• UK signs contract with US startup to identify migrants in small-boat crossings

    The UK government has turned a US-based startup specialized in artificial intelligence as part of its pledge to stop small-boat crossings. Experts have already pointed out the legal and logistical challenges of the plan.

    In a new effort to address the high number of Channel crossings, the UK Home Office is working with the US defense startup #Anduril, specialized in the use of artificial intelligence (AI).

    A surveillance tower has already been installed at Dover, and other technologies might be rolled out with the onset of warmer temperatures and renewed attempts by migrants to reach the UK. Some experts already point out the risks and practical loopholes involved in using AI to identify migrants.

    “This is obviously the next step of the illegal migration bill,” said Olivier Cahn, a researcher specialized in penal law.

    “The goal is to retrieve images that were taken at sea and use AI to show they entered UK territory illegally even if people vanish into thin air upon arrival in the UK.”

    The “illegal migration bill” was passed by the UK last month barring anyone from entering the country irregularly from filing an asylum claim and imposing a “legal duty” to remove them to a third country.
    Who is behind Anduril?

    Founded in 2017 by its CEO #Palmer_Luckey, Anduril is backed by #Peter_Thiel, a Silicon Valley investor and supporter of Donald Trump. The company has supplied autonomous surveillance technology to the US Department of Defense (DOD) to detect and track migrants trying to cross the US-Mexico border.

    In 2021, the UK Ministry of Defence awarded Anduril with a £3.8-million contract to trial an advanced base defence system. Anduril eventually opened a branch in London where it states its mission: “combining the latest in artificial intelligence with commercial-of-the-shelf sensor technology (EO, IR, Radar, Lidar, UGS, sUAS) to enhance national security through automated detection, identification and tracking of objects of interest.”

    According to Cahn, the advantage of Brexit is that the UK government is no longer required to submit to the General Data Protection Regulation (RGPDP), a component of data protection that also addresses the transfer of personal data outside the EU and EEA areas.

    “Even so, the UK has data protection laws of its own which the government cannot breach. Where will the servers with the incoming data be kept? What are the rights of appeal for UK citizens whose data is being processed by the servers?”, he asked.

    ’Smugglers will provide migrants with balaclavas for an extra 15 euros’

    Cahn also pointed out the technical difficulties of identifying migrants at sea. “The weather conditions are often not ideal, and many small-boat crossings happen at night. How will facial recognition technology operate in this context?”

    The ability of migrants and smugglers to adapt is yet another factor. “People are going to cover their faces, and anyone would think the smugglers will respond by providing migrants with balaclavas for an extra 15 euros.”

    If the UK has solicited the services of a US startup to detect and identify migrants, the reason may lie in AI’s principle of self-learning. “A machine accumulates data and recognizes what it has already seen. The US is a country with a significantly more racially and ethnically diverse population than the UK. Its artificial intelligence might contain data from populations which are more ethnically comparable to the populations that are crossing the Channel, like Somalia for example, thus facilitating the process of facial recognition.”

    For Cahn, it is not capturing the images which will be the most difficult but the legal challenges that will arise out of their usage. “People are going to be identified and there are going to be errors. If a file exists, there needs to be the possibility for individuals to appear before justice and have access to a judge.”

    A societal uproar

    In a research paper titled “Refugee protection in the artificial intelligence Era”, Chatham House notes “the most common ethical and legal challenges associated with the use of AI in asylum and related border and immigration systems involve issues of opacity and unpredictability, the potential for bias and unlawful discrimination, and how such factors affect the ability of individuals to obtain a remedy in the event of erroneous or unfair decisions.”

    For Cahn, the UK government’s usage of AI can only be used to justify and reinforce its hardline position against migrants. “For a government that doesn’t respect the Geneva Convention [whose core principle is non-refoulement, editor’s note] and which passed an illegal migration law, it is out of the question that migrants have entered the territory legally.”

    Identifying migrants crossing the Channel is not going to be the hardest part for the UK government. Cahn imagines a societal backlash with, “the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom being solicited, refugees seeking remedies to legal decisions through lawyers and associations attacking”.

    He added there would be due process concerning the storage of the data, with judges issuing disclosure orders. “There is going to be a whole series of questions which the government will have to elucidate. The rights of refugees are often used as a laboratory. If these technologies are ’successful’, they will soon be applied to the rest of the population."


    #UK #Angleterre #migrations #asile #réfugiés #militarisation_des_frontières #frontières #start-up #complexe_militaro-industriel #IA #intelligence_artificielle #surveillance #technologie #channel #Manche


    ajouté à la métaliste sur la Bibby Stockholm:

    • Huge barge set to house 500 asylum seekers arrives in the UK

      The #Bibby_Stockholm is being refitted in #Falmouth to increase its capacity from 222 to 506 people.

      A barge set to house 500 asylum seekers has arrived in the UK as the government struggles with efforts to move migrants out of hotels.

      The Independent understands that people will not be transferred onto the Bibby Stockholm until July, following refurbishment to increase its capacity and safety checks.

      The barge has been towed from its former berth in Italy to the port of Falmouth, in Cornwall.

      It will remain there while works are carried out, before being moved onto its final destination in #Portland, Dorset.

      The private operators of the port struck an agreement to host the barge with the Home Office without formal public consultation, angering the local council and residents.

      Conservative MP Richard Drax previously told The Independent legal action was still being considered to stop the government’s plans for what he labelled a “quasi-prison”.

      He accused ministers and Home Office officials of being “unable to answer” practical questions on how the barge will operate, such as how asylum seekers will be able to come and go safely through the port, what activities they will be provided with and how sufficient healthcare will be ensured.

      “The question is how do we cope?” Mr Drax said. “Every organisation has its own raft of questions: ‘Where’s the money coming from? Who’s going to do what if this all happens?’ There are not sufficient answers, which is very worrying.”

      The Independent previously revealed that asylum seekers will have less living space than an average parking bay on the Bibby Stockholm, which saw at least one person die and reports of rape and abuse on board when it was used by the Dutch government to detain migrants in the 2000s.

      An official brochure released by owner Bibby Marine shows there are only 222 “single en-suite bedrooms” on board, meaning that at least two people must be crammed into every cabin for the government to achieve its aim of holding 500 people.

      Dorset Council has said it still had “serious reservations about the appropriateness of Portland Port in this scenario and remains opposed to the proposals”.

      The Conservative police and crime commissioner for Dorset is demanding extra government funding for the local force to “meet the extra policing needs that this project will entail”.

      A multi-agency forum including representatives from national, regional and local public sector agencies has been looking at plans for the provision of health services, the safety and security of both asylum seekers and local residents and charity involvement.

      Portland Port said it had been working with the Home Office and local agencies to ensure the safe arrival and operation of the Bibby Stockholm, and to minimise its impact locally.

      The barge is part of a wider government push to move migrants out of hotels, which are currently housing more than 47,000 asylum seekers at a cost of £6m a day.

      But the use of ships as accommodation was previously ruled out on cost grounds by the Treasury, when Rishi Sunak was chancellor, and the government has not confirmed how much it will be spending on the scheme.

      Ministers have also identified several former military and government sites, including two defunct airbases and an empty prison, that they want to transform into asylum accommodation.

      But a court battle with Braintree District Council over former RAF Wethersfield is ongoing, and legal action has also been threatened over similar plans for RAF Scampton in Lancashire.

      Last month, a barrister representing home secretary Suella Braverman told the High Court that 56,000 people were expected to arrive on small boats in 2023 and that some could be made homeless if hotel places are not found.

      A record backlog of asylum applications, driven by the increase in Channel crossings and a collapse in Home Office decision-making, mean the government is having to provide accommodation for longer while claims are considered.

      #barge #bateau

    • ‘Performative cruelty’ : the hostile architecture of the UK government’s migrant barge

      The arrival of the Bibby Stockholm barge at Portland Port, in Dorset, on July 18 2023, marks a new low in the UK government’s hostile immigration environment. The vessel is set to accommodate over 500 asylum seekers. This, the Home Office argues, will benefit British taxpayers and local residents.

