The Independent | World News


  • Joe Biden has done more than arm Israel. He’s complicit in Gaza’s devastating famine | The Independent

    Extrait d’un long et important article dans lequel des fonctionnaires US de l’USAID déclarent (anonymement) que l’administration Biden a sciemment contribué à affamer la population de Gaza.

    By December, the two international institutions used by governments around the world to determine when famine is occurring – the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network – had come to the same conclusion: famine was imminent, and threatened more than one million people.

    Mr Konyndyk, who led USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance for three years, said those warnings should have compelled the White House to act urgently. If the same conditions were appearing in most other countries in the world, he said, it would have. But the US had stubbornly refused to do anything that would hamper Israel’s war effort.

    “When the warnings start signalling that risk, there should be a forceful reaction, both on the relief aid front and on the diplomatic front,” he said. “Nothing about the Biden administration’s response to the December famine forecast demonstrated that kind of hard pivot toward famine prevention.”

    What followed was a pattern of defence, deflection and outright denial from the White House.

    Under questioning from The Independent, Biden administration spokespersons have routinely highlighted Mr Biden’s repeated requests for the Israeli government to open up more crossings to aid, and pointed to temporary increases in aid trucks entering Gaza as proof of what they describe as his effectiveness.

    What was left unsaid by those Biden aides was the fact that those piecemeal influxes of aid were not consummate to the scale of the crisis. Hunger continued to spread, and still the White House refused to use its leverage by threatening to condition military aid.

    Nothing about the Biden administration’s response to the first famine report demonstrated that kind of hard pivot toward famine prevention

    Jeremy Konyndyk, former director of USAID’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance

    “Behind the scenes, my impression is that the Biden administration was pushing Israel to resume opening crossings to aid. But it was this posture of pretty extensive deference to how Israel was choosing to fight the war, while continuing to supply it with arms and not putting any real conditions on that,” Mr Konyndyk said.

    A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said: “Since the beginning of this conflict, president Biden has been leading efforts to get humanitarian aid into Gaza to alleviate the suffering of innocent Palestinians who have nothing to do with Hamas.”

    “Before the president’s engagement, there was no food, water, or medicine getting into Gaza. The United States is the largest provider of aid to the Gaza response. This is and will continue to be a top priority to address dire conditions on the ground since much more aid is needed,” the spokesperson added.

    Inside USAID, career civil servants with extensive experience were horrified by the lack of urgency from their politically appointed leaders.

    Internal USAID documents seen by The Independent showed that staff were passing their concerns about the lack of action up the chain to USAID administrator Samantha Power and other senior leaders in the form of letters and internal dissent memos, often to no avail.

    “What was surprising to me, and deeply disappointing, was the fact that we were hearing nothing about imminent famine in Gaza,” said a USAID staffer, who asked to remain anonymous because they are still employed by the agency.
    A Palestinian child transporting portions of food walks past a building destroyed by Israeli bombardment in Gaza City in May
    A Palestinian child transporting portions of food walks past a building destroyed by Israeli bombardment in Gaza City in May (Getty)

    Dissent memos – a kind of sanctioned internal protest through a dedicated channel for offering critical feedback on policy – are relatively rare in USAID compared with the state department. However, the USAID staff member said they were aware of at least 19 memoranda being sent in objection to the lack of action by the agency – and the government – over the looming famine.

    Mr Konyndyk described it as “an extraordinary number,” and noted that he didn’t recall encountering a single dissent memo at USAID during his more than five years there under Mr Obama and Mr Biden.

    By mid-January, aid agencies on the ground in Gaza were issuing desperate pleas for a humanitarian ceasefire so that food supplies could be delivered. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that 378,000 people in Gaza were facing catastrophic levels of hunger, and all 2.2 million people in Gaza were facing acute food insecurity.
    A graphic showing the number of trucks to enter Gaza since the 7 October Hamas attacks
    A graphic showing the number of trucks to enter Gaza since the 7 October Hamas attacks (UNRWA)

    “This is a population that is starving to death, this is a population that is being pushed to the brink,” the World Health Organisation’s emergencies director Michael Ryan said at a press conference on 31 January.

    The same day Mr Ryan described Gaza’s grim outlook, White House national security communications adviser John Kirby defended the Biden administration’s decision to suspend aid to UNRWA. Mr Kirby denied that cutting off assistance to the UN entity with the largest footprint in Gaza would have a detrimental effect on the humanitarian situation there, and instead claimed that the US was “working so hard to get more [humanitarian] assistance into the people of Gaza”.

    Even at this point, the White House was focused on giving Israel everything it needed to win its war against Hamas.
    UNRWA loses ability to function

    Hunger spread rapidly over the next month as the war raged on. On 27 February, three senior United Nations officials told a security council that at least 576,000 people were now “one step away from famine”.

    “Unfortunately, as grim as the picture we see today is, there is every possibility for further deterioration,” Ramesh Rajasingham, director of UN’s OCHA, told the chamber.

    In one of the most deadly massacres of the conflict, dozens of Palestinians desperately trying to access supplies were killed after Israeli troops fired on a crowd collecting flour from aid trucks on 29 February near Gaza City. The Israeli army initially blamed a stampede for the chaos, but in a later review claimed that Israeli forces “did not fire at the humanitarian convoy, but did fire at a number of suspects who approached the nearby forces and posed a threat to them.”

    “During the course of the looting, incidents of significant harm to civilians occurred from the stampede and people being run over by the trucks,” the Israeli army review added. More than 100 Palestinians were killed trying to access aid that day.

    Before the war, UNRWA, the largest UN agency working in Gaza, provided and distributed the basic necessities for people to survive in the blockaded territory, such as food, medicine and fuel. The US was by far the largest donor to UNRWA, contributing nearly half the agency’s yearly operating budget.
    World Central Kitchen team prepare food for displaced Palestinians after resuming work in Gaza in this handout picture released on 30 April
    World Central Kitchen team prepare food for displaced Palestinians after resuming work in Gaza in this handout picture released on 30 April (Reuters)

    But the US suspended that funding following allegations by Israel that some 12 UNRWA employees were involved in the 7 October attack and around 10 per cent of its staff had ties to militants. (An independent review led by former French foreign minister Catherine Colonna later found that Israel has yet to provide any supporting evidence of these claims.)

