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Don’t Expect Donald Trump to Stop Lying About Huma Abedin

The Intercept - Engl. - 9 ore 45 min fa

Once again treating news of other people’s pain as an opportunity to score political points, Donald Trump seized on Huma Abedin’s decision to separate from Anthony Weiner on Monday as an opportunity to repeat his unsubstantiated claim that Hillary Clinton’s closest aide must have shared classified information with her husband, and draw attention to a fringe conspiracy theory that she is a secret agent of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“I know Anthony Weiner well,” Trump said in a press release about the former Congressman he donated $2,000 to in 2010, the year before evidence of his sext addiction was first reported by Andrew Breitbart.

“He’s a very sick guy and, if you look back, you’ll see that I said, at the beginning, the worst thing she can do is marry this guy,” Trump then told a conservative radio host.

Having congratulated himself for his foresight, Trump moved on to speculating that this private matter might have national security implications if, as he first suggested last year, Abedin had shared any classified material she was privvy to through her work at the State Department with her husband.

“Hillary Clinton was careless and negligent in allowing Weiner to have such close proximity to highly classified information,” Trump said, treating a theory he concocted a year ago as if it were established fact. “Who knows what he learned and who he told?” he continued. “It is possible that our country and its security have been greatly compromised by this.”

Trump had suggested that Abedin must have shared classified information with her husband last year, after CBS News reported that, in 2011, she had used her own State Department email account to forward an unclassified message to Clinton’s private server that, intelligence officials said later, should have been treated as classified.

At a fundraiser in Massachusetts last August, Trump insisted that there was no chance that Abedin had not divulged classified information to Weiner since, he said, any woman who is “in love with” her husband would certainly do so.

“Do you think there’s even a five percent chance that she’s not telling Anthony Weiner… what the hell is coming across?” Trump asked, rhetorically. “Do you think there’s even a little bit of a chance? I don’t think so”

“Are there any women in this room, who are in love with their husbands who wouldn’t be telling them everything?” Trump then asked the crowd. When one woman said she did love her husband but would not break an oath to keep classified information secret, Trump replied dismissively, “No, you will.”

The frankly sexist nature of that accusation against Abedin is unlikely to dissuade Trump from repeating it again and again until November, along with the racist lie that Clinton’s Muslim-American aide is a terrorist sympathizer and a security risk.

In his interview with the conservative radio host Dori Monson on Monday, Trump made a coded reference to recent attempts by his allies to revive the discredited rumor, spread by the former Reagan official Frank Gaffney and the current Trump adviser Michele Bachmann, that Abedin has ties to “radical Islam.”

“Take a look at where she worked, by the way, and take a look at where her mother worked and works,” Trump told Monson. “Huma Abedin has access to classified information. How Hillary got away with that one, nobody will ever know.”

Trump was referring to the latest version of the smear campaign against Abedin, dredged up from the Islamophobe blogosphere last week by The New York Post and Fox News in misleading reports that wildly misrepresented her work on the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, a scholarly periodical founded by her late father, Syed Abedin.

That peer-reviewed journal — which focuses on research into both minority strains of Islam and issues facing Muslims who live in countries where they are minorities — has been run, since its founder’s death in 1993, by Abedin’s mother, Saleha S. Mahmood, a sociologist who teaches at a liberal women’s college in Saudi Arabia.

That Abedin was raised in Saudi Arabia raises alarm bells for conspiracists with little knowledge of her family’s background. Her parents are not Saudi but Indian, and both were born there during the British colonial era. Her father was educated at Aligarh Muslim University, an institution founded in the late 19th century by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, a reformer who wanted Indian Muslims to embrace Western notions of education and rationalism so that they could live in the modern world but retain their identities. He then completed doctoral work, in American Civilization, at the University of Pennsylvania, as did his wife.

The Abedins were working at Western Michigan University when Huma was born in Kalamazoo in 1976. Two years later, the family moved to Saudi Arabia, where Syed founded an institute devoted to fostering religious understanding. Huma went to a British girls’ school in Jeddah until she returned to the United States to attend George Washington University. While still a student there, she began working for Clinton as an intern.

Since her father died when she was 17, Huma, and two of her siblings, have at various times assisted their mother in keeping his publication alive, shepherding into print scholarly research articles like, “European Modernity and Islamic Reformism among Muslims of the Balkans in the Late-Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Period (1830s–1945),” “Pre-modern Globalization and Islamic Networks under Mongol Rule: Some Preliminary Considerations on the Spreading of Sufi Knowledge in Gansu-Qinghai” and “West African Islam in Colonial and Antebellum South Carolina.”

Abedin’s work on this academic periodical, which ended in 2008, has recently become fodder for conspiracy theorists, including Roger Stone, the longtime Trump adviser who got his start in politics fabricating smears to make Richard Nixon’s rivals look bad. In a post for the Trump-supporting platform Breitbart in June, Stone claimed that Abedin’s work on the academic journal suggested that she might be “an Islamic spy.”

Last week, that baseless allegation was recycled by a New York Post columnist, who called the periodical “a radical Muslim publication,” and a Benghazi conspiracist who referred to it as “a Sharia law journal” in a post for The Hill.

The tenuous support for this idea is that the journal is produced by the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, a think tank founded by Syed Abedin in 1978, with the backing of the president of King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah at the time, Abdullah Omar Naseef. Five years later, Naseef became secretary-general of the Muslim World League, a pan-Islamic nongovernmental organization.

As the Washington Post reporter Glenn Kessler explained last week, the key link in the chain for conspiracy theorists is Naseef’s later support for the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan.

In 1988, during his tenure at the Muslim World League, Naseef authorized a Pakistani charity called the Rabita Trust at a time when the United States and its allies funded the mujahideen fighting the Soviet troops occupying Afghanistan. Years later, the fund became associated with al-Qaeda (which, after all, emerged from the mujahideen) and was frozen in 2002 by the Treasury Department after the 9/11 attacks. But that distant connection, a quarter-century later, is now used to tar Abedin.

In reality, the whole thrust of the journal — the close study of minority strains of Islam — is evidence that it is not a vehicle for spreading the ideology of Sunni Muslim fundamentalism embraced by Islamist militants.

Dale Eickelman, an anthropologist at Dartmouth who serves on the journal’s editorial advisory board, laughed at the idea that the publication was a front for “radical Islam” in an interview with The Intercept last week. Pointing to a number of research articles on minority sects of Islam, he said, “a journal that had a Sunni supremacist outlook simply would not produce such studies.”

“Like any good journal which is taken seriously by academics,” he said, “it introduces people from a wide variety of perspectives.”

“To call the journal radical is astonishing,” Eickelman said. “I suppose somebody could go through and look at individual arguments” that might sound extreme, he added, “but I find it well within the spectrum of the golden mean of academic journals.”

Ali Asani, who directs the Islamic Studies program at Harvard University and also serves on the journal’s editorial board, told The Intercept that there was no ideological pressure at all coming from the editors of the publication. When Asani published some of his own research in the journal, it was on South-Asian Ismaili communities, who follow an offshoot of Shia Islam. Ismailis in Pakistan have been the target of deadly terrorist attacks by a branch of the Taliban that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in 2014. A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban told Reuters last year that the group had killed dozens of Ismailis on a bus in Karachi “because we consider them kafir,” or non-Muslims. “In the coming days we will attack Ismailis, Shiites and Christians,” the spokesman added.

Asani also recalled that Syed Abedin was so far from being a supporter of fundamentalist Islam that he once invited Bernard Lewis, the neoconservative icon, to give the keynote address at an academic conference he organized in the 1980s about Muslims living as minorities in the West. Lewis also served for a time as a member of the journal’s editorial advisory board, and his name was listed on the masthead near Huma Abedin’s.

In 2012, when Michele Bachmann endorsed Frank Gaffney’s wild claims that Abedin was connected to a supposed Muslim Brotherhood plot to infiltrate the United States Government through her late father, another respected scholar on the journal’s editorial board, John Esposito of Georgetown University, provided evidence that Syed Abedin was an outspoken opponent of political violence in the name of Islam.

As Esposito noted in an article eviscerating the conspiracy theory about Huma Abedin, her father published a rejection of such attacks in the Saudi Gazette in 1992, two months after the outbreak of war in Bosnia. In an excerpt from that article republished in the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs in 2000, Syed Abedin argued: “wherever the glory of Allah is sought to be proclaimed through the barrel of a gun… there God is banished and Satan is triumphant; there the angels weep and the soul of man cringes; there in the name of God, humans are dehumanized; and there the grace and beauty of life lies ravished and undone. When would men ever realize: in this game there are no winners.”

Despite the lack of any evidence that Huma Abedin has extremist sympathies, it seems extremely likely that Trump will continue to suggest that she does, given that his new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, has played a central role in nurturing the myth that Muslims immigrants are secretly plotting to impose Sharia, the Islamic code that guides Muslim beliefs and actions, on all Americans.

Conway, a veteran pollster whose current role seems to be making Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric about Muslims and immigrants sound somewhat reasonable, previously played a key role in the anti-Sharia movement.

As Andrea Elliott of New York Times has explained, a small number of dedicated activists, clustered around Frank Gaffney, have relentlessly promoted the idea that Sharia “is not just an expression of faith but a political and legal system that seeks world domination,” and poses an existential threat to Americans.

“Yet, for all its fervor,” Elliott reported in 2011, “the movement is arguably directed at a problem more imagined than real.”

By using questionable methodology to poll American Muslims for Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy in Washington, and calling the findings alarming, Conway has played an important role in making this imaginary threat seem urgent to a significant minority of Americans, including Donald Trump.

In a video posted online by Gaffney’s group last year, Conway celebrated how widespread awareness of the supposed threat from Sharia had become among Americans, prompted, she said, by an increasing number of news reports about the threat.

What Conway neglected to mention was how much her own work for Gaffney had contributed to the spike in news reports.

For example, a poll Conway conducted for Gaffney’s center last summer, asking 600 Muslim volunteers recruited online about their attitudes to Sharia, immediately generated an alarmist segment of The O’Reilly Factor, in which the survey’s questionable methodology was never explained, or even mentioned.

(The data was essentially useless since, as the Pew Research Center has explained, when pollsters “use one-time surveys that invite participation from whoever sees the survey invitation online, or rely on panels of respondents who opt-in or volunteer to participate in the panel … the relationship between the sample and the population is unknown.” What that means is that there is no way of knowing how representative the sample is of the population of American Muslims as a whole.)

Then too, as the Democratic pollster Mark Mellman argued in December — after Trump cited Conway’s poll in support of his proposal for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” after the San Bernardino attack — the survey questions were apparently shaped to produce findings that would sound alarming, and Gaffney’s interpretation of the data was profoundly misleading.

The same week that Trump elevated Conway from an adviser to his campaign manager, he also signaled his intention to play up the imaginary threat posed to Americans by Sharia. Speaking on August 15 about his plans to crack down on “radical Islam,” Trump announced his intention to impose an ideological test at U.S. borders that clearly identified Muslims as its main target. “In addition to screening out all members or sympathizers of terrorist groups,” Trump said, “we must also screen out any who have hostile attitudes towards our country or its principles — or who believe that Sharia law should supplant American law.”

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The post Don’t Expect Donald Trump to Stop Lying About Huma Abedin appeared first on The Intercept.

