organization:european parliament

  • Le directeur du musée juif de Berlin démissionne après une polémique sur l’antisémitisme
    Mis à jour le 15/06/2019
    https://www.francetvinfo.fr/monde/europe/allemagne/le-directeur-du-musee-juif-de-berlin-demissionne-apres-une-polemique-su

    Le directeur du musée juif de Berlin, Peter Schäfer, a démissionné, vendredi 14 juin, sur fond de polémique. En cause : un tweet controversé de son établissement recommandant la lecture d’un article critique de la décision, en mai, du Parlement allemand de considérer comme « antisémites » les méthodes du mouvement BDS (Boycott Désinvestissement Sanctions). Peter Schäfer a remis sa démission à la ministre de la Culture allemande, Monika Grütters, « pour éviter de nouveaux préjudices au musée juif de Berlin », a indiqué ce dernier.

    #BDS

    • Berlin Jewish Museum Director Resigns After Tweet Supporting BDS Freedom of Speech

      Peter Schäfer steps down days after sharing of petition calling on German government not to adopt motion defining anti-Israel boycotts as anti-Semitic
      Noa Landau - Jun 14, 2019 8:48 PM
      https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/europe/berlin-jewish-museum-director-resigns-after-tweet-supporting-bds-freedom-of

      The director of Berlin’s Jewish Museum has resigned, the museum announced Friday, days after it was criticized for endorsing a petition against a parliamentary motion defining anti-Israel boycotts as anti-Semitic and banning the boycott movement from using public buildings.

      The resignation of museum Director Peter Schäfer comes after Israeli Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff called the museum’s sharing of the petition “shameful.”

      The petition, asserting that “boycotts are a legitimate and nonviolent tool of resistance,” was signed by 240 Jewish intellectuals.

      The signatories, among them Avraham Burg and Eva Illouz, called on the German government not to adopt the motion, to protect freedom of speech and continue funding of Israeli and Palestinian organizations “that peacefully challenge the Israeli occupation, expose severe violations of international law and strengthen civil society. These organizations defend the principles and values at the heart of liberal democracy and rule of law, in Germany and elsewhere. More than ever, they need financial support and political backing.”

      An Israeli guide at the Berlin museum told Haaretz he planned to resign in protest of “the crude interventions by the Israeli government and Germany in the museum’s work.”

      Professor Emeritus Yaacov Shavit, former head of the department of History of the Jewish People at Tel Aviv University, told Haaretz that “this whole story is nothing more than a cause to displace Prof. Sheffer, a researcher of international renown of the Second Temple period, Mishna, and Talmud.”

      “Community leaders in Berlin needed to be grateful that someone like him agreed to serve as manager of the museum. This foolish act by community leaders is outrageous and bothersome,” he added.

      Last year, it was reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded from Chancellor Angela Merkel that Germany stop funding the museum because it had held an exhibition about Jerusalem, “that presents a Muslim-Palestinian perspective.” Merkel was asked to halt funding to other organizations as well, on grounds that they were anti-Israel, among them the Berlin International Film Festival, pro-Palestinian Christian organizations, and the Israeli news website +972, which receives funding from the Heinrich Böll Foundation.

      Netanyahu did not deny the report and his bureau confirmed that he had raised “with various leaders the issue of funding Palestinian and Israeli groups and nonprofit organizations that depict the Israel Defense Forces as war criminals, support Palestinian terrorism and call for boycotting the State of Israel.”

      The Bundestag’s motion last month marked the first time a European parliament had officially defined the BDS movement as anti-Semitic. The motion, which is a call to the government and isn’t legally binding, won broad multiparty support from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, the Social Democrats and the Free Democratic Party. Some members of the Greens Party also supported the motion, though others abstained at the last minute. The motion stated that the BDS movement’s “Don’t Buy” stickers on Israeli products evoke the Nazi slogan “Don’t buy from Jews.”

  • Spain’s Far-right Vox Received Almost $1M from ’Marxist-Islamist’ Iranian Exiles: Report | News | teleSUR English
    https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Spains-Far-right-Vox-Received-Almost-1M-from-Marxist-Islamist-Irania

    It is unlikely that Vox’s hyper-nationalist voters know that their party scored a significant presence in Spain’s parliament mostly thanks to Zionists, Islamists and foreigners.

    With the April 28 general elections in Spain over, the far-right party Vox gained about 10 percent of parliamentary seats, marking the far-right’s rising comeback into politics four decades after Francisco Franco’s dictatorship. While a less alarmist reading would say that the far-right was always there, hidden in the conservative People’s Party (PP), the fact that they are out in the open strengthens Europe’s wave of far-right xenophobic and anti-European advance.

    The party appealed to voters in one of Spain’s most contested elections since its return to democracy, mostly basing its arguments against leftists politics, social liberals, migrants, charged mainly with an Islamophobic narrative. Emphasizing the return of a long lost Spain and pushing to fight what they refer to as an “Islamist invasion,” which is the “enemy of Europe.” One could summarize it as an Iberian version of “Make Spain Great Again.”

    Yet while this definitely appealed to almost two million voters, many are unaware of where their party’s initial funding came from. Back in January 2019, an investigation made by the newspaper El Pais revealed, through leaked documents, that almost one million euros - approximately 80 percent of its 2014 campaign funding - donated to Vox between its founding in December 2013 and the European Parliament elections in May 2014 came via the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a self-declared “Marxist” organization and an Islamist group made up of Iranian exiles.

    However, this is where things get complicated. The NCRI is based in France and was founded in 1981 by Massoud Rajavi and Abolhassan Banisadr, nowadays its president-elect is Maryam Rajavi (Massoud’s wife). The Rajavis are also the leaders of the Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK). A reason for many to believe that the NCRI is just a front for the MEK, which over the past few decades has managed to create a complicated web of anti-Iranian, pro-Israel and right-wing government support from all over the world.

    To understand MEK, it’s necessary to review the 1953 U.S. and British-backed coup which ousted democratically elected prime minister of Iran Mohammad Mosaddegh and instituted a monarchical dictatorship led by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

    The oppression carried out by the Pahlavi royal family led to the creation of many radical groups, one which was MEK, whose ideology combined Marxism and Islamism. Its original anti-west, especially anti-U.S. sentiment pushed for the killing of six U.S citizens in Iran in the 1970s. While in 1979, they enthusiastically cheered the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. After the Iranian Revolution, its young leaders, including Rajavi, pushed for endorsement from the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, but were denied.

    So Rajavi, allied with the winner of the country’s first presidential election, Abolhassan Banisadr, who was not an ally of Khomeini, either. Soon Banisadr and MEK became some of Khomeini’s main opposition figures and had fled to Iraq and later to France.

    In the neighboring country, MEK allied with Sadam Hussein to rage war against Iran. In a RAND report, allegations of the group’s complicity with Saddam are corroborated by press reports that quote Maryam Rajavi encouraging MEK members to “take the Kurds under your tanks, and save your bullets for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards."

    The organization was deemed a terrorist organization by the U.S. and European Union for the better part of the 1990s, but things changed after the U.S. invasion to Iraq in 2003. This is when the U.S. neoconservative strategist leading the Department of State and the intelligence agencies saw MEK as an asset rather than a liability. Put simply in words they applied the dictum of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

    The U.S.’s dismissal of past crimes reinvigorated MEK’s intense lobbying campaign to have itself removed from terrorist lists in the U.S. and the European Union. MEK, which by the beginning of the 21 century had morphed into a cult-like group according to many testimonies from dissidents, moved from Camp Ashraf to the U.S-created Camp Liberty outside of Baghdad. And that’s when things rapidly changed.

    According to the Guardian, between 2007 and 2012, a number of Iranian nuclear scientists were attacked. In 2012, NBC News, citing two unnamed U.S. officials, reported that the attacks were planned by Israel’s Mossad and executed by MEK operatives inside Iran. By 2009 and 2012, the EU and the U.S. respectively took it out of its terrorist organizations list.

    Soon after it gained support from U.S. politicians like Rudy Giuliani and current National Security Advisor John Bolton, who now call MEK a legitimate opposition to the current Iranian government. As the U.S. neocon forefathers did before, MEK shed its “Marxism.” After the U.S.’s official withdrawal from Iraq, they built MEK a safe have in Albania, near Tirana, where the trail of money can be followed once again.

    Hassan Heyrani, a former member of MEK’s political department who defected in 2018, and handled parts of the organization’s finances in Iraq, when asked by Foreign Policy where he thought the money for MEK came from, he answered: “Saudi Arabia. Without a doubt.” For another former MEK member, Saadalah Saafi, the organization’s money definitely comes from wealthy Arab states that oppose Iran’s government.

    “Mojahedin [MEK] are the tool, not the funders. They aren’t that big. They facilitate,” Massoud Khodabandeh, who once served in the MEK’s security department told Foreign Policy. “You look at it and say, ‘Oh, Mojahedin are funding [Vox].’ No, they are not. The ones that are funding that party are funding Mojahedin as well.”

    Meanwhile, Danny Yatom, the former head of the Mossad, told the Jersulamen Post that Israel can implement some of its anti-Iran plans through MEK if a war were to break out. Saudi Arabia’s state-run television channels have given friendly coverage to the MEK, and Prince Turki al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief, even appeared in July 2016 at a MEK rally in Paris.

    With Israel and Saudi Arabia backing MEK, the question of why a far-right movement would take money from an Islamist organization clears up a bit. Israel’s support of European far-right parties has been public. In 2010, a sizeable delegation arrived in Tel Aviv, consisting of some 30 leaders of the European Alliance for Freedom, gathering leaders such as Geert Wilders of the Netherlands, Philip Dewinter from Belgium and Jorg Haider’s successor, Heinz-Christian Strache, from Austria.

    Yet for the U.S., Israel, and Saudi Arabia, MEK represents an anti-Iranian voice that they so desperately need, and that on the surface didn’t come from them directly. It is unlikely that Vox’s hyper-nationalist voters know that their party scored a significant presence in Spain’s parliament mostly thanks to Zionists, Islamists and foreigners.

    #Espagne #extrême_droite #Israël #Iran #Arabie_Saoudite #OMPI #Albanie

  • Des anges gardiens de l’Est au service d’une Europe vieillissante
    (anges gardiennes, non, plutôt ?)
    https://www.nouvelobs.com/societe/20190421.AFP5077/des-anges-gardiens-de-l-est-au-service-d-une-europe-vieillissante.html
    https://information.tv5monde.com/info/des-anges-gardiens-de-l-est-au-service-d-une-europe-vieillissa (avec des photos)

    Dans les cas les plus graves, le mal-être des auxiliaires de vie peut tourner à la dépression. En Roumanie, le phénomène est connu sous le nom de « syndrome italien ». Le terme désigne les troubles psychiatriques dont souffrent certaines soignantes ayant travaillé des années à l’étranger, souvent en Italie, laissant leur propre famille derrière elles.

    Durant la seule année dernière, plus de 150 femmes souffrant de ce syndrome ont été admises dans une unité spécialisée de l’hôpital psychiatrique de Iasi, dans le nord de la Roumanie.

    Parmi les anciennes patientes de l’unité, une quinquagénaire ayant travaillé en Italie de 2002 à 2014, décrit la montée d’une angoisse « profonde et sombre » au fil des ans : « C’est avantageux d’un point de vue de financier mais après la tête ne fonctionne plus correctement », confie cette mère de deux enfants sous couvert d’anonymat.

    « J’ai travaillé la plupart du temps auprès de malades d’Alzheimer, coincée entre quatre murs (...) Je leur ai sacrifié mes plus belles années ».

    also in english (article plus long, il semble)

    Care workers cross Europe’s east-west divide
    https://news.yahoo.com/care-workers-cross-europes-east-west-divide-024600024.html
    [AFP]
    Julia ZAPPEI with Ionut IORDACHESCU in Bucharest, AFP•April 21, 2019

    Women from Slovakia and Romania form the backbone of Austria’s domestic care sector (AFP Photo/JOE KLAMAR)

    Leoben (Austria) (AFP) - Every two weeks, Alena Konecna packs her bags to leave her own mother and daughter at home in Slovakia and travel some 400 kilometres (250 miles) across the border into Austria to take care of someone else’s mother.

    As citizens across the continent prepare to vote in May’s European Parliament elections, 40-year-old Konecna is an example of those who regularly take advantage of one of the EU’s most important pillars: the free movement of labour.

    She’s one of more than 65,000 people — mostly women from Slovakia and Romania — who form the backbone of Austria’s domestic care sector.

    For two weeks at a time, Konecna stays with the 89-year-old bedridden woman to cook and care for her.

    “Without care workers from abroad, the 24-hour care system would break down... No one (in Austria) wants to do it,” says Klaus Katzianka, who runs the agency that found Konecna her current job and who himself needs round-the-clock care due to a disability.

    But the arrangement may be coming under strain.

    – Demographic time bomb -

    Austria — along with other countries such as Germany, Greece and Italy — looked to poorer neighbouring states after the fall of communism to meet the need for carers generated by an ageing population and changing family structures.

    But it is “problematic to build a system on this,” says Kai Leichsenring, executive director of the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research.

    As eastern European nations become richer and their own populations age, workers there may increasingly choose to stay put, he warns.

    Western European nations would then have to look further afield — to Ukraine or China, for example — to meet the ever-growing demand.

    In Konecna’s case, she started to work as a caregiver more than two years ago in the town of Leoben, nestled amid mountains in the Austrian countryside, which reminds her of her home in Banska Bystrica in Slovakia.

    Previously the single mother worked in a factory in the car industry.

    Fed up with the long shifts and inspired by her mother’s erstwhile career as a nurse, in 2015 she took a three-month course in first aid and care skills, including some practical experience in nursing homes.

    She also took a one-month German course, allowing her to watch TV with her employer and read newspapers to her.

    Care workers can earn roughly double as much in Austria than in Slovakia, although Konecna says it’s hard to leave behind her daughter, now 19.

    “My daughter was often sick when I was away. And I have missed things like my daughter’s birthday,” she says, adding she would prefer working in Slovakia if wages were better there.

    – ’Italy syndrome’ -

    Besides being separated from their families, there are other problems in how the sector works across Europe.

    A study by the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz found inadequate training, extreme working hours and salaries below the legal minimum wage.

    Up to 300,000 caregivers are estimated to work in private homes in Germany, mostly illegally. They previously hailed mostly from Poland but now increasingly come from poorer EU states such as Romania and Slovakia.

    Konecna was put off going to Germany by the more gruelling cycle which is common there, with workers staying three months at a time.

    For many of those from poorer EU member states working in the West, workplace conditions can leave lasting effects.

    In Romania, more than 150 women were hospitalised at Socola Psychiatric Hospital in the country’s northeast last year alone, their mental health having suffered after caring for the elderly abroad — what has become known as the “Italy syndrome”.

    “I had the misfortune to work all the time for elderly people suffering from Alzheimer’s so I spent most of my time between four walls, under constant pressure,” says one former hospital patient, a 58-year-old mother of two who worked in Italy from 2002 until 2014.

    “I devoted the most beautiful years of my life to elderly Italians.”

    – ’Big minus’ -

    Added to the stress of such jobs, there are signs that EU migrant workers like Konecna may come under fire from their host governments.

    Last year in Austria for example, the right-wing government decided to cut the amount of child benefit paid to foreigners who work in Austria but whose children live abroad in lower income countries.

    With a monthly salary of about 1,200 euros ($1,400), Konecna says the changes have meant an effective pay cut of 80 euros, a “big minus” for her.

    Katzianka, who fears difficulties to find carers from Slovakia now, has hired a lawyer for Konecna to contest the change.

    Romania has also protested to the European Commission over the change, saying it violates EU principles of equal treatment.

  • Official EU Agencies Falsely Report More Than 550 Archive.org URLs as Terrorist Content | Internet Archive Blogs
    https://blog.archive.org/2019/04/10/official-eu-agencies-falsely-report-more-than-550-archive-org-urls-as-

    The European Parliament is set to vote on legislation that would require websites that host user-generated content to take down material reported as terrorist content within one hour. We have some examples of current notices sent to the Internet Archive that we think illustrate very well why this requirement would be harmful to the free sharing of information and freedom of speech that the European Union pledges to safeguard.

    In the past week, the Internet Archive has received a series of email notices from Europol’s European Union Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) falsely identifying hundreds of URLs on archive.org as “terrorist propaganda”. At least one of these mistaken URLs was also identified as terrorist content in a separate take down notice from the French government’s L’Office Central de Lutte contre la Criminalité liée aux Technologies de l’Information et de la Communication (OCLCTIC).

    les 2 liens terroristes " classés en «travaux universitaires» dans la liste :
    • sur arXiv.org : Spectrum Sharing in Cognitive Radio with Quantized Channel Information
    • sur pubmed : Split ejaculation study: semen parameters and calcium and magnesium in seminal plasma.

    via antoni casilli sur FB

  • European Border and Coast Guard: The Commission welcomes agreement on a standing corps of 10,000 border guards by 2027

    Today, the Council green-lighted the political agreement reached last week to reinforce the European Border and Coast Guard, giving it the right level of ambition to respond to the common challenges Europe is facing in managing migration and borders.

