https://www.theatlantic.com

  • Hong Kong Protests: Inside the Chaos - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2019/11/escalating-violence-hong-kong-protests/601804

    Par Zeynep Tufekci

    I chatted with two young women, of the many thousands of people who had shown up, right before the police teargassed the park and arrested many of the candidates, beating them up in the process.

    One of the women who chatted with me had baby-blue drawings of stars and the moon on her fingernails. The other had a fashionable hat that matched the color of her surgical mask, her animated eyes shining in the small opening between them. They didn’t have helmets or goggles, and weren’t carrying backpacks with such gear.

    Aren’t you afraid? I asked, gingerly. “We are afraid,” they quickly admitted. They even giggled, but it got serious quickly. This is our last chance, they said very matter-of-factly. If we stand down, nothing will stand between us and mainland China, they said. They talked about Xinjiang, and what China had done to the Uighur minority. I’ve heard about the fate of the Uighurs from so many protesters over the months. China may have wanted to make an example out of the region, but the lesson Hong Kongers took was in the other direction—resist with all your might, because if you lose once, there will be a catastrophe for your people, and the world will ignore it.

    The two women weren’t sure whether they would win. That’s also something I’ve heard often—these protesters aren’t the most optimistic group. No rose-colored glasses here. “But we cannot give up,” one insisted, “because if we do, there will be no future for us anyway. We might as well go down fighting.”

    One of the young women gave me an umbrella: a tool protesters use to shield themselves from the sun, from CCTV cameras, from overhead helicopters, from the blue water laced with pepper spray and fired from water cannons, from tear-gas canisters. They had noticed I didn’t have one, and were worried for me. They had brought extras to share. “You might need this,” one of them said as she handed it to me, and wished me good luck. And then the clouds of tear gas drifted in our direction, as they so often do in Hong Kong these days, and we scattered.

    #Hong_Kong #Zeynep_Tufekci

  • Katie Hill and the Many Victims of “Revenge Porn”
    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/10/katie-hill-and-many-victims-revenge-porn/601198

    As I wrote in Lawfare before Hill’s resignation, this is the first instance of which I am aware when a politically aligned publication has published an explicit photo of an opposition politician for apparent political gain. It’s both a sign of how ugly the political landscape could become and a reminder of how ugly, for the many ordinary people who have suffered this kind of abuse, the world already is.

    […]

    Yet all of this must be separated from the question of whether or not the photos of Hill should have been made public. That, at least, has a clear answer: no. The photographs fit into the category of what is colloquially called “revenge porn” and what experts call “nonconsensual pornography”: explicit images of a person that may or may not have been taken consensually, but that are released to the public without the victim’s approval.

    Hill stated in her speech that the photos of her “were taken without my knowledge, let alone my consent.” She has blamed her husband, whom she is divorcing, for the photos’ release. If her allegations prove true, she will be far from alone: As the law professors Mary Anne Franks and Danielle Citron (a colleague of mine) write, the release of sensitive images or video against the will of the person depicted “is often a form of domestic violence.” The vast majority of victims of this practice are female (though not all: Former Texas Representative Joe Barton appears to have been a victim of the practice in 2017).

    And though research is scant at this point, sexual minorities may be particularly vulnerable. Ari Ezra Waldman, the founder and director of the Institute for CyberSafety, says that nonconsensual pornography of gay women may most commonly be released “when women come out as lesbians after breaking up with men”; the specific circumstances of Hill’s case obviously differ from this scenario, but there is a common thread in that Hill’s male former partner may have retaliated against her by releasing photos of her relationship with a woman.

  • The Problem With Diversity in Computing
    https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/06/tech-computers-are-bigger-problem-diversity/592456

    Tech’s discriminatory culture might never change, no matter how many women and people of color are invited into the room. When Amy Webb broke her ankle, she was forced to hobble around on a walking boot. That inconvenience spawned others : among them, she couldn’t pass through the metal detector at airport TSA PreCheck lines any longer. Instead, she had to use the backscatter machines that produce X-ray images of passengers. Webb, who is a professor at New York University and the author of (...)

    #Google #algorithme #discrimination

    • those people are really committed,” Bobb told me. But their motivation is largely driven by providing access to the existing state of affairs. “They’re compelled by the argument that it just isn’t fair that more people don’t have access to the Google life—the free food and the power and the money,” Bobb said. Their goal is to get more people in the game, not necessarily to change the rules of that game. In this line of thinking, inclusion is first a problem of economic equity; any resulting social or moral benefits would just be gravy.

    • Google’s focus on the “next billion users” entails a better understanding of people of color, he said, but only because the company finally understands that they represent an untapped market for advertising.

    • For Webb, the underrepresentation of women, black people, and others is a real problem, but it’s not the fundamental one. “We’re all discriminated against by computing,” she insisted. Computing professionals constitute a “tribe,” separated from the general public not primarily by virtue of their race, gender, or nationality, but by the exclusive culture of computing education and industry. That culture replaces all knowledge and interests with the pursuit of technological solutions at maximum speed. “Anyone who falls outside of that core group of interests are not being represented,” Webb said. If she’s right, then the problem with computing isn’t just that it doesn’t represent a diverse public’s needs. Instead, the problem with computing is computing.

  • ’National Security’ is the New ’National Defense’ - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/09/the-strange-career-of-national-security/598048

    Invoke national security, and unpopular policies become law—or the law itself may even be suspended. One act of legal levitation was George Bush’s suspension of habeas corpus for foreigners, a move that enabled the Defense Department to lock up so-called “enemy combatants” in Guantanamo Bay without trial, indefinitely. Uttering the magic phrase can make other things disappear. Shelf upon shelf of government documents vanishes from public sight after being shrouded in security classifications. Poof!

    Google NGram, the number of mentions of “national defense” and “national security” in American books from 1900 to 2000.

    #Sécurité_nationale#etats-unis

  • The Rise of Identity Fusion and Allegiance to Trump - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/09/identity-fusion-trump-allegiance/598699

    The idea was never fully formed, and Lecky died at just 48, his work unpublished. But today, the basic concept is seeing a renewed interest from scholars who think Lecky was truly onto something. When the psychologist’s students compiled his writing posthumously, in 1945, the postwar world was grappling with how humans were capable of such catastrophic cruelty. Surely entire armies had not been motivated by their relationships with their mothers. The early science of the mind was beginning to delve into the timeless questions of philosophy and religion: Why do we do destructive things—to others, and to ourselves? Why do we so often act against our own interests? Why would a young boy risk his acceptance to Harvard to pile manure into a school gym?

    These questions meant studying the roots of identity, and how a person could be at peace with being hateful and even dangerous. Now, decades later, an emerging explanation points to something more insidious than the possibility that someone simply identifies with a malicious group or blindly follows a toxic person. Instead, out of a basic need for consistency, we might take on other identities as our own.

    The process of de-fusing, then, might involve offering alternative systems of creating consistency and order. If people who are inclined to fusion have the option to fuse with entities that do not wish to exploit them, and that are generally good or neutral for the world, they might be less likely to fuse with, say, a demagogue. “But, of course,” Dovidio says, “that’s hard.”

    #fusion #psychologie_sociale

  • Tufekci Joins The Atlantic As Contributing Writer - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/press-releases/archive/2019/09/tufekci-joins-atlantic-contributing-writer/598678

    Zeynep Tufekci is joining The Atlantic as a contributing writer, editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg announced today. In this role, Tufekci will write regularly for The Atlantic about the intersection of technology, politics, and society.

    “Zeynep has an uncanny ability, through clear writing and clear thinking, to make the incomprehensible understandable, and to spot trends before most anyone else,” Goldberg said.

    Tufekci will appear at The Atlantic Festival tomorrow in Washington, D.C., in conversation with Goldberg. She will expand on the topics explored in her book, Twitter and Teargas: The Ecstatic, Fragile Politics of Networked Protest in the 21st Century, where she examined the possibilities and perils of modern protest movements that are increasingly rooted in online media.

    Tufekci has been a contributing opinion writer at The New York Times and a columnist for Wired and Scientific American. She is currently an associate professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science and a faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Throughout her research and academic work, Tufekci has studied the convergence of social change, machine intelligence, privacy, and surveillance.

    #Zeynep_Tufekci #The_Atlantic

  • The Problem With Sugar-Daddy Science - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/09/problem-sugar-daddy-science/598231

    The MIT Media Lab has an integrity problem. It’s not just that the lab took donations from Jeffrey Epstein and tried to conceal their source. As that news was breaking, Business Insider reported that the lab’s much-hyped “food computer” didn’t work and that staff had tried to mislead funders into thinking it did. These stories are two sides of the same problem: sugar-daddy science—the distortion of the research process by the pursuit of money from ultra-wealthy donors, no matter how shady.

    The problem is, blank checks never come without strings. Something’s always exchanged: access, status, image. That’s where sugar-daddy science comes in. (Hat tip to Heidi N. Moore, who inspired the term with her Twitter critiques of what she calls sugar-daddy journalism.) Research labs cultivate plutocrats and corporate givers who want to be associated with flashy projects. Science stops being a tool to achieve things people need—clean water, shelter, food, transit, communication—and becomes a fashion accessory. If the labs are sleek, the demos look cool, and they both reflect the image the donor wants, then mission accomplished. Nothing needs to actually work.

    The Media Lab took sugar-daddy science to a new level. Epstein’s interests in science, like a desire to “seed the human race” by impregnating dozens of women and to have his head and penis frozen after his death, were more literally sexual than most. But he didn’t invent the hustle. It’s an old philanthropy problem: Donor gratification takes precedence over results.

    The MIT Media Lab already had a reputation for this before Epstein. Its One Laptop per Child project was a notorious failure. Like the food computer, it was based on a faulty premise (laptops aren’t known to actually make a difference in a child’s education), wildly oversold (the laptops were supposed to be powered by hand crank, but a working hand crank was never actually developed, and all models were powered by electrical cord), and built to fulfill donor dreams rather than a demonstrated real-world need.

    A project for futuristic, bio-inspired design took $125,000 from Epstein and made him a light-up orb as a gift—over objections from students working in the project lab. This lab’s work includes, among truly visionary work like biomanufactured chitin structures, showpiece clothing demos. One set was purported to show how biodesign could help wearers survive harsh conditions on other planets. The clothes are, however, entirely nonfunctional, and were photographed on skinny, half-naked women.

    How do we stop sugar-daddy science? The only long-term solution is to bring back federal funding so researchers can stop relying on donations from the beneficiaries of widening inequality. America’s competitiveness on the world stage depends on research and development. If we can’t make science that actually works, our nation is toast. Writers such as Anand Giridharadas have written relentlessly about reviving public research and other social services. This, however, has to be fixed through the democratic process, which will take time.

    So what can research institutions do to ensure the integrity of their work? There are obvious solutions, such as: Don’t take money from people who are on your banned-donor list for being convicted pedophiles. Basic oversight, like financial audits, can go a long way.

    #Philanthropie #Médialab #MIT #Sugar_Daddy_Science

  • The Problem With Sugar-Daddy Science - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/09/problem-sugar-daddy-science/598231

    research and philanthropy should recognize that improving people’s lives usually involves a series of adjustments to complex systems, not a single revolutionary invention. The Boston-based nonprofit Partners in Health is a model here. It tackles problems that eluded medical charities for decades, such as drug-resistant tuberculosis, by taking on underlying issues—like the malnutrition that makes people vulnerable to TB in the first place—instead of just prescribing drugs. Instead of attempting to build a food computer, a lab could identify a more immediate need, such as cheap, easy-to-clean food-handling equipment, and invent that. No one should fear losing prestige by fixing real problems.

