• "European diplomats: Israel has not presented sufficient evidence against civilian organizations in the West Bank
      According to sources, the European Commission is not expected to open an investigation into the organizations that Defense Minister Ganz has accused of terrorist activity, after being under the impression that the evidence presented in the case “does not reach the standard required for proof.”
      Israel has not provided European countries with sufficient evidence regarding the six civil society organizations in the West Bank that it has accused of activities on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation and Funding of Palestine, European diplomats said in talks with Haaretz. According to sources, the European Commission’s Fraud Investigation Office (OLAF) is not expected to open an investigation into the organizations following an initial investigation into the matter.
      In October, Defense Minister Bnei Gantz signed an order declaring the organizations Admir, al-Haq, Bisan, the women’s committees, DCI-P and the agricultural committees as terrorist organizations. Organizations deny this claim. Talks with the representatives of six countries show that in recent months Israel has provided them with materials designed to prove its claims against them through diplomatic channels and intelligence channels. “It’s simple, we were given evidence and we did not find it strong enough,” said one of the diplomats. Another added that in most countries it is believed that the evidence presented “does not reach the required threshold of proof of transfer of funds”.
      So far, most representatives of the EU member states have refrained from making public statements, also due to the intention to wait for the EU’s position on the matter to be published. In early May, the Belgian Minister for Development Cooperation, Miriam Kithir, said that an inspection conducted by the administration found “no information confirming the allegations regarding the organizations that Belgium supports”, and that there was no reason to take action against them. The Bissan and DCIP organizations receive indirect funding from the Belgian government through funds. In December, Denmark stated that it had not yet been presented with evidence to support Israeli claims against the organizations, and sources made it clear that its position had not changed since. The Dutch foreign minister recently met with representatives of al-Haq in Ramallah, and was later quoted as saying that “no single European country has reached the same conclusions as Israel.”
      Last May, the European Commission suspended its support for al-Haq, even before Gantz’s statement, after Israel made allegations about the connection between the organization and the Popular Front. Following Gantz’s statement, the commission also froze funding given to the organization of agriculture committees by the Oxfam organization. In talks with Haaretz, diplomats defined the commission’s choice to freeze its support for al-Haq as early as May as an unusual move. “It was very strange to see the Commissioner take a different position from the member states,” said one of them.
      In talks with diplomats, the name of Oliver Varhali, the EU commissioner for neighboring countries close to Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Urban, was raised as the factor behind the move. “The prevailing perception today is that Varhali is pushing the Hungarian position,” said one of the diplomats. Others also noted the delay in European support for the Palestinian Authority over allegations of anti-Semitism in textbooks as a move by Varhali. “This is the first time we have seen such a thing, and it is not just towards Palestine,” another source said. Al-Haq argues that the European Commission’s conduct regarding the suspension of funds was characterized by a lack of transparency and a lack of response that are “violations of the standards of good administration.”
      Some organizations claim that during the examination of the Israeli claims, budgets intended to support them were delayed or stopped, and in some cases the funding has been renewed since then. In April, UN experts called for a resumption of funding delayed for organizations while the allegations were being investigated. In January following the freeze on Oxfam’s support, in January Dutch funding for the organization was finally suspended following the publication of government conclusions regarding the organization’s conduct, which found no evidence of transfer of funds to the Popular Front, but found personal links between workers and members of the organization and the Popular Front.
      A diplomatic source told Haaretz that regardless of an official decision on the matter, the damage to the organizations had already been done. “I think Israel got what it wanted,” he said. “It will deter the countries in any case - because we will never know if Israel will enforce its decisions, and what the consequences will be for non-profit workers on our behalf, for example.”
      Obei Abodi of the Bissan organization said it was an attempt to isolate Palestinians from the international community. Aboudi, whose departure abroad was prevented by the GSS after being convicted as part of a plea deal with companies at the front, said that “this is part of Israel’s general policy - to isolate the Palestinians more and more, so that it can continue its activities without documentation.”
      The Foreign Ministry said: "The declarations of the six organizations as terrorist organizations were made after a careful examination of all relevant elements in Israel, signed by the Minister of Defense and in force. “On an important and significant issue, but their consent is not a condition for the implementation of the declarations, and we expect them to respect the Israeli decision and prevent assistance from organizations that have been legally defined as terrorist organizations in Israel.”
      The EU’s Fraud Investigation Office has said it does not respond to cases it handles to protect the confidentiality of investigations. The European Commission said: "Civil society contributes to good governance and sustainable development in the EU, in Israel, in Palestine and everywhere. European funding for Palestinian civil society organizations is an important element of our support for a two state solution. “International law, human rights and democratic values. We comprehensively analyze the additional information received from the Israeli authorities after the announcement by the Israeli Ministry of Defense in November 2021. Declarations coming from partner countries are taken very seriously.”

  • Friends of the Traffickers Italy’s Anti-Mafia Directorate and the “Dirty Campaign” to Criminalize Migration

    Afana Dieudonne often says that he is not a superhero. That’s Dieudonne’s way of saying he’s done things he’s not proud of — just like anyone in his situation would, he says, in order to survive. From his home in Cameroon to Tunisia by air, then by car and foot into the desert, across the border into Libya, and onto a rubber boat in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Dieudonne has done a lot of surviving.

    In Libya, Dieudonne remembers when the smugglers managing the safe house would ask him for favors. Dieudonne spoke a little English and didn’t want trouble. He said the smugglers were often high and always armed. Sometimes, when asked, Dieudonne would distribute food and water among the other migrants. Other times, he would inform on those who didn’t follow orders. He remembers the traffickers forcing him to inflict violence on his peers. It was either them or him, he reasoned.

    On September 30, 2014, the smugglers pushed Dieudonne and 91 others out to sea aboard a rubber boat. Buzzing through the pitch-black night, the group watched lights on the Libyan coast fade into darkness. After a day at sea, the overcrowded dinghy began taking on water. Its passengers were rescued by an NGO vessel and transferred to an Italian coast guard ship, where officers picked Dieudonne out of a crowd and led him into a room for questioning.

    At first, Dieudonne remembers the questioning to be quick, almost routine. His name, his age, his nationality. And then the questions turned: The officers said they wanted to know how the trafficking worked in Libya so they could arrest the people involved. They wanted to know who had driven the rubber boat and who had held the navigation compass.

    “So I explained everything to them, and I also showed who the ‘captain’ was — captain in quotes, because there is no captain,” said Dieudonne. The real traffickers stay in Libya, he added. “Even those who find themselves to be captains, they don’t do it by choice.”

    For the smugglers, Dieudonne explained, “we are the customers, and we are the goods.”

    For years, efforts by the Italian government and the European Union to address migration in the central Mediterranean have focused on the people in Libya — interchangeably called facilitators, smugglers, traffickers, or militia members, depending on which agency you’re speaking to — whose livelihoods come from helping others cross irregularly into Europe. People pay them a fare to organize a journey so dangerous it has taken tens of thousands of lives.

    The European effort to dismantle these smuggling networks has been driven by an unlikely actor: the Italian anti-mafia and anti-terrorism directorate, a niche police office in Rome that gained respect in the 1990s and early 2000s for dismantling large parts of the Mafia in Sicily and elsewhere in Italy. According to previously unpublished internal documents, the office — called the Direzione nazionale antimafia e antiterrorismo, or DNAA, in Italian — took a front-and-center role in the management of Europe’s southern sea borders, in direct coordination with the EU border agency Frontex and European military missions operating off the Libyan coast.

    In 2013, under the leadership of a longtime anti-mafia prosecutor named Franco Roberti, the directorate pioneered a strategy that was unique — or at least new for the border officers involved. They would start handling irregular migration to Europe like they had handled the mob. The approach would allow Italian and European police, coast guard agencies, and navies, obliged by international law to rescue stranded refugees at sea, to at least get some arrests and convictions along the way.

    The idea was to arrest low-level operators and use coercion and plea deals to get them to flip on their superiors. That way, the reasoning went, police investigators could work their way up the food chain and eventually dismantle the smuggling rings in Libya. With every boat that disembarked in Italy, police would make a handful of arrests. Anybody found to have played an active role during the crossing, from piloting to holding a compass to distributing water or bailing out a leak, could be arrested under a new legal directive written by Roberti’s anti-mafia directorate. Charges ranged from simple smuggling to transnational criminal conspiracy and — if people asphyxiated below deck or drowned when a boat capsized — even murder. Judicial sources estimate the number of people arrested since 2013 to be in the thousands.

    For the police, prosecutors, and politicians involved, the arrests were an important domestic political win. At the time, public opinion in Italy was turning against migration, and the mugshots of alleged smugglers regularly held space on front pages throughout the country.

    But according to the minutes of closed-door conversations among some of the very same actors directing these cases, which were obtained by The Intercept under Italy’s freedom of information law, most anti-mafia prosecutions only focused on low-level boat drivers, often migrants who had themselves paid for the trip across. Few, if any, smuggling bosses were ever convicted. Documents of over a dozen trials reviewed by The Intercept show prosecutions built on hasty investigations and coercive interrogations.

    In the years that followed, the anti-mafia directorate went to great lengths to keep the arrests coming. According to the internal documents, the office coordinated a series of criminal investigations into the civilian rescue NGOs working to save lives in the Mediterranean, accusing them of hampering police work. It also oversaw efforts to create and train a new coast guard in Libya, with full knowledge that some coast guard officers were colluding with the same smuggling networks that Italian and European leaders were supposed to be fighting.

    Since its inception, the anti-mafia directorate has wielded unparalleled investigative tools and served as a bridge between politicians and the courts. The documents reveal in meticulous detail how the agency, alongside Italian and European officials, capitalized on those powers to crack down on alleged smugglers, most of whom they knew to be desperate people fleeing poverty and violence with limited resources to defend themselves in court.

    Tragedy and Opportunity

    The anti-mafia directorate was born in the early 1990s after a decade of escalating Mafia violence. By then, hundreds of prosecutors, politicians, journalists, and police officers had been shot, blown up, or kidnapped, and many more extorted by organized crime families operating in Italy and beyond.

    In Palermo, the Sicilian capital, prosecutor Giovanni Falcone was a rising star in the Italian judiciary. Falcone had won unprecedented success with an approach to organized crime based on tracking financial flows, seizing assets, and centralizing evidence gathered by prosecutor’s offices across the island.

    But as the Mafia expanded its reach into the rest of Europe, Falcone’s work proved insufficient.

    In September 1990, a Mafia commando drove from Germany to Sicily to gun down a 37-year-old judge. Weeks later, at a police checkpoint in Naples, the Sicilian driver of a truck loaded with weapons, explosives, and drugs was found to be a resident of Germany. A month after the arrests, Falcone traveled to Germany to establish an information-sharing mechanism with authorities there. He brought along a younger colleague from Naples, Franco Roberti.

    “We faced a stone wall,” recalled Roberti, still bitter three decades later. He spoke to us outside a cafe in a plum neighborhood in Naples. Seventy-three years old and speaking with the rasp of a lifelong smoker, Roberti described Italy’s Mafia problem in blunt language. He bemoaned a lack of international cooperation that, he said, continues to this day. “They claimed that there was no need to investigate there,” Roberti said, “that it was up to us to investigate Italians in Germany who were occasional mafiosi.”

    As the prosecutors traveled back to Italy empty-handed, Roberti remembers Falcone telling him that they needed “a centralized national organ able to speak directly to foreign judicial authorities and coordinate investigations in Italy.”

    “That is how the idea of the anti-mafia directorate was born,” Roberti said. The two began building what would become Italy’s first national anti-mafia force.

    At the time, there was tough resistance to the project. Critics argued that Falcone and Roberti were creating “super-prosecutors” who would wield outsize powers over the courts, while also being subject to political pressures from the government in Rome. It was, they argued, a marriage of police and the judiciary, political interests and supposedly apolitical courts — convenient for getting Mafia convictions but dangerous for Italian democracy.

    Still, in January 1992, the project was approved in Parliament. But Falcone would never get to lead it: Months later, a bomb set by the Mafia killed him, his wife, and the three agents escorting them. The attack put to rest any remaining criticism of Falcone’s plan.

