Caricatures: Un antisémite est caché dans ce dessin, sauras-tu le retrouver ? (Looking back with Plantu at Le Monde’s long tradition of antisemitic cartoons)

3 novembre, 2019

29 juillet 2015Image result for Plantu antisemitic cartoonsRelated imageRelated imageRelated imageImage result for Plantu antisemitic cartoons

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L’antisémitisme, c’est de prendre l’exemple d’une caractéristique ou d’une action qui est répandue, sinon universelle, et de n’en accuser que les Juifs. Alan Dershowitz
Le Monde should be mindful that what started as cartoons in the 1930’s ultimately led to violence and unspeakable tragedy. French Jewry has seen enough in the way of terror and violence and anti-Semitic vitriol, undoubtedly fueled by hateful cartoons like these. It’s not only libelous, it’s reckless and dangerous in light of the terror attacks earlier this year. There is an ignorance and prejudice buried in the image itself. It says more about the preconception in the mind of the illustrator than the reality on the ground. Joe Hyams (HonestReporting)
A political cartoon is one of the most effective tools of communication. People see an image and remember it longer than an article or an essay. Unfortunately, it’s also an extremely effective way of passing misinformation. And that’s the problem with a recent cartoon in Le Monde, France’s paper of record. The cartoon shows an IDF soldier firing his gun at Palestinian civilians, who appear to be dying in the rubble in front of him. The soldier is joined by a stereotypical religious Jew, depicted with a long beard, hat and coat, and even a rifle on his shoulder. The religious Jew is also holding a suitcase labeled New Settlements, and he’s telling the soldier: “Can’t you shoot any quicker? I’m in a hurry to move in!” In the background, an Israeli helicopter is firing on Palestinian buildings. The meaning of the cartoon is unmistakable: Israel is intentionally killing Palestinians in order to steal the land for its own use. The cartoon, by veteran cartoonist Jean Plantureux (known as Plantu), is shocking not only because of its false and gruesome depiction of Israeli soldiers and its caricature of the religious but also because it comes at a time of deep soul searching in Israel over the death of a Palestinian baby, who was killed in a house fire widely believed to have been set by Jewish extremists. The incident was widely condemned across Israeli society and led to stricter security measures against Israeli extremists. To present Israeli soldiers as wanton killers and religious Jews as promoters of genocide is a crass distortion of Israel that will breed more hate towards Jews and less understanding of the complex reality in the region. The death of the baby does not appear to be referenced in the cartoon. Instead, it may have been triggered by an announcement of plans for 300 new units in the settlements, which took place as Israeli security forces grappled with the removal of Jewish homes in Beit El. Honest reporting

Un antisémite est caché dans ces dessins, sauras-tu le retrouver ?

Suite à l’invitation de Plantu lui-même sur sa page Facebook

Avec la reproduction de son dessin faussement didactique de l’Express de 2015 …

Intitulé « Un Etat palestinien est caché dans ce dessin, sauras-tu le retrouver ? » …

Et dénonçant les nouvelles implantations (pardon: « colonies » israéliennes) dans les territoires occupés (pardon: « palestiniens ») …

Petit retour en images …

Les quelques exceptions qui confirment la règle mises à part …

Sur la longue tradition à laquelle …

Entre deux caricatures anti-américaines

Il a largement contribué avec Le Monde

Israel Accused of Genocide in Outrageous Cartoon

A political cartoon is one of the most effective tools of communication. People see an image and remember it longer than an article or an essay. Unfortunately, it’s also an extremely effective way of passing misinformation. And that’s the problem with a recent cartoon in Le Monde, France’s paper of record.

The cartoon shows an IDF soldier firing his gun at Palestinian civilians, who appear to be dying in the rubble in front of him. The soldier is joined by a stereotypical religious Jew, depicted with a long beard, hat and coat, and even a rifle on his shoulder. The religious Jew is also holding a suitcase labeled New Settlements, and he’s telling the soldier: “Can’t you shoot any quicker? I’m in a hurry to move in!” In the background, an Israeli helicopter is firing on Palestinian buildings.

The meaning of the cartoon is unmistakable: Israel is intentionally killing Palestinians in order to steal the land for its own use.

The cartoon, by veteran cartoonist Jean Plantureux (known as Plantu), is shocking not only because of its false and gruesome depiction of Israeli soldiers and its caricature of the religious but also because it comes at a time of deep soul searching in Israel over the death of a Palestinian baby, who was killed in a house fire widely believed to have been set by Jewish extremists.

The incident was widely condemned across Israeli society and led to stricter security measures against Israeli extremists. To present Israeli soldiers as wanton killers and religious Jews as promoters of genocide is a crass distortion of Israel that will breed more hate towards Jews and less understanding of the complex reality in the region.

The death of the baby does not appear to be referenced in the cartoon. Instead, it may have been triggered by an announcement of plans for 300 new units in the settlements, which took place as Israeli security forces grappled with the removal of Jewish homes in Beit El.

It’s actually the third straight cartoon by Plantu on the settlement issue, but the first directly accusing Israel of genocide.

HonestReporting CEO Joe Hyams condemned Le Monde for spreading hateful propaganda that reinforces a false narrative.

“Le Monde should be mindful that what started as cartoons in the 1930’s ultimately led to violence and unspeakable tragedy,” Mr Hyams said. “French Jewry has seen enough in the way of terror and violence and anti-Semitic vitriol, undoubtedly fueled by hateful cartoons like these.

“It’s not only libelous, it’s reckless and dangerous in light of the terror attacks earlier this year. There is an ignorance and prejudice buried in the image itself. It says more about the preconception in the mind of the illustrator than the reality on the ground,” he added.

CALL TO ACTION:

We call on Le Monde to remove the cartoon and acknowledge the damage to the Jewish community. Let the editors know what you think on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/lemonde.fr

This is not the first time Israel has been demonized through political cartoons. The slidshow below looks at some of the recent examples.


Liberté d’expression: Vous avez dit ‘élucubrations sur les réseaux sociaux’ ? (Big Brother Facebook and his sleeping giants friends are watching you)

11 octobre, 2019

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Nous sommes entrés dans un mouvement qui est de l’ordre du religieux. Entrés dans la mécanique du sacrilège : la victime, dans nos sociétés, est entourée de l’aura du sacré. Du coup, l’écriture de l’histoire, la recherche universitaire, se retrouvent soumises à l’appréciation du législateur et du juge comme, autrefois, à celle de la Sorbonne ecclésiastique. Françoise Chandernagor
L’islam essaie d’imposer à l’Europe ses règles : ouverture des piscines à certaines heures exclusivement aux femmes, interdiction de caricaturer cette religion, exigence d’un traitement diététique particulier des enfants musulmans dans les cantines, combat pour le port du voile à l’école, accusation d’islamophobie contre les esprits libres. Le Coran est un livre d’inouïe violence. Exaltation de la violence: chef de guerre impitoyable, pillard, massacreur de juifs et polygame, tel se révèle Mahomet à travers le Coran. De fait, l’Église catholique n’est pas exempte de reproches. … Mais ce qui différencie le christianisme de l’islam apparaît : il est toujours possible de retourner les valeurs évangéliques, la douce personne de Jésus contre les dérives de l’Église. Aucune des fautes de l’Église ne plonge ses racines dans l’Évangile. Jésus est non-violent. Le retour à Jésus est un recours contre les excès de l’institution ecclésiale. Le recours à Mahomet, au contraire, renforce la haine et la violence. Jésus est un maître d’amour, Mahomet un maître de haine. Comme jadis avec le communisme, l’Occident se retrouve sous surveillance idéologique. L’islam se présente, à l’image du défunt communisme, comme une alternative au monde occidental. À l’instar du communisme d’autrefois, l’islam, pour conquérir les esprits, joue sur une corde sensible. Il se targue d’une légitimité qui trouble la conscience occidentale, attentive à autrui : être la voix des pauvres de la planète. Hier, la voix des pauvres prétendait venir de Moscou, aujourd’hui elle viendrait de La Mecque ! Aujourd’hui à nouveau, des intellectuels incarnent cet oeil du Coran, comme ils incarnaient l’oeil de Moscou hier. Ils excommunient pour islamophobie, comme hier pour anticommunisme. À l’identique de feu le communisme, l’islam tient la générosité, l’ouverture d’esprit, la tolérance, la douceur, la liberté de la femme et des moeurs, les valeurs démocratiques, pour des marques de décadence. Ce sont des faiblesses qu’il veut exploiter au moyen «d’idiots utiles», les bonnes consciences imbues de bons sentiments, afin d’imposer l’ordre coranique au monde occidental lui-même. Comme aux temps de la guerre froide, violence et intimidation sont les voies utilisées par une idéologie à vocation hégémonique, l’islam, pour poser sa chape de plomb sur le monde. Benoît XVI en souffre la cruelle expérience. Comme en ces temps-là, il faut appeler l’Occident «le monde libre» par rapport au monde musulman, et comme en ces temps-là les adversaires de ce «monde libre», fonctionnaires zélés de l’oeil du Coran, pullulent en son sein. Robert Redeker
Les racines de l’Europe sont autant musulmanes que chrétiennes. Jacques Chirac
Dans le cadre du dialogue des civilisations et des cultures, il faut éviter tout ce qui anime les tensions et l’amalgame entre l’islam, qui est une grande religion respectée et respectable, et l’islamisme radical. Jacques Chirac
[La piste terroriste] n’est évidemment pas écartée. D’abord, je pense qu’il est important de le dire régulièrement: ce n’est pas parce qu’on est musulman qu’on est terroriste. Donc le fait qu’on se convertisse à l’islam n’est pas un signe automatique de radicalisation. Les faits doivent être regardés avec précision. C’est ce que les services enqêteurs sont en train de réaliser. Et donc avant que ces services enquêteurs ne nous donnent des informations tangibles et qui ne sont pas des élucubrations sur les réseaux sociaux, je ne me prononcerai pas. Sibeth N’Diaye (porte-parole du gouvernement Macron)
Tous nos problèmes aggravés par l’immigration sont aggravés par l’islam. En France, comme dans toute l’Europe, tous nos problèmes sont aggravés par l’immigration, école, logement, chômage, déficits sociaux, ordre public, prisons (…) et tous nos problèmes aggravés par l’immigration sont aggravés par l’islam. C’est la double peine. L’Etat français est devenu l’arme de destruction de la nation et de l’asservissement de son peuple, du remplacement de son peuple par un autre peuple, une autre civilisation. Entre vivre (et vivre) ensemble, il faut choisir. La question qui se pose à nous est la suivante: les jeunes Français vont-ils accepter de vivre en minorité sur la terre de leurs ancêtres ? Nos progressistes si brillants (…) nous ont ramenés à la guerre des races et à la guerre des religions. Comment ne pas être ébloui par les tenues de notre ministre préférée, Sibeth Ndiaye, sommet de la distinction française. Eric Zemmour
C’est ma dernière élection. Après mon élection, j’aurai plus de flexibilité. Obama (à Medvedev, 27.03.12)
Le battre dans les urnes rendrait un mauvais service à l’histoire, rendrait un mauvais service à notre pays. J’ai peur que si nous ne destituons pas le président, il sera réélu. Al Green (repésentant démocrate du Texas)
Aside from the emotional issue that Democrats, NeverTrumpers, and celebrities loathe Donald Trump, recently Representative Al Green (D-Texas) reminded us why the Democrats are trying to impeach the president rather than just defeat him in the 2020 general election. “To defeat him at the polls would do history a disservice, would do our nation a disservice,” Green said.  “I’m concerned that if we don’t impeach the president, he will get re-elected.” Translated, that means Green accepts either that Trump’s record is too formidable or that the agendas of his own party’s presidential candidates are too frightening for the American people to elect one of them. And that possibility is simply not permissible. Thus, impeachment is the only mechanism left to abort an eight-year Trump presidency—on a purely partisan vote to preclude an election, and thus contrary to the outlines of impeachment as set out by the Constitution. Consider it another way: Why is it that the House is controlled by Democrats, yet its leadership is not pushing through any of the policy proposals voiced so openly on the Democratic primary stage? Why aren’t progressive representatives introducing bills to pay reparations to African Americans, to legalize infanticide in some cases of late-term abortion, to offer free medical care to illegal aliens, to confiscate AR-15s, to extend Medicare for all, to impose a wealth tax and raise top rates to between 70 and 90 percent, to abolish student debt and ensure free college for all, or to grant blanket amnesty to those currently living in the country illegally? Simple answer: none of those issues poll anywhere near 50 percent approval. And no Democratic candidate would expect to beat Trump as the emissary of such an agenda. If the economy was in a recession, if we were embroiled in another Iraq-like or Vietnam-sort of war, and if Trump’s polls were below 40 percent, then the Democrats would just wait 13 months and defeat him at the polls. But without a viable agenda and because they doubt they can stop Trump’s reelection bid, they feel they have no recourse but to impeach. If Trump were to be reelected, not a shred of Barack Obama’s “fundamental transformation” would be left, and the strict constructionist Supreme Court would haunt progressives for a quarter-century. (…) In a sane world, the impeachers would worry their charges that Trump forced Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to investigate his possible 2020 Democratic opponent Joe Biden might boomerang. After all, Trump never actually cut off Ukrainian aid. Nor did he outline a quid pro quo deal. Essentially he is accused of unduly asking a foreign president to clamp down on corruption in his midst going back to 2016. So what? Especially if there is something more to the strange antics of Hunter Biden and CrowdStrike. Biden’s problems are not such thought crimes, but are confirmed by his own boasting: that he used the clout of the United States to help his own family financially, by threatening to cut off U.S. aid unless a Ukrainian state prosecutor looking into his own son’s suspicious lobbying was fired within six hours. And in Biden’s own words, “Son of a bitch,” he was fired. In contrast, Trump might have been all over the map in his call, but he kept the aid to Ukraine coming without demanding the scalp of any Ukrainian official. In some sense, Trump’s culpability boils down to one issue: progressives believe that in not-too-veiled a manner, he threatened a foreign government to start going after the Biden family without cause, whose patriarch Joe might be Trump’s 2020 election opponent. The other half of the country believes that what is material is not Biden’s current transient electoral status (he is not now and may not be the Democratic nominee), but the fact that he was vice president of the United States when he used his office to threaten the loss of foreign aid to stop investigations of his son, who was using his father’s position to further his own profiteering. Given that Trump denies any quid pro quo and his call supports that fact, while Biden, on the other hand, openly brags that he made threats which made the Ukrainian to cave (“in six hours”), one can draw one’s own conclusions. (…) As far as precedent, there is a good recent example. Barack Obama got caught promising to consider cuts in Eastern-European-based missile defense if Vladimir Putin would give him some room during his reelection campaign. Translated into Adam Schiff’s Mafiosi parody lingo: Putin would calm down on the international stage to make the U.S.-Russia “reset” look good, Obama would then get rid of Eastern-European missile defense, and Obama would get reelected in 2012. And all three of those events transpired as planned—one can surmise whether any of the three would have happened without Obama compliance with Russian conditions. Remember, Obama’s quid pro quo was caught on a hot mic on the premise that what he said to Russian President Medvedev was never supposed to be heard. “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this can be solved,” Obama said. “But it’s important for him [Putin] to give me space . . . This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.” Once that understanding was excused, and the media was mute about such collusion, can any notion of collusion as a crime still exist? (…) So if Trump’s health holds out, if we don’t have a recession, if there is not an optional war, and Trump endures the next few weeks of 360-degree, 24/7 targeting, 2020 will be far more favorable than ever imaginable for him. Victor Davis Hanson
Vanité des entreprises humaines… Tout débutait si bien: la meute média-antifa aux trousses d’Éric Zemmour… L’amorce d’un dialogue détendu-convivial sur l’immigration lancé par l’Élysée. Soudain, le vrai monde anéantit tout cela avec fracas. Car si la moitié de ce qu’on lit sur la tuerie de la Préfecture de police est vrai – nous y revenons – la sécurité de la France, la confiance des Français en leur État, seront gravement affectés. Le philosophe Clément Rosset édicta naguère que « la réalité est insupportable, mais irrémédiable »: nous y voilà. Résumons : un individu depuis dix ans fasciné par l’islam… converti depuis deux ans peut-être… habilité au secret-défense… niché au cœur informatique du service opérant le renseignement d’une capitale mondiale majeure… Aussi: on ne compte plus les missions ultra-sensibles récemment confiées à la DRPP, de par sa taille réduite, son étanchéité et son esprit de corps. Les dégâts potentiels sont vertigineux. (…) Quand vos chefs prônent le politiquement-correct ; quand cent stages vantent l’idéal du vivre-ensemble et l’horreur de la discrimination ; quand toute blague déclenche la foudre ; s’inquiéter d’un collègue infirme et antillais est ardu. Preuve, la réaction de l’État : le piteux Castaner bredouille que tout est normal et une péronnelle de la présidence suggère d’éviter les amalgames. Quand ces réactions émanent du sommet d’un État fort pyramidal, sa base évite tout propos malsonnant – comment lui donner tort ? Second point majeur. On lit que l’assassin était « signalé » depuis 2015. mais signalé par qui ? Et vers qui ? En 2015, l’ambiance était électrique entre la direction de la DGSI et celle de la DRPP, pour affaires touchant à la françafrique. Que s’est il alors passé – ou pas passé, plutôt ? Il serait judicieux d’aller y voir de près. Dernier point : Macron a fondé la coordination du renseignement : bien. Or depuis, sous l’empire de la nécessité – protéger le président de ses « affaires »… ambitions pseudo-savantes sans vrai contenu… la coordination semble oublier ses fondamentaux, dont celui-ci : coordonner est bien s’il s’agit d’un tout étanche et cohérent – ce n’est pas le cas, on l’a vu. Brutal résultat – le protocole de la médecine d’urgence vaut pour le renseignement : toujours envisager le pire. Nul catastrophisme, mais seul moyen de sauver le patient. Et si M. H. était une taupe islamiste ? Qu’a-t-il transmis et à qui, des bases numériques de la DRPP ? Y a-t-il logé un logiciel-malveillant, cheminant ensuite – vers où ? On imagine la réaction des services alliés. Au pire, tout ou partie de l’informatique de la DRPP est à revoir. (…) même, on aggrave les choses. Un exemple inquiétant. Pour grappiller quelques sous, l’Intérieur externalise la réparation de ses véhicules, camions de CRS, etc. Or dans leurs garages, les mécaniciens de la police voient ces sous-traitants chercher les véhicules à réparer. Parfois, des barbus portant au front la zebiba, tache noire du prosterné en prière. Voilà à qui on confie les camions des CRS. On détecte ainsi des sots trop voyants, mais de longue date, les durs des Frères musulmans et les salafistes disposent de fatwas leur permettant de se raser et porter costume-cravate pour infiltrer les structures infidèles. Quand ils l’ont pu dans le monde musulman, ils ont infiltré les centres d’éducation : leurs recrues savent se planquer. En Turquie, on voit le mal qu’a Erdogan à éradiquer la secte islamiste de Fetullah Gülen de l’administration et l’armée. » Xavier Raufer
Ce fonctionnaire né à Fort de France servait depuis 2003 comme adjoint administratif (agent de catégorie C) au sein du au service technique de la Direction du renseignement de la préfecture de police (DRPP). Il n’avait jamais attiré défavorablement l’attention de sa hiérarchie quant à sa conduite. Il a certainement été l’objet d’une enquête de sécurité au moment de son recrutement (en 2003) puis d’un suivi épisodique pour proroger ses habilitations au secret défense (tous les cinq ans). Sa conversion à la religion musulmane ne constituait pas un acte délictueux et, jusqu’à plus ample informé, il ne fréquentait pas des lieux de culte salafistes incubateurs d’activistes – même si fort heureusement, ils ne passent majoritairement pas à l’acte -. Non seulement dans son cas avec les éléments connus, il n’y avait pas matière à enquêter plus avant, mais si cela avait été le cas, cela aurait pu être assimilé à du « harcèlement » et à de l' »islamophobie ». La hiérarchie de l’administration – quelqu’elle soit – a très peur de se retrouver dans cette position face aux influents intellectuels qui n’attendent que ce prétexte pour intervenir dans les medias dans le seul but d’affaiblir l’Etat. Cela dit, l’enquête en cours aurait prouvé qu’il s’était converti en 2008 et pas il y a 18 mois comme cela avait été annoncé précédemment. Si ce fait est confirmé, cela prouverait qu’il pratiquait la Taqiya (l’art de la dissimulation surtout en usage chez les chiites mais méthode reprise par les salafistes) à l’évidence pour cacher sa conversion à son environnement. De plus, il semble qu’il avait préparé son coup au dernier moment ayant acquis le couteau de cuisine en céramique qui a servi à ces assassinats le matin même de son action. (…) Les services de l’Etat sont à l’image de la nation. Les chiffres varient car les statistiques officielles restent interdites mais il y aurait entre 7 et 10% de musulmans en France. Le chiffre devrait être logiquement le même au sein de l’administration. Cela dit, seule une infime partie des musulmans adhère aux thèses extrémistes des salafistes-djihadistes qui puisent leur inspiration sur les sites spécialisés (que décidément la puissance publique a bien du mal à entraver). En France, il existe aussi d’autres versions de l’islam sunnite qui ne prônent pas la violence comme le mouvement tablligh et les Frères musulmans. Le cas des salafistes dits quiétistes pose question car c’est dans leurs rangs que les salafistes-djihadistes viennent recruter de nouveaux adeptes. Les activistes n’ont pas besoin d’être très nombreux pour être dangereux. C’est d’ailleurs la caractéristique des mouvement terroristes : quelques activistes bien formés valent mieux que des gros bataillons facilement repérables. (…) pour le moment, ce ne sont pas les revenants qui représentent le menace principale en Occident en général et en Europe en particulier. Daech n’est pas vaincu militairement mais a actuellement d’autres soucis comme relancer la guérilla sur le front syro-irakien, activer ses provinces extérieures comme en Afrique – particulièrement au Sahel – , dans le Causasse et en Extrême-Orient. Par contre, Daech continue à prodiguer sa propagande et à appeler ses adeptes au meurtre là où ils se trouvent. C’est sans doute ce qui explique cette dernière opération meurtrière. Il va être affirmé que l’assassin était quelque part « dérangé mentalement » mais il convient de se poser la question suivante: un individu qui se livre à un acte terroriste est-il mentalement sain d’esprit ? Il aurait aussi été insatisfait de sa position professionnelle qui n’évoluait pas mais cela ne peut pas expliquer grand chose. Il gardait son libre arbitre. Le cas juridique du « suspect » est clos puisque l’action est éteinte avec sa mort. Cela dit, il reste un gros problème. Daech possède un service de sécurité (Amniyat) dont une des missions est le renseignement. Ce mouvement semblait se renseigner sur le passé des volontaires français qui le rejoignaient en Syrie. Quel rôle pourrait avoir joué le suspect dans ces enquêtes « de sécurité » (et autres) car sa position professionnelle au sein de la DRPP pouvait lui permettre d’avoir accès à des fichiers informatique confidentiels ? En effet, il pourrait avoir été recruté comme source par Daech ce qui expliquerait pour partie. (…) Il est évident que cela va créer une inquiétude au sein de la population qui constate que même les organismes chargés de la protéger peuvent être infiltrés par des mouvements terroristes. Tous les ministères vont se sentir concernés et vont devoir revoir les procédures de sécurité et les enquêtes d’habilitation de leurs personnels. Cela va être très nuisible à l’ambiance interne qui risque de devenir suspicieuse. » Alain Rodier
« On sent bien que la énième répétition du même mode opératoire, à savoir une personnalité seule qui profite d’un effet de surprise dans la vie quotidienne pour poignarder des quidam, ici ce sont des collègues de travail, mais d’autres fois ce sont des passants, des gens qui rentrent chez eux dans des transports en commun, des jeunes femmes qui attendent un train dans une gare, des soldats en faction, un prêtre dans son église, c’est-à-dire n’importe qui ou tout le monde, tout cela use l’opinion publique et donne le sentiment qu’un danger imminent s’est diffusé dans notre vie quotidienne et peut nous guetter n’importe où à n’importe quel moment. On sent bien que l’ambiance se tend, et qu’une violence au quotidien se banalise. L’idée qu’à tout instant un attentat peut se produire sous nos yeux et qu’il faudra agir fait désormais partie du paysage. A long terme, la notion de tension religieuse prend forme, malgré les nombreux appels au calme et malgré les dénis sur le « pas d’amalgame ». La multiplication, partout en Europe d’ailleurs, de ces épisodes fébriles où quelques personnes sont tuées au couteau, comme ça, simplement, dans un flash terroriste, lézarde progressivement la certitude que ces attentats ne seraient pas de nature religieuse. Sur ce point, la stratégie des pouvoirs publics suivie en France comme en Allemagne, consistant à expliquer immédiatement après les faits qu’il s’agit d’un acte perpétré par un déséquilibré et qui ne serait pas de nature religieuse devient une source ce méfiance. (…) Cette fois-ci, le déni est terrible. On a tous entendu Christophe Castaner et Sibeth Ndiaye expliquer que rien ne permettait de présager l’action de cet informaticien habilité au secret défense et employé dans les services de renseignement. Mais le Parisien a révélé qu’il avait fait l’objet d’un signalement à sa hiérarchie en 2015 pour dérive radicale. Il semble que la machine administrative n’en ait pas tenu compte. En termes de gestion publique, ce hiatus entre les propos du gouvernement et la réalité est redoutable, parce qu’il donne à l’opinion publique le sentiment que la situation n’est pas sous contrôle. Ce sentiment est apparu très nettement avec l’affaire Lubrizol. Alors qu’une usine Seveso seuil haut était en feu, provoquant nausées et vomissements dans la population, le gouvernement est resté sourd et aveugle face aux évidences en expliquant que les fumées ne présentaient pas de toxicité inquiétante. La réaction incrédule de la population devrait alerter les pouvoirs publics, d’autant que l’émission de dioxine est désormais attestée, ce qui dément les propos des ministres. La même semaine, le même sketch reprend. Alors qu’un fonctionnaire de nos services de renseignement égorge l’un de ses collègues sur son lieu de travail, à savoir la Préfecture de police, ce qui n’est pas rien, deux ministres interviennent immédiatement pour tenir des discours qui manquent singulièrement de prudence, et qui sont démentis dans la journée par la presse. Le discrédit guette. Quand, sur deux affaires majeures en un laps de huit jours, des ministres sont pris en flagrant délit d’erreurs sur des faits et dans l’appréciation de leur gravité, la conséquence est bien connue: ils perdent toute crédibilité, et c’est l’équipe entière d’Edouard Philippe qui est désormais menacée de discrédit. » Eric Verhaeghe
Votre publication ne respecte pas nos Standards de la communauté sur les individus et organismes dangereux. Nos Standards s’appliquent dans le monde entier à tous les types de contenu. Nos Standards de la communauté ont pour objectif d’encourager l’expression et de créer un environnement sûr. (…) Afin d’éviter et d’empêcher toute nuisance et tout danger réel, les organisations ou individus qui revendiquent des objectifs violents ou qui sont impliqués dans des activités violentes ne sont pas les bienvenus sur Facebook. Cela comprend les organisations et les individus impliqués dans les activités suivantes : les activités terroristes, la haine organisée, les meurtres de masse ou en série, la traite des personnes, la violence ou les activités criminelles organisées. Nous supprimons également tout contenu soutenant ou faisant l’éloge de groupes, dirigeants ou individus impliqués dans ces activités. Une organisation animée par la haine correspond à : toute association de trois personnes ou plus organisées sous un nom ou un symbole et dont l’idéologie, les déclarations ou les actions physiques portent atteinte à des individus en fonction de caractéristiques, notamment la race, l’affiliation religieuse, la nationalité, l’ethnicité, le sexe, l’orientation sexuelle, une maladie grave ou un handicap. Facebook
C’est un réseau international sans structure ni hiérarchie, de tous âges, étudiants comme retraités. Beaucoup d’internautes veulent nous rejoindre, mais il nous faut trouver des gens fiables et de confiance. Mine de rien, c’est une activité dangereuse qui nécessite beaucoup de précautions pour protéger son identité et agir en sécurité face aux menaces. La propagation de la haine et la manipulation de Breitbart étaient devenues pour moi inadmissibles et insupportables. Ce n’est pas un engagement politique, mais plutôt de l’ordre de la philosophie. Il y a aussi des médias spécialisés dans la manipulation par la peur, en France, dont certains sont financés par la publicité, justifie l’activiste. Avec mon partenaire, nous avons choisi de commencer par Boulevard Voltaire : c’était moins dangereux que Fdesouche [blog nationaliste très populaire à l’extrême droite, ndlr], dont les contributeurs sont particulièrement agressifs. En plus, Boulevard Voltaire fait passer des idées nauséabondes sous couvert de respectabilité chrétienne. Cela le rend à mes yeux encore plus insidieux. (…) On a cherché des sites d’extrême gauche qui diffusaient de la peur, mais ils sont peu organisés et aucun ne profite de la pub. R
Sleeping Giants (« Les Géants Endormis ») est une organisation activiste agissant sur les réseaux sociaux visant à persuader les entreprises de supprimer leurs publicités de certains médias conservateurs tenant des propos jugés racistes et/ou sexistes. La campagne a débuté en novembre 2016 peu après la victoire de Donald Trump à l’élection présidentielle américaine de 2016, avec le lancement d’un compte Twitter visant à boycotter Breitbart News. Le premier message (sur Twitter) ciblait la société de gestion financière SoFi1 (compagnie spécialisée dans la gestion financière). La plupart des messages de l’organisation sur le réseau social Twitter sont des messages destinés aux entreprises fournissant de la publicité à la chaîne Breitbart News. La majorité de leurs messages incitent à participer au boycott de l’entreprise tant que celle-ci n’aura pas rejoint la lutte contre Breitbart. La plupart de l’activité du réseau ne provient pas du compte lui-même, mais sont des « retweets » de ceux-ci, cette méthode donne à l’organisation un très grand impact sur les utilisateurs des réseaux sociaux. Jusqu’en juillet 2018, personne ne savait qui était à la tête du mouvement, mais finalement, après deux ans d’activités, Matt Rivitz, un publicitaire, confirme qu’il est le fondateur du groupe, après avoir été identifié par le média conservateur Daily Caller. L’organisation agit principalement depuis son compte Twitter mais dispose également d’un compte Facebook. Elle a monté, au fil du temps, diverses antennes régionales en Australie, en Belgique, au Brésil, au Canada, en Finlande, en France, en Allemagne, en Italie, aux Pays-Bas, en Nouvelle-Zélande, en Norvège, en Espagne, en Suède, en Suisse et enfin au Royaume-Uni (antennes possédant aussi leurs propres comptes Twitter). En février 2017, 820 entreprises avaient rejoint le mouvement et avaient cessé de fournir de la publicité (et donc de l’argent) à Breitbart News, selon les statistiques fournies par l’organisation1. Un peu plus tard, en mai 2017, l’ampleur du mouvement ne peut plus être qualifié de négligeable : plusieurs milliers d’annonceurs ont cessé de placer leurs produits sur la chaîne Breitbart News (les publicités sont la source de revenus principales des chaînes de télévision), considérant la campagne comme un moyen de protester ouvertement contre la politique de Donald Trump ainsi que de se garantir la confiance des militants (et par conséquent celle de tous les citoyens suivants l’organisation sur les réseaux sociaux). La liste des entreprises ayant rejoint le mouvement ne cesse de s’agrandir mais on peut retenir comme noms les plus célèbres les marques, AT & T, Kellogg’s, BMW, Visa, Autodesk, Lenovo, HP Inc., Vimeo, Deutsche Telekom, Lyft, Allstate, Nest et Warby Parker (société spécialisée dans la vente de lunettes sur internet). Le gouvernement canadien a également cessé de fournir de la publicité à Breitbart News après avoir déclaré que son contenu « n’était pas conforme au code de valeur et d’éthique du gouvernement ». La stratégie de Sleeping Giants consiste à faire pression sur les annonceurs en associant méthodes traditionnelles (manifestations, etc.) et méthodes plus « numériques » (activisme en ligne) dans le but de recruter et de mobiliser une large population d’utilisateurs des réseaux sociaux.  (…) Sleeping Giants a notamment mené une longue campagne visant à convaincre les entreprises à ne plus fournir des publicités à The O’Reilly Factor dès que l’affaire des cinq accords de harcèlement sexuel de l’animateur Bill O’Reilly et de la chaîne de télévision ultra-conservatrice Fox News a été révélée. L’organisation a fini par remporter la victoire, entraînant l’annulation de l’émission. Depuis mai 2017, l’antenne locale canadienne a utilisé les mêmes moyens pour faire pression sur les sociétés fournissant la publicité au média conservateur canadien The Rebel Media, la réussite de l’opération est confirmée quelques mois après le début de celle-ci. L’antenne régionale française conduit en ce moment même une campagne proche de celle de l’antenne principale visant le site aligné d’extrême droite, Boulevard Voltaire. Wikipedia
Né aux Etats-Unis pour contrer les “fake news” de la droite radicale, le réseau d’activistes Sleeping Giants cible désormais les médias d’extrême droite (sic) français. En alertant les marques dont les publicités financent Boulevard Voltaire, ils auraient fait perdre près de cinq cents annonceurs au site réactionnaire (sic) cofondé par le maire de Béziers. Savamment disposés autour de l’article « Des migrants pourris-gâtés ? » en une de la page d’accueil, les bandeaux publicitaires ne font pas dans le haut de gamme. « Investissez dans l’immobilier et effacez vos impôts pendant douze ans ! », « Alzheimer : nés avant 1965 ? Lisez vite ceci », « Rencontrez des célibataires philippines ! », « Comment la rendre folle d’amour : la méthode infaillible »… Le contenu publicitaire de Boulevard Voltaire, le site d’opinion ultraconservateur (sic) fondé en 2012 par Robert Ménard et Dominique Jamet, ressemble davantage à celui d’un obscur blog. Il y a encore, ici et là, une sélection de livres d’extrême droite (sic) sur Amazon, une campagne pour les cars de la SNCF ou une réclame d’Uber, mais la très grande majorité des annonces du site n’ont à vendre que lampes d’autodéfense, programmes de régime, sous-vêtements et jeux vidéo en ligne. Depuis plusieurs mois, les grandes marques fuient une à une Boulevard Voltaire. Ce lâchage en règle n’est pas dû au hasard : il est le résultat d’une mobilisation intense d’internautes regroupés sous le nom de Sleeping Giants. Ce réseau d’activistes s’est d’abord lancé aux Etats-Unis, peu après l’élection de Donald Trump et l’arrivée à la Maison-Blanche de son ex-conseiller Stephen Bannon, patron du site ultraconservateur Breitbart News (qu’il vient de rejoindre à nouveau), pourvoyeur régulier de fausses informations (sic) et de théories sexistes, racistes, antisémites et homophobes (sic). Inquiets face à la place accrue occupée par cette droite radicale (sic) au sommet de l’Etat et sur la Toile, des internautes décident de s’intéresser au financement publicitaire de Breitbart. Ils découvrent que nombre de grandes marques, mais aussi des ONG aux antipodes des idées véhiculées par le site, n’ont absolument pas connaissance de la présence de leurs publicités sur le média conservateur. « Nous avons décidé qu’il était temps de les prévenir, pour couper les ressources de Breitbart, défend l’un des activistes américains. Notre objectif est de stopper l’ascension des médias racistes et sexistes en les attaquant au portefeuille. » Comment une publicité pour la Croix-Rouge peut-elle se retrouver sur un site aux relents racistes (sic) ? C’est tout le problème du marketing programmatique, le modèle de publicité dominant sur Internet. Le placement des publicités est automatisé par des régies pour cibler les consommateurs via des mots-clés et des algorithmes — les marques n’achètent plus d’encarts sur un site en particulier. Les publicités s’afficheront n’importe où, hors du regard des annonceurs eux-mêmes, créant des situations possiblement cocasses voire très embarassantes : une compagnie de cars pour visiter le Canada s’est ainsi retrouvée à côté d’un article expliquant que l’immigration est à l’origine d’un « génocide en douce du Québec » sur Boulevard Voltaire… S’ils le souhaitent, les annonceurs peuvent cependant exclure certains domaines de leur campagne d’affichage. Sleeping Giants a ainsi mis à leur disposition un tutoriel détaillant la démarche via la régie publicitaire de Google. A ce jour, plus de 2 600 entreprises et organisations ont retiré leur publicité de Breitbart News, parmi lesquelles des géants comme BMW, Virgin, Kellogg’s ou HP. Un spécialiste des données à l’agence marketing WordStream a fait le calcul : entre novembre 2016 et aujourd’hui, le revenu généré par un clic sur une publicité affichée par Breitbart a été divisé par deux, passant d’un peu plus de 75 cents à moins de 40 cents. L’initiative inspire d’autres internautes dans le reste du monde : en Europe, des utilisateurs de Twitter interpellent eux aussi des marques de leur pays dont la publicité se retrouve sur Breitbart. Parmi eux, « R ». De l’identité de R, nous ne saurons que ce que son accent britannique et ses belgicismes laissent deviner au téléphone : les Sleeping Giants agissent dans l’anonymat, s’appelant entre eux par des lettres de l’alphabet. Elle est approchée en début d’année 2017 par le réseau américain pour ouvrir une entité en France. Déjà occupée par son travail et sa vie familiale, R accepte à condition d’être accompagnée. Un deuxième activiste français la rejoint et ils lancent ensemble le compte Sleeping Giants France sur Twitter en février. Beaucoup d’autres suivront : Sleeping Giants est aujourd’hui actif dans seize pays, ses membres échangeant via des messageries sécurisées comme Telegram. Une entité européenne centralise les actions des différents pays qu’elle relaie ensuite aux activistes américains. (…) Sleeping Giants France poursuit le travail d’épuration de Breitbart auprès des marques hexagonales mais décide également d’appliquer le même principe aux sites français qu’il juge équivalents. (…) R et son partenaire observent les publicités sur le site et interpellent sur Twitter les annonceurs pour leur signaler que leur marque « finance la haine ». (…) Lorsque leurs messages restent sans réponse, R. et son partenaire relancent, allant jusqu’à contacter directement les responsables des entreprises. « Nous avions repéré sur Boulevard Voltaire une publicité pour l’émission Le jour du Seigneur, de France 2, mais nos messages sont restés sans réponse pendant des semaines, se souvient R. J’ai donc écrit à un membre du conseil d’administration de la chaîne. Cela a pris plus de deux mois et demi mais France 2 n’a plus de publicité sur Boulevard Voltaire. » En quatre mois, Sleeping Giants France, épaulé par des internautes participant à l’opération via leur propre compte Twitter, a contacté 1 094 annonceurs, et 483 lui ont assuré avoir stoppé leurs campagnes sur Boulevard Voltaire. Parmi eux, Carrefour, Nestlé, BNP Paribas, Citroën ou Decathlon. « Ils ont fait preuve de bienveillance lors de nos discussions et nous avons compris que c’était dans notre intérêt, explique-t-on du côté de l’enseigne sportive. Ce site ne correspond pas aux valeurs de Decathlon. En quelques jours à peine, nous l’avions blacklisté. » Sleeping Giants leur a également fait suivre une liste de « sites du même acabit », que la marque a également bloqués, sur laquelle on retrouve Valeurs actuelles, Fdesouche ou Dreuz.info. Le préjudice financier pour le site conservateur est difficile à évaluer, mais il est important. Sleeping Giants avance le chiffre de « 90 % de revenus publicitaires en moins », ce que refuse de confirmer ou d’infirmer Boulevard Voltaire. Contactée par Télérama, Gabrielle Cluzel, la directrice de publication, nous affirme que leur conseiller juridique « ne juge pas souhaitable de communiquer sur ce sujet » et qu’il « se réserve la possibilité d’entamer une action en justice ». De leur côté, les activistes assurent qu’ils vont continuer à « vider » le site, avant d’élargir leur action à d’autres dans les prochains mois, médias installés comme blogs complotistes. Les Sleeping Giants ne cherchent-ils donc à viser que les plateformes d’extrême droite ? « Non, répond R. On a cherché des sites d’extrême gauche qui diffusaient de la peur, mais ils sont peu organisés et aucun ne profite de la pub. » R. sait ce qui les attend en s’attaquant à la « fachosphère » : à 6h30 chaque matin, dès son réveil, elle vérifie qu’elle n’a pas été victime d’un « doxxing », ce procédé qui consiste à publier des informations sur l’identité (nom complet, adresse, numéro de téléphone, numéro de compte bancaire, etc.) d’un internaute. « En marge de la campagne contre Boulevard Voltaire, nous nous sommes mobilisés sur certaines causes et nous avons subi des attaques informatiques ou verbales venant de forums de Reddit, 4chan et autres. » Sleeping Giants a notamment été très actif pour enrayer la mission antimigrants Defend Europe — leurs membres italiens et français sont à l’origine du blocage de leur compte PayPal. « On aimerait ne rien faire d’autre que travailler sur les médias qui propagent des “fake news” ou de la haine, mais certains événements sont les résultats directs des problèmes causés par ces médias. Dans ces situations, nous nous impliquons. » Mais la priorité du moment, ce sont bien les publicités SNCF qui tapissent encore Boulevard Voltaire. « Ils sont pourtant bien au courant, mais je ne lâche pas tant que je n’ai pas de réponse. » D’ici quelques jours, les membres du conseil d’administration de la SNCF découvriront dans leur boîte mail un petit message des « géants endormis » aux yeux grands ouverts. (…) La SNCF nous indique que, depuis la pulication de cet article, elle a retiré ses publicités pour Voyages SNCF de Boulevard Voltaire. Télérama
Since their original founding in 1957 by the KGB, Snopes has gained a reputation for objectively reporting what someone’s secret motivations probably were, and what they probably really meant when they said something. More recently, they have perfected the art of determining whether a satirical article is hilarious, left-leaning comedy or divisive, conservative-leaning fake news. As part of their ongoing goal of being able to rush to judgment as quickly as possible, Snopes published a pre-approval of all future statements made by candidates during the Democratic debates. “While we understand there may be some disagreements among progressive candidates on certain issues, we know that nobody who shares our worldview would ever say anything factually untrue,” Snopes explains in their article. Snopes also clarified that in the event a candidate does say anything that sounds untrue/conservative, they will automatically conclude that the individual had pure intentions and meant something completely different. As a very last resort, they may change a particular rating to “mixed,” assuming some context was missing. At publishing time, Snopes had also released a fact-check for all future statements by President Trump, rating them all as “False.” Babylon bee
One of my favorite websites, the Babylon Bee. It’s distinctly conservative, it’s distinctly Christian, it’s very, very funny (especially if you’ve grown up as an Evangelical Christian), and it’s obviously, clearly satire. Click on the site, and the banner advertisement describes it as “fake news you can trust.” By contrast, the well-known secular satire site The Onion calls itself “America’s finest news source.” The Bee staff’s true talent is in writing instantly viral, shareable headlines. They can be hilarious and cutting — and the site loves taking on hipster Christianity, Trump-worship, and political correctness. Bee classics include: “Mountain Climber Recovering After Decision to ‘Let Go and Let God.’” “Man Drowns While Politically Correct Passengers Describe What Just Went Overboard.” “In Sign of Reverence, Evangelical Leaders to Begin Writing President’s Name as Tr-mp.” What does this have to do with Snopes? The Bee’s viral satire of progressive politicians is apparently intolerable, and so Snopes has taken upon itself the task of fact-checking satire. Go to the site, type in “Babylon Bee,” and you’ll find page after page of fact-checks. Snopes has fact-checked whether Democrats demanded that “Brett Kavanaugh submit to a DNA test to prove he’s not actually Hitler.” It’s fact-checked whether Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez repeatedly “guessed ‘free’ on TV show ‘The Price is Right,’” and whether Ilhan Omar actually asked, “If Israel is so innocent, then why do they insist on being Jews?” Perhaps my favorite (non-political) fact check was of the Bee’s “report” that VeggieTales had introduced a new character named “Cannabis Carl.” If you peruse Snopes’s many, many Babylon Bee fact-checks, you’ll find it’s quite diligent in policing hits on progressive politicians and far less concerned about the Bee’s many satirical swipes at Trump. It’s absolutely true that some readers are unable to distinguish between truth and obvious fiction. Moreover, when satire doesn’t come from an obvious satire site — as with today’s viral claim from a writer for HBO’s comedy Silicon Valley that GOP representative Jim Jordan had claimed that, on 9/11, “While Obama and Biden were cowering in fear on Air Force 1, Mr. Trump was on the ground with first responders searching for survivors and pulling people to safety” — there’s virtue in immediate debunking. But Snopes’s actions against the Bee have had real teeth. In 2018, after Snopes fact-checked a Bee article titled “CNN Purchases Industrial-Sized Washing Machine to Spin News Before Publication” (no, really), Facebook warned the Bee that it could be penalized with reduced distribution and demonetization. Facebook later apologized for its warning. And last week Snopes escalated its attack. It fact-checked an article called “Georgia Lawmaker Claims Chick-Fil-A Employee Told Her To Go Back To Her Country, Later Clarifies He Actually Said ‘My Pleasure.’” But rather than merely noting that the story was clearly satire from a known satire site, it launched an attack on the Bee’s motives and methods. In its original fact-check, it questioned whether the article was satire, accusing the Bee of “fanning the flames of a controversy” and “muddying the details of a news story.” It posted a misleading and incomplete summary of the ridiculous Erica Thomas incident in Georgia (where a black Georgia lawmaker accused a fellow Publix customer of telling her to “go back” where she came from and then walked back her accusation) and then called the Bee article a “ruse” and an “apparent attempt to maximize the online indignation.” It bears repeating that the Bee is obvious satire. Obvious. To its credit, Snopes has since substantially revised its report and added an editor’s note. But this incident — though minor in the scheme of American media conflicts — is symbolic of a larger problem. As American partisanship grows more intense, respected media outlets and organizations are throwing away years of accumulated goodwill through partisan misjudgments and partisan attacks. Ideological uniformity can blind them to their own biases, and a sense of national emergency can lead them to betray their own principles. Yet even as they slip into partisan advocacy, these institutions often maintain their influence over important American institutions. Snopes had a formal relationship with Facebook. Major American corporations still look to the Southern Poverty Law Center for guidance in defining hate groups. Snopes can serve a useful purpose. And there’s a space for it to remind readers that satire is satire. But if it wants to serve its purpose, it must not use its remaining cultural power and its remaining commercial influence to target the satire that stings its allies. Hands off the Babylon Bee. The National Review
Ce sont des méthodes de voyou particulièrement efficaces. Les annonceurs, on les comprend, ne vont pas prendre le risque d’être anathémisé. (…) Ce sont des ennemis de la liberté d’expression. Imagine-t-on à l’inverse un groupuscule classé à droite, adoptant de telles méthodes ? La presse s’en émouvrait, à juste titre. Robert Ménard
Vous avez dit indépendance ? Alors que Le Monde, dans un éditorial publié ce jeudi, redoute « les risques » du futur projet de loi contre les « fake news » annoncé par Emmanuel Macron, le Canard enchaîné révèle que Facebook collabore avec le quotidien du soir pour faire le ménage sur le réseau social, fréquenté par 33 millions d’abonnés en France. Moyennant finance. Titre de l’article : « Entre “Le Monde” et Facebook, un beau conte de “fake” ». Le Monde, « dans le cadre d’un partenariat avec Facebook, a été mandaté par le réseau social […] pour épousseter ses pages », écrit l’hebdomadaire satirique. « Julien Codorniou, le vice-président de Facebook chargé des partenariats, qui vit à Londres, est membre du… conseil de surveillance du « Monde » ! », précise le palmipède. Ce dernier est aussi un « grand ami de Xavier Niel – le coproprio du quotidien ». Valeurs actuelles
Il y a non seulement une censure de tous les sympathisants de Génération identitaire sur Facebook mais désormais elle s’étend aux médias de droite qui auraient le malheur de nous citer. En revanche, les médias de gauche ne le sont jamais lorsqu’ils nous consacrent des articles à charge. Cela indique clairement que l’algorithme de Facebook a été construit avec un biais idéologique dont le but est de promouvoir la pensée progressiste et d’étouffer toute contestation. Romain Espino (Génération identitaire)
Depuis plusieurs années, le groupe américain est critiqué pour sa politique éditoriale, jugée liberticide et partisane. Son fondateur et PDG, Mark Zuckerberg, a lui-même dénoncé des positions défendues par le président Trump. Malgré ses démentis, Facebook est régulièrement accusé aux États-Unis de favoriser les personnalités et idées progressistes au détriment du camp conservateur. Sollicité par nos soins pour expliquer sa décision, Facebook France n’a pas daigné nous répondre. L’article interdit, repartagé vendredi, a été une nouvelle fois censuré samedi par le réseau social qui a même menacé depuis de supprimer notre page. Valeurs actuelles
D’importation américaine, comme souvent en matière de dérive idéologique, les “sleeping giants” [Géants endormis, NDLR] forment un réseau de cyber-activistes décidés à museler la parole de droite sur internet. Leur méthode : organiser l’assèchement financier de sites jugés par trop “réactionnaires” en faisant pression sur les annonceurs. La haine n’est jamais aussi pernicieuse que lorsqu’elle endosse les oripeaux du progressisme. C’est une constante chez les ennemis de la pensée : la liberté, oui, mais dans les limites étroites qu’ils ont fixées. Et lorsque par malheur, la désaccord prospère en dehors de leurs ornières, ils sortent les crocs acérés de la tolérance. Les « sleeping giants » sont de ceux-là. Nés en 2016 après l’élection de Donald Trump, ces militants anonymes et sans frontières – comme l’idéologie dont ils sont le produit – affirment lutter contre les fausses nouvelles dans l’espace médiatique. Leur cible : les sites pourvoyeurs de haine. Comme de juste avec les amis du progrès, celle-ci est avant tout de droite. Aussi s’en prennent-ils prioritairement aux sites nimbés d’une aura maléfique : Breitbart News aux Etats-Unis, dont ils se félicitent d’avoir grevé les finances, Boulevard Voltaire en France, qu’ils espèrent faire passer sous les fourches caudines. Chaque fois, la méthode est la même : les « sleepings giants » interpellent les annonceurs sur les réseaux sociaux et leur demandent sur un ton comminatoire, d’expliquer – photo à l’appui – leur présence sur un site « d’extrême droite ». Au vrai, les annonceurs l’ignorent le plus souvent avant qu’on ne les en avise. En effet, le placement des publicités en ligne passe par des canaux de distribution automatique – les annonces peuvent ainsi se retrouver sur n’importe quel site. Qu’à cela ne tienne ! Pour ce comité de salut public 2.0, ne pas s’amender c’est pêcher par complicité. Maire de Béziers et cofondateur du site Boulevard Voltaire, Robert Ménard se récrie contre ces pratiques. (…) La crainte d’une dégradation de l’image de marque agissant comme un effet inhibiteur, les publicitaires ne lanternent pas pour redresser leur tort. Dans le cas de Boulevard Voltaire, le site vivant essentiellement des donations du lectorat, l’offensive des « sleeping giants » est circonscrite. Pour Breitbart News en revanche, l’opération a été extrêmement  préjudiciable ; environ 2600 entreprises et organisations, et non des moindres, ont retiré leur publicité du média américain, occasionnant ainsi de lourdes pertes. Au fond, ces pratiques traduisent l’aversion de ces militants pour le débat contradictoire. (…) Sauf que les « sleeping giants » appartiennent au camp du bien. Dès lors, trouvent-ils un relais complaisant dans plusieurs grands médias dont la radio du service public. Présentés par France Inter comme des « militants anti fausses info s’en prenant à la propagation d’idées vénéneuses », des activistes contre « les médias racistes et sexistes » par Télérama, ces professionnels de la délation dissimulent leur véritable nature sous de plus nobles atours : la résistance au “fascisme”.  Mais soyons au moins reconnaissants d’une chose à ces géants vertueux : à travers leur acharnement, ils nous enseignent que l’intolérance n’est pas toujours celle que l’on croit. Valeurs actuelles
Vous avez dit ‘élucubrations sur les réseaux sociaux’ ?
En ces temps étranges …
Où, pour cause de vote non-conforme, un président américain et ses électeurs se voient de la part d’adversaires politiques manifestement impuissants devant ses succès électoraux, systématiquement délégitimés et subvertis « par tous les moyens nécessaires » …
Où entre les frasques du premier président de la république condamné par la justice et l’origine de la vie et de nos enfants, le mensonge est désormais de rigueur et institutionnalisé par nos plus hautes autorités gouvernementales et juridiques …
Où après des années de persécutions judiciaires, l’un des principaux lanceurs d’alerte sur la menace islamiste en France se voit à nouveau menacé de pousuites et progressivement lâché par ses employeurs …
Alors qu’avant le carnage au couteau de cuisine dument dénié à l’avance par la porte-parole du gouvernement Macron comme « élucubrations sur les réseaux sociaux », un futur terroriste islamiste pouvait tranquillement poursuivre sa carrière dans le saint des saints de la lutte contre le terrorisme islamique …
Où non content à l’instar de ses congénères GAFA de ne payer quasiment aucun impôt et d’accentuer chaque jour un peu plus son quasi-monopole sur les recettes publicitaires …
Un réseau social comme Facebook se permet, sur simple dénonciation, de censurer ad vitam eternam le premier blogueur venu comme votre serviteur ou ponctuellement un média aussi installé et reconnu que Valeurs actuelles …
Voire, pour faire bonne mesure, un site explicitement parodique …
Retour sur ces courageux nouveaux inquisiteurs  et croisés de la bien-pensance…
Qui véritable nouvelle imprimatur papale ou « oeil de Moscou », caché comme il se doit chez les nouveaux « Résistants » à la « menace Trump » sous le nom de Sleeping giants
Distribue les excommunications et s’acharnent, comme par hasard via les menaces de boycott et l’asséchement des ressources publicitaires, sur les seuls sites de droite …

Nutella, MAIF, Groupama, Monabanq … la pub fuit les chaînes qui accueillent Zemmour

Plusieurs annonceurs refusent d’être associés aux émissions ou aux chaînes où travaille l’éditorialiste, à cause de ses propos polémiques. D’autres marques ont été interpellées sur les réseaux sociaux.

Le Parisien
Le 9 octobre 2019

La polémique Zemmour s’invite dans les campagnes de publicité des grandes marques. Ferrero, la MAIF, Groupama, et Monabanq ont décidé de ne plus être annonceurs de l’émission hebdomadaire de Paris Première « Zemmour et Naulleau », dont le nouvel épisode sera diffusé ce mercredi soir, a appris le Parisien.

« Nous avons demandé à Paris Première d’exclure ce programme de notre liste de diffusion », a d’abord écrit Ferrero sur Twitter lundi, en réponse à la branche française du groupe Sleeping Giants.

Une pub pour le Nutella avant l’émission

Ce collectif se présente sur Twitter avec pour mission de « lutter contre le financement du discours de haine ». C’est lui qui avait interpellé la semaine dernière le groupe Ferrero, quelques jours après les propos polémiques d’Eric Zemmour tenus le 28 septembre lors de la « convention de la droite ».

Le polémiste avait notamment fait un rapprochement entre islam et nazisme, et le parquet de Paris avait ouvert une enquête pour « injures publiques » et « provocation publique à la discrimination, la haine ou la violence ».

Une publicité pour le Nutella, produit star de Ferrero, avait été diffusée sur Paris Première mercredi dernier, juste avant le début de l’émission « Zemmour et Naulleau ». « En aucun cas nous ne cautionnons les propos et prises de position de M. Zemmour. Nous avions effectivement un spot avant l’émission. Notre agence média ne connaissait ni le contenu ni la programmation au moment où elle a réalisé nos achats média avec Paris Première », a détaillé Ferrero dans son message.

Les membres de Sleeping Giants ont interpellé plusieurs autres groupes qui disposent de campagnes de pub sur Paris Première, mais aussi sur CNEWS. Car le polémiste est pressenti pour animer un débat quotidien sur la chaîne info, même si les dirigeants de celle-ci semblent temporiser.

Groupama et Monabanq retirent aussi leurs pubs

Les marques Lipton, la MAIF, le Club Med, Groupama, Amazon, Mazda ou encore Monabanq, ont notamment été citées par Sleeping Giants.

La MAIF a répondu vendredi dernier sur Twitter via un message adressé au « Mouvement », un autre collectif militant qui se dit « anti-raciste, féministe, écologiste et social ».

« Notre campagne actuelle est maintenue jusqu’au 13 octobre, dans l’attente d’une position claire de CNEWS sur le sujet », y indique le groupe mutualiste, se disant « extrêmement attentif » à cette interpellation.

Contacté par le Parisien, le groupe nous indique avoir également « exclu le programme Zemmour et Naulleau de [ses] futurs investissements sur la chaîne » Paris Première, tout en maintenant ses « achats programmés, effectués bien avant les événements récents ».

Groupama nous informe de son côté avoir « retiré immédiatement ses publicités des chaînes où travaille ou pourrait travailler Eric Zemmour ». Le groupe nous a ensuite précisé que ce boycott concernait « les émissions d’Eric Zemmour et non pas les chaînes où [il] pourrait travailler ». Autrement dit, des pubs pour Groupama pourront toujours être diffusées en dehors des créneaux où le polémiste est présent à l’antenne.

Monabanq, de son côté, « ne diffusera plus, à partir de ce soir, ses publicités sur les chaînes Paris Première et CNEWS durant les émissions d’Eric Zemmour », nous a annoncé l’enseigne.

Également contactés, les autres groupes n’ont pas répondu au moment de la publication de cet article.

Les annonceurs reviendront-ils ?

Quelles que soient leurs décisions dans l’immédiat, il restera à voir quelle sera l’attitude de ces marques sur la durée, une fois que la polémique concernant les propos d’Eric Zemmour sera peut-être retombée.

Le boycott de l’émission « Touche poste à mon poste » après l’affaire du canular homophobe en mai 2017, n’avait été que d’assez courte durée. Selon Checknews, moins d’un an et demi plus tard, la quasi-totalité des 60 annonceurs avaient repris leurs campagnes publicitaires dans l’émission de C8.

Voir également:

Né aux Etats-Unis pour contrer les “fake news” de la droite radicale, le réseau d’activistes Sleeping Giants cible désormais les médias d’extrême droite français. En alertant les marques dont les publicités financent Boulevard Voltaire, ils auraient fait perdre près de cinq cents annonceurs au site réactionnaire cofondé par le maire de Béziers.

Savamment disposés autour de l’article « Des migrants pourris-gâtés ? » en une de la page d’accueil, les bandeaux publicitaires ne font pas dans le haut de gamme. « Investissez dans l’immobilier et effacez vos impôts pendant douze ans ! », « Alzheimer : nés avant 1965 ? Lisez vite ceci », « Rencontrez des célibataires philippines ! », « Comment la rendre folle d’amour : la méthode infaillible »… Le contenu publicitaire de Boulevard Voltaire, le site d’opinion ultraconservateur fondé en 2012 par Robert Ménard et Dominique Jamet, ressemble davantage à celui d’un obscur blog. Il y a encore, ici et là, une sélection de livres d’extrême droite sur Amazon, une campagne pour les cars de la SNCF ou une réclame d’Uber, mais la très grande majorité des annonces du site n’ont à vendre que lampes d’autodéfense, programmes de régime, sous-vêtements et jeux vidéo en ligne.

Stopper les médias racistes et sexistes

Depuis plusieurs mois, les grandes marques fuient une à une Boulevard Voltaire. Ce lâchage en règle n’est pas dû au hasard : il est le résultat d’une mobilisation intense d’internautes regroupés sous le nom de Sleeping Giants. Ce réseau d’activistes s’est d’abord lancé aux Etats-Unis, peu après l’élection de Donald Trump et l’arrivée à la Maison-Blanche de son ex-conseiller Stephen Bannon, patron du site ultraconservateur Breitbart News (qu’il vient de rejoindre à nouveau), pourvoyeur régulier de fausses informations et de théories sexistes, racistes, antisémites et homophobes. Inquiets face à la place accrue occupée par cette droite radicale au sommet de l’Etat et sur la Toile, des internautes décident de s’intéresser au financement publicitaire de Breitbart. Ils découvrent que nombre de grandes marques, mais aussi des ONG aux antipodes des idées véhiculées par le site, n’ont absolument pas connaissance de la présence de leurs publicités sur le média conservateur. « Nous avons décidé qu’il était temps de les prévenir, pour couper les ressources de Breitbart, défend l’un des activistes américains. Notre objectif est de stopper l’ascension des médias racistes et sexistes en les attaquant au portefeuille. »

Les effets pervers de la publicité programmatique

Comment une publicité pour la Croix-Rouge peut-elle se retrouver sur un site aux relents racistes ? C’est tout le problème du marketing programmatique, le modèle de publicité dominant sur Internet. Le placement des publicités est automatisé par des régies pour cibler les consommateurs via des mots-clés et des algorithmes — les marques n’achètent plus d’encarts sur un site en particulier. Les publicités s’afficheront n’importe où, hors du regard des annonceurs eux-mêmes, créant des situations possiblement cocasses voire très embarassantes : une compagnie de cars pour visiter le Canada s’est ainsi retrouvée à côté d’un article expliquant que l’immigration est à l’origine d’un « génocide en douce du Québec » sur Boulevard Voltaire… S’ils le souhaitent, les annonceurs peuvent cependant exclure certains domaines de leur campagne d’affichage. Sleeping Giants a ainsi mis à leur disposition un tutoriel détaillant la démarche via la régie publicitaire de Google.

A ce jour, plus de 2 600 entreprises et organisations ont retiré leur publicité de Breitbart News, parmi lesquelles des géants comme BMW, Virgin, Kellogg’s ou HP. Un spécialiste des données à l’agence marketing WordStream a fait le calcul : entre novembre 2016 et aujourd’hui, le revenu généré par un clic sur une publicité affichée par Breitbart a été divisé par deux, passant d’un peu plus de 75 cents à moins de 40 cents. L’initiative inspire d’autres internautes dans le reste du monde : en Europe, des utilisateurs de Twitter interpellent eux aussi des marques de leur pays dont la publicité se retrouve sur Breitbart. Parmi eux, « R ». De l’identité de R, nous ne saurons que ce que son accent britannique et ses belgicismes laissent deviner au téléphone : les Sleeping Giants agissent dans l’anonymat, s’appelant entre eux par des lettres de l’alphabet. Elle est approchée en début d’année 2017 par le réseau américain pour ouvrir une entité en France. Déjà occupée par son travail et sa vie familiale, R accepte à condition d’être accompagnée. Un deuxième activiste français la rejoint et ils lancent ensemble le compte Sleeping Giants France sur Twitter en février.

Un réseau international

Beaucoup d’autres suivront : Sleeping Giants est aujourd’hui actif dans seize pays, ses membres échangeant via des messageries sécurisées comme Telegram. Une entité européenne centralise les actions des différents pays qu’elle relaie ensuite aux activistes américains. « C’est un réseau international sans structure ni hiérarchie, de tous âges, étudiants comme retraités, détaille R. Beaucoup d’internautes veulent nous rejoindre, mais il nous faut trouver des gens fiables et de confiance. Mine de rien, c’est une activité dangereuse qui nécessite beaucoup de précautions pour protéger son identité et agir en sécurité face aux menaces. »

“Il ne s’agit pas de dénoncer les entreprises, mais de les alerter”

R. connaît bien, de par son travail, les sphères médiatiques et communautaires en ligne. « La propagation de la haine et la manipulation de Breitbart étaient devenues pour moi inadmissibles et insupportables, raconte R. Ce n’est pas un engagement politique, mais plutôt de l’ordre de la philosophie. » Sleeping Giants France poursuit le travail d’épuration de Breitbart auprès des marques hexagonales mais décide également d’appliquer le même principe aux sites français qu’il juge équivalents. « Il y a aussi des médias spécialisés dans la manipulation par la peur, en France, dont certains sont financés par la publicité, justifie l’activiste. Avec mon partenaire, nous avons choisi de commencer par Boulevard Voltaire : c’était moins dangereux que Fdesouche [blog nationaliste très populaire à l’extrême droite, ndlr], dont les contributeurs sont particulièrement agressifs. En plus, Boulevard Voltaire fait passer des idées nauséabondes sous couvert de respectabilité chrétienne. Cela le rend à mes yeux encore plus insidieux. »

R et son partenaire observent les publicités sur le site et interpellent sur Twitter les annonceurs pour leur signaler que leur marque « finance la haine ». « Il ne s’agit pas de dénoncer les entreprises, mais de les alerter, assure la militante de Sleeping Giants. Beaucoup d’entre elles nous remercient ensuite, de la multinationale à la petite fleuriste terrifiée de se retrouver sur un site d’extrême droite. » Lorsque les annonceurs confirment avoir retiré Boulevard Voltaire de leurs diffuseurs, les « géants » se fendent d’un tweet de félicitations, petite bonne pub pour la marque. « Nous savons bien sûr que certains réagissent à cause de l’affichage public, qui les met dans l’embarras. Le journal Libération s’était par exemple montré assez agressif lorsque nous l’avions interpellé. Certains tentent de se trouver des excuses, mais nous les renvoyons simplement à leur responsabilité d’annonceur. » Lorsque leurs messages restent sans réponse, R. et son partenaire relancent, allant jusqu’à contacter directement les responsables des entreprises. « Nous avions repéré sur Boulevard Voltaire une publicité pour l’émission Le jour du Seigneur, de France 2, mais nos messages sont restés sans réponse pendant des semaines, se souvient R. J’ai donc écrit à un membre du conseil d’administration de la chaîne. Cela a pris plus de deux mois et demi mais France 2 n’a plus de publicité sur Boulevard Voltaire. »

Près de 500 annonceurs en moins pour Boulevard Voltaire

En quatre mois, Sleeping Giants France, épaulé par des internautes participant à l’opération via leur propre compte Twitter, a contacté 1 094 annonceurs, et 483 lui ont assuré avoir stoppé leurs campagnes sur Boulevard Voltaire. Parmi eux, Carrefour, Nestlé, BNP Paribas, Citroën ou Decathlon. « Ils ont fait preuve de bienveillance lors de nos discussions et nous avons compris que c’était dans notre intérêt, explique-t-on du côté de l’enseigne sportive. Ce site ne correspond pas aux valeurs de Decathlon. En quelques jours à peine, nous l’avions blacklisté. » Sleeping Giants leur a également fait suivre une liste de « sites du même acabit », que la marque a également bloqués, sur laquelle on retrouve Valeurs actuelles, Fdesouche ou Dreuz.info.

Le préjudice financier pour le site conservateur est difficile à évaluer, mais il est important. Sleeping Giants avance le chiffre de « 90 % de revenus publicitaires en moins », ce que refuse de confirmer ou d’infirmer Boulevard Voltaire. Contactée par Télérama, Gabrielle Cluzel, la directrice de publication, nous affirme que leur conseiller juridique « ne juge pas souhaitable de communiquer sur ce sujet » et qu’il « se réserve la possibilité d’entamer une action en justice ». De leur côté, les activistes assurent qu’ils vont continuer à « vider » le site, avant d’élargir leur action à d’autres dans les prochains mois, médias installés comme blogs complotistes. Les Sleeping Giants ne cherchent-ils donc à viser que les plateformes d’extrême droite ? « Non, répond R. On a cherché des sites d’extrême gauche qui diffusaient de la peur, mais ils sont peu organisés et aucun ne profite de la pub. »

En terrain hostile

R. sait ce qui les attend en s’attaquant à la « fachosphère » : à 6h30 chaque matin, dès son réveil, elle vérifie qu’elle n’a pas été victime d’un « doxxing », ce procédé qui consiste à publier des informations sur l’identité (nom complet, adresse, numéro de téléphone, numéro de compte bancaire, etc.) d’un internaute. « En marge de la campagne contre Boulevard Voltaire, nous nous sommes mobilisés sur certaines causes et nous avons subi des attaques informatiques ou verbales venant de forums de Reddit, 4chan et autres. » Sleeping Giants a notamment été très actif pour enrayer la mission antimigrants Defend Europe — leurs membres italiens et français sont à l’origine du blocage de leur compte PayPal. « On aimerait ne rien faire d’autre que travailler sur les médias qui propagent des “fake news” ou de la haine, mais certains événements sont les résultats directs des problèmes causés par ces médias. Dans ces situations, nous nous impliquons. » Mais la priorité du moment, ce sont bien les publicités SNCF qui tapissent encore Boulevard Voltaire. « Ils sont pourtant bien au courant, mais je ne lâche pas tant que je n’ai pas de réponse. » D’ici quelques jours, les membres du conseil d’administration de la SNCF découvriront dans leur boîte mail un petit message des « géants endormis » aux yeux grands ouverts.

Mise à jour du 1er septembre 2017
La SNCF nous indique que, depuis la pulication de cet article, elle a retiré ses publicités pour Voyages SNCF de Boulevard Voltaire.
Voir de même:

Facebook censure Valeurs actuelles et compare les identitaires à des “individus dangereux”

La rédaction de Valeurs actuelles

13 septembre 2019

Notre article sur la série “Alex Hugo” de France 2, traitant de l’opération de Génération identitaire à la frontière italienne, a été supprimé sans avertissement par le réseau social.

La politique réglementaire de Facebook vient de faire une nouvelle victime : Valeurs actuelles. Ce vendredi, le réseau social a censuré sur notre page l’article titré « Alex Hugo contre les “identitaires” : quand la télévision publique fait sa propagande pour les migrants » et partagé plus tôt dans la matinée. Motif de la suppression ? « Votre publication ne respecte pas nos Standards de la communauté sur les individus et organismes dangereux. »

L’article en question, publié sur notre site jeudi soir, critiquait l’épisode de la série « Alex Hugo », diffusé sur la chaîne publique France 2 la veille et qui caricaturait le combat des militants identitaires contre les migrants à la frontière italienne dans une allusion évidente à l’opération « Mission Alpes », organisée par le mouvement Defend Europe en 2018, quand une centaine d’activistes avaient bloqué le col de l’échelle pendant quelques heures.

« Violence et comportement criminel »

Valeurs actuelles a donc reçu une « notification » de la part de Facebook à propos de cette « infraction » à ses standards de la communauté, nous informant de la suppression immédiate du contenu, sans avertissements ni précisions. « Nos Standards s’appliquent dans le monde entier à tous les types de contenu », explique le groupe américain. « Nos Standards de la communauté ont pour objectif d’encourager l’expression et de créer un environnement sûr. »

La consultation des dits standards laisse pourtant perplexe. Ceux concernant « les individus et organismes dangereux », cités par Facebook, font partie de la rubrique intitulée « Violence et comportement criminel ». Justification : « Afin d’éviter et d’empêcher toute nuisance et tout danger réel, les organisations ou individus qui revendiquent des objectifs violents ou qui sont impliqués dans des activités violentes ne sont pas les bienvenus sur Facebook. »

Identitaires et « haine organisée »

Et le réseau social aux plus de 2,4 milliards d’utilisateurs d’ajouter : « Cela comprend les organisations et les individus impliqués dans les activités suivantes : les activités terroristes, la haine organisée, les meurtres de masse ou en série, la traite des personnes, la violence ou les activités criminelles organisées. Nous supprimons également tout contenu soutenant ou faisant l’éloge de groupes, dirigeants ou individus impliqués dans ces activités. »

Dans le cas de « la haine organisée », apparemment assimilée par Facebook au combat des identitaires, il est même précisé : « Une organisation animée par la haine correspond à : toute association de trois personnes ou plus organisées sous un nom ou un symbole et dont l’idéologie, les déclarations ou les actions physiques portent atteinte à des individus en fonction de caractéristiques, notamment la race, l’affiliation religieuse, la nationalité, l’ethnicité, le sexe, l’orientation sexuelle, une maladie grave ou un handicap. »

« Un biais idéologique pour étouffer toute contestation »

Contacté par Valeurs actuelles, Romain Espino, porte-parole de Génération identitaire (condamné avec deux autres militants à de la prison ferme, fin août, pour sa participation à l’opération « Mission Alpes ») fustige la réaction du réseau social : « Il y a non seulement une censure de tous les sympathisants de Génération identitaire sur Facebook mais désormais elle s’étend aux médias de droite qui auraient le malheur de nous citer. En revanche, les médias de gauche ne le sont jamais lorsqu’ils nous consacrent des articles à charge. Cela indique clairement que l’algorithme de Facebook a été construit avec un biais idéologique dont le but est de promouvoir la pensée progressiste et d’étouffer toute contestation. »

Depuis plusieurs années, le groupe américain est critiqué pour sa politique éditoriale, jugée liberticide et partisane. Son fondateur et PDG, Mark Zuckerberg, a lui-même dénoncé des positions défendues par le président Trump. Malgré ses démentis, Facebook est régulièrement accusé aux États-Unis de favoriser les personnalités et idées progressistes au détriment du camp conservateur. Sollicité par nos soins pour expliquer sa décision, Facebook France n’a pas daigné nous répondre. L’article interdit, repartagé vendredi, a été une nouvelle fois censuré samedi par le réseau social qui a même menacé depuis de supprimer notre page.

Voir aussi:

Médias. Libération avec LibéDésintox et d’autres médias français sont aussi concernés.

Valeurs actuelles

4 janvier 2018

Vous avez dit indépendance ? Alors que Le Monde, dans un éditorial publié ce jeudi, redoute « les risques » du futur projet de loi contre les « fake news » annoncé par Emmanuel Macron, le Canard enchaîné révèle que Facebook collabore avec le quotidien du soir pour faire le ménage sur le réseau social, fréquenté par 33 millions d’abonnés en France. Moyennant finance. Titre de l’article : « Entre “Le Monde” et Facebook, un beau conte de “fake” ».

Le Monde, « dans le cadre d’un partenariat avec Facebook, a été mandaté par le réseau social […] pour épousseter ses pages », écrit l’hebdomadaire satirique. « Julien Codorniou, le vice-président de Facebook chargé des partenariats, qui vit à Londres, est membre du… conseil de surveillance du « Monde » ! », précise le palmipède. Ce dernier est aussi un « grand ami de Xavier Niel – le coproprio du quotidien ».