    #MIT #recherche #priorités #santé #philanthrocapitalisme

  • Netanyahou aime la cartographie et s’en sert le plus souvent possible en appui de ses « narrations » et/ou de ses « mensonges »

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu loves maps. Considering them a helpful tool to illustrate his view of global affairs, he often brings them along to public speeches, to briefings with the press and to hearings in the Knesset.

    1. Annexion de la Vallée du Jourdain (septembre 2019)

    In election pitch, Netanyahu vows to annex Jordan Valley right away if reelected | The Times of Israel
    https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-campaign-pitch-netanyahu-vows-to-annex-jordan-valley-if-reelected

    In election pitch, Netanyahu vows to annex Jordan Valley right away if reelected
    PM says ‘diplomatic conditions have ripened’ for move ‘immediately’; pledges to later apply sovereignty to all West Bank settlements, but with ‘maximum coordination’ with US

    2. Reconnaissance de l’annexion du plateau du Golan (mai 2019)

    Netanyahu shows off Trump’s map of Israel with Golan Heights | The Times of Israel
    https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-shows-off-trumps-map-of-israel-with-golan-heights

    Netanyahu shows off Trump’s map of Israel with Golan Heights
    In bid to play down political chaos and focus on his foreign policy chops before going on to skewer rival Liberman, PM whips out gift from Kushner on which Trump scribbled ‘nice’

    3. Les cinq ennemis d’Israël (juillet 2016)

    In Netanyahu’s new illustrated world, Israel has just five enemies | The Times of Israel

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-netanyahus-new-illustrated-world-israel-has-just-five-enemies

    In Netanyahu’s new illustrated world, Israel has just five enemies
    The PM this week prepared a map to show MKs how he sees Israel’s place among the nations. It makes for fascinating, and surprisingly optimistic, viewing

    4. Abbas exige de Netanyahou qu’il dessine une carte proposant deux États (avril2013)

    ’Abbas calls on Netanyahu to draw two-state map’ - Middle East - Jerusalem Post
    https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Abbas-calls-on-Netanyahu-to-draw-two-state-map-308855
    https://images.jpost.com/image/upload/f_auto,fl_lossy/t_Article2016_Control/211814

    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has demanded a map for a future Palestinian state before the resumption of any peace talks, Palestinian news agency Ma’an quoted an aide as saying on Friday.

    5. Netanyahou présente une drôle de carte « prouvant » les risque iraniens devant les membres de l’AIPAC aux Etats-Unis (mai 2015)

    Benjamin Netanyahu used this strange map to show the reach of Iranian-backed terrorists - Business Insider

    https://www.businessinsider.com/benjamin-netanyahu-used-this-strange-map-to-show-the-reach-of-irani

    Benjamin Netanyahu just used this strange map to show AIPAC the reach of Iranian-backed terrorists

    Armin Rosen

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference on Monday. He defended his coming and highly controversial speech to Congress, arguing that the US and Israel were strategically and sentimentally close enough to weather even major disagreements.

    6. Netanyahou montre comment il colorie le monde en bleu (mars 2018)

    Netanyahu At AIPAC : Together, U.S. And Israel Are « Coloring The World Blue » | Video | RealClearPolitics

    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/03/06/benjamin_netanyahus_full_aipac_speech.html

    We’re coloring the world blue," he said about Israel, in front of a map of I’ve been to Africa 3 times in 18 months I’ve been to South America, Latin America— in the 70 years in the history of America of PM never went south of Texas? I love Texas but yeah, I do. We went to Argentina, we went to Columbia, to Mexico, and they said come back, we want more. That is changing. All these countries are coming to us, India, China Mongolia, Kazakhstan, all of it. Azerbaijan, Muslim countries. [For the] First time I visited Australia, tremendous, far away though. We’re coloring the world blue."

    6. Netanyahou prouve l’existence de bases de lancement de missile à Beyrouth (octobre 2018)

    Benjamin Netanyahu points to map of Beirut missile sites at UN - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-03/benjamin-netanyahu-points-to-map-of-beirut-missile-sites-at-un/10331672

    Benjamin Netanyahu points to map of Beirut missile sites at UN

    Posted 2 Oct 2018, 10:21pm

    Benjamin Netanyahu points to guided missile sites in Beirut during his UN address on September 27.

    7. Netanyahou propose une carte pour un statut « final » pour un État palestinien... (janvier 2014)

    Bibi’s final status map leaves little room for Palestine

    https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/01/settlements-map-two-state-netanyahu-israel-palestine.html

    The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is about the map — who gets what and how much of historic Palestine. US Secretary of State John Kerry may well have an opinion about this — it is hard to believe that he does not — but President Barack Obama’s White House has yet to decide whether to break with the history of the last four decades and draw an American picture of what the states of Israel and Palestine should look like.

    No such hesitation is to be found among the Palestine Liberation Organization and its chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, the signatories to the Arab Peace Initiative or members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). They accept the June 4, 1967, border as the line dividing the state of Israel from the yet-to-be-created state of Palestine. They are prepared to consider modifications to this map, the so-called land swaps, not because they want to, but in order to satisfy Israel’s territorial demands over this demarcation.

    8. Netanyahou et la bombe (iranienne) illustrée" (septembre 2012)

    Bibi and the bomb | The Times of Israel

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/bibi-and-the-bomb

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (who goes by the cutesy dimunitive Bibi), had his say last night at the United Nations, telling the world about Iran’s nuclear threat with the aid of a comical-looking bomb sketch. Now the talking heads, or writing heads, scramble to have their say, running buck wild to make their opinions heard like a pack of Jews at a sour cream versus applesauce debate.

    9. Netanyahou montre les sites nucléaires secrets dans la région de Téhéran" (avril 2018)

    What Netanyahu Said and Didn’t Say About Iran’s Nuclear Program - The Atlantic

    https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/04/netanyahu-iran-nuclear-program/559295

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a speech Monday that he billed as showing “something that the world has never seen.” He vowed to provide evidence of Iran’s duplicity over its nuclear program, and especially its obligations to the nuclear agreement Tehran signed in 2015 with the world’s powers. But much of the speech concerned details of Iran’s covert nuclear program from the years 1999 to 2003, and it provided no smoking-gun evidence that those programs were continuing in violation of the deal—something that would have given Donald Trump’s administration the justification it might be looking for to withdraw from it.

    Here’s what the speech, which was made mostly in English (ostensibly for a Western audience), did say about Iran’s nuclear program.

    #netanyahou #cartographie #manipulation #visualisation #mensonge #iran #israël #rhétorique #narrations #illustration

  • What Happens If You Don’t Pay a Hospital Bill? - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/08/medical-bill-debt-collection/596914

    Eventually, collectors might opt to sue you, in which case they might be able to garnish your wages or put a lien on your property. Antico estimates, based on an ADP report, that about 1.5 percent of American employees have a garnishment on their wages for a medical reason.

    [...]

    After trying to collect on their own behalf for a while, some hospitals and doctors’ offices sell their debt to debt buyers, who pay pennies for each dollar owed, then try their hardest to simply collect more than they paid. Why hospitals sell their debt is a matter of debate, but several consumer lawyers speculated that it’s because hospitals don’t want their good names associated with aggressive debt-collection tactics. They’d rather leave the intimidating calls to a more anonymous-sounding organization like Pendrick Capital Partners, one prominent medical-debt buyer. That way the hospital at least gets paid a small amount right away, instead of holding out for the full sum.

    #systéme_de_santé #états-unis

  • How Facebook Dating Is Different From Other Dating Apps - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2019/09/how-facebook-dating-different-other-dating-apps/597610

    By all accounts, people still love using Tinder, Bumble, and other apps like them, or at least begrudgingly accept them as the modern way to find dates or partners. Last year, Tinder’s user base worldwide was estimated to be about 50 million. But when shopping through every potential date in your geographic area with little more to go on than a photo and a couple of lines of bio becomes the norm, people can feel burned-out, and long for the days of offline dating.

    Facebook, a gigantic online repository for information about nearly 3 billion people’s hobbies, social circles, family members, job and education history, and relationship history—in other words, a gigantic online repository for people’s context—appears to have been paying attention to these gripes. Facebook’s matchmaking service, called Facebook Dating, launched Thursday in the United States after debuting in 19 other countries earlier this year, and it is explicitly trying to inject some of the more human aspects back into online dating through features that mimic the ways in which people used to meet-cute before the Tinder age.

    Facebook Dating, which lives within the Facebook mobile app in a separate tab (it’s not available on the Facebook desktop site), promises to connect singles who opt into the service by algorithmically matching them according to geography and shared “interests, events, and groups”; users have the option of “unlocking” certain Facebook groups they’re part of and certain Facebook events they’ve RSVPed to in order to match with other group members or attendees. It also gives users the option of pulling biographical data from their Facebook page to populate their Facebook Dating profile: name, age, location, job title, photos.

    Within the app’s privacy settings, users can also opt in or opt out of matching with their Facebook friends’ Facebook friends. The app does not match people with their own Facebook friends, unless explicitly directed to: The “Secret Crush” feature allows users to identify up to nine of their Facebook friends as people they have a crush on, and “no one will know that you’ve entered their name,” according to Facebook’s Newsroom blog, unless your name also appears on their Secret Crush list. In that case, Facebook Dating notifies both parties. (Facebook makes no mention of what happens if two, three, or—God forbid—all nine of a person’s crushes indicate that the secret crush is reciprocated.)

    Fugère also questioned whether Facebook Dating could find success among what one would have to assume is its target market—single people in their 20s and 30s. While Facebook is aiming to re-create virtually the experience of meeting someone in person, it’s not clear whether users will want so much information transmitted online between themselves and someone they still have not actually met

    #Sites_rencontre #Facebook #Tinder

  • The Mississippi Delta’s History of Black Land Theft - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/09/this-land-was-our-land/594742

    Major audits and investigations of the USDA have found that illegal pressures levied through its loan programs created massive transfers of wealth from black to white farmers, especially in the period just after the 1950s. In 1965, the United States Commission on Civil Rights uncovered blatant and dramatic racial differences in the level of federal investment in farmers. The commission found that in a sample of counties across the South, the FmHA provided much larger loans for small and medium-size white-owned farms, relative to net worth, than it did for similarly sized black-owned farms—evidence that racial discrimination “has served to accelerate the displacement and impoverishment of the Negro farmer.”

    #agriculture #terres #Delta_du_Mississippi #racisme #discrimination #vol_de_terres #Louisiane

  • How Alcohol Conquered Russia
    https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/09/how-alcohol-conquered-russia/279965

    A history of the country’s struggle with alcoholism, and why the government has done so little about it.

    Update: A previous version of this story gave insufficient credit to a 2011 World Policy Journal article by Heidi Brown. The story has been updated better to reflect instances where our writer relied on Brown’s work and to provide clearer attribution to other sources he consulted.

    Picture the Russian alcoholic: nose rosy, face unshaven, a bottle of vodka firmly grasped in his hands. By his side he has a half-empty jar of pickles and a loaf of rye bread to help the devilish substance go down. The man is singing happily from alcohol-induced jubilation. His world may not be perfect, but the inebriation makes it seem that way.

    Today, according to the World Health Organization, one-in-five men in the Russian Federation die due to alcohol-related causes, compared with 6.2 percent of all men globally. In her 2000 article “First Steps: AA and Alcoholism in Russia,” Patricia Critchlow estimated that some 20 million Russians are alcoholics in a nation of just 144 million.