    By the end of February, UNRWA said Israel had effectively banned it from entering the north of Gaza.

    At least 188 of its staff had been killed since the beginning of the war, more than 150 of its facilities were hit – among them many schools – and more than 400 people were killed “while seeking shelter under the UN flag”, the organisation said.

  • On Aaron Bushnell’s action in solidarity with Gaza

    “This is what our ruling class has decided will be normal.” These words of Aaron’s haunt us. He is right. We are rapidly entering an era in which human life is treated as worthless. Let’s admit that the kind of protest activity that has taken place thus far in the United States has not served to compel the US government to compel a halt to the genocide in Gaza. It is an open question what could accomplish that. Aaron’s action challenges us to answer this question. Source: Crimethinc

  • International watchdog investigation finds Islamic State used mustard gas in 2015 attack in Syria

    Donc ce n’était pas « l’armée de Bachar » : qui l’aurait cru !!!

    An international investigative team said Thursday that its probe into a 2015 attack in Syria found “reasonable grounds to believe” that the Islamic State group used mustard gas, the latest finding of use of poison gas and nerve agents in Syria’s grinding civil war.

    The report by the Investigation and Identification team of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons found that mustard gas, also known as sulfur mustard, was used during attacks on Sept. 1, 2015, as Islamic State attacked the town of Marea.

    The investigation “established that the chemical payload was deployed by artillery from areas under the control of ISIL, and that no entity other than ISIL possessed the means, motives, and capabilities to deploy sulfur mustard as part of an attack in Marea,” its report said, referring to Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

    “This is a stark reminder to the international community that non-state actors like ISIL have developed the capacity and the will to use chemical weapons.” OPCW Director-General Ambassador Fernando Arias said. "This emphasises the OPCW’s pivotal role and expertise in addressing such threats. The facts are now known – it is up to the international community to take action, at the OPCW and beyond.”

    The report said that 11 people “experienced symptoms consistent with exposure to sulfur mustard.”

    Previous reports by the team have held Syrian government forces responsible for using chemical weapons five times in three different towns and cities in Syria in 2017 and 2018. Syria denies using chemical weapons.

  • Gideon Levy, membre du comité directeur du quotidien Haaretz dénonce depuis trois décennies les exactions de l’armée israélienne dans les territoires occupés de la Palestine.

    Voici ce qu’il décrit en 2010, portant la vérité au monde dans un grand moment de solitude.

    Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic ? | The Independent | The Independent

    “My biggest struggle,” he says, “is to rehumanize the Palestinians. There’s a whole machinery of brainwashing in Israel which really accompanies each of us from early childhood, and I’m a product of this machinery as much as anyone else. [We are taught] a few narratives that it’s very hard to break. That we Israelis are the ultimate and only victims. That the Palestinians are born to kill, and their hatred is irrational. That the Palestinians are not human beings like us… So you get a society without any moral doubts, without any questions marks, with hardly public debate. To raise your voice against all this is very hard.”

  • Leading Russian actress and poet Vera Polozkova brands Putin the ‘main maniac of 21st century’ | The Independent

    Russian president Vladimir Putin has been branded the “main maniac of the 21st century” by a leading Russian actress as his war on Ukraine enters its tenth month.

    Vera Polozkova, 36, expressed her feeling of “crazy pain and shame” over Russia’s self-styled special military operation in Ukraine, and urged her fellow citizens to prepare to acknowledge, repent and atone for Moscow’s “crimes”.

    Ms Polozkova made her remarks during an interview with popular Russian journalist and YouTuber Yury Dud, known for his interviews with a series of critics of Mr Putin’s brutal attacks on Ukraine.

    #ukraine #agression_russe

  • Texas shooting latest news: Gunman’s texts revealed as videos show parents pleading with police to act | The Independent

    olice who responded to the Texas school massacre have been accused of being “unprepared” and failing to respond as videos reveal parents pleading with officers outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Tuesday.

    Parents said they urged officers to move into school as the AR-15-wielding assailant fatally shot two teachers and 19 pupils.

    The father of 10-year-old victim Jacklyn Cazares said he even suggested he could go in himself with other bystanders as he was frustrated police were not doing it themselves.

    Details of the timeline and events remain unclear, including whether officers failed to prevent 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos from entering the school, and whether he “barricaded” himself inside a classroom before or after killing fourth-grade children inside.

    Messages from Ramos to recipients on social media appear to show him flaunting his weapons and announcing plans to “shoot up a elementary school” moments before the killings.

  • Non-white refugees fleeing Ukraine detained in EU immigration facilities

    Non-white students who have fled Ukraine have been detained by EU border authorities in what has been condemned as “clearly discriminatory” and “not acceptable”.

    An investigation by The Independent, in partnership with Lighthouse Reports and other media partners, reveals that Ukraine residents of African origin who have crossed the border to escape the war have been placed in closed facilities, with some having been there for a number of weeks.

    At least four students who have fled Vladimir Putin’s invasion are being held in a long-term holding facility Lesznowola, a village 40km from the Polish capital Warsaw, with little means of communication with the outside world and no legal advice.

    One of the students said they were stopped by officials as they crossed the border and were given “no choice” but to sign a document they did not understand before they were then taken to the camp. They do not know how long they will be held there.

    A Nigerian man currently detained said he was “scared” about what will happen to him after being held in the facility for more than three weeks.

    Polish border police have confirmed that 52 third-country nationals who have fled Ukraine are currently being held in detention facilities in Poland.

    The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said they were aware of three other facilities in Poland where people non-Ukrainians who have fled the war are being detained.

    Separately, a Nigerian student who fled the Russian invasion is understood to have been detained in Estonia after travelling to the country to join relatives, and is now being threatened with deportation.

    This is despite a EU protection directive dated 4 March which states that third country nationals studying or working in Ukraine should be admitted to the EU temporarily on humanitarian grounds.

    Maria Arena, chair of the EU parliament’s subcommittee on human rights, said: “International students in Ukraine, as well as Ukrainians, are at risk and risking their lives in the country. Detention, deportation or any other measure that does not grant them protection is not acceptable.”