    The centre piece of the reinforced Agency will be a standing corps of 10,000 border guards – ready to support Member States at any time. The Agency will also have a stronger mandate on returns and will cooperate more closely with non-EU countries, including those beyond the EU’s immediate neighbourhood. Agreed in the record time of just over 6 months, the new European Border and Coast Guard represents a step-change in the EU’s ability to collectively better protect Europe’s external borders.

    Welcoming the agreement, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “In an area of free movement without internal border controls, strengthening and managing Europe’s external borders is a shared responsibility. I am glad to see that a 10,000-strong standing corps with the necessary equipment will help Member States to better protect our borders and our citizens. By working together constructively and swiftly, we can create a safer Europe.”

    Commissioner for Home Affairs, Migration and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos added: “From now onwards, the European Border and Coast Guard will have the full operational capacity and powers needed to effectively and fully support Member States on the ground, at all times. Better controlling our external borders, fighting irregular migration, carrying out returns and cooperating with third countries – we can only succeed if we do this together. Ultimately, this will also help preserve the long-term viability of the Schengen area of free movement.”

    The Agency supports Member States and does not replace their responsibilities in external border management and return. The reinforced European Border and Coast Guard Agency will be equipped with more resources and capabilities including:

    A standing corps of 10,000 border guards: A standing corps of 10,000 border guards will be set up by 2027 and will ensure that the Agency can support Member States whenever and wherever needed. The standing corps will bring together Agency staff as well as border guards and return experts seconded or deployed by Member States, who will support the over 100,000 national border guards in their tasks. In addition, the Agency will have a budget to acquire its own equipment, such as vessels, planes and vehicles.

    Executive powers: The standing corps will be able to carry out border control and return tasks, such as identity checks, authorising entry at the external borders, and carrying out borders’ surveillance – only with the agreement of the host Member State.
    More support on return: In addition to organising and financing joint return operations, the Agency will now also be able to support Member States at all stages of return process with Member States remaining responsible for taking return decisions. This support will include for example by identifying non-EU nationals with no right to stay or acquiring travel documents.
    Stronger cooperation with non-EU countries: The Agency will be able – subject to prior agreement of the country concerned – to launch joint operations and deploy staff outside the EU, beyond countries neighbouring the EU, to provide support on border and migration management.
    Antenna offices: The Agency will be able to set up antenna offices in Member States and in a non-EU country (subject to a status agreement) to support logistically its operational activities and guarantee the smooth running of the Agency’s operations.

    Next steps

    The European Parliament’s LIBE Committee still has to confirm the political agreement reached in trilogues on 28 March. Then both the European Parliament and the Council will have to formally adopt the Regulation. The text will then be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and the European Border and Coast Guard’s enhanced mandate will enter into force 20 days later. The new European Border and Coast Guard standing corps will be available for deployment starting from 2021, once it becomes fully operational and will reach its full capacity of 10,000 border guards by 2027.

    Background

    The European Border and Coast Guard was established in 2016, building on existing structures of Frontex, to meet the new challenges and political realities faced by the EU, both as regards migration and internal security. The reliance on voluntary Member States’ contributions of staff and equipment has however resulted in persistent gaps affecting the efficiency of the support the European Border and Coast Guard could offer to Member States.

    In his 2018 State of the Union Address President Juncker announced that the Commission will reinforce the European Border and Coast Guard even further. The objective of this upgrade was to equip the Agency with a standing corps of 10,000 operational staff and with its own equipment to ensure that the EU has the necessary capabilities in place — constantly and reliably. On 28 March, the European Parliament and the Council reached a political agreement on the Commission’s proposal, which was confirmed by the Council.

    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-1929_en.htm
    Après #Frontex, #Frontex_plus (https://seenthis.net/tag/frontex_plus)
    Après Frontex plus, #Frontex_plus_plus

    #renvois #expulsions #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #asile #migrations #réfugiés #externalisation #business

  • Les #gilets_jaunes vus de New York...

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    Driving was already expensive in France when in January 2018 the government of President Emmanuel Macron imposed a tax that raised the price of diesel fuel by 7.6 centimes per liter and of gasoline by 3.8 centimes (about 9 and 4 cents, respectively); further increases were planned for January 2019. The taxes were an attempt to cut carbon emissions and honor the president’s lofty promise to “Make Our Planet Great Again.”

    Priscillia Ludosky, then a thirty-two-year-old bank employee from the Seine-et-Marne department outside Paris, had no choice but to drive into the city for work every day, and the cost of her commute was mounting. “When you pay regularly for something, it really adds up fast, and the increase was enormous,” she told me recently. “There are lots of things I don’t like. But on that I pushed.” In late May 2018, she created a petition on Change.org entitled Pour une Baisse des Prix du Carburant à la Pompe! (For a reduction of fuel prices at the pump!)

    Over the summer Ludosky’s petition—which acknowledged the “entirely honorable” aim of reducing pollution while offering six alternative policy suggestions, including subsidizing electric cars and encouraging employers to allow remote work—got little attention. In the fall she tried again, convincing a radio host in Seine-et-Marne to interview her if the petition garnered 1,500 signatures. She posted that challenge on her Facebook page, and the signatures arrived in less than twenty-four hours. A local news site then shared the petition on its own Facebook page, and it went viral, eventually being signed by over 1.2 million people.

    Éric Drouet, a thirty-three-year-old truck driver and anti-Macron militant also from Seine-et-Marne, created a Facebook event for a nationwide blockade of roads on November 17 to protest the high fuel prices. Around the same time, a fifty-one-year-old self-employed hypnotherapist named Jacline Mouraud recorded herself addressing Macron for four minutes and thirty-eight seconds and posted the video on Facebook. “You have persecuted drivers since the day you took office,” she said. “This will continue for how long?” Mouraud’s invective was viewed over six million times, and the gilets jaunes—the yellow vests, named for the high-visibility vests that French drivers are required to keep in their cars and to wear in case of emergency—were born.

    Even in a country where protest is a cherished ritual of public life, the violence and vitriol of the gilets jaunes movement have stunned the government. Almost immediately it outgrew the issue of the carbon taxes and the financial burden on car-reliant French people outside major cities. In a series of Saturday demonstrations that began in mid-November and have continued for three months, a previously dormant anger has erupted. Demonstrators have beaten police officers, thrown acid in the faces of journalists, and threatened the lives of government officials. There has been violence on both sides, and the European Parliament has condemned French authorities for using “flash-ball guns” against protesters, maiming and even blinding more than a few in the crowds. But the gilets jaunes have a flair for cinematic destruction. In late November they damaged parts of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris; in early January they commandeered a forklift and rammed through the heavy doors of the ministry of state—the only time in the history of the Fifth Republic that a sitting minister had to be evacuated from a government building.

    The gilets jaunes are more than a protest. This is a modern-day jacquerie, an emotional wildfire stoked in the provinces and directed against Paris and, most of all, the elite. French history since 1789 can be seen as a sequence of anti-elite movements, yet the gilets jaunes have no real precedent. Unlike the Paris Commune of 1871, this is a proletarian struggle devoid of utopian aspirations. Unlike the Poujadist movement of the mid-1950s—a confederation of shopkeepers likewise opposed to the “Americanization” of a “thieving and inhuman” state and similarly attracted to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories—the gilets jaunes include shopkeepers seemingly content to destroy shop windows. There is an aspect of carnival here: a delight in the subversion of norms, a deliberate embrace of the grotesque.

    Many have said that the gilets jaunes are merely another “populist movement,” although the term is now so broad that it is nearly meaningless. Comparisons have been made to the Britain of Brexit, the United States of Donald Trump, and especially the Italy of Cinque Stelle. But the crucial difference is that the gilets jaunes are apolitical, and militantly so. They have no official platform, no leadership hierarchy, and no reliable communications. Everyone can speak for the movement, and yet no one can. When a small faction within it fielded a list of candidates for the upcoming European parliamentary elections in May, their sharpest opposition came from within: to many gilets jaunes, the ten who had put their names forward—among them a nurse, a truck driver, and an accountant—were traitors to the cause, having dared to replicate the elite that the rest of the movement disdains.

    Concessions from the government have had little effect. Under mounting pressure, Macron was forced to abandon the carbon tax planned for 2019 in a solemn televised address in mid-December. He also launched the so-called grand débat, a three-month tour of rural France designed to give him a better grasp of the concerns of ordinary people. In some of these sessions, Macron has endured more than six hours of bitter criticisms from angry provincial mayors. But these gestures have quelled neither the protests nor the anger of those who remain in the movement. Performance is the point. During the early “acts,” as the weekly demonstrations are known, members refused to meet with French prime minister Édouard Philippe, on the grounds that he would not allow the encounter to be televised, and that sentiment has persisted. Perhaps the most telling thing about the gilets jaunes is the vest they wear: a symbol of car ownership, but more fundamentally a material demand to be seen.

    Inequality in France is less extreme than in the United States and Britain, but it is increasing. Among wealthy Western countries, the postwar French state—l’État-providence—is something of a marvel. France’s health and education systems remain almost entirely free while ranking among the best in the world. In 2017 the country’s ratio of tax revenue to gross domestic product was 46.2 percent, according to statistics from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)—the highest redistribution level of any OECD country and a ratio that allows the state to fight poverty through a generous social protection system. Of that 46.2 percent, the French government allocated approximately 28 percent for social services.

    “The French social model is so integrated that it almost seems a natural, preexisting condition,” Alexis Spire, a sociologist of inequality at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, told me recently. A number of the gilets jaunes I met said that despite the taxes they pay, they do not feel they benefit from any social services, since they live far from urban centers. But anyone who has ever received housing assistance, a free prescription, or sixteen weeks of paid maternity leave has benefited from the social protection system. The effect of redistribution is often invisible.

    And yet the rich in France have gotten much richer. Between 1983 and 2015, the vast majority of incomes in France rose by less than one percent per year, while the richest one percent of the population saw their incomes rise by 100 percent after taxes. According to World Bank statistics, the richest 20 percent now earns nearly five times as much as the bottom 20 percent. This represents a stark shift from the Trente Glorieuses, France’s thirty-year economic boom after World War II. As the economist Thomas Piketty has pointed out, between 1950 and 1983, most French incomes rose steadily by approximately 4 percent per year; the nation’s top incomes rose by only one percent.

    What has become painfully visible, however, is the extent of the country’s geographical fractures. Paris has always been the undisputed center of politics, culture, and commerce, but France was once also a country that cherished and protected its vibrant provincial life. This was la France profonde, a clichéd but genuinely existing France of tranquil stone villages and local boulangeries with lines around the block on Sundays. “Douce France, cher pays de mon enfance,” goes the beloved song by the crooner Charles Trenet. “Mon village, au clocher aux maisons sages.” These days, the maisons sages are vacant, and the country boulangeries are closed.

    The story is familiar: the arrival of large multinational megastores on the outskirts of provincial French towns and cities has threatened, and in many cases asphyxiated, local businesses.1 In the once-bustling centers of towns like Avignon, Agen, Calais, and Périgueux, there is now an eerie quiet: windows are often boarded up, and fewer and fewer people are to be found. This is the world evoked with a melancholy beauty in Nicolas Mathieu’s novel Leurs enfants après eux, which won the Prix Goncourt, France’s most prestigious literary prize, in 2018.

    The expansion since the 1980s of France’s high-speed rail network has meant that the country’s major cities are all well connected to Paris. But there are many small towns where the future never arrived, where abandoned nineteenth-century train stations are now merely places for teenagers to make out, monuments of the way things used to be. In these towns, cars are the only way people can get to work. I met a fifty-five-year-old truck and taxi driver named Marco Pavan in the Franche-Comté in late November. What he told me then—about how carbon taxes can seem like sneers from the Parisian elite—has stayed with me. “Ask a Parisian—for him none of this is an issue, because he doesn’t need a car,” Pavan said. “There’s no bus or train to take us anywhere. We have to have a car.” I cited that remark in a Washington Post story I filed from Besançon; in the online comments section, many attacked the movement for what they saw as a backward anti-environmentalism—missing his point.

    Few have written as extensively as the French geographer Christophe Guilluy on la France périphérique, a term he popularized that refers both to the people and the regions left behind by an increasingly globalized economy. Since 2010, when he published Fractures françaises, Guilluy has been investigating the myths and realities of what he calls “the trompe l’oeil of a peaceful, moderate, and consensual society.” He is one of a number of left-wing French intellectuals—among them the novelist Michel Houellebecq, the historian Georges Bensoussan, and the essayist Michel Onfray—who in recent years have argued that their beloved patrie has drifted into inexorable decline, a classic critique of the French right since 1789. But Guilluy’s decline narrative is different: he is not as concerned as the others with Islamist extremism or “decadence” broadly conceived. For him, France’s decline is structural, the result of having become a place where “the social question disappears.”

    Guilluy, born in Montreuil in 1964, is something of a rarity among well-known French intellectuals: he is a product of the Paris suburbs, not of France’s storied grandes écoles. And it is clear that much of his critique is personal. As a child, Guilluy, whose family then lived in the working-class Paris neighborhood of Belleville, was forcibly relocated for a brief period to the heavily immigrant suburb of La Courneuve when their building was slated to be demolished in the midst of Paris’s urban transformation. “I saw gentrification firsthand,” he told Le Figaro in 2017. “For the natives—the natives being just as much the white worker as the young immigrant—what provoked the most problems was not the arrival of Magrebis, but that of the bobos.”

    This has long been Guilluy’s battle cry, and he has focused his intellectual energy on attacking what he sees as the hypocrisy of the bobos, or bourgeois bohemians. His public debut was a short 2001 column in Libération applying that term, coined by the columnist David Brooks, to French social life. What was happening in major urban centers across the country, he wrote then, was a “ghettoization by the top of society” that excluded people like his own family.

    Guilluy crystallized that argument in a 2014 book that won him the ear of the Élysée Palace and regular appearances on French radio. This was La France périphérique: comment on a sacrifié les classes populaires, in which he contended that since the mid-1980s, France’s working classes have been pushed out of the major cities to rural communities—a situation that was a ticking time bomb—partly as a result of rising prices. He advanced that view further in 2016 with La Crépuscule de la France d’en haut—now translated into English as Twilight of the Elites: Prosperity, the Periphery, and the Future of France—a pithy screed against France’s bobo elite and what he sees as its shameless embrace of a “neoliberal,” “Americanized society” and a hollow, feel-good creed of multicultural tolerance. In 2018, one month before the rise of the gilets jaunes, he published No Society, whose title comes from Margaret Thatcher’s 1987 comment that “there is no such thing as society.”

    In Guilluy’s view, an immigrant working class has taken the place of the “native” working class in the banlieues on the outskirts of major cities. This native class, he argues, has been scattered throughout the country and become an “unnoticed presence” that France’s elite has “made to disappear from public consciousness” in order to consolidate its grip on power. Cities are now the exclusive preserve of the elites and their servants, and what Guilluy means by “no society” is that the visible signs of class conflict in urban daily life have vanished. This is his trompe l’oeil: rich, insulated Parisians have convinced themselves that everything is fine, while those who might say otherwise are nowhere near. “The simmering discontent of rural France has never really been taken seriously,” he writes in Twilight of the Elites.

    Since November, much of the French press has declared that Guilluy essentially predicted the rise of the gilets jaunes. They seem, after all, a fulfillment of his prophecy about “the betrayal of the people” by the elites, even if he is always elusive about who exactly “the people” are. While critiques from the movement have remained a confused cloud of social media invective, Guilluy has served as its de facto interpreter.

    No Society puts into words what many in the gilets jaunes have either struggled or refused to articulate. This is the hazy middle ground between warning and threat: “The populist wave coursing through the western world is only the visible part of a soft power emanating from the working classes that will force the elites to rejoin the real movement of society or else to disappear.”

    For now, however, there is just one member of the elite whom the gilets jaunes wish would disappear, and calls for his violent overthrow continue even as the movement’s momentum subsides.

    An intense and deeply personal hatred of Macron is the only unifying cry among the gilets jaunes. Eighteen months before the uprising began, this was the man who captured the world’s imagination and who, after populist victories in Britain and the United States, had promised a French “Third Way.” Yet the Macronian romance is already over, both at home and abroad.

    To some extent, the French always turn against their presidents, but the anger Macron elicits is unique. This is less because of any particular policy than because of his demeanor and, most of all, his language. “Mr. Macron always refused to respond to us,” Muriel Gautherin, fifty-three, a podiatrist who lives in the Paris suburbs, told me at a December march on the Champs-Élysées. “It’s he who insults us, and he who should respond.” When I asked her what she found most distasteful about the French president, her answer was simple: “His words.”

    She has a point. Among Macron’s earliest actions as president was to shave five euros off the monthly stipends of France’s Aide personalisée au logement (APL), the country’s housing assistance program. Around the same time, he slashed France’s wealth tax on those with a net worth of at least €1.3 million—a holdover from the Mitterand era.

    Macron came to office with a record of unrelentingly insulting the poor. In 2014, when he was France’s economic minister, he responded to the firing of nine hundred employees (most of them women) from a Breton slaughterhouse by noting that some were “mostly illiterate.” In 2016 he was caught on camera in a heated dispute with a labor activist in the Hérault. When the activist gestured to Macron’s €1,600 suit as a symbol of his privilege, the minister said, “The best way to afford a suit is to work.” In 2018 he told a young, unemployed gardener that he could find a new job if he merely “crossed the street.”

