• L’industrie de la #sécurité tire profit de la crise climatique

    Les pays riches, pires contributeurs au #changement_climatique, dépensent bien plus d’argent à renforcer leurs #frontières qu’à contribuer au #développement des pays pauvres : c’est ce qu’a étudié un rapport du Transnational Institute. Les habitants de ces pays sont pourtant les premières victimes de l’alliance occidentale entre business du #pétrole et de la sécurité.

    Le changement climatique est bon pour le #business. Du moins celui de la sécurité. C’est ce que démontre un #rapport publié ce lundi 25 octobre par l’organisation de recherche et de plaidoyer Transnational Institute. Intitulé « un mur contre le climat », il démontre que les pays les plus riches dépensent bien plus pour renforcer leurs frontières contre les migrants que pour aider les pays pauvres, d’où ils viennent, à affronter la crise climatique.

    Il décortique les #dépenses, dans ces deux domaines, des sept pays riches historiquement les plus émetteurs de gaz à effet de serre que sont les États-Unis, l’Allemagne, la France, le Japon, l’Australie, le Royaume-Uni et le Canada. Ils sont à eux sept responsables de 48 % des émissions de gaz à effet de serre dans le monde. Le Brésil, la Chine et la Russie, qui font partie des dix plus gros émetteurs aujourd’hui, ne sont pas inclus car, s’étant enrichis beaucoup plus récemment, ils ne sont pas considérés comme des responsables historiques.

    2,3 fois plus de dollars pour repousser les migrants que pour le climat

    Pour les États étudiés, les auteurs ont regardé leur contribution au « #financement_climatique » : prévu par les négociations internationales sur le climat, il s’agit de fonds que les pays riches s’engagent à verser aux pays dits en développement pour les aider à faire face à la crise climatique. Ils ont ensuite traqué les sommes allouées par chaque pays aux contrôles frontaliers et migratoires. Résultat : entre 2013 et 2018, ces sept pays ont en moyenne dépensé chaque année au moins 2,3 fois plus pour repousser les migrants (33,1 milliards de dollars) que pour contribuer au financement climatique (14,4 milliards de dollars). Et encore, les auteurs du rapport signalent que les pays riches ont tendance à surestimer les sommes allouées au financement climatique.

    Une disproportion encore plus criante quand on regarde en détail. Le Canada a dépensé 15 fois plus, l’Australie 13,5 fois plus, les États-Unis 10,9 fois plus. À noter que ces derniers sont en valeur absolue les plus dépensiers, ils ont à eux seuls mis 19,6 milliards dans la sécurité de leurs frontières sur la période, soit 59 % de la somme totale allouée par les sept pays réunis.

    Le cas des pays européens est moins explicite. La France pourrait avoir l’air de bon élève. A priori, elle dépense moins dans les contrôles aux frontières (1 milliard) que dans le financement climatique (1,6 milliard). Idem pour l’Allemagne (3,4 milliards dans la militarisation des frontières contre 4,4 milliards dans le financement climatique). Mais ce serait oublier qu’une grande partie des dépenses sécuritaires est déportée au niveau de l’Union européenne et de l’agence de contrôle des frontières Frontex. Celle-ci a vu son budget exploser, avec une augmentation de 2 763 % entre 2006 et 2021.

    Cet argent est très concrètement dépensé dans diverses #technologies#caméras, #drones, systèmes d’#identification_biométriques, et dans l’embauche de #gardes-frontières et de #gardes-côtes. « Il y a aussi une #externalisation, avec par exemple l’Union européenne qui conclue des accords avec les pays d’Afrique du Nord et des régimes totalitaires, pour qu’ils empêchent les migrants d’arriver jusqu’à leurs frontières », décrit Nick Buxton, un des auteurs du rapport interrogé par Reporterre. Ces partenariats contribuent à la multiplication des murs anti-migrants partout dans le monde. « La plupart des grands constructeurs de murs du monde ont reçu une aide des programmes d’externalisation de l’Union européenne ou des États-Unis (ou des deux, dans le cas de la Jordanie, du Maroc et de la Turquie) », pointe le rapport.

    L’édification de ces murs empêche-t-elle les pays riches de voir le drame qui se déroule derrière ? À travers divers exemples, les auteurs tentent de montrer l’injustice de la situation : en Somalie, à la suite d’une catastrophe climatique en 2020, un million de personnes ont dû se déplacer. Pourtant, le pays n’est responsable que « de 0,00027 % du total des émissions depuis 1850. » Au Guatemala, l’ouragan Eta ainsi que les inondations fin 2020 ont provoqué le déplacement de 339 000 personnes. Le pays « a été responsable de seulement 0,026 % des émissions de gaz à effet de serre ». Nombre de ces migrants Guatémaltèques tentent désormais d’atteindre les États-Unis, responsables à eux seuls de 30,1 % des émissions depuis 1850.

    Pourtant, parmi les pays riches, « les stratégies nationales de #sécurité_climatique, depuis le début des années 2000, ont massivement présenté les migrants comme des « menaces » et non comme les victimes d’une injustice », indique la synthèse du rapport. Le 11 septembre 2001, en particulier, a accéléré la tendance. Qui s’est maintenue : les budgets de militarisation des frontières ont augmenté de 29 % entre 2013 et 2018. Une orientation politique mais aussi financière, donc, saluée par l’industrie de la sécurité et des frontières.
    Taux de croissance annuel : 5,8 %

    « Des prévisions de 2019 de ResearchAndMarkets.com annonçaient que le marché de la sécurité intérieure des États allait passer de 431 milliards de dollars en 2018 à 606 milliards en 2024, avec un taux de croissance annuel de 5,8 % », indique le rapport. Une des raisons majeures invoquée étant « l’augmentation des catastrophes naturelles liées au changement climatique ». Il cite également la sixième entreprise mondiale en termes de vente de matériel militaire, Raytheon. Pour elle, l’augmentation de la demande pour ses « produits et services militaires […] est le résultat du changement climatique ».

    Transnational Institute, qui travaille sur cette industrie depuis un certain temps, a ainsi calculé qu’aux États-Unis, entre 2008 et 2020, les administrations de l’immigration et des frontières « ont passé plus de 105 000 contrats d’une valeur de 55 milliards de dollars avec des entreprises privées. » Si le mur de Trump a défrayé la chronique, « Biden n’est pas mieux », avertit Nick Buxton. « Pour financer sa campagne, il a reçu plus d’argent de l’industrie de la sécurité des frontières que Trump. »

    L’Union européenne aussi a droit à son lobbying. « Ces entreprises sont présentes dans des groupes de travail de haut niveau, avec des officiels de l’UE. Ils se rencontrent aussi dans les salons comme celui de Milipol », décrit Nick Buxton.

    #Pétrole et sécurité partagent « le même intérêt à ne pas lutter contre le changement climatique »

    Le rapport souligne également les liens de cette industrie de la sécurité avec celle du pétrole. En résumé, il décrit comment les majors du pétrole sécurisent leurs installations en faisant appel aux géants de la sécurité. Mais il souligne aussi que les conseils d’administration des entreprises des deux secteurs ont beaucoup de membres en commun. Des liens concrets qui illustrent, selon Nick Buxton, le fait que « ces deux secteurs ont le même intérêt à ne pas lutter contre le changement climatique. L’industrie pétrolière car cela va à l’encontre de son business model. L’industrie de la sécurité car l’instabilité provoquée par la crise climatique lui apporte des bénéfices. »

    Autant d’argent dépensé à protéger les énergies fossiles et à refouler les migrants, qui « ne fait que maintenir et générer d’immenses souffrances inutiles » dénonce le rapport. Les pays riches avaient promis d’atteindre 100 milliards de financements climatiques annuels pour les pays en développement d’ici 2020. En 2019, ils n’en étaient qu’à 79,6 milliards selon l’OCDE. Et encore, ce chiffre est très surévalué, estime l’ONG Oxfam, qui en déduisant les prêts et les surévaluations aboutit à environ trois fois moins. C’est cette estimation que les experts du Transnational Institute ont adoptée.

    « Il est évident que les pays les plus riches n’assument pas du tout leur responsabilité dans la crise climatique », conclut donc le rapport. Il prône des investissements dans la lutte contre le changement climatique, et des aides pour que les pays les plus pauvres puissent gérer dignement les populations contraintes de se déplacer. À l’inverse, le choix de la militarisation est « une stratégie vouée à l’échec, même du point de vue de l’intérêt personnel des pays les plus riches, car elle accélère les processus d’instabilité et de migration induite par le climat dont ils s’alarment. »

    https://reporterre.net/L-industrie-de-la-securite-tire-profit-de-la-crise-climatique

    #complexe_militaro-industriel #climat

    –-

    déjà signalé ici par @kassem
    https://seenthis.net/messages/934692

    • Global Climate Wall. How the world’s wealthiest nations prioritise borders over climate action

      This report finds that the world’s biggest emitters of green house gases are spending, on average, 2.3 times as much on arming their borders as they are on climate finance. This figure is as high as 15 times as much for the worst offenders. This “Global Climate Wall” aims to seal off powerful countries from migrants, rather than addressing the causes of displacement.

      Executive summary

      The world’s wealthiest countries have chosen how they approach global climate action – by militarising their borders. As this report clearly shows, these countries – which are historically the most responsible for the climate crisis – spend more on arming their borders to keep migrants out than on tackling the crisis that forces people from their homes in the first place.

      This is a global trend, but seven countries in particular – responsible for 48% of the world’s historic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – collectively spent at least twice as much on border and immigration enforcement (more than $33.1 billion) as on climate finance ($14.4 billion) between 2013 and 2018.

      These countries have built a ‘Climate Wall’ to keep out the consequences of climate change, in which the bricks come from two distinct but related dynamics: first, a failure to provide the promised climate finance that could help countries mitigate and adapt to climate change; and second, a militarised response to migration that expands border and surveillance infrastructure. This provides booming profits for a border security industry but untold suffering for refugees and migrants who make increasingly dangerous – and frequently deadly – journeys to seek safety in a climate-changed world.
      Key findings:

      Climate-induced migration is now a reality

      - Climate change is increasingly a factor behind displacement and migration. This may be because of a particular catastrophic event, such as a hurricane or a flash flood, but also when the cumulative impacts of drought or sea-level rise, for example, gradually make an area uninhabitable and force entire communities to relocate.
      – The majority of people who become displaced, whether climate-induced or not, remain in their own country, but a number will cross international borders and this is likely to increase as climate-change impacts on entire regions and ecosystems.
      – Climate-induced migration takes place disproportionately in low-income countries and intersects with and accelerates with many other causes for displacement. It is shaped by the systemic injustice that creates the situations of vulnerability, violence, precarity and weak social structures that force people to leave their homes.

      Rich countries spend more on militarising their borders than on providing climate finance to enable the poorest countries to help migrants

      – Seven of the biggest emitters of GHGs – the United States, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, France and Australia – collectively spent at least twice as much on border and immigration enforcement (more than $33.1 billion) as on climate finance ($14.4 billion) between 2013 and 2018.1
      - Canada spent 15 times more ($1.5 billion compared to around $100 million); Australia 13 times more ($2.7 billion compared to $200 million); the US almost 11 times more ($19.6 billion compared to $1.8 billion); and the UK nearly two times more ($2.7 billion compared to $1.4 billion).
      - Border spending by the seven biggest GHG emitters rose by 29% between 2013 and 2018. In the US, spending on border and immigration enforcement tripled between 2003 and 2021. In Europe, the budget for the European Union (EU) border agency, Frontex, has increased by a whopping 2763% since its founding in 2006 up to 2021.
      - This militarisation of borders is partly rooted in national climate security strategies that since the early 2000s have overwhelmingly painted migrants as ‘threats’ rather than victims of injustice. The border security industry has helped promote this process through well-oiled political lobbying, leading to ever more contracts for the border industry and increasingly hostile environments for refugees and migrants.
      - Climate finance could help mitigate the impacts of climate change and help countries adapt to this reality, including supporting people who need to relocate or to migrate abroad. Yet the richest countries have failed even to keep their pledges of meagre $100 billion a year in climate finance. The latest figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reported $79.6 billion in total climate finance in 2019, but according to research published by Oxfam International, once over-reporting, and loans rather than grants are taken into account, the true volume of climate finance may be less than half of what is reported by developed countries.
      – Countries with the highest historic emissions are fortifying their borders, while those with lowest are the hardest hit by population displacement. Somalia, for example, is responsible for 0.00027% of total emissions since 1850 but had more than one million people (6% of the population) displaced by a climate-related disaster in 2020.

      The border security industry is profiteering from climate change

      - The border security industry is already profiting from the increased spending on border and immigration enforcement and expects even more profits from anticipated instability due to climate change. A 2019 forecast by ResearchAndMarkets.com predicted that the Global Homeland Security and Public Safety Market would grow from $431 billion in 2018 to $606 billion in 2024, and a 5.8% annual growth rate. According to the report, one factor driving this is ‘climate warming-related natural disasters growth’.
      – Top border contractors boast of the potential to increase their revenue from climate change. Raytheon says ‘demand for its military products and services as security concerns may arise as results of droughts, floods, and storm events occur as a result of climate change’. Cobham, a British company that markets surveillance systems and is one of the main contractors for Australia’s border security, says that ‘changes to countries [sic] resources and habitability could increase the need for border surveillance due to population migration’.
      – As TNI has detailed in many other reports in its Border Wars series,2 the border security industry lobbies and advocates for border militarisation and profits from its expansion.

      The border security industry also provides security to the oil industry that is one of main contributors to the climate crisis and even sit on each other’s executive boards

      - The world’s 10 largest fossil fuel firms also contract the services of the same firms that dominate border security contracts. Chevron (ranked the world’s number 2) contracts with Cobham, G4S, Indra, Leonardo, Thales; Exxon Mobil (ranking 4) with Airbus, Damen, General Dynamics, L3Harris, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin; BP (6) with Airbus, G4S, Indra, Lockheed Martin, Palantir, Thales; and Royal Dutch Shell (7) with Airbus, Boeing, Damen, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin, Thales, G4S.
      – Exxon Mobil, for example, contracted L3Harris (one of the top 14 US border contractors) to provide ‘maritime domain awareness’ of its drilling in the Niger delta in Nigeria, a region which has suffered tremendous population displacement due to environmental contamination. BP has contracted with Palantir, a company that controversially provides surveillance software to agencies like the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), to develop a ‘repository of all operated wells historical and real time drilling data’. Border contractor G4S has a relatively long history of protecting oil pipelines, including the Dakota Access pipeline in the US.
      - The synergy between fossil fuel companies and top border security contractors is also seen by the fact that executives from each sector sit on each other’s boards. At Chevron, for example, the former CEO and Chairman of Northrop Grumman, Ronald D. Sugar and Lockheed Martin’s former CEO Marilyn Hewson are on its board. The Italian oil and gas company ENI has Nathalie Tocci on its board, previously a Special Advisor to EU High Representative Mogherini from 2015 to 2019, who helped draft the EU Global Strategy that led to expanding the externalisation of EU borders to third countries.

      This nexus of power, wealth and collusion between fossil fuel firms and the border security industry shows how climate inaction and militarised responses to its consequences increasingly work hand in hand. Both industries profit as ever more resources are diverted towards dealing with the consequences of climate change rather than tackling its root causes. This comes at a terrible human cost. It can be seen in the rising death toll of refugees, deplorable conditions in many refugee camps and detention centres, violent pushbacks from European countries, particularly those bordering the Mediterranean, and from the US, in countless cases of unnecessary suffering and brutality. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) calculates that 41,000 migrants died between 2014 and 2020, although this is widely accepted to be a significant underestimate given that many lives are lost at sea and in remote deserts as migrants and refugees take increasingly dangerous routes to safety.

      The prioritisation of militarised borders over climate finance ultimately threatens to worsen the climate crisis for humanity. Without sufficient investment to help countries mitigate and adapt to climate change, the crisis will wreak even more human devastation and uproot more lives. But, as this report concludes, government spending is a political choice, meaning that different choices are possible. Investing in climate mitigation in the poorest and most vulnerable countries can support a transition to clean energy – and, alongside deep emission cuts by the biggest polluting nations – give the world a chance to keep temperatures below 1.5°C increase since 1850, or pre-industrial levels. Supporting people forced to leave their homes with the resources and infrastructure to rebuild their lives in new locations can help them adapt to climate change and to live in dignity. Migration, if adequately supported, can be an important means of climate adaptation.

      Treating migration positively requires a change of direction and greatly increased climate finance, good public policy and international cooperation, but most importantly it is the only morally just path to support those suffering a crisis they played no part in creating.

      https://www.tni.org/en/publication/global-climate-wall

  • Perquisitions dans le milieu de la drogue, 64 arrestations : « Nous estimons la production à une tonne de cocaïne par semaine à Bruxelles »
    https://www.rtbf.be/info/societe/detail_perquisitions-dans-le-milieu-de-la-drogue-64-arrestations-nous-estimons-

    Une soixantaine de personnes ont été arrêtées au cours de 114 perquisitions visant un important réseau d’importation de #cocaïne qui ont été effectuées mardi matin, dès 5h00, principalement en région bruxelloise mais également, et notamment, dans la région d’Anvers, en Brabant wallon et en quelques lieux de Flandre et de Wallonie, a annoncé mardi en fin de journée Frédéric Van Leeuw, procureur fédéral lors d’une conférence de presse. De plus, 6 laboratoires d’extraction de cocaïne ont été découverts, principalement à #Bruxelles et dans sa périphérie.


    Il s’agit de la plus importante série de perquisitions depuis celle de mars dernier réalisée à la suite du décryptage de messages cryptés via le logiciel SKY ECC, installé sur des cryptophones employés pour communiquer dans le milieu criminel.

    C’est de plus la 3e vague d’arrestations en une semaine, actions auxquelles s’ajoutent des actions des parquets locaux comme celui d’Anvers lundi.

    Des pièces d’or
    « Le dossier d’aujourd’hui porte sur une organisation criminelle soupçonnée d’être active dans le trafic de cocaïne, entre l’Amérique du Sud et l’#Europe », a précisé Eric Jacobs, directeur de la police judiciaire fédérale (PJF) de Bruxelles. « Un groupe de criminels situés en Belgique, principalement à Bruxelles, organise la réception de la cocaïne, son extraction et son reconditionnement dans des laboratoires belges. Nous estimons la production à une tonne de cocaïne par semaine à Bruxelles et en périphérie. Après ce reconditionnement, des courriers assurent la distribution vers le reste de l’Europe ».

    Les policiers ont confisqué plus d’un million en liquide et une importante quantité de pièces d’or. Des voitures et objets de luxe, notamment des #montres - qui constituent un nouveau moyen d’écoulement d’importantes sommes d’argent - ont été saisis, de même que des tonnes de produits imprégnés de cocaïne, 300 m3 de tabac et du matériel technique comme des #drones, des moteurs de propulsion de sous-marin pour la plongée. Il n’y a pas eu d’incidents.

    Avant l’opération de ce jour, plus de 350 kg de cocaïne via l’arrestation de courriers, 9 tonnes de cannabis, 32 tonnes d’engrais imprimés de cocaïne et plus de 2000 litres de #déchets_chimiques ont été saisis.

    Au total, 455 arrestations et près de 2000 personnes ont été identifiées en lien avec le dossier SKY ECC. 77 tonnes de cocaïne ont été saisies cette année. 

    Une filière de blanchiment est organisée, notamment à destination des #paradis_fiscaux .

    « La criminalité organisée internationale voire mondiale est manifestement très implantée en Belgique », a souligné Eric Snoeck, directeur général à la police judiciaire fédérale. « Nous savions déjà que le port d’#Anvers est le premier port européen d’importation de la cocaïne ». La région de Bruxelles apparait aujourd’hui comme le deuxième lieu d’activité de ce réseau.

    #criminalité_organisée #criminalité_internationale #criminalité

  • Contre les migrants, toujours plus de #technologie

    Reporterre s’est rendu au salon #Milipol pour découvrir les innovations technologiques sécuritaires. Elles sont de plus en plus déployées pour repousser les migrants.

    « Viens ici pépère ! » lance un homme élancé en costume-cravate en direction d’un chien-robot en mouvement, faisant mine de lui proposer à manger. Derrière les regards amusés autour du robot développé par l’entreprise étasunienne #Ghost_Robotics, son « maître » le guide avec sa télécommande d’un œil malicieux. Ce chien-robot au look Black Mirror répond au nom de #Q-UGV et sa mission consiste à surveiller des sites ultrasensibles comme les centrales nucléaires.

    Ce surveillant atypique, capable de courir, grimper et nager dans des environnements extrêmes, était l’une des nombreuses innovations présentées sur le salon Milipol de la sécurité intérieure au parc des expositions de Villepinte (Seine-Saint-Denis). Près de 1 000 exposants, dont deux tiers d’entreprises internationales, y ont élu domicile du mardi 19 au vendredi 22 octobre. Plus de 30 000 professionnels de la sécurité publique et privée de 150 pays déambulaient dans les allées. Entre une coupe de champagne et des petits fours, ils s’informaient pour en faire commerce sur les dernières grenades lacrymogènes, les dispositifs de reconnaissance faciale ou les fusils d’assaut.

    L’heure est à la reprise pour le secteur de la #sécurité. « La première des libertés », comme l’a assuré le ministre de l’Intérieur, Gérald Darmanin, lors de sa visite du salon le premier jour. Après avoir subi la crise sanitaire à l’instar d’une large partie de l’économie mondiale, le marché mondial de la #sécurité_intérieure devrait rebondir. Sa prévision de croissance est de 8 % en 2021 et de 6 % en 2022, après une baisse de 3 % en 2020. En France, il n’a pas été épargné non plus et les dépenses étatiques consacrées à la sécurité ont baissé de 8,6 %, pour atteindre 3,6 milliards d’euros. Mais certains domaines, comme celui des #drones_de_surveillance, ont tiré leur épingle du jeu avec une progression de 5,8 %. Alors que l’Union européenne peine toujours à s’accorder sur une politique commune de gestion des #frontières, chaque État membre est tenté de renforcer la #surveillance des siennes grâce à des technologies toujours plus sophistiquées.

    Mille et une façons de traquer les migrants

    Déjà déployés, en passe d’être expérimentés ou pas encore autorisés, les dispositifs de #détection de migrants sont présentés aux quatre coins de l’immense salle d’exposition. Nichés entre deux stands de drones, les représentants de la société française #HGH, spécialisée dans les #systèmes_électro-optiques, sont ainsi très sollicités. La série de #caméras_thermiques #Spynel, qui promet une « #surveillance_panoramique 360 degrés, #jour et #nuit, jusqu’à l’horizon » sur les frontières des pays intéressés, a du succès. À l’occasion du salon, l’entreprise vient de finaliser un contrat d’un million d’euros avec un pays de l’#Otan (Organisation du traité de l’Atlantique Nord) — dont elle tait le nom — pour sécuriser et surveiller sur près de 1 000 kilomètres de côte et empêcher les passages des migrants et des trafiquants de drogues. « C’est impossible d’échapper à la #vigilance de cette caméra, et à l’inverse des drones, on ne peut pas brouiller son signal, car elle n’émet aucune onde », se félicite le responsable marketing. « Si un groupe de personnes ou un zodiac s’approche de nuit d’un littoral dans la zone surveillée, l’#intelligence_artificielle détectera automatiquement le #mouvement et une alerte sera envoyée aux forces de sécurité », poursuit-il.

    De l’autre côté du salon, un groupe de gendarmes écoute attentivement les explications du représentant de l’entreprise néerlandaise #UVI-Scan. Sur la brochure commerciale, une page est consacrée à un #scanner capable de détecter les passagers clandestins sous les camions. Le visuel est explicite : accrochés sous un véhicule, deux migrants sont pris en flagrant délit. « Ce sont de vraies photos ! » assume le consultant technique. « C’est un système intégré à la chaussée qui détecte les #intrus et prend automatiquement une photo à l’approche des postes frontières et des ferrys », explique-t-il. « Nous en avons déployés un peu partout en Europe, notamment à #Dieppe, en France ». Là où de nombreux exilés tentent leur chance pour gagner les côtes anglaises par le ferry ou des embarcations de fortune.

    Entre deux stands de fusils d’assaut et des tenues de camouflages, un drone blanc aux allures d’avion miniature surplombe le stand de #German_Drones. L’entreprise allemande propose un « service personnalisé » à ses clients en fonction des usages ». Pour la détection de passages de migrants à la frontière, Anis Fellahi, le chef de projet international du groupe, recommande « le modèle 150, le plus performant, qui peut voler une heure et demie, couvrir une centaine de kilomètres, et transmet une vidéo de meilleure qualité ». Le dit #Songbird est d’ores et déjà déployé aux frontières allemandes et belges, et cherche à étendre son empreinte.

    Les industriels ne s’arrêtent pas là et proposent aux autorités des outils de #surveillance_aérienne toujours plus développées et intrusifs. L’entreprise française #T-ops intègre des #IMSI-Catcher directement embarqués sur les drones. Ce dispositif de #surveillance_de_masse est capable d’intercepter le trafic des communications téléphoniques, de récupérer et recouper ces informations à distance et de suivre les mouvements des utilisateurs. « Là nous proposons un produit avec une #efficacité au-delà du réel ! » s’exclame le représentant de la société. Cette technologie peut-elle être déployée pour repérer les migrants ? « C’est possible, oui. Mais nous ne fournissons qu’un service, le responsable de son utilisation est l’État », répond-il sobrement.

    Certains produits attendent des évolutions législatives pour être pleinement déployés. C’est le cas du drone de surveillance très longue distance présenté par le groupe belge #John_Cockerill, traditionnel acteur de la défense, lancé depuis peu dans la sécurité intérieure. « Ce type d’appareil peut voir jusqu’à 30 kilomètres et il est en capacité d’identifier très clairement des personnes », explique #Jean-Marc_Tyberg, le président du conseil d’administration du groupe. « À ce stade, nous devons intégrer un logiciel qui floute automatiquement le visage de la personne pour ne pas la reconnaître ». Mais selon lui, « se priver de ces outils de reconnaissance revient à fermer les yeux en conduisant. Il faut que l’on rattrape notre retard législatif pour que ces solutions puissent être pleinement utilisées. » Jean-Marc Tyberg fait référence aux longs débats autour de la controversée #loi_Sécurité_globale. Le Conseil constitutionnel avait fini par censurer le dispositif d’encadrement de l’utilisation des images des drones utilisés les forces de l’ordre, jugée trop dangereux au regard du #droit_à_la_vie_privée. Mais le gouvernement est revenu à la charge à la rentrée avec une disposition remaniée dans le projet de loi relatif à la sécurité intérieure, actuellement débattu au Parlement.

    Si la France n’est pas le terrain de jeu technologique idéal des industriels, d’autres États comme la #Grèce accueillent de nombreuses expérimentations plus poussées. Le pays frontalier de la Turquie est un passage obligé dans le parcours des migrants. Et il reçoit le soutien de l’agence de gardes-côtes européens #Frontex, accusée par des ONG et des médias d’opérer des refoulements illégaux à l’extérieur de l’UE. Si le gestionnaire des frontières européennes n’a pas de stand dédié ici, ses fournisseurs sont disséminés sur le salon. La société française #Cnim_Air_Space est l’un d’eux. « Notre modèle de #ballon_captif #Eagle_Owl gonflé à l’Hélium peut voler jusqu’à 600 mètres de haut, et possède une autonomie de 7 jours », expose fièrement le représentant de l’entreprise. Il est actuellement utilisé par les autorités grecques et l’agence Frontex. Un modèle plus petit a également été expérimenté autour de #Calais par la gendarmerie. Avec sa caméra embarquée, il renvoie en continu les #images vers une station positionnée au sol. « En cas d’alerte, si un zodiac débarque, les autorités grecques sont en capacité de les repérer à des kilomètres avant d’intervenir », précise-t-il. « Il mesure 22 mètres de long, donc le fait de le voir peut aussi avoir un effet dissuasif… ».

    La Grèce accueille également l’expérimentation du projet #Roborder, contraction de #robot et de border (frontière en anglais), lancé en 2017, qui prévoit un #système_de_surveillance des frontières par un essaim de #drones_autonomes, capables par l’intelligence artificielle de déterminer les franchissements. Le projet #iborder_control ambitionne quant à lui de développer un #algorithme capable de détecter les #mensonges des migrants lors de leur passage à l’aéroport.

    Mais sur le terrain, les associations d’aide aux personnes exilées observent que le renforcement de la surveillance des frontières ne décourage pas les candidats à l’asile, mais rend simplement leur parcours plus dangereux. Alors que la surveillance se renforce d’année en année, l’Organisation internationale des migrations a comptabilisé 1 146 décès de migrants sur les routes maritimes vers l’Europe au premier semestre 2021, contre 513 en 2020 et 674 en 2019 à la même période. Mais au salon Milipol, le rêve d’une Europe forteresse a de belles années devant lui.

    https://reporterre.net/Contre-les-migrants-toujours-plus-de-technologie

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • Inside new refugee camp like a ‘prison’: Greece and other countries prioritize surveillance over human rights

    On the Greek island of Samos you can swim in the same sea where refugees are drowning. The sandy beaches and rolling hills, coloured by an Aegean sunset hide a humanitarian emergency that is symptomatic of a global turn against migration.

    #Greece is just one of the many locations across the world where technological experimentation at the #border is given free reign. Our ongoing work at the #Refugee Law Lab attempts to weave together the tapestry of the increasingly powerful and global border industrial complex which legitimizes technosolutionism at the expense of human rights and dignity.

    These technological experiments don’t occur in a vacuum. Powerful state interests and the private sector increasingly set the stage for what technology is developed and deployed, while communities experiencing the sharp edges of these innovations are consistently left out of the discussion.

    Policy makers are increasingly choosing #drones over humanitarian policies, with states prioritizing #security and #surveillance over human rights.

    #refugees #borders #samos #camp #Europe #pushbacks #migration #human_rights

    https://theconversation.com/inside-new-refugee-camp-like-a-prison-greece-and-other-countries-pr

  • La loi Drones 2 est docilement adoptée par l’Assemblée
    https://www.laquadrature.net/2021/09/23/la-loi-drones-2-est-docilement-adoptee-par-lassemblee

    L’Assemblée nationale vient d’adopter une nouvelle loi pour légaliser l’usage de drones de #Surveillance par la police. Alors que le texte est quasiment identique à celui censuré par le Conseil constitutionnel en début d’année, les…

    • (...) le texte est quasiment identique à celui censuré par le Conseil constitutionnel en début d’année, les parlementaires n’ont pas hésité à le voter une nouvelle fois. C’est une énième preuve qu’il n’y a rien à attendre du Parlement pour nous protéger des dérives sécuritaires du gouvernement. La lutte contre la Technopolice ne se fera pas sur les bancs de l’Assemblée.

      Nous en parlions ici : après s’être vu à quatre reprises refuser le droit de surveiller la population avec des #drones, le gouvernement est revenu une cinquième fois à l’attaque. Deux arrêts du Conseil d’État, une décision de la CNIL et une décision du Conseil constitutionnel n’auront pas suffit : le gouvernement est prêt à tout pour déployer des drones avec caméra dans l’espace public. Les caméras fixes, les caméras « nomades », les caméras-piétons, tout cela ne lui suffit pas : il faut surveiller, toujours plus, et retransmettre les flux en temps-réel à des centres de supervision – et derrière analyser et disséquer les images, transformer nos rues et nos déambulations en données exploitables par la #police

      #surveillance

  • Accordo Italia-Slovenia sui controlli al confine : “guai” a essere trasparenti

    Il ministero dell’Interno si rifiuta di fornire i dettagli della cooperazione tra le forze di polizia di Roma e Lubiana sui pattugliamenti lungo il confine ripresi a fine luglio. Il vero scopo dell’attività resta così poco chiaro. Intanto il governo sloveno acquista 55 droni per sorvegliare le frontiere

    Il “delicato momento nella gestione delle frontiere interne all’Unione europea” giustifica la mancanza di trasparenza. Resta così opaco il mandato dei pattugliamenti misti lungo il confine italo-sloveni, ripresi il 30 luglio 2021, rispetto a cui non è possibile conoscere né il #protocollo_di_intesa su cui si basano né le indicazioni operative date alle forze di polizia italiana. La Direzione centrale dell’immigrazione e della polizia delle frontiere, braccio operativo del ministero dell’Interno, non ha infatti dato seguito alla richiesta, avanzata tramite accesso civico, con cui Altreconomia aveva chiesto conto dello stato dell’arte della cooperazione tra le autorità di Roma e Lubjana. Un buio preoccupante soprattutto in vista delle ripercussioni sui diritti delle persone in transito sulla rotta balcanica che presumibilmente aumenteranno in relazione alla drammatica situazione afghana.