    The findings of the investigation, which was carried out in collaboration with Lighhtouse Reports, Spiegal, Mediapart and Radio France, comes after it emerged that scores of Black and Asian refugees fleeing Ukraine were experiencing racial discrimination while trying to make border crossing last month.
    ‘They took us here to the camp... I’m scared’

    Gabriel*, 29, had been studying trade and economics in Kharkov before war broke out. The Nigerian national left the city and arrived at the border on 27 February, where he says his phone was confiscated by Polish border guards and he was given “no option” but to sign a form he did not understand.

    “It was written in Polish. I didn’t know what I was signing. I said I wouldn’t sign, but they insisted I signed it and that if not I would go to jail for five months,” he said in a recorded conversation with a Nigerian activist.

    The student said he was then taken to court, where there was no interpreter to translate what was being said so that he could understand, and then taken to a detention centre in the small village of Lesznowola.

    “It is a closed camp inside a forest,” said Gabriel, speaking from the facility. “There’s no freedom. Some people have been here more than nine months. Some have gone mad. I’m scared.

    “We escaped Ukraine very horrible experience, the biggest risk of my life [...] Everything was scary and I thought that was the end of it. And now we are in detention.”

    Gabriel said there are at least two other Nigerian students in the camp, along with students from Cameroon, Ghana, the Ivory Coast and French African nations.

    Guards at the centre said inmates have their mobile phones confiscated, with only those who have a second sim card given a phone without a camera.

    Many can only communicate with the outside world via email – and even this is said to be limited to certain times.

    Another individual detained at the centre is Paul, 20, a Cameroonian who had been studying management and language at Agrarian University Bila Tserkva in Kyiv for six months when the war started.

    His brother, Victor, who is in Cameroon, said Paul had told him that he had been apprehended while crossing the border and that on 2 March, a Polish judge ordered that he be transferred to Lesznowola detention centre.

    “From his explanation, the camp doesn’t seem like one that welcomes people fleeing from the war in Ukraine. It’s a camp that has been existing and has people that came to seek for asylum. No one knows why he is being detained,” he said.

    Victor said that Paul was given seven days to appeal the decision to detain him, but that he has been unable to access the internet in order to file the appeal in time.

    “Since that day he filed the appeal, police and guards try to restrict them. He used to get five minutes of internet but on that day they stopped letting them use the internet. The phone he used to communicate with me was blocked. Maybe it’s because they realised that the issue was taking on a legal dimension,” he said.
    ‘He’s not allowed to be in Estonia’

    This investigation has also heard reports that a Nigerian student, Reuben, is facing deportation from Estonia after being detained having fled the war in Ukraine.

    Prior to his arrival in the eastern European country, 32-year-old Reuben emailed the head of International House, a service centre that helps internationals in Estonia to communicate with the state, explaining that he wanted to join his cousin living in the country.

    The head of the organisation Leonardo Ortega responded by letter that he may relocate to Estonia.

    Reuben, who attended Bila Tserkva National Agrarian University in Ukraine and is married to a Ukrainian woman, arrived on 9 March through Poland with his cousin Peter.

    After being delayed for three hours at the Estonia border, the pair were escorted to a police station, according to Peter, 30, who has an Estonian residency permit.

    He said three police officers escorted his cousin away with his luggage and said he would be detained for two days themn deported back to Nigeria.

    The officers reportedly advised that the 32-year-old would be banned from entering any Schengen country for the next five years; his phone was confiscated and he’s been in detention since.

    “A few officers said ‘he’s not allowed to be in Estonia’. Even after asking for international protection, we were told that my cousin needs to have a lawyer to fight his case, but most of the lawyers I initially contacted refused to take my cousin’s case,” said Peter.

    “He received an email in advance saying it was okay to come - and after everything we went through, the next thing they want to deport and ban him for five years. I don’t know why deportation came into the picture.”

    Criney, a London-based campaigner who has been supporting the affected students on a voluntary basis, said there was an “emerging pattern of arbitrary detention of students coming out of Ukraine fleeing the war”.

    “There are other cases in Austria and Germany with regards to students who have applied for asylum or asked for permits to remain,” the campaigner said.
    Detained ‘for the purpose of identity verification’

    The EU directive on 4 March aims to help refugees fleeing the invasion to stay for at least one year in one country and also have access to the labour market and education.

    It states that it also applies to “nationals of third countries other than Ukraine residing legally in Ukraine who are unable to return in safe and durable conditions to their country or region of origin”.

    This can include third-country nationals who were studying or working in Ukraine, it states, adding that this cohort should “in any event be admitted into the union on humanitarian grounds”, without requiring valid travel documents, to ensure “safe passage with a view to returning to their country or region of origin”.

    Michał Dworczyk, a top aide to the Polish prime minister, said when war broke out that “everyone escaping the war will be received in Poland, including people without passports”.

    But the Polish government has admitted that it is sending some of this cohort to closed facilities once they cross the border.

    In a tweet on 2 March, the Polish ministry of internal affairs and administration said: “Ukrainians are fleeing the war, people of other nationalities are also fleeing. All those who do not have documents and cannot prove Ukrainian citizenship are carefully checked. If there is a need, they go to closed detention centres.”

    In a letter to a member of the EU Parliament, Poland’s border police admitted that 52 third country nationals who had fled from Ukraine had been taken to closed detention centres in the first three weeks of the war.

    The letter stated that this was necessary “to carry out administrative proceedings for granting international protection or issuing a decision on obliging a foreigner to return”.

    Ryan Schroeder, press officer at the IOM, said the organisation was aware of three other facilities in Poland where “third-country nationals arriving from Ukraine, who lack proper travel documentation, are brought to for the purpose of identity verification”.

    The Polish government, the Polish police and the Estonian authorities declined to comment on the allegations.

    A spokesperson for the Polish border force said it “couldn’t give any detail about the procedures on foreigners because of the protection on personal data”, adding that it is “the court which takes the decision each time to place people in guarded centres for foreigners”.
    ‘Clearly unsatisfactory and discriminatory’

    Steve Peers, a professor of EU law in the UK, says that even if member states choose not to apply temporary protection to legal residents of Ukraine, they should give them “simplified entry, humanitarian support and safe passage to their country of origin”.

