industryterm:law

  • Democrats and Republicans Passing Soft Regulations - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/06/democrats-and-republicans-passing-soft-regulations/592558

    Your face is no longer just your face—it’s been augmented. At a football game, your face is currency, used to buy food at the stadium. At the mall, it is a ledger, used to alert salespeople to your past purchases, both online and offline, and shopping preferences. At a protest, it is your arrest history. At the morgue, it is how authorities will identify your body.

    Facial-recognition technology stands to transform social life, tracking our every move for companies, law enforcement, and anyone else with the right tools. Lawmakers are weighing the risks versus rewards, with a recent wave of proposed regulation in Washington State, Massachusetts, Oakland, and the U.S. legislature. In May, Republicans and Democrats in the House Committee on Oversight and Reform heard hours of testimony about how unregulated facial recognition already tracks protesters, impacts the criminal-justice system, and exacerbates racial biases. Surprisingly, they agreed to work together to regulate it.

    The Microsoft president Brad Smith called for governments “to start adopting laws to regulate this technology” last year, while the Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy echoed those comments in June, likening the technology to a knife. It’s a less dramatic image than the plutonium and nuclear-waste metaphors critics employ, but his message—coming from an executive at one of the world’s most powerful facial-recognition technology outfits—is clear: This stuff is dangerous.

    But crucially, Jassy and Smith seem to argue, it’s also inevitable. In calling for regulation, Microsoft and Amazon have pulled a neat trick: Instead of making the debate about whether facial recognition should be widely adopted, they’ve made it about how such adoption would work.

    Without regulation, the potential for misuse of facial-recognition technology is high, particularly for people of color. In 2016 the MIT researcher Joy Buolamwini published research showing that tech performs better on lighter-skinned men than on darker-skinned men, and performs worst on darker-skinned women. When the ACLU matched Congress members against a criminal database, Amazon’s Rekognition software misidentified black Congress members more often than white ones, despite there being far fewer black members.

    This includes House Chairman Elijah Cummings, a Baltimore native whose face was also scanned when he attended a 2015 rally in memory of Freddie Gray, the unarmed black teenager who died of a spinal-cord injury while in police custody. The Baltimore Police Department used facial recognition to identify protesters and target any with outstanding warrants. Most of the protesters were black, meaning the software used on them might have been less accurate, increasing the likelihood of misidentification. Expert witnesses at the committee hearing in May warned of a chilling effect: Protesters, wary of being identified via facial recognition and matched against criminal databases, could choose to stay home rather than exercise their freedom of assembly.

    Microsoft and Amazon both claim to have lessened the racial disparity in accuracy since the original MIT study and the ACLU’s report. But fine-tuning the technology to better recognize black faces is only part of the process: Perfectly accurate technology could still be used to support harmful policing, which affects people of color. The racial-accuracy problem is a distraction; how the technology is used matters, and that’s where policy could prevent abuse. And the solution Microsoft and Amazon propose would require auditing face recognition for racial and gender biases after they’re already in use—which might be too late.

    In early May, The Washington Post reported that police were feeding forensic sketches to their facial-recognition software. A witness described a suspect to a sketch artist, then police uploaded the sketch to Amazon’s Rekognition, looking for hits, and eventually arrested someone. Experts at the congressional hearing in May were shocked that a sketch submitted to a database could credibly qualify as enough reasonable suspicion to arrest someone.

    Read: Half of American adults are in police facial-recognition databases

    But Jassy, the Amazon Web Services CEO, claimed that Amazon has never received a report of police misuse. In May, Amazon shareholders voted down a proposal that would ban the sale of Rekognition to police, and halt sales to law enforcement and ICE. Jassy said that police should only rely on Rekognition results when the system is 99 percent confident in the accuracy of a match. This is a potentially critical safeguard against misidentification, but it’s just a suggestion: Amazon doesn’t require police to adhere to this threshold, or even ask. In January, Gizmodo quoted an Oregon sheriff’s official saying his department ignores thresholds completely. (“There has never been a single reported complaint from the public and no issues with the local constituency around their use of Rekognition,” a representative from Amazon said, in part, in a statement to Gizmodo.)

    #Reconnaissance_faciale #Libertés #Espace_public #Etat_policier

  • Les Ethiopiens d’Israël manifestent après le « meurtre » d’un des leurs par la police
    Par Le Figaro avec AFP Publié le 02/07/2019 à 21:57
    http://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/les-ethiopiens-d-israel-manifestent-apres-le-meurtre-d-un-des-leurs-par-la-

    Des Israéliens d’origine éthiopienne manifestaient mardi leur colère après la mort d’un membre de leur communauté, tué par un policier qui n’était pas en service et dans des circonstances encore troubles.

    La mort dimanche soir de Solomon Teka, âgé de 18 ou 19 ans, a ravivé parmi les Ethiopiens d’Israël les accusations de racisme policier à son encontre. Depuis lundi soir, ces Israéliens manifestent à Kiryat Haim, près de Haïfa (nord), lieu où a été abattu Solomon Teka. Mardi, jour de son enterrement, la contestation a repris. La mort de Solomon Teka n’est rien d’autre qu’un « meurtre », a accusé sur les ondes de la radio israélienne Amir Teka, cousin de la victime. Les manifestants ont bloqué plusieurs routes et une quinzaine de carrefours, brûlant des pneus et attaquant parfois les véhicules qui tentaient de passer leurs barrages improvisés. Au moins 19 contestataires ont été interpellés, selon la police.

    « Nous devons faire tout notre possible pour nous assurer que la police cesse de tuer des gens à cause de leur couleur de peau », a déclaré à l’AFP l’un des manifestants, Mengisto, 26 ans. « Nous avons besoin d’obtenir des garanties de la part de l’Etat ou de la police que cela ne se reproduira plus », a-t-il exigé.

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    Israël : des manifestations dégénèrent après la mort d’un Israélien d’origine éthiopienne (VIDEOS)
    3 juil. 2019, 16:02
    https://francais.rt.com/international/63600-israel-manifestations-degenerent-apres-mort-israelien-origine-eth

    A la suite de la disparition de Solomon Tekah, probablement tué par un policier, la communauté éthiopienne d’Israël a manifesté sa colère. Différentes villes ont connu des affrontements au cours desquels manifestants et policiers ont été blessés. (...)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=61&v=hjTyEsGgB6g

    #émeutesisraéliennes

    • Family of Ethiopian Israeli Shot Dead by Police Urges Halt to Protests

      Major Tel Aviv junction blocked in third day of unrest ■ Dozens of demonstrators arrested
      Yaniv Kubovich, Almog Ben Zikri, Josh Breiner , Bar Peleg, Noa Shpigel and Aaron Rabinowitz Jul 03, 2019 7:45 PM
      https://www.haaretz.com/police-brace-for-third-day-of-protests-over-shooting-of-ethiopian-israeli-t

      The family of an Ethiopian Israeli teen whose shooting death by an off-duty police officer sparked a wave of prortests across the country called Wednesday for demonstrations to be put on hold, as they enter their third day.

      A friend of the 18-year-old Solomon Teka’s family said his father asked for protests to halt until the seven days of Jewish mourning, known as shiva, are over.

      Although police warned earlier on Wednesday they would not allow roads blockages, demonstrators were attempting to disrupt traffic in a number of locations across Israel.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVtTSNHLoz0

      Seven people who were trying to block a road south of Tel Aviv, were forcibly removed by police and detained. One protester has been arrested in the northern city of Kiryat Ata, where about 100 people have gathered and begun marching toward the Zevulun police station. Five more people were detained for attempting to block access to a police station in Yavne.

      Speaking at a meeting of ministers tasked with advancing the integration of the Ethiopian Israeli community Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Netanyahu called on lawmakers to “exert their influence” and stop the violence immediately. “The death of Solomon Teka is a big tragedy, but we cannot tolerate this violence,” he said.

      Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said that police forces were bracing for heightened tensions after Tuesday night’s protest against police brutality and racism toward Jews of Ethiopian descent turned violent, with 136 arrests and 111 injured policemen. The arrests were for allegedly attacking policemen, vandalism, and gross disturbance of public order.

      One protester’s remand was extended until Friday, for allegedly setting a car on fire in Tel Aviv. Another protester’s remand has been extended until 8:00 P.M. Wednesday for attempting to run over a police officer. A 24-year-old was arrested in Ashdod after he was caught on video lighting a border policeman’s uniform on fire. Police identified him and arrested him Wednesday.

      Erdan also noted that police had information that some protesters were planning to arm themselves and try to shoot policemen during the upcoming protests.

      The police announced that it will not allow protesters to block main roads on Wednesday, after roads were blocked throughout Israel on Tuesday evening, causing mass traffic jams. Magen David Adom stated that in the protests the night before, beyond the 111 officers who were hurt, 26 protesters were also injured, nine passers-by, and one firefighter. MDA also said that seven of its ambulances and four emergency first-aid motorbikes were damaged by rock-throwers.

      Police employed means of riot control Tuesday, including tear gas and stun grenades, as protesters closed down main city arteries, burning tires and vandalizing cars. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told Army Radio that while he understands the frustration and suffering of tens of thousands, the police did what they had to do. Erdan also vowed that the violence would not recur, and that if necessary, police would defend themselves.

      People were incited through social media, he said, boosting the violence to levels previously unknown, such as the throwing of a firebomb at a police station. He reiterated intense regret and sorrow over Teka’s death but added that the incident is not representative of change in the Israeli police in recent years.

      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that the “Ethiopian community is dear to us,” however the state is not prepared to tolerate blocking of roads or violence “including firebombs thrown toward our forces, the burning of cars or any other civilian property. We are a law-abiding nation. We demand that everyone respect the law.”

      Netanyahu convened a committee of ministers Wednesday night to advance the integration of the Ethiopian community and discuss “excessive policing and the patterns of behavior toward of those of Ethiopian descent.” Netanyahu added, “we’ve already seen improvement in this area and it seems that we need to make many more improvements.”

      In the northern city of Kiryat Ata, over a thousand marched on the Zevulun police station and smoke grenades were thrown into the station. Around 200 demonstrators in Afula blocked traffic on one of the northern city’s main streets. Meanwhile, major roads in several cities, including Tel Aviv and Haifa, were blocked by demonstrators burning tires.

      President Reuven Rivlin called for restraint and dialogue: “The rage must not be expressed in violence,” he tweeted. “The handful who chose violence are not the face of the protest and must not become the face of the protest, which we very much understand.” Rivlin called for a meeting together with representatives of all the parties involved in public safety: “Only through open conversation, difficult as it is, can change be achieved.”

      On Monday the police said that Teka may have been hit by a bullet ricocheting off the ground.

    • Rage Against the Police: 13 Photos From Ethiopian Israelis’ Protest

      Escalating demonstrations over the death of 18-year-old Ethiopian Israeli teen Solomon Teka are entering the third day
      By Haaretz Jul 03, 2019
      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/MAGAZINE-in-photos-thousands-of-ethiopian-israelis-protest-police-brutality

      Israelis of Ethiopian origin are demonstrating throughout Israel following the death Sunday of 18-year old Solomon Teka, who was shot by police.

      Some of the protests quickly became violent when demonstrators blocked main roads and set on fire a car of a passerby who tried to drive through the blockade.

      A protester is throwing a scooter at a burning car during the Ethiopian Israeli protest in Tel Aviv. Credit : Tomer Appelbaum


      Protesters show photos of 18-year old Solomon Teka of Ethiopian descent, who died after he was shot by police, in Tel Aviv. Credit : Tomer Appelbaum

      A protester stands opposite to a policeman during the protest of Ethiopian Israelis, in Tel Aviv. Credit \ CORINNA KERN/ REUTERS

    • Nouvelle journée de manifestations après la mort d’un Israélien d’origine éthiopienne
      3 juillet 2019
      https://www.lavenir.net/cnt/dmf20190703_01354547/nouvelle-journee-de-manifestations-apres-la-mort-d-un-israelien-d-origine-e

      (Belga) Des manifestations ont eu lieu mercredi à Tel-Aviv et dans le nord d’Israël pour la troisième journée consécutive, après le décès d’un jeune Israélien d’origine éthiopienne, tué par un policier, la communauté éthiopienne dénonçant un crime raciste.
      Solomon Teka, âgé de 19 ans, a été tué dimanche soir par un policier qui n’était pas en service au moment des faits, à Kiryat Haim, une ville proche du port de Haïfa, dans le nord d’Israël. Des dizaines de policiers ont été déployés mercredi dans la ville de Kiryat Ata, non loin de Kiryat Haim. Des manifestants tentant de bloquer une route ont été dispersés par la police. Malgré des appels au calme lancés par les autorités, des jeunes se sont aussi à nouveau rassemblés à Tel-Aviv. Une centaine de personnes ont défié la police en bloquant une route avant d’être dispersées. En trois jours, 140 personnes ont été arrêtées et 111 policiers blessés par des jets de pierres, bouteilles et bombes incendiaires lors des manifestations dans le pays, selon un nouveau bilan de la police. Les embouteillages et les images de voitures en feu ont fait la une des médias. Le Premier ministre Benjamin Netanyahu et le président israélien Reuven Rivlin ont appelé au calme, tout en reconnaissant que les problèmes auxquels était confrontée la communauté israélo-éthiopienne devaient être traités. « La mort de Solomon Teka est une immense tragédie », a dit le Premier ministre. « Des leçons seront tirées. Mais une chose est claire : nous ne pouvons tolérer les violences que nous avons connues hier », a-t-il déclaré mercredi lors d’une réunion du comité ministériel sur l’intégration de la communauté éthiopienne. « Nous ne pouvons pas voir de routes bloquées, ni de cocktails Molotov, ni d’attaques contre des policiers, des citoyens et des propriétés privées », a-t-il ajouté. (...)

    • Les Israéliens éthiopiens s’interrogent : « Nos vies ont-elles moins de prix ? »
      Selon les manifestants, c’est un racisme systématique qui s’exprime derrière les violences policières répétées contre les jeunes noirs en Israël - et qui ont pu entraîner la mort
      Par Simona Weinglass 3 juillet 2019, 14:41
      https://fr.timesofisrael.com/les-israeliens-ethiopiens-sinterrogent-nos-vies-ont-elles-moins-de

      Pour ces jeunes Israéliens d’origine éthiopienne qui manifestent, mardi, pour dénoncer le meurtre d’un membre de leur communauté par un policier, ce n’est pas seulement l’expression d’une colère contre ce qu’ils considèrent comme un racisme systématique profondément ancré du côté des forces de l’ordre.

      C’est aussi un cri exprimant une frustration entraînée par des promesses de changement, maintes fois répétées et qui n’ont rien changé.

      Dans tout le pays, ce sont des milliers de manifestants issus de la communauté et leurs soutiens qui ont bloqué les routes pour faire part de leur fureur après la mort de Solomon Tekah, qui a été abattu cette semaine par un agent de police qui n’était pas en service à ce moment-là.
      (...)
      Une jeune femme d’une vingtaine d’années, vêtue d’une robe d’été et originaire de Ness Ziona, dans le centre d’Israël, confie : « Je suis complètement bouleversée. D’abord, on se dit : OK, c’est arrivé une fois mais ça n’arrivera plus. La fois suivante, on se dit : d’accord, peut-être qu’ils vont enfin régler ça ».

      « Mais quand ça devient systématique, alors là vous vous demandez si effectivement votre vie a moins de prix qu’une autre ? », lance-t-elle.

      « Ce jeune », ajoute-t-elle en évoquant Tekah, « ses parents lui ont donné tout ce qu’ils avaient. Ils l’ont élevé pendant toutes ces années. Et un jour, quelqu’un a décidé qu’il était autorisé à l’abattre ».

      Tekah est mort au cours d’une altercation survenue dimanche à Haïfa, dans le quartier Kiryat Haim.

      Un témoin de la fusillade aurait indiqué au département des enquêtes internes de la police, qui dépend du ministère de la Défense, que contrairement à ce qu’a pu affirmer le policier incriminé, ce dernier ne semblait pas être en danger quand il a ouvert le feu.

      L’agent a été brièvement placé en détention avant d’être assigné à domicile, attisant la colère au sein de la communauté.(...)

  • Revolt of the gig workers: How delivery rage reached a tipping point - SFChronicle.com
    https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Revolt-of-the-gig-workers-How-delivery-rage-13605726.php

    Gig workers are fighting back.

    By their name, you might think independent contractors are a motley crew — geographically scattered, with erratic paychecks and tattered safety nets. They report to faceless software subroutines rather than human bosses. Most gig workers toil alone as they ferry passengers, deliver food and perform errands.

    But in recent weeks, some of these app-wielding workers have joined forces to effect changes by the multibillion-dollar companies and powerful algorithms that control their working conditions.

    Last week, Instacart shoppers wrung payment concessions from the grocery delivery company, which had been using customer tips to subsidize what it paid them. After outcries by workers on social media, in news reports and through online petitions, San Francisco’s Instacart said it had been “misguided.” It now adds tips on top of its base pay — as most customers and shoppers thought they should be — and will retroactively compensate workers who were stiffed on tips.

    New York this year became the first U.S. city to implement a minimum wage for Uber and Lyft, which now must pay drivers at least $17.22 an hour after expenses ($26.51 before expenses). Lyft, which sued over the requirement, last week gave in to driver pressure to implement it.

    For two years, drivers held rallies, released research, sent thousands of letters and calls to city officials, and gathered 16,000 petition signature among themselves. The Independent Drivers Guild, a union-affiliated group that represents New York ride-hail drivers and spearheaded the campaign, predicted per-driver pay boosts of up to $9,600 a year.

    That follows some other hard-fought worker crusades, such as when they persuaded Uber to finally add tipping to its app in 2017, a move triggered by several phenomena: a string of corporate scandals, the fact that rival Lyft had offered tipping from the get-go, and a class-action lawsuit seeking employment status for workers.

    “We’ll probably start to see more gig workers organizing as they realize that enough negative publicity for the companies can make something change,” said Alexandrea Ravenelle, an assistant sociology professor at New York’s Mercy College and author of “Hustle and Gig: Struggling and Surviving in the Sharing Economy.” “But companies will keep trying to push the envelope to pay workers as little as possible.”

    The current political climate, with tech giants such as Facebook and Google on hot seats over privacy, abuse of customer data and other issues, has helped the workers’ quests.

    “We’re at a moment of reckoning for tech companies,” said Alex Rosenblat, a technology ethnographer at New York’s Data & Society Research Institute and author of “Uberland: How Algorithms Are Rewriting the Rules of Work.” “There’s a techlash, a broader understanding that tech companies have to be held accountable as political institutions rather than neutral forces for good.”