    Yet nothing quite compares to the statement Macron made in inaugurating Station F, a startup incubator in the thirteenth arrondissement of Paris, housed in a converted rail depot. It is a cavernous consulate for Silicon Valley, a soaring glass campus open to all those with “big ideas” who can also pay €195 a month for a desk and can fill out an application in fluent English. (“We won’t consider any other language,” the organization’s website says.) Google, Amazon, and Microsoft all have offices in it, and in a city of terrible coffee, the espresso is predictably fabulous. In June 2017 Macron delivered a speech there. “A train station,” he said, referring to the structure’s origins, “it’s a place where we encounter those who are succeeding and those who are nothing.”

    This was the moment when a large percentage of the French public learned that in the eyes of their president, they had no value. “Ceux qui ne sont rien” is a phrase that has lingered and festered. To don the yellow vest is thus to declare not only that one has value but also that one exists.

    On the whole, the gilets jaunes are not the poorest members of French society, which is not surprising. As Tocqueville remarked, revolutions are fueled not by those who suffer the most, but by those whose economic status has been improving and who then experience a sudden and unexpected fall. So it seems with the gilets jaunes: most live above the poverty line but come from the precarious ranks of the lower middle class, a group that aspires to middle-class stability and seeks to secure it through palliative consumption: certain clothing brands, the latest iPhone, the newest television.

    In mid-December Le Monde profiled a young couple in the movement from Sens in north-central France, identified only as Arnaud and Jessica. Both twenty-six, they and their four children live in a housing project on the €2,700 per month that Arnaud earns as a truck driver, including more than €1,000 in government assistance. According to statistics from France’s Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques (Insée), this income places them right at the poverty line for a family of this size, and possibly even slightly below it. But the expenses Arnaud and Jessica told Le Monde they struggled to pay included karate lessons for their oldest son and pet supplies for their dog. Jessica, who does not work, told Le Monde, “Children are so mean to each other if they wear lesser brands. I don’t want their friends to make fun of them.” She said she had traveled to Paris for gilet jaune protests on three separate weekends—journeys that presumably cost her money.

    Readers of Le Monde—many of them educated, affluent, and pro-Macron—were quick to attack Arnaud and Jessica. But the sniping missed their point, which was that they felt a seemingly inescapable sense of humiliation, fearing ridicule everywhere from the Élysée Palace to their children’s school. They were explaining something profound about the gilets jaunes: the degree to which the movement is fueled by unfulfilled expectations. For many demonstrators, life is simply not as they believed it would be, or as they feel they deserve. There is an aspect of entitlement to the gilets jaunes, who are also protesting what the French call déclassement, the increasing elusiveness of the middle-class dream in a society in which economic growth has not kept pace with population increase. This entitlement appears to have alienated the gilets jaunes from immigrants and people of color, who are largely absent from their ranks and whose condition is often materially worse.2 “It’s not people who don’t have hope anymore, who don’t have a place to live, or who don’t have a job,” Rokhaya Diallo, a French activist for racial equality, told me recently, describing the movement. “It’s just that status they’re trying to preserve.”

    The gilets jaunes have no substantive ideas: resentment does not an ideology make. They remain a combustible vacuum, and extremist agitators on the far right and the far left have sought to capitalize on their anger. Both Marine Le Pen of the recently renamed Rassemblement National and Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the left-wing La France Insoumise have tried hard to channel the movement’s grassroots energy into their own political parties, but the gilets jaunes have so far resisted these entreaties. The gilets jaunes also found themselves at the center of a diplomatic spat: in early February Italy’s deputy prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, met with two of their members on the outskirts of Paris in a jab at Macron. Two days later, France withdrew its ambassador to Rome for the first time since 1940, but the gilets jaunes have not attempted to exploit this attention for their own political gain. Instead there was infighting—a Twitter war over who had the right to represent the cause abroad and who did not.

    The intellectual void at the heart of an amorphous movement can easily fill with the hatred of an “other.” That may already be happening to the gilets jaunes. Although a careful analysis by Le Monde concluded that race and immigration were not major concerns in the two hundred most frequently shared messages on gilet jaune Facebook pages between the beginning of the movement and January 22, a number of gilets jaunes have been recorded on camera making anti-Semitic gestures, insulting a Holocaust survivor on the Paris metro, and saying that journalists “work for the Jews.” Importantly, the gilets jaunes have never collectively denounced any of these anti-Semitic incidents—a silence perhaps inevitable for a movement that eschews organization of any kind. Likewise, a thorough study conducted by the Paris-based Fondation Jean Jaurès has shown the extent to which conspiracy theories are popular in the movement: 59 percent of those surveyed who had participated in a gilet jaune demonstration said they believed that France’s political elites were encouraging immigration in order to replace them, and 50 percent said they believed in a global “Zionist” conspiracy.

    Members of the movement are often quick to point out that the gilets jaunes are not motivated by identity politics, and yet anyone who has visited one of their demonstrations is confronted with an undeniable reality. Far too much attention has been paid to the symbolism of the yellow vests and far too little to the fact that the vast majority of those who wear them are lower-middle-class whites. In what is perhaps the most ethnically diverse society in Western Europe, can the gilets jaunes truly be said to represent “the people,” as the members of the movement often claim? Priscillia Ludosky, arguably the first gilet jaune, is a black woman. “It’s complicated, that question,” she told me. “I have no response.”

    The gilets jaunes are also distinctly a minority of the French population: in a country of 67 million, as many as 282,000 have demonstrated on a single day, and that figure has consistently fallen with each passing week, down to 41,500 during “Act 14” of the protest on February 16. On two different weekends in November and December, other marches in Paris—one for women’s rights, the other against climate change—drew far bigger crowds than the gilets jaunes did. But the concerns of this minority are treated as universal by politicians, the press, and even the movement’s sharpest critics. Especially after Trump and Brexit, lower-middle-class and working-class whites command public attention even when they have no clear message.

    French citizens of color have been protesting social inequality for years without receiving any such respect. In 2005 the killing of two minority youths by French police in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois ignited a string of violent uprisings against police brutality, but the government declared an official state of emergency instead of launching a grand débat. In 2009, the overseas departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique saw a huge strike against the high cost of living—a forty-four-day uprising that also targeted fuel prices and demanded an increase to the minimum wage. In 2017 an almost identical protest occurred in French Guiana, another French overseas department, where residents demonstrated against household goods that were as much as 12 percent more expensive than they were in mainland France, despite a lower minimum wage. The French government was slow to respond in both of these instances, while the concerns of the gilets jaunes have resulted in a personal apology from the president and a slew of concessions.

    Guilluy, whose analysis of la France périphérique ultimately fails to grapple significantly with France’s decidedly peripheral overseas territories, does not shy away from the question of identity. He sees a racial element to the frustrations of la France périphérique, but he does not see this as a problem. Some of the most frustrating moments in his work come when he acknowledges but refuses to interrogate white working-class behavior that seems to be racially motivated. “Public housing in outlying communities is now a last resort for workers hoping to be able to go on living near the major cities,” he writes in Twilight of the Elites, describing the recent astronomic rise in France’s urban real estate prices. “These projects, mostly occupied by immigrant renters, are avoided by white French-born workers. Barring some utterly unforeseeable turn of events, their expulsion from the largest urban centers will be irreversible.” It would not diminish Guilluy’s broader point about la France périphérique if he acknowledged that victims of structural changes can also be intolerant.

    Guilluy also regularly recycles anxieties over immigration, often from controversial theorists such as Michèle Tribalat, who is associated with the idea of le grand remplacement, the alleged “great replacement” of France’s white population by immigrants from North and Sub-Saharan Africa. In making his case about “the demographic revolution in process,” Guilluy has been accused of inflating his statistics. France, he wrote in Fractures françaises, “welcomes a little less than 200,000 legal foreigners every year.” But these claims were attacked by Patrick Weil, a leading French historian of immigration, who noted in his book Le sens de la République (2015) that Guilluy failed to consider that a large number of those 200,000 are temporary workers, students who come and go, and others of “irregular” status. Guilluy has not responded to these criticisms, and in any case his rhetoric has since grown more radical. In No Society he writes, “Multiculturalism is, intrinsically, a feeble ideology that divides and weakens.”

    Whether the gilets jaunes will eventually come to agree with him is a crucial question. Like Guilluy, they are responding to real social conditions. But if, following Guilluy’s lead, they ultimately resort to the language of race and ethnicity to explain their suffering, they will have chosen to become a different movement altogether, one in which addressing inequality was never quite the point. In some ways, they have already crossed that line.

    On the afternoon of Saturday, February 16, the prominent French intellectual Alain Finkielkraut got out of a taxi on the Boulevard Montparnasse. A crowd of gilets jaunes noticed him and began hurling anti-Semitic insults. The scene, recorded on video, was chilling: in the center of Paris, under a cloudless sky, a mob of visibly angry men surrounded a man they knew to be Jewish, called him a “dirty Zionist,” and told him, “go back to Tel Aviv.”

    Finkielkraut’s parents were Polish refugees from the Holocaust. He was born in Paris in 1949 and has become a fixture in French cultural life, a prolific author, a host of a popular weekly broadcast on France Culture, and a member of the Académie Française, the country’s most elite literary institution. In the words of Macron, who immediately responded to the attack, he “is not only an eminent man of letters but the symbol of what the Republic affords us all.” The irony is that Finkielkraut—another former leftist who believes that France has plunged into inexorable decline and ignored the dangers of multiculturalism—was one of the only Parisian intellectuals who had supported the gilets jaunes from the beginning.

    I spoke to Finkielkraut after the attack, and he explained that the gilets jaunes had seemed to him the evidence of something authentic. “I saw an invisible France, neglected and forgotten,” he said. “Wearing fluorescent yellow vests in order to be visible—of being a ‘somewhere’ as opposed to an ‘anywhere,’ as Goodhart has said—seemed to me an absolutely legitimate critique.” The British journalist David Goodhart, popular these days in French right-wing circles, is the author of The Road to Somewhere (2017), which sees populist anger as the inevitable response to the widening gulf between those “rooted” in a particular place and cosmopolitans at home anywhere. “France is not a ‘start-up nation,’” Finkielkraut told me. “It can’t be reduced to that.”

    Finkielkraut said that the attack was a sign that the reasonable critiques orginally made by the gilets jaunes had vanished, and that they had no real future. “I think the movement is in the process of degradation. It’s no longer a social movement but a sect that has closed in on itself, whose discourse is no longer rational.”

    Although the Paris prosecutor has opened an investigation into his attackers, Finkielkraut has not pressed charges. He told me that the episode, as violent as it was, did not necessarily suggest that all those who had worn yellow vests in recent months were anti-Semites or extremists. “Those who insulted me were not the nurses, the shopkeepers, or the small business owners,” he said, noting that he doubted he would have experienced the same prejudice at the roundabouts, the traffic circles across the country where gilets jaunes protesters gathered every Saturday. In a sense, these were the essence of the movement, which was an inchoate mobilization against many things, but perhaps none so much as loneliness. The roundabouts quickly became impromptu piazzas and a means, however small, of reclaiming a spirit of community that disappeared long ago in so many French towns and villages.

    In Paris, where the remaining gilets jaunes have now focused most of their energy, the weekly protests have become little more than a despicable theater filled with scenes like the attack on Finkielkraut. There is no convincing evidence that those still wearing yellow vests are troubled by the presence of bigotry in their ranks. What is more, many gilets jaunes now seem to believe that pointing out such prejudice is somehow to become part of a government-backed conspiracy to turn public opinion against them.

    Consider, for instance, a February 19 communiqué released in response to the attack on Finkielkraut from La France en Colère, one of the movement’s main online bulletins. “For many days, the government and its friends in the national media seem to have found a new technique for destabilizing public opinion and discrediting the Gilets Jaunes movement,” it begins. “We denounce the accusations and the manipulations put in place by this government adept at fake news.” But this is all the communiqué denounces; it does not address the anti-Semitic violence to which Finkielkraut was subjected, nor does it apologize to a national figure who had defended the movement when few others of his prominence dared to do the same.

    A month after our last conversation, I called Priscillia Ludosky back, to see if she had any reaction to the recent turn of events in the movement her petition had launched. She was only interested in discussing what she called the French government’s “systematic abuse to manipulate public opinion.” She also believes that a government-media conspiracy will stop at nothing to smear the cause. “If there was one person who ever said something homophobic, it was on the front page of every newspaper,” she told me.

    In the days after the attack, Finkielkraut lamented not so much the grim details of what had happened but the squandered potential of a moment that has increasingly descended into paranoid feverishness. As he told me: “This was a beautiful opportunity to reflect on who we are that’s been completely ruined.”

    https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2019/03/21/low-visibility-france-gilet-jaunes

  • Which MEPs changed their votes the most in the current EP term?
    https://www.votewatch.eu/blog/which-meps-changed-their-votes-the-most-in-the-current-ep-term

    The European Parliament has a rather unusual mechanism that is known by very few insiders, which allows the MEPs to effectively change the way they voted after a decision has been made. This means that when a decision is made an MEP can vote one way, but then they can change their vote in the minutes (the ‘initial vote’ is still traceable in the minutes). Not surprisingly, this creates confusion as to the actual intention and views of the MEP. However, looking at who ‘changed’ their votes and where this occurred can provide very valuable clues with regards to what is important and sensitive for specific MEPs and parties.

    Three French MEPs are at the top of the list: Brice Hortefeux (Les Républicains) has used this mechanism almost 292 times in the current EP term. The likely better known left-wing leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon has used it 266 times in his 3 years of mandate (as he left the EP in 2017) – Mélenchon topped this list by far while he was still an MEP. Another Les Républicains MEP, Rachida Dati, comes third, with 198 ‘corrections’. Still in the top 10 are some known names like Jacek Sarysz-Wolski, the Polish MEP who was proposed by Law and Justice Party to replace Tusk as President of the Council (193 ‘corrections’), Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, from Swedish Moderaterna (169), Greek left-wing Kostadinka Kuneva (167), Portuguese PSD MEP Cláudia Monteiro de Aguiar (139), French Les Républicains MEP Franck Proust (133), Spanish PSOE MEP Juan Fernando López Aguilar (131) and Spanish Ciudadanos MEP Javier Nart (131).

    via @linuxfr https://linuxfr.org/users/pmanglade/journaux/hs-felonie-au-parlement-europeen

  • Anti-terrorism #Censorship : Second Setback at the European Parliament
    https://www.laquadrature.net/2019/03/15/anti-terrorism-censorship-second-setback-at-the-european-parliament

    In the European Parliament, the two committees that were asked for an opinion on the terrorist content Regulation have now both published their proposition of amendments. Sadly, just like the opinion of the IMCO Committee…

    #Non_classé

  • Au #Niger, l’UE mise sur la #police_locale pour traquer les migrants

    Au Niger, l’Union européenne finance le contrôle biométrique des frontières. Avec pour objectif la lutte contre l’immigration, et dans une opacité parfois très grande sur les méthodes utilisées.

    Niger, envoyé spécial.– Deux semaines après une attaque meurtrière attribuée aux groupes armés djihadistes, un silence épais règne autour du poste de la gendarmerie de Makalondi, à la frontière entre le Niger et le Burkina Faso. Ce jour de novembre 2018, un militaire nettoie son fusil avec un torchon, des cartouches scintillantes éparpillées à ses pieds. Des traces de balles sur le mur blanc du petit bâtiment signalent la direction de l’attaque. Sur le pas de la porte, un jeune gendarme montre son bras bandé, pendant que ses collègues creusent une tranchée et empilent des sacs de sable.
    L’assaut, à 100 kilomètres au sud de la capitale Niamey, a convaincu le gouvernement du Niger d’étendre les mesures d’état d’urgence, déjà adoptées dans sept départements frontaliers avec le Mali, à toute la frontière avec le Burkina Faso. La sécurité a également été renforcée sur le poste de police, à moins d’un kilomètre de distance de celui de la gendarmerie, où les agents s’affairent à une autre mission : gérer les flux migratoires.
    « On est les pionniers, au Niger », explique le commissaire Ismaël Soumana, montrant les équipements installés dans un bâtiment en préfabriqué. Des capteurs d’empreintes sont alignés sur un comptoir, accompagnés d’un scanneur de documents, d’une microcaméra et d’un ordinateur. « Ici, on enregistre les données biométriques de tous les passagers qui entrent et sortent du pays, on ajoute des informations personnelles et puis on envoie tout à Niamey, où les données sont centralisées. »
    Makalondi est le premier poste au Niger à avoir installé le Midas, système d’information et d’analyse de données sur la migration, en septembre 2018. C’est la première étape d’un projet de biométrisation des frontières terrestres du pays, financé par l’UE et le #Japon, et réalisé conjointement par l’#OIM, l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations – créatrice et propriétaire du système #Midas –, et #Eucap_Sahel_Niger, la mission de sécurité civile de Bruxelles.


