organization:german government

  • Feu sur la liberté d’expression en Europe
    dimanche 30 juin 2019 par Coordination nationale de l’UJFP

    Il aura fallu que Yossi Bartal, guide au musée juif de Berlin, démissionne pour qu’apparaissent toutes les manœuvres de l’État d’Israël, toutes ses compromissions aussi.

    La démission de Yossi Bartal(1) se produit huit jours après celle du Directeur du musée, Peter Schäfer (2).

    Peter Schäfer avait protesté avec 240 intellectuels juifs (dont Avraham Burg et Eva Illouz) pour s’opposer à une motion du Parlement allemand qui considérait le mouvement BDS comme antisémite. Il a été directement attaqué par l’ambassadeur d’Israël, Jeremy Issacharoff et Josef Schuster, directeur de l’équivalent du Crif allemand qui n’ont pas hésité à utiliser des « fake news » pour le salir.

    L’année dernière déjà le budget d’une exposition consacrée à Jérusalem, montrant aussi son versant palestinien a été divisé par 2 à la suite d’une intervention de Benjamin Netanyahou (qui réclamait l’annulation totale du budget). De son côté, Josef Schuster avait critiqué le fait que la majorité des employés du musée n’étaient pas juifs. Et les détracteurs de la liberté d’esprit du musée sont soutenus par l’ALD, le parti d’extrême droite…

    Un panier de crabe insoupçonné que nous révèle son (ex) guide. (...)

    (1) Opinion Why I Resigned From Berlin’s Jewish Museum
    Yossi Bartal - Jun 22, 2019 9:39 AM

    Last Monday, after guiding hundreds of different tour groups from Germany and around the world to various exhibitions, I submitted my resignation as a guide at the Jewish Museum of Berlin in protest against the crass political intervention by the German government and the State of Israel in the work of the museum.

    The shameful firing of Peter Schäfer, among the most important scholars of Judaism in the world, in the wake of an aggressive campaign of “fake news” conducted by the Israeli Ambassador to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff, and Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, made it clear that the German government is not interested any more in guarding the artistic and academic autonomy of the museum. And I am not interested in working for an institution that relinquishes its independence to serve the political interests of this or that state.

    From the beginning, working as a Jewish guide at a Jewish museum where most of the staff and visitors are not Jews presented personal, political and pedagogical challenges. Thus questions of representation of the other and of speaking in their name have accompanied the work of the museum since its opening in 2003.

    Is it appropriate for a German state museum to be called a Jewish museum at all, or must it be under the complete control of the official Jewish community (that itself only represents part of German Jewry)? Is a Jewish museum, in the absence of a similar institution addressing the Muslim community or other minority groups, responsible for providing space for the perspectives of children of migrants in Germany, many of whom live in neighborhoods nearby, and for conducting Jewish-Muslim dialogue?

    Should the museum function as a forum in which various opinions in the Jewish world can be heard, those touching on Israel as well? The answer of the head of the Jewish community, the Israeli ambassador and right-wing journalists, who for years have been running a toxic and untruthful campaign against museum staff, is an absolute no.

    Thus a significant portion of the criticism of the museum suggests, or even declares openly, that the very fact that many of the staff members of the museum are not Jews negates their right to social activism that is not in keeping with the political preferences of the Jewish community’s representatives. This discourse reached the point of absurdity when Schuster, the leader of a community in which many members are not considered Jewish according to halakha, negated the museum’s right to call itself Jewish.

    But we should not be confused by the legitimate criticism over the lack of Jewish representation in leading positions in Germany, because this criticism is raised only when non-Jews dare, even in the most sensitive way, to criticize policies of the Israeli government, or to come out against anti-Muslim racism. Proof of this may be seen in the Jewish community’s support for the 10 officials who have been nominated to fight anti-Semitism in the country: All 10 are non-Jews, and all 10 support the position that strong criticism of the occupation and of Israel’s religiously discriminatory character should be seen as an expression of anti-Semitism.

    Not surprisingly, the extreme right-wing “Alternative for Germany” is the party that, by way of parliamentary questions, has been leading the campaign against the museum for the last year, as reported sympathetically by the house newspaper of Benjamin Netanyahu. Despite the Israeli Embassy’s contention that it is not in contact with members of the party, its opposition to museum activities is based on a fervent rejection of democratic discourse, and its absolute conflation of the interests of the Israeli government with those of world Jewry. Already in the past year, as part of an exhibition on Jerusalem and its significance to three religions, the museum was forced to cancel a lecture on the status of LGBTQ Palestinians in East Jerusalem because the Israeli ambassador suspected that the speaker, God help us, supports BDS.

    Accusations of anti-Semitism, which carry enormous weight in Germany, lead more and more to censorship and self-censorship. Cultural institutions in Germany, which are supposed to provide a stage for critical positions, are threatened financially and politically if they even dare to host artists and musicians who at any time expressed support for non-violent resistance to the Israeli occupation. This policy of fear-mongering that Miri Regev leads in Israel is imported by supporters of Israel to Germany. Only in Germany, because of its great sensitivity to anti-Semitism and deep identification with Israel in the wake of the Shoah, are there politicians not only on the right but on the left as well who vehemently endorse the silencing of criticism of Israel.