    The Russian alcoholic was an enduring fixture during the Tsarist times, during the times of the Russian Revolution, the times of the Soviet Union, during the transition from socialist autocracy to capitalist democracy, and he continues to be in Russian society today. As Heidi Brown described in her 2011 article for World Policy Journal, the prototypical Russian alcoholic sits on broken park benches or train station steps, smoking a cigarette and thinking about where his next drink will come from and whether he can afford it.

    The Russian government has repeatedly tried to combat the problem, but to little avail: “this includes four ... reforms prior to 1917, and larger-scale measures taken during the Soviet period in 1958, 1972, and 1985. After each drastically stepped-up anti-alcohol campaign, [Russian] society found itself faced with an even greater spread of drunkenness and alcoholism,” explains G.G. Zaigraev, professor of Sociological Sciences and Head Science Associate of the Institute of Sociology at the Russian Academy of Sciences, in the journal Sociological Research.

    “The Kremlin’s own addiction to liquor revenues has overturned many efforts to wean Russians from the tipple,” as Mark Lawrence Schrad wrote in the The New York Times last year. “Ivan the Terrible encouraged his subjects to drink their last kopecks away in state-owned taverns” to help pad the emperor’s purse.

    “Before Mikhail Gorbachev rose to power in the 1980s, Soviet leaders welcomed alcohol sales as a source of state revenue and did not view heavy drinking as a significant social problem,” as Critchlow put it. In 2010, Russia’s finance minister, Aleksei L. Kudrin, explained that the best thing Russians can do to help, “the country’s flaccid national economy was to smoke and drink more, thereby paying more in taxes.”

    By facilitating alcohol sales and distribution, the Kremlin has historically had considerable sway in recent decades. But Russia’s history with alcohol goes back centuries.

    In the year 988, Prince Vladimir converted his nation to Orthodox Christianity, in part because, unlike other religions, it didn’t prohibit drinking, as Brown explained in her World Policy Journal article. According to legend, monks at the Chudov Monastery in the Kremlin were the first to lay their lips on vodka in the late 15th century, but as Russian writer, Victor Erofeyev notes, “Almost everything about this story seems overly symbolic: the involvement of men of God, the name of the monastery, which no longer exists (chudov means “miraculous”), and its setting in the Russian capital.” In 1223, when the Russian army suffered a devastating defeat against the invading Mongols and Tartars, it was partly because they had charged onto the battlefield drunk, Brown wrote.

    Ivan the Terrible established kabaks (establishments where spirits were produced and sold) in the 1540s, and in the 1640s they had become monopolies. In 1648, tavern revolts broke out across the country, by which time a third of the male population was in debt to the taverns. In the 1700s, Russian rulers began to profit from their subjects’ alcoholism, as Brown, who spent 10 years covering Russia for Forbes magazine, explained. “[Peter the Great] decreed that the wives of peasants should be whipped if they dared attempt to drag their imbibing husbands out of taverns before the men were ready to leave.”

    Peter the Great was also, according to Brown, able to form a phalanx of unpaid workers by allowing those who had drunk themselves into debt to stay out of debtors prison by serving 25 years in the army.

    “Widespread and excessive alcohol consumption was tolerated, or even encouraged, because of its scope for raising revenue,” Martin McKee wrote in the journal Alcohol & Alcoholism. According to Brown, by the 1850s, vodka sales made up nearly half the Russian government’s tax revenues. Following the Russian Revolution in 1917, Lenin banned vodka. After his death, however, Stalin used vodka sales to help pay for the socialist industrialization of the Soviet Union. By the 1970s, receipts from alcohol again constituted a third of government revenues. One study found that alcohol consumption more than doubled between 1955 and 1979, to 15.2 liters per person.

    Some have claimed that heavy consumption of alcohol was also used as a means of reducing political dissent and as a form of political suppression. Russian historian and dissident Zhores Medvedev argued in 1996, “This ‘opium for the masses’ [vodka] perhaps explains how Russian state property could be redistributed and state enterprises transferred into private ownership so rapidly without invoking any serious social unrest.” Vodka, always a moneymaker in Russia, may have been a regime-maker as well.

    *

    To date, there have been only two expansive anti-alcohol campaigns in Russia, both of which took place during the Soviet Union: one under Vladimir Lenin and the other under Mikhail Gorbachev. All other leaders have either ignored alcoholism or acknowledged heavy alcohol consumption but did nothing substantial about it. As Critchlow wrote, “Under the Stalin, Khrushchev, and Brezhnev regimes, harsh penalties were imposed on those who committed crimes while intoxicated, but heavy drinking was not viewed as a threat to society, perhaps because the leaders, who themselves liked to indulge, saw the use of alcohol as a safety valve for low morale.”

    “Gorbachev announced ... legislation in May 1985, after a large-scale media campaign publicizing the Kremlin’s new war on alcoholism—the third most common Soviet ailment after heart disease and cancer,” Nomi Morris and Jack Redden wrote in Maclean’s.

    It was largely seen as the most determined and effective plan to date: The birthrate rose, life expectancy increased, wives started seeing their husbands more, and work productivity improved. However, after a spike in alcohol prices and a decrease in state alcohol production, some started hoarding sugar to make moonshine, and others poisoned themselves with substances such as antifreeze, as Erofeyev points out. The people’s displeasure with Gorbachev’s anti-alcohol campaign can be summarized by an old Soviet joke: “There was this long line for vodka, and one poor guy couldn’t stand it any longer: ‘I’m going to the Kremlin, to kill Gorbachev,’ he said. An hour later, he came back. The line was still there, and everyone asked him, ‘Did you kill him?’ ‘Kill him?!’ he responded. ‘The line for that’s even longer than this one!’”

    Despite Gorbachev’s efforts, by the end of the Soviet era, alcoholism still had a stronghold in Russia. Its success ultimately lead to its failure: spending on alcohol from state outlets fell by billions of rubles between 1985 and 1987. Authorities expected that the loss in revenue would be offset by a predicted 10 percent rise in productivity, but such predictions were ultimately not met.

    Following the fall of the Soviet Union, the state’s monopoly over alcohol was repealed in 1992, which lead to an exponential increase in alcohol supply. In 1993, alcohol consumption had reached 14.5 liters of pure alcohol per person, as the journal World Health found in 1995, making Russians some of the heaviest drinkers in the world.

    To date, “taxation on alcohol remains low, with the cheapest bottles of vodka costing just 30 rubles ($1) each,” as Tom Parfitt explained in the Lancet in 2006. “There is a simple answer to why so many Russians fall prey to alcohol…it’s cheap. Between 30-60% of alcohol is clandestinely made, and therefore untaxed. A large quantity is run off on ‘night shifts’ at licensed factories where state inspectors are bribed to remove tags on production lines at the end of the working day.”

    Vladimir Putin has criticized excessive drinking, and Dmitri Medvedev has called Russia’s alcoholism a “natural disaster,” but besides the rhetoric, little has been done to tighten regulations on the manufacture of liquor, and no coherent programs have been implemented to combat alcoholism. Gennady Onishchenko, Chief Public Health Inspector of the Russian Federation, has urged major spending on the treatment of alcoholism as a response to the tripling of alcohol-related mortality since 1990, arguing that prohibition and excise tax hikes are counterproductive.

    Today, the dominant “treatment for alcoholism in Russia are suggestion-based methods developed by narcology—the subspecialty of Russian psychiatry which deals with addiction,” as Eugene Raikhel wrote in Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry. Narcology, otherwise referred to as ‘coding’, is a procedure intended to create a subconscious aversion to alcohol, as Critchlow explained.

    “While many aspects of addiction treatment in Russia had been radically transformed during the 1990s, the overall structure of the state-funded network had not changed significantly since the 1970s, when the Soviet narcological system was established,” wrote Eugene Raikhel of the University of Chicago. Other, less common methods that have been used to treat alcohol and drug addiction include brain “surgery” with a needle and “boiling” patients by raising their body temperatures, as Critchlow noted, which is intended to ease severe withdrawal symptoms. Conventional treatments for alcoholism, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, are available in Russia, but they are not officially recognized by the Kremlin and do not receive government funds, making them scarce and very poorly funded.

    The Russian Orthodox Church has met self-help programs with suspicion as well. Critchlow explained, “Despite their record of success with many alcoholics and drug addicts, the self-help programs Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous . . . have [been] met with resistance in Russia, especially from the medical profession, government officials, and the Russian Orthodox Church clergy.” She further wrote, “Members of the Russian Orthodox clergy have expressed distrust of the self-help movement, often because of the perception of it as a religious cult invading the country.”

    In 2010, the Church described AA as an "effective instrument in rehabilitating drug and alcohol addicts,” while saying it would develop its own alcohol program.

    Meanwhile, many Russians still prefer more traditional remedies. “I went to the AA and I couldn’t believe my ears. They have no God and they say that they conquer alcoholism themselves. That fills them with pride,” one Orthodox believer wrote on his blog. "I went back to the Church. There, they conquer it with prayer and fasting.”

    #Russie #alcool #politique #histoire #santé

  • The Military-Style Surveillance Technology Being Tested in American Cities
    https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/08/military-style-surveillance-air-often-legal/595063

    In the eyes of the law, there’s no difference between a photo taken by a smartphone through an airplane window and one taken by an ultrapowerful camera in a helicopter hovering over your backyard. Say you’re on a commercial flight and you pass over a city. You pull out your phone and take a picture. Much of the area that you have photographed is private property, but have you violated anybody’s privacy ? You’d probably say no, and you’d be right. But what if, instead of your phone, you use a (...)

    #NSA #CCTV #aérien #vidéo-surveillance #surveillance

  • For Syrians in #Istanbul, fears rise as deportations begin

    Turkey is deporting Syrians from Istanbul to Syria, including to the volatile northwest province of #Idlib, according to people who have been the target of a campaign launched last week against migrants who lack residency papers.

    The crackdown comes at a time of rising rhetoric and political pressure on the country’s 3.6 million registered Syrian refugees to return home. Estimates place hundreds of thousands of unregistered Syrians in Turkey, many living in urban areas such as Istanbul.

    Refugee rights advocates say deportations to Syria violate customary international law, which prohibits forcing people to return to a country where they are still likely to face persecution or risk to their lives.

    Arrests reportedly began as early as 13 July, with police officers conducting spot-checks in public spaces, factories, and metro stations around Istanbul and raiding apartments by 16 July. As word spread quickly in Istanbul’s Syrian community, many people shut themselves up at home rather than risk being caught outside.

    It is not clear how many people have been deported so far, with reported numbers ranging from hundreds to a thousand.

    “Deportation of Syrians to their country, which is still in the midst of armed conflict, is a clear violation of both Turkish and international law.”

    Turkey’s Ministry of Interior has said the arrests are aimed at people living without legal status in the country’s most populous city. Istanbul authorities said in a Monday statement that only “irregular migrants entering our country illegally [will be] arrested and deported.” It added that Syrians registered outside Istanbul would be obliged to return to the provinces where they were first issued residency.

    Mayser Hadid, a Syrian lawyer who runs a law practice catering to Syrians in Istanbul, said that the “deportation of Syrians to their country, which is still in the midst of armed conflict, is a clear violation of both Turkish and international law,” including the “return of Syrians without temporary protection cards.”

    Istanbul authorities maintain that the recent detentions and deportations are within the law.

    Starting in 2014, Syrian refugees in Turkey have been registered under “temporary protection” status, which grants the equivalency of legal residency and lets holders apply for a work permit. Those with temporary protection need special permission to work or travel outside of the area where they first applied for protection.