    The anti-mafia directorate went on to become one of Italy’s most important institutions, the national authority over all matters concerning organized crime and the agency responsible for partially freeing the country from its century-old crucible. In the decades after Falcone’s death, the directorate did what many in Italy thought impossible, dismantling large parts of the five main Italian crime families and almost halving the Mafia-related murder rate.

    And yet, by the time Roberti took control in 2013, it had been years since the last high-profile Mafia prosecution, and the organization’s influence was waning. At the same time, Italy was facing unprecedented numbers of migrants arriving by boat. Roberti had an idea: The anti-mafia directorate would start working on what he saw as a different kind of mafia. The organization set its sights on Libya.

    “We thought we had to do something more coordinated to combat this trafficking,” Roberti remembered, “so I put everyone around a table.”

    “The main objective was to save lives, seize ships, and capture smugglers,” Roberti said. “Which we did.”

    Our Sea

    Dieudonne made it to the Libyan port city of Zuwara in August 2014. One more step across the Mediterranean, and he’d be in Europe. The smugglers he paid to get him across the sea took all of his possessions and put him in an abandoned building that served as a safe house to wait for his turn.

    Dieudonne told his story from a small office in Bari, Italy, where he runs a cooperative that helps recent arrivals access local education. Dieudonne is fiery and charismatic. He is constantly moving: speaking, texting, calling, gesticulating. Every time he makes a point, he raps his knuckles on the table in a one-two pattern. Dieudonne insisted that we publish his real name. Others who made the journey more recently — still pending decisions on their residence permits or refugee status — were less willing to speak openly.

    Dieudonne remembers the safe house in Zuwara as a string of constant violence. The smugglers would come once a day to leave food. Every day, they would ask who hadn’t followed their orders. Those inside the abandoned building knew they were less likely to be discovered by police or rival smugglers, but at the same time, they were not free to leave.

    “They’ve put a guy in the refrigerator in front of all of us, to show how the next one who misbehaves will be treated,” Dieudonne remembered, indignant. He witnessed torture, shootings, rape. “The first time you see it, it hurts you. The second time it hurts you less. The third time,” he said with a shrug, “it becomes normal. Because that’s the only way to survive.”

    “That’s why arresting the person who pilots a boat and treating them like a trafficker makes me laugh,” Dieudonne said. Others who have made the journey to Italy report having been forced to drive at gunpoint. “You only do it to be sure you don’t die there,” he said.

    Two years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s government, much of Libya’s northwest coast had become a staging ground for smugglers who organized sea crossings to Europe in large wooden fishing boats. When those ships — overcrowded, underpowered, and piloted by amateurs — inevitably capsized, the deaths were counted by the hundreds.

    In October 2013, two shipwrecks off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa took over 400 lives, sparking public outcry across Europe. In response, the Italian state mobilized two plans, one public and the other private.

    “There was a big shock when the Lampedusa tragedy happened,” remembered Italian Sen. Emma Bonino, then the country’s foreign minister. The prime minister “called an emergency meeting, and we decided to immediately launch this rescue program,” Bonino said. “Someone wanted to call the program ‘safe seas.’ I said no, not safe, because it’s sure we’ll have other tragedies. So let’s call it Mare Nostrum.”

    Mare Nostrum — “our sea” in Latin — was a rescue mission in international waters off the coast of Libya that ran for one year and rescued more than 150,000 people. The operation also brought Italian ships, airplanes, and submarines closer than ever to Libyan shores. Roberti, just two months into his job as head of the anti-mafia directorate, saw an opportunity to extend the country’s judicial reach and inflict a lethal blow to smuggling rings in Libya.

    Five days after the start of Mare Nostrum, Roberti launched the private plan: a series of coordination meetings among the highest echelons of the Italian police, navy, coast guard, and judiciary. Under Roberti, these meetings would run for four years and eventually involve representatives from Frontex, Europol, an EU military operation, and even Libya.

    The minutes of five of these meetings, which were presented by Roberti in a committee of the Italian Parliament and obtained by The Intercept, give an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at the events on Europe’s southern borders since the Lampedusa shipwrecks.

    In the first meeting, held in October 2013, Roberti told participants that the anti-mafia offices in the Sicilian city of Catania had developed an innovative way to deal with migrant smuggling. By treating Libyan smugglers like they had treated the Italian Mafia, prosecutors could claim jurisdiction over international waters far beyond Italy’s borders. That, Roberti said, meant they could lawfully board and seize vessels on the high seas, conduct investigations there, and use the evidence in court.

    The Italian authorities have long recognized that, per international maritime law, they are obligated to rescue people fleeing Libya on overcrowded boats and transport them to a place of safety. As the number of people attempting the crossing increased, many Italian prosecutors and coast guard officials came to believe that smugglers were relying on these rescues to make their business model work; therefore, the anti-mafia reasoning went, anyone who acted as crew or made a distress call on a boat carrying migrants could be considered complicit in Libyan trafficking and subject to Italian jurisdiction. This new approach drew heavily from legal doctrines developed in the United States during the 1980s aimed at stopping drug smuggling.

    European leaders were scrambling to find a solution to what they saw as a looming migration crisis. Italian officials thought they had the answer and publicly justified their decisions as a way to prevent future drownings.

    But according to the minutes of the 2013 anti-mafia meeting, the new strategy predated the Lampedusa shipwrecks by at least a week. Sicilian prosecutors had already written the plan to crack down on migration across the Mediterranean but lacked both the tools and public will to put it into action. Following the Lampedusa tragedy and the creation of Mare Nostrum, they suddenly had both.

    State of Necessity

    In the international waters off the coast of Libya, Dieudonne and 91 others were rescued by a European NGO called Migrant Offshore Aid Station. They spent two days aboard MOAS’s ship before being transferred to an Italian coast guard ship, Nave Dattilo, to be taken to Europe.

    Aboard the Dattilo, coast guard officers asked Dieudonne why he had left his home in Cameroon. He remembers them showing him a photograph of the rubber boat taken from the air. “They asked me who was driving, the roles and everything,” he remembered. “Then they asked me if I could tell him how the trafficking in Libya works, and then, they said, they would give me residence documents.”

    Dieudonne said that he was reluctant to cooperate at first. He didn’t want to accuse any of his peers, but he was also concerned that he could become a suspect. After all, he had helped the driver at points throughout the voyage.

    “I thought that if I didn’t cooperate, they might hurt me,” Dieudonne said. “Not physically hurt, but they could consider me dishonest, like someone who was part of the trafficking.”

    To this day, Dieudonne says he can’t understand why Italy would punish people for fleeing poverty and political violence in West Africa. He rattled off a list of events from the last year alone: draught, famine, corruption, armed gunmen, attacks on schools. “And you try to convict someone for managing to escape that situation?”

    The coast guard ship disembarked in Vibo Valentia, a city in the Italian region of Calabria. During disembarkation, a local police officer explained to a journalist that they had arrested five people. The journalist asked how the police had identified the accused.

    “A lot has been done by the coast guard, who picked [the migrants] up two days ago and managed to spot [the alleged smugglers],” the officer explained. “Then we have witness statements and videos.”

    Cases like these, where arrests are made on the basis of photo or video evidence and statements by witnesses like Dieudonne, are common, said Gigi Modica, a judge in Sicily who has heard many immigration and asylum cases. “It’s usually the same story. They take three or four people, no more. They ask them two questions: who was driving the boat, and who was holding the compass,” Modica explained. “That’s it — they get the names and don’t care about the rest.”

    Modica was one of the first judges in Italy to acquit people charged for driving rubber boats — known as “scafisti,” or boat drivers, in Italian — on the grounds that they had been forced to do so. These “state of necessity” rulings have since become increasingly common. Modica rattled off a list of irregularities he’s seen in such cases: systemic racism, witness statements that migrants later say they didn’t make, interrogations with no translator or lawyer, and in some cases, people who report being encouraged by police to sign documents renouncing their right to apply for asylum.

    “So often these alleged smugglers — scafisti — are normal people who were compelled to pilot a boat by smugglers in Libya,” Modica said.

    Documents of over a dozen trials reviewed by The Intercept show prosecutions largely built on testimony from migrants who are promised a residence permit in exchange for their collaboration. At sea, witnesses are interviewed by the police hours after their rescue, often still in a state of shock after surviving a shipwreck.

    In many cases, identical statements, typos included, are attributed to several witnesses and copied and pasted across different police reports. Sometimes, these reports have been enough to secure decadeslong sentences. Other times, under cross-examination in court, witnesses have contradicted the statements recorded by police or denied giving any testimony at all.

    As early as 2015, attendees of the anti-mafia meetings were discussing problems with these prosecutions. In a meeting that February, Giovanni Salvi, then the prosecutor of Catania, acknowledged that smugglers often abandoned migrant boats in international waters. Still, Italian police were steaming ahead with the prosecutions of those left on board.

    These prosecutions were so important that in some cases, the Italian coast guard decided to delay rescue when boats were in distress in order to “allow for the arrival of institutional ships that can conduct arrests,” a coast guard commander explained at the meeting.

    When asked about the commander’s comments, the Italian coast guard said that “on no occasion” has the agency ever delayed a rescue operation. Delaying rescue for any reason goes against international and Italian law, and according to various human rights lawyers in Europe, could give rise to criminal liability.

    NGOs in the Crosshairs

    Italy canceled Mare Nostrum after one year, citing budget constraints and a lack of European collaboration. In its wake, the EU set up two new operations, one via Frontex and the other a military effort called Operation Sophia. These operations focused not on humanitarian rescue but on border security and people smuggling from Libya. Beginning in 2015, representatives from Frontex and Operation Sophia were included in the anti-mafia directorate meetings, where Italian prosecutors ensured that both abided by the new investigative strategy.

    Key to these investigations were photos from the rescues, like the aerial image that Dieudonne remembers the Italian coast guard showing him, which gave police another way to identify who piloted the boats and helped navigate.

    In the absence of government rescue ships, a fleet of civilian NGO vessels began taking on a large number of rescues in the international waters off the coast of Libya. These ships, while coordinated by the Italian coast guard rescue center in Rome, made evidence-gathering difficult for prosecutors and judicial police. According to the anti-mafia meeting minutes, some NGOs, including MOAS, routinely gave photos to Italian police and Frontex. Others refused, arguing that providing evidence for investigations into the people they saved would undermine their efficacy and neutrality.

    In the years following Mare Nostrum, the NGO fleet would come to account for more than one-third of all rescues in the central Mediterranean, according to estimates by Operation Sophia. A leaked status report from the operation noted that because NGOs did not collect information from rescued migrants for police, “information essential to enhance the understanding of the smuggling business model is not acquired.”

    In a subsequent anti-mafia meeting, six prosecutors echoed this concern. NGO rescues meant that police couldn’t interview migrants at sea, they said, and cases were getting thrown out for lack of evidence. A coast guard admiral explained the importance of conducting interviews just after a rescue, when “a moment of empathy has been established.”

    “It is not possible to carry out this task if the rescue intervention is carried out by ships of the NGOs,” the admiral told the group.

    The NGOs were causing problems for the DNAA strategy. At the meetings, Italian prosecutors and representatives from the coast guard, navy, and Interior Ministry discussed what they could do to rein in the humanitarian organizations. At the same time, various prosecutors were separately fixing their investigative sights on the NGOs themselves.

    In late 2016, an internal report from Frontex — later published in full by The Intercept — accused an NGO vessel of directly receiving migrants from Libyan smugglers, attributing the information to “Italian authorities.” The claim was contradicted by video evidence and the ship’s crew.

    Months later, Carmelo Zuccaro, the prosecutor of Catania, made public that he was investigating rescue NGOs. “Together with Frontex and the navy, we are trying to monitor all these NGOs that have shown that they have great financial resources,” Zuccaro told an Italian newspaper. The claim went viral in Italian and European media. “Friends of the traffickers” and “migrant taxi service” became common slurs used toward humanitarian NGOs by anti-immigration politicians and the Italian far right.

    Zuccaro would eventually walk back his claims, telling a parliamentary committee that he was working off a hypothesis at the time and had no evidence to back it up.