    The extreme right’s ascendance to power in places across the globe is based in great part on the constriction of democratic space and the intimidation and sanctioning of anyone who dares to oppose suppressive nationalist policies. The efforts of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs and the Foreign Ministry, in cooperation with Jewish and right-wing organizations around the world, to defame and slander anyone who refuses to join their campaign of incitement against human rights activists, has now led to the firing of an esteemed scholar, strictly because he chose to defend the rights of Israeli academics to oppose the designation of the BDS movement as an anti-Semitic movement.

    Against this paranoid impulse toward purges, which to a great extent recalls the years of McCarthyism in the United States, one must take a clear public stance. If the firing of Peter Schäfer has a moral, it is that no matter how much approbation a person has received for his opposition to anti-Semitism and support for Israel, opposition to Netanyahu’s anti-democratic policies is enough to turn him into an enemy of the people and the nation.

    If the German and Israeli governments are interested in the Jewish Museum representing only their narrow political interests and denying its staff members freedom of expression, I am not interested in having a part in it. So despite my deep respect for the museum’s staff, I proffered my resignation. I and many other Jews of my generation do not want or need a kashrut certificate from the State of Israel or the heads of the institutional Jewish community, nor, certainly, from the German government. Judaism, as a pluralistic and democratic world culture, will continue to exist after the racist, ultra-nationalist politics that has taken over many communal institutions passes from the world.

    The writer has lived in Berlin for 13 years and works as a tour guide.


  • Le directeur du musée juif de Berlin démissionne après une polémique sur l’antisémitisme
    Mis à jour le 15/06/2019

    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.


    • 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

      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.”

  • Israeli gov’t is trying to defund +972 Magazine, report says
    Published December 7, 2018

    Israel asked the German government to pressure two left-leaning political foundations to stop funding +972 Magazine, according to a report in the German media Thursday. +972 was able to independently verify the report.

    The total contributions from the two foundations, Heinrich Böll Stiftung and Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, comprise only 9 percent of +972’s overall 2018 budget as of September. In the past two years, 40 percent of our budget has come from the support of our readers.

    Both foundations have pledged to continue supporting +972 despite the political pressure. (...)

  • The Administrative Arrangement between Greece and Germany

    The Administrative Arrangement between Ministry of migration Policy of the Hellenic Republic and the Federal Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Germany has been implemented already to four known cases. It has been the product of bilateral negotiations that occurred after German Chancellor Merkel faced another political crisis at home regarding the handling of the refugee issue.

    The document which has been the product of undisclosed negotiations and has not been made public upon its conclusion is a brief description of the cooperation of Greek and German authorities in cases of refusal of entry to persons seeking protection in the context of temporary checks at the internal German-Austrian border, as defined in its title. It essentially is a fast track implementation of return procedures in cases for which Dublin Regulation already lays down specific rules and procedures. The procedures provided in the ‘Arrangement’ skip all legal safeguards and guarantees of European Legislation.

    RSA and PRO ASYL have decided to publicize the document of the Arrangement for the purpose of serving public interest and transparency. The considerable secrecy that the two member states kept on a document of such importance is a scandal itself. There are two first underlying observations which incur/ result from studying the document. First, the Arrangement has the same institutional (or by institutional) features with the EU-Turkey deal, it is the product of negotiations which intend to regulate EU policy procedures without having been the product of an EU level institutional procedure. It circumvents European law (the Dublin regulation) in order to serve the interests of a group of particular member states. As a result its status within the legal apparatus of the EU and international law is obscure.

    Secondly, the ‘Arrangement’ introduces a grey zone (intentionally if not geographically) where a bilateral deal between two countries gains supremacy over European (Dublin regulation) and international legislation (Geneva convention). It is therefore an important document that should be critically and at length studied by all scholars and experts active in the field of refugee protection as it deprives asylum seekers of their rights and is a clear violation of EU law.

    Last but not least as Article 15-ii of the ‘Arrangement’ notes “This Administrative Arrangement will also discontinue upon entry into force of the revised Common European Asylum System”. Still as everyone in Brussels already admits the CEAS reform has been declared dead. So if nothing occurs to reconstitute the defunct CEAS policy and the arrangement remains as the only channel/form of cooperation between Greece and Germany in order to establish responsibility for asylum seekers arriving in Germany after coming through Greece, then could Greece and Germany, in their irregular bilateral efforts to circumvent the European process, have actually produced one of the first post EU legal arrangements?

    #accord #Allemagne #Grèce #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Dublin #Règlement_Dublin #renvois #expulsions #accord_bilatéral #regroupement_familial #liaison_officers #officiers_de_liaison #Eurodac #refus_d'entrée #renvois #expulsions #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #Autriche #réadmission #avion #vol

    ping @isskein

    • Germany – Magdeburg Court suspends return of beneficiary of international protection to Greece

      On 13 November 2018, the Administrative Court of Magdeburg granted an interim measure ordering the suspensive effect of the appeal against a deportation order of an international protection beneficiary to Greece.

      The case concerned a Syrian national who applied for international protection in Germany. The Federal Office of Migration and Refugees (BAMF) rejected the application based on the fact that the applicant had already been granted international protection in Greece and ordered his deportation there.

