Generalplan Ost - Planungshorizont Krim - Zielrichtung Ukraine - Vordenker der Vernichtung - Prof. Dr. Götz Aly über die Planer einer neuen Europäischen Ordnung (1941 - 1943) im Gespräch mit Alexander Kluge. | 16.06.2017 - 45 Min.
Generalplan Ost - Planungshorizont Krim - Zielrichtung Ukraine - Vordenker der Vernichtung - Prof. Dr. Götz Aly über die Planer einer neuen Europäischen Ordnung (1941 - 1943) im Gespräch mit Alexander Kluge. | 16.06.2017 - 45 Min.
La Russie lance Orwell, un système de reconnaissance faciale dans les écoles
La Russie lance Orwell, un système de reconnaissance faciale dans les écoles En Russie, plus de 43 000 écoles vont être équipées d’un système de …
En Rhénanie-du-Nord-Westphalie et dans le Schleswig-Holstein, des centaines d’employé·es des abattoirs sont contaminé·es par le corona. Or le seuil de reconfinement a été fixé à 50 cas pour 100 000 habitant·es pour une région donnée.
La question est : le déconfinement était-il prématuré en Allemagne ou la misère sociale de ces personnes venant d’Europe de l’Est pour faire des sales boulots sous-payés explique-t-elle ces foyers de contamination ?
Le ministre de la santé de Rhénanie-du-Nord-Westphalie « a mentionné l’hébergement du personnel des abattoirs, provenant pour la plupart de Roumanie et de Bulgarie, dans des logements collectifs comme une raison possible de l’apparition de l’épidémie. Il se peut que ces foyers ne répondent pas aux normes d’hygiène requises en cas de pandémie. Il faut maintenant examiner cette question. »
#Allemagne #corona #abattoirs #migration #Europe_de_l'Est #salariat #précarité #exploitation
Fait-on plus de marge sur une viande vendue à prix discount que sur une viande de qualité ? On avait dénoncé l’horreur des abattoirs, tant pour les animaux que pour les êtres humains, peut-être la crise sanitaire et économique permettra-t-elle d’en montrer les causes : sous-traitance, intérim, recours aux migrant·es, aux travailleu·ses de l’Europe pauvre. Dans les abattoirs d’Allemagne, ce sont les « contrats de louage d’ouvrage et d’industrie » (Werkverträge) qui soustraient les gens au droit du travail. Avec leurs corollaires, les foyers.
Le #Bureau_européen_de_l'environnement (#EEB), un réseau paneuropéen d’ONG vertes, a constaté que les communautés roms étaient souvent exclues des #services_de_base, tels que l’#eau_potable courante, l’assainissement et la collecte des #ordures, tout en vivant fréquemment sur ou à proximité de certains des sites les plus sales de Europe, comme les #décharges ou les #terrains_industriels contaminés.
Jusqu’à 10 millions de Roms vivent en Europe, dont 6 millions dans les États membres de l’UE. Bien que leur exclusion sociale soit documentée depuis longtemps, les chercheurs du BEE disent que le déni des services de base et l’exposition à la pollution ont été négligés.
L’EEB, en collaboration avec des chercheurs d’Europe centrale et orientale, a trouvé 32 cas de « racisme environnemental » dans cinq pays européens : #Hongrie, #Bulgarie, #Roumanie, #Slovaquie et #Macédoine_du_Nord. Les chercheurs se sont également appuyés sur les travaux existants sur les conditions de vie des Roms en #Bosnie-Herzégovine, en #Serbie, au #Monténégro et au #Kosovo.
L’absence d’eau, d’assainissement et de collecte des ordures a été un problème dans plus de la moitié des études de cas, comme #Stolipinovo en Bulgarie, la plus grande colonie rom d’Europe et une partie de la ville de #Plovdiv. On estime qu’environ 60000 personnes vivent dans le quartier, mais beaucoup sont coupées des services d’eau courante et d’assainissement du reste de Plovdiv, capitale européenne de la culture en 2019.
En Hongrie, l’accès à l’approvisionnement public en eau de certaines communautés roms a été fermé pendant les vagues de chaleur estivales – des décisions ont touché 800 personnes à #Gulács en août 2017 et 1 500 habitants de #Huszártelep en 2013. La ville du nord de la Hongrie d’#Ózd a reçu près de 5,5 millions d’euros (£ 4,8 m) de la Suisse pour améliorer l’approvisionnement en eau courante des communautés roms, mais les chercheurs ont déclaré que beaucoup n’avaient pas bénéficié du programme. Les autorités ont affirmé que les ménages roms n’avaient pas payé leurs factures.
Des recherches antérieures ont conclu que seulement environ 12% des communautés roms avaient des toilettes à chasse d’eau et des systèmes de drainage fonctionnels.
Pata-Rât, à la périphérie de Cluj-Napoca, dans le nord-ouest de la Roumanie, est connue pour son architecture gothique et ses palais baroques.
Pushed to the wastelands: Environmental racism against Roma communities in Central and Eastern Europe
‘Pushed to the Wastelands: Environmental racism against Roma communities in Central and Eastern Europe’ investigates the environmental racism faced by Europe’s Roma. By analysing numerous cases studies in Central and Eastern Europe, the report highlights a pattern of systemic and systematic discrimination against many Roma communities which pushes them out into marginal and polluted lands and neighbourhoods, and deprives them of access to basic environmental services and public utilities. This has severe repercussions for their health and welfare.
Transnatinal Statement on Migrants’ Struggles in Pandemic Times
Countries like France and Portugal are recruiting exclusively refugees or regularizing all or some of them in order to make them work in the farms; other countries are organizing charter flights for seasonal workers and special corridors for farmers and care-workers; several governments announced migrants’ regularizations in order to cope with production demands. This is not the solution for us! We do not want a paper which legalizes the right to exploit us! We want freedom of movement, freedom from institutional racism and exploitation. Our life cannot be at the mercy of the link between documents and work or family status.
The business of building walls
Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Europe is once again known for its border walls. This time Europe is divided not so much by ideology as by perceived fear of refugees and migrants, some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
Who killed the dream of a more open Europe? What gave rise to this new era of walls? There are clearly many reasons – the increasing displacement of people by conflict, repression and impoverishment, the rise of security politics in the wake of 9/11, the economic and social insecurity felt across Europe after the 2008 financial crisis – to name a few. But one group has by far the most to gain from the rise of new walls – the businesses that build them. Their influence in shaping a world of walls needs much deeper examination.
This report explores the business of building walls, which has both fuelled and benefited from a massive expansion of public spending on border security by the European Union (EU) and its member states. Some of the corporate beneficiaries are also global players, tapping into a global market for border security estimated to be worth approximately €17.5 billion in 2018, with annual growth of at least 8% expected in coming years.
It is important to look both beyond and behind Europe’s walls and fencing, because the real barriers to contemporary migration are not so much the fencing, but the vast array of technology that underpins it, from the radar systems to the drones to the surveillance cameras to the biometric fingerprinting systems. Similarly, some of Europe’s most dangerous walls are not even physical or on land. The ships, aircrafts and drones used to patrol the Mediterranean have created a maritime wall and a graveyard for the thousands of migrants and refugees who have no legal passage to safety or to exercise their right to seek asylum.
This renders meaningless the European Commission’s publicized statements that it does not fund walls and fences. Commission spokesperson Alexander Winterstein, for example, rejecting Hungary’s request to reimburse half the costs of the fences built on its borders with Croatia and Serbia, said: ‘We do support border management measures at external borders. These can be surveillance measures. They can be border control equipment...But fences, we do not finance’. In other words, the Commission is willing to pay for anything that fortifies a border as long as it is not seen to be building the walls themselves.
This report is a sequel to Building Walls – Fear and securitization in the European Union, co-published in 2018 with Centre Delàs and Stop Wapenhandel, which first measured and identified the walls that criss-cross Europe. This new report focuses on the businesses that have profited from three different kinds of wall in Europe:
The construction companies contracted to build the land walls built by EU member states and the Schengen Area together with the security and technology companies that provide the necessary accompanying technology, equipment and services;
The shipping and arms companies that provide the ships, aircraft, helicopters, drones that underpin Europe’s maritime walls seeking to control migratory flows in the Mediterranean, including Frontex operations, Operation Sophia and Italian operation Mare Nostrum;
And the IT and security companies contracted to develop, run, expand and maintain EU’s systems that monitor the movement of people – such as SIS II (Schengen Information System) and EES (Entry/Exit Scheme) – which underpin Europe’s virtual walls.
The flow of money from taxpayers to wall-builders has been highly lucrative and constantly growing. The report finds that companies have reaped the profits from at least €900 million spent by EU countries on land walls and fences since the end of the Cold War. The partial data (in scope and years) means actual costs will be at least €1 billion. In addition, companies that provide technology and services that accompany walls have also benefited from some of the steady stream of funding from the EU – in particular the External Borders Fund (€1.7 billion, 2007-2013) and the Internal Security Fund – Borders Fund (€2.76 billion, 2014-2020).
EU spending on maritime walls has totalled at least €676.4 million between 2006 to 2017 (including €534 million spent by Frontex, €28.4 million spent by the EU on Operation Sophia and €114 million spent by Italy on Operation Mare Nostrum) and would be much more if you include all the operations by Mediterranean country coastguards. Total spending on Europe’s virtual wall equalled at least €999.4m between 2000 and 2019. (All these estimates are partial ones because walls are funded by many different funding mechanisms and due to lack of data transparency).
This boom in border budgets is set to grow. Under its budget for the next EU budget cycle (2021–2027) the European Commission has earmarked €8.02 billion to its Integrated Border Management Fund (2021-2027), €11.27bn to Frontex (of which €2.2 billion will be used for acquiring, maintaining and operating air, sea and land assets) and at least €1.9 billion total spending (2000-2027) on its identity databases and Eurosur (the European Border Surveillance System).
The big arm industry players
Three giant European military and security companies in particular play a critical role in Europe’s many types of borders. These are Thales, Leonardo and Airbus.
Thales is a French arms and security company, with a significant presence in the Netherlands, that produces radar and sensor systems, used by many ships in border security. Thales systems, were used, for example, by Dutch and Portuguese ships deployed in Frontex operations. Thales also produces maritime surveillance systems for drones and is working on developing border surveillance infrastructure for Eurosur, researching how to track and control refugees before they reach Europe by using smartphone apps, as well as exploring the use of High Altitude Pseudo Satellites (HAPS) for border security, for the European Space Agency and Frontex. Thales currently provides the security system for the highly militarised port in Calais. Its acquisition in 2019 of Gemalto, a large (biometric) identity security company, makes it a significant player in the development and maintenance of EU’s virtual walls. It has participated in 27 EU research projects on border security.
Italian arms company Leonardo (formerly Finmeccanica or Leonardo-Finmeccanica) is a leading supplier of helicopters for border security, used by Italy in the Mare Nostrum, Hera and Sophia operations. It has also been one of the main providers of UAVs (or drones) for Europe’s borders, awarded a €67.1 million contract in 2017 by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to supply them for EU coast-guard agencies. Leonardo was also a member of a consortium, awarded €142.1 million in 2019 to implement and maintain EU’s virtual walls, namely its EES. It jointly owns Telespazio with Thales, involved in EU satellite observation projects (REACT and Copernicus) used for border surveillance. Leonardo has participated in 24 EU research projects on border security and control, including the development of Eurosur.
Pan-European arms giant Airbus is a key supplier of helicopters used in patrolling maritime and some land borders, deployed by Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania and Spain, including in maritime Operations Sophia, Poseidon and Triton. Airbus and its subsidiaries have participated in at least 13 EU-funded border security research projects including OCEAN2020, PERSEUS and LOBOS.
The significant role of these arms companies is not surprising. As Border Wars (2016), showed these companies through their membership of the lobby groups – European Organisation for Security (EOS) and the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD) – have played a significant role in influencing the direction of EU border policy. Perversely, these firms are also among the top four biggest European arms dealers to the Middle East and North Africa, thus contributing to the conflicts that cause forced migration.
Indra has been another significant corporate player in border control in Spain and the Mediterranean. It won a series of contracts to fortify Ceuta and Melilla (Spanish enclaves in northern Morocco). Indra also developed the SIVE border control system (with radar, sensors and vision systems), which is in place on most of Spain’s borders, as well as in Portugal and Romania. In July 2018 it won a €10 million contract to manage SIVE at several locations for two years. Indra is very active in lobbying the EU and is a major beneficiary of EU research funding, coordinating the PERSEUS project to further develop Eurosur and the Seahorse Network, a network between police forces in Mediterranean countries (both in Europe and Africa) to stop migration.
Israeli arms firms are also notable winners of EU border contracts. In 2018, Frontex selected the Heron drone from Israel Aerospace Industries for pilot-testing surveillance flights in the Mediterranean. In 2015, Israeli firm Elbit sold six of its Hermes UAVs to the Switzerland’s Border Guard, in a controversial €230 million deal. It has since signed a UAV contract with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), as a subcontractor for the Portuguese company CEIIA (2018), as well as contracts to supply technology for three patrol vessels for the Hellenic Coast Guard (2019).
Land wall contractors
Most of the walls and fences that have been rapidly erected across Europe have been built by national construction companies, but one European company has dominated the field: European Security Fencing, a Spanish producer of razor wire, in particular a coiled wire known as concertinas. It is most known for the razor wire on the fences around Ceuta and Melilla. It also delivered the razor wire for the fence on the border between Hungary and Serbia, and its concertinas were installed on the borders between Bulgaria and Turkey and Austria and Slovenia, as well as at Calais, and for a few days on the border between Hungary and Slovenia before being removed. Given its long-term market monopoly, its concertinas are very likely used at other borders in Europe.
Other contractors providing both walls and associated technology include DAT-CON (Croatia, Cyprus, Macedonia, Moldova, Slovenia and Ukraine), Geo Alpinbau (Austria/Slovenia), Indra, Dragados, Ferrovial, Proyectos Y Tecnología Sallén and Eulen (Spain/Morocco), Patstroy Bourgas, Infra Expert, Patengineeringstroy, Geostroy Engineering, Metallic-Ivan Mihaylov and Indra (Bulgaria/Turkey), Nordecon and Defendec (Estonia/Russia), DAK Acélszerkezeti Kft and SIA Ceļu būvniecības sabiedrība IGATE (Latvia/Russia), Gintrėja (Lithuania/Russia), Minis and Legi-SGS(Slovenia/Croatia), Groupe CW, Jackson’s Fencing, Sorhea, Vinci/Eurovia and Zaun Ltd (France/UK).
In many cases, the actual costs of the walls and associated technologies exceed original estimates. There have also been many allegations and legal charges of corruption, in some cases because projects were given to corporate friends of government officials. In Slovenia, for example, accusations of corruption concerning the border wall contract have led to a continuing three-year legal battle for access to documents that has reached the Supreme Court. Despite this, the EU’s External Borders Fund has been a critical financial supporter of technological infrastructure and services in many of the member states’ border operations. In Macedonia, for example, the EU has provided €9 million for patrol vehicles, night-vision cameras, heartbeat detectors and technical support for border guards to help it manage its southern border.
Maritime wall profiteers
The data about which ships, helicopters and aircraft are used in Europe’s maritime operations is not transparent and therefore it is difficult to get a full picture. Our research shows, however, that the key corporations involved include the European arms giants Airbus and Leonardo, as well as large shipbuilding companies including Dutch Damen and Italian Fincantieri.
Damen’s patrol vessels have been used for border operations by Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Portugal, the Netherlands, Romania, Sweden and the UK as well as in key Frontex operations (Poseidon, Triton and Themis), Operation Sophia and in supporting NATO’s role in Operation Poseidon. Outside Europe, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey use Damen vessels for border security, often in cooperation with the EU or its member states. Turkey’s €20 million purchase of six Damen vessels for its coast guard in 2006, for example, was financed through the EU Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), intended for peace-building and conflict prevention.
The sale of Damen vessels to Libya unveils the potential troubling human costs of this corporate trade. In 2012, Damen supplied four patrol vessels to the Libyan Coast Guard, sold as civil equipment in order to avoid a Dutch arms export license. Researchers have since found out, however, that the ships were not only sold with mounting points for weapons, but were then armed and used to stop refugee boats. Several incidents involving these ships have been reported, including one where some 20 or 30 refugees drowned. Damen has refused to comment, saying it had agreed with the Libyan government not to disclose information about the ships.
In addition to Damen, many national shipbuilders play a significant role in maritime operations as they were invariably prioritised by the countries contributing to each Frontex or other Mediterranean operation. Hence, all the ships Italy contributed to Operation Sophia were built by Fincantieri, while all Spanish ships come from Navantia and its predecessors. Similarly, France purchases from DCN/DCNS, now Naval Group, and all German ships were built by several German shipyards (Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft, HDW, Lürssen Gruppe). Other companies in Frontex operations have included Greek company, Motomarine Shipyards, which produced the Panther 57 Fast Patrol Boats used by the Hellenic Coast Guard, Hellenic Shipyards and Israel Shipyards.
Austrian company Schiebel is a significant player in maritime aerial surveillance through its supply of S-100 drones. In November 2018, EMSA selected the company for a €24 million maritime surveillance contract for a range of operations including border security. Since 2017, Schiebel has also won contracts from Croatia, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. The company has a controversial record, with its drones sold to a number of countries experiencing armed conflict or governed by repressive regimes such as Libya, Myanmar, the UAE and Yemen.
Finland and the Netherlands deployed Dornier aircraft to Operation Hermes and Operation Poseidon respectively, and to Operation Triton. Dornier is now part of the US subsidiary of the Israeli arms company Elbit Systems. CAE Aviation (Luxembourg), DEA Aviation (UK) and EASP Air (Netherlands) have all received contracts for aircraft surveillance work for Frontex. Airbus, French Dassault Aviation, Leonardo and US Lockheed Martin were the most important suppliers of aircraft used in Operation Sophia.
The EU and its member states defend their maritime operations by publicising their role in rescuing refugees at sea, but this is not their primary goal, as Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri made clear in April 2015, saying that Frontex has no mandate for ‘proactive search-and-rescue action[s]’ and that saving lives should not be a priority. The thwarting and criminalisation of NGO rescue operations in the Mediterranean and the frequent reports of violence and illegal refoulement of refugees, also demonstrates why these maritime operations should be considered more like walls than humanitarian missions.
The major EU contracts for the virtual walls have largely gone to two companies, sometimes as leaders of a consortium. Sopra Steria is the main contractor for the development and maintenance of the Visa Information System (VIS), Schengen Information System (SIS II) and European Dactyloscopy (Eurodac), while GMV has secured a string of contracts for Eurosur. The systems they build help control, monitor and surveil people’s movements across Europe and increasingly beyond.
Sopra Steria is a French technology consultancy firm that has to date won EU contracts worth a total value of over €150 million. For some of these large contracts Sopra Steria joined consortiums with HP Belgium, Bull and 3M Belgium. Despite considerable business, Sopra Steria has faced considerable criticism for its poor record on delivering projects on time and on budget. Its launch of SIS II was constantly delayed, forcing the Commission to extend contracts and increase budgets. Similarly, Sopra Steria was involved in another consortium, the Trusted Borders consortium, contracted to deliver the UK e-Borders programme, which was eventually terminated in 2010 after constant delays and failure to deliver. Yet it continues to win contracts, in part because it has secured a near-monopoly of knowledge and access to EU officials. The central role that Sopra Steria plays in developing these EU biometric systems has also had a spin-off effect in securing other national contracts, including with Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Romania and Slovenia GMV, a Spanish technology company, has received a succession of large contracts for Eurosur, ever since its testing phase in 2010, worth at least €25 million. It also provides technology to the Spanish Guardia Civil, such as control centres for its Integrated System of External Vigilance (SIVE) border security system as well as software development services to Frontex. It has participated in at least ten EU-funded research projects on border security.