    But last year, several cities across the country – including Istanbul – stopped registering newly-arrived Syrians.

    In the Monday statement, Istanbul authorities said that Syrians registered outside of the city must return to their original city of registration by 20 August. They did not specify the penalty for those who do not.

    Barely 24 hours after the beginning of raids last week, Muhammad, a 21-year-old from Eastern Ghouta in Syria, was arrested at home along with his Syrian flatmates in the Istanbul suburb of Esenler.

    Muhammad, who spoke by phone on the condition of anonymity for security reasons – as did all Syrian deportees and their relatives interviewed for this article – said that Turkish police officers had forced their way into the building. “They beat me,” he said. “I wasn’t even allowed to take anything with me.”

    Muhammad said that as a relatively recent arrival, he couldn’t register for temporary protection and had opted to live and work in Istanbul without papers.

    After his arrest, Muhammad said, he was handcuffed and bundled into a police van, and transferred to a detention facility on the eastern outskirts of the city.

    There, he said, he was forced to sign a document written in Turkish that he couldn’t understand and on Friday was deported to Syria’s Idlib province, via the Bab al-Hawa border crossing.
    Deportation to Idlib

    Government supporters say that Syrians have been deported only to the rebel-held areas of northern Aleppo, where the Turkish army maintains a presence alongside groups that it backs.

    A representative from Istanbul’s provincial government office did not respond to a request for comment, but Youssef Kataboglu, a pro-government commentator who is regarded as close to the government, said that “Turkey only deports Syrians to safe areas according to the law.”

    He denied that Syrians had been returned to Idlib, where a Syrian government offensive that began in late April kicked off an upsurge in fighting, killing more than 400 civilians and forcing more than 330,000 people to flee their homes. The UN said on Monday alone, 59 civilians were killed, including 39 when a market was hit by airstrikes.

    Kataboglu said that deportation to Idlib would “be impossible.”

    Mazen Alloush, a representative of the border authorities on the Syrian side of the Bab al-Hawa crossing that links Turkey with Idlib, said that more than 3,800 Syrians had entered the country via Bab al-Hawa in the past fortnight, a number he said was not a significant change from how many people usually cross the border each month.

    The crossing is controlled by rebel authorities affiliated to Tahrir a-Sham, the hardline Islamist faction that controls most of Idlib.

    “A large number of them were Syrians trying to enter Turkish territory illegally,” who were caught and forced back across, Alloush said, but also “those who committed offences in Turkey or requested to return voluntarily.”

    “We later found out that he’d been deported to Idlib.”

    He added that “if the Turkish authorities are deporting [Syrians] through informal crossings or crossings other than Bab al-Hawa, I don’t have information about it.”

    Other Syrians caught up in the crackdown, including those who did have the proper papers to live and work in Istanbul, confirmed that they had been sent to Idlib or elsewhere.

    On July 19, Umm Khaled’s son left the family’s home without taking the documents that confirm his temporary protection status, she said. He was stopped in the street by police officers.

    “They [the police] took him,” Umm Khaled, a refugee in her 50s originally from the southern Damascus suburbs, said by phone. “We later found out that he’d been deported to Idlib.”

    Rami, a 23-year-old originally from eastern Syria’s Deir Ezzor province, said he was deported from Istanbul last week. He was carrying his temporary protection status card at the time of his arrest, he added.

    "I was in the street in Esenler when the police stopped me and asked for my identity card,” he recalled in a phone conversation from inside Syria. “They checked it, and then asked me to get on a bus.”

    Several young Syrian men already on board the bus were also carrying protection documents with them, Rami said.

    “The police tied our hands together with plastic cords,” he added, describing how the men were then driven to a nearby police station and forced to give fingerprints and sign return documents.

    Rami said he was later sent to northern Aleppo province.
    Rising anti-Syrian sentiment

    The country has deported Syrians before, and Human Rights Watch and other organisations have reported that Turkish security forces regularly intercept and return Syrian refugees attempting to enter the country. As conflict rages in and around Idlib, an increasing number of people are still trying to get into Turkey.

    Turkey said late last year that more than 300,000 Syrians have returned to their home country voluntarily.

    A failed coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in July 2016 led to an emergency decree that human rights groups say was used to arrest individuals whom the government perceived as opponents. Parts of that decree were later passed into law, making it easier for authorities to deport foreigners on the grounds that they are either linked to terrorist groups or pose a threat to public order.

    The newest wave of deportations after months of growing anti-Syrian sentiment in political debate and on the streets has raised more questions about how this law might be used, as well as the future of Syrian refugees in Turkey.

    In two rounds of mayoral elections that ended last month with a defeat for Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the winning candidate, Ekrem İmamoğlu of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), repeatedly used anti-Syrian rhetoric in his campaign, capitalising on discontent towards the faltering economy and the increasingly contentious presence of millions of Syrian refugees.

    Shortly after the elections, several incidents of mob violence against Syrian-owned businesses took place. Widespread anti-Syrian sentiment has also been evident across social media; after the mayoral election trending hashtags on Twitter reportedly included “Syrians get out”.

    As the deportations continue, the families of those sent back are wondering what they can do.

    “By God, what did he do [wrong]?” asked Umm Khaled, speaking of her son, now in war-torn Idlib.

    “His mother, father, and all his sisters are living here legally in Turkey,” she said. “What are we supposed to do now?”

    https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news/2019/07/23/syrians-istanbul-fears-rise-deportations-begin
    #Turquie #asile #migrations #réfugiés_syriens #réfugiés #Syrie #renvois #expulsions #peur

    • Des milliers de migrants arrêtés à Istanbul en deux semaines

      Mardi, le ministre de l’intérieur a indiqué que l’objectif de son gouvernement était d’expulser 80 000 migrants en situation irrégulière en Turquie, contre 56 000 l’an dernier.

      C’est un vaste #coup_de_filet mené sur fond de fort sentiment antimigrants. Les autorités turques ont annoncé, mercredi 24 juillet, avoir arrêté plus de 6 000 migrants en deux semaines, dont des Syriens, vivant de manière « irrégulière » à Istanbul.

      « Nous menons une opération depuis le 12 juillet (…). Nous avons attrapé 6 122 personnes à Istanbul, dont 2 600 Afghans. Une partie de ces personnes sont des Syriens », a déclaré le ministre de l’intérieur, Suleyman Soylu, dans une interview donnée à la chaîne turque NTV. Mardi, ce dernier a indiqué que l’objectif de son gouvernement était d’expulser 80 000 migrants en situation irrégulière en Turquie, contre 56 000 l’an dernier.

      M. Soylu a démenti que des Syriens étaient expulsés vers leur pays, déchiré par une guerre civile meurtrière depuis 2011, après que des ONG ont affirmé avoir recensé des cas de personnes renvoyées en Syrie. « Ces personnes, nous ne pouvons pas les expulser. (…) Lorsque nous attrapons des Syriens qui ne sont pas enregistrés, nous les envoyons dans des camps de réfugiés », a-t-il affirmé, mentionnant un camp dans la province turque de Hatay, frontalière de la Syrie. Il a toutefois assuré que certains Syriens choisissaient de rentrer de leur propre gré en Syrie.

      La Turquie accueille sur son sol plus de 3,5 millions de Syriens ayant fui la guerre, dont 547 000 sont enregistrés à Istanbul. Les autorités affirment n’avoir aucun problème avec les personnes dûment enregistrées auprès des autorités à Istanbul, mais disent lutter contre les migrants vivant dans cette ville alors qu’ils sont enregistrés dans d’autres provinces, voire dans aucune province.

      Le gouvernorat d’Istanbul a lancé lundi un ultimatum, qui expire le 20 août, enjoignant les Syriens y vivant illégalement à quitter la ville. Un groupement d’ONG syriennes a toutefois indiqué, lundi, que « plus de 600 Syriens », pour la plupart titulaires de « cartes de protection temporaires » délivrées par d’autres provinces turques, avaient été arrêtés la semaine dernière à Istanbul et renvoyés en Syrie.

      La Coalition nationale de l’opposition syrienne, basée à Istanbul, a déclaré mardi qu’elle était entrée en contact avec les autorités turques pour discuter des dernières mesures prises contre les Syriens, appelant à stopper les « expulsions ». Son président, Anas al-Abda, a appelé le gouvernement turc à accorder un délai de trois mois aux Syriens concernés pour régulariser leur situation auprès des autorités.

      Ce tour de vis contre les migrants survient après la défaite du parti du président Recep Tayyip Erdogan lors des élections municipales à Istanbul, en juin, lors desquelles l’accueil des Syriens s’était imposé comme un sujet majeur de préoccupation les électeurs.

      Pendant la campagne, le discours hostile aux Syriens s’était déchaîné sur les réseaux sociaux, avec le mot-dièse #LesSyriensDehors. D’après une étude publiée début juillet par l’université Kadir Has, située à Istanbul, la part des Turcs mécontents de la présence des Syriens est passée de 54,5 % en 2017 à 67,7 % en 2019.

      https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2019/07/24/des-milliers-de-migrants-arretes-a-istanbul-en-deux-semaines_5492944_3210.ht
      #arrestation #arrestations

    • Turkey Forcibly Returning Syrians to Danger. Authorities Detain, Coerce Syrians to Sign “Voluntary Return” Forms

      Turkish authorities are detaining and coercing Syrians into signing forms saying they want to return to Syria and then forcibly returning them there, Human Rights Watch said today. On July 24, 2019, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu denied that Turkey had “deported” Syrians but said that Syrians “who voluntarily want to go back to Syria” can benefit from procedures allowing them to return to “safe areas.”

      Almost 10 days after the first reports of increased police spot-checks of Syrians’ registration documents in Istanbul and forced returns of Syrians from the city, the office of the provincial governor released a July 22 statement saying that Syrians registered in one of the country’s other provinces must return there by August 20, and that the Interior Ministry would send unregistered Syrians to provinces other than Istanbul for registration. The statement comes amid rising xenophobic sentiment across the political spectrum against Syrian and other refugees in Turkey.

      “Turkey claims it helps Syrians voluntarily return to their country, but threatening to lock them up until they agree to return, forcing them to sign forms, and dumping them in a war zone is neither voluntary nor legal,” said Gerry Simpson, associate Emergencies director. “Turkey should be commended for hosting record numbers of Syrian refugees, but unlawful deportations are not the way forward.”

      Turkey shelters a little over 3.6 million Syrian Refugees countrywide who have been given temporary protection, half a million of them in Istanbul. This is more refugees than any other country in the world and almost four times as many as the whole European Union (EU).

      The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says that “the vast majority of Syrian asylum-seekers continue to … need international refugee protection” and that it “calls on states not to forcibly return Syrian nationals and former habitual residents of Syria.”

      Human Rights Watch spoke by phone with four Syrians who are in Syria after being detained and forcibly returned there.

      One of the men, who was from Ghouta, in the Damascus countryside, was detained on July 17 in Istanbul, where he had been living unregistered for over three years. He said police coerced him and other Syrian detainees into signing a form, transferred them to another detention center, and then put them on one of about 20 buses headed to Syria. They are now in northern Syria.