      The Administrative Court held that there were serious doubts regarding the conformity of the BAMF’s conclusion that there were no obstacles to the deportation of the applicant to Greece with national law, which provides that a foreign national cannot be deported if such deportation would be in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The Court found that there are substantial grounds to believe that the applicant would face a real risk of inhuman and degrading treatment within the meaning of Article 3 ECHR if returned to Greece.

      The Court based this conclusion, inter alia, on the recent reports highlighting that international protection beneficiaries in Greece had no practical access to accommodation, food distribution and sanitary facilities for extended periods of time after arrival. The Court further observed that access of international protection beneficiaries to education, health care, employment, accommodation and social benefits under the same conditions as Greek nationals is provided in domestic law but is not enforced. Consequently, the ensuing living conditions could not be considered adequate for the purposes of Article 3 ECHR.

      Finally, the Court found that the risk of destitution after return could be excluded in cases where individual assurances are given by the receiving authorities, clarifying, however, that any such guarantees should be specific to the individual concerned. In this respect, guarantees given by the Greek authorities that generally refer to the transposition of the Qualification Directive into Greek law, as a proof that recognised refugees enjoy the respective rights, could not be considered sufficient.

    • Germany Rejects 75% of Greek Requests for Family Reunification

      In 2019, the German Federal Office for Asylum and Migration (BAMF) rejected three quarters of requests for family reunification under the Dublin III regulation from Greece. The high rejection rate draws criticism from NGOs and MPs who say the BAMF imposes exceedingly harsh requirements.

      The government’s response to a parliamentary question by the German left party, Die Linke, revealed that from January until May 2019 the BAMF rejected 472 of 626 requests from Greece. Under the Dublin III Regulation, an EU Member State can file a “take-charge request” to ask another EU member state to process an asylum application, if the person concerned has family there. Data from the Greek Asylum Service shows that in 2018 less than 40% of “take-charge requests” were accepted, a stark proportional decrease from 2017, when over 90% of requests were accepted. The German government did not provide any reasons for the high rejection rate.

      Gökay Akbulut, an MP from Die Linke, noted that often family reunification failed because the BAMF imposes exceedingly strict requirements that have no basis in the regulation. At the same time people affected have limited access to legal advice needed to appeal illegitimate rejections of their requests. For people enduring inhuman conditions on Greek Islands family reunifications were often the last resort from misery, Akbulut commented.

      In 2018, 70% of all Dublin requests from Greece to other EU Member states related to family reunification cases. Germany has been the major country of destination for these request. An estimate of over 15,000 live in refugee camps on Greek islands with a capacity of 9000.

  • L’#Algérie se dit prête à accueillir tous ses ressortissants présents illégalement en #Allemagne

    Les deux pays, liés par un accord de réadmission, ont réaffirmé leur « entente » sur le dossier migratoire lors de la visite d’Angela Merkel à Alger.

    #accord_de_réadmission #accord_bilatéral #renvois #expulsions

    • Reçu via la mailing-list Migreurop:

      Merkel’s government wants to classify Algeria like Tunisia and Morocco as safe countries of origin in terms of asylum law. Rejected asylum seekers could be deported more quickly. But commentators also have doubts about reports of torture and unfair trials. Whether the Chancellor will receive promises from Bouteflika and his Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia could be seen as reassuring. SPD and Greens are sceptical; this Friday the plans of the federal government on safe countries of origin will be discussed in the Bundesrat.

      Source : ZDF :

      According to a report, the number of deportations to Algeria has increased significantly in recent years. In 2015 only 57 people from Germany were brought into the country, in 2017 then 504, reported the “Rheinische Post” on Monday with reference to figures of the Federal Ministry of the Interior. In the current year, the trend has continued: by July, about 350 people had already been deported to Algeria.
      Only a few asylum seekers from Algeria are recognized in Germany. Last year, the rate was two percent.

      Source : FAZ :

      Algeria will welcome back all its nationals in an irregular situation in Germany, regardless of their number, Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia assured on Monday 17 September, at the occasion of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s official visit.
      "I confirm that Algeria will take its children back, whether they are 3,000 or 5,000, provided that they can “identify” their nationality, Mr. Ouyahia said at a joint press conference in Algiers with Ms. Merkel.

      According to the Algerian Prime Minister, his country “is itself taking action against illegal migrants [and] can only agree with the German government on this subject”. Ahmed Ouyahia also recalled that Algiers and Berlin have been bound by a readmission agreement since 1997.
      “Algeria fights for the rest of the international community” by preventing “annually 20,000 to 30,000 people from illegally entering[its territory] and often from Algeria to continue their way” to Europe, he said.

      Source : Le Monde :

  • Why is Saudi Arabia Restricting German Business in the Kingdom? | Al Bawaba

    By Eleanor Beevor

    Over the past week, business analysts have balked at the news that Saudi Arabia appears to have imposed a boycott on German businesses wishing to strike deals with the Saudi state. Though the “boycott” is not enshrined in policy yet, multiple reports have quoted both German and Saudi sources confirming an impasse.