    The climate also includes more consumer awareness of labor issues in the on-demand economy. “People are realizing that you don’t just jump in an Uber and don’t have to think about who’s driving you and what they make,” Ravenelle said. “There’s a lot more attention to gig workers’ plight.”

    Instacart customers were dismayed to discover that their tips were not going to workers on top of their pay as a reward for good service.

    Sage Wilson, a spokesman for Working Washington, a labor-backed group that helped with the Instacart shoppers’ campaign, said many more gig workers have emerged with stories of similar experiences on other apps.

    “Pay transparency really seems to be an issue across many of these platforms,” he said. “I almost wonder if it’s part of the reason why these companies are building black box algorithmic pay models in the first place (so) you might not even know right away if you got a pay cut until you start seeing the weekly totals trending down.”

    Cases in point: DoorDash and Amazon also rifle the tip jar to subsidize contractors’ base pay, as Instacart did. DoorDash defended this, saying its pay model “provides transparency, consistency, and predictability” and has increased both satisfaction and retention of its “Dashers.”

    But Kristen Anderson of Concord, a social worker who works part-time for DoorDash to help with student loans, said that was not her experience. Her pay dropped dramatically after DoorDash started appropriating tips in 2017, she said. “Originally it was worth my time and now it’s not,” she said. “It’s frustrating.”

    Debi LaBell of San Carlos, who does weekend work for Instacart on top of a full-time job, has organized with others online over the tips issue.

    “This has been a maddening, frustrating and, at times, incredibly disheartening experience,” said Debi LaBell of San Carlos, who does weekend work for Instacart on top of a full-time job. “When I first started doing Instacart, I loved getting in my car to head to my first shop. These past few months, it has taken everything that I have to get motivated enough to do my shift.”

    Before each shopping trip, she hand-wrote notes to all her customers explaining the tips issue. She and other shoppers congregated online both to vent and to organize.

    Her hope now is that Instacart will invite shoppers like her to hear their experiences and ideas.

    There’s poetic justice in the fact that the same internet that allows gig companies to create widely dispersed marketplaces provided gig workers space to find solidarity with one another.

    “It’s like the internet taketh and giveth,” said Eric Lloyd, an attorney at the law firm Seyfarth Shaw, which represents management, including some gig companies he wouldn’t name, in labor cases. “The internet gave rise to this whole new economy, giving businesses a way to build really innovative models, and it’s given workers new ways to advance their rights.”

    For California gig workers, even more changes are on the horizon in the wake of a ground-breaking California Supreme Court decision last April that redefined when to classify workers as employees versus independent contractors.

    Gig companies, labor leaders and lawmakers are holding meetings in Sacramento to thrash out legislative responses to the Dynamex decision. Options could range from more workers getting employment status to gig companies offering flexible benefits. Whatever happens, it’s sure to upend the status quo.

    Rather than piecemeal enforcement through litigation, arbitration and various government agencies such as unemployment agencies, it makes sense to come up with overall standards, Rosenblat said.

    “There’s a big need for comprehensive standards with an understanding of all the trade-offs,” she said. “We’re at a tipping point for change.”

    Carolyn Said is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: csaid@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @csaid

    #USA #Kalifornien #Gig-Economy #Ausbeutung

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • ICC submission calls for prosecution of EU over migrant deaths

    Member states should face punitive action over deaths in Mediterranean, say lawyers.

    The EU and member states should be prosecuted for the deaths of thousands of migrants who drowned in the Mediterranean fleeing Libya, according to a detailed legal submission to the international criminal court (ICC).

    The 245-page document calls for punitive action over the EU’s deterrence-based migration policy after 2014, which allegedly “intended to sacrifice the lives of migrants in distress at sea, with the sole objective of dissuading others in similar situation from seeking safe haven in Europe”.

    The indictment is aimed at the EU and the member states that played a prominent role in the refugee crisis: Italy, Germany and France.

    The stark accusation, that officials and politicians knowingly created the “world’s deadliest migration route” resulting in more than 12,000 people losing their lives, is made by experienced international lawyers.

    The two main authors of the submission are Juan Branco, who formerly worked at the ICC as well as at France’s foreign affairs ministry, and Omer Shatz, an Israeli lawyer who teaches at Sciences Po university in Paris.
    Most refugees in Libyan detention centres at risk – UN
    Read more

    The allegation of “crimes against humanity” draws partially on internal papers from Frontex, the EU organisation charged with protecting the EU’s external borders, which, the lawyers say, warned that moving from the successful Italian rescue policy of Mare Nostrum could result in a “higher number of fatalities”.

    The submission states that: “In order to stem migration flows from Libya at all costs … and in lieu of operating safe rescue and disembarkation as the law commands, the EU is orchestrating a policy of forced transfer to concentration camps-like detention facilities [in Libya] where atrocious crimes are committed.”

    The switch from Mare Nostrum to a new policy from 2014, known as Triton (named after the Greek messenger god of the sea), is identified as a crucial moment “establishing undisputed mens rea [mental intention] for the alleged offences”.

    It is claimed that the evidence in the dossier establishes criminal liability within the jurisdiction of the ICC for “causing the death of thousands of human beings per year, the refoulement [forcible return] of tens of thousands migrants attempting to flee Libya and the subsequent commission of murder, deportation, imprisonment, enslavement, torture, rape, persecution and other inhuman acts against them”.

    The Triton policy introduced the “most lethal and organised attack against civilian population the ICC had jurisdiction over in its entire history,” the legal document asserts. “European Union and Member States’ officials had foreknowledge and full awareness of the lethal consequences of their conduct.”

    The submission does not single out individual politicians or officials for specific responsibility but does quote diplomatic cables and comments from national leaders, including Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron.

    The office of the prosecutor at the ICC is already investigating crimes in Libya but the main focus has been on the Libyan civil war, which erupted in 2011 and led to the removal of Muammar Gaddafi. Fatou Bensouda, the ICC prosecutor, has, however, already mentioned inquiries into “alleged crimes against migrants transiting through Libya”.

    The Mare Nostrum search and rescue policy launched in October 2013, the submission says, was “in many ways hugely successful, rescuing 150,810 migrants over a 364-day period”.

    Criticism of the policy began in mid-2014 on the grounds, it is said, that it was not having a sufficient humanitarian impact and that there was a desire to move from assistance at sea to assistance on land.

    “EU officials sought to end Mare Nostrum to allegedly reduce the number of crossings and deaths,” the lawyers maintain. “However, these reasons should not be considered valid as the crossings were not reduced. And the death toll was 30-fold higher.”

    The subsequent policy, Triton, only covered an “area up to 30 nautical miles from the Italian coastline of Lampedusa, leaving around 40 nautical miles of key distress area off the coast of Libya uncovered,” the submission states. It also deployed fewer vessels.

    It is alleged EU officials “did not shy away from acknowledging that Triton was an inadequate replacement for Mare Nostrum”. An internal Frontex report from 28 August 2014, quoted by the lawyers, acknowledged that “the withdrawal of naval assets from the area, if not properly planned and announced well in advance – would likely result in a higher number of fatalities.”

    The first mass drownings cited came on 22 January and 8 February 2015, which resulted in 365 deaths nearer to the Libyan coast. It is alleged that in one case, 29 of the deaths occurred from hypothermia during the 12-hour-long transport back to the Italian island of Lampedusa. During the “black week” of 12 to 18 April 2015, the submission says, two successive shipwrecks led to the deaths of 1,200 migrants.

    As well as drownings, the forced return of an estimated 40,000 refugees allegedly left them at risk of “executions, torture and other systematic rights abuses” in militia-controlled camps in Libya.

    “European Union officials were fully aware of the treatment of the migrants by the Libyan Coastguard and the fact that migrants would be taken ... to an unsafe port in Libya, where they would face immediate detention in the detention centers, a form of unlawful imprisonment in which murder, sexual assault, torture and other crimes were known by the European Union agents and officials to be common,” the submission states.

    Overall, EU migration policies caused the deaths of “thousands civilians per year in the past five years and produced about 40,000 victims of crimes within the jurisdiction of the court in the past three years”, the report states.

    The submission will be handed in to the ICC on Monday 3 June.

    An EU spokesperson said the union could not comment on “non-existing” legal actions but added: “Our priority has always been and will continue to be protecting lives and ensuring humane and dignified treatment of everyone throughout the migratory routes. It’s a task where no single actor can ensure decisive change alone.

    “All our action is based on international and European law. The European Union dialogue with Libyan authorities focuses on the respect for human rights of migrants and refugees, on promoting the work of UNHCR and IOM on the ground, and on pushing for the development of alternatives to detention, such as the setting up of safe spaces, to end the systematic and arbitrary detention system of migrants and refugees in Libya.

    “Search and Rescue operations in the Mediterranean need to follow international law, and responsibility depends on where they take place. EU operations cannot enter Libya waters, they operate in international waters. SAR operations in Libyan territorial waters are Libyan responsibility.”

    The spokesperson added that the EU has “pushed Libyan authorities to put in place mechanisms improving the treatment of the migrants rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/law/2019/jun/03/icc-submission-calls-for-prosecution-of-eu-over-migrant-deaths
    #justice #décès #CPI #mourir_en_mer #CPI #cour_pénale_internationale

    ping @reka @isskein @karine4

    Ajouté à la métaliste sur les sauvetages en Méditerranée :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/706177

    • L’Union Européenne devra-t-elle un jour répondre de « crimes contre l’Humanité » devant la Cour Pénale Internationale ?

      #Crimes_contre_l'humanité, et #responsabilité dans la mort de 14 000 migrants en 5 années : voilà ce dont il est question dans cette enquête menée par plusieurs avocats internationaux spécialisés dans les Droits de l’homme, déposée aujourd’hui à la CPI de la Haye, et qui pourrait donc donner lieu à des #poursuites contre des responsables actuels des institutions européennes.

      La démarche fait l’objet d’articles coordonnés ce matin aussi bien dans le Spiegel Allemand (https://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/fluechtlinge-in-libyen-rechtsanwaelte-zeigen-eu-in-den-haag-an-a-1270301.htm), The Washington Post aux Etats-Unis (https://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/fluechtlinge-in-libyen-rechtsanwaelte-zeigen-eu-in-den-haag-an-a-1270301.htm), El Pais en Espagne (https://elpais.com/internacional/2019/06/02/actualidad/1559497654_560556.html), The Guardian en Grande-Bretagne, et le Monde, cet après-midi en France... bref, ce qui se fait de plus retentissant dans la presse mondiale.

      Les auteurs de ce #plaidoyer, parmi lesquels on retrouve le français #Juan_Branco ou l’israélien #Omer_Shatz, affirment que Bruxelles, Paris, Berlin et Rome ont pris des décisions qui ont mené directement, et en connaissance de cause, à la mort de milliers de personnes. En #Méditerrannée, bien sûr, mais aussi en #Libye, où la politique migratoire concertée des 28 est accusée d’avoir « cautionné l’existence de centres de détention, de lieux de tortures, et d’une politique de la terreur, du viol et de l’esclavagisme généralisé » contre ceux qui traversaient la Libye pour tenter ensuite de rejoindre l’Europe.

      Aucun dirigeant européen n’est directement nommé par ce réquisitoire, mais le rapport des avocats cite des discours entre autres d’#Emmanuel_Macron, d’#Angela_Merkel. Il évoque aussi, selon The Guardian, des alertes qui auraient été clairement formulées, en interne par l’agence #Frontex en particulier, sur le fait que le changement de politique européenne en 2014 en Méditerranée « allait conduire à une augmentation des décès en mer ». C’est ce qui s’est passé : 2014, c’est l’année-bascule, celle où le plan Mare Nostrum qui consistait à organiser les secours en mer autour de l’Italie, a été remplacé par ce partenariat UE-Libye qui, selon les auteurs de l’enquête, a ouvert la voix aux exactions que l’on sait, et qui ont été documentées par Der Spiegel dans son reportage publié début mai, et titré « Libye : l’enfer sur terre ».

      A présent, dit Juan Branco dans The Washington Post (et dans ce style qui lui vaut tant d’ennemis en France), c’est aux procureurs de la CPI de dire « s’ils oseront ou non » remonter aux sommet des responsabilités européennes. J’en terminerai pour ma part sur les doutes de cet expert en droit européen cité par El Pais et qui « ne prédit pas un grand succès devant la Cour » à cette action.

      https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/revue-de-presse-internationale/la-revue-de-presse-internationale-emission-du-lundi-03-juin-2019


      #UE #Europe #EU #droits_humains

    • Submission to ICC condemns EU for ‘crimes against humanity’

      EU Commission migration spokesperson Natasha Bertaud gave an official statement regarding a recently submitted 245-page document to the International Criminal Court by human rights lawyers Juan Branco and Omer Shatz on June 3, 2019. The case claimed the EU and its member states should face punitive action for Libyan migrant deaths in the Mediterranean. The EU says these deaths are not a result of EU camps, rather the dangerous and cruel routes on which smugglers take immigrants. Bertaud said the EU’s track record on saving lives “has been our top priority, and we have been working relentlessly to this end.” Bertaud said an increase in EU operations in the Mediterranean have resulted in a decrease in deaths in the past 4 years. The accusation claims that EU member states created the “world’s deadliest migration route,” which has led to more than 12,000 migrant deaths since its inception. Branco and Shatz wrote that the forcible return of migrants to Libyan camps and the “subsequent commission of murder, deportation, imprisonment, enslavement, torture, rape, persecution and other inhuman acts against them,” are the grounds for this indictment. Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron were named specifically as those knowingly supporting these refugee camps, which the lawyers explicitly condemned in their report. The EU intends to maintain its presence on the Libyan coast and aims to create safer alternatives to detention centers.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=28&v=AMGaKDNxcDg

    • Migration in the Mediterranean: why it’s time to put European leaders on trial

      In June this year two lawyers filed a complaint at the International Criminal Court (ICC) naming European Union member states’ migration policies in the Mediterranean as crimes against humanity.

      The court’s Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, must decide whether she wants to open a preliminary investigation into the criminality of Europe’s treatment of migrants.

      The challenge against the EU’s Mediterranean migrant policy is set out in a 245-page document prepared by Juan Branco and Omer Shatz, two lawyer-activists working and teaching in Paris. They argue that EU migration policy is founded in deterrence and that drowned migrants are a deliberate element of this policy. The international law that they allege has been violated – crimes against humanity – applies to state policies practiced even outside of armed conflict.

      Doctrinally and juridically, the ICC can proceed. The question that remains is political: can and should the ICC come after its founders on their own turf?

      There are two reasons why the answer is emphatically yes. First, the complaint addresses what has become a rights impasse in the EU. By taking on an area stymying other supranational courts, the ICC can fulfil its role as a judicial institution of last resort. Second, by turning its sights on its founders (and funders), the ICC can redress the charges of neocolonialism in and around Africa that have dogged it for the past decade.
      ICC legitimacy

      The ICC is the world’s first permanent international criminal court. Founded in 2002, it currently has 122 member states.

      So far, it has only prosecuted Africans. This has led to persistent critiques that it is a neocolonial institution that “only chases Africans” and only tries rebels. In turn, this has led to pushback against the court from powerful actors like the African Union, which urges its members to leave the court.

      The first departure from the court occurred in 2017, when Burundi left. The Philippines followed suit in March of this year. Both countries are currently under investigation by the ICC for state sponsored atrocities. South Africa threatened withdrawal, but this seems to have blown over.

      In this climate, many cheered the news of the ICC Prosecutor’s 2017 request to investigate crimes committed in Afghanistan. As a member of the ICC, Afghanistan is within the ICC’s jurisdiction. The investigation included atrocities committed by the Taliban and foreign military forces active in Afghanistan, including members of the US armed forces.

      The US, which is not a member of the ICC, violently opposes any possibility that its military personnel might be caught up in ICC charges. In April 2019 the ICC announced that a pre-trial chamber had shut down the investigation because US opposition made ICC action impossible.

      Court watchers reacted with frustration and disgust.
      EU migration

      An estimated 30,000 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean in the past three decades. International attention was drawn to their plight during the migration surge of 2015, when the image of 3-year-old Alan Kurdi face-down on a Turkish beach circulated the globe. More than one million people entered Europe that year. This led the EU and its member states to close land and sea borders in the east by erecting fences and completing a Euro 3 billion deal with Turkey to keep migrants there. NATO ships were posted in the Aegean to catch and return migrants.

      Migrant-saving projects, such as the Italian Mare Nostrum programme that collected 150,000 migrants in 2013-2014, were replaced by border guarding projects. Political pressure designed to reduce the number of migrants who made it to European shores led to the revocation and non-renewal of licenses for boats registered to NGOs whose purpose was to rescue migrants at sea. This has led to the current situation, where there is only one boat patrolling the Mediterranean.

      The EU has handed search and rescue duties over to the Libyan coast guard, which has been accused repeatedly of atrocities against migrants. European countries now negotiate Mediterranean migrant reception on a case-by-case basis.
      A rights impasse

      International and supranational law applies to migrants, but so far it has inadequately protected them. The law of the sea mandates that ships collect people in need. A series of refusals to allow ships to disembark collected migrants has imperilled this international doctrine.

      In the EU, the Court of Justice oversees migration and refugee policies. Such oversight now includes a two-year-old deal with Libya that some claim is tantamount to “sentencing migrants to death.”

      For its part, the European Court of Human Rights has established itself as “no friend to migrants.” Although the court’s 2012 decision in Hirsi was celebrated for a progressive stance regarding the rights of migrants at sea, it is unclear how expansively that ruling applies.

      European courts are being invoked and making rulings, yet the journey for migrants has only grown more desperate and deadly over the past few years. Existing European mechanisms, policies, and international rights commitments are not producing change.

      In this rights impasse, the introduction of a new legal paradigm is essential.
      Fulfilling its role

      A foundational element of ICC procedure is complementarity. This holds that the court only intervenes when states cannot or will not act on their own.

      Complementarity has played an unexpectedly central role in the cases before the ICC to date, as African states have self-referred defendants claiming that they do not have the resources to try them themselves. This has greatly contributed to the ICC’s political failure in Africa, as rights-abusing governments have handed over political adversaries to the ICC for prosecution in bad faith, enjoying the benefits of a domestic political sphere relieved of these adversaries while simultaneously complaining of ICC meddling in domestic affairs.

      This isn’t how complementarity was supposed to work.

      The present rights impasse in the EU regarding migration showcases what complementarity was intended to do – granting sovereign states primacy over law enforcement and stepping in only when states both violate humanitarian law and refuse to act. The past decade of deadly migration coupled with a deliberately wastrel refugee policy in Europe qualifies as just such a situation.