    In an interview with a German newspaper in February 2017, the director of Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri, refrained from explicitly criticizing the work of rescue NGOs but did say they were hampering police investigations in the Mediterranean. As aid organizations assumed a larger percentage of rescues, Leggeri said, “it is becoming more difficult for the European security authorities to find out more about the smuggling networks through interviews with migrants.”

    “That smear campaign was very, very deep,” remembered Bonino, the former foreign minister. Referring to Marco Minniti, Italy’s interior minister at the time, she added, “I was trying to push Minniti not to be so obsessed with people coming, but to make a policy of integration in Italy. But he only focused on Libya and smuggling and criminalizing NGOs with the help of prosecutors.”

    Bonino explained that the action against NGOs was part of a larger plan to change European policy in the central Mediterranean. The first step was the shift away from humanitarian rescue and toward border security and smuggling. The second step “was blaming the NGOs or arresting them, a sort of dirty campaign against them,” she said. “The results of which after so many years have been no convictions, no penalties, no trials.”

    Finally, the third step was to build a new coast guard in Libya to do what the Europeans couldn’t, per international law: intercept people at sea and bring them back to Libya, the country from which they had just fled.

    At first, leaders at Frontex were cautious. “From Frontex’s point of view, we look at Libya with concern; there is no stable state there,” Leggeri said in the 2017 interview. “We are now helping to train 60 officers for a possible future Libyan coast guard. But this is at best a beginning.”

    Bonino saw this effort differently. “They started providing support for their so-called coast guard,” she said, “which were the same traffickers changing coats.”
    Rescued migrants disembarking from a Libyan coast guard ship in the town of Khoms, a town 120 kilometres (75 miles) east of the capital on October 1, 2019.

    Same Uniforms, Same Ships

    Safe on land in Italy, Dieudonne was never called to testify in court. He hopes that none of his peers ended up in prison but said he would gladly testify against the traffickers if called. Aboard the coast guard ship, he remembers, “I gave the police contact information for the traffickers, I gave them names.”

    The smuggling operations in Libya happened out in the open, but Italian police could only go as far as international waters. Leaked documents from Operation Sophia describe years of efforts by European officials to get Libyan police to arrest smugglers. Behind closed doors, top Italian and EU officials admitted that these same smugglers were intertwined with the new Libyan coast guard that Europe was creating and that working with them would likely go against international law.

    As early as 2015, multiple officials at the anti-mafia meetings noted that some smugglers were uncomfortably close to members of the Libyan government. “Militias use the same uniforms and the same ships as the Libyan coast guard that the Italian navy itself is training,” Rear Adm. Enrico Credendino, then in charge of Operation Sophia, said in 2017. The head of the Libyan coast guard and the Libyan minister of defense, both allies of the Italian government, Credendino added, “have close relationships with some militia bosses.”

    One of the Libyan coast guard officers playing both sides was Abd al-Rahman Milad, also known as Bija. In 2019, the Italian newspaper Avvenire revealed that Bija participated in a May 2017 meeting in Sicily, alongside Italian border police and intelligence officials, that was aimed at stemming migration from Libya. A month later, he was condemned by the U.N. Security Council for his role as a top member of a powerful trafficking militia in the coastal town of Zawiya, and for, as the U.N. put it, “sinking migrant boats using firearms.”

    According to leaked documents from Operation Sophia, coast guard officers under Bija’s command were trained by the EU between 2016 and 2018.

    While the Italian government was prosecuting supposed smugglers in Italy, they were also working with people they knew to be smugglers in Libya. Minniti, Italy’s then-interior minister, justified the deals his government was making in Libya by saying that the prospect of mass migration from Africa made him “fear for the well-being of Italian democracy.”

    In one of the 2017 anti-mafia meetings, a representative of the Interior Ministry, Vittorio Pisani, outlined in clear terms a plan that provided for the direct coordination of the new Libyan coast guard. They would create “an operation room in Libya for the exchange of information with the Interior Ministry,” Pisani explained, “mainly on the position of NGO ships and their rescue operations, in order to employ the Libyan coast guard in its national waters.”

    And with that, the third step of the plan was set in motion. At the end of the meeting, Roberti suggested that the group invite representatives from the Libyan police to their next meeting. In an interview with The Intercept, Roberti confirmed that Libyan representatives attended at least two anti-mafia meetings and that he himself met Bija at a meeting in Libya, one month after the U.N. Security Council report was published. The following year, the Security Council committee on Libya sanctioned Bija, freezing his assets and banning him from international travel.

    “We needed to have the participation of Libyan institutions. But they did nothing, because they were taking money from the traffickers,” Roberti told us from the cafe in Naples. “They themselves were the traffickers.”
    A Place of Safety

    Roberti retired from the anti-mafia directorate in 2017. He said that under his leadership, the organization was able to create a basis for handling migration throughout Europe. Still, Roberti admits that his expansion of the DNAA into migration issues has had mixed results. Like his trip to Germany in the ’90s with Giovanni Falcone, Roberti said the anti-mafia strategy faltered because of a lack of collaboration: with the NGOs, with other European governments, and with Libya.

    “On a European level, the cooperation does not work,” Roberti said. Regarding Libya, he added, “We tried — I believe it was right, the agreements [the government] made. But it turned out to be a failure in the end.”

    The DNAA has since expanded its operations. Between 2017 and 2019, the Italian government passed two bills that put the anti-mafia directorate in charge of virtually all illegal immigration matters. Since 2017, five Sicilian prosecutors, all of whom attended at least one anti-mafia coordination meeting, have initiated 15 separate legal proceedings against humanitarian NGO workers. So far there have been no convictions: Three cases have been thrown out in court, and the rest are ongoing.

    Earlier this month, news broke that Sicilian prosecutors had wiretapped journalists and human rights lawyers as part of one of these investigations, listening in on legally protected conversations with sources and clients. The Italian justice ministry has opened an investigation into the incident, which could amount to criminal behavior, according to Italian legal experts. The prosecutor who approved the wiretaps attended at least one DNAA coordination meeting, where investigations against NGOs were discussed at length.

    As the DNAA has extended its reach, key actors from the anti-mafia coordination meetings have risen through the ranks of Italian and European institutions. One prosecutor, Federico Cafiero de Raho, now runs the anti-mafia directorate. Salvi, the former prosecutor of Catania, is the equivalent of Italy’s attorney general. Pisani, the former Interior Ministry representative, is deputy head of the Italian intelligence services. And Roberti is a member of the European Parliament.

    Cafiero de Raho stands by the investigations and arrests that the anti-mafia directorate has made over the years. He said the coordination meetings were an essential tool for prosecutors and police during difficult times.

    When asked about his specific comments during the meetings — particularly statements that humanitarian NGOs needed to be regulated and multiple admissions that members of the new Libyan coast guard were involved in smuggling activities — Cafiero de Raho said that his remarks should be placed in context, a time when Italy and the EU were working to build a coast guard in a part of Libya that was largely ruled by local militias. He said his ultimate goal was what, in the DNAA coordination meetings, he called the “extrajudicial solution”: attempts to prove the existence of crimes against humanity in Libya so that “the United Nation sends troops to Libya to dismantle migrants camps set up by traffickers … and retake control of that territory.”

    A spokesperson for the EU’s foreign policy arm, which ran Operation Sophia, refused to directly address evidence that leaders of the European military operation knew that parts of the new Libyan coast guard were also involved in smuggling activities, only noting that Bija himself wasn’t trained by the EU. A Frontex spokesperson stated that the agency “was not involved in the selection of officers to be trained.”

    In 2019, the European migration strategy changed again. Now, the vast majority of departures are intercepted by the Libyan coast guard and brought back to Libya. In March of that year, Operation Sophia removed all of its ships from the rescue area and has since focused on using aerial patrols to direct and coordinate the Libyan coast guard. Human rights lawyers in Europe have filed six legal actions against Italy and the EU as a result, calling the practice refoulement by proxy: facilitating the return of migrants to dangerous circumstances in violation of international law.

    Indeed, throughout four years of coordination meetings, Italy and the EU were admitting privately that returning people to Libya would be illegal. “Fundamental human rights violations in Libya make it impossible to push migrants back to the Libyan coast,” Pisani explained in 2015. Two years later, he outlined the beginnings of a plan that would do exactly that.

    The Result of Mere Chance

    Dieudonne knows he was lucky. The line that separates suspect and victim can be entirely up to police officers’ first impressions in the minutes or hours following a rescue. According to police reports used in prosecutions, physical attributes like having “a clearer skin tone” or behavior aboard the ship, including scrutinizing police movements “with strange interest,” were enough to rouse suspicion.

    In a 2019 ruling that acquitted seven alleged smugglers after three years of pretrial detention, judges wrote that “the selection of the suspects on one side, and the witnesses on the other, with the only exception of the driver, has almost been the result of mere chance.”

    Carrying out work for their Libyan captors has cost other migrants in Italy lengthy prison sentences. In September 2019, a 22-year-old Guinean nicknamed Suarez was arrested upon his arrival to Italy. Four witnesses told police he had collaborated with prison guards in Zawiya, at the immigrant detention center managed by the infamous Bija.

    “Suarez was also a prisoner, who then took on a job,” one of the witnesses told the court. Handing out meals or taking care of security is what those who can’t afford to pay their ransom often do in order to get out, explained another. “Unfortunately, you would have to be there to understand the situation,” the first witness said. Suarez was sentenced to 20 years in prison, recently reduced to 12 years on appeal.

    Dieudonne remembered his journey at sea vividly, but with surprising cool. When the boat began taking on water, he tried to help. “One must give help where it is needed.” At his office in Bari, Dieudonne bent over and moved his arms in a low scooping motion, like he was bailing water out of a boat.

    “Should they condemn me too?” he asked. He finds it ironic that it was the Libyans who eventually arrested Bija on human trafficking charges this past October. The Italians and Europeans, he said with a laugh, were too busy working with the corrupt coast guard commander. (In April, Bija was released from prison after a Libyan court absolved him of all charges. He was promoted within the coast guard and put back on the job.)

    Dieudonne thinks often about the people he identified aboard the coast guard ship in the middle of the sea. “I told the police the truth. But if that collaboration ends with the conviction of an innocent person, it’s not good,” he said. “Because I know that person did nothing. On the contrary, he saved our lives by driving that raft.”


    #Méditerranée #Italie #Libye #ONG #criminalisation_de_la_solidarité #solidarité #secours #mer_Méditerranée #asile #migrations #réfugiés #violence #passeurs #Méditerranée_centrale #anti-mafia #anti-terrorisme #Direzione_nazionale_antimafia_e_antiterrorismo #DNAA #Frontex #Franco_Roberti #justice #politique #Zuwara #torture #viol #Mare_Nostrum #Europol #eaux_internationales #droit_de_la_mer #droit_maritime #juridiction_italienne #arrestations #Gigi_Modica #scafista #scafisti #état_de_nécessité #Giovanni_Salvi #NGO #Operation_Sophia #MOAS #DNA #Carmelo_Zuccaro #Zuccaro #Fabrice_Leggeri #Leggeri #Marco_Minniti #Minniti #campagne #gardes-côtes_libyens #milices #Enrico_Credendino #Abd_al-Rahman_Milad #Bija ##Abdurhaman_al-Milad #Al_Bija #Zawiya #Vittorio_Pisani #Federico_Cafiero_de_Raho #solution_extrajudiciaire #pull-back #refoulement_by_proxy #refoulement #push-back #Suarez

    ping @karine4 @isskein @rhoumour

  • « Moria, Not Good »

    Πορεία διαμαρτυρίας από περίπου 500 γυναικόπαιδα στο κέντρο της Προκυμαίας για τις άθλιες συνθήκες διαβίωσης στο ΚΥΤ Μόριας και τη « ζούγκλα » του ελαιώνα.

    Πορεία στο κέντρο της Μυτιλήνης πραγματοποιήσαν σήμερα, νωρίς το μεσημέρι, περίπου 500 γυναίκες, μαζί με παιδιά, αιτούντες άσυλο που διαμένουν στο ΚΥΤ της Μόριας και στη « ζούγκλα » του ελαιώνα.

