21 de agosto de 2017

Como os EUA intervieram na Itália em 1947/48

extracto do livro de William Blum

Italy 1947-48

Free elections: Hollywood style

"Those who do not believe in the ideology of the United States, shall not be allowed to stay in the United States," declared the American Attorney General, Tom Clark, in January 1948. [1]
In March, the Justice Department, over which Clark presided, determined that Italians who did not believe in the ideology of the United States would not be allowed to emigrate to, or even enter, the United States.
This was but one tactic in a remarkable American campaign to ensure that Italians who did not believe in the ideology of the United States would not be allowed to form a government of a differing ideology in Italy in their election of 1948. Two years earlier, the Italian Communist Party (PCI), one of the largest in the world, and the Socialist Party (PSI) had together garnered more votes and more seats in the Constituent Assembly election than the Christian Democrats. But the two parties of the left had run separate candidates and thus had to be content with some ministerial posts in a coalition cabinet under a Christian Democrat premier. The results, nonetheless, spoke plainly enough to put the fear of Marx into the Truman administration. For the 1948 election, scheduled for 18 April, the PCI and PSI united to form the Popular Democratic Front (FDP) and in February won municipal elections in Pescara with a 10 percent increase in their vote over 1946. The Christian Democrats ran a poor second. The prospect of the left winning control of the Italian government loomed larger than ever before. It was at this point that the US began to train its big economic and political guns upon the Italian people. All the good ol' Yankee know-how, all the Madison Avenue savvy in the art of swaying public opinion, all the Hollywood razzmatazz would be brought to bear on the "target market". Pressing domestic needs in Italy, such as agricultural and economic reform, the absence of which produced abysmal extremes of wealth and poverty, were not to be the issues of the day. The lines of battle would be drawn around the question of "democracy" vs. "communism" (the idea of "capitalism" remaining discreetly to one side). The fact that the Communists had been the single most active anti-fascist group in Italy during the war, undergoing ruthless persecution, while the Christian Democrat government of 1948 and other electoral opponents on the right were riddled through with collaborators, monarchists and plain unreconstructed fascists ... this too would be ignored; indeed, turned around. It was now a matter of Communist "dictatorship" vs. their adversaries' love of "freedom": this was presumed a priori. As one example, a group of American congressmen visited Italy in summer 1947 and casually and arbitrarily concluded that "The country is under great pressure from within and without to veer to the left and adopt a totalitarian-collective national organization." [2]
To make any of this at all credible, the whole picture had to be pushed and squeezed into the frame of The American Way of Life vs. The Soviet Way of Life, a specious proposition which must have come as somewhat of a shock to leftists who regarded themselves as Italian and neither Russian nor American. In February 1948, after non-Communist ministers in Czechoslovakia had boycotted cabinet meetings over a dispute concerning police hiring practices, the Communist government dissolved the coalition cabinet and took sole power. The Voice of America pointed to this event repeatedly, as a warning to the Italian people of the fate awaiting them if Italy "went Communist" (and used as well by anti-communists for decades afterward as a prime example of communist duplicity). Yet, by all appearances, the Italian Christian Democrat government and the American government had conspired the previous year in an even more blatant usurpation of power. In January 1947, when Italian Premier Alcide de Gasperi visited Washington at the United States' invitation, his overriding concern was to plead for crucial financial assistance for his war-torn, impoverished country. American officials may have had a different priority. Three days after returning to Italy, de Gasperi unexpectedly dissolved his cabinet, which included several Communists and Socialists. The press reported that many people in Italy believed that de Gasperi's action was related to his visit to the United States and was aimed at decreasing leftist, principally Communist, influence in the government. After two weeks of tortuous delay, the formation of a center or center-right government sought by de Gasperi proved infeasible; the new cabinet still included Communists and Socialists although the left had lost key positions, notably the ministries of foreign affairs and finance. From this point until May, when de Gasperi's deputy, Ivan Lombardo, led a mission to Washington to renew the request for aid, promised loans were "frozen" by the United States for reasons not very clear. On several occasions during this period the Italian left asserted their belief that the aid was being held up pending the ouster of leftists from the cabinet. The New York Times was moved to note that, "Some observers here feel that a further Leftward swing in Italy would retard aid." As matters turned out, the day Lombardo arrived in Washington, de Gasperi again dissolved his entire cabinet and suggested that the new cabinet would manage without the benefit of leftist members. This was indeed what occurred, and over the ensuing few months, exceedingly generous American financial aid flowed into Italy, in addition to the cancelation of the nation's $1 billion debt to the United States.[3]
At the very same time, France, which was also heavily dependent upon American financial aid, ousted all its Communist ministers as well. In this case there was an immediate rationale: the refusal of the Communist ministers to support Premier Ramadier in a vote of confidence over a wage freeze. Despite this, the ouster was regarded as a "surprise" and considered "bold" in France, and opinion was widespread that American loans were being used, or would be used, to force France to align with the US. Said Ramadier:
"A little of our independence is departing from us with each loan we obtain."[4]
As the last month of the 1948 election campaign began, Time magazine pronounced the possible leftist victory to be "the brink of catastrophe".[5]
"It was primarily this fear," William Colby, former Director of the CIA, has written, "that had led to the formation of the Office of Policy Coordination, which gave the CIA the capability to undertake covert political, propaganda, and paramilitary operations in the first place."[6]
But covert operations, as far as is known, played a relatively minor role in the American campaign to break the back of the Italian left. It was the very overtness of the endeavor, without any apparent embarrassment, that stamps the whole thing with such uniqueness and arrogance — one might say swagger. The fortunes of the FDP slid downhill with surprising acceleration in the face of an awesome mobilization of resources such as the following:[7]
  • A massive letter writing campaign from Americans of Italian extraction to their relatives and friends in Italy — at first written by individuals in their own words or guided by "sample letters" in newspapers, soon expanded to mass-produced, pre- written, postage-paid form letters, cablegrams, "educational circulars", and posters, needing only an address and signature. And — from a group calling itself The Committee to Aid Democracy in Italy — half a million picture postcards illustrating the gruesome fate awaiting Italy if it voted for "dictatorship" or "foreign dictatorship". In all, an estimated 10 million pieces of mail were written and distributed by newspapers, radio stations, churches, the American Legion, wealthy individuals, etc.; and business advertisements now included offers to send letters airmail to Italy even if you didn't buy the product. All this with the publicly expressed approval of the Acting Secretary of State and the Post Office which inaugurated special "Freedom Flights" to give greater publicity to the dispatch of the mail to Italy.