      Would-be migrants don’t vote and cannot garner political representation in the EU. This leaves only human rights norms, and the international commitments in which they are enshrined, to protect them. These norms are not being enforced, in part because questions of citizenship and border security have remained largely the domain of sovereign states. Those policies are resulting in an ongoing crime against humanity.

      The ICC may be the only institution capable of breaking the current impasse by threatening to bring Europe’s leaders to criminal account. This is the work of last resort for which international criminal law is designed. The ICC should embrace the progressive ideals that drove its construction, and engage.

      https://theconversation.com/migration-in-the-mediterranean-why-its-time-to-put-european-leaders
      #procès

  • The guy who made a tool to track women in porn videos is sorry - MIT Technology Review
    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/613607/facial-recognition-porn-database-privacy-gdpr-data-collection-poli

    An anonymous programmer based in Germany caused outrage this week for supposedly using face-recognition technology to “catch” women who had appeared in porn. He says he’s since deleted the project and all its data, but that’s not an act of altruism. Such a project would have violated European privacy law anyway, though it would have been okay elsewhere.

    There is still no proof that the global system—which allegedly matched women’s social-media photos with images from sites like Pornhub—actually worked, or even existed. Still, the technology is possible and would have had awful consequences. “It’s going to kill people,” says Carrie A. Goldberg, an attorney who specializes in sexual privacy violations and author of the forthcoming book Nobody’s Victim: Fighting Psychos, Stalkers, Pervs, and Trolls. “Some of my most viciously harassed clients have been people who did porn, oftentimes one time in their life and sometimes nonconsensually [because] they were duped into it. Their lives have been ruined because there’s this whole culture of incels that for a hobby expose women who’ve done porn and post about them online and dox them.” (Incels, or “involuntary celibates,” are a misogynistic online subculture of men who claim they are denied sex by women.)

    The European Union’s GDPR privacy law prevents this kind of situation. Though the programmer—who posted about the project on the Chinese social network Weibo—originally insisted everything was fine because he didn’t make the information public, just collecting the data is illegal if the women didn’t consent, according to Börge Seeger, a data protection expert and partner at German law firm Neuwerk. These laws apply to any information from EU residents, so they would have held even if the programmer weren’t living in the EU.

    Under GDPR, personal data (and especially sensitive biometric data) needs to be collected for specific and legitimate purposes. Scraping data to figure out if someone once appeared in porn is not that. And if the programmer had charged money to access this information, he could have faced up to three years in prison under German criminal law, adds Seeger.

    Et toujours cette logique de l’excuse qui semble Zurkerbériser un grand nombre de programmeurs.

    Reached last night via Weibo, the programmer (who did not give his real name) insisted that the technology was real, but acknowledged that it raised legal issues. He’s sorry to have caused trouble. But he’s not the only one able to build this technology, or the only one interested in using it for dangerous purposes. Policymakers concerned with global privacy law need to start thinking ahead.

    #Reconnaissance_faciale #Données_provées #Porno

  • Selon l’#ONU, Julian #Assange présente des symptômes de « #torture #psychologique » - Le Point
    https://www.lepoint.fr/monde/selon-l-onu-julian-assange-presente-des-symptomes-de-torture-psychologique-3

    Le rapporteur de l’ONU sur la torture, qui a rencontré le #lanceur_d'alerte, estime qu’il a été « exposé à des formes graves de peines ou de traitements inhumains ».

    [...]

    En plus de maux physiques [...]

    #whistleblower

  • UK: Johnson ordered to face accusations that he lied to the public ...
    https://diasp.eu/p/9129729

    UK: Johnson ordered to face accusations that he lied to the public

    Source: National Public Radio [US state media]

    “A British court is ordering Boris Johnson to face accusations that while holding public office, he lied in order to sway voter opinion on Brexit. The case was brought by a ‘private prosecutor’ who says Johnson abused the public’s trust while holding official posts. Johnson has quickly emerged as a front-runner to replace Prime Minister Theresa May, who is resigning next month. But with today’s ruling, he must also face charges of misconduct in public office. The case was brought by Marcus Ball — who has raised more than $300,000 to fund his effort. Ball says Johnson is guilty of ‘misleading the public by endorsing and making statements about the cost of European Union (...)

    • – lien propre :

      http://rationalreview.com/archives/337859

      – article relié :
      https://www.npr.org/2019/05/29/727832275/boris-johnson-is-ordered-to-face-accusations-that-he-lied-to-the-public

      #UK #EU #UE #Europe #Brexit

      A British court is ordering Boris Johnson to face accusations that while holding on Brexit. The case was brought by a “private prosecutor” who says Johnson abused the public’s trust while holding official posts.

      Johnson has quickly emerged as a front-runner to replace Prime Minister Theresa May, who is resigning next month. But with today’s ruling, he must also face charges of misconduct in public office. The case was brought by Marcus Ball — who has raised more than $300,000 to fund his effort.

      Ball says Johnson is guilty of “misleading the public by endorsing and making statements about the cost of European Union Membership, which he knew to be false.”

      Johnson is currently a member of Parliament. He resigned as the U.K’s foreign secretary last summer, in a protest against May’s plans to leave the European Union. He has also served as London’s mayor.

      Johnson has repeatedly made the false claim that Britain paid £350 million each week to be in the European Union. The claim was famously touted on a Vote Leave campaign bus during the run-up to the Brexit vote.

      In 2017, the head of the U.K.’s Statistics Authority sent Johnson a letter expressing his disappointment and telling Johnson it was “a clear misuse of official statistics” to say leaving the EU would free up £350 million (more than $440 million) weekly to spend on national healthcare.

      In 2018, Johnson acknowledged that the figure was inaccurate — but he said it was “grossly underestimated.”

      On his crowdfunding page, Ball stresses that he’s not trying to stop Brexit from happening. Instead, he’s targeting what he sees as the real threat facing society: lying, particularly the falsehoods that flow from those in power.

      “Lying in politics is the biggest problem. It is far more important than Brexit and certainly a great deal older,” Ball wrote. “Historically speaking, lying in politics has assisted in starting wars, misleading voters and destroying public trust in the systems of democracy and government.”

      He added, “When politicians lie, democracy dies.”

      Ball says he wants to set a precedent by making it illegal for an elected official to lie about financial matters. If he’s successful, he says, the case could have a wide ripple effect.

      “Because of how the English common law works, it’s possible that such a precedent could be internationally persuasive by influencing the law in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Canada and India.”

      In Britain’s legal system, private prosecutions can be started by any person or company with the time and money to do so.

      As the London-based law firm Edmonds Marshall McMahon (which was once involved in Ball’s case) states, “Other than the fact the prosecution is brought by a private individual or company, for all other purposes they proceed in exactly the same way as if the prosecution had been brought by the Crown.”

  • Hundreds of Europeans ‘criminalised’ for helping migrants – as far right aims to win big in European elections

    Elderly women, priests and firefighters among those arrested, charged or ‘harassed’ by police for supporting migrants, with numbers soaring in the past 18 months.

    These cases – compiled from news reports and other records from researchers, NGOs and activist groups, as well as new interviews across Europe – suggest a sharp increase in the number of people targeted since the start of 2018. At least 100 people were arrested, charged or investigated last year (a doubling of that figure for the preceding year).


    https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/5050/hundreds-of-europeans-criminalised-for-helping-migrants-new-data-show
    #délit_de_solidarité #solidarité #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Europe
    #Allemagne #criminalisation #statistiques #chiffres #Suisse #Danemark #Espagne #France #journalisme #journalistes #presse #Grèce #Calais

    #Norbert_Valley #Christian_Hartung #Miguel_Roldan #Lise_Ramslog #Claire_Marsol #Anouk_Van_Gestel #Lisbeth_Zornig_Andersen #Daphne_Vloumidi #Mikael_Lindholm #Fernand_Bosson #Benoit_Duclois #Mussie_Zerai #Manuel_Blanco #Tom_Ciotkowski #Rob_Lawrie

    ping @isskein @karine4

    • The creeping criminalisation of humanitarian aid

      At the heart of the trial of a volunteer with American migrant aid group No More Deaths that began in Arizona last week lies the question of when humanitarian aid crosses the line and becomes a criminal offence.

      Scott Warren, 37, faces three felony charges after he helped two undocumented migrants by providing them food, shelter, and transportation over three days in January 2018 – his crime, prosecutors say, wasn’t helping people but hiding them from law enforcement officers.

      Whichever way the case goes, humanitarian work appears to be under growing threat of criminalisation by certain governments.

      Aid organisations have long faced suspensions in difficult operating environments due to geopolitical or domestic political concerns – from Pakistan to Sudan to Burundi – but they now face a new criminalisation challenge from Western governments, whether it’s rescue missions in the Mediterranean or toeing the US counter-terror line in the Middle East.

      As aid workers increasingly find themselves in the legal crosshairs, here’s a collection of our reporting to draw attention to this emerging trend.

      http://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news/2019/06/07/creeping-criminalisation-humanitarian-aid

      Dans l’article une liste d’articles poubliés dans The New Humanitarian sur le délit de solidarité un peu partout dans le #monde...

    • European activists fight back against ‘criminalisation’ of aid for migrants and refugees

      More and more people are being arrested across Europe for helping migrants and refugees. Now, civil society groups are fighting back against the 17-year-old EU policy they say lies at the root of what activists and NGOs have dubbed the “criminalisation of solidarity”.

      http://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news-feature/2019/06/20/european-activists-fight-criminalisation-aid-migrants-refugees

      Et le #rapport:
      Crackdown on NGOs and volunteers helping refugees and other migrants


      http://www.resoma.eu/sites/resoma/resoma/files/policy_brief/pdf/Final%20Synthetic%20Report%20-%20Crackdown%20on%20NGOs%20and%20volunteers%20h

    • Documentan incremento de amenazas contra defensores de migrantes tras acuerdo con EU

      Tras el acuerdo migratorio que México y los Estados Unidos firmaron el pasado junio, se han incrementado los riesgos y amenazas que sufren las y los activistas que defienden a migrantes en Centroamérica, México y Estados Unidos. Esa es la conclusión del informe “Defensores sin muros: personas defensoras de Derechos Humanos criminalizadas en Centroamérica, México y Estados Unidos”, elaborado por la ONG Frontline Defenders, el Programa de Asuntos Migratorios de la Universidad Iberoamericana y la Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos. El documento identifica 69 eventos de detención, amenazas, acoso, difamación, agresión, deportación, vigilancia o negación de entrada a un país. La mayoría de ellos, 41, tuvieron lugar durante 2019, según un listado que acompaña al informe. Uno de los grandes hallazgos: la existencia de colaboración entre México y Estados Unidos para cerrar el paso a los migrantes y perseguir a los activistas. “Los gobiernos tienen relaciones tensas, difíciles, complicadas. México y Estados Unidos están pasando por uno de sus peores momentos en bilaterales, pero cuando se trata de cooperar para restringir Derechos Humanos hay colaboración absoluta”, dijo Carolina Jiménez, de Amnistía Internacional. Entre estas colaboraciones destaca un trabajo conjunto de ambos países para identificar a activistas y periodistas que quedaron fichados en un registro secreto. El informe se presentó ayer en la Ciudad de México, al mismo tiempo en el que el presidente estadounidense, Donald Trump, habló ante la asamblea general de las Naciones Unidas, agradeciendo al presidente Andrés Manuel López Obrador “por la gran cooperación que estamos recibiendo y por poner a 27 mil soldados en nuestra frontera sur”.

      https://www.educaoaxaca.org/documentan-incremento-de-amenazas-contra-defensores-de-migrantes-tras-a
      #Amérique_centrale #Mexique

    • Migration and the Shrinking Humanitarian Space in Europe

      As of October 10th, 1071 deaths of migrants were recorded in the Mediterranean in 2019.[1] In their attempt to save lives, civilian maritime search and rescue organisations like Sea Watch or Proactive Open Arms have gained high levels of media attention over the last years. Cases such as the arrest of the captain of the Sea Watch 3, Carola Rackete, in June 2019 or the three weeks odyssey of Open Arms in August 2019 dominate the media and public discourse in Europe. The closing of ports in Italy, Spain and Malta, the confiscation of vessels, legal proceedings against crew members alongside tight migration policies and anti-trafficking laws have led to a shrinking space for principled humanitarian action in Europe. While maritime search and rescue (SAR) activities receive most of the attention, focusing solely on them prevents one from seeing the bigger picture: a general shrinking of humanitarian space in Europe. In the following, the analysis will shed some light on patterns in which the space for assisting and protecting people on the move is shrinking both on land and at sea.
      Migration and Humanitarian Action

      Migration is not a new phenomenon. Throughout history people have left their homes to seek safety and pursue a better life. Yet, due to increasing human mobility and mounting crisis migration the number of people on the move is consistently rising (Martin, Weerasinghe, and Taylor 2014). In 2019, The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) documents more than 258 million international migrants worldwide, compared to 214 million in 2009.[2]

      This number is composed of a variety of different migrant groups, such as students, international labour migrants or registered refugees. Based on a distinction between voluntary and involuntary migration, not all these groups are considered people in need of international protection and humanitarian assistance (Léon 2018). Accordingly, unlike refugees or internally displaced persons (IDPs) migrants generally fall out of the humanitarian architecture.[3] Yet, notwithstanding the reasons for migrating, people on the move can become vulnerable to human trafficking, sexual exploitation and other forms of abuse during their journey. They strand at borders and live in deplorable conditions (Léon 2018).

      The UN Secretary General’s Agenda for Humanity therefore stresses the importance of addressing the vulnerabilities of migrants. This entails providing more regular and legal pathways for migration but also requires “a collective and comprehensive response to displacement, migration and mobility”, including the provision of humanitarian visas and protection for people on the move who do not fall under the narrow confines of the 1951 Refugee Convention.[4] The view that specific vulnerabilities of migrants are to be integrated into humanitarian response plans is reflected in the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s approach to migration, which is strictly humanitarian and focuses on the needs and vulnerabilities of migrants irrespective of their legal status, type, or category (Linde 2009).

      Thereby, the term ‘migrant’ is deliberately kept broad to include the needs of labour migrants, vulnerabilities due to statelessness or being considered irregular by public authorities (ibid.). Despite this clear commitment to the protection of people on the move, migrants remain a vulnerable group with a high number losing their lives on migratory routes or going missing. Home to three main migratory routes, the Mediterranean is considered one of the world’s deadliest migration routes.[5]

      When in 2015 an unprecedented number of people made their way into Europe this exposed the unpreparedness of the EU and its member states in reacting quickly and effectively to the needs of people on the move. A report by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) on refugees and vulnerable migrants in Europe concludes that “Europe’s actual humanitarian response must be judged a failure in many respects; basic needs have not been met and vulnerable people have not been protected” (De Largy 2016).

      For humanitarian organisations with experience in setting up and managing camps in countries of the Global South, managing the humanitarian response in their own backyard seems to have posed significant challenges. When more than one million people arrived in 2015, most international humanitarian organisations had no operational agreement with European states, no presences in affected areas, no funding lines for European activities and no established channels to mobilise resources (ibid.). This has led to protection gaps in the humanitarian response, which, in many cases, have been filled by activists, volunteers and civil society actors. Despite a number of factors, including the EU-Turkey deal, arrangements with Libya and toughening border controls, have since lead to a decline in the number of people arriving in Europe, sustained humanitarian action is needed and these actors continue to provide essential services to refugees and vulnerable migrants. However, with hostile attitudes towards migrants on the rise, and the marked effects of several successful smear campaigns, a number of organisations and civil society actors have taken it upon themselves to bring much needed attention to the shrinking space for civil society.
      Shrinking Humanitarian Space in Europe

      The shrinking space for civil society action is also impacting on the space for principled humanitarian action in Europe. While no agreed upon definition of humanitarian space[6] exists, the concept is used in reference to the physical access that humanitarian organisations have to the affected population, the nature of the operating environment for the humanitarian response including security conditions, and the ability of humanitarian actors to adhere to the core principles of humanitarian action (Collinson and Elhawary 2012: 2). Moreover, the concept includes the ability of affected people to reach lifesaving assistance and protection. The independence of humanitarian action from politics is central to this definition of humanitarian space, emphasising the need to adhere to the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence as well as to maintain a clear distinction between the roles and functions of humanitarian in contrast to those of military and political actors (OCHA, 2003). Humanitarian actors within this space strive to achieve their mission of saving lives and alleviating suffering by seeking ongoing access to the affected population.

      Though the many organisations, volunteers and individuals that work on migration issues in Europe would not all self-identify or be considered purely humanitarian organisations, many of them provide life-saving services to people on the move. Thus, the humanitarian space is occupied by a diversity of actors, including human rights organisations, solidarity networks, and concerned individuals alongside more traditional humanitarian actors (Léon 2018).

      Referring to the limited room for agency and restricted access to the affected population, the shrinking humanitarian space in Europe has been linked to the spreading of populism, restrictive migration policies, the securitisation of migration and the criminalisation of humanitarian action (Hammerl 2019). These developments are by no means limited to Europe. Other regions of the world witness a similar shrinking of the humanitarian space for assisting people on the move. In Europe and elsewhere migration and asylum policies have to a great extent determined the humanitarian space. Indeed, EU migration policies have negatively affected the ways in which humanitarian actors are able to carry out their work along the migration routes, limiting the space for principled humanitarian action (Atger 2019). These policies are primarily directed at combatting human trafficking and smuggling, protecting European borders and national security interests. Through prioritising security over humanitarian action, they have contributed to the criminalisation of individuals and organisations that work with people on the move (ibid.). As has been particularly visible in the context of civilian maritime SAR activities, the criminalisation of humanitarian action, bureaucratic hurdles, and attacks on and harassment of aid workers and volunteers have limited the access to the affected population in Europe.
      Criminalisation

      The criminalisation of migration that has limited the space for principled humanitarian action is a process that occurs along three interrelated lines: first, the discursive criminalisation of migration; second, the interweaving of criminal law and policing for migration management purposes; and finally, the use of detention as a way of controlling people on the move (Hammerl 2019, citing Parkin). With media and public discourse asserting that migrants are ‘illegal’, people assisting them have been prosecuted on the grounds of facilitating illegal entry, human trafficking and smuggling.

