monsters-a-supernatural-history-of-the-third-reich.html

    At a seance on the night of 26 February 1933 the clairvoyant Erik Hanussen – a close friend of Nazi stormtroopers – ‘predicted’ next day’s Reichstag fire, which helped justify the Nazi imposition of martial law.

    Herrmann Steinschneider (1889 - 1933) - Genealogy
    https://www.geni.com/people/Erik-Jan-Hanussen/6000000045424935868

    lso Known As: „Hermann Steinschneider“
    Birthdate: June 02, 1889
    Birthplace: Ottakring, Wien, Wien, Austria
    Death: März 24, 1933 (43)
    Berlin, Berlin, Germany (ermordet)
    Bestattungsort: Berlin, Germany
    Angehörige:

    Sohn von Siegfried Steinschneider und Antonie Julie Steinschneider
    Ehemann von Theresia Steinschneider
    Vater von Gerhard Belgardt und Private
    Occupation: Hellseher
    Managed by: Alex Christopher Bickle
    Last Updated: 2. August 2018

    The Hanussen Proof by Bob Cassidy : Lybrary.com
    https://www.lybrary.com/the-hanussen-proof-p-605.html

    Hanussen asked his inquisitors to concentrate on an event in their lives, and then to tell him the location and place where the event took place. It was the same test the mentalist performed the night he was arrested, except on that occasion Hanussen obtained the details of the events via secret signals from an assistant posing as a member of the audience.

    This time, however, neither his assistant nor associates were present. They had been removed from the courtroom, and placed under police guard. But despite these precautions, Hanussen provided detailed descriptions of the mentally selected events.

    The charges against him were dismissed.

    The sensational publicity that followed his acquittal, his subsequent rise to fame as “The Prophet of the Third Reich”, and his execution by the Gestapo in 1933, is described in Mel Gordon’s fascinating biography, Erik Jan Hanussen, Hitler’s Jewish Clairvoyant. The author’s primary sources were news reports, court records, historical materials, Hanussen’s own writings, and the published recollections of his contemporaries and critics. But nowhere in any of the voluminous materials written by and about the German seer is there a clue to the method he used at the trial. How was it possible for him to reveal events that occurred in people’s lives merely by knowing the dates and places?

    Medienarten und Ausgaben von Meine Lebenslinie [WorldCat.org]
    https://www.worldcat.org/title/meine-lebenslinie/oclc/32372383/editions?referer=di&editionsView=true

    Mythos Hanussen 2001-2011, Eine Sammelrezension, Wilfried Kugel
    https://www.anomalistik.de/images/pdf/zfa/zfa2013_12_196_essay-review_kugel.pdf


    parteische aber interessante Bewertung zahlreicher Quellen zu Hanussen
    u.a. Werner Herzog

    Neuauflage: Erik Jan Hanussen - Meine Lebenslinie - Schreibkurse für Ihre Lebensgeschichte/n
    https://www.meine-biographie.com/neuauflage-erik-jan-hanussen-meine-lebenslinie

    Erik Jan Hanussen – Zauber-Lexikon
    http://www.zauber-pedia.de/index.php?title=Erik_Jan_Hanussen

    Hanussens Grabstätte befindet sich auf dem Südwestkirchhof Stahnsdorf im Block Charlottenburg, Gartenblock III, Gartenstelle 50.

    Erik Jan Hanussen - Hokus-Pokus-Tausendsassa | Telepolis
    https://www.heise.de/tp/features/Erik-Jausendsassa-3417887.html?seite=all

    24. März 2008 Markus Kompa (unter Mitwirkung von Wilfried Kugel)
    Vor 75 Jahren ermordeten die Nazis ihren Propheten

    FILM: Gläubige Masse - DER SPIEGEL 42/1988
    http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-13531431.html

    Auferstehung eines „Hellsehers": Istvan Szabo verfilmte das Leben des Hitler-Propheten Hanussen - sein wahres war dramatischer.

    Internet Archive Search: Hanussen
    https://archive.org/search.php?query=Hanussen&and[]=mediatype%3A%22texts%22

    Hitlers Hellseher - Der Tagesspiegel - Andreas Conrad - 1.1.2006
    https://web.archive.org/web/20071108233135/http://www.tagesspiegel.de/zeitung/Sonderthemen%3Bart893,2287039

    die Eröffnung des „Palasts des Okkultismus“ in der Lietzenburger Straße 16, einer ultramodern eingerichteten, mit astrologischen Symbolen geschmückten Residenz, in der sich der Magier selbst inszenierte. Dort fand am 26. Februar 1933 die Séance statt, bei der Hanussen den Brand des Reichstages einen Tag später vorausgesagt haben soll.

    Der Klausener Platz Blog kennt eine Geschichte, welche die Information über Hanussens Wohnung in der Lietzenburger Straße 16 stützt.
    https://seenthis.net/messages/745779

    #Geschichte #Nazis #Okkultismus #Lietzenburger_Straße


  • Soundings: the story of the remarkable woman who mapped the ocean floor
    Learn more about the book, Soundings, by Hali Felt
    http://halifelt.com/soundings-book
    Tellement inconnue que son nom n’apparait même pas dans le titre du #livre

    Soundings is the story of the enigmatic, unknown woman behind one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century. Before Marie Tharp, geologist and gifted draftsperson, the whole world, including most of the scientific community, thought the ocean floor was a vast expanse of nothingness. In 1948, at age 28, Marie walked into the newly formed geophysical lab at Columbia University and practically demanded a job. The scientists at the lab were all male; the women who worked there were relegated to secretary or assistant. Through sheer willpower and obstinacy, Marie was given the job of interpreting the soundings (records of sonar pings measuring the ocean’s depths) brought back from the ocean-going expeditions of her male colleagues. The marriage of artistry and science behind her analysis of this dry data gave birth to a major work: the first comprehensive map of the ocean floor, which laid the groundwork for proving the then-controversial theory of continental drift.

