• Abiy Ahmed, artisan de la réconciliation entre l’Ethiopie et l’Erythrée, reçoit le prix Nobel de la paix
    11 octobre 2019 Par René Backmann

    Le premier ministre éthiopien Abiy Ahmed et le président érythréen Isaias Afwerki en juillet 2018. © Reuters

    Le premier ministre éthiopien a conclu en juillet 2018 une déclaration de paix historique avec le président érythréen Isaias Afwerki. Mais celle-ci n’a pas que des partisans à Addis-Abeba, où ceux qui ont confisqué pouvoir et richesse pendant des décennies ne rendent pas les armes. Au risque de réveiller les fantômes de la guerre civile. (...)

    #Nobel #Ethiopie #Erythrée,

    • Bien que les attaques contre Greta Thunberg me l’aient rendue sympathique, même si son Nobel n’aurait pas été plus ridicule que celui de Barack Obama, et même si je ne connais pas du tout ce dossier, je trouve que ce choix a de la gueule. C’est moins la bourgeoisie occidentale qui se regarde le nombril.

    • Opinion: Abiy Ahmed’s Nobel Peace Prize win is a flawed decision

      When the Norwegian Nobel Committee gives the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize medal to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday, celebrations will be undercut by many expressions of disappointment and outrage. Local and international voices criticizing his domestic record attracted considerable media attention, while some took to opinion pages to develop their arguments further.
      But Abiy’s domestic record was not why he was awarded the prestigious prize. According to the committee, he was chosen for “his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea,” resulting in a peace deal they hope “will help to bring about positive change for the entire populations of Ethiopia and Eritrea.”

      Yet the impact of this “peace” in Eritrea has had little coverage. One needs to only look a little more deeply at the relationship between the Ethiopian leader and Eritrea to understand why the decision to award him the Nobel Peace Prize was wrong and makes a mockery of the Eritrean people’s suffering.
      The mainstream narrative around the peace agreement has been that the two countries had long been locked in “no peace-no-war” hostilities until Ethiopia got a fresh-faced and courageous leader who began the peace process expected to lead to positive change for the Horn of Africa. However, Abiy’s decision to initiate peace talks with Eritrea was neither novel nor brave — and he had no interest in improving the lot of the Eritrean population.

      The 17-year conflict has been portrayed as one between Eritrea and Ethiopia when it instead should be viewed as one between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the then leader of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EFRDF) coalition Abiy now leads, and the Eritrean dictator Isaias Afwerki.
      No-peace-no-war stalemate
      After Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in the early 90s, a failure to resolve a border dispute resulted in a deadly two-year war, beginning in 1998, costing more than 80,000 lives across the two countries.
      Although the Algiers agreement in 2000 formally ended active hostilities, TPLF refused to demarcate the border in accordance with the deal, which put the two governments in a no-peace-no-war stalemate. Diplomatic relations were severed and the border and air routes between the neighbors closed.

      This negatively affected both countries, as all trade stopped, while Ethiopia lost access to the coast and used its powerful position on the international scene to diplomatically isolate Eritrea. Afwerki’s regime compounded the impact on the Eritrean people. It argued that the failure to demarcate the border was a threat to Eritrea’s national security, as it put the country at constant risk of war.
      And it used this threat as an excuse to refuse to implement the Eritrean constitution, conscript to indefinite national service, imprison countless people without trial in poor conditions, and shut down the free press and other democratic institutions.
      Occupying Eritrean land
      More than a year after the lauded peace agreement was signed, the Algiers accord from 2000 has still not been implemented. Ethiopian soldiers remain at the border and continue to occupy Eritrean land. Neither country has made the details of the latest pact public.
      The terms from the Algiers accord was demarcation and that has still not happened. How did Abiy manage to get Afwerki to agree to a peace deal without fulfilling any of Eritrea’s prior demands? It might sound like Abiy performed a miracle, but the reality is far different.

      Abiy currently leads the Oromo Democratic Party, which succeeded the TPLF in its leadership of the EPRDF Coalition, and consequently, the Ethiopian state. His party has historically had disagreements with the ruling TPLF elite.
      When young people in Oromia began to organize massive protests against TPLF-backed policies, Abiy and his party were selected to lead Ethiopia in the hopes of alleviating Oromo protests and other problems in that region.
      Afwerki had spent the last ten years backing Ethiopian opposition groups and cultivating a relationship with key Oromo ones, among others.
      An uncomfortable reality
      The uncomfortable reality is that, in addition to the obvious financial benefits a peace agreement would lead to, Abiy and Afwerki came together under the guise of peace to isolate the TPLF, which scored political points for the both of them. The TPLF and Eritrean government remain enemies and the Eritrean-Ethiopian border is not demarcated. There is still no peace between the groups who initiated the original border conflict.

      Many Ethiopians have asked me why I criticize the decision to award Abiy the Nobel Peace Prize from an Eritrean perspective, arguing that he has no responsibility to fix our internal problems. I do it for two reasons. Firstly, because awarding him the prize for the potential this deal might have is wrong when it never had the potential nor intention to benefit the Eritrean people.
      The Nobel Committee hopes that it still can, and relies on the assumption that the conflict was the main obstacle to peace in Eritrea. However, it has not been the root of the extreme human rights abuses in Eritrea that has caused hundreds of thousands to flee. The internal actions taken following the border dispute were disproportionate to the threats posed by the conflict and were never formally sanctioned by any Eritrean legal process. The war was simply used as an excuse by the regime.
      A flawed decision
      There have not been any reforms or improvements in Eritrea following the peace agreement. The borders that were briefly opened were quickly closed. The constitution has still not been implemented, national service is still indefinite and dissidence is still strictly forbidden. In October last year, three months after the peace agreement, a former finance minister was imprisoned for writing a critical book about the Eritrean regime.
      Secondly, and most importantly, I criticize the Nobel Committee’s flawed decision because, in addition to the lack of domestic prospects for change, Abiy has actively supported and legitimized Afwerki’s regime, thus hindering efforts to bring peace to Eritrea.
      In combination with Europe’s desperation to stifle migration from Eritrea, Abiy’s constant appearances alongside Afwerki and his rallying of Ethiopia’s allies have softened the international pressure on the dictator. I was invited to speak at the United Nations earlier this year and was shocked by the overwhelming support for Eritrea.

      Abiy reportedly also recently told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who for years has tried multiple ways to deport Eritrean refugees, that his friendship with Eritrea can help him come up with “innovative projects to deport them back.”
      That is despite the fact that returned refugees face an imminent threat of torture and that their deportation would constitute a violation of international human rights principles.
      This peace agreement was not about resolving the border dispute or bringing peace to Eritrea. Instead, it was a strategic political move by Abiy that has benefited both leaders financially and diplomatically, whilst uniting them against their common political enemy.
      Political opportunism
      One Twitter user joked that Abiy was given the wrong prize and that he and Afwerki instead should have received an Oscar for their performances. They went from strangers to best friends in the span of a few days, dressed up in wedding clothes, cut cake, exchanged rings, drank champagne, and constantly spoke lovingly about each other — all to send a strong message to their audience, the TPLF.
      This is political opportunism, not an effort to create peace in the lives of the Eritrean people.

      What hurts me, and many more Eritreans, is that none of this is hard to understand for a competent and well-resourced body like the Nobel Committee. Disregarding the Eritrean people and their suffering was not a lazy oversight but an informed and deliberate decision.
      I hope that the rest of the world does not follow their lead and instead supports the Eritrean people’s efforts for peace and justice.


    • Did Walmart just change the gun debate?

      It’s easy to be cynical about the politics of guns in the age of mass shootings. From Columbine to Virginia Tech to Newtown to Parkland to El Paso and Dayton, the immediate outcry for more and better gun laws in the wake of mass shootings gives way to hard political realities — particularly in the Senate — that seem to be unchanged by these horrific crimes.
      The gun debate in this country is, in a word, stagnant.
      But what if something outside politics changed the way in which Congress — especially Republicans in Congress, who have generally voted in lockstep with the National Rifle Association to oppose any further strictures on guns — thinks about what can be done in terms of common-sense gun laws?

      Something like, say, a decision by Walmart — not exactly a liberal, urban hipster chain of stores — that it will cease selling handguns and “short-barrel rifle” ammunition in its stores, and will urge its customers not to carry any guns while shopping at its stores. (The move came in reaction, at least in part, to 20 people being murdered at a Walmart in El Paso last month.)

      And that wasn’t even the most important part of the announcement. This was, from Walmart CEO Doug McMillon:
      “We encourage our nation’s leaders to move forward and strengthen background checks and to remove weapons from those who have been determined to pose an imminent danger. Congress and the administration should act. Given our decades of experience selling firearms, we are also offering to serve as a resource in the national debate on responsible gun sales.”
      That’s quite a statement. McMillon is saying, in essence, that private industry is doing its part to address the epidemic of gun violence in the country and now it’s time for elected leaders to step up and do the same. (Walmart follows Dick’s Sporting Goods in announcing its decision to curtail gun and ammunition sales in some of its stores.)
      And Walmart isn’t just any chain of stores in America. It is a massive conglomerate with roots in many of the rural and suburban areas where President Donald Trump did well in 2016 and which are represented by Republicans in Congress. When Walmart speaks, these members of Congress, generally speaking, listen. And what Walmart has done with its move this week on guns and ammo is provide at least some cover from the NRA for congressional Republicans who want to do something about the state of gun laws in the country.

      Asked about the move Wednesday, Trump said, “That’s up to Walmart. Hey, they’re very smart, they had a tremendous quarter, just announced tremendous numbers.”
      When asked about the ammunition and guns move, Trump said, “You’d have to talk to them,” adding, “They can do what they have to do.”