Vor neuen Kriegen

German Foreign Policy - 9 ore 51 min fa
(Eigener Bericht) - Das neue "Weißbuch" der Bundeswehr ist lediglich als "Meilenstein" auf dem Weg einer stetigen Weiterentwicklung der Berliner Weltpolitik und ihres Instrumentariums konzipiert. Dies geht aus einem Beitrag hervor, den zwei Weißbuch-Verantwortliche aus dem Bundesverteidigungsministerium für die führende deutsche Außenpolitik-Zeitschrift verfasst haben. Demnach muss der "Gestaltungsanspruch" des Weißbuchs, der sich ausdrücklich auf die gesamte Erdkugel sowie den Weltraum erstreckt, in der nächsten Zeit umgesetzt und "mit Leben" gefüllt werden. Während die Bundesregierung neue Hochrüstungspläne und neue Maßnahmen der zivilen Kriegsvorbereitung in die Wege leitet, steht auch der EU ein neuer Militarisierungsschub bevor: Unter offen proklamierter deutscher Führung sprechen sich immer mehr Regierungschefs von EU-Mitgliedstaaten für den Aufbau einer EU-Armee aus. In einer führenden deutschen Tageszeitung heißt es, zwar sei die Bilanz der bisherigen deutschen Kriege "nicht gerade positiv". Das solle aber nicht von künftigen Militärinterventionen abhalten; man müsse lediglich die Erwartungen an sie klar herunterschrauben: Es gelte, sich keinerlei "Illusionen über rasche Erfolge zu machen".

Donald Trump Wins Over Secretive “Children of Israel” Megadonor

The Intercept - Engl. - Mar, 30/08/2016 - 22:57

Donald Trump attended a $25,000-per-ticket fundraiser Monday night at the Woodside, California home of Saul Fox, the CEO of private equity firm Fox & Paine.

Fox is the donor behind Children of Israel LLC, whose $884,000 in contributions has made it the second-most generous “ghost corporation” in the 2016 cycle. This election has seen a surge in “ghost corporations,” the term used for businesses that appear to exist solely to shield the identity of individuals who want to put money into the U.S. political process.

Fox’s ownership of Children of Israel was unknown until The Intercept reported on it several weeks ago.

Children of Israel gave $150,000 in 2015 to Pursuing America’s Greatness, a Super PAC supporting Mike Huckabee’s presidential run; $400,000 in 2016 to Stand for Truth, a Super PAC supporting Ted Cruz’s candidacy; and $334,000 to the Republican National Committee.

Fox is also a longtime GOP donor under his own name. He most recently gave $100,000 to Team Ryan, a joint fundraising committee set up by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and $25,000 to Donald Trump’s joint fundraising committee.

In addition to his Children of Israel contributions to their Super PACs, Fox personally gave $2,700 to Huckabee’s presidential campaign, as well as the $5,400 maximum to the campaigns of Cruz and Marco Rubio.

Fox also used a company called Mercury Trust in 2012 to donate $1 million to American Crossroads, a Super PAC co-founded by Karl Rove, and $425,000 to Restore Our Future, the Super PAC supporting Mitt Romney. Mercury Trust was later discovered to be affiliated with Fox’s private equity company.

(Thanks to Celine O’Hara for telling me about the Fox fundraiser.)

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The post Donald Trump Wins Over Secretive “Children of Israel” Megadonor appeared first on The Intercept.

Petra Costa diz que é surreal suporem que presidente Dilma Rousseff está atuando para seu filme

The Intercept - Engl. - Mar, 30/08/2016 - 19:22

A cineasta mineira Petra Costa está acompanhando o julgamento da presidente Dilma Rousseff no Senado como parte do documentário Impeachment, uma das quatro produções documentais que estão sendo feitas sobre o processo de impeachment brasileiro. De dentro do Congresso Nacional, ela falou ao The Intercept Brasil ao telefone nesta segunda-feira, 29.

Durante a ligação, Petra teve cuidado redobrado para não fazer juízo de valor sobre os acontecimentos. O que a faz guardar a sete chaves sua opinião sobre o impeachment até o resultado final do filme foi a onda de matérias e notas acusando-a de fazer propaganda partidária em vez de um documentário.

Questionada sobre a possível mudança de opinião da população com os vereditos das próximas instâncias — como Supremo Tribunal Federal e tribunais internacionais — ou até com seu próprio trabalho e as informações que surgirão pós-julgamento, Costa preferiu permanecer reticente: “Isso, só o tempo dirá”. Ela justifica que não sabe ainda qual será o resultado final do filme e que está “em um momento de registro e não de formação de juízo de valores”.

Conhecida por Elena, Petra já recebeu inúmeros prêmios internacionais, como o de melhor curta-metragem no Festival Internacional de Documentário de Londres (LIDF) e o de melhor filme no Arlington International Film Festival, nos Estados Unidos. Na hora de falar sobre as acusações de falta de profissionalismo, não se contém: “Você vê a imaginação, aonde chega, a dos colunistas”.

A cineasta Petra Costa, durante palestra sobre o documentário Elena, que lhe rendeu seis prêmios.

Foto: Divulgação

THE INTERCEPT BRASIL: Durante o julgamento no Senado, estão sendo poucos os manifestantes do lado de fora do Congresso Nacional, se comparado com o dia da votação na Câmara. Você está acompanhando o dia a dia de perto, acha que a população se resignou?

PETRA COSTA: Acho que a população está se sentindo muito alienada do processo de decisão do futuro do país. Porque a decisão é toda feita no senado, e grande parte dos senadores já tomaram suas decisões.

É um julgamento que, pelo que se diz por aqui, pouco se escutam as testemunhas e, menos ainda, a população, nesse momento. Imagino que isso gera uma sensação de trauma e perplexidade em não poder estar participando da decisão de quem vai governar o país nesse momento.

TIB: Como assim, a população está alienada?

PC: A população normal não pode entrar nesse espaço, que é restrito. Tem formas muito remotas de se comunicar com os senadores, como e-mail e Facebook. E, mesmo assim, você não muda a opinião de um senador.

Até o processo na Câmara dos Deputados havia um engajamento maior, mas, depois disso, muitos perceberam que, não importava o que se gritasse, os rumos já estavam sendo decididos aqui de forma independente do que a população iria querer. E mesmo antes, quando começou o processo de impeachment.

A gente tem o costume de decidir os rumos do país no voto. Muitos nem foram às manifestações porque achavam que não tinha sentido.

TIB: Qual a principal diferença entre o clima de hoje e de um dia normal no Congresso?

COSTA: Está bem intenso o clima aqui dentro. Um clima de tensão, de energia forte. Está tudo muito lotado o tempo inteiro. Cheio de imprensa internacional e nacional, os políticos estão todos em um ritmo acelerado, chegando ao fim do julgamento histórico.

TIB: Existe uma pressão para acabar com o julgamento logo?

PC: Alguns falam que estão com pressa, mas não é o clima em geral.

“Nós somos um corpo estranho aqui dentro.”

TIB: E qual tem sido a recepção a vocês neste meio?

PC: Tem tido muito uma má interpretação sobre o nosso trabalho aqui dentro. Um desconhecimento e um estranhamento. Porque não é da prática do Senado ter documentaristas em seus corredores, mas sim a grande imprensa. Nós somos um corpo estranho aqui dentro. Acho que, se eles tivessem o costume de estar mais perto de documentaristas no dia a dia, não teria esse problema. Mas engraçado é eles assumirem que nós somos de um lado ou do outro. Isso acontece bastante.

Fico imaginando quando Robert Drew fez um clássico chamado Primary, em que ele acompanha as primárias do (John F.) Kenedy e de Hubert Humphrey, se a imprensa e os políticos daquela época achavam que ele era pró-Kenedy ou pró-Humphrey, ou ficavam fazendo indagações sobre isso. Acho que, naquele momento, eles percebiam que aquilo era um momento histórico importante. Não consigo entender por que aqui não se consegue ter essa percepção. Acho isso uma pena.

A documentarista Petra Costa falou com The Intercept Brasil sobre as acusações feitas ao seu trabalho.

Foto: Divulgação

TIB: Qual foi essa reação da mídia que você mencionou?

PC: Saíram notas caluniosas sobre o nosso trabalho, falando que nós estaríamos alinhados com algum partido ou outro. E para a gente foi bem impressionante.

Falarem tanto no plenário quanto em coluna de jornal que a presidente só veio ao Senado por causa do meu filme e que ela ia chorar por causa do filme, que um senador começou a brigar por causa do filme, outro mudou de comportamento por causa do filme… É de um surrealismo…

Pensar que eles estão atuando para o documentário, como alguns colunistas estão certificando, descredita muito a pessoa que tem um senso de registro histórico, que é o documentário. Achar que podíamos estar aqui, eu dirigindo a presidente, a presidente chorar ou não na hora do seu discurso, é impressionante. Você vê a imaginação, aonde chega, a dos colunistas.

TIB:E não foram apenas jornalistas que fizeram essas acusações…

PC: Ontem mesmo, no Senado, eles falaram a palavra “documentário” umas cinco vezes. No meio de um processo de julgamento de uma presidenta, impressiona que senadores e a própria imprensa estejam tão consternados com a nossa presença aqui e falando disso com tanta frequência com um julgamento tão importante em jogo.

E pensar que, justamente a presidenta, levou 150 dias para eu conseguir entrevistá-la. Estou aqui desde março, para conseguir acesso a ela somente em julho. Eu sou a última preocupação que a presidente tem.

TIB: E com o presidente interino Michel Temer, você conseguiu agendar entrevista?

PC: Estou aqui há 180 dias e não tive nenhuma resposta do presidente sobre isso. Tampouco de outros senadores, como (José) Serra e Aécio (Neves). Pedimos entrevistas para muitos dos senadores. Tivemos muitas respostas positivas, já entrevistamos mais de 50 parlamentares de todos os lados.

(Esta entrevista foi editada para melhor compreensão do leitor.)

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The post Petra Costa diz que é surreal suporem que presidente Dilma Rousseff está atuando para seu filme appeared first on The Intercept.

Hartz-IV-Sätze steigen - Mar, 30/08/2016 - 18:05


Hartz-IV-Bezieher sollen vom kommenden Jahr mehr Geld bekommen. So soll der monatliche Regelsatz für alleinstehende Langzeitarbeitslose von derzeit 404 Euro auf 409 Euro im Monat steigen, für Paare von 364 auf 368 Euro pro Partner. Die größte Steigerung gibt es mit 21 Euro mehr bei den 6- bis 13-Jährigen auf dann 291 Euro im Monat. Das sieht ein Gesetzentwurf von Arbeitsministerin Andrea Nahles (SPD) vor, wie am Dienstag aus Regierungskreisen verlautete. Zuerst hatte die Bild-Zeitung über den Entwurf berichtet.

Der Regelsatz für Kinder bis zu sechs Jahren bleibt unverändert bei 237 Euro im Monat. Jugendliche bis 18 Jahren erhalten vom nächsten


Apple soll 13 Milliarden Euro Steuern nachzahlen - Mar, 30/08/2016 - 18:05


Die EU-Kommission greift in ihrem Verfahren um Apple-Steuern so hart durch wie noch nie. Mit der Forderung nach einer außergewöhnlich hohen Nachzahlung von 13 Milliarden Euro legt sie sich nicht nur mit dem reichsten Unternehmen der Welt an, sondern auch mit der US-Regierung. Washington hatte die Europäer erst vergangene Woche vor einem solchen Schritt gewarnt und vage mit Gegenmaßnahmen gedroht.