    When combined, Marie’s scientific knowledge, her eye for detail and her skill as an artist revealed not a vast empty plane, but an entire world of mountains and volcanoes, ridges and rifts, and a gateway to the past that allowed scientists the means to imagine how the continents and the oceans had been created over time.

    #Marie_Tharp #femmes #cartographie #femmes&carto

    • Je viens de vérifier dans mes cours de première année de géographie physique assurés par Etienne Moisssenet et ALain Godard, Marie Tharp est mentionnée une dizaine de fois dans le cours, comme étant à l’origine de la cartographie des fonds marins. Elle a été oubliée par la société, mais pas par certains géographes physiciens apparemment.


  • CIMON, the International Space Station’s artificial intelligence, has turned belligerent - NZ Herald
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2

    CIMON was programmed to be the physical embodiment of the likes of ’nice’ robots such as Robby, R2D2, Wall-E, Johnny 5 … and so on.

    Instead, CIMON appears to be adopting characteristics closer to Marvin the Paranoid Android of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — though hopefully not yet the psychotic HAL of 2001: A Space Oddysey infamy.

    Put simply, CIMON appears to have decided he doesn’t like the whole personal assistant thing.

    He’s turned uncooperative.

    Open the pod bay doors, HAL?

    No. Not quite. Not yet.

    In this case, the free-floating IBM artificial intelligence was — for the first time — interacting with ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst.

    Watch the whole interaction here - the creepiness factor ramps up from 3 minutes 30.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=133&v=3_2Jy1Ur0js

    #IA #robot #kubrick


  • How Borders Are Constructed in West Africa

    The E.U. has led an expensive and often contradictory effort to modernize African borders. Author #Philippe_Frowd looks at the gap between policy and outcomes.

    Over the past 15 years there has been a surge in E.U. spending on borders outside Europe. The impact of this funding on West Africa has received little attention until recently.

    A new book by Philippe M. Frowd, an expert on the politics of borders, migration and security intervention, seeks to correct this. In “Security at the Borders: Transnational Practices and Technologies in West Africa,” Frowd details both the high politics and everyday culture clashes that have shaped European interventions and the way they have been received in countries like Senegal.

    An assistant professor in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa, Frowd coins the term “border work” to denote how everything from training to technology to migration deals work in combination with each other. Here in conversation with Refugees Deeply, he shares some of his main observations.

    Refugees Deeply: You talk about tracing the “who” of border work in West Africa. Can you explain your findings?

    Philippe Frowd: One of my book’s points is to use the term “border work” to identify how seemingly disparate practices such as negotiating migrant readmission agreements, deploying citizen identification technologies, funding border management projects and routine police cooperation actually combine. To try and make sense of what seems to be a bewildering but also often opaque set of actors operating at the intersection of these fields in West Africa specifically.

    One of the most striking developments of the past 10-15 years has been the phenomenal growth of E.U. border security-related spending, much of it in “third countries,” mainly in Africa. This has gone hand in hand with a growing salience of “border security” on the part of many African states as a way of understanding flows at borders.

    One of my main findings was the sheer diversity of actors involved in determining policies, experiences and practices of borders in the region. The African Union is the successor to the Organisation of African Unity which accepted Africa’s inherited borders in 1964, and the A.U. continues to provide assistance for demarcation of borders and dispute resolution. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is one of the guarantors of free movement in the region and generally pursues an ambitious agenda of greater harmonization (e.g., of visa policy).

    Yet other actors, such as the E.U. and U.N. specialized agencies (such as the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime), tend to have agendas driven by primarily Western security concerns. Then there are the more immediately visible police and gendarmeries who directly enact border controls. More recently, the G5 Sahel force consistently invokes border security and transnational crime.

    Beyond simply tracing who does what, there is tracing the interconnections and tensions between these different institutions. Looking sociologically at the diverse range of actors, we can see how knowledge is a crucial part of the equation: What is the vision of borders, security and migration each actor puts forward? On one hand, institutions like ECOWAS are focused on legal mobility rights while those such as Interpol envision mobility as a regulated, digitally legible practice. The range of actors who contribute to this border work is often a patchwork in which uneasy bedfellows co-exist. E.U. funding, for instance, goes to supporting free movement projects at the ECOWAS level but also to train and equip the security forces of states like Niger to crack down on irregular migration routes. West African borders are the product of the balance of forces between this range of competing visions.

    Refugees Deeply: Can you talk us through the way in which border practices move between different regions. Is there a model for the process of emulation?

    Frowd: Border security is made up of everyday routines but also of various digital and other technologies, both of which are potentially mobile. I point to a couple of ways that these tools of doing border security can travel: One of these is emulation of existing (often Western) methods and standards, but this also goes alongside what I describe as “pedagogy” and the role of exemplars.