The form letters contained messages such as: "A communist victory would ruin Italy. The United States would withdraw aid and a world war would probably result." ... "We implore you not to throw our beautiful Italy into the arms of that cruel despot communism. America hasn't anything against communism in Russia [sic], but why impose it on other people, other lands, in that way putting out the torch of liberty?" ... "If the forces of true democracy should lose in the Italian election, the American Government will not send any more money to Italy and we won't send any more money to you, our relatives." These were by no means the least sophisticated of the messages. Other themes emphasized were Russian domination of Italy, loss of religion and the church, loss of family life, loss of home and land. Veteran newsman Howard K. Smith pointed out at the time that "For an Italian peasant a telegram from anywhere is a wondrous thing; and a cable from the terrestrial paradise of America is not lightly to be disregarded." The letters threatening to cut off gifts may have been equally intimidating. "Such letters," wrote a Christian Democrat official in an Italian newspaper, "struck home in southern Italian and Sicilian villages with the force of lightning." A 1949 poll indicated that 16 percent of Italians claimed relatives in the United States with whom they were in touch; this, apparently, was in addition to friends there.
  • The State Department backed up the warnings in the letters by announcing that "If the Communists should win ... there would be no further question of assistance from the United States." The Italian left felt compelled to regularly assure voters that this would not really happen. This, in turn, inspired American officials, including Secretary of State George Marshall, to repeat the threat. (Marshall was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953.)
  • A daily series of direct short-wave broadcasts to Italy backed by the State Department and featuring prominent Americans. (The State Department estimated that there were 1.2 million short-wave receivers in Italy as of 1946.) The Attorney General went on the air and assured the Italian people that the election was a "choice between democracy and communism, between God and godlessness, between order and chaos." William Donovan, the wartime head of the OSS (forerunner of the CIA) warned that "under a communist dictatorship in Italy," many of the "nation's industrial plants would be dismantled and shipped to Russia and millions of Italy's workers would be deported to Russia for forced labor." If this were not enough to impress the Italian listeners, a parade of unknown but passionate refugees from Eastern Europe went before the microphone to recount horror stories of life behind "The Iron Curtain".
  • Several commercial radio stations broadcast to Italy special services held in American Catholic churches to pray for the Pope in "this, his most critical hour". On one station, during an entire week, hundreds of Italian-Americans from all walks of life delivered one-minute messages to Italy which were relayed through the short-wave station. Station WOV in New York invited Italian war brides to transcribe a personal message to their families back home. The station then mailed the recordings to Italy.
  • Voice of America daily broadcasts into Italy were sharply increased, highlighting news of American assistance or gestures of friendship to Italy. A sky-full of show-biz stars, including Frank Sinatra and Gary Cooper, recorded a series of radio programs designed to win friends and influence the vote in Italy. Five broadcasts of Italian-American housewives were aired, and Italian-Americans with some leftist credentials were also enlisted for the cause. Labor leader Luigi Antonini called upon Italians to "smash the Muscovite fifth column" which "follows the orders of the ferocious Moscow tyranny," or else Italy would become an "enemy totalitarian country".
To counter Communist charges in Italy that negroes in the United States were denied opportunities, the VOA broadcast the story of a negro couple who had made a fortune in the junk business and built a hospital for their people in Oklahoma City. (It should be remembered that in 1948 American negroes had not yet reached the status of second-class citizens.)
  • Italian radio stations carried a one-hour show from Hollywood put on to raise money for the orphans of Italian pilots who had died in the war. (It was not reported if the same was done for the orphans of German pilots.)
  • American officials in Italy widely distributed leaflets extolling US economic aid and staged exhibitions among low-income groups. The US Information Service presented an exhibition on "The Worker in America" and made extensive use of documentary and feature films to sell the American way of life. It was estimated that in the period immediately preceding the election more than five million Italians each week saw American documentaries. The 1939 Hollywood film "Ninotchka", which satirized life in Russia, was singled out as a particularly effective feature film. It was shown throughout working-class areas and the Communists made several determined efforts to prevent its presentation. After the election, a pro-Communist worker was reported as saying that "What licked us was `Ninotchka'."
  • The Justice Department served notice that Italians who joined the Communist Party would be denied that dream of so many Italians, emigration to America. The State Department then ruled that any Italians known to have voted for the Communists would not be allowed to even enter the terrestrial paradise. (A Department telegram to a New York politico read: "Voting Communist appears to constitute affiliation with Communist Party within meaning of Immigration Law and therefore would require exclusion from United States.") It was urged that this information be emphasized in letters to Italy.
  • President Truman accused the Soviet Union of plotting the subjugation of Western Europe and called for universal military training in the United States and a resumption of military conscription to forestall "threatened communist control and police-state rule". During the campaign, American and British warships were frequently found anchored off Italian ports. Time, in an edition widely displayed and commented upon in Italy shortly before the election, gave its approval to the sentiment that "The U.S. should make it clear that it will use force, if necessary, to prevent Italy from going Communist."[8]
  • The United States and Italy signed a ten-year treaty of "friendship, commerce and navigation". This was the first treaty of its kind entered into by the US since the war, a point emphasized for Italian consumption.
  • A "Friendship Train" toured the United States gathering gifts and then traveled round Italy distributing them. The train was painted red, white and blue, and bore large signs expressing the friendship of American citizens toward the people of Italy.
  • The United States government stated that it favored Italian trusteeship over some of its former African colonies, such as Ethiopia and Libya, a wholly unrealistic proposal that could never come to pass in the post-war world. (The Soviet Union made a similar proposal.)
  • The US, Great Britain and France maneuvered the Soviet Union into vetoing, for the third time, a motion that Italy be admitted to the United Nations. (The first time, the Russians had expressed their opposition on the grounds that a peace treaty with Italy had not been signed. After the signing in 1947, they said they would accept the proposal if other World War II enemies, such as Bulgaria, Hungary and Rumania were also made members.)
  • The same three allied nations proposed to the Soviet Union that negotiations take place with a view to returning Trieste to Italy. Formerly the principal Italian port on the Adriatic coast, bordering Yugoslavia, Trieste had been made a "free city" under the terms of the peace treaty. The approval of the Soviet Union was necessary to alter the treaty, and the Western proposal was designed to put the Russians on the spot. The Italian people had an intense sentimental attachment to Trieste, and if the Russians rejected the proposal it could seriously embarrass the Italian Communists. A Soviet acceptance, however, would antagonize their Yugoslav allies. The US prodded the Russians for a response, but none was forthcoming. From the Soviet point of view, the most obvious and safest path to follow would have been to delay their answer until after the election. Yet they chose to announce their rejection of the proposal only five days before the vote, thus hammering another nail into the FDP coffin.
  • A "Manifesto of peace to freedom-loving Italians", calling upon them to reject Communism, was sent to Premier de Gasperi. Its signatories included two former US Secretaries of State, a former Assistant Secretary of State, a former Attorney General, a former Supreme Court Justice, a former Governor of New York, the former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and many other prominent personages. This message was, presumably, suitably publicized throughout Italy, a task easy in the extreme inasmuch as an estimated 82 percent of Italian newspapers were in the hands of those unsympathetic to the leftist bloc.
