• Open-source #satellite data to investigate #Xinjiang concentration camps

    The second part of this series discusses techniques on how to analyse a dire human rights situation in and around Xinjiang’s re-education and detention facilities.

    A pressing need to investigate characteristics of Xinjiang’s detention camps

    The story has been widely covered. Calls by human rights advocates to define China’s practices as ‘genocide’ grow louder. Hundreds of thousands of Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslims detained in internment camps. Many still are.

    “Inmates undergo months or years of indoctrination and interrogation aimed at transforming them into secular and loyal supporters of the party”, the New York Times wrote and published documents that unmistakably prove a dire human rights situation in the west of China.

    First China denied the camps ever existed. Then the Chinese consulate doesn’t bother anymore to play a smoke and mirror game and admits: “Xinjiang has set up vocational education and training centres in order to root out extreme thoughts…”. Their purpose: ‘compulsory programs for terrorist criminals’.

    Now, the language changed again. China’s President said the ‘strategy for governing Xinjiang in the new era is completely correct.’

    Unacceptable (and unwise) of some to deny it. Social media commentators, some who are frequently quoted by large media organisations, keep casting doubt on the tragic story. Margaret_Kimberley tweeted — after an ITV news report emerged — “These are lies. There is no evidence of Uighur concentration camps. More hybrid war against China” (it received 2,000 likes).

    While there is no room left to doubt that these camps do exist, there remains vast uncertainty whether investigative journalists and human rights advocates located all facilities spread out across the province.

    Researchers/journalists who made it their beat to find them, like Nathan Ruser at Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), says “we don’t believe that we have found them all”, after posting 380 facilities online.

    Germany’s chancellor last week said China’s President Xi offered delegates to send envoys to visit Xinjiang province [and camps] to see for themselves. Chances increase to see more of the so-called ‘show camps’ for a short period of time or as long as the visits take (the BBC encountered it when it visited last time). Xi also ensured that there will be an ‘ongoing human-rights dialogue’. But Ursula von der Leyen tweeted “a lot remains to be done .. in other chapters of our relations”.

    Satelite investigations exposing more and more evidence. OSINT journalists rely on them. It’s one reason why some open-source intelligence journalism colleagues keep hearing rumours that some of the camps may have moved underground (e.g. detention in under-surface facilities) to hide from the spying eyes and scrutiny of satellite data analysts (we don’t have proof for this thesis but I encourage you to reach out if you have evidence).
    Mounting number of facilities

    The number of confirmed facilities steadily grew. A 2018 BBC investigation looked at 101 campsites, which got pinpointed via various media reports and academic research, the author says.

    Most recently, Buzzfeed investigated 268 compounds, many from previous lists I worked on too. In February, the list of ‘confirmed re-education camps’, so lower-security sites, mainly for indoctrination purposes, was limited to mere 50 facilities. ‘Confirmed’ in this context means they have been validated by eye-witness reports. Back then, there were another 170 that had yet to be confirmed.

    It is of vital importance to keep this investigation rolling. This means to forensically document the changes in these camps and to spend more time on characterizing each detail. ASPI just dropped a new list and we are going to work with that one instead of the original 50 we received (the list can be downloaded here and geodata that can be simply dragged and dropped into QGIS and Google Earth Pro, it is available here).

    Finally, news broke via Reuters (and research by Adrian Zenz) that evidence of forced labour is mounting also in Tibet (we will look into this later, too).
    List of ‘expanded camps’ extended

    Earlier in the year US-based Uighure group ETNAM shared a list with around 50 confirmed sites. We and others scrutinised this list on increased activity on the ground via aggregated satellite remote sensing data (link). The list was shared as klm. file. It helped enormously with going through them one by one. All the coordinates as well as the Chinese names of the places are accessible via Google Earth Pro. Now that ASPI dropped a new list with coordinates and updated 2020 records, some of the work we have started can be extended and match.

    Because we are most interested in the camps that got expanded (so buildings or features were added), we will concentrate on the list of facilities that were developed. It includes a list of 61 sites.

    Why is the onus on expanded camps? In addition to the characteristics ASPI added as classifiers, the extended camps might tell us where the local administration invests and where forced labour in the firm of Uighur prisoners went. We added a few more details for each facility that we thought was worth looking at (see sheet above).
    We will go through various ways to characterise/investigate facilities and their surroundings

    First significant markers includes the size of the camps. That includes quantitative details such as the number of buildings on the premise and adjacent to it. We will go through how to compare them. There are the walls of camps that are usually quite straight-lined. Their height, which we will define and validate, and the walls’ thickness may tell us something about recent developments (e.g. how secure the sites are, or were meant to be).

    Guard towners are also a quantifiable element. ASPI and others counted them. Because they can be seen from outside they may act as a signal to local residents. That is also likely the reason why those facilities that have some or all of their towers removed recently tend to locate closer to residential buildings (see my stats below).

    These changes are further revealing as they may tell us something about how the local government in various parts of the region varied in their response to international pressure (or not, by keeping them in place). ‘A lot [camps] had their security features removed in the second half of 2019’, Zenz explained. Some remained in place (important to add here, it remains doubtful that conditions improved inside of the camps, even if towers or security features were removed).

    Zenz has an explanation for some of the changes: “On the same time they invited all these delegations and visitors, they released a lot of people. If you release a lot of people, you can afford to run with fewer security features. That can still be run like an internment camp, I’m sure”. We will look closer at what has changed ourselves.

    Including those features above, there are a number of other aspects to take into account. We put them into the list below — each will be discussed separately:

    What blue factory buildings in and around camps can tell us
    What typical ‘prison features’ tell us
    What cars in parking lots tell us about personnel working at the facilities during Covid-19
    What walls can tell us
    What guard towers can tell us
    What sports facilities can tell us
    What the shapes/types of buildings and location can tell us
    What agricultural space (e.g. fields) around the camps can tell us
    What potential crematory sites reveal
    What Xinjiang’s export tell us
    What population/urbanisation numbers tell us about internment and surveillance
    What Baidu maps can tell us

    Blue-roofed factory buildings

    In satellite images, they are very pronounced with their blue coating. They may also heat up in the summer.

    Most of them are factory buildings, has been reported. You can see them added in and around camp facilities, whether they are low or high security premises.

    We can quantify them by counting them or via quantifying the space they take up. ASPIT decided to count them, though some buildings are smaller and other are massive. Google Earth has a polygon area measuring tool. A third option is to write a statistical model to calculate square meters factory floor space. If you are lazy you can consult a service that helps you with that via a visual detection algorithm — it calculates the area and records the number of blue roof buildings for a given satellite image.

    One of the camps that expanded in the past two years is the tier 1 low-security re-education facility in Bugur in Bayingolu (41.808855284.3005783). It has a dense network of factory buildings nearby (around 23) and within its own walls there are eight. We used ASPI’s data to confirm this that noted: ‘considerable room for expansion’.

    Let’s run the classification system over it and classify how much blue-roofed buildings that scatter around the camp can we count (importantly not all are factory spaces but many will be).

    On the AI model: I downloaded the images with their highest resolution from Google Earth. To make the image a bit clearer for the model, I adjusted the brightness, upped the contrast and tinkered with the exposure. We can see the blue buildings, roughly in a radius of 1.5 to 2 miles (see image), account for about 1,464.9 m² (0.15ha). The number of little blue buildings expanded considerably since 2014 where they accounted for 1,022m2 (0.10 ha) — sadly we only have an image for 2014 and one for 2019.

    Short intersection on the availability of images available in Google Earth:

    Some of the important images to document the progression of these camps are missing. Some camps have a mere handful of publically available images (as in the case above). This is appalling and private satellite image companies need to be nudged to make more images public. Especially for the latest developments, this is urgently needed. Researchers noted down the latest dates for which images are available at the time of writing. Below we see them grouped by months, and then by facility category (tier 1 to 4).

    What about bias to provide fewer updates on higher-security facilities? We don’t have much to go in here (there is no direct evidence that western satellite companies are being pressured into not publishing their images for camps on Google). Despite only a few camps that didn’t get updated at all over the past two years, we can see at the time of writing that Google and others hold more images for lower tier facilities (1 and 2) than for higher-security facilities (tier 3 and 4):

    Continuing on the factories, another example is the facility in Maralbeshi County (39°49’7.84"N, 78°31’4.37"E). It was erected around 2017/2018. In Google Earth, you can see how the blue-roofed buildings surround the internment complex. Note, how the larger blue factory complexes to the left and right were there before the camp was erected.

    In other words, the camp was planned and embedded into existing factory operation. It further corroborates a thesis that factory work by prisoners (in the form of forced labour), was part of a grander plan all along (though, to be certain, looking at satellite images alone does not suffice).

    Adrain Zenz thinks blue roof factories is something that warrants looking into in more detail. A bunch of these blue roof factory building were erected in 2018, especially in the second half. Zenz explains it’s important timing because the policy documents on forced labour, as explained in his post from last December, shows that a lot of this kind of policy was released in the first half or mid of 2018.

    A recent Buzzfeed investigation did mention blue roofs but surprisingly didn’t pay more attention to the matter. The factories grow in importance as the forced labour of imprisoned groups is being increasingly ‘commercialised’.

    ASPI’s data recorded the distance (measured in km I assume) between the 380 facilitates and the local/nearest industrial parks — where some of the forced labour could have moved to put to work. The data categorizes facilities in four areas of security (ranging from Tier 1= re-education camp to Tier 4= prison facility). Tear two and tier three camps tend to be located more closely to the industrial centre of the towns, the data suggests (see chart below):

    Zenz adds: “what’s significant is the sudden increase of blue roof, single story, flat type factory buildings. It’s consistent with policy, and also release, the Karakax list also talks about people being released into forced labour. A lot of that took place in 2019.”

    The blue metal barracks found in Dabancheng shining light yellow in the sentinel IR images as they are being reflected. Low res Sentinel 2 data also suggests that these metal-like structures in the south of the Payzawat camp (Payzawat County, 39.538372, 76.713606) may also heat up in the summer. SWIR (short-wave infrared imagery) and NIR can be used for heat monitoring.

    Prisons features: camps that imprisoned people become more ‘secure’ not less:

    Among the around 60 camps that have expanded recently, half of it are tier 3 or tier 4 facilities —detention centers and prisons with high security features.

    While it is true that some camps removed some of the towers and other security features (labelled ‘desecuritisation’ by ASPI’s records), others increased theirs. Those happened to be facilities that are detention centres and prison. In the context that Chinese authorities moved prisoners to these more secure facilities with less transparency and harsher treatments, this is cause for concern.

    Let’s look at an example. From the list of expanded camps, there is the camps Yarkant Facility in the Kashgar prefecture (38.351531177.3055467). Since 2018, we saw a nearly 10,000 m2 large factory compound built (compare images from 5/8/2018 with 1/21/2018). Then, a year later, watch downers got added. There are now 8 towners. For such a small facility that’s quite conspicuous. The reason it’s a high-security prison facility.

    Newly built detention/prison facilities created between 2018 and 2020 are of special interest. Camps like the tier 3 (detention) camp of Sanji Facility (#3, 44.102764,86.9960751), a with several watchtowers and an external wall is important as we can follow the progression of each step of the building process with high-resolution images.

    The location was probably chosen because of a lower-security area nearby, north of the facility (3/7/2018). Building must have started in the summer. A couple of months after the last shot (8/11/2018) the blue-roofed factory gets built-in the north-west of the camp (a reason to assume a direct relationship there) and within two weeks in August the main building takes shape. At the same time, the walls get erected and we can make out the layout of the facility with its heavy concrete structures.

