/2019

  • #Frontex wants to disembark refugees in Senegal

    #Hera“ is the only Frontex maritime mission on the territory of a third country. A new agreement might extend this joint border #surveillance.

    The EU border agency Frontex wants to bring back refugees picked up in the Atlantic Ocean to Senegal. The EU Commission should therefore negotiate a so-called #Status_Agreement with the government in Dakar. The proposal can be found in the annual report (https://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-6294-2020-INIT/en/pdf) on the implementation of the Regulation for the surveillance of external sea borders (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32014R0656). It regulates the maritime „operational cooperation“ of Frontex with third countries.

    It would be the first agreement of this kind with an African government. So far, Frontex has only concluded Status Agreements with a number of Western Balkan countries for the joint surveillance of land borders. The only operation to date in a third country (https://digit.site36.net/2019/11/25/frontex-expands-operations-in-eu-neighbouring-countries) was launched by the Border Agency in Albania a year ago.

    Frontex has been coordinating the joint operation „Hera“ in the Atlantic since 2006 (https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/news-release/longest-frontex-coordinated-operation-hera-the-canary-islands-WpQlsc). The reason for the first and thus oldest EU border surveillance mission (http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/no-307-frontex-operation-hera.pdf) was the arrival of many thousands of refugees in boats on the Canary Islands via Morocco, Mauritania, Cape Verde and Senegal. For a short period of time, the German Federal Police had also participated in „Hera“ (http://dipbt.bundestag.de/doc/btd/16/098/1609888.pdf), in addition to Portugal, France, Italy, Finland and Luxembourg. Already in 2007 the arrivals decreased drastically. For the past year, Frontex’s „Migratory Map“ (https://frontex.europa.eu/along-eu-borders/migratory-map) records only 711 irregular arrivals (by December) on Gran Canaria, Tenerife and the other Spanish islands. According to media reports (https://www.laprovincia.es/canarias/2020/03/03/canarias-supera-1200-personas-llegadas/1260792.html), this number has been nearly doubled in the first two months of 2020 alone.

    „Hera“ is the only maritime mission in which Frontex coordinates an operation which, with Senegal, also takes place in the 12-mile zone, the exclusive economic zone and the airspace of a third country. In „Themis“, „Indalo“ and „Poseidon“, the operational plan only covers waters under the jurisdiction and monitoring of EU Member States.

    Currently, „Hera“ is operated by Spain as the „host state“ with support from Portugal. The two countries patrol with frigates and smaller ships and carry out aerial surveillance with a helicopter. They first transmit their information to a control centre in Las Palmas, to which Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal have sent liaison officers. Processed intelligence is then forwarded to the International Coordination Centre (ICC) in Madrid, which manages all operations of the Spanish border authorities and is also responsible for cooperation with Frontex.

    If suspicious boats are detected in the area of operations in „Hera“, a report is made to the competent Maritime Rescue Operations Centre (MRCC). All those picked up in the Spanish Search and Rescue zone have been able to disembark in the Canary Islands in recent years.

    If the refugees are still in the Senegalese #SAR zone, the national coast guard brings them back to the West African country. With a Status Agreement, Frontex assets could do the same. According to SAR Info, a Canadian information platform, the Senegalese national #MRCC (https://sarcontacts.info/countries/senegal) is also responsible for the rescue coordination off the coast of Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Mauritania.

    Before each operation, Frontex is required to assess the possible disembarkation of intercepted refugees in the third countries concerned. In the report for 2018, Leggeri writes that his agency, with the „host states“ of the missions „Themis“ (Italy) and „Indalo“ (Spain), considered such disembarkations to Libya and Tunisia as well as to Morocco to be incompatible with regulations to which Frontex is bound.

    From Frontex’s point of view, however, disembarkations would be possible for Turkey and Senegal, as the governments there do not violate basic fundamental and human rights and also adhere to the principle of non-refoulement, according to which refugees may not be returned to countries from which they have fled. So far, says Leggeri, Frontex and the EU Member States involved in „Poseidon“ and „Hera“ have not forced any persons to Turkey or Senegal.

    The report signed by Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri is as usual one year late, the paper published last week refers to 2018. That was the same year in which the European Union once again wanted to set up „regional disembarkation centres“ in North Africa (https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_18_4629). There, asylum applications of persons seeking protection would be examined even before they reach Europe. All the governments in question rejected the proposal, and the African Union also opposed it a year ago. Led by Egypt, the 55 member states criticise the planned EU facilities as „de facto detention centres“ (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/24/african-union-seeks-to-kill-eu-plan-to-process-migrants-in-africa).

    In the report, Leggeri complains that Frontex has too little competence in its four maritime missions. Bilateral agreements, such as those Italy has concluded with Libya (https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/02/12/italy-halt-abusive-migration-cooperation-libya) or Spain with Morocco (https://english.elpais.com/elpais/2019/02/21/inenglish/1550736538_089908.html), allow for much closer cooperation with North African coastguards.

    https://digit.site36.net/2020/03/01/frontex-wants-to-disembark-refugees-in-senegal
    #Sénégal #asile #migrations #réfugiés #externalisation #désembarquement #surveillance_frontalière #accord #accords #frontières

    Et pas mal de matériel sur seenthis autour de...
    #plateformes_de_désembarquement #disembarkation_paltforms #plateformes_de_débarquement #regional_disembarkation_platforms #Albanie #Océane_atlantique #Atlantique #Allemagne

    –-> voir notamment ici, dans la métaliste sur l’externalisation des contrôles frontaliers :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message765334

    ping @karine4 @isskein @_kg_

  • #Hot_blob: vast patch of warm water off New Zealand coast puzzles scientists | World news | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/27/hot-blob-vast-and-unusual-patch-of-warm-water-off-new-zealand-coast-puz

    Area of water in the Pacific Ocean off NZ is 6C hotter than normal, possibly due to a lack of wind in the region

    A spike in water temperature of up to 6C above average across a massive patch of ocean east of New Zealand is likely to have been caused by an “anti-cyclone” weather system, a leading scientist says.

    Appearing on heat maps as a deep red blob, the patch spans at least a million square kilometres – an area nearly 1.5 times the size of Texas, or four times larger than New Zealand – in the Pacific Ocean.

    James Renwick, the head of geography, environment and earth sciences at Victoria University in Wellington, said the scale of the temperature spike near the sparsely populated Chatham Islands archipelago was remarkable, and had been building for weeks.

    It’s the biggest patch of above average warming on the planet right now. Normally the temperatures there are about 15C, at the moment they are about 20C,” he said.

    Renwick said the blob could be linked to rising atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions, as a result of climate change, but he expected it was overwhelmingly due to natural variability – a strong high pressure system and a lack of wind.

    It’s not uncommon to see patches of warmer water off New Zealand but this magnitude of four, five, up to six degrees is pretty unusual,” Renwick said.