  • More than 200 American labor leaders of Italian origin held a conference, out of which came a cable sent to 23 daily newspapers throughout Italy similarly urging thumbs down on the Reds. At the same time, the Italian-American Labor Council contributed $50,000 to anti-Communist labor organizations in Italy. The CIA was already secretly subsidizing such trade unions to counteract the influence of leftist unions,[9] but this was standard Agency practice independent of electoral considerations. (According to a former CIA officer, when, in 1945, the Communists came very near to gaining control of labor unions, first in Sicily, then in all Italy and southern France, co-operation between the OSS and the Mafia successfully stemmed the tide.)[10]
  • The CIA, by its own later admission, gave $1 million to Italian "center parties", a king's ransom in Italy 1948[11], although another report places the figure at $10 million. The Agency also forged documents and letters purported to come from the PCI which were designed to put the party in a bad light and discredit its leaders; anonymous books and magazine articles funded by the CIA told in vivid detail about supposed communist activities in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union; pamphlets dealt with PCI candidates' sex and personal lives as well as smearing them with the fascist and/or anti-church brush.[12]
  • An American group featuring noted Italian-American musicians traveled to Rome to present a series of concerts.
  • President Truman chose a month before the election as the time to transfer 29 merchant ships to the Italian government as a "gesture of friendship and confidence in a democratic Italy". (These were Italian vessels seized during the war and others to replace those seized and lost.)
  • Four days later, the House Appropriations Committee acted swiftly to approve $18.7 million in additional "interim aid" funds for Italy.
  • Two weeks later, the United States gave Italy $4.3 million as the first payment on wages due to 60,000 former Italian war prisoners in the US who had worked "voluntarily" for the Allied cause. This was a revision of the peace treaty which stipulated that the Italian government was liable for such payments.
  • Six days before election day, the State Department made it public that Italy would soon receive $31 million in gold in return for gold looted by the Nazis. (The fact that only a few years earlier Italy had been the "enemy" fighting alongside the Nazis was now but a dim memory.)
  • Two days later, the US government authorized two further large shipments of food to Italy, one for $8 million worth of grains. A number of the aid ships, upon their arrival in Italy during the election campaign, had been unloaded amid ceremony and a speech by the American ambassador.
A poster prominent in Italy read: "The bread that we eat — 40 per cent Italian flour — 60 per cent American flour sent free of charge." The poster neglected to mention whether the savings were passed on to the consumer or served to line the pockets of the baking companies.
  • Four days before election day, the American Commission for the Restoration of Italian Monuments, Inc. announced an additional series of grants to the Italian Ministry of Fine Arts.
  • April 15 was designated "Free Italy Day" by the American Sympathizers for a Free Italy with nation-wide observances to be held.
  • The American ambassador, James Clement Dunn, traveled constantly throughout Italy pointing out to the population "on every possible occasion what American aid has meant to them and their country". At the last unloading of food, Dunn declared that the American people were saving Italy from starvation, chaos and possible domination from outside. His speeches usually received wide coverage in the non-left press. By contrast, the Italian government prohibited several of its own ambassadors abroad from returning home to campaign for the FDP.
In his historic speech of 12 March 1947, which came to be known as "The Truman Doctrine", the president had proclaimed:
I believe it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures. I believe that we must assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way.[13]
It scarcely needs to be emphasized how hypocritical this promise proved to be, but the voices which spoke out in the United States against their government's crusade in Italy were few and barely audible above the roar. The Italian-American Committee for Free Elections in Italy held a rally to denounce the propaganda blitz, declaring that "Thousands of Americans of Italian origin feel deeply humiliated by the continuous flow of suggestions, advice and pressure put on the Italians, as though they were unable to decide for themselves whom to elect."[14] The Progressive Party also went on record, stating: "As Americans we repudiate our Government's threat to cut off food from Italy unless the election results please us. Hungry children must not go unfed because their parents do not vote as ordered from abroad."[15] The party's candidate for president in 1948 was Henry Wallace, the former vice-president who was an outspoken advocate of genuine detente with the Soviet Union. History did not provide the opportunity to observe what the reaction would have been — amongst those who saw nothing wrong with what the United States was doing in Italy — if a similar campaign had been launched by the Soviet Union or the Italian left in the United States on behalf of Wallace.
Though some Italians must have been convinced at times that Stalin himself was the FDP's principal candidate, the actual Soviet intervention in the election hardly merited a single headline. The American press engaged in speculation that the Russians were pouring substantial sums of money into the Communist Party's coffers. However, a survey carried out by the Italian bureau of the United Press revealed that the anti-Communist parties spent 7 1/2 times as much as the FDP on all forms of propaganda, the Christian Democrats alone spending four times as much.[16] As for other Soviet actions, Howard K. Smith presented this observation:
The Russians tried to respond with a few feeble gestures for a while — some Italian war prisoners were released; some newsprint was sent to Italy and offered to all parties for their campaign. But there was no way of resisting what amounted to a tidal wave. There is evidence that the Russians found the show getting too rough for them and actually became apprehensive of what the American and British reaction to a Communist victory at the polls might be. (Russia's concern about conflict with the West was also expressed within a month of the Italian elections in one of the celebrated Cominform letters to Tito, accusing the Yugoslavs of trying to involve the Soviets with the Western powers when "it should have been known ... that the U.S.S.R. after such a heavy war could not start a new one".)[17]
The evidence Smith was alluding to was the Soviet rejection of the Trieste proposal. By its timing, reported the New York Times, "the unexpected procedure caused some observers to conclude that the Russians had thrown the Italian Communist Party overboard."[18] The party's newspaper had a difficult time dealing with the story. Washington did as well, for it undermined the fundamental premise of the Italian campaign: that the Italian Communist Party and the Soviet Union were indistinguishable as to ends and means; that if you buy the one, you get the other as well. Thus the suggestion was put forth that perhaps the Soviet rejection was only a tactic to demonstrate that the US could not keep its promise on Trieste. But the Soviet announcement had not been accompanied by any such propaganda message, and it would not explain why the Russians had waited several weeks until near the crucial end to deliver its body blow to their Italian comrades. In any event, the United States could only come out smelling a lot sweeter than the Russians. When the Broadway show had ended its engagement in Italy, the Christian Democrats stood as the clear winner with 48 percent of the vote. The leftist coalition had been humiliated with a totally unexpected polling of but 31 percent. It had been a crusade of the kind which Aneurin Bevan had ascribed to the Tories: "The whole art of Conservative politics in the 20th century," the British Labour leader wrote, "is being deployed to enable wealth to persuade poverty to use its political freedom to keep wealth in power."