      Is it possible that Walmart’s move doesn’t change minds within the Republican conference in Congress about what they can be for in terms of gun control measures? Sure! But we’ve not seen a move like this by a company as large or as well-regarded by the audiences — politicians and otherwise — who have been adamantly opposed to any sort of gun control legislation in the past.
      The Point: Walmart is a free radical in this gun control experiment. It may fizzle. But it also could serve as a catalyst for some actual movement on an issue that has been stagnant for years now.


    • États-Unis.Walmart arrête de vendre des munitions pour armes semi-automatiques

      Sous pression depuis qu’une tuerie de masse a fait de nombreuses victimes dans l’un de ses magasins le mois dernier, le géant américain de la grande distribution relance le débat sur les armes.


  • India has just five years to solve its water crisis, experts fear - CNN

    But many fear it won’t be enough. According to a UN human rights report, the world is fast approaching a “climate apartheid” where only the wealthy can afford basic resources in the face of fatal droughts, famine and heatwaves.
    In some places in India, disaster has already arrived. The four reservoirs that supply Chennai, India’s sixth-largest city, are nearly dry.


  • First-ever private border wall built in #New_Mexico

    A private group announced Monday that it has constructed a half-mile wall along a section of the U.S.-Mexico border in New Mexico, in what it said was a first in the border debate.

    The 18-foot steel bollard wall is similar to the designs used by the Border Patrol, sealing off a part of the border that had been a striking gap in existing fencing, according to We Build the Wall, the group behind the new section.

    The section was also built faster and, organizers say, likely more cheaply than the government has been able to manage in recent years.

    Kris Kobach, a former secretary of state in Kansas and an informal immigration adviser to President Trump, says the New Mexico project has the president’s blessing, and says local Border Patrol agents are eager to have the assistance.

    “We’re closing a gap that’s been a big headache for them,” said Mr. Kobach, who is general counsel for We Build the Wall.

    #privatisation #murs #barrières_frontalières #USA #Mexique #frontières #business #complexe_militaro-industriel
    ping @albertocampiphoto @daphne

    • The #GoFundMe Border Wall Is the Quintessential Trump-Era Grift

      In 2012, historian Rick Perlstein wrote a piece of essential reading for understanding modern conservatism, titled “The Long Con” and published by the Baffler. It ties the right’s penchant for absurd and obvious grifts to the conservative mind’s particular vulnerability to fear and lies:

      The strategic alliance of snake-oil vendors and conservative true believers points up evidence of another successful long march, of tactics designed to corral fleeceable multitudes all in one place—and the formation of a cast of mind that makes it hard for either them or us to discern where the ideological con ended and the money con began.

      Lying, Perlstein said, is “what makes you sound the way a conservative is supposed to sound.” The lies—about abortion factories, ACORN, immigrants, etc.—fund the grifts, and the grifts prey on the psychology that makes the lies so successful.

      Perlstein’s piece is all I could think of when I saw last night’s CNN story about the border wall GoFundMe, which seemingly has actually produced Wall. According to CNN, the group We Build the Wall says it has produced a half-mile of border wall in New Mexico. CNN was invited to watch the construction, where Kris Kobach, who is general counsel for the group, spoke “over the clanking and beeping of construction equipment.”

      #Steve_Bannon, who is naturally involved with the group, told CNN that the wall connects existing fencing and had “tough terrain” that means it was left “off the government list.” The half-mile stretch of wall cost an “estimated $6 million to $8 million to build,” CNN reported.

      CNN also quoted #Jeff_Allen, who owns the property on which the fence was built, as saying: “I have fought illegals on this property for six years. I love my country and this is a step in protecting my country.” According to MSN, Allen partnered with United Constitutional Patriots to build the wall with We Build the Wall’s funding. UCP is the same militia that was seen on video detaining immigrants and misrepresenting themselves as Border Patrol; the Phoenix New Times reported on the “apparent ties” between the UCP and We Build the Wall earlier this month.

      This story is bursting at the seams with an all-star lineup of right-wing scammers. The GoFundMe itself, of course, has been rocked by scandal: After the effort raised $20 million, just $980 million short of the billion-dollar goal, GoFundMe said in January that the funds would be returned, since creator Brian Kolfage had originally pledged that “If for ANY reason we don’t reach our goal we will refund your donation.” But Kolfage quickly figured out how to keep the gravy train going, urging those who had donated to allow their donations to be redirected to a non-profit. Ultimately, $14 million of that $20 million figure was indeed rerouted by the idiots who donated it.

      That non-profit became #We_Build_The_Wall, and like all good conservative con jobs, it has the celebs of the fever swamp attached to it. Not only #Kris_Kobach, a tenacious liar who failed at proving voter fraud is a widespread problem—but also slightly washed-up figures like Bannon, Sheriff David Clarke, Curt Schilling, and Tom Tancredo. All the stars are here!

      How much sleazier could it get? Try this: the main contractor working at the site of New Wall, according to CNN, is Tommy Fisher. The Washington Post reported last week that Trump had “personally and repeatedly urged the head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers” to give the contract for the border wall to the company owned by Fisher, a “GOP donor and frequent guest on Fox News,” despite the fact that the Corps of Engineers previously said Fisher’s proposals didn’t meet their requirements.

      Of course, like all good schemes, the need for more money never ceases: On the Facebook page for the group, the announcement that Wall had been completed was accompanied with a plea for fans to “DONATE NOW to fund more walls! We have many more projects lined up!”

      So, what we have is: A tax-exempt non-profit raised $20 million by claiming it would be able to make the federal government build Wall by just giving it the money for it and then, when that didn’t happen, getting most of its donors to reroute that money; then it built a half-mile of wall on private land for as much as $8 million, which went to a firm of a Fox News star whom President Trump adores.

      Perlstein wrote in the aforementioned piece that it’s hard to “specify a break point where the money game ends and the ideological one begins,” since “the con selling 23-cent miracle cures for heart disease inches inexorably into the one selling miniscule marginal tax rates as the miracle cure for the nation itself.” The con job was sold through fear: “Conjuring up the most garishly insatiable monsters precisely in order to banish them from underneath the bed, they aim to put the target to sleep.”

      The Trump era is the inartful, gaudy, brazen peak of this phenomenon. This time, instead of selling fake stem cell cures using the language of Invading Liberals, the grifters are just straight-up selling—for real American dollars—the promise of building a big wall to keep the monsters out.


    • Company touted by Trump to build the wall has history of fines, violations

      President Donald Trump appears to have set his sights on a North Dakota construction firm with a checkered legal record to build portions of his signature border wall.
      The family-owned company, #Fisher_Sand_&_Gravel, claims it can build the wall cheaper and faster than competitors. It was among a handful of construction firms chosen to build prototypes of the President’s border wall in 2017 and is currently constructing portions of barrier on private land along the border in New Mexico using private donations.
      It also, however, has a history of red flags including more than $1 million in fines for environmental and tax violations. A decade ago, a former co-owner of the company pleaded guilty to tax fraud, and was sentenced to prison. The company also admitted to defrauding the federal government by impeding the IRS. The former executive, who’s a brother of the current company owner, is no longer associated with it.
      More than two years into his presidency, Trump is still fighting to build and pay for his border wall, a key campaign issue. After failing to get his requests for wall funding passed by a Republican-held Congress during his first two years in office, Trump has met resistance this year from a Democratic-controlled House. His attempt to circumvent Congress through a national emergency declaration has been challenged in the courts.
      On May 24, a federal district judge blocked the administration from using Defense Department funds to construct parts of the wall. The Trump administration has since appealed the block to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals and in the interim, asked the district court to allow building to continue pending appeal. The district court denied the administration’s request.
      Despite the uncertainty, construction firms have been competing to win multimillion-dollar contracts to build portions of wall, including Fisher Sand & Gravel.

      Asked by CNN to comment on the company’s history of environmental violations and legal issues, the company said in a statement: “The questions you are asking have nothing to do with the excellent product and work that Fisher is proposing with regard to protecting America’s southern border. The issues and situations in your email were resolved years ago. None of those matters are outstanding today.”
      Catching the President’s attention
      The company was founded in North Dakota in 1952 and operates in several states across the US. It’s enjoyed public support from North Dakota Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer, who as a congressman invited the company’s CEO, Tommy Fisher, to Trump’s State of the Union address in 2018. Cramer has received campaign contributions from Fisher and his wife. A photo of the event shared by Fisher in a company newsletter shows Tommy Fisher shaking Trump’s hand.
      The Washington Post first reported the President’s interest in Fisher. According to the Post, the President has “aggressively” pushed for the Army Corps of Engineers to award a wall contract to Fisher.
      The President “immediately brought up Fisher” during a May 23 meeting in the Oval Office to discuss details of the border wall with various government officials, including that he wants it to be painted black and include French-style doors, according to the Post and confirmed by CNN.
      “The Army Corps of Engineers says about 450 miles of wall will be completed by the end of next year, and the only thing President Trump is pushing, is for the wall to be finished quickly so the American people have the safety and security they deserve,” said Hogan Gidley, White House deputy press secretary.
      A US government official familiar with the meeting tells CNN that the President has repeatedly mentioned the company in discussions he’s had about the wall with the head of the Army Corps of Engineers, Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite.
      Fisher has recently made efforts to raise its public profile, both by upping its lobbying efforts and through repeated appearances on conservative media by its CEO, Tommy Fisher.

      In the past two years, for example, the company’s congressional lobbying expenditures jumped significantly — from $5,000 in 2017 to $75,000 in 2018, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-profit that tracks lobbying expenditures.