    It’s probably a very thin layer of ocean that has warmed up and there hasn’t been any wind to cool it for several weeks.

  • Chilean anti-rape anthem becomes international feminist phenomenon | World news | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/06/chilean-anti-rape-anthem-becomes-international-feminist-phenomenon
    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/c504854af941d62f33cdd19ee63d313867bc56fc/0_183_5500_3300/master/5500.jpg?width=1200&height=630&quality=85&auto=format&fit=crop&overlay-ali

    Un Violador en Tu Camino – A Rapist in Your Path – was first performed in late November as Chile’s nationwide uprising against social inequality pushed into its second month.

    Videos of the song – and its accompanying dance moves – quickly went viral, spreading across Latin America and the world, with performances taking place in Mexico, Colombia, France, Spain and the UK.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aB7r6hdo3W4&feature=youtu.be

    #vidéo #culture_du_viol #féminisme #chanson #manifestation

  • Estonian minister mocks Finland’s ’sales girl’ PM Sanna Marin | World news | The Guardian

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/16/estonian-minister-mocks-finlands-sales-girl-pm-sanna-marin

    Avec la photo du gros porc en prime :

    Estonia’s president has apologised after his country’s interior minister mocked Finland’s new prime minister – the world’s youngest serving government leader – as a “sales girl” and questioned her fitness for the post.

    Mart Helme, 70, the leader of the populist far-right party Ekre, ridiculed Finland’s Sanna Marin, 34, and her government – in which four out of five coalition leaders are women under 35 – on his party’s radio talkshow on Sunday.

    “Now we see how one sales girl has become a prime minister and how some other street activists and non-educated people have also joined the cabinet,” Helme said.

    Estonia’s president, Kersti Kaljulaid, asked Finland’s president, Sauli Niinistö, to pass on her apologies to Marin and her government.

  • China tells government offices to remove all foreign computer equipment
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/09/china-tells-government-offices-to-remove-all-foreign-computer-equipment

    Directive is likely to be a blow to US multinational companies like HP, Dell and Microsoft China has ordered that all foreign computer equipment and software be removed from government offices and public institutions within three years, the Financial Times reports. The government directive is likely to be a blow to US multinational companies such as HP, Dell and Microsoft, and mirrors attempts by Washington to limit the use of Chinese technology, as the trade war between the countries (...)

    #Dell #Google #Huawei #Lenovo #Microsoft #Qualcomm #HP #algorithme #Windows #puce #domination (...)

    ##lutte
    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/54020335b48f8c29cc8956d55fa93a467223c52c/0_86_4000_2401/master/4000.jpg

  • Japanese officials helped procure wartime sex slaves, report claims | World news | The Guardian

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/09/japanese-officials-helped-procure-wartime-sex-slaves-report-claims

    The Japanese imperial army asked the government to provide one wartime sex slave for every 70 soldiers serving in China in the late 1930s, according to dispatches that offer evidence of official involvement in the recruitment of women to work in military brothels.

    The dispatches from Japanese diplomatic missions in China include requests to the foreign ministry in Tokyo to provide “comfort women”, Kyodo news agency reported. The term was a euphemism used to describe tens of thousands of women from Korea, Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines and other countries who were forced into sexual servitude before and during the second world war.

    #japon #corée #guerre #esclaves_sexuelles #esclavage

  • Back to the border of misery: Amexica revisited 10 years on | World news | The Guardian

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/08/amexica-revisited-ed-vulliamy-returns-to-us-mexico-borderline

    Back to the border of misery: Amexica revisited 10 years on
    A decade after publishing his vivid account of the places and people most affected by the US-Mexican ‘war on drugs’, Ed Vulliamy returns to the frontline to see how life has changed

    #frontières #murs #mexique #états-unis

  • En Italie, les « sardines » défient Salvini et les populistes - Page 1 | Mediapart
    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/041219/en-italie-les-sardines-defient-salvini-et-les-populistes

    Parti d’un appel à manifester contre la Ligue à Bologne, dans le nord-est de l’Italie, le mouvement des « #sardines » essaime du nord au sud du pays. Depuis le 14 novembre dernier, il a réuni plusieurs dizaines de milliers de personnes autour de slogans antipopulistes. [...] Des Italiens de tous âges, serrés, « comme des sardines », pour protester contre le lancement de la campagne de Lucia Borgonzoni, la candidate de la Ligue, le parti xénophobe de Matteo Salvini, en vue des élections régionales de janvier 2020.

    #anti-fascisme #Italie

    • Des dizaines de milliers de « Sardines » réunies à Rome contre le fascisme

      Les « Sardines », militants anti-fascistes italiens, ont manifesté samedi à Rome tout en s’interrogeant sur le devenir d’un mouvement qui veut « réveiller » la politique italienne, sans se transformer en un parti ni une organisation défendant une cause unique.

      Le phénomène des Sardines est né il y a un mois à Bologne quand une manifestation organisée par quatre inconnus a rassemblé par surprise 15’000 personnes, pressées comme des sardines, pour dénoncer le discours « de haine et de division » de Matteo Salvini, ex-numéro deux du gouvernement et chef de la Ligue (extrême-droite).

      Depuis lors, des dizaines de #manifestations, rythmée par le chant des résistants #Bella_Ciao, ont rassemblé au total 300’000 personnes, à Milan, Florence, Naples ou Palerme.

      « La première était contre Salvini puis c’est devenu une réaffirmation de la #démocratie : nous sommes anti-fascistes, pour l’#égalité, contre l’#intolérance, contre l’#homophobie », a expliqué Mattia Santori, l’un des co-fondateurs du mouvement.

      Vague d’adhésions

      Depuis lors, le mouvement n’a cessé de prendre de l’ampleur. Pour la manifestation de samedi à Rome, les organisateurs ont reçu plus de 100’000 adhésions sur Facebook, à tel point que la préfecture leur a proposé l’immense Place San Giovanni.

      Le référent du mouvement à Rome est #Stephen_Ogongo, 45 ans, un journaliste originaire du Kenya. Il a créé la page Facebook des « Sardines » romaines, juste avant d’aller se coucher il y a 15 jours. « Le lendemain, il y avait 10’000 personnes qui voulaient en faire partie. Le surlendemain 20’000 », a-t-il expliqué.

      « Parler à la tête et pas à l’estomac »

      Mais que vont devenir les Sardines, à part former des bancs dans toute l’Italie ? « Nous sommes au début, il y a un mois elles n’existaient pas », souligne Stephen Ogongo. "L’essentiel, c’est de « parler à la tête et pas à l’estomac des gens », « de réveiller les consciences », d’amener la population à « faire des choix responsables » et les politiciens à « changer de langage ».