    Au cœur de ce projet, il y a la Direction pour la surveillance du territoire (DST), la police aux frontières nigérienne, dont le rôle s’est accru au même rythme que l’intérêt européen à réduire la migration via le Niger. Dans un quartier central de Niamey, le bureau du directeur Abdourahamane Alpha est un oasis de tranquillité au milieu de la tempête. Tout autour, les agents tourbillonnent, en se mêlant aux travailleurs chinois qui renouvellent leur visa et aux migrants ouest-africains sans papiers, en attente d’expulsion.
    Dessinant une carte sur un morceau de papier, le commissaire Alpha trace la stratégie du Niger « pour contrôler 5 000 kilomètres de frontière avec sept pays ». Il évoque ainsi les opérations antiterrorisme de la force G5 Sahel et le soutien de l’UE à une nouvelle compagnie mobile de gardes-frontières, à lancer au printemps 2019.
    Concernant le Midas, adopté depuis 2009 par 23 pays du monde, « le premier défi est d’équiper tous les postes de frontière terrestre », souligne Alpha. Selon l’OIM, six nouveaux postes devraient être équipés d’ici à mi-2020.

    Un rapport interne réalisé à l’été 2018 et financé par l’UE, obtenu par Mediapart, estime que seulement un poste sur les douze visités, celui de Sabon Birni sur la frontière avec le Nigeria, est apte à une installation rapide du système Midas. Des raisons de sécurité, un flux trop bas et composé surtout de travailleurs frontaliers, ou encore la nécessité de rénover les structures (pour la plupart bâties par la GIZ, la coopération allemande, entre 2015 et 2016), expliquent l’évaluation prudente sur l’adoption du Midas.
    Bien que l’installation de ce système soit balbutiante, Abdourahamane Alpha entrevoit déjà le jour où leurs « bases de données seront connectées avec celles de l’UE ». Pour l’instant, du siège de Niamey, les agents de police peuvent consulter en temps quasi réel les empreintes d’un Ghanéen entrant par le Burkina Faso, sur un bus de ligne.
    À partir de mars 2019, ils pourront aussi les confronter avec les fichiers du Pisces, le système biométrique du département d’État des États-Unis, installé à l’aéroport international de Niamey. Puis aux bases de données d’Interpol et du Wapis, le système d’information pour la police de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, un fichier biométrique financé par le Fonds européen de développement dans seize pays de la région.
    Mais si le raccordement avec des bases de données de Bruxelles, envisagé par le commissaire Alpha, semble une hypothèse encore lointaine, l’UE exerce déjà un droit de regard indirect sur les écrans de la police nigérienne, à travers Frontex, l’agence pour le contrôle des frontières externes.

    Frontex a en effet choisi le Niger comme partenaire privilégié pour le contrôle migratoire sur la route dite de la Méditerranée centrale. En août 2017, l’agence y a déployé son unique officier de liaison en Afrique et a lancé, en novembre 2018, la première cellule d’analyse de risques dans le continent. Un projet financé par la coopération au développement de l’UE : 4 millions d’euros destinés à ouvrir des cellules similaires dans huit pays subsahariens.
    L’agence n’a dévoilé à Mediapart que six documents sur onze relatifs à ses liens avec le Niger, en rappelant la nécessité de « protéger l’intérêt public concernant les relations internationales ». Un des documents envoyés concerne les cellules d’analyse de risques, présentées comme des bureaux équipés et financés par Frontex à l’intérieur des autorités de contrôle des frontières du pays, où des analystes formés par l’agence – mais dépendants de l’administration nationale – auront accès aux bases de données.
    Dans la version intégrale du document, que Mediapart a finalement pu se procurer, et qui avait été expurgée par Frontex, on apprend que « les bases de données du MIDAS, PISCES et Securiport [compagnie privée de Washington qui opère dans le Mali voisin, mais pas au Niger – ndlr] seront prises en considération comme sources dans le plan de collecte de données ».
    En dépit de l’indépendance officielle des cellules par rapport à Frontex, revendiquée par l’agence, on peut y lire aussi que chaque cellule aura une adresse mail sur le serveur de Frontex et que les informations seront échangées sur une plateforme digitale de l’UE. Un graphique, également invisible dans la version expurgée, montre que les données collectées sont destinées à Frontex et aux autres cellules, plutôt qu’aux autorités nationales.
    Selon un fonctionnaire local, la France aurait par ailleurs fait pression pour obtenir les fichiers biométriques des demandeurs d’asile en attente d’être réinstallés à Paris, dans le cadre d’un programme de réinstallation géré par le UNHCR.
    La nouvelle Haute Autorité pour la protection des données personnelles, opérationnelle depuis octobre 2018, ne devrait pas manquer de travail. Outre le Midas, le Pisces et le Wapis, le Haut Commissariat pour les réfugiés a enregistré dans son système Bims les données de presque 250 000 réfugiés et déplacés internes, tandis que la plus grande base biométrique du pays – le fichier électoral – sera bientôt réalisée.
    Pendant ce temps, au poste de frontière de Makalondi, un dimanche de décembre 2018, les préoccupations communes de Niamey et Bruxelles se matérialisent quand les minibus Toyota laissent la place aux bus longue distance, reliant les capitales d’Afrique occidentale à Agadez, au centre du pays, avec escale à Niamey. Des agents fouillent les bagages, tandis que les passagers attendent de se faire enregistrer.
    « Depuis l’intensification des contrôles, en 2016, le passage a chuté brusquement, explique le commissaire Ismaël Soumana. En parallèle, les voies de contournement se sont multipliées : si on ferme ici, les passeurs changent de route, et cela peut continuer à l’infini. »
    Les contrôles terminés, les policiers se préparent à monter la garde. « Car les terroristes, eux, frappent à la nuit, et nous ne sommes pas encore bien équipés », conclut le commissaire, inquiet.

    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/280219/au-niger-l-ue-mise-sur-la-police-locale-pour-traquer-les-migrants
    #migrations #réfugiés #asile #traque #externalisation #contrôles_frontaliers #EU #UE #Eucap #biométrie #organisation_internationale_contre_les_migrations #IOM

    J’ajoute à la métaliste :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749

    • Biometrics: The new frontier of EU migration policy in Niger

      The EU’s strategy for controlling irregular West African migration is not just about asking partner countries to help stop the flow of people crossing the Mediterranean – it also includes sharing data on who is trying to make the trip and identifying to which countries they can be returned.

      Take Niger, a key transit country for migrants arriving in Europe via Libya.

      European money and technical assistance have flowed into Niger for several years, funding beefed-up border security and supporting controversial legislation that criminalises “migrant trafficking” and has led to a sharp fall in the registered number of people travelling through the country to reach Libya – down from 298,000 in 2016 to 50,000 in 2018.

      Such cooperation is justified by the “moral duty to tackle the loss of lives in the desert and in the Mediterranean”, according to the EU’s head of foreign policy, Federica Mogherini. It was also a response to the surge in arrivals of asylum seekers and migrants to European shores in 2015-16, encouraging the outsourcing of control to African governments in return for development aid.

      In April, as a further deterrent to fresh arrivals, the European Parliament passed a tougher “Regulation” for #Frontex – the EU border guard agency – authorising stepped-up returns of migrants without proper documentation to their countries of origin.

      The regulation is expected to come into force by early December after its formal adoption by the European Council.

      The proposed tougher mandate will rely in part on biometric information stored on linked databases in Africa and Europe. It is a step rights campaigners say not only jeopardises the civil liberties of asylum seekers and others in need of protection, but one that may also fall foul of EU data privacy legislation.

      In reply to a request for comment, Frontex told The New Humanitarian it was “not in the position to discuss details of the draft regulation as it is an ongoing process.”

      Niger on the frontline

      Niger is a key country for Europe’s twin strategic goals of migration control and counter-terrorism – with better data increasingly playing a part in both objectives.

      The #Makalondi police station-cum-immigration post on Niger’s southern border with Burkina Faso is on the front line of this approach – one link in the ever-expanding chain that is the EU’s information-driven response to border management and security.

      When TNH visited in December 2018, the hot Sunday afternoon torpor evaporated when three international buses pulled up and disgorged dozens of travellers into the parking area.

      “In Niger, we are the pioneers.”

      They were mostly Burkinabès and Nigeriens who travelled abroad for work and, as thousands of their fellow citizens do every week, took the 12-hour drive from the Burkina Faso capital, Ouagadougou, to the Niger capital, Niamey.

      As policemen searched their bags, the passengers waited to be registered with the new biometric #Migration_Information_and_Data_Analysis_System, or #MIDAS, which captures fingerprints and facial images for transmission to a central #database in Niamey.

      MIDAS has been developed by the International Organisation for Migration (#IOM) as a rugged, low-cost solution to monitor migration flows.

      “In Niger, we are the pioneers,” said Ismael Soumana, the police commissioner of Makalondi. A thin, smiling man, Soumana proudly showed off the eight new machines installed since September at the entry and exit desks of a one-storey prefabricated building. Each workstation was equipped with fingerprint and documents scanners, a small camera, and a PC.
      Data sharing

      The data from Makalondi is stored on the servers of the Directorate for Territorial Surveillance (DTS), Niger’s border police. After Makalondi and #Gaya, on the Benin-Niger border, IOM has ambitious plans to instal MIDAS in at least eight more border posts by mid-2020 – although deteriorating security conditions due to jihadist-linked attacks could interrupt the rollout.

      IOM provides MIDAS free of charge to at least 20 countries, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa. Its introduction in Niger was funded by Japan, while the EU paid for an initial assessment study and the electrical units that support the system. In addition to the border posts, two mobile MIDAS-equipped trucks, financed by #Canada, will be deployed along the desert trails to Libya or Algeria in the remote north.

      MIDAS is owned by the Nigerien government, which will be “the only one able to access the data,” IOM told TNH. But it is up to Niamey with whom they share that information.

      MIDAS is already linked to #PISCES (#Personal_Identification_Secure_Comparison_and_Evaluation_System), a biometric registration arm of the US Department of State installed at Niamey international airport and connected to #INTERPOL’s alert lists.

      Niger hosts the first of eight planned “#Risk_Analysis_Cells” in Africa set up by Frontex and based inside its border police directorate. The unit collects data on cross-border crime and security threats and, as such, will rely on systems such as #PISCES and MIDAS – although Frontex insists no “personal data” is collected and used in generating its crime statistics.

      A new office is being built for the Niger border police directorate by the United States to house both systems.

      The #West_African_Police_Information_System, a huge criminal database covering 16 West African countries, funded by the EU and implemented by INTERPOL, could be another digital library of fingerprints linking to MIDAS.

      Frontex programmes intersect with other data initiatives, such as the #Free_Movement_of_Persons_and_Migration_in_West_Africa, an EU-funded project run by the IOM in all 15-member Economic Community of West African States. One of the aims of the scheme is to introduce biometric identity cards for West African citizens.

      Frontex’s potential interest is clear. “If a European country has a migrant suspected to be Ivorian, they can ask the local government to match in their system the biometric data they have. In this way, they should be able to identify people,” IOM programme coordinator Frantz Celestine told TNH.

      The push for returns

      Only 37 percent of non-EU citizens ordered to leave the bloc in 2017 actually did so. In his 2018 State of the Union address, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker urged a “stronger and more effective European return policy” – although some migration analysts argue what is needed are more channels for legal migration.

      Part of the problem has been that implementing a returns policy is notoriously hard – due in part to the costs of deportation and the lack of cooperation by countries of origin to identify their citizens. Europe has had difficulty in finalising formal accords with so-called third countries unwilling to lose remittances from those abroad.

      The Commission is shifting to “informal arrangements [that] keep readmission deals largely out of sight” – serving to ease the domestic pressure on governments who cooperate on returns, according to European law researcher, Jonathan Slagter.

      The new Frontex regulation provides a much broader mandate for border surveillance, returns, and cooperation with third countries.

      It contains provisions to “significantly step up the effective and sustainable return of irregular migrants”. Among the mechanisms is the “operation and maintenance of a platform for the exchange of data”, as a tool to reinforce the return system “in cooperation with the authorities of the relevant third countries”. That includes access to MIDAS and PISCES.

      Under the new Frontex policy, in order to better identify those to be deported, the agency will be able “to restrict certain rights of data subjects”, specifically related to the protection and access to personal data granted by EU legislation.

      That, for example, will allow the “transfer of personal data of returnees to third countries” - even in cases where readmission agreements for deportees do not exist.

      Not enough data protection

      The concern is that the expanded mandate on returns is not accompanied by appropriate safeguards on data protection. The #European_Data_Protection_Supervisor – the EU’s independent data protection authority – has faulted the new regulation for not conducting an initial impact study, and has called for its provisions to be reassessed “to ensure consistency with the currently applicable EU legislation”.

      “Given the extent of data sharing, the regulation does not put in place the necessary human rights safeguards."

      Mariana Gkliati, a researcher at the University of Leiden working on Frontex human rights accountability, argues that data on the proposed centralised return management platform – shared with third countries – could prove detrimental for the safety of people seeking protection.

      “Given the extent of data sharing, the regulation does not put in place the necessary human rights safeguards and could be perceived as giving a green light for a blanket sharing with the third country of all information that may be considered relevant for returns,” she told TNH.

      “Frontex is turning into an #information_hub,” Gkliati added. “Its new powers on data processing and sharing can have a major impact on the rights of persons, beyond the protection of personal data.”

      For prospective migrants at the Makalondi border post, their data is likely to travel a lot more freely than they can.

      https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news-feature/2019/06/06/biometrics-new-frontier-eu-migration-policy-niger
      #empreintes_digitales #OIM #identification #renvois #expulsions #échange_de_données

      ping @albertocampiphoto @karine4 @daphne @marty @isskein

  • Europe’s deadly migration strategy. Officials knew EU military operation made Mediterranean crossing more dangerous.

    Since its creation in 2015, Europe’s military operation in the Mediterranean — named “#Operation_Sophia” — has saved some 49,000 people from the sea. But that was never really the main objective.

    The goal of the operation — which at its peak involved over a dozen sea and air assets from 27 EU countries, including ships, airplanes, drones and submarines — was to disrupt people-smuggling networks off the coast of Libya and, by extension, stem the tide of people crossing the sea to Europe.

    European leaders have hailed the operation as a successful joint effort to address the migration crisis that rocked the bloc starting in 2015, when a spike in arrivals overwhelmed border countries like Greece and Italy and sparked a political fight over who would be responsible for the new arrivals.

    But a collection of leaked documents from the European External Action Service, the bloc’s foreign policy arm, obtained by POLITICO (https://g8fip1kplyr33r3krz5b97d1-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/OperationSophia.pdf), paint a different picture.

    In internal memos, the operation’s leaders admit Sophia’s success has been limited by its own mandate — it can only operate in international waters, not in Libyan waters or on land, where smuggling networks operate — and it is underfunded, understaffed and underequipped.

    “Sophia is a military operation with a very political agenda" — Barbara Spinelli, Italian MEP

    The confidential reports also show the EU is aware that a number of its policies have made the sea crossing more dangerous for migrants, and that it nonetheless chose to continue to pursue those strategies. Officials acknowledge internally that some members of the Libyan coast guard that the EU funds, equips and trains are collaborating with smuggling networks.

    For the operation’s critics, the EU’s willingness to turn a blind eye to these shortcomings — as well as serious human rights abuses by the Libyan coast guard and in the country’s migrant detention centers — are symptomatic of what critics call the bloc’s incoherent approach to managing migration and its desire to outsource the problem to non-EU countries.

    “Sophia is a military operation with a very political agenda,” said Barbara Spinelli, an Italian MEP and member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs in the European Parliament. “It has become an instrument of refoulement, legitimizing militias with criminal records, dressed up as coast guards.”

    Now the operation, which is managed by Italy and has been dogged by political disagreements since it began, is coming under increasing pressure as the deadline for its renewal approaches in March.

    Italy’s deputy prime minister, far-right leader Matteo Salvini, has said the operation should only be extended if there are new provisions to resettle rescued people across the bloc. Last month, Germany announced it would be discontinuing its participation in the program, claiming that Italy’s refusal to allow rescued migrants to disembark is undermining the mission.

    Named after a baby girl born on an EU rescue ship, Sophia is the uneasy compromise to resolve a deep split across the bloc: between those who pushed for proactive search-and-rescue efforts to save more lives and those who favored pulling resources from the sea to make the crossing more dangerous.

    The naval operation sits uncomfortably between the two, rescuing migrants in distress at sea, but insisting its primary focus is to fight smugglers off the coast of Libya. The two activities are frequently in conflict.

    The operation has cycled through a number of strategies since its launch: a campaign to destroy boats used by smugglers; law-enforcement interviews with those rescued at sea; extensive aerial surveillance; and training and funding a newly consolidated Libyan coast guard.

    But the success of these approaches is highly disputed, and in some cases they have put migrants’ lives at greater risk.

    The EU’s policy of destroying the wooden boats used by smugglers to avoid them being reused, for example, has indeed disrupted the Libyan smuggling business, but at a substantial human cost.

    As Libyan smugglers lost their wooden boats, many started to rely more heavily on smaller, cheaper rubber boats. The boats, which smugglers often overfill to maximize profit, are not as safe as the wooden vessels and less likely to reach European shores. Instead, Libyan smugglers started to abandon migrants in international waters, leaving them to be pulled out of peril by European rescue ships.

    Sophia officials tracked the situation and were aware of the increased risk to migrants as a result of the policy. “Smugglers can no longer recover smuggling vessels on the high seas, effectively rendering them a less economic option for the smuggling business and thereby hampering it,” they wrote in a 2016 status report seen by POLITICO.

