Etats-Unis/Crise migratoire: Quel déni démocrate ? (Déjà vu: Did the Democrats learn anything from 2016 ?)

30 juin, 2019

Image may contain: one or more people, crowd, meme and outdoor, text that says 'HERE IS THE LINE TO GET INTO TRUMP'S "CONCENTRATION CAMPS"'Image may contain: 5 people, textPolitical Cartoons by Steve Kelley (Jul. 1, 2019)

Lorsque l’esprit impur est sorti d’un homme, il va par des lieux arides, cherchant du repos, et il n’en trouve point. Alors il dit: Je retournerai dans ma maison d’où je suis sorti; et, quand il arrive, il la trouve vide, balayée et ornée. Il s’en va, et il prend avec lui sept autres esprits plus méchants que lui; ils entrent dans la maison, s’y établissent, et la dernière condition de cet homme est pire que la première. Jésus (Matthieu 12 : 43-45)
Le monde moderne n’est pas mauvais : à certains égards, il est bien trop bon. Il est rempli de vertus féroces et gâchées. Lorsqu’un dispositif religieux est brisé (comme le fut le christianisme pendant la Réforme), ce ne sont pas seulement les vices qui sont libérés. Les vices sont en effet libérés, et ils errent de par le monde en faisant des ravages ; mais les vertus le sont aussi, et elles errent plus férocement encore en faisant des ravages plus terribles. Le monde moderne est saturé des vieilles vertus chrétiennes virant à la folie.  G.K. Chesterton
Notre monde est de plus en plus imprégné par cette vérité évangélique de l’innocence des victimes. L’attention qu’on porte aux victimes a commencé au Moyen Age, avec l’invention de l’hôpital. L’Hôtel-Dieu, comme on disait, accueillait toutes les victimes, indépendamment de leur origine. Les sociétés primitives n’étaient pas inhumaines, mais elles n’avaient d’attention que pour leurs membres. Le monde moderne a inventé la « victime inconnue », comme on dirait aujourd’hui le « soldat inconnu ». Le christianisme peut maintenant continuer à s’étendre même sans la loi, car ses grandes percées intellectuelles et morales, notre souci des victimes et notre attention à ne pas nous fabriquer de boucs émissaires, ont fait de nous des chrétiens qui s’ignorent. René Girard
L’inauguration majestueuse de l’ère « post-chrétienne » est une plaisanterie. Nous sommes dans un ultra-christianisme caricatural qui essaie d’échapper à l’orbite judéo-chrétienne en « radicalisant » le souci des victimes dans un sens antichrétien. (…) Jusqu’au nazisme, le judaïsme était la victime préférentielle de ce système de bouc émissaire. Le christianisme ne venait qu’en second lieu. Depuis l’Holocauste , en revanche, on n’ose plus s’en prendre au judaïsme, et le christianisme est promu au rend de bouc émissaire numéro un. (…) Le mouvement antichrétien le plus puissant est celui qui réassume et « radicalise » le souci des victimes pour le paganiser. (…) Comme les Eglises chrétiennes ont pris conscience tardivement de leurs manquements à la charité, de leur connivence avec l’ordre établi, dans le monde d’hier et d’aujourd’hui, elles sont particulièrement vulnérables au chantage permanent auquel le néopaganisme contemporain les soumet. René Girard
Notre message est sans équivoque: n’envoyez pas vos enfants seuls, sur des trains ou par des passeurs. S’ils réussissent à arriver ici, ils seront renvoyés. Mais surtout, ils risquent de ne pas arriver. Barack Obama (09/07/2014)
La Maison-Blanche a demandé mardi au Congrès américain le déblocage en urgence de 3,7 milliards de dollars pour faire face à l’entrée illégale de dizaines de milliers d’enfants. Le président américain reconnaît lui-même que son pays fait face à «une situation humanitaire d’urgence». Barack Obama a demandé formellement au Congrès mardi de débloquer 3,7 milliards de dollars (2,7 milliards d’euros) pour répondre à l’afflux croissant d’enfants clandestins à la frontière avec le Mexique. L’objectif: augmenter les capacités d’accueil des sans-papiers et le nombre de juges gérant leurs dossiers, renforcer la surveillance de la frontière… mais surtout améliorer les conditions de détention de ces enfants arrêtés à la frontière après avoir tenté la traversée du Rio Grande au péril de leur vie. «Sans crédits supplémentaires, à moins de prendre des mesures extraordinaires, les agences ne disposeront pas des ressources suffisantes pour répondre à la situation de façon appropriée», a insisté la Maison-Blanche. Car sur le terrain, les besoins sont colossaux. Depuis le mois d’octobre, pas moins de 52.000 sans-papiers mineurs venus seuls, surtout d’Amérique centrale (Guatemala, Honduras, Salvador), ont été interpellés à la frontière entre le Mexique et les États-Unis. Sans compter les milliers d’autres arrêtés en compagnie de leurs proches. Le phénomène est loin d’être nouveau, mais les chiffres ont doublé par rapport à l’an dernier. Au total, plus de 90.000 enfants pourraient être interpellés cette année, soit 15 fois plus qu’en 2011, selon une note officielle. Ces enfants, parfois âgés de 3 ou 4 ans seulement, arrivent affamés, déshydratés, après un périple de plusieurs milliers de kilomètres. Ils se retrouvent dans «des conditions terribles», «n’ont pas de lit et dorment par terre», déplore auprès de l’AFP Domingo Gonzalo, membre de l’association Campaña Fronteriza qui oeuvre au Texas. La Croix-Rouge américaine a même dû venir en aide aux autorités en fournissant des couvertures et des kits d’hygiène pour les jeunes détenus, tandis que des bases militaires sont transformées en centres d’accueil d’urgence, en Californie ou au Texas. Parmi ces mineurs, beaucoup fuient la pauvreté, la violence liée au narcotrafic de leur pays. (…) Mais s’ils affluent à la frontière américaine, c’est que beaucoup disent être venus profiter d’une «nouvelle» loi qui leur donnerait des «permisos», des permis de séjour pour mineurs, une rumeur qui se répand depuis des mois dans ces pays d’Amérique centrale, à en croire des migrants interrogés par le New York Times. Rumeur alimentée par les passeurs qui profitent de ce trafic. Pour les républicains toutefois, le principal responsable de cet afflux massif s’appelle Barack Obama: avec son message pro-immigration, il a selon eux donné des espoirs aux jeunes clandestins. La reforme que défend le président prévoit en effet de faciliter un peu l’accès à la nationalité pour les enfants sans-papiers, contre un renforcement du contrôle de la frontière mexicaine. «Apparemment, on se passe le mot qu’une fois appréhendé par les agents à la frontière, grâce au laxisme de cette administration, on ne sera jamais expulsé», accuse ainsi le représentant républicain Bob Goodlatte. Le gouverneur du Texas Rick Perry estime que cette «crise humanitaire» menace la sécurité intérieure du pays. «La bonne décision est de mon point de vue d’expulser immédiatement» ces enfants. Comme l’a rappelé sur CNN un élu démocrate du Texas, Henry Cuellar, «si vous êtes Mexicain, vous êtes renvoyés (…) mais si vous venez d’un pays qui n’est pas frontalier avec les Etats-Unis comme les pays d’Amérique centrale, alors la loi dit que vous devez être pris en charge par les services fédéraux de la Santé et qu’ils vont vous placer» dans un centre d’accueil ou une famille. Or pour le républicain Rick Perry, «leur permettre de rester ne fera qu’encourager le prochain groupe à entreprendre ce très dangereux voyage». (…) Les démocrates rappellent aussi que leur plan prévoyait la construction de centaines de kilomètres de nouvelles barrières frontalières et le renforcement du nombre de policiers. Visiblement dépassée par l’ampleur du phénomène, l’administration Obama répète que la plupart de ces enfants clandestins ne seront pas autorisés à rester dans le pays. Le président s’est même adressé aux parents d’Amérique centrale le mois dernier dans une interview télévisée: «Notre message est sans équivoque: n’envoyez pas vos enfants seuls, sur des trains ou par des passeurs», a-t-il déclaré sur la chaîne américaine ABC. «S’ils réussissent à arriver ici, ils seront renvoyés. Mais surtout, ils risquent de ne pas arriver». Malgré ses efforts, des centaines de mineurs clandestins continuent de gagner la frontière chaque jour. Le Figaro (09/07/2014)
On peut parler aujourd’hui d’invasion arabe. C’est un fait social. Combien d’invasions l’Europe a connu tout au long de son histoire ! Elle a toujours su se surmonter elle-même, aller de l’avant pour se trouver ensuite comme agrandie par l’échange entre les cultures. Pape François
Je ne crois pas qu’il y ait aujourd’hui une peur de l’islam, en tant que tel, mais de Daech et de sa guerre de conquête, tirée en partie de l’islam. L’idée de conquête est inhérente à l’âme de l’islam, il est vrai. Mais on pourrait interpréter, avec la même idée de conquête, la fin de l’Évangile de Matthieu, où Jésus envoie ses disciples dans toutes les nations. (…) Devant l’actuel terrorisme islamiste, il conviendrait de s’interroger sur la manière dont a été exporté un modèle de démocratie trop occidentale dans des pays où il y avait un pouvoir fort, comme en Irak. Ou en Libye, à la structure tribale. On ne peut avancer sans tenir compte de cette culture.  (…) Sur le fond, la coexistence entre chrétiens et musulmans est possible. Je viens d’un pays où ils cohabitent en bonne familiarité. (…) En Centrafrique, avant la guerre, chrétiens et musulmans vivaient ensemble et doivent le réapprendre aujourd’hui. Le Liban aussi montre que c’est possible. Pape François
It is what our country is, it is a country of immigrants. We have not recently done a very good job of remembering who we are. My family were treated terribly and were not accepted and America learned to accept all these ideas. Being here talking with you is important to remind them of who we are and who we have always been which is you. You forget that these are people who didn’t just leave their country for no reason at all. These are people who left because a terrible tragedy. We always look around at the end of these tragedies and say if we knew, we would have done something and the reality is, of course we know. What is shocking to me is not that it happened but its continuing to happen for five years. It’s actually easy to dismiss giant numbers but it’s very hard to dismiss a young child sitting on the ground crying as her mother said, ‘If we die. I rather we die by a bullet because it would be quicker.’ George Clooney
When he became president he expressed America first. That is wrong; When I saw pictures of some of those young children, I was sad. America… should take a global responsibility. [But] European countries should take these refugees and give them education and training, and the aim is return to their own land with certain skills. (…) A limited number is OK, but the whole of Europe [will] eventually become Muslim country, African country – impossible. Dalai Lama
Je me qualifie de droite nationale, souverainiste, populaire, conservatrice. Le conservatisme tel que je l’entends et tel que l’entend François-Xavier Bellamy, et dans lequel peuvent se retrouver beaucoup de Français, est une sorte de disposition d’esprit qui consiste à vouloir conserver des héritages séculaires. Marion Maréchal
La scène est impressionnante. Dans la nuit de jeudi à vendredi, le commissariat de Val-de-Reuil-Louviers (Eure), au sud de Rouen, a été pris d’assaut par une bande de jeunes. Aux alentours de deux heures du matin, une quinzaine d’individus cagoulés ont attaqué l’établissement en lançant des projectiles en nombre, tirant également des mortiers, selon les rapports de police, consultés par Le Figaro. Sur les images de vidéosurveillance que nous avons pu consulter, on aperçoit deux agents de garde tenter de contenir les tirs des assaillants à l’aide de boucliers. En chemisette, les fonctionnaires ne semblent pas du tout préparés à un tel assaut. Des fumigènes, des «éléments pyrotechniques» de toutes les couleurs ainsi que des pavés sont jetés sur les policiers. Lors de l’assaut, plusieurs d’entre eux ont crié «Allah Akbar», d’autres insultant les forces de l’ordre. Les individus semblent déterminés à pénétrer dans le commissariat. Leurs attaques durent pendant environ une demie heure, à la fois contre les fonctionnaires et le bâtiment. Ceux-ci répliquent à l’aide de gaz lacrymogènes, avant que des policiers de la Brigade anticriminalité (BAC) et de la Direction départementale de la sécurité publique (DDSP) n’arrivent en renfort. Vers 2 heures 30, le calme est finalement revenu. Si aucun agent n’a été blessé, quelques dégâts matériels ont été constatés: trois vitres ont été touchées, un véhicule endommagé. Selon les premières investigations, les auteurs des faits sont des jeunes âgés de 15-20 ans. Lors de l’assaut, plusieurs d’entre eux ont crié «Allah Akbar», d’autres insultant les forces de l’ordre. «Bande d’enculés de Français», «Venez sortez on va vous cramer», ont scandé les suspects, cagoulés mais pas gantés, qui se sont enfuis à l’arrivée des renforts. Sur les lieux, les restes de 115 projectiles ont été retrouvés. L’attaque a suscité une vague de colère dans la profession. Dans un communiqué publié vendredi, le syndicat Alliance a dénoncé un assaut d’une «violence inouïe». Évoquant des «policiers à bout, au bord de la rupture», le syndicat s’inquiète de la situation de «souffrance» de ce commissariat de l’Eure, en manque d’effectifs et de moyens. D’après une source syndicale, contactée par Le Figaro, le même bâtiment avait été la cible d’une offensive du même type en juillet 2018. Le Figaro
Nobody would have the balls today to write ‘The Satanic Verses’, let alone publish it. Writing is now timid because writers are now terrified. Hanif Kureishi
What we are talking about here is not a system of formal censorship, under which the state bans works deemed offensive. Rather, what has developed is a culture of self-censorship in which the giving of offence has come to be seen as morally unacceptable. In the 20 years since the publication of The Satanic Verses the fatwa has effectively become internalised. Kenan Malik (2008)
It was after Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses that many Western publishing houses began bowing to Islamist intimidation. Christian Bourgois, a French publishing house that had bought the rights, refused to publish The Satanic Verses. It was the first time that, in the name of Islam, a writer was condemned to disappear from the face of the earth — to be murdered for a bounty. Rushdie is still with us, but the murder in 2004 of Theo van Gogh for producing and directing a film, « Submission », about Islamic violence toward women; the death of so many Arab-Islamic intellectuals guilty of writing freely, the Danish cartoon riots and the many trials (for instance, here and here) and attempted murders (such as here and here), the slaughter at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the attacks after Pope’s Benedict speech in Regensburg, the books and scripts cancelled, the depictions of Muhammad closeted in the warehouses of museums, and the increasing threats and punishments, including flogging, to countless journalists and writers such as Saudi Arabia’s Raif Badawi, should alarm us — not bring us to our knees. As the Saatchi Gallery’s capitulation shows, freedom of speech in Europe is now exhausted and weak. So far, we have caved in to Islamic extremists and Western appeasers. It is the tragic lesson of the Rushdie case 30 years later: no author would dare to write The Satanic Verses today; no large publishing house such as Penguin would print it; media attacks against « Islamophobes » would be even stronger, as would the bottomless betrayal of Western diplomats. Also today, thanks to social media as a weapon of censorship and implicit mass threats, any author would probably be less fortunate than Rushdie was 30 years ago. Since that time, we have made no progress. Instead, we have been seeing the jihad against The Satanic Verses over and over again. The Rushdie affair also seems to have deeply shaped British society. The Saatchi Gallery’s surrender in London is not unique. The Tate Britain gallery shelved a sculpture, « God is Great », by John Latham, of the Koran, Bible and Talmud embedded in glass. Christopher Marlowe’s « Tamburlaine the Great » was censored at the Barbican Centre. The play included a reference to the Prophet of Islam being « not worthy to be worshipped » as well as a scene in which the Koran is burned. The Whitechapel Art Gallery in London purged an exhibit containing nude dolls which could possibly have upset the Muslim population. At the Mall Galleries in London, a painting, « ISIS Threaten Sylvania », by the artist Mimsy, was censored for showing toy stuffed-animal terrorists about to massacre toy stuffed-animals having a picnic. At the Royal Court Theatre in London, Richard Bean was forced to censor himself for an adaptation of « Lysistrata », the Greek comedy in which the women go on a sex strike to stop the men who wanted to go to war. In Bean’s version, Islamic virgins go on strike to stop terrorist suicide bombers. Unfortunately, in the name of fighting « Islamophobia », the British establishment now appears to be submitting to creeping sharia: and purging and censoring speech on its own. Recently, some major conservative intellectuals have been sacked in the UK. One is the peerless philosopher Roger Scruton, who was fired from a governmental committee for saying that the word « Islamophobia » has been invented by the Muslim Brotherhood « to stop discussion of a major issue ». Then it was the turn of the great Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson, whose visiting fellowship at Cambridge University was rescinded for posing with a man wearing an « I’m a proud Islamophobe » T-shirt. Professor Peterson later said that the word « Islamophobia » has been « partly constructed by people engaging in Islamic extremism, to ensure that Islam isn’t criticised as a structure ». The instances of Scruton and Peterson only confirm the real meaning of « Islamophobia », a word invented to silence any criticism of Islam by anyone, or as Salman Rushdie commented, a word « created to help the blind remain blind ». Where is the long-overdue push-back? Writing in 2008, The Telegraph’s Tim Walker quoted the famous playwright Simon Gray saying that Nicholas Hytner, director of London’s National Theatre from 2003-2015, « has been happy to offend Christians, » but « is wary of putting on anything which could upset Muslims. » The last people who did so were the journalists of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. They paid with their lives. By refusing to confront the speech police, or to support freedom of expression for Salman Rushdie, Roger Scruton, Jordan Peterson, Charlie Hebdo and Jyllands-Posten — just the tip of a huge iceberg — we have started down the road of submission to sharia law and to tyranny. We all have been covering up our supposedly « blasphemous » culture with burqas to avoid offending people who do not seem to mind offending us. Giulio Meotti (Il Foglio)
We have what I would call a concentration camp system and the definition of that in my book is, mass detention of civilians without trial. There’s this crystallization that happens. The longer they’re there, the worse conditions get. That’s just a universal of camps. They’re overcrowded. We already know from reports that they don’t have enough beds for the numbers that they have. As you see mental health crises and contagious diseases begin to set in, they’ll work to manage the worst of it. [But] then there will be the ability to tag these people as diseased, even if we created [those conditions]. Then we, by creating the camps, try to turn that population into the false image that we [used] to put them in the camps to start with. Over time, the camps will turn those people into what Trump was already saying they are. « What those camps had in common with what’s going on today is they involved the wholesale detention of families, separate or together, » Pitzer says. « There was very little in the way of targeted violence. Instead, people died from poor planning, overloaded facilities and unwillingness to reverse policy, even when it became apparent the policy wasn’t working, inability to get medical care to detainees, poor food quality, contagious diseases, showing up in an environment where it became almost impossible to get control of them. The point is that you don’t have to intend to kill everybody. When people hear the phrase ‘Oh, there’s concentration camps on the southern border,’ they think, ‘Oh, it’s not Auschwitz.’ Of course, it’s not those things, each camp system is different. But you don’t have to intend to kill everyone to have really bad outcomes. In Cuba, well over 100,000 civilians died in these camps in just a period of a couple years. In Southern Africa during the Boer War, fatalities went into the tens of thousands. And the overwhelming majority of them were children. Fatalities in the camps ended up being more than twice the combat fatalities from the war itself. There’s usually this crisis period that a camp system either survives or doesn’t survive in the first three or four years. If it goes past that length of time, they tend to continue for a really long time. And I think we have entered that crisis period. I don’t yet know if we’re out of it. Unless there’s some really decisive turn away, we’re going to be looking at having these camps for a long time. It’s particularly hard to engineer a decisive turn because these facilities are often remote, and hard to protest. They are not top-of-mind for most citizens, with plenty of other issues on the table. When Trump first instituted the Muslim Ban—now considered, in its third iteration, to be Definitely Not a Muslim Ban by the Supreme Court—there were mass demonstrations at U.S. airports because they were readily accessible by concerned citizens. These camps are not so easily reached, and that’s a problem. We have border patrol agents that are sometimes arresting U.S. citizens. That’s still very much a fringe activity. That doesn’t seem to be a dedicated priority right now, but it’s happening often enough. And they’re held, sometimes, for three or four days. Even when there are clear reasons that people should be let go, that they have proof of their identity, you’re seeing these detentions. You do start to worry about people who have legally immigrated and have finished paperwork, and maybe are naturalized. You worry about green-card holders. Let’s say there’s 20 hurdles that we have to get over before we get to someplace really, really, really bad. I think we’ve knocked 10 of them down. Andrea Pitzer (journalist)
What’s required is a little bit of demystification of it. Things can be concentration camps without being Dachau or Auschwitz. Concentration camps in general have always been designed—at the most basic level—to separate one group of people from another group. Usually, because the majority group, or the creators of the camp, deem the people they’re putting in it to be dangerous or undesirable in some way. At one point, [the administration] said that they were intentionally trying to split up families and make conditions unpleasant, so the people wouldn’t come to the U.S. If you’re doing that, then that’s not a prison. That’s not a holding area or a waiting area. That’s a policy. I would argue, at least in the way that [the camps are] being used now, a significant portion of the mentality is [tied to] who the [detainees] are rather than what they did. If these were Canadians flooding across the border, would they be treated in the same manner as the people from Mexico and from Central and South America? If the answer is yes, theoretically, then I would consider these places to be perhaps better described as transit camps or prison camps. But I suspect that’s not how they’d be treated, which then makes it much more about who the people are that you’re detaining, rather than what they did. The Canadian would have crossed the border just as illegally as the Mexican, but my suspicion is, would be treated in a different way. It’s a negative trajectory in at least two ways. One, I feel like these policies can snowball. We’ve already seen unintended consequences. If we follow the thread of the children, for example, the government wanted to make things more annoying, more painful. So they decided, We’re going to separate the children from the families. But there was no infrastructure in place for that. You already have a scenario where even if you have the best intentions, the infrastructure doesn’t exist to support it. That’s a consequence of policy that hasn’t been thought through. As you see the population begin to massively increase over time, you do start to see conditions diminishing. The second piece is that the longer you establish this sort of extralegal, extrajudicial, somewhat-invisible no-man’s land, the more you allow potentially a culture of abuse to develop within that place. Because the people who tend to become more violent, more prejudiced, whatever, have more and more free rein for that to become sort of the accepted behavior. Then, that also becomes a new norm that can spread throughout the system. There is sort of an escalation of individual initiative in violence. As it becomes clear that that is acceptable, then you have a self-fulfilling prophecy or a positive feedback loop that just keeps radicalizing the treatment as the policy itself becomes radicalizing. Waitman Wade Beorn (University of Virginia)
In the origins of the camps, it’s tied to the idea of martial law. I mean, all four of the early instances—Americans in the Philippines, Spanish in Cuba, and British in South Africa, and Germans in Southwest Africa—they’re all essentially overriding any sense of rights of the civilian population. And the idea is that you’re able to suspend normal law because it’s a war situation. It’s important here to look at the language that people are using. As soon as you get people comparing other groups to animals or insects, or using language about advancing hordes, and we’re being overrun and flooded and this sort of thing, it’s creating the sense of this enormous threat. And that makes it much easier to sell to people on the idea we’ve got to do something drastic to control this population which going to destroy us. « Unless there’s some really decisive turn away, we’re going to be looking at having these camps for a long time, » Pitzer says. It’s particularly hard to engineer a decisive turn because these facilities are often remote, and hard to protest. They are not top-of-mind for most citizens, with plenty of other issues on the table. When Trump first instituted the Muslim Ban—now considered, in its third iteration, to be Definitely Not a Muslim Ban by the Supreme Court—there were mass demonstrations at U.S. airports because they were readily accessible by concerned citizens. These camps are not so easily reached, and that’s a problem. The more authoritarian the regime is, and the more people allow governments to get away with doing this sort of thing politically, the worse the conditions are likely to get. So, a lot of it depends on how much pushback there is. But when you get a totally authoritarian regime like Stalin’s regime in the Soviet Union, there’s no control, or no countervailing force, the state can do what it likes, and certainly things will then tend to break down. It’s more of a political question, really. Are people prepared to tolerate the deteriorating conditions? And if public opinion isn’t effective in a liberal democratic situation, things can still get pretty bad. Jonathan Hyslop (Colgate University)
The United States is running concentration camps on our southern border, and that is exactly what they are. They are concentration camps, and if that doesn’t bother you . . . I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that we should not ⁠— that ‘never again’ means something. And that the fact that concentration camps are now an institutionalized practice in the ‘Home of the Free’ is extraordinarily disturbing, and we need to do something about it. This week, children ⁠— immigrant children ⁠— were moved to the same internment camps where the Japanese were held in the early ⁠— in the earlier 20th century . . . This is not just about the immigrant communities being held in concentration camps being a crisis. This is a crisis for ourselves. This is a crisis on ⁠— if America will remain America in its actual principles and values or if we are losing to an authoritarian and fascist presidency. I don’t use those words lightly. I don’t use those words to just throw bombs. I use that word because that is what an administration that creates concentration camps is. A presidency that creates concentration camps is fascist, and it’s very difficult to say that. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez
This administration has established concentration camps on the southern border of the United States for immigrants, where they are being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying. And for the shrieking Republicans who don’t know the difference: concentration camps are not the same as death camps. Concentration camps are considered by experts as ‘the mass detention of civilians without trial. And that’s exactly what this administration is doing. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez
Cette administration a installé des camps de concentration à la frontière sud des États-Unis pour les immigrés, où ils sont brutalisés dans des conditions inhumaines et où ils meurent. Il ne s’agit pas d’une exagération. C’est la conclusion de l’analyse d’experts. Et à tous les républicains geignards qui ne connaissent pas la différence : les camps de concentration et les camps de la mort ne sont pas la même chose. Les camps de concentration sont considérés par les experts comme les lieux “de détention de masse de civils sans procès”  et c’est exactement ce que ce gouvernement fait. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez
Whether we call them concentration camps, mass detention centers or cages for children, they are a moral abomination. The real question is not what we call these mass detention sites growing all over the country, the question is: What is every government official and citizen doing to stop this evil? Our government is scapegoating, demonizing and terrorizing immigrants. These policies echo the worst of Jewish history and the worst of American history. Anyone distracting from these clear facts with manufactured outrage is subverting Jewish history and trauma, and that is shameful. Jewish Americans overwhelmingly reject the hateful, anti-immigrant policies being perpetrated by the very people pretending to be offended on our behalf. Stosh Cotler (Bend the Arc: Jewish Action)
As [a] historian of fascism & [the] Holocaust, I would also call these centers concentration camps. As a Jewish person who lost family in [the] Holocaust, I regret that some Republicans use memory of the Holocaust to defend racist policies of Trumpism. Federico Finchelstein (The New school)
I know what concentration camps are. I was inside two of them, in America. And yes, we are operating such camps again. George Takei
This nation has a long and tragic history of separating children from their parents, ever since the days of slavery. We must end this practice. It is barbaric. George Takei
On Monday, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez referred to US border detention facilities as “concentration camps,” spurring a backlash in which critics accused her of demeaning the memory of those who died in the Holocaust. Debates raged over a label for what is happening along the southern border and grew louder as the week rolled on. But even this back-and-forth over naming the camps has been a recurrent feature in the mass detention of civilians ever since its inception, a history that long predates the Holocaust. At the heart of such policy is a question: What does a country owe desperate people whom it does not consider to be its citizens? The twentieth century posed this question to the world just as the shadow of global conflict threatened for the second time in less than three decades. The dominant response was silence, and the doctrine of absolute national sovereignty meant that what a state did to people under its control, within its borders, was nobody else’s business. After the harrowing toll of the Holocaust with the murder of millions, the world revisited its answer, deciding that perhaps something was owed to those in mortal danger. From the Fourth Geneva Convention protecting civilians in 1949 to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the international community established humanitarian obligations toward the most vulnerable that apply, at least in theory, to all nations. The twenty-first century is unraveling that response. Countries are rejecting existing obligations and meeting asylum seekers with walls and fences, from detainees fleeing persecution who were sent by Australia to third-party detention in the brutal offshore camps of Manus and Nauru to razor-wire barriers blocking Syrian refugees from entering Hungary. While some nations, such as Germany, wrestle with how to integrate refugees into their labor force—more and more have become resistant to letting them in at all. The latest location of this unwinding is along the southern border of the United States. So far, American citizens have gotten only glimpses of the conditions in the border camps that have been opened in their name. In the month of May, Customs and Border Protection reported a total of 132,887 migrants who were apprehended or turned themselves in between ports of entry along the southwest border, an increase of 34 percent from April alone. Upon apprehension, these migrants are temporarily detained by Border Patrol, and once their claims are processed, they are either released or handed over to ICE for longer-term detention. Yet Border Patrol itself is currently holding about 15,000 people, nearly four times what government officials consider to be this enforcement arm’s detention capacity. On June 12, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that Fort Sill, an Army post that hosted a World War II internment camp for detainees of Japanese descent, will now be repurposed to detain migrant children. In total, HHS reports that it is currently holding some 12,000 minors. Current law limits detention of minors to twenty days, though Senator Lindsey Graham has proposed expanding the court-ordered limit to 100 days. Since the post is on federal land, it will be exempt from state child welfare inspections. In addition to the total of detainees held by Border Patrol, an even higher number is detained at centers around the country by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency: on a typical day at the beginning of this month, ICE was detaining more than 52,500 migrants. The family separation policy outraged the public in the 2018, but despite legal challenges, it never fully ended. Less publicized have been the deaths of twenty-four adults in ICE custody since the beginning of the Trump administration; in addition, six children between the ages of two and sixteen have died in federal custody over the last several months. It’s not clear whether there have been other deaths that have gone unreported. (…) Even with incomplete information about what’s happening along the border today and what the government plans for these camps, history points to some conclusions about their future. Mass detention without trial earned a new name and a specific identity at the end of the nineteenth century. The labels then adopted for the practice were “reconcentración” and “concentration camps”—places of forced relocation of civilians into detention on the basis of group identity. Other kinds of group detention had appeared much earlier in North American history. The US government drove Native Americans from their homelands into prescribed exile, with death and detention in transit camps along the way. Some Spanish mission systems in the Americas had accomplished similar ends by seizing land and pressing indigenous people into forced labor. During the 245 years when slavery was legal in the US, detention was one of its essential features. Concentration camps, however, don’t typically result from the theft of land, as happened with Native Americans, or owning human beings in a system of forced labor, as in the slave trade. Exile, theft, and forced labor can come later, but in the beginning, detention itself is usually the point of concentration camps. By the end of the nineteenth century, the mass production of barbed wire and machines guns made this kind of detention possible and practical in ways it never had been before. (…) These early experiments with concentration camps took place on the periphery of imperial power, but accounts of them nevertheless made their way into newspapers and reports in many nations. As a result, the very idea of them came to be seen as barbaric. By the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, the first camp systems had all been closed, and concentration camps had nearly vanished as an institution. Within months of the outbreak of World War I, though, they would be resurrected—this time rising not at the margins but in the centers of power. Between 1914 and 1918, camps were constructed on an unprecedented scale across six continents. In their time, these camps were commonly called concentration camps, though today they are often referred to by the more anodyne term “internment.” Those World War I detainees were, for the most part, foreigners—or, in legalese, aliens—and recent anti-immigration legislation in several countries had deliberately limited their rights. (…) Local camps appeared in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921, after a white mob burned down a black neighborhood and detained African-American survivors. In Bolshevik Russia, the first concentration camps preceded the formation of the Soviet Union in 1922 and planted seeds for the brutal Gulag system that became official near the end of the USSR’s first decade. While some kinds of camps were understood to be harsher, after World War I their proliferation did not initially disturb public opinion. They had yet to take on their worst incarnations. In 1933, barely more than a month after Hitler was appointed chancellor, the Nazis’ first, impromptu camp opened in the town of Nohra in central Germany to hold political opponents. Detainees at Nohra were allowed to vote at a local precinct in the elections of March 5, 1933, resulting in a surge of Communist ballots in the tiny town. Locking up groups of civilians without trial had become accepted. Only the later realization of the horrors of the Nazi death camps would break the default assumption by governments and the public that concentration camps could and should be a simple way to manage populations seen as a threat. However, the staggering death toll of the Nazi extermination camp system—which was created mid-war and stood almost entirely separate from the concentration camps in existence since 1933—led to another result: a strange kind of erasure. In the decades that followed World War II, the term “concentration camp” came to stand only for Auschwitz and other extermination camps. It was no longer applied to the kind of extrajudicial detention it had denoted for generations. The many earlier camps that had made the rise of Auschwitz possible largely vanished from public memory. It is not necessary, however, to step back a full century in American history to find camps with links to what is happening on the US border today. Detention at Guantánamo began in the 1990s, when Haitian and Cuban immigrants whom the government wanted to keep out of the United States were housed there in waves over a four-year period—years before the “war on terror” and the US policy of rendition of suspected “enemy combatants” made Camps Delta, X-Ray, and Echo notorious. Tens of thousands of Haitians fleeing instability at home were picked up at sea and diverted to the Cuban base, to limit their legal right to apply for asylum. The court cases and battles over the suffering of those detainees ended up setting the stage for what Guantánamo would become after September 11, 2001. In one case, a federal court ruled that it did have jurisdiction over the base, but the government agreed to release the Haitians who were part of the lawsuit in exchange for keeping that ruling off the books. A ruling in a second case would assert that the courts did not have jurisdiction. Absent the prior case, the latter stood on its own as precedent. Leaving Guantánamo in this gray area made it an ideal site for extrajudicial detention and torture after the twin towers fell. This process of normalization, when a bad camp becomes much more dangerous, is not unusual. Today’s border camps are a crueler reflection of long-term policies—some challenged in court—that earlier presidents had enacted. Prior administrations own a share of the responsibility for today’s harsh practices, but the policies in place today are also accompanied by a shameless willingness to publicly target a vulnerable population in increasingly dangerous ways. (..;) What kind of conditions can we expect to develop in these border camps? The longer a camp system stays open, the more likely it is that vital things will go wrong: detainees will contract contagious diseases and suffer from malnutrition and mental illness. We have already seen that current detention practices have resulted in children and adults succumbing to influenza, staph infections, and sepsis. The US is now poised to inflict harm on tens of thousands more, perhaps hundreds of thousands more. Along with such inevitable consequences, every significant camp system has introduced new horrors of its own, crises that were unforeseen when that system was opened. We have yet to discover what those will be for these American border camps. But they will happen. Every country thinks it can do detention better when it starts these projects. But no good way to conduct mass indefinite detention has yet been devised; the system always degrades. When, in 1940, Margarete Buber-Neumann was transferred from the Soviet Gulag at Karaganda to the camp for women at Ravensbrück (in an exchange enabled by the Nazi–Soviet Pact), she came from near-starvation conditions in the USSR and was amazed at the cleanliness and order of the Nazi camp. New arrivals were issued clothing, bedding, and silverware, and given fresh porridge, fruit, sausage, and jam to eat. Although the Nazi camps were already punitive, order-obsessed monstrosities, the wartime overcrowding that would soon overtake them had not yet made daily life a thing of constant suffering and squalor. The death camps were still two years away. The United States now has a vast and growing camp system. It is starting out with gruesome overcrowding and inadequate healthcare, and because of budget restrictions, has already taken steps to cut services to juvenile detainees. The US Office of Refugee Resettlement says that the mounting number of children arriving unaccompanied is forcing it to use military bases and other sites that it prefers to avoid, and that establishing these camps is a temporary measure. But without oversight from state child welfare inspectors, the possibilities for neglect and abuse are alarming. And without any knowledge of how many asylum-seekers are coming in the future, federal administrators are likely to find themselves boxed in to managing detention on military sites permanently. President Trump and senior White House adviser Stephen Miller appear to have purged the Department of Homeland Security of most internal opposition to their anti-immigrant policies. In doing so, that have removed even those sympathetic to the general approach taken by the White House, such as former Chief of Staff John Kelly and former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, in order to escalate the militarization of the border and expand irregular detention in more systematic and punitive ways. This kind of power struggle or purge in the early years of a camp system is typical.  The disbanding of the Cheka, the Soviet secret police, in February 1922 and the transfer of its commander, Felix Dzerzhinsky, to head up an agency with control over only two prisons offered a hint of an alternate future in which extrajudicial detention would not play a central role in the fledgling Soviet republic. But Dzerzhinsky managed to keep control over the “special camps” in his new position, paving the way for the emergence of a camp-centered police state. In pre-war Germany in the mid-1930s, Himmler’s struggle to consolidate power from rivals eventually led him to make camps central to Nazi strategy. When the hardliners win, as they appear to have in the US, conditions tend to worsen significantly. Is it possible this growth in the camp system will be temporary and the improvised border camps will soon close? In theory, yes. But the longer they remain open, the less likely they are to vanish. When I visited the camps for Rohingya Muslims a year before the large-scale campaign of ethnic cleansing began, many observers appeared to be confusing the possible and the probable. It was possible that the party of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi would sweep into office in free elections and begin making changes. It was possible that full democracy would come to all the residents of Myanmar, even though the government had stripped the Rohingya of the last vestiges of their citizenship. These hopes proved to be misplaced. Once there are concentration camps, it is always probable that things will get worse. The Philippines, Japanese-American internment, Guantánamo… we can consider the fine points of how the current border camps evoke past US systems, and we can see how the arc of camp history reveals the likelihood that the suffering we’re currently inflicting will be multiplied exponentially. But we can also simply look at what we’re doing right now, shoving bodies into “dog pound”-style detention pens, “iceboxes,” and standing room-only spaces. We can look at young children in custody who have become suicidal. How much more historical awareness do we really need? Andrea Pitzer
Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez drew a firestorm of criticism this week after she appeared in an Instagram video claiming that the Trump administration « is running concentration camps on our southern border. » (…) Republican lawmakers were quick to push back against Ocasio-Cortez’s statement, which she repeated on Tuesday and Wednesday, arguing that the Congresswoman was disrespecting the memory of the 6 millions Jews who died in Nazi concentration camps by comparing these facilities to the ICE detention centers. But many experts were quick to point out that, by definition, the ICE detention facilities are concentration camps. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a concentration camp as, « a place where large numbers of people (such as prisoners of war, political prisoners, refugees, or the members of an ethnic or religious minority) are detained or confined under armed guard. »Many argue that this definition matches the detention centers currently set up on the southern border. « Why are they called concentration camps? Well, to state the obvious, it’s because large numbers of people are ‘concentrated’ in camps. A better question is, why don’t we just call them prisons? We don’t say ‘prisons’ because prisons are a part of the formal legal system, » Lester Andrist, a sociologist who has studied indefinite detention, tweeted. Andrist argues that the U.S. has a long history of establishing such facilities, including the Japanese-American internment camps that existed during World War II and, mostly recently, Guantanamo Bay. George Takei, the 82-year-old American actor of Japanese descent who is best known for his role in the Star Trek movies and television show, took to Twitter to share his perspective. « I know what concentration camps are. I was inside two of them, in America. And yes, we are operating such camps again, » the Takei tweeted. The Takei family was interned in Arkansas and California in the 1940s. Federico Finchelstein, a historian at the New York-based New School, agreed that the progressive congresswoman is right to call the ICE facilities concentration camps. « As [a] historian of fascism & [the] Holocaust, I would also call these centers concentration camps, » Finchelstein tweeted. « As a Jewish person who lost family in [the] Holocaust, I regret that some Republicans use memory of the Holocaust to defend racist policies of Trumpism. » In May, a top Pentagon official called China’s detention camps holding Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities « concentration camps » despite the fact that genocide has not been committed there. Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the holocaust, however, was one of the institutions that pushed back against Ocasio-Cortez’s claims. « Concentration camps assured a slave labor supply to help in the Nazi war effort, even as the brutality of life inside the camps helped assure the ultimate goal of ‘extermination through labor,' » the organization tweeted on Wednesday. But the young Congresswoman stood by her position, noting that concentration camps are not the same as extermination camps. Newsweek
Recent assertions by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., that U.S.-run detention centers for migrants are « concentration camps » drew immediate rebukes from some politicians, Jewish groups and social media users. « This administration has established concentration camps on the southern border of the United States for immigrants, where they are being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying. This is not hyperbole. It is the conclusion of expert analysis, » she tweeted June 18. Her tweet didn’t specifically mention Nazi Germany, but she used the term « never again » on her Instagram, a phrase often used as a warning to prevent another genocide like the Holocaust. In a subsequent tweet, Ocasio-Cortez offered a distinction between « concentration camps » and « death camps. » « And for the shrieking Republicans who don’t know the difference: concentration camps are not the same as death camps. Concentration camps are considered by experts as ‘the mass detention of civilians without trial.’ And that’s exactly what this administration is doing. » (…) Historians we contacted said it was possible to make a case that the term « concentration camp » is a more general term than just referring to camps in Nazi Germany. However, these historians said Ocasio-Cortez glosses over some important differences. They also said that the strong, longstanding association of the term « concentration camps » with Nazi Germany likely overwhelms any technical similarities the two types of camps may have. We won’t rate this item on our Truth-O-Meter for that reason. (…) Nazi Germany was not the first nation to use concentration camps. The term dates from the eve of the 20th century, when it was used to describe policies used in at least three conflicts: South Africa’s Boer War, Spain’s campaign against Cuban insurrectionists and the United States’ campaign against Philippine insurgents. The intent was to « cut insurgents off from their support, » said David J. Silbey, a Cornell University historian. « It was an effective tactic, but a brutal one, uprooting people from their homes and often leading to mass outbreaks of disease and starvation among the captive populations. » Beginning in 1917, the Soviet Union used what were commonly known as « forced labor camps » to repress dissidents. The Soviets also forced people from the Baltic States and Poland into camps following their invasions of those countries in 1939. Germany established concentration camps shortly after Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933. Contrary to the popular image of concentration camps as killing factories, most facilities were initially designed for slave labor. « Systematic killing didn’t begin until the invasion of the Soviet Union, and it wasn’t until the January 1942 Wannsee Conference that the Nazis formally decided on a policy of extermination, » said Stephen Shalom, a political scientist at William Paterson University. These became what historians often refer to as « death camps. » Over time, the distinction in the popular mind between the different types of camps blurred. The reality, though, is that the early camps produced deaths from neglect or overwork, rather than carrying out executions. « None of the camps were pleasant, but the death camps were certainly the worst, » said Lance Janda, a military historian at Cameron University. The United States operated camps to hold Japanese-Americans following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, which drove the U.S. into World War II. Though generally referred to as « internment camps » or « relocation camps, » these complexes have occasionally been referred to as « concentration camps, » including by Chief Justice John Roberts in 2018. The American Heritage Dictionary defines « concentration camp » as « a camp where persons are confined, usually without hearings and typically under harsh conditions, often as a result of their membership in a group the government has identified as dangerous or undesirable. » Ocasio-Cortez and her staff have pointed to such linguistic precedents to argue that U.S. detention camps for migrants can be reasonably described as « concentration camps. » Some scholars agree that similarities exist. « As historian of fascism & Holocaust, I would also call these centers concentrations camps, » tweeted The New School historian Federico Finchelstein. Colgate University sociologist Jonathan Hyslop, who was also quoted in an Esquire magazine article that Ocasio-Cortez has cited, told PolitiFact that the definition of « concentration camp » is more elastic than most people think. (…) Adult immigrants in federal custody who are either waiting to be deported or waiting for a resolution of their immigration case are held in government-run centers or other contracted facilities. Immigrant rights advocates have long warned about poor standards and the mistreatment of detainees at some detention facilities. Generally, information about detention facilities can be difficult to obtain, inconsistent and outdated, and overall lacking in transparency. The Office of Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security on June 3, 2019, issued a report detailing concerns about Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainee treatment and care at four detention facilities. The report is based on unannounced 2018 inspections, in which investigators « observed immediate risks or egregious violations of detention standards at facilities. » Among the issues documented: overly restrictive segregation, inadequate medical care, unreported security incidents, and significant food safety issues. (…) Overall, experts described the U.S. detention facilities as being far different from those of the earliest concentration camps, or from the Nazi camps — even from the ones that weren’t « death camps. » « The original purpose of concentration camps was to remove the populace from areas that were controlled or contested by guerrillas and thus deny the guerrillas popular support in its tangible forms — food, shelter, information, recruits, and so on, » said Texas A&M University historian Brian McAllister Linn. « This is not the purpose of the detention facilities in the Southwest. » Janda — who emphasized that he is unhappy with the current U.S. detention policy — nonetheless drew a distinction based on intent. « What we’re doing is just not the same as what the Nazis or the Soviets did, and it’s a disservice to people suffering under dictatorships around the world to act like it is, » Janda said. « We’re not rounding up legal citizens, or going after specific minority groups and holding them indefinitely to squash dissent. » Richard Breitman, an American University historian, was among several experts who said they would have avoided the term « concentration camp. » While the term « does show where abuse and dehumanization might lead, » he said, « it confuses more than it explains. » Politifact
People have become numbers, they’ve become statistics. People talk about immigrants in the absence of their humanity. As sad as it is, I think we need to show the photo. Fernando Garcia (Border Network for Human Rights)
I have avoided those kinds of photos all my career and in all my books. At a moment like this, maybe this step has to be taken. To me this is the official Stephen Miller portrait. Luis Alberto Urrea (novelist)
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) joins others who are disturbed and concerned over a tweet by the Associated Press which includes an exploitative and dehumanizing photograph of a father and child, drowned in the Rio Grande. (…) Men, women, and children cross the border daily often escaping terror with hopes of a better life, knowing the peril that awaits them as they attempt to make the long journey to America. The thoughtless use of this picture only seeks to take advantage of a sensational situation. Ultimately, NAHJ’s objection is not about the photograph. Instead, our protest encompasses a bigger picture about the way visual journalism is utilized. While pertinent to the struggles of migrant families crossing the border, the picture, as the “website card” is both insensitive and disrespectful. It dehumanizes the plight of a community that are risking their lives, and the lives of their families, out of desperation. Pushing people to look at a shocking image that isn’t in context, is not beneficial for the viewers, it is not beneficial for journalists, and it is absolutely detrimental to the immigrant community. National Ass. of Hispanic journalists
There didn’t seem much room for Democrats to move left on immigration, but they’ve found it. On the first night of the Democratic debates, Julian Castro made a big issue of his call to repeal Section 1325 of Title 8 of the United States Code, which says it’s a federal crime to enter the country without authorization. This felt like a ploy for attention from the periphery of the second-tier debate stage, yet last night seven out of the ten candidates raised their hands for the idea, including top contenders Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg. The collective posture of the party is getting closer and closer to open borders, only without embracing the label. (…) The repeal of Section 1325 would send a message of permissiveness that would create another incentive for migrants to come across the border, and remove a tool for going after coyotes (it can be difficult to prove their offense, so prosecuting them for illegal entry is a backstop). Section 1325 has been on the books for 90 years, and it reflects the commonsense view that entering the United States without lawful permission should be a crime. Yes, it’d still be a civil offense to be present in the United States without papers, and in theory, still possible to be deported — although this brings us to the rest of the Democratic approach to immigration. Asked if an illegal immigrant in the interior of the country who hasn’t committed another crime should be deported, Joe Biden replied that such a person “should not be the focus of deportation.” Kamala Harris said he “absolutely” should not be deported, and Representative Eric Swalwell said “that person can be part of this great American experience.” This is a promise to gut interior enforcement that, coupled with the latitudinarian attitude at the border, would be a huge step toward open borders. If there were any doubt that Democrats want to welcome illegal immigrants and treat them like U.S. citizens, seeing every single candidate on the stage last night promising to provide government health insurance to illegal immigrants removes it. This, obviously, would be even more of a magnet to illegal immigration, and would erode the difference between U.S. citizens and people who literally showed up the day before yesterday in violation of our laws. Besides, the U.S. government is under enough fiscal strain providing promised benefits to citizens and legal residents without, in effect, extending the safety net to some percentage of the population of Northern Triangle countries. The Democrats’ radicalism on immigration is certainly a political mistake that will give President Trump ready fodder next year. We’d say it’s impossible for Democrats to get any further out on this limb, but the next round of debates is only a month away. National Review
In this week’s Democratic debates, it wasn’t just individual candidates who presented themselves to the public. It was also the party itself. What conclusions should ordinary people draw about what Democrats stand for, other than a thunderous repudiation of Donald Trump, and how they see America, other than as a land of unscrupulous profiteers and hapless victims? Here’s what: a party that makes too many Americans feel like strangers in their own country. A party that puts more of its faith, and invests most of its efforts, in them instead of us. They speak Spanish. We don’t. They are not U.S. citizens or legal residents. We are. They broke the rules to get into this country. We didn’t. They pay few or no taxes. We already pay most of those taxes. They willingly got themselves into debt. We’re asked to write it off. They don’t pay the premiums for private health insurance. We’re supposed to give up ours in exchange for some V.A.-type nightmare. They didn’t start enterprises that create employment and drive innovation. We’re expected to join the candidates in demonizing the job-creators, breaking up their businesses and taxing them to the hilt. (…) On closer inspection, the message got even worse. Promising access to health insurance for north of 11 million undocumented immigrants at a time when there’s a migration crisis at the southern border? Every candidate at Thursday’s debate raised a hand for that one, in what was surely the evening’s best moment for the Trump campaign. Calling for the decriminalization of border crossings (while opposing a wall)? That was a major theme of Wednesday’s debate, underlining the Republican contention that Democrats are a party of open borders, limitless amnesty and, in time, the Third World-ization of America.  (…) Eliminating private health insurance, an industry that employs more than 500,000 workers and insures 150 million?  (…) Since Democrats are already committed to destroying the coal industry and seem inclined to turn Silicon Valley into a regulated utility, it’s worth asking: Just how much of the private economy are they even willing to keep? And then there are the costs that Democrats want to impose on the country. Warren, for instance, favors universal child care (estimated cost, $70 billion a year), Medicare-For-All ($2.8 trillion to $3.2 trillion annually), student-debt cancellation and universal free college ($125 billion annually), and a comprehensive climate action plan ($2 trillion, including $100 billion in aid to poor countries), along with a raft of smaller giveaways, like debt relief for Puerto Rico. As Everett Dirksen might have said: A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money. Someone will have to pay for all this, and it won’t just be the very rich making between seven and 10 figures a year. It will be you. Throughout the debates, I kept wondering if any of the leading candidates would speak to Americans beyond the Democratic base. Bret Stevens
A gentleman of early middle age in Kansas City wrote to say he’d sat out the 2016 election because he was dissatisfied with both parties. But now he’s for Donald Trump, and the reason “runs deeper than politics.” America’s elites in politics, media and the academy have grown oblivious to “the average Joe’s intense disgust” at being morally instructed and “preached to.” (…) and (…) “in Donald Trump, voters found a massive sledgehammer that pulverizes the ridiculous notion that Americans aren’t good enough.” Mr. Trump doesn’t buy the guilt narrative. “It’s surely not about the man at this point. It stopped being about Trump long ago. It is about that counter-punch that has been missing from our culture for far too long.” (…) A reader who grew up upper-middle-class in the South writes on the politics of the situation. His second wife, also a Southerner, grew up poor. She is a former waitress and bartender whose politics he characterizes as “pragmatic liberal.” (…) “She told me, ‘He speaks my language, and there’s a lot more of me than there is of you.’ ” I have to say after a week of reading such letters that emotionally this cycle feels like 2016 all over again. Various facts are changed (no Mrs. Clinton) but the same basic dynamic pertains—the two Americas talking past each other, the social and cultural resentments, the great estrangement. It’s four years later but we’re re-enacting the trauma of 2016. And the Democrats again appear to be losing the thread. They’ve spent the past few months giving the impression they are in a kind of passionate lockstep with a part of their base, the progressives, and detached from everyone else. And in the debates they doubled down. (…) what Night One did was pick up the entire party and put it down outside the mainstream and apart from the center. (…) They are, functionally, in terms of the effects of their stands, for open borders. They are in complete agreement with the abortion regime—no reservations or qualms, no sense of just or civilized limits. They’re all in on identity politics. One candidate warned against denying federally funded abortions to “a trans female.” Two said they would do away with all private health insurance. Every party plays to its base in the primaries and attempts to soften its stands in the general. But I’m wondering how the ultimate nominee thinks he or she will walk this all back. It is too extreme for America, and too extreme for the big parts of its old base that the Democrats forgot in 2016. It was as if they were saying, “Hi, middle-American people who used to be Democrats and voted for Trump, we intend to alienate you again. Go vote for that jerk, we don’t care.” Another problem: America has a painful distance between rich and poor, but it is hard to pound the “1%” hammer effectively in a nation enjoying functional full employment. Our prosperity is provisional and could leave tomorrow, but right now America’s feeling stronger. “Grapes of Wrath” rhetoric resonates when people think they’re in or entering a recession or depression. The debaters Wednesday night looked like they were saying, “Who ya gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?” (…) Night two was more raucous but similarly extreme. The first 15 minutes included higher taxes, free college and student-loan forgiveness. Most candidates agreed on free health insurance for illegal immigrants. They also appeared to believe that most or all U.S. immigration law should be abolished. (…) It was an odd evening in that it was lively, spirited, at moments even soulful, and yet so detached from reality. Peggy Noonan
If you want to know why there’s a surge at the border it’s not just because things are bad in Central America. It’s because we’re giving away permanent residence, free school, and maybe soon free health care, etc. to anyone who arrives. (…) I don’t think most Americans agree with open borders. That’s still a fringe position. But as long as the left can label opposition to open borders racist, a lot of people will hesitate to speak up in opposition to it. And as long as the media lets Dems talk as if there is only upside to illegal immigration, most people won’t ever hear about what all this generosity is costing them. John Sexton
There is now a photograph that sums up everything wrong about America’s broken and overwhelmed immigration system. You’ve seen it, and it is hard to let it leave the mind or the conscience. Together with the accounts of horrifying abuse of children in detention — and “abuse” is not hyperbole — we can see the crisis as it is. We can no longer look away. The starkness of the crisis is a good thing, though. Until now, many have denied that any crisis existed at all. They have, in fact, denied that the highest levels of mass immigration since the Bush years are an issue at all. As Byron York has noted, Speaker Pelosi called the arrival of close to a million asylum seekers “a fake crisis”; Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that hundreds of thousands of men, women, and many children, overwhelming any attempt to process them with the current resources, was “a crisis that does not exist.” This included many Never-Trumpers, like Bill Kristol (“a fake crisis”), and Max Boot (“a faux crisis”). The editors of the Washington Post denied the facts reported by their own Nick Miroff, claiming it was “a make-believe crisis.” None of these people will admit they were gravely mistaken, or that their denial and delay in acting clearly exacerbated the situation. But now that we’re on the same page, the question is: Where do we go with this now? (…) Since 2014, there has been a 240 percent increase in asylum cases. As Fareed Zakaria has pointed out, the number of asylum cases from Honduras, Guatemala, and Venezuela has soared at the same time as the crime rate in those countries was being cut in half. (…) But somehow the courts have decided that you qualify for asylum if there is simply widespread crime or violence where you live, and Ramirez was also going to use that argument as well. A government need not persecute you; you just have to experience an unsafe environment that your government is failing to suppress. This so expands the idea of asylum, in my view, as to render it meaningless. Courts have also expanded asylum to include domestic violence, determining that women in abusive relationships are a “particular social group” and thereby qualify. In other words, every woman on the planet who has experienced domestic abuse can now come to America and claim asylum. Also everyone on the planet who doesn’t live in a stable, orderly, low-crime society. Literally billions of human beings now have the right to asylum in America. As climate change worsens, more will rush to claim it. All they have to do is show up. Last month alone, 144,000 people were detained at the border making an asylum claim. This year, about a million Central Americans will have relocated to the U.S. on those grounds. To add to this, a big majority of the candidates in the Democratic debates also want to remove the grounds for detention at all, by repealing the 1929 law that made illegal entry a criminal offense and turning it into a civil one. And almost all of them said that if illegal immigrants do not commit a crime once they’re in the U.S., they should be allowed to become citizens. How, I ask, is that not practically open borders? The answer I usually get is that all these millions will have to, at some point, go to court hearings and have their asylum cases adjudicated. The trouble with that argument is that only 44 percent actually turn up for their hearings; and those who do show up and whose claims nonetheless fail can simply walk out of the court and know they probably won’t be deported in the foreseeable future. Immigration and Customs Enforcement forcibly removed 256,086 people in 2018, 57 percent of whom had committed crimes since they arrived in the U.S. So that’s an annual removal rate of 2 percent of the total undocumented population of around 12 million. That means that for 98 percent of undocumented aliens, in any given year, no consequences will follow for crossing the border without papers. At the debates this week, many Democratic candidates argued that the 43 percent of deportees who had no criminal record in America should not have been expelled at all and been put instead on a path to citizenship. So that would reduce the annual removal rate of illegal immigrants to a little more than 1 percent per year. In terms of enforcement of the immigration laws, this is a joke. It renders the distinction between a citizen and a noncitizen close to meaningless. None of this reality was allowed to intervene in the Democratic debates this week. (…) What emerged was their core message to the world: Get here without papers and you’ll receive humane treatment while you’re processed, you’ll never be detained, you’ll get work permits immediately, and you’ll have access to publicly funded health care and a path to citizenship if you don’t commit a crime. This amounts to an open invitation to anyone on the planet to just show up and cross the border. The worst that can happen is you get denied asylum by a judge, in which case you can just disappear and there’s a 1 percent chance that you’ll be caught in a given year. Who wouldn’t take those odds? This is in a new century when the U.S. is trying to absorb the largest wave of new immigrants in our entire history, and when the percentage of the population that is foreign-born is also near a historic peak. It is also a time when mass immigration from the developing world has destabilized liberal democracies across the West, is bringing illiberal, anti-immigration regimes to power across Europe, and was the single biggest reason why Donald Trump is president. I’m told that, as a legal immigrant, I’m shutting the door behind me now that I’ve finally made it to citizenship. I’m not. I favor solid continuing legal immigration, but also a reduction in numbers and a new focus on skills in an economy where unskilled labor is increasingly a path to nowhere. It is not strange that legal immigrants — who have often spent years and thousands of dollars to play by the rules — might be opposed to others’ jumping the line. It is not strange that a hefty proportion of Latino legal immigrants oppose illegal immigration — they are often the most directly affected by new, illegal competition, which drives down their wages. (…) When I’m told only white racists favor restrictionism, I note how the Mexican people are more opposed to illegal immigration than Americans: In a new poll, 61.5 percent of Mexicans oppose the entry of undocumented migrants, period; 44 percent believe that Mexico should remove any undocumented alien immediately. Are Mexicans now white supremacists too? That hostility to illegal immigration may even explain why Trump’s threat to put tariffs on Mexico if it didn’t crack down may well have worked. Since Trump’s bluster, the numbers have measurably declined — and the crackdown is popular in Mexico. I can also note that most countries outside Western Europe have strict immigration control and feel no need to apologize for it. Are the Japanese and Chinese “white supremacists”? Please. Do they want to sustain their own culture and national identity? Sure. Is that now the equivalent of the KKK? Andrew Sullivan
Résidence permanente, scolarité et soins gratuits, élargissement toujours plus large des critères d’accueil jusqu’à la violence domestique, décriminalisation de l’entrée illégale …
Y-a-t-il une mesure pro-migrants clandestins que les Démocrates n’auront pas préconisée ?
A l’heure où en Europe, sur fond d’une soumission à une police de la pensée de plus en plus étouffante, les attaques de commissariat aux cris d’Allahu akbar commencent à se banaliser …
Où une militante écologiste se fait mousser sur le dos d’une quarantaine de migrants clandestins …
Alors que les caméras de Frontex viennent de démontrer les véritables mises en scène auxquelles se livrent les passeurs …
Et que sur fond d’une immigration sauvage complètement hors contrôle – jusqu’à l’arrestation de djihadistes égyptiens au Nicaragua …
Le NYT nous refait sur le Rio Grande (avant probablement Hollywood ?) le coup du petit noyé syrien de Méditerrannée
Pendant que pour un problème qui date principalement de l’Administration Obama, chercheurs, célébrités et parlementaires voient des camps nazis ou de l’esclavage partout …
Comment ne pas être frappé …
De l’incroyable légèreté des candidats démocrates pour la présidentielle de l’an prochain …
Qui après avoir passé deux ans à nier la réalité de la crise migratoire en sont …
Comme le rappellent l’ancien blogueur Andrew Sullivan ou l’ancienne plume de Reagan Peggy Noonan

