provinceorstate:virginia

  • Article plus intéressant que ce que le titre laisse croire :

    Pourquoi ta meuf ne parle jamais de musique avec toi
    Le Parterre, le 5 juin 2019
    https://leparterre.fr/2019/06/05/pourquoi-ta-meuf-ne-parle-jamais-de-musique-avec-toi

    Si l’on se penche sur les chiffres, non seulement les femmes sont rares au sein des artistes musicaux, mais elles le sont encore plus dans la critique musicale. La critique musicale a derrière elle une longue histoire sexiste, et s’est construite autour de la parole des hommes et en la constituant comme un lieu d’attributs virils. En août 2018, la journaliste Jessica Hooper publiait une enquête sur la place des femmes dans le magazine Rolling Stone : « It was us against those guys », dont le titre parle de lui-même. Elle y interviewe les six premières femmes ayant réussi à se faire embaucher par le magazine dans les années 70, et les difficultés qu’elles y ont rencontrés. Elles y relatent les refus catégoriques de la part de leurs confrères d’accorder de la valeur à leur parole et le discrédit rapide dont elles ont été l’objet en étant comparées à des groupies ou des « fangirls ». L’obsession musicale d’un homme pour un groupe ou un musicien est conçue comme une forme d’expertise, alors que celle d’une femme est perçue comme superficielle et vénale.

    Contrairement à ce que l’on pourrait penser, l’écart n’est pas prêt de se résorber. Un récent article d’André Doehring (Male Journalists as « artists » : The Ideological production of recent popular music journalism), montre même que la part des femmes journalistes musicales décroit depuis les années 80. A la fin des années 80 aux Etats Unis, elles étaient 23% à contribuer à la rédaction de critiques dans les magazines de musiques actuelles, elles représentent au début des années 2010 seulement 15% des contributeurs.trices. En 2015 en Allemagne, parmi les rédacteurs des magazines de musiques actuelles, seulement 1 sur 10 est une rédactrice et il n’existe aucune rédactrice en chef. Doehring souligne par ailleurs que c’est là une dynamique toute propre au journalisme musical, alors que les autres secteurs journalistiques voient la proportion de femmes au sein de leur rédaction se développer.

    #Musique #Femmes #Sexisme

    • Si l’on se penche sur les chiffres, non seulement les femmes sont rares au sein des artistes musicaux, mais elles le sont encore plus dans la critique musicale. La critique musicale a derrière elle une longue histoire sexiste, et s’est construite autour de la parole des hommes et en la constituant comme un lieu d’attributs virils.

      Ca marche avec la critique ciné, la critique littéraire, la critique artistique, la critique média, la critique tout court probablement.
      #historicisation #invisibilité_des_femmes #male_gaze

    • Ce qui me déprime le plus dans cet article c’est que la seul référence sur la théorie féministe soit Bourdieu, un mec qui s’est approprié les théories féministes sans cité ses sources. Comme si il n’y avait que les hommes encore une fois pour servir de référence dans un article qui dénonce le fait que les hommes sont pris comme références... et ici après deux siècles de femmes qui ont réfléchit et se sont exprimés sur le sujet, encore un homme !
      #androcentrisme

    • @mad_meg c’est pas la « théorie féministe » de Bourdieu qui est évoquée mais son bouquin « la distinction » qui est un regard sociologique critique sur les goûts et les couleurs (et je doute qu’en 1977 quand ce bouquin est sorti d’autres aient été aussi loin dans l’analyse).

    • C’est un article de blog qui date de 1977 ? J’ai cru que c’etait écrit en 2019... C’est pas « la domination masculine » mais ca reste Bourdieu pour un sujet sur l’invisibilisation des femmes.
      J’avais raté la ref à « André Doehring » comme point de départ, après vérification c’est un André au masculin, de quoi me faire ralé encore plus...

      Après re-lecture plus attentive il y a quand même deux femmes en plus de « ta meuf » qui sont mentionnées dans le texte : Sylvie Octobre (mais on sais pas trop qui elle est sans l’aide de gogol) et la journaliste Jessica Hooper de Rolling Stone (qui a fait un itw qui confirme ce que théorisent ces messieurs Bourdieu et Doerhing). Ca atténue un peu ma colère mais je reste mécontente de la ref à Bourdieu qui est vraiment malvenu dans ce contexte, ainsi que l’invisibilisation des théoriciennes féministes sur un sujet pareil. Mon conseil pour essayer d’être un peu constructive, sur les sujets féministes évitez les références masculines encore plus que vous devriez le faire d’habitude. Par exemple plutot que Bourdieu, il y avait Françoise Héritier et sa théorie de la différence de la valence des sexes qui aurais permis de dire ces chose avec plus de pertinence et moins de références masculines.

    • C’est quand même dommage de n’avoir que ça à dire sur cet article, ressortir une vieille polémique d’il y a 20 ans qui n’a rien à voir avec le sujet. On est à la limite du troll quoi...
      Mon conseil : lisez vous même les ouvrages sans vous soucier du sexe de l’auteur et voyez si c’est pertinent (c’est marrant parce que moi je trouve que « domination masculine » c’est un peu plus parlant et radical que « valence différentielle des sexes » mais chacun sa crémerie hein).

    • @aude_v mais on est d’accord, l’article fait justement ce constat que le milieu musical (et celui de la critique) est très masculin. L’auteur essaie de trouver les raisons en employant un appareil critique dont il dispose (Bourdieu en l’occurrence) et ce qui déprime le plus mad meg, si je la prends au pied de la lettre, ce n’est pas la situation des femmes dans le milieu de la critique mais le fait qu’on utilise Bourdieu pour en parler. C’est assez cocasse en fait car cela ressemblerait presque à une discussion entre critiques... J’ai d’ailleurs toujours trouvé assez ridicule presque toute la presse de critique musicale que je trouve souvent extrêmement pauvre, blindée de clichés et qui me semble être un repaire de jeunes (ou vieux) coqs qui utilisent ça principalement comme un moyen de séduction (c’est un manque de l’article ça d’ailleurs, car sur le sujet je pense que la séduction est une grosse part du problème).

    • @aude_v c’est la même chose dans le milieu universitaire où les hommes sont les plus visibles donc effectivement un Bourdieu là dedans n’y échappait pas non plus. Après, sur le bouquin en tant que tel je ne parlerais pas de pillage car on ne peut pas dire qu’il disait exactement la même chose (par exemple par rapport à Françoise Héritier, il n’a pas la même approche, et puis un tas d’autres gens ne se sont pas gênés pour critiquer le contenu de la théorie de Bourdieu sur cette question au regard d’autres études féministes) mais en revanche oui il y a clairement une invisibilisation en refusant (plus ou moins volontairement ?) même de discuter ces travaux effectués par des femmes. J’ai jeté un œil vite fait à l’index des noms propres et je ne vois que Judith Butler comme féministe qui est très rapidement citée, Virginia Woolf est longuement citée aussi mais son statut d’écrivaine la met un peu à part à mes yeux.

  • L’idylle insolite de Donald Trump, artisan du « Muslim Ban » avec la dynastie wahhabite : 2/2
    https://www.madaniya.info/2019/06/06/lidylle-insolite-de-donald-trump-artisan-du-muslim-ban-avec-la-dynastie-w

    Un conseiller du prince héritier d’Abou Dhabi incuclpé aux Etats Unis pour détention de matériel pornographique.

    Coup dur pour la stratégie d’endiguement de l’Iran, un des missi dominici américain en direction de l’Arabie saoudite et des Emirats Arabes Unis, Georges Nader, homme d’affaires américain d’origine libanaise, a été inculpé pour détention de matériel pornographique.