      The barge, however, was immediately rejected by the local population and Dorset council. Several British charities and church groups have condemned the barge, and the illegal migration bill it accompanies, as “an affront to human dignity”.

      Anti-immigration groups have also protested against the barge, with some adopting offensive language, referring to the asylum seekers who will be hosted there as “bargies”. Conservative MP for South Dorset Richard Drax has claimed that hosting migrants at sea would exacerbate tenfold the issues that have arisen in hotels to date, namely sexual assaults, children disappearing and local residents protesting.

      My research shows that facilities built to house irregular migrants in Europe and beyond create a temporary infrastructure designed to be hostile. Governments thereby effectively make asylum seekers more displaceable while ignoring their everyday spatial and social needs.
      Precarious space

      The official brochure plans for the Bibby Stockholm show 222 single bedrooms over three stories, built around two small internal courtyards. It has now been retrofitted with bunk beds to host more than 500 single men – more than double the number it was designed to host.

      Journalists Lizzie Dearden and Martha McHardy have shown this means the asylum seekers housed there – for up to nine months – will have “less living space than an average parking bay”. This stands in contravention of international standards of a minimum 4.5m² of covered living space per person in cold climates, where more time is spent indoors.

      In an open letter, dated June 15 2023 and addressed to home secretary Suella Braverman, over 700 people and nearly 100 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) voiced concerns that this will only add to the trauma migrants have already experienced:

      Housing people on a sea barge – which we argue is equal to a floating prison – is morally indefensible, and threatens to retraumatise a group of already vulnerable people.

      Locals are concerned already overstretched services in Portland, including GP practices, will not be able to cope with further pressure. West Dorset MP Chris Lode has questioned whether the barge itself is safe “to cope with double the weight that it was designed to bear”. A caller to the LBC radio station, meanwhile, has voiced concerns over the vessel’s very narrow and low fire escape routes, saying: “What they [the government] are effectively doing here is creating a potential Grenfell on water, a floating coffin.”

      Such fears are not unfounded. There have been several cases of fires destroying migrant camps in Europe, from the Grand-Synthe camp near Dunkirk in France, in 2017, to the 2020 fire at the Moria camp in Greece. The difficulty of escaping a vessel at sea could turn it into a death trap.

      Performative hostility

      Research on migrant accommodation shows that being able to inhabit a place – even temporarily – and develop feelings of attachment and belonging, is crucial to a person’s wellbeing. Even amid ever tighter border controls, migrants in Europe, who can be described as “stuck on the move”, nonetheless still attempt to inhabit their temporary spaces and form such connections.

      However, designs can hamper such efforts when they concentrate asylum seekers in inhospitable, cut-off spaces. In 2015, Berlin officials began temporarily housing refugees in the former Tempelhof airport, a noisy, alienating industrial space, lacking in privacy and disconnected from the city. Many people ended up staying there for the better part of a year.

      French authorities, meanwhile, opened the Centre Humanitaire Paris-Nord in Paris in 2016, temporary migrant housing in a disused train depot. Nicknamed la Bulle (the bubble) for its bulbous inflatable covering, this facility was noisy and claustrophobic, lacking in basic comforts.

      Like the barge in Portland Port, these facilities, placed in industrial sites, sit uncomfortably between hospitality and hostility. The barge will be fenced off, since the port is a secured zone, and access will be heavily restricted and controlled. The Home Office insists that the barge is not a floating prison, yet it is an unmistakably hostile space.

      Infrastructure for water and electricity will physically link the barge to shore. However, Dorset council has no jurisdiction at sea.

      The commercial agreement on the barge was signed between the Home Office and Portland Port, not the council. Since the vessel is positioned below the mean low water mark, it did not require planning permission.

      This makes the barge an island of sorts, where other rules apply, much like those islands in the Aegean sea and in the Pacific, on which Greece and Australia have respectively housed migrants.

      I have shown how facilities are often designed in this way not to give displaced people any agency, but, on the contrary, to objectify them. They heighten the instability migrants face, keeping them detached from local communities and constantly on the move.

      The government has presented the barge as a cheaper solution than the £6.8 million it is currently spending, daily, on housing asylum seekers in hotels. A recent report by two NGOs, Reclaim the Seas and One Life to Live, concludes, however, that it will save less than £10 a person a day. It could even prove more expensive than the hotel model.

      Sarah Teather, director of the Jesuit Refugee Service UK charity, has described the illegal migration bill as “performative cruelty”. Images of the barge which have flooded the news certainly meet that description too.

      However threatening these images might be, though, they will not stop desperate people from attempting to come to the UK to seek safety. Rather than deterring asylum seekers, the Bibby Stockholm is potentially creating another hazard to them and to their hosting communities.



      Point intéressant, lié à l’aménagement du territoire :

      “Since the vessel is positioned below the mean low water mark, it did not require planning permission”

      C’est un peu comme les #zones_frontalières qui ont été créées un peu partout en Europe (et pas que) pour que les Etats se débarassent des règles en vigueur (notamment le principe du non-refoulement). Voir cette métaliste, à laquelle j’ajoute aussi cet exemple :

      voir aussi :

      The circumstances at Portland Port are very different because where the barge is to be positioned is below the mean low water mark. This means that the barge is outside of our planning control and there is no requirement for planning permission from the council.


      #hostile_architecture #architecture_hostile #dignité #espace #Portland #hostilité #hostilité_performative #île #infrastructure #extraterritorialité #extra-territorialité #prix #coût

    • Sur l’#histoire (notamment liées au commerce d’ #esclaves) de la Bibby Stockholm :

      Bibby Line, shipowners

      From Guide to the Records of Merseyside Maritime Museum, volume 1: Bibby Line. In 1807 John Bibby and John Highfield, Liverpool shipbrokers, began taking shares in ships, mainly Parkgate Dublin packets. By 1821 (the end of the partnership) they had vessels sailing to the Mediterranean and South America. In 1850 they expanded their Mediterranean and Black Sea interests by buying two steamers and by 1865 their fleet had increased to twenty three. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 severely affected their business and Frederick Leyland, their general manager, failed to persuade the family partners to diversify onto the Atlantic. Eventually, he bought them out in 1873. In 1889 the Bibby family revived its shipowning interests with a successful passenger cargo service to Burma. From 1893 it also began to carry British troops to overseas postings which remained a Bibby staple until 1962. The Burma service ended in 1971 and the company moved to new areas of shipowning including bulkers, gas tankers and accommodation barges. It still has its head office in Liverpool where most management records are held. The museum holds models of the Staffordshire (1929) and Oxfordshire (1955). For further details see the attached catalogue or contact The Archives Centre for a copy of the catalogue.

      The earliest records within the collection, the ships’ logs at B/BIBBY/1/1/1 - 1/1/3 show company vessels travelling between Europe and South America carrying cargoes that would have been produced on plantations using the labour of enslaved peoples or used within plantation and slave based economies. For example the vessel Thomas (B/BIBBY/1/1/1) carries a cargo of iron hoops for barrels to Brazil in 1812. The Mary Bibby on a voyage in 1825-1826 loads a cargo of sugar in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to carry to Rotterdam. The log (B/BIBBY/1/1/3) records the use of ’negroes’ to work with the ship’s carpenter while the vessel is in port.

      In September 1980 the latest Bibby vessel to hold the name Derbyshire was lost with all hands in the South China Sea. This collection does not include records relating to that vessel or its sinking, apart from a copy ’Motor vessel ’Derbyshire’, 1976-80: in memoriam’ at reference B/BIBBY/3/2/1 (a copy is also available in The Archives Centre library collection at 340.DER). Information about the sinking and subsequent campaigning by the victims’ family can be found on the NML website and in the Life On Board gallery. The Archives Centre holds papers of Captain David Ramwell who assisted the Derbyshire Family Association at D/RAM and other smaller collections of related documents within the DX collection.


      An Open Letter to #Bibby_Marine

      Links between your parent company #Bibby_Line_Group (#BLG) and the slave trade have repeatedly been made. If true, we appeal to you to consider what actions you might take in recompense.