    And until there is confirmation otherwise, rumours of the boycott should be taken seriously. It appears that attempts to divest state projects away from German companies have been in the making for a while – infrastructure projects that seemed likely to go to German firms have changed hands in the last few weeks. Dr. Courtney Freer, a Research Officer at the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics told Al Bawaba:

    Boycott mulled for months

    “I do think that Riyadh will follow through on blocking German businesses, at least from government tenders. This decision has likely been mulled over for months, as diplomatic ties between the two have gotten worse. I imagine this measure will primarily hurt large German companies active in the kingdom like Siemens, Bayer, and potentially Daimler; these companies’ employees will also of course be affected as well inside the kingdom.”

    What is striking is how narrow the grievances are that reportedly sparked the boycott. Der Spiegel quoted German business owner Detlef Daues, 65% of whose business revenues come from Saudi Arabia, as saying that Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has been “deeply offended” by German government statements and policy of late. Specifically, Prince Mohammed is still apparently upset by a remark six months ago by the then-German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.


    File photo taken April 10, 2018, shows Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman posing upon his arrival at the 
    Elysee Presidential palace for a meeting with French President in Paris. (AFP File Photo/Ludovic Marin)

  • Iran’s Zarif forced to ask German military for help to refuel his official jet - The National

    Munich airport authorities told Mr Zarif’s department he could either fly in with a sufficient reserve of fuel for his trip to Munich, in the southern state of Bavaria, or fly to the nearby Austrian capital of Vienna, where the suppliers did not take the same precautionary view.

    Suddeutsche Zeitung said Mr Zarif had planned to travel to Moscow after leaving the security conference

    Iranian officials rejected the choices and instead requested the conference organiser, Wolfgang Ischinger, who was previously Germany’s ambassador to the US, lobby the German government to assist their plans. Germany’s defence ministry agreed to take over the refuelling a day before Mr Zarif’s arrival.

    In a robust address to the conference, Mr McMaster decried the European rush to invest in Iran following the 2015 accord that eased sanctions over its nuclear programme.

    “Now is also the time to address serious flaws in the Iran deal and counter Iran’s destabilising activities, including its development and proliferation of missiles—and its support for terrorist proxies and militias that fuel destructive conflicts across the greater Middle East,” the US national security adviser said. “The Iranian regime foments this violence with support from commercial entities affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or IRGC—including Mahan Air, which lands right here in Munich Airport.”

    In addition to citing Mahan Air, a subsidiary of the state airline, Mr McMaster went on to say that corporations dealing with Iran “might as well cut the IRGC a cheque” to fund its killing activities in the Middle East.

    #Europe #comparses #Etats-Unis

  • Gambian migrants’ choice: bury the straggler alive or be killed

    Water was running low as the convoy drove through the desert into Libya, so Khadim was given a terrible choice: bury a sickly fellow migrant alive, or be killed by their smugglers.

    “They told us to bury him in the sand,” said Khadim, 29. “They started waving their guns. ‘If you refuse, you’re dead.’ We started digging and digging. As we buried him he said, ‘I’m not dead yet, why are you doing this to me?’ ”

    Khadim is one of about 2,600 migrants repatriated to the Gambia from Libya on flights paid for by European countries trying to stem crossings of the Mediterranean. The vast majority of those coming home are young men, who arrive at Banjul airport with at most a few belongings in a plastic bag, sometimes after spending years in Libyan detention centres.

    They are the among the first to be sent back since footage emerged in November of migrants being sold at slave markets in Libya. African and EU leaders agreed an emergency plan shortly afterwards to repatriate thousands.

    Many tell stories of frequent beatings, or of fellow migrants dying from hunger or violence. Others described watching companions drown on sinking boats in the Mediterranean.

    Like many others, Khadim was betrayed by smugglers and drivers before he saw the sea. He was kidnapped for ransom, arrested and put in a detention centre before he could reach Tripoli.

    He is relieved to have landed back in Banjul, the Gambian capital. Not only is he alive but there are promises of money to help him make a fresh start.

    The UN’s migration agency, as part of an EU-funded plan, can support people to go to college, start a business or buy livestock. Other EU help offers grants to those aged 15 to 35, returning or potential migrants, to start businesses.

    It likely to be just the beginning. The International Organisation for Migration estimates that up to a million migrants remain in Libya. Since late 2015, the EU has spent more than €2 billion in African countries trying to create jobs in the hope that people will stay.

    Those returning to the Gambia, where almost half of the two million population live below the poverty line, are provided with just enough cash to go home and live for a few weeks, after which they can apply for more help.

    Last week, a group of former Gambian migrants, with some funding from the German government, began touring the country to warn young people of the dangers of taking the “back way”, as the journey through the desert and across the Mediterranean is called.

    “Before we go we knew the risks involved, but we didn’t believe,” said Mustapha Sallah. “Most of the people that talked to us were government officials, activists who are living good. I was thinking they were just trying to discourage us.”

    With fellow Gambians who were incarcerated in Libyan detention centres, he has now started Youths Against Irregular Migration. As well as sharing their harrowing experiences, they try to persuade people to stop dreaming of Europe and make a living at home, through education, setting up in business, or agriculture.