  1. ^  Addressing the Cathedral Club of Brooklyn, 15 January 1948; cited in David Caute, The Great Fear: The Anti-Communist Purge Under Truman and Eisenhower (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1979), p. 15.
  2. ^  Robert T. Holt and Robert W. van de Velde, Strategic Psychological Operations and American Foreign Policy (University of Chicago Press, 1960) p. 169.
  3. ^  Dissolving the cabinet: New York Times, 21 January 1947, p. 5; 26 January, p. 31; 3 February, p. 1; 5 May, p. 13; 13 May; 14 May; 29 May, p.3; 2 June, p. 24.
  4. ^  New York Times, 5 May 1947, p. 1; 11 May, IV, p. 5; 14 May, pp. 14 and 24; 17 May, p. 8; 18 May, IV, p. 4; 20 May, p. 2; Howard K. Smith, The State of Europe (London, 1950), p. 151 (includes Ramadier quote; similar quote in New York Times, 20 May).
  5. ^  Time, 22 March 1948, p. 35.
  6. ^  William Colby, Honorable Men: My Life in the CIA (New York, 1978), p. 109.
  7. ^  Except where otherwise indicated, the items in the succeeding list are derived from the following:
    1. New York Times, 16 March to 18 April 1948, passim;
    2. Howard K. Smith, pp. 198-219;
    3. William E. Daugherty and Morris Janowitz, A Psychological Warfare Casebook (Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1958), pp. 319-26;
    4. Holt and van de Velde, pp. 159-205;
    5. E. Edda Martinez and Edward A. Suchman, "Letters from America and the 1948 Elections in Italy", The Public Opinion Quarterly (Princeton University), Spring 1950, pp. 111-25.
  8. ^  Cited in Smith, p. 202, no date of issue given.
  9. ^  Tom Braden, "I'm Glad the CIA is `Immoral'", Saturday Evening Post, 20 May 1967; Braden had been a high-ranking CIA officer.
  10. ^  Miles Copeland, Without Cloak and Dagger (New York, 1974), pp. 235-6; also published as The Real Spy World.
  11. ^  CIA memorandum to the Forty Committee (National Security Council), presented to the Select Committee on Intelligence, US House of Representatives (The Pike Committee) during closed hearings held in 1975. The bulk of the committee's report which contained this memorandum was leaked to the press in February 1976 and first appeared in book form as CIA — The Pike Report (Nottingham, England, 1977). The memorandum appears on pp. 204-5 of this book. (See also: Notes: Iraq.)
  12. ^  Stephen Goode, The CIA (Franklin Watts, Inc., New York, 1982), p. 45; William R. Corson, The Armies of Ignorance: The Rise of the American Intelligence Empire (The Dial Press, New York, 1977) pp. 298-9. Corson had an extensive career in military intelligence and was Staff Secretary of the President's Special Group Joint DOD-CIA Committee on Counterinsurgency R & D.
  13. ^  Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Harry S. Truman, 1947 (U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, 1963) pp. 178-9.
  14. ^  New York Times, 8 April 1948.
  15. ^  Ibid., 12 April 1948.
  16. ^  Smith, p. 200.
  17. ^  Ibid., p. 202.
  18. ^  New York Times, 15 April 1948.