    “West African borders are the product of the balance of forces between this range of competing visions.”

    All of these interact in some way. As an example, a border management project led by the IOM [International Organization for Migration] might include training sessions during which members of the local police and gendarmerie learn about key principles of border management illustrated by best practices from elsewhere. Emulation is the desired outcome of many of these trainings, which are the backbone of international border security assistance. The EUCAP Sahel missions, for example, put a heavy emphasis on training rather than equipping so there is a strong faith that mentalities matter more than equipment.

    Equipment also matters and plays its part in shaping how border security works. Biometrics, which aim to verify identification using some kind of body measurement, require ways of reading the body and storing data about it. Senegal adopted, in one decade, a range of biometric technologies for national I.D. cards and controls at borders. There is a very obvious mobility of technology here (a Malaysian company providing e-Passport infrastructure, a Belgian company providing visa systems) but movement of border practices is also about ideas. The vision of biometrics as effective in the first place is one that I found, from interviews with Senegalese police commanders, was strongly tied to emulating ideals of modern and selective borders found elsewhere.

    Refugees Deeply: In your work you identify some of the gaps between policy goals and to actual outcomes and practices. Can you talk us through the greatest discrepancies?

    Frowd: Some of the discrepancies I found showed some interesting underlying factors. One of these was the shifting role of global private sector companies in frustrating public policy goals. Not through deliberate sabotage or state capture, but rather through the diverging incentives around doing border work. In the case of Senegal’s biometric systems, the state has been keen to make as coherent an infrastructure as possible, with connections between various elements such as biometric passport issuance, automated airport arrivals for holders of this passport and systems such as the national I.D. card. Given the need for private companies to compete based on technological advantage, rival systems made by rival companies could not interconnect and share data without sharing of valuable corporate information.

    Another underlying factor for the discrepancies I point to is that, once again, the sociological dynamics of the people doing the border work come into play. Many border management projects bring together a diverse range of actors who can have competing visions of how security is to be performed and achieved. For instance the ways police and gendarmerie competed over border post data in Mauritania leading to separate databases. It can also happen at a larger scale through the lack of integration across the donor community, which leads to a huge amount of duplication.

    Refugees Deeply: You spent a section of your book on Spanish-African police cooperation to show the limits of European knowledge and technology. You mention a clash of cultures, can you elaborate?

    Frowd: This is a particularly salient point today for two reasons. First because we are hearing more elite (e.g., Frontex) discourse about the “reopening” of a migration route to Spain. Second because Spain itself is increasingly active in E.U. projects across the Sahel. My book tells some of the story of Spanish security ambitions in Africa. But these ambitions, and those of other Western partners, have hard limits. Some of these limits are quite straightforward: Climate is often a barrier to the functioning of surveillance technologies and some countries (like Mauritania) are harder to recruit international experts for if they cannot or do not bring their families along.

    In terms of Spanish-African cooperation, much of the narrative about clashes of cultures comes down to perceptions. One of the elements of the clash is a temporal one, with Spanish security officials often considering local partners as existing at a completely different stage of progress.

    More broadly in terms of the limits of knowledge itself, the ambitions of experts to implicitly recreate aspects of European best practice are flawed. Part of this form of border security knowledge involves supporting technological solutions to make African mobility more legible to states. This comes up against the reality that movement in West Africa is already quite free but highly informalized. European experts are well aware of this reality but seek to formalize these flows. A police expert I spoke to recently suggested co-located border posts, and many international funders are supportive of specific I.D. cards for residents of border regions. This is not to impede movement, but rather to rationalize it – in much the same way that common I.D. standards and databases underpin free movement within Europe.

    https://www.newsdeeply.com/refugees/community/2018/07/18/how-borders-are-constructed-in-west-africa
    #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #Mauritanie #Sénégal


  • « Law & Order. Inculpation par un grand jury fédéral (USA) de 3 policiers de Saint-Louis ayant tabassé l’un de leurs collègues infiltré au cours d’une #manifestation. »

    Four St. Louis Police Officers Indicted for Civil Rights Violations and Obstruction of Justice | OPA | Department of Justice
    https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/four-st-louis-police-officers-indicted-civil-rights-violations-and-obstruct

    A federal grand jury in St. Louis indicted four St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD) Police Officers for their conduct in connection with the arrest and assault of a fellow SLMPD police officer who was working undercover in downtown St. Louis during last year’s protests following the acquittal of a former SLMPD officer of a first-degree murder charge brought by the State of Missouri relating to the shooting death of a civilian.

    The indictment charges Officers Dustin Boone, 35, Bailey Colletta, 25, Randy Hays, 31, and Christopher Myers, 27, with various felony charges, including deprivation of constitutional rights, conspiracy to obstruct justice, destruction of evidence, and obstruction of justice.

    “Law enforcement officers have an important duty to protect the members of the communities they serve and to enforce the law,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. “The Justice Department will continue to investigate and prosecute matters involving allegations of federal criminal civil rights violations.”

    “These are serious charges and the vigorous enforcement of civil rights is essential to maintaining public trust in law enforcement,” said U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen. “The SLMPD recognized the importance of this investigation and its leadership has cooperated at every turn. I continue to have great confidence in the brave and honorable men and women of the SLMPD, Chief John Hayden, and Public Safety Director Judge Jimmie Edwards.”