    Son arrestation est intervenue le 4 juin 2019 une semaine après l’échec du triple sommet de la Mecque (islamique, arabe et Golfe), fin mai, et la décision de Benyamin Netanyahu d’organiser de nouvelles élections législatives israéliennes en septmebre, faute de pouvoir former un gouvernement. Deux echecs qui ont renvoyé aux calendes grecques le lancement de la transaction du siècle, conconctée sous l’égide de Jared Kusgner, le gendre présidentiel américain.

    Agé de 60 ans, Georges Nader a été conseiller du prince héritier d’Abou Dhabi, Mohamamd Ben Zayed et son chargé de mission auprès de l’équipe de campagne présidentielle de Donald Trump, en vue d’établir un partenariat privilégié entre les Emirats arabes Unis et les Etats Unis.

    L’intermédiaire libano américain avait entrepris des démarches similaires auprès d’Israël, la Russie et l’Arabie saoudite.

    Georges Nader avait été entendu par Robert Mueller chargé de l’enquête sur les interérecnes russes de la campagne présidentielle américaine.

    Objet d’une première interpellation en 1987, il a été arrêté le 4 juin 2019 à son arrivée à l’aéroport John F. Kennedy de New York, en vertu d’un mandat d’arrêt délivré en 2018, en raison du fait que « sur son portable, il conservait des photos de mineurs en position obscène ».

    • Un homme d’affaires américano-libanais arrêté à New York pour possession d’images pédopornographiques
      https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1173549/un-homme-daffaires-americano-libanais-arrete-a-new-york-pour-possessi

      M. Nader avait aidé à mettre en œuvre une rencontre, aux Seychelles en janvier 2017, entre Erik Prince, un partisan de M. Trump qui avait fondé la société de sécurité privée Blackwater, et un responsable russe proche de Vladimir Poutine, rappelle le Washington Post. « L’objet de cette rencontre a suscité un intérêt particulier de la part des enquêteur du procureur Mueller, et certaines questions restent sans réponse, même après la publication du rapport Mueller », ajoute le quotidien américain.

    • Mars 2018 : Les Emirats accusés d’influencer Trump : un homme d’affaires américano-libanais dans le collimateur
      https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1102941/les-emirats-accuses-dinfluencer-la-politique-etrangere-de-trump-un-ho

      Selon le quotidien, les enquêteurs de M. Mueller, qui mène l’enquête sur une possible collusion entre l’équipe du président Donald Trump et la Russie pendant la campagne présidentielle de 2016, ont interrogé M. Nader qui aurait tenté d’influencer la politique étrangère des Etats-Unis en faveur des Emirats, notamment en « donnant de l’argent en soutien à Trump durant la dernière campagne présidentielle ».

      L’Arabie saoudite et les Emirats arabes unis, de même que Bahreïn et l’Egypte, ont rompu en juin dernier leurs relations diplomatiques avec le Qatar, qu’ils accusent de promouvoir le terrorisme, ciblant aussi dans cette initiative l’Iran, ennemi juré de Riyad.

      Le New York Times cite le cas d’une relation de M. Nader, Eliott Broidy, un mécène de la campagne de Trump, très proche du Premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahu, qui a des centaines de millions de dollars de contrats avec la famille régnante émirati. M. Broidy a oeuvré ces derniers mois pour pousser l’administration Trump à se rapprocher des Emirats.

    • George Nader (businessman) - Wikipedia
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Nader_(businessman)

      Nader has been charged with multiple crimes involving the sexual exploitation of minors, and convicted of several of them. A 1985 charge of receiving from the Netherlands films and magazines depicting pre and post-pubescent boys engaged in sexual acts, was dismissed due to an invalid search warrant.[18] A federal court in Virginia in 1991 gave him a six-month sentence on a felony charge of transporting from Germany, pornographic videotapes of boys about 13 or 14 years old.[18] Prosecutors agreed to put the case under seal “due to the extremely sensitive nature of Mr. Nader’s work in the Middle East.”[18]

      In 2003, he was convicted in Prague, Czech Republic for sexually abusing 10 boys, for which he served one year in prison.[1][18] A spokesperson of the court told press that the crimes occurred between 1999 and 2002. In one case, at his room in Hilton Prague Hotel, he requested oral sex from a 14-year-old boy and after he refused, Nader masturbated in front of him, paying him 2,000 koruna.[1]

      On June 3, 2019, Nader was arrested by federal agents for possession of child pornography as well as bestiality[19] and, for a second time, transportation of child pornography. These charges stemmed from his January 2018 questioning by FBI agents working on behalf of special counsel Robert Mueller, at which time child pornography was incidentally found on one of his three cell phones as agents inspected it pursuant to a warrant.[20][21] He was ordered to be held pending his extradition to Virginia.[22]

  • Quoting ’The Lorax,’ Court Pulls Permit For Pipeline Crossing Appalachian Trail : NPR
    https://www.npr.org/2018/12/14/676950106/quoting-the-lorax-court-pulls-permit-for-pipeline-crossing-appalachian-trail

    A federal appeals court has thrown out a power company’s permit to build a natural gas pipeline across two national forests and the Appalachian Trail – and slammed the U.S. Forest Service for granting the approvals in the first place.

    In a decision filed Thursday by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., a three-judge panel declared the U.S. Forest Service “abdicated its responsibility to preserve national forest resources” when it issued permits for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to build through parts of the George Washington and Monongahela National Forests and a right of way across the Appalachian Trail.

    “This conclusion,” they wrote in a unanimous judgment, “is particularly informed by the Forest Service’s serious environmental concerns that were suddenly, and mysteriously, assuaged in time to meet a private pipeline company’s deadlines.”

    The judges cited Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax: “We trust the United States Forest Service to ’speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.’”

    #should_trees_have_standing #pipeline #droit_de_l'environnement #animisme_juridique

  • Orange’s Sea Cable Repair Fleet Looks Beyond Investment Boom
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-24/orange-s-sea-cable-repair-fleet-looks-beyond-investment-boom


    The Pierre de Fermat ship
    Source : Orange SA

    • Phone carrier assessing opportunities in offshore wind sector
    • France sees strategic interest in marine cable expertise

    For decades, ships owned by French phone carrier Orange SA have traveled the world’s oceans, installing and fixing the undersea cables that carry internet traffic from one continent to another.

    The fleet of six run by Orange Marine is now looking to diversify, even with the biggest investment boom for the infrastructure since the 1990s. Instead of creating more business, the new high-capacity lines being financed by the tech giants are expected to put older cables out of service, meaning less work for the seaborne repairmen.

    One cable that started up last year highlights the issue. The line, running from the U.S. state of Virginia to Sopelana, Spain, accounts for half the capacity of the dozen or so trans-Atlantic cables. Known as Marea, the 6,600-kilometer (4,101-mile) link owned by Facebook Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Telefonica SA’s Telxius offers the fastest data transmission speeds in the world.

    Jean-Luc Vuillemin, who oversees Orange Marine, sees potential opportunities in servicing offshore wind turbines, he said in an interview on the Pierre de Fermat, a 100-meter ship named after the 17th-century mathematician and docked at the Brest port in northwest France.

    The ecosystem is pretty favorable right now but this may change in the future,” Vuillemin said. “You need to diversify when the business is in order, so we’re thinking about the next steps.