    Μία ώρα μετά, στο πρώτο γκρουπ διαδηλωτριών προστέθηκε και ένα δεύτερο. Όλοι μαζί ξεκίνησαν πορεία με κατεύθυνση την οδό Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, όπου στο τρίγωνο έκαναν καθιστική διαμαρτυρία για λίγα λεπτά.

    Ακολούθως πέρασαν μπροστά από τα Κεντρικά Λύκεια και βγήκαν ξανά στην Προκυμαία, όπου έκλεισαν και τα δύο ρεύματα κυκλοφορίας, προκαλώντας κυκλοφοριακό κομφούζιο.

    Από την πλευρά τους οι αστυνομικοί προσπαθούσαν να εκτρέψουν την κυκλοφορία μέσα από την Αγορά, ωστόσο υπήρξαν φορτηγά, λεωφορεία και βαρέα οχήματα που ακινητοποιήθηκαν στην Προκυμαία, ενώ άλλοι οδηγοί με αναστροφή προσπαθούσαν να ξεμπλέξουν από το μποτιλιάρισμα.

    Οι διαδηλώτριες έκαναν καθιστική διαμαρτυρία και μπροστά στη Μεγάλη Βρετάνια, διαμαρτυρόμενες για τις άθλιες συνθήκες διαβίωσης στη Μόρια, καθώς και τις καθυστερήσεις που παρατηρούνται ως προς την εξέταση των αιτήσεων ασύλου τους. Λίγη ώρα αργότερα, συγεντρώθηκαν μπροστά από την Πλατεία Σαπφούς, φωνάζοντας επί ώρα το σύνθημα « Moria, Not Good », πριν ολοκληρώσουν τη διαδήλωσή τους και επιστρέψουν στο ΚΥΤ Μόριας.

    #résistance #hotspot #Grèce #île #Lesbos #asile #migrations #réfugiés

    • « Ελευθερία » ζητούν οι πρόσφυγες στη Μόρια
      Πρωτοφανή επεισόδια σημειώθηκαν σήμερα στη Μυτιλήνη,

      μετά τη μαζική πορεία προσφύγων που ξεκίνησαν το πρωί από τον καταυλισμό ζητώντας να σταματήσει ο εγκλεισμός τους και να επιταχυνθούν οι διαδικασίες χορήγησης ασύλου. Η λέξη « ελευθερία » κυριαρχεί στα αυτοσχέδια πλακάτ.

      Ακολουθεί φωτορεπορτάζ από τη δυναμική κινητοποίηση τουλάχιστον 2.000 προσφύγων, μεταξύ των οποίων πολλές γυναίκες και παιδιά, και τα επεισόδια με τις αστυνομικές δυνάμεις που προχώρησαν επανειλημμένα στη χρήση χημικών.


    • « Λάδι στη φωτιά » οι σημερινές διαδηλώσεις

      Η διαμαρτυρία Αφγανών και τα επεισόδια της Δευτέρας με την αστυνομία.

      Στις 4 το απόγευμα έληξε η διαμαρτυρία των Αφγανών προσφύγων έξω από το Δημοτικό Θέατρο Μυτιλήνης ενάντια στο νέο νόμο για το Άσυλο, που σύμφωνα με τα λεγόμενά τους, τους υποχρεώνει σε νέο εγκλωβισμό- καθώς πλέον έχουν προτεραιότητα οι νεοεισερχόμενοι αιτούντες άσυλο.

      Ειδικότερα, συγκρούσεις μεταξύ Αφγανών που διαμένουν στο ΚΥΤ ης Μόριας, ανδρών και γυναικών κάθε ηλικίας και της Αστυνομίας σημάδεψαν τις σημερινές κινητοποιήσεις, οι οποίες είναι από τις λίγες φορές που έλαβαν χώρα εκτός του ΚΥΤ.

      Η διαδήλωση έφτασε περίπου στις 10.30 το πρωί, σχεδόν στην είσοδο της πόλης της Μυτιλήνης, λίγο μετά το δημοτικό καταυλισμό του Καρά Τεπέ. Εκεί τους περίμενε ισχυρή Αστυνομική δύναμη που δεν τους επέτρεψε να συνεχίζουν. Μια ομάδα περίπου 1000 από τους διαδηλωτές τότε έφυγε μέσω γειτονικών χωραφιών με σκοπό να φτάσουν πίσω από το εργοστάσιο της ΔΕΗ στο δρόμο της βόρειας παράκαμψης και από εκεί να μπουν για να διαμαρτυρηθούν στην πόλη. Στην πορεία τους άναψαν φωτιές για αντιπερισπασμό. Ας σημειωθεί εδώ ότι προς στιγμή η φωτιά έκαιγε και σε κτήματα που γειτνιάζουν με τις εγκαταστάσεις του εργοστασίου της ΔΕΗ. Οι φωτιές επεκτάθηκαν και τότε άρχισαν οδομαχίες προκειμένου να μην ενισχυθεί ο αριθμός όσων προσπαθούσαν να φτάσουν στην πόλη.

      Με ρίψη δακρυγόνων απωθήθηκε ο μεγάλος αριθμός των νεαρών κυρίων Αφγανών που είχαν μείνει στο δρόμο και πίεζαν τις Αστυνομικές δυνάμεις να περάσουν. Ενώ το κλείσιμο του δρόμου δεν επέτρεπε και την έξοδο των οχημάτων της Πυροσβεστικής από τις εγκαταστάσεις της υπηρεσίας που βρίσκονται στην περιοχή.

      Την ίδια ώρα περίπου 500 άτομα που κατάφεραν και μπήκαν στην πόλη από τη βόρεια συνοικία της ενισχυμένη με νεαρούς Αφγανούς πάντα που βρισκόταν στην πόλη κατάλαβαν το δρόμο της Προκυμαίας μπροστά στο Δημοτικό Θέατρο της πόλης ενώ κάποιοι έστησαν και σκηνές.

      Σύμφωνα με επιβεβαιωμένες πληροφορίες του ΑΠΕ η κινητοποίηση ήταν γνωστή στις Αστυνομικές αρχές από την Παρασκευή για αυτό και το Σαββατοκύριακο υπήρξε ενίσχυση της αστυνομικής δύναμης με προσωπικό από την Αθήνα.

      Εδώ η συνεχής ενημέρωση του « Ν », με έξτρα φωτογραφίες και βίντεο.


    • Manifestation à Lesbos : incidents entre forces de l’ordre et migrants

      Les forces anti-émeutes ont fait usage de gaz lacrymogènes lundi sur l’île grecque de Lesbos contre des migrants qui manifestaient contre une nouvelle loi durcissant les procédures d’asile en Grèce, a-t-on appris de source policière.

      Brandissant des banderoles sur lesquelles on pouvait lire en anglais « Freedom » (liberté), quelque 2.000 migrants réclamaient l’examen de leur demande d’asile, que certains attendent depuis des mois voire des années, et protestaient contre les conditions de vie à proximité et à l’intérieur du camp de Moria, le plus grand des camps de Grèce.

      Ils avaient parcouru une distance d’environ 7 km entre le camp de Moria et le port de Mytilène, quand des policiers anti-émeutes leur ont barré la route en lançant des gaz lacrymogènes, selon la même source.

      Toutefois, des centaines de demandeurs d’asile ont réussi à atteindre le port pour y manifester, a constaté une correspondante de l’AFP.

      Le Haut commissariat des réfugiés de l’ONU (HCR) en Grèce souligne les « retards significatifs » pris par les services grecs de l’asile, avec près de 90.000 demandes en souffrance dans un pays qui compte actuellement 112.300 migrants sur les îles et sur le continent, selon les chiffres du HCR.

      « L’accumulation significative des candidatures à l’asile et les graves retards pris dans les procédures d’asile contribuent de manière importante aux conditions dangereuses de surpopulation observée sur les îles », a déclaré à l’AFP Boris Cheshirkov, porte-parole de la section grecque du HCR.

      Face au nombre constant d’arrivées de demandeurs d’asile sur les îles grecques en provenance de la Turquie voisine, le gouvernement de droite a fait voter une loi, entrée en vigueur en janvier, prévoyant des délais brefs pour examiner les demandes d’asile, en vue de renvoyer les demandeurs non éligibles ou déboutés dans leurs pays d’origine ou vers la Turquie voisine.

      Dans les camps, des dizaines de milliers de migrants, arrivés avant janvier, protestent contre les retards importants dans le traitement de leurs demandes d’asile, les empêchant de quitter les îles.

      « Les autorités donnent la priorité à ceux qui sont arrivés récemment » et non pas aux demandeurs d’asile qui attendent depuis longtemps, a souligné Boris Cheshirkov.

      La majorité des 19.000 migrants attendant au camp de Moria, dont la capacité est de 2.700 personnes, « vivent dans des conditions terribles, sans accès à l’eau ou l’électricité », a-t-il rappelé.

      Le HCR-Grèce a appelé « les autorités à mettre en place des procédures justes et efficaces pour identifier ceux qui ont besoin d’une protection internationale en respectant les normes et les garanties adéquates ».

      La situation est devenue explosive à Lesbos, Samos, Kos, Chios et Leros, sur la mer Egée, où vivent 42.000 demandeurs d’asile pour 6.200 places.

      Les bagarres entre demandeurs d’asile y sont en outre fréquentes, et au moins quatre personnes ont perdu la vie ces derniers mois.


    • Réfugiés : à Lesbos, une situation explosive et une #chasse_à_l'homme

      Après une montée de tensions aux relents xénophobes et une manifestation violemment réprimée, l’île grecque a été le théâtre de #heurts les habitants et les migrants, qui s’entassent en nombre dans des camps insalubres.

      « Allez, allez ! Courez ! » hurlent des voix en anglais. Puis aussitôt, en grec : « Cassez-vous d’ici ! » Les images qui circulent sur les réseaux sociaux, où l’on voit des hommes en colère à la poursuite de migrants, sont aussi glaçantes que le ciel gris qui enveloppe Lesbos. Après deux jours de fortes tensions, cette île située à l’extrémité orientale de la Grèce a été le théâtre d’une véritable chasse à l’homme en ce début de semaine.

      Tout a commencé lundi, avec une manifestation de migrants très durement réprimée par les forces de l’ordre. Puis mardi soir, des habitants excédés sont à leur tour sortis dans la rue, revendiquant leur droit de « prendre la situation en main ». Ce n’est pas la première fois que des tensions explosent sur l’île, devenue depuis quatre ans une prison à ciel ouvert pour les réfugiés, coincés sur ce bout de terre européen en attendant le résultat de leur demande d’asile. Mais les événements de ce début de semaine constituent une dérive inédite et inquiétante.
      « Plus de toilettes ni d’électricité »

      Comme toutes les îles grecques qui font face à la Turquie, Lesbos se retrouve en première ligne de l’afflux migratoire vers l’Europe. Et malgré un deal controversé conclu entre Bruxelles et Ankara en 2016, les arrivées n’ont jamais cessé. Elles sont même reparties à la hausse : en 2019, la Grèce est redevenue la première porte d’entrée en Europe, avec 74 000 arrivées en un an.

      Sur les îles, la surpopulation tourne au cauchemar : les nouveaux venus se retrouvent « entassés dans des camps insalubres où il faut faire à chaque fois la queue pendant plusieurs heures pour manger, puis pour prendre une douche ou même aller aux toilettes », rappelle Tommaso Santo, chef de mission à Médecins sans frontières (MSF), joint par téléphone à Athènes.