A nier la réalité elle-même ?

New York magazine

There is now a photograph that sums up everything wrong about America’s broken and overwhelmed immigration system. You’ve seen it, and it is hard to let it leave the mind or the conscience. Together with the accounts of horrifying abuse of children in detention — and “abuse” is not hyperbole — we can see the crisis as it is. We can no longer look away.

The starkness of the crisis is a good thing, though. Until now, many have denied that any crisis existed at all. They have, in fact, denied that the highest levels of mass immigration since the Bush years are an issue at all. As Byron York has noted, Speaker Pelosi called the arrival of close to a million asylum seekers “a fake crisis”; Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that hundreds of thousands of men, women, and many children, overwhelming any attempt to process them with the current resources, was “a crisis that does not exist.” This included many Never-Trumpers, like Bill Kristol (“a fake crisis”), and Max Boot (“a faux crisis”). The editors of the Washington Post denied the facts reported by their own Nick Miroff, claiming it was “a make-believe crisis.”

None of these people will admit they were gravely mistaken, or that their denial and delay in acting clearly exacerbated the situation. But now that we’re on the same page, the question is: Where do we go with this now?

Yesterday was a sign of real bipartisan progress. The House passed a Senate bill to spend $4.6 billion to relieve the humanitarian crisis and tackle some of the structural inadequacies of the current failed system. The left wing of the Democratic caucus wanted to insist on various restrictions on the use of the $4.6 billion, primarily to ensure that none of it is earmarked (God forbid) for enforcement of the law. The problem with waging a longer fight would be that Congress would break for its July 4 recess having done nothing to help. Pelosi put children before politics, and it’s hard not to admire her humane pragmatism.

So it’s a start. What’s next? The good news is that the Democrats are finally beginning to announce policy plans that offer some solid ideas. A new bill for an overhaul of the entire system called the Northern Triangle and Border Stabilization Act has been introduced in the House. It proposes increased U.S. aid to Central American countries, to tackle the problem at its roots; a big investment in border facilities to ensure far more humane treatment of asylum seekers; a much stricter monitoring system to keep track of them after processing to make sure they turn up for their court hearings; many more immigration judges to reduce the massive backlog of cases; and it allows for asylum claims to be made in home countries, rather than at the border.

These are all good ideas and certainly worth trying. But what they don’t address is the larger problem of how to reduce levels of mass immigration. The Democrats want to raise the cap on refugees from Central America to 100,000 a year and propose no tightening of asylum law. But it’s the asylum law that needs to change. Since 2014, there has been a 240 percent increase in asylum cases. As Fareed Zakaria has pointed out, the number of asylum cases from Honduras, Guatemala, and Venezuela has soared at the same time as the crime rate in those countries was being cut in half.

Take the tragic tale of Oscar Ramirez and his young daughter Valeria, the father and daughter captured in death in that heartbreaking photograph. Ramirez’s widow explained to the Washington Post why her husband wanted to move to America: He wanted “a better future for their girl.” This is an admirable goal, but it is classic economic immigration, and it would appear, based on what we know, that it has absolutely nothing to do with asylum. Here again is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services definition: “Refugee status or asylum may be granted to people who have been persecuted or fear they will be persecuted on account of race, religion, nationality, and/or membership in a particular social group or political opinion.”

But somehow the courts have decided that you qualify for asylum if there is simply widespread crime or violence where you live, and Ramirez was also going to use that argument as well. A government need not persecute you; you just have to experience an unsafe environment that your government is failing to suppress. This so expands the idea of asylum, in my view, as to render it meaningless.

Courts have also expanded asylum to include domestic violence, determining that women in abusive relationships are a “particular social group” and thereby qualify. In other words, every woman on the planet who has experienced domestic abuse can now come to America and claim asylum. Also everyone on the planet who doesn’t live in a stable, orderly, low-crime society. Literally billions of human beings now have the right to asylum in America. As climate change worsens, more will rush to claim it. All they have to do is show up.

Last month alone, 144,000 people were detained at the border making an asylum claim. This year, about a million Central Americans will have relocated to the U.S. on those grounds. To add to this, a big majority of the candidates in the Democratic debates also want to remove the grounds for detention at all, by repealing the 1929 law that made illegal entry a criminal offense and turning it into a civil one. And almost all of them said that if illegal immigrants do not commit a crime once they’re in the U.S., they should be allowed to become citizens.

How, I ask, is that not practically open borders? The answer I usually get is that all these millions will have to, at some point, go to court hearings and have their asylum cases adjudicated. The trouble with that argument is that only 44 percent actually turn up for their hearings; and those who do show up and whose claims nonetheless fail can simply walk out of the court and know they probably won’t be deported in the foreseeable future.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement forcibly removed 256,086 people in 2018, 57 percent of whom had committed crimes since they arrived in the U.S. So that’s an annual removal rate of 2 percent of the total undocumented population of around 12 million. That means that for 98 percent of undocumented aliens, in any given year, no consequences will follow for crossing the border without papers. At the debates this week, many Democratic candidates argued that the 43 percent of deportees who had no criminal record in America should not have been expelled at all and been put instead on a path to citizenship. So that would reduce the annual removal rate of illegal immigrants to a little more than 1 percent per year. In terms of enforcement of the immigration laws, this is a joke. It renders the distinction between a citizen and a noncitizen close to meaningless.

None of this reality was allowed to intervene in the Democratic debates this week. At one point, one moderator tellingly spoke about Obama’s record of deporting ” 3 million Americans.” In that bubble, there were no negatives to mass immigration at all, and no concern for existing American citizens’ interests in not having their wages suppressed through this competition. There was no concession that child separation and “metering” at the border to slow the crush were both innovated by Obama, trying to manage an overwhelmed system. Candidates vied with each other to speak in Spanish. Every single one proposed amnesty for all those currently undocumented in the U.S., except for criminals. Every single one opposes a wall. There was unanimous support for providing undocumented immigrants immediately with free health care. There was no admission that Congress needed to tighten asylum law. There was no concern that the Flores decision had massively incentivized bringing children to game the system, leaving so many vulnerable to untold horrors on a journey no child should ever be forced to make.

What emerged was their core message to the world: Get here without papers and you’ll receive humane treatment while you’re processed, you’ll never be detained, you’ll get work permits immediately, and you’ll have access to publicly funded health care and a path to citizenship if you don’t commit a crime. This amounts to an open invitation to anyone on the planet to just show up and cross the border. The worst that can happen is you get denied asylum by a judge, in which case you can just disappear and there’s a 1 percent chance that you’ll be caught in a given year. Who wouldn’t take those odds?

This is in a new century when the U.S. is trying to absorb the largest wave of new immigrants in our entire history, and when the percentage of the population that is foreign-born is also near a historic peak. It is also a time when mass immigration from the developing world has destabilized liberal democracies across the West, is bringing illiberal, anti-immigration regimes to power across Europe, and was the single biggest reason why Donald Trump is president.

I’m told that, as a legal immigrant, I’m shutting the door behind me now that I’ve finally made it to citizenship. I’m not. I favor solid continuing legal immigration, but also a reduction in numbers and a new focus on skills in an economy where unskilled labor is increasingly a path to nowhere. It is not strange that legal immigrants — who have often spent years and thousands of dollars to play by the rules — might be opposed to others’ jumping the line. It is not strange that a hefty proportion of Latino legal immigrants oppose illegal immigration — they are often the most directly affected by new, illegal competition, which drives down their wages.

I’m told that I’m a white supremacist for believing in borders, nation-states, and a reduction in legal immigration to slow the pace of this country’s demographic revolution. But I support this because I want a more successful integration and Americanization of immigrants, a better future for skilled immigrants, and I want to weaken the populist and indeed racist movements that have taken the West by storm in the past few years. It’s because I loathe white supremacy that I favor moderation in this area.

When I’m told only white racists favor restrictionism, I note how the Mexican people are more opposed to illegal immigration than Americans: In a new poll, 61.5 percent of Mexicans oppose the entry of undocumented migrants, period; 44 percent believe that Mexico should remove any undocumented alien immediately. Are Mexicans now white supremacists too? That hostility to illegal immigration may even explain why Trump’s threat to put tariffs on Mexico if it didn’t crack down may well have worked. Since Trump’s bluster, the numbers have measurably declined — and the crackdown is popular in Mexico. I can also note that most countries outside Western Europe have strict immigration control and feel no need to apologize for it. Are the Japanese and Chinese “white supremacists”? Please. Do they want to sustain their own culture and national identity? Sure. Is that now the equivalent of the KKK?

The Democrats’ good ideas need to be put in contact with this bigger question if they are to win wider support. In the U.S. in the 21st century, should anyone who enters without papers and doesn’t commit a crime be given a path to citizenship? Should all adversely affected by climate change be offered a path to citizenship if they make it to the border? Should every human living in violent, crime-ridden neighborhoods or countries be granted asylum in America? Is there any limiting principle at all?

I suspect that the Democrats’ new position — everyone in the world can become an American if they walk over the border and never commit a crime — is political suicide. I think the courts’ expansion of the meaning of asylum would strike most Americans as excessively broad. I think many Americans will have watched these debates on immigration and concluded that the Democrats want more immigration, not less, that they support an effective amnesty of 12 million undocumented aliens as part of loosening border enforcement and weakening criteria for citizenship. And the viewers will have realized that their simple beliefs that borders should be enforced and that immigration needs to slow down a bit are viewed by Democrats as unthinkable bigotry.

Advantage Trump.

Voir aussi:

The 2020 Democrats Lack Hindsight
They ignore reality and march in lockstep with their base. Did they learn anything from 2016?
Peggy Noonan
June 28, 2019

I’ve received tens of thousands of letters and other communications from Trump supporters the past few years, some of which have sparked extended dialogues. Two I got after last week’s column struck me as pertinent to this moment, and they make insufficiently appreciated points.
A gentleman of early middle age in Kansas City wrote to say he’d sat out the 2016 election because he was dissatisfied with both parties. But now he’s for Donald Trump, and the reason “runs deeper than politics.”
America’s elites in politics, media and the academy have grown oblivious to “the average Joe’s intense disgust” at being morally instructed and “preached to.”
“Every day, Americans are told of the endless ways they are falling short. If we don’t show the ‘proper’ level of understanding according to a talking head, then we are surely racist. If we don’t embrace every sanitized PC talking point, then we must be heartless. If we have the audacity to speak our mind, then we are most definitely a bigot.” These accusations are relentless.
“We are jabbed like a boxer with no gloves on to defend us. And we are fed up. We are tired of being told we aren’t good enough.” He believes the American people are by nature kind and generous—“they would give you the shirt off their back if you were in trouble”—and that “in Donald Trump, voters found a massive sledgehammer that pulverizes the ridiculous notion that Americans aren’t good enough.” Mr. Trump doesn’t buy the guilt narrative.
“It’s surely not about the man at this point. It stopped being about Trump long ago. It is about that counter-punch that has been missing from our culture for far too long.”
The culture of accusation, he says, is breaking us apart.
A reader who grew up upper-middle-class in the South writes on the politics of the situation. His second wife, also a Southerner, grew up poor. She is a former waitress and bartender whose politics he characterizes as “pragmatic liberal.” They watched Mr. Trump’s 2015 announcement together, and he said to her, “He doesn’t have a chance.” She looked at him “with complete conviction” and said, “He’s going to win.”
As the campaign progressed, she never wavered. At the end, with the polls saying Hillary, “I asked my wife how she could be so certain Trump was going to win.” He found her response “astute and telling.”
“She told me, ‘He speaks my language, and there’s a lot more of me than there is of you.’ ”
I have to say after a week of reading such letters that emotionally this cycle feels like 2016 all over again. Various facts are changed (no Mrs. Clinton) but the same basic dynamic pertains—the two Americas talking past each other, the social and cultural resentments, the great estrangement. It’s four years later but we’re re-enacting the trauma of 2016.
And the Democrats again appear to be losing the thread.
They’ve spent the past few months giving the impression they are in a kind of passionate lockstep with a part of their base, the progressives, and detached from everyone else.
And in the debates they doubled down. Both nights had fizz. There was a lot of earnestness and different kinds of brightness.
But what Night One did was pick up the entire party and put it down outside the mainstream and apart from the center.
This is what the candidates said:
They are, functionally, in terms of the effects of their stands, for open borders.
They are in complete agreement with the abortion regime—no reservations or qualms, no sense of just or civilized limits.
They’re all in on identity politics. One candidate warned against denying federally funded abortions to “a trans female.”
Two said they would do away with all private health insurance.
Every party plays to its base in the primaries and attempts to soften its stands in the general. But I’m wondering how the ultimate nominee thinks he or she will walk this all back. It is too extreme for America, and too extreme for the big parts of its old base that the Democrats forgot in 2016.
It was as if they were saying, “Hi, middle-American people who used to be Democrats and voted for Trump, we intend to alienate you again. Go vote for that jerk, we don’t care.”
Another problem: America has a painful distance between rich and poor, but it is hard to pound the “1%” hammer effectively in a nation enjoying functional full employment. Our prosperity is provisional and could leave tomorrow, but right now America’s feeling stronger.
“Grapes of Wrath” rhetoric resonates when people think they’re in or entering a recession or depression. The debaters Wednesday night looked like they were saying, “Who ya gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?”
After these big facts, candidate-by-candidate analysis seems secondary. Beto O’Rourke’s fatuous, self-actualizing journey makes the Democrats look sillier than they have to. Elizabeth Warren was focused and energetic, and her call to break up concentrations of power, including big tech, was strong and timely. She made a terrible mistake in holding to her intention to do away with private health insurance. An estimated 180 million Americans have such policies. Why force potential supporters to choose between her and their family’s insurance? Who does she think is going to win that? Why put as the headline on your plan, “This is what I’m going to take away from you”? Why would she gamble a serious long-term candidacy on such a vow? It is insane.
If she is extremely lucky Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won’t endorse her soon and make it worse.
Bill de Blasio had the best moment in the first half-hour, suggesting Democrats shouldn’t bicker about policy differences but instead unite as progressives. He has that air of burly, happy aggression that is the special province of idiots. Tulsi Gabbard broke through when it became clear she was the only explicitly antiwar candidate on the stage; this had the interesting effect of showing the others up.
Night two was more raucous but similarly extreme. The first 15 minutes included higher taxes, free college and student-loan forgiveness. Most candidates agreed on free health insurance for illegal immigrants. They also appeared to believe that most or all U.S. immigration law should be abolished.
The big dawgs did OK. If Kamala Harris was not a big dawg, she is now. Joe Biden sort of held his own but seemed to flag. Bernie Sanders seemed not as interesting as last cycle, more crotchety and irritable.
Eric Swalwell’s uncorking of a memory from when he was 6—ol’ Sen. Biden came to town and talked about passing the torch to younger leaders—was an attempt at slyness that so widely missed its mark, was so inelegant and obvious, that it was kind of fabulous. By the end of the night Mr. Swalwell had flamed out from sheer obnoxiousness.
The nonpolitician Marianne Williamson was delightfully unshy, sincere and, until her daffy closing statement, sympathetic. Kirsten Gillibrand yippily interrupted—“It’s my turn!”—and did herself no good.
It was an odd evening in that it was lively, spirited, at moments even soulful, and yet so detached from reality.
Voir également:

A Wretched Start for Democrats
The party seems interested in helping everyone except the voters it needs.
Bret Stephens
The New York Times
June 28, 2019

Amigos demócratas, Si ustedes siguen así, van a perder las elecciones. Y lo merecerán.
Translation for the linguistically benighted: “Democratic friends, if you go on like this, you’re going to lose the elections. And you’ll deserve it.

In this week’s Democratic debates, it wasn’t just individual candidates who presented themselves to the public. It was also the party itself. What conclusions should ordinary people draw about what Democrats stand for, other than a thunderous repudiation of Donald Trump, and how they see America, other than as a land of unscrupulous profiteers and hapless victims?

Here’s what: a party that makes too many Americans feel like strangers in their own country. A party that puts more of its faith, and invests most of its efforts, in them instead of us.

They speak Spanish. We don’t. They are not U.S. citizens or legal residents. We are. They broke the rules to get into this country. We didn’t. They pay few or no taxes. We already pay most of those taxes. They willingly got themselves into debt. We’re asked to write it off. They don’t pay the premiums for private health insurance. We’re supposed to give up ours in exchange for some V.A.-type nightmare. They didn’t start enterprises that create employment and drive innovation. We’re expected to join the candidates in demonizing the job-creators, breaking up their businesses and taxing them to the hilt.

That was the broad gist of the Democratic message, in which the only honorable exceptions, like Maryland’s John Delaney and Colorado’s John Hickenlooper, came across as square dancers at a rave.

On closer inspection, the message got even worse.

Promising access to health insurance for north of 11 million undocumented immigrants at a time when there’s a migration crisis at the southern border? Every candidate at Thursday’s debate raised a hand for that one, in what was surely the evening’s best moment for the Trump campaign.

Calling for the decriminalization of border crossings (while opposing a wall)? That was a major theme of Wednesday’s debate, underlining the Republican contention that Democrats are a party of open borders, limitless amnesty and, in time, the Third World-ization of America.

Switching to Spanish? Memo to Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker: If you can’t speak the language without a heavy American accent, don’t bother. It just reminds those of us who can that the only thing worse than an obnoxious gringo is a pandering one.

Eliminating private health insurance, an industry that employs more than 500,000 workers and insures 150 million? Elizabeth Warren, Bill de Blasio, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris support it (though the California senator later recanted the position). Since Democrats are already committed to destroying the coal industry and seem inclined to turn Silicon Valley into a regulated utility, it’s worth asking: Just how much of the private economy are they even willing to keep?

And then there are the costs that Democrats want to impose on the country. Warren, for instance, favors universal child care (estimated cost, $70 billion a year), Medicare-For-All ($2.8 trillion to $3.2 trillion annually), student-debt cancellation and universal free college ($125 billion annually), and a comprehensive climate action plan ($2 trillion, including $100 billion in aid to poor countries), along with a raft of smaller giveaways, like debt relief for Puerto Rico.

As Everett Dirksen might have said: A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money. Someone will have to pay for all this, and it won’t just be the very rich making between seven and 10 figures a year. It will be you.

Throughout the debates, I kept wondering if any of the leading candidates would speak to Americans beyond the Democratic base. But Joe Biden seemed too feeble, oratorically and intellectually, to buck the self-defeating trend. Pete Buttigieg was, as always, fluent, knowledgeable and sincere. But his big moment — a mea culpa for a racially charged policing incident in South Bend — felt like another well-mannered white guy desperate to put his wokeness on display.

Harris, meanwhile, came across as Barack Obama in reverse, especially with her scurrilous attack on Biden for the sin of having had a functional political relationship with two former segregationist senators in the 1970s. This was portrayed as a clever debate move but it will come to haunt her.

Obama’s political genius was to emphasize what Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, authors of ‘The Coddling of the American Mind,” have called “common-humanity identity politics”— he made you feel comfortable no matter the color of your skin. Harris’s approach, by contrast, is “common-enemy identity politics.” Making white Americans feel racially on trial for views they may have held in the past on crime, busing and similar subjects is not going to help the Democrats.

None of this means that Democrats can’t win in 2020. The economy could take a bad turn. Or Trump could outdo himself in loathsomeness. But the Democratic Party we saw this week did even less to appeal beyond its base than the president. And at least his message is that he’s on their — make that our — side.

Bret L. Stephens has been an Opinion columnist with The Times since April 2017. He won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary at The Wall Street Journal in 2013 and was previously editor in chief of The Jerusalem Post. @BretStephensNYT Facebook

Voir de même:

The Party of Illegal Immigration

There didn’t seem much room for Democrats to move left on immigration, but they’ve found it.

On the first night of the Democratic debates, Julian Castro made a big issue of his call to repeal Section 1325 of Title 8 of the United States Code, which says it’s a federal crime to enter the country without authorization. This felt like a ploy for attention from the periphery of the second-tier debate stage, yet last night seven out of the ten candidates raised their hands for the idea, including top contenders Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg.

The collective posture of the party is getting closer and closer to open borders, only without embracing the label.

Illegal immigrants aren’t typically prosecuted under Section 1325, although the Bush administration started a program called “Operation Streamline” to increase prosecutions, hoping to discourage would-be crossers and especially to create a deterrent against illegal reentry (illegal entry is a misdemeanor often punished by time served, whereas illegal reentry is a felony). Such prosecutions were a key element of Trump’s family-separation policy that had to be quickly abandoned.

The repeal of Section 1325 would send a message of permissiveness that would create another incentive for migrants to come across the border, and remove a tool for going after coyotes (it can be difficult to prove their offense, so prosecuting them for illegal entry is a backstop). Section 1325 has been on the books for 90 years, and it reflects the commonsense view that entering the United States without lawful permission should be a crime. Yes, it’d still be a civil offense to be present in the United States without papers, and in theory, still possible to be deported — although this brings us to the rest of the Democratic approach to immigration.