      Already back in 2002, the Cypriot NGO Action for Equality, Support and Anti-Racism (KISA) was prosecuted under criminal law after it had launched a financial appeal to cover healthcare costs for a migrant worker (Fekete 2009). This is just been one of six cases in which the Director of an organisation has been arrested for his work with migrants.[7] While KISA takes a clear human rights stance, these trends are also observable for humanitarian activities such as providing food or shelter. Individuals and organisations providing assistance and transportation to migrants have faced legal prosecution in France and Belgium for human smuggling in 2018. Offering shelter to migrants in transit has led to arrests of individuals accused of human trafficking (Atger 2019).[8] The criminalisation of civilian maritime SAR activities has led to the arrest and prosecution of crew members and the seizing of rescue vessels.

      The tension between anti-smuggling and anti-trafficking laws and humanitarian action is a result of the European ‘Facilitators’ Package’ from 2002 that defines the facilitation of unauthorised entry, transit and residence.[9] Though the Directive and its implementation in national legislatures foresees humanitarian exemptions[10], the impact of these laws and regulations on the humanitarian space has been critical. Lacking clarity, these laws have been implemented differently by EU member states and created a sense of uncertainty for individuals and organisations assisting migrants, who now risk criminal prosecution (Carrera et al. 2018). In several EU member states with humanitarian exemptions, humanitarian actors were reportedly prosecuted (ibid.). A case in point is Greece, which has a specific humanitarian exemption applying to maritime SAR activities and the facilitation of entry for asylum seekers rescued at sea. Despite sounding promising at first, this has not prevented the prosecution of volunteer crew members of the Emergency Response Centre International (ERCI) due to the existence of two legal loopholes. The first of these works on the basis that rescuers are not able to identify who is in need of international protection, and second, the legal framework contains an exemption from punishment, but not prosecution.[11]
      Bureaucratic Hurdles

      Besides the criminalisation of humanitarian activities, across Europe – predominantly at borders – administrative decisions and rules have narrowed the space for humanitarian action (Atger 2019). In countries such as France, Germany, Hungary, Spain and Italy, laws and regulations prevent organisations from accessing reception centres or transit zones between borders (Hammerl 2019, Amnesty 2019). A reduction of financial support and tighter legal requirements for operation further hinder organisations to assist people on the move (Atger 2019). In the case of maritime SAR operations, NGOs had to stop their operations due to de-flagging of rescue ships as ordered by EU member state authorities.[12]

      Access to people on the move is obstructed in manifold ways and organisations face a mix of intimidations strategies and bureaucratic obstacles in their mission to deliver aid (Léon 2018). In Germany, new asylum policies in 2015 changed the provision of the previous cash-based assistance to in-kind aid.[13] This is inconsistent with German humanitarian policy in other migrant and refugee hosting countries, where the German Foreign Ministry promotes cash-based programming as an efficient, effective and dignified way of assisting people in need.

      Apart from instructions and orders by public authorities and law enforcement entities, other tactics range from frequent ID checks, parking fines to threats of arrest (Amnesty 2019). In Calais, humanitarian action was obstructed when the municipality of Calais prohibited the distribution of food as well as the delivery of temporary showers to the site by a local charity with two municipal orders in March 2017 (Amnesty 2019). In 2017, the Hungarian Parliament passed the so-called LEX NGO. Like the foreign agent law in Russia, it includes provisions for NGOs that receive more than EUR 23 000 per year from abroad (including EU member states) to register as “organisations receiving foreign funding”. Coupled with a draft bill of a new Tax Law that establishes a 25% punitive tax to be paid for “propaganda activities that indicate positive aspects of migration”, these attempts to curtail work with migrants has a chilling effect both on NGOs and donors. As the punitive tax is to be paid by the donor organisation, or by the NGO itself in case the donor fails to do so, organisations risk bankruptcy.[14]
      Policing Humanitarianism[15]

      An increasingly hostile environment towards migration, fuelled by anti-immigrant sentiments and public discourse, has led to suspicion, intimidation and harassment of individuals and organisations working to assist and protect them. The securitisation of migration (Lazaridis and Wadia 2015), in which migrants are constructed as a potential security threat and a general atmosphere of fear is created, has given impetus to a general policing of humanitarian action. Even when not criminalised, humanitarian actors have been hindered in their work by a whole range of dissuasion and intimidation strategies. Civilian maritime SAR organisations in particular have been targets of defamation and anti-immigration rhetoric. Though analyses of migratory trends have proved that a correlation between SAR operations and an increase of migrant crossings was indeed erroneous (Cusumano and Pattison, Crawley et al. 2016, Cummings et al. 2015), organisations are still being accused of both constituting a pull-factor for migration (Fekete 2018) and of working together with human traffickers. In some instances, this has led to them being labelled as taxis for ‘illegal’ migrants (Hammerl 2019). In Greece, and elsewhere, volunteers assisting migrants have been subject to police harassment. Smear campaigns, especially in the context of SAR operations in the Mediterranean, have affected the humanitarian sector as a whole “by creating suspicion towards the work of humanitarians” (Atger 2019). Consequently, organisations have encountered difficulties in recruiting volunteers and seen a decline in donations. This prevented some organisations from publicly announcing their participation in maritime SAR or their work with migrants.[16] In severe cases, humanitarian actors suffered physical threats by security personnel or “self-proclaimed vigilante groups” (Hammerl 2019).

      Moreover, having to work alongside security forces and within a policy framework that primarily aims at border policing and migration deterrence (justified on humanitarian grounds), humanitarian actors risk being associated with migration control techniques in the management of ‘humanitarian borders’ (Moreno-Lax 2018, Pallister-Wilkins 2018). When Italy in 2017 urged search and rescue organisations to sign a controversial Code of Conduct in order to continue disembarkation at Italian ports, some organisations refused to do so. The Code of Conduct endangered humanitarian principles by making life-saving activities conditional on collaborating in the fight against smugglers and the presence of law enforcement personnel on board (Cusumano 2019).

      Beyond the maritime space, the politicisation of EU aid jeopardises the neutrality of humanitarian actors, forcing them to either disengage or be associated with a political agenda of migration deterrence. Humanitarian organisations are increasingly requested to grant immigration authorities access to their premises, services and data (Atger 2019). In Greece, a legislation was introduced in 2016 which entailed the close monitoring of, and restrictive access for, volunteers and NGOs assisting asylum seekers, thereby placing humanitarian action under the supervision of security forces (Hammerl 2019). As a consequence of the EU-Turkey Deal in 2016, MSF announced[17] that it would no longer accept funding by EU states and institutions “only to treat the victims of their policies” (Atger 2019).
      The Way Ahead

      The shrinking space poses a fundamental challenge for principled humanitarian action in Europe. The shrinking humanitarian space can only be understood against the backdrop of a general shrinking civil space in Europe (Strachwitz 2019, Wachsmann and Bouchet 2019). However, the ways in which the shrinking space affects humanitarian action in Europe has so far received little attention in the humanitarian sector. The problem goes well beyond the widely discussed obstacles to civilian maritime SAR operations.

      Humanitarian organisations across Europe assist people arriving at ports, staying in official or unofficial camps or being in transit. An increasingly hostile environment that is fuelled by populist and securitisation discourses limits access to, and protection of, people on the move both on land and at sea. The criminalisation of aid, bureaucratic hurdles and harassment of individuals and organisations assisting migrants are just some of the ways in which humanitarian access is obstructed in Europe.

      A defining feature of humanitarian action in Europe has been the important and essential role of volunteers, civil society organisations and solidarity networks both at the grassroots’ level and across national borders. Large humanitarian actors, on the other hand, took time to position themselves (Léon 2018) or have shied away from a situation that is unfamiliar and could also jeopardize the financial support of their main donors – EU member states.

      Since then, the humanitarian space has been encroached upon in many ways and it has become increasingly difficult for volunteers or (small) humanitarian organisations to assist and protect people on the move. The criminalisation of humanitarian action is particularly visible in the context of civilian maritime SAR activities in the Mediterranean, but also bureaucratic hurdles and the co-optation of the humanitarian response into other political objectives have limited the space for principled humanitarian action. In order to protect people on the move, national, regional and international responses are needed to offer protection and assistance to migrants in countries of origin, transit and destination. Thereby, the humanitarian response needs to be in line with the principles of impartiality, neutrality, and independence to ensure access to the affected population. While the interests of states to counter organised crime, including human trafficking, is legitimate, this should not restrict humanitarian access to vulnerable migrants and refugees.

      In Europe, the biggest obstacle for effective humanitarian action is a lacking political will and the inability of the EU to achieve consensus on migration policies (DeLargy 2016). The Malta Agreement, a result of the latest EU Summit of Home Affairs Ministers in September 2019 and subsequent negotiations in Luxembourg in October of the same year, has failed to address the shortcomings of current migration policies and to remove the obstacles standing in the way of principled humanitarian action in the Mediterranean. For this, new alliances are warranted between humanitarian, human rights and migration focussed organizations to defend the humanitarian space for principled action to provide crucial support to people on the move both on land and at sea.

      http://chaberlin.org/en/publications/migration-and-the-shrinking-humanitarian-space-in-europe-2

      Pour télécharger le rapport:
      http://chaberlin.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/2019-10-debattenbeitrag-migration-shrinking-humanitarian-space-roepstorff
      #CHA #Centre_for_humanitarian_action

  • Amazon shareholders vote down proposals on facial recognition and climate change
    https://www.theverge.com/2019/5/22/18635632/amazon-shareholders-vote-facial-recognition-climate-change-investors-emplo

    Amazon shareholders have voted down proposals meant to curb sales of the company’s controversial facial recognition tool and to limit its carbon output. The proposals, which were driven by shareholding activists and employees, were nonbinding, but represented a moment of defiance against Amazon. The company’s Rekognition tool, which is sold to law enforcement, has been criticized on civil liberties grounds, and employees have said the company could be doing more to fight climate change. Two (...)

    #Amazon #Rekognition #algorithme #écologie #biométrie #facial #vidéo-surveillance #surveillance #militarisation (...)

    ##ACLU

  • Border Official Admits Targeting Journalists and Human Rights Advocates With Smuggling Investigations
    https://theintercept.com/2019/05/17/border-smuggling-journalists-activists

    When first confronted with evidence that it was collaborating with Mexican law enforcement in a sweeping intelligence-gathering operation targeting journalists, activists and attorneys along the U.S.-Mexico divide, Customs and Border Protection was silent. When still more evidence emerged, in the form of documents leaked by a Department of Homeland Security whistleblower, the agency dismissed the significance of the revelations as routine law enforcement work. Now, more than four months (...)

    #US_Customs_and_Border_Protection_(CBP) #DHS #activisme #migration #frontières #surveillance

    ##US_Customs_and_Border_Protection__CBP_

  • Comment Israël arme les dictatures à travers le monde

    Arming dictators, equipping pariahs: Alarming picture of Israel’s arms sales - Israel News - Haaretz.com

    Extensive Amnesty report cites Israeli sales to eight countries who violate human rights, including South Sudan, Myanmar, Mexico and the UAE ■ Amnesty calls on Israel to adopt oversight model adopted by many Western countries ■ Senior Israeli defense official: Export license is only granted after lengthy process
    Amos Harel
    May 17, 2019 5:59 AM

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-arming-dictators-equipping-pariahs-an-alarming-picture-of-israel-s

    A thorough report by Amnesty International is harshly critical of Israel’s policies on arms exports. According to the report written in Hebrew by the organization’s Israeli branch, Israeli companies continue to export weapons to countries that systematically violate human rights. Israeli-made weapons are also found in the hands of armies and organizations committing war crimes. The report points to eight such countries that have received arms from Israel in recent years.

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    Often these weapons reach their destination after a series of transactions, thereby skirting international monitoring and the rules of Israel itself. Amnesty calls on the government, the Knesset and the Defense Ministry to more tightly monitor arms exports and enforce transparency guidelines adopted by other Western countries that engage in large-scale weapons exports.

    In the report, Amnesty notes that the supervision of the arms trade is “a global, not a local issue. The desire and need for better monitoring of global arms sales derives from tragic historical events such as genocide, bloody civil wars and the violent repression of citizens by their governments …. There is a new realization that selling arms to governments and armies that employ violence only fuels violent conflicts and leads to their escalation. Hence, international agreements have been reached with the aim of preventing leaks of military equipment to dictatorial or repressive regimes.”

    >> Read more: Revealed: Israel’s cyber-spy industry helps world dictators hunt dissidents and gays

    The 2014 Arms Trade Treaty established standards for trade in conventional weapons. Israel signed the treaty but the cabinet never ratified it. According to Amnesty, Israel has never acted in the spirit of this treaty, neither by legislation nor its policies.

    “There are functioning models of correct and moral-based monitoring of weapons exports, including the management of public and transparent reporting mechanisms that do not endanger a state’s security or foreign relations,” Amnesty says. “Such models were established by large arms exporters such as members of the European Union and the United States. There is no justification for the fact that Israel continues to belong to a dishonorable club of exporters such as China and Russia.”

    In 2007, the Knesset passed a law regulating the monitoring of weapons exports. The law authorizes the Defense Ministry to oversee such exports, manage their registration and decide on the granting of export licenses. The law defines defense-related exports very broadly, including equipment for information-gathering, and forbids trade in such items without a license.
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    The law does not include a clause limiting exports when there is a high probability that these items will be used in violation of international or humanitarian laws. But the law does prohibit “commerce with foreign agencies that are not in compliance with UN Security Council resolutions that prohibit or limit a transfer of such weapons or missiles to such recipients.”

    According to Amnesty, “the absence of monitoring and transparency have for decades let Israel supply equipment and defense-related knowledge to questionable states and dictatorial or unstable regimes that have been shunned by the international community.”

    The report quotes a 2007 article by Brig. Gen. (res.) Uzi Eilam. “A thick layer of fog has always shrouded the export of military equipment. Destinations considered pariah states by the international community, such as Chile in the days of Pinochet or South Africa during the apartheid years, were on Israel’s list of trade partners,” Eilam wrote.

    “The shroud of secrecy helped avoid pressure by the international community, but also prevented any transparency regarding decisions to sell arms to problematic countries, leaving the judgment and decision in the hands of a small number of people, mainly in the defense establishment.”

    The report presents concrete evidence on Israel’s exports over the last two decades, with arms going to eight countries accused by international institutions of serious human rights violations: South Sudan, Myanmar, the Philippines, Cameroon, Azerbaijan, Sri Lanka, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates. In some of these cases, Israel denied that it exported arms to these countries at specifically mentioned times. In other case it refused to give details.
    Israeli security-related exports

    In its report, Amnesty relies on the research of other human rights groups, on documentation published in the media in those eight countries, and on information gathered by attorney Eitay Mack, who in recent years has battled to expose Israel’s arms deals with shady regimes. Amnesty cross-checks descriptions of exported weapons with human rights violations and war crimes by those countries. In its report, Amnesty says that some of these countries were under sanctions and a weapons-sales embargo, but Israel continued selling them arms.

    According to the organization, “the law on monitoring in its current format is insufficient and has not managed to halt the export of weapons to Sri Lanka, which massacred many of its own citizens; to South Sudan, where the regime and army committed ethnic cleansing and aggravated crimes against humanity such as the mass rape of hundreds of women, men and girls; to Myanmar, where the army committed genocide and the chief of staff, who carried out the arms deal with Israel, is accused of these massacres and other crimes against humanity; and to the Philippines, where the regime and police executed 15,000 civilians without any charges or trials.”

    Amnesty says that this part of the report “is not based on any report by the Defense Ministry relating to military equipment exports, for the simple reason that the ministry refuses to release any information. The total lack of transparency by Israel regarding weapons exports prevents any public discussion of the topic and limits any research or public action intended to improve oversight.”

    One example is the presence of Israeli-made Galil Ace rifles in the South Sudanese army. “With no documentation of sales, one cannot know when they were sold, by which company, how many, and so on,” the report says.

    “All we can say with certainty is that the South Sudanese army currently has Israeli Galil rifles, at a time when there is an international arms embargo on South Sudan, imposed by the UN Security Council, due to ethnic cleansing, as well as crimes against humanity, using rape as a method of war, and due to war crimes the army is perpetrating against the country’s citizens.”

    According to Amnesty, the defense export control agency at the Defense Ministry approved the licenses awarded Israeli companies for selling weapons to these countries, even though it knew about the bad human rights situation there. It did this despite the risk that Israeli exports would be used to violate human rights and despite the embargo on arms sales imposed on some of these countries by the United States and the European Union, as well as other sanctions that were imposed by these countries or the United Nations.

    In response to letters written to the export control agency, its head, Rachel Chen, said: “We can’t divulge whether we’re exporting to one of these countries, but we carefully examine the state of human rights in each country before approving export licenses for selling them weapons.” According to Amnesty, this claim is false, as shown by the example of the eight countries mentioned in the report.

    Amnesty recommends steps for improving the monitoring of defense exports. It says Israel lags American legislation by 20 years, and European legislation by 10 years. “The lack of transparency has further negative implications, such as hiding information from the public,” Amnesty says.
    File photo: Personnel of the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF), assigned as South Sundan’s presidential guard, take part in a drill at their barracks in Rejaf, South Sudan, April 26, 2019.
    File photo: Personnel of the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF), assigned as South Sundan’s presidential guard, take part in a drill at their barracks in Rejaf, South Sudan, April 26, 2019.Alex McBride/AFP

    “The concept by which the Defense Ministry operates is that it is not in the public interest to know which countries buy weapons here, how much and under what conditions. This is an erroneous conception that stems from the wish to conceal, using the well-worn cloak of ‘issues of state security and foreign relations’ as an excuse,” it adds.

    “The veil of secrecy makes it hard to obtain data. In our humble opinion, the information we have gathered and presented in this report is the tip of the iceberg. Most of the evidence is based on official reports issued by the recipient states, such as the Facebook page of the chief of staff in Myanmar, or the site of the Philippine government’s spokesman.”

    The authors say attempts to maintain secrecy in an era of social media and global media coverage are absurd and doomed to fail.

    “Let the reasonable reader ask himself if the powers that sell weapons are concerned about harm to state security resulting from making the information accessible, or whether this is just an excuse, with the veil of secrecy protecting the interests of certain agencies in Israel.”

    Amnesty says Israel ranks eighth among the exporters of heavy weapons around the world. Between 2014 and 2018, Israel’s defense exports comprised 3.1 percent of global sales. Compared with the previous four years, this was a 60 percent increase. The three largest customers of heavy weapons sold by Israel are India, Azerbaijan and Vietnam.

    But the report says defense industries are not the largest or most lucrative contributors to Israeli exports. According to the Defense Ministry, defense exports comprise 10 percent of Israel’s industrial exports. “Defense-related companies in Israel export to 130 countries around the world,” the report says. “Of these, only a minority are countries designated by the UN and the international community as violators of human rights.”