    “In my view this is obviously a case where students could not have applied for a visa and might not meet the other usual criteria to cross the external borders, yet there are overwhelming reasons to let them cross the border anyway on humanitarian grounds. There are no good grounds for immigration detention in the circumstances,” he added.

    Jeff Crisp, a former head of policy, development and evaluation at UNHCR, said it was “clearly unsatisfactory and discriminatory” for third country nationals who have fled from Ukraine to be held in detention centres in EU states, “not least because of the trauma they will have experienced in their efforts to leave Ukraine and find safety elsewhere”.

    He added: “They should be released immediately and treated on an equal basis with all others who have been forced to leave Ukraine.”

    It comes after the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi warned this week that, although he had been “humbled” by the outpouring of support seen by communities welcoming Ukrainian refugees, many minorities – often foreigners who had been studying or working there – had described a very different experience.

    “We also bore witness to the ugly reality, that some Black and Brown people fleeing Ukraine – and other wars and conflicts around the world – have not received the same treatment as Ukrainian refugees,” he said.

    “They reported disturbing incidents of discrimination, violence, and racism. These acts of discrimination are unacceptable, and we are using our many channels and resources to make sure that all people are protected equally.”

    Mr Grandi appealed to countries, in particular those neighbouring Ukraine, to continue to allow entry to anyone fleeing the conflict “without discrimination on grounds of race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin and regardless of their immigration status”.

    *Names have been changed

    #étudiants #Ukraine #rétention #détention_administrative #guerre #guerre_en_Ukraine #Pologne #Estonie #réfugiés_ukrainiens #réfugiés_d'Ukraine

    • I rifugiati “non bianchi” in fuga dall’Ucraina finiscono nei centri di detenzione

      Un’indagine di The Independent in collaborazione con Lighthouse Reports lo dice chiaro e tondo: i residenti ucraini di origine africana che hanno attraversato il confine per sfuggire alla guerra sono stati rinchiusi in centri per l’immigrazione, alcuni di loro si trovano lì da diverse settimane.

      Almeno quattro studenti fuggiti dall’invasione di Vladimir Putin sono detenuti in una struttura di detenzione a lungo termine di Lesznowola, un villaggio a 40 km dalla capitale polacca Varsavia, con pochi mezzi di comunicazione con il mondo esterno e senza consulenza legale. Uno di loro ha detto di essere stato fermato dai funzionari mentre attraversavano il confine e di non aver avuto “scelta”: ha dovuto di firmare un documento che non comprendeva prima di essere trasferito al campo. Un uomo nigeriano attualmente detenuto ha detto di essere “spaventato” per quello che gli accadrà dopo essere stato trattenuto nella struttura per più di tre settimane.

      La polizia di frontiera polacca ha confermato che 52 cittadini di Paesi terzi fuggiti dall’Ucraina sono attualmente detenuti in centri di detenzione in Polonia. L’Organizzazione internazionale per le migrazioni (Oim) ha affermato di essere a conoscenza di altre tre strutture in Polonia dove sono detenute persone non ucraine fuggite dalla guerra. Uno studente nigeriano fuggito dall’invasione russa sarebbe stato detenuto in Estonia dopo essersi recato nel Paese per raggiungere i parenti e ora è minacciato di espulsione.

      Maria Arena, presidente della commissione per i diritti umani del parlamento Ue, ha dichiarato: «Gli studenti internazionali in Ucraina, così come gli ucraini, sono a rischio e rischiano la vita nel Paese. La detenzione, l’espulsione o qualsiasi altra misura che non garantisca loro protezione non è accettabile».

      Jeff Crisp, ex capo della politica, dello sviluppo e della valutazione dell’Unhcr, ha affermato che è «chiaramente insoddisfacente e discriminatorio» che cittadini di Paesi terzi fuggiti dall’Ucraina vengano trattenuti nei centri di detenzione negli Stati dell’Ue. Ha aggiunto: «Dovrebbero essere rilasciati immediatamente e trattati alla pari con tutti gli altri che sono stati costretti a lasciare l’Ucraina».

      L’Alto Commissario delle Nazioni Unite per i rifugiati Filippo Grandi ha avvertito questa settimana che, sebbene sia soddisfatto dal sostegno dei Paesi che accolgono i rifugiati ucraini, molte minoranze – spesso stranieri che vi hanno studiato o lavorato – hanno descritto un’esperienza molto diversa. «Abbiamo anche testimoniato una pessima realtà: alcuni neri in fuga dall’Ucraina – e altre guerre e conflitti in tutto il mondo – non hanno ricevuto lo stesso trattamento dei rifugiati ucraini», ha spiegato.

      Se ne parla ormai da settimane. Intanto il razzismo continua. Aiutare tutti, ma proprio tutti: questo è il dovere.

      Buon venerdì.

    • Des réfugiés fuyant la guerre en Ukraine sont détenus en Pologne

      Selon une enquête menée sous l’égide de Lighthouse Reports – une ONG spécialisée dans l’investigation, à laquelle se sont joints plusieurs médias européens dont Mediapart –, plusieurs étudiants étrangers ayant fui l’Ukraine en guerre séjournent actuellement dans des centres d’accueil fermés en Pologne, en situation de détention.

    • "C’est comme si j’étais un criminel" : des étudiants étrangers enfermés en Pologne après avoir fui l’Ukraine

      Une enquête réalisée par Radio France, en partenariat avec plusieurs médias internationaux et avec le soutien de l’ONG Lighthouse Reports, révèle que plusieurs étudiants d’origine africaine qui vivaient en Ukraine sont actuellement détenus dans des centres fermés pour étrangers en Pologne.

      Ils faisaient des études dans les technologies de l’information, dans le management, à Kharkiv, à Lutsk ou encore à Bila Tserkva…et se retrouvent désormais enfermés dans un centre de détention pour étrangers à une quarantaine de kilomètres de Varsovie, après avoir fui la guerre en Ukraine. C’est ce que révèle l’enquête de Radio France, mercredi 23 mars, menée en partenariat avec plusieurs médias internationaux et avec le soutien de l’ONG Lighthouse Reports.