    La risposta della Direzione non aggiunge molto a quanto già annunciato. “Dopo un lungo periodo di sospensione dovuto alla pandemia da Covid-19 per la ripresa dei servizi misti è stato stipulato un apposito protocollo d’intesa che è stato sottoscritto dai direttori dei Servizi di Polizia di frontiera italiano e Sloveno” si legge. L’accordo, sottoscritto il 15 luglio a Roma e il 21 luglio a Lubjana, prevede pattuglie miste composte da “personale del Paese ospitante e personale della forza di Polizia dell’altro Paese” che coprono il territorio “lungo la comune fascia confinaria tra i due Paesi” con lo scopo di potenziare l’attività di vigilanza al fine “di contrastare in maniera più efficace la criminalità transfrontaliera, con particolare riferimento all’attività di favoreggiamento dell’immigrazione irregolare”. Come detto, la Direzione non ha fornito copia del protocollo di intesa sottolineando che non è possibile renderlo noto in quanto minerebbe la tutela della sicurezza, dell’ordine pubblico e alle relazioni internazionali che l’Italia intrattiene con i Paesi terzi. Aggiungendo poi che “l’attuale delicato momento nella gestione delle frontiere interne all’Unione europea non consente la divulgazione di accordi di cooperazione che disciplinano i controlli che vengono effettuati alle frontiere terrestri e i controlli di ‘#retrovalico’ concordati con i Paesi confinanti senza ledere la riservatezza che deve caratterizzare tutte le attività bilaterali internazionali dello Stato italiano nei settori amministrativi interessanti e soprattutto nel settore involgente attività di ‘ordine e sicurezza pubblica”.

    Viene sottolineato come il “contenuto dei documenti richiesti contiene informazioni che attengono ad interlocuzioni intercorsi tra l’autorità politica nazionale e l’omologo sloveno dettagliando informazioni concernenti l’organizzazione e il funzionamento dei servizi di polizia finalizzati al contrasto dell’immigrazione illegale nonché relative ai contingenti delle forze armate a disposizione delle autorità provinciali di pubblica sicurezza per i controlli nelle zone confinarie”. Merita attenzione la definizione di “contrasto dell’immigrazione illegale”. “Il pattugliamento congiunto ha una efficacia non solo minima ma persino risibile rispetto all’obiettivo annunciato di contrasto alle organizzazioni criminali –ha scritto a inizio agosto Gianfranco Schiavone, membro dell’Associazione per gli studi giuridici sull’immigrazione (asgi.it)-. Sui sassosi sentieri del Carso non si incontrano i vertici ma neppure i quadri intermedi e neppure quelli bassi e persino bassissimi di tali organizzazioni ma solo persone disperate con i piedi piagati in cammino da settimane nei boschi di Croazia e Slovenia, tuttalpiù accompagnate da alcuni passeur la cui posizione nelle rispettive organizzazioni criminali è così infima da essere assimilabile a carne da macello”.

    In altri termini, il vero mandato delle operazioni di polizia “rischia” di diventare il controllo capillare del territorio per impedire alle persone in transito, migranti e richiedenti asilo, di raggiungere il territorio.

    La Direzione centrale è stata di poche parole anche rispetto alla nostra richiesta relativa al numero di persone identificate e, tra queste, del numero di coloro che hanno manifestato volontà di richiedere asilo. Viene fornito invece un numero sui risultati di polizia dei pattugliamenti: “nel corso del 2021 sono state arrestate 58 persone di cui 31 per favoreggiamento dell’immigrazione irregolare.

    Il muro di silenzio si alza anche con riferimento ai mezzi utilizzati sul confine e al numero di forze di polizia utilizzati. Le poche informazioni che si conoscono provengono dalla nota stampa del ministero dell’Interno che annunciava con enfasi l’utilizzo di droni e visori notturni, ben visibili, con tanto di foto, anche nella nota stampa slovena. Il 15 luglio 2021 -giorno della firma a Roma dell’accordo (l’incontro preliminare tra i rispetti ministri e capi di polizia è datato 4 giugno)- sul sito del ministero dell’Interno sloveno veniva però aperta una gara pubblica “per l’acquisto di veicoli aerei senza pilota e accessori” per un valore totale che si aggira intorno ai 400mila euro. Il bando (https://www.enarocanje.si/Obrazci/?id_obrazec=407420), chiuso il 5 agosto, richiedeva ai partecipanti di garantire la fornitura di un totale di 55 droni. La maggior parte, 29, sono veicoli di piccole dimensioni con un’autonomia di volo minima di 25 minuti e una distanza di gestione di quattro chilometri. L’amministrazione slovena richiede, inoltre, una formazione specifica per il “volo di notte e in condizioni di volo fuori dalla visibilità”. Non viene indicato il luogo di utilizzo specifico dei droni, si sa però che il 75% del bando è finanziato attraverso i fondi europei di sicurezza dell’Unione europea, ovvero lo strumento di sostegno finanziario a beneficio degli Stati Ue proprio per la gestione delle frontiere.

    L’accordo tra Roma e Lubjana incide potenzialmente anche sul tema delle riammissioni di persone in transito e richiedenti asilo della polizia italiana verso la Slovenia. La trasparenza è così necessaria per poter monitorare ciò che avviene in questa tappa della rotta balcanica anche in vista di un possibile aumento dei flussi legati alla situazione afghana. Le premesse non sono positive. Il governo di Lubjana, di turno alla presidenza del Consiglio dell’Unione europea dal luglio al dicembre 2021, ha chiaro il modello da perseguire nella gestione del fenomeno migratorio.

    Durante la presentazione dell’agenda politica della presidenza slovena alla Commissione per le libertà civili, la giustizia e gli affari interni (Libe) del Parlamento europeo, il ministro dell’Interno Aleš Hojs ha sottolineato come da una riunione informale di fine luglio tra ministri degli interni dei Paesi membri sia emersa la volontà politica di compiere progressi graduali nella “definizione della politica migratoria comune dell’Unione europea”. “Stiamo seguendo la situazione in Afghanistan -ha aggiunto- come emerso dal comunicato congiunto dei ministri della sessione straordinaria di due giorni fa, risponderemo anche ai possibili effetti della situazione sull’Ue”. La politica migratoria da “sposare” per Hojs è quella contenuta in un documento, dai toni e contenuti molto duri in cui si legge che gli Stati membri, con il supporto di Frontex, restano determinati “nel proteggere efficacemente i confini esterni dell’Unione europea e prevenire gli ingressi illegali”.

    https://altreconomia.it/accordo-italia-slovenia-sui-controlli-al-confine-guai-a-essere-traspare

    #frontières #frontière_sud-alpine #Italie #Slovénie #asile #migrations #réfugiés #coopération_bilatérale #gardes-frontière #militarisation_des_frontières #patrouilles_mixtes #drones #business #complexe_militaro-industriel #réadmssions

    –-

    ajouté à le fil de discussion autour des patrouilles mixtes à la frontière italo-slovène :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/791706
    Et plus précisément ici :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/791706#message928650

    • Rotta balcanica: riprendono i pattugliamenti tra Italia e Slovenia. Un mandato “opaco”

      Il 30 luglio sono ripartiti i controlli congiunti italo-sloveni lungo il confine per contrastare i “flussi migratori irregolari”. L’Italia nuovamente alla prova del rispetto della legalità alla frontiera orientale dopo la sospensione delle riammissioni illegali. L’analisi di Gianfranco Schiavone

      Il 30 luglio 2021 sono ripartiti “nelle province di Trieste/Koper e Gorizia/Nova Gorica i pattugliamenti congiunti italo sloveni lungo la comune fascia confinaria al fine di rafforzare i rispettivi dispositivi di contrasto ai flussi migratori irregolari provenienti dalla rotta balcanica”. Così recita il comunicato stampa della questura di Trieste pubblicato il giorno stesso. I pattugliamenti, vi si legge, sono frutto di un accordo “sottoscritto nei giorni scorsi dalle competenti autorità di polizia di Roma e di Lubiana” (appare curioso che si ometta la data dell’accordo).

      La decisione politica di attivare i pattugliamenti congiunti con forze di polizia italiane e slovene era stato resa pubblica dal ministero dell’Interno con nota stampa del 14 giugno 2021 a seguito dell’incontro tra la ministra Luciana Lamorgese e il suo omologo sloveno Hojs avvenuto a Lubiana. Nella nota ministeriale si poteva leggere come fosse “previsto un piano comune di vigilanza per i valichi di frontiera anche con l’impiego di droni e visori notturni per contrastare efficacemente le organizzazioni criminali che sfruttano il traffico dei migranti”. Le finalità del pattugliamento vengono dunque descritte in modo alquanto ambiguo: nella nota della questura triestina si fa riferimento in maniera più esplicita al contrasto dei flussi migratori irregolari, ovvero l’obiettivo dichiarato appare quello di bloccare i migranti; nella nota stampa del ministero, che usa un linguaggio più ovattato, si dichiara che l’obiettivo che si intende perseguire è invece il contrasto alle organizzazioni criminali che organizzano il traffico. Si potrebbe ritenere in modo superficiale che in fondo si tratta di accenti diversi della medesima finalità, ma non è così.

      Se assumiamo infatti la lettura in base alla quale l’attività delle cosiddette pattuglie miste italo-slovene è finalizzata al contrasto delle organizzazioni criminali che organizzano il traffico degli esseri umani, è ben difficile non vedere come tale motivazione appare alquanto poco credibile in quanto il contrasto al traffico internazionale di esseri umani per essere efficace richiede un’attività di intelligence e semmai inchieste coordinate tra le diverse autorità giudiziarie, cioè un complesso di attività che veramente assai poco ha a che fare con un pattugliamento fisico dell’area di frontiera vicino al confine.

      Il pattugliamento congiunto della fascia di confine tra Italia e Slovenia attuato con uso di uomini, droni (e cani, come non annunciato nei comunicati per non ferire la sensibilità di chi legge ma ampiamente riferito dalle testimonianze raccolte su quanto accade in Slovenia) ha una efficacia non solo minima ma persino risibile rispetto all’obiettivo annunciato di contrasto alle organizzazioni criminali giacché sui sassosi sentieri del Carso non si incontrano i vertici ma neppure i quadri intermedi e neppure quelli bassi e persino bassissimi di tali organizzazioni ma solo persone disperate con i piedi piagati in cammino da settimane nei boschi di Croazia e Slovenia, tuttalpiù accompagnate da alcuni passeur la cui posizione nelle rispettive organizzazioni criminali è così infima da essere assimilabile a carne da macello.

      Non deve stupire che le stesse inchieste giudiziarie che si sono basate finora su questo tipo di attività di polizia non abbiano mai portato a pressoché nulla di rilevante. Le organizzazioni di trafficanti non modificheranno la loro strategia sul confine italo-sloveno a seguito dei pattugliamento bensì alzeranno il prezzo dei loro servigi in ragione del più difficoltoso tratto da percorrere aumentando così i loro guadagni e lasciando indietro solo coloro che non possono pagare. Ancora una volta, come già avviene in altri contesti, operazioni di polizia presentate come finalizzate a contrastare il traffico internazionale di esseri umani, non solo sono irrilevanti in relazione a tale obiettivo bensì divengono di fatto fattori che vanno a potenziare l’operato e il giro d’affari delle organizzazioni che si afferma di volere combattere.

      Appare dunque evidente come i pattugliamenti sembrano rispondere all’altra, malcelata finalità, ovvero quella di intercettare nelle immediate vicinanze della frontiera interna italo-slovena da parte slovena, un certo numero di rifugiati, probabilmente i più disgraziati tra loro, al fine di impedirne a forza l’ingresso in Italia. I pattugliamenti congiunti, da quanto è dato sapere si svolgeranno infatti in assoluta prevalenza nell’area a ridosso del confine dal lato della Slovenia. Quando invece le operazioni verranno attuate sul lato italiano esse potrebbero prestarsi a far riprendere in forme ancor più nascoste quelle riammissioni informali attuate nel corso del 2020 e la cui radicale illegittimità è stata più volte messa in luce fin dall’inizio (Altreconomia ne ha scritto a più riprese, ad esempio qui e qui).

      Se fosse, come appare, quella di ostacolare/respingere i migranti che cercano asilo la effettiva finalità dei pattugliamenti, ciò, oltre a sollevare non pochi interrogativi etici (è questa l’attività alla quale si deve dedicare la polizia in una società democratica?) fa comunque emergere in capo alle autorità italiane precise responsabilità giuridiche. È noto infatti che la situazione dell’effettivo rispetto del diritto di asilo in Slovenia è quanto mai critica e che le disfunzioni sulla procedura di asilo in quel Paese sono profonde come emerge in modo in equivoco in tutti i rapporti internazionali: tra tutti si veda l’autorevole rapporto AIDA 2020 Update: Slovenia, a cura dell’Ecre (European council on refugees and exiles). Soprattutto è ampiamente noto che la Slovenia attua da tempo riammissioni sistematiche verso la Croazia impedendo ai migranti, compresi quelli “riammessi” dall’Italia, di presentare la domanda di asilo e rinviandoli in Croazia, Paese che a sua volta, con un meccanismo a catena e con l’uso di inaudite violenze, li deporta in Bosnia ed Erzegovina dove vengono sottoposti a trattamenti inumani e degradanti. Si tratta di riammissioni, o più propriamente si dovrebbero chiamare respingimenti a catena, documentati da un enorme numero di autorevoli rapporti internazionali e la cui illegalità è stata già dichiarata anche dalla stessa giurisprudenza slovena (vedasi sentenza I U 1490/2019-92 del 16 luglio 2020 del Tribunale amministrativo della Slovenia) e recentemente anche dai tribunali austriaci.

      Le autorità italiane non possono fingere di ignorare il quadro fattuale sopra descritto pena il loro coinvolgimento in fatti che configurano gravi violazioni delle norme interne ed internazionali. Richiamo in particolare l’attenzione su quanto disposto dal Testo unico sull’immigrazione (art. 19 comma 1, novellato dalla legge 173/2020) che dispone che “Non sono ammessi il respingimento o l’espulsione o l’estradizione di una persona verso uno Stato qualora esistano fondati motivi di ritenere che essa rischi di essere sottoposta a tortura o a trattamenti inumani o degradanti. Nella valutazione di tali motivi si tiene conto anche dell’esistenza, in tale Stato, di violazioni sistematiche e gravi di diritti umani”. Il citato articolo, insieme ad altre disposizioni, attua nel nostro ordinamento, dandone un’applicazione estensiva, il fondamentale divieto di non refoulement tutelato in via indiretta dalla Convenzione europea dei diritti dell’uomo (Cedu), la quale prevede, all’art. 2 e art. 3, rispettivamente, il diritto alla vita ed il divieto di tortura e di trattamenti inumani o degradanti.

      Secondo la costante interpretazione della Corte europea dei diritti dell’uomo, il rispetto di tali obblighi comporta il tassativo divieto di respingere o estradare una persona verso luoghi ove i citati diritti correrebbero il rischio di essere violati. Appare persino superfluo approfondire in questa sede il complesso tema della applicabilità della Convenzione europea dei diritti dell’uomo ad atti riconducibili agli Stati firmatari che siano posti in essere o abbiano effetto nel territorio di uno Stato che non è parte del Consiglio d’Europa (sul tema evidenzio solo che la giurisprudenza della Corte EDU ha progressivamente ampliato le ipotesi di applicazione extraterritoriale della Cedu) dal momento che è pacifico che l’Italia è responsabile della violazione del divieto di non refoulement nel caso in cui sia pienamente a conoscenza di fatti e prassi illegittime e non provveda, per ciò che di sua competenza, ad impedirne la violazione da parte di un altro Stato dell’Unione europea, soggetto, come l’Italia, ai medesimi obblighi; una co-responsabilità nella violazione dell’art. 3 della Cedu che diventa addirittura eclatante nel caso di collaborazioni delle nostre forze di polizia nello Stato in cui le citate violazioni sono commesse. Questo è dunque il gravissimo scenario che sembra profilarsi nel mandato “opaco” che allo stato attuale delle conoscenze sembra assegnato alle pattuglie miste italo-slovene.

      È inderogabile ed urgente che siano subito resi noti i contenuti dell’accordo di polizia sottoscritto tra Roma e Lubiana (nonché le concrete indicazioni operative date alle forze di polizia italiane) senza che vengano posti artificiosi ostacoli alla sua piena conoscenza. Parimenti è necessario che senza indugio il Parlamento si avvalga dei poteri che l’ordinamento giuridico gli conferisce per monitorare una situazione che può configurarsi di eccezionale gravità per il possibile coinvolgimento di istituzioni della Repubblica in azioni contrarie a norme e a principi fondanti l’ordinamento costituzionale.

      https://altreconomia.it/rotta-balcanica-riprendono-i-pattugliamenti-tra-italia-e-slovenia-un-ma

    • The flow of arrivals from the Balkan Route into North East Italy has significantly increased during the month of August. Associations and groups of volunteers supporting people in Trieste said that they have provided direct help to 659 people during this month, including 103 minors. It is thought very likely that the actual number of arrivals and transits is much higher, with many people not stopping long in the immediate border area. During the last weeks, there have been several reports of smugglers being arrested while transporting people-on-the-move into Italian territory. At the same time, the intensity of control practices along the borders has also increased: in just one day 150 people were found and transferred to quarantine facilities in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia (FVG) region.

      This has once again pushed public and official discourse towards the need to reintroduce informal readmissions to Slovenia, touted to recommence in July of this year. Yet there remains no official confirmation about reintroduction of “informal readmissions” (pushbacks) by witnesses on the ground, though rumors have begun to circulate about groups rejected from the Italian territory. The Ministry of the Interior refused to provide details of the cooperation between the police forces of Rome and Ljubljana on border patrols. But in the absence of official statements, the installation of 55 #drones by Slovenian authorities sits in line with the growing surveillance of transit across this border.

      Volunteers in Piazza della Libertà in Trieste also witnessed a serious episode of institutional racism in August. An ambulance was called in order to provide medical assistance to an underage boy newly arrived via Slovenia. The health operators initially refused to assist the person, treating him aggressively and disrespectfully. The boy was only given medical assistance after several attempts to seek help and a strong insistence on the part of the volunteers present. Further barriers to health care are also having wider impacts for peoples mobility beyond Trieste, seen most overtly in the lack of access to vaccinations. Without the “green pass”, which marks proof of vaccination, people-on-themove in FVG are unable to access longdistance travel in order to continue their journey.

      Source : Border Violence Monitoring Network, August 2021, pp. 16-17
      https://www.borderviolence.eu/balkan-region-report-august-2021

    • Ripartono oggi le pattuglie miste al confine italo-sloveno nelle province di Trieste/#Koper e Gorizia/Nova Gorica

      Da oggi, 30 luglio, ripartono, nelle provincie di Trieste/Koper e Gorizia/Nova-Gorica, i pattugliamenti congiunti italo sloveni lungo la comune fascia confinaria, al fine di rafforzare i rispettivi dispositivi di contrasto ai flussi migratori irregolari provenienti dalla rotta balcanica.

      L’accordo per la ripresa delle pattuglie miste italo-slovene, intervenuto a più di un anno dalla sospensione dei servizi congiunti interrotti a causa della pandemia in corso, è stato sottoscritto nei giorni scorsi dalle competenti autorità di Polizia di Roma e di Lubiana.

      Le pattuglie miste, che opereranno lungo gli itinerari congiuntamente individuati attraverso una sinergica analisi del rischio dai competenti Uffici territoriali, potranno utilizzare anche strumenti tecnologici, quali i droni.

      Scopo principale dei servizi sarà il contrasto al favoreggiamento dell’immigrazione irregolare, ma da questi deriverà, più in generale, anche il potenziamento dell’attività di vigilanza lungo la comune fascia confinaria, in funzione di contrasto alla criminalità transfrontaliera.

      Detta iniziativa, che rafforza la collaborazione già esistente tra i due Paesi, segna la ripresa delle attività congiunte nell’ambito della cooperazione di Polizia, momentaneamente interrotte dalla pandemia.

      https://questure.poliziadistato.it/it/Trieste/articolo/131861024ad65e1a0407758053

  • Per sorvegliare i migranti l’Ue fa affari con i #contractor

    - È un’area grigia nel cuore del Mediterraneo, una zona d’ombra dove la parola “sovranità” è soprattutto #business. Produttori di armi e munizioni, mediatori specializzati in sicurezza e fornitura di #contractors, navi cariche di fucili automatici che funzionano come vere e proprie Santa barbara fluttuanti.
    – In questa terra di mezzo dove si incontrano trafficanti e governi, i migranti sono prima di tutto un lucroso affare.
    - Nel progetto #Rapsody di #Esa, che dovrebbe controllare il Mediterraneo con droni, compare #Sovereign_Global_Uk azienda riconducibile all’imprenditore #Fenech, arrestato per aver violato l’embargo sulla vendita di armi ai libici.

    (#paywall)

    https://www.editorialedomani.it/politica/mondo/per-sorvegliare-i-migranti-lue-fa-affari-con-i-contractor-pe98utxb

    #frontières #UE #migrations #réfugiés #armes #armement #commerce_d'armes #complexe_militaro-industriel #Libye #Méditerranée #drones

  • Pour la première fois, des drones auraient attaqué des humains de leur propre initiative
    https://www.courrierinternational.com/article/guerre-pour-la-premiere-fois-des-drones-auraient-attaque-des-

    D’après un rapport des Nations unies publié en mars dernier, des #attaques de #drones sans aucune intervention humaine ont été recensées en #Libye. On ne sait pas s’il y a eu des victimes, mais cet événement prouverait que les tentatives de réguler les #robots_tueurs ont déjà un train de retard.

    #défaillance_technique

  • ‘They can see us in the dark’: migrants grapple with hi-tech fortress EU

    A powerful battery of drones, thermal cameras and heartbeat detectors are being deployed to exclude asylum seekers

    Khaled has been playing “the game” for a year now. A former law student, he left Afghanistan in 2018, driven by precarious economic circumstances and fear for his security, as the Taliban were increasingly targeting Kabul.

    But when he reached Europe, he realised the chances at winning the game were stacked against him. Getting to Europe’s borders was easy compared with actually crossing into the EU, he says, and there were more than physical obstacles preventing him from getting to Germany, where his uncle and girlfriend live.

    On a cold December evening in the Serbian village of Horgoš, near the Hungarian border, where he had spent a month squatting in an abandoned farm building, he and six other Afghan asylum seekers were having dinner together – a raw onion and a loaf of bread they passed around – their faces lit up by the glow of a fire.

    The previous night, they had all had another go at “the game” – the name migrants give to crossing attempts. But almost immediately the Hungarian border police stopped them and pushed them back into Serbia. They believe the speed of the response can be explained by the use of thermal cameras and surveillance drones, which they had seen during previous attempts to cross.

    “They can see us in the dark – you just walk, and they find you,” said Khaled, adding that drones had been seen flying over their squat. “Sometimes they send them in this area to watch who is here.”

    Drones, thermal-vision cameras and devices that can detect a heartbeat are among the new technological tools being increasingly used by European police to stop migrants from crossing borders, or to push them back when they do.

    The often violent removal of migrants without giving them the opportunity to apply for asylum is illegal under EU law, which obliges authorities to process asylum requests whether or not migrants possess identification documents or entered the country legally.

    “Routes are getting harder and harder to navigate. Corridors [in the Balkans are] really intensively surveyed by these technologies,” says Simon Campbell, field coordinator for the Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN), a migrant rights group in the region.

    The militarisation of Europe’s borders has been increasing steadily since 2015, when the influx of migrants reached its peak. A populist turn in politics and fear whipped up around the issue have fuelled the use of new technologies. The EU has invested in fortifying borders, earmarking €34.9bn (£30bn) in funding for border and migration management for the 2021-27 budget, while sidelining the creation of safe passages and fair asylum processes.

    Osman, a Syrian refugee now living in Serbia, crossed several borders in the southern Balkans in 2014. “At the time, I didn’t see any type of technology,” he says, “but now there’s drones, thermal cameras and all sorts of other stuff.”

    When the Hungarian police caught him trying to cross the Serbian border before the pandemic hit last year, they boasted about the equipment they used – including what Osman recalls as “a huge drone with a big camera”. He says they told him: “We are watching you everywhere.”

    Upgrading of surveillance technology, as witnessed by Khaled and Osman, has coincided with increased funding for Frontex – the EU’s Border and Coast Guard Agency. Between 2005 and 2016, Frontex’s budget grew from €6.3m to €238.7m, and it now stands at €420.6m. Technology at the EU’s Balkan borders have been largely funded with EU money, with Frontex providing operational support.

    Between 2014 and 2017, with EU funding, Croatia bought 13 thermal-imaging devices for €117,338 that can detect people more than a mile away and vehicles from two miles away.

    In 2019, the Croatian interior ministry acquired four eRIS-III long-range drones for €2.3m. They identify people up to six miles away in daylight and just under two miles in darkness, they fly at 80mph and climb to an altitude of 3,500 metres (11,400ft), while transmitting real-time data. Croatia has infrared cameras that can detect people at up to six miles away and equipment that picks upheartbeats.

    Romania now has heartbeat detection devices, alongside 117 thermo-vision cameras. Last spring, it added 24 vehicles with thermo-vision capabilities to its border security force at a cost of more than €13m.

    Hungary’s investment in migration-management technology is shielded from public scrutiny by a 2017 legal amendment but its lack of transparency and practice of pushing migrants back have been criticised by other EU nations and the European court of justice, leading to Frontex suspending operations in Hungary in January.

    It means migrants can no longer use the cover of darkness for their crossing attempts. Around the fire in Horgoš, Khaled and his fellow asylum-seekers decide to try crossing instead in the early morning, when they believe thermal cameras are less effective.

    A 2021 report by BVMN claims that enhanced border control technologies have led to increased violence as police in the Balkans weaponise new equipment against people on the move. Technology used in pushing back migrants has “contributed to the ease with which racist and repressive procedures are carried out”, the report says.

    BVMN highlighted the 2019 case of an 18-year-old Algerian who reported being beaten and strangled with his own shirt by police while attempting a night crossing from Bosnia to Croatia. “You cannot cross the border during the night because when the police catch you in the night, they beat you a lot. They break you,” says the teenager, who reported seeing surveillance drones.

    Ali, 19, an Iranian asylum-seeker who lives in a migrant camp in Belgrade, says that the Croatian and Romanian police have been violent and ignored his appeals for asylum during his crossing attempts. “When they catch us, they don’t respect us, they insult us, they beat us,” says Ali. “We said ‘we want asylum’, but they weren’t listening.”

    BVMN’s website archives hundreds of reports of violence. In February last year, eight Romanian border officers beat two Iraqi families with batons, administering electric shocks to two men, one of whom was holding his 11-month-old child. They stole their money and destroyed their phones, before taking them back to Serbia, blasting ice-cold air in the police van until they reached their destination.

    “There’s been some very, very severe beatings lately,” says Campbell. “Since the spring of 2018, there has been excessive use of firearms, beatings with batons, Tasers and knives.”

    Responding to questions via email, Frontex denies any link between its increased funding of new technologies and the violent pushbacks in the Balkans. It attributes the rise in reports to other factors, such as increased illegal migration and the proliferation of mobile phones making it easier to record incidents.

    Petra Molnar, associate director of Refugee Law Lab, believes the over-emphasis on technologies can alienate and dehumanise migrants.

    “There’s this alluring solution to really complex problems,” she says. “It’s a lot easier to sell a bunch of drones or a lot of automated technology, instead of dealing with the drivers that force people to migrate … or making the process more humane.”

    Despite the increasingly sophisticated technologies that have been preventing them from crossing Europe’s borders, Khaled and his friends from the squat managed to cross into Hungary in late December. He is living in a camp in Germany and has begun the process of applying for asylum.

    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/mar/26/eu-borders-migrants-hitech-surveillance-asylum-seekers

    #Balkans #complexe_militaro-industriel #route_des_Balkans #technologie #asile #migrations #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #caméras_thermiques #militarisation_des_frontières #drones #détecteurs_de_battements_de_coeur #Horgos #Horgoš #Serbie #the_game #game #surveillance_frontalière #Hongrie #Frontex #Croatie #Roumanie #nuit #violence #refoulements #push-backs #déshumanisation

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • #Evelop / #Barceló_Group : deportation planes from Spain

    The Barceló Group is a leading Spanish travel and hotel company whose airline Evelop is an eager deportation profiteer. Evelop is currently the Spanish government’s main charter deportation partner, running all the country’s mass expulsion flights through a two-year contract, while carrying out deportations from several other European countries as well.

    This profile has been written in response to requests from anti-deportation campaigners. We look at how:

    - The Barceló Group’s airline Evelop has a €9.9m, 18-month deportation contract with the Spanish government. The contract is up for renewal and Barceló is bidding again.
    - Primary beneficiaries of the contract alternate every few years between Evelop and Globalia’s Air Europa.
    – Evelop also carried out deportations from the UK last year to Jamaica, Ghana and Nigeria.
    – The Barceló Group is run and owned by the Barceló family. It is currently co-chaired by the Barceló cousins, Simón Barceló Tous and Simón Pedro Barceló Vadell. Former senator Simón Pedro Barceló Vadell, of the conservative Partido Popular (PP) party, takes the more public-facing role.
    – The company is Spain’s second biggest hotel company, although the coronavirus pandemic appears to have significantly impacted this aspect of its work.

    What’s the business?

    The Barceló Group (‘#Barceló_Corporación_Empresarial, S.A.’) is made up of the #Barceló_Hotel_Group, Spain’s second largest hotel company, and a travel agency and tour operator division known as #Ávoris. Ávoris runs two airlines: the Portuguese brand #Orbest, which anti-deportation campaigners report have also carried out charter deportations, and the Spanish company, #Evelop, founded in 2013.

    The Barceló Group is based in Palma, #Mallorca. It was founded by the Mallorca-based Barceló family in 1931 as #Autocares_Barceló, which specialised in the transportation of people and goods, and has been managed by the family for three generations. The Barceló Group has a stock of over 250 hotels in 22 countries and claims to employ over 33,000 people globally, though we don’t know if this figure has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused massive job losses in the tourism industry.

    The Hotel division has four brands: #Royal_Hideaway_Luxury_Hotels & Resorts; #Barceló_Hotels & Resorts; #Occidental_Hotels & Resorts; and #Allegro_Hotels. The company owns, manages and rents hotels worldwide, mostly in Spain, Mexico and the US. It works in the United States through its subsidiary, Crestline Hotels & Resorts, which manages third-party hotels, including for big brands like Marriott and Hilton.

    Ávoris, the travel division, runs twelve tour brands, all platforms promoting package holidays.

    Their airlines are small, primarily focused on taking people to sun and sand-filled holidays. In total the Barceló Group airlines have a fleet of just nine aircraft, with one on order, according to the Planespotters website. However, three of these have been acquired in the past two years and a fourth is due to be delivered. Half are leased from Irish airplane lessor Avolon. Evelop serves only a few routes, mainly between the Caribbean and the Iberian peninsula, as well as the UK.

    Major changes are afoot as Ávoris is due to merge with #Halcón_Viajes_and_Travelplan, both subsidiaries of fellow Mallorcan travel giant #Globalia. The combined entity will become the largest group of travel agencies in Spain, employing around 6,000 people. The Barceló Group is due to have the majority stake in the new business.

