provinceorstate:massachusetts

  • Democrats and Republicans Passing Soft Regulations - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/06/democrats-and-republicans-passing-soft-regulations/592558

    Your face is no longer just your face—it’s been augmented. At a football game, your face is currency, used to buy food at the stadium. At the mall, it is a ledger, used to alert salespeople to your past purchases, both online and offline, and shopping preferences. At a protest, it is your arrest history. At the morgue, it is how authorities will identify your body.

    Facial-recognition technology stands to transform social life, tracking our every move for companies, law enforcement, and anyone else with the right tools. Lawmakers are weighing the risks versus rewards, with a recent wave of proposed regulation in Washington State, Massachusetts, Oakland, and the U.S. legislature. In May, Republicans and Democrats in the House Committee on Oversight and Reform heard hours of testimony about how unregulated facial recognition already tracks protesters, impacts the criminal-justice system, and exacerbates racial biases. Surprisingly, they agreed to work together to regulate it.

    The Microsoft president Brad Smith called for governments “to start adopting laws to regulate this technology” last year, while the Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy echoed those comments in June, likening the technology to a knife. It’s a less dramatic image than the plutonium and nuclear-waste metaphors critics employ, but his message—coming from an executive at one of the world’s most powerful facial-recognition technology outfits—is clear: This stuff is dangerous.

    But crucially, Jassy and Smith seem to argue, it’s also inevitable. In calling for regulation, Microsoft and Amazon have pulled a neat trick: Instead of making the debate about whether facial recognition should be widely adopted, they’ve made it about how such adoption would work.

    Without regulation, the potential for misuse of facial-recognition technology is high, particularly for people of color. In 2016 the MIT researcher Joy Buolamwini published research showing that tech performs better on lighter-skinned men than on darker-skinned men, and performs worst on darker-skinned women. When the ACLU matched Congress members against a criminal database, Amazon’s Rekognition software misidentified black Congress members more often than white ones, despite there being far fewer black members.

    This includes House Chairman Elijah Cummings, a Baltimore native whose face was also scanned when he attended a 2015 rally in memory of Freddie Gray, the unarmed black teenager who died of a spinal-cord injury while in police custody. The Baltimore Police Department used facial recognition to identify protesters and target any with outstanding warrants. Most of the protesters were black, meaning the software used on them might have been less accurate, increasing the likelihood of misidentification. Expert witnesses at the committee hearing in May warned of a chilling effect: Protesters, wary of being identified via facial recognition and matched against criminal databases, could choose to stay home rather than exercise their freedom of assembly.

    Microsoft and Amazon both claim to have lessened the racial disparity in accuracy since the original MIT study and the ACLU’s report. But fine-tuning the technology to better recognize black faces is only part of the process: Perfectly accurate technology could still be used to support harmful policing, which affects people of color. The racial-accuracy problem is a distraction; how the technology is used matters, and that’s where policy could prevent abuse. And the solution Microsoft and Amazon propose would require auditing face recognition for racial and gender biases after they’re already in use—which might be too late.

    In early May, The Washington Post reported that police were feeding forensic sketches to their facial-recognition software. A witness described a suspect to a sketch artist, then police uploaded the sketch to Amazon’s Rekognition, looking for hits, and eventually arrested someone. Experts at the congressional hearing in May were shocked that a sketch submitted to a database could credibly qualify as enough reasonable suspicion to arrest someone.

    Read: Half of American adults are in police facial-recognition databases

    But Jassy, the Amazon Web Services CEO, claimed that Amazon has never received a report of police misuse. In May, Amazon shareholders voted down a proposal that would ban the sale of Rekognition to police, and halt sales to law enforcement and ICE. Jassy said that police should only rely on Rekognition results when the system is 99 percent confident in the accuracy of a match. This is a potentially critical safeguard against misidentification, but it’s just a suggestion: Amazon doesn’t require police to adhere to this threshold, or even ask. In January, Gizmodo quoted an Oregon sheriff’s official saying his department ignores thresholds completely. (“There has never been a single reported complaint from the public and no issues with the local constituency around their use of Rekognition,” a representative from Amazon said, in part, in a statement to Gizmodo.)

    #Reconnaissance_faciale #Libertés #Espace_public #Etat_policier

  • Russian biologist plans more CRISPR-edited babies
    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01770-x

    Je n’ai pas réussi à extraire une simple partie de ce texte, tant l’ensemble me semble complètement hors-jeu. Je partage l’avis de l’auteur de l’article : la folie et l’hubris scientifiques se serrent la main dans le dos de l’humanité. Choisir de surcroit des femmes en difficulté (HIV positive) est bien dans la lignée machiste d’une science qui impose plus qu’elle ne propose.

    La guerre internationale à la réputation, la course à « être le premier » (ici le masculin s’impose), la science sans conscience ne peuvent que provoquer ce genre de dérives. Il faudra réfléchir à une « slow science » et à un réel partage des découvertes, qui permettrait de prendre le temps du recul, et qui pourrait associer la société civile (ici au sens de celle qui n’est pas engagée dans la guerre des sciences).

    The proposal follows a Chinese scientist who claimed to have created twins from edited embryos last year.
    David Cyranoski

    Denis Rebrikov

    Molecular biologist Denis Rebrikov is planning controversial gene-editing experiments in HIV-positive women.

    A Russian scientist says he is planning to produce gene-edited babies, an act that would make him only the second person known to have done this. It would also fly in the face of the scientific consensus that such experiments should be banned until an international ethical framework has agreed on the circumstances and safety measures that would justify them.

    Molecular biologist Denis Rebrikov has told Nature he is considering implanting gene-edited embryos into women, possibly before the end of the year if he can get approval by then. Chinese scientist He Jiankui prompted an international outcry when he announced last November that he had made the world’s first gene-edited babies — twin girls.

    The experiment will target the same gene, called CCR5, that He did, but Rebrikov claims his technique will offer greater benefits, pose fewer risks and be more ethically justifiable and acceptable to the public. Rebrikov plans to disable the gene, which encodes a protein that allows HIV to enter cells, in embryos that will be implanted into HIV-positive mothers, reducing the risk of them passing on the virus to the baby in utero. By contrast, He modified the gene in embryos created from fathers with HIV, which many geneticists said provided little clinical benefit because the risk of a father passing on HIV to his children is minimal.

    Rebrikov heads a genome-editing laboratory at Russia’s largest fertility clinic, the Kulakov National Medical Research Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology and Perinatology in Moscow and is a researcher at the Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University, also in Moscow.

    According to Rebrikov he already has an agreement with an HIV centre in the city to recruit women infected with HIV who want to take part in the experiment.

    But scientists and bioethicists contacted by Nature are troubled by Rebrikov’s plans.

    “The technology is not ready,” says Jennifer Doudna, a University of California Berkeley molecular biologist who pioneered the CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing system that Rebrikov plans to use. “It is not surprising, but it is very disappointing and unsettling.”

    Alta Charo, a researcher in bioethics and law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison says Rebrikov’s plans are not an ethical use of the technology. “It is irresponsible to proceed with this protocol at this time,” adds Charo, who sits on a World Health Organization committee that is formulating ethical governance policies for human genome editing.
    Rules and regulations

    Implanting gene-edited embryos is banned in many countries. Russia has a law that prohibits genetic engineering in most circumstances, but it is unclear whether or how the rules would be enforced in relation to gene editing in an embryo. And Russia’s regulations on assisted reproduction do not explicitly refer to gene editing, according to a 2017 analysis of such regulations in a range of countries. (The law in China is also ambiguous: in 2003, the health ministry banned genetically modifying human embryos for reproduction but the ban carried no penalties and He’s legal status was and still is not clear).

    Rebrikov expects the health ministry to clarify the rules on the clinical use of gene-editing of embryos in the next nine months. Rebrikov says he feels a sense of urgency to help women with HIV, and is tempted to proceed with his experiments even before Russia hashes out regulations.

    To reduce the chance he would be punished for the experiments, Rebrikov plans to first seek approval from three government agencies, including the health ministry. That could take anywhere from one month to two years, he says.

    Konstantin Severinov, a molecular geneticist who recently helped the government design a funding program for gene-editing research, says such approvals might be difficult. Russia’s powerful Orthodox church opposes gene editing, says Severinov, who splits his time between Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey, and the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology near Moscow.

    Before any scientist attempts to implant gene-edited embryos into women there needs to be a transparent, open debate about the scientific feasibility and ethical permissibility, says geneticist George Daley at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, who also heard about Rebrikov’s plans from Nature.

    One reason that gene-edited embryos have created a huge global debate is that, if allowed to grow into babies, the edits can be passed on to future generations — a far-reaching intervention known as altering the germ line. Researchers agree that the technology might, one day, help to eliminate genetic diseases such as sickle-cell anaemia and cystic fibrosis, but much more testing is needed before it is used in the alteration of human beings.

    In the wake of He’s announcement, many scientists renewed calls for an international moratorium on germline editing. Although that has yet to happen, the World Health Organization, the US National Academy of Sciences, the UK’s Royal Society and other prominent organizations have all discussed how to stop unethical and dangerous uses — often defined as ones that pose unnecessary or excessive risk — of genome editing in humans.
    HIV-positive mothers

    Although He was widely criticized for conducting his experiments using sperm from HIV-positive fathers, his argument was that he just wanted to protect people against ever getting the infection. But scientists and ethicists countered that there are other ways to decrease the risk of infection, such as contraceptives. There are also reasonable alternatives, such as drugs, for preventing maternal transmission of HIV, says Charo.

    Rebrikov agrees, and so plans to implant embryos only into a subset of HIV-positive mothers who do not respond to standard anti-HIV drugs. Their risk of transmitting the infection to the child is higher. If editing successfully disables the CCR5 gene, that risk would be greatly reduced, Rebrikov says. “This is a clinical situation which calls for this type of therapy,” he says.

    Most scientists say there is no justification for editing the CCR5 gene in embryos, even so, because the risks don’t outweigh the benefits. Even if the therapy goes as planned, and both copies of the CCR5 gene in cells are disabled, there is still a chance that such babies could become infected with HIV. The cell-surface protein encoded by CCR5 is thought to be the gateway for some 90% of HIV infections, but getting rid of it won’t affect other routes of HIV infection. There are still many unknowns about the safety of gene editing in embryos, says Gaetan Burgio at the Australian National University in Canberra. And what are the benefits of editing this gene, he asks. “I don’t see them.”
    Hitting the target

    There are also concerns about the safety of gene editing in embryos more generally. Rebrikov claims that his experiment — which, like He’s, will use the CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing tool — will be safe.

    One big concern with He’s experiment — and with gene-editing in embryos more generally — is that CRISPR-Cas9 can cause unintended ‘off-target’ mutations away from the target gene, and that these could be dangerous if they, for instance, switched off a tumour-suppressor gene. But Rebrikov says that he is developing a technique that can ensure that there are no ‘off-target’ mutations; he plans to post preliminary findings online within a month, possibly on bioRxiv or in a peer-reviewed journal.

    Scientists contacted by Nature were sceptical that such assurances could be made about off-target mutations, or about another known challenge of using CRISPR-Cas 9 — so-called ‘on-target mutations’, in which the correct gene is edited, but not in the way intended.

    Rebrikov writes, in a paper published last year in the Bulletin of the RSMU, of which he is the editor in chief, that his technique disables both copies of the CCR5 gene (by deleting a section of 32 bases) more than 50% of the time. He says publishing in this journal was not a conflict of interest because reviewers and editors are blinded to a paper’s authors.

    But Doudna is sceptical of those results. “The data I have seen say it’s not that easy to control the way the DNA repair works.” Burgio, too, thinks that the edits probably led to other deletions or insertions that are difficult to detect, as is often the case with gene editing.

    Misplaced edits could mean that the gene isn’t properly disabled, and so the cell is still accessible to HIV, or that the mutated gene could function in a completely different and unpredictable way. “It can be a real mess,” says Burgio.

    What’s more, the unmutated CCR5 has many functions that are not yet well understood, but which offer some benefits, say scientists critical of Rebrikov’s plans. For instance, it seems to offer some protection against major complications following infection by the West Nile virus or influenza. “We know a lot about its [CCR5’s] role in HIV entry [to cells], but we don’t know much about its other effects,” says Burgio. A study published last week also suggested that people without a working copy of CCR5 might have a shortened lifespan.

    Rebrikov understands that if he proceeds with his experiment before Russia’s updated regulations are in place, he might be considered a second He Jiankui. But he says he would only do so if he’s sure of the safety of the procedure. “I think I’m crazy enough to do it,” he says.

    Nature 570, 145-146 (2019)
    doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-01770-x

  • Training a single AI model can emit as much carbon as five cars in their lifetimes - MIT Technology Review
    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/613630/training-a-single-ai-model-can-emit-as-much-carbon-as-five-cars-in

    In a new paper, researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, performed a life cycle assessment for training several common large AI models. They found that the process can emit more than 626,000 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent—nearly five times the lifetime emissions of the average American car (and that includes manufacture of the car itself).