      « Je ne pensais pas me retrouver dans cette situation en fuyant en Pologne, comme si j’étais un criminel », témoigne Samuel (le prénom a été changé) au téléphone, étudiant de Kharkiv, dans le nord-est de l’Ukraine. Après avoir voyagé jusqu’à Kiev, puis Lviv (près de la frontière polonaise), le jeune Nigérian explique avoir traversé la frontière le 27 février avec sa carte d’étudiant, son passeport étant resté à l’université pour des raisons administratives. « Mais quand je suis arrivé en Pologne, les garde-frontières m’ont dit qu’ils ne pouvaient pas me laisser circuler, car je n’ai pas de passeport, et pour cette raison, je devais être détenu », se remémore celui qui a de la famille en Allemagne, enfermé depuis plus de trois semaines.

      Le 25 février, Michał Dworczyk, chef du cabinet du Premier ministre polonais, assurait pourtant que « toute personne fuyant la guerre serait accueilli en Pologne, notamment les personnes sans passeport ». « Difficile de ne pas y voir du racisme », observe Małgorzata Rycharska, de l’ONG Hope & Humanity Poland, qui ajoute « ne pas comprendre pourquoi ces personnes ont été enfermées ». Contactée, l’ambassade du Cameroun à Berlin, qui a identifié pour l’instant trois de ses ressortissants dans ces centres fermés, fait part aussi de sa surprise. Et assure que les étudiants camerounais avaient des documents d’identité valides avec eux.
      52 étrangers fuyant l’Ukraine envoyés dans des centres fermés

      Dans le centre de Lesznowola, une vingtaine de non-Ukrainiens arrivant d’Ukraine sont actuellement détenus, parmi lesquels nous avons identifié pour l’instant quatre étudiants d’origine africaine. En tout, il y aurait 52 personnes étrangères fuyant l’Ukraine envoyées dans ces centres fermés du 24 février au 15 mars, selon une lettre des garde-frontières adressée au député Tomasz Anisko.

      Lettre des garde-frontières polonais indiquant que 52 personnes non-ukrainiennes mais fuyant l’Ukraine ont été envoyés du 24 février au 15 mars dans des centres pour étrangers.

      Contactés, les garde-frontières indiquent ne pas pouvoir donner davantage d’informations, pour des raisons de protection d’identité. De son côté, l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM) explique « être au courant de trois centres en Pologne où les ressortissants de pays tiers arrivant d’Ukraine, sans documents de voyage adéquats, sont emmenés pour des vérifications d’identité » mais précise ne pas inclure celui de Lesznowola.

      « Nous sommes des étudiants d’Ukraine, nous ne méritons pas d’être ici », dénonce Samuel, qui ajoute ne pas comprendre pourquoi il se retrouve dans un centre où sont enfermés des migrants ayant tenté de traverser illégalement la frontière avec la Biélorussie l’an dernier. Gabriel (le prénom a été changé), un autre étudiant nigérian qui étudiait à l’Institut national du commerce et de l’économie de Kharkiv, raconte lui qu’à son arrivée en Pologne, « les garde-frontières nous ont pris nos téléphones de force ». Dans un entretien téléphonique avec un représentant de la diaspora nigériane - obtenu par Radio France -, Gabriel indique avoir été forcé à demander la protection internationale en Pologne, « sinon ils m’ont dit que j’allais en prison ». Dans l’attente de la décision, il a été envoyé dans ce camp fermé où il séjourne depuis fin février, décrivant « une situation très mauvaise ».

      Si théoriquement, la loi polonaise permet le placement en centres fermés en cas de demande d’asile dans des situations très précises (en cas de risque, par exemple, que la personne s’échappe lors de la procédure), la pratique diffère. Varsovie avait déjà été pointé du doigt par l’ONU pour la détention systématique de migrants et réfugiés lors de la crise à la frontière biélorusse l’an dernier. « Plein de gens ici sont devenus fous, je suis terrifié, il y en a qui sont là depuis neuf mois », s’effraie Gabriel. Pas d’accès à des avocats, téléphones avec caméra retirés, accès internet d’une vingtaine de minutes par jour seulement… L’étudiant, qui indique être passé devant un tribunal, menottes aux poignets, explique ne jamais avoir voulu demander l’asile en Pologne. « Nous étions juste des étudiants, répète-t-il. Ils devraient me déporter et me laisser rentrer au Nigeria, mais même cela, ça peut prendre parfois six mois », s’inquiète-t-il.


    Le QR code s’est imposé partout en France. Il l’est depuis longtemps dans les pays asiatiques. Imaginé par l’industrie automobile, il sert aujourd’hui à « contrôler les humains ». Retour sur l’histoire de cette technologie détournée.

    Noir sur fond blanc, le petit pictogramme a une allure anodine. Mais ce hiéroglyphe des temps modernes remodèle peu à peu notre rapport au monde. À la faveur de la pandémie, le QR code s’est imposé à nos vies. Jusqu’à devenir incontournable avec le passe sanitaire. Il régit désormais l’ensemble de nos mouvements et accompagne nos gestes, comme un sésame ou une passerelle entre l’univers numérique et le monde réel.

    On le retrouve partout, dans le train, à l’entrée des bars, aux musées. Son usage s’est généralisé. On le voit sur les panneaux publicitaires, on l’utilise à l’école pour valider des réponses à des questionnaires ou aux abords des parcs naturels surfréquentés. Il remplace également les menus dans les restaurants ou guide nos achats dans les supermarchés. Cet essor, inimaginable il y a quelques années, est loin d’être anecdotique : le QR code incarne « la société du sans contact ». Cette technologie accélère notre dépendance au numérique et nous fait entrer de plain-pied dans l’ère du flash, un monde peuplé de scanners, d’écrans et de code-barres, un monde illisible à l’œil nu où nous déléguons notre regard aux machines.