      Mattia Santori et la cohorte bolognaise veulent aller plus loin mais « en prenant leur temps ». Ils organisent une journée de réflexion avec 160 référents des Sardines dimanche.

      Ni parti ni association ciblée

      S’ils se reconnaissent de gauche, ces militants se définissent comme « un #corps_intermédiaire » et ne veulent ni créer un parti ni se substituer aux associations existantes. De nombreuses « Sardines » militent pour le climat, contre la mafia, la précarité, le droit du sol pour les immigrés ou pour la diversité des genres.

      L’idée est de « faire émerger une nouvelle énergie à travers une forme bien plus libre et spontanée » qu’un parti, en se dotant d’une organisation « qui ne sera pas hiérarchique » mais fixera de « grandes orientations », souligne Mattia.

      Prochaine destination des « Sardines » : les petites villes et « territoires fragiles », susceptible de céder aux sirènes « des idées simplistes et du #populisme ».


      https://www.rts.ch/info/monde/10944770-des-dizaines-de-milliers-de-sardines-reunies-a-rome-contre-le-fascisme.
      #anti-fa #résistance

    • ’Sardines’ against Salvini: Italy’s fight against the far right

      Grassroots protests have brought tens of thousands of people on to the streets of Rome.

      Tens of thousands of people have crammed together in Rome on Saturday as part of the growing “sardines” movement against the leader of the far-right League and Italy’s former deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, and his allies.

      Protesters converged in Piazza San Giovanni early in the afternoon in a bid “to further shake up the country’s politics and battle xenophobia”, in what was billed as their biggest rally.
      ’Sardines against Salvini’: Italians pack squares in protest against far right
      Read more

      “We are very happy and reached our goal,” said one of the movement’s founders, Mattia Sartori, 32, as more than 100,000 people were expected to march in the capital.

      “We are anti-fascist, pro-equality, against intolerance, against homophobia,” Santori told AFP, as protesters sang the anti-fascist anthem Bella Ciao.

      “We are weary of this culture of hatred,” the movement’s representative in the Italian capital, Stephen Ogongo, a 45-year-old journalist of Kenyan origin, told AFP. ‘‘We will no longer tolerate language that is racist, fascist, discriminatory or sexist.”

      The Sardines movement began in November after Santori, from Bologna, sent an urgent message to three friends late at night telling them to meet the next day. It was a couple of days before Salvini and his coalition partners, the smaller far-right party Brothers of Italy, and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, were due to launch their campaign for the Emilia-Romagna regional election at an indoor sports arena in Bologna.

      The four friends hatched a riposte to Salvini’s boasts about filling Italy’s squares with supporters. The sports arena had a capacity for 5,700 people, and via an announcement on Santori’s private Facebook page, the group invited people to a counter-rally at Bologna’s Piazza Maggiore, with the aim of attracting 6,000 people.

      What happened next confounded their expectations: 15,000 people filled the Bologna square. As Salvini’s far-right electoral alliance pursued its campaign, the Sardines converged in other Emilia-Romagna cities before spreading across Italy and beyond.

      Hundreds of migrants also joined the Sardines on Saturday in Rome to protest against Salvini’s hardline immigration policies.

      Before being ejected from government in August after his failed gambit to collapse a coalition with the Five Star Movement (M5S) and bring about snap elections, Salvini’s main achievement when in office was to introduce draconian anti-immigration measures, including closing seaports to migrants.

      “They told us that immigration is a problem in order to hide real problems,” said Pietro Bartolo, a member of the European parliament who is known as the “doctors of migrants” and who has dedicated years of his life to addressing the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean.

      “We have to resist,” added Bartolo, who joined the protest. “Laws that criminalise those who save people are laws against our constitution. These laws are a shame.”

      Salvini has mocked the movement, writing on Twitter that he prefers kittens as “they eat sardines when hungry”.

      However, in a poll in November, 40% of Italians said that the movement now represents Salvini’s “most dangerous enemy”.

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/14/sardines-pack-piazza-in-rome-for-protest-against-matteo-salvini

  • Working 9 to 9 : Chinese tech workers push back against long hours
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/apr/15/china-tech-employees-push-back-against-long-hours-996-alibaba-huawei

    Staff at Alibaba, Huawei and other big firms are sharing evidence of unpaid compulsory overtime Chinese tech employees are pushing back against the industry’s notoriously long hours, known as the “996” schedule of working from 9am to 9pm, six days a week. Over the past few weeks, a project that began in part as a joke among tired Chinese developers has turned into a nationwide debate about work culture and a rare protest against practices at some of the country’s largest companies. In late (...)

    #Alibaba #ByteDance #Huawei #JD.com #AntFinancial #TikTok #Alibaba.com #Pinduoduo #conditions #travailleurs (...)

    ##travail
    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/d91ba6feda4a11292d6208fb58ae6c188f168589/96_43_3387_2034/master/3387.jpg

  • World-first mobile phone detection cameras rolled out in Australia | World news | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/01/world-first-mobile-phone-detection-cameras-rolled-out-in-australia
    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/3c2179d0f4b731b5996931d47f0580d73e15b0fc/0_178_1222_733/master/1222.jpg?width=1200&height=630&quality=85&auto=format&fit=crop&overlay-ali

    New South Wales rolled out mobile phone detection cameras on Sunday, hoping to cut the number of fatalities on its roads by a third over two years, transport authorities said.

    The world-first mobile phone detection cameras, according to Transport for NSW, which manages the state’s transport services, operate day and night in all weather conditions to determine if a driver is handling a mobile phone.

    “It’s a system to change the culture,” the NSW police assistant commissioner, Michael Corboy, told Australian media last week.

    Making or receiving voice calls while driving in NSW is legal, but only when using a hands-free device. All other functions, such as video calling, using social media and photography, are illegal while behind the wheel.

    #sécurité_routière #accidents_de_la_route

  • The Gates Foundation shouldn’t legitimise Narendra Modi | Gloria Steinem and Akeel Bilgrami | Opinion | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/commentisfree/2019/sep/24/narendra-modi-gates-foundation-award-donald-trump

    The Gates Foundation has announced it is bestowing a prestigious annual award on prime minister Narendra Modi of India. And in advance of the UN general assembly meeting in New York, Donald Trump flew down to Houston, Texas, to welcome him at an event charmingly dubbed the “Howdy Modi” rally.

    #FBMG #Inde #Modi #récompense

    • Sangita Vyas, a research fellow at the Rice Institute, said: “For Swachh Bharat to have made huge progress, they would have needed to address caste hierarchies and beliefs in purity and pollution. We found that it seems to have exacerbated caste hierarchies. Sanitation is used as a method for elite groups to suppress marginalised communities.”

      Concerns were also raised in a report last year by the UN special rapporteur for safe drinking water and sanitation, Leo Heller. “As an unintended consequence of the desire to obtain rewards, including the title of ‘open-defecation free’, some aggressive and abusive practices seem to have emerged,” he wrote.