    We can see, those are fundamentally different from building built in other lower-security camps. Then two months later it’s almost completed.

    The speed of building is noteworthy (better trackable if we had access to a more continuous stream of images). From the few images we have above and those from Sentinel 2, below, we can assume that it took the developers between three to four months in pure building time to pull it up — an astonishing pace. China is renowned for its fast building pace. For many other areas, such as coal plants and artificial island-building its cookie-cutter approach — where blueprints are being re-used over and over again - it permits building more quickly.

    Other who looked at the situation in Xinjiang reported that many Uighurs held in lower-tier facilities could have been moved/transferred to higher-tier prisons. In other words, despite some re-education camps have experienced ‘de-securitisation’, half of the camps that expanded are higher security facilities, so tier 3 (detention) or tier 4 (prison) camp facilities.

    What parking lots tell us about the camps during Covid-19

    I believe this topic has largely remained unexplored. Busy parking lots are one way to tell how many staff members are on site. Especially interesting it this for the recent month that were affected by coronavirus. We dont know much about the conditions inside of the facilities.

    But with fewer staff members around (and fewer visitors allowed — previous reporting has revealed that detention centres have ‘small visitor centres’), the lives of inmates may have worsened. There was some reporting that Covid-19 cases spiralled in the province of Xinjiang and some expressed concern that cases could spread within camps. It’s possible, no doubt. With only a few cases in the whole region, though, the risk is lower.

    Pandemic related fears may have affected the material and food supply. Sick imprisoned detainees may go without healthcare treatment for weeks or months. All these are assumptions for which we have little evidence. But the possibility alone raises concerns. If it is true that prisoners remained in the facilities during Covid, they could have suffered from the absence of staff and proper care.

    From satellite images, it is hard to know — though there is some evidence from an eyewitness account shared by a historian, a Georgetown professor on his Medium page.

    We might be able to tell how many temporary people were on sites (those that use their car to leave for the night). Counting vehicles at nearby car parks is one way.

    At some facilities, we can clearly see the parking lot. An example is Ghulja City (43°58’37.52"N, 81° 8’18.98"E). It’s a fairly large car park. We can use Picterra system (there is a 10 day free trial version) to check the satellite images for May 23 — thought there isn’t much to count, the car park is empty.

    Seven months earlier, on October 24th of 2019, we count around 120 cars (with some false positives, but that’s good enough for us). The algo gives you a count so you don’t have to count the red boxes one by one. Once trained, we can run it on subsequent images.

    Let’s walk you through how to train and count the cars. I simplify here (a more complete tutorial can be found here and in their platform). First, we use one of the images to train the algorithm on the cars in the car park. Then we run it on the other pictures. It’s neat and simple (and quick if you don’t have time to run your own statistical model in python).

    The number of vehicles dropped during the heights of Covid-19.

    We could do this for other confirmed location such as the facility in Chochek City (Tǎchéng Shì, 46°43’3.79"N, 82°57’15.23"E) where car numbers dropped in April. We see this in many other facilities (for those that expanded).

    Hotan City Facility #1 (37.1117019, 79.9711546) with 81 cars in the parking lot at the end of 2019 dropped to 10 during the height of the pandemic. Similar developments have been perceived at Hotan County Facility 1 (37.2420734 79.8595074), Ghulja Facility 1 (43.9756437 81.5009539) and a number of others.
    Calculating rooms and capacity

    How many people fit in a facility. If we take the example of the re-education camp in Chochek City ( 46°43’3.79"N, 82°57’15.23"E), we have high res Google images for the end of March and end of April of 2020. We can see the thin middle part is three stories high and in earlier images (Jul 18, 19) we can see the southern part is four stories high. In 2018, we got an image of the foundation when it was built. This provides enough detail to calculate that the facility has around 367 rooms — for the total t-shaped building with the arms.

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    In the example above, we shouldn’t be too sure that alls detainees were kept in the facility during Covid. Some reports claim that some of the other lower security re-education centres kept people ‘only during the day for indoctrination classes’ (it’s certainly different for the high-security prison facility that is also on the premise of the Payzawat facility, see in the south, with their towers).

    Comparing camp sizes

    The total size of the camps matters, especially when they get extended. Most of the camps have clear wall frames build around them. It’s one of the most important and simple characteristics. The wall frames makes it relatively easy to draw shapes in your geolocation system of choice (the sheer size of the walls, might be less ideal to gauge the number of prisoners).

    Some have vast empty space in between might suggest that other faculty sections or factory buildings are due to be added. Some are cramped with building.

    Tracing and calculating the area of wall frames in Google Earth for some of the largest camps, we get what we already knew:

    To emulate the work ASPI’s data was posted here. A number of track and trace tutorials for Google Earth (one here on measuring property space) are available on YouTube.
    Staking out camp size:

    The Qariqash County/قاراقاش ناھىيىسى‎ /墨玉县(Mòyù Xiàn, 37° 6’44.88"N, 79°38’32.71"E) sits in the South of the large stretch of desert.

    We use the polygon tool in Google Earth to stake out the clearly marked walls. You usually end up with a rectangle. Under measurements (right-click on the item) you can see the perimeter is around 1.65 km and the area is roughly 16.7 hectares (0.17 square km).

    Now we can compare it with another one on the list, the camp in Aqsu City (41°11’27.12"N, 80°16’25.08"E). It’s markedly smaller, with a perimeter of 1.1km and only an area of 5.65 hectares. There are other ways to do this in QGIS, a geoinformation system more efficiently.
    What can walls and towers tell us?

    How tall are walls at some of the camps? The answer varies across the vast variety of facilities. Height may tell us something about who built the camp and the level of security. It’s unsurprising to find different heights at different camps built by different planners.

    Where we don’t have shades available, we can check the two images above and reference them with the people in the image and define the height this way. Another standard way to calculate height is using the shades by the walls and towers and calculate the height via Google Earth and SunCalc.

    The shade of the southern wall in the satellite image from 03/19/2020 for the Dabancheng camp is around 7.62 meters long. The towers on the southern wall for those dates result in a height of around ~8meters.

    But the images in the Reuters shots look different. That’s why they were taken a year or two earlier. Satellite images from 4/22/2018 show clearly the octagonal shapes of the tower shades. If we calculate again, the shade of the tower is around 9 meters long, translating into around 14 meters in height.

    We do this for the wall as well. What we find is that, although the towers disappeared (though, some are still there, just not protruding so visibly), the only thing that really changed is the height of the walls — now around 13.5m tall, compared with 9.5m in 2018. The same towners, removed from one Dabancheng camp, then re-emerged half a kilometre south-east at the other newly built one (2019).

    Why are we even bothering measuring height? On one hand we want to answer how security changed across the camps. Are walls getting higher? Do they change in their layout. It helps to classify the type of camps. The higher the walls, the more secure they probably were meant to be. Higher wall might mean higher chance that prisoners are held at facilities over night. It also may help to disprove claims by XJ denialists.

    We can verify the Suncalc analysis with images. Cherchen County, for which we reviewed images for 12/14/19 shows roughly the same height. Explainer how to measure the height of an object from satellite image available here and here.

    The number of press images of the camps is limited. Most are by Reuters or AFP/Badung Police. It is this one here (37°14’29.78"N, 79°51’35.00"E). More local street footage, though not of camps, might be obtainable via Mapillary.

    Buildings shapes/outlines and location of camps

    Let’s start with the location of the facilities first. ASPI recorded the type of security for its 380 odd facilities, and for many the distance to populated areas such as residential buildings. When local administration planned on where to place the facilities they might have taken into account how the neighbouring public should (or shouldn’t) perceived them. More secluded camps are more hidden from public scrutiny. Those near people’s homes or schools may be placed there to have the opposite effect.

    What’s immediately apparent when running a few inferential statistics on the records is that the more secure detention centres tend to be kept further away from buzzing residential areas — meaning, further away than for instance Tier 1 re-education camps, which are often nestled between residential parts of cities, or occupying old schools.

    Agriculture/fields around the camps — investigating forced labour by detainees

    Identifying agricultural fields near or around facilities may reveal some potential aspects of how forced labour in the camps were used in close vicinity.

    Especially for secluded faculties, with not much else urban life going on (so reducing the possibility that other local farmers were involved in working the them), the chance increases that Uighurs detained were used.

    One example is the facility near Yingye’ercun, in Gulja, with a 0.16km2 large campground (43°58’37.52"N, 81° 8’18.98"E). The farming area that was developed since 2018 (shortly after the multistorey buildings was built in the core of the facility) spans 1.7km2 and is clearly marked (which includes the facility itself, see in red below).

    In other words, once the camp was built the fields surrounding it got worked and developed— unlikely to be only a convenient coincident. The nearby factory complex was also extended.

    Often it warrant also checking with Sentinel 2 images on EO browser. In this case, it’s useful because it allows us to visualise agricultural development via its invisible light remote sensing capabilities. Additional bands (which Google images lack) give access to the invisible spectrum and shows the agricultural expansion (here shown in red via the false colour composite, commonly used to assess plant density and health, “since plants reflect near-infrared and green light, while they absorb red”. Exposed ground are grey or tan, vegetation is red).
    Image for post

    Another camp in this regard is the Maralbeshi Facility (#6) in Kashgar (39.7406222 78.0115086) with lots of fields surrounding it.

    Why is the forced labour aspect in Xinjiang’s agriculture so important in this debate? For one, it’s part of the human rights abuse that more and more governments and industry leaders recognise (such as Swedish company H&M, who profited from cotton supplies and other kinds within their supply chain). Some decided to cut ties with suppliers in the region. It may the answer for the short term. In the long run, western businesses much apply pressure to get suppliers on their own to dissuade local forced labour practices (see example on ads that emerged to sell Uighur forced labour online).

    According to the ILO Forced Labour Convention from 1930, forced or compulsory labour is defined as ‘all work or service which is exacted from any person under the threat of a penalty and for which the person has not offered himself or herself voluntarily’.
    Sports grounds: (basketball and other sports courts)

    Some found value in observing their development. BBC’s John Sudworth found that just before a press tour organised for his press teams two years ago the appearance of recreational areas altered. In some of the places they were taken to, satellite images and the internal security fencing — and what looked like watchtowers- where taken down shortly before the tours for journalists began. Specifically on sports grounds, they noticed that empty exercise yards have been transformed into sports facilities.

    The reporters asked: if the journalists have been presented with mere ‘show camps’, what may this say about the places they were not taken to. Sport facilities are quite easy to spot from satellite. The BBC travelled to Kaxgar in the very east of the region, about 100km south of Kazakhstan’s border. Their footages shows how the camp put up courts shortly before the press trip. But they didn’t last long. We found evidence that these very courts disappeared again in early 2020 (see below).

    In one of the camps in Qariqash (37°15’32.54"N, 79°44’52.08"E) the sports facilities were made unavailable as recently as July. Now big brown sheets, what looks like blankets with knobs on them, cover them. Those have never appeared on satellite images before and extend to the soccer field in the north and the big parking lot next to the sports courts.

    I have mixed feelings about recreational activities. We must strongly doubt that they benefit people held for indoctrination. So are they only a smoke and mirror game to show the friendliness of re-educational camps? Or are they actually benefiting the imprisoned? It is hard to say. In recent time, they are more likely to be added than removed. In around 37 facilities on the ASPI list basketball courts, running tracks or other sports fields were noted to have been added or extended.