Most of the large contracts for the virtual walls that did not go to consortia including Sopra Steria were awarded by eu-LISA (European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice) to consortia comprising computer and technology companies including Accenture, Atos Belgium and Morpho (later renamed Idema).
As research in our Border Wars series has consistently shown, through effective lobbying, the military and security industry has been very influential in shaping the discourse of EU security and military policies. The industry has succeeded in positioning itself as the experts on border security, pushing the underlying narrative that migration is first and foremost a security threat, to be combatted by security and military means. With this premise, it creates a continuous demand for the ever-expanding catalogue of equipment and services the industry supplies for border security and control.
Many of the companies listed here, particularly the large arms companies, are involved in the European Organisation for Security (EOS), the most important lobby group on border security. Many of the IT security firms that build EU’s virtual walls are members of the European Biometrics Association (EAB). EOS has an ‘Integrated Border Security Working Group’ to ‘facilitate the development and uptake of better technology solutions for border security both at border checkpoints, and along maritime and land borders’. The working group is chaired by Giorgio Gulienetti of the Italian arms company Leonardo, with Isto Mattila (Laurea University of Applied Science) and Peter Smallridge of Gemalto, a digital security company recently acquired by Thales.
Company lobbyists and representatives of these lobby organisations regularly meet with EU institutions, including the European Commission, are part of official advisory committees, publish influential proposals, organise meetings between industry, policy-makers and executives and also meet at the plethora of military and security fairs, conferences and seminars. Airbus, Leonardo and Thales together with EOS held 226 registered lobbying meetings with the European Commission between 2014 and 2019. In these meetings representatives of the industry position themselves as the experts on border security, presenting their goods and services as the solution for ‘security threats’ caused by immigration. In 2017, the same group of companies and EOS spent up to €2.65 million on lobbying.
A similar close relationship can be seen on virtual walls, with the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission arguing openly for public policy to foster the ‘emergence of a vibrant European biometrics industry’.
A deadly trade and a choice
The conclusion of this survey of the business of building walls is clear. A Europe full of walls has proved to be very good for the bottom line of a wide range of corporations including arms, security, IT, shipping and construction companies. The EU’s planned budgets for border security for the next decade show it is also a business that will continue to boom.
This is also a deadly business. The heavy militarisation of Europe’s borders on land and at sea has led refugees and migrants to follow far more hazardous routes and has trapped others in desperate conditions in neighbouring countries like Libya. Many deaths are not recorded, but those that are tracked in the Mediterranean show that the proportion of those who drown trying to reach Europe continues to increase each year.
This is not an inevitable state of affairs. It is both the result of policy decisions made by the EU and its member states, and corporate decisions to profit from these policies. In a rare principled stand, German razor wire manufacturer Mutanox in 2015 stated it would not sell its product to the Hungarian government arguing: ‘Razor wire is designed to prevent criminal acts, like a burglary. Fleeing children and adults are not criminals’. It is time for other European politicians and business leaders to recognise the same truth: that building walls against the world’s most vulnerable people violates human rights and is an immoral act that history will judge harshly. Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is time for Europe to bring down its new walls.
#business #murs #barrières_frontalières #militarisation_des_frontières #visualisation #Europe #UE #EU #complexe_militaro-industriel #Airbus #Leonardo #Thales #Indra #Israel_Aerospace_Industries #Elbit #European_Security_Fencing #DAT-CON #Geo_Alpinbau #Dragados #Ferrovial, #Proyectos_Y_Tecnología_Sallén #Eulen #Patstroy_Bourgas #Infra_Expert #Patengineeringstroy #Geostroy_Engineering #Metallic-Ivan_Mihaylov #Nordecon #Defendec #DAK_Acélszerkezeti_Kft #SIA_Ceļu_būvniecības_sabiedrība_IGATE #Gintrėja #Minis #Legi-SGS #Groupe_CW #Jackson’s_Fencing #Sorhea #Vinci #Eurovia #Zaun_Ltd #Damen #Fincantieri #Frontex #Damen #Turquie #Instrument_contributing_to_Stability_and_Peace (#IcSP) #Libye #exernalisation #Operation_Sophia #Navantia #Naval_Group #Flensburger_Schiffbau-Gesellschaft #HDW #Lürssen_Gruppe #Motomarine_Shipyards #Panther_57 #Hellenic_Shipyards #Israel_Shipyards #Schiebel #Dornier #Operation_Hermes #CAE_Aviation #DEA_Aviation #EASP_Air #French_Dassault_Aviation #US_Lockheed_Martin #murs_virtuels #Sopra_Steria #Visa_Information_System (#VIS) #données #Schengen_Information_System (#SIS_II) #European_Dactyloscopy (#Eurodac) #GMV #Eurosur #HP_Belgium #Bull #3M_Belgium #Trusted_Borders_consortium #économie #biométrie #Integrated_System_of_External_Vigilance (#SIVE) #eu-LISA #Accenture #Atos_Belgium #Morpho #Idema #lobby #European_Organisation_for_Security (#EOS) #European_Biometrics_Association (#EAB) #Integrated_Border_Security_Working_Group #Giorgio_Gulienetti #Isto_Mattila #Peter_Smallridge #Gemalto #murs_terrestres #murs_maritimes #coût #chiffres #statistiques #Joint_Research_Centre_of_the_European_Commission #Mutanox
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La costruzione di muri: un business
Trent’anni dopo la caduta del Muro di Berlino, l’Europa fa parlare di sé ancora una volta per i suoi muri di frontiera. Questa volta non è tanto l’ideologia che la divide, quanto la paura di rifugiati e migranti, alcune tra le persone più vulnerabili al mondo.
Riassunto del rapporto «The Business of Building Walls» :
Chi ha ucciso il sogno di un’Europa più aperta? Cosa ha dato inizio a questa nuova era dei muri?
Ci sono evidentemente molte ragioni: il crescente spostamento di persone a causa di conflitti, repressione e impoverimento, l’ascesa di politiche securitarie sulla scia dell’11 settembre, l’insicurezza economica e sociale percepita in Europa dopo la crisi finanziaria del 2008, solo per nominarne alcune. Tuttavia, c’è un gruppo che ha di gran lunga da guadagnare da questo innalzamento di nuovi muri: le imprese che li costruiscono. La loro influenza nel dare forma ad un mondo di muri necessita di un esame più profondo.
Questo rapporto esplora il business della costruzione di muri, che è stato alimentato e ha beneficiato di un aumento considerevole della spesa pubblica dedicata alla sicurezza delle frontiere dall’Unione Europea (EU) e dai suoi Stati membri. Alcune imprese beneficiarie sono delle multinazionali che approfittano di un mercato globale per la sicurezza delle frontiere che si stima valere approssimativamente 17,5 miliardi di euro nel 2018, con una crescita annuale prevista almeno dell’8% nei prossimi anni.
È importante guardare sia oltre che dietro i muri e le barriere d’Europa, perché i reali ostacoli alla migrazione contemporanea non sono tanto le recinzioni, quanto la vasta gamma di tecnologie che vi è alla base, dai sistemi radar ai droni, dalle telecamere di sorveglianza ai sistemi biometrici di rilevamento delle impronte digitali. Allo stesso modo, alcuni tra i più pericolosi muri d’Europa non sono nemmeno fisici o sulla terraferma. Le navi, gli aerei e i droni usati per pattugliare il Mediterraneo hanno creato un muro marittimo e un cimitero per i migliaia di migranti e di rifugiati che non hanno un passaggio legale verso la salvezza o per esercitare il loro diritto di asilo.
Tutto ciò rende insignificanti le dichiarazioni della Commissione Europea secondo le quali essa non finanzierebbe i muri e le recinzioni. Il portavoce della Commissione, Alexander Winterstein, per esempio, nel rifiutare la richiesta dell’Ungheria di rimborsare la metà dei costi delle recinzioni costruite sul suo confine con la Croazia e la Serbia, ha affermato: “Noi sosteniamo le misure di gestione delle frontiere presso i confini esterni. Queste possono consistere in misure di sorveglianza o in equipaggiamento di controllo delle frontiere... . Ma le recinzioni, quelle non le finanziamo”. In altre parole, la Commissione è disposta a pagare per qualunque cosa che fortifichi un confine fintanto che ciò non sia visto come propriamente costruire dei muri.
Questo rapporto è il seguito di “Building Walls - Fear and securitizazion in the Euopean Union”, co-pubblicato nel 2018 con Centre Delàs e Stop Wapenhandel, che per primi hanno misurato e identificato i muri che attraversano l’Europa.
Questo nuovo rapporto si focalizza sulle imprese che hanno tratto profitto dai tre differenti tipi di muro in Europa:
– Le imprese di costruzione ingaggiate per costruire i muri fisici costruiti dagli Stati membri UE e dall’Area Schengen in collaborazione con le imprese esperte in sicurezza e tecnologia che provvedono le tecnologie, l’equipaggiamento e i servizi associati;
– le imprese di trasporto marittimo e di armamenti che forniscono le navi, gli aerei, gli elicotteri e i droni che costituiscono i muri marittimi dell’Europa per tentare di controllare i flussi migratori nel Mediterraneo, in particolare le operazioni di Frontex, l’operazione Sophia e l’operazione italiana Mare Nostrum;
– e le imprese specializzate in informatica e in sicurezza incaricate di sviluppare, eseguire, estendere e mantenere i sistemi dell’UE che controllano i movimento delle persone, quali SIS II (Schengen Information System) e EES (Entry/Exii Scheme), che costituiscono i muri virtuali dell’Europa.
Dei budget fiorenti
Il flusso di denaro dai contribuenti ai costruttori di muri è stato estremamente lucrativo e non cessa di aumentare. Il report rivela che dalla fine della guerra fredda, le imprese hanno raccolto i profitti di almeno 900 milioni di euro di spese dei paesi dell’UE per i muri fisici e per le recinzioni. Con i dati parziali (sia nella portata e che negli anni), i costi reali raggiungerebbero almeno 1 miliardo di euro. Inoltre, le imprese che forniscono la tecnologia e i servizi che accompagnano i muri hanno ugualmente beneficiato di un flusso costante di finanziamenti da parte dell’UE, in particolare i Fondi per le frontiere esterne (1,7 miliardi di euro, 2007-2013) e i Fondi per la sicurezza interna - Fondi per le Frontiere (2,76 miliardi di euro, 2014-2020).
Le spese dell’UE per i muri marittimi hanno raggiunto almeno 676,4 milioni di euro tra il 2006 e il 2017 (di cui 534 milioni sono stati spesi da Frontex, 28 milioni dall’UE nell’operazione Sophia e 114 milioni dall’Italia nell’operazione Mare Nostrum) e sarebbero molto superiori se si includessero tutte le operazioni delle guardie costiera nazionali nel Mediterraneo.
Questa esplosione dei budget per le frontiere ha le condizioni per proseguire. Nel quadro del suo budget per il prossimo ciclo di bilancio dell’Unione Europea (2021-2027), la Commissione europea ha attribuito 8,02 miliardi di euro al suo fondo di gestione integrata delle frontiere (2021-2027), 11,27 miliardi a Frontex (dei quali 2,2 miliardi saranno utilizzati per l’acquisizione, il mantenimento e l’utilizzo di mezzi aerei, marittimi e terrestri) e almeno 1,9 miliardi di euro di spese totali (2000-2027) alle sue banche dati di identificazione e a Eurosur (il sistemo europeo di sorveglianza delle frontiere).
I principali attori del settore degli armamenti
Tre giganti europei del settore della difesa e della sicurezza giocano un ruolo cruciale nei differenti tipi di frontiere d’Europa: Thales, Leonardo e Airbus.
– Thales è un’impresa francese specializzata negli armamenti e nella sicurezza, con una presenza significativa nei Paesi Bassi, che produce sistemi radar e sensori utilizzati da numerose navi della sicurezza frontaliera. I sistemi Thales, per esempio, sono stati utilizzati dalle navi olandesi e portoghesi impiegate nelle operazioni di Frontex.
Thales produce ugualmente sistemi di sorveglianza marittima per droni e lavora attualmente per sviluppare una infrastruttura di sorveglianza delle frontiere per Eurosus, che permetta di seguire e controllare i rifugiati prima che raggiungano l’Europa con l’aiuto di applicazioni per Smartphone, e studia ugualmente l’utilizzo di “High Altitude Pseudo-Satellites - HAPS” per la sicurezza delle frontiere, per l’Agenzia spaziale europea e Frontex. Thales fornisce attualmente il sistema di sicurezza del porto altamente militarizzato di Calais.
Con l’acquisto nel 2019 di Gemalto, multinazionale specializzata nella sicurezza e identità (biometrica), Thales diventa un attore importante nello sviluppo e nel mantenimento dei muri virtuali dell’UE. L’impresa ha partecipato a 27 progetti di ricerca dell’UE sulla sicurezza delle frontiere.
– La società di armamenti italiana Leonardo (originariamente Finmeccanica o Leonardo-Finmeccanica) è uno dei principali fornitori di elicotteri per la sicurezza delle frontiere, utilizzati dalle operazioni Mare Nostrum, Hera e Sophia in Italia. Ha ugualmente fatto parte dei principali fornitori di UAV (o droni), ottenendo un contratto di 67,1 milioni di euro nel 2017 con l’EMSA (Agenzia europea per la sicurezza marittima) per fornire le agenzie di guardia costiera dell’UE.
Leonardo faceva ugualmente parte di un consorzio che si è visto attribuire un contratto di 142,1 milioni di euro nel 2019 per attuare e assicurare il mantenimento dei muri virtuali dell’UE, ossia il Sistema di entrata/uscita (EES). La società detiene, con Thales, Telespazio, che partecipa ai progetti di osservazione dai satelliti dell’UE (React e Copernicus) utilizzati per controllare le frontiere. Leonardo ha partecipato a 24 progetti di ricerca dell’UE sulla sicurezza e il controllo delle frontiere, tra cui lo sviluppo di Eurosur.
– Il gigante degli armamenti pan-europei Airbus è un importante fornitore di elicotteri utilizzati nella sorveglianza delle frontiere marittime e di alcune frontiere terrestri, impiegati da Belgio, Francia, Germania, Grecia, Italia, Lituania e Spagna, in particolare nelle operazioni marittime Sophia, Poseidon e Triton. Airbus e le sue filiali hanno partecipato almeno a 13 progetti di ricerca sulla sicurezza delle frontiere finanziati dall’UE, tra cui OCEAN2020, PERSEUS e LOBOS.
Il ruolo chiave di queste società di armamenti in realtà non è sorprendente. Come è stato dimostrato da “Border Wars” (2016), queste imprese, in quanto appartenenti a lobby come EOS (Organizzazione europea per la sicurezza) e ASD (Associazione delle industrie aerospaziali e della difesa in Europa), hanno ampiamente contribuito a influenzare l’orientamento della politica delle frontiere dell’UE. Paradossalmente, questi stessi marchi fanno ugualmente parte dei quattro più grandi venditori europei di armi al Medio Oriente e all’Africa del Nord, contribuendo così ad alimentare i conflitti all’origine di queste migrazioni forzate.
Allo stesso modo Indra gioca un ruolo non indifferente nel controllo delle frontiere in Spagna e nel Mediterraneo. L’impresa ha ottenuto una serie di contratti per fortificare Ceuta e Melilla (enclavi spagnole nel Nord del Marocco). Indra ha ugualmente sviluppato il sistema di controllo delle frontiere SIVE (con sistemi radar, di sensori e visivi) che è installato nella maggior parte delle frontiere della Spagna, così come in Portogallo e in Romania. Nel luglio 2018, Indra ha ottenuto un contratto di 10 milioni di euro per assicurare la gestione di SIVE su più siti per due anni. L’impresa è molto attiva nel fare lobby presso l’UE. È ugualmente una dei grandi beneficiari dei finanziamenti per la ricerca dell’UE, che assicurano il coordinamento del progetto PERSEUS per lo sviluppo di Eurosur e il Seahorse Network, la rete di scambio di informazioni tra le forze di polizia dei paesi mediterranei (in Europa e in Africa) per fermare le migrazioni.
Le società di armamenti israeliane hanno anch’esse ottenuto numerosi contratti nel quadro della sicurezza delle frontiere in UE. Nel 2018, Frontex ha selezionato il drone Heron delle Israel Aerospace Industries per i voli di sorveglianza degli esperimenti pilota nel Mediterraneo. Nel 2015, la società israeliana Elbit Systems ha venduto sei dei suoi droni Hermes al Corpo di guardie di frontiera svizzero, nel quadro di un contratto controverso di 230 milioni di euro. Ha anche firmato in seguito un contratto per droni con l’EMSA (Agenzia europea per la sicurezza marittima), in quanto subappaltatore della società portoghese CEIIA (2018), così come dei contratti per equipaggiare tre navi di pattugliamento per la Hellenic Coast Guard (2019).
Gli appaltatori dei muri fisici
La maggioranza di muri e recinzioni che sono stati rapidamente eretti attraverso l’Europa, sono stati costruiti da società di BTP nazionali/società nazionali di costruzioni, ma un’impresa europea ha dominato nel mercato: la European Security Fencing, un produttore spagnolo di filo spinato, in particolare di un filo a spirale chiamato “concertina”. È famosa per aver fornito i fili spinati delle recinzioni che circondano Ceuta e Melilla. L’impresa ha ugualmente dotato di fili spinati le frontiere tra l’Ungheria e la Serbia, e i suoi fili spinati “concertina” sono stati installati alle frontiere tra Bulgaria e Turchia e tra l’Austria e la Slovenia, così come a Calais e, per qualche giorno, alla frontiera tra Ungheria e Slovenia, prima di essere ritirati. Dato che essi detengono il monopolio sul mercato da un po’ di tempo a questa parte, è probabile che i fili spinati “concertina” siano stati utilizzati presso altre frontiere in Europa.
Tra le altre imprese che hanno fornito i muri e le tecnologie ad essi associate, si trova DAT-CON (Croazia, Cipro, Macedonia, Moldavia, Slovenia e Ucraina), Geo Alpinbau (Austria/Slovenia), Indra, Dragados, Ferrovial, Proyectos Y Tecnología Sallén e Eulen (Spagna/Marocco), Patstroy Bourgas, Infra Expert, Patengineeringstroy, Geostroy Engineering, Metallic-Ivan Mihaylov et Indra (Bulgaria/Turchia), Nordecon e Defendec (Estonia/Russia), DAK Acélszerkezeti Kft e SIA Ceļu būvniecības sabiedrība IGATE (Lettonia/Russia), Gintrėja (Lituania/Russi), Minis e Legi-SGS (Slovenia/Croazia), Groupe CW, Jackson’s Fencing, Sorhea, Vinci/Eurovia e Zaun Ltd (Francia/Regno Unito).
I costi reali dei muri e delle tecnologie associate superano spesso le stime originali. Numerose accuse e denunce per corruzione sono state allo stesso modo formulate, in certi casi perché i progetti erano stati attribuiti a delle imprese che appartenevano ad amici di alti funzionari. In Slovenia, per esempio, accuse di corruzione riguardanti un contratto per la costruzione di muri alle frontiere hanno portato a tre anni di battaglie legali per avere accesso ai documenti; la questione è passata poi alla Corte suprema.