      Heller reported that “individuals defecating in the open are being shamed, harassed, attacked or otherwise penalised,” and that accused open defecators faced being denied food rations, or having their electricity disconnected.

      Heller also noted the Indian government “recognised the existence of abuse associated with the Clean India mission implementation and issued at least two advisories to all states underlining that such practices must stop”.

      Despite rapid economic strides in past decades, India has lagged behind other countries on sanitation. Academics have argued that the practice of open defecation has survived because cleaning toilets is considered low-caste work.

      https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/sep/30/narendra-modi-to-face-down-critics-by-hailing-clean-india-scheme-a-succ

      #assainissement #toilettes ou pas #répression

  • Woman trying to visit Indian temple attacked with chilli spray | World news | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/26/woman-trying-to-visit-indian-temple-attacked-with-chilli-spray

    Female activists in India were violently attacked by protesters and stopped by police as they attempted to make a pilgrimage to a Hindu temple which was controversially ordered to open its doors to women.[...]

    “This is about gender equality,” said Desai, speaking over the phone from the office of the deputy police commissioner in Kochi, where the women were temporarily given refuge for their own protection. “The constitution has given us the right to gender equality and a right to pray, and last year the supreme court ruled that women could enter, so they have no right to stop us going to Sabarimala temple.”

    She added: “Even if I know I might die in this struggle, I will still not go back. I’m not afraid of losing my life, this is a fight that someone has to take on.”

    Sabarimala temple has become one of the most polarising holy sites in India since the supreme court ruled in September that women of all ages should be allowed to enter.

    #Inde #religion #sexisme #agression

  • Syria’s Kurds and the Turkish border

    The news from Syria has been nothing but bad for several years now, but things have been particularly desperate in the last few days—since Turkish forces, with a green light from the American president, invaded the region of northern Syria that had been under autonomous Kurdish rule, as Rojava. (You can read an overview of the situation and what is at stake in this Guardian article: What is the situation in north-eastern Syria? —> https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/09/what-is-situation-north-eastern-syria-turkey-kurds)

    Although I mainly work on refugee history these days, earlier in my career I was a Syria specialist, and I spent a lot of time researching the history of the area that Turkey has just invaded. The demarcation of the Syrian-Turkish border in the 1920s and 30s was crucial to the constitution of state sovereignty on either side of it. Turkey and Syria were newly established states, though they were quite different: Turkey was ruled by a nationalist government that had successfully fought off multiple invasions, while Syria was only nominally independent under French colonial ‘supervision’. What I was really interested in, though, was how these interconnected processes shaped the political identities of the people living in what became the northern Syrian borderlands. A lot of them were Kurdish, and the border made them a minority in a new Syrian nation-state.

    As a historian, I don’t have privileged knowledge about current events, and I’m feeling pretty helpless and hopeless about them. But if it’s helpful for anyone reading this to get some background on how this part of the world came to be divided between Syria and Turkey, and what that meant for Kurds living there, with permission from the publishers I’m making some of the things I’ve written on the subject freely available.

    First, here is a PDF of a chapter of my book (2011) on ‘The border and the Kurds’ (https://singularthings.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/chapter-4.pdf). It explains the impact that the demarcation of the border had on Kurds across the new Syrian nation-state. Right through the 1920s and 30s, Syria’s borders didn’t have much meaningful physical presence on the ground. But increasingly, the border as a line between two state jurisdictions made it a meaningful presence in people’s lives (and in people’s minds) nonetheless. The drawing of Syria’s borders tended to make all Kurds in the country—whether they lived in the borderlands or in Damascus—into one ‘minority’ community.

    Second, my article ‘Refugees and the definition of Syria, 1920-1939’ (2017) (https://doi.org/10.1093/pastj/gtw048) argues that the arrival and settlement of refugees brought the geographical borders of Syria into much sharper definition, and accelerated the spread of effective state authority across its territory—as well as raising questions about whether Syrian national identity should be defined to include or exclude the incomers. Kurdish refugees from the new Turkish Republic were one of the three main groups of refugees entering Syria in this period, and the places that became Syrian included the areas that Kurds have governed autonomously for the last few years. The Turkish army’s invasion has prompted the Kurdish government to invite the Syrian regime back in.

    Finally, an older article in French, ‘Frontières et pouvoir d’Etat: La frontière turco-syrienne dans les années 1920 et 1930’ (2009) (https://www.cairn.info/article.php?ID_REVUE=VING&ID_NUMPUBLIE=VIN_103&ID_ARTICLE=VING_103_0091#), written with my colleague and friend Seda Altuğ, goes into more detail on the process of how the border was drawn on the ground, and what role it played in the constitution of state authority on both sides. For Turkey, a national frontier was being created, that needed defending against local populations that were viewed as a threat (especially Kurds and Armenians) as well as against French imperialism. On the Syrian side, where the border was both a Syrian national and French imperial frontier, the situation was more complicated.

    https://singularthings.wordpress.com/2019/10/15/syrias-kurds-and-the-turkish-border
    #Kurdistan #kurdistan_syrien #Syrie #Turquie #frontières #Kurdes #histoire
    signalé par @isskein

  • Coming out of the shadows: what it means to be French and Chinese

    People of Chinese descent have long faced prejudice and violence in France. But today a new generation is staking out its rightful place in society.

    On 7 August 2016, #Zhang_Chaolin, a 49-year-old tailor, was savagely beaten by a group of youths in Aubervilliers, a deprived suburb on the northern outskirts of Paris – the latest in a string of violent aggressions against ethnic Chinese. Like the other victims, he had been targeted because of the widely held belief that members of the Chinese community habitually carry large amounts of cash (and that they are docile and unlikely to fight back; that they are reluctant to report crimes because they are in the country illegally, or cannot express themselves properly in French; and even if they do, the police do not take them seriously; or, simply, that the Chinese “keep themselves to themselves”). As it turned out, Zhang only had a packet of cigarettes and some sweets on him. He died five days later as a result of his injuries.

    The following year, on 26 March, 56-year-old Liu Shaoyo was preparing dinner for his children in his apartment in the 19th arrondissement in Paris when the police arrived at his home following a call from neighbours (the nature of the complaint remains unclear). The precise sequence of events is disputed: his family insist firmly that he had merely been gutting fish and had answered the door while still holding a pair of kitchen scissors; the police claim that they had acted in self-defence. Either way, they opened fire, killing Liu.

    In the aftermath of each man’s death, huge demonstrations were held by France’s ethnic Chinese, a community traditionally invisible in national discourse and under-represented in public life.