    The report acknowledged however that the policy has pushed migrants into using rubber boats, putting them in greater danger. “Effectively, with the limited supply and the degree of overloading, the migrant vessels are [distress] cases from the moment they launch,” it said.

    These overfilled rubber boats, which officials described as shipwrecks waiting to happen, also present a problem for the EU operation.

    International maritime law compels vessels to respond to people in distress at sea and bring the rescued to a nearby safe port. And because European courts have held that Libya has no safe port, that means bringing migrants found at sea to Europe — in most cases, Italy.

    This has exacerbated political tensions in the country, where far-right leader Salvini has responded to the influx of new arrivals by closing ports to NGO and humanitarian ships carrying migrants and threatening to bar Sophia vessels from docking.

    Meanwhile, Sophia officials have complained that rescuing people from leaking, unseaworthy boats detracted from the operation’s ability to pursue its primary target: Libyan smugglers.

    In a leaked status report from 2017, Sophia officials made a highly unusual suggestion: that the operation be granted permission to suspend its rescue responsibilities in order to focus on its anti-smuggling operations.

    “Consideration should be given to an option that would allow the operation to be authorized for being temporarily exempt from search and rescue when actively conducting anti-smuggling operations against jackals in international waters,” the report read.

    The EU has also wilfully ignored inconvenient aspects of its policies when it comes to its collaboration with Libya’s municipal coast guard.

    The intention of the strategy — launched one year into the Sophia operation — was to equip Libyan authorities to intercept migrant boats setting off from the Libyan coast and bring people back to shore. This saved Europe from sending its own ships close to coast, and meant that people could be brought back to Libya, rather than to Europe, as required by international maritime law — or more specifically, Italy.

    Here too, the EU was aware it was pursuing a problematic strategy, as the Libyan coast guard has a well-documented relationship with Libyan smugglers.

    A leaked report from Frontex, the EU’s coast guard, noted in 2016: “As mentioned in previous reports, some members of Libya’s local authorities are involved in smuggling activities.” The report cited interviews with recently rescued people who said they were smuggled by Libyans in uniform. It also noted that similar conclusions were reported multiple times by the Italian coast guard and Operation Sophia.

    “Many of [the coast guard officers] were militia people — many of them fought with militias during the civil war" — Rabih Boualleg, Operation Sophia translator

    In Sophia’s leaked status report from 2017, operation leaders noted that “migrant smuggling and human trafficking networks remain well ingrained” throughout the region and that smugglers routinely “pay off authorities” for passage to international waters.

    “Many of [the coast guard officers] were militia people — many of them fought with militias during the civil war,” said Rabih Boualleg, who worked as a translator for Operation Sophia in late 2016 on board a Dutch ship involved in training the coast guard from Tripoli.

    “They were telling me that many of them hadn’t gotten their government salaries in eight months. They told me, jokingly, that they were ‘forced’ to take money from smugglers sometimes.”

    The coast guards talked openly about accepting money from smuggling networks in exchange for escorting rubber boats to international waters instead of turning them back toward the shore, Boualleg said.

    “If the [on-duty] coast guard came,” Boualleg added, “they would just say they were fishermen following the rubber boats, that’s all.”

    Frontex’s 2016 report documents similar cases. Two officials with close knowledge of Sophia’s training of the Libyan coast guard also confirmed that members of the coast guard are involved in smuggling networks. A spokesperson for the Libyan coast guard did not return repeated requests for comment.

    EU governments have, for the most part, simply looked the other way.

    And that’s unlikely to change, said a senior European official with close knowledge of Operation Sophia who spoke on condition of anonymity. For the first time since the start of the operation, Libyan authorities are returning more people to Libya than are arriving in Italy.

    “If Italy decides — since it is the country in command of Operation Sophia — to stop it, it is up to Italy to make this decision" — Dimitris Avramopoulos, immigration commissioner

    “Europe doesn’t want to upset this balance,” the official said. “Any criticism of the coast guards could lead to resentment, to relaxing.”

    Two years into the training program, leaked reports also show the Libyan coast guard was unable to manage search-and-rescue activities on its own. Sophia monitors their operations with GoPro cameras and through surveillance using ships, airplanes, drones and submarines.

    The operation is limited by its mandate, but it has made progress in difficult circumstances, an EEAS spokesperson said. Operation Sophia officials did not respond to multiple interview requests and declined to answer questions via email.

    “The provision of training the Libyan coast guard and navy, as well as continued engagement with them have proven to be the most effecting complementary tool to disrupt the activities of those involved in trafficking,” the EEAS spokesperson said in an email.

    The spokesperson maintained that Libyan coast guards who are trained by Operation Sophia undergo a “thorough vetting procedure." The spokesperson also stated that, while Operation Sophia does advise and monitor the Libyan coast guard, the operation is not involved “in the decision-making in relation to operations.”

    *

    With the March deadline for the operation’s renewal fast approaching, pressure is mounting to find a way to reform Sophia or disband it altogether.

    When Salvini closed Italy’s ports to NGO and humanitarian ships last July, the country’s foreign minister turned to the EU to negotiate a solution that would ensure migrants rescued as part of Operation Sophia would be resettled among other countries. At the time, Italy said it expected results “within weeks.” Six months later, neither side has found a way through the impasse.

    “The fate of this operation is not determined yet,” European Commissioner for Immigration Dimitris Avramopoulos told reporters last month, adding that discussions about allowing migrants to disembark in non-Italian ports are still underway among member countries.

    “If Italy decides — since it is the country in command of Operation Sophia — to stop it, it is up to Italy to make this decision.”

    The political fight over the future of the operation has been made more acute by an increase in criticism from human rights organizations. Reports of violence, torture and extortion in Libyan detention centers have put the naval operation and EEAS on the defensive.

    A Human Rights Watch report published in January found that Europe’s support for the Libyan coast guard has contributed to cases of arbitrary detention, and that people intercepted by Libyan authorities “face inhuman and degrading conditions and the risk of torture, sexual violence, extortion, and forced labor.” Amnesty International has also condemned the conditions under which migrants are being held, and in an open letter published earlier this month, 50 major aid organizations warned that “EU leaders have allowed themselves to become complicit in the tragedy unfolding before their eyes.”

    These human rights violations have been well documented. In 2016, the U.N. Human Rights Office said it considered “migrants to be at high risk of suffering serious human rights violations, including arbitrary detention, in Libya and thus urges States not to return, or facilitate the return of, persons to Libya.”

    Last June, the U.N. sanctioned six men for smuggling and human rights violations, including the head of the coast guard in Zawiya, a city west of Tripoli. A number of officials under his command, a leaked EEAS report found, were trained by Operation Sophia.

    An EEAS spokesperson would not comment on the case of the Zawiya coast guards trained by Operation Sophia or how the officers were vetted. The spokesperson said that none of the coast guards “trained by Operation Sophia” are on the U.N. sanctions list.

    The deteriorating human rights situation has prompted a growing chorus of critics to argue the EU’s arrangement with Libya is unsustainable.

    “What does the EU do in Libya? They throw money at projects, but they don’t have a very tangible operation on the ground" — Tarek Megerisi, Libyan expert

    “Returning anyone to Libya is against international law,” said Salah Margani, a former justice minister in Libya’s post-civil war government. “Libya is not a safe place. They will be subject to murder. They will be subjected to torture.”

    “This is documented,” Margani added. “And [Europe] knows it.”

    Sophia is also indicative of a larger, ineffective European policy toward Libya, said Tarek Megerisi, a Libya specialist at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

    “What does the EU do in Libya? They throw money at projects, but they don’t have a very tangible operation on the ground. They really struggle to convert what they spend into political currency — Operation Sophia is all they’ve got,” he said.

    The project, he added, is less a practical attempt to stop smuggling or save migrants than a political effort to paper over differences within the EU when it comes to migration policy.

    With Sophia, he said, Europe is “being as vague as possible so countries like Italy and Hungary can say this is our tool for stopping migration, and countries like Germany and Sweden can say we’re saving lives.”

    “With this operation, there’s something for everyone,” he said.

    https://www.politico.eu/article/europe-deadly-migration-strategy-leaked-documents

    Commentaire ECRE :

    Leaked documents obtained by @POLITICOEurope show that the #EU knew its military operation “Sophia” in the Mediterranean made sea crossing more dangerous.

    https://twitter.com/ecre/status/1101074946057482240

    #responsabilité #Méditerranée #mourir_en_mer #asile #migrations #réfugiés #mer_Méditerranée #Frontex #EU #UE
    #leaks #sauvetage #externalisation #frontières

    –-----------------------------------------

    Mise en exergue de quelques passages de l’article qui me paraissent particulièrement intéressants :

    The confidential reports also show the EU is aware that a number of its policies have made the sea crossing more dangerous for migrants, and that it nonetheless chose to continue to pursue those strategies. Officials acknowledge internally that some members of the Libyan coast guard that the EU funds, equips and trains are collaborating with smuggling networks.

    Named after a baby girl born on an EU rescue ship, Sophia is the uneasy compromise to resolve a deep split across the bloc: between those who pushed for proactive search-and-rescue efforts to save more lives and those who favored pulling resources from the sea to make the crossing more dangerous.
    The naval operation sits uncomfortably between the two, rescuing migrants in distress at sea, but insisting its primary focus is to fight smugglers off the coast of Libya. The two activities are frequently in conflict.

    The report acknowledged however that the policy has pushed migrants into using rubber boats, putting them in greater danger. “Effectively, with the limited supply and the degree of overloading, the migrant vessels are [distress] cases from the moment they launch,” it said.

    In a leaked status report from 2017 (https://g8fip1kplyr33r3krz5b97d1-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/ENFM-2017-2.pdf), Sophia officials made a highly unusual suggestion: that the operation be granted permission to suspend its rescue responsibilities in order to focus on its anti-smuggling operations.

    “Consideration should be given to an option that would allow the operation to be authorized for being temporarily exempt from search and rescue when actively conducting anti-smuggling operations against jackals in international waters,” the report read.

    A leaked report from #Frontex (https://theintercept.com/2017/04/02/new-evidence-undermines-eu-report-tying-refugee-rescue-group-to-smuggl), the EU’s coast guard, noted in 2016: “As mentioned in previous reports, some members of Libya’s local authorities are involved in smuggling activities.” The report cited interviews with recently rescued people who said they were smuggled by Libyans in uniform. It also noted that similar conclusions were reported multiple times by the Italian coast guard and Operation Sophia.

    In Sophia’s leaked status report from 2017, operation leaders noted that “migrant smuggling and human trafficking networks remain well ingrained” throughout the region and that smugglers routinely “pay off authorities” for passage to international waters. “Many of [the coast guard officers] were militia people — many of them fought with militias during the civil war,” said Rabih Boualleg, who worked as a translator for Operation Sophia in late 2016 on board a Dutch ship involved in training the coast guard from Tripoli. The coast guards talked openly about accepting money from smuggling networks in exchange for escorting rubber boats to international waters instead of turning them back toward the shore, Boualleg said.

    Frontex’s 2016 report documents similar cases. Two officials with close knowledge of Sophia’s training of the Libyan coast guard also confirmed that members of the coast guard are involved in smuggling networks. A spokesperson for the Libyan coast guard did not return repeated requests for comment.

    Two years into the training program, leaked reports (https://g8fip1kplyr33r3krz5b97d1-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/ENFM-Monitoring-of-Libyan-Coast-Guard-and-Navy-Report-October-2017-January-2018.pdf) also show the Libyan coast guard was unable to manage search-and-rescue activities on its own. Sophia monitors their operations with GoPro cameras and through surveillance using ships, airplanes, drones and submarines.

    A Human Rights Watch report (https://www.hrw.org/report/2019/01/21/no-escape-hell/eu-policies-contribute-abuse-migrants-libya) published in January found that Europe’s support for the Libyan coast guard has contributed to cases of arbitrary detention, and that people intercepted by Libyan authorities “face inhuman and degrading conditions and the risk of torture, sexual violence, extortion, and forced labor.” Amnesty International has also condemned (https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/LY/DetainedAndDehumanised_en.pdf) the conditions under which migrants are being held, and in an open letter published earlier this month, 50 major aid organizations warned that “EU leaders have allowed themselves to become complicit in the tragedy unfolding before their eyes.”

    “Returning anyone to Libya is against international law,” said Salah Margani, a former justice minister in Libya’s post-civil war government. “Libya is not a safe place. They will be subject to murder. They will be subjected to torture.”

    “This is documented,” Margani added. “And [Europe] knows it.”
    Sophia is also indicative of a larger, ineffective European policy toward Libya, said Tarek Megerisi, a Libya specialist at the European Council on Foreign Relations.
    “What does the EU do in Libya? They throw money at projects, but they don’t have a very tangible operation on the ground. They really struggle to convert what they spend into political currency — Operation Sophia is all they’ve got,” he said.

    With Sophia, he said, Europe is “being as vague as possible so countries like Italy and Hungary can say this is our tool for stopping migration, and countries like Germany and Sweden can say we’re saving lives.”
    “With this operation, there’s something for everyone,” he said.

    #flou

  • Report to the EU Parliament on #Frontex cooperation with third countries in 2017

    A recent report by Frontex, the EU’s border agency, highlights the ongoing expansion of its activities with non-EU states.

    The report covers the agency’s cooperation with non-EU states ("third countries") in 2017, although it was only published this month.

    See: Report to the European Parliament on Frontex cooperation with third countries in 2017: http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/frontex-report-ep-third-countries-coop-2017.pdf (pdf)

    It notes the adoption by Frontex of an #International_Cooperation_Strategy 2018-2020, “an integral part of our multi-annual programme” which:

    “guides the Agency’s interactions with third countries and international organisations… The Strategy identified the following priority regions with which Frontex strives for closer cooperation: the Western Balkans, Turkey, North and West Africa, Sub-Saharan countries and the Horn of Africa.”

    The Strategy can be found in Annex XIII to the 2018-20 Programming Document: http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/frontex-programming-document-2018-20.pdf (pdf).

    The 2017 report on cooperation with third countries further notes that Frontex is in dialogue with Senegal, #Niger and Guinea with the aim of signing Working Agreements at some point in the future.

    The agency deployed three Frontex #Liaison_Officers in 2017 - to Niger, Serbia and Turkey - while there was also a #European_Return_Liaison_Officer deployed to #Ghana in 2018.

    The report boasts of assisting the Commission in implementing informal agreements on return (as opposed to democratically-approved readmission agreements):

    "For instance, we contributed to the development of the Standard Operating Procedures with #Bangladesh and the “Good Practices for the Implementation of Return-Related Activities with the Republic of Guinea”, all forming important elements of the EU return policy that was being developed and consolidated throughout 2017."

    At the same time:

    “The implementation of 341 Frontex coordinated and co-financed return operations by charter flights and returning 14 189 third-country nationals meant an increase in the number of return operations by 47% and increase of third-country nationals returned by 33% compared to 2016.”

    Those return operations included Frontex’s:

    “first joint return operation to #Afghanistan. The operation was organised by Hungary, with Belgium and Slovenia as participating Member States, and returned a total of 22 third country nationals to Afghanistan. In order to make this operation a success, the participating Member States and Frontex needed a coordinated support of the European Commission as well as the EU Delegation and the European Return Liaison Officers Network in Afghanistan.”

    http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/frontex-report-third-countries.htm
    #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers
    #Balkans #Turquie #Afrique_de_l'Ouest #Afrique_du_Nord #Afrique_sub-saharienne #Corne_de_l'Afrique #Guinée #Sénégal #Serbie #officiers_de_liaison #renvois #expulsions #accords_de_réadmission #machine_à_expulsion #Hongrie #Belgique #Slovénie #réfugiés_afghans

    • EP civil liberties committee against proposal to give Frontex powers to assist non-EU states with deportations

      The European Parliament’s civil liberties committee (LIBE) has agreed its position for negotiations with the Council on the new Frontex Regulation, and amongst other things it hopes to deny the border agency the possibility of assisting non-EU states with deportations.

      The position agreed by the LIBE committee removes Article 54(2) of the Commission’s proposal, which says:

      “The Agency may also launch return interventions in third countries, based on the directions set out in the multiannual strategic policy cycle, where such third country requires additional technical and operational assistance with regard to its return activities. Such intervention may consist of the deployment of return teams for the purpose of providing technical and operational assistance to return activities of the third country.”

      The report was adopted by the committee with 35 votes in favour, nine against and eight abstentions.

      When the Council reaches its position on the proposal, the two institutions will enter into secret ’trilogue’ negotiations, along with the Commission.

      Although the proposal to reinforce Frontex was only published last September, the intention is to agree a text before the European Parliament elections in May.

      The explanatory statement in the LIBE committee’s report (see below) says:

      “The Rapporteur proposes a number of amendments that should enable the Agency to better achieve its enhanced objectives. It is crucial that the Agency has the necessary border guards and equipment at its disposal whenever this is needed and especially that it is able to deploy them within a short timeframe when necessary.”

      European Parliament: Stronger European Border and Coast Guard to secure EU’s borders: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20190211IPR25771/stronger-european-border-and-coast-guard-to-secure-eu-s-borders (Press release, link):

      “- A new standing corps of 10 000 operational staff to be gradually rolled out
      - More efficient return procedures of irregular migrants
      - Strengthened cooperation with non-EU countries

      New measures to strengthen the European Border and Coast Guard to better address migratory and security challenges were backed by the Civil Liberties Committee.”