      A Lesbos, le camp de Moria, prévu pour 3 000 places, accueille désormais plus de 20 000 personnes, abritées tant bien que mal sous des tentes qui grignotent les champs d’olives environnants. « Dans l’extension la plus récente, il n’y a même plus de toilettes ni d’électricité », souligne le responsable de MSF. L’ONG gère une clinique de santé mentale sur l’île. Parmi les patients, on y croise notamment des enfants qui ne parlent plus, refusent de se nourrir. Parfois ils s’automutilent ou ont tenté de se suicider. C’est d’ailleurs pour protester contre cette précarité inhumaine que les réfugiés ont, une fois de plus, manifesté lundi à Lesbos.
      « Climat de peur »

      La colère des habitants n’est pas non plus surprenante. Eux aussi subissent la présence de ces camps insalubres, qui croulent sous les ordures, et autour desquels errent des désespérés condamnés à une attente qui semble sans fin. Mais pour certains observateurs, la montée de tension récente est aussi le résultat de la nouvelle donne politique : « Le retour au pouvoir des conservateurs de Nouvelle Démocratie, en juillet, a implicitement encouragé les pulsions les plus xénophobes. Ils ont fait campagne sur le durcissement des lois migratoires, ils ont promis de se montrer plus durs, et nous y voilà. Aujourd’hui, ce ne sont pas seulement les migrants qui sont ciblés, mais aussi les ONG qui les soutiennent et les habitants qui refusent de les chasser. Certains ont vu leurs maisons caillassées mardi soir », soupire Petros (1), volontaire pour une ONG locale qui dénonce « l’instauration d’un climat de peur ».

      A partir de 2015, les Grecs avaient pourtant fait preuve d’une générosité exemplaire, en accueillant à bras ouverts les premières vagues de réfugiés malgré leurs propres difficultés économiques. Certes, le temps a joué dans la montée du ras-le-bol alors même que les partenaires européens de la Grèce n’ont pas tenu leurs promesses d’offres de relocalisations. Mais la nouvelle politique imposée par la droite grecque s’est effectivement traduite par une stigmatisation des candidats à l’asile dont les conditions d’admission ont été récemment durcies. En outre, ils se trouvent désormais privés de la carte sociale qui leur donnait accès aux soins gratuits. Malgré les demandes pressantes de MSF, le gouvernement de Kyriákos Mitsotákis refuse toujours d’évacuer de Moria 140 enfants qui ont besoin de soins médicaux urgents, indisponibles à Lesbos. Et la promesse de désengorger les îles en transférant des réfugiés en Grèce continentale s’effectue à un rythme ralenti.

      Pendant ce temps, certains relèvent peu à peu la tête : les néonazis d’Aube dorée, qui avaient quasiment disparu de la scène publique ces dernières années, sont de retour depuis quelques mois. A Lesbos, leurs partisans recruteraient notamment parmi de jeunes hommes de « 18 ou 20 ans » : « Ils sont souvent vêtus de passe-montagnes et porteurs de bâton », décrit Petros, le volontaire grec. Des « pitsirikia », de très jeunes garçons, comme les a désignés un journal local. Ils étaient eux aussi dans les rues de Lesbos mardi soir.



      Commentaire reçu via la mailing-list Migreurop :

      Climat explosif à Lesbos, retour en force de l’#Aube_Dorée
      A Mytilène et à #Moria des milices d’extrêmes droite, font la chasse aux ONG et aux migrants -une camionnette appartenant à une ONG a été attaquée dans le village de Moria, tandis qu’un groupe de jeunes cagoulés et armés de bâtons faisait irruption dans les maisons pour vérifier la présence éventuelle de réfugiés, solidaires et des membres des ONG. Le soir du 4 février une maison abandonnée, toujours dans le village de Moria fut incendiée, heureusement les trois réfugiés qui s’y abritaient étaient partis à temps
      A #Mytilène, chef-lieu de Lesbos, après la dispersion d’une manifestation anti-fasciste organisée principalement par des étudiants, un café fréquenté par ceux-ci, fut encerclé par un groupe portant des casques armé de bâtes qui ne se sont éloignés qu’après l’arrivée d’autres étudiants solidaires.

      #extrême_droite #xénophobie #racisme

    • Refugee children amid crowds of protesters tear gassed on Lesbos

      Tensions mount as asylum seekers living in Moria, a notoriously overcrowded Greek camp, rally against poor conditions.

      Greek police have fired tear gas at thousands of refugees and migrants trapped on the overcrowded island of Lesbos, from where they are not allowed to travel to the mainland under a 2016 EU-Turkey deal aimed at curbing migratory flows.

      In tense scenes on Monday, children and babies were caught up in plumes of tear gas during protests by about 2,000 people.

      The clashes broke out around Moria, a notoriously cramped camp which was never designed to hold more than 3,000. Currently, there are nearly 20,000 people in and around the camp.

      Protesters rallied against the continued containment of people on Lesbos island and the unbearable living conditions inside the camp.

      In footage seen by Al Jazeera, children can be seen recovering from being hit with tear gas fired by riot police. Some wore face masks to protect themselves from inhalation.

      Riot police fired the tear gas to try and quell protesters and prevent them from marching on foot to Mytilene, Lesbos’s capital more than four miles away.

      But many Moria residents did reach the port city and continued protesting there on Tuesday.

      Abdul (not his real name), an Afghan refugee, told Al Jazeera: “I participated because people are dying in Moria and nobody cares. We feel like we don’t have a future here, if we wanted to die then we could have stayed in Afghanistan. We came here to look for a good future and to be safe, this is not a place for living.”

      At least two people have died in Moria so far this year in stabbing attacks, according to local media.

      In previous years, refugees at the camp have died in fires, because of extreme weather and as some - including babies - lack access to proper medical facilities.
      Tense mood

      The mood in the centre of Mytilene on Tuesday was tense as nearly 200 people, mainly men and women from Afghanistan, congregated in the central square.

      “Freedom, Freedom,” they chanted, as well as “Lesbos people, we are sorry,” - an apparent apology to Greek residents for the highly charged atmosphere.

      Franziska Grillmeier, a German journalist, told Al Jazeera that she witnessed families being tear gassed on Monday.

      "Yesterday, as the people were trying to move the protest from Moria to Mytilene, the police tried to deter them by using roadblocks. Some families, however, broke through using the olive grove fields next to the camp and tried to find an alternative way to get to Mytilene. The police then started using heavy tear gas, throwing it into the fields by the olive grove, which also set some of the olive trees on fire.

      “There were men holding their kids up, kids who were foaming at the mouth, kids having panic attacks and babies unable to breathe and dehydrating through the gas.”

      She claimed the police reaction appeared to be excessive.

      “There weren’t really any threats to the police at that point, it was just really a tactic of the police to immediately throw tear gas at people who were peacefully trying to make their way to Mytilene.”

      Police reportedly detained dozens of protesters. Al Jazeera contacted the Ministry of Citizen Protection but had not received a response by the time of publication.

      “I saw serious attacks on people, beatings with sticks. I also saw people screaming, holding their kids in the air and saying: ’Look what you’ve done’,” Grillmeier said.

      Paolo Amadei, a freelance photographer from Italy, said: "There were police throwing gas, women and kids and infants got gassed and there were many kids crying.

      “They (refugees) came in peace, that’s what I saw: they weren’t looking for a clash.”

      Boris Cheshirkov, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, told Al Jazeera he was concerned by the escalation, which has been “exacerbated by the dire conditions and long wait”.

      He said UNHCR has urged the Greek government to transfer people to the mainland and explained that European solidarity and responsibility-sharing was now crucial.


    • À Lesbos, des migrants manifestent et se heurtent aux forces anti-émeutes

      Les forces anti-émeutes ont fait usage de gaz lacrymogènes lundi sur l’île grecque de Lesbos contre des migrants, qui manifestaient contre une nouvelle loi durcissant les procédures d’asile en Grèce.

      Brandissant des banderoles sur lesquelles on pouvait lire en anglais « Freedom », quelque 2 000 migrants ont manifesté ce lundi 3 février à Lesbos. Ils réclamaient l’examen de leur demande d’asile, que certaines attendent depuis des mois, voire des années, et protestaient contre les conditions de vie à proximité et à l’intérieur du camp de Moria, le plus grand de Grèce.

      Les manifestants avaient parcouru environ 7 km entre le camp de Moria et le port de Mytilène, quand des policiers anti-émeutes leur ont barré la route en lançant des gaz lacrymogènes, rapporte une source policière citée par l’AFP. Des centaines de demandeurs d’asile ont toutefois réussi à atteindre le port pour y manifester.

      Le Haut Commissariat des réfugiés de l’ONU (HCR) en Grèce souligne les « retards significatifs » pris par les services grecs de l’asile, avec près de 90 000 demandes en souffrance dans un pays qui compte actuellement 112 300 migrants sur les îles et sur le continent, selon les chiffres de l’organisation. Des retards qui participent aux conditions de vie désastreuses des exilés sur les îles grecques.

      Situation explosive

      La situation est devenue explosive à Lesbos, Samos, Kos, Chios et Leros, sur la mer Égée, où vivent 42 000 demandeurs d’asile pour 6 200 places. « À Lesbos on a des milliers de gens qui vivent hors des structures du camp de Moria, sous les arbres, sous de petites tentes », rapporte Boris Cheshirkov, porte-parole de la section grecque du HCR, joint par RFI. Sur ces îles, les bagarres entre demandeurs d’asile sont en outre fréquentes, et au moins quatre personnes ont perdu la vie ces derniers mois.

      « La première chose à faire est de transférer plusieurs milliers de personnes sur le continent dans de meilleures conditions de vie, parce que si on ne réduit pas sérieusement le nombre de personnes sur les îles, il n’y aura pas de solution. En parallèle, il faut plus de personnel, plus de services, plus d’hygiène et des procédures administratives plus rapides. Dans le même temps, les pays européens peuvent faire beaucoup plus en ouvrant des places de relocalisation. Le HCR a notamment demandé à des États de prendre en charge une partie des enfants seuls. Il y a eu un programme de relocalisation, mais il a pris fin en 2017 », déplore Boris Cheshirkov.

      Face au nombre constant d’arrivées depuis la Turquie voisine, le gouvernement grec de droite a fait voter une loi, entrée en vigueur en janvier, prévoyant des délais brefs pour examiner les demandes d’asile, en vue de renvoyer les demandeurs non éligibles ou déboutés dans leurs pays d’origine ou vers la Turquie.

      Le HCR-Grèce a appelé « les autorités à mettre en place des procédures justes et efficaces pour identifier ceux qui ont besoin d’une protection internationale en respectant les normes et les garanties adéquates ».


    • Police arrests Greek extremists acting like “raid battalion” in Moria village (UPD)

      Police on the island of Lesvos has arrested seven Greek extremists who were conducting street and house to Greeks and foreign nationals in the village of Moria. All members of the so-called “control squad” or “raid battalion” were wearing helmets and holding bats when they arrested on Thursday night.

      All arrestees are men, police is looking for two more.

      Authorities investigate illegal acts conducted by the extremists both in Moria and the wide area of Mytilini in recent days.

      According to local media stonisi and lesvosnews.net, they are to appear before the prosecutor and face charges for violating gun laws and for setting up a criminal group acting like a “raid battalion.” Later it was reported that they will be charged also for violating “anti-racism laws. Authorities reportedly investigate also whether they were involved in criminal acts in the past, ANT1 reported.

      UPDATE: According to latest information for the island, five of the arrestees are Greeks, one is Bulgarian national and one Albanian, all aged 17-24. The two still sought by the police are a Greek and a foreigner, both minors.

      Seized have been 5 wooden bats and one metal stick as well as full face mask, reports, levsosnews.net.

      Although authorities have been denying the existence of such groups, a exclusive video captured them as they terrorized customers of a bar in downtown Mytilini two days ago. They men wear masks, black jackets and threaten the bar’s customers they “do not like.”

      According to eyewitnesses, these young men were also checking Greeks and foreign nationals passing by the main commercial Ermou street.

      The “squad” has also “raided” a cafeteria on the same street, where students, workers and volunteers of non-governmental organizations involved in the refugee crisis hang out.

      These reports were also confirmed by police, local media stonisi stresses.

      The same group of people, always with masks and bats, had reportedly conducted controls in the village of Moria on Tuesday night.

      They checked in homes and shops for foreign nationals, asylum seekers, volunteers and NGO-workers. According to confirmed reports, they broke the car of an Italian NGO worker with two asylum-seekers on board. Police intervened following locals’ phone calls.

      The atmosphere on the island is tense not only due to the asylum-seekers’ protest beginning of the week but also due to the objection of local authorities and residents to the government plans for closed accommodation centers.

      Far-right extremists try to take advantage of the situation, fake news against refugees, migrants and asylum seekers are spread on daily basis.