      Bibby Marine’s modern slavery statement says that one of the company’s values is to “do the right thing”, and that you “strongly support the eradication of slavery, as well as the eradication of servitude, forced or compulsory labour and human trafficking”. These are admirable words.

      Meanwhile, your parent company’s website says that it is “family owned with a rich history”. Please will you clarify whether this rich history includes slaving voyages where ships were owned, and cargoes transported, by BLG’s founder John Bibby, six generations ago. The BLG website says that in 1807 (which is when slavery was abolished in Britain), “John Bibby began trading as a shipowner in Liverpool with his partner John Highfield”. John Bibby is listed as co-owner of three slaving ships, of which John Highfield co-owned two:

      In 1805, the Harmonie (co-owned by #John_Bibby and three others, including John Highfield) left Liverpool for a voyage which carried 250 captives purchased in West Central Africa and St Helena, delivering them to Cumingsberg in 1806 (see the SlaveVoyages database using Voyage ID 81732).
      In 1806, the Sally (co-owned by John Bibby and two others) left Liverpool for a voyage which transported 250 captives purchased in Bassa and delivered them to Barbados (see the SlaveVoyages database using Voyage ID 83481).
      In 1806, the Eagle (co-owned by John Bibby and four others, including John Highfield) left Liverpool for a voyage which transported 237 captives purchased in Cameroon and delivered them to Kingston in 1807 (see the SlaveVoyages database using Voyage ID 81106).

      The same and related claims were recently mentioned by Private Eye. They also appear in the story of Liverpool’s Calderstones Park [PDF] and on the website of National Museums Liverpool and in this blog post “Shenanigans in Shipping” (a detailed history of the BLG). They are also mentioned by Laurence Westgaph, a TV presenter specialising in Black British history and slavery and the author of Read The Signs: Street Names with a Connection to the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Abolition in Liverpool [PDF], published with the support of English Heritage, The City of Liverpool, Northwest Regional Development Agency, National Museums Liverpool and Liverpool Vision.

      While of course your public pledges on slavery underline that there is no possibility of there being any link between the activities of John Bibby and John Highfield in the early 1800s and your activities in 2023, we do believe that it is in the public interest to raise this connection, and to ask for a public expression of your categorical renunciation of the reported slave trade activities of Mr Bibby and Mr Highfield.



      Très peu d’info sur John Bibby sur wikipedia :

      John Bibby (19 February 1775 – 17 July 1840) was the founder of the British Bibby Line shipping company. He was born in Eccleston, near Ormskirk, Lancashire. He was murdered on 17 July 1840 on his way home from dinner at a friend’s house in Kirkdale.[1]


    • ‘Floating Prisons’: The 200-year-old family #business behind the Bibby Stockholm

      #Bibby_Line_Group_Limited is a UK company offering financial, marine and construction services to clients in at least 16 countries around the world. It recently made headlines after the government announced one of the firm’s vessels, Bibby Stockholm, would be used to accommodate asylum seekers on the Dorset coast.

      In tandem with plans to house migrants at surplus military sites, the move was heralded by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary Suella Braverman as a way of mitigating the £6m-a-day cost of hotel accommodation amid the massive ongoing backlog of asylum claims, as well as deterring refugees from making the dangerous channel crossing to the UK. Several protests have been organised against the project already, while over ninety migrants’ rights groups and hundreds of individual campaigners have signed an open letter to the Home Secretary calling for the plans to be scrapped, describing the barge as a “floating prison.”

      Corporate Watch has researched into the Bibby Line Group’s operations and financial interests. We found that:

      - The Bibby Stockholm vessel was previously used as a floating detention centre in the Netherlands, where undercover reporting revealed violence, sexual exploitation and poor sanitation.

      – Bibby Line Group is more than 90% owned by members of the Bibby family, primarily through trusts. Its pre-tax profits for 2021 stood at almost £31m, which they upped to £35.5m by claiming generous tax credits and deferring a fair amount to the following year.

      - Management aboard the vessel will be overseen by an Australian business travel services company, Corporate Travel Management, who have previously had aspersions cast over the financial health of their operations and the integrity of their business practices.

      - Another beneficiary of the initiative is Langham Industries, a maritime and engineering company whose owners, the Langham family, have longstanding ties to right wing parties.

      Key Issues

      According to the Home Office, the Bibby Stockholm barge will be operational for at least 18 months, housing approximately 500 single adult men while their claims are processed, with “24/7 security in place on board, to minimise the disruption to local communities.” These measures appear to have been to dissuade opposition from the local Conservative council, who pushed for background checks on detainees and were reportedly even weighing legal action out of concern for a perceived threat of physical attacks from those housed onboard, as well as potential attacks from the far right against migrants held there.

      Local campaigners have taken aim at the initiative, noting in the open letter:

      “For many people seeking asylum arriving in the UK, the sea represents a site of significant trauma as they have been forced to cross it on one or more occasions. Housing people on a sea barge – which we argue is equal to a floating prison – is morally indefensible, and threatens to re-traumatise a group of already vulnerable people.”

      Technically, migrants on the barge will be able to leave the site. However, in reality they will be under significant levels of surveillance and cordoned off behind fences in the high security port area.

      If they leave, there is an expectation they will return by 11pm, and departure will be controlled by the authorities. According to the Home Office:

      “In order to ensure that migrants come and go in an orderly manner with as little impact as possible, buses will be provided to take those accommodated on the vessel from the port to local drop off points”.

      These drop off points are to be determined by the government, while being sited off the coast of Dorset means they will be isolated from centres of support and solidarity.

      Meanwhile, the government’s new Illegal Migration Bill is designed to provide a legal justification for the automatic detention of refugees crossing the Channel. If it passes, there’s a chance this might set the stage for a change in regime on the Bibby Stockholm – from that of an “accommodation centre” to a full-blown migrant prison.

      An initial release from the Home Office suggested the local voluntary sector would be engaged “to organise activities that keep occupied those being accommodated, potentially involved in local volunteering activity,” though they seemed to have changed the wording after critics said this would mean detainees could be effectively exploited for unpaid labour. It’s also been reported the vessel required modifications in order to increase capacity to the needed level, raising further concerns over cramped living conditions and a lack of privacy.

      Bibby Line Group has prior form in border profiteering. From 1994 to 1998, the Bibby Stockholm was used to house the homeless, some of whom were asylum seekers, in Hamburg, Germany. In 2005, it was used to detain asylum seekers in the Netherlands, which proved a cause of controversy at the time. Undercover reporting revealed a number of cases abuse on board, such as beatings and sexual exploitation, as well suicide attempts, routine strip searches, scabies and the death of an Algerian man who failed to receive timely medical care for a deteriorating heart condition. As the undercover security guard wrote:

      “The longer I work on the Bibby Stockholm, the more I worry about safety on the boat. Between exclusion and containment I encounter so many defects and feel so much tension among the prisoners that it no longer seems to be a question of whether things will get completely out of hand here, but when.”

      He went on:

      “I couldn’t stand the way prisoners were treated […] The staff become like that, because the whole culture there is like that. Inhuman. They do not see the residents as people with a history, but as numbers.”

      Discussions were also held in August 2017 over the possibility of using the vessel as accommodation for some 400 students in Galway, Ireland, amid the country’s housing crisis. Though the idea was eventually dropped for lack of mooring space and planning permission requirements, local students had voiced safety concerns over the “bizarre” and “unconventional” solution to a lack of rental opportunities.
      Corporate Travel Management & Langham Industries

      Although leased from Bibby Line Group, management aboard the Bibby Stockholm itself will be handled by #Corporate_Travel_Management (#CTM), a global travel company specialising in business travel services. The Australian-headquartered company also recently received a £100m contract for the provision of accommodation, travel, venue and ancillary booking services for the housing of Ukrainian refugees at local hotels and aboard cruise ships M/S Victoria and M/S Ambition. The British Red Cross warned earlier in May against continuing to house refugees on ships with “isolated” and “windowless” cabins, and said the scheme had left many “living in limbo.”