      See: REPORT on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Council Joint Action n°98/700/JHA, Regulation (EU) n° 1052/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Regulation (EU) n° 2016/1624 of the European Parliament and of the Council: http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/ep-libe-report-frontex.pdf (pdf)

      The Commission’s proposal and its annexes can be found here: http://www.statewatch.org/news/2018/sep/eu-soteu-jha-proposals.htm

      http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/ep-new-frontex-libe.htm

  • Hunger Strike Gains Momentum in Azerbaijan – Foreign Policy
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/01/16/hunger-strike-gains-momentum-in-azerbaijan-political-prisoner-protest


    From left, Rafik Bakhishov, Zafar Ahmadov, and Tofig Yagublu take part in a hunger strike at the headquarters of the opposition party Musavat in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Jan. 15.
    (Khadija Ismayilova)

    Seeing Baku as a strategic partner, the United States and Europe overlook rights violations.

    More than a dozen political prisoners, activists, and members of the opposition in Azerbaijan have joined a solidarity hunger strike to call attention to the plight of the imprisoned anti-corruption blogger Mehman Huseynov, who has refused food for three weeks.

    Huseynov, 29, launched his own hunger strike on Dec. 26 after new charges were brought against him that could keep him detained for another seven years.

    His supporters include the prominent Azerbaijani investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova, who announced on her Facebook page Monday that she would stop eating and called on the international community to intervene on Heseynov’s behalf. Ismayilova’s own imprisonment between 2015 and 2016 sparked an international outcry.

    “I can only sacrifice my time, health and stamina. Please, respond, world,” she wrote.

    Daniel Balson, the Europe and Central Asia advocacy director for Amnesty International USA, said the solidarity hunger strike was unprecedented in Azerbaijan.

    Corruption and human rights abuses are rife in the southern Caucasus country. President Ilham Aliyev, who succeeded his father in 2003, has abolished term limits and appointed his wife as vice president, drawing accusations that he has effectively established a monarchy in Azerbaijan.

    It is estimated that there are currently more than 100 political prisoners in the country, according to Amnesty International USA, and the media is tightly controlled. Last year, the Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli was abducted in the capital of neighboring Georgia and brought to Azerbaijan, where he was sentenced to six years for smuggling and illegally crossing the border.

    “All well-known human rights defenders and journalists spend at least one or two years in prison,” said Huseynov’s brother, Emin Huseynov.

    He told Foreign Policy that while his brother began his hunger strike by refusing to eat or drink water, he has since begun to drink milk, enabling him to prolong his protest.

    Mehman Huseynov ran SANCAQ (“Pin” in Azerbaijani), a popular online magazine across Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. His video reports, which explored government corruption and social problems, frequently garnered hundreds of thousands of views.

    In January 2017, plainclothes police officers dragged Huseynov into a van, placed a hood over his head, and took him to a police station, where he was electrocuted and beaten. After he spoke out about the abuse, Huseynov was charged with slander and sentenced to two years in prison for defaming an entire police station.

    The blogger was due to be released in March, but new charges that were brought against him, which are widely thought to be politically motivated, could add years to his sentence.

    The European Parliament is set to debate a resolution on Thursday calling on Azerbaijan to release all political prisoners unconditionally and to respect the freedom of the press.

    The Azerbaijani Embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.

  • Using #amazon? Your Data is Probably Already in the Hands of Foreign Companies
    https://hackernoon.com/using-amazon-your-data-is-probably-already-in-the-hands-of-foreign-compa

    As big tech companies have steadily and stealthily made ever-increasing profits from using our data, governments have finally started to wake up to the fact that our #privacy is being eroded. After Edward Snowden leaked evidence that the NSA had been spying on citizens across the globe, the European Parliament passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), imposing extensive requirements on organizations that process the data of EU citizens.The US has been slower to regulate. However, from March of this year, all 50 US states now have laws that require data processors to inform citizens in case of a data breach. Not quite as far-reaching as the GDPR, but it’s a start.The Limitations of RegulationRegulations that protect our data and privacy create a deterrent for companies who (...)

    #amazon-customer-data #cambridge-analytica #hacking

  • Generation Hate: French far right’s violence and racism exposed

    Al Jazeera investigation reveals Generation Identity members carrying out racist attacks, making Nazi salutes in Lille.

    It was the first weekend of 2018 and Remi Falize was hungry for a fight.

    The 30-year-old far-right activist, who previously said his dying wish was to kill Muslims in the northern city of Lille, took out a pair of black plastic-reinforced leather gloves.

    “Here, my punching gloves, just in case,” he told his friends in a secretly filmed conversation. “We are not here to get f**ked about. We are in France, for f**k’s sake.”

    Falize found his fight towards the end of the night.

    Around 1am, outside the O’Corner Pub in Lille’s main nightlife strip, a group of teenagers approached Falize and his friends. One asked for a cigarette. Suddenly, Falize’s friend pushed him and the doorman at the bar was pepper-spraying the teenagers.

    “I swear to Mecca, don’t hit me,” one girl in the group pleaded.

    Falize was incensed. “What to Mecca? I f**k Mecca!”

    The burly man went after her even as she turned to leave and punched her in the head several times.

    “Girl, or no girl, I couldn’t give a f**k. They’re just Arabs,” he said. Then, taking a drag on his cigarette, he shook his wrist and said: “She really must have felt it because I’m hurting.”

    Falize and his friends are part of Generation Identity (GI), one of Europe’s fastest growing and most prominent far-right movements. The organisation was set up in France six years ago, and now has branches in several countries, including Italy, Austria, Germany and the United Kingdom.

    The pan-European group, estimated to have thousands of members and an online following of tens of thousands, advocates the defence of what it sees as the identity and culture of white Europeans from what it calls the “great replacement” by immigration and “Islamisation”.

    It presents itself as a patriotic movement and claims to be non-violent and non-racist.

    But when an Al Jazeera undercover reporter infiltrated GI’s branch in Lille, he found the opposite.
    ’Defend Europe’

    Footage our reporter filmed secretly over a period of six months, beginning in September 2017, shows GI members carrying out racist attacks and admitting to a series of other assaults on Muslims.

    The group’s activists were frequently seen making Nazi salutes and shouting “Heil Hitler”. Its leaders meanwhile explained how they’ve infiltrated the National Front (now the National Rally), a far-right French party led by Marine Le Pen, who lost a 2017 presidential election runoff to Emmanuel Macron.

    Made up of white nationalists, the group first came to prominence in 2012 when dozens of its activists occupied a mosque in Poitiers, western France, for more than six hours before police ejected them. Days later, GI issued a “declaration of war” on multiculturalism and called for a national referendum on Muslim immigration.

    Robin D’Angelo, a French political analyst, said the group considers France their “main battleground” in Europe, as it’s the country with the largest Muslim community on the continent. Muslims make up nearly 10 percent of France’s 67 million population. A second and more significant factor, D’Angelo said, was a rise in deadly attacks by Muslim assailants in the country in recent years.

    They include a 2015 gun attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in the French capital, which left a dozen people dead, as well as a series of coordinated assaults later that year in Paris, including at the Bataclan theatre, in which more than 130 people were killed. The next year, assailants drove a 19-tonne cargo truck into crowds of people celebrating Bastille Day in the Mediterranean city of Nice, killing 86 people.

    GI, however, differs from traditional far-right groups, D’Angelo said, in its public attempts to distance itself from violence and overt racism. “What they understood was that marginalisation would never bring their ideas to power, would never make their ideas spread, so they try to be as clean as possible,” D’Angelo said.

    The group’s strategy to influence public debate includes staging spectacular publicity stunts to attract media attention and gain a huge social media following, he said.

    Such moves include a 2017 boat mission called “Defend Europe” which sought to disrupt refugee rescue ships in the Mediterranean Sea. GI raised more than 50,000 euros ($57,000) in less than three weeks for the mission, which ultimately failed when the group’s boat was blocked from refuelling in Greece and Tunisia.

    In April, more than 100 GI activists tried to shut off a snowy mountain pass on the French-Italian border used by migrants. After erecting a makeshift barrier there, they unfurled a banner which read: “You will not make Europe your home. No way. Back to your homeland.”
    ’We want power’

    Aurelien Verhassel was one of the GI leaders who took part in the group’s Alpine mission. He is also the head of the group’s Flanders branch. In a backstreet in Lille’s city centre, the 34-year-old runs a members-only bar called the Citadelle.

    “It’s not just a bar,” he told Al Jazeera’s undercover reporter. “It’s a community with all the activities that go with it; a boxing club, a library, a cinema club.”

    Membership in GI Flanders had almost tripled, he said, from 300 to 800 in just a year.

    At the Citadelle, Verhassel, a man with an angular face and slicked-back hair, hosted lengthy discussions on politics, entertaining GI members from other parts of France and sometimes journalists, too. One Friday in December last year, Verhassel asked members to be present for a TV interview with journalists from Quebec, Canada.

    In his television appearance, Verhassel, who has a string of criminal convictions for violence, including a five-month prison sentence for an attack on two North African teenagers that he is appealing, presented the image of a committed but professional politician.

    “Europe has been invaded,” he told the Canadian journalists. And the aim of GI, “a serious political movement that trains young leaders”, was to tackle mass Muslim immigration, he said.

    GI’s main solution, he added, was a concept called “remigration” - a programme to send non-European families to their ancestral homelands. “For us, the non-Europeans, the Islamists, can go home by any means,” he said. “By boat, by plane or by spaceship. They can go home however they want.”

    The “remigration concept” is at the core of GI’s vision for France’s future, and was detailed in a policy document the group released during the 2017 election campaign. Jean-David Cattin, a GI leader who was in charge of the group’s communications when its activists targeted refugee rescue missions in the Mediterranean, told Citadelle members in October last year that France could force former colonies to take back migrants by making development aid conditional on the return of non-European residents and migrants.

    “We are France, we have nuclear weapons. We give them hundreds of millions in development aid,” he told a sceptical activist. “We’d say: ’Listen, we’d love to help you out financially, but you’ve got to take back your guys.’”

    Mathias Destal, a journalist who has been investigating France’s far right for years, called the “remigration” concept “delirious” and likened it to ethnic cleansing.

    “It would mean deporting thousands and thousands of people to countries which are supposedly their countries of origin because their ancestors might have lived there or because the colour of their skin or their culture refers to countries which are not France … so, in fact, it would nearly be ethnic cleansing.”

    Verhassel believed that the strategy to take the concept mainstream was to protect the group’s media image.

    GI Lille has refused entry to “skinheads and all those anti-social types”, he told our undercover reporter, and expelled others who might damage GI’s reputation. The image he wanted to cultivate, Verhassel said, was “it’s cool to be a fascist”.
    Verhassel was particularly worried about people who might post photos online of themselves doing Nazi salutes at the Citadelle. “We’d be shut down. We’d be done for,” he said.

    Over a beer at the Citadelle, Verhassel explained: “They want to make gestures. We want power … They just want romanticism. It’s beautiful, it’s sweet, but it doesn’t do much to advance the cause. The goal is to win.”
    Racist attacks and Nazi salutes

    Despite the public disavowal of violence and racism, Verhassel himself was secretly filmed encouraging activists to carry out assaults. “Someone needs a smack. But yeah, the advantage is that we’re in a violent environment and everyone accepts that,” he said.

    Footage from the Citadelle and other parts of Lille also show activists frequently boasting about carrying out violent attacks and making Nazi salutes.

    On the night of the attack on the teenagers, a far-right activist associated with GI, known as Le Roux, greeted Falize and his friends at a bar in central Lille that same night, saying: “Sieg Heil! Come on Generation Identity! F**king hell! Sieg Heil!”

    Charles Tessier, another associate of Falize, described an attack on three Arab men in which Falize broke his opponent’s nose.

    “It started pissing blood,” he said.

    “Then we fight, three on three, and they ran off. We chase them shouting ’Dirty Arab! Sieg Heil!”

    “We were Sieg-Heiling on the street.”

    Such racist attacks, another activist called Will Ter Yssel said, brought GI activists together.

    Falize, meanwhile, was caught on camera confessing that if he was diagnosed with a terminal illness, his wish would be to “sow carnage” against Muslims, perhaps by going on a shooting spree at a mosque in Lille, or even a car-ramming at the city’s Wazemmes market, which is popular with Arabs and Muslims.

    “If you take your car there on a Sunday, it’ll be chaos,” he said, laughing.

    “As long as I don’t die during the carnage, I’ll do it again.”

    Responding to Al Jazeera’s findings, a lawyer for Verhassel said the Citadelle welcomed people of “diverse persuasions” and does not represent GI.

    The Citadelle “condemned in the strongest terms” the comments from its members if such statements were attributable to them, the lawyer added.

    Sylvie Guillaume, vice president of the European Parliament, called the footage of the attacks and admissions of violence “disturbing”.

    Calling for legal action, she added: “They intend to get into fights, they say it, they’re preparing themselves, they have gloves for hitting, they target their victims. These are people who make direct references to Hitler, who speak with phrases the Nazis used.”

    Guillaume continued: “That is punishable by law.”


    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/12/generation-hate-french-violence-racism-exposed-181208155503837.html
    #génération_identitaire #identitaires #extrême_droite #France #racisme #xénophobie #Aurelien_Verhassel #Lille #defend_Europe

  • Leave-voting MP Nadine Dorries slams May’s Brexit deal because UK won’t have seats in European parliament | The Independent
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/nadie-dorries-slams-brexit-deal-leave-remain-jk-rowling-a8639216.html

    Theresa May’s Brexit deal has been slammed by arch-leave MP Nadine Dorries – because it means the UK will be left without any Members of the European Parliament.

    The Tory backbencher, who campaigned tirelessly to get the country out of Europe, said Ms May’s deal would leave the UK without any influence in Europe. 

    This is a very sad place to be,” she told Sky News. “But unfortunately, the future of the country and of our relationship with Europe is at stake. This deal gives us no voice, no votes, no MEPs, no commissioner.

    Her words were met with astonishment online.

  • La #Mission_Eucap octroie à la police nationale du #Niger 6,5 Milliards FCFA pour le contrôle des frontières

    La #police nigérienne va bénéficier d’une enveloppe de 10 millions d’euros, soit 6,5 milliards FCFA, de la mission #Eucap_Sahel au Niger pour financer le projet de création de #Compagnies_mobiles_de_contrôle_des_frontières (#CMCF) dans toutes les régions du Niger. Ce, dans le but de lutter contre le crime organisé et la migration clandestine.

    Cette enveloppe est offerte précisément par les Pays-Bas à hauteur de 4 millions d’euros (2,6 milliards FCFA), et l’Allemagne 6 millions d’euros (3,9 milliards FCFA).

    « L’#Allemagne contribuera pour 6 millions et les #Pays-Bas pour 4 millions pour aider le gouvernement nigérien dans la lutte contre l’immigration irrégulière, le trafic de drogue et des armes. », a précisé le ministre des Affaires étrangères des Pays-Bas Stef Blok.

    La convention matérialisant cet appui a été signée le 31 octobre, en présence du Chef de la délégation de l’Union européenne Denisa-Elena Ionete, du Chef de la mission Eucap Sahel au Niger Frank Van Der Mueren, et du ministre des Affaires étrangères des Pays-Bas.

    Pour mémoire, la mission Eucap Sahel avait déjà offert du #matériel d’une valeur de 15 millions FCFA à l’Agence nationale de lutte contre la traite des personnes et le trafic illicite de migrants (#ANLTP / #TIM), toujours dans le cadre de la lutte contre le terrorisme, le crime organisé, la traite des personnes et la migration clandestine.

    Eucap Sahel Niger est un instrument de développement et de stabilité de l’Union européenne, mise sur pied dans le cadre de la politique de sécurité et de défense commune. Lancée en 2012 au Niger, elle contribue au renforcement des capacités des forces de défense et de sécurité nigériennes dans le cadre de la lutte contre le terrorisme et la criminalité organisée.

    En 2018, sa mission a été prolongée au Niger pour une période de deux ans.

    https://www.niameyetles2jours.com/la-gestion-publique/securite/0111-3043-la-mission-eucap-octroie-a-la-police-nationale-du-niger

    • L’Allemagne et les Pays-Bas vont financer une police de contrôle au Niger

      L’Allemagne et les Pays-Bas vont débloquer 10 millions d’euros au Niger pour mettre sur pied des forces spéciales chargées de contrôler les frontières du pays africain notamment contre l’immigration illégale, a annoncé jeudi la mission civile européenne Eucap Sahel.

      Le Niger, les Pays-Bas et Eucap Sahel - qui aide depuis 2012 le Niger à lutter contre le terrorisme et la criminalité organisée - ont signé mercredi à Niamey la convention pour le financement de cette force dénommée Compagnies mobiles de contrôle des frontières (CMCF), selon Eucap Sahel.

      « Les Pays-Bas contribueront pour 4 millions d’euros et l’Allemagne pour 6 millions d’euros. Nous travaillerons avec le gouvernement nigérien dans la lutte contre la migration irrégulière, le trafic de drogue et des armes », a précisé à la télévision Stef Blok, le ministre des Affaires étrangères des Pays-Bas en visite au Niger.