Asked if an illegal immigrant in the interior of the country who hasn’t committed another crime should be deported, Joe Biden replied that such a person “should not be the focus of deportation.” Kamala Harris said he “absolutely” should not be deported, and Representative Eric Swalwell said “that person can be part of this great American experience.” This is a promise to gut interior enforcement that, coupled with the latitudinarian attitude at the border, would be a huge step toward open borders.

If there were any doubt that Democrats want to welcome illegal immigrants and treat them like U.S. citizens, seeing every single candidate on the stage last night promising to provide government health insurance to illegal immigrants removes it. This, obviously, would be even more of a magnet to illegal immigration, and would erode the difference between U.S. citizens and people who literally showed up the day before yesterday in violation of our laws. Besides, the U.S. government is under enough fiscal strain providing promised benefits to citizens and legal residents without, in effect, extending the safety net to some percentage of the population of Northern Triangle countries.

The Democrats’ radicalism on immigration is certainly a political mistake that will give President Trump ready fodder next year. We’d say it’s impossible for Democrats to get any further out on this limb, but the next round of debates is only a month away.

Voir de plus:

États-Unis : Barack Obama sous pression face à l’afflux d’enfants clandestins

La Maison-Blanche a demandé mardi au Congrès américain le déblocage en urgence de 3,7 milliards de dollars pour faire face à l’entrée illégale de dizaines de milliers d’enfants.

Le président américain reconnaît lui-même que son pays fait face à «une situation humanitaire d’urgence». Barack Obama a demandé formellement au Congrès mardi de débloquer 3,7 milliards de dollars (2,7 milliards d’euros) pour répondre à l’afflux croissant d’enfants clandestins à la frontière avec le Mexique. L’objectif: augmenter les capacités d’accueil des sans-papiers et le nombre de juges gérant leurs dossiers, renforcer la surveillance de la frontière… mais surtout améliorer les conditions de détention de ces enfants arrêtés à la frontière après avoir tenté la traversée du Rio Grande au péril de leur vie. «Sans crédits supplémentaires, à moins de prendre des mesures extraordinaires, les agences ne disposeront pas des ressources suffisantes pour répondre à la situation de façon appropriée», a insisté la Maison-Blanche.

Car sur le terrain, les besoins sont colossaux. Depuis le mois d’octobre, pas moins de 52.000 sans-papiers mineurs venus seuls, surtout d’Amérique centrale (Guatemala, Honduras, Salvador), ont été interpellés à la frontière entre le Mexique et les États-Unis. Sans compter les milliers d’autres arrêtés en compagnie de leurs proches. Le phénomène est loin d’être nouveau, mais les chiffres ont doublé par rapport à l’an dernier. Au total, plus de 90.000 enfants pourraient être interpellés cette année, soit 15 fois plus qu’en 2011, selon une note officielle.

Ces enfants, parfois âgés de 3 ou 4 ans seulement, arrivent affamés, déshydratés, après un périple de plusieurs milliers de kilomètres. Ils se retrouvent dans «des conditions terribles», «n’ont pas de lit et dorment par terre», déplore auprès de l’AFP Domingo Gonzalo, membre de l’association Campaña Fronteriza qui oeuvre au Texas. La Croix-Rouge américaine a même dû venir en aide aux autorités en fournissant des couvertures et des kits d’hygiène pour les jeunes détenus, tandis que des bases militaires sont transformées en centres d’accueil d’urgence, en Californie ou au Texas.

Un hangar faisant office de centre de détention, en Arizona.

Le message pro-immigration du président, principal coupable selon les républicains

Parmi ces mineurs, beaucoup fuient la pauvreté, la violence liée au narcotrafic de leur pays. L’Agence des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés, citée par les Los Angeles Times, rappelle que ces mineurs ne s’exilent pas seulement aux Etats-Unis: ils cherchent aussi à atteindre d’autres pays comme le Mexique, le Costa Rica ou le Nicaragua. Mais s’ils affluent à la frontière américaine, c’est que beaucoup disent être venus profiter d’une «nouvelle» loi qui leur donnerait des «permisos», des permis de séjour pour mineurs, une rumeur qui se répand depuis des mois dans ces pays d’Amérique centrale, à en croire des migrants interrogés par le New York Times. Rumeur alimentée par les passeurs qui profitent de ce trafic.

Pour les républicains toutefois, le principal responsable de cet afflux massif s’appelle Barack Obama: avec son message pro-immigration, il a selon eux donné des espoirs aux jeunes clandestins. La reforme que défend le président prévoit en effet de faciliter un peu l’accès à la nationalité pour les enfants sans-papiers, contre un renforcement du contrôle de la frontière mexicaine. «Apparemment, on se passe le mot qu’une fois appréhendé par les agents à la frontière, grâce au laxisme de cette administration, on ne sera jamais expulsé», accuse ainsi le représentant républicain Bob Goodlatte.

Le gouverneur du Texas Rick Perry estime que cette «crise humanitaire» menace la sécurité intérieure du pays. «La bonne décision est de mon point de vue d’expulser immédiatement» ces enfants. Comme l’a rappelé sur CNN un élu démocrate du Texas, Henry Cuellar, «si vous êtes Mexicain, vous êtes renvoyés (…) mais si vous venez d’un pays qui n’est pas frontalier avec les Etats-Unis comme les pays d’Amérique centrale, alors la loi dit que vous devez être pris en charge par les services fédéraux de la Santé et qu’ils vont vous placer» dans un centre d’accueil ou une famille. Or pour le républicain Rick Perry, «leur permettre de rester ne fera qu’encourager le prochain groupe à entreprendre ce très dangereux voyage».

Obama, qui doit se rendre au Texas mercredi pour s’entretenir avec Rick Perry, a fait de la réforme de l’immigration un chantier majeur de son deuxième mandat. Se heurtant au blocage de la chambre des représentants dominée par les républicains, il s’est engagé à agir par décret pour faire avancer les choses. Dans son camp, on affirme qu’il ne faut pas faire d’amalgame entre ce qui se passe en ce moment à la frontière et l’urgence d’une réforme migratoire, qui ne régulariserait que certaines personnes arrivées avant 2011. Les démocrates rappellent aussi que leur plan prévoyait la construction de centaines de kilomètres de nouvelles barrières frontalières et le renforcement du nombre de policiers.

Visiblement dépassée par l’ampleur du phénomène, l’administration Obama répète que la plupart de ces enfants clandestins ne seront pas autorisés à rester dans le pays. Le président s’est même adressé aux parents d’Amérique centrale le mois dernier dans une interview télévisée: «Notre message est sans équivoque: n’envoyez pas vos enfants seuls, sur des trains ou par des passeurs», a-t-il déclaré sur la chaîne américaine ABC (vidéo ci-dessous). «S’ils réussissent à arriver ici, ils seront renvoyés. Mais surtout, ils risquent de ne pas arriver». Malgré ses efforts, des centaines de mineurs clandestins continuent de gagner la frontière chaque jour.

Voir encore:

Why The Times Published a Photo of Drowned Migrants

We asked top editors about the decision-making process: “These are not easy images to use.”

Lara Takenaga
The New Yort Times
June 26, 2019

After The Times published a haunting photo this week of two migrants, a father and his young daughter, who had drowned in the Rio Grande, many readers said they appreciated the attention it brought to the national conversation around immigration.

Some have questioned the decision, however.

“I understand that the photograph you have with your story is meant to somehow transmit a message, perhaps convey pain and trauma, make us feel shame and sadness, and thereby ignite change,” one reader commented on the article accompanying the image. “But somehow I also find it a thoroughly humiliating (disrespectful) photograph, too.”

To give readers insight into our editorial process, we asked several top editors how The Times decided to run the photo.

At least a dozen editors discussed the image, which came from The Associated Press, at length on Tuesday after seeing it on social media. Once the photo’s legitimacy had been verified, editors decided to publish it online that evening with an article that reported on the victims, Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter, Valeria, and explained the image’s significance in the immigration debate. The photo appeared prominently on The Times’s front page on Wednesday.

Beth Flynn, our deputy photo editor, said the editors decided to run the image because it bore witness to what is happening at the border between the United States and Mexico right now.

“It’s important for our readers to see and understand that,” she said.

The photo reminded the editors of other powerful images, including the photo of a 3-year-old Syrian boy, Aylan Kurdi, whose body washed ashore in Turkey, that have brought world tragedies into greater focus and humanized the victims, said Tom Jolly, the associate masthead editor who oversees The Times’s print operations.

Among the questions the editors discussed were whether prominent use of the image on the front page would be seen as gratuitous (they decided it wasn’t) and whether it added important context to our coverage of the border, Ms. Flynn said. While The Times has written about migrants who died attempting to cross the Rio Grande, there have not been images of that plight. This photo “has such impact” as a result, Ms. Flynn said.

They also considered whether they would feel the same about the photo if it showed two white Americans.

“In this case, after an almost two-hour conversation involving people with different backgrounds and perspectives, we felt that yes, this photo was an iconic moment that represented something bigger than just the image itself,” Mr. Jolly said.

One concern about running the photo at the top of the front page was whether it would give the appearance of The Times making a political statement, Mr. Jolly said. But the editors were confident that the image stood on its own, reflecting the perils migrants on the border face, not a position on the issue of immigration.

There are some places the photo hasn’t appeared: The Times has a longstanding policy of not using graphic images in social media posts, except in extremely rare circumstances.

“It’s one thing to feature graphic photos on the homescreen or in an article,” Cynthia Collins, our off-platform editor, said. “It’s quite another thing to serve a graphic image in tweets and Facebook posts that can appear in the newsfeeds of people who didn’t deliberately seek out the news and editorial judgment of The New York Times.”

After readers criticized a photo of dead bodies that ran with a January article about an attack in Nairobi, Kenya, top editors in our photo department compiled internal guidelines for the publication of graphic or sensitive photos. Phil Corbett, our standards editor, summarized them for us:

  • Editors are advised to take enough time to discuss such a decision thoroughly, and to consult high-ranking editors as needed.

  • They should consider a series of questions and factors, including the newsworthiness of the event; how crucial the photo is to telling the story; the likely impact on loved ones, survivors and the community affected; and whether our judgment would be the same regardless of who the victims were or where the events occurred.

The conversations are never taken lightly.

“These are not easy images to use,” Mr. Jolly said. “They’re as difficult for us to look at as anyone. We do not do it without a tremendous amount of thought.”

Voir de plus:

An Expert on Concentration Camps Says That’s Exactly What the U.S. Is Running at the Border

« Things can be concentration camps without being Dachau or Auschwitz. »

New Tent Camps Go Up In West Texas For Migrant Children Separated From Parents

Joe RaedleGetty Images

Surely, the United States of America could not operate concentration camps. In the American consciousness, the term is synonymous with the Nazi death machines across the European continent that the Allies began the process of dismantling 75 years ago this month. But while the world-historical horrors of the Holocaust are unmatched, they are only the most extreme and inhuman manifestation of a concentration-camp system—which, according to Andrea Pitzer, author of One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps, has a more global definition. There have been concentration camps in France, South Africa, Cuba, the Soviet Union, and—with Japanese internment—the United States. In fact, she contends we are operating such a system right now in response to a very real spike in arrivals at our southern border.

“We have what I would call a concentration camp system,” Pitzer says, “and the definition of that in my book is, mass detention of civilians without trial.”

Historians use a broader definition of concentration camps, as well.

« What’s required is a little bit of demystification of it, » says Waitman Wade Beorn, a Holocaust and genocide studies historian and a lecturer at the University of Virginia. « Things can be concentration camps without being Dachau or Auschwitz. Concentration camps in general have always been designed—at the most basic level—to separate one group of people from another group. Usually, because the majority group, or the creators of the camp, deem the people they’re putting in it to be dangerous or undesirable in some way. »

« Things can be concentration camps without being Dachau or Auschwitz. »

Not every concentration camp is a death camp—in fact, their primary purpose is rarely extermination, and never in the beginning. Often, much of the death and suffering is a result of insufficient resources, overcrowding, and deteriorating conditions. So far, 24 people have died in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the Trump administration, while six children have died in the care of other agencies since September. Systems like these have emerged across the world for well over 100 years, and they’ve been established by putative liberal democracies—as with Britain’s camps in South Africa during the Boer War—as well as authoritarian states like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. Camps set up with one aim can be repurposed by new regimes, often with devastating consequences.

History is banging down the door this week with the news the Trump administration will use Fort Sill, an Oklahoma military base that was used to detain Japanese-Americans during World War II, to house 1,400 unaccompanied migrant children captured at the border. Japanese internment certainly constituted a concentration-camp system, and the echoes of the past are growing louder. Of course, the Obama administration temporarily housed migrants at military bases, including Fort Sill, for four months in 2014, built many of the newer facilities to house migrants, and pioneered some of the tactics the Trump administration is now using to try to manage the situation at the border.

Roll call is taken by the army at Japanese internment camp, Tule Lake, CA.

Roll call is taken by the army at a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II in Tule Lake, CA in 1944.

Carl MydansGetty Images

The government of the United States would never call the sprawling network of facilities now in use across many states « concentration camps, » of course. They’re referred to as « federal migrant shelters » or « temporary shelters for unaccompanied minors » or « detainment facilities » or the like. (The initial processing facilities are run by Border Patrol, and the system is primarily administered to by the Department of Homeland Security. Many adults are transferred to ICE, which now detains more than 52,000 people across 200 facilities on any given day—a record high. Unaccompanied minors are transferred to Department of Health and Human Services custody.) But by Pitzer’s measure, the system at the southern border first set up by the Bill Clinton administration, built on by Barack Obama’s government, and brought into extreme and perilous new territory by Donald Trump and his allies does qualify. Two historians who specialize in the area largely agree.


Many of the people housed in these facilities are not « illegal » immigrants. If you present yourself at the border seeking asylum, you have a legal right to a hearing under domestic and international law. They are, in another formulation, refugees—civilian non-combatants who have not committed a crime, and who say they are fleeing violence and persecution. Yet these human beings, who mostly hail from Central America’s Northern Triangle of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador—a region ravaged by gang violence and poverty and corruption and what increasingly appears to be some of the first forced migrations due to climate change—are being detained on what increasingly seems to be an indefinite basis.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration continually seeks new ways to stop people from applying for asylum, and to discourage others from attempting to. The current regime has sought to restrict the asylum criteria to exclude the exact issues, like gang or domestic violence, that these desperate people often cite for why they fled their homes. The administration has sought to introduce application fees and work-permit restraints. They have tried to prohibit migrants from seeking asylum « if they have resided in a country other than their own before coming to the U.S., » which would essentially eliminate anyone who traveled to the border through Mexico. Much of this has been struck down in federal court.

But most prominently, Trump’s Department of Homeland Security has used « metering » at the border, where migrants are forced to wait for days or weeks on the Mexican side—often sleeping in makeshift shelters or fully exposed to the elements—until they are allowed across border checkpoints to make their asylum claims and be processed. That processing system is overwhelmed, and the Obama administration also used metering at various points, but it remains unclear whether the wait times need to be as long as they are. (DHS did not respond to a request for comment.) There are no guarantees on how long migrants will have to wait, and so they’ve increasingly turned to crossing illegally between checkpoints—which constitutes « illegal entry, » a misdemeanor—in order to present themselves for asylum. This criminalizes them, and the Trump administration tried to make illegal entry a disqualifier for asylum claims. The overall effort appears to be to make it as difficult as possible to get a hearing to adjudicate those claims, raising the specter that people can be detained longer or indefinitely.

All this has been achieved through two mechanisms: militarization and dehumanization. In her book, Pitzer describes camps as “a deliberate choice to inject the framework of war into society itself. » These kinds of detention camps are a military endeavor: they are defensible in wartime, when enemy combatants must be detained, often for long periods without trial. They were a hallmark of World War I Europe. But inserting them into civil society, and using them to house civilians, is a materially different proposition. You are revoking the human and civil rights of non-combatants without legal justification.

USA - Immigration Detention Center in Nogales

A migrant family sits inside an Immigration Detention Center in Nogales after they were detained by border patrol agents.

J.Emilio FloresGetty Images

« In the origins of the camps, it’s tied to the idea of martial law, » says Jonathan Hyslop, author of « The Invention of the Concentration Camp: Cuba, Southern Africa and the Philippines, 1896–1907, » and a professor of sociology and anthropology at Colgate University. « I mean, all four of the early instances—Americans in the Philippines, Spanish in Cuba, and British in South Africa, and Germans in Southwest Africa—they’re all essentially overriding any sense of rights of the civilian population. And the idea is that you’re able to suspend normal law because it’s a war situation. »

This pairs well with the rhetoric that Trump deploys to justify the system and his unconstitutional power grabs, like the phony « national emergency »: he describes the influx of asylum-seekers and other migrants as an « invasion, » language his allies are mirroring with increasing extremism. If you’re defending yourself from an invasion, anything is defensible.

That goes hand-in-hand with the strategy of dehumanization. For decades, the right has referred to undocumented immigrants as « illegals, » stripping them of any identity beyond an immigration status. Trump kicked off his formal political career by characterizing Hispanic immigrants as « rapists » and « drug-dealers » and « criminals, » never once sharing, say, the story of a woman who came here with her son fleeing a gang’s threats. It is always MS-13 and strong, scary young men. There’s talk of « animals » and monsters, and suddenly anything is justifiable. In fact, it must be done. Trump’s supporters have noticed. At a recent rally, someone in the crowd screamed out that people arriving at the border should be shot. In response, the president cracked a « joke. »

US-politics-immigration-Mexico

Trump’s rhetoric about the border has served the purpose of militarizing the system and dehumanizing its subjects.

SAUL LOEBGetty Images

« It’s important here to look at the language that people are using, » Hyslop says. « As soon as you get people comparing other groups to animals or insects, or using language about advancing hordes, and we’re being overrun and flooded and this sort of thing, it’s creating the sense of this enormous threat. And that makes it much easier to sell to people on the idea we’ve got to do something drastic to control this population which going to destroy us. »

In a grotesque formulation of the chicken-and-the-egg conundrum, housing people in these camps furthers their dehumanization.

« There’s this crystallization that happens, » Pitzer says. « The longer they’re there, the worse conditions get. That’s just a universal of camps. They’re overcrowded. We already know from reports that they don’t have enough beds for the numbers that they have. As you see mental health crises and contagious diseases begin to set in, they’ll work to manage the worst of it. [But] then there will be the ability to tag these people as diseased, even if we created [those conditions]. Then we, by creating the camps, try to turn that population into the false image that we [used] to put them in the camps to start with. Over time, the camps will turn those people into what Trump was already saying they are. »

Spanish Refugees At The Camp In Perthus, France 1939

Spanish Republican refugees are held at a concentration camp in Perthus, France, in 1939. Tens of thousands fled the Spanish civil war and were kept in French camps, which were turned over to the Nazis when France fell a few years later.

Keystone-FranceGetty Images

Make no mistake: the conditions are in decline. When I went down to see the detention facility in McAllen, Texas, last summer at the height of the « zero-tolerance » policy that led inevitably to family separation, Border Patrol agents were by all appearances doing the very best they could with limited resources. That includes the facilities themselves, which at that point were mostly built—by the Clinton administration in the ’90s—to house single adult males who were crossing the border illegally to find work. By that point, Border Patrol was already forced to use them to hold families and other asylum-seekers, and agents told me the situation was untenable. They lacked requisite staff with the training to care for young children, and overcrowding was already an issue.

But according to a report from Trump’s own government—specifically, the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security—the situation has deteriorated significantly even since then. The facilities are overcrowded, underfunded, and perhaps at a perilous inflection point. It found adult detainees are « being held in ‘standing-room-only conditions’ for days or weeks at a border patrol facility in Texas, » Reuters reports. But it gets worse.

Single adults were held in cells designed for one-fifth as many detainees as were housed there and were wearing soiled clothing for days or weeks with limited access to showers, the report said. Pictures published with the report show women packed tightly together in a holding cell.

“We also observed detainees standing on toilets in the cells to make room and gain breathing space, thus limiting access to toilets,” the watchdog wrote.

This was at Paso del Norte, a facility near El Paso, which has a stated capacity of 125 detainees. But when DHS inspectors visited, it was holding 900. For a period, Border Patrol tried housing migrants in cage under a nearby bridge. It was ultimately scrapped amid public outcry. When migrants and asylum-seekers are transferred to ICE, things can get worse. Queer and trans migrants face exceptionally harsh treatment, with reports of high levels of physical and sexual abuse, and the use of solitary confinementconsidered torture by many psychologists—is widespread. As a reminder, by DHS’s own assertion, these detainments are civil, not criminal, and are not meant to be punitive in the way of a prison. Many of these people have not even been accused of a crime.

U.S. Customs And Border Protection Agency Holding Detained Migrants Under Bridge In El Paso

Migrants awaiting processing are held in temporary fencing underneath the Paso Del Norte Bridge on March 28, 2019 in El Paso, Texas.

Christ ChavezGetty Images

Again: these are inhuman conditions, and crystalize the dehumanization. So, too, does the Trump administration’s decision, reported by The Washington Post, to cancel classes, recreational programs, and even legal aid for the children held at facilities for unaccompanied minors. Why should these kids get to play soccer or learn English? Why should they get legal assistance? They’re detainees.

The administration is citing « budget pressures » related to what is undoubtedly a dramatic spike in arrivals at the border last month: 144,000 people were detained in May. It remains unclear how much of this is tied to the Trump administration’s border policies, like metering, which have severely slowed the process of declaring oneself for asylum and left people camped on the Mexican border for days or weeks after a thousand-mile trek through Mexico. Or Trump’s recent all-out push to seize money for a border wall and declare « we’re closed, » which some speculate led to a surge of people trying to get over the line before that happened.

It’s also in dispute how many of these people actually need to be detained. Vox‘s Dara Lind suggests releasing migrants from Guatemala or Honduras isn’t straightforward as « many newly arrived asylum seekers aren’t familiar with the US, often speak neither English nor Spanish, and may not have appropriate clothing or funds for bus fare. » But release with ankle bracelets has proven very effective as an alternative to detention: 99 percent of immigrants enrolled in one such program showed up for their court dates, though ICE claims it’s less effective when someone is set to be deported. Those subjected to the bracelets say they are uncomfortable and demeaning, but it’s better than stuffing a detention cell to five-times capacity. Unless, of course, that’s exactly what you want to happen.

« Over time, the camps will turn those people into what Trump was already saying they are. »

« At one point, [the administration] said that they were intentionally trying to split up families and make conditions unpleasant, so the people wouldn’t come to the U.S., » Beorn, from UVA, says. « If you’re doing that, then that’s not a prison. That’s not a holding area or a waiting area. That’s a policy. I would argue, at least in the way that [the camps are] being used now, a significant portion of the mentality is [tied to] who the [detainees] are rather than what they did.

« If these were Canadians flooding across the border, would they be treated in the same manner as the people from Mexico and from Central and South America? If the answer is yes, theoretically, then I would consider these places to be perhaps better described as transit camps or prison camps. But I suspect that’s not how they’d be treated, which then makes it much more about who the people are that you’re detaining, rather than what they did. The Canadian would have crossed the border just as illegally as the Mexican, but my suspicion is, would be treated in a different way. »


It was the revelation about school and soccer cuts that led Pitzer to fire off a tweet thread this week outlining the similarities between the U.S. camp system and those of other countries. The first examples of a concentration camp, in the modern sense, come from Cuba in the 1890s and South Africa during the Second Boer War.

« What those camps had in common with what’s going on today is they involved the wholesale detention of families, separate or together, » Pitzer says. « There was very little in the way of targeted violence. Instead, people died from poor planning, overloaded facilities and unwillingness to reverse policy, even when it became apparent the policy wasn’t working, inability to get medical care to detainees, poor food quality, contagious diseases, showing up in an environment where it became almost impossible to get control of them.

Boer War Camp

A camp for British prisoners of war during the Boer War.

Van HoepenGetty Images

« The point is that you don’t have to intend to kill everybody. When people hear the phrase ‘Oh, there’s concentration camps on the southern border,’ they think, ‘Oh, it’s not Auschwitz.’ Of course, it’s not those things, each camp system is different. But you don’t have to intend to kill everyone to have really bad outcomes. In Cuba, well over 100,000 civilians died in these camps in just a period of a couple years. In Southern Africa during the Boer War, fatalities went into the tens of thousands. And the overwhelming majority of them were children. Fatalities in the camps ended up being more than twice the combat fatalities from the war itself. »

In-custody deaths have not reached their peak of a reported 32 people in 2004, but the current situation seems to be deteriorating. In just the last two weeks, three adults have died. And the Trump administration has not readily reported fatalities to the public. There could be more.

« There’s usually this crisis period that a camp system either survives or doesn’t survive in the first three or four years. If it goes past that length of time, they tend to continue for a really long time. And I think we have entered that crisis period. I don’t yet know if we’re out of it. »

Camps often begin in wartime or a crisis point, and on a relatively small scale. There are then some in positions of power who want to escalate the program for political purposes, but who receive pushback from others in the regime. There’s then a power struggle, and if the escalationists prevail over the other bureaucrats—as they appear to have here, with the supremacy of Stephen Miller over (the reliably pliant but less extreme) Kirstjen Nielsen—the camps will continue and grow. Almost by definition, the conditions will deteriorate, even despite the best intentions of those on the ground.

« It’s a negative trajectory in at least two ways, » Beorn says. « One, I feel like these policies can snowball. We’ve already seen unintended consequences. If we follow the thread of the children, for example, the government wanted to make things more annoying, more painful. So they decided, We’re going to separate the children from the families. But there was no infrastructure in place for that. You already have a scenario where even if you have the best intentions, the infrastructure doesn’t exist to support it. That’s a consequence of policy that hasn’t been thought through. As you see the population begin to massively increase over time, you do start to see conditions diminishing.

« The second piece is that the longer you establish this sort of extralegal, extrajudicial, somewhat-invisible no-man’s land, the more you allow potentially a culture of abuse to develop within that place. Because the people who tend to become more violent, more prejudiced, whatever, have more and more free rein for that to become sort of the accepted behavior. Then, that also becomes a new norm that can spread throughout the system. There is sort of an escalation of individual initiative in violence. As it becomes clear that that is acceptable, then you have a self-fulfilling prophecy or a positive feedback loop that just keeps radicalizing the treatment as the policy itself becomes radicalizing. »

And for a variety of reasons, these facilities are incredibly hard to close. « Unless there’s some really decisive turn away, we’re going to be looking at having these camps for a long time, » Pitzer says. It’s particularly hard to engineer a decisive turn because these facilities are often remote, and hard to protest. They are not top-of-mind for most citizens, with plenty of other issues on the table. When Trump first instituted the Muslim Ban—now considered, in its third iteration, to be Definitely Not a Muslim Ban by the Supreme Court—there were mass demonstrations at U.S. airports because they were readily accessible by concerned citizens. These camps are not so easily reached, and that’s a problem.

US-MEXICO-POLITICS-BORDER-IMMIGRATION-MIGRANTS

Migrants board buses to take them to shelters after being released from migration detention as construction of a new migrant processing facility is underway at the Customs and Border Protection – El Paso Border Patrol Station on the east side of El Paso on April 28, 2019.

PAUL RATJEGetty Images

« The more authoritarian the regime is, and the more people allow governments to get away with doing this sort of thing politically, the worse the conditions are likely to get, » Hyslop says. « So, a lot of it depends on how much pushback there is. But when you get a totally authoritarian regime like Stalin’s regime in the Soviet Union, there’s no control, or no countervailing force, the state can do what it likes, and certainly things will then tend to break down.

« It’s more of a political question, really. Are people prepared to tolerate the deteriorating conditions? And if public opinion isn’t effective in a liberal democratic situation, things can still get pretty bad. »

Almost regardless, the camps will be difficult to dismantle by their very nature—that extrajudicial « no-man’s land » Beorn mentioned. The prison at Guantanamo Bay is a perfect example. It began in the early 1990s as a refugee camp for people fleeing Haiti and Cuba. The conditions were bad and legally questionable, Pitzer found, and eventually the courts stepped in to grant detainees some rights. In the process, however, they granted the camps tacit legitimacy—they were allowed to continue with the approval of the judiciary.

Suddenly, they were enshrined in the law as a kind of gray area where detainees did not enjoy full human rights. That is actually why it was chosen by the Bush administration to house terror suspects: it was already rubber-stamped as a site for indefinite detention. By the time President Obama came into office with promises to close it, he found the task incredibly difficult, because it had been ingrained in the various institutions and branches of American constitutional government. He could not get rid of it. As courts continue to rule on the border camp system, the same issues are likely to take hold.

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Border agents detain a group of migrants.

Getty Images

Another issue is that these camp systems, no matter where they are in the world, tend to fall victim to expanding criteria. The longer they stay open, the more reasons a government finds to put people in them. That’s particularly true if a new regime takes control of an existing system, as the Trump administration did with ours. The mass detention of asylum-seekers—who, again, have legal rights—on this scale is an expansion of the criteria from « illegal » immigrants, who were the main class of detainee in the ’90s and early 2000s. Asylum seekers, particularly unaccompanied minors, began arriving in huge numbers and were detained under the Obama administration. But there has been an escalation, both because of a deteriorating situation in the Northern Triangle and the Trump administration’s attempts to deter any and all migration. There is reason to believe the criteria will continue to expand.

« We have border patrol agents that are sometimes arresting U.S. citizens, » Pitzer says. « That’s still very much a fringe activity. That doesn’t seem to be a dedicated priority right now, but it’s happening often enough. And they’re held, sometimes, for three or four days. Even when there are clear reasons that people should be let go, that they have proof of their identity, you’re seeing these detentions. You do start to worry about people who have legally immigrated and have finished paperwork, and maybe are naturalized. You worry about green-card holders. »

In most cases, these camps are not closed by the executive or the judiciary or even the legislature. It usually requires external intervention. (See: D-Day) That obviously will not be an option when it comes to the most powerful country in the history of the world, a country which, while it would never call them that, and would be loathe to admit it, is now running a system at the southern border that is rapidly coming to resemble the concentration camps that have sprung up all over the world in the last century. Every system is different. They don’t always end in death machines. But they never end well.

« Let’s say there’s 20 hurdles that we have to get over before we get to someplace really, really, really bad, » Pitzer says. « I think we’ve knocked 10 of them down. »

Voir encore:
‘Some Suburb of Hell’: America’s New Concentration Camp System

Andrea Pitzer
New York review of books
June 21, 2019
Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

Barbed wire, fences, and security cameras surrounding a tent city constructed in 2007 to house undocumented immigrants in Raymondville, Texas

On Monday, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez referred to US border detention facilities as “concentration camps,” spurring a backlash in which critics accused her of demeaning the memory of those who died in the Holocaust. Debates raged over a label for what is happening along the southern border and grew louder as the week rolled on. But even this back-and-forth over naming the camps has been a recurrent feature in the mass detention of civilians ever since its inception, a history that long predates the Holocaust.

At the heart of such policy is a question: What does a country owe desperate people whom it does not consider to be its citizens? The twentieth century posed this question to the world just as the shadow of global conflict threatened for the second time in less than three decades. The dominant response was silence, and the doctrine of absolute national sovereignty meant that what a state did to people under its control, within its borders, was nobody else’s business. After the harrowing toll of the Holocaust with the murder of millions, the world revisited its answer, deciding that perhaps something was owed to those in mortal danger. From the Fourth Geneva Convention protecting civilians in 1949 to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the international community established humanitarian obligations toward the most vulnerable that apply, at least in theory, to all nations.

The twenty-first century is unraveling that response. Countries are rejecting existing obligations and meeting asylum seekers with walls and fences, from detainees fleeing persecution who were sent by Australia to third-party detention in the brutal offshore camps of Manus and Nauru to razor-wire barriers blocking Syrian refugees from entering Hungary. While some nations, such as Germany, wrestle with how to integrate refugees into their labor force—more and more have become resistant to letting them in at all. The latest location of this unwinding is along the southern border of the United States.

So far, American citizens have gotten only glimpses of the conditions in the border camps that have been opened in their name. In the month of May, Customs and Border Protection reported a total of 132,887 migrants who were apprehended or turned themselves in between ports of entry along the southwest border, an increase of 34 percent from April alone. Upon apprehension, these migrants are temporarily detained by Border Patrol, and once their claims are processed, they are either released or handed over to ICE for longer-term detention. Yet Border Patrol itself is currently holding about 15,000 people, nearly four times what government officials consider to be this enforcement arm’s detention capacity.

On June 12, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that Fort Sill, an Army post that hosted a World War II internment camp for detainees of Japanese descent, will now be repurposed to detain migrant children. In total, HHS reports that it is currently holding some 12,000 minors. Current law limits detention of minors to twenty days, though Senator Lindsey Graham has proposed expanding the court-ordered limit to 100 days. Since the post is on federal land, it will be exempt from state child welfare inspections.

In addition to the total of detainees held by Border Patrol, an even higher number is detained at centers around the country by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency: on a typical day at the beginning of this month, ICE was detaining more than 52,500 migrants. The family separation policy outraged the public in the 2018, but despite legal challenges, it never fully ended. Less publicized have been the deaths of twenty-four adults in ICE custody since the beginning of the Trump administration; in addition, six children between the ages of two and sixteen have died in federal custody over the last several months. It’s not clear whether there have been other deaths that have gone unreported.

Sergio Flores/Washington Post via Getty Images

Migrants at a makeshift Customs and Border Protection detention center, El Paso, Texas, March 27, 2019

Conditions for detainees have not been improving. At the end of May, a Department of Homeland Security inspector general found nearly 900 migrants at a Texas shelter built for a capacity of 125 people. On June 11, a university professor spotted at least 100 men behind chain-link fences near the Paso del Norte Bridge in El Paso, Texas. Those detainees reported sitting outside for weeks in temperatures that soared above 100 degrees. Taylor Levy, an El Paso immigration lawyer, described going into one facility and finding “a suicidal four-year-old whose face was covered in bloody, self-inflicted scratches… Another young child had to be restrained by his mother because he kept running full-speed into metal lockers. He was covered in bruises.”

If deciding what to do about the growing numbers of adults and children seeking refuge in the US relies on complex humanitarian policies and international laws, in which most Americans don’t take a deep interest, a simpler question also presents itself: What exactly are these camps that the Trump administration has opened, and where is this program of mass detention headed?

Even with incomplete information about what’s happening along the border today and what the government plans for these camps, history points to some conclusions about their future. Mass detention without trial earned a new name and a specific identity at the end of the nineteenth century. The labels then adopted for the practice were “reconcentración” and “concentration camps”—places of forced relocation of civilians into detention on the basis of group identity.

Other kinds of group detention had appeared much earlier in North American history. The US government drove Native Americans from their homelands into prescribed exile, with death and detention in transit camps along the way. Some Spanish mission systems in the Americas had accomplished similar ends by seizing land and pressing indigenous people into forced labor. During the 245 years when slavery was legal in the US, detention was one of its essential features.

Concentration camps, however, don’t typically result from the theft of land, as happened with Native Americans, or owning human beings in a system of forced labor, as in the slave trade. Exile, theft, and forced labor can come later, but in the beginning, detention itself is usually the point of concentration camps. By the end of the nineteenth century, the mass production of barbed wire and machines guns made this kind of detention possible and practical in ways it never had been before.

Under Spanish rule in 1896, the governor-general of Cuba instituted camps in order to clear rebel-held regions during an uprising, despite his predecessor’s written refusal “as the representative of a civilized nation, to be the first to give the example of cruelty and intransigence” that such detention would represent. After women and children began dying in vast numbers behind barbed wire because there had been little planning for shelter and even less for food, US President William McKinley made his call to war before Congress. He spoke against the policy of reconcentración, calling it warfare by uncivilized means. “It was extermination,” McKinley said. “The only peace it could beget was that of the wilderness and the grave.” Without full records, the Cuban death toll can only be estimated, but a consensus puts it in the neighborhood of 150,000, more than 10 percent of the island’s prewar population.

Today, we remember the sinking of the USS Maine as the spark that ignited the Spanish-American War. But war correspondent George Kennan (cousin of the more famous diplomat) believed that “it was the suffering of the reconcentrados, more, perhaps, than any other one thing that brought about the intervention of the United States.” On April 25, 1898, Congress declared war. Two weeks later, US Marines landed at Fisherman’s Point on the windward side of the entrance to Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. After a grim, week-long fight, the Marines took the hill. It became a naval base, and the United States has never left that patch of land.

As part of the larger victory, the US inherited the Philippines. The world’s newest imperial power also inherited a rebellion. Following a massacre of American troops at Balangiga in September 1901, during the third year of the conflict, the US established its own concentration camp system. Detainees, mostly women and children, were forced into squalid conditions that one American soldier described in a letter to a US senator as “some suburb of hell.” In the space of only four months, more than 11,000 Filipinos are believed to have died in these noxious camps.

Meanwhile, in southern Africa in 1900, the British had opened their own camps during their battle with descendants of Dutch settlers in the second Boer War. British soldiers filled tent cities with Boer women and children, and the military authorities called them refugee camps. Future Prime Minister David Lloyd George took offense at that name, noting in Parliament: “There is no greater delusion in the mind of any man than to apply the term ‘refugee’ to these camps. They are not refugee camps. They are camps of concentration.” Contemporary observers compared them to the Cuban camps, and criticized their deliberate cruelty. The Bishop of Hereford wrote to The Times of London in 1901, asking: “Are we reduced to such a depth of impotence that our Government can do nothing to stop such a holocaust of child-life?”

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A mother and child in a concentration camp built by the British to hold civilians during the Second Boer War, South Africa, 1901–1902

Maggoty meat rations and polluted water supplies joined outbreaks of contagious diseases amid crowded and unhealthy conditions in the Boer camps. More than 27,000 detainees are thought to have died there, nearly 80 percent of them children. The British had opened camps for black Africans as well, in which at least 14,000 detainees died—the real number is probably much higher. Aside from protests made by some missionaries, the deaths of indigenous black Africans did not inspire much public outrage. Much of the history of the suffering in these camps has been lost.

These early experiments with concentration camps took place on the periphery of imperial power, but accounts of them nevertheless made their way into newspapers and reports in many nations. As a result, the very idea of them came to be seen as barbaric. By the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, the first camp systems had all been closed, and concentration camps had nearly vanished as an institution. Within months of the outbreak of World War I, though, they would be resurrected—this time rising not at the margins but in the centers of power. Between 1914 and 1918, camps were constructed on an unprecedented scale across six continents. In their time, these camps were commonly called concentration camps, though today they are often referred to by the more anodyne term “internment.”

Those World War I detainees were, for the most part, foreigners—or, in legalese, aliens—and recent anti-immigration legislation in several countries had deliberately limited their rights. The Daily Mail denounced aliens left at liberty once they had registered with their local police department, demanding, “Does signing his name take the malice out of a man?” The Scottish Field was more direct, asking, “Do Germans have souls?” That these civilian detainees were no threat to Britain did not keep them from being demonized, shouted at, and spat upon as they were paraded past hostile crowds in cities like London.

Though a small number of people were shot in riots in these camps, and hunger became a serious issue as the conflict dragged on, World War I internment would present a new, non-lethal face for the camps, normalizing detention. Even after the war, new camps sprang up from Spain to Hungary and Cuba, providing an improvised “solution” for everything from vagrancy to anxieties over the presence of Jewish foreigners.

Some of these camps were clearly not safe for those interned. Local camps appeared in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921, after a white mob burned down a black neighborhood and detained African-American survivors. In Bolshevik Russia, the first concentration camps preceded the formation of the Soviet Union in 1922 and planted seeds for the brutal Gulag system that became official near the end of the USSR’s first decade. While some kinds of camps were understood to be harsher, after World War I their proliferation did not initially disturb public opinion. They had yet to take on their worst incarnations.

In 1933, barely more than a month after Hitler was appointed chancellor, the Nazis’ first, impromptu camp opened in the town of Nohra in central Germany to hold political opponents. Detainees at Nohra were allowed to vote at a local precinct in the elections of March 5, 1933, resulting in a surge of Communist ballots in the tiny town. Locking up groups of civilians without trial had become accepted. Only the later realization of the horrors of the Nazi death camps would break the default assumption by governments and the public that concentration camps could and should be a simple way to manage populations seen as a threat.

However, the staggering death toll of the Nazi extermination camp system—which was created mid-war and stood almost entirely separate from the concentration camps in existence since 1933—led to another result: a strange kind of erasure. In the decades that followed World War II, the term “concentration camp” came to stand only for Auschwitz and other extermination camps. It was no longer applied to the kind of extrajudicial detention it had denoted for generations. The many earlier camps that had made the rise of Auschwitz possible largely vanished from public memory.

Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

A US Marine walking the outer perimeter of Camp X-Ray, Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, 2002

It is not necessary, however, to step back a full century in American history to find camps with links to what is happening on the US border today. Detention at Guantánamo began in the 1990s, when Haitian and Cuban immigrants whom the government wanted to keep out of the United States were housed there in waves over a four-year period—years before the “war on terror” and the US policy of rendition of suspected “enemy combatants” made Camps Delta, X-Ray, and Echo notorious. Tens of thousands of Haitians fleeing instability at home were picked up at sea and diverted to the Cuban base, to limit their legal right to apply for asylum. The court cases and battles over the suffering of those detainees ended up setting the stage for what Guantánamo would become after September 11, 2001.

In one case, a federal court ruled that it did have jurisdiction over the base, but the government agreed to release the Haitians who were part of the lawsuit in exchange for keeping that ruling off the books. A ruling in a second case would assert that the courts did not have jurisdiction. Absent the prior case, the latter stood on its own as precedent. Leaving Guantánamo in this gray area made it an ideal site for extrajudicial detention and torture after the twin towers fell.

This process of normalization, when a bad camp becomes much more dangerous, is not unusual. Today’s border camps are a crueler reflection of long-term policies—some challenged in court—that earlier presidents had enacted. Prior administrations own a share of the responsibility for today’s harsh practices, but the policies in place today are also accompanied by a shameless willingness to publicly target a vulnerable population in increasingly dangerous ways.

I visited Guantánamo twice in 2015, sitting in the courtroom for pretrial hearings and touring the medical facility, the library, and all the old abandoned detention sites, as well as newly built ones, open to the media—from the kennel-style cages of Camp X-Ray rotting to ruin in the damp heat to the modern jailhouse facilities of Camp 6. Seeing all this in person made clear to me how vast the architecture of detention had become, how entrenched it was, and how hard it would be to close.

Without a significant government effort to reverse direction, conditions in every camp system tend to deteriorate over time. Governments rarely make that kind of effort on behalf of people they are willing to lock up without trial in the first place. And history shows that legislatures do not close camps against the will of an executive.

Just a few years ago there might have been more potential for change spurred by the judicial branch of our democracy, but this Supreme Court is inclined toward deference to executive power, even, it appears, if that power is abused. It seems unlikely this Court will intervene to end the new border camp system; indeed, the justices are far more likely to institutionalize it by half-measures, as happened with Guantánamo. The Korematsu case, in which the Supreme Court upheld Japanese-American internment (a ruling only rescinded last year), relied on the suppression of evidence by the solicitor general. Americans today can have little confidence that this administration would behave any more scrupulously when defending its detention policy.

What kind of conditions can we expect to develop in these border camps? The longer a camp system stays open, the more likely it is that vital things will go wrong: detainees will contract contagious diseases and suffer from malnutrition and mental illness. We have already seen that current detention practices have resulted in children and adults succumbing to influenza, staph infections, and sepsis. The US is now poised to inflict harm on tens of thousands more, perhaps hundreds of thousands more.

Along with such inevitable consequences, every significant camp system has introduced new horrors of its own, crises that were unforeseen when that system was opened. We have yet to discover what those will be for these American border camps. But they will happen. Every country thinks it can do detention better when it starts these projects. But no good way to conduct mass indefinite detention has yet been devised; the system always degrades. 

When, in 1940, Margarete Buber-Neumann was transferred from the Soviet Gulag at Karaganda to the camp for women at Ravensbrück (in an exchange enabled by the Nazi–Soviet Pact), she came from near-starvation conditions in the USSR and was amazed at the cleanliness and order of the Nazi camp. New arrivals were issued clothing, bedding, and silverware, and given fresh porridge, fruit, sausage, and jam to eat. Although the Nazi camps were already punitive, order-obsessed monstrosities, the wartime overcrowding that would soon overtake them had not yet made daily life a thing of constant suffering and squalor. The death camps were still two years away.

The United States now has a vast and growing camp system. It is starting out with gruesome overcrowding and inadequate healthcare, and because of budget restrictions, has already taken steps to cut services to juvenile detainees. The US Office of Refugee Resettlement says that the mounting number of children arriving unaccompanied is forcing it to use military bases and other sites that it prefers to avoid, and that establishing these camps is a temporary measure. But without oversight from state child welfare inspectors, the possibilities for neglect and abuse are alarming. And without any knowledge of how many asylum-seekers are coming in the future, federal administrators are likely to find themselves boxed in to managing detention on military sites permanently.

President Trump and senior White House adviser Stephen Miller appear to have purged the Department of Homeland Security of most internal opposition to their anti-immigrant policies. In doing so, that have removed even those sympathetic to the general approach taken by the White House, such as former Chief of Staff John Kelly and former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, in order to escalate the militarization of the border and expand irregular detention in more systematic and punitive ways. This kind of power struggle or purge in the early years of a camp system is typical. 

The disbanding of the Cheka, the Soviet secret police, in February 1922 and the transfer of its commander, Felix Dzerzhinsky, to head up an agency with control over only two prisons offered a hint of an alternate future in which extrajudicial detention would not play a central role in the fledgling Soviet republic. But Dzerzhinsky managed to keep control over the “special camps” in his new position, paving the way for the emergence of a camp-centered police state. In pre-war Germany in the mid-1930s, Himmler’s struggle to consolidate power from rivals eventually led him to make camps central to Nazi strategy. When the hardliners win, as they appear to have in the US, conditions tend to worsen significantly.

Is it possible this growth in the camp system will be temporary and the improvised border camps will soon close? In theory, yes. But the longer they remain open, the less likely they are to vanish. When I visited the camps for Rohingya Muslims a year before the large-scale campaign of ethnic cleansing began, many observers appeared to be confusing the possible and the probable. It was possible that the party of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi would sweep into office in free elections and begin making changes. It was possible that full democracy would come to all the residents of Myanmar, even though the government had stripped the Rohingya of the last vestiges of their citizenship. These hopes proved to be misplaced. Once there are concentration camps, it is always probable that things will get worse.

The Philippines, Japanese-American internment, Guantánamo… we can consider the fine points of how the current border camps evoke past US systems, and we can see how the arc of camp history reveals the likelihood that the suffering we’re currently inflicting will be multiplied exponentially. But we can also simply look at what we’re doing right now, shoving bodies into “dog pound”-style detention pens, “iceboxes,” and standing room-only spaces. We can look at young children in custody who have become suicidal. How much more historical awareness do we really need?

What Is a Concentration Camp? Experts Agree With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Border Facilities

Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez drew a firestorm of criticism this week after she appeared in an Instagram video claiming that the Trump administration « is running concentration camps on our southern border. »

« They are concentration camps, » Ocasio-Cortez affirmed in the video, referring to detention facilities where U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is holding undocumented migrants and asylum seekers who have fled to the U.S. « I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that ‘never again’ means something. The fact that concentration camps are now an institutionalized practice in the ‘home of the free’ is extraordinarily disturbing and we need to do something about it. »

Republican lawmakers were quick to push back against Ocasio-Cortez’s statement, which she repeated on Tuesday and Wednesday, arguing that the Congresswoman was disrespecting the memory of the 6 millions Jews who died in Nazi concentration camps by comparing these facilities to the ICE detention centers.

But many experts were quick to point out that, by definition, the ICE detention facilities are concentration camps. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a concentration camp as, « a place where large numbers of people (such as prisoners of war, political prisoners, refugees, or the members of an ethnic or religious minority) are detained or confined under armed guard. »

Many argue that this definition matches the detention centers currently set up on the southern border.

« Why are they called concentration camps? Well, to state the obvious, it’s because large numbers of people are ‘concentrated’ in camps. A better question is, why don’t we just call them prisons? We don’t say ‘prisons’ because prisons are a part of the formal legal system, » Lester Andrist, a sociologist who has studied indefinite detention, tweeted.

Andrist argues that the U.S. has a long history of establishing such facilities, including the Japanese-American internment camps that existed during World War II and, mostly recently, Guantanamo Bay. George Takei, the 82-year-old American actor of Japanese descent who is best known for his role in the Star Trek movies and television show, took to Twitter to share his perspective.

« I know what concentration camps are. I was inside two of them, in America. And yes, we are operating such camps again, » the Takei tweeted. The Takei family was interned in Arkansas and California in the 1940s.

Federico Finchelstein, a historian at the New York-based New School, agreed that the progressive congresswoman is right to call the ICE facilities concentration camps.

« As [a] historian of fascism & [the] Holocaust, I would also call these centers concentration camps, » Finchelstein tweeted. « As a Jewish person who lost family in [the] Holocaust, I regret that some Republicans use memory of the Holocaust to defend racist policies of Trumpism. »

In May, a top Pentagon official called China’s detention camps holding Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities « concentration camps » despite the fact that genocide has not been committed there.

Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the holocaust, however, was one of the institutions that pushed back against Ocasio-Cortez’s claims.

« Concentration camps assured a slave labor supply to help in the Nazi war effort, even as the brutality of life inside the camps helped assure the ultimate goal of ‘extermination through labor,' » the organization tweeted on Wednesday.

But the young Congresswoman stood by her position, noting that concentration camps are not the same as extermination camps.

« And for the shrieking Republicans who don’t know the difference: concentration camps are not the same as death camps, » Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Tuesday. « Concentration camps are considered by experts as ‘the mass detention of civilians without trial.’ And that’s exactly what this administration is doing. »

Voir enfin:

Recent assertions by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., that U.S.-run detention centers for migrants are « concentration camps » drew immediate rebukes from some politicians, Jewish groups and social media users.

« This administration has established concentration camps on the southern border of the United States for immigrants, where they are being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying.

This is not hyperbole. It is the conclusion of expert analysis, » she tweeted June 18.

Her tweet didn’t specifically mention Nazi Germany, but she used the term « never again » on her Instagram, a phrase often used as a warning to prevent another genocide like the Holocaust.

In a subsequent tweet, Ocasio-Cortez offered a distinction between « concentration camps » and « death camps. »

« And for the shrieking Republicans who don’t know the difference: concentration camps are not the same as death camps. Concentration camps are considered by experts as ‘the mass detention of civilians without trial.’ And that’s exactly what this administration is doing. »

Some had strongly negative reactions.

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., tweeted, « This is wrong @AOC. These are incredibly dangerous and disgusting words that demean the millions murdered during the Holocaust. »

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democratic presidential candidate, said Ocasio-Cortez « was wrong. You cannot compare what the Nazis did in the concentration camps. »

We decided to take a closer look at whether historians believe the label « concentration camp » can be reasonably applied to the migrant detention camps now being operated in the United States.

Historians we contacted said it was possible to make a case that the term « concentration camp » is a more general term than just referring to camps in Nazi Germany. However, these historians said Ocasio-Cortez glosses over some important differences.

They also said that the strong, longstanding association of the term « concentration camps » with Nazi Germany likely overwhelms any technical similarities the two types of camps may have. We won’t rate this item on our Truth-O-Meter for that reason.

When did the concept of a « concentration camp » emerge?

Nazi Germany was not the first nation to use concentration camps. The term dates from the eve of the 20th century, when it was used to describe policies used in at least three conflicts: South Africa’s Boer War, Spain’s campaign against Cuban insurrectionists and the United States’ campaign against Philippine insurgents.

The intent was to « cut insurgents off from their support, » said David J. Silbey, a Cornell University historian. « It was an effective tactic, but a brutal one, uprooting people from their homes and often leading to mass outbreaks of disease and starvation among the captive populations. »

Beginning in 1917, the Soviet Union used what were commonly known as « forced labor camps » to repress dissidents. The Soviets also forced people from the Baltic States and Poland into camps following their invasions of those countries in 1939.

Germany established concentration camps shortly after Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933. Contrary to the popular image of concentration camps as killing factories, most facilities were initially designed for slave labor.

« Systematic killing didn’t begin until the invasion of the Soviet Union, and it wasn’t until the January 1942 Wannsee Conference that the Nazis formally decided on a policy of extermination, » said Stephen Shalom, a political scientist at William Paterson University. These became what historians often refer to as « death camps. »

Over time, the distinction in the popular mind between the different types of camps blurred. The reality, though, is that the early camps produced deaths from neglect or overwork, rather than carrying out executions.

« None of the camps were pleasant, but the death camps were certainly the worst, » said Lance Janda, a military historian at Cameron University.

Japanese-American internment camps

The United States operated camps to hold Japanese-Americans following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, which drove the U.S. into World War II.

Though generally referred to as « internment camps » or « relocation camps, » these complexes have occasionally been referred to as « concentration camps, » including by Chief Justice John Roberts in 2018.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines « concentration camp » as « a camp where persons are confined, usually without hearings and typically under harsh conditions, often as a result of their membership in a group the government has identified as dangerous or undesirable. »

Ocasio-Cortez and her staff have pointed to such linguistic precedents to argue that U.S. detention camps for migrants can be reasonably described as « concentration camps. »

Some scholars agree that similarities exist.

« As historian of fascism & Holocaust, I would also call these centers concentrations camps, » tweeted The New School historian Federico Finchelstein.

Colgate University sociologist Jonathan Hyslop, who was also quoted in an Esquire magazine article that Ocasio-Cortez has cited, told PolitiFact that the definition of « concentration camp » is more elastic than most people think.

Today’s migrant detention facilities in the United States

So where do today’s detention centers in the United States fit in?

Adult immigrants in federal custody who are either waiting to be deported or waiting for a resolution of their immigration case are held in government-run centers or other contracted facilities.

Immigrant rights advocates have long warned about poor standards and the mistreatment of detainees at some detention facilities. Generally, information about detention facilities can be difficult to obtain, inconsistent and outdated, and overall lacking in transparency.

The Office of Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security on June 3, 2019, issued a report detailing concerns about Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainee treatment and care at four detention facilities. The report is based on unannounced 2018 inspections, in which investigators « observed immediate risks or egregious violations of detention standards at facilities. »

Among the issues documented: overly restrictive segregation, inadequate medical care, unreported security incidents, and significant food safety issues.

On June 21, the Associated Press reported that a legal team that interviewed 60 children at a facility near El Paso found that « kids are taking care of kids, and there’s inadequate food, water and sanitation for the 250 infants, children and teens at the Border Patrol station. »

Separately, there are about 13,700 immigrant children in the federal government’s care, at an average length of 44 days in May 2019, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services told PolitiFact. These children crossed the border illegally alone, without a parent or guardian, and are also waiting for a decision on their immigration case.

As government officials seek sponsors for the children, the detainees receive a bed, meals, medical care, and showers. But the facilities have recently been directed to scale back some services, such as education and recreation, citing lack of sufficient funds.

Some historians point to ‘intent’ as a major distinction

Overall, experts described the U.S. detention facilities as being far different from those of the earliest concentration camps, or from the Nazi camps — even from the ones that weren’t « death camps. »

« The original purpose of concentration camps was to remove the populace from areas that were controlled or contested by guerrillas and thus deny the guerrillas popular support in its tangible forms — food, shelter, information, recruits, and so on, » said Texas A&M University historian Brian McAllister Linn. « This is not the purpose of the detention facilities in the Southwest. »

Janda — who emphasized that he is unhappy with the current U.S. detention policy — nonetheless drew a distinction based on intent.

« What we’re doing is just not the same as what the Nazis or the Soviets did, and it’s a disservice to people suffering under dictatorships around the world to act like it is, » Janda said. « We’re not rounding up legal citizens, or going after specific minority groups and holding them indefinitely to squash dissent. »

Richard Breitman, an American University historian, was among several experts who said they would have avoided the term « concentration camp. »

While the term « does show where abuse and dehumanization might lead, » he said, « it confuses more than it explains. »

Voir par ailleurs:

Un migrant salvadorien et sa fille d’environ deux ans se sont noyés en tentant de traverser le Rio Bravo pour entrer aux Etats-Unis depuis le Mexique. Les corps d’Óscar et Valeria Martínez Ramírez ont été retrouvés, lundi 24 juin, sur la rive du fleuve dans les environs de Matamoros, dans l’Etat mexicain de Tamaulipas, selon un rapport de la justice mexicaine auquel l’AFP a eu accès.

Selon ce rapport judiciaire, Óscar Martínez Ramírez, un cuisinier âgé de 25 ans, sa compagne Tania Vanessa Ávalos, âgée de 21 ans, et leur petite fille Angie, 2 ans, étaient arrivés la semaine précédente à Matamoros, après avoir traversé tout le Mexique. Dimanche après-midi, la famille a décidé d’essayer de gagner à la nage la rive américaine du Rio Bravo, qui longe la frontière entre le Mexique et les Etats-Unis, accompagnée d’un ami.

Le père a pris l’enfant sur son dos en la calant à l’intérieur de son tee-shirt pour traverser le fleuve. Mais, emportés par des courants violents, tous deux se sont noyés, sous les yeux de la mère, laquelle a pu retourner en vie sur la rive mexicaine, selon les explications qu’elle a fournies aux autorités locales. Les photographies des corps du jeune père et de l’enfant, flottant sur le ventre sur la rive mexicaine du fleuve, ont choqué l’opinion publique au Salvador, mais aussi aux Etats-Unis, où CNN (en anglais) les compare à la photo d’Aylan Kurdi, cet enfant syrien de 3 ans dont le corps avait été découvert sur une plage en Turquie, en 2015.

Un « mur invisible »

Le gouvernement mexicain est la cible de vives critiques ces derniers jours pour son attitude envers les migrants. Quelque 15 000 militaires ont été déployés à la frontière avec les Etats-Unis et une photographie de l’AFP, prise pendant le week-end, montre deux femmes et une fillette arrêtées par des membres lourdement armés de la Garde nationale. Des opposants y voient un « mur invisible », référence à la promesse de campagne du président américain, Donald Trump, de faire ériger un mur entre les deux pays aux frais du Mexique.

Le président mexicain, Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador, a démenti, mardi, qu’un ordre ait été donné aux militaires pour interpeller les migrants qui traversent la frontière avec les Etats-Unis. « Aucun ordre n’a été donné dans ce sens (…) ce n’est pas notre rôle », a déclaré le chef de l’Etat lors de sa conférence de presse quotidienne.

Voir également:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez compare les centres de rétention à des « camps de concentration »

Les propos de la jeune élue démocrate ont déclenché un tollé chez les Républicains.

L’Obs

L’étoile montante démocrate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez est au coeur d’une vive polémique mardi 18 juin après avoir qualifié les camps de rétention pour migrants érigés à la frontière sud des Etats-Unis de « camps de concentration ».

« Les Etats-Unis gèrent des camps de concentration à la frontière sud, c’est exactement ce qu’ils sont », a déclaré la jeune élue du Congrès lundi soir dans une intervention vidéo en direct sur Instagram. « C’est extrêmement dérangeant et il faut réagir », a ajouté l’élue d’origine portoricaine que partisans et détracteurs appellent AOC.

« Une présidence qui crée des camps de concentration est fasciste », a-t-elle asséné, déclenchant des réactions outrées chez les républicains.

« C’est une faute @AOC. Ce sont des mots dangereux et écoeurants qui portent atteinte aux millions de personnes tuées dans l’Holocauste », a tweeté le sénateur républicain Rick Scott.

« S’il vous plaît @AOC, rendez-nous service et passez quelques minutes à réviser l’Histoire », a renchéri la représentante Liz Cheney, fille de l’ancien vice-président Dick Cheney. « Six millions de juifs ont été exterminés dans l’Holocauste. Vous salissez leur mémoire et vous vous déshonorez avec ce type de commentaires ».

AOC contre-attaque

La démocrate, très habituée aux joutes sur les réseaux sociaux, n’a pas tardé à contre-attaquer.

« A tous les républicains geignards qui ne connaissent pas la différence : les camps de concentration et les camps de la mort ne sont pas la même chose. Les camps de concentration sont considérés par les experts comme les lieux “de détention de masse de civils sans procès”  et c’est exactement ce que ce gouvernement fait », a écrit mardi matin sur Twitter.

Les Etats-Unis enregistrent depuis des mois une forte hausse des arrivées de migrants à la frontière avec le Mexique. En mai, les garde-frontières américains y ont arrêté plus de 144.000 personnes, dont 57 000 mineurs.

Le Congrès finance plus de 40 000 places dans des centres de rétention, trop peu pour faire face à ces flux. De nombreux migrants sont donc remis en liberté, quand les autres s’entassent dans des structures surchargées.

Voir enfin:

Masquer notre Culture pour « ne Pas Offenser »
Giulio Meotti
Gatestone institute
27 juin 2019

  • Récemment, au Royaume-Uni, d’éminents intellectuels conservateurs ont été écartés. Roger Scruton, philosophe d’une exceptionnelle stature a été limogé d’une commission gouvernementale …
  • Puis ce fut le tour Jordan Peterson. L’Université de Cambridge a annulé la bourse de recherche de ce psychologue canadien de réputation internationale…
  • En refusant de dénoncer la censure, en ne défendant pas le droit à la liberté d’expression de Salman Rushdie, de Roger Scruton, de Jordan Peterson, de Charlie Hebdo et du Jyllands-Posten – la pointe d’un énorme iceberg – nous avons pris le chemin de la soumission à la charia et à la tyrannie. Notre culture soi-disant « blasphématoire » a été revêtue d’une burqa pour éviter d’attenter à la sensibilité de personnes qui elles, ne semblent pas gênées de nous offenser.

Il y a trois ans, le gouvernement italien a pris la honteuse décision de voiler d’antiques statues romaines pour ne pas attenter à la sensibilité islamique du président iranien Hassan Rouhani, en visite officielle en Italie. Les statues nues ont été enfermées dans des caissons blancs. Il y a un an, à Florence, une autre statue de style gréco-romain représentant un homme nu, a également été recouverte à l’occasion de la visite du prince héritier d’Abou Dhabi. Aujourd’hui, l’une des plus fameuses galeries d’art britanniques a masqué deux tableaux sur plainte de visiteurs musulmans dénonçant leur caractère « blasphématoire ».

À la Saatchi Gallery de Londres, deux tableaux de nus accolés à une citation en arabe de la shahada, l’un des cinq piliers de l’islam, ont suscité l’ire de visiteurs musulmans. Leur demande de retrait des peintures de l’exposition Rainbow Scenes (Scènes Arc en Ciel) n’a pas été satisfaite, mais les deux œuvres « offensantes » ont été voilées. « Saatchi se comporte comme l’Arabie saoudite, les œuvres qui blasphèment contre l’islam sont cachées au public », a commenté Brendan O’Neill dans la revue Spiked. Un expert a vu dans cette affaire un « retour des Versets sataniques ». Il faisait ainsi référence au roman publié en 1988, qui valut à son auteur, Salman Rushdie, citoyen britannique, d’être condamné à mort par le « Guide suprême » iranien, l’ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. La prime sur la tête de Rushdie a été portée à 4 millions de dollars en 2016 après qu’un groupe d’Iraniens a augmenté la « récompense » de 600 000 dollars – sans que cela provoque une quelconque protestation de la Grande-Bretagne.

De nombreuses maisons d’édition occidentales ont cédé à l’intimidation islamiste. L’éditeur Christian Bourgois qui avait acheté les droits des Versets sataniques pour la France, a refusé de les publier. Pour la première fois, au nom de l’islam, un écrivain a été condamné à disparaître de la surface de la terre – et à voir sa tête mise à prix.

Rushdie a survécu, mais Theo van Gogh lui, a été assassiné en 2004 pour avoir produit et réalisé « Soumission », un film sur la violence islamique à l’égard des femmes ; la mort de tant d’intellectuels arabo-musulmans coupables d’avoir écrit librement ; les émeutes qui ont suivi les caricatures danoises, les nombreux procès (ici et ici ), les tentatives de meurtre (ici et ici), l’exécution de la rédaction du magazine satirique français Charlie Hebdo, les violences qui ont suivi le discours du pape Benoît à Ratisbonne, les renoncements à publication et la réécriture de textes littéraires, les musées qui enferment dans leurs caves des représentations de Mahomet, les menaces et sanctions croissantes, y compris la flagellation, infligées à d’innombrables journalistes et écrivains tels que Raif Badawi en Arabie saoudite… tous ces évènements auraient dû nous mettre en garde au lieu de nous mettre à genoux.

La capitulation de la galerie Saatchi montre que la liberté de parole en Europe est faible et en voie d’extinction. Les extrémistes islamiques et les apaiseurs occidentaux ont obtenu gain de cause. C’est la tragique leçon de l’affaire Rushdie : aujourd’hui, après 30 ans, aucun auteur n’oserait plus écrire Les Versets Sataniques ; aucune grande maison d’édition comme Penguin n’oserait plus l’imprimer ; les attaques des médias contre les « islamophobes » sont plus fortes aujourd’hui qu’hier, et la trahison des diplomates occidentaux est abyssale. Aujourd’hui, face aux médias sociaux, outil de censure et menace de masse implicite, un auteur serait probablement moins chanceux que ne l’a été Rushdie il y a 30 ans. Plus le temps a passé et moins nous avons progressé. Le jihad contre Les Versets sataniques s’est reproduit encore et encore.

« Personne n’a plus les c… d’écrire Les Versets sataniques, et encore moins de les publier », a déclaré l’écrivain Hanif Kureishi. « L’écriture devient timide parce que les écrivains sont terrifiés ».

En 2008, Kenan Malik écrivait :

« Aucune censure formelle n’est à l’œuvre, et aucun État n’interdit la publication d’œuvres offensantes. Une culture de l »autocensure se développe qui a rendu moralement inacceptable d’attenter à la sensibilité d’autrui. Dans les vingt années qui ont suivi la publication des Versets sataniques, la fatwa a été intériorisée ».

L’affaire Rushdie a transformé en profondeur la société britannique. La reddition de la Saatchi Gallery à Londres n’a rien d’exceptionnel. La Tate Gallery a remisé une sculpture de John Latham intitulée « Dieu est grand » laquelle emprisonnait dans du verre le Coran, la Bible et le Talmud. « Tamerlan le Grand » de Christopher Marlowe a été censuré au Barbican Centre : la tirade affirmant que le prophète de l’islam « ne méritait pas d’être vénéré », et la scène ou le Coran était brûlé ont été retirées. La Whitechapel Art Gallery de Londres a expurgé une exposition des poupées nues qui auraient risqué d’incommoder la population musulmane. Aux Mall Galleries de Londres, un tableau de Mimsy intitulé « ISIS Threaten Sylvania » (L’Etat islamique menace Sylvania) qui représentait des peluches terroristes sur le point de massacrer d’autres peluches en train de pique-niquer a été censuré.

Au Royal Court Theatre de Londres, Richard Bean a été contraint de censurer son adaptation de « Lysistrata », la comédie grecque dans laquelle les femmes font la grève du sexe pour empêcher les hommes de partir à la guerre. Dans la version de Bean, des vierges islamiques agissaient de même pour arrêter les kamikazes.

Désormais, au nom de la lutte contre « l’islamophobie », l’establishment britannique rampe vers la charia : il purge et censure lui-même.

Récemment, au Royaume-Uni, d’éminents intellectuels conservateurs ont été écartés. Roger Scruton, figure de proue de la réflexion sur le conservatisme, a été limogé d’une commission gouvernementale pour avoir déclaré que le mot « islamophobie » avait été inventé par les Frères musulmans « pour mettre fin à la discussion sur un problème majeur ».

L’Université de Cambridge a annulé la bourse de recherche du distingué psychologue canadien Jordan Peterson, parce qu’il avait posé au côté d’un homme revêtu d’un t-shirt « I’m a proud Islamophobe » (Je suis un fier islamophobe). Le professeur Peterson a déclaré peu après que le mot « islamophobie » avait été « imaginé par des extrémistes musulmans, afin de garantir que l’islam ne soit jamais critiqué en tant que structure ».

Les cas Scruton et Peterson confirment – s’il était besoin – que « l’islamophobie » a bel et bien été inventée pour faire taire toute critique de l’islam, ou encore, comme l’a commenté Salman Rushdie, ce mot a été « créé pour aider les aveugles à rester aveugles ». La réaction en retour se fait toujours attendre.

En 2008, Tim Walker du Telegraph, citant le célèbre dramaturge Simon Gray, a expliqué que Nicholas Hytner, directeur du National Theatre de Londres de 2003 à 2015, « s’est employé à offenser les chrétiens » en prenant bien « garde de ne jamais mettre en colère les musulmans ». Les journalistes du magazine satirique français Charlie Hebdo, les derniers qui ont tenté de rire de l’islam, l’ont payé de leur vie. En ne défendant pas le droit à la liberté d’expression de Salman Rushdie, de Roger Scruton, de Jordan Peterson, de Charlie Hebdo et du Jyllands-Posten – la pointe d’un énorme iceberg – nous avons pris le chemin de la soumission à la charia et à la tyrannie. Nous avons habillé notre culture soi-disant « blasphématrice » d’une burqa pour éviter d’attenter à la sensibilité de personnes qui elles, ne semblent pas du tout gênées de nous offenser.

Giulio Meotti, journaliste culturel à Il Foglio, est un journaliste et auteur italien.


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
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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.


Gilet-jaunisme: Plaza nous prend pour des pigeons (Amazon France vs. Le Bon coin France: Who’ll finally listen to a middle class that between rising taxes, low-wage jobs, increasing distance between home and work, explosion of single-parent families, runaway immigration and ever more sophisticated and expensive new needs, keeps losing ground ?)