    The Gambia’s nascent democracy, restored after the former dictator Yahya Jammeh was deposed last year, has prompted many to return from exile, as the fear of arbitrary arrest, detention and torture dissolved.

    The economy is growing at about 5 per cent but youth unemployment is about 44 per cent. Rising food prices mean many struggle. “The opportunities are not many and they’re not easy to get right now,” said Mr Sallah.

    Paul Jatta, 23, came home on a repatriation flight a few months ago and is trying to put the trauma behind him. Three times he tried and failed to cross to Italy in flimsy boats. On the last attempt he watched five people die as the vessel started to sink. “I seriously cried that day. Because I saw them drown but I couldn’t do anything to help,” he said.

    He said he had not received any support and was back doing what he used to, working in a computer repair shop and cleaning swimming pools in his spare time. He works up to 12 hours a day most days but earns less than £100 a month, and most of that goes to support his extended family.

    After spending his savings of more than £1,000 trying to reach Europe, he is now in a worse financial situation than he was two years ago, and has even less to lose. “I still want to go to Europe. I’m waiting for a miracle,” he said. “There are no opportunities here.”
    #retour_volontaire #Libye #asile #migrations #réfugiés #retour_au_pays #renvois #Gambie

    Possible/probable future #migrerrance:

    After spending his savings of more than £1,000 trying to reach Europe, he is now in a worse financial situation than he was two years ago, and has even less to lose. “I still want to go to Europe. I’m waiting for a miracle,” he said. “There are no opportunities here.”

  • Three months in hell

    Germany has become one of Facebook’s most important hubs for content moderation - also fueled by a controversial new law that requires social media companies to effectively remove hate speech and violence. In Berlin and Essen more than 1000 people work as Facebook Content Moderators, most of them employed by the outsourcing company Arvato, a subsidiary of Bertelsmann, one of Germany’s most powerful companies. Yet the work and the rules of content moderation is done in secrecy. In a year-long investigation, our reporters Hannes Grassegger and Till Krause spoke to dozens of current and former content moderators working for Facebook in Germany and have written several award-winning reports (»Inside Facebook«) that made the working conditions and deletion rules (»The secret rules of Facebook«) of Facebook public. Recently they have been contacted by Burcu Gültekin Punsmann, a former employee who, for the first time, gives a personal account of her work as a content moderator. We have slightly shortened and edited her piece for clarity.

    As a new comer to Berlin in July 2017, I found myself in a job in content moderation at Arvato. Curiosity has a been a main driver. I accepted the very unappealing job offer and entered into a world I haven’t suspected the existence of. I was recruited as an outsourced reviewer and became one of the thousands of Facebook Community Operations team members around the world working in some 40 languages. Berlin, draining well-educated multilingual cheap labor from all over the world, has recently developed, as I would learn, as new center for Facebook content moderation, as the German government toughened the legislation against hate speech.

    • The mental operations are evaluated as being too complex for algorithms. Nevertheless moderators are expected to act as a computer. The search for uniformity and standardization, together with the strict productivity metrics, lets not much space for human judgment and intuition. At the end of the ramp-up process, a moderator should handle approximately 1300 reports every day which let him/her in average only a few seconds to reach a decision for each report. The intellectually challenging task tends to become an automated action almost a reaction. Repetition triggers a sense of frustration and alienation. Reflection is not encouraged, the agent has very limited initiative, s/he can only collect examples to address policy loopholes.
      Talking about verbal violence, the agent quickly becomes an expert in slurs and ways of cursing. The vocabulary at use is indeed quite limited; I found some long post aiming at cursing at a person sometimes fascinating. Trying to differentiate cursing from sexual exploitation was another major source of difficulty. It had never occurred to me previously that the cursing vocabulary could be so sexually suggestive and gendered. Bullying is particularly widespread and a source of headache for the content moderator. It is not limited to teenagers. Seeing how cruel and pitiless one could be against another person profoundly disturbed me. Many post seemed to be only motivated by the intention to hurt. Many were expressions of pure sadism.

  • Germany’s populist AfD seeks to turn online ’censorship’ to its advantage

    Gauland calls new law ’Stasi tactics’

    A Tuesday press release from party chair Alexander Gauland was given a rather grand title: “Freedom of opinion came to an end in 2017.”

    Watch video05:01
    German MP under fire for anti-Muslim tweets – DW’s Michaela Küfner and Marina Strauss
    “The censorship law of [acting Justice Minister] Heiko Maas is already showing its negative effects on freedom on the first day of the new year,” Gauland said. “These Stasi tactics remind me of the GDR [former East Germany]. I call on every single social media user to resist this repression and to publish the deleted comments over and over again!”

    But the AfD’s efforts to draw attention were most pronounced on social media itself, an effective channel of communication for the party. Parliamentary group leader Alice Weidel and her deputy, Beatrix von Storch, are both facing investigation by law enforcement authorities in Cologne on the basis of suspected incitement of racial hatred online. The party shared this news with photos of the two politicians, with gags photo-shopped onto their mouths, and linked it to the German government’s recent comments about protests in Iran.