      A local group has reportedly also posted on internet calling on “armed violence” against the refugees.

      Police on Lesvos has not been famous for its intervention against far-right extremists.

      The last think the government wants, though, is a spark to provoke unprecedented situations on the island.


    • Greece tightens rules for refugee NGOs

      The parliament in Athens has pushed through a law aimed at restoring order on the Aegean islands. The laws puts restrictions on non-government organizations, which have been accused of inciting migrants to stage violent protests.
      Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Wednesday that NGOs will no longer be allowed to “operate unchecked” and in future they would be “strictly vetted,” the Greek newspaper, Proto Thema, reports.

      Speaking at a celebration for the centenary of the Hellenic Coast Guard, Mitsotakis said “Most NGOs do a great job. They are helpful in tackling the problem. But we know, we know it, beyond any doubt, that there are some who do not fulfill the role they are claiming. We will not tolerate this anymore.”

      NGOs providing medical, legal and other assistance to migrants on the Greek Aegean islands include Oxfam, the Danish Refugee Council, Doctors of the World, European Lawyers in Lesbos, Terre des Hommes, Refugee Support Aegean, Medecins Sans Frontieres and others.

      The prime minister’s remarks came after the deputy migration minister, Giorgos Koumoutsakos, told Proto Thema Radio that the NGOs had sprung up “like mushrooms after the rain.” "Some behave like bloodsuckers," he said.

      Inciting migrant protests

      Koumoutsakos accused some of the organizations operating on the islands, where tens of thousands of migrants are stranded after arriving from Turkey, of abusing the volatile situation to get money directly from the European Union.

      The deputy migration minister also suggested that some NGOs had incited thousands of migrants on Lesbos to hold a protest, which ended with police firing tear gas to disperse the people occupying the island capital Mytilini.

      The government began transferring refugees from the overcrowded islands to the Greek mainland last year, but an estimated 42,000 people continue to suffer in squalid and unsafe conditions in and around the island camps.

      Last week, the Greek government opened a tender for the construction of a floating barrier off Lesbos aimed at deterring migrants from crossing from the Turkish coast, which is about 10-12 kilometers away.

      #ONG #associations #NGOs

    • New request for state of emergency on #Lesvos, #Chios, #Samos

      The regional governor of the Northern Aegean, Kostas Moutzouris submitted a new call on Wednesday to declare a state of emergency on three islands, following two days of protest marches by asylum seekers demanding better living conditions and a quicker asylum procedure, and attacks by extremists in Lesvos.

      “The government was wrong to reject our request to declare a state of emergency on Lesvos, Chios and Samos. If the current situation is not an emergency, then what is?” he asked.

      “The government is imposing the creation of new migrant camps that will cost hundreds of millions and which, based on simple arithmetics, will not solve any problem – on the contrary, they will deteriorate it,” he added.

      On Tuesday, a group of about 250 asylum seekers, mostly Afghan residents of Moria, rallied outside the Municipal Theater in the island’s capital Mytilene demanding “freedom” and shouting, “Lesvos people, we are sorry.” The police intervened to prevent protesters from blocking traffic. One woman was injured in a stampede as demonstrators fled the scene to avoid possible arrest.

      On Monday riot police clashed with about 2,000 Afghan asylum seekers who tried to march to Mytilene. Reacting to the incident, residents of the village of Moria Tuesday barged into the Mytilene offices of the General Secretariat for Aegean and Island Policy demanding the closure of Moria, intensified sea patrols, and stricter monitoring of NGOs.

      Despite the tension, the government on Tuesday rejected Moutzouris’ request.

      Meanwhile, a group of about 20 youths wearing helmets and holding clubs attacked regulars at a bar in Mytilene where students and NGO employees were gathered.

      The same group roamed the town of Mytilene after midnight asking locals and foreigners to identify themselves, according to eye witnesses who talked to the police.

      Authorities believe the same individuals were in the village of Moria earlier in the afternoon checking if foreigners, asylum seekers or employees in NGOs lived or worked there.

      The masked group smashed the car of an Italian national who works for an NGO. Two asylum seekers were passengers when the incident happened.

      Police was alerted after the attacks.


    • Crisis in Lesbos as more refugees arrive

      Greek island a ‘powder keg ready to explode’ as boat landings lead to tensions with local people.

      Greek authorities are struggling to cope with rising tension on islands where pressure from a new influx of refugees and migrants has reached a critical point.

      Friction is growing between local people and asylum seekers landing in boats from Turkey. Last week the region’s most senior official likened the situation on Lesbos to a “powder keg ready to explode”. Kostas Moutzouris, governor of the north Aegean, said: “It’s crucial that a state of emergency is called.”

      More than 42,000 men, women and children are estimated to be on Lesbos, Samos, Chios, Leros and Kos. Unable to leave because of a containment policy determined by the EU, they are forced to remain on the islands until their asylum requests are processed by a system both understaffed and overstretched.

      Aid groups have repeatedly called for the islands to be evacuated. On Friday an estimated 20,000 refugees were on Lesbos, forced to endure the grim reality of Moria, a camp designed to host 3,000 at most.

      “They are living in squalid, medieval-like conditions … with barely any access to basic services, including clean and hot water, electricity, sanitation and healthcare,” said Sophie McCann, Médecins Sans Frontières’ advocacy officer. “On a daily basis our medical teams are treating the consequential deterioration of health and wellbeing.”

      But she added that the local people had also been given short shrift. “The Lesbos community has been abandoned by its own government for almost five years to deal with the consequences of a failed reception system. Like the refugee community, it is tired.”

      As anti-immigrant sentiment has surged, vigilante groups believed to be infiltrated by supporters of the far-right Golden Dawn party have surfaced. On Friday seven men armed with wooden clubs were arrested in the hilltop village of Moria on suspicion of being members of a gang apparently linked to Golden Dawn.

      “People have seen their properties destroyed, their sheep and goats have been slaughtered, their homes broken into,” said Nikos Trakellis, a community leader. “A few years back, when there were 5,000 on the island, things seemed bad enough. Now there’s a sense that the situation has really got out of hand.”

      NGOs have also been targeted. In recent weeks cars have been vandalised. Foreigners perceived to be helping refugees have spoken of intimidation. Ciaran Carney, a volunteer filmmaker teaching refugees on the island, said: “There was a week when no one [in the NGOs] wanted to leave their flats. It definitely feels like it could explode and that no one knows what will come next.”


    • Non solo Lesbos. L’estrema destra sbarca a #Chios

      «Questo è solo l’inizio». A Chios non fanno che ripeterlo dopo l’incendio della scorsa notte. Doveva essere pirotecnico lo sbarco dei neonazisti sull’isola di Chios e così è stato, la notte del 3 marzo, intorno alle due, qualcuno ha appiccato il fuoco al deposito di Stay Human Odv, la Onlus che da aprile 2018 dà servizi e beni di prima necessità ai profughi del campo di Vial. A fronte di una capienza di 1.500 persone, il campo ne ospita oltre 6mila. Quattordici bagni in tutto, 7 per sesso. Come quasi tutti gli hotspot greci, sta in mezzo a un uliveto in rovina, per 30 km tutt’intorno il nulla. Gli episodi di autolesionismo e di tentato suicidio non mancano, specie tra i minori non accompagnati.

      «Ieri stavamo smistando le scarpe» dice Musli Alievski, il fondatore della Onlus nata nel 2016. È un giovane macedone di origini rom, suo padre, in odore di pulizia etnica, prese la famiglia e scappò in Italia prima della guerra. Dopo la minaccia di Erdogan di «aprire i rubinetti», da circa una settimana sull’isola sono arrivati «quelli di Alba Dorata e i celerini». «Questo era il posto di partenza di tutto, dove portavamo le donazioni, dove prendevamo quello che serviva da portare al centro, sopra c’erano gli appartamenti dei volontari, tutto distrutto». L’incendio è doloso a detta della stessa polizia, che però ora ha altri problemi: gli isolani sono esasperati, la settimana scorsa hanno aggredito i militari che trasportavano i materiali per allestire un altro hotspot, più grande, in vista di un esodo dato ormai per imminente.

      Sporgerete denuncia per l’incendio?

      Per ora no, il clima è teso e vogliamo evitare ritorsioni e vendette sugli isolani che ci aiutano. In più sull’isola sono arrivati squadroni di celerini e di cosiddetti «volontari a difesa delle isole». Hanno già aggredito la polizia.

      Come mai la destra aggredisce la polizia?

      Perché a differenza di Lesbo, qui non ci sono grandi Ong. Non c’è Msf, l’Unhcr non opera direttamente, tutto è amministrato dai militari. E il malcontento degli isolani, eccitati dall’arrivo degli squadroni da fuori, si riversa anche su di loro. Ma non mi sento di incolpare la gente di qui, non è che si sono svegliati all’improvviso neonazisti, sono solo esasperati. Il problema è della politica europea, non della popolazione greca.

      Perché c’è bisogno di voi volontari?

      Tanto per cominciare i migranti non hanno più accesso gratuito alle visite mediche specialistiche. Un bambino iracheno ha scoperto di essere praticamente cieco solo dopo che lo abbiamo fatto visitare da un oculista. I bambini qui hanno tutti i denti neri per carenza di vitamine. Nei centri viene dato cibo precotto scaduto, senza tracciabilità, né lista di ingredienti. La stessa aggressività degli adulti spesso è causata banalmente dall’assenza di vitamine nel loro organismo.

      Avete paura?

      Più che impauriti dall’aggressione della destra, siamo delusi dalla reazione dell’Europa ai ricatti di Erdogan. L’Europa deve agire non perché impaurita o minacciata, ma perché consapevole che chi sbarca a Lampedusa non sbarca in Italia, chi sbarca a Chios non sbarca in Grecia: sbarca in Europa.

      Si parla molto degli scafisti libici, poco di quelli turchi.

      Sono criminali quanto i libici. C’è un disegno chiaro: quelli che scappano dal Medio Oriente prima finiscono nelle mani degli imprenditori turchi del tessile, lavorano nelle fabbriche, anche delle catene di abbigliamento low cost, poi raggiungono il distretto di Çeşme. Lì, chi non ha soldi per la traversata, lascia i familiari in pegno ai trafficanti. Una traversata di 15 minuti in motoscafo costa circa 2mila euro, i ricatti durano anni.

      E dall’Africa i migranti come finiscono nella rete dei trafficanti turchi?

      Gli africani che arrivano in Grecia sono per lo più nigeriani e somali. Quelli che non passano dalla Libia di solito sono quelli con più disponibilità economica. Una volta arrivati in Tunisia, Algeria e Marocco, prendono un visto di 70 euro, poi un volo per Istanbul, si trasferiscono a Çeşme o a Smirne, e da lì partono insieme agli altri che scappano dal Medio Oriente, chi da guerre, chi da persecuzioni. Selezionare i rifugiati, distinguere tra chi ha diritto a migrare e chi no, non può ridursi a una mera questione di leggi.

      Come racimolano il denaro necessario?

      Spesso dietro la traversata di un giovane c’è l’investimento dell’intero villaggio, una sorta di crowdfunding, si investe sul ragazzo più giovane e robusto, sperando che arrivi, trovi lavoro, e mandi soldi con MoneyGram o Western Union. Come nelle corse dei cavalli, si punta su quello che può farcela.


  • Ngô Van, passeur de l’histoire vivante

    Hélène Fleury


    La vie et l’œuvre de Ngô Van, né en 1912, disparu à l’aube de 2005, sont indissociables des espoirs et des combats révolutionnaires de ce vingtième siècle traversé.

    Ngô Van ne s’exprime pas en tant qu’historien, mais en tant que participant activement engagé dans les événements qu’il raconte, nullement en porte-parole d’un parti quelconque, mais en simple « homme du rang » combattant avec nombre d’autres anonymes, ces inconnus, les damnés de la terre, qui sont aussi le sel de la terre, fraternels, généreux, inventifs. Avec eux il a connu les moments de grâce de l’histoire où les rebelles s’unissent pour s’attaquer aux sources mêmes de l’exploitation de leur travail et de leur asservissement, démultiplient le champ des possibles et combattent pour inventer une vie enfin digne de leurs rêves et de leurs plus profondes aspirations. C’est avec eux aussi qu’il a connu la répression sans merci déployée par les pouvoirs en place quand ils sentent que c’est le cœur même du système qui est en péril.