Wettbewerbskommissarin Margrethe Vestager wird mit ihrer unbeugsamen Haltung zur Galionsfigur für das Selbstbewusstsein der zuletzt von Brexit-Hickhack und Flüchtlingskrise zermürbten Kommission. Den Milliarden-Nackenschlag servierte sie nicht nur mit Metall in der Stimme, sondern auch garnierte die Nachforderung mit trockenem Humor: „Wenn


TTIP wird rhetorisch beerdigt - Mar, 30/08/2016 - 18:05

Vizekanzler Gabriel und Frankreichs Regierung gehen auf Distanz

Von REDAKTION, 30. August 2016

Nach den Bemerkungen von Vizekanzler Sigmar Gabriel steht die Zukunft des sogenannten Freihandelsabkommens TTIP zwischen der Europäischen Union und den USA in Frage. Gabriel hatte in einem Fernsehinterview das Abkommen für „de facto gescheitert“ erklärt. „Da bewegt sich nichts“, es gebe noch „keinen einzigen gemeinsamen Text“. Das Abkommen, das sehr viel mehr als nur den Freihandel von Waren und Dienstleistungen regeln soll, sollte ursprünglich bis Ende des Jahres beschlossen werden, damit es noch


Black Activists in Missouri Are Fighting to Preserve the Right to Vote

The Intercept - Engl. - Mar, 30/08/2016 - 16:38

Before she died six years ago, Rev. Cassandra Gould’s mother used to say that “everybody marched with Dr. King” but that she had been in Selma, Alabama, “before Dr. King got there.” As a 19-year-old from a nearby town, she would ask an older cousin to drive her to the city, where she registered voters, joined sit-ins, and marched. For the rest of her life, she carried a gash on her thigh, a reminder of the police officer who shot her on March 7, 1965, “Bloody Sunday,” the day that perhaps more than any other precipitated the passage of that year’s Voting Rights Act.

Gould and her siblings grew up faithful to their mother’s directive — “If you don’t do anything else, you vote” — but never experienced firsthand the ferocious racism of those days. Gould moved to St. Louis, Missouri — “Mississippi North,” as she only half-jokingly calls it — and became a reverend and activist. She quickly learned the subtle and insidious ways in which racism had survived and adapted in the aftermath of the civil rights era, but like many of her generation she remained relatively sheltered from racial violence.

Then, in August 2014, a few days after an unarmed black teenager was killed by a white police officer in nearby Ferguson, she found herself within feet of tanks, rows of police in riot gear, and the smell of tear gas. She wondered, “Is this what it was like for my mother?”

“Never in my life I thought I’d see something like that,” she told The Intercept during a recent interview. “That was the night that I thought, I am now living in my mother’s world, and why in the world am I living in that world when I thought that those who fought during that time fought so I wouldn’t have to?”

A mural depicting police violence during the 1965 Selma to Montgomery civil rights march. March 6, 2015, Selma, Alabama.

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Something else she never thought she’d be doing in 2016 was fighting to preserve the right to vote. Yet that’s exactly what she and dozens of other black activists have undertaken across the country, some for the second time in their lives, after a 2013 Supreme Court decision gutted a major provision of the Voting Rights Act. The elimination of that provision, which required nine states and many other localities with a history of racial discrimination to secure federal approval before changing election laws and procedures, sparked a series of measures across the country effectively restricting access to the polls with a disproportionate impact, once again, on black voters.

In Missouri, that resulted in renewed efforts to pass a voter ID law so restrictive that in 2006 the state’s supreme court found it violated the state constitution — which, unlike the U.S. Constitution, includes an affirmative right to vote. But instead of shelving the bill as unconstitutional, legislators moved to change the constitution itself, making Missouri the only state in the country that’s attempting to rewrite its supreme law in order to restrict access to the polls.

On November 8, Missourians will head to the polls to elect the president and a host of statewide officials in a deeply divided state. But this time, they will also be asked — in language that some have described as confusing — whether they want to amend their constitution to open the door to stricter voting laws. If passed, Amendment Six would give a second chance to HB 1631, which was vetoed earlier this summer by Gov. Jay Nixon after passing both state House and Senate. The proposed law aims to limit the forms of ID accepted at the polls to valid Missouri or federal IDs with photos and expiration dates — excluding currently accepted documents like college IDs, driver’s licenses from other states, expired IDs, voter registration cards, and utility bills. Voters without the required ID could sign a sworn statement affirming their identity and recognizing that such ID is “the law of the land” or they could cast a provisional ballot, not valid until they prove their identity.

A polling place on Nov. 4, 2014 near Ferguson, Missouri.

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

There are an estimated 220,000 registered voters in Missouri without a state ID, according to Secretary of State Jason Kander, and they are disproportionately African-American, elderly, disabled, and poor.

While the bill includes provisions requiring the state to cover the cost of the ID and any underlying documents necessary to get it, critics say it would pose an unreasonable and unnecessary burden on citizens who often don’t have the access to transportation or the means and time to chase paperwork from the DMV to the social security administration office or the division of vital records, even assuming the necessary documents are available. That quest can also be complicated by budget cuts and reduced operating hours: In Alabama, for instance, shortly after passing stricter photo ID requirements, state officials proceeded to close 30 DMV offices in mostly black counties — though most were later re-opened for one or two days a month.

Most commonly, obtaining a photo ID requires a certified birth certificate, which many black and elderly voters do not possess, especially if they were born in the South at a time when most African-Americans were not welcome in hospitals and gave birth at home, said Denise Lieberman, a senior attorney at the Advancement Project’s Voter Registration Program, who has led successful efforts to repeal North Carolina’s voter ID law and has fought Missouri’s version of that law for years. Obtaining post-dated birth certificates requires a half dozen other underlying documents, she noted, and any discrepancy in spelling or names can constitute a major roadblock, which especially affects women who changed their names through marriage or divorce, as well as minorities, mostly Latinos, with multiple first and last names.

Trying to obtain a photo ID without the right underlying documentation can be an “exercise in futility,” said Lieberman. “In a number of states, including Missouri, in order to get a copy of your birth certificate — get this — you have to present a photo ID!”

A man checks in to receive his ballot during Missouri primary voting at the Griffith Elementary School on March 15, 2016, in Ferguson, Missouri.

Photo: Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images

Ferguson Is Everywhere

In the summer of 2014, the Ferguson protests catapulted questions of institutional racism and inequality back into the national spotlight with a force not seen in decades, but as the movement reaffirming black lives sparked by the killing of Michael Brown expanded across the country and beyond policing issues, Missouri remained a hot spot as well as a state both symptomatic and foreboding of racial battles to come.

The state’s conservative politicians and residents responded to Ferguson by retreating into their entrenched rhetoric, while the street protests simmered down, leaving room for voter registration drives, packed town hall meetings, and long-disenfranchised black communities vigorously demanding a seat at the table in local politics. The state’s next battle will be fought at the voting booth, and this time, it will be about who will have access to it.

“It’s no coincidence,” said Lieberman, calling Missouri the “poster child for restrictive voting provisions.”

“What’s happening in Missouri is indicative of this struggle for racial justice and power across the country; it’s about race and it’s about power,” she said. “The reality of this country has been that we shut out communities of color, particularly African-Americans, and it’s no coincidence that just as that particular voting bloc is starting to see a surge in their ability to speak, you see measures precisely targeted at limiting the political voice of those particular communities.”

Anthony Shaheed at a get-out-the-vote rally at Greatest St. Mark’s Family Church on Nov. 3, 2014, in St. Louis, Missouri.

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Missouri state Sen. Will Kraus, a Republican and one of the main proponents of photo ID requirements, denied that stricter voting measures are tied to black Missourians’ growing political power, saying that he and others have been trying to pass the bill for over a decade and blaming the Ferguson protests on Gov. Nixon’s “failure to lead.”

“I think that it’s the democratic governor’s fault, the climate that we’re in right now,” he told The Intercept. Kraus said the estimate that 220,000 Missourians lack photo IDs is “grossly exaggerated. … I’d be shocked if it’s 10,000.” He also dismissed as “talking points” the criticism from voting rights advocates that the bill would disproportionately affect black and poor residents and said that most people in Missouri, across party lines, “don’t understand why this is a big deal.”

“How do they live in today’s society without a photo ID? How do they cash a check?” he said. “I have friends that are African-Americans, and trust me that most of them have IDs.”

Kraus, who recently lost his party’s primary for secretary of state, insists that photo IDs are necessary. “One of the most important things we can do is protect and safeguard our election process, when there are people out there trying to change the outcome of the election by voter registration fraud,” he said. “Right now, all it takes to vote in Missouri is a utility bill. You can go and say, I’m Bob Schmidt. You have to register before that, but when you go in, you don’t have to show who you are.”

“We’ve had a couple situations,” he added, citing the case of two relatives of a state representative who admitting to illegally claiming a Kansas City address to vote for their nephew. In 2012, he said, one woman showed up at the polls to learn that someone had already voted for her. And he claimed that in April 2015, 27 people registered to vote from city-owned apartments he personally canvassed and saw were vacant.

But critics say that restricting access to the polls over fraud concerns is a solution in search of a problem, and that claims of large-scale voter fraud have been thoroughly debunked: It just doesn’t happen anywhere near the level proponents of voting restrictions claim. Nationwide, voter fraud is vanishingly rare. Most election irregularities happen at the administrative level and are due to election officials’ errors — something that won’t change with stricter voter ID laws. “It’s a proxy for racism and a proxy for passing laws that target particular populations with potential political power because you don’t like what they have to say,” said Lieberman. “It’s manipulating the system for political gain.”

“You can certainly understand why folks who are in power and who have benefited historically from society’s disparities in power would be running scared at the thought of a more robust and democratic electorate,” she added.

Missouri primary voting at Johnson-Wabash Elementary School on March 15, 2016, in Ferguson, Missouri.

Photo: Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images

Freedom Summer ’16

Fifty-two years after the original Freedom Summer voter registration campaign in Mississippi, Gould and a number of other black activists held their own Freedom Summer ’16 campaign in Missouri, with the goal of educating voters about the threat posed by Amendment Six.

“As a daughter of the South, realizing that the same fight that my mother had more than 50 years ago is still my fight is sobering,” said Gould. “If we allow this to happen, then the writing is on the wall. It will only get worse; our constitutional rights will continue to get eroded.”

The challenge this summer has been to rally support against an amendment that even in Missouri remains relatively obscure to many, and to do so at a time when disillusion with the political system runs deep. “Many are not excited by the presidential election, and they say they plan to sit this one out,” said Gould. “I hate to say this, but even if you don’t vote for a president, show up at the polls and say … I’m not going to allow you to take that right.”

That can be a hard sell, as many working at the grassroots level in Missouri and beyond have learned. Jamala Rogers, an organizer with the St. Louis-based Organization for Black Struggle, said her group is trying to encourage people to vote as only one way to exert power, and an admittedly limited one. “You put someone in office, and then they screw you, then you wait four years and remove them, and the next person screws you,” she told The Intercept. “We have got to come up with some different way of doing things.”

Like Gould, Rogers’s group is channeling civil rights-era organizing models, relying on churches and door knocking to mobilize people. While she warns against viewing the vote as a catch-all solution, she’s encouraging people to keep showing up at the polls, and this year to protect their very right to vote. Ferguson — where at the time of Michael Brown’s death black residents “were 70 percent of the population with no elected officials that looked like them”— made clear that voting alone would not change things, Rogers noted. But while protest, organizing, and other ways to build political power all matter, voting shouldn’t be dismissed, especially as it comes under threat.

“I believe many young people have a better sense of urgency than some in my generation, yet many are apathetic about voting,” said Gould. “But voting, particularly in this election, in Missouri, is an act of resistance.”

Top photo: Eileen Woofford, 84, in line to vote at Cleveland Avenue Baptist Church on Nov. 6, 2012, in Kansas City, Missouri.