    It’s a jarring quantification of something AI researchers have suspected for a long time. “While probably many of us have thought of this in an abstract, vague level, the figures really show the magnitude of the problem,” says Carlos Gómez-Rodríguez, a computer scientist at the University of A Coruña in Spain, who was not involved in the research. “Neither I nor other researchers I’ve discussed them with thought the environmental impact was that substantial.”

    They found that the computational and environmental costs of training grew proportionally to model size and then exploded when additional tuning steps were used to increase the model’s final accuracy. In particular, they found that a tuning process known as neural architecture search, which tries to optimize a model by incrementally tweaking a neural network’s design through exhaustive trial and error, had extraordinarily high associated costs for little performance benefit. Without it, the most costly model, BERT, had a carbon footprint of roughly 1,400 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent, close to a round-trip trans-American flight.

    What’s more, the researchers note that the figures should only be considered as baselines. “Training a single model is the minimum amount of work you can do,” says Emma Strubell, a PhD candidate at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the lead author of the paper. In practice, it’s much more likely that AI researchers would develop a new model from scratch or adapt an existing model to a new data set, either of which can require many more rounds of training and tuning.

    The significance of those figures is colossal—especially when considering the current trends in AI research. “In general, much of the latest research in AI neglects efficiency, as very large neural networks have been found to be useful for a variety of tasks, and companies and institutions that have abundant access to computational resources can leverage this to obtain a competitive advantage,” Gómez-Rodríguez says. “This kind of analysis needed to be done to raise awareness about the resources being spent [...] and will spark a debate.”

    “What probably many of us did not comprehend is the scale of it until we saw these comparisons,” echoed Siva Reddy, a postdoc at Stanford University who was not involved in the research.
    The privatization of AI research

    The results underscore another growing problem in AI, too: the sheer intensity of resources now required to produce paper-worthy results has made it increasingly challenging for people working in academia to continue contributing to research.

    #Intelligence_artificielle #Consommation_énergie #Empreinte_carbone

  • The Met Will Turn Down Sackler Money Amid Fury Over the Opioid Crisis - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/15/arts/design/met-museum-sackler-opioids.html

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art said on Wednesday that it would stop accepting gifts from members of the Sackler family linked to the maker of OxyContin, severing ties between one of the world’s most prestigious museums and one of its most prolific philanthropic dynasties.

    The decision was months in the making, and followed steps by other museums, including the Tate Modern in London and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, to distance themselves from the family behind Purdue Pharma. On Wednesday, the American Museum of Natural History said that it, too, had ceased taking Sackler donations.

    The moves reflect the growing outrage over the role the Sacklers may have played in the opioid crisis, as well as an energized activist movement that is starting to force museums to reckon with where some of their money comes from.

    “The museum takes a position of gratitude and respect to those who support us, but on occasion, we feel it’s necessary to step away from gifts that are not in the public interest, or in our institution’s interest,” said Daniel H. Weiss, the president of the Met. “That is what we’re doing here.”

    “There really aren’t that many people who are giving to art and giving to museums, in fact it’s a very small club,” said Tom Eccles, the executive director of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. “So we have to be a little careful what we wish for here.”

    There is also the difficult question of where to draw a line. What sort of behavior is inexcusable?

    “We are not a partisan organization, we are not a political organization, so we don’t have a litmus test for whom we take gifts from based on policies or politics,” said Mr. Weiss of the Met. “If there are people who want to support us, for the most part we are delighted.”

    “We would only not accept gifts from people if it in some way challenges or is counter to the core mission of the institution, in exceptional cases,” he added. “The OxyContin crisis in this country is a legitimate and full-blown crisis.”

    Three brothers, Arthur, Mortimer and Raymond Sackler, bought a small company called Purdue Frederick in 1952 and transformed it into the pharmaceutical giant it is today. In 1996, Purdue Pharma put the opioid painkiller OxyContin on the market, fundamentally altering the company’s fortunes.

    The family’s role in the marketing of OxyContin, and in the opioid crisis, has come under increased scrutiny in recent years. Documents submitted this year as part of litigation by the attorney general of Massachusetts allege that members of the Sackler family directed the company’s efforts to mislead the public about the dangers of the highly addictive drug. The company has denied the allegations and said it “neither created nor caused the opioid epidemic.”

    Nan Goldin, a photographer who overcame an OxyContin addiction, has led demonstrations at institutions that receive Sackler money; in March 2018, she and her supporters dumped empty pill bottles in the Sackler Wing’s reflecting pool.

    “We commend the Met for making the ethical, moral decision to refuse future funding from the Sacklers,” a group started by Ms. Goldin, Prescription Addiction Intervention Now, or PAIN, said in a statement. “Fourteen months after staging our first protest there, we’re gratified to know that our voices have been heard.”

    The group also called for the removal of the Sackler name from buildings the family has bankrolled. Mr. Weiss said that the museum would not take the more drastic step of taking the family’s name off the wing, saying that it was not in a position to make permanent changes while litigation against the family was pending and information was still coming to light.

    The Met also said that its board had voted to codify how the museum accepts named gifts, formalizing a longstanding practice of circulating those proposals through a chain of departments. The decision on the Sacklers, Mr. Weiss said, was made by the Met leadership in consultation with the board.

    #Opioides #Sackler #Musées

  • Tiens, Trump se pose des questions sur le #Venezuela, au moins sur la stratégie suivie jusque là, avec le succès que l’on sait…

    A frustrated Trump questions his administration’s Venezuela strategy - The Washington Post
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/a-frustrated-trump-questions-his-administrations-venezuela-strategy/2019/05/08/ad51561a-71a7-11e9-9f06-5fc2ee80027a_story.html

    President Trump is questioning his administration’s aggressive strategy in Venezuela following the failure of a U.S.-backed effort to oust President Nicolás Maduro, complaining he was misled about how easy it would be to replace the socialist strongman with a young opposition figure, according to administration officials and White House advisers.

    The president’s dissatisfaction has crystallized around national security adviser John Bolton and what Trump has groused is an interventionist stance at odds with his view that the United States should stay out of foreign quagmires.

    Trump has said in recent days that Bolton wants to get him “into a war” — a comment that he has made in jest in the past but that now betrays his more serious concerns, one senior administration official said.

    The administration’s policy is officially unchanged in the wake of a fizzled power play last week by U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó. But U.S. officials have since been more cautious in their predictions of Maduro’s swift exit, while reassessing what one official described as the likelihood of a diplomatic “long haul.

    U.S. officials point to the president’s sustained commitment to the Venezuela issue, from the first weeks of his presidency as evidence that he holds a realistic view of the challenges there and does not think there is a quick fix.

    But Trump has nonetheless complained over the past week that Bolton and others underestimated Maduro, according to three senior administration officials who like others interviewed for this story spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations.

    Opposition leader Juan Guaidó called on Venezuelans to protest April 30 and urged the military to “keep advancing” in efforts to oust President Nicolás Maduro. (Reuters)
    Trump has said that Maduro is a “tough cookie” and that aides should not have led him to believe that the Venezuelan leader could be ousted last week, when Guaidó led mass street protests that turned deadly.

    • U.S. defense leaders regard any military scenario involving boots on the ground in Venezuela as a quagmire and warn that standoff weapons such as Tomahawk missiles run a major risk of killing civilians. The White House has repeatedly asked for military planning short of an invasion, however.

      Officials said the options under discussion while Maduro is still in power include sending additional military assets to the region, increasing aid to neighboring countries such as Colombia and other steps to provide humanitarian assistance to displaced Venezuelans outside of Venezuela. More forward-leaning options include sending Navy ships to waters off Venezuela as a show of force.
      […]
      John D. Feeley, a former U.S. ambassador and Univision political analyst, said there is another reason that military intervention is unlikely.

      It runs counter to Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection narrative,” Feeley said. “At a time when you’re pulling people back from Syria, back from Iraq, back from Afghanistan, how do you say we’re going to commit 50-, 100-, 150,000 of our blood and treasure to a country where you can’t tell the bad guys from the good guys?

  • Les végans meilleurs soutiens de Nétanyaou ? Israël terre promise du vegan-washing Paul Aries - 24 Avril 2019 - Le Grand Soir
    https://www.legrandsoir.info/les-vegans-meilleurs-soutiens-de-netanyaou-israel-terre-promise-du-veg

    Un site végan me soupçonnait récemment d’antisémitisme (ce qui est un comble) parce que j’évoquais l’importance du lobby végan en Israël dans ma Lettre aux mangeurs de viandes qui souhaitent le rester sans culpabiliser (Larousse). Je vais cependant récidiver en m’abritant derrière le site autorisé de la Chambre de commerce France-Israël qui titrait, au lendemain de la réélection du candidat de la droite la plus dure : « Le véganisme : clé de la victoire de Nétanyaou ? ».

    La thèse, même sous forme interrogative, mérite le détour pour qui connait Israël. Il est exact que pour emporter les voix des « amis des animaux », Netanyahou a annoncé arrêter de consommer de la viande. Lors d’une conférence de presse donnée le 10 mars 2019, la députée Sharren Haskel, membre du parti du Likoud et proche de « Bibi », a annoncé que le Premier ministre et toute sa famille « avaient opté pour le végétarisme ». « Pas entièrement », a-t-elle ajouté à mi-mot. La presse conclut qu’en « s’entourant de cette figure appréciée par les défenseurs des bêtes, « Bibi » a probablement gagné des points dans les urnes ». Beaucoup de sites dont Actualité Israël ont repris aussitôt cette analyse. Sharren Haskel a joué effectivement un rôle central dans la véganisation de la droite. Ex-membre volontaire des commandos de la police des frontières, opposée récemment aux projets d’amélioration de la situation juridique des gays, reconnue comme proche idéologiquement du Tea Party des Etats-Unis, elle n’a cessé de se droitiser, au fils des années, expliquant, par exemple, qu’« ll n’y a pas d’armée plus morale dans le monde que la nôtre » (sic). Les journalistes s’interrogent cependant : « Deux questions émergent lorsqu’on constate l’importance de ces mouvements en Israël : y a-t-il un lien entre l’antispécisme et la spécificité historique d’Israël, à savoir sa définition comme « Etat des Juifs » ? Ensuite, cet engouement pour la cause animale a-t-il un lien avec le conflit israélo-palestinien ? ». La faute politique du candidat travailliste aurait été de ne jamais préciser si, de son côté, il mangeait encore du poulet, lit-on sous la plume des experts.

    L’instrumentalisation du véganisme à des fins politiques ne date pas cependant de cette seule période électorale ni même de la présence de Sharren Haskel. Nétanyaou se dit depuis longtemps favorable aux « lundis sans viande » et l’armée israélienne se proclame végane (alimentation et vêtements).

    Les faits sont assez têtus pour permettre de raconter une tout autre histoire. Cette pseudo « première nation végane » (comme on le lit dans la presse) reste l’un des pays au monde consommant le plus de viande (80 kilos par personne et par an contre 66 en France), notamment de poulets (57 kilos), et les végans, avec 8 % de la population, n’y sont guère plus nombreux qu’ailleurs… Alors pourquoi Israël passe-t-elle pour être le paradis des végans dans le monde ? L’Etat israélien est l’inventeur du vegan-washing en tant que stratégie politique.