      When asked about Fisher Sand & Gravel’s lobbying, Don Larson, one of Fisher’s registered lobbyists, said: “I am working to help decision makers in Washington become familiar with the company and its outstanding capabilities.”
      Media Blitz
      As part of a media blitz on outlets including Fox News, SiriusXM Patriot and Breitbart News, Tommy Fisher has discussed his support for the border wall and pitched his company as the one to build it. In a March 5 appearance on Fox & Friends, Fisher said that his company could build 234 miles of border wall for $4.3 billion, compared to the $5.7 billion that the Trump administration has requested from Congress.
      Fisher claimed that his firm can work five-to-10 times faster than competitors as a result of its construction process.
      The President has also touted Fisher on Fox News. In an April interview in which he was asked about Fisher by Sean Hannity, Trump said the company was “recommended strongly by a great new senator, as you know, Kevin Cramer. And they’re real. But they have been bidding and so far they haven’t been meeting the bids. I thought they would.”
      Despite the President’s interest, the company has thus far been unsuccessful in obtaining a contract to build the border wall, beyond that of a prototype.

      Earlier this year, Fisher put its name in the running for border wall contracts worth nearly $1 billion. When it lost the bid to Barnard Construction Co. and SLSCO Ltd., Fisher protested the awards over claims that the process was biased. In response, the Army Corps canceled the award. But after a review of the process, the Army Corps combined the projects and granted it to a subsidiary of Barnard Construction, according to an agency spokesperson.
      It’s unclear whether the project will proceed, given the recent decision by a federal judge to block the use of Defense Department funds to build parts of the border wall and the administration’s appeal.
      Fisher, which has a pending lawsuit in the US Court of Federal Claims over the solicitation process, is listed by the Defense Department as being among firms eligible to compete for future border contracts.

      It has moved forward with a private group, We Build the Wall, that is building sections of barrier on private land in New Mexico using private money raised as part of a GoFundMe campaign. Kris Kobach, the former Kansas Secretary of State who is now general counsel for the group, said a half-mile stretch is nearly complete, at an estimated cost of $6 million to $8 million.

      In a statement, a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson said Fisher Industries has told them that the company has begun construction on private property along the border “in the approximate area of a USBP border barrier requirement that was not prioritized under current funding.”
      The spokesperson added: “It is not uncommon for vendors” to demonstrate their capabilities using “their own resources,” but the agency goes on to “encourage all interested vendors” to compete for border contracts “through established mechanisms to ensure any construction is carried out under relevant federal authorities and meets USBP operational requirements for border barrier.”
      In responses provided to CNN through Scott Sleight, an attorney working on behalf of the company, Fisher maintained that it’s “committed to working with all appropriate federal government officials and agencies to provide its expertise and experience to help secure America’s southern border.”
      The company says it has “developed a patent-pending bollard fence hanging system that [it] believes allows border fencing to be constructed faster than any contractor using common construction methods.” It also added: “Fisher has been concerned about the procurement procedures and evaluations done by the USACE to date, and hopes these issues can be remedied.”
      Relationship with Sen. Cramer
      A month after attending the 2018 State of the Union address with Cramer, Fisher and his wife, Candice each contributed the $5,400 maximum donation to Cramer’s campaign for the US Senate, Federal Election Commission records show.
      Fisher also donated to several Arizona Republicans in the 2018 election cycle, including giving the $5,400-maximum donation to Martha McSally’s campaign, records show.
      A recent video produced by Fisher Sand & Gravel demonstrating its ability to construct the wall includes a clip of Cramer at the controls of a track-hoe lifting sections of barrier wall into place, saying “this is just like XBOX, baby.” Cramer was joined at the demonstration by a handful of other Republican lawmakers from across the country.

      Cramer has been publicly critical of how the Army Corps has handled its border wall construction work, arguing that it has moved too slowly and expressing frustration over how it has dealt with Fisher. In an interview with a North Dakota TV station, Cramer said that he believes the corps “made a miscalculation in who they chose over Fisher” and that the company had been “skunked so to speak.” Cramer added that Fisher “remains a pre-qualified, high level, competitor.”

      In an interview with CNN, Cramer said that the company has come up in conversations he has had with administration officials, including the President and the head of the Army Corps, but while the senator said that he would “love if they got every inch of the project,” he added that he has “never advocated specifically for them.”
      "Every time someone comes to meet with me, whether it’s (Acting Defense Secretary) Shanahan, General Semonite, even with Donald Trump, they bring up Fisher Industries because they assume that’s my thing," Cramer said.
      “One of the things I’ve never done is said it should be Fisher,” Cramer said. “Now, I love Fisher. I’d love if they got every inch of the project. They’re my constituents, I don’t apologize for that. But my interest really is more in the bureaucratic process.”
      According to an administration official familiar with the situation, Cramer sent information about Fisher to the President’s son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner, who then passed it along to the Army Corps of Engineers for their consideration. The source tells CNN that Kushner was not familiar with the company prior to getting information about them from Cramer.
      Cramer said he does recall passing along information about the company to Kushner, but that he did not know what Kushner did with the information.
      On May 24, Cramer told a North Dakota radio station that the President has asked him to examine the process of how federal border wall projects are awarded.
      “We’re going to do an entire audit,” Cramer said. “I’ve asked for the entire bid process, and all of the bid numbers.” Cramer told CNN the President said he wanted the wall built for the “lowest, best price, and it’s also quality, and that’s what any builder should want.”
      Asked about aspects of the company’s checkered legal record, Cramer said “that level of scrutiny is important, but I would hope the same scrutiny would be put on the Corps of Engineers.”
      Environmental violations
      Though its corporate headquarters are in North Dakota, Fisher has a sizable footprint in Arizona, where it operates an asphalt company as well as a drilling and blasting company. It’s there that the company has compiled an extensive track record of environmental violations.
      From 2007 to 2017, Fisher Sand & Gravel compiled more than 1,300 air-quality violations in Maricopa County, culminating in the third highest settlement ever received by the Maricopa County Air Quality Department, according to Bob Huhn, a department spokesperson. That’s a record number of violations for any air-quality settlement in the county, Huhn said. The settlement totaled more than $1 million, though the department received slightly less than that following negotiations, Huhn said.
      Most of the violations came from an asphalt plant that the company was running in south Phoenix that has since closed. While the plant was still running, the City of Phoenix filed 469 criminal charges against the company from August to October of 2009, according to a city spokesperson.
      According to a 2010 article in the Arizona Republic, Fisher reached an agreement with Phoenix officials to close the plant in 2010. As part of the deal, fines were reduced from $1.1 million to an estimated $243,000 and all criminal charges were reduced to civil charges.
      Mary Rose Wilcox was a member of the Maricopa Board of Supervisors at the time the city and county were fighting Fisher over the asphalt plant, which was located in her district. “They tried to persuade us they were good guys since they were a family-owned company. But they were spreading noxious fumes into a residential area,” Wilcox said. “We tried to work with them, but their violations were just so blatant.”
      Michael Pops, a community activist who lived in the area around the plant, remembers fighting with Fisher for six years before the plant finally shut down. “The impact they had on this community was devastating,” Pops said, adding many low-income residents living near the asphalt plant were sickened from the fumes the plant emitted.
      The company has also racked up more than 120 violations with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality from 2004 until as recently as last summer, according to the department.
      In 2011, Fisher agreed to a Consent Judgement with ADEQ over numerous air quality violations the company had committed. As part of that settlement, Fisher agreed to pay $125,000 in civil penalties, and that it would remain in compliance with state air quality standards. Within two years Fisher was found to be in violation of that agreement and was forced to pay an additional $500,000 in fines, according to the state’s attorney general’s office.
      Legal trouble
      Internally, the company has also confronted issues.
      In 2011, Fisher Sand & Gravel agreed to pay $150,000 to settle a sexual discrimination and retaliation suit filed by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The lawsuit charged that the company violated federal anti-discrimination laws when it “subjected two women workers to egregious verbal sexual harassment by a supervisor and then fired one of them after she repeatedly asked the supervisor to stop harassing her and complained to a job superintendent.”
      The settlement required Fisher to provide anti-discrimination training to its employees in New Mexico and review its policies on sexual harassment.
      Micheal Fisher, a former co-owner of Fisher and Tommy’s brother, was sentenced to prison in 2009 for tax fraud, according to the Justice Department. Fisher pleaded guilty to “conspiracy to defraud the United States by impeding the [Internal Revenue Service], four counts of aiding in the filing of false federal tax returns for FSG and four counts of filing false individual tax returns,” according to a Justice Department release.
      The company also admitted responsibility for defrauding the US by impeding the IRS, according to the DOJ. Citing a long standing policy of not commenting on the contracting process, the Army Corps declined to comment on whether Fisher’s history factored into its decision not to award Fisher a contract.


    • Private US-Mexico border wall ordered open by gov’t, fights back and is now closed again

      The privately funded portion of the U.S.-Mexico border wall is now fully secure and closed again after one of its gates had been ordered to remain open until disputes about waterway access could be resolved.

      “Our border wall & gate are secure again and we still have not had a single breach. I want to thank the IBWC for acting swiftly and we look forward to working with you on our future projects,” triple amputee Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage posted to Twitter on Tuesday night.

      Kolfage created We Build The Wall Inc., a nonprofit that is now backed by former Trump Administration Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. The group crowd-funded more than $22 million in order to privately build a border wall and then sell it to the U.S. government for $1.

      A portion of that wall has been constructed in Texas for between $6 and $8 million. The 1-mile-long wall is located on private property near El Paso, Texas, and Sunland Park, New Mexico.