    Barceló has also recently announced the merger of Evelop with its other airline Orbest, leading to a new airline called Iberojet (the name of a travel agency already operated by Ávoris).

    The new airline is starting to sell scheduled flights in addition to charter operations. Evelop had already announced a reduction in its charter service, at a time when its scheduled airline competitors, such as #Air_Europa, have had to be bailed out to avoid pandemic-induced bankruptcy. Its first scheduled flights will be mainly to destinations in Central and South America, notably Cuba and the Domican Republic, though they are also offering flights to Tunisia, the Maldives and Mauritius.

    Deportation dealers

    Evelop currently holds the contract to carry out the Spanish government’s mass deportation flights, through an agreement made with the Spanish Interior Ministry in December 2019. Another company, Air Nostrum, which operates the Iberia Regional franchise, transports detainees within Spain, notably to Madrid, from where they are deported by Evelop. The total value of the contract for the two airlines is €9.9m, and lasts 18 months.

    This is the latest in a long series of such contracts. Over the years, the beneficiaries have alternated between the Evelop- #Air_Nostrum partnership, and another partnership comprising Globalia’s #Air_Europa, and #Swiftair (with the former taking the equivalent role to that of Evelop). So far, the Evelop partnership has been awarded the job twice, while its Air Europa rival has won the bidding three times.

    However, the current deal will end in spring 2021, and a new tender for a contract of the same value has been launched. The two bidders are: Evelop-Air Nostrum; and Air Europa in partnership with #Aeronova, another Globalia subsidiary. A third operator, #Canary_Fly, has been excluded from the bidding for failing to produce all the required documentation. So yet again, the contract will be awarded to companies either owned by the Barceló Group or Globalia.

    On 10 November 2020, Evelop carried out the first charter deportations from Spain since the restrictions on travel brought about by the cCOVID-19 pandemic. On board were 22 migrants, mostly Senegalese, who had travelled by boat to the Canary Islands. Evelop and the Spanish government dumped them in Mauritania, under an agreement with the country to accept any migrants arriving on the shores of the Islands. According to El País newspaper, the number of actual Mauritanians deported to that country is a significant minority of all deportees. Anti-deportation campaigners state that since the easing up of travel restrictions, Evelop has also deported people to Georgia, Albania, Colombia and the Dominican Republic.

    Evelop is not only eager to cash in on deportations in Spain. Here in the UK, Evelop carried out at least two charter deportations last year: one to Ghana and Nigeria from Stansted on 30 January 2020; and one to Jamaica from Doncaster airport on 11 February in the same year. These deportations took place during a period of mobile network outages across Harmondsworth and Colnbrook detention centres, which interfered with detainees’ ability to access legal advice to challenge their expulsion, or speak to loved ones.

    According to campaigners, the company reportedly operates most of Austria and Germany’s deportations to Nigeria and Ghana, including a recent joint flight on 19 January. It also has operated deportations from Germany to Pakistan and Bangladesh.

    Evelop is not the only company profiting from Spain’s deportation machine. The Spanish government also regularly deports people on commercial flights operated by airlines such as Air Maroc, Air Senegal, and Iberia, as well as mass deportations by ferry to Morocco and Algeria through the companies #Transmediterránea, #Baleària and #Algérie_Ferries. #Ferry deportations are currently on hold due to the pandemic, but Air Maroc reportedly still carry out regular deportations on commercial flights to Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara.

    Where’s the money?

    The financial outlook for the Barceló Group as a whole at the end of 2019 seemed strong, having made a net profit of €135 million.

    Before the pandemic, the company president said that he had planned to prioritise its hotels division over its tour operator segment, which includes its airlines. Fast forward a couple of years and its hotels are struggling to attract custom, while one of its airlines has secured a multimillion-euro deportation contract.

    Unsurprisingly, the coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the Barceló Group’s operations. The company had to close nearly all of its hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa during the first wave of the pandemic, with revenue down 99%. In the Caribbean, the hotel group saw a 95% drop in revenue in May, April and June. They fared slightly better in the US, which saw far fewer COVID-19 restrictions, yet revenue there still declined 89%. By early October, between 20-60% of their hotels in Europe, the Middle East and the Caribbean had reopened across the regions, but with occupancy at only 20-60%.

    The company has been negotiating payments with hotels and aircraft lessors in light of reduced demand. It claims that it has not however had to cut jobs, since the Spanish government’s COVID-19 temporary redundancy plans enable some workers to be furloughed and prevent employers from firing them in that time.

    Despite these difficulties, the company may be saved, like other tourism multinationals, by a big bailout from the state. Barceló’s Ávoris division is set to share a €320 million bailout from the Spanish government as part of the merger with Globalia’s subsidiaries. Is not known if the Barceló Group’s hotel lines will benefit from state funds.

    Key people

    The eight members of the executive board are unsurprisingly, male, pale and frail; as are all ten members of the Ávoris management team.

    The company is co-chaired by cousins with confusingly similar names: #Simón_Barceló_Tous and #Simón_Pedro_Barceló_Vadell. We’ll call them #Barceló_Tous and #Pedro_Barceló from here. The family are from Felanitx, Mallorca.

    Barceló Tous is the much more low-key of the two, and there is little public information about him. Largely based in the Dominican Republic, he takes care of the Central & Latin American segment of the business.

    His cousin, Pedro Barceló, runs the European and North American division. Son of Group co-founder #Gabriel_Barceló_Oliver, Pedro Barceló is a law graduate who has been described as ‘reserved’ and ‘elusive’. He is the company’s executive president. Yet despite his apparent shyness, he was once the youngest senator in Spanish history, entering the upper house at age 23 as a representative for the conservative party with links to the Francoist past, #Partido_Popular. For a period he was also a member of the board of directors of Globalia, Aena and #First_Choice_Holidays.

    The CEO of Evelop is #Antonio_Mota_Sandoval, formerly the company’s technical and maintenance director. He’s very found of #drones and is CEO and founder of a company called #Aerosolutions. The latter describes itself as ‘Engineering, Consulting and Training Services for conventional and unmanned aviation.’ Mota appears to live in Alcalá de Henares, a town just outside Madrid. He is on Twitter and Facebook.

    The Barceló Foundation

    As is so often the case with large businesses engaging in unethical practises, the family set up a charitable arm, the #Barceló_Foundation. It manages a pot of €32 million, of which it spent €2m in 2019 on a broad range of charitable activities in Africa, South America and Mallorca. Headed by Antonio Monjo Tomás, it’s run from a prestigious building in Palma known as #Casa_del_Marqués_de_Reguer-Rullán, owned by the Barceló family. The foundation also runs the #Felanitx_Art & Culture Center, reportedly based at the Barceló’s family home. The foundation partners with many Catholic missions and sponsors the #Capella_Mallorquina, a local choir. The foundation is on Twitter and Facebook.

    The Barceló Group’s vulnerabilities

    Like other tourism businesses, the group is struggling with the industry-wide downturn due to COVID-19 travel measures. In this context, government contracts provide a rare reliable source of steady income — and the Barcelós will be loathe to give up deportation work. In Spain, perhaps even more than elsewhere, the tourism industry and its leading dynasties has very close ties with government and politicians. Airlines are getting heavy bailouts from the Spanish state, and their bosses will want to keep up good relations.

    But the deportation business could become less attractive for the group if campaigners keep up the pressure — particularly outside Spain, where reputational damage may outweigh the profits from occasional flights. Having carried out a charter deportation to Jamaica from the UK earlier in the year, the company became a target of a social media campaign in December 2020 ahead of the Jamaica 50 flight, after which they reportedly said that they were not involved. A lesser-known Spanish airline, Privilege Style, did the job instead.

    https://corporatewatch.org/evelop-barcelo-group-deportation-planes-from-spain
    #Espagne #business #compagnies_aériennes #complexe_militaro-industriel #renvois #expulsions #migrations #réfugiés #asile #tourisme #charter #Maurtianie #îles_Canaries #Canaries #Géorgie #Albanie #Colombie #République_dominicaine #Ghana #Nigeria #Allemagne #Standsted #UK #Angleterre #Pakistan #Bangladesh #Air_Maroc #Air_Senegal #Iberia #Maroc #Algérie #ferrys #Sahara_occidental #covid-19 #pandémie #coronavirus #hôtels #fondation #philanthrocapitalisme

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • How the Pandemic Turned Refugees Into ‘Guinea Pigs’ for Surveillance Tech

    An interview with Dr. Petra Molnar, who spent 2020 investigating the use of drones, facial recognition, and lidar on refugees

    The coronavirus pandemic unleashed a new era in surveillance technology, and arguably no group has felt this more acutely than refugees. Even before the pandemic, refugees were subjected to contact tracing, drone and LIDAR tracking, and facial recognition en masse. Since the pandemic, it’s only gotten worse. For a microcosm of how bad the pandemic has been for refugees — both in terms of civil liberties and suffering under the virus — look no further than Greece.

    Greek refugee camps are among the largest in Europe, and they are overpopulated, with scarce access to water, food, and basic necessities, and under constant surveillance. Researchers say that many of the surveillance techniques and technologies — especially experimental, rudimentary, and low-cost ones — used to corral refugees around the world were often tested in these camps first.

    “Certain communities already marginalized, disenfranchised are being used as guinea pigs, but the concern is that all of these technologies will be rolled out against the broader population and normalized,” says Petra Molnar, Associate Director of the Refugee Law Lab, York University.

    Molnar traveled to the Greek refugee camps on Lesbos in 2020 as part of a fact-finding project with the advocacy group European Digital Rights (EDRi). She arrived right after the Moria camp — the largest in Europe at the time — burned down and forced the relocation of thousands of refugees. Since her visit, she has been concerned about the rise of authoritarian technology and how it might be used against the powerless.

    With the pandemic still raging and states more desperate than ever to contain it, it seemed a good time to discuss the uses and implications of surveillance in the refugee camps. Molnar, who is still in Greece and plans to continue visiting the camps once the nation’s second lockdown lifts, spoke to OneZero about the kinds of surveillance technology she saw deployed there, and what the future holds — particularly with the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Molnar says, adding “that they’ve been using Greece as a testing ground for all sorts of aerial surveillance technology.”

    This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

    OneZero: What kinds of surveillance practices and technologies did you see in the camps?

    Petra Molnar: I went to Lesbos in September, right after the Moria camp burned down and thousands of people were displaced and sent to a new camp. We were essentially witnessing the birth of the Kara Tepes camp, a new containment center, and talked to the people about surveillance, and also how this particular tragedy was being used as a new excuse to bring more technology, more surveillance. The [Greek] government is… basically weaponizing Covid to use it as an excuse to lock the camps down and make it impossible to do any research.

    When you are in Lesbos, it is very clear that it is a testing ground, in the sense that the use of tech is quite rudimentary — we are not talking about thermal cameras, iris scans, anything like that, but there’s an increase in the appetite of the Greek government to explore the use of it, particularly when they try to control large groups of people and also large groups coming from the Aegean. It’s very early days for a lot of these technologies, but everything points to the fact that Greece is Europe’s testing ground.

    They are talking about bringing biometric control to the camps, but we know for example that the Hellenic Coast Guard has a drone that they have been using for self-promotion, propaganda, and they’ve now been using it to follow specific people as they are leaving and entering the camp. I’m not sure if the use of drones was restricted to following refugees once they left the camps, but with the lockdown, it was impossible to verify. [OneZero had access to a local source who confirmed that drones are also being used inside the camps to monitor refugees during lockdown.]

    Also, people can come and go to buy things at stores, but they have to sign in and out at the gate, and we don’t know how they are going to use such data and for what purposes.

    Surveillance has been used on refugees long before the pandemic — in what ways have refugees been treated as guinea pigs for the policies and technologies we’re seeing deployed more widely now? And what are some of the worst examples of authoritarian technologies being deployed against refugees in Europe?

    The most egregious examples that we’ve been seeing are that ill-fated pilot projects — A.I. lie detectors and risk scorings which were essentially trying to use facial recognition and facial expressions’ micro-targeting to determine whether a person was more likely than others to lie at the border. Luckily, that technology was debunked and also generated a lot of debate around the ethics and human rights implications of using something like that.

    Technologies such as voice printing have been used in Germany to try to track a person’s country of origin or their ethnicity, facial recognition made its way into the new Migration’s Pact, and Greece is thinking about automating the triage of refugees, so there’s an appetite at the EU level and globally to use this tech. I think 2021 will be very interesting as more resources are being diverted to these types of tech.

    We saw, right when the pandemic started, that migration data used for population modeling became kind of co-opted and used to try and model flows of Covid. And this is very problematic because they are assuming that the mobile population, people on the move, and refugees are more likely to be bringing in Covid and diseases — but the numbers don’t bear out. We are also seeing the gathering of vast amounts of data for all these databases that Europe is using or will be using for a variety of border enforcement and policing in general.

    The concern is that fear’s being weaponized around the pandemic and technologies such as mobile tracking and data collection are being used as ways to control people. It is also broader, it deals with a kind of discourse around migration, on limiting people’s rights to move. Our concern is that it’ll open the door to further, broader rollout of this kind of tech against the general population.

    What are some of the most invasive technologies you’ve seen? And are you worried these authoritarian technologies will continue to expand, and not just in refugee camps?

    In Greece, the most invasive technologies being used now would probably be drones and unpiloted surveillance technologies, because it’s a really easy way to dehumanize that kind of area where people are crossing, coming from Turkey, trying to claim asylum. There’s also the appetite to try facial recognition technology.

    It shows just how dangerous these technologies can be both because they facilitate pushbacks, border enforcement, and throwing people away, and it really plays into this kind of idea of instead of humane responses you’d hope to happen when you see a boat in distress in the Aegean or the Mediterranean, now entities are turning towards drones and the whole kind of surveillance apparatus. It highlights how the humanity in this process has been lost.

    And the normalization of it all. Now it is so normal to use drones — everything is about policing Europe’s shore, Greece being a shield, to normalize the use of invasive surveillance tech. A lot of us are worried with talks of expanding the scope of action, mandate, and powers of Frontex [the European Border and Coast Guard Agency] and its utter lack of accountability — it is crystal clear that entities like Frontex are going to do Europe’s dirty work.

    There’s a particular framing applied when governments and companies talk about migrants and refugees, often linking them to ISIS and using careless terms and phrases to discuss serious issues. Our concern is that this kind of use of technology is going to become more advanced and more efficient.

    What is happening with regard to contact tracing apps — have there been cases where the technology was forced on refugees?

    I’ve heard about the possibility of refugees being tracked through their phones, but I couldn’t confirm. I prefer not to interact with the state through my phone, but that’s a privilege I have, a choice I can make. If you’re living in a refugee camp your options are much more constrained. Often people in the camps feel they are compelled to give access to their phones, to give their phone numbers, etc. And then there are concerns that tracking is being done. It’s really hard to track the tracking; it is not clear what’s being done.

    Aside from contact tracing, there’s the concern with the Wi-Fi connection provided in the camps. There’s often just one connection or one specific place where Wi-Fi works and people need to be connected to their families, spouses, friends, or get access to information through their phones, sometimes their only lifeline. It’s a difficult situation because, on the one hand, people are worried about privacy and surveillance, but on the other, you want to call your family, your spouse, and you can only do that through Wi-Fi and people feel they need to be connected. They have to rely on what’s available, but there’s a concern that because it’s provided by the authorities, no one knows exactly what’s being collected and how they are being watched and surveilled.

    How do we fight this surveillance creep?

    That’s the hard question. I think one of the ways that we can fight some of this is knowledge. Knowing what is happening, sharing resources among different communities, having a broader understanding of the systemic way this is playing out, and using such knowledge generated by the community itself to push for regulation and governance when it comes to these particular uses of technologies.

    We call for a moratorium or abolition of all high-risk technology in and around the border because right now we don’t have a governance mechanism in place or integrated regional or international way to regulate these uses of tech.

    Meanwhile, we have in the EU a General Data Protection Law, a very strong tool to protect data and data sharing, but it doesn’t really touch on surveillance, automation, A.I., so the law is really far behind.

    One of the ways to fight A.I. is to make policymakers understand the real harm that these technologies have. We are talking about ways that discrimination and inequality are reinforced by this kind of tech, and how damaging they are to people.

    We are trying to highlight this systemic approach to see it as an interconnected system in which all of these technologies play a part in this increasingly draconian way that migration management is being done.

    https://onezero.medium.com/how-the-pandemic-turned-refugees-into-guinea-pigs-for-surveillance-t

    #réfugiés #cobaye #surveillance #technologie #pandémie #covid-19 #coroanvirus #LIDAR #drones #reconnaissance_faciale #Grèce #camps_de_réfugiés #Lesbos #Moria #European_Digital_Rights (#EDRi) #surveillance_aérienne #complexe_militaro-industriel #Kara_Tepes #weaponization #biométrie #IA #intelligence_artificielle #détecteurs_de_mensonges #empreinte_vocale #tri #catégorisation #donneés #base_de_données #contrôle #technologies_autoritaires #déshumanisation #normalisation #Frontex #wifi #internet #smartphone #frontières

    ping @isskein @karine4

    ping @etraces

  • Artificial intelligence : #Frontex improves its maritime surveillance

    Frontex wants to use a new platform to automatically detect and assess „risks“ on the seas of the European Union. Suspected irregular activities are to be displayed in a constantly updated „threat map“ with the help of self-learning software.

    The EU border agency has renewed a contract with Israeli company Windward for a „maritime analytics“ platform. It will put the application into regular operation. Frontex had initially procured a licence for around 800,000 Euros. For now 2.6 million Euros, the agency will receive access for four workstations. The contract can be extended three times for one year at a time.

    Windward specialises in the digital aggregation and assessment of vessel tracking and maritime surveillance data. Investors in the company, which was founded in 2011, include former US CIA director David Petraeus and former CEO’s of Thomson Reuters and British Petroleum. The former chief of staff of the Israeli military, Gabi Ashkenazi, is considered one of the advisors.

    Signature for each observed ship

    The platform is based on artificial intelligence techniques. For analysis, it uses maritime reporting systems, including position data from the AIS transponders of larger ships and weather data. These are enriched with information about the ship owners and shipping companies as well as the history of previous ship movements. For this purpose, the software queries openly accessible information from the internet.

    In this way, a „fingerprint“ is created for each observed ship, which can be used to identify suspicious activities. If the captain switches off the transponder, for example, the analysis platform can recognise this as a suspicuous event and take over further tracking based on the recorded patterns. It is also possible to integrate satellite images.

    Windward uses the register of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) as its database, which lists about 70,000 ships. Allegedly, however, it also processes data on a total of 400,000 watercraft, including smaller fishing boats. One of the clients is therefore the UN Security Council, which uses the technology to monitor sanctions.

    Against „bad guys“ at sea

    The company advertises its applications with the slogan „Catch the bad guys at sea“. At Frontex, the application is used to combat and prevent unwanted migration and cross-border crime as well as terrorism. Subsequently, „policy makers“ and law enforcement agencies are to be informed about results. For this purpose, the „risks“ found are visualised in a „threat map“.

    Windward put such a „threat map“ online two years ago. At the time, the software rated the Black Sea as significantly more risky than the Mediterranean. Commercial shipping activity off the Crimea was interpreted as „probable sanction evasions“. Ship owners from the British Guernsey Islands as well as Romania recorded the highest proportion of ships exhibiting „risky“ behaviour. 42 vessels were classified as suspicious for drug smuggling based on their patterns.

    Frontex „early warning“ units

    The information from maritime surveillance is likely to be processed first by the „Risk Analysis Unit“ (RAU) at Frontex. It is supposed to support strategic decisions taken by the headquarters in Warsaw on issues of border control, return, prevention of cross-border crime as well as threats of a „hybrid nature“. Frontex calls the applications used there „intelligence products“ and „integrated data services“. Their results flow together in the „Common Integrated Risk Analysis Model“ (CIRAM).

    For the operational monitoring of the situation at the EU’s external borders, the agency also maintains the „Frontex Situation Centre“ (FSC). The department is supposed to provide a constantly updated picture of migration movements, if possible in real time. From these reports, Frontex produces „early warnings“ and situation reports to the border authorities of the member states as well as to the Commission and the Council in Brussels.

    More surveillance capacity in Warsaw

    According to its own information, Windward’s clients include the Italian Guardia di Finanza, which is responsible for controlling Italian territorial waters. The Ministry of the Interior in Rome is also responsible for numerous EU projects aimed at improving surveillance of the central Mediterranean. For the training and equipment of the Libyan coast guard, Italy receives around 67 million euros from EU funds in three different projects. Italian coast guard authorities are also installing a surveillance system for Tunisia’s external maritime borders.

    Frontex now wants to improve its own surveillance capacities with further tenders. Together with the fisheries agency, The agency is awarding further contracts for manned maritime surveillance. It has been operating such a „Frontex Aerial Surveillance Service“ (FASS) in the central Mediterranean since 2017 and in the Adriatic Sea since 2018. Frontex also wants to station large drones in the Mediterranean. Furthermore, it is testing Aerostats in the eastern Mediterranean for a second time. These are zeppelins attached to a 1,000-metre long line.

    https://digit.site36.net/2021/01/15/artificial-intelligence-frontex-improves-its-maritime-surveillance
    #intelligence_artificielle #surveillance #surveillance_maritime #mer #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #AI #Windward #Israël #complexe_militaro-industriel #militarisation_des_frontières #David_Petraeus #Thomson_Reuters #British_Petroleum #armée_israélienne #Gabi_Ashkenazi #International_Maritime_Organisation (#IMO) #thread_map #Risk_Analysis_Unit (#RAU) #Common_Integrated_Risk_Analysis_Model (#CIRAM) #Frontex_Situation_Centre (#FSC) #Frontex_Aerial_Surveillance_Service (#FASS) #zeppelins

    ping @etraces

    • Data et nouvelles technologies, la face cachée du contrôle des mobilités

      Dans un rapport de juillet 2020, l’Agence européenne pour la gestion opérationnelle des systèmes d’information à grande échelle (#EU-Lisa) présente l’intelligence artificielle (IA) comme l’une des « technologies prioritaires » à développer. Le rapport souligne les avantages de l’IA en matière migratoire et aux frontières, grâce, entre autres, à la technologie de #reconnaissance_faciale.

      L’intelligence artificielle est de plus en plus privilégiée par les acteurs publics, les institutions de l’UE et les acteurs privés, mais aussi par le #HCR et l’#OIM. Les agences de l’UE, comme Frontex ou EU-Lisa, ont été particulièrement actives dans l’#expérimentation des nouvelles technologies, brouillant parfois la distinction entre essais et mise en oeuvre. En plus des outils traditionnels de surveillance, une panoplie de technologies est désormais déployée aux frontières de l’Europe et au-delà, qu’il s’agisse de l’ajout de nouvelles #bases_de_données, de technologies financières innovantes, ou plus simplement de la récupération par les #GAFAM des données laissées volontairement ou pas par les migrant·e·s et réfugié∙e∙s durant le parcours migratoire.

      La pandémie #Covid-19 est arrivée à point nommé pour dynamiser les orientations déjà prises, en permettant de tester ou de généraliser des technologies utilisées pour le contrôle des mobilités sans que l’ensemble des droits des exilé·e·s ne soit pris en considération. L’OIM, par exemple, a mis à disposition des Etats sa #Matrice_de_suivi_des_déplacements (#DTM) durant cette période afin de contrôler les « flux migratoires ». De nouvelles technologies au service de vieilles obsessions…

      http://www.migreurop.org/article3021.html

      Pour télécharger le rapport :
      www.migreurop.org/IMG/pdf/note_12_fr.pdf

      ping @karine4 @rhoumour @_kg_ @i_s_

    • La #technopolice aux frontières

      Comment le #business de la #sécurité et de la #surveillance au sein de l’#Union_européenne, en plus de bafouer des #droits_fondamentaux, utilise les personnes exilées comme #laboratoire de recherche, et ce sur des #fonds_publics européens.

      On a beaucoup parlé ici ces derniers mois de surveillance des manifestations ou de surveillance de l’espace public dans nos villes, mais la technopolice est avant tout déployée aux #frontières – et notamment chez nous, aux frontières de la « forteresse Europe ». Ces #dispositifs_technopoliciers sont financés, soutenus et expérimentés par l’Union européenne pour les frontières de l’UE d’abord, et ensuite vendus. Cette surveillance des frontières représente un #marché colossal et profite grandement de l’échelle communautaire et de ses programmes de #recherche_et_développement (#R&D) comme #Horizon_2020.

      #Roborder – des essaims de #drones_autonomes aux frontières

      C’est le cas du projet Roborder – un « jeu de mots » entre robot et border, frontière en anglais. Débuté en 2017, il prévoit de surveiller les frontières par des essaims de #drones autonomes, fonctionnant et patrouillant ensemble. L’#intelligence_artificielle de ces drones leur permettrait de reconnaître les humains et de distinguer si ces derniers commettent des infractions (comme celui de passer une frontière ?) et leur dangerosité pour ensuite prévenir la #police_aux_frontières. Ces drones peuvent se mouvoir dans les airs, sous l’eau, sur l’eau et dans des engins au sol. Dotés de multiples capteurs, en plus de la détection d’activités criminelles, ces drones seraient destinés à repérer des “#radio-fréquences non fiables”, c’est-à-dire à écouter les #communications et également à mesurer la #pollution_marine.
      Pour l’instant, ces essaims de drones autonomes ne seraient pas pourvus d’armes. Roborder est actuellement expérimenté en #Grèce, au #Portugal et en #Hongrie.

      Un #financement européen pour des usages « civils »

      Ce projet est financé à hauteur de 8 millions d’euros par le programme Horizon 2020 (subventionné lui-même par la #Cordis, organe de R&D de la Commission européenne). Horizon 2020 représente 50% du financement public total pour la recherche en sécurité de l’UE. Roborder est coordonné par le centre de recherches et technologie de #Hellas (le #CERTH), en Grèce et comme le montre l’association #Homo_Digitalis le nombre de projets Horizon 2020 ne fait qu’augmenter en Grèce. En plus du CERTH grec s’ajoutent environ 25 participants venus de tous les pays de l’UE (où on retrouve les services de police d’#Irlande_du_Nord, le ministère de la défense grecque, ou encore des entreprises de drones allemandes, etc.).

      L’une des conditions pour le financement de projets de ce genre par Horizon 2020 est que les technologies développées restent dans l’utilisation civile, et ne puissent pas servir à des fins militaires. Cette affirmation pourrait ressembler à un garde-fou, mais en réalité la distinction entre usage civil et militaire est loin d’être clairement établie. Comme le montre Stephen Graham, très souvent les #technologies, à la base militaires, sont réinjectées dans la sécurité, particulièrement aux frontières où la migration est criminalisée. Et cette porosité entre la sécurité et le #militaire est induite par la nécessité de trouver des débouchés pour rentabiliser la #recherche_militaire. C’est ce qu’on peut observer avec les drones ou bien le gaz lacrymogène. Ici, il est plutôt question d’une logique inverse : potentiellement le passage d’un usage dit “civil” de la #sécurité_intérieure à une application militaire, à travers des ventes futures de ces dispositifs. Mais on peut aussi considérer la surveillance, la détection de personnes et la #répression_aux_frontières comme une matérialisation de la #militarisation de l’Europe à ses frontières. Dans ce cas-là, Roborder serait un projet à fins militaires.

      De plus, dans les faits, comme le montre The Intercept (https://theintercept.com/2019/05/11/drones-artificial-intelligence-europe-roborder), une fois le projet terminé celui-ci est vendu. Sans qu’on sache trop à qui. Et, toujours selon le journal, beaucoup sont déjà intéressés par Roborder.

      #IborderCtrl – détection d’#émotions aux frontières

      Si les essaims de drones sont impressionnants, il existe d’autres projets dans la même veine. On peut citer notamment le projet qui a pour nom IborderCtrl, testé en Grèce, Hongrie et #Lettonie.

      Il consiste notamment en de l’#analyse_d’émotions (à côté d’autres projets de #reconnaissances_biométriques) : les personnes désirant passer une frontière doivent se soumettre à des questions et voient leur #visage passer au crible d’un #algorithme qui déterminera si elles mentent ou non. Le projet prétend « accélérer le #contrôle_aux_frontières » : si le #détecteur_de_mensonges estime qu’une personne dit la vérité, un code lui est donné pour passer le contrôle facilement ; si l’algorithme considère qu’une personne ment, elle est envoyée dans une seconde file, vers des gardes-frontières qui lui feront passer un #interrogatoire. L’analyse d’émotions prétend reposer sur un examen de « 38 #micro-mouvements du visage » comme l’angle de la tête ou le mouvement des yeux. Un spectacle de gadgets pseudoscientifiques qui permet surtout de donner l’apparence de la #neutralité_technologique à des politiques d’#exclusion et de #déshumanisation.

      Ce projet a également été financé par Horizon 2020 à hauteur de 4,5 millions d’euros. S’il semble aujourd’hui avoir été arrêté, l’eurodéputé allemand Patrick Breyer a saisi la Cour de justice de l’Union Européenne pour obtenir plus d’informations sur ce projet, ce qui lui a été refusé pour… atteinte au #secret_commercial. Ici encore, on voit que le champ “civil” et non “militaire” du projet est loin de représenter un garde-fou.

      Conclusion

      Ainsi, l’Union européenne participe activement au puissant marché de la surveillance et de la répression. Ici, les frontières et les personnes exilées sont utilisées comme des ressources de laboratoire. Dans une optique de militarisation toujours plus forte des frontières de la forteresse Europe et d’une recherche de profit et de développement des entreprises et centres de recherche européens. Les frontières constituent un nouveau marché et une nouvelle manne financière de la technopolice.

      Les chiffres montrent par ailleurs l’explosion du budget de l’agence européenne #Frontex (de 137 millions d’euros en 2015 à 322 millions d’euros en 2020, chiffres de la Cour des comptes européenne) et une automatisation toujours plus grande de la surveillance des frontières. Et parallèlement, le ratio entre le nombre de personnes qui tentent de franchir la Méditerranée et le nombre de celles qui y laissent la vie ne fait qu’augmenter. Cette automatisation de la surveillance aux frontières n’est donc qu’une nouvelle façon pour les autorités européennes d’accentuer le drame qui continue de se jouer en Méditerranée, pour une “efficacité” qui finalement ne profite qu’aux industries de la surveillance.

      Dans nos rues comme à nos frontières nous devons refuser la Technopolice et la combattre pied à pied !

      https://technopolice.fr/blog/la-technopolice-aux-frontieres

    • Artificial Intelligence - based capabilities for European Border and Coast Guard

      In 2019, Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, commissioned #RAND Europe to carry out an Artificial intelligence (AI) research study.

      The purpose of the study was to provide an overview of the main opportunities, challenges and requirements for the adoption of AI-based capabilities in border managament. Frontex’s intent was also to find synergies with ongoing AI studies and initiatives in the EU and contribute to a Europe-wide AI landscape by adding the border security dimension.

      Some of the analysed technologies included automated border control, object recognition to detect suspicious vehicles or cargo and the use of geospatial data analytics for operational awareness and threat detection.

      As part of the study, RAND provided Frontex in 2020 with a comprehensive report and an executive summary with conclusions and recommendations.

      The findings will support Frontex in shaping the future landscape of AI-based capabilities for Integrated Border Management, including AI-related research and innovation projects which could be initiated by Frontex (e.g. under #EU_Innovation_Hub) or recommended to be conducted under the EU Research and Innovation Programme (#Horizon_Europe).

      https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/news/news-release/artificial-intelligence-based-capabilities-for-european-border-and-co

    • Pour les réfugiés, la #biométrie tout au long du chemin

      Par-delà les murs qui poussent aux frontières du monde depuis les années 1990, les réfugiés, migrants et demandeurs d’asile sont de plus en plus confrontés à l’extension des bases de #données_biométriques. Un « #mur_virtuel » s’étend ainsi à l’extérieur, aux frontières et à l’intérieur de l’espace Schengen, construit autour de programmes et de #bases_de_données.