18 mai, 2019
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Image result for slogans gilets jaunes C'est la goutte d'essence qui fait déborder le vase-Image may contain: 1 personThere’s something really dangerous happening to us out there. We’re slowly getting split up into two different Americas. Things are gettin’ taken away from people that need them and given to people that don’t need them, and there’s a promise getting broken. In the beginning the idea was that we all live here a little bit like a family, where the strong can help the weak ones, the rich can help the poor ones. I don’t think the American dream was that everybody was going to make it or that everybody was going to make a billion dollars, but it was that everybody was going to have an opportunity and the chance to live a life with some decency and some dignity and a chance for some self-respect. So I know you gotta be feelin’ the pinch down here where the rivers meet. Bruce Springsteen
Le plus difficile n’est pas de dire ce que l’on voit mais d’accepter de voir ce que l’on voit. Péguy
Il faut constamment se battre pour voir ce qui se trouve au bout de son nez. Orwell
Plaza nous prend pour des pigeons. Il pense que tout le monde peut se payer une double vasque, mais nous on ne peut pas avoir de crédit pour se payer une salle de bains. Nous ne sommes pas du même monde. Didier (gilet jaune de Seine-et-Marne, agent administratif)
Il vend un “american way of life” à la française. Mais c’est inaccessible pour nous. Ouahiba (gilet jaune de Montreuil, intérimaire dans la restauration collective)
Je considère que j’ai apporté les réponses aux Françaises et aux Français sur ce qui avait conduit à ce mouvement, le 10 décembre et dans la conférence de presse que j’ai donnée. Je crois que celles et ceux qui continuent aujourd’hui à faire cela, il n’y a plus de débouché politique. Nous avons fait notre part du travail, je pense que maintenant, chacun doit aller voter aux élections, quand il porte des idées, se présenter aux élections et c’est beaucoup plus difficile de proposer un projet pour que d’être contre tout le reste. On n’avance pas en étant contre. Aujourd’hui, je vois beaucoup de gens qui sont contre. Que celles et ceux qui ont une autre vision de ce que doit devenir le pays, la dessinent politiquement, lui donnent forme et se présentent aux élections. La démocratie, ça ne se joue pas le samedi après-midi. Emmanuel Macron
Eh bien, donnez-leur du biocarburant! Brigitte Macron
Je ne pense pas vendre du rêve. Le prix moyen des maisons que nous vendons est de 350 000 euros. Ça reste correct. (…) Quand j’ai vu qu’on avait réussi à récolter 1 milliard d’euros en deux jours pour Notre-Dame, j’étais un peu écœuré. J’aurais préféré qu’on donne cet argent aux gilets jaunes. Stéphane Plaza
Lorsque le président Donald Trump a été élu, nombreux étaient ceux (y compris des prix Nobel d’économie) qui soutenaient que l’économie américaine allait s’écrouler et les marchés financiers dégringoler. Quand on a vu que la croissance revenait (en fait, il y a eu un ralentissement lors des deux dernières années d’Obama!), les mêmes ont affirmé que ça n’allait pas durer, que la croissance serait éphémère et que la récession ne saurait tarder! Dans son éditorial du 8 avril dernier publié dans le New York Times, le prix Nobel d’économie Paul Krugman s’obstine et écrit que Trump s’en prend à la Fed (la Banque centrale américaine) parce que l’impact des baisses d’impôts et des suppressions des réglementations n’aurait été que de la «poudre aux yeux» et n’aurait servi qu’à retarder la récession. Or on apprenait il y a quelques jours que l’économie affiche un taux de croissance à 3.2 % au premier trimestre 2019, largement au-dessus des prévisions. Malgré le «shutdown» de janvier, la croissance est tirée par les exportations et les investissements privés, très importants depuis 2017, ainsi que par les réformes dues à l’administration Trump. La baisse de la fiscalité des entreprises et des ménages, les réductions et suppressions de normes et de réglementations, en particulier environnementales, ont donné de l’air et plus de libertés aux entrepreneurs qui ont choisi d’investir. D’où les fortes créations d’emplois ainsi que les hausses des salaires sur un marché du travail où la main-d’œuvre se fait rare. (…) La croissance économique américaine lors des quatre derniers trimestres a été supérieure à 3 % en taux annuel alors que dans des pays européens comme la France et l’Allemagne, elle a tourné autour de 1.5 %. Après l’annonce du taux de croissance, les dernières données sur l’emploi (Labor Statistics, 4 mai) sont aussi impressionnantes: l’économie a créé 263 000 emplois supplémentaires en avril, le taux de chômage ayant chuté à 3,6%, le plus bas taux enregistré depuis cinq décennies. Mais la meilleure nouvelle est que les plus gros bénéficiaires de ce marché du travail libéré sont les personnes qui ont connu des difficultés au cours des années de croissance lente d’Obama, c’est-à-dire les personnes peu qualifiées. Les statistiques montrent que les Américains le moins diplômés bénéficient d’une croissance plus rapide des salaires et de l’emploi. (…) en avril, la hausse du salaire horaire moyen mensuel des travailleurs non qualifiés était de 0,3%, contre 0,2% pour tous les travailleurs. Le gain salarial sur 12 mois est de 3,4% pour les moins qualifiés, contre 3,2% pour l’ensemble des employés. (…) N’en déplaise aux égalitaristes et autres progressistes, ce sont bien la croissance économique et les créations d’emplois qui font reculer la pauvreté et réduisent les inégalités. Il y aura toujours des économistes comme Paul Krugman pour critiquer la politique économique du président Trump ou – ils sont plus rares aujourd’hui – pour attribuer les fruits de cette croissance au président Obama). Mais difficile de nier les faits économiques éternellement. Certes, on peut s’inquiéter de certaines positions protectionnistes de M. Trump mais la récente rencontre avec le Premier ministre japonais augure plutôt de belles perspectives de libre-échange entre les deux pays sans forcément passer par les organisations internationales. (…) L’économie mais aussi les conclusions du fameux rapport Mueller sur les prétendues collusions avec les Russes lors des élections de 2016 ont beaucoup renforcé le président américain face à ses détracteurs, et pas seulement. Nicolas Lecaussin (Institut de Recherches Economiques et Fiscales)
Les Iraniens, le peuple iranien, ils sont fatigués de quatre décennies de politiques agressives de la république islamique. (…) C’est vrai que les Américains (…) ont relancé toute une série de sanctions extrêmement lourdes qui a fait souffrir d’abord les Iraniens, il faut le dire, ensuite les dirigeants de la République islamique. Cela dit, on ne peut pas nier qu’il y a eu une certaine efficacité dans les sanctions. Les Gardiens de la Révolution islamique n’ont plus du tout la possibilité de nourrir, de payer leur proxies, leurs groupes radicaux dans la région. (…) En fait, l’impasse est ailleurs (…) les dirigeants iraniens sont parfaitement prêts à négocier avec Trump (…) Mais ils veulent avoir des négociations cachées (…) parce que leur identité, l’identité de la République islamique est essentiellement centrée sur leur animosité contre les Américains et les Israéliens. (…) Les Européens ont un peu trop encouragé les Iraniens, les dirigeants iraniens. En soutenant l’accord de 2015 (…) qui (…) ne touchait pas toutes les politiques agressives du régime dans la région (…) ils ont un peu trop encouragé les dirigeants iraniens qui sont devenus trop téméraires face aux Américains. Ca fait un an qu’ils avaient quand même la possibilité de (…) faire profil bas, mais ils ont tapé sur le tambour de guerre depuis un an. Et c’est vrai qu’aujourd’hui, la situation est catastrophique, mais les dirigeants iraniens aussi, ils sont responsables de la situation actuelle. Mahnaz Shirali
L’Hexagone entre ainsi pour la première fois dans le quintette de tête, à la cinquième place, derrière les États-Unis, l’Allemagne, le Canada et le Royaume-Uni. L’Hexagone vole la place du géant chinois, touché par la guerre commerciale, le ralentissement de sa croissance et les inquiétudes sur le niveau d’endettement des entreprises nationales. Frappé par un ralentissement économique de grande ampleur, le Japon a également reculé dans le classement; «La confiance des investisseurs s’est légèrement renforcée depuis l’élection du président Emmanuel Macron en mai 2017», note le cabinet, pour lequel «les récentes manifestations anti-gouvernementales type «gilets jaunes» à travers le pays n’ont pas affecté l’opinion» des décideurs économiques. Ces derniers restent en effet focalisés sur les changements de fond et les réformes en cours, dont la loi Pacte, validée en avril à l’Assemblée. Pour le cabinet, «l’amélioration de l’environnement des entreprises a été une priorité absolue du gouvernement», et ces transformations en cours, de même que la baisse de l’impôt sur les sociétés, constituent une base solide rassurant les décideurs. «La France reste compétitive en termes d’indicateurs poussant à investir», conclut donc le cabinet, qui souligne les atouts de l’Hexagone en matière d’innovation, de technologie de pointe et de taux d’imposition (grâce à la trajectoire à la baisse décidée à horizon 2025). Autant d’atouts dont bénéficie le pays, par exemple en attirant des fonds du titan pharmaceutique américain Merck&Co, qui a mis 3,25 milliards de dollars sur la table pour avaler le groupe Antelliq, spécialisé dans la santé animale. Ces conclusions rejoignent les estimations d’autres experts, interrogés par Le Figaro il y a quelques semaines. À l’époque, le responsable du baromètre sur l’attractivité de la France du cabinet d’audit EY, Marc Lhermitte, expliquait que la situation était «problématique mais pas dramatique»: un investisseur réfléchit en effet plutôt sur le long terme et privilégie les transformations de fond affectant un pays plutôt que ses événements ponctuels, si tant est que ceux-ci n’altèrent pas les réformes défendues par l’exécutif. «Sur le moyen terme, la question reste de savoir si le gouvernement pourra poursuivre la transformation du modèle économique et social français avec des réformes comme la baisse de l’impôt sur les sociétés, les retraites, les dépenses publiques, le coût du travail», précisait l’expert. Le Figaro
La croissance économique a été légèrement plus forte que prévu l’an dernier en France, malgré la grève à la SNCF et le mouvement des « gilets jaunes ». Une bonne nouvelle pour le gouvernement, même si l’activité devrait ralentir cette année. Selon des chiffres définitifs publiés jeudi soir par l’Insee, la progression du produit intérieur brut (PIB) a atteint 1,7% en 2018, soit 0,1 point de plus que ce qui avait été jusque-là annoncé. Il s’agit de la deuxième révision à la hausse de la croissance française par l’organisme public, qui avait évalué la progression du PIB 2018 à 1,5% dans une première estimation publiée fin janvier. A l’origine de cette nouvelle correction: le niveau plus élevé que prévu de la consommation des ménages. Elle a progressé de 0,9% au lieu de 0,8%, en raison d’une progression notable du pouvoir d’achat (1,4%). Autre élément favorable: l’évolution des exportations, qui ont augmenté de 3,5% au lieu de 3,3%, permettant à la balance commerciale de peser positivement sur l’activité (0,7 point au lieu de 0,6 point). « 0,7 point de contribution du commerce extérieur à la croissance, on n’avait pas vu ça depuis très longtemps », assure à l’AFP Denis Ferrand, directeur de l’institut de recherche Rexecode. L’investissement des entreprises, de son côté, est resté solide, mais néanmoins plus faible qu’attendu: selon l’Insee, il a progressé de 2,8% l’an dernier, au lieu de 2,9%. (…) Selon l’Insee, le taux de chômage a reculé de 0,1 point au premier trimestre, à 8,7% de la population active en France entière (hors Mayotte), soit son plus bas niveau depuis début 2009. La France a par ailleurs fait cette année son entrée dans le « top 5 » des pays les plus attractifs pour les investissements internationaux, selon le classement annuel du cabinet A.T. Kearney publié lundi. Le nouveau chiffre de croissance, qui ne modifie pas le niveau du déficit public pour 2018 (2,5%), reste cependant inférieur à la moyenne de l’Union européenne (1,9%) ainsi qu’à la moyenne de la zone euro (1,8%). Il s’affiche par ailleurs en repli par rapport à 2017, où la croissance a atteint selon l’Insee 2,3% en données brutes (2,4% en données corrigées des jours ouvrés), soit 0,1 point de plus qu’annoncé. Un ralentissement notable, qui devrait se poursuivre cette année. La croissance devrait retomber à 1,4% selon la Banque de France. Et même à 1,3% d’après l’OCDE, en raison du ralentissement de l’activité mondiale. Capital
S’il suscite beaucoup de fantasmes, le terme « black bloc » ne désigne en réalité qu’une méthode de manifestation mise au point par des militants de la gauche radicale et insurrectionnelle. Pendant les défilés auxquels ils participent, ces individus – d’abord dispersés dans le cortège – se vêtent de noir, se masquent le visage, puis se réunissent pour créer « une sorte d’énorme drapeau noir, tissé d’êtres humains. Ils forment ainsi un bloc compact permettant à chacun de préserver son anonymat. Il n’y a pas un seul black bloc, mais des black blocs, qui se forment à un instant T dans des manifestations puis qui se dissolvent avec elles. Paradoxalement, c’est cette couverture médiatique inédite qui a participé à l’exportation du phénomène. A chaque fois qu’il y a un sommet international, les militants anticapitalistes locaux décident d’imiter cette tactique. (…) C’est lors de ce mouvement [manifestations contre la loi Travail] qu’est apparu ce qu’on appelle maintenant le ‘cortège de tête’. Contrairement aux autres mobilisations, où les black blocs se constituaient habituellement au milieu des manifestations derrière les cortèges plus traditionnels de syndicats, ils ont réussi à s’imposer au premier rang. C’est une vraie particularité française qui donne au black bloc une grande visibilité. Contrairement aux autres mobilisations, où les black blocs se constituaient habituellement au milieu des manifestations derrière les cortèges plus traditionnels de syndicats, ils ont réussi à s’imposer au premier rang. C’est une vraie particularité française qui donne au black bloc une grande visibilité.  Ils se mettent en scène et essaient d’adopter l’image que les médias et les autorités donnent d’eux : celle de l’ennemi public numéro 1. Avec le black bloc, la cible est le message. On retrouve aussi des féministes et des militants queer radicaux dans le black bloc. On pense souvent le black bloc en termes masculins, mais il regroupe de plus en plus de femmes, ce qu’on ne remarque pas forcément à cause des vêtements noirs. Les black blocs ont investi les contre-sommets internationaux orchestrés par les organisations altermondialistes, auxquelles ils ne s’identifient pourtant pas. Mais ils venaient parce qu’ils partageaient avec elles une colère et des intérêts. C’est sans doute la même chose avec les ‘gilets jaunes’. Francis Dupuis-Déri (politologue)
Ces personnes sont souvent très éduquées et exercent des professions intellectuelles supérieures. C’était notamment le cas après le 1er-Mai où un homme de 29 ans, diplômé de la prestigieuse Ecole centrale et occupant un emploi de consultant rémunéré 4 200 euros par mois, figurait sur le banc des prévenus. Olivier Cahn
La tradition, chez les participants au black bloc, c’est ‘on attaque le matériel, on ne fait pas de victimes’. [les vitres brisées de l’hôpital Necker pour enfants et l’incendie d’une banque dans un immeuble d’habitation] C’est quelque chose que l’on ne voyait pas avant. Peut-être le fait de jeunes manifestants encore peu aguerris aux pratiques du black bloc. Cela montre en tout cas que le mouvement n’est pas uniforme. On retrouve dans le black bloc toutes les composantes de la gauche révolutionnaire anticapitaliste, des anarchistes, des marxistes révolutionnaires, des écologistes radicaux ou des autonomes.  Il est faux de dire que le black bloc est uniquement constitué de fils de profs. Quand on observe les cortèges à Paris, on se rend compte que les profils sont assez bigarrés. C’est assez logique qu’ils participent à un mouvement populaire comme celui des ‘gilets jaunes' », (…) le même processus a été observé lors des manifestations contre la loi Travail. Le discours du black bloc, c’est de dire que les manifestations traditionnelles n’apportent rien puisqu’elles ne font pas fléchir le pouvoir. On est exactement dans cette configuration avec les « gilets jaunes ».  Mais le black bloc n’est pas une organisation politique. Ses participants rejettent d’ailleurs toutes les structures partisanes, c’est un point commun qu’ils ont avec les ‘gilets jaunes’. » Sylvain Boulouque (historien spécialiste de l’anarchisme)
J’ai regardé les premières cartes qui avaient été faites par l’IFOP concernant les ronds-points occupés par les Gilets jaunes. Ce qui était frappant, c’était la parfaite corrélation avec celle de la France périphérique, développée autour d’un indicateur de fragilité sociale Ce qui est très intéressant c’est que cette carte fait exploser toutes les typologies traditionnelles : la division est-ouest entre la France industrielle et la France rurale par exemple. En réalité, le mouvement est parti de partout, aussi bien dans le sud-ouest que dans le nord-est, on voit donc quelque chose qui correspond exactement à la France périphérique, c’est-à-dire à la répartition des catégories modestes et populaires dans l’espace. Cette typologie casse celle de la France du vide qui n’est plus pertinente et cela nous montre bien les effets d’un modèle économique nouveau qui est celui de la mondialisation. C’est pour cela que je dis que le mouvement des Gilets jaunes n’est pas une résurgence de la révolution française ou de mai 68, cela est au contraire quelque chose de très nouveau : cela correspond à l’impact de la mondialisation sur la classe moyenne au sens large : de l’ouvrier au cadre supérieur. La classe moyenne ce ne sont pas seulement les professions intermédiaires, c’est un ensemble, ce sont les gens qui travaillent et qui ont l’impression de faire partie d’un tout, peu importe qu’il y ait des inégalités de salaires. (…) Ce qui était malsain dans l’analyse qui en a été fait, cela a été le moment ou l’on a dit « en réalité, ils ne sont pas pauvres ». On opposait une nouvelle fois les pauvres aux classes populaires alors que la presque totalité des pauvres sont issus des classes populaires. Il y a un lien organique entre eux. Quand on prend ces catégories, ouvriers, employés, paysans etc.…ils peuvent être pauvres, au chômage, et même quand ils ont un emploi, ils savent très bien que la case pauvreté est toute proche sur l’échiquier.  Surtout, ils ont un frère, un cousin, un grand parent, un ami, un voisin qui est pauvre. On oublie toujours de dire que la pauvreté n’est pas un état permanent, il y a un échange constant entre classes populaires et pauvreté. Opposer ces catégories, c’est refuser ce lien organique entre pauvres et travailleurs modestes. C’est donc ne rien comprendre à ce qui se joue actuellement. (…) Ce que nous constatons aujourd’hui, c’est une dysfonction entre l’économie et la société. Et cela est la première fois. Avant, l’économie faisait société, c’était les 30 glorieuses avec un modèle économique qui intègre tout le monde et qui bénéficie à l’ensemble de la société. Là, nous avons un modèle qui peut créer de la richesse mais qui ne fait pas société. Le modèle économique mondialisé, parce qu’il n’a pas de limites, frappe les catégories sociales les unes après les autres. Après les employés, il y a les professions intermédiaires, les jeunes diplômés, et après nous aurons les catégories supérieures. La seule chose qui protège les catégories supérieures est qu’elles vivent aujourd’hui dans des citadelles. C’est ce qui fait aussi que la baisse du soutien des Français au mouvement des Gilets jaunes touche ces catégories-là. Mais cela n’empêche pas que le socle électoral d’Emmanuel Macron se restreint comme peau de chagrin, cela est mécanique. Depuis les années 80, on a souvent compensé ces destructions d’emplois sur ces territoires par des emplois publics, mais les gens ont parfaitement compris que ce modèle était à bout de souffle. Les fonctionnaires de catégorie B et C, qui sont présents dans le mouvement, ont compris que cela était fini, qu’ils n’auraient plus d’augmentations de salaires ou que leurs enfants ne pourront plus en profiter. On a bien là une angoisse d’insécurité sociale qui s’est généralisée à l’ensemble de ces catégories qui étaient, hier, totalement intégrées à la classe moyenne, et cela démontre bien comment un mouvement parti des marges est devenu majoritaire. Cela est la limite du modèle économique néolibéral. Je n’aurais aucun problème à adhérer au modèle néolibéral, s’il fonctionnait. On a vu comment cela avait commencé, ouvriers d’abord, paysans etc.. Et aujourd’hui, des gens que l’on pensait finalement sécurisés sont touchés ; petite fonction publique et retraités. Or, ce sont les gens qui ont, in fine, élu Emmanuel Macron. Son effondrement vient de ces catégories-là. Mais les classes populaires n’ont rien contre les riches, ils jouent au loto pour devenir riches, la question est simplement de pouvoir vivre décemment avec son salaire et d’être respecté culturellement. Nous payons réellement 30 années de mépris de classe, d’ostracisation, d’insultes en direction du peuple. (…) C’est ce que ne comprennent pas les libéraux. Je crois que le débat –libéral-pas libéral- est vain. Si je dis qu’il y a un problème avec ce modèle dans ces territoires, alors on me dit que je suis pour la suppression des métropoles ou que je suis favorable à un retour à une économie administrée. Et surtout, ce qui est intolérable, c’est que je cliverais la société en termes de classes sociales. En relisant récemment une biographie de Margaret Thatcher, je me suis rendu compte que le plus gros reproche fait aux travaillistes et aux syndicats dans les années 70 était justement de cliver la société à partir des classes sociales. L’argument était de dire qu’ils sont de mauvais Anglais parce qu’ils fracturent l’unité nationale. Ce qui est génial, c’est que nous voyons aujourd’hui exactement les mêmes réactions avec la France périphérique. Une arme sur la tempe, on vous dit d’arrêter de parler des inégalités. Ils veulent bien que l’on parle de pauvres mais cela ne va pas plus loin. Mais quand on regarde finement les choses, Emmanuel Macron n’aurait pas pu être élu sans le niveau de l’État providence français. À la fin il passe, évidemment parce qu’il fait le front des bourgeoisies et des catégories supérieures, des scores soviétiques dans les grandes métropoles mais aussi et surtout parce que la majorité de la fonction publique a voté pour lui, tout comme la majorité des retraités a voté pour lui. C’est-à-dire les héritiers des 30 glorieuses et surtout le cœur de la redistribution française. Emmanuel Macron se tire deux balles dans le pied en attaquant la fonction publique et les retraités. Nous assistons à un suicide en direct. C’est ce qui explique qu’il soit très vite passé de 65 à 25%. Finalement, et paradoxalement, le modèle français ne résiste au populisme et perdure dans le sens de la dérégulation néolibérale que grâce à un État providence fort. Mais en l’absence d’un État providence- ce que veulent les libéraux- nous aurons alors le populisme. (…) J’en veux à la production intellectuelle et universitaire parce qu’à partir du moment ou on met les marges en avant, les journalistes vont suivre cette représentation en allant voir une femme isolée dans la Creuse qui vit avec 500 euros, en se disant qu’elle est Gilet jaune, tout cela pour se rendre finalement compte qu’elle ne manifeste pas. Parce que quand on est pauvre, on n’a même pas l’énergie de se mobiliser, le but est de boucler la journée. Historiquement, les mouvements sociaux n’ont jamais été portés par les pauvres, et cela ne veut pas dire qu’ils ne soutiennent pas le mouvement. Ce que nous voyons aujourd’hui, ce sont des journalistes qui vont dans les salons des Gilets jaunes pour vérifier s’ils ont un écran plat, un abonnement Netflix, ou un IPhone. Ils sont prêts à les fouiller, cela est dingue. Lors des manifestations de 1995, les journalistes ne sont pas allés vérifier si les cheminots avaient un écran 16/9e chez eux, ou quand il y a eu les émeutes des banlieues, de vérifier si le mec qui brule une voiture vit chez lui avec une grande télé ou pas. Cette façon de délégitimer un mouvement est une grande première. C’est la première fois que l’on fait les poches des manifestants pour savoir s’ils ont de l’argent ou pas, et s’il y en a, on considère que cela n’est pas légitime. Ce qu’ils n’ont pas compris, c’est que si on gagne le revenu médian à 1700 euros, la perspective est que, même si cela va aujourd’hui, cela ne va pas aller demain. L’élite n’a toujours pas compris que les gens étaient parfaitement capables de faire un diagnostic de leurs propres vies. Cette condescendance dit un gigantesque mépris de classe. J’ai moi-même été surpris, je ne pensais pas que cela irait si vite. En quelques heures, les Gilets jaunes sont devenus antisémites, homophobes, racistes, beaufs… Et là encore, on voit bien que l’antiracisme et l’antifascisme sont devenus une arme de classe. (…) Nicolas Mathieu vient d’avoir le prix Goncourt avec son livre « Leurs enfants après eux », dont il dit qu’il s’agissait du roman de la France périphérique. Le combat culturel est en cours. Cela gagne le champ littéraire, culturel et médiatique. Les Gilets jaunes ont gagné l’essentiel, ils ont gagné la bataille de la représentation. On ne pourra plus faire comme si cette France n’existait pas, comme si la France périphérique était un concept qui ne pouvait pas être incarné par des gens. Si nous sommes encore démocrates nous sommes obligés de le prendre en compte. Ce qu’il faut espérer, c’est que les élites se rendent compte que les peuples occidentaux sont encore relativement paisibles. Le mouvement réel de la société, que nous constatons partout dans le monde occidental, et que nous ne pourrons pas arrêter, continue d’avancer, de se structurer, et que cela est de la responsabilité des élites d’y répondre. Ils n’ont pas d’autre choix, celui de l’atterrissage en douceur. Je crois que ce qui vient d’arriver, c’est que le rapport de force vient de changer, la peur a changé de camp. Aux Etats-Unis, au Royaume Uni, en Europe, maintenant, ils ont le peuple sur le dos. Et puis il y a une vertu à tout cela, prendre en compte les aspirations des plus modestes, c’est pour moi le fondement de la démocratie, c’est-à-dire donner du pouvoir à ceux qui n’en ont pas plutôt que de renforcer le pouvoir de ceux qui l’ont déjà. (…) Nous avons eu en direct ce qui essentiel pour moi ; la fracture culturelle gigantesque entre tout le monde d’en haut au sens large et la France périphérique. Ce qui s’est déployé sous nos yeux, ce n’est pas seulement la fracture sociale et territoriale mais plus encore cette fracture culturelle. L’état de sidération de l’intelligentsia française rappelle clairement celle de l’intelligentsia britannique face au Brexit, et cela est la même chose aux Etats-Unis avec l’élection de Donald Trump. Cette sidération a déclenché immédiatement l’emploi des armes de l’antifascisme, parce qu’ils n’ont rien d’autre. Ils ont découvert la dernière tribu d’Amazonie et – incroyable -elle est potentiellement majoritaire. C’est un mouvement très positif, contraire à toute l’analyse intellectuelle qui voit le peuple dans le repli individualiste, qui refuse le collectif, ou dans des termes comme celui de la « droitisation de la société française » alors que les gens demandent des services publics et un État providence. Après, on pointe le fait qu’ils sont contre l’immigration, ce à quoi on peut répondre « comme tout le monde », soit une très large majorité de Français. Le plus important est que nous avons sous les yeux un peuple qui veut faire société et des élites qui ne veulent plus faire société, comme je le disais dans « No Society » (Flammarion). C’est un moment de rupture historique entre un monde d’en haut, intellectuels, politiques, showbiz etc.… qui a peur de son propre peuple. Ils ne veulent plus faire société avec un peuple qu’ils méprisent. C’est la thèse de Christopher Lasch de la « sécession des élites ». On le voit aussi avec le discours anti-média des Gilets jaunes qui ne fait que répondre à 30 ans d’invisibilisation de ces catégories. Les classes populaires n’étaient traitées qu’au travers des banlieues et ils payent aujourd’hui ce positionnement. C’est un mouvement fondamentalement collectif et du XXI siècle. Ce qui est très nouveau, c’est que c’est un mouvement social du « No Society », c’est-à-dire sans représentants, sans intellectuels, sans syndicats, etc. Cela n’est jamais arrivé. Tout mouvement social est accompagné par des intellectuels mais pour la première fois nous ne voyons personne parler en leur nom. Cela révèle 30 ans de sécession du monde d’en haut. Le peuple dit « votre modèle ne fait pas société », tout en disant « nous, majorité, avec un large soutien de l’opinion malgré les violences, voulons faire société ». Et en face, le monde d’en haut, après le mépris, prend peur. Alors que les gens ne font que demander du collectif. (…) Les politiques pensent qu’en agglomérant des minorités ils font disparaître une majorité. Or, les minorités restent des minorités, on peut essayer de les agglomérer, mais cela ne fait pas un tout. Il est très intéressant de suivre l’évolution de la popularité de Donald Trump et d’Emmanuel Macron à ce titre. Trump garde son socle électoral alors que Macron s’est effondré, comme Hollande s’est effondré avant lui. Cela veut dire que l’on peut être élu avec un agglomérat de minorités, cadres supérieurs, minorités ethniques ou sexuelles -c’est à dire la stratégie Terra Nova – et cela peut éventuellement passer avec un bon candidat d’extrême droite en face. Mais cela ne suffit pas. Cela est extrêmement fragile. Quel rapport entre les catégories supérieures boboïsées de Paris et les banlieues précarisées et islamisées qui portent un discours traditionnel sur la société ? Quel rapport entre LGBT et Islam ? Et cela, c’est pour longtemps. Ils n’ont pas compris que les pays occidentaux, précisément parce qu’ils sont devenus multiculturels, vont de plus en plus s’appuyer sur un socle qui va être celui de la majorité relative. L’électorat de Donald Trump est une majorité relative mais cela est malgré tout ce que l’on appelait la classe moyenne dans laquelle des minorités peuvent aussi se reconnaitre. On a présenté les Gilets jaunes comme étant un mouvement de blancs « Ah..ils sont blancs », comme si cela était une surprise de voir des blancs dans les zones rurales françaises. Mais ce que l’on ne voit pas, c’est que beaucoup de Français issus de l’immigration participent à ce mouvement et qu’ils ne revendiquent aucune identité, ils sont totalement dans l’assimilation. Ils font partie d’un tout qui s’appelle la classe moyenne, ou l’ancienne classe moyenne. Le mouvement a été très fort à la Réunion, on voit donc bien que cela n’est pas ethnique. Mais cela a été présenté comme cela parce que cela permettait d’avoir le discours sur l’antiracisme et l’antifascisme. Il y a eu une ostracisation des Gilets jaunes par la gauche bienpensante parce que trop blancs, mais il y aussi eu une mise à l’écart et un mépris très fort de la part de la bourgeoisie de droite. C’est la même posture que vis-à-vis du White Trash américain : ils sont pauvres et ils sont blancs, c’est la honte de la société. (…) La question culturelle et ethnique existe, je veux bien que l’on clive, mais ce qui est intéressant c’est de voir que par exemple qu’un juif de Sarcelles rejette le CRIF ou Bernard-Henri Levy. C’est fondamental parce que cela dé-essentialise la communauté juive. C’est la même fracture que l’on retrouve dans toute la société. De la même manière, les musulmans ne se retrouvent absolument pas plus dans les instances musulmanes que dans Jamel Debbouze. Et à ce propos, ce que l’on voit le plus souvent, c’est que le destin des gens issus des classes populaires qui parviennent à s’élever, c’est de trahir. C’est banalement ce qui se passe parce que cette trahison permet l’adoubement. Edouard Louis fait son livre en ciblant sa propre famille, alors il fait la une des magazines. On a vu le même phénomène aux Etats-Unis avec le livre de J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy), qui est quand même plus intéressant, mais il décrit aussi le « White Trash » en disant que la classe ouvrière américaine n’est quand même pas terrible, qu’ils sont fainéants, qu’ils boivent et qu’ils se droguent, et cela lui a permis d’accéder au New York Times. En rejetant son propre milieu. Je n’ai pas de jugement moral sur les classes populaires, je prends les Français tels qu’ils sont. Je ne demande à personne d’arrêter de penser ce qu’il pense, notamment sur l’immigration. De toute façon cette question va être réglée parce que 80% des Français veulent une régulation, et qu’on ne peut pas penser cette question comme on le faisait dans les années 60, parce que les mobilités ont évolué. La question n’est même plus à débattre. Les gens que je rencontre en Seine Saint Denis qui sont majoritairement d’origine maghrébine ou sub-saharienne veulent l’arrêt de l’immigration dans leurs quartiers. C’est une évidence. Il ne faut pas oublier que les deux candidats de 2017 rejetaient le clivage gauche droite. Les gens se positionnent par rapport à des thématiques comme la mondialisation ou l’État providence, et de moins en moins sur un clivage gauche droite. Aujourd’hui, des gens comme ceux qui sont avec Jean-Luc Mélenchon ou avec Laurent Wauquiez veulent réactiver ce clivage. En faisant cela, ils se mettent dans un angle mort. Gauche et droite sont minoritaires. Jean-Luc Mélenchon a derrière lui la gauche identitaire qui dit – »nous sommes de gauche »- mais cela lui interdit de rayonner sur ce monde populaire. La question est donc celle du débouché politique, mais tout peut aller très vite. L’Italie a basculé en 6 mois. (…) À la fin des années 90, j’avais fait une analyse croisée sur la relance de politique de la ville et les émeutes urbaines. On voyait bien que toutes les émeutes urbaines génèrent une relance des politiques de la ville. La réalité est ce que cela marche. Et surtout, le mouvement des Gilets jaunes n’existerait pas en France et dans le monde sans les violences aux Champs-Élysées. Le New York Times a fait sa Une parce qu’il y avait cela, parce que cela est parfaitement corrélé à ce qu’est la communication aujourd’hui. Il y a cette violence et il faut la condamner. Mais cela veut aussi dire que nous ne sommes plus au XXe siècle. C’est tout le mythe du mouvement social qui est ringardisé. Réunir des gens à République et les faire manifester jusqu’à Bastille avant qu’ils ne rentrent chez eux, c’est fini. C’est aussi une réécriture du mouvement social qui est en train de se réaliser. Christophe Guilluy
Le mouvement a été l’incarnation charnelle du concept de France périphérique. La carte des ronds-points de novembre, c’est exactement la géographie de cette France-là: c’est-à-dire une géographie complètement dispersée. Ce n’est pas seulement la France rurale contre la France urbaine, ni la France du Nord et de l’Est contre la France du Sud et de l’Ouest, mais c’est bien tout cela à la fois : un phénomène plus large qui imprègne l’ensemble du territoire et est potentiellement majoritaire. Ce que j’avais voulu montrer avec ce concept de France périphérique, c’est justement que nous n’arrêtons pas de travailler sur des marges, des fractions, des minorités sans nous intéresser à une catégorie beaucoup plus importante en termes de taille et de poids : les classes populaires, socle de l’ancienne classe moyenne. Ces classes populaires, ce sont à la fois les ouvriers, les indépendants, les paysans, des actifs, des chômeurs, des jeunes, des retraités : l’ensemble des catégories modestes. (…) Depuis quarante ans, la société française est représentée comme une addition de minorités et analysée à partir de ces dernières. Le mouvement des « gilets jaunes » casse cette représentation et vient contredire ces analyses qui véhiculent l’idée qu’au fond la France et donc le peuple n’existe pas. On se rend compte, avec la vague des « gilets jaunes » en France mais aussi la vague des brexiters au Royaume-Uni ou des trumpistes aux États-Unis, que le peuple existe et c’est d’ailleurs ce qui explique le soutien majoritaire des « gilets jaunes » dans l’opinion. Le peuple est en train d’imposer une vaste recomposition politique. Car, sur les ronds-points, il y avait des ouvriers qui hier votaient à gauche, des paysans qui hier votaient à droite, des urbains et des ruraux, des jeunes, des actifs et, pour la première fois même, des retraités. Ils formaient hier le socle d’une classe moyenne occidentale intégrée. Celle-ci s’est totalement affranchie des appartenances gauche-droite traditionnelles. Le renversement est historique. Une part importante des deux Français sur trois de Giscard, hier intégrée économiquement et représentée politiquement et culturellement, ont basculé dans une contestation durable du modèle dominant. Tenter d’analyser ce mouvement comme un phénomène conjoncturel est une absurdité. Il est au contraire le produit du temps long et devrait s’inscrire durablement dans l’avenir. (…) De la même manière que les brexiters ne vont pas s’évanouir dans la nature. Les Britanniques ont cru qu’en gagnant du temps les classes populaires allaient abandonner. Et cela explique la percée spectaculaire du Brexit Party. Nigel Farage surfe sur le « gilet-jaunisme » britannique ! Farage, qui a créé un parti avec trois bouts de ficelle, pèse davantage en six mois que les tories et les travaillistes réunis, qui existent depuis des siècles. Cela veut dire qu’il s’appuie sur un socle et ce socle s’appelle le peuple. La question du morcellement est piégeante, c’est une lecture ultralibérale qui tend à justifier l’abandon du bien commun et in fine à invisibiliser un conflit vertical entre le haut et le bas. Évidemment que la société se commnautarise et que c’est inquiétant, mais cela ne doit pas éluder le phénomène majeur du XXIe siècle, qui est la recomposition d’une majorité dont le socle est composé par les classes populaires et moyennes. Elles ont fait un diagnostic concernant la mondialisation. Après y avoir adhéré, elles ont pu constater que celle-ci les appauvrissait socialement et les fragilisait culturellement. Elles ne vont pas changer d’avis de sitôt. (…) Tout mouvement social depuis vingt ans génère malheureusement de la violence. Ce n’est pas le propre des «gilets jaunes ». Certains « gilets jaunes » ont compris que cette violence faisait parti de la communication au XXIe siècle. Tout le monde la condamne, mais elle permet de faire la une du New York Times. Cependant, elle est d’abord et avant tout le fait des black blocs, qui viennent maintenant perturber toutes les manifestations depuis plusieurs années. Et qui sont ces black blocs ? Des enfants de la bourgeoisie ! Par ailleurs, si les « gilets jaunes » étaient réellement une tribu parmi d’autres, cela ferait longtemps que les médias n’en parleraient plus et ils n’auraient pas autant inquiété les politiques. Le soutien d’une très grande partie des Français encore aujourd’hui montre au contraire la profondeur de ce mouvement dans la société. La stratégie du monde d’en haut est toujours la même. Quand un phénomène populiste se produit, il est présenté comme accidentel et minoritaire. Les brexiters ? « Des vieux retraités xénophobes du Yorkshire ! » Sauf que c’est la majorité du peuple britannique qui a voté pour le Brexit ! On a utilisé exactement les mêmes procédés rhétoriques pour les « gilets jaunes » : « fumeurs de clopes qui roulent en diesel », « poujadistes », « peste brune » et enfin « nouveaux barbares attaquant les hôpitaux ». Depuis les années 80, une certaine bourgeoisie morcelle et « minoritarise » pour mieux invisibiliser les classes moyennes et populaires majoritaires (comme hier la bourgeoisie traditionnelle mettait en avant les pauvres pour mieux minorer le prolétariat). Mais l’addition des minorités ne fait pas une majorité. C’est ce qui explique la défaite de Clinton face à Trump même si ce dernier n’a gagné qu’avec une majorité relative. (Une majorité relative sera toujours plus puissante que l’addition de minorités…) Ce n’est pas un hasard non plus si Macron s’effondre en six mois dans les sondages tandis que Trump se maintient. La victoire de Macron est une construction intellectuelle « terranovesque » qui repose sur du sable tandis que Trump bénéficie d’une base solide. Je pense que, paradoxalement, nous sommes en train de sortir de la société liquide. Les observateurs ont beaucoup insisté sur le caractère disparate des revendications des « gilets jaunes »… Je crois au contraire que la France périphérique qu’on ne voulait pas voir est apparue physiquement. Ce qu’on voit très bien se mettre en place en Occident, c’est cette recomposition. Un phénomène incroyablement collectif. Cela fait quarante ans qu’on nous parle du « vivre ensemble », du « bien commun », des « valeurs de la République »… Mais cela ne fonctionne pas comme cela dans la vie réelle. Dans la vie réelle, il y a des gens qui vivent sur les mêmes territoires et qui partagent ou non des choses. Or ce qu’on a vu, c’est que, contrairement à ce qu’on disait, les classes populaires ne se réduisent pas à des catégories atomisées, individualistes, sans volonté politique ou sans énergie. Tout cela est faux. On a vu des gens se réunir avec une même perception des effets du modèle mondialisé dans leurs villes, leurs villages, leurs vies réelles. Et cette perception, c’est que ce modèle ne marche pas. Et ça, c’est irrépressible. On peut faire tous les grands débats du monde, leur point de vue ne changera pas car cela fait quarante ans qu’ils vivent la mondialisation et c’est sur ce vécu qu’il fonde leur diagnostic. Ce diagnostic n’est pas spécifique à la France : c’est celui des classes populaires dans l’ensemble des pays développés. Cela passe par le Brexit en Grande-Bretagne, par Trump aux États-Unis, par Salvini en Italie, par les « gilets jaunes » en France. Cela prend des formes différentes dans chaque pays, mais cela se fera car c’est le mouvement réel de la société. Macron avait imaginé que la France périphérique serait le cimetière de la classe moyenne française, comme Clinton avait imaginé que l’Amérique périphérique serait le cimetière de la classe moyenne américaine. Ils pensaient que nos territoires allaient se transformer en zone touristique avec des assistés sociaux qui remplieraient leur caddie au hard discount du coin. Mais la classe moyenne occidentale ne veut pas et ne va pas mourir. En cela, le mouvement des « gilets jaunes » est d’abord un mouvement existentiel et c’est pourquoi il ne rentre pas dans la case « mais quelles sont vos revendications ? ». C’est un mouvement qui dit une chose simple : « nous existons ». La question de la démocratie et de la représentation est centrale. Il faut enfin faire exister cette France-là qui, encore une fois, est majoritaire. Pas pour annihiler la France d’en haut, mais parce qu’il est impossible de faire société sans le peuple. (…) Au début, ce qui était frappant sur les ronds-points, c’est qu’il y avait des « gilets jaunes » de droite, de gauche, d’extrême droite et d’extrême gauche et des abstentionnistes. Le peuple tel que nous le connaissons en famille, où l’on peut s’engueuler à l’apéro mais où on termine le repas ensemble. La question des minorités est d’ailleurs intéressante. On a beaucoup dit que le mouvement était « blanc ». Les « minorités » n’étaient pas majoritaires sur les ronds-points car elles ne le sont pas dans la France périphérique, mais elles étaient bien présentes. Simplement, elles ne sont pas venues en portant leur identité en étendard. Elles n’étaient pas imprégnées de l’« idéologie universitaire ». Elles faisaient partie de la famille, du peuple. Personne ne s’est jamais interrogé sur la couleur ou l’identité de Priscillia Ludosky, qui a pourtant lancé le mouvement. Elle-même n’y a jamais fait référence. Mais, à partir du moment où un mouvement issu de la France périphérique, qui se déroule sur les ronds-points, est aspiré par les grandes métropoles, il devient autre chose. Le mouvement des « gilets jaunes » a ainsi été imprégné par la sociologie des grandes métropoles. Il est d’abord devenu beaucoup plus politique. Car les grandes métropoles sont les lieux où le politique s’exerce encore et où le clivage droite-gauche existe toujours, c’est d’ailleurs pourquoi le monde journalistique ou universitaire y croit encore. Certains habitants des grandes métropoles sont devenus acteurs des manifestations, notamment des gens qui travaillent dans la fonction publique, qui sont traditionnellement plus proches de la gauche ou de l’extrême gauche. Les manifs des « gilets jaunes », qui à l’origine étaient des manifs de la France périphérique, sont ainsi devenues des manifs de gauche. Priscillia Ludosky l’a compris. C’est pour cela qu’elle a dit qu’il fallait relocaliser le mouvement dans la France périphérique, que c’était là que se trouvait sa légitimité. Elle a parfaitement raison et c’est là aussi qu’il est le plus puissant car il est dispersé. Un mouvement est faible lorsqu’il est concentré. La concentration dans les grandes métropoles l’a affaibli. Mais même en région parisienne, même dans les grandes métropoles, beaucoup de « gilets jaunes » sont conscients de cette récupération et ne souhaitent pas, par exemple, que La France insoumise ou la CGT noyautent le mouvement. Cela montre que les « gilets jaunes » ne sont pas manipulables et pas arrêtables. Cela rend le mouvement très complexe pour le gens de gauche, mais aussi pour les gens de droite. Il n’entre dans aucune des représentations traditionnelles, qui sont en train de s’effondrer. Cela reflète aussi la recomposition politique actuelle avec une incapacité de la droite et de la gauche à s’adresser aux marges populaires. Notamment parce qu’il est absurde de séparer le social et le culturel, comme le font la gauche et la droite aujourd’hui. Le mouvement est à la fois social et culturel. Et les gens ne reviendront vers les partis traditionnels que si cette double dimension est prise au sérieux. De même que Macron arrive en tête ou en deuxième position aux élections européennes, cela ne changera rien aux fondamentaux de la société française. (…) Macron me semble peu crédible car il a des représentations et un logiciel hérités des années 80. L’idée que la société est un patchwork de communautés, que le libéralisme va faire ruisseler de la richesse sur tout le monde. Lors du grand débat, il est apparu comme un Bernard Tapie qui aurait fait l’ENA. Nous sommes pourtant en train de sortir des années 80. Maintenant, il va falloir penser un modèle alternatif qui passera notamment par le développement de la gouvernance locale. À long terme, c’est le seul moyen de sortir de la crise des « gilets jaunes ». Cela ne sera pas simple. Cela fait quarante ans qu’on massacre les classes populaires, ce n’est pas en quatre mois qu’on va trouver les réponses. D’autant que nous avons une classe politique qui a été conçue pour représenter une classe moyenne intégrée. C’est long de réécrire des programmes politiques en répondant à une demande nouvelle qui est la demande sociale, territoriale et culturelle d’un monde d’en bas qui n’est plus représenté. Les partis ont tendance à représenter quelque chose qui n’existe plus. D’où la fin du Parti socialiste et la difficulté pour la droite de dépasser les 15 %. Il faut commencer par accepter un diagnostic simple : il existe un peuple en Grande-Bretagne, il existe un peuple aux États-Unis et, même, il existe un peuple en France. Christophe Guilluy
Si nous voulons être intraitables avec le populisme, il nous faut l’être avec ses causes. (…) Mon constat, qui vaut pour l’ensemble du monde occidental, est que dans les quinze dernières années les enjeux socio-culturels sont devenus aussi importants que les enjeux socio-économiques. Nos sociétés s’interrogent désormais sur des questions qui dépassent la satisfaction des besoins matériels, comme l’identité, et plus seulement sur les inégalités et la taille de l’État. C’est l’objet de ma réflexion, qui expose une division de valeurs émergentes dans nos pays – et avant tout au Royaume-Uni – entre les Somewheres et les Anywheres. Les Anywheres réussissent bien à l’école, sont passés par une bonne université et travaillent dans les grandes villes, parfois à l’étranger ; les Somewheres sont plus enracinés et se définissent par leur appartenance à des groupes et des lieux déterminés. C’est une division schématique, car chaque groupe présente une grande variété, mais j’ai inventé ces dénominations, pas les valeurs qu’elles représentent. (…) Depuis quinze ans, les classes sociales ont progressivement convergé sur les questions socio-économiques – tout le monde accepte plus ou moins l’économie de marché régulée – et divergé sur les questions socio-culturelles. La différenciation de valeurs que je décris recoupe partiellement les différences de classe, mais pas entièrement. Ensuite, le système éducatif des pays développés a connu une expansion très importante, donc une expansion du nombre d’Anywheres. Il y a toujours eu des Anywheres et des Somewheres, mais les Anywheres représentaient une couche relativement fine au sommet de la société, qui avait de l’influence mais ne dominait pas la société. Ce n’est plus le cas. (…) Ces deux visions du monde sont entièrement légitimes. Cependant, j’estime que le point de vue des Anywheres est devenu trop dominant : ils ont imposé des valeurs qui s’appliquent avant tout à eux et décident trop largement pour les autres. (…) En premier lieu, à la mobilité sociale et à la réussite scolaire. Loin de moi l’idée que les classes populaires doivent « rester à leur place ». Je crois à la méritocratie et à la mobilité mais, collectivement, nous avons fini par y croire à l’exclusion de tout autre chose, et d’une façon très étroite. (…) tout le monde n’en a pas envie ! Il ne faut pas empêcher les gens d’être mobiles, mais il faut comprendre que, si on y attache trop d’importance, on dévalorise tous ceux qui ne le sont pas et qui constituent la majorité de nos sociétés. Les êtres humains ont besoin de se sentir reconnus et valorisés. Or aujourd’hui les critères que nous utilisons pour reconnaître la valeur des gens, comme la réussite scolaire ou les capacités cognitives, sont réducteurs. Que fait-on de l’expérience et du caractère, tout aussi légitimes ? (…) [« économie de la connaissance »] Voilà un concept typiquement Anywhere ! Il est d’ailleurs indissociable de l’expansion de l’éducation supérieure, qui a grossi au détriment des formations plus techniques, comme l’apprentissage. Aujourd’hui, 45 % des élèves restent dans la filière générale après 16 ans ; si vous n’en faites pas partie, vous êtes considéré comme un raté. Nous n’avons pas construit d’alternative prestigieuse à cette voie. (…) Le concept d’« ouverture », et en particulier la libre circulation illimitée des personnes : autant elle est bénéfique aux Anywheres, autant elle nuit aux Somewheres. Elle fait baisser les salaires des moins qualifiés, qui se prennent la mondialisation en pleine figure. Les sondages sont sans ambiguïté : 75 % de la population pense que l’immigration est trop élevée. (…) Il faut faire la distinction entre la libre circulation des biens, que je défends, et celle des personnes. (…) L’immigration a des conséquences culturelles, produit des changements rapides de notre environnement. Or la grande divergence entre Anywheres et Somewheres est leur réaction au changement. Le sociologue Talcott Parsons opposait identité « assignée » et « construite ». Plus vous réussissez, plus votre identité provient de vos réalisations personnelles. Votre identité se fait « portable ». Mais, si votre identité provient de vos caractéristiques assignées, de votre lieu et groupe d’origine, le changement vous déstabilise davantage. (…) cette idéologie, sous couvert de progressisme, peut être démoralisante. Et elle produit un paradoxe : ce sont les Anywheres qui vivent de la façon la plus conservatrice – ils sont beaucoup plus susceptibles de se marier et de vivre dans des environnements stables. Inversement, nombre de valeurs libérales sont vécues avec réticence par les Somewheres. Les Anywheres infligent leur idéologie aux Somewheres sans la vivre eux-mêmes. (…) Parce que l’État providence – que je défends, car je suis social-démocrate – ne les y incite pas. (…) Par exemple, notre politique familiale est clairement hostile à la famille. Dans mon pays, il n’y a ni quotient familial ni allocations décentes. Tout cela a eu un impact plus négatif sur les foyers de Somewheres que d’Anywheres. Dans 20 % des foyers les plus pauvres, la chance pour un enfant d’être élevé par ses deux parents à l’âge de 4 ans est dix fois inférieure à celle des enfants des 20 % des foyers les plus riches. Par ailleurs, l’opinion publique méprise les femmes au foyer et moque le concept de « soutien de famille masculin ». Nous avons vécu une grande libéralisation des mœurs dans les années 1960 et c’est une bonne chose. Mais cela ne veut pas dire que les gens aspirent à une société où les hommes et les femmes sont identiques. 70 % des femmes britanniques souhaitent avoir un soutien de famille masculin quand elles ont des enfants en bas âge. (…) La dichotomie de valeurs que je décris a créé un conflit politique. Les Somewheres avaient été poussés hors de la politique, certains allant jusqu’à cesser de voter. Comme les Anywheres ont mauvaise conscience, ils donnent parfois la parole aux Somewheres. Résultat : un référendum est venu mettre à terre leurs présupposés. (…) [Les Somewheres] sont des « populistes décents ». Certains sont de vrais xénophobes. Mais ce sont des gens modernes – beaucoup soutiennent les droits des minorités ou le mariage homosexuel. Ils partagent une vision du monde vaguement libérale, même s’ils tiennent à leurs appartenances. (…) Il faut ramener la voix des Somewheres en politique. Les Anywheres doivent montrer plus d’intelligence émotionnelle et de retenue, et se garder de toujours poursuivre leurs propres intérêts au détriment de ceux des autres. Il faudrait décentraliser davantage la politique et repenser la politique familiale. Surtout, il faut restaurer le contrat social national : mettre fin à la liberté de circulation sans limites et offrir de véritables formations aux métiers techniques. Le Brexit offre une chance pour le faire. David Goodhart
Bien qu’ils travaillent, il leur est de plus en plus difficile de suivre la cadence et de disposer de tous les biens de consommation d’une classe moyenne aisée : smartphone, voiture, télévision dernier cri, cuisine tendance, etc. » (…) En clair, ce mouvement a d’abord mobilisé toute une France du « back-office », pour reprendre l’expression de Denis Maillard (c’est-à-dire les métiers de la logistique, des transports, du care…), qui fait tourner la machine économique, qui n’est pas assistée, mais qui dit : « Nous, on bosse, mais on n’y arrive plus. » Bien qu’ils travaillent, il leur est de plus en plus difficile de suivre la cadence et de disposer de tous les biens de consommation d’une classe moyenne aisée : smartphone, voiture, télévision dernier cri, cuisine tendance, etc. (…) En réalité, nous avons là l’illustration chimiquement pure d’une des principales contradictions internes de la société occidentale. Les standards de consommation ne cessent d’être rehaussés alors que beaucoup d’emplois proposés et créés le sont dans des secteurs qui ne versent pas des salaires permettant d’accéder au « must have ». Dans les années 1960-1970, dans une France fortement industrialisée, toute une partie des catégories populaires a pu s’arrimer à la classe moyenne, c’est ce que l’on a appelé le « compromis fordiste » (Ford ayant théorisé qu’il fallait suffisamment payer les ouvriers pour que ces derniers puissent acheter les voitures qui sortaient de ses usines, NDLR). Mais aujourd’hui, tout le bas de la classe moyenne est en train de décrocher. Les causes de ce décrochage sont plurielles et de nature différente : hausse des prélèvements obligatoires diminuant le salaire disponible, création d’emplois se faisant d’abord dans des secteurs à faible valeur ajoutée et moins syndiqués, donc moins bien payés. Il faut aussi évoquer l’augmentation croissante de la distance domicile/travail qui a fait flamber la facture carburant de nombreux ménages, mais également l’explosion des familles monoparentales, phénomènes très peu pris en compte dans le débat public, mais pourtant majeurs… Un phénomène comme la crise des Gilets jaunes nous oblige à sortir d’une lecture unidimensionnelle. Il faut croiser les données et les regards (politique, économique, culturel, sociologique…), sinon, on passe à côté de sa signification profonde. (…) cette partie de la société qui travaille, mais éprouve un sentiment de déclassement. Il ne s’agit pas des catégories les plus modestes, ce sont plutôt des Français juste au niveau de la ligne de flottaison. (…) Jean-François Sirinelli, dans son ouvrage Révolutions, écrit que, jusque dans les années 1960, nous étions dans une société du bonheur différé, il fallait semer avant de récolter, serrer les dents en attendant que cela porte ses fruits pour nous ou pour nos enfants. Aujourd’hui, nous sommes dans une société d’individus, où le « moi, ici et maintenant » prime tout le reste. Dans le mouvement des Gilets jaunes, il y a des revendications de différente nature, mais il y a aussi de ça. On veut posséder les biens de consommation que j’évoquais plus haut, car sinon cela signifie qu’on n’appartient plus à la classe moyenne et qu’on est un citoyen-consommateur de seconde zone. En l’espace de 50 ans, on est passé de la messe dominicale au dimanche chez Ikea… La consommation a acquis une place centrale dans notre société. L’individu se définit de plus en plus par ce qu’il consomme et non plus par ses croyances ou ses valeurs. Depuis les Trente Glorieuses, la France a progressivement adopté le modèle d’une société organisée autour d’une vaste classe moyenne… dont la déclinaison en termes de style de vie est la « suburb » américaine. Mais au pavillon de banlieue et au barbecue des débuts se sont greffés les écrans plats, la seconde voiture, la cuisine américaine et la douche à l’italienne qu’on voit dans les émissions de Stéphane Plaza. Le ticket d’entrée dans la classe moyenne devient de plus en plus élevé. Toute une partie de la population prend conscience que cet horizon-là n’est plus pour elle, mais c’est pourtant ce qu’on lui vend matin, midi et soir comme étant le « way of life » normal pour ceux qui travaillent. On a là le terreau psychosociologique sur lequel s’est déclenché le mouvement des Gilets jaunes… (… ) Ils se bricolent un mode de vie de classe démoyennisée. On assiste ainsi à l’essor d’une « économie de la débrouille ». On tente de réduire le coût de la vie quotidienne pour pouvoir continuer à rester dans la course. On opte pour des marques moins prestigieuses. Voyez le succès de l’enseigne Dacia qui a vendu au total plus d’un million de véhicules en France alors qu’elle était à l’origine destinée aux pays émergents… Ces Français fréquentent les hard discount plutôt que les supermarchés traditionnels. Derrière la recherche des prix bas pointent également en filigrane le rejet du « big business » et de la « world company » et une demande de localisme. Lidl l’a très bien compris puisque l’enseigne a lancé une vaste campagne mettant en avant le fait qu’elle se fournissait auprès de producteurs locaux. La grande distribution, Amazon et les bobos, tout ça aux yeux de cette classe démoyennisée, ce sont les « anywhere » de David Goodhart, tandis qu’elle se voit comme plus enracinée. Il n’est d’ailleurs pas anodin que les Gilets jaunes réclament que le kérosène des avions empruntés par les « anywhere » soit désormais taxé au même titre que le gasoil qu’ils mettent dans leur Sandero pour aller travailler. (…) C’est toujours l’opposition « somewhere contre anywhere ». Leboncoin, tout est dit dans le nom même du site qui est une trouvaille marketing géniale. On se vend des objets entre nous, à l’échelle du canton, dans un rayon de quelques kilomètres. L’acheteur se déplace en personne au domicile du vendeur et a, parfois, même le droit à un café. Amazon, c’est une entreprise ultra-capitaliste qui fait travailler des gens dans de grands entrepôts déshumanisés et qui sert ses clients par l’intermédiaire de livreurs qui ont des obligations de rendement intenables. Ce sont des flux immenses qui quadrillent la planète. eBay avait dit « on amènera le monde à vos pieds ». Amazon, c’est un peu pareil. Nous avons là deux modèles radicalement différents dans leur fonctionnement, mais aussi dans les valeurs qu’ils véhiculent. (…) Toutes les classes sociales sont effectivement sur leboncoin qui est l’un des premiers sites marchands du pays. Mais tout le monde n’entretient pas le même rapport et n’y cherche pas la même chose. La fréquentation de ce site n’est pas uniquement conditionnée par la recherche de la bonne affaire. Il y a aussi une dimension plus idéologique (je ne veux pas passer par des intermédiaires qui prélèvent des marges importantes) et un aspect moral : ce n’est pas parce qu’un objet ne me sert plus que je dois le jeter. Les personnes se définissant comme Gilets jaunes affichent un taux de fréquentation du Boncoin nettement plus élevé que la moyenne. C’est le signe qu’ils pratiquent davantage cette « économie de la débrouille ». À côté du succès phénoménal du Boncoin, l’engouement pour les vide-greniers, les faillitaires et autres déstockeurs constituent d’autres symptômes éloquents du développement de cette « économie de la débrouille ». On peut également citer l’essor de l’autoentrepreneuriat (on se crée son propre job à défaut d’en trouver un ou pour compléter son salaire trop faible), mais aussi le recours de plus en plus fréquent aux crédits à la consommation, dont les encours ont explosé au cours des 30 dernières années, selon la Banque de France, ou bien encore la chasse aux promotions avec « les émeutes au Nutella » survenues quelques mois avant le déclenchement de la crise des Gilets jaunes. (…) On est revenu à des prix du carburant au même niveau, voire au-dessus de ceux pratiqués au déclenchement de la crise des Gilets jaunes ; les prix de l’immobilier continuent d’augmenter dans les métropoles et leurs premières couronnes, renvoyant les ménages modestes toujours plus loin ; du fait de l’évolution de notre économie, ce sont d’abord les secteurs peu rémunérateurs de la logistique, des services à la personne et de l’intérim qui concentrent les créations d’emploi ; et les pouvoirs publics semblent incapables de faire baisser significativement les prélèvements obligatoires. Tout concourt donc à ce que le poids des dépenses contraintes continue de progresser. Dans ce contexte, des pans entiers des petites classes moyennes se trouvent pris à la gorge, car, dans le même temps, le marché crée sans cesse de nouveaux besoins ou des produits plus sophistiqués et plus chers. (…) Nous assistons de mon point de vue depuis une trentaine d’années [à]une scission au sein même du bloc central de la société. (…) Ces deux parties du bloc central se croisent, mais moins fréquemment au supermarché, qui est moins qu’avant le passage obligé. Pour la classe démoyennisée désormais, il y a Lidl, Aldi ou leboncoin quand la classe moyenne supérieure se tourne vers Naturalia et se fait livrer par Deliveroo. L’apparition et le renforcement des phénomènes dont nous avons parlé nous incitent à penser que le phénomène de « démoyennisation » est un processus qui va se renforcer au fil du temps accroissant l’archipellisation de la société française. Jérome Fourquet
Et si la crise des gilets jaunes n’était – à son commencement, en tout cas – « que » le symptôme de la prise de conscience douloureuse, violente, par une partie de la société, d’une France socialement fragmentée ?  Comment, dans ces conditions, ne pas protester quand on sent que l’on décroche ? Comment se cramponner coûte que coûte au peloton de tête dont les standards – façons de se loger, de se vêtir, de se distraire, etc. – deviennent de plus en plus étincelants, onéreux, hors d’atteinte, donc ? Dans une note rédigée pour la Fondation Jean-Jaurès et intitulée « L’adieu à la grande classe moyenne : la crise des gilets jaunes, symptôme de la « démoyennisation » », Jérôme Fourquet, directeur du département opinion de l’Ifop et auteur de « L’archipel français » (Seuil), poursuit son étude méticuleuse des modes de vie d’une société en plein morcellement. Cette fois, les gilets jaunes constituent son point de départ. Partisan d’une lecture pluridimensionnelle du mouvement (politique, économique, sociologique, culturelle), Fourquet a voulu décortiquer, dit-il, « cette partie de la société qui travaille mais éprouve un sentiment de déclassement », preuve vivante de ce qu’il appelle « le phénomène de démoyennisation ». Peinant désormais à acquérir les biens de consommation de la classe moyenne supérieure, cette France du « back office » (l’expression est de Denis Maillard, auteur d’« Une colère française », cité par Fourquet), exerçant souvent des métiers liés à la logistique, aux transports, à l’aide à la personne, développe son propre « way of life » pour rester dans la course toujours plus folle à la consommation. « Depuis les Trente Glorieuses, la France a progressivement adopté le modèle d’une société organisée autour d’une vaste classe moyenne… dont la déclinaison en termes de style de vie est la « suburb » américaine, avance Fourquet. Mais au pavillon de banlieue et au barbecue des débuts se sont greffés les écrans plats, la seconde voiture, la cuisine américaine et la douche à l’italienne qu’on voit dans les émissions de Stéphane Plaza. Le ticket d’entrée dans la classe moyenne devient de plus en plus élevé. Toute une partie de la population prend conscience que cet horizon-là n’est plus pour elle, mais c’est pourtant ce qu’on lui vend matin, midi et soir comme étant le standard normal pour ceux qui travaillent. » Plus que leurs salaires et leurs catégories socioprofessionnelles, c’est presque une façon de consommer, d’économiser, et donc de voir le monde, qui rapproche les membres de cette société en voie de « démoyennisation ». Plus on se retrouve en marge, plus on développe des circuits parallèles de consommation. A cette « France du Boncoin », de la débrouille, du marché secondaire s’opposerait donc une France des clients d’Amazon, plus favorisée, plus mondialisée, plus macroniste aussi, peut-être. Une France qui, même en commandant les petits pots bio de ses enfants et son savon noir sur le site américain de commerce en ligne, peut s’offrir la cuisine avec verrière et carreaux de ciment repérée dans une émission de Stéphane Plaza sans compter ses sous. Une France qui achète sur Amazon tandis que certains membres de la France du Boncoin y travaillent comme cariste ou comme livreur. « On notera d’ailleurs à ce propos qu’Amazon, en tant que représentant et acteur majeur de la mondialisation économique, a été particulièrement ciblé par les gilets jaunes », écrit Jérôme Fourquet dans sa note. Et de citer l’action commando organisée le 22 décembre 2018 contre la plateforme Amazon de Montélimar ou le blocage d’un entrepôt de Saran le 16 janvier, vraisemblablement à la suite de la diffusion d’un reportage de « Capital » sur le géant américain. Mais si cette classe « démoyennisée » fustige les entreprises ultracapitalistes, développe son propre modèle et son propre style de vie, elle n’a pas encore renoncé à posséder les biens de consommation standards « car, sinon, cela signifie qu’on n’appartient plus à la classe moyenne et qu’on est un citoyen-consommateur de seconde zone », note Fourquet. Alors que les classes favorisées ont fait sécession, vivant en vase clos, d’après une précédente note de Fourquet pour la Fondation Jean-Jaurès, publiée en février 2018, elles continuent d’influencer les moins favorisées. Pour le pire ? Le Point