    These are mostly poor countries and the scope of defense exports to them is small compared to the rest of Israel’s exports. According to Amnesty, banning exports to the eight countries would not sting Israel’s defense contractors or their profits, and would certainly not have a public impact. “There is no justification – economic, diplomatic, security-related or strategic – to export weapons to these countries,” the report says.

    Amnesty believes that “the situation is correctable. Israel’s government and the Defense Ministry must increase their monitoring and transparency, similar to what the vast majority of large weapons exporters around the world do except for Russia and China.”

    According to Amnesty, this should be done by amending the law regulating these exports, adding two main clauses. The first would prohibit the awarding of licenses to export to a country with a risk of serious human rights violations, based on international humanitarian law.

    The second would set up a committee to examine the human rights situation in any target state. The committee would include people from outside the defense establishment and the Foreign Ministry such as academics and human rights activists, as is customary in other countries.

    “Monitoring must not only be done, it must be seen, and the Israeli public has every right to know what is done in its name and with its resources, which belong to everyone,” the report says.

    A policy of obscurity

    A senior defense official who read the Amnesty report told Haaretz that many of its claims have been discussed in recent years in petitions to the High Court of Justice. The justices have heard petitions relating to South Sudan, Cameroon and Mexico. However, in all cases, the court accepted the state’s position that deliberations would be held with only one side present – the state, and that its rulings would remain classified.
    File photo: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to a military commander along the Gaza border, southern Israel, March 28, 2019.
    File photo: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to a military commander along the Gaza border, southern Israel, March 28, 2019.Itay Beit On/GPO

    Monitoring of exports has substantially increased since the law was passed, the official said. The authority endowed to the Defense Ministry by this law, including imposing economic sanctions, prohibition of exports and taking legal action against companies, are more far-reaching than in other countries.

    “The process of obtaining an export license in Israel is lengthy, difficult and imposes onerous regulations on exporters," he added. “When there is evidence of human rights violations in a country buying arms from Israel, we treat this with utmost seriousness in our considerations. The fact is that enlightened states respect the laws we have and are interested in the ways we conduct our monitoring.”

    He admitted that Israel does adopt a policy of obscurity with regard to its arms deals. “We don’t share information on whether or to which country we’ve sold arms,” he said. “We’ve provided all the information to the High Court. The plaintiffs do receive fixed laconic responses, but there are diplomatic and security-related circumstances that justify this.”

    “Other countries can be more transparent but we’re in a different place,” he argued. "We don’t dismiss out of hand discussion of these issues. The questions are legitimate but the decisions and polices are made after all the relevant considerations are taken into account.”

    The intense pace of events in recent months – rounds of violence along the Gaza border, Israel’s election, renewed tension between the U.S. and Iran – have left little time to deal with other issues that make the headlines less frequently.

    Israel is currently in the throes of an unprecedented constitutional and political crisis, the outcome of which will seriously impact its standing as a law-abiding state. If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu succeeds in his plan to halt all legal proceedings against him, legislating an immunity law and restricting the jurisdiction of the High Court, all other issues would pale in comparison.

    There is some logic to the claim that Israel cannot be holier than thou when it comes to arms sales in the global market, and yet, the Amnesty report depicts a horrific image, backed by reliable data, but also makes suggestions for improvement that seem reasonable.

    Numerous reports over the last year show that the problem is not restricted to the sale of light weapons, but might be exacerbated by the spread of cyberwarfare tools developed by Israel and what dark regimes can do with these. Even if it happens through a twisted chain of sub-contractors, the state can’t play innocent. Therefore, it’s worthwhile listening to Amnesty’s criticism and suggestions for improvement.
    Amos Harel

  • The Future Is Here, and It Features Hackers Getting Bombed – Foreign Policy
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/05/06/the-future-is-here-and-it-features-hackers-getting-bombed


    Smoke billows from a targeted neighborhood in Gaza City during an Israeli airstrike on the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave on May 5.
    MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

    Israeli armed forces responded to a Hamas cyberattack by bombing the group’s hacking headquarters.

    With an airstrike on Sunday, the Israeli military provided a glimpse of the future of warfare.

    After blocking a cyberattack that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said was launched by operatives working on behalf of the militant group Hamas, the IDF carried out an airstrike in Gaza targeting the building in which the hackers worked, partially destroying it. The strike appears to be the first time that a nation’s military has responded in real time to a cyberattack with physical force.

    In a tweet, the IDF declared victory, saying: “We thwarted an attempted Hamas cyber offensive against Israeli targets. Following our successful cyber defensive operation, we targeted a building where the Hamas cyber operatives work.

    HamasCyberHQ.exe has been removed,” the tweet added, in what appears to have been a macabre attempt at a joke using an invented file name.

    For years, countries have used policy documents and strategy white papers to warn that they reserved the right to choose the method by which they respond to cyberattacks, either in kind through cyberspace or with physical force, said Catherine Lotrionte, an expert on international law and a professor at Georgetown University. Now, Israel has made those warnings concrete.

    You’ve got a physical operation against a building that was in response to an ongoing cyberattack or at least a cyberattack that Hamas was planning—that’s the interesting part,” Lotrionte said.

    Key questions remain about the Israeli operation, and IDF officials declined to answer questions from Foreign Policy about the nature of the attack launched by Hamas against Israel.

    In a press statement, the IDF said Hamas “attempted to establish offensive cyber capabilities within the Gaza Strip and to try and harm the Israeli cyber realm.” These “efforts were discovered in advance and thwarted,” and following the operation to thwart the cyberattack, “the IDF attacked a building from which the members of Hamas’ cyber array operated.

    The decision to bomb a Hamas hacking unit comes as armed forces are increasingly integrating cyberoperations into their militaries, and the Israeli decision to target such a unit was completely unsurprising to scholars and practitioners of cyberwarfare.

    It’s no surprise that in a digital age marked by heightened risk of cyberwarfare a nation-state engaged in a noninternational armed conflict would regard the cyber-capabilities of its adversary as valid military targets under international law,” said David Simon, a lawyer at the law firm Mayer Brown who worked on cybersecurity policy and operations as a special counsel at the U.S. Defense Department.

    And even if the notion of bombing hackers appears surprising on its face, Israel was likely on solid legal footing when it did so, provided that the hackers were in fact carrying out an offensive operation on behalf of a militant group engaged in armed conflict with Israel.

    Legal experts emphasized that the context of Sunday’s strike was key in understanding Israel’s calculus to carry it out. The strike came amid a renewed period of fighting that saw Palestinian militants fire hundreds of rockets into Israeli territory, with Israel responding with an intense artillery and aerial barrage of Gaza.

    Militaries around the world have recognized cyberspace as a domain of military operations, and that leaves hackers participating in an armed conflict in a highly exposed position. “Hackers who are engaged in military attacks are legitimate targets,” said Gary Brown, a cyberlaw professor at the National Defense University.

    Militant groups such as Hamas have invested heavily in their online operations in recent years, using them as a way to poke at far more powerful, better resourced opponents. Cyberspace serves as a key way to distribute propaganda and gain intelligence about adversaries.

    In one notorious example, a hacker working on behalf of the militant group Islamic Jihad pleaded guilty in 2017 to charges of hacking into the video feeds of IDF drones carrying out surveillance over Gaza.

    Sunday’s bombing is not the first time hackers have been targeted in airstrikes—though it is believed to be the first time hackers engaged in an ongoing operation have been hit. In 2015, a U.S. airstrike in Syria killed the Islamic State hacker Junaid Hussain, who had become a prolific propagandist and recruiter for the group.

    Hussain hacked into the personal accounts of hundreds of U.S. service members and posted their personal information online and helped recruit the men who opened fire in 2015 on a cartoon exhibition in Garland, Texas. As he ascended the ranks of the Islamic State’s leadership, he was singled out to be killed.

    Hussain’s killing arguably laid the groundwork for Sunday’s strike, which experts argue sends a message to hackers engaged in offensive activity.

    It’s kind of a wake-up call for people who thought they were going to be able to engage in cyberactivity with impunity,” Brown said. “It now looks like states are willing to reach behind the lines and strike hackers.

    • Si je lis bien le communiqué des Forces de défense israéliennes, il ne s’agit pas du tout d’une riposte comme cela est repris partout, mais bien d’une attaque préemptive, pour parler comme un précédent président états-unien.

      https://twitter.com/IDF/status/1125066395010699264

      CLEARED FOR RELEASE: We thwarted an attempted Hamas cyber offensive against Israeli targets. Following our successful cyber defensive operation, we targeted a building where the Hamas cyber operatives work.

      HamasCyberHQ.exe has been removed.

      Je ne trouve pas le communiqué de presse du porte-parolat de l’armée israélienne. Mais celui-ci semble sans ambiguïté.

      IDF : Hamas cyber attack against Israel foiled - Israel National News
      http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/262717

      Over the course of the weekend, a joint IDF and Israel Security Agency (ISA) operation thwarted an attempted cyber attack by Hamas targeting Israeli sites, according to a press release by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit on Sunday.

      The Hamas terrorist organization attempted to establish offensive cyber capabilities within the Gaza Strip and to try and harm Israeli cyber targets.

      All of Hamas’ efforts were discovered in advance and thwarted. Hamas’ cyber efforts, which included an attempt in recent days, failed to achieve its goals.

      Following Israel’s technological activities to stop Hamas’s cyber efforts, the IDF attacked a building from which the members of Hamas’ cyber array operated.

      Israel’s cyber efforts and defensive capabilities have led Hamas’ cyber attempts to fail time and time again," a senior ISA official said.

    • On se demande vraiment comment David Israël, associé à David etats-unis, david Union européenne, david Canada, david Australie, david Nouvelle-Zélande, sans oublier les divers arabes modérés de la région, on se demande donc comment ces David et modérés réussissent à faire en sorte que les « cyber-efforts et les capacités défensives d’Israël » conduisent les « cyber-tentatives du [GOLIATHISSIME] Hamas à échouer à plusieurs reprises. »

  • The Terrifying Potential of the 5G Network | The New Yorker
    https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-communications/the-terrifying-potential-of-the-5g-network

    Two words explain the difference between our current wireless networks and 5G: speed and latency. 5G—if you believe the hype—is expected to be up to a hundred times faster. (A two-hour movie could be downloaded in less than four seconds.) That speed will reduce, and possibly eliminate, the delay—the latency—between instructing a computer to perform a command and its execution. This, again, if you believe the hype, will lead to a whole new Internet of Things, where everything from toasters to dog collars to dialysis pumps to running shoes will be connected. Remote robotic surgery will be routine, the military will develop hypersonic weapons, and autonomous vehicles will cruise safely along smart highways. The claims are extravagant, and the stakes are high. One estimate projects that 5G will pump twelve trillion dollars into the global economy by 2035, and add twenty-two million new jobs in the United States alone. This 5G world, we are told, will usher in a fourth industrial revolution.

    A totally connected world will also be especially susceptible to cyberattacks. Even before the introduction of 5G networks, hackers have breached the control center of a municipal dam system, stopped an Internet-connected car as it travelled down an interstate, and sabotaged home appliances. Ransomware, malware, crypto-jacking, identity theft, and data breaches have become so common that more Americans are afraid of cybercrime than they are of becoming a victim of violent crime. Adding more devices to the online universe is destined to create more opportunities for disruption. “5G is not just for refrigerators,” Spalding said. “It’s farm implements, it’s airplanes, it’s all kinds of different things that can actually kill people or that allow someone to reach into the network and direct those things to do what they want them to do. It’s a completely different threat that we’ve never experienced before.”

    Spalding’s solution, he told me, was to build the 5G network from scratch, incorporating cyber defenses into its design.

    There are very good reasons to keep a company that appears to be beholden to a government with a documented history of industrial cyber espionage, international data theft, and domestic spying out of global digital networks. But banning Huawei hardware will not secure those networks. Even in the absence of Huawei equipment, systems still may rely on software developed in China, and software can be reprogrammed remotely by malicious actors. And every device connected to the fifth-generation Internet will likely remain susceptible to hacking. According to James Baker, the former F.B.I. general counsel who runs the national-security program at the R Street Institute, “There’s a concern that those devices that are connected to the 5G network are not going to be very secure from a cyber perspective. That presents a huge vulnerability for the system, because those devices can be turned into bots, for example, and you can have a massive botnet that can be used to attack different parts of the network.”

    This past January, Tom Wheeler, who was the F.C.C. chairman during the Obama Administration, published an Op-Ed in the New York Times titled “If 5G Is So Important, Why Isn’t It Secure?” The Trump Administration had walked away from security efforts begun during Wheeler’s tenure at the F.C.C.; most notably, in recent negotiations over international standards, the U.S. eliminated a requirement that the technical specifications of 5G include cyber defense. “For the first time in history,” Wheeler wrote, “cybersecurity was being required as a forethought in the design of a new network standard—until the Trump F.C.C. repealed it.” The agency also rejected the notion that companies building and running American digital networks were responsible for overseeing their security. This might have been expected, but the current F.C.C. does not consider cybersecurity to be a part of its domain, either. “I certainly did when we were in office,” Wheeler told me. “But the Republicans who were on the commission at that point in time, and are still there, one being the chairman, opposed those activities as being overly regulatory.”

    Opening up new spectrum is crucial to achieving the super-fast speeds promised by 5G. Most American carriers are planning to migrate their services to a higher part of the spectrum, where the bands are big and broad and allow for colossal rivers of data to flow through them. (Some carriers are also working with lower-spectrum frequencies, where the speeds will not be as fast but likely more reliable.) Until recently, these high-frequency bands, which are called millimetre waves, were not available for Internet transmission, but advances in antenna technology have made it possible, at least in theory. In practice, millimetre waves are finicky: they can only travel short distances—about a thousand feet—and are impeded by walls, foliage, human bodies, and, apparently, rain.

    Deploying millions of wireless relays so close to one another and, therefore, to our bodies has elicited its own concerns. Two years ago, a hundred and eighty scientists and doctors from thirty-six countries appealed to the European Union for a moratorium on 5G adoption until the effects of the expected increase in low-level radiation were studied. In February, Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, took both the F.C.C. and F.D.A. to task for pushing ahead with 5G without assessing its health risks. “We’re kind of flying blind here,” he concluded. A system built on millions of cell relays, antennas, and sensors also offers previously unthinkable surveillance potential. Telecom companies already sell location data to marketers, and law enforcement has used similar data to track protesters. 5G will catalogue exactly where someone has come from, where they are going, and what they are doing. “To give one made-up example,” Steve Bellovin, a computer-science professor at Columbia University, told the Wall Street Journal, “might a pollution sensor detect cigarette smoke or vaping, while a Bluetooth receiver picks up the identities of nearby phones? Insurance companies might be interested.” Paired with facial recognition and artificial intelligence, the data streams and location capabilities of 5G will make anonymity a historical artifact.

    To accommodate these limitations, 5G cellular relays will have to be installed inside buildings and on every city block, at least. Cell relays mounted on thirteen million utility poles, for example, will deliver 5G speeds to just over half of the American population, and cost around four hundred billion dollars to install. Rural communities will be out of luck—too many trees, too few people—despite the F.C.C.’s recently announced Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.

    Deploying millions of wireless relays so close to one another and, therefore, to our bodies has elicited its own concerns. Two years ago, a hundred and eighty scientists and doctors from thirty-six countries appealed to the European Union for a moratorium on 5G adoption until the effects of the expected increase in low-level radiation were studied. In February, Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, took both the F.C.C. and F.D.A. to task for pushing ahead with 5G without assessing its health risks. “We’re kind of flying blind here,” he concluded. A system built on millions of cell relays, antennas, and sensors also offers previously unthinkable surveillance potential. Telecom companies already sell location data to marketers, and law enforcement has used similar data to track protesters. 5G will catalogue exactly where someone has come from, where they are going, and what they are doing. “To give one made-up example,” Steve Bellovin, a computer-science professor at Columbia University, told the Wall Street Journal, “might a pollution sensor detect cigarette smoke or vaping, while a Bluetooth receiver picks up the identities of nearby phones? Insurance companies might be interested.” Paired with facial recognition and artificial intelligence, the data streams and location capabilities of 5G will make anonymity a historical artifact.

    #Surveillance #Santé #5G #Cybersécurité

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

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

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

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

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

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

    https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/05/politics/cbp-terminate-hiring-contract-accenture/index.html
    #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #USA #Ests-Unis #complexe_militaro-industriel #business

    • Border Profiteers

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

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

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

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

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

      Family Values

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Violence is the Point

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

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

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

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

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

      Branding the Border

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Triumph of the Techno-Nativists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      https://thebaffler.com/outbursts/border-profiteers-oconnor

    • La réponse du HCR:
      UNHCR strongly rejects widespread allegations against workforce

      The following is UNHCR’s response to media following widespread allegations made against its workforce in a recent NBC press article.

      UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, strongly rejects the widespread allegations against its workforce in a recent press article, which risks jeopardizing the future of refugees in dire need of resettlement.

      UNHCR is one of the biggest and most operational UN agencies, working in 138 countries and serving 68.5 million people. The overwhelmingly majority of our 16,000 personnel are deeply committed professionals, many of whom are working in difficult environments, sometimes risking their own safety.

      As with other organizations, we are not immune to risk or failure on the part of individuals. This is why we have a solid safeguarding structure, which has been further strengthened in the last two years, and which we continuously seek to improve.

      We are fully committed to ensuring the integrity of our programmes. Our workforce is also systematically reminded of the obligation to abide by the highest standards of conduct and to make sure that all their actions are free of any consideration of personal gain.

      Every report or allegation of fraud, corruption or retaliation against refugees by UNHCR personnel or those working for our partners, is thoroughly assessed and, if substantiated, results in disciplinary sanctions, including summary dismissal from the organization.

      Investigations at UNHCR on possible misconduct by our workforce are carried out by the Inspector General’s Office (IGO), which is an independent oversight body. It consists of expert investigators, with a strong background in law enforcement, military, war crimes tribunals or people who occupied similar functions in private companies and other international organizations. In recent years, additional investigators were recruited and some stationed in Nairobi, Pretoria and Bangkok enabling them to deploy rapidly and to have a better understanding of local contexts and issues.

      UNHCR disciplinary measures have been reinforced, with a 60% rise in the number of disciplinary actions taken by the High Commissioner between 2017 and 2018. Referrals to national authorities are undertaken systematically in cases involving conduct that may amount to criminal conduct and waivers of immunity facilitated.