      Des réfugiés qui paient avec leurs #iris, des migrants identifiés par leurs #empreintes_digitales, des capteurs de #reconnaissance_faciale, mais aussi d’#émotions… Réunis sous la bannière de la « #frontière_intelligente », ces #dispositifs_technologiques, reposant sur l’#anticipation, l’#identification et l’#automatisation du franchissement de la #frontière grâce aux bases de données biométriques, ont pour but de trier les voyageurs, facilitant le parcours des uns et bloquant celui des autres.

      L’Union européenne dispose ainsi d’une batterie de bases de données qui viennent compléter les contrôles aux frontières. Depuis 2011, une agence dédiée, l’#Agence_européenne_pour_la_gestion_opérationnelle_des_systèmes_d’information_à_grande_échelle, l’#EU-Lisa, a pour but d’élaborer et de développer, en lien avec des entreprises privées, le suivi des demandeurs d’asile.

      Elle gère ainsi plusieurs bases compilant des #données_biométriques. L’une d’elles, le « #Entry_and_Exit_System » (#EES), sera déployée en 2022, pour un coût évalué à 480 millions d’euros. L’EES a pour mission de collecter jusqu’à 400 millions de données sur les personnes non européennes franchissant les frontières de l’espace Schengen, afin de contrôler en temps réel les dépassements de durée légale de #visa. En cas de séjour prolongé devenu illégal, l’alerte sera donnée à l’ensemble des polices européennes.

      Se brûler les doigts pour ne pas être enregistré

      L’EU-Lisa gère également le fichier #Eurodac, qui consigne les empreintes digitales de chacun des demandeurs d’asile de l’Union européenne. Utilisé pour appliquer le #règlement_Dublin III, selon lequel la demande d’asile est déposée et traitée dans le pays européen où le migrant a été enregistré la première fois, il entraîne des stratégies de #résistance.

      « On a vu des migrants refuser de donner leurs empreintes à leur arrivée en Grèce, ou même se brûler les doigts pour ne pas être enregistrés dans Eurodac, rappelle Damien Simonneau, chercheur à l’Institut Convergences Migrations du Collège de France. Ils savent que s’ils ont, par exemple, de la famille en Allemagne, mais qu’ils ont été enregistrés en Grèce, ils seront renvoyés en Grèce pour que leur demande y soit traitée, ce qui a des conséquences énormes sur leur vie. » La procédure d’instruction dure en effet de 12 à 18 mois en moyenne.

      La collecte de données biométriques jalonne ainsi les parcours migratoires, des pays de départs jusqu’aux déplacements au sein de l’Union européenne, dans un but de limitation et de #contrôle. Pour lutter contre « la criminalité transfrontalière » et « l’immigration clandestine », le système de surveillance des zones frontières #Eurosur permet, via un partage d’informations en temps réel, d’intercepter avant leur arrivée les personnes tentant d’atteindre l’Union européenne.

      Des contrôles dans les pays de départ

      Pour le Transnational Institute, auteur avec le think tank Stop Wapenhandel et le Centre Delàs de plusieurs études sur les frontières, l’utilisation de ces bases de données témoigne d’une stratégie claire de la part de l’Union européenne. « Un des objectifs de l’expansion des #frontières_virtuelles, écrivent-ils ainsi dans le rapport Building Walls (https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/building_walls_-_full_report_-_english.pdf), paru en 2018, est d’intercepter les réfugiés et les migrants avant même qu’ils n’atteignent les frontières européennes, pour ne pas avoir à traiter avec eux. »

      Si ces techniques permettent de pré-trier les demandes pour fluidifier le passage des frontières, en accélérant les déplacements autorisés, elles peuvent également, selon Damien Simonneau, avoir des effets pervers. « L’utilisation de ces mécanismes repose sur l’idée que la #technologie est un facilitateur, et il est vrai que l’#autonomisation de certaines démarches peut faciliter les déplacements de personnes autorisées à franchir les frontières, expose-t-il. Mais les technologies sont faillibles, et peuvent produire des #discriminations. »

      Ces #techniques_virtuelles, aux conséquences bien réelles, bouleversent ainsi le rapport à la frontière et les parcours migratoires. « Le migrant est confronté à de multiples points "frontière", disséminés un peu partout, analyse Damien Simonneau. Cela crée des #obstacles supplémentaires aux parcours migratoires : le contrôle n’est quasiment plus lié au franchissement d’une frontière nationale, il est déterritorialisé et peut se produire n’importe où, en amont comme en aval de la frontière de l’État. »

      Ainsi, la « politique d’#externalisation de l’Union européenne » permet au contrôle migratoire de s’exercer dans les pays de départ. Le programme européen « #SIV » collecte par exemple dès leur formulation dans les #consulats les données biométriques liées aux #demandes_de_visas.

      Plus encore, l’Union européenne délègue une partie de la gestion de ses frontières à d’autres pays : « Dans certains États du Sahel, explique Damien Simonneau, l’aide humanitaire et de développement est conditionnée à l’amélioration des contrôles aux frontières. »

      Un programme de l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM), le programme #MIDAS, financé par l’Union européenne, est ainsi employé par 23 pays, majoritairement en Afrique, mais aussi en Asie et en Amérique. Son but est de « collecter, traiter, stocker et analyser les informations [biométriques et biographiques] des voyageurs en temps réel » pour aider les polices locales à contrôler leurs frontières. Mais selon le réseau Migreurop, ces données peuvent également être transmises aux agences policières européennes. L’UE exerce ainsi un droit de regard, via Frontex, sur le système d’information et d’analyse de données sur la migration, installé à Makalondi au Niger.

      Des réfugiés qui paient avec leurs yeux

      Un mélange des genres, entre organisations humanitaires et États, entre protection, logistique et surveillance, qui se retrouve également dans les #camps_de_réfugiés. Dans les camps jordaniens de #Zaatari et d’#Azarq, par exemple, près de la frontière syrienne, les réfugiés paient depuis 2016 leurs aliments avec leurs iris.

      L’#aide_humanitaire_alimentaire distribuée par le Programme alimentaire mondial (PAM) leur est en effet versée sur un compte relié à leurs données biométriques. Il leur suffit de passer leurs yeux dans un scanner pour régler leurs achats. Une pratique qui facilite grandement la gestion #logistique du camp par le #HCR et le PAM, en permettant la #traçabilité des échanges et en évitant les fraudes et les vols.

      Mais selon Léa Macias, anthropologue à l’EHESS, cela a aussi des inconvénients. « Si ce paiement avec les yeux peut rassurer certains réfugiés, dans la mesure où cela les protège contre les vols, développe-t-elle, le procédé est également perçu comme une #violence. Les réfugiés ont bien conscience que personne d’autre au monde, dans une situation normale, ne paie ainsi avec son #corps. »

      Le danger de la fuite de données

      La chercheuse s’inquiète également du devenir des données ainsi collectées, et se pose la question de l’intérêt des réfugiés dans ce processus. « Les humanitaires sont poussés à utiliser ces nouvelles technologies, expose-t-elle, qui sont vues comme un gage de fiabilité par les bailleurs de fonds. Mais la #technologisation n’est pas toujours dans l’intérêt des réfugiés. En cas de fuite ou de hackage des bases de données, cela les expose même à des dangers. »

      Un rapport de Human Rights Watch (HRW) (https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/06/15/un-shared-rohingya-data-without-informed-consent), publié mardi 15 juin, alerte ainsi sur des #transferts_de_données biométriques appartenant à des #Rohingyas réfugiés au Bangladesh. Ces données, collectées par le Haut-commissariat aux réfugiés (HCR) de l’ONU, ont été transmises par le gouvernement du Bangladesh à l’État birman. Si le HCR a réagi (https://www.unhcr.org/en-us/news/press/2021/6/60c85a7b4/news-comment-statement-refugee-registration-data-collection-bangladesh.html) en affirmant que les personnes concernées avaient donné leur accord à ce #transfert_de_données pour préparer un éventuel retour en Birmanie, rien ne permet cependant de garantir qu’ils seront bien reçus si leur nom « bipe » au moment de passer la frontière.

      https://www.rfi.fr/fr/technologies/20210620-pour-les-r%C3%A9fugi%C3%A9s-la-biom%C3%A9trie-tout-au-long-du-chemin

      #smart_borders #tri #catégorisation #déterritorialisation #réfugiés_rohingyas

      –---

      Sur les doigts brûlés pour ne pas se faire identifier par les empreintes digitales, voir la scène du film Qu’ils reposent en paix de Sylvain George, dont j’ai fait une brève recension :

      Instant tragique : ce qu’un migrant appelle la « prière ». Ce moment collectif où les migrants tentent de faire disparaître leurs empreintes digitales. Étape symbolique où ils se défont de leur propre identité.

      https://visionscarto.net/a-calais-l-etat-ne-peut-dissoudre

  • #Drones for border control: a symptom of the security mindset, says new report

    The increasing use of drones for border control purposes “is a symptom of viewing borders predominantly in terms of ‘security’ and perceiving people crossing borders as a security threat,” says a new report from Drone Wars UK. In this security paradigm, “border control operations are heavily influenced by the military and driven by ‘national security’ considerations rather than human needs,” warn the authors.

    The report highlights five “particular risks resulting from the use of drones in border areas”:

    The risk that drones will increasingly be used for surveillance of the wider population – not just those involved in criminal activities at borders – at ‘upstream’ internal border locations, and not just the geographically-defined border itself.
    The risk that the use of drones, as a primarily military technology, in border control will contribute to the dehumanisation of those attempting to cross borders and increase the potential for human rights abuses.
    The risk that states will use drones, as opposed to crewed aircraft and assets, to evade their humanitarian responsibilities to those in distress.
    The risk that information from unrelated surveillance activities (for example shipping control or traffic monitoring) is passed on to border control and other law enforcement agencies for inclusion into a broader ‘intelligence picture’.
    The risk that, if drones are deployed in a zone where there are border tensions between two nations, there will be a blurring between military and policing roles and a temptation to use drones in spying or intrusion missions which may escalate tensions.

    Full report and summary available here: Crossing a Line: How the use of drones to secure borders threatens everyone’s rights (Drone Wars UK, link: https://dronewars.net/2020/12/26/crossing-a-line-how-the-use-of-drones-to-secure-borders-threatens-everyon)

    https://www.statewatch.org/news/2021/january/drones-for-border-control-a-symptom-of-the-security-mindset-says-new-rep

    #drones #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #militarisation_des_frontières #drones #déshumanisation #risques

    ping @isskein @karine4

    • Crossing a Line: How the use of drones to secure borders threatens everyone’s rights

      A new report published today by Drone Wars UK investigates the increasing use of military-style drones by governments to patrol state borders. The study, which examines the use of drones at the borders of the UK, EU, US, Russia, China, Australia and elsewhere, concludes that drones are contributing to the militarisation of everyday borders as part of an integrated set of security technologies – including satellites, sensors and smart walls – which pose significant challenges to personal privacy and civil liberties.

      ‘Crossing A Line: The Use of Drones to Control Borders‘ also explores the ethical questions and risks that the use of drones for border and wider public surveillance raises. The United Kingdom is now at the beginning of a journey that would see drones used regularly across the country for surveillance of the general public, and not just above the English Channel.

      The report also argues that the highly publicised operation to use Watchkeeper military drones to watch for refugees crossing the Channel has little practical value but serves to help familiarise the public with the use of drones in the domestic context. Despite an intense media campaign by the government trumpeting ‘Operation Devran’ (the use of military aircraft to monitor irregular migration over the Channel) our study shows that the drone had little impact and played a minimal role in support to the UK Border Force. The drones flew on average only once every other day in their first month of operation, with their use dropping to a total flight time of less than twenty-four hours in the second month. Due to safety issues, they were only permitted to fly in certain areas covered by temporary airspace restrictions, and could only fly in suitable weather conditions.

      As academics Rey Koslowski and Marcus Schulzke point out, “it is often important to politicians to demonstrate to voters that they are doing something to control immigration,” and such actions to stop border crossings “are highly visible and make for wonderful ‘symbolic politics’.” This approach has long shaped border control policy, and the use of Watchkeeper over the Channel is a classic case, while at the same time providing a pretext to commence drone surveillance on the home front.

      A critical point raised by that study is how ‘border’ security has now come to mean much more than security around the actual border. Government agencies have sweeping powers to enforce ‘border’ security across the whole nation in terms of tackling border crime, identifying irregular migrants, and imposing security requirements upon travellers and goods crossing borders. Drones are enabling ‘upstream’ surveillance which allows a state to monitor and intervene in developments both inside and outside the country, far from its immediate border, for example by assessing migration patterns, observing events in neighbouring nations, or asserting control over remote seas. In the US, Predator drones operated by the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection Agency have been used to spy on Black Lives Matter demonstrations many miles from the border itself.

      That the ways in which governments are using drones at national borders are a challenge to human rights should come as no surprise. Illiberal right wing and nationalist politicians around the world have made border security and immigration central to their campaigns and policy agendas. According to their narrative national borders must be vigorously defended to prevent the entry of undeserving outsiders who will claim advantages to which they should not be entitled. Drones, as an intrinsically oppressive technology developed by the military to control and intimidate populations, are a perfect tool for enforcing such views.

      ‘Crossing A Line’ highlights the following as particular risks resulting from the use of drones in border areas:

      Drones will increasingly be used for surveillance of the wider population – not just those involved in criminal activities at borders – at ‘upstream’ internal border locations, and not just the geographically-defined border itself.
      The use of drones, as a primarily military technology, in border control will contribute to the dehumanisation of those attempting to cross borders and increase the potential for human rights abuses.
      States will use drones, as opposed to crewed aircraft and assets, to evade their humanitarian responsibilities to those in distress. The study shows how drones are playing a key role in the European Union’s attempts to ‘push back’ irregular migrants aiming to cross the Mediterranean Sea.
      Information from unrelated surveillance activities (for example shipping control or traffic monitoring) will be passed on to border control and other law enforcement agencies for inclusion into a broader ‘intelligence picture’ of activities in a particular area.
      If drones are deployed in a zone where there are border tensions between two nations, there will be a blurring between military and policing roles and a temptation to use drones in spying or intrusion missions which may escalate tensions.

      The report concludes that the use of drones for border control is a symptom of viewing borders predominantly in terms of ‘security’ and perceiving people crossing borders as a security threat, with negative implications for the rights of individuals. The use of drones and advanced combat-derived technology for border control operations is part of a security paradigm where border control operations are heavily influenced by the military and driven by ‘national security’ considerations rather than human needs.

      Drone technology is no longer just being used for surveillance and control overseas. Having evolved in battles and military occupations in the Middle East, the UK’s drones are now finding their way back to the home front. They are being deployed first against minorities such as refugees fleeing conflict and oppression but unless we act now, will eventually be used to spy on us all.

      https://dronewars.net/2020/12/26/crossing-a-line-how-the-use-of-drones-to-secure-borders-threatens-everyon
      #rapport #drone_wars #complexe_militaro-industriel

      Pour télécharger le rapport:
      https://dronewars.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/DW-Crossing-a-Line-WEB.pdf

  • Avis relatif à l’usage de dispositifs aéroportés de captation d’images par les autorités publiques
    https://www.conseil-etat.fr/ressources/avis-aux-pouvoirs-publics/derniers-avis-publies/avis-relatif-a-l-usage-de-dispositifs-aeroportes-de-captation-d-images-


    https://twitter.com/GDarmanin/status/1329926297074724864

    L’article 22 de la proposition de loi sur la sécurité globale prévoit de créer un régime juridique encadrant le recours aux caméras aéroportées par les autorités publiques.

    #drones #surveillance

  • La #Technopolice, moteur de la « #sécurité_globale »

    L’article 24 de la #loi_Sécurité_Globale ne doit pas devenir l’arbre qui cache la forêt d’une politique de fond, au cœur de ce texte, visant à faire passer la #surveillance et le #contrôle_de_la_population par la police à une nouvelle ère technologique.

    Quelques jours avant le vote de la loi Sécurité Globale à l’Assemblée Nationale, le ministère de l’Intérieur présentait son #Livre_blanc. Ce long #rapport de #prospective révèle la #feuille_de_route du ministère de l’Intérieur pour les années à venir. Comme l’explique Gérard Darmanin devant les députés, la proposition de loi Sécurité Globale n’est que le début de la transposition du Livre dans la législation. Car cette loi, au-delà de l’interdiction de diffusion d’#images de la police (#article_24), vise surtout à renforcer considérablement les pouvoirs de surveillance des #forces_de_l’ordre, notamment à travers la légalisation des #drones (article 22), la diffusion en direct des #caméras_piétons au centre d’opération (article 21), les nouvelles prérogatives de la #police_municipale (article 20), la #vidéosurveillance dans les hall d’immeubles (article 20bis). Cette loi sera la première pierre d’un vaste chantier qui s’étalera sur plusieurs années.

    Toujours plus de pouvoirs pour la police

    Le Livre blanc du ministère de l’Intérieur envisage d’accroître, à tous les niveaux, les pouvoirs des différentes #forces_de_sécurité (la #Police_nationale, la police municipale, la #gendarmerie et les agents de #sécurité_privée) : ce qu’ils appellent, dans la novlangue officielle, le « #continuum_de_la_sécurité_intérieure ». Souhaitant « renforcer la police et la rendre plus efficace », le livre blanc se concentre sur quatre angles principaux :

    - Il ambitionne de (re)créer une #confiance de la population en ses forces de sécurité, notamment par une #communication_renforcée, pour « contribuer à [leur] légitimité », par un embrigadement de la jeunesse – le #Service_National_Universel, ou encore par la création de « #journées_de_cohésion_nationale » (page 61). Dans la loi Sécurité Globale, cette volonté s’est déjà illustrée par la possibilité pour les policiers de participer à la « #guerre_de_l’image » en publiant les vidéos prises à l’aide de leurs #caméras_portatives (article 21).
    - Il prévoit d’augmenter les compétences des #maires en terme de sécurité, notamment par un élargissement des compétences de la police municipale : un accès simplifié aux #fichiers_de_police, de nouvelles compétences en terme de lutte contre les #incivilités … (page 135). Cette partie-là est déjà en partie présente dans la loi Sécurité Globale (article 20).
    - Il pousse à une #professionnalisation de la sécurité privée qui deviendrait ainsi les petites mains de la police, en vu notamment des #Jeux_olympiques Paris 2024, où le besoin en sécurité privée s’annonce colossal. Et cela passe par l’augmentation de ses #compétences : extension de leur #armement, possibilité d’intervention sur la #voie_publique, pouvoir de visionner les caméras, et même le port d’un #uniforme_spécifique (page 145).
    - Enfin, le dernier grand axe de ce livre concerne l’intégration de #nouvelles_technologies dans l’arsenal policier. Le titre de cette partie est évocateur, il s’agit de « porter le Ministère de l’Intérieur à la #frontière_technologique » (la notion de #frontière évoque la conquête de l’Ouest aux États-Unis, où il fallait coloniser les terres et les premières nations — la reprise de ce vocable relève d’une esthétique coloniale et viriliste).

    Ce livre prévoit une multitude de projets plus délirants et effrayants les uns que les autres. Il propose une #analyse_automatisée des #réseaux_sociaux (page 221), des #gilets_connectés pour les forces de l’ordre (page 227), ou encore des lunettes ou #casques_augmentés (page 227). Enfin, le Livre blanc insiste sur l’importance de la #biométrie pour la police. Entre proposition d’#interconnexion des #fichiers_biométriques (#TAJ, #FNAEG, #FAED…) (page 256), d’utilisation des #empreintes_digitales comme outil d’#identification lors des #contrôles_d’identité et l’équipement des #tablettes des policiers et gendarmes (#NEO et #NEOGEND) de lecteur d’empreinte sans contact (page 258), de faire plus de recherche sur la #reconnaissance_vocale et d’#odeur (!) (page 260) ou enfin de presser le législateur pour pouvoir expérimenter la #reconnaissance_faciale dans l’#espace_public (page 263).

    Le basculement technologique de la #surveillance par drones

    Parmi les nouveaux dispositifs promus par le Livre blanc : les #drones_de_police, ici appelés « #drones_de_sécurité_intérieure ». S’ils étaient autorisés par la loi « Sécurité Globale », ils modifieraient radicalement les pouvoirs de la police en lui donnant une capacité de surveillance totale.

    Il est d’ailleurs particulièrement marquant de voir que les rapporteurs de la loi considèrent cette légalisation comme une simple étape sans conséquence, parlant ainsi en une phrase « d’autoriser les services de l’État concourant à la #sécurité_intérieure et à la #défense_nationale et les forces de sécurité civile à filmer par voie aérienne (…) ». Cela alors que, du côté de la police et des industriels, les drones représentent une révolution dans le domaine de la sécurité, un acteur privé de premier plan évoquant au sujet des drones leur « potentiel quasiment inépuisable », car « rapides, faciles à opérer, discrets » et « tout simplement parfaits pour des missions de surveillance »

    Dans les discours sécuritaires qui font la promotion de ces dispositifs, il est en effet frappant de voir la frustration sur les capacités « limitées » (selon eux) des caméras fixes et combien ils fantasment sur le « potentiel » de ces drones. C’est le cas du maire LR d’Asnières-sur-Seine qui en 2016 se plaignait qu’on ne puisse matériellement pas « doter chaque coin de rue de #vidéoprotection » et que les drones « sont les outils techniques les plus adaptés » pour pallier aux limites de la présence humaine. La police met ainsi elle-même en avant la toute-puissance du #robot par le fait, par exemple pour les #contrôles_routiers, que « la caméra du drone détecte chaque infraction », que « les agents démontrent que plus rien ne leur échappe ». Même chose pour la #discrétion de ces outils qui peuvent, « à un coût nettement moindre » qu’un hélicoptère, « opérer des surveillances plus loin sur l’horizon sans être positionné à la verticale au-dessus des suspects ». Du côté des constructeurs, on vante les « #zooms puissants », les « #caméras_thermiques », leur donnant une « #vision_d’aigle », ainsi que « le #décollage possible pratiquement de n’importe où ».

    Tout cela n’est pas que du fantasme. Selon un rapport de l’Assemblée nationale, la police avait, en 2019, par exemple 30 drones « de type #Phantom_4 » et « #Mavic_Pro » (ou « #Mavic_2_Enterprise » comme nous l’avons appris lors de notre contentieux contre la préfecture de police de Paris). Il suffit d’aller voir les fiches descriptives du constructeur pour être inondé de termes techniques vantant l’omniscience de son produit : « caméra de nacelle à 3 axes », « vidéos 4K », « photos de 12 mégapixels », « caméra thermique infrarouge », « vitesse de vol maximale à 72 km/h » … Tant de termes qui recoupent les descriptions faites par leurs promoteurs : une machine volante, discrète, avec une capacité de surveiller tout (espace public ou non), et de loin.

    Il ne s’agit donc pas d’améliorer le dispositif de la vidéosurveillance déjà existant, mais d’un passage à l’échelle qui transforme sa nature, engageant une surveillance massive et largement invisible de l’espace public. Et cela bien loin du léger cadre qu’on avait réussi à imposer aux caméras fixes, qui imposait notamment que chaque caméra installée puisse faire la preuve de son utilité et de son intérêt, c’est-à-dire de la nécessité et de la #proportionnalité de son installation. Au lieu de cela, la vidéosurveillance demeure une politique publique dispendieuse et pourtant jamais évaluée. Comme le rappelle un récent rapport de la Cour des comptes, « aucune corrélation globale n’a été relevée entre l’existence de dispositifs de vidéoprotection et le niveau de la délinquance commise sur la voie publique, ou encore les taux d’élucidation ». Autre principe fondamental du droit entourant actuellement la vidéosurveillance (et lui aussi déjà largement inappliqué) : chaque personne filmée doit être informée de cette surveillance. Les drones semblent en contradiction avec ces deux principes : leur utilisation s’oppose à toute notion d’information des personnes et de nécessité ou proportionnalité.

    Où serons-nous dans 4 ans ?

    En pratique, c’est un basculement total des #pratiques_policières (et donc de notre quotidien) que préparent ces évolutions technologiques et législatives. Le Livre blanc fixe une échéance importante à cet égard : « les Jeux olympiques et paralympiques de Paris de 2024 seront un événement aux dimensions hors normes posant des enjeux de sécurité majeurs » (p. 159). Or, « les Jeux olympiques ne seront pas un lieu d’expérimentation : ces technologies devront être déjà éprouvées, notamment à l’occasion de la coupe de monde de Rugby de 2023 » (p. 159).

    En juillet 2019, le rapport parlementaire cité plus haut constatait que la Police nationale disposait de 30 drones et de 23 pilotes. En novembre 2020, le Livre blanc (p. 231) décompte 235 drones et 146 pilotes. En 14 mois, le nombre de drones et pilotes aura été multiplié par 7. Dès avril 2020, le ministère de l’Intérieur a publié un appel d’offre pour acquérir 650 drones de plus. Rappelons-le : ces dotations se sont faites en violation de la loi. Qu’en sera-t-il lorsque les drones seront autorisés par la loi « sécurité globale » ? Avec combien de milliers d’appareils volants devra-t-on bientôt partager nos rues ? Faut-il redouter, au cours des #JO de 2024, que des dizaines de drones soient attribués à la surveillance de chaque quartier de la région parisienne, survolant plus ou moins automatiquement chaque rue, sans répit, tout au long de la journée ?

    Les évolutions en matières de reconnaissance faciale invite à des projections encore plus glaçantes et irréelles. Dès 2016, nous dénoncions que le méga-fichier #TES, destiné à contenir le visage de l’ensemble de la population, servirait surtout, à terme, à généraliser la reconnaissance faciale à l’ensemble des activités policières : enquêtes, maintien de l’ordre, contrôles d’identité. Avec le port d’une caméra mobile par chaque brigade de police et de gendarmerie, tel que promis par Macron pour 2021, et la retransmission en temps réel permise par la loi « sécurité globale », ce rêve policier sera à portée de main : le gouvernement n’aura plus qu’à modifier unilatéralement son #décret_TES pour y joindre un système de reconnaissance faciale (exactement comme il avait fait en 2012 pour permettre la reconnaissance faciale à partir du TAJ qui, à lui seul, contient déjà 8 millions de photos). Aux robots dans le ciel s’ajouteraient des humains mutiques, dont le casque de réalité augmentée évoqué par le Livre Blanc, couplé à l’analyse d’image automatisée et aux tablettes numériques NEO, permettrait des contrôles systématiques et silencieux, rompus uniquement par la violence des interventions dirigées discrètement et à distance à travers la myriade de drones et de #cyborgs.

    En somme, ce Livre Blanc, dont une large partie est déjà transposée dans la proposition de loi sécurité globale, annonce le passage d’un #cap_sécuritaire historique : toujours plus de surveillance, plus de moyens et de pouvoirs pour la police et consorts, dans des proportions et à un rythme jamais égalés. De fait, c’est un #État_autoritaire qui s’affirme et se consolide à grand renfort d’argent public. Le Livre blanc propose ainsi de multiplier par trois le #budget dévolu au ministère de l’Intérieur, avec une augmentation de 6,7 milliards € sur 10 ans et de 3 milliards entre 2020 et 2025. Une provocation insupportable qui invite à réfléchir sérieusement au définancement de la police au profit de services publiques dont le délabrement plonge la population dans une #insécurité bien plus profonde que celle prétendument gérée par la police.

    https://www.laquadrature.net/2020/11/19/la-technopolice-moteur-de-la-securite-globale
    #France #Etat_autoritaire

    ping @isskein @karine4 @simplicissimus @reka @etraces

  • Migration : la #France et l’#Italie déploieront des #navires et des #avions pour alerter la Tunisie sur le départ des migrants

    Le ministre français de l’Intérieur, #Gérald_Darmanin, est attendu, ce weekend, en visite en Tunisie pour de décisives discussions dans la foulée de l’attentat contre la basilique de Nice commis par un migrant illégal tunisien, qui a fait trois morts. Une visite qui intervient aussi dans un climat de plus en plus tendu en France dont le gouvernement et le président de la République, Emmanuel Macron, s’emploient à restreindre au maximum les flux migratoires à travers la Méditerranée.

    A la veille de cette visite, le ministre français de l’Intérieur, qui se trouve ce vendredi à Rome , envisage avec son homologue italienne, #Luciana_Lamorgese, de déployer des navires ou des avions pour alerter la Tunisie du départ de #bateaux clandestins transportant des migrants vers les côtes italiennes, comme le jeune Tunisien qui est le principal suspect d’une attaque à l’arme blanche dans une église française la semaine dernière, a déclaré vendredi la ministre italienne.

    A l’issue d’une entrevue entre les deux ministres, Gerald Darmanin s’est gardé de critiquer l’Italie pour sa gestion du suspect tunisien, qui a débarqué sur l’île italienne de Lampedusa en septembre, a été mis en quarantaine en vertu du protocole sanitaire relatif à la pandémie et reçu des papiers d’expulsion des autorités italiennes avant de gagner la France en octobre.

    « A aucun moment, je n’ai pensé qu’il y avait quelque chose de défectueux » dans la façon dont l’Italie a géré l’affaire, a déclaré Darmanin, en réponse à une question posée lors d’une conférence de presse avec Lamorgese après leurs entretiens. Il a plutôt remercié Lamorgese et les services de renseignement italiens pour l’échange d’informations dans les jours qui ont suivi l’#attentat de #Nice.

    Les Tunisiens qui fuient une économie dévastée par les effets du virus, constituent le plus grand contingent de migrants débarqués en Italie cette année, et ils arrivent directement de Tunisie dans des bateaux assez solides pour ne pas avoir besoin de secours, souligne le Washington Post, rappelant que, ces dernières années, la majorité des migrants qui ont atteint les côtes méridionales de l’Italie venaient d’Afrique subsaharienne et traversaient la Méditerranée dans des embarcations de fortune , donc en mauvais état pour la plupart, et opérées par des trafiquants en Libye.

    Lamorgese a déclaré qu’elle avait discuté avec Darmarin d’un #plan prévoyant le déploiement de « moyens navals ou aériens qui pourraient alerter les autorités tunisiennes d’éventuels départs » et les aider à intercepter les bateaux, « dans le respect de leurs souveraineté et autonomie que nous ne voulons pas violer ».

    Selon ce plan, il n’y aurait « qu’une #alerte que nous donnerions aux autorités tunisiennes pour faciliter le #traçage des navires qui partent de leur territoire pour rejoindre les côtes italiennes », a déclaré la ministre italienne. « Il est évident que cela suppose la #collaboration des autorités tunisiennes ».

    La France aurait-elle son « #Patriot_Act ?

    Après sa réunion du matin à Rome, Darmarin a déclaré qu’il se rend en Tunisie, en Algérie et à Malte, pour discuter des questions de migration et de #terrorisme.

    « La France et l’Italie doivent définir une position commune pour la lutte contre l’immigration clandestine au niveau européen », a-t-il déclaré.

    Il a été demandé à Darmarin si, à la suite des récents attentats terroristes en France, le gouvernement français devrait adopter une loi comme le « USA Patriot Act » promulgué après les attentats du 11 septembre 2001 pour intensifier les efforts de détection et de prévention du terrorisme.

    « Plus qu’un Patriot Act, ce qu’il faut, c’est un #acte_européen », a répondu Darmarin. « La France ne peut pas lutter seule contre la politique islamiste ».

    La Tunisie est l’un des rares pays à avoir conclu un accord de rapatriement avec l’Italie. Mais avec des milliers de Tunisiens arrivés par mer récemment et moins de 100 migrants expulsés et renvoyés dans le pays par voie aérienne chaque semaine, la priorité est donnée aux personnes considérées comme dangereuses, indique le Washington Post. Selon Lamorgese, rien n’indique que l’agresseur de Nice, Ibrahim Issaoui, 21 ans, constituait une menace.

    Les deux ministres se sont rencontrés un jour après que le président français Emmanuel Macron ait déclaré que son pays renforcera ses contrôles aux frontières après les multiples attaques de cet automne.

    L’Italie et la France lancent, sur une base expérimentale de six mois, des #brigades_mixtes de forces de sécurité italiennes et françaises à leurs frontières communes pour renforcer les contrôles, a déclaré Lamorgese aux journalistes.