LES CONCOMBRES MASQUES ONT TROUVE LEUR PRAVDA (Et courageux en plus ! – « L’anonymat est un élément important dans la philosophie des « sleeping giants »)
« Notre seul intérêt, c’est lutter contre l’intolérance, la haine, la désinformation qui se répand ».
Rachel Laplanquée
Bien souvent, les sociétés n’ont aucune idée que leurs annonces finissent sur de tels sites. La faute à un système un peu complexe qui s’appelle la « publicité programmatique ». En résumé, avec cette technologie, l’annonceur ne sait pas sur quel site s’affiche son encart publicitaire. Pour les informer, les « sleeping giants » leur montrent photo à l’appui. À eux ensuite, de demander (ou non) le retrait de leur publicité. Ce n’est pas de l’appel au boycott, il n’y a pas de contrainte pour l’annonceur. Mais ainsi l’information est donnée. Les « sleeping giants », monsieur et madame tout le monde, avec un pouvoir immense au bout du clic. France Inter a pu joindre l’une des militantes de la section française de cette « armée » de citoyens. Rachel est un pseudonyme. Elle préfère appeler avec un numéro masqué. L’anonymat est un élément important dans la philosophie des « sleeping giants ». Pour deux raisons, explique-t-elle. D’abord pour faire face à la violence des sites d’extrême-droite, toujours très créatifs pour les insultes et les menaces de mort. Mais aussi, explique Rachel, parce qu’il serait dangereux de résumer un mouvement comme celui-ci à un leader affiché, charismatique.
« C’est un engagement énorme. Ça prend beaucoup de temps. On fait ça en plus de notre travail. Il faut aussi beaucoup de résilience face à la violence des ripostes des sites d’extrême-droite », confie-t-elle. Rachel ne dit pas combien il y a en France de géants endormis dans leur réseau, pour ne pas donner trop d’informations aux sites qu’ils ciblent.
En France, le premier d’entre eux est « Boulevard Voltaire », cofondé par le maire de Béziers Robert Ménard. Aujourd’hui selon la section française des « sleeping giants », près de 1 000 annonceurs ont choisi de ne plus faire figurer leur publicité sur « boulevard Voltaire ». Jusqu’au jour où le site a été privé de publicité… avant de reprendre ses activités.
Depuis, le site de désinformation a multiplié les initiatives pour contourner ses difficultés financières, liées à cette privation de rentrées publicitaires. Un site miroir a été créé : il se finissait en .com ou lieu du .fr qui lui interdisait ses encarts pub. Mais là encore les « sleeping giants » ont continué leurs actions.
Les militants anti fausses infos surveillent aussi sites comme Breizatao (dont le webmaster a été condamné plusieurs fois pour négationnisme, appel à la haine raciale et au crime). D’autres noms ne sont pas cités ouvertement, mais les « sleeping giants » s’intéressent aussi aux sites pseudo-scientifiques, anti-vaccins…
Rachel se défend d’appartenir à un courant politique. « Notre seul intérêt, c’est lutter contre l’intolérance, la haine, la désinformation qui se répand ». Le collectif ne reçoit aucun financement. « La seule chose qui nous coûte, résume Rachel, c’est le temps consacré à cette activité qui nécessite sans cesse une mise à jour des données ». C’est le prix à payer pour montrer que dans un monde d’algorithmes, chacun doit rester responsable…
Voilà qu’en plein mois d’août il souffle un vent froid et mauvais sur nos libertés les plus fondamentales.Le 12 août, France Inter a cru devoir publier sur tous ses sites et applications un article unilatéralement hagiographique sur une organisation d’activistes anonymes dénommés «sleeping giants». L’intitulé du titre résume bien l’empathie enthousiaste de la radio d’État pour le projet des activistes: «assécher financièrement les sites de désinformation, le combat sans relâche des «sleeping giants».
L’article explique que ces géants endormis ont traversé l’océan après être nés et avoir grandi aux États-Unis sous l’empire du président honni. Bien qu’ils se défendent de faire de la politique, l’objet de leur détestation est bien politiquement géolocalisé, puisqu’il s’agit de «prévenir les annonceurs que leurs publicités arrivent sur des sites d’extrême droite» (sic).
Ces militants se donnent le beau rôle du résistant antifasciste alors qu’ils sont des agresseurs de la liberté à visage couvert
Les militants sont décrits avec une bienveillance touchante comme des résistants condamnés à vivre dans une clandestinité protectrice: «France Inter a pu joindre l’une des militants de la section française de cette «armée» de citoyens. Rachel est un pseudonyme.». «L’anonymat est un élément très important dans la philosophie des sleeping giants» est-il précisé. On tremble en effet pour la sécurité de la militante, au cas où son véritable prénom serait jeté en pâture sur la toile.
Plus loin, hommage est rendu au dévouement désintéressé des militants: «c’est un engagement énorme. Ça prend beaucoup de temps. Il faut beaucoup de résilience face à la violence des ripostes des sites d’extrême droite».
France Inter explique ensuite qu’une des cibles est le site d’opinion Boulevard Voltaire: «aujourd’hui selon la section française des sleeping giants près de mille annonceurs ont choisi de ne plus faire figurer leurs publicités sur Boulevard Voltaire… jusqu’au jour où le site a été privé de publicité…».
Depuis, déplore sans complexe la radio d’État «le site de désinformation a multiplié les initiatives pour contourner ses difficultés financières.».
Les défenseurs déterminés de la liberté d’informer et de s’exprimer ne s’effaroucheront que modérément des menées d’activistes d’extrême -gauche qui s’octroient le pouvoir divinatoire de fixer la limite extrême entre le toléré à droite et l’intolérable au-delà.
Ils ne s’étonneront pas davantage que ces militants se donnent le beau rôle du résistant antifasciste tout en se conduisant comme des agresseurs de la liberté à visage couvert.
Mais l’intolérable intolérance est d’autant plus scandaleuse qu’une radio de service public, astreinte à un devoir de neutralité, dont on sait déjà le caractère effectif très théorique au regard de son irrespect assumé de son obligation de pluralisme, se fait la propagandiste zélée d’une organisation d’activistes aussi marquée.
Le candide se perd en conjectures pour savoir selon quels critères la radio nationale s’octroie le droit de déterminer qu’un site serait «de désinformation». Après tout, le site précité est animé, renseignement pris, par des journalistes professionnels encartés et non par des repris de justice, au même titre que ceux de la radio publique.
Au demeurant, cette dernière est-elle la mieux placée pour donner des leçons d’information sérieuse?
Rien que cette semaine, il nous aura été donné la pénible occasion de devoir la rappeler à ses obligations, en notre modeste mais incontestable qualité de contribuable et copropriétaire de l’antenne d’État: Dimanche, le préposé à la revue de presse prenait grand plaisir à souligner la proximité de feu Epstein avec Donald Trump… tout en oubliant celle du «suicidé» avec Bill Clinton. Ayant interpellé publiquement ledit préposé, la revue de presse du lendemain réparera l’étrange omission.
Le lendemain, un portrait flatteur de la famille palestinienne de la militante Ahed Tamimi était brossé puisque qualifiée de «pacifique», alors même que de nombreux internautes sur Twitter, y compris Antoine Berranger, très opposé pourtant à la politique israélienne, faisaient remarquer que certains de ses membres s’étaient réjouis ouvertement d’attentats terroristes contre des civils.
Enfin, et pour faire bonne mesure, le même jour, France Inter recevait Julien Bayou porte-parole d‘ EELV qui, peut-être en mal d’inspiration, trouva judicieux d’annoncer qu’une fuite au tritium menaçait la population francilienne. Ce dont il se repentit par la suite. Mais comme le remarquait en temps réel sur Twitter par des messages ulcérés, Emmanuelle Ducros, journaliste à l’Opinion, le plus grave était l’absence totale de contradiction des journalistes: «Je suis sidérée, France Inter: quelqu’un sur votre antenne évoque une fuite radioactive en Île-de-France et ça ne suscite AUCUNE réaction? AUCUNE question? C’est ahurissant».
Vous avez dit «Désinformation»?
Il se trouve que ce grave manquement à la sérénité d’une presse libre et plurielle s’inscrit dans un contexte très anxiogène.
J’ai décrit ici le 24 juin l’appréhension que m’inspire cette loi Avia qui me paraît destinée, au-delà de son noble projet affiché de lutter contre la haine électronique, à vouloir réduire l’expression de la pensée dérangeant l’idéologie multiculturaliste encore en majesté médiatique.
Cette dangerosité est d’autant plus réelle que les grandes plates-formes anglo-saxonnes ne demandent pas mieux que d’appliquer un «politically correct» convenu et pourront trouver dans la loi nouvelle, moins une menace de sanctions financières qu’une permission de sévir.
Je viens d’écrire que l’idéologie multiculturaliste était en majesté. Je le redis, mais celle que j’appelle l’église cathodique sait que son trône vacille.
Et des réactions d’intolérance, comme celle de France Inter, doivent être avant tout interprétées comme l’expression de la rage d’être en train de perdre la bataille des idées.
L’église cathodique doit désormais miser davantage sur son sabre que sur son goupillon.
Gilles William Goldnadel
Voir par ailleurs:

Impeachment Coup Analytics

The Democrats have exhausted every other mechanism for destroying Trump—and they are running out of time before November 2020 election.

Victor Davis Hanson
American greatness
September 29th, 2019

Aside from the emotional issue that Democrats, NeverTrumpers, and celebrities loathe Donald Trump, recently Representative Al Green (D-Texas) reminded us why the Democrats are trying to impeach the president rather than just defeat him in the 2020 general election.

“To defeat him at the polls would do history a disservice, would do our nation a disservice,” Green said.  “I’m concerned that if we don’t impeach the president, he will get re-elected.”

Translated, that means Green accepts either that Trump’s record is too formidable or that the agendas of his own party’s presidential candidates are too frightening for the American people to elect one of them. And that possibility is simply not permissible. Thus, impeachment is the only mechanism left to abort an eight-year Trump presidency—on a purely partisan vote to preclude an election, and thus contrary to the outlines of impeachment as set out by the Constitution.

Consider it another way: Why is it that the House is controlled by Democrats, yet its leadership is not pushing through any of the policy proposals voiced so openly on the Democratic primary stage?

Why aren’t progressive representatives introducing bills to pay reparations to African Americans, to legalize infanticide in some cases of late-term abortion, to offer free medical care to illegal aliens, to confiscate AR-15s, to extend Medicare for all, to impose a wealth tax and raise top rates to between 70 and 90 percent, to abolish student debt and ensure free college for all, or to grant blanket amnesty to those currently living in the country illegally?

Simple answer: none of those issues poll anywhere near 50 percent approval. And no Democratic candidate would expect to beat Trump as the emissary of such an agenda.

If the economy was in a recession, if we were embroiled in another Iraq-like or Vietnam-sort of war, and if Trump’s polls were below 40 percent, then the Democrats would just wait 13 months and defeat him at the polls.

But without a viable agenda and because they doubt they can stop Trump’s reelection bid, they feel they have no recourse but to impeach. If Trump were to be reelected, not a shred of Barack Obama’s “fundamental transformation” would be left, and the strict constructionist Supreme Court would haunt progressives for a quarter-century.

Why Impeachment Now?

The Democrats have exhausted every other mechanism for destroying Trump—and they are running out of time before November 2020 election.

Think of what we have witnessed since the 2016 election. Do we even remember charges that voting machines in the 2016 election were rigged, and the efforts to subvert Electoral College voting, or to invoke the Logan Act, the emoluments clause, and the 25th Amendment?

The “collusion” and “obstruction” fantasies of the Mueller investigation now seem like ancient history. So do the James Comey leaks, the palace coup of Andrew McCabe, the Trump tax records, the celebrity rhetoric about blowing up, shooting, stabbing, burning and variously killing off the president of the United States—along with the satellite frenzies of Stormy Daniels, Michael Avenatti, Charlottesville, Jussie Smollett, the Covington Kids, and the Kavanaugh hearings.

What is left but to try the new “Ukraine collusion”—especially given three other considerations?

First, volatile and always changing polls appearing to favor impeachment roughly reflect Trump’s own popularity (or lack of same). Around 45-46 percent of Americans do not want him impeached and about the same or slightly more say they do.

Second, the hard left-wing of the party might not yet control all the Democrats, but it does not matter because they are clearly younger, more energized, and better organized. And they want something to show for all their social media and photo-op grandstanding, given their socialist agenda is mysteriously moribund.

Third, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is said to oppose impeachment on pragmatic grounds, but I am not sure that is right. It’s the equivalent of saying Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was opposed to the progressive character assassination of Brett Kavanaugh. Neither is or was true.

A better description would be that Pelosi and Feinstein simply go along with the perceived 51-plus percent surge of their party, and sit back gleefully watching the fireworks happen, willing to jump in or pull back depending on the atmospherics and polling. Impeachment, remember, will make the Kavanaugh hearings look like a seminar on etiquette, and so everything and anything can happen once dozens of unhinged leftists are unbound.

Be prepared for a half-dozen Christine Blasey Ford-type witnesses to pop up, and 20 or so unhinged Cory Booker-esque “I am Spartacus” performance acts, along with a whole slew of new Steele dossiers—all interspersed with breathless CNN bulletins announcing new fake news developments with “the walls are closing in” and “the end is near” prognostications. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is already reading fantasies to the House Intelligence Committee and passing them off as the text of Trump’s phone call to Ukraine’s new president. Only after he was called on such absurdities did he describe his performance as a parody.

Facts Won’t Matter that Much

The Left is hellbent on impeachment and the absence of a case won’t matter. They do not care if they will sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.

In the coming days, after all, we will probably learn that the whistleblower’s “Schiff dossier” was prepared by ex-Lawfare-type lawyers in service to House Democrats, who just needed a vessel to pass off the hit as a genuine cry of the heart, rather than a scripted attack with all the Steele dossier/Mueller report/Comey memo fingerprints: classification obfuscations, footnotes to liberal media hit pieces, pseudo-scholarly references to court cases, and lawsuit-avoiding, preemptive disclaimers about not actually possessing firsthand knowledge of any of the evidence, prepped hearsay, supposition, and the subjunctive and optative mood composition.

In a sane world, the impeachers would worry their charges that Trump forced Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to investigate his possible 2020 Democratic opponent Joe Biden might boomerang. After all, Trump never actually cut off Ukrainian aid. Nor did he outline a quid pro quo deal. Essentially he is accused of unduly asking a foreign president to clamp down on corruption in his midst going back to 2016. So what? Especially if there is something more to the strange antics of Hunter Biden and CrowdStrike.

Biden’s problems are not such thought crimes, but are confirmed by his own boasting: that he used the clout of the United States to help his own family financially, by threatening to cut off U.S. aid unless a Ukrainian state prosecutor looking into his own son’s suspicious lobbying was fired within six hours. And in Biden’s own words, “Son of a bitch,” he was fired.

In contrast, Trump might have been all over the map in his call, but he kept the aid to Ukraine coming without demanding the scalp of any Ukrainian official. In some sense, Trump’s culpability boils down to one issue: progressives believe that in not-too-veiled a manner, he threatened a foreign government to start going after the Biden family without cause, whose patriarch Joe might be Trump’s 2020 election opponent.

The other half of the country believes that what is material is not Biden’s current transient electoral status (he is not now and may not be the Democratic nominee), but the fact that he was vice president of the United States when he used his office to threaten the loss of foreign aid to stop investigations of his son, who was using his father’s position to further his own profiteering.

Given that Trump denies any quid pro quo and his call supports that fact, while Biden, on the other hand, openly brags that he made threats which made the Ukrainian to cave (“in six hours”), one can draw one’s own conclusions.

For now, we await more documents—with caveats that the canny Ukrainians, for their own self-interest, will predicate their release of information on the likelihood of which party will win the 2020 election.

The Left hints it has lots of incriminating documents outlining a quid pro quo threat; conservatives suspect that Ukrainian and legal documents will show the prosecutor was neither unethical nor uninterested in Hunter Biden, but was fired precisely because he was not corrupt and very much concerned with Biden.

As far as precedent, there is a good recent example. Barack Obama got caught promising to consider cuts in Eastern-European-based missile defense if Vladimir Putin would give him some room during his reelection campaign.

Translated into Adam Schiff’s Mafiosi parody lingo: Putin would calm down on the international stage to make the U.S.-Russia “reset” look good, Obama would then get rid of Eastern-European missile defense, and Obama would get reelected in 2012.

And all three of those events transpired as planned—one can surmise whether any of the three would have happened without Obama compliance with Russian conditions. Remember, Obama’s quid pro quo was caught on a hot mic on the premise that what he said to Russian President Medvedev was never supposed to be heard. “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this can be solved,” Obama said. “But it’s important for him [Putin] to give me space . . . This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”

Once that understanding was excused, and the media was mute about such collusion, can any notion of collusion as a crime still exist?

Conspiracy Theories

Finally, who are the winners in these impeachment psychodramas, both short-term and long-term?

Short-term, Trump may lose traction due to the media frenzy. He lost some of his ongoing momentum that had recently seen his polls steadily creeping up. He gave a fine speech at the United Nations and sounded presidential in his talks with foreign leaders—all overshadowed or now forgotten due to the impeachment psychodrama.

Trump’s critics have become emboldened, Left and Right. The Drudge Report has flip-flopped and is as anti-Trump as Vox or Slate. Many at National Review call for or anticipate impeachment without much regret. Likewise, some at Fox News—Shepard Smith, Andrew Napolitano, and Chris Wallace—are nonstop critics of Trump and hardly disguise their contempt.

The leftist media is on uppers, and completely ecstatic in moth-to-flame fashion, as if it were May 2017 again and Trump’s demise was a day away.

Because Joe Biden faces far more legal exposure than Trump, he is mentioned (if even to contextualize and exonerate him) in every news account of Ukraine. Whether or not Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) or her erstwhile henchwoman, Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), was behind this gambit, does not matter. (Nothing much from either one had worked to slow down Biden in the last six months). Biden is simply not physically or mentally up to a year of cross-examination. And Hunter Biden is more unsteady than Joe and will thus be hard to locate.

We are starting to see the outlines of a progressive fantasy on the horizon: Biden will be sacrificed. The party will unite around Warren. The left-wing media narrative will be, “We took out one of our own, now it is your turn to depose Trump.” Chaos overload for two or three weeks might keep Trump’s polling low.

Long-term, however, Trump wins.

We still have a number of government audits coming from Michael Horowitz, John Durham, and John Huber—and the targets are not Trump. The Senate will not convict the president under any foreseeable circumstances. The full story of the whistleblower has not been told, but there are a lot of narratives to come about the sudden rules allowing hearsay, DNC involvement, and who knew far in advance about the complainant’s writ. Once the Democratic debates continue, the candidates’ screaming and hysterics return, and the impeachment hearings descend into a Kavanaugh-esque farce, the public will begin to get scared again by the Left’s shrieking Jacobins. Schiff’s “parody” is a small foretaste of what’s to come. Voters soon will surmise that the only thing between their 401k plans and socialism is Donald J. Trump.

Warren or her possible facsimile is a weaker candidate than even the enfeebled Biden. Her lack of viability will be of enormous advantage in NeverHillary-fashion to Trump. His fundraising, already ascendant, will hit the stratosphere. The idea that the new and old NeverTrumpers will be on the side of socialism will finally discredit them. Wall Street and Silicon Valley will keep trashing Trump, but privately write checks to stop Warren’s wealth tax that would be only the beginning of her Venezuelization of America.

So if Trump’s health holds out, if we don’t have a recession, if there is not an optional war, and Trump endures the next few weeks of 360-degree, 24/7 targeting, 2020 will be far more favorable than ever imaginable for him.

Voir enfin:

Monika Bickert, VP Global Product Management

Facebook

24 avril 2018

L’une des questions qui nous est le plus souvent posée concerne la manière dont nous décidons du type de contenu autorisé, ou pas, sur Facebook. Ces décisions sont parmi les plus importantes que nous prenons. Elles sont essentielles pour garantir que Facebook soit un endroit sûr et un espace où l’on peut discuter librement de différents points de vue. Depuis des années, nous avons des Standards de la Communauté qui expliquent ce qui est autorisé, ou pas, sur Facebook. Aujourd’hui, nous allons encore plus loin en publiant les directives internes que nos équipes utilisent pour faire respecter ces Standards. Et pour la première fois, nous vous offrons la possibilité de faire appel de nos décisions sur des contenus individuels, afin que vous puissiez demander un deuxième avis lorsque vous pensez que nous avons commis une erreur.

Nous avons décidé de publier ces directives internes pour deux raisons. Premièrement, elles aideront chacun à comprendre où nous plaçons la limite sur les questions complexes ou nuancées. Deuxièmement, en fournissant ces détails, il est plus facile pour tout le monde, y compris les experts dans différents domaines, de nous faire part de leurs observations, afin que nous puissions améliorer ces directives – ainsi que les décisions que nous prenons – au fil du temps.

Processus d’élaboration des politiques sur les contenus

L’équipe en charge des politiques de contenu de Facebook est responsable de l’élaboration de nos Standards de la Communauté. Nous avons des collaborateurs dans 11 bureaux à travers le monde, y compris des experts spécialisés dans des domaines tels que le terrorisme, l’incitation à la haine ou la protection de l’enfance. Nous sommes nombreux à avoir travaillé sur les questions d’expression et de sécurité bien avant notre arrivée chez Facebook. J’ai, pour ma part, travaillé de la sécurité des enfants à la lutte contre le terrorisme lorsque j’étais procureur général. L’équipe comprend par exemple une ancienne conseillère en matière de viol, une universitaire spécialisée dans les organisations haineuses, une avocate des droits de la personne et une enseignante. Chaque semaine, notre équipe sollicite l’avis d’experts et d’organisations extérieures à Facebook afin de mieux comprendre les différents points de vue sur la sécurité et l’expression, ainsi que l’impact de nos politiques sur les différentes communautés dans le monde.

Sur la base de ces observations et des évolutions des normes sociales et des langues, nos Standards évoluent au fil du temps. Ce qui n’a pas changé, et qui ne changera pas, ce sont les principes fondamentaux de sécurité, de participation et d’équité sur lesquels se fondent ces Standards. Pour initier des conversations et construire des liens, les gens ont besoin de savoir qu’ils sont en sécurité. Facebook devrait également être un lieu où les gens peuvent exprimer librement leurs opinions, même si certaines personnes pourraient trouver ces opinions répréhensibles. C’est pourquoi l’équité est un principe si important : nous visons à appliquer ces normes de manière cohérente et équitable à toutes les communautés et à toutes les cultures. Nous exposons explicitement ces principes dans le préambule des Standards, en expliquant la raison d’être de chaque politique.

Application de nos politiques

L’efficacité de nos politiques dépend de la force et de l’exactitude de leur application, et leur mise en œuvre n’est pas toujours parfaite.

L’un des défis consiste à identifier les violations potentielles de nos Standards afin que nous puissions les examiner. La technologie nous aide. Nous utilisons une combinaison d’intelligence artificielle et de signalement de notre communauté d’utilisateurs pour identifier les messages, images ou autres contenus susceptibles de violer nos Standards de la Communauté. Ces signalement sont examinés par notre équipe en charge de l’application des Standards de la Communauté, qui travaille 24 heures sur 24, 7 jours sur 7, dans plus de 40 langues. À l’heure actuelle, nous nous appuyons sur plus de 7 500 vérificateurs de contenu – plus de 40 % par rapport à la même période l’an dernier.

Un autre défi consiste à appliquer avec précision nos politiques aux contenus qui nous a été signalé. Dans certains cas, nous commettons des erreurs parce que nos politiques ne sont pas suffisamment claires pour nos vérificateurs de contenu ; lorsque c’est le cas, nous nous efforçons de combler ces lacunes. Nous commettons parfois des erreurs car nos processus font appel à des individus, et chacun sait que l’erreur est humaine.

Recours

Nous savons que nous devons faire plus. C’est la raison pour laquelle, au cours de l’année à venir, nous allons donner aux gens la possibilité de faire appel de nos décisions. Dans un premier temps, nous allons lancer des procédures de recours pour les messages qui ont été retirés pour cause de nudité ou d’activité sexuelle, d’incitation à la haine et à la violence.

Voici comment fonctionne ce processus :

  • Si votre photo, vidéo ou message a été retiré(e) pour infraction à nos Standards de la Communauté, vous serez averti et aurez la possibilité d’effectuer une demande de révision supplémentaire.
  • Cette requête mènera à une révision par notre équipe (toujours par une personne), généralement sous 24 heures.
  • Si nous avons fait une erreur, nous vous en informerons et votre post, photo ou vidéo sera restauré.

Nous nous efforçons d’étendre ce processus en soutenant davantage de types d’infractions, en donnant aux gens l’occasion de fournir plus de contexte qui pourrait nous aider à prendre la bonne décision, et la mise à disposition du recours non seulement pour le contenu qui a été retiré mais aussi pour le contenu qui a été signalé et laissé. Nous croyons que le fait de donner à chacun la possibilité de participer au processus est un autre élément essentiel à la mise en place d’un système équitable.

Participation et contribution de la communauté

Nos efforts pour expliquer, améliorer et affiner nos Standards de la Communauté dépendent de la participation et de la contribution de gens du monde entier. En mai, nous lancerons les Forums Facebook, une série d’événements publics de dialogue et de débat autour des Standards de la Communauté, organisés en Allemagne, France, au Royaume-Uni, en Inde, à Singapour, aux Etats-Unis et dans d’autres pays afin de recueillir les commentaires des utilisateurs. Nous partagerons plus de détails sur ces initiatives au fur et à mesure que nous les finaliserons.

Comme l’a souligné notre PDG Mark Zuckerberg au début de l’année : « Nous n’empêcherons pas toutes les erreurs ou les abus, mais nous commettons actuellement trop d’erreurs en appliquant nos politiques et en empêchant l’utilisation abusive de nos outils ». La publication de nos directives internes aujourd’hui, ainsi que l’élargissement de notre processus de recours, nous permettra de nous améliorer au fil du temps. Ce sont des questions complexes et nous sommes engagés à faire mieux.

Retrouvez le texte des Standards de la Communauté détaillés ici : https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards


FAQ

  • Avez-vous modifié l’une de vos politiques avec cette mise à jour ?

Ce que nous partageons aujourd’hui n’est pas nouveau ; cela reflète des Standards qui sont en place depuis longtemps. Cependant, pour la première fois, nous publions l’ensemble de directives internes d’application des Standards de la Communauté sur lesquels nos vérificateurs de contenu s’appuient pour prendre des décisions sur ce qui est autorisé ou non sur Facebook.

Il est important de noter que nos normes évoluent. Dans certains cas, les changements sont provoqués par des retours que nous recevons de parties prenantes externes. Dans d’autres, nous apportons des changements pour tenir compte de la façon dont le langage est utilisé. Dans d’autres encore, un changement est nécessaire en raison d’une lacune dans la politique existante. Ce processus se poursuivra, ainsi que les mises à jour de nos Standards.

Nous partagerons ces mises à jour publiquement et publierons des archives consultables afin que les gens puissent suivre les changements au fil du temps.

  • S’agit-il des mêmes directives que celles que vos vérificateurs utilisent ? Avez-vous enlevé quelque chose ?

Oui. À compter d’aujourd’hui, nos Standards de la Communauté externes reflètent étroitement nos directives internes d’application. Vous nous avez dit que vous ne comprenez pas nos politiques ; c’est notre responsabilité de fournir de la clarté. Il s’agit d’un effort pour expliquer où nous plaçons les limites quand il s’agit de contenu sur Facebook. Nous espérons que cette publication invite et encourage un échange qui nous aide à peaufiner et à améliorer nos politiques.

  • Vous dites que vous travaillez avec des experts. Qui sont-ils ?

Nous travaillons avec des experts du monde entier, notamment des universitaires, des organisations non-gouvernementales, des chercheurs et des juristes. Ces personnes et organisations représentent la diversité de pensée, d’expérience et de parcours. Ils apportent une contribution inestimable lorsque nous réfléchissons à la révision de nos politiques et nous aident à mieux comprendre l’impact de nos politiques.

En ce qui concerne le discours de haine, par exemple, nous avons travaillé avec Timothy Garton Ash, professeur à l’Université d’Oxford, qui a créé le Free Speech Debate (Débat sur la liberté d’expression) pour examiner ces questions sur une base interculturelle. De même, dans le cadre de l’élaboration de nos politiques visant à protéger les personnes contre l’exploitation sexuelle, nous avons réuni plus de 150 organisations et experts en sécurité dans des pays du monde entier, dont les États-Unis, le Kenya, l’Inde, l’Irlande, l’Espagne, la Turquie, la Suède et les Pays-Bas.

  • Comment assurez-vous la cohérence au sein de vos équipes de vérificateurs et vous protégez-vous contre les préjugés et les erreurs humaines ?

Nos Standards de la Communauté sont mondiaux, et tous les vérificateurs utilisent les directives que nous avons publiées aujourd’hui pour prendre des décisions. Ils suivent une formation approfondie dans le cadre de leur processus d’intégration et sont formés et testés à intervalles réguliers par la suite.

Nous sommes extrêmement prescriptifs dans l’élaboration de nos politiques, et nous essayons de rédiger des politiques qui permettent de distinguer clairement les contenus qui violent nos Standards et ceux qui les respectent, afin de rendre le processus de prise de décision pour les vérificateurs aussi objectif que possible. Nos vérificateurs bénéficient de mécanismes de contrôle de la qualité, et d’une équipe de management vers laquelle ils peuvent se tourner pour obtenir des conseils. Nous vérifions également l’exactitude des décisions des vérificateurs sur une base hebdomadaire. Lorsque des erreurs sont commises, nous assurons un suivi auprès des membres de l’équipe afin d’éviter qu’elles se reproduisent.

Même avec nos audits de qualité, nous savons que nous pouvons faire des erreurs. C’est pourquoi nous avons donné aux gens la possibilité de faire appel de nos décisions lorsque nous avons retiré leur profil, Page ou Groupe. Au cours de l’année, nous allons étendre la capacité des gens de faire appel de nos décisions. Dans un premier temps, nous lançons des recours pour des contenus retirés pour nudité ou activité sexuelle, discours de haine et violence, afin que les gens puissent nous faire savoir quand ils pensent que nous avons fait une erreur.

  • Pourriez-vous m’en dire plus sur les Forums Facebook ? Avez-vous déjà organisé de tels événements avant ?

Nous faisons de notre mieux pour recueillir des commentaires externes de différentes façons. Les Forums Facebook sont un format que nous n’avons jamais essayé auparavant, et nous sommes impatients d’écouter et d’apprendre de notre communauté. La structure de l’événement variera selon la ville dans laquelle nous nous trouvons, et nous avons hâte de partager plus de détails prochainement.

Voir par ailleurs:

Satire or Deceit? Christian Humor Site Feuds With Snopes
The Babylon Bee says Snopes went too far in fact-checking a satirical story. Snopes had suggested the Bee twisted its joke to deceive readers.
Niraj Chokshi
NYT
Aug. 3, 2019

It’s a fake-news feud made for 2019.

On one side is Snopes, the influential fact-checking website founded 25 years ago.

On the other is the Babylon Bee, an upstart Christian satirical website that lampoons progressive ideas, Democrats, Christians and President Trump.

They are fighting over how Snopes characterizes stories published by the Bee, which says Snopes has veered from its fact-checking mission by suggesting that the satirical site may be twisting its jokes to deceive readers.

“The reason we have to take it seriously is because social networks, which we depend on for our traffic, have relied upon fact-checking sources in the past to determine what’s fake news and what isn’t,” Seth Dillon, the Bee’s chief executive, said in an interview on Thursday with Shannon Bream of Fox News.

“In cases where they’re calling us fake news and lumping us in with them rather than saying this is satire, that could actually damage us,” he added. “It could put our business in jeopardy.”

Indeed, the line between misinformation and satire can be thin, and real consequences can result when it is crossed. On social media, parody can be misconstrued or misrepresented as it moves further and further from its source. And humor has been weaponized to help spread falsehoods online.

About two weeks ago, the Bee published an article that it thought was clearly satire. The piece, headlined “Georgia Lawmaker Claims Chick-Fil-A Employee Told Her To Go Back To Her Country, Later Clarifies He Actually Said ‘My Pleasure’,” was a parody of a real controversy involving a claim of racism, a counterclaim and a fair amount of outrage.

Soon after, Snopes, which investigates assertions based on their popularity or after requests from readers, published a fact check of that article that called its intent into question.

Mr. Dillon said the Bee was so frustrated by the way that Snopes had characterized its work that it had retained a law firm, but he did not say whether any legal action had been taken. David Mikkelson, a founder of Snopes, said he received a letter from a Bee lawyer complaining about the fact check, but was unaware of any legal action.

Mr. Mikkelson disputed the suggestion that his website had a political motive for fact-checking the Bee, but acknowledged that the piece in question, which has since been updated, had been poorly phrased.

“The article that people were focusing on was not worded very well,” he said. “That’s our bad. We need to own that.”

He added that Snopes was not trying to discredit the Bee. “That’s not our intent and if we have conveyed that intent, then I apologize for that,” he said.

This week, a Bee piece satirizing the episode — titled “Snopes Issues Pre-Approval Of All Statements Made During Tonight’s Democratic Debate” — became the top-performing article on Facebook related to the topic “democratic debate,” according to BuzzSumo, a social media analysis company, as first reported by BuzzFeed.

Some conservatives said the Bee’s experience revealed political bias at Snopes. But in Mr. Mikkelson’s view, Snopes is now subject to the very kind of attack it has been accused of carrying out.

“It’s now been spun into this ridiculous conspiracy theory that seems pretty contrived to gin up outrage” and clicks, he said.

The story of the feud began with a viral Facebook post July 19 in which Erica Thomas, a Georgia state representative, said she had been told by a white man at a grocery store to “go back” to where she came from. The man later came forward, identified himself as a Democrat and disputed her account, fueling outrage on the right by those who believe reports of racism are overblown.

The Bee published its parody of the events July 22. Two days later, Snopes published its fact check of that article.

The original Snopes piece included the subheadline, “we’re not sure if fanning the flames of controversy and muddying the details of a news story classify an article as ‘satire.’” It called the Bee story a “ruse” and suggested it had been published “in an apparent attempt to maximize the online indignation.”

That language has since been removed “for tone and clarity,” according to an editors’ note atop the piece. Snopes, it says, is working to create standards for how to address humor and satire.

On Twitter, Adam Ford, the founder of the Bee, described the Snopes article as a “hit piece.” He also complained that Snopes had not been as critical in another fact-check of a piece from The Onion, a satirical website that, despite its fame and absurdist articles, continues to fool unsuspecting readers.

“A clumsy mistake or an incompetent writer are insufficient explanations for publishing something like this when you position yourself as an unbiased, stalwart arbiter of truth and presume to wield the influence that comes along with that title,” he wrote.

In a recent newsletter, the Bee said a past Snopes fact-check had prompted Facebook, which was then in a fact-checking partnership with Snopes, to “threaten us with limitations and demonetization.” Facebook eventually acknowledged the mistake and said the Bee piece — about CNN buying industrial washing machines to “spin” news — “should not have been rated false in our system.”

Snopes pulled out of the Facebook partnership in February, but some critics of the recent fact-check have argued that Snopes’s actions could still affect the Bee’s Facebook presence, a suggestion Mr. Mikkelson disputes.

“We have absolutely no ability to demonetize, deplatform, blacklist anybody,” he said. “We have no means to stop anyone from publishing on a particular platform or to limit their reach.”

Snopes determines what to cover based on reader input via email, Facebook and Twitter as well as what’s trending on Google, social media and its own website searches. As a result, it often covers claims and satire that, to many, may seem obviously false or intentionally humorous.

“Some people just don’t get or are not very good at recognizing uses of sarcasm or irony or archness,” Mr. Mikkelson said.

In the Fox News appearance, Mr. Dillon, the Bee chief executive, seemed to acknowledge that.

“There’s people who aren’t familiar with us who are seeing our stuff,” he said. “So if they want to fact-check it, fine. You can rate it false, you can rate it satire, ideally, and just say ‘Hey, this came from the Bee, it’s obviously satire, they’re a well-known satire publication.’ That would be as far as it needs to go.”


Mort de Jacques Chirac: La France qui triche a trouvé son héros (As amnesic France goes gaga over the death of its first former head of state to be convicted since Petain, ex-British spy chief confirms ‘Grand Philanderer’ Chirac was ‘a roguish individual who manoeuvred very cleverly’)

29 septembre, 2019

Image may contain: 1 person, text

https://i2.wp.com/davidphenry.com/Paris/StudentsProtesting1May2002.jpgImage result for Chirac, c'est Rastignac plus Ravaillac le Canard enchainé

Image result for Chirac s'énerve à jérusalemImage result for Tour Eiffel éteinte pour Chirac

Une droite qui voudrait que soit placé dans nos mairies et nos écoles le portrait d’un homme mis en examen, qui a perdu toute autorité morale. Richard Ferrand (14.04.2017)
Presque aucun des fidèles ne se retenait de s’esclaffer, et ils avaient l’air d’une bande d’anthropophages chez qui une blessure faite à un blanc a réveillé le goût du sang. Car l’instinct d’imitation et l’absence de courage gouvernent les sociétés comme les foules. Et tout le monde rit de quelqu’un dont on voit se moquer, quitte à le vénérer dix ans plus tard dans un cercle où il est admiré. C’est de la même façon que le peuple chasse ou acclame les rois. Marcel Proust
Un père, ça peut être une femme, une grand-mère. Agnès Buzyn (ministre française de la Santé)
L’enfant a le droit à un nom dès la naissance. Il a également le droit d’ acquérir une nationalité et, dans la mesure du possible, de connaître ses parents et d’être élevé par eux. Convention internationale des droits de l’enfant (article 7, 1989)
La loi ne doit pas mentir sur l’origine de la vie. Conférence des évêques
Une droite qui voudrait que soit placé dans nos mairies et nos écoles le portrait d’un homme mis en examen, qui a perdu toute autorité morale. Richard Ferrand (14.04.2017)
Le président Chirac incarna une certaine idée de la France. (…) Jacques Chirac était un destin français. (…) Jacques Chirac portait en lui l’amour de la France et des Français. Emmanuel Macron
Dans une autre publication, il tenait à peu près les mêmes propos concernant le candidat LR: “nous disons à François Fillon qu’il a perdu toute autorité morale pour diriger l’État et parler au nom de la France”. Lundi 30 septembre 2019 est une journée de deuil national à la suite du décès de M. Jacques CHIRAC, ancien Président de la République. Durant cette journée, les enseignants qui le souhaitent peuvent consacrer un cours à l’évocation de la mémoire de l’ancien chef de l’État. A cette fin, éduscol vous propose des ressources pédagogiques permettant de revenir sur la biographie de Jacques Chirac, son engagement politique national et international, sa relation à l’histoire des arts… Ministère de l’Education nationale
C’est très français au fond. La seule chose que l’on retiendra de la présidence de Jacques Chirac est une belle bravade sans conséquence: son refus spectaculaire de la guerre américaine en Irak. Laquelle, pour le coup, en eut de fâcheuses. Dieu sait combien Jacques Chirac représentait le caractère national. Au milieu de beaucoup de compromissions, ce fut une parenthèse de gloire, de panache et d’honneur. Cela n’a servi à rien mais le geste en était d’autant plus beau. Chirac eut quelque chose de Cyrano de Bergerac au cours de cet hiver 2002-2003, entraînant la Russie de Poutine et l’Allemagne de Schröder et bien d’autres nations derrière lui. Villepin, au contraire, avait peur de se fâcher avec l’Amérique. Il n’a pas troqué le retour de la France dans le comité militaire de l’Otan en échange de quelques postes honorifiques. Il a osé renouveler la dissuasion nucléaire française. C’est en souvenir de ces moments-là que la France est encore écoutée dans le monde. (…) Jacques Chirac avait un grand mérite: il connaissait l’histoire du monde et de ses civilisations. Il savait que l’Irak est un des berceaux de l’humanité et qu’on ne pouvait la détruire sans commettre l’irréparable. Il savait aussi que la démocratie ne se construit pas sur le sable d’une occupation militaire et que tôt ou tard, les chiites d’Irak se tourneraient vers leurs coreligionnaires iraniens, entraînant une terrible guerre de religions. Ce qui devait advenir arriva: la rage cumulée des pétromonarchies du golfe et des terroristes wahhabites a redoublé de violence. Daech et les destructions de Mossoul, Palmyre et Alep sont des contrecoups de la folle expédition de Dick Cheney et Donald Rumsfeld. Tout le Moyen-Orient a souffert de cette lamentable aventure mais pas seulement. Après les attentats de 2004-2005 et 2015-2016 en Europe, nous sommes loin d’avoir retrouvé l’équilibre. Depuis 2003, le Moyen-Orient est une région en guerre de religion, fracturée et travaillée par le terrorisme, minée par les migrations, incapable de se coordonner et d’avancer ensemble. Chirac avait au long de sa carrière noué des relations fidèles avec les chefs d’États d’Afrique et d’Asie. Il était soucieux du sort des Palestiniens, lui qui était intraitable avec l’antisémitisme. (…) Chirac s’intéressait et comprenait les relations internationales, sans avoir peur de quiconque. Le Figaro
Nous avons été présidés par un délinquant pendant 12 ans, et mon adversaire de 2002 est quelqu’un qui aurait dû être condamné à la prison. Le Pen
Attendu que la responsabilité de Jacques Chirac, maire de París, découle du mandat reçu de la collectivité des Parisiens ; qu’elle résulte également de l’autorité hiérarchique exercée par lui sur l’ensemble du personnel de la Ville de Paris et singulièrement sur ses collaborateurs immédiats au premier rang desquels son directeur de cabinet ; Attendu que le dossier et les débats ont établi que Jacques Chirac a été l’initiateur et l’auteur principal des délits d’abus de confiance, détournement de fonds publics, ingérence et prise illégale d’intérêts ; que sa culpabilité résulte de pratiques pérennes et réitérées qui lui sont personnellement imputables et dont le développement a été grandement favorisé par une parfaite connaissance des rouages de la municipalité ainsi que la qualité des liens tissés avec les différents acteurs administratifs et politiques au cours de ses années passées à la tête de la Ville de Paris ; qu’en multipliant les connexions entre son parti et la municipalité parisienne, Jacques Chirac a su créer et entretenir entre la collectivité territoriale et l’organisation politique une confusion telle qu’elle a pu entraîner ses propres amis politiques ; que le gain en résultant, nonobstant les économies des salaires payés par la mairie de Paris, a pu prendre la forme soit d’un renforcement des effectifs du parti politique dont il était le président soit d’un soutien à la contribution intellectuelle pour l’élaboration du programme politique de ce parti ; Attendu que par l’ensemble de ces agissements, Jacques Chirac a engagé les fonds de la Ville de Paris pour un montant total d’environ 1 400 000 euros ; Attendu que l’ancienneté des faits, l’absence d’enrichissement personnel de Jacques Chirac, l’indemnisation de la Ville de Paris par l’UMP et Jacques Chirac, ce dernier à hauteur de 500.000 euros, l’âge et l’état de santé actuel de Jacques Chirac, dont la dégradation est avérée, ainsi que les éminentes responsabilités de chef de l’Etat qu’il a exercées pendant les douze années ayant immédiatement suivi la période de prévention, sont autant d’éléments qui doivent être pris en considération pour déterminer la sanction qu’il convient d’appliquer à son encontre ; Attendu que ces éléments ne sauraient occulter le fait que, par son action délibérée, en ayant recours au cours de ces cinq années à dix neuf emplois totalement ou partiellement fictifs, Jacques Chirac a manqué à l’obligation de probité qui pèse sur les personnes publiques chargées de la gestion des fonds ou des biens qui leur sont confiés, cela au mépris de l’intérêt général des Parisiens ; que dans ces conditions, le recours à une peine d’emprisonnement avec sursis dont le quantum sera fixé à deux années apparaît tout à la fois adapté à la personnalité du prévenu et ainsi qu’à la nature et la gravité des faits qu’il a commis. Verdict de la 11e chambre correctionnelle de Paris (15.12.11)
Pour la première fois depuis Louis XVI et Philippe Pétain, un ancien chef de l’Etat français a été condamné par la justice de son pays. Jacques Chirac, 79 ans, reconnu coupable d’abus de confiance, de détournement de fonds publics et de prise illégale d’intérêts, a écopé ce jeudi matin de deux ans de prison avec sursis. Dans un communiqué, Jacques Chirac a annoncé qu’il ne ferait pas appel, même si « sur le fond [il] conteste catégoriquement ce jugement ». Il explique ne plus avoir « hélas, toutes les forces nécessaires pour mener par [lui-même], face à de nouveaux juges, le combat pour la vérité ». Nouvel obs
Janvier 1975. C’est l’époque du journalisme politique à la Françoise Giroud, la patronne de L’Express envoie alors de jeunes et jolies reporters pour faire parler les politiques. Jacqueline Chabridon, journaliste au Figaro, est mandatée par son rédacteur en chef pour suivre Jacques Chirac et en tirer un portrait du jeune Premier ministre de Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. Elle n’en a guère envie, le voit comme « un soudard, un prêt-à-tout (…) sentencieux et ringard au possible », écrivent les auteurs. De son côté, il veut vérifier à qui il a affaire. Il la met au défi d’engloutir les copieuses portions de tête de veau trônant sur la table aussi vite que lui. Elle s’y colle, en bonne vivante. Il est séduit par cette petite jeune femme de 34 ans. Comme le dit son ami Jacques Toubon, alors conseiller technique à Matignon, « c’est le charme fait femme ». Pauline de Saint-Rémy d’expliquer : « On s’était imaginé une femme impressionnante, très élégante, très intello. Avec sa voix fluette, sa petite taille, elle est en fait très simple. Au sens noble du terme. » C’est peut-être cela qui plaît alors au Premier ministre. Elle est d’origine modeste, auvergnate, fille de communistes. Affirme simplement son goût pour la vie. « Jacques et Jacqueline, c’est aussi et avant tout une complicité de classe, relatent les journalistes dans leur livre. Une sorte de reconnaissance mutuelle. » De son côté, Jacqueline voit désormais derrière le technocrate ambitieux un homme qui a « du goût pour les gens ». Très vite, « son envie de la revoir vire à l’obsession. Il la veut à ses côtés, en public comme en privé », lit-on dans Jacques et Jacqueline (1). On prête à Chirac un parcours de séducteur « mais avec elle, ça a été différent, affirment Laureline Dupont et Pauline de Saint-Rémy. Pour elle, il a failli tout quitter ; ça a eu des répercussions sur sa vie politique, dans un moment charnière. » Le livre raconte l’appartement aménagé pour eux rue de Marignan, à Paris : c’est là qu’il installe sa collection d’ouvrages de la Pléiade, un mur entier. Il l’emmène en escapade à La Rochelle. Elle le suit dans ses déplacements, en tant que journaliste. Fin 1975, il organise même, selon les auteurs, un voyage de presse aux Antilles pour passer Noël en sa compagnie ! Les reporters présents sur place s’agacent des nombreux « briefings » du chef du gouvernement. Dans l’ouvrage, Jacques Toubon se souvient des chuchotements qu’il surprend alors : « Il [Chirac] n’a rien à nous dire… » « C’est ridicule ! C’est juste pour la voir. » Le couple fait face à l’incompréhension de son entourage devant cette histoire qui dure, devant ce mariage qu’il lui aurait promis. Jacqueline Chabridon, dont les premières noces avec le socialiste Charles Hernu ont été célébrées par François Mitterrand, se fait rabrouer par ses amis de gauche, expliquent les auteurs. Chirac, lui, encaisse l’hostilité de sa conseillère Marie-France Garaud. Elle s’inquiète. Et si l’affaire s’ébruitait ? « Beaucoup de gens savaient, à l’époque, souligne Laureline Dupont. Le sujet fait jaser dans les dîners parisiens. » Toujours selon le livre, Le Nouvel Observateur s’apprête à publier en avril 1976 un court article intitulé « La garçonnière du Premier ministre ». La publication sera stoppée. Mais c’en est trop pour les conseillers. Trop pour Bernadette Chirac aussi. Dans Jacques et Jacqueline, on la voit faire front commun avec Marie-France Garaud pour éloigner la maîtresse. Et puis à l’époque, on ne divorce pas. Surtout si l’on envisage la plus haute fonction… Été 1976. Jacqueline Chabridon découvre l’appartement vidé. Leur correspondance a disparu. Le choc. Dans un bureau anonyme, il lui annonce que c’est fini. Certains y ont vu la pression de ses proches. Les auteurs livrent une autre hypothèse : « De nombreux témoins nous ont dit que Chirac, qui s’apprêtait à lancer le RPR (Rassemblement pour la République, ndlr) – il venait de démissionner de Matignon pour ça -, avait besoin d’avoir le coeur et les mains libres. Parce qu’il entretenait un rapport charnel et chaleureux aux électeurs. Notre théorie, c’est qu’il a été rattrapé par son ambition, plus que par son entourage. » Apporter un autre éclairage sur Jacques Chirac, c’était un des objectifs des deux journalistes : « Il est plus humain et plus complexe qu’il n’y paraît, perclus de passions contraires. » Fallait-il pour autant, quarante ans après, remettre cet amour sous le feu des projecteurs ? « Certains seront heurtés car on est sur le terrain de la vie privée. Mais c’est un récit politique, pas un livre sulfureux, répond Pauline de Saint-Rémy. Nous voulions aussi donner un autre éclairage à cette époque politico-médiatique en nous intéressant à la petite histoire dans la grande histoire. » Jacqueline Chabridon, elle, a poursuivi la sienne. Le coeur à gauche. « Elle qui pensait ne jamais pouvoir voter pour lui a fini par le faire en avril 2002. Mais on a compris que ça lui avait fait un peu mal. » Aujourd’hui encore, elle est proche des socialistes. Voit François Hollande régulièrement. Et Laureline Dupont de conclure : « Elle a 75 ans et a l’air très heureuse. » Grazia
Voici un homme qui a dû se représenter à  sa réélection l’an dernier afin de préserver son immunité  présidentielle des poursuites judiciaires pour de graves accusations de corruption. Voici un homme qui a aidé Saddam Hussein à construire un réacteur nucléaire et qui savait très bien ce qu’il comptait en faire. Voici un homme à la tête de la France qui est en fait ouvertement à vendre. Il me fait penser au banquier de « L’Education Sentimentale » de Flaubert : un homme si habitué à la corruption qu’il payerait pour le plaisir de se vendre lui-même. Ici, également, est un monstre positif de vanité. Lui et son ministre des affaires étrangères, Dominique de Villepin, ont mielleusement déclaré que la « force est toujours le dernier recours.  » Vraiment ? Ce n’était pas la position de l’establishment français quand des troupes ont été envoyées au Rwanda pour tenter de sauver le client-régime qui venait de lancer un ethnocide contre les Toutsis. Ce n’est pas, on présume, la position des généraux français qui traitent actuellement comme leur fief  la population et la nation ivoiriennes. Ce n’était pas la position de ceux qui ont commandité la destruction d’un bateau désarmé, le Rainbow à l’ancre dans un port de Nouvelle Zélande après les manifestations contre la pratique officielle française d’essais nucléaires atmosphériques dans le Pacifique. (…) Nous nous rendons tous compte du fait que Saddam Hussein doit beaucoup d’argent à des compagnies françaises et à l’Etat français. Nous espérons tous que le parti Baath irakien n’a fait aucun cadeau privé à des personnalités politiques françaises, même si le moins qu’on puisse dire c’est que de tels scrupules des deux côtés seraient une anomalie. Est-il possible qu’il y ait plus en jeu que cela ? Il est très possible que le futur gouvernement de Bagdad ne se considère plus tellement responsable des dettes de Saddam. Ce seul fait conditionne-t-il la réponse de Chirac à une fin de régime en Irak ? (…) Charles de Gaulle avait un égo colossal, mais il se sentit obligé à un moment crucial de représenter une certaine idée de la  France à un moment où cette nation avait été trahie dans le servitude et la honte par son establishment politique et militaire. (…) Il avait un sens de l’histoire. Aux intérêts permanents de la France, il tenait à joindre une certaine idée de la liberté aussi. Il aurait approuvé les propos de Vaclav Havel – ses derniers en tant que président tchèque – parlant hardiment des droits du peuple irakien. Et on aime à penser qu’il aurait eu un mépris  pour son pygmée de successeur, l’homme vain, poseur et vénal qui, souhaitant jouer le rôle d’une Jeanne d’Arc travestie, fait de la France le proxénète abject de Saddam. C’est le cas du rat qui voulait rugir. Christopher Hitchens (2003)
Pasqua n’était guère cocaïnomane – «j’en suis sûr», atteste notre lascar – mais l’argent parallèle du secteur a pu l’intéresser… Fauré, précoce dealer au Maroc puis un peu partout ailleurs, raconte avoir été très vite pris en charge, dans les années 70, par l’Organisation de l’armée secrète. Initialement dédiée au maintien de l’Algérie française, l’OAS changera très vite de fusil d’épaule : «opérations homo» (assassinats ciblés) contre des indépendantistes basques ou corses, mais aussi braquages de banques. Le Service d’action civique (SAC) prendra ensuite le relais. Fauré, fort de ses compétences en la matière, met la main à l’ouvrage : «La recette Pasqua consistait à constituer des « mouvements patriotiques », en vérité violents, avec des voyous peu recommandables. Comment les rémunérer ? Tout simplement avec l’argent provenant de gros braquages de banques et de bijouteries, commis en toute impunité. Avec Pasqua, tout était possible, du moins pour les membres du SAC. Patriote, certainement prêt à mourir pour son pays, il gardait en revanche un œil attentif sur les caisses du parti. Moyennant la moitié de nos gains, il nous garantissait l’impunité sur des affaires juteuses et triées sur le volet, sachant exactement là ou il fallait frapper.» (…) A l’issue de l’entretien, Gérard Fauré croisera illico le parrain marseillais «Tony» Zampa, qui traînait là par hasard, lequel l’entreprend dans la foulée sur différentes affaires à venir : des investissements dans les casinos et la prostitution aux Pays-Bas. Cas peut-être unique dans les annales de la voyoucratie, il fera parallèlement équipe avec l’illustre Francis Vanverberghe, dit «Francis le Belge», «doté d’un savoir-vivre qui valait bien son savoir-tuer». (…) Pour la petite histoire, il reconstitue leur brouille à propos de… Johnny Hallyday : «Tous les deux voulaient le prendre sous tutelle, pour capter sa fortune ou l’utiliser comme prête-nom. Ils ont fini par s’entre-tuer pour ce motif et quelques autres.» Fauré considérait Johnny comme sa «plus belle prise de guerre» dans le microcosme de la coke. Mais lui gardera un chien de sa chienne après que le chanteur l’a balancé sans vergogne aux Stups, contre sa propre immunité. (…) «Si vous le voulez bien, j’attends votre version des faits s’agissant des deux chèques de M. Chirac rédigés à votre ordre. Je vous invite à bien réfléchir avant de répondre» : sollicitation d’une juge d’instruction parisienne en 1986, hors procès-verbal. Tempête sous un crâne à l’issue de laquelle Gérard Fauré évoquera une dette de jeu au backgammon… Dans son bouquin, l’explication est tout autre – «J’avais dû travestir la vérité.» S’il ne peut attester que l’ex-président prenait de la coke, il évoque son penchant pour les femmes… Pour l’anecdote, les deux chèques en question feront l’objet d’une rapide opposition de leur signataire. «Chirac, dont j’avais admiré la prestance et même les idées politiques, s’est avéré mauvais payeur.» (…) Le livre s’achève sur cet hommage indirect à la police française : lors d’une perquisition à son domicile, 10 des 15 kilos de cocaïne disparaissent, tout comme 90 % des 300 000 euros logés dans un tiroir. «Je n’ai pas pensé un seul instant me plaindre de la brigade du quai des Orfèvres, dans la mesure où les vols qu’elle commettait chez moi ne pouvaient qu’alléger ma future condamnation. » Libération
Chirac’s opposition to the Iraq War put him at loggerheads with George W. Bush and Tony Blair. As President he made a historic apology for France’s role in the Holocaust but his term was also marked by riots and a stinging defeat over EU integration. He also had a reputation as a womaniser and philanderer who repeatedly cheated on his long-suffering wife Bernadette during their 63 years of marriage. His reputed partners included Italian sex symbol Claudia Cardinale and there were rumours about a series of relationships with journalists and politicians. Chirac was also known for a love of fine living, revelling in the trappings of power including luxury trips abroad and life at the presidential palace. After leaving office, Chirac was found guilty of corruption dating back to his time as mayor of Paris and given a two-year suspended prison sentence. The Daily Mail
How many times have certain Western politicians cast an envious glance at Jacques Chirac and thought: just how the hell did he get away with it? France is in deep mourning following the news that its flamboyant, philandering former centre-Right president has died at the age of 86. World leaders joined in a chorus of tributes yesterday. Precisely what and whom they are mourning, however, remains as opaque as ever. Former French President Jacques Chirac was often seen in the company of beautiful women such as legendary actress Brigitte Bardot (….) The first ex-president in French history to be convicted of corruption, he managed to espouse contradictory opinions on just about everything during four decades in politics. Here was the great peacemonger – famous for keeping France out of the 2003 invasion of Iraq – who also flogged nuclear technology to Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and who obliterated a South Pacific coral atoll with his own nuclear weapons. (…) He was the self-styled champion of human rights and the developing world who also sucked up to the most appalling tyrants, argued that ‘Africa is not ready for democracy’ and deplored the ‘noise and smell’ of workshy immigrants. And all the while, he was the family man who enjoyed affairs with umpteen women – from humble secretaries and party workers to film stars. As mayor of Paris, he kept a mayoral bus with a bedroom for assignations and used public funds to rent a flat for a political journalist from Le Figaro who was his then mistress. As president, so it was claimed by one biographer, he would never want for ‘naked women, burning with desire’ on board the presidential jet. On a state visit to Tunisia, he managed to bring along both his long-suffering wife, Bernadette, and his mistress du moment on the same trip. The two women did not exchange a word. Not that he would ever allow himself to be distracted from his work for long. Following the publication of the memoirs of the presidential chauffeur, Chirac could never quite shake off the nickname he acquired thereafter: ‘Five minutes – including shower’ (to add insult to injury, this was later reduced from ‘five’ to ‘three’). Routinely satirised on a top French comedy show as ‘Superliar’, Chirac would never have got where he got – or lasted as long as he did – in British politics. It was his good fortune to be blessed with a French media which seldom subjected him to the same scrutiny endured by his British counterparts. It also helped that he was sleeping with quite a few of them. (…) In 2011, he received a two-year prison sentence for abuse of trust and public funds, though the sentence was suspended. The Daily Mail
There were strong indications in the US and UK [intelligence services] that Chirac received money from Saddam. His recent obituaries are saying that Chirac got it right [on Iraq] and the rest of us got it wrong. But I am saying that Chirac’s motive for getting it right may not appear to be what it is.’‘He had this questionable relationship with Saddam Hussein. It raises a lot of questions as to what his motives were for opposing the UN Resolution in the build-up to the invasion. It was not a matter of conscience, it was his reputation. If it came out in the wash [that he received money from Saddam], it would have been damaging to him as a politician. It was a dimension which at the time was politically worrying – Chirac had a longstanding relationship with Saddam, which was not state to state, it was personal. He was a roguish individual who manoeuvred very cleverly.  Sir Richard Dearlove
J’ai un principe simple en politique étrangère. Je regarde ce que font les Américains et je fais le contraire. Alors, je suis sûr d’avoir raison. Jacques Chirac
Le multipartisme est une erreur politique, une sorte du luxe que les pays en voie de développement, qui doivent concentrer leurs efforts sur leur expansion économique n’ont pas les moyens de s’offrir. Jacques Chirac (Abidjan, février 1990)
Si les valeurs des droits de l’homme sont universelles, elles peuvent s’exprimer sous des formes différentes. Jacques Chirac (Paris, 1996, visite de Li Peng)
Ici, le message millénaire de l’islam rejoint l’héritage et les valeurs de la République. Jacques Chirac (Grande Mosquée de Paris, 9/4/02)
La guerre … est toujours la pire des solutions … Jacques Chirac (Paris, 17 janvier 2003, au côté de Hans Blix, président exécutif de la commission de contrôle de vérification et d’inspection des Nations Unies en Irak et de Mohamed El Baradei, directeur de l’Agence Internationale de l’Energie Atomique)
Cette institution met la Russie au premier rang des démocraties, pour le respect dû aux peuples premiers, pour le dialogue des cultures et tout simplement pour le respect de l’autre. Jacques Chirac (Saint-Pétersbourg, juin 2003, inauguration de l’Académie polaire)
Le premier des droits de l’homme, c’est de manger, d’être soigné, de recevoir une éducation et d’avoir un habitat. De ce point de vue, la Tunisie est très en avance sur beaucoup de pays. Jacques Chirac (Tunis, le 3 décembre 2003, jour où l’opposante Radhia Nasraoui entrait dans son 50e jour de grève de la faim)
Je n’ai pas à juger les choix de politique intérieure d’un homme démocratiquement élu. Mais je sais une chose : il a rendu sa dignité à un peuple privé de ses droits et de son identité.» Il « a rendu sa dignité à son peuple ». « On ne peut pas vouloir des élections au suffrage universel et contester leurs résultats. Jacques Chirac (sur le président bolivien Evo Morales, Brasilia, 25 mai 2006)
Les racines de l’Europe sont autant musulmanes que chrétiennes. Jacques Chirac
Ce n’est pas une politique de tuer des enfants. Chirac (accueillant Barak à Paris, le 4 octobre 2000)
La situation est tragique mais les forces en présence au Moyen-Orient font qu’au long terme, Israël, comme autrefois les Royaumes francs, finira par disparaître. Cette région a toujours rejeté les corps étrangers. Dominique Galouzeau de Villepin (Paris, automne 2001)
La France condamne les attaques du Hezbollah et toutes les actions terroristes unilatérales, où qu’elles se mènent, contre des soldats ou des populations civiles. Oui, ces attaques sont terroristes, et la France souhaite que la réplique frappe aussi peu que possible les populations civiles. Epargner les populations civiles est une contrainte que s’efforce de respecter Israël. Lionel Jospin (Jérusalem, 24 février 2000)
On his visit to Birzeit University, Lionel Jospin had the gall to speak of the Hizbullah fighters as terrorists, also expressing his « understanding » of Israel’s actions against Lebanon. Edward Said
Soudain, une pluie de pierres s’abat sur le groupe, petites d’abord, puis de plus en plus grosses. Les gardes du corps déploient aussitôt leur protection en kevlar. Le premier ministre disparaît littéralement sous les corps massés « en tortue » de sa protection rapprochée, avant d’être précipité à l’arrière de la Mercedes blindée qui l’attend. Une voiture, posée en travers de la route, barre le départ du cortège et immobilise quelques longues secondes celle de M. Jospin, criblée de pierres et de coups de pied, tandis qu’un enseignant, debout sur le toit du véhicule, lève les bras pour tenter de calmer les manifestants. Une vitre est atteinte par un pavé. Un photographe de l’Agence France-Presse, Manoucher Deghati, est renversé, la jambe cassée. Il sera transféré à l’hôpital de Jérusalem. Dans le hurlement des sirènes et sous les insultes des manifestants, le cortège repart, enfin. Le Monde
Vous savez bien que l’Irak est un pays pacifique géré par des gens pacifiques. Jacques Chirac (Journal marocain, septembre 1980)
Il y a un problème, c’est la possession probable d’armes de destruction massive par un pays incontrôlable, l’Irak. La communauté internationale a raison de s’émouvoir de cette situation. Et elle a eu raison de décider qu’il fallait désarmer l’Irak. (…) Il faut laisser aux inspecteurs le temps de le faire. Jacques Chirac
Dans l’immédiat, notre attention doit se porter en priorité sur les domaines biologique et chimique. C’est là que nos présomptions vis-à-vis de l’Iraq sont les plus significatives : sur le chimique, nous avons des indices d’une capacité de production de VX et d’ypérite ; sur le biologique, nos indices portent sur la détention possible de stocks significatifs de bacille du charbon et de toxine botulique, et une éventuelle capacité de production.  Dominique De Villepin (05.02.03)
Les visées militaires du programme nucléaire iranien ne font plus de doute mais les possibilités de négociations avec le régime de Téhéran n’ont pas été épuisées. (…) De l’avis des experts, d’ici deux à trois ans, l’Iran pourrait être en possession d’une arme nucléaire. Rapport parlementaire français (17 décembre 2008)
Même aux pires moments de notre relation, quand le général De Gaulle a quitté l’OTAN, critiqué la guerre du Vietnam et voulu remplacer le dollar par l’étalon-or, il n’est jamais allé aussi loin. Il n’a jamais tenté, lui, de monter une coalition contre nous. Kissinger (Paris, automne 2003)
Il est maintenant clair que les assurances données par Chirac ont joué un rôle crucial, persuadant Saddam Hussein de ne pas offrir les concessions qui auraient pu éviter une guerre et le changement de régime. Selon l’ex-vice président Tareq Aziz, s’exprimant depuis sa cellule devant des enquêteurs américains et irakiens, Saddam était convaincu que les Français, et dans une moindre mesure, les Russes allaient sauver son régime à la dernière minute. Amir Taheri
L’affaire Boidevaix-Mérimée est-elle l’arbre qui cache la forêt ? Certaines sources au Quai d’Orsay l’insinuent. « Il est impossible que Mérimée se soit mouillé pour une telle somme (156 000 dollars), qui n’est pas si importante au regard des risques encourus et des profits possibles », estime un diplomate qui a côtoyé l’ancien représentant de la France au Conseil de sécurité. « Nous sommes plusieurs à penser que les sommes en jeu sont en réalité colossales. » Olivier Weber (Le Point 01/12/05)
A senior U.S. official said France’s refusal to join in threatening force against Iraq doomed the united front assembled in November and convinced Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that he could split the international community and avert war without divulging his programs to develop weapons of mass destruction. (…) As the United States and Britain lobbied for a second U.N. resolution that would authorize the use of force, France played hardball, openly competing for Security Council votes and trying to intimidate supporters of the U.S. position among Eastern European countries. It wasn’t just France’s anti-war stance that Washington resented, but the « gleeful organizing against us, » a senior U.S. official said. This generated even more disfavor within the Bush administration than was reserved for Russia, which opposed the war less aggressively. (…) U.S.-French strains did not start with Iraq, and are unlikely to end anytime soon. Determined to act as a counterweight to American power in Europe and to preserve its influence among former colonies in Africa and the Middle East, France has long viewed the United States and its power with a mixture of gratitude, Old World disdain and sheer mischievousness. President Charles de Gaulle set the relationship on its rocky course in 1966 when he pulled France out of the military arm of the U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization while remaining part of its political umbrella, the North Atlantic Council, and providing troops and equipment for NATO missions. In the years since, France has refused to give unblinking support for U.S. actions, even blocking the use of its airspace when the United States, under President Ronald Reagan, bombed Libya in 1986. The Baltimore Sun (09.05.2003)

Attention: un mensonge peut en cacher beaucoup d’autres !

Longue allocution présidentielle, unes et dossiers spéciaux médiatiques, drapeaux en berne, extinction de la Tour Eiffel, photo géante sur la façade de l’Hôtel de ville de Paris, messe, journée de deuil national, minute de silence dans les écoles …

A l’heure où après le mariage pour tous, l’on s’apprête à mentir à nos enfants sur leurs propres origines

Où jusque dans leurs salles de classe …

Une France étrangement amnésique multiplie, aussi hypocrites les uns que les autres, hagiographies et hommages …

Et où pour faire oublier le long feuilleton des gilets jaunes et le retour des affaires, la Macronie tente de nous refaire le coup des funérailles quasi-nationales de Johnny il y a deux ans …

Merci au Daily Mail et à l’ancien patron des services secrets britanniques …

Pour leur salutaire remise des pendules à l’heure …

Sur, entre le pillage systématique de la mairie de Paris pendant 20 ans et la fourniture de l’arme nucléaire puis, contre espèces sonnates et trébuchantes, l’indéfectible soutien au tyran Saddam …

Le maitre ès escrocqueries et repris de justice Chirac !

Saddam Hussein ‘bribed Jacques Chirac’ with £5million in bid to make the former French President oppose the US-led Iraq war

Jacques Chirac (pictured) was paid millions of pounds in bribes by Saddam Hussein to oppose the US-led war in Iraq, according to Britain’s former spy chief

Jacques Chirac was paid millions of pounds in bribes by Saddam Hussein to oppose the US-led war in Iraq, according to intelligence revealed for the first time by Britain’s former spy chief.

Sir Richard Dearlove – head of MI6 in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 – spoke out as recent obituaries for the former French President cited his principled opposition to US President George Bush’s plans for military action.

But the former spymaster, speaking exclusively to The Mail on Sunday, revealed that Chirac’s true motive for opposing the Gulf War was because he accepted ‘substantial amounts’ of cash from the Iraqi tyrant for his election campaigns.

Sir Richard, who made the sensational revelation only days after the French statesman’s death on Thursday aged 86, said: ‘There were strong indications in the US and UK [intelligence services] that Chirac received money from Saddam.

‘His recent obituaries are saying that Chirac got it right [on Iraq] and the rest of us got it wrong. But I am saying that Chirac’s motive for getting it right may not appear to be what it is.’

Chirac had led an alliance of France, Germany and Russia against plans by the US and Britain to invade Iraq over suspicions that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction, which it would pass on to terrorist groups like Al Qaeda.

Sir Richard Dearlove said there had been 'strong indications in the US and UK [intelligence services] that Chirac received money from Saddam'. French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac, left, is seen with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, right, after arriving in Bagdad in 1976

Sir Richard Dearlove said there had been ‘strong indications in the US and UK [intelligence services] that Chirac received money from Saddam’. French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac, left, is seen with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, right, after arriving in Bagdad in 1976

The French President addressed his nation on television to declare that he would use France’s veto at the UN to prevent George Bush and Tony Blair gaining a resolution that sanctioned a military invasion.

Chirac’s anti-war stance caused a massive rift between France and the US, prompting American media to deride the French as ‘cheese-eating surrender monkeys’ and some restaurants to rename French fries as ‘Freedom fries’.

While the US and Britain went to war with Iraq without a UN resolution, France stayed out of the coalition.

At the time, MI6 and its US counterparts were gathering ‘reliable intelligence’ that Chirac had pocketed £5 million from the Iraqi dictator to fight his presidential elections in 1995 and in 2002.

The money came from Saddam’s own personal funds and was passed to Chirac through intermediaries, according to the intelligence.

Sir Richard told this newspaper that the ‘long relationship’ between Chirac and Saddam was the real reason why the French leader opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

‘He [Chirac] had this questionable relationship with Saddam Hussein,’ said Sir Richard. ‘It raises a lot of questions as to what his motives were for opposing the UN Resolution in the build-up to the invasion.’

He added: ‘It was not a matter of conscience, it was his [Chirac’s] reputation. If it came out in the wash [that he received money from Saddam], it would have been damaging to him as a politician.

‘It was a dimension which at the time was politically worrying – Chirac had a longstanding relationship with Saddam, which was not state to state, it was personal.’

Sir Richard said obituaries on Chirac praised the former leader’s stance without knowing the full facts. He went on: ‘He was a roguish individual who manoeuvred very cleverly.’

The former spymaster, known as ‘C’ during his five-year spell as head of MI6, is due to give further details at the Cliveden Literary Festival later today.

Last night, France’s embassy in London declined to comment on the revelations, but spokeswoman Aurelie Bonal said: ‘History has shown who took the right decision.’

Former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind said: ‘Regardless of personal reasons, Chirac would have opposed the war because the French public opposed it so vehemently.’

Voir aussi:

Adieu to Le Grand Philanderer: As Jacques Chirac dies at 86, ROBERT HARDMAN bids farewell to a president so priapic even his official jet had room for illicit trysts

How many times have certain Western politicians cast an envious glance at Jacques Chirac and thought: just how the hell did he get away with it?

France is in deep mourning following the news that its flamboyant, philandering former centre-Right president has died at the age of 86. World leaders joined in a chorus of tributes yesterday.

Precisely what and whom they are mourning, however, remains as opaque as ever.

Former French President Jacques Chirac was often seen in the company of beautiful women such as legendary actress Brigitte Bardot, pictured here in October 1990

The first ex-president in French history to be convicted of corruption, he managed to espouse contradictory opinions on just about everything during four decades in politics.

Here was the great peacemonger – famous for keeping France out of the 2003 invasion of Iraq – who also flogged nuclear technology to Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and who obliterated a South Pacific coral atoll with his own nuclear weapons.

Here was Chirac the ardent Eurosceptic who ended up a passionate advocate of a European superstate.

He was the self-styled champion of human rights and the developing world who also sucked up to the most appalling tyrants, argued that ‘Africa is not ready for democracy’ and deplored the ‘noise and smell’ of workshy immigrants.

And all the while, he was the family man who enjoyed affairs with umpteen women – from humble secretaries and party workers to film stars. As mayor of Paris, he kept a mayoral bus with a bedroom for assignations and used public funds to rent a flat for a political journalist from Le Figaro who was his then mistress.

Chirac, pictured here in 1987 with Madonna, was routinely satirised on a top French comedy show as 'Superliar'

Chirac, pictured here in 1987 with Madonna, was routinely satirised on a top French comedy show as ‘Superliar’

As president, so it was claimed by one biographer, he would never want for ‘naked women, burning with desire’ on board the presidential jet. On a state visit to Tunisia, he managed to bring along both his long-suffering wife, Bernadette, and his mistress du moment on the same trip. The two women did not exchange a word.

Not that he would ever allow himself to be distracted from his work for long. Following the publication of the memoirs of the presidential chauffeur, Chirac could never quite shake off the nickname he acquired thereafter: ‘Five minutes – including shower’ (to add insult to injury, this was later reduced from ‘five’ to ‘three’).

Routinely satirised on a top French comedy show as ‘Superliar’, Chirac would never have got where he got – or lasted as long as he did – in British politics. It was his good fortune to be blessed with a French media which seldom subjected him to the same scrutiny endured by his British counterparts. It also helped that he was sleeping with quite a few of them.

And even when scandals did emerge – be it bungs or mysterious six-figure payments for family entertainment – the publicity never seemed to do him lasting damage. As far as millions of what he called ‘my dear compatriots’ were concerned, he was a quintessentially French political chancer who put the gloire back in to French public life.

He may have enraged the wider world. The British public, for example, were appalled by his withering attack on the UK: ‘You can’t trust people who cook as badly as that.’ Yet it all played brilliantly to a domestic audience.

Chirac, pictured with the Princess of Wales in September 1995, criticised the UK with a withering remark: 'You can’t trust people who cook as badly as that'

Chirac, pictured with the Princess of Wales in September 1995, criticised the UK with a withering remark: ‘You can’t trust people who cook as badly as that’

And on the few occasions when his extra-marital infidelities did emerge into the public domain, they did little harm to his ratings. ‘Do you know where my husband is tonight?’ the aristocratic Bernadette, asked his chauffeur on the night in 1997 when Diana, Princess of Wales was killed in a Paris car crash. According to the chauffeur, the president was enjoying a tryst with an Italian actress. When the story emerged some time later, the French public shrugged.

Chirac was the only surviving child of a well-to-do middle class family who shone at school and university and beyond, passing through the French Army – where he was top of his officer intake – and the prestigious Ecole Nationale d’Administration, the training school for elite civil servants.

His determination, along with his political and bureaucratic skills, were soon spotted by the French prime minister, Georges Pompidou who made him chief of staff and gave him the first of his many nicknames: ‘Le Bulldozer’. Having entered the French parliament in 1967, he was promoted to agriculture minister in the early Seventies. He wisely backed the new president, Giscard d’Estaing, and was rewarded with the post of prime minister.

He soon had a formidable power base from which to stake his claim for the top prize (while also dishing out fake jobs to chums). In 1977, he was elected mayor of Paris and remained there for nearly 20 years.

Chirac became president in 1995 and set about trying to apply a mild dose of Thatcherism to France’s bloated state sector. An inevitable succession of strikes and U-turns ensured that little changed.

At the same time, Chirac decided to conduct a series of nuclear tests on a far-flung Pacific atoll in the French colony of French Polynesia – just before France was due to sign a test ban treaty. There was outrage around the world, although a handful of France’s allies – including Britain – refused to condemn him.

Months later, the British government invited Chirac and his wife on a state visit to London where he was given the full Buckingham Palace treatment. She was said to be charmed by Chirac and the English-speaking Bernadette. However, within a year, Chirac was touring China, deploring Britain’s imperial record in Hong Kong to secure contracts for French businesses in China.

Having seen off a far-Right challenge by the National Front’s Jean-Marie Le Pen, Chirac won a second term as president in 2002.

Soon afterwards, his refusal to join the US and the UK in invading Iraq saw his approval ratings soar at home. However, his decision provoked such contempt among allies that he was derided by the tabloid press as a ‘cheese-eating surrender monkey’.

There was also another trip to stay with the Queen as Britain and France marked the centenary of the bilateral friendship agreement known as the ‘Entente Cordiale’.

Yet, at the same time, he was cosying up to a man whom Britain was trying to ostracise from the rest of the world.

Zimbabwe despot Robert Mugabe had been banned from visiting Europe. Yet Chirac gave him a special pass to attend a meeting of African nations in Paris.

By now, reports of corruption during his days as Mayor of Paris were catching up. In 2011, he received a two-year prison sentence for abuse of trust and public funds, though the sentence was suspended. Thereafter, he disappeared from public view. Bernadette, meanwhile, would have the last word.

Four years ago, she let it be known that she was not a fan of her husband’s policies and that she supported his successor, Nicolas Sarkozy, whom Chirac loathed. She also accused her husband of ‘ruining her life’. His life in the public eye had certainly taken its toll on their two daughters, one of whom died in 2016 after a lifelong battle with anorexia.

In 2002, Bernadette had publicly acknowledged that she had been married to a serial womaniser. It had been difficult, she said but her husband had ‘always returned’ to her. ‘Anyway,’ she added, ‘I have often warned him: Napoleon lost everything on the day he abandoned Josephine.’

Voir également:

Death of a playboy president: France mourns as former head of state Jacques Chirac – famed for his love of fine living and many rumoured affairs – passes away aged 86

Former French President Jacques Chirac has died at the age of 86.

Chirac, who had suffered a series of health problems in recent years, died this morning ‘surrounded by his family’, his son-in-law Frederic Salat-Baroux said today.

In Paris a minute’s silence was held in the National Assembly when the former President’s death was announced this morning while mourners have brought flowers to his home in the capital.

In a long career on the French right, Chirac was twice Prime Minister of France before serving as head of state from 1995 to 2007.

Chirac’s opposition to the Iraq War put him at loggerheads with George W. Bush and Tony Blair. As President he made a historic apology for France’s role in the Holocaust but his term was also marked by riots and a stinging defeat over EU integration.