  • Germany considers law change to allow police to spy on potential terrorists and criminals through car and house alarms

    Interior minister expects to discuss proposal next week in attempt to improve surveillance capabilities The German government is considering legal changes that would oblige operators of car and house alarm systems to help police and security services in their efforts to spy on potential terrorists or criminals, a spokesman for the interior ministry said. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, a conservative, plans to discuss the issue with officials in a bid to remove what he sees as (...)

    #voiture #domotique #surveillance #InternetOfThings

  • German government wants backdoors for spying added to cars, computers, IoT devices

    The German government proposed an Orwellian nightmare : Backdoors for spying added to cars, computers, IoT devices. Germany is sliding closer to “an Orwellian nightmare” in which companies responsible for tech connected to the internet — even cars — legally would be required to build in backdoors “to allow for secret surveillance” of citizens inside their homes and vehicles. If the country’s Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has his way, then German security agencies and law enforcement would (...)

    #backdoor #surveillance #InternetOfThings

  • Germany election: U.S. right-wing voices meddling more than Russia

    An alliance of mostly anonymous online trolls and extremist agitators are meddling in Germany’s election, but researchers say Russians aren’t to blame.

    Instead, they say, right-wing groups in the United States are behind materials popping up on YouTube, messaging board sites like 4chan and reddit and texting service

    The evidence comes less than a week before Sunday’s vote that is likely to hand German Chancellor Angela Merkel a fourth term. 

    So far we have not been able to track down any specific Russian activity,” said Simon Hegelich, a professor of political science data at the Technical University of Munich who has advised the German government about the threat of hacking and false information. 

    Hegelich said proving connections among sympathizers is difficult and may never be conclusive. 

    But an analysis of 300 million tweets over the past six months by Hegelich and researchers at the Technical University of Munich shows Germany is a hotspot for posts that use the hashtag #AltRight.
    One example: Gaycken said for the past two months, new and existing Facebook users in Germany who search for political discussion groups have been automatically given recommendations that prioritize right-wing parties such as AfD, expected to enter the country’s national parliament for the first time after Sunday’s vote.

    It’s really strange because Facebook says this should be impossible because you are only supposed to get recommendations based on your own ’friends,’ ’groups’ and ’likes.’ But everyone in Germany is getting these right-wing party recommendations,” he said. “Even left-wing journalists.

    Facebook said in a statement it was aware of the issue reported in Germany and that it was related to its “Groups Discover” feature. Facebook has now temporarily turned off the category “news and politics” in the “Discover” tab while it investigates the matter.

  • Project MUSE - Resurrecting Thomas Wolfe

    Die Schilderung, welche Thomas Wolfe von seiner Abreise aus Berlin im März 1937 in The New Republic veröffentlichte, ist so heutig wie herzzerreissend. Sie könnte sich heute, achtzig Jahre später, in Ankara oder Istambul zutragen, mit dem kleinen aber bedeutsamen Unterschied, dass ihre Botschaft nicht mehr im Rhythmus der Schienenstöße während eines langen Tages reifen dürfte, sondern als Explosion den Lärm der Jet-Triebwerke übertönen und Protagonisten wie Leser ohne Bedenkzeit zu sofortigen Entscheidungen zwingen würde. Was für eine Überforderung.

    When Thomas Wolfe died of tubercular meningitis on September 15, 1938, his literary reputation was equal in the United States to that of Faulkner, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald. In the sixty plus years since, his artistic reputation has been all but destroyed. With the exception of his first novel, Look Homeward, Angel, he is read less and less often, and the academics who design anthologies and teach influential college courses routinely dismiss his work. So on the 100th anniversary of his birth, we are compelled to ask, Who killed Thomas Wolfe?

    Thomas Wolfe – Wikipedia

    In dem expressionistischen Dichter Hans Schiebelhuth fand er für seine ersten beiden Romane einen kongenialen Übersetzer, der dazu beitrug, dass Wolfe sich zeitweise in Deutschland höher geschätzt fühlte als in seiner Heimat. In Amerika gehörte William Faulkner, in Deutschland Hermann Hesse zu seinen Bewunderern. Er starb 1938 an Gehirntuberkulose und wurde in seiner Heimatstadt Asheville, die er als Altamont unsterblich gemacht hatte, im Familiengrab beigesetzt. Geweb und Fels und Es führt kein Weg zurück wurden postum aus den hinterlassenen Manuskriptmassen zusammengestellt.

    Wolfe spent much time in Europe and was especially popular and at ease in Germany, where he made many friends. However, in 1936 he witnessed incidents of discrimination against Jews, which upset him and changed his mind about the political developments in the country. He returned to America and published a story based on his observations ("I Have a Thing to Tell You") in The New Republic. Following its publication, Wolfe’s books were banned by the German government, and he was prohibited from traveling there.

    Thomas Wolfe: I Have a Thing to Tell You: II | New Republic

    Look Homeward, Angel. A Story of the Buried Life.
    Wolfe, Thomas, 1929

    Thomas WOLFE (1900-1938)
    Look Homeward, Angel (1929)—Text—ZIP—HTML
    Of Time and The River (1935)—Text—ZIP—HTML
    You Can’t go Home Again—Text—ZIP—HTML

    #Deutschand #Berlin #Geschichte #Nazis #Rassegesetze #Juden #Literatur #Bahnhof_Zoo #Kurfürstendamm #Charlottenburg

  • Allemagne : 12,5 millions de personnes sous le seuil de pauvreté, un record.

