Quand les puissances occidentales aident l’Arabie Saoudite dans son massacre au Yemen (aide militaire, vente d’armes, etc…), elles aident également Al-Qaeda

AARON MATÉ: You know, speaking of failed strategy, you mention Al-Qaeda. Can you talk about how the U.S.-backed bombing has, in fact, empowered Al-Qaeda and ISIS inside of Yemen?
S. AL-ADEIMI: Right. The Saudis have no problem working with any groups. That includes Al-Qaeda, of course. In 2016, there’s video evidence of the Saudi troops that are paid by the Saudis working alongside Al-Qaeda. At the time, they were trying to drive away the Houthis from certain parts of Taiz. You have groups like that who are empowered, other groups who have gained more control because of the power vacuum that the Saudis have created in the south. It’s counterintuitive to be working with the Saudis given that they are so readily willing to work with groups that are openly Al-Qaeda or have ties to Al-Qaeda.
AARON MATÉ: What do you make right now of the efforts underway in Washington? There have been a growing number of lawmakers who have called for cutting off U.S. military support for the Saudi coalition. Recently, you’ve had Obama administration officials expressing some regret for what they helped start back in March 2015. Samantha Power, the former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, is among those to come out and say, « We made a mistake in supporting the Saudi-led war. »
S. AL-ADEIMI: You know, it’s a very hypocritical stance to take because these numbers were just as dire when Obama was under control. Maybe we didn’t hear about them as much, but people were dying. People were dying of cholera, of violence, and the Saudis were committing air strike after air strike after air strike. Human rights organizations were calling for a halt to U.S. support right from the beginning. It’s a bit hypocritical for Obama administrators to now finally say, « Oh, okay, now that this is a Trump war on Yemen, now we’re against it. » But nonetheless, we need lawmakers in the Senate and in the House, lawmakers such as Chris Murphy, who have been calling adamantly for U.S. to stop its support of Saudi Arabia military.
Now, of course, that’s the best hope that we as Yemenis have. The U.S. Army recently just posted on their Twitter page the extent of their support to the Saudi military and it’s really astonishing. This includes training, not only refueling airplanes midair, but also repairing those aircrafts and vehicles when they’ve been damaged in the war, updating them, providing the soldiers with basic training all the way to very sophisticated training. The U.S. is very heavily involved in the war on Yemen by helping the Saudis. Without them, the Saudis aren’t going to be able to continue to wage this war much longer.
Of course, we know, then, there are also weapon shipments that are ongoing and have increased under Trump’s administration. The Saudis are very much reliant on U.S. support and that’s what needs to stop if we want to see an end to this war.

via Yemen’s Crisis is Far Worse Than We’re Told


Yemen’s Crisis is Far Worse Than We’re Told

Five children are killed or injured in Yemen every single day. That’s the new number from UNICEF on the toll from how the Saudi-led war is impacting the Middle East’s poorest country. Three million children have been born into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis since the Saudi-led coalition began bombing Yemen in March 2015. This week, the World Food Program issued yet another dire warning.
BETTINA LÜSCHER: It’s obviously clear that Yemen is in the grips of the world’s biggest hunger crisis. It is really the biggest crisis that we have in the moment anywhere in the world, so hard to deal with this. People who are severely food insecure, approximately 8.4 million. Acutely malnourished children, six months to five years, around 1.8 million. Acutely malnourished pregnant or nursing women, around 1.1 million. So you see just the statistics speak for themselves. This is a nightmare that is happening right now.
AARON MATÉ: Joining me is Shireen Al-Aldeimi, a Harvard Graduate School student originally from Yemen. Shireen, these are figures that will shock many people. Five children killed or wounded per day. At least 400,000 children severely malnourished. As somebody from Yemen with friends and family there, I’m sure they’re of no surprise to you. But my question for you is, are they actually an understatement?
S. AL-ADEIMI: They are, in fact, an understatement. These figures are reporting the number of children who are directly injured or killed because of violence. They’re not reporting, of course, the children who are dying every single day because of malnutrition, because of diseases like cholera and, now, diphtheria largely due to the blockade that the Saudis were imposing and are still imposing on Yemen. Those figures are much worse, unfortunately. In November, Save the Children reported that 130 children are dying each and every single day because of these other causes that are not just because of the violence that is perpetrated by Saudi Arabia.