    Israël a été d’abord le laboratoire d’une expérience grandeur nature, en matière de conversion, puisque 60 % des téléspectateurs réguliers de l’émission de télé-réalité « Big Brother » ont changé leur façon de manger. Tel Gilboa (née en 1978), fondatrice du Front israélien de libération des animaux (ALF) en 2013, a remporté la sixième édition de « Big Brother » en 2014, en utilisant, avec la complicité de la production, l’émission pour propager, en prime time, le véganisme, et ceci durant trois mois et demi… Végan France titrait le 10 février 2016 : « Une activiste végane remporte « Big Brother » ». Elle portait pour la finale un T-shirt « Go Végan », son opposant en finale (Eldad) était aussi végan, comme d’ailleurs 4 des 18 occupants de la « maison ». On sait aujourd’hui qu’elle a bénéficié d’une véritable mise en scène, un autre candidat était un pseudo-éleveur bovin engagé par la production et dont le rôle était de provoquer et de pousser la participation végane, la production a même autorisé l’ami de Tal à venir parler de véganisme devant les résidents de la « maison » et leur a projeté une vidéo sur l’industrie des œufs, de la viande et du lait, séance enregistrée puis projetée à la télévision, avec une séquence montrant les résidents fondant en larmes. Yoram Zack, directeur de la production, a prononcé un discours après sa victoire : « Il y a cent neuf jours vous êtes entrée dans la maison pour accomplir une mission. Vous êtes venue ici pour servir de voix à ceux qui ne peuvent pas parler . »

    Cette belle aventure n’est pas sans lien avec le fait que le gouvernement israélien a choisi de faire des biotechnologies (notamment dans le domaine agricole) un secteur de pointe, avec la fondation de plus 1 350 firmes, dont 612 créées depuis 2007, et qui mobilisent 20 % du total des investissements. Un exemple : la start-up SuperMeat commercialise une viande vegan friendly , grâce à un blanc de poulet issu de cultures cellulaires, les cellules sont prélevées par biopsie puis cultivées industriellement en laboratoire, elles se nourrissent d’acides aminés d’origine végétale et de glucose. L’association #L214 a relayé l’appel aux dons à SuperMeat sur Facebook. Le professeur Yaakov Nahmias, cofondateur et directeur de recherche de SuperMeat, est aussi directeur du Grass Center for Bioengineering de l’Université hébraïque de Jérusalem et membre du Broad Institute de Harvard et du Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Ces projets sont soutenus par des organisations comme l’ONG A #Well-fed_World (Un monde bien nourri) qui distribue de l’alimentation végane aux nécessiteux. Cette ONG travaille avec le Fonds international pour l’Afrique afin de généraliser des repas scolaires strictement végétariens (Éthiopie). La #Modern_Agriculture_Foundation et l’université de Tel-Aviv ont lancé, en 2014, un projet de viande de poulet cultivée, sous la direction d’Amit Gefen, un des principaux experts mondiaux en ingénierie tissulaire. La firme #Jet-Eat vient de lancer la première imprimante alimentaire 3D végane…au monde.

    Cette belle aventure n’est pas non plus sans lien avec la possibilité que donne le #vegan-washing de laver plus blanc l’Etat d’Israël et sa politique de colonisation.

    Gary Yourofsky, le meilleur VRP végan en Israël
    Le militant étasunien Gary Yourofsky est l’un des nouveaux visages du véganisme israélien. Sa vidéo a été visionnée par plus d’un million d’habitants sur une population de huit millions, ses conférences font le plein et attirent l’élite de la société y compris des politiques comme Tzipi Livni (ancienne agente du Mossad, ancienne députée, elle vient d’abandonner la politique) … à tel point que la presse se demandait si Netanyaou n’irait pas la prochaine fois dans le cadre de sa stratégie assister à une conférence de Yourofsky. Gary Yourofsky ne recycle pas seulement les plus vieux clichés du végétarisme, l’humanité serait herbivore, toutes les maladies majeures seraient dues à la consommation carnée, car il se veut aussi ouvertement misanthrope et « dérape » souvent : « Au fond de moi, j’espère sincèrement que l’oppression, la torture et le meurtre se retournent dix fois contre les hommes qui s’en moquent ! Je souhaite que des pères tirent accidentellement sur leurs fils à l’occasion des parties de chasse, pendant que les carnivores succombent lentement à des crises cardiaques. Que chaque femme emmitouflée dans la fourrure doive endurer un viol si brutal qu’elle en soit marquée à vie. Et que chaque homme couvert de fourrure se fasse sodomiser si violemment que ses organes internes en soient détruits. Que chaque cowboy et chaque matador soit encorné jusqu’à la mort, que les tortionnaires du cirque se fassent piétiner par des éléphants et lacérer par des tigres . » Gary Yourofsky a pris position également en faveur d’Israël contre la Palestine : « Alors que les Israéliens sont dans un processus de destruction des industries de viande, de produits laitiers et d’œufs – ce qui amènera à l’éradication des camps de concentration pour les animaux, les Palestiniens et leurs sympathisants “droitdelhommistes”, psychotiques, sont en train de construire encore plus de camps pour les animaux ! […] Les Palestiniens sont le problème. C’est le groupe de personnes le plus psychotique du monde . »

    Cette position n’est malheureusement pas isolée. Eyal Megged appelle Netanyahou à faire d’Israël la terre des droits des animaux plutôt que de chercher inutilement une paix impossible avec les Palestiniens . Aeyal Gross, professeur israélien de droit international, s’insurge : « Le végétarisme devient un outil pour améliorer l’image des forces de défense israélienne, ou celle d’Israël dans son ensemble […] À Tel-Aviv aujourd’hui, il est beaucoup plus facile de trouver de la nourriture dont la préparation n’a pas impliqué l’exploitation des animaux que de trouver une nourriture dont la production n’a pas entraîné l’oppression et le déracinement d’autres êtres humains ». Le mouvement palestinien de défense des animaux dénonce Israël comme le premier pays du monde à faire du vegan-washing (blanchiment de l’image par le véganisme comme d’autres font du green-washing alors qu’ils bousillent la planète). On peut lire sur le site de Palestinian Animal League la mise en garde suivante : « Israël utilise le vegan washing pour couvrir les dégâts causés aux vies palestiniennes et au véganisme en Palestine, et obtient maintenant le soutien international de végétaliens bien connus, qui sont intentionnellement ou involontairement des outils dans le jeu de vegan washing du « paradis végétarien ». Les Palestiniens dénoncent ainsi le rôle d’institutions de propagande comme Vibe Israël qui invite d’éminents blogueurs végétaliens à visiter « l’empire végan appelé Israël ». Le mouvement palestinien accuse aussi Binthnight Israël, une association de défense d’Israël auprès des juifs du monde entier, d’avoir ajouté à son programme « Israël pour les végans »… Les palestiniens rappellent que la plus grande partie des productions véganes est réalisée dans les colonies israéliennes illégales à l’intérieur des territoires palestiniens.
    
Le gouvernement israélien, et notamment, son armée communique sur « Tsahal, l’armée la plus vegane au monde… », de là à soutenir qu’elle fait une guerre propre, le passage est souvent étroit).

    Cette propagande consistant à utiliser le véganisme pour légitimer la politique d’Israël fonctionne à plein au sein des multiples relais communautaires. Le JForum.fr (portail juif francophone) a ouvert un Forum sur « Israël, terre promise des végans ». Infos-Israël.News ajoute qu’Israël, paradis pour les végétariens mérite le détour et le soutien actif… L’association végétarienne de France titre « Ici, il fait bon être végé ! » et intègre Tel-Aviv « nation végane selon le Ministère du tourisme » dans les lieux de vacances de tout bon végan. Tribune Juive se fait l’écho cependant du débat qui secoue la communauté.

    Israël champion du vegan-washing ?
    Jérôme Segal nous aide à comprendre les raisons du véganisme israélien. Il y voit déjà une idéologie de substitution pour une gauche orpheline de victoires. Il cite le rôle des juifs, comme Peter Singer et Henry Spira, dans la naissance du véganisme. Il prolonge, également l’analyse de Jean Stern, selon lequel le pinkwashing était une stratégie politique visant à promouvoir Tel-Aviv comme capitale mondiale de la tolérance envers les minorités sexuelles dans le seul but de présenter le pays autrement que comme un Etat épinglé par des associations humanitaires pour ses manquements aux droits humains. Jérôme Segal parle donc du vegan-washing comme d’une stratégie délibérée servant les intérêts militaristes, colonialistes, économiques de l’Etat israélien. Le journaliste Gidéon Levy (éditorialiste au quotidien Haaretz) explique que le véganisme permet de mieux camoufler ce qui se passe en Cisjordanie. La gauche israélienne a tenté naturellement de surfer sur ce courant végan (comme certains dirigeants politiques de la gauche française le font encore). Conséquence : la gauche est de plus en plus marginalisée en Israël, au point que le seul parti qui ose encore se dire de gauche aujourd’hui, Meretz, n’a obtenu que 3,6 % des suffrages en avril 2019. Ce n’est pas pourtant faute d’avoir fait des efforts, puisque Tamar Zandberg, député du Meretz, est l’organisateur de la journée végane, au sein même de la Knesset, réunissant tous les députés…

    La gauche et les milieux écologistes israéliens ne parviendront à retrouver une parole forte qu’en se portant à la défense de l’élevage paysan israélien et palestinien.

    Paul Ariès

    #végan #biotechnologies #véganisation de la droite #antispécisme #vegan-washing #SuperMeat #vibe_israël #végétalisme #tsahal
    #sharren_haskel https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharren_Haskel
    #gary_yourofsky https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Yourofsky
    # Tzipi_Livni https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tzipi_Livni
    . . . . . . . . .

  • Recent Poll Showing Biden in Lead Confuses and Distorts Support for Bernie Sanders
    https://gritpost.com/recent-poll-biden-confuses-distorts-support-bernie

    In the poll released April 30, Biden is shown with an impressive 24-point edge over Sanders, with 39% of voters saying they supported him, compared to just 15% for the Vermont senator. However, a Grit Post analysis of the results found that the poll largely excluded voters under the age of 50 in coming to that conclusion.

    Also, the poll didn’t give respondents the option to offer their approval or disapproval of Sen. Sanders, even though the poll did ask respondents to give their approval or disapproval of lesser-known candidates like Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Massachusetts), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), and Eric Swalwell (D-California), and even Miramar, Florida mayor Wayne Messam.

    “We’d like to get your overall opinion of some people in the news. As I read each name, please say if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of these people – or if you have never heard of them. How about Joe Biden?” the poll asked. “How about Pete Buttigieg? … How about Kirsten Gillibrand? … How about Tim Ryan? … How about Eric Swalwell? … How about Seth Moulton?”

    The phrase “How about Bernie Sanders?” does not appear in the poll.

  • Le #microbiote intestinal bientôt sauvegardé dans une grande #bibliothèque
    https://www.courrierinternational.com/article/interview-le-microbiote-intestinal-bientot-sauvegarde-dans-un

    Les bactéries présentes dans notre intestin sont essentielles pour notre santé, mais du fait de l’urbanisation et de l’utilisation d’antibiotiques, le microbiote humain, autrefois d’une grande diversité, tend à s’appauvrir. Eric Alm veut y remédier. Biologiste au Massachusetts Institute of Technology [MIT, près de Boston], il a mis sur pied le Global Microbiome Conservancy [Société de conservation du #microbiome planétaire], organisme à but non lucratif. Son but : prélever des échantillons de selles auprès de peuples indigènes et isolés en vue de constituer une collection de leurs hôtes intestinaux, avant qu’ils ne disparaissent.

  • Jordi Ruiz Cirera | Mexico-based Photographer

    http://jordiruizphotography.com/info-contact/info

    http://jordiruizphotography.com/work/ramallahs-youth-at-a-crossroads


    

    Jordi Ruiz Cirera is an independent documentary photographer and filmmaker from Barcelona, based in Mexico. Devoted to long-term projects, Jordi focuses on the effects of globalisation in small communities and how they are adapting to it, and, since relocating in Mexico City, on migration issues across the Americas.

    He is a recipient of Magnum Foundation’s Emergency Fund and winner of global awards including the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery in London, Magnum’s 30 under 30, POYi, Lucie Awards, Magenta Flash Forward and the AOP’s Student Photographer of the Year. His work has been exhibited widely in galleries and at festivals, and belongs to a number of private collections.

    Jordi’s work has appeared in international publications that include The New York Times, The Sunday Times Magazine, The Guardian, Le Monde M and National Geographic’s Proof. He also works on commissions for corporate clients and non-profits such as MSF / Doctors Without Borders, the United Nations and Save the Children.

    In 2014, Jordi published his first monograph, Los Menonos, with independent publishing house Éditions du LIC. He holds a BA degree in design and an MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from the London College of Communication. Jordi is a member of Panos Pictures.

    #palstine #ramallah #photographie

  • Purdue’s Sackler family fights ’inflammatory’ Massachusetts opioid case | Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-opioids-litigation/purdues-sackler-family-fights-inflammatory-massachusetts-opioid-case-idUSL1

    La nouvelle bataille juridique des Sackler : expliquer qu’ils étaient juste les crétins utiles de Purdue Pharma votant les budgets.

    BOSTON, April 2 (Reuters) - Members of the Sackler family behind OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP have asked a judge to toss a lawsuit by Massachusetts’ attorney general claiming they helped fuel the U.S. opioid epidemic, arguing it contains “misleading and inflammatory allegations.”

    The wealthy family in a motion on Monday argued that Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who brought the suit, had mischaracterized internal records to create the “false impression” they personally directed privately-held Purdue’s marketing of painkillers.

    Her lawsuit, filed in June in Suffolk County Superior Court and revised earlier this year to include new allegations, was the first by a state to try to hold Sackler family members personally responsible for contributing to the opioid epidemic.

    The case is among roughly 2,000 lawsuits filed by state and local governments seeking to hold Purdue and other pharmaceutical companies responsible for the U.S. opioid crisis.

    Opioids were involved in a record 47,600 overdose deaths in 2017 in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Healey’s complaint cites records to argue that family members, including Purdue’s former President Richard Sackler, personally directed deceptive opioid marketing while making $4.2 billion from Purdue from 2008 to 2016.