      Another man, from Aleppo, who had been living in Gaziantep in southeast Turkey since 2013, said he was detained there after he and his brother went to the police to complain about an attack on a shop that they ran in the city. He said the police transferred them from the Gaziantep Karşıyaka police station to the foreigners’ deportation center at Oğuzeli, holding them there for six days and forcing them to sign a deportation form without telling them what it was. On July 9, the authorities forcibly returned the men to Azaz in Syria via the Öncüpınar/Bab al Salama border gate near the Turkish town of Kilis, Human Rights Watch also spoke by phone with two men who said the Turkish coast guard and police intercepted them at checkpoints near the coast as they tried to reach Greece, detained them, and coerced them into signing and fingerprinting voluntary repatriation forms. The authorities then deported them to Idlib and northern Aleppo governorate.

      One of the men, a Syrian from Atmeh in Idlib governorate who registered in the Turkish city of Gaziantep in 2017, said the Turkish coast guard intercepted him on July 9. He said [“Guvenlik”] “security” held him with other Syrians for six days in a detention facility in the town of Aydın, in western Turkey. He said the guards verbally abused him and other detainees, punched him in the chest, and coerced him into signing voluntary repatriation papers. Verbally abusive members of Turkey’s rural gendarmerie police forces [jandarma] deported him on July 15 to Syria with about 35 other Syrians through the Öncüpınar/Bab al-Salameh border crossing.

      He said that there were others in the Aydin detention center who had been there for up to four months because they had refused to sign these forms.

      The second man said he fled Maarat al-Numan in 2014 and registered in the Turkish city of Iskenderun. On July 4, police stopped him at a checkpoint as he tried to reach the coast to take a boat to Greece and took him to the Aydin detention facility, where he said the guards beat some of the other detainees and shouted and cursed at them.

      He said the detention authorities confiscated his belongings, including his Turkish registration card, and told him to sign forms. When he refused, the official said they were not deportation forms but just “routine procedure.” When he refused again, he was told he would be detained indefinitely until he agreed to sign and provided his fingerprints. He said that the guards beat another man who had also refused, so he felt he had no choice but to sign. He was then put on a bus for 27 hours with dozens of other Syrians and deported through the Öncüpınar/Bab al-Salameh border crossing.

      In addition, journalists have spoken with a number of registered and unregistered Syrians who told them by phone from Syria that Turkish authorities detained them in the third week of July, coerced them into signing and providing a fingerprint on return documents. The authorities then deported them with dozens, and in some cases as many as 100, other Syrians to Idlib and northern Aleppo governorate through the Cilvegözü/Bab al-Hawa border crossing.

      More than 400,000 people have died because of the Syrian conflict since 2011, according to the World Bank. While the nature of the fighting in Syria has changed, with the Syrian government retaking areas previously held by anti-government groups and the battle against the Islamic State (ISIS) winding down, profound civilian suffering and loss of life persists.

      In Idlib governorate, the Syrian-Russian military alliance continues to indiscriminately bomb civilians and to use prohibited weapons, resulting in the death of at least 400 people since April, including 90 children, according to Save the Children. In other areas under the control of the Syrian government and anti-government groups, arbitrary arrests, mistreatment, and harassment are still the status quo.

      The forcible returns from Turkey indicate that the government is ready to double down on other policies that deny many Syrian asylum seekers protection. Over the past four years, Turkey has sealed off its border with Syria, while Turkish border guards have carried out mass summary pushbacks and killed and injured Syrians as they try to cross. In late 2017 and early 2018, Istanbul and nine provinces on the border with Syria suspended registration of newly arriving asylum seekers. Turkey’s travel permit system for registered Syrians prohibits unregistered Syrians from traveling from border provinces they enter to register elsewhere in the country.

      Turkey is bound by the international customary law of nonrefoulement, which prohibits the return of anyone to a place where they would face a real risk of persecution, torture or other ill-treatment, or a threat to life. This includes asylum seekers, who are entitled to have their claims fairly adjudicated and not be summarily returned to places where they fear harm. Turkey may not coerce people into returning to places where they face harm by threatening to detain them.

      Turkey should protect the basic rights of all Syrians, regardless of registration status, and register those denied registration since late 2017, in line with the Istanbul governor’s July 22 statement.

      On July 19, the European Commission announced the adoption of 1.41 billion euros in additional assistance to support refugees and local communities in Turkey, including for their protection. The European Commission, EU member states with embassies in Turkey, and the UNHCR should support Turkey in any way needed to register and protect Syrians, and should publicly call on Turkey to end its mass deportations of Syrians at the border and from cities further inland.

      “As Turkey continues to shelter more than half of registered Syrian refugees globally, the EU should be resettling Syrians from Turkey to the EU but also ensuring that its financial support protects all Syrians seeking refuge in Turkey,” Simpson said.

      https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/07/26/turkey-forcibly-returning-syrians-danger
      #retour_volontaire

    • Turquie : à Istanbul, les réfugiés vivent dans la peur du racisme et de la police

      Depuis quelques semaines, le hashtag #StopDeportationsToSyria (#SuriyeyeSınırdışınaSon) circule sur les réseaux sociaux. Il s’accompagne de témoignages de Syriens qui racontent s’être fait arrêter par la police turque à Istanbul et renvoyer en Syrie. Les autorités turques ont décidé de faire la chasse aux réfugiés alors que les agressions se multiplient.

      Le 21 juillet, alors qu’il fait ses courses, le jeune Amjad Tablieh se fait arrêter par la police turque à Istanbul. Il n’a pas sa carte de protection temporaire – kimlik – sur lui et la police turque refuse d’attendre que sa famille la lui apporte : « J’ai été mis dans un bus avec d’autres syriens. On nous a emmenés au poste de police de Tuzla et les policiers on dit que nous serions envoyés à Hatay [province turque à la frontière syrienne] ». La destination finale sera finalement la Syrie.

      Étudiant et disposant d’un kimlik à Istanbul, Amjad ajoute que comme les autres syriens arrêtés ce jour-là, il a été obligé de signer un document reconnaissant qu’il rentrait volontairement en Syrie. Il tient à ajouter qu’il a « vu des personnes se faire frapper pour avoir refusé de signer ce document ». Étudiant en architecture, Hama est arrivé à Istanbul il y a quatre mois pour s’inscrire à l’université. Il a été arrêté et déporté car son kimlik a été délivré à Gaziantep, près de la frontière avec la Syrie. Amr Dabool, également enregistré dans la ville de Gaziantep, a quant à lui été expulsé en Syrie alors qu’il tentait de se rendre en Grèce.
      Pas de statut de réfugié pour les Syriens en Turquie

      Alors que des récits similaires se multiplient sur les réseaux sociaux, le 22 juillet, les autorités d’Istanbul ont annoncé que les Syriens disposant de la protection temporaire mais n’étant pas enregistrés à Istanbul avaient jusqu’au 20 août pour retourner dans les provinces où ils sont enregistrés, faute de quoi ils seront renvoyés de force dans des villes choisies par le ministère de l’Intérieur. Invité quelques jours plus tard à la télévision turque, le ministre de l’intérieur Süleyman Soylu a nié toute expulsion, précisant que certains Syriens choisissaient « de rentrer de leur propre gré en Syrie ».

      Sur les 3,5 millions de Syriens réfugiés en Turquie, ils sont plus de 500 000 à vivre à Istanbul. La grande majorité d’entre eux ont été enregistrés dans les provinces limitrophes avec la Syrie (Gaziantep ou Urfa) où ils sont d’abord passés avant d’arriver à Istanbul pour travailler, étudier ou rejoindre leur famille. Depuis quelques jours, les contrôles se renforcent pour les renvoyer là où ils sont enregistrés.

      Pour Diane al Mehdi, anthropologue et membre du Syrian Refugees Protection Network, ces refoulements existent depuis longtemps, mais ils sont aujourd’hui plus massifs. Le 24 juillet, le ministre de l’intérieur a ainsi affirmé qu’une opération visant les réfugiés et des migrants non enregistrés à Istanbul avait menée à l’arrestation, depuis le 12 juillet, de 1000 Syriens. Chaque jour, environ 200 personnes ont été expulsées vers le nord de la Syrie via le poste frontière de Bab al-Hawa, précise la chercheuse. « Ces chiffres concernent principalement des Syriens vivant à Istanbul », explique-t-elle.

      Le statut d’« invité » dont disposent les Syriens en Turquie est peu clair et extrêmement précarisant, poursuit Diane al Mehdi. « Il n’y a pas d’antécédents légaux pour un tel statut, cela participe à ce flou et permet au gouvernement de faire un peu ce qu’il veut. » Créé en 2013, ce statut s’inscrivait à l’époque dans une logique de faveur et de charité envers les Syriens, le gouvernement ne pensant alors pas que la guerre en Syrie durerait. « À l’époque, les frontières étaient complètement ouvertes, les Syriens avaient le droit d’être enregistrés en Turquie et surtout ce statut comprenait le principe de non-refoulement. Ces trois principes ont depuis longtemps été bafouées par le gouvernement turc. »

      Aujourd’hui, les 3,5 millions de Syriens réfugiés en Turquie ne disposent pas du statut de réfugié en tant que tel. Bien que signataire de la Convention de Genève, Ankara n’octroie le statut de réfugié qu’aux ressortissants des 47 pays membres du Conseil de l’Europe. La Syrie n’en faisant pas partie, les Syriens ont en Turquie un statut moins protecteur encore que la protection subsidiaire : il est temporaire et révocable.
      #LesSyriensDehors : « Ici, c’est la Turquie, c’est Istanbul »

      Si le Président Erdoğan a longtemps prôné une politique d’accueil des Syriens, le vent semble aujourd’hui avoir tourné. En février 2018, il déclarait déjà : « Nous ne sommes pas en mesure de continuer d’accueillir 3,5 millions de réfugiés pour toujours ». Et alors qu’à Istanbul la possibilité d’obtenir le kimlik a toujours été compliquée, depuis le 6 juillet 2019, Istanbul n’en délivre officiellement plus aucun selon Diane al Mehdi.

      Même si le kimlik n’offre pas aux Syriens la possibilité de travailler, depuis quelques années, les commerces aux devantures en arabe sont de plus en plus nombreux dans rues d’Istanbul et beaucoup de Syriens ont trouvé du travail dans l’économie informelle, fournissant une main-d’œuvre bon marché. Or, dans un contexte économique difficile, avec une inflation et un chômage en hausse, les travailleurs syriens entrent en concurrence avec les ressortissants turcs et cela accroît les tensions sociales.

      Au printemps dernier, alors que la campagne pour les élections municipales battait son plein, des propos hostiles accompagnés des hashtags #SuriyelilerDefoluyor (« Les Syriens dehors ») ou #UlkemdeSuriyeliIstemiyorum (« Je ne veux pas de Syriens dans mon pays ») se sont multipliés sur les réseaux sociaux. Le candidat d’opposition et aujourd’hui maire d’Istanbul Ekrem Imamoglu, étonné du nombre d’enseignes en arabe dans certains quartiers, avait lancé : « Ici, c’est la Turquie, c’est Istanbul ».

      Après la banalisation des propos anti-syriens, ce sont les actes de violence qui se sont multipliés dans les rues d’Istanbul. Fin juin, dans le quartier de Küçükçekmece, une foule d’hommes a attaqué des magasins tenus par des Syriens. Quelques jours plus tard, les autorités d’Istanbul sommaient plus de 700 commerçants syriens de turciser leurs enseignes en arabe. Publié dans la foulée, un sondage de l’université Kadir Has à Istanbul a confirmé que la part des Turcs mécontents de la présence des Syriens est passée de 54,5 % en 2017 à 67,7 % en 2019.
      Climat de peur

      Même s’ils ont un kimlik, ceux qui ne disposent pas d’un permis de travail - difficile à obtenir - risquent une amende d’environs 550 euros et leur expulsion vers la Syrie s’ils sont pris en flagrant délit. Or, la police a renforcé les contrôles d’identités dans les stations de métro, les gares routières, les quartiers à forte concentration de Syriens mais aussi sur les lieux de travail. Cette nouvelle vague d’arrestations et d’expulsions suscite un climat de peur permanente chez les Syriens d’Istanbul. Aucune des personne contactée n’a souhaité témoigner, même sous couvert d’anonymat.