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"Fit for Partnership with Germany"

German Foreign Policy - Mar, 30/08/2016 - 00:00
(Eigener Bericht) - Die Bundesregierung intensiviert die Zusammenarbeit mit Turkmenistan, einem der - laut Menschenrechtsorganisationen - repressivsten Staaten der Welt. Dies ist das Ergebnis von Gesprächen, die Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel am gestrigen Montag mit dem turkmenischen Staatspräsidenten Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow führte. Demnach strebt Berlin die Lieferung turkmenischen Erdgases in die EU an, nach Möglichkeit unter Umgehung Russlands; weil eine Pipeline in Richtung Westen durch das Kaspische Meer derzeit aufgrund von Widerständen aus Moskau und Teheran wohl nicht gebaut werden kann, setzt Turkmenistan aktuell auf eine Röhre durch Afghanistan und Pakistan bis zum Indischen Ozean. Die Bundesregierung schlägt gemeinsame deutsch-turkmenische Entwicklungsprojekte in Afghanistan vor. Ergänzend zu den Erdgasvorhaben sollen in Turkmenistan auch neue Geschäftschancen für deutsche Firmen geschaffen werden. Dazu führt die bundeseigene Entwicklungsagentur GIZ seit Jahren Programme zur Fortbildung turkmenischer Manager durch. Die Regierung des Landes weigert sich bis heute, das Schicksal zahlreicher Gefangener aufzuklären, die schon vor Jahren spurlos "verschwanden".

Video: Dilma Rousseff’s Impeachment Trial Nears an End, Endangering Brazilian Democracy

The Intercept - Engl. - Lun, 29/08/2016 - 22:53

During the Olympics, Brazil’s “interim president,” Michel Temer, fearing boos, broke protocol by demanding that his name not be announced when he appeared at the opening ceremony (he was widely booed anyway) and then hid entirely by skipping the closing ceremony. By stark contrast, the nation’s actually elected president, Dilma Rousseff, chose to go to the Senate today to confront her accusers, as the gang of corrupt operatives and criminals constituting the Brazilian Senate moves to the end of its impeachment trial, with the virtually inevitable result that the twice-elected Dilma will be removed. It’s the embodiment of cowardice versus courage:

Young Dilma, facing her dictatorship accusers, who cowardly hid thr faces. She mentioned them in her #Brazil

— Angela Milanese (@AngelaMilanese) August 29, 2016

The most remarkable aspect of all of this — and what fundamentally distinguishes this process from impeachment in, say, the U.S. — is that Dilma’s removal results in the empowerment of a completely different party that was not elected to the presidency. In fact — as my Intercept Brasil colleagues João Filho and Breno Costa documented this week — Dilma’s removal is empowering exactly the right-wing party, PSDB, that has lost four straight national elections, including one to Dilma just 21 months ago. In some cases, the very same people from that party who ran for president and lost are now in control of the nation’s key ministries.

As a result, the unelected government now about to take power permanently is preparing a series of policies — from suspending Brazil’s remarkably successful anti-illiteracy program, privatizing national assets, and “changing” various social programs to abandoning its regional alliances in favor of returned subservience to the U.S. — that was never ratified by the Brazilian population and could never be. Whether you want to call this a “coup” or not, it is the antithesis of democracy, a direct assault on it.

As Dilma entered the Senate, I discussed all of this on Democracy Now this morning, which you can watch (with Portuguese subtitles) on the video above (the English transcript is here; I also discussed various aspects of the 2016 campaign, which can be seen here and here).

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VÍDEO: Impeachment de Dilma caminha para o fim e ameaça democracia brasileira

The Intercept - Engl. - Lun, 29/08/2016 - 22:52

Eu estive no Democracy Now esta manhã, falando sobre a excepcional situação que se desenrola hoje no Brasil; o vídeo (com legendas em português) pode ser visto acima.

Durante as Olimpíadas, o “presidente interino” Michel Temer, temendo vaias, quebrou o protocolo ao exigir que seu nome não fosse anunciado quando ele apareceu na Cerimônia de Abertura (ele foi intensamente vaiado de qualquer maneira) e depois se escondeu, não comparecendo à Cerimônia de Encerramento. Em amplo contraste, a presidente realmente eleita da nação, Dilma Rousseff, decidiu ir ao Senado hoje para confrontar seus acusadores, quando a gangue de corruptos e criminosos que constituem o Senado brasileiro encaminha o fim do julgamento do impeachment, com o resultado virtualmente inevitável de que a presidente duas vezes eleita Dilma seja removida do cargo. É a personificação da covardia x coragem:

Young Dilma, facing her dictatorship accusers, who cowardly hid thr faces. She mentioned them in her #Brazil

— Angela Milanese (@AngelaMilanese) August 29, 2016

O aspecto mais notório disso tudo – e o que distingue fundamentalmente o processo de um impeachment nos EUA, por exemplo – é que a remoção de Dilma leva ao poder um partido completamente diferente, que não foi eleito para a presidência. De fato – como documentado por meus colegas do The Intercept Brasil, João Filho e Breno Costa, esta semana –, a remoção de Dilma está empoderando exatamente o PSDB,  partido de direita que perdeu as últimas quatro eleições nacionais, incluindo a derrota para Dilma há 21 meses. Em alguns casos, as mesmas pessoas deste partido que concorreram e perderam estão agora no controle de ministérios chave do país.

Como resultado, o governo não eleito prestes a tomar permanentemente o poder está preparando uma série de medidas –  da suspensão do exitoso programa de combate ao analfabetismo, a privatização dos recursos nacionais e as “mudanças” de vários programas sociais ao abandono das alianças regionais em prol do retorno à subserviência aos EUA – que nunca foram ratificadas pela população brasileira e nunca seriam. Não importa se você chama de “golpe” ou não, isso é a antíteses da democracia, um atentado direto a ela.

Enquanto Dilma entrava no Senado, eu discuti o tema em entrevista ao Democracy Now, esta manhã, que você pode assistir (com legendas em português) no vídeo acima. Também falei sobre os vários aspectos da campanha de 2016 à presidência dos EUA, que podem ser conferidos aqui e aqui.

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The post VÍDEO: Impeachment de Dilma caminha para o fim e ameaça democracia brasileira appeared first on The Intercept.

DAKS-Newsletter August 2016 ist erschienen!

RIB/DAKS - Lun, 29/08/2016 - 21:56

Der Syrien-Krieg hat durch die Intervention der Türkei eine neue Eskalationsstufe erreicht. – Und Deutschland liefert seit Mitte August wieder Waffen an die Kurdische Kriegspartei. Diese Konstellation illustriert wie verfahren die Situation im Nahen und Mittleren Osten mittlerweile ist. Sie ist aber auch ein Beleg dafür, dass die deutsche Nahostpolitik und das deutsche Rüstungsexportkontrollregime vor einem Scherbenhaufen steht. Mehr dazu im neuen Newsletter.

Weitere Themen des DAKS-Newsletters: Portugal erwägt neue Kleinwaffen für seine Armee zu beschaffen – bei Heckler & Koch? Das BITS hat eine neue Studie über deutsche Rüstungsexporte erstellt und der Small Arms Survey hat eine Datenbank über Lagerbestände von Kleinen und Leichten Waffen angelegt.

Zum Weiterempfehlen: Wenn Sie den Kleinwaffen-Newsletter abonnieren wollen (als kostenlose E-Mail), senden Sie uns einfach eine Mail mit dem Stichwort „Kleinwaffen-Newsletter“.


DAKS-Newsletter August 2016

Die deutsche Nahost-Politik und die Türkei

Die Bundeswehr liefert wieder Waffen in den Nordirak. Ende August wurden nach einer mehrmonatigen Unterbrechung erstmals wieder Waffen in den Nordirak geliefert und der kurdischen Regierung übergeben. Neben vier Dingo-Spähpanzern gehörten zu den rund 70 Tonnen Material auch 1500 Schnellfeuergewehre G36 und 100 Milan-Panzerabwehrraketen. Die Lieferung traf pünktlich ein, um an die 1200 Peschmerga-Kämpfer übergeben zu werden, die von der Bundeswehr im Rahmen eines 10-wöchigen Kurses ausgebildet wurden. – Pünktlich zum Beginn der türkischen Operation „Schutzschild Euphrat“ wurde damit den kurdischen Kräften noch rasch Waffenhilfe in der Größe eines Bataillons zur Verfügung gestellt.

Die türkische Armee bekämpft die erneut in Nordsyrien vorgedrungenen Kräfte der kurdischen YPG. Die YPG, die in den vergangenen Monaten als Partner des Westens im Kampf gegen den IS betrachtet wurde, stellt sich der türkischen Armee derzeit noch entgegen und droht an, künftig nicht nur gegen den IS und Assad, sondern auch gegen die Türkei kämpfen zu wollen.

In diesem Zusammenhang kam es auf Seiten der türkischen Armee zu ersten Verlusten. Am 27. August starb bei einem Raketen-Angriff auf zwei türkische Panzer ein Soldat, ein weiterer wurde verletzt. Ob bei diesem Angriff Milan-Panzerabwehrraketen eingesetzt wurden, ist nicht bekannt.

Die türkische Intervention in Syrien wirft erneut ein Schlaglicht auf die große Kluft, die mittlerweile zwischen NATO-/EU-Staaten und der Türkei besteht. Durch die Intervention beweist die Türkei nicht nur die bleibende Einsatzfähigkeit ihrer Armee – obwohl diese durch die Verhaftungswelle im Nachgang des versuchten Militärputsches vom 15. Juli als geschwächt gilt –, sondern demonstriert auch ihren Willen, ohne Unterstützung durch die westlichen Verbündeten weltpolitisch aktiv zu werden. Und das auch mit militärischen Mitteln und auf die Gefahr hin, dadurch erklärte Verbündete der NATO im Kampf gegen den IS zu schwächen.

Von Seiten der deutschen Politik sind bisher kaum Reaktionen auf diese Entwicklung bekannt geworden. Zwar gibt sich Sigmar Gabriel nachdenklich, ob die unmittelbaren Reaktionen der Bundesregierung nicht zu zurückhaltend ausgefallen seien. In der Sache scheint für ihn aber klar zu sein, dass die Türkei mittelfristig keinen Platz in der EU hat und sich insofern keine Hoffnungen auf eine Anbindung an die westliche Staatengemeinschaft machen muss. Der Verteidigungspolitische Sprecher der SPD-Bundestagsfraktion, Rainer Arnold, fordert gleichzeitig einen Abzug der über Syrien eingesetzten Aufklärungs-Tornados der Bundeswehr aus der Türkei.

Am Flüchtlingsabkommen zwischen der Türkei und der EU möchte Deutschland gleichwohl dennoch festhalten. – Wie auch an den Waffenlieferungen für die Kurden. Welche Ratio hinter dieser Politik steht, ist nicht ersichtlich und nicht nachvollziehbar. Offensichtlich scheint nur, dass die Waffenlieferungen an die Kurden zur Eskalation in Syrien beigetragen haben und immer noch beitragen.

Kauft Portugals Armee neue Schusswaffen bei Heckler & Koch?