    They did so even after Purdue and three executives in 2007 pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the misbranding of OxyContin and agreed to pay a total of $634.5 million in penalties, the lawsuit said.

    Advertisement

    But in their motion, the Sacklers said nothing in the complaint supports allegations they personally took part in efforts to mislead doctors and the public about the benefits and addictive risks of opioids.

    They said their role was limited to that of typical corporate board members who participated in “routine” votes to ratify the management’s staffing and budget proposals.

    “Not a single document shows an individual director engaging in any unlawful conduct regarding the sale of prescription opioids or ordering anyone else to do so,” the Sacklers’ lawyers wrote.

    Healey’s office had no comment.

    At least 35 states have cases pending against Purdue. A handful have also named Sackler family members as defendants, including Richard Sackler, Theresa Sackler and Mortimer D.A. Sackler.

    Last week, Purdue reached its first settlement in the recent wave of lawsuits, agreeing with the Sacklers to a $270 million deal with Oklahoma’s attorney general. The Sacklers were not named as defendants in Oklahoma’s lawsuit.

    Purdue had been exploring filing for bankruptcy before the accord’s announcement, Reuters reported in early March. (Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston Editing by Noeleen Walder and Tom Brown)

    #Opioides #Sackler #Cynisme

  • Lawsuits Lay Bare Sackler Family’s Role in Opioid Crisis - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/01/health/sacklers-oxycontin-lawsuits.html

    The Sacklers had a new plan.

    It was 2014, and the company the family had controlled for two generations, Purdue Pharma, had been hit with years of investigations and lawsuits over its marketing of the highly addictive opioid painkiller OxyContin, at one point pleading guilty to a federal felony and paying more than $600 million in criminal and civil penalties.

    But as the country’s addiction crisis worsened, the Sacklers spied another business opportunity. They could increase their profits by selling treatments for the very problem their company had helped to create: addiction to opioids.

    The filings cite numerous records, emails and other documents showing that members of the family continued to push aggressively to expand the market for OxyContin and other opioids for years after the company admitted in a 2007 plea deal that it had misrepresented the drug’s addictive qualities and potential for abuse.

    In addition to New York and Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Utah have filed suit against members of the family. Last month, a coalition of more than 500 counties, cities and Native American tribes named the Sacklers in a case in the Southern District of New York, bringing the family into a bundle of 1,600 opioids cases being overseen by a federal court judge in Cleveland.

    In 2009, two years after the federal guilty plea, Mortimer D.A. Sackler, a board member, demanded to know why the company wasn’t selling more opioids, email traffic cited by Massachusetts prosecutors showed.

    In 2011, as states looked for ways to curb opioid prescriptions, family members peppered the sales staff with questions about how to expand the market for the drugs. Mortimer asked if they could sell a generic version of OxyContin in order to “capture more cost sensitive patients,” according to one email. Kathe, his half sister, suggested studying patients who had switched to OxyContin to see if they could find patterns that could help them win new customers, according to court filings in Massachusetts.

    The lawsuits brought by the attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts, Letitia James and Maura Healey, named eight Sackler family members: Kathe, Mortimer, Richard, Jonathan and Ilene Sackler Lefcourt — children of either Mortimer or Raymond Sackler — along with Theresa Sackler, the elder Mortimer’s widow; Beverly Sackler, Raymond’s widow; and David Sackler, a grandson of Raymond.

    Purdue’s business was fundamentally changed after the F.D.A. approved OxyContin in 1995. The company marketed the drug as a long-acting painkiller that was less addictive than shorter-acting rivals like Percocet and Vicodin, a strategy aimed at reducing the stigma attached to opioids among doctors.

    While the Sacklers “have reduced Purdue’s operations and size, Rhodes continues to grow and sell opioids for the benefit of the Sackler families,” the New York suit contends.

    By 2016, Rhodes, though little known to the public, had a greater share of the American prescription opioid market than Purdue, according to a Financial Times analysis. Together, the companies ranked seventh in terms of the market share of opioids.

    Purdue temporarily abandoned plans to pursue Project Tango in 2014, but revived the idea two years later, this time pursuing a plan to sell naloxone, an overdose-reversing drug, according to the Massachusetts filing. A few months later, in December 2016, Richard, Jonathan and Mortimer Sackler discussed buying a company that used implantable drug pumps to treat opioid addiction.

    In recent years, the Sacklers and their companies have been developing products for opioid and overdose treatment on various tracks. Last year, Richard Sackler was awarded a patent for a version of buprenorphine, a drug that blocks opioid receptors, administered by mouth in a thin film. In March, the F.D.A. fast tracked the company’s application for an injectable drug for emergency treatment of overdoses.

    Fait très rare, cet article comporte de nombreuses photos des membres de la famille Sackler

    #Opioides #Sackler #Procès

  • Dick Dale, the Inventor of Surf Rock, Was a Lebanese-American Kid from Boston
    https://www.newyorker.com/culture/postscript/dick-dale-the-inventor-of-surf-rock-was-a-lebanese-american-kid-from-bost

    Dale died on Saturday, at age eighty-one. It’s perhaps curious, at first glance, that a Lebanese-American kid from Boston invented a genre known as surf rock, but such is Dale’s story. He was born Richard Monsour in 1937; several decades earlier, his paternal grandparents had immigrated to the U.S. from Beirut.

    [...]

    Dale’s work was directly and mightily informed by the Arabic music that he listened to as a child. “My music comes from the rhythm of Arab songs,” Dale told the journalist George Baramki Azar, in 1998. “The darbukkah, along with the wailing style of Arab singing, especially the way they use the throat, creates a very powerful force.”

    • Puisque semi #Paywall :

      Dick Dale, the Inventor of Surf Rock, Was a Lebanese-American Kid from Boston
      Amanda Petrusich, The New-Yorker, le 18 mars 2019

      Like a lot of people in my generation, I heard Dick Dale’s “Misirlou” for the first time in the opening credits of Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction.” It was 1994, I was fourteen, and my friend Bobby, who had both a license and a car, had driven us to the fancy movie theatre, the one with the un-ripped seats and slightly artier films. We were aspiring aesthetes who dreamed of one day being described as pretentious; by Thanksgiving, we had made half a dozen trips to see “Pulp Fiction.” Each time “Miserlou” played—and Tarantino lets it roll on, uninterrupted, for over a minute—I gripped my cardboard tub of popcorn a little tighter. I simply could not imagine a cooler way to start a movie. “Misirlou” is only two minutes and fifteen seconds long, all told, but it communicates an extraordinary amount of menace. Dale yelps periodically, as if he’s being hotly pursued. One is left only with the sense that something terrible and great is about to occur.

      Dale died on Saturday, at age eighty-one. It’s perhaps curious, at first glance, that a Lebanese-American kid from Boston invented a genre known as surf rock, but such is Dale’s story. He was born Richard Monsour in 1937; several decades earlier, his paternal grandparents had immigrated to the U.S. from Beirut. Dale bought his first guitar used, for eight dollars, and paid it off twenty-five or fifty cents at a time. He liked Hank Williams’s spare and searching cowboy songs—his stage name is a winking homage to the cheekiness of the country-music circuit—but he was particularly taken by the effervescent and indefatigable drumming of Gene Krupa. His guitar style is rhythmic, prickly, biting: “That’s why I play now with that heavy staccato style like I’m playing drums,” he told the Miami New Times, in 2018. “I actually started playing on soup cans and flower pots while listening to big band.” When he was a senior in high school, his family moved from Massachusetts to El Segundo, California, so that his father, a machinist, could take a job at Howard Hughes’s aerospace company. That’s when Dale started surfing.

      As far as subgenres go, surf rock is fairly specialized: the term refers to instrumental rock music made in the first half of the nineteen-sixties, in southern California, in which reverb-laden guitars approximate, in some vague way, the sound of a crashing wave. Though it is tempting to fold in bands like the Beach Boys, who often sang about surfing, surf rock was wet and gnarly and unconcerned with romance or sweetness. The important part was successfully evincing the sensation of riding atop a rushing crest of water and to capture something about that experience, which was both tense and glorious: man versus sea, man versus himself, man versus the banality and ugliness of life on land. Its biggest question was: How do we make this thing sound the way that thing feels? Surfing is an alluring sport in part because it combines recklessness with grace. Dale’s music did similar work. It was as audacious as it was beautiful.

      For six months, beginning on July 1, 1961, Dale set up at the Rendezvous Ballroom, an old dance hall on the Balboa Peninsula, in Newport Beach, and tried to bring the wildness of the Pacific Ocean inside. His song “Let’s Go Trippin’,” which he started playing that summer, is now widely considered the very first surf-rock song. He recorded it in September, and it reached No. 60 on the Hot 100. His shows at the Rendezvous were often referred to as stomps, and they routinely sold out. It is hard not to wonder now what it must have felt like in that room: the briny air, a bit of sand in everyone’s hair, Dale shredding so loud and so hard that the windows rattled. He was messing around with reverb and non-Western scales, ideas that had not yet infiltrated rock music in any meaningful way. Maybe you took a beer outside and let his guitar fade into the sound of the surf. Maybe you stood up close, near a speaker, and felt every bone in your body clack together.

      Dale’s work was directly and mightily informed by the Arabic music that he listened to as a child. “My music comes from the rhythm of Arab songs,” Dale told the journalist George Baramki Azar, in 1998. “The darbukkah, along with the wailing style of Arab singing, especially the way they use the throat, creates a very powerful force.”

      Dale was left-handed, and he preferred to play a custom-made Fender Stratocaster guitar at an indecent volume. (After he exploded enough amplifiers, Fender also made him a custom amplifier—the Dick Dale Dual Showman.) His version of “Misirlou” is gorgeously belligerent. Though it feels deeply American—it is so heavy with the energy of teen-agers, hot rods, and wide suburban boulevards—“Misirlou” is in fact an eastern Mediterranean folk song. The earliest recorded version is Greek, from 1927, and it was performed in a style known as rebetiko, itself a complex mélange of Orthodox chanting, indigenous Greek music, and the Ottoman songs that took root in Greek cities during the occupation. (A few years back, I spent some time travelling through Greece for a Times Magazine story about indigenous-Greek folk music; when I heard “Misirlou” playing from a 78-r.p.m. record on a gramophone on the outskirts of Athens—a later, slower version, recorded by an extraordinary oud player named Anton Abdelahad—I nearly choked on my cup of wine.)

      That a song written at least a century before and thousands of miles away could leave me quaking in a movie theatre in suburban New York City in 1994 is so plainly miraculous and wonderful—how do we not toast Dale for being the momentary keeper of such a thing? He eventually released nine studio albums, beginning in 1962 and ending in 2001. (In 2019, he was still touring regularly and had new dates scheduled for this spring and summer.) There’s some footage of Dale playing “Misirlou” on “Later…with Jools Holland,” in 1996, when he was nearly sixty years old. His hair has thinned, and he’s wearing a sweatband across his forehead. A feathery earring hangs from one ear. The dude is going for it in a big way. It feels like a plume of smoke is about to start rising from the strings of his guitar. His fingers never stop moving. It’s hard to see the faces of the audience members, but I like to think that their eyes were wide, and they were thinking of the sea.

      Amanda Petrusich is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of, most recently, “Do Not Sell at Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World’s Rarest 78rpm Records.”

    • Dale’s work was directly and mightily informed by the Arabic music that he listened to as a child. “My music comes from the rhythm of Arab songs,” Dale told the journalist George Baramki Azar, in 1998. “The darbukkah, along with the wailing style of Arab singing, especially the way they use the throat, creates a very powerful force.”

  • China Uses DNA to Track Its People, With the Help of American Expertise - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/21/business/china-xinjiang-uighur-dna-thermo-fisher.html

    Collecting genetic material is a key part of China’s campaign, according to human rights groups and Uighur activists. They say a comprehensive DNA database could be used to chase down any Uighurs who resist conforming to the campaign.

    Police forces in the United States and elsewhere use genetic material from family members to find suspects and solve crimes. Chinese officials, who are building a broad nationwide database of DNA samples, have cited the crime-fighting benefits of China’s own genetic studies.

    To bolster their DNA capabilities, scientists affiliated with China’s police used equipment made by Thermo Fisher, a Massachusetts company. For comparison with Uighur DNA, they also relied on genetic material from people around the world that was provided by Kenneth Kidd, a prominent Yale University geneticist.

    On Wednesday, Thermo Fisher said it would no longer sell its equipment in Xinjiang, the part of China where the campaign to track Uighurs is mostly taking place. The company said separately in an earlier statement to The New York Times that it was working with American officials to figure out how its technology was being used.

    Dr. Kidd said he had been unaware of how his material and know-how were being used. He said he believed Chinese scientists were acting within scientific norms that require informed consent by DNA donors.