    When we compare the average distance of residential building for these places (1.2km) with the average distance of all the places where we have a record on the distance to buildings (1.8km), we find the recreational activities might be used as an element to signal the locals that the facilities have those recreational features.

    Dabancheng has one court in the western block and a number of other ones in the centre part. In the eastern wing, there is nothing. We haven’t got any further high res satellite images on Dabancheng (other than those until March 2020, that leaves only checking Sentinel 2 images or commercial images).

    I am going to stop here. The analysis of recreational areas yielded rather little, for me and the folks at ASPI. “I don’t think the sports grounds mean much in the detention regime”, Nathan Ruser says. If you have more info do reach out or leave a comment.
    Crematories

    The New York Times followed the lead of findings (that emerged last year, also mentioned in the state.gov report) and check the extent of description of religious sites and burial grounds. In September, the team reported that ‘thousands of religious sites’, such as mosques, shrines and other sites were bulldozed or replaced.

    As many burial grounds disappeared and people within camps families have never heard from again, the question of how Uighurs’ life proceeded became more pressing. Crematories may be one aspect. Some anecdotal evidence by a source spoke of a nascent growth of crematory sites in the areas near camps. This appears important in the context of how prisoners are treated in facilities and what happens if they die and at what rates.

    High prevalence of tuberculosis in facilities worries insiders. TB is spread via droplets through the air by someone who is infected. It’s especially deadly when the immune system of those who caught it, can’t cope with it. With the conditions reported by some of the eyewitnesses, it is feasible that the hard conditions prisoners are being subjected to, could enhance the deadliness of TB.

    The think tank which produced a previous list of facilities searched and found a handful of crematories (I don’t think they concluded the research and it continues, perhaps with your help of OSINT research).

    The reason why crematories are of interest is that Uighur are Muslim, Muslims don’t burn the bodies of their dead. They bury them (creation is strictly forbidden). Seeing more crematories pop up might be a first clue on whether dead bodies from detention facilities are being burned. We have to stress here, we have to be extremely careful with drawing quick conclusions, the base of evidence is thin. One would need to check local statistics and cross-examine them with other data source.

    We will concentrate only on the sites itself. The ‘unconfirmed sample of crematory’ consists of ten sites. These are listed below. Just a word of warning. Feel free to investigate them further — either via additional satellite footage or on-site visits. Nonetheless, these get us started. The first three are confirmed by eyewitness accounts or local records (as far as I was told, this is sadly only secondary research).

    Cr_Gholja_01 (Existed, 44° 0’17.86"N, 81°13’40.43"E); Cr_Artush_01(Existed, 39°44’35.47"N, 76°12’7.49"E); Urumchi 2 Funeral Parlor (Existed, 43°54’55.20"N; 87°36’9.01"E)

    Cri_Hotan01_(Suspected)
    Cr_Artush_02 (Suspected)
    Cr_Hotan_02(Suspected)
    Cr_Urumqi_02 (Suspected)
    Cr_Urumqi_01 (Suspected)
    Cr_Urumqi_01(Suspected)
    CrArtush_02 (Suspected)

    Now let’s take a look at the characteristics of the confirmed crematories. They have some distinctive shapes, including a rectangular architecture, walls or a treeline that fence the premises (framed in black). Where marked ‘burial grounds’, I was unable to confirm this but checked with a few other sites mentioned in the coverage that was exposed in 2019 and it looked similar (in short, more time needs to be spent on this).

    What helped the researchers identify the confirmed ones? According to the source, the Chinese called them ‘burial management facilities’. It’s apparently a euphuism for ‘crematories’. The Chinese government bulldozed some burial grounds with the justification that they would take up too much space which was covered in the 2019 reporting.

    The other aspect is whether relatives receive the body of loved ones that die in the camps. Salih Hudayar (now Prime Minister of the East Turkistan Government-in-Exile) says he had a relative who died in a facility (he don’t know whether in the camps or the prison) and his family was not able to have his body returned. He thinks that many other Uighurs have not had the body of a deceased family members returned to them. He assumes they are being cremated as no record exists of a burial site.

    More crematories are only possible if you have employees who staff and run them. The Chinese government tried to find those employees online. “We assume they are being cremated because the government ran job ads and offering high salaries to work on these [crematory] sites”, he added.

    The suspected crematory facilities were then modelled upon the layout of the existing/confirmed ones — e.g. compared with buildings in and around the area. “We found a couple, but we are not 100% sure”, the source admits. Here OSINT journalists could become useful (let me know if you have intel on this matter to follow up with).

    On the description in 2019: evidence surfaced that 45 Uighur cemeteries have been destroyed since 2014, including 30 in just the past two years (research was carried out by AFP and satellite imagery by Earthrise Alliance, here reported by the SCMP).
    What population/urbanisation numbers tell us about internment

    Salih Hudayar explained that what worries him is that population statistics don’t square. An often-cited figure of 7 million Uighurs in the province is much lower than the official estimates of the Uighur people.

    The number often used is 12 million Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighurs. The number could be higher. Especially in the villages — Uighurs are allowed to have only three kids — some families have more than that and don’t register their offspring, as a result, many kids lack birth certificates. Other figures on the number of Uighur population is much taller (larger than twice of the 12 million figure, but remains hard to confirm that. The closes figure the Chinese government will have internally after the government’s extensive and invasive security and surveillance campaigns, in part to gain information regarding individuals’ religious adherence and practices).

    The rising number of orphanages and kindergartens is also of interest. A satellite and local administrative data analysis should track them. The premise here: the more aggressive the detention of families are in XJ (moving Uighurs from low to higher security facilities), demand for places that house children increases. More orphanages and child-caring facilities could be revealed.
    What can exports tell us about forced labour?

    The type of exports of a region can help to figures out what to look for when it comes to forced labour. Increasingly, the international textile and fashion industry wakes up to reputational damage if supply chains incorporate Xinjiang forced labour. EU leaders held a meeting with China’s president Xi last week where Xi ‘rejected’ foreign [political] meddling in his nation’s affairs. But businesses have more leverage. Xinjiang is busy trading with foreign powers. The Chinese province accounted for a large part of the world’s supply in cotton. Exports amounted to $19.3bn according to export documents (export data for the west of China can be found in China’s official data stats, Stats.gov.cn, customs.gov.cn, or mofcom — this might be useful. Comparing what the government reports and what’s happening on the ground might reveal discrepancies, as it did before).

    Exports (to Europe, across the silk road to the west) is directly connected at A busy train station connecting to the neighbouring country of Kazakstan in the northeast (the export route is called Ala Pass. A short promotional video here). Given the rebound of the Chinese economy, the shipments/trainloads must have increased in May after the effects of the pandemic subsided. What’s unclear is to what extent and whether that matches what the government said.

    Satellite images might reveal discrepancies when train containers at the Dzungarian Gate (the Dzungarian Alatau mountain range along the border between Kazakhstan and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region) are analysed. It’s the main connection between China and the west.

    The main railway station in Xinjiang for the Alataw pass is the Alashankou railway station (situated here: 45°10′13″N 82°34′13″E). It’s the last resort for export containers before entering Kazakhstan.

    OSINT journalists may be able to gauge Xinjiang export traffic by counting the number of containers on rail tracks. It might be laborious effort, not sure if it yields anything.

    More useful would it be to monitor the use of agriculture and factories in the nearby vicinity of camps, as shown before. Or perhaps they can be linked up.
    Baidu maps: Checking what the Chinese tech companies are ‘hiding’:

    The Chinese government may have little interest to showcase their human-rights violations which they deem as justified (Xi’s statement). Satellite images on Baidu Maps show maps that hide most of the facility. What to make of it? Google Earth lets you upload so-called ‘overlays’. If you stretch them to the right size you can compare the uploaded screenshot (we took from Baidu) with those present in Google Earth. For Tumshuq City/تۇمشۇق شەھىرى/图木舒克市(Túmùshūkè Shì) (39°54’40.02"N, 79° 1’26.09"E), see below.

    Why is Baidu’s involvement increasing relevant? On one hand, it is important to see the connection between private sector companies and the government. Chinese satellites are able to update and provide high-resolution images to the maps on Baidu. But they don’t. We had a similar debate on Twitter, that some government used to press companies to blur our images. But because images are available on other platforms ‘unblurred’, the practice was largely discontinued (there are still examples but they are getting fewer). One reason is that if a blurred area appears, it signals others to be extra vigilant and look out for other images. Instead, what increasing happens is that companies with private satellite are ordered not to release them (read more about the debate here).

    Baidu map’s decision to not show images on certain facilities have backfired. It can be reverse-engineered. Areas where images are unavailable became extra interesting. In this way Buzzfeed used Baidu Maps to their advantage. They located/confirmed some of the camps because of it. This way, they turned shortcoming into an opportunity. You may want to be quick in replicating this principle for other parts of the country where forced labour/detention camps are expected (e.g. Tibet). Such loopholes will usually be fixed swiftly.

    Bit more on the tech. According to a 2019 report by Human Rights Watch, Baidu’s map function used in the IJOP app, a controversial system used by the police and the state that generates “a massive dataset of personal information, and of police behaviour and movements in Xinjiang (it is not known how the authorities plan to use such data): The IJOP app logs the police officer’s GPS locations and other identifying information when they submit information to the IJOP app. The IJOP app uses a map functionality by Baidu, a major Chinese technology company, for purposes including planning the shortest route for police vehicle and officers on foot, according to the app’s source code.
    https://miro.medium.com/max/653/1*umOMbKghZDqPPiy0TpGZ7w.png

    What can the camps in Tibet tell us about the camps in Xinjiang?

    Reuters reported just last week that forced labour expanded to Tibet (south of XJ). Reuter’s own reporting corroborated the findings obtained by Adrian Zenz. It would take another post to go into how to investigate the state of transferred Tibetan labourers. The quick and dirty check on the situation shows the merit of using satellite images to investigate grows as foreign journalists are being barred from areas, such as entering the Tibet region (foreign citizens are only permitted on government-approved tours). OSINT lessons from investigating XJ should be applied to Tibet too.

    How does Xinjiang link to Tibet? The former Tibet Communist Party Secretary Chen Quanguo was chosen for the same job in Xinjiang in 2016 and headed the development of Xinjiang’s camp system, Reuters reported.

    Mass incarceration started before Quanguo came onto the scene: A fanghuiju work team was dispatched to a village in Guma wherein 38 individuals were allegedly detained in a government campaign, in early 2016 — it’s true however that Party Secretary Quanguo, appointed in August 2016, who waged a ‘Strike Hard Campaign’ against violent activities and terrorism increased repression.

    In an article last year, The Print used satellite images to prove that at least three Tibetan “re-education camps” are currently under construction. The author of the survey was Vinayak Bha, an ex-colonel retired from the Indian military intelligence unit.