      However, the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) had ordered a 33-foot gate within the private border wall to remain open – not locked and closed – over a waterway access issue, according to BuzzFeed News. The IBCW addresses waterway issues between the U.S. and Mexico.

      “This is normally done well in advance of a construction project,” IBWC spokesperson Lori Kuczmanski said. “They think they can build now and ask questions later, and that’s not how it works.”

      BuzzFeed reported that the IBWC said the gate “had blocked officials from accessing a levee and dam, and cut off public access to a historic monument known as Monument One, the first in a series of obelisks that mark the U.S.–Mexico border from El Paso to Tijuana.”

      By Tuesday night, the IBWC said the gate would remain locked at night and issued a statement.

      “The U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC) will lock the privately-owned gate on federal property at night effective immediately due to security concerns,” it said.

      The statement continues:

      The USIBWC is continuing to work with We Build the Wall regarding its permit request. Until this decision, the private gate was in a locked open position. We Build the Wall, a private organization, built a gate on federal land in Sunland Park, N.M., near El Paso, Texas, without authority, and then locked the gate closed on June 6, 2019. The private gate blocks a levee road owned by the U.S. Government. After repeated requests to unlock and open the private gate, the United States Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC), accompanied by two uniformed law enforcement officers from the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office, removed the private lock, opened the gate, and locked the gate open pending further discussions with We Build the Wall. The gate was also opened so that USIBWC employees can conduct maintenance and operations at American Dam.

      The USIBWC did not authorize the construction of the private gate on federal property as announced on We Build the Wall’s Twitter page. The USIBWC is not charged with securing other fences or gates as reported by We Build the Wall. The international border fences are not on USIBWC property. The USIBWC did not open any other gates in the El Paso area as erroneously reported. Other gates and the border fence are controlled by other federal agencies.

      When the proper documentation is received for the permit, USIBWC will continue to process the permit application.

      Before the statement had been released, Kolfage posted to Twitter.


  • Saudi Arabia is carrying out a second oppressive mass slaughter in the era of King Salman, including children, protestors, and activists – European-Saudi Organisation for Human Rights

    Without the knowledge of the victims’ families, the Saudi government today circulated awful news of the execution of 37 people, including minors, protestors, and the disabled. Many of them were linked to the Arab Spring protests that took place in Saudi Arabia, particular in the governorate of Qatif beginning on 17 February 2011. Others were charged by Saudi Arabia with spying for Iran, although most of the charges did not include evidence of actual acts of espionage.

    Among the names were at least six minors: Abdullah Salman Al Sarih and Abdulkarim Mohammad al-Hawaj, whose charges go back to when they were 16 years of age, and Said Mohammad al-Sakafi, Salman Amin Al Quraysh, Mujtaba Nadir al-Sweiket, and Abdulaziz Hassan Al Sahwi, whose charges date back to when they were 17. There are also suspicions that others are likely minors, but the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights (ESOHR) was unable to obtain further details.

    Furthermore, among the shocking executions was Haidar Mohammad Al Laif, who according to Saudi Arabia – in its reply to the UN on 13 December 2017 – was given a final sentence of eight years.

    Many of the charges leveled against the individuals whose executions were announced by the Ministry of Interior were not classified as serious or terroristic crimes. For example, there were charges related to the right to expression, peaceful protest, peaceful association, signing political statements, possessing political documents and information on political detainees. Similarly, some of them have been accused of spreading Shi’ism and practicing non-traditional religious activities involving Shiites in the governorate of Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia.

    The trials of most of the victims of today’s massacre, the details and proceedings of which the ESOHR has followed, have severely lacked the conditions for a fair trial. The trials have taken place in total secrecy and isolation from any of the victim’s relatives or in semi-secrecy, attended by only a few of the victim’s relatives – one to three at most. On the government’s part, select official media entities can attend, as well as members of executive agencies, such as the Mabahith (secret police), and members of the official human rights establishment. Meanwhile, no one from the public or members of civil society can be found at the trial.


    In a report issued in February 2019 following a field visit to Saudi Arabia, the former Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Ben Emerson, called for “a prompt review of all current cases of prisoners charged and convicted of terrorist offenses who are facing the death penalty, in order to ensure that minimum international standards are met in each case.” He stressed that this means that the death penalty may not be imposed except for the most serious crimes leading to loss of life and may not be imposed on people who were minors at the time of their crimes or people with mental or cognitive disabilities. Ben Emerson’s report included a clear reference to those who were executed today, stating that when 24 people were brought to trial in June of 2016 because of pro-democracy protests in 2011, the Specialized Criminal Court sentenced 14 of them to death. This again confirms that the trials did not fulfill the required legal processes and the standards of a fair trial and that the accused were subjected to torture and were not able to have a lawyer. This case is a source of serious concern.

    The rapporteur also expressed particular concern vis-à-vis “a pattern of systematic oppression in the Eastern Province where most of the Shiite population lives,” noting that death sentences were issued against many members of the Shiite minority – who were facing imminent execution – for their participation in pro-democracy demonstrations in Eastern Province in 2011 and 2012.

    The brutal executions carried out by Saudi Arabia today blatantly ignored the many urgent appeals of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Special Rapporteurs, and various committees. These appeals included many of the names of people who were killed by Saudi Arabia today:


    With the executions today, the number of victims of execution since 2019 to today totals 105, while at this point in 2018 there were 48 executions. The rate has more than doubled by 50% compared to last year.

    As stipulated in Saudi Arabia, executions are carried out only after the signature of the king or his deputy, which makes King Salman directly and explicitly responsible for the executions carried out today.

    The ESOHR does not have information about some of the names mentioned as executed today. This goes back to the Saudi government’s closure of all spaces for civil society and the intimidation surrounding the families of the victims. The ESOHR also emphasizes the lack of confidence in the accounts offered by the state under the justification of “terrorism.”

    The ESOHR believes that Saudi Arabia has entered into a bloody era since the ascension of King Salman and his Crown Prince and their absolute control over the country, both internally and externally. The first and most heinous manifestation of this internal control was the mass execution of 2 January 2016. This was followed by numerous crimes, culminating in today’s crime of executing 37 citizens – among them minors, the disabled, and demonstrators – on charges that fall within freedom and opinion and expression and are not classified as criminal.

    After this heinous crime, the ESOHR calls for an international investigation to be opened in order to hold accountable all those responsible for the crimes and violations that have occurred. The ESOHR believes that this is the response that may bring this bloodshed to an end. The ESOHR also calls for a review of Saudi Arabia’s membership in various UN agencies and committees.

    The ESOHR is raising profound concerns about dozens of people threatened with becoming victims of other executions in the future and advocates all legal means to save their lives.

    #arabie_saoudite notre cliente et alliée

  • #CBP terminates controversial $297 million #Accenture contract amid continued staffing struggles

    #Customs_and_Border_Protection on Thursday ended its controversial $297 million hiring contract with Accenture, according to two senior DHS officials and an Accenture representative.
    As of December, when CBP terminated part of its contract, the company had only completed processing 58 applicants and only 22 had made it onto the payroll about a year after the company was hired.
    At the time, the 3,500 applicants that remained in the Accenture hiring pipeline were transferred to CBP’s own hiring center to complete the process.

    CBP cut ties with Accenture on processing applicants a few months ago, it retained some services, including marketing, advertising and applicant support.
    This week, the entire contract was terminated for “convenience,” government speak for agreeing to part ways without placing blame on Accenture.
    While government hiring is “slow and onerous, it’s also part of being in the government” and that’s “something we have to accept and deal with as we go forward,” said one of the officials.
    For its efforts, CBP paid Accenture around $19 million in start-up costs, and around $2 million for 58 people who got job offers, according to the officials.
    Over the last couple of months, CBP explored how to modify the contract, but ultimately decided to completely stop work and return any remaining funds to taxpayers.
    But it’s unclear how much money, if any, that will be.

    In addition, to the funds already paid to Accenture, CBP has around $39 million left to “settle and close the books” with the company, an amount which has yet to be determined.
    In November 2017, CBP awarded Accenture the contract to help meet the hiring demands of an executive order on border security that President Donald Trump signed during his first week in office. The administration directed CBP to hire an additional 7,500 agents and officers on top of its current hiring goals.
    “We were in a situation where we needed to try something new” and “break the cycle of going backwards,” said a DHS official about why the agency started the contract.

    Meanwhile, hiring remains difficult for the agency amid a surge of migrants at the southern border that is stretching CBP resources thin.
    It “continues to be a very challenging environment,” said one official about hiring efforts this year.

    In fact, one of the reasons that CBP didn’t need Accenture to process applicants, is because the agency didn’t receive as many applications as it initially planned for.
    The agency has been focused on beating attrition and has been able to recently “beat it by a modest amount,” said the official. “Ultimately we would like to beat it by a heck of a lot, but we’re not there yet.”

    #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #USA #Ests-Unis #complexe_militaro-industriel #business

    • Border Profiteers

      On a recent sunny spring afternoon in Texas, a couple hundred Border Patrol agents, Homeland Security officials, and salespeople from a wide array of defense and security contractors gathered at the Bandera Gun Club about an hour northwest of San Antonio to eat barbecue and shoot each other’s guns. The techies wore flip-flops; the veterans wore combat boots. Everyone had a good time. They were letting loose, having spent the last forty-eight hours cooped up in suits and ties back at San Antonio’s Henry B. Gonzalez convention center, mingling and schmoozing, hawking their wares, and listening to immigration officials rail about how those serving in enforcement agencies are not, under any circumstances, Nazis.