      Founded by CEO #Jamie_Pherous, CTM was targeted in 2018 by #VGI_Partners, a group of short-sellers, who identified more than 20 red flags concerning the company’s business interests. Most strikingly, the short-sellers said they’d attended CTM’s offices in Glasgow, Paris, Amsterdam, Stockholm and Switzerland. Finding no signs of business activity there, they said it was possible the firm had significantly overstated the scale of its operations. VGI Partners also claimed CTM’s cash flows didn’t seem to add up when set against the company’s reported growth, and that CTM hadn’t fully disclosed revisions they’d made to their annual revenue figures.

      Two years later, the short-sellers released a follow-up report, questioning how CTM had managed to report a drop in rewards granted for high sales numbers to travel agencies, when in fact their transaction turnover had grown during the same period. They also accused CTM of dressing up their debt balance to make their accounts look healthier.

      CTM denied VGI Partners’ allegations. In their response, they paraphrased a report by auditors EY, supposedly confirming there were no question marks over their business practices, though the report itself was never actually made public. They further claim VGI Partners, as short-sellers, had only released the reports in the hope of benefitting from uncertainty over CTM’s operations.

      Despite these troubles, CTM’s market standing improved drastically earlier this year, when it was announced the firm had secured contracts for the provision of travel services to the UK Home Office worth in excess of $3bn AUD (£1.6bn). These have been accompanied by further tenders with, among others, the National Audit Office, HS2, Cafcass, Serious Fraud Office, Office of National Statistics, HM Revenue & Customs, National Health Service, Ministry of Justice, Department of Education, Foreign Office, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

      The Home Office has not released any figures on the cost of either leasing or management services aboard Bibby Stockholm, though press reports have put the estimated price tag at more than £20,000 a day for charter and berthing alone. If accurate, this would put the overall expenditure for the 18-month period in which the vessel will operate as a detention centre at almost £11m, exclusive of actual detention centre management costs such as security, food and healthcare.

      Another beneficiary of the project are Portland Port’s owners, #Langham_Industries, a maritime and engineering company owned by the #Langham family. The family has long-running ties to right-wing parties. Langham Industries donated over £70,000 to the UK Independence Party from 2003 up until the 2016 Brexit referendum. In 2014, Langham Industries donated money to support the re-election campaign of former Clacton MP for UKIP Douglas Carswell, shortly after his defection from the Conservatives. #Catherine_Langham, a Tory parish councillor for Hilton in Dorset, has described herself as a Langham Industries director (although she is not listed on Companies House). In 2016 she was actively involved in local efforts to support the campaign to leave the European Union. The family holds a large estate in Dorset which it uses for its other line of business, winemaking.

      At present, there is no publicly available information on who will be providing security services aboard the Bibby Stockholm.

      Business Basics

      Bibby Line Group describes itself as “one of the UK’s oldest family owned businesses,” operating in “multiple countries, employing around 1,300 colleagues, and managing over £1 billion of funds.” Its head office is registered in Liverpool, with other headquarters in Scotland, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Malaysia, France, Slovakia, Czechia, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland and Nigeria (see the appendix for more). The company’s primary sectors correspond to its three main UK subsidiaries:

      #Bibby_Financial_Services. A global provider of financial services. The firm provides loans to small- and medium-sized businesses engaged in business services, construction, manufacturing, transportation, export, recruitment and wholesale markets. This includes invoice financing, export and trade finance, and foreign exchanges. Overall, the subsidiary manages more than £6bn each year on behalf of some 9,000 clients across 300 different industry sectors, and in 2021 it brought in more than 50% of the group’s annual turnover.

      - #Bibby_Marine_Limited. Owner and operator of the Bibby WaveMaster fleet, a group of vessels specialising in the transport and accommodation of workers employed at remote locations, such as offshore oil and gas sites in the North Sea. Sometimes, as in the case of Chevron’s Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) project in Nigeria, the vessels are used as an alternative to hotels owing to a “a volatile project environment.” The fleet consists of 40 accommodation vessels similar in size to the Bibby Stockholm and a smaller number of service vessels, though the share of annual turnover pales compared to the group’s financial services operations, standing at just under 10% for 2021.

      - #Garic Ltd. Confined to construction, quarrying, airport, agriculture and transport sectors in the UK, the firm designs, manufactures and purchases plant equipment and machinery for sale or hire. Garic brought in around 14% of Bibby Line Group’s turnover in 2021.

      Prior to February 2021, Bibby Line Group also owned #Costcutter_Supermarkets_Group, before it was sold to #Bestway_Wholesale to maintain liquidity amid the Covid-19 pandemic. In their report for that year, the company’s directors also suggested grant funding from #MarRI-UK, an organisation facilitating innovation in maritime technologies and systems, had been important in preserving the firm’s position during the crisis.

      The Bibby Line Group’s story begins in 1807, when Lancashire-born shipowner John Bibby began trading out of Liverpool with partner John Highfield. By the time of his death in 1840, murdered while returning home from dinner with a friend in Kirkdale, Bibby had struck out on his own and come to manage a fleet of more than 18 ships. The mysterious case of his death has never been solved, and the business was left to his sons John and James.

      Between 1891 and 1989, the company operated under the name #Bibby_Line_Limited. Its ships served as hospital and transport vessels during the First World War, as well as merchant cruisers, and the company’s entire fleet of 11 ships was requisitioned by the state in 1939.

      By 1970, the company had tripled its overseas earnings, branching into ‘factoring’, or invoice financing (converting unpaid invoices into cash for immediate use via short-term loans) in the early 1980s, before this aspect of the business was eventually spun off into Bibby Financial Services. The group acquired Garic Ltd in 2008, which currently operates four sites across the UK.


      #Jonathan_Lewis has served as Bibby Line Group’s Managing and Executive Director since January 2021, prior to which he acted as the company’s Chief Financial and Strategy Officer since joining in 2019. Previously, Lewis worked as CFO for Imagination Technologies, a tech company specialising in semiconductors, and as head of supermarket Tesco’s mergers and acquisitions team. He was also a member of McKinsey’s European corporate finance practice, as well as an investment banker at Lazard. During his first year at the helm of Bibby’s operations, he was paid £748,000. Assuming his role at the head of the group’s operations, he replaced Paul Drescher, CBE, then a board member of the UK International Chamber of Commerce and a former president of the Confederation of British Industry.

      Bibby Line Group’s board also includes two immediate members of the Bibby family, Sir #Michael_James_Bibby, 3rd Bt. and his younger brother #Geoffrey_Bibby. Michael has acted as company chairman since 2020, before which he had occupied senior management roles in the company for 20 years. He also has external experience, including time at Unilever’s acquisitions, disposals and joint venture divisions, and now acts as president of the UK Chamber of Shipping, chairman of the Charities Trust, and chairman of the Institute of Family Business Research Foundation.

      Geoffrey has served as a non-executive director of the company since 2015, having previously worked as a managing director of Vast Visibility Ltd, a digital marketing and technology company. In 2021, the Bibby brothers received salaries of £125,000 and £56,000 respectively.

      The final member of the firm’s board is #David_Anderson, who has acted as non-executive director since 2012. A financier with 35 years experience in investment banking, he’s founder and CEO of EPL Advisory – which advises company boards on requirements and disclosure obligations of public markets – and chair of Creative Education Trust, a multi-academy trust comprising 17 schools. Anderson is also chairman at multinational ship broker Howe Robinson Partners, which recently auctioned off a superyacht seized from Dmitry Pumpyansky, after the sanctioned Russian businessman reneged on a €20.5m loan from JP Morgan. In 2021, Anderson’s salary stood at £55,000.


      Bibby Line Group’s annual report and accounts for 2021 state that more than 90% of the company is owned by members of the Bibby family, primarily through family trusts. These ownership structures, effectively entities allowing people to benefit from assets without being their registered legal owners, have long attracted staunch criticism from transparency advocates given the obscurity they afford means they often feature extensively in corruption, money laundering and tax abuse schemes.

      According to Companies House, the UK corporate registry, between 50% and 75% of Bibby Line Group’s shares and voting rights are owned by #Bibby_Family_Company_Limited, which also retains the right to appoint and remove members of the board. Directors of Bibby Family Company Limited include both the Bibby brothers, as well as a third sibling, #Peter_John_Bibby, who’s formally listed as the firm’s ‘ultimate beneficial owner’ (i.e. the person who ultimately profits from the company’s assets).