1 de julho de 2017

Dedicado hoje a Passos Coelho

Um artigo do Prof. Jorge Paiva,
Biólogo da Universidade de Coimbra
no Público, em 2006.

"Antes da última glaciação, Portugal estava coberto por uma floresta sempre-verde (laurisilva). Durante essa glaciação a descida drástica da temperatura fez desaparecer quase por completo essa laurisilva, tendo sido substituída por uma cobertura florestal semelhante à actual taiga. Após o período glaciar, a temperatura voltou a subir, ficando o país com um clima temperado como o actual. Assim, a floresta glaciar foi substituída por florestas mistas (fagosilva) de árvores sempre-verdes (algumas delas relíquias da laurisilva) e outras caducifólias, transformando o país num imenso carvalhal caducifólio (alvarinho e negral) a norte, marcescente (cerquinho) no centro e perenifólio (azinheira e sobreiro) para sul, com uma faixa litoral de floresta dominada pelo pinheiro-manso e os cumes das montanhas mais frias com o pinheiro-da-casquinha (relíquia glaciárica). Por destruição dessas florestas, particularmente com a construção das naus (três a quatro mil carvalhos por nau) durante os Descobrimentos (cerca de duas mil naus num século) e da cobertura do país com vias férreas (travessas de madeira de negral ou de cerquinho para assentar os carris), as nossas montanhas passaram a estar predominantemente cobertas por matos de urzes ou torgas, giestas, tojos e carqueja. A partir do século XIX, após a criação dos "Serviços Florestais", foram artificialmente re-arborizadas com pinheiro-bravo, tendo-se criado a maior mancha contínua de pinhal na Europa. A partir da segunda década do século XX, apesar dos alertas ambientalistas, efectuaram-se intensas, contínuas e desordenadas arborizações com eucalipto, tendo-se criado a maior área de eucaliptal contínuo da Europa. Sendo o pinheiro resinoso e o eucalipto produtor de óleos essenciais, produtos altamente inflamáveis, com pinhais e eucaliptais contínuos, os incêndios florestais tornaram-se não só frequentes, como também incontroláveis. Desta maneira, o nosso país tem já algumas montanhas transformadas em zonas desérticas.
Sempre fomos contra o crime da eucaliptização desordenada e contínua. Fomos vilipendiados, maltratados, injuriados, fomos chamados à Judiciária, etc. Mas sabíamos que tínhamos razão. Infelizmente não vemos nenhum dos que defenderam sempre essa eucaliptização vir agora assumir as culpas destes "piroverões" que passámos a ter e que, infelizmente, vamos continuar a ter. Também sempre fomos contra o delapidar, por sucessivos Governos, dos Serviços Florestais (quase acabaram com os guardas florestais). Isso e o êxodo rural (os eucaliptos são cortados de 10 em 10 anos e o povo não fica 10 anos a olhar para as árvores em crescimento tendo, por isso, sido "forçado" a abandonar as montanhas e a ficar numa dependência económica monopolista, que "controla" o preço da madeira a seu belo prazer) tiveram como resultado a desumanização das nossas montanhas pelo que, mal um incêndio florestal eclode, não está lá ninguém para acudir de imediato e, quando se dá por ele, já vai devastador e incontrolável.
Infelizmente vamos continuar a ter "piroverões" por mais aviões "bombeiros" que comprem ou aluguem. Isto porque, entre essas medidas, não estão as duas que são fundamentais, as que poderiam travar esta onda de incêndios devastadores que nos tem assolado nas últimas décadas. Uma, é a re-humanização das montanhas, que pode ser feita com pessoal desempregado que, depois de ter frequentado curtos "cursos de formação" durante o Inverno, iria vigiar as montanhas, percorrendo áreas adequadas durante a Primavera e Verão. A outra medida fundamental seria, após os incêndios, arrancar logo a toiça dos eucaliptos e replantar a área com arborização devidamente ordenada. Isto porque os eucaliptos rebentam de toiça logo a seguir ao fogo, renovando-se a área eucaliptada em meia dúzia de anos, sem grande utilidade até porque o diâmetro da ramada de toiça não é rentável para as celuloses. Mas como tal não se faz, essa mesma área de eucaliptal torna a arder poucos anos após o primeiro incêndio e assim sucessivamente. Muitas vezes, essas mesmas áreas são também invadidas por acácias ou mimosas, bastando para tal que exista um acacial nas proximidades ou nas bermas das rodovias, pois as sementes das acácias são resistentes aos fogos e o vento ajuda a dispersá-las por serem muito leves. As acácias, como são heliófitas (plantas "amigas" do Sol), e não havendo sombra de outras árvores após os incêndios, crescem depressa aproveitando a luminosidade e ocupando aquele nicho ecológico antes das outras espécies se desenvolverem.
Mas como vivemos numa sociedade cuja preocupação predominante é produzir cada vez mais, com maior rapidez e o mais barato possível, as medidas propostas são economicamente inviáveis por duas razões: primeiro, porque é preciso pagar aos vigilantes e respectivos formadores; segundo, porque arrancar a toiça dos eucaliptos é muito dispendioso (custa o correspondente ao lucro da venda de três cortes, isto é, o lucro de 30 anos). É bom também elucidar que os eucaliptais só são lucrativos até ao terceiro corte (30 anos). Depois disso, estão a abandoná-los, o que os torna um autêntico "rastilho" ou, melhor, um terrível "barril de pólvora", áreas onde os seus óleos essenciais, por vaporização ao calor, são explosivos e, quando a madeira do eucalipto começa a arder, provocam a explosão dos troncos e respectiva ramada, lançando ramos incandescentes a grande distância. Este "fenómeno" tem sido bem visível nos nossos "piroverões".
Por outro lado, pelo menos uma destas medidas (arranque da toiça e re-arborização ordenada) não tem resultados imediatos mas a longo prazo. Por isso os governantes não estão interessados na aplicação dessas medidas, pois interessa-lhes mais resultados imediatos (as eleições são de quatro em quatro anos...) do que de longo prazo.
Assim, sem resultados imediatamente visíveis e com uma despesa tão elevada, os governos nunca vão adoptar tais medidas. Preferem gestos por vezes caricatos, como distribuir telemóveis aos pastores, mas que nunca não acabarão com os "piroverões".
Finalmente, após a referida delapidação técnica e funcional dos Serviços Florestais (antigamente, os incêndios florestais eram quase sempre apagados logo no início e apenas pelo pessoal e tecnologia dos Serviços Florestais), esqueceram-se da conveniente profissionalização e apetrechamento dos bombeiros, melhor adaptados a incêndios urbanos.
Se os nossos governantes continuarem, teimosamente, a não querer ver claramente o que está a acontecer, caminharemos rapidamente para um amplo deserto montanhoso, com a planície, os vales e o litoral transformados num imenso acacial, tal como já acontece em vastas áreas de Portugal."

4 de junho de 2017


Dennis Suffert

Un demi-siècle plus tard, les versions divergent encore.
Qui fut l’agresseur dans ce qui allait être la guerre des Six-Jours ? Si l’on s’en tient à la séquence militaire, c’est assurément Israël. Le 5 juin 1967, à 7 h 10 du matin, c’est
bien le commandant de l’armée de l’air israélienne, le général Mordechai Hod, qui donne le signal d’une offensive qui va totalement surprendre la défense aérienne égyptienne.
Trente-cinq minutes plus tard, une grande partie de l’aviation égyptienne est anéantie au sol. Les chars israéliens peuvent se lancer à l’assaut du Sinaï. La guerre est gagnée avant d’avoir commencé. Le journaliste Éric Rouleau
parle alors de « la guerre des six heures »…
Mais, selon l’État hébreu, la véritable agression remonte au 22 mai, lorsque le maréchal Abdel Hakim Amer, ministre égyptien de la Défense, ordonne l’interdiction à tout navire battant pavillon israélien d’entrer dans le détroit de Tiran, soumettant ainsi le port d’Eilat à un blocus inacceptable.
Quoi qu’il en soit, cette guerre-éclair va bouleverser la vie des Palestiniens et reconfigurer le conflit. Après le très inéquitable « partage» décidé le 29 novembre 1947 par l’ONU, la partie de territoire qui leur reste va être à son tour accaparée par Israël, s’emparant de la Cisjordanie, jusqu’ici sous administration jordanienne, et du plateau syrien du Golan, au nord-est du pays. Les Israéliens prennent aussi
Gaza à l’Égypte, et entrent en conquérants dans la vieille ville arabe de Jérusalem. L’histoire des « Territoires palestiniens occupés » commence.
De façon prophétique, un homme, le sociologue Maxime Rodinson, avait écrit deux mois plus tôt un article retentissant dans la revue de Jean-Paul Sartre, Les Temps Modernes. Son titre à lui seul avait scandalisé les sionistes :
« Israël, fait colonial ? ». Rodinson avait l’immense mérite d’identifier la véritable nature du conflit israélo-arabe, qui allait devenir israélopalestinien.
Avec l’occupation de la Cisjordanie, de Gaza et de Jérusalem-Est, la question coloniale allait se déplacer. Non pas que le fait colonial originel puisse être contesté, mais parce que la colonisation des Territoires palestiniens issus de l’armistice de 1949 allait, à partir de juin 1967, devenir le nouvel enjeu et former les contours d’un État en perpétuel devenir.
La guerre de juin 1967 a eu un autre effet important. Elle marque l’autonomisation définitive du mouvement palestinien, conscient d’avoir été lâché par les grandes capitales arabes. L’accession en 1969 du leader nationaliste
Yasser Arafat à la tête de l’Organisation de libération de la Palestine (OLP), jusqu’ici sous tutelle égyptienne, va concrétiser cette mutation. 