via Yemen’s Crisis is Far Worse Than We’re Told

US Surveillance State

The worst thing about this debate it did not allow for amendments, and there is a perfectly reasonable amendment that would require probable cause to go into that database now that does have millions and maybe even billions of pieces of data about Americans. So, if you don’t curb the collection, at least you could curb the looking at that data afterwards by requiring a warrant based on probable cause. Again, the fact that the Democrat were partially, if not even in a major way, responsible for cutting off the debate is not only stupid on their part because they themselves could be targeted and have in the past, but they just don’t want the American public to understand these issues.
AARON MATÉ: So Coleen, as we’re speaking today, Jeff Flake, the Republican Senator, has given a speech on the Senate floor essentially comparing Trump to Stalin. He said, « An American president who can not take criticism, who must constantly deflect and distort and distract, is charting a very dangerous path. And a Congress that fails to act as a check on that president adds to the danger. » Now, Flake said these words just hours after he voted with the majority to end debate on the surveillance bill and move to a final vote, where it’s likely expected to pass. By the time this video is published, it probably will have passed. If you could explain, how could the government, as you mentioned, they have before, how could Attorney General Jeff Sessions, for example, use this to target political opponents?
COLEEN ROWLEY: Yes. It’s so ridiculously stupid for people who claim that Trump is threatening our civil liberties and he’s racist, and stupid, and all the things that he’s called. These same politicians now voting to give Trump even wider spying powers, not only on all Americans but even on themselves. Actually, you can even say Trump is the one who’s being really dumb to authorize this because he, in the past, has gotten also caught up in these interceptions of communications of his campaign. So, on both sides, you have people playing political theater, and so engaged in the political theater that they don’t realize that the American public will see the hypocrisy here.
But this can actually hurt Americans. For instance, the database is so large that if people now check a name, and they don’t need probable cause to check any American’s name in there, and they come up with something, they can build a criminal case based on whatever information is already collected in that database. That would just affect ordinary Americans. Probably the greater danger to our democracy is that powerful Americans who vie for power in Washington, we see this play out all the time, trying to dig up dirt on each other, on opponents, on sexual scandals, et cetera. When they are in power, they then can ask for those databases to be checked, again, without any probable cause or any check on it. I think those are the two greatest dangers.

There’s another proviso. Marcy Wheeler, emptywheel, has really gone deep on this, in fact, the entire sordid history that anybody that’s using TorVPN is automatically suspect by the way. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an American. You’re automatically suspect in engaging in « wrong behavior » because you’re using encrypted communications, or anonymized communication. And then you got the FBI, this big database, we don’t know what the parameters are. They refuse to provide to the Congressional staffers when they were attempting, i.e. to negotiate as they were coming up for reauthorization. There was a point apparently, as I understand it, just from what’s been published in the media, that they would not actually explain what the parameters are for doing these searches and then what do they do with the results of the searches.
AARON MATÉ: So Thomas, who do you expect to be targeted by this most likely? And just to explain something you said there. So, if someone uses a VPN for example, which is a tool to hide your IP address for privacy, that makes you subject to greater scrutiny just by virtue of seeking to protect your privacy?
THOMAS DRAKE: That is correct. By virtue of using, you’re protecting your communications, the assumption is that the government has the license to strip your protections because you’re using communications as hiding your communications. I mean, it just flips this whole thing on its head.
AARON MATÉ: What does this mean for activists, for journalists, for people who voice dissenting opinions about the government?
THOMAS DRAKE: It means that they could easily fall under this regime. They’ve got the cover of, « Well, you were communicating with someone who was communicating with someone overseas, » or « You were communicating with someone that we, or an entity, that we have defined as foreign. » By the way, the actual definition is extraordinarily loose. They can include an entire facility. We got to remember in terms of fiber optic, which is the fundamental backbone of internet, basically any internet communications that pass outside the US or are rerouted are subject to this type of surveillance. In fact, under the 702, which you may have, we haven’t heard the term as much. This came out in Snowden disclosures called PRISM. They can actually do upstream collection. That permits NSA to work with telcos and telecoms to copy, scan and filter all the internet and phone traffic coming from the physical infrastructure of those entities.
AARON MATÉ: Right. This refers to all the data that comes through these underseas cables, right? So, even before they enter the US, the NSA can grab them?
THOMAS DRAKE: Right, but the argument, if you go back and look at the detailed language of the FISA Amendments Act, they had this 51% targeting threshold to define what is foreign. But we don’t know, what does it mean? What’s that 1% that makes it foreign?