Malgrado tutto ciò, il Fondo europeo per le frontiere esterne ha sostenuto finanziariamente le infrastrutture e i servizi tecnologici di numerose operazioni alle frontiere degli Stati membri. In Macedonia, per esempio, l’UE ha versato 9 milioni di euro per finanziare dei veicoli di pattugliamento, delle telecamere a visione notturna, dei rivelatori di battito cardiaco e sostegno tecnico alle guardie di frontiera nell’aiuto della gestione della sua frontiera meridionale.
Gli speculatori dei muri marittimi
I dati che permettono di determinare quali imbarcazioni, elicotteri e aerei sono utilizzati nelle operazioni marittime in Europa mancano di trasparenza. È dunque difficile recuperare tutte le informazioni. Le nostre ricerche mostrano comunque che tra le principali società implicate figurano i giganti europei degli armamenti Airbus e Leonardo, così come grandi imprese di costruzione navale come l’olandese Damen e l’italiana Fincantieri.
Le imbarcazioni di pattugliamento di Damen sono servite per delle operazioni frontaliere portate avanti da Albania, Belgio, Bulgaria, Portogallo, Paesi Bassi, Romania, Svezia e Regno Unito, così come per le vaste operazioni di Frontex (Poseidon, Triton e Themis), per l’operazione Sophia e hanno ugualmente sostento la NATO nell’operazione Poseidon.
Al di fuori dell’Europa, la Libia, il Marocco, la Tunisia e la Turchia utilizzano delle imbarcazioni Damen per la sicurezza delle frontiere, spesso in collaborazione con l’UE o i suoi Stati membri. Per esempio, le sei navi Damen che la Turchia ha comprato per la sua guardia costiera nel 2006, per un totale di 20 milioni di euro, sono state finanziate attraverso lo strumento europeo che contribuirebbe alla stabilità e alla pace (IcSP), destinato a mantenere la pace e a prevenire i conflitti.
La vendita di imbarcazioni Damen alla Libia mette in evidenza l’inquietante costo umano di questo commercio. Nel 2012, Damen ha fornito quattro imbarcazioni di pattugliamento alla guardia costiera libica, che sono state vendute come equipaggiamento civile col fine di evitare la licenza di esportazione di armi nei Paesi Bassi. I ricercatori hanno poi scoperto che non solo le imbarcazioni erano state vendute con dei punti di fissaggio per le armi, ma che erano state in seguito armate ed utilizzate per fermare le imbarcazioni di rifugiati. Numerosi incidenti che hanno implicato queste imbarcazioni sono stati segnalati, tra i quali l’annegamento di 20 o 30 rifugiati. Damen si è rifiutata di commentare, dichiarando di aver convenuto col governo libico di non divulgare alcuna informazione riguardante le imbarcazioni.
Numerosi costruttori navali nazionali, oltre a Damen, giocano un ruolo determinante nelle operizioni marittime poiché sono sistematicamente scelti con priorità dai paesi partecipanti a ogni operazione di Frontex o ad altre operazioni nel Mediterraneo. Tutte le imbarcazioni fornite dall’Italia all’operazione Sophia sono state costruite da Fincantieri e tutte quelle spagnole sono fornite da Navantia e dai suoi predecessori. Allo stesso modo, la Francia si rifornisce da DCN/DCNS, ormai Naval Group, e tutte le imbarcazioni tedesche sono state costruite da diversi cantieri navali tedeschi (Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft, HDW, Lürssen Gruppe). Altre imprese hanno partecipato alle operazioni di Frontex, tra cui la società greca Motomarine Shipyards, che ha prodotto i pattugliatori rapidi Panther 57 utilizzati dalla guardia costiera greca, così come la Hellenic Shipyards e la Israel Shipyards.
La società austriaca Schiebel, che fornisce i droni S-100, gioca un ruolo importante nella sorveglianza aerea delle attività marittime. Nel novembre 2018, è stata selezionata dall’EMSA per un contratto di sorveglianza marittima di 24 milioni di euro riguardante differenti operazioni che includevano la sicurezza delle frontiere. Dal 2017, Schiebel ha ugualmente ottenuto dei contratti con la Croazia, la Danimarca, l’Islanda, l’Italia, il Portogallo e la Spagna. L’impresa ha un passato controverso: ha venduto dei droni a numerosi paesi in conflitto armato o governati da regimi repressivi come la Libia, il Myanmar, gli Emirati Arabi Uniti e lo Yemen.
La Finlandia e i Paesi Bassi hanno impiegato degli aerei Dornier rispettivamente nel quadro delle operazioni Hermès, Poseidon e Triton. Dornier appartiene ormai alla filiale americana della società di armamenti israeliana Elbit Systems.
CAE Aviation (Lussemburgo), DEA Aviation (Regno Unito) e EASP Air (Paesi Bassi) hanno tutte ottenuto dei contratti di sorveglianza aerea per Frontex.
Airbus, Dassault Aviation, Leonardo e l’americana Lockheed Martin hanno fornito il più grande numero di aerei utilizzati per l’operazione Sophia.
L’UE e i suoi Stati membri difendono le loro operazioni marittime pubblicizzando il loro ruolo nel salvataggio dei rifugiati in mare. Ma non è questo il loro obiettivo principale, come sottolinea il direttore di Frontex Fabrice Leggeri nell’aprile 2015, dichiarando che “le azioni volontarie di ricerca e salvataggio” non fanno parte del mandato affidato a Frontex, e che salvare delle vite non dovrebbe essere una priorità. La criminalizzazione delle operazioni di salvataggio da parte delle ONG, gli ostacoli che esse incontrano, così come la violenza e i respingimenti illegali dei rifugiati, spesso denunciati, illustrano bene il fatto che queste operazioni marittime sono volte soprattutto a costituire muri piuttosto che missioni umanitarie.
I muri virtuali
I principali contratti dell’UE legati ai muri virtuali sono stati affidati a due imprese, a volte in quanto leader di un consorzio.
Sopra Steria è il partner principale per lo sviluppo e il mantenimento del Sistema d’informazione dei visti (SIV), del Sistema di informazione Schengen (SIS II) e di Eurodac (European Dactyloscopy) e GMV ha firmato una serie di contratti per Eurosur. I sistemi che essi concepiscono permettono di controllare e di sorvegliare i movimenti delle persone attraverso l’Europa e, sempre più spesso, al di là delle sue frontiere.
Sopra Steria è un’impresa francese di servizi per consultazioni in tecnologia che ha, ad oggi, ottenuto dei contratti con l’UE per un valore totale di più di 150 milioni di euro. Nel quadro di alcuni di questi grossi contratti, Sopra Steria ha formato dei consorzi con HP Belgio, Bull e 3M Belgio.
Malgrado l’ampiezza di questi mercati, Sopra Steria ha ricevuto importanti critiche per la sua mancanza di rigore nel rispetto delle tempistiche e dei budget. Il lancio di SIS II è stato costantemente ritardato, costringendo la Commissione a prolungare i contratti e ad aumentare i budget. Sopra Steria aveva ugualmente fatto parte di un altro consorzio, Trusted Borders, impegnato nello sviluppo del programma e-Borders nel Regno Unito. Quest’ultimo è terminato nel 2010 dopo un accumulo di ritardi e di mancate consegne. Tuttavia, la società ha continuato a ottenere contratti, a causa del suo quasi monopolio di conoscenze e di relazioni con i rappresentanti dell’UE. Il ruolo centrale di Sopra Steria nello sviluppo dei sistemi biometrici dell’UE ha ugualmente portato alla firma di altri contratti nazionali con, tra gli altri, il Belgio, la Bulgaria, la Repubblica ceca, la Finlandia, la Francia, la Germania, la Romania e la Slovenia.
GMV, un’impresa tecnologica spagnola, ha concluso una serie di grossi contratti per Eurosur, dopo la sua fase sperimentale nel 2010, per almeno 25 milioni di euro. Essa rifornisce ugualmente di tecnologie la Guardia Civil spagnola, tecnologie quali, ad esempio, i centri di controllo del suo Sistema integrato di sorveglianza esterna (SIVE), sistema di sicurezza delle frontiere, così come rifornisce di servizi di sviluppo logistico Frontex. L’impresa ha partecipato ad almeno dieci progetti di ricerca finanziati dall’UE sulla sicurezza delle frontiere.
La maggior parte dei grossi contratti riguardanti i muri virtuali che non sono stati conclusi con consorzi di cui facesse parte Sopra Steria, sono stati attribuiti da eu-LISA (l’Agenzia europea per la gestione operazionale dei sistemi di informazione su vasta scale in seno allo spazio di libertà, di sicurezza e di giustizia) a dei consorzi di imprese specializzate nell’informazione e nelle nuove tecnologie, tra questi: Accenture, Atos Belgium e Morpho (rinominato Idemia).
Come testimonia il nostro report “Border Wars”, il settore della difesa e della sicurezza, grazie ad una lobbying efficace, ha un’influenza considerabile nell’elaborazione delle politiche di difesa e di sicurezza dell’UE. Le imprese di questo settore industriale sono riuscite a posizionarsi come esperti della sicurezza delle frontiere, portando avanti il loro discorso secondo il quale la migrazione è prima di tutto una minaccia per la sicurezza che deve essere combattuta tramite mezzi militari e securitari. Questo crea così una domanda continua del catalogo sempre più fornito di equipaggiamenti e servizi che esse forniscono per la sicurezza e il controllo delle frontiere.
Un numero alto di imprese che abbiamo nominato, in particolare le grandi società di armamenti, fanno parte dell’EOS (Organizzazione europea per la sicurezza), il più importante gruppo di pressione sulla sicurezza delle frontiere.
Molte imprese informatiche che hanno concepito i muri virtuali dell’UE sono membri dell’EAB (Associazione Europea per la Biometria). L’EOS ha un “Gruppo di lavoro sulla sicurezza integrata delle frontiere” per “permettere lo sviluppo e l’adozione delle migliori soluzioni tecnologiche per la sicurezza delle frontiere sia ai checkpoint che lungo le frontiere marittime e terrestri”.
Il gruppo di lavoro è presieduto da Giorgio Gulienetti, della società di armi italiana Leonardo, Isto Mattila (diplomato all’università di scienze applicate) e Peter Smallridge di Gemalto, multinazionale specializzata nella sicurezza numerica, recentemente acquisita da Thales.
I lobbisti di imprese e i rappresentanti di questi gruppi di pressione incontrano regolarmente le istituzioni dell’UE, tra cui la Commissione europea, nel quadro di comitati di consiglio ufficiali, pubblicano proposte influenti, organizzano incontri tra il settore industriale, i policy-makers e i dirigenti e si ritrovano allo stesso modo in tutti i saloni, le conferenze e i seminari sulla difesa e la sicurezza.
Airbus, Leonardo e Thales e l’EOS hanno anche assistito a 226 riunioni ufficiali di lobby con la Commissione europea tra il 2014 e il 2019. In queste riunioni, i rappresentanti del settore si presentano come esperti della sicurezza delle frontiere, e propongono i loro prodotti e servizi come soluzione alle “minacce alla sicurezza” costituite dall’immigrazione. Nel 2017, queste stesse imprese e l’EOS hanno speso fino a 2,56 milioni di euro in lobbying.
Si constata una relazione simile per quanto riguarda i muri virtuali: il Centro comune della ricerca della Commissione europea domanda apertamente che le politiche pubbliche favoriscano “l’emergenza di una industria biometrica europea dinamica”.
Un business mortale, una scelta
La conclusione di questa inchiesta sul business dell’innalzamento di muri è chiara: la presenza di un’Europa piena di muri si rivela molto fruttuosa per una larga fetta di imprese del settore degli armamenti, della difesa, dell’informatica, del trasporto marittimo e delle imprese di costruzioni. I budget che l’UE ha pianificato per la sicurezza delle frontiere nei prossimi dieci anni mostrano che si tratta di un commercio che continua a prosperare.
Si tratta altresì di un commercio mortale. A causa della vasta militarizzazione delle frontiere dell’Europa sulla terraferma e in mare, i rifugiati e i migranti intraprendono dei percorsi molto più pericolosi e alcuni si trovano anche intrappolati in terribili condizioni in paesi limitrofi come la Libia. Non vengono registrate tutte le morti, ma quelle che sono registrate nel Mediterraneo mostrano che il numero di migranti che annegano provando a raggiungere l’Europa continua ad aumentare ogni anno.
Questo stato di cose non è inevitabile. È il risultato sia di decisioni politiche prese dall’UE e dai suoi Stati membri, sia dalle decisioni delle imprese di trarre profitto da queste politiche. Sono rare le imprese che prendono posizione, come il produttore tedesco di filo spinato Mutinox che ha dichiarato nel 2015 che non avrebbe venduto i suoi prodotti al governo ungherese per il seguente motivo: “I fili spinati sono concepiti per impedire atti criminali, come il furto. Dei rifugiati, bambini e adulti, non sono dei criminali”.
È tempo che altri politici e capi d’impresa riconoscano questa stessa verità: erigere muri contro le popolazioni più vulnerabili viola i diritti umani e costituisce un atto immorale che sarà evidentemente condannato dalla storia.
Trent’anni dopo la caduta del muro di Berlino, è tempo che l’Europa abbatta i suoi nuovi muri.
How the arms industry drives Fortress Europe’s expansion
In recent years, rising calls for deterrence have intensified the physical violence migrants face at the EU border. The externalization of the border through deals with sending and transit countries signals the expansion of this securitization process. Financial gains by international arms firms in this militarization trend form an obstacle for policy change.
In March, April, and May of this year, multiple European countries deployed military forces to their national borders. This was done to assist with controls and patrols in the wake of border closures and other movement restrictions due to the Covid-19 crisis. Poland deployed 1,460 soldiers to the border to support the Border Guard and police as part of a larger military operation in reaction to Covid-19. And the Portuguese police used military drones as a complement to their land border checks. According to overviews from NATO, the Czech Republic, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands (military police), Slovakia, and Slovenia all stationed armed forces at their national borders.
While some of these deployments have been or will be rolled back as the Corona crisis dies down, they are not exceptional developments. Rather, using armed forces for border security and control has been a common occurrence at EU external borders since the so-called refugee crisis of 2015. They are part of the continuing militarisation of European border and migration policies, which is known to put refugees at risk but is increasingly being expanded to third party countries. Successful lobbying from the military and security industry has been an important driver for these policies, from which large European arms companies have benefited.
The militarization of borders happens when EU member states send armies to border regions, as they did in Operation Sophia off the Libyan coast. This was the first outright EU military mission to stop migration. But border militarization also includes the use of military equipment for migration control, such as helicopters and patrol vessels, as well as the the EU-wide surveillance system Eurosur, which connects surveillance data from all individual member states. Furthermore, EU countries now have over 1,000 kilometers of walls and fences on their borders. These are rigged with surveillance, monitoring, and detection technologies, and accompanied by an increasing use of drones and other autonomous systems. The EU also funds a constant stream of Research & Technology (R&T) projects to develop new technologies and services to monitor and manage migration.
This process has been going on for decades. The Schengen Agreement of 1985, and the subsequent creation of the Schengen Area, which coupled the opening of the internal EU borders with robust control at the external borders, can be seen as a starting point for these developments. After 2011, when the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ led to fears of mass migration to Europe, and especially since the ‘refugee crisis’ of 2015, the EU accelerated the boosting and militarising of border security, enormously. Since then, stopping migration has been at the top of the EU agenda.
An increasingly important part of the process of border militarization isn’t happening at the European borders, but far beyond them. The EU and its member states are incentivizing third party countries to help stop migrants long before they reach Europe. This externalising of borders has taken many forms, from expanding the goals of EUCAP missions in Mali and Niger to include the prevention of irregular migration, to funding and training the Libyan Coast Guard to return refugees back to torture and starvation in the infamous detention centers in Libya. It also includes the donation of border security equipment, for example from Germany to Tunisia, and funding for purchases, such as Turkey’s acquisition of coast guard vessels to strengthen its operational capacities.
Next to the direct consequences of European border externalisation efforts, these policies cause and worsen problems in the third party countries concerned: diverting development funds and priorities, ruining migration-based economies, and strengthening authoritarian regimes such as those in Chad, Belarus, Eritrea, and Sudan by providing funding, training and equipment to their military and security forces. Precisely these state organs are most responsible for repression and abuses of human rights. All this feeds drivers of migration, including violence, repression, and unemployment. As such, it is almost a guarantee for more refugees in the future.
EU border security agency Frontex has also extended its operations into non-EU-countries. Ongoing negotiations and conclusions of agreements with Balkan countries resulted in the first operation in Albania having started in May 2019. And this is only a small part of Frontex’ expanding role in recent years. In response to the ‘refugee crisis’ of 2015, the European Commission launched a series of proposals that saw large increases in the powers of the agency, including giving member states binding advice to boost their border security, and giving Frontex the right to intervene in member states’ affairs (even without their consent) by decision of the Commission or Council.
These proposals also included the creation of a 10,000 person strong standing corps of border guards and a budget to buy or lease its own equipment. Concretely, Frontex started with a budget of €6 million in 2005, which grew to €143 million in 2015. This was then quickly increased again from €239 million in 2016 to €460 million in 2020. The enormous expansion of EU border security and control has been accompanied by rapidly increasing budgets in general. In recent years, billions of euros have been spent on fortifying borders, setting up biometric databases, increasing surveillance capacities, and paying non-EU-countries to play their parts in this expansion process.
Negotiations about the next seven-year-budget for the EU, the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027, are still ongoing. In the European Commission’s latest proposal, which is clearly positioned as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the fund for strengthening member states’ border security, the Integrated Border Management Fund, has been allotted €12.5 billion. Its predecessors, the External Borders Fund (2007-2013) and the Internal Security Fund – Borders (2014-2020), had much smaller budgets: €1.76 billion and €2.70 billion, respectively. For Frontex, €7.5 billion is reserved, with €2.2 billion earmarked for purchasing or leasing equipment such as helicopters, drones, and patrol vessels. These huge budget increases are exemplary of the priority the EU attaches to stopping migration.
The narrative underlying these policies and budget growths is the perception of migration as a threat; a security problem. As researcher, Ainhoa Ruiz (Centre Delàs) writes, “the securitisation process also includes militarisation,” because “the prevailing paradigm for providing security is based on military principles: the use of force and coercion, more weapons equating to more security, and the achievement of security by eliminating threats.”
This narrative hasn’t come out of the blue. It is pushed by right wing politicians and often followed by centrist and leftist parties afraid of losing voters. Importantly, it is also promoted by an extensive and successful industrial lobby. According to Martin Lemberg-Pedersen (Assistant Professor in Global Refugee Studies, Aalborg University), arms companies “establish themselves as experts on border security, and use this position to frame immigration to Europe as leading to evermore security threats in need of evermore advanced [security] products.” The narrative of migration as a security problem thus sets the stage for militaries, and the security companies behind the commercial arms lobby, to offer their goods and services as the solution. The range of militarization policies mentioned so far reflects the broad adoption of this narrative.
The lobby organizations of large European military and security companies regularly interact with the European Commission and EU border agencies. They have meetings, organise roundtables, and see each other at military and security fairs and conferences. Industry representatives also take part in official advisory groups, are invited to present new arms and technologies, and write policy proposals. These proposals can sometimes be so influential that they are adopted as policy, almost unamended.