Pour ce nouveau combat, les Palestiniens vont au moins disposer d’une référence de droit international. La résolution 242 du Conseil de sécurité, adoptée le 22 novembre 1967, à l’unanimité des 15 membres, souligne « l’inadmissibilité de l’acquisition de territoires par la guerre » et exige « le retrait des forces armées israéliennes des territoires occupés ». Un texte qui fait aujourd’hui encore, et plus que jamais,
d’Israël un État en infraction avec le droit international.
La suite n’est que la longue histoire des hypocrisies et autres lâchetés internationales pour éviter d’appliquer cette résolution.
Tout au long de ces cinquante années, les concessions palestiniennes ont été multiples.
À partir de 1974, une série de contacts officieux montre que l’idée de la reconnaissance de la réalité israélienne mûrit dans l’esprit des dirigeants palestiniens. L’intervention de Yasser
Arafat à la tribune de l’ONU en novembre 1974
en témoigne : « Je viens devant vous, s’écrie-t-il, un rameau d’olivier dans une main et le fusil du combattant dans l’autre. » Éric Rouleau parle « d’un virage en épingle à cheveux sur la route conduisant à la création d’un mini-État
palestinien, indépendant et souverain, aux côtés d’Israël ». Tandis que cette hypothèse prend consistance, la résistance palestinienne s’organise. C’est le temps des feddayin. Arafat a deux fers au feu, l’un militaire, l’autre diplomatique.
L’énumération des plans de paix parrainés par les États-Unis serait fastidieuse et impossible dans les limites de cet article. Depuis le plan Rogers en 1969 jusqu’aux derniers efforts de John Kerry en avril 2014, les projets, plus ou
moins sincères, ont presque tous buté sur le refus israélien. Un refus toujours couvert par le grand tuteur américain.
Dans ce long cortège de plans inaboutis, il faut évidemment faire un sort particulier aux accords d’Oslo de septembre 1993, qui ont généré un espoir planétaire. Conséquence
directe de la première Intifada lancée en 1987, ils marquent le début d’un processus d’autonomisation administrative du territoire palestinien, comprenant la création d’une Autorité,
embryon d’un futur gouvernement. Mais, en vérité, rien n’est dit du statut final. L’État palestinien n’est à aucun moment évoqué. Et le texte n’interdit même pas explicitement la poursuite de la colonisation. Le grignotage permanent
des territoires palestiniens, après l’annexion de Jérusalem-Est en 1980, ne cesse de ruiner l’enjeu même du processus. Le désespoir des populations favorise la montée des islamistes du Hamas et affaiblit Arafat. L’assassinat par
un extrémiste juif du Premier ministre israélien Yitzhak Rabin, en novembre 1995, la vague d’attentats commis par le Hamas au cours du premier semestre de 1996 et le retour en force de la droite à la tête d’Israël ont eu raison d’un
accord qui était de toute façon biaisé.
Le sommet de Camp David en juillet 2000 s’est refermé comme un piège sur les Palestiniens. Arafat ne pouvait entériner une colonisation qui avait pratiquement doublé
depuis septembre 1993. La suite est connue : deuxième Intifada, répression féroce, offensives meurtrières sur Gaza… Jamais la communauté internationale n’a voulu exercer la moindre pression sérieuse sur Israël. À partir des années 2000, la montée de l’islamisme a servi d’alibi aux dirigeants israéliens et américains pour  discréditer la cause palestinienne.
Cinquante ans après la guerre des Six-Jours, l’hypothèse de la solution à deux États est en grand danger.
Et le conflit est sur le point d’entrer dans une nouvelle phase : celle de l’annex
ion rampante des territoires palestiniens et de l’apartheid.

4 de abril de 2017

viagem aos tempos do macartismo

Em «Marianne»

C’est la règle ! Chaque fois qu’un César de carton-pâte est couronné roi aux Etats- Unis, les « élites » locales se désolent de n’avoir rien vu venir. « Je ne comprends pas comment Reagan a pu être élu, car tous mes amis ont
voté contre lui », se lamentait une couturière new-yorkaise après la victoire de l’acteur en 1980. Honni sur les campus et mis en pièces par les satiristes, Donald Trump a pareillement, pour mieux rafler la mise, accumulé les énormités. Furieux « bouffeur de rouges », Joe McCarthy stupéfia, lui aussi, au début des années 50 la gente pensante qui jugea d’abord insignifiant ce bravache en fer-blanc. Jusque-là, McCarthy ne s’était signalé que par sa campagne contre le rationnement du sucre, une survivance des années de guerre. Sa notoriété n’avait pas dépassé les frontières du Wisconsin dont il avait été élu sénateur en 1947. Ses collègues le considéraient comme un drôle de drille, un peu braillard et trop porté sur le bourbon.

Pour lancer sa croisade contre « l’araignée rouge », le futur « grand inquisiteur » choisit une cérémonie à la gloire d’Abraham Lincoln, ignorant sans doute que, du temps de la guerre civile, le vainqueur du Sud avait entretenu une correspondance amicale avec Karl Marx…

donner à la presse sa ration de gros titres

D’entrée de jeu, McCarthy fignole la méthode qui va assurer son ascension : cajoler la presse, en lui donnant chaque jour sa ration de gros titres, et préférer à l’accusation précise l’insinuation. Comédien consommé, il extirpe ainsi de sa poche, devant son auditoire abasourdi, une feuille où seraient inscrits les noms de 205 hauts fonctionnaires à la solde du Kremlin et « couverts par le secrétaire d’Etat, Dean Acheson lui-même » ! Pur bluff, car, pressé des mois plus tard de préciser sa pensée, il réduira la liste à 58, puis

Au bûcher cinéastes, -généraux, simples citoyens…McCarthy - ici, à g. – pourchasse jusqu’aux homosexuels, qui“constituent un risque pour lasécurité de la nation, car ils sont vulnérables au chantage”. Pas dechance, son assistant, Roy Cohn - à d. -, se fera épingler pour son penchant pour les hommes.

finalement à cinq « suspects » d’ailleurs exempts, après enquête, du moindre flirt avec Moscou. Il n’empêche qu’en ce printemps 1950 l’élu du Middle West a bien choisi son moment pour ffoler une Amérique qui s’estime en état de siège. Deux ans plus tôt, la Chine a viré au rouge, et en 1949 l’URSS a effectué, contre toute attente, son premier essai nucléaire. Ex-conseiller
du président Roosevelt à la conférence de Yalta, Alger Hiss vient d’être reconnu coupable d’espionnage et les époux Rosenberg ont été incarcérés pour avoir fourni à l’URSS des renseignements sur la fabrication de la bombe A.