    China’s campaign poses a direct challenge to the scientific community and the way it makes cutting-edge knowledge publicly available. The campaign relies in part on public DNA databases and commercial technology, much of it made or managed in the United States. In turn, Chinese scientists have contributed Uighur DNA samples to a global database, potentially violating scientific norms of consent.

    Cooperation from the global scientific community “legitimizes this type of genetic surveillance,” said Mark Munsterhjelm, an assistant professor at the University of Windsor in Ontario who has closely tracked the use of American technology in Xinjiang.

    #Génomique #DNA_database #Chine #Surveillance #Consentement

  • New report exposes global reach of powerful governments who equip, finance and train other countries to spy on their populations

    Privacy International has today released a report that looks at how powerful governments are financing, training and equipping countries — including authoritarian regimes — with surveillance capabilities. The report warns that rather than increasing security, this is entrenching authoritarianism.

    Countries with powerful security agencies are spending literally billions to equip, finance, and train security and surveillance agencies around the world — including authoritarian regimes. This is resulting in entrenched authoritarianism, further facilitation of abuse against people, and diversion of resources from long-term development programmes.

    The report, titled ‘Teach ’em to Phish: State Sponsors of Surveillance’ is available to download here.

    Examples from the report include:

    In 2001, the US spent $5.7 billion in security aid. In 2017 it spent over $20 billion [1]. In 2015, military and non-military security assistance in the US amounted to an estimated 35% of its entire foreign aid expenditure [2]. The report provides examples of how US Departments of State, Defense, and Justice all facilitate foreign countries’ surveillance capabilities, as well as an overview of how large arms companies have embedded themselves into such programmes, including at surveillance training bases in the US. Examples provided include how these agencies have provided communications intercept and other surveillance technology, how they fund wiretapping programmes, and how they train foreign spy agencies in surveillance techniques around the world.

    The EU and individual European countries are sponsoring surveillance globally. The EU is already spending billions developing border control and surveillance capabilities in foreign countries to deter migration to Europe. For example, the EU is supporting Sudan’s leader with tens of millions of Euros aimed at capacity building for border management. The EU is now looking to massively increase its expenditure aimed at building border control and surveillance capabilities globally under the forthcoming Multiannual Financial Framework, which will determine its budget for 2021–2027. Other EU projects include developing the surveillance capabilities of security agencies in Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Somalia, Iraq and elsewhere. European countries such as France, Germany, and the UK are sponsoring surveillance worldwide, for example, providing training and equipment to “Cyber Police Officers” in Ukraine, as well as to agencies in Saudi Arabia, and across Africa.

    Surveillance capabilities are also being supported by China’s government under the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ and other efforts to expand into international markets. Chinese companies have reportedly supplied surveillance capabilities to Bolivia, Venezuela, and Ecuador [3]. In Ecuador, China Electronics Corporation supplied a network of cameras — including some fitted with facial recognition capabilities — to the country’s 24 provinces, as well as a system to locate and identify mobile phones.

    Edin Omanovic, Privacy International’s Surveillance Programme Lead, said

    “The global rush to make sure that surveillance is as universal and pervasive as possible is as astonishing as it is disturbing. The breadth of institutions, countries, agencies, and arms companies that are involved shows how there is no real long-term policy or strategic thinking driving any of this. It’s a free-for-all, where capabilities developed by some of the world’s most powerful spy agencies are being thrown at anyone willing to serve their interests, including dictators and killers whose only goal is to cling to power.

    “If these ‘benefactor’ countries truly want to assist other countries to be secure and stable, they should build schools, hospitals, and other infrastructure, and promote democracy and human rights. This is what communities need for safety, security, and prosperity. What we don’t need is powerful and wealthy countries giving money to arms companies to build border control and surveillance infrastructure. This only serves the interests of those powerful, wealthy countries. As our report shows, instead of putting resources into long-term development solutions, such programmes further entrench authoritarianism and spur abuses around the world — the very things which cause insecurity in the first place.”

    https://privacyinternational.org/press-release/2161/press-release-new-report-exposes-global-reach-powerful-governm

    #surveillance #surveillance_de_masse #rapport

    Pour télécharger le rapport “Teach ’em to Phish: State Sponsors of Surveillance”:
    https://privacyinternational.org/sites/default/files/2018-07/Teach-em-to-Phish-report.pdf

    ping @fil

    • China Uses DNA to Track Its People, With the Help of American Expertise

      The Chinese authorities turned to a Massachusetts company and a prominent Yale researcher as they built an enormous system of surveillance and control.

      The authorities called it a free health check. Tahir Imin had his doubts.

      They drew blood from the 38-year-old Muslim, scanned his face, recorded his voice and took his fingerprints. They didn’t bother to check his heart or kidneys, and they rebuffed his request to see the results.

      “They said, ‘You don’t have the right to ask about this,’” Mr. Imin said. “‘If you want to ask more,’ they said, ‘you can go to the police.’”

      Mr. Imin was one of millions of people caught up in a vast Chinese campaign of surveillance and oppression. To give it teeth, the Chinese authorities are collecting DNA — and they got unlikely corporate and academic help from the United States to do it.

      China wants to make the country’s Uighurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group, more subservient to the Communist Party. It has detained up to a million people in what China calls “re-education” camps, drawing condemnation from human rights groups and a threat of sanctions from the Trump administration.

      Collecting genetic material is a key part of China’s campaign, according to human rights groups and Uighur activists. They say a comprehensive DNA database could be used to chase down any Uighurs who resist conforming to the campaign.

      Police forces in the United States and elsewhere use genetic material from family members to find suspects and solve crimes. Chinese officials, who are building a broad nationwide database of DNA samples, have cited the crime-fighting benefits of China’s own genetic studies.

      To bolster their DNA capabilities, scientists affiliated with China’s police used equipment made by Thermo Fisher, a Massachusetts company. For comparison with Uighur DNA, they also relied on genetic material from people around the world that was provided by #Kenneth_Kidd, a prominent #Yale_University geneticist.

      On Wednesday, #Thermo_Fisher said it would no longer sell its equipment in Xinjiang, the part of China where the campaign to track Uighurs is mostly taking place. The company said separately in an earlier statement to The New York Times that it was working with American officials to figure out how its technology was being used.

      Dr. Kidd said he had been unaware of how his material and know-how were being used. He said he believed Chinese scientists were acting within scientific norms that require informed consent by DNA donors.

      China’s campaign poses a direct challenge to the scientific community and the way it makes cutting-edge knowledge publicly available. The campaign relies in part on public DNA databases and commercial technology, much of it made or managed in the United States. In turn, Chinese scientists have contributed Uighur DNA samples to a global database, potentially violating scientific norms of consent.

      Cooperation from the global scientific community “legitimizes this type of genetic surveillance,” said Mark Munsterhjelm, an assistant professor at the University of Windsor in Ontario who has closely tracked the use of American technology in Xinjiang.

      Swabbing Millions

      In Xinjiang, in northwestern China, the program was known as “#Physicals_for_All.”

      From 2016 to 2017, nearly 36 million people took part in it, according to Xinhua, China’s official news agency. The authorities collected DNA samples, images of irises and other personal data, according to Uighurs and human rights groups. It is unclear whether some residents participated more than once — Xinjiang has a population of about 24.5 million.

      In a statement, the Xinjiang government denied that it collects DNA samples as part of the free medical checkups. It said the DNA machines that were bought by the Xinjiang authorities were for “internal use.”

      China has for decades maintained an iron grip in Xinjiang. In recent years, it has blamed Uighurs for a series of terrorist attacks in Xinjiang and elsewhere in China, including a 2013 incident in which a driver struck two people in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

      In late 2016, the Communist Party embarked on a campaign to turn the Uighurs and other largely Muslim minority groups into loyal supporters. The government locked up hundreds of thousands of them in what it called job training camps, touted as a way to escape poverty, backwardness and radical Islam. It also began to take DNA samples.

      In at least some of the cases, people didn’t give up their genetic material voluntarily. To mobilize Uighurs for the free medical checkups, police and local cadres called or sent them text messages, telling them the checkups were required, according to Uighurs interviewed by The Times.

      “There was a pretty strong coercive element to it,” said Darren Byler, an anthropologist at the University of Washington who studies the plight of the Uighurs. “They had no choice.”

      Calling Dr. Kidd

      Kenneth Kidd first visited China in 1981 and remained curious about the country. So when he received an invitation in 2010 for an expenses-paid trip to visit Beijing, he said yes.

      Dr. Kidd is a major figure in the genetics field. The 77-year-old Yale professor has helped to make DNA evidence more acceptable in American courts.

      His Chinese hosts had their own background in law enforcement. They were scientists from the Ministry of Public Security — essentially, China’s police.

      During that trip, Dr. Kidd met Li Caixia, the chief forensic physician of the ministry’s Institute of Forensic Science. The relationship deepened. In December 2014, Dr. Li arrived at Dr. Kidd’s lab for an 11-month stint. She took some DNA samples back to China.

      “I had thought we were sharing samples for collaborative research,” said Dr. Kidd.

      Dr. Kidd is not the only prominent foreign geneticist to have worked with the Chinese authorities. Bruce Budowle, a professor at the University of North Texas, says in his online biography that he “has served or is serving” as a member of an academic committee at the ministry’s Institute of Forensic Science.

      Jeff Carlton, a university spokesman, said in a statement that Professor Budowle’s role with the ministry was “only symbolic in nature” and that he had “done no work on its behalf.”

      “Dr. Budowle and his team abhor the use of DNA technology to persecute ethnic or religious groups,” Mr. Carlton said in the statement. “Their work focuses on criminal investigations and combating human trafficking to serve humanity.”

      Dr. Kidd’s data became part of China’s DNA drive.

      In 2014, ministry researchers published a paper describing a way for scientists to tell one ethnic group from another. It cited, as an example, the ability to distinguish Uighurs from Indians. The authors said they used 40 DNA samples taken from Uighurs in China and samples from other ethnic groups from Dr. Kidd’s Yale lab.

      In patent applications filed in China in 2013 and 2017, ministry researchers described ways to sort people by ethnicity by screening their genetic makeup. They took genetic material from Uighurs and compared it with DNA from other ethnic groups. In the 2017 filing, researchers explained that their system would help in “inferring the geographical origin from the DNA of suspects at crime scenes.”

      For outside comparisons, they used DNA samples provided by Dr. Kidd’s lab, the 2017 filing said. They also used samples from the 1000 Genomes Project, a public catalog of genes from around the world.

      Paul Flicek, member of the steering committee of the 1000 Genomes Project, said that its data was unrestricted and that “there is no obvious problem” if it was being used as a way to determine where a DNA sample came from.

      The data flow also went the other way.

      Chinese government researchers contributed the data of 2,143 Uighurs to the Allele Frequency Database, an online search platform run by Dr. Kidd that was partly funded by the United States Department of Justice until last year. The database, known as Alfred, contains DNA data from more than 700 populations around the world.

      This sharing of data could violate scientific norms of informed consent because it is not clear whether the Uighurs volunteered their DNA samples to the Chinese authorities, said Arthur Caplan, the founding head of the division of medical ethics at New York University’s School of Medicine. He said that “no one should be in a database without express consent.”

      “Honestly, there’s been a kind of naïveté on the part of American scientists presuming that other people will follow the same rules and standards wherever they come from,” Dr. Caplan said.

      Dr. Kidd said he was “not particularly happy” that the ministry had cited him in its patents, saying his data shouldn’t be used in ways that could allow people or institutions to potentially profit from it. If the Chinese authorities used data they got from their earlier collaborations with him, he added, there is little he can do to stop them.

      He said he was unaware of the filings until he was contacted by The Times.

      Dr. Kidd also said he considered his collaboration with the ministry to be no different from his work with police and forensics labs elsewhere. He said governments should have access to data about minorities, not just the dominant ethnic group, in order to have an accurate picture of the whole population.

      As for the consent issue, he said the burden of meeting that standard lay with the Chinese researchers, though he said reports about what Uighurs are subjected to in China raised some difficult questions.

      “I would assume they had appropriate informed consent on the samples,” he said, “though I must say what I’ve been hearing in the news recently about the treatment of the Uighurs raises concerns.”
      Machine Learning

      In 2015, Dr. Kidd and Dr. Budowle spoke at a genomics conference in the Chinese city of Xi’an. It was underwritten in part by Thermo Fisher, a company that has come under intense criticism for its equipment sales in China, and Illumina, a San Diego company that makes gene sequencing instruments. Illumina did not respond to requests for comment.

      China is ramping up spending on health care and research. The Chinese market for gene-sequencing equipment and other technologies was worth $1 billion in 2017 and could more than double in five years, according to CCID Consulting, a research firm. But the Chinese market is loosely regulated, and it isn’t always clear where the equipment goes or to what uses it is put.