    Après son départ du Vietnam pour la France en 1948, c’est résolument sans étiquette et sans parti qu’il partagea en usine les luttes des réfractaires à l’exploitation. En homme libre refusant d’être embrigadé et d’embrigader, il participa à l’activité de groupes révolutionnaires proches des libertaires partisans des conseils ouvriers. (...)

    #Vietnam #Ngô_Van #histoire #révolution #Nguyen_an_Ninh #Hô_Chi_Minh #exil #Claude_Le_Petit


    What is the Alliance of Mother Nature’s Guardians ?
    The Alliance of Mother Nature’s Guardians in action
    The founders of the Alliance of Mother Nature’s Guardians
    The Constitution of the Alliance of Mother Nature’s Guardians: 17 proposals for the planet and future generations

    Planète Amazone - ONG de défense des peuples autochtones

    Gert Peter Bruch | IUCN évènement

    Committed since 1989 next to indigenous peoples of the Amazon, Gert-Peter Bruch is founder of the NGO “Planet Amazon”, which ensures the respect of their rights and the recognition of those of nature. To this end, he organized numerous field missions and awareness campaigns, including three international tours of Cacique Raoni Metuktire, emblematic defender of the Amazon rainforest.
    Gert-Peter Bruch is also a film director and co-founder and member of the Executive Committee of the “Alliance of Guardians of Mother Nature”, an international movement of proposals and actions to fight against global warming and preserve living conditions viable for future generations.

    #environnement #écologie #ngo #activisme

  • Gemeinnützigkeit ǀ Diese Attacke ist nur der Anfang — der Freitag

    Pour les dictatures et régimes autoritaires la première étape du combat contre une organisation critique est l’interdiction de son financement par des sources étrangères et institutionnelles. Le ministre des finances allemand Wolfgang #Schäuble et son administration ont opté pour la suppression du statut d’intérêt commun pour freiner les activités Attac. Cette décision vient d’être confirmée par un jugement de la plus haute cour de finances (Bundesfinanzhof).

    La décision de la justice crée un danger imminent pour chaque organisation critique envers la politique du gouvernement. Les dirigeants CDU proches des producteurs d’automobiles s’en félicitent et préparent l’attaque contre leur ennemi juré, l’association Umwelthilfe qui se prononce régulièrement pour l’interdiction de la circulation automobile dans les centres villes. D’autres cibles seront sélectionnés et attaquées au fur et a mesure. A l’époque de la montée de l’extrémisme de droite ce sont d’abord les associations anti-racistes de gauche qui se font des soucis pour leur bases financière.

    Nous sommes en train d’entrer dans une nouvelle phase de la transfomation sociétale. Elle est marquée par des actes d’une violence inconnue en Allemagne jusque hier.

    Jetzt ist es passiert, und in der Großen Koalition gibt es Streit. Der SPD-Politiker Lothar Binding sieht Handlungsbedarf: „Die Entscheidung des Bundesfinanzhofes zu Attac zeigt, dass der Katalog der gemeinnützigen Zwecke in der Abgabenordnung zu eng ist.“ In der Union hingegen sorgt das Urteil für Freude. Olav Gutting vom Franktionsvorstand twittert: „Das sollte eine Ermunterung für Finanzämter sein, auch bei vielen anderen #NGOs genauer hinzuschauen.“ Der parlamentarische Geschäftsführer der CSU, Stefan Müller, hat gleich einen konkreten Vorschlag: „Als Nächstes muss man an die @Umwelthilfe ran.“

    Die Deutsche Umwelthilfe steht in der Union ohnehin auf der Abschussliste, seitdem sie das Versagen der Bundesregierung in der Dieselaffäre immer wieder kritisiert. Vor Kurzem hat sogar der CDU-Parteitag beschlossen, dass die Gemeinnützigkeit der Umwelthilfe überprüft und dem Verein sämtliche Mittel aus dem Bundeshaushalt entzogen werden sollen. Doch so leicht wie bei Attac dürfte das nicht werden. Schließlich ist Umweltschutz in der Abgabenordnung ausdrücklich als gemeinnütziger Zweck festgeschrieben, das Attac-Urteil also nicht direkt anwendbar. Zittern müssen eher die Vereine, deren Ziele in der Abgabenordnung nicht vorkommen und die sich mit der politischen Bildung eine Hilfskonstruktion geschaffen haben.

    #Allemagne #politique

  • Je découvre le mag récent Pan African Music par l’intermédiaire d’un lien de Rocé disant qu’il a participé au dernier album du malien Pédro Kouyaté :
    dans lequel il y a aussi Oxmo ou Mamani Keita.

    Du coup, je découvre plein de choses en suivant les suggestions et menus… Beaucoup trop de choses à écouter, ça va encore me prendre la journée voire le week-end entier, cloitré dans ma chambre à écouter de la musique… Je suis tombé dans un nouveau puits sans fond.

    Sachant que je suis du genre à avoir les larmes aux yeux quand j’entends de la kora :

    Il est temps que tout le monde connaisse Ablaye Cissoko

    Et comme ce dernier travaillait avec Habib Faye, le bassiste et arrangeur de Youssou N’dour notamment, qui est mort récemment (je ne connais pas du tout tout ce monde hein, je découvre) :

    Habib Faye s’est retiré en laissant un grand vide, et beaucoup d’héritiers

    Sans rapport mais dans le menu des trucs récents :

    Clip du jour : Fuse ODG – Bra Fie (Come Home) feat. Damian Marley (ping @sinehebdo, pour le clip violence policière un peu, même si le thème principal est le retour en Afrique)

    #musique #Afrique #Pédro_Kouyaté #Ablaye_Cissoko #griot #kora #panafricanisme

  • #Musée de la #prison #Hoa_Lo, au Vietnam

    Sur wiki :

    La Prison Hỏa Lò est une ancienne prison située à Hanoï au Vietnam, également appelée #Maison_centrale ou ironiquement #Hanoi_Hilton. Elle a été construite durant l’#occupation_française. Détruite en partie en 1990, elle est maintenant un musée.


    Carte, photos et dessin du quartier dans laquelle fut installée la prison par les Français et de la prison elle-même :

    Règlement de la prison :


    Photos des salles du musée :

    Salle D :

    Salle E, #cachots :

    Le #badamier :

    La #fuite...

    Couloir des #condamnés_à_mort :

    #Ngo_Gia_Tu : « Je refuse de reconnaître les actions qu’on m’attribue. Je n’ai pas créé le communisme. Le #communisme est né de l’#injustice infligée par l’#oppression_capitaliste au monde des #ouvriers et des #paysans » :

    Bâtiment des #femmes :

    #haut-relief se situant dans la cour de la prison :



    #éducation #école #résistance #organisation_politique

    « Les détenus luttent contre la main de fer de l’ennemi » :

    Dans la même salle que celle où c’est marqué « Les détenus luttent contre la main de fer de l’ennemi » (si je ne me trompe pas), cette plaque :
    « Je n’ai rien à ajouter. Dans cette bataille pour la #survie, entre nous qui avons perdu notre pays et notre #liberté, et vous qui êtes des #envahisseurs, le #sacrifice de gens comme moi est inévitable. Je sais juste que nous finirons par vaincre » :


    Les ex-prisonniers devenus des personnalités importantes du #parti_communiste vietnamien (une salle leur est consacrée) :


    #Phan_Thi_Khuong : « Je participe à la #révolution pour renverser des réactionnaires comme vous »


    Puis cette prison fut utilisée pour y détenir les soldats américains capturés durant la guerre du Vietnam, dont #John_McCain. Voici quelques images :

    John McCain qui se fait soigner :

    #Hanoï #Vietnam #colonisation #Indochine #colonialisme #mémoire #France

    Comme vous y êtes habitués maintenant, les photos suivront dans les prochains jours... car il faut le temps pour les charger...

    cc @reka

  • The Refugee Archipelago: The Inside Story of What Went Wrong — Refugees Deeply

    Exactly how much money has been spent in Greece by the European Union is much reported but little understood. Refugees Deeply has calculated that $803 million has come into Greece since 2015, which includes all the funds actually allocated or spent, all significant bilateral funding and major sources of private donations.

    The biggest pots of money are controlled by the European Commission, the E.U.’s executive body, which oversees the Asylum Migration Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Internal Security Fund (ISF) which collectively had $541 million dedicated to Greek funding needs. However, the government in Greece was unable to absorb significant amounts of these funds, necessitating emergency assistance from the commission, channeled through other means.

    Confusion over the true extent of spending has been exacerbated by inflated statements from the European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, who has regularly cited figures in excess of 1 billion euros ($1.06 billion). This amount apparently refers to all available and theoretical funds, not what has actually been allocated or spent.

    Nevertheless, the $803 million total represents the most expensive humanitarian response in history.


    A Greek policeman serving at the Moria camp put it more succinctly when explaining that his job was to get a copy of an I.D. and a fingerprint and then speed them on their way to Germany: “Copy, finger, Merkel.”


    With his borders set to close, no hot spots and a grilling in prospect at a European leaders’ summit at the end of February, the Greek prime minister, Tsipras, found an unlikely savior. Panos Kammenos has been one of the indisputable political winners from the upheaval of Greek politics and the collapse of its traditional parties. A thickset right-winger with a penchant for military uniforms who blames Greece’s debt crisis on a shadowy global banking conspiracy, he found himself as the junior partner in a coalition government. His price for propping up a hard-left government was the defense ministry.

    Prior to February, Kammenos’ contribution to the refugee response had been to growl that Europe should back down in debt negotiations or Greece would flood the E.U. with migrants. His change of heart came after $74 million was added to the defense ministry budget for refugee support, recurring annually. In a period of less than 10 days the Greek army established spartan but functional facilities at the hot spots.

    The pattern was set for inertia, concealment of chaos, external pressure and last-minute actions. With responsibility for the response now divided between several Greek ministries and a U.N. agency more accustomed to working in the developing world, E.C. cash flowed and effective oversight of refugee spending was removed. A series of amendments that passed through Greece’s parliament stripped out auditing requirements on contracts related to the refugee crisis.


    bon j’arrête de copier-coller. C’est un excellent article. Lisez-le !

    #refugee #réfugiés #grèce #europe #argent #ong #ngo

    What about @rezo ?


    • By late spring 2016 the larger international aid agencies were already tabling plans to winterize the tented camps and donors were allocating funds. The Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund, a German NGO, put forward a $1.6 million proposal to turn Softex into a 1,500-person site with accommodation in containers with heating and plumbing. Bilateral aid money from Germany was agreed to fund the winterized camp and the proposal went to the Greek migration ministry.

      Instead of signing off and allowing work to begin, the Greeks returned with their own proposal costed at $8 million. When donors and aid agencies replied that this was a nonstarter, Mouzalas refused to budge or negotiate a compromise. In a letter dated July 7, the ministry wrote to ASB “that for Softex camp our plans will not change” and therefore their proposal was rejected.

      #mouzalas #corruption #ordures

    • Adding to the uncertainty was a murky game over the number of refugees within Greek borders. After the closure of the northern frontier and the implementation of the Greece-Turkey deal, arrivals slowed dramatically. When the first official count of asylum seekers remaining in Greece was released by the migration ministry it stated that there were 57,000 on the mainland and the islands.

      This number grew with the trickle of new arrivals on the islands to 63,000 on the official bulletin from the migration ministry. But the numbers ran counter to what European officials and NGO staff were seeing in the camps where more and more people were disappearing. At the end of July a new column appeared on the ministry report listing “refugees outside camps.” As the numbers reported in individual camps reduced, the number in the new column rose.

    • “I am not sure officials understand the consequences of the situation they have created or the humiliation this bears for the country,” says Poutou. “I have no idea why they don’t make the managing authority function. Any minister who understands the responsibilities of his mandate could have managed this if he was interested.”