    Col Vinayak Bhat (@rajfortyseven on Twitter) found three camps in 2018/2019 and share them. One of them is the one in Botuocun (see below). Bha writes about Chinese military deployment dynamics. The temple of Tibetan Buddhism is a ‘concentration camp’ that is surrounded by high walls and guard towers and has the same structural design as a prison. It is feasible that China’s mass detention to spread to Tibetans. Methods will likely base on the model executed in XJ.

    https://miro.medium.com/max/221/1*ln7TsCnetV75EKNcv4LBJg.png
    https://miro.medium.com/max/221/1*DtJKKnYJUH1K7p1_Pyyicw.png
    https://miro.medium.com/max/221/1*4dU7K9DK9agNbitNmLBT4g.png

    The reports of the three camps emerged in 2019. “Small-scale versions of similar military-style training initiatives have existed in the region for over a decade, but construction of new facilities increased sharply in 2016, and recent policy documents call for more investment in such sites”, one report stated. Looking at the three sites, some of them are quite old but the one below is less than three years old.

    https://miro.medium.com/max/221/1*xFr73HSkbxVqDGNgicuVCQ.png
    https://miro.medium.com/max/221/1*Ylxp6Hk1Nj8AAkvvxXI21Q.png
    https://miro.medium.com/max/278/1*a4UgMAeLCBp9LvRfOuf6Tw.png
    The allegation is that these facilities are now be used as detention centres for political indoctrination. “The detainees are allegedly used as forced labour in government factories and projects during the day time or as per shift timings”. It is something that rings true under the light of camps in Xinjiang but we lack evidence from the satellite images.

    There is some evidence that additional factory buildings were added. For the facility above, buildings in the upper east wing, with red roofing was added recently. Their layout reminds us of the blue-roofed buildings in and scattered around Xinjiang facilities, which we also have present: “This architecture is bang on a XJ prison, [though] with a different style roof”, Ruser said.

    https://miro.medium.com/max/512/1*GL1DwZmaqVdgUtaWsZHWdA.png

    https://miro.medium.com/max/303/1*Jr03h6ADK4_iNNfYP5YLkA.png
    https://miro.medium.com/max/328/1*RyzDtEa9SjE0WsBSwUaMfA.png

    The prison layout from the older prison facility above — with its long and vertically arranged wings and the rippled features — is similar to prisons seen in Xinjian, such as the two portrayed below (one at Qariqash County at 37° 6’44.88"N, 79°38’32.71"E and the other facility in 39°25’54.60”N, 76° 3’20.59"E).
    https://miro.medium.com/max/389/1*w01GGfJZZlcNCWm5MR4csQ.png

    Closing remarks:

    There is a mountain of stuff not included here. This is a training post and not an investigation with full-rested conclusion. This post should encourage other open-source investigative journalists to look into the facilities, follow their own reporting and help monitor developments/details that others may have missed.

    At present there are only a handful of OSINT journalists looking into it. Even fewer have the time to continuously keep this rolling, e.g. analysing the camps as other stories press them to move on.

    We need more eyes on this. The alleged human right abuse must receive all the international scrutiny it can get. People like Shawn Zhang and others with Nathan Ruser and APSI) started the journey. Other journalists must continue and expand on it.

    Also, the more open we are about sources and the analysis (hopefully) the fewer people might try to cast doubt on the existence of the camps (good thread here)

    OSINT techniques used must master the skill to help others to replicate the findings, step by step. That’s the reason this post resulted more in a hands-on tutorial than an explanatory post. I encourage anyone to start looking into the human rights abuse (though, I must stress, be careful to draw quick conclusions. Instead, share what you see on satellite images with the community of serious journalists and OSINT investigators).

    One last thought on commercial satellite imagery companies. It is crucial to get their support on this. For more than 100 camps mentioned in the latest update of the ASPI list (nearly 80 of them high-security detention facilities — classified as tier 3 or 4), we have no updated record of satellite images. This leaves researchers and journalists only to low-resolution devices, by Sentinel 2 images, or beg for images from Maxar or Planet Labs. That’s not good enough. Transparency requires companies inc to make those high-resolution images available, to anyone. Intelligence services should also consider making their high-resolution images available to the public for scrutiny, though, that unlikely to happen.

    https://medium.com/@techjournalism/open-source-satellite-data-to-investigate-xinjiang-concentration-camps-2713c
    #camps_de_concentration #architecture_forensique #images_satellitaires #rééducation #ré-éducation #camps_de_rééducation #Chine #droits_humains #droits_fondamentaux #Tibet

    ping @reka @isskein @visionscarto

  • Fascist legacy

    Fascist Legacy ("L’eredità del fascismo") è un documentario in due parti sui crimini di guerra commessi dagli italiani durante la seconda guerra mondiale, realizzato dalla BBC e mandato in onda nei giorni 1 ed 8 novembre 1989.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IlB7IP4hys

    #film #film_documentaire #documentaire

    #Mussolini #Pietro_Badoglio #Ethiopie #guerre_chimique #Rodolfo_Graziani #gaz_moutarde #colonialisme #Italie #Libye #fascisme #massacres #crimes_de_guerre #Mario_Roatta #Yougoslavie #camps_de_concentration #Rab #destruction #terreur #impunité

    voir aussi :
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascist_Legacy

    ping @wizo @albertocampiphoto

  • Rohingya, la mécanique du crime

    Des centaines de villages brûlés, des viols, des massacres et 700 000 Rohingyas qui quittent la Birmanie pour prendre le chemin de l’exil. Rapidement, l’ONU alerte la communauté internationale et dénonce un « nettoyage ethnique ». Ces événements tragiques vécus par les Rohingyas ne sont que l’achèvement d’une politique de discrimination déjà ancienne. Ce nettoyage ethnique a été prémédité et préparé il y a des années par les militaires birmans. Ce film raconte cette mécanique infernale.

    http://www.film-documentaire.fr/4DACTION/w_fiche_film/57765_1
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2OjbDcBfPk


    #film #documentaire #film_documentaire #opération_nettoyage #armée_birmane #feu #incendie #réfugiés #2017 #Bangladesh #répression #Arakan #nettoyage_ethnique #génocide #préméditation #planification #moines #islamophobie #xénophobie #racisme #crime_contre_l'humanité #camp_de_réfugiés #camps_de_réfugiés #violence #crime #viol #Tula_Toli #massacre #Maungdaw #milices #crimes_de_guerre #colonisation #Ashin_Wirathu #immigrants_illégaux #2012 #camps_de_concentration #Koe_Tan_Kauk #ARSA (#armée_du_salut_des_Rohingya) #métèques #déni #Inn_Dinn #roman_national #haine #terres #justice #Aung_San_Suu_Kyi #retour_au_pays #encampement
    #terminologie #mots #stigmatisation
    –-> « La #haine passe du #discours aux actes »

    #ressources_naturelles #uranium #extractivisme #nickel —> « Pour exploiter ces ressources, vous ne pouvez pas avoir des gens qui vivent là »
    (#géographie_du_vide)

    #Carte_de_vérification_nationale —> donnée à ceux qui acceptent de retourner en #Birmanie. En recevant cette carte, ils renient leur #nationalité birmane.

    #NaTaLa —> nom utilisé par les #musulmans pour distinguer les #bouddhistes qui ont été #déplacés du reste de la Birmanie vers la région de l’Arkana. C’est les musulmans qui ont été obligés de construire, avec leur main-d’oeuvre et leur argent, les maisons pour les colons bouddhistes : « Ils nous ont enlevé le pain de la bouche et au final ils nous ont tués ». Ces colons ont participé au #massacre du village de Inn Dinn.

    A partir de la minute 36’00 —> #effacement des #traces dans le #paysage, maisons rohingya détruites et remplacées par un camp militaire —> photos satellites pour le prouver

    A partir de la minute 45’35 : la colonisation sur les #terres arrachées aux Rohingya (le gouvernement subventionne la construction de nouveaux villages par des nouveaux colons)

    ping @karine4 @reka

  • Jean Ziegler : « Nous avons recréé des camps de concentration »
    https://www.illustre.ch/magazine/jean-ziegler-avons-recree-camps-concentration

    Il est rentré bouleversé d’une mission pour l’ONU sur l’île grecque de Lesbos, où se trouve le tristement célèbre camp de réfugiés de Moria. Jean Ziegler accuse l’Europe de bafouer les droits de l’homme et publie « Lesbos, la honte de l’Europe ». Rencontre avec un rebelle dont la colère ne faiblira jamais.

    – Que se passe-t-il sur ces îles grecques justement ? Qu’avez-vous vu dans le camp de réfugiés de Moria ?
    – Des barbelés, de la nourriture avariée, des conditions d’hygiène absolument affreuses. A Moria, les toilettes sont insalubres et ne ferment pas. Il y en a une pour plus de 100 personnes. Les douches sont à l’eau froide. Le camp se divise en deux. A l’intérieur du camp officiel, plusieurs familles se partagent un seul container, ce qui ne leur laisse que 6 m2 pour vivre. A l’extérieur, ce que les officiels appellent poétiquement « l’oliveraie », c’est un bidonville à l’image de ceux de Manille ou de Dacca. Les enfants jouent dans les immondices entre les serpents et les rats, et lorsqu’il neige, les tentes s’effondrent. Ces camps de réfugiés qu’on appelle des « hot spots » sont de véritables camps de concentration. Les suicides s’y multiplient, les enfants s’y automutilent. C’est le seul endroit, dans le monde entier, où Médecins sans frontières a une mission spécifiquement pédopsychiatrique pour essayer de détourner la volonté de suicide des enfants et adolescents.

    – Mais pourquoi donc ces camps ne ferment-ils pas ?
    – L’Europe crée ces conditions dans un seul but : décourager les réfugiés de quitter leur enfer. Les « hot spots » sont donc un repoussoir, mais c’est complètement inefficace, parce que si vous vivez sous les bombes à Idlib ou dans les attentats quotidiens de Kaboul, vous partez de toute façon, quelles que soient les nouvelles qui vous viennent de Moria. D’ailleurs, les gens continuent d’arriver par centaines à Lesbos.

    – Vous parlez beaucoup de responsabilité personnelle. Comment nous, simples citoyens, sommes-nous responsables de ce qui arrive aujourd’hui aux réfugiés de Moria ?
    – Notre responsabilité est totale. Nous refoulons les réfugiés vers l’enfer auquel ils ont essayé d’échapper avec une stratégie de la terreur. Nous créons de véritables camps de concentration avec des conditions totalement inhumaines. Voyez ce qui se passe aujourd’hui en Syrie, à Idlib : ces bombardements sont affreux mais on ne peut pas dire que nous en sommes responsables. En Grèce, ni vous ni moi ne sommes à l’origine des crimes qui se commettent à Moria, mais nous sommes Européens et donc complices. Ce silence qui couvre ce crime-là est effrayant, intolérable. Mon livre est un appel, un livre d’intervention, une arme pour provoquer le réveil de la conscience collective européenne.

    – Vous accusez l’Europe de violer les droits de l’homme mais aussi le droit d’asile et la Convention des droits de l’enfant quotidiennement à Moria. De quelle façon ?
    – L’hypocrisie des Etats européens est renversante. Nous fêtons cette année le 30e anniversaire de la Convention des droits de l’enfant. Savez-vous que dans le camp de Moria, 35% des 18 000 occupants sont des femmes et des enfants qui ont moins de 10 ans ? Pourtant, il n’y a pas la trace d’une école, d’une crèche. Rien du tout. Les gouvernements des pays européens, qui fêtent aujourd’hui cette convention qu’ils ont signée et ratifiée avec des cérémonies un peu partout, créent des conditions qui sont la négation des droits de l’enfant et qui assurent son dépérissement et sa souffrance. Le droit à l’alimentation est aussi violé. Le camp de Moria est une ancienne caserne. C’est donc le Département de la défense qui est en charge de la nourriture distribuée aux réfugiés et qui vient du continent. Très souvent, le poulet, le poisson sont avariés. J’ai assisté à une dizaine de distributions de nourriture. Les gens attendent trois à quatre heures dans la queue, il y a souvent des bagarres et, quatre fois sur dix, j’ai vu des gens jeter directement leur nourriture et ne garder que les pommes de terre, le riz ou les spaghettis qui l’accompagnent. L’Union européenne paie mais les généraux grecs, souvent corrompus, s’accordent avec des sociétés de traiteurs et détournent une partie de l’argent envoyé par l’UE. Ce que les réfugiés reçoivent comme nourriture est scandaleusement insuffisant et personne ne peut rien y faire car l’armée grecque est souveraine.