      Thermo Fisher sells everything from lab instruments to forensic DNA testing kits to DNA mapping machines, which help scientists decipher a person’s ethnicity and identify diseases to which he or she is particularly vulnerable. China accounted for 10 percent of Thermo Fisher’s $20.9 billion in revenue, according to the company’s 2017 annual report, and it employs nearly 5,000 people there.

      “Our greatest success story in emerging markets continues to be China,” it said in the report.

      China used Thermo Fisher’s equipment to map the genes of its people, according to five Ministry of Public Security patent filings.

      The company has also sold equipment directly to the authorities in Xinjiang, where the campaign to control the Uighurs has been most intense. At least some of the equipment was intended for use by the police, according to procurement documents. The authorities there said in the documents that the machines were important for DNA inspections in criminal cases and had “no substitutes in China.”

      In February 2013, six ministry researchers credited Thermo Fisher’s Applied Biosystems brand, as well as other companies, with helping to analyze the DNA samples of Han, Uighur and Tibetan people in China, according to a patent filing. The researchers said understanding how to differentiate between such DNA samples was necessary for fighting terrorism “because these cases were becoming more difficult to crack.”

      The researchers said they had obtained 95 Uighur DNA samples, some of which were given to them by the police. Other samples were provided by Uighurs voluntarily, they said.

      Thermo Fisher was criticized by Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, and others who asked the Commerce Department to prohibit American companies from selling technology to China that could be used for purposes of surveillance and tracking.

      On Wednesday, Thermo Fisher said it would stop selling its equipment in Xinjiang, a decision it said was “consistent with Thermo Fisher’s values, ethics code and policies.”

      “As the world leader in serving science, we recognize the importance of considering how our products and services are used — or may be used — by our customers,” it said.

      Human rights groups praised Thermo Fisher’s move. Still, they said, equipment and information flows into China should be better monitored, to make sure the authorities elsewhere don’t send them to Xinjiang.

      “It’s an important step, and one hopes that they apply the language in their own statement to commercial activity across China, and that other companies are assessing their sales and operations, especially in Xinjiang,” said Sophie Richardson, the China director of Human Rights Watch.

      American lawmakers and officials are taking a hard look at the situation in Xinjiang. The Trump administration is considering sanctions against Chinese officials and companies over China’s treatment of the Uighurs.

      China’s tracking campaign unnerved people like Tahir Hamut. In May 2017, the police in the city of Urumqi in Xinjiang drew the 49-year-old Uighur’s blood, took his fingerprints, recorded his voice and took a scan of his face. He was called back a month later for what he was told was a free health check at a local clinic.

      Mr. Hamut, a filmmaker who is now living in Virginia, said he saw between 20 to 40 Uighurs in line. He said it was absurd to think that such frightened people had consented to submit their DNA.

      “No one in this situation, not under this much pressure and facing such personal danger, would agree to give their blood samples for research,” Mr. Hamut said. “It’s just inconceivable.”

      https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/21/business/china-xinjiang-uighur-dna-thermo-fisher.html?action=click&module=MoreInSect
      #USA #Etats-Unis #ADN #DNA #Ouïghours #université #science #génétique #base_de_données

  • Les décrocheurs des cours en ligne Agence Science-Presse - 4 février 2019 - Le devoir
    https://www.ledevoir.com/societe/education/547027/les-decrocheurs-des-cours-en-ligne

    Ce n’est peut-être plus une surprise que d’apprendre que les étudiants qui s’inscrivent aux cours en ligne, ou MOOC (Massive open online courses), sont très peu nombreux à se rendre jusqu’au bout. Mais à partir de quel seuil pourrait-on parler d’un échec ? Une étude amène pour la première fois des chiffres http://science.sciencemag.org/content/363/6423/130 permettant de conclure que les MOOC sont devenus quelque chose de différent de ce qu’ils annonçaient au départ.


    Photo : iStock Parmi 1,1 million d’étudiants inscrits pour la première fois en 2015-2016, seulement 12% étaient à nouveau inscrits l’année suivante.

    Leur promesse, c’était celle d’un accès gratuit, pour la planète entière, à une éducation de qualité. Ils sont plutôt devenus une aide technique aux établissements d’enseignement qui veulent offrir des cours en ligne. Deux chercheurs du Laboratoire des systèmes d’enseignement du Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Justin Reich et José A. Ruipérez-Valiente, décrivent dans la revue Science six années — de 2012 à 2018 — couvrant 12,6 millions d’inscriptions.

    La principale découverte derrière ces données n’est pas que seul un petit nombre de ces inscrits avaient l’intention d’obtenir un diplôme. C’est plutôt que même le pourcentage de ceux qui ont terminé leur formation a diminué d’année en année. Y compris chez ceux qui avaient payé pour suivre les cours dits « vérifiés », quoique dans leur cas, la diminution ne s’observe que dans la dernière année.

    En chiffres : parmi l’ensemble des inscrits, 6 % avaient terminé leur formation en 2013-2014, contre 3,13 % l’an dernier. Parmi les « vérifiés », le pourcentage avait augmenté de 50 à 56 % entre 2014-2015 et 2016-2017, pour retomber à 46 % l’an dernier.

    Et le faible taux de retour est également troublant : parmi 1,1 million d’étudiants inscrits pour la première fois en 2015-2016, seulement 12 % étaient à nouveau inscrits l’année suivante. Ce « taux de retour » est en déclin depuis la deuxième année du programme (où il était de 38 %).

    Les auteurs concluent par une leçon de prudence pour les milieux universitaires : une démocratisation de l’enseignement supérieur ne pourra pas se contenter de s’appuyer sur de nouvelles technologies, que ce soit la réalité virtuelle ou l’intelligence artificielle. « Une expansion significative des possibilités d’éducation chez les populations mal desservies nécessitera des efforts politiques pour changer l’orientation, le financement et les objectifs de l’enseignement supérieur. »

    #MOOC #enseignement #savoirs #université_en_marche #université #néo-libéralisme #université_néolibérale #teamwork #education #computer-science #cours_en_ligne

  • OxyContin Maker Explored Expansion Into “Attractive”… — ProPublica
    https://www.propublica.org/article/oxycontin-purdue-pharma-massachusetts-lawsuit-anti-addiction-market

    Secret portions of a lawsuit allege that Purdue Pharma, controlled by the Sackler family, considered capitalizing on the addiction treatment boom — while going to extreme lengths to boost sales of its controversial opioid.

    In internal correspondence beginning in 2014, Purdue Pharma executives discussed how the sale of opioids and the treatment of opioid addiction are “naturally linked” and that the company should expand across “the pain and addiction spectrum,” according to redacted sections of the lawsuit by the Massachusetts attorney general. A member of the billionaire Sackler family, which founded and controls the privately held company, joined in those discussions and urged staff in an email to give “immediate attention” to this business opportunity, the complaint alleges.

    The sections of the complaint already made public contend that the Sacklers pushed for higher doses of OxyContin, guided efforts to mislead doctors and the public about the drug’s addictive capacity, and blamed misuse on patients.

    Citing extensive emails and internal company documents, the redacted sections allege that Purdue and the Sackler family went to extreme lengths to boost OxyContin sales and burnish the drug’s reputation in the face of increased regulation and growing public awareness of its addictive nature. Concerns about doctors improperly prescribing the drug, and patients becoming addicted, were swept aside in an aggressive effort to drive OxyContin sales ever higher, the complaint alleges.

    Among the allegations: Purdue paid two executives convicted of fraudulently marketing OxyContin millions of dollars to assure their loyalty, concealed information about doctors suspected of inappropriately prescribing the opioid, and was advised by global consulting firm McKinsey & Co. on strategies to boost the drug’s sales and burnish its image, including how to “counter the emotional messages” of mothers whose children overdosed. Since 2007, the Sackler family has received more than $4 billion in payouts from Purdue, according to a redacted paragraph in the complaint.

    The redacted paragraphs leave little doubt about the dominant role of the Sackler family in Purdue’s management. The five Purdue directors who are not Sacklers always voted with the family, according to the complaint. The family-controlled board approves everything from the number of sales staff to be hired to details of their bonus incentives, which have been tied to sales volume, the complaint says. In May 2017, when longtime employee Craig Landau was seeking to become Purdue’s chief executive, he wrote that the board acted as “de-facto CEO.” He was named CEO a few weeks later.

    After its 1996 launch, OxyContin rapidly became a top seller. But reports of patients abusing the drug soon followed. OxyContin contained more pain relief medication than older drugs, and crushing and snorting it was a simple way to get high fast. In 2007, Purdue pleaded guilty to federal charges of understating the risk of addiction and agreed to pay $600 million in fines and penalties. Still, the company argued publicly that OxyContin has “done far more good than harm,” and it sought to place responsibility for the bad acts on “certain of its supervisors and employees.”

    Privately, the complaint suggests, the Sacklers were concerned about alienating two executives, then-CEO Michael Friedman and then-legal counsel Howard Udell. Friedman and Udell each pleaded guilty in 2007 in U.S. District Court in Abingdon, Virginia, to a misdemeanor charge of misbranding OxyContin, as did a former executive. The board signed off on the three executives’ decisions to plead guilty. No member of the Sackler family pleaded guilty.

    Purdue paid $5 million to Udell in November 2008, and up to $1 million in November 2009, the complaint states. In February 2008, the company paid $3 million to Friedman. The complaint doesn’t mention any payments to the former executive.

    “The Sacklers spent millions to keep the loyalty of people who knew the truth,” the complaint alleges.

    Udell died in 2013. A person answering a phone number listed to Friedman declined comment.

    When sales results disappointed, Sackler family members didn’t hesitate to intervene. In late 2010, Purdue told the family that sales of the highest dose and most profitable opioids were lower than expected, according to the complaint. That meant an expected quarter-end payout to the family of $320 million was at risk of being reduced to $260 million and would have to be made in two installments in December instead of one in November.

    That news prompted a sharp email question from Mortimer D.A. Sackler, whose late father, also named Mortimer, was a Purdue co-founder. “Why are you BOTH reducing the amount of the distribution and delaying it and splitting it in two?” he asked. “Just a few weeks ago you agreed to distribute the full 320 [million dollars] in November.” The complaint doesn’t say how much was ultimately paid.

    In September 2014, Purdue embarked on a secret project to join an industry that was booming thanks in part to OxyContin abuse: addiction treatment medication. Code-named Project Tango, it involved Purdue executives and staff as well as Dr. Kathe Sackler, a daughter of the company co-founder Mortimer Sackler and a defendant in the Massachusetts lawsuit. She participated in phone calls and told staff that the project required their “immediate attention,” according to the complaint.

    Internally, Purdue touted the growth of an industry that its aggressive marketing had done so much to foster.

    “It is an attractive market,” the team working on the project wrote in a presentation. “Large unmet need for vulnerable, underserved and stigmatized patient population suffering from substance abuse, dependence and addiction.”

    While OxyContin sales were declining, the internal team at Purdue touted the fact that the addiction treatment marketplace was expanding.

    “Opioid addiction (other than heroin) has grown by ~20%” annually from 2000 to 2010, the company noted. Although Richard Sackler had blamed OxyContin abuse in an email on “reckless criminals,” the Purdue staff exploring the new business opportunity described in far more sympathetic terms the patients whom it now planned to treat.

    “This can happen to any-one – from a 50 year old woman with chronic lower back pain to a 18 year old boy with a sports injury, from the very wealthy to the very poor,” it said.

    Company documents recommended becoming an “end-to-end pain provider.” Initially, Purdue intended to sell one such medication, Suboxone, which is commonly retailed as a film that melts in the mouth. When Kathe Sackler asked staff members to look into reports that children might be swallowing the film, they reassured her. They responded, according to the complaint, that youngsters were overdosing on pills, but not the films, “which is a positive for Tango.”

    In 2015, Purdue turned its attention to another potential product, the overdose reversing agent known as Narcan, calling it a “strategic fit.” Purdue executives discussed how its sales force could promote Narcan to the same doctors who prescribed the most opioids. Purdue said in the statement Wednesday that it decided against acquiring the rights to sell Suboxone and Narcan.

    While those initiatives appear to have stalled or ended, Richard Sackler received a patent last year for a drug to treat addiction, according to the complaint. The patent application states that opioids are addictive and refers to people who suffer from substance use disorders as “junkies.”

    #Opioides #Sackler

  • Judge to rule next week on disclosing claims about Purdue Pharma - STAT
    https://www.statnews.com/2019/01/25/judge-to-rule-on-disclosing-allegations-against-purdue

    BOSTON — A Massachusetts judge said Friday she would rule by early next week on a request from media organizations, including STAT and the Boston Globe, to make public redacted portions of a lawsuit brought by the Massachusetts attorney general’s office against Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin and other opioid painkillers.