      Les fonds seront confiés à Eucap Sahel et serviront à la formation, l’entrainement et l’équipement de centaines de policiers nigériens qui composeront les compagnie, a-t-il dit.

      Dans une première phase, deux compagnies fortes de 250 policiers nigériens seront positionnés à Maradi et Birn’in Konni, deux régions proches de la frontière avec le Nigeria, un des gros pourvoyeurs de clandestins transitant par le Niger pour l’Europe, a expliqué une source sécuritaire à l’AFP.

      « Grosso modo c’est pour combattre tout ce que nous avons comme défis : la migration illégale, le trafic des être humains, la drogue, le terrorisme », a expliqué Souley Boubacar, le patron de la police nigérienne.

      Selon les statistiques européennes, environ 90% des migrants d’Afrique de l’Ouest traversent le Niger pour gagner la Libye et l’Europe.

      Mi-juillet, lors d’une visite au Niger, le président du Parlement européen Antonio Tajani s’était réjoui de la chute « de plus de 95% » du flux de migrants transitant par le Niger vers la Libye et l’Europe, entre 2016 et 2017.

      https://www.voaafrique.com/a/l-allemagne-et-les-pays-bas-vont-financer-une-police-de-contr%C3%B4le-au-niger/4638602.html

    • Germany, Netherlands back Niger border force to counter migration

      Germany and the Netherlands have pledged to fund special forces in Niger to control its border and prevent illegal migration, the EU’s security mission in the country said Thursday.

      Niger is a transit country for thousands of migrants heading to Libya and Algeria, key hubs for migrants trying to reach Europe.

      Under the new plan, the two European nations will disburse €10 million to finance the new force, according to EUCAP Sahel, which provides support for Niger security forces.

      The funds would be used for training and equipping hundreds of Niger police officers.

      “Roughly speaking, it is to combat all our challenges: illegal migration, human trafficking, drugs, terrorism,” said Souley Boubacar, head of the Niger police.

      In the first phase, two companies of 250 Niger police will be positioned at Maradi and Birnin Konni — two regions on the troubled frontier with Nigeria that have become a key crossing point for migrants heading for Europe — a security source told AFP.

      It came after Germany held talks with Niger earlier this year, which took in discussions on migration issues. Angela Merkel welcomed the President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, to Meseberg Castle in Brandenburg during the talks.

      The EU has been grappling with massive migration from Africa and the Middle East since 2015.

      Niger has become one of the main crossing routes for poor migrants, with 90 percent of West African migrants passing through the country, according to the EU.

      The Saharan route is notorious for its dangers, which include breakdowns, lack of water and callous traffickers who abandon migrants in the desert.

      Niger introduced a law making people-smuggling punishable by a jail term of up to 30 years in 2015.

      In July, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani said the flow of migrants through Niger fell by 95 percent between 2016 and 2017.


      https://www.thelocal.de/20181101/germany-netherlands-back-niger-border-force-to-counter-migration
      #Allemagne #Pays-Bas

    • Appui de plus de 6,5 Milliards de FCFA de La Mission Eucap à la police nationale pour le contrôle des frontières

      Le Ministre des Affaires étrangères des Pays-Bas Monsieur STEF BLOK a procédé ce mercredi 31 octobre 2018 à la signature d’une convention avec le Chef de la mission Eucap Sahel au Niger Monsieur FRANK Van Der Mueren pour le compte de la police nationale du Niger représentée par son directeur général le Commissaire général de police Souley Boubacar et en présence du Chef de la délégation de l’Union Européenne Mme Denisa-Elena IONETE.
      D’un coût global de 10 millions d’euros dont 4 millions des Pays-Bas et 6 millions de l’Allemagne, ce mémorandum d’entente permettra de financer le projet de création de Compagnies Mobiles de Contrôle des Frontières (CMCF) dans toutes les régions du Niger.
      La création de ces nouvelles compagnies s’inscrit dans le cadre de la lutte contre la criminalité organisée et la migration irrégulière.
      Le Chef de la mission EUCAP SAHEL au Niger, Monsieur FRANK VAN DER MUEREN a tenu à souhaiter la bienvenue au Ministre STEF BLOK, à la délégation de la police nationale et aux participants à cette cérémonie.
      Il a, à cette occasion, souligné que ce projet s’inscrit dans le cadre ‘’des actions de l’Union Européenne au Niger’’ et ‘’c’est un geste politique très fort envers le Niger’’.
      Rappelons qu’EUCAP SAHEL est à son quatrième mandat au Niger dont le dernier court de 2018 à 2020. Sa mission principale est la lutte contre l’insécurité et la migration clandestine. EUCAP SAHEL au Niger emploie 115 agents internationaux et 15 nationaux.
      ‘’L’Allemagne contribuera pour 6 millions et les Pays-Bas pour 4 millions pour aider le gouvernement nigérien dans la lutte contre l’immigration irrégulière, le trafic de drogue et des armes’’ a indiqué le ministre STEF BLOK au cours d’un point presse animée juste après la signature de cette convention.
      Le Commissaire général de police Directeur général de la police du Niger Souley Boubacar a exprimé toute sa satisfaction après cette signature avant d’ajouter que ‘’c’est pour combattre tout ce qu’il y a aujourd’hui comme défis de l’heure tels le trafic de drogue, d’armes, l’immigration irrégulière, le banditisme transfrontalier’’.
      Lancée en 2012, EUCAP Sahel Niger est une mission civile de l’Union européenne promouvant une politique de sécurité et de défense commune, rappelons-t-on. Elle apporte ses appuis dans le cadre de renforcement des forces de sécurité nigériennes.

      http://www.anp.ne/?q=article/appui-de-plus-de-6-5-milliards-de-fcfa-de-la-mission-eucap-la-police-nationale-p
      #externalisation #contrôles_frontaliers

  • Copyright on telemetry from “connected” car
    https://diasp.eu/p/7902958

    Copyright on telemetry from “connected” car

    https://stallman.org/archives/2018-jul-oct.html#19_October_2018_%28Copyright_on_telemetry_from_connected

    The European Parliament voted to let car manufacturers own a copyright on the telemetry from a “connected” car.

    In my view, the first and basic moral issue about telemetry from a car is whether to allow it to exist at all.

  • MEP: Reality of my three days in occupied Western Sahara

    In December 2016, the European Court of Justice reaffirmed that Morocco had no sovereignty over Western Sahara.

    Therefore, the EU-Morocco trade agreement had been illegally applied to that territory.

    This ruling, a mere statement of fact, brought the frozen conflict of Western Sahara to the forefront of the EU agenda, after more than four decades of European passivity or even discreet complicity with the illegal occupying force in Africa’s last colony.

    Rather than complying with the ruling and negotiating a separate agreement with the UN-recognised representative of the people of Western Sahara, the Polisario Front, the Commission chose to prioritise at all costs the preservation of its relationship with its partner in Rabat.

    In a diplomatic whirlwind, the commission and Morocco negotiated a solution that would allow Western Sahara to continue to be part of any successor agreement and it is now holding its breath while the European Parliament assesses this proposal.

    Rather than securing the ECJ-required “consent of the people of Western Sahara”, the commission travelled to Rabat in order to “consult” representatives of “the people concerned by the agreement” and to evaluate the potential benefits for “the local population”.
    Demographic engineering?

    The latter objective de facto gives credit to an illegal and massive process of demographic engineering by Morocco, resulting in the indigenous Saharawi population to become a minority in its own territory.

    The overwhelming share of the “consulted” stakeholders was composed of Moroccans or local representatives with a direct interest in preserving the status quo ante.

    It was estimated that out of the 112 stakeholders that the commission claims to have consulted, 94 of them rejected taking part in the consultation or were never even invited to such talks.

    Following repeated prodding from the Greens/EFA parliamentarians, the commission has had to concede that it does not dispose of any data whatsoever on the existing trade with and from Western Sahara.

    A delegation from the committee on international trade (INTA), including myself, visited the cities of Dakhla and Laayoune in September.

    The programme of the visit had been fully agreed with the Moroccan authorities, who accompanied us alongside a fleet of “official journalists” to every single meeting.

    Moreover, the INTA delegation did not travel outside the part occupied by Morocco.

    We did however learn that the Moroccan authorities are adamant about their intention to continue labelling products from Western Sahara as Moroccan, even though the ECJ ruling clearly states that Western Sahara and Morocco are “two separate and distinct territories”.

    The reality check came when I decided to have an additional meeting with some Saharawi activists.
    Strange incident

    The Moroccan authorities used a textbook method of harassing the human rights defenders: the activists were arrested for reportedly not wearing their seat belt.

    After hours of discussions with an inordinate number of plainclothes police officers, definitely more than needed for a minor traffic infringement, and after being told in quite an aggressive way that I should not have meetings outside of the mission, we managed to leave and hold the meeting in the early hours of the morning.

    I wonder how traffic police had so much information.

    The Sahrawis we met explained that their daily lives are full of such episodes. They showed us several videos of a demonstration that took place on that same day.

    Some of the activists ended up in the hospital after suffering from police brutality. All this happened while the parliamentary delegation was enjoying lavish food from the Moroccan-installed local authorities presenting the extraordinary development prospects of a new agreement negotiated with a benevolent Moroccan administration.

    Some in the parliament claim that “we should not oppose development” in Western Sahara and that opposing the proposed agreement would be to the detriment of the population bringing trade, jobs and income.

    This statement ignores the very fundamental fact: this agreement would consolidate the illegal annexation of Western Sahara by Morocco and run directly against the UN-led peace efforts, by dividing the territory of Western Sahara in two and strengthening one of the parties of the conflict.

    What is the incentive for Rabat to engage genuinely in the UN peace talks foreseen in early December, when it has the EU’s blessing to continue to disregard international law and when it stands to gain from further benefits from a new trade agreement with Brussels?

    If the European parliament gives its consent to this agreement, the ECJ will most likely strike it down.

    We need to stand by the principles of international law instead of signing agreements that clearly violate the rule of law and the right of Sahrawi people to reunite and enjoy their right to self-determination. Our reputation and the fate of a people is at stake.


    https://euobserver.com/opinion/143054
    #Sahara_occidental #occupation #Maroc

  • Equality for Women - Research for Women in Prison
    http://www.r4womeninprison.net/2018/06/12/equality-for-women

    Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

    The United Nations adopted this human rights convention in 1979. It recognizes the need to establish equal rights. CEDAW acknowledges that there is economic, social, cultural, civil and political discrimination towards women. Importantly this states that discrimination violates the principles of gender equality and a fundamental respect for human dignity. It states that in order for women to have their full potential maximized that they must be included in all forms of economic, social, cultural and political development (Van Gundy and Baumann-Grau, 2013).

    The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. CEDAW Committee consists of 23 experts on women’s rights from around the world.
    Regional Mechanisms

    The European Parliament has addressed the issue of equality, women in prison and its impacts (European Resolution, 2008). This recognizes that women have specific needs that must be taken into account in judicial rulings, criminal law and penal institutions. Moreover, practitioners should have an awareness of equal opportunities, including the specific needs and circumstances of women.
    England and Wales

    The Equality Act (2010) requires public authorities and services to protect women form discriminatory practices. This equality duty applies to all business that provide goods, facilities or services to members of the public. There is a pro-active equality duty and this means having regard for protected characteristics which are: age; disability; gender-reassignment; marriage and civil partnerships; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex and sexual orientation.

    The equality duty has been used to justify imprisonment for women. This argument does not recognize women’s role in their communities, their life-histories or alternative to imprisonment. It is important that policy makers continue to promote the reduction of imprisonment as well as improving resources and funds for women in their communities.

  • Israel became hub in international organ trade over past decade - Israel News - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-became-hub-in-international-organ-trade-over-past-decade-1.

    Israel has become increasingly involved in the world transplantation industry in the last decade. This comes a few years after India, which until the 1990s was the global center of the organ trade, enacted legislation prohibiting transplants using organs acquired from living people.

    According to a 2015 European Parliament report, Israeli physicians and patients played a major role in the international organ trade, initially reaching Eastern Europe and later to other locales. The report says Israel played a key role in the trade that developed in Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Kosovo, the United States, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador and Colombia.

    2008 was a turning point in which a Knesset law banned the purchase and sale of human organs. The illegal transplantation industry has continued to flourish globally in recent years, the European Parliament notes, but the place of Israel – along with the Philippines and Pakistan – as hubs of the organ trade has been taken by new countries, among them Costa Rica, Colombia, Vietnam, Lebanon and Egypt.

    A number of organ trade networks were uncovered in Israel, but until the 2008 legislation, the subject was addressed officially only in circulars issued by directors general of government ministries. In a 2003 trial of members of an Israeli network that engaged in illegal organ trade, the court expressed disapproval at the prosecution’s attempt to convict the dealers on a variety of charges ranging from forgery of documents to offenses against the Anatomy and Pathology Law.

    #israël #trafic_organes

  • EU: ’Israel must compensate for demolition of Khan al-Ahmar’
    Sept. 14, 2018 12:58 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 14, 2018 2:57 P.M.)
    http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?ID=781061

    JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — The European Parliament passed a resolution, on Thursday, warning that Israel’s decision to demolish the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem, would constitute a grave violation of international law and threaten peace efforts with the Palestinians.

    The European Parliament, in a 320 to 277 vote, passed a resolution against Israel that called for monetary compensation for financial losses should Khan al-Ahmar village be demolished.

    The resolution stated that “the status quo in this area is of fundamental importance for the viability of the two-state solution and for the establishment of a contiguous and viable Palestinian state in the future.”

    The EU called upon Israel to compensate it for the infrastructure it had built in the village “ten EU Member States are supporting humanitarian programs in Khan al-Ahmar, including the construction of a primary school, and an estimated 315,000 Euros worth of EU-funded humanitarian assistance is now at risk.”

    “Should the demolition and eviction of Khan al-Ahmar take place, the EU’s response must be commensurate with the seriousness of this development and consistent with its long-standing support to the community of Khan al-Ahmar.”

    The resolution added “Israel bears full responsibility for providing the necessary services, including education, healthcare and welfare, for the people living under its occupation, in line with the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

    #Khan_al-Ahmar

  • État de l’Union en 2018 — La Commission propose les derniers éléments qui doivent permettre de dégager un compromis sur la réforme en matière de migration et de gestion des #frontières
    Un corps européen de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes parfaitement équipé

    S’appuyant sur deux années de travail, la Commission propose de renforcer le #corps_européen_de_garde-frontières_et_de_garde-côtes et de lui conférer un degré d’ambition qui soit à la mesure des défis communs auxquels l’Europe est confrontée dans la gestion des migrations et des frontières. Si le mandat du corps européen de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes s’élargit, le but consiste à seconder les États membres et non à se substituer à eux pour la gestion des frontières extérieures et les retours. La proposition comprend les éléments suivants.

    Un corps permanent de 10 000 agents opérationnels d’ici à 2020 - Pour pouvoir mobiliser des ressources prévisibles et suffisantes, l’agence disposera de son propre personnel et de ses propres équipements, tels que des navires, des avions et des véhicules.
    Pouvoirs d’exécution - Afin de garantir pleinement leur efficacité opérationnelle, les membres du corps de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes de l’Union seront habilités à effectuer, sous l’autorité et le contrôle de l’État membre dans lequel ils sont déployés, des tâches nécessitant des pouvoirs d’exécution, comme procéder à des contrôles d’identité, autoriser ou refuser l’entrée aux frontières extérieures et intercepter des personnes aux frontières.
    Aide accrue en matière de retour - Si elle pouvait déjà organiser et financer des opérations de retour conjointes, l’agence pourra désormais assister les États membres dans le cadre des procédures de retour, notamment pour l’identification de ressortissants de pays tiers en séjour irrégulier, l’acquisition de documents de voyage et la préparation des décisions de retour pour les autorités nationales, qui restent responsables des décisions de retour proprement dites.
    Coopération renforcée avec les pays tiers - L’agence pourra, sous réserve de l’accord préalable du pays concerné, lancer des opérations conjointes et déployer des agents en dehors de l’UE, au-delà des pays voisins de l’Union.
    Moyens financiers augmentés - Le #coût total de la proposition de développement du corps européen de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes s’élève à 1,3* milliard d’euros pour la période 2019-2020. Un montant total de 11,3 milliards d’euros est proposé pour la prochaine période budgétaire de l’UE, de 2021 à 2027.

    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-5712_fr.htm
    #frontières #gardes-frontières_européens #politique_migratoire #migrations #asile #UE #EU #budget

    • DRAFT REPORT on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Council Joint Action n°98/700/JHA, Regulation (EU) n° 1052/2013 of the European Pa rliament and of the Council and Regulation (EU) n° 2016/1624 of the European Parliament and of the Council

      http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&reference=PE-630.451&format=PDF&language=EN&s

      –-> L’exposé des motifs se trouve p. 90

      Commentaire de Catherine Teule:

      En date du 13 novembre, le projet de rapport du Parlement européen sur la proposition de règlement du Parlement européen et du Conseil relatif au corps européen de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes a été présenté en #Commission_LIBE.
      L’auteure (#Roberta_Metsola) appuie le projet de la Commission et propose un certain nombre d’amendements, afin que l’Agence puisse mieux atteindre ses objectifs renforcés. …

    • Corps européen de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes : le Conseil arrête sa position de négociation

      L’UE s’emploie à améliorer la protection de ses frontières extérieures dans le cadre de son approche globale des migrations. Les ambassadeurs auprès de l’UE ont approuvé ce jour la position de négociation du Conseil sur un règlement relatif au corps européen de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes. Sur la base de ce mandat, la présidence roumaine du Conseil entamera les négociations avec le Parlement européen.