    #leur_travail_de_nazi #racisme #europe #immigration #camps_de_concentration et avec le virus on peu dire #camps_d'extermination

  • Des Suisses dans les camps de la mort hitlériens

    Au moins 391 Suisses ont été incarcérés dans les camps de concentration nazis, dont bon nombre de Suisses de l’étranger. Trois journalistes ont enquêté à ce sujet et publié un livre qui raconte pour la première fois les destins des détenus suisses des camps.
    Le 10 février 1944, #Marcelle_Giudici-Foks, alors jeune maman, est déportée au camp de concentration d’#Auschwitz. En France occupée, la Gestapo l’entasse dans des wagons à bestiaux avec plus de mille autres juifs. Professeure de danse à Royan, sur la côte atlantique, Marcelle est mariée à Jean Giudici, un Suisse de l’étranger. En l’épousant, elle est devenue suisse à son tour. Les parents de Jean avaient fui la misère au Tessin pour tenter leur chance comme marchands de gaufres en France.

    À partir de 1942, début des déportations massives, la situation devient critique pour les juifs de France. Marcelle et Jean tentent de gagner la Suisse pour s’y mettre en sécurité. Mais la jeune femme étant sur le point d’accoucher, ils renoncent au dernier moment à se joindre au convoi ferroviaire de sauvetage des autorités suisses. Fin janvier 1943, la Confédération rapatrie enfin les juifs suisses vivant en France. Auparavant, elle a longtemps tergiversé, malgré les avertissements réitérés du directeur du consulat suisse à Paris, René Naville, sur le danger menaçant ses citoyens. Le rapatriement intervient trop tard pour Marcelle Giudici, qui mourra à Auschwitz.

    « Digne de notre intérêt »

    Le Suisse #René_Pilloud est lui aussi envoyé dans un camp de concentration. Né à Fribourg, il s’est installé avec ses parents à Bellegarde, en France. Le père travaille à l’usine, René suit un apprentissage d’outilleur. En février 1944, alors qu’il se rend à un tournoi sportif, le jeune homme de 17 ans se retrouve pris malgré lui dans une opération de la Wehrmacht contre la résistance française. Il est violenté et déporté à #Mauthausen. Les autorités suisses tentent de le faire libérer. Dans les dossiers de l’époque, elles notent que le jeune homme est « digne de [leur] intérêt particulier ».

    À un moment, un échange de prisonniers est envisagé, mais la Suisse y renonce. Elle ne veut pas troquer des Suisses innocents contre des criminels allemands légalement condamnés. Ces nobles principes de l’état de droit prolongent le martyre de René Pilloud. Début 1945, il est détaché au crématorium du camp, où il doit incinérer chaque jour des centaines de corps. Ce n’est que peu avant la fin de la guerre que la Croix-Rouge parvient à le ramener en Suisse. Il est amaigri, traumatisé, tuberculeux. La Suisse lui verse un dédommagement de 35 000 francs au titre de victime des nazis. Il mourra en 1985 à Genève.
    Des numéros qui reprennent visage humain

    René Pilloud et #Marcelle_Giudici : deux noms, deux destins terribles reconstitués en détail parmi d’autres dans le livre des journalistes Balz Spörri, René Staubli et Benno Tuchschmid. Pendant quatre ans, les auteurs ont passé au peigne fin les archives et les bases de données et se sont entretenus avec des descendants. Ils ont réussi à établir pour la première fois une liste de victimes avérées : 391 citoyens suisses ont été incarcérés dans les camps de concentration. 201 d’entre eux y ont péri. À ce nombre, s’ajoutent 328 détenus nés en Suisse, mais n’en ayant jamais possédé la citoyenneté. 255 n’ont pas survécu aux camps. Toutes les personnes concernées ont été arrêtées en Allemagne ou dans une zone occupée – essentiellement en France où vivait alors le plus grand nombre de Suisses de l’étranger – avant d’être déportées.

    Une partie des victimes suisses des camps nazis était juive, d’autres étaient des résistants ou des marginaux. Les auteurs du livre dressent la liste de leurs noms sous la forme d’un « mémorial », de Abegg, Frieda à Zumbach, Maurice. Des photos accompagnent parfois ces noms. « Dans les camps, ces personnes n’étaient que des numéros, et dans les archives fédérales, des cas d’indemnisation, écrivent les auteurs. Dans ce livre, nous voulons leur redonner un visage humain. »
    Lâcheté des autorités

    Il a fallu que 75 ans s’écoulent pour que le pays se préoccupe réellement de l’histoire des détenus suisses des camps nazis. Bien que des survivants comme René Pilloud aient raconté leur expérience après la guerre et que le Parlement ait approuvé des indemnisations, la Suisse ne s’y était guère intéressée jusqu’ici. On ne trouve aucune trace de ces biographies dans les ouvrages scientifiques de référence. En racontant ces destins, les journalistes font cependant plus qu’un travail de deuil. Ils posent aussi des questions délicates sur le rôle officiel du pays. Leur conclusion : « La Suisse aurait pu sauver des dizaines de vies si elle avait fait preuve de plus de courage et avait davantage insisté auprès des autorités allemandes. »

    Naturellement, il est « toujours plus aisé » d’émettre un tel jugement après coup, concède Balz Spörri dans un entretien accordé à la « Revue Suisse ». Pour juger des faits, il faut tenir compte de l’état des connaissances et de la marge de manœuvre des protagonistes de cette époque. L’ouvrage décrit en détail comment la politique et les médias suisses ont réagi à la mise en place des camps par le régime national-socialiste. En dépit des indices, pendant longtemps, les camps de concentration n’ont pas été perçus en Suisse comme des camps d’extermination.
    Des citoyens de seconde zone

    En 1942 encore, Heinrich Rothmund, chef de la Police fédérale des étrangers, dresse un rapport totalement inoffensif sur sa visite au camp de Sachsenhausen. Le Conseil fédéral s’empresse de le croire. Les trois journalistes n’ont trouvé aucune indication permettant de penser « que le Conseil fédéral se soit penché sur le sujet des camps ou des détenus suisses de ces camps avant 1944 ». Ce furent des diplomates courageux comme l’envoyé suisse à Berlin, Paul Dinichert, qui parvinrent à faire libérer des Suisses arrêtés. Après l’occupation de la France par l’Allemagne, Berne avait toutefois appelé à la prudence. Le successeur de Dinichert, Hans Frölicher, respecta scrupuleusement la consigne. Il craignait qu’en provoquant Hitler, celui-ci ne décide d’envahir son pays neutre. Mais il faut souligner qu’en Suisse, Frölicher était vu comme un opportuniste et un ami des nazis.

    Si les autorités suisses n’ont pas tout mis en œuvre pour protéger leurs citoyens à l’étranger, c’est aussi parce qu’elles ne tenaient pas au retour de certains, dont l’accueil aurait coûté trop cher aux caisses de l’État : criminels, « asociaux », handicapés. D’autres étaient aussi pourchassés en Suisse, comme les communistes, les Roms, les homosexuels et les marginaux. « On trouve des preuves de cela dans les dossiers de l’époque », indique Balz Spörri. Ainsi Pierre Bonna, chef de la Division des affaires étrangères à Berne, écrivit aux diplomates à Berlin : « La légation ne doit pas mettre en danger sa crédibilité, au détriment de tous les autres citoyens suisses dignes de protection, pour des éléments qui, par leur faute ou leur comportement anti-suisse et provocateur, sont eux-mêmes à l’origine des difficultés qu’ils connaissent. »
    « Une telle image de la femme »

    Ce credo scella le destin d’Anna Böhringer-Bürgi, de Bâle. Très tôt, les autorités avaient taxé sa vie de « licencieuse », et elle avait eu des démêlés avec la justice. En épousant un Allemand, cette mère de sept enfants avait perdu sa nationalité suisse. Peu après le début de la guerre, à 54 ans, elle cherche asile en Suisse et dépose une demande de réintégration. Demande rejetée. Un fonctionnaire écrit qu’Anna est « une prostituée et une délinquante notoire » et qu’il faut bien se garder « de redonner le droit de cité cantonal à une telle image de la femme ». Anna Böhringer doit quitter le territoire suisse. Elle meurt en 1945 à Ravensbrück. Plus tard, la Suisse rejettera également la demande d’indemnisation de sa fille, arguant du fait que sa mère n’était pas suisse lors de son arrestation.

    Les 391 victimes des camps de concentration mentionnées dans le livre sont toutes décédées aujourd’hui. L’expérience des camps a cependant poursuivi les survivants jusqu’à la fin de leur vie. Albert Mülli, installateur sanitaire et social-démocrate zurichois, fut arrêté en 1938 à Vienne par la Gestapo, puis déporté au camp de Dachau comme prisonnier politique. On l’accusa de fréquenter les communistes. Albert Mülli survécut à six ans de détention. Il rentra en Suisse, refit sa vie, siégea au Parlement du canton. Avant sa mort, en 1997, son passé le rattrapa. Dans l’EMS où il vivait, atteint de démence, il était assailli par les cauchemars : jour et nuit, il revivait l’horreur du camp. Sa fille a confié aux auteurs du livre qu’assister à cela avait été extrêmement douloureux.
    Perpétuer le souvenir

    Ce livre n’est qu’un début, souligne Balz Spörri, en affirmant qu’une recherche systématique sur les victimes suisses de la terreur nazie est nécessaire. Tout comme une réparation morale passant par la reconnaissance de l’existence de ces victimes et du tort qui leur a été fait. Bon nombre d’entre elles ont lutté contre le régime nazi et l’ont payé de leur vie : « Nous pensons qu’il est temps qu’un jour, un conseiller fédéral aborde ce sujet. » Balz Spörri salue l’engagement de l’Organisation des Suisses de l’étranger en vue de l’érection d’un mémorial (voir page 9). Le Conseil fédéral est jusqu’ici resté vague à ce sujet.

    Pour parler aussi aux plus jeunes, ce mémorial pourrait être associé à des formes numériques de souvenir, lance Balz Spörri. Par exemple un site Internet relatant la vie des victimes, sorte de monument virtuel. Car une chose est sûre : les témoins de l’holocauste auront bientôt tous disparu. Il est par conséquent d’autant plus essentiel que leurs récits soient conservés dans la mémoire collective.
    Retour

    https://www.revue.ch/fr/editions/2020/01/detail/news/detail/News/des-suisses-dans-les-camps-de-la-mort-hitleriens-1

    #Suisse #camps_de_concentration #WWII #deuxième_guerre_mondiale #seconde_guerre_mondiale #nazisme #histoire #livre

    • Die Schweizer KZ-Häftlinge. Vergessene Opfer des Dritten Reichs

      Selbst unter Historikern ist kaum bekannt, dass während des Dritten Reichs Hunderte von Schweizerinnen und Schweizern in Konzentrationslagern inhaftiert waren. Viele von ihnen wurden umgebracht. Unter den Opfern waren Männer, Frauen und Kinder, Juden, Sozialisten, Homosexuelle, Sinti und Roma, Zeugen Jehovas, Widerstandskämpfer. Die Schweizer Behörden hätten viele vor dem Tod bewahren können. Warum taten sie es nicht?
      75 Jahre nach dem Ende des Zweiten Weltkriegs arbeiten die Autoren erstmals die Geschichte der Schweizer KZ-Häftlinge auf. Basierend auf Akten, Briefen, historischen Dokumenten und Gesprächen mit Angehörigen sind zudem zehn Porträts von Schweizer KZ-Häftlingen entstanden. Sie stehen stellvertretend für die vielen Schweizer Opfer nationalsozialistischer Verfolgung, die in diesem Buch erstmals in einer Liste namentlich aufgeführt werden.

      https://www.nzz-libro.ch/schweizer-kz-haeftlinge-opfer-des-dritten-reichs-namensliste

  • What is a Concentration Camp ?