    The Connecticut company’s aggressive and misleading marketing of OxyContin has been blamed by addiction experts for helping spawn the opioid addiction crisis. Outside the Boston courthouse Friday, families of people who became addicted to opioids after taking Purdue’s medications rallied, with some calling for criminal charges against the company.

    “Every day that goes by where this document is substantially under seal is a day that the public does not have access to newsworthy and important information,” Jeffrey Pyle, a lawyer representing the media organizations, argued before Judge Janet Sanders in Suffolk County Superior Court.

    Attorney General Maura Healey accused Purdue of misleading doctors and patients about the addiction and overdose risks of its medications in a lawsuit originally filed in June, which also named current and former Purdue executives and members of the Sackler family, which controls the privately held Purdue, as defendants.

    An updated, 300-plus-page complaint from Healey’s office filed last week contained newly public portions that showed Purdue executives and the Sacklers demanding greater sales of their medications despite the risks and pressuring salespeople to push physicians to prescribe higher doses of their drugs for longer periods of time to more patients.

    #Opioides #Procès

  • Quand les scientifiques se révoltent contre les géants de l’édition savante Marco Fortier - 25 Janvier 2019 - Le Devoir
    https://www.ledevoir.com/societe/education/546298/rebellion-contre-une-revue-predatrice

    Les 27 membres du comité éditorial du magazine « Journal of Informetrics » — qui proviennent d’universités établies dans 11 pays — ont démissionné en bloc, le 10 janvier, pour protester contre les pratiques commerciales jugées abusives de leur éditeur Elsevier.

    La bataille du milieu scientifique contre les géants de l’édition savante gagne en intensité. Le comité éditorial d’un des magazines les plus prestigieux, publié par le conglomérat Elsevier, vient de démissionner en bloc pour fonder sa propre publication, qui offrira tous ses articles en libre accès, loin des tarifs exorbitants exigés par les revues dites « prédatrices ».

    Ce coup d’éclat fait grand bruit dans le monde normalement feutré de l’édition scientifique. Les 27 membres du comité éditorial du magazine Journal of Informetrics qui proviennent d’universités établies dans 11 pays ont démissionné en bloc, le 10 janvier, pour protester contre les pratiques commerciales jugées abusives de leur éditeur Elsevier. Ils ont lancé dès le lendemain leur propre revue savante, Quantitative Science Studies, https://www.mitpressjournals.org/loi/qss qui vise à devenir la nouvelle référence dans le monde pointu de la recherche en bibliométrie.

    « C’est une grande décision : on saborde la revue qui est la plus prestigieuse dans la discipline et on lance notre propre publication », dit Vincent Larivière, professeur à l’École de bibliothéconomie et des sciences de l’information de l’Université de Montréal.

    M. Larivière a été nommé éditeur intérimaire (et bénévole) du nouveau magazine. Il est un des meneurs de cette rébellion contre le géant Elsevier, plus important éditeur scientifique de la planète, qui a fait des profits de 1,2 milliard $US en 2017 https://www.relx.com/~/media/Files/R/RELX-Group/documents/reports/annual-reports/relx2017-annual-report.pdf en hausse de 36 %.

    « Ça fait des années qu’on dénonce les pratiques de l’industrie de l’édition scientifique. Il faut être cohérents et reprendre le contrôle de nos publications », explique le professeur, qui est titulaire de la Chaire de recherche du Canada sur les transformations de la communication savante.

    Contre une « arnaque »
    Vincent Larivière n’hésite pas à parler d’une « arnaque » lorsqu’il décrit les pratiques commerciales des cinq plus grands éditeurs scientifiques, qui publient plus de la moitié des articles savants dans le monde. Ces cinq conglomérats — les groupes Elsevier, Springer Nature, John Wiley Sons, Taylor Francis et Sage Publications — étouffent littéralement les bibliothèques universitaires en accaparant entre 70 et 80 % des budgets d’acquisition. Le problème est si grave que plusieurs bibliothèques n’ont plus les moyens d’acheter des livres, a rapporté Le Devoir en juin dernier https://www.ledevoir.com/societe/education/531214/les-geants-de-l-edition-etouffent-les-bibliotheques .

    Le modèle d’affaires de ces géants est simple : ils obtiennent gratuitement leurs articles, qu’ils revendent à gros prix aux bibliothèques universitaires. Les chercheurs ne sont pas payés pour leur travail. Les textes sont aussi révisés gratuitement par des pairs. Les bibliothèques universitaires n’ont pas le choix de s’abonner aux périodiques savants pour que professeurs et étudiants aient accès à la littérature scientifique.

    Plus préoccupant encore, les grands éditeurs font payer des milliers de dollars aux chercheurs qui veulent publier leurs articles en libre accès. Ce modèle d’affaires est remis en question avec de plus en plus de véhémence dans les universités de partout dans le monde.

    Appui du MIT
    Le nouveau magazine fondé par les 27 professeurs de bibliométrie, le Quantitative Science Studies, sera ainsi publié en collaboration avec l’éditeur du prestigieux Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Il s’agit d’une association toute « naturelle », indique au Devoir Nick Lindsay, directeur des périodiques et des données ouvertes chez MIT Press.

    « Nous sommes déterminés à trouver des façons de publier davantage de livres et de journaux sur le modèle du libre accès », précise-t-il. MIT Press a publié à ce jour une centaine de livres et huit périodiques en données ouvertes, donc accessibles gratuitement.

    La fondation de la Bibliothèque nationale de science et technologie d’Allemagne s’est aussi engagée à verser 180 000 euros (272 772 $CAN) sur trois ans au nouveau magazine.

    Les membres du comité éditorial du Journal of Informetrics ont négocié en vain durant plus d’un an et demi avec Elsevier dans l’espoir de changer le modèle d’affaires du magazine, explique Vincent Larivière. Ils tenaient notamment à baisser les frais de 1800 $US exigés des chercheurs qui veulent publier en libre accès (le nouveau Quantitative Science Studies facturera entre 600 $ et 800 $ aux auteurs).

    Ils voulaient aussi que les références citées dans le texte soient offertes gratuitement, ce qu’Elsevier a refusé — et que la nouvelle publication offrira.

    Le comité éditorial voulait d’abord et avant tout que la société savante de la discipline — l’International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics (ISSI) — devienne propriétaire du magazine, ce qui n’était « pas négociable », a indiqué Elsevier dans une longue déclaration publiée le 15 janvier https://www.elsevier.com/connect/about-the-resignation-of-the-journal-of-informetrics-editorial-board .

    « Il arrive parfois que les comités éditoriaux et les éditeurs aient des opinions divergentes au sujet de l’avenir et de la direction d’un journal. Dans certains cas, une entente ne peut être conclue. Le comité éditorial peut décider d’offrir ses services ailleurs, surtout s’il reçoit du soutien financier », a écrit Tom Reller, vice-président aux communications chez Elsevier.

    « Toute démission d’un comité éditorial est malheureuse », ajoute-t-il, mais l’éditeur conserve des relations fructueuses avec les membres des dizaines d’autres publications de l’entreprise. Il y a trois ans, le comité éditorial du magazine Lingua, propriété du groupe Elsevier, avait claqué la porte dans des circonstances similaires. Lingua a survécu. Son nouveau concurrent aussi.

    #elsevier #édition_scientifique #université #recherche #open_access #science #publications_scientifiques #résistance #publications #business #partage #articles_scientifiques #savoir #édition #openaccess #Informetrics #bibliométrie #édition_scientifique #rébellion #libre_accès #Springer_Nature #John_Wiley_Sons #Taylor_Francis #Sage_Publications #racket #escroqueries #MIT #universités

  • DAVOS-Big Oil is more talk than action on renewables - Iberdrola | Reuters
    https://uk.reuters.com/article/davos-meeting-iberdrola-idUKL3N1ZO3ZT

    The world’s largest wind-power producer, Iberdrola SA, has brushed off Big Oil’s embrace of renewable energy as “more noise” than action.

    Major oil and gas firms have been venturing into renewable power under pressure from climate-change policy, collectively spending around 1 percent of their 2018 budgets on clean energy, according to a recent study by research firm CDP.

    However, Iberdrola Chief Executive Ignacio Galan, who has led the Spanish utility for 17 years, shrugged when asked in a Reuters interview if Big Oil represented a competitive threat.

    It’s good that they have moved in this direction but they make more noise than the reality,” he said on Thursday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

    Galan said returns on oil investment still far exceeded those typical of wind and solar projects and he doubted major oil companies would make a meaningful shift until that changed.

    They like to be enthusiastic but if they had to make a choice between a wonderful oil well and a good wind farm, I feel their heart will move in the traditional direction.
    […]
    He said U.S. states were more influential than Washington in terms of energy investment, and that several were looking to develop America’s first offshore wind farms, from Massachusetts down to North Carolina and New York across to California.

    The states are more and more committed to moving to renewables and the same is true of the cities and towns,” he said, adding that falling generation costs of renewable energy was a big driver of the U.S. adoption of wind and solar power.

  • Gaming the #lottery: How one winner used math to overcome the odds
    https://hackernoon.com/gaming-the-lottery-how-one-winner-used-math-to-overcome-the-odds-71c8f68

    Three out of every two people struggle with fractionsEach week for the last 6 years (2012–2018), I was playing the lottery to win. Not just hoping to win — playing with a ‘positive expected value’ (a mathematical expectation to win rather than lose, on average, over time). In June 2018 this particular window of opportunity closed, so I’ve decided to share more about the winning model and reveal some closely guarded secrets from the clandestine world of professional #gambling.Oz Lotteries ‘Pools’ website one day after the game was discontinuedWinners walking among usWe’ve all heard the maxim ‘the house always wins’. This is typically true.But how do we explain the MIT students or Michigan retirees who took home millions of dollars in the Massachusetts state lottery…many, many times? There were the (...)

    #gaming-the-lottery #sports-betting #statistics

  • #cequilrestedenosrêves... Le #11janvier prochain, ce sera le #AaronSwartzDay : l’anniversaire de la mort de Aaron Swartz, génie informatique partisan du #Libre qui a été suicidé par la défense vorace de la #propriété_privée pour avoir libéré des millions de documents judiciaires du système #PACER... oui, tu sais, le truc qui fait désormais kiffer les macronistes et autres libéraux capitalistes en se disant qu’ils pourraient en tirer profit via la #legaltech à l’étude en france...



    Je commence donc ici ma recension annuelle à sa mémoire avec ce qui semble un magnifique cadeau : un livre de Flore Vasseur à paraître demain, 9 janvier : « Ce qu’il reste de nos rêves »
    Au vu du parcours de l’auteure, je pense qu’il y a des chances qu’il soit un jour en libre accès quelque part sur le web.

    Dans Ce qu’il reste de nos rêves*, Flore Vasseur inscrit le génie du code dans la lignée des lanceurs d’alerte ayant marqué l’histoire des États-Unis. Broyé par le gouvernement américain, Aaron #Swartz était l’enfant qui voulait changer le monde.

    #Internet ne doit pas servir à vendre de la pâtée pour chiens mais être l’outil pour trouver des remèdes au cancer. Du haut de ses 14 ans, Aaron Swartz ne transige pas avec ses idéaux face aux patrons de la tech’. Virtuose de la #programmation informatique dès son plus jeune âge, Internet est son moyen de changer le monde. Créateur d’une encyclopédie collaborative avant Wikipédia et d’Infogami, une plateforme de création de sites et de blogs accessible sans savoir coder, il veut libérer la connaissance. Un combat pour lequel il a sacrifié sa vie. À 26 ans, il est retrouvé pendu à la fenêtre de son appartement new-yorkais. Nous sommes en janvier 2013. Poursuivi par le gouvernement américain, il risquait trente-cinq ans de prison et un million de dollars d’amende pour avoir téléchargé des millions de publications scientifiques sur les serveurs du Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Après quatre ans d’enquête, Flore Vasseur porte son message avec engagement et tendresse dans son dernier ouvrage, Ce qu’il reste de nos rêves.

    https://www.lelanceur.fr/aaron-swartz-lanceur-dalerte-sublime-par-les-mots-de-flore-vasseur

    Le jour de sa mort, #Facebook a gagné. Son #algorithme est la nouvelle main invisible qui régule rage et #consommation, élections et émotions. Sa disparition révèle un destin, une époque et notre tragédie”, écrit Flore Vasseur.