      « Pas protégés par les lois internationales, les Syriens titulaires du kimlik deviennent otages de la politique turque », dénonce Syrian Refugees Protection Network. Et l’[accord signé entre l’Union européenne et Ankara au printemps 2016 pour fermer la route des Balkans n’a fait que détériorer leur situation en Turquie. Pour Diane al-Mehdi, il aurait fallu accorder un statut qui permette aux Syriens d’avoir un avenir. « Tant qu’ils n’auront pas un statut fixe qui leur permettra de travailler, d’aller à l’école, à l’université, ils partiront en Europe. » Selon elle, donner de l’argent - dont on ne sait pas clairement comment il bénéficie aux Syriens - à la Turquie pour que le pays garde les Syriens n’était pas la solution. « Évidemment, l’Europe aurait aussi dû accepter d’accueillir plus de Syriens. »

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Turquie-a-Istanbul-les-refugies-vivent-dans-la-peur-du-racisme-et

    • En Turquie, les réfugiés syriens sont devenus #indésirables

      Après avoir accueilli les réfugiés syriens à bras ouverts, la Turquie change de ton. Une façon pour le gouvernement Erdogan de réagir aux crispations qu’engendrent leur présence dans un contexte économique morose.

      Les autorités avaient donné jusqu’à mardi soir aux migrants sans statut légal pour régulariser leur situation, sous peine d’être expulsés. Mais selon plusieurs ONG, ces expulsions ont déjà commencé et plus d’un millier de réfugiés ont déjà été arrêtés. Quelque 600 personnes auraient même déjà été reconduites en Syrie.

      « Les policiers font des descentes dans les quartiers, dans les commerces, dans les maisons. Ils font des contrôles d’identité dans les transports en commun et quand ils attrapent des Syriens, ils les emmènent au bureau de l’immigration puis les expulsent », décrit Eyup Ozer, membre du collectif « We want to live together initiative ».

      Le gouvernement turc dément pour sa part ces renvois forcés. Mais cette vague d’arrestations intervient dans un climat hostile envers les 3,6 millions de réfugiés syriens installés en Turquie.

      Solidarité islamique

      Bien accueillis au début de la guerre, au nom de la solidarité islamique défendue par le président turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan dans l’idée de combattre Bachar al-Assad, ces réfugiés syriens sont aujourd’hui devenus un enjeu politique.

      Retenus à leur arrivée dans des camps, parfois dans des conditions difficiles, nombre d’entre eux ont quitté leur point de chute pour tenter leur chance dans le reste du pays et en particulier dans les villes. A Istanbul, le poumon économique de la Turquie, la présence de ces nouveaux-venus est bien visible. La plupart ont ouvert des commerces et des restaurants, et leurs devantures, en arabe, agacent, voire suscitent des jalousies.

      « L’économie turque va mal, c’est pour cette raison qu’on ressent davantage les effets de la crise syrienne », explique Lami Bertan Tokuzlu, professeur de droit à l’Université Bilgi d’Istanbul. « Les Turcs n’approuvent plus les dépenses du gouvernement en faveur des Syriens », relève ce spécialiste des migrations.
      Ressentiment croissant

      Après l’euphorie économique des années 2010, la Turquie est confrontée depuis plus d’un an à la dévaluation de sa monnaie et à un taux de chômage en hausse, à 10,9% en 2018.

      Dans ce contexte peu favorable et alors que les inégalités se creusent, la contestation s’est cristallisée autour de la question des migrants. Celle-ci expliquerait, selon certains experts, la déroute du candidat de Recep Tayyip Erdogan à la mairie d’Istanbul.

      Conscient de ce ressentiment dans la population et des conséquences potentielles pour sa popularité, le président a commencé à adapter son discours dès 2018. L’ultimatum lancé à ceux qui ont quitté une province turque où ils étaient enregistrés pour s’installer à Istanbul illustre une tension croissante.

      https://www.rts.ch/info/monde/10649380-en-turquie-les-refugies-syriens-sont-devenus-indesirables.html

    • Europe’s Complicity in Turkey’s Syrian-Refugee Crackdown

      Ankara is moving against Syrians in the country—and the European Union bears responsibility.

      Under the cover of night, Turkish police officers pushed Ahmed onto a large bus parked in central Istanbul. In the darkness, the Syrian man from Damascus could discern dozens of other handcuffed refugees being crammed into the vehicle. Many of them would not see the Turkish city again.

      Ahmed, who asked that his last name not be used to protect his safety, was arrested after police discovered that he was registered with the authorities not in Istanbul, but in a different district. Turkish law obliges Syrian refugees with a temporary protection status to remain in their locale of initial registration or obtain separate permission to travel, and the officers reassured him he would simply be transferred back to the right district.

      Instead, as dawn broke, the bus arrived at a detention facility in the Istanbul suburb of Pendik, where Ahmed said he was jostled into a crowded cell with 10 others and no beds, and received only one meal a day, which was always rotten. “The guards told us we Syrians are just as rotten inside,” he told me. “They kept shouting that Turkey will no longer accept us, and that we will all go back to Syria.”

      Ahmed would spend more than six weeks in the hidden world of Turkey’s so-called removal centers. His account, as well as those of more than half a dozen other Syrians I spoke to, point to the systemic abuse, the forced deportations, and, in some cases, the death of refugees caught in a recent crackdown here.
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      Yet Turkey is not the only actor implicated. In a deeper sense, the backlash also exposes the long-term consequences of the European Union’s outsourcing of its refugee problem. In March 2016, the EU entered into a controversial deal with Turkey that halted much of the refugee influx to Europe in return for an aid package worth €6 billion ($6.7 billion) and various political sweeteners for Ankara. Preoccupied with its own border security, EU decision makers at the time were quick to reassure their critics that Turkey constituted a “safe third country” that respected refugee rights and was committed to the principle of non-refoulement.

      As Europe closed its doors, Turkey was left with a staggering 3.6 million registered Syrian refugees—the largest number hosted by any country in the world and nearly four times as many as all EU-member states combined. While Turkish society initially responded with impressive resilience, its long-lauded hospitality is rapidly wearing thin, prompting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government to take measures that violate the very premise of the EU-Turkey deal.

      Last month, Turkish police launched operations targeting undocumented migrants and refugees in Istanbul. Syrian refugees holding temporary protection status registered in other Turkish districts now have until October 30 to leave Istanbul, whereas those without any papers are to be transferred to temporary refugee camps in order to be registered.

      Both international and Turkish advocates of refugee rights say, however, that the operation sparked a wave of random arrests and even forced deportations. The Istanbul Bar Association, too, reported its Legal Aid Bureau dealt with 3.5 times as many deportation cases as in June, just before the operation was launched. UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, and the European Commission have not said whether they believe Turkey is deporting Syrians. But one senior EU official, who asked for anonymity to discuss the issue, estimated that about 2,200 people were sent to the Syrian province of Idlib, though he said it was unclear whether they were forcibly deported or chose to return. The official added that, were Turkey forcibly deporting Syrians, this would be in explicit violation of the principle of non-refoulement, on which the EU-Turkey deal is conditioned.

      The Turkish interior ministry’s migration department did not respond to questions about the allegations. In a recent interview on Turkish television, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said that “it is not possible for us to deport any unregistered Syrian” and insisted that returns to Syria were entirely voluntary.

      Ahmed and several other Syrian refugees I spoke to, however, experienced firsthand what voluntary can look like in practice.

      After being transferred from the facility in Pendik to a removal center in Binkılıç, northwest of Istanbul, Ahmed said he was pressured into signing a set of forms upon arrival. The female official in charge refused to explain the papers’ contents, he said. As Ahmed was about to sign and fingerprint the last document, he noticed she was deliberately using her fingers to cover the Arabic translation of the words voluntary return. When he retracted his finger, she called in the guards, who took Ahmed to a nearby bathroom with another Syrian who had refused to sign. There, he said, the two were intimidated for several hours, and he was shown images of a man who had been badly beaten and tied to a chair with plastic tape. According to Ahmed, an official told him, “If you don’t sign, you’ll end up like that.”

      The other Syrian present at the time, Hussein, offered a similar account. In a phone interview from Dubai, where he escaped to after negotiating deportation to Malaysia instead of Syria, Hussein, who asked to be identified by only his first name to protect relatives still in Turkey, detailed the abuse in the same terms as Ahmed, and added that he was personally beaten by one of the guards. When the ordeal was over, both men said, the other Syrians who had arrived with them were being taken to a bus, apparently to be deported.

      Ahmed was detained in Binkılıç for a month before being taken to another removal center in nearby Kırklareli, where he said he was made to sleep outside in a courtyard together with more than 100 other detainees. The guards kept the toilets locked throughout the day, he said, so inmates had to either wait for a single 30-minute toilet break at night or relieve themselves where they were sleeping. When Ahmed fell seriously ill, he told me, he was repeatedly denied access to a doctor.

      After nine days in Kırklareli, the nightmare suddenly ended. Ahmed was called in by the facility’s management, asked who he was, and released when it became clear he did in fact hold temporary protection status, albeit for a district other than Istanbul. The Atlantic has seen a photo of Ahmed’s identity card, as well as his release note from the removal center.

      The EU has funded many of the removal centers in which refugees like Ahmed are held. As stated in budgets from 2010 and 2015, the EU financed at least 12 such facilities as part of its pre-accession funding to Turkey. And according to a 2016 report by an EU parliamentary delegation, the removal center in Kırklareli in which Ahmed was held received 85 percent of its funding from the EU. The Binkılıç facility, where Syrians were forced to sign return papers, also received furniture and other equipment funded by Britain and, according to Ahmed, featured signs displaying the EU and Turkish flags.

      It is hard to determine the extent to which the $6.7 billion allocated to Ankara under the 2016 EU-Turkey deal has funded similar projects. While the bulk of it went to education, health care, and direct cash support for refugees, a 2018 annual report also refers to funding for “a removal center for 750 people”—language conspicuously replaced with the more neutral “facility for 750 people” in this year’s report.

      According to Kati Piri, the European Parliament’s former Turkey rapporteur, even lawmakers like her struggle to scrutinize the precise implementation of EU-brokered deals on migration, which include agreements not just with Turkey, but also with Libya, Niger, and Sudan.

      “In this way, the EU becomes co-responsible for human-rights violations,” Piri said in a telephone interview. “Violations against refugees may have decreased on European soil, but that’s because we outsourced them. It’s a sign of Europe’s moral deficit, which deprives us from our credibility in holding Turkey to account.” According to the original agreement, the EU pledged to resettle 72,000 Syrian refugees from Turkey. Three years later, it has taken in less than a third of that number.

      Many within Turkish society feel their country has simply done enough. With an economy only recently out of recession and many Turks struggling to make a living, hostility toward Syrians is on the rise. A recent poll found that those who expressed unhappiness with Syrian refugees rose to 67.7 percent this year, from 54.5 percent in 2017.

      Just as in Europe, opposition parties in Turkey are now cashing in on anti-refugee sentiment. In municipal elections this year, politicians belonging to the secularist CHP ran an explicitly anti-Syrian campaign, and have cut municipal aid for refugees or even banned Syrians’ access to beaches since being elected. In Istanbul, on the very evening the CHP candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu was elected mayor, a jubilantly racist hashtag began trending on Twitter: “Syrians are fucking off” (#SuriyelilerDefoluyor).