Surtout, l’embrasement de la planète paraît imminent depuis que, en Corée, l’Est et l’Ouest en sont venus aux armes, deux ans tout juste après le blocus de Berlin par Staline… Vu l’urgence du péril, toute réticence sur les méthodes de McCarthy s’apparente ainsi à de la haute trahison. « Quelle douche froide ! Les Américains étaient sortis de la Seconde Guerre mondiale convaincus de leur supériorité morale et matérielle, et voilà qu’ ils accumulaient les camouflets !
L’ idée d’une trahison au coeur même de l’Etat s’est donc vite imposée comme la seule explication possible », rappelle l’historien américain David Oshinsky.

Quand Truman craint de passer pour un faible

McCarthy va exhiber comme premier trophée le scalp de John S. Service. Sinologue réputé du Département d’Etat, ce dernier a été chargé d’explorer, au plus fort de la guerre civile chinoise, l’éventualité d’un partage du pouvoir entre communistes et nationalistes. Sûr de triompher, Mao n’a nulle intention, en bon stalinien, de transiger. « Il conviendrait plutôt, suggère Service, dans son rapport, de tâter ses intentions à l’égard de l’Amérique. »Un constat qui lui vaut d’être taxé de « défaitisme » puis congédié par Harry Truman. Mis en joue par les ultras, le président redoute par-dessus tout d’être  accusé de faiblesse. De plus, Service a aggravé son cas en fréquentant Harvard… Un « repaire notoire,selon McCarthy, de snobs bolchevisants ». Au total, la traque méthodique des fonctionnaires « suspects »
Coupables d’« outrage au Congrès », ces fortes têtes s’étaient retranchées derrière le premier amendement de la Constitution – qui garantit la liberté d’opinion – pour refuser de coopérer avec la Commission des activités antiaméricaines. Ils écopèrent de six mois à un an de prison.
En plus de Chaplin, Jules Dassin et Joseph Losey seront, plus tard, acculés à l’exil. Dalton Trumbo, lui, continuera à écrire, à l’insu du public, des scénarios sous divers patronymes. C’est seulement en 1959, après l’épuisement de l’hystérie antirouges, que son nom réapparaîtra dans les génériques d’Exodus et de Spartacus. « Ma condamnation pour outrage au Congrès était, avoua-t-il, parfaitement justifiée, car je n’avais que du mépris pour ces guignols. »
Tout le monde n’étant pas, comme Trumbo, douépour l’héroïsme, on ne dénombre qu’une minorité de réfractaires qui osèrent tenir tête à leurs persécuteurs. « Je ne sais pas si je suis communiste, mais mon compte en banque, lui, a toujours été dans le rouge ! » rétorque
Woody Guthrie, le barde de l’Amérique ouvrière, quando on le prie de rendre des comptes. « C’est votre commission qui a des activités antiaméricaines », proteste Humphrey Bogart, « coupable » d’avoir affiché treize ans plus tôt son soutien à la République espagnole.
Victime oubliée de cette pantomime, le compositeur Elmer Bernstein décide de brûler ses vaisseaux : « Les seuls dans cette salle qui minent la Constitution sont mes accusateurs eux-mêmes ! » Plus nombreux sont les renégats qui décident de « lâcher des noms » pour
se solde par 739 révocations. Une « liste grise », sorte de purgatoire en attente du pire, provoque, elle, 7 000 démissions.
« Nous ne vaincrons pas les adeptes de Staline àl’étranger, en adoptant, ici, les méthodes de McCarthy »,proteste mollement Harry Truman. Un voeu pieux, car le sénateur obtient carte blanche pour expurger les bibliothèques du Département d’Etat et des ambassades américaines des écrits réputés « subversifs », exception faite, toutefois, de la Déclaration d’indépendance… De son côté, le FBI ne chôme pas. Le passé politique de 3 millions d’Américains est observé à la loupe. Avoir pétitionné pour l’aide à l’URSS, du temps
encore tout proche de la guerre contre Hitler, vaut aveu de culpabilité. Relégués dans une bourgade texane, deux agents du Bureau fédéral produiront même, des mois durant, force rapports sur une cellule fantôme de métayers bolcheviques pour justifier leurs appointements
! Un prélude à la mise au pas des metteurs en scène et des acteurs.

Purges dans le show business

« C’est à Hollywood que se trouve le coeur du dispositif destiné à renverser le gouvernement », tranche l’honorable John Rankin, le comparse de McCarthy au Congrès. Sur le « front » culturel aussi, le FBI a montré la voie. Les argousins d’Edgar Hoover scrutent depuis vingt ans les films « litigieux ». A cause des Temps modernes et du Dictateur, preuve, estime le Bureau fédéral, d’un « antifascisme prématuré », Charlie Chaplin est, de loin, son suspect préféré. La mise à l’index des Raisins de la colère, fresque rageuse sur la Grande Dépression, ne surprend pas. Plus étonnants sont les commentaires du FBI sur La vie est belle, gentile bluette de Frank Capra. « Le banquier du film, souligne leur rapport, est arrogant et brutal. Le procédé habituel des communistes pour distiller leur propagande »…
Impatients de donner des gages, les studios de Hollywood se séparent des brebis galeuses et s’engagent à respecter les consignes des censeurs. Plus question de vilipender la libre entreprise, de « calomnier les riches et de s’attarder complaisamment sur les conflits sociaux ». Pour faire bonne mesure, une écurie de tâcherons de la pellicule est chargée de réaliser une avalanche de navets antirouges. Dans Comment j’ai épousé un communiste, l’héroïne apprend aux spec-
good bye uncle sam - le 17 avril 1953, Charlie Chaplin arrive à londres après avoir liquidé ses dernières possessions aux etats-unis et rendu son visa. il n’y reviendra plus jamais. Harcelé depuis des années par le FBI qui assimile son pacifisme revendiqué à du communisme, le cinéaste se réfugiera en Suisse.