    « Il n’est pas certain que nous sortions de ce monde une fois la pandémie passée, pense l’historien François Jarrige. Il y a des chances que certaines habitudes restent. Le QR code continuera à coloniser les espaces sociaux. Flasher un QR code est devenu un réflexe pour une majorité de la population. C’est une évidence pratique, physique et corporelle. » Les chiffres en témoignent. Le lecteur de QR code est l’une des applications les plus téléchargées sur smartphone. L’achat de boîtier pour les lire a également explosé depuis l’été dernier avec une augmentation des ventes de 40 à 60 %.


    Les pays occidentaux rattrapent leur retard. Ou, disons plutôt qu’ils copient leurs voisins asiatiques. En Chine, en Corée du Sud, au Japon, le QR code est déjà une institution. Il recouvre les surfaces urbaines comme une seconde peau. C’est un avatar de la smart city qui sert à fluidifier les échanges. On le retrouve dans les taxis, les parcs et même les toilettes. En Chine, près de 940 millions de personnes échangent de l’argent en scannant des QR codes, de manière dématérialisée, via les applications WeChat et Alipay. Des chercheurs parlent d’une « QR code-isation de la société ».

    Cela n’est pas sans conséquence. À l’origine, le QR code a été créé pour accroître l’automatisation dans le milieu industriel et répondre aux besoins du commerce. « En vingt ans, nous sommes passés d’un outil pour intensifier la logistique à un outil pour régir et contrôler les humains dans tous les aspects de leur vie, constate François Jarrige. Le QR code, qui s’appliquait d’abord aux flux de marchandises, sert désormais à gérer et surveiller le troupeau humain. » Une forme de réification est à l’œuvre. Avec ces dispositifs de traçage numérique, on s’occupe des humains comme des choses.

    L’histoire du QR code est éclairante sur ce point. Cette technologie a d’abord prospéré dans les soutes de la société marchande. Elle fut inventée en 1994 par le Japonais Masahiro Hara, un ingénieur de Denso Wave, une filiale de Toyota qui fabriquait des pièces automobiles. Les ingénieurs souhaitaient alors mieux suivre l’itinéraire des pièces détachées à l’intérieur des usines.

    Le QR code est une sorte de super code-barres. Son nom signifie en anglais « quick response code », « code à réponse rapide ». Il se lit en effet dix fois plus rapidement que le code-barres. Grâce à ses deux dimensions, il peut être lu quel que soit l’angle de lecture. Il contient aussi 200 fois plus de données qu’un code-barres classique. Son usage a permis à Toyota de déployer sa stratégie au tournant des années 2000. La multinationale cherchait un moyen d’identification automatique pour accélérer la cadence. L’idée était de produire à flux tendu — « just in time » — avec une coordination constante entre la tête des firmes et l’ensemble des sous-traitants, des fournisseurs aux revendeurs. Pour améliorer ses marges et son pouvoir, Toyota a créé une obsession de la traçabilité en tout point.

    Cette évolution répondait aussi à un objectif politique. « Les projets d’automatisation de la production avaient pour but essentiel de renforcer le contrôle managérial sur la force de travail bien plus que d’augmenter les profits », analyse le groupe Marcuse dans le livre La liberté dans le coma. Les auteurs estiment que les dispositifs comme le QR code, la puce RFID ou la biométrie ont participé à une vaste « contre-insurrection ». L’informatisation de l’organisation industrielle aurait dépossédé la classe ouvrière de ses savoir-faire, détruit les solidarités dans l’usine et accru la surveillance au profit d’un projet cybernétique où les machines communiquent entre elles et où les hommes deviennent quantité négligeable.


    Ce modèle dystopique triomphe aujourd’hui au sein des entrepôts Amazon, où tout est flashé, scanné et identifié. Même les « scannettes » portatives équipées pour lire les code-barres ont un code-barres. Les travailleurs, eux, sont transformés en automates, leurs gestes et leurs déplacements ne laissent rien au hasard. Ils sont optimisés pour gagner en productivité. Comme le soutient l’écrivain Jasper Bernes, « la révolution logistique n’est rien d’autre que la guerre continuée par d’autres moyens, par les moyens du commerce ».

    Ces logiques issues du monde des entreprises s’étendent maintenant à la vie courante, se glissent dans la sphère intime et privée. « N’en déplaise à une croyance tenace, ces technologies ne sont pas neutres. Elles structurent des formes de pouvoir », rappelle le journaliste Olivier Tesquet. Elles portent en elles le rêve industriel d’identification et de traçage total.

    L’association la Quadrature du net a d’ailleurs tiré la sonnette d’alarme. Jusqu’à peu, la surveillance avait des limites pratiques, explique-t-elle. Mais avec les nouveaux dispositifs comme le QR code, la surveillance passe « à l’échelle technologique ». Au cours de la dernière décennie, la majorité de la population française (84 % en 2020) s’est équipée en téléphone muni d’un appareil photo et capable de lire des code-barres en 2D comme les QR codes. En parallèle, l’administration s’est largement approprié ces outils et la cryptographie afin de sécuriser les documents qu’elle délivre — avis d’imposition, carte d’identité électronique, etc.


    « Si ces évolutions ne sont pas particulièrement impressionnantes en elles-mêmes, leur concomitance rend aujourd’hui possible des choses impensables il y a encore quelques années, souligne Bastien Le Querrec, de la Quadrature du net. Elle permet notamment de confier à des dizaines de milliers de personnes non formées et non payées par l’État (mais simplement munies d’un smartphone) la mission de contrôler l’ensemble de la population à l’entrée d’innombrables lieux publics. Et ce, à un coût extrêmement faible pour l’État, puisque l’essentiel de l’infrastructure (les téléphones) a déjà été financé de manière privée. Soudainement, l’État a les moyens matériels pour réguler l’espace public dans des proportions presque totales et imposer un contrôle permanent des corps. »


    Avant même le Covid-19, certains régimes autoritaires comme la Chine n’ont pas hésité à utiliser massivement le QR code. En 2017, l’ONG Human Rights Watch dénonçait déjà son usage pour réprimer la minorité musulmane ouïghoure. Dans le Xinjiang, les autorités et la police imposent en effet son installation sur les portes des maisons pour contrôler le déplacement de ses habitants et le passage de leurs invités. Elles font aussi graver des QR codes sur la lame du moindre couteau acheté en quincaillerie. Ces dispositifs forment une immense toile d’araignée digitale. « Les QR codes sont l’un des éléments du répertoire d’outils numériques de surveillance dont la Chine est devenue un laboratoire », explique François Jarrige. Le mouvement s’est accéléré avec la pandémie. En Chine, le QR code est désormais exigé à l’entrée des immeubles, avant même d’entrer chez soi ou au travail. Un code couleur atteste de la bonne santé de la personne ou de sa maladie.