    #externalisation #asile #réfugiés #migrations #frontières #surveillance_frontalière #Tunisie #militarisation_des_frontières #Darmanin #accord_de_réadmission

    ping @isskein @karine4

    • Union européenne – Tunisie : l’illusion d’une coopération équilibrée

      Dans la nuit de vendredi 12 au samedi 13 février, 48 personnes de différentes nationalités africaines sont parties de Sidi Mansour, dans la province de Sfax en Tunisie, direction les côtes italiennes. La marine tunisienne est intervenue à une centaine de kilomètres au nord-ouest de Lampedusa lorsque les passagers naviguaient dans une mer agitée. Tandis que 25 personnes ont pu être secourues, une personne est décédée et 22 autres sont déclarées « disparues », comme des milliers d’autres avant elles [1]. Cet énième naufrage témoigne des traversées plus importantes au cours des derniers mois depuis la Tunisie, qui sont rendues plus dangereuses alors que l’Union européenne (UE) renforce ses politiques sécuritaires en Méditerranée en collaboration avec les États d’Afrique du Nord, dont la Tunisie.

      Au cours de 2020, plus de 13 400 personnes migrantes parties de Tunisie ont été interceptées par les garde-côtes tunisiens et plus de 13 200 autres sont parvenues à rejoindre les côtes européennes [2]. Jamais les chiffres n’ont été aussi élevés et depuis l’été 2020, jamais la Tunisie n’a été autant au centre de l’attention des dirigeant·e·s européen·ne·s. A l’occasion d’une rencontre dans ce pays le 17 août 2020, l’Italie et la Tunisie ont ainsi conclu un accord accompagné d’une enveloppe de 11 millions d’euros pour le renforcement des contrôles aux frontières tunisiennes et en particulier la surveillance maritime [3]. Le 6 novembre 2020, à l’issue d’une réunion à Rome, la ministre italienne de l’Intérieur et son homologue français ont également décidé de déployer au large des côtes tunisiennes des « moyens navals ou aériens qui pourraient alerter les autorités tunisiennes d’éventuels départs » [4].

      Cette attention a été redoublée au lendemain de l’attentat de Nice, le 29 octobre 2020. Lors d’une visite à Tunis, le ministre français, jouant de l’amalgame entre terrorisme et migration, faisait du contrôle migratoire le fer de lance de la lutte contre le terrorisme et appelait à une coopération à l’échelle européenne avec les pays d’Afrique du Nord pour verrouiller leurs frontières. Suivant l’exemple de l’Italie qui coopère déjà de manière étroite avec la Tunisie pour renvoyer de force ses ressortissant·e·s [5], la France a demandé aux autorités tunisiennes la délivrance automatique de laissez-passer pour faciliter les expulsions et augmenter leurs cadences.

      Cette coopération déséquilibrée qui met la Tunisie face à l’UE et ses États membres, inlassablement dénoncée des deux côtés de la Méditerranée par les associations de défense des droits, n’est pas nouvelle et s’accélère.

      Alors qu’a augmenté, au cours de l’année 2020, le nombre d’exilé·e·s en provenance d’Afrique subsaharienne et quittant les côtes tunisiennes en direction de l’Italie [6], les dirigeant·e·s européen·ne·s craignent que la Tunisie ne se transforme en pays de départ non seulement pour les ressortissant·e·s tunisien·ne·s mais également pour des exilé·e·s venu·e·s de tout le continent. Après être parvenue à réduire les départs depuis les côtes libyennes, mais surtout à augmenter le nombre de refoulements grâce à l’intervention des pseudo garde-côtes libyens en Méditerranée centrale (10 000 rien qu’en 2020) [7], l’UE et ses États membres se tournent de plus en plus vers la Tunisie, devenue l’une des principales cibles de leur politique d’externalisation en vue de tarir les passages sur cette route. Dès 2018, la Commission européenne avait d’ailleurs identifié la Tunisie comme candidate privilégiée pour l’installation sur son sol de « plateformes de débarquement » [8], autrement dit des camps de tri externalisés au service de l’UE, destinés aux exilé·e·s secouru·e·s ou intercepté·e·s en mer. Le plan prévoyait également le renforcement des capacités d’interception des dits garde-côtes tunisiens.

      Si à l’époque la Tunisie avait clamé son refus de devenir le hotspot africain et le garde-frontière de l’Europe [9], Tunis, sous la pression européenne, semble accepter peu à peu d’être partie prenante de cette approche [10]. Le soutien que la Tunisie reçoit de l’UE pour surveiller ses frontières maritimes ne cesse de s’intensifier. Depuis 2015, Bruxelles multiplie en effet les programmes destinés à la formation et au renforcement des capacités des garde-côtes tunisiens, notamment en matière de collecte de données personnelles. Dans le cadre du programme « Gestion des frontières au Maghreb » [11] lancé en juillet 2018, l’UE a prévu d’allouer 24,5 millions d’euros qui bénéficieront principalement à la Garde nationale maritime tunisienne [12]. Sans oublier l’agence européenne Frontex qui contrôle les eaux tunisiennes au moyen d’images satellite, de radars et de drones [13] et récolte des données qui depuis quelques mois sont partagées avec les garde-côtes tunisiens [14], comme cela se fait déjà avec les (soi-disant) garde-côtes libyens [15]. Le but est simple : détecter les embarcations au plus tôt pour alerter les autorités tunisiennes afin qu’elles se chargent elles-mêmes des interceptions maritimes. Les moyens de surveillance navals et aériens que l’Italie et la France veulent déployer pour surveiller les départs de Tunisie viennent compléter cet édifice.

      Les gouvernements européens se félicitent volontiers des résultats de leur stratégie des « #refoulements_par_procuration » [16] en Libye. Cette stratégie occulte cependant les conséquences d’un partenariat avec des « garde-côtes » liés à des milices et des réseaux de trafiquants d’êtres humains [17], à savoir le renvoi des personnes migrantes dans un pays non-sûr, qu’elles tentent désespérément de fuir, ainsi qu’une hécatombe en mer Méditerranée. A mesure que les autorités européennes se défaussent de leurs responsabilités en matière de recherche et de secours sur les garde-côtes des pays d’Afrique du Nord, les cas de non-assistance et les naufrages se multiplient [18]. Alors que la route de la Méditerranée centrale est l’une des mieux surveillées au monde, c’est aussi l’une des plus mortelles du fait de cette politique du laisser-mourir en mer. Au cours de l’année 2020, près de 1 000 décès y ont été comptabilisés [19], sans compter les nombreux naufrages invisibles [20].

      Nous refusons que cette coopération euro-libyenne, dont on connaît déjà les conséquences, soit dupliquée en Tunisie. Si ce pays en paix et doté d’institutions démocratiques peut à première vue offrir une image plus « accueillante » que la Libye, il ne saurait être considéré comme un pays « sûr », ni pour les migrant·e·s, ni pour ses propres ressortissant·e·s, de plus en plus nombreux·ses à fuir la situation socio-économique dégradée, et aggravée par la crise sanitaire [21]. Les pressions exercées par l’UE et ses États membres pour obliger la Tunisie à devenir le réceptacle de tou·te·s les migrant·e·s « indésirables » sous couvert de lutte contre le terrorisme sont inacceptables. La complaisance des autorités tunisiennes et le manque de transparence des négociations avec l’UE et ses États membres le sont tout autant. En aucun cas le combat contre le terrorisme ne saurait justifier que soient sacrifiées les valeurs de la démocratie et du respect des droits fondamentaux, tels que la liberté d’aller et venir et le droit de trouver une véritable protection.

      De part et d’autre de la Méditerranée, nos organisations affirment leur solidarité avec les personnes exilées de Tunisie et d’ailleurs. Nous condamnons ces politiques sécuritaires externalisées qui génèrent d’innombrables violations des droits et ne font que propager l’intolérance et la haine.

      –—

      Notes :

      [1] « En Tunisie, 22 migrants sont portés disparus après le naufrage d’un bateau », La Presse.ca, 13 février 2021

      [2] Rapport du mois de décembre 2020 des mouvements sociaux, suicides, violences, et migrations, n°87, Observatoire social tunisien, FTDES

      [3] Quel est le contenu du récent accord entre la Tunisie et l’Italie ? Réponses aux demandes d’accès introduit par ASGI, FTDES et ASF, Projet Sciabaca & Oruka, 7 décembre 2020

      [4] « Migration : la France et l’Italie déploieront des navires et des avions pour alerter la Tunisie sur le départ des migrants », African Manager, 6 décembre 2020

      [5] Chaque semaine, deux charters partent de Sicile pour renvoyer une centaine de migrant·e·s tunisien·ne·s. En 2019, selon les chiffres du FTDES, 1 739 ressortissant·e·s tunisien·ne·s ont été expulsé·e·s d’Italie via ces vols. En 2020, ceux-ci étaient encore affrétés malgré la crise sanitaire.

      [6] Rapport du mois d’octobre 2020 des mouvements sociaux, suicides, violences, et migrations, n°85, Observatoire social tunisien, FTDES

      [7] Le nombre de migrant·e·s ayant été intercepté·e·s par les pseudo garde-côtes libyens en 2019 est estimé à 9 000 selon Alarmphone (voir : Central Mediterranean Regional Analysis 1 October 2019-31 December 2019, 5 janvier 2020).

      [8] Migration : Regional disembarkation arrangements - Follow-up to the European Council Conlusions of 28 June 2018

      [9] « Tri, confinement, expulsion : l’approche hotspot au service de l’UE », Migreurop, 25 juin 2019

      [10] « Comment l’Europe contrôle ses frontières en Tunisie ? », Inkyfada, 20 mars 2020

      [11] Programme du Fonds fiduciaire d’urgence de l’UE pour l’Afrique, mis en œuvre par l’ICMPD et le Ministère italien de l’intérieur - Document d’action pour la mise en œuvre du programme Afrique du Nord, Commission européenne (non daté)

      [12] Réponse de la Commission européenne à une question parlementaire sur les programmes de gestion des frontières financés par le Fonds fiduciaire d’urgence, 26 octobre 2020

      [13] « EU pays for surveillance in Gulf of Tunis », Matthias Monroy, 28 juin 2020

      [14] Réponse question parlementaire donnée par la Haute représentante/Vice-présidente Borrell au nom de la Commission européenne sur le projet Seahorse Mediterraneo 2.0, 7 mai 2020

      [15] « A Struggle for Every Single Boat- Central Mediterranean Analysis, July - December 2020 », Alarm Phone, 14 janvier 2021

      [16] « MARE CLAUSUM - Italy and the EU’s undeclared operation to stem migration across the Mediterranea » ; Forensic Oceanography, Forensic Architecture agency, Goldsmiths, Université de Londres, Mai 2018

      [17] « Migrants detained in Libya for profit, leaked EU report reveals », The Guardian, 20 novembre 2019

      [18] « Carnage in the Mediterranean is the direct result of European state policies », MSF 13 novembre 2020

      [19] Selon les chiffres de l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM) en Méditerranée : https://missingmigrants.iom.int/region/mediterranean?migrant_route%5B%5D=1376

      [20] « November Shipwrecks - Hundreds of Visible and Invisible Deaths in the Central Med », Alarmphone, 26 novembre 2020

      [21] « Politiques du non-accueil en Tunisie : des acteurs humanitaires au service des politiques sécuritaires européennes », Migreurop, FTDES juin 2020

      https://www.migreurop.org/article3028.html

    • La Tunisia come frontiera esterna d’Europa: a farne le spese sono sempre i diritti umani

      Migreurop, FTDES e EuroMed Rights lanciano un appello congiunto contro la riproposizione del “modello libico” in Tunisia.

      La Tunisia è divenuta negli ultimi anni uno degli interlocutori principali per le politiche securitarie europee basate sull’esternalizzazione delle frontiere. Il governo tunisino si presta, in modo sempre più evidente, a soddisfare le richieste dell’Unione europea e dei suoi paesi membri, Italia e Francia in particolare, che mirano a bloccare nel paese i flussi migratori, ancor prima che possano raggiungere il territorio europeo.

      Ma la situazione non può essere sostenibile sul lungo termine: una grande quantità di denaro viene investita nel finanziamento e supporto alla Guardia costiera tunisina e alle forze di polizia, che controllano i confini marittimi e riportano indietro le persone intercettate in mare, in quelli che sono stati definiti “respingimenti per procura” di cui le autorità europee non vogliono farsi carico, per non dover rispondere degli obblighi internazionali in materia di protezione e asilo.

      Intanto, nel paese imperversa una crisi socio-economica molto grave, che sta smorzando l’entusiasmo nei confronti della giovane democrazia tunisina, unico esperimento politico post-2011 ad aver resistito finora alle spinte autocratiche. Al malessere della popolazione, che nelle ultime settimane ha manifestato nelle strade di diverse città, lo Stato sembra saper rispondere solo con la forza e la repressione.
      La precarietà della situazione economica e sociale non farà che alimentare le partenze dalla Tunisia, che avevano registrato numeri consistenti durante il 2020.

      La guardia costiera, seppure ben equipaggiata e addestrata, non può rappresentare un vero deterrente per chi non ha nulla da perdere: e infatti negli ultimi giorni sono sbarcate a Lampedusa complessivamente più di 230 persone provenienti dall’area di Sfax, attualmente isolati nell’hotspot dell’isola. Altri arrivano invece a Pantelleria, situata a pochi chilometri dalle coste della capitale [1].

      Ma nel Mediterraneo si continua anche a morire: l’ultimo episodio noto che ha coinvolto la Tunisia è avvenuto tra il 12 e il 13 febbraio, quando un’imbarcazione in difficoltà è stata soccorsa dalla marina tunisina al largo di Lampedusa. Secondo le informazioni disponibili, la barca era partita da Sidi Mansour, nella provincia di Sfax, e le 48 persone a bordo erano di varie nazionalità africane. Il maltempo aveva spinto la marina tunisina a interrompere le operazioni di soccorso: delle 48 persone a bordo, 25 sono state tratte in salvo e ricondotte in Tunisia, una è morta e le altre 22 sono state dichiarate “disperse” [2].

      Sono numerose, ma ancora ampiamente inascoltate, le voci che contestano l’approccio del governo tunisino in tema di emigrazione nei rapporti con i paesi a nord del Mediterraneo. Un comunicato congiunto pubblicato il 17 febbraio da Migreurop, del Forum Tunisino per i Diritti Economici e Sociali e di EuroMed Rights, dal titolo “Unione europea - Tunisia: l’illusione di una cooperazione equilibrata” [3], denuncia la complicità delle autorità tunisine nell’assecondare le politiche securitarie europee, che rende sempre più preoccupante la situazione per chi tenta di raggiungere l’Europa dalla Tunisia. Lo Stato tunisino non è in grado di difendere i diritti dei propri cittadini o di chi, in generale, parte dalle proprie coste, di fronte alle pressioni europee che perseguono imperterrite delle politiche emergenziali insostenibili sul lungo periodo.

      Il comunicato esprime la propria contrarietà alla riproposizione in Tunisia del tristemente noto modello libico, basato sulla delegazione alle forze locali dei controlli frontalieri europei, sui respingimenti collettivi e sulla criminalizzazione delle persone migranti. Il 2020 è stato un anno cruciale per l’inasprimento dei controlli alle frontiere nel paese: l’aumento delle partenze dalle coste tunisine a causa della crisi economica, e l’attacco di Nizza ad opera di un cittadino tunisino hanno comportato una maggiore attenzione dei governi europei al paese nordafricano, con conseguente aumento dei finanziamenti destinati al controllo frontaliero. A farne le spese, nel caso tunisino come in quello libico, saranno ancora una volta le persone che vedranno violati i loro diritti:

      “Con le autorità europee che si sottraggono alle loro responsabilità in materia di ricerca e di soccorso in mare, affidandole alle guardie costiere dei paesi nordafricani, i casi di mancata assistenza sono in aumento e i naufragi proliferano. Benché la rotta del Mediterraneo centrale sia una delle più controllate al mondo, è anche una delle più mortali, a causa di questa politica di lasciar morire la gente in mare. Durante il 2020, sono stati registrati quasi 1.000 morti, senza contare i casi di naufragi invisibili.

      Ci rifiutiamo di lasciare che il modello di cooperazione euro-libica venga riproposto in Tunisia, con le conseguenze che già conosciamo. Se questo paese, in pace e con istituzioni democratiche, può a prima vista offrire un’immagine più «accogliente» della Libia, non può però essere considerato un paese «sicuro», né per le persone migranti né per i suoi stessi cittadini, che fuggono dal deterioramento della situazione socio-economica, aggravata dalla crisi sanitaria.

      La pressione esercitata dall’Ue e dai suoi Stati membri per costringere la Tunisia a diventare un rifugio per tutti/e i/le migranti «indesiderabili» con il pretesto della lotta al terrorismo è inaccettabile. La connivenza delle autorità tunisine e la mancanza di trasparenza nei negoziati con l’Ue e i suoi Stati membri sono altrettanto inaccettabili. In nessun caso la lotta contro il terrorismo può giustificare il sacrificio dei valori della democrazia e del rispetto dei diritti fondamentali, come la libertà di movimento e il diritto a una vera protezione.”

      https://www.meltingpot.org/La-Tunisia-come-frontiera-esterna-d-Europa-a-farne-le-spese.html?var_mod

      #Tunisie #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #modèle_libyen #externalisation

    • Unmanned surveillance for Fortress Europe

      The agencies #EMSA and Frontex have spent more than €300 million on drone services since 2016. The Mediterranean in particular is becoming a testing track for further projects.

      According to the study „Eurodrones Inc.“ presented by Ben Hayes, Chris Jones and Eric Töpfer for Statewatch seven years ago, the European Commission had already spent over €315 million at that time to investigate the use of drones for border surveillance. These efforts focused on capabilities of member states and their national contact centres for #EUROSUR. The border surveillance system, managed by Frontex in Warsaw, became operational in 2014 – initially only in some EU Member States.

      The Statewatch study also documented in detail the investments made by the Defence Agency (EDA) in European drone research up to 2014. More than €190 million in funding for drones on land, at sea and in the air has flowed since the EU military agency was founded. 39 projects researched technologies or standards to make the unmanned systems usable for civilian and military purposes.

      Military research on drone technologies should also benefit border police applications. This was already laid down in the conclusions of the “ First European High Level Conference on Unmanned Aerial Systems“, to which the Commission and the EDA invited military and aviation security authorities, the defence industry and other „representatives of the European aviation community“ to Brussels in 2010. According to this, once „the existing barriers to growth are removed, the civil market could be potentially much larger than the military market“.

      Merging „maritime surveillance“ initiatives

      Because unmanned flights over land have to be set up with cumbersome authorisation procedures, Europe’s unregulated seas have become a popular testing ground for both civilian and military drone projects. It is therefore not surprising that in 2014, in the action plan of its „Maritime Security Strategy“, the Commission also called for a „cross-sectoral approach“ by civilian and military authorities to bring together the various „maritime surveillance initiatives“ and support them with unmanned systems.

      In addition to the military EDA, this primarily meant those EU agencies that take on tasks to monitor seas and coastlines: The Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) in Lisbon, founded in 2002, the Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) in Warsaw since 2004, and the Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) in Vigo, Spain, which followed a year later.

      Since 2009, the three agencies have been cooperating within the framework of bi- and trilateral agreements in certain areas, this mainly concerned satellite surveillance. With „CleanSeaNet“, EMSA has had a monitoring system for detecting oil spills in European waters since 2007. From 2013, the data collected there was continuously transmitted to the Frontex Situation Centre. There, they flow into the EUROSUR border surveillance system, which is also based on satellites. Finally, EFCA also operates „Integrated Maritime Services“ (IMS) for vessel detection and tracking using satellites to monitor, control and enforce the common EU fisheries policy.

      After the so-called „migration crisis“ in 2015, the Commission proposed the modification of the mandates of the three agencies in a „set of measures to manage the EU’s external borders and protect our Schengen area without internal borders“. They should cooperate more closely in the five areas of information exchange, surveillance and communication services, risk analysis, capacity building and exchange. To this end, the communication calls for the „jointly operating Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (drones) in the Mediterranean Sea“.

      Starting in 2016, Frontex, EMSA and EFCA set out the closer cooperation in several cooperation agreements and initially carried out a research project on the use of satellites, drones and manned surveillance aircraft. EMSA covered the costs of €310,000, and the fixed-wing aircraft „AR 5 Evo“ from the Portuguese company Tekever and a „Scan Eagle“ from the Boeing offshoot Insitu were flown.

      EMSA took the lead

      Since then, EMSA has taken the lead regarding unmanned maritime surveillance services. The development of such a drone fleet was included in the proposal for a new EMSA regulation presented by the Commission at the end of 2015. Drones were to become a „complementary tool in the overall surveillance chain“. The Commission expected this to provide „early detection of migrant departures“, another purpose was to „support of law enforcement activities“.

      EMSA initially received €67 million for the new leased drone services, with further money earmarked for the necessary expansion of satellite communications. In a call for tenders, medium-sized fixed-wing aircraft with a long range as well as vertical take-off aircraft were sought; as basic equipment, they were to carry optical and infrared cameras, an optical scanner and an AIS receiver. For pollution tracking or emission monitoring, manufacturers should fit additional sensors.

      From 2018, EMSA awarded further contracts totalling €38 million for systems launching either on land or from ships. Also in 2018, the agency paid €2.86 million for quadrocopters that can be launched from ships. In the same year, EMSA signed a framework contract worth €59 million for flights with the long-range drone „Hermes 900“ from Israeli company Elbit Systems. In 2020, for €20 million, the agency was again looking for unmanned vertical take-off aircraft that can be launched either on land or from ships and can stay in the air for up to four hours.

      In addition to the „Hermes 900“, the EMSA drone fleet includes three fixed-wing aircraft, the „AR5 Evo“ from Tekever (Portugal), the „Ouranos“ from ALTUS (Greece) and the „Ogassa“ from UAVision (Portugal). The larger helicopter drones are the „Skeldar V-200“ from UMS (Sweden) and the „Camcopter S-100“ from Schiebel GmbH (Austria), as well as the „Indago“ quadrocopter from Lockheed Martin (USA).

      EMSA handles flights with different destinations for numerous EU member states, as well as for Iceland as the only Schengen state. Due to increasing demand, capacities are now being expanded. In a tender worth €20 million, „RPAS Services for Maritime Surveillance with Extended Coastal Range“ with vertically launched, larger drones are being sought. Another large contract for „RPAS Services for Multipurpose Maritime Surveillance“ is expected to cost €50 million. Finally, EMSA is looking for several dozen small drones under 25 kilograms for €7 million.

      Airbus flies for Frontex

      As early as 2009, the EU border agency hosted relevant workshops and seminars on the use of drones and invited manufacturers to give demonstrations. The events were intended to present marketable systems „for land and sea border surveillance“ to border police from member states. In its 2012 Work Programme, Frontex announced its intention to pursue „developments regarding identification and removing of the existing gaps in border surveillance with special focus on Unmanned Aircraft Systems“.

      After a failed award in 2015, Frontex initially tendered a „Trial of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) for long endurance Maritime Aerial Surveillance“ in Crete and Sicily in 2018. The contract was awarded to Airbus (€4.75 million) for flights with a „Heron 1“ from Israel Aeronautics Industries (IAI) and Leonardo (€1.7 million) with its „Falco Evo“. The focus was not only on testing surveillance technology, but also on the use of drones within civilian airspace.

      After the pilot projects, Frontex then started to procure its own drones of the high-flying MALE class. The tender was for a company that would carry out missions in all weather conditions and at day and night time off Malta, Italy or Greece for €50 million. The contract was again awarded to the defence company Airbus for flights with a „Heron 1“. The aircraft are to operate in a radius of up to 250 nautical miles, which means they could also reconnoitre off the coasts of Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. They carry electro-optical cameras, thermal imaging cameras and so-called „daylight spotters“ to track moving targets. Other equipment includes mobile and satellite phone tracking systems.

      It is not yet clear when the Frontex drones will begin operations, nor does the agency say where they will be stationed in the central Mediterranean. However, it has announced that it will launch two tenders per year for a total of up to 3.000 contracted hours to operate large drones.

      Drone offensive for „pull backs“

      So since 2016, EMSA and Frontex have spent more than €300 million on drone services. On top of that, the Commission has spent at least €38 million funding migration-related drone research such as UPAC S-100, SARA, ROBORDER, CAMELOT, COMPASS2020, FOLDOUT, BorderUAS. This does not include the numerous research projects in the Horizon2020 framework programme, which, like unmanned passenger transport, are not related to border surveillance. Similar research was also carried out during the same period on behalf of the Defence Agency, which spent well over €100 million on it.

      The new unmanned capabilities significantly expand maritime surveillance in particular and enable a new concept of joint command and control structures between Frontex, EMSA and EFCA. Long-range drones, such as those used by EMSA with the „Hermes 900“ and Frontex with the „Heron 1“ in the Mediterranean, can stay in the air for a whole day, covering large sea areas.

      It is expected that the missions will generate significantly more situational information about boats of refugees. The drone offensive will then ensure even more „pull backs“ in violation of international law, after the surveillance information is passed on to the coast guards in countries such as Libya as before, in order to intercept refugees as quickly as possible after they set sail from the coasts there.

      https://digit.site36.net/2021/04/30/unmanned-surveillance-for-fortress-europe
      #drones

  • L’UE achète des drones à #Airbus pour repérer les bateaux transportant des migrants

    Airbus et deux sociétés d’armement israéliennes ont reçu 100 millions d’euros pour faire voler des drones au-dessus de la #Méditerranée. Le but : identifier les bateaux chargés de migrants qui tentent d’atteindre l’#Europe, selon le Guardian. Un article d’Euractiv Italie.

    Dans le cadre des « services de #surveillance_aérienne_maritime » qu’elle assure, l’#UE a décidé de recourir à des #appareils_téléguidés volant à moyenne altitude à longue endurance, connus du grand public sous le nom de drones. C’est Airbus qui a été mandaté par Bruxelles pour fournir les engins. Le conglomérat européen spécialisé dans l’aéronautique et la défense travaillera avec la société publique #Israel_Aerospace_Industries (#IAI). Un deuxième contrat a été signé avec #Elbit_Systems, une société d’#armement israélienne privée. Les deux contrats s’élèvent à 50 millions d’euros chacun, selon une information du journal britannique The Guardian.

    Les opérations seront menées en #Grèce et/ou en #Italie et/ou à #Malte selon le contrat-cadre signé entre #Frontex et les fournisseurs, dans le cadre des mesures de contrôle des frontières du sud de l’Europe.

    Le #budget de l’agence européenne de garde-frontières et de gardes-côtes (Frontex), est passé de 6 millions d’euros en 2005 à 460 millions d’euros cette année, ce qui reflète l’importance croissante donnée au contrôle des frontières extérieures en raison de l’immigration. Le service de surveillance aérienne comprendra la mise à disposition d’un flux de #données fiable en temps réel et la capacité de partager ces données en temps réel.

    L’IAI affirme que son drone #Heron, employé couramment par les forces armées israéliennes et allemandes, est en mesure de voler pendant plus de 24 heures et peut parcourir jusqu’à 1 000 miles à partir de sa base à des altitudes supérieures à 35 000 pieds.

    Elbit Systems soutient pour sa part que ses drones #Hermes peuvent voler jusqu’à 36 heures à 30 000 pieds. Le mois dernier, Elbit a annoncé que des drones Hermes avaient été testés avec l’Agence maritime et des garde-côtes britannique au large de la côte ouest du Pays de Galles pour des opérations de recherche et de sauvetage.

    Les drones israéliens sont le résultat d’une technologie de surveillance qu’Israël a développée et testée lors d’une série d’attaques sur Gaza, comme le détaille un rapport de Human Rights Watch. Airbus a fait savoir que son modèle n’était pas en mesure de transporter des armes, et qu’il serait peint en blanc avec le label « Frontex ». Les premiers tests seront effectués en Grèce sur l’île de #Crète.

    Dans le cadre du programme Frontex, le drone italien #Falco_Evo de l’entreprise #Leonardo avait déjà été testé pour des activités de surveillance maritime aérienne dans l’espace aérien civil italien et maltais.

    En juin 2919, le drone avait permis de mettre au jour une pratique fréquemment utilisée par les passeurs : le transbordement de dizaines de personnes d’un « vaisseau -mère » vers une embarcation qui est ensuite laissée à la dérive. La Guardia di Finanza, la police dounière italienne, alertée par les images du drone, avait alors intercepté et saisi un bateau de pêche.

    Reste que l’utilisation de ce type de technologie suscite de nombreuses craintes. Les détracteurs les plus acharnés de la surveillance aérienne par des drones affirment que l’obligation légale d’aider un navire en danger et de sauver des naufragés ne s’applique pas à un engin aérien sans pilote, quel qu’il soit.

    https://www.euractiv.fr/section/migrations/news/lue-achete-des-drones-a-airbus-pour-reperer-les-bateaux-transportant-des-mi
    #complexe_militaro-industriel #business #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #drones #contrôles_frontaliers #surveillance_des_frontières #Israël #EU #Union_européenne #UE

    ping @e-traces

  • "Au Sahel, le spectre de la menace fantôme" + "L’armée française arme ses drones, mais le débat est confisqué" : 2 articles de Rémi Carayol sur Mediapart > Versions intégrales.
    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/060920/au-sahel-le-spectre-de-la-menace-fantome

    Au Mali, où deux militaires français ont encore été tués, au Niger ou au Burkina Faso, les groupes djihadistes ont revu leurs pratiques en raison de la présence de drones armés par l’armée française. Mais la crainte de ce qui peut venir du ciel affecte aussi les populations civiles.

    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/060920/l-armee-francaise-arme-ses-drones-mais-le-debat-est-confisque
    "Officiellement, un drone de l’armée française a frappé pour la première fois le 21 décembre 2019 au Mali. Depuis, cela ne s’arrête pas. Mais on ne connaît jamais les cibles visées, ni le bilan exact des frappes."

    "Au Sahel, le spectre de la menace fantôme - 6 sept. 2020 Par Rémi Carayol - Mediapart.fr"

    Au Mali, où deux militaires français ont encore été tués, au Niger ou au Burkina Faso, les groupes djihadistes ont revu leurs pratiques en raison de la présence de drones armés par l’armée française. Mais la crainte de ce qui peut venir du ciel affecte aussi les populations civiles.

    C’est la petite musique du moment : en dépit des nombreuses violences commises dans la région, y compris par les forces de sécurité alliées à l’armée française, et malgré le coup d’État qui a contraint le président malien à démissionner le 18 août, la France serait sur la bonne voie au Sahel.