    Par Jean-michel Gradt – La pauvreté a progressé de 15 % en 2013 pour toucher 12,5 millions de personnes, un record, indique l’étude publiée par la fédération d’aide sociale Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband.

    #Allemagne #pauvreté #inégalités

    Je ne vois pas la date de publication (dans l’URL on voit 14 avril 2017), mais je mets sur seenthis pour archivage

    • Allemagne : pauvres en pays riche

      L’Allemagne est présentée comme un modèle à suivre et la campagne électorale d’Angela Merkel s’appuie surtout sur une réussite chiffrée. Mais, pour beaucoup d’Allemands, la réalité est tout autre. Un Allemand sur cinq est en situation de précarité. à Berlin, un enfant sur trois est considéré comme « pauvre ». Et 20% des actifs sont condamnés à des emplois mal payés.
      #documentaire #film #working_poor #travailleur_pauvre #retraite #retraités #mère_célibataire #sous-traitance #travail #exclusion #mort_sociale (c’est le mot utilisé par une mère de 3 enfants qui se retrouve à l’aide sociale) #exclusion #aide_sociale #flexibilisation_du_marché_du_travail #précarisation #précarité #exclusion #fracture_sociale #survie

    • Welcome to Poor Germany

      How the Merkel government is risking Germany’s future by underinvestment and other ill-applied policy approaches.

      “Poor Germany?“ Really? Is that not a crass overstatement? Isn’t Germany the powerhouse of Europe, boosting a huge export surplus, historical low unemployment and shrinking government debt? Yes, it is.

      But this view is superficial and overlooks what is happening behind the shiny facade of a booming economy. The country is wasting its future by consuming too much and not investing in the future. To blame are the various governments led by Angela Merkel.

      In their sum total, the individual causes of this under- and malinvestment, as detailed below, explain much of the sense of profound frustration that voters feel with Germany’s major political parties. They explain a widening sense of national malaise that extends far beyond the oft-cited issue of migration.
      The fetish of the “black zero”

      It all starts with the politics of the so-called “black zero” in government finances, which is nothing else than the commitment to a permanent budget surplus for the government at the national level.

      Achieving this goal was quite easy over the last years. Thanks to ECB policy and the unresolved crisis of the Eurozone, interest rates on German government bonds fell below zero. Due to this effect alone, the German finance minister has saved 300 billion euros in interest expenses since 2009.

      In addition, the economic boom fueled by the low interest environment and the relatively weak euro reduced costs for unemployment support and led to record high tax revenues in Germany.

      Still, the “black zero” is an illusion created by politicians, notably former finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble, to boost their own image. A closer look reveals that the “black zero” comes at a high cost and, if one applies proper accounting, is even not true.
      Crumbling infrastructure

      Fixated on the goal of the budget surplus, the German government continued its practice of taking a very high share of the incomes of the average German citizen (Germany has the highest fiscal burden of all OECD countries behind Belgium). It also cut expenditures in certain areas, notably infrastructure spending.

      As a result, the public infrastructure of Germany is deteriorating. About 50% of Germany’s highway bridges were built between 1965 and 1975. They are in urgent need of replacement. In addition, 17.5% of all motorways need to be urgently reconstructed, as well as 34% of country roads.

      This casts a dark shadow over the long-held idea that Germany has world-class infrastructure. To be sure, the deteriorating quality of German infrastructure is hindering private investment and undermines the country’s future economic growth potential.

      To make up for the underinvestment of the past years, an immediate investment of more than 120 billion Euro is required. Long term, Germany would need to invest at least on the level of the OECD average of 3.2% of GDP, implying additional spending of 33 billion per year, or 1,000 billion over a period of 30 years.

      This one dimension of severe underinvestment alone demonstrates that the “black zero” is pure political fantasy. Instead of addressing these issues, the current government has announced it will reduce investments in the coming years even further.
      Lacking digitalization

      But it is not just country roads and highways that are falling apart. German schools suffer from chronic underinvestment in buildings, never mind the stunning lack of digitalization and tens of thousands of missing teachers. This is in spite of this shortfall having long been visible, given the impending retirement wave of public-school teachers.

      Only 2% of all German households have fast internet via fiber, compared to the 22.3% average in the OECD. In Spain, not as rich as Germany, more than 50% of households have access to fast internet. This not only hinders economic development, but gives German companies a clear-cut incentive for investing outside of Germany.

      The German military, the Bundeswehr, is suffering from outdated and non-functioning equipment. Many of its fighter jets, tanks and ships are not ready for combat. The soldiers do not even have adequate clothing for winter time.

      One would think that this would be a matter of embarrassment for the country’s politicians, but they remain rather nonchalant about it. Perhaps they see it as a politically convenient way to avoid being asked to support the West’s joint international missions.

      Fixing this shortfall will require another 130 billion euros just to get the German military working again. In the long run, the country will need to fulfil the NATO target of spending 2% of GDP on defence. This would imply a budget increase of roughly 26 billion euros per year, or 750 billion over a 30-year period.