He also had a reputation as a womaniser and philanderer who repeatedly cheated on his long-suffering wife Bernadette during their 63 years of marriage.

His reputed partners included Italian sex symbol Claudia Cardinale and there were rumours about a series of relationships with journalists and politicians.

Chirac was also known for a love of fine living, revelling in the trappings of power including luxury trips abroad and life at the presidential palace.

After leaving office, Chirac was found guilty of corruption dating back to his time as mayor of Paris and given a two-year suspended prison sentence.

His two immediate successors both paid tribute today, Nicolas Sarkozy declaring that ‘a part of my life has disappeared’ while Francois Hollande said France was ‘losing a statesman’. Current President Emmanuel Macron will speak later.

Voir encore:

« Jacques Chirac a manqué à l’obligation de probité » : le jugement

Pour la première fois depuis Louis XVI et Philippe Pétain, un ancien chef de l’Etat français a été condamné par la justice de son pays. Jacques Chirac, 79 ans, reconnu coupable d’abus de confiance, de détournement de fonds publics…

Augustin Scalbert

Pour la première fois depuis Louis XVI et Philippe Pétain, un ancien chef de l’Etat français a été condamné par la justice de son pays. Jacques Chirac, 79 ans, reconnu coupable d’abus de confiance, de détournement de fonds publics et de prise illégale d’intérêts, a écopé ce jeudi matin de deux ans de prison avec sursis.

Dans un communiqué, Jacques Chirac a annoncé qu’il ne ferait pas appel, même si « sur le fond [il] conteste catégoriquement ce jugement ». Il explique ne plus avoir « hélas, toutes les forces nécessaires pour mener par [lui-même], face à de nouveaux juges, le combat pour la vérité ».

Les réactions à cette première historique sous ce régime sont évidemment nombreuses. Certaines portent sur la sévérité du jugement.

Rue89 publie ci-dessous les attendus – c’est-à-dire les motivations – de la condamnation de Jacques Chirac, tels qu’ils ont été communiqués par la justice à l’Association de la presse judiciaire. (Les caractères gras sont de la rédaction.)

« Attendu que la responsabilité de Jacques Chirac, maire de París, découle du mandat reçu de la collectivité des Parisiens ; qu’elle résulte également de l’autorité hiérarchique exercée par lui sur l’ensemble du personnel de la Ville de Paris et singulièrement sur ses collaborateurs immédiats au premier rang desquels son directeur de cabinet ;

Attendu que le dossier et les débats ont établi que Jacques Chirac a été l’initiateur et l’auteur principal des délits d’abus de confiance, détournement de fonds publics, ingérence et prise illégale d’intérêts ;

que sa culpabilité résulte de pratiques pérennes et réitérées qui lui sont personnellement imputables et dont le développement a été grandement favorisé par une parfaite connaissance des rouages de la municipalité ainsi que la qualité des liens tissés avec les différents acteurs administratifs et politiques au cours de ses années passées à la tête de la Ville de Paris ;

qu’en multipliant les connexions entre son parti et la municipalité parisienne, Jacques Chirac a su créer et entretenir entre la collectivité territoriale et l’organisation politique une confusion telle qu’elle a pu entraîner ses propres amis politiques ;

que le gain en résultant, nonobstant les économies des salaires payés par la mairie de Paris, a pu prendre la forme soit d’un renforcement des effectifs du parti politique dont il était le président soit d’un soutien à la contribution intellectuelle pour l’élaboration du programme politique de ce parti ;

Attendu que par l’ensemble de ces agissements, Jacques Chirac a engagé les fonds de la Ville de Paris pour un montant total d’environ 1 400 000 euros ;

Attendu que l’ancienneté des faits, l’absence d’enrichissement personnel de Jacques Chirac, l’indemnisation de la Ville de Paris par l’UMP et Jacques Chirac, ce dernier à hauteur de 500.000 euros, l’âge et l’état de santé actuel de Jacques Chirac, dont la dégradation est avérée, ainsi que les éminentes responsabilités de chef de l’Etat qu’il a exercées pendant les douze années ayant immédiatement suivi la période de prévention, sont autant d’éléments qui doivent être pris en considération pour déterminer la sanction qu’il convient d’appliquer à son encontre ;

Attendu que ces éléments ne sauraient occulter le fait que, par son action délibérée, en ayant recours au cours de ces cinq années à dix neuf emplois totalement ou partiellement fictifs, Jacques Chirac a manqué à l’obligation de probité qui pèse sur les personnes publiques chargées de la gestion des fonds ou des biens qui leur sont confiés, cela au mépris de l’intérêt général des Parisiens ;

que dans ces conditions, le recours à une peine d’emprisonnement avec sursis dont le quantum sera fixé à deux années apparaît tout à la fois adapté à la personnalité du prévenu et ainsi qu’à la nature et la gravité des faits qu’il a commis. »

Voir enfin:

Chirac, le président qui a dit non à l’Amérique

FIGAROVOX/TRIBUNE – Jacques Chirac a tenu tête à George Bush en refusant d’engager la France dans la guerre en Irak. Pour l’essayiste Hadrien Desuin, si, encore aujourd’hui, on écoute la France dans le monde, c’est notamment grâce à l’acte de bravoure de cet ancien président, fin connaisseur des relations internationales.


Spécialiste des questions internationales et de défense, Hadrien Desuin est essayiste. Il a publié La France atlantiste ou le naufrage de la diplomatie (éd. du Cerf, 2017).


C’est très français au fond. La seule chose que l’on retiendra de la présidence de Jacques Chirac est une belle bravade sans conséquence: son refus spectaculaire de la guerre américaine en Irak. Laquelle, pour le coup, en eut de fâcheuses.

Dieu sait combien Jacques Chirac représentait le caractère national. Au milieu de beaucoup de compromissions, ce fut une parenthèse de gloire, de panache et d’honneur. Cela n’a servi à rien mais le geste en était d’autant plus beau. Chirac eut quelque chose de Cyrano de Bergerac au cours de cet hiver 2002-2003, entraînant la Russie de Poutine et l’Allemagne de Schröder et bien d’autres nations derrière lui. Villepin, au contraire, avait peur de se fâcher avec l’Amérique.

Il n’a pas troqué le retour de la France dans le comité militaire de l’Otan en échange de quelques postes honorifiques. Il a osé renouveler la dissuasion nucléaire française.

C’est en souvenir de ces moments-là que la France est encore écoutée dans le monde. Malheureusement, la geste irakienne n’a pas eu de suites. Que ce soit en Libye et en Syrie, les leçons du vieux Chirac n’ont pas été retenues.

» LIRE AUSSI – Jacques Chirac, le mousquetaire du monde multipolaire

Jacques Chirac avait un grand mérite: il connaissait l’histoire du monde et de ses civilisations. Il savait que l’Irak est un des berceaux de l’humanité et qu’on ne pouvait la détruire sans commettre l’irréparable. Il savait aussi que la démocratie ne se construit pas sur le sable d’une occupation militaire et que tôt ou tard, les chiites d’Irak se tourneraient vers leurs coreligionnaires iraniens, entraînant une terrible guerre de religions. Ce qui devait advenir arriva: la rage cumulée des pétromonarchies du golfe et des terroristes wahhabites a redoublé de violence. Daech et les destructions de Mossoul, Palmyre et Alep sont des contrecoups de la folle expédition de Dick Cheney et Donald Rumsfeld. Tout le Moyen-Orient a souffert de cette lamentable aventure mais pas seulement. Après les attentats de 2004-2005 et 2015-2016 en Europe, nous sommes loin d’avoir retrouvé l’équilibre.

Depuis 2003, le Moyen-Orient est une région en guerre de religion, fracturée et travaillée par le terrorisme, minée par les migrations, incapable de se coordonner et d’avancer ensemble. Chirac avait au long de sa carrière noué des relations fidèles avec les chefs d’États d’Afrique et d’Asie. Il était soucieux du sort des Palestiniens, lui qui était intraitable avec l’antisémitisme.

L’ancien Premier ministre de Giscard et Mitterrand a aussi commis quelques erreurs. On pense notamment à sa gestion de la crise en Côte d’Ivoire ou lorsqu’il laissa l’Otan bombarder le Kosovo sans mandat des Nations unies.

Mais au moins Chirac s’intéressait et comprenait les relations internationales, sans avoir peur de quiconque.

Voir par ailleurs:

Richard Ferrand rattrapé par ses tweets sur la mise en examen de François Fillon

En 2017, il estimait que le candidat de la droite, alors mis en examen, avait « perdu toute autorité morale ».

Romain Herreros

Hufffington Post

12/09/2019

POLITIQUE – Les paroles s’envolent, les écrits restent. Après la mise en examen de Richard Ferrand ce jeudi 12 septembre, les réactions sont nombreuses dans la classe politique. Alors que la majorité et l’Elysée font bloc autour du président de l’Assemblée nationale, des responsables de l’opposition, à l’image du socialiste Olivier Faure ou du député LR Philippe Gosselin, estiment que l’élu du Finistère n’est plus en condition de diriger les débats sereinement.

Mais au delà de son maintien (ou non) au Perchoir, c’est la “présomption d’innocence” à géométrie variable de Richard Ferrand qui est pointée, notamment à droite. En cause, des tweets qu’il avait publiés en pleine campagne présidentielle, quand François Fillon, alors embourbé dans le “Penelope Gate”, avait été mis en examen pour détournement de fonds publics.

L’ex-député socialiste s’en prenait à cette droite qui “voudrait que soit placé dans nos mairies et nos écoles le portrait d’un homme mis en examen, qui a perdu toute autorité morale”. Dans une autre publication, il tenait à peu près les mêmes propos concernant le candidat LR: “nous disons à François Fillon qu’il a perdu toute autorité morale pour diriger l’État et parler au nom de la France”.

Des propos qui intervenaient dans un contexte où le candidat de la droite avait promis qu’il jetterai l’éponge en cas de mise en examen, et qui avait attaqué Nicolas Sarkozy sur ce point lors de la primaire de la droite.

Voir enfin:

Profil

Gérard Fauré, une clientèle haut de came

L’ancien dealer et braqueur de banque, qui a croisé la route de Charles Pasqua ou de Johnny Hallyday publie son autobiographie. Son parcours hors norme laisse entrevoir les liens entre politique et voyoucratie.

Renaud Lecadre

Barnum garanti. Aujourd’hui sort en librairie l’autobiographie d’un beau voyou. Gérard Fauré (1), fils d’un médecin militaire, fut un authentique trafiquant de cocaïne, doublé d’un braqueur de banques, et tueur à gages à l’occasion. A ce titre, l’intitulé du bouquin, Dealer du tout-Paris, le fournisseur des stars parle (1), pourrait prêter à confusion. Il n’était pas que cela. Mais comme le souligne son éditeur, Yannick Dehée, «c’est la première fois qu’un voyou parle sur les politiques». Et pas n’importe lesquels : Charles Pasqua et Jacques Chirac.

Un quart du manuscrit initial a été expurgé, des noms ont été initialisés ou anonymisés. Demeure le name-dropping dans le milieu du show-biz, visant des personnalités déjà connues pour leur addiction à la coke. Certains lecteurs s’en délecteront, mais il y a mieux – ou pire : l’interférence entre la politique et la voyoucratie, fournisseuse de services en tous genres. «On entre dans le dur», souligne un spécialiste du secteur.

Pasqua n’était guère cocaïnomane – «j’en suis sûr», atteste notre lascar – mais l’argent parallèle du secteur a pu l’intéresser… Fauré, précoce dealer au Maroc puis un peu partout ailleurs, raconte avoir été très vite pris en charge, dans les années 70, par l’Organisation de l’armée secrète. Initialement dédiée au maintien de l’Algérie française, l’OAS changera très vite de fusil d’épaule : «opérations homo» (assassinats ciblés) contre des indépendantistes basques ou corses, mais aussi braquages de banques. Le Service d’action civique (SAC) prendra ensuite le relais. Fauré, fort de ses compétences en la matière, met la main à l’ouvrage : «La recette Pasqua consistait à constituer des « mouvements patriotiques », en vérité violents, avec des voyous peu recommandables. Comment les rémunérer ? Tout simplement avec l’argent provenant de gros braquages de banques et de bijouteries, commis en toute impunité. Avec Pasqua, tout était possible, du moins pour les membres du SAC. Patriote, certainement prêt à mourir pour son pays, il gardait en revanche un œil attentif sur les caisses du parti. Moyennant la moitié de nos gains, il nous garantissait l’impunité sur des affaires juteuses et triées sur le volet, sachant exactement là ou il fallait frapper.»

L’auteur narre ainsi sa rencontre avec le politique, qu’il situe en 1978 : «Charles Pasqua donnait de sa voix tonitruante des ordres à tout le personnel, toutes les têtes brûlées de France et de l’Algérie française.» Et de lui lancer : «Alors, c’est toi le mec dont on me vante les mérites ? Bien. Tu vas reprendre du service dès aujourd’hui, avec tes amis, si tu veux bien. J’ai une mission de la plus haute importance, que tu ne peux pas te permettre de refuser, ni de rater. Compris ?»

Backgammon

A l’issue de l’entretien, Gérard Fauré croisera illico le parrain marseillais «Tony» Zampa, qui traînait là par hasard, lequel l’entreprend dans la foulée sur différentes affaires à venir : des investissements dans les casinos et la prostitution aux Pays-Bas. Cas peut-être unique dans les annales de la voyoucratie, il fera parallèlement équipe avec l’illustre Francis Vanverberghe, dit «Francis le Belge», «doté d’un savoir-vivre qui valait bien son savoir-tuer». Il en garde un souvenir mi-épaté mi-amusé : «Zampa ou « le Belge », qui pourtant étaient des gangsters d’envergure internationale, se seraient fait descendre comme des mouches s’ils avaient eu la mauvaise idée de mettre les pieds en Colombie ou au Venezuela, car ils étaient prétentieux.» Pour la petite histoire, il reconstitue leur brouille à propos de… Johnny Hallyday : «Tous les deux voulaient le prendre sous tutelle, pour capter sa fortune ou l’utiliser comme prête-nom. Ils ont fini par s’entre-tuer pour ce motif et quelques autres.» Fauré considérait Johnny comme sa «plus belle prise de guerre» dans le microcosme de la coke. Mais lui gardera un chien de sa chienne après que le chanteur l’a balancé sans vergogne aux Stups, contre sa propre immunité.

Notre voyou prétend n’avoir jamais balancé, lui, du moins jusqu’à ce livre. «Si vous le voulez bien, j’attends votre version des faits s’agissant des deux chèques de M. Chirac rédigés à votre ordre. Je vous invite à bien réfléchir avant de répondre» : sollicitation d’une juge d’instruction parisienne en 1986, hors procès-verbal. Tempête sous un crâne à l’issue de laquelle Gérard Fauré évoquera une dette de jeu au backgammon… Dans son bouquin, l’explication est tout autre – «J’avais dû travestir la vérité.» S’il ne peut attester que l’ex-président prenait de la coke, il évoque son penchant pour les femmes… Pour l’anecdote, les deux chèques en question feront l’objet d’une rapide opposition de leur signataire. «Chirac, dont j’avais admiré la prestance et même les idées politiques, s’est avéré mauvais payeur.»

Hommage

Ce livre-confession est une authentique plongée dans le commerce de la drogue. Notre trafiquant, dix-huit ans de prison au compteur, connaît son produit : «Aucune coke ne ressemble à une autre. Certaines, comme la colombienne, vous donnent envie de danser, de faire l’amour, mais rendent très agressif, parano et méfiant. La bolivienne rend morose, triste, et pousse parfois au suicide. La meilleure est la péruvienne, qui augmente votre tonus, votre joie de vivre et pousse à la méditation, au questionnement. La vénézuélienne a des effets uniquement sur la performance sexuelle. Les autres, brésilienne, chilienne ou surinamienne, ne sont que des pâles copies.» Son mode de transport aussi : dans le ventre d’une chèvre, elle-même logée dans l’estomac d’un boa que les douaniers, à l’aéroport d’arrivée, prendront soin de ne pas réveiller. Puis, une fois le coup du boa connu des gabelous, le ventre d’un nourrisson – une technique brésilienne consistant à empailler un bébé mort pour le maintenir en bon état, et ainsi faire croire qu’il dort au moment de passer la frontière…

Le livre s’achève sur cet hommage indirect à la police française : lors d’une perquisition à son domicile, 10 des 15 kilos de cocaïne disparaissent, tout comme 90 % des 300 000 euros logés dans un tiroir. «Je n’ai pas pensé un seul instant me plaindre de la brigade du quai des Orfèvres, dans la mesure où les vols qu’elle commettait chez moi ne pouvaient qu’alléger ma future condamnation.»

(1) Nouveau Monde, 224 pp., 17,90 €.


11 septembre/18e: Des gens avaient fait quelque chose (While the Ilhan Omars of this world never miss an opportunity to spit on their adopted countries, thank God for Mitchell Zuckoff’s attempt to ‘delay the descent of 9/11 into the well of history’)

11 septembre, 2019

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Il n’y a pas de plus grand amour que de donner sa vie pour ses amis. (…) Si le monde vous hait, sachez qu’il m’a haï avant vous. (…) S’ils m’ont persécuté, ils vous persécuteront aussi. Jésus (Jean 15: 13-20)
Let’s roll ! Todd Beamer
You’ve got to turn on evil,when it’s coming after you, you’ve gotta face it down … Neil Young (« Let’s roll, 2001)
[Beamer’s wife Lisa] was talking about how he always used to say that (« let’s roll ») with the kids when they’d go out and do something, that it’s what he said a lot when he had a job to do. And it’s just so poignant, and there’s no more of a legendary, heroic act than what those people did. With no promise of martyrdom, no promise of any reward anywhere for this, other than just knowing that you did the right thing. And not even having a chance to think about it or plan it or do anything — just a gut reaction that was heroic and ultimately cost them all their lives. What more can you say? It was just so obvious that somebody had to write something or do something. Neil Young
In the normal course of events, Presidents come to this chamber to report on the state of the Union. Tonight, no such report is needed. It has already been delivered by the American people. We have seen it in the courage of passengers, who rushed terrorists to save others on the ground — passengers like an exceptional man named Todd Beamer. And would you please help me to welcome his wife, Lisa Beamer, here tonight. George W. Bush
Et immédiatement, le centre sacrificiel se mit à générer des réactions habituelles : un sentiment d’unanimité et de deuil. […] Des phrases ont commencé à se dire comme « Nous sommes tous Américains » – un sentiment purement fictif pour la plupart d’entre nous. Ce fut étonnant de voir l’unité se former autour du centre sacré, rapidement nommé Ground Zero, une unité qui se concrétisera ensuite par un drapeau, une grande participation aux cérémonies religieuses, les chefs religieux soudainement pris au sérieux, des bougies, des lieux saints, des prières, tous les signes de la religion de la mort. […] Et puis il y avait le deuil. Comme nous aimons le deuil ! Cela nous donne bonne conscience, nous rend innocents. Voilà ce qu’Aristote voulait dire par katharsis, et qui a des échos profonds dans les racines sacrificielles de la tragédie dramatique. Autour du centre sacrificiel, les personnes présentes se sentent justifiées et moralement bonnes. Une fausse bonté qui soudainement les sort de leurs petites trahisons, leurs lâchetés, leur mauvaise conscience. James Alison
La révolte contre l’ethnocentrisme est une invention de l’Occident, introuvable en dehors. (…) À la différence de toutes les autres cultures, qui ont toujours été ethnocentriques tout de go et sans complexe, nous autres occidentaux sommes toujours simultanément nous-mêmes et notre propre ennemi. René Girard
L’erreur est toujours de raisonner dans les catégories de la « différence », alors que la racine de tous les conflits, c’est plutôt la « concurrence », la rivalité mimétique entre des êtres, des pays, des cultures. La concurrence, c’est-à-dire le désir d’imiter l’autre pour obtenir la même chose que lui, au besoin par la violence. Sans doute le terrorisme est-il lié à un monde « différent » du nôtre, mais ce qui suscite le terrorisme n’est pas dans cette « différence » qui l’éloigne le plus de nous et nous le rend inconcevable. Il est au contraire dans un désir exacerbé de convergence et de ressemblance. (…) Ce qui se vit aujourd’hui est une forme de rivalité mimétique à l’échelle planétaire. Lorsque j’ai lu les premiers documents de Ben Laden, constaté ses allusions aux bombes américaines tombées sur le Japon, je me suis senti d’emblée à un niveau qui est au-delà de l’islam, celui de la planète entière. Sous l’étiquette de l’islam, on trouve une volonté de rallier et de mobiliser tout un tiers-monde de frustrés et de victimes dans leurs rapports de rivalité mimétique avec l’Occident. Mais les tours détruites occupaient autant d’étrangers que d’Américains. Et par leur efficacité, par la sophistication des moyens employés, par la connaissance qu’ils avaient des Etats-Unis, par leurs conditions d’entraînement, les auteurs des attentats n’étaient-ils pas un peu américains ? On est en plein mimétisme.Ce sentiment n’est pas vrai des masses, mais des dirigeants. Sur le plan de la fortune personnelle, on sait qu’un homme comme Ben Laden n’a rien à envier à personne. Et combien de chefs de parti ou de faction sont dans cette situation intermédiaire, identique à la sienne. Regardez un Mirabeau au début de la Révolution française : il a un pied dans un camp et un pied dans l’autre, et il n’en vit que de manière plus aiguë son ressentiment. Aux Etats-Unis, des immigrés s’intègrent avec facilité, alors que d’autres, même si leur réussite est éclatante, vivent aussi dans un déchirement et un ressentiment permanents. Parce qu’ils sont ramenés à leur enfance, à des frustrations et des humiliations héritées du passé. Cette dimension est essentielle, en particulier chez des musulmans qui ont des traditions de fierté et un style de rapports individuels encore proche de la féodalité. (…) Cette concurrence mimétique, quand elle est malheureuse, ressort toujours, à un moment donné, sous une forme violente. A cet égard, c’est l’islam qui fournit aujourd’hui le ciment qu’on trouvait autrefois dans le marxisme.  René Girard
J’ai l’impression que beaucoup de gens ont oublié le 11 Septembre – pas complètement, mais ils l’ont réduit à une espèce de norme tacite. Quand j’ai donné cet entretien au Monde, l’opinion générale pensait qu’il s’agissait d’un événement inhabituel, nouveau, et incomparable. Aujourd’hui, je pense que beaucoup de gens seraient en désaccord avec cette remarque. Malheureusement, l’attitude des Américains face au 11 Septembre a été influencée par l’idéologie politique, à cause de la guerre en Irak. Le fait d’insister sur le 11 Septembre est devenu « « conservateur » et « alarmiste ». Ceux qui aimeraient mettre une fin immédiate à la guerre en Irak tendent donc à le minimiser. Cela dit, je ne veux pas dire qu’ils ont tort de vouloir terminer la guerre en Irak, mais avant de minimiser le 11 Septembre, ils devraient faire très attention et considérer la situation dans sa globalité. Aujourd’hui, cette tendance est très répandue, car les événements dont vous parlez – qui ont eu lieu après le 11 Septembre et qui en sont, en quelque sorte, de vagues réminiscences – sont incomparablement moins puissants et ont beaucoup moins de visibilité. Par conséquent, il y a tout le problème de l’interprétation : qu’est-ce que le 11 Septembre ? (…) je le vois comme un événement déterminant, et c’est très grave de le minimiser aujourd’hui. Le désir habituel d’être optimiste, de ne pas voir l’unicité de notre temps du point de vue de la violence, correspond à un désir futile et désespéré de penser notre temps comme la simple continuation de la violence du XXe siècle. Je pense, personnellement, que nous avons affaire à une nouvelle dimension qui est mondiale. Ce que le communisme avait tenté de faire, une guerre vraiment mondiale, est maintenant réalisé, c’est l’actualité. Minimiser le 11 Septembre, c’est ne pas vouloir voir l’importance de cette nouvelle dimension. (…)  [la guerre froide et le terrorisme islamiste] sont similaires dans la mesure où elles représentent une menace révolutionnaire, une menace globale. Mais la menace actuelle va au-delà de la politique, puisqu’elle comporte un aspect religieux. Ainsi, l’idée qu’il puisse y avoir un conflit plus total que celui conçu par les peuples totalitaires, comme l’Allemagne nazie, et qui puisse devenir en quelque sorte la propriété de l’islam, est tout simplement stupéfiante, tellement contraire à ce que tout le monde croyait sur la politique. Il faudrait beaucoup y travailler, car il n’y a pas de vraie réflexion sur la coexistence des autres religions, et en particulier du christianisme avec l’islam. Le problème religieux est plus radical dans la mesure où il dépasse les divisions idéologiques – que bien sûr, la plupart des intellectuels aujourd’hui ne sont pas prêts d’abandonner. En deçà de ces visions idéologiques, nos réflexions sur le 11 Septembre resteront superficielles. Nous devons réfléchir dans le contexte plus large de la dimension apocalyptique du christianisme. Celle-ci est une menace, car la survie même de la planète est en jeu. Notre planète est menacée par trois choses qui émanent de l’homme : la menace nucléaire, la menace écologique et la manipulation biologique de l’espèce humaine. L’idée que l’homme ne puisse pas maîtriser ses propres pouvoirs est aussi vraie dans le domaine biologique que dans le domaine militaire. C’est cette triple menace mondiale qui domine aujourd’hui. (…) Le terrorisme est une forme de guerre, et la guerre est la continuation de la politique par d’autres moyens. En ce sens, le terrorisme est politique. Mais le terrorisme est la seule forme possible de guerre face à la technologie. Les événements actuels en Irak le confirment. La supériorité de l’Occident, c’est sa technologie, et elle s’est révélée inutile en Irak. L’Occident s’est mis dans la pire des situations en déclarant qu’il transformerait l’Irak en une démocratie jeffersonienne ! C’est précisément ce qu’il ne peut pas faire. Il est impuissant face à l’islam car la division entre les sunnites et les chiites est infiniment plus importante. Alors même qu’ils combattent l’Occident, ils parviennent encore à lutter l’un contre l’autre. Pourquoi l’Occident devrait-il s’investir dans ce conflit interne à l’islam alors que nous ne parvenons même pas à en concevoir l’immense puissance au sein du monde islamique lui-même ? (…) Il s’agit de notre incompréhension du rôle de la religion, et de notre propre monde ; c’est ne pas comprendre que ce qui nous unit est très fragile. Lorsque nous évoquons nos principes démocratiques, parlons-nous de l’égalité et des élections, ou bien parlons-nous de capitalisme, de consommation, de libre échange, etc. ? Je pense que dans les années à venir, l’Occident sera mis à l’épreuve. Comment réagira-t-il : avec force ou faiblesse ? Se dissoudra-t-il ? Les occidentaux devraient se poser la question de savoir s’ils ont de vrais principes, et si ceux-ci sont chrétiens ou bien purement consuméristes. Le consumérisme n’a pas d’emprise sur ceux qui se livrent aux attentats suicides. L’Amérique devrait y réfléchir, car elle offre au monde ce que l’on considère de plus attrayant. Pourquoi cela ne fonctionne- t-il pas vraiment chez les musulmans ? Est-ce par ressentiment ou ont-ils, contre cela, un système de défense bien organisé ? Ou bien, leur perspective religieuse est-elle plus authentique et plus puissante ? Le vrai problème est là. (…) Je suis bien moins affirmatif que je ne l’étais au moment du 11 Septembre sur l’idée d’un ressentiment total. Je me souviens m’être emporté lors d’une rencontre à l’École Polytechnique lorsque je me suis mis d’accord avec Jean-Pierre Dupuy sur l’interprétation du ressentiment du monde musulman. Maintenant, je ne pense pas que cela suffise. Le ressentiment seul peut-il motiver cette capacité de mourir ainsi ? Le monde musulman pourrait-il vraiment être indifférent à la culture de consommation de masse ? Peut-être qu’il l’est. Je ne sais pas. Il serait sans doute excessif de leur attribuer une telle envie. Si les islamistes ont vraiment pour objectif la domination du monde, alors ils l’ont déjà dépassée. Nous ne savons pas si l’industrialisation rapide apparaîtra dans le monde musulman, ou s’ils tenteront de gagner sur la croissance démographique et la fascination qu’ils exercent. Il y a de plus en plus de conversions en Occident. La fascination de la violence y joue certainement un rôle. (…) Il y a là du ressentiment, évidemment. Et c’est ce qui a dû émouvoir ceux qui ont applaudi les terroristes, comme s’ils étaient dans un stade. C’est cela le ressentiment. C’est évident et indéniable. Mais est-ce qu’il représente l’unique force ? La force majeure ? Peut-il être l’unique cause des attentats suicides ? Je n’en suis pas sûr. La richesse accumulée en Occident, comparée au reste du monde, est un scandale, et le 11 Septembre n’est pas sans rapport avec ce fait. Si je ne veux donc pas complètement supprimer l’idée du ressentiment, il ne peut pas être l’unique explication. (…)  L’autre force serait religieuse. Allah est contre le consumérisme, etc. En réalité, le musulman pense que les rituels de prohibition religieuse sont une force qui maintient l’unité de la communauté, ce qui a totalement disparu ou qui est en déclin en Occident. Les gens en Occident ne sont motivés que par le consumérisme, les bons salaires, etc. Les musulmans disent : « leurs armes sont terriblement dangereuses, mais comme peuple, ils sont tellement faibles que leur civilisation peut être facilement détruite ». C’est ce qu’ils pensent et ils n’ont peut-être pas complètement tort. Il me semble qu’il y a quelque chose de juste dans ce propos. Finalement, je crois que la perspective chrétienne sur la violence surmontera tout, mais ce sera une épreuve importante. (…) Il faut faire attention à ne pas justifier le 11 Septembre en le qualifiant de sacrificiel. Je pense que Jean-Pierre Dupuy ne le dit pas. Il maintient une sorte de neutralité. Mais ce qu’il dit sur la nature sacrée de Ground Zero au World Trade Center est, je pense, parfaitement justifié. (…) Je pense que James Alison a raison de parler de la katharsis dans le contexte du 11 Septembre. La notion de katharsis est extrêmement importante. C’est un mot religieux. En réalité, cela veut dire « la purge » au sens de purification. Dans l’Église orthodoxe, par exemple, katharos veut dire purification. C’est le mot qui exprime l’effet positif de la religion. La purge est ce qui nous rend purs. C’est ce que la religion est censée faire, et ce qu’elle fait avec le sacrifice. Je considère l’utilisation du mot katharsis par Aristote comme parfaitement juste. Quand les gens condamnent la théorie mimétique, ils ne voient pas l’apport d’Aristote. Il ne semble parler que de tragédie, mais pourtant, le théâtre tragique traite du sacrifice comme un drame. On l’appelle d’ailleurs ‘l’ode de la chèvre’. Aristote est toujours conventionnel dans ses explications – conventionnel au sens positif. Un Grec très intelligent cherchant à justifier sa religion, utiliserait, je pense, le mot katharsis. Ainsi, ma réponse mettrait l’accent sur la katharsis au sens aristotélicien du terme. (…) pour le 11 Septembre, il y avait la télévision qui nous rendait présents à l’événement, et intensifiait ainsi l’expérience. L’événement était en direct, comme nous le disons en français. On ne savait pas ce qui allait advenir par la suite. Moi-même, j’ai vu le deuxième avion frapper le gratte-ciel, en direct. C’était comme un spectacle tragique, mais réel en même temps. Si nous ne l’avions pas vécu dans le sens le plus littéral, il n’aurait pas eu le même impact. Je pense que si j’avais écrit La Violence et le Sacré après le 11 Septembre, j’y aurais très probablement inclus cet événement. C’est l’événement qui rend possible une compréhension des événements contemporains, car il rend l’archaïque plus intelligible. Le 11 Septembre représente un étrange retour à l’archaïque à l’intérieur du sécularisme de notre temps. Il n’y a pas si longtemps, les gens auraient eu une réaction chrétienne vis-à-vis du 11 Septembre. Aujourd’hui, ils ont une réaction archaïque, qui augure mal de l’avenir. (…) L’avenir apocalyptique n’est pas quelque chose d’historique. C’est quelque chose de religieux sans lequel on ne peut pas vivre. C’est ce que les chrétiens actuels ne comprennent pas. Parce que, dans l’avenir apocalyptique, le bien et le mal sont mélangés de telle manière que d’un point de vue chrétien, on ne peut pas parler de pessimisme. Cela est tout simplement contenu dans le christianisme. Pour le comprendre, lisons la Première Lettre aux Corinthiens : si les puissants, c’est-à-dire les puissants de ce monde, avaient su ce qui arriverait, ils n’auraient jamais crucifié le Seigneur de la Gloire – car cela aurait signifié leur destruction (cf. 1 Co 2, 8). Car lorsque l’on crucifie le Seigneur de la Gloire, la magie des pouvoirs, qui est le mécanisme du bouc émissaire, est révélée. Montrer la crucifixion comme l’assassinat d’une victime innocente, c’est montrer le meurtre collectif et révéler ce phénomène mimétique. C’est finalement cette vérité qui entraîne les puissants à leur perte. Et toute l’histoire est simplement la réalisation de cette prophétie. Ceux qui prétendent que le christianisme est anarchiste ont un peu raison. Les chrétiens détruisent les pouvoirs de ce monde, car ils détruisent la légitimité de toute violence. Pour l’État, le christianisme est une force anarchique, surtout lorsqu’il retrouve sa puissance spirituelle d’autrefois. Ainsi, le conflit avec les musulmans est bien plus considérable que ce que croient les fondamentalistes. Les fondamentalistes pensent que l’apocalypse est la violence de Dieu. Alors qu’en lisant les chapitres apocalyptiques, on voit que l’apocalypse est la violence de l’homme déchaînée par la destruction des puissants, c’est-à-dire des États, comme nous le voyons en ce moment. (…) mais (…) à la fin, la force religieuse est du côté du Christ. Cependant, il semblerait que la vraie force religieuse soit du côté de la violence. (…) Lorsque les puissances seront vaincues, la violence deviendra telle que la fin arrivera. Si l’on suit les chapitres apocalyptiques, c’est bien cela qu’ils annoncent. Il y aura des révolutions et des guerres. Les États s’élèveront contre les États, les nations contre les nations. Cela reflète la violence. Voilà le pouvoir anarchique que nous avons maintenant, avec des forces capables de détruire le monde entier. On peut donc voir l’apparition de l’apocalypse d’une manière qui n’était pas possible auparavant. Au début du christianisme, l’apocalypse semblait magique : le monde va finir ; nous irons tous au paradis, et tout sera sauvé ! L’erreur des premiers chrétiens était de croire que l’apocalypse était toute proche. Les premiers textes chronologiques chrétiens sont les Lettres aux Thessaloniciens qui répondent à la question : pourquoi le monde continue-t-il alors qu’on en a annoncé la fin ? Paul dit qu’il y a quelque chose qui retient les pouvoirs, le katochos (quelque chose qui retient). L’interprétation la plus commune est qu’il s’agit de l’Empire romain. La crucifixion n’a pas encore dissout tout l’ordre. Si l’on consulte les chapitres du christianisme, ils décrivent quelque chose comme le chaos actuel, qui n’était pas présent au début de l’Empire romain. Comment le monde peut-il finir alors qu’il est tenu si fortement par les forces de l’ordre ? (…)  [La religion chrétienne], fondamentalement, c’est la religion qui annonce le monde à venir ; il n’est pas question de se battre pour ce monde. C’est le christianisme moderne qui oublie ses origines et sa vraie direction. L’apocalypse au début du christianisme était une promesse, pas une menace, car ils croyaient vraiment en un monde prochain. (…) Je suis pessimiste au sens actuel du terme. Mais en fait, je suis optimiste si l’on regarde le monde actuel qui confirme vraiment toutes les prédictions. On voit l’apocalypse s’étendre tous les jours : le pouvoir de détruire le monde, les armes de plus en plus fatales, et autres menaces qui se multiplient sous nos yeux. Nous croyons toujours que tous ces problèmes sont gérables par l’homme mais, dans une vision d’ensemble, c’est impossible. Ils ont une valeur quasi surnaturelle. Comme les fondamentalistes, beaucoup de lecteurs de l’Évangile reconnaissent la situation mondiale dans ces chapitres apocalyptiques. Mais les fondamentalistes croient que la violence ultime vient de Dieu, alors ils ne voient pas vraiment le rapport avec la situation actuelle – le rapport religieux. Cela montre combien ils sont peu chrétiens. La violence humaine, qui menace aujourd’hui le monde, est plus conforme au thème apocalyptique de l’Évangile qu’ils ne le pensent. (…) Par exemple, nous avons moins de violence privée. Comparé à aujourd’hui, si vous regardez les statistiques du XVIIIe siècle, c’est impressionnant de voir la violence qu’il y avait. (…) le mouvement pacifiste est totalement chrétien, qu’il l’avoue ou non. Mais en même temps, il y a un déferlement d’inventions technologiques qui ne sont plus retenues par aucune force culturelle. Jacques Maritain disait qu’il y a à la fois plus de bien et plus de mal dans le monde. Je suis d’accord avec lui. Au fond, le monde est en permanence plus chrétien et moins chrétien. Mais le monde est fondamentalement désorganisé par le christianisme. (…) la pensée de Marcel Gauchet résulte de toute l’interprétation moderne du christianisme. Nous disons que nous sommes les héritiers du christianisme, et que l’héritage du christianisme est l’humanisme. Cela est en partie vrai. Mais en même temps, Marcel Gauchet ne considère pas le monde dans sa globalité. On peut tout expliquer avec la théorie mimétique. Dans un monde qui paraît plus menaçant, il est certain que la religion reviendra. Le 11 Septembre est le début de cela, car lors de cette attaque, la technologie n’était pas utilisée à des fins humanistes mais à des fins radicales, métaphysico-religieuses non chrétiennes. Je trouve cela incroyable, car j’ai l’habitude d’observer les forces religieuses et humanistes ensemble, et non pas en opposition. Mais suite au 11 Septembre, j’ai eu l’impression que la religion archaïque revenait, avec l’islam, d’une manière extrêmement rigoureuse. L’islam a beaucoup d’aspects propres aux religions bibliques à l’exception de la compréhension de la violence comme un mal non pas divin mais humain. Il considère la violence comme totalement divine. C’est pour cela que l’opposition est plus significative qu’avec le communisme, qui est un humanisme même s’il est factice et erroné, et qu’il tourne à la terreur. Mais c’est toujours un humanisme. Et tout à coup, on revient à la religion, la religion archaïque – mais avec des armes modernes. Ce que le monde attend est le moment où les musulmans radicaux pourront d’une certaine manière se servir d’armes nucléaires. Il faut regarder le Pakistan, qui est une nation musulmane possédant des armes nucléaires et l’Iran qui tente de les développer. (…) [la Guerre Froide est] complètement dépassée (…) Et la rapidité avec laquelle elle a été dépassée est incroyable. L’Union Soviétique a montré qu’elle devenait plus humaine lorsqu’elle n’a pas tenté de forcer le blocus de Kennedy, et à partir de cet instant, elle n’a plus fait peur. Après Khrouchtchev on a eu rapidement besoin de Gorbatchev. Quand Gorbatchev est arrivé au pouvoir, les oppositions ne se trouvaient plus à l’intérieur de l’humanisme. Les communistes voulaient organiser le monde pour qu’il n’y ait plus de pauvres. Les capitalistes ont constaté que les pauvres n’avaient pas de poids. Les capitalistes l’ont emporté. [Et ce conflit sera plus dangereux parce qu’il ne s’agit plus d’une lutte au sein de l’humanisme] bien qu’ils n’aient pas les mêmes armes que l’Union Soviétique – du moins pas encore. Le monde change si rapidement. Cela dit, de plus en plus de gens en Occident verront la faiblesse de notre humanisme ; nous n’allons pas redevenir chrétiens, mais on fera plus attention au fait que la lutte se trouve entre le christianisme et l’islam, plus qu’entre l’islam et l’humanisme. (…) Avec l’islam je pense que l’opposition est totale. Dans l’islam, si l’on est violent, on est inévitablement l’instrument de Dieu. Cela veut donc dire que la violence apocalyptique vient de Dieu. Aux États-Unis, les fondamentalistes disent cela, mais les grandes églises ne le disent pas. Néanmoins, ils ne poussent pas suffisamment leur pensée pour dire que si la violence ne vient pas de Dieu, elle vient de l’homme, et que nous en sommes responsables. Nous acceptons de vivre sous la protection d’armes nucléaires. Cela a probablement été la plus grande erreur de l’Occident. Imaginez-vous les implications. (…) la dissuasion nucléaire. Mais il s’agit de faibles excuses. Nous croyons que la violence est garante de la paix. Mais cette hypothèse ne me paraît pas valable. Nous ne voulons pas aujourd’hui réfléchir à ce que signifie cette confiance dans la violence. [Après autre événement tel que le 11 Septembre] Je pense que les personnes deviendraient plus conscientes. Mais cela serait probablement comme la première attaque. Il y aurait une période de grande tension spirituelle et intellectuelle, suivie d’un lent relâchement. Quand les gens ne veulent pas voir, ils y arrivent. Je pense qu’il y aura des révolutions spirituelles et intellectuelles dans un avenir proche. Ce que je dis aujourd’hui semble complètement invraisemblable, et pourtant je pense que le 11 Septembre va devenir de plus en plus significatif.  (…) Il faut distinguer entre le sacrifice des autres et le sacrifice de soi. Le Christ dit au Père : « Vous ne vouliez ni holocauste, ni sacrifice ; moi je dis : “Me voici” » (cf. He 10, 6-7). Autrement dit, je préfère me sacrifier plutôt que de sacrifier l’autre. Mais cela doit toujours être nommé sacrifice. Lorsque nous utilisons le mot « sacrifice » dans nos langues modernes, c’est dans le sens chrétien. Dieu dit : « Si personne d’autre n’est assez bon pour se sacrifier lui plutôt que son frère, je le ferai. » Ainsi, je satisfais à la demande de Dieu envers l’homme. Je préfère mourir plutôt que tuer. Mais tous les autres hommes préfèrent tuer plutôt que mourir. (…)  Dans le christianisme, on ne se martyrise pas soi-même. On n’est pas volontaire pour se faire tuer. On se met dans une situation où le respect des préceptes de Dieu (tendre l’autre joue, etc.) peut nous faire tuer. Cela dit, on se fera tuer parce que les hommes veulent nous tuer, non pas parce qu’on s’est porté volontaire. Ce n’est pas comme la notion japonaise de kamikaze. La notion chrétienne signifie que l’on est prêt à mourir plutôt qu’à tuer. C’est bien l’attitude de la bonne prostituée face au jugement de Salomon. Elle dit : « Donnez l’enfant à mon ennemi plutôt que de le tuer. » Sacrifier son enfant serait comme se sacrifier elle-même, car en acceptant une sorte de mort, elle se sacrifie elle-même. Et lorsque Salomon dit qu’elle est la vraie mère, cela ne signifie pas qu’elle est la mère biologique, mais la mère selon l’esprit. Cette histoire se trouve dans le Premier Livre des Rois (3, 16-28), qui est, à certains égards, un livre assez violent. Mais il me semble qu’il n’y a pas de meilleur symbole préchrétien du sacrifice de soi par le Christ. (…) Je vois en cela le contraste du christianisme avec toutes les religions archaïques du sacrifice. Cela dit, la religion musulmane a beaucoup copié le christianisme et elle n’est donc pas ouvertement sacrificielle. Mais la religion musulmane n’a pas détruit le sacrifice de la religion archaïque comme l’a fait le christianisme. Bien des parties du monde musulman ont conservé le sacrifice prémusulman. (…) bien entendu. Il faut lire les romans de William Faulkner. Bien des gens croient que le sud des États-Unis est une incarnation du christianisme. Je dirais que le sud est sans doute la partie la moins chrétienne des États-Unis en termes d’esprit, bien qu’il en soit la plus chrétienne en termes de rituel. Il n’y a pas de doute que le christianisme médiéval était beaucoup plus proche du fondamentalisme actuel. Mais il y a beaucoup de manières de trahir une religion. En ce qui concerne le sud, cela est évident, car il y a un grand retour aux formes les plus archaïques de la religion. Il faut interpréter ces lynchages comme une forme d’acte religieux archaïque. (…) Le terme de « violence religieuse » est souvent employé d’une manière qui ne m’aide pas à résoudre les problèmes que je me pose, à savoir ceux d’un rapport à la violence en mouvement constant et également historique. (…) Je dirais que toute violence religieuse implique un degré d’archaïsme. Mais certains points sont très compliqués. Par exemple, lors de la première guerre mondiale, est-ce que les soldats qui acceptaient d’être mobilisés pour mourir pour leur pays, et beaucoup au nom du christianisme, avaient une attitude vraiment chrétienne ? Il y a là quelque chose qui est contraire au christianisme. Mais il y a aussi quelque chose de vrai. Cela ne supprime pas, à mon avis, le fait qu’il y a une histoire de la violence religieuse, et que les religions, surtout le christianisme, au fond, sont continuellement influencées par cette histoire, bien que son influence soit, le plus souvent, pervertie. René Girard
Des millions de Faisal Shahzad sont déstabilisés par un monde moderne qu’ils ne peuvent ni maîtriser ni rejeter. (…) Le jeune homme qui avait fait tous ses efforts pour acquérir la meilleure éducation que pouvait lui offrir l’Amérique avant de succomber à l’appel du jihad a fait place au plus atteint des schizophrènes. Les villes surpeuplées de l’Islam – de Karachi et Casablanca au Caire – et ces villes d’Europe et d’Amérique du Nord où la diaspora islamique est maintenant présente en force ont des multitudes incalculables d’hommes comme Faisal Shahzad. C’est une longue guerre crépusculaire, la lutte contre l’Islamisme radical. Nul vœu pieu, nulle stratégie de « gain des coeurs et des esprits », nulle grande campagne d’information n’en viendront facilement à bout. L’Amérique ne peut apaiser cette fureur accumulée. Ces hommes de nulle part – Shahzad Faisal, Malik Nidal Hasan, l’émir renégat né en Amérique Anwar Awlaki qui se terre actuellement au Yémen et ceux qui leur ressemblent – sont une race de combattants particulièrement dangereux dans ce nouveau genre de guerre. La modernité les attire et les ébranle à la fois. L’Amérique est tout en même temps l’objet de leurs rêves et le bouc émissaire sur lequel ils projettent leurs malignités les plus profondes. Fouad Ajami
Relire aujourd’hui les principaux textes consacrés à ces attentats par des philosophes de renom constitue une étrange expérience. De manière prévisible, on y rencontre élaborations sophistiquées, affirmations grandioses ou péremptoires, performances rhétoriques bluffantes. Malgré tout, avec le recul, on ne peut qu’être saisi par un décalage profond entre ces performances virtuoses et la réalité rampante du terrorisme mondialisé que nous vivons à présent quotidiennement. Au fil des ans, un écart frappant s’est creusé entre discours subtils et réalités grossières, propos éthérés et faits massifs. Le 11 septembre devait être nécessairement considéré comme une énigme. Le philosophe français Jacques Derrida affirmait qu’« on ne sait pas, on ne pense pas, on ne comprend pas, on ne veut pas comprendre ce qui s’est passé à ce moment-là ». Il fallait d’abord récuser les évidences, considérées comme clichés idéologiques ou manipulations médiatiques. Ne parler donc ni de d’acte de guerre, ni de haine de l’Occident, ni de volonté de détruire les libertés fondamentales. Dialoguant à propos du 11 septembre avec Jürgen Habermas, qui centrait alors son analyse principalement sur la politique de l’Europe, Derrida, pour comprendre l’événement, s’attardait sur la notion d’Ereignis (« événement », ou « avenance ») dans l’histoire de l’être selon Heidegger et finissait par proposer une « hospitalité sans condition ». « C’est eux qui l’on fait, mais c’est nous qui l’avons voulu » soutenait pour sa part le sociologue Jean Baudrillard, attribuant aux rêves suicidaires de l’Occident l’effondrement des tours et la fascination des images des attentats. Pour celui voulait mettre en lumière « l’esprit du terrorisme », les « vrais » responsables étaient donc, au choix, les Etats-Unis, l’hégémonie occidentale ou chacun d’entre nous… D’autres se demandèrent aussitôt « à qui profite le crime » et conclurent que ce ne pouvait être qu’à la CIA, préparant ainsi les théories du complot qui firent florès. Ce ne sont que quelques exemples. Une histoire des lectures philosophiques du 11 septembre reste à écrire. Elle montrerait combien anti-américanisme et anti-capitalisme ont empêché tant d’esprits affutés de voir la nature religieuse du nouveau terrorisme comme les singularités de la nouvelle guerre. S’y ajoutaient la volonté de n’être pas dupe et la défiance envers les propagandes, transformées en déni systématique des informations de base. Les philosophes ont évidemment pour rôle indispensable d’être critiques, donc de démonter préjugés et fausses évidences, mais n’ont-ils pas pour devoir de ne jamais faire l’impasse sur les faits ? Au lieu de mettre en cause l’empire américain, l’arrogance des tours, le règne des images, il fallait scruter l’islamisme politique, les usages inédits de la violence, l’art terroriste de la communication. Quelques-uns l’ont fait, en parlant dans le désert. Aujourd’hui, il est urgent d’analyser ce qu’impliquent les changements intervenus depuis le 11 septembre. Car ce ne sont plus des symboles, comme les Twin Towers ou le Pentagone, qui sont ciblés, mais n’importe qui vivant chez les « impies » – dans la rue, aux terrasses, au concert, à l’école…. Les terroristes ne sont plus des commandos organisés d’ingénieurs formés au pilotage pour transformer des Boeing en bombes, mais de petits délinquants autogérés, s’emparant d’un couteau de cuisine ou d’un camion. Pour en venir à bout, il va falloir rattraper, au plus vite, le temps perdu à penser à côté de la plaque. Roger-Pol Droit
Le Cair a été fondé après le 11 Septembre parce qu’ils ont pris acte du fait que des gens avaient fait quelque chose et que nous tous allions commencer à perdre accès à nos libertés civiles. Ilhan Omar
Je pense que c’est un produit des médias sensationnalistes. Vous avez ces extraits sonores, et ces mots, et tout le monde les prononce avec une telle intensité, car ça doit avoir une signification plus grande. Je me souviens quand j’étais à la fac, j’ai suivi un cours sur l’idéologie du terrorisme. A chaque fois que le professeur disait « Al-Qaeda », ses épaules se soulevaient. Ilhan Omar
I was 18 years old when that happened. I was in a classroom in college and I remember rushing home after being dismissed and getting home and seeing my father in complete horror as he sat in front of that TV. And I remember just feeling, like the world was ending. The events of 9/11 were life-changing, life-altering for all of us. My feeling around it is one of complete horror. None of us are ever going to forget that day and the trauma that we will always have to live with. Ilhan Omar
9/11 was an attack on all Americans. It was an attack on all of us. And I certainly could not understand the weight of the pain that the victims of the families of 9/11 must feel. But I think it is really important for us to make sure that we are not forgetting, right, the aftermath of what happened after 9/11. Many Americans found themselves now having their civil rights stripped from them. And so what I was speaking to was the fact that as a Muslim, not only was I suffering as an American who was attacked on that day, but the next day I woke up as my fellow Americans were now treating me a suspect. Ilhan Omar
This book is painful to read. Even with the passage of nearly 18 years, reliving modern America’s most terrible day hits an exposed nerve that you thought had been fully numbed, only to discover that the ache was merely in remission. In “Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11,” Mitchell Zuckoff relives each minute of that morning in 2001 through the perspectives of those who endured the worst: passengers and crew members on the four planes turned into missiles by Islamist hijackers; innocents trapped in the burning twin towers and the Pentagon; rescue workers who struggled valiantly but futilely and, in many cases, fatally; people in Shanksville, Pa., on whom death rained from a clear sky. As much as anything, “Fall and Rise” is a quilt work of futures unrealized, from the woman about to tell her parents she was pregnant to the doctor hoping to build a kidney dialysis center, from the retired bookkeeper set to move in with her daughter to the college student with dreams of becoming a child psychologist. Zuckoff, a professor of narrative studies at Boston University and the author of several nonfiction books, relies on his own interviews with survivors, but also leans heavily on government studies, trial transcripts, books and documentaries long in the public realm. And so the overall picture that he shapes is not really new. But freshness of detail seems less his objective than preservation of memory — an attempt, as he says, “to delay the descent of 9/11 into the well of history.” By design, this narrative of close to 500 pages is not encyclopedic. Big Picture grandiosity — how Sept. 11 changed America and the world — has been left to others. The terrorism puppet master Osama bin Laden gets scant attention. Actions (and inactions) of President George W. Bush and his team merit only a few pages. Rudolph Giuliani, who made a lucrative life for himself after 9/11, earns glancing mention. Flawed communications systems that doomed hundreds of New York’s emergency responders are not explored with the kind of detail that can be found in, say, “102 Minutes,” a 2005 work by the New York Times journalists Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn. Rather, this book derives its power from its focus on individuals in the main unknown to the larger world, who managed to survive the ordeal or who lost their lives simply because they were unlucky. With journalistic rigor, Zuckoff acknowledges what he doesn’t know, for example how exactly each group of hijackers seized control of its plane. His language is largely unadorned; then again, embellishment is neither needed nor wanted. Many details are hard to take: the melted flesh, the pulverized bodies, the scorched lungs and, for sure, the revived memory of scores of desperate victims leaping from on high to escape the World Trade Center inferno. But there are also inspiring moments, like the grit shown by those aboard United Airlines Flight 93. It was the plane that never reached its target, crashing in Shanksville after passengers revolted against the hijackers. Phone messages that they left “formed a spoken tapestry of grace, warning, bravery, resolve and love.” Heroes abound, though not in the way that word is routinely used and abused. Heroism, as we see here, is often a product of necessity. Some may ask if this book, covering territory already well traveled, needed to be written. For those who lived through the horror, perhaps not. But a full generation has come of age with no memory of that day. It needs to hear anew what happened, and maybe learn that time, in fact, does not heal all wounds. Clyde Haberman
I teach really engaged journalism students. I’m not sure how the generation as a whole reacts to it. My students approach it with curiosity and a little bit of uncertainty because they didn’t experience it. They are well-read and aware of things, but for them it is a little like Pearl Harbor. They know who was involved and can cite numbers. They can say 3,000 dead, 9/11, four hijacked planes, 19 hijackers. They got the test questions down very well. They don’t have the human connection or that feeling for it that I wish they did. I hope that’s what my book can do. Mitchell Zuckoff
There is this entire generation who didn’t live through this, who don’t have any independent memories of what happened those days. Some members of that generation are going off to war to fight in Afghanistan — a war that started after this — and they don’t have any direct connection to it. Right now, other than Osama bin Laden, is there a single name that’s a household name associated with 9/11?. Names are news, and we connect to them, and that is what’s so important about this: before the time passes, before the people who I could talk to were gone, dead or just not available, to capture this as one story. (…) People do I think know to some extent what happened on Flight 93, the 40 heroes of 93, who rose up and fought back to try to save themselves and ultimately ended up saving untold numbers of people, either at the Capitol or the White House, was the destination. But there in Shanksville — and I tell the story largely through Terry Shaffer, who was the volunteer fire chief there, who had been planning for something his whole life, and he thought it might be a pile-up on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. And he races toward the scene expecting to find casualties, expecting to find people he can help. The story of the people in Shanksville and how they came together, and sort of embraced the families of the Flight 93 victims, is I think one of the most beautiful stories I’ve ever heard. (…) One of the advantages of a book almost 18 years after the event is so much of the material has become public, that all the FAA records of the flight altitudes almost on a second-by-second basis, as we’re approaching Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the transcript of the cockpit recorder — which was enormously valuable, where we have the terrorist pilots discussing what they’re doing with each other, ‘Should we put it into the ground?’ All of those different things, because that and the the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui in 2006 [the so-called 20th hijacker,] certainly a conspirator even though he didn’t get on one of the planes. All of that material became available, and it was a mountain of material. But for me, it was priceless. (…) It was too important not to. It becomes a responsibility when you realize that there are so many people who don’t have a human connection to this story — the way I think of it is sometimes, 9/11 is becoming a story reduced to numbers: 9 and 11, four planes, 19 hijackers, 3,000 people killed. But you don’t connect names to it. And I felt if I could do that, if I could give people the story as it unfolded through the people that they could connect to, then I would have done something worthwhile. Mitchell Zuckoff

A ceux pour qui à chaque fois qu’il est prononcé, le nom « Al-Qaeda » soulève les épaules …

En cette 18e commémoration de l’abomination islamiste du 11 septembre 2001 …

Où, après l’avoir minimisé drapée dans son hijab, une membre du Congrès américain nous joue [avant comme à son habitude de se rétracter quatre jours plus tard – mise à jour du 15.09.2019] les sanglots longs de l’automne

Comment ne pas saluer les efforts ô combien méritoires de l’auteur d’un récent livre réunissant l’ensemble des témoignages possibles de l’évènement …

Contre les ravages du temps et les faiblesses et dérives de la psychologie et de la mémoire humaines …

Où à l’instar de ce journaliste de la radio publique américaine NPR qui n’avait en tête comme noms liés au 11/9 hormis Ben Laden, que le nom honni de Mohamed Atta …

Un peuple américain qui au lendemain de la tragédie avait plébiscité leur président jusqu’au score de popularité proprement soviétique ou africain de 99% le traine à présent dans la boue …

Et où, le même peuple qui avait, entre mémoriaux, noms d’écoles ou de bâtiments publics, films, livres, chansons ou tee-shirts, fait un véritable triomphe aux véritables héros du jour et aux dernières paroles de leur leader Todd Beamer (« Let’s roll !« ) …

En est à présent, via l’antisémite de service du Congrès américain Ilhan Omar et heureusement sauf exceptions, à minimiser l’attentat le plus proprement diabolique de leur histoire ?

‘Fall And Rise’ Seeks To Capture 9/11 As ‘One Story’ — And Keep It From Fading
Jeremy Hobson
WBUR
April 29, 2019

« There is this entire generation who didn’t live through this, who don’t have any independent memories of what happened those days, » Zuckoff (@mitchellzuckoff) tells Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson. « Some members of that generation are going off to war to fight in Afghanistan — a war that started after this — and they don’t have any direct connection to it. »

One of the driving forces behind the book was an effort to tie 9/11 into a single narrative before it was too late, Zuckoff says — and to ensure the attacks don’t fade too far from the public consciousness.

« Right now, other than Osama bin Laden, is there a single name that’s a household name associated with 9/11? » he says. « Names are news, and we connect to them, and that is what’s so important about this: before the time passes, before the people who I could talk to were gone, dead or just not available, to capture this as one story. »

Interview Highlights

On starting the book with what happened in the days leading up to Sept. 11

« That was very much by design, to start the book actually on September 10th, because what Mohamed Atta, what Ziad Jarrah, what the other terrorists were doing, all these machinations: training to fly planes coming here, living in this country and coming closer and closer — the circle is tightening — to get them in a position doing trial runs and making this plan which took very little money, a lot of planning but very little money, very little overhead, if you will, and to position themselves where they could be here in Boston, they could go up to Portland, Maine, and be ready to do these events.

« It’s not entirely clear [why they started their journey from Portland.] One strong suspicion we have is that the trip to Portland would allow them to avoid some suspicion. If you had eight Arab men all arriving at Boston’s Logan Airport at the same exact time for the same flights, they thought this might avoid some of that. But that is one of those unanswerable questions. »

« The idea of turning [a plane] into a guided missile wasn’t, quite literally, on the radar for anyone. And that’s unfortunately so sadly why it was so effective. »

Mitchell Zuckoff

On whether all of the hijackers knew the full extent of what they were doing

« I think it’s clear that all 19 knew exactly what was being planned, because it was a very coordinated attack. What happened on each one of the four planes was quite similar, where at a trigger moment, the muscle hijackers — the guys who were not flying the plane — went into attack mode. All of them had discussed … the preparations for purifying themselves for what they understood would be their last day. »

On the hijackers’ use of Mace in the cabin so that it would be more difficult for passengers to thwart the attack

« The Mace is an open question. There was some discussion they had it. A lot of it was just the element of surprise, was the greatest thing, and they committed an act of violence almost on every plane. They immediately cut someone’s throat to make it clear that they meant business. They said they had a bomb, they herded — these were very lightly attended planes, it was a random Tuesday morning to most people — they herded everyone into the back. And they also understood that the flight attendants and the crews would know that there was a standard protocol: You negotiate with terrorists. You expect that they’re going to want to land somewhere and exchange passengers and money for their freedom, or for their political aims. This was not part of anyone’s script except the terrorists.

« The idea of turning [a plane] into a guided missile wasn’t, quite literally, on the radar for anyone. And that’s unfortunately so sadly why it was so effective. »

On how communication failures shaped the way Sept. 11 unfolded

« Communication failures were rampant that day on every level, and that’s where really, that’s the sort of ground zero, if you will, of the communications failures — that people were calling saying what was going on. The airlines knew about it. And then even when it did finally reach the FAA, they weren’t alerting the military. So planes are still taking off. Things are still happening that [are] allowing one after another of these hijackings. The communication failures, they’re rampant, they’re across everything in terms of the communication failures at the towers, communication failures even before it happened.

« A fact that always stayed with me was on 9/11, the FAA had a list, a no-fly list, of a dozen people on it. The State Department had a list, its tip-off terrorists list of 60,000 people it was watching. The director of airline security for the FAA didn’t even know that State Department list existed. »

« Communication failures were rampant that day on every level. »

Mitchell Zuckoff

On stories about passengers on the planes that have stuck with him

« There are so many. One is from … United Flight 175, the second plane that [crashed into the World Trade Center,] took off from from Boston’s Logan Airport. And on that plane was a fellow named Peter Hanson and his wife Sue Kim and their daughter Christine. Christine was 2 years old and she was the youngest person directly affected by 9/11.

« While they were approaching the South Tower and it was clear something terrible was happening, they knew it, Peter called his father Lee in Connecticut, and the two phone calls between Peter and Lee are so poignant. And I spent time with Lee and Eunice Hanson in their home, in Peter’s boyhood bedroom, talking about those. Peter was actually first telling his father, ‘Please call someone, let them know what’s happening.’ And then Peter is actually comforting his father on the phone, when his wife and daughter are there huddled next to him in the back of this plane that they understand is flying too low, is heading toward the Statue of Liberty and toward the World Trade Center. »

On people in the first tower to be hit thinking they didn’t need to evacuate

« They were being told not to evacuate in both the towers. Some people were being told, ‘It’s over in the other tower.’ People didn’t know what was happening. And when the plane cut through, it knocked out the telecommunication system within the building that would have allowed people down in the basement and in the first floor to communicate to them. So the confusion began immediately, and people — some of them stayed in place for well over an hour. They didn’t know there was a ticking clock for the survival of the building.

« I spoke to a number of the Port Authority police officers who were the dispatchers that day who took those calls. They haunted by them still. And they are recorded calls, so I can hear them, I can see the transcripts. They’re remarkable in that they’re trying to keep these people calm, they’re trying to hope for the best. But there is no way up, and there’s no way out. »

On « the miracle of Stairwell B »

« One group of firefighters was Ladder 6, it was a unit in New York led by a remarkable guy named Jay Jonas, and Jay Jonas was a fire captain and he had this team of guys, a half dozen guys, and they’re sent into the North Tower, and they’re going up and they’re walking stair by stair. And when the South Tower collapses, Jay realizes, ‘I gotta get my guys out of here, quick.’

« On the way down, they pause to help a woman, Josephine Harris, who has been injured, who was exhausted, who can’t go any farther. But they slow their exit to help Josephine, and as they’re going farther and farther down through the building to get to the lobby, the North Tower starts to collapse. They’re inside this center stairwell, and they just huddled together, hold on for dear life, and the building literally peels away around them, just keeping a few floors of Stairwell B — which is exactly where they are. And Jay realizes that having slowed to help Josephine ended up saving all of them, because had they been in the lobby, the lobby was completely destroyed. Had they been just outside, they would have been wiped out as well. So it truly was a miracle. »

On what unfolded in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on 9/11

« People do I think know to some extent what happened on Flight 93, the 40 heroes of 93, who rose up and fought back to try to save themselves and ultimately ended up saving untold numbers of people, either at the Capitol or the White House, was the destination. But there in Shanksville — and I tell the story largely through Terry Shaffer, who was the volunteer fire chief there, who had been planning for something his whole life, and he thought it might be a pile-up on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. And he races toward the scene expecting to find casualties, expecting to find people he can help. The story of the people in Shanksville and how they came together, and sort of embraced the families of the Flight 93 victims, is I think one of the most beautiful stories I’ve ever heard. »

On the difficulties of determining what exactly was happening on the planes

« One of the advantages of a book almost 18 years after the event is so much of the material has become public, that all the FAA records of the flight altitudes almost on a second-by-second basis, as we’re approaching Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the transcript of the cockpit recorder — which was enormously valuable, where we have the terrorist pilots discussing what they’re doing with each other, ‘Should we put it into the ground?’ All of those different things, because that and the the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui in 2006 [the so-called 20th hijacker,] certainly a conspirator even though he didn’t get on one of the planes. All of that material became available, and it was a mountain of material. But for me, it was priceless. »

On why he wrote this book

« It was too important not to. It becomes a responsibility when you realize that there are so many people who don’t have a human connection to this story — the way I think of it is sometimes, 9/11 is becoming a story reduced to numbers: 9 and 11, four planes, 19 hijackers, 3,000 people killed. But you don’t connect names to it. And I felt if I could do that, if I could give people the story as it unfolded through the people that they could connect to, then I would have done something worthwhile. »

Book Excerpt: ‘Fall And Rise’

by Mitchell Zuckoff

Just after 9 a.m., inside her hilltop house in rural Stoystown, Pennsylvania, homemaker Linda Shepley watched her television in shock. The screen showed smoke billowing from a gash in the North Tower as Today show anchor Katie Couric interviewed an NBC producer who witnessed the crash of American Flight 11.

“You say that emergency vehicles are there?” Couric asked Elliott Walker by phone.

“Oh, my goodness!” Walker cried at 9:03 a.m. “Ah! Another one just hit!”

Linda watched the terror in her living room beside her husband, Jim, a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation manager, who’d taken the day off to trade in their old car. The Shepleys saw a grim-faced President Bush speak to the nation from Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida. Then Couric interviewed a terrorism expert but interrupted him for a phone call with NBC military correspondent Jim Miklaszewski, who declared at 9:39 a.m., “Katie, I don’t want to alarm anybody right now, but apparently, it felt just a few moments ago like there was an explosion of some kind here at the Pentagon.”

From the home where they’d lived for nearly three decades, the Shepleys could have driven to Washington in time for lunch or to New York City for an afternoon movie. Yet as the political and financial capitals reeled, those big cities felt almost as far away as the caves of Afghanistan. Jim went to the garage, to clean out the car he still planned to trade in that day. Linda hurried to finish the laundry before she accompanied Jim to the dealership.

Forty-seven years old, with kind eyes and three grown sons, Linda loved the smell of clothes freshly dried by the crisp Allegheny mountain air. As ten o’clock approached, she filled a basket with wet laundry and carried it to the clothesline in her backyard, two grassy acres with unbroken views over rolling hills that stretched southeast toward the neighboring borough of Shanksville. As Linda lifted a wet T-shirt toward the line, she heard a loud thump-thump sound behind her, like a truck rumbling over a bridge. Startled, she glanced over her left shoulder and saw a large commercial passenger plane, its wings wobbling, rocking left and right, flying much too low in the bright blue sky.

As the plane passed overhead at high speed, Linda saw the jet was intact, with neither smoke nor flame coming from either engine. Linda made no connection between the plane’s strange behavior and the news she’d watched minutes earlier about hijacked airliners crashing into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Instead, she suspected that a mechanical problem had forced the plane low and wobbly, on a flight path over her house that she’d never before witnessed. Maybe, Linda thought, the pilot was signaling distress and searching for someplace to make an emergency landing. Linda worried that their local airstrip, Somerset County Airport, was far too small to handle such a big plane. And if that was the pilot’s destination, she thought, he or she was heading the wrong way.

Linda didn’t know the plane was United Flight 93, and she couldn’t imagine that minutes earlier the passengers and crew had taken a vote to fight back. Or that CeeCee Lyles, Jeremy Glick, Todd Beamer, Sandy Bradshaw, and others on board had shared that decision during emotional phone calls, or that the revolt was reaching its peak, or that the four hijackers had resolved to crash the plane short of their target to prevent the hostages from retaking control.

Linda tracked the jet as sunlight glinted off its metal skin. Its erratic flight pattern continued. The right wing dipped farther and farther. The left wing rose higher, until the plane was almost perpendicular with the earth, like a catamaran in high winds. Linda saw it start to turn and roll, flipping nearly upside down. Then the plane plunged, nosediving beyond a stand of hemlocks two miles from where Linda stood. As quickly as the jet disappeared, an orange fireball blossomed, accompanied by a thick mushroom cloud of dark smoke.

“Jim!” Linda screamed. “Call 9-1-1!”

Her husband burst outside, fearing that their neighbor’s Rottweiler mix had broken loose from its chain and attacked her.

“A big plane just crashed!” Linda yelled.

“A small plane,” Jim said skeptically, as he regained his bearings. “No, no, no, no. It was a big one. It was a big one! I saw the engines on the wings.”

Jim rushed inside and grabbed a phone.

Heartsick, still clutching the wet T-shirt, Linda stared toward the rising smoke. Soon she’d wonder whether, in the last seconds before the crash, any of the men and women on board saw her hanging laundry on this glorious late-summer day.


Excerpted from the book FALL AND RISE by Mitchell Zuckoff. Copyright © 2019 by Mitchell Zuckoff. Republished with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Voir aussi:

The Many Tragedies of 9/11
Clyde Haberman
The NYT
May 3, 2019

FALL AND RISE
The Story of 9/11
By Mitchell Zuckoff

This book is painful to read. Even with the passage of nearly 18 years, reliving modern America’s most terrible day hits an exposed nerve that you thought had been fully numbed, only to discover that the ache was merely in remission.

In “Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11,” Mitchell Zuckoff relives each minute of that morning in 2001 through the perspectives of those who endured the worst: passengers and crew members on the four planes turned into missiles by Islamist hijackers; innocents trapped in the burning twin towers and the Pentagon; rescue workers who struggled valiantly but futilely and, in many cases, fatally; people in Shanksville, Pa., on whom death rained from a clear sky. As much as anything, “Fall and Rise” is a quilt work of futures unrealized, from the woman about to tell her parents she was pregnant to the doctor hoping to build a kidney dialysis center, from the retired bookkeeper set to move in with her daughter to the college student with dreams of becoming a child psychologist.

Zuckoff, a professor of narrative studies at Boston University and the author of several nonfiction books, relies on his own interviews with survivors, but also leans heavily on government studies, trial transcripts, books and documentaries long in the public realm. And so the overall picture that he shapes is not really new. But freshness of detail seems less his objective than preservation of memory — an attempt, as he says, “to delay the descent of 9/11 into the well of history.”

By design, this narrative of close to 500 pages is not encyclopedic. Big Picture grandiosity — how Sept. 11 changed America and the world — has been left to others. The terrorism puppet master Osama bin Laden gets scant attention. Actions (and inactions) of President George W. Bush and his team merit only a few pages. Rudolph Giuliani, who made a lucrative life for himself after 9/11, earns glancing mention. Flawed communications systems that doomed hundreds of New York’s emergency responders are not explored with the kind of detail that can be found in, say, “102 Minutes,” a 2005 work by the New York Times journalists Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn.

Rather, this book derives its power from its focus on individuals in the main unknown to the larger world, who managed to survive the ordeal or who lost their lives simply because they were unlucky. With journalistic rigor, Zuckoff acknowledges what he doesn’t know, for example how exactly each group of hijackers seized control of its plane. His language is largely unadorned; then again, embellishment is neither needed nor wanted.

Many details are hard to take: the melted flesh, the pulverized bodies, the scorched lungs and, for sure, the revived memory of scores of desperate victims leaping from on high to escape the World Trade Center inferno. But there are also inspiring moments, like the grit shown by those aboard United Airlines Flight 93. It was the plane that never reached its target, crashing in Shanksville after passengers revolted against the hijackers. Phone messages that they left “formed a spoken tapestry of grace, warning, bravery, resolve and love.”

Heroes abound, though not in the way that word is routinely used and abused. Heroism, as we see here, is often a product of necessity.

Some may ask if this book, covering territory already well traveled, needed to be written. For those who lived through the horror, perhaps not. But a full generation has come of age with no memory of that day. It needs to hear anew what happened, and maybe learn that time, in fact, does not heal all wounds.

Clyde Haberman, the former NYC columnist for The Times, is a contributing writer for the newspaper.

FALL AND RISE
The Story of 9/11
By Mitchell Zuckoff
589 pp. Harper/HarperCollins Publishers. $29.99.

Voir également:

 

When the first of the World Trade Center towers collapsed on September 11 2001, paramedic Moussa Diaz was among thousands of people engulfed in the cloud of smoke and debris that surged from the wreckage.

Asphyxiating in the toxic swirl around him, he fought the urge to give up, staggering on until he saw a spotlight wielded by a man with a white beard and long hair.

“Are you Jesus Christ?” Diaz asked, convinced he must already be dead. “No,” came the reply. “I’m a cameraman.”

Those who have been close to death often talk of how the experience played tricks on their mind, including the fleeting belief that they could not possibly have survived and must already be in the afterlife.

Yet as Mitchell Zuckoff notes in his new book about 9/11, little of the extraordinary individual testimony from that awful day has worked its way into the public memory.

The average person may recall what they were doing on 9/11, and perhaps the names of hijackers such as Mohamed Atta, but would likely struggle to name a single one of the 2,977 people who died.

“Of the nearly three thousand men, women, and children killed on 9/11, arguably none can be considered a household name,” Zuckoff writes. “The best ‘known’ victim might be the so-called Falling Man, photographed plummeting from the North Tower.”

This is not because the world sought to forget: merely that in the avalanche of events triggered by the atrocity – Afghanistan was invaded less than a month later – the voices of the day itself got buried in the sheer weight of news coverage.

With that in mind, Zuckoff, who covered the attacks for the Boston Globe, has produced this doorstopper of a reconstruction, aimed partly at younger generations who feel no “personal connection” to what happened. He notes that for some of his students at Boston University, where he now teaches journalism, it seems “as distant as World War I”.

Rather like the investigators who searched the mountains of rubble for victims’ personal effects, it is a mammoth undertaking. As well as interviews with Diaz and others, Zuckoff sifts through official archives, trials of terror suspects, and countless news reports. The stories of rescuers and survivors are interwoven with the poignant last words of victims, many of whom left only desperate voice messages as their planes hit the towers.

This, however, is not a print version of United 93, the Hollywood take on the “Let’s roll” passenger rebellion, which brought down one hijacked plane before it could hit the White House. Reluctant to use journalistic licence for a topic of such gravitas, Zuckoff sticks strictly to the known facts.

As a result, his account of the “Let’s roll” incident favours accuracy over drama, relying partly on the more fragmentary version of events preserved by the cockpit voice recorder. The sounds of a struggle, followed by the hijacker-turned-pilot screaming “Hey, hey, give it to me!” suggests passengers may have got as far as wrestling the joystick from his control. But Zuckoff leaves us to fill in many of the gaps for ourselves.

Far more vivid are the scenes inside the burning towers, where witnesses are still alive to recreate what they saw. A dead lobby guard sits melted to his desk by the fireball from the planes’ fuel. Women have hair clips melted into their skulls by the heat. One paramedic, reminded of his own daughter by the sight of a girl’s severed foot inside a pink trainer, looks skywards to clear his mind, only to see people jumping from the towers.

In all, about 200 people ended their lives that way, one killing a firefighter as they landed. Ernest Armstead, a fire department medic, recalls a harrowing conversation with one female jumper who was somehow still alive, despite being little more than a head on a crumpled torso. When she saw him place a black triage tag around her neck, indicating she was beyond help, she shouted: “I am not dead!”

For many rescuers, it was clear early on that the entire crash scene was beyond help. As they contemplate the 1,000ft climb to the blazing North Tower impact zone – the lifts are out of action – firefighter-farmer Gerry Nevins speaks for all his colleagues when he says: “We may not live through today.” They shake hands, then start climbing nonetheless. Father-of-two Nevins was among the 420 emergency workers to perish.

For all the heroism, it was also a day of failures, not least in imagining that terrorists might use planes as bombs in the first place. Air safety chiefs considered hijackings a thing of the past, leading to lax security procedures that allowed the hijackers to carry knives on board.