  • Who writes history? The fight to commemorate a massacre by the Texas #rangers

    In 1918, a state-sanctioned vigilante force killed 15 unarmed Mexicans in #Porvenir. When their descendants applied for a historical marker a century later, they learned that not everyone wants to remember one of Texas’ darkest days.

    The name of the town was Porvenir, or “future.” In the early morning hours of January 28, 1918, 15 unarmed Mexicans and Mexican Americans were awakened by a state-sanctioned vigilante force of Texas Rangers, U.S. Army cavalry and local ranchers. The men and boys ranged in age from 16 to 72. They were taken from their homes, led to a bluff over the Rio Grande and shot from 3 feet away by a firing squad. The remaining residents of the isolated farm and ranch community fled across the river to Mexico, where they buried the dead in a mass grave. Days later, the cavalry returned to burn the abandoned village to the ground.

    These, historians broadly agree, are the facts of what happened at Porvenir. But 100 years later, the meaning of those facts remains fiercely contested. In 2015, as the centennial of the massacre approached, a group of historians and Porvenir descendants applied for and was granted a Texas Historical Commission (THC) marker. After a three-year review process, the THC approved the final text in July. A rush order was sent to the foundry so that the marker would be ready in time for a Labor Day weekend dedication ceremony planned by descendants. Then, on August 3, Presidio County Historical Commission Chair Mona Blocker Garcia sent an email to the THC that upended everything. Though THC records show that the Presidio commission had been consulted throughout the marker approval process, Garcia claimed to be “shocked” that the text was approved. She further asserted, without basis, that “the militant Hispanics have turned this marker request into a political rally and want reparations from the federal government for a 100-year-old-plus tragic event.”

    Four days later, Presidio County Attorney Rod Ponton sent a follow-up letter. Without identifying specific errors in the marker text, he demanded that the dedication ceremony be canceled and the marker’s production halted until new language could be agreed upon. Ponton speculated, falsely, that the event was planned as a “major political rally” for Beto O’Rourke with the participation of La Raza Unida founding member José Ángel Gutiérrez, neither of whom was involved. Nonetheless, THC History Programs Director Charles Sadnick sent an email to agency staff the same day: “After getting some more context about where the marker sponsor may be coming from, we’re halting production on the marker.”

    The American Historical Association quickly condemned the THC’s decision, as did the office of state Senator José Rodríguez, a Democrat whose district includes both Presidio County and El Paso, where the ceremony was to be held. Historians across the country also spoke out against the decision. Sarah Zenaida Gould, director of the Museo del Westside in San Antonio and cofounder of Latinos in Heritage Conservation, responded in an email to the agency that encapsulates the views of many of the historians I interviewed: “Halting the marker process to address this statement as though it were a valid concern instead of a dog whistle is insulting to all people of color who have personally or through family history experienced state violence.”

    How did a last-gasp effort, characterized by factual errors and inflammatory language, manage to convince the state agency for historic preservation to reverse course on a marker three years in the making and sponsored by a young Latina historian with an Ivy League pedigree and Texas-Mexico border roots? An Observer investigation, involving dozens of interviews and hundreds of emails obtained through an open records request, reveals a county still struggling to move on from a racist and violent past, far-right amateur historians sowing disinformation and a state agency that acted against its own best judgment.

    The Porvenir massacre controversy is about more than just the fate of a single marker destined for a lonely part of West Texas. It’s about who gets to tell history, and the continuing relevance of the border’s contested, violent and racist past to events today.

    Several rooms in Benita Albarado’s home in Uvalde are almost overwhelmed by filing cabinets and stacks of clipboards, the ever-growing archive of her research into what happened at Porvenir. For most of her life, Benita, 74, knew nothing about the massacre. What she did know was that her father, Juan Flores, had terrible nightmares, and that in 1950 he checked himself in to a state mental hospital for symptoms that today would be recognized as PTSD. When she asked her mother what was wrong with him, she always received the same vague response: “You don’t understand what he’s been through.”

    In 1998, Benita and her husband, Buddy, began tracing their family trees. Benita was perplexed that she couldn’t find any documentation about her grandfather, Longino Flores. Then she came across the archival papers of Harry Warren, a schoolteacher, lawyer and son-in-law of Tiburcio Jáquez, one of the men who was murdered. Warren had made a list of the victims, and Longino’s name was among them. Warren also described how one of his students from Porvenir had come to his house the next morning to tell him what happened, and then traveled with him to the massacre site to identify the bodies, many of which were so mutilated as to be virtually unrecognizable. Benita immediately saw the possible connection. Her father, 12 at the time, matched Warren’s description of the student.

    Benita and Buddy drove from Uvalde to Odessa, where her father lived, with her photocopied papers. “Is that you?” she asked. He said yes. Then, for the first time in 80 years, he began to tell the story of how he was kidnapped with the men, but then sent home because of his age; he was told that the others were only going to be questioned. To Benita and Buddy’s amazement, he remembered the names of 12 of the men who had been murdered. They were the same as those in Harry Warren’s papers. He also remembered the names of the ranchers who had shown up at his door. Some of those, including the ancestors of prominent families still in Presidio County, had never been found in any document.