      Other people with comparable shares in Bibby Family Company Limited are #Mark_Rupert_Feeny, #Philip_Charles_Okell, and Lady #Christine_Maud_Bibby. Feeny’s occupation is listed as solicitor, with other interests in real estate management and a position on the board of the University of Liverpool Pension Fund Trustees Limited. Okell meanwhile appears as director of Okell Money Management Limited, a wealth management firm, while Lady Bibby, Michael and Geoffrey’s mother, appears as “retired playground supervisor.”

      Key Relationships

      Bibby Line Group runs an internal ‘Donate a Day’ volunteer program, enabling employees to take paid leave in order to “help causes they care about.” Specific charities colleagues have volunteered with, listed in the company’s Annual Review for 2021 to 2022, include:

      - The Hive Youth Zone. An award-winning charity for young people with disabilities, based in the Wirral.

      – The Whitechapel Centre. A leading homeless and housing charity in the Liverpool region, working with people sleeping rough, living in hostels, or struggling with their accommodation.

      - Let’s Play Project. Another charity specialising in after-school and holiday activities for young people with additional needs in the Banbury area.

      - Whitdale House. A care home for the elderly, based in Whitburn, West Lothian and run by the local council.

      – DEBRA. An Irish charity set up in 1988 for individuals living with a rare, painful skin condition called epidermolysis bullosa, as well as their families.

      – Reaching Out Homeless Outreach. A non-profit providing resources and support to the homeless in Ireland.

      Various senior executives and associated actors at Bibby Line Group and its subsidiaries also have current and former ties to the following organisations:

      - UK Chamber of Shipping

      - Charities Trust

      - Institute of Family Business Research Foundation

      - Indefatigable Old Boys Association

      - Howe Robinson Partners

      - hibu Ltd

      - EPL Advisory

      - Creative Education Trust

      - Capita Health and Wellbeing Limited

      - The Ambassador Theatre Group Limited

      – Pilkington Plc

      – UK International Chamber of Commerce

      – Confederation of British Industry

      – Arkley Finance Limited (Weatherby’s Banking Group)

      – FastMarkets Ltd, Multiple Sclerosis Society

      – Early Music as Education

      – Liverpool Pension Fund Trustees Limited

      – Okell Money Management Limited


      For the period ending 2021, Bibby Line Group’s total turnover stood at just under £260m, with a pre-tax profit of almost £31m – fairly healthy for a company providing maritime services during a global pandemic. Their post-tax profits in fact stood at £35.5m, an increase they would appear to have secured by claiming generous tax credits (£4.6m) and deferring a fair amount (£8.4m) to the following year.

      Judging by their last available statement on the firm’s profitability, Bibby’s directors seem fairly confident the company has adequate financing and resources to continue operations for the foreseeable future. They stress their February 2021 sale of Costcutter was an important step in securing this, given it provided additional liquidity during the pandemic, as well as the funding secured for R&D on fuel consumption by Bibby Marine’s fleet.
      Scandal Sheet

      Bibby Line Group and its subsidiaries have featured in a number of UK legal proceedings over the years, sometimes as defendants. One notable case is Godfrey v Bibby Line, a lawsuit brought against the company in 2019 after one of their former employees died as the result of an asbestos-related disease.

      In their claim, the executors of Alan Peter Godfrey’s estate maintained that between 1965 and 1972, he was repeatedly exposed to large amounts of asbestos while working on board various Bibby vessels. Although the link between the material and fatal lung conditions was established as early as 1930, they claimed that Bibby Line, among other things:

      “Failed to warn the deceased of the risk of contracting asbestos related disease or of the precautions to be taken in relation thereto;

      “Failed to heed or act upon the expert evidence available to them as to the best means of protecting their workers from danger from asbestos dust; [and]

      “Failed to take all reasonably practicable measures, either by securing adequate ventilation or by the provision and use of suitable respirators or otherwise, to prevent inhalation of dust.”

      The lawsuit, which claimed “unlimited damage”’ against the group, also stated that Mr Godfrey’s “condition deteriorated rapidly with worsening pain and debility,” and that he was “completely dependent upon others for his needs by the last weeks of his life.” There is no publicly available information on how the matter was concluded.

      In 2017, Bibby Line Limited also featured in a leak of more than 13.4 million financial records known as the Paradise Papers, specifically as a client of Appleby, which provided “offshore corporate services” such as legal and accountancy work. According to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, a global network of investigative media outlets, leaked Appleby documents revealed, among other things, “the ties between Russia and [Trump’s] billionaire commerce secretary, the secret dealings of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s chief fundraiser and the offshore interests of the Queen of England and more than 120 politicians around the world.”

      This would not appear to be the Bibby group’s only link to the shady world of offshore finance. Michael Bibby pops up as a treasurer for two shell companies registered in Panama, Minimar Transport S.A. and Vista Equities Inc.
      Looking Forward

      Much about the Bibby Stockholm saga remains to be seen. The exact cost of the initiative and who will be providing security services on board, are open questions. What’s clear however is that activists will continue to oppose the plans, with efforts to prevent the vessel sailing from Falmouth to its final docking in Portland scheduled to take place on 30th June.

      Appendix: Company Addresses

      HQ and general inquiries: 3rd Floor Walker House, Exchange Flags, Liverpool, United Kingdom, L2 3YL

      Tel: +44 (0) 151 708 8000

      Other offices, as of 2021:

      6, Shenton Way, #18-08A Oue Downtown 068809, Singapore

      1/1, The Exchange Building, 142 St. Vincent Street, Glasgow, G2 5LA, United Kingdom

      4th Floor Heather House, Heather Road, Sandyford, Dublin 18, Ireland

      Unit 2302, 23/F Jubilee Centre, 18 Fenwick Street, Wanchai, Hong Kong

      Unit 508, Fifth Floor, Metropolis Mall, MG Road, Gurugram, Haryana, 122002 India

      Suite 7E, Level 7, Menara Ansar, 65 Jalan Trus, 8000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

      160 Avenue Jean Jaures, CS 90404, 69364 Lyon Cedex, France

      Prievozská 4D, Block E, 13th Floor, Bratislava 821 09, Slovak Republic

      Hlinky 118, Brno, 603 00, Czech Republic

      Laan Van Diepenvoorde 5, 5582 LA, Waalre, Netherlands

      Hansaallee 249, 40549 Düsseldorf, Germany

      Poland Eurocentrum, Al. Jerozolimskie 134, 02-305 Warsaw, Poland

      1/2 Atarbekova str, 350062, Krasnodar, Krasnodar

      1 St Peter’s Square, Manchester, M2 3AE, United Kingdom

      25 Adeyemo Alakija Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria

      10 Anson Road, #09-17 International Plaza, 079903 Singapore


      signalé ici aussi par @rezo:

    • The Langham family seem quite happy to support right-wing political parties that are against immigration, while at the same time profiting handsomely from the misery of refugees who are forced to claim sanctuary here.



      Family firm ’profiteering from misery’ by providing migrant barges donated £70k to #UKIP

      The Langham family, owners of Langham Industries, is now set to profit from an 18-month contract with the Home Office to let the Bibby Stockholm berth at Portland, Dorset

      A family firm that donated more than £70,000 to UKIP is “profiteering from misery” by hosting the Government’s controversial migrant barge. Langham Industries owns Portland Port, where the Bibby Stockholm is docked in a deal reported to be worth some £2.5million.

      The Langham family owns luxurious properties and has links to high-profile politicians, including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden. And we can reveal that their business made 19 donations to pro-Brexit party UKIP between 2003 and 2016.

      Late founder John Langham was described as an “avid supporter” of UKIP in an obituary in 2017. Now his children, John, Jill and Justin – all directors of the family firm – are set to profit from an 18-month contract with the Home Office to let the Bibby Stockholm berth at Portland, Dorset.