    I was transfixed by video footage of a crowd of more than 15,000 in the Place de la République in 2016 shortly after Zhang’s death on 12 August, protesting against continuing attacks on ethnic Chinese in Paris. Much of what I heard in the speeches that day, as well as in newspaper reports and on social media, felt tragically familiar to me: the cries of a people who felt that they had been ignored by the state.

    We work hard, we keep out of trouble, no one gives a damn about us, we have to struggle all by ourselves. These were the sentiments I grew up with in my ethnic Chinese family in Malaysia – a sense of frustration and suppressed pain that informed my view of the world.

    But there was also something totally foreign to me about these protests: the open dissent. Pushing back against hierarchy and authority. The protesters were overwhelmingly young, incredibly vocal and, in some instances, willing to resort to violent action – the very opposite of how overseas Chinese communities, the centuries-old immigrants known as huaqiao – have traditionally behaved. In short, the demonstrations seemed to be distinctly French.

    I had been as surprised as most people to learn that France has the largest ethnic-Chinese population in Europe. In a country where race-based statistics sit uneasily with the notion of égalité and French citizenship, it is often difficult to find accurate figures, although most estimates suggest a population of at least 600,000–700,000, more than double that in the UK.

    There were other surprises, too. In France, where I have travelled and lived on and off for more than 15 years, I have always taken the French habit of calling anyone of east Asian or south-east Asian appearance “chinois” as a laziness bordering on casual racism, particularly since France is home to large Vietnamese and Cambodian communities who arrived in the country in great numbers following the wars in the former French colonies in the 1970s. But as I got to know members of the various Asian communities in Paris, I discovered that I had been guilty of overlooking a fact that should have been obvious to me, of all people: that the overwhelming majority of Cambodians and Vietnamese in France are of Chinese descent. That is to say, like me, they come from south-east Asian Chinese families – families who had already been immigrants in their home countries before moving to Europe, and for whom being an outsider is integral to their sense of identity. Their languages – Cantonese and Teochew – are those I have lived with my whole life.

    I learned, too, of the vast distinctions within the Chinese community, principally between the south-east Asians and the huge numbers of newer immigrants from the mainland, overwhelmingly from the factory port city of Wenzhou.

    I met the people who had organised the most visible of the demonstrations. They have since mobilised themselves into a group that promotes not just political but social and cultural change – the Association of Young Chinese of France, one of the most notable of the many Asian action groups that are being established in the country. Over the course of many months, we have walked through the Asian neighbourhoods of Paris, shared meals and become friends over the messy issue of mixed identity. They have spoken about what it means to be French and Chinese.

    The suburbs of Aubervilliers and Pantin lie just beyond the north-eastern corner of the Boulevard Périphérique, part of the département of Seine-Saint-Denis, notorious in the French public imagination for its perceived levels of crime and deprivation, and known colloquially as “le neuf-trois” after its departmental number. At Quatre Chemins, the crossroads that forms the heart of the neighbourhood, the first building I see when I emerge from the Métro bears a sign that reads “hotel la journe / €53 la nuit”. People hurry along the streets, as if to and from work, in contrast to the more bourgeois districts of Paris, which are already empty now that the summer holidays are here.

    Rui, aged 32: “I arrived in France in 1995, when I was seven and a half. My parents had already been here for some years, having arrived in Europe from Wenzhou, in the south of China. They had papers for Italy but had come to France illegally, so when I arrived I was an illegal, too. One of my earliest memories of my childhood in France was of my father not returning home one night, and my mother telling me that he’d been arrested by the police for not having the right papers. He didn’t come home for three days. Eventually he was released – they couldn’t prove anything, so he was free to come home, but we lived with that fear all the time. It was exhausting.

    “Before we got our papers, I lived constantly with my father’s shame – the shame of being a poor clandestine. We lived entirely within the Chinese community – that is to say, entirely within the Wenzhou community. Some had papers, many didn’t. There was a very distinct hierarchy, a division between those who were legal and those who weren’t. In those early days, not so many of us had a passport, and if you got married to a French citizen it was like getting married to Bill Gates or Hillary Clinton – the most privileged thing in the world!
    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/356c92d8799f5c7f0b15cd4dd1e268bbc6f8337f/0_0_6024_4016/master/6024.jpg?width=880&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=f97f0cb26be7c2f7501add

    “My father was the opposite end of this spectrum. He worked in the lowest of shitty jobs, as a plongeur (a dishwasher) in Chinese restaurants – that sort of thing. I could feel his shame at being an illegal immigrant every time he talked to anyone. I could hear it in his voice – he felt crushed by the world. Why? I asked myself. Why do we have to live with this shame? I would go home at night and cry myself to sleep. Because they were illegals, my parents were forced to accept their position at the bottom of the ladder, and their inferiority complex coloured my experience of life, even at that age.

    “Every single time they went out, my parents would take me along with them. ‘In France the police won’t arrest us if we have a child with us,’ they used to say. Even at that age, I knew that I was being used as a human shield. I’d be playing or reading quietly at home and suddenly my parents would say: ‘We need to go out.’ I never had any time for myself. Sometimes I feel as though I had my childhood taken away from me, confiscated against my will.

    “People don’t stay in Quatre Chemins long. As soon as they have a decent job and some money, they move to a better neighbourhood. Those who stay aren’t so lucky. We were here for many years, just up the road on the Pantin side of the crossroads. Down there, just a couple of hundred metres away, was where Zhang Chaolin was attacked. There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about the violence in Aubervilliers and Pantin, but in truth, it’s always been difficult here, there’s always been aggressions, robberies, fights.

    “This is where the Chinese community live, but they mostly work on the other side of Aubervilliers, where they run wholesale businesses, mainly of clothes, shoes and bags. It’s a barren area, very harsh, and it’s on the way to and from work that they’ve been getting attacked and robbed. What you hear about Chinese people feeling scared and not wanting to go out unless they’re in groups – it’s true. But look around you: you can see we also have ordinary lives in a very mixed community.

    “It looked as if our lives were condemned to forever being lived in the shadows, and my parents were ready to abandon their French dream and return to Italy. But then, in 1997, in a coup de théâtre, suddenly our fortunes were transformed. Jacques Chirac, who was president at the time, decided to call fresh legislative elections because he believed they would reinforce the right and destroy the left. But the plan backfired and instead it was the left who won the elections, and proceeded to put in place a programme of regularisation for people who’d lived without papers for many years in the country. All of a sudden, we became normal members of society, and that changed everything for us: the kinds of jobs my parents were suddenly eligible for, the way they could hold their heads up in public, even my behaviour at school. I felt confident, I felt the same as everyone else. It’s not as if we became rich or anything, but almost overnight, we felt as if life held possibilities for us. I remember the day we got our papers, my mother took me to a restaurant for the first time – a simple Vietnamese place where we had pho. It felt like such a luxury.