    Talking about the massacre proved healing for Flores. His nightmares stopped. In 2000, at age 96, he decided that he wanted to return to Porvenir. Buddy drove them down an old mine road in a four-wheel-drive truck. Flores pointed out where his old neighbors used to live, even though the buildings were gone. He guided Buddy to the bluff where the men were killed — a different location than the one commonly believed by local ranchers to be the massacre site. His memory proved to be uncanny: At the bluff, the family discovered a pre-1918 military bullet casing, still lying on the Chihuahuan desert ground.

    Benita and Buddy began advocating for a historical marker in 2000, soon after their trip to Porvenir. “A lot of people say that this was a lie,” Buddy told me. “But if you’ve got a historical marker, the state has to acknowledge what happened.” Their efforts were met by resistance from powerful ranching families, who held sway over the local historical commission. The Albarados had already given up when they met Monica Muñoz Martinez, a Yale graduate student from Uvalde, who interviewed them for her dissertation. In 2013, Martinez, by then an assistant professor at Brown University, co-founded Refusing to Forget, a group of historians aiming to create broader public awareness of border violence, including Porvenir and other extrajudicial killings of Mexicans by Texas Rangers during the same period. The most horrific of these was La Matanza, in which dozens of Mexicans and Mexican Americans were murdered in the Rio Grande Valley in 1915.

    In 2006, the THC created the Undertold Markers program, which seemed tailor-made for Porvenir. According to its website, the program is designed to “address historical gaps, promote diversity of topics, and proactively document significant underrepresented subjects or untold stories.” Unlike the agency’s other marker programs, anyone can apply for an undertold marker, not just county historical commissions. Martinez’s application for a Porvenir massacre marker was accepted in 2015.

    Though the approval process for the Porvenir marker took longer than usual, by the summer of 2018 everything appeared to be falling into place. On June 1, Presidio County Historical Commission chair Garcia approved the final text. (Garcia told me that she thought she was approving a different text. Her confusion is difficult to understand, since the text was attached to the digital form she submitted approving it.) Martinez began coordinating with the THC and Arlinda Valencia, a descendant of one of the victims, to organize a dedication ceremony in El Paso.
    “They weren’t just simple farmers. I seriously doubt that they were just killed for no reason.”

    In mid-June, Valencia invited other descendants to the event and posted it on Facebook. She began planning a program to include a priest’s benediction, a mariachi performance and brief remarks by Martinez, Senator Rodríguez and a representative from the THC. The event’s climax would be the unveiling of the plaque with the names of the 15 victims.

    Then the backlash began.

    “Why do you call it a massacre?” is the first thing Jim White III said over the phone when I told him I was researching the Porvenir massacre. White is the trustee of the Brite Ranch, the site of a cross-border raid by Mexicans on Christmas Day 1917, about a month before the Porvenir massacre. When I explained that the state-sanctioned extrajudicial execution of 15 men and boys met all the criteria I could think of for a massacre, he shot back, “It sounds like you already have your opinion.”

    For generations, ranching families like the Brites have dominated the social, economic and political life of Presidio County. In a visit to the Marfa & Presidio County Museum, I was told that there were almost no Hispanic surnames in any of the exhibits, though 84 percent of the county is Hispanic. The Brite family name, however, was everywhere.

    White and others in Presidio County subscribe to an alternative history of the Porvenir massacre, centering on the notion that the Porvenir residents were involved in the bloody Christmas Day raid.

    “They weren’t just simple farmers,” White told me, referring to the victims. “I seriously doubt that they were just killed for no reason.” Once he’d heard about the historical marker, he said, he’d talked to everyone he knew about it, including former Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Mona Blocker Garcia.

    I visited Garcia at her Marfa home, an 1886 adobe that’s the same age as the venerable Marfa County Courthouse down the street. Garcia, 82, is Anglo, and married to a former oil executive whose ancestry, she explained, is Spanish and French Basque. A Houston native, she retired in the 1990s to Marfa, where she befriended the Brite family and became involved in local history. She told me that she had shared a draft text of the marker with the Brites, and they had agreed that it was factually inaccurate.

    Garcia cited a story a Brite descendant had told her about a young goat herder from Porvenir who purportedly witnessed the Christmas Day raid, told authorities about the perpetrators from his community and then disappeared without a trace into a witness protection program in Oklahoma. When I asked if there was any evidence that the boy actually existed, she acknowledged the story was “folklore.” Still, she said, “the story has lasted 100 years. Why would anybody make something like that up?”

    The actual history is quite clear. In the days after the massacre, the Texas Rangers commander, Captain J.M. Fox, initially reported that Porvenir residents had fired on the Rangers. Later, he claimed that residents had participated in the Christmas Day raid. Subsequent investigations by the Mexican consulate, the U.S. Army and state Representative J.T. Canales concluded that the murdered men were unarmed and innocent, targeted solely because of their ethnicity by a vigilante force organized at the Brite Ranch. As a result, in June 1918, five Rangers were dismissed, Fox was forced to resign and Company B of the Texas Rangers was disbanded.

    But justice remained elusive. In the coming years, Fox re-enlisted as captain of Company A, while three of the dismissed lawmen found new employment. One re-enlisted as a Ranger, a second became a U.S. customs inspector and the third was hired by the Brite Ranch. No one was ever prosecuted. As time passed, the historical records of the massacre, including Harry Warren’s papers, affidavits from widows and other relatives and witness testimony from the various investigations, were largely forgotten. In their place came texts like Walter Prescott Webb’s The Texas Rangers: A Century of Frontier Defense, which played an outsize role in the creation of the heroic myth of the Texas Rangers. Relying entirely on interviews with the murderers themselves, Webb accepted at face value Fox’s discredited version of events. For more than 50 years, Webb’s account was considered the definitive one of the massacre — though, unsurprisingly, he didn’t use that word.