      These profiteers and bureaucrats of the immigration-industrial complex were fresh from the 2019 #Border_Security_Expo —essentially a trade show for state violence, where law enforcement officers and weapons manufacturers gather, per the Expo’s marketing materials, to “identify and address new and emerging border challenges and opportunities through technology, partnership, and innovation.” The previous two days of panels, speeches, and presentations had been informative, a major in the Argentine Special Forces told me at the gun range, but boring. He was glad to be outside, where handguns popped and automatic rifles spat around us. I emptied a pistol into a target while a man in a Three Percenter militia baseball hat told me that I was a “natural-born killer.” A drone buzzed overhead until, in a demonstration of a company’s new anti-drone technology, a device that looked like a rocket launcher and fired a sort of exploding net took it down. “This is music to me,” the Argentine major said.

      Perhaps it’s not surprising the Border Security Expo attendees were so eager to blow off steam. This year’s event found many of them in a defensive posture, given the waves of bad press they’d endured since President Trump’s inauguration, and especially since the disastrous implementation of his family separation policy, officially announced by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in April of 2018, before being rescinded by Trump two-and-a-half months later. Throughout the Expo, in public events and in background roundtable conversations with reporters, officials from the various component parts of the Department of Homeland Security rolled out a series of carefully rehearsed talking points: Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) need more money, personnel, and technology; taking migrants to hospitals distracts CBP officers from their real mission; and the 1997 Flores court settlement, which prohibits immigration enforcement agencies from detaining migrant families with children for more than twenty days, is undermining the very sovereignty of the United States. “We want a secure border, we want an immigration system that has integrity,” Ronald Vitiello, then–acting head of ICE, said in a keynote address to the hundreds of people gathered in San Antonio. “We have a generous immigration system in this country, but it has to have integrity in order for us to continue to be so generous.”

      More of a technocrat than his thuggish predecessor Thomas Homan, Vitiello also spoke at length about using the “dark web” to take down smugglers and the importance of having the most up-to-date data-management technology. But he spoke most adamantly about needing “a fix” for the Flores settlement. “If you prosecute crimes and you give people consequences, you get less of it,” he said. “With Flores, there’s no consequence, and everybody knows that,” a senior ICE official echoed to reporters during a background conversation immediately following Vitiello’s keynote remarks. “That’s why you’re seeing so many family units. We cannot apply a consequence to a family unit, because we have to release them.”

      Meanwhile, around 550 miles to the west, in El Paso, hundreds of migrants, including children and families, were being held by CBP under a bridge, reportedly forced to sleep on the ground, with inadequate medical attention. “They treated us like we are animals,” one Honduran man told Texas Monthly. “I felt what they were trying to do was to hurt us psychologically, so we would understand that this is a lesson we were being taught, that we shouldn’t have crossed.” Less than a week after the holding pen beneath the bridge closed, Vitiello’s nomination to run ICE would be pulled amid a spate of firings across DHS; President Trump wanted to go “in a tougher direction.”

      Family Values

      On the second day of the Border Security Expo, in a speech over catered lunch, Scott Luck, deputy chief of Customs and Border Protection and a career Border Patrol agent, lamented that the influx of children and families at the border meant that resources were being diverted from traditional enforcement practices. “Every day, about 150 agents spend their shifts at hospitals and medical facilities with illegal aliens receiving treatment,” he said. “The annual salary cost for agents on hospital watch is more than $11.5 million. Budget analysts estimate that 13 percent of our operational budget—the budget that we use to buy equipment, to buy vehicles for our men and women—is now used for transportation, medical expenses, diapers, food, and other necessities to care for illegal aliens in Border Patrol custody.”

      As far as Luck was concerned, every dollar spent on food and diapers is one not spent on drones and weapons, and every hour an agent spends guarding a migrant in a hospital is an hour they don’t spend on the border. “It’s not what they signed up for. The mission they signed up for is to protect the United States border, to protect the communities in which they live and serve,” he told reporters after his speech. “The influx, the volume, the clutter that this creates is frustrating.” Vitiello applied an Orwellian inversion: “We’re not helping them as fast as we want to,” he said of migrant families apprehended at the border.

      Even when discussing the intimate needs of detained migrant families, the language border officials used to describe their remit throughout the Expo was explicitly militaristic: achieving “operational control,” Luck said, requires “impedance and denial” and “situational awareness.” He referred to technology as a “vital force multiplier.” He at least stopped short of endorsing the president’s framing that what is happening on the border constitutes an invasion, instead describing it as a “deluge.”

      According to the Migration Policy Institute, a non-partisan think tank, the U.S. immigrant population has continued to grow—although at a slower rate than it did before the 2007 recession, and undocumented people appear to make up a smaller proportion of the overall population. Regardless, in fiscal year 2018, both ICE and CBP stepped up their enforcement activities, arresting, apprehending, and deporting people at significantly higher rates than the previous year. More than three times as many family members were apprehended at the border last year than in 2017, the Pew Research Center reports, and in the first six months of FY 2019 alone there were 189,584 apprehensions of “family units”: more than half of all apprehensions at the border during that time, and more than the full-year total of apprehended families for any other year on record. While the overall numbers have not yet begun to approach those of the 1980s and 1990s, when apprehensions regularly exceeded one million per year, the demographics of who is arriving at the United States southern border are changing: fewer single men from Mexico and more children and families from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador—in other words, an ever-wider range of desperate victims of drug gangs and American policies that have long supported corrupt regimes.

      This change has presented people like Luck with problems they insist are merely logistical: aging Border Patrol stations, he told us at the Expo, “are not luxurious in any way, and they were never intended to handle families and children.” The solution, according to Vitiello, is “continued capital investment” in those facilities, as well as the cars and trucks necessary to patrol the border region and transport those apprehended from CBP custody to ICE detention centers, the IT necessary to sift through vast amounts of data accumulated through untold surveillance methods, and all of “the systems by which we do our work.”

      Neither Vitiello nor Luck would consider whether those systems—wherein thousands of children, ostensibly under the federal government’s care, have been sexually abused and five, from December through May of this year, have died—ought to be questioned. Both laughed off calls from migrant justice organizers, activists, and politicians to abolish ICE. “The concept of the Department of Homeland Security—and ICE as an agency within it—was designed for us to learn the lessons from 9/11,” Vitiello said. “Those needs still exist in this society. We’re gonna do our part.” DHS officials have even considered holding migrant children at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, according to the New York Times, where a new $23 million “contingency mass migration complex” is being built. The complex, which is to be completed by the end of the year, will have a capacity of thirteen thousand.

      Violence is the Point

      The existence of ICE may be a consequence of 9/11, but the first sections of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border—originally to contain livestock—went up in 1909 through 1911. In 1945, in response to a shift in border crossings from Texas to California, the U.S. Border Patrol and the Immigration and Naturalization Service recycled fencing wire and posts from internment camps in Crystal City, Texas, where more than a hundred thousand Japanese Americans had been imprisoned during World War II. “Although the INS could not erect a continuous line of fence along the border, they hoped that strategic placement of the fence would ‘compel persons seeking to enter the United States illegally to attempt to go around the ends of the fence,’” historian Kelly Lytle Hernández, quoting from government documents, writes in Migra! A History of the U.S. Border Patrol. “What lay at the end of the fences and canals were desert lands and mountains extremely dangerous to cross without guidance or sufficient water. The fences, therefore, discouraged illegal immigration by exposing undocumented border crossers to the dangers of daytime dehydration and nighttime hypothermia.”

      Apprehension and deportation tactics continued to escalate in the years following World War II—including Operation Wetback, the infamous (and heavily propagandized) mass-deportation campaign of 1954—but the modern, militarized border era was greatly boosted by Bill Clinton. It was during Clinton’s first administration that Border Patrol released its “Strategic Plan: 1994 and Beyond,” which introduced the idea of “prevention through deterrence,” a theory of border policing that built on the logic of the original wall and hinges upon increasing the “cost” of migration “to the point that many will consider it futile to continue to attempt illegal entry.” With the Strategic Plan, the agency was requesting more money, officers, and equipment in order to “enhance national security and safeguard our immigration heritage.”

      The plan also noted that “a strong interior enforcement posture works well for border control,” and in 1996, amid a flurry of legislation targeting people of color and the poor, Congress passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, which empowered the federal government to deport more people more quickly and made it nearly impossible for undocumented immigrants to obtain legal status. “Before 1996, internal enforcement activities had not played a very significant role in immigration enforcement,” the sociologists Douglas Massey and Karen A. Pren wrote in 2012. “Afterward these activities rose to levels not seen since the deportation campaigns of the Great Depression.” With the passage of the Patriot Act in 2001 and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2002, immigration was further securitized and criminalized, paving the way for an explosion in border policing technology that has further aligned the state with the defense and security industry. And at least one of Border Patrol’s “key assumptions,” explicitly stated in the 1994 strategy document, has borne out: “Violence will increase as effects of strategy are felt.”

      What this phrasing obscures, however, is that violence is the border strategy. In practice, what “prevention through deterrence” has meant is forcing migrants to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in the desert, putting already vulnerable people at even greater risk. Closing urban points of entry, for example, or making asylum-seekers wait indefinitely in Mexico while their claims are processed, pushes migrants into remote areas where there is a higher likelihood they will suffer injury and death, as in the case of seven-year-old Jakil Caal Maquin, who died of dehydration and shock after being taken into CBP custody in December. (A spokesperson for CBP, in an email response, deflected questions about whether the agency considers children dying in its custody a deterrent.) Maquin is one of many thousands who have died attempting to cross into the United States: the most conservative estimate comes from CBP itself, which has recovered the remains of 7,505 people from its southwest border sectors between 1998 and 2018. This figure accounts for neither those who die on the Mexican side of the border, nor those whose bodies remain lost to the desert.