      In a statement to The Atlantic, a Turkish foreign-ministry spokesperson said, “Turkey has done its part” when it came to the deal with the EU. “The funds received amount to a fraction of what has been spent by Turkey,” the text noted, adding that Ankara expects “more robust support from the EU” both financially and in the form of increased resettlements of Syrian refugees from Turkey to Europe.

      Though international organizations say that more evidence of Turkey’s actions is needed, Nour al-Deen al-Showaishi argues the proof is all around him. “The bombs are falling not far from here,” he told me in a telephone interview from a village on the outskirts of Idlib, the Syrian region where he said he was sent. Showaishi said he was deported from Turkey in mid-July after being arrested in the Istanbul neighborhood of Esenyurt while having coffee with friends. Fida al-Deen, who was with him at the time, confirmed to me that Showaishi was arrested and called him from Syria two days later.

      Having arrived in Turkey in early 2018, when the governorate of Istanbul had stopped giving out identity cards to Syrians, Showaishi did not have any papers to show the police. Taken to a nearby police station, officers assured him that he would receive an identity card if he signed a couple of forms. When he asked for more detail about the forms, however, they changed tactics and forced him to comply.

      Showaishi was then sent to a removal center in Tuzla and, he said, deported to Syria the same day. He sent me videos to show he was in Idlib, the last major enclave of armed resistance against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. According to the United Nations, the region contains 3 million people, half of them internally displaced, and faces a humanitarian disaster now that Russia and the Assad regime are stepping up an offensive to retake the territory.

      The only way out leads back into Turkey, and, determined to prevent yet another influx of refugees, Ankara has buttressed its border.

      Still, Hisham al-Steyf al-Mohammed saw no other option. The 21-year-old was deported from Turkey in mid-July despite possessing valid papers from the governorate of Istanbul, a photo of which I have seen. Desperate to return to his wife and two young children, he paid a smuggler to guide him back to Turkey, according to Mohammed Khedr Hammoud, another refugee who joined the perilous journey.

      Shortly before sunset on August 4, Hammoud said, a group of 13 refugees set off from the village of Dirriyah, a mile from the border, pausing in the mountains for the opportune moment to cross into Turkey. While they waited, Mohammed knelt down to pray, but moments later, a cloud of sand jumped up next to him. Realizing it was a bullet, the smuggler called for the group to get moving, but Mohammed lay still. “I crawled up to him and put my ear on his heart,” Hammoud told me, “but it wasn’t beating.” For more than an hour, he said, the group was targeted by bullets from Turkish territory, and only at midnight was it able to carry Mohammed’s body away.

      I obtained a photo of Mohammed’s death certificate issued by the Al-Rahma hospital in the Darkoush village in Idlib. The document, dated August 5, notes, “A bullet went through the patient’s right ear, and came out at the level of the left neck.”

      The Turkish interior ministry sent me a statement that largely reiterated an article published in Foreign Policy last week, in which an Erdoğan spokesman said Mohammed was a terror suspect who voluntarily requested his return to Syria. He offered no details on the case, though.

      Mohammed’s father, Mustafa, dismissed the spokesman’s argument, telling me in an interview in Istanbul, “If he really did something wrong, then why didn’t they send him to court?” Since Mohammed had been the household’s main breadwinner, Mustafa said he now struggled to feed his family, including Mohammed’s 3-month-old baby.

      Yet he is not the only one struck by Mohammed’s death. In an interview in his friend’s apartment in Istanbul, where he has returned but is in hiding from the authorities, Ahmed had just finished detailing his week’s long detention in Turkey’s removal centers when his phone started to buzz—photos of Mohammed’s corpse were being shared on Facebook.

      “I know him!” Ahmed screamed, clasping his friend’s arm. Mohammed, he said, had been with him in the removal center in Binkılıç. “He was so hopeful to be released, because he had a valid ID for Istanbul. But when he told me that he had been made to sign some forms, I knew it was already too late.”

      “If I signed that piece of paper,” Ahmed said, “I could have been dead next to him.”

      It is this thought that pushes Ahmed, and many young Syrians like him, to continue on to Europe. He and his friend showed me videos a smuggler had sent them of successful boat journeys, and told me they planned to leave soon.

      “As long as we are in Turkey, the Europeans can pretend that they don’t see us,” Ahmed concluded. “But once I go there, once I stand in front of them, I am sure that they will care about me.”

      https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2019/08/europe-turkey-syria-refugee-crackdown/597013
      #responsabilité

  • America’s Forgotten History of Illegal Deportations

    In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the country carried out a wave of unconstitutional raids that affected as many as 1.8 million people. Is it on the verge of doing so again?

    It was a time of economic struggle, racial resentment and increasing xenophobia. Installed in the White House was a president who had never before held elected office. A moderately successful businessman, he promised American jobs for Americans—and made good on that promise by slashing immigration by nearly 90 percent.

    He wore his hair parted down the middle, rather than elaborately piled on top, and his name was Herbert Hoover, not Donald Trump. But in the late 1920s and early 1930s, under the president’s watch, a wave of illegal and unconstitutional raids and deportations would alter the lives of as many as 1.8 million men, women and children—a threat that would seem to loom just as large in 2017 as it did back in 1929.

    What became colloquially known as the “Mexican repatriation” efforts of 1929 to 1936 are a shameful and profoundly illustrative chapter in American history, yet they remain largely unknown—despite their broad and devastating impact. So much so that today, a different president is edging towards similar solutions, with none of the hesitation or concern that basic consciousness would seem to require.

    Indeed, in the last several weeks, President Trump ordered the Department of Homeland Security to greatly increase not only the scope of potential deportees, but the speed at which they are being sent out of the country—a bid at “stabilization” borne of many of the same nationalist anxieties that plagued his predecessor nearly a century ago.
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    In his address to a joint session of Congress last week, the president painted a dark portrait of America’s immigrant population: “As we speak tonight,” he intoned, “we are removing gang members, drug dealers and criminals that threaten our communities and prey on our very innocent citizens.” It was the same foreboding message that Trump has espoused since he announced his candidacy, and yet there remains very little evidence to support it.

    Several weeks ago, Trump’s White House circulated a draft executive order aimed at “protecting U.S. jobs,” one that would shut America’s doors to immigrants most likely to require public assistance (including reduced school lunches) as well as tightly control who is able to enter the American workforce. It was very nearly Hoover’s rallying cry—American jobs for Americans—heard once again.

    In his speech on Tuesday, the president repeated this plan:

    Protecting our workers also means reforming our system of legal immigration. The current, outdated system depresses wages for our poorest workers and puts great pressure on taxpayers. Nations around the world, like Canada, Australia and many others, have a merit-based immigration system. It’s a basic principle that those seeking to enter a country ought to be able to support themselves financially. Yet in America we do not enforce this rule, straining the very public resources that our poorest citizens rely upon.

    Back in Hoover’s era, as America hung on the precipice of economic calamity—the Great Depression—the president was under enormous pressure to offer a solution for increasing unemployment, and to devise an emergency plan for the strained social safety net. Though he understood the pressing need to aid a crashing economy, Hoover resisted federal intervention, instead preferring a patchwork of piecemeal solutions, including the targeting of outsiders.

    According to former California State Senator Joseph Dunn, who in 2004 began an investigation into the Hoover-era deportations, “the Republicans decided the way they were going to create jobs was by getting rid of anyone with a Mexican-sounding name.”

    “Getting rid of” America’s Mexican population was a random, brutal effort. “For participating cities and counties, they would go through public employee rolls and look for Mexican-sounding names and then go and arrest and deport those people,” said Dunn. “And then there was a job opening!”

    “We weren’t rounding up people who were Canadian,” he added. “It was an absolutely racially-motivated program to create jobs by getting rid of people.”

    Why, specifically, men and women of Mexican heritage? Professor Francisco Balderrama, whose book, A Decade of Betrayal: Mexican Repatriation in the 1930s is the most definitive chronicle of the period (and, not coincidentally, one of the only ones), explained: “Mexican immigration was very recent. It goes back to that saying: Last hired, first fired. The attitude of many industrialists and agriculturalists was reflected in larger cities: A Mexican is a Mexican.” And that included even those citizens of Mexicans descent who were born in the U.S. “That is sort of key in understanding the psychic of the nation,” said Balderrama.

    The so-called repatriation effort was, in large part, a misnomer, given the fact that as many as sixty percent of those sent to “home” Mexico were U.S. citizens: American-born children of Mexican-descent who had never before traveled south of the border. (Dunn noted, “I don’t know how you can repatriate someone to a country they’ve not been born or raised in.”)

    “Individuals who left at 5, 6 and 7 years old found themselves in Mexico dealing with process of socialization, of learning the language, but they maintained an American identity,” said Balderrama. “And still had the dream to come back to ‘my country.’”

    The raids, as detailed in Balderrama’s chronicle, were vicious. With national concerns over the supposed burden that outsiders were putting on social welfare agencies, authorities targeted those Mexicans utilizing public resources. “In Los Angeles,” explained Balderrama, “they had orderlies who gathered people [in the hospitals] and put them in stretchers on trucks and left them at the border.”

    The efforts were equally chaotic. “The first raid in Los Angeles was in 1931—they surrounded La Placita Park near downtown L.A.,” Dunn recalled. “It was a heavily Latino area. They, literally, on a Sunday afternoon, rounded everyone up in park that day, took them to train station and put them on a train that they had leased. These people were taken to Central Mexico to minimize their chances of crossing the border and coming back to the U.S.”

    Dunn continued, “It was not like there was a master committee mapping out blocks. It was more fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants. As in, Here’s a park where Mexicans go, okay let’s go there.”

    Mexicans in the United States—and Americans of Mexican descent—had little understanding of what was happening, and what their rights were. Elena Herrada, one of the founders of the oral history project, “Los Repatriados: Exiles from the Promised Land,” is the grandchild of Mexican-Americans who were targeted in the raids. Her grandparents, she recalled, lived in a “mostly Mexican neighborhood” in Detroit, known as Court Town.

    “It was the welfare officials who were doing it. A worker came to the door,” Herrada said. “My father remembered his father being asked by the worker, Where are you from?”

    “My dad was really puzzled,” she said. “Because his father didn’t want to say ‘Mexico’. My father was confused because he had always been a proud Mexican.”

    The family, Herrada recounted, was “de-patriated” to Mexico.

    “My grandfather didn’t have work at the time, and they were forcing them to leave. There was no gun put to his to head, but [they said he] wouldn’t be eligible to receive assistance—and he would starve.”

    “Many people didn’t believe they had a choice,” Herrada explained, “so they didn’t resist. My family didn’t believe they had a choice.”

    Herrada’s father and uncle would spend two years in Mexico before his parents were able to bring him back to the United States—after her grandfather, a veteran of the U.S. Army, returned to the country and once again found work.

    If American deportees made it back to America, according to Dunn, it was often because a friend or family member back in the States managed to obtain a copy of their birth certificate, proof of citizenship. And if they weren’t U.S. citizens, by the onset of World War II and the departure of much of the able-bodied workforce to the front, Mexican labor was back in demand: bodies were needed for low-paying agricultural work, and the xenophobia subsided under the auspices of the Bracero Program (a bilateral agreement between the U.S. and Mexico, the program brought Mexican workers to the states for short-term labor).