      While Portland Port refuses to reveal how much the Home Office is paying, its website cites berthing fees for a ship the size of the Bibby Stockholm at more than £4,000 a day. In 2011, Portland Port chairman John, 71, invested £3.7million in Grade II* listed country pile Steeple Manor at Wareham, Dorset. Dating to around 1600, it has a pond, tennis court and extensive gardens designed by the landscape architect Brenda Colvin.

      The arrangement to host the “prison-like” barge for housing migrants has led some locals to blast the Langhams, who have owned the port since 1997. Portland mayor Carralyn Parkes, 61, said: “I don’t know how John Langham will sleep at night in his luxurious home, with his tennis court and his fluffy bed, when asylum seekers are sleeping in tiny beds on the barge.

      “I went on the boat and measured the rooms with a tape measure. On average they are about 10ft by 12ft. The bunk bed mattresses are about 6ft long. If you’re taller than 6ft you’re stuffed. The Langham family need to have more humanity. They are only interested in making money. It’s shocking.”



    • ‘This is a prison’: men tell of distressing conditions on Bibby Stockholm

      Asylum seekers share fears about Dorset barge becoming even more crowded, saying they already ‘despair and wish for death’

      Asylum seekers brought back to the Bibby Stockholm barge in Portland, Dorset, have said they are being treated in such a way that “we despair and wish for death”.

      The Guardian spoke to two men in their first interview since their return to the barge on 19 October after the vessel lay empty for more than two months. The presence of deadly legionella bacteria was confirmed on board on 7 August, the same day the first group of asylum seekers arrived. The barge was evacuated four days later.

      The new warning comes after it emerged that one asylum seeker attempted to kill himself and is in hospital after finding out he is due to be taken to the barge on Tuesday.

      A man currently on the barge told the Guardian: “Government decisions are turning healthy and normal refugees into mental patients whom they then hand over to society. Here, many people were healthy and coping with OK spirits, but as a result of the dysfunctional strategies of the government, they have suffered – and continue to suffer – from various forms of serious mental distress. We are treated in such a way that we despair and wish for death.”

      He said that although the asylum seekers were not detained on the barge and could leave to visit the nearby town, in practice, doing so was not easy.

      He added: “In the barge, we have exactly the feeling of being in prison. It is true that they say that this is not a prison and you can go outside at any time, but you can only go to specific stops at certain times by bus, and this does not give me a good feeling.

      “Even to use the fresh air, you have to go through the inspection every time and go to the small yard with high fences and go through the X-ray machine again. And this is not good for our health.

      “In short, this is a prison whose prisoners are not criminals, they are people who have fled their country just to save their lives and have taken shelter here to live.”

      The asylum seekers raised concerns about what conditions on the barge would be like if the Home Office did fill it with about 500 asylum seekers, as officials say is the plan. Those on board said it already felt quite full with about 70 people living there.

      The second asylum seeker said: “The space inside the barge is very small. It feels crowded in the dining hall and the small entertainment room. It is absolutely clear to me that there will be chaos here soon.

      “According to my estimate, as I look at the spaces around us, the capacity of this barge is maximum 120 people, including personnel and crew. The strategy of ​​transferring refugees from hotels to barges or ships or military installations is bound to fail.

      “The situation here on the barge is getting worse. Does the government have a plan for shipwrecked residents? Everyone here is going mad with anxiety. It is not just the barge that floats on the water, but the plans of the government that are radically adrift.”

      Maddie Harris of the NGO Humans For Rights Network, which supports asylum seekers in hotels, said: “Home Office policies directly contribute to the significant deterioration of the wellbeing and mental health of so many asylum seekers in their ‘care’, with a dehumanising environment, violent anti-migrant rhetoric and isolated accommodations away from community and lacking in support.”

      A Home Office spokesperson said: “The Bibby Stockholm is part of the government’s pledge to reduce the use of expensive hotels and bring forward alternative accommodation options which provide a more cost-effective, sustainable and manageable system for the UK taxpayer and local communities.

      “The health and welfare of asylum seekers remains the utmost priority. We work continually to ensure the needs and vulnerabilities of those residing in asylum accommodation are identified and considered, including those related to mental health and trauma.”

      Nadia Whittome and Lloyd Russell-Moyle, the Labour MPs for Nottingham East and Brighton Kemptown respectively, will travel to Portland on Monday to meet asylum seekers accommodated on the Bibby Stockholm barge and local community members.

      The visit follows the home secretary, Suella Braverman, not approving a visit from the MPs to assess living conditions as they requested through parliamentary channels.

      #prison #conditions_de_vie

  • Twitter, guerre, Chine : Elon Musk, un acteur géopolitique majeur

    Asma Mhalla, spécialiste en géopolitique du numérique et enseignante à Sciences Po Paris et à l’école Polytechnique, nous aide à prendre de la hauteur sur l’actualité. Rapport de l’IRSEM sur les stratégies de désinformation chinoises : https://www.irsem.fr/rapport.html

    Discours d’Asma Mhalla

    Elle mentionne #Peter_Thiel qui écrit des textes sur son idéologie contrairement à #Elon_Musk qui ne s’exprime que par tweets qu’il faut collectionner, mettre dans un contexte et analyser ensuite ce qui le rend beaucoup plus difficile à cerner.

    09:23 - Ce qui est très intéressant avec Musk si on prend du recul au dela du commentaire c’est qu’il pointe en général les failles de notre système. Il nous oblige à poser un certain nombre de termes dans le débat public.

    En Europe un des termes dans le débat pubic ca va être comment est-ce que typiquement on va arriver à faire appliquer nos textes et nos lois. C’est un énorme sujet qui pose le problème de la police, qui pose le problème de la justice, qui pose le problème de nos moyens et des moyens de l’état et de nos institutions. C’est là que le débat devient constructif et intéressant.


    #disruption #USA #idéologie #fronteer #libertarisme

  • What Is It About Peter Thiel ? | The New Yorker

    ilicon Valley is not a milieu known for glamour and charisma. Still, Peter Thiel has cultivated a mystique. A billionaire several times over, Thiel was the first outside investor in Facebook; he went on to co-found PayPal, the digital-payment service, and Palantir, the data-intelligence company that has worked with the U.S. government. He has co-written a business best-seller, “Zero to One,” and launched a hedge fund; he now runs three venture-capital firms. But Thiel’s aura emanates not so much from these achievements as from a more general fish-out-of-water quality. In 2018, citing a regional intolerance of conservative perspectives, he moved from Silicon Valley to Los Angeles; he recently purchased a mansion in Miami Beach. He served on Donald Trump’s transition team and, in an address before the Republican National Convention, declared, “I am proud to be gay.” He has invested in efforts to “cure” aging, and also in libertarian organizations that hope to create floating cities in international waters. He publishes long, winding essays on politics, globalization, economics, and the nature of humanity that often contain Biblical epigraphs and references to the philosophy of his late mentor and friend, the anthropological theorist René Girard. Thiel also has side projects: Frisson, a now shuttered lounge and restaurant in San Francisco; American Thunder, a short-lived conservative publication geared toward Nascar fans; and the bankrolling of a lawsuit launched on behalf of the wrestler Hulk Hogan, which culminated in the 2016 bankruptcy of Gawker Media.

    Thiel has fans who follow him in his peregrinations. He has become a center of gravity in the culture of Silicon Valley, and his infrequent talks and essays are circulated and analyzed by both admirers and critics. In “The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley’s Pursuit of Power,” the Bloomberg journalist Max Chafkin argues that Thiel “has been responsible for creating the ideology that has come to define Silicon Valley: that technological progress should be pursued relentlessly—with little, if any, regard for potential costs or dangers to society.” Thiel’s devotees see him differently—as a techno-libertarian who associates technological advancement with personal freedom, scientific progress, and even salvation.

    Thiel arrived at Stanford in 1985. He played speed chess, discovered Ayn Rand, and gravitated toward the work of Girard, a professor at the school. Thiel was particularly taken with Girard’s concept of mimetic desire. “Man is the creature who does not know what to desire, and he turns to others in order to make up his mind,” Girard wrote. “We desire what others desire because we imitate their desires.” Mimetic desire involves a surrender of agency—it means allowing others to dictate one’s wants—and, the theory goes, can foster envy, rivalry, infighting, and resentment. It also, Girard wrote, leads to acts of violent scapegoating, which serve to preclude further mass conflicts by unifying persecutors against a group or an individual. Thiel would later use this framework to develop his own theories about politics, tech investing, and culture.