      In addition, we have significantly strengthened our risk management capacity and skills in the past two years. We now have a solid network of some 300 risk officers, focal points and managers in our field operations and at HQ to help ensure that risks are properly identified and managed, that the integrity of our programmes is further enhanced and that the risk culture is reinforced across the organization.

      The prevention of fraud, including identity fraud, is key to ensuring the integrity of our resettlement programme. This is why we use biometrics in registration, including iris scans and fingerprints, in the majority of refugee operations where we operate, including Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. Biometric registration makes theft of identity virtually impossible and biometric screening of refugees is done at various stages of the resettlement process, including right before departure. In other places, such as Libya and Yemen, where security conditions do not allow us to deploy such a tool, we take all possible preventive measures related to fraud.

      We are acutely aware that refugees are at times approached by people trying to defraud them. For example, reports and investigations have found multiple occasions where people pose as UNHCR officials, using fake ID cards and claiming that they can influence the resettlement process. While it is impossible for UNHCR to root out ground level imposters, we have taken renewed action to raise awareness among refugees, help them recognize and report fraudsters, reminding them that all services provided by UNHCR and its partners are free.

      Resettlement is highly sought after by refugees. UNHCR considered 1.2 million people to have resettlement needs in 2018 alone, while less than 60,000 people were resettled last year. In 2019, those needs further increased. The fact that the needs for resettlement are far greater than the places available is a factor that weighs heavily in favor of those wishing to exploit desperate refugees, many of whom have lived many years in refugee camps, with no foreseeable end to their plight in sight for themselves or their children.

      UNHCR strives to ensure that refugees have proper means to provide feedback. This is essential to ensure their protection and the very reason why we completed last year a survey across 41 countries. We are using the information on the communication systems most commonly used by our beneficiaries – such as complaint boxes, hotlines, emails, social media and face to face interaction – and existing challenges to strengthen these mechanisms. In Kenya, for instance, refugees can report misconduct of any staff member of UNHCR, a partner or a contractor by email (inspector@unhcr.org or helpline.kenya@unhcr.org), by filling in a webform (www.unhcr.org/php/complaints.php), by using complaints boxes that are available at all UNHCR offices or by calling our toll-free local Helpline (800720063).

      UNHCR recognizes its responsibility to protect refugees, particularly those who come forward and cooperate with an investigation to root out misconduct. Significant attention has been devoted to strengthening measures to protect witnesses and people of concern who cooperate with an IGO investigation and these efforts are continuing. We have put a specific protocol in place, with steps taken during the investigation phase, including in the conduct of interviews, the anonymization of testimony and redaction of investigative findings and reports.

      When it comes to our own staff being targeted, our record is clear: If a staff member is found to have retaliated against another member of our workforce for reporting wrongdoing, it leads to dismissal. We have a robust policy to protect staff members that are retaliated against. In September 2018, we issued a new policy on Protection against Retaliation, which now includes our affiliate workforce, expands the scope of the activities considered as protected and extends the timeline to report. It also provides interim measures to safeguard the interests of the complainant and strengthens corrective measures.

      We also launched a confidential independent helpline available to all colleagues who wish to report misconduct or obtain advice on what to do when in doubt. This helpline is managed by an external provider and is available 24/7 by phone, through a web form and an app. It offers the possibility to report in complete anonymity.

      We are committed to eradicating misconduct from our organization. If we receive pertinent information concerning alleged fraud, corruption or misconduct by a member of our workforce, we take action, and if the allegations are substantiated, act to end such inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour. UNHCR encourages anyone, including refugees and journalists, with information about suspected fraud or other wrongdoing to contact its Inspector General’s Office without delay at http://www.unhcr.org/inspector-generals-office.html.

      https://www.unhcr.org/news/press/2019/4/5ca8a2594/unhcr-strongly-rejects-widespread-allegations-against-workforce.html

  • Top 5 Privacy Coins for a Regulated #crypto Market
    https://hackernoon.com/top-5-privacy-coins-for-a-regulated-crypto-market-b126062f0293?source=rs

    Regulatory pressure from governments, local central banks, and specialized law enforcement is pushing cryptocurrencies to adopting privacy-focused capabilities. That’s precisely how TeleCoin found itself building the Trend-Setter platform and why Charlie Lee, the founder of Litecoin, announced confidential transactions for its coin.Given all the recent legal actions with crypto exchanges being shut down, Coinbase forced to give user records, and India banning #cryptocurrency use entirely, coin owners aren’t having the best time right now. A couple of years ago, being an early adopter meant being a part of the geek club, and that club came with a significant profits. But after 2018, while the market can still be considered in its early stages, being an early adopter is neither cool nor (...)

    #education #bitcoin #blockchain

  • ’The formation of an educated class must be averted’: How Israel marginalized Arabs from the start - Israel News - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-avert-the-formation-of-an-educated-class-israel-marginalized-arabs

    As early as 60 years ago, Israel’s political leadership gave up on the attempt to integrate the country’s Arabs and grant them equal citizenship. A document drawn up for an internal discussion in Mapai, the ruling party and forerunner of Labor, in September 1959, proposed the implementation of policy based on the following approach: “We should continue to exhaust all the possibilities [inherent in] the policy of communal divisiveness that bore fruit in the past and has succeeded in creating a barrier – even if at times artificial – between certain segments of the Arab population.”

    • Documents from Israel’s first decades reveal the leadership’s efforts to divide and alienate the Arab citizenry
      Adam Raz | Mar. 28, 2019 | 10:26 PM

      “There’s no place for illusions that this combination [of tactics] could turn the Arabs into loyal citizens, but over time it will reduce to some extent the open hostility and prevent its active expression.” – From a document containing recommendations for dealing with the Arab minority in Israel, September 1959, Labor Party Archives

      As early as 60 years ago, Israel’s political leadership gave up on the attempt to integrate the country’s Arabs and grant them equal citizenship. A document drawn up for an internal discussion in Mapai, the ruling party and forerunner of Labor, in September 1959, proposed the implementation of policy based on the following approach: “We should continue to exhaust all the possibilities [inherent in] the policy of communal divisiveness that bore fruit in the past and has succeeded in creating a barrier – even if at times artificial – between certain segments of the Arab population.”

      The assessment that the Arab public would never be loyal to the Jewish state remained entrenched in the following decade as well. For example, it underlay a lengthy document written by Shmuel Toledano, the Prime Minister’s Advisor on Arab affairs. In July 1965, the document served as the point of departure for a top-secret discussion between Toledano and the heads of the Shin Bet security service, the Mossad, the Israel Police, the Foreign Ministry and the Education Ministry (representatives of the Arab public weren’t invited).

      According to the document, “We must not demand from the Arab minority loyalty in the full sense of the word, to the point of identifying with the goals of a Jewish state (ingathering of the exiles and other values related to the national and religious way of life of the Jewish people). Such a demand is neither practical nor legitimate.” Instead, “We should strive for the Arabs’ passive acceptance of the state’s existence and for them to become law-abiding citizens.”

      These two documents address diverse issues having to do with the life of Israel’s Arab citizens. They help illuminate the state leadership’s official efforts to prevent the politicization of Arab society as well as its resistance to the emergence of a modern leadership among the country’s Arabs. These discussions were held, it bears noting, at a time when the majority of the Arab community in Israel (the exception being residents of Haifa and Jaffa) lived under a military regime – which was not lifted until 1966 – that included a permanent night curfew and a need for permits for traveling in the country.

      One item on the agenda of the 1965 discussion was the “Arab intelligentsia” in Israel. The document drawn up in that connection stated emphatically, “The formation of a broad educated class must be averted as far as possible.” Reason: An educated class tends to adopt “positions of radical leadership.” Accordingly, the document recommended “gradual solutions.” For example, “The entry of Arab students into institutions of higher learning should not be encouraged, but into professions and industries that hold the promise of appropriate employment.” The document elaborates: natural sciences and medicine – yes; humanities and law – no.

      The core of the Toledano document is its recommendation to block creation of political associations among the Arabs “in order to prevent the establishment of separate political entities on a national basis.” From the state’s point of view, the Arab electorate should manifest itself in the form of support for the Zionist parties. The latter, for their part, should open “their gates” to the Arabs and integrate them into their ranks “gradually and experimentally.”

      The grounds for this approach can be found in the 1959 document. It states that the policy of divisiveness pursued so far regarding the Arab population “has allowed the state, during the period of its existence, to prevent the consolidation of the Arab minority into a united bloc, and in large measure has given the leaders of each community an outlet to deal with their communal affairs instead of with general Arab affairs.”

      A perusal of the documents generates a feeling of sad irony. In the 1950s and ‘60s, the Israeli leadership acted vigorously to prevent the establishment of independent Arab political parties. The aim was to have slates of Arab candidates appended to the Zionist slates via “satellite parties,” and for Arab representatives to be guaranteed places in the parent parties. In other words, independent Arab parties conflicted with the establishment’s interests.

      Today, in contrast to the establishment’s position at the time, the Arab parties are independent entities, while the Zionist parties have hardly any Arab representatives. But this is an illusory reversal: Substantively, little has changed. Whereas the goal of integrating Arabs into the Zionist parties in the country’s first decades was intended to depoliticize the Arab community, their displacement from the big parties today only preserves the separation between the peoples and distances the Arab community from the centers of decision-making. If at the outset the Arabs were a fig leaf, today they have become a scapegoat.

      In opposition 70 years

      Even today, separation remains the underlying rationale of the near-absence of Arab MKs in the center-left parties. Not only does the current situation reflect the will of the parties’ leaders (which include parties that don’t even have a primary), at times they seem to be competing among themselves over who is most hostile to “the Arabs.” The Labor Party, for example, has shown in recent years that it has no interest in true activity by Arabs within it, and its slate of Knesset candidates doesn’t guarantee a realistic slot for an Arab representative. Similarly, among the first 40 places on the Kahol Lavan ticket, there is only one Druze woman, in 25th place.

      The Mapai document states that “stable rule in the country is inconceivable with most of the Arab minority in the opposition.” That evaluation has been refuted. The Arab public has been in the opposition for 70 years, lacking any real strength, even though this is not what most Arab citizens want. A survey commissioned by Haaretz before the 2015 election campaign found that 60 percent of the Arab community would like to join the government, and only half the respondents made this conditional on its being a left-wing government.

      The Arabs would like to play a concrete role in the decision- and policy-making processes. Electorally, this poses a threat to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rule. At the same time, it’s clear that his opponents are toeing the same line, explaining to the public that “the Arabs” are beyond the pale, and even factoring them into an equation of “neither Kahane nor Balad” – referring an unwillingness to contemplate either a coalition or even a blocking majorith with either the far-right Otzmat Yisrael party or the nationalist Arab party Balad.

      In this sense, keeping the peoples apart no longer necessitates segregation that’s maintained by ordinances and regulations. The military government may have been abolished, but its spirit still rules, on the right, in the center, on the left – everywhere.

  • EU to end ship patrols in scaled down Operation Sophia

    The European Union will cease the maritime patrols that have rescued thousands of migrants making the perilous Mediterranean Sea crossing from North Africa to Europe, but it will extend air missions, two diplomats said on Tuesday (26 March).

    A new agreement on the EU’s Operation Sophia was hammered out after Italy, where anti-migrant sentiment is rising, said it would no longer receive those rescued at sea.

    Operation Sophia’s mandate was due to expire on Sunday but should now continue for another six months with the same aim of deterring people smugglers in the Mediterranean. But it will no longer deploy ships, instead relying on air patrols and closer coordination with Libya, the diplomats said.

    “It is awkward, but this was the only way forward given Italy’s position, because nobody wanted the Sophia mission completely shut down,” one EU diplomat said.

    A second diplomat confirmed a deal had been reached and said it must be endorsed by all EU governments on Wednesday.

    The tentative deal, however, could weaken Operation Sophia’s role in saving lives in the sea where nearly 2,300 people perished last year, according to United Nations figures.

    From the more than one million refugees and migrants who made it to the bloc during a 2015 crisis, sea arrivals dropped to 141,500 people in 2018, according to the United Nations.

    Still, Italy’s deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini, has said his country would no longer be the main point of disembarkation for people trying to cross the Mediterranean by boat and rescued by Sophia’s patrol ships.

    Rome called for other countries to open up their ports instead, but no other EU states came forward. Diplomats said countries including Spain, France and Germany signalled they were not willing to host more rescued people – most of whom are fleeing wars and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.

    However, EU governments did want the mission to continue because they felt it had been effective in dissuading smugglers.

    The compromise discussion in Brussels did not discuss military aspects of the role of air patrols. But the new arrangement will involve more training of the coast guard in Libya, where lawlessness has allowed smugglers to openly operate sending people to Europe by sea.

    But it would be in line with the EU’s policy of turning increasingly restrictive on Mediterranean immigration since the surge in 2015 and discouraging people from risking their lives in the sea in trying to cross to Europe where governments do not want them.

    The bloc has already curbed operations of EU aid groups in the part of the Mediterranean in question and moved its own ships further north where fewer rescues take place.

    https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/eu-to-end-ship-patrols-in-scaled-down-operation-sophia
    #opération_sophia #méditerranée #asile #réfugiés #sauvetage #missions_aériennes #migrations #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #mer_Méditerranée #sauvetages

    • Commissioner calls for more rescue capacity in the Mediterranean

      I take note of the decision taken by the EU’s Political and Security Committee with regards to Operation Sophia. I regret that this will lead to even fewer naval assets in the Mediterranean, which could assist the rescue of persons in distress at sea. Lives are continuing to be lost in the Mediterranean. This should remind states of the urgency to adopt a different approach, one that should ensure a sufficiently resourced and fully operational system for saving human lives at sea and to safeguard rescued migrants’ dignity.

      Whilst coastal states have the responsibility to ensure effective coordination of search and rescue operations, protecting lives in the Mediterranean requires concerted efforts of other states as well, to begin with the provision of naval assets specifically dedicated to search and rescue activities, deployed in those areas where they can make an effective contribution to saving human lives. Furthermore, I reiterate my call to all states to refrain from hindering and criminalising the work of NGOs who are trying to fill the ever-increasing gap in rescue capacity. States should rather support and co-operate with them, including by ensuring that they can use ports for their life-saving activities.

      Finally, the decision to continue only with aerial surveillance and training of the Libyan Coast Guard further increases the risks that EU member states, directly or indirectly, contribute to the return of migrants and asylum seekers to Libya, where it is well-documented, in particular recently by the United Nations, that they face serious human rights violations. So far, calls to ensure more transparency and accountability in this area, including by publishing human rights risk assessments and setting up independent monitoring mechanisms, have not been heeded. The onus is now on 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.

      https://www.coe.int/en/web/commissioner/-/commissioner-calls-for-more-rescue-capacity-in-the-mediterranean
      #droits_humains #gardes-côtes_libyens #Libye

    • EU to end ship patrols in scaled down migrant rescue operation: diplomats

      The European Union will cease the maritime patrols that have rescued thousands of migrants making the perilous Mediterranean Sea crossing from North Africa to Europe, but it will extend air missions, two diplomats said on Tuesday.
      A new agreement on the EU’s Operation Sophia was hammered out after Italy, where anti-migrant sentiment is rising, said it would no longer receive those rescued at sea.

      Operation Sophia’s mandate was due to expire on Sunday but should now continue for another six months with the same aim of detering people smugglers in the Mediterranean. But it will no longer deploy ships, instead relying on air patrols and closer coordination with Libya, the diplomats said.

      “It is awkward, but this was the only way forward given Italy’s position, because nobody wanted the Sophia mission completely shut down,” one EU diplomat said.

      A second diplomat confirmed a deal had been reached and said it must be endorsed by all EU governments on Wednesday.

      The tentative deal, however, could weaken Operation Sophia’s role in saving lives in the sea where nearly 2,300 people perished last year, according to United Nations figures.

      From the more than one million refugees and migrants who made it to the bloc during a 2015 crisis, sea arrivals dropped to 141,500 people in 2018, according to the United Nations.

      Still, Italy’s deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini, has said his country would no longer be the main point of disembarkation for people trying to cross the Mediterranean by boat and rescued by Sophia’s patrol ships.

      Rome called for other countries to open up their ports instead, but no other EU states came forward. Diplomats said countries including Spain, France and Germany signaled they were not willing to host more rescued people - most of whom are fleeing wars and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.

      However, EU governments did want the mission to continue because they felt it had been effective in dissuading smugglers.

      The compromise discussion in Brussels did not discuss military aspects of the role of air patrols. But the new arrangement will involve more training of the coast guard in Libya, where lawlessness has allowed smugglers to openly operate sending people to Europe by sea.

      But it would be in line with the EU’s policy of turning increasingly restrictive on Mediterranean immigration since the surge in 2015 and discouraging people from risking their lives in the sea in trying to cross to Europe where governments do not want them.

      The bloc has already curbed operations of EU aid groups in the part of the Mediterranean in question and moved its own ships further north where fewer rescues take place.

      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-sophia/eu-weighs-up-awkward-migration-compromise-on-mediterranean-mission-idUSKCN1

    • En Méditerranée, l’UE retire ses navires militaires qui ont sauvé 45.000 migrants

      Les États membres de l’Union européenne ont décidé, mercredi 27 mars, de retirer leurs navires militaires engagés en Méditerranée dans le cadre de l’opération militaire dite « Sophia », au moins temporairement. Depuis 2015, ces bateaux ont pourtant permis de sauver 45 000 migrants environ.

      https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/280319/en-mediterranee-l-ue-retire-ses-navires-militaires-qui-ont-sauve-45000-mig

    • #EUNAVFOR_MED Operation Sophia : mandate extended until 30 September 2019

      The Council today extended the mandate of EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia until 30 September 2019.

      The Operation Commander has been instructed to suspend temporarily the deployment of the Operation’s naval assets for the duration of this extension for operational reasons. EU member states will continue to work in the appropriate fora on a solution on disembarkation as part of the follow-up to the June 2018 European Council conclusions.

      The Operation will continue to implement its mandate accordingly, strengthening surveillance by air assets as well as reinforcing support to the Libyan Coastguard and Navy in law enforcement tasks at sea through enhanced monitoring, including ashore, and continuation of training.

      The operation’s core mandate is to contribute to the EU’s work to disrupt the business model of migrant smugglers and human traffickers in the Southern Central Mediterranean. The operation has also supporting tasks. It trains the Libyan Coastguard and Navy and monitors the long-term efficiency of the training and it contributes to the implementation of the UN arms embargo on the high seas off the coast of Libya. In addition, the operation also conducts surveillance activities and gathers information on illegal trafficking of oil exports from Libya, in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions. As such, the operation contributes to EU efforts for the return of stability and security in Libya and to maritime security in the Central Mediterranean region.

      EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia was launched on 22 June 2015. It is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to migration. The Operation Commander is Rear Admiral Credendino, from Italy. The headquarters of the operation are located in Rome.

      Today’s decision was adopted by the Council by written procedure.

      https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2019/03/29/eunavfor-med-operation-sophia-mandate-extended-until-30-september-2

  • New Iraqi citizenship law stirs controversy
    https://gulfnews.com/world/mena/new-iraqi-citizenship-law-stirs-controversy-1.1552822828380

    Dubai - As soon as the Iraqi parliament passed a bill to amend the Nationality Law last week, many Iraqis have taken to social media to express their anger.

    The new law states that any person who enters the country legally — and resides in it for a year legally — can get the Iraqi passport.

    Iraqis saw it as a new “disaster” for their country.

    Iraq, they said, had already suffered so much from the scourge of war and corruption.

    Some see it as a way to change the demography and population of Iraq.

    Others see that the Iraqi identity, which is already suffering from years of war, is being jeoprodised.

    Most of the comments on social media accuses the government of passing the law because of the Iranian influence.

    Le commentaire est écrit à Dubaï... Mais cet autre (https://www.raialyoum.com/index.php/%d9%87%d9%84-%d9%8a%d8%aa%d8%b3%d8%a7%d9%87%d9%84-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%b9%d9%9), en arabe et depuis Amman, va dans le même sens .

    #irak #nationalité #croissant_chiite #iran

  • Mark Zuckerberg’s Plans to Capitalize on Facebook’s Failures | The New Yorker
    https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/mark-zuckerbergs-plans-to-capitalize-on-facebooks-failures

    On Wednesday, a few hours before the C.E.O. of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, published a thirty-two-hundred-word post on his site titled “A privacy-focused vision for social networking,” a new study from the market research firm Edison Research revealed that Facebook had lost fifteen million users in the United States since 2017. “Fifteen million is a lot of people, no matter which way you cut it,” Larry Rosin, the president of Edison Research, said on American Public Media’s “Marketplace.” “This is the second straight year we’ve seen this number go down.” The trend is likely related to the public’s dawning recognition that Facebook has become both an unbridled surveillance tool and a platform for propaganda and misinformation. According to a recent Harris/Axios survey of the hundred most visible companies in the U.S., Facebook’s reputation has taken a precipitous dive in the last five years, with its most acute plunge in the past year, and it scores particularly low in the categories of citizenship, ethics, and trust.

    While Zuckerberg’s blog post can be read as a response to this loss of faith, it is also a strategic move to capitalize on the social-media platform’s failures. To be clear, what Zuckerberg calls “town square” Facebook, where people post updates about new jobs, and share prom pictures and erroneous information about vaccines, will continue to exist. (On Thursday, Facebook announced that it would ban anti-vaccine advertisements on the site.) His new vision is to create a separate product that merges Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram into an encrypted and interoperable communications platform that will be more like a “living room.” According to Zuckerberg, “We’ve worked hard to build privacy into all our products, including those for public sharing. But one great property of messaging services is that, even as your contacts list grows, your individual threads and groups remain private. As your friends evolve over time, messaging services evolve gracefully and remain intimate.”

    This new Facebook promises to store data securely in the cloud, and delete messages after a set amount of time to reduce “the risk of your messages resurfacing and embarrassing you later.” (Apparently, Zuckerberg already uses this feature, as Tech Crunch reported, in April, 2018.) Its interoperability means, for example, that users will be able to buy something from Facebook Marketplace and communicate with the seller via WhatsApp; Zuckerberg says this will enable the buyer to avoid sharing a phone number with a stranger. Just last week, however, a user discovered that phone numbers provided for two-factor authentication on Facebook can be used to track people across the Facebook universe. Zuckerberg does not address how the new product will handle this feature, since “town square” Facebook will continue to exist.

    Once Facebook has merged all of its products, the company plans to build other products on top of it, including payment portals, banking services, and, not surprisingly, advertising. In an interview with Wired’s editor-in-chief, Nicholas Thompson, Zuckerberg explained that “What I’m trying to lay out is a privacy-focused vision for this kind of platform that starts with messaging and making that as secure as possible with end-to-end encryption, and then building all of the other kinds of private and intimate ways that you would want to interact—from calling, to groups, to stories, to payments, to different forms of commerce, to sharing location, to eventually having a more open-ended system to plug in different kinds of tools for providing the interaction with people in all the ways that you would want.”

    L’innovation vient maintenant de Chine, en voici une nouvelle mention

    If this sounds familiar, it is. Zuckerberg’s concept borrows liberally from WeChat, the multiverse Chinese social-networking platform, popularly known as China’s “app for everything.” WeChat’s billion monthly active users employ the app for texting, video conferencing, broadcasting, money transfers, paying fines, and making medical appointments. Privacy, however, is not one of its attributes. According to a 2015 article in Quartz, WeChat’s “heat map” feature alerts Chinese authorities to unusual crowds of people, which the government can then surveil.

    “I believe the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure and their messages and content won’t stick around forever,” Zuckerberg tells us. “This is the future I hope we will help bring about.” By announcing it now, and framing it in terms of privacy, he appears to be addressing the concerns of both users and regulators, while failing to acknowledge that a consolidated Facebook will provide advertisers with an even richer and more easily accessed database of users than the site currently offers. As Wired reported in January, when the merger of Facebook’s apps was floated in the press, “the move will unlock huge quantities of user information that was previously locked away in silos.”

    Le chiffrage des messages est loin d’être une panacée pour la vie privée, ni pour la responsabilité sociale des individus.

    Zuckerberg also acknowledged that an encrypted Facebook may pose problems for law enforcement and intelligence services, but promised that the company would work with authorities to root out bad guys who “misuse it for truly terrible things like child exploitation, terrorism, and extortion.” It’s unclear how, with end-to-end encryption, it will be able to do this. Facebook’s private groups have already been used to incite genocide and other acts of violence, suppress voter turnout, and disseminate misinformation. Its pivot to privacy will not only give such activities more space to operate behind the relative shelter of a digital wall but will also relieve Facebook from the responsibility of policing them. Instead of more—and more exacting—content moderation, there will be less. Instead of removing bad actors from the service, the pivot to privacy will give them a safe harbor.

    #facebook #Cryptographie #Vie_privée #Médias_sociaux #Mark_Zuckerberg

  • Exclusive: OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma Exploring Bankruptcy - Sources | Investing News | US News
    https://money.usnews.com/investing/news/articles/2019-03-04/exclusive-oxycontin-maker-purdue-pharma-exploring-bankruptcy-sources

    By Mike Spector, Jessica DiNapoli and Nate Raymond

    (Reuters) - OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP is exploring filing for bankruptcy to address potentially significant liabilities from roughly 2,000 lawsuits alleging the drugmaker contributed to the deadly opioid crisis sweeping the United States, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

    The potential move shows how Purdue and its wealthy owners, the Sackler family, are under pressure to respond to mounting litigation accusing the company of misleading doctors and patients about risks associated with prolonged use of its prescription opioids.

    Purdue denies the allegations, arguing that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved labels for its opioids carried warnings about the risk of abuse and misuse associated with the pain treatments.

    Filing for Chapter 11 protection would halt the lawsuits and allow Purdue to negotiate legal claims with plaintiffs under the supervision of a U.S. bankruptcy judge, the sources said.

    Shares of Endo International Plc and Insys Therapeutics Inc, two companies that like Purdue have been named in lawsuits related to the U.S. opioid epidemic, closed down 17 percent and more than 2 percent, respectively, on Monday.

    More than 1,600 lawsuits accusing Purdue and other opioid manufacturers of using deceptive practices to push addictive drugs that led to fatal overdoses are consolidated in an Ohio federal court. Purdue has held discussions to resolve the litigation with plaintiffs’ lawyers, who have often compared the cases to widespread lawsuits against the tobacco industry that resulted in a $246 billion settlement in 1998.

    “We will oppose any attempt to avoid our claims, and will continue to vigorously and aggressively pursue our claims against Purdue and the Sackler family,” Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said. Connecticut has a case against Purdue and the Sacklers.

    BANKRUPTCY FILING NOT CERTAIN

    A Purdue bankruptcy filing is not certain, the sources said. The Stamford, Connecticut-based company has not made any final decisions and could instead continue fighting the lawsuits, they said.

    “As a privately-held company, it has been Purdue Pharma’s longstanding policy not to comment on our financial or legal strategy,” Purdue said in a statement.

    “We are, however, committed to ensuring that our business remains strong and sustainable. We have ample liquidity and remain committed to meeting our obligations to the patients who benefit from our medicines, our suppliers and other business partners.”

    Purdue faces a May trial in a case brought by Oklahoma’s attorney general that, like others, accuses the company of contributing to a wave of fatal overdoses by flooding the market with highly addictive opioids while falsely claiming the drugs were safe.

    Last year, U.S. President Donald Trump also said he would like to sue drug companies over the nation’s opioid crisis.

    Opioids, including prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl, were involved in 47,600 overdose deaths in 2017, a sixfold increase from 1999, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Purdue hired law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP for restructuring advice, Reuters reported in August, fueling concerns among litigants, including Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter, that the company might seek bankruptcy protection before the trial.

    Companies facing widespread lawsuits sometimes seek bankruptcy protection to address liabilities in one court even when their financial condition is not dire. California utility PG&E Corp filed for bankruptcy earlier this year after deadly wildfires raised the prospect of large legal bills even though its stock remained worth billions of dollars.

    DECEPTIVE MARKETING

    Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey in June became the first attorney general to sue not just Purdue but Sackler family members. Records in her case, which Purdue has asked a judge to dismiss, accused Sackler family members of directing deceptive marketing of opioids for years while enriching themselves to the tune of $4.2 billion.

    Some other states have since also sued the Sacklers. The Sacklers are currently discussing creating a nonprofit backed by family financial contributions to combat addiction and drug abuse, a person familiar with their deliberations said.

    The drugmaker downplayed the possibility of a bankruptcy filing in a Feb. 22 court filing in the Oklahoma case. “Purdue is still here - ready, willing and eager to prove in this Court that the State’s claims are baseless,” the company said in court papers.

    Sales of OxyContin and other opioids have fallen amid public concern about their addictive nature, and as restrictions on opioid prescribing have been enacted. OxyContin generated $1.74 billion in sales in 2017, down from $2.6 billion five years earlier, according to the most recent data compiled by Symphony Health Solutions.

    Purdue Chief Executive Officer Craig Landau has cut hundreds of jobs, stopped marketing opioids to physicians and moved the company toward developing medications for sleep disorders and cancer since taking the helm in 2017.

    In July, Purdue appointed a new board chairman, Steve Miller, a restructuring veteran who previously held leadership positions at troubled companies including auto-parts giant Delphi and the once-teetering insurer American International Group Inc.

    Mortimer D.A. Sackler no longer sits on Purdue’s board, according to a filing the company made with the Connecticut secretary of state late Monday.

    The Oklahoma case and other lawsuits seek damages from Purdue and other pharmaceutical companies accused of fueling the opioid crisis. In addition to lawsuits consolidated in an Ohio federal court, more than 300 cases are pending in state courts, and dozens of state attorneys general have sued manufacturers, including Purdue.

    Settlement discussions have not yet resulted in a deal.

    Purdue and three executives in 2007 pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the misbranding of OxyContin and agreed to pay a total of $634.5 million in penalties, according to court records.

    (Reporting by Mike Spector and Jessica DiNapoli in New York and Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

    Copyright 2019 Thomson Reuters.

    #Opioides #Sackler #Bankruptcy

  • Meet Francis Malofiy, the Philadelphia Lawyer Who Sued Led Zeppelin
    https://www.phillymag.com/news/2019/02/11/francis-malofiy-led-zeppelin

    Francis Malofiy may be the most hated man in the Philadelphia legal community. He may also be on the cusp of getting the last laugh on rock’s golden gods.

    #droit_d_auteur #musique #plagiat

    • @sandburg Voillà

      Meet Francis Malofiy, the Philadelphia Lawyer Who Sued Led Zeppelin
      https://www.phillymag.com/news/2019/02/11/francis-malofiy-led-zeppelin

      People Laughed When This Philly Lawyer Sued Led Zeppelin. Nobody’s Laughing Now.

      Francis Malofiy may be the most hated man in the Philadelphia legal community. He may also be on the cusp of getting the last laugh on rock’s golden gods.

      By Jonathan Valania· 2/11/2019


      Philadelphia-area attorney Francis Malofiy. Photograph by Bryan Sheffield.

      The fact that Philadelphia barrister Francis Alexander Malofiy, Esquire, is suing Led Zeppelin over the authorship of “Stairway to Heaven” is, by any objective measure, only the fourth most interesting thing about him. Unfortunately for the reader, and the purposes of this story, the first, second and third most interesting things about Malofiy are bound and gagged in nondisclosure agreements, those legalistic dungeons where the First Amendment goes to die. So let’s start with number four and work our way backward.

      At the risk of stating the obvious, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, let the record show that “Stairway to Heaven” is arguably the most famous song in all of rock-and-roll, perhaps in all of popular music. It’s also one of the most lucrative — it’s estimated that the song has netted north of $500 million in sales and royalties since its 1971 release. Malofiy’s lawsuit, cheekily printed in the same druidic font used for the liner notes of the album Led Zeppelin IV, alleges that Jimmy Page and Robert Plant — Zep’s elegantly wasted guitarist/producer/central songwriter and leonine, leather-lunged lead singer, respectively — stole the iconic descending acoustic-guitar arpeggios of the first two minutes of “Stairway” from “Taurus,” a song with a strikingly similar chord pattern by a long-forgotten ’60s band called Spirit. At the conclusion of a stormy, headline-grabbing trial in 2016 that peaked with testimony from Page and Plant, the jury decided in Zep’s favor.

      When the copyright infringement suit was first filed in Philadelphia by Malofiy (pronounced “MAL-uh-fee”) on behalf of the Randy Craig Wolfe Trust — which represents the estate of Randy “California” Wolfe, the now-deceased member of Spirit who wrote “Taurus” — people laughed. Mostly at Malofiy. The breathless wall-to-wall media coverage the trial garnered often painted him as a loose-cannon legal beagle, one part Charlie Sheen, one part Johnnie Cochran. “Everybody kind of dismissed me as this brash young lawyer who didn’t really understand copyright law,” he says, well into the wee hours one night back in December, sitting behind a desk stacked four feet high with legal files in the dank, subterranean bunker that is his office.

      Hidden behind an unmarked door on the basement floor of a nondescript office building in Media, the law firm of Francis Alexander LLC is a pretty punk-rock operation. The neighbors are an anger management counselor and a medical marijuana dispensary. “I think of us as pirates sinking big ships,” Malofiy, who’s 41, brags. Given the sheer number of death threats he says he’s received from apoplectic Zep fans, the fact that mysterious cars seem to follow him in the night, and his claim to have found GPS trackers stuck to the bottom of his car, the precise location of his offices remains a closely guarded secret. Failing that, he has a license to carry, and most days, he leaves the house packing a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson.

      While most lawyers are sleeping, Malofiy is working through the night to defeat them, often until sunrise, fueled by an ever-present bottle of grape-flavored Fast Twitch as he chain-chews Wrigley’s Spearmint gum and huffs a never-ending string of Marlboro menthols. We’ve been talking on the record for going on eight hours, and Malofiy shows no signs of fading; in fact, he’s just announced the arrival of his third wind.

      He has a pretty good ‘fuck you’ attitude that comes from an inner confidence. He might have had a little too much early on,” attorney Jim Beasley Jr. says of Malofiy. “If you piss the judge off with your pirate act, the judge can make it difficult for you. Sometimes you could avoid all that by not swinging your pirate sword around.

      Talk turns to the distinctly pro-Zep tenor of the media coverage of the “Stairway” trial. “I was a punch line for jokes,” he says, spitting his gum into a yellow Post-it and banking it into the trash for, like, the 42nd time. Nobody’s laughing now, least of all Page and Plant. Nor, for that matter, is Usher. Back in October, at the conclusion of a dogged seven-year legal battle marked by a bruising string of dismissals and sanctions, Malofiy won a $44 million verdict — one of the largest in Pennsylvania in 2018 — for a Philadelphia songwriter named Daniel Marino who sued his co-writers after being cut out of the songwriting credits and royalties for the song “Bad Girl” from the R&B heartthrob’s 2004 breakout album, Confessions, which sold more than 10 million copies.

      Also, in late September of last year, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Malofiy’s appeal of the 2016 “Stairway to Heaven” verdict and ordered a new trial on the grounds that the court “abused its discretion” when the judge refused to allow Malofiy to play a recording of “Taurus” for the jury. (Members were only allowed to hear an acoustic-guitar rendition played from sheet music.) The retrial is expected to begin in the next year, and Page and Plant, along with bassist John Paul Jones, are again anticipated to take the stand. Copyright experts say Led Zeppelin — which has a long history of ripping off the ancient riffs and carnal incantations of wizened Delta bluesmen and only giving credit when caught — should be worried.

      Malofiy, who calls Zep “the greatest cover band in all of history,” will go to trial armed with reams of expert testimony pinpointing the damning similarities between the two songs — not just the nearly identical and atypical chord pattern, but the shared melodic figurations, choice of key and distinctive voicings. He’ll also show the jury that Page and Plant had ample opportunity to hear “Taurus” when Zep opened for Spirit on their first American tour in 1968, two years before they wrote and recorded “Stairway.”

      “Most big companies rely on the concept of wearing you down, forcing you to do so much work it literally drives you broke,” says Glen Kulik, a heavy-hitter L.A.-based copyright lawyer who signed on as Malofiy’s local counsel when the Zep case was moved to federal court in California. “If you have any chance of standing up to them, it’s going to require an incredible amount of persistence, confidence, and quite a bit of skill as well, and Francis has all those things in spades.” And Kulik would know, having successfully argued a landmark copyright infringement case before the Supreme Court in 2014 that paved the way for the Zeppelin suit.


      Francis Malofiy. Photograph by Bryan Sheffield.