    Responsables politiques et militaires se sont succédés ces derniers mois dans les médias pour assurer que depuis le sommet de Pau organisé en janvier dernier, « l’ennemi » djihadiste a subi de nombreuses défaites, que les résultats de l’opération Barkhane, qui mobilise 5 100 soldats, sont probants, et que les drones n’y sont pas pour rien. « Le choix d’armer les drones a ajouté aux moyens dont dispose Barkhane une capacité d’action d’opportunité, explique l’état-major. Au Sahel, ils permettent la saisie d’opportunités contre des groupes terroristes particulièrement fugaces. »

    De fait, et même si deux militaires français ont encore été tués samedi au Mali, les groupes djihadistes ont dû revoir leurs pratiques. Plusieurs sources locales affirment qu’ils se font plus discrets sur le terrain depuis qu’ils savent que des drones peuvent les frapper à tout moment. « Ils ne peuvent plus se regrouper par dizaines, voire par centaines comme avant, pour lancer des offensives, affirme un très bon connaisseur de ces groupes et du Mali. Ils craignent d’être repérés et frappés par des drones. »

    Mais cette psychose ne touche pas seulement les combattants armés. Les civils aussi en sont la proie. Au Mali, au Niger ou encore au Burkina Faso, la nouvelle donne n’a pas échappé aux habitants des zones dans lesquelles la France mène des opérations militaires : eux aussi savent que celle-ci dispose désormais de drones armés, capables de frapper à tout moment. « C’est inquiétant, indique le chef d’un village du centre du Mali ayant requis l’anonymat, comme l’ensemble des habitants de cette zone en partie contrôlée par les djihadistes. Les avions, on les entend venir. Mais les drones, on ne les voit pas, on ne les entend pas, on ne sait pas d’où ils sortent. Ils représentent une menace permanente. »

    Un spécialiste de cette région, qui s’y rend régulièrement dans le cadre de ses missions pour une ONG, a constaté cette crainte naissante. « La peur des populations a décuplé depuis l’utilisation des drones armés », affirme-t-il. Elle les a poussées à changer leurs habitudes. « Avant, lorsque les djihadistes venaient dans un village, au marché ou au puits, ils attiraient une foule de curieux. Maintenant, les civils les évitent, car ils savent que les drones peuvent frapper à tout moment. Mais les djihadistes en sont conscients et ils font en sorte d’être souvent au contact des populations dans le but de s’en servir comme de boucliers humains. »

    Autre nouveauté : « Avant, lorsqu’il y avait une frappe quelque part, les populations voisines s’y rendaient dans les heures qui suivaient afin d’enterrer les personnes tuées, selon la tradition. Elles n’avaient rien à craindre. Mais, aujourd’hui, elles n’y vont plus, de peur d’être elles aussi victimes des bombes françaises. Elles savent qu’un drone peut rester sur place après une frappe. »

    L’une d’elles a particulièrement marqué les esprits. Les 6 et 7 février, Barkhane a, selon un communiqué officiel, « conduit une opération d’opportunité à l’ouest du Gourma ayant abouti à la neutralisation d’une vingtaine de terroristes ainsi qu’à la destruction de plusieurs véhicules ». Cette opération « a mobilisé ses moyens aériens sur très court préavis », dont un drone. Or, selon plusieurs témoignages recueillis par Mediapart, la frappe du 7 février aurait tué de nombreux civils.

    Ce jour-là, des habitants de la zone se trouvaient à Fatawada, un campement nomade situé dans les environs de Gossi, et étaient sur le point d’aller récupérer les corps des djihadistes tués la veille (dans le but de procéder à leur inhumation) lorsqu’ils auraient été ciblés à leur tour par un drone. Certaines sources parlent de plusieurs dizaines de morts, parmi lesquels des femmes et des enfants.

    Difficile à vérifier dans cette zone inaccessible, l’information est relayée par de nombreuses sources locales et prise au sérieux par la mission des Nations unies au Mali (Minusma). Sollicité par Mediapart en mars dernier, l’état-major avait réfuté ces accusations.

    Selon une source onusienne, cette frappe a choqué les populations et leur aurait fait prendre conscience de la menace que font désormais peser les drones sur leurs propres vies. « La connaissance des drones est très fluctuante sur le terrain, mais les populations se savent “surveillées” », souligne cette source basée à Bamako.

    Jamais la question des conséquences sur les civils survolés par des drones n’a été abordée en France. Dans les rares rapports publics consacrés à l’armement des drones, seuls les aspects stratégique et éthique sont abordés, et seulement du point de vue français. Pourtant, le retour d’expérience des États-Unis en Afghanistan, au Pakistan et au Yémen a montré à quel point l’utilisation de drones armés pouvait être néfaste pour les populations civiles.

    Dans une étude publiée en avril 2016 par l’Oxford Research Group, intitulée « Drone Chic », trois chercheurs constatent que l’usage de drones armés au Pakistan et en Afghanistan a eu « des conséquences profondes » pour les populations au sol. Il a « changé les pratiques culturelles et provoqué des troubles psychologiques », notent-ils. Parmi ces troubles : anxiété, insomnie, paranoïa… Dans ces pays, un ciel bleu est synonyme de danger.

    Le philosophe Grégoire Chamayou, qui s’est intéressé de près à la question des drones tueurs américains dans un ouvrage remarqué (et très peu apprécié des militaires), Théorie du drone (La Fabrique éditions, 2013), note, en citant plusieurs études et reportages, que « les drones pétrifient. Ils produisent une terreur de masse, infligée à des populations entières. C’est cela, outre les morts et les blessés, les décombres, la colère et les deuils, l’effet d’une surveillance létale permanente : un enfermement psychique, dont le périmètre n’est plus défini par des grilles, des barrières ou des murs, mais par les cercles invisibles que tracent au-dessus des têtes les tournoiements sans fin de miradors volants ».

    Et de citer David Rohde, journaliste du New York Times qui fut kidnappé et détenu pendant sept mois au Waziristan en 2008. Celui-ci parle d’un « enfer sur terre » à cause des drones : « Le bourdonnement lointain du moteur sonne comme le rappel constant d’une mort imminente. »

    Ces conséquences ne sont pas seulement dommageables d’un point de vue moral. Elles interrogent quant à l’intérêt stratégique de procéder à ce type de frappes et sur leurs effets à long terme.

    Chamayou note que « la chasse à l’homme dronisée représente le triomphe, à la fois pratique et doctrinal, de l’antiterrorisme sur la contre-insurrection. Dans cette logique, le décompte des morts, la liste des trophées de chasse se substituent à l’évaluation stratégique des effets politiques de la violence armée ». Or, si les drones excellent à « pulvériser des corps à distance », ils sont « inaptes à gagner les “cœurs et les esprits” » – le b.a.-ba de toute stratégie contre-insurrectionnelle, qui est aussi une composante non négligeable de l’opération Barkhane.

    Alors que des militaires français tentent depuis plusieurs années, à travers des micro-projets (construction d’un puits ou d’un marché, don de matériel ou promulgation de soins gratuits, etc.), de « séduire » les populations sahéliennes dans le but de les faire basculer de leur côté, les frappes de drones pourraient aboutir à l’effet inverse.

    "L’armée française arme ses drones, mais le débat est confisqué – Médiapart – 6/9/2020 – Rémi Carayol"

    Officiellement, un drone de l’armée française a frappé pour la première fois le 21 décembre 2019 au Mali. Depuis, cela ne s’arrête pas. Mais on ne connaît jamais les cibles visées, ni le bilan exact des frappes.
    Au centre du Mali, dans les villages les plus reculés du Gourma, plus personne, y compris ceux qui sont dépourvus d’électricité et parfois de réseau téléphonique, ne l’ignore : les drones de l’armée française qui volent dans le ciel par jour de beau temps, invisibles à l’œil nu et inaudibles, ne se contentent plus de surveiller les allées et venues des combattants djihadistes ; désormais, ils frappent.
    Dans un silence de mort, sans que rien ne puisse alerter les populations au sol, ces engins pilotés depuis la base de Niamey, au Niger, lâchent des bombes de 250 kilos guidées par laser, des GBU-12, capables de tuer tout ce qui se trouve dans un rayon d’une dizaine de mètres autour de la cible. Précision : 9 mètres. Rayon d’action : 12,8 km.
    Mais qui, en France, s’en préoccupe ? Combien de Français savent que depuis plus de six mois, leur armée a rejoint le concert restreint des nations possédant des drones tueurs (on en compte une dizaine, parmi lesquelles les États-Unis, le Royaume-Uni, Israël, l’Arabie saoudite ou encore la Turquie), et qu’elle les utilise au Sahel au nom de la lutte antiterroriste ?
    La publicité, lors de l’annonce officielle de l’armement des drones le 19 décembre dernier, en pleine période de fêtes, a été minimale : un communiqué de la ministre des armées, Florence Parly, suivi de quelques articles sur le site du ministère et dans la presse spécialisée.
    Depuis, ça n’arrête pas : selon le journaliste Jean-Marc Tanguy, spécialiste des questions militaires, les avions de chasse et les drones déployés au Sahel auraient largué plus de GBU durant les quatre premiers mois de cette année que tout au long de l’année dernière, lorsque seule la chasse bombardait la zone. Mais on ne connaît jamais les cibles visées, ni le bilan exact de ces frappes, ni même l’identité de leurs victimes. Les drones tuent, mais on ne sait pas qui, ni pourquoi.

    Cette opacité est le fil conducteur de l’histoire des drones en France : depuis que le débat sur leur armement est ouvert, tout est fait pour qu’il ne déborde pas sur l’espace public et reste confiné aux professionnels de la guerre.

    Alors délégué général pour l’armement, Laurent Collet-Billon avait annoncé la couleur en 2014 lors de son audition devant les sénateurs : « Une question majeure demeure : le second système de drone MALE [acronyme de « moyenne altitude longue endurance » – ndlr] doit-il être armable ou non ? N’ouvrons surtout pas le débat. L’important est de les obtenir vite. On verra le reste après ! »

    « Il s’agit d’une tradition bien française, il n’y a aucune transparence en ce qui concerne les sujets liés à la défense, et plus particulièrement les OPEX [opérations extérieures – ndlr], déplore Aymeric Elluin, responsable de plaidoyer Armes et Justice internationale au sein de la section française de l’ONG Amnesty International. On peut en débattre en petit comité, mais jamais devant l’ensemble des Français. Le Parlement n’a aucun pouvoir en la matière. Sur ce sujet, on a un siècle de retard par rapport à d’autres pays, notamment les États-Unis. »

    « Le fonctionnement de la France se rapproche de celui de la CIA, qui ne publie rien, et jamais ne confirme ou n’infirme une attaque », abonde Chris Woods dans un récent numéro de la revue XXI (no 46, hiver 2020). Cet ancien journaliste a créé Airwars, une plateforme qui recense toutes les attaques de drones armés et leurs victimes sur l’ensemble de la planète. Pour lui, « c’est un problème intrinsèque à l’armée française, qui demande une véritable prise de conscience ».

    C’est en 2013, après d’interminables tergiversations liées notamment à des divergences de vue entre l’armée de l’air et l’armée de terre, que la France s’équipe en drones MALE : des Reaper MQ-9 achetés aux États-Unis. Il s’agit alors de les envoyer au plus vite dans le ciel sahélien, où l’armée française se bat depuis le début de l’année. Et il n’est pas question de les armer – du moins pas publiquement.

    Les militaires y sont favorables, mais pas Jean-Yves Le Drian, l’inamovible ministre de la défense de François Hollande. « Il craignait des réactions négatives à gauche », estime un ancien de ses collaborateurs à l’hôtel de Brienne. Aucune étude ne le prouve, mais tout le monde est persuadé que l’emploi de drones armés est mal vu en France. L’exemple américain, médiatisé notamment par le film Good Kill, sorti en salles en 2015, et disséqué par le philosophe Grégoire Chamayou dans un ouvrage publié en 2013 (La Théorie du drone, La Fabrique éditions), fait figure d’épouvantail.

    Au fil des ans, les Américains ont fait du drone leur arme de prédilection. Leur armée mais aussi la CIA en possèdent des centaines, qui survolent en permanence les ciels de l’Afghanistan, du Pakistan, du Yémen et de la Somalie, et qui frappent très souvent, y compris des civils. Selon le Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ), qui recense toutes les frappes de drones américains, entre 910 et 2 200 civils pourraient avoir été tués par des attaques de drones dans ces quatre pays ces quinze dernières années.

    En février 2013, un sénateur américain, Lindsey Graham, affirmait que les attaques de drones de la CIA avaient tué 4 700 personnes. « Parfois on frappe des personnes innocentes, ce que je déteste, mais nous sommes en guerre, et nous avons tué plusieurs hauts responsables d’Al-Qaïda », affirmait ce républicain. Airwars avance de son côté le chiffre de 2 214 civils tués en Syrie, en Irak, en Libye et en Somalie, par des engins américains, mais aussi turcs, saoudiens ou israéliens. Difficile dans ce contexte « d’employer une arme si décriée », admet Chris Woods, le fondateur de l’ONG.

    L’élection d’Emmanuel Macron en 2017 change tout. Quelques jours après son investiture, un rapport réalisé au nom de la commission des affaires étrangères, de la défense et des forces armées du Sénat ouvre la voie à l’armement des drones. Comme souvent au sein de cette commission, ses auteurs, Cédric Perrin et Gilbert Roger, recyclent tous les arguments avancés par les militaires. « C’est efficace, économique, et cela permet une meilleure protection des troupes », loue encore aujourd’hui Cédric Perrin, sénateur du Territoire de Belfort. Lors de leur enquête, ils ont auditionné la crème de l’armée et de l’industrie de guerre de la France : Safran, Airbus, Dassault… « On a aussi entendu Amnesty », ajoute le sénateur.

    « Avec un avion de chasse, on ne fait pas d’assassinat ciblé. Avec un drone, si »
    Mais personne n’est dupe : il s’agissait d’un plaidoyer sans équivoque en faveur de l’armement des drones. « Afin d’éviter de susciter des craintes infondées, notent les sénateurs, il convient, en premier lieu, de rappeler les points suivants : la France ne possède que quelques drones MALE (une douzaine à terme) et ce faible nombre interdit de facto d’opter pour la politique d’utilisation massive des drones armés qui est reprochée à certains pays [...] ; l’armée de l’air utilise les drones in situ et non à distance, ce qui relativise l’idée d’une guerre sans risques, à l’origine de nombreuses critiques ; tout comme pour les autres armes, l’utilisation des drones armés par nos forces se conformerait au droit international : respect des règles permettant l’entrée en conflit [...] et respect des règles du droit international humanitaire [...]. »

    La porte est ouverte, il suffit de la pousser. Quelques semaines plus tard, le 5 septembre 2017, à l’occasion de l’Université d’été de la défense organisée à Toulon, Florence Parly, qui estime que les enjeux « ont été parfaitement identifiés et expliqués » par les sénateurs Perrin et Roger, annonce sa décision d’armer les drones. « Les drones sont devenus des moyens incontournables dans les opérations que nous menons au Sahel », déclare-t-elle, tout en précisant que « les règles d’engagement pour les drones armés seront strictement identiques à celles que nous appliquons déjà ».

    Depuis lors, les militaires et les responsables politiques vendent le même « storytelling » : la France n’est pas les États-Unis, clament-ils, et l’on ne reproduira pas les excès constatés au Pakistan ou au Yémen. Selon le sénateur Perrin, l’armée française aurait des règles d’engagement plus rigoureuses et disposerait de meilleurs garde-fous – comme si l’armée américaine n’en avait pas.

    Plusieurs militaires contactés par Mediapart assurent que les règles d’engagement sont les mêmes pour un drone que pour un avion de chasse.

    Mais pour Aymeric Elluin, on oublie, en disant cela, de préciser que les caractéristiques du drone sont différentes de celles du Rafale : « Nous ne sommes pas opposés aux drones armés. Mais nous craignons des dérives. Avec un avion de chasse, on ne fait pas d’assassinat ciblé. Avec un drone, si. N’y a-t-il pas le risque, surtout au Sahel, de voir un glissement vers des pratiques inavouables qui ne respecteraient pas les règles des droits humains, comme des exécutions extrajudiciaires ? Le seul moyen d’éviter une dérive en la matière est de rendre transparentes la chaîne de responsabilité, les règles d’engagement et les enquêtes lorsqu’il y en a. »

    La France pratique depuis longtemps la peine de mort au Sahel – François Hollande ne s’en est jamais caché et Florence Parly ne l’a pas nié lorsque Amnesty l’a interrogée en novembre 2017 dans une correspondance privée.

    Une liste de « high value targets » (cibles de haute valeur) a été établie dès le début de l’opération Serval, menée au Mali entre 2013 et 2014, et ceux qui la composent, des chefs des différents groupes djihadistes, doivent être éliminés. De fait, plusieurs d’entre eux ont été tués ces dernières années, dont l’émir d’Al-Qaïda au Maghreb islamique (Aqmi), Abdelmalek Droukdel, exécuté le 3 juin dernier au nord du Mali par des hommes au sol, et non par une frappe de drone.

    Présentés comme des succès militaires, ces assassinats ciblés n’en restent pas moins problématiques sur le plan éthique. Mais là aussi, les responsables politiques et militaires préfèrent ne pas en parler. Une étude consacrée aux « aspects juridiques et éthiques des frappes à distance sur cibles humaines stratégiques », et notamment au « niveau d’acceptabilité de ce type d’action », copubliée en mars 2014 par l’IRIS (Institut de relations internationales et stratégiques) et le ministère de la défense, avait pourtant abordé le sujet sous toutes ses coutures.

    On peut notamment y lire qu’aucune enquête d’opinion n’a été menée auprès de la population française au sujet des drones armés, pour deux raisons surprenantes : d’abord « parce qu’il n’est guère possible en six mois, avec des moyens réduits, de mener une telle enquête » ; ensuite parce que « le sujet est sans doute trop sensible pour prendre le risque d’aller recueillir les appréciations auprès d’un échantillon massif de citoyens sans déclencher des réactions éventuellement hostiles ».

    Autrement dit : les Français pourraient y être opposés et cela demanderait du temps et de l’argent, mieux vaut donc ne pas leur demander leur avis… Les auteurs de l’étude ont préféré plus confortablement enquêter auprès des « prescripteurs d’opinions » : partis politiques, journalistes spécialisés défense, responsables religieux et organisations de défense des droits humains. La plupart ont refusé de se prononcer.

    L’étude relevait tout de même un point important : « Même si la politique américaine est l’objet de la condamnation médiatique, il semble évident que les opérations que les forces armées françaises pourraient mener à l’avenir avec des outils similaires, risquent d’être assimilées à celles des États-Unis [...] et frappées du même opprobre si les armées ne mettent pas en place un certain nombre de mesures d’accompagnement de leur action. »

    Parmi ces mesures, l’étude, qui évoquait un besoin de transparence, proposait de renforcer le contrôle sur la prise de décision concernant l’utilisation de drones armés. Elle recommandait également de « prévoir une information du Parlement a posteriori et à huis clos, en prenant toutes les précautions requises en matière de discrétion ». Aucune de ces propositions n’a été adoptée.

    Le rapport du Sénat qui a ouvert la voie au ministère des armées pour armer les drones défendait lui aussi « la nécessité d’une certaine transparence ». Les sénateurs proposaient l’organisation d’un débat au Parlement sur la question – celui-ci n’a jamais eu lieu – et prônaient « une information régulière de la représentation nationale » – cela n’a jamais été fait.

    Afin de « prévenir certaines critiques infondées », ils jugeaient utile de « mettre en place des mesures de transparence », comme c’est le cas aux États-Unis et au Royaume-Uni. Ils enjoignaient aux autorités de « communiquer sur les frappes menées au cours de conflits », et, « en cas d’éventuel dommage collatéral d’ampleur causé par un drone armé », à « rendre publics les résultats des investigations menées » sur le terrain. « Un bilan des frappes, avec le nombre de combattants ennemis neutralisés et les éventuels dommages collatéraux, pourrait être périodiquement publié », détaillaient-ils.

    Or, depuis huit mois, le ministère des armées et l’état-major refusent de donner ces informations, même lorsqu’il y a une suspicion de victimes civiles, comme ce fut le cas au mois de février au Mali (lire ici l’enquête de Mediapart). Questionnée à de multiples reprises par Mediapart sur les circonstances dans lesquelles les drones français ont frappé au Sahel (lieu exact, contexte, cible, nombre de victimes, identité des victimes), l’institution militaire est restée muette.

    #Afrique #France #Sahel #Conflits #Drones_armés

  • I costi nascosti delle nuove “guerre remote” di Stati Uniti ed Europa

    Le forze occidentali sperimentano in Somalia e in Sahel un tipo di conflitto che non prevede l’invio di nutriti contingenti armati e utilizza al suo posto nuclei speciali, droni, contractors. Tra le controindicazioni un aumento delle vittime civili.

    Nel settembre 2019 membri di al-Shabaab, un gruppo terrorista con base in Somalia, hanno attaccato un convoglio italiano nella capitale Mogadiscio e la base militare statunitense di Baledogle. Due attacchi tanto imprevisti quanto sottovalutati. La ragione di questa analisi insufficiente dipende in gran parte dalla natura delle recenti azioni in teatri di guerra stranieri: Paesi come Stati Uniti e Italia dispiegano un numero limitato di forze per affrontare gruppi ribelli o terroristi, con l’obiettivo di contenere i costi per le proprie truppe. Gli attacchi, tuttavia, non andrebbero letti come un incidente isolato ma come sintomo di un problema più ampio. E dovrebbero spingere il governo statunitense e i vari governi europei coinvolti in conflitti esteri a rivalutare la presunta assenza di rischio, non solo per le proprie truppe ma anche per la stabilità dei Paesi oggetto di intervento a distanza.

    I due attacchi sono una perfetta illustrazione dei pericoli legati alla “guerra remota”, quella che si combatte quando l’intervento non avviene attraverso l’invio di grandi contingenti armati. La definizione è dell’Oxford Research Group (ORG), un istituto di ricerca con sede a Londra: secondo i ricercatori di ORG, guerra remota è “lo sforzo da parte di attori esterni di evitare il modello di contro-insorgenza (COIN) associato all’intervento statunitense in Afghanistan e Iraq e di focalizzarsi invece su altri modelli, quali l’invio di forze speciali, l’utilizzo di droni armati -l’arma simbolo di questo approccio-, il dispiegamento di contractors privati, l’assistenza attraverso il servizio di intelligence, l’invio di attrezzature e il training a milizie locali”.

    Paesi come Stati Uniti e Italia dispiegano un numero limitato di forze per affrontare gruppi ribelli o terroristi, con l’obiettivo di limitare i costi per le proprie truppe

    L’utilizzo di droni in particolare è legato all’interpretazione legale di “guerra globale al terrore”, applicata dagli Stati Uniti per giustificare uccisioni mirate in Pakistan, Siria, Yemen e Somalia. Non solo Usa, però: anche Israele, Turchia, Cina, Nigeria, Regno Unito, Francia e ora anche l’Italia fanno un uso globale di droni armati. Dan Gettinger del Center for the Study of the Drone a Washington riporta che la spesa per droni statunitense è salita del 21% nel 2018 rispetto al 2017. Phil Finnegan di Teal Group afferma che “la produzione globale di droni dovrebbe più che raddoppiare in un decennio, da 4,9 miliardi di dollari nel 2018 a 10,7 miliardi nel 2027, con un tasso di crescita annuo del nove per cento”. L’Unione europea intanto sta per lanciare il suo primo Fondo per la Difesa: se approvato dal Parlamento europeo, dovrebbe ammontare a circa 13 miliardi di euro in sette anni.

    Ma nessuna guerra può essere chirurgica, priva di costi ed efficace allo stesso tempo: portare avanti guerre remote può essere percepito come vantaggioso, ma ha delle ricadute che aggravano il bilancio dell’intervento. Sia in Sahel sia in Somalia, dove è in corso un peggioramento della situazione di sicurezza, esacerbato da altre dinamiche interne, è vitale per gli attori esterni che hanno scelto di intervenire farlo con una strategia coerente e che tenga conto soprattutto di quelli che sono i bisogni della popolazione locale.

    10,7 miliardi di dollari: il valore stimato del mercato dei droni nel 2027. Nel 2018 si è fermato a 4,9 miliardi

    Le forze italiane attaccate a fine settembre del 2019 facevano parte di EUTM Somalia, una “missione militare dell’Unione europea che ha il compito di contribuire all’addestramento delle forze armate nazionali somale (Somali National Armed Forces, o SNA)”. La Somalia è una delle aree d’intervento delle politiche di sicurezza e difesa (CSDP) dell’Unione Europea. Paul Williams del Wilson Center osserva che “per oltre un decennio, una dozzina di Stati e organizzazioni multilaterali hanno investito tempo, sforzi, attrezzature e centinaia di milioni di dollari per costruire un’efficace esercito nazionale somalo. Finora hanno fallito”. Lo SNA conta “circa 29mila unità sul suo libro paga” ma molti sono soldati fantasma e quando le forze della missione dell’Unione africana in Somalia (AMISOM) si ritirano dai territori “la sicurezza tende a deteriorarsi in modo significativo ed è al-Shabaab a colmare il vuoto”. Gravi problemi affliggono anche l’impegno del comando africano degli Stati Uniti (AFRICOM) nel Paese. Ella Knight di Amnesty International ha documentato almeno sei casi in cui si ritiene che gli attacchi aerei statunitensi in Somalia abbiano provocato vittime civili e tutto questo in un’area geografica limitata.

    Nessuna guerra può essere chirurgica, priva di costi ed efficace allo stesso tempo: portare avanti guerre remote ha ricadute che aggravano il bilancio delle operazioni

    Nel caso dell’intervento europeo e americano in Somalia le questioni aperte sono due: prima di tutto il training delle milizie governative locali ha portato a soprusi verso la popolazione, accrescendo paradossalmente la reputazione di al-Shabaab. Inoltre, la guerra remota attraverso droni ha fatto un numero ancora imprecisato di vittime civili, non riconosciute dagli Stati Uniti, contribuendo alla percezione negativa che la popolazione civile ha di questi interventi armati. In ultima istanza, anche le truppe (in questo caso italiane e statunitensi) sul territorio sono vittima di rappresaglie da parte di gruppi armati.

    Anche il Sahel è un teatro di conflitti, dove sempre più Paesi, non solo occidentali, stanno intervenendo con le tattiche della guerra remota. Ma anche qui il costo dell’intervento non è da sottovalutare. Il 25 novembre scorso in Mali due elicotteri delle forze armate francesi si sono scontrati, uccidendo tredici soldati. La presenza delle truppe francesi rimanda a quanto accaduto nel dicembre 2013: allora, truppe francesi sotto l’egida dell’Operazione Serval erano intervenute in Mali per fermare l’avanzata di milizie armate verso la capitale Bamako; l’operazione, conclusa con successo, aveva dato il via a un altro intervento francese nella regione. A partire dal 2014 l’Operazione Barkhane intende fornire supporto nel lungo termine all’intera regione.

    L’impegno internazionale sembra spesso esacerbare l’instabilità. L’abuso di Stato reale o percepito è un fattore alla base della decisione di unirsi a gruppi estremisti violenti

    La missione di stabilizzazione integrata multidimensionale delle Nazioni Unite in Mali (MINUSMA) è stata istituita nel 2013 anche al fine di addestrare le forze regionali della Joint Force G5 Sahel. L’Unione europea ha istituto tre missioni di sicurezza e difesa in Mali e Niger, e sta procedendo a una maggiore regionalizzazione della propria presenza attraverso le Cellule Regionali di Consiglio e Coordinazione (RACC).
    L’European Union Training Mission in Mali, in particolare, rientra nella definizione di assistenza a forze di sicurezza, in quanto fornisce addestramento militare a forze armate maliane. Tale contributo fa parte di uno sforzo più ampio per condurre operazioni a distanza nella regione: anche gli Stati Uniti hanno da poco costruito la base aerea 201 ad Agadez, un futuro hub per droni armati e altri velivoli. La presenza degli Stati Uniti nel Sahel è notevolmente aumentata negli ultimi anni, così come quella tedesca, britannica e italiana.

    In Niger la presenza militare straniera ha avuto impatti negativi sulla libertà di parola e molti leader dell’opposizione hanno lamentato la mancanza di controllo parlamentare

    L’impegno internazionale però sembra spesso esacerbare l’instabilità, come hanno affermato alcuni gruppi della società civile. International Alert riporta che tra giovani Fulani nelle regioni di Mopti (Mali), Sahel (Burkina Faso) e Tillabéri (Niger) “l’abuso di stato reale o percepito è il fattore numero uno alla base della decisione di unirsi a gruppi estremisti violenti. L’Unione europea sta attualmente addestrando truppe locali senza (però) esercitare pressioni sul governo di Bamako per introdurre riforme strutturali”. Proprio in Mali la questione è particolarmente problematica: secondo Abigail Watson dell’Oxford Research Group “forze armate e governo maliani sono accusati di favorire un gruppo etnico rispetto ad un altro”. Favorire un particolare gruppo all’interno di conflitti tra diverse etnie si è dimostrato essere estremamente dannoso per la sicurezza a lungo termine. Il governo nigerino ha accolto con favore la presenza di truppe statunitensi, purché contribuiscano allo sradicamento dell’attività terroristica nel Paese. La società civile in Niger però sembra diffidare di tale presenza. Un’inchiesta del Guardian nel 2018 segnalava che la presenza militare straniera ha avuto impatti negativi sulla libertà di parola e molti leader dell’opposizione hanno lamentato la mancanza di controllo parlamentare ogni volta che la presenza straniera è autorizzata. Gli Stati Uniti non hanno chiarito le loro intenzioni strategiche a lungo termine, mentre sia la Francia sia l’Ue lo hanno fatto: l’intenzione è quella di sostituire all’operazione Barkhane e alle missioni europee la G5 Sahel Joint Force. Non sembra tuttavia esserci un progetto strategico chiaro per il raggiungimento di tale obiettivo, il che porta inevitabilmente ad aspre critiche. Infine, come mostrano recenti ricerche, la “guerra dall’impronta leggera” ha comportato una serie di sfide che si riflettono su trasparenza e responsabilità pubblica. Come sottolineano Goldsmith e Waxman nel loro articolo “The Legal Legacy of Light- Footprint Warfare”, pubblicato da The Washington Quarterly nel 2016, “la guerra di impronta leggera non attira lo stesso livello di scrutinio congressuale e soprattutto pubblico rispetto a guerre più convenzionali”.

    Tra le considerazioni che i Paesi europei e l’Unione stessa dovrebbero fare è necessario inserire un dialogo costante con la società civile del Paese in cui si sta intervenendo, ma soprattutto una chiara definizione della strategia e un’analisi del tipo di guerra che si vuole condurre, tenendo conto dei rischi che questo comporta.

    https://altreconomia.it/guerra-remota
    #guerre #drones #Somalie #Sahel #expérimentation #drones #contractors #complexe_militaro-industriel #armes #guerre_à_distance #drones_armés #contractors #intelligence #milices

    ping @albertocampiphoto @wizo @etraces

    • EU: Frontex splashes out: millions of euros for new technology and equipment (19.06.2020)

      The approval of the new #Frontex_Regulation in November 2019 implied an increase of competences, budget and capabilities for the EU’s border agency, which is now equipping itself with increased means to monitor events and developments at the borders and beyond, as well as renewing its IT systems to improve the management of the reams of data to which it will have access.

      In 2020 Frontex’s #budget grew to €420.6 million, an increase of over 34% compared to 2019. The European Commission has proposed that in the next EU budget (formally known as the Multiannual Financial Framework or MFF, covering 2021-27) €11 billion will be made available to the agency, although legal negotiations are ongoing and have hit significant stumbling blocks due to Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic and political disagreements.

      Nevertheless, the increase for this year has clearly provided a number of opportunities for Frontex. For instance, it has already agreed contracts worth €28 million for the acquisition of dozens of vehicles equipped with thermal and day cameras, surveillance radar and sensors.

      According to the contract for the provision of Mobile Surveillance Systems, these new tools will be used “for detection, identification and recognising of objects of interest e.g. human beings and/or groups of people, vehicles moving across the border (land and sea), as well as vessels sailing within the coastal areas, and other objects identified as objects of interest”. [1]

      Frontex has also published a call for tenders for Maritime Analysis Tools, worth a total of up to €2.6 million. With this, Frontex seeks to improve access to “big data” for maritime analysis. [2] The objective of deploying these tools is to enhance Frontex’s operational support to EU border, coast guard and law enforcement authorities in “suppressing and preventing, among others, illegal migration and cross-border crime in the maritime domain”.

      Moreover, the system should be capable of delivering analysis and identification of high-risk threats following the collection and storage of “big data”. It is not clear how much human input and monitoring there will be of the identification of risks. The call for tenders says the winning bidder should have been announced in May, but there is no public information on the chosen company so far.