      « Le mandat approuvé aujourd’hui en ce qui concerne les nouvelles règles relatives à Frontex constitue une nouvelle étape sur la voie d’un contrôle plus efficace des frontières extérieures de l’UE. Une agence renforcée nous fournira de nouveaux outils pour relever tous les défis actuels et futurs auxquels l’espace Schengen est amené à être confronté. Nous allons maintenant commencer les négociations avec le Parlement européen dans le but de parvenir à un accord dans les meilleurs délais. » (Carmen Daniela Dan, ministre de l’intérieur de la Roumanie)

      L’Agence européenne de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes (Frontex) est renforcée en termes de personnel et d’équipements techniques. En outre, son mandat est élargi en vue de soutenir l’action des États membres en matière de protection des frontières, de retour et de coopération avec les pays tiers. Les nouvelles règles proposées intégreront dans le cadre Frontex le système européen de surveillance des frontières (Eurosur), afin d’améliorer son fonctionnement.

      https://www.consilium.europa.eu/fr/press/press-releases/2019/02/20/european-border-and-coast-guard-council-agrees-negotiating-position

  • The future is here today : you can’t play Bach on Facebook because Sony says they own his compositions
    https://boingboing.net/2018/09/05/mozart-bach-sorta-mach.html

    James Rhodes, a pianist, performed a Bach composition for his Facebook account, but it didn’t go up — Facebook’s copyright filtering system pulled it down and accused him of copyright infringement because Sony Music Global had claimed that they owned 47 seconds’ worth of his personal performance of a song whose composer has been dead for 300 years. This is a glimpse of the near future. In one week, the European Parliament will vote on a proposal to force all online services to implement (...)

    #Sony #Facebook #algorithme #ContentID #Robocopyright #censure #filtrage

    • his personal performance

      On doit bien pouvoir dire que c’est bien son interprétation à lui, sur son instrument à lui, qui a été reconnue comme un plagiat d’un enregistrement de Sony.

      Et là, c’est une des références du texte : le chercheur publie des enregistrements antérieurs dans le domaine public, reconnus simplement par la signature musicale...

      Les contrôleurs vont faire valoir que c’est un risque à courir afin de défendre les bases de notre civilisation... et que l’intelligence artificielle va s’améliorer... et qu’il y a une procédure d’appel.

      Can Beethoven send takedown requests ? A first-hand account of one German professor’s experience with overly broad upload filters – Wikimedia Foundation
      https://wikimediafoundation.org/2018/08/27/can-beethoven-send-takedown-requests-a-first-hand-account-of-on

      I decided to open a different YouTube account “Labeltest” to share additional excerpts of copyright-free music. I quickly received ContentID notifications for copyright-free music by Bartok, Schubert, Puccini and Wagner. Again and again, YouTube told me that I was violating the copyright of these long-dead composers, despite all of my uploads existing in the public domain. I appealed each of these decisions, explaining that 1) the composers of these works had been dead for more than 70 years, 2) the recordings were first published before 1963, and 3) these takedown request did not provide justification in their property rights under the German Copyright Act.

      I only received more notices, this time about a recording of Beethoven’s Symphony No.5, which was accompanied by the message: “Copyrighted content was found in your video. The claimant allows its content to be used in your YouTube video. However, advertisements may be displayed.” Once again, this was a mistaken notification. The recording was one by the Berlin Philharmonic under the direction of Lorin Maazel, which was released in 1961 and is therefore in the public domain. Seeking help, I emailed YouTube, but their reply, “[…] thank you for contacting Google Inc. Please note that due to the large number of enquiries, e-mails received at this e-mail address support-de@google.com cannot be read and acknowledged” was less than reassuring.

    • Un bon article de #Matteo_Villa qui résume ces questions, paru en septembre 2018 :

      Outsourcing European Border Control : Recent Trends in Departures, Deaths and Search and Rescue Activities in the Central Mediterranean

      In our previous blog post ‘Border Deaths in the Mediterranean: what we can learn from the latest data?’ on Border Criminologies (March 2017) we discussed the existing data sources on Mediterranean Sea migration and provided an analysis of key patterns and trends. We found that Search and Rescue (SAR) has little or no effect on the number of arrivals, and it is rather the absence of SAR that leads to more deaths. These results, which are in line with other research, were covered by various European media outlets and also resulted in a peer reviewed publication in Sociology (also available as a free preprint).

      These findings covered the period until December 2016. Since then, however, the context of European border policy has changed considerably:

      Through a mix of political pressure, financial incentives and military assistance, the EU has tried to induce transit countries in the Sahel to close their borders to Europe-bound migrants. According to European parliament president Tajani, this resulted in a 95% drop in crossings through Niger, a key transition point for migrants on the way to Libya, although it cannot be excluded that migrants are taking different, more dangerous routes in order to reach Northern African countries (either via Niger or through Algeria).
      From the beginning of 2017 onwards, the Italian government backed by the EU has increasingly cooperated with Libyan authorities to block depatures in exchange for financial and logistical support. The UN-backed government in Libya in turn, has allegedly forged deals with a number of militias.
      Increased European support for the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG), resulting in an increase in interceptions and the declaration of a Libyan SAR zone.
      Increasing legal and political attacks on NGOs engaged in SAR have culminated in Italy’s decision to declare its ports to be “closed” to NGO vessels and (temporarily) to EU rescue ships in June 2018.

      Each of these developments can be seen as part of a broader strategy to close the European borders by externalizing border control to third countries, a practice that was tried earlier with Turkey, and to relax commitments enshrined in international law, such as search and rescue at sea and non refoulement.

      In view of these recent developments, we document estimated trends in arrivals, deaths, mortality rates and rescue activities covering the most recent period, between January 2016 and July 2018. In doing so, we strongly rely on detailed statistical analyses conducted by the Italian research institute ISPI. Our analyses are based on publicly available data from the IOM and the UNHCR for arrivals and interceptions, and IOM’s Missing Migrants Project for deaths. It is important to note that recorded deaths are a lower bound estimate of the actual death toll, because some deaths are likely to remain unreported. We provide an extensive discussion of data sources, data quality and challenges for their interpretation in our academic article on the issue. Since most of the above developments relate to the situation in Libya, we focus on migrants departing from that country. Libya is also the only Northern African country where interceptions at sea by the Coast Guard are independently monitored by both IOM and UNHCR personnel at disembarkation points.

      Although each of these individual developments have been reported elsewhere, together they paint a picture of Europe’s resolve to close its external borders and deter irregular migration, regardless of the (human) cost.

      Trend #1: A sharp drop in departures

      Figure 1 plots trends in the number of migrants departing irregularly from Libya by sea since January 2016. Until mid-2017, migrant departures show a remarkably regular seasonal pattern, with around 20,000 departures during the summer months. As of July 2017, however, the number of arrivals dropped dramatically, and it has stayed at comparatively low levels up to the present. The decrease in arrivals occurred after alleged ’deals’ between Libyan authorities and the militias in Western Libya that control the smuggling networks, and a few months after the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Italy and Libya. Convergent diplomatic action induced some militias to switch from smuggling to preventing departures. Other factors, such as the activity of the LCG, private and public SAR providers, or dynamics in the rate of dead and missing along the route, are relevant per se but appear to play no significant role in the decrease in arrivals to Europe. Europe’s efforts to block migrants passing though transit countries may have played a role as well, but evidence is still too sparse to be reliably assessed.

      Trend #2: An increased risk of interception by the Libyan Coast Guard

      The Libyan Coast Guard plays a pivotal role in Europe’s strategy of externalizing migration control to third countries. A report by Human Rights Watch suggests that in recent months “the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (IMRCC) has routinized a practice, tested since at least May 2017, of transferring responsibility to Libyan coast guard forces in international waters even when there are other, better-equipped vessels, including its own patrol boats or Italian navy vessels, closer to the scene.” This practice has been termed ’refoulement by proxy’ because the LCG is financed, equipped and instructed by the Italian and European authorities, as described in this recent investigative report. Migrants who are forcibly returned to Libya are imprisoned in detention centres for indefinite periods, and they face systematic violence—including torture and rape—as has been documented in numerous reports.

      The new Italian government intensified and formalized the policy of transferring responsibility to the LCG. Since June, it has instructed ships undertaking rescues in the Libyan SAR zone to refer all emergency calls to the Libyan authorities, who will then arrange their interception and pull-back to Libya. The declarations that Italian ports are “closed” to NGO ships are also part of this strategy, as their operations are considered to interfere with LCG interceptions. In late July, this practice resulted in the first instance of a non-Libyan vessel, the Asso Ventotto, being instructed to coordinate with the Tripoli Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC). The ship ultimately disembarked the rescued persons on Libyan territory and thus effectively engaged in refoulement and collective expulsion of migrants.

      The practice of outsourcing European border control to the Libyan Coast Guard has brought about a sharp increase in its activity: by the end of July 2018, the LCG had intercepted 12,490 migrants at sea compared to 8,851 during the same period in the previous year, which amounts to a 41% increase. In combination with the drop in departures, this policy has resulted in a rapid increase in the risk of interception. To illustrate this fact, in July 2017 just 6% of migrants leaving Libya by sea ended up being caught and brought back, while almost 94% made it to Europe. In July 2018, instead, 71% of migrants leaving Libya’s shores were intercepted and brought back, while just 24% arrived safely in a European country (see Figure 2).

      Trend #3: An increase in the absolute and relative mortality rate between mid-June and July 2018

      In this section, we look at trends in absolute mortality (the number of dead and missing people at sea) and relative mortality (the risk of crossing) of migrants departing from Libya. In particular, we analyse the widely reported spike in deaths that occurred in late June 2018, after virtually all SAR NGOs had been prevented from operating as a result of policies introduced by the new Italian Minister of Interior Salvini from the far-right Lega and the continued denial by the Maltese authorities to offer Valetta as a port of entry. On June 10, Italy unilaterally decided to declare its ports to be “closed” to NGO rescue ships, as well as (temporarily) to commercial and EU vessels carrying rescued migrants. Also Malta tightened its position on rescue activities and cracked down on two SAR NGOs in early July. Since then, rescue operations close to the Libyan coast have been almost entirely delegated to the LCG.

      First, we look at trends in the absolute mortality rate. Figure 3 shows a reduction in the monthly number of deaths since July 2017, commensurate with the reduction in the number of departures described above. For example, 20 deaths were recorded in April 2018, and 11 in May (Figure 3). In June, however, an estimated 451 migrants died on their way from Libya to Europe—of which 370 between 16 and 30 June. It is important to note that these deaths occurred during a time when departures were comparatively low. As a result, the risk of crossing has increased from 2.8% in the previous months to a staggering 7% since mid-June 2018 (Figure 4). These findings are also robust to using different time frames for the pre-NGO absence period, including the entire period since the drop of arrivals in July 2017 until the NGO ban. Whereas relative mortality has fluctuated in recent years, 7% constitute an extraordinary spike.

      Figure 5 maps shipwreck events occurring between 16 June and 31 July 2018 with at least estimated 15 dead or missing persons, using geocoded data provided by IOM’s Missing Migrants Project. While the precise location of each shipwreck is only an estimate, as “precise locations are not often known” (as explained in the “Methodology” section of the Missing Migrants Project), such estimates do provide an indication of where such shipwrecks have taken place. In particular, IOM data shows that shipwrecks between 16 June and 31 July took place well within 50 nautical miles from Libya’s shores, an area which used to be patrolled by either the LCG or NGO vessels. Yet, during the time when deaths spiked, only two NGO vessels had been operating, and only discontinuously.

      These observations are reminiscent of what happened in 2015, when the withdrawal of competent SAR providers (the Italian mission Mare Nostrum) similarly created the conditions for avoidable loss of life. Although these findings are based on a relatively short time period, they are suggestive of the risk of leaving the Libyan SAR zone to the operations of the LCG alone. Continuous monitoring of the situation remains of utmost importance.

      Conclusion

      In combination, the three trends described above highlight the harsh realities of recent European migration policies, which seek to limit irregular migration regardless of the moral, legal and humanitarian consequences. The current European obsession with reducing migration at all costs is even less comprehensible when considering that arrivals decreased drastically prior to the most recent escalation of rhetoric and externalization of migration control. Arrivals to Italy in the first half of 2018 were down by 79% compared to the same time frame in 2017. Although increasingly inhumane policies are often cloaked in a rhetoric about reducing deaths at sea, it is important to remember that those who are prevented from crossing or forcibly returned are generally not safe but remain subject to precarious and often lethal conditions in countries of transit. Rather than providing a sustainable response to the complex challenges involved in irregular migration, Europe has outsourced the management of its migration ’problem’ to countries like Libya and Niger, where violence and death often remains hidden from the public view.

      https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/research-subject-groups/centre-criminology/centreborder-criminologies/blog/2018/09/outsourcing

    • Arrivées en Europe via la Méditerranée :
      2018 :
      https://seenthis.net/messages/705781
      Arrivées en Europe toute frontière confondue :
      https://seenthis.net/messages/739902
      –-> attention, c’est les « crossings »... rappelez-vous de la question des doubles/triples contages des passages :
      https://seenthis.net/messages/705957

      Pour #2016 #2017 et #2018, chiffres de Matteo Villa :
      https://seenthis.net/messages/768142
      database : https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ncHxOHIx4ptt4YFXgGi9TIbwd53HaR3oFbrfBm67ak4/edit#gid=0
      #base_de_données #database

    • Arrivées par la #Méditerranée en #2019 :
      Europe : plus de 21.000 migrants et réfugiés arrivés par la Méditerranée depuis janvier

      Selon l’Agence des Nations Unies pour les migrations (OIM ), les arrivées de migrants en Méditerranée ont dépassé le seuil des 21.000, ce qui constitue une baisse d’environ un tiers par rapport aux 32.070 arrivés au cours de la même période l’an dernier.

      Ce sont exactement 21.301 migrants et réfugiés qui sont entrés en Europe par voie maritime à la date du 29 mai. Les arrivées en Espagne et en Grèce représentent 85% du total des arrivées, le reste des migrants et réfugiés de cette année ont pris la direction de l’Italie, de Malte et de Chypre.

      La Grèce a désormais surpassé l’Espagne au titre de première destination des migrants et des réfugiés rejoignant l’Europe via la Méditerranée. Selon l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM), le nombre total d’arrivées par mer cette année est de 10.200 dont 2.483 arrivées signalées entre le 1er et le 29 mai dernier.

      Le Bureau de l’OIM en Grèce a indiqué mercredi dernier que les garde-côtes helléniques ont confirmé que pendant plus de 48 heures entre le 28 et le 29 mai, il y eu sept incidents nécessitant des opérations de recherche et sauvetage au large des îles de Lesbos, Leros, Samos, Symi Kos et le port d’Alexandroupolis. Ils ont ainsi sauvé 191 migrants qui ont été transférés par la suite dans les ports respectifs grecs.

      De plus, à la date du 30 avril, ce sont 3.497 migrants qui ont réussi à atteindre la Grèce via sa frontière terrestre avec la Turquie.
      519 décès de migrants, dont plus de la moitié sur la route de la Méditerranée centrale

      L’Espagne reste la deuxième porte d’entrée des réfugiés en Méditerranée, avec 7.876 arrivées dont 1.160 hommes, femmes et enfants pour le seul mois de mai. Sur la même période l’an dernier, Madrid a comptabilisé 8.150 migrants et réfugiés ayant réussi à franchir la route de la Méditerranée occidentale. En outre, plus de 2.100 ont atteint l’Espagne via sa frontière terrestre avec le Maroc.

      Par ailleurs, l’OIM rappelle que les arrivées ont considérablement baissé en Italie où seuls 1.561 migrants ont réussi à franchir les côtes siciliennes.

      Mais la route de la Méditerranée centrale (Italie et Malte) reste tout de même la plus meurtrière avec 321 décès, soit plus de la moitié du total de migrants et réfugiés ayant péri en tentant d’atteindre l’Europe. Les décès enregistrés sur les trois principales routes de la mer Méditerranée pendant près de cinq mois en 2019 s’élèvent à 519 personnes, soit un quart de moins que les 662 décès confirmés au cours de la même période en 2018.

      A cet égard, l’OIM rappelle que dans l’ouest de la Méditerranée, l’organisation non gouvernementale Alarme Phone a signalé qu’un jeune Camerounais avait disparu le 21 mai dernier. Selon les témoignages des huit survivants qui l’accompagnaient, il serait tombé en mer avant que leur navire ne soit intercepté par la marine marocaine. Son corps n’a pas été retrouvé.

      En Méditerranée centrale, des migrants interceptés et renvoyés en Libye le 23 mai ont également indiqué aux équipes de l’OIM que cinq hommes s’étaient noyés au cours de leur voyage. « Aucun autre détail concernant l’identité, le pays d’origine ou d’autres informations personnelles concernant les disparus n’est disponible », a souligné l’OIM dans une note à la presse.

      https://news.un.org/fr/story/2019/05/1044671