      Ultimately, Malofiy doesn’t have to prove Led Zeppelin stole Spirit’s song; he just has to convince a jury that’s what happened. Assuming the trial goes forward — and that this time, he’s allowed to play recordings of both songs for the jury — there will be blood. Because contrary to his hard-won rep as a bull in the china shop of civil litigation, Malofiy possesses a switchblade-sharp legal mind, an inexhaustible work ethic, and a relentless, rock-ribbed resolve to absorb more punches than his opponents can throw. He’s a ruthlessly effective courtroom tactician with a collection of six-, seven- and eight-figure verdicts, not to mention the scalps of opposing counsel who underestimated his prowess. “I don’t plink pigeons; I hunt lions and tigers and bears,” he says. The big game he’s targeted in the past decade include deep-pocketed transnational corporations like Volvo (an epic seven-year case that ended in an undisclosed settlement) and Hertz (against whom he won a $100,000 verdict).

      In the arena of civil litigation, where the odds are increasingly stacked against plaintiffs, Malofiy claims to have never lost a jury trial, and that appears to be true. “I have lost twice — in the Zeppelin case and a lawsuit against Volvo — but got both decisions reversed on appeals,” he says, unsheathing a fresh stick of Wrigley’s. “Now, the same people that were asking me for years why I’m doing it are asking me how I did it.”

      If Malofiy prevails in the coming “Stairway” retrial, he’ll completely shatter the Tolkien-esque legend of the song’s immaculate conception — that it was birthed nearly in toto during a mystical retreat at a remote Welsh mountain cottage called Bron-yr-aur, to which many a starry-eyed Zep disciple has made a pilgrimage once upon a midnight clear when the forests echo with laughter. It will be like proving that da Vinci didn’t paint the Mona Lisa, that Michelangelo didn’t sculpt David. Barring a last-minute settlement, many legal and copyright experts predict that Malofiy may well emerge victorious, and credit for the most famous rock song in the world will pass from the self-appointed Golden Gods of Led Zeppelin to some obscure, long-forgotten (and not even very good) West Coast psych band, along with tens of millions in royalties, effectively rewriting the sacred history of rock-and-roll. And the man who will have pulled off this fairly miraculous feat of judicial jujitsu is the enfant terrible of Philadelphia jurisprudence.

      Malofiy hates wearing a suit and tie. Outside the courtroom, he dresses like a rock star masquerading as a lawyer: a crushable black trilby perched at a jaunty angle atop a blue bandana, a collarless black and orange leather Harley jacket, and a pair of beat-to-fuck brown Wesco boots, unlaced. “I’m always in jeans and boots when I meet new clients,” he says. “I warn them up front: ‘If you want a fancy lawyer in a suit, you should go elsewhere.’”

      The barrier to entry for new clients at Francis Alexander LLC is steep, because Malofiy doesn’t take on new cases so much as he adopts new causes. A case has to register on a deeply personal level if he’s going to eat, sleep, and fight to the death for it for the next five to seven years.

      “Lawyers have an ethical responsibility to advocate zealously for their clients,” says attorney Max Kennerly, who’s worked with Malofiy on a number of cases. “But frankly, in this business, a lot of lawyers play the odds and just do a ‘good enough’ job on a bunch of cases. Sometimes they win, and sometimes they lose. Francis really throws himself into his cases.”

      After 10 years of struggle, things finally seem to be breaking Malofiy’s way. Fat checks from cases settled long ago are rolling in, alleviating some fairly crippling cash-flow issues, and big cases just keep falling out of the sky — more than his two-lawyer outfit can field. They need to staff up, stat. Malofiy wants to hire some young bucks fresh out of law school — preferably Temple — as force multipliers in his quest to hold the powerful accountable on behalf of the powerless. “Most kids in law school right now will never see the inside of a courtroom,” he says. “Law schools don’t want to teach you how to change the system; they want to load you up with debt so you have to go do grunt work for some corporate law firm that specializes in maintaining the status quo.”


      Francis Malofiy. Photograph by Bryan Sheffield.

      Malofiy doesn’t have a website. He doesn’t do social media. He doesn’t trawl the watering holes of the rich and powerful. He doesn’t even have a business card. Thanks to the notoriety and name recognition that came with the Zeppelin trial, new clients chase him. He just got off the phone with a Brooklyn puppet maker who wants him to sue the band Fall Out Boy for alleged misuse of two llamas — Frosty and Royal Tea — that it created. Right now, he’s on a conference call with a trio of British songwriters who want Malofiy to sue the Weeknd for allegedly lifting a key section of their song “I Need to Love” for a track called “A Lonely Night” on his 2016 Starboy album, which has sold more than three million copies to date.

      “Why are you guys calling me?” he asks.

      “We’re looking for an honest person fighting for ordinary working people,” says Billy Smith, one of the Brit songwriters in question. Malofiy clearly likes the sound of that. After thinking it over for a few moments, he tells them he’ll take their case and gives them his standard new-client spiel. “I can’t promise we’ll win, but I can promise I won’t turn yellow when things turn bad. I won’t put my tail between my legs and run,” he says. “If there is any bad news, you will hear it from me first.”

      His teeth have been bothering him for days, and near the end of the call, one of his dental caps comes loose. He spits it out, and it skitters across his desk before he traps it under his palm. Most lawyers would be mortified. Malofiy thinks it’s hilarious. “I got teeth like you people,” he says to the Brits. Everybody laughs.

      Many people mistake Malofiy’s unconventionality as a design flaw when it’s actually a feature. “I think that’s an incredibly important part of what makes him so good as an attorney,” says A.J. Fluehr, 33, Malofiy’s right-hand man, co-counsel and, though eight years his boss’s junior, voice of reason. “Because he’s so unorthodox, I believe it causes a lot of other attorneys to underestimate him and think, ‘Oh, he’s not serious; he doesn’t know what he’s doing.’ All of sudden, there’s a massively serious case against them.”

      Even some of the defense lawyers who’ve done battle with Malofiy begrudgingly acknowledge his chops. “I’ve known Francis for four years now. He is difficult to deal with but a fierce advocate for his clients and his cause,” says Rudolph “Skip” DiMassa, a partner at Duane Morris. “Calling him ‘abrasive’ would be putting it mildly. But he wears it like a badge of honor that he is not like all the other lawyers in town.”

      When I read that and similar assessments from other lawyers back to Malofiy, he chalks them up to blowback for the heresy of Robin Hooding a corrupt status quo. “I have a target on my back because I sue big corporations, politicians, big law firms. Hell, I sued DA Seth Williams,” he says one night at the Irish Pub, as he’s nursing a screwdriver he’ll chase with a root beer. “When you start stepping on toes and suing the wrong people and get a few million shifted from those who have it to those who don’t — that’s where the change happens; that’s where you make a difference. And there is a price you have to pay for that.”

      According to family lore, Francis Malofiy’s maternal grandfather was murdered by Nazis in occupied Greece; his great-grandmother had to cut the body down from a tree and carry it home on the back of a mule. Concurrently, his paternal grandfather was murdered by Nazis in Ukraine, while his father and grandmother were frog-marched to camps in Germany. Some things can never be forgotten or forgiven. That’s why Malofiy is always kicking against the pricks. A slight child, he was often bullied at school, and after a brief experiment with turning the other cheek, he started fighting back. Hard. He recalls the day that a bully was picking on a girl half his size; young Francis cold-cocked him and threw him into a closet door. The kid had to be taken out on a stretcher. After that, the bullies moved on to easier prey. “I was always fighting for the little guy, even back then,” he says.

      In the third grade, friends turned him on to Poison’s Look What the Cat Dragged In and Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet, indelibly imprinting the spandexed bikers-and-strippers aesthetic of ’80s hair-metal onto his psyche. He started channeling the energy he once put into beating back bullies into beating the drums. One day in the sixth grade, he came home to tell his dad about a band all the kids were into: “The Led Zeppelins.”

      “He said, ‘No, son, it’s just Led Zeppelin.’”

      “No, I’m pretty sure it’s the Led Zeppelins.”

      So his father, who’d seen the band at the Electric Factory, drove Francis to the record store at the Granite Run Mall, where the clerks set him straight. His father bought the four-cassette Zep box set that had just come out. On the way home, Malofiy heard “Whole Lotta Love” for the first time, and before the song even ended, it was official: Led Zeppelin was his favorite band. When he was in high school, his drum teacher gently broke the news that Zep didn’t exactly, um, write all their own music — that key parts of their iconic songs had been cherry-picked from old, obscure blues recordings. “I said, ‘C’mon, don’t talk shit about Jimmy Page!’” Malofiy recalls. Then his teacher played him the Willie Dixon-penned Muddy Waters track “You Need Love” — which is what “Whole Lotta Love” was called before Zep hijacked the lyrics and the riff and Frankensteined them into the gloriously scuzzy heavy-metal Viking porno movie for the ears we’ve come to know and love. It was hard for Francis to process, and even harder when he was tipped to the uncanny similarity between Spirit’s “Taurus” and “Stairway.” Still, the spell Zep cast over him remained unbroken.


      Francis Malofiy. Photograph by Bryan Sheffield.

      As a young teenager, he built go-karts, dirt bikes and small-block Chevys. To make spending money for guitars and records, he started buying beater cars, fixing them up, and flipping them for quadruple what he paid for them. He almost didn’t graduate from high school because he’d played hooky too many times, to go fishing or work on cars or play guitar. When he finally got his high-school diploma, he raced home from school to show his mother in his Chevy S-10 lowrider. Tearing ass on the backcountry roads of Media, he blew past a cop who immediately lit up his cherry top and gave pursuit. Soon, one cop car became two, then three, until there were five cars tailing him.

      Much to his parents’ dismay, his run-ins with the law became common. They were never for anything all that serious, just the usual teen-rebel monkeyshines: fighting, speeding, the occasional high-speed car chase. He got a big wake-up call in 1998 when his beloved Uncle Nick — a.k.a. Nicholas “The Greek” Vasiliades — was handed a life sentence for running a high-volume meth lab in a warehouse in Manayunk that supplied the drug networks of the Pagans and the Mafia, as well as for his 50-gun arsenal of illegal weaponry. Malofiy was devastated. “I was going down a bad path,” he says. “My uncle pulled me aside and said, ‘You’re smart enough to do it the right way. You need to step away.’”

      Malofiy took the warning to heart and focused on getting a college education, graduating from Penn State in 2000 with a degree in finance. After college, he went back home to Media and his true loves: cars, girls and heavy metal. With a revolving cast of musicians, he formed multiple go-nowhere suburban hard-rock bands with cringe-y names like Prada G and Sluts ’n Slayers. Unimpressed, his parents urged him to enroll in law school. Eventually he relented, forging this pact: He would go to law school if he: a) could do whatever he wanted with the unfinished basement of his parents’ home (i.e., build a high-end recording-studio-cum-man-cave tricked out with a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom); and b) nobody hassled him about having long hair, rocking out and chasing girls. Deal. Malofiy took the LSATs and scored just south of 160 — hardly off the charts, but good enough to get into Temple, where he found himself drawn to copyright law.

      He graduated from law school in December of 2007 and took the bar exam the following July. On the night of August 16, 2008, he stopped into the Liberty Bar at 22nd and Market with his then-girlfriend. It was crowded, but they found a table in the back. After ordering drinks, they started getting static from a group of three young men in ball caps and white t-shirts. “Three drunken jerkoffs, white privilege out the ass,” says Malofiy. According to Malofiy’s testimony, the trio mocked his bandana and called him “cunt,” “pussy” and a “dirty spic.” (It was summer; Malofiy was tan.) According to Malofiy, at some point the men apologized and the situation seemed defused, but then one of them grabbed Malofiy’s girlfriend’s ass. “I said, ‘That’s it. Follow me out,’ and made for the door,” Malofiy says, but he was blocked by a member of the group. As they stood chest-to-chest, Malofiy says, the man struck him twice. Finally, Malofiy, who boxed in college, unloaded with a right cross that landed squarely on the guy’s left cheekbone, shattering the glass still clenched in Malofiy’s fist.

      The man suffered a deep gash in his cheek that would require 150 stitches and reconstructive surgery. Malofiy nearly severed the tendons in his thumb. Bleeding profusely, he had his girlfriend drive him to the emergency room at Penn Presby to get stitched up and then to Central Detectives to file a criminal complaint.

      Two months later, in October, notice came in the mail that he had passed the bar. His mother was ecstatic and insisted on driving him to the Pittsburgh office of the Prothonotary of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania immediately to obtain his law license rather than wait two weeks for the formal ceremony. When they got home the next day, Malofiy got a call from Central Detectives, who said they had a “body warrant” for his arrest on aggravated assault and related charges stemming from the Liberty Bar fight. The next day, he turned himself in and spent a night in jail awaiting a bail hearing. Had he not gone to Pittsburgh at his mother’s behest, it’s unlikely he’d have gotten his law license with a felony arrest on his record.

      Malofiy’s first case as a newly minted lawyer would involve defending a client staring down decades in prison if convicted: himself. Heeding the maxim that a man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client, Malofiy hired Sam Stretton, one of the most respected criminal defense attorneys in the city. Malofiy took the stand and delivered an impassioned defense of his actions. “He had already hit me twice, blocked my exit-way,” he testified. “I was scared for my safety and my girlfriend’s safety, and his friends had just yelled ‘Fight!’ and came up to me with fists drawn. I thought I had no other option.” The jury found him not guilty on all charges.

      “Welcome to Hogwarts,” Malofiy jokes as he shows me around the vast oak and stained-glass room that houses the law library at the Beasley Firm, possibly the most fearsome and feared personal-injury law firm in the city, where he worked, in an of-counsel capacity, from 2012 to 2014.

      Fresh out of law school and still wet behind the ears, Malofiy showed up one day in search of mentoring. Granted an audience with Jim Beasley Jr., one of the most successful plaintiff’s attorney in the city, Malofiy ended up with a promise of rent-free office space, the phone extension 666, and a commitment to help finance some of the highly ambitious cases he was mounting — a product-liability suit against Volvo, and a breach-of-contract suit, against a marble manufacturer that had screwed his client out of an ownership share, that resulted in a $4.2 million verdict — not to mention the Usher case. “Jim was like, ‘I keep getting calls from defense lawyers saying That kid’s the fucking devil, so you must be doing something right,’” Malofiy recalls.

      During Malofiy’s tenure at Beasley, he took out a controversial full-page ad in this magazine that depicted him crashing through a courtroom in a hot rod, looking every bit James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. Many members of Philadelphia’s uptight, buttoned-down legal community thought it was disrespectful. “Everyone was outraged, but I thought it was funny,” says Beasley. “He has a pretty good ‘fuck you’ attitude that comes from an inner confidence. He might have had a little too much of that early on, but I think he’s throttled back a bit. So many of a judge’s decisions are ties and jump-balls that are not reversible, and if you piss the judge off with your pirate act, the judge can make it difficult for you. Sometimes you could avoid all that by not swinging your pirate sword around.”

      Malofiy has learned this the hard way. In 2015, a three-judge panel voted to suspend his license to practice law in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for improper conduct in the Usher case — despite the fact that the special prosecutor recommended what amounted to a slap on the wrist: a reprimand.

      “It’s highly unusual that they would disregard the disciplinary recommendations of the special prosecutor after he has heard the facts,” says Stretton. The matter is currently on appeal before the Third Circuit.

      At Malofiy’s insistence, I’ve been tailing him for the better part of a month: from a big-dollar NDA’d settlement in a judge’s quarters, to a Port Richmond dive bar called Chuckles, to a Bucks County gun shop where he plunked down $1,729 for a handsome Benelli shotgun (a gift for his right-hand man Fluehr), to a back-alley strip bar in Center City and the disused factory under the Commodore Barry Bridge that he’s purchased and plans to renovate into office space, living quarters and a beer garden. I watched him hide his $82,000 Land Rover from the repo man (“It’s all a misunderstanding”) and then, days later, saw a pile of white letter-size envelopes stacked on his desk, each containing what looked to be thousands in cash. What I have come to learn is this: When you write about lawyers, there is so much you can’t write about lawyers.

      Malofiy slowly, methodically and unflinchingly parceled out the most personal details of his backstory — the good, the bad and the ugly — as I incrementally earned his trust. But always on his timetable, not mine. It could be exasperating, but by the end, I discovered the method to his madness: He’d been pacing his revelations as he would a trial presentation. And now we’re reaching the crescendo of his closing argument — the big reveal.


      Francis Malofiy. Photograph by Bryan Sheffield.

      It’s a few clicks shy of midnight at Malofiy’s house in Media on a Sunday night shortly before Christmas. In the morning, he’s jetting off to an auction in London to bid on the Helios recording console that captured “Stairway to Heaven” for the ages. (Malofiy, true to form, won’t confirm that he won or lost the auction.) Though he’s been locked in a nasty four-year legal fight with Led Zeppelin, they’re still his favorite band.

      Malofiy called to insist that I come to his house tonight. “Why? What for?” I demanded. He said he wanted to show me something I could only see there. I begged off, explaining that this article was due in the morning and I already had more than I could use. But he insisted, promising it would be worth my while. He doesn’t disappoint. He tells me to open the freezer. There’s a bottle of Tito’s vodka, an ice tray, and half a lemon on a plate with a yellow plastic knife. “That’s the lemon Robert Plant squeezed into his tea when we deposed him in London back in 2016,” he claims. This is deeply ironic and, if you’re acquainted with the role lemons play in Plant’s legend, cosmically hilarious. One of Led Zeppelin’s most infamous tracks is “The Lemon Song,” a sultry blooze ramble from 1969’s deathless Led Zeppelin II stitched together from pieces of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killing Floor” and Robert Johnson’s “Travelling Riverside Blues.” (Zep settled a 1972 copyright suit over the Howlin’ Wolf portion of the song.) In the fifth verse, Plant sings:

      Squeeze me baby, till the juice runs down my leg
      The way you squeeze my lemon, ah
      I’m gonna fall right out of bed

      By swiping that lemon rind at the deposition, Malofiy stole Robert Plant’s metaphoric penis the way Prometheus stole fire from the gods. Zep famously invoked the mythic “Hammer of the Gods” from Norse legend. For Jimmy Page, that hammer was his guitar, but for Plant it was his, um, mighty lemon tree.

      Incredible though it may seem, Malofiy says he’s kept the lemon on ice for the past three years and had it in his briefcase like a talisman when he gave oral arguments for what proved to be his successful appeal of the 2016 “Stairway” verdict. He has every intention of taking it to the retrial that will, barring unforeseen developments, commence in the next year.

      “Robert Plant is always going on about his lemon, and at the deposition he made a big deal out of slicing it up and squeezing it into his tea and then sucking on the rind,” he says with a cat-who-ate-the-canary grin. “Jimmy Page famously dabbled in black magic and was always going on about Aleister Crowley, and I said to myself, ‘If they are going to use black magic to try to beat me on technicalities — well, two can play at that game.’”

      Published as “The Devil’s Advocate” in the February 2019 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

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