      Draconian immigration policing causes migrants to resort to smugglers and traffickers, creating the conditions for their exploitation by cartels and other violent actors and increasing the likelihood that they will be kidnapped, coerced, or extorted. As a result, some migrants have sought the safety of collective action in the form of the “caravan” or “exodus,” which has then led the U.S. media and immigration enforcement agencies to justify further militarization of the border. Indeed, in his keynote address at the Expo, Luck described “the emerging prevalence of large groups of one hundred people or more” as “troubling and especially dangerous.” Later, a sales representative for the gun manufacturer Glock very confidently explained to me that this was because agents of al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia, were embedded with the caravans.

      Branding the Border

      Unsurprisingly, caravans came up frequently at the Border Security Expo. (An ICE spokesperson would later decline to explain what specific threat they pose to national security, instead citing general statistics about the terrorist watchlist, “special interest aliens,” and “suspicious travel patterns.”) During his own keynote speech, Vitiello described how ICE, and specifically its subcomponent Homeland Security Investigations, had deployed surveillance and intelligence-gathering techniques to monitor the progress of caravans toward the border. “When these caravans have come, we’ve had trained, vetted individuals on the ground in those countries reporting in real time what they were seeing: who the organizers were, how they were being funded,” he said, before going on an astonishing tangent:

      That’s the kind of capability that also does amazing things to protecting brands, property rights, economic security. Think about it. If you start a company, introduce a product that’s innovative, there are people in the world who can take that, deconstruct it, and create their own version of it and sell it as yours. All the sweat that went into whatever that product was, to build your brand, they’ll take it away and slap it on some substandard product. It’s not good for consumers, it’s not good for public safety, and it’s certainly an economic drain on the country. That’s part of the mission.

      That the then–acting director of ICE, the germ-cell of fascism in the bourgeois American state, would admit that an important part of his agency’s mission is the protection of private property is a testament to the Trump administration’s commitment to saying the quiet part out loud.

      In fact, brands and private industry had pride of place at the Border Security Expo. A memorial ceremony for men and women of Border Patrol who have been killed in the line of duty was sponsored by Sava Solutions, an IT firm that has been awarded at least $482 million in federal contracts since 2008. Sava, whose president spent twenty-four years with the DEA and whose director of business development spent twenty with the FBI, was just one of the scores of firms in attendance at the Expo, each hoping to persuade the bureaucrats in charge of acquiring new gear for border security agencies that their drones, their facial recognition technology, their “smart” fences were the best of the bunch. Corporate sponsors included familiar names like Verizon and Motorola, and other less well-known ones, like Elbit Systems of America, a subsidiary of Israel’s largest private defense contractor, as well as a handful of IT firms with aggressive slogans like “Ever Vigilant” (CACI), “Securing the Future” (ManTech), and “Securing Your Tomorrow” (Unisys).

      The presence of these firms—and indeed the very existence of the Expo—underscores an important truth that anyone attempting to understand immigration politics must reckon with: border security is big business. The “homeland security and emergency management market,” driven by “increasing terrorist threats and biohazard attacks and occurrence of unpredictable natural disasters,” is projected to grow to more than $742 billion by 2023 from $557 billion in 2018, one financial analysis has found. In the coming decades, as more people are displaced by climate catastrophe and economic crises—estimates vary between 150 million and 1 billion by 2050—the industry dedicated to policing the vulnerable stands to profit enormously. By 2013, the United States was already spending more on federal immigration enforcement than all other federal law enforcement agencies combined, including the FBI and DEA; ICE’s budget has doubled since its inception in 2003, while CBP’s has nearly tripled. Between 1993 and 2018, the number of Border Patrol agents grew from 4,139 to 19,555. And year after year, Democrats and Republicans alike have been happy to fuel an ever more high-tech deportation machine. “Congress has given us a lot of money in technology,” Luck told reporters after his keynote speech. “They’ve given us over what we’ve asked for in technology!”

      “As all of this rhetoric around security has increased, so has the impetus to give them more weapons and more tools and more gadgets,” Jacinta Gonzalez, a senior campaign organizer with Mijente, a national network of migrant justice activists, told me. “That’s also where the profiteering comes in.” She continued: “Industries understand what’s good for business and adapt themselves to what they see is happening. If they see an administration coming into power that is pro-militarization, anti-immigrant, pro-police, anti-communities of color, then that’s going to shape where they put their money.”

      By way of example, Gonzalez pointed to Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, who spent $1.25 million supporting Trump’s 2016 election campaign and followed that up last year by donating $1 million to the Club for Growth—a far-right libertarian organization founded by Heritage Foundation fellow and one-time Federal Reserve Board prospect Stephen Moore—as well as about $350,000 to the Republican National Committee and other GOP groups. ICE has awarded Palantir, the $20 billion surveillance firm founded by Thiel, several contracts worth tens of millions of dollars to manage its data streams—a partnership the agency considers “mission critical,” according to documents reviewed by The Intercept. Palantir, in turn, runs on Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing service provided by the world’s most valuable public company, which is itself a key contractor in managing the Department of Homeland Security’s $6.8 billion IT portfolio.

      Meanwhile, former DHS secretary John Kelly, who was Trump’s chief of staff when the administration enacted its “zero-tolerance” border policy, has joined the board of Caliburn International—parent organization of the only for-profit company operating shelters for migrant children. “Border enforcement and immigration policy,” Caliburn reported in an SEC filing last year, “is driving significant growth.” As Harsha Walia writes in Undoing Border Imperialism, “the state and capitalism are again in mutual alliance.”

      Triumph of the Techno-Nativists

      At one point during the Expo, between speeches, I stopped by a booth for Network Integrity Systems, a security firm that had set up a demonstration of its Sentinel™ Perimeter Intrusion Detection System. A sales representative stuck out his hand and introduced himself, eager to explain how his employer’s fiber optic motion sensors could be used at the border, or—he paused to correct himself—“any kind of perimeter.” He invited me to step inside the space that his coworkers had built, starting to say “cage” but then correcting himself, again, to say “small enclosure.” (It was literally a cage.) If I could get out, climbing over the fencing, without triggering the alarm, I would win a $500 Amazon gift card. I did not succeed.

      Overwhelmingly, the vendors in attendance at the Expo were there to promote this kind of technology: not concrete and steel, but motion sensors, high-powered cameras, and drones. Customs and Border Patrol’s chief operating officer John Sanders—whose biography on the CBP website describes him as a “seasoned entrepreneur and innovator” who has “served on the Board of Directors for several leading providers of contraband detection, geospatial intelligence, and data analytics solutions”—concluded his address by bestowing on CBP the highest compliment he could muster: declaring the agency comparable “to any start-up.” Rhetoric like Sanders’s, ubiquitous at the Expo, renders the border both bureaucratic and boring: a problem to be solved with some algorithmic mixture of brutality and Big Data. The future of border security, as shaped by the material interests that benefit from border securitization, is not a wall of the sort imagined by President Trump, but a “smart” wall.

      High-ranking Democrats—leaders in the second party of capital—and Republicans from the border region have championed this compromise. During the 2018-2019 government shutdown, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson told reporters that Democrats would appropriate $5.7 billion for “border security,” so long as that did not include a wall of Trump’s description. “Walls are primitive. What we need to do is have border security,” House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said in January. He later expanded to CNN: “I’ve said that we ought to have a smart wall. I defined that as a wall using drones to make it too high to get over, using x-ray equipment to make it too wide to get around, and using scanners to go deep enough not to be able to tunnel under it. To me, that would be a smart thing to do.”

      Even the social democratic vision of Senator Bernie Sanders stops short at the border. “If you open the borders, my God, there’s a lot of poverty in this world, and you’re going to have people from all over the world,” he told Iowa voters in early April, “and I don’t think that’s something that we can do at this point.” Over a week later, during a Fox News town hall with Pennsylvania voters, he recommitted: “We need border security. Of course we do. Who argues with that? That goes without saying.”

      To the extent that Trump’s rhetoric, his administration’s immigration policies, and the enforcement agencies’ practices have made the “border crisis” more visible than ever before, they’ve done so on terms that most Democrats and liberals fundamentally agree with: immigration must be controlled and policed; the border must be enforced. One need look no further than the high priest of sensible centrism, Thomas Friedman, whose major complaint about Trump’s immigration politics is that he is “wasting” the crisis—an allusion to Rahm Emanuel’s now-clichéd remark that “you never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” (Frequently stripped of context, it is worth remembering that Emanuel made this comment in the throes of the 2008 financial meltdown, at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council, shortly following President Obama’s election.) “Regarding the border, the right place for Democrats to be is for a high wall with a big gate,” Friedman wrote in November of 2018. A few months later, a tour led by Border Patrol agents of the San Ysidro port of entry in San Diego left Friedman “more certain than ever that we have a real immigration crisis and that the solution is a high wall with a big gate—but a smart gate.”

      As reasonable as this might sound to anxious New York Times readers looking for what passes as humanitarian thinking in James Bennet’s opinion pages, the horror of Friedman’s logic eventually reveals itself when he considers who might pass through the big, smart gate in the high, high wall: “those who deserve asylum” and “a steady flow of legal, high-energy, and high-I.Q. immigrants.” Friedman’s tortured hypothetical shows us who he considers to be acceptable subjects of deportation and deprivation: the poor, the lazy, and the stupid. This is corporate-sponsored, state-sanctioned eugenics: the nativism of technocrats.