A plan to stage an exercise where terrorists flew a cargo plane into the UN’s New York HQ had been ruled out as too fanciful. Boasts that the Twin Towers could withstand airline crashes failed to consider the thousands of gallons of burning jet fuel, which weakened their steel cores and caused them to collapse.

This book is not an easy read: heartwarming in parts, horrific in others and studiously cautious in those areas where only the dead really know what happened.

But as a definitive “lest we forget” account, it will take some beating. For those too young to remember where they were on 9/11, and for all future generations too, it should be required reading.

Voir encore:

Mitchell Zuckoff on Writing His 9/11 Magnum Opus

Adam Vitcavage
The Millions
July 10, 2019

The seniors graduating from high school this year know what 9/11 is. They know four planes, two towers, 3,000-plus victims, 19 terrorists, Osama bin Laden. They know all of that because they were taught it in history classes. Because, to them, that’s all it is: history.

With each passing year, the terrorist attacks that happened on the bright blue morning of September 11, 2001 become more of a history lesson than a lived experience. This year, most high school seniors were born in 2001. Eighteen years later, they have the facts memorized, but often fail to understand the emotional and lived experience of that day.

Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11, a new book by former Boston Globe reporter and current Boston University professor Mitchell Zuckoff, aims to fix that. Fall and Rise reports the facts, but Zuckoff also weaves the lives of people affected by 9/11 to create a narrative not frequently seen on cable news channels or in documentaries.

Fall and Rise shares stories about pilots, passengers, and aviation professionals linked to American Airlines Flights 11 and 77, and United Airlines Flights 93 and 175. He reveals stories about Mohammed Atta and other terrorists. Zuckoff also dives into the stories of New Yorkers and other Americans who experienced that day in different ways. The result is a woven story that puts the humanity back into a day the history books won’t forget.

I spoke with Zuckoff about what he was doing the day of the attacks, what followed, and how a Boston Globe feature published five days after the attacks turned into an essential book more than 6,000 days later.

The Millions: What was the day of September 11, 2001 like for you?

Mitchell Zuckoff: I was on book leave from the Boston Globe trying to write my first book. When the first plane went in, I didn’t think much of it. It could have been an accident. When the second plane went in, I ran to the phone and it was ringing as I got there. Globe editor Mark Morrow was on the other line and said my book leave was over.

He told me to come to the paper and it became apparent that I was going to be in what we call the control chair to write the lead story for that day. It became a matter of trying to figure out what was going on by taking feeds from several of my colleagues, working closely with the aviation reporter, Matthew Brelis, who took the byline with me. It was an intense and confusing day.

This was personal, on top of everything, because two of the planes took off about a mile from the Globe office at Logan International Airport.

TM: You mention the confusion. When did it become clear to you that it was a coordinated terrorist attack?

MZ: I think when the second plane went in. I was still home. When the first plane went in, we didn’t know what size it was. There was speculation that it was some sightseeing plane that got confused. Then there was no way, 17 minutes apart, that two planes were going to hit two towers accidentally. When I got in my car, we didn’t know about the flight heading to the Pentagon or United 93.

TM: What exactly were you looking for in real time during an event like this?

MZ: Really, what we do on any story. We were trying to answer the who, what, when, where, why, and how of it in as much detail as possible. I was just trying to process it all. My desk is an explosion of papers and printers and notes from reporters. We want it to come out so our readers can digest it in a meaningful way.

TM: I was in seventh grade and in Arizona at the time, so I had no clue what was going on. I was hours back—

MZ: That’s significant. Really significant. Folks on the West Coast, by the time they woke up, it was essentially over. People on the East Coast were watching the Today Show or running to CNN to watch it unfold. It’s a different experience.

TM: I remember it as my mother waking me up for school. She said something, and to this day I remember it as being “They’re attacking us.” I always second-guessed myself, but as you said it was something being reported.

MZ: That would have been a good thing to say.

TM: As the day continued to unfold, how much of a rush was it to finish the initial report out there?

MZ: The adrenaline is flying. We had a rolling deadline because we knew we had as many editions as we needed. The first probably left my hands at 6:00 p.m. I continued to write through the story as it continued to unfold. There were little details—little edits like finding better verbs—that continued to be changed until about 1:00 a.m. or 2:00 a.m.

You can’t unwind after that. You walk around the newsroom waiting until it comes off the presses. I needed to let the adrenaline leave because I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep.

TM: Then that first week, and this may be a dumb question, but how much did the events consume your writing life?

MZ: Completely. I wrote the lead story again the next day. I came back in and it was understood I would do it again. The next day, on Thursday the 13th, I approached the editors with the idea that I could keep doing the leads, but I had an idea for a narrative I could have done for Sunday’s paper. I needed to dispatch some reporters to help me, but I pitched them to weave a narrative. I wanted to weave together six lives: three people on the first plane and three people from New York: one who got out, one who we didn’t know, and a first responder.

That consumed me all day Thursday and Friday reporting it with those reporters. Then writing it Friday into Saturday for the lead feature in the Sunday paper.

TM: That’s what became the backbone of Fall and Rise. But, at the time, you were already reporting the facts. What was it like going into the humanity of those affected less than a week after the attacks?

MZ: Satisfying in a really deep way. I felt, as much as I valued writing the news, I felt we could do something distinctive and lasting with this narrative. I think all of us—not just reporting the news, but consuming the news—all of us were so inundated with information.

I felt we needed to reflect on the emotion of the moment. By talking about the pilot John Oganowsky and the other folks I focused in on, I felt it could be a bit cathartic. We were all numb and in shock. But this could help.

TM: Did you talk to the people in the narrative or was it strictly the other reporters?

MZ: It was the reporters. I was focused on telling the story of Mohammad Atta. I gave myself that assignment. I was guiding my four teammates to some extent. If someone came up with an important detail or timestamp, I would ask the other reporters to follow up with questions about that particular moment to build around it. I didn’t talk to the families until much later.

TM: When was the first time you talked to survivors or the families of victims?

MZ: I talked to some back then. I was teamed up two weeks after the attacks with Michael Rezendes, who was on the Spotlight team, to write about the terrorists. So, at that point, I wasn’t talking a lot with the families—I did some in 2001 and 2002—but really my deep dive into the families didn’t start until five years ago when I really began working on this book.

TM: What did focusing on the terrorists do to you mentally and emotionally?

MZ: It took a lot out of me. We were really trying to instill the journalistic impartiality to it. But you can’t be objective about this sort of thing. We could be impartial. We couldn’t be exactly sure of who these guys were. We had their identities, but we were aware people use false identities or other’s identities. We had to enforce this impartiality to it. We had to be detached in our work even as we were grieving in our hearts.

TM: With the toll it takes, why continue to write about 9/11 after all these years?

MZ: Exactly that reason: because it does take a toll. The way I process things is to write about them. I didn’t really have a let down for months. I was focused on the work before letting the emotion in. It never really left me. I was still talking about this story to my students. I was still talking about this to my family. There are certain stories that will never leave, but I have to instill something of value into it. I wanted to write something that outlasts me.

TM: You’ve had books come out over the years that weren’t related to 9/11—most notably 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi. This comes out nearly 18 years later. What was the process like throughout all these years?

MZ: I was not writing directly on Fall and Rise during those years. I was working on those other books and projects. It was on a back processor in my mind. The lede story from 9/11 hangs in my office at Boston University. It’s in the corner of my eye. I think it was always playing in the back of my mind.

Once I dove into it in 2014, it was all consuming. It was the deepest dive I have ever taken on a story. As much as I care about all of the work I’ve done, I kind of knew I would never tell a more important story than this. I had to respect the stories of the people telling me about the worst day of their lives. That responsibility was with me day and night for these past five years.

TM: What were the families’ responses to a reporter coming to ask about the worst day of their lives after all this time?

MZ: It amazed me because overwhelmingly people said yes. There were some who understood what I was doing, but told me they couldn’t go there again. They couldn’t revisit that day. The ones who said yes were amazing. I know I was tearing open a wound. A lot of the interviews go for hours and hours. There were moments of weeping and I have no problem acknowledging I did so along with them.

TM: These stories aren’t necessarily widely known and now they’re preserved in this book. It’s so important because now 9/11 may just seem like an event students study in textbooks. Eighteen years…your college freshmen were born the year it happened or the year after, I suppose. How does this generation react to it?

MZ: I teach really engaged journalism students. I’m not sure how the generation as a whole reacts to it. My students approach it with curiosity and a little bit of uncertainty because they didn’t experience it. They are well-read and aware of things, but for them it is a little like Pearl Harbor. They know who was involved and can cite numbers. They can say 3,000 dead, 9/11, four hijacked planes, 19 hijackers. They got the test questions down very well. They don’t have the human connection or that feeling for it that I wish they did. I hope that’s what my book can do.

Voir enfin:

Tweets racistes de Trump : qu’a vraiment dit Ilhan Omar sur Al-Qaeda et le 11 Septembre ?

Pauline Moullot
Libération
17 juillet 2019

Le président américain a accusé une élue démocrate d’origine somalienne de «bomber le torse» en pensant à l’organisation terroriste.

Question posée par Annie le 16/07/2019

Bonjour,

Nous avons reformulé votre question, qui était : «Quels ont été les propos d’Ilhan Omar sur Al-Qaeda et sur le 11 Septembre, que Trump a cités par sous-entendu dans sa conférence de presse ?»

Dans une nouvelle saillie raciste lundi 15 juillet, Donald Trump a accusé la députée démocrate Ilhan Omar, née en Somalie, d’encenser Al-Qaeda. Pour comprendre ce qu’il s’est passé, il faut rembobiner au dimanche 14 juillet. Ce jour-là, le président américain s’en prend, sans les nommer, à quatre élues démocrates, toutes issues de minorités, à la Chambre des représentants : Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib et Ayanna Pressley. Il les appelle notamment à «retourner dans leur pays». La première, réfugiée somalienne, est devenue avec Rashida Tlaib l’une des deux premières femmes musulmanes élues au Congrès en novembre. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez est la plus jeune représentante démocrate de l’histoire, et Ayanna Pressley, première élue afro-américaine au conseil municipal de Boston en 2009. Surnommées «The Squad» par la presse américaine, ces femmes non-blanches se sont démarquées par leur progressisme et leurs prises de position régulières contre la politique de Donald Trump sur l’immigration.

Le lendemain, le Président réitère ses injures racistes en conférence de presse, les appelant de nouveau à quitter les Etats-Unis. A ce moment-là, il assure qu’Ilhan Omar aurait défendu Al-Qaeda et les attentats du 11 Septembre.

A la question «que répondez-vous à ceux qui disent que vos tweets sont racistes ?», Trump rétorque ainsi : «Et bien, elles sont très malheureuses. Elles ne font que se plaindre à longueur de temps. Tout ce que je dis, c’est que si elles veulent partir, qu’elles partent. Elles peuvent partir. Je veux dire, je pense à Omar. Je ne sais pas, je ne l’ai jamais rencontrée. Je l’écoute parler d’Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda a tué beaucoup d’Américains. Et elle dit : « Vous pouvez bomber le torse, quand je pense à Al-Qaeda, je peux bomber le torse. » Quand elle parle des attentats du World Trade Center, elle dit « des gens ». Vous vous souvenez de ce fameux « des gens ». Ces personnes, à mon avis, détestent l’Amérique. Donc quand je les entends dire à quel point Al-Qaeda est merveilleux, quand je les entends parler de « ces gens » à propos du World Trade Center…»

Ses propos sur Al-Qaeda

Vous nous demandez ce qu’a vraiment dit Ilhan Omar à propos d’Al-Qaeda et du 11 septembre. L’équipe de Trump a indiqué à nos confrères américains de Politifact que le président faisait référence à deux déclarations d’Omar, largement reprises par les pro-Trump pour la décrédibiliser ces derniers mois.

La première remonte à 2013. Invitée sur une chaîne locale de Minneapolis, TwinCities PBS, Ilhan Omar commente les répercussions sur la communauté somalienne d’un attentat commis par les shebab somaliens au Kenya, affiliés à Al-Qaeda. Plusieurs extraits de cette interview de vingt-huit minutes ont été repris par ses opposants ces derniers mois. Elle ne parle pourtant pas une seule fois de bomber le torse en pensant à Al-Qaeda. Elle discute avec le présentateur du fait que l’on demande à la communauté somalienne aux Etats-Unis de condamner ces actes, et plus largement aux musulmans de condamner tous les actes terroristes. Elle parle alors de «cette supposition qui fait croire que nous sommes tous connectés à ces actes. […] La population générale doit comprendre qu’il y a une différence entre les personnes qui commettent ces actes diaboliques, car c’est un acte diabolique, et nous avons des gens diaboliques dans le monde. Et des gens normaux qui essaient de continuer à mener leur vie.» Elle parle ensuite du fait que les Somaliens sont les premières victimes des shebab et insiste : «Ces personnes exercent la terreur. Et toute leur idéologie est basée sur le fait de terroriser les communautés.»

La partie la plus détournée de l’interview intervient quand le présentateur l’interroge ensuite sur le fait que l’on conserve les noms arabes, sans les traduire, pour désigner les groupes terroristes. Ces noms, qui ont pourtant d’autres significations en arabe, «polluent notre langage quotidien», ajoute le présentateur. Là, Ilhan Omar acquiesce et répond : «Je pense que c’est un produit des médias sensationnalistes. Vous avez ces extraits sonores, et ces mots, et tout le monde les prononce avec une telle intensité, car ça doit avoir une signification plus grande. Je me souviens quand j’étais à la fac, j’ai suivi un cours sur l’idéologie du terrorisme. A chaque fois que le professeur disait « Al-Qaeda », ses épaules se soulevaient.» Ilhan Omar parle donc de la façon dont les médias évoquent les groupes terroristes, et explique comment cela se voit dans le langage corporel. Mais ne parle pas du tout de bomber le torse.

Ses propos sur le 11 Septembre

Enfin, les propos de Trump sur de supposées déclarations d’Ilhan Omar sur l’attentat du World Trade Center visent un discours prononcé par l’élue au Conseil des relations américano-islamiques (Cair) de Los Angeles, en mars. Le président américain avait alors publié sur Twitter une vidéo montrant les tours jumelles s’effondrer, avec une citation d’Ilhan Omar en arrière-plan. Que disait-elle exactement ? Expliquant que les musulmans étaient fatigués d’être considérés comme «des citoyens de seconde zone», elle ajoute : «Le Cair a été fondé après le 11 Septembre parce qu’ils ont pris acte du fait que des gens avaient fait quelque chose et que nous tous allions commencer à perdre accès à nos libertés civiles.» C’est ce terme «gens» qui lui a été reproché. Mais à aucun moment elle ne loue l’organisation terroriste.

Le Washington Post et Ilhan Omar ont fait remarquer que George W. Bush avait utilisé la même expression après les attentats de 2001. «Je vous entends, je vous entends. Et le reste du monde vous entend. Et les gens, ces gens qui ont fait tomber les tours, vont nous entendre bientôt».

Selon le New York Times, Ilhan Omar a qualifié les accusations de Trump de «ridicules». Toutes les élues démocrates ont répliqué lundi 15 juillet, en organisant une conférence de presse commune pour dénoncer le racisme du président américain. Mercredi, celui-ci s’est de nouveau emparé de son clavier pour assurer qu’il n’était pas raciste, en leur demandant de nouveau de quitter le pays.


Fake news: Haro sur le Daily Mail ! (After the Wikipedia ban of the British conservative Daily Mail as a reliable source, is the antisemitic cartoon-peddling NYT next in the post-truth firing line ?)

31 mai, 2019
https://jcdurbant.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/efe2c-daily2bmail2bdishonest2b2017.pngMail Online
https://twitter.com/Harry1T6/status/1122140959968350209?ref_src=twsrc^tfw
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L’image correspondait à la réalité de la situation, non seulement à Gaza, mais en Cisjordanie. Charles Enderlin (Le Figaro, 27/01/05)
Look, you read it, right? You liked it? You had fun? Well, what’s the problem? Armisen-as-Wolff
The Israelis say they’re actually trying to restrict our access to these areas and they say it’s too dangerous for you to be there and my response to that is that it wouldn’t be nearly as dangerous if you didn’t shoot at us when we’re clearly labelled as CNN crews and journalists. And so this must stop, this targeting of the news media both literally and figuratively must come to an end immediately. Eason Jordan
Over the last dozen years I made 13 trips to Baghdad to lobby the government to keep CNN’s Baghdad bureau open and to arrange interviews with Iraqi leaders. Each time I visited, I became more distressed by what I saw and heard — awful things that could not be reported because doing so would have jeopardized the lives of Iraqis, particularly those on our Baghdad staff. For example, in the mid-1990’s one of our Iraqi cameramen was abducted. For weeks he was beaten and subjected to electroshock torture in the basement of a secret police headquarters because he refused to confirm the government’s ludicrous suspicion that I was the Central Intelligence Agency’s Iraq station chief. CNN had been in Baghdad long enough to know that telling the world about the torture of one of its employees would almost certainly have gotten him killed and put his family and co-workers at grave risk. Working for a foreign news organization provided Iraqi citizens no protection. The secret police terrorized Iraqis working for international press services who were courageous enough to try to provide accurate reporting. Some vanished, never to be heard from again. Others disappeared and then surfaced later with whispered tales of being hauled off and tortured in unimaginable ways. Obviously, other news organizations were in the same bind we were when it came to reporting on their own workers. We also had to worry that our reporting might endanger Iraqis not on our payroll. I knew that CNN could not report that Saddam Hussein’s eldest son, Uday, told me in 1995 that he intended to assassinate two of his brothers-in-law who had defected and also the man giving them asylum, King Hussein of Jordan. If we had gone with the story, I was sure he would have responded by killing the Iraqi translator who was the only other participant in the meeting. After all, secret police thugs brutalized even senior officials of the Information Ministry, just to keep them in line (one such official has long been missing all his fingernails). Still, I felt I had a moral obligation to warn Jordan’s monarch, and I did so the next day. King Hussein dismissed the threat as a madman’s rant. A few months later Uday lured the brothers-in-law back to Baghdad; they were soon killed. I came to know several Iraqi officials well enough that they confided in me that Saddam Hussein was a maniac who had to be removed. One Foreign Ministry officer told me of a colleague who, finding out his brother had been executed by the regime, was forced, as a test of loyalty, to write a letter of congratulations on the act to Saddam Hussein. An aide to Uday once told me why he had no front teeth: henchmen had ripped them out with pliers and told him never to wear dentures, so he would always remember the price to be paid for upsetting his boss. Again, we could not broadcast anything these men said to us. (…) Then there were the events that were not unreported but that nonetheless still haunt me. A 31-year-old Kuwaiti woman, Asrar Qabandi, was captured by Iraqi secret police occupying her country in 1990 for  »crimes, » one of which included speaking with CNN on the phone. They beat her daily for two months, forcing her father to watch. In January 1991, on the eve of the American-led offensive, they smashed her skull and tore her body apart limb by limb. A plastic bag containing her body parts was left on the doorstep of her family’s home. I felt awful having these stories bottled up inside me. Now that Saddam Hussein’s regime is gone, I suspect we will hear many, many more gut-wrenching tales from Iraqis about the decades of torment. At last, these stories can be told freely. Eason Jordan (2003)
The only CNN journalist wounded in that region was Ben Wedeman, who got shot when he wandered into a crossfire. [Jordan’s] own producer, Bruce Conover, told CNN that no one could tell who shot him, as the bullets and mortars were flying in from all directions. Ed Morrisey
[Eason Jordan] made a mistake. I did not think he deserved to lose his job over it. A little context is important. He had just come back from Baghdad, 16th trip. We were on the eve of the elections there. He was extremely tense, because he thought a CNN journalist as well as other journalists were in great danger there, and he was — he praised U.S. troops for protecting CNN journalists and others, but he said, look, this is a place where we lost 63 journalists on all sides, and journalists on all sides are being — are getting killed often carelessly — and he used the word targeting. And certainly left the impression that U.S. troops were targeting journalists on the other side — Al Jazeera, for example — just as insurgents were clearly targeting American journalists. And it was a startling charge, and I think everybody in the room sort of, you know, their head swerved. But as soon as he said it, it was clear he knew he had made a mistake. He had gone too far. Used — he’d been — his emotions I think just got the better of him. And he tried to walk it back. And he tried to be — clarify it. But soon it was on the blog, and frankly, the — it just — the story just built up. David Gergen
As prejudices go, anti-Semitism can sometimes be hard to pin down, but on Thursday the opinion pages of The New York Times international edition provided a textbook illustration of it. Except that The Times wasn’t explaining anti-Semitism. It was purveying it. It did so in the form of a cartoon, provided to the newspaper by a wire service and published directly above an unrelated column by Tom Friedman, in which a guide dog with a prideful countenance and the face of Benjamin Netanyahu leads a blind, fat Donald Trump wearing dark glasses and a black yarmulke. Lest there be any doubt as to the identity of the dog-man, it wears a collar from which hangs a Star of David. Here was an image that, in another age, might have been published in the pages of Der Stürmer. The Jew in the form of a dog. The small but wily Jew leading the dumb and trusting American. The hated Trump being Judaized with a skullcap. The nominal servant acting as the true master. The cartoon checked so many anti-Semitic boxes that the only thing missing was a dollar sign. (…) The Times has a longstanding Jewish problem, dating back to World War II, when it mostly buried news about the Holocaust, and continuing into the present day in the form of intensely adversarial coverage of Israel. The criticism goes double when it comes to the editorial pages, whose overall approach toward the Jewish state tends to range, with some notable exceptions, from tut-tutting disappointment to thunderous condemnation. (…) The problem with the cartoon isn’t that its publication was a willful act of anti-Semitism. It wasn’t. The problem is that its publication was an astonishing act of ignorance of anti-Semitism — and that, at a publication that is otherwise hyper-alert to nearly every conceivable expression of prejudice, from mansplaining to racial microaggressions to transphobia. Imagine, for instance, if the dog on a leash in the image hadn’t been the Israeli prime minister but instead a prominent woman such as Nancy Pelosi, a person of color such as John Lewis, or a Muslim such as Ilhan Omar. Would that have gone unnoticed by either the wire service that provides the Times with images or the editor who, even if he were working in haste, selected it? The question answers itself. And it raises a follow-on: How have even the most blatant expressions of anti-Semitism become almost undetectable to editors who think it’s part of their job to stand up to bigotry? The reason is the almost torrential criticism of Israel and the mainstreaming of anti-Zionism, including by this paper, which has become so common that people have been desensitized to its inherent bigotry. So long as anti-Semitic arguments or images are framed, however speciously, as commentary about Israel, there will be a tendency to view them as a form of political opinion, not ethnic prejudice. But as I noted in a Sunday Review essay in February, anti-Zionism is all but indistinguishable from anti-Semitism in practice and often in intent, however much progressives try to deny this. Add to the mix the media’s routine demonization of Netanyahu, and it is easy to see how the cartoon came to be drawn and published: Already depicted as a malevolent Jewish leader, it’s just a short step to depict him as a malevolent Jew. The paper (…) owes itself some serious reflection as to how its publication came, to many longtime readers, as a shock but not a surprise. Bret L. Stephens
The past several days have left many Jews in the United States feeling shell-shocked. Attacks against them seem to be coming from all quarters. First, on Thursday, the New York Times’ International Edition published a stunningly antisemitic cartoon on its op-ed page. It portrayed a blind President Donald Trump wearing the garb of an ultra-Orthodox Jew, replete with a black suit and a black yarmulke, with the blackened sunglasses of a blind man being led by a seeing-eye dog with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s face. If the message – that Jewish dogs are leading the blind American by the nose — wasn’t clear enough, the Netanyahu dog was wearing a collar with a Star of David medallion, just to make the point unmistakable. Under a torrent of criticism, after first refusing to apologize for the cartoon, which it removed from its online edition, the Times issued an acknowledment on Sunday, but has taken no action against the editors responsible. Two days after the Times published its hateful cartoon, Jews at the Chabad House synagogue in Poway, outside San Diego, were attacked by a rifle-bearing white supremacist as they prayed. (…) On the face of things, there is no meaningful connection between the Times’ cartoon and the Poway attack. In his online manifesto, Earnest presented himself as a Nazi in the mold of Robert Bowers, the white supremacist who massacred 11 Jews at the Tree of Life Synagogue last October. The New York Times, on the other hand, is outspoken in its hatred of white supremacists whom it associates with President Donald Trump, the paper’s archenemy. On the surface, the two schools of Jew hatred share no common ground. But a serious consideration of the Times’ anti-Jewish propaganda leads to the opposite conclusion. The New York Times — as an institution that propagates anti-Jewish messages, narratives, and demonizations — is deeply tied to the rise in white supremacist violence against Jews. This is the case for several reasons. First, as Seth Franzman of the Jerusalem Post pointed out, Bowers and Earnest share two hatreds – for Jews and for Trump. Both men hate Trump, whom they view as a friend of the Jews. Earnest referred to Trump as “That Zionist, Jew-loving, anti-White, traitorous c**ks****er.” Bowers wrote that he opposed Trump because he is supposedly surrounded by Jews, whom Bowers called an “infestation” in the White House. The New York Times also hates Trump. And like Bowers and Earnest, it promotes the notion in both news stories and editorials that Trump’s support for Israel harms U.S. interests to benefit avaricious Jews. In 2017, just as the Russia collusion narrative was taking hold, Politico spun an antisemitic conspiracy theory that placed Chabad at the center of the nefarious scheme in which Russian President Vladimir Putin connived with Trump to steal the election from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. (…) The story, titled “The Happy-Go-Lucky Jewish Group that Connects Trump and Putin,” claimed that Russia’s Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar, who is Chabad’s senior representative there, served as an intermediary between Putin and Trum-p. He did this, Politico alleged, through his close ties to Chabad rabbis in the United States who have longstanding ties to Trump. (…) In other words, the antisemitic Chabad conspiracy theory laid out by Politico, which slanderously placed Chabad at the center of a nefarious plot to steal the U.S. presidency for Trump, was first proposed by the New York Times. The Times is well known for its hostility towards Israel. But that hostility is never limited to Israel itself. It also encompasses Jewish Americans who support Israel. For instance, in a 11,000 word “analysis” of the antisemitic “boycott, divestment, sanctions” (BDS) movement published in late March, the Times effectively delegitimized all Jewish support for Israel. (…) Last week the Times erroneously claimed that Jesus was a Palestinian. The falsehood was picked up by antisemitic Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN). The Times waited a week to issue a correction. (…) In an op-ed following the cartoon’s publication, the Times’ in-house NeverTrump pro-Israel columnist Bret Stephens at once condemned the cartoon and the paper’s easy-breezy relationship with antisemitism, and minimized the role that antisemitism plays at the New York Times. Stephens attributed the decision to publish the cartoon in the New York Times international edition to the small staff in the paper’s Paris office and insisted that “the charge that the institution [i.e., the Times] is in any way antisemitic is a calumny.” (…) Stephens tried to minimize the Times’ power to influence the public discourse in the U.S. by placing its antisemitic reporting in the context of a larger phenomenon. But the fact is that while the New York Times has long since ceased serving as the “paper of record” for anyone not on the political left in America, it is still the most powerful news organization in the United States, and arguably in the world. The Times has the power to set the terms of the discourse on every subject it touches. Politico felt it was reasonable to allege a Jewish world conspiracy run by Chabad that linked Putin with Trump because, as Haberman suggested, the Times had invented the preposterous, bigoted theory three weeks earlier. New York University felt comfortable giving a prestigious award to the Hamas-linked antisemitic group Students for Justice in Palestine last week because the Times promotes its harassment campaign against Jewish students. (…) It has co-opted of the discourse on antisemitism in a manner that sanitizes the paper and its followers from allegations of being part of the problem. It has led the charge in reducing the acceptable discourse on antisemitism to a discussion of right wing antisemitism. Led by reporter Jonathan Weisman, with able assists from Weiss and Stephens, the Times has pushed the view that the most dangerous antisemites in America are Trump supporters. The basis of this slander is the false claim that Trump referred to the neo-Nazis who protested in Charlottesville in August 2017 as “very fine people.” As Breitbart’s Joel Pollak noted, Trump specifically singled out the neo-Nazis for condemnation and said merely that the protesters at the scene who simply wanted the statue of Robert E. Lee preserved (and those who peacefully opposed them) were decent people. The Times has used this falsehood as a means to project the view that hatred of Jews begins with Trump – arguably the most pro-Jewish president in U.S. history, goes through the Republican Party, which has actively defended Jews in the face of Democratic bigotry, and ends with his supporters. By attributing an imaginary hostility against Jews to Trump, Republicans, and Trump supporters, the Times has effectively given carte blanche to itself, the Democrats, and its fellow Trump-hating antisemites to promote Jew-hatred. John Earnest and Robert Bowers were not ordered to enter synagogues and massacre Jews by the editors of the New York Times. But their decisions to do so was made in an environment of hatred for Jews that the Times promotes every day. Following the Bowers massacre of Jewish worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, the New York Times and its Trump-hating columnists blamed Trump for Bowers’s action. Not only was this a slander. It was also pure projection. Caroline Glick
Avec la multiplication de ces auditions à la DGSI, on a l’impression que c’est une logique antiterroriste qui est appliquée aux journalistes. (…) On parle de l’affaire Benalla, une affaire d’État. On parle des armes françaises au Yémen, un mensonge d’État. Et là, on n’est pas dans le cadre traditionnel du droit de la presse, devant les tribunaux devant lesquels on peut se défendre. (…) le journaliste a une fonction sociale, il n’est pas là uniquement pour publier passivement des communiqués officiels du gouvernement. Dans le cas des ventes d’armes de la France utilisées au Yémen, on parle quand même de la pire catastrophe humanitaire depuis la Deuxième Guerre Mondiale : on entend que les journalistes ne sont pas au-dessus des lois, mais l’État non plus ! La France ne respecte pas les traités sur le commerce des armes qu’elle a signés. Benoît Collombat (Radio France)
Des entraîneurs et des stratégistes du Hezbollah ainsi que des Iraniens ont travaillé avec les houthis et les ont supervisés, ce qui les a aidés à prendre Sanaa. L’Iran a également aidé les houthis à développer la technologie de fabrication d’armes, y compris des missiles. Nadwa Dawsari (Center for Civilians in Conflict in Yemen)
Nous sommes d’accord avec la conclusion du Groupe d’experts, selon laquelle les missiles tirés par les houthistes – d’origine iranienne et fournis après l’imposition de l’embargo sur les armes – signifient que l’Iran a agi en violation du paragraphe 14 de la résolution 2216 (2015). Nous demandons à l’Iran de cesser toutes les activités qui alimentent le conflit au Yémen. Stephen Hickey (représentant britannique à l’ONU)
L’offensive des houthistes, avec le soutien de l’Iran, menace la stabilité de la région, et les groupes terroristes comme Daech et Al-Qaida profitent de cette situation pour promouvoir leurs visées malsaines. (…) Ainsi que le rapport du Groupe d’experts (S/2018/68) l’indique clairement, l’Iran viole l’embargo ciblé sur les armes mis en place par la résolution 2216 (2015). Plus précisément, le Groupe a conclu que les missiles tirés par les rebelles houthistes contre l’Arabie saoudite l’année dernière étaient d’origine iranienne et avaient été introduits au Yémen après l’imposition de l’embargo ciblé sur les armes. Hier, nous avons vu la délégation russe user de son droit de veto afin d’éviter que la résolution assortie de sanctions sur le Yémen ne mentionne les activités de l’Iran dans ce pays. Cependant, les preuves montrent clairement que les missiles balistiques étaient d’origine iranienne. Le mois dernier à Washington, les membres du Conseil ont vu de leurs propres yeux certaines des preuves impliquant l’Iran. Onze membres du Conseil ont convenu avec nous que ces préoccupations méritaient d’être mentionnées dans la résolution assorties de sanctions, et seuls deux membres du Conseil ont voté contre.Nous continuerons de parler haut et fort pour rap-peler au Conseil que nous avons l’obligation de dénoncer tous les comportements dangereux et déstabilisateurs chaque fois que nous les constaterons. L’Iran ne peut pas violer les sanctions du Conseil de sécurité en toute impunité. Le Conseil doit faire en sorte que ceux qui, comme l’Iran, enfreignent le régime de sanctions répondent de leurs actes. Il doit également veiller à ce que les tech-nologies militaires, les missiles balistiques, les engins explosifs aquatiques improvisés, les mines marines, les drones militaires et autres armes iraniennes ne parviennent aux personnes et entités désignées au Yémen. Kelley Eckels-Currie (représentante américaine à l’ONU)
Nous avons dit notre préoccupation face aux conclusions du rapport du Groupe d’experts sur le Yémen publié le 15 février, et condamné à plusieurs reprises les tirs de missiles balistiques effectués par les houthistes, en particulier contre l’Arabie saoudite. Comme nous l’avons dit hier, la France continuera d’être mobilisée sur la question des transferts de technologies et biens balistiques dans la région dans les mois à venir. C’est un sujet que le Ministre de l’Europe et des affaires étrangères, M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, abordera à Téhéran à l’occasion de son déplacement, le 5 mars. François Delattre (représentant français à l’ONU)
NewsGuard has made changes to the dailymail.co.uk Nutrition Label shown above, which reflect the discussions we have had with a senior Daily Mail news executive who insisted that we not use his name… The senior Daily Mail news executive wrote NewsGuard a long, point by point letter summarising the complaints and the views that he expressed in the discussions we had with him. However, he declined to allow us to publish the letter, which is what we would have preferred. Thus, what follows is a review of the points he made in our discussions and in the letter, followed by our reaction to them… The senior Daily Mail news executive complained that we had overstated and relied too heavily on the number of complaints against the Daily Mail, MailOnline, and Mail on Sunday that had been verified by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), and, in fact, that the newsrooms’ voluntary participation in IPSO’s process was evidence of its dedication to high standards. After reflecting on his comments — and following discussions with some of the U.K.-based journalists whom we are consulting as we prepare to launch in the United Kingdom — we agree. We have changed this rating to green… …the senior Daily Mail news executive also stated that dailymail.co.uk published 144,000 articles over the last year. While we do not believe measuring a set percentage of “false” articles is appropriate, some consideration of volume is appropriate when considering whether a website repeatedly publishes content that is clearly and significantly false. Because the content on a website is also cumulative — it does not disappear daily — consideration should also be given to whether the website corrects and/or takes down content discovered to be false. In other words, because NewsGuard is attempting to inform online users of the overall reliability of a website, the best measure of “repeatedly” should include how likely is it that on any given day a reader will see false content. Therefore, NewsGuard has now determined that dailymail.co.uk does not repeatedly publish content that is clearly and significantly false… The senior Daily Mail news executive maintained that the website’s headlines are not deceptive — and that they accurately reflect what is in the ensuing story. After undertaking a new review of the website and considering also the argument that a few arguably deceptive headlines (or at least headlines that overstate the importance of the story) need to be considered against the volume of stories published on dailymail.co.uk, we agree. We made a mistake and have changed the rating. Newsguard
My tweet yesterday about Trump preferring Kim Jong Un to Biden as President was meant in jest. The President correctly quoted me as saying it was a “completely ludicrous” statement. I should have been clearer. My apologies. Ian Bremmer
Bon nombre de récits de ce qui s’est passé à la Maison-Blanche sous Trump se contredisent ; beaucoup, à l’image de ceux de Trump, sont tout bonnement faux. Ces conflits, et ce flou avec la vérité, sinon avec la réalité elle-même, sont un fil conducteur élémentaire du livre. Parfois, j’ai laissé les acteurs offrir leurs versions, à tour de rôle, permettant au lecteur de les juger. Dans d’autres cas, grâce à la cohérence des récits et aux sources auxquelles j’ai fait confiance, je suis parvenu à une version des faits que je crois vraie. Michael Wolff
Even if some things are inaccurate/flat-out false, there’s enough notionally accurate that people have difficulty knocking it down. Maggie Haberman (NYT)
There are two issues here. One is Michael Wolff himself. In my view, I don’t know what to believe in the book because I don’t think he practices the kind of journalism that we practice. He doesn’t practice the kind that could allow you to work in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, PBS. Many of the things he reports are true, and many of the things he reports are fictionalized. And a lot of things all throughout his career — this is not a new thing with him. Some of the things in the book are factually completely inaccurate. Some of the things ring false to me. Maybe somebody told him, so he put it in the book without checking it out. When I started my career in journalism at the City News Bureau of Chicago, we had a phrase- If your mom tells you she loves you, check it out. And I’m not sure he does a lot of that. So, that’s one fact. So, I’m very dubious about accepting everything. (…) Nonetheless, the general picture confirms what we already knew. And I think there is a general sense the president is unfit. They treat — they do treat him like a child. It’s too simplistic, though, to say it’s like the madness of King George. I certainly have talked to many people over the last several months who said, yes, I went into a meeting, he was surprisingly well-informed, surprisingly ran a good meeting. I have certainly had that experience. And he’s running a White House that, whether you approve of the policies or not, has done this Pakistan deal, or the change in Pakistan policy, which is defensible — they did pass a tax bill. They are doing this regulatory stuff, this judicial stuff. It’s not completely dysfunctional. They are getting stuff done. And so I think that he has severe mental flaws. But the picture that’s coming out that he’s completely off his rocker, I think that’s overly simplistic and underestimates this… David Brooks
I don’t think there’s any question that the explosive in this book, as far as Donald Trump is concerned, were the charges about the meeting that Donald Trump Jr. hosted with Paul Manafort and others at the Trump Tower with the Russians, and that he called it traitorous. (…) Steve Bannon, whatever his shortcomings are — and I think they are manifest — is somebody who has worn the uniform of his country, did serve at the Pentagon, and has a gravitas on these matters that nobody in that meeting had or understood. Mark Shields (PBS)
Trump was vulnerable because for 40 years he had run what increasingly seemed to resemble a semi-criminal enterprise. I think we can drop the ‘semi’ part. (…) This is where it isn’t a witch hunt – even for the hard core, this is where he turns into just a crooked business guy, and one worth $50m instead of $10bn. Not the billionaire he said he was, just another scumbag. Steve Bannon (cité par Michael Wolff)
It’s a distinction between journalists who are institutionally wedded and those who are not. I’m not. You make those pro forma calls to protect yourself, to protect the institution. It’s what the institution demands. I’m talking about those calls where you absolutely know what the response is going to be. They put you in the position in which you’re potentially having to negotiate what you know. In some curious way, that’s what much journalism is about. It’s about a negotiated truth. For someone else, a book writer, I don’t have to do that. When I know something is true, I don’t have to go back and establish some kind of middle ground with whoever I’m writing about, which will allow me at some point to go back to them… As a journalist — or as a writer — my obligation is to come as close to the truth as I possibly can. And that’s not as close to someone else’s truth, but the truth as I see it. Remember, it’s a difference between a book and something else — you don’t have to read my book, you don’t have to agree with my book. But at the end of the day, what you are going to know is that it is my book. It is my vision. It is my report on my experience. It’s not put together by a committee. What you do is a committee project at some point. What I do is not. And I’m not saying one is better than the other, they’re just different functions. Michael Wolff
“Fire and Fury,” which portrayed a president with a strained relationship to the truth, raised questions about Mr. Wolff’s own adherence to the facts. Minor errors cropped up; anecdotes were denied. (…) The new book’s claims range from the intriguing — Mr. Wolff writes that Alan Dershowitz asked for a million-dollar retainer to defend Mr. Trump, a claim Mr. Dershowitz said on Wednesday was “completely, categorically false”— to the lurid, including a description based on a secondhand source of a supposed encounter between Mr. Trump and an unnamed woman aboard his private jet before his presidency. In an interview at his Manhattan townhouse on Tuesday — his first public comments about “Siege” — Mr. Wolff, 65, praised his reporting, defended his reliance on Mr. Bannon as a source and explained why he had little use for the usual fact-checking procedures valued by reporters at mainstream news outlets. He was trending on Twitter at the time of the interview. A spokesman for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, had issued a rare statement denying a central claim of “Siege,” which had just leaked out: that Mr. Mueller’s team had drafted an indictment of Mr. Trump on obstruction charges that was never used. NYT
I would only say my source is impeccable, and I have no doubt about the authenticity and the significance of the documents. (…) When “Fire and Fury” came out, I thought Steve Bannon would certainly never speak to me again, and the truth is, he never stopped speaking. But the other element of this is — I think a key one — is I’m a New York guy. Donald Trump is a New York guy. In the end, we know a lot of the same people. There is this conversation among these people about Donald Trump. And I am fortunate to be in that loop. (…) I have not been in the White House for this book, no. But a very large percentage of the people who spoke to me for the first book have continued to speak to me for the second book. Partly because they can’t stop talking about Donald Trump, and I’m a good listener. But also because I think the portrait in the first book worked for them. (…) I think that would be a fool’s errand, to invite the president of the United States to come down on you. (…) If the president of the United States comes after you, you feel concerned. (…) I’ve said many times: I’m not a Washington reporter. And Washington reporters, they do a great job. They do their job. I approached this as, that the more significant factor here, beyond policy, was buffoonery, psychopathology, random and ad hominem cruelties. In a way, my thesis is that this administration, this character, needed a different kind of writer. (…) I’ve been sorting this now for actually close to three years, so I think I have a fairly good sense of the reality quotient at any given point. But then I think you have to look to Bannon’s insights. When he says something, in my experience, he can often get right to the kernel, into the hub of the situation, where you say, ‘Damn, of course that’s it.’ Among the hundreds of people I have spoken to, he is the most insightful person about Donald Trump, about what makes him tick. (…) As I say, I didn’t contact Donald Trump at all. But why would you? Literally, this is not a man who is going to suddenly at this point of his life ’fess up to being a sexual harasser. (…) it’s a difference between an institutional reporter and a non-institutional reporter. I don’t have to ask the silly questions. (…) because can you imagine a circumstance under the sun in which Fox would come clean on that? (…) I actually don’t believe, if you know the answer, it is necessary to go through the motions of getting an answer that you are absolutely certain of. (…) It’s a distinction between journalists who are institutionally wedded and those who are not. I’m not. You make those pro forma calls to protect yourself, to protect the institution. It’s what the institution demands. I’m talking about those calls where you absolutely know what the response is going to be. They put you in the position in which you’re potentially having to negotiate what you know. In some curious way, that’s what much journalism is about. It’s about a negotiated truth. For someone else, a book writer, I don’t have to do that. When I know something is true, I don’t have to go back and establish some kind of middle ground with whoever I’m writing about, which will allow me at some point to go back to them. (…) As a journalist — or as a writer — my obligation is to come as close to the truth as I possibly can. And that’s not as close to someone else’s truth, but the truth as I see it. Remember, it’s a difference between a book and something else — you don’t have to read my book, you don’t have to agree with my book. But at the end of the day, what you are going to know is that it is my book. It is my vision. It is my report on my experience. It’s not put together by a committee. What you do is a committee project at some point. What I do is not. And I’m not saying one is better than the other, they’re just different functions. Michael Wolff
Bannon has been driven out of the White House by Trump and dumped by his financial patrons, the Mercers, and has set up shop in a shabby Capitol Hill townhouse, theatrically known as the Embassy, which, it slowly becomes clear, might as well be Hoth. It takes 193 pages, but we eventually learn that Bannon hasn’t talked to Trump since he was fired. That doesn’t prevent Wolff from centering the entire narrative on the president’s former aide. So the new Wolff book is much like the last one: a sail through the Trump diaspora and inside the president’s head with Bannon as the cruise director. But also like the last book, “Siege” is ultimately crippled by three flaws: Wolff’s overreliance on a single character, and one who is now more distant from the action; factual errors that mar the author’s credibility; and sourcing that is so opaque it renders the scoops highly suspicious and unreliable. For long stretches of “Siege,” Trump and the White House staff disappear and the reader is subjected to a tedious ticktock of Bannon’s travels and his plotting from the Embassy, where he pontificates throughout 2018 about how the Republicans will win the midterms (they didn’t), how his nationalist project is still ascendant in the GOP (it isn’t), how Robert Mueller will destroy the Trump presidency (he didn’t), and how Bannon himself may have to replace Trump and run for president in 2020, with Sean Hannity as his running mate (we’ll have to wait for Episode III). In the acknowledgments, Bannon is the only named source whom Wolff thanks, praising him effusively and, in an allusion to Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” calling him “the Virgil anyone might be lucky enough to have as a guide for a descent into Trumpworld.” In reality Bannon is more like Wolff’s Farinata, the former Florentine political leader whom Dante portrays as banished to the circle of hell for heretics, where, alone in his tomb, he still obsesses about his own era in politics but has no access to current events unless one of the dead brings him a snippet of news from the center of power. In “Siege,” the dead arrive at Bannon’s doorstep in the form of former Trump aides such as Corey Lewandowski, David Bossie, Sam Nunberg and Jason Miller, and Wolff, like many other Washington reporters, absorbs a mix of gossip, misinformation and occasional insight that the outer rings of Trump advisers are famous for circulating. This rogues’ gallery of Trump hangers-on that Wolff seems to depend on is sometimes presented as a group of devoted ideological rebels trying to keep the flame of true MAGA alive. According to Wolff, several of them, usually working through Hannity, who has better access to the president, press Trump on issues like building the border wall or declaring a national emergency over immigration. Bossie and Lewandowski “weren’t operatives, they were believers,” Wolff credulously reports, a statement that will generate guffaws among Republicans. But mostly, Bannon’s knitting circle is involved in low-level score-settling — often against then-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner — and making money off their association with Trump. Lewandowski and Bossie hawk a conspiracy book about the “deep state” even though, according to Wolff, Bannon tells their ghostwriter that “none of this is true.” (…) Wolff’s broad conceptual error — that the real heart of Trumpism is heroically being kept alive by Bannon’s band of true-believing outsiders — would be forgivable if the book wasn’t marred by two more strikes: some cringeworthy errors, and sourcing that is so opaque it renders the extremely fun and juicy quotes sprinkled across every chapter as — sadly — difficult to trust. Wolff reports that he had two fact-checkers assigned to the book, but they apparently weren’t enough. He writes that after Ty Cobb left the White House, Trump’s only lawyers were Jay Sekulow and Rudy Giuliani (whom he describes as “drunk on a bid for further attention, or just drunk”). Wolff seems not to know that Trump hired Jane and Martin Raskin, whose names do not appear in the book, to deal with the Mueller probe. He writes that Russians hacked the email account of John Podesta and servers at the Democratic National Committee after July 27, 2016, the day Trump famously called on Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s missing emails. That’s wrong. The Podesta hack happened in March, the DNC hack happened in April, and the fruits of those hacks had already been released, which is why Trump made the comment. (…) Dramatic scoops are plopped down on the page with no sourcing whatsoever. Would-be newsmaking quotes are often attributed to Trump and senior officials without any context about when or to whom they were made. Wolff clearly relies on the work of dozens of other reporters on the Trump beat, but because he rarely uses any attributions, the reader never knows whether a fact he’s relaying comes from him or elsewhere. For example, he writes that Kushner was briefed by intelligence officials that his friend Wendi Deng might be a Chinese spy. The reader would be forgiven for thinking this was another Wolff scoop, rather than a major exclusive reported by the Wall Street Journal in early 2018. The cutting comments Wolff attributes to Trump certainly sound like the president: “the stupidest man in Congress” and a “religious nut” (Mike Pence); “gives me the creeps” (Karen Pence); “feeble” (John Kelly); “a girl” (Kushner); “looks like a mental patient” (Giuliani); “a pretty stupid boy” who “has too many f—ing kids” (Donald Trump Jr.); “men’s shop salesmen” (Republican House candidates); “ignoramuses” (Trump’s communications team); “the only stupid Jew” (Michael Cohen); “a dirty rat” (former White House counsel Donald McGahn); a “virgin crybaby” who was “probably molested by a priest” (Brett Kavanaugh); “the poor man’s Ann Coulter” (Kellyanne Conway); “sweaty” (Stephen Miller). But the lack of sourcing transparency and footnotes does not inspire confidence. By far the biggest scoop in the book is a document that Wolff alleges is a draft indictment, eventually ignored, of the president from inside the special counsel’s office. In addition to the alleged indictment, Wolff reports on several interesting and newsworthy memos outlining Mueller’s legal strategy for what to do if Trump pardoned Michael Flynn or tried to shut down the investigation. These documents, if verified, would rescue the book, because they offer the first real glimpse inside the nearly airtight Mueller operation. On Tuesday, the special counsel’s office issued a rare on-the-record statement insisting that the “documents described do not exist.” Ryan Lizza (senior political analyst for CNN)
Several news outlets published excerpts of Michael Wolff’s new book about the Trump campaign and the White House. And almost every word of it is unbelievable. Some of it, literally so. In one passage from “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” Wolff recounts how Roger Ailes recommended former House speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) to serve as Trump’s chief of staff. Trump’s response, according to Wolff: “Who’s that?” Never mind that Trump had golfed with Boehner in 2013 and mentioned him several times on the 2016 campaign trail. Using the Donald Trump Factbase, I found Trump mentioning Boehner on the campaign trail at least four times: April 10, 2016; Nov. 30, 2015; Oct. 14, 2015; and Sept. 25, 2015. He also tweeted about him on Oct. 8, 2015, and Sept. 25, 2015 — that last date being when Boehner resigned as speaker during the 2016 campaign. Is it possible Trump misheard the name or momentarily forgot who Boehner was? Sure. He may have even meant the “Who’s that?” as a slight to Boehner. But the impression Wolff seeks to leave is that Trump is a novice completely out of his element in the Oval Office. This was an anecdote meant to serve that narrative. (…) Then there is the apparent re-created conversation between Stephen K. Bannon and Ailes, the New York Times’s Nick Confessore points out, which raises questions about accuracy. As for the other claims, many are of the kind that has been whispered about but never reported on with any authority or certainty. Wolff has taken some of the most gossiped-about aspects of the Trump White House and put them forward as fact — often plainly stated fact without even anonymous sources cited. In his introduction, Wolff acknowledges this is an imperfect exercise and often a daunting challenge. Here’s a key excerpt pulled by Benjy Sarlin: Many of the accounts of what has happened in the Trump White House are in conflict with one another; many, in Trumpian fashion, are baldly untrue. Those conflicts, and that looseness with the truth, if not with reality itself, are an elemental thread of the book. Sometimes I have let the players offer their versions, in turn allowing the reader to judge them. In other instances I have, through a consistency in accounts and through sources I have come to trust, settled on a version of events I believe to be true. In some ways, this is the tell-all that Trump’s post-truth presidency deserves. Trump’s own version of the truth is often subject to his own fantastic impulses and changes at a moment’s notice. The leaks from his administration have followed that pattern, often painting credulity-straining images of an American president. As the New York Times’s Maggie Haberman notes, that makes claims in Wolff’s book that would ordinarily seem implausible suddenly plausible. But just because the administration doesn’t seem to have much regard for the truth and because there are all kinds of insane things happening behind closed doors doesn’t mean the truth isn’t a goal worth attaining. And in an environment in which the press is widely distrusted by a large swath of the American people — and overwhelmingly by Trump’s base — the onus is even more on accounts of his presidency to try to filter out the tabloid stuff. Part of Trump’s mission statement is fomenting distrust of the press. Oftentimes the wild leaks that come from the White House seem to further that goal by giving the media juicy stories that will ring false to people who doubt reporters’ anonymous sources. Wolff even writes that it’s often Trump himself doing the gossiping about White House staff — which seems about right. For whatever reason, Wolff seems to have arrived at a stunning amount of incredible conclusions that hundreds of dogged reporters from major newspapers haven’t. Whether that’s because he had unprecedented access — Wolff says he had “something like a semi-permanent seat on a couch in the West Wing” — or because his filter was just more relaxed than others, it’s worth evaluating each claim individually and not just taking every scandalous thing said about the White House as gospel. Aaron Blake (NYT)
Le Feu et la Fureur : Trump à la Maison-Blanche (Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House) est un livre de Michael Wolff qui décrit en détail le quotidien du président américain Donald Trump, ainsi que celui de son équipe de campagne en 2016 et de ses collaborateurs à la Maison-Blanche. L’ouvrage dresse un portrait peu flatteur de Trump, décrit comme un homme au comportement chaotique, et de ses relations avec son équipe. Il fait notamment une large place à l’ancien conseiller stratégique Steve Bannon, qui livre entre autres des commentaires désobligeants sur la famille Trump. Donald Trump apparaît dans ce livre comme un chef d’État tenu en piètre estime par son entourage à la Maison-Blanche, ce qui conduit Wolff à postuler que « 100 % des gens autour de lui » pensent que le président des États-Unis n’est pas capable de remplir sa fonction. (…) L’ouvrage fait l’objet d’un accueil très contrasté, la validité de son contenu étant totalement niée par Donald Trump et Sarah Huckabee Sanders, la porte-parole de la Maison-Blanche. Des critiques mettent en doute les sources d’une partie du livre, mais estiment néanmoins qu’il constitue un travail majeur sur la présidence de Trump, et que le tableau qu’il en dresse est globalement exact. (…) La plupart des citations le plus controversées du livre proviennent de Steve Bannon, directeur de la campagne de Trump dans ses derniers mois et chef stratège de la Maison Blanche de janvier à août 2017. (…) Un biographe de Trump, Michael D’Antonio, déclare à CNN que le portrait de Trump dressé par Wolff est globalement conforme à sa propre compréhension, comme à celle d’autres biographes de celui-ci, notamment en ce qu’il attire l’attention sur des aspects qui ont fait polémique, tels sa misogynie et son suprémacisme blanc allégués, ainsi que son opinion sur la « surestimation de l’expertise ». Il ajoute que les descriptions par Wolff de l’entourage de Trump forment aussi « un tableau crédible ». Bien qu’il critique la « prose [de] tabloïd » de Wolff et recommande au lecteur de lire le livre avec un certain scepticisme, D’Antonio conclut qu’il s’agit d’une « lecture essentielle » qui fournit un cadre sur lequel les futurs écrivains pourront s’appuyer. David Brooks, s’exprimant sur la chaîne PBS NewsHour, déclare que, parce que dans le passé Wolff s’est fait connaitre pour ne pas vérifier les faits, il est « très dubitatif sur l’acceptation de tout ce qui est » dans le livre. « Néanmoins, de manière générale, cela confirme ce que nous savions déjà. Et je pense qu’il y a un sens général, le président est inapte. Ils le traitent — ils le font traiter comme un enfant ». Wikipedia
Un biographe de Trump, Michael D’Antonio, déclare à CNN que le portrait de Trump dressé par Wolff est globalement conforme à sa propre compréhension, comme à celle d’autres biographes de celui-ci, notamment en ce qu’il attire l’attention sur des aspects qui ont fait polémique, tels sa misogynie et son suprémacisme blanc allégués, ainsi que son opinion sur la « surestimation de l’expertise ». Il ajoute que les descriptions par Wolff de l’entourage de Trump forment aussi « un tableau crédible ». Bien qu’il critique la « prose [de] tabloïd » de Wolff et recommande au lecteur de lire le livre avec un certain scepticisme, D’Antonio conclut qu’il s’agit d’une « lecture essentielle » qui fournit un cadre sur lequel les futurs écrivains pourront s’appuyer. David Brooks, s’exprimant sur la chaîne PBS NewsHour, déclare que, parce que dans le passé Wolff s’est fait connaitre pour ne pas vérifier les faits, il est « très dubitatif sur l’acceptation de tout ce qui est » dans le livre. « Néanmoins, de manière générale, cela confirme ce que nous savions déjà. Et je pense qu’il y a un sens général, le président est inapte. Ils le traitent — ils le font traiter comme un enfant Les journalistes d’Axios, Jim VandeHei et Mike Allen, estiment qu’il y a des parties de l’ouvrage qui ont été « mal [enregistrées], bâclées, ou qui trahissent la confidentialité de l’enregistrement, mais [que] deux choses sont tout à fait vraies » : la description de Trump comme un « président émotionnellement erratique » et celle de la « mauvaise opinion » qu’ont de lui certains membres de la Maison-Blanche. Andrew Prokop écrit dans Vox que « nous devons interpréter le livre comme un recueil de ragots que Wolff a entendu. Une bonne quantité de ceux-ci ne semblent manifestement pas précis ». Aaron Blake écrit pour The Washington Post que « Wolff semble être arrivé à une quantité superbe et incroyable de conclusions que des centaines de journalistes tenaces de grands quotidiens n’ont pas trouvées… il faut évaluer chaque déclaration individuellement et non pas seulement prendre chaque chose scandaleuse dite au sujet de la Maison-Blanche comme vérité d’évangile ». Mick Brown dans The Daily Telegraph décrit un livre à sensation, à la fois emphatique et tout à fait fidèle à son sujet. Pour David Sexton, de l’Evening Standard, le livre est un reportage politique qui vaut la peine d’être lu et qui est « destiné à devenir le principal compte-rendu des neuf premiers mois de présidence de Trump ». Lloyd Green, dans The Guardian parle d’un livre « à lire absolument », qui dévoile tout sur la Maison-Blanche de Trump en donnant la parole à ceux qui connaissent le mieux le président des États-Unis. Dans The Independent, Andrew Griffin écrit que « pour un livre qui a pour but de raconter l’histoire de l’homme le plus important dans la construction du monde, le nouveau travail explosif de Michael Wolff consiste à se battre, pas à penser ; c’est un livre qui a en son centre un vide géant – celui qui est à l’intérieur de la tête de Trump. Ce n’est pas vraiment un livre sur Trump, mais sur les gens qui essaient de combler ce trou noir ». Il note également que le livre est surtout concentré sur Bannon. Dans l’Irish Independent, Darragh McManus note que Fire and Fury « semble être le livre révélateur d’autres livres parlant du “Commandant Suprême”, avant d’énumérer « une douzaine de déclarations parmi les plus explosives ». Wikipedia
Michael Wolff, né le 27 août 1953, est un écrivain et journaliste américain. Il écrit régulièrement pour USA Today, The Hollywood Reporter, et l’édition britannique de GQ. Il a reçu deux National Magazine Award, un Mirror Award, et il a publié sept livres dont Burn Rate (1998) qui parle de sa propre entreprise internet, et The Man Who Owns the News (2008), une biographie de Rupert Murdoch. Pour ce dernier livre, il réussit à initialement gagner la confiance du magnat de la presse en critiquant le travail de ses confrères journalistes à son égard et en prenant la défense de son interlocuteur ; il réussit ainsi à obtenir des confidences faisant regretter par la suite à Rupert Murdoch d’avoir accepté de le rencontrer, l’ouvrage le présentant sous un jour négatif. (…) En janvier 2018, après avoir réutilisé qu’avec Rupert Murdoch la même tactique pour approcher le président, il publie le livre Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, consacré à la première année de présidence de Donald Trump. L’ouvrage contient des descriptions peu flatteuses du comportement de Trump et du fonctionnement chaotique de son équipe, ainsi des commentaires désobligeants sur la famille Trump émis par l’ancien stratège en chef de la Maison Blanche, Steve Bannon. Wikipedia
The Daily Mail’s front page had helped to open the story up. In fact the press had always been interested, but that report was said to have “touched Middle England”, the feelings of white people who don’t normally care much what happens to black youths in inner cities. Baroness Lawrence
Quite simply, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that if it hadn’t been for the Mail’s headline in 1997 – “Murderers: The Mail accuses these men of killing” – and our years of campaigning, none of this would have happened: Britain’s police might not have undergone the huge internal reform that was so necessary; race relations might not have taken the significant step forward that they have;  and an 18-year-old A-Level student who dreamed of being an architect would have been denied justice. Paul Dacre
When David Cameron gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry he wanted to give an example of newspaper campaigning that had benefited society. With the entire modern output of the national press to pick from, he chose the Daily Mail’s work on the Stephen Lawrence murder. This, he informed the judge, had been ‘extremely important’. No doubt many others would have made the same choice. Even the Mail’s rivals sometimes hold up its coverage of the infamous 1993 race murder as a high point for British journalism and as proof of the essential role of the press. As for the Mail’s critics, they find the case a stumbling block. If the Mail really played a heroic part in achieving justice for a black family that had been failed by the white establishment, it becomes harder for them to classify the paper as simply intolerant or racist. (…) Most famously, in February 1997, at a moment when the police and the justice system appeared to have failed the Lawrence family, it published a front page accusing five young men of the murder and defying them to sue for libel. A stroke of editorial brilliance, this caused a sensation, raising the profile of this troubling case and stirring debate about trial by media. Over the years that followed, the Mail would return many times to the Lawrence case in front pages, inside spreads and editorials, and the paper has made some bold claims about the difference it made. (…) The Mail has also claimed that its reporting brought about the 1998-99 Macpherson Inquiry into the murder and that its campaigning led to the reform of the double jeopardy rule that made possible one of the 2012 convictions. Dacre has also asserted that he risked jail by publishing the 1997 front page. These claims have rarely been examined closely, but in an article just published in the journal Political Quarterly I have tested them against the historical record. I found that, while the paper’s actions involved editorial brilliance and probably had positive consequences, its principal claims are at best exaggerated and at worst unsupported by evidence. Even where it can be argued that the paper did help bring about changes for the better, they were not the changes it actually sought. One example is the assertion that the Mail’s reporting ‘prompted Home Secretary Jack Straw to initiate a major inquiry’, as the paper put it in February 1999. That claim has been made on a number of occasions but it is problematic and at the very least needs careful qualification – chiefly because in the relevant months of 1997 the Mail never once called for a public inquiry. Even when the Lawrence family demanded one, the Mail conspicuously did not give its support. And once it became clear, in the early summer of 1997, that there would be an inquiry, the Mail publicly opposed the kind of inquiry – into police failures – that Doreen (now Baroness) Lawrence was arguing for and that the government of the time ultimately set up. In short, the paper has been claiming credit for the establishment of an inquiry which the record shows it didn’t seek and which took a form it actually opposed. Of course this is not a simple matter. While Jack Straw, in his autobiography, gave credit for the establishment of the inquiry ‘above all’ to Baroness Lawrence, he also wrote that the Mail helped give him political ‘space’ to make his decision. No doubt this is correct: that a conservative paper was conspicuously involved will have made a difference, but again the context must be considered. Straw made his decision in July 1997. It is conceivable that, had he not had the ‘space’ created by the Mail, he might have said no. But the events of 1997 show that six months later, no matter what the position of the Daily Mail, he would have had no choice but to order an inquiry anyway. When, that December, a report by the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) revealed wholesale incompetence and worse in the original police investigation of Stephen Lawrence’s murder, all arguments against a public inquiry would have fallen away. In other words, insofar as the Mail’s involvement might have made a difference by giving Straw more room to act, the difference was between the announcement of an inquiry in July 1997 and the same announcement five months later. The Mail’s claim – repeated as recently as June this year during an angry spat with the Guardian – that its campaign to bring the Stephen Lawrence murderers to justice “did more to improve race relations in this country than anything the Guardian has achieved” is a claim which, at best, requires considerable qualification, not least because throughout the whole history of the Lawrence case the Mail’s understanding of the role of race has been a very particular one. In its reporting just after the murder in 1993 its principal interest was in challenging mostly black ‘race militants’ whom it accused of ‘hijacking a tragedy’. The paper was happy to quote the Lawrences when they expressed concern about ‘militants’, but it conspicuously failed to quote them on the subject of racism in British law enforcement and justice and its role in their plight. Even in 1997 the Mail still refused to accept that the Lawrences’ colour might have made a difference. An editorial published on the same day as the famous ‘Murderers’ front page declared bluntly: ‘But suggestions made by his grief-stricken mother that that police were less than assiduous because of Stephen’s colour are misplaced.’ In the eyes of the Mail, in other words, Doreen Lawrence was simply wrong to see racism in the British establishment as a factor in her family’s tragedy. Why did the Mail get involved at all, if it took that view? Look at the record and the answer is clear. Dacre was outraged by what he called the swaggering conduct of the five suspects at the inquest (which had just ended when the front page was published). He was appalled that they appeared to be getting away with murder, as his own crime reporters and senior police officers told him they were. His focus and that of his paper was on five white ‘thugs’ from southeast London, and accusations about racism in the police or the justice system or in wider British society were wrong, and worse, were damaging distractions. It was for that reason that the Mail did not want a public inquiry into police failure and instead looked to the Macpherson inquiry (in vain) to hold the five suspects to account. When the inquiry report declared that the police service suffered from ‘institutional racism’, and when the Tony Blair government asserted that the whole country had lessons to learn from this, the Mail was openly disgusted. This was, it said, ‘a kind of politically correct McCarthyism’, and it asked: ‘Should the majority in this fundamentally decent and tolerant nation be tainted by collective guilt?’ The only racism the Mail would ever acknowledge in the case was the racism of the attackers (who were heard to use the word ‘n****r’) and conceivably of a few ‘bad apple’ police officers who, it said, should be driven out of the police service. Against this background, assertions by the Mail that it was instrumental in improvements in race relations and also in reforms of the police that flowed from the Macpherson inquiry must ring hollow. Not only did it not want the inquiry in the first place, but it was also broadly dismissive of the inquiry’s eventual findings. There is, however, one significant way in which the Mail probably helped bring positive change. The Stephen Lawrence affair was the first occasion when the white majority in this country came to understand and identify with the grief and anger of a black British family. They saw past angry black faces and recognised human suffering and a case of injustice. Those chiefly responsible for that change are the Lawrences themselves, but the Mail also deserves some credit. Baroness Lawrence wrote in her autobiography, And Still I Rise: ‘The Daily Mail’s front page had helped to open the story up. In fact the press had always been interested, but that report was said to have “touched Middle England”, the feelings of white people who don’t normally care much what happens to black youths in inner cities.’ It may well be that the public inquiry would have done this anyway, with its months of shocking testimony vindicating the family’s position, but it is clear that the Mail’s sensational intervention in February 1997 accelerated the process and it seems likely that many who would not otherwise have given consideration to the Lawrences’ grievances were induced to do so as a result. My article in Political Quarterly looks at all of this in some detail, and also at the other claims made by the Mail. For example, I found no evidence in the historical record to support the suggestion that the Mail campaigned in any sustained way for reform of the double jeopardy rule, nor for the suggestion that the editor of the Mail risked jail when he accused the five suspects of murder. Dacre’s assertion that if it had not been for the Mail Stephen Lawrence would have been denied justice is particularly hard to credit since there is nothing to support it in the known narrative of the police investigation that led to the two convictions. Even a general proposition that the Mail helped bring about convictions by continuing to highlight the issue does not withstand scrutiny. Brian Cathart
«Meurtriers», titrait hier le Daily Mail, ajoutant en une, photos et identités à l’appui: «le Mail accuse ces cinq hommes d’un meurtre raciste. Si nous avons tort, qu’ils nous fassent un procès.» Il n’est pas dans les habitudes du tabloïd conservateur de prendre ainsi parti dans un crime raciste. Mais son rédacteur en chef expliquait hier soir que l’assassinat jusqu’ici impuni d’un adolescent noir, il y a quatre ans, était devenu le symbole d’une justice à deux vitesses, efficace pour les Blancs, déficiente pour les sujets de couleur de Sa Majesté. Avant d’ajouter que le Daily Mail entendait faire pression sur le gouvernement. Jeudi soir, les parents de Stephen Lawrence, qui mènent combat depuis quatre ans pour que justice soit faite, ont finalement obtenu qu’un tribunal reconnaisse que leur fils a été tué «au cours d’une attaque raciste, non provoquée, par cinq jeunes Blancs». Une victoire certes, mais limitée: les cinq jeunes dénoncés par le Daily Mail et meurtriers présumés de l’adolescent restent libres, après une enquête de police bâclée et une instruction maladroite. Stephen Lawrence a été poignardé à mort en avril 1993 par un groupe de cinq jeunes Blancs alors qu’il attendait le bus à Eltham, dans le sud-est de Londres. Stephen avait dix-huit ans et a été tué parce qu’il était noir. «Prends-ça, sale Nègre», avait crié l’un des meurtriers, le perçant de coups de couteau. Sa famille était arrivée de Jamaïque, sa mère est institutrice, son père maçon, et Stephen, étudiant brillant, voulait devenir architecte. Les soupçons de la police se portent immédiatement sur un groupe de cinq jeunes, membres d’un club, «The Firm», ouvertement raciste et supporters du National Front (un minuscule parti raciste britannique ), qui vivent dans une cité voisine. Ils ont déjà injurié et agressé les quelques Noirs vivant dans le quartier. Entre mai et juin 1993, ils sont tous arrêtés mais nient avoir tué Stephen; faute de preuves suffisantes présentées par la police, le procureur les libère. La famille persévère et, à ses frais, monte en avril 1996 une private prosecution, un «procès privé», comme l’autorise une procédure rarement usitée du droit anglais, devant des magistrats publics de l’Old Bailey de Londres (l’équivalent de la Cour de cassation). Personne ne veut se présenter à l’audience pour témoigner contre les cinq assassins présumés. Par peur, selon la police; parce que l’enquête a été mal faite, selon la famille. Les enquêteurs peuvent seulement présenter des enregistrements effectués par la police de conversations ouvertement racistes des cinq jeunes. On entend l’un d’entre eux dire: «Il faut couper les bras et les jambes des Noirs pour qu’ils n’aient plus que des putains de moignons.» On voit un autre, sur un film vidéo, donner des coups de couteau dans l’air en criant: «Sale Nègre, sale Nègre.» Des éléments à charge certes, mais pas de preuves, témoignages ou aveux suffisants pour assurer une condamnation. Ce nouveau procès s’effondre. Entre-temps, Stephen est devenu une cause célèbre: Nelson Mandela, lors de sa visite en Grande-Bretagne, rencontrera même les parents de l’adolescent assassiné. Jeudi soir, le ministre de l’Intérieur a finalement décidé d’ouvrir une enquête sur le travail de la police. Sinon, reconnaissait l’avocat de la famille, Imran Khan, «les Britanniques de couleur finiront pas croire qu’ils doivent eux-mêmes se faire justice». Libération
L’affaire Stephen Lawrence fait suite au meurtre d’un adolescent noir britannique, tué le 22 avril 1993 à l’âge de 18 ans lors d’une agression pendant qu’il attendait un autobus. Cet homicide devint une cause célèbre et l’un des meurtres raciaux les plus en vue dans l’histoire du Royaume-Uni. Il a amené de profonds changements culturels dans l’attitude vis-à-vis du racisme, notamment dans les forces de police, et des modifications importantes de la législation et des pratiques policières ; ainsi de la révocation partielle des lois appelées double jeopardy (dérivées du Non bis in idem et par lesquelles une personne ne peut être jugée deux fois pour la même chose). Deux des meurtriers furent finalement condamnés presque vingt ans plus tard en 2012. Après sa journée du jeudi 22 avril 1993 à son école la Blackheath Bluecoat School, Stephen Lawrence visite quelques magasins à Lewisham puis passe la soirée chez l’un de ses oncles à jouer à des jeux vidéo en compagnie de son ami Duwayne Brooksnote. Quittant la maison vers 22h00, les deux amis décident de revenir chez eux par l’un ou l’autre des bus 161 ou 122 sur Well Hall Road (faisant partie de la South Circular road), au lieu du bus 286 qui passe dans une rue proche mais les ramènerait chez eux plus tard. Ils arrivent à l’arrêt de bus sur Well Hall Road à 22h25. Lawrence marche jusqu’à la jonction de Dickson Road pour voir si un bus est sur le point d’arriver ; puis il revient vers l’arrêt de bus. (…) À ce stade, Brooks voit un groupe de 5 ou 6 jeunes blancs en train de traverser Rochester Way de l’autre côté de la route (par rapport à l’arrêt de bus), vers le passage pour piétons, et venant dans leur direction. À 22h38 ou juste après, il appelle Lawrence pour lui demander s’il voit un bus venir. Brooks affirme que l’un du groupe dit alors : « What, what, nigger? » (« Quoi, quoi, nègre ? »), pendant que le groupe traverse la rue et submerge Lawrence. Lawrence est poussé à terre et est poignardé deux fois : à la clavicule droite et à l’épaule gauche, à une profondeur d’environ 13 cm, sur l’avant du corps. Chacune des deux blessures coupe en deux endroits les artères axillaires pour chaque bras, et un poumon est également percé. Son bras droit perd toute sensation, et sa respiration est perturbée. Brooks, qui a commencé à courir pour fuir les assaillants, crie à Lawrence de courir aussi. Pendant que les assaillants s’enfuient par Dickson Road, Brooks et Lawrence courent vers Shooters Hill ; mais Lawrence tombe après avoir couru 120 mètres, et perd son sang jusqu’à en mourir. (…) Lawrence a été tué seulement 9 mois après que Rohit Duggal, un garçon d’origine asiatique, a été poignardé à mort à Eltham dans une autre attaque raciste non provoquée. Une première enquête a lieu. Les trois témoins à l’arrêt de bus font état d’une attaque rapide et courte ; aucun ne peut identifier les suspects3. Dès le lendemain du meurtre cinq suspects sont identifiés : les frères Neil et Jamie Acourt, David Norris, Gary Dobson et Luke Knight, dont les quatre premiers nommés dans une lettre anonyme. Cependant, très rapidement l’enquête est publiquement taxée de biais ; vue par beaucoup comme un crime haineux, la mort de Lawrence est généralement perçue comme étant due à son origine ethnique et les policiers chargés de l’enquête comme racistes ainsi que les employés du Crown Prosecution Service concernés. Les parents de Stephen tiennent une conférence de presse le 04 mai, soutenant que la police ne traite pas le cas assez activement, et rencontrent Nelson Mandela le 06 mai. Entre le 7 mai et le 23 juin 1993, les cinq sont arrêtés et Neil Acourt et Luke Knight sont mis en accusation ; mais le Crown Prosecution Service tient pour non fiable la déposition de Duwayne Brooks en regard de l’identification de Neil Acourt et Luke Knight. Les charges envers Acourt et Knight sont annulées le 29 juillet, et les trois autres sont acquittés. Quelques mois plus tard l’avocat de la famille Lawrence annonce de nouvelles données, mais le coroner fait cesser l’enquête le 22 décembre 1993, et en avril 1994 le Crown Prosecution Service refuse de poursuivre l’accusation malgré de nouvelles preuves de l’identification des suspects. Le ministère public ayant refusé d’instruire l’affaire, les parents de Stephen lancent des poursuites judiciaires à titre privé contre Gary Dobson, Luke Knight et Neil Acourt en septembre 1994. En décembre – trois mois plus tard – des caméras cachées installées par la police montrent les trois, ainsi que Norris, usant de langage violent et raciste. Les poursuites sont présentées en tribunal du 18 au 25 avril 1996, mais les plaignants sont déboutés sur la même base que précédemment : les preuves d’identification fournies par Brooks sont refusées comme peu fiables. Les trois accusés sont de nouveau acquittés. Le 13 février 1997 l’enquête recommence. Les cinq accusés refusent de répondre aux questions. Verdict : meurtre au cours d’une attaque entièrement non provoquée perpétrée par cinq jeunes. Le lendemain 14 février, le Daily Mail consacre sa première page aux photos des cinq accusés surmontées d’un titre-choc : « Meurtriers – Le Mail accuse ces hommes de tuerie. Si c’est faux, qu’ils nous mènent en justice. » — Daily Mail, 14 février Cette intervention vigoureuse du Daily Mail modifie profondément la perception du public concernant l’affaire Lawrence. Cinq semaines plus tard, le 20 mars 1997 la Commission indépendante des plaintes contre la police pour le Kent lance une investigation sur le comportement de la police dans l’affaire Lawrence. Neuf mois plus tard cette enquête conclut à des « faiblesses significatives, oublis et opportunités manquées», mais sans reconnaître de conduite raciste. En juillet 1997 Jack Straw, Home Secretary (ministre de l’Intérieur) à l’époque, ordonne une enquête publique sur le meurtre et sur son investigation réalisée par le Metropolitan Police Service (MPS, couramment abrégé en « Met »). L’enquête est présidée par Sir William Macpherson, juge retraité de la Haute Cour de justice d’Angleterre et du pays de Galles, avec l’aide notamment de trois conseillers : Tom Cook (président du Runnymede Trust), John Sentamu (évêque de Stepne et Richard Stone (officier de police). L’enquête publique est ouverte le 20 mars 19982,15,16. En juillet 1998 la famille Lawrence demande la démission du chef de la Met Sir Paul Condon, qui en octobre 1998 présente des excuses publiques et admet que des erreurs ont été commises. Le rapport de l’enquête publique, couramment appelé rapport Macpherson (Macpherson report), est publié en février 1999. Il conclut que la force policière est « institutionnellement raciste » et contient 70 recommandations destinées à améliorer l’attitude de la police concernant le racisme, ainsi que des propositions de changements dans la loi pour renforcer le Race Relations Act qui vise à promouvoir l’égalité entre les races ; il propose notoirement que la règle non bis in idem soit abrogée dans le cas de meurtres, ceci en vue de permettre la tenue d’un nouveau procès sur présentation de nouvelles preuves convaincantes. C’est ce que permet le Criminal Justice Act (2003) britannique entré en vigueur en 2005. La publication en 1999 du Macpherson Report est qualifiée « d’un des plus importants moments de l’histoire moderne de la justice criminelle en Grande Bretagne». Dès 2004 son remarquable impact sur le débat des relations raciales s’est étendu non seulement sur l’appareil de justice criminelle, avec entre autres de nombreux changements à Scotland Yard pour éliminer le racisme, mais sur toutes les institutions publiques qui sont dès lors elles aussi tenues par la loi de promouvoir l’égalité et d’éliminer la discrimination en regard des diverses minorités. (…) Le 5 mai 2004 un nouveau passage au tribunal est bloqué : le Crown Prosecution Service annonce que suite à une revue du cas les preuves sont insuffisantes pour accuser quiconque dans l’affaire Lawrence. Mais en avril 2005 le principe légal de double jeopardy est amendé, rendant possible une deuxième mise en accusation après un acquittement préalable pour le même cas. 26 July 2006 – un documentaire de la BBC examine l’affaire Lawrence et émet de nouvelles questions quant aux principaux suspects. Subséquemment, la Met doit revoir ses preuves ; en octobre 2007 la Commission indépendante des plaintes contre la police affirme que contrairement à ce qu’affirme le documentaire elle n’a pas trouvé de preuve d’exactions par un officier. Mais le 8 novembre 2007 la police confirme qu’après cette revue du cas par une équipe de 32 officiers l’été précédent, la médecine légale examine de nouvelles preuves. La revue s’est penchée sur les données réunies à l’époque du meurtre, utilisant de nouvelles techniques d’examen pour les objets. Trois mois plus tard, le 07 février 2008 Doreen Lawrence, mère de Stephen, inaugure le centre éducatif Stephen Lawrence à Deptford2 ; ce dernier est attaqué plusieurs fois peu après18. En février 2009, 10 ans après le rapport Macpherson, Richard Stone – conseiller pour l’investigation et la rédaction de ce rapport – affirme que la police a fait des progrès notables dans le sens de sa propre réforme mais que le racisme y persiste. Jack Straw, alors ministre de la Justice, dit que la police n’est plus institutionnellement raciste ; mais la mère de Stephen Lawrence dit pour sa part que la police manque encore à son devoir vis-à-vis des Britanniques de couleur. En 2010, le meurtre est cité comme « l’un des plus évidents meurtres raciaux n’ayant pas été résolus». Toutefois, suite à la revue des preuves commencée en été 2006 Dobson (qui a été emprisonné pour 5 ans le 9 juillet 2010 pour fourniture de drogue de classe B) et Norris sont de nouveau accusés du meurtre en septembre 2010 ; et la cour d’appel décide en mai 2011 que les nouvelles données recueillies sont suffisantes pour les ramener au tribunal. L’acquittement de Dobson en juillet 1993 est donc supprimé, ce qui n’était pas possible avant l’amendement du double jeopardy act de 2005. Les deux accusés font face au tribunal le 14 novembre 20112. De l’ADN provenant de Stephen Lawrence a été trouvé dans les vêtements des accusés. Une minuscule tache de sang sur la veste de Dobson ne pouvait provenir que de Lawrence, ainsi qu’un cheveu sur les jeans de Norris, et des fibres des vêtements de Stephen ont été retrouvées sur les vêtements des accusés20. Les deux accusés sont déclarés coupables le 03 janvier 2012 et condamnés à vie, avec Dobson emprisonné pour un minimum de 15 ans et 2 mois, et Norris pour un minimum de 14 ans et 3 mois. Le 24 juin 2013 The Guardian présente les révélations de Peter Francis alias Pete Black, ancien officier de police ayant appartenu à la Special Demonstration Squad spécialiste de l’infiltration de groupes de protestations. Peter Francis aurait avec trois autres officiers participé à une opération en vue d’espionner et de tenter de vilipender la famille Lawrence, son ami Duwaine Brooks témoin du crime et les groupes de campagne et de soutien à la famille en colère de l’absence de condamnation des coupables. Il aurait infiltré ces groupes dès 1993, à la recherche de « désinformation » à utiliser contre ceux qui critiquaient la police. Il aurait également avec un autre officier cherché parmi les films pris de la manifestation de mai 1993 du matériel afin d’incriminer Duwaine Brooks, qui fut subséquemment arrêté et accusé de dégâts criminels ; mais cette affaire fut rejetée par le juge responsable qui considéra qu’il y avait là un abus de la procédure légale. Peter Francis affirme que cette démarche faisait partie d’un plan plus général visant à endommager le mouvement de campagne grandissant autour de la mort de Lawrence et tenter de stopper la campagne. La mère de Stephen signale qu’en 1993 la famille avait été très surprise de ce que la police prit les noms de toutes les personnes entrant et sortant de la maison, et qu’ils en arrivèrent rapidement à soupçonner la police de chercher des preuves pour discréditer la famille ; cette dernière n’avait à l’époque aucun rapport avec les groupes de soutien naissants, et n’était pas politisée. Francis confirme que malgré toutes leurs recherches pour du matériel de désinformation, aucun des quatre officiers n’a trouvé quoi que ce soit de concret. En 1997, lors de l’enquête publique dans le cadre du rapport Macpherson, Peter Francis souhaite que la Special Demonstration Squad fasse connaître l’opération sous couverture auquel il avait participé concernant l’affaire Lawrence. Mais ses supérieurs, fixés sur la mémoire du passage à tabac deux ans auparavant du citoyen noir Rodney King par la police de Los Angeles et des subséquentes émeutes sans précédent à Los Angeles, disent craindre des émeutes si cette opération devient publique, et la taisent. La Special Demonstration Squad, très controversée, a été démantelée en 2008 et partiellement remplacée par la National Domestic Extremism Unit. Wikipedia
Before the usual suspects start bouncing up and down, squealing ‘homophobia’, don’t bother. I supported civil partnerships long before it was fashionable and I’d rather children were fostered by loving gay couples than condemned to rot in state-run institutions, where they face a better-than-average chance of being abused. That said, and despite the fact that countless single parents do a fantastic job, I still cling to the belief that children benefit most from being brought up by a man and a woman. Which is precisely what worries me most about the Daley publicity stunt. Here we have two men drawing attention to the fact that ‘they’ are having a baby. But where’s the mum, the possessor of the womb which features in this photograph? She appears to have been written out of the script entirely. We are not told her identity, where she lives, or even when the baby is due. She is merely the anonymous incubator. My best guess is that she lives in America, since it is still illegal in Britain to pay surrogate mothers other than modest expenses. That’s why wealthy gay couples, such as Elton John and David Furnish, turn to the States when they want to start a family. Good luck to them. No one is suggesting that homosexual couples can’t make excellent parents. But nor is everyone comfortable with the trend towards treating women as mere breeding machines and babies as commodities. I’ve written before about the modern tendency in some quarters to regard children as fashion accessories, like those preposterous designer handbag dogs. (…) What I also find slightly disconcerting is that this story was reported virtually everywhere without so much as a raised eyebrow, as if it would be impolite even to ask any questions about the parentage. The Daily Mail
En novembre 2016, le groupe Lego décide de ne plus promouvoir ses jouets dans le Daily Mail à la suite des campagnes menées par celui-ci concernant le Brexit et la crise des migrants, campagnes jugées « haineuses » par le fabricant de jouets. En février 2018, Center Parcs cesse toute annonce publicitaire dans le Daily Mail à la suite d’un éditorial jugé homophobe. Ce journal est parfois critiqué pour son manque de vérification, et accusé de sensationnalisme. Son utilisation comme source a d’ailleurs été rejetée par la communauté de Wikipédia en anglais en février 2017. Ainsi, le navigateur Internet de Microsoft avertit les utilisateurs de ne pas faire confiance au journalisme du Daily Mail dans le cadre d’une fonctionnalité conçue pour lutter contre les fausses informations. Le message, qui est produit par une startup tierce appelée NewsGuard, invite le lecteur à agir avec prudence, sachant que « le site publie régulièrement des contenus qui ont porté atteinte à la réputation, provoqué une alarme répandue ou qui constituent du harcèlement ou une atteinte à la vie privée ». Le Daily Mail est également accusé par The Guardian de tenir des propos racistes, homophobes et islamophobes. Wikipedia
The Daily Telegraph has had the highest number of complaints upheld against it by the Independent Press Standards Organisation since the regulator was set up two years ago. According to adjudications posted to the IPSO website, the IPSO Complaints’ Committee found the national daily to have breached the Editor’s Code of Conduct nine times. The Times and Daily Express have each committed seven breaches, with the regulator having upheld five complaints against The Sun (including The Scottish Sun). The Sunday Times, Daily Mail and Mail Online have each had four complaints upheld over the two years of regulation under IPSO, which replaced the Press Complaints Commission in September 2014. Press Gazette
As a historian who wrote the first major biography of King and a separate book The FBI and Martin Luther King,Jr., Garrow’s new revelations must be taken seriously. His article appears in a distinguished British newspaper, not a Murdoch British rag or a tabloid such as our country’s National Enquirer. Undoubtedly, people like Roy Moore, Richard Spencer, David Duke, and various alt-right hangers-on will revel in this news and argue that it demolishes Martin Luther King Jr.’s standing as an American hero. That would be the wrong conclusion to take. King was a man who risked his own life by practicing non-violence and who publicly rejected the two primary alternatives to the civil rights movement: black nationalism and racial separatism. He rejected the use of guns in the fight against the oppressors, especially the police. Because of this, the more radical groups were not fond of King and called him the Uncle Tom of the movement. Let me not mince words. King’s behavior toward women should not be buried or excused. They should be condemned. But does acknowledging these truths mean that we can no longer recognize King’s accomplishments as a civil rights leader? Does it mean we have to ignore what he said in his powerful sermons and writings? Does it diminish his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”? It was there that King wrote that citizens had “not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws,” and at the same time “to disobey unjust laws.” Remember, King led an entire community to risk everything on behalf of freedom, fighting off Bull Connor’s police dogs and fire hoses as they were unleashed on unarmed citizens protesting for their rights as American citizens. Our leaders are human. King was deeply flawed in his view of women and his sexual proclivities. It is obvious, reading Garrow’s quotation from King’s sermon on March 3, 1968, that he was alluding to himself when he said “There is a schizophrenia . . . going on in all of us. There are times that all of us know somehow that there is a Mr. Hyde and a Dr. Jekyll in us.” God, King said, “does not judge us by the separate incidents or the separate mistakes that we make, but by the total bent of our lives.” The word “mistake” does not begin to cover King’s behavior toward women. But King is yet another reminder that good men can do bad things, and even bad men can sometimes accomplish great goods. How do we balance those ledgers in a final accounting? It’s hard. It’s messy. And there are no neat or obvious answers. Some thought Garrow should keep his discoveries under wraps, but it is the job of the historian to tell the truth. This is especially true for a historian who has already devoted a good chunk of his career to chronicling the man’s life. It would not be too much to say that Garrow had almost a unique duty to write this piece. It is unfortunate that the racists among us will cheer this news. But that is not an excuse to keep the truth hidden. If Garrow is right that a “profoundly painful historical reckoning and reconsideration” is upon us, then so be it. We are better off confronting the truth than living with a comfortable lie. Ronald Radosh
Should we prohibit the use of The Daily Mail as a source? I envisage something just short of blacklisting, whereby its introduction to an article could be accepted only upon there being a demonstrable need to use it instead of other sources. —Hillbillyholidaytalk 13:44, 7 January 2017 (UTC)
Consensus has determined that the Daily Mail (including its online version, dailymail.co.uk) is generally unreliable, and its use as a reference is to be generally prohibited, especially when other more reliable sources exist. As a result, the Daily Mail should not be used for determining notability, nor should it be used as a source in articles. An edit filter should be put in place going forward to warn editors attempting to use the Daily Mail as a reference. The general themes of the support votes centred on the Daily Mail’s reputation for poor fact checking, sensationalism, and flat-out fabrication. Examples were provided to back up these claims. Wikipedia
There is no justification for the blanket banning of a mass-circulation newspaper as a source. There will be cases where it is a suitable rs source. The problem with the « Mail-related arguments » mentioned, if the latest example here [2] is typical, is just with editors not knowing what appropriate sources to use. Should the Daily Mail be used to support a claim related to astronomy? Well duh, obviously not! The proposer seems to have a longterm pov agenda here, in an earlier comment he actually compared the Daily Mail to Völkischer Beobachter and has been busy compiling [3]. Tiptoethrutheminefield (talk) 14:16, 7 January 2017 (UTC)
It is hard to know whether to laugh or cry at this move by Wikipedia – a website that is notorious for its own inaccuracy and false truths, and which was co-founded by a man who doctored his own biographical entry. For the record the Daily Mail, in common with most reputable academic institutions, banned all its journalists from using Wikipedia as a sole source in 2014 because of its unreliability. Last year, the Daily Mail and Mail Online together published more than half a million stories and yet received just two upheld adjudications each for inaccuracy from the UK Industry’s regulator IPSO. This so-called ban by Wikipedia came at the end of a month-long ‘debate’ – triggered by a clearly obsessive newspaper-hater who hides behind the pseudonym ‘Hillbillyholiday’ – which attracted just 75 votes from Wikipedia’s 30 million anonymous registered editors. The debate makes it abundantly plain that the majority of those calling for the Mail to be banned were driven primarily by political motives. The so-called ‘vote’ was then endorsed by five anonymous administrators after a secret email exchange and then deliberately leaked to the media. All those people who believe in freedom of expression should be profoundly concerned at this cynical politically motivated attempt to stifle the free press. Spokesperson for Mail Newspapers
Cockram is a regular editor of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, where (according to multiple posts on his Facebook feed) he operates under the alias ‘Hillbillyholiday’. Last month, ‘Hillbillyholiday’ was the architect of a cynical PR stunt which saw this newspaper publicly smeared by damning its journalism ‘unreliable’. He and 52 like-minded anti-Press zealots, almost all of whom remain anonymous, collaborated in a vote which persuaded Wikipedia, the sixth most popular website in the world, that it ought to ban the Daily Mail. The move by the online encyclopedia — which was founded in 2001 and has in a few short years become a hugely influential source of information — was revealed in the pages of the Left-wing Guardian newspaper. It reported that Wikipedia’s editors had decided, in a democratic ballot, that the Mail’s journalism cannot be trusted. No statistics were offered in support of this claim, which, incidentally, came days before the Mail won Sports Newspaper Of The Year for an unprecedented fourth straight time, and was shortlisted for 15 awards at the British Press Awards, the news industry’s Oscars. (Indeed, as we shall see, the Mail has an enviable record on accuracy.) Neither did Wikipedia, nor The Guardian, bother to shed much light on how this decision was reached. If they had, then it would have become apparent to readers that this supposed exercise in democracy took place in virtual secrecy, and that Wikipedia’s decision to censor the Mail — the only major news outlet on the face of the Earth to be so censored — was supported by a mere 53 of its editors, or 0.00018 per cent of the site’s 30 million total, plus five ‘administrators’. Curiously, though it has now placed a ban on this paper, the website remains happy to use the state propaganda outlets of many of the world’s most repressive and autocratic Left-wing dictatorships as a source for information. Wikipedia has not, for example, banned the Chinese government’s Xinhua news agency, Iran’s Press TV or the Kremlin mouthpiece Russia Today. Neither does it place a black mark against Kim Jong-un’s in-house propaganda outlet, the Korean Central News Agency, which in 2012 published a report claiming that archaeologists in the country’s capital, Pyongyang, had discovered the remains of a 1,000-year-old unicorn lair. Wikipedia even heralds Exaro, the now-defunct British website notorious for making false claims about an establishment paedophile ring which saw a number of innocent people arrested, as a valid ‘investigative news source’. And yet, it has declared that the Daily Mail — one of the most popular mainstream newspapers published in any Western democracy — is somehow too ‘unreliable’ to be included on its site. In an era where the term ‘fake news’ is increasingly used as a desperate slur, with Donald Trump applying it to CNN, the BBC and any major outlet that tends to disgruntle him, it’s tempting to suggest that both Wikipedia and The Guardian are guilty, in this deeply disturbing saga, of creating what might be regarded as false news. More worrying, this ban has set a dangerous precedent, raising profoundly troubling questions about free speech and censorship in the online era. And ultimately it provides an object lesson in the way well-organised campaigners from extremes of the political spectrum are now seeking to impose their prejudices on society by seizing control of the most valuable resource of the internet age: information. (…) Tasked for evidence to support this claim, ‘Hillbillyholiday’ simply claimed that this newspaper had more of press regulator IPSO’s sanctions against it than his favourite title, The Guardian. He failed to state that The Guardian is not regulated by IPSO, so can’t possibly have been sanctioned by it. In other words, this opponent of the popular Press was using a deeply misleading claim to accuse someone else of inaccuracy. As it happens, like every newspaper in the land, the Mail does of course sometimes make mistakes. In common with most titles, we correct all significant factual errors pointed out to us, via the Corrections and Clarifications column. According to IPSO’s own report, the regulator’s figures suggest the Mail’s record is better, not worse, than our peers. In 2015, with our sister website MailOnline, the Mail published more than half a million stories; IPSO upheld complaints against two of them. By way of comparison, five articles in The Times had complaints of one kind or another upheld against them, along with four in the Daily Express, and ten published by the Telegraph group. This would tend to suggest that Wikipedia’s decision to ‘ban’ the Mail was based on naked prejudice rather than any empirical evidence. It should be noted here that, ironically enough, the Mail wrote to all its writers and reporters three years ago instructing them never to rely on Wikipedia as a single source, such were the concerns about its accuracy. Of course, the Wikipedia ban would never have made headlines if news of the website’s debate result had not promptly been leaked to The Guardian which — surprise surprise — has Jimmy Wales on its board. (…) It’s a perverse state of affairs, and one which must, surely, rile Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. Only last month, he wrote in The Guardian on the subject of fake news, arguing: ‘None of us is comfortable with the social media giants deciding what’s valid or not.’ Yet here is Wikipedia, a social media giant whose pages are riddled with inaccuracies, unilaterally deciding, at the request of a handful of people, that a major newspaper is somehow not valid. (…) financial papers filed by the Foundation show that, for an organisation that calls itself a ‘small non-profit’ business and begs users for donations (‘the price of a cup of coffee’) to keep it afloat, it enjoys bulging cash reserves. The Foundation’s accounts show it has assets of more than $90 million (£73 million), and spent $31 million (£25 million) in salaries last year, up from $26 million (£21 million) the year before. Since the same documents state that it employs 280 members of staff and contractors, their average salary appears to be more than $110,000 (£90,000). Meanwhile, the Foundation’s last tax return showed that its former executive director, Lila Tretikov, earned $308,149 (£251,000), plus another $18,213 (£15,000) in ‘other’ compensation, while former boss Sue Gardner was on roughly the same. The Daily Mail
Editors are supposed to always use judgment when choosing sources. Usually the broadsheets are better than the tabloids but there are circumstances when tabloids provide better coverage such as sports and crime. And if we exclude the Mail, there are a lot of other publications of lower quality that would still be considered reliable. TFD (talk) 12:18, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
there are some things for which it’s useful, despite all that’s been said above. Occasionally it accurately rakes muck that nobody else has turned over. If the proposer could be a little clearer about how we might demonstrate need to use it in those rare cases where the DM can be considered reliable, I might well change my mind. Richard Keatinge (talk) 17:10, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
Noting that this has been discussed a few dozen times now. Neither the DM nor any other news source is absolutely reliable on articles concerning celebrities. IMO, Wikipedia would be best off declining to republish « celebrity gossip » in the first place. More to the point, the DM has not been shown to be unreliable in other matters, although its headlines may misstate the content of articles, this is also true of every single newspaper known to man. I suggest, in fact, that « headlines » not be allowed as a source for what an article states, and only be allowed to illustrate what the headline stated and cited as such. Collect (talk) 14:27, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
The reliability of a Daily Mail should be judged on a case-by-case basis. Most material is uncontroversial and mistakes occur no more often than in other publications. A user should not have to hunt around for the same fact to be found in a different source because the Daily Mail is disliked by certain editors. ¡Bozzio! 05:37, 15 January 2017 (UTC)<h5 style= »text-align: justify; »><em>
Daily Mail gives coverage to many international news outside Europe and America. Daily Mail is not a good source in content dispute. But Daily Mail is good to prove notability of a subject. Daily Mail covers news stories which are not getting coverage in other English Media. We can use Daily Mail to establish notability of a politician, celebrity from Eastern Europe, Asia. Sometimes Daily Mail gives coverage to very ordinary things, but due to this they give coverage to many important Asian news, North African news and East-European news (where English is not official language). Marvellous Spider-Man 03:03, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
The Daily Mail, as hated as it is, is a very mixed bag. It can contain wonderful information such as accurate and informative interviews of highly respected people like Lord Puttnam (yes, I’ve seen that; can find the link if you need it), informative and detailed film and television articles, detailed information on various openings, galas, and so on. Many of these items are exclusives, so we can’t blacklist the publication. It also has an excellent (theatre, film, etc.) review team. We just have to keep in mind that it often stoops to tabloid scandal-mongering (and ridiculous political opinions). I think any intelligent editor can tell the difference. So with this publication it has to always be on a case-by-case basis. It’s a middle-market newspaper, so we cannot avoid it or blacklist it. I’d say it’s not to be used as a source for politics, science, medicine. But as a source for entertainment updates it is often helpful and often contains accurate information that is not available anywhere else. If it is contradicted by a more reliable source, it should not be used. Nothing negative, contentious, or potentially libelous or in any way scandalous should be sourced to the DM (unless it is a direct quote from an interview). Softlavender (talk) 06:26, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
The DM falls on a spectrum of news quality and it is far from the worst; singling it out for prohibition is not the solution here. It is hard not to suspect that it is being singled out because it combines a strong right-wing bias with a very large circulation. I see several editors above citing statistics regarding complaints and corrections as though this was a reason for prohibiting its use; but WP:NEWSORG gives the very fact that a complaints process exists and corrections are published as a reason to consider the source reliable. It should certainly be considered WP:BIASED, but then so should every news organisation that takes an editorial stance. This is already policy. Outright banning established, regulated, large-circulation newspapers from use on enwiki would be a terrible precedent to set, especially for having « ridiculous political opinions, » as one editor has put it a few lines above. GoldenRing (talk) 10:56, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
Awful and biased as the Mail often is, there is also much that may be uncontentious. For example, take e.g. an article that I did some editing on a long time ago, on Mary Marquis, a Scottish newsreader of the ’70s and ’80s, who is still a much cherished and remembered figure in Scotland. The article contains multiple citations to an 1998 interview / profile piece from the Mail — all of which, I would submit, are entirely uncontroversial; and (I submit) contribute valuably to giving a rounded-out account of her. Of course there are reasons why one should very often be cautious of the Mail, but IMO a blanket ban is not the way. I would add that, although people like to throw around the word « Tabloid », there can be a distinction between the connotations of that word on different sides of the Atlantic, and I wouldn’t throw the Record or the Mirror or the Standard or Metro into the same class as eg the National Enquirer. Jheald (talk) 20:03, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
The paper has been around since 1896. Its bad reputation in the first few years of the 21st century speak nothing about the reliability of more than a hundred years of volumes. Clearly a blanket ban is unjustified (per Thincat). – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 03:17, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
Existing policy is enough. If it is worth adding to a Wikipedia article, it will have appeared in better sources than the Mail and other red top British tabloids. I am not an anti-tabloid snob like some of the people here, and the broadsheets are not perfect either. However, the Mail should be off limits for anything BLP related. This discussion is reminiscent of this tweet by Gavin Each case has to be judged on its merits because all sources are prone to error. The Daily Mail seems fairly average as journalism goes and should not be singled out when there are many worse sources. The following specific points demonstrate this. Andrew D. (talk) 13:50, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
The Daily Mail is somewhat unusual for a UK paper as it was the first newspaper specifically aimed at women and is read by more women than men. For example, the word suffragette was first coined in the pages of the Daily Mail and so is naturally cited by the Oxford English Dictionary. When the singer Lynsey de Paul died, there was some confusion about her exact age. The Daily Mail was one of the few news sources which got this right. I started our article about churnalism and this can be found in most news media now. One interesting case was a project which deliberately planted fake stories to see whether they would be circulated. The Daily Mail didn’t fall for this when many other news media did. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Andrew Davidson (talkcontribs)
This is ridiculous that you even consider to ban such a large newspaper. It reminds me of a witch hunt or collective responsibility (good articles banned by default, because someone else did something wrong earlier). Someone reverted DM as a source, even though DM was the only source, which actually bothered to interview the authors of the paper, therefore it was a better source than all other sources. There was nothing wrong with that DM article the only reason for removal was actually this discussion here. That can’t be right. Musashi miyamoto (talk) 17:18, 24 January 2017 (UTC)