    “Now that I have a good job – I work in real estate, I have a decent income and I own a nice apartment – I sometimes think back to those days of poverty, when we were illegal and my family had no money, no possibility of earning money or of getting any social security. And I realise that a large part of the shame was what we were going to tell our family back in China. We had left to build better lives for ourselves in France, but here we were, worse off than before. We were trapped in a sort of double prison: by poverty in Europe, and by China and its expectations of us.

    “After I became a full French citizen at the age of 18, I started to think more deeply about my identity – about what it meant to be French, and also Chinese. By that time, I and all my cousins and friends, people who’d been brought up or even born in France, had experienced racism in France – casual insults, people mocking our accents, or more serious incidents like being robbed because we were seen as weak and docile. And then, during the Beijing Olympics, we saw how the French media talked about China and the Chinese, as if we were one kind of people, who acted in the same way, always in the image of the Communist party. That got me really mad, so together with other friends like me – young Chinese people who considered France their only home – I formed the Association of Young Chinese of France. I was at university at the time, at Paris Dauphine, and reading Marx and Bourdieu – people who helped me make sense of my childhood, of the way my parents’ experience conditioned mine. I wanted to change things – for me and also for them.

    “When Zhang Chaolin was in hospital and everyone knew he was going to die, I knew I had to do something. Together with a few other young people, we made plans for a huge demonstration that we would put into action the moment he died. When I saw all those people gathered for the demonstration outside the town hall, I felt elated – as if change was finally happening.

    “What happened at the demonstration to mark Liu Shaoyo’s death was even more remarkable. The elders of the Chinese community had organised a formal event, full of boring speeches that tried to appease everyone. Everything was expressed in neutral language, with typical Chinese politesse. Not that many people were present.

    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/a7a06b5d7e78357b269a8ab53f27128c4b3a7bc8/0_0_4500_3000/master/4500.jpg?width=880&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=153163103441cca096b594

    Then, not long before proceedings were due to wrap up, a huge swathe of protesters dressed in black descended towards the Place de la République, shouting slogans against the establishment. All of them were young Chinese people, angry with the inaction of the older generation. They wanted change, they wanted it urgently. All of it was calculated to make the elders lose face, to show how powerless and pointless they were. It was exhilarating to see that mass of young people trying to wrest control from their elders.

    “For me, the demonstrations were a form of revenge. For the humiliation that my parents experienced. That I’ve experienced. The humiliation of being rendered invisible, of not being listened to. The humiliation that Chinese people go through every time they are aggressed in the street, which is a continuation of the marginalisation my parents lived through.

    “But above all, these protests, this spirit of revolution – this is what makes me French. In Chinese culture, as you and I both know all too well, we’re trained to be obedient, to respect your elders and hierarchy in general. In France it’s the reverse. You became integrated from the moment you feel able to criticise, especially if you criticise the state and the government. It’s a particularly French quality, almost a disease, I would say! In this country, we are French, we are required to be French, and this requires a very special mentality. For Chinese-French people, it’s not the same as Chinese-Italians or Chinese-Spanish, who are always thinking they will never be fully integrated and will probably go back to China in 10 years’ time. We think of our children and grandchildren living normal lives in this country, so we need to change things. I have a way of thinking which I feel defines a French person: I believe that the government can always, always, be changed. I believe in the power of revolution to change our lives.”

    The southern end of Paris’s 13th arrondissement is home to the city’s largest and longest-established Asian community, composed principally of families who fled the civil wars in Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos, arriving in France in large numbers after the fall of Saigon and Phnom Penh in 1975. The heart of Chinatown is concentrated around the famous residential towers blocks known as Les Olympiades, which were completed in the mid-1970s – the first homes to be occupied by the families arriving from south-east Asia.

    Laëtitia, age 25: “One of the things my parents often used to say in reprimanding me was ‘tu es devenue trop Française’ – you’ve become too French. Whenever they were angry they also used the term ‘ang mo kia’, which was not intended as a compliment. [It means “white kid” in many of the dialects of southern China, shorthand for rude, rebellious behaviour – western values being of course the antithesis of harmony, both within the family and in society.] I think it came from a frustration that we, their children, had very little idea of what they went through so that we could grow up with an idea of being French, and only French. But then again, they never spoke of their lives before coming to France, or their difficult journeys here, so it’s no surprise that most of us only have a single French identity.

    “My parents are Sino-Cambodian, that is to say, ethnic Chinese Teochews from Chaozhou who were born or grew up in Cambodia with a dual identity, both Chinese and Cambodian. During the war, just before the country fell to the Khmer Rouge, they were forced to flee, abandoning everything they had and, in some cases, even members of their own family. They spent the whole of the war trapped in camps on the Thai border. During that time, who knows what kind of horrors they witnessed? I can understand why they wouldn’t want to talk about it. Like many Cambodians, their lives had been all right over there – they ran shops and small businesses. Then, almost overnight: the war, the nightmare of departure, and finally France. Despite my parents’ silence, I knew that they survived unspeakable brutality in Cambodia, and this knowledge is something unspoken that I carry within me, affecting the way I feel about France.

    “Intellectually, I can understand why the gilets jaunes are protesting – I’m French after all, I have the tendency to question the way other French people do. But when you know that your parents have survived one of the greatest genocides the world has ever seen, everything becomes relative. When people talk of life’s great problems being the price of petrol and only being able to go to a restaurant once a week, or only having one holiday a year, we can’t feel fully invested in these arguments, even if we understand them. My parents ran a restaurant when I was a child, and I can’t remember them ever taking a holiday. That’s why they pushed me to have a life where I could make choices and have greater agency than them.

    “As a rule, I don’t think you’ll find many French people from south-east Asian Chinese families, that is to say Cambodian or Vietnamese, who are passionate about the right to take to the streets. We don’t take the attitude that ‘the government has to do everything for me’. Even back in Cambodia and Vietnam, our families were already outsiders.

    “We didn’t benefit from any structural help then, we didn’t come from the dominant class in those countries, we didn’t feel we had the right to demand anything. We knew we had to fend for ourselves. Even though the overwhelming majority of Asians of my generation would consider themselves French and only French, I don’t know anyone who relies on state subsidies to live – two generations of French citizenship are not enough to change the embedded mentality of self-sufficiency.

    “French identity is an incredibly powerful idea. Being French is a notion that is inculcated within us from the earliest days at primary school, and it’s a really attractive principle: a project of assimilation to push aside cultural origins to create one single nationality, one people. But the problem is that differences persist, and as my teenage years went by I suddenly began to think there’s something missing, some part of myself that is not acknowledged, and that’s when I began to interrogate the Chinese part of myself, and learn how to be culturally Chinese as well as French.