    He started a hedge fund, Thiel Capital, with money raised from family and friends, and then, in 1998, met a young cryptographer, Max Levchin, and invested in his startup. Within a year, Thiel was the C.E.O. of Levchin’s company, Confinity, which offered a money-transfer service called PayPal. For Thiel, the service had revolutionary potential: a digital wallet, he said, could lead to “the erosion of the nation-state.” Confinity went on to hire four former Review editors, and half a dozen former staffers.

    PayPal was not registered as a bank, and did not collect information about its users; as a result, Chafkin writes, it could be used for illicit transactions that many banks and credit-card companies did not tend to support (porn, gambling), and which the company later banned. Meanwhile, Levchin created an eBay bot that contacted sellers, expressed interest in their wares, and then asked that they implement PayPal in order to be paid. (The company donated the items that it bid for and won to the Red Cross.) Thanks to these ethically dubious techniques—which might now be referred to as “growth hacking”—PayPal’s user base boomed.

    Dodge the rules, skirt the law, shiv your business partner, abandon your friends: Chafkin argues that the Silicon Valley edition of this playbook was written at PayPal. Perhaps for this reason, the company’s early executives and employees became known as the “PayPal mafia.” A group portrait made in 2007, for a story in Fortune, suggested that they embraced the moniker. In the photograph, twelve former PayPal employees sit in a restaurant. They are styled like the Corleone family, in plush tracksuits and back-room casual. Musk is conspicuously absent; Thiel sits center stage, at a two-top covered in neat towers of poker chips. With his high forehead, deep-set blue eyes, and faint smile, he looks placid and amused.

    Chafkin writes that, following September 11th, Thiel became “increasingly consumed by the threat posed by Islamic terrorism,” and grew skeptical “of immigration, and of all other forms of globalization.” While working at his new hedge fund, Clarium Capital, Thiel bankrolled a project called Palantir—its name was inspired by a “seeing stone” from J. R. R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy—which sought to collate and analyze an abundance of government data, from financial records to cell-phone logs. Palantir reportedly used software developed at PayPal to identify criminal networks and mitigate fraud; the idea was that, if the software was good enough to identify money launderers, it could probably identify terrorists, too. (Thiel says that Palantir used no PayPal tools whatsoever.) “It was assumed that this would violate certain pre-9/11 privacy norms, but that would be totally fine in a post-9/11 world,” Chafkin writes. Then as now, it can be hard for outsiders to get a handle on how well the software works: Chafkin claims that, at least at first, Palantir’s intelligence offerings were “effectively useless” and “more a demo than a real product.” (Thiel denies this characterization.) The C.I.A. invested through its venture-capital arm, and the N.Y.P.D. was a customer. Palantir, which went public last year, is now valued at more than fifty billion dollars.

    In 2004, Thiel invested in Facebook, loaning it what would later translate to a ten-per-cent stake in the company. Around the same time, he organized a small symposium at Stanford on “Politics and the Apocalypse.” Thiel’s contribution, later published as an essay titled “The Straussian Moment,” was built on the premise that September 11th had upended “the entire political and military framework of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries,” demanding “a reexamination of the foundations of modern politics.” The essay drew from a grab bag of thinkers—it meditated on Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, then combined ideas from the conservative political theorists Leo Strauss and Carl Schmitt, who wrote about the inadequacies of liberal democracy, with the work of Girard—to offer a diagnosis of modernity. “A religious war has been brought to a land that no longer cares for religious wars,” Thiel wrote. “Today, mere self-preservation forces all of us to look at the world anew, to think strange new thoughts, and thereby to awaken from that very long and profitable period of intellectual slumber and amnesia that is so misleadingly called the Enlightenment.”

    Whether the future would be utopian or apocalyptic, Thiel positioned himself to profit. In 2005, he established a venture-capital firm, Founders Fund, which announced that it would be seeking “riskier, more out-of-the-box companies that really have the potential to change the world.” He developed an interest in life-extension and anti-aging technologies—one of the firm’s early investments was Halcyon Molecular, a startup that sought to defeat aging through the development of genomic-sequencing technology—and in defense contractors, including SpaceX, Musk’s aerospace company. Around this time, Valleywag, a new Silicon Valley gossip blog owned by Gawker Media, began making Thiel a regular subject. A 2006 post, “Three Valley Moguls Dabble in Humanity’s Future,” noted that Thiel—a “Valley exec investing in weird dreams of a super-intelligent race”—had joined the board of the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence (now the Machine Intelligence Research Institute). In a later post, Valleywag mentioned a rumored million-dollar donation Thiel had made to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group affiliated with NumbersUSA, a far-right anti-immigration nonprofit. A 2007 post, titled “Peter Thiel Is Totally Gay, People,” was particularly upsetting to Thiel: although many of his friends and colleagues had known that he was gay, he saw the post as an outing.

    As the decade drew to a close, Thiel befriended Patri Friedman, a computer programmer and grandson of Milton Friedman, who had written about so-called seasteading communities—hypothetical libertarian utopias floating in international waters. Thiel offered Friedman half a million dollars to start a seasteading nonprofit. He also gave money to the SENS Research Foundation, an anti-aging nonprofit, and to the Methuselah Foundation, an organization dedicated to life extension. In 2009, he wrote an essay for Cato Unbound, an online libertarian journal published by the Cato Institute, in which he stated that he no longer believed “freedom and democracy are compatible,” and that “the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries” and the extension of voting rights to women had “rendered the notion of a ‘capitalist democracy’ into an oxymoron.” (Following backlash to the essay, Thiel put out an addendum of sorts: “While I don’t think any class of people should be disenfranchised, I have little hope that voting will make things better.”) All of this only served as more fodder for Gawker.

    Does Thiel’s world view make any sense? Critics see a tangle of unprincipled hypocrisies—intellectual ground cover for banal shamelessness and techy self-interest. Admirers perceive depth, and an enthralling, novel framework for the future. Thiel’s involvement with Trump alienated some followers, but for others it deepened his mystique, raising the possibility that he knew something his contemporaries did not.

    Most prominent Silicon Valley executives have historically identified as liberal, but one might ask whether their companies and products have actually advanced progressive values or causes; today, privately owned platforms touted as democratizing are arguably among the most centralized and anti-democratic. Inasmuch as Thiel’s approach to technology acknowledges Silicon Valley’s roots in the military-industrial complex, he may be the tech industry’s most honest representative. It is often remarked that he is a villain out of central casting.

    #Peter_Thiel #Néo_conservatisme #Extrême_droite #Libertariens #Silicon_Valley

  • ‘Competition Is for Losers’ : How Peter Thiel Helped Facebook Embrace Monopoly

    The roots of Big Tech’s antitrust problem can be found in his bestselling 2014 business book, ‘Zero to One’ “Only one thing can allow a business to transcend the daily brute struggle for survival,” Peter Thiel wrote in his bestselling 2014 book, Zero to One. That one thing, Thiel stated outright, is “monopoly profits.” In the book, which was embraced as a business bible in Silicon Valley and beyond, Thiel made the case for monopoly as the ultimate goal of capitalism. Indeed, “monopoly is the (...)