      The vision of a hermetically sealed border being sold, in different ways, by Trump and his allies, by Democrats, and by the Border Security Expo is in reality a selectively permeable one that strictly regulates the movement of migrant labor while allowing for the unimpeded flow of capital. Immigrants in the United States, regardless of their legal status, are caught between two factions of the capitalist class, each of which seek their immiseration: the citrus farmers, construction firms, and meat packing plants that benefit from an underclass of unorganized and impoverished workers, and the defense and security firms that keep them in a state of constant criminality and deportability.

      You could even argue that nobody in a position of power really wants a literal wall. Even before taking office, Trump himself knew he could only go so far. “We’re going to do a wall,” he said on the campaign trail in 2015. However: “We’re going to have a big, fat beautiful door on the wall.” In January 2019, speaking to the American Farm Bureau Association, Trump acknowledged the necessity of a mechanism allowing seasonal farmworkers from Mexico to cross the border, actually promising to loosen regulations on employers who rely on temporary migrant labor. “It’s going to be easier for them to get in than what they have to go through now,” he said, “I know a lot about the farming world.”

      At bottom, there is little material difference between this and what Friedman imagines to be the smarter, more humane approach. While establishment liberals would no doubt prefer that immigration enforcement be undertaken quietly, quickly, and efficiently, they have no categorical objection to the idea that noncitizens should enjoy fewer rights than citizens or be subject to different standards of due process (standards that are already applied in deeply inequitable fashion).

      As the smorgasbord of technologies and services so garishly on display at the Border Security Expo attests, maintaining the contradiction between citizens and noncitizens (or between the imperial core and the colonized periphery) requires an ever-expanding security apparatus, which itself becomes a source of ever-expanding profit. The border, shaped by centuries of bourgeois interests and the genocidal machinations of the settler-colonial nation-state, constantly generates fresh crises on which the immigration-industrial complex feeds. In other words, there is not a crisis at the border; the border is the crisis.

      CBP has recently allowed Anduril, a start-up founded by one of Peter Thiel’s mentees, Palmer Luckey, to begin testing its artificial intelligence-powered surveillance towers and drones in Texas and California. Sam Ecker, an Anduril engineer, expounded on the benefits of such technology at the Expo. “A tower doesn’t get tired. It doesn’t care about being in the middle of the desert or a river around the clock,” he told me. “We just let the computers do what they do best.”


  • Encore un qui a lu nos grands intellectuels:

    Avant de passer à l’action, l’homme, qui se présente comme un blanc de la classe ouvrière aux bas revenus, a publié sur Twitter un « manifeste » raciste de 74 pages intitulé « Le grand remplacement », en référence à une théorie née en France et populaire dans les milieux d’extrême droite selon laquelle les "peuples européens" seraient « remplacés » par des populations non-européennes immigrées.

    • Sinon, se souvenir qu’avant le « Grand remplacement » de Renaud Camus, il y a eu l’« Eurabia » popularisé en Europe par Oriana Fallaci, reprenant le concept de Bat Ye’or. Concept lui-même dérivé de la « dhimmitude », de Bachir Gemayel, auquel le Nouvel obs tendait le crachoir en 1982 à ce sujet.

      Ça donne une nébuleuse reliant l’extrême-droite chrétienne libanaise, les propagandistes d’Israël, l’extrême-droite raciste (souvent antisémite) française et européenne, souvent derrière un alibi laïcard, tout ça dans un univers médiatique européen particulièrement complaisant avec tous ces complotismes islamophobes.

      Et en gros le même « arc » aux États-Unis, où il faut ajouter les fondamentalistes chrétiens, à la fois frénétiquement pro-israéliens et fondamentalement antisémites.

    • Les chrétiens du Liban, la dhimmitude, l’Eurabia, le marxisme culturel propogeant l’islamisation de l’Europe… toutes foutaises déjà présentes dans le « manifeste » de Breivik (2011) :

      Mais le nouveau « Manifeste » est beaucoup plus au ras des pâquerettes.

      Et en gros rien sur Israël (contrairement au manifeste Breivik), à part une mention :

      Were/are you an anti-semite?

      No. A jew living in israel is no enemy of mine, so long as they do not seek to subvert or harm my people.

    • @reka Puisque tu cites Millet, remarque qu’on est dans le même « arc » (caution intellectuelle et ancien de l’extrême-droite libanaise) :

      En 2012, il publie chez Pierre-Guillaume de Roux un essai intitulé Langue fantôme, suivi de Éloge littéraire d’Anders Breivik, dans lequel il s’en prend au multiculturalisme et à la perte de repères identitaires à l’origine, selon lui, du geste du tueur norvégien. Frappé par la « perfection formelle » des actes de Breivik, Richard Millet leur prête une « dimension littéraire » qui aurait été mal comprise et mal interprétée par la presse : d’après lui, seule une littérature qui ose s’intéresser à la question du mal est valable à une époque où le divertissement domine, et donc l’insignifiance. Tout en condamnant les actes d’Anders Breivik, Richard Millet affirme qu’il est « sans doute ce que méritait la Norvège et ce qui attend nos sociétés qui ne cessent de s’aveugler » sur « les ravages du multiculturalisme », « l’islamisation de l’Europe » et son renoncement à « l’affirmation de ses racines chrétiennes ». Richard Millet considère Anders Breivik comme « tout à la fois bourreau et victime ». Il assimile ce massacre à un nouveau symptôme de l’échec de la littérature, supplantée par le fusil d’assaut.

      À bonne école :

      Il participe à la guerre du Liban en 1975-1976 en tant que volontaire auprès de la communauté chrétienne, plus particulièrement au sein des Phalanges libanaises.

    • Et ça n’a pas traîné : sur RMC (via Arrêts sur image), Olivier Truchot, Elizabeth Lévy, Gilles-William Goldnadel s’inquiètent que le massacre perpétré par un islamophobe donne une mauvaise image de l’islamophobie.

      Face aux 40 morts de Christchurch, les télé-islamophobes ne désarment pas


      Caroline Fourest sur Twitter (via @mona) :

      Un terroriste d’extrême droite qui croit au « grand remplacement » n’est pas juste « islamophobe », il n’a pas peur de l’Islam. Il est RACISTE, anti-Musulmans. Il voit tous les Musulmans, et non leur religion, comme une menace. Mal nommer, c’est minimiser. #ChristchurchShooting

      Renaud Camus sur Twitter :

      L’attentat de Christ Church est d’abord atroce et criminel, c’est un monstrueux forfait. Très accessoirement, il est aussi imbécile, puisqu’il dessert gravement la cause que (peut-être) il prétend servir, la lutte contre le remplacisme global, crime contre l’humanité du XXIe s.

    • Soyons précis avec Jean-Yves Camus : Breivik citait Finkielkraut et l’Eurabia, le nouveau taré titre « Le grand remplacement », mais ça n’a rien à voir.

      Le tueur fait référence à une théorie élaborée par le Français Renaud Camus intitulée le « grand remplacement ». Est-ce une référence pour les extrêmes droites radicales ?

      C’est une théorie en vogue, mais Camus, qui a formulé la théorie du grand remplacement, n’est pas sur la même ligne que le tueur. Quel que soit le caractère contestable des idées de Renaud Camus, il n’a jamais prôné la violence, il ne fait pas référence au nazisme et ne se présente pas comme fasciste. Il est souverainiste, anti-immigration et proche du Siel (Souveraineté Identité et Libertés, extrême droite, NDLR). La théorie du grand remplacement a « fait sa vie » et est arrivée dans les mains de gens pour qui l’action politique est devenue insuffisante et qui ont basculé dans la violence.

    • 24h Pujadas sur Twitter : Guillaume Tabard « joue à de la comptabilité »

      « On a vécu en France un terrorisme islamiste assez meurtrier, si on veut jouer à de la comptabilité, on n’est pas encore dans l’équilibre. Il ne faut pas s’aventurer sur le terrain du match retour » @GTabard @Le_Figaro

    • Remarquez bien, dans le genre « meurtrier », ce matin je lisais ça : https://www.francetvinfo.fr/monde/asie/attentats-a-christchurch/attentat-en-nouvelle-zelande-ou-que-j-aille-les-envahisseurs-etaient-la

      Son parcours de radicalisation

      Le tireur décrit les raisons de sa radicalisation en évoquant l’attentat de Stockholm (Suède) en 2017 et sa déception lorsqu’Emmanuel Macron l’emporte face à Marine Le Pen. Mais ce qui le décide à commettre cette attaque, ce sont ses impressions lors d’un voyage en France : "Le déclic final fut l’observation de l’état des villes et villages français. Où que j’aille, les envahisseurs étaient là."

      Charles Martel, sors de ce corps !

      Les médias français ne feraient-ils pas preuve d’une certaine #complaisance vis à vis de la radicalisation d’extrême-droite, des théories du grand remplacement et du suprématisme blanc ? (C’est une question que je n’arrête pas de me poser).

      Vous avez aimé la lepénisation des esprits. Alors passez sans plus attendre à la trumpisation. ---> Trump again punts on white supremacy after New Zealand attacks - CNNPolitics

    • Mais aussi Géraldine Woessner sur Twitter (repéré par @le_bougnoulosophe) – attention, attrape un sac à vomi avant de te lancer :

      C’est insupportable. Si les mots on un sens, celui de « théorie » du grand remplacement est particulièrement mal choisi. Petit thread à l’attention des apprentis-combattants de la droite-extrême et des populismes.