    ‘Concentration camps’ are difficult to define. Even the survivors of the most notorious and universally recognised camps in history discovered this problem in the aftermath of the Second World War.

    https://www.historytoday.com/miscellanies/what-concentration-camp
    #camps #camps_de_concentration #définition #CPA_camps #histoire #WWII #deuxième_guerre_mondiale #seconde_guerre_mondiale

  • A firsthand report of ‘inhumane conditions’ at a migrant children’s detention facility | PBS NewsHour
    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/a-firsthand-report-of-inhumane-conditions-at-a-migrant-childrens-detention-faci

    Editor’s Note: After our broadcast, CPB responded to our request for comment with the following statement:

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) leverages our limited resources to provide the best care possible to those in our custody, especially children. As DHS and CBP leadership have noted numerous times, our short-term holding facilities were not designed to hold vulnerable populations and we urgently need additional humanitarian funding to manage this crisis. CBP works closely with our partners at the Department of Health and Human Services to transfer unaccompanied children to their custody as soon as placement is identified, and as quickly and expeditiously as possible to ensure proper care.

    All allegations of civil rights abuses or mistreatment in CBP detention are taken seriously and investigated to the fullest extent possible.

    The Associated Press details grave conditions inside a Texas migrant detention facility where 250 infants, children and teenagers were being held without adequate food, water or sanitation during a recent visit. Warren Binford, a law professor at Willamette University, joins William Brangham to share her firsthand account, what Border Patrol agents think and what’s next for these children.

    #états-unis #migrations #enfants #camps_de_concentration

  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Unimaginable Reality of American Concentration Camps | The New Yorker
    https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-unimaginable-reality-of-american-concentration-camps

    Like many arguments, the fight over the term “concentration camp” is mostly an argument about something entirely different. It is not about terminology. Almost refreshingly, it is not an argument about facts. This argument is about imagination, and it may be a deeper, more important conversation than it seems.

    In a Monday-evening live stream, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of New York, called the U.S.’s detention facilities for migrants “concentration camps.” On Tuesday, she tweeted a link to an article in Esquire in which Andrea Pitzer, a historian of concentration camps, was quoted making the same assertion: that the United States has created a “concentration camp system.” Pitzer argued that “mass detention of civilians without a trial” was what made the camps concentration camps.

    #états-unis #migrations #enfants #camps_de_concentration

  • Call immigrant detention centers what they really are: concentration camps

    If you were paying close attention last week, you might have spotted a pattern in the news. Peeking out from behind the breathless coverage of the Trump family’s tuxedoed trip to London was a spate of deaths of immigrants in U.S. custody: Johana Medina Léon, a 25-year-old transgender asylum seeker; an unnamed 33-year-old Salvadoran man; and a 40-year-old woman from Honduras.

    Photos from a Border Patrol processing center in El Paso showed people herded so tightly into cells that they had to stand on toilets to breathe. Memos surfaced by journalist Ken Klippenstein revealed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s failure to provide medical care was responsible for suicides and other deaths of detainees. These followed another report that showed that thousands of detainees are being brutally held in isolation cells just for being transgender or mentally ill.

    Also last week, the Trump administration cut funding for classes, recreation and legal aid at detention centers holding minors — which were likened to “summer camps” by a senior ICE official last year. And there was the revelation that months after being torn from their parents’ arms, 37 children were locked in vans for up to 39 hours in the parking lot of a detention center outside Port Isabel, Texas. In the last year, at least seven migrant children have died in federal custody.

    Preventing mass outrage at a system like this takes work. Certainly it helps that the news media covers these horrors intermittently rather than as snowballing proof of a racist, lawless administration. But most of all, authorities prevail when the places where people are being tortured and left to die stay hidden, misleadingly named and far from prying eyes.

    There’s a name for that kind of system. They’re called concentration camps. You might balk at my use of the term. That’s good — it’s something to be balked at.

    The goal of concentration camps has always been to be ignored. The German-Jewish political theorist Hannah Arendt, who was imprisoned by the Gestapo and interned in a French camp, wrote a few years afterward about the different levels of concentration camps. Extermination camps were the most extreme; others were just about getting “undesirable elements … out of the way.” All had one thing in common: “The human masses sealed off in them are treated as if they no longer existed, as if what happened to them were no longer of interest to anybody, as if they were already dead.”

    Euphemisms play a big role in that forgetting. The term “concentration camp” is itself a euphemism. It was invented by a Spanish official to paper over his relocation of millions of rural families into squalid garrison towns where they would starve during Cuba’s 1895 independence war. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered Japanese Americans into prisons during World War II, he initially called them concentration camps. Americans ended up using more benign names, like “Manzanar Relocation Center.”

    Even the Nazis’ camps started out small, housing criminals, Communists and opponents of the regime. It took five years to begin the mass detention of Jews. It took eight, and the outbreak of a world war, for the first extermination camps to open. Even then, the Nazis had to keep lying to distract attention, claiming Jews were merely being resettled to remote work sites. That’s what the famous signs — Arbeit Macht Frei, or “Work Sets You Free” — were about.

    Subterfuge doesn’t always work. A year ago, Americans accidentally became aware that the Trump administration had adopted (and lied about) a policy of ripping families apart at the border. The flurry of attention was thanks to the viral conflation of two separate but related stories: the family-separation order and bureaucrats’ admission that they’d been unable to locate thousands of migrant children who’d been placed with sponsors after crossing the border alone.

    Trump shoved that easily down the memory hole. He dragged his heels a bit, then agreed to a new policy: throwing whole families into camps together. Political reporters posed irrelevant questions, like whether President Obama had been just as bad, and what it meant for the midterms. Then they moved on.

    It is important to note that Trump’s aides have built this system of racist terror on something that has existed for a long time. Several camps opened under Obama, and as president he deported millions of people.

    But Trump’s game is different. It certainly isn’t about negotiating immigration reform with Congress. Trump has made it clear that he wants to stifle all non-white immigration, period. His mass arrests, iceboxes and dog cages are part of an explicitly nationalist project to put the country under the control of the right kind of white people.

    As a Republican National Committee report noted in 2013: “The nation’s demographic changes add to the urgency of recognizing how precarious our position has become.” The Trump administration’s attempt to put a citizenship question on the 2020 census was also just revealed to have been a plot to disadvantage political opponents and boost “Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites” all along.

    That’s why this isn’t just a crisis facing immigrants. When a leader puts people in camps to stay in power, history shows that he doesn’t usually stop with the first group he detains.

    There are now at least 48,000 people detained in ICE facilities, which a former official told BuzzFeed News “could swell indefinitely.” Customs and Border Protection officials apprehended more than 144,000 people on the Southwest border last month. (The New York Times dutifully reported this as evidence of a “dramatic surge in border crossings,” rather than what it was: The administration using its own surge of arrests to justify the rest of its policies.)

    If we call them what they are — a growing system of American concentration camps — we will be more likely to give them the attention they deserve. We need to know their names: Port Isabel, Dilley, Adelanto, Hutto and on and on. With constant, unrelenting attention, it is possible we might alleviate the plight of the people inside, and stop the crisis from getting worse. Maybe people won’t be able to disappear so easily into the iceboxes. Maybe it will be harder for authorities to lie about children’s deaths.

    Maybe Trump’s concentration camps will be the first thing we think of when we see him scowling on TV.

    The only other option is to leave it up to those in power to decide what’s next. That’s a calculated risk. As Andrea Pitzer, author of “One Long Night,” one of the most comprehensive books on the history of concentration camps, recently noted: “Every country has said their camps are humane and will be different. Trump is instinctively an authoritarian. He’ll take them as far as he’s allowed to.”

    https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-katz-immigrant-concentration-camps-20190609-story.html
    #terminologie #vocabulaire #mots #camps #camps_de_concentration #centres_de_détention #détention_administrative #rétention #USA #Etats-Unis
    #cpa_camps

    • ‘Some Suburb of Hell’: America’s New Concentration Camp System

      On Monday, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez referred to US border detention facilities as “concentration camps,” spurring a backlash in which critics accused her of demeaning the memory of those who died in the Holocaust. Debates raged over a label for what is happening along the southern border and grew louder as the week rolled on. But even this back-and-forth over naming the camps has been a recurrent feature in the mass detention of civilians ever since its inception, a history that long predates the Holocaust.

      At the heart of such policy is a question: What does a country owe desperate people whom it does not consider to be its citizens? The twentieth century posed this question to the world just as the shadow of global conflict threatened for the second time in less than three decades. The dominant response was silence, and the doctrine of absolute national sovereignty meant that what a state did to people under its control, within its borders, was nobody else’s business. After the harrowing toll of the Holocaust with the murder of millions, the world revisited its answer, deciding that perhaps something was owed to those in mortal danger. From the Fourth Geneva Convention protecting civilians in 1949 to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the international community established humanitarian obligations toward the most vulnerable that apply, at least in theory, to all nations.

      The twenty-first century is unraveling that response. Countries are rejecting existing obligations and meeting asylum seekers with walls and fences, from detainees fleeing persecution who were sent by Australia to third-party detention in the brutal offshore camps of Manus and Nauru to razor-wire barriers blocking Syrian refugees from entering Hungary. While some nations, such as Germany, wrestle with how to integrate refugees into their labor force—more and more have become resistant to letting them in at all. The latest location of this unwinding is along the southern border of the United States.

      So far, American citizens have gotten only glimpses of the conditions in the border camps that have been opened in their name. In the month of May, Customs and Border Protection reported a total of 132,887 migrants who were apprehended or turned themselves in between ports of entry along the southwest border, an increase of 34 percent from April alone. Upon apprehension, these migrants are temporarily detained by Border Patrol, and once their claims are processed, they are either released or handed over to ICE for longer-term detention. Yet Border Patrol itself is currently holding about 15,000 people, nearly four times what government officials consider to be this enforcement arm’s detention capacity.

      On June 12, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that Fort Sill, an Army post that hosted a World War II internment camp for detainees of Japanese descent, will now be repurposed to detain migrant children. In total, HHS reports that it is currently holding some 12,000 minors. Current law limits detention of minors to twenty days, though Senator Lindsey Graham has proposed expanding the court-ordered limit to 100 days. Since the post is on federal land, it will be exempt from state child welfare inspections.

      In addition to the total of detainees held by Border Patrol, an even higher number is detained at centers around the country by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency: on a typical day at the beginning of this month, ICE was detaining more than 52,500 migrants. The family separation policy outraged the public in the 2018, but despite legal challenges, it never fully ended. Less publicized have been the deaths of twenty-four adults in ICE custody since the beginning of the Trump administration; in addition, six children between the ages of two and sixteen have died in federal custody over the last several months. It’s not clear whether there have been other deaths that have gone unreported.