    Orange Marine is a small yet profitable business for France’s dominant phone carrier, generating about 100 million euros ($112 million) of annual sales out of Orange’s roughly 41 billion euros of revenue. But it’s considered a strategic asset by the company, whose largest shareholder is the French state.

    Being able to quickly repair cables can be crucial in an emergency, as Algeria experienced in 2015 when a link between Annaba in the country’s northeast and Marseille in southern France was cut by an anchor, disrupting internet service in the North African nation for almost a week.

    Together, Orange Marine and its France-based competitor at Nokia Oyj, Alcatel Submarine Networks, own about one-quarter of the 40 or so ships focused on subsea cables globally, Vuillemin said.

    Our Western economies are increasingly dependent on these subsea cables. Orange Marine provides strategic autonomy. It’s a matter of sovereignty,” he said.

  • Chelsea Manning’s May 10 Video Statement
    https://www.aaronswartzday.org/chelsea-may10

    Chelsea Manning speaks from the heart in a YouTube video on May 10, 2019.
    Chelsea was incarcerated for 63 days for refusing to testify to a Grand Jury.
    28 of those days were under solitary confinement conditions.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDZGRRk4MnM&feature=youtu.be

    Good evening.

    Two months ago, the federal government summoned me before a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia.

    As a general principle, I object to grand juries.

    Prosecutors run grand juries behind closed doors and in secret, without a judge present.

    Therefore, I declined to cooperate or answer any questions.

    Based on my refusal to answer questions, District Court Judge Hilton ordered me held in contempt until the grand jury ended.

    Yesterday, the grand jury expired, and I left the Alexandria Detention Center.

    Throughout this ordeal, an incredible spring of solidarity and love boiled over. I received thousands of letters, including dozens to hundreds of them a day.

    This means the world to me, and keeps me going.

    Jail and prisons exist as a dark stain on our society, with more people confined in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world.

    During my time, I spent 28 days in solitary confinement–a traumatic experience I already endured for a year in prison before.

    Only a few months before reincarceration, I recieved gender confirmation surgery.

    This left my body vulnerable to injury and infection, leading to possible complications that I am now seeking treatment for.

    My absence severely hampers both my public and private life.

    The law requires that civil contempt only be used to coerce witnesses to testify.

    As I cannot be coerced, it instead exists as an additional punishment on top of the seven years I served.

    Last week, I handwrote a statement outlining the fact I will never agree to testify before this or any other grand jury.

    Several of my closest family, friends and colleagues supported this fact.

    Our statements were filed in court.

    The government knows I can’t be coerced.

    When I arrive at the courthouse this coming Thursday, what happened last time will occur again.

    I will not cooperate with this or any other grand jury.

    Throughout the last decade, I accepted full responsibity for my actions.

    Facing jail again, this week, does not change this fact.

    The prosecutors deliberately place me in an impossible situation: I either go to jail, or turn my back on my prisons.

    The truth is, the government can construct no prison worse than to betray my conscience or my principles.

    Thank you, and good night.

  • Chelsea Manning Released from Alexandria Detention Center After Grand Jury Lapses
    https://www.sparrowmedia.net/2019/05/chelsea-manning-released-from-alexandria-detention-center

    Alexandria, VA — Earlier today Chelsea Manning was released from the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria, VA. Chelsea’s release follows the expiration of the term of the EDVA Grand Jury that previously demanded her testimony. Chelsea was in jail for 62 days, after she was found in contempt of court for her refusal to give testimony. The following is a statement from Chelsea’s legal team:

    “Today marked the expiration of the term of the grand jury, and so, after 62 days of confinement, Chelsea was released from the Alexandria Detention Center earlier today.

    “Unfortunately, even prior to her release, Chelsea was served with another subpoena. This means she is expected to appear before a different grand jury, on Thursday, May 16, 2019, just one week from her release today.

    “It is therefore conceivable that she will once again be held in contempt of court, and be returned to the custody of the Alexandria Detention Center, possibly as soon as next Thursday, May 16.

    “Chelsea will continue to refuse to answer questions, and will use every available legal defense to prove to District Judge Trenga that she has just cause for her refusal to give testimony.”

    A more detailed statement from Chelsea is forthcoming.

  • Tech firm apologizes after job ad seeks ’preferably Caucasian’ candidates
    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/apr/29/tech-firm-apologizes-after-job-ad-seeks-preferably-caucasian-candidates

    Virginia recruitment company removes discriminatory listing following a backlash on Twitter The tech industry has long grappled with problems tied to diversity and inclusion, but a job listing this month seeking “preferably Caucasian” applicants has proved a particularly egregious example. A job listing from Cynet Systems, a tech recruiting firm based in Virginia, sought an account manager who is “preferably Caucasian who has good technical background”. After a number of Twitter users called (...)

    #travail #discrimination

    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/e0d57bec5dd400108f7dfa6dc9c18baed7a90ee7/0_464_7360_4417/master/7360.jpg

  • Women paint their clothes with red in protest against the J. Marion Sims statue in New York, known as the “father of modern gynaecology” the protestors highlighted the doctor performed painful surgeries on enslaved black women without consent or anaesthesia


    https://twitter.com/womensart1/status/1121671458327896065

    La statue a été déplacée en 2018

    New York City’s Public Design Commission voted unanimously on Monday to remove the statue of J. Marion Sims, a 19th century surgeon who conducted experimental operations on female slaves, from its place of honor in Central Park.

    It was the first decision to alter a prominent New York monument since Mayor Bill de Blasio called for a review of “symbols of hate” from city property eight months ago, in the wake of the white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Va., that left one person dead.

    A commission that Mr. de Blasio created to make recommendations about how to evaluate the city’s monuments and other public images had proposed that the Sims statue be removed.

    The Parks Department will remove the statue, at 103rd Street, near the northeast corner of Central Park, at 8 a.m. Tuesday, according to Natalie Grybauskas, a mayoral spokeswoman.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/16/nyregion/nyc-sims-statue-central-park-monument.html

    Déplacée pour la seconde fois mais toujours debout

    A bronze statue by Ferdinand Freiherr von Miller (the younger), depicting Sims in surgical wear,[42] was erected in Bryant Park, New York, in 1894, taken down in the 1920s amid subway construction, and moved to the northeastern corner of Central Park, at 103rd Street, in 1934, opposite the New York Academy of Medicine.[23][43] The address delivered at its rededication was published in the Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine.[44] This is the first statue erected in the United States in honor of any physician. The statue became the center of protests in 2017 due to Sims’ operations on enslaved black women.[45] Vandals defaced the statue with the word RACIST and painted the eyes red.[46] In April 2018, the New York City Public Design Commission voted unanimously to have the statue removed from Central Park and installed in Green-Wood Cemetery, near where Sims is buried.[43]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Marion_Sims

    #grand_homme #chirurgie #racisme #gynécologie #femmes
    #James_Marion_Sims

  • Neo-Nazis Bet Big on Bitcoin (And Lost) – Foreign Policy
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/03/19/neo-nazis-banked-on-bitcoin-cryptocurrency-farright-christchurch


    Several hundred white supremacists carrying tiki torches march through the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville on Aug. 11, 2017.
    Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

    How the far-right’s failed cryptocurrency gamble became a bad joke for the Christchurch killer.

    The neo-Nazi terrorist who takes credit for murdering 50 people in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15 released a manifesto. One of the claims inside it is that he did very well investing in cryptocurrency—specifically, a collapsed Ponzi scheme called Bitconnect.

    Like much of the shooter’s manifesto, the claim about cryptocurrency is almost certainly nonsense—thrown in to get the media to chase their tails as they try to make sense of a deliberately confusing stew of alt-right memes and neo-Nazi in-jokes.