    An Observer review of hundreds of emails shows that the state commission was aware of potential controversy over the marker from the very beginning. In an email from 2015, Executive Director Mark Wolfe gave John Nau, the chair of the THC’s executive committee, a heads-up that while the marker was supported by historical scholarship, “the [Presidio County Historical Commission] opposes the marker.” The emails also demonstrate that the agency viewed the claims of historical inaccuracies in the marker text made by Mona Blocker Garcia and the county commission as minor issues of wording.

    On August 6, the day before the decision to halt the marker, Charles Sadnick, the history programs director, wrote Wolfe to say that the “bigger problem” was the ceremony, where he worried there might be disagreements among Presidio County residents, and which he described as “involving some politics which we don’t want a part of.”

    What were the politics that the commission was worried about, and where were these concerns coming from? Garcia’s last-minute letter may have been a factor, but it wasn’t the only one. For the entire summer, Glenn Justice, a right-wing amateur historian who lives in a rural gated community an hour outside San Angelo, had been the driving force behind a whisper campaign to discredit Martinez and scuttle the dedication ceremony.

    “There are radicals in the ‘brown power’ movement that only want the story told of Rangers and [the] Army and gringos killing innocent Mexicans,” Justice told me when we met in his garage, which doubles as the office for Rimrock Press, a publishing company whose catalog consists entirely of Justice’s own work. He was referring to Refusing to Forget and in particular Martinez, the marker’s sponsor.

    Justice has been researching the Porvenir massacre for more than 30 years, starting when he first visited the Big Bend as a graduate student. He claims to be, and probably is, the first person since schoolteacher Harry Warren to call Porvenir a “massacre” in print, in a master’s thesis published by the University of Texas at El Paso in 1991. Unlike White and Garcia, Justice doesn’t question the innocence of the Porvenir victims. But he believes that additional “context” is necessary to understand the reasons for the massacre, which he views as an aberration, rather than a representatively violent part of a long history of racism. “There have never been any problems between the races to speak of [in Presidio County],” he told me.

    In 2015, Justice teamed up with former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Sul Ross State University archaeologist David Keller on a privately funded excavation at the massacre site. He is working on a new book about the bullets and bullet casings they found — which he believes implicate the U.S. Army cavalry in the shooting — and also partnered with Patterson to produce a documentary. But they’d run out of money, and the film was taken over by noted Austin filmmaker Andrew Shapter, who pitched the project to PBS and Netflix. In the transition, Justice was demoted to the role of one of 12 consulting historians. Meanwhile, Martinez was given a prominent role on camera.

    Justice was disgruntled when he learned that the dedication ceremony would take place in El Paso. He complained to organizer Arlinda Valencia and local historical commission members before contacting Ponton, the county attorney, and Amanda Shields, a descendant of massacre victim Manuel Moralez.

    “I didn’t want to take my father to a mob scene,” Shields told me over the phone, by way of explaining her opposition to the dedication ceremony. She believed the rumor that O’Rourke and Gutiérrez would be involved.

    In August, Shields called Valencia to demand details about the program for the ceremony. At the time, she expressed particular concern about a potential Q&A event with Martinez that would focus on parallels between border politics and violence in 1918 and today.

    “This is not a political issue,” Shields told me. “It’s a historical issue. With everything that was going on, we didn’t want the ugliness of politics involved in it.” By “everything,” she explained, she was referring primarily to the issue of family separation. Benita and Buddy Albarado told me that Shields’ views represent a small minority of descendants.

    Martinez said that the idea of ignoring the connections between past and present went against her reasons for fighting to get a marker in the first place. “I’m a historian,” she said. “It’s hard to commemorate such a period of violence, in the midst of another ongoing humanitarian crisis, when this period of violence shaped the institutions of policing that we have today. And that cannot be relegated to the past.”

    After communicating with Justice and Shields, Ponton phoned THC Commissioner Gilbert “Pete” Peterson, who is a bank investment officer in Alpine. That call set in motion the sequence of events that would ultimately derail the marker. Peterson immediately emailed Wolfe, the state commission’s executive director, to say that the marker was becoming “a major political issue.” Initially, though, Wolfe defended the agency’s handling of the marker. “Frankly,” Wolfe wrote in his reply, “this might just be one where the [Presidio County Historical Commission] isn’t going to be happy, and that’s why these stories have been untold for so long.” Peterson wrote back to say that he had been in touch with members of the THC executive committee, which consists of 15 members appointed by either former Governor Rick Perry or Governor Greg Abbott, and that an email about the controversy had been forwarded to THC chair John Nau. Two days later, Peterson added, “This whole thing is a burning football that will be thrown to the media.”

    At a meeting of the Presidio County Historical Commission on August 17, Peterson suggested that the executive board played a major role in the decision to pause production of the marker. “I stopped the marker after talking to Rod [Ponton],” Peterson said. “I’ve spent quite a bit of time talking with the chairman and vice-chairman [of the THC]. What we have said, fairly emphatically, is that there will not be a dedication in El Paso.” Through a spokesperson, Wolfe said that the executive committee is routinely consulted and the decision was ultimately his.