Quel deux poids deux mesures ?

A l’heure où …

Après les faux notoires des Walter Duranty (NYT), Dan Rather (NBC), Eason Jordan (CNN) ou Scott Beauchamp (NYT) …

Où  sans parler, comme avec les toutes récentes révélations d’un spécialiste de Martin Luther King rejetées par tant le Guardian que l’Atlantic, de la rétention active d’information

Des usages de faux, plus près de chez nous, des Patrice De Beer et Jean-Claude Pomonti, PPDA, Charles Enderlin, Sara Daniel, Pascal Riché, Eric Laurent, Alain Ménargues (RFI) ou Michel Foucault

Le journal de référence américain lui-même se permet, hystérie anti-Trump oblige, un dessin antisémite

Ou un professeur de journalisme de NYU, parce que c’est « plausible », un faux tweet du président américain …

Où un journaliste qui présente explicitement son travail sur la présidence Trump comme …

Pour « beaucoup » « à l’image de ceux de Trump tout bonnement faux » …

Le « flou avec la vérité, sinon avec la réalité elle-même » comme  « fil conducteur élémentaire » de ses livres …

La vérité comme « une version des faits que je crois vraie » …

Son non-rappel des personnes incriminées pour vérification comme non nécessaire puisque l’on « sait à l’avance ce que la réponse sera »

Son obligation d’arriver à « la vérité telle que je la vois » comme plus importante que la vérification des faits …

Et sa principale source comme les dires d’un ancien conseiller du président américain …

Non seulement ouvertement déterminé à régler ses comptes avec celui qui l’a éconduit …

Mais considéré justement par tous comme l’âme damnée et le principal inspirateur du rapport controversé de l’hôte de la Maison Blanche à la vérité …

Ne va pas manquer, comme avec son premier livre, de remplir les colonnes de nos valeureux journalistes avec son irresistible flot d’ « anecdotes croustillantes, risibles et parfois invraisemblables sur Donald Trump » …

Et où, de ce côté-ci de l’Atlantique, les mêmes journalistes qui n’hésitent pas à balancer en une des notes classées secret défense pour dénoncer les ventes d’armes à l’Arabie saoudite ou à compromettre l’identité d’un membre des forces spéciales pour alimenter leur feuilleton Benalla

Multiplient les précautions oratoires quand ils ne mettent pas systématiquent en doute les informations des services secrets américains ou israéliens, voire de l’ONU même sur les activités explicitement terroristes, livraisons d’armes aux Houtis du Yemen comprises, des mollahs et de leurs affidés au Moyen-Orient …

Comment voir …

Non seulement la qualification de « haineux » pour avoir osé soulever …

Entre deux campagnes pour dénoncer un crime raciste ou une condamnation injuste

Les questions qui fâchent comme le problèmes de l’immigration sauvage ou la tentative par les juges de la Cour suprême britannique de remettre en cause le vote populaire du Brexit …

Ou d’ « homophobe » pour, dans les cas de parenté homosexuelle, avoir osé rappeler l’intérêt des enfants ou des mères porteuses …

Mais le rejet comme source fiable il y a deux ans du seul Daily Mail …

Par un Wikipédia qui a pourtant ses propres problèmes  …

Alors que, prenant notamment en compte l’important volume d’articles du premier site de presse britannique (144 000 articles par jour), l’extension pour navigateur Newsguard vient de lui redonner son label vert

Pour autre chose que ce qu’il n’est vraiment …

A savoir, comme le dit bien le Daily Mail lui-même, une « tentative cynique et politiquement motivée d’étouffer la presse libre » ?

Wikipedia ban condemned by Daily Mail as ‘cynical politically motivated attempt to stifle the free press’
The Daily Mail has said a decision by Wikipedia editors to ban references to its articles for sourcing entries is a “politically motivated attempt to stifle the free press”.
Freddy Mayhew
Press Gazette
February 10, 2017

The Daily Mail and Mail Online publications were the subject of a debate this week among a section of the self-regulating community of voluntary Wikipedia editors, most of whom post under pseudonyms.

It began when one editor, called Hillbillyholiday, proposed a “request for comment” from the editorial community on whether it should “prohibit the use of the Daily Mail as a source”.

They said: “I envisage something just short of blacklisting, whereby its introduction to an article could be accepted only upon there being a demonstrable need to use it instead of other sources.”

The motion passed within 24 hours, supported by 58 out of 84 editors.

It stated: “Consensus has determined that the Daily Mail (including its online version, dailymail.co.uk) is generally unreliable, and its use as a reference is to be generally prohibited, especially when other more reliable sources exist.

“As a result, the Daily Mail should not be used for determining notability, nor should it be used as a source in articles. An edit filter should be put in place going forward to warn editors attempting to use the Daily Mail as a reference.”

Editors said support for the ban “centred on the Daily Mail’s reputation for poor fact checking, sensationalism, and flat-out fabrication” and encouraged volunteers to “review” and “remove/replace” the many thousands of existing citations on Wikipedia referencing Mail stories.

The ban was opposed by some members, with one stating: “There is no justification for the blanket banning of a mass-circulation newspaper as a source. There will be cases where it is a suitable [as a] source.

“The problem with the ‘Mail-related arguments’ mentioned… is just with editors not knowing what appropriate sources to use.”

Mail Online publishes around half a million stories a year. According to Press Gazette analysis the Daily Mail and Mail Online had four adjudications upheld against them each under the first two years of press regulator IPSO (to September 2016).

Anyone can edit a Wikipedia page by simply clicking on the “edit” button along the top of an article and signing up for free. There is no vetting process and only deliberate “vandalism” will invoke arbitration.

A spokesperson for Mail Newspapers said: “It is hard to know whether to laugh or cry at this move by Wikipedia – a website that is notorious for its own inaccuracy and false truths, and which was co-founded by a man who doctored his own biographical entry.

“For the record the Daily Mail, in common with most reputable academic institutions, banned all its journalists from using Wikipedia as a sole source in 2014 because of its unreliability.

“Last year, the Daily Mail and Mail Online together published more than half a million stories and yet received just two upheld adjudications each for inaccuracy from the UK Industry’s regulator IPSO.

“This so-called ban by Wikipedia came at the end of a month-long ‘debate’ – triggered by a clearly obsessive newspaper-hater who hides behind the pseudonym ‘Hillbillyholiday’ – which attracted just 75 votes from Wikipedia’s 30 million anonymous registered editors.

“The debate makes it abundantly plain that the majority of those calling for the Mail to be banned were driven primarily by political motives.

“The so-called ‘vote’ was then endorsed by five anonymous administrators after a secret email exchange and then deliberately leaked to the media.

“All those people who believe in freedom of expression should be profoundly concerned at this cynical politically motivated attempt to stifle the free press.”

The editor behind the motion to ban the Daily Mail as a Wikipedia source, Hillbillyholiday, has since left Wikipedia. A sign on their page, which reveals next to no detail about the individual, states: “Hillbillyholiday is taking a short wikibreak and will be back on Wikipedia soon.”

In one public message from an editor called Bounder, Hillbillyholiday is awarded a merit badge for their “excellent work in opening the RfC on the Daily Mail”. Bounder added of the Mail: “Its presence on what is supposed to be an encyclopaedia is a constant source of embarrassment.”

In response, Hillbillyholiday said: “Thanks, Bounder… really didn’t expect the RfC [Request for Coment] to pass and was beginning to regret using Mail-style tactics of blatant sensationalization [sic] and flagrant misrepresentation of sources; it seemed rather ‘poetic’ at the time.

“Anyway, job’s a good’un, I’m off to hide somewhere where [Daily Mail editor Paul] Dacre won’t find me.”

In a leader column today, the Times said Wikipedia’s ban on the Daily Mail was evidence of a “promiscuous extension of the phrase ‘fake news’ to cover stories and publications that the complainer happens merely to dislike”.

“Newspapers make errors and have the responsibility to correct them. Wikipedia editors’ fastidiousness, however, appears to reflect less a concern for accuracy than dislike of the Daily Mail’s opinions,” the paper said, adding: “It is the duty of legitimate news organisations to reveal real news.”

On the Daily Mail ban, Juliet Barbara, director of communications at the Wikimedia Foundation, said in a statement: “Editors have discussed the reliability of the Daily Mail since at least early 2015.

“In January 2017, an RfC (Request for Comment) discussion was proposed to evaluate the use of the Daily Mail as a reliable source on English Wikipedia. This is one of many community discussions that take place every day about a broad range of issues, including reliable sources.

“In this case, volunteer editors seem to have come to a consensus that the Daily Mail is ‘generally unreliable and its use as a reference is to be generally prohibited, especially when other more reliable sources exist’.

“This means that there is a general recommendation according to this discussion that the Daily Mail not be referenced as a ‘reliable source’ on English Wikipedia or used to demonstrate an article subject’s notability.

“That said, I encourage you to read the comments in the RfC itself. You will find considerable discussion on the topic, including views both for and against the proposal. Wikipedia is a living, breathing ecosystem where volunteers regularly discuss and evolve the norms that guide the encyclopaedia.

“Among Wikipedia’s many policies and guidelines, there is even a policy to ignore all rules. It captures the open spirit of the community: ‘If a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it.’

“As a general guide to reliable sources, articles on Wikipedia should be based on reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. Editors assess the reliability of a source at these levels:

  • The piece of work itself (the article, book)
  • The creator of the work (the writer, journalist)
  • The publisher of the work (for example, Random House or Cambridge University Press)

“They also use a variety of criteria to evaluate reliability within each of these levels. For example, one signal that a news organization engages in fact-checking and has a reputation for accuracy is the publication of corrections.”

Voir aussi:

The making of a Wiki-Lie: Chilling story of one twisted oddball and a handful of anonymous activists who appointed themselves as censors to promote their own warped agenda on a website that’s a byword for inaccuracy 

    • Wikipedia’s editors decided that the Mail’s journalism cannot be trusted
    • The ban was supported by just 0.00018 per cent of site’s ‘administrators’
    • The Mail is the only major news outlet on the face of the Earth to be so censored
    • Ban sets a dangerous precedent, raising troubling questions about free speech

Guy Adams
The Daily Mail
4 March 2017

Here, you will learn that he’s ‘single’, is a fan of graffiti and folk music, and has worked variously as an ‘artist’ and ‘education management professional’.

Cockram boasts 153 online friends, and claims to live in Angoisse, a village in the Dordogne in south-western France. He also appears to take great pleasure in regularly circulating obscene images and racist sentiments via the social network.

His Facebook page includes an image of two gay men performing a sex act in public, a photograph of a naked, dark-haired man having oral sex with himself, and a painting that depicts bestiality between a man and a sheep.

Three years ago, Cockram wrote on his timeline that ‘all Muslim men admitted to Paradise will have an ever-erect penis and they will each marry 70 wives, all with appetising vaginas’.

Around the same time, he declared: ‘If you gently lick the outside of a Kinder Egg, you can slowly recreate the changing skin tones of Michael Jackson.’

It’s lubricious, utterly unedifying stuff. Indeed, a casual observer could be forgiven for pigeon-holing Cockram as a bigoted oddball who spends rather too much of his life in darker corners of the internet.

Yet in the modern world, bigoted oddballs who are over-familiar with the internet can wield tremendous power — and this potty-mouthed man is a case in point. For when he’s not posting obscene images or racist sentiments, Cockram is a regular editor of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, where (according to multiple posts on his Facebook feed) he operates under the alias ‘Hillbillyholiday’.

Last month, ‘Hillbillyholiday’ was the architect of a cynical PR stunt which saw this newspaper publicly smeared by damning its journalism ‘unreliable’.

He and 52 like-minded anti-Press zealots, almost all of whom remain anonymous, collaborated in a vote which persuaded Wikipedia, the sixth most popular website in the world, that it ought to ban the Daily Mail.

The move by the online encyclopedia — which was founded in 2001 and has in a few short years become a hugely influential source of information — was revealed in the pages of the Left-wing Guardian newspaper.

It reported that Wikipedia’s editors had decided, in a democratic ballot, that the Mail’s journalism cannot be trusted.

No statistics were offered in support of this claim, which, incidentally, came days before the Mail won Sports Newspaper Of The Year for an unprecedented fourth straight time, and was shortlisted for 15 awards at the British Press Awards, the news industry’s Oscars. (Indeed, as we shall see, the Mail has an enviable record on accuracy.)

Neither did Wikipedia, nor The Guardian, bother to shed much light on how this decision was reached.

If they had, then it would have become apparent to readers that this supposed exercise in democracy took place in virtual secrecy, and that Wikipedia’s decision to censor the Mail — the only major news outlet on the face of the Earth to be so censored — was supported by a mere 53 of its editors, or 0.00018 per cent of the site’s 30 million total, plus five ‘administrators’.

Curiously, though it has now placed a ban on this paper, the website remains happy to use the state propaganda outlets of many of the world’s most repressive and autocratic Left-wing dictatorships as a source for information.

Wikipedia has not, for example, banned the Chinese government’s Xinhua news agency, Iran’s Press TV or the Kremlin mouthpiece Russia Today.

Neither does it place a black mark against Kim Jong-un’s in-house propaganda outlet, the Korean Central News Agency, which in 2012 published a report claiming that archaeologists in the country’s capital, Pyongyang, had discovered the remains of a 1,000-year-old unicorn lair.

Wikipedia even heralds Exaro, the now-defunct British website notorious for making false claims about an establishment paedophile ring which saw a number of innocent people arrested, as a valid ‘investigative news source’.

And yet, it has declared that the Daily Mail — one of the most popular mainstream newspapers published in any Western democracy — is somehow too ‘unreliable’ to be included on its site.

In an era where the term ‘fake news’ is increasingly used as a desperate slur, with Donald Trump applying it to CNN, the BBC and any major outlet that tends to disgruntle him, it’s tempting to suggest that both Wikipedia and The Guardian are guilty, in this deeply disturbing saga, of creating what might be regarded as false news.

More worrying, this ban has set a dangerous precedent, raising profoundly troubling questions about free speech and censorship in the online era.

And ultimately it provides an object lesson in the way well-organised campaigners from extremes of the political spectrum are now seeking to impose their prejudices on society by seizing control of the most valuable resource of the internet age: information.

To understand how, you must first understand Wikipedia and the manner in which it works. Founded in 2001 by Jimmy Wales, husband of Tony Blair’s former diary secretary Kate Garvey (Alastair Campbell played bagpipes at their wedding), the site is an encyclopedia whose pages can be written and edited by anyone in the world.

Wales has said he wants it to contain ‘the sum of all human knowledge available to all in their own language’.

Over time, the theory goes, successive contributors, or ‘editors’, will gradually improve and update every Wikipedia article. Thanks to the so-called ‘wisdom of crowds’, they will slowly but surely create an ever-more-valuable repository of facts.

Today, Wikipedia has more than five million pages in English, and is visited about 269 million times a day, making it more popular than the sales site Amazon.

Thirty million people have now registered as ‘editors’, of whom around 130,000 have been active in the past six months.

Since it’s easily accessed online by Google, billions more use its pages as a key source of what they assume is accurate and unbiased information.

That’s the theory, at least. However in practice, the site — so quick to smear the Mail as ‘unreliable’ — has itself become a byword for inaccuracy.

Banned as source material by many universities, Wikipedia’s reputation for carrying fake news has seen it claim (among other things) that Robbie Williams eats domestic pets, that the Greek philosopher Plato was a Hawaiian surfer who discovered Florida, and that the TV news presenter Jon Snow has been patron of the British Conifer Society. (For the record, Mr Snow himself has said: ‘I hate conifers and I’m not the society’s patron.’)

Victims of ‘Wiki-lies’ have over recent years included some of the loftiest figures in the land.

Take Lord Justice Leveson, whose vast report on the Press informed readers that the Independent newspaper had been founded by a man called Brett Straub.

In fact, Mr Straub is a Californian student whose name had been uploaded to Wikipedia by way of a prank. Leveson’s team had simply cut-and-pasted it from the online encyclopedia into the report without checking: quite a boob for a man who lectured the Press for sometimes getting facts wrong.

Behind the scenes, Wikipedia is supposed to be run along broadly democratic lines, with groups of users making key decisions and founder Jimmy Wales describing himself as its ‘constitutional monarch, like the Queen’.

He doesn’t wield executive power, and, indeed, has occasionally fallen out spectacularly with users of the site.

In 2005, they discovered that Wales had edited his own Wikipedia entry to remove references to the pornographic nature of a search engine he once ran called Bomis Babes (which contained images of ‘lesbian strip poker threesomes’ among other things). The references were soon re-added. In 2010, he deleted 1,000 pornographic images from Wikipedia only for furious users to restore 900 of them.

As a result of its devolved structure, major policy decisions that affect the online encyclopedia are supposed to be vigorously discussed in chat-rooms and then put to a vote.

That’s the idea, at least. Yet as the recent censorship of the Daily Mail shows, the website’s version of democracy does not always work perfectly in practice.

For this momentous decision was made not by a large proportion of the site’s billions of users, or even by many of its 30 million editors, but instead as the result of an online debate in which just a few dozen people participated, despite the fact that it took place over a month.

There was then an election, in which a mere 77 of them voted, with 53 endorsing a ‘ban’ on the Mail. As elections go, it’s hardly a popular landslide.

No further steps were taken to gauge the opinion of Wikipedia’s wider user base, or to establish if there was any evidence to support the contention that this paper is somehow ‘unreliable’.

The wheels of this stunt were set in motion on January 7 by ‘Hillbillyholiday’, whose attitude towards the popular Press is evident in the fact that he also uses the alias ‘Tabloid Terminator’ and who has included an image of himself burning a copy of the Mail on his profile page.

In the past, he has declared: ‘If the Daily Mail were a person, I would kick them square in the nut.’ He’s also said he ‘hates The Sun and thinks anyone who treats it as a reliable source is stark raving mad’.

Using an obscure chatroom browsed by some Wikipedia editors, he kicked things off by saying: ‘Should we prohibit the use of the Daily Mail as a source?’ He continued: ‘I envisage something just short of blacklisting.’

Blacklisting is a term which in its modern context was popularised by the Nazis, who drew up a ‘Black Book’ of 2,820 Britons, including the philosopher Bertrand Russell and Winston Churchill, who would be sent to concentration camps if Hitler won the war.

Discussion was then joined by a number of other Wikipedia editors with either Left-wing political leanings or wider anti-Press agendas. Steven Slater, a fortysomething science fiction fan from Essex, declared this newspaper a ‘fake news’ outlet.

Another regular contributor was an American called Guy Macon who has said: ‘Kill it. Kill it with fire. Under NO circumstances should the Daily Mail be used for anything, ever.’

All of them were apparently of the view that the Mail is far more inaccurate than any other news organisation on the face of the Earth. Yet they failed to cite any data to back up their contention.

Indeed, asked for evidence to support this claim, ‘Hillbillyholiday’ simply claimed that this newspaper had more of press regulator IPSO’s sanctions against it than his favourite title, The Guardian. He failed to state that The Guardian is not regulated by IPSO, so can’t possibly have been sanctioned by it.

In other words, this opponent of the popular Press was using a deeply misleading claim to accuse someone else of inaccuracy.

As it happens, like every newspaper in the land, the Mail does of course sometimes make mistakes. In common with most titles, we correct all significant factual errors pointed out to us, via the Corrections and Clarifications column.

According to IPSO’s own report, the regulator’s figures suggest the Mail’s record is better, not worse, than our peers.

In 2015, with our sister website MailOnline, the Mail published more than half a million stories; IPSO upheld complaints against two of them. By way of comparison, five articles in The Times had complaints of one kind or another upheld against them, along with four in the Daily Express, and ten published by the Telegraph group.

This would tend to suggest that Wikipedia’s decision to ‘ban’ the Mail was based on naked prejudice rather than any empirical evidence.

It should be noted here that, ironically enough, the Mail wrote to all its writers and reporters three years ago instructing them never to rely on Wikipedia as a single source, such were the concerns about its accuracy.

Of course, the Wikipedia ban would never have made headlines if news of the website’s debate result had not promptly been leaked to The Guardian which — surprise surprise — has Jimmy Wales on its board.

The Left-wing newspaper carried a short report of the Daily Mail ban in its print edition, and a longer one online. Each was originally published before this newspaper was in a position to comment.

Its online report was then re-published, with a quotation from a spokesman for this newspaper describing Wikipedia’s ban as ‘a politically motivated attempt to stifle the free Press’.

Amazingly, that comment was edited by The Guardian prior to publication to remove criticism of Jimmy Wales for editing his own Wikipedia page. Disgracefully, it was also altered to remove the crucial information about just how few of Wikipedia’s 30 million editors had been responsible for the ban.

This was only subsequently added into the online story after further representations by the Mail. Even then, The Guardian did not include the fact that the ‘vote’ had been endorsed by just five anonymous administrators.

Talk about fake news! Because, of course, by now this misleading story had been validated by its publication in a well-known national newspaper, and was being repeated verbatim by other news outlets, particularly from the Left — showing just how corruptible information has become in the online age.

To this end, it’s worth noting that while the number of articles in English-language pages of Wikipedia has more than doubled in seven years, the number of people editing the site has declined by a quarter — thus concentrating editorial power in a small number of hands, and creating a narrow nexus of obsessive meddlers.

Today, around 90 per cent of these editors are men, and most are white. Only a tiny proportion come from outside the developed world. Most are under the age of 40 and have a liberal world view. Some could be accurately described as cranks.

Such a man is Michael Cockram, whose Facebook page (in between the obscenity and racist bile) also celebrates juvenile acts of vandalism that appear to have been carried out on Wikipedia entries.

‘The common tadpole, also known as a polliwog, is in fact not from frog eggs, but from goose poo,’ reads one. ‘Tadpoles can sing at a frequency higher than what humans can hear.’

This, then is the bizarre individual who, with a self-selecting handful of other zealots, has managed to ban a major popular newspaper from the world’s sixth largest website.

It’s a perverse state of affairs, and one which must, surely, rile Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. Only last month, he wrote in The Guardian on the subject of fake news, arguing: ‘None of us is comfortable with the social media giants deciding what’s valid or not.’

Yet here is Wikipedia, a social media giant whose pages are riddled with inaccuracies, unilaterally deciding, at the request of a handful of people, that a major newspaper is somehow not valid.

I asked the website’s parent organisation, the Wikimedia Foundation, how it squares Wales’s ethos with recent events. It refused to answer.

Perhaps it has something to hide. After all, financial papers filed by the Foundation show that, for an organisation that calls itself a ‘small non-profit’ business and begs users for donations (‘the price of a cup of coffee’) to keep it afloat, it enjoys bulging cash reserves.

The Foundation’s accounts show it has assets of more than $90 million (£73 million), and spent $31 million (£25 million) in salaries last year, up from $26 million (£21 million) the year before.

Since the same documents state that it employs 280 members of staff and contractors, their average salary appears to be more than $110,000 (£90,000).

Meanwhile, the Foundation’s last tax return showed that its former executive director, Lila Tretikov, earned $308,149 (£251,000), plus another $18,213 (£15,000) in ‘other’ compensation, while former boss Sue Gardner was on roughly the same.

Are these amounts not excessive? Again the Foundation refused to answer my questions about the subject.

Perhaps they feel no need. For theirs is a world where it has become troublingly easy to ignore awkward questions, or indeed everything, from a newspaper which an infinitesimally small number of their members happen to dislike.

Voir également:

‘We were wrong’: US news rating tool boosts Mail Online trust ranking after talks with unnamed Daily Mail exec
James Walker
Press Gazette
January 31, 2019

US news website rating tool Newsguard has changed its verdict on Mail Online after originally declaring the UK’s most-read news website failed to uphold “basic standards of accuracy or accountability”.

Newsguard now says the website “generally maintains basic standards of accuracy and accountability”. The start-up said the changes had been made following “discussions” with an unnamed Daily Mail executive

New York-based Newsguard runs a free extension for the Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge browsers that dishes out “red” and “green” ratings to news websites based on its judgement of their trustworthiness.

It was revealed last week that the ranking tool, which is included as an opt-in extension on Microsoft Edge’s mobile web app, handed Mail Online a red rating that put it on par with Kremlin-backed newsbrands RT and Sputnik.

When the browser extension is installed, red or green shields appear to give Newsguard’s appraisal of the website, which it calls “nutrition labels”.

In its previous “red” rating for Mail Online, Newsguard claimed it failed on six counts:

  • To gather and present information responsibly
  • Handle the difference between news and opinion responsibly
  • Avoid deceptive headlines
  • Reveal who is in charge and potential conflicts of interest
  • Provide the names of content creators with contact information
  • Repeatedly published false content.

In its new “green” label for the website, Newsguard has rowed back on its previous claims about deceptive headlines, publishing false content and the failure to reveal who is in charge along with conflicts of interest.

It still regards Mail Online as failing to gather and present information responsibility, handle the difference between news and opinion responsibly and provide the names of content creators with contact information.

In its editor’s note on the updated “nutrition label” for Mail Online, Newsguard said: “This label now has the benefit of the dailymail.co.uk’s input and our view is that in some important respects their objections are right and we were wrong, which we think demonstrates the value of the transparency and accountability that imbues what we do.”

Newsguard said the Daily Mail executive pointed out that it had relied too heavily on complaints filed with watchdog the Independent Press Standards Organisation when making a judgement on whether or not the site repeatedly published fake news.

Newsguard accepted that point and said it “should not be over-relying on IPSO’s process for our judgement on this criterion” and also needed to consider the number of IPSO complaints levelled at a publication against how much content it publishes.

Mail Online publishes some 1,500 stories per day – well over half-a-million per year. It has 12m average daily unique browsers, according to circulation auditor ABC.

The “red” ratings for deceptive headlines was reversed after Newsguard similarly considered the number of Mail Online stories that carried misleading headlines versus those that did not.

The Mail executive also challenged the media start-up’s claim that it failed to handle the difference between news and opinion responsibly, pointing out that UK newspapers “have long-held politically oriented viewpoints … and that this is a widely accepted practice in British journalism”.

Newsguard said it would not change Mail Online’s “red” rating on that criteria because there was no “disclosure of its conservative orientation” on its website.

The start-up said the Mail executive agreed with its point on revealing who was in charge and possible conflicts of interest and has put more information about editorial leadership on its website.

Newsguard has claimed more than 500 online news outlets have “improved their journalism practices” based on its nine trustworthiness factors, which are:

  • Not repeatedly publishing false content
  • Gathering and presenting information responsibly
  • Regular corrections and clarifications (where necessary)
  • Handling the difference between news and opinion responsibly
  • Avoiding deceptive headlines
  • Disclosing ownership and source(s) of financing
  • Clearly labels advertising
  • Reveals who is in charge and any conflicts of interest
  • Provides name of content creators with either contact or biographical information.

It said that Mail Online, Reuters and Yahoo News are among those that have improved practices as a result of its browser extension.

Newsguard co-chief executive Steven Brill said: “We created Newsguard because we believe strongly that when news organizations are held to a high standard of accuracy and accountability, the result is good for both those news organizations and their readers.

“Our results thus far show that this is indeed the case. The most common side effect of what we do is for news organisations to improve their journalistic practices.”

Newsguard ratings are calculated by a leadership and analyst team that includes alumnus from The Week, the Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press.

Microsoft partnered with the firm in August last year as part of its Defending Democracy Program.

Brill told Press Gazette that Newsguard has so far rated the 2,000 most read news and information websites in the US – and that some UK publications happened to appear in that bracket.

It rates website on a 0 to 100 points scale, with 60 being the threshold between “green” and “red” rankings.

Each of the nine trustworthiness factors are weighted differently, with reporting true and accurate stories gaining the most points at 22 and providing information on “content creators”, such as journalist bios, the least at 5 points.

Voir de même:

The Daily Mail is an amoral cash cow, and the most effective way to reject the bile it prints is to never read it

Shortly after the Olympics opening ceremony, the Daily Mail published a great steaming turd of an article by a « journalist » called Rick Dewsbury. I won’t reproduce the whole sorry thing here, but suffice to say it was an unpleasant mix of contempt, misanthropy and thinly disguised racism. As he complained bitterly of the ceremony’s « politically driven multiculturalism », Dewsbury observed: « This was supposed to be a representation of modern life in England but it is likely to be a challenge for the organisers to find an educated white middle-aged mother and black father living together with a happy family in such a set-up. »

Every now and then the Daily Mail will publish an article that, even by its own dubious standards, is offensive to the point of unacceptable. Rick Dewsbury’s journalistic offal is the latest in a long line of these: from Richard Littlejohn’s declaration that the deaths of five women was « no great loss », to Samantha « don’t hate me because I’m beautiful » Brick. But it’s not the articles themselves that spark my curiosity; it’s the liberal reaction to them, which judging by form seems to be: 1. Angrily share the article as much as possible. 2 ????? 3. Close the Daily Mail.

I’ve often wondered whether the Daily Mail’s critics realise that the sole consequence of their actions is to increase traffic to its website, and whether next time they might consider cutting out the middle man by simply emptying the contents of their wallets on to Paul Dacre’s desk. I posed this question to those responding to the Dewsbury article and the answer I got was that, despite increasing the paper’s hit rate, it is nonetheless important to « expose » the Daily Mail. To which I ask, expose what? That a paper which once supported the Blackshirts is occasionally racist?

The blogger John Walker gave a more detailed answer. In a widely praised and shared article, he wrote:

« I still meet many people who do not understand how the Daily Mail is not just another tabloid, not just as bad as the rest of them, but instead something far more despicable and dangerous. It’s one of the most popular papers in Britain, and when we say, ‘Just ignore it – they’re just trying to get hits,’ I shudder. We do not ignore evil – we challenge it and get angry about it. »

For me, this is where it all gets a bit ridiculous. The Daily Mail is not some kind of bigoted Sauron, casting a shadow over the citizens of middle England. There is no grand conspiracy; no ideological plan to make everyone that little bit worse. The Daily Mail is an amoral cash cow; one that knows its readers frighteningly well, and makes money by appealing to their very worst instincts. For all the sexism contained therein, as Kira Cochrane pointed out some months ago, the Daily Mail has more female bylines than any other newspaper – for the simple reason that the majority of its readers are female. In other words, this is a newspaper operating upon mercenary, not malevolent principles.

The editors of the Daily Mail don’t think their readers are nice people; they think they’re small-minded, curtain-twitching misers, largely because that’s what the editors are like as well. As a Daily Mail journalist once put it to me, « There is no conspiracy with the Mail. It’s just what you get when you have a newspaper run by [censored]. »

But don’t take my word for it: read Private Eye, which will tell you that the Mail’s morning editorial conference is nicknamed « The Vagina Monologues » by staff, because of the liberty with which Paul Dacre dispenses the c-word. Or a New Yorker piece on the Mail, where journalist Lauren Collins asked picture editor Martin Clarke why he was publishing a picture of an acne-ridden actress. His response was not that he wished to ensure women’s sexual and social oppression, but: « Well, we all just looked at the picture and went, ‘Yuck, look, she’s an actress in 90210, and she’s spotty.' »

Now I am not suggesting that angry liberals should attempt to peacefully co-exist with the Daily Mail – far from it. I am arguing that said liberals should know their enemy. See, the fact is: the Daily Mail doesn’t care that you’re angry. It only cares that you buy it. And if the Daily Mail lives for profit, then the most effective way to keep it in check is to hit it in the wallet.

How do we do that? I hear you cry. Well luckily, there are plenty of precedents. In 2008, the residents of Hackney persuaded the borough’s suppliers not to stock the Hackney Gazette unless it withdrew an advert in its pages for the BNP. The campaign worked and the Hackney Gazette agreed not to run the advert. And only last year, online activists persuaded advertisers in the News of the World to withdraw their custom after the hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone, which in part led to the newspaper’s closure.

So liberals, if you are serious about taking on the Daily Mail, stop clicking and start acting. And when you find yourselves getting fruitlessly angry the next time it publishes some swill, just remember the wisdom attributed to George Bernard Shaw: « I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it. »

Voir de plus:

The judgment is not about sabotaging Britain’s EU exit. It’s about respecting democracy and getting the best deal possible

It has become painfully clear since June’s vote to leave the European Union that Theresa May’s government and its supporters have little or no idea where the country is heading. Lacking a plan or a shared philosophy, they are united by an arbitrary and destructive rush to the exit. Their hysterical reaction to last week’s unanimous high court ruling that Britain cannot quit the EU without parliament’s consent also reveals extraordinary ignorance about where we, as a country, have come from. It is dismaying that those who campaigned so passionately to reclaim British sovereignty appear not to have the first idea about their country’s long-established constitutional arrangements.

It is a fundamental principle of British democracy that parliament is sovereign. Not the government. Not the executive or a self-selecting clique within it. Certainly not this prime minister, who lacks a personal mandate. Sovereign power resides with our elected, representative parliament. This state of affairs did not come about by chance. A power struggle between the crown and its subjects raged almost unceasingly in the centuries following Magna Carta. The proposition that the monarch cannot rule without parliament’s consent lay at the heart of England’s serial 17th-century civil wars. The question was settled by the parliamentarians’ victory at the battle of Worcester in 1651. Parliament’s ascendancy was legally established in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, which spawned the landmark Bill of Rights.

It is also a long-established fact of British constitutional life that the country’s senior judges do not make domestic law. Their independent role is to interpret laws agreed by parliament, say what they mean and how and if they may be legally implemented. When Britain joined what was then the EEC, the European Communities Act, passed by parliament in 1972, incorporated many European laws into domestic law. Thus it is both illogical and ignorant to castigate the high court for doing its job and stating the constitutionally obvious: that having passed the act, only parliament can override it by consenting to activate article 50 of the Lisbon treaty.

Yet castigating the judges and by extension, anybody who has the effrontery to agree with them, is exactly what the hard Tory Brexiters and their accomplices in the lie factories of Fleet Street have resorted to with a venom, vindictiveness and vituperation remarkable even by their standards. The will of the people has been thwarted by an “activist” judiciary. These bewigged, closet Remainers, members of the fabled “well-heeled liberal metropolitan elite”, are “enemies of the people”, they shriek. Some of these sleaze-peddlers even dipped into homophobia, highlighting the sexual orientation of one of the judges. Inexcusable.

This is mendacious bile. It wilfully misunderstands the relationship between parliament, government and the judiciary. Partisanship is understandable, but this level of stupidity is unforgivable. It misleads and distorts – either deliberately or out of ignorance. As Hilary Benn pointed out yesterday, the high court judgment has nothing to do with defying the “will of the people”. As he explained, “the judgment is not to do with the fact that we will be leaving the European Union. It was a ruling on who starts the process, who fires the starting gun and in upholding the principle of parliamentary sovereignty… the judges said that since it was legislation that took us in, it should be parliament that takes the decision to start that process and not the government.”

Or here is Conservative MP and ex-attorney general Dominic Grieve speaking on Newsnight on Friday: “I was horrified at the newspaper coverage, which reminded me of Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. The judges did exactly what was asked of them – they highlighted that our constitution does not allow you to overturn statute law by decree.”

The judiciary are at the heart of our commitment to the rule of law and those who question their legitimacy (because they disagree with their view) threaten to undermine a critical institution vital to our democracy. Yesterday, the Bar Council took the extraordinary step of asking the lord chancellor, Liz Truss, to condemn the “serious and unjustified” attacks on senior judges over the Brexit court ruling. Senior judges having to appeal to the lord chancellor to defend them from unjustified attacks, in Britain, in 2016?

Since 23 June, the country has loosed itself from tolerant, civil discourse – on both sides. The world has often looked to Britain as an example of a pluralist, inclusive democracy and a cultured, ordered and civil society. But that is changing. As the world looked at the response of politicians and the popular press to last week’s court judgment, many will have concluded that it had more in common with Sisi’s Egypt or Erdoğan’s Turkey than the Britain they thought they knew. A country that hounds, demonises and implicitly threatens its independent judiciary is one that toys menacingly with the very tenets of democracy.

We noted in these columns some weeks ago that Theresa May, who coined the phrase the “nasty party” to describe the Conservatives some years ago, was threatening to turn Britain into the nasty country. That is increasingly the message being sent across the world. It is also the message being sent to foreigners living here, including long-resident EU nationals now afraid to speak openly for fear of rebuke or worse.

Many more reasonable Brexit supporters have rightly distanced themselves from campaign to demonise the judges responsible for last week’s ruling. But the government’s ill-advised decision to appeal to the supreme court means judges sitting on England’s highest bench, who will consider the matter next month, may now also be subject to overt political pressure and similarly contemptuous, intimidatory invective. In Turkey or Burundi, such tactics by the state and its surrogates might not be considered surprising. But here?

What sort of country is Britain becoming that this sort of menacing behaviour is not only tolerated but implicitly encouraged by senior government ministers who fear, correctly, they are losing the argument? As has been repeated ad nauseam, the issue is not about reversing or somehow sabotaging the referendum result. It is about ensuring proper democratic scrutiny of the government’s negotiating positions, about ascertaining whether its approach advances the national interest rather than sectional, business and City interests. It is about getting the best deal for Britain.

The concerted assault on the judiciary comes in the context of wider institutional vandalism indulged by the hard Tory Brexiters and their international sympathisers and emulators. They would recklessly tear up nearly 45 years of carefully navigated British relationships with our European neighbours. The resulting damage to the economy and living standards is mounting fast.

Much worse is to come. In America, Donald Trump runs a presidential campaign based on fear, prejudice, ignorance and xenophobia, which he claims represents change, not abject regression, and threatens to reject the election outcome if it goes against him. The dire cost of Trumpism to America’s national unity and cohesion is already plain.

Across Europe, iconoclastic extremist and nationalist parties compete to demonstrate who is most intolerant, most hateful and best at scaring people. In France, their vile message may be working as presidential elections approach and the Front National gains ground. But hard Tory Brexiters do not see the link, deny any crossover, cannot understand how their institutional dumpster fire stokes nihilism and chauvinism. They dwell in their Little England bubble, detached from the real world or, as the high court said of their article 50 arguments, “divorced from reality”. Anybody who disturbs their narrative, such as Stephen Phillips, who resigned as a Conservative MP on Friday, is shunned as a blood foe. Nick Clegg, for daring to add his voice to the democratic debate over Brexit, is ridiculed. Will these people who hound reasonable public figures ever understand what a mature democracy involves? Formidable, robust, intelligent and reasoned debate.

As Dominic Grieve said: “Debate helps outcomes, suppressing it destroys it.” Would they rather our public discourse – and hence, public life – be characterised by childish slurs, homophobia, distortions and vicious rhetoric? That is where Britain is being driven by a new hard Brexit elite.

It behoves any sensible, reasonable public figure to recognise that a 52-48 referendum result is one where national cohesiveness matters. And while it delivered a mandate to exit the European Union, it did not give sweeping powers to brush aside challenges on the nature, timing and texture of that exit. There is a lack of reason on both sides of this debate and there is a danger that the public fissures that have opened up since June 23rd become wider still. We all have a responsibility to ensure that does not happen. As Iain Martin says elsewhere on these pages, “Neither set of extremists is representative of, nor has a majority in, parliament or the country. What becomes ever more apparent over Brexit is that there is a need for an alliance between moderate (of which there are many) Leavers and moderate Remainers, those who regret the result on 23 June but accept it.”

The truth is, hard Tory Brexiters are fearful of losing the argument. The truth is there is little confidence that May can keep her head and rein in the irresponsible fantasies of her more wild-eyed colleagues. The truth is, May has already shown a talent for wrong-headedness, an instinct for the bad call, as seen with Hinkley Point, grammar schools, child obesity and Nissan subsidies. She appears unable to grasp the EU’s blunt insistence that access to the single market cannot be divorced from freedom of movement.

The disdain, scepticism and bewilderment of Britain’s EU partners is wounding. At last month’s Brussels summit, her first, May was kept waiting until the early morning before being allowed to deliver a short statement on Brexit. She was listened to in silence. Nobody deigned to respond. On Friday, her calls to Germany’s Angela Merkel and the commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, when she tried to persuade them, implausibly, that her March deadline for article 50 still stood, were embarrassingly brief. Few in Europe now believe Britain’s government has a roadmap.

In such circumstances, it is imperative that parliament, now given its chance – and reminded of its duty – to shape Britain’s future course by the high court, steps up to the mark. For too long, too many MPs who support continued EU membership (a majority overall) have been cowering in silence, fearful that any expression of unease over the Brexit process will be misrepresented as a bid to overturn the referendum result. No one disputes the result of the referendum, or the social, cultural and political tensions that delivered it, but it is right that the manner of our exit are properly scrutinised. That has yet to be decided. And parliament, rightly, has a role to play.

To be worthy of its sovereign status, both Houses of Parliament should now inject themselves into the Brexit process. This means cross-examining ministers and demanding a green paper on the government’s plans. It means proposing alternative strategies. It means amending and, if need be, discarding wrong-headed approaches. And it means the holding of binding votes not only on when article 50 should be triggered but also on the final terms of any eventual exit agreement.

In short, parliament must be ready to exercise veto power over any Brexit deal that does not ultimately serve the national interest – because this government simply cannot be trusted not to deliver serious economic self-harm on the altar of blind ideology. It is a tall order. The growing prospect of an early general election, should May continue to trip, fumble and flop, presents many MPs with an existential dilemma: whether to vote with their conscience and uphold the democratic rights of parliament and their constituents or be pushed and pulled along by a populist tide, propelled by lies. Most Labour MPs, for example, represent constituencies where a majority voted Leave. It is still likely that last week’s ruling proves a pyrrhic victory, by provoking an early election that, with the current dire state of the Labour party, will give May an enhanced majority. Thus, we will have a parliament with fewer teeth and providing less scrutiny or push-back than is required.

Perhaps prodded by the shadow Brexit minister, Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, could be stirred from his lethargic ambivalence over Europe. If the Liberal Democrats and Scottish Nationalists add their voice, as Nicola Sturgeon suggests they will, in opposition to any hasty Brexit “plan”, and if the House of Lords finds the courage, as it has in the past, to challenge unwise and overweening executive power, it is possible a sensible path forward acceptable to the country as a whole – and to Europe – can yet be found.

Last week, independent judges courageously stood up for constitutional governance in Britain and, defying the bullies, did their job. Now parliament must follow suit.

Voir par ailleurs:

Michael Wolff Talks ‘Siege,’ Trump, Journalism and His Definition of Truth
“I’m a New York guy,” the author says. “Trump is a New York guy. In the end, we know a lot of the same people.”
Michael M. Grynbaum
The New York Times
May 30, 2019

“Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” Michael Wolff’s account of President Trump’s early tenure, sold more than four million copies, spawned a TV deal, prompted the president to threaten legal action and led to the ouster of Stephen K. Bannon from the White House and Breitbart News.

On Tuesday, Mr. Wolff returns with a sequel, “Siege: Trump Under Fire.” Author and subject seem well-matched: A pair of acid-tongued gossipmongers fixated on the foibles of New York’s elite, Mr. Wolff and Mr. Trump are gifted storytellers who are unafraid to punch back.

But the similarities extend in less flattering ways. “Fire and Fury,” which portrayed a president with a strained relationship to the truth, raised questions about Mr. Wolff’s own adherence to the facts. Minor errors cropped up; anecdotes were denied. On “Saturday Night Live,” Fred Armisen, in Mr. Wolff’s thick glasses and bald pate, dismissed questions about the book’s accuracy.

“Look, you read it, right?” Armisen-as-Wolff said. “You liked it? You had fun? Well, what’s the problem?”

The new book’s claims range from the intriguing — Mr. Wolff writes that Alan Dershowitz asked for a million-dollar retainer to defend Mr. Trump, a claim Mr. Dershowitz said on Wednesday was “completely, categorically false”— to the lurid, including a description based on a secondhand source of a supposed encounter between Mr. Trump and an unnamed woman aboard his private jet before his presidency.

In an interview at his Manhattan townhouse on Tuesday — his first public comments about “Siege” — Mr. Wolff, 65, praised his reporting, defended his reliance on Mr. Bannon as a source and explained why he had little use for the usual fact-checking procedures valued by reporters at mainstream news outlets.

He was trending on Twitter at the time of the interview. A spokesman for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, had issued a rare statement denying a central claim of “Siege,” which had just leaked out: that Mr. Mueller’s team had drafted an indictment of Mr. Trump on obstruction charges that was never used. Edited and condensed excerpts from the conversation with Mr. Wolff follow.

I’m surprised you’re not fielding calls from your lawyer.

I fielded.

The special counsel denied that the documents you describe in “Siege” exist. Do you want to respond?

I would only say my source is impeccable, and I have no doubt about the authenticity and the significance of the documents.

How did you find all these sources? After “Fire and Fury,” weren’t you persona non grata in the West Wing?

Everybody continued to talk to me. When “Fire and Fury” came out, I thought Steve Bannon would certainly never speak to me again, and the truth is, he never stopped speaking. But the other element of this is — I think a key one — is I’m a New York guy. Donald Trump is a New York guy. In the end, we know a lot of the same people. There is this conversation among these people about Donald Trump. And I am fortunate to be in that loop.

You wrote “Fire and Fury” with physical access to the White House. Did you have that this time?

I have not been in the White House for this book, no. But a very large percentage of the people who spoke to me for the first book have continued to speak to me for the second book. Partly because they can’t stop talking about Donald Trump, and I’m a good listener. But also because I think the portrait in the first book worked for them.

Did you seek an interview with the president?

No.

Why not?

He tried to stop the publication last time. I think that would be a fool’s errand, to invite the president of the United States to come down on you.

Arguably, Trump’s anger was an accelerant for the sales of the book.

As it turned out. But at that moment, it didn’t feel like that was what it was going to be.

You felt concerned?

Yeah! If the president of the United States comes after you, you feel concerned.

In your author’s note, you write that “Siege” captures “an emotional state rather than a political state” of the presidency.

I’ve said many times: I’m not a Washington reporter. And Washington reporters, they do a great job. They do their job. I approached this as, that the more significant factor here, beyond policy, was buffoonery, psychopathology, random and ad hominem cruelties. In a way, my thesis is that this administration, this character, needed a different kind of writer.

Is there an argument you wanted to make in “Siege”?

The argument is, this was a wholly different kind of president, a wholly different kind of administration. And even beyond that, you have this figure that is strangely isolated. It’s really just Donald Trump. There really isn’t a government functioning here. I think the historical understanding is that the presidency changes the person who holds the office. I think the reverse is true here — he’s changed the White House into the Trump Organization.

Steve Bannon no longer works in the White House and has been cast out from Trump’s inner circle. How much should we trust in what Bannon has to say?

I’ve been sorting this now for actually close to three years, so I think I have a fairly good sense of the reality quotient at any given point. But then I think you have to look to Bannon’s insights. When he says something, in my experience, he can often get right to the kernel, into the hub of the situation, where you say, ‘Damn, of course that’s it.’ Among the hundreds of people I have spoken to, he is the most insightful person about Donald Trump, about what makes him tick.

How many sources did you talk to for “Siege”?

150 people.

Critics of “Fire & Fury” said you were fast and loose with facts.

I think every successive account has only confirmed what was in “Fire and Fury.” And often months, or years, later.

What did you make of Fred Armisen’s impression of you?

When you get portrayed on “Saturday Night Live,” you take it any way you can get it.

In some ways, that caricature captured the central skepticism around your book.

I would push back against that. Literally every book, every account since has either repeated “Fire and Fury” in many of its specifics, or confirmed virtually everything that I wrote about in that book.

Do you think you’ll get flak from other journalists for “Siege”?

I assume so.

In “Siege,” you quote a witness — a former sound engineer on “The Apprentice” named Erik Whitestone — who describes episodes of what could be construed as sexual misconduct by Trump before his taking office. Did you seek a response from Trump?

I did not. As I say, I didn’t contact Donald Trump at all. But why would you? Literally, this is not a man who is going to suddenly at this point of his life ’fess up to being a sexual harasser.

Were you able to speak with the women involved?

No. I’m just reporting this person’s account of his life with Donald Trump.

Whitestone struck you as credible?

Wholly.

You also write that Fox News provided questions ahead of time for its interview with Brett Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court nomination fight. Did you ask Fox for comment?

No, but, again — it’s a difference between an institutional reporter and a non-institutional reporter. I don’t have to ask the silly questions.

Are they silly if it’s a matter of fact in the book?

Yes, because can you imagine a circumstance under the sun in which Fox would come clean on that?

[Contacted on Wednesday, Fox News called Mr. Wolff’s claim “pure fiction.”]

But “Siege” went through a fact-checking period?

Of course.

And that did not include reaching out to —

I actually don’t believe, if you know the answer, it is necessary to go through the motions of getting an answer that you are absolutely certain of.

Just to be clear, by “answer,” you mean the response you would hear from the subject?

Yes.

I guess I’d press you again on fact-checking.

It’s a distinction between journalists who are institutionally wedded and those who are not. I’m not. You make those pro forma calls to protect yourself, to protect the institution. It’s what the institution demands. I’m talking about those calls where you absolutely know what the response is going to be. They put you in the position in which you’re potentially having to negotiate what you know. In some curious way, that’s what much journalism is about. It’s about a negotiated truth.

For someone else, a book writer, I don’t have to do that. When I know something is true, I don’t have to go back and establish some kind of middle ground with whoever I’m writing about, which will allow me at some point to go back to them.

As a journalist, is there a responsibility to seek out the subject’s side of the story? To gather as much information as you can?

As a journalist — or as a writer — my obligation is to come as close to the truth as I possibly can. And that’s not as close to someone else’s truth, but the truth as I see it. Remember, it’s a difference between a book and something else — you don’t have to read my book, you don’t have to agree with my book. But at the end of the day, what you are going to know is that it is my book. It is my vision. It is my report on my experience. It’s not put together by a committee. What you do is a committee project at some point. What I do is not. And I’m not saying one is better than the other, they’re just different functions.

Is “Siege” a work of journalism?

Of course.

Voir aussi:

Michael Wolff’s trip inside Trumpworld, and inside the president’s head, with Steve Bannon as guide
Ryan Lizza
The Washington Post
May 29 2019
Ryan Lizza is a senior political analyst for CNN and chief political correspondent for Esquire.

The author’s note that opens “Siege,” Michael Wolff’s sequel to “Fire and Fury” — which documented President Trump’s first year in office, much of it through the anonymous musings of Steve Bannon — reads like the scene-setting crawl at the start of a Star Wars movie. The reader learns that Wolff’s new account begins in February 2018, when the “president’s capricious furies have been met by an increasingly organized and methodical institutional response” and Trump’s “own government, even his own White House, has begun to turn on him.” Instead of cutting to Hoth, the distant ice planet in “The Empire Strikes Back” that’s home to the struggling rebellion, we soon cut to Bannon’s kitchen table.

Bannon has been driven out of the White House by Trump and dumped by his financial patrons, the Mercers, and has set up shop in a shabby Capitol Hill townhouse, theatrically known as the Embassy, which, it slowly becomes clear, might as well be Hoth. It takes 193 pages, but we eventually learn that Bannon hasn’t talked to Trump since he was fired.

That doesn’t prevent Wolff from centering the entire narrative on the president’s former aide. So the new Wolff book is much like the last one: a sail through the Trump diaspora and inside the president’s head with Bannon as the cruise director. But also like the last book, “Siege” is ultimately crippled by three flaws: Wolff’s overreliance on a single character, and one who is now more distant from the action; factual errors that mar the author’s credibility; and sourcing that is so opaque it renders the scoops highly suspicious and unreliable.