      Conditions for detainees have not been improving. At the end of May, a Department of Homeland Security inspector general found nearly 900 migrants at a Texas shelter built for a capacity of 125 people. On June 11, a university professor spotted at least 100 men behind chain-link fences near the Paso del Norte Bridge in El Paso, Texas. Those detainees reported sitting outside for weeks in temperatures that soared above 100 degrees. Taylor Levy, an El Paso immigration lawyer, described going into one facility and finding “a suicidal four-year-old whose face was covered in bloody, self-inflicted scratches… Another young child had to be restrained by his mother because he kept running full-speed into metal lockers. He was covered in bruises.”

      If deciding what to do about the growing numbers of adults and children seeking refuge in the US relies on complex humanitarian policies and international laws, in which most Americans don’t take a deep interest, a simpler question also presents itself: What exactly are these camps that the Trump administration has opened, and where is this program of mass detention headed?

      Even with incomplete information about what’s happening along the border today and what the government plans for these camps, history points to some conclusions about their future. Mass detention without trial earned a new name and a specific identity at the end of the nineteenth century. The labels then adopted for the practice were “reconcentración” and “concentration camps”—places of forced relocation of civilians into detention on the basis of group identity.

      Other kinds of group detention had appeared much earlier in North American history. The US government drove Native Americans from their homelands into prescribed exile, with death and detention in transit camps along the way. Some Spanish mission systems in the Americas had accomplished similar ends by seizing land and pressing indigenous people into forced labor. During the 245 years when slavery was legal in the US, detention was one of its essential features.

      Concentration camps, however, don’t typically result from the theft of land, as happened with Native Americans, or owning human beings in a system of forced labor, as in the slave trade. Exile, theft, and forced labor can come later, but in the beginning, detention itself is usually the point of concentration camps. By the end of the nineteenth century, the mass production of barbed wire and machines guns made this kind of detention possible and practical in ways it never had been before.

      Under Spanish rule in 1896, the governor-general of Cuba instituted camps in order to clear rebel-held regions during an uprising, despite his predecessor’s written refusal “as the representative of a civilized nation, to be the first to give the example of cruelty and intransigence” that such detention would represent. After women and children began dying in vast numbers behind barbed wire because there had been little planning for shelter and even less for food, US President William McKinley made his call to war before Congress. He spoke against the policy of reconcentración, calling it warfare by uncivilized means. “It was extermination,” McKinley said. “The only peace it could beget was that of the wilderness and the grave.” Without full records, the Cuban death toll can only be estimated, but a consensus puts it in the neighborhood of 150,000, more than 10 percent of the island’s prewar population.

      Today, we remember the sinking of the USS Maine as the spark that ignited the Spanish-American War. But war correspondent George Kennan (cousin of the more famous diplomat) believed that “it was the suffering of the reconcentrados, more, perhaps, than any other one thing that brought about the intervention of the United States.” On April 25, 1898, Congress declared war. Two weeks later, US Marines landed at Fisherman’s Point on the windward side of the entrance to Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. After a grim, week-long fight, the Marines took the hill. It became a naval base, and the United States has never left that patch of land.

      As part of the larger victory, the US inherited the Philippines. The world’s newest imperial power also inherited a rebellion. Following a massacre of American troops at Balangiga in September 1901, during the third year of the conflict, the US established its own concentration camp system. Detainees, mostly women and children, were forced into squalid conditions that one American soldier described in a letter to a US senator as “some suburb of hell.” In the space of only four months, more than 11,000 Filipinos are believed to have died in these noxious camps.

      Meanwhile, in southern Africa in 1900, the British had opened their own camps during their battle with descendants of Dutch settlers in the second Boer War. British soldiers filled tent cities with Boer women and children, and the military authorities called them refugee camps. Future Prime Minister David Lloyd George took offense at that name, noting in Parliament: “There is no greater delusion in the mind of any man than to apply the term ‘refugee’ to these camps. They are not refugee camps. They are camps of concentration.” Contemporary observers compared them to the Cuban camps, and criticized their deliberate cruelty. The Bishop of Hereford wrote to The Times of London in 1901, asking: “Are we reduced to such a depth of impotence that our Government can do nothing to stop such a holocaust of child-life?”

      Maggoty meat rations and polluted water supplies joined outbreaks of contagious diseases amid crowded and unhealthy conditions in the Boer camps. More than 27,000 detainees are thought to have died there, nearly 80 percent of them children. The British had opened camps for black Africans as well, in which at least 14,000 detainees died—the real number is probably much higher. Aside from protests made by some missionaries, the deaths of indigenous black Africans did not inspire much public outrage. Much of the history of the suffering in these camps has been lost.

      These early experiments with concentration camps took place on the periphery of imperial power, but accounts of them nevertheless made their way into newspapers and reports in many nations. As a result, the very idea of them came to be seen as barbaric. By the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, the first camp systems had all been closed, and concentration camps had nearly vanished as an institution. Within months of the outbreak of World War I, though, they would be resurrected—this time rising not at the margins but in the centers of power. Between 1914 and 1918, camps were constructed on an unprecedented scale across six continents. In their time, these camps were commonly called concentration camps, though today they are often referred to by the more anodyne term “internment.”

      Those World War I detainees were, for the most part, foreigners—or, in legalese, aliens—and recent anti-immigration legislation in several countries had deliberately limited their rights. The Daily Mail denounced aliens left at liberty once they had registered with their local police department, demanding, “Does signing his name take the malice out of a man?” The Scottish Field was more direct, asking, “Do Germans have souls?” That these civilian detainees were no threat to Britain did not keep them from being demonized, shouted at, and spat upon as they were paraded past hostile crowds in cities like London.

      Though a small number of people were shot in riots in these camps, and hunger became a serious issue as the conflict dragged on, World War I internment would present a new, non-lethal face for the camps, normalizing detention. Even after the war, new camps sprang up from Spain to Hungary and Cuba, providing an improvised “solution” for everything from vagrancy to anxieties over the presence of Jewish foreigners.

      Some of these camps were clearly not safe for those interned. Local camps appeared in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921, after a white mob burned down a black neighborhood and detained African-American survivors. In Bolshevik Russia, the first concentration camps preceded the formation of the Soviet Union in 1922 and planted seeds for the brutal Gulag system that became official near the end of the USSR’s first decade. While some kinds of camps were understood to be harsher, after World War I their proliferation did not initially disturb public opinion. They had yet to take on their worst incarnations.

      In 1933, barely more than a month after Hitler was appointed chancellor, the Nazis’ first, impromptu camp opened in the town of Nohra in central Germany to hold political opponents. Detainees at Nohra were allowed to vote at a local precinct in the elections of March 5, 1933, resulting in a surge of Communist ballots in the tiny town. Locking up groups of civilians without trial had become accepted. Only the later realization of the horrors of the Nazi death camps would break the default assumption by governments and the public that concentration camps could and should be a simple way to manage populations seen as a threat.

      However, the staggering death toll of the Nazi extermination camp system—which was created mid-war and stood almost entirely separate from the concentration camps in existence since 1933—led to another result: a strange kind of erasure. In the decades that followed World War II, the term “concentration camp” came to stand only for Auschwitz and other extermination camps. It was no longer applied to the kind of extrajudicial detention it had denoted for generations. The many earlier camps that had made the rise of Auschwitz possible largely vanished from public memory.

      It is not necessary, however, to step back a full century in American history to find camps with links to what is happening on the US border today. Detention at Guantánamo began in the 1990s, when Haitian and Cuban immigrants whom the government wanted to keep out of the United States were housed there in waves over a four-year period—years before the “war on terror” and the US policy of rendition of suspected “enemy combatants” made Camps Delta, X-Ray, and Echo notorious. Tens of thousands of Haitians fleeing instability at home were picked up at sea and diverted to the Cuban base, to limit their legal right to apply for asylum. The court cases and battles over the suffering of those detainees ended up setting the stage for what Guantánamo would become after September 11, 2001.

      In one case, a federal court ruled that it did have jurisdiction over the base, but the government agreed to release the Haitians who were part of the lawsuit in exchange for keeping that ruling off the books. A ruling in a second case would assert that the courts did not have jurisdiction. Absent the prior case, the latter stood on its own as precedent. Leaving Guantánamo in this gray area made it an ideal site for extrajudicial detention and torture after the twin towers fell.

      This process of normalization, when a bad camp becomes much more dangerous, is not unusual. Today’s border camps are a crueler reflection of long-term policies—some challenged in court—that earlier presidents had enacted. Prior administrations own a share of the responsibility for today’s harsh practices, but the policies in place today are also accompanied by a shameless willingness to publicly target a vulnerable population in increasingly dangerous ways.

      I visited Guantánamo twice in 2015, sitting in the courtroom for pretrial hearings and touring the medical facility, the library, and all the old abandoned detention sites, as well as newly built ones, open to the media—from the kennel-style cages of Camp X-Ray rotting to ruin in the damp heat to the modern jailhouse facilities of Camp 6. Seeing all this in person made clear to me how vast the architecture of detention had become, how entrenched it was, and how hard it would be to close.

      Without a significant government effort to reverse direction, conditions in every camp system tend to deteriorate over time. Governments rarely make that kind of effort on behalf of people they are willing to lock up without trial in the first place. And history shows that legislatures do not close camps against the will of an executive.

      Just a few years ago there might have been more potential for change spurred by the judicial branch of our democracy, but this Supreme Court is inclined toward deference to executive power, even, it appears, if that power is abused. It seems unlikely this Court will intervene to end the new border camp system; indeed, the justices are far more likely to institutionalize it by half-measures, as happened with Guantánamo. The Korematsu case, in which the Supreme Court upheld Japanese-American internment (a ruling only rescinded last year), relied on the suppression of evidence by the solicitor general. Americans today can have little confidence that this administration would behave any more scrupulously when defending its detention policy.

      What kind of conditions can we expect to develop in these border camps? The longer a camp system stays open, the more likely it is that vital things will go wrong: detainees will contract contagious diseases and suffer from malnutrition and mental illness. We have already seen that current detention practices have resulted in children and adults succumbing to influenza, staph infections, and sepsis. The US is now poised to inflict harm on tens of thousands more, perhaps hundreds of thousands more.

      Along with such inevitable consequences, every significant camp system has introduced new horrors of its own, crises that were unforeseen when that system was opened. We have yet to discover what those will be for these American border camps. But they will happen. Every country thinks it can do detention better when it starts these projects. But no good way to conduct mass indefinite detention has yet been devised; the system always degrades.

      When, in 1940, Margarete Buber-Neumann was transferred from the Soviet Gulag at Karaganda to the camp for women at Ravensbrück (in an exchange enabled by the Nazi–Soviet Pact), she came from near-starvation conditions in the USSR and was amazed at the cleanliness and order of the Nazi camp. New arrivals were issued clothing, bedding, and silverware, and given fresh porridge, fruit, sausage, and jam to eat. Although the Nazi camps were already punitive, order-obsessed monstrosities, the wartime overcrowding that would soon overtake them had not yet made daily life a thing of constant suffering and squalor. The death camps were still two years away.

      The United States now has a vast and growing camp system. It is starting out with gruesome overcrowding and inadequate healthcare, and because of budget restrictions, has already taken steps to cut services to juvenile detainees. The US Office of Refugee Resettlement says that the mounting number of children arriving unaccompanied is forcing it to use military bases and other sites that it prefers to avoid, and that establishing these camps is a temporary measure. But without oversight from state child welfare inspectors, the possibilities for neglect and abuse are alarming. And without any knowledge of how many asylum-seekers are coming in the future, federal administrators are likely to find themselves boxed in to managing detention on military sites permanently.