    The reason it works as an in-joke is exactly because cryptocurrencies have become a favorite resource for the far-right—if rarely a successful one. White nationalists were known to be getting into cryptocurrencies during the 2017 bitcoin bubble, because PayPal kept cutting them off. The further joke is that Bitconnect is best known not for having helped its investors succeed but for taking them for millions, if not billions, of dollars. And Bitconnect started in 2016—but the shooter claimed to have made the money before he went traveling in 2010 or so.
    […]
    Bitcoin ideology is not a neo-Nazi ideology. However, bitcoin’s right-libertarian anarcho-capitalism is very much in range of far-right extremism, particularly in the degree to which both propagate “international banker” and Rothschild-style conspiracy theories, and there are social spaces where the two cross directly, such as the /biz/ cryptocurrency forum on 4chan.

    David Golumbia is the author of the 2016 book The Politics of Bitcoin: Software as Right-Wing Extremism. He documents the history of the ideas that went into bitcoin—such as long-running anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about “international,” i.e., Jewish, bankers—and how these extremist ideas are propagated by the subculture, even as present-day enthusiasts would utterly repudiate the ideas’ origins.

    I think only a small number of cryptocurrency users are out-and-out fascists or Nazis,” Golumbia told Foreign Policy. “But I also suspect that the proportion of fascists in that world is higher than it is in the general population. That’s due to the widespread presence of conspiratorial ideas in cryptocurrency communities. Many in cryptocurrency actively promote ignorance about what should be clear and uncontroversial facts about the world.

  • Indiedrome du 12/3/2019
    http://www.radiopanik.org/emissions/indiedrome/indiedrome-du-12-3-2019

    Hiroto Saitou: 21 Site 3-1 Torrid City (Metal Stoker) « V.A. Diggin’ In The Carts. Pioneering Japanese Video Game Music » (Hyperdub)

    Mekons: Weimar Vending Machine « Deserted » (Gliterbeat)

    Joshua Gerowitz: Smooth As Ice « Solano Canyon » (pfMENTUM)

    Aisté Noreikaité: Digital Empathy « VA. Far Away but ever closer: young Lithuanian composers abroad » (MIC)

    Un Ensemble & Jean-Luc Guionnet: 3 « Points Sans Surface » (Circum-Disc)

    Ake Hodell: Mr Smith In Rhodesia « Verbal Brainwash & Other Works » (Fylkingen)

    Hiroyuki Kawada: 14 King Erekiman (The Legend Of Valkyrie) « V.A. Diggin’ In The Carts. Pioneering Japanese Video Game Music » (Hyperdub)

    Plaster: The Climbers « Transition » (Kvitnu)

    http://www.radiopanik.org/media/sounds/indiedrome/indiedrome-du-12-3-2019_06388__1.mp3

  • States Are Introducing Bills That Could Prevent Teachers From Advocating for Climate Change - Pacific Standard
    https://psmag.com/news/state-bills-could-prevent-teachers-from-advocating-for-climate-change

    Several states have recently introduced bills that could interfere with the teaching of scientifically founded theories on climate change in public school science curricula.

    A bill in South Dakota would require each school board to adopt a code of ethics that prevents public school elementary and secondary school teachers from advocating “for any issue that is part of a political party platform at the national, state, or local level.” The Arizona legislature introduced a nearly identical bill.

    Virginia legislators proposed a bill with similar language, arguing that some teachers are abusing taxpayer dollars to “speak to captive audiences of students in an attempt to indoctrinate or influence students to adopt specific political and ideological positions on issues of social and political controversy ... under the guise of ’teaching for social justice’ and other sectarian doctrines.”

    In Maine, a comparable bill states that “the rules must require a teacher to provide students with materials supporting both sides of a controversial issue being addressed and to present both sides in a fair-minded, nonpartisan manner.”

    Science education groups are concerned that these bills, if enacted, would limit instruction on anthropogenic climate change, which is a key tenet of state and federal Democratic Party platforms. In the case of Maine, the bill could require teachers to discuss climate change as a disputed theory and present disproven theories for the global rise in temperatures as valid.

    Other states have introduced legislation that singles out the teaching of climate change directly. A bill in Montana takes a public stance on climate change that “reasonable amounts of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere have no verifiable impacts on the environment; science shows human emissions do not change atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions enough to cause climate change; claims that carbon associated with human activities causes climate change are invalid; and nature, not human activity, causes climate change.” Any educational and informational materials on climate change would be required to include this information.

    Climate change has become an increasingly politicized topic under the Trump administration. The president has publicly denounced its existence, and some federal agencies have removed the phrase “climate change” from webpages and other documents. Yet as global temperatures continue to rise (2018 was the fourth hottest year on record), at least 97 percent of climate experts maintain that “[c]limate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.”

    #Education #Climat #Politique_scientifique #Folie

  • A Database of Fugitive Slave Ads Reveals Thousands of Untold Resistance Stories

    https://hyperallergic.com/435183/freedom-on-the-move

    Readers of the May 24, 1796 Pennsylvania Gazette found an advertisement offering ten dollars to any person who would apprehend Oney Judge, an enslaved woman who had fled from President George Washington’s Virginia plantation, Mount Vernon. The notice described her in detail as a “light mulatto girl, much freckled, with very black eyes and bushy black hair,” as well as her skills at mending clothes, and that she “may attempt to escape by water … it is probable she will attempt to pass as a free woman, and has, it is said, wherewithal to pay her passage.” She did indeed board a ship called the Nancy and made it to New Hampshire, where she later married a free black sailor, although she was herself never freed by the Washingtons and remained a fugitive.

    The advertisement is one of thousands that were printed in newspapers during colonial and pre-Civil War slavery in the United States. The Freedom on the Move (FOTM) public database project, now being developed at Cornell University, is the first major digital database to organize together North American fugitive slave ads from regional, state, and other collections. FOTM recently received its second of its two National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) digital humanities grants.

    #esclavage

  • 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

  • VCU Imagineers Use Spore Stickers to Recycle Cardboard
    https://hackernoon.com/vcu-imagineers-use-spore-stickers-to-recycle-cardboard-earth-hacks-recap

    Earth Hacks RecapVirginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is a public research university located in Richmond, Virginia and on Jan. 26–27, VCU Earth Hacks happened.Experimental Civics was immediately on-board with being a sponsor, hosting a design thinking workshop during the event, and providing additional support and intros! Kudos to the whole team for running an amazing event!Start of VCU Earth HacksI caught up with Sanjana Paul, one of the co-founders, to ask her why she has supported this event:Sanjana Paul“I started Earth Hacks when I noticed that the rate at which environmental problems are increasing is exponential and the rate at which solutions to these problems are progressing is linear.Having attended #hackathons in the past, I know that during these events, rapid innovation takes (...)

    #sustainability #hacking #technology #environment

  • Bill to allow removal of Confederate monuments dies in subcommittee

    Tension filled the room Wednesday as a House subcommittee voted to kill a bill that would have let localities decide whether to remove or modify Confederate monuments in their jurisdictions.

    Del. David J. Toscano, D-Charlottesville, introduced House
    House Bill 2377, which sought to change the current law that makes it illegal to disturb or interfere with war monuments. His bill would have given cities and counties authority to remove Confederate or Union monuments. This is the second year Toscano has sponsored such legislation.