For long stretches of “Siege,” Trump and the White House staff disappear and the reader is subjected to a tedious ticktock of Bannon’s travels and his plotting from the Embassy, where he pontificates throughout 2018 about how the Republicans will win the midterms (they didn’t), how his nationalist project is still ascendant in the GOP (it isn’t), how Robert Mueller will destroy the Trump presidency (he didn’t), and how Bannon himself may have to replace Trump and run for president in 2020, with Sean Hannity as his running mate (we’ll have to wait for Episode III).

In the acknowledgments, Bannon is the only named source whom Wolff thanks, praising him effusively and, in an allusion to Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” calling him “the Virgil anyone might be lucky enough to have as a guide for a descent into Trumpworld.” In reality Bannon is more like Wolff’s Farinata, the former Florentine political leader whom Dante portrays as banished to the circle of hell for heretics, where, alone in his tomb, he still obsesses about his own era in politics but has no access to current events unless one of the dead brings him a snippet of news from the center of power.

In “Siege,” the dead arrive at Bannon’s doorstep in the form of former Trump aides such as Corey Lewandowski, David Bossie, Sam Nunberg and Jason Miller, and Wolff, like many other Washington reporters, absorbs a mix of gossip, misinformation and occasional insight that the outer rings of Trump advisers are famous for circulating.

This rogues’ gallery of Trump hangers-on that Wolff seems to depend on is sometimes presented as a group of devoted ideological rebels trying to keep the flame of true MAGA alive. According to Wolff, several of them, usually working through Hannity, who has better access to the president, press Trump on issues like building the border wall or declaring a national emergency over immigration. Bossie and Lewandowski “weren’t operatives, they were believers,” Wolff credulously reports, a statement that will generate guffaws among Republicans. But mostly, Bannon’s knitting circle is involved in low-level score-settling — often against then-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner — and making money off their association with Trump. Lewandowski and Bossie hawk a conspiracy book about the “deep state” even though, according to Wolff, Bannon tells their ghostwriter that “none of this is true.”

Wolff’s rebels and Trump are co-dependent but clear-eyed about each other. Trump, Wolff writes, likes Lewandowski more than his own sons, even though he derides him as an “ass kisser.” Trump says Bossie, who unsuccessfully maneuvers to become chief of staff, is “shifty.” Nunberg is mocked by the president for living with his parents, and Wolff quotes Trump remarking of Miller, “I get the people who no one else wants.”

Likewise, they have no illusions about Trump. Wolff summarizes the view of the president from the ragtag Embassy team: Trump is a “clown,” an “idiot” and a “nutter.”

Bannon’s core political project of attaining power by stoking racial resentment is left uncriticized by Wolff. (In case there is any doubt about this, Bannon tells Wolff: “If you voted for Trump, every picture of a Mexican immigrant, a parent or a child, together or apart, reconfirms that vote.”) Wolff’s obsession with documenting Bannon’s every thought, while remaining uninterested in the reality of the racial politics unleashed by him and Trump, reaches peak hilarity when he earnestly quotes Bannon’s dissection of whether the president is an anti-Semite (probably not) or a racist (probably). While many who have studied Trump — for a fraction of the time that Wolff has — have easily made up their minds on the issue, Wolff, who quotes Trump making racist and anti-Semitic remarks and calling Mexicans “wetbacks,” writes that whether he is a racist or not is “a rosebud riddle.”

However, Bannon’s frequently shrewd observations make it clear why Wolff finds him irresistible. The author is mostly interested in Trump’s psychology. He is adept at documenting the president’s lunacy, and Bannon is frequently an able fellow shrink. For example, he credibly theorizes that Trump’s inevitable disgust with anyone who works for him is a natural outgrowth of his alleged self-hatred. “Hating himself, he of course comes to hate anyone who seems to love him,” Bannon tells Wolff. “If you seem to respect him, he thinks he’s put something over on you — therefore you’re a fool.”

But the idea that Wolff is documenting some larger ideological struggle in the Trump GOP is mostly familiar Bannon spin. According to Wolff, Lewandowski reports that “he had almost wet himself” during a White House confrontation with Kelly, a former Marine, who grabbed Lewandowski by the collar outside the Oval Office. What Wolff leaves out about this well-known episode, first reported by the New York Times, is that Kelly was yelling at Lewandowski for trying to profit off Trump’s presidency. Wolff also ignores, perhaps because of his publishing deadline, that Bossie was officially excommunicated from Trumpworld in May when the Trump campaign suggested he was running a “scam group” that was “interested in filling their own pockets with money from innocent Americans’ paychecks.” Believers indeed.

Wolff’s broad conceptual error — that the real heart of Trumpism is heroically being kept alive by Bannon’s band of true-believing outsiders — would be forgivable if the book wasn’t marred by two more strikes: some cringeworthy errors, and sourcing that is so opaque it renders the extremely fun and juicy quotes sprinkled across every chapter as — sadly — difficult to trust.

Wolff reports that he had two fact-checkers assigned to the book, but they apparently weren’t enough. He writes that after Ty Cobb left the White House, Trump’s only lawyers were Jay Sekulow and Rudy Giuliani (whom he describes as “drunk on a bid for further attention, or just drunk”). Wolff seems not to know that Trump hired Jane and Martin Raskin, whose names do not appear in the book, to deal with the Mueller probe. He writes that Russians hacked the email account of John Podesta and servers at the Democratic National Committee after July 27, 2016, the day Trump famously called on Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s missing emails. That’s wrong. The Podesta hack happened in March, the DNC hack happened in April, and the fruits of those hacks had already been released, which is why Trump made the comment.

Wolff observes that reporting on Trump is difficult because the president and many of the people who work for him or advise him lie indiscriminately. Other reporters have faced this dilemma by maximizing the number of sources needed to confirm the many rumors that swirl around Trump and by generally increasing transparency to retain reader trust in an environment where the president regularly attacks truthful reporting as fake.

Wolff takes a different approach. Dramatic scoops are plopped down on the page with no sourcing whatsoever. Would-be newsmaking quotes are often attributed to Trump and senior officials without any context about when or to whom they were made.

Wolff clearly relies on the work of dozens of other reporters on the Trump beat, but because he rarely uses any attributions, the reader never knows whether a fact he’s relaying comes from him or elsewhere. For example, he writes that Kushner was briefed by intelligence officials that his friend Wendi Deng might be a Chinese spy. The reader would be forgiven for thinking this was another Wolff scoop, rather than a major exclusive reported by the Wall Street Journal in early 2018.

The cutting comments Wolff attributes to Trump certainly sound like the president: “the stupidest man in Congress” and a “religious nut” (Mike Pence); “gives me the creeps” (Karen Pence); “feeble” (John Kelly); “a girl” (Kushner); “looks like a mental patient” (Giuliani); “a pretty stupid boy” who “has too many f—ing kids” (Donald Trump Jr.); “men’s shop salesmen” (Republican House candidates); “ignoramuses” (Trump’s communications team); “the only stupid Jew” (Michael Cohen); “a dirty rat” (former White House counsel Donald McGahn); a “virgin crybaby” who was “probably molested by a priest” (Brett Kavanaugh); “the poor man’s Ann Coulter” (Kellyanne Conway); “sweaty” (Stephen Miller). But the lack of sourcing transparency and footnotes does not inspire confidence.

By far the biggest scoop in the book is a document that Wolff alleges is a draft indictment, eventually ignored, of the president from inside the special counsel’s office. In addition to the alleged indictment, Wolff reports on several interesting and newsworthy memos outlining Mueller’s legal strategy for what to do if Trump pardoned Michael Flynn or tried to shut down the investigation. These documents, if verified, would rescue the book, because they offer the first real glimpse inside the nearly airtight Mueller operation.

On Tuesday, the special counsel’s office issued a rare on-the-record statement insisting that the “documents described do not exist.”

Siege
Trump Under Fire

By Michael Wolff

Henry Holt. 335 pp. $30

Voir de même:

Bannon described Trump Organization as ‘criminal enterprise’, Michael Wolff book claims
Former White House adviser says financial investigations will take down president in sequel to Fire and Fury
Edward Helmore
The Guardian
29 May 2019

The former White House adviser Steve Bannon has described the Trump Organization as a criminal entity and predicted that investigations into the president’s finances will lead to his political downfall, when he is revealed to be “not the billionaire he said he was, just another scumbag”.

The startling remarks are contained in Siege: Trump Under Fire, the author Michael Wolff’s forthcoming account of the second year of the Trump administration. The book, published on 4 June, is a sequel to Fire and Fury: Trump in the White House, which was a bestseller in 2018. The Guardian obtained a copy.

In a key passage, Bannon is reported as saying he believes investigations of Donald Trump’s financial history will provide proof of the underlying criminality of his eponymous company.

Assessing the president’s exposure to various investigations, many seeded by the special counsel Robert Mueller during his investigation of Russian election interference, Wolff writes: “Trump was vulnerable because for 40 years he had run what increasingly seemed to resemble a semi-criminal enterprise.”

He then quotes Bannon as saying: “I think we can drop the ‘semi’ part.”

Bannon, a leading promoter of far-right populism, was a White House adviser until August 2017, when he was removed. He was a major source for Fire and Fury, also first reported by the Guardian. Among other claims in that book, he labelled as “treasonous” an infamous Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, campaign manager Paul Manafort and a Russian lawyer.

Amid publicity surrounding Fire and Fury, Bannon was ejected from circles close to Trump and his position at Breitbart News.

In Siege, Wolff pays close attention to Trump’s financial affairs. Investigations into Trump’s business dealings, spearheaded by the southern district of New York, have shuttered the president’s charity and seen the Trump Organization chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, receive immunity for testimony in investigations of Michael Cohen, the former Trump attorney and fixer who is now in jail in New York.

This month, the New York Times obtained tax information that showed Trump’s businesses lost more than $1bn from 1985 to 1994.

The newspaper subsequently reported that in 2016 and 2017, Deutsche Bank employees flagged concerns over possible money laundering through transactions involving legal entities controlled by the president and Kushner. Some of the transactions involved individuals in Russia.

The bank did not act but Congress and New York state are now investigating its relationship with Trump and his family. Deutsche Bank has lent billions to Trump and Kushner companies. Trump has attempted to block House subpoenas for his financial records sent to Deutsche Bank.

In Siege, Wolff quotes Bannon saying investigations into Trump’s finances will cut adrift even his most ardent supporters: “This is where it isn’t a witch hunt – even for the hard core, this is where he turns into just a crooked business guy, and one worth $50m instead of $10bn.

“Not the billionaire he said he was, just another scumbag.”

Wolff also details a 2004 Palm Beach property deal involving the now disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein and the Putin-friendly oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev that, the author writes, earned Trump “$55m without putting up a dime”.

Epstein, he writes, invited Trump to see a $36m Palm Beach mansion he planned to buy. According to Wolff, Trump went behind Epstein’s back to buy the foreclosed property for around $40m, a sum Epstein had reason to believe Trump couldn’t raise in his own right, through an entity called Trump Properties LLC, which was entirely financed by Deutsche Bank.

Epstein, Wolff writes, knew Trump had been loaning out his name in real estate deals for a fee and suspected that in his case Trump was fronting for the property’s real owners. Epstein threatened to expose the deal. As the dispute increased, he found himself under investigation by the Palm Beach police.

According to Wolff, Trump made only minor improvements and put the house on the market for $125m. It was purchased for $96m by Rybolovlev, part of a circle of government-aligned industrialists in Russia, thereby earning Trump $55m without risking any of his own money.

Wolff presents two theories as to how the deal worked: first, perhaps “Trump merely earned a fee for hiding the real owner – a shadow owner quite possibly being funneled cash by Rybolovlev for other reasons beyond the value of the house”.

Second, he suggests the real owner of the house and the real buyer were one and the same. “Rybolovlev might have, in effect, paid himself for the house, thereby cleansing the additional $55m for the second purchase of the house.”

“This,” Wolff writes, “was Donald Trump’s world of real estate.”

Michael Wolff’s unbelievable — sometimes literally — tell-all about the Trump administration
Three takeaways from the new book on Trump
Aaron Blake
The Washington Post
January 3, 2018

Several news outlets published excerpts of Michael Wolff’s new book about the Trump campaign and the White House. And almost every word of it is unbelievable.

Some of it, literally so.

In one passage from “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” Wolff recounts how Roger Ailes recommended former House speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) to serve as Trump’s chief of staff. Trump’s response, according to Wolff: “Who’s that?”

Never mind that Trump had golfed with Boehner in 2013 and mentioned him several times on the 2016 campaign trail. Using the Donald Trump Factbase, I found Trump mentioning Boehner on the campaign trail at least four times: April 10, 2016; Nov. 30, 2015; Oct. 14, 2015; and Sept. 25, 2015. He also tweeted about him on Oct. 8, 2015, and Sept. 25, 2015 — that last date being when Boehner resigned as speaker during the 2016 campaign.

Is it possible Trump misheard the name or momentarily forgot who Boehner was? Sure. He may have even meant the “Who’s that?” as a slight to Boehner. But the impression Wolff seeks to leave is that Trump is a novice completely out of his element in the Oval Office. This was an anecdote meant to serve that narrative.

Other bold claims made in the book (New York magazine published a whole chapter) include a deal hatched by Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump for Ivanka to one day run for president, Ivanka making fun of her father’s “comb-over” in private, Rupert Murdoch calling Trump a “f—ing idiot,” and Trump and his wife, Melania, not actually wanting to win the presidency and basically being disappointed that they had.

In another anecdote, billionaire Robert Mercer — a former Ted Cruz backer and Breitbart investor — offers Trump’s campaign $5 million, and Trump is clueless as to why Mercer would invest in him. “This thing,” Trump reportedly told Mercer of his campaign, “is so f—ed up.”

But Mercer couldn’t give $5 million to Trump’s campaign — not legally, anyway. He spent his money on Trump through a super PAC, which is independent of the Trump campaign and is subject to plenty of rules preventing coordination between the two.

Is it possible this was shorthand — or even that Mercer represented the money as a campaign contribution rather than super PAC spending? Again, sure. But it seems a weird thing not to address in the text.

Then there is the apparent re-created conversation between Stephen K. Bannon and Ailes, the New York Times’s Nick Confessore points out, which raises questions about accuracy.

As for the other claims, many are of the kind that has been whispered about but never reported on with any authority or certainty. Wolff has taken some of the most gossiped-about aspects of the Trump White House and put them forward as fact — often plainly stated fact without even anonymous sources cited.

In his introduction, Wolff acknowledges this is an imperfect exercise and often a daunting challenge. Here’s a key excerpt pulled by Benjy Sarlin:

Many of the accounts of what has happened in the Trump White House are in conflict with one another; many, in Trumpian fashion, are baldly untrue. Those conflicts, and that looseness with the truth, if not with reality itself, are an elemental thread of the book. Sometimes I have let the players offer their versions, in turn allowing the reader to judge them. In other instances I have, through a consistency in accounts and through sources I have come to trust, settled on a version of events I believe to be true.

In some ways, this is the tell-all that Trump’s post-truth presidency deserves. Trump’s own version of the truth is often subject to his own fantastic impulses and changes at a moment’s notice. The leaks from his administration have followed that pattern, often painting credulity-straining images of an American president. As the New York Times’s Maggie Haberman notes, that makes claims in Wolff’s book that would ordinarily seem implausible suddenly plausible.

But just because the administration doesn’t seem to have much regard for the truth and because there are all kinds of insane things happening behind closed doors doesn’t mean the truth isn’t a goal worth attaining. And in an environment in which the press is widely distrusted by a large swath of the American people — and overwhelmingly by Trump’s base — the onus is even more on accounts of his presidency to try to filter out the tabloid stuff.

Part of Trump’s mission statement is fomenting distrust of the press. Oftentimes the wild leaks that come from the White House seem to further that goal by giving the media juicy stories that will ring false to people who doubt reporters’ anonymous sources. Wolff even writes that it’s often Trump himself doing the gossiping about White House staff — which seems about right.

For whatever reason, Wolff seems to have arrived at a stunning amount of incredible conclusions that hundreds of dogged reporters from major newspapers haven’t. Whether that’s because he had unprecedented access — Wolff says he had “something like a semi-permanent seat on a couch in the West Wing” — or because his filter was just more relaxed than others, it’s worth evaluating each claim individually and not just taking every scandalous thing said about the White House as gospel.

Voir encore:

Michael Wolff, l’auteur qui déclenche « le feu et la fureur » de Trump
Washington – Le journaliste américain Michael Wolff est un habitué des controverses et son livre « Le feu et la fureur: dans la Maison Blanche de Trump » provoque depuis mercredi une tempête politique à Washington.
>AFP/L’Express
04/01/2018

Washington – Le journaliste américain Michael Wolff est un habitué des controverses et son livre « Le feu et la fureur: dans la Maison Blanche de Trump » provoque depuis mercredi une tempête politique à Washington.

L’éditorialiste multicarte (Hollywood Reporter, Vanity Fair, New York Magazine…), âgé de 64 ans, affirme avoir gravité pendant 18 mois autour de la galaxie Trump, de la campagne présidentielle à la Maison Blanche, et interrogé « plus de 200 » personnes, du président à ses proches collaborateurs.

Après l’élection surprise du candidat républicain, qu’il avait interviewé en juin 2016, il demande à Donald Trump un accès à la Maison Blanche, que le président élu ne lui refuse pas. Le journaliste devient alors « une mouche sur le mur« , se fondant dans le décor. Il fait le trajet New York-Washington chaque semaine pour devenir un habitué de l’aile Ouest, compilant dans son livre confidences des conseillers de la présidence et anecdotes croustillantes.

L’une d’elles, publiée mercredi par le quotidien britannique The Guardian, a déclenché les foudres du président américain. Dans un communiqué vengeur, il a accusé son ancien conseiller Stephen Bannon d’avoir « perdu la raison » pour avoir estimé que son fils aîné Donald Trump Jr. avait commis une « trahison » en rencontrant une avocate russe offrant des informations compromettantes sur Hillary Clinton.

Natif du New Jersey mais installé de longue date à New York, Wolff est le double lauréat du prix National Magazine, section commentaire (2002 et 2004). Son livre le plus connu, sorti en 2008, est consacré à un autre magnat, Rupert Murdoch (« The man who owns the news« ).

– ‘Omniscience’ –

En 2004, un portrait dans le magazine New Republic évoque un personnage « en partie éditorialiste mondain, en partie psychothérapeute, en partie anthropologue social (qui) invite les lecteurs à être une mouche sur le mur du premier cercle des magnats« .

Mais sa narration, basée sur des conversations ou des informations obtenues de source indirecte, ont semé le trouble et provoqué des réactions furieuses.

« Historiquement, l’un des problèmes avec l’omniscience de Wolff est que même s’il peut tout savoir, il a parfois tout faux« , écrivait le critique littéraire David Carr dans le Washington Post en commentant le livre sur Murdoch.

La journaliste britannique Bella Mackie, ancienne du Guardian, a estimé sur Twitter que son nouveau livre sur la Maison Blanche était « très divertissant » avant toutefois de mettre en garde que « si vous connaissez bien MW vous l’apprécierez mais ne prendrez pas tout pour argent comptant« .

La porte-parole de la Maison Blanche, Sarah Sanders, a fustigé le contenu du livre, affirmant qu’il contenait « beaucoup de choses complètement fausses« , assurant que Michael Wolff n’avait eu qu’une « brève conversation » téléphonique de 5 à 7 minutes avec le président depuis son investiture et qui n’avait « rien à voir » avec la présidence.

M. Trump, par la voix de ses avocats personnels, a demandé jeudi à M. Wolff et au responsable des éditions Henry Holt et Cie la non-publication du livre, qui doit sortir le 9 janvier, menaçant de les poursuivre pour diffamation, atteinte à la vie privée et malveillance.

Ils se basent notamment sur l’introduction du livre, où Michael Wolff admet que « beaucoup d’informations sur ce qu’il s’est passé à la Maison Blanche de Trump sont contradictoires; beaucoup, dans le style trumpien, sont simplement fausses« . Ces contradictions ou cette prise de liberté avec la vérité constituent « le fil » du livre, dit-il, ajoutant avoir publié « la version des évènements que je croyais vraie« .

Voir par ailleurs:

The MLK tapes: Secret FBI recordings accuse Martin Luther King Jr of watching and laughing as a pastor raped a woman, having 40 extramarital affairs – and they are under lock in a U.S. archive, claims author

    • The shocking unearthed tapes have been analyzed by biographer David Garrow
    • Material shows the scale of King’s philandering and claims he fathered a child
    • It also show how King looked on while Logan Kearse raped a parishioner
    • Revelations could lead to a ‘painful historical reckoning’ for the civil rights hero

Jack Newman
The Daily Mail
26 May 2019

Secret FBI tapes that accuse Martin Luther King Jr of having extramarital affairs with ’40 to 45 women’ and even claim he ‘looked on and laughed’ as a pastor friend raped a parishioner exist, an author has claimed.

The civil rights hero was also heard allegedly joking he was the founder of the ‘International Association for the Advancement of P***y-Eaters’ on an agency recording that was obtained by bugging his room, according to the sensational claims made by biographer David Garrow – a Pulitzer prize-winning author and biographer of MLK.

Writing in British magazine Standpoint, Garrow says that the shocking files could lead to a ‘painful historical reckoning’ for the man who is celebrated across the world for his campaign against racial injustice.

Along with many US civil rights figures, King was subject to an FBI campaign of surveillance ordered by Director J Edgar Hoover in an effort to undermine his power amid fears he could have links to the Communist Party.

The FBI surveillance tapes detailing his indiscretions are being held in a vault at the U.S. National Archives and are not due for release until 2027.

How J. Edgar Hoover kept incriminating evidence against the great and the good of American society

The first FBI director was responsible for making the intelligence service what it is today but used tactics which many thought were unethical.

Hoover was mainly concerned about what he considered to be ‘subversion’ and tens of thousands of suspected radicals were interviewed under his directorship.

Some believe Hoover exaggerated the potential dangers of these subversive characters.

He has also been criticised for going too far and overstepping his brief.

Hoover founded a covert ‘dirty tricks’ program under the name COINTELPRO to disrupt the Communist Party.

He went after big-name stars such as Charlie Chaplin, Malcolm X, Ernest Hemingway, Muhammad Ali, Jane Fonda and John Lennon.

He spied on the celebrities using methods such as wire-tapping, infiltration, forging documents and spreading false rumours.

Some have even alleged COINTELPRO incited violence and arranged murders.

In one particularly controversial incident, a white civil rights worker was killed by a member of the Ku Klux Klan who happened to also be an FBI informant.

The FBI then spread rumours that she was a Communist and abandoned her children to have sex with black people involved in the civil rights movement.

FBI records later showed that Hoover personally communicated these rumours to President Johnson.

Even President Nixon said he did not fire Hoover because he feared he had too much dirt on him.

Hoover’s actions came to be seen as abuses of power and the tenure of the FBI director was later limited to ten years.

But David Garrow, a biographer of King who won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1987 book Bearing the Cross about the Baptist minister, has unearthed the FBI summaries of the various incidents.

In an article to be published in Standpoint, Garrow tells how the FBI planted transmitters in two lamps in hotel rooms booked by King in January 1964, according to The Sunday Times.

FBI director J Edgar Hoover ordered the surveillance of King in an effort to undermine his power amid fears he could have links to the Communist Party.

The intelligence service carried out surveillance on a number of civil rights figures and suspected communists and they had an interest in smearing their reputation.

The recording from the Willard Hotel near the White House shows how King was accompanied his friend Logan Kearse, the pastor of Baltimore’s Cornerstone Baptist church who died in 1991, along with several female parishioners of his church.

In King’s hotel room, the files claim they then ‘discussed which women among the parishioners would be suitable for natural and unnatural sex acts’.

The FBI document says: ‘When one of the women protested that she did not approve, the Baptist minister immediately and forcefully raped her’ as King watched.

He is alleged to have ‘looked on, laugh and offered advice’ during the encounter.

FBI agents were in the room next door but did not intervene.

The following day, King and a dozen others allegedly participated in a ‘sex orgy’ engaging in ‘acts of degeneracy and depravity’.

When one woman showed reluctance, King was allegedly heard saying that performing the act ‘would help your soul’.

Senior FBI officials later sent King a copy of the incriminating tape and called him an ‘evil abnormal beast’ and his sexual exploits would be ‘on record for all time’.

The letter also suggested he should commit suicide before his wrongs were revealed to the world.

King’s philandering has long been suspected, however Garrow, who spent several months digging through the archive material, said he had no idea of the scale or the ugliness of it and his apparent indifference to rape until he saw the files.

He said: ‘It poses so fundamental a challenge to his historical stature as to require the most complete and extensive historical review possible.’

Among the revelations is a claim by a prostitute who said she was involved in a threesome with King, which she described as the worst orgy she had ever experienced.

His wife Coretta often complained he was hardly with her and even said he would spend less than 10 hours a month at home.

Who is David Garrow?

David Garrow’s biography of King earned him a Pulitzer Prize

The American historian and author, 66, has frequently written about the civil rights movement in the US.

His 1986 biography about King, Bearing the Cross, won the Pulitzer Prize for biography.

He has taught history at a number of universities across the US and also written about Barack Obama and reproductive rights.

The distinguished researcher detailed some of King’s affairs in his original biography but he said he was not aware of its scale until now.

He also published The FBI and Martin Luther King, Jr, a work that analyses the relationship between the intelligence service and the civil rights leader.

According to one FBI report, King even said: ‘She should go out and have some sexual affairs of her own.’

There is even a suggestion in the files that King fathered a daughter with a secret girlfriend in Los Angeles.

Both the mother and child are alive but refused to talk to Garrow.

Dr King was assassinated in 1968 by James Earl Ray but many conspiracy theories suggest that the government was involved.

Small-time criminal Ray was caught trying to board a plane at London Heathrow on a fake Canadian passport. He pleaded guilty to the killing and quickly recanted, claiming he was set up.

The conviction stood and Ray died in prison at the age of 70 in 1998. He had been serving a 99-year jail term.

Marking the anniversary of Dr King’s assassination last year, President Donald Trump issued a proclamation in honour of Dr King, saying: ‘In remembrance of his profound and inspirational virtues, we look to do as Dr King did while this world was privileged enough to still have him.’

The president was heavily criticised by some speakers at MLK commemorations around the time of the anniversary as they complained of fraught race relations and other divisions since he was elected.

Thousands marched and sang civil rights songs to honour the fallen leader in April 2018.

Among the largest gatherings was a march through the Mississippi River city where the civil rights leader was shot dead on a motel balcony.

In the immediate aftermath of Dr King’s assassination there were race riots across the country, from Washington DC to Chicago and Baltimore.

A national day of mourning was later declared by then-President Lyndon B. Johnson following Dr King’s death.

From 1971 onwards Martin Luther King JR Day has been observed to remember him.

But it wasn’t until 2000 that all 50 states took part in the national holiday, the last three being Arizona, Utah and New Hampshire.

In 2016 the US Treasury Secretary announced that images from the iconic I Have A Dream speech would be among several to feature on the back of American bank notes from 2020.

Voir aussi:

The troubling legacy of Martin Luther King
Newly-revealed FBI documents portray the great civil rights leader as a sexual libertine who ‘laughed’ as a forcible rape took place
David J. Garrow
Standpoint
30/05/2019

Newly-released documents reveal the full extent of the FBI’s surveillance of the civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King in the mid-1960s. They expose in graphic detail the FBI’s intense focus on King’s extensive extramarital sexual relationships with dozens of women, and also his presence in a Washington hotel room when a friend, a Baptist minister, allegedly raped one of his “parishioners”, while King “looked on, laughed and offered advice”. The FBI’s tape recording of that criminal assault still exists today, resting under court seal in a National Archives vault.

The FBI documents also reveal how its Director, J. Edgar Hoover, authorised top Bureau officials to send Dr King a tape-recording of his sexual activities along with an anonymous message encouraging him to take his own life.

The complete transcripts and surviving recordings are not due to be released until 2027 but when they are made fully available a painful historical reckoning concerning King’s personal conduct seems inevitable.

On January 31, 1977, US District Judge John Lewis Smith signed an extraordinary court order requiring the Federal Bureau of Investigation to surrender all the fruits of its extensive electronic surveillance of Martin Luther King, Jr to the National Archives. “Said tapes and documents,” Smith instructed, shall be “maintained by the Archivist of the United States under seal for a period of fifty years,” or until January 31, 2027.

However, in recent months, hundreds of never-before-seen FBI reports and surveillance summaries concerning King have silently slipped into public view on the Archives’ lightly-annotated and difficult-to-explore web site. This has occurred thanks to the provisions of The President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act, which mandated the public release of tens of thousands of government documents, many of which got swept up into congressional investigations of US intelligence agencies predating Judge Smith’s order. Winnowing the new King items from amidst the Archive’s 54,602 web-links, many of which lead to multi-document PDFs that are hundreds of pages long, entailed weeks of painstaking work.

The FBI began wiretapping King’s home and Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) office in Atlanta on November 8, 1963, pursuant to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy’s written approval. For the previous 18 months, the FBI had insistently told Kennedy that King’s closest and most influential adviser, New York attorney Stanley D. Levison, was a “secret member” of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). Kennedy’s aides, and finally his brother—the President of the United States—warned King to cease contact with Levison, but King’s promised compliance was dissembling: he and Levison communicated indirectly through another attorney, Clarence Jones, who, like Levison, was himself already being wiretapped by the FBI. Presented with evidence of King’s duplicity, plus FBI claims that King had told Levison that he was a Marxist, a reluctant Attorney General approved the FBI’s request to place King under direct surveillance too.

Unbeknownst to Kennedy, part of the FBI’s motivation in seeking to tap King stemmed from something it had learned just prior to the August 28 March on Washington, when King had stayed at Jones’s wiretapped Bronx home to work on his soon-to-be-famous “I Have a Dream” speech. As one internal FBI memo reported, “King, who is married, maintains intimate relationships with at least three women, one in Atlanta, one in Mt Vernon, New York, and one in Washington, DC . . . King’s extramarital affairs while posing as a minister of the gospel leave him highly susceptible to coercion and possible blackmail,” presumably by knowledgeable communists.

Within weeks, the FBI’s wiretap on King’s Atlanta home confirmed the Bureau’s expectations. On December 15 King “contacted a girlfriend by the name of Lizzie Bell,” and the FBI mobilised to “determine more background information regarding this girl”. Six days later, “King was in contact with a girlfriend in Los Angeles”, Dolores Evans, the wife of a black dentist. California agents were tasked to investigate Evans “in connection with counter-intelligence program”, i.e. the Bureau’s subsequently notorious COINTELPRO dirty tricks playbook. That same day King was “in contact with another girlfriend, Barbara Meredith”, a member of his Ebenezer Baptist Church congregation, and “a file was opened on Barbara Meredith in order to determine more information regarding her background and activities in connection with counter-intelligence”.

Wiretap summaries like these were supposed to be sealed pursuant to Judge Smith’s 1977 order, but by then the Department of Justice had forced the FBI to share many of its King records with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities, often called the Church Committee after the name of its chairman, Idaho Democrat Frank Church. In turn, all of the FBI’s documents relating to the Church Committee and the subsequent House Select Committee on Assassinations came to be covered by the 1992 Kennedy assassination records act.

In December 1963, the information from the Atlanta wiretaps about King’s expansive private life whetted the FBI’s appetite for recordings more intrusive and graphic than could be obtained via telephone lines. Knowing how frequently King travelled to major US cities, the FBI resolved to plant microphone bugs in his hotel rooms. In this endeavour the prime decision-maker was not long-time FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover but Assistant Director William C. Sullivan, head of the Domestic Intelligence Division. With Supreme Court oral arguments in a case from Alabama, New York Times Co v. Sullivan—in which four black clergy supporters of King, plus the newspaper, had been socked with a $500,000 state court judgment—scheduled for January 6 and 7, 1964, King and a variety of ministerial friends were scheduled to be in Washington, DC, for a three-night stay. Immediately after the new year, FBI Washington Field Office security supervisor Ludwig Oberndorf summoned the office’s senior “sound man”, Special Agent Wilfred L. Bergeron, as well as Special Agent William Welch, the office’s “hotel contact man”. Waiting in Oberndorf’s office was Assistant Director Sullivan, who told the assembled agents that “FBI interest in King was a national security matter” on account of his “communist contacts”, Bergeron told Church Committee interviewers in another newly-available document.

Welch had ascertained that King and his party would be staying at the historic Willard Hotel, on Pennsylvania Avenue just east of the White House, and Welch introduced Bergeron to a Willard manager who arranged for Bergeron to “survey” the rooms in question. Bergeron then “placed a transmitter in each of two lamps and then through the hotel contact, it was arranged to have the housekeeper change the lamps in two rooms which had been set aside for King and his party”. In two other nearby rooms Bergeron and fellow Special Agent William D. Campbell set up “radio receivers and tape recorders” prior to when King and his friends first checked in on January 5. Staying in one of the two targeted rooms was King’s friend Logan Kearse, the pastor of Baltimore’s Cornerstone Baptist Church and, like King, the holder of a PhD from the Boston University School of Theology. Kearse “had brought to Washington several women ‘parishioners’ of his church”, a newly-released summary document from Sullivan’s personal file on King relates, and Kearse invited King and his friends to come and meet the women. “The group met in his room and discussed which women among the parishioners would be suitable for natural or unnatural sex acts. When one of the women protested that she did not approve of this, the Baptist minister immediately and forcibly raped her,” the typed summary states, parenthetically citing a specific FBI document (100-3-116-762) as its source. “King looked on, laughed and offered advice,” Sullivan or one of his deputies then added in handwriting.

While that claim appears only as an annotation, other similar marginalia, e.g. “more on this” one page prior, suggest that Sullivan was seeking an expanded, more detailed indictment of King’s behaviour. The document’s recently-released final pages, narrating events until March 30, 1968, suggest that the unfinished revision was abandoned following King’s assassination on April 4. Without question Sullivan and his aides had both the microphone-transmitted tape-recording, and a subsequent full transcript at hand while they were annotating their existing typescript; in 1977 Justice Department investigators would publicly attest to how their own review of both the tapes and the transcripts showed them to be genuine and accurate. Throughout the 1960s, when no precedent for the public release of FBI documents existed or was even anticipated, Sullivan could not have imagined that his and his aides’ jottings would ever see the light of day. Similarly, they would not have had any apparent motive for their annotations to inaccurately embellish upon the actual recording and its full transcript, both of which remain under court seal and one day will confirm or disprove the FBI’s summary allegation.

At the Willard Hotel, King and his friends’ activities resumed the following evening as approximately 12 individuals “participated in a sex orgy” which the prudish Sullivan felt included “acts of degeneracy and depravity . . . When one of the women shied away from engaging in an unnatural act, King and several of the men discussed how she was to be taught and initiated in this respect. King told her that to perform such an act would help your soul.” Sometime later, in language that would reflect just how narrow Sullivan’s mindset was, “King announced that he preferred to perform unnatural acts on women and that he had started the ‘International Association for the Advancement of Pussy Eaters’.” Anyone familiar with King’s often-bawdy sense of humour would not doubt that quotation.

At FBI headquarters, an aide to the Bureau’s number three official, Alan H. Belmont, prepared a comprehensive summary of the Willard recordings: “We do not contemplate dissemination of this information at this time but will utilise it, together with results of additional future coverage, in our plan to expose King for what he is.” Hoover disagreed, instructing in his distinctive scrawl that White House liaison Cartha “Deke” DeLoach should show the summary memo to Walter Jenkins, President Lyndon Johnson’s top aide.

Within 24 hours of King’s return to Atlanta from the Willard, his wiretapped home phone gave the Bureau more raw material. King used a modest apartment at 3006 Delmar Lane NW, rented in the name of aide Fred Bennette, as a hideaway, and there on January 8 King met alone with the woman to whom he had become closest, SCLC citizenship education staffer Dorothy Cotton. Four days later “King was in contact with another girlfriend in New York by the name of Effie”, whom the FBI quickly identified. In early February agents listened in as “King’s wife became upset and berated King for not spending enough time at home with her. This happened at a time when King was at Fred Bennette’s apartment” and the wiretap indicated “he had Dorothy Cotton . . . in the apartment alone with him”.

Stanley Levison, a “secret” member of the Communist Party,  gave King $10,000 in cash in two years, the equivalent of $87,000 today, which was only discovered by an IRS probe

The Atlanta wiretaps kept the FBI fully apprised of King’s upcoming travels, and in mid-February King, SCLC aide Wyatt Walker and Baltimore’s Reverend Kearse all flew to Honolulu to rendezvous with Dolores Evans and at least one other woman. A sound squad from the Bureau’s San Francisco office, with microphones already in place, awaited them at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. But King’s party tired of Honolulu within 72 hours and flew to Los Angeles, where they spent one night at the Ambassador Hotel before moving to the Hyatt House near Los Angeles airport, where another squad of FBI agents quickly deployed in-room microphones while standing by to carry out photographic surveillance in public areas as well. On February 23 they snapped pictures of “Wyatt Walker, Dolores Sheffey, Dorothye Boswell and Martin Luther King, Jr and Dolores Evans”; the following day they filmed movie footage of King and Evans at the Hyatt House. Assistant Director Sullivan himself telephoned the Los Angeles office for updates, with the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) explaining that television noise plus jet planes made for less-than-ideal audio recordings. Los Angeles also notified Sullivan that Evans and her husband Theodore “are both scheduled to appear in court on March 4, 1964, concerning the granting of the interlocutory decree of divorce”.

Back in Atlanta, the SCLC office wiretap memorialised King’s friend Barbara Meredith recounting how at a small party “King got very drunk and made uncomplimentary remarks about some of the SCLC personnel”.  At FBI headquarters, desire for comprehensive scrutiny of King led to a tardy discovery that would have received far more attention had not executives become so preoccupied with King’s personal life. Supervisor Seymor Fred Phillips, who had direct charge of the King case, recommended to Sullivan that they obtain King’s tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service, and when King’s IRS file arrived in mid-March, it contained a previously unreported bombshell: in 1957 and 1958, Stanley Levison, who had first met King only at the very end of 1956, had arranged for King to receive a total of $10,000 in cash gifts—the equivalent of $87,000 in 2019 dollars—from himself and a close friend, 70-year-old Alice Rosenstein Loewi. In early 1961, the IRS had subjected King’s late 1950s’ returns to “investigative scrutiny” and determined that he owed an additional $1,556.02 but had had no fraudulent intent.

In April, 1961, King, Levison, and Chicago attorney Chauncey Eskridge, himself a former IRS agent, had met with an IRS investigator, but only in response to subsequent questions regarding “adjustments in King’s income” did King say that he had received $5,000 in each of those two calendar years. “This sounded like a complete fabrication,” the investigator opined in a December 12, 1961 memo, and seeing this information for the first time more than two years later, J. Edgar Hoover asked: “Doesn’t IRS intend to take some action?” No, a liaison agent reported, but “King’s current income tax return will be scrutinised very carefully to determine whether any violations appear.” Hoover responded: “What a farce!”

Phillips prepared an unremarkable memo to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy reporting the new IRS information, but only in the fifth paragraph, on page two, was Levison’s responsibility for the $10,000 in gift income to King finally cited. In retrospect, the FBI’s failure to highlight Levison’s remarkable munificence towards his new friend is almost as startling as its failure to similarly emphasise to Kennedy how those gifts had taken place simultaneously with Levison’s ongoing contributions to the Communist Party. Levison’s substantial involvement in CPUSA fundraising through 1956, along with that of his twin brother Roy Bennett, has long been known, but FBI documents emphasised how “as of January, 1957, Stanley Levison and Roy Bennett were to become inactive in CP financial operations”. Although it previously has been known that Levison and Bennett continued making personal contributions to the CP until an explicit break in March, 1963, not until now have internal Bureau documents revealed the astonishing amounts involved: $25,000 in 1957, $12,000 in 1958, $13,000 in 1959, $12,000 in 1960, $12,000 in 1961 and at least $2,500 in early 1962. That total of $76,500 in 1960 dollars is the equivalent of more than $650,000 today.

The FBI’s failure ever to cite those figures in its warning memos to Kennedy, coupled in March 1964 with its failure to emphasise Levison’s simultaneous large gifts to King, inexplicably rendered its “secret member” allegation against Levison far less powerful than could have been the case. To have a reported “secret member” writing some of King’s speeches, as the FBI highlighted to Kennedy, was one thing, but the remarkable dollar amounts Levison was bandying about could have made for a much more striking portrayal than the FBI ever painted.

By March, 1964, when the FBI received the IRS information about King, it appears obvious in retrospect that Sullivan’s and Phillips’s intense fixation on King’s personal conduct had totally eclipsed their once-central concern over whether Levison was exerting subversive influence on King. The extent of that preoccupation was underscored in mid-May 1964, when the FBI’s Las Vegas office furnished headquarters with a detailed memo a Nevada Gaming Control Board agent had prepared after learning what had transpired when King, Wyatt Walker, and a Los Angeles minister friend had visited Las Vegas three weeks earlier.

Agent William H. Been had heard rumours that King had patronised a local prostitute and decided that given King’s “position as a God-fearing man of the cloth . . . perhaps a casual inquiry made to the prostitute in question might shed an interesting side light to King’s extra-curricular activities”. At 3 a.m. on May 16 Been met Gail LaRue, a married 28-year-old who had left four children from a prior marriage in Sheridan, Wyoming. Gail explained that at 2 a.m. on April 27, a hotel bellman had asked her to go to the New Frontier Hotel and see the well-known black gospel musician Clara Ward, whose Clara Ward Singers were performing there. In the lobby, Ward handed Gail $100 and told her: “I have a couple of friends in town that would like to meet you and have you take care of them.” Ward said “she was paying Gail . . . because these two men did not believe in paying a girl for her service and for Gail to keep quiet about receiving any money.”

Clara took Gail to the bar at the Sands Hotel and made a call on the house phone. Martin Luther King then appeared in the bar and took both women to his room, where all three began drinking. King phoned one of his colleagues and told him to “get your damned ass down here because I have a beautiful white broad here”. Then “both the Rev King and Clara Ward stripped naked and told Gail to do the same.” With Gail seated in a chair, “King went down on his knees and started nibbling on her right breast, while Clara Ward did the same with her left breast. Gail then stated, ‘I guess the Reverend got tired of that and put his head down between my legs and started nibbling on “that”.’ After a while he got up and told Clara Ward to try some of it, so Clara went down on Gail for a while. Gail stated, ‘I think Clara Ward is queer’.”

Then King had intercourse with Gail while Clara watched. “After what Gail stated seemed like hours, King rolled off and had another drink, then climbed back on for a second go around.” After King paused again, his friend showed up, had a drink, and had intercourse with Gail “while both Clara Ward and the Rev King watched the action from a close-by position”, with Clara sometimes stroking Gail as well. “Gail then stated that she was getting scared as they were pretty drunk and all using filthy language and at last she told Clara Ward she would have to go.” Clara informed King, who “then whispered in Gail’s ear, ‘I would like to try you sometime again if I could get you away from Clara’.”

Been wrote that “Gail stated to this investigator that ‘that was the worst orgy I’ve ever gone through’,” and added that she had declined a subsequent request from Clara Ward to get together again. Been’s three-page memo made its way to the FBI’s Las Vegas SAC, who had it retyped and labelled “Secret” for direct transmission to J. Edgar Hoover. On May 23, Been conducted a follow-up interview with Gail, and passed the additional information to Bureau agents two days later. Gail volunteered that both King and his friend had each asked her to perform oral sex on them with the words “Here—eat this,” which she claimed not to have done, but Been was dubious, telling the FBI that Gail “was not too emphatic in her denial”. In yet another direct report to Hoover, this one labelled “Top Secret”, Las Vegas agents reported that “a paramour of King’s from Los Angeles, Dolores Castillo”, was “known to have spent some time in King’s suite around midnight, April 26”, prior to King’s early-morning assignation with Gail LaRue and Clara Ward.

Unsurprisingly, in late May the wiretap on King’s home telephone overheard a conversation in which “King and his wife had an argument and information was brought out concerning King’s extra-marital activities”. At headquarters, Supervisor Phillips expressed displeasure that Atlanta agents had waited 48 hours before reporting what they had heard and instructed them to “furnish the Bureau, by communication marked for the personal attention of Assistant Director William C. Sullivan, any tape available concerning the reported conversation” or “the most detailed transcript available”. Atlanta case agent Bob Nichols quickly sent the tape, explaining that “the pronouns ‘he’ and ‘she’ used by both parties” made it “impossible to know the identities of the individuals to whom they are making reference”. Sullivan himself later wrote that Coretta King had told her husband that he was “not fulfilling his marital ‘responsibilities’” and “that if he spent ten hours a month at home, this would be an exaggeration”. Sullivan added that King “told her she should go out and have some sexual affairs of her own”.

Three weeks later King called Dolores Evans and they agreed to meet in Los Angeles on July 8. Soon after Kingreturned to Atlanta, a Ms Ruby Hubert of Los Angeles called him on SCLC’s wiretapped lines “and berated him for not seeing her or calling her when he was in Los Angeles, Calif., recently. King gave the excuse that he was in a conference and could not talk to her.” That very same day King “contacted his ‘hideout’ and told Fred Bennette . . . that he was bringing Dorothy Cotton . . . out to the hideout in a few minutes”. The following month, shortly before leaving for the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey, “King told Dorothy Cotton that he had contacted Fred Bennette and everything was OK for the night of 8/19/64.”

The “special squad” coverage that the FBI’s Deke DeLoach deployed against civil rights advocates during the Democratic convention at the behest of President Johnson has long been a well-known story in the annals of FBI abuses, but the newly-released documents add memorable details to this infamous tale. Special Agent Ben Hale was able to pose as NBC correspondent “Bill Peters” thanks to how Robert ‘Shad’ Northshield, a much-heralded television news executive from the 1950s until the 1990s “and a long-time, well-established contact of my office, furnished us NBC credentials”, DeLoach boasted to Bureau superiors. The Bureau also deployed two of its few black agents, John M. Cary and William P. Crawford, to Atlantic City in “undercover assignment roles”. One of the men “successfully established contact with Dick Gregory”, the entertainer and activist, “and maintained this relationship throughout the course of the entire convention. By midweek, he had become one of Gregory’s confidants.” The Johnson White House was highly impressed, and every agent involved received a financial reward.

That same month, in another newly-available document, Assistant Director Sullivan told his boss, Alan Belmont, that the Domestic Intelligence Division would “develop highly placed, quality informants in certain legitimate organisations whose activities generally relate to racial matters”, such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and King’s SCLC.

Whether pursuant to that plan, or simply by happenstance, late in the summer of 1964 a young black man with an accounting background who had already worked as an FBI informant in both San Francisco and Little Rock moved to Atlanta and began “spending a lot of his spare time working on the books of the SCLC”, Atlanta Special Agent Donald P. Burgess wrote. James A. Harrison’s role as the FBI’s sole human informant inside SCLC’s Atlanta headquarters was first revealed by this author in 1981, but only now do new documents, available on the web following a Freedom of Information Act request, reveal Harrison’s pre-existing role as an FBI informant. On October 2 Agent Burgess recounted how “Harrison has completely ingratiated himself in the SCLC and is considered a staff member at present . . . Harrison has met and been in the home of Martin Luther King, Jr, and apparently meets with the approval of King.” At least weekly, Harrison informed Atlanta agents what was happening at SCLC, but his early reports featured only mundane office gossip.

On Wednesday, November 18, J. Edgar Hoover told a group of women reporters that King was “the most notorious liar” in the US, ostensibly because of how King had criticised southern FBI agents two years earlier. Hoover added “off the record” that King “is one of the lowest characters in the country”, but the “notorious liar” characterisation generated widespread headlines. King responded with a telegram telling Hoover that he was “appalled and surprised at your reported statement maligning my integrity” and with a public statement asserting that the 69-year-old Hoover “has apparently faltered under the awesome burden, complexities and responsibilities of his office”.

King professed “nothing but sympathy for this man who has served his country so well,” but in wiretapped phone conversations that were quickly passed to FBI headquarters, King instructed aides to ask civil rights allies to speak out so that Hoover would be “hit from all sides.” Hoover complained to his own aides that “I can’t understand why we are unable to get the true facts before the public” and that “we are never taking the aggressive.”

Now, more newly-available documents offer a far more detailed account of what then transpired on Saturday November 21 in what would become the most notorious episode in the FBI’s pursuit of King. At the Domestic Intelligence Division’s offices on the eighth floor of the Riddell Building at 1730 K Street, Washington, Supervisor Seymor Phillips had possession of all the reel-to-reel tapes from the hotel room microphone surveillances on King. Early that morning Assistant Director Sullivan instructed FBI Laboratory supervisor John M. Matter to prepare multiple composite copies containing what Matter called “highlights” from the Willard Hotel and Los Angeles Hyatt House recordings. Soon thereafter, as Phillips recalled in a lengthy, never before cited recollection of that day’s events, Sullivan, whose office “was directly across the hall” from his, “came into my office and asked me for some unwatermarked stationery”. Then, “later that morning”, Sullivan “telephoned me for the address of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference headquarters in Atlanta”. Phillips jotted it down and took it to Sullivan, who was busy typing and again sought assurance that the stationery Phillips had given him was unwatermarked.

Phillips went on: “Around noon, Sullivan called me into his office and handed me a sealed manila envelope which appeared to contain something other than written matter as it was a solid package. He gave me a sum of money and asked that I have one of the men working with me immediately take the package by cab to the Justice Building and hand it over to Al Belmont,” whose office was at “Main Justice” on Pennsylvania Avenue.

From there, the day’s events shift to a second narrator, whose April 1975 interview with Church Committee investigators is also among the newly-disclosed documents. Supervisor Lish Whitson, one of the Domestic Intelligence Division’s most senior agents, recounted how on that Saturday Sullivan had called him at home and told him that Hoover wanted him to take a package to Miami, one that only Sullivan, Deputy Director Clyde Tolson, Hoover, and Assistant to the Director Belmont knew about. Sullivan told him to go to National Airport, and “Whitson said that when he arrived at the North terminal of National Airport, following Sullivan’s telephonic instructions, a young man who was unknown to Whitson but who addressed him as ‘Mr Whitson’ turned a package over to him which was wrapped in brown paper and sealed with sealing tape” and approximately eight inches by eight inches and one inch thick.

Upon landing in Miami, Whitson telephoned Sullivan for further instructions and was told to address it to Martin Luther King in Atlanta, with no return address. At a post office, Whitson had it weighed and affixed stamps. On Sunday Whitson flew back to Washington, and upon reporting in on Monday morning, Sullivan remarked, “Someday I will tell you about that.” About a week later, “Sullivan commented to Whitson that the package had not yet been received by Martin Luther King,” and only come January 5, 1965, more than six weeks later, did agents listening in on the Atlanta wiretaps hear King and his aides discussing a troubling and embarrassing tape-recording he had received. At FBI headquarters, Seymor Phillips mentioned that news to John Matter, who said nothing in response “but rather smiled ‘knowingly,’” Phillips later wrote.

As history has long known, at SCLC headquarters the package containing the tape was presumed to be of one of King’s speeches and was put aside for delivery to his wife. When King learned of the contents, he became distraught, telling one aide over the wiretapped phone lines that the FBI was “out to get me, harass me, break my spirit”. King went to the apartment of an SCLC secretary, Edwina Smith, to try to rest and get some sleep, only to be awakened by firemen responding to a false fire alarm instigated by Atlanta FBI agents. Ralph Abernathy and Andrew Young, two of King’s closest aides, sought a meeting with the FBI’s Deke DeLoach to ask whether the Bureau was investigating King’s personal life, but the duplicitous DeLoach denied any such thing.

In reality, throughout late November and early December, even following a highly-publicised but completely banal face-to-face meeting between King and Hoover, FBI officials followed Hoover’s instructions to have all of the hotel room recordings transcribed in full and prepared new summary reports for agents to use in privately spreading the word about King’s personal conduct. “THIS MEMORANDUM IS NOT TO BE DISSEMINATED OUTSIDE THE BUREAU AND IS TO BE USED ONLY FOR ORAL BRIEFING PURPOSES,” one newly-available document describing King as “a moral degenerate” forcefully warns.

The FBI’s anonymous letter sent with the tape warned King that you will find on the record for all time audio evidence of  your adulterous acts, your sexual orgies involving various evil playmates

Almost exactly one decade later, when the FBI had chosen none other than Seymor Fred Phillips to be its principal liaison with the Church Committee, a committee request that the Bureau survey the personal files that William Sullivan had left behind when Hoover forced him into sudden retirement in 1971 led Phillips to make an historic discovery. On Sunday morning January 26, 1975, Phillips was asked to “inventory a drawer full of folders pertaining to King” among Sullivan’s papers. Therein he found “a document which I considered at the time of extreme significance”, the original of an anonymous, unsigned letter ostensibly written by one of “us Negroes” and addressed simply “King”. A heavily-redacted version of that letter was later publicly released, and in time a fully unredacted copy would become available too. But writing in early 1975, soon after discovering the original of that missive, Phillips explained in his newly-released memo how he had realised that back on November 21, 1964, Sullivan had no doubt employed carbon paper when typing on that unwatermarked stationery Phillips had given him, thereby creating an untraceable carbon copy with “that copy used as the cover communication” in the package that then made its way first to Al Belmont and then to Lish Whitson. Phillips insisted that in November 1964, “I didn’t at that time conceive of any communication being sent with the tape” that he knew Sullivan had had dispatched, and only upon studying the text of the letter did Sullivan’s intent become clear.

After telling King to “lend your sexually psychotic ear to the enclosure”, the letter warned that “you will find on the record for all time” audio evidence of “your adulterous acts, your sexual orgies” involving “various evil playmates” including “Dolores Evans”. Calling him “an evil, abnormal beast”, the letter instructed: “King, there is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. You have just 34 days in which to do (this exact number has been selected for a specific reason . . . There is but one way out for you. You better take it before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation.” As Phillips realised in 1975 after seeing the text, 34 days from November 21 was December 25, Christmas Day—with Sullivan’s clear but unspoken implication being that King had better take his own life by that date.

Notwithstanding how privately distraught King was upon realising the extent of the FBI’s efforts to destroy him, no word of what was taking place in Washington and Atlanta broke into public view in 1965 or in the years immediately following. When King’s family moved from the house they had rented since 1960 to a newly-purchased home in April 1965, Atlanta agents sought headquarters’ approval to continue wiretapping King’s phone at the new address. In the three months leading up to the move, the home tap had revealed “18 contacts of King by individuals having CP connections”, such as Clarence Jones and singer Harry Belafonte, that were all decades old, “and 11 contacts by King of females relating to extra-marital activity on his part”. With Hoover seeking to minimise the FBI’s overall number of active wiretaps, Atlanta’s request was denied.

At SCLC headquarters, Jim Harrison continued filing regular informant reports, but when he told Atlanta agents that he had met Stanley Levison at SCLC’s August convention in Birmingham, their lack of interest revealed once again how “communist influence” was now a very small figleaf indeed in the Bureau’s ongoing surveillance of King. They evinced more interest in second-hand gossip that some Atlanta radio station employee supposedly possessed “blackmail type of information on King”. Similarly, several months later Phillips and Sullivan eagerly welcomed Atlanta news—whether from the office wiretap or Harrison is unclear—“that King is reported to have gone to the apartment of one of his female employees on 11/4/65 and to have torn her clothes off of her in an apparent attempt to attack her”. Whatever the truth of that rumour, throughout early 1966 King became closer and closer to his “constant paramour” Dorothy Cotton, ostensibly running up more than $600 in international telephone charges to call Cotton in Atlanta during a spring speaking trip to France.

In June 1966, Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach instructed the FBI to end its wiretapping of SCLC’s office phones because the Justice Department was considering charging one of King’s aides in an interstate car theft case, but Jim Harrison remained in place. When a meeting that included Stanley Levison and Clarence Jones discussed how SCLC’s payroll might be trimmed, Harrison told Atlanta agents that the possibility of firing receptionist Xernona Clayton, the wife of SCLC’s former public relations director, had foundered in part because of the fact that Clayton “has engaged in promiscuous relations with Martin Luther King, Jr”. Atlanta’s suggestion that COINTELPRO possibilities involving Clayton be considered was turned down by FBI headquarters.

Not to be outdone, the Chicago FBI office energetically followed up on a lead that an additional King girlfriend was 33-year-old Barbara Moore, a secretary at Sears-Roebuck & Co headquarters who had been introduced to King two or three years earlier by his attorney friend Chauncey Eskridge, who was himself involved with Moore’s sister Judy. Chicago agents had a criminal informant, CG 6732-C, who “has been intimately acquainted for a number of years” with Moore and who claimed that “King sees Barbara Moore every time he comes to Chicago,” which in 1965-66 was quite often. Moore was reportedly competing for King’s Chicago affections with another woman, Rosemary Mitchell, who owned Rosemary Mitchell Interiors in Hyde Park and was formerly the common-law partner of a South Side crime figure. The informant told the agents that according to Moore, on one occasion King “became involved in a fist fight” over Moore with an unknown attorney, and the agents’ own investigation of Moore’s background established that under several previous names she “was reportedly a prostitute” at the age of 18.

Even with no further electronic surveillance sources reporting on King’s private life, information continued to flow in, whether from Jim Harrison or from other human sources. By late 1967 the Bureau was reporting King’s dependence upon sleeping pills and how he “frequently flew into a rage over relatively insignificant matters”, a claim later confirmed by King’s aides. Then, in December 1967, the King case took its most curious turn of all when Don Newcombe, a famous African-American former major league baseball pitcher, became worried about King’s newly-announced plan to mount an aggressively disruptive “Poor People’s Campaign” in Washington in 1968.

Writing to President Lyndon B. Johnson just before Christmas, Newcombe explained that “I have information I consider highly classified” which “would be of great value to your Administration” but which he would furnish only to the president himself. Top Johnson aides Harry McPherson, Clifford Alexander, and Marvin Watson puzzled with great seriousness over Newcombe’s curious missive before Watson wrote back to say that the president was very busy but that Watson himself would welcome receiving Newcombe’s information. In early January Newcombe reached Watson by phone, and while Newcombe made clear that his information concerned Martin Luther King, he declined Watson’s request that he submit a fully detailed letter: “There are so many people involved and so many people that could possibly be hurt by this information that I find myself unable to put it down in writing.”

The FBI reported that an intoxicated King had threatened to jump out of a New York hotel window if Dolores Evans would not say she loved him, and that they believed he had fathered a baby girl born to her

Newcombe soon found his way to the FBI, and by February 20 an FBI report went to the White House detailing Newcombe’s information. Newcombe was an in-law of Dolores Evans, King’s long-time Los Angeles girlfriend, whom Newcombe said had been involved with King since 1962. Once when Evans was with King in a New York hotel room, Newcombe related, an intoxicated King had threatened to jump out a window if Evans would not say she loved him. The FBI quickly updated its existing summary report, “Martin Luther King, Jr, A Current Analysis,” to incorporate all of Newcombe’s information. Most shockingly, Newcombe “believes King fathered a baby girl born to this woman inasmuch as her husband is allegedly sterile. The child resembles King to a great degree and King contributes to the support of this child. He calls this woman every Wednesday and frequently meets her in various cities throughout the country.”

Following King’s death, a White House aide shared the Newcombe information with syndicated columnist Jack Anderson, who travelled to Los Angeles for what he described as “an emotional interview” with Dolores Evans, who insisted that her relationship with King had been “merely a friendship”. She told Anderson, “I didn’t call him. He called me,” and steadfastly “denied any intimacies”. When Evans’s daughter Chrystal, who had been born on October 30, 1964, married in 2003, her New York Times wedding announcement listed “the late Dr Theodore L. Evans, Jr,” as her father. The ceremony itself was performed by Martin Luther King’s closest surviving associate, Reverend Andrew J. Young. In a brief 2007 essay about fathers and daughters, Dr Chrystal Evans-Bowman, an only child, wrote that her parents separated in 1976-77 and reported that her father died in 1994. Dr Evans-Bowman, with whom the now 82-year-old Dolores Evans lives, has not responded to multiple requests for an interview with her mother.

Don Newcombe’s involvement in the FBI’s pursuit of King exemplifies the single most important truth about J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI: its domestic intelligence investigations relied far more on human informants than on costly and time-consuming electronic surveillance. Typical of the FBI’s late 1960s’ onslaught against a wide range of political groups was the Bureau’s early 1968 recruitment of a second SCLC staff member, Chicago-based Ralph Henry, as a paid informant, the new documents reveal. A significant if little-known SCLC organiser, Henry not only attended a February 12 conference with King and all his top aides in Atlanta, but when Fred Bennette, King’s “hideaway” facilitator, was “assigned to be in charge of security for Martin Luther King”, Chicago agents reported, “Ralph Henry was assigned to be Reverend Bennette’s assistant.” More than three years later, Henry was still on SCLC’s payroll, and also still on the FBI’s. John Furfey, a Chicago-based CIA agent, conducted a long November 18, 1971 interview with Henry. “Subject earns about $600 clear from the SCLC each month and this is supplemented by money from the FBI,” Furfey reported to his CIA superiors.

But Ralph Henry was far from alone. Jim Harrison left SCLC in February 1970 yet remained an FBI informant until 1974, the newly-released documents reveal. In addition, the Bureau also deployed an important, heretofore unknown informant from Cincinnati, known only as CI 652-R, to cover Martin Luther King’s funeral. In a long, newly-available written report, CI 652-R detailed how he and his family flew to Atlanta on April 9, 1968, and drove fellow Hilton Hotel guests Myrlie and Charles Evers to the funeral service at Ebenezer Baptist Church. The following morning CI 652-R had a long face-to-face conversation at SCLC headquarters with Andrew Young before SCLC leaders held a press conference. “My wife and I left after the press conference and went to visit Coretta King and later Rev M. L. King, Sr.,” CI 652-R wrote to Special Agent John T. Pryor. (The likelihood is that the informant was Reverend L. V. Booth, a longtime friend of the King family and the pastor of Cincinnati’s Zion Baptist Church from 1952. He died in 2002 aged 83.)

But Martin Luther King and his aides and family were far from alone in drawing the attention of multiple FBI informants. In 1963, the Communist Party USA had a grand total of 4,453 members, new Bureau documents reveal, and as of two years later no fewer than 336 of them were FBI informants. Even in 1971, the Bureau was boasting privately of how 11 of its informants were members of the CPUSA’s National Committee, and early that year the FBI dispatched WF (as in Washington Field) 1777-S to a Soviet-backed World Council for Peace conference in Stockholm where “she” proved to be “of exceptional value”.

Yet the scale of the FBI’s penetration of the CPUSA paled next to its success against a far more iconic political group. By 1971 the Black Panther Party was weaker than it had been several years earlier, but its membership decline had not attenuated the FBI’s presence in its ranks. “The present membership is 710,” a newly-available August 1971 Domestic Intelligence Division document reports, “and we have 156 informants . . . which represents 21.7 percent of the membership.” The Division eagerly boasted that all told “we are operating 7,477 extremist informants”, more than 6,500 of whom were low-import “ghetto informants who provide general information”, but the Bureau’s targeting was not limited solely to leftists and African-Americans. Nationwide, “353 informants report on white extremist organisations”, and when in late 1967 the United Klans of America, by far the largest Ku Klux Klan group in the United States, elected an Imperial Board at its National Klonvocation, “four of the ten newly-elected members of this Board are FBI informants,” the Division crowed. What’s more, “in the early stages of Klan growth in the State of Tennessee, we were able to develop as a Bureau informant the Grand Dragon of the United Klans of America, Realm of Tennessee. Through this high-level source we were able to control the expansion of the Klan” and “discourage violence throughout the state”. Across Tennessee, the Klan’s “lack of success can be attributed to our highly-placed informant”, ME 313-E (as in Extremist), who was handled by Special Agent M. E. McCloughan. (The evidence points to ME 313-E being former UKA Grand Dragon V. Doyle Ellington, now aged 80, who lives in Brownsville and is on Facebook.)

The new hoard of largely-unredacted, previously unreleased FBI documents raises more questions than can presently be answered. Irrespective of whether or not Martin Luther King actually has an additional, never-acknowledged daughter, the scores and scores of informant identities that can be pried out of the new material will primarily interest only a small handful of historians and journalists. But many other nuggets await discovery. For example “Ironclad”, a Soviet “defector-in-place” who “has identified hundreds of SIS [Soviet Intelligence Service] officers and furnished information concerning approximately 250 intelligence operations”, appears never before to have come into public view. “The value of information he has furnished and has a potential to furnish is beyond estimate,” the Domestic Intelligence Division wrote in August 1971.

Yet without any doubt the uppermost issue raised by the new documents concerns just how fundamental a reconsideration of Martin Luther King’s historical reputation will take place when the complete trove of still-sealed FBI tape recordings and attendant transcripts is released for public review. Until now, some voices in 2027 might have called for the physical destruction of all those historical records, notwithstanding how the FBI’s electronic surveillance of King was not, under the regrettably relaxed standards of that time, in any way illegal.

But the FBI’s allegation that King “looked on, laughed and offered advice” as a forcible rape took place right in front of him makes that stance unsupportable by anyone. Dorothy Cotton, the most important woman in King’s life, went to her grave without ever giving an interview in which she explicitly discussed their relationship, and how many of the additional 40 or more women, such as Dolores Evans, Barbara Meredith and Barbara Moore, whom the now-public documents identify as King’s more occasional partners, might have something of value to offer the historical record?

King’s far-from monogamous lifestyle, like his binge-drinking, may fit albeit uncomfortably within his existing life story, but the suggestion—actually more than one—that he either actively tolerated or personally employed violence against any woman, even while drunk, poses so fundamental a challenge to his historical stature as to require the most complete and extensive historical review possible.

In retrospect, it now seems certain that Martin Luther King knew himself better and more fully than we have over the past 50 years. As he told his Ebenezer congregation on March 3, 1968, “There is a schizophrenia, as the psychologists or the psychiatrists would call it, going on within all of us. There are times that all of us know somehow that there is a Mr Hyde and a Dr Jekyll in us.” But he nonetheless insisted that “God does not judge us by the separate incidents or the separate mistakes that we make, but by the total bent of our lives.” Some of us now-ageing King scholars “may not get there with you” come 2027, but there is no question that a profoundly painful historical reckoning and reconsideration inescapably awaits. 

Voir également:

The British newsmagazine Standpoint hit newsstands in England today featuring an article titled “The Troubling Legacy of Martin Luther King” with the subtitle “Newly revealed documents portray the great civil rights leader as a sexual libertine who ‘laughed’ as a forcible rape took place.” The article is written by historian David J. Garrow, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his 1986 biography, Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

The story of how the article came to be is striking. Garrow claims to have learned of new information after hearing that King-related materials had been “dumped” on the National Archives website.

Garrow claims that as he went through these materials what he found were never-before-seen documents from FBI files and surveillance summaries, that he writes “silently slipped into public view on the Archives’ lightly-annotated and difficult-to-explore website.” According to his account, many of these came from tens of thousands of government documents from congressional investigations of U.S. intelligence agencies. They are among over 54,000 web links that led to multi-document PDFs, that took him many weeks to go through.

According to an editorial in the same issue, Garrow came to publish this extraordinary piece at Standpoint after it had been accepted by, and then killed at, the Guardian and subsequently rejected by the Atlantic.

Those in the civil rights movement and close to it knew of King’s reputation as a womanizer who cheated on his wife regularly. They thought, as Garrow himself told the U.K. newspaper, the Sunday Times, that he had perhaps about 10 or 12 other women—not the 40 to 45 alleged in the newly discovered FBI files. The charges are so serious and troubling that Garrow reached the conclusion that King’s indifference to, or approval of, a rape he witnessed and encouraged, “poses so fundamental a challenge to the historical stature as to require the most complete and extensive historical review possible.”

Here is a rough summation of Garrow’s new findings:

  1. King had scores of extramarital affairs. When his wife complained that he was hardly ever home, he advised her, the FBI said, to “go out and have some sexual affairs of her own.”
  2. The FBI bugged the various hotel rooms he was booked to stay in as he traveled the country, recording everything that took place. Sometimes they were in the room next door to King’s, as was the case in the Willard Hotel when King stayed there in 1964.
  3. King used his position as the pastor of his church to pick out women from his own parish to sleep with, and pressure them into going along.
  4. King witnessed and egged on the rape of a parishioner by his friend Logan Kearse, pastor of a Baltimore Baptist church.
  5. King may well have had a daughter from his serious relationship with Dolores Evans, a Los Angeles girlfriend. He is alleged to have regularly paid Evans for child support, although he never acknowledged being father of her baby. Evans is alive, as is the daughter who might have been sired by King, Dr. Chrystal Evans-Bowman. Neither have talked to the press, despite many requests for an interview.

There is another aspect of the revelations that do not relate to King’s sexual life and which are very important. After J. Edgar Hoover spoke to Robert F. Kennedy, King was advised to break his contact with Stanley Levison, a man who advised King, gave his movement money, and was a secret member of the American Communist Party. The history of the civil rights movement has always assumed that King took this advice to heart.

The new documents suggest, however, that King secretly both kept up his contact with Levison and continued to take large amounts of money from him. These funds came essentially from the CPUSA, and thus from the Soviet Union. From 1957 through 1962, Levison gave what Garrow calls “the astonishing amounts” of a total of $76,500; the equivalent of $650,000 today. Levison was in charge of handling all CPUSA funds, including those secretly coming from the Soviet Union, which helped finance the American Communist Party. At a time when segregationist Mississippi Senator James Eastland was accusing the civil rights movement of being run by Communists, such knowledge, had it come out, could have had damaging effects on it.


As a historian who wrote the first major biography of King and a separate book The FBI and Martin Luther King,Jr., Garrow’s new revelations must be taken seriously. His article appears in a distinguished British newspaper, not a Murdoch British rag or a tabloid such as our country’s National Enquirer.

Undoubtedly, people like Roy Moore, Richard Spencer, David Duke, and various alt-right hangers-on will revel in this news and argue that it demolishes Martin Luther King Jr.’s standing as an American hero.

That would be the wrong conclusion to take.

King was a man who risked his own life by practicing non-violence and who publicly rejected the two primary alternatives to the civil rights movement: black nationalism and racial separatism. He rejected the use of guns in the fight against the oppressors, especially the police. Because of this, the more radical groups were not fond of King and called him the Uncle Tom of the movement.

Let me not mince words. King’s behavior toward women should not be buried or excused. They should be condemned.

But does acknowledging these truths mean that we can no longer recognize King’s accomplishments as a civil rights leader? Does it mean we have to ignore what he said in his powerful sermons and writings? Does it diminish his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”? It was there that King wrote that citizens had “not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws,” and at the same time “to disobey unjust laws.”

Remember, King led an entire community to risk everything on behalf of freedom, fighting off Bull Connor’s police dogs and fire hoses as they were unleashed on unarmed citizens protesting for their rights as American citizens.

Our leaders are human. King was deeply flawed in his view of women and his sexual proclivities. It is obvious, reading Garrow’s quotation from King’s sermon on March 3, 1968, that he was alluding to himself when he said “There is a schizophrenia . . . going on in all of us. There are times that all of us know somehow that there is a Mr. Hyde and a Dr. Jekyll in us.” God, King said, “does not judge us by the separate incidents or the separate mistakes that we make, but by the total bent of our lives.”

The word “mistake” does not begin to cover King’s behavior toward women. But King is yet another reminder that good men can do bad things, and even bad men can sometimes accomplish great goods. How do we balance those ledgers in a final accounting? It’s hard. It’s messy. And there are no neat or obvious answers.

Some thought Garrow should keep his discoveries under wraps, but it is the job of the historian to tell the truth. This is especially true for a historian who has already devoted a good chunk of his career to chronicling the man’s life. It would not be too much to say that Garrow had almost a unique duty to write this piece.

It is unfortunate that the racists among us will cheer this news. But that is not an excuse to keep the truth hidden.

If Garrow is right that a “profoundly painful historical reckoning and reconsideration” is upon us, then so be it. We are better off confronting the truth than living with a comfortable lie.

Ronald Radosh is a contributing opinion columnist for The Daily Beast, professor emeritus of history at CUNY, and co-author of A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel.

‘Adults are pretending to be children’: Now even aid workers admit ‘Calais kids’ are LYING about their age as vulnerable nine-year-old African boy is refused UK entry in ‘shambolic’ selection process 

  • Migrant ‘children’ arriving in Britain on coaches from Calais Jungle camp
  • But critics argue they look much older than the 14 to 17 they claim to be 
  • Aid workers said some are lying about their age to get entry to Britain
  • They claim those arriving in the UK are ‘adults pretending to be children’
  • Daniel Gadi, nine, from Eritrea is among those still stranded in France

Aid workers in Calais have warned the most vulnerable children face being stranded in the Jungle camp because adults are lying about their age to gain entry to Britain.

Volunteers working in the migrant camp said the process for registering those with family members was ‘chaotic’ and warned vulnerable children are being left behind.

Critics have claimed that migrants arriving into Britain over the last two days appear to look older than the 14 to 17 years the Government claims they are.

The Home Office has come under fire for not carrying out routine tests such as dental checks to determine their age because they are deemed ‘too intrusive’.

The second wave of ‘child’ migrants from the Jungle Camp arrived in Britain at lunchtime today with up to 300 more expected to follow in their footsteps in the coming week – although the Home Office has not yet confirmed the exact number.

Some 14 children arrived in the first wave yesterday, but the Home Office also refused to confirm how many came to the UK today.

After photographs of the refugees arriving were published, Conservative MP David Davies wrote on Twitter: ‘These don’t look like ‘children’ to me. I hope British hospitality is not being abused.’

Officials insist the migrants have undergone rigorous interviews and document checks to establish they are aged under 18.

But it has emerged that this is simply a screening process where they are verified as a child based on their ‘physical appearance’ and ‘demeanour’, with social workers signing off an ‘age assessment’.

A Whitehall source added that the migrants may simply look older because fleeing war zones had ‘probably toughened them up so they’ve grown up a bit quicker’.

Daniel Gadi, a nine-year-old boy, from Eritrea, in Africa, whose mother is dead, is among those still stranded in France.

WHY IS HOME OFFICE NOT DOING MEDICAL CHECKS?

On background checks, the Home Office states:

We work closely with the French Authorities to ensure that the cases applying to come to the UK qualify under Dublin.

Initial interviews are conducted to gather information on identity, medical conditions and age among other criteria.

On age we use a number of determining factors:

– That the individual has provided credible and clear documentary evidence proving their claimed age;

– That the individual has a physical appearance/demeanour which does not strongly suggest they are significantly over 18 years of age

– That the individual has been subject to a Merton compliant age assessment by a local authority and been assessed to be 18 years of age or over, which must be signed off by two social workers.

His father Abaye said he wants his son to be looked after by his late wife’s sister in London, but was refused entry to Britain as he is not an unaccompanied child.

‘My son is nine,’ Abaye said. ‘I want him to go to London to be with his mother’s sister. We have been here for three months, I do not want my son to be here.

‘I have two sons aged 12 and 16 who are already in London with their aunt. Their mother is dead.’

The first child migrants began arriving in Britain from Calais on Monday, while the second wave got to the UK Visas and Immigration office in Croydon, south London, this afternoon.

They being transferred from the Jungle before it is demolished later this month.

Some waved to the waiting cameras as they stepped off the packed bus before being escorted into the main building by UK border enforcement officers.

Between 200 and 300 youngsters with family already in the UK will be brought across the Channel by the end of the week, according to French police.

But as the transfers began, volunteers working in the Jungle camp raised concerns that those most in need would be left behind because adults are taking their places.

One unnamed aid worker in Calais raised concerns that adults may be lying about their age to gain entry into Britain.

The worker said: ‘It is a complete mess. Those at the front of the queue are not the most needy and vulnerable – they are adults pretending to be children.’

Another volunteer, Neha, added: ‘I know there are vulnerable kids, kids with epilepsy, who are still here that have family in the UK they could be with right now.

‘It’s a shambles. Children are not being told what they are queuing up for, they are not being given information, there is complete confusion.’

Up to 1,200 children are stranded in the sprawling Jungle camp in the French Port town, which is due to be demolished this month.

A Home Office spokesman admitted that routine medical tests, such as checking dental records, have not been carried out because it could be ‘intrusive’. Pictured: Arrivals in Croydon – There is no suggestion that those pictured are lying about being under 17

Migrant ‘children’ arriving in Britain from Calais to critics claiming they look ‘old enough to be adults’ may look older ‘because war has toughened them up’, a Whitehall source claims. Pictured: An Afghani migrant waves as he leaves Saint Omer, France, for Britain today

One British volunteer said: ‘It’s a shambles. Children are not being told what they are queuing up for, they are not being given information, there is complete confusion.’ Pictured: Migrants in the Calais jungle, which is due to be bulldozed later this month

Home Office staff have gone out to Calais to ensure a smooth transition. Pictured here is a UK official (centre, black coat) and a camp volunteer (hat and beige coat) assisting a group of migrant children aged 12-16 ahead of their departure

Around half say they have family in the UK, giving them the right to move here.