tateurs à détecter le commie qui viendrait à se glisser dans leur entourage. L’énergumène est fébrile, forcément débraillé et, surtout, il utilise des mots de plus de trois syllabes… « En fait, résume l’actrice Lauren Bacall, la peur régnait déjà sur les plateaux depuis la condamnation des “dix de Hollywood” en 1947. »Coupables d’« outrage au Congrès », ces fortes têtes s’étaient retranchées derrière le premier amendement de la Constitution – qui garantit la liberté d’opinion – pour refuser de coopérer avec la Commission des activités antiaméricaines. Ils écopèrent de six mois à un an de prison.
En plus de Chaplin, Jules Dassin et Joseph Losey seront, plus tard, acculés à l’exil. Dalton Trumbo, lui, continuera à écrire, à l’insu du public, des scénarios sous divers patronymes. C’est seulement en 1959, après l’épuisement de l’hystérie antirouges, que son nom réapparaîtra dans les génériques d’Exodus et de Spartacus. « Ma condamnation pour outrage au Congrès était, avoua-t-il, parfaitement justifiée, car je n’avais que du mépris pour ces guignols. »
Tout le monde n’étant pas, comme Trumbo, doué pour l’héroïsme, on ne dénombre qu’une minorité de réfractaires qui osèrent tenir tête à leurs persécuteurs. « Je ne sais pas si je suis communiste, mais mon compte en banque, lui, a toujours été dans le rouge ! » rétorque
Woody Guthrie, le barde de l’Amérique ouvrière, quando on le prie de rendre des comptes. « C’est votre commission qui a des activités antiaméricaines », proteste Humphrey Bogart, « coupable » d’avoir affiché treize ans plus tôt son soutien à la République espagnole.
Victime oubliée de cette pantomime, le compositeur Elmer Bernstein décide de brûler ses vaisseaux : « Les seuls dans cette salle qui minent la Constitution sont mes accusateurs eux-mêmes ! » Plus nombreux sont  des renégats qui décident de « lâcher des noms » pour sauver leur carrière. Les réalisateurs Edward Dmytryk et Elia Kazan sont de ceux-là. L’acteur Sterling Hayden,venu au communisme à la suite de son parachutage dans les maquis titistes, restera taraudé par sa « trahison ». « J’étais un rat ! A cause de moi, mes meilleurs amis ont perdu leur gagne-pain », enrageait-il encore sur son lit de mort.

Ethel et Julius Rosenberg, victimes expiatoires de la paranoia antirouges, ils finiront sur la  chaise électrique en 1953.

Répudiation en direct

On notera que les plus enragés à accabler les accuses – de John Wayne à Ronald Reagan – avaient, à l’inverse de Hayden, contemplé la guerre de loin… Une circonspection qui va manquer à McCarthy pour assurer sa survie politique. Hollywood « nettoyé », le voilà condamné, pour rester à la une, à trouver de nouvelles cibles. Pourquoi pas l’armée, même si,
en pleine guerre froide, elle demeure l’arche sacrée de l’américanisme ? Sûr de son fait, le sénateur taxe ainsi le général Marshall de « tiédeur » face au péril rouge sous prétexte que le « sauveur de l’Europe » refuse d’étendre la guerre de Corée à la Chine… Pour faire bonne mesure, il accuse dans la foulée les Eglises protestantes « de constituer le plus vaste réseau d’aide au communisme de la planète » !
Placé à la tête de la commission du Sénat sur la subversion, le Torquemada du Middle West peut encore se croire intouchable. « Il est libre de convoquer n’ importe quel ministre ou général pour le questionner », rappelled l’avocat Tony Gaenslen. De fait, McCarthy va charger son bras droit, Roy Cohn, le « tombeur » des Rosenberg, de décortiquer le passé du malheureux Ralph
Zwicker, un obscur général soupçonné d’avoir couvert un subalterne « suspect ». Erreur funeste, car Cohn est homosexuel, un travers malencontreux quand son patron clame que « les invertis constituent un risqué pour la sécurité de la nation, car ils sont vulnerable au chantage …
De plus, la presse n’est pas longue à découvrir que le second du sénateur a tenté d’obtenir une affectation de complaisance pour son amant appelé sous les drapeaux… La salle des auditions du Sénat où McCarthy avait brisé tant d’existences va être le théâtre de son anéantissement. Fred Fisher, l’avocat de l’armée, évite d’abord le choc frontal, en protestant que l’honnête
Zwicker a toujours montré un patriotisme sans faille. Fidèle à sa méthode, McCarthy brandit alors la carte d’adhésion d’un stagiaire de Fisher au syndicat des avocats, « une organisation, glapit-il, qui, comme chacun sait, roule pour les rouges ». La salle frémit et 20 millions d’Américains – car les débats sont retransmis en direct – retiennent leur souffle. Fisher profère,
alors, la phrase fatidique que les milliers de victimes du matamore rêvaient de prononcer : « N’avez-vous, sénateur, aucune décence ? Qui vous autorise à vouloir détruire la vie de ce jeune homme ? » D’un seul coup, la peur s’évapore. En une poignée de secondes, le
costaud de saindoux est restitué à sa vraie nature de démagogue haineux. Pour la forme, il profère une dernière fois ses anathèmes mais la mayonnaise ne prend plus. Par 67 voix contre 22, les sénateurs qui, la veille encore, lui faisaient risette le répudient. « Si vous avez besoin d’un véritable ami à Washington,achetez-vous un chien », notait déjà Harry Truman.
Devenu infréquentable, McCarthy noie son amertume dans son verre, au point de trépasser en 1957, trois ans plus tard, de ses excès de boisson. Roy Cohn, lui, sortira presque intact de cette débâcle et il mettra, vingt ans plus tard, ses talents vénéneux au service de l’actuel président (lire l’encadré, ci-dessous). Soyons justes ! Sans McCarthy, Herbert Biberman n’aurait pas
été contraint d’émigrer au Mexique et d’y réaliser le Sel de la terre, chef-d’oeuvre du cinéma social…

Donald Trump dégringolera-t-il de son trône branlant à
la suite d’un tweet de trop ? Après tout, McCarthy régna
quatre ans sur le Sénat, avant d’être englouti par ses outrances. Faitpeu connu, c’est Roy Cohn, l’ex-second du sénateur, qui fut l’un despremiers à détecter chez Trump, lors d’une soirée à New York en 1977,l’envergure d’un présidentiable. « Ils se téléphonaient plusieurs fois par semaine, jusqu’à la mort de Cohn, en 1986 », précise le journalisteJonathan Mahler. De fait, « Roy le cynique » a enseigné à son poulainles rudiments du métier. « Il faut, estimait-il, d’abord comprendre que la mauvaise publicité est quand même de la publicité… » Peu importe qu’Obama soit ou non le « fondateur de l’Etat islamique »et la Suède, vraiment « ravagée par le terrorisme », l’essentiel est d’occuper les unes et d’y rester. Ensuite, désigner un ennemi
d’autant plus mortel qu’il avance masqué. Hier, les communistes,nichés au coeur de l’Etat. Aujourd’hui, les Latinos, supplétifs de laChine, puisqu’ils menacent de l’intérieur la cohésion de la nation.Seul hic : pour durer, Trump est condamné à inventer, chaque jour, denouveaux complots, sous peine d’endurer le sort de McCarthy, jeté aux
oubliettes lorsqu’il se découvrit en panne d’hérétiques à faire rôtir…