    “We give localities the ability to control the cutting of weeds. But we haven’t yet given them the control over monuments that might have detrimental effects on the atmosphere and the feeling of the community,” Toscano said. “If you weren’t in Charlottesville in August of 2017, it would be hard to understand all of this.”

    He said people across Virginia want the ability to decide what to do with the monuments in their towns.

    Toscano said the monuments were erected during the “lost cause” movement, which viewed the Confederacy as heroic and the Civil War as a conflict not over slavery but over “states’ rights.”

    He addressed a subcommittee of the House Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns. The subcommittee’s chair, Del. Charles D. Poindexter, R-Franklin, gave those on each side of the debate five minutes to state their case. With a packed audience filling the small committee room, each person had little more than one minute to speak.

    Supporters of Toscano’s legislation held up blue signs with messages such as “Lose The Lost Cause” and “Local Authority for War Memorials” printed in black ink.

    Lisa Draine had tears in her eyes as she spoke of her daughter, Sophie, who was severely injured when a white supremacist, James Alex Fields Jr., drove his car into a crowd of people demonstrating against racism in Charlottesville.

    Fields, who was sentenced to life in prison last month for killing Heather Heyer, was part of the “Unite the Right” rally protesting the city’s plans to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a local park.

    “I couldn’t imagine that a statue had brought this to our town,” Draine said. “My daughter could have been your daughter.”

    A member of the Charlottesville City Council, Kathy Galvin, spoke in favor of the bill, citing the need for local legislators to have authority over the monuments.

    Matthew Christensen, an activist from Charlottesville, said it was an issue of “basic human decency” and the right of local governments. “They own the land, they own the statue, they should be able to decide what to do with it,” he said.

    Ed Willis, an opponent of Toscano’s bill, said it violates provisions in the Virginia Constitution prohibiting discrimination. “It’s painfully clear discrimination based on Confederate national origin is the basis of this bill,” he said.

    Like other opponents, Willis said his ancestors served in the Civil War. Some spoke of their families’ long heritage in Virginia and opposed what they felt was the attempt to sanitize or alter their history.

    Frank Earnest said he blamed the “improper actions” of the Charlottesville city government for the mayhem that took place in August 2017.

    “Just like the other socialist takeovers,” Earnest said, “it’ll be Confederate statues today, but don’t think they won’t be back next year to expand it to another war, another time in history.”

    The subcommittee voted 2-6 against the bill. Dels. John Bell and David Reid, both Democrats from Loudoun County, voted to approve the bill. Opposing that motion were Democratic Del. Steve Heretick of Portsmouth and five Republicans: Dels. Poindexter, Terry Austin of Botetourt County, Jeffrey Campbell of Smyth County, John McGuire of Henrico County, and Robert Thomas of Stafford County.

    Supporters of the bill met with Toscano in his office after the meeting. He said he knew the bill’s defeat was a “foregone conclusion.” HB 2377 was heard last in the meeting, giving little time for debate or discussion.

    People who want to remove the monuments asked Toscano, “How do we make this happen?”

    Toscano picked up a glass candy dish from his desk and placed a chocolate coin wrapped in blue foil in each person’s hand. This represented his desire for a Democratic majority in the House of Delegates, where Republicans hold 51 of the 100 seats.

    Toscano said he fought for years to get from 34 Democratic delegates to the 49 now serving. He urged the group to vote for those who share their concerns this November.

    “It’s all about the General Assembly,” he said.


    https://www.wdbj7.com/content/news/Bill-to-allow-removal-of-Confederate-monuments-dies-in-subcommittee-505136791
    #monument #mémoire #monuments #USA #Etats-Unis #statue #histoire #Etats_confédérés #confédération #toponymie #paysage_mémoriel #guerre_civile #Charlottesville #Virginia #Virginie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • La #science pour le plus grand nombre, pas pour l’argent

    Partout dans le monde, l’Enseignement Supérieur et la Recherche sont actuellement soumis à la doctrine de choc du néolibéralisme, où la #connaissance est perçue comme un simple moyen d’améliorer la #compétitivité de l’économie, comme une source possible de bénéfices et comme un outil de contrôle pour les gouvernements. Ce programme néolibéral pour la science est mis en œuvre par un nouveau mode de gestion publique dans lequel les étudiants, les enseignants et les chercheurs doivent devenir des entrepreneurs de leur capital cognitif et de leur réputation. Loin des idéaux coopératifs de la science et de l’enseignement, les universités et les institutions de recherche sont gérées comme des entreprises, en concurrence les unes avec les autres pour attirer les « meilleurs » étudiants et chercheurs. Les groupes de recherche et les collectifs de travail sont presque systématiquement écrasés. Les gestionnaires scientifiques sont censés chercher des #fonds et des #subventions pour employer une masse toujours plus grande de personnel précaire, dont les bas salaires contrastent avec les revenus de plus en plus élevés d’une nouvelle élite de gestion incarnée par les présidents et les vice-présidents d’université. La souffrance au travail affecte la plupart de ces nouveaux #prolétaires_intellectuels. D’un autre côté, la folie de l’#évaluation, la pression pour « #publier_ou_périr » et la #privatisation de l’#édition_scientifique conduisent à un nombre croissant de publications, ce qui menace à la fois la qualité de la #recherche et la transmission ouverte du savoir. Cette guerre matérielle dans laquelle l’#austérité va de pair avec la privatisation s’accompagne d’une guerre idéologique orwellienne où les mots, écrits dans un langage pauvre et mensonger, perdent leur sens. Le désir de reconnaissance de chacun conduisant à la servitude de tous, les valeurs de #compétition et d’#utilitarisme gagnent du terrain dans nos communautés scientifiques, où les individus sont de plus en plus isolés et craignent d’être exclus du jeu.

    Heureusement, des #résistances sont apparues, tant dans les pays où l’application de ces politiques était la plus développée (Grande-Bretagne ou Chili) que dans les pays où elles sont encore moins avancées (France, Allemagne ou Canada, notamment la région du Québec). Partout, les #mobilisations proposent des #alternatives à ces politiques néolibérales, très proches les unes des autres tant en termes de valeurs que de mesures concrètes. Plus important encore, nous sommes tous d’avis que le savoir fait partie du patrimoine commun de l’humanité et que sa valeur dépend de son #partage avec le plus grand nombre. Les autres composantes de l’alternative à la science néolibérale découlent de ce principe.

    Premièrement, l’université doit être libre. Mais la lutte pour l’abolition effective des #frais_d'inscription exige aussi que l’on reconnaisse aux étudiants le droit à une allocation financière substantielle qui garantirait leur autonomie en leur donnant les moyens de faire face à la nourriture, au logement et d’avoir du temps pour étudier.

    Deuxièmement, les universitaires et les chercheurs doivent non seulement avoir des salaires et des retraites décents, mais aussi se voir accorder des postes à part entière avec de solides garanties d’#indépendance. C’est une condition nécessaire si nous voulons éviter les #conflits_d'intérêts entre l’éducation, la science et les pouvoirs de l’argent et de la politique.

    Ils doivent également bénéficier de crédits à long terme, sans passer une grande partie de leur temps à demander un nombre croissant de subventions et de #projets par le biais de procédures bureaucratiques épouvantables ou à justifier constamment l’utilisation scientifique des fonds qui leur sont alloués. Ce n’est qu’à ce prix qu’ils pourront revendiquer leur droit au temps, sans lequel aucun progrès intellectuel réel, aucune science libre et aucune éducation libre, solide et cohérente n’est possible.