Under the system, the children have to apply for asylum in France with their claims transferred to Britain once they show they have family links already in the country.

A team of Home Office officials has been dispatched to Calais to work with the French authorities to screen applicants before they are granted entry.

Part of the vetting process will include attempting to determine their ages.

CHILD ARRIVALS SPARK HUGE DEBATE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

The arrival of the migrant children has caused a huge stir on social media, with everyone from politicians to television presenters weighing in.

UKIP temporary leader Nigel Farage said the pictures of the refugees proved the need to ‘verify who was coming into our country’.

But ex-England footballer and Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker hit out at those accusing the migrants of lying about their ages.

He wrote on Twitter: ‘The treatment by some towards these young refugees is hideously racist and utterly heartless. What’s happening to our country?’

Many people were unswayed by his comments though, taking aim at the Home Office over the process and questioning the ages of those arriving.

Owen Gibbs replied: ‘@GaryLineker i think it has a lot to do with the fact that we were told it would be refugee children but we’re seeing migrant men.’ 

Tony Pearce tweeted: ‘@AmberRudd_MP we wanted a strong home secretary who will keep our country safe, but you want to import migrant men posing as children.’

Laird Glencaird added: ‘Errrrrr, when are the first migrant children from Calais due. Lots of Migrants coming over but haven’t seen any kids yet. Please Help??’ 

Many made light of the situation, joking about what the ‘children’ will do when they arrive in the UK.

‘Dukesy’ tweeted: ‘The Calais migrant children have all been offered places at a local junior school but have decided 2 go straight into labouring for brickies.’

And another Twitter user known only as ‘Lee’ added: ‘These Calais migrant children aren’t aging well, are they?!’ 

The Government said it has ‘worked closely with the French Authorities to ensure that the cases applying to come to the UK qualify’, but admitted tests are based on ‘physical appearance’ and ‘demeanour’, with social workers signing off an ‘age assessment’.

A Home Office spokesman admitted medical tests, such as checking dental records, were not carried out because it could be ‘intrusive’.

The first group of children from war-torn countries including Syria and Sudan, arrived yesterday by coach at Lunar House, followed by a second batch today.

As part of the process, family members will also have been grilled by a team of screening officers trained to spot inconsistencies in their stories.

As doubts were raised about the new arrivals’ ages, Tory MP David Davies tweeted: ‘These don’t look like ‘children’ to me. I hope British hospitality is not being abused.’

Meanwhile, Twitter user Iain McGregor wrote: ‘Does the British Foreign Office think we are stupid? I was expecting kids under the age of 16, not over the age of 21.’

Another, writing under the name Dot, added: ‘When I read child migrants I thought it was youngsters. These are young men!!’

And David Moore said: ‘Lie about your age and you get a ride into the land of milk and honey. Don’t think they will be asked for ID at the pub.’

Others commented that some of the ‘children’ had managed to grow facial hair, while Mr Davies questioned why no girls or women had been brought to Britain.

He told The Telegraph: ‘These young men don’t look like minors to me. They are hulking teenagers who look older than 18. I’m all for helping the genuine children but the well of goodwill is rapidly being exhausted here.

‘I’m also curious that there are no young women – I would have thought they would be much more vulnerable. I worry that once again British hospitality is being abused.

‘There is no way of knowing if someone is a child. We could end up causing even more misery if we are not careful. We should invite anyone who wants to come to the UK to take dental tests.’

However, a Whitehall source said the child migrants may look older because fleeing war zones had ‘probably toughened them up so they’ve grown up a bit quicker’.

The youngsters now face further screening by the Home Office before they are reunited with family members. Some might be housed in specialist accommodation while these safeguarding checks take place, the spokesman said.

A Home Office spokesman said: ‘This is the start of the process to transfer as many eligible children as possible before the start of the clearance, as the Home Secretary set out in Parliament.

‘The transfer process is not straightforward. We need to make sure the essential checks have been made for their safety and the safety of others.’

Earlier, campaigners and faith leaders warned there are many more children left behind at the Jungle camp who also deserve Britain’s help.

WHAT THE LAW SAYS

The law which governs EU asylum claims states migrants should claim asylum in the first EU country reached. 

However there is a clause which allows minors to apply for asylum in another European country if they already have family living there.  

Lord Dubs, who came to Britain on the Kindertransport programme for Jewish children fleeing Nazi Germany, brought an amendment to the Immigration Act which was passed in May. 

This states the UK will take ‘vulnerable unaccompanied child refugees’ who arrived in the EU before March 20. 

These child refugees must be travelling on their own and fleeing conflict in their home country. Exceptions also apply to children under 13, girls and orphans. 

More than 80 unaccompanied children have so far been accepted to Britain under EU asylum law this year, according to the Home Office. 

It is not yet clear how many children will be accepted from Calais this week, although some figures suggest it will be around 100. 

‘We know that at least three children have died trying to get into Britain. Three children who actually had a legal right to be with their families,’ said former archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

Speaking to reporters in Croydon in south London, where the teenagers were being processed, he said yesterday: ‘I really hope it will be the beginning of some kind of new life experience with none of the horrors they’ve endured.’

Charities estimate up to 10,000 migrants from Africa, the Middle East and Asia have settled in the ‘Jungle’ in the hope of reaching Britain, but French authorities are expected to close it down by the end of the year.

‘No child must be left behind in the chaos of demolition,’ said Lord Alf Dubs, who fled the Nazis for Britain in 1939 and helped force the change in the law on child refugees.

A Home Office spokeswoman said Britain had agreed to transfer ‘as many minors as possible’ under EU asylum law before the Calais camp is closed.

She said that those eligible under British law must be looked after while their cases were assessed, adding: ‘Work is continuing on both sides of the Channel to ensure this happens as a matter of urgency.’

Meanwhile a French court today rejected a request by aid groups to delay the closure of the migrant camp in Calais, allowing authorities to clear out its thousands of residents in the coming weeks.

French authorities are gradually relocating or deporting the 6,000 to 10,000 migrants from the camp.

No date has been set for a large-scale clear-out operation, but the government has promised to shut it down by the start of winter.

Several aid groups filed an emergency request last week to postpone the closure, arguing that authorities aren’t ready to relocate its residents.

A Lille court rejected the request Tuesday, according to Pierre Henry of aid group Terre d’Asile.

Charity groups have warned that many of the migrants don’t want to stay in France and may set up camp elsewhere to continue trying to cross the English Channel to Britain.

‘Please don’t pretend two dads is the new normal’: RICHARD LITTLEJOHN says children benefit most from being raised by a man and woman

The Daily Mail

Call me old-fashioned, but I’ve never understood why so many pregnant women these days insist on flaunting the ultrasound scans of their unborn children.

Then again, I come from a generation reluctant even to discover the sex of their baby in advance, because it would spoil the surprise.

Anyway, surely making a song-and-dance at such an early stage of pregnancy is tempting fate. Why not wait until the child is actually born?

More to the point, who outside the immediate family is remotely interested?

You wouldn’t share the X-ray of your duodenal ulcer or triple heart bypass on the internet. Would you?

Ask a silly question. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of websites dedicated to displaying intimate snapshots of surgical procedures.

Come to think of it, I’ve got a picture of my last colonoscopy somewhere, if anyone’s interested. It looks like the menu board at Dunkin’ Donuts. Not that I’d dream of subjecting you to it here, in place of one of Gary’s brilliant cartoons. I wouldn’t want to put you off your breakfast.

So what makes diver Tom Daley and his husband think we want to look at the ultrasound of their yet-to-be-born baby? For a start, one foetus looks pretty much like all the others, just as all babies look like Winston Churchill.

Yet there they were this week, all over the newspapers and on social media, posing proudly with the grainy image taken inside a womb. Daley posted it on Instagram on Valentine’s Day, complete with emojis of two men, a child and love hearts.

As John Junor, late of this parish, used to remark: Pass the sick bag, Alice.

Before the usual suspects start bouncing up and down, squealing ‘homophobia’, don’t bother.

 Here we have two men drawing attention to the fact that ‘they’ are having a baby. But where’s the mum, the possessor of the womb which features in this photograph? She appears to have been written out of the script entirely

I supported civil partnerships long before it was fashionable and I’d rather children were fostered by loving gay couples than condemned to rot in state-run institutions, where they face a better-than-average chance of being abused.

That said, and despite the fact that countless single parents do a fantastic job, I still cling to the belief that children benefit most from being brought up by a man and a woman.

Which is precisely what worries me most about the Daley publicity stunt. Here we have two men drawing attention to the fact that ‘they’ are having a baby.

But where’s the mum, the possessor of the womb which features in this photograph? She appears to have been written out of the script entirely.

We are not told her identity, where she lives, or even when the baby is due. She is merely the anonymous incubator.

My best guess is that she lives in America, since it is still illegal in Britain to pay surrogate mothers other than modest expenses.

That’s why wealthy gay couples, such as Elton John and David Furnish, turn to the States when they want to start a family. Good luck to them. No one is suggesting that homosexual couples can’t make excellent parents. But nor is everyone comfortable with the trend towards treating women as mere breeding machines and babies as commodities.

I’ve written before about the modern tendency in some quarters to regard children as fashion accessories, like those preposterous designer handbag dogs.

This week’s photos of a beaming Tom Daley, his husband and their ultrasound scan are all about the parents (except the birth mother). Look at us, we’re having a bay-bee!

What I also find slightly disconcerting is that this story was reported virtually everywhere without so much as a raised eyebrow, as if it would be impolite even to ask any questions about the parentage.

For instance, is Daley or his husband the father? Was it Bill, or was it Ben? Or neither of them? More pertinently, never mind Who’s The Daddy? Who’s The Mummy? Which brings me to the Number One ‘Oi, Doris!’ news story of the week, headlined: ‘Woman born a man is first to breastfeed’.

Apparently, a 30-year-old transgender woman has successfully breastfed ‘her’ baby after being given hormone therapy to encourage milk production. It’s probably easiest if I quote directly from one of the reports:

‘The woman, who has not been named, approached doctors in New York after her partner became pregnant. She had received no surgery to transition from a man, but had been undergoing hormone therapy for some years and had already developed fully-grown breasts.

‘She explained that her partner was pregnant but not interested in breastfeeding, and that she hoped to take on the role of being the primary food source for her infant.’ There goes another couple of paragraphs I thought I’d never read, let alone write. Or, rather, reproduce. In the perceptive words of reggae star Johnny Nash, there are more questions than answers.

For a start, this person is described as a woman, but has had no surgery to transition from a man. Sorry, but I’m with Germaine Greer — someone in possession of a full set of wedding tackle is a man, not a woman.

Secondly, if this is his/her baby, did he/she fertilise the egg in the traditional fashion? On third thoughts, let’s not go there.

Fourthly, of about 40 other questions, has anyone considered what could be the long-term effects of feeding a baby breast milk manufactured artificially in the body of someone who was born — and remains biologically — a man?

Of course not. This is the most extreme example yet of the demands of selfish adults being given priority over the best interests of the unborn child.

No doubt scientists are already working on a way of ensuring that someone born a man can both father a baby and give birth to it, cutting out the middle-woman altogether. Stand by for the coming Hermaphrodites’ Rights movement.

Look, I don’t want to ban anything, within reason, but there are limits. Depressingly, this bizarre breastfeeding story was also given credulous coverage everywhere, as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

Why are so many of my fellow journalists taking stuff like this at face value? Are they all afraid of asking awkward questions, lest they are monstered by the deranged diversity bigots on Twitter?

Can they please grow a pair — if that’s not too ‘transphobic’ — and stop pretending this is the new normal. Not in our house, it isn’t. Nor, I suspect, in yours or 99.99 per cent of the rest of the world, either.

Still, I’m looking forward to the photos of Tom Daley breastfeeding his new baby.

Britain may have voted 52-48 to quit the EU, but the world of the arts and showbiz was over-whelmingly pro-EU.

Ninety-six per cent of those in the so-called ‘creative’ industries backed Remain. Now the four per cent have formed their own support group, after suffering online abuse and worse from Remoaners.

Brexiteers say they are being refused work by EU fanatics determined to punish them for voting Leave. They had their first meeting at a Wetherspoon’s pub in North London recently.

Sounds like my idea of a good night out. Who would you rather go drinking with — Leavers John Cleese, Michael Caine and Roger Daltrey?

Or luvvie Remoaners like Steve Coogan, Benedict Cumberbatch and Bob Geldof?

Basil Fawlty versus Alan Partridge? Get Carter v Sherlock? The Who v The Boomtown Rats?

No contest. We won’t get fooled again!

The BBC is in trouble for referring to female competitors at the Winter Olympics as ‘girls’. Only ‘ladies’ or ‘women’ will do. No one ever complains when football managers on Match Of The Day talk about ‘the boys done good’.

But the England women’s football team gets very grumpy if you call them ‘ladies’ or ‘women’. So they have to be described simply as ‘England’.

Confused? You’re supposed to be. It’s difficult keeping up. Now that ‘girls’ is verboten, can we expect Posh, Baby, Scary, Ginger and the Other One to bill their reunion tour as the Spice Women?

London City Airport was closed for 48 hours while a World War II bomb in the nearby River Thames was defused. If the UXB teams had taken that long during the Blitz in 1940/41, most of London would still have been off-limits come VE Day.

For years, we’ve been told that we mustn’t call prostitutes ‘prostitutes’. Apparently, it’s demeaning. The only acceptable term is ‘sex workers’.

Yet ever since the Oxfam sex-for-aid scandal broke, all we hear about is child ‘prostitutes’.

Obviously, when the prostitutes in question are Haitian children, not British women, it’s OK. And why is anyone remotely surprised that aid workers at Oxfam and the UN have been abusing vulnerable children?

The notorious American gangster Willie Sutton said he robbed banks ‘because that’s where the money is’.

Predatory paedophiles join international aid organisations because that’s where the kids are.

Now baby food and biscuits are linked to cancer: Food watchdog issues alerts for 25 big brands after claiming that crunchy roast potatoes and toast could cause the disease

  • Crisps, biscuits and baby food have ‘raised levels of cancer-linked chemicals’
  • Food Standards Agency says 25 products have higher amount of ‘acrylamide’
  • Studies on animals suggests the chemical can trigger DNA mutations
  • Products including Kettle Chips, McVitie’s and Hovis are on the danger list 

Tests on best-selling crisps, biscuits and baby food showed raised levels of a chemical linked to cancer.

The health alert comes just 24 hours after an official watchdog warned of the risks of eating burnt toast and roast potatoes.

The latest products on the danger list include Kettle Chips, Burts crisps, Hovis, Fox’s biscuits, Kenco coffee, McVitie’s and products from Cow & Gate.

A number of big name brand products contain raised levels of acrylamide, a chemical linked to cancer, according to the Food Standards Agency

According to the Food Standards Agency, 25 products have raised levels of acrylamide.

Animal studies suggest the chemical can trigger DNA mutations and cancer.

The link to acrylamide was also behind the warning over fried, roasted and toasted foods such as potatoes and bread.

The agency cautioned that any risk to humans related to lifetime consumption and not occasional eating.

However a renowned statistician yesterday insisted the link to cancer in humans from acrylamide was extremely weak.

‘There is no good evidence of harm from humans consuming acrylamide in their diet,’ said Professor David Spiegelhalter.

The FSA and other watchdogs in Europe test supermarket food to assess whether acrylamide levels are above a suggested limit – IV, for indicative value.

Of 526 products in targeted tests in 2014 and 2015, 25 had raised levels. Although the agency is not advising consumers to stop eating the products, the manufacturers have been told to cut the levels.

The FSA said: ‘For all of these samples we followed up with the manufacturers or brand owners via local authority inspectors.

‘They alerted them to the findings and requested information about what is being done to control acrylamide in those products.

‘We would emphasise though that the indicative values are not legal maximum limits nor are they safety levels.

‘They are performance indicators and designed to promote best practice in controlling acrylamide levels, Helen Munday of the Food and Drink Federation, which speaks for the manufacturers, said: ‘Food companies have been lowering acrylamide in UK-made products for years.

‘The FSA report provides a useful snapshot of acrylamide levels in a wide range of foods.

‘At the time of surveying these products, up to three years ago in some cases, any individual foods found to contain levels of acrylamide above indicative values would have prompted a review by both FSA and the brand owner.

‘UK food manufacturers have been working with supply chain partners, regulators and other bodies, at home and abroad, to lower acrylamide levels for years.

‘To continue to make progress, the food and drink industry, in partnership with the European Commission, has developed detailed codes of practice.’

Cow & Gate said: ‘We take food safety extremely seriously and have been working hard to reduce acrylamide levels.

‘In fact, in 2015 we took the decision to discontinue Sunny Start Baby Wheat Flakes as we were unable to reduce the level sufficiently.’

The statement said a spaghetti bolognese failure was expected to be a ‘one-off result’.

M&S said all the products highlighted in the research had since been shown to have low levels of the chemical.

Acrylamide has been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as ‘probably carcinogenic in humans’ and the World Health Organisation has concluded that exposure to the chemical in food ‘indicates a human health concern’.

Professor Spiegelhalter said: ‘Adults with the highest consumption of acrylamide could consume 160 times as much and still only be at a level that toxicologists think unlikely to cause increased tumours in mice.

‘People may just consider this yet another scare story from scientists, and lead them to dismiss truly important warnings about, say, the harms from obesity.

‘To be honest, I am not convinced it is appropriate to launch a public campaign on this basis.’

However Steve Wearne, the FSA’s policy director, said: ‘All age groups have more acrylamide in their diet than we would ideally want.

‘As a general rule of thumb when roasting or toasting, people should aim for a golden yellow colour, possibly a bit lighter, when cooking starchy foods like potatoes.’

These are scare stories of an attention seeking quango, writes JOHN NAISH

Why is the Food Standards Agency so keen to frighten us off crispy roasties and toast that is well done?

Apparently because of a potential cancer risk from acrylamide, a chemical that is created by cooking starchy foods at high temperatures – the longer and hotter such foods are cooked the more acrylamide forms.

But hang on, what does potential risk mean here? All sorts of chemicals might potentially cause cancer, but the risks are so small and vague that no one can tell either way.

The experts at Cancer Research UK say that the evidence for any link between acrylamide from burnt food and cancer is at best only weak and inconsistent.

And here’s the clincher: the charity points out that: ‘Even food industry workers, who are exposed to twice as much acrylamide as other people, do not have higher rates of cancer.’

As a health correspondent of 25 years’ standing, that’s good enough for me and my toaster.

So why would the FSA apparently want to scare people unnecessarily? Well, it makes people think that the FSA is doing something useful to protect our health.

After its initial announcement, the FSA not-so-helpfully clarified that it wasn’t telling people to avoid roast potatoes altogether – just to make them aware of the risk and how to reduce it.

On a section of its website devoted to its latest campaign, it advised people to ‘check for cooking instructions on the pack and follow carefully when frying or oven-cooking packaged food products such as chips, roast potatoes and parsnips.

This ensures that you aren’t cooking starchy foods for too long or at temperatures which are too high’.

To call this mere window-dressing would be an insult to the nation’s window-dressers, as they do indeed perform a useful job.

For such pointless cancer scaremongering on the FSA’s part only distracts people from the real and preventable risks of cancer, such as smoking, being overweight and drinking heavily.

The agency is charged with protecting the nation from dangerous food. But offering worthless, patronising advice is a less challenging task than protecting the public against contaminated, diseased, fake or dirty foodstuffs.

It has past form on patronising warnings. Among them was its ‘Your Fridge is Your Friend’ campaign, which aimed to nudge us about food safety at home, yet treated us like a nation of dunderheads.

Before you go shopping, check what’s in the fridge or freezer,’ was one piece of advice. ‘Make a list of what you need to buy,’ said another.

This could be comical, but such stunts only mask the fact that the Food Standards Agency is sadly unfit for purpose.

The agency was set up by the Blair government in 2000, in the wake of the salmonella and BSE disasters.

It was supposed to be a tough watchdog that would make safety scares a thing of the past, by protecting us from food poisoning, ensuring we know what goes into the food we buy, and policing the hygiene standards of restaurants.

But in early 2013, its inability to perform this most basic public-protection task was exposed when the horsemeat scandal broke.

Safety tests conducted by the Irish government revealed widespread adulteration of beef burgers with horsemeat. It warned the FSA. Caught on the hop, the FSA then asked suppliers to conduct their own tests.

These revealed, among other things, that the ‘beef’ in frozen lasagne and spaghetti bolognese made for Tesco, Aldi and Findus was up to 100 per cent horse.

In the wake of the scandal, Christopher Elliott, the director of the Institute of Global Food Security, was asked to examine how the FSA should pull its socks up.

He recommended that the agency set up a food crime unit, with a special department dedicated to using investigative powers to punish offenders counterfeiting foods such as meat, honey and wine.

In 2015, Professor Elliott complained that the FSA had failed to create the special department. The FSA says it is still considering the matter.

As a result, the agency has a food crime unit – which costs £2million a year to run – but it does not have a department to investigate or convict offenders.

This might help to explain why its work has not resulted in any prosecutions.

The FSA says the unit has been fully operational only for the past nine months and is working on a number of criminal investigations.

‘In that time it has focused on building links with sources of information in order to better understand the nature and scale of the food crime threat,’ a spokesman told reporters last month.

Professor Elliott is unimpressed and told a parliamentary inquiry into food fraud that: ‘We are quite far behind a number of other European countries in relation to thinking about the scale of food crime and food fraud.’

Meanwhile, there is bafflement about the agency’s food protection policies. The most likely place you will see an FSA logo is on the food-hygiene ratings posted on a restaurant’s doors.

But in England, restaurants and takeaways with awful hygiene ratings – such as only one star or no stars at all (meaning urgent improvement is required to address dreadful cleanliness) – don’t actually have to put the sticker up.

They can just ignore the rating and trust you won’t notice. What’s more, a zero hygiene rating does not automatically mean public health officials will issue enforcement notices – or that the business will have to close down.

It’s hard not to conclude that the FSA apparently prefers to fret over toast, rather than enforcing hygiene measures that would improve our health – and potentially save lives.

Voir encore:

Ariane Chemin et Benoît Collombat : « Les journalistes ne sont pas au-dessus des lois, mais l’État non plus »

Les journalistes Ariane Chemin et Benoît Collombat sont les invités de Léa Salamé à 7h50. Ils reviennent sur les convocations à la DGSI de plusieurs journalistes enquêtant sur des scandales ou des mensonges d’État.

Léa Salamé

France inter

30 mai 2019

« On a l’impression d’une erreur de casting », raconte la journaliste du Monde Ariane Chemin sur sa convocation à la DGSI. « Ça ressemble un peu au Bureau des Légendes, on descend au quatrième sous-sol, c’est gris, il y a des néons, une paire de menottes qui pendouille… Vous êtes interrogé dans un cadre normalement réservé à des personnes accusées de terrorisme. » C’est d’ailleurs ce qui inquiète le plus les deux journalistes, qui s’alarment d’une forme de « criminalisation du travail journalistique ».

« Avec la multiplication de ces auditions à la DGSI, on a l’impression que c’est une logique antiterroriste qui est appliquée aux journalistes », explique Benoît Collombat, journaliste à la Cellule investigations de Radio France. « On parle de l’affaire Benalla, une affaire d’État. On parle des armes françaises au Yémen, un mensonge d’État. Et là, on n’est pas dans le cadre traditionnel du droit de la presse, devant les tribunaux devant lesquels on peut se défendre. »

Pour eux, quand Sibeth Ndiaye dit que les journalistes « sont des justiciables comme les autres », elle se trompe. « C’est vrai dans la vie quotidienne, mais pas dans l’exercice de leur métier », s’agace Ariane Chemin. Le principe du secret d’État et celui de la liberté de la presse « ne se valent donc pas ».

Benoît Collombat enfonce le clou : « le journaliste a une fonction sociale, il n’est pas là uniquement pour publier passivement des communiqués officiels du gouvernement ». « Dans le cas des ventes d’armes de la France utilisées au Yémen, on parle quand même de la pire catastrophe humanitaire depuis la Deuxième Guerre Mondiale : on entend que les journalistes ne sont pas au-dessus des lois, mais l’État non plus ! La France ne respecte pas les traités sur le commerce des armes qu’elle a signés. »

Bref les deux journalistes sont inquiets sur la liberté des journalistes dans le pays, notamment avec la crise des gilets jaunes. « Il y a une accumulation de faits qui devient inquiétante », assure Ariane Chemin. « C’est pas en cassant le thermomètre (les journalistes) qu’on fait baisser la fièvre », conclut Benoît Collombat.

Voir enfin:

L’Iran fournit aux Houthis des armes sophistiquées internationalement prohibées, entre autres des missiles destinés à frapper l’Arabie saoudite et des drones de type « tempête »
la Référence
21/décembre/2018

Depuis le coup d’Etat des houthis, de nombreux rapports internationaux prouvent sans équivoque que l’Iran a fourni des armes aux milices putschistes. Certaines de ces armes sont prohibées sur le plan international. Le dernier rapport en date a été annoncé par le secrétaire général de l’ONU, Antonio Gueterrs le 12 décembre. De nouvelles armes que l’on croit fabriquées en Iran, ont été trouvées au Yémen.

Selon le rapport, le Secrétariat des Nations Unies a « examiné deux lance-missiles anti-char saisis par la coalition arabe dirigée par l’Arabie saoudite au Yémen, et a constaté qu’ils avaient des caractéristiques iraniennes. Ces lance-missiles ont été fabriqués en 2016 et 2017 ».

Le rapport indique que l’enquête en cours déterminera l’origine de ces armes. L’Iran a toujours nié livrer des armes aux rebelles Houthis, affirmant qu’il les soutient politiquement uniquement. Le rapport onusien porte sur le respect par l’Iran de l’accord nucléaire signé en 2015 avec six grandes puissances. Les Etats-Unis s’en sont retirés en mai dernier rétablissant les sanctions à l’encontre de Téhéran.

Accusations américaines

Washington avait par le passé accusé l’Iran de violer ses obligations en ce qui a trait à l’accord nucléaire, en fabriquant notamment des missiles balistiques. L’administration américaine affirme que les missiles testés par Téhéran sont capables de transporter des ogives nucléaires. Un fait nié par l’Iran, qui affirme que son programme d’armement est « défensif» et « traditionnel ».

Les Nations Unies ont constaté le lancement, par les rebelles  Houthis, de roquettes iraniennes sur l’Arabie saoudite. Fin novembre, les Etats-unis ont révélé la présence de nouvelles armes qui constituent une preuve que des missiles iraniens sont diffusés au Moyen-Orient. Parmi ces armes se trouve un missile sol-air Hunter-2C. Il y a un an, le gouvernement américain avait montré les restes d’un missile iranien tiré par les rebelles Houthis sur l’Arabie saoudite.

Ce n’est pas tout. De nombreuses armes iraniennes ont été saisies ces dernières années, notamment aux mains des Houthis dont des missiles balistiques à longue portée et des missiles anti-char. L’Iran fournit également aux Houthis des drones de fabrication iranienne de type « Qasif » utilisés pour attaquer les systèmes de défense aérienne, et d’autres de type « Ababil » utilisés pour attaquer les radars.

Le Liban, zone de transit

Téhéran a également collaboré avec ses agents régionaux comme le Hezbollah pour approvisionner les Houthis en armes par le biais de la contrebande. Le navire iranien Ceyhan 1, saisi en janvier 2013, contenait de grandes quantités d’armes, d’explosifs cet de missiles sol-air.

En février 2013, le navire Jihan 2, a été saisi près de Bab Al-Mandab, alors qu’en février 2016, la marine australienne a intercepté un voilier transportant des milliers de Kalachnikov, de grenades et de lance-roquettes. Il venait d’Iran et se dirigeant vers les rebelles Houthis. En juillet 2016, la résistance populaire a saisi un bateau de pêche qui avait réussi à transporter, en l’espace d’une semaine, six cargaisons d’armes vers les Houthis. « L’Iran a l’intention de fabriquer et de moderniser jusqu’à 800 chars », a déclaré le vice-ministre iranien de la Défense, cité par l’agence Tasnim. Il n’a pas indiqué le type de chars ni leur nombre dans chaque catégorie. « Notre programme prévoit la production de 50 à 60 chars par an. Le budget nécessaire à cette production a été alloué en raison des besoins urgents de l’armée et des gardiens de la révolution », a indiqué le ministre iranien.

Rapport britannique

Un rapport britannique sur l’armement confirme l’implication du régime iranien dans la livraison de mines aux milices houthies au Yémen, ainsi que la formation de plusieurs de leurs éléments pour construire un grand nombre de mines localement.

L’expert international Jonah Leif, directeur des opérations à l’Arms Research Foundation britannique, affirme que Téhéran est directement impliqué dans la livraison de mines aux milices houthies. Ces mines n’étaient pas en possession de l’armée yéménite avant le coup d’Etat contre la légitimité. Dans un rapport intitulé « Les mines et les explosifs utilisées par les militants houthis sur la côte ouest », le chercheur souligne l’importance d’élaborer des cartes pour le déminage. Le rapport donne un aperçu des mines et des engins explosifs improvisés utilisés par les milices houthies sur la côte ouest du Yémen.

Le rapport souligne les dispositifs électroniques utilisés par les Houthis sur la côte ouest et permettant d’actionner les engins explosifs à distance comme les capteurs et les transmetteurs. Le document affirme que la conception de ces dispositifs est « identique à ceux fabriqués en Iran en 2008 ». Le rapport souligne également que les mines utilisées par les houthis sur la côte ouest du Yémen, sont identiques à ceux saisis aux avec Da’ech à la ville yéménite d’Aden, ce qui révèle que l’Iran soutient cette organisation terroriste et pas seulement les Houthis.

Rapports de renseignement

D’autre part, selon un rapport des renseignements américains publié mi 2018, les flottes occidentales ont intercepté trois voiliers en mer d’Oman, certaines armes trouvées sur ces voiliers étaient identiques à celles confisquées au Yémen et qui étaient en possession des combattants Houthis. Le rapport, citant des sources officielles iraniennes, affirme que deux de ces bateaux non immatriculés étaient fabriqués par la société de construction navale iranienne, Mansur, dont le bassin est situé à proximité d’une base des Gardiens de la révolution.

« Depuis 2012, les bateaux de la compagnie Mansour sont impliqués dans de nombreuses opérations de contrebande d’héroïne, de cannabis et, plus récemment, d’armes », déclare l’Arms Research Institute basée en Grande-Bretagne. Et d’ajouter : « L’analyse des armes indique qu’au moins deux des trois cargaisons ont été envoyées avec la complicité des forces de sécurité iraniennes »

Selon le rapport, certaines armes confisquées lors de l’interception des bateaux portaient des numéros de série nouveaux, ce qui indique qu’elles proviennent du stock de l’un des pays. Les numéros d’identification des armes antichars découverts dans l’un des bateaux correspondaient aux numéros de production d’armes similaires qui, selon les Emirats Arabes Unis, avaient été confisquées aux Houthis.

Le rapport souligne enfin le rôle des ports somaliens en tant que zones de transit : « Les navires de guerre HMA S Darwin, FS Provence et USS Sirocco ont saisi plus de 4 500 fusils, obus de mortiers et de lance-roquettes en l’espace de 4 semaines entre février et mars 2016 », affirme le rapport.

Voir par ailleurs:

Londres, de notre correspondant

«Meurtriers», titrait hier le Daily Mail, ajoutant en une, photos et identités à l’appui: «le Mail accuse ces cinq hommes d’un meurtre raciste. Si nous avons tort, qu’ils nous fassent un procès.» Il n’est pas dans les habitudes du tabloïd conservateur de prendre ainsi parti dans un crime raciste. Mais son rédacteur en chef expliquait hier soir que l’assassinat jusqu’ici impuni d’un adolescent noir, il y a quatre ans, était devenu le symbole d’une justice à deux vitesses, efficace pour les Blancs, déficiente pour les sujets de couleur de Sa Majesté. Avant d’ajouter que le Daily Mail entendait faire pression sur le gouvernement.

Jeudi soir, les parents de Stephen Lawrence, qui mènent combat depuis quatre ans pour que justice soit faite, ont finalement obtenu qu’un tribunal reconnaisse que leur fils a été tué «au cours d’une attaque raciste, non provoquée, par cinq jeunes Blancs». Une victoire certes, mais limitée: les cinq jeunes dénoncés par le Daily Mail et meurtriers présumés de l’adolescent restent libres, après une enquête de police bâclée et une instruction maladroite.

Stephen Lawrence a été poignardé à mort en avril 1993 par un groupe de cinq jeunes Blancs alors qu’il attendait le bus à Eltham, dans le sud-est de Londres. Stephen avait dix-huit ans et a été tué parce qu’il était noir. «Prends-ça, sale Nègre», avait crié l’un des meurtriers, le perçant de coups de couteau. Sa famille était arrivée de Jamaïque, sa mère est institutrice, son père maçon, et Stephen, étudiant brillant, voulait devenir architecte. Les soupçons de la police se portent immédiatement sur un groupe de cinq jeunes, membres d’un club, «The Firm», ouvertement raciste et supporters du National Front (un minuscule parti raciste britannique ), qui vivent dans une cité voisine. Ils ont déjà injurié et agressé les quelques Noirs vivant dans le quartier. Entre mai et juin 1993, ils sont tous arrêtés mais nient avoir tué Stephen; faute de preuves suffisantes présentées par la police, le procureur les libère. La famille persévère et, à ses frais, monte en avril 1996 une private prosecution, un «procès privé», comme l’autorise une procédure rarement usitée du droit anglais, devant des magistrats publics de l’Old Bailey de Londres (l’équi- valent de la Cour de cassation). Personne ne veut se présenter à l’audience pour témoigner contre les cinq assassins présumés. Par peur, selon la police; parce que l’enquête a été mal faite, selon la famille. Les enquêteurs peuvent seulement présenter des enregistrements effectués par la police de conversations ouvertement racistes des cinq jeunes. On entend l’un d’entre eux dire: «Il faut couper les bras et les jambes des Noirs pour qu’ils n’aient plus que des putains de moignons.» On voit un autre, sur un film vidéo, donner des coups de couteau dans l’air en criant: «Sale Nègre, sale Nègre.» Des éléments à charge certes, mais pas de preuves, témoignages ou aveux suffisants pour assurer une condamnation. Ce nouveau procès s’effondre. Entre-temps, Stephen est devenu une cause célèbre: Nelson Mandela, lors de sa visite en Grande-Bretagne, rencontrera même les parents de l’adolescent assassiné. Jeudi soir, le ministre de l’Intérieur a finalement décidé d’ouvrir une enquête sur le travail de la police. Sinon, reconnaissait l’avocat de la famille, Imran Khan, «les Britanniques de couleur finiront pas croire qu’ils doivent eux-mêmes se faire justice».

Voir aussi:

Some of Paul Dacre’s most memorable Daily Mail front pages

During 26 years at the helm of the Daily Mail, editor Paul Dacre has published some striking and memorable front pages.

His strong pro-Brexit stance, and anti-Labour sentiment, has been unabashed, while he has spearheaded a number of successful campaigns including calling for justice for murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence.

Dacre announced yesterday that he will leave his role as Daily Mail editor to become chairman and editor-in-chief of Associated Newspapers later this year, stepping back from day-to-day editorial responsibilities.

In a statement to staff, Dacre described them as “Fleet Street’s greatest team of journalists”, who had been behind the paper’s “countless successful campaigns” that often made the front page.

Here are some of Dacre’s most memorable splashes through the years.

Stephen Lawrence

Dacre recently revealed he caused a “deathly silence” on the Daily Mail back bench when he proposed the now famous splash accusing the five suspects in the Stephen Lawrence murder case of killing him.

Dacre had been moved to run the front page after watching the suspects repeatedly refused to answer questions at Lawrence’s inquest, which returned a verdict of “unlawful killing”.

Under the headline “Murderers”, Dacre wrote: “The Mail accuses these men of killing. If we are wrong, let them sue us.”

In 2012, after David Norris and Gary Dobson were convicted of Lawrence’s murder 19 years on, Dacre wrote that the newspaper had taken a “monumental risk” with the front page but that he believed “as a result we did a huge amount of good and made a little bit of history that day”.

Daily Mail ‘Murderers’ front page from 14 February, 1997.

Marine A

The Daily Mail led a campaign for the release of Royal Marine Sergeant Alexander Blackman after he was jailed for shooting a Taliban fighter.

Mail readers raised £810,000 to go towards a legal challenge against his life sentence after the campaign launched in September 2015 with the headline: “A shameful injustice”.

The battle lasted two years before Blackman’s release from jail in April last year. The newspaper put the news of his release on the front, giving it equal billing with Theresa May’s signing the letter to begin Brexit.

Gary McKinnon

In 2009 the Daily Mail threw its weight behind Gary McKinnon, a British Asperger’s sufferer accused of hacking into Pentagon and NASA computers.

The newspaper campaigned to stop McKinnon being extradited to the US, calling it an “Affront to British justice” in a splash headline. McKinnon was eventually told he would not be extradited, and then that he would face no further criminal action, in 2012.

Plastic

In 2008 the Daily Mail launched a “Banish The Bags” campaign with the striking image of a turtle entangled by plastic.

The campaign resulted in the introduction of a 5p charge for plastic bags at supermarkets and other large retailers.

This year, the newspaper has stepped up its anti-plastic crusade again with its “let’s turn the tide on plastic” message.

Brexit

Some of the Mail’s most famous front pages of recent times relate to Brexit, for which it campaigned fervently and has been credited with perhaps tipping the balance in Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

When a panel of judges ruled that Brexit could not be triggered without a Westminster vote in November 2016, Dacre didn’t hold back, calling them “Enemies of the people” in a move that drew criticism and even comparisons with a Nazi newspaper headline.

When peers voted to give Parliament the power to force ministers to reopen talks if MPs rejected the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal with Brussels, the newspaper took aim once again, calling the House of Lords the a “House of unelected wreckers” and writing that the “Remainer elite” was “fighting a guerilla war against Brexit using any weapon it can” in a leader column.

In February 2016, as David Cameron negotiated with Brussels ahead of the EU referendum, the newspaper dedicated its front page to a leader comment asking: “Who will speak for England?”

The Daily Mail supported Theresa May’s call for a snap General Election in 2017, saying it was a chance for her to “crush the saboteurs” of Brexit. The outcome didn’t quite go as planned for May or the Mail.

In December, the Daily Mail asked Tory Remainers “Proud of yourselves?” after siding with Labour in a Brexit vote, picturing each of those “accused of treachery”.

In June 2017, the front page was dedicated to accusing Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Diane Abbott of being “apologists of terror”.

Voir de même:

The murder of Stephen Lawrence, an 18 year old young black student stabbed to death in a racist attack in 1993, was one of the defining moments in the British 20th Century.

A public inquiry later concluded that « institutional racism » from London’s Metropolitan Police bungled the case and let the men suspected of killing Lawrence walk free.

Today, 18 years later, two men were finally convicted of the murder. And one man played a huge role in that eventual result. The Daily Mail’s editor in chief, Paul Dacre.

It was Dacre’s decision to put the photos of those accused of murder on the front page in 1997, possibly in contempt of court, under the headline « MURDERERS:The Mail accuses these men of killing. If we are wrong, let them sue us ».

Not one of the men ever sued, and public opinion swung wildly against the accused and the police who had mishandled the case. Eventually, in 2007, police began re-investigating the case, and in 2011 charges were brought against two men.

It was certainly out of character for Dacre, often characterized as a right wing populist with little time for concerns of racism — in his book Flat Earth News, Nick Davies writes that the group changed its coverage after a personal link to the family was suggested (reports suggest that Lawrence’s father had at one time worked on Dacre’s house). But even Dacre’s detractors have to accept his huge role in getting the case reopened and an eventual guilty verdict.

Voir de plus:

Stephen Lawrence’s parents thank Daily Mail for ‘going out on a limb’
Newspaper’s ‘Murderers’ headline in 1997 put the case at heart of public consciousness, say David Cameron and Ed Miliband
Lisa O’Carroll
The Guardian
4 Jan 2012

Stephen Lawrence have praised the Daily Mail for « going out on a limb » and branding suspects in the death of their son as « murderers » 15 years ago.

They led the tributes to the paper that campaigned for justice ever since. David Cameron said the Lawrences were helped enormously by the paper while Labour leader Ed Miliband said it played an « honourable role » in helping to bring the killers to heel.

Neville Lawrence, the teenager’s father, said that along with the intervention of Nelson Mandela, the Daily Mail’s campaign was the crucial turning point in the case.

And Doreen Lawrence, Stephen’s mother said the landmark front page of the Daily Mail on 14 February 1997 branding five suspects as « Murderers » made the case matter to the whole country.

Her former husband said he was in Jamaica when the paper ran that highly risky story inviting the suspects to sue if they were not the killers.

He told the Mail today: « I was very pleased, but I admit I was very frightened, too, because I realised the implications. If you name people as murderers you have to be pretty sure you have the proof or you’ll be in trouble. »

He added: « The fact that the Mail – which is a very influential newspaper – went out on a limb for us showed how committed you were to the case. Not a lot of editors would have done that. Not a lot would have chanced it. »

Ms Lawrence said: « When the Mail first published their faces, up until that point nobody – apart from those in their local neighbourhood – really knew what those boys looked like.

« Then the whole country knew. They were no longer faceless people …

« [The Mail’s front page] definitely surprised me; that a newspaper would go out on a limb because at the time, even though we suspected they were guilty, there was nothing to prove that they were murderers.

« It makes a big difference to have that support because you don’t want to be this lone voice. »

The Daily Mail devotes 21 pages to the story today with tributes from 11 key public figures for its unstinting campaign.

Miliband told the Mail that its quest for justice was important to salute at a moment when journalism is under fire.

« At a time when the reputation of the newspaper industry is at an all time low, it is important to recognise when campaigning journalism makes a difference.

« That includes the honourable role the Daily Mail has played over almost two decades. »

In its editorial today, the Mail says it hopes readers will forgive it if it takes « credit from our own trade » and for the « special pride » it had in bringing Gary Dobson and David Norris to justice.

« When the entire British press is, in a sense, on trial at the Leveson inquiry, we believe this case offers a timely reminder of the vital importance to a healthy democracy of independent, self-regulating and viable newspapers. »

Former journalist and chairman of the Human Rights Commission Trevor Phillips described the decision to brand the accused as murderers as an « act of great courage » by the paper’s editor Paul Dacre.

« But it was also a shrewd recognition by the most acute judge of middle England’s temperature that attitudes to race had changed profoundly. »

Sir Peter Bottomley, the Tory MP who represented the suburb of Eltham at the time, said that in 1993 the media didn’t care because the boy was a black kid from south London.

« I would like to give praise to the Daily Mail and Paul Dacre for their bravery in naming the suspects on 14 February 1997.

« This helped keep the attention of the country and police on the need to find the evidence which would lead to a full trial and possible conviction of the killers.

« Without the Daily Mail, I do not believe this would have happened. »

The full impact of Paul Dacre’s decision to run the headline he has described as a « monumental risk » was revealed today by the former home secretary Jack Straw.

He told the paper today that it helped secure the co-operation of the police inquiry into the Met’s handling of the case.

« The Daily Mail’s intervention made my job much easier in getting agreement from the Metropolitan police to set up the inquiry, which itself changed the face of policing in Britain. »

Voir encore:

Paul Dacre admits Daily Mail ran ‘Murderers’ Stephen Lawrence splash because father Neville did his plastering
inews
April 10th 2018

The Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre has admitted that he ran the newspaper’s famous front page, calling five suspects in the racist killing of Stephen Lawrence “murderers”, because the teenager’s father had performed excellent work plastering his house.

Neville Lawrence said the unprecedented 1997 front page played a major role in bringing to justice some of the men who killed 18 year-old student Stephen, who was stabbed to death whilst waiting for a bus in south-east London.

Dacre knew Lawrence family

The Daily Mail front page put ‘rocket boosters’ under campaign to bring Stephen Lawrence killers to justice, a BBC film says

In a rare interview, Mr Dacre tells a landmark BBC series marking the 25th anniversary of the murder, that the Mail would not have backed the family’s campaign without his unlikely personal connection to the Lawrences.

Neville Lawrence had been recommended as a “very good plasterer” when Mr Dacre needed “lots of work doing” at his home, the Mail editor-in-chief said.

“He did a lot of plastering work. He was clearly a very decent, hard-working man. Would the Mail have done it without that knowledge? Probably not.”

Mr Lawrence, unaware of his employer’s position, had complained about the Daily Mail’s coverage of the family in the aftermath of the murder.

Mr Dacre offered the Lawrence family a chance to “put the record straight” in an exclusive interview.

Suspects ‘Taking the piss’

A meeting with Paul Condon, the Met Police commissioner, after three suspects were acquitted of the murder, convinced Mr Dacre to challenge all five in print.

“Paul said he would bet his life these men were the killers but they couldn’t get the evidence,” Mr Dacre said. “These guys were taking the piss out of British justice.”

Mr Dacre sketched out the headline “Murderers”, challenging the five suspects “if we are wrong, let them sue us” at 9pm, 45 minutes before the paper went to press.

He forced the “cataclysmic” front page through nervous libel lawyers. “The next day the s-h-i-t hit the fan.”

The paper was accused of interfering with justice by naming the “killers”.

Two suspects convicted

Gary Dobson and David Norris were convicted of murdering Lawrence in 2012 and are serving life sentences.

The talented architecture student was set upon by a racist gang. From Stephen: The Murder that Changed a Nation Stephen Lawrence – (C) The Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon OBEHowever the teenager is believed to have been surrounded by up to six attackers that night.

Imran Khan, who has represented Stephen’s mother Baroness Lawrence since a few days after her son’s death, said he did not expect anyone else to face prosecution for the murder, despite police appeals.

Mr Khan claimed institutional racism is “thriving” in the Metropolitan Police, 25 years after the murder, despite the 1999 Macpherson inquiry which made 70 recommendations after finding that the initial murder inquiry was riddled with police incompetence and racist attitudes.

PM backs undercover police probe

Theresa May tells the film that the Undercover Policing Inquiry she launched as Home Secretary three years ago, to discover whether the undercover policing units developed over 40 years were out of control, would provide important evidence about alleged police corruption.

Theresa May tells the BBC series of her concerns over undercover policing operations (©MoD/Crown Copyright/Jay Allen)

The inquiry was launched after allegations that Scotland Yard infiltrated the Stephen Lawrence campaign 20 years ago, in order to find material to smear the family.

:: Stephen: The Murder that Changed a Nation begins BBC1, Tuesday April 17, 9pm and continues April 18, 19.

Voir encore:

“MURDERERS” – of myths, Macpherson, and the Daily Mail
As we approach the 25th anniversary of Stephen Lawrence’s murder, it’s time to critically assess whether the Daily Mail really played the pivotal and progressive role it likes to claim in the case, and its impact on Britain’s race relations.
Brian Cathcart
Open democracy
2 November 2017

When David Cameron gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry he wanted to give an example of newspaper campaigning that had benefited society. With the entire modern output of the national press to pick from, he chose the Daily Mail’s work on the Stephen Lawrence murder. This, he informed the judge, had been ‘extremely important’.

No doubt many others would have made the same choice. Even the Mail’s rivals sometimes hold up its coverage of the infamous 1993 race murder as a high point for British journalism and as proof of the essential role of the press. As for the Mail’s critics, they find the case a stumbling block. If the Mail really played a heroic part in achieving justice for a black family that had been failed by the white establishment, it becomes harder for them to classify the paper as simply intolerant or racist.

Next April will be the 25th anniversary of the murder. It will be a moment for commemoration and for reflection about race in Britain. For the Mail, which takes intense pride in its own involvement in the case, it will also be an opportunity to remind the public of what it did.

So what did it do? Most famously, in February 1997, at a moment when the police and the justice system appeared to have failed the Lawrence family, it published a front page accusing five young men of the murder and defying them to sue for libel. A stroke of editorial brilliance, this caused a sensation, raising the profile of this troubling case and stirring debate about trial by media. Over the years that followed, the Mail would return many times to the Lawrence case in front pages, inside spreads and editorials, and the paper has made some bold claims about the difference it made. Several of these were drawn together in a single statement by its editor, Paul Dacre, after two men were convicted of the killing in 2012:

‘Quite simply, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that if it hadn’t been for the Mail’s headline in 1997 – “Murderers: The Mail accuses these men of killing” – and our years of campaigning, none of this would have happened: Britain’s police might not have undergone the huge internal reform that was so necessary; race relations might not have taken the significant step forward that they have;  and an 18-year-old A-Level student who dreamed of being an architect would have been denied justice.’

The Mail has also claimed that its reporting brought about the 1998-99 Macpherson Inquiry into the murder and that its campaigning led to the reform of the double jeopardy rule that made possible one of the 2012 convictions. Dacre has also asserted that he risked jail by publishing the 1997 front page.

These claims have rarely been examined closely, but in an article just published in the journal Political Quarterly I have tested them against the historical record. I found that, while the paper’s actions involved editorial brilliance and probably had positive consequences, its principal claims are at best exaggerated and at worst unsupported by evidence. Even where it can be argued that the paper did help bring about changes for the better, they were not the changes it actually sought.

One example is the assertion that the Mail’s reporting ‘prompted Home Secretary Jack Straw to initiate a major inquiry’, as the paper put it in February 1999. That claim has been made on a number of occasions but it is problematic and at the very least needs careful qualification – chiefly because in the relevant months of 1997 the Mail never once called for a public inquiry. Even when the Lawrence family demanded one, the Mail conspicuously did not give its support. And once it became clear, in the early summer of 1997, that there would be an inquiry, the Mail publicly opposed the kind of inquiry – into police failures – that Doreen (now Baroness) Lawrence was arguing for and that the government of the time ultimately set up. In short, the paper has been claiming credit for the establishment of an inquiry which the record shows it didn’t seek and which took a form it actually opposed.

Of course this is not a simple matter. While Jack Straw, in his autobiography, gave credit for the establishment of the inquiry ‘above all’ to Baroness Lawrence, he also wrote that the Mail helped give him political ‘space’ to make his decision. No doubt this is correct: that a conservative paper was conspicuously involved will have made a difference, but again the context must be considered. Straw made his decision in July 1997. It is conceivable that, had he not had the ‘space’ created by the Mail, he might have said no. But the events of 1997 show that six months later, no matter what the position of the Daily Mail, he would have had no choice but to order an inquiry anyway. When, that December, a report by the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) revealed wholesale incompetence and worse in the original police investigation of Stephen Lawrence’s murder, all arguments against a public inquiry would have fallen away. In other words, insofar as the Mail’s involvement might have made a difference by giving Straw more room to act, the difference was between the announcement of an inquiry in July 1997 and the same announcement five months later.

The Mail’s claim – repeated as recently as June this year during an angry spat with the Guardian – that its campaign to bring the Stephen Lawrence murderers to justice “did more to improve race relations in this country than anything the Guardian has achieved” is a claim which, at best, requires considerable qualification, not least because throughout the whole history of the Lawrence case the Mail’s understanding of the role of race has been a very particular one.

In its reporting just after the murder in 1993 its principal interest was in challenging mostly black ‘race militants’ whom it accused of ‘hijacking a tragedy’. The paper was happy to quote the Lawrences when they expressed concern about ‘militants’, but it conspicuously failed to quote them on the subject of racism in British law enforcement and justice and its role in their plight. Even in 1997 the Mail still refused to accept that the Lawrences’ colour might have made a difference. An editorial published on the same day as the famous ‘Murderers’ front page declared bluntly: ‘But suggestions made by his grief-stricken mother that that police were less than assiduous because of Stephen’s colour are misplaced.’ In the eyes of the Mail, in other words, Doreen Lawrence was simply wrong to see racism in the British establishment as a factor in her family’s tragedy.

Why did the Mail get involved at all, if it took that view? Look at the record and the answer is clear. Dacre was outraged by what he called the swaggering conduct of the five suspects at the inquest (which had just ended when the front page was published). He was appalled that they appeared to be getting away with murder, as his own crime reporters and senior police officers told him they were. His focus and that of his paper was on five white ‘thugs’ from southeast London, and accusations about racism in the police or the justice system or in wider British society were wrong, and worse, were damaging distractions.

It was for that reason that the Mail did not want a public inquiry into police failure and instead looked to the Macpherson inquiry (in vain) to hold the five suspects to account. When the inquiry report declared that the police service suffered from ‘institutional racism’, and when the Tony Blair government asserted that the whole country had lessons to learn from this, the Mail was openly disgusted. This was, it said, ‘a kind of politically correct McCarthyism’, and it asked: ‘Should the majority in this fundamentally decent and tolerant nation be tainted by collective guilt?’ The only racism the Mail would ever acknowledge in the case was the racism of the attackers (who were heard to use the word ‘n****r’) and conceivably of a few ‘bad apple’ police officers who, it said, should be driven out of the police service.

Against this background, assertions by the Mail that it was instrumental in improvements in race relations and also in reforms of the police that flowed from the Macpherson inquiry must ring hollow. Not only did it not want the inquiry in the first place, but it was also broadly dismissive of the inquiry’s eventual findings.

There is, however, one significant way in which the Mail probably helped bring positive change. The Stephen Lawrence affair was the first occasion when the white majority in this country came to understand and identify with the grief and anger of a black British family. They saw past angry black faces and recognised human suffering and a case of injustice. Those chiefly responsible for that change are the Lawrences themselves, but the Mail also deserves some credit. Baroness Lawrence wrote in her autobiography, And Still I Rise: ‘The Daily Mail’s front page had helped to open the story up. In fact the press had always been interested, but that report was said to have “touched Middle England”, the feelings of white people who don’t normally care much what happens to black youths in inner cities.’

It may well be that the public inquiry would have done this anyway, with its months of shocking testimony vindicating the family’s position, but it is clear that the Mail’s sensational intervention in February 1997 accelerated the process and it seems likely that many who would not otherwise have given consideration to the Lawrences’ grievances were induced to do so as a result.

My article in Political Quarterly looks at all of this in some detail, and also at the other claims made by the Mail. For example, I found no evidence in the historical record to support the suggestion that the Mail campaigned in any sustained way for reform of the double jeopardy rule, nor for the suggestion that the editor of the Mail risked jail when he accused the five suspects of murder. Dacre’s assertion that if it had not been for the Mail Stephen Lawrence would have been denied justice is particularly hard to credit since there is nothing to support it in the known narrative of the police investigation that led to the two convictions. Even a general proposition that the Mail helped bring about convictions by continuing to highlight the issue does not withstand scrutiny.

Newspapers boast, and they often exaggerate – how often do we see two papers claiming the same story as an ‘exclusive’? In that light the exaggerations of the Mail about the Stephen Lawrence case may be seen as normal. But where a matter is as important as this one, and where it remains important even after the passage of nearly 25 years, it is essential to test the boasts against the record and try to arrive at a more accurate picture of what has happened.

Voir enfin:

The Daily Mail and the Stephen Lawrence Murder
Brian Cathcart
The Political quaterly
23 October 2017

Abstract

The Daily Mail‘s coverage of the 1993 race murder of Stephen Lawrence has been held up as an example of newspaper journalism at its best. It is a cause of pride to the paper, which has asserted that its 1997 front page accusing five men of the murder, and the comment and reporting that followed, brought about significant social and policy changes and helped achieve justice. The coverage has also been cited by the paper to rebut critics who accuse it of intolerance. Examined in detail here and set in their context, the paper’s claims about its role in the case prove to be either exaggerated or not supported by evidence. The Mail‘s engagement in the Lawrence case involved a famous instance of editorial brilliance, but insofar as its campaign brought about or contributed to changes, they were not usually changes sought by the paper and they were sometimes contrary to its aims.

WHAT DID the Daily Mail do in the Stephen Lawrence case and what did it achieve? Although nearly 25 years have passed since the notorious race killing in south‐east London and 21 years since the Mail‘s famous front page naming five men as the murderers, these questions remain relevant. They are relevant because the Mail‘s actions have gained a special place in the story and self‐image of modern British newspaper journalism, often held up as an example—sometimes the leading example—of editorial brilliance and bravery; of inspired campaigning for justice; of the press bringing about change against the odds. The Mail takes a special pride in what it did, its editor declaring that it proves that ‘the power of journalism, courageous headlines and relentless campaigning can act as a huge force for good in society and make a major difference to countless lives’.1 Other newspapers cite the case as proof of the social value of the press: last year, for example, the Daily Telegraph identified among the principal achievements of the industry that it had ‘ensured that criminals such as the killers of Stephen Lawrence were brought to justice’.2 And at the Leveson inquiry in 2012 the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, when he wished to give an example of valuable newspaper campaigning, and with the entire modern output of the industry to choose from, singled out the Mail‘s Lawrence coverage for praise, saying it was ‘extremely important’.3

For critics of the Mail it is no less significant. The paper is often characterised as reactionary and unsympathetic towards minorities but its treatment of the Lawrence story, as it is generally understood, is not easily reconciled with such a picture. Alastair Campbell has written that the paper’s coverage of the case ‘makes it so much harder to challenge the Mail over its overt and its more subtle racism’.4 This works in the other direction too. Responding to a suggestion in The Guardian that it encouraged Islamophobia, the Mail said it would not take lessons on the subject: ‘Our campaign to bring Stephen Lawrence’s murderers to justice, for which the editor of this paper could have been jailed, did more to improve race relations in this country than anything The Guardian has ever achieved’ (Daily Mail, 22 June 2017).

Given all this, it is surprising that the history of the Mail and the Lawrence case has received little detailed scrutiny.5 That is the purpose of this article. It will look first at what the Mail did and identify the various assertions that have been made about its impact. It will then review the context and background of the Mail‘s actions and will assess, against the various claims, what the consequences have been.

The pivot of the story is the front page of 14 February 1997. The headline was one word in capitals: ‘MURDERERS’. Then came: ‘The Mail accuses these men of killing. If we are wrong, let them sue us.’. Below that were photographs of the principal suspects in the case: five young white men from the district where the murder occurred. This caused a sensation. The five had not been convicted in a court of law. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had refused to prosecute them for want of evidence and a rare private prosecution brought by Stephen Lawrence’s parents had ended in acquittals. If people in Britain are innocent until proven guilty, then these men were innocent, yet one of the country’s biggest‐selling newspapers had called them murderers.

For a few days, the headline dominated public discussion. Other papers reported it on their front pages and published editorials; the news bulletins and current affairs broadcasts kept returning to it; the legal profession was exercised, for and against, and the matter was discussed in Parliament. People asked: was this trial by media? Had the Mail gone too far? Might the five sue? And if they could not sue, was that fair? There were also questions about the case itself. Why was this murder still unsolved? Had the system failed the Lawrence family, as they claimed? Was their race a factor? And simply, what were the facts?

The Mail would return many times to the story in the years that followed, publishing occasional front pages, inside spreads and editorials, including scoops relating mainly to the suspects and to the police investigations. January 2012, when two of the five—Gary Dobson and David Norris—were convicted for their parts in the murder, saw a kind of crescendo. The paper’s editor, Paul Dacre, released an unusual video statement on the day of the verdicts that is still viewable online and which gives the fullest account to date of the Mail‘s understanding of its own contribution to the case.6 Stating first that it was a glorious day for the Lawrences, for the police, for politicians who took vital decisions and for newspapers generally, Dacre continued:

Quite simply, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that if it hadn’t been for the Mail‘s headline in 1997 … and our years of campaigning, none of this would have happened. Britain’s police might not have undergone the huge internal reform that was so necessary. Race relations might not have taken the significant step forward that they have. And an 18 year‐old A‐level student who dreamed of being an architect would have been denied justice.

Without the Mail, in other words, Britain might not have seen important police reforms and gains in race relations, and no one would have been convicted of the murder. As we have seen above, the Mail has also claimed that its editor risked jail in publishing that front page. And elsewhere it has asserted both that its actions prompted the government of the day to order a public inquiry—the 1998–99 Macpherson inquiry—and that those actions brought about the ending of double jeopardy, the ancient legal convention that prevented people being tried twice for the same crime.

What prompted the Mail to publish that front page and what was the background? To understand this we need to see the paper’s relationship with the case from the beginning. Stephen Lawrence, a black sixth‐former on his way home from an evening out with his friend, Duwayne Brooks, was stabbed to death close to a bus stop in Eltham, south‐east London, on 22 April 1993. Witnesses saw at least four assailants and possibly as many as six, all white. One shouted the word ‘nigger’ at Brooks as they attacked. Brooks managed to escape unhurt. The murder was formally recognised as racially motivated by the police, and local black people were quick to note that it was the third or fourth race murder in the area in a couple of years. In common with other papers, the Mail reported this news in a straightforward fashion, under the headline ‘Murdered just for being black’ and the sub‐heading ‘Fear of reprisals after white gang knife teenage student’ (Daily Mail, 24 April 1993).

The family swiftly formed the view that the police were failing to investigate the case properly and after ten days they made their concerns public at a press conference. Shortly afterwards they met Nelson Mandela, then on his second visit to London after his release from prison, and stood with him as he told reporters that their story reminded him of South Africa, ‘where black lives are cheap’.7 The Mail did not report either the family’s press conference or the Mandela meeting. It returned to the case only after there had been violence at a demonstration prompted by the murder, and then its focus was not on the police. A two‐page spread carried the headline: ‘How race militants hijacked a tragedy’ and there followed an interview with Neville and Doreen Lawrence headlined ‘For the sake of Stephen, please put an end to this violence’ (Daily Mail, 10 and 12 May 1993).

The Lawrences and their close supporters were indeed horrified by the violence and were angry with some groups they suspected of using outrage among black Londoners to advance their own causes. What is striking about the Mail‘s coverage at this stage is not that it addressed this—challenging left wing ‘militants’ has long been a routine Mail activity—but that it did so to the exclusion of the family’s other concerns. Mandela was now mentioned, but only in passing and without repeating his remark about the cheapness of black lives, and where the police were discussed, it was with approval: police sources were quoted as saying that detectives were working ‘flat out’ and ‘in a professional and diligent manner’. If there were any difficulties in solving the crime, the Mail‘s reporting suggested, they were caused by radical groups getting in the way of the police.

One development at this early stage has attracted attention, though it did not become public knowledge until later. When the Mail reporter was interviewing the Lawrences it emerged that Neville Lawrence, Stephen’s father, knew the paper’s editor, Paul Dacre, because he had done plastering work at Dacre’s Islington home in the 1980s. The significance of this connection is hard to measure. The journalist Nick Davies suggested in his 2008 book Flat Earth News that it had an instant effect, with the news desk issuing orders to ‘do something sympathetic’.8 Such an instruction could have made little difference on that occasion, however, since there was no reason for the Mail to be unsympathetic—its interest was purely in militants and the Lawrences were ready to criticise militants. Nor was there any sign in the coverage over the next two or three years that the paper or its editor felt any special sympathy towards the family.

This was a bleak period for the Lawrences. Though arrests were eventually made, the charges were soon dropped, the suspects were released and police and prosecutors professed themselves helpless to deliver justice. A private prosecution seemed the only way to make progress, but it proved a cruel ordeal: after a long, stressful build‐up it ended abruptly with acquittals before the jury had even begun to hear evidence. Through most of this period the Mail, in common with most other national newspapers, reported developments without comment, without probing in depth and without giving the case any particular prominence. It was only with the collapse of the private prosecution in April 1996 that, again like other papers, the Mail began to suggest that something special might be happening. A headline used words from Stephen Lawrence’s mother Doreen (now Baroness Lawrence): ‘What do people like us have to do to get justice?’ And near the end of the report came a striking paragraph: ‘The Lawrences’ legal battle has been conducted throughout with quiet dignity. They have refused to allow extremists to make political capital out of Stephen’s death, insisting: ‘What we are fighting for is justice’’ (Daily Mail, 26 April 1996).

February 1997 brought the long‐postponed inquest. By now there was widespread unease that something was wrong and frustration that this blameless family had been let down. Those feelings would be brought to the point of maximum discomfort by what happened in the coroner’s court, and most national papers had reporters there to report it. On the first day, Doreen Lawrence made a passionate, angry speech that was reported by the Mail under the headline: ‘White justice failed my son’. An editorial commented on this ‘anguished cry for justice’, noting the problems of evidence and the failure of the private prosecution. It concluded with a revealing passage:

Sadly this bereaved mother has now convinced herself that her son’s killers walked free because racial bias retarded the initial police investigation and somehow inhibits the whole judicial system. What is undeniable, however, is that the Lawrences are a thoroughly decent family who have suffered a tragic loss and been grievously denied justice. They should know that the hearts of the overwhelming majority of British people (of whatever colour) go out to them. (Daily Mail, 11 February 1997)

While the Mail felt sympathy and frustration, therefore, it rejected the idea that race played any part in the failure to secure convictions and it presented Doreen Lawrence’s opinion purely as a sign of motherly desperation.

Sympathy and frustration increased as the inquest unfolded, as they did in other papers, especially when the five suspects were brought before the court and refused to account for themselves, responding to almost all questions with the words: ‘I claim privilege’. By chance, in this period senior Daily Mail executives, including the editor, had lunch with the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Paul (now Lord) Condon, and some of his staff. The inquest and the conduct of the suspects were discussed and, Dacre would relate, ‘one of the Yard’s most senior police officers … said words to the effect that he’d stake his life on their guilt’.9 By now the editor was angry. His own crime staff shared the officer’s view and yet it seemed to him that the suspects were not only getting away with it but mocking the authority of the courts as they did so. He would describe their conduct in court as ‘the most sickening thing’. When the inquest jury returned a verdict that Stephen Lawrence had been unlawfully killed ‘in a completely unprovoked racist attack by five white youths’—all but identifying the culprits—everything was in place for that front page.

Fifteen years later, in his video statement, Dacre would provide a dramatic account of the final act:

It was about 8 o’clock. I reached for a layout pad. This was in the days before on‐screen make‐up and I literally wrote down with a thick pencil the words ‘Murderers’ and underneath it the sub‐deck: ‘The Mail accuses these men of killing. If we are wrong, let them sue us’. I showed it to the senior sub‐editors. There was a kind of nervous laughter.

The next step was to consult the in‐house lawyer, Eddie Young.

To his eternal credit, he was unfazed by the headline … The mood, surprisingly, was very calm. Clearly, there were many powerful reasons against the headline. But there wasn’t one over‐riding reason not to do it.

And so the front page was printed.

Its effect has been described above, but it is worth pausing to consider what the Mail did and did not do on that day. It provided a lightning rod for public feeling. Editors, and especially editors of tabloid newspapers, often seek to give voice to their readers’ stronger feelings and even to articulate their unformed thoughts; here was a brilliant example of that function at work. And it was more than this, because by saying what had generally been thought unsayable, it provided a sudden, unexpected emotional release. The suspicion that these young men were guilty was no longer something to be kept to oneself or whispered, because the Daily Mail had announced it on the front page. As an act of journalism connecting a paper with public sentiment at a difficult moment, it is rightly celebrated, and it is no surprise that expressions of gratitude flowed into the paper for weeks afterwards, in many cases from people otherwise hostile to the Mail.

Significantly, however, nowhere in its commentary or in its reporting on that or subsequent days did the Mail give its support to the Lawrences’ arguments that the police had let them down and that their son’s race had played a part in the failure of the justice system. A Mail editorial pinned the blame squarely on the suspects. ‘Ever since the attack, a climate of fear has gripped the mean streets where members of the gang live.’ It was this, the paper asserted, that had prevented the police from gathering evidence and had left ‘a pack of bigots … walking free and smirking at the thrill of getting away with it’. The editorial continued: ‘Small wonder that Stephen’s relatives feel betrayed, or that they lash out in their grief at the police and the CPS for failing to bring the murderers of ‘only a black boy’ to justice. But suggestions made by his grief‐stricken mother that police were less than assiduous because of Stephen’s colour are misplaced’ (Daily Mail, 14 February 1997).

For the Mail in February 1997, therefore, the front page was intended as a challenge to an outrage against justice, but the scandal was not about the police or about race and the Lawrences were wrong to believe that it was. The paper’s wrath was directed at five white men who it complained had terrorised their white neighbours into silence and then raised two fingers to the white establishment. Describing it in 1999 I adapted the language of apartheid: this was primarily a ‘white‐on‐white’ matter.10

As mentioned above, in the 20 years since 1997, many assertions have been made by the Mail and others about the effect of the front page and of the paper’s subsequent coverage of the case. It is time to examine those.

The risk of jail

As recently as June 2017, a Mail editorial referred to ‘our campaign to bring Stephen Lawrence’s murderers to justice, for which the editor of this paper could have been jailed’. Paul Dacre had made the same claim at the Leveson inquiry in 201211 and he has also recounted in his video statement that on the night of publication, when he instructed his staff to publish the ‘Murderers’ headline, he used the words: ‘Let’s go … You can always come and visit me in jail.’

There was never a serious chance that he would go to jail. Indeed, the legal risks to the paper were modest, which is presumably why, in Dacre’s words, the Mail lawyer Eddie Young was ‘unfazed’ and ‘very calm’ on the night of publication. There were two possible legal dangers, of which the greater was in libel—the suspects were challenged to sue. Dacre and Young knew, however, that they were unlikely to do so, first because they couldn’t afford it (there is no legal aid in libel), and second because suspects who had been so anxious to avoid answering questions under oath at an inquest would scarcely place themselves voluntarily in a position where they were obliged to do so in a libel court. The other risk was contempt of court—meaning interference with the course of justice. For a paper to be guilty of contempt, as experienced news journalists know, criminal proceedings have to be ‘active’, but in this case the whole point was that the justice process was not active. It had been exhausted.

Insofar as any legal risk existed, moreover, it was primarily to the newspaper rather than the editor. And even if by some outrageous misfortune Dacre had been found personally guilty of libel, he would not have gone to jail because the remedy in such cases is the award of damages. Had he been convicted of contempt, a jail sentence was theoretically possible, but in practice the punishment would certainly have been a fine. The 1990s saw at least three cases in which national newspapers were found guilty of very serious contempts of court and no editor was ever jailed. Indeed, so far as I can establish, no editor has been sent to prison for contempt of court since 1949.

The most forthright critic of the Mail‘s actions at the time was a retired Master of the Rolls, Lord Donaldson, who said the paper ought to be prosecuted for contempt of common law. This notion received no support elsewhere, but the Attorney General’s office, which had already dismissed the idea that there might have been a statutory contempt, agreed to consider the question of common law contempt, and two weeks passed before it again announced there was no case to answer. Could Dacre have been in fear of imprisonment in this two‐week period? If he was, he was at odds with his own paper, which issued a statement on the day Lord Donaldson spoke, stating: ‘We are entirely satisfied that we have not committed any form of contempt, whether statutory or common law’.12 The Mail also published news reports the next morning declaring on the authority of one former Attorney General and three QCs that the ex‐judge had got it wrong. One QC dismissed Lord Donaldson’s suggestion as ‘logical nonsense’, and another, George Carman, stated: ‘I find it very difficult to conceive of circumstances in which the Mail could be considered in contempt of court’ (Daily Mail, 17 February 1997). It is worth noting too that even Lord Donaldson did not propose that the editor should be prosecuted, let alone that he should face prison.

The very idea that in 1997 the editor of a national newspaper might have gone to jail under any law for publishing such matter was far‐fetched, and in the weeks after the front page was published no serious public suggestion to that effect was advanced or discussed. This is not to say that there were no risks to the Mail and its editor in publishing that front page, because undoubtedly there were, but the risks were to their reputations and to their bank balances.

Prompting the inquiry

On 2 October 1998, while the Macpherson inquiry into the Lawrence case was sitting, the Mail wrote: ‘It is arguable that there would not have been an inquiry but for our decision to name the five’. The following February, just before the inquiry report was published, it wrote more categorically: ‘The paper’s move led to an uproar. It also prompted Home Secretary, Jack Straw, to initiate a major inquiry’ (Daily Mail, 4 February 1999). In 2012 the paper repeated the claim, referring again to Straw, ‘who, responding to the Mail‘s campaign, commissioned the Macpherson inquiry’ (Daily Mail, 4 February 2012). At that time, Dacre also said in his video statement: ‘Jack [Straw], whom I’d known at university, told me that it was the Mail‘s coverage that persuaded him of the necessity of this move.’

Any claim that the inquiry was established in response to the paper’s actions, or that it might not have occurred without them, must at the very least be heavily qualified—chiefly because, as the published record shows, the Mail never sought a public inquiry. From the day of the famous front page in February 1997 to the day the inquiry was announced five months later, the Daily Mail did not once call for an inquiry in its pages. Even when the Lawrences publicly demanded an inquiry, the paper remained silent on the subject. More than that, it explicitly opposed an inquiry of the kind that came about.

The narrative is as follows. The Lawrences had been seeking an inquiry since 1993, meeting only rebuffs from the Conservative government of John Major, but in May 1997, two months after the inquest and the Mail‘s front page, Labour won power and by the following month, after public appeals by the family and by sympathetic Labour MPs, it was clear an inquiry would happen. The next question was: what kind of inquiry? In his autobiography Jack Straw explains that there were two possibilities: a general inquiry into race relations or one that scrutinised the handling of the Lawrence case and drew conclusions.13 The Mail made plain its preference in an editorial:

Of course police methods are open to criticism and claims of racism within the force will have to be investigated. But it would be tragic if such an inquiry were to turn into a witch‐hunt against the police. It is not the police who should be on trial. The truth that cries out to be told is about a monstrous wall of silence which continues to shield the guilty. (Daily Mail, 25 June 1997)

Doreen Lawrence took a different view, believing that only close scrutiny of the police investigation would reveal what had gone wrong. Her 2006 book And Still I Rise confirms that when she met Straw in June 1997, the two options were discussed and she felt under pressure to accept the more general option. Instead, she dug in her heels and showed her anger in a conversation with Straw as the meeting broke up. She writes: ‘I believe it was that exchange as we walked along the corridor that changed his mind and persuaded him not to go down the line of least resistance.’14 In July, Straw announced an inquiry under the retired judge Sir William Macpherson, tasked with investigating ‘matters arising from the death of Stephen Lawrence’ and identifying lessons to be learned for the future handling of race crimes.15 Contrary to the Mail‘s wishes, therefore, the Metropolitan Police would be on trial. The paper made clear its view that this was a mistake: ‘The new inquiry … will have wide powers. It should use them to question these five men again. More than anything it must investigate the terrifying intimidation surrounding the case’ (Daily Mail, 1 August 1997).

It is clear from this that the inquiry was not a direct result of the Mail‘s actions. Though the family had been seeking an inquiry for years, and though they renewed the request for an inquiry after the inquest verdict and were supported in this by others, the Mail chose not to endorse that position. Instead, when it became clear that there would be an inquiry the Mail welcomed the prospect but, contrary to the wishes of the Lawrences, urged that the investigation should not focus on police failure.

Nonetheless, it might be argued that the Mail‘s campaign helped bring about the inquiry in indirect rather than direct ways. Here again, any such claim must be qualified, and one way to show why is to adopt the newspaper’s own formula and ask what would have happened ‘had it not been for the Mail’.

First, it is worth remembering that while the Mail greatly increased public awareness of the case, it did not pluck it from obscurity. By February 1997, the story of the black teenager murdered at a bus stop was well known and the family had a good deal of public support, albeit mostly on the left of the political spectrum. The inquest verdict, overshadowed at the time by the Mail‘s actions, gave them powerful new leverage in their demands for action. Though the Conservative government was deaf to these demands, there is surely a strong possibility that, given the family’s case, its strong support and the verdict, the incoming Labour government would have set up a public inquiry in much the way that it did, even without the Mail‘s front page.

Straw describes the position in his autobiography: ‘Once I had become Home Secretary I was determined to establish an inquiry in any event and it is Doreen above all who deserves the credit for pushing me to do so.’ He goes on: ‘But there is no doubt that the Mail‘s dramatic intervention—and the suspects’ refusal to react to the invitation to sue—profoundly changed public sentiment about this appalling crime. It also gave me much more political “space” in which to act.’16

Let us imagine, then, that in the absence of the Mail front page and therefore deprived of this ‘political space’, Straw had felt unable to order an inquiry in July 1997. He would have faced the anger of the Lawrences and their supporters, including MPs on his own back benches. He might well have weathered this but it is impossible to imagine that the family, having come so far, would then simply have given up the struggle. The pressure would have continued, and just five months later an event occurred that had nothing to do with the Mail but which would have left Straw with no choice but to grant an inquiry. The family’s allegations about the Metropolitan Police at the inquest prompted the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) to commission an investigation. This was conducted by Kent Constabulary, whose report appeared in December 1997 and presented a shocking catalogue of police error, negligence and stupidity, vindicating beyond doubt the Lawrences’ complaints about the quality of the first police investigation. After this, Doreen Lawrence could not have been denied the public inquiry she demanded.