    En France, le grand chantier de l’identité numérique est lui aussi engagé. La nouvelle carte nationale d’identité électronique (CNIE), délivrée dans tout le pays depuis le 2 août, compte notamment des données biométriques intégrées dans une puce et une signature électronique dans un QR code. Les autorités rêvent d’une « identité totalement numérique » portée par un « État plateforme ». Dans un rapport publié en juin dernier, des sénateurs y voyaient un outil indispensable pour pallier les futures crises. « Au lieu de repérer une fraction dérisoire des infractions mais de les sanctionner très sévèrement, il serait théoriquement possible d’atteindre un taux de contrôle de 100 % », écrivaient-ils.

    Avec les QR codes, la numérisation intégrale de la société est en marche. Les conséquences en sont multiples, profondes, mais rarement étudiées. Pour l’éditeur Matthieu Amiech, « cette situation renforce l’identification des individus à la mégamachine et l’évidence du numérique comme nécessité pour exister ». Notre écran devient un outil de médiation pour se rapporter au monde et entrer en contact avec la réalité. « Le monde nous est peu à peu confisqué », poursuit-il.

    Selon ce chercheur, nous vivons un nouveau stade du capitalisme. Après avoir privé les populations de leur terre et de leur moyen autonome de subsistance, au XIXe siècle, le capitalisme cherche aujourd’hui à accroître sa domination politique et économique « en rendant les personnes dépendantes d’un appareillage sur lequel ils n’ont pas de prise », estime-t-il. « Nous subissons des enclosures existentielles. Pour avoir accès au monde et participer à la vie sociale, nous devons désormais passer par ces outils. Nous en sommes complètement prisonniers. »

  • CDC to hold ‘emergency meeting’ over cases of heart inflammation following second Covid vaccine | The Independent

    Myocarditis is a condition that causes inflammation of the heart muscle. It typically develops from a viral infection, and it can cause symptoms like fatigue, fever and chest pain.

    Preliminary data indicates cases of heart issues following vaccination were happening in those ages 16 to 24, with young men impacted more than women. Most of the cases came after the second dose of either Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccine, the preliminary data revealed.

    This information comes one month after Israel’s health ministry said there was a “probable link” between Pfizer’s vaccine and inflammation of the heart muscles in young men.

  • Israel rebuffs WHO vaccine request for Palestinian medics, amid outcry over disparity

    Israel has refused a request from the World Health Organisation (WHO) to immediately make Covid-19 vaccines available to Palestinian medical workers to avert a health disaster, citing shortages of the jabs for their own citizens.

    The refusal comes amid growing criticism from rights groups of the massive discrepancy between the vaccine rollout in Israel and the occupied West Bank and Gaza, given Israel’s legal obligations as an occupying power.

  • Millionaire Kelly Loeffler mocked for ad claiming she knows what it ‘feels like waiting on that paycheck’

    Millionaire Senator Kelly Loeffler was mocked for an ad claiming she knows what “it feels like waiting on that paycheck.”

    Ms Loeffler, who is fighting to retain her Georgia seat, is married to the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, Jeffrey Sprecher.

    She is reportedly the wealthiest member of congress with a fortune estimated at between $800m and $1bn, according to Forbes.

  • US push for Arab-Israel ties divides Sudanese leaders U.S. country Government israel ties
    Via AP news wire | 4 oct 2020 | The Independent

    While Sudan’s transitional government has been negotiating the terms of removing the country from the list for more than a year, U.S. officials introduced the linkage to normalization with Israel more recently.

    Top Sudanese military leaders who govern jointly with civilian technocrats in a Sovereign Council, have become increasingly vocal in their support for normalization with Israel as part of a quick deal with Washington ahead of the U.S. election.

    “Now, whether we like it or not, the removal (of Sudan from the terror list) is tied to (normalization) with Israel,” the deputy head of the council, Gen. Mohammed Dagalo, told a local television station on Friday.

    “We need Israel ... Israel is a developed country and the whole world is working with it,” he said. “We will have benefits from such relations ... We hope all look at Sudan’s interests.”

    Such comments would have been unthinkable until recently in a country where public hostility toward Israel remains strong. (...)

    #IsraelSoudan #Israfrique

  • Coronavirus : Moscow’s new digital permit system gets off to shaky start | The Independent

    Muscovites woke up to a brave new world on Monday, the first day of operation of a new digital permit system. But when many opened their eyes, they saw something strangely familiar : error 404. As hundreds of thousands flocked to the city government’s sites to download QR codes onto their smartphones, the systems mysteriously collapsed, and went offline. Many assumed the websites simply failed to cope with the volume of requests — this, after all, was what technological experts had (...)

    #bug #santé #COVID-19 #BigData #métadonnées #géolocalisation #smartphone #QRcode #algorithme


  • ‘We’ve survived wars but never faced this’: Inside the Lebanon refugee camps bracing for coronavirus- VIDEO The Independant
    “One in four people in Lebanon is a refugee, they are now among the most vulnerable to Covid-19”

  • Fever-tracking map indicates potential coronavirus outbreak in Florida after spring breakers party on the beaches | The Independent

    A real-time map tracking seasonal and “influenza-like illnesses” has observed an unusual clustering of sicknesses in Florida that may provide an “early indicator” of how quickly the coronavirus pandemic was spreading throughout the Sunshine State. The map compiles live information from more than a million smart thermometers across the country, which connect to mobile applications and allow users to self-report the data. On Friday, the map showed atypical sickness levels in counties like (...)