Die portugiesischen Streitkräfte planen, ihre Kleinwaffenbestände zu modernisieren. Dies berichtet Victor Barreira (Istanbul) für das britische Nachrichtenportal Jane´s. Standardgewehr beim Heer ist bis jetzt das G3-Gewehr von H&K, neben vielen anderen Waffen dieser deutschen Firma werden auch das HK416, HK417 und G36 eingesetzt, wie die Wikipedia dokumentiert. Produziert wurden das G3 und ebenso das HK21 im Lande selbst (Fábrica de Braço de Prata), ohne dass allerdings transparent ist, inwieweit die Oberndorfer Firma oder die US-Firma des H&K-Konzerns beteiligt sind. Auch für die Maschinenpistole MP5 hatte Portugal, noch zu Zeiten von Salazars Diktatur, eine Baulizenz erhalten.

Laut Jane´s handelt es sich um Ersetzungspläne für insgesamt mehr als 10.200 Waffen, geplant ist der Neuerwerb von Schnellfeuergewehren, leichten Maschinengewehren, Maschinenpistolen und Pistolen. Das gesamte Geschäft könnte sich auf über 80 Millionen Euro belaufen und die nächsten zehn Jahre abdecken. Nun stellt sich natürlich die Frage, welche der für eine solche Waffenproduktion geeigneten Waffenfirmen von den zuständigen Politikern und Militärs ausgewählt wird und auf welche Weise der Auswahlprozess verläuft. H&K hat mit dem G36 bereits ein Gewehr „im Rennen“, diese Waffe ist Teilen der portugiesischen Streitkräfte schon vertraut. Das damit verwandte HK416 mit dem „alten“, durchschlagskräftigeren Kaliber 7,62 x 51 mm NATO haben Portugals Militärs ebenfalls bereits in Verwendung. Allerdings kommen für die verschiedenen zu ersetzenden Waffentypen auch andere Schusswaffenhersteller in Frage, beispielsweise die belgische Firma FN Herstal (FN SCAR) und die US-amerikanische Firma Colt (M4-Karabiner). Zudem besteht – besonders was H&K betrifft – die Gefahr, dass wie im Falle von Saudi-Arabien und Mexiko zukünftig in Portugal eine Waffenproduktion von H&K-Waffen wie etwa dem G36 aufgebaut wird. Dies würde die Kontrolle des späteren Re-Exports noch einmal erschweren. Und natürlich ist immer zu fragen, wie mit den sogenannten Altwaffen umgegangen wird, d .h. ob sie verschrottet werden, ob sie im Lagerbestand des portugiesischen Militärs bleiben oder ob sie nicht eher ins Ausland verkauft oder an befreundete Nationen und Alliierte verschenkt werden.

Antworten auf diese Fragen könnten die Oppositionsparteien im Bundestag einfordern, aber auch jede Bürgerin und jeder Bürger kann sich mit entsprechenden Fragen an ihre oder seine Abgeordneten wenden. Sicher scheint soweit das: Für die H&K-Führung muss der portugiesische Modernisierungsplan verlockend sein, auch weil das nach dem medialen Aufsehen um das G36 angeschlagene Image mit einem aktuellen Verkauf eben dieses Gewehrs, des G36, oder auch der möglichen Nachfolgewaffe verbessert werden könnte. Immerhin handelt es sich bei Portugal um eine werbeträchtige NATO-Armee, nicht um einen der vielen scheindemokratischen oder didaktorischen Kunden von H&K… Mit den jahrelangen Geschäftsbeziehungen hat Heckler & Koch durchaus Chancen, diesen Waffendeal mit Portugal für sich zu gewinnen. Das würde H&K-Waffen in portugiesischen Händen in die kommenden Konflikte und die „Terrorbekämpfung“ tragen – aber zum Beispiel das G36-Gewehr würde damit eben auch in den Händen all derer landen, denen Portugal Waffen verkaufen würde. Wer immer das sein mag.

BITS: neue Artikel zu Rüstungsexporten aus Deutschland

Vom Berliner Informationszentrum für Transatlantische Sicherheit (BITS) gibt es drei neue Artikel zum Thema Rüstungsexporte.

In einem Interview, das Dirk Müller für den Deutschlandfunk mit Otfried Nassauer geführt hat, kritisiert der Direktor des BITS, wie das Bundeswirtschaftsministerium unter Sigmar Gabriels Leitung mit Rüstungsexporten umgegangen sei. Nassauer bemängelt, dass der Bundeswirtschaftsminister in den beiden Jahren, in denen er für die Rüstungsexporte verantwortlich gewesen sei, eine Milliarde mehr als die schwarz-gelbe Vorgängerregierung in ihren letzten Jahren genehmigt habe. Das Interview mit der Überschrift „Gabriel hätte versuchen können, Waffenlieferungen zu stoppen“ behandelt unter anderem Panzerlieferungen an Katar sowie die Entscheidungsmechanismen zwischen den beteiligten Ministerien.

In dem Artikel „Dual-Use-Güter-Export: Die EU zieht die Zügel an“ informiert Nassauer über eine Initiative der Europäischen Kommission, mit der die Ausfuhr zivil und militärisch verwendbarer Güter stringenter und europaweit einheitlicher geregelt werden soll. Es geht bei dem Entwurf, dem noch vom Europaparlament und Europarat zugestimmt werden muss, vor allem um Überwachungstechnologien für elektronische Kommunikation. Zudem wird der Personenkreis definiert, der im Exportfall gesetzlich verantwortlich ist, etwa Exporteure, Makler und technische Dienstleister. Nassauer sieht „das Bemühen, erkannte Schlupflöcher im Exportrecht zu schließen und zudem durch einen jährlichen Bericht der Kommission an das Europaparlament Transparenz zu schaffen“.

Ein weiter Text befasst sich unter der Überschrift „Singapur: Rüstungsexport verpflichtet“ mit Truppenübungen, die Singapurs Militär mit Leopard-2-Panzern im niedersächsischen Bergen (bei Munster) seit acht Jahren durchführt. Bei der „Panzer Strike“ betitelten Übung können die „Gäste“ aus dem Stadtstaat auf längere Distanzen schießen als in ihrem Heimatland. Nassauer weist darauf hin, dass diese Ausbildungskooperation aufgrund von vorangegangenen Exporten von Kampfpanzern und dazugehörigem Großgerät (etwa von Brückenlegefahrzeugen) möglich wurde.

Small Arms Survey: Transparenz-Studie und Lagerbestände-Website

Der in Genf ansässige Small Arms Survey hat eine Studie zum aktuellen Stand von Kleinwaffenexporten veröffentlicht. Die ca. 44 Seiten starke Studie „Trade Update 2016: Transfers and Transparency“ (plus ca. 40 Seiten Anhang und Eigenwerbung) von der Kriminologin Dr. Irene Pavesi (Milan) befasst sich mit den wichtigsten Exporteuren im Untersuchungsjahr 2013 und bespricht neueste Entwicklungen im Bereich Kleinwaffenexport. Betrachtet werden neben militärischen Schusswaffen u. a. auch Sportwaffen, Munition und Teile für Waffen. Außerdem enthält diese Publikation das „Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer 2016“, mit dem bewertet wird, wie viel Transparenz die jeweiligen Staaten bei Kleinwaffenausfuhren zulassen. Die Studie kann beim SAS heruntergeladen werden, bei den Vereinten Nationen gibt es die Pressekonferenz zur Publikation zu sehen.

Zu den Haupterkenntnissen der Studie:

Lieferungen im Wert von 5,8 Milliarden US-Dollar haben die „top and major actors“, also die wichtigsten Exportstaaten, im Jahr 2013 getätigt – wobei gleich dazu gesagt werden muss, dass man sich die Datenerhebung für diese Studie genau anschauen muss. Es ist beinah schon eine Binsenweisheit und muss doch immer wieder angemerkt werden, dass Staaten die von „ihren“ Firmen oder gar von ihnen selbst exportierten Waffen nicht dokumentieren (können bzw. wollen), schon gar nicht für Außenstehende. Dies wird in der Studie auch in einer Vorbemerkung deutlich gemacht – als Grundlage der Untersuchung wird die für die Staaten freiwillige Übermittlung an die Datensammlung des UN Comtrade angegeben. Dann kommt jedoch die Frage auf, welchen Erkenntniswert die vorgelegten Zahlen haben oder ob sie die LeserInnen nicht eher in die Irre führen.

Was die Rangfolge der bedeutendsten Kleinwaffenexportstaaten angeht, ist nicht überraschend, dass Deutschland auf Platz 3 steht, nach den USA und Italien, vor Brasilien, Österreich, Südkorea, der Türkei, Russland, Tschechien, Israel, Belgien, Kroatien, China, der Schweiz, Japan und Spanien. Besonders im Fall von China (und evtl. auch Russland) sind Zweifel angebracht, wie die Daten erhoben wurden bzw. wie gültig sie sind. Insgesamt aber könnte sich diese Rangfolge bis heute so gehalten haben, Frankreich könnte man „vermissen“, Japan ist angesichts seiner angeblich pazifistischen Verfassung hier eigentlich nicht zu erwarten (aber der Politikwechsel von Premierminister Abe wirkt).

Beim Ranking der wichtigsten Importeure steht Deutschland ebenfalls auf Platz 3, nach den USA und Kanada, vor den Vereinigten Arabischen Emiraten, Saudi-Arabien, Frankreich und Norwegen. Anmerken sollte man, dass es durchaus einen Unterschied macht, ob ein nicht von inneren Unruhen oder kriegsähnlichen Zuständen betroffenes Land wie Norwegen Kriegsgüter importiert oder ob ein Land wie etwa der Südsudan, Mexiko oder die Philippinen dies tun, denn in einer entsprechenden Krisensituation können sich Lieferungen bereits geringer Mengen Waffen katastrophal auswirken, während es in anderen Ländern, beispielsweise Kanada, keinen Unterschied macht, wenn große Mengen eingeführt werden. Die Kategorie „Top Importer“ muss in der Analyse daher mit Vorsicht benutzt werden.

Deutschland steht (was die Top Exporter angeht) auf dem „Transparency Barometer“ an erster Stelle, vor Großbritannien und den Niederlanden. Das mag der Merkel-Regierung eine Freude sein, aber es ist eben kein Beweis einer tatsächlich transparenten Politik. Die Mängel sind eklatant: Der geheim tagende Bundessicherheitsrat ist weiterhin ein undemokratisches und damit auch intransparentes Gremium, mit dem das Bundeskabinett Exportpolitik betreibt. Die weiterhin zu spät und gelinde gesagt „lückenhaft“ erscheinenden Rüstungsexportberichte der Bundesregierung, die noch dazu mit dem Hinweis auf den Vorrang des Geschäftsgeheimnisses alle genaueren Anfragen abweisen und ohnehin nur die Genehmigungen und nicht die tatsächlich durchgeführten Exporte dokumentieren, können nicht das Soll einer die Öffentlichkeit sinnvoll und für die politische Diskussion effektiv beteiligenden Informationspolitik sein. Zudem hat die Bundesregierung mit den aktuell beim größten deutschen und europäischen Schusswaffenhersteller Heckler & Koch im Raum stehenden juristischen Ermittlungen wegen illegaler Lieferungen nach Mexiko (und von SIG Sauer nach Kolumbien), bei denen die Staatsanwaltschaft sich nach einfach zu vielen Jahren anschickt, endlich Anklage zu erheben, wirklich kein Glanzstück an Transparenz vorgelegt. Wie Dr. Pavesi zu dieser Einschätzung kommt, fragt man sich zu recht.

Nicht erstaunlich ist dagegen, dass Saudi-Arabien, also eines der Hauptempfängerländer deutscher Kleinwaffenlieferungen, in der Rangfolge der am wenigsten transparenten Importstaaten steht, nach dem Iran und Nordkorea, vor den Vereinigten Arabischen Emiraten. Auch hier wäre zu fragen, warum es im Jahr 2011 erst journalistischer Aufdeckungsarbeit bedurfte (siehe u. a. Thomas Wiegolds Arbeit zu Kampfpanzerexporten nach Saudi-Arabien), um die Debatte über einen solch sensiblen Rüstungsdeal wirklich offen und demokratisch zu führen. Sieht Transparenz anders aus?