This happened, for instance, when the the Commission decided to open up the Instrument contributing to Security and Peace, a fund meant for peace-building and conflict prevention. The fund’s terms were expanded to cover provision of third party countries with non-lethal security equipment, for example, for border security purposes. The new policy document for this turned out to be a step-by-step reproduction of an earlier proposal from lobby organisation, Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD). Yet, perhaps the most far-reaching success of this kind is the expansion of Frontex, itself, into a European Border Guard. Years before it actually happened, the industry had already been pushing for this outcome.
The same companies that are at the forefront of the border security and control lobby are, not surprisingly, also the big winners of EU and member states’ contracts in these areas. These include three of the largest European (and global) arms companies, namely, Airbus (Paneuropean), Leonardo (Italy) and Thales (France). These companies are active in many aspects of the border security and control market. Airbus’ and Leonardo’s main product in this field are helicopters, with EU funds paying for many purchases by EU and third countries. Thales provides radar, for example, for border patrol vessels, and is heavily involved in biometric and digital identification, especially after having acquired market leader, Gemalto, last year.
These three companies are the main beneficiaries of the European anti-migration obsession. At the same time, these very three companies also contribute to new migration streams to Europe’s shores through their trade in arms. They are responsible for significant parts of Europe’s arms exports to countries at war, and they provide the arms used by parties in internal armed conflicts, by human rights violators, and by repressive regimes. These are the forces fueling the reasons for which people are forced to flee in the first place.
Many other military and security companies also earn up to hundreds of millions of euros from large border security and control projects oriented around logistics and transport. Dutch shipbuilder Damen provided not only many southern European countries with border patrol vessels, but also controversially sold those to Libya and Turkey, among others. Its ships have also been used in Frontex operations, in Operation Sophia, and on the Channel between Calais and Dover.
The Spanish company, European Security Fencing, provided razor wire for the fences around the Spanish enclaves, Ceuta and Melilla, in Morocco, as well as the fence at Calais and the fences on the borders of Austria, Bulgaria, and Hungary. Frontex, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), and Greece leased border surveillance drones from Elbit and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). These are Israeli military companies that routinely promote their products as ‘combat-proven’ or ‘battlefield tested’ against Palestinians.
Civipol, a French public-private company owned by the state, and several large arms producers (including Thales, Airbus, and Safran), run a string of EU-/member state-funded border security projects in third party countries. This includes setting up fingerprint databases of the whole populations of Mali and Senegal, which facilitates identification and deportation of their nationals from Europe. These are just a few examples of the companies that benefit from the billions of euros that the EU and its member states spend on a broad range of purchases and projects in their bid to stop migration.
The numbers of forcibly displaced people in the world grew to a staggering 79.5 million by the end of last year. Instead of helping to eliminate the root causes of migration, EU border and migration policies, as well as its arms exports to the rest of the world, are bound to lead to more refugees in the future. The consequences of these policies have already been devastating. As experts in the field of migration have repeatedly warned, the militarisation of borders primarily pushes migrants to take alternative migration routes that are often more dangerous and involve the risks of relying on criminal smuggling networks. The Mediterranean Sea has become a sad witness of this, turning into a graveyard for a growing percentage of refugees trying to cross it.
The EU approach to border security doesn’t stand on its own. Many other countries, in particular Western ones and those with authoritarian leaders, follow the same narrative and policies. Governments all over the world, but particularly those in the US, Australia, and Europe, continue to spend billions of euros on border security and control equipment and services. And they plan to increase budgets even more in the coming years. For military and security companies, this is good news; the global border security market is expected to grow by over 7% annually for the next five years to a total of $65 billion in 2025. It looks like they will belong to the very few winners of increasingly restrictive policies targeting vulnerable people on the run.
#industrie_militaire #covid-19 #coronavirus #frontières_extérieures #Operation_Sophia #Eurosur #surveillance #drones #technologie #EUCAP #externalisation #Albanie #budget #Integrated_Border_Management_Fund #menace #lobby_industriel #Instrument_contributing_to_Security_and_Peace #conflits #paix #prévention_de_conflits #Aerospace_and_Defence_Industries_Association_of_Europe (#ASD) #Airbus #Leonardo #Thales #hélicoptères #radar #biométrie #identification_digitale #Gemalto #commerce_d'armes #armement #Damen #European_Security_Fencing #barbelé #European_Maritime_Safety_Agency (#EMSA) #Elbit #Israel_Aerospace_Industries (#IAI) #Civipol #Safran #base_de_données
Pour @etraces :
Civipol, a French public-private company owned by the state, and several large arms producers (including Thales, Airbus, and Safran), run a string of EU-/member state-funded border security projects in third party countries. This includes setting up fingerprint databases of the whole populations of Mali and Senegal, which facilitates identification and deportation of their nationals from Europe
GUARDING THE FORTRESS. The role of Frontex in the militarisation and securitisation of migration flows in the European Union
The report focuses on 19 Frontex operations run by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (hereafter Frontex) to explore how the agency is militarising borders and criminalising migrants, undermining fundamental rights to freedom of movement and the right to asylum.https://www.tni.org/files/styles/content_full_width/public/af_infografia_frontex_eng_0.jpg?itok=en5KE_zd#.jpg
This report is set in a wider context in which more than 70.8 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced, according to the 2018 figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (UNHCR, 2019). Some of these have reached the borders of the European Union (EU), seeking protection and asylum, but instead have encountered policy responses that mostly aim to halt and intercept migration flows, against the background of securitisation policies in which the governments of EU Member States see migration as a threat. One of the responses to address migration flows is the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (hereafter Frontex), established in 2004 as the EU body in charge of guarding what many have called ‘Fortress Europe’, and whose practices have helped to consolidate the criminalisation of migrants and the securitisation of their movements.
The report focuses on analysing the tools deployed by Fortress Europe, in this case through Frontex, to prevent the freedom of movement and the right to asylum, from its creation in 2004 to the present day.
The sources used to write this report were from the EU and Frontex, based on its budgets and annual reports. The analysis focused on the Frontex regulations, the language used and its meaning, as well as the budgetary trends, identifying the most significant items – namely, the joint operations and migrant-return operations.
A table was compiled of all the joint operations mentioned in the annual reports since the Agency was established in 2005 up to 2018 (see annexes). The joint operations were found on government websites but were not mentioned in the Frontex annual reports. Of these operations, we analysed those of the longest duration, or that have showed recent signs of becoming long-term operations. The joint operations are analysed in terms of their objectives, area of action, the mandates of the personnel deployed, and their most noteworthy characteristics.
Basically, the research sought to answer the following questions: What policies are being implemented in border areas and in what context? How does Frontex act in response to migration movements? A second objective was to analyse how Frontex securitises the movement of refugees and other migrants, with the aim of contributing to the analysis of the process of border militarisation and the security policies applied to non-EU migrants by the EU and its Member States.
Pour télécharger le rapport_
#Frontex aircraft : Below the radar against international law
For three years, Frontex has been chartering small aircraft for the surveillance of the EU’s external borders. First Italy was thus supported, then Croatia followed. Frontex keeps the planes details secret, and the companies also switch off the transponders for position display during operations.
The European Commission does not want to make public which private surveillance planes Frontex uses in the Mediterranean. In the non-public answer to a parliamentary question, the EU border agency writes that the information on the aircraft is „commercially confidential“ as it contains „personal data and sensitive operational information“.
Frontex offers EU member states the option of monitoring their external borders using aircraft. For this „Frontex Aerial Surveillance Service“ (FASS), Frontex charters twin-engined airplanes from European companies. Italy first made use of the service in 2017, followed a year later by Croatia. In 2018, Frontex carried out at least 1,800 flight hours under the FASS, no figures are yet available for 2019.
Air service to be supplemented with #drones
The FASS flights are carried out under the umbrella of „Multipurpose Aerial Surveillance“, which includes satellite surveillance as well as drones. Before the end of this year, the border agency plans to station large drones in the Mediterranean for up to four years. The situation pictures of the European Union’s „pre-frontier area“ are fed into the surveillance system EUROSUR, whose headquarter is located at Frontex in Warsaw. The national EUROSUR contact points, for example in Spain, Portugal and Italy, also receive this information.
In addition to private charter planes, Frontex also uses aircraft and helicopters provided by EU Member States, in the central Mediterranean via the „Themis“ mission. The EU Commission also keeps the call signs of the state aircraft operating there secret. They would be considered „sensitive operational information“ and could not be disclosed to MEPs.
Previously, the FOIA platform „Frag den Staat“ („Ask the State“) had also tried to find out details about the sea and air capacities of the member states in „Themis“. Frontex refused to provide any information on this matter. „Frag den Staat“ lost a case against Frontex before the European Court of Justice and is now to pay 23,700 Euros to the agency for legal fees.
Real-time tracking with FlightAware
The confidentiality of Frontex comes as a surprise, because companies that monitor the Mediterranean for the agency are known through a tender. Frontex has signed framework contracts with the Spanish arms group Indra as well as the charter companies CAE Aviation (Canada), Diamond-Executive Aviation (Great Britain) and EASP Air (Netherlands). Frontex is spending up to 14.5 million euros each on the contracts.
Finally, online service providers such as FlightAware can also be used to draw conclusions about which private and state airplanes are flying for Frontex in the Mediterranean. For real-time positioning, the providers use data from ADS-B transponders, which all larger aircraft must have installed. A worldwide community of non-commercial trackers receives this geodata and feeds it into the Internet. In this way, for example, Italian journalist Sergio Scandura documents practically all movements of Frontex aerial assets in the central Mediterranean.
Among the aircraft tracked this way are the twin-engined „DA-42“, „DA-62“ and „Beech 350“ of Diamond-Executive Aviation, which patrol the Mediterranean Sea on behalf of Frontex as „Osprey1“, „Osprey3“ and „Tasty“, in former times also „Osprey2“ and „Eagle1“. They are all operated by Diamond-Executive Aviation and take off and land at airports in Malta and Sicily.
„Push-backs“ become „pull-backs“
In accordance with the Geneva Convention on Refugees, the EU Border Agency may not return people to states where they are at risk of torture or other serious human rights violations. Libya is not a safe haven; this assessment has been reiterated on several occasions by the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees, among others.
Because these „push-backs“ are prohibited, Frontex has since 2017 been helping with so-called „pull-backs“ by bringing refugees back to Libya by the Libyan coast guard rather than by EU units. With the „Multipurpose Aerial Surveillance“, Frontex is de facto conducting air reconnaissance for Libya. By November 2019, the EU border agency had notified Libyan authorities about refugee boats on the high seas in at least 42 cases.
Many international law experts consider this practice illegal. Since Libya would not be able to track down the refugees without the help of Frontex, the agency must take responsibility for the refoulements. The lawyers Omer Shatz and Juan Branco therefore want to sue responsibles of the European Union before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Frontex watches refugees drown
This is probably the reason why Frontex disguises the exact location of its air surveillance. Private maritime rescue organisations have repeatedly pointed out that Frontex aircrafts occasionally switch off their transponders so that they cannot be tracked via ADS-B. In the answer now available, this is confirmed by the EU Commission. According to this, the visibility of the aircraft would disclose „sensitive operational information“ and, in combination with other kinds of information, „undermine“ the operational objectives.
The German Ministry of the Interior had already made similar comments on the Federal Police’s assets in Frontex missions, according to which „general tracking“ of their routes in real time would „endanger the success of the mission“.
However, Frontex claims it did not issue instructions to online service providers to block the real-time position display of its planes, as journalist Scandura described. Nonetheless, the existing concealment of the operations only allows the conclusion that Frontex does not want to be controlled when the deployed aircraft watch refugees drown and Italy and Malta, as neighbouring EU member states, do not provide any assistance.
#avions #Italie #Croatie #confidentialité #transparence #Frontex_Aerial_Surveillance_Service (#FASS) #Multipurpose_Aerial_Surveillance #satellites #Méditerranée #Thermis #information_sensible #Indra #CAE_Aviation #Diamond-Executive_Aviation #EASP_Air #FlightAware #ADS-B #DA-42 #DA-62 #Beech_350 #Osprey1 #Osprey3 #Tasty #Osprey2 #Eagle1 #Malte #Sicile #pull-back #push-back #refoulement #Sergio_Scandura
Walls Must Fall: Ending the deadly politics of border militarisation - webinar recording
This webinar explored the trajectory and globalization of border militarization and anti-migrant racism across the world, the history, ideologies and actors that have shaped it, the pillars and policies that underpin the border industrial complex, the resistance of migrants, refugees and activists, and the shifting dynamics within this pandemic.
- #Harsha_Walia, author of Undoing Border Imperialism (2013)
- #Jille_Belisario, Transnational Migrant Platform-Europe (TMP-E)
- #Todd_Miller, author of Empire of Borders (2020), Storming the Wall (2019) and TNI’s report More than A Wall (2019)
- #Kavita_Krishnan, All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA).
Le business meurtrier des frontières
Le 21ème siècle sera-t-il celui des barrières ? Probable, au rythme où les frontières nationales se renforcent. Dans un livre riche et documenté, publié aux éditions Syllepse, le géographe Stéphane Rosière dresse un indispensable état des lieux.
Une nuit du mois de juin, dans un centre de rétention de l’île de Rhodes, la police grecque vient chercher une vingtaine de migrant·e·s, dont deux bébés. Après un trajet en bus, elle abandonne le groupe dans un canot de sauvetage sans moteur, au milieu des eaux territoriales turques. En août, le New York Times publie une enquête révélant que cette pratique, avec la combinaison de l’arrivée aux affaires du premier ministre conservateur Kyriakos Mitsotakis et de la diffusion de la pandémie de Covid-19, est devenue courante depuis mars.
Illégales au regard du droit international, ces expulsions illustrent surtout le durcissement constant de la politique migratoire de l’Europe depuis 20 ans. Elles témoignent aussi d’un processus mondial de « pixellisation » des frontières : celles-ci ne se réduisent pas à des lignes mais à un ensemble de points plus ou moins en amont ou en aval (ports, aéroports, eaux territoriales…), où opèrent les polices frontalières.
La fin de la fin des frontières
Plus largement, le récent ouvrage de Stéphane Rosière, Frontières de fer, le cloisonnement du monde, permet de prendre la mesure d’un processus en cours de « rebordering » à travers le monde. À la fois synthèse des recherches récentes sur les frontières et résultats des travaux de l’auteur sur la résurgence de barrières frontalières, le livre est une lecture incontournable sur l’évolution contemporaine des frontières nationales.
D’autant qu’il n’y a pas si longtemps, la mondialisation semblait promettre l’affaissement des frontières, dans la foulée de la disparition de l’Union soviétique et, corollairement, de la généralisation de l’économie de marché. La Guerre froide terminée annonçait la « fin de l’histoire » et, avec elle, la disparition des limites territoriales héritées de l’époque moderne. Au point de ringardiser, rappelle Stéphane Rosière, les études sur les frontières au sein de la géographie des années 1990, parallèlement au succès d’une valorisation tous azimuts de la mobilité dans le discours politique dominant comme dans les sciences sociales.
Trente ans après, le monde se réveille avec 25 000 kilomètres de barrières frontalières – record pour l’Inde, avec plus de 3 000 kilomètres de clôtures pour prévenir l’immigration depuis le Bangladesh. Barbelés, murs de briques, caméras, détecteurs de mouvements, grilles électrifiées, les dispositifs de contrôle frontalier fleurissent en continu sur les cinq continents.
L’âge des « murs anti-pauvres »
La contradiction n’est qu’apparente. Les barrières du 21e siècle ne ferment pas les frontières mais les cloisonnent – d’où le titre du livre. C’est-à-dire que l’objectif n’est pas de supprimer les flux mondialisés – de personnes et encore moins de marchandises ni de capitaux – mais de les contrôler. Les « teichopolitiques », terme qui recouvre, pour Stéphane Rosière, les politiques de cloisonnement de l’espace, matérialisent un « ordre mondial asymétrique et coercitif », dans lequel on valorise la mobilité des plus riches tout en assignant les populations pauvres à résidence.
De fait, on observe que les barrières frontalières redoublent des discontinuités économiques majeures. Derrière l’argument de la sécurité, elles visent à contenir les mouvements migratoires des régions les plus pauvres vers des pays mieux lotis économiquement : du Mexique vers les États-Unis, bien sûr, ou de l’Afrique vers l’Europe, mais aussi de l’Irak vers l’Arabie Saoudite ou du Pakistan vers l’Iran.
Les dispositifs de contrôle frontalier sont des outils parmi d’autres d’une « implacable hiérarchisation » des individus en fonction de leur nationalité. Comme l’a montré le géographe Matthew Sparke à propos de la politique migratoire nord-américaine, la population mondiale se trouve divisée entre une classe hypermobile de citoyen·ne·s « business-class » et une masse entravée de citoyen·ne·s « low-cost ». C’est le sens du « passport index » publié chaque année par le cabinet Henley : alors qu’un passeport japonais ou allemand donne accès à plus de 150 pays, ce chiffre descend en-dessous de 30 avec un passeport afghan ou syrien.
Le business des barrières
Si les frontières revêtent une dimension économique, c’est aussi parce qu’elles sont un marché juteux. À l’heure où les pays européens ferment des lits d’hôpital faute de moyens, on retiendra ce chiffre ahurissant : entre 2005 et 2016, le budget de Frontex, l’agence en charge du contrôle des frontières de l’Union européenne, est passé de 6,3 à 238,7 millions d’euros. À quoi s’ajoutent les budgets colossaux débloqués pour construire et entretenir les barrières – budgets entourés d’opacité et sur lesquels, témoigne l’auteur, il est particulièrement difficile d’enquêter, faute d’obtenir… des fonds publics.
L’argent public alimente ainsi une « teichoéconomie » dont les principaux bénéficiaires sont des entreprises du BTP et de la sécurité européennes, nord-américaines, israéliennes et, de plus en plus, indiennes ou saoudiennes. Ce complexe sécuritaro-industriel, identifié par Julien Saada, commercialise des dispositifs de surveillance toujours plus sophistiqués et prospère au rythme de l’inflation de barrières entre pays, mais aussi entre quartiers urbains.
Un business d’autant plus florissant qu’il s’auto-entretient, dès lors que les mêmes entreprises vendent des armes. On sait que les ventes d’armes, alimentant les guerres, stimulent les migrations : un « cercle vertueux » s’enclenche pour les entreprises du secteur, appelées à la rescousse pour contenir des mouvements de population qu’elles participent à encourager.
« Mourir aux frontières »
Bénéfices juteux, profits politiques, les barrières font des heureux. Elles tuent aussi et l’ouvrage de Stéphane Rosière se termine sur un décompte macabre. C’est, dit-il, une « guerre migratoire » qui est en cours. Guerre asymétrique, elle oppose la police armée des puissances économiques à des groupes le plus souvent désarmés, venant de périphéries dominées économiquement et dont on entend contrôler la mobilité. Au nom de la souveraineté des États, cette guerre fait plusieurs milliers de victimes par an et la moindre des choses est de « prendre la pleine mesure de la létalité contemporaine aux frontières ».