    The spokesperson said, “The big reason that the marker was delayed was to be certain about its accuracy. We want these markers to stand for generations and to be as accurate as possible.”

    With no marker to unveil, Valencia still organized a small commemoration. Many descendants, including Benita and Buddy Albarado, chose not to attend. Still, the event was described by Jeff Davis, a THC representative in attendance, as “a near perfect event” whose tone was “somber and respectful but hopeful.”

    Most of THC’s executive committee members are not historians. The chair, John Nau, is CEO of the nation’s largest Anheuser-Busch distributor and a major Republican party donor. His involvement in the Porvenir controversy was not limited to temporarily halting the marker. In August, he also instructed THC staff to ask the Presidio historical commission to submit applications for markers commemorating raids by Mexicans on white ranches during the Mexican Revolution, which Nau described as “a significant but largely forgotten incident in the state’s history.”

    Garcia confirmed that she had been approached by THC staff. She added that the THC had suggested two specific topics: the Christmas Day raid and a subsequent raid at the Neville Ranch.

    The idea of additional plaques to provide so-called context that could be interpreted as justifying the massacre — or at the very least setting up a false moral equivalence — appears to have mollified critics like White, Garcia and Justice. The work on a revised Porvenir massacre text proceeded quickly, with few points of contention, once it began in mid-September. The marker was sent to the foundry on September 18.
    “It’s hard to commemorate such a period of violence, in the midst of another ongoing humanitarian crisis, when this period of violence shaped the institutions of policing that we have today.”

    In the end, the Porvenir descendants will get their marker — but it may come at a cost. Martinez called the idea of multiple markers “deeply unsettling” and not appropriate for the Undertold Marker program. “Events like the Brite Ranch raid and the Neville raid have been documented by historians for over a century,” she said. “These are not undertold histories. My concern with having a series of markers is that, again, it casts suspicion on the victims of these historical events. It creates the logic that these raids caused this massacre, that it was retribution for these men and boys participating.”

    In early November, the THC unexpectedly announced a dedication ceremony for Friday, November 30. The date was one of just a few on which Martinez, who was still planning on organizing several public history events in conjunction with the unveiling, had told the agency months prior that she had a schedule conflict. In an email to Martinez, Sadnick said that it was the only date Nau could attend this year, and that it was impossible for agency officials to make “secure travel plans” once the legislative session began in January.

    A handful of descendants, including Shields and the Albarados, still plan to attend. “This is about families having closure,” Shields told me. “Now, this can finally be put to rest.”

    The Albarados are livid that the THC chose a date that, in their view, prioritized the convenience of state and county officials over the attendance of descendants — including their own daughters, who feared they wouldn’t be able to get off work. They also hope to organize a second, unofficial gathering at the marker site next year, with the participation of more descendants and the Refusing to Forget historians. “We want people to know the truth of what really happened [at Porvenir],” Buddy told me, “and to know who it was that got this historical marker put there.”

    Others, like Arlinda Valencia, planned to stay home. “Over 100 years ago, our ancestors were massacred, and the reason they were massacred was because of lies that people were stating as facts,” she told me in El Paso. “They called them ‘bandits,’ when all they were doing was working and trying to make a living. And now, it’s happening again.”

    #mémoire #histoire #Texas #USA #massacre #assassinat #méxicains #violence #migrations #commémoration #historicisation #frontières #violence_aux_frontières #violent_borders #Mexique


  • Interview with The Co-Founder and Researcher at Fast.ai: Dr. Rachel Thomas
    https://hackernoon.com/interview-with-the-co-founder-and-researcher-at-fast-ai-dr-rachel-thomas

    Interview with Co-Founder and Researcher at Fast.ai: Dr. Rachel ThomasPart 12 of The series where I interview my heroes.During the past few interviews, I’ve had the chance of interacting with Kaggle Grandmasters, Technical Leaders, Practitioners, and Two Distinguished Researchers and an OpenAI Fellow.Today, I’m super excited to be interviewing one of my Role Models and gurus: Dr Rachel Thomas.Rachel is Co-Founder and researcher at Fast.ai, Assistant Professor at The Data Institute, USF.She holds a Ph.D. in Math from the Duke University.Dr Rachel ThomasAbout the Series:I have very recently started making some progress with my Self-Taught Machine Learning Journey. But to be honest, it wouldn’t be possible at all without the amazing community online and the great people that have helped me.In (...)

    #deep-learning #machine-learning #artificial-intelligence #data-science #fastai


  •  With the increasing variety of products in the machinery industry and the increasingly advanced technology, more mechanical products need to be processed. Usually, the processing of each mechanical component first needs to be formed by cutting the sheet, and then the subsequent grinding and polishing. The chamfering, after a series of processes, finally becomes a qualified mechanical component. The aluminum abrasive cutting disc is used as an assistant in the processing of mechanical parts. His quality, reliability, high efficiency and safety are the focus of each machining center when purchasing. Faced with the development trend of the future machinery industry, the future machining center’s requirements for cutting sheets tend to be as follows;
    First, the hardness of the 14 inches cutting disc, more and more new metal products in the future, then the hardness requirements of the cutting piece product are also more and more, the hardness of the cutting piece product determines everything of the product, currently, by the super hard cutting piece High precision and high efficiency grinding results have been widely recognized. 
    Second, the improvement of the physical structure of the cutting piece, such as increasing the number of abrasive grains acting on the workpiece per unit time, increasing the average length of the grinding, and increasing the grinding contact surface, all of which change the amount of grinding per unit time, effectively Improve the efficiency; the cutting piece that really improves the efficiency of the product can truly grasp the future market.
     With the development of the machinery industry in the future, more and more cutting film companies have begun to enter this market. Many companies have begun to update their product technology, hoping to develop more products that are more suitable for the development level of the machinery industry at that time.