    Enfin, la #démocratie doit être au cœur des universités et des institutions de recherche. Le débat critique avec les citoyens et la collégialité des décisions doivent remplacer la gestion de haut en bas venant de bureaucrates zélés et incompétents qui ne s’intéressent qu’à stimuler la concurrence et la soi-disant « excellence ».

    L’urgence sociale et écologique à laquelle le monde entier est actuellement confronté représente un intérêt général commun qui devrait nous pousser à nous unir si nous voulons relever tous ces défis. Un développement massif des connaissances scientifiques est aujourd’hui nécessaire pour assurer la #transition_écologique de nos sociétés et échapper à la catastrophe imminente. Les investissements publics représentant 3% du PIB des nations doivent être consacrés aux services publics de la recherche et de l’enseignement supérieur. Nous devons également riposter de manière organisée  : il est temps de construire une alternative mondiale dans laquelle les universitaires et les scientifiques, les étudiants et les citoyens défendent les trois piliers de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche  : l’indépendance de la production scientifique et intellectuelle, la libre critique et la gratuité de la #transmission_des_connaissances.

    Nous, signataires de cet appel, membres de la communauté académique et de la recherche ou du mouvement social dans son ensemble, nous venons du monde entier. Nous nous engageons ensemble à promouvoir les valeurs de la critique, de la collégialité et de la #coopération dans le domaine scientifique et universitaire. Nous défendons des universités et des institutions de recherche bien dotées et libres d’intérêts privés. Nous luttons contre les #conditions_de_travail précaires et nous promouvons un système alternatif de publication scientifique dans lequel la connaissance est libre et ouverte. Nous appelons à la constitution d’un réseau de #solidarité_internationale et au développement du #savoir_pour_tous.

    https://www.linternationaledessavoirspourtous.org/p/la-science-pour-le-plus-grand-nombre.html?lang=en
    #université #critique #résistance #néo-libéralisme #précarisation #publish_or_perish #tribune #pétition

    • Academic-Led Publishing Panel: Why Academic-Led and Why Now?

      This panel serves as an introduction to Academic-Led Publishing Day, focusing on the “what” and “why” behind the event. Panelists briefly share how they are involved in academic-led publishing and answer the questions: “Why do you believe more academic-led publishing initiatives are needed? And why is now the time for both scholarly institutions and individual scholars to get involved in academic publishing?” Moderated by Cheryl Ball, editor of Kairos, this roundtable included Rebecca Kennison, Open Access Network Co-Founder Virginia “Ginny” Steel, Norman and Armena Powell University Librarian, UCLA Library Brian Cody, Co-Founder and CEO of Scholastica Max Mosterd, Head of Operations and Analytics for Knowledge Unlatched Mike Taylor, open-access advocate and paleontologist with the University of Bristol Hugh Thomas, Editor-in-Chief for Algebraic Combinatorics

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4D6OVD4QoE&feature=youtu.be

      –---------------------

      Academic-Led Publishing Day

      Academic-Led Publishing Day is a global digital event to foster discussions about how members of the scholarly community can develop and support academic-led publishing initiatives. Academic-Led publishing refers to scholarly publishing initiatives wherein one or more academic organizations control decisions pertaining to copyright, distribution, and publishing infrastructure. The goal of Academic-Led Publishing Day is to create an open dialogue about academic-led publishing programs and funding models - both current and potential - and to raise awareness about the roles and capabilities of different stakeholders in this space. The day will consist of virtual and in-person events, social media discussions, and a collection of blog posts and relevant resources.

      https://academicledpublishingday.com
      #alternative

  • 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

  • La #grève des #enseignants de #Los_Angeles pourrait faire boule de neige | JOCELYNE ZABLIT | États-Unis
    https://www.lapresse.ca/international/etats-unis/201901/14/01-5211014-la-greve-des-enseignants-de-los-angeles-pourrait-faire-boule-de-

    « Nous voici en ce jour pluvieux, dans l’un des pays les plus #riches du monde, dans l’un des États les plus riches du pays, un État aussi bleu (couleur du parti démocrate) que possible - et dans une ville qui regorge de millionnaires  ! - avec des enseignants obligés de faire la grève pour obtenir le minimum pour nos élèves », s’est exclamé Alex Caputo-Pearl, président du syndicat des enseignants de Los Angeles (UTLA), lors d’une conférence de presse.

    « Nous défendons l’essence même de l’#éducation_publique. La question est la suivante : est-ce que nous affamons nos écoles publiques de proximité pour aboutir à leur #privatisation  ? Ou bien est-ce que nous investissons dans ces écoles, pour nos élèves et pour une ville en plein développement  ? », a-t-il ajouté.

    #éloquence #etats-unis

    • The Rapid Victory of the West Virginia Teacher Strike Shows What Happens When Progressives Join the Fight Against School Privatization | naked capitalism
      https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/03/rapid-victory-west-virginia-teacher-strike-shows-happens-progressiv

      He concedes, however, there are still unresolved issues in how progressives will coalesce on charters elsewhere. His progressive colleagues in states with lots of charters still feel an urge to not totally reject charters because parents whose children attend the schools are often from marginalized communities. And teachers who work in charters are potential targets for labor unions who want to organize the workers.

      But he finds in places such as West Virginia, and neighboring Virginia and Kentucky, where there are very few or no charters, opposition to the schools is about saving public education. Opponents are quick to point to high-profile charter school scandals in Ohioand Pennsylvaniaas examples of what would befall their states. “It’s been 20 years of experimenting,” he says, “and experiments often fail.”

      Frankenberry’s hope is that the solidarity shown by progressive opposition to school privatization in West Virginia can rub off on his colleagues in states where charters are more abundant. “We’re showing that we’re not going to accept these schools,” he says. “Maybe the progressive organizers in places where they already have them can get inspiration from us to rein charters in.”

      Zuckett foresees opposition to charter schools and voucher programs continuing to be more of a point of contention that progressives will push in their policy positions, and not just in West Virginia. “The fight is on,” he says. “Shame on us if it isn’t.”

  • FYI France: Tom Paine!

    Une lecture critique du livre «Révolution Paine» (C&F éditions) par Jack Kessler depuis San Francisco.

    A new book which can remind us all, again, of what France and the US have in-common... at a good time for remembering all this, on both similarly-beleaguered sides of The Pond right now...

    Révolution Paine: Thomas Paine penseur et défenseur des droits humains, by Thomas Paine, Peter Linebaugh (pref.), Nicolas Taffin (dir.),

    (C&F éditions, 35 C rue des Rosiers, 14000 Caen, t. 02.31.23.39.48, fx. 01.40.09.72.67, cfedtions@cfeditions.com; août 2018) ISBN: 978-2-915825-85-5

    Tom Paine was British, it must be remembered — but then so were we all, back then, in revolutionary “America”, citizens of an empire which spanned the globe until very recently, our “shots heard round the world” the first of many which ultimately would bring that empire and others to heel and create new ways of thinking about government for the modern world.

    In all that mælstrom we very much needed ideas, and cheerleaders, for encouraging and inspiring ourselves and our fellow citizens, and Tom Paine was that. Whatever his opponents and most severe critics — and there were many — thought of him, and even friends and fans worried about him, but he was encouraging and inspiring, and for careful and conservative American “colonists” like the wealthy plantation-owner George Washington and the gentleman-printer Benjamin Franklin and the Boston lawyer John Adams, Paine’s encouragement and inspiration were enough, and at times they were very badly needed in fact.

    And the French were there for us, very different but close in spirit to the Americans, and always needed, for their spirit & their money & their guns & for many other resources and reasons — at the very least they were enemies of our enemies and so our friends, on whom we could rely for insight, breadth of vision, even occasionally at their own ruinous expense...