      President Trump and senior White House adviser Stephen Miller appear to have purged the Department of Homeland Security of most internal opposition to their anti-immigrant policies. In doing so, that have removed even those sympathetic to the general approach taken by the White House, such as former Chief of Staff John Kelly and former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, in order to escalate the militarization of the border and expand irregular detention in more systematic and punitive ways. This kind of power struggle or purge in the early years of a camp system is typical.

      The disbanding of the Cheka, the Soviet secret police, in February 1922 and the transfer of its commander, Felix Dzerzhinsky, to head up an agency with control over only two prisons offered a hint of an alternate future in which extrajudicial detention would not play a central role in the fledgling Soviet republic. But Dzerzhinsky managed to keep control over the “special camps” in his new position, paving the way for the emergence of a camp-centered police state. In pre-war Germany in the mid-1930s, Himmler’s struggle to consolidate power from rivals eventually led him to make camps central to Nazi strategy. When the hardliners win, as they appear to have in the US, conditions tend to worsen significantly.

      Is it possible this growth in the camp system will be temporary and the improvised border camps will soon close? In theory, yes. But the longer they remain open, the less likely they are to vanish. When I visited the camps for Rohingya Muslims a year before the large-scale campaign of ethnic cleansing began, many observers appeared to be confusing the possible and the probable. It was possible that the party of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi would sweep into office in free elections and begin making changes. It was possible that full democracy would come to all the residents of Myanmar, even though the government had stripped the Rohingya of the last vestiges of their citizenship. These hopes proved to be misplaced. Once there are concentration camps, it is always probable that things will get worse.

      The Philippines, Japanese-American internment, Guantánamo… we can consider the fine points of how the current border camps evoke past US systems, and we can see how the arc of camp history reveals the likelihood that the suffering we’re currently inflicting will be multiplied exponentially. But we can also simply look at what we’re doing right now, shoving bodies into “dog pound”-style detention pens, “iceboxes,” and standing room-only spaces. We can look at young children in custody who have become suicidal. How much more historical awareness do we really need?

      https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2019/06/21/some-suburb-of-hell-americas-new-concentration-camp-system

    • #Alexandria_Ocasio-Cortez engage le bras de fer avec la politique migratoire de Donald Trump

      L’élue de New York a qualifié les camps de rétention pour migrants érigés à la frontière sud des Etats-Unis de « camps de concentration ».

      https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2019/06/19/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-engage-le-bras-de-fer-avec-la-politique-migratoire-

    • sur le même sujet :

      Rivesaltes : les hoquets de l’Histoire

      En France, la permanence historique des logiques administratives et institutionnelles a quelque chose d’effrayant.

      Je suis tombé sur cette histoire à la lecture du rapport d’activité 2007 de la Cimade. On y trouve un descriptif des différents centres de rétention administrative et des données les concernants. Au chapitre concernant le CRA de Rivesaltes, on trouve cette remarque : “Sur ce terrain vague, on voit au loin les anciens baraquements où furent internés les “indésirables” des années 40, à savoir étrangers, juifs et Tsiganes”. Je me suis souvenu de l’histoire de ces camps de concentration du sud de la France destinés d’abord à l’internement des réfugiés espagnols, puis à tous les ennemis de Vichy : Argelès, Agde, Amélie les Bains…

      http://mirador.gouv.free.fr/index.php/2007/10/08/rivesaltes-les-hoquets-de-lhistoire

  • hubertus strughold le « père de la médecine spatiale »

    wikipédia,  : physiologiste allemand naturalisé américain qui a joué un rôle pionnier durant les années 1950 et 1960 dans le domaine de la médecine spatiale. Durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale et dans le cadre de son travail de recherche sur le comportement du corps humain à haute altitude et soumis à de fortes accélérations, il est suspecté d’avoir été impliqué indirectement dans des expériences médicales nazies sur des déportés du camp de Dachau ayant entraîné leur mort.
    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubertus_Strughold
    C’est du wikipédia, autrement dit, de l’édulcoré, rien sur les centaines de déportés morts lors des expériences d’hubertus strughold et d’autres savant allemands

    A regarder sur arte jusqu’au 7/04 : Destination Lune - Les anciens nazis de la Nasa

    https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/078690-000-A/destination-lune-les-anciens-nazis-de-la-nasa

    #usa #allemagne #nazisme #nasa #histoire #génocide #guerre #extermination #camp_de_concentration #camps_de_concentration

  • La résistance des images
    http://www.laviedesidees.fr/spip.php?page=article&id_article=4076

    En 1943, un photographe espagnol sauve de la destruction les photographies prises par les SS de Mauthausen. Au delà du quotidien du camp, l’exceptionnelle « collection Boix » documente la condition concentrationnaire. Elle éclaire l’importance de la #photographie pour l’histoire — et vice versa.

    #Recensions

    / #mémoire, #guerre_mondiale, photographie, #camps_de_concentration

  • La résistance des images
    http://www.laviedesidees.fr/La-resistance-des-images.html

    En 1943, un photographe espagnol sauve de la destruction les photographies prises par les SS de Mauthausen. Au delà du quotidien du camp, l’exceptionnelle « collection Boix » documente la condition concentrationnaire. Elle éclaire l’importance de la #photographie pour l’histoire — et vice versa.

    #Recensions

    / #mémoire, #guerre_mondiale, photographie, #camps_de_concentration

  • I campi fascisti

    Lo stato fascista italiano si è avvalso di diversi strumenti e luoghi per imprigionare, segregare e deportare popolazioni straniere, oppositori politici, ebrei, omosessuali e rom. Dai campi di concentramento per i civili sloveni e croati, a quelli dove furono deportati migliaia di eritrei, etiopi e libici, dalle località di internamento per ebrei stranieri, fino ai luoghi di confino per oppositori politici.

    http://www.campifascisti.it
    #histoire #fascisme #Italie #camps #camps_De_concentration #Slovénie #Croatie #Erythrée #Ethiopie #Libye #juifs #WWII #deuxième_guerre_mondiale #seconde_guerre_mondiale

    Une longue #liste avec les noms des personnes internées et les lieux :
    http://www.campifascisti.it/elenco_documenti.php
    #datasource #banque_de_données #database

    Ici la liste des camps :
    http://www.campifascisti.it/elenco_campi.php
    et la #carte :


    http://www.campifascisti.it/mappe.php
    #cartographie #visualisation

    Et puis, des #témoignages #audio (je ne sais pas si aussi #vidéo, j’ai pas contrôlé) de survivants :
    http://www.campifascisti.it/elenco_testimoni.php

    Et une très très longue bibliographie :
    http://www.campifascisti.it/elenco_bibliografia.php

    #déportation

    cc @wizo @albertocampiphoto @isskein

  • Namibia, 1904. Quando i tedeschi fecero le prove della Shoah

    Stupri e campi di concentramento. Nella colonia africana la Germania organizzò il primo genocidio del XX secolo. Anticipando i metodi nazisti. Ma oggi a Berlino si fatica a parlarne


    http://www.repubblica.it/venerdi/articoli/2017/05/30/news/namibia_genocidio_tedeschi_herero-166817547

    #génocide #Namibie #histoire #camps_de_concentration #viols #Héréro
    cc @albertocampiphoto @wizo

  • Commémorer les victimes homosexuelles du nazisme.
    En France, les commémorations relatives aux victimes des deux guerres mondiales sont nombreuses : soldats tombés au front, résistants, déportés, Juifs… Mais celles consacrées aux victimes homosexuelles du #nazisme sont plus rares. Pourtant, en Allemagne ou aux Pays-Bas notamment, les militants des associations gays et lesbiennes ont fait du droit de commémorer et d’être reconnu comme martyr un combat structurant de leur mouvement et de leur communauté et ont peu à peu réussi à obtenir gain de cause.

    Régis Schlagdenhauffen, sociologue et Maître de conférences à l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), a publié dans la revue Socio, un article retraçant l’histoire de cette revendication et visant à montrer comment la sphère privée interfère dans le politique jusqu’à être progressivement reconnue par lui.

    Des premiers articles publiés dans les revues militantes au lendemain de la guerre, jusqu’à la construction, planifiée par l’Etat fédéral, du mémorial des #victimes_homosexuelles à Berlin situé en face du mémorial de l’Holocauste, en passant par la réappropriation du #triangle_rose que les nazis faisaient porter aux homosexuels dans les #camps_de_concentration, la route a été longue. Aujourd’hui, il reste encore du chemin à parcourir, mais la tendance est à l’action pédagogique et éducative visant la progressive « normalisation » des vies homosexuelles, auprès d’une majorité de la population encore trop peu ouverte.

    http://sms.hypotheses.org/8931


    source : http://buchenwald-dora.fr/?m=201702
    #histoire
    http://www.phdn.org/histgen/auschwitz/19430628-4756-personnes.html

  • DVD « La dernière femme du premier train » de Daniel Friedmann - Communiqué de presse - Editions Montparnasse - La Culture en DVD, Blu-ray et VOD

    http://www.editionsmontparnasse.fr/presse/communiques/la_derniere_femme_du_premier_train

    Le portrait bouleversant, réalisé sur une quinzaine d’années, d’Hilda Hrabovecka, dernière survivante du premier train arrivé à Auschwitz le 26 mars 1942. Un film essentiel, digne et touchant pour comprendre la vie à l’intérieur des camps de concentration, mais aussi mettre en avant les rapports troubles entre le régime nazi et la Slovaquie (seul pays à avoir payé le Troisième Reich afin de déporter sa population juive).
    Un documentaire à découvrir à l’occasion du 70e anniversaire de la libération des camps et de la fin de la Seconde Guerre mondiale.

    #documentaire #shoah

  • Retour au #Goulag avec #Tomasz_Kizny

    Saluons l’initiative de Fundacja Picture et de l’Institut de la #mémoire nationale (IPN) de publier enfin en polonais l’ouvrage magistral de Tomasz Kizny, Goulag, paru pour la première fois — en anglais — il y a plus de 15 ans. C’est en effet un livre unique en son genre, qui donne à voir ce que le régime soviétique a toujours essayé de cacher au monde — le plus grand et le plus durable système concentrationnaire du vingtième siècle (avec le Laogaï chinois), ce siècle justement qualifié de « siècle des camps ».


    http://ihtp.hypotheses.org/255
    #camps_de_concentration #URSS

  • #Eric_Schwab, des #photographies de l’#inhumain

    PARIS, 12 février 2014 - Ce sont quelques dizaines de photos d’Eric Schwab dans les archives de l’Agence France-Presse. Un nombre insignifiant dans un #fonds_photographique de plus de trente millions de documents numériques et de sept millions d’#archives argentiques. Mais une valeur inestimable pour la mémoire et au regard de l’#Histoire.


    http://blogs.afp.com/makingof/?post/eric-schwab-des-photographies-de-l-inhumain
    #camps_de_concentration #WWII #deuxième_guerre_mondiale #shoah #photographie
    cc @albertocampiphoto

  • La mémoire filmée de la Shoah
    https://lejournal.cnrs.fr/articles/la-memoire-filmee-de-la-shoah

    L’exposition « Filmer la guerre : les Soviétiques face à la Shoah » qui se déroule en ce moment à Paris présente un point de vue poignant mais parfois insoutenable sur ce que l’on a appelé « la Shoah par balles ». Valérie Pozner, spécialiste de l’histoire du cinéma russe et soviétique, nous en explique le caractère inédit.