Einen neuen Service für Staaten und ähnliche Akteure, die Lagerbestände an Waffen zu verwalten haben, bietet der Small Arms Survey auf einer eigens gestalteten Internetseite mit dem Titel „New Global Partnership on Small Arms“ an. In Verbindung mit dem „UN Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons“ sollen durch Informations- und Erfahrungsaustausch die „gemeinsamen Ziele“, u. a. die Verhinderung illegalen Waffenhandels, leichter erreicht werden. (Es wollen allerdings nicht alle Staaten illegalen Waffenhandel unterbinden, auch nicht alle europäischen.) Gefördert wird dieses Projekt mit Mitteln des deutschen Außenministeriums. Fallstudien zu bestimmten Ländern (bis jetzt zu Honduras, Niger, Somalia und der Ukraine) sollen durchgeführt werden. Man darf gespannt sein, welche Regierungen hier welche Informationen zu ihren Kleinwaffenproblemen transparent austauschen wollen. Und welche nicht.

Angstkunden“ in Deutschland: Waffen in BürgerInnen-Hand?

Von „Angstkunden“ berichtet der Besitzer eines Waffengeschäfts in einem Bericht, der bereits im vergangenen Dezember von der ZEIT veröffentlicht wurde (Autor: Anant Agarwala). In dem Artikel werden KundInnen beschrieben, die aus Angst vor angeblicher Gewalt durch Menschen, die hier ganz pauschal als Flüchtlinge und Asylanten beschrieben werden, in einen Waffenladen gehen und nach Schusswaffen fragen. Der Text ist zum Teil tatsächlich unterhaltsam, wenn es darum geht, dass den „besorgten“ BürgerInnen gar nicht klar ist, dass sie sich keine vollautomatischen Waffen kaufen dürfen. Doch im Grunde macht Agarwala noch einmal deutlich, wie nah die Menschen hierzulande an der Selbstjustiz wandeln, wenn auch oft nur gedanklich. Dass es nicht dieselben Menschen sind, die regelmäßig und in terroristischer Weise Häuser für Flüchtlinge und ImmigrantInnen anzünden oder Menschen attackieren, ist zwar wahrscheinlich, aber ebenso sehr gut möglich ist, dass eben diese KundInnen im Stillen applaudieren, wenn solche rassistischen Verbrechen begangen werden.

Nun ist es nicht gerade sinnvoll, mit einem Waffenverkäufer mitzufühlen, auch wenn der hier dargestellte Christoph Küttner sich als Jagd-Experte sieht und nicht als Waffen-Narr, dennoch ist der Bericht informativ, weil man einen Einblick in die momentane Situation in Deutschland erhält. Essen liegt nicht im so oft als rechts beschimpften„Osten“, doch auch hier scheint es genug Menschen zu geben, die sich am Gewaltmonopol des Staates vorbei „schützen“ wollen – vor was, das können sie wohl selbst nicht genau sagen, aber wie in dem Artikel ein Kunde wohl unfreiwillig erklärt: „Die Gerüchteküche in der Nachbarschaft brodelt.“ Klingt nach Verfolgungswahn, wenn nicht nach Vorsatz oder sogar Korpsgeist.

Mit dem Bundesvorsitzenden der Deutschen Polizeigewerkschaft Rainer Wendt kann man nicht jederzeit einer Meinung sein, doch seiner Reaktion auf die wiederholt von CDU-Seite gestellte Forderung nach Militäreinsätzen im Inneren (als ob außerhalb keine Menschen mit Menschenrechten leben), ist durchaus zuzustimmen: „Das Signal ist verheerend: Schon beim ersten gelungenen Anschlag setzen wir das Wertvollste außer Kraft, was unsere Gesellschaftsordnung zu bieten hat, unser Grundgesetz. Die Frauen und Männer, die unsere Verfassung gemacht haben, wussten genau, warum sie enge Grenzen für den Streitkräfteeinsatz im Landesinnern setzen. Diese Grenzen durch ein ‚Weißbuch der Bundeswehr‘ außer Kraft setzen zu wollen, ist nichts anderes als vorsätzlicher Bruch der Verfassung.“ So weit richtig beobachtet, nun müsste noch der Hinweis folgen, dass Waffenexporte und Kriegseinsätze ebenso nicht im Sinne des Grundgesetzes sein können, aber (im Falle der Rüstungsexporte) von allen Regierungen betrieben wurden (im Falle der Kriegseinsätze ab der Regierung Kohl scheibchenweise vorbereitet, von Rot-Grün dann gestartet und von Angela Merkel und ihren SPD-KollegInnen skrupellos fortgeführt). Und: Ein Verbot des Angriffskriegs gibt es im Grundgesetz schon, ein Verbot von Rüstungsexporten muss folgen!

Und auch mit den Aussagen dieses Mannes, Ingo Meinhard, zurzeit Geschäftsführer des Verbands Deutscher Büchsenmacher und Waffenfachhändler e.V. (VDB) mit Sitz in Marburg (bereits 1949 gegründet!), muss man sonst vorsichtig sein: Er wird in dem ZEIT-Artikel mit der sachlich klingenden, aber in Wirklichkeit alarmierenden Aussage zitiert, dass die Absätze bei den [von Meinhard fachsprachlich korrekt, aber dennoch verharmlosend als legal beschriebenen] Abwehrmitteln mehr als doppelt so hoch wie im letzten Winter liegen. Für die Produzenten von Schreckschusswaffen (die, wie gesagt, ihren Namen aufgrund der doch bestehenden Verletzungsgefahr zu Unrecht tragen und zu Unrechtstaten eingesetzt werden können) und für die Hersteller von Pfeffersprays und CS-Gas mag das ein Grund zur Freude sein, doch für wen sonst?

Bleibt nur anzumerken, dass das derzeit so viel diskutierte Darknet denjenigen, die sich dort auskennen, Möglichkeiten bietet, sich Schusswaffen zu beschaffen. Doch die meisten Taten werden eben mit Waffen begangen, die man sich ziemlich einfach legal beschaffen kann, etwa von „Sportschützen“. Vielleicht nicht bei Christoph Küttner, aber eventuell bei einem seiner Kollegen oder KollegInnen. Und eine einzige Kleinwaffe reicht für ein Massaker (das Wort hat durch die mediale Über-Information fast schon seinen Schrecken verloren, aber es geht um Massentötungen), wenn man denn genug Munition hat, das haben die Schulmassaker und andere Amokläufe und Terroranschläge gezeigt. Fazit: Keine Waffen herstellen! Keine bereits vorhandenen Waffen exportieren! Frieden entsteht nicht durch noch mehr Gewaltmittel und Gewaltbereite, im Gegenteil.

VW bereitet Stadtkämmerern Kummer - Lun, 29/08/2016 - 21:03

Kitas und Parkhäuser werden teurer wegen Einbruch bei Gewerbesteuer –

Von REDAKTION, 29. August 2016 –

Die Abgasaffäre bei Volkswagen hat in den Produktionsstandorten des Autobauers massive Auswirkungen auf die städtischen Finanzen. Die betroffenen Kommunen müssen nun sparen oder Einnahmen erhöhen. Besonders schwer zu spüren bekommt das naturgemäß der Volkswagen-Hauptsitz Wolfsburg. Aber auch in anderen Städten werden nun kommunale Steuern (wo das möglich ist) und Abgaben erhöht – von Kita- bis Friedhofsgebühren.

Die Abgasaffäre bei den Dieselfahrzeugen brach im September 2015 mit der Mitteilung der US-Umweltbehörde aus, dass Volkswagen systematisch Abgaswerte über eine eingebaute Software manipuliert. In Folge dessen kamen auf Volkswagen nicht


Boron: US-Militärbasen in Lateinamerika greifen Souveränität der Völker an

No to NATO - Lun, 29/08/2016 - 20:51
Lima. Der argentinische Soziologe und Politologe Atilio Boron hat in Peru zu einer regionalen Kampagne für die Abschaffung der US-amerikanischen Militärbasen in Lateinamerika aufgerufen. Von amerika21

Maine’s “Instant Runoff” Proposal Could Banish Its Governor From State Politics

The Intercept - Engl. - Lun, 29/08/2016 - 19:27

Maine’s colorful governor, Republican Paul LePage, has once again grabbed headlines — this time for leaving a profanity-laced voicemail for an opposition lawmaker and then declaring that the “overwhelming majority” of Maine’s “enemy” are “people of color.”

LePage’s antics have left many people outside Maine wondering how the bland, sensible state ever elected him. The answer’s straightforward: LePage has never needed a majority of Maine’s votes to win. Maine has a standard first-past-the-post voting system plus a strong tradition of third parties and politicians running as independents. With multiple candidates running against LePage during his two races for governor, he was able to squeak into office both times with just a plurality of votes.

In 2010, LePage was elected with just 37.6 percent of the vote. In 2014, he received 48.2 percent of the vote. In each election, a combination of independent and Democratic Party candidates received the majority of the votes.

But everything about Maine politics may change this November. Partly in reaction to LePage’s victories, activists have put Question 5 on the ballot, an initiative that would create what is called a “ranked choice” or “instant runoff” voting system for all state-level races. If Maine votes yes on Question 5, it would mean that no one could be elected to state-level office in Maine — meaning governor, U.S. senator and representative, and state senator and representative — without the support of a majority of voters.

Here’s how the ranked choice system works:

• Voters do not choose just one candidate for each office. Instead, they rank everyone running, from their top preference to their lowest.

• If a candidate gets a majority of first-choice votes, he or she wins.

• If no one receives a majority of first-choice votes, the candidate who received the fewest first-choice votes is removed from the contest. Then all of that candidate’s second-choice votes are distributed among candidates remaining in the process.

• If one of the remaining candidates get a majority of votes, he or she wins. If not, the candidate with the fewest votes is again eliminated, and the process continues until someone does have a majority.

In 2014, the city of Minneapolis used this system. Watch the video below, put together by Minneapolis Public Radio, explaining how it works:

One of the main attractions of ranked choice voting is that it allows candidates from third parties to run in elections without acting as spoilers for a voters’ second choice candidate.

“It’s time for a better election system. It’s time for ranked choice voting,” Maine Democratic Rep. Diane Russell wrote prior to the 2014 election. “You can actively champion your favorite person without ensuring the electorate’s least-favorite candidate wins.”

At least 10 U.S. cities currently use ranked choice voting, as well as some locations overseas, including London.

In London’s recent mayoral election, the Labor Party candidate Sadiq Khan and Conservative Zac Goldsmith came in first and second, respectively, but neither received a majority of first-preference votes in a twelve-candidate field. The Green Party candidate, whose voters were far likelier to prefer Khan to Goldsmith, came in third. Thanks to the ranking system, once second-choice preferences were accounted for, Khan was elected mayor with a majority of votes – even as voters had been able to seriously consider smaller parties without worrying that their vote would be wasted or would help elect the candidate they liked least.

Opponents of Question 5 have argued that the system’s complexity would be “confusing and difficult” for voters, as Maine Republican State Rep. Heather Sirocki argued in an op-ed last March. Indeed, the system does require involve a longer process that requires more complex decision-making.