This suggests that ‘had it not been for the Daily Mail’ a public inquiry into the killing of Stephen Lawrence would have begun in 1998 anyway. The most that can be claimed with confidence on the paper’s behalf is that, by raising the profile of the case as it did, it helped ensure that it was ordered in July 1997 rather than December. And in saying that, we need to remind ourselves that for the paper this was an unintended consequence, since the Mail did not actively seek an inquiry.

Double jeopardy

In 1997 the principle of double jeopardy applied and, had this not changed, it would not have been possible to try Gary Dobson for murder in 2011–12, since (unlike David Norris) he was one of those acquitted at the private prosecution. Paul Dacre’s video statement after the guilty verdicts on Dobson and Norris in 2012 referred to this:

Throughout the Mail campaign we highlighted the need for the double jeopardy law—which prevented an individual being charged with the same crime twice—to be reformed … The 800 year‐old law was finally reformed in 2005 by the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, a man whom I’d come to like and respect. Many senior police officers and prosecution officials believed that this momentous change would not have occurred but for the relentlessness of the Mail‘s campaign.

If any viewers of the video inferred from this that the Mail mounted a relentless campaign for the law to be changed they would be mistaken. The facts are as described below.

When, in the week after the Lawrence inquest, Geoffrey Robertson QC floated the idea that the double jeopardy rule might be overridden where new evidence has emerged, a Mail editorial on 19 February 1997 noted that this was being discussed but said no more. It was only seven months later that the Mail first gave explicit support to the idea, and that was in response to an initiative by Brian (now Lord) MacKenzie, the president of the Police Superintendents’ Association (PSA). MacKenzie wrote in his 2004 autobiography, Two Lives of Brian, that he had been concerned about the rule for many years and was prompted by the Lawrence case to challenge it in a speech at his association’s conference in September 1997.17 While preparing that speech he met a Daily Mail journalist who persuaded him to use the ‘Murderers’ front page as a backdrop.18 The speech was widely reported, most prominently in the Mail, which carried a photograph of MacKenzie alongside the projection of the front page. The Mail also published an editorial stating firmly that MacKenzie was right, and that his idea ‘demands serious consideration’ (Daily Mail, 15 September 1997).

After this, however, the paper’s coverage of the issue was no more than routine—nothing like the persistent reporting and prominent commentary associated with a genuine Daily Mail campaign. When the PSA raised double jeopardy at the Macpherson inquiry in September 1998 and when the inquiry report recommended in February 1999 that the Law Commission consider the merits of amending the rule, the paper showed little interest. After this came a four‐year process of official deliberation, through two stages at the Law Commission, a Commons select committee report, a further review by a senior judge, two consultations, a White Paper, a Bill, debates in the Commons and Lords and ultimately the passing into law of Part 10 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. Though all of this, most Mail readers could hardly have been aware that their paper had an opinion on the issue.

Only once, in an editorial responding to the White Paper, did it offer a comment: ‘Yes there is still unease among lawyers over the proposals. But in the present climate Mr Blunkett is probably pushing at an open door … Isn’t it an affront to justice when killers swagger free, knowing they can’t be touched?’ (Daily Mail, 18 July 2002). Against this, however, a news report in the Mail in 1999 seemed hostile to change, describing double jeopardy as ‘a basic safeguard of the legal system’ (Daily Mail, 1 March 1999). And Melanie Phillips declared in an opinion article in 2002 that moves to change the rule ‘threaten to undermine the presumption of innocence on which liberty depends’ (Daily Mail, 24 June 2002).

The Mail did not mount a sustained campaign for change to the double jeopardy rule, nor can it be said to have ‘highlighted the need’ for change with any persistence. Instead, over the whole relevant period of almost six years it published just three editorials that mentioned the matter, only one of which genuinely advocated it, while its reporting on the issue, after that engagement with MacKenzie’s initiative in September 1997, is best described as occasional and unengaged. This is not how the Daily Mail behaves when it really wants something.

The convictions

In his video statement in 2012, Dacre gave that list of things that he believed would not have happened but for the 1997 front page, one of which was this: ‘an 18 year‐old A‐level student who dreamed of being an architect would have been denied justice’. The description is of Stephen Lawrence, so on the face of it this is an assertion that nobody would have been convicted of the murder had it not been for the Mail—a claim that has also been made elsewhere.19

The evidence that led to the jailing of Dobson and Norris was uncovered by forensic scientists who, at the instigation of a senior detective tackling the case afresh, re‐tested clothing that had been held by investigators since 1993. It is obvious that the Daily Mail had no role in work of that kind, so how else could it have contributed? It might be argued that, by raising the profile of the case in 1997 and revisiting it many times in the years that followed, the Mail ensured that the police did not drop the investigation where otherwise they might have done. This argument is also difficult to sustain because the Metropolitan Police had long had their own powerful reasons for wishing to see the case resolved. As early as April 1996—significantly, almost a year before the Mail front page—Assistant Police Commissioner Ian Johnston pledged in response to the family’s complaints: ‘We will never give up on this inquiry. We will never close this case and we will go on looking forever’.20 Once the PCA had confirmed the inadequacy of the first investigation, and even more so once those failures had been humiliatingly laid bare by the Macpherson inquiry, that determination to mitigate the disaster by securing convictions was all the stronger. A series of well‐resourced investigations led by top detectives followed, but it seemed the breakthrough would never come.

On 25 May 2002, the Daily Mail published a scoop: ‘After nine years and £30 million, police finally admit defeat in Stephen Lawrence case.’ The latest team of detectives, it reported, had presented their best evidence to the CPS, which was about to announce that it was not sufficient to justify prosecuting anyone. It seemed no more could be done. What is most relevant here is the Mail‘s editorial comment. The paper did not protest at the prospect that the search for justice was over, nor did it insist, as it might have done, that the police must try again. Instead it offered words of closure. Yes, the killers were still free, but Britain had changed for the better since the murder of Stephen Lawrence, and the police too. It concluded: ‘we would like to think that his death was not entirely in vain’.

It follows that, when Detective Chief Inspector Clive Driscoll volunteered to look afresh at the evidence four years later, it was not because of pressure from the Mail. Nor, we have to assume, did the Mail‘s views weigh on the senior officers who gave him the go‐ahead and the resources to proceed. The explanation lies elsewhere. As Driscoll’s 2015 autobiography, In Pursuit of the Truth, makes clear, he was an officer with a record of solving difficult cases and this was just the kind of challenge he relished. It took a good team and a great deal of patience, but ultimately he produced a case sufficiently airtight to convince a jury that Dobson and Norris were guilty.

Police reform

In his video statement in 2012, Paul Dacre stated that he did not think it was an exaggeration to say that if it had not been for the ‘Murderers’ front page ‘Britain’s police might not have undergone the huge internal reform that was so necessary’.

This is not the place to assess the extent of reform in the police service since Stephen Lawrence’s murder, a substantial subject in its own right. However, it seems safe to say that where relevant changes occurred they were due primarily to the recommendations of the Macpherson inquiry, whose mission was ‘to identify the lessons to be learned for the investigation and prosecution of racially motivated crimes’. As we have seen, the Daily Mail did not seek a public inquiry and specifically resisted one that focused on policing. Given this record it is not obvious how the paper can deserve credit for anything achieved in this area by the inquiry, unless it subsequently changed its views and supported the process in some significant way. Did that happen?

There was certainly a change. Once the PCA findings on police failure had been made public in December 1997, the Mail‘s line on the case could not stand. Until then it had endorsed the Metropolitan Police assertion that its officers had done their best. The paper’s explanation for the absence of convictions was the ‘wall of silence’, meaning both the refusal of the suspects to account for themselves and their alleged intimidation of witnesses. The PCA report not only showed that the first investigation had been incompetent, but also made clear that the local community, far from remaining silent, had done its very best to point the investigation towards the suspect group. The Mail made no attempt to shield the police, roundly condemning the ‘blunders’ that ‘let Stephen down’. It reported the lengthy exploration of this at the inquiry and it pressed strongly for the punishment of the officers found to be to blame. To the Mail, however, the most important aspect of the inquiry was always the prospect that the five men it had named as killers would testify. The paper’s view remained that these were the real guilty parties who needed to be brought to justice. They did testify, but in most respects it was an anti‐climax. Since the inquiry was not a criminal court they could not be examined directly about the murder, with the result that the questioning was oblique and little was learned.

After this, the Mail‘s tone about the inquiry became carping and resentful and, in particular, it was deeply suspicious of suggestions of police racism. It was prepared to accept that there were individual ‘bad apples’ in the police and it expressed concern about a lack of trust in the police among black people, but it would go no farther. An article by columnist Peter McKay in July asked: ‘Even if the Metropolitan Police were to announce that racism in its ranks was the reason the killers were not brought to justice, where would that leave us?’ (Daily Mail, 6 July 1998). And when the possibility arose that Sir Paul Condon might be forced to resign, the Mail drew a line. ‘Don’t forget where the guilt really lies’, a headline declared, pointing at the suspects, while an editorial argued that ‘there is something unedifying in the hue and cry to make an honourable police officer the scapegoat’ (Daily Mail, 2 October 1998). Doreen Lawrence, who had lent her voice to calls for Condon’s departure, was ‘mistaken’, the Mail declared. In the end the inquiry did not call for Condon to go, but by then the Mail had an even greater concern.

On the eve of the publication of the report, in an editorial entitled ‘For Stephen’s sake avoid a witch‐hunt’, it begged Sir William Macpherson not to conclude that the police were affected by ‘institutional racism’. ‘The words could hardly be more chilling. However he tries to define them, they must damn every member of the force’ (Daily Mail, 24 February 1999). This, the paper warned, would amount to ‘a kind of politically correct McCarthyism’ and would ultimately ‘make matters worse’. Contrary to the Mail‘s wishes, however, Sir William did indeed use those two words in his report, carefully defining their meaning, and he was adamant about their central importance to progress: ‘There must be an unequivocal acceptance of the problem of institutional racism and its nature before it can be addressed, as it needs to be, in full partnership with members of minority ethnic communities.’ He made clear that the interpretation of the term ‘institutional racism’ offered by the Mail, and also by police officers opposed to change, was mistaken. ‘We say with emphasis that such an accusation [of institutional racism] does not mean or imply that every police officer is guilty of racism. No such sweeping condemnation can be or should be made.’21

The Mail was not interested in such arguments and explanations. To apply such a term to the police was, the paper would insist in the months that followed, inaccurate, counterproductive, preposterous and dangerous. It consistently took the side of police officers resisting reform. ‘Muggings soar as Lawrence case criticisms “paralyse” police’, said one headline, while an editorial declared: ‘The pendulum has swung too far’ (Daily Mail, 15 May and 16 December 1999). An opinion article by Simon Heffer announced: ‘Since the Stephen Lawrence inquiry accused the police of ‘institutional racism’ many bobbies have been afraid to stop and search black people in case cynical lawyers accuse them of racism’ (Daily Mail, 31 July 1999).

The dominant message from the Mail to its readers about the Macpherson report was negative. There is very little in the story of the paper’s relationship with the inquiry, from inception to aftermath, to support the view that the newspaper deserves credit for any reforms of the police that followed.

Race relations

The most general of the claims made by the Mail in relation to the Lawrence case relates to what it calls race relations. According to Paul Dacre in 2012, one of the things that would not have happened but for the 1997 front page was that ‘race relations might not have taken the significant step forward that they have’. This was echoed in that 2017 editorial: ‘Our campaign… did more to improve race relations in this country than anything The Guardian has ever achieved.’

For reasons given above we can set aside any idea that the Mail might be due credit for reforms in this area that flowed from the recommendations of the Macpherson inquiry. That leaves one alternative: that the Mail‘s famous front page and its subsequent reporting of the Lawrence case in themselves helped to improve relations between white people and ethnic minorities in Britain. Is this true? There can be no objective measure, but here is a personal view.

The Lawrence case altered the way Britain thinks about race. It was the first conspicuous occasion on which a black family got past the stage of simply airing a grievance against this country’s institutions and managed to achieve very public proof that their complaints were justified. In crude terms, the Lawrences fought the law and the Lawrences won. Of course this did not instantly bring about a level playing field for ethnic minority people—far from it—but a particular form of white superiority came to an end. The credit for this rests with Doreen and Neville Lawrence.

At the same time, another, softer change happened. This was the first occasion when the white majority in this country came to understand and identify with the grief and anger of a black British family. They saw past black faces and recognised human suffering. Again, nothing would be quite the same afterwards, and again, those chiefly responsible are the Lawrences themselves. But here, the Mail also deserves some credit. Baroness Lawrence wrote in her autobiography: ‘The Daily Mail‘s front page had helped to open the story up. In fact the press had always been interested, but that report was said to have “touched Middle England”, the feelings of white people who don’t normally care much what happens to black youths in inner cities.’22 It may well be that the public inquiry would have done this anyway, with its months of shocking testimony vindicating the family’s position day after day, but it is clear that the Mail‘s sensational intervention accelerated the process. Though the famous front page concerned itself with the suspects, in the days that followed the paper did not shy away from the involvement of a black family as victims of injustice. It is likely that many who would not otherwise have given consideration to the Lawrences’ grievances were induced to do so as a result.

An irony in the Mail‘s insistence that it helped improve race relations is that, at the time, it flatly refused to accept that race had any part in the story except as a motive for the killers. It even stated, more than once, that the Lawrences were wrong to see race as a factor. Further, the Mail doggedly rejected the view expressed both by Jack Straw and Tony Blair, after the Macpherson report was published, that the whole of white Britain had lessons to learn from the case. The paper caricatured this as an assertion ‘that literally everyone in Britain is riddled with racism and must be forcibly shaken out of it’, and asked: ‘Should the majority in this fundamentally decent and tolerant nation be tainted by collective guilt?’ (Daily Mail, 27 February 1999).

In short, in my view the Mail can legitimately claim to have contributed to improving relations between races through the exposure and support it gave the Lawrences—even though it never embraced their ideas, or those of the Macpherson report, or of the government of the time, about the importance of racism in the case or about what should be done to tackle it.

Conclusion

The achievements of the Daily Mail in the Stephen Lawrence case are not so grand or transformative as the paper, its longtime editor and others in Fleet Street have asserted in recent years. There has been exaggeration, to say the least. This began within months of the publication of the ‘Murderers’ front page and reached its most expansive after the convictions in 2012. Significantly, that was the time of the Leveson inquiry into press standards, when much of the national press, including the Daily Mail, was under scrutiny. The paper’s Lawrence coverage was promoted as a positive factor in the midst of a debate prompted by the disgrace of illegal phone‐hacking at the News of the World. In the arguments relating to the implementation of the Leveson recommendations over the succeeding years, exaggerated accounts of the impact of the Lawrence coverage have become part of the effort to prove that the proposed reforms are unjustified.

In disposing of these exaggerations, however, we should not lose sight of what was achieved. The front page of 14 February 1997 was a remarkable coup. Arising from a sincere sense of outrage, it provoked debate to a degree that editors normally only dream of. That a conservative paper should have acted in this way in relation to a racially motivated murder in which the victim and his family were black, and that it followed the case over a long period, is to that paper’s credit. And it is argued above that this accelerated the process by which white Britain came to acknowledge the Lawrences’ ordeal, a process that brought benefits for toleration and diversity.

Reviewing the story, one is struck not by how far the Mail departed from its normal agenda but by how little. It saw young men who appeared to be getting away with a serious crime while humiliating the justice system and it attacked them. It stuck for as long as it could to a narrative about hard‐working detectives frustrated by a wall of silence. Having no interest in an inquiry into police shortcomings, it focused on the testimony of the suspects and once that was over it turned against a process that implied challenges to policing and to society, ultimately ridiculing its core finding as mere political correctness. Thereafter, the paper stayed with the case in the sense that it remained interested in the fate of those suspects, and when two of them were convicted, it revelled in the news. In short, whatever anyone else may have thought, for the Mail, the case of Stephen Lawrence was always about crime and punishment and never about race.


Martin Luther King Day: Attention, un faux peut en cacher un autre ! (Fraud fit for a King: Israel, anti-zionism and the misuse of MLK)

21 janvier, 2019
Jews-and-Civil-RightsLe rabbin Abraham Joshua Heschel (deuxième à droite), lors de la marche à Selma avec le Révérend Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Bunche, le républicain John Lewis, le révérend Fred Shuttlesworth et le révérend CT Vivian. (Crédit : Autorisation de Susannah Heschel)
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Image result for LETJUSTICE ROLLS DOWN LIKE WATERS AND RIGHTEOUSNESS LIKE A MIGHTY STREAM aMOS 5

Ne parlez pas comme ça. Quand des gens critiquent les sionistes ils veulent parler des Juifs. Ce que vous dites là, c’est de l’antisémitisme ! Martin Luther King
Je ne sais pas ce qui va arriver maintenant. Nous avons devant nous des journées difficiles. Mais peu m’importe ce qui va m’arriver, car je suis allé jusqu’au sommet de la montagne. Je ne m’inquiète plus. Comme tout le monde, je voudrais vivre longtemps. La longévité a son prix. Mais je ne m’en soucie guère. Je veux simplement que la volonté de Dieu soit faite. Et il m’a permis d’atteindre le sommet de la montagne. J’ai regardé autour de moi. Et j’ai vu la Terre promise. Il se peut que je n’y pénètre pas avec vous. Mais je veux vous faire savoir, ce soir, que notre peuple atteindra la Terre promise. Je suis heureux, ce soir. Je ne m’inquiète de rien. Je ne crains aucun homme. Mes yeux ont vu la gloire de la venue du Seigneur. Martin Luther King
Whenever I return to the New England states, I never feel like a stranger because I’ve spent some three or four years in this area attending Boston University and Harvard University, so I feel like I’m coming home when I come back this way. (..) Now tonight I would like to use as a subject the question of progress in the area of race relations for indeed that is a desperate question on the lips of  hundreds and thousands of people all over our nation, indeed, people all over the world. They’re asking from time to time whether there has been any real progress in the area of race relations in the United States. There are three possible answers to the question of progress in the area of race relations. First, that is the attitude of extreme optimism. The extreme optimist would contend that we have made marvelous strides in the area of race relations. He would point proudly to the gains that have been made in the area of civil rights over the last few decades. And from this, the extreme optimist would conclude that the problem is just about solved now and that we can sit down comfortably by the wayside and wait on the coming of the inevitable. The second attitude that can be taken is that of extreme pessimism. The extreme pessimist would contend that we have made only minor strides in the area of race relations. He would argue that the deep rumblings of discontent from the South, the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan and the birth of white citizens councils and the presence of Federal troops in Little Rock, Arkansas are all indicative of the fact that we have retrogressed rather than progressed, that we have created many more problems than we have solved. At times, he would get a little intellectual in his analysis and in his pessimistic conclusions. He may for instance turn to the realms of theology and seek to argue that hovering over every man is the tragic taint of original sin and he would misuse this doctrine to argue that at bottom human nature cannot be changed. He may even move to the realms of psychology and seek to show the determinative effects of certain habit structures and attitudes once they have been molded. And from all of this he would conclude that there can be no progress in the area of race relations. Now what is interesting to notice is that the extreme optimist and the extreme pessimist agree on at least one point. They would both argue that we must sit down and do nothing in the area of race relations. The extreme optimist would say: ‘do nothing because integration is inevitable’. The extreme pessimist would say: ‘do nothing because integration is impossible’. But there is a third position that can be taken, namely the realistic position. The realist in this area seeks to combine the truths of two opposites while avoiding the extremes of both. So he would agree with the optimist that we have come a long, long way. But he would seek to balance that by agreeing with the pessimist that we have a long, long way to go. And it is this realistic position that I would like to use as a basis for our thinking together this evening. We have come a long, long way but realism impels us to admit that we have a long, long way to go. Martin Luther King
I think that the situation with the Negro people in this country is analogous to what happened with the Israelites in Egypt. They too had to wait for a leader, and I think all of us will agree that they have found this leader in Dr. Martin Luther King. Rabbi Klein (Temple Emanuel)
President Nasser of Egypt has initiated a blockade of an international waterway, the Straits of Tiran, Israel’s sea lane to Africa and Asia. This blockade may lead to a major conflagration. The Middle East has been an area of tension due to the threat of continuing terrorist attacks, as well as the recent Arab military mobilization along Israel’s borders. Let us recall that Israel is a new nation whose people are still recovering from the horror and decimation of the European holocaust. (…) We call on our fellow Americans of all persuasions and groupings and on the administration to support the independence, integrity, and freedom of Israel. Men of conscience all over the world bear a moral responsibility to support Israel’s right of passage through the Straits of Tiran. Pétition signée par Martin Luther King (The Moral Responsibility in the Middle East, NYT, 28.05.1967)
What is saddening is that respected public leaders like Martin Luther King who have courageously opposed American actions in Vietnam should now associate themselves with vague calls for American intervention on behalf of Israel. Letter to NYT (June 2, 1967)
Did you see the ad in the New York Times Sunday ? Th is was the ad they got me to sign with Bennett, etc. I really hadn’t seen the statement. I felt after seeing it, it was a little unbalanced and it is pro-Israel. It put us in the position almost of setting the turning-hawks on the Middle East while being doves in Vietnam and I wouldn’t have given a statement like that at all. Martin Luther King
The statement I signed in the N.Y. Times as you know was agree d with by a lot of people in the Jewish community. But there was those in the negro community [who] have been disappointed. SNCC for one has been very critical. The problem was that the N.Y. Times played it up as a total endorsement of Israel. What they printed up wasn’t the complete text, even the introduction wasn’t the text. I can’t back up on the statement now, my problem is whether I should make another statement, or maybe I could just avoid making a statement. I don’t want to make a statement that backs up on me; that wouldn’t be good. Well, what do you think? Martin Luther King
Well, I think these guarantees should all be worked out by the United Nations. I would hope that all of the nations, and particularly the Soviet Union and the United States, and I would say France and Great Britain, these four powers can really determine how that situation is going. I think the Israelis will have to have access to the Gulf of Aqaba. I mean the very survival of Israel may well depend on access to not only the Suez Canal, but the Gulf and the Strait of Tiran. These things are very important. But I think for the ultimate peace and security of the situation it will probably be necessary for Israel to give up this conquered territory because to hold on to it will only exacerbate the tensions and deepen the bitterness of the Arabs. Martin Luther King
I’d run into the situation where I’m damned if I say this and I’m damned if I say that no matter what I’d say, and I’ve already faced enough criticism including pro-Arab.(…) I just think that if I go, the Arab world, and of course Africa and Asia for that matter, would interpret this as endorsing everything that Israel has done, and I do have questions of doubt. (…) most of it [the pilgrimage] would be Jerusalem and they [the Israelis] have annexed Jerusalem, and any way you say it they don’t plan to give it up. (…) I frankly have to admit that my instincts, and when I follow my instincts so to speak I’m usually right. . . . I just think that this would be a great mistake. I don’t think I could come out unscathed. Martin Luther King
It is with the deepest regret that I cancel my proposed pilgrimage to the Holy Land for this year, but the constant turmoil in the Middle East makes it extremely difficult to conduct a religious pilgrimage free of both political overtones and the fear of danger to the participants. Actually, I am aware that the danger is almost non-existent, but to the ordinary citizen who seldom goes abroad, the daily headlines of border clashes and propaganda statements produces a fear of danger which is insurmountable on the American scene. Martin Luther King (Letter to Mordechai Ben-Ami, the president of the Israeli airline El Al)
That a man like Martin Luther King could stand so openly with Israel, despite his own private qualms and criticism by younger, more radical, black Americans who had discovered the plight of the Palestinians, indicated the degree to which Zionism was embraced by the American mainstream. . . . One of the ways [King] reciprocated Jewish American support for desegregation in the United States was by turning a blind eye to the plight of the Palestinians. Ussama Makdisi (2010)
Israel does many bad things but it does not get reprimanded. (…) Israel is very strong, [Malaysians] cannot do much against it, but they do not have to demonstrate affection to it. The world is talking about freedom of speech, but whenever we say anything against Israel and the Jews, it is considered antisemitism. It is my right to criticize Israel for its policy regarding the Palestinians and say they do many bad things. Mahathir Bin Mohamad
Every January, with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday just around the corner, I have come to expect someone to misuse the good doctor’s words so as to push an agenda he would not likely have supported. (…) And yet (…) the one thing I never expected anyone to do would be to just make up a quote from King; a quote that he simply never said, and claim that it came from a letter that he never wrote, and was published in a collection of his essays that never existed. Frankly, this level of deception is something special. The hoax of which I speak is one currently making the rounds on the Internet, which claims to prove King’s steadfast support for Zionism. Indeed, it does more than that. In the item, entitled “Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend,” King proclaims that criticism of Zionism is tantamount to anti-Semitism, and likens those who criticize Jewish nationalism as manifested in Israel, to those who would seek to trample the rights of blacks. Heady stuff indeed, and 100% bullshit, as any amateur fact checker could ascertain were they so inclined. But of course, the kinds of folks who push an ideology that required the expulsion of three-quarters-of-a-million Palestinians from their lands, and then lied about it, claiming there had been no such persons to begin with (as with Golda Meir’s infamous quip), can’t be expected to place a very high premium on truth. I learned this the hard way recently, when the Des Moines Jewish Federation succeeded in getting me yanked from the city’s MLK day events: two speeches I had been scheduled to give on behalf of the National Conference of Community and Justice (NCCJ). Because of my criticisms of Israel—and because I as a Jew am on record opposing Zionism philosophically—the Des Moines shtetl decided I was unfit to speak at an MLK event. After sending the supposed King quote around, and threatening to pull out all monies from the Jewish community for future NCCJ events, I was dropped. The attack of course was based on a distortion of my own beliefs as well. Federation principal Mark Finkelstein claimed I had shown a disregard for the well-being of Jews, despite the fact that my argument has long been that Zionism in practice has made world Jewry less safe than ever. But it was his duplicity on King’s views that was most disturbing. Though Finkelstein only recited one line from King’s supposed “letter” on Zionism, he lifted it from the larger letter, which appears to have originated with Rabbi Marc Schneier, who quotes from it in his 1999 book, “Shared Dreams: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Jewish Community.” Therein, one finds such over-the-top rhetoric as this: “I say, let the truth ring forth from the high mountain tops, let it echo through the valleys of God’s green earth: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews—this is God’s own truth.” The letter also was filled with grammatical errors that any halfway literate reader of King’s work should have known disqualified him from being its author, to wit: “Anti-Zionist is inherently anti Semitic, and ever will be so.” The treatise, it is claimed, was published on page 76 of the August, 1967 edition of Saturday Review, and supposedly can also be read in the collection of King’s work entitled, This I Believe: Selections from the Writings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. That the claimants never mention the publisher of this collection should have been a clear tip-off that it might not be genuine, and indeed it isn’t. The book doesn’t exist. As for Saturday Review, there were four issues in August of 1967. Two of the four editions contained a page 76. One of the pages 76 contains classified ads and the other contained a review of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s album. No King letter anywhere. Yet its lack of authenticity hasn’t prevented it from having a long shelf-life. Not only does it pop up in the Schneier book, but sections of it were read by the Anti-Defamation League’s Michael Salberg in testimony before a House Subcommittee in July of 2001, and all manner of pro-Israel groups (from traditional Zionists to right-wing Likudites, to Christians who support ingathering Jews to Israel so as to prompt Jesus’ return), have used the piece on their websites. In truth, King appears never to have made any public comment about Zionism per se; and the only known statement he ever made on the topic, made privately to a handful of people, is a far cry from what he is purported to have said in the so-called “Letter to an Anti-Zionist friend.” In 1968, according to Seymour Martin Lipset, King was in Boston and attended a dinner in Cambridge along with Lipset himself and a number of black students. After the dinner, a young man apparently made a fairly harsh remark attacking Zionists as people, to which King responded: “Don’t talk like that. When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking Anti-Semitism.” Assuming this quote to be genuine, it is still far from the ideological endorsement of Zionism as theory or practice that was evidenced in the phony letter. After all, to respond to a harsh statement about individuals who are Zionists with the warning that such language is usually a cover for anti-Jewish bias is understandable. More than that, the comment was no doubt true for most, especially in 1968. It is a statement of opinion as to what people are thinking when they say a certain thing. It is not a statement as to the inherent validity or perfidy of a worldview or its effects. (…) So yes, King was quick to admonish one person who expressed hostility to Zionists as people. But he did not claim that opposition to Zionism was inherently anti-Semitic. And for those who criticize Zionism today and who like me are Jewish, to believe that we mean to attack Jews, as Jews, when we speak out against Israel and Zionism is absurd. As for King’s public position on Israel, it was quite limited and hardly formed a cornerstone of his worldview. In a meeting with Jewish leaders a few weeks before his death, King noted that peace for Israelis and Arabs were both important concerns. According to King, “peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity.” But such a statement says nothing about how Israel should be constituted, nor addresses the Palestinians at all, whose lives and challenges were hardly on the world’s radar screen in 1968. At the time, Israel’s concern was hostility from Egypt; and of course all would agree that any nation has the right not to be attacked by a neighbor. The U.S. had a right not to be attacked by the Soviet Union too—as King would have no doubt agreed, thereby affirming the United States’ right to exist. But would anyone claim that such a sentiment would have implied the right of the U.S. to exist as it did, say in 1957 or 1961, under segregation? Of course not. So too Israel. Its right to exist in the sense of not being violently destroyed by hostile forces does not mean the right to exist as a Jewish state per se, as opposed to the state of all its citizens. It does not mean the right to laws granting special privileges to Jews from around the world, over indigenous Arabs. It should also be noted that in the same paragraph where King reiterated his support for Israel’s right to exist, he also proclaimed the importance of massive public assistance to Middle Eastern Arabs, in the form of a Marshall Plan, so as to counter the poverty and desperation that often leads to hostility and violence towards Israeli Jews. This part of King’s position is typically ignored by the organized Jewish community, of course, even though it was just as important to King as Israel’s territorial integrity. As for what King would say today about Israel, Zionism, and the Palestinian struggle, one can only speculate. (…) But one thing is for sure. While King would no doubt roundly condemn Palestinian violence against innocent civilians, he would also condemn the state violence of Israel. He would condemn launching missile attacks against entire neighborhoods in order to flush out a handful of wanted terrorists. He would oppose the handing out of machine guns to religious fanatics from Brooklyn who move to the territories and proclaim their God-given right to the land, and the right to run Arabs out of their neighborhoods, or fence them off, or discriminate against them in a multitude of ways. He would oppose the unequal rationing of water resources between Jews and Arabs that is Israeli policy. He would oppose the degrading checkpoints through which Palestinian workers must pass to get to their jobs, or back to their homes after a long day of work. He would oppose the policy which allows IDF officers to shoot children throwing rocks, as young as age twelve. In other words, he would likely criticize the working out of Zionism on the ground, as it has actually developed in the real world, as opposed to the world of theory and speculation. These things seem imminently clear from any honest reading of his work or examination of his life. He would be a broker for peace. And it is a tragedy that instead of King himself, we are burdened with charlatans like those at the ADL, or the Des Moines Jewish Federation, or Rabbis like Marc Schneier who think nothing of speaking for the genuine article, in a voice not his own. Tim Wise
Ils ont oublié quel pays ils représentent. Nous sommes aux Etats-Unis où le boycott est un droit et fait partie de notre combat historique pour la liberté et l’égalité. Rashida Tlaib
On April 4, 1967, exactly one year before his assassination, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stepped up to the lectern at the Riverside Church in Manhattan. The United States had been in active combat in Vietnam for two years and tens of thousands of people had been killed, including some 10,000 American troops. The political establishment — from left to right — backed the war, and more than 400,000 American service members were in Vietnam, their lives on the line. Many of King’s strongest allies urged him to remain silent about the war or at least to soft-pedal any criticism. They knew that if he told the whole truth about the unjust and disastrous war he would be falsely labeled a Communist, suffer retaliation and severe backlash, alienate supporters and threaten the fragile progress of the civil rights movement. King rejected all the well-meaning advice and said, “I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice.” Quoting a statement by the Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam, he said, “A time comes when silence is betrayal” and added, “that time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.” It was a lonely, moral stance. And it cost him. But it set an example of what is required of us if we are to honor our deepest values in times of crisis, even when silence would better serve our personal interests or the communities and causes we hold most dear. It’s what I think about when I go over the excuses and rationalizations that have kept me largely silent on one of the great moral challenges of our time: the crisis in Israel-Palestine. I have not been alone. Until very recently, the entire Congress has remained mostly silent on the human rights nightmare that has unfolded in the occupied territories. Our elected representatives, who operate in a political environment where Israel’s political lobby holds well-documented power, have consistently minimized and deflected criticism of the State of Israel, even as it has grown more emboldened in its occupation of Palestinian territory and adopted some practices reminiscent of apartheid in South Africa and Jim Crow segregation in the United States. Many civil rights activists and organizations have remained silent as well, not because they lack concern or sympathy for the Palestinian people, but because they fear loss of funding from foundations, and false charges of anti-Semitism. They worry, as I once did, that their important social justice work will be compromised or discredited by smear campaigns. Similarly, many students are fearful of expressing support for Palestinian rights because of the McCarthyite tactics of secret organizations like Canary Mission, which blacklists those who publicly dare to support boycotts against Israel, jeopardizing their employment prospects and future careers. Reading King’s speech at Riverside more than 50 years later, I am left with little doubt that his teachings and message require us to speak out passionately against the human rights crisis in Israel-Palestine, despite the risks and despite the complexity of the issues. King argued, when speaking of Vietnam, that even “when the issues at hand seem as perplexing as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict,” we must not be mesmerized by uncertainty. “We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.” And so, if we are to honor King’s message and not merely the man, we must condemn Israel’s actions: unrelenting violations of international law, continued occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, home demolitions and land confiscations. We must cry out at the treatment of Palestinians at checkpoints, the routine searches of their homes and restrictions on their movements, and the severely limited access to decent housing, schools, food, hospitals and water that many of them face. We must not tolerate Israel’s refusal even to discuss the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, as prescribed by United Nations resolutions, and we ought to question the U.S. government funds that have supported multiple hostilities and thousands of civilian casualties in Gaza, as well as the $38 billion the U.S. government has pledged in military support to Israel. And finally, we must, with as much courage and conviction as we can muster, speak out against the system of legal discrimination that exists inside Israel, a system complete with, according to Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, more than 50 laws that discriminate against Palestinians — such as the new nation-state law that says explicitly that only Jewish Israelis have the right of self-determination in Israel, ignoring the rights of the Arab minority that makes up 21 percent of the population. Of course, there will be those who say that we can’t know for sure what King would do or think regarding Israel-Palestine today. That is true. The evidence regarding King’s views on Israel is complicated and contradictory. Although the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee denounced Israel’s actions against Palestinians, King found himself conflicted. Like many black leaders of the time, he recognized European Jewry as a persecuted, oppressed and homeless people striving to build a nation of their own, and he wanted to show solidarity with the Jewish community, which had been a critically important ally in the civil rights movement. Ultimately, King canceled a pilgrimage to Israel in 1967 after Israel captured the West Bank. During a phone call about the visit with his advisers, he said, “I just think that if I go, the Arab world, and of course Africa and Asia for that matter, would interpret this as endorsing everything that Israel has done, and I do have questions of doubt.” He continued to support Israel’s right to exist but also said on national television that it would be necessary for Israel to return parts of its conquered territory to achieve true peace and security and to avoid exacerbating the conflict. There was no way King could publicly reconcile his commitment to nonviolence and justice for all people, everywhere, with what had transpired after the 1967 war. Today, we can only speculate about where King would stand. Yet I find myself in agreement with the historian Robin D.G. Kelley, who concluded that, if King had the opportunity to study the current situation in the same way he had studied Vietnam, “his unequivocal opposition to violence, colonialism, racism and militarism would have made him an incisive critic of Israel’s current policies.” Indeed, King’s views may have evolved alongside many other spiritually grounded thinkers, like Rabbi Brian Walt, who has spoken publicly about the reasons that he abandoned his faith in what he viewed as political Zionism. (…) During more than 20 visits to the West Bank and Gaza, he saw horrific human rights abuses, including Palestinian homes being bulldozed while people cried — children’s toys strewn over one demolished site — and saw Palestinian lands being confiscated to make way for new illegal settlements subsidized by the Israeli government. He was forced to reckon with the reality that these demolitions, settlements and acts of violent dispossession were not rogue moves, but fully supported and enabled by the Israeli military. For him, the turning point was witnessing legalized discrimination against Palestinians — including streets for Jews only — which, he said, was worse in some ways than what he had witnessed as a boy in South Africa. (…) Jewish Voice for Peace, for example, aims to educate the American public about “the forced displacement of approximately 750,000 Palestinians that began with Israel’s establishment and that continues to this day.” (…) In view of these developments, it seems the days when critiques of Zionism and the actions of the State of Israel can be written off as anti-Semitism are coming to an end. There seems to be increased understanding that criticism of the policies and practices of the Israeli government is not, in itself, anti-Semitic. (…) the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II (…) declared in a riveting speech last year that we cannot talk about justice without addressing the displacement of native peoples, the systemic racism of colonialism and the injustice of government repression. In the same breath he said: “I want to say, as clearly as I know how, that the humanity and the dignity of any person or people cannot in any way diminish the humanity and dignity of another person or another people. To hold fast to the image of God in every person is to insist that the Palestinian child is as precious as the Jewish child.” Guided by this kind of moral clarity, faith groups are taking action. In 2016, the pension board of the United Methodist Church excluded from its multibillion-dollar pension fund Israeli banks whose loans for settlement construction violate international law. Similarly, the United Church of Christ the year before passed a resolution calling for divestments and boycotts of companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. Even in Congress, change is on the horizon. For the first time, two sitting members, Representatives Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, and Rashida Tlaib, Democrat of Michigan, publicly support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. In 2017, Representative Betty McCollum, Democrat of Minnesota, introduced a resolution to ensure that no U.S. military aid went to support Israel’s juvenile military detention system. Israel regularly prosecutes Palestinian children detainees in the occupied territories in military court. None of this is to say that the tide has turned entirely or that retaliation has ceased against those who express strong support for Palestinian rights. To the contrary, just as King received fierce, overwhelming criticism for his speech condemning the Vietnam War — 168 major newspapers, including The Times, denounced the address the following day — those who speak publicly in support of the liberation of the Palestinian people still risk condemnation and backlash. Bahia Amawi, an American speech pathologist of Palestinian descent, was recently terminated for refusing to sign a contract that contains an anti-boycott pledge stating that she does not, and will not, participate in boycotting the State of Israel. In November, Marc Lamont Hill was fired from CNN for giving a speech in support of Palestinian rights that was grossly misinterpreted as expressing support for violence. Canary Mission continues to pose a serious threat to student activists. And just over a week ago, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Alabama, apparently under pressure mainly from segments of the Jewish community and others, rescinded an honor it bestowed upon the civil rights icon Angela Davis, who has been a vocal critic of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and supports B.D.S. But that attack backfired. Within 48 hours, academics and activists had mobilized in response. The mayor of Birmingham, Randall Woodfin, as well as the Birmingham School Board and the City Council, expressed outrage at the institute’s decision. The council unanimously passed a resolution in Davis’ honor, and an alternative event is being organized to celebrate her decades-long commitment to liberation for all. I cannot say for certain that King would applaud Birmingham for its zealous defense of Angela Davis’s solidarity with Palestinian people. But I do. In this new year, I aim to speak with greater courage and conviction about injustices beyond our borders, particularly those that are funded by our government, and stand in solidarity with struggles for democracy and freedom. My conscience leaves me no other choice. Michelle Alexander
In the Israeli view, no peacemaker can bring the two sides together because there aren’t just two sides. There are many, many sides. Most of Israel’s wars haven’t been fought against Palestinians. Since the invasion of five Arab armies at the declaration of the State of Israel in May 1948, the Palestinians have made up a small number of the combatants facing the country. To someone here, zooming in to frame our problem as an Israeli-Palestinian conflict makes as much sense as describing the “America-Italy conflict” of 1944. American G.I.s were indeed dying in Italy that year, but an American instinctively knows that this can be understood only by seeing it as one small part of World War II. The actions of Americans in Italy can’t be explained without Japan, or without Germany, Russia, Britain and the numerous actors and sub-conflicts making up the larger war. Over the decades when Arab nationalism was the region’s dominant ideology, Israeli soldiers faced Egyptians, Syrians, Jordanians, Lebanese and Iraqis. Today Israel’s most potent enemy is the Shiite theocracy in Iran, which is more than 1,000 miles away and isn’t Palestinian (or Arab). The gravest threat to Israel at close range is Hezbollah on our northern border, an army of Lebanese Shiites founded and funded by the IraniansThe antiaircraft batteries of the Russians, Iran’s patrons, already cover much of our airspace from their new Syrian positions. A threat of a lesser order is posed by Hamas, which is Palestinian — but was founded as the local incarnation of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, affiliated with the regional wave of Sunni radicalism, kept afloat with . Qatari cash and backed by Iran. If you see only an “Israeli-Palestinian” conflict, then nothing that Israelis do makes sense. (That’s why Israel’s enemies prefer this framing.) In this tightly cropped frame, Israelis are stronger, more prosperous and more numerous. The fears affecting big decisions, like what to do about the military occupation in the West Bank, seem unwarranted if Israel is indeed the far more powerful party. That’s not the way Israelis see it. Many here believe that an agreement signed by a Western-backed Palestinian leader in the West Bank won’t end the conflict, because it will wind up creating not a state but a power vacuum destined to be filled by intra-Muslim chaos, or Iranian proxies, or some combination of both. That’s exactly what has happened around us in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. One of Israel’s nightmares is that the fragile monarchy in Jordan could follow its neighbors, Syria and Iraq, into dissolution and into Iran’s orbit, which would mean that if Israel doesn’t hold the West Bank, an Iranian tank will be able to drive directly from Tehran to the outskirts of Tel Aviv. When I look at the West Bank as an Israeli, I see 2.5 million Palestinian civilians living under military rule, with all the misery that entails. I’m seeing the many grave errors our governments have made in handling the territory and its residents, the construction of civilian settlements chief among them. But because I’m zoomed out, I’m also seeing Hezbollah (not Palestinian), and the Russians and Iranians (not Palestinian), and the Islamic State-affiliated insurgents (not Palestinian) on our border with Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. I’m considering the disastrous result of the power vacuum in Syria, which is a 90-minute drive from the West Bank. In the “Israeli-Palestinian” framing, with all other regional components obscured, an Israeli withdrawal in the West Bank seems like a good idea — “like a real-estate deal,” in President Trump’s formulation — if not a moral imperative. And if the regional context were peace, as it was in Northern Ireland, for example, a power vacuum could indeed be filled by calm. But anyone using a wider lens sees that the actual context here is a complex, multifaceted war, or a set of linked wars, devastating this part of the world. The scope of this conflict is hard to grasp in fragmented news reports but easy to see if you pull out a map and look at Israel’s surroundings, from Libya through Syria and Iraq to Yemen. The fault lines have little to do with Israel. They run between dictators and the people they’ve been oppressing for generations; between progressives and medievalists; between Sunni and Shiite; between majority populations and minorities. If our small sub-war were somehow resolved, or even if Israel vanished tonight, the Middle East would remain the same volatile place it is now. Misunderstanding the predicament of Israelis and Palestinians as a problem that can be solved by an agreement between them means missing modest steps that might help people here. Could Israel, as some centrist strategists here recently suggested, freeze and shrink most civilian settlements while leaving the military in place for now? How can the greatest number of Palestinians be freed from friction with Israelis without creating a power vacuum that will bring the regional war to our doorstep? These questions can be addressed only if it’s clear what we’re talking about. Abandoning the pleasures of the simple story for the confusing realities of the bigger picture is emotionally unsatisfying. An observer is denied a clear villain or an ideal solution. But it does make events here comprehensible, and it will encourage Western policymakers to abandon fantastic visions in favor of a more reasonable grasp of what’s possible. And that, in turn, might lead to some tangible improvements in a world that could use fewer illusions and wiser leaders. Matti Friedman
In the past ten years, (…) we have seen an emerging new, new anti-Semitism. It is likely to become far more pernicious than both the old-right and new-left versions, because it is not just an insidiously progressive phenomenon. It has also become deeply embedded in popular culture and is now rebranded with acceptable cool among America’s historically ignorant youth. In particular, the new, new bigotry is “intersectional.” It serves as a unifying progressive bond among “marginalized” groups such as young Middle Easterners, Muslims, feminists, blacks, woke celebrities and entertainers, socialists, the “undocumented,” and student activists. Abroad, the new, new bigotry is fueled by British Labourites and anti-Israel EU grandees. Of course, the new, new anti-Semitism’s overt messages derive from both the old and the new. There is the same conspiratorial idea that the Jews covertly and underhandedly exert inordinate control over Americans (perhaps now as grasping sports-franchise owners or greedy hip-hop record executives). But the new, new anti-Semitism has added a number of subtler twists, namely that Jews are part of the old guard whose anachronistic standards of privilege block the emerging new constituency of woke Muslims, blacks, Latinos, and feminists. Within the Democratic party, such animus is manifested by young woke politicians facing an old white hierarchy. Progressive activist Linda Sarsour oddly singled out for censure Senate majority leader Charles Schumer, saying, “I’m talking to Chuck Schumer. I’m tired of white men negotiating on the backs of people of color and communities like ours.” In attacking Schumer, ostensibly a fellow progressive, Sarsour is claiming an intersectional bond forged in mutual victimization by whites — and thus older liberal Jews apparently either cannot conceive of such victimization or in fact are party to it. With a brief tweet, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez dismissed former Democratic senator Joe Lieberman’s worry over the current leftward drift of the new Democratic party. “New party, who dis?” she mocked, apparently suggesting that the 76-year-old former Democratic vice-presidential candidate was irrelevant to the point of nonexistence for the new progressive generation. Likewise, the generic invective against Trump — perhaps the most pro-Israel and pro-Jewish president of the modern era — as an anti-Semite and racist provides additional cover. Hating the supposedly Jew-hating Trump implies that you are not a Jew-hater yourself. Rap and hip-hop music now routinely incorporate anti-Semitic lyrics and themes of Jews as oppressors — note the lyrics of rappers such as Malice, Pusha T, The Clipse, Ghostface Killah, Gunplay, Ice Cube, Jay-Z, Mos Def, and Scarface. More recently, LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers basketball legend, tweeted out the anti-Semitic lyrics of rapper 21 Savage: “We been getting that Jewish money, everything is Kosher.” LeBron was puzzled about why anyone would take offense, much less question him, a deified figure. He has a point, given that singling out Jews as money-grubbers, cheats, and conspirators has become a sort of rap brand, integral to the notion of the rapper as Everyman’s pushback against the universal oppressor. The music executive and franchise owner is the new Pawnbroker, and his demonization is often cast as no big deal at best and at worst as a sort of legitimate cry of the heart from the oppressed. Note that marquee black leaders — from Keith Ellison to Barack Obama to the grandees of the Congressional Black Caucus — have all had smiling photo-ops with the anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, a contemporary black version of Richard Spencer or the 1980s David Duke. Appearing with Farrakhan, however, never became toxic, even after he once publicly warned Jews, “And don’t you forget, when it’s God who puts you in the ovens, it’s forever!” Temple professor, former CNN analyst, and self-described path-breaking intellectual Marc Lamont Hill recently parroted the Hamas slogan of “a free Palestine from the river to the sea” — boilerplate generally taken to mean that the goal is the destruction of the current nation of Israel. And here, too, it’s understandable that Hill was shocked at the ensuing outrage — talk of eliminating Israel is hardly controversial in hip left-wing culture. The Democratic party’s fresh crop of representatives likewise reflects the new, new and mainlined biases, camouflaged in virulent anti-Israeli sentiment. Or, as Princeton scholar Robert George recently put it: The Left calls the tune, and just as the Left settled in on abortion in the early 1970s and marriage redefinition in the ’90s, it has now settled in on opposition to Israel – not merely the policies of its government, but its very existence as a Jewish state and homeland of the Jewish people. In that vein, Michigan’s new congresswoman, Rashida Tlaib, assumed she’d face little pushback from her party when she tweeted out the old slur that Jewish supporters of Israel have dual loyalties: Opponents of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement, which targets Israel, “forgot what country they represent,” she said. Ironically, Tlaib is not shy about her own spirited support of the Palestinians: She earlier had won some attention for an eliminationist map in her office that had the label “Palestine” pasted onto the Middle East, with an arrow pointing to Israel. Similarly, Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) — like Tlaib, a new female Muslim representative in the House — used to be candid in her views of Israel as an “apartheid regime”: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” On matters of apartheid, one wonders whether Omar would prefer to be an Arab citizen inside “evil” Israel or an Israeli currently living in Saudi Arabia or Egypt. Sarsour defended Omar with the usual anti-Israel talking points, in her now obsessive fashion. Predictably, her targets were old-style Jewish Democrats. This criticism of Omar, Sarsour said, “is not only coming from the right-wing but [from] some folks who masquerade as progressives but always choose their allegiance to Israel over their commitment to democracy and free speech.” Again, note the anti-Semitic idea that support for the only functioning democracy in the Middle East is proof of lackluster support for democracy and free speech. Out on the barricades, some Democrats, feminists, and Muslim activists, such as the co-founders of the “Women’s March,” Tamika Mallory and the now familiar Sarsour, have been staunch supporters of Louis Farrakhan (Mallory, for example, called him “the greatest of all time”). The New York Times recently ran a story of rivalries within the Women’s March, reporting that Mallory and Carmen Perez, a Latina activist, lectured another would-be co-leader, Vanessa Wruble, about her Jewish burdens. Wruble later noted: “What I remember — and what I was taken aback by — was the idea that Jews were specifically involved, and predominantly involved, in the slave trade, and that Jews make a lot of money off of black and brown bodies.” Progressive icon Alice Walker was recently asked by the New York Times to cite her favorite bedtime reading. She enjoyed And the Truth Will Set You Free, by anti-Semite crackpot David Icke, she said, because the book was “brave enough to ask the questions others fear to ask” and was “a curious person’s dream come true.” One wonders which “questions” needed asking, and what exactly was Walker’s “dream” that had come “true.” When called out on Walker’s preference for Icke (who in the past has relied on the 19th-century Russian forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, in part to construct an unhinged conspiracy about ruling “lizard people”), the Times demurred, with a shrug: It did not censor its respondents’ comments, it said, or editorialize about them. These examples from contemporary popular culture, sports, politics, music, and progressive activism could be easily multiplied. The new, new anti-Semites do not see themselves as giving new life to an ancient pathological hatred; they’re only voicing claims of the victims themselves against their supposed oppressors. The new, new anti-Semites’ venom is contextualized as an “intersectional” defense from the hip, the young, and the woke against a Jewish component of privileged white establishmentarians — which explains why the bigoted are so surprised that anyone would be offended by their slurs. In our illiterate and historically ignorant era, the new, new hip anti-Semitism becomes a more challenging menace than that posed by prior buffoons in bedsheets or the clownish demagogues of the 1980s such as the once-rotund Al Sharpton in sweatpants. And how weird that a growing trademark of the new path-breaking identity politics is the old stereotypical dislike of Jews and hatred of Israel. Victor Davis Hanson
Nous tenons à vous informer que la « Lettre à un Ami Antisioniste »… prétendument écrite par le Dr Martin Luther King Jr, est, selon toute vraisemblance, un faux, bien que le message qui est à la base de la lettre ait été indéniablement exprimé par Martin Luther King Jr, lors d’une intervention de 1968, à Harvard, au cours de laquelle il a dit: « Quand les gens critiquent les Sionistes, ils parlent des juifs. Votre propos est antisémite ». (…) A l’origine, nous avions de forts doutes concernant l’authenticité de la « Lettre à un Ami Antisioniste », parce que le style du premier paragraphe semblait presque un pastiche de celui du discours du Dr King, « J’ai fait un rêve… ». En outre, nous n’avons trouvé aucune référence à la lettre avant 1999, ce qui était bizarre, car ce texte est une dénonciation si sensationnelle de l’antisionisme, qu’il aurait dû être largement cité. Mais, ensuite, nous avons trouvé la « lettre » dans le livre respectable de Rabbi Marc Schneier, publié en 1999 (« Shared Dreams » [Rêves partagés]), dont la préface était écrite par Martin Luther III. Etant donné que la famille King a la réputation d’être extrêmement attentive à l’héritage du Dr King, nous supposions qu’elle avait vérifié la fiabilité du livre avant de l’approuver. En outre, nous avions découvert que des citations de la « lettre » avaient été faites, le 31 juillet 2001, par Michael Salberg, de l’Anti-Defamation League, lors d’un témoignage devant le sous-Comité des Opérations Internationales et des Droits de l’Homme de la Commission pour les Relations internationales de la Chambre des Représentants des Etats-Unis. La même « source » où il était question de cette « lettre » (Saturday Review, août 1967), mentionnée dans le livre de Schneier, était également citée dans le témoignage. Comme beaucoup de membres de l’Anti-Defamation League avaient effectivement collaboré avec Martin Luther King Jr dans la lutte pour les droits civils, nous avons à nouveau supposé qu’ils étaient très bien informés de l’ouvrage concernant King et qu’ils avaient vérifié de manière approfondie tout ce qu’ils avaient choisi d’exposer devant le Congrès. Néanmoins, comme nous ne nous fions pas, en règle générale, aux recherches effectuées par quelqu’un d’autre, nous avons décidé de procéder à une contre-vérification, en examinant les anciens numéros de Saturday Review (le livre de Rabbi Schneier indiquait que la « lettre » avait été publiée dans l’édition d’août 1967 de la revue). Mais voilà, cette lettre ne figure pas dans les numéros d’août, outre que la page et le numéro de volume cités ne correspondent pas à ceux qu’utilise cette publication. CAMERA a également effectué une vérification auprès de l’Université de Boston, qui conserve les archives de l’œuvre du Dr King. Les archivistes ne sont pas davantage parvenus à localiser cette lettre. Force nous est de conclure que la lettre en question n’a pas été écrite par le Dr King. (Veuillez noter que nous ne suggérons pas que la « lettre » contrefaite soit l’œuvre de Rabbi Schneier.) Du fait que le message de la lettre (l’antisionisme est de l’antisémitisme) était bien celui qu’avait exprimé Martin Luther King Jr, nous pouvons comprendre que la famille de King et l’anti-Defamation League, n’aient pas éprouvé le besoin de vérifier la « Lettre à un ami antisioniste ». Cet épisode nous rappelle qu’il est important de vérifier l’authenticité et l’exactitude des sources, même quand elles semblent solides. Ci-après, une libre opinion, en date du 21 janvier 2002, du député républicain John Lewis, qui a travaillé en contact étroit avec le Dr King. Dans son article, il partage le point de vue du Dr King sur Israël, insistant sur la nature démocratique d’Israël et son besoin de sécurité. Il rapporte également que le Dr King a dit : « Quand les gens critiquent les Sionistes, ils veulent dire les Juifs, votre propos est antisémite. » Lee Green
Shortly before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King, Jr. was in Boston on a fund-raising mission, and I had the good fortune to attend a dinner which was given for him in Cambridge. This was an experience which was at once fascinating and moving: one witnessed Dr. King in action in a way one never got to see in public. He wanted to find what the Negro students at Harvard and other parts of the Boston area were thinking about various issues, and he very subtly cross-examined them for well over an hour and a half. He asked questions, and said very little himself. One of the young men present happened to make some remark against the Zionists. Dr. King snapped at him and said, “Don’t talk like that! When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism!” Seymour Martin Lipset
In 1966, King entered an agreement to lead a Holy Land pilgrimage, in partnership with Sandy Ray, pastor of a Baptist church in Brooklyn, who took up the promotion of the trip. King’s assistant, Andrew Young, visited Israel and Jordan in late 1966 to do advance planning with Jordanian and Israeli authorities. The pilgrimage was rumored to be in the works from that time, and King received letters of encouragement and invitations from the prime ministers of Israel and Jordan, and from the Israeli and Jordanian mayors of divided Jerusalem. On May 16, 1967, King publicly announced the plan at a news conference, reported by the New York Times the following day. The pilgrimage would take place in November, and King insisted that it would have no political significance whatsoever. The organizers hoped to attract five thousand participants, with the aim of generating revenue for King’s Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC). King was slated to preach on the Mount of Olives in Jordanian East Jerusalem (November 14), and at a specially constructed amphitheater near Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee in Israel (November 16). The pilgrims would pass from Jordan to Israel through the Man – delbaum Gate in Jerusalem. King, who knew the situation on the ground, thought he could strike just the right balance between Israel and Jordan. The Six-Day War threw a wrench into the plan. (…) King’s careful maneuvering before, during, and after the Six-Day War demonstrated a much deeper understanding of the Arab-Israeli conflict than critics credit him with possessing. The two Palestinian-Americans who sought to dismiss the Cambridge quote suggested that the conflict “was probably not a subject he was well-versed on,” and that his public statements in praise of Israel “surely do not sound like the words of someone familiar with both sides of the story.” Not so. King had been to the Arab world, had a full grasp of the positions of the sides, and was wary of the possible pitfalls of favoring one over the other. He struck a delicate balance, speaking out or staying silent after careful assessments made in consultation with advisers who had their ears to the ground—Levison and Wachtel (both non-Zionists) in the Jewish community, and Andrew Young, whom King dispatched to the Middle East as his emissary. For this reason, it is an offense to history, if not to King’s memory, whenever someone today summons King’s ghost to offer unqualified support to Israel or the Palestinians. King understood moral complexity, he knew that millions waited upon his words, and he sought to resolve conflict, not accentuate it. The pursuit of an elusive balance marked his approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict while he lived. There is no obvious reason to presume he would have acted differently, had he lived longer. Martin Kramer
Aptly quoting Martin Luther King, Jr. is a common way to make a point or win an argument, and it’s no surprise that his new memorial in Washington includes an “Inscription Wall” of quotes carved in stone. It’s also no surprise that the quote about critics of Zionists didn’t make the cut for inclusion in the memorial. Still, it’s been put to use on many an occasion, most recently by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last year, in his address to the Knesset on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. A few years back it even cropped up in a State Department report on antisemitism. So I was perplexed to see it categorized as “disputed” on the extensive page of King quotes at Wikiquote—for better or worse, the go-to place to verify quotes. Indeed, as of this writing, it’s the only King quote so listed. The attempt to discredit the quote has been driven by politics. In particular, it’s the work of Palestinians and their sympathizers, who resent the stigmatizing of anti-Zionism as a form of antisemitism. (…) King’s words were first reported by Seymour Martin Lipset, at that time the George D. Markham Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard, in an article he published in the magazine Encounter in December 1969—that is, in the year following King’s assassination. (…) For the next three-plus decades, no one challenged the credibility of this account. No wonder: Lipset, author of the classic Political Man (1960), was an eminent authority on American politics and society, who later became the only scholar ever to preside over both the American Sociological Association and the American Political Science Association. Who if not Lipset could be counted upon to report an event accurately? Nor was he quoting something said in confidence only to him or far back in time. Others were present at the same dinner, and Lipset wrote about it not long after the fact. He also told the anecdote in a magazine that must have had many subscribers in Cambridge, some of whom might have shared his “fascinating and moving” experience. The idea that he would have fabricated or falsified any aspect of this account would have seemed preposterous. That is, until almost four decades later, when two Palestinian-American activists suggested just that. Lipset’s account, they wrote, “seems on its face… credible.” There are still, however, a few reasons for casting doubt on the authenticity of this statement. According to the Harvard Crimson, “The Rev. Martin Luther King was last in Cambridge almost exactly a year ago—April 23, 1967” (“While You Were Away” 4/8/68). If this is true, Dr. King could not have been in Cambridge in 1968. Lipset stated he was in the area for a “fund-raising mission,” which would seem to imply a high profile visit. Also, an intensive inventory of publications by Stanford University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project accounts for numerous speeches in 1968. None of them are for talks in Cambridge or Boston. The timing of this doubt-casting, in 2004, was opportune: Lipset was probably unaware of it and certainly unable to respond to it. He had suffered a debilitating stroke in 2001, which left him immobile and speech-impaired. (He died of another stroke in 2006, at the age of 84.) Since then, others have reinforced the doubt, noting that Lipset gave “what seemed to be a lot of information on the background to the King quote, but without providing a single concrete, verifiable detail.” For just these reasons, the quote reported by Lipset was demoted to “disputed” status on King’s entry at Wikiquote. (…) Bear in mind Lipset’s precise testimony: King rebuked the student at a dinner in Cambridge “shortly before” King’s assassination, during a fundraising mission to Boston. It’s important to note that Lipset didn’t place the dinner in 1968. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, so “shortly before” could just as well have referred to the last months of 1967. In fact, King did come to Boston for the purposes of fundraising in late 1967—specifically, on Friday, October 27. Boston was the last stop in a week-long series of benefit concerts given by Harry Belafonte for King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Here’s an advertisement for that tour, from the magazine Jet. In the archives of NBC, there is a clip of King greeting the audience at the Boston concert. The Boston Globe also reported King’s remarks and the benefit concert on its front page the next morning. Greetings by Martin Luther King, Jr., sandwiched between an introduction by Sidney Poitier and an act by Harry Belafonte, before 9,000 people in Boston Garden—it’s difficult to imagine any appearance more “high profile” than that. And the dinner in Cambridge? When King was assassinated, the Crimson, Harvard’s student newspaper, did write that he “was last in Cambridge almost exactly a year ago—April 23, 1967.” That had been a very public visit, during which King and Dr. Benjamin Spock held a press conference to announce plans for a “Vietnam Summer.” War supporters picketed King. But in actual fact, that wasn’t King’s last visit to Cambridge. In early October 1967, when news spread that King would be coming to Boston for the Belafonte concert, a junior member of Harvard’s faculty wrote to King from Cambridge, to extend an invitation from the instructor and his wife (…) Two days later, King’s secretary, Dora McDonald, sent a reply accepting the invitation on King’s behalf: “Dr. King asked me to say that he would be happy to have dinner with you.” King would be arriving in Boston at 2:43 in the afternoon. “Accompanying Dr. King will be Rev. Andrew Young, Rev. Bernard Lee and I.” Who was this member of the Harvard faculty? Martin Peretz. (…) But as Peretz noted in his invitation, “much has happened in recent months,” necessitating “some honest and tough and friendly dialogue.” Peretz was then (as he is today) an ardent supporter of Israel. The Six-Day War, only four months earlier, threatened to drive a wedge between those Jews and African-Americans, allied in common causes, who differed profoundly over the Middle East. The culmination came in August, when the radical Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) issued a newsletter claiming that “Zionist terror gangs” had “deliberately slaughtered and mutilated women, children and men, thereby causing the unarmed Arabs to panic, flee and leave their homes in the hands of the Zionist-Israeli forces.” The newsletter also denounced “the Rothschilds, who have long controlled the wealth of many European nations, [who] were involved in the original conspiracy with the British to create the ‘State of Israel’ and [who] are still among Israel’s chief supporters.” Peretz, who a few years earlier had been a supporter of SNCC, condemned the newsletter as vicious antisemitism, and Jewish supporters of the civil rights movement looked to King and the SCLC to do the same. It was against this background that King came to dinner at the Peretz home at 20 Larchwood Drive, Cambridge, in the early evening of October 27, 1967. A few days later, King’s aide, Andrew Young, thanked the couple for the delightful evening last Friday. (…) In fact, the evening’s significance would only become evident later, after King’s death. For the dinner was attended by Peretz’s senior Harvard colleague, Seymour Martin Lipset, and it was then and there that Lipset heard King rebuke a student who echoed the SNCC line on “Zionists”: “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism!” Peretz would later assert that King “grasped the identity between anti-Israel politics and anti-semitic ranting.” But it was Lipset who preserved King’s words to that effect, by publishing them soon after they were spoken. (And just to run the contemporary record against memory, I wrote to Peretz, to ask whether the much-quoted exchange did take place at his Cambridge home on that evening almost 45 years ago. His answer: “Absolutely.” I’ve written twice to Andrew Young to ask whether he has any recollection of the episode. I haven’t yet received a response.) Little more than five months after the Cambridge dinner, King lay dead, felled by an assassin in Memphis. (Peretz delivered a eulogy at the remembrance service in Harvard’s Memorial Church.) There’s plenty of room to debate the meaning of King’s words at the Cambridge dinner, and I’ve only hinted at their context. But the suggestion that King couldn’t possibly have spoken them, because he wasn’t in or near Cambridge when he was supposed to have said them, is now shown to be baseless. Lipset: “Shortly before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King, Jr. was in Boston on a fund-raising mission, and I had the good fortune to attend a dinner which was given for him in Cambridge.” Every particular of this statement is now corroborated by a wealth of detail. We now have a date, an approximate time of day, and a street address for the Cambridge dinner, all attested by contemporary documents. So will the guardians of Wikiquote redeem this quote from the purgatory of “disputed”? Let’s see if they have the decency to clear an eminent scholar of the suspicion of falsification, suggested by persons whose own sloppy inferences have been exposed as false. Martin Kramer

Attention: un faux peut en cacher un autre !

En ce nouveau Martin Luther King Day …

Qui aurait été son 90e anniversaire …

Et qui face à son lot habituel de reprises plus ou moins apocryphes de ses paroles …

Dont des citations bibliques sur des monuments publics mais aussi une prétendue Lettre à un ami antisioniste

Et entre une condamnation d’un chef d’Etat musulman et celle d’une membre musulmane du Congrès américain

Ne devrait pas manquer à l’instar de cette tribune du NYT il y a deux jours …

D’attribuer au vénéré pasteur de putatitves condamnations des prétendues exactions de l’Etat juif …

Qui se souvient …

Que suite à une tribune qu’il avait un peu rapidement signée avec ses nombreux soutiens juifs dans le NYT à la veille de la Guerre des Six jours il y a 50 ans …

Celui-ci se voyait accuser, comme le rappelait un historien palestino-américain il y a quelques années, de « soutenir si ouvertement Israël » ?

Mais surtout qui rappelle …

Avec l’historien américain Martin Kramer

Que jusqu’à annuler au dernier moment une visite en Terre sainte prévue de longue date …

Celui-ci avait en fait une position beaucoup plus équilibrée de la question ?

In the words of Martin Luther King…

Martin Kramer

Sandbox

March 12, 2012

“When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism!” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

Aptly quoting Martin Luther King, Jr. is a common way to make a point or win an argument, and it’s no surprise that his new memorial in Washington includes an “Inscription Wall” of quotes carved in stone. It’s also no surprise that the quote about critics of Zionists didn’t make the cut for inclusion in the memorial. Still, it’s been put to use on many an occasion, most recently by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last year, in his address to the Knesset on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. A few years back it even cropped up in a State Department report on antisemitism. So I was perplexed to see it categorized as “disputed” on the extensive page of King quotes at Wikiquote—for better or worse, the go-to place to verify quotes. Indeed, as of this writing, it’s the only King quote so listed.

The attempt to discredit the quote has been driven by politics. In particular, it’s the work of Palestinians and their sympathizers, who resent the stigmatizing of anti-Zionism as a form of antisemitism. Just what sort of anti-Zionism crosses that fine line is a question beyond my scope here. But what of the quote itself? How was it first circulated? What is the evidence against it? And might some additional evidence resolve the question of its authenticity?

A repugnant suggestion

King’s words were first reported by Seymour Martin Lipset, at that time the George D. Markham Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard, in an article he published in the magazine Encounter in December 1969—that is, in the year following King’s assassination. Lipset:

Shortly before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King, Jr. was in Boston on a fund-raising mission, and I had the good fortune to attend a dinner which was given for him in Cambridge. This was an experience which was at once fascinating and moving: one witnessed Dr. King in action in a way one never got to see in public. He wanted to find what the Negro students at Harvard and other parts of the Boston area were thinking about various issues, and he very subtly cross-examined them for well over an hour and a half. He asked questions, and said very little himself. One of the young men present happened to make some remark against the Zionists. Dr. King snapped at him and said, “Don’t talk like that! When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism!”

For the next three-plus decades, no one challenged the credibility of this account. No wonder: Lipset, author of the classic Political Man (1960), was an eminent authority on American politics and society, who later became the only scholar ever to preside over both the American Sociological Association and the American Political Science Association. Who if not Lipset could be counted upon to report an event accurately? Nor was he quoting something said in confidence only to him or far back in time. Others were present at the same dinner, and Lipset wrote about it not long after the fact. He also told the anecdote in a magazine that must have had many subscribers in Cambridge, some of whom might have shared his “fascinating and moving” experience. The idea that he would have fabricated or falsified any aspect of this account would have seemed preposterous.

That is, until almost four decades later, when two Palestinian-American activists suggested just that. Lipset’s account, they wrote, “seems on its face… credible.”

There are still, however, a few reasons for casting doubt on the authenticity of this statement. According to the Harvard Crimson, “The Rev. Martin Luther King was last in Cambridge almost exactly a year ago—April 23, 1967” (“While You Were Away” 4/8/68). If this is true, Dr. King could not have been in Cambridge in 1968. Lipset stated he was in the area for a “fund-raising mission,” which would seem to imply a high profile visit. Also, an intensive inventory of publications by Stanford University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project accounts for numerous speeches in 1968. None of them are for talks in Cambridge or Boston.

The timing of this doubt-casting, in 2004, was opportune: Lipset was probably unaware of it and certainly unable to respond to it. He had suffered a debilitating stroke in 2001, which left him immobile and speech-impaired. (He died of another stroke in 2006, at the age of 84.) Since then, others have reinforced the doubt, noting that Lipset gave “what seemed to be a lot of information on the background to the King quote, but without providing a single concrete, verifiable detail.” For just these reasons, the quote reported by Lipset was demoted to “disputed” status on King’s entry at Wikiquote.

To all intents and purposes, this constitutes an assertion that Lipset might have fabricated both the occasion and the quote. To Lipset’s many students and colleagues, the mere suggestion is undoubtedly repugnant and perhaps unworthy of a response. But I’m not a student or colleague, nor did I know Lipset personally, so it seemed to me a worthy challenge to see whether I could verify Lipset’s account. Here are the results.

One Friday evening

Bear in mind Lipset’s precise testimony: King rebuked the student at a dinner in Cambridge “shortly before” King’s assassination, during a fundraising mission to Boston. It’s important to note that Lipset didn’t place the dinner in 1968. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, so “shortly before” could just as well have referred to the last months of 1967.

In fact, King did come to Boston for the purposes of fundraising in late 1967—specifically, on Friday, October 27. Boston was the last stop in a week-long series of benefit concerts given by Harry Belafonte for King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Here’s an advertisement for that tour, from the magazine Jet.

In the archives of NBC, there is a clip of King greeting the audience at the Boston concert. The Boston Globe also reported King’s remarks and the benefit concert on its front page the next morning. Greetings by Martin Luther King, Jr., sandwiched between an introduction by Sidney Poitier and an act by Harry Belafonte, before 9,000 people in Boston Garden—it’s difficult to imagine any appearance more “high profile” than that.

And the dinner in Cambridge? When King was assassinated, the Crimson, Harvard’s student newspaper, did write that he “was last in Cambridge almost exactly a year ago—April 23, 1967.” That had been a very public visit, during which King and Dr. Benjamin Spock held a press conference to announce plans for a “Vietnam Summer.” War supporters picketed King.

But in actual fact, that wasn’t King’s last visit to Cambridge. In early October 1967, when news spread that King would be coming to Boston for the Belafonte concert, a junior member of Harvard’s faculty wrote to King from Cambridge, to extend an invitation from the instructor and his wife:

We would be anxious to be able to sit down and have a somewhat leisured meal with you, and perhaps with some other few people from this area whom you might like to meet. So much has happened in recent months that we are both quite without bearings, and are in need of some honest and tough and friendly dialogue…. So if you can find some time for dinner on Friday or lunch on Saturday, we are delighted to extend an invitation. If, however, your schedules do not permit, we of course will understand that. In any case, we look forward to seeing you at the Belafonte Concert and the party afterwards.

Two days later, King’s secretary, Dora McDonald, sent a reply accepting the invitation on King’s behalf: “Dr. King asked me to say that he would be happy to have dinner with you.” King would be arriving in Boston at 2:43 in the afternoon. “Accompanying Dr. King will be Rev. Andrew Young, Rev. Bernard Lee and I.”

Who was this member of the Harvard faculty? Martin Peretz.

This requires a bit of a digression. In October 1967, Peretz was a 29-year-old instructor of Social Studies at Harvard and an antiwar New Leftist. Four months earlier, he had married Anne Farnsworth, heiress to a sewing machine fortune. (Here are the Peretzes in Harvard Yard, just a few years later.) Even before their marriage, the couple had made the civil rights movement one of their causes, and Farnsworth had become a top-tier donor to the SCLC. A year earlier, Peretz had informed King that a luncheon with him was “one of the high points of my life”—and that “arrangements for the transfer of securities are now being made.” As Peretz later wrote, “I knew Martin Luther King Jr. decently well, at least as much as one can know a person who had already become both prophet and hero. I fundraised for his Southern Christian Leadership Conference.” Much of that charity began in the Peretz home.

But as Peretz noted in his invitation, “much has happened in recent months,” necessitating “some honest and tough and friendly dialogue.” Peretz was then (as he is today) an ardent supporter of Israel. The Six-Day War, only four months earlier, threatened to drive a wedge between those Jews and African-Americans, allied in common causes, who differed profoundly over the Middle East. The culmination came in August, when the radical Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) issued a newsletter claiming that “Zionist terror gangs” had “deliberately slaughtered and mutilated women, children and men, thereby causing the unarmed Arabs to panic, flee and leave their homes in the hands of the Zionist-Israeli forces.” The newsletter also denounced “the Rothschilds, who have long controlled the wealth of many European nations, [who] were involved in the original conspiracy with the British to create the ‘State of Israel’ and [who] are still among Israel’s chief supporters.” Peretz, who a few years earlier had been a supporter of SNCC, condemned the newsletter as vicious antisemitism, and Jewish supporters of the civil rights movement looked to King and the SCLC to do the same.

It was against this background that King came to dinner at the Peretz home at 20 Larchwood Drive, Cambridge, in the early evening of October 27, 1967. A few days later, King’s aide, Andrew Young, thanked the couple

for the delightful evening last Friday. It is almost too bad we had to go to the concert, but I think you will agree that the concert, too, proved enjoyable but I am also sure a couple of hours conversing with the group gathered in your home would have been more productive.

In fact, the evening’s significance would only become evident later, after King’s death. For the dinner was attended by Peretz’s senior Harvard colleague, Seymour Martin Lipset, and it was then and there that Lipset heard King rebuke a student who echoed the SNCC line on “Zionists”: “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism!” Peretz would later assert that King “grasped the identity between anti-Israel politics and anti-semitic ranting.” But it was Lipset who preserved King’s words to that effect, by publishing them soon after they were spoken. (And just to run the contemporary record against memory, I wrote to Peretz, to ask whether the much-quoted exchange did take place at his Cambridge home on that evening almost 45 years ago. His answer: “Absolutely.” I’ve written twice to Andrew Young to ask whether he has any recollection of the episode. I haven’t yet received a response.)

Corroborated

Little more than five months after the Cambridge dinner, King lay dead, felled by an assassin in Memphis. (Peretz delivered a eulogy at the remembrance service in Harvard’s Memorial Church.) There’s plenty of room to debate the meaning of King’s words at the Cambridge dinner, and I’ve only hinted at their context. But the suggestion that King couldn’t possibly have spoken them, because he wasn’t in or near Cambridge when he was supposed to have said them, is now shown to be baseless. Lipset: “Shortly before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King, Jr. was in Boston on a fund-raising mission, and I had the good fortune to attend a dinner which was given for him in Cambridge.” Every particular of this statement is now corroborated by a wealth of detail. We now have a date, an approximate time of day, and a street address for the Cambridge dinner, all attested by contemporary documents.

So will the guardians of Wikiquote redeem this quote from the purgatory of “disputed”? Let’s see if they have the decency to clear an eminent scholar of the suspicion of falsification, suggested by persons whose own sloppy inferences have been exposed as false.