Sur le blog :
– Une synthèse sur les murs frontaliers : ►http://geographiesenmouvement.blogs.liberation.fr/2019/01/28/lamour-des-murs
– Le compte rendu d’un autre livre incontournable sur les frontières : ▻http://geographiesenmouvement.blogs.liberation.fr/2019/08/03/frontieres-en-mouvement
– Une synthèse sur les barricades à l’échelle intraurbaine : ►http://geographiesenmouvement.blogs.liberation.fr/2020/10/21/gated-communities-le-paradis-entre-quatre-murs
How Private Security Firms Profit Off the Refugee Crisis
The UK has pumped money to corporations turning #Calais into a bleak fortress.
Tall white fences lined with barbed wire – welcome to Calais. The city in northern France is an obligatory stop for anyone trying to reach the UK across the channel. But some travellers are more welcome than others, and in recent decades, a slew of private security companies have profited millions of pounds off a very expensive – an unattractive – operation to keep migrants from crossing.
Every year, thousands of passengers and lorries take the ferry at the Port of Calais-Fréthun, a trading route heavily relied upon by the UK for imports. But the entrance to the port looks more like a maximum-security prison than your typical EU border. Even before Brexit, the UK was never part of the Schengen area, which allows EU residents to move freely across 26 countries. For decades, Britain has strictly controlled its southern border in an attempt to stop migrants and asylum seekers from entering.
As early as 2000, the Port of Calais was surrounded by a 2.8 metre-high fence to prevent people from jumping into lorries waiting at the ferry departure point. In 1999, the Red Cross set up a refugee camp in the nearby town of Sangatte which quickly became overcrowded. The UK pushed for it to be closed in 2002 and then negotiated a treaty with France to regulate migration between the two countries.
The 2003 Le Toquet Treaty allowed the UK to check travellers on French soil before their arrival, and France to do the same on UK soil. Although the deal looks fair on paper, in practice it unduly burdens French authorities, as there are more unauthorised migrants trying to reach the UK from France than vice versa.
The treaty effectively moved the UK border onto French territory, but people still need to cross the channel to request asylum. That’s why thousands of refugees from conflict zones like Syria, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Sudan and Somalia have found themselves stranded in Calais, waiting for a chance to cross illegally – often in search of family members who’ve already made it to the UK. Many end up paying people smugglers to hide them in lorries or help them cross by boat.
These underlying issues came to a head during the Syrian crisis, when refugees began camping out near Calais in 2014. The so-called Calais Jungle became infamous for its squalid conditions, and at its peak, hosted more than 7,000 people. They were all relocated to other centres in France before the camp was bulldozed in 2016. That same year, the UK also decided to build a €2.7 million border wall in Calais to block access to the port from the camp, but the project wasn’t completed until after the camp was cleared, attracting a fair deal of criticism. Between 2015 and 2018, the UK spent over €110 million on border security in France, only to top it up with over €56 million more in 2018.
But much of this public money actually flows into the accounts of private corporations, hired to build and maintain the high-tech fences and conduct security checks. According to a 2020 report by the NGO Care4Calais, there are more than 40 private security companies working in the city. One of the biggest, Eamus Cork Solutions (ECS), was founded by a former Calais police officer in 2004 and is reported to have benefited at least €30 million from various contracts as of 2016.
Stéphane Rosière, a geography professor at the University of Reims, wrote his book Iron Borders (only available in French) about the many border walls erected around the world. Rosière calls this the “security-industrial” complex – private firms that have largely replaced the traditional military-industrial sector in Europe since WW2.
“These companies are getting rich by making security systems adaptable to all types of customers – individuals, companies or states,” he said. According to Rosière, three-quarters of the world’s border security barriers were built in the 21st century.
Brigitte, a pensioner living close to the former site of the Calais Jungle, has seen her town change drastically over the past two decades. “Everything is cordoned off with wire mesh," she said. "I have the before and after photos, and it’s not a pretty sight. It’s just wire, wire, wire.” For the past 15 years, Brigitte has been opening her garage door for asylum seekers to stop by for a cup of tea and charge their phones and laptops, earning her the nickname "Mama Charge”.
“For a while, the purpose of these fences and barriers was to stop people from crossing,” said François Guennoc, president of L’Auberge des Migrants, an NGO helping displaced migrants in Calais.
Migrants have still been desperate enough to try their luck. “They risked a lot to get into the port area, and many of them came back bruised and battered,” Guennoc said. Today, walls and fences are mainly being built to deter people from settling in new camps near Calais after being evicted.
In the city centre, all public squares have been fenced off. The city’s bridges have been fitted with blue lights and even with randomly-placed bike racks, so people won’t sleep under them.
“They’ve also been cutting down trees for some time now,” said Brigitte, pointing to a patch near her home that was once woods. Guennoc said the authorities are now placing large rocks in areas where NGOs distribute meals and warm clothes, to prevent displaced people from receiving the donations. “The objective of the measures now is also to make the NGOs’ work more difficult,” he said.
According to the NGO Refugee Rights Europe, about 1,500 men, women and minors were living in makeshift camps in and around Calais as of April 2020. In July 2020, French police raided a camp of over 500 people, destroying residents’ tents and belongings, in the largest operation since the Calais Jungle was cleared. An investigation by Slate found that smaller camps are cleared almost every day by the French police, even in the middle of winter. NGOs keep providing new tents and basic necessities to displaced residents, but they are frustrated by the waste of resources. The organisations are also concerned about COVID-19 outbreaks in the camps.
As VICE World News has previously reported, the crackdown is only pushing people to take more desperate measures to get into the UK. Boat crossings reached record-highs in 2020, and four people have died since August 2020 while trying to cross, by land and sea. “When you create an obstacle, people find a way to get around it,” Guennoc said. “If they build a wall all the way along the coast to prevent boat departures, people will go to Normandy – and that has already started.” Crossing the open sea puts migrants at even greater risk.
Rosière agrees security measures are only further endangering migrants.“All locks eventually open, no matter how complex they may be. It’s just a matter of time.”
He believes the only parties who stand to profit from the status quo are criminal organisations and private security firms: “At the end of the day, this a messed-up use of public money.”
À Calais, la ville s’emmure
Financing Border Wars. The border industry, its financiers and human rights
This report seeks to explore and highlight the extent of today’s global border security industry, by focusing on the most important geographical markets—Australia, Europe, USA—listing the human rights violations and risks involved in each sector of the industry, profiling important corporate players and putting a spotlight on the key investors in each company.
Migration will be one of the defining human rights issues of the 21st century. The growing pressures to migrate combined with the increasingly militarised state security response will only exacerbate an already desperate situation for refugees and migrants. Refugees already live in a world where human rights are systematically denied. So as the climate crisis deepens and intersects with other economic and political crises, forcing more people from their homes, and as states retreat to ever more authoritarian security-based responses, the situation for upholding and supporting migrants’ rights looks ever bleaker.
States, most of all those in the richest countries, bear the ultimate responsibility to uphold the human rights of refugees and migrants recognised under International Human Rights Law. Yet corporations are also deeply implicated. It is their finance, their products, their services, their infrastructure that underpins the structures of state migration and border control. In some cases, they are directly involved in human rights violations themselves; in other cases they are indirectly involved as they facilitate the system that systematically denies refugees and migrants their rights. Most of all, through their lobbying, involvement in government ‘expert’ groups, revolving doors with state agencies, it becomes clear that corporations are not just accidental beneficiaries of the militarisation of borders. Rather they actively shape the policies from which they profit and therefore share responsibility for the human rights violations that result.
This state-corporate fusion is best described as a Border Industrial Complex, drawing on former US President Eisenhower’s warning of the dangers of a Military-Industrial Complex. Indeed it is noticeable that many of the leading border industries today are also military companies, seeking to diversify their security products to a rapidly expanding new market.
This report seeks to explore and highlight the extent of today’s global border security industry, by focusing on the most important geographical markets—Australia, Europe, USA—listing the human rights violations and risks involved in each sector of the industry, profiling important corporate players and putting a spotlight on the key investors in each company.
A booming industry
The border industry is experiencing spectacular growth, seemingly immune to austerity or economic downturns. Market research agencies predict annual growth of the border security market of between 7.2% and 8.6%, reaching a total of $65–68 billion by 2025. The largest expansion is in the global Biometrics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) markets. Markets and Markets forecasts the biometric systems market to double from $33 billion in 2019 to $65.3 billion by 2024—of which biometrics for migration purposes will be a significant sector. It says that the AI market will equal US$190.61 billion by 2025.
The report investigates five key sectors of the expanding industry: border security (including monitoring, surveillance, walls and fences), biometrics and smart borders, migrant detention, deportation, and audit and consultancy services. From these sectors, it profiles 23 corporations as significant actors: Accenture, Airbus, Booz Allen Hamilton, Classic Air Charter, Cobham, CoreCivic, Deloitte, Elbit, Eurasylum, G4S, GEO Group, IBM, IDEMIA, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin, Mitie, Palantir, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Serco, Sopra Steria, Thales, Thomson Reuters, Unisys.
– The border security and control field, the technological infrastructure of security and surveillance at the border, is led by US, Australian, European and Israeli firms including Airbus, Elbit, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin, Airbus, Leonardo and Thales— all of which are among the world’s major arms sellers. They benefit not only from border contracts within the EU, US, and Australia but also increasingly from border externalisation programmes funded by these same countries. Jean Pierre Talamoni, head of sales and marketing at Airbus Defence and Space (ADS), said in 2016 that he estimates that two thirds of new military market opportunities over the next 10 years will be in Asia and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Companies are also trying to muscle in on providing the personnel to staff these walls, including border guards.
- The Smart Borders sector encompasses the use of a broad range of (newer) technologies, including biometrics (such as fingerprints and iris-scans), AI and phone and social media tracking. The goal is to speed up processes for national citizens and other acceptable travellers and stop or deport unwanted migrants through the use of more sophisticated IT and biometric systems. Key corporations include large IT companies, such as IBM and Unisys, and multinational services company Accenture for whom migration is part of their extensive portfolio, as well as small firms, such as IDEMIA and Palantir Technologies, for whom migration-related work is central. The French public–private company Civipol, co-owned by the state and several large French arms companies, is another key player, selected to set up fingerprint databases of the whole population of Mali and Senegal.
– Deportation. With the exception of the UK and the US, it is uncommon to privatise deportation. The UK has hired British company Mitie for its whole deportation process, while Classic Air Charter dominates in the US. Almost all major commercial airlines, however, are also involved in deportations. Newsweek reported, for example, that in the US, 93% of the 1,386 ICE deportation flights to Latin American countries on commercial airlines in 2019 were facilitated by United Airlines (677), American Airlines (345) and Delta Airlines (266).
- Detention. The Global Detention Project lists over 1,350 migrant detention centres worldwide, of which over 400 are located in Europe, almost 200 in the US and nine in Australia. In many EU countries, the state manages detention centres, while in other countries (e.g. Australia, UK, USA) there are completely privatised prisons. Many other countries have a mix of public and private involvement, such as state facilities with private guards. Australia outsourced refugee detention to camps outside its territories. Australian service companies Broadspectrum and Canstruct International managed the detention centres, while the private security companies G4S, Paladin Solutions and Wilson Security were contracted for security services, including providing guards. Migrant detention in third countries is also an increasingly important part of EU migration policy, with the EU funding construction of migrant detention centres in ten non-EU countries.
- Advisory and audit services are a more hidden part of public policies and practices, but can be influential in shaping new policies. A striking example is Civipol, which in 2003 wrote a study on maritime borders for the European Commission, which adopted its key policy recommendations in October 2003 and in later policy documents despite its derogatory language against refugees. Civipol’s study also laid foundations for later measures on border externalisation, including elements of the migration deal with Turkey and the EU’s Operation Sophia. Since 2003 Civipol has received funding for a large number of migration-related projects, especially in African countries. Between 2015 and 2017, it was the fourth most-funded organisation under the EU Trust Fund. Other prominent corporations in this sector include Eurasylum, as well as major international consultancy firms, particularly Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers, for which migration-related work is part of their expansive portfolio.
Financing the industry
The markets for military and border control procurement are characterized by massively capital intensive investments and contracts, which would not be possible without the involvement of financial actors. Using data from marketscreener.com, the report shows that the world’s largest investment companies are also among the major shareholders in the border industry.
– The Vanguard Group owns shares in 15 of the 17 companies, including over 15% of the shares of CoreCivic and GEO Group that manage private prisons and detention facilities.
- Other important investors are Blackrock, which is a major shareholder in 11 companies, Capital Research and Management (part of the Capital Group), with shares in arms giants Airbus and Lockheed Martin, and State Street Global Advisors (SsgA), which owns over 15% of Lockheed Martin shares and is also a major shareholder in six other companies.
- Although these giant asset management firms dominate, two of the profiled companies, Cobham and IDEMIA, are currently owned by the private equity firm Advent International. Advent specialises in buyouts and restructuring, and it seems likely that it will attempt to split up Cobham in the hope of making a profit by selling on the component companies to other owners.
- In addition, three large European arms companies, Airbus, Thales and Leonardo, active in the border security market, are partly owned by the governments of the countries where they are headquartered.
In all cases, therefore, the financing depends on our money. In the case of state ownership, through our taxes, and in terms of asset management funds, through the way individual savings, pension funds, insurance companies and university endowments are directly invested in these companies via the giant Asset Management Funds. This financing means that the border industry survives on at least the tacit approved use of the public’s funds which makes it vulnerable to social pressure as the human rights costs of the industry become ever more clear.
Human rights and the border industry
Universal human rights apply to every single human being, including refugees and migrants. While the International Bill of Human Rights provides the foundation, including defining universal rights that are important in the context of migration, such as the right to life, liberty and security of person, the right to freedom from torture or cruel or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, and freedom from discrimination, there are other instruments such as the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention or Geneva Convention) of 1951 that are also relevant. There are also regional agreements, including the Organisation of African Unity Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) that play a role relevant to the countries that have ratified them.
Yet despite these important and legally binding human rights agreements, the human rights situation for refugees and migrants has become ever more desperate. States frequently deny their rights under international law, such as the right to seek asylum or non-refoulement principles, or more general rights such as the freedom from torture, cruel or inhumane treatment. There is a gap with regard to effective legal means or grievance mechanisms to counter this or to legally enforce or hold to account states that fail to implement instruments such as the UDHR and the Refugee Convention of 1951. A Permanent Peoples Tribunal in 2019 even concluded that ‘taken together, the immigration and asylum policies and practices of the EU and its Member States constitute a total denial of the fundamental rights of people and migrants, and are veritable crimes against humanity’. A similar conclusion can be made of the US and Australian border and immigration regime.
The increased militarisation of border security worldwide and state-sanctioned hostility toward migrants has had a deeply detrimental impact on the human rights of refugees and migrants.
– Increased border security has led to direct violence against refugees, pushbacks with the risk of returning people to unsafe countries and inhumane circumstances (contravening the principle of non-refoulement), and a disturbing rise in avoidable deaths, as countries close off certain migration routes, forcing migrants to look for other, often more dangerous, alternatives and pushing them into the arms of criminal smuggling networks.
– The increased use of autonomous systems of border security such as drones threaten new dangers related to human rights. There is already evidence that they push migrants to take more dangerous routes, but there is also concern that there is a gradual trend towards weaponized systems that will further threaten migrants’ lives.
– The rise in deportations has threatened fundamental human rights including the right to family unity, the right to seek asylum, the right to humane treatment in detention, the right to due process, and the rights of children’. There have been many instances of violence in the course of deportations, sometimes resulting in death or permanent harm, against desperate people who try to do everything to prevent being deported. Moreover, deportations often return refugees to unsafe countries, where they face violence, persecution, discrimination and poverty.
- The widespread detention of migrants also fundamentally undermines their human rights . There have been many reports of violence and neglect by guards and prison authorities, limited access to adequate legal and medical support, a lack of decent food, overcrowding and poor and unhealthy conditions. Privatisation of detention exacerbates these problems, because companies benefit from locking up a growing number of migrants and minimising costs.
– The building of major migration databases such as EU’s Eurodac and SIS II, VIS gives rise to a range of human rights concerns, including issues of privacy, civil liberties, bias leading to discrimination—worsened by AI processes -, and misuse of collected information. Migrants are already subject to unprecedented levels of surveillance, and are often now treated as guinea pigs where even more intrusive technologies such as facial recognition and social media tracking are tried out without migrants consent.
The trend towards externalisation of migration policies raises new concerns as it seeks to put the human costs of border militarisation beyond the border and out of public sight. This has led to the EU, US and Australia all cooperating with authoritarian regimes to try and prevent migrants from even getting close to their borders. Moreover as countries donate money, equipment or training to security forces in authoritarian regimes, they end up expanding and strengthening their capacities which leads to a rise in human rights violations more broadly. Nowhere are the human rights consequences of border externalisation policies clearer than in the case of Libya, where the EU and individual member states (in particular Italy and Malta) funding, training and cooperation with security forces and militias have led to violence at the borders, murder, disappearances, rape, enslavement and abuse of migrants in the country and torture in detention centres.
The 23 corporations profiled in this report have all been involved in or connected to policies and practices that have come under fire because of violations of the human rights of refugees and migrants. As mentioned earlier, sometimes the companies are directly responsible for human rights violations or concerns. In other cases, they are indirectly responsible through their contribution to a border infrastructure that denies human rights and through lobbying to influence policy-making to prioritize militarized responses to migration. 11 of the companies profiled publicly proclaim their commitment to human rights as signatories to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), but as these are weak voluntary codes this has not led to noticeable changes in their business operations related to migration.
The most prominent examples of direct human rights abuses come from the corporations involved in detention and deportation. Classic Air Charter, Cobham, CoreCivic, Eurasylum, G4S, GEO Group, Mitie and Serco all have faced allegations of violence and abuse by their staff towards migrants. G4S has been one of the companies most often in the spotlight. In 2017, not only were assaults by its staff on migrants at the Brook House immigration removal centre in the UK broadcast by the BBC, but it was also hit with a class suit in Australia by almost 2,000 people who are or were detained at the externalised detention centre on Manus Island, because of physical and psychological injuries as a result of harsh treatment and dangerous conditions. The company eventually settled the case for A$70 million (about $53 million) in the largest-ever human rights class-action settlement. G4S has also faced allegations related to its involvement in deportations.
The other companies listed all play a pivotal role in the border infrastructure that denies refugees’ human rights. Airbus P-3 Orion surveillance planes of the Australian Air Force, for example, play a part in the highly controversial maritime wall that prevents migrants arriving by boat and leads to their detention in terrible conditions offshore. Lockheed Martin is a leading supplier of border security on the US-Mexico border. Leonardo is one of the main suppliers of drones for Europe’s borders. Thales produces the radar and sensor systems, critical to patrolling the Mediterrean. Elbit Systems provides surveillance technologies to both the EU and US, marketed on their success as technologies used in the separation wall in the Palestinian occupied territories. Accenture, IDEMIA and Sopra Steria manage many border biometric projects. Deloitte has been one of the key consulting companies to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency since 2003, while PriceWaterhouseCoopers provides similar consultancy services to Frontex and the Australian border forces. IBM, Palantir and UNISYS provide the IT infrastructure that underpins the border and immigration apparatus.
Time to divest
The report concludes by calling for campaigns to divest from the border industry. There is a long history of campaigns and movements that call for divestment from industries that support human rights violations—from the campaigns to divest from Apartheid South Africa to more recent campaigns to divest from the fossil fuel industry. The border industry has become an equally morally toxic asset for any financial institution, given the litany of human rights abuses tied to it and the likelihood they will intensify in years to come.