    #thermomètre #domotique #InternetOfThings #prédiction #santé #surveillance


  • Coronavirus : Italy suspends mortgage payments amid lockdown

    Payments on mortgages are to be suspended in Italy due to the coronavirus outbreak, the country’s government has announced. More than 9,000 people have been infected by Covid-19 in Italy, where the total number of reported deaths jumped to 463 on Monday – an increase of over 25 per cent compared to the day before. Source: The Independent

  • ‘Sharp-tongued drones’ chastise Chinese residents for not wearing face masks amid coronavirus outbreak | The Independent

    ’Do not go here and there in the open air without wearing a mask. Go back home quickly and wash your hands,’ says drone Drones are reportedly being used in some villages and cities in China to remind residents to wear face masks if they have to be outside, as the country tries to get a grip on the coronavirus outbreak. According to local media, authorities and other vigilant individuals have deployed drones with audio capabilities to patrol certain areas. Traffic police in Muyang, a small (...)

    #CCTV #drone #aérien #vidéo-surveillance #talkingCCTV #santé #surveillance


  • Syrian refugees face their ninth winter in the mountains of Lebanon

    #Paddy_Dowling, photojournalist for The Independent, returned from the mountains of Arsal and discovered how the humanitarian relief effort to help Syrian refugees in Lebanon is being exacerbated by the country’s economic context

    The Syrian civil war has displaced 6.2 million people and created more than 5.6 million refugees, spilling across borders into neighbouring countries. Lebanon is shouldering the burden with 914,648 registered refugees, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Efforts of aid agencies delivering supplies to the most vulnerable in Lebanon have been made more difficult by the financial crisis facing the country.

    Syrian refugee Hanan, 36, explains: “I pray to God I can return home from this nightmare. The situation is now hopeless. Syria is broken. Lebanon is broken too. If people from outside still visit, then perhaps there is a chance, otherwise all we feel is abandonment.”

    Hanan fled her home in Reef Dimashq in 2013 after intensive shelling. Many did, with only the clothes they wore, leaving behind all their possessions. With her husband imprisoned, she arrived alone to her new home, a tent perched up high among the snow-capped mountains of Arsal in Lebanon.

    This region hosts 39,000 refugees across 133 informal tented settlements and other shelters. The UNHCR reports 85,022 households in Lebanon are headed by females, and 8,163 of those are single women, their husbands killed in conflict, imprisoned for not joining the regime, or their husbands were too ill to travel. Around 40 per cent of refugees like Hanan receive food assistance from the World Food Programme. Usually, this amounts to 40,000 Lebanese Pounds (LBP) for herself and her two daughters, historically worth $80 (£61) pegged at US dollar rate of LBP1,500.

    Lebanon’s economy has been dependent on a strong flow of dollars into Beirut’s banking sector. That supply has diminished, and economic activity has slowed, fuelled by what economists estimate is a 30 per cent rise in inflation and as banks struggle with the liquidity crisis. Black market rates have pushed the unofficial exchange on the US dollar as high as LBP2,300, which means aid organisations are facing enormous challenges transferring donations to banks and accessing those funds. Banks are restricting withdrawals to $200 per week.

    A statement released by former labour minister, Mohammad Kabbara, reports unemployment in Lebanon stands at 25 per cent. With unemployment now at crisis levels, refugees are unable to find work to support the shortfall.

    This provides little consolation for refugees like Nayef, 35, a former law student, now unemployed and sat by his unlit stove as his family huddle together. He explains: “When the paraffin runs out and we cannot afford to buy more, we are forced to burn what he can find to keep the tent warm, this includes; plastic sheeting, tarpaulin and even old shoes.” In the depths of winter, temperatures in Arsal typically plunge as low as -8C by night. His family, including his two daughters aged two and five, have not eaten for two days.

    The economic crisis in Lebanon has not only affected the most vulnerable Syrian and Palestinian refugees but also middle-income Lebanese nationals, according to the UNHCR. The enormous burden shouldered by countries in the region such as Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey and Lebanon has placed huge pressure on resources. Lebanon under its political and economic context may see as many as 2 million Lebanese nationals fall below the poverty line by the end of 2020, according to Richard Kouyoumjian, the minister of social affairs.

    Mireille Girard, the UNHCR country representative in Lebanon, speaking exclusively to The Independent, explains: “The immediate future and medium-term looks very grim. With 73 per cent of Syrian refugees in Lebanon living below the poverty line and 55 per cent living in extreme poverty, young children are forced into work or perhaps begging on the streets. The UNHCR is working miracles to address the humanitarian relief in Lebanon, here and now. The future is another question.”

    Established in 1992, Qatar Charity operates in more than 50 countries, helping 10 million beneficiaries across the globe each year. Ahmed Al Rumaihi, the head of relief and international partnerships for the non-governmental organisation, says: “We responded to the refugee crisis in its early stages, and through our partnerships, we have delivered in excess of $30m in aid to Syrian refugees in Lebanon over the past five years. This included the construction and rehabilitation of tents, distribution of food and heating oil, provision of health services and educational support for students among others. However, there is still so much work to do.”

    He continues: “We must show solidarity not just to those who have been displaced from their country of origin but also those host nations who shoulder the enormous burden. With donor fatigue dominant in this crisis, we urge the international community to comply with their pledges for those Syrians seeking refuge in neighbouring countries and to bring burden-sharing to the foreground.”

    Girard commends NGOs such as Qatar Charity for the important role they have played and their commitment to the crisis: “We need to mobilise everyone, not one agency can respond to this crisis alone.”

    Girard, with perhaps one of the most challenging roles in the sector, leaves us with her final thoughts: “With fewer people talking about the Syrian refugee crisis, now in its ninth year in Lebanon, it does not mean the problem has disappeared. We need to re-engage everyone to act and do something about it. Civil society, academics and the private sector can all help.”

    With the media spotlight now firmly elsewhere, perhaps the easiest solution is to look the other way in hope that the crisis will miraculously resolve itself. The truth remains, Syrian refugees barely surviving in countries like Lebanon require assistance from the international community now more than ever before.

    #montagne #Liban #réfugiés_syriens #hiver #réfugiés #asile #migrations #neige #camps_de_réfugiés #camps
    #photographie #photojournalisme
    ping @albertocampiphoto @philippe_de_jonckheere @karine4 @isskein