    But some never made it back to America. “We are who we are because of what people did in that moment,” said Herrada.

    Each state handled the raids differently—sometimes federal agents were involved, sometimes it was social workers and local law enforcement who targeted people for removal. Hoover’s precise role in directing the deportation efforts is unclear, but, according to Professor Kevin Johnson, Dean of the UC Davis School of Law, and a specialist in public interest law and Chicano studies, “There was a lot of correspondence between the different levels of government, and there was logistical support.” This support included reimbursing states for the chartering of busses and trains to transport people to Mexico.

    Deportations took place across the country: Los Angeles had the largest concentration of Mexicans and Mexican-born Americans, but communities in Detroit were also targeted in large number. “America’s most industrial city was in many ways the promise of the age in terms of economic prosperity,” according to Balderrama, and because of this, its Mexicans and citizens of Mexicans-descent were not exempt from deportation. “The archival evidence points to a full map, across the nation,” said Balderrama. There were deportations in states as far flung as Alaska, Alabama and Mississippi.

    And yet, confirming the precise number of people who were deported during this era is difficult, said Balderrama. “Both governments”—Mexico and the United States—“weren’t very interested in keeping records about what happened. It was a problem and they wanted to get rid of it. That’s why the numbers are very difficult.”

    Dunn, however, spent nearly three years doing archival research, enlisting his state senate staff to comb through federal, state and local records in a bid to reconcile California’s tortured legacy. He feels confident in his citation of 1.8 million people deported. “That number came out of several documents we got from the federal government,” he told me.

    Beyond the travesty inflicted upon hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens, the Mexican deportations of the 1920s and 1930s are also shocking—and at this moment, particularly enlightening—for the illegalities visited upon non-citizens. Trump is unlikely to willfully deport American citizens, but he appears perilously close to replicating many of the mistakes Hoover did as it concerned the undocumented. And given the number of mixed-status families in the U.S.—as of 2015, 16.6 million Americans lived in residences with at least one undocumented immigrant—these deportations will affect citizens and non-citizens alike.

    Johnson said that in hindsight, it is clear Hoover’s deportations were a violation of “several constitutional rights,” including the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause and the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure.

    “Now it’s very clear that some of those provisions apply to immigrants in the U.S. The Supreme Court has made very clear that as long as you’re in the U.S., you have a right to due process and hearing. That doesn’t mean you can’t be removed,” said Johnson. “But you have the ability to retain counsel.”

    Johnson said that many immigrants—especially those who have been here for any extended amount of time, may have “deep community ties—to citizens, churches, employers.” The longer someone is in the U.S., he explained, “the more of those ties you have, and the deeper your rights are.”

    He pointed out that this legal reality, “is an issue right now because the White House is making efforts to expedite and expand deportations. But it means no hearing, no judicial review; it could be ready as a summary deportation.”

    Further, the expedited deportations can now occur beyond one hundred miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, and can target people who have been here for as many as two years. “Imagine what can happen in two years,” said Johnson. “All kinds of relief you might be eligible for, but you might not even have a hearing. The reason you have hearings is to try and avoid mistakes: If you don’t … you are probably going to have some mistakes tolerated and accepted.”

    Perhaps more than anything, the humanitarian cost of the Hoover-era deportations are the specter that looms largest over Trump’s immigration policy of today. Given the burden mass deportations would have placed on the federal bureaucracy, Hoover’s administration outsourced the raids, targeting and deportation to local and state officials—persons not particularly well versed in constitutional law, nor the sensitivities surrounding deportation.

    Trump appears ready to do the same: while the administration has directed the hiring of 10,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to oversee the dramatic increase in deportations, the administration has also revived the controversial 287(g) program, which recruits local law enforcement and sheriff’s deputies to assist in deportations.

    “It’s frightening and terrifying,” said Johnson. “We have a recent history—one not limited to the 1930s—of law enforcement engaging in excess in the name of law enforcement.”

    “I may be suspicious of ICE officials and how they apply the law,” he added, “but I do think they are trained to enforce the laws. And it’s the job of state and local police to enforce criminal laws—they don’t have the training, expertise or sensitivity to enforce accurate immigration decisions.”

    And yet it’s unclear if federal agents are the ones who intend on showing any particular restraint, given the new guidelines. According to the New York Times, ICE agents have already been targeting church shelters, airports and other areas where immigrants are known to convene.

    Two officials in Washington said that the shift [in policy]— and the new enthusiasm that has come with it — seems to have encouraged pro-Trump political comments and banter that struck the officials as brazen or gung-ho, like remarks about their jobs becoming “fun.” Those who take less of a hard line on unauthorized immigrants feel silenced, the officials said.

    Brazen behavior by those tasked with deportations, Johnson said, “is opening the door to the kinds of excesses that happened ... across the nation during the Depression—when state and local law enforcement made mistakes and rounded up brown people as their way of general relief reduction. I understand why immigrant communities are very frightened about what could happen.”

    In the meantime, only a limited number of Americans seem to even be aware of the gross mistakes their country made in the name of security. While still a state senator, Dunn successfully sponsored the Apology Act, an official mea culpa from the state of California to its Mexican residents—it passed in 2006. He also led efforts to have a memorial erected in La Placita park, the site of the first raids on L.A.’s Mexican community, where it now stands in memoriam.

    And yet, when Dunn took his apology proposal to members of the U.S. Congress, no one was interested. “They would say, ‘Immigration is really volatile right now. We’re gonna look like we’re only fighting for Latinos.’ We couldn’t convince anyone to pick it up.”

    As for all the records and material unearthed during his research? Dunn said, “Those documents are still sitting in my garage. Nobody really wanted them.”

    Those whose families were affected by the deportations—in some cases forever changed—appear no more eager to delve into the sins of the past. “They never talked about it,” said Herrada, “there was a lot of shame associated with it … They didn’t know why they got deported. They didn’t know what they did to bring that on. The only thing they knew was that they were Mexicans—and this only happened to Mexicans.”

    She added, “My grandfather still didn’t want to say he was deported. And my father, on his deathbed, said to me, You know, I never liked that word. He was really angry that I had used it.”

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/03/americas-brutal-forgotten-history-of-illegal-deportations/517971
    #histoire #USA #Etats-Unis #renvois #expulsions #migrations #Mexican_repatriation #Mexique

    signalé par @isskein via la mailing-list de Migreurop

  • Why Don’t Police Catch Serial Rapists? - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/08/an-epidemic-of-disbelief/592807

    As Spada wandered through the warehouse, he made another discovery, one that would help uncover a decades-long scandal, not just in Detroit but across the country. He noticed rows of steel shelving lined with white cardboard boxes, 10 inches tall and a foot wide, stacked six feet high. What are those? he asked a Detroit police officer who was accompanying him. Rape kits, the officer said.

    “I’m assuming they’ve been tested?” Spada said.

    “Oh, they’ve all been tested.”

    Spada pulled out a box and peered inside. The containers were still sealed, indicating that the evidence had never been sent to a lab. He opened four more boxes: the same.

    “I tried to do a quick calculation,” he later told me. “I came up with approximately 10,000.”

    Spada’s estimate was conservative. Eventually 11,341 untested rape kits were found, some dating back more than 30 years—each one a hermetically sealed testament to the most terrifying minutes of a woman’s life, each one holding evidence that had been swabbed or plucked from the most private parts of her body. And in all likelihood, some microscopic part of her assailant—his DNA, his identity—sat in that kit as well.

    #culture_du_viol #patriarcat #police #impunité #justice_nulle_part

  • Democrats and Republicans Passing Soft Regulations - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/06/democrats-and-republicans-passing-soft-regulations/592558

    Your face is no longer just your face—it’s been augmented. At a football game, your face is currency, used to buy food at the stadium. At the mall, it is a ledger, used to alert salespeople to your past purchases, both online and offline, and shopping preferences. At a protest, it is your arrest history. At the morgue, it is how authorities will identify your body.

    Facial-recognition technology stands to transform social life, tracking our every move for companies, law enforcement, and anyone else with the right tools. Lawmakers are weighing the risks versus rewards, with a recent wave of proposed regulation in Washington State, Massachusetts, Oakland, and the U.S. legislature. In May, Republicans and Democrats in the House Committee on Oversight and Reform heard hours of testimony about how unregulated facial recognition already tracks protesters, impacts the criminal-justice system, and exacerbates racial biases. Surprisingly, they agreed to work together to regulate it.

    The Microsoft president Brad Smith called for governments “to start adopting laws to regulate this technology” last year, while the Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy echoed those comments in June, likening the technology to a knife. It’s a less dramatic image than the plutonium and nuclear-waste metaphors critics employ, but his message—coming from an executive at one of the world’s most powerful facial-recognition technology outfits—is clear: This stuff is dangerous.

    But crucially, Jassy and Smith seem to argue, it’s also inevitable. In calling for regulation, Microsoft and Amazon have pulled a neat trick: Instead of making the debate about whether facial recognition should be widely adopted, they’ve made it about how such adoption would work.

    Without regulation, the potential for misuse of facial-recognition technology is high, particularly for people of color. In 2016 the MIT researcher Joy Buolamwini published research showing that tech performs better on lighter-skinned men than on darker-skinned men, and performs worst on darker-skinned women. When the ACLU matched Congress members against a criminal database, Amazon’s Rekognition software misidentified black Congress members more often than white ones, despite there being far fewer black members.

    This includes House Chairman Elijah Cummings, a Baltimore native whose face was also scanned when he attended a 2015 rally in memory of Freddie Gray, the unarmed black teenager who died of a spinal-cord injury while in police custody. The Baltimore Police Department used facial recognition to identify protesters and target any with outstanding warrants. Most of the protesters were black, meaning the software used on them might have been less accurate, increasing the likelihood of misidentification. Expert witnesses at the committee hearing in May warned of a chilling effect: Protesters, wary of being identified via facial recognition and matched against criminal databases, could choose to stay home rather than exercise their freedom of assembly.

    Microsoft and Amazon both claim to have lessened the racial disparity in accuracy since the original MIT study and the ACLU’s report. But fine-tuning the technology to better recognize black faces is only part of the process: Perfectly accurate technology could still be used to support harmful policing, which affects people of color. The racial-accuracy problem is a distraction; how the technology is used matters, and that’s where policy could prevent abuse. And the solution Microsoft and Amazon propose would require auditing face recognition for racial and gender biases after they’re already in use—which might be too late.

    In early May, The Washington Post reported that police were feeding forensic sketches to their facial-recognition software. A witness described a suspect to a sketch artist, then police uploaded the sketch to Amazon’s Rekognition, looking for hits, and eventually arrested someone. Experts at the congressional hearing in May were shocked that a sketch submitted to a database could credibly qualify as enough reasonable suspicion to arrest someone.

    Read: Half of American adults are in police facial-recognition databases

    But Jassy, the Amazon Web Services CEO, claimed that Amazon has never received a report of police misuse. In May, Amazon shareholders voted down a proposal that would ban the sale of Rekognition to police, and halt sales to law enforcement and ICE. Jassy said that police should only rely on Rekognition results when the system is 99 percent confident in the accuracy of a match. This is a potentially critical safeguard against misidentification, but it’s just a suggestion: Amazon doesn’t require police to adhere to this threshold, or even ask. In January, Gizmodo quoted an Oregon sheriff’s official saying his department ignores thresholds completely. (“There has never been a single reported complaint from the public and no issues with the local constituency around their use of Rekognition,” a representative from Amazon said, in part, in a statement to Gizmodo.)

    #Reconnaissance_faciale #Libertés #Espace_public #Etat_policier