  • The extraordinary cost of keeping asylum seekers in detention: over $500,000 each

    What if our government really wanted to save money? As well as going after $6.7 billion in its omnibus savings bill, it could go after the billions more it costs to run our immigration detention centres: $9.2 billion in the past three years, $3.9 billion to $5.5 billion in the next four, according to the most complete accounting yet of the costs normally hidden in inaccessible parts of the the budget.

    #détention_administrative #rétention #coût #économie #Australie #externalisation #Manus_island #Nauru

    #Rapport de Save the children & Unicef:

    • Et pas mal d’argent aussi pour des #NGO :
      #Save_The_Children not saving anyone

      Like many NGOS before it, Save The Children is the latest case study of an NGO contracted into the supply chain with good intentions, but set to leave the detention sector under a cloud of controversy. Having tendered and won the $36 million contract in 2013, Save The Children began education, recreation and child protection services at Manus Island and Nauru.


    • Nauru refugees: Australia pays $35.3 million per year for ‘island of despair’

      But what goes on here is far from idyllic, and the government of Nauru is cashing in on it, earning a staggering $35.3 million a year just for hosting Australia’s immigration problem.


    • Nauru detention centre operator makes $101m profit – at least $500,000 for each detainee

      #Canstruct_International’s holding company has more than $340m in cash and investments, according to accounts filed with regulator

      The company behind Australia’s offshore processing regime on Nauru made a $101m profit last financial year – more than $500,000 for each of the fewer than 200 people held on the island.

      Rard No 3, the holding company for Canstruct International, which has the government contract to run the Nauru offshore processing centre, has more than $340m in cash and investments, according to its most recent accounts filed with the corporate regulator.

      When Canstruct International was initially awarded the Nauru contract in 2017 the company had $8 in assets.

      Its only significant contract is with the federal government to provide “garrison and welfare services” for refugees and asylum seekers held by Australia on the Pacific island.

      The construction revenue Rard No 3 earned in 2020-21 – $333m – was commensurate with Canstruct International’s Nauru contracts for the period. The company signed two contract extensions worth $303m during the financial year, with other extensions worth hundreds of millions in preceding and future years.

      Rard No 3 now holds $236m in financial investments and owns three investment properties worth more than $14m. The company also reaped $6m in interest and dividends from its investment portfolio. It made an after-tax profit of $69.5m in 2018-19 and $101m in 2019-20 and again in 2020-21.

      The number of refugees and asylum seekers held by Australia on Nauru diminished steadily over the course of 2020-21, from 185 to 108 by the end of the financial year.

      There are currently 115 people held by Australia on the island, with the transfer of people from the offshore regime on PNG to Nauru, and the departure of some refugees for America.

      It currently costs the Australian taxpayer more than $4m each year to hold a single refugee or asylum seeker on Nauru, or nearly $12,000 a day, according to government figures.

      In its latest report, filed late to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the company did not comment on its future on Nauru. The Australian government has committed to an “enduring” offshore processing regime on the island but intends to hand control of the centre over to the Nauru government at some point. Canstruct International’s most recent extension was to the end of June this year.

      “Likely developments in the operation of the group and the expected results of those operations in future financial years have not been included in this report as the inclusion of such information is likely to result in unreasonable prejudice to the group,” the company stated.

      “Although it is expected that there will be changes to the company’s activities in the near future, it is still unclear as to the extent of the changes predicted.”

      The directors of Rard No 3 are four members of the Murphy family – the founding director of the Canstruct group of companies, Robin Murphy, and his three sons, Adrian, Rory and Daniel.

      The Canstruct group, or entities associated with it, have made 11 donations to the Liberal National party in Queensland. The company has previously strenuously denied any link between political donations and the awarding of any contracts.

      Canstruct International’s Nauru contract has attracted significant parliamentary interest and repeated questioning in the Senate.

      The October 2017 “letter of intent” awarded to Canstruct International was worth $8m. But a government-ordered financial strength test, conducted by KPMG, to test the company’s fitness for the contract, was erroneously conducted on a different company.

      KPMG reported its pre-contract financial strength assessment was conducted on Canstruct International Pty Ltd – but the government, after twice having to correct its evidence to the Senate, has since confirmed the assessment was actually undertaken on Canstruct Pty Ltd, a company also controlled by the Murphy family, but with which it had no financial relationship.

      Less than a month after the letter of intent was signed, the company won a $385m contract awarded by limited tender.

      Since then, government figures show eight further non-competitive amendments to the contract, raising the total cost to $1.82bn.

      The most recent contract extension was in January, to 22 June, for $218.5m. There is an option to extend for six months beyond.


  • #Corporate_Tax is a feminist matter

    CitiGroup, Coca Cola, ExxonMobil, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, Verizon, Wal-Mart, Pfizer, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Microsoft; of all the things these multinational corporations (MNCs) agree on, two things stand out: a proclaimed devotion to the feminist agenda and a penchant for tax dodging. On the former, all MNC’s claim to dedicate some […]

    #IT'S_THE_ECONOMY #activism #development #economics #feminism #human_rights #NGOs #Tax_havens

  • Global_Geneva’s annual #NGO ranking shows that the “white savior” status quo remains intact

    Teju Cole wrote that a white saviour is someone who, “supports brutal policies in the morning, founds charities in the afternoon, and receives awards in the evening”. Global_Geneva recently released.....

    #AID_&_DEVELOPMENT_PAGE #white_savior_industrial_complex

  • #US_army manual details plan to co-opt NGOs

    An Afghan civilian looks on as a US soldier patrols the streets in Ghazni, on May 19, 2013/. (Photo: AFP) An Afghan civilian looks on as a US soldier patrols the streets in Ghazni, on May 19, 2013/. (Photo: AFP)

    In the never-ending era of the Global War on Terrorism, with its insurgencies and counter-insurgencies, the thin line between military and humanitarian objectives has exceedingly been blurred – both sectors have found themselves aligned, at times uncomfortably so for humanitarian workers. Last month, the release of an updated US army field manual that outlines the Americans’ doctrine for #counter-insurgency continues that trend.

    Yazan al-Saadi

    read (...)

    #Series_and_Features #David_Petraeus #Doctors_Without_Borders #Features #NGO’s #pakistan #polio #syria #Syrian_Arab_Red_Crescent #Syrian_regime #USAID

  • Working conditions on construction sites in #Qatar : the role of #Bouygues and #Vinci

    After Brazil this year, it will be Qatar’s turn to host football’s greatest ritual in 2022. Giant construction projects - stadiums, metros, highways, and hotels - are already adding up. French businesses Bouygues and Vinci have won huge contracts in the country. The problem? Qatar has come under heavy fire from the International Labor Organization, international #unions, and #NGOs such as Amnesty International and #human_rights Watch because of the deplorable working conditions and other human (...)


    / Qatar, #Workers'_Rights_and_Freedom_of_Association, #Occupational_Health_and_Safety, Bouygues, Vinci, #Building_and_Public_Works, #Qatari_Diar, Confédération générale du travail (CGT), #work_conditions, #workers'_rights, #occupational_health_and_safety, #decent_work, human (...)

    #Confédération_générale_du_travail_CGT_ #infrastructure #migrants #corporate_social_responsibility
    « http://www.amnesty.org/fr/library/asset/MDE22/011/2013/fr/aacb4f2e-a641-4c9a-ae66-ddca697f19ad/mde220112013fr.pdf »
    « http://publi.vinci.com/vinci/vinci-rapport-annuel-2013.pdf »
    « http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---relconf/documents/meetingdocument/wcms_239842.pdf »
    « http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/06/12/building-better-world-cup-0 »
    « http://www.bouygues.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/COMPTE-RENDU-AVEC-QUESTIONS-REPONSES-Site-internet1.pdf »
    « http://www.franceinfo.fr/emission/le-plus-france-info/2013-2014/qatar-un-pays-en-chantier-au-mepris-des-droits-des-ouvriers-11-25-2013-09 »
    « http://www.bouygues.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/cp-bouygues-construction-qatar-12.04.12-fr.pdf »
    « http://www.ituc-csi.org/nouveau-rapport-sur-les?lang=fr »
    « http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/19/nyregion/workers-at-nyus-abu-dhabi-site-face-harsh-conditions.html?_r=0 »

  • How To Kill The Nigerian Publishing Industry

    The general collapse of education in #Nigeria is hardly news. However, any attempt to address the issue is of interest to those trying to improve the hapless lot of Nigerian students. There was therefore a purr of approval on Twitter yesterday that this year’s Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) event would focus on “Transforming Education Through Partnerships For Global Competitiveness.” The NESG is Nigeria’s premier think tank on private sector development and is best known for its annual conference in Abuja, which brings industrialists and entrepreneurs together with government figures to discuss Nigerian private sector concerns. At last, people felt there might be a commercial solution to a sector in terminal (...)

    #BOOKS #Book_Publishing #Ngozi_Okonjo-Iweala #UNESCO

  • #Kenya’s first #mockumentary takes on the NGO world

    Anyone working in international development for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) over the past few years has likely had one of the following experiences: 1) Witnessing an external consultant or boss being flown in from abroad to “manage” the field office in [insert any non-Western nation here. Note that field office can just mean the capital city […]

    #Satire #aid #NGOs #The_Samaritans

  • European Commission preparing for EU-US trade talks: 119 meetings with industry lobbyists | Corporate Europe Observatory


    In response to an access to documents request from Corporate Europe Observatory, the European Commission has released a list of 130 ‘meetings with stakeholders’ on the EU-US free trade talks. At least 119 meetings were with large corporations and their lobby groups. This means that more than 93% of the Commission’s meetings with stakeholders during the preparations of the negotiations were with big business. The list of meetings reveals that, in addition to the civil society dialogue meetings reported on the DG Trade website, there is a parallel world of a very large number of intimate meetings with big business lobbyists behind closed doors - and these are not disclosed online.

    Negotiations on an EU-US ‘free trade’ agreement (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP) started in July this year amid strong controversy and public concern about the impacts such an agreement could have on environmental regulations, food standards, data protection and other issues. The European Commission, which represents the EU in the negotiations, has reacted with a propaganda offensive that includes a Q&A website full of misleading claims about the TTIP talks and a ‘@EU_TTIP_team’ that counters critical messages on twitter. In mid-July, the Commission made a huge deal out of the civil society dialogue it had organised in Brussels on the TTIP talks, posting dozens of tweets about the event, praising the “interesting discussion” on issues such as “the environment, transparency, development” with “as many questions from NGOs [...] than there were from Industry”.

    The event also features prominently on the website of the Commission’s trade department (DG Trade), in the ‘Dialogues’ section where the Commission states that it aims for “a transparent and accountable trade policy based on consultations with all parts of European civil society”. But what is disclosed on the website is only a tiny part of the meetings that DG Trade has with ‘stakeholders’.

    In April, Corporate Europe Observatory submitted an access to documents request in order to get an overview of the Commission’s contacts with industry, in the context of the preparations for the EU-US trade talks. The Commission’s first response was to ask us to "narrow down the scope” of the request, because it “concerns a very large number of documents”. Three months later the first result arrived: a list of 130 ‘meetings with stakeholders’ that took place between January 2012 and April 2013.1 A few weeks later another five meetings were added to this list. DG Trade has informed us that the minutes and other reports of these 135 meetings, as well as correspondence between DG trade and industry lobbies, will be released later, but that they “cannot yet commit to a specific date”.

    #TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership)
    #NGOs #ONG

  • Israël, comme en Egypte ou en Russie

    Knesset revives attempt to restrict foreign funding of left-wing NGOs -
    By Jonathan Lis
    Haaretz Daily Newspaper


    The Knesset is once again attempting to restrict foreign donations to certain nongovernmental organizations: MK Ayelet Shaked, chairwoman of the Habayit Hayehudi Knesset faction, submitted a new bill on this subject on Tuesday.

    According to the bill, groups that call for boycotting Israel or for indicting Israel Defense Force soldiers in international tribunals are among those that would be restricted in raising funds from foreign sources, as would individuals identified with such groups.

    It would be enough for a single paid employee of an organization, or someone who sits on its board, to call for a boycott of Israel to apply the restrictions, the bill states.

    #ONG #NGO