    https://www.auroraabrasive.com/14-inches-cutting-disc
    https://www.auroraabrasive.com/6-inches-aluminum-oxide-abrasive-metal-cutting-disc


  •  With the increasing variety of products in the machinery industry and the increasingly advanced technology, more mechanical products need to be processed. Usually, the processing of each mechanical component first needs to be formed by cutting the sheet, and then the subsequent grinding and polishing. The chamfering, after a series of processes, finally becomes a qualified mechanical component. The aluminum abrasive cutting disc is used as an assistant in the processing of mechanical parts. His quality, reliability, high efficiency and safety are the focus of each machining center when purchasing. Faced with the development trend of the future machinery industry, the future machining center’s requirements for cutting sheets tend to be as follows;
    First, the hardness of the 14 inches cutting disc, more and more new metal products in the future, then the hardness requirements of the cutting piece product are also more and more, the hardness of the cutting piece product determines everything of the product, currently, by the super hard cutting piece High precision and high efficiency grinding results have been widely recognized. 
    Second, the improvement of the physical structure of the cutting piece, such as increasing the number of abrasive grains acting on the workpiece per unit time, increasing the average length of the grinding, and increasing the grinding contact surface, all of which change the amount of grinding per unit time, effectively Improve the efficiency; the cutting piece that really improves the efficiency of the product can truly grasp the future market.
     With the development of the machinery industry in the future, more and more cutting film companies have begun to enter this market. Many companies have begun to update their product technology, hoping to develop more products that are more suitable for the development level of the machinery industry at that time.

    https://www.auroraabrasive.com/14-inches-cutting-disc
    https://www.auroraabrasive.com/6-inches-aluminum-oxide-abrasive-metal-cutting-disc


  •  With the increasing variety of products in the machinery industry and the increasingly advanced technology, more mechanical products need to be processed. Usually, the processing of each mechanical component first needs to be formed by cutting the sheet, and then the subsequent grinding and polishing. The chamfering, after a series of processes, finally becomes a qualified mechanical component. The aluminum abrasive cutting disc is used as an assistant in the processing of mechanical parts. His quality, reliability, high efficiency and safety are the focus of each machining center when purchasing. Faced with the development trend of the future machinery industry, the future machining center’s requirements for cutting sheets tend to be as follows;
    First, the hardness of the 14 inches cutting disc, more and more new metal products in the future, then the hardness requirements of the cutting piece product are also more and more, the hardness of the cutting piece product determines everything of the product, currently, by the super hard cutting piece High precision and high efficiency grinding results have been widely recognized. 
    Second, the improvement of the physical structure of the cutting piece, such as increasing the number of abrasive grains acting on the workpiece per unit time, increasing the average length of the grinding, and increasing the grinding contact surface, all of which change the amount of grinding per unit time, effectively Improve the efficiency; the cutting piece that really improves the efficiency of the product can truly grasp the future market.
     With the development of the machinery industry in the future, more and more cutting film companies have begun to enter this market. Many companies have begun to update their product technology, hoping to develop more products that are more suitable for the development level of the machinery industry at that time.

    https://www.auroraabrasive.com/14-inches-cutting-disc
    https://www.auroraabrasive.com/6-inches-aluminum-oxide-abrasive-metal-cutting-disc


  •  With the increasing variety of products in the machinery industry and the increasingly advanced technology, more mechanical products need to be processed. Usually, the processing of each mechanical component first needs to be formed by cutting the sheet, and then the subsequent grinding and polishing. The chamfering, after a series of processes, finally becomes a qualified mechanical component. The aluminum abrasive cutting disc is used as an assistant in the processing of mechanical parts. His quality, reliability, high efficiency and safety are the focus of each machining center when purchasing. Faced with the development trend of the future machinery industry, the future machining center’s requirements for cutting sheets tend to be as follows;
    First, the hardness of the 14 inches cutting disc, more and more new metal products in the future, then the hardness requirements of the cutting piece product are also more and more, the hardness of the cutting piece product determines everything of the product, currently, by the super hard cutting piece High precision and high efficiency grinding results have been widely recognized. 
    Second, the improvement of the physical structure of the cutting piece, such as increasing the number of abrasive grains acting on the workpiece per unit time, increasing the average length of the grinding, and increasing the grinding contact surface, all of which change the amount of grinding per unit time, effectively Improve the efficiency; the cutting piece that really improves the efficiency of the product can truly grasp the future market.
     With the development of the machinery industry in the future, more and more cutting film companies have begun to enter this market. Many companies have begun to update their product technology, hoping to develop more products that are more suitable for the development level of the machinery industry at that time.

    https://www.auroraabrasive.com/14-inches-cutting-disc
    https://www.auroraabrasive.com/6-inches-aluminum-oxide-abrasive-metal-cutting-disc