    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/30cba382d69cc93488c8e77db9fb4812069129db/0_52_3231_1939/master/3231.jpg?width=880&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=93b230ecb4f1f3c6ab399f

    “You can see the problems in the unacknowledged differences in culture and race when you look at the aggression against Chinese people in certain parts of Paris. Asian and north African communities live in tough conditions and have come to think about each other in negative stereotypes. We can’t speak about it along racial lines because to do so is taboo, totally contrary to the ideas of the republic, of égalité and so on. But the problems exist.

    “The rise of China has been complicated for us. Before that, no one really noticed Asian people – we just got on with our lives in a nearly invisible way. Then I began to hear overtly racist comments – the Chinese spit everywhere, they’re filthy, they’re money launderers. The most negative phase was in 2008-9, during the Beijing Olympics, when suddenly the old ‘Yellow Peril’ fears were everywhere. All the time, we had newspaper stories headlined “China: conquering the world”. There were TV programmes like Envoyé Special, which killed Chinese delicatessens almost overnight by screening ‘exposés’ on hygiene standards. My parents ran one of those delis, so I should know.

    “I guess that’s why many people from my community say that they are Cambodian, or Vietnamese, to distance themselves from associations with the mainland, and from the newer immigrants from Wenzhou, who’ve only been in France for 20 years or so.

    “We’ve been here since the 1970s, and already there’s a sense within our communities of being more French than they are, more part of the community, which gives us a sense of superiority. The things we say about them echo what the rest of France say about us: that they work really hard, they’re prepared to work very long hours for next to nothing, they keep themselves to themselves, and so on. We’re used to being the model immigrants, but there are newer versions of ourselves, and we pass judgments on them. Maybe that’s a sign of belonging to French society.’

    Daniel, aged 27: “I would say that among all my Asian friends, I’m in the minority of those who are comfortable with being both Asian and French. A very small number, I guess those who’ve been victims of consistent racism, choose to reject their French identity, but the vast majority are more comfortable inhabiting only a French identity and are prepared to reject any sense of Asian-ness if it clashes with feeling French.

    “From what I see in my circle of friends, ethnic Chinese are far more likely to reject their Chineseness than a Maghrebine their Arabness. I’m not sure why – maybe it’s to do with the silence that exists within many families, particularly those from Vietnam and Cambodia, the lack of knowledge about our histories. We’re not connected to our non-French past the way Arabs and Africans are. They tend to have extended families back in Ivory Coast or Morocco or Algeria who provide them with a link to their cultures, their languages. We don’t have that – there’s no one back in Vietnam who can give me that sense of belonging to another culture. In any case, there’s a complication, because my family are ethnic Chinese who speak Cantonese, so which is my ‘other’ culture?

    “There’s a question of visibility, too. Black Africans and north Africans are represented in public life – in sports, music and pop culture in general – whereas we are almost totally absent. That means that it’s more difficult for us to identify role models.

    “Another pressure is that our parents often live life through us. Their aspirations, all the things they weren’t able to achieve because they arrived in France too late in life, traumatised and with very little money, they invest in us. Part of that means figuring out how to live in France. Many of us have experience of being interpreters for our parents even when we were very small. So, of course, it’s natural we end up behaving like models of French society.

    “We don’t recognise ourselves in French history, which is one of the most important subjects at school, because this is a country that has a long and rich history. We absorb all the lessons on French heroes such as Jeanne d’Arc, Charlemagne, Clovis. It’s one single version of history, one story, which everyone, even children of immigrant families are obliged to accept as their own. Even though I tried to feel that it was my story, I couldn’t help feeling a bit detached from it. To accept that version of history as my only heritage felt false – it was a story that rendered us invisible. Coupled with the misleading stereotypes elsewhere, it felt to me that our fate in society was either not to be talked about, or to be talked about inaccurately.

    “We were taught next to nothing about Vietnam, which was after all one of France’s most important colonies for 100 years. Colonial history – France’s relationship with countries that would provide large numbers of its minority populations – wasn’t taught much at school, which was a shame. I remember the kids of Algerian origin being very interested in lessons on the war in Algeria. They felt as if it spoke of them – that the whole class was learning about them and their past, where their parents came from, why they were French, how they were French. There was nothing for us, but in some ways that’s natural. Algeria represents a greater presence in the French imagination than Vietnam, even if that relationship is problematic.

    “You have to understand, we grow up with the notion that all of us are French – that is the whole point of our history lessons, to give us one single shared identity. I get that. But isn’t it more important to learn why we are so diverse? We’re all French, but these days there are so many different ways of being French. I’d have loved to have learned more about the histories of the different communities in France – their music, art, language. I’d also have liked to learn about the history of racism, rather than have to figure it all out myself.”

    Boulevard Voltaire is just a 15-minute walk from the Place de la Bastille and its concentration of hip bars and restaurants, yet it feels much more down at heel. Most of the shops sell clothing, but there are no customers in them; they have names such as Veti Style, Lucky Men and Bella. Many other shops are closed and available to rent.

    Emma, aged 19: “Until I was in my mid-teens, I never had any Chinese friends. In fact, I made a point not to hang out with other Chinese kids. I only had white, Arab or black friends – I was born here and wanted to show how French I was. But about 16, 17, I started to change. I’d had conversations with my parents, who’d come to France from Wenzhou when they were young. ‘No matter how you feel inside,’ my father told me, ‘when the world looks at you, they see a Chinese person.’ It was around that time too that I began to realise that all the things I’d accepted as normal – people mocking Chinese accents to my face, even though I speak just like any other French person, casual comments sexualising Asian women and desexualising Asian men – were micro-aggressions, and that I had to embrace my culture, instead of reject it.

    “My parents ran a bar-tabac towards the Oberkampf side of the 11th arrondissement. I wanted to do what bourgeois white French kids do, so I applied to Sciences Po, one of the most prestigious of the country’s grandes écoles. Few people in my community thought it was worth it – they couldn’t imagine it possible for me to pursue a career in human or social sciences, and definitely not in politics. There aren’t any statistics on how many Asians there are at Sciences Po, but just from my own observations, there are fewer than 10 per year, which means 30 in the entire school. It’s not like in the US, where Asians are a very visible presence on every major college campus – our elite schools still feel quite foreign to us. Maybe in the more science-based schools there might be more Asians, but personally I really don’t know any. If you look at schools like École normale supérieure, which require you to have amassed great cultural knowledge by the time you’re 18 or 20, the figure is probably zero.

    “Whatever the real situation, the general impression within the Chinese community is that the most exclusive schools are bastions that we’d have difficulty gaining access to, so when I got in, it was a really, really big achievement. Things are changing now, but not as fast as you’d imagine. In the French imagination, Asians are studious and conscientious, but if that were true, we would be much more visible in the grandes écoles, which are, after all, the standard-bearers of French education.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/26/what-you-hear-about-chinese-people-in-france-feeling-scared-its-true
    #chinois #France #migrants_chinois #identité #violence #préjugés #migrations

    ping @isskein

  • The great American tax haven : why the super-rich love South Dakota | World news | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/14/the-great-american-tax-haven-why-the-super-rich-love-south-dakota-trust


    Comment le Dakota du Sud est devenu à la fois la Suisse et le Luxembourg des États Unis.