    #Palantir #Facebook #domination

  • Un contrat à 10 millions d’euros avec la DGSI

    En mars 2015, quelques semaines après l’attentat contre Charlie Hebdo et l’Hyper Cacher, Palantir a ouvert une filiale française, sur la très chic avenue Hoche, à quelques centaines de mètres de l’Arc de Triomphe. En toute discrétion, comme à son habitude. Après des mois de démarchages et de tractations, la firme américaine a trouvé un accord avec la Direction générale de la sécurité intérieure (DGSI). Selon nos informations, recueillies auprès de plusieurs sources au sein des services de renseignement, le contrat aurait été signé à l’été 2016. Montant estimé : 10 millions d’euros. 5% du budget de la DGSI. Auditionné par la commission défense de l’Assemblée nationale en mai dernier, Patrick Calvar, son patron, balisait le terrain en invoquant l’urgence : « Nous ne manquons pas de données ni de métadonnées, mais nous manquons de systèmes pour les analyser [...] Les entreprises françaises qui [les] développent ne sont pas encore capables de répondre à nos besoins, alors que nous devons acquérir ce big data immédiatement. Nos camarades européens sont dans la même situation. Le choix n’a pas encore été fait mais, en tout état de cause, la solution sera temporaire. »

    #palantir #dgsi #data #surveillance #silicon_army
    #Peter_Thiel #Alex_Karp #trump #NSA #RGPD

  • I’m a Stanford professor accused of being part of a ’terrorist group’. McCarthyism is back | David Palumbo-Liu | Opinion | The Guardian

    As a scholar-activist working on issues such as sexual assault, Palestine, and anti-fascism, I am used to receiving abusive messages and being publicly maligned. Now, however, attacks on me have reached troubling new heights.

    Last month, the Stanford Review, a rightwing publication co-founded by Peter Thiel and based on my university campus, wrote that I have helped set up an “organization [that is] undeniably a chapter of a terrorist group” and demanded my resignation. Their article was picked up by groups like JihadWatch, Campus Fix, Campus Reform, Fox & Friends, and other rightwing media outlets.

    The organization I belong to is called the Campus Antifascist Network. We advocate for organized resistance to fascist violence on campus, and for educating our communities and others as to the nature of fascism today. We claim solidarity with a proud tradition of anti-fascism dating back to the early 20th century.

    Today, we are seeing the resurgence of a wretched phenomenon we thought we had put behind us – McCarthyism, which involves “the use of tactics involving personal attacks on individuals by means of widely publicized indiscriminate allegations especially on the basis of unsubstantiated charges”.

    Professors are more than hesitant about fighting back against accusations that emanate from organizations supported by the likes of Peter Thiel or Charlie Kirk, who founded Turning Point USA.

    I don’t have the resources to bring a libel suit – I cannot out-lawyer a newspaper that has an ally in its founder and major contributor to the university, Peter Thiel.

    The troubling question is: who does?

    #MacCarthysme #Politique_USA #Peter_Thiel

  • Des milliardaires rêvent d’îles artificielles indépendantes pour échapper au réchauffement

    Le TSI remonte à 2008. Il naît sous l’impulsion de #Patri_Friedman, petit-fils du célèbre économiste Milton Friedman, dont les ouvrages comme #Capitalisme et liberté et La liberté du choix ont nourri Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher et les néolibéraux actuels. Bien vite s’y associe une des plus grosses fortunes de la #Silicon_Valley : Peter Thiel. Cofondateur du système de paiement électronique PayPal, le milliardaire est notoirement opposé à toute intervention étatique dans l’économie. De tous les entrepreneurs de la Silicon Valley, il est le seul à avoir publiquement appelé à voter Donald Trump. En outre, il fait partie des plus importants financeurs du #transhumanisme, car selon lui, « il est impossible de fixer a priori les limites de notre durée de vie ».
    Tous les volets pratiques de la vie sur des îles artificielles

    Depuis, le #TSI a consolidé ses principes — via des podcasts de consultants hérauts du #néolibéralisme — et les besoins concrets du projet. Sur le forum, les chefs d’entreprise intéressés par le TSI discutent de tous les volets pratiques de la vie sur des #îles_artificielles : la menace de la piraterie, l’évacuation des déchets, l’#autonomie énergétique… Jusqu’à aboutir l’an dernier à un projet concret, finalisé par la signature d’un « #recueil_d’intentions_réciproques » avec le gouvernement de la #Polynésie_française.


    • À chaque fois, je me demande pourquoi on ne rappelle pas qu’il s’agit, avec ces histoires d’île de riches, de la lubie d’Ayn Rand dans son Atlas Shrugged (La Grève), dont le principe final est que les riches se retirent du monde, laissent le système s’effondrer, pour ensuite reconstruire la société selon leurs critères à eux.

    • Je ne sais pas, l’article évoque quand même l’appartenance au #libertarisme

      Friedman et Thiel appartiennent à une même école de pensée : le libertarisme, qui prône l’absolue indépendance des individus envers toute forme de gouvernement. Pour échapper aux normes fédérales et à l’imposition, leur vient alors l’idée de profiter des solutions techniques qu’offre la #géo-ingénierie pour construire des îles artificielles, situées en eaux internationales, afin d’échapper à toute règlementation.

    • Oui, au moins celui-ci le dit. Mais citer un « économiste » et une type qui a l’air de savoir faire de l’argent à la Silicon Valley, c’est pas la même chose que de citer comme source de cette idée cet horrible personnage qu’est Ayn Rand, ce qui rappellerait que c’est une escroquerie purement idéologique, sans aucun autres fondements qu’une tarée qui revendiquait l’égoïsme absolu tout en touchant discrètement la sécu sous un autre nom.

      Aux États-Unis, Ayn Rand est connue, et il est régulièrement dit que Atlas Shrugged y est le livre le plus influent après la Bible. Je ne sais pas pourquoi ce n’est pas systématiquement rappelé en France, où l’on préfère tourner autour du pot et balancer des références plus nobles à l’école de Chicago.

    • Ca fait aussi penser aux Georgia Guidestones....

      1) Maintenez l’humanité en dessous de 500 000 000 [500 millions d’individus] en perpétuel équilibre avec la nature.
      2) Guidez la reproduction sagement en améliorant l’aptitude et la diversité.
      3) Unifiez l’humanité avec une nouvelle langue vivante.
      4) Dirigez la passion, la foi, la tradition et toute chose par l’usage de la raison et de la modération.
      5) Protégez les peuples et les nations par des lois équitables et des tribunaux justes.
      6) Laissez toutes les nations se gouverner librement, et réglez les conflits internationaux devant un tribunal mondial.
      7) Évitez les lois tatillonnes et les officiels inutiles.
      8) Équilibrez droits individuels et devoirs sociaux.
      9) Privilégiez vérité - beauté - amour - recherche de l’harmonie avec l’infini.
      10) Ne soyez pas un cancer à la surface de la Terre. Laissez de l’espace à la nature. Laissez de l’espace à la nature

      Dix commandements pour l’après-catastrophe
      Randall Sullivan, Courrier International, le 16 décembre 2009

      #Georgia_Guidestones #néomalthusianisme

    • #Peter_Thiel #Silicons
      Et en attendant, la pauvreté augmente …

      Mon cousin vit à la Silicon Valley, y bosse en journalier, il vérifie les traductions pour apple, sa femme est prof et travaille aussi. Ils n’ont pas de quoi financièrement vivre ensemble ! Lui a passé 5 ans derrière la frontière mexicaine en attendant sa carte verte, mais l’équation finale donne en résultat leur retour en France, Montpellier justement … Elle laisse ses enfants là-bas.

    • Propeller Island City Lodge Gesamtkunstwerk Hotel Berlin

      L’allemand a une jolie expression pour ce gendre de discours : abgehoben décrit l’état d’un avion juste après son décollage. C’est devenu une métaphore pour des idée sans aucun rapport avec la réalité. Cet hôtel montre ce qui arrive à toutes ces idées - d’abord on les poursuit avec un enthousiasme d’évangéliste mais une fois qu’on a compris qu’elles ne tiennent pas debout on les modifie jusqu’à ce quelles disparaissent dans une réalisation très banale. Malheureusement pour Peter Thiel (et pour nous aussi) ses projets sont d’une dimension telle qu’il risque d’avoir besoin de plus longtemps que durera son existance avant d’arriver à ce résultat inexorable.

      hotel closed
      for repairs and a new concept
      für unbestimmte Zeit stillgelegt
      Info (nur Presse) 0163 - 256 59 09 / SMS

      propeller island - this means aesthetic sensation for the eye and the ear. propeller island is a pseudonym used by the german artist lars stroschen to publish his audio-visual creations. unlimited diversity, repeating nothing and copying nothing are the guiding principles here.
      the most popular result: the