Attention: une hémiplégie peut en cacher une autre !

En ce 27e samedi consécutif de mobilisation gilets jaunes …

Et de son lot habituel d’enfants gâtés qui, comme aux plus beaux jours de la poétique insurrectionnelle d’il y a 50 ans , jouent à casser le samedi leurs jouets des autres jours …

Comment ne pas voir l’étrange hémiplégie …

De médias qui en fidèles échos de nos gouvernants …

N’ont pas de mots assez doux …

Pour célébrer, avec 8,4% et un recul de 0, 1% (hors Mayotte), le retour du chômage d’il y a dix ans

Comme l’accession de la France à la 5e place devant la Chine des pays les plus attractifs pour les investissements étrangers …

Et de mots assez forts pour dénoncer …

Un président américain qui avec 3,6% et le plus bas niveau de chômage depuis 50 ans (minorités comprises) et une croissance supérieure à 3 %

S’acharne sur un régime iranien qui depuis 40 ans opprime sa population et met le Moyen-orient à feu et à sang …

Et un Etat policier chinois qui, entre la répression de ses minorités et la militarisation des espaces maritimes de ses voisins et sous prétexte de développement, pille en toute impunité depuis bientôt 20 ans la propriété intellectuelle de ses prétendus partenaires occidentaux …

Mais surtout comme le rappellent les sociologues  français et britannique Jérome Fourquet et David Goodhart dans Le Point cette semaine …

Dans une France qui a remplacé la « messe dominicale » par le « dimanche chez Ikea » …

Entre hausse des taxes, emplois sous-payés et moins syndiqués, augmentation croissante de la distance domicile/travail, explosion des familles monoparentales et nouveaux besoins toujours plus sophistiqués et plus chers …

Leur singulière cécité sur l’écart que ces progrès célébrés de la globalisation ne peuvent manquer d’aggraver entre la « France d’Amazon » et celle du « Bon coin » …

Et surtout sur fond de débat interdit sur l’insécurité culturelle entrainée par une immigration hors de contrôle …

La fin quasiment programmée de cette classe moyenne qui en assez d’être les éternels pigeons de Stéphane Plaza ?

EXCLUSIF. « Le ticket d’entrée dans la classe moyenne devient de plus en plus élevé »

ENTRETIEN. Après « L’Archipel français », le sondeur Jérôme Fourquet revient avec une étude pour la Fondation Jean-Jaurès sur la « démoyennisation » de notre société.

Propos recueillis par Laureline Dupont

Le Point
La réponse de Stéphane Plaza à la note de Jérôme Fourquet

L’animateur de M6 (« Recherche appartement ou maison », « Maison à vendre », « Chasseurs d’appart ») symbolise malgré lui un monde dont une partie de ses téléspectateurs se sentent désormais exclus. « Alors que ses émissions sont très regardées, le standing qu’elles véhiculent et qu’elles érigent en norme est objectivement inatteignable pour toute une partie de la population », écrit Jérôme Fourquet. Ce qui finit par en agacer certains. « Plaza nous prend pour des pigeons. Il pense que tout le monde peut se payer une double vasque, mais nous on ne peut pas avoir de crédit pour se payer une salle de bains. Nous ne sommes pas du même monde », ironise Didier, gilet jaune de Seine-et-Marne qui travaille comme agent administratif. « Il vend un “american way of life” à la française. Mais c’est inaccessible pour nous », témoigne encore Ouahiba, gilet jaune de Montreuil, en intérim dans la restauration collective. L’intéressé, lui, se défend :« Je ne pense pas vendre du rêve. Le prix moyen des maisons que nous vendons est de 350 000 euros. Ça reste correct. » Correct ? Peut-être, mais bien trop élevé pour beaucoup. « Quand j’ai vu qu’on avait réussi à récolter 1 milliard d’euros en deux jours pour Notre-Dame, j’étais un peu écœuré. J’aurais préféré qu’on donne cet argent aux gilets jaunes », ajoute l’animateur en gage de soutien§ Hugo Domenach

Voir de plus:

Christophe Guilluy : « Les Gilets jaunes ont gagné la bataille, les élites ne pourront plus faire comme si cette France n’existait pas »
Dans un grand entretien pour Atlantico, le géographe de la France périphérique donne en exclusivité son analyse du mouvement qui a ébranlé le pays et la République.
Atlantico

26 janvier 2019

Atlantico : Le mouvement des Gilets jaunes a été beaucoup commenté ces dernières semaines au travers du prisme du concept de France périphérique. Pouvez-vous revenir sur ce concept ?

Christophe Guilluy : Le concept de France périphérique traite de la répartition dans l’espace des classes populaires. Lorsque j’ai réalisé cette répartition au début des années 2000, je travaillais sur les classes populaires de banlieues, ce qui vient invalider les critiques qui voudraient voir dans la France périphérique un concept d’exclusion de la France des banlieues. La réalité est qu’à partir du moment où l’on travaille sur les classes populaires de banlieues, soit 7% de la population, on sait qu’il manque quelque chose, c’est-à-dire tout le reste. Ce qui était frappant lorsqu’on a fait les premières cartes de cette représentation était que ces territoires étaient toutes les périphéries des grandes métropoles mondialisées : les périphéries de la mondialisation. Il y a donc un aspect géographique, un aspect social, un aspect économique – parce que l’on retrouve les territoires les moins dynamiques économiquement – et puis, et surtout, un aspect culturel, puisque ce sont des catégories qui sont sorties des écrans radar de la classe politique, du monde intellectuel, du monde universitaire et du monde syndical.

C’est pour cela que j’avais annoncé, au début des années 2000, que s’il y avait un mouvement social, la contestation viendrait de ces territoires, de cette géographie, de cette sociologie, et que celle-ci pourrait être politique, sociale, ou les deux à la fois. Cela était le thème du livre. Et en partant de ce principe d’un territoire et d’une géographie, on retrouve la dynamique de toute la vague de populisme qui touche l’Europe occidentale ou les Etats-Unis.

Il est important de dire que cette géographie n’est pas celle de la pauvreté. Il y a des pauvres parmi eux mais je n’oppose pas les pauvres aux classes populaires. Cela est d’ailleurs très intéressant de constater qu’un des moyens d’invisibiliser les classes populaires a été de mettre en avant les pauvres, et notamment les nouveaux pauvres que sont les immigrés. Il y a eu une instrumentalisation des immigrés et des minorités par la bourgeoisie pour se protéger des classes populaires. Cette instrumentalisation de la pauvreté – consciente pour une minorité mais majoritairement inconsciente par le biais d’une approche bienveillante et morale – était déjà présente au XIXe siècle, quand les pauvres étaient mis en avant par le paternalisme, tout en masquant la masse du prolétariat. Il s’agissait de diviser cet ensemble majoritaire que sont les classes populaires qui peuvent être pauvres ou travailleuses. Le prolétariat devait se taire et arrêter de demander plus de protection sociale ou des salaires plus élevés parce qu’ils étaient mieux lotis que les pauvres. C’est exactement le discours de la nouvelle bourgeoisie, qui est plutôt de gauche aujourd’hui, et j’y inclus une large part du monde intellectuel et universitaire. La technique est exactement la même.

Quand je suis arrivé avec mon concept de France périphérique, ce qui a vraiment énervé, c’est que je dise qu’il y avait là un potentiel majoritaire. La France périphérique n’est pas la marge, contrairement à ce qui était annoncé dans les premiers jours du mouvement des Gilets jaunes. Cela était la même technique ; de désigner « les marges », ce qui voulait dire en creux que « tout va bien » pour la société : alors « ne changeons rien ».  Ce qui est terrible, c’est que c’est la gauche qui a beaucoup porté ce discours autour des marges et des minorités, pour mieux attaquer le prolétariat. Ce dont je me suis rendu compte, c’est que les gens du parti socialiste avaient beaucoup de problèmes avec l’idée d’un conflit de classes. Et on retrouve la même fracturation autour du concept de France périphérique. Une bourgeoisie de gauche a refusé le concept parce qu’il était potentiellement majoritaire, il rappelait l’existence d’un prolétariat, d’un peuple. Il rappelait à tous ces gens que le modèle qu’ils prônaient avait des limites, parce qu’il n’intégrait pas le plus grand nombre.

Quel lien faites-vous entre France périphérique et Gilets Jaunes ?

J’ai regardé les premières cartes qui avaient faites par l’IFOP concernant les ronds-points occupés par les Gilets jaunes. Ce qui était frappant, c’était la parfaite corrélation avec celle de la France périphérique, développée autour d’un indicateur de fragilité sociale Ce qui est très intéressant c’est que cette carte fait exploser toutes les typologies traditionnelles : la division est-ouest entre la France industrielle et la France rurale par exemple. En réalité, le mouvement est parti de partout, aussi bien dans le sud-ouest que dans le nord-est, on voit donc quelque chose qui correspond exactement à la France périphérique, c’est-à-dire à la répartition des catégories modestes et populaires dans l’espace. Cette typologie casse celle de la France du vide qui n’est plus pertinente et cela nous montre bien les effets d’un modèle économique nouveau qui est celui de la mondialisation. C’est pour cela que je dis que le mouvement des Gilets jaunes n’est pas une résurgence de la révolution française ou de mai 68, cela est au contraire quelque chose de très nouveau : cela correspond à l’impact de la mondialisation sur la classe moyenne au sens large : de l’ouvrier au cadre supérieur. La classe moyenne ce ne sont pas seulement les professions intermédiaires, c’est un ensemble, ce sont les gens qui travaillent et qui ont l’impression de faire partie d’un tout, peu importe qu’il y ait des inégalités de salaires.

Comment avez-vous accueilli les différentes analyses qui ont pu être faites du mouvement ?

Ce qui était malsain dans l’analyse qui en a été fait, cela a été le moment ou l’on a dit « en réalité, ils ne sont pas pauvres ». On opposait une nouvelle fois les pauvres aux classes populaires alors que la presque totalité des pauvres sont issus des classes populaires. Il y a un lien organique entre eux. Quand on prend ces catégories, ouvriers, employés, paysans etc.…ils peuvent être pauvres, au chômage, et même quand ils ont un emploi, ils savent très bien que la case pauvreté est toute proche sur l’échiquier.  Surtout, ils ont un frère, un cousin, un grand parent, un ami, un voisin qui est pauvre. On oublie toujours de dire que la pauvreté n’est pas un état permanent, il y a un échange constant entre classes populaires et pauvreté. Opposer ces catégories, c’est refuser ce lien organique entre pauvres et travailleurs modestes. C’est donc ne rien comprendre à ce qui se joue actuellement.

Quelles sont les causes du diagnostic que vous dressez ?

Ce que nous constatons aujourd’hui, c’est une dysfonction entre l’économie et la société. Et cela est la première fois. Avant, l’économie faisait société, c’était les 30 glorieuses avec un modèle économique qui intègre tout le monde et qui bénéficie à l’ensemble de la société. Là, nous avons un modèle qui peut créer de la richesse mais qui ne fait pas société.

Le modèle économique mondialisé, parce qu’il n’a pas de limites, frappe les catégories sociales les unes après les autres. Après les employés, il y a les professions intermédiaires, les jeunes diplômés, et après nous aurons les catégories supérieures. La seule chose qui protège les catégories supérieures est qu’elles vivent aujourd’hui dans des citadelles. C’est ce qui fait                aussi que la baisse du soutien des français au mouvement des Gilets jaunes touche ces catégories-là. Mais cela n’empêche pas que le socle électoral d’Emmanuel Macron se restreint comme peau de chagrin, cela est mécanique.

Depuis les années 80, on a souvent compensé ces destructions d’emplois sur ces territoires par des emplois publics, mais les gens ont parfaitement compris que ce modèle était à bout de souffle. Les fonctionnaires de catégorie B et C, qui sont présents dans le mouvement, ont compris que cela était fini, qu’ils n’auraient plus d’augmentations de salaires ou que leurs enfants ne pourront plus en profiter. On a bien là une angoisse d’insécurité sociale qui s’est généralisée à l’ensemble de ces catégories qui étaient, hier, totalement intégrées à la classe moyenne, et cela démontre bien comment un mouvement parti des marges est devenu majoritaire. Cela est la limite du modèle économique néolibéral. Je n’aurais aucun problème à adhérer au modèle néolibéral, s’il fonctionnait. On a vu comment cela avait commencé, ouvriers d’abord, paysans etc.. Et aujourd’hui, des gens que l’on pensait finalement sécurisés sont touchés ; petite fonction publique et retraités. Or, ce sont les gens qui ont, in fine, élu Emmanuel Macron. Son effondrement vient de ces catégories-là.

Mais les classes populaires n’ont rien contre les riches, ils jouent au loto pour devenir riches, la question est simplement de pouvoir vivre décemment avec son salaire et d’être respecté culturellement. Nous payons réellement 30 années de mépris de classe, d’ostracisation, d’insultes en direction du peuple.

Vous soulignez l’impossibilité de la coexistence entre la démocratie et un modèle économique qui ne profite plus à la majorité…

C’est ce que ne comprennent pas les libéraux. Je crois que le débat –libéral-pas libéral- est vain. Si je dis qu’il y a un problème avec ce modèle dans ces territoires, alors on me dit que je suis pour la suppression des métropoles ou que je suis favorable à un retour à une économie administrée. Et surtout, ce qui est intolérable, c’est que je cliverais la société en termes de classes sociales. En relisant récemment une biographie de Margaret Thatcher, je me suis rendu compte que le plus gros reproche fait aux travaillistes et aux syndicats dans les années 70 était justement de cliver la société à partir des classes sociales. L’argument était de dire qu’ils sont de mauvais anglais parce qu’ils fracturent l’unité nationale. Ce qui est génial, c’est que nous voyons aujourd’hui exactement les mêmes réactions avec la France périphérique. Une arme sur la tempe, on vous dit d’arrêter de parler des inégalités. Ils veulent bien que l’on parle de pauvres mais cela ne va pas plus loin.

Mais quand on regarde finement les choses, Emmanuel Macron n’aurait pas pu être élu sans le niveau de l’État providence français. À la fin il passe, évidemment parce qu’il fait le front des bourgeoises et des catégories supérieures, des scores soviétiques dans les grandes métropoles mais aussi et surtout parce que la majorité de la fonction publique a voté pour lui, tout comme la majorité des retraités a voté pour lui. C’est-à-dire les héritiers des 30 glorieuses et surtout le cœur de la redistribution française. Emmanuel Macron se tire deux balles dans le pied en attaquant la fonction publique et les retraités. Nous assistons à un suicide en direct. C’est ce qui explique qu’il soit très vite passé de 65 à 25%. Finalement, et paradoxalement, le modèle français ne résiste au populisme et perdure dans le sens de la dérégulation néolibérale que grâce à un État providence fort. Mais en l’absence d’un État providence- ce que veulent les libéraux- nous aurons alors le populisme.

Comment expliquez-vous que ce diagnostic de la France périphérique ait été aussi tardif ?
J’en veux à la production intellectuelle et universitaire parce qu’à partir du moment ou on met les marges en avant, les journalistes vont suivre cette représentation en allant voir une femme isolée dans la creuse qui vit avec 500 euros, en se disant qu’elle est Gilet jaune, tout cela pour se rendre finalement compte qu’elle ne manifeste pas. Parce que quand on est pauvre, on n’a même pas l’énergie de se mobiliser, le but est de boucler la journée. Historiquement, les mouvements sociaux n’ont jamais été portés par les pauvres, et cela ne veut pas dire qu’ils ne soutiennent pas le mouvement.

Ce que nous voyons aujourd’hui, ce sont des journalistes qui vont dans les salons des Gilets jaunes pour vérifier s’ils ont un écran plat, un abonnement Netflix, ou un IPhone. Ils sont prêts à les fouiller, cela est dingue. Lors des manifestations de 1995, les journalistes ne sont pas allés vérifier si les cheminots avaient un écran 16/9e chez eux, ou quand il y a eu les émeutes des banlieues, de vérifier si le mec qui brule une voiture vit chez lui avec une grande télé ou pas. Cette façon de délégitimer un mouvement est une grande première. C’est la première fois que l’on fait les poches des manifestants pour savoir s’ils ont de l’argent ou pas, et s’il y en a, on considère que cela n’est pas légitime. Ce qu’ils n’ont pas compris, c’est que si on gagne le revenu médian à 1700 euros, la perspective est que, même si cela va aujourd’hui, cela ne va pas aller demain.

L’élite n’a toujours pas compris que les gens étaient parfaitement capables de faire un diagnostic de leurs propres vies. Cette condescendance dit un gigantesque mépris de classe. J’ai moi-même été surpris, je ne pensais pas que cela irait si vite. En quelques heures, les Gilets jaunes sont devenus antisémites, homophobes, racistes, beaufs… Et là encore, on voit bien que l’antiracisme et l’antifascisme sont devenus une arme de classe.

Le climat général d’une prise de conscience vous donne-t-il l’impression que les choses pourraient changer ?
Nicolas Mathieu vient d’avoir le prix Goncourt avec son livre « Leurs enfants après eux », dont il dit qu’il s’agissait du roman de la France périphérique. Le combat culturel est en cours. Cela gagne le champ littéraire, culturel et médiatique. Les Gilets jaunes ont gagné l’essentiel, ils ont gagné la bataille de la représentation. On ne pourra plus faire comme si cette France n’existait pas, comme si la France périphérique était un concept qui ne pouvait pas être incarné par des gens. Si nous sommes encore démocrates nous sommes obligés de le prendre en compte. Ce qu’il faut espérer, c’est que les élites se rendent compte que les peuples occidentaux sont encore relativement paisibles. Le mouvement réel de la société, que nous constatons partout dans le monde occidental, et que nous ne pourrons pas arrêter, continue d’avancer, de se structurer, et que cela est de la responsabilité des élites d’y répondre. Ils n’ont pas d’autre choix, celui de l’atterrissage en douceur. Je crois que ce qui vient d’arriver, c’est que le rapport de force vient de changer, la peur a changé de camp. Aux Etats-Unis, au Royaume Uni, en Europe, maintenant, ils ont le peuple sur le dos. Et puis il y a une vertu à tout cela, prendre en compte les aspirations des plus modestes, c’est pour moi le fondement de la démocratie, c’est-à-dire donner du pouvoir à ceux qui n’en ont pas plutôt que de renforcer le pouvoir de ceux qui l’ont déjà.

Qu’est-ce que le mouvement des Gilets jaunes vous a appris ?

Nous avons eu en direct ce qui essentiel pour moi ; la fracture culturelle gigantesque entre tout le monde d’en haut au sens large et la France périphérique. Ce qui s’est déployé sous nos yeux, ce n’est pas seulement la fracture sociale et territoriale mais plus encore cette fracture culturelle. L’état de sidération de l’intelligentsia française rappelle clairement celle de l’intelligentsia britannique face au Brexit, et cela est la même chose aux Etats-Unis avec l’élection de Donald Trump. Cette sidération a déclenché immédiatement l’emploi des armes de l’antifascisme, parce qu’ils n’ont rien d’autre. Ils ont découvert la dernière tribu d’Amazonie et – incroyable -elle est potentiellement majoritaire.

C’est un mouvement très positif, contraire à toute l’analyse intellectuelle qui voit le peuple dans le repli individualiste, qui refuse le collectif, ou dans des termes comme celui de la « droitisation de la société française » alors que les gens demandent des services publics et un État providence. Après, on pointe le fait qu’ils sont contre l’immigration, ce à quoi on peut répondre « comme tout le monde », soit une très large majorité de Français. Le plus important est que nous avons sous les yeux un peuple qui veut faire société et des élites qui ne veulent plus faire société, comme je le disais dans « No Society » (Flammarion). C’est un moment de rupture historique entre un monde d’en haut, intellectuels, politiques, showbiz etc.… qui a peur de son propre peuple. Ils ne veulent plus faire société avec un peuple qu’ils méprisent. C’est la thèse de Christopher Lasch de la « sécession des élites ». On le voit aussi avec le discours anti-média des Gilets jaunes qui ne fait que répondre à 30 ans d’invisibilisation de ces catégories. Les classes populaires n’étaient traitées qu’au travers des banlieues et ils payent aujourd’hui ce positionnement.

C’est un mouvement fondamentalement collectif et du XXI siècle. Ce qui est très nouveau, c’est que c’est un mouvement social du « No Society », c’est-à-dire sans représentants, sans intellectuels, sans syndicats, etc. Cela n’est jamais arrivé. Tout mouvement social est accompagné par des intellectuels mais pour la première fois nous ne voyons personne parler en leur nom. Cela révèle 30 ans de sécession du monde d’en haut. Le peuple dit « votre modèle ne fait pas société », tout en disant « nous, majorité, avec un large soutien de l’opinion malgré les violences, voulons faire société ». Et en face, le monde d’en haut, après le mépris, prend peur. Alors que les gens ne font que demander du collectif.

Vous insistez beaucoup sur cette dimension majoritaire… ?

Les politiques pensent qu’en agglomérant des minorités ils font disparaître une majorité. Or, les minorités restent des minorités, on peut essayer de les agglomérer, mais cela ne fait pas un tout. Il est très intéressant de suivre l’évolution de la popularité de Donald Trump et d’Emmanuel Macron à ce titre. Trump garde son socle électoral alors que Macron s’est effondré, comme Hollande s’est effondré avant lui. Cela veut dire que l’on peut être élu avec un agglomérat de minorités, cadres supérieurs, minorités ethniques ou sexuelles -c’est à dire la stratégie Terra Nova – et cela peut éventuellement passer avec un bon candidat d’extrême droite en face. Mais cela ne suffit pas. Cela est extrêmement fragile. Quel rapport entre les catégories supérieures boboïsées de Paris et les banlieues précarisées et islamisées qui portent un discours traditionnel sur la société ? Quel rapport entre LGBT et Islam ? Et cela, c’est pour longtemps. Ils n’ont pas compris que les pays occidentaux, précisément parce qu’ils sont devenus multiculturels, vont de plus en plus s’appuyer sur un socle qui va être celui de la majorité relative. L’électorat de Donald Trump est une majorité relative mais cela est malgré tout ce que l’on appelait la classe moyenne dans laquelle des minorités peuvent aussi se reconnaitre.

On a présenté les Gilets jaunes comme étant un mouvement de blancs « Ah..ils sont blancs », comme si cela était une surprise de voir des blancs dans les zones rurales françaises. Mais ce que l’on ne voit pas, c’est que beaucoup de Français issus de l’immigration participent à ce mouvement et qu’ils ne revendiquent aucune identité, ils sont totalement dans l’assimilation. Ils font partie d’un tout qui s’appelle la classe moyenne, ou l’ancienne classe moyenne. Le mouvement a été très fort à la Réunion, on voit donc bien que cela n’est pas ethnique. Mais cela a été présenté comme cela parce que cela permettait d’avoir le discours sur l’antiracisme et l’antifascisme. Il y a eu une ostracisation des Gilets jaunes par la gauche bienpensante parce que trop blancs, mais il y aussi eu une mise à l’écart et un mépris très fort de la part de la bourgeoisie de droite. C’est la même posture que vis-à-vis du White Trash américain : ils sont pauvres et ils sont blancs, c’est la honte de la société.

Le clivage de classe domine-t-il, selon vous, les autres clivages qui touchent la société ?
La question culturelle et ethnique existe, je veux bien que l’on clive, mais ce qui est intéressant c’est de voir que par exemple qu’un juif de Sarcelles rejette le CRIF ou Bernard-Henri Levy. C’est fondamental parce que cela dé-essentialise la communauté juive. C’est la même fracture que l’on retrouve dans toute la société. De la même manière, les musulmans ne se retrouvent absolument pas plus dans les instances musulmanes que dans Jamel Debbouze.

Et à ce propos, ce que l’on voit le plus souvent, c’est que le destin des gens issus des classes populaires qui parviennent à s’élever, c’est de trahir. C’est banalement ce qui se passe parce que cette trahison permet l’adoubement. Edouard Louis fait son livre en ciblant sa propre famille, alors il fait la une des magazines. On a vu le même phénomène aux Etats-Unis avec le livre de J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy), qui est quand même plus intéressant, mais il décrit aussi le « White Trash » en disant que la classe ouvrière américaine n’est quand même pas terrible, qu’ils sont fainéants, qu’ils boivent et qu’ils se droguent, et cela lui a permis d’accéder au New York Times. En rejetant son propre milieu.

Je n’ai pas de jugement moral sur les classes populaires, je prends les Français tels qu’ils sont. Je ne demande à personne d’arrêter de penser ce qu’il pense, notamment sur l’immigration. De toute façon cette question va être réglée parce que 80% des Français veulent une régulation, et qu’on ne peut pas penser cette question comme on le faisait dans les années 60, parce que les mobilités ont évolué. La question n’est même plus à débattre. Les gens que je rencontre en Seine Saint Denis qui sont majoritairement d’origine maghrébine ou sub-saharienne veulent l’arrêt de l’immigration dans leurs quartiers. C’est une évidence.

Il ne faut pas oublier que les deux candidats de 2017 rejetaient le clivage gauche droite. Les gens se positionnent par rapport à des thématiques comme la mondialisation ou l’État providence, et de moins en moins sur un clivage gauche droite. Aujourd’hui, des gens comme ceux qui sont avec Jean-Luc Mélenchon ou avec Laurent Wauquiez veulent réactiver ce clivage. En faisant cela, ils se mettent dans un angle mort. Gauche et droite sont minoritaires. Jean-Luc Mélenchon a derrière lui la gauche identitaire qui dit – »nous sommes de gauche »- mais cela lui interdit de rayonner sur ce monde populaire. La question est donc celle du débouché politique, mais tout peut aller très vite. L’Italie a basculé en 6 mois.

Vous n’avez pas évoqué les violences du mouvement, comment les « comprendre » ?

À la fin des années 90, j’avais fait une analyse croisée sur la relance de politique de la ville et les émeutes urbaines. On voyait bien que toutes les émeutes urbaines génèrent une relance des politiques de la ville. La réalité est ce que cela marche. Et surtout, le mouvement des Gilets jaunes n’existerait pas en France et dans le monde sans les violences aux Champs-Élysées. Le New York Times a fait sa Une parce qu’il y avait cela, parce que cela est parfaitement corrélé à ce qu’est la communication aujourd’hui. Il y a cette violence et il faut la condamner. Mais cela veut aussi dire que nous ne sommes plus au XXe siècle. C’est tout le mythe du mouvement social qui est ringardisé. Réunir des gens à République et les faire manifester jusqu’à Bastille avant qu’ils ne rentrent chez eux, c’est fini. C’est aussi une réécriture du mouvement social qui est en train de se réaliser.

Christophe Guilluy est géographe. Chercheur auprès de collectivités locales et d’organismes publics, il est également le coauteur, avec Christophe Noyé, de « L’Atlas des nouvelles fractures sociales en France » (Autrement, 2004).

Voir encore:

Pourquoi Trump remporte des victoires envers et contre tous
Nicolas Lecaussin
Le Figaro
07/05/2019

FIGAROVOX/TRIBUNE – La cote de popularité de Trump franchit la barre des 45%. Nicolas Lecaussin rappelle que cette popularité est aussi liée aux succès économiques de Trump, qu’il salue en expliquant que les facteurs à l’origine de la bonne santé américaine devraient inspirer d’autres leaders politiques, en particulier français.

Nicolas Lecaussin est Directeur de l’IREF (Institut de Recherches Economiques et Fiscales) et vient de publier Les donneurs de leçons aux Editions du Rocher.