    Présentation vidéo des Éditions des Équateurs :
    https://youtu.be/aF-Feid2RuU

    Autre article paru pour annoncer une rencontre au bar le 61 à Paris (sniff !) :


    Et une présentation du livre par Télérama : https://www.telerama.fr/livres/ce-quil-reste-de-nos-reves,n6074156.php

    C’est à l’occasion de l’écriture de ce livre et de l’enquête qu’elle a menée qu’elle a pu rencontrer Edward Snowden pour le documentaire Meeting Snowden :

    La rencontre avec #Snowden est survenue parce que je marchais dans les pas d’Aaron, a confié Flore Vasseur au Lanceur. Je sais qu’il le lisait et que son suicide l’a bouleversé. C’est une espèce de grand frère. Et je suis persuadée qu’il n’aurait pas fait ce qu’il a fait s’il n’y avait pas eu Aaron Swartz.” En 2011, deux ans avant qu’Edward Snowden n’en transmette les preuves, Aaron Swartz avait évoqué l’ampleur de la surveillance de masse des États-Unis, de sa propre population et de ses alliés. Pour comprendre “la filiation et les héritiers” d’un fantôme qui la fascine, Flore Vasseur est allée rencontrer les parents et le cercle proche d’Aaron Swartz. Comme un heureux hasard, elle a fait la rencontre de celui qui le considérait “comme son fils”, Lawrence Lessig. Quand Aaron Swartz avait 14 ans, c’est ensemble qu’ils présentèrent un mouvement de libération du droit d’auteur à travers la création des Creative Commons. Professeur à Harvard, Lawrence Lessig partage avec Aaron la volonté de “contrer l’influence de l’argent en politique”. Il est aussi l’une des rares personnalités à avoir pris la défense d’Edward Snowden aux États-Unis. C’est grâce à ce chemin que la romancière a réalisé, à Moscou, le documentaire Meeting Snowden. Après avoir négocié avec Arte, son film est désormais en accès libre.

    A retrouver sur son blog http://blog.florevasseur.com

    Même 6 ans après sa mort, l’effet #Streisand se fait encore sentir. Il y a un mois, aux States, le site Gizmodo a fait une révélation impliquant les archives des mails de Aaron Swartz, démontrant que le #FBI gardait tout, absolument toutes les données qu’il avait pu collecter autour d’enquêtes, et ce même s’il n’y avait aucun rapport :

    Près de deux ans avant la première enquête connue du gouvernement américain sur les activités du cofondateur de Reddit et célèbre activiste du numérique, Aaron Swartz, le FBI a balayé ses données de courrier électronique dans une enquête antiterroriste qui avait également pris au piège des étudiants d’une université américaine. document secret publié pour la première fois par Gizmodo.
    https://gizmodo.com/fbi-secretly-collected-data-on-aaron-swartz-earlier-tha-1831076900
    Les données de courrier électronique appartenant à Swartz, qui n’était probablement pas la cible de l’enquête antiterroriste, ont été cataloguées par le FBI et consultées plus d’un an plus tard, car elles pesaient des accusations potentielles contre lui pour quelque chose de totalement indépendant.

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20181217/11080641248/fbi-swept-up-info-about-aaron-swartz-while-pursuing-al-qaeda-investigation

    Comme tous les ans, des dizaines et des dizaines d’initiatives sont prévues pour lui rendre hommage, elles sont regroupées sur le site https://www.aaronswartzday.org accompagné d’un compte twitter https://twitter.com/aaronswartzday

    J’ai l’impression par contre que le blog de Aaron Swartz n’est plus accessible, il est heureusement sauvegardé dans la #WayBackMachine, fondée à sa mémoire : https://web.archive.org/web/20190103112701/http://www.aaronsw.com

    La recension de l’année dernière : https://seenthis.net/messages/658967

    (par contre, #seenthis, je suis étonnée de ne toujours pas voir de tag « personnalité » #Aaron_Swartz sur son nom... peut-être est-ce l’occasion de le créer ;) ?)

  • 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

  • The Mall of Shame
    https://hackernoon.com/the-mall-of-shame-5c9de67df34?source=rss----3a8144eabfe3---4

    The Mall at Rockingham Park in Salem, NH is home to a million square feet of #retail and contains 144 stores, restaurants, and kiosks. It’s by no means the nicest mall in the country, but as recently as 2015, it was the top-grossing property by square foot in the Simon Properties Group portfolio thanks to its role as a sales tax sanctuary on the border with Massachusetts. Middle-class staples like Williams & Sonoma, Coach, Lush, and an Apple store (along with the obligatory food court Sbarro) help account for $1.8B in annual sales.But there’s an odd trend at work in this otherwise healthy-seeming cathedral of capitalism. Exquisitely fabricated sales fixtures are being replaced by slat board walls. Store logos that were once agonized over by creatives at Landor and Pentagram are being (...)

    #entrepreneurship #startup #venture-capital #business

  • Des universitaires et des artistes israéliens mettent en garde contre une mise en équation de l’antisionisme et de l’antisémitisme
    22 novembre | Ofer Aderet pour Haaretz |Traduction J.Ch. pour l’AURDIP
    https://www.aurdip.org/des-universitaires-et-des-artistes.html

    Une lettre ouverte de 34 éminents Israéliens, dont des chercheurs en histoire juive et des lauréats du Prix Israël, a été publiée mardi dans les média autrichiens appelant à faire une différence entre critique légitime d’Israël, « aussi dure puisse-t-elle être », et antisémitisme.

    Cette lettre a été émise avant un rassemblement international à Vienne sur antisémitisme et antisionisme en Europe.

    L’ événement de cette semaine, « L’Europe par delà l’antisémitisme et l’antisionisme », se tient sous les auspices du Chancelier autrichien Sebastian Kurz. Son homologue israélien, Benjamin Netanyahu, devait y prendre part, mais est resté en Israël pour s’occuper de la crise dans sa coalition gouvernementale.

    « Nous adoptons et soutenons totalement le combat intransigeant [de l’Union Européenne] contre l’antisémitisme. La montée de l’antisémitisme nous inquiète. Comme nous l’a enseigné l’histoire, elle a souvent été l’annonce de désastres ultérieurs pour toute l’humanité », déclare la lettre.

    « Cependant, l’UE défend les droits de l’Homme et doit les protéger avec autant de force qu’elle combat l’antisémitisme. Il ne faudrait pas instrumentaliser ce combat contre l’antisémitisme pour réprimer la critique légitime de l’occupation par Israël et ses graves violations des droits fondamentaux des Palestiniens. » (...)

    #antisionisme #antisémitisme

    • La liste des signataires:
      Moshe Zimmerman, an emeritus professor at Hebrew University and a former director of the university’s Koebner Center for German History; Moshe Zukermann, emeritus professor of history and philosophy of science at Tel Aviv University; Zeev Sternhell, a Hebrew University emeritus professor in political science and a current Haaretz columnist; Israel Prize laureate, sculptor Dani Karavan; Israel Prize laureate, photographer Alex Levac; Israel Prize laureate, artist Michal Naaman; Gadi Algazi, a history professor at Tel Aviv University; Eva Illouz, a professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and former President of Bezalel Academy of Art and Design; Gideon Freudenthal, a professor in the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas at Tel Aviv University; Rachel Elior, an Israeli professor of Jewish philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Anat Matar, philosophy professor at Tel Aviv University; Yael Barda, a professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem; Miki Kratsman, a former chairman of the photography department at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design; Jose Brunner, an emeritus professor at Tel Aviv University and a former director of the Minerva Institute for German History; Alon Confino, a professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; Israel Prize laureate, graphic designer David Tartakover; Arie M. Dubnov, Chair of Israel Studies at George Washington University; David Enoch, history, philosophy and Judaic Studies professor at Israel’s Open University; Amos Goldberg, Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Israel Prize laureate and vice-president of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities David Harel; Hannan Hever, comparative literature and Judaic Studies professor at Yale University; Hannah Kasher, professor emerita in Jewish Thought at Bar-Ilan University; Michael Keren, emeritus professor of economics at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Israel Prize laureate, Yehoshua Kolodny, professor emeritus in the Institute of Earth Sciences at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Nitzan Lebovic, professor of Holocaust studies at Lehigh University; Idith Zertal, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Dmitry Shumsky, professor of Jewish History at Hebrew University; Israel Prize laureate David Shulman, professor emeritus of Asian studies at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Ishay Rosen-Zvi, Jewish philosophy professor at Tel Aviv University; Dalia Ofer, professor emerita in Jewry and Holocaust Studies at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Paul Mendes-Flohr, professor emeritus for Jewish thoughts at the Hebrew University; Jacob Metzer, former president of Israel’s Open University; and Israel Prize laureate Yehuda Judd Ne’eman, professor emeritus at Tel Aviv University arts faculty

      #Palestine

  • Israeli academics and artists warn against equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism
    Their open letter ahead of a conference in Vienna advises against giving Israel immunity for ‘grave and widespread violations of human rights and international law’

    Ofer Aderet
    Nov 20, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israeli-professors-warn-against-equating-anti-zionism-with-anti-se

    An open letter from 35 prominent Israelis, including Jewish-history scholars and Israel Prize laureates, was published Tuesday in the Austrian media calling for a distinction between legitimate criticism of Israel, “harsh as it may be,” and anti-Semitism.
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    The letter was released before an international gathering in Vienna on anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in Europe.
    The event this week, “Europe beyond anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism: Securing Jewish life in Europe,” is being held under the auspices of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. His Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, had been due to take part but stayed in Israel to deal with the crisis in his coalition government. 
    “We fully embrace and support the [European Union’s] uncompromising fight against anti-Semitism. The rise of anti-Semitism worries us. As we know from history, it has often signaled future disasters to all mankind,” the letter states. 
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    “However, the EU also stands for human rights and has to protect them as forcefully as it fights anti-Semitism. This fight against anti-Semitism should not be instrumentalized to suppress legitimate criticism of Israel’s occupation and severe violations of Palestinian human rights.” 

    The signatories accuse Netanyahu of suggesting an equivalence between anti-Israel criticism and anti-Semitism. The official declaration by the conference also notes that anti-Semitism is often expressed through disproportionate criticism of Israel, but the letter warns that such an approach could “afford Israel immunity against criticism for grave and widespread violations of human rights and international law.”
    The signatories object to the declaration’s alleged “identifying” of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. “Zionism, like all other modern Jewish movements in the 20th century, was harshly opposed by many Jews, as well as by non-Jews who were not anti-Semitic,” they write. “Many victims of the Holocaust opposed Zionism. On the other hand, many anti-Semites supported Zionism. It is nonsensical and inappropriate to identify anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.”
    Among the signatories are Moshe Zimmerman, an emeritus professor at Hebrew University and a former director of the university’s Koebner Center for German History; Zeev Sternhell, a Hebrew University emeritus professor in political science and a current Haaretz columnist; sculptor Dani Karavan; Miki Kratsman, a former chairman of the photography department at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design; Jose Brunner, an emeritus professor at Tel Aviv University and a former director of the Minerva Institute for German History; Alon Confino, a professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; and graphic designer David Tartakover.

    Ofer Aderet
    Haaretz Correspondent

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    • La liste des signataires:
      Moshe Zimmerman, an emeritus professor at Hebrew University and a former director of the university’s Koebner Center for German History; Moshe Zukermann, emeritus professor of history and philosophy of science at Tel Aviv University; Zeev Sternhell, a Hebrew University emeritus professor in political science and a current Haaretz columnist; Israel Prize laureate, sculptor Dani Karavan; Israel Prize laureate, photographer Alex Levac; Israel Prize laureate, artist Michal Naaman; Gadi Algazi, a history professor at Tel Aviv University; Eva Illouz, a professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and former President of Bezalel Academy of Art and Design; Gideon Freudenthal, a professor in the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas at Tel Aviv University; Rachel Elior, an Israeli professor of Jewish philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Anat Matar, philosophy professor at Tel Aviv University; Yael Barda, a professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem; Miki Kratsman, a former chairman of the photography department at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design; Jose Brunner, an emeritus professor at Tel Aviv University and a former director of the Minerva Institute for German History; Alon Confino, a professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; Israel Prize laureate, graphic designer David Tartakover; Arie M. Dubnov, Chair of Israel Studies at George Washington University; David Enoch, history, philosophy and Judaic Studies professor at Israel’s Open University; Amos Goldberg, Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Israel Prize laureate and vice-president of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities David Harel; Hannan Hever, comparative literature and Judaic Studies professor at Yale University; Hannah Kasher, professor emerita in Jewish Thought at Bar-Ilan University; Michael Keren, emeritus professor of economics at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Israel Prize laureate, Yehoshua Kolodny, professor emeritus in the Institute of Earth Sciences at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Nitzan Lebovic, professor of Holocaust studies at Lehigh University; Idith Zertal, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Dmitry Shumsky, professor of Jewish History at Hebrew University; Israel Prize laureate David Shulman, professor emeritus of Asian studies at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Ishay Rosen-Zvi, Jewish philosophy professor at Tel Aviv University; Dalia Ofer, professor emerita in Jewry and Holocaust Studies at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Paul Mendes-Flohr, professor emeritus for Jewish thoughts at the Hebrew University; Jacob Metzer, former president of Israel’s Open University; and Israel Prize laureate Yehuda Judd Ne’eman, professor emeritus at Tel Aviv University arts faculty