      But despite paying lip service to these needs, the junior partner in the government, the SPD, remains opposed to making the required funds available.

      At the same time, the governments of Angela Merkel increased the spending on social welfare to a new record of nearly 1,000 billion euros per year. This is remarkable given that Germany currently experiences record low unemployment and a booming economy.
      Pushing savings abroad

      The obsession of German politicians with the “black zero” not only has significant negative implications for the economic outlook due to lacking investments, but also in light of global trade tensions. The export surplus notably is not only the result of a weak euro and hyper-competitive German industries, as is argued so often (falsely), but significantly also the result of insufficient spending and investment within Germany.

      The corporate sector, private households and the government itself are all net savers, pushing savings abroad and contributing to the significant trade surplus of more than 8% of GDP. A significant trade surplus and excess savings go hand in hand.

      Contrary to folklore, this surplus is not even in Germany’s own interest. For one, Germany’s track record of investing its savings abroad is downright bad. During the financial crisis, German banks, insurance companies and pension funds lost in the range of 400 to 600 billion euros. Today, a significant part of our savings ends up as non-interest bearing receivables of the Bundesbank as part of the ECB system (the so-called Target 2 balance).

      Overall, it is not a good idea, to be a creditor in a world awash with more and more debt. But Germany continues to disregard this fundamental insight, to its own detriment.

      The German government is also blind to the fact that the trade surplus leads to increasing frustration in other countries, not just in the case of U.S. President Donald Trump, but also in France and Italy. The risk of protectionist measures especially targeted against the automotive industry, which German government politicians are otherwise overly keen on protecting, is high.
      There is an alternative

      It would be much smarter if the German government would use the excess savings of the private sector to fund the urgently needed investments in the country. This would:

      • Offer the private sector a safe and attractive opportunity to save within Germany

      • Improve German infrastructure in all dimensions

      • Reduce the country’s trade surplus and therefore reduce the risk of protectionist measures

      • Reduce the exposure of German savers to doubtful creditors abroad.

      Obviously, it would be in everybody’s interest if Germany were to change its policies.

      via @wizo

  • The Ways to Destroy Democracy | The Nation

    There are more ways of destroying a democracy than sending troops into the streets, storming the radio stations, and arresting the politicians, as Adolf Hitler discovered after the failure of his beer-hall putsch in 1923. Ten years later, on January 30, 1933, when he was appointed head of the German government, Hitler was the leader of the country’s largest political party, the National Socialists. Even five years earlier, in May of 1928, he’d been a political nobody, with the Nazis gaining less than 3 percent of the vote in national elections. But in the elections held in July 1932, they won 37 percent of the vote—and six months later, Hitler was in power. He seemed to have come from nowhere.

  • Refugee Apprentice: Germany Offers Skills Training to Newcomers

    The German government hopes the influx of migrants will solve the country’s labor shortage. It has created a program to prepare refugees for the country’s apprenticeship system. But getting refugees trained and hired is proving difficult.
    #apprentissage #travail #Allemagne #réfugiés #asile #migrations

  • Italy and Germany step up measures to deter asylum seekers

    Those who thought Europe’s refugee “crisis” was over were reminded this week that tens of thousands of refugees remain stranded in Greece and the Balkans. Images of refugee tents shrouded in snow on the Greek islands have sparked outrage about the lack of adequate shelter, and scorn has been poured on the Greek government for keeping refugees in such miserable conditions. But others have pointed out that the real culprits are EU and member state policies that have closed borders and shrugged off responsibility for a more equitable distribution of the refugees arriving on Europe’s southern shores.
    #Allemagne #Italie #asile #migrations #réfugiés #politique_migratoire #Libye #externalisation #détention_administrative #rétention #expulsions #renvois

  • Vienna refugee conference reaffirms Europe’s closed-border policy - World Socialist Web Site

    Rien de neuf, mais la confirmation d’une attitude européenne désespérante pour ne pas dire obscène.


    Vienna refugee conference reaffirms Europe’s closed-border policy
    By Martin Kreikenbaum
    29 September 2016

    At the Vienna refugee conference, where 11 countries participated along with European Union (EU) representatives, a decision was adopted to completely seal off the so-called Balkan route so as to prevent, if possible, any refugees from coming to Europe. In addition, repatriation agreements along the lines of the dirty deal with Turkey are to be concluded with North African states, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    The representatives of the EU—Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Greece, Germany and Albania—who came to the meeting were implementing the decisions taken at the EU’s Bratislava summit on 16 September. There, the EU and German government abandoned all pretenses and fully exposed their inhumane refugee policies.

    #migrations #asile #frontières #europe #fermeture_des_frontières

  • Angela Merkel will soon have to ’deal with’ Jean-Claude Juncker, sources say
    ’The pressure for him to resign will only become greater’
    Will Worley | @willrworley | 4 juillet 2016

    Jean-Claude Juncker is becoming a problem Angela Merkel will soon have to “deal” with, according to sources within the German government.

    The President of the European Commission has faced criticism from a number of directions over his conduct following the outcome of Britain’s referendum on EU membership.

    A German minister told the Sunday Times that Chancellor Merkel had come to regard Mr Juncker as “part of the problem” with the EU.