Lorsque le président Donald Trump a été élu, nombreux étaient ceux (y compris des prix Nobel d’économie) qui soutenaient que l’économie américaine allait s’écrouler et les marchés financiers dégringoler. Quand on a vu que la croissance revenait (en fait, il y a eu un ralentissement lors des deux dernières années d’Obama!), les mêmes ont affirmé que ça n’allait pas durer, que la croissance serait éphémère et que la récession ne saurait tarder! Dans son éditorial du 8 avril dernier publié dans le New York Times, le prix Nobel d’économie Paul Krugman s’obstine et écrit que Trump s’en prend à la Fed (la Banque centrale américaine) parce que l’impact des baisses d’impôts et des suppressions des réglementations n’aurait été que de la «poudre aux yeux» et n’aurait servi qu’à retarder la récession. Or on apprenait il y a quelques jours que l’économie affiche un taux de croissance à 3.2 % au premier trimestre 2019, largement au-dessus des prévisions. Malgré le «shutdown» de janvier, la croissance est tirée par les exportations et les investissements privés, très importants depuis 2017, ainsi que par les réformes dues à l’administration Trump.

La baisse de la fiscalité des entreprises et des ménages, les réductions et suppressions de normes et de réglementations, en particulier environnementales, ont donné de l’air et plus de libertés aux entrepreneurs qui ont choisi d’investir. D’où les fortes créations d’emplois ainsi que les hausses des salaires sur un marché du travail où la main-d’œuvre se fait rare.

Le premier trimestre a également été marqué par le ralentissement de l’inflation, l’indice des prix des achats intérieurs bruts augmentant de seulement 0,8%. C’est le rythme le plus lent depuis le premier trimestre 2016. Même avec la récente hausse des prix du pétrole, il n’existe aucun risque d’inflation et la Réserve fédérale ne devrait pas relever ses taux d’intérêt.

La croissance économique américaine lors des quatre derniers trimestres a été supérieure à 3 % en taux annuel alors que dans des pays européens comme la France et l’Allemagne, elle a tourné autour de 1.5 %.

Après l’annonce du taux de croissance, les dernières données sur l’emploi (Labor Statistics, 4 mai) sont aussi impressionnantes: l’économie a créé 263 000 emplois supplémentaires en avril, le taux de chômage ayant chuté à 3,6%, le plus bas taux enregistré depuis cinq décennies. Mais la meilleure nouvelle est que les plus gros bénéficiaires de ce marché du travail libéré sont les personnes qui ont connu des difficultés au cours des années de croissance lente d’Obama, c’est-à-dire les personnes peu qualifiées.

Les statistiques montrent que les Américains le moins diplômés bénéficient d’une croissance plus rapide des salaires et de l’emploi. Le secteur de la construction par exemple a créé 33 000 emplois le mois dernier et 256 000 au cours de la dernière année (2018). Le ministère du Travail a indiqué que la productivité des travailleurs avait augmenté de 3,6% au quatrième trimestre et de 2,4% par rapport à l’année dernière à la même époque, soit le taux le plus rapide enregistré depuis 2010. Parallèlement, en avril, la hausse du salaire horaire moyen mensuel des travailleurs non qualifiés était de 0,3%, contre 0,2% pour tous les travailleurs. Le gain salarial sur 12 mois est de 3,4% pour les moins qualifiés, contre 3,2% pour l’ensemble des employés. Même le salaire minimum est en forte hausse et les décisions politiques n’y sont pour rien. Dans 21 états américains, le salaire de base augmente régulièrement grâce au marché. La société Amazon vient même de fixer le salaire minimum à 15 dollars/l’heure et ses diverses sociétés ont fait de même.

N’en déplaise aux égalitaristes et autres progressistes, ce sont bien la croissance économique et les créations d’emplois qui font reculer la pauvreté et réduisent les inégalités.

Il y aura toujours des économistes comme Paul Krugman pour critiquer la politique économique du président Trump ou – ils sont plus rares aujourd’hui – pour attribuer les fruits de cette croissance au président Obama). Mais difficile de nier les faits économiques éternellement. Certes, on peut s’inquiéter de certaines positions protectionnistes de M. Trump mais la récente rencontre avec le Premier ministre japonais augure plutôt de belles perspectives de libre-échange entre les deux pays sans forcément passer par les organisations internationales. Pour le moment, les facteurs à l’origine de la bonne santé de l’économie américaine devraient inspirer d’autres leaders politiques, en particulier français.

L’économie mais aussi les conclusions du fameux rapport Mueller sur les prétendues collusions avec les Russes lors des élections de 2016 ont beaucoup renforcé le président américain face à ses détracteurs, et pas seulement.

Voir enfin:

L’article à lire pour comprendre ce qu’est vraiment un black bloc
Mobilisation contre la loi Travail, 1er-Mai, « gilets jaunes »… Des black blocs font régulièrement incursion dans les manifestations. Mais qui sont et que veulent ces militants d’ultragauche vêtus de noir ?
Kocila Makdeche
France Télévisions
19/04/2019

Ils sont la bête noire du gouvernement. Le 16 mars, lors du 18e samedi de manifestation des « gilets jaunes », des centaines de militants de la gauche radicale et insurrectionnelle ont mis à sac des boutiques de luxe sur Champs-Elysées et ont caillassé les forces de l’ordre. Le ministre de l’Intérieur, Christophe Castaner, a immédiatement pointé du doigt « les black blocs », des manifestants tous vêtus de noir de façon à rester anonymes.

Manifestations contre la loi Travail, 1er-Mai… Depuis quelques années, les cortèges voient régulièrement se former des black blocs, qui occasionnent à chaque fois d’importants dégâts. Que réclament-ils en s’attaquant aux banques et aux forces de l’ordre ? Qui sont ces militants d’ultragauche qui se cachent sous des masques ? Franceinfo lève le voile.

Bon, c’est quoi un black bloc ?

S’il suscite beaucoup de fantasmes, le terme « black bloc » ne désigne en réalité qu’une méthode de manifestation mise au point par des militants de la gauche radicale et insurrectionnelle. Pendant les défilés auxquels ils participent, ces individus – d’abord dispersés dans le cortège – se vêtent de noir, se masquent le visage, puis se réunissent pour créer « une sorte d’énorme drapeau noir, tissé d’êtres humains », explique le politologue Francis Dupuis-Déri, auteur d’un livre remarqué sur le sujet, Les Black blocs : la liberté et l’égalité se manifestent (Lux, 2019). « Ils forment ainsi un bloc compact permettant à chacun de préserver son anonymat. »

Il n’y a pas un seul black bloc, mais des black blocs, qui se forment à un instant T dans des manifestations puis qui se dissolvent avec elles.Francis Dupuis-Déri, politologueà franceinfo

Les participants défilent alors derrière des banderoles aux slogans anticapitalistes ou anti-Etat. « Certains renforcent leurs banderoles avec des plaques de bois, ce qui nous permet de nous protéger des tirs de LBD et des coups de matraque », explique à franceinfo Isidore*, un militant anarcho-communiste de l’ouest de la France. Cette configuration permet aussi « d’éviter la fragmentation du bloc », indique une note du Centre de recherche de l’école des officiers de la gendarmerie nationale (CREOGN), ajoutant que, dans ce contexte, « l’interpellation d’un individu est rendue difficile voire impossible ». 

D’où vient ce type de manifestation ?

Sortons les livres d’histoire. Ce type de manifestation est né en Allemagne, au tout début des années 1980. Le Mur est toujours debout et, à Berlin-Ouest, des militants autonomes ont investi des squats. Quand les autorités tentent d’évacuer ces lieux, certains occupants creusent des tranchées, volent des bulldozers pour dresser des barricades et n’hésitent pas à en découdre avec la police. Pour ne pas être identifiés, les squatteurs manifestent en groupe, vêtus de noir et le visage dissimulé par un masque. Lors des procès, les juges parlent de « Schwarzer Block », « black bloc » en allemand.

Cette « tactique » se diffuse au sein du milieu anarcho-punk, via la musique et les fanzines. De petits black blocs apparaissent alors ponctuellement aux Etats-Unis et au Canada, jusqu’à un sommet de l’OMC à Seattle, en 1999. Les militants altermondialistes, qui tentent de bloquer le centre des congrès où se tient l’évènement, sont aspergés de gaz lacrymogène par la police. En réponse, un black bloc constitué de plusieurs centaines de manifestants affronte les forces de l’ordre et fracasse les vitrines des banques et des multinationales de la ville. Les images, spectaculaires, font le tour du monde. Les chaînes de télévision baptisent l’évènement « la bataille de Seattle » et évoquent des « saccages anarchistes ».

« Paradoxalement, c’est cette couverture médiatique inédite qui a participé à l’exportation du phénomène, explique Francis Dupuis-Déri. A chaque fois qu’il y a un sommet international, les militants anticapitalistes locaux décident d’imiter cette tactique. » Réunions du FMI à Prague ou à Washington en 2000sommet du G8 à Gênes en 2001… On retrouve des black blocs lors de tous ces événements.

Et en France, c’est arrivé quand ?

Un black bloc se forme à l’occasion d’un sommet de l’Union européenne à Nice, en 2000, mais la première mobilisation d’ampleur a lieu en 2009 à Strasbourg, en marge d’un sommet de l’Otan. D’après les chiffres de la préfecture, 2 000 manifestants attaquent un ancien poste de douane, l’office du tourisme et des distributeurs de billets.

Logiquement, on retrouve ces formations dans les ZAD, notamment à Notre-Dame-des-Landes ou lors de la mobilisation contre le barrage de Sivens, au cours de laquelle Rémi Fraisse a été tué par une grenade lancée par les gendarmes. Les black blocs prennent une ampleur inédite en 2016, pendant les manifestations contre la loi Travail« C’est lors de ce mouvement qu’est apparu ce qu’on appelle maintenant le ‘cortège de tête' », explique Francis Dupuis-Déri.

Contrairement aux autres mobilisations, où les black blocs se constituaient habituellement au milieu des manifestations derrière les cortèges plus traditionnels de syndicats, ils ont réussi à s’imposer au premier rang. C’est une vraie particularité française qui donne au black bloc une grande visibilité.Francis Dupuis-Déri, politologueà franceinfo

Depuis, des black blocs se forment régulièrement lors de manifestations. Cela a été le cas le 1er mai 2018 ou le 16 mars dernier, quand « gilets jaunes » et black blocs ont attaqué de nombreuses enseignes des Champs-Elysées, dont le célèbre restaurant Fouquet’s. Des événements qui ont causé le limogeage du préfet de police de Paris, Michel Delpuech.

Mais pourquoi ils cassent tout ?

Manifestations des « gilets jaunes », mobilisations d’agriculteurs, blocages de lycées… En France, il n’est pas rare que les mouvements sociaux occasionnent de la « casse ». Mais les participants aux black blocs ont la particularité de revendiquer la violence et de la placer au centre de leur action. « Ils se mettent en scène et essaient d’adopter l’image que les médias et les autorités donnent d’eux : celle de l’ennemi public numéro 1, analyse Francis Dupuis-Déri. Avec le black bloc, la cible est le message. »

« On s’en prend à ce que l’on considère comme des outils de l’oppression capitaliste : les banques, les assurances, les panneaux de publicité, les enseignes de multinationales », nous énumère Isidore*. « Nous attaquons des emblèmes, des entités matérielles et non des individus (…) Ces actions replacent l’humain comme valeur fondamentale face aux objets tant adulés par le capitalisme », peut-on lire sur un texte de revendication retrouvé sur le McDonald’s saccagé lors du 1er-Mai.

« La tradition, chez les participants au black bloc, c’est ‘on attaque le matériel, on ne fait pas de victimes' », explique Sylvain Boulouque, historien spécialiste de l’anarchisme. Pourtant, deux épisodes récents semblent déroger à cette règle : les vitres brisées de l’hôpital Necker pour enfants pendant les manifestations contre la loi Travail à Paris et l’incendie d’une banque située dans un immeuble d’habitation, le 16 mars dernier, toujours à Paris. « C’est quelque chose que l’on ne voyait pas avant, remarque l’historien. Peut-être le fait de jeunes manifestants encore peu aguerris aux pratiques du black bloc. Cela montre en tout cas que le mouvement n’est pas uniforme. » 

Ce ne sont pas tous des anarchistes ?

Ce n’est pas aussi simple, d’après les spécialistes. « On retrouve dans le black bloc toutes les composantes de la gauche révolutionnaire anticapitaliste », décrypte Sylvain Boulouque, citant pêle-mêle « des anarchistes, des marxistes révolutionnaires, des écologistes radicaux ou des autonomes ». 

Ce dernier terme renvoie à un courant d’ultragauche prônant la lutte, parfois violente, pour vivre en autonomie vis-à-vis de l’Etat et de l’économie capitaliste. Par extension, l’expression « mouvance anarcho-autonome » est utilisée par les autorités – de façon souvent imprécise, comme le souligne L’Humanité – pour qualifier toute cette galaxie d’ultragauche, des zadistes de Notre-Dame-des-Landes au  « groupe de Tarnac » en passant par les participants aux black blocs.

« On retrouve aussi des féministes et des militants queer radicaux dans le black bloc, ajoute Francis Dupuis-Déri. On pense souvent le black bloc en termes masculins, mais il regroupe de plus en plus de femmes, ce qu’on ne remarque pas forcément à cause des vêtements noirs. » 

Quel est le profil des manifestants du black bloc ?

C’est la grande question. Interrogé sur ce point, Isidore répond du tac au tac : « Les médias sont obsédés par l’idée de dresser un profil sociologique type des participants aux black blocs. La réalité, c’est qu’on retrouve sous les cagoules tous ceux qui subissent ou constatent la violence étatique : des prolétaires, des étudiants, des intellectuels, des personnes racisées des quartiers populaires, des femmes… » Une mystique de la révolte anonyme et populaire que l’on retrouve régulièrement dans les publications liées aux black blocs. Ainsi, un communiqué de militants italiens affirmait : « Voulez-vous voir les visages sous les foulards, les casques, les cagoules ? Ce sont les mêmes qui vous versent un loyer pour des logements décrépits. »

Ce sont les visages qui préparent votre cappuccino, ce sont les visages de celles et ceux dont le sang est drainé par la précarité, dont la vie est de la merde, et qui n’en peuvent plus.Un communiqué de militants italiens

Cette description tranche avec les profils que l’on retrouve à la barre, lorsque des procès de black blocs sont médiatisés. Comme le note le chercheur Olivier Cahn, ces personnes sont souvent très éduquées et exercent des professions intellectuelles supérieures. C’était notamment le cas après le 1er-Mai où un homme de 29 ans, diplômé de la prestigieuse Ecole centrale et occupant un emploi de consultant rémunéré 4 200 euros par mois, figurait sur le banc des prévenus.

Faut-il, pour autant, faire de ces cas une généralité ? « Quand ils parviennent à interroger des black blocs, les journalistes ont logiquement tendance à tendre le micro à des personnes qui leur ressemblent sociologiquement. C’est la même chose pour moi qui suis chercheur. C’est une loupe déformante à laquelle il faut être attentif », alerte Francis Dupuis-Déri. Même mise en garde du côté de Sylvain Boulouque : « Il est faux de dire que le black bloc est uniquement constitué de fils de profs. Quand on observe les cortèges à Paris, on se rend compte que les profils sont assez bigarrés. » 

Qu’est-ce qu’ils font dans les manifestations de « gilets jaunes » ?

Historiquement, on retrouve régulièrement des black blocs dans les mouvements sociaux dont les revendications correspondent aux combats de la gauche radicale. « Les black blocs ont investi les contre-sommets internationaux orchestrés par les organisations altermondialistes, auxquelles ils ne s’identifient pourtant pas. Mais ils venaient parce qu’ils partageaient avec elles une colère et des intérêts. C’est sans doute la même chose avec les ‘gilets jaunes' », analyse Francis Dupuis-Déri.

« C’est assez logique qu’ils participent à un mouvement populaire comme celui des ‘gilets jaunes' », estime de son côté Sylvain Boulouque, rappelant que le même processus a été observé lors des manifestations contre la loi Travail.

Le discours du black bloc, c’est de dire que les manifestations traditionnelles n’apportent rien puisqu’elles ne font pas fléchir le pouvoir. On est exactement dans cette configuration avec les « gilets jaunes ».Sylvain Boulouque, historienà franceinfo

Mais je croyais que les « gilets jaunes » rejetaient toutes les organisations politiques…

C’est en effet le mot d’ordre depuis le début du mouvement, le 17 novembre dernier. « Mais le black bloc n’est pas une organisation politique, rappelle Sylvain Boulouque. Ses participants rejettent d’ailleurs toutes les structures partisanes, c’est un point commun qu’ils ont avec les ‘gilets jaunes’. »

Les rapports entre les « gilets jaunes » et les militants du black bloc ont d’abord été compliqués, les premiers accusant les deuxièmes d’être responsables des violences survenues lors des premiers samedis de manifestation et de donner une mauvaise image du mouvement. Aujourd’hui, la situation semble s’être inversée : en observant les débats sur les groupes Facebook des « gilets jaunes », on constate une sympathie grandissante des manifestants à l’adresse du black bloc. « Au début, j’étais contre, mais au bout d’un moment, à force de voir des ‘jaunes’ pacifistes mutilés par les forces de l’ordre, j’ai compris que c’était eux qui avaient raison », estime Nicolas, un « gilet jaune » originaire de l’Oise.

Ce rapprochement a atteint un sommet le 16 mars, quand des « gilets jaunes » et des militants du black bloc se sont retrouvés côte à côte sur les Champs-Elysées dans une brutale démonstration de force commune. Christophe Castaner a d’ailleurs dénoncé une « immense complaisance » des « gilets jaunes » vis-à-vis des « 1 500 black blocs » présents dans le cortège.

J’ai eu la flemme de tout lire, vous me faites un résumé ?

Le black bloc n’est pas un courant politique mais une manière de manifester. En France, on a pu observer des black blocs pendant des manifestations de « gilets jaunes » à Paris, Bordeaux, Toulouse ou Nantes, donnant lieu à des scènes de guérilla urbaine. Chaque fois, une multitude de militants issus de la gauche radicale et insurrectionnelle, vêtus de noir pour rester anonymes, se réunissent derrière des banderoles aux slogans anticapitalistes et anti-Etat. Une tactique née en Allemagne dans les années 1980 et utilisée pour affronter la police, considérée comme le bras armé d’un Etat autoritaire, et détruire les vitrines des banques et les panneaux publicitaires, symboles à leurs yeux de l’oppression capitaliste.

Ces violences ont atteint un niveau inédit lors du 18e samedi de mobilisation des « gilets jaunes », le 16 mars, avec l’incendie d’une banque et du Fouquet’s. Sur les réseaux sociaux, certains appellent à de nouveaux épisodes insurrectionnels, notamment le 1er-Mai. De quoi inquiéter le gouvernement, qui a fustigé « l’immense complaisance » des « gilets jaunes » vis-à-vis des black blocs.

COMPLEMENT:

Christophe Guilluy: « La classe moyenne occidentale ne veut pas et ne va pas mourir »

Alexandre Devecchio
Le Figaro
19/05/2019

FIGAROVOX/ENTRETIEN – Pour le géographe, on aurait tort de vouloir trop rapidement refermer la page des «gilets jaunes». Selon lui, le mouvement n’est que le symptôme d’une recomposition populiste beaucoup plus large qui touche toutes les démocraties occidentales. Et la question du retour des peuples sera l’enjeu majeur des décennies, voire du siècle à venir…

L’auteur de «No society. La fin de la classe moyenne occidentale» (Flammarion) aurait pu passer ces six derniers mois 24 heures sur 24 sur les plateaux de télévision. En effet, avant tout le monde, Christophe Guilluy avait vu l’existence et la révolte de la France périphérique dont le mouvement des «gilets jaunes» a été l’incarnation vivante. Mais plutôt que de jouer les prophètes médiatiques, le géographe a préféré se taire. Pour mieux observer, mais aussi pour laisser enfin la parole aux «invisibles». Six mois après le début du mouvement, alors que celui-ci s’est essoufflé et abîmé dans la violence, il en dresse un premier bilan.

FIGAROVOX.- Six mois après, quel regard portez-vous sur le mouvement des Gilets jaunes?

Christophe GUILLUY.- Le mouvement a été l’incarnation charnelle du concept de France périphérique. La carte des ronds-points de novembre, c’est exactement la géographie de cette France-là: c’est-à-dire une géographie complètement dispersée. Ce n’est pas seulement la France rurale contre la France urbaine, ni la France du Nord et de l’Est contre la France du Sud et de l’Ouest, mais c’est bien tout cela à la fois : un phénomène plus large qui imprègne l’ensemble du territoire et est potentiellement majoritaire. Ce que j’avais voulu montrer avec ce concept de France périphérique, c’est justement que nous n’arrêtons pas de travailler sur des marges, des fractions, des minorités sans nous intéresser à une catégorie beaucoup plus importante en termes de taille et de poids : les classes populaires, socle de l’ancienne classe moyenne. Ces classes populaires, ce sont à la fois les ouvriers, les indépendants, les paysans, des actifs, des chômeurs, des jeunes, des retraités : l’ensemble des catégories modestes.

(…)

Depuis quarante ans, la société française est représentée comme une addition de minorités et analysée à partir de ces dernières. Le mouvement des « gilets jaunes » casse cette représentation et vient contredire ces analyses qui véhiculent l’idée qu’au fond la France et donc le peuple n’existe pas. On se rend compte, avec la vague des « gilets jaunes » en France mais aussi la vague des brexiters au Royaume-Uni ou des trumpistes aux États-Unis, que le peuple existe et c’est d’ailleurs ce qui explique le soutien majoritaire des « gilets jaunes » dans l’opinion. Le peuple est en train d’imposer une vaste recomposition politique. Car, sur les ronds-points, il y avait des ouvriers qui hier votaient à gauche, des paysans qui hier votaient à droite, des urbains et des ruraux, des jeunes, des actifs et, pour la première fois même, des retraités. Ils formaient hier le socle d’une classe moyenne occidentale intégrée. Celle-ci s’est totalement affranchie des appartenances gauche-droite traditionnelles. Le renversement est historique. Une part importante des deux Français sur trois de Giscard, hier intégrée économiquement et représentée politiquement et culturellement, ont basculé dans une contestation durable du modèle dominant. Tenter d’analyser ce mouvement comme un phénomène conjoncturel est une absurdité. Il est au contraire le produit du temps long et devrait s’inscrire durablement dans l’avenir.

(…)

De la même manière que les brexiters ne vont pas s’évanouir dans la nature. Les Britanniques ont cru qu’en gagnant du temps les classes populaires allaient abandonner. Et cela explique la percée spectaculaire du Brexit Party. Nigel Farage surfe sur le « gilet-jaunisme » britannique ! Farage, qui a créé un parti avec trois bouts de ficelle, pèse davantage en six mois que les tories et les travaillistes réunis, qui existent depuis des siècles. Cela veut dire qu’il s’appuie sur un socle et ce socle s’appelle le peuple. La question du morcellement est piégeante, c’est une lecture ultralibérale qui tend à justifier l’abandon du bien commun et in fine à invisibiliser un conflit vertical entre le haut et le bas. Évidemment que la société se commnautarise et que c’est inquiétant, mais cela ne doit pas éluder le phénomène majeur du XXIe siècle, qui est la recomposition d’une majorité dont le socle est composé par les classes populaires et moyennes. Elles ont fait un diagnostic concernant la mondialisation. Après y avoir adhéré, elles ont pu constater que celle-ci les appauvrissait socialement et les fragilisait culturellement. Elles ne vont pas changer d’avis de sitôt.

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Tout mouvement social depuis vingt ans génère malheureusement de la violence. Ce n’est pas le propre des «gilets jaunes ». Certains « gilets jaunes » ont compris que cette violence faisait parti de la communication au XXIe siècle. Tout le monde la condamne, mais elle permet de faire la une du New York Times. Cependant, elle est d’abord et avant tout le fait des black blocs, qui viennent maintenant perturber toutes les manifestations depuis plusieurs années. Et qui sont ces black blocs ? Des enfants de la bourgeoisie ! Par ailleurs, si les « gilets jaunes » étaient réellement une tribu parmi d’autres, cela ferait longtemps que les médias n’en parleraient plus et ils n’auraient pas autant inquiété les politiques. Le soutien d’une très grande partie des Français encore aujourd’hui montre au contraire la profondeur de ce mouvement dans la société. La stratégie du monde d’en haut est toujours la même. Quand un phénomène populiste se produit, il est présenté comme accidentel et minoritaire. Les brexiters ? « Des vieux retraités xénophobes du Yorkshire ! » Sauf que c’est la majorité du peuple britannique qui a voté pour le Brexit ! On a utilisé exactement les mêmes procédés rhétoriques pour les « gilets jaunes » : « fumeurs de clopes qui roulent en diesel », « poujadistes », « peste brune » et enfin « nouveaux barbares attaquant les hôpitaux ». Depuis les années 80, une certaine bourgeoisie morcelle et « minoritarise » pour mieux invisibiliser les classes moyennes et populaires majoritaires (comme hier la bourgeoisie traditionnelle mettait en avant les pauvres pour mieux minorer le prolétariat). Mais l’addition des minorités ne fait pas une majorité. C’est ce qui explique la défaite de Clinton face à Trump même si ce dernier n’a gagné qu’avec une majorité relative. (Une majorité relative sera toujours plus puissante que l’addition de minorités…) Ce n’est pas un hasard non plus si Macron s’effondre en six mois dans les sondages tandis que Trump se maintient. La victoire de Macron est une construction intellectuelle « terranovesque » qui repose sur du sable tandis que Trump bénéficie d’une base solide. Je pense que, paradoxalement, nous sommes en train de sortir de la société liquide. Les observateurs ont beaucoup insisté sur le caractère disparate des revendications des « gilets jaunes »… Je crois au contraire que la France périphérique qu’on ne voulait pas voir est apparue physiquement. Ce qu’on voit très bien se mettre en place en Occident, c’est cette recomposition. Un phénomène incroyablement collectif. Cela fait quarante ans qu’on nous parle du « vivre ensemble », du « bien commun », des « valeurs de la République »… Mais cela ne fonctionne pas comme cela dans la vie réelle. Dans la vie réelle, il y a des gens qui vivent sur les mêmes territoires et qui partagent ou non des choses. Or ce qu’on a vu, c’est que, contrairement à ce qu’on disait, les classes populaires ne se réduisent pas à des catégories atomisées, individualistes, sans volonté politique ou sans énergie. Tout cela est faux. On a vu des gens se réunir avec une même perception des effets du modèle mondialisé dans leurs villes, leurs villages, leurs vies réelles. Et cette perception, c’est que ce modèle ne marche pas. Et ça, c’est irrépressible. On peut faire tous les grands débats du monde, leur point de vue ne changera pas car cela fait quarante ans qu’ils vivent la mondialisation et c’est sur ce vécu qu’il fonde leur diagnostic. Ce diagnostic n’est pas spécifique à la France : c’est celui des classes populaires dans l’ensemble des pays développés. Cela passe par le Brexit en Grande-Bretagne, par Trump aux États-Unis, par Salvini en Italie, par les « gilets jaunes » en France. Cela prend des formes différentes dans chaque pays, mais cela se fera car c’est le mouvement réel de la société. Macron avait imaginé que la France périphérique serait le cimetière de la classe moyenne française, comme Clinton avait imaginé que l’Amérique périphérique serait le cimetière de la classe moyenne américaine. Ils pensaient que nos territoires allaient se transformer en zone touristique avec des assistés sociaux qui remplieraient leur caddie au hard discount du coin. Mais la classe moyenne occidentale ne veut pas et ne va pas mourir. En cela, le mouvement des « gilets jaunes » est d’abord un mouvement existentiel et c’est pourquoi il ne rentre pas dans la case « mais quelles sont vos revendications ? ». C’est un mouvement qui dit une chose simple : « nous existons ». La question de la démocratie et de la représentation est centrale. Il faut enfin faire exister cette France-là qui, encore une fois, est majoritaire. Pas pour annihiler la France d’en haut, mais parce qu’il est impossible de faire société sans le peuple.

(…)

Au début, ce qui était frappant sur les ronds-points, c’est qu’il y avait des « gilets jaunes » de droite, de gauche, d’extrême droite et d’extrême gauche et des abstentionnistes. Le peuple tel que nous le connaissons en famille, où l’on peut s’engueuler à l’apéro mais où on termine le repas ensemble. La question des minorités est d’ailleurs intéressante. On a beaucoup dit que le mouvement était « blanc ». Les « minorités » n’étaient pas majoritaires sur les ronds-points car elles ne le sont pas dans la France périphérique, mais elles étaient bien présentes. Simplement, elles ne sont pas venues en portant leur identité en étendard. Elles n’étaient pas imprégnées de l’« idéologie universitaire ». Elles faisaient partie de la famille, du peuple. Personne ne s’est jamais interrogé sur la couleur ou l’identité de Priscillia Ludosky, qui a pourtant lancé le mouvement. Elle-même n’y a jamais fait référence. Mais, à partir du moment où un mouvement issu de la France périphérique, qui se déroule sur les ronds-points, est aspiré par les grandes métropoles, il devient autre chose. Le mouvement des « gilets jaunes » a ainsi été imprégné par la sociologie des grandes métropoles. Il est d’abord devenu beaucoup plus politique. Car les grandes métropoles sont les lieux où le politique s’exerce encore et où le clivage droite-gauche existe toujours, c’est d’ailleurs pourquoi le monde journalistique ou universitaire y croit encore. Certains habitants des grandes métropoles sont devenus acteurs des manifestations, notamment des gens qui travaillent dans la fonction publique, qui sont traditionnellement plus proches de la gauche ou de l’extrême gauche. Les manifs des « gilets jaunes », qui à l’origine étaient des manifs de la France périphérique, sont ainsi devenues des manifs de gauche. Priscillia Ludosky l’a compris. C’est pour cela qu’elle a dit qu’il fallait relocaliser le mouvement dans la France périphérique, que c’était là que se trouvait sa légitimité. Elle a parfaitement raison et c’est là aussi qu’il est le plus puissant car il est dispersé. Un mouvement est faible lorsqu’il est concentré. La concentration dans les grandes métropoles l’a affaibli. Mais même en région parisienne, même dans les grandes métropoles, beaucoup de « gilets jaunes » sont conscients de cette récupération et ne souhaitent pas, par exemple, que La France insoumise ou la CGT noyautent le mouvement. Cela montre que les « gilets jaunes » ne sont pas manipulables et pas arrêtables. Cela rend le mouvement très complexe pour le gens de gauche, mais aussi pour les gens de droite. Il n’entre dans aucune des représentations traditionnelles, qui sont en train de s’effondrer. Cela reflète aussi la recomposition politique actuelle avec une incapacité de la droite et de la gauche à s’adresser aux marges populaires. Notamment parce qu’il est absurde de séparer le social et le culturel, comme le font la gauche et la droite aujourd’hui. Le mouvement est à la fois social et culturel. Et les gens ne reviendront vers les partis traditionnels que si cette double dimension est prise au sérieux. De même que Macron arrive en tête ou en deuxième position aux élections européennes, cela ne changera rien aux fondamentaux de la société française.

(…)

Macron me semble peu crédible car il a des représentations et un logiciel hérités des années 80. L’idée que la société est un patchwork de communautés, que le libéralisme va faire ruisseler de la richesse sur tout le monde. Lors du grand débat, il est apparu comme un Bernard Tapie qui aurait fait l’ENA. Nous sommes pourtant en train de sortir des années 80. Maintenant, il va falloir penser un modèle alternatif qui passera notamment par le développement de la gouvernance locale. À long terme, c’est le seul moyen de sortir de la crise des « gilets jaunes ». Cela ne sera pas simple. Cela fait quarante ans qu’on massacre les classes populaires, ce n’est pas en quatre mois qu’on va trouver les réponses. D’autant que nous avons une classe politique qui a été conçue pour représenter une classe moyenne intégrée. C’est long de réécrire des programmes politiques en répondant à une demande nouvelle qui est la demande sociale, territoriale et culturelle d’un monde d’en bas qui n’est plus représenté. Les partis ont tendance à représenter quelque chose qui n’existe plus. D’où la fin du Parti socialiste et la difficulté pour la droite de dépasser les 15 %. Il faut commencer par accepter un diagnostic simple : il existe un peuple en Grande-Bretagne, il existe un peuple aux États-Unis et, même, il existe un peuple en France.

 


Caricature antisémite du New York Times: chronique d’une catastrophe annoncée (Between normalization of deviance and creeping normality, how the NYT ended up joining a long-established European post-WWII tradition of antisemitism)