    France entertained Paine the rebellious Brit after the excitements of the British colonies had hosted him for a long while — in both places his own exciting language and the clarity of his vision helped citizens greatly, in the great troubles of their times — so now a glimpse of Tom Paine may help again, both to see our current troubles more clearly too, and to remember what we and the French share in-common in all this. When things change, for the US and France, neither of us is ever alone.

    https://cfeditions.com/paine

    The book is a “reader” — not a compendium, but a comfortable and thoughtful armchair-piece to browse-through and then keep handy, as headline-events of current troubled-times pour in, descending upon us daily.

    First comes a preface — avant-propos — by Nicolas Taffin, outlining why and how the idea for the book occurred to him: 2018 saw the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he says, and still we face troubles that first were defined for us by events of 1789 — after such a long time the birthday-celebration required a renewal of the effort, he thought, and who better than Tom Paine who first inspired it, in both the US and France, and the “Human Rights” and “Commons” forms in which the ideas were first presented.

    Then comes an elegant introduction to Paine and his works by historian Peter Linebaugh, translated from l’américain...

    It is a useful thing, to know Paine’s history, as he landed somewhat un-announced upon the Americans with his outrageous views and funny accent (?) and stunning phrasings. That he had a tradition, and a context, back home in also-turbulent England, only makes sense — and that early-on England experimented with many of the ideas the colonists were confronting later in their own contests with the Crown, deserves recalling, many of the same conflicts were heard before in early Industrial Revolution England, as workers and owners confronted one another, and governments moved to tax and otherwise control the new techniques.

    Paine and his East Anglia neighbors had rehearsed many of the confrontations he was to witness and comment upon in his sojourns in the American colonies — the issues were similar, new techniques & how to cope with change & the sharing of burdens and benefits & working conditions & and of course taxes... not exactly “taxation without representation”, there at-home in England, but taxation all-the-same...

    Whether Paine was a Che Guevara, as Linebaugh I-hope-playfully suggests, whether the Introduction successfully demonstrates that Americans of that time, “ambitiously risked class warfare on a global scale”, well, other readers will have to read and judge... Linebaugh, described by Wikipedia as a “Marxist historian”, does weave through initial attributions of Paine’s ideas to his having been, “conscious of classes, sensible to differences in power and wealth” — he describes Paine’s concerns for “Agrarian Justice” as involving “class injustice”.

    It matters that Paine’s life in mid-18th c. England greatly preceded the writings of Marx a century later; but also of course there may have been historical connections, workers’ lives a century earlier were very much what the historicist Marx was interested in and wrote about. Linebaugh carefully outlines that Paine, “lived at the time of an industrial revolution, of commercial expansion & urbanization & population increase” — he grants that Paine’s views did not fall cleanly into any contest between “communism and capitalism”, terms which, apparently per Edmund Burke, were, “still cartilaginous, not yet well defined or formed”.

    But Paine had a good sense for “the commons”, he insists, “and of its long presence in English history”, a matter which he says has not been well considered in previous studies of Paine. “A long anti-capitalist tradition in England”, Linebaugh believes he’s found, through Tom Paine, “one which contributes to our understanding about current notions of ‘revolution’ and ‘constitution’ in modern Britain” — for this suggestion alone, Linebaugh’s Introduction makes for some very interesting reading.

    Beyond this Introduction there are excerpts, then, from Paine’s own “Rights of Man” — fascinating, the differences, between one culture’s “emotive” language and another’s — French easily is the equal of English in this regard...

    And finally a fascinating Post-Script by editor Nicolas Taffin: he takes “Tom Paine of Thetford” several significant steps further than the little local American Revolution — several steps further, even, than the nascent Class Warfare of the Levellers and workers’-revolts of East Anglia which maybe-led to the Marxian revolutions of the 19th century — Taffin going-further finds, in Paine, the freeing of the human imagination, from the illusory securities and comforts and oppressions of the previous era’s religion-controlled philosophies, the emergence of the Enlightenment’s idealisms into a modern world of “real” rights and responsibilities and true-freedom, governed by reason alone...

    Paine may have had a glimmer. The American Founders who fought our little revolution here certainly had some glimpse as well... Certainly the young Virginia lawyer who boldly wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident” and then chafed as the elders to whom he submitted that draft picked it apart... Jefferson had read much of what the young Paine had read as well — in 1776, when arguably they both were at their most-inspired, Jefferson was age 33, Tom Paine was age 37 — as Wordsworth observed of youth in a slightly-later revolution, “Bliss was it in that Dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven”.

    But the true significance of what they all were doing did not emerge until much, much later... as late as the 1820s the two then very elderly American patriots Jefferson and Adams, both preparing for death and fondly reminiscing in their dotage-correspondance, could recall what they had done for the little United States, and for Britain, but only the more daring Jefferson seriously considered what they may have done ‘way back then to, “free the human spirit in general”...

    Taffin gives Paine the greater credit. Well, history has benefit of hindsight... Whether Paine himself, or truly his contemporaries, really understood what he was accomplishing with his amazing writings, back then, seems questionable. There are crackpots writing this sort of thing about The Future today — just as there were in East Anglia long before Paine’s birth there, which later he read, a few of them, in the Old School at Thetford — so qua-dreamer Paine’s contribution may well have been fortuitous, simply a matter of good timing... The poet appears to have felt this about his own contribution to the French Revolution, and others have suggested Paine contributed little there too...

    But ideas have lives of their own, and History has control of this. Taffin doubtless is correct that if we are “free” today — universally — then some part of that is due to the writings of Tom Paine, almost regardless of how exactly that happened and what agencies promoted it and why, Marxist or Liberal or French, English, American, or other... Mao Tse Tung and Ho Chi Minh both are said to have read Tom Paine, I expect Steve Bannon has as well, and Marion (Le Pen) Maréchal (age 29) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (age 29) are reading Paine now...

    So the mystery of origins and influences continues, but so do the ideas. Read Taffin’s fascinating rendition here of Tom Paine’s context and continuing influence, and see what you yourself think... it is what many of us are worrying about in both the US and France, now, & that particular “common-concern” coincidence has made vast historical waves before...

    —oOo—

    And now a Note:

    Tom Paine in epigrams, 1737-1809: & now I understand better why Ben Franklin must have enjoyed his company so much... —

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Paine

    “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.”

    “I love the man that can smile in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.”

    “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.”

    “To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”

    “The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.”

    “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”

    “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”

    “’Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.”

    “Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.”

    “Reason obeys itself, and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.”

    “Moderation in temper is a virtue, but moderation in principle is a vice.”

    “Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.”

    “The most formidable weapon against errors is reason.”

    — and the following three Tom Paine épigrammes seem of particular relevance to our present Franco & américain mutual Times-of-Troubles —

    “Character is much easier kept than recovered.”

    “A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right.”

    “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”

    Jack Kessler
    kessler@well.com
    fyifrance.com

    #Révolution_Paine #C&F_éditions #Peter_Linebaugh #Droits_humains

  • 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

  • January 10 strike date set for 33,000 Los Angeles teachers - World Socialist Web Site
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/12/24/laus-d24.html

    Le gouvernement des États Unis est en train de remplacer l’école publique par des charter schools privées. Les enseignants et parents d’élèves mènent un mouvement de résistance contre le démantèlement de l’institution publique.

    Last week, the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) announced that it had set a strike date of January 10 for 33,000 teachers after failing to reach an agreement with the district after more than 18 months of negotiations.