      As part of a 12-month pilot project to examine how maritime analysis tools could “support multipurpose operational response,” Frontex previously engaged the services of the Tel Aviv-based company Windward Ltd, which claims to fuse “maritime data and artificial intelligence… to provide the right insights, with the right context, at the right time.” [3] Windward, whose current chairman is John Browne, the former CEO of the multinational oil company BP, received €783,000 for its work. [4]

      As the agency’s gathering and processing of data increases, it also aims to improve and develop its own internal IT systems, through a two-year project worth €34 million. This will establish a set of “framework contracts”. Through these, each time the agency seeks a new IT service or system, companies selected to participate in the framework contracts will submit bids for the work. [5]

      The agency is also seeking a ’Software Solution for EBCG [European Border and Coast Guard] Team Members to Access to Schengen Information System’, through a contract worth up to €5 million. [6] The Schengen Information System (SIS) is the EU’s largest database, enabling cooperation between authorities working in the fields of police, border control and customs of all the Schengen states (26 EU member states plus Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) and its legal bases were recently reformed to include new types of alert and categories of data. [7]

      This software will give Frontex officials direct access to certain data within the SIS. Currently, they have to request access via national border guards in the country in which they are operating. This would give complete autonomy to Frontex officials to consult the SIS whilst undertaking operations, shortening the length of the procedure. [8]

      With the legal basis for increasing Frontex’s powers in place, the process to build up its personnel, material and surveillance capacities continues, with significant financial implications.

      https://www.statewatch.org/news/2020/june/eu-frontex-splashes-out-millions-of-euros-for-new-technology-and-equipme

      #technologie #équipement #Multiannual_Financial_Framework #MFF #surveillance #Mobile_Surveillance_Systems #Maritime_Analysis_Tools #données #big_data #mer #Windward_Ltd #Israël #John_Browne #BP #complexe_militaro-industriel #Software_Solution_for_EBCG_Team_Members_to_Access_to_Schengen_Information_System #SIS #Schengen_Information_System

    • EU : Guns, guards and guidelines : reinforcement of Frontex runs into problems (26.05.2020)

      An internal report circulated by Frontex to EU government delegations highlights a series of issues in implementing the agency’s new legislation. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the agency is urging swift action to implement the mandate and is pressing ahead with the recruitment of its new ‘standing corps’. However, there are legal problems with the acquisition, registration, storage and transport of weapons. The agency is also calling for derogations from EU rules on staff disciplinary measures in relation to the use of force; and wants an extended set of privileges and immunities. Furthermore, it is assisting with “voluntary return” despite this activity appearing to fall outside of its legal mandate.

      State-of-play report

      At the end of April 2020, Frontex circulated a report to EU government delegations in the Council outlining the state of play of the implementation of its new Regulation (“EBCG 2.0 Regulation”, in the agency and Commission’s words), especially relating to “current challenges”.[1] Presumably, this refers to the outbreak of a pandemic, though the report also acknowledges challenges created by the legal ambiguities contained in the Regulation itself, in particular with regard to the acquisition of weapons, supervisory and disciplinary mechanisms, legal privileges and immunities and involvement in “voluntary return” operations.

      The path set out in the report is that the “operational autonomy of the agency will gradually increase towards 2027” until it is a “fully-fledged and reliable partner” to EU and Schengen states. It acknowledges the impacts of unforeseen world events on the EU’s forthcoming budget (Multi-annual Financial Framework, MFF) for 2021-27, and hints at the impact this will have on Frontex’s own budget and objectives. Nevertheless, the agency is still determined to “continue increasing the capabilities” of the agency, including its acquisition of new equipment and employment of new staff for its standing corps.

      The main issues covered by the report are: Frontex’s new standing corps of staff, executive powers and the use of force, fundamental rights and data protection, and the integration into Frontex of EUROSUR, the European Border Surveillance System.

      The new standing corps

      Recruitment

      A new standing corps of 10,000 Frontex staff by 2024 is to be, in the words of the agency, its “biggest game changer”.[2] The report notes that the establishment of the standing corps has been heavily affected by the outbreak of Covid-19. According to the report, 7,238 individuals had applied to join the standing corps before the outbreak of the pandemic. 5,482 of these – over 75% – were assessed by the agency as eligible, with a final 304 passing the entire selection process to be on the “reserve lists”.[3]

      Despite interruptions to the recruitment procedure following worldwide lockdown measures, interviews for Category 1 staff – permanent Frontex staff members to be deployed on operations – were resumed via video by the end of April. 80 candidates were shortlisted for the first week, and Frontex aims to interview 1,000 people in total. Despite this adaptation, successful candidates will have to wait for Frontex’s contractor to re-open in order to carry out medical tests, an obligatory requirement for the standing corps.[4]

      In 2020, Frontex joined the European Defence Agency’s Satellite Communications (SatCom) and Communications and Information System (CIS) services in order to ensure ICT support for the standing corps in operation as of 2021.[5] The EDA describes SatCom and CIS as “fundamental for Communication, Command and Control in military operations… [enabling] EU Commanders to connect forces in remote areas with HQs and capitals and to manage the forces missions and tasks”.[6]

      Training

      The basic training programme, endorsed by the management board in October 2019, is designed for Category 1 staff. It includes specific training in interoperability and “harmonisation with member states”. The actual syllabus, content and materials for this basic training were developed by March 2020; Statewatch has made a request for access to these documents, which is currently pending with the Frontex Transparency Office. This process has also been affected by the novel coronavirus, though the report insists that “no delay is foreseen in the availability of the specialised profile related training of the standing corps”.

      Use of force

      The state-of-play-report acknowledges a number of legal ambiguities surrounding some of the more controversial powers outlined in Frontex’s 2019 Regulation, highlighting perhaps that political ambition, rather than serious consideration and assessment, propelled the legislation, overtaking adequate procedure and oversight. The incentive to enact the legislation within a short timeframe is cited as a reason that no impact assessment was carried out on the proposed recast to the agency’s mandate. This draft was rushed through negotiations and approved in an unprecedented six-month period, and the details lost in its wake are now coming to light.

      Article 82 of the 2019 Regulation refers to the use of force and carriage of weapons by Frontex staff, while a supervisory mechanism for the use of force by statutory staff is established by Article 55. This says:

      “On the basis of a proposal from the executive director, the management board shall: (a) establish an appropriate supervisory mechanism to monitor the application of the provisions on use of force by statutory staff, including rules on reporting and specific measures, such as those of a disciplinary nature, with regard to the use of force during deployments”[7]

      The agency’s management board is expected to make a decision about this supervisory mechanism, including specific measures and reporting, by the end of June 2020.

      The state-of-play report posits that the legal terms of Article 55 are inconsistent with the standard rules on administrative enquiries and disciplinary measures concerning EU staff.[8] These outline, inter alia, that a dedicated disciplinary board will be established in each institution including at least one member from outside the institution, that this board must be independent and its proceedings secret. Frontex insists that its staff will be a special case as the “first uniformed service of the EU”, and will therefore require “special arrangements or derogations to the Staff Regulations” to comply with the “totally different nature of tasks and risks associated with their deployments”.[9]

      What is particularly astounding about Frontex demanding special treatment for oversight, particularly on use of force and weapons is that, as the report acknowledges, the agency cannot yet legally store or transport any weapons it acquires.

      Regarding service weapons and “non-lethal equipment”,[10] legal analysis by “external experts and a regulatory law firm” concluded that the 2019 Regulation does not provide a legal basis for acquiring, registering, storing or transporting weapons in Poland, where the agency’s headquarters is located. Frontex has applied to the Commission for clarity on how to proceed, says the report. Frontex declined to comment on the status of this consultation and any indications of the next steps the agency will take. A Commission spokesperson stated only that it had recently received the agency’s enquiry and “is analysing the request and the applicable legal framework in the view of replying to the EBCGA”, without expanding further.

      Until Frontex has the legal basis to do so, it cannot launch a tender for firearms and “non-lethal equipment” (which includes batons, pepper spray and handcuffs). However, the report implies the agency is ready to do so as soon as it receives the green light. Technical specifications are currently being finalised for “non-lethal equipment” and Frontex still plans to complete acquisition by the end of the year.

      Privileges and immunities

      The agency is also seeking special treatment with regard to the legal privileges and immunities it and its officials enjoy. Article 96 of the 2019 Regulation outlines the privileges and immunities of Frontex officers, stating:

      “Protocol No 7 on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union annexed to the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and to the TFEU shall apply to the Agency and its statutory staff.” [11]

      However, Frontex notes that the Protocol does not apply to non-EU states, nor does it “offer a full protection, or take into account a need for the inviolability of assets owned by Frontex (service vehicles, vessels, aircraft)”.[12] Frontex is increasingly involved in operations taking place on non-EU territory. For instance, the Council of the EU has signed or initialled a number of Status Agreements with non-EU states, primarily in the Western Balkans, concerning Frontex activities in those countries. To launch operations under these agreements, Frontex will (or, in the case of Albania, already has) agree on operational plans with each state, under which Frontex staff can use executive powers.[13] The agency therefore seeks an “EU-level status of forces agreement… to account for the partial absence of rules”.

      Law enforcement

      To implement its enhanced functions regarding cross-border crime, Frontex will continue to participate in Europol’s four-year policy cycle addressing “serious international and organised crime”.[14] The agency is also developing a pilot project, “Investigation Support Activities- Cross Border Crime” (ISA-CBC), addressing drug trafficking and terrorism.

      Fundamental rights and data protection

      The ‘EBCG 2.0 Regulation’ requires several changes to fundamental rights measures by the agency, which, aside from some vague “legal analyses” seem to be undergoing development with only internal oversight.

      Firstly, to facilitate adequate independence of the Fundamental Rights Officer (FRO), special rules have to be established. The FRO was introduced under Frontex’s 2016 Regulation, but has since then been understaffed and underfunded by the agency.[15] The 2019 Regulation obliges the agency to ensure “sufficient and adequate human and financial resources” for the office, as well as 40 fundamental rights monitors.[16] These standing corps staff members will be responsible for monitoring compliance with fundamental rights standards, providing advice and assistance on the agency’s plans and activities, and will visit and evaluate operations, including acting as forced return monitors.[17]

      During negotiations over the proposed Regulation 2.0, MEPs introduced extended powers for the Fundamental Rights Officer themselves. The FRO was previously responsible for contributing to Frontex’s fundamental rights strategy and monitoring its compliance with and promotion of fundamental rights. Now, they will be able to monitor compliance by conducting investigations; offering advice where deemed necessary or upon request of the agency; providing opinions on operational plans, pilot projects and technical assistance; and carrying out on-the-spot visits. The executive director is now obliged to respond “as to how concerns regarding possible violations of fundamental rights… have been addressed,” and the management board “shall ensure that action is taken with regard to recommendations of the fundamental rights officer.” [18] The investigatory powers of the FRO are not, however, set out in the Regulation.

      The state-of-play report says that “legal analyses and exchanges” are ongoing, and will inform an eventual management board decision, but no timeline for this is offered. [19] The agency will also need to adapt its much criticised individual complaints mechanism to fit the requirements of the 2019 Regulation; executive director Fabrice Leggeri’s first-draft decision on this process is currently undergoing internal consultations. Even the explicit requirement set out in the 2019 Regulation for an “independent and effective” complaints mechanism,[20] does not meet minimum standards to qualify as an effective remedy, which include institutional independence, accessibility in practice, and capacity to carry out thorough and prompt investigations.[21]

      Frontex has entered into a service level agreement (SLA) with the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) for support in establishing and training the team of fundamental rights monitors introduced by the 2019 Regulation. These monitors are to be statutory staff of the agency and will assess fundamental rights compliance of operational activities, advising, assisting and contributing to “the promotion of fundamental rights”.[22] The scope and objectives for this team were finalised at the end of March this year, and the agency will establish the team by the end of the year. Statewatch has requested clarification as to what is to be included in the team’s scope and objectives, pending with the Frontex Transparency Office.

      Regarding data protection, the agency plans a package of implementing rules (covering issues ranging from the position of data protection officer to the restriction of rights for returnees and restrictions under administrative data processing) to be implemented throughout 2020.[23] The management board will review a first draft of the implementing rules on the data protection officer in the second quarter of 2020.

      Returns

      The European Return and Reintegration Network (ERRIN) – a network of 15 European states and the Commission facilitating cooperation over return operations “as part of the EU efforts to manage migration” – is to be handed over to Frontex. [24] A handover plan is currently under the final stage of review; it reportedly outlines the scoping of activities and details of “which groups of returnees will be eligible for Frontex assistance in the future”.[25] A request from Statewatch to Frontex for comment on what assistance will be provided by the agency to such returnees was unanswered at the time of publication.

      Since the entry into force of its new mandate, Frontex has also been providing technical assistance for so-called voluntary returns, with the first two such operations carried out on scheduled flights (as opposed to charter flights) in February 2020. A total of 28 people were returned by mid-April, despite the fact that there is no legal clarity over what the definition “voluntary return” actually refers to, as the state-of-play report also explains:

      “The terminology of voluntary return was introduced in the Regulation without providing any definition thereof. This terminology (voluntary departure vs voluntary return) is moreover not in line with the terminology used in the Return Directive (EBCG 2.0 refers to the definition of returns provided for in the Return Directive. The Return Directive, however, does not cover voluntary returns; a voluntary return is not a return within the meaning of the Return Directive). Further elaboration is needed.”[26]

      On top of requiring “further clarification”, if Frontex is assisting with “voluntary returns” that are not governed by the Returns Directive, it is acting outside of its legal mandate. Statewatch has launched an investigation into the agency’s activities relating to voluntary returns, to outline the number of such operations to date, their country of return and country of destination.

      Frontex is currently developing a module dedicated to voluntary returns by charter flight for its FAR (Frontex Application for Returns) platform (part of its return case management system). On top of the technical support delivered by the agency, Frontex also foresees the provision of on-the-ground support from Frontex representatives or a “return counsellor”, who will form part of the dedicated return teams planned for the standing corps from 2021.[27]

      Frontex has updated its return case management system (RECAMAS), an online platform for member state authorities and Frontex to communicate and plan return operations, to manage an increased scope. The state-of-play report implies that this includes detail on post-return activities in a new “post-return module”, indicating that Frontex is acting on commitments to expand its activity in this area. According to the agency’s roadmap on implementing the 2019 Regulation, an action plan on how the agency will provide post-return support to people (Article 48(1), 2019 Regulation) will be written by the third quarter of 2020.[28]

      In its closing paragraph, related to the budgetary impact of COVID-19 regarding return operations, the agency notes that although activities will resume once aerial transportation restrictions are eased, “the agency will not be able to provide what has been initially intended, undermining the concept of the EBCG as a whole”.[29]

      EUROSUR

      The Commission is leading progress on adopting the implementing act for the integration of EUROSUR into Frontex, which will define the implementation of new aerial surveillance,[30] expected by the end of the year.[31] Frontex is discussing new working arrangements with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL). The development by Frontex of the surveillance project’s communications network will require significant budgetary investment, as the agency plans to maintain the current system ahead of its planned replacement in 2025.[32] This investment is projected despite the agency’s recognition of the economic impact of Covid-19 on member states, and the consequent adjustments to the MFF 2021-27.

      Summary

      Drafted and published as the world responds to an unprecedented pandemic, the “current challenges” referred to in the report appear, on first read, to refer to the budgetary and staffing implications of global shut down. However, the report maintains throughout that the agency’s determination to expand, in terms of powers as well as staffing, will not be stalled despite delays and budgeting adjustments. Indeed, it is implied more than once that the “current challenges” necessitate more than ever that these powers be assumed. The true challenges, from the agency’s point of view, stem from the fact that its current mandate was rushed through negotiations in six months, leading to legal ambiguities that leave it unable to acquire or transport weapons and in a tricky relationship with the EU protocol on privileges and immunities when operating in third countries. Given the violence that so frequently accompanies border control operations in the EU, it will come as a relief to many that Frontex is having difficulties acquiring its own weaponry. However, it is far from reassuring that the introduction of new measures on fundamental rights and accountability are being carried out internally and remain unavailable for public scrutiny.

      Jane Kilpatrick

      Note: this article was updated on 26 May 2020 to include the European Commission’s response to Statewatch’s enquiries.

      It was updated on 1 July with some minor corrections:

      “the Council of the EU has signed or initialled a number of Status Agreements with non-EU states... under which” replaces “the agency has entered into working agreements with Balkan states, under which”
      “The investigatory powers of the FRO are not, however, set out in any detail in the Regulation beyond monitoring the agency’s ’compliance with fundamental rights, including by conducting investigations’” replaces “The investigatory powers of the FRO are not, however, set out in the Regulation”
      “if Frontex is assisting with “voluntary returns” that are not governed by the Returns Directive, it further exposes the haste with which legislation written to deny entry into the EU and facilitate expulsions was drafted” replaces “if Frontex is assisting with “voluntary returns” that are not governed by the Returns Directive, it is acting outside of its legal mandate”

      Endnotes

      [1] Frontex, ‘State of play of the implementation of the EBCG 2.0 Regulation in view of current challenges’, 27 April 2020, contained in Council document 7607/20, LIMITE, 20 April 2020, http://statewatch.org/news/2020/may/eu-council-frontex-ECBG-state-of-play-7607-20.pdf

      [2] Frontex, ‘Programming Document 2018-20’, 10 December 2017, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/frontex-programming-document-2018-20.pdf

      [3] Section 1.1, state of play report

      [4] Jane Kilpatrick, ‘Frontex launches “game-changing” recruitment drive for standing corps of border guards’, Statewatch Analysis, March 2020, http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/no-355-frontex-recruitment-standing-corps.pdf

      [5] Section 7.1, state of play report

      [6] EDA, ‘EU SatCom Market’, https://www.eda.europa.eu/what-we-do/activities/activities-search/eu-satcom-market

      [7] Article 55(5)(a), Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Border and Coast Guard (Frontex 2019 Regulation), https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32019R1896

      [8] Pursuant to Annex IX of the EU Staff Regulations, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:01962R0031-20140501

      [9] Chapter III, state of play report

      [10] Section 2.5, state of play report

      [11] Protocol (No 7), https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.C_.2016.202.01.0001.01.ENG#d1e3363-201-1

      [12] Chapter III, state of play report

      [13] ‘Border externalisation: Agreements on Frontex operations in Serbia and Montenegro heading for parliamentary approval’, Statewatch News, 11 March 2020, http://statewatch.org/news/2020/mar/frontex-status-agreements.htm

      [14] Europol, ‘EU policy cycle – EMPACT’, https://www.europol.europa.eu/empact

      [15] ‘NGOs, EU and international agencies sound the alarm over Frontex’s respect for fundamental rights’, Statewatch News, 5 March 2019, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/mar/fx-consultative-forum-rep.htm; ‘Frontex condemned by its own fundamental rights body for failing to live up to obligations’, Statewatch News, 21 May 2018, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2018/may/eu-frontex-fr-rep.htm

      [16] Article 110(6), Article 109, 2019 Regulation

      [17] Article 110, 2019 Regulation

      [18] Article 109, 2019 Regulation

      [19] Section 8, state of play report

      [20] Article 111(1), 2019 Regulation

      [21] Sergio Carrera and Marco Stefan, ‘Complaint Mechanisms in Border Management and Expulsion Operations in Europe: Effective Remedies for Victims of Human Rights Violations?’, CEPS, 2018, https://www.ceps.eu/system/files/Complaint%20Mechanisms_A4.pdf

      [22] Article 110(1), 2019 Regulation

      [23] Section 9, state of play report

      [24] ERRIN, https://returnnetwork.eu

      [25] Section 3.2, state of play report

      [26] Chapter III, state of play report

      [27] Section 3.2, state of play report

      [28] ‘’Roadmap’ for implementing new Frontex Regulation: full steam ahead’, Statewatch News, 25 November 2019, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/nov/eu-frontex-roadmap.htm

      [29] State of play report, p. 19

      [30] Matthias Monroy, ‘Drones for Frontex: unmanned migration control at Europe’s borders’, Statewatch Analysis, February 2020, http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/no-354-frontex-drones.pdf

      [31] Section 4, state of play report

      [32] Section 7.2, state of play report
      Next article >

      Mediterranean: As the fiction of a Libyan search and rescue zone begins to crumble, EU states use the coronavirus pandemic to declare themselves unsafe

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2020/eu-guns-guards-and-guidelines-reinforcement-of-frontex-runs-into-problem

      #EBCG_2.0_Regulation #European_Defence_Agency’s_Satellite_Communications (#SatCom) #Communications_and_Information_System (#CIS) #immunité #droits_fondamentaux #droits_humains #Fundamental_Rights_Officer (#FRO) #European_Return_and_Reintegration_Network (#ERRIN) #renvois #expulsions #réintégration #Directive_Retour #FAR (#Frontex_Application_for_Returns) #RECAMAS #EUROSUR #European_Aviation_Safety_Agency (#EASA) #European_Organisation_for_the_Safety_of_Air_Navigation (#EUROCONTROL)

    • Frontex launches “game-changing” recruitment drive for standing corps of border guards

      On 4 January 2020 the Management Board of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) adopted a decision on the profiles of the staff required for the new “standing corps”, which is ultimately supposed to be staffed by 10,000 officials. [1] The decision ushers in a new wave of recruitment for the agency. Applicants will be put through six months of training before deployment, after rigorous medical testing.

      What is the standing corps?

      The European Border and Coast Guard standing corps is the new, and according to Frontex, first ever, EU uniformed service, available “at any time…to support Member States facing challenges at their external borders”.[2] Frontex’s Programming Document for the 2018-2020 period describes the standing corps as the agency’s “biggest game changer”, requiring “an unprecedented scale of staff recruitment”.[3]

      The standing corps will be made up of four categories of Frontex operational staff:

      Frontex statutory staff deployed in operational areas and staff responsible for the functioning of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) Central Unit[4];
      Long-term staff seconded from member states;
      Staff from member states who can be immediately deployed on short-term secondment to Frontex; and

      A reserve of staff from member states for rapid border interventions.

      These border guards will be “trained by the best and equipped with the latest technology has to offer”.[5] As well as wearing EU uniforms, they will be authorised to carry weapons and will have executive powers: they will be able to verify individuals’ identity and nationality and permit or refuse entry into the EU.

      The decision made this January is limited to the definition of profiles and requirements for the operational staff that are to be recruited. The Management Board (MB) will have to adopt a new decision by March this year to set out the numbers of staff needed per profile, the requirements for individuals holding those positions, and the number of staff needed for the following year based on expected operational needs. This process will be repeated annually.[6] The MB can then further specify how many staff each member state should contribute to these profiles, and establish multi-annual plans for member state contributions and recruitment for Frontex statutory staff. Projections for these contributions are made in Annexes II – IV of the 2019 Regulation, though a September Mission Statement by new European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen urges the recruitment of 10,000 border guards by 2024, indicating that member states might be meeting their contribution commitments much sooner than 2027.[7]

      The standing corps of Frontex staff will have an array of executive powers and responsibilities. As well as being able to verify identity and nationality and refuse or permit entry into the EU, they will be able to consult various EU databases to fulfil operational aims, and may also be authorised by host states to consult national databases. According to the MB Decision, “all members of the Standing Corps are to be able to identify persons in need of international protection and persons in a vulnerable situation, including unaccompanied minors, and refer them to the competent authorities”. Training on international and EU law on fundamental rights and international protection, as well as guidelines on the identification and referral of persons in need of international protection, will be mandatory for all standing corps staff members.

      The size of the standing corps

      The following table, taken from the 2019 Regulation, outlines the ambitions for growth of Frontex’s standing corps. However, as noted, the political ambition is to reach the 10,000 total by 2024.

      –-> voir le tableau sur le site de statewatch!

      Category 2 staff – those on long term secondment from member states – will join Frontex from 2021, according to the 2019 Regulation.[8] It is foreseen that Germany will contribute the most staff, with 61 expected in 2021, increasing year-by-year to 225 by 2027. Other high contributors are France and Italy (170 and 125 by 2027, respectively).

      The lowest contributors will be Iceland (expected to contribute between one and two people a year from 2021 to 2027), Malta, Cyprus and Luxembourg. Liechtenstein is not contributing personnel but will contribute “through proportional financial support”.

      For short-term secondments from member states, projections follow a very similar pattern. Germany will contribute 540 staff in 2021, increasing to 827 in 2027; Italy’s contribution will increase from 300 in 2021 to 458 in 2027; and France’s from 408 in 2021 to 624 in 2027. Most states will be making less than 100 staff available for short-term secondment in 2021.

      What are the profiles?

      The MB Decision outlines 12 profiles to be made available to Frontex, ranging from Border Guard Officer and Crew Member, to Cross Border Crime Detection Officer and Return Specialist. A full list is contained in the Decision.[9] All profiles will be fulfilled by an official of the competent authority of a member state (MS) or Schengen Associated Country (SAC), or by a member of Frontex’s own statutory staff.

      Tasks to be carried out by these officials include:

      border checks and surveillance;
      interviewing, debriefing* and screening arrivals and registering fingerprints;
      supporting the collection, assessment, analysis and distribution of information with EU member and non-member states;
      verifying travel documents;
      escorting individuals being deported on Frontex return operations;
      operating data systems and platforms; and
      offering cultural mediation

      *Debriefing consists of informal interviews with migrants to collect information for risk analyses on irregular migration and other cross-border crime and the profiling of irregular migrants to identify “modus operandi and migration trends used by irregular migrants and facilitators/criminal networks”. Guidelines written by Frontex in 2012 instructed border guards to target vulnerable individuals for “debriefing”, not in order to streamline safeguarding or protection measures, but for intelligence-gathering - “such people are often more willing to talk about their experiences,” said an internal document.[10] It is unknown whether those instructions are still in place.

      Recruitment for the profiles

      Certain profiles are expected to “apply self-safety and security practice”, and to have “the capacity to work under pressure and face emotional events with composure”. Relevant profiles (e.g. crew member) are required to be able to perform search and rescue activities in distress situations at sea borders.

      Frontex published a call for tender on 27 December for the provision of medical services for pre-recruitment examinations, in line with the plan to start recruiting operational staff in early 2020. The documents accompanying the tender reveal additional criteria for officials that will be granted executive powers (Frontex category “A2”) compared to those staff stationed primarily at the agency’s Warsaw headquarters (“A1”). Those criteria come in the form of more stringent medical testing.

      The differences in medical screening for category A1 and A2 staff lie primarily in additional toxicology screening and psychiatric and psychological consultations. [11] The additional psychiatric attention allotted for operational staff “is performed to check the predisposition for people to work in arduous, hazardous conditions, exposed to stress, conflict situations, changing rapidly environment, coping with people being in dramatic, injure or death exposed situations”.[12]

      Both A1 and A2 category provisional recruits will be asked to disclose if they have ever suffered from a sexually transmitted disease or “genital organ disease”, as well as depression, nervous or mental disorders, among a long list of other ailments. As well as disclosing any medication they take, recruits must also state if they are taking oral contraceptives (though there is no question about hormonal contraceptives that are not taken orally). Women are also asked to give the date of their last period on the pre-appointment questionnaire.

      “Never touch yourself with gloves”

      Frontex training materials on forced return operations obtained by Statewatch in 2019 acknowledge the likelihood of psychological stress among staff, among other health risks. (One recommendation contained in the documents is to “never touch yourself with gloves”). Citing “dissonance within the team, long hours with no rest, group dynamic, improvisation and different languages” among factors behind psychological stress, the training materials on medical precautionary measures for deportation escort officers also refer to post-traumatic stress disorder, the lack of an area to retreat to and body clock disruption as exacerbating risks. The document suggests a high likelihood that Frontex return escorts will witness poverty, “agony”, “chaos”, violence, boredom, and will have to deal with vulnerable persons.[13]

      For fundamental rights monitors (officials deployed to monitor fundamental rights compliance during deportations, who can be either Frontex staff or national officials), the training materials obtained by Statewatch focus on the self-control of emotions, rather than emotional care. Strategies recommended include talking to somebody, seeking professional help, and “informing yourself of any other option offered”. The documents suggest that it is an individual’s responsibility to prevent emotional responses to stressful situations having an impact on operations, and to organise their own supervision and professional help. There is no obvious focus on how traumatic responses of Frontex staff could affect those coming into contact with them at an external border or during a deportation. [14]

      The materials obtained by Statewatch also give some indication of the fundamental rights training imparted to those acting as deportation ‘escorts’ and fundamental rights monitors. The intended outcomes for a training session in Athens that took place in March 2019 included “adapt FR [fundamental rights] in a readmission operation (explain it with examples)” and “should be able to describe Non Refoulement principle” (in the document, ‘Session Fundamental rights’ is followed by ‘Session Velcro handcuffs’).[15] The content of the fundamental rights training that will be offered to Frontex’s new recruits is currently unknown.

      Fit for service?

      The agency anticipates that most staff will be recruited from March to June 2020, involving the medical examination of up to 700 applicants in this period. According to Frontex’s website, the agency has already received over 7,000 applications for the 700 new European Border Guard Officer positions.[16] Successful candidates will undergo six months of training before deployment in 2021. Apparently then, the posts are a popular career option, despite the seemingly invasive medical tests (especially for sexually active women). Why, for instance, is it important to Frontex to know about oral hormonal contraception, or about sexually transmitted infections?

      When asked by Statewatch if Frontex provides in-house psychological and emotional support, an agency press officer stated: “When it comes to psychological and emotional support, Frontex is increasing awareness and personal resilience of the officers taking part in our operations through education and training activities.” A ‘Frontex Mental Health Strategy’ from 2018 proposed the establishment of “a network of experts-psychologists” to act as an advisory body, as well as creating “online self-care tools”, a “psychological hot-line”, and a space for peer support with participation of psychologists (according to risk assessment) during operations.[17]

      One year later, Frontex, EASO and Europol jointly produced a brochure for staff deployed on operations, entitled ‘Occupational Health and Safety – Deployment Information’, which offers a series of recommendations to staff, placing the responsibility to “come to the deployment in good mental shape” and “learn how to manage stress and how to deal with anger” more firmly on the individual than the agency.[18] According to this document, officers who need additional support must disclose this by requesting it from their supervisor, while “a helpline or psychologist on-site may be available, depending on location”.

      Frontex anticipates this recruitment drive to be “game changing”. Indeed, the Commission is relying upon it to reach its ambitions for the agency’s independence and efficiency. The inclusion of mandatory training in fundamental rights in the six-month introductory education is obviously a welcome step. Whether lessons learned in a classroom will be the first thing that comes to the minds of officials deployed on border control or deportation operations remains to be seen.

      Unmanaged responses to emotional stress can include burnout, compassion-fatigue and indirect trauma, which can in turn decrease a person’s ability to cope with adverse circumstance, and increase the risk of violence.[19] Therefore, aside from the agency’s responsibility as an employer to safeguard the health of its staff, its approach to internal psychological care will affect not only the border guards themselves, but the people that they routinely come into contact with at borders and during return operations, many of whom themselves will have experienced trauma.

      Jane Kilpatrick

      Endnotes

      [1] Management Board Decision 1/2020 of 4 January 2020 on adopting the profiles to be made available to the European Border and Coast Guard Standing Corps, https://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Key_Documents/MB_Decision/2020/MB_Decision_1_2020_adopting_the_profiles_to_be_made_available_to_the_

      [2] Frontex, ‘Careers’, https://frontex.europa.eu/about-frontex/careers/frontex-border-guard-recruitment

      [3] Frontex, ‘Programming Document 2018-20’, 10 December 2017, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/frontex-programming-document-2018-20.pdf

      [4] The ETIAS Central Unit will be responsible for processing the majority of applications for ‘travel authorisations’ received when the European Travel Information and Authorisation System comes into use, in theory in late 2022. Citizens who do not require a visa to travel to the Schengen area will have to apply for authorisation to travel to the Schengen area.