When San Francisco adopted the system, some voters were simply putting the same candidate as their first, second, and third choice. If Question 5 does pass, it would be up to Maine’s government to properly inform voters about how to utilize the new system, so that they can take full advantage of the benefits it provides.

Maine governors can serve a maximum of two consecutive terms, so LePage cannot run again in 2018. However, he has floated the idea of running for the Senate instead that year. He could also sit out four years and run for governor again in 2022. But if Question 5 passes this fall, what he won’t be able to do is win an election simply by appealing to a fervent minority.

Top photo: Gov. Paul LePage after winning a second term, Nov. 4, 2014, in Lewiston, Maine.

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Dilma falou para a História, mas a História a engoliu

The Intercept - Engl. - Lun, 29/08/2016 - 18:59

Nas pouco valorizadas galerias do Senado, um local onde ninguém jamais imaginou que ele estaria algum dia na sua carreira política, o ex-presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva passava a mão pelo bigode com expressão séria. Ao seu lado, estava Chico Buarque. Em comum entre os dois, a maestria no uso das palavras. Tive a oportunidade de acompanhar presencialmente uma série de discursos de Lula, e ele certamente faria melhor que Dilma Rousseff, à frente dele, na prestigiosa tribuna do Senado Federal.

Dilma buscou falar para a História. Certamente conseguiu. Seu discurso estará na íntegra amanhã em todos os jornais e eternizado no Youtube. Em breve, estará em destaque, com edição emocional, nos documentários que estão sendo gravados sobre esse processo de impeachment.

Presidente interino Michel Temer

Foto: Antônio Cruz/Agência Brasil

Mas a História, essa com H maiúsculo, é complexa.

A presidente foi ao Senado hoje bem menos ingênua do que era quando, apesar do aprendizado forçado de todas as torturas e dissabores enfrentados na ditadura militar, aceitou ter Michel Temer, o grande cacique do PMDB, como seu vice nas eleições de 2010.

Ali, Dilma, novata em eleições, mas experiente na máquina pública, começou a ceder. Pode não ter percebido totalmente, mas estava começando a jogar as regras do jogo, em que é essencial ter apoio parlamentar e tempo de televisão numa disputa presidencial. E as regras não foram decididas por ela, nem por Temer, nem por Lula. As regras vêm de longe. A política do toma-lá-dá-cá impera no Brasil há tempos. Dilma acabou sendo engolida por essa política que a fez ser, por cinco anos e meio, presidente de 200 milhões de brasileiros, a primeira mulher a ocupar esse cargo.

Hoje, em seu discurso, em um dos momentos mais fortes de um texto que, em sua maior parte, repetiu ideias já declaradas em entrevistas, ela fez referência justamente a essa cláusula pétrea do jogo político do país, incapaz de ser alterada por qualquer reforma política – até porque quem faz a reforma são os que jogam e crescem com essas regras. Disse a presidente aos seus julgadores no Senado:

“Se eu tivesse me acumpliciado com a improbidade, com o que há de pior na política brasileira, como muitos até hoje parecem não ter o menor pudor em fazê-lo, eu não correria o risco de ser condenada injustamente. Quem se acumplicia ao imoral e ao ilícito não tem respeitabilidade para governar o país”.

A afirmação é formalmente correta, mas não se pode negar que Dilma – e também Lula, claro – chegou à Presidência por ter se aliado a esses mesmos atores. Eduardo Cunha era um defensor do governo dela e de Lula, até que teve seus interesses contrariados. Renan Calheiros, idem. Romero Jucá liderou todos os governos. Fernando Collor até hoje é visto como alguém em quem se confiar. Kátia Abreu, rainha do agronegócio e detratora das regras ambientais mais rígidas, virou amiga pessoal de Dilma.

A presidente também afirmou aos senadores que, “se alguns rasgam o seu passado e negociam as benesses do presente, que respondam perante a sua consciência e perante a história pelos atos que praticam”.

Kátia Abreu, ex-inimiga política de Dilma, apoia presidente afastada em discurso no Senado nesta segunda-feira, 29 de agosto.

Foto: Valter Campanato/Agência Brasil

Ao ceder ministérios para partidos A, B e C, Dilma negociou benesses. Claro que não em forma de propina, mas como moeda de troca para apoio parlamentar. A presidente só desistiu desse caminho depois de o barco ter naufragado. Ele estava cheio de ratos, e Dilma sabia disso. Aceitou o risco, achando, quem sabe, que seria capaz de espantar todos. Não deu. Os ratos tomaram conta do barco.

Um discurso bem maior para a história teria sido numa renúncia diante de um inconformismo com as regras do jogo que acabaram dominando seu governo – e que foram jogadas livre a abertamente por muitos dos que hoje defendem a presidente no Senado. Dilma está muito perto da aposentadoria. Olhando daqui posso garantir que ela será, no seu exílio em Porto Alegre, bem mais feliz do que foi tendo que absorver a dura realidade de que ser totalmente correta é impossível na política brasileira quando se está em altos cargos.

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Os novos donos do trono no reino da hipocrisia

The Intercept - Engl. - Lun, 29/08/2016 - 13:51

É um engano achar que haverá alguma mudança no Brasil com a quase confirmada queda de Dilma Rousseff. Uma alegoria suficiente para explicar o que acontece no país precisa ir além da velha história do bode na sala. Tira-se o bicho, mas o cheiro fica. Aqui na nossa política, a sala está é lotada de bodes (e raposas). Tira-se um, e ficam outros, muitos outros.

Remover Dilma do poder em razão de irregularidades orçamentárias significaria – em um país onde “as instituições estão funcionando”, como tentou nos ensinar o coerente ministro Gilmar Mendes – que prefeitos, governadores, ministros, deputados e senadores não durariam uma semana no cargo a partir do primeiro recebimento de propina para direcionar contratos executados com dinheiro do… orçamento público.

O afastamento de Dilma é político, claramente político. Mas política não é crime. Então, me corrijo para dizer que o afastamento é oportunista. Mais que isso, é hipócrita. Não existe discurso técnico que convença alguém minimamente bem informado que ela merecia ser deposta do cargo para o qual foi eleita em sufrágio universal por conta de manobras orçamentárias que não resultaram em um único centavo desviado para o seu bolso – e isso num país onde pululam corruptos de fato.

A República brasileira está cheia daqueles bodes e raposas, de todas as cores e pelagens, que, aí sim, colocaram muito dinheiro público no bolso. Boa parte deles, ou ao menos aqueles com os bolsos mais valorizados, está agora no Senado, apontando o dedo para a irresponsável fiscal Dilma Rousseff. Dos 59 que ali estão e que votaram a favor do impeachment na última sessão do Senado, 24 já foram governadores ou prefeitos e, portanto, tiveram de lidar com o orçamento e suas regras.

Proponho o seguinte exercício: leia os pareceres de auditores fiscais dos tribunais de conta estaduais sobre as contas desses ex-governadores e conte quantas e quais ressalvas são feitas para se aprovar essas gestões.

Um exemplo. O ano de 2010, em Minas Gerais, foi curioso pelo fato de ter dois governadores: Aécio Neves e seu vice, Antonio Anastasia, que assumiu o posto depois de o mineiro ter saído para concorrer ao Senado. Os dois, hoje, estão na linha de frente da oposição a Dilma e estarão sentados de frente para ela na segunda-feira. Anastasia inclusive presidiu a comissão especial do impeachment, apresentando longo parecer condenatório. Aécio aspira ao Palácio do Planalto desde que começou sua carreira política.

Convido você a ler o parecer dos auditores do Tribunal de Contas do Estado, órgão formado majoritariamente por ex-deputados e sempre muito favorável aos governadores de ocasião. O documento mostra que, repetindo procedimentos adotados em anos anteriores e que já tinham sido objeto de ressalvas, o governo Aécio-Anastasia incluiu naquele ano, como despesas em saúde, R$ 816 milhões em gastos feitos com saneamento básico pela Copasa (a empresa de saneamento do governo de Minas Gerais). Essa manobra ajudou a maquiar, segundo os auditores, a aplicação de 12% na área, exigidos pela Constituição Federal – cujas regras são sempre bradadas para apontar os erros de Dilma.

Embora os auditores e os conselheiros do TCE tenham considerado que a falha não foi grave, no fim daquele ano, a Procuradoria da República em MG entrou com uma ação por improbidade administrativa contra os dois hoje senadores pela não aplicação de R$ 14 bilhões na saúde ao longo de dez anos. Ela foi arquivada logo de início porque o procurador-geral de Minas Gerais, indicado ao cargo por Aécio Neves, não autorizou os procuradores a investigar o ex-governador.

Aécio e Anastasia alegaram que quase todos os Estados fazem a mesma coisa. Pois bem. Dilma hoje também argumenta, com razão, que as pedaladas fiscais são feitas por todo mundo – foi feita até por Michel Temer, como vice. A diferença prática é que ela está prestes a ser deposta da presidência do Brasil, enquanto eles posam no Senado de responsáveis fiscais e adoradores da Constituição.

Brazil's Senate met Monday to form a committee that will consider whether to impeach Rousseff, who has accused her opponents of mounting a constitutional coup. She is accused of illegal government accounting maneuvers, but says she has not committed an impeachment-worthy crime. The Senate committee -- comprising 21 of the 81 senators -- was to debate Rousseff's fate for up to 10 working days before making a recommendation to the full upper house.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
/ AFP / EVARISTO SA (Photo credit should read EVARISTO SA/AFP/Getty Images)" />

Senador Aecio Neves (direita) ao lado do senator Antonio Anastasia, ambos do PSDB, numa sessão de comitê, dia 25 de abril de 2016, sobre o impeachment da Presidente Dilma Rousseff.

Foto: Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images

O que muda, afinal?

Michel Temer, tudo indica, receberá oficialmente a faixa presidencial na semana que vem e circulará com menos constrangimento entre chefes de Estado de países que olham para cá com uma visão mais crítica sobre o processo que está acontecendo. Mas e aí? Muda o quê? E se ainda fosse  Dilma ou Lula, o que seria diferente?

A política segue sendo feita da mesma forma. O fisiologismo impera. A necessidade de agradar aliados é explícita. Existe uma expectativa silenciosa entre parlamentares e outros políticos, ou às vezes nem tanto, de que a confirmação de Temer no poder representará a abertura das comportas para a repartição de cargos na República para os padrinhos mais poderosos.

Para dar apenas um exemplo da racionalização de fachada da máquina pública sob Temer: o governo interino logo mandou modificar o sistema de cargos nos ministérios, além de enxugar o número de pastas. Mandou para o Congresso uma medida provisória pegando 10,5 mil cargos de livre nomeação no governo federal e restringindo-os apenas a funcionários públicos. No entanto, a medida não atinge os cargos de segundo e terceiro escalão, que seguem livres para serem loteados entre aliados.

Para poupar vocês, vou citar um exemplo somente desse falso choque de meritocracia. Temer colocou o Incra, o órgão central do governo para promover a distribuição de terra no país para quem dela precisa, sob controle político do deputado Paulo Pereira da Silva, um sindicalista urbano, chefe da principal central sindical que apoia o novo governo e acusado de corrupção.

Paulinho da Força, com esse poder extraoficial em mãos, emplacou sem dificuldades ninguém menos que seu filho no comando do Incra em São Paulo, responsável pelas negociações envolvendo a sempre complicada região do Pontal do Paranapanema. Vamos supor aqui que Lula ou Dilma tivesse dado esse poder sobre o Incra para o presidente da CUT e que ele, por sua vez, tivesse colocado seu filho no posto. Eu perderia a conta de reportagens na imprensa nacional sobre o tema – e com razão, diga-se.