    The announcement came a few days after as many as 50,000 educators and their supporters marched in the nation’s second largest school district to demand increased wages, a reduction in class sizes and the hiring of nurses and other critical staff. Teachers in Oakland, Fremont and other California cities are also pressing for strike action as part of the resumption of teachers’ strikes, which saw statewide walkouts earlier this year in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona and other states.

    Virginia teachers plan statewide protest to demand school funding - World Socialist Web Site
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/12/24/virg-d24.html

    The teachers’ movement that began last February in West Virginia—spreading to Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, North and South Carolina and Washington state—is clearly expanding in the face of the continued assault on public education. Charter school teachers have joined the growing number of walkouts as well, with a recent strike against Acero in Chicago.

    Meeting on Oakland school closure expresses hostility to attacks on public education - World Socialist Web Site
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/12/24/oakl-d24.html

    Last Tuesday, over 150 parents, students, educators and community members attended a public meeting to protest the planned closure of Roots International Academy, a middle school that serves low-income youth in East Oakland, California. After listening to district representatives attempt to justify the closure, numerous attendees spoke out forcefully against it and in favor of expanding public education funding and resources.

    Roots is one of 24 public schools in Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) that are slated to be closed or merged with other public schools over the next five years as part of the district’s and state’s savage assault on public education, which includes district budget cuts of $60 million over the next two years. All 24 schools slated for closure or merger are located in the “flatlands” regions of East and West Oakland, where poverty and crime are far more prevalent than in the rest of the city.

    In response to this unprecedented attack on education in Oakland, the city’s working class residents are beginning to mobilize. Among Oakland teachers, who have been working without a contract since July 2017, there is growing sentiment for a statewide teachers strike to unite with Los Angeles teachers, who last week announced that they will begin striking on January 10.

    Two weeks ago, roughly 100 Oakland teachers engaged in a wildcat “sickout” strike, largely out of frustration over the stalled negotiations and lack of initiative from the Oakland Education Association (OEA) teachers union.

    #USA #éducation #privatisation

  • The Arthur Sackler Family’s Ties to OxyContin Money - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/04/sacklers-oxycontin-opioids/557525

    Much as the role of the addictive multibillion-dollar painkiller OxyContin in the opioid crisis has stirred controversy and rancor nationwide, so it has divided members of the wealthy and philanthropic Sackler family, some of whom own the company that makes the drug.

    In recent months, as protesters have begun pressuring the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and other cultural institutions to spurn donations from the Sacklers, one branch of the family has moved aggressively to distance itself from OxyContin and its manufacturer, Purdue Pharma. The widow and one daughter of Arthur Sackler, who owned a related Purdue company with his two brothers, maintain that none of his heirs have profited from sales of the drug. The daughter, Elizabeth Sackler, told The New York Times in January that Purdue Pharma’s involvement in the opioid epidemic was “morally abhorrent to me.”

    But an obscure court document sheds a different light on family history—and on the campaign by Arthur’s relatives to preserve their image and legacy. It shows that the Purdue family of companies made a nearly $20 million payment to the estate of Arthur Sackler in 1997—two year after OxyContin was approved, and just as the pill was becoming a big seller. As a result, though they do not profit from present-day sales, Arthur’s heirs appear to have benefited at least indirectly from OxyContin.

    The 1997 payment to the estate of Arthur Sackler is disclosed in the combined, audited financial statements of Purdue and its associated companies and subsidiaries. Those documents were filed among hundreds of pages of exhibits in the U.S. District Court in Abingdon, Virginia, as part of a 2007 settlement in which a company associated with Purdue and three company executives pleaded guilty to charges that OxyContin was illegally marketed. The company paid $600 million in penalties while admitting it falsely promoted OxyContin as less addictive and less likely to be abused than other pain medications.

    Arthur’s heirs include his widow and grandchildren. His children, including Elizabeth, do not inherit because they are not beneficiaries of a trust that was set up as part of a settlement of his estate, according to court records. Jillian receives an income from the trust. Elizabeth’s two children are heirs and would receive bequests upon Jillian’s death. A spokesman for Elizabeth Sackler declined to comment on the Purdue payment.

    Long before OxyContin was introduced, the Sackler brothers already were notable philanthropists. Arthur was one of the world’s biggest art collectors and a generous benefactor to cultural and educational institutions across the world. There is the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution, the Arthur M. Sackler Museum at Harvard, and the Jillian and Arthur M. Sackler Wing of Galleries at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

    His brothers were similarly generous. They joined with their older brother to fund the Sackler Wing at the Met, which features the Temple of Dendur exhibit. The Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation was the principal donor of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London; the Sackler name is affiliated with prestigious colleges from Yale to the University of Oxford, as well as world-famous cultural organizations, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. There is even a Sackler Rose—so christened after Mortimer Sackler’s wife purchased the naming rights in her husband’s honor.

    Now the goodwill gained from this philanthropy may be waning as the Sackler family has found itself in an uncomfortable spotlight over the past six months. Two national magazines recently examined the intersection of the family’s wealth from OxyContin and its philanthropy, as have other media outlets across the world. The family has also been targeted in a campaign by the photographer Nan Goldin to “hold the Sacklers accountable” for OxyContin’s role in the opioid crisis. Goldin, who says she became addicted to OxyContin after it was prescribed for surgical pain, led a protest last month at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in which demonstrators tossed pill bottles labeled as OxyContin into the reflecting pool of its Sackler Wing.

    While it doesn’t appear that any recipients of Sackler charitable contributions have returned gifts or pledged to reject future ones, pressure and scrutiny on many of those institutions is intensifying. In London, the National Portrait Gallery said it is reviewing a current pledge from the Sackler Trust.

    #Opioides #Sackler

  • A Database of Fugitive Slave Ads Reveals Thousands of Untold Resistance Stories
    https://hyperallergic.com/435183/freedom-on-the-move

    Readers of the May 24, 1796 Pennsylvania Gazette found an advertisement offering ten dollars to any person who would apprehend Oney Judge, an enslaved woman who had fled from President George Washington’s Virginia plantation, Mount Vernon. The notice described her in detail as a “light mulatto girl, much freckled, with very black eyes and bushy black hair,” as well as her skills at mending clothes, and that she “may attempt to escape by water … it is probable she will attempt to pass as a free woman, and has, it is said, wherewithal to pay her passage.” She did indeed board a ship called the Nancy and made it to New Hampshire, where she later married a free black sailor, although she was herself never freed by the Washingtons and remained a fugitive.

    The advertisement is one of thousands that were printed in newspapers during colonial and pre-Civil War slavery in the United States. The Freedom on the Move (FOTM) public database project, now being developed at Cornell University, is the first major digital database to organize together North American fugitive slave ads from regional, state, and other collections. FOTM recently received its second of its two National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) digital humanities grants.

    Runaway Slaves in Britain :: Home
    https://www.runaways.gla.ac.uk

  • Homeland Security Will Let Computers Predict Who Might Be a Terrorist on Your Plane — Just Don’t Ask How It Works
    https://theintercept.com/2018/12/03/air-travel-surveillance-homeland-security

    You’re rarely allowed to know exactly what’s keeping you safe. When you fly, you’re subject to secret rules, secret watchlists, hidden cameras, and other trappings of a plump, thriving surveillance culture. The Department of Homeland Security is now complicating the picture further by paying a private Virginia firm to build a software algorithm with the power to flag you as someone who might try to blow up the plane. The new DHS program will give foreign airports around the world free (...)

    #DHS #algorithme #voyageurs #surveillance

    ##voyageurs