1 mai, 2019

https://twitter.com/Harry1T6/status/1122140959968350209?ref_src=twsrc^tfw

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L’oppression mentale totalitaire est faite de piqûres de moustiques et non de grands coups sur la tête. (…) Quel fut le moyen de propagande le plus puissant de l’hitlérisme? Etaient-ce les discours isolés de Hitler et de Goebbels, leurs déclarations à tel ou tel sujet, leurs propos haineux sur le judaïsme, sur le bolchevisme? Non, incontestablement, car beaucoup de choses demeuraient incomprises par la masse ou l’ennuyaient, du fait de leur éternelle répétition.[…] Non, l’effet le plus puissant ne fut pas produit par des discours isolés, ni par des articles ou des tracts, ni par des affiches ou des drapeaux, il ne fut obtenu par rien de ce qu’on était forcé d’enregistrer par la pensée ou la perception. Le nazisme s’insinua dans la chair et le sang du grand nombre à travers des expressions isolées, des tournures, des formes syntaxiques qui s’imposaient à des millions d’exemplaires et qui furent adoptées de façon mécanique et inconsciente. Victor Klemperer (LTI, la langue du IIIe Reich)
La décision de célébrer désormais le 1er mai comme un jour de lutte sociale de par le monde installe au centre de la mémoire ouvrière un crime commis par l’Amérique. Philippe Roger
Il sera organisé une grande manifestation à date fixe de manière que dans tous les pays et dans toutes les villes à la fois, le même jour convenu, les travailleurs mettent les pouvoirs publics en demeure de réduire légalement à huit heures la journée de travail et d’appliquer les autres résolutions du congrès. Attendu qu’une semblable manifestation a été déjà décidée pour le 1er mai 1890 par l’AFL, dans son congrès de décembre 1888 tenu à Saint Louis, cette date est adoptée pour la manifestation. Raymond Lavigne (Congrès de la IIe Internationale, Paris, le 20 juin 1889)
La NASA, c’est nous : la même chose se passe chez nous ! Lecteurs de Diane Vaughan
Diane Vaughan est une sociologue américaine à l’Université Columbia. Elle est principalement connue pour son travail sur les problèmes organisationnels ayant conduit au crash de la navette Challenger en 1986. Plus généralement, elle s’intéresse aux « manières dont les choses tournent mal » dans des situations très diverses : les séparations de couple, les échecs industriels etc. (…) Vaughan a travaillé sur des thèmes éclectiques, qui trouvent leur point commun dans l’étude de l’évolution des relations et des situations. Dans Uncoupling, elle montre que les séparations amoureuses ne sont pas des évènements soudains mais un détachement graduel accompagné de signaux. Elle a proposé l’expression « normalisation de la déviance, » faisant le lien entre sociologie des organisations et sociologie de la déviance, pour expliquer comment la tolérance aux dysfonctionnements augmente. De mauvaises pratiques n’ayant pas de résultats négatifs immédiats deviennent de plus en plus acceptés, menant parfois à la catastrophe (comme celle de Challenger). Wikipedia
La normalité rampante est un terme souvent utilisé pour désigner la façon dont un changement important ne peut être accepté comme normal s’il se produit lentement, par incréments inaperçus, quand il serait considéré comme inacceptable s’il a eu lieu en une seule étape ou sur une courte période. Wikipedia
Les hommes politiques parlent de « normalité rampante » pour désigner ce type de tendances lentes œuvrant sous des fluctuations bruyantes. Si l’économie, l’école, les embouteillages ou toute autre chose ne se détériorent que lentement, il est difficile d’admettre que chaque année de plus est en moyenne légèrement pire que la précédente ; les repères fondamentaux quant à ce qui constitue la « normalité » évoluent donc graduellement et imperceptiblement. Il faut parfois plusieurs décennies au cours d’une séquence de ce type de petits changements annuels avant qu’on saisisse, d’un coup, que la situation était meilleure il y a plusieurs décennies et que ce qui est considéré comme normal a de fait atteint un niveau inférieur. Une autre dimension liée à la normalité rampante est l’ « amnésie du paysage » : on oublie à quel point le paysage alentour était différent il y a cinquante ans, parce que les changements d’année en année ont été eux aussi graduels. La fonte des glaciers et des neiges du Montana causée par le réchauffement global en est un exemple (chapitre 1). Adolescent, j’ai passé les étés 1953 et 1956 à Big Hole Basin dans le Montana et je n’y suis retourné que quarante-deux plus tard en 1998, avant de décider d’y revenir chaque année. Parmi mes plus vifs souvenirs du Big Hole, la neige qui recouvrait les sommets à l’horizon même en plein été, mon sentiment qu’une bande blanche bas dans le ciel entourait le bassin. N’ayant pas connu les fluctuations et la disparition graduelle des neiges éternelles pendant l’intervalle de quarante-deux ans, j’ai été choqué et attristé lors de mon retour à Big Hole en 1998 de ne plus retrouver qu’une bande blanche en pointillés, voire plus de bande blanche du tout en 2001 et en 2003. Interrogés sur ce changement, mes amis du Montana s’en montrent moins conscients : sans chercher plus loin, ils comparaient chaque année à son état antérieur de l’année d’avant. La normalité rampante ou l’amnésie du paysage les empêchaient, plus que moi, de se souvenir de la situation dans les années 1950. Un exemple parmi d’autres qui montre qu’on découvre souvent un problème lorsqu’il est déjà trop tard. L’amnésie du paysage répond en partie à la question de mes étudiants : qu’a pensé l’habitant de l’île de Pâques qui a coupé le dernier palmier ? Nous imaginons inconsciemment un changement sou­dain : une année, l’île était encore recouverte d’une forêt de palmiers parce qu’on y produisait du vin, des fruits et du bois d’œuvre pour transporter et ériger les statues ; puis voilà que, l’année suivante, il ne restait plus qu’un arbre, qu’un habitant a abattu, incroyable geste de stupidité autodestructrice. Il est cependant plus probable que les modifications dans la couverture forestière d’année en année ont été presque indétectables : une année quelques arbres ont été coupés ici ou là, mais de jeunes arbres commençaient à repousser sur le site de ce jardin abandonné. Seuls les plus vieux habitants de l’île, s’ils repensaient à leur enfance des décennies plus tôt, pouvaient voir la différence. Leurs enfants ne pouvaient pas plus comprendre les contes de leurs parents, où il était question d’une grande forêt, que mes fils de dix-sept ans ne peuvent comprendre aujourd’hui les contes de mon épouse et de moi-même, décrivant ce qu’était Los Angeles il y a quarante ans. Petit à petit, les arbres de l’île de Pâques sont devenus plus rares, plus petits et moins importants. À l’époque où le dernier palmier portant des fruits a été coupé, cette espèce avait depuis longtemps cessé d’avoir une signification économique. Il ne restait à couper chaque année que de jeunes palmiers de plus en plus petits, ainsi que d’autres buissons et pousses. Personne n’aurait remarqué la chute du dernier petit palmier. Le souvenir de la forêt de palmiers des siècles antérieurs avait succombé à l’amnésie du paysage. À l’opposé, la vitesse avec laquelle la déforestation s’est répandue dans le Japon des débuts de l’ère Tokugawa a aidé les shoguns à identifier les changements dans le paysage et la nécessité d’actions correctives. Jared Diamond
N’oublions pas que les programmes spatiaux impliquent de multiples collaborations. La NASA en particulier sous-traite la majeure partie des composants de ses missions. Que des problèmes surgissent quand un grand nombre d’organisations différentes travaillent ensemble n’a rien d’exceptionnel, surtout quand il s’agit d’innovations techniques. Des erreurs sont faites en permanence dans toute organisation complexe, mais contrairement au cas de la NASA sur qui les projecteurs médiatiques sont braqués, leurs conséquences, souvent moins spectaculaires, restent généralement ignorées du grand public. (…) Je venais à l’époque de finir un livre, je n’avais rien de précis en tête, si ce n’est d’écrire un court article que l’on m’avait commandé sur la notion d’inconduite, c’est-à-dire de comportement individuel fautif. Le cas Challenger avait alors, selon l’explication officielle, toutes les apparences du parfait exemple, avec cependant la particularité de s’être produit dans une organisation gouvernementale à caractère non lucratif plutôt qu’au sein d’une entreprise. (…) Plutôt que de limiter son attention au niveau individuel, il est en effet indispensable d’examiner comment la culture d’une organisation façonne la manière dont les individus prennent des décisions en son sein. Mon analyse a montré que, pendant les années qui ont précédé l’accident, les ingénieurs et managers de la NASA ont progressivement instauré une situation qui les autorisait à considérer que tout allait bien, alors qu’ils disposaient d’éléments montrant au contraire que quelque chose allait mal. C’est ce que j’ai appelé une normalisation de la déviance : il s’agit d’un processus par lequel des individus sont amenés au sein d’une organisation à accomplir certaines choses qu’ils ne feraient pas dans un autre contexte. Mais leurs actions ne sont pas délibérément déviantes. Elles sont au contraire rendues normales et acceptables par la culture de l’organisation. (…) les erreurs sont inévitables, ne serait ce que parce que dans un système complexe, surtout lorsqu’il est innovant, il est impossible de prédire ou contrôler tous les paramètres d’une situation. Mais il est capital qu’une organisation prenne acte de la dimension sociale des erreurs produites en son sein et agisse en conséquence. Un pas dans ce sens a été accompli par exemple par certains hôpitaux américains. Ici à Boston, de nombreuses études ont abordé le problème des erreurs médicales en se penchant sur la complexité du système hospitalier. Ce qui auparavant était perçu comme l’erreur d’un individu devient une erreur dont la cause est aussi à chercher du côté du système lui-même, en particulier dans la division du travail au sein de l’hôpital. Ce n’est plus seulement la responsabilité du chirurgien ou de l’anesthésiste, mais aussi celle du système qui lui impose un planning chargé. (…) Si vous voulez vraiment comprendre comment une erreur est générée au sein d’un système complexe et résoudre le problème, il ne faut pas se contenter d’analyser la situation au niveau individuel, c’est l’organisation dans son ensemble qu’il faut considérer et, au-delà de l’organisation elle-même, son contexte politique et économique. ‘une politique de blâme individuel n’est pas suffisante car elle sort de leur contexte les « mauvaises décisions » en négligeant les facteurs organisationnels qui ont pesé sur ces décisions. Dès lors, les instances de contrôle, tout comme le public, croient à tort que, pour résoudre le problème, il suffit de se débarrasser des « mauvais décideurs ». Or, on a vu avec le cas de Challenger qu’il n’en était rien. Une stratégie punitive doit s’accompagner d’un souci de réforme des structures et de la culture de l’organisation. Diane Vaughan
Durant mes études de master puis de thèse, je me suis d’abord intéressée aux phénomènes de déviance et de contrôle social, puis j’ai découvert la littérature sur les organisations. Combinant l’un et l’autre de ces aspects, j’ai choisi d’étudier la criminalité en col blanc en tant que phénomène organisationnel. (…) Je me suis appuyée sur une étude de cas. Deux organisations sont impliquées : la première, une chaîne de pharmacies discount de l’Ohio, Revco, s’était rendue coupable de fraudes contre l’autre organisation, l’administration publique en charge de l’assurance santé (Medicaid), à qui une double facturation était transmise par voie informatique par les pharmaciens. (…) Mais, et c’est ce qui rend le cas intéressant en soi, les deux employés ont dit avoir mis en place le système des fausses prescriptions parce que les services de Medicaid rejetaient en masse les prescriptions à rembourser. C’était donc une façon détournée de recouvrer les fonds non perçus et de rééquilibrer les comptes de Revco. (…) J’ai compris combien la théorie de l’anomie de Robert K. Merton – une source d’inspiration essentielle pour moi – peut s’appliquer ici. Selon le schéma mertonien, les deux employés ont « innové » en adaptant les moyens et les règlements aux fins légitimes de l’organisation, qui étaient contrariées par le système Medicaid et donc menaçaient sa survie. Le dysfonctionnement dans le système de transaction entre les deux organisations crée une opportunité de comportement illicite ou de viol des règles pour réaliser les objectifs. (…)  Alors que j’étais étudiante, j’ai rédigé un article sur la séparation conjugale, que j’ai appelée « découplage » (uncoupling) (…) J’ai approfondi le sujet lorsque j’étais à Yale, puis à Boston après mon recrutement au Wellesley College Center for Research on Women. (…) J’observais un couple, à la façon d’une organisation minuscule, au moment critique où la relation rompait ou après la séparation.(…) Des références traversent ces recherches, par exemple la théorie du signal de l’économiste « nobélisé » Michael Spence, qui peut s’appliquer autant aux entreprises qu’aux relations intimes dans le couple. Comment les organisations fondent-elles leurs choix lorsqu’elles recrutent et que les candidats sont nombreux ? La réponse est économique : il est trop coûteux de connaître à fond chaque candidat, si bien que les organisations émettent des jugements sur la base de signaux. Ces derniers sont de deux sortes : d’une part, des indicateurs qui ne peuvent pas être changés, comme l’âge ou le sexe (à l’époque, il n’était pas possible de le changer). D’autre part, des signaux d’ordre social : où avez-vous obtenu votre diplôme ? Qui vous recommande ? Quelle est votre expérience professionnelle ? Ces seconds signaux peuvent être manipulés, truqués, ce qui rapproche de la problématique de la fraude. La théorie du signal s’applique aussi dans Uncoupling : malgré l’expérience d’une rupture relationnelle soudaine, souvent vécue comme traumatique ou chaotique dans nos vies, l’hypothèse que j’ai faite était de dire par contraste que la transition est graduelle : le découplage est une suite de transitions. Je n’ai pas tardé à le vérifier durant les interviews, lors desquelles je demandais aux personnes séparées de retracer la chronologie de leur relation. Une même logique était à l’œuvre : une des deux personnes, initiatrice, commence à quitter la relation, socialement et psychologiquement, avant que l’autre ne réalise que quelque chose ne fonctionne plus. Le temps qu’elle le comprenne, qu’elle en perçoive le signal, il est trop tard pour sauver la relation. (…) Il est frappant de voir que dans ces petites organisations les gens peuvent tomber en morceaux sans même le remarquer ni agir contre. Une longue période d’incubation précède la rupture, les initiateurs envoient des signaux, les partenaires les interprètent (ou pas), mais quoi qu’il arrive, selon les buts ordinaires de l’organisation (le couple) la rupture ne fait pas partie du plan initial. Je commençais à y voir plus clair dans ces processus, analogues malgré les échelles d’analyse, mais il me manquait encore des données sur des structures bien plus grandes. J’ai envoyé le manuscrit d’Uncoupling à mon éditeur en décembre 1985. Un mois plus tard, le 28 janvier 1986, Challenger explosa. La presse a ramené l’explosion à un exemple d’inconduite organisationnelle. Cela se rapprochait de mes premiers cas d’étude – à ceci près que cela concernait une organisation à but non lucratif, la Nasa – et j’ai commencé à enquêter. (…) [Avec Columbia] Le même pattern que j’avais identifié sur le cas Challenger se reproduisait. J’étais stupéfaite par les prises de parole du responsable de la navette spatiale à la télévision : en substance, les équipes impliquées dans le programme s’étaient retrouvées dans la même situation de normalisation de la déviance. (…) J’ai pu vérifier auprès de mes collègues que le modèle causal que j’avais défini sur la catastrophe Challenger fonctionnait encore dans ce nouveau cas. Diane Vaughan
While Ken Livingstone was forcing startled historians to explain that Adolf Hitler was not a Zionist, I was in Naz Shah’s Bradford. A politician who wants to win there cannot afford to be reasonable, I discovered. He or she cannot deplore the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and say that the Israelis and Palestinians should have their own states. They have to engage in extremist rhetoric of the “sweep all the Jews out” variety or risk their opponents denouncing them as “Zionists”. George Galloway, who, never forget, was a demagogue from the race-card playing left rather than the far right, made the private prejudices of conservative Muslim voters respectable. Aisha Ali-Khan, who worked as Galloway’s assistant until his behaviour came to disgust her, realised how deep prejudice had sunk when she made a silly quip about David Miliband being more “fanciable” than Ed. Respect members accused her of being a “Jew lover” and, all of a sudden in Bradford politics, that did not seem an outrageous, or even an unusual, insult. Where Galloway led, others followed. David Ward, a now mercifully forgotten Liberal Democrat MP, tried and failed to save his seat by proclaiming his Jew obsession. Nothing, not even the murder of Jews, could restrain him. At one point, he told his constituents that the sight of the Israeli prime minister honouring the Parisian Jews whom Islamists had murdered made him “sick”. (He appeared to find the massacre itself easier to stomach.)Naz Shah’s picture of Israel superimposed on to a map of the US to show her “solution” for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was not a one-off but part of a race to the bottom. But Shah’s wider behaviour as an MP – a “progressive” MP, mark you – gives you a better idea of how deep the rot has sunk. She ignored a Bradford imam who declared that the terrorist who murdered a liberal Pakistani politician was a “great hero of Islam” and concentrated her energies on expressing her “loathing” of liberal and feminist British Muslims instead. (…) Liberal Muslims make many profoundly uncomfortable. Writers in the left-wing press treat them as Uncle Toms, as Shah did, because they are willing to work with the government to stop young men and women joining Islamic State. While they are criticised, politically correct criticism rarely extends to clerics who celebrate religious assassins. As for the antisemitism that allows Labour MPs to fantasise about “transporting” Jews, consider how jeering and dishonest the debate around that has become. When feminists talk about rape, they are not told as a matter of course “but women are always making false rape accusations”. If they were, they would suspect that their opponents wanted to deny the existence of sexual violence. Yet it is standard in polite society to hear that accusations of antisemitism are always made in bad faith to delegitimise justifiable criticism of Israel. I accept that there are Jews who say that all criticism of Israel is antisemitic. For her part, a feminist must accept that there are women who make false accusations of rape. But that does not mean that antisemitism does not exist, any more than it means that rape never happens. Challenging prejudices on the left wing is going to be all the more difficult because, incredibly, the British left in the second decade of the 21st century is led by men steeped in the worst traditions of the 20th. When historians had to explain last week that if Montgomery had not defeated Rommel at El Alamein in Egypt then the German armies would have killed every Jew they could find in Palestine, they were dealing with the conspiracy theory that Hitler was a Zionist, developed by a half-educated American Trotskyist called Lenni Brenner in the 1980s. When Jeremy Corbyn defended the Islamist likes of Raed Salah, who say that Jews dine on the blood of Christian children, he was continuing a tradition of communist accommodation with antisemitism that goes back to Stalin’s purges of Soviet Jews in the late 1940s. It is astonishing that you have to, but you must learn the worst of leftwing history now. For Labour is not just led by dirty men but by dirty old men, with roots in the contaminated soil of Marxist totalitarianism. If it is to change, its leaders will either have to change their minds or be thrown out of office. Put like this, the tasks facing Labour moderates seem impossible. They have to be attempted, however, for moral as much as electoral reasons. (…) Not just in Paris, but in Marseille, Copenhagen and Brussels, fascistic reactionaries are murdering Jews – once again. Go to any British synagogue or Jewish school and you will see police officers and volunteers guarding them. I do not want to tempt fate, but if British Jews were murdered, the leader of the Labour party would not be welcome at their memorial. The mourners would point to the exit and ask him to leave. If it is incredible that we have reached this pass, it is also intolerable. However hard the effort to overthrow it, the status quo cannot stand. Nick Cohen
The UK Labour Party, which dates back to 1900, was long seen as the party of the working classes. Throughout most of its history, Labour has stood for social justice, equality, and anti-racism. Labour’s controversy over anti-Semitism is fairly recent. It’s often traced back to 2015, when Jeremy Corbyn became the party leader. Corbyn, seen as on Labour’s left wing, has long defended the rights of Palestinians and often been more critical than the party mainstream of Israel’s government. But during the Labour leadership contest in 2015, a then-senior Jewish Labour MP said that Corbyn had in the past showed “poor judgment” on the issue of anti-Semitism — after Corbyn unexpectedly became the frontrunner in the contest, a Jewish newspaper reported on his past meetings with individuals and organizations who had expressed anti-Semitic views. Concerns over anti-Semitism only really began to turn into a crisis, however, the year after Corbyn became leader. In April 2016, a well-known right-wing blog revealed that Labour MP Naz Shah had posted anti-Semitic messages to Facebook a couple of years before being elected. One post showed a photo of Israel superimposed onto a map of the US, suggesting the country’s relocation would resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Above the photo, Shah wrote, “Problem solved.” Shah apologized, but former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, a long-time Labour member who was close to party leader Jeremy Corbyn, made things worse by rushing to Shah’s defense — and added an inflammatory claim that Hitler initially supported Zionism, before “he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.” The party suspended Shah and Livingstone and launched an inquiry into anti-Semitism. But Corbyn was criticized for not acting quickly or decisively enough to deal with the problem. Afterward, claims of anti-Semitism kept resurfacing as individual examples were dug up across Labour’s wide membership. By now a narrative was building that anti-Semitism was rife within the party — and that the election of Corbyn as leader was the cause. Throughout his political career, Corbyn has protested against racism and backed left-wing campaigns such as nuclear disarmament, and was considered the long shot in the party’s leadership contest — bookmakers initially put the chance of him winning at 200 to 1. Corbyn’s victory confirmed that the New Labour project was dead. (…) Corbyn’s campaign drummed up a big grassroots following as his anti-austerity, socialist message gained traction, in a way that would later be echoed by Bernie Sanders’s 2016 campaign in the US. (…) But after Corbyn’s unexpected win, everything changed. Corbyn steered the party to the left on many issues, including proposals to nationalize the railways and possibly the energy companies, end the era of slashing state spending, and tax the rich. He also moved the party leftward on Israel and Palestine. Labour’s previously moribund membership boomed to half a million, making it one of the biggest political parties in Europe. The many newcomers were attracted by the chance to support a truly left-wing Labour Party. Claims of anti-Semitism also increased: Labour’s general secretary revealed that between April 2018 and January 2019, the party received 673 accusations of anti-Semitism among members, which had led to 96 members being suspended and 12 expelled. Part of the reason anti-Semitism claims have grown under Corbyn is that his wing of the party — the socialist left — tends to be passionately pro-Palestine. There is nothing inherently anti-Semitic about defending Palestinians, but such a position can lead to tensions between left-wing anti-Zionists and mainstream Jewish communities. This tension has at times led to a tendency on the left to indulge in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and tropes — like blaming a Jewish conspiracy for Western governments’ support of Israel or equating Jews who support Israel with Nazi collaborators. (…) At first glance, Corbyn hardly seems like someone who would be an enabler of anti-Semitism. He has a long history of campaigning against racism — for instance, in the 1980s, he participated in anti-apartheid protests against South Africa, at the same time that former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was calling Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress opposition movement a “typical terrorist organization.” And he has long campaigned for Palestinian rights, while being critical of the government of Israel — including comparing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to apartheid. But Corbyn’s anti-imperialist, anti-racist stance over the years has also led some to label him a terrorist sympathizer. Corbyn in the past advocated for negotiations with militant Irish republicans. As he did with Irish republicans, Corbyn encouraged talks with the Islamist militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah. He has also been heavily criticized for having previously referred to these groups as “friends,” which caused outrage when publicized during 2015’s Labour leadership contest. Corbyn explained that he had only used “friends” in the context of trying to promote peace talks, but later said he regretted using the word. Last March, Corbyn was also criticized for a 2012 comment on Facebook, in which he had expressed solidarity with an artist who had used anti-Semitic tropes in a London mural that was going to be torn down. After Luciana Berger tweeted about the post and demanded an explanation from the Labour Party leadership, Corbyn said that he “sincerely regretted” having not looked at the “deeply disturbing” image more closely, and condemned anti-Semitism. (…) In August 2018, the right-wing British newspaper the Daily Mail accused Corbyn of having laid a wreath at the graves of the Palestinian terrorists while in Tunisia in 2014. Corbyn acknowledges that he participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at a Tunisian cemetery in 2014, but says he was commemorating the victims of a 1985 Israeli airstrike on the headquarters of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), who were living in exile in Tunis at the time. The airstrike killed almost 50 people, including civilians, and wounded dozens more. However, the Daily Mail published photos showing Corbyn holding a wreath not far from the graves of four Palestinians believed to be involved with the 1972 Munich massacre, in which members of the Black September terrorist organization killed 11 Israeli athletes and a German police officer at the Munich Olympics. Corbyn denies he was commemorating the latter individuals, but his muddled explanations in the wake of the controversy left some unsatisfied with his response. Today, on social media, it is common to see Corbyn denounced for enabling anti-Semitism — author J.K. Rowling has even criticized him for it — while some brand him outright as an anti-Semite. When US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) recently tweeted that she’d had “a lovely and wide-reaching conversation” with Corbyn by phone, hundreds of commenters criticized her for speaking to Labour’s “anti-Semitic” leader. (…) Indeed, urgency is needed for Labour’s leadership to effectually tackle the party’s anti-Semitism crisis and convince other MPs not to quit. The nine MPs who’ve left have formed the Independent Group, an informal assemblage that plans to launch as an official political party before the end of the year. Several other Labour MPs are rumored to be thinking of joining them. Unless Labour moves fast, the emerging centrist party could prove an existential threat. Vox.com
Omar didn’t know that the language in which she expressed her malignant delusions was in the lineage of Jew-hatred in its Christian and European forms. Until she entered the national stage, she’d had no need to know. Omar’s malignant delusions are commonplace in the Arab and Muslim world from which she comes. They are commonplace among the leadership of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Hamas-friendly front organization for the Muslim Brotherhood which supported her Congressional campaign. And they have become commonplace on the left of the Democratic party. Democrats now protest that the whites and the right have their racists too. In other words, they’re saying that two wrongs make a right. This is playground logic, and it ignores the imbalance between the two kinds of anti-Jewish racism. Firstly, no Republican leader ever posed for the cover of any other national outlet with Steve King, or Omar’s new Twitter chum David Duke. Secondly, the Republican leadership, no doubt hypnotized by the Benjamins tucked in Ivanka Trump’s suspender belt, is hostile to the white racist fringe, and the white racist fringe detests the Republican leadership. Thirdly, the white racists are nothing if not candid about their beliefs and their intentions towards the Jewish people. Ilhan Omar isn’t even honest. Omar said she was against BDS when running for the House and then revised her position as soon as she won her set. She denounces Israel and Saudi Arabia, who oppose the Muslim Brotherhood, but not Turkey or Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood’s sponsors. She may be ignorant, but she knows exactly what she is doing. She is furtive and duplicitous, and she is successfully importing the language and ideas of racism into a susceptible Democratic party. The buffoons who lead the Democrats are allowing Omar to mainstream anti-Jewish racism. The Democratic leadership tried to co-opt the energy of the post-2008 grassroots, to give its exhausted rainbow coalition an infusion of 21st-century identity politics. The failure to issue the promised condemnation of Omar shows that a European-style ‘red-green’ alliance of hard leftists and Islamists is co-opting the party. This, like the pro-Democratic media’s extended PR work for Rashida Tlaib and that other left-Islamist pinup Linda Sarsour, reflects a turning point in American history. The metaphysical, conspiratorial hatred of Jews is a symptom of civilization in decline. So the inability of the Democratic leadership to call Omar a racist reflects more than the moral and ideological decay of a political party. Americans like to believe in their exceptionalism, and American Jews like to say America is different. We’re about see if those ideas are true. Dominic Green
Il est fini le temps de la cathédrale, si ça pouvait signifier, aussi la fin des curés. Frédéric Fromet (France inter)
Sur France Inter, radio du service public, une « chanson » abjecte sur l’incendie de la cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris a été diffusée le 19 avril dernier. Et n’a suscité aucune réaction majeure depuis. Les catholiques ont-ils beaucoup d’humour ou sont-ils tout simplement inaudibles ? Toujours est-il qu’une prestation de (très) mauvais goût sur la radio France Inter le 19 avril dernier a totalement échappé aux radars de la polémique. Qu’en aurait-il été avec une pareille satire sur d’autres religions présentes dans l’Hexagone ? Lors de l’émission Par Jupiter !, présentée par Charline Vanhoenacker et Alex Vizorek, « La chanson de Frédéric Fromet » portait sur l’incendie de la cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris. Depuis, l’Observatoire de la Christianophobie a notamment relevé la chose, au milieu d’un silence médiatique total. Rappelons que France Inter, appartenant au groupe Radio France, est une radio du service public détenue à 100 % par l’État français et financée en grande partie par la redevance audiovisuelle. (…) À noter que dans cette séquence, la carte de « l’humour » cathophobe est jouée au maximum puisque Frédéric Fromet présente son « œuvre » du jour en ces termes : « L’incendie de Notre-Dame de Paris, c’est quand même du pain bénit. » De quoi susciter les ricanements de l’assistance, une voix féminine ironisant ensuite : « Oh, un Vendredi saint, mon Dieu ! » Délits d’images
This feature is proving that a fully covered hijab wearing model can confidently stand alongside a beautiful woman in a revealing bikini and together they can celebrate one another, cheer each other on, and champion each other’s successes. Young Muslim women need to know that there is a modest swimsuit option available to them so they can join the swim team, participate in swim class at school, and go with their friends to the beach. Muslim girls should feel confident taking that step and doing so comfortably while wearing a burkini. SI Swimsuit has been at the forefront of changing the narrative and conversation on social issues and preconceived notions. I’m hoping this specific feature will open doors up for my Somali community, Muslim community, refugee community, and any other community that can relate to being different. Halima Aden
La mannequin et activiste musulmane entre dans l’histoire avec ses débuts pour le magazine Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. Sports Illustrated Swimsuit continue de prôner la différence dans l’industrie de la mode. Et le nouveau numéro de 2019 est le plus diversifié de tous les temps. La mannequin et activiste américano-somalienne Halima Aden fait ses débuts pour le magazine. Il s’agit de la première fois qu’un mannequin pose avec un hijab et un burkini pour les pages de SI qui sont, habituellement très sexy et où les mannequins sont très dénudés. Halima Aden est née dans un camp de réfugiés au Kenya, où elle a vécu jusqu’à l’âge de sept ans avant de déménager aux États-Unis, elle est retournée dans son pays de naissance pour le shooting de Sport Illustrated pris par le photographe Yu Tsai. « Je n’arrête pas de penser à moi, âgé de six ans, qui vivait dans un camp de réfugiés dans ce même pays », a déclaré Halima Aden, 21 ans, à SI lors de son interview. « Donc, grandir pour vivre le rêve américain et revenir au Kenya pour un magazine de mode dans les plus belles régions du pays, je ne pense pas que ce soit une histoire que quiconque puisse inventer » a-t-elle déclaré émue. Halima a été la première femme à porter un hijab au concours de Miss Minnesota, aux États-Unis, où elle s’est classée demi-finaliste et la première à porter un burkini pour la compétition de maillot de bain… Ce qui lui a valu un contrat avec IMG Models. Peu de temps après, Halima Aden a fait ses débuts sur le podium lors de la Fashion Week de New York à l’automne 2017 en tant que modèle pour le show de la saison 5 de la marque de Kanye West. Public
In a controversial move, Sports Illustrated has unveiled photos of its first ever Baptist swimsuit model, pictured in a floor-length denim skirt, modest collared blouse, and no makeup or jewelry whatsoever, other than her purity ring. The « hot » photoshoot includes pictures of the woman lying on the beach, rolling around in the water, and reading Passion and Purity on the beach in sexy poses, all while completely covered up. Christians quickly praised the decision. « We are glad SI finally sees the value of modesty, » one leading evangelical said. « A woman mostly covered from head to toe is a great precedent to set, and we hope more models going forward will be dressed this modestly. » The woman, Becky Grace-Charity-Faith Benson, said she’s proud to represent her Baptist religious heritage. « It’s important for young Christian girls to see that beauty isn’t just being skinny or wearing b*kinis—it’s wearing a comfy pair of sneaks, a long, denim skirt you made at home, or a modest one-piece bathing suit under a swim shirt and long, flowy swim skirt. » Babylon bee
We are all cartoonists now. Antonio Branco
It’s time for the west to wake up to this kind of thing and stop appeasing radical Islam. Antonio Branco
I’m a fan of Twitter, I’m a fan of a president that talks directly to the people. Antonio Branco
Out of respect to our readers we have avoided those we felt were offensive. Many Muslims consider publishing images of their prophet innately offensive and we have refrained from doing so. Dean Baquet (NYT)
Selon les standards du Times, nous ne publions pas d’images ou d’autres matériaux offensant délibérément les sensibilités religieuses. Après concertation, les journalistes du Times ont décidé que décrire les caricatures en question donnerait suffisamment d’informations pour comprendre l’histoire. NYT
As I grew older, I learned that the fair-skinned, blue-eyed depiction of Jesus has for centuries adorned stained glass windows and altars in churches throughout the United States and Europe. But Jesus, born in Bethlehem, was most likely a Palestinian man with dark skin. Eric Copage
The Times published an appalling political cartoon in the opinion pages of its international print edition late last week. It portrayed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel as a dog wearing a Star of David on a collar. He was leading President Trump, drawn as a blind man wearing a skullcap. The cartoon was chosen from a syndication service by a production editor who did not recognize its anti-Semitism. Yet however it came to be published, the appearance of such an obviously bigoted cartoon in a mainstream publication is evidence of a profound danger — not only of anti-Semitism but of numbness to its creep, to the insidious way this ancient, enduring prejudice is once again working itself into public view and common conversation. Anti-Semitic imagery is particularly dangerous now. The number of assaults against American Jews more than doubled from 2017 to 2018, rising to 39, according to a report released Tuesday by the Anti-Defamation League. On Saturday, a gunman opened fire during Passover services at a synagogue in San Diego County, killing one person and injuring three, allegedly after he posted in an online manifesto that he wanted to murder Jews. For decades, most American Jews felt safe to practice their religion, but now they pass through metal detectors to enter synagogues and schools. Jews face even greater hostility and danger in Europe, where the cartoon was created. In Britain, one of several members of Parliament who resigned from the Labour Party in February said that the party had become “institutionally anti-Semitic.” In France and Belgium, Jews have been the targets of terrorist attacks by Muslim extremists. Across Europe, right-wing parties with long histories of anti-Semitic rhetoric are gaining political strength. This is also a period of rising criticism of Israel, much of it directed at the rightward drift of its own government and some of it even questioning Israel’s very foundation as a Jewish state. We have been and remain stalwart supporters of Israel, and believe that good-faith criticism should work to strengthen it over the long term by helping it stay true to its democratic values. But anti-Zionism can clearly serve as a cover for anti-Semitism — and some criticism of Israel, as the cartoon demonstrated, is couched openly in anti-Semitic terms. The responsibility for acts of hatred rests on the shoulders of the proponents and perpetrators. But history teaches that the rise of extremism requires the acquiescence of broader society. As anti-Semitism has surged from the internet into the streets, President Trump has done too little to rouse the national conscience against it. Though he condemned the cartoon in The Times, he has failed to speak out against anti-Semitic groups like the white nationalists who marched in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 chanting, “Jews will not replace us.” He has practiced a politics of intolerance for diversity, and attacks on some minority groups threaten the safety of every minority group. (…) A particularly frightening, and also historically resonant, aspect of the rise of anti-Semitism in recent years is that it has come from both the right and left sides of the political spectrum. Both right-wing and left-wing politicians have traded in incendiary tropes, like the ideas that Jews secretly control the financial system or politicians. (…) In the 1930s and the 1940s, The Times was largely silent as anti-Semitism rose up and bathed the world in blood. That failure still haunts this newspaper. Now, rightly, The Times has declared itself “deeply sorry” for the cartoon and called it “unacceptable.” Apologies are important, but the deeper obligation of The Times is to focus on leading through unblinking journalism and the clear editorial expression of its values. Society in recent years has shown healthy signs of increased sensitivity to other forms of bigotry, yet somehow anti-Semitism can often still be dismissed as a disease gnawing only at the fringes of society. That is a dangerous mistake. As recent events have shown, it is a very mainstream problem. The NYT Editorial Board
During the 2016 campaign, Donald J. Trump’s second campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, had regular communications with his longtime associate — a former Russian military translator in Kiev who has been investigated in Ukraine on suspicion of being a Russian intelligence agent. At the Republican National Convention in July, J. D. Gordon, a former Pentagon official on Mr. Trump’s national security team, met with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, at a time when Mr. Gordon was helping keep hawkish language on Russia’s conflict with Ukraine out of the party’s platform. And Jason Greenblatt, a former Trump Organization lawyer and now a special representative for international negotiations at the White House, met last summer with Rabbi Berel Lazar, the chief rabbi of Russia and an ally of Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin. In a Washington atmosphere supercharged by the finding of the intelligence agencies that Mr. Putin tried to steer the election to Mr. Trump, as well as continuing F.B.I. and congressional investigations, a growing list of Russian contacts with Mr. Trump’s associates is getting intense and skeptical scrutiny. (…) In fact, vigorous reporting by multiple news media organizations is turning up multiple contacts between Trump associates and Russians who serve in or are close to Mr. Putin’s government. There have been courtesy calls, policy discussions and business contacts, though nothing has emerged publicly indicating anything more sinister. A dossier of allegations on Trump-Russia contacts, compiled by a former British intelligence agent for Mr. Trump’s political opponents, includes unproven claims that his aides collaborated in Russia’s hacking of Democratic targets. Current and former American officials have said that phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election. (…) Rabbi Lazar, who has condemned critics of Mr. Putin’s actions in Ukraine, is the leader of the Hasidic Chabad-Lubavitch group in Russia, where it is a powerful organization running dozens of schools and offering social services across the country, while maintaining links to a lucrative financial donor network. Mr. Greenblatt, who handled outreach to Jews for the campaign, said that Rabbi Lazar was one of several Chabad leaders he had met during the campaign. He said the two men did not discuss broader United States-Russia relations and called the meeting “probably less than useful.” Rabbi Lazar said they had spoken about anti-Semitism in Russia, Russian Jews in Israel and Russian society in general. While he meets with Mr. Putin once or twice a year, he said, he never discussed his meeting with Mr. Greenblatt with Kremlin officials. The NYT
Starting in 1999, Putin enlisted two of his closest confidants, the oligarchs Lev Leviev and Roman Abramovich, who would go on to become Chabad’s biggest patrons worldwide, to create the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia under the leadership of Chabad rabbi Berel Lazar, who would come to be known as “Putin’s rabbi.” A few years later, Trump would seek out Russian projects and capital by joining forces with a partnership called Bayrock-Sapir, led by Soviet emigres Tevfik Arif, Felix Sater and Tamir Sapir—who maintain close ties to Chabad. The company’s ventures would lead to multiple lawsuits alleging fraud and a criminal investigation of a condo project in Manhattan. Meanwhile, the links between Trump and Chabad kept piling up. (…) With the help of this trans-Atlantic diaspora and some globetrotting real estate moguls, Trump Tower and Moscow’s Red Square can feel at times like part of the same tight-knit neighborhood. Now, with Trump in the Oval Office having proclaimed his desire to reorient the global order around improved U.S. relations with Putin’s government—and as the FBI probes the possibility of improper coordination between Trump associates and the Kremlin—that small world has suddenly taken on outsize importance. Founded in Lithuania in 1775, the Chabad-Lubavitch movement today has adherents numbering in the five, or perhaps six, figures. What the movement lacks in numbers it makes up for in enthusiasm, as it is known for practicing a particularly joyous form of Judaism. (…) Despite its small size, Chabad has grown to become the most sprawling Jewish institution in the world, with a presence in over 1,000 far-flung cities, including locales like Kathmandu and Hanoi with few full-time Jewish residents. (…) Chabad followers are also, according to Klein, “remarkable” fundraisers.(…) The Putin-Chabad alliance has reaped benefits for both sides. (…) With Washington abuzz about the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of Trump world’s relationship with Putin’s Kremlin, their overlapping networks remain the object of much scrutiny and fascination. (…) To those unfamiliar with Russian politics, Trump’s world and Hasidic Judaism, all these Chabad links can appear confounding. Others simply greet them with a shrug. “The interconnectedness of the Jewish world through Chabad is not surprising insofar as it’s one of the main Jewish players,” said Boteach. “I would assume that the world of New York real estate isn’t that huge either.”Politico
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
À la suite d’un torrent de protestations, la direction du grand quotidien libéral a reconnu que sa caricature reprenait les clichés antisémites d’usage et a présenté ses regrets. Mais il est difficile pour autant, pour un observateur qui scrute depuis longtemps les relations judéo-américaines, de passer cet incident en pures pertes et profits. Pour différentes raisons qui se conjuguent dangereusement. Mais un mot tout d’abord sur la caricature. En dépit de l’amende honorable versée sans barguigner par le journal lui-même, certains esprits forts discutent l’aspect antisémite du dessin incriminé. J’ai cru remarquer qu’il s’agissait souvent d’antiracistes de gauche vétilleux qui sourcillent dès lors que, par exemple, on ne partage pas avec eux extatiquement le même enthousiasme pour le phénomène migratoire massif et souvent illégal. Au demeurant, le New York Times lui-même n’est pas le dernier à se proposer pour donner à autrui des leçons d’antiracisme qu’il n’a pas réclamées. Nous mettrons bien évidemment leurs contestations sur le compte de leur ignorance de l’histoire de l’antisémitisme plutôt que sur celui d’une improbable mauvaise foi. Tout d’abord, l’animalisation du Juif est un grand classique. Mais au-delà même de cet antisémitisme de facture assez classique, ce méchant dessin s’insère dans un contexte contemporain anglo-saxon de gauche fort dégradé. Il convient de comprendre que parallèlement à un conflit interne au parti travailliste britannique qui reproche, preuves à l’appui, à Jeremy Corbyn un antisémitisme caricatural (lui-même ayant reconnu un problème au sein du Labour), le parti Démocrate américain est déchiré. En cause, de nouvelles représentantes d’origine islamique ou immigrée qui multiplient les dérapages. La plus emblématique étant pour l’heure ilhan Omar, d’origine somalienne, qui enchaînent en spirales les provocations suivies d’excuses. L’un de ses griefs consistant notamment à reprocher aux politiciens juifs une double et déloyale allégeance en faveur de l’état Juif. Les réactions de l’appareil démocrate ordinairement antiraciste, se caractérisant ici par une manière de déploration paternaliste. C’est donc bien dans ce cadre général et particulier qu’il convenait d’analyser pourquoi cette caricature tombait mal, pour le journal libéral comme pour la gauche américaine en proie à ses nouveaux vieux démons, comme pour les juifs américains traditionnellement et majoritairement démocrates. Gilles-William Goldnadel
You thought that Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s comments about foreign loyalty or “Benjamins” were problematic. The International Edition of the Times just said: “Let me show you what we can do,” with a cartoon of a yarmulke-wearing, blind US President Donald Trump being led by a dog with a Star of David collar and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s face for a head. (…) It used to be that we were told that Trump was fostering “Trump antisemitism” and driving a new wave of antisemitism in the US. But the cartoon depicts him as a Jew. Well, which is it? Is he fostering antisemitism, or is he now a closet Jew being led by Israel, depicted as a Jewish dog? We used to say that images “conjured up memories” of 1930s antisemitism. This didn’t conjure it up; this showed us exactly what it looked like. The Nazis also depicted us as animals. They also put Stars of David on us. Antisemites have compared us to dogs, pigs and monkeys before. It used to be that it was on the far-Right that Jews were depicted as controlling the world, like an octopus or a spider. But now we see how mainstream it has become to blame the Jews and Israel for the world’s problems. There isn’t just one problem with this cartoon. There are numerous problems. Problem one is putting a yarmulke on the US president in a negative way. What is being said there? That he is secretly a Jew. Then making him blind, and having him led by Israel. That implies Israel controls US policy or controls America. Problem two: they put a dog leash with a Star of David, which is antisemitic in multiple ways. Problems three and four. You’d think that after the Holocaust, any use of the Star of David would automatically raise questions in a newsroom. But no. Then they put the Israeli prime minister’s face on a dog. On a dog. Problem number five. So this cartoon wasn’t just mildly antisemitic. It wasn’t like “whoops.” It was deeply antisemitic. The New York Times acknowledged this in a kind of pathetic way. They admitted that the cartoon “included antisemitic tropes.” It then noted, “The image was offensive and it was an error of judgement to publish it.” This should be a defining moment. It is a defining moment because one of America’s most prestigious newspapers did this, not some small town newspaper somewhere. That it was in the International Edition doesn’t make it any less harmful. In fact, it shows America’s face to the world and gives a quiet signal to other antisemites. How can we demand that there be zero tolerance for antisemitism and antisemitic tropes when this happens? Jerusalem Post
A dog with a Jewish star around its neck and the face of a Jewish leader, leading a blind, yarmulke-wearing U.S. President would be standard fare for the notorious Nazi newspaper Der Sturmer, and for its modern descendants. Unfortunately the New York Times must now be counted among those descendants. Just days after the Times published an op-ed falsely claiming Jesus was a Palestinian, the New York Times International Edition placed this cartoon on their op-ed page, depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a dog leading a blind U.S. President Donald Trump: The cartoon is by the award-winning (aren’t they all) Portuguese cartoonist Antonio Antunes Moreira, and was distributed by the New York Times News Service and Syndicate. After a wave of criticism – perhaps among the earliest was a tweet from the left wing site Jewish Worker – the Times removed the image and tweeted this statement: A political cartoon in the international print edition of The New York Times on Thursday, included anti-Semitic tropes, depicting the Prime Minister of Israel as a guide dog with a Star of David collar leading the President of the United States, shown wearing a skullcap. The image was offensive, and it was an error of judgement to publish it. It was provided by the New York Times News Service and Syndicate, which has since deleted it. Some have termed this an apology – it is not, it is cold-blooded and at best descriptive. Neither the word apology nor any synonym for apology is employed, and there is nothing about accountability or further steps the Times will take to make sure nothing like this ever happens again. This did not happen in a vacuum, but there is nothing about the responsible editor or editors being fired, or even disciplined. There is nothing about no longer accepting or distributing cartoons from the cartoonist Antonio, who has previously used religious symbols in an offensive way. For example, in the cartoon below the Jewish Star of David is represented as controlling the United States, and a crescent moon often associated with Islam is linked with dynamite. Both the Jewish Star and the crescent are seemingly bloody. Camera
Imagine if the New York Times cartoon that depicted Israel’s Prime Minister as a dog had, instead, depicted the leader of another ethnic or gender group in a similar manner? If you think that is hard to imagine that you are absolutely right. It would be inconceivable for a Times editor to have allowed the portrayal of a Muslim leader as a dog; or the leader of any other ethnic or gender group in so dehumanizing a manner. What is it then about Jews that allowed such a degrading cartoon about one of its leaders? One would think that in light of the history of the Holocaust, which is being commemorated this week, the last group that a main stream newspaper would demonize by employing a caricature right out of the Nazi playbook, would be the Jews. But, no. Only three quarters of a century after Der Stürmer incentivized the mass murder of Jews by dehumanizing them we see a revival of such bigoted caricatures. The New York Times should be especially sensitive to this issue, because they were on the wrong side of history when it came to reporting the Holocaust. They deliberately buried the story because their Jewish owners wanted to distance themselves from Jewish concerns. They were also on the wrong side of history when it came to the establishment of the nation state of the Jewish people, following the holocaust. When it comes to Jews and Israel, the New York Times is still on the wrong side of history. I am a strong believer in freedom of speech and the New York Times has a right to continue its biased reporting and editorializing. But despite my support for freedom of speech, I am attending a protest in front of the New York Times this afternoon to express my freedom of speech against how the New York Times has chosen to exercise its. There is no inconsistency in defending the right to express bigotry and at the same time protesting that bigotry. When I defended the rights of Communists and Nazis to express their venomous philosophies, I also insisted on expressing my contempt for their philosophy. I did the same when I defended the rights of Palestinian students to fly the Palestinian flag in commemoration of the death of Arafat. I went out of my way to defend the right of students to express their support of this mass murder. But I also went out of my way to condemn Arafat and those who support him and praise his memory. I do not believe in free speech for me, but not for thee. But I do believe in condemning those who hide behind the First Amendment to express anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, homophobic, sexist or racist views. Nor is the publication of this anti-Semitic cartoon a one-off. For years now, the New York Times op-ed pages have been one-sidedly anti-Israel. Its reporting has often been provably false, and all the errors tend to favor Israel’s enemies. Most recently, the New York Times published an op-ed declaring, on Easter Sunday, that the crucified Jesus was probably a Palestinian. How absurd. How preposterous. How predictable. In recent years, it has become more and more difficult to distinguish between the reporting of the New York Times and their editorializing. Sometimes its editors hide behind the euphemism « news analysis, » when allowing personal opinions to be published on the front page.