There are already examples of existing campaigns targeting particular border industries that have borne fruit. A spotlight on US migrant detention, as part of former President Trump’s anti- immigration policies, contributed to six large US banks (Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Fifth Third Bancorp, JPMorgan Chase, SunTrust, and Wells Fargo) publicly announcing that they would not provide new financing to the private prison industry. The two largest public US pension funds, CalSTRS and CalPERS, also decided to divest from the same two companies. Geo Group acknowledged that these acts of ‘public resistance’ hit the company financially, criticising the banks as ‘clearly bow[ing] down to a small group of activists protesting and conducting targeted social media campaigns’.
Every company involved or accused of human rights violations either denies them or says that they are atypical exceptions to corporate behavior. This report shows however that a militarised border regime built on exclusion will always be a violent apparatus that perpetuates human rights violations. It is a regime that every day locks up refugees in intolerable conditions, separates families causing untold trauma and heartbreak, and causes a devastating death toll as refugees are forced to take unimaginable dangerous journeys because the alternatives are worse. However well-intentioned, any industry that provides services and products for this border regime will bear responsibility for its human consequences and its human rights violations, and over time will suffer their own serious reputational costs for their involvement in this immoral industry. On the other hand, a widespread exodus of the leading corporations on which the border regime depends could force states to change course, and to embrace a politics that protects and upholds the rights of refugees and migrants. Worldwide, social movements and the public are starting to wake up to the human costs of border militarisation and demanding a fundamental change. It is time now for the border industry and their financiers to make a choice.
#Accenture #Airbus #Booz_Allen_Hamilton #Classic_Air_Charter #Cobham #CoreCivic #Deloitte #Elbit #Eurasylum #G4S #GEO_Group #IBM #IDEMIA #Leonardo #Lockheed_Martin #Mitie #Palantir #PricewaterhouseCoopers #Serco #Sopra_Steria #Thales #Thomson_Reuters #Unisys
#contrôles_frontaliers #surveillance #technologie #Jean-Pierre_Talamoni #Airbus_Defence_and_Space (#ADS) #smart_borders #frontières_intelligentes #iris #empreintes_digitales #réseaux_sociaux #IT #Civipol #Mali #Sénégal #renvois #expulsions #déportations #Mitie #Classic_Air_Charter #compagnies_aériennes #United_Airlines #ICE #American_Airlines #Delta_Airlines #rétention #détention_administrative #privatisation #Broadspectrum #Canstruct_International #Paladin_Solutions #Wilson_Security #Operation_Sophia #EU_Trust_Fund #Trust_Fund #externalisation #Eurasylum #Deloitte #PricewaterhouseCoopers #Vanguard_Group #CoreCivic #Blackrock #investisseurs #investissement #Capital_Research_and_Management #Capital_Group #Lockheed_Martin #State_Street_Global_Advisors (#SsgA) #Cobham #IDEMIA #Advent_International #droits_humains #VIS #SIS_II #P-3_Orion #Accenture #Sopra_Steria #Frontex #Australie
Outsourcing oppression. How Europe externalises migrant detention beyond its shores
This report seeks to address the gap and join the dots between Europe’s outsourcing of migrant detention to third countries and the notorious conditions within the migrant detention centres. In a nutshell, Europe calls the shots on migrant detention beyond its shores but is rarely held to account for the deeply oppressive consequences, including arbitrary detention, torture, forced disappearance, violence, sexual violence, and death.
– The European Union (EU), and its member states, externalise detention to third countries as part of a strategy to keep migrants out at all costs. This leads to migrants being detained and subjected to gross human rights violations in transit countries in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, West Asia and Africa.
– Candidate countries wishing to join the EU are obligated to detain migrants and stop them from crossing into the EU as a prerequisite for accession to the Union. Funding is made available through pre-accession agreements specifically for the purpose of detaining migrants.
– Beyond EU candidate countries, this report identifies 22 countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, the Balkans and West Asia where the EU and its member states fund the construction of detention centres, detention related activities such as trainings, or advocate for detention in other ways such as through aggressively pushing for detention legislation or agreeing to relax visa requirements for nationals of these countries in exchange for increased migrant detention.
- The main goal of detention externalisation is to pre-empt migrants from reaching the external borders of the EU by turning third countries into border outposts. In many cases this involves the EU and its member states propping up and maintaining authoritarian regimes.
– Europe is in effect following the ‘Australian model’ that has been highly criticised by UN experts and human rights organisations for the torturous conditions inside detention centres. Nevertheless, Europe continues to advance a system that mirrors Australia’s outsourced model, focusing not on guaranteeing the rights of migrants, but instead on deterring and pushing back would-be asylum seekers at all costs.
- Human rights are systematically violated in detention centres directly and indirectly funded by the EU and its member states, including cases of torture, arbitrary and prolonged detention, sexual violence, no access to legal recourse, humanitarian assistance, or asylum procedures, the detention of victims of trafficking, and many other serious violations in which Europe is implicated.
- Particularly horrendous is the case of Libya, which continues to receive financial and political support from Europe despite mounting evidence of brutality, enslavement, torture, forced disappearance and death. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), implement EU policies in Libya and, according to aid officials, actively whitewash the consequences of European policies to safeguard substantial EU funding.
- Not only does the EU deport and push back migrants to unsafe third countries, it actively finances and coercively pushes for their detention in these countries. Often they have no choice but to sign ‘voluntary’ agreements to be returned to their countries of origin as the only means of getting out of torturous detention facilities.
- The EU implements a carrot and stick approach, in particular in its dealings with Africa, prolonging colonialist dynamics and uneven power structures – in Niger, for example, the EU pushed for legislation on detention, in exchange for development aid funding.
– The EU envisages a greater role for migrant detention in third countries going forward, as was evidenced in the European Commission’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum.
- The EU acts on the premise of containment and deterrence, namely, that if migrants seeking to reach Europe are intercepted and detained along that journey, they will be deterred from making the journey in the first place. This approach completely misses the point that people migrate to survive, often fleeing war and other forms of violence. The EU continues to overlook the structural reasons behind why people flee and the EU’s own role in provoking such migration.
– The border industrial complex profits from the increased securitisation of borders. Far from being passive spectators, the military and security industry is actively involved in shaping EU border policies by positioning themselves as experts on the issue. We can already see a trend of privatising migrant detention, paralleling what is happening in prison systems worldwide.
pour télécharger le rapport :
#externalisation #rétention #détention #détention_arbitraire #violence #disparitions #disparitions_forcées #violence #violence_sexuelle #morts #mort #décès #Afrique #Europe_de_l'Est #Balkans #Asie #modèle_australien #EU #UE #Union_européenne #torture #Libye #droits_humains #droits_fondamentaux #HCR #UNHCR #OIM #IOM #dissuasion #privatisation
Le plus ancien traitement de minerai de plomb en Europe. Découvertes sur le site de Pietrele sur le Bas Danube, datant du 5ème millénaire avant notre ère.
Onze contenants biconiques des sites de l’âge du cuivre, provenant des sites de Pietrele et de Blejeşti en Roumanie ont été étudiés à l’aide de la p-XRF. Dans la plupart des cas, des traces de plomb pourraient être mesurées sur leurs surfaces.
Des échantillons de scories provenant de deux cuves et de l’argile d’une autre ont été analysés à l’aide de méthodes de laboratoire, à savoir la SEM, la DRX, la LIA et la microscopie optique.
Les contenant étaient évidemment utilisés comme une sorte de creuset dans lequel des restes de scories et du minerai de galène ont été détectés. On ne sait toujours pas quel produit final a été obtenu en fondant de la galène de cette manière. La quantité de ces contenant dans la colonie de Pietrele, leur apparence en tant que biens funéraires à Pietrele et à Vărăști (Roumanie) et leur présence présumée dans un certain nombre d’autres colonies de peuplement de l’âge du cuivre en Roumanie et en Bulgarie montrent l’importance de ce phénomène. Cela devait être une pratique répandue et plus ou moins connue, une part importante des habitudes culturelles au cours d’une période donnée dans le Bas-Danube et probablement même plus loin. Pour la première fois, de vastes expériences sur le minerai de plomb peuvent être présentées dans un horizon chronologique clair, env. 4400–4300 avant notre ère en Europe du Sud-Est.
The earliest lead ore processing in Europe. 5th millennium BC finds from Pietrele on the Lower Danube
#Néolithique #Plomb #Europe_de_l'est
Gebrauchte Diesel werden zum Exportschlager : Halb Europa kauft Selbstzünder aus Deutschland - WELT
Wie aus einer Auswertung des „Export-/Import-Seismografen“ (ESD/ISD) auf Grundlage von Daten des Statistischen Bundesamtes hervorgeht, sind Exporte gebrauchter Diesel-Pkw innerhalb eines Jahres um rund 20 Prozent auf fast 240.000 Fahrzeuge gestiegen. „Neben den EU-Ländern Kroatien, Slowenien, Bulgarien und Rumänien gehen ältere Dieselfahrzeuge auch in die Ukraine“, sagt Christian Kille vom Institut für Angewandte Logistik der Hochschule Würzburg-Schweinfurt, das den ESD/ISD gemeinsam mit dem Softwarehaus AEB herausgibt. „Offenbar wegen der lockeren Einfuhrbestimmungen und des relativ niedrigen Zollsatzes von 7,3 Prozent für Gebrauchtwagen aus der EU.“ Den größten Boom erlebten die Exporte in die Ukraine, die sich mehr als verdoppelten, gefolgt von Kroatien mit einem Plus von gut 89 Prozent. Die anspruchsvolleren Märkte West-, Mittel und Südeuropas bevorzugen neuere Diesel-Gebrauchtwagen. Starkes Wachstum zeigen hier Spanien (+31%), Österreich (+41%) und Frankreich (+34%). „Für Schnäppchenjäger im Ausland gibt es aktuell eine gute Möglichkeit, günstig an einen Diesel zu kommen“, sagt Kille.
Des liens vers des articles généraux sur l’externalisation des frontières de la part de l’ #UE (#EU) :
Ici une tentative (très mal réussie, car évidement, la divergence entre pratiques et les discours à un moment donné, ça se voit !) de l’UE de faire une brochure pour déconstruire les mythes autour de la migration...
La question de l’externalisation y est abordée dans différentes parties de la brochure :
Le rapport « Expanding the fortress » et des liens associés à la sortie de ce rapport :
Dans le rapport sont abordées à la fois les conséquences de l’externalisation (notamment en termes de #droits_humains) et les profiteurs (#complexe_militaro-industriel).
Cas d’étude : #Libye #Turquie #Niger #Egypte #Soudan #Mauritanie #Mali
v. aussi le communiqué de presse de la commission européenne, mars 2019 :
Grâce au #fonds_fiduciaire d’urgence de l’UE pour l’Afrique, plus de 5,3 millions de personnes vulnérables bénéficient actuellement d’une aide de première nécessité et plus de 60 000 personnes ont reçu une aide à la réintégration après leur retour dans leur pays d’origine.
Plainte déposée à la #cour_des_comptes_européenne contre l’Europe complice des horreurs perpétrées en #Libye :
L’UE a alloué, en juillet 2017, 91,3 millions d’euros au programme « #Gestion_intégrée_des_frontières_et_des_migrations_en_Libye » (#GIF) qui doit durer jusqu’à la fin de 2021. Ce programme a pour objectif « d’améliorer la capacité de la Libye à contrôler ses frontières et à assurer le sauvetage en mer, d’une manière pleinement conforme aux obligations et aux normes internationales en matière de droits de l’homme. » Ces #fonds ont été engagés par le biais du #Fonds_fiduciaire_d’urgence_de_l’Union_européenne_pour_la stabilité_et_la_lutte_contre_les_causes_profondes_des-migrations_irrégulières_et_des personnes_déplacées_en_Afrique (#EUTFA), lui-même principalement financé par le #Fonds_européen_de_développement.
Et avec le tag complexe militaro-industriel :
Voir notamment le livre de #Claire_Rodier, #Xénophobie_business :
Externalisation des contrôles frontaliers en #Libye :
(lien avec #droits_humains)
Commissaire aux droits humains Conseil Europe :
EU member states to show urgently that the support to the Libyan Coast Guard is not contributing to human rights violations, and to suspend this support if they cannot do so.
#Statistiques et #chiffres du nombre de personnes migrantes présentes en Libye (chiffres OIM) :
Et de celles rapatriées par l’#OIM :
Sur les #centres_de_détention en Libye, voulus, soutenus et financés par l’UE ou des pays de l’UE :
#torture #viols #abus_sexuels #détention
Marché aux esclaves en Libye :
Il 90% dei migranti visitati nelle cliniche del Medu ha parlato di violenza estrema e torture
A UN officer estimated that 90% of male refugees and migrants being hosted in the Italian reception system had experienced sexual violence during their journey.
Ici en #dessins :
Et des mesures-sparadrap en lien avec l’#OMS cette fois-ci —> projet “Enhancing Diagnosis and Treatment for Migrants in detention centers in Libya” :
Des #témoignages audio depuis la Libye, un projet audio-documentaire de #Michelangelo_Severgnini :
Michelangelo Severgnini est aussi le réalisateur du #film "Schiavi di riserva"
Les pull-back vers la Libye :
–-> et centres de détention
Le reconstruction d’un naufrage et d’un pull-back vers la Libye effectué par les gardes-côtes libyen. Reconstruction #vidéo par #Charles_Heller et #Lorenzo_Pezzani :
–-> #Operation_Sophia et... "L’UE sait que certaines de ses politiques ont rendu la traversée plus dangereuse pour les migrants, toutefois, elle a décidé de continuer cette stratégie" :
D’ailleurs, depuis juillet 2018, aucune personne n’a été sauvée par l’#opération_Sophia :
#évacuation de migrants/réfugiés depuis la Libye vers le #Niger :
Un #rapport sur les #returnees #returning_migrants :
–-> attention, il y a peut-être d’autres articles sur ce sujet dans les longs fils de discussions sur le Niger et/ou la Libye (à contrôler)
Et l’#Italie :
Italy strengthens Libya accord, another four patrol boats :
Aerei da pattugliamento e #radar. Ecco il piano segreto anti-sbarchi :
(attention : ce n’est pas la première "livraison" italienne, il y en a eu par le passé, il faudrait voir dans les autres listes)
En 2013 :
Italia-Libia, al via accordo di cooperazione su controllo frontiere :
Le 2 novembre 2019, l’#accord de #2017 entre #Italie et #Libye se renouvellera automatiquement :
Et quelques lignes sur le #traité_de_Benghazi , le fameux #pacte_d'amitié entre l’#Italie et la #Libye (2009)
J’en parle aussi dans ce billet que j’ai écrit pour Visionscarto sur les films #Mare_chiuso et #Mare_deserto :
Vaincre une mer déserte et fermée
–-> il y a certainement plus sur seenthis, mais je ne trouve pas pour l’instant... j’ajouterai au fur et à mesure
Communiqué de presse Commission européenne, mars 2019 :
améliorer les conditions d’accueil déplorables en #Libye : les efforts déployés par l’intermédiaire du groupe de travail trilatéral UA-UE-NU doivent se poursuivre pour contribuer à libérer les migrants se trouvant en #rétention, faciliter le #retour_volontaire (37 000 retours jusqu’à présent) et évacuer les personnes les plus vulnérables (près de 2 500 personnes évacuées).
Mission #Eucap_Sahel et financement et création de #Compagnies_mobiles_de_contrôle_des_frontières (#CMCF), financé par #Pays-Bas et Allemagne financés par l’Allemagne :
Financement de la #police_locale au Niger :
–-> rapport de #Frontex sur les #routes_migratoires empruntées par les migrants dans le #désert (avec #images_satellitaires)
–-> sujet inclus dans ce fil de discussion : #loi anti-passeurs au Niger ; création de #camps (appelé #centres)... but : convaincre les migrants de ne pas partir... faire un premier #tri...
Le Niger et l’Italie se félicitent de la chute des flux migratoires... (sic)
–-> v. aussi : « Baisse des demandes d’asile. Pas de quoi se réjouir » :
L’impact de la diminution des flux migratoires via Agadez, dans ce rapport :
Conséquences de l’externalisation des politiques migratoires sur le #Niger, mais aussi le #Soudan et le #Tchad :
signalé ici :
v. aussi le communiqué de presse de la commission européenne, mars 2019 :
La lutte contre les réseaux de passeurs et de trafiquants a encore été renforcée. En 2018, le centre européen chargé de lutter contre le trafic de migrants, établi au sein d’#Europol, a joué un rôle majeur dans plus d’une centaine de cas de trafic prioritaires et des équipes communes d’enquête participent activement à la lutte contre ce trafic dans des pays comme le #Niger.
Juin 2019 : #Italie et #OIM financent le renforcement des frontières à #Assamaka (à la frontière entre le Niger et l’#Algérie) et à la frontière avec le #Nigeria :
... et en octobre 2019, l’OIM organise des « charters humanitaires » de l’Algérie au Niger. Programme financé par l’#Italie et le #UK (#Angleterre) :
v. aussi ce rapport sur l’externalisation des frontières au Niger, mais aussi Soudan et Tchad :
Multilateral DamageThe impact of EU migration policies on central Saharan routes
Une belle synthèse de Alizée Dauchy en 3 pages de la situation au Niger :
–-> « Des trajectoires immobilisées : #protection et #criminalisation des migrations au #Niger » :
Il y a d’autres campagnes qui ont été mise en place notamment par la #Suisse pour convaincre les migrants à rentrer au pays :
#retour_au_pays #Nigeria #Cameroun #Balkans #Afrique_de_l'Ouest #Kosovo #Serbie #Macédoine, #Albanie #Monténégro #Bosnie-Herzégovine
Et le #Danemark, même politique :
The aim of this pilot project was to offer returned migrants an opportunity to become visual storytellers of their daily life back home and help local journalists change the narrative on migration in the country.
This training is the first of a series that will be organized by IOM across West Africa in 2020. It was organized in the frame of an EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions.
Italie, Allemagne, France, Espagne
#France et ses tentatives d’externalisation les frontières (proposition de Macron notamment de créer des #hub, de faire du #tri et de la #catégorisation de migrants) :
La #France et « sa » #CIVIPOL (programmes de coopération technique et de contrôles migratoires au #Soudan, et en #Erythrée) :
Plus sur CIVIPOL : ▻https://seenthis.net/tag/civipol
L’externalisation des politiques migratoires espagnoles : cadre légal (Migreurop, 2019) :
Les #accords_de_réadmission , autre panel de l’externalisation des contrôles frontaliers :
Et cette carte de Reka pour Vivre Ensemble concernant les accords signés par les pays européens :
Voir aussi cette liste « de travail » autour de la question :
Ci-dessous, le fameux accord UE-Turquie.
L’ #accord_UE-Turquie :
Et plus en général sur l’externalisation vers la #Tuquie :
EU concludes €6 billion contract for refugees in Turkey :
Février 2019, Le sauvetage maritime espagnol, le #Salvamento_Marítimo, est désormais autorisé à débarquer une partie des migrants sauvés dans la Méditerranée au Maroc :
–-> info démentie par le gouvernement marocain : ▻https://seenthis.net/messages/761993#message761998
Et avec le projet #Emergency_Transit_Mechanism (#ETM), évacuation des réfugiés de #Libye via le #Niger... où l’on fait une sélection entre réfugiés et migrants... c’est déjà externaliser une partie de la procédure... (c’est HCR et OIM qui décide qui est réfugié et qui pas) :
Les efforts d’externalisation au #Maroc :
Communiqué de presse Commission européenne, mars 2019 :
L’aide au #Maroc doit encore être intensifiée, compte tenu de l’augmentation importante des arrivées par la route de la Méditerranée occidentale. Elle doit comprendre la poursuite de la mise en œuvre du programme de 140 millions d’euros visant à soutenir la gestion des frontières ainsi que la reprise des négociations avec le Maroc sur la réadmission et l’assouplissement du régime de délivrance des visas.