      [5] Frontex, ‘Careers’, https://frontex.europa.eu/about-frontex/careers/frontex-border-guard-recruitment

      [6] Article 54(4), Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 November 2019 on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Regulations (EU) No 1052/2013 and (EU) 2016/1624, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32019R1896

      [7] ‘European Commission 2020 Work Programme: An ambitious roadmap for a Union that strives for more’, 29 January 2020, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_20_124; “Mission letter” from Ursula von der Leyen to Ylva Johnsson, 10 September 2019, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/mission-letter-ylva-johansson_en.pdf

      [8] Annex II, 2019 Regulation

      [9] Management Board Decision 1/2020 of 4 January 2020 on adopting the profiles to be made available to the European Border and Coast Guard Standing Corps, https://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Key_Documents/MB_Decision/2020/MB_Decision_1_2020_adopting_the_profiles_to_be_made_available_to_the_

      [10] ‘Press release: EU border agency targeted “isolated or mistreated” individuals for questioning’, Statewatch News, 16 February 2017, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2017/feb/eu-frontex-op-hera-debriefing-pr.htm

      [11] ‘Provision of Medical Services – Pre-Recruitment Examination’, https://etendering.ted.europa.eu/cft/cft-documents.html?cftId=5841

      [12] ‘Provision of medical services – pre-recruitment examination, Terms of Reference - Annex II to invitation to tender no Frontex/OP/1491/2019/KM’, https://etendering.ted.europa.eu/cft/cft-document.html?docId=65398

      [13] Frontex training presentation, ‘Medical precautionary measures for escort officers’, undated, http://statewatch.org/news/2020/mar/eu-frontex-presentation-medical-precautionary-measures-deportation-escor

      [14] Ibid.

      [15] Frontex, document listing course learning outcomes from deportation escorts’ training, http://statewatch.org/news/2020/mar/eu-frontex-deportation-escorts-training-course-learning-outcomes.pdf

      [16] Frontex, ‘Careers’, https://frontex.europa.eu/about-frontex/careers/frontex-border-guard-recruitment

      [17] Frontex, ‘Frontex mental health strategy’, 20 February 2018, https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/89c168fe-e14b-11e7-9749-01aa75ed71a1/language-en

      [18] EASO, Europol and Frontex, ‘Occupational health and safety’, 12 August 2019, https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/17cc07e0-bd88-11e9-9d01-01aa75ed71a1/language-en/format-PDF/source-103142015

      [19] Trauma Treatment International, ‘A different approach for victims of trauma’, https://www.tt-intl.org/#our-work-section

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2020/frontex-launches-game-changing-recruitment-drive-for-standing-corps-of-b
      #gardes_frontières #staff #corps_des_gardes-frontières

    • Drones for Frontex: unmanned migration control at Europe’s borders (27.02.2020)

      Instead of providing sea rescue capabilities in the Mediterranean, the EU is expanding air surveillance. Refugees are observed with drones developed for the military. In addition to numerous EU states, countries such as Libya could also use the information obtained.

      It is not easy to obtain majorities for legislation in the European Union in the area of migration - unless it is a matter of upgrading the EU’s external borders. While the reform of a common EU asylum system has been on hold for years, the European Commission, Parliament and Council agreed to reshape the border agency Frontex with unusual haste shortly before last year’s parliamentary elections. A new Regulation has been in force since December 2019,[1] under which Frontex intends to build up a “standing corps” of 10,000 uniformed officials by 2027. They can be deployed not just at the EU’s external borders, but in ‘third countries’ as well.

      In this way, Frontex will become a “European border police force” with powers that were previously reserved for the member states alone. The core of the new Regulation includes the procurement of the agency’s own equipment. The Multiannual Financial Framework, in which the EU determines the distribution of its financial resources from 2021 until 2027, has not yet been decided. According to current plans, however, at least €6 billion are reserved for Frontex in the seven-year budget. The intention is for Frontex to spend a large part of the money, over €2 billion, on aircraft, ships and vehicles.[2]

      Frontex seeks company for drone flights

      The upgrade plans include the stationing of large drones in the central and eastern Mediterranean. For this purpose, Frontex is looking for a private partner to operate flights off Malta, Italy or Greece. A corresponding tender ended in December[3] and the selection process is currently underway. The unmanned missions could then begin already in spring. Frontex estimates the total cost of these missions at €50 million. The contract has a term of two years and can be extended twice for one year at a time.

      Frontex wants drones of the so-called MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) class. Their flight duration should be at least 20 hours. The requirements include the ability to fly in all weather conditions and at day and night. It is also planned to operate in airspace where civil aircraft are in service. For surveillance missions, the drones should carry electro-optical cameras, thermal imaging cameras and so-called “daylight spotter” systems that independently detect moving targets and keep them in focus. Other equipment includes systems for locating mobile and satellite telephones. The drones will also be able to receive signals from emergency call transmitters sewn into modern life jackets.

      However, the Frontex drones will not be used primarily for sea rescue operations, but to improve capacities against unwanted migration. This assumption is also confirmed by the German non-governmental organisation Sea-Watch, which has been providing assistance in the central Mediterranean with various ships since 2015. “Frontex is not concerned with saving lives,” says Ruben Neugebauer of Sea-Watch. “While air surveillance is being expanded with aircraft and drones, ships urgently needed for rescue operations have been withdrawn”. Sea-Watch demands that situation pictures of EU drones are also made available to private organisations for sea rescue.

      Aircraft from arms companies

      Frontex has very specific ideas for its own drones, which is why there are only a few suppliers worldwide that can be called into question. The Israel Aerospace Industries Heron 1, which Frontex tested for several months on the Greek island of Crete[4] and which is also flown by the German Bundeswehr, is one of them. As set out by Frontex in its invitation to tender, the Heron 1, with a payload of around 250 kilograms, can carry all the surveillance equipment that the agency intends to deploy over the Mediterranean. Also amongst those likely to be interested in the Frontex contract is the US company General Atomics, which has been building drones of the Predator series for 20 years. Recently, it presented a new Predator model in Greece under the name SeaGuardian, for maritime observation.[5] It is equipped with a maritime surveillance radar and a system for receiving position data from larger ships, thus fulfilling one of Frontex’s essential requirements.

      General Atomics may have a competitive advantage, as its Predator drones have several years’ operational experience in the Mediterranean. In addition to Frontex, the European Union has been active in the central Mediterranean with EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia. In March 2019, Italy’s then-interior minister Matteo Salvini pushed through the decision to operate the EU mission from the air alone. Since then, two unarmed Predator drones operated by the Italian military have been flying for EUNAVFOR MED for 60 hours per month. Officially, the drones are to observe from the air whether the training of the Libyan coast guard has been successful and whether these navy personnel use their knowledge accordingly. Presumably, however, the Predators are primarily pursuing the mission’s goal to “combat human smuggling” by spying on the Libyan coast. It is likely that the new Operation EU Active Surveillance, which will use military assets from EU member states to try to enforce the UN arms embargo placed on Libya,[6] will continue to patrol with Italian drones off the coast in North Africa.

      Three EU maritime surveillance agencies

      In addition to Frontex, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) are also investing in maritime surveillance using drones. Together, the three agencies coordinate some 300 civil and military authorities in EU member states.[7] Their tasks include border, fisheries and customs control, law enforcement and environmental protection.

      In 2017, Frontex and EMSA signed an agreement to benefit from joint reconnaissance capabilities, with EFCA also involved.[8] At the time, EMSA conducted tests with drones of various sizes, but now the drones’ flights are part of its regular services. The offer is not only open to EU Member States, as Iceland was the first to take advantage of it. Since summer 2019, a long-range Hermes 900 drone built by the Israeli company Elbit Systems has been flying from Iceland’s Egilsstaðir airport. The flights are intended to cover more than half of the island state’s exclusive economic zone and to detect “suspicious activities and potential hazards”.[9]

      The Hermes 900 was also developed for the military; the Israeli army first deployed it in the Gaza Strip in 2014. The Times of Israel puts the cost of the operating contract with EMSA at €59 million,[10] with a term of two years, which can be extended for another two years. The agency did not conclude the contract directly with the Israeli arms company, but through the Portuguese firm CeiiA. The contract covers the stationing, control and mission control of the drones.

      New interested parties for drone flights

      At the request of the German MEP Özlem Demirel (from the party Die Linke), the European Commission has published a list of countries that also want to use EMSA drones.[11] According to this list, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal and also Greece have requested unmanned flights for pollution monitoring this year, while Bulgaria and Spain want to use them for general maritime surveillance. Until Frontex has its own drones, EMSA is flying its drones for the border agency on Crete. As in Iceland, this is the long-range drone Hermes 900, but according to Greek media reports it crashed on 8 January during take-off.[12] Possible causes are a malfunction of the propulsion system or human error. The aircraft is said to have been considerably damaged.

      Authorities from France and Great Britain have also ordered unmanned maritime surveillance from EMSA. Nothing is yet known about the exact intended location, but it is presumably the English Channel. There, the British coast guard is already observing border traffic with larger drones built by the Tekever arms company from Portugal.[13] The government in London wants to prevent migrants from crossing the Channel. The drones take off from the airport in the small town of Lydd and monitor the approximately 50-kilometre-long and 30-kilometre-wide Strait of Dover. Great Britain has also delivered several quadcopters to France to try to detect potential migrants in French territorial waters. According to the prefecture of Pas-de-Calais, eight gendarmes have been trained to control the small drones[14].

      Information to non-EU countries

      The images taken by EMSA drones are evaluated by the competent national coastguards. A livestream also sends them to Frontex headquarters in Warsaw.[15] There they are fed into the EUROSUR border surveillance system. This is operated by Frontex and networks the surveillance installations of all EU member states that have an external border. The data from EUROSUR and the national border control centres form the ‘Common Pre-frontier Intelligence Picture’,[16] referring to the area of interest of Frontex, which extends far into the African continent. Surveillance data is used to detect and prevent migration movements at an early stage.

      Once the providing company has been selected, the new Frontex drones are also to fly for EUROSUR. According to the invitation to tender, they are to operate in the eastern and central Mediterranean within a radius of up to 250 nautical miles (463 kilometres). This would enable them to carry out reconnaissance in the “pre-frontier” area off Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. Within the framework of EUROSUR, Frontex shares the recorded data with other European users via a ‘Remote Information Portal’, as the call for tender explains. The border agency has long been able to cooperate with third countries and the information collected can therefore also be made available to authorities in North Africa. However, in order to share general information on surveillance of the Mediterranean Sea with a non-EU state, Frontex must first conclude a working agreement with the corresponding government.[17]

      It is already possible, however, to provide countries such as Libya with the coordinates of refugee boats. For example, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea stipulates that the nearest Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) must be informed of actual or suspected emergencies. With EU funding, Italy has been building such a centre in Tripoli for the last two years.[18] It is operated by the military coast guard, but so far has no significant equipment of its own.

      The EU military mission “EUNAVFOR MED” was cooperating more extensively with the Libyan coast guard. For communication with European naval authorities, Libya is the first third country to be connected to European surveillance systems via the “Seahorse Mediterranean” network[19]. Information handed over to the Libyan authorities might also include information that was collected with the Italian military ‘Predator’ drones.

      Reconnaissance generated with unmanned aerial surveillance is also given to the MRCC in Turkey. This was seen in a pilot project last summer, when the border agency tested an unmanned aerostat with the Greek coast guard off the island of Samos.[20] Attached to a 1,000 metre-long cable, the airship was used in the Frontex operation ‘Poseidon’ in the eastern Mediterranean. The 35-meter-long zeppelin comes from the French manufacturer A-NSE.[21] The company specializes in civil and military aerial observation. According to the Greek Marine Ministry, the equipment included a radar, a thermal imaging camera and an Automatic Identification System (AIS) for the tracking of larger ships. The recorded videos were received and evaluated by a situation centre supplied by the Portuguese National Guard. If a detected refugee boat was still in Turkish territorial waters, the Greek coast guard informed the Turkish authorities. This pilot project in the Aegean Sea was the first use of an airship by Frontex. The participants deployed comparatively large numbers of personnel for the short mission. Pictures taken by the Greek coastguard show more than 40 people.

      Drones enable ‘pull-backs’

      Human rights organisations accuse EUNAVFOR MED and Frontex of passing on information to neighbouring countries leading to rejections (so-called ‘push-backs’) in violation of international law. People must not be returned to states where they are at risk of torture or other serious human rights violations. Frontex does not itself return refugees in distress who were discovered at sea via aerial surveillance, but leaves the task to the Libyan or Turkish authorities. Regarding Libya, the Agency since 2017 provided notice of at least 42 vessels in distress to Libyan authorities.[22]

      Private rescue organisations therefore speak of so-called ‘pull-backs’, but these are also prohibited, as the Israeli human rights lawyer Omer Shatz argues: “Communicating the location of civilians fleeing war to a consortium of militias and instructing them to intercept and forcibly transfer them back to the place they fled from, trigger both state responsibility of all EU members and individual criminal liability of hundreds involved.” Together with his colleague Juan Branco, Shatz is suing those responsible for the European Union and its agencies before the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Soon they intend to publish individual cases and the names of the people accused.

      Matthias Monroy

      An earlier version of this article first appeared in the German edition of Le Monde Diplomatique: ‘Drohnen für Frontex Statt sich auf die Rettung von Bootsflüchtlingen im Mittelmeer zu konzentrieren, baut die EU die Luftüberwachung’.

      Note: this article was corrected on 6 March to clarify a point regarding cooperation between Frontex and non-EU states.

      Endnotes

      [1] Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Border and Coast Guard, https://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/PE-33-2019-INIT/en/pdf

      [2] European Commission, ‘A strengthened and fully equipped European Border and Coast Guard’, 12 September 2018, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/soteu2018-factsheet-coast-guard_en.pdf

      [3] ‘Poland-Warsaw: Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) for Medium Altitude Long Endurance Maritime Aerial Surveillance’, https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:490010-2019:TEXT:EN:HTML&tabId=1

      [4] IAI, ‘IAI AND AIRBUS MARITIME HERON UNMANNED AERIAL SYSTEM (UAS) SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED 200 FLIGHT HOURS IN CIVILIAN EUROPEAN AIRSPACE FOR FRONTEX’, 24 October 2018, https://www.iai.co.il/iai-and-airbus-maritime-heron-unmanned-aerial-system-uas-successfully-complet

      [5] ‘ European Maritime Flight Demonstrations’, General Atomics, http://www.ga-asi.com/european-maritime-demo

      [6] ‘EU agrees to deploy warships to enforce Libya arms embargo’, The Guardian, 17 February 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/17/eu-agrees-deploy-warships-enforce-libya-arms-embargo

      [7] EMSA, ‘Heads of EMSA and Frontex meet to discuss cooperation on European coast guard functions’, 3 April 2019, http://www.emsa.europa.eu/news-a-press-centre/external-news/item/3499-heads-of-emsa-and-frontex-meet-to-discuss-cooperation-on-european-c

      [8] Frontex, ‘Frontex, EMSA and EFCA strengthen cooperation on coast guard functions’, 23 March 2017, https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/news-release/frontex-emsa-and-efca-strengthen-cooperation-on-coast-guard-functions

      [9] Elbit Systems, ‘Elbit Systems Commenced the Operation of the Maritime UAS Patrol Service to European Union Countries’, 18 June 2019, https://elbitsystems.com/pr-new/elbit-systems-commenced-the-operation-of-the-maritime-uas-patrol-servi

      [10] ‘Elbit wins drone contract for up to $68m to help monitor Europe coast’, The Times of Israel, 1 November 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/elbit-wins-drone-contract-for-up-to-68m-to-help-monitor-europe-coast

      [11] ‘Answer given by Ms Bulc on behalf of the European Commission’, https://netzpolitik.org/wp-upload/2019/12/E-2946_191_Finalised_reply_Annex1_EN_V1.pdf

      [12] ‘Το drone της FRONTEX έπεσε, οι μετανάστες έρχονται’, Proto Thema, 27 January 2020, https://www.protothema.gr/greece/article/968869/to-drone-tis-frontex-epese-oi-metanastes-erhodai

      [13] Morgan Meaker, ‘Here’s proof the UK is using drones to patrol the English Channel’, Wired, 10 January 2020, https://www.wired.co.uk/article/uk-drones-migrants-english-channel

      [14] ‘Littoral: Les drones pour lutter contre les traversées de migrants sont opérationnels’, La Voix du Nord, 26 March 2019, https://www.lavoixdunord.fr/557951/article/2019-03-26/les-drones-pour-lutter-contre-les-traversees-de-migrants-sont-operation

      [15] ‘Frontex report on the functioning of Eurosur – Part I’, Council document 6215/18, 15 February 2018, http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-6215-2018-INIT/en/pdf

      [16] European Commission, ‘Eurosur’, https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/borders-and-visas/border-crossing/eurosur_en

      [17] Legal reforms have also given Frontex the power to operate on the territory of non-EU states, subject to the conclusion of a status agreement between the EU and the country in question. The 2016 Frontex Regulation allowed such cooperation with states that share a border with the EU; the 2019 Frontex Regulation extends this to any non-EU state.

      [18] ‘Helping the Libyan Coast Guard to establish a Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre’, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-8-2018-000547_EN.html

      [19] Matthias Monroy, ‘EU funds the sacking of rescue ships in the Mediterranean’, 7 July 2018, https://digit.site36.net/2018/07/03/eu-funds-the-sacking-of-rescue-ships-in-the-mediterranean

      [20] Frontex, ‘Frontex begins testing use of aerostat for border surveillance’, 31 July 2019, https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/news-release/frontex-begins-testing-use-of-aerostat-for-border-surveillance-ur33N8

      [21] ‘Answer given by Ms Johansson on behalf of the European Commission’, 7 January 2020, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2019-002529-ASW_EN.html

      [22] ‘Answer given by Vice-President Borrell on behalf of the European Commission’, 8 January 2020, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2019-002654-ASW_EN.html

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2020/drones-for-frontex-unmanned-migration-control-at-europe-s-borders

      #drones

    • Monitoring “secondary movements” and “hotspots”: Frontex is now an internal surveillance agency (16.12.2019)

      The EU’s border agency, Frontex, now has powers to gather data on “secondary movements” and the “hotspots” within the EU. The intention is to ensure “situational awareness” and produce risk analyses on the migratory situation within the EU, in order to inform possible operational action by national authorities. This brings with it increased risks for the fundamental rights of both non-EU nationals and ethnic minority EU citizens.

      The establishment of a new ’standing corps’ of 10,000 border guards to be commanded by EU border agency Frontex has generated significant public and press attention in recent months. However, the new rules governing Frontex[1] include a number of other significant developments - including a mandate for the surveillance of migratory movements and migration “hotspots” within the EU.

      Previously, the agency’s surveillance role has been restricted to the external borders and the “pre-frontier area” – for example, the high seas or “selected third-country ports.”[2] New legal provisions mean it will now be able to gather data on the movement of people within the EU. While this is only supposed to deal with “trends, volumes and routes,” rather than personal data, it is intended to inform operational activity within the EU.

      This may mean an increase in operations against ‘unauthorised’ migrants, bringing with it risks for fundamental rights such as the possibility of racial profiling, detention, violence and the denial of access to asylum procedures. At the same time, in a context where internal borders have been reintroduced by numerous Schengen states over the last five years due to increased migration, it may be that he agency’s new role contributes to a further prolongation of internal border controls.

      From external to internal surveillance

      Frontex was initially established with the primary goals of assisting in the surveillance and control of the external borders of the EU. Over the years it has obtained increasing powers to conduct surveillance of those borders in order to identify potential ’threats’.

      The European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) has a key role in this task, taking data from a variety of sources, including satellites, sensors, drones, ships, vehicles and other means operated both by national authorities and the agency itself. EUROSUR was formally established by legislation approved in 2013, although the system was developed and in use long before it was subject to a legal framework.[3]

      The new Frontex Regulation incorporates and updates the provisions of the 2013 EUROSUR Regulation. It maintains existing requirements for the agency to establish a “situational picture” of the EU’s external borders and the “pre-frontier area” – for example, the high seas or the ports of non-EU states – which is then distributed to the EU’s member states in order to inform operational activities.[4]

      The new rules also provide a mandate for reporting on “unauthorised secondary movements” and goings-on in the “hotspots”. The Commission’s proposal for the new Frontex Regulation was not accompanied by an impact assessment, which would have set out the reasoning and justifications for these new powers. The proposal merely pointed out that the new rules would “evolve” the scope of EUROSUR, to make it possible to “prevent secondary movements”.[5] As the European Data Protection Supervisor remarked, the lack of an impact assessment made it impossible: “to fully assess and verify its attended benefits and impact, notably on fundamental rights and freedoms, including the right to privacy and to the protection of personal data.”[6]

      The term “secondary movements” is not defined in the Regulation, but is generally used to refer to journeys between EU member states undertaken without permission, in particular by undocumented migrants and applicants for internal protection. Regarding the “hotspots” – established and operated by EU and national authorities in Italy and Greece – the Regulation provides a definition,[7] but little clarity on precisely what information will be gathered.

      Legal provisions

      A quick glance at Section 3 of the new Regulation, dealing with EUROSUR, gives little indication that the system will now be used for internal surveillance. The formal scope of EUROSUR is concerned with the external borders and border crossing points:

      “EUROSUR shall be used for border checks at authorised border crossing points and for external land, sea and air border surveillance, including the monitoring, detection, identification, tracking, prevention and interception of unauthorised border crossings for the purpose of detecting, preventing and combating illegal immigration and cross-border crime and contributing to ensuring the protection and saving the lives of migrants.”

      However, the subsequent section of the Regulation (on ‘situational awareness’) makes clear the agency’s new internal role. Article 24 sets out the components of the “situational pictures” that will be visible in EUROSUR. There are three types – national situational pictures, the European situational picture and specific situational pictures. All of these should consist of an events layer, an operational layer and an analysis layer. The first of these layers should contain (emphasis added in all quotes):

      “…events and incidents related to unauthorised border crossings and cross-border crime and, where available, information on unauthorised secondary movements, for the purpose of understanding migratory trends, volume and routes.”

      Article 26, dealing with the European situational picture, states:

      “The Agency shall establish and maintain a European situational picture in order to provide the national coordination centres and the Commission with effective, accurate and timely information and analysis, covering the external borders, the pre-frontier area and unauthorised secondary movements.”

      The events layer of that picture should include “information relating to… incidents in the operational area of a joint operation or rapid intervention coordinated by the Agency, or in a hotspot.”[8] In a similar vein:

      “The operational layer of the European situational picture shall contain information on the joint operations and rapid interventions coordinated by the Agency and on hotspots, and shall include the mission statements, locations, status, duration, information on the Member States and other actors involved, daily and weekly situational reports, statistical data and information packages for the media.”[9]

      Article 28, dealing with ‘EUROSUR Fusion Services’, says that Frontex will provide national authorities with information on the external borders and pre-frontier area that may be derived from, amongst other things, the monitoring of “migratory flows towards and within the Union in terms of trends, volume and routes.”

      Sources of data

      The “situational pictures” compiled by Frontex and distributed via EUROSUR are made up of data gathered from a host of different sources. For the national situational picture, these are:

      national border surveillance systems;
      stationary and mobile sensors operated by national border agencies;
      border surveillance patrols and “other monitoring missions”;
      local, regional and other coordination centres;
      other national authorities and systems, such as immigration liaison officers, operational centres and contact points;
      border checks;
      Frontex;
      other member states’ national coordination centres;
      third countries’ authorities;
      ship reporting systems;
      other relevant European and international organisations; and
      other sources.[10]

      For the European situational picture, the sources of data are:

      national coordination centres;
      national situational pictures;
      immigration liaison officers;
      Frontex, including reports form its liaison officers;
      Union delegations and EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions;
      other relevant Union bodies, offices and agencies and international organisations; and
      third countries’ authorities.[11]

      The EUROSUR handbook – which will presumably be redrafted to take into account the new legislation – provides more detail about what each of these categories may include.[12]

      Exactly how this melange of different data will be used to report on secondary movements is currently unknown. However, in accordance with Article 24 of the new Regulation:

      “The Commission shall adopt an implementing act laying down the details of the information layers of the situational pictures and the rules for the establishment of specific situational pictures. The implementing act shall specify the type of information to be provided, the entities responsible for collecting, processing, archiving and transmitting specific information, the maximum time limits for reporting, the data security and data protection rules and related quality control mechanisms.” [13]

      This implementing act will specify precisely how EUROSUR will report on “secondary movements”.[14] According to a ‘roadmap’ setting out plans for the implementation of the new Regulation, this implementing act should have been drawn up in the last quarter of 2020 by a newly-established European Border and Coast Guard Committee sitting within the Commission. However, that Committee does not yet appear to have held any meetings.[15]

      Operational activities at the internal borders

      Boosting Frontex’s operational role is one of the major purposes of the new Regulation, although it makes clear that the internal surveillance role “should not lead to operational activities of the Agency at the internal borders of the Member States.” Rather, internal surveillance should “contribute to the monitoring by the Agency of migratory flows towards and within the Union for the purpose of risk analysis and situational awareness.” The purpose is to inform operational activity by national authorities.

      In recent years Schengen member states have reintroduced border controls for significant periods in the name of ensuring internal security and combating irregular migration. An article in Deutsche Welle recently highlighted:

      “When increasing numbers of refugees started arriving in the European Union in 2015, Austria, Germany, Slovenia and Hungary quickly reintroduced controls, citing a “continuous big influx of persons seeking international protection.” This was the first time that migration had been mentioned as a reason for reintroducing border controls.

      Soon after, six Schengen members reintroduced controls for extended periods. Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway cited migration as a reason. France, as the sixth country, first introduced border checks after the November 2015 attacks in Paris, citing terrorist threats. Now, four years later, all six countries still have controls in place. On November 12, they are scheduled to extend them for another six months.”[16]

      These long-term extensions of internal border controls are illegal (the upper limit is supposed to be two years; discussions on changes to the rules governing the reintroduction of internal border controls in the Schengen area are ongoing).[17] A European Parliament resolution from May 2018 stated that “many of the prolongations are not in line with the existing rules as to their extensions, necessity or proportionality and are therefore unlawful.”[18] Yves Pascou, a researcher for the European Policy Centre, told Deutsche Welle that: “"We are in an entirely political situation now, not a legal one, and not one grounded in facts.”

      A European Parliament study published in 2016 highlighted that:

      “there has been a noticeable lack of detail and evidence given by the concerned EU Member States [those which reintroduced internal border controls]. For example, there have been no statistics on the numbers of people crossing borders and seeking asylum, or assessment of the extent to which reintroducing border checks complies with the principles of proportionality and necessity.”[19]

      One purpose of Frontex’s new internal surveillance powers is to provide such evidence (albeit in the ideologically-skewed form of ‘risk analysis’) on the situation within the EU. Whether the information provided will be of interest to national authorities is another question. Nevertheless, it would be a significant irony if the provision of that information were to contribute to the further maintenance of internal borders in the Schengen area.

      At the same time, there is a more pressing concern related to these new powers. Many discussions on the reintroduction of internal borders revolve around the fact that it is contrary to the idea, spirit (and in these cases, the law) of the Schengen area. What appears to have been totally overlooked is the effect the reintroduction of internal borders may have on non-EU nationals or ethnic minority citizens of the EU. One does not have to cross an internal Schengen frontier too many times to notice patterns in the appearance of the people who are hauled off trains and buses by border guards, but personal anecdotes are not the same thing as empirical investigation. If Frontex’s new powers are intended to inform operational activity by the member states at the internal borders of the EU, then the potential effects on fundamental rights must be taken into consideration and should be the subject of investigation by journalists, officials, politicians and researchers.

      Chris Jones

      Endnotes

      [1] The new Regulation was published in the Official Journal of the EU in mid-November: Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 November 2019 on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Regulations (EU) No 1052/2013 and (EU) 2016/1624, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32019R1896

      [2] Article 12, ‘Common application of surveillance tools’, Regulation (EU) No 1052/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2013 establishing the European Border Surveillance System (Eurosur), https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32013R1052

      [3] According to Frontex, the Eurosur Network first came into use in December 2011 and in March 2012 was first used to “exchange operational information”. The Regulation governing the system came into force in October 2013 (see footnote 2). See: Charles Heller and Chris Jones, ‘Eurosur: saving lives or reinforcing deadly borders?’, Statewatch Journal, vol. 23 no. 3/4, February 2014, http://database.statewatch.org/article.asp?aid=33156

      [4] Recital 34, 2019 Regulation: “EUROSUR should provide an exhaustive situational picture not only at the external borders but also within the Schengen area and in the pre-frontier area. It should cover land, sea and air border surveillance and border checks.”

      [5] European Commission, ‘Proposal for a Regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Council Joint Action no 98/700/JHA, Regulation (EU) no 1052/2013 and Regulation (EU) no 2016/1624’, COM(2018) 631 final, 12 September 2018, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2018/sep/eu-com-frontex-proposal-regulation-com-18-631.pdf

      [6] EDPS, ‘Formal comments on the Proposal for a Regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard’, 30 November 2018, p. p.2, https://edps.europa.eu/sites/edp/files/publication/18-11-30_comments_proposal_regulation_european_border_coast_guard_en.pdf

      [7] Article 2(23): “‘hotspot area’ means an area created at the request of the host Member State in which the host Member State, the Commission, relevant Union agencies and participating Member States cooperate, with the aim of managing an existing or potential disproportionate migratory challenge characterised by a significant increase in the number of migrants arriving at the external borders”

      [8] Article 26(3)(c), 2019 Regulation

      [9] Article 26(4), 2019 Regulation

      [10] Article 25, 2019 Regulation

      [11] Article 26, 2019 Regulation

      [12] European Commission, ‘Commission Recommendation adopting the Practical Handbook for implementing and managing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR)’, C(2015) 9206 final, 15 December 2015, https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/what-we-do/policies/securing-eu-borders/legal-documents/docs/eurosur_handbook_annex_en.pdf

      [13] Article 24(3), 2019 Regulation

      [14] ‘’Roadmap’ for implementing new Frontex Regulation: full steam ahead’, Statewatch News, 25 November 2019, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/nov/eu-frontex-roadmap.htm

      [15] Documents related to meetings of committees operating under the auspices of the European Commission can be found in the Comitology Register: https://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regcomitology/index.cfm?do=Search.Search&NewSearch=1

      [16] Kira Schacht, ‘Border checks in EU countries challenge Schengen Agreement’, DW, 12 November 2019, https://www.dw.com/en/border-checks-in-eu-countries-challenge-schengen-agreement/a-51033603

      [17] European Parliament, ‘Temporary reintroduction of border control at internal borders’, https://oeil.secure.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/ficheprocedure.do?reference=2017/0245(COD)&l=en

      [18] ‘Report on the annual report on the functioning of the Schengen area’, 3 May 2018, para.9, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/A-8-2018-0160_EN.html

      [19] Elpseth Guild et al, ‘Internal border controls in the Schengen area: is Schengen crisis-proof?’, European Parliament, June 2016, p.9, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2016/571356/IPOL_STU(2016)571356_EN.pdf

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2019/monitoring-secondary-movements-and-hotspots-frontex-is-now-an-internal-s

      #mouvements_secondaires #hotspot #hotspots

  • Aucun drone israélien ne vole pour Frontex après un crash
    Matthias Monroy, le 26 juin 2020
    https://agencemediapalestine.fr/blog/2020/07/02/aucun-drone-israelien-ne-vole-pour-frontex-apres-un-crash

    Selon la Commission, c’était un « atterrissage difficile » alors que les détecteurs du drone venaient d’afficher des « informations inattendues ». L’aéronef s’est alors écarté de la piste, ce qui, comme l’ont rapporté les médias grecs, a conduit à des dommages considérables. La Commission confirme que le fuselage, les ailes et les détecteurs ont bien été endommagés, mais qu’il n’y a eu « ni victime ni dégâts sur la piste ». Le Hermes 900 était apparemment dirigé par des pilotes du constructeur Elbit.

    Mais, mauvaises nouvelles :

    Avant la fin de cette année, Frontex veut déployer ses propres drones en Méditerranée et ainsi se rendre indépendante de l’EMSA. Leur endurance devra être d’au moins 20 heures, les vols devront avoir lieu dans tous les espaces aériens, dans toutes les conditions météorologiques, et de jour comme de nuit. L’Agence des frontières évalue actuellement des propositions faites dans le cadre d’appels d’offres européens, le contrat devrait être attribué prochainement. Probablement qu’Elbit s’est porté candidat pour le contrat, l’un de ses concurrents les plus sérieux étant probablement Israel Aerospace Industries avec son Heron 1, qui viendrait lui aussi d’Israël.

    #drones #Frontex #Europe #israel #collaboration #guerre #migrants #complicité #Elbit #embargo #boycott