via Whistleblowers: Congress Has Entrenched the Surveillance State

Bill Gates et le capitalisme patrimonial

Le domaine de la généalogie n’est pas le seul secteur concerné. De nombreuses collections photographiques initialement constituées par des historiens de l’art ou des instituts de recherche ont, de la même manière, été regroupées sous la forme de bases de données iconographiques à caractère commercial qui, selon la logique du marché, se sont progressivement agrégées pour être aujourd’hui gérées par une poignée d’acteurs. La banque de photographies d’Otto Bettmann, fondée en 1936 sur la base de 25 000 images qu’il avait lui-même prises alors qu’il était conservateur de musée, illustre ces dynamiques. Elle fut rachetée par Corbis, l’entreprise de M. Bill Gates, pour créer un capital iconographique de 100 millions d’images, une collection ayant pour ambition de couvrir l’intégralité de l’existence humaine. L’entreprise a été rachetée en 2016 par le Visual China Group, qui assure avec Getty Images la gestion commerciale de ce trésor.

via Le négoce des ancêtres, par Isabella Di Lenardo & Frédéric Kaplan (Le Monde diplomatique, janvier 2018)

Nobel Peace Prize™

In fact, Trump’s biggest challenge in accelerating U.S. arms exports may not be foreign competition, but the fact that the Obama administration made so many high-value arms deals. Some countries are still busy trying to integrate the weapons systems or other merchandise they’ve already purchased and may not be ready to conclude new arms agreements.

via Tomgram: William D. Hartung, 2018 Looks Like an Arms Bonanza | TomDispatch

Pentagon economy

President Trump moved boldly in his first budget, seeking an additional $54 billion in Pentagon funding for fiscal year 2018. That figure, by the way, equals the entire military budgets of allies like Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Japan. Then, in a bipartisan stampede, Congress egged on Trump to go even higher, putting forward a defense authorization bill that would raise the Pentagon’s budget by an astonishing $85 billion. (And don’t forget that, last spring, the president and Congress had already tacked an extra $15 billion onto the 2017 Pentagon budget.)  The authorization bill for 2018 is essentially just a suggestion, however — the final figure for this year will be determined later this month, if Congress can come to an agreement on how to boost the caps on domestic and defense spending imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011. The final number is likely to go far higher than the staggering figure Trump requested last spring.

Trump’s much-touted $1 trillion infrastructure plan may never materialize, but the Pentagon is already on course to spend $6 trillion to $7 trillion of your taxes over the next decade. As it happens though, a surprising percentage of those dollars won’t even go into the military equivalent of infrastructure. Based on what we know of Pentagon expenditures in 2016, up to half of such funds are likely to go directly into the coffers of defense contractors rather than to the troops or to basic military tasks like training and maintenance.

While the full impact of Trump’s proposed Pentagon spending increases won’t be felt until later this year and in 2019, he did make a significant impact last year in his role as arms-dealer-in-chief. Early estimates for 2017 suggest that arms sales approvals in the first year of his administrationexceeded the Obama administration’s record in its last year in office — no mean feat given that President Obama set a record for overseas arms deals during his eight-year tenure.

via Tomgram: William D. Hartung, 2018 Looks Like an Arms Bonanza | TomDispatch

Déchets nucléaires: radioactivité, durée de la pollution

Le Centre industriel de stockage se composerait de 300 kilomètres de galeries logées à 500 mètres de profondeur, d’une capacité de 10 100 mètres cubes pour les déchets de haute activité à vie longue et de 73 600 mètres cubes pour ceux de moyenne activité à vie longue. Bien qu’ils ne représentent que 3,3 % de la masse des déchets produits, ces rebuts concentreraient au même endroit 99,9 % de la radioactivité émise par les déchets ultimes de l’industrie nucléaire française (7). Les isotopes qu’ils dégagent resteront radiotoxiques pendant des centaines de milliers d’années.

via À Bure, la fabrique du consentement, par Julien Baldassarra (Le Monde diplomatique, janvier 2018)