Pour la Suisse :
–-> il y a certainement plus de liens sur seenthis, mais il faudrait faire une recherche plus approfondie...
Sur cette question, il y a aussi des rapports, dont notamment celui-ci :
Aid and Migration : externalisation of Europe’s responsibilities
La rhétorique sur la #nouvelle_frontière_européenne , qui serait le #désert du #Sahara (et petit amusement cartographique de ma part) :
–-> dans ce lien il y a aussi des articles qui parlent de l’externalisation des frontières au #Soudan
Et le financement de l’Erythrée via des fonds d’aide au développement :
... Et autres #dictateurs
Dessin de presse de Herji :
Externalisation en #Egypte
#Push-back, #refoulements vers l’Egypte :
–-> et des push-back de l’Egypte vers le #Soudan :
v. aussi ce rapport sur l’externalisation des frontières au Soudan, mais aussi Niger et Tchad :
Multilateral DamageThe impact of EU migration policies on central Saharan routes
#métaliste sur les différentes tentatives de différentes pays européens d’#externalisation non seulement des contrôles frontaliers (►https://seenthis.net/messages/731749), mais aussi de la #procédure_d'asile dans des #pays_tiers
La misère du « made in Macédoine »
En Macédoine, comme dans d’autres pays d’Europe de l’Est, vêtements et chaussures sont fabriqués à prix cassés. Les #conditions_de_travail y sont parfois pires qu’en Asie.
Travail. En Europe aussi, on exploite les ouvriers du textile
La pression sur les salaires qui touche l’industrie de la confection n’épargne pas la Bulgarie. La mode “made in Europe” n’est pas forcément plus éthique que la confection asiatique.
Europa orientale: la minaccia della concentrazione delle terre
Dal 2008 l’accaparramento delle terre agricole in Europa orientale ha visto principali protagoniste poche grandi aziende. Incentivate dal basso costo delle terre e dalle sovvenzioni Ue stanno mettendo in ginocchio i piccoli e medi produttori
Europäische Union: Den Osten gibt es nicht (▻http://www.zeit.de/poli...
Europäische Union: Den Osten gibt es nicht
Können Viktor Orbán und Jarosław Kaczynski Europa retten? Beobachtungen von einem Treffen im polnischen Kurort Krynica
Eastern Europe turns back on single market – POLITICO
The European Commission regards this new legislation in the former communist countries as an existential threat to the EU’s free flow of goods, people and capital — the single market, in short — and struck back with infringement cases intended to preserve its sanctity.
In Bulgaria, for example, the European Commission launched an infringement proceeding last year over a law that investors should be resident for more than five years before they can buy farmland. In Romania, Brussels objected this year to rules that supermarkets should source 51 percent of fresh produce from local suppliers. There has been no decision on either case.
It is in Poland, the regional heavyweight, that the battle over respect for the single market is fought the hardest. Brussels has already ordered the authorities to halt a tax on the retail sector on the grounds it grants a selective advantage to small, local shops with a low turnover over big foreign-owned supermarkets. All eyes are now focusing on how the European Commission will react to a growing chorus of complaints in Poland over the rights of foreigners to buy farmland.
Eastern Europe’s workers are emigrating, but its pensioners are staying
The EU’s newest members face economic decline unless they woo back workers, or recruit immigrants of their own
#Europe_de_l'est #travail #migrations #émigration
Disputed Memory. Emotions and Memory Politics in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe
The world wars, genocides and extremist ideologies of the 20th century are remembered very differently across Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, resulting sometimes in fierce memory disputes. This book investigates the complexity and contention of the layers of memory of the troubled 20th century in the region. Written by an international group of scholars from a diversity of disciplines, the chapters approach memory disputes in methodologically innovative ways, studying representations and negotiations of disputed pasts in different media, including monuments, museum exhibitions, individual and political discourse and electronic social media. Analyzing memory disputes in various local, national and transnational contexts, the chapters demonstrate the political power and social impact of painful and disputed memories. The book brings new insights into current memory disputes in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. It contributes to the understanding of processes of memory transmission and negotiation across borders and cultures in Europe, emphasizing the interconnectedness of memory with emotions, mediation and politics.
The Manufacture of Hatred: Scapegoating Refugees in Central Europe
Our in-depth investigation uncovers the anti-refugee propaganda machine that fostered xenophobia in Hungary, derailed the E.U. response to the refugee crisis and is spreading to the Czech Republic and beyond.
Refugee Talks: Manufacture of Hatred in Central Europe and Beyond
We take you behind the scenes of Refugees Deeply’s investigative reporting on the anti-refugee propaganda machine that fostered xenophobia in Hungary, derailed the E.U. response to the refugee crisis and is spreading to the Czech Republic and beyond.
“Hatred of refugees has fundamentally changed the town” – Hungarian village succumbs to state propaganda
Residents of the Tolna county village of #Őcsény in southwest Hungary held an emergency village assembly Monday evening. So many members of the roughly 2,000-person community attended that not everyone was able to fit into the community center. They had come together to discuss what they considered an imminent threat to their village: the arrival of several refugees, mostly women and children, for a few days of vacation.
Immigrazione Europa, l’Est si sta svuotando
La nuova europa è molto vecchia. Ha perso sei milioni di abitanti dal 1989 a oggi. E ne perderà altri 12 entro il 2050. Mentre i giovani migrano a Ovest
Balkan wildlife faces extinction threat from border fence to control migrants
Controversial razor-wire fence put up by Slovenia along its border with Croatia could wipe out local bear, lynx and wolf populations, say researchers
What would Trump’s wall mean for wildlife?
Free movement between the US and Mexico - the hottest of topics in the 2016 US presidential campaign - is not just a human issue. What would the construction of a wall mean for animals that live near the border?
Border walls are bad for wildlife
In 1996, #Botswana erected an 83-mile fence along its border with Namibia. The goal was to protect domestic cattle from the highly contagious foot-and-mouth disease. Within a year, though, the barrier had snared five giraffes, one elephant, several antelopes and numerous other wild animals.
Scientists say Trump’s border wall would devastate wildlife habitat
At the U.S.-Mexico border, scientists say existing fencing is hurting endangered wildlife and warn that a continuous wall could devastate many species.
Trump Border Wall Could Have Big Consequences For Animals, Habitat
“It’s just an arbitrary line that’s drawn across a very diverse region,” Millis said, standing next to Sedgwick on the gusty ridge. “It severs and destroys habitat for wildlife. We have animals that aren’t able to move across the border.”
Will the border wall strike a fatal blow to one of the most imperiled wild regions in North America?
Trump’s Border Wall Could Impact an Astonishing 10,000 Species
The list, put together by a team led by Dr. Gerardo J. Ceballos González of National Autonomous University of Mexico, includes 42 species of amphibians, 160 reptiles, 452 bird species and 187 mammals. Well-known species in the region include the jaguar, Sonoran pronghorn, North American river otter and black bear.
Rise of border fences hampers wildlife movements
The growth of border fences in Central and Eastern Europe in recent years is a “major threat” to wildlife, according to a new study.
Border Security Fencing and Wildlife: The End of the Transboundary Paradigm in Eurasia?
The ongoing refugee crisis in Europe has seen many countries rush to construct border security fencing to divert or control the flow of people. This follows a trend of border fence construction across Eurasia during the post-9/11 era. This development has gone largely unnoticed by conservation biologists during an era in which, ironically, transboundary cooperation has emerged as a conservation paradigm. These fences represent a major threat to wildlife because they can cause mortality, obstruct access to seasonally important resources, and reduce effective population size. We summarise the extent of the issue and propose concrete mitigation measures.
The Border Wall Is Underway . . . Right in the Middle of a Wildlife Refuge
Trump’s already offensive wall will also endanger an already endangered species.
Up Against the Wall
The U.S.-Mexico borderlands contain some of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in either country. Trump’s wall would imperil all of it.
Wildcats, butterflies, tortoises: all are endangered by Trump’s border wall
In the Rio Grande Valley, close to the border with Mexico, the president’s proposed barrier spells danger for the region’s plentiful wildlife
Rewriting biological history: Trump border wall puts wildlife at risk
Mexican conservationists are alarmed over Trump’s wall, with the loss of connectivity threatening already stressed bison, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, bears and other animals.
About one-third of the border, roughly 700 miles, already has fencing; President Trump has been pushing a controversial plan to fence the remainder.
A wall running the entire nearly 2,000-mile frontier from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, conservationists warn, would be catastrophic for borderland ecosystems and many wildlife species, undoing years of environmental cooperation between the two countries to protect animals that must move freely or die.
The wall is currently a key bargaining chip, and a sticking point, in ongoing immigration legislation negotiations taking place this week in Congress. Also expected this week: a federal court ruling on whether the administration can legally waive environmental laws to expedite border wall construction.
A Land Divided
The national debate about border security doesn’t often dwell on the natural environment, but hundreds of miles of public lands, including six national parks, sit along the U.S.-Mexico border. What will happen to these lands — and the wildlife and plants they protect — if a wall or additional fences and barriers are built along the frontier?
R ULES C OMMITTEE P RINT 115–66 T EXT OF THE H OUSE A MENDMENT TO THE S ENATE A MENDMENT TO H.R. 1625
US spending bill requires “an analysis, following consultation with the Secretary of the Interior and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, of the environmental impacts, including on wildlife, of the construction and placement of physical barriers” (p 677)
Extrait partagé par Reece Jones sur twitter
Activists Vow Fight as Congress Funds Portions of Border Wall
Last week Congress voted to appropriate some monies to build new fortifications along the United States–Mexico border, but border activists in the Rio Grande Valley say the fight against President Donald Trump’s border wall is far from over.
The nearly $1.6 billion in border wall funding included in the omnibus spending bill that Trump signed Friday provides for the construction of some 33 miles of new walls, all in Texas’s ecologically important Rio Grande Valley. Those walls will tear through communities, farms and ranchland, historic sites, and thousands of acres of protected wildlife habitat, while creating flooding risks on both sides of the border. But far from admitting defeat, border activists have already begun mapping out next steps to pressure Congress to slow down or even halt the wall’s construction.
Congress is quietly letting Trump bulldoze a butterfly refuge to build a border wall
A wildlife refuge was spared, but 33 miles of new wall that will cut through protected areas in #Texas have been funded.
State attorney general, environmental group to appeal decision on Trump’s border wall
A ruling by a San Diego federal judge allowing construction of President Donald Trump’s border wall to go ahead will be appealed by two entities that opposed it, including the state Attorney General.
Both the Center for Biological Diversity and Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed formal notices of appeal on Monday seeking to reverse a decision in February from U.S District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel. The judge ruled that the Trump administration did not abuse its discretion in waiving environmental laws in its rush to begin border wall projects along the southwest border.
The center had said after the ruling it would appeal, and Becerra also hinted the state would seek appellate court review at the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The notices declare an intent to appeal. They do not outline arguments to be made on appeal or why each group believe that Curiel got it wrong.
In a prepared statement Becerra said, “When we said that a medieval wall along the U.S.-Mexico border does not belong in the 21st century, we meant it. There are environmental and public health laws in place, and we continue to believe that the Trump Administration is violating those laws. We will not stand idly by. We are committed to protecting our people, our values and our economy from federal overreach.”
The lawsuits challenged a law that allowed the federal government not to comply with environmental and other laws and regulations when building border security projects. They argued the law was outdated and Congress never intended for it to be an open-ended waiver for all border projects, and contended it violated constitutional provisions of separation of powers and states’ rights.
In his decision Curiel said both that the law was constitutional and it gave the Department of Homeland Security wide latitude over border security.
Justice Department spokesman Devin O’Malley said in response to the Curiel ruling that the administration was pleased DHS “can continue this important work vital to our nation’s interest.”
“Border security is paramount to stemming the flow of illegal immigration that contributes to rising violent crime and to the drug crisis, and undermines national security,” O’Malley said.
Les murs n’arrêtent pas que les humains
Des États-Unis à la Malaisie, en passant par Israël ou la Hongrie, les hommes construisent de multiples murs pour contraindre les déplacements de nos semblables. N’oublions pas, explique l’auteur de cette tribune, que nous ne sommes pas les seuls à habiter la Terre et donc à pâtir de ces barrières.
La #forêt_de_Bialowieza a quelque chose de mythique et de sacré. Âgée de plus de 8.000 ans, elle est la dernière forêt primaire d’Europe. S’étalant sur 150.000 hectares entre la Pologne et la Biélorussie, inaccessible aux visiteurs sans guide assermenté, elle constitue un sanctuaire d’espèces témoignant de la richesse des mondes anciens. Le bison d’Europe y vit encore de manière naturelle, côtoyant élans, cerfs, loups, lynx, etc.
En 1981, à l’époque du rideau de fer, l’URSS a décidé de clôturer la frontière entre la Pologne et la Biélorussie, coupant à travers cette forêt et séparant en deux la dernière population de bisons d’Europe (environ 500 individus de part et d’autre). Cette clôture est symboliquement forte, car elle témoigne de la coupure existentielle (« ontologique », diraient les philosophes) que les humains se sont imposée vis-à-vis des autres êtres vivants. Ces derniers semblent ne pas exister à nos yeux.
Mais cette séparation est plus que symbolique, elle est concrète. Les murs dressés par l’espèce humaine représentent une menace importante et sous-estimée pour de nombreux êtres vivants non humains.
Murs de béton, de pierre, de boue, de sable ou de brique, de barbelés, de grilles en acier ou de clôtures électrifiées
On en trouve surtout aux frontières : entre les États-Unis et le Mexique, la Corée du Nord et du Sud, Israël et la Cisjordanie, la Malaisie et la Thaïlande, l’Inde et le Pakistan, l’Iran et l’Irak, la Chine et la Mongolie, le Botswana et le Zimbabwe, etc. Ils prennent la forme de murs de béton, de pierre, de boue, de sable ou de brique, de barbelés, de grilles en acier ou de clôtures électrifiées, et viennent accompagnés de routes, de casernes, de lumières et de bruits. Leur nombre a considérablement augmenté depuis les attentats du 11 septembre 2001. Par exemple en Eurasie (sans le Moyen-Orient), il existe aujourd’hui plus de 30.000 km de murs, grillages et barbelés aux frontières.
Ces murs affectent évidemment les populations humaines en brisant les trajectoires personnelles de millions de personnes. Ils affectent aussi les autres espèces . À Białowieża, par exemple, la séparation a empêché les flux génétiques (et a donc fragilisé) des populations de bisons, d’ours, de loups et de lynx. Pire, 25 ans après la destruction du rideau de fer entre l’Allemagne et la République tchèque, les jeunes cerfs (qui n’avaient jamais vu de clôtures) ne traversaient toujours pas la frontière .
En mai 2018 paraissait dans la revue Bioscience un article cosigné par dix-huit grands noms de l’étude et de la protection de la biodiversité (dont Edward O. Wilson) et signé par 2.500 scientifiques, qui alertait sur les « conséquences inattendues mais importantes » de ces murs frontaliers sur la biodiversité . Ce cri d’alarme n’est pas le premier , mais il résume bien l’état des lieux de la recherche, et aussi l’état de préoccupation des chercheurs.
Lorsque les habitats se fragmentent, les territoires des populations se réduisent
Les murs nuisent à la biodiversité de plusieurs façons. Premièrement, ils peuvent blesser ou tuer des animaux directement, quand ils s’emmêlent dans les fils barbelés, sont électrocutés ou marchent sur des mines antipersonnelles.
Deuxièmement, ils fragmentent et dégradent les habitats. Par exemple la frontière de 3.200 km entre le Mexique et les États-Unis traverse les aires de répartition géographique de 1.506 espèces natives (parmi lesquelles 1.077 espèces animales) dont 62 sont sur la liste des espèces en danger. Le mur menace cinq régions particulièrement riches en biodiversité (on les nomme « hotspots ») qui retiennent presque tous les efforts de conservation et de « réensauvagement » (rewilding). Lorsque les habitats se fragmentent, les territoires des populations se réduisent, et le nombre d’espèces présentes sur ces petites surfaces se réduit plus que proportionnellement, rendant ainsi les populations plus vulnérables, par exemple aux variations climatiques. Les clôtures frontalières contribuent aussi à accroître la mortalité de la faune sauvage en facilitant la tâche des braconniers, en perturbant les migrations et la reproduction, et en empêchant l’accès à la nourriture et à l’eau. Par exemple, le mouton bighorn (une espèce en danger) migrait naturellement entre la Californie et le Mexique mais ne peut aujourd’hui plus accéder aux points d’eau et aux sites de naissance qu’il avait l’habitude de fréquenter.
Troisièmement, ces murs annulent les effets bénéfiques des millions de dollars investis dans la recherche et les mesures de conservation de la biodiversité. Les scientifiques témoignent aussi du fait qu’ils sont souvent l’objet d’intimidations, de harcèlements ou de ralentissements volontaires de la part des officiers responsables de la sécurité des frontières.
Enfin, quatrièmement, les politiques de sécurité mises en place récemment font passer les lois environnementales au deuxième plan, quand elles ne sont pas simplement bafouées ou oubliées.
Des centaines de kilomètres de clôtures de sécurité aux frontières extérieures et intérieures de l’UE
Le double phénomène migrations/clôtures n’est pas prêt de s’arrêter. En 2015, un afflux exceptionnel d’êtres humains fuyant leurs pays en direction de l’Europe a conduit plusieurs États membres à réintroduire ou renforcer les contrôles aux frontières, notamment par la construction rapide de centaines de kilomètres de clôtures de sécurité aux frontières extérieures et intérieures de l’UE. Le réchauffement climatique et l’épuisement des ressources seront dans les années à venir des causes majeures de guerres, d’épidémies et de famines, forçant toujours plus d’humains à migrer. Les animaux seront aussi de la partie, comme en témoigne la progression vers le nord des moustiques tigres, qui charrient avec eux des maladies qui n’existaient plus dans nos régions, ou encore l’observation du loup en Belgique en mars 2018 pour la troisième fois depuis des siècles…
Les accords entre pays membres de l’Union européenne au sujet des migrations humaines seront-ils mis en place à temps ? Résisteront-ils aux changements et aux catastrophes à venir ? Quel poids aura la « #Convention_des_espèces_migrantes » (censée réguler le flux des animaux) face aux migrations humaines ?
En septembre 2017, un bison d’Europe a été aperçu en Allemagne. C’était la première fois depuis 250 ans qu’un représentant sauvage de cette espèce traversait spontanément la frontière allemande. Il a été abattu par la police.
3419 migrants sont décédés en Méditerranée en tentant de rejoindre Malte ou l’Italie. C’est ce que révèle un rapport du Haut commissariat des Nations unies pour les réfugiés publié le 10 décembre. Il y a les barrières naturelles, et les murs artificiels. Pendant deux mois, le web-documentaire Connected Walls s’attaque aux murs de séparation entre quatre continents : le mur entre l’Amérique du Nord et l’Amérique latine incarné par les grillages entre les Etats-Unis et le Mexique, celui entre l’Europe et l’Afrique incarné par les barbelés qui séparent les enclaves espagnoles du Maroc. Tous les 10 jours, Connected Walls publie un nouveau documentaire de cinq minutes sur une thématique choisie par les internautes. Cette semaine, ils ont sélectionné la thématique « animal ».