      La « théorie du Grand Remplacement » n’est PAS une « théorie » : c’est une PEUR, qui s’appuie sur des éléments concrets, que nous fournissent les pays qui, contrairement à la France, tiennent des statistiques ethniques....

      Le « remplacement » de populations n’a rien de fantasmatique : il est advenu dans maintes villes des USA ou du Canada, où les Latinos sont maintenant majoritaires, et nos grands médias s’en sont fait l’écho : https://t.co/OjbJKtLHgB

      Ce n’est pas un mal : c’est un FAIT. Dicté par la science démographique, avec lequel il faut composer. Il explique en partie l’élection de Donald Trump. Parfois, on sait l’affronter avec sang-froid et pragmatisme. On en débat ouvertement. On discute des politiques à conduire...

      Le fait que des extrêmes aient repris ce concept n’y change rien : JE ne crois PAS qu’un pouvoir « remplaciste » œuvre pour m’imposer un ordre « mondialiste ». Je ne crois PAS à la supériorité d’une race sur une autre. Ma si la pression démographique m’inquiète… #CestGraveDocteur ?

      En France, on ne débat PAS. RIEN. On préfère NIER les taux de natalité plus élevés de populations allogènes, au motif que la République, très forte, serait capable d’intégrer chacun dans son grand creuset laïc et républicain...

      Tant pis si ça ne marche pas.
      On fera semblant que si.
      Et ceux qui ont "peur", parce qu’ils voient les populations changer autour d’eux, qu’ils doutent de la volonté de l’ État d’imposer ses standards, seront vilipendés.
      Votre peur ? « Un fantasme. Une théorie ».

      Cet argumentaire, en plus d’être absurde, est d’une violence inouïe.
      UN sentiment, par définition, ne peut être une « théorie. » Si autant de gens, en France, en GB, en Allemagne, en Hongrie… Sentent leur « identité culturelle » menacée et le disent, QUI sommes-nous...

      ...pour décréter que leur ressenti ne vaut rien ? Ne devrions-nous pas, plutôt, entendre leurs craintes et tâcher d’y répondre ?
      Si nous sommes sûrs que ce risque de « grand Remplacement » est un fantasme, ne devons-nous pas apaiser aves des études basées sur des données fiables ?

      Nous sommes tellement habitués à contempler l’UE marcher sur la tête et s’autodétruire, que nous ne songeons même plus à exiger d’elle qu’elle se dote des instruments de sa survie. Des outils, une recherche, une prospective intelligentes. Des instruments statistiques signifiants.

      A défaut, et vu le niveau du débat, marqué de haines, de rancunes, d’amalgames, je redoute que tout cela finisse dans un bain de sang... Je pèse mes mots.
      Il n’est jamais trop tard pour s’ausculter, pour faire Nation. Je veux savoir QUI sont mes frères...

      Ce qu’ils pensent, ce qu’ils croient, ce qu’ils espèrent.
      Des statistiques ethniques me donneraient l’occasion de partager leurs vues. De comprendre. De connaître.
      Leur absence est un voile, une insulte à l’avenir, terreau de l’outrance. Un blanc-seing pour tous les extrêmes.

      Si on a vraiment besoin d’arguments sur ces histoires d’allogènes qui nous remplacent avec leur taux de natalité de lapin sous Viagra, on a le thread de Jacques Caplat ici :

    • [ARCHIVE]

      Two sentenced to life imprisonment in hate media trial (2003)

      “We are pleased that this case has finally reached a conclusion despite countless procedural delays and obstacles,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said. “This is the first time that journalists have been sentenced to life imprisonment for incitement to murder and violence in their reports,” he said.

      “We hope these sentences are seen as a warning to the many journalists in Africa and elsewhere who also stir up hate in their writing,” Ménard added. “Even if no country is today in a situation comparable to Rwanda’s at the time of the genocide, these sentences should serve as a call to order to all the publications that constantly flout the most elementary rules of professional ethics and conduct.”

      en français:

      « Nous souhaitons que ces condamnations soient perçues comme un avertissement en direction de nombreux journalistes qui, en Afrique ou ailleurs, attisent, eux aussi, les haines par leurs écrits. Même si aucun pays ne connaît aujourd’hui une situation comparable à celle qui prévalait au moment du génocide rwandais, cette condamnation doit résonner comme un rappel à l’ordre pour toutes les rédactions qui bafouent quotidiennement les règles les plus élémentaires en matière d’éthique et de déontologie professionnelles », a ajouté Ménard.


    • Hier soir, le Centre Anne Frank a choisi très curieusement de partager un lien vers un article du néoconservateur David Frum expliquant qu’il faut fermer les frontières, « sinon ce sont les fascistes qui le feront » :

      We need compassion and deliberation in our approach to #immigration. #education #humanity ⁦⁦@davidfrum⁩

      avec en référencement cet article :

      If Liberals Won’t Enforce Borders, Fascists Will - We need to make hard decisions now about what will truly benefit current and future Americans - David Frum

      Énorme retour de manivelle, le centre publiait ensuite une série de 10 messages pour tenter d’expliquer qu’il s’agissait seulement d’ouvrir un dialogue. Mais le timing d’un tel référencement (« fermer les frontières sinon les fascistes s’en chargeront », au lendemain du massacre en Nouvelle Zélande) n’est pas expliqué.

      EDIT. Finalement tweet retiré, avec un message posté à la place :
      (et toujours pas d’explication sur le timing d’un tel sujet).

    • Le grand remplacement est en marche et l’absence de LBD est responsable du saccage des Champs-Elysées

      Nathalie Saint-Cricq salue une Marine Le Pen “consensuelle”, David Pujadas laisse libre court à Robert Ménard pour soutenir la théorie du grand remplacement, un expert de BFMTV estime que les LBD sont trop dangereux pour les employer ailleurs que “dans les banlieues”… Nous sommes en France, en 2019. Bienvenue à la télé.

  • What a wall means for landowners on the border

    Customs and Border Protection has been preparing to acquire land in the Rio Grande Valley for new barriers since last fall, according to a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration.
    Last Friday, the advocacy group Public Citizen filed a lawsuit on behalf of three landowners and a nature preserve arguing that the President had exceeded his authority and the declaration violated the separation of powers. But some attempts to acquire land came well before the declaration was announced.
    In September, Customs and Border Protection requested access to survey private property in the Rio Grande Valley region “for possible acquisition in support of US Customs and Border Protection’s construction of border infrastructure authorized by Congress in the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriation and other funded tactical infrastructure projects,” according to a letter reviewed by CNN.

    A form is attached to grant permission to the government to conduct “assessment activities.”
    The documents reviewed by CNN were addressed to the late father and grandfather of Yvette Gaytan, one of the plaintiffs. Her home sits on an approximately half-acre lot near the Rio Grande River that she inherited from her father, according to the lawsuit. She is also one of the heirs of land owned by her grandfather.
    Gaytan, a Starr County, Texas, resident, said she signed the form allowing Customs and Border Protection to survey her land, despite her reservations. Still, in January, she received another set of documents from the agency stating it expected to file a “Declaration of Taking and Complaint in Condemnation” in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas in order to access the land.
    The back-and-forth has been frustrating for Gaytan, who says she’d be cut off from some of her property if a wall were mounted.
    “This is very personal,” she told CNN. “Everyone wants to make it political. This is personal; this is my home.”
    Gaytan’s story is emblematic of what landowners in the region can anticipate as plans move forward to build additional barriers in the Rio Grande Valley, where much of the land is privately owned.
    Generally, the government is allowed to acquire privately owned land if it’s for public use, otherwise known as eminent domain. Eminent domain cases can be lengthy, though they generally don’t keep the agency from being able to proceed with construction. Landowners are often fighting for what is known as just compensation — what they deem a fair price for their property.
    According to the Justice Department, as of last month approximately 80 cases were still outstanding.
    The Trump administration still hasn’t acquired all the land it needs to build new barriers along the border, even as it embarks on new construction that was previously funded.
    Customs and Border Protection plans to begin building about 14 new miles of wall in March, though that partly depends on real estate acquisitions, according to a senior agency official. Those miles were funded through the fiscal year 2018 budget.
    Congress appropriated $1.375 billion for about 55 miles of new construction in its fiscal 2019 budget. Trump, seeing it as insufficient, is tapping into other federal funds through executive action and a national emergency declaration, though not all at the same time.
    The White House does not plan to spend any of the funds that hinge on Trump’s national emergency declaration while lawsuits challenging that authority work their way through the courts, a source close to the White House said.

    Instead, the White House plans to focus on building new portions of the border wall using funds from the Defense Department’s drug interdiction program and the Treasury Department’s asset forfeiture fund, which do not rely on the national emergency declaration. Those two sources of funding alone amount to $3.1 billion.
    That allows the White House to move forward with construction without risking an injunction tied to the national emergency declaration.

    #terres #murs #barrières_frontalières #frontières #propriété #expropriation #USA #Etats-Unis

  • European slaughter of Native Americans changed the climate, study says - CNN

    But by combining archaeological evidence, historical data and analysis of carbon found in Antarctic ice, the UCL researchers showed how the reforestation — directly caused by the Europeans’ arrival — was a key component of the global chill, they said.
    “For once, we’ve been able to balance all the boxes and realize that the only way the Little Ice Age was so intense is ... because of the genocide of millions of people,” Maslin told CNN.

    #colonisation #génocide #Amériques #climat #petite_ère_glaciaire #reforestation

  • Crise des réfugiés : le Venezuela devient la nouvelle Syrie - Express

    L’Express avait bien raison en Février dernier : de fait, les « militaires rebelles » du pays demandent désormais le soutien militaire des USA, juste comme dans la Syrie de 2011...