Brasília – Deputado Paulo Pereira da Silva, o Paulinho da Força fala à imprensa no Palácio do Planalto após segunda rodada de reuniões do governo com representantes de centrais sindicais

Foto: Valter Campanato/Agência Brasil

Sai o social, entra o empresarial

Por mais que seja incômodo falar o óbvio, vamos lá: Michel Temer e toda a cúpula – repito, toda – do PMDB é formada por pessoas despreocupadas com os pobres, com a desigualdade social do país, se os negros morrem mais que os brancos, se a polícia executa e depois diz que é confronto, se os direitos das mulheres são desrespeitados diuturnamente. Para não cravar que todos são corruptos, apesar de já terem surgidos indícios fortes contra todos eles, digo que todos são políticos profissionais – e, por serem profissionais e não ligarem muito para valores mais altruístas socialmente falando, estão prontos para fazer o que for preciso para seguirem se destacando em suas carreiras.

O alto poder político brasileiro é moldado dessa maneira. Ou se age diretamente, ou se fecham os olhos. Dilma mesmo fechou os olhos para muita coisa. Lula, então, nem se fala. É um mal do sistema. Para chegar ao topo e se manter lá, é preciso deixar as engrenagens da máquina operarem.

Podem dizer, “Ah, mas o Temer era vice da Dilma. Ele também não vale nada, porque era associado com o PT. Fora Temer também!”. Ok, é um argumento. Mas ele não resiste muito ao fato de que, agora, o partido central de oposição no país desde 2003 – e que se coloca como alternativa responsável de poder e que passou, estranhamente, a empunhar a bandeira da ética desde o escândalo do mensalão –, passou a ser um associado direto do projeto de Michel Temer.

O representante formal do governo no Senado é do PSDB. O chefe da política externa brasileira é do PSDB. O ministro responsável pela execução do programa Minha Casa, Minha Vida e de obras de saneamento país afora é do PSDB. Os tucanos são sócios de Temer. Eles não apoiam o Fora Temer. Eles desconsideram as pedaladas assinadas pelo aliado. Eles querem Temer no poder até 2018, pavimentando um caminho que permita ao partido ter realizações de alcance nacional para mostrar aos eleitores, em 2018, e levar alguém do partido de volta ao poder depois de 16 anos.

O PSDB, assim como o PT, tem sede de poder. São partidos políticos, não organizações zen-budistas que querem apenas disseminar a parte linda da democracia. O PMDB também está nesse grupo, é claro, mas sempre se conformou a agir mais nas sombras, sem necessariamente estar no comando supremo de tudo no governo federal. Não há nenhuma fumacinha sinalizando que isso esteja mudando.

Espectadores protestam o presidente interino Michel Temer no Estádio Olímpico enquanto Thiago Braz Da Silva recebe medalha de ouro nos Jogos Olímpicos, dia 16 de agosto de 2016.

Foto: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

Michel Temer pouco provavelmente será candidato a presidente. Há, e sempre haverá, muita disputa interna dentro do PMDB, e a chance de ele conseguir grandes coisas na economia até 2018 é remota. Além disso, se José Serra e Aécio Neves já quase se mataram na disputa interna dentro do PSDB, é pouquíssimo provável que o partido abra mão de disputar a Presidência nas urnas, ainda mais com Geraldo Alckmin no páreo e diante da fraqueza do PT.

Com o PSDB como sócio de Michel Temer, é natural se perguntar o que, afinal, eles fariam de diferente caso cheguem ao poder daqui a dois anos. Os governos tucanos mais destacados, em São Paulo, Minas Gerais e Paraná sempre seguiram a mesma lógica de fisiologismo praticada em paralelo pelo PT no governo federal. Isso não muda e não mudará. É assim que as coisas funcionam no Brasil. Qualquer iniciativa de meritocracia, ou mesmo de choque de gestão, tenderá a ser de fachada.

As mudanças mais claras que podem haver estão no comprometimento do governo com o lado privado, com regulações que interessam a grandes empresas (nem a questão de responsabilidade fiscal pode ser citada, dada a generosidade oportunista caso o poder de barganha de quem pede seja bom).

Um exemplo de medida bem recente: na última quinta-feira, o governo anunciou que vai liberar uma linha de crédito de R$ 5 bilhões para permitir que empresas possam comprar de maneira mais facilitada ações de outras companhias que estão quebrando.

As mudanças em marcos regulatórios também vão nesta linha. Na mudança da Lei Geral das Telecomunicações, os interesses das operadoras serão contemplados. O governo apoia, por exemplo, a agilização de concessões de rádio e TV, atendendo a apelos da Abert, a associação que faz o lobby das emissoras. A exploração do pré-sal também será aberta, acabando com o monopólio da Petrobras sobre os campos. Projeto nesse sentido deve seguir para o presidente Michel Temer assinar já na outra semana, se as expectativas da base se concretizarem na Câmara. No campo, o governo também está firme no propósito de facilitar a vida dos empresários. Grandes propriedades rurais serão liberadas para serem compradas por estrangeiros. E ainda tem a reforma trabalhista e a previdenciária…

Na área social, as políticas de assistência passam a ser tocadas de maneira muito mais focada em conseguir que uma parcela da população que não pende naturalmente para o eixo PMDB-PSDB passe a simpatizar com os engravatados de sapatos lustrados e as mesóclises dos governantes de ocasião. Objetivo é conseguir penetrar no Nordeste lulista e fazer com que um percentual significativo desses eleitores dê uma chance a esse novo projeto de poder em 2018. Portanto, não existe essa possibilidade tão disseminada em boatos de que Temer acabará com o Bolsa Família. Ele não vai fazer isso. Ele vai é aproveitar isso em seu favor.

O real perigo

The centre will work during the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, which will take place from August 5-21 and September 7-18 respectively.. / AFP / ANDRESSA ANHOLETE (Photo credit should read ANDRESSA ANHOLETE/AFP/Getty Images)" />

Ministro de Justiça Alexandre de Moraes, dia 1 de agosto de 2016.

Foto: Andressa Anholete/AFP/Getty Images

O perigo para 2018 é que haja mudanças mais reais. Mas pelo lado do conservadorismo e do autoritarismo. Nesse campo, Alexandre de Moraes no comando da Polícia Federal e com linha dura do Exército chefiando o serviço secreto, um bom passo nessa direção já está dado. Mas com o fim dos grandes eventos (Copa e Olimpíadas) e a tendência de haver um relaxamento das autoridades considerando as dificuldades financeiras e a falta de necessidade de vender ao exterior uma imagem de país seguro para turistas, a chance de haver uma crise nacional no campo da segurança pública até 2018 não é desprezível. Força Nacional no Rio Grande do Sul era algo impensável até pouco tempo atrás. Mas corpos esquartejados nas ruas de Porto Alegre deram a deixa.

Se juntarmos a isso o fato de que é possível que muitos dos que foram às janelas bater panelas contra Dilma se desencantem ao perceberem que a corrupção continua livre, leve e solta no país, as chances de figuras como Jair Bolsonaro fortalecerem seus discursos de salvação nacional podem crescer ao longo dos próximos dois anos… e aí sim teremos problemas.

Por ora, tudo continua como dantes, apesar do reinado da hipocrisia.

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The post Os novos donos do trono no reino da hipocrisia appeared first on The Intercept.

Lüge als einzige Waffe von Stoltenberg

Indymedia antimil - Lun, 29/08/2016 - 11:47
von: Paul Graeber am: 29.08.2016 - 11:47

Kein Mittel ist im Krieg zu schlecht. Konkret gesagt, geht es um einen Informationskrieg, in dem die Hauptwaffe die Lüge ist.

Deutsches Rotes Kreuz – Mit Anwälten gegen Kritiker

RIB/DAKS - Lun, 29/08/2016 - 08:36

Das „Deutsches Rotes Kreuz“ (DRK) kooperiere immer enger mit der Bundeswehr und verliere dadurch seinen zivilen Charakter, bemängeln Friedensaktivisten. Gegen die Kritiker geht das DRK mit Anwälten vor.

1.750 Euro, so viel soll die „Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft – Vereinigte KriegsdienstgegnerInnen“ (DFG-VK) für eine Aktionswebsite zahlen, die über die Verbindungen zwischen dem DRK und der deutschen Armee aufklärte – die an das Corporate-Design der Hilfsorganisation angelehnte Website ist mittlerweile offline. Nur wenige Tage nachdem die Website im Mai online gegangen war, meldeten sich Anwälte des DRK bei den Friedensaktivistinnen und -aktivisten und verlangten die Abschaltung sowie die Abgabe einer Unterlassungserklärung: „Statt sich inhaltlich mit unserer Kritik auseinanderzusetzen, geht das DRK juristisch gegen uns vor“, meint Christoph Neeb, Bundessprecher der „Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft – Vereinigte KriegsdienstgegnerInnen“.

Das DRK präsentiert sich zusammen mit der Bundeswehr auf der ILA2016 in einem Feldlazarett (Bild. Stephan Möhrle / RIB)

Tatsächlich sieht es danach aus, dass die Verbindungen zwischen dem DRK und der Bundeswehr zuletzt immer enger geworden sind: Schon 2003 bekannte sich das DRK explizit zur „Mitwirkung“ an Militäreinsätzen. 2008 definierte dann ein Bundesgesetz die „Unterstützung des Sanitätsdienstes der Bundeswehr“ als zentrale „Aufgabe“ der Hilfsorganisation. Seit 2009 unterhält das DRK einen eigenen „Beauftragten für zivil-militärische Zusammenarbeit“. Seit 2014 finden gemeinsame „Joint Cooperation“-Manöver von DRK, Bundeswehr und weiteren Armeen statt. Und am 24. November 2015 unterzeichneten der DRK-Generalsekretär Christian Reuter und Markus Grübel, der parlamentarische Staatssekretär im Verteidigungsministerium, die erste zentrale Kooperationsvereinbarung – es soll der Zusammenarbeit ein „offizielles Fundament“ geben. Dies machte die „Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft“ auf ihrer Aktionswebsite öffentlich.
„Das DRK sorgt sich um die Unverwechselbarkeit seiner Organisation, aber offenbar nicht darum mit der Bundeswehr gleichgesetzt zu werden“, so Christoph Neeb. Die enge Zusammenarbeit beider Akteure verstoße gegen die Rot Kreuz-Grundsätze der „Neutralität“ und „Unparteilichkeit“, bemängelt der Friedensaktivist. Eine Unterlassungserklärung, das DRK-Design nicht mehr zu verwenden, habe man aber mittlerweile unterschrieben. Auch die Rechtsanwaltskosten des Roten Kreuz werde man, nachdem das DRK nachdrücklich darauf gedrängt hat, tragen, so Neeb. An der inhaltlichen Kritik halte man aber fest: „Unter haben wir mittlerweile eine neue Aktionswebsite zur ‚Zivil-Militärischen-Zusammenarbeit‘ zwischen DRK und Bundeswehr veröffentlicht“, erklärt Friedensaktivist Neeb.

Die Helden von Kobane im türkischen Krieg

Rationalgalerie - Lun, 29/08/2016 - 02:00
Volker Kauder an der Seite von Recep Tayyip Erdoğan : UNSERE Kurden! Das waren die tapferen Frauen und Männer, die Ende 2014 dem Islamischen Staat, in der Schlacht um Kobanê, eine ganze Region entrissen hatten! TV-Sendungen und Zeitungs-Seiten wussten sich vor lauter virtueller Schlachtenbummlei nicht lassen: UNSERE KURDEN! Wenn aber...


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