Cette semaine, sur Connected-Walls,Valeria Fernandez (USA) et Fidel Enriquez (Mexico) ont suivi John Ladd dont la famille possède un ranch dans l’Arizona, à la frontière mexicaine, depuis cinq générations. Depuis la construction du mur frontalier en 2007, les choses ont changé pour lui et pour les animaux.
De leur côté, Irene Gutierrez (Espagne) et Youssef Drissi (Maroc) ont rencontré Adam Camara, un jeune de Guinée Équatoriale qui a tenté de traverser plusieurs fois le détroit entre le Maroc et l’Espagne. Lors de sa dernière tentative, il a reçu l’aide d’un mystérieux ami.
Pour chaque thématique, un partenaire associatif a carte blanche pour rédiger une tribune. Celle-ci a été rédigée par Dan Millis, de l’organisation écologiste Sierra Club :
« Les animaux se moquent bien des frontières politiques. Le jaguar de Sonora n’a pas de passeport, et le canard morillon cancane avec le même accent, qu’il soit à Ceuta ou dans la forêt de Jbel Moussa. Les murs et les barrières ont cependant un impact considérable sur la faune et la flore. Par exemple, les rennes de l’ancienne Tchécoslovaquie ne franchissent jamais la ligne de l’ancien Rideau de Fer, alors même que cette barrière a disparu depuis 25 ans et qu’aucun des rennes vivant aujourd’hui ne l’a jamais connue. Les quelques 1000 kilomètres de barrières et de murs séparant les États-Unis et le Mexique détruisent et fragmentent l’habitat sauvage, en bloquant les couloirs de migration essentiels à la survie de nombreuses espèces. Une étude réalisée grâce à des caméras installées au niveau des refuges et des zones de vie naturellement fréquentés par la faune en Arizona a montré que des animaux comme le puma et le coati sont bloqués par les murs des frontières, alors que les humains ne le sont pas. »
Border Fences and their Impacts on Large Carnivores, Large Herbivores and Biodiversity: An International Wildlife Law Perspective
Fences, walls and other barriers are proliferating along international borders on a global scale. These border fences not only affect people, but can also have unintended but important consequences for wildlife, inter alia by curtailing migrations and other movements, by fragmenting populations and by causing direct mortality, for instance through entanglement. Large carnivores and large herbivores are especially vulnerable to these impacts. This article analyses the various impacts of border fences on wildlife around the world from a law and policy perspective, focusing on international wildlife law in particular. Relevant provisions from a range of global and regional legal instruments are identified and analysed, with special attention for the Bonn Convention on Migratory Species and the European Union Habitats Directive.
Border Security Fencing and Wildlife: The End of the Transboundary Paradigm in Eurasia?
The ongoing refugee crisis in Europe has seen many countries rush to construct border security fencing to divert or control the flow of people. This follows a trend of border fence construction across Eurasia during the post-9/11 era. This development has gone largely unnoticed by conservation biologists during an era in which, ironically, transboundary cooperation has emerged as a conservation paradigm. These fences represent a major threat to wildlife because they can cause mortality, obstruct access to seasonally important resources, and reduce effective population size. We summarise the extent of the issue and propose concrete mitigation measures.
Butterfly Preserve On The Border Threatened By Trump’s Wall
The National Butterfly Center, a 100-acre wildlife center and botanical garden in South Texas, provides a habitat for more than 100 species of butterflies.
It also sits directly in the path of the Trump administration’s proposed border wall.
The federal spending bill approved in September includes $1.6 billion in 2019 for construction of the wall. In October, the Department of Homeland Security issued a waiver to 28 laws protecting public lands, wildlife and the environment to clear the way for construction to proceed.
Wildlife advocates, local indigenous tribes protest preparations for new border wall construction
The federal government this week began moving bulldozers and construction vehicles to the Texas border with Mexico to begin building a new six-mile section of border wall — the first new wall under President Donald Trump, administration officials confirmed Tuesday.
The move immediately triggered angry protests by a local butterfly sanctuary — The National Butterfly Center — and local indigenous tribes who oppose the wall and say construction will damage natural habitats. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the wall will run through land owned by federal government. The dispute came amid an administration claim that a caravan of 2,000 migrants had arrived in northern Mexico along the Texas border.
“We’re a recognized tribe and no one’s going to tell us who we are especially some idiots in Washington,” said Juan Mancias of the indigenous peoples’ tribe Carrizo-Comecrudo, who led protests on Monday. “We’re the original people of this land. We haven’t forgot our ancestors.”
So far, the Trump administration has upgraded only existing fencing along the border. The president has called for some $5 billion for new wall construction, and Democrats have refused, resulting in a budget dispute that shut down the government for five weeks.
This latest Texas project relies on previously appropriated money and won’t require further congressional approval. Construction plans for the Rio Grande Valley, just south of McAllen, Texas, call for six to 14 miles of new concrete wall topped with 18-foot vertical steel bars.
Last year, Homeland Security Secretary Kristen Nielsen waived a variety environmental restrictions, including parts of the Endangered Species and Clean Water Acts, to prepare for construction in the area. Construction on the Rio Grande Valley project is expected to start in the coming weeks.
Marianna Wright, executive director of the National Butterfly Center, remains a staunch advocate against the border wall. She met this week with authorities who she said wants to buy the center’s land for wall construction.
She traveled to Washington last month to explain the environmental damage that would be caused by the construction in testimony on Capitol Hill.
“The bulldozers will roll into the lower Rio Grande Valley wildlife conservation corridor, eliminating thousands of trees during spring nesting season for hundreds of species of migratory raptors and songbirds,” Wright told the House Natural Resources Committee.
When asked by ABC News what message she has for people who aren’t there to see the impact of the new border wall, Wright paused, searching for words to express her frustration.
“I would drive my truck over them, over their property, through their fence,” she said.
DHS continues to cite national security concerns as the reason for building the border wall, with Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen saying in a statement Tuesday that migrants in the new caravan that had arrived at the Texas border would try to cross over illegally.
“Such caravans are the result of Congress’s inexcusable failure to fully fund a needed physical barrier and unwillingness to fix outdated laws that act as an enormous magnet for illegal aliens,” Nielsen said in a statement.
The last so-called caravan that caused alarm for the administration resulted in thousands of migrants taking shelter in the Mexican city of Tijuana. Just across the border from San Diego, many waited several weeks for the chance to enter the U.S.
UPDATE: Bulldozers flattened a 150 swath of land on the LRGV Wildlife Refuge for the #borderwall and “enforcement zone.” @DHSgov is decimating some of the highest quality habitat in the region. This was supposed to be a refuge for wildlife, not a graveyard.
As Work Begins on Trump’s Border Wall, a Key Wildlife Refuge Is at Risk
Construction is underway on a stretch of President Trump’s border wall cutting through the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. Biologists warn the steel wall will disrupt carefully preserved habitat critical for the survival of ocelot, jaguarundi, and other threatened species.
As Tiffany Kersten descends from a levee into a verdant forest that stretches to the Rio Grande more than a mile away, she spots a bird skimming the treetops: a red-tailed hawk. Later, other birds — great blue herons, egrets — take flight from the edge of an oxbow lake. This subtropical woodland is one of the last remnants of tamaulipan brushland — a dense tangle of Texas ebony, mesquite, retama, and prickly pear whose U.S. range is now confined to scattered fragments in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in south Texas. The ecosystem harbors an astonishing array of indigenous wildlife: ocelot, jaguarundi, Texas tortoise, and bobcat, as well as tropical and subtropical birds in a rainbow of colors, the blue bunting and green jay among them.
But the stretch of tamaulipan scrub Kersten is exploring, in the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, won’t be around much longer. About 15 feet from the forest edge, Kersten — a board member of a local conservation group — spots red ribbons tied to tree branches on both sides of the trail. Soon, an excavator will uproot those trees to make way for a 140-foot-wide access road and an 18-foot-high wall atop the levee, all part of the Trump administration’s plan to barricade as much of the Texas/Mexico border as possible. On Valentine’s Day, two days before I visited the border, crews began clearing a path for the road, and soon the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will plant a cement foundation in the levee and top it with a steel bollard barrier.
This construction is the first project under a plan to build 33 miles of new wall along the levee in South Texas, with $641 million in funding that Trump requested and Congress authorized last year. That 33-mile stretch, cutting through some of the most unique and endangered habitat in the United States, will be joined by an additional 55 miles of wall under a funding bill Trump signed February 15 that allocates another $1.375 billion for wall construction. The same day, Trump also issued a national emergency declaration authorizing another $6 billion for border walls. That declaration could give the administration the power to override a no-wall zone Congress created in three protected areas around the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
Since the mid-20th century, ranches, oil fields, and housing tracts have consumed 97 percent of the tamaulipan brushland.
Since the mid-20th century, ranches, farms, oil fields, subdivisions, and shopping centers have consumed 97 percent of the tamaulipan brushland habitat at ground zero of this new spate of border wall construction. That loss led Congress to create the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge in the 1970s and spurred a 30-year-effort by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, conservation organizations, and private landowners to protect the remaining pockets of tamaulipan brushland and restore some of what has been lost. The Fish and Wildlife Service has purchased 10,000 acres of cropland and converted it back into tamaulipan woodlands; it hopes to replant another 30,000 acres. The refuge, now totaling 98,000 acres, has been likened to a string of pearls, with connected jewels of old-growth and restored habitat adorning the 300-mile lower Rio Grande Valley.
Into this carefully rebuilt wildlife corridor now comes the disruption of a flurry of new border wall construction. Scientists and conservationists across Texas warn that it could unravel decades of work to protect the tamaulipan brushland and the wildlife it harbors. “This is the only place in the world you can find this habitat,” says Kersten, a board member of Friends of the Wildlife Corridor, a non-profit group that works closely with the Fish and Wildlife Service on the corridor program. “And only 3 percent of this habitat is remaining.”
For all its efforts to turn cropland into federally protected habitat, the Fish and Wildlife Service finds itself with little recourse to safeguard it, precisely because it is federal property. The easiest place for the federal government to begin its new wave of border wall construction is the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, which includes the picturesque La Parida Banco tract, where I joined Kersten. Under a 2005 law, the Department of Homeland Security can waive the environmental reviews that federal agencies such as the Fish and Wildlife Service typically conduct for projects that could alter federally protected lands.
The tract Kersten and I visited is one of four adjacent “pearls” in the wildlife corridor — long , roughly rectangular parcels stretching from an entrance road to the river. From west to east they are the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge’s La Parida Banco tract, the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, the refuge’s El Morillo Banco tract, and the privately owned National Butterfly Center. A levee runs through all four properties, and the first sections of fence to be built atop it would cut off access to trails and habitat in the refuge tracts. Citizens and local and state officials have successfully fought to keep the fence from crossing the National Butterfly Center, the Bentsen-Rio Grande state park, and the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge farther downstream — at least for now. If Trump’s national emergency declaration survives court challenges, the border barriers could even be extended into these holdouts.
When the wall and access road are completed at La Parida Banco, a crucial piece of intact native habitat will become isolated between the wall and the river. Species that either rely on the river for water or migrate across it will find pathways they’ve traversed for thousands of years blocked.
While biologists are concerned about the impacts of the wall all along the U.S.-Mexico border, the uniqueness of South Texas’ ecosystems make it an especially troublesome place to erect an 18-foot fence, they say. The 300-mile wildlife corridor in South Texas, where the temperate and the tropical intermingle, is home to an astounding concentration of flora and fauna: 17 threatened or endangered species, including the jaguarundi and ocelot; more than 530 species of birds; 330 butterfly species, about 40 percent of all those in the U.S.; and 1,200 types of plants. It’s one of the most biodiverse places on the continent.
`There will be no concern for plants, endangered species [and] no consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service,’ says a biologist.
“This is a dry land, and when you have dry land, your diversity is near the water,” says Norma Fowler, a biologist with the University of Texas at Austin who studies the tamaulipan brushland ecosystem. She co-authored an article published last year in the scientific journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment warning of the consequences of the new wall for the region’s singular ecosystems and wildlife. Since the wall can’t be built in the river, it’s going up a mile or more north of it in some areas, placing both the riparian habitat right along the river and the tamaulipan thornscrub on higher ground at risk.
“Both of those habitats have been fragmented, and there’s not much left,” Fowler says. “Some of it is lovingly restored from fields to the appropriate wild vegetation. But because they’ve waived every environmental law there is, there will be no concern for plants, endangered species. There will be no consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service.”
When the wall rises, the barrier and the new patrol road alongside it will cut an unusually wide 140-foot swath to improve visibility through the dense brush. In her article, Fowler estimated that construction of the border wall would destroy 4.8 to 7.3 acres of habitat per mile of barrier. The fence will also cut off access to the river and habitat on the Mexican side of the border for many animals. Including bobcats, ocelot, jaguarundi, and javelina. Some slower-moving species, like the Texas tortoise, could be caught in floods that would swell against the wall.https://e360.yale.edu/assets/site/javalina_712x480_web.jpg https://e360.yale.edu/assets/site/Ocelot_712x480_web.jpg
If new walls must be built along the Rio Grande, Fowler says, the Department of Homeland Security should construct them in a way that causes the least harm to wildlife and plants. That would include limiting the footprint of the access roads and other infrastructure, designing barriers with gaps wide enough for animals to pass through, and using electronic sensors instead of physical barriers wherever possible.
One of the most at-risk species is the ocelot, a small jaguar-like cat that historically roamed throughout Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Arizona, but that numbers only about 80 today. The sole breeding population left in the U.S. is in South Texas, and it is wholly dependent on the dense shrubland in the Lower Rio Grande Valley that the wall will bisect. Some species could be wiped out altogether: The few sites where Physaria thamnophila, a native wildflower, still grows are directly in the path of the wall, Fowler says.
With 1,254 miles of border — all following the languid, meandering course of the Rio Grande — Texas has far more of the United States’ 1,933-mile southern boundary than any other state, yet it has the fewest miles of existing fence. That’s because much of the Texas border is private riverfront land. The first major push to barricade the Texas border, by the George W. Bush administration, encountered opposition from landowners who balked at what they saw as lowball purchase offers and the use of eminent domain to take their property. (Years later, some of those lawsuits are still pending.) Federal land managers also put up a fight.
Natural areas already bisected by a Bush-era fence offer a preview of the potential fate of the Rio Grande wildlife refuge.
When Ken Merritt — who oversaw the federal South Texas Refuge Complex, which includes the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Santa Ana, and the Laguna Atascosa refuge near where the Rio Grande meets the Gulf of Mexico — questioned the wisdom of a barrier through Santa Ana during the Bush administration, he was forced out of his job.
“I was getting a lot of pressure,” says Merritt, who still lives in the valley and is retired. “But it just didn’t fit. We were trying to connect lands to create a whole corridor all along the valley, and we knew walls were very much against that.”
Natural areas already bisected by the Bush-era fence offer a preview of the potential fate of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge. A few miles downstream from the La Parida tract, the Hidalgo Pumphouse and Birding Center, which anchors the southern end of the tiny town of Hidalgo, now looks out at a stretch of steel bollard fence atop a concrete wall embedded in the levee.
On a recent Monday morning, a few tourists milled about the gardens behind the pumphouse, listening to the birds — curve-billed thrashers, green monk parakeets, kiskadee flycatchers — and enjoying the view from the observation deck. Curious about the wall, all of them eventually walk up to it and peek through the four-inch gaps between the steel slats. On the other side lies another pearl: a 900-acre riverside piece of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge called the Hidalgo Bend tract. It was once a popular spot with birders drawn to its ferruginous Pygmy owls, elf owls, and other wildlife. But since the wall went up in 2009, few birders visit anymore.https://e360.yale.edu/assets/site/_1260xAUTO_stretch_center-center/OriginalPhoto-572037524.738494_BorderProtest_web.jpg
At The Nature Conservancy’s Sabal Palm Preserve, a 557-acre piece of the wildlife corridor near the Gulf of Mexico, a wall installed in 2009 cuts through one of the last stands of sabal palm forest in the Rio Grande Valley. Laura Huffman, regional director for The Nature Conservancy, worries that the more walls erected on the border, the less hope there is of completing the wildlife corridor.
Kersten and others remain unconvinced that the danger on the border justifies a wall. She believes that sensors and more Border Patrol agents are more effective deterrents to drug smugglers and illegal immigrants. Earlier on the day we met, Kersten was part of a group of 100 or so protestors who marched from the parking lot at nearby Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park to the adjacent National Butterfly Center, holding signs that read “No Border Wall” and “Solidarity Across Borders.” One placard listed the more than two dozen environmental and cultural laws that the Trump administration waived to expedite the fence. Among them: the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires environmental analysis before federal projects can begin; the Endangered Species Act; the Clean Water Act; the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act; the National Historic Preservation Act; and the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act.
Even as the wall goes up in the refuge, preparations for this year’s restoration projects are moving ahead. Betty Perez, whose family has lived in the Lower Rio Grande Valley for generations, is one of several landowners who grow seedlings for replanting on refuge lands each year. At her ranch, about a 45-minute drive northwest of the La Parida Banco tract, she’s beginning to collect seeds to grow this year’s native shrub crop: coyotillo, in the buckthorn family; yucca; Texas persimmon.
Next to a shed in her backyard sit rows of seedlings-to-be in white tubes. To Perez, the delicate green shoots hold a promise: In a few years, these tiny plants will become new habitat for jaguarundi, for ocelot, for green jays, for blue herons. Despite the new walls, the wildlife corridor project will go on, she says, in the spaces in between.
Trump’s @DHSgov just notified us of their plan to build 46 miles of #borderwall through the stunning #Chihuahuan Desert in #New_Mexico. A wall here would sever a known migratory corridor for one of the rarest & most endangered mammals on the continent - the Mexican #grey_wolf.
Documents: CBP Ignored Federal Biologists’ Input on Border Wall
Border security officials visited wildlife preserves in Starr County, then blew off the recommendations of the scientists they brought along.
Border Wall Rising In #Arizona, Raises Concerns Among Conservationists, Native Tribes
Construction has begun on President Trump’s border wall between Arizona and Mexico, and conservationists are furious. The massive barrier will skirt one of the most beloved protected areas in the Southwest — Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, recognized by the United Nations as an international biosphere reserve.
On a recent drive along the borderline, a crew was transplanting tall saguaro cactus out of the construction zone.
“There may be misconceptions that we are on a construction site and just not caring for the environment,” intones a voice on a video released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is overseeing the project. “We are relocating saguaro, organ pipe, ocotillo...”
But a half-mile away, a big yellow bulldozer was scraping the desert clean and mowing down cactus columns that were likely older than the young man operating the dozer.
Customs and Border Protection later said 110 desert plants have been relocated, and unhealthy ones get bulldozed.
This scene illustrates why environmentalists are deeply skeptical of the government’s plans. They fear that as CBP and the Defense Department race to meet the president’s deadline of 450 miles of wall by Election Day 2020, they will plow through one of the most biologically and culturally rich regions of the continental United States.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has warned that the wall, with its bright lights, human activity and impermeable barrier, could negatively impact 23 endangered and at-risk species, including the Sonoran pronghorn antelope. And the National P