    Super-rich people choose between jurisdictions in the same way that middle-class people choose between ISAs: they want the best security, the best income and the lowest costs. That is why so many super-rich people are choosing South Dakota, which has created the most potent force-field money can buy – a South Dakotan trust. If an ordinary person puts money in the bank, the government taxes what little interest it earns. Even if that money is protected from taxes by an ISA, you can still lose it through divorce or legal proceedings. A South Dakotan trust changes all that: it protects assets from claims from ex-spouses, disgruntled business partners, creditors, litigious clients and pretty much anyone else. It won’t protect you from criminal prosecution, but it does prevent information on your assets from leaking out in a way that might spark interest from the police. And it shields your wealth from the government, since South Dakota has no income tax, no inheritance tax and no capital gains tax.

    A decade ago, South Dakotan trust companies held $57.3bn in assets. By the end of 2020, that total will have risen to $355.2bn. Those hundreds of billions of dollars are being regulated by a state with a population smaller than Norfolk, a part-time legislature heavily lobbied by trust lawyers, and an administration committed to welcoming as much of the world’s money as it can. US politicians like to boast that their country is the best place in the world to get rich, but South Dakota has become something else: the best place in the world to stay rich.
    ...
    Despite all its legal innovating, South Dakota struggled for decades to compete with offshore financial centres for big international clients – Middle Eastern petro-sheikhs perhaps, or billionaires from emerging markets. The reason was simple: sometimes the owners’ claim to their assets was a little questionable, and sometimes their business practices were a little sharp. Why would any of them put their assets in the US, where they might become vulnerable to American law enforcement, when they could instead put them in a tax haven where enforcement was more … negotiable?

    That calculation changed in 2010, in the aftermath of the great financial crisis. Many American voters blamed bankers for costing so many people their jobs and homes. When a whistleblower exposed how his Swiss employer, the banking giant UBS, had hidden billions of dollars for its wealthy clients, the conclusion was explosive: banks were not just exploiting poor people, they were helping rich people dodge taxes, too.

    Congress responded with the Financial Assets Tax Compliance Act (Fatca), forcing foreign financial institutions to tell the US government about any American-owned assets on their books. Department of Justice investigations were savage: UBS paid a $780m fine, and its rival Credit Suisse paid $2.6bn, while Wegelin, Switzerland’s oldest bank, collapsed altogether under the strain. The amount of US-owned money in the country plunged, with Credit Suisse losing 85% of its American customers.

    The rest of the world, inspired by this example, created a global agreement called the Common Reporting Standard (CRS). Under CRS, countries agreed to exchange information on the assets of each other’s citizens kept in each other’s banks. The tax-evading appeal of places like Jersey, the Bahamas and Liechtenstein evaporated almost immediately, since you could no longer hide your wealth there.

    How was a rich person to protect his wealth from the government in this scary new transparent world? Fortunately, there was a loophole. CRS had been created by lots of countries together, and they all committed to telling each other their financial secrets. But the US was not part of CRS, and its own system – Fatca – only gathers information from foreign countries; it does not send information back to them. This loophole was unintentional, but vast: keep your money in Switzerland, and the world knows about it; put it in the US and, if you were clever about it, no one need ever find out. The US was on its way to becoming a truly world-class tax haven.
    ...
    The Tax Justice Network (TJN) still ranks Switzerland as the most pernicious tax haven in the world in its Financial Secrecy Index, but the US is now in second place and climbing fast, having overtaken the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong and Luxembourg since Fatca was introduced. “While the United States has pioneered powerful ways to defend itself against foreign tax havens, it has not seriously addressed its own role in attracting illicit financial flows and supporting tax evasion,” said the TJN in the report accompanying the 2018 index. In just three years, the amount of money held via secretive structures in the US had increased by 14%, the TJN said. That is the money pouring into Sioux Falls, and into the South Dakota Trust Company.
    ...
    “You can look at South Dakota and its trust industry, but if you really want to look at CRS, look at the amount of foreign money that is flowing into US banks, not just into trusts,” the lawyer said. “The US has decided at very high levels that it is benefiting significantly from not being a member of CRS. That issue is much larger than trusts, and I don’t see that changing, I really don’t.”

    #USA #South_Dakota #nantis #capitalisme #mondialisation #évasion_fiscale

  • Conquistadors tumble as indigenous Chileans tear down statues | World news | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/05/chile-statues-indigenous-mapuche-conquistadors
    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/b20bc98173b458995172aa4e3fac10c378696834/0_12_903_939/master/903.jpg?width=1065&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=77f65aa726157b1e228244

    The head of Dagoberto Godoy hangs from a statue of the indigenous Mapuche chieftain Caupolicán after protesters decapitated a statue of the Chilean air force pilot in Temuco. Photograph: Paulo Quintana/Araucania Online

  • Death toll in #Yemen war reaches 100,000 | World news | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/31/death-toll-in-yemen-war-reaches-100000

    The death toll in Yemen’s war since 2015 has reached 100,000, according to a highly regarded database project that tracks the conflict.

    The Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project (Acled), which tracks confirmed fatalities in the conflict and is seen as reliable, said the figure included 12,000 civilian deaths in directly targeted attacks. It said 20,000 people had been reported killed this year, making it the second deadliest year of the war after 2018.

    The conflict in the Arab world’s poorest nation began in 2014 with the takeover of northern and central Yemen by Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, who drove out the internationally recognised government from the capital, Sana’a.

    #arabie_saoudite

  • Mayor of Sardinian village blames Google Maps for lost tourists | World news | The Guardian

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/15/sardinian-village-blames-google-maps-lost-tourists

    The mayor of a town in Sardinia is to attempt to end the use of Google Maps by tourists in his local area because visitors keep getting lost on mountain roads.

    Salvatore Corrias, the mayor of Baunei, a mountain village in Ogliastra province, advised people to use traditional paper maps as “so many” visitors have had to be rescued after being led astray.
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    Drivers have found themselves on impassable roads of the Supramonte mountain range as they endeavoured to reach the white-sand beaches along the island’s east coast, while hikers have also got lost. In the past year, the fire service or mountain rescue team have been called out 144 times to save stranded tourists.

    “What happens is that people aren’t used to the dirt roads in the area and so rely on Google Maps,” Corrias told the Guardian. “But after a while they realise that they are not on a proper road, and so we have to go and rescue them. We have had so many instances, especially in recent years – unfortunately Google Maps does not take people to the places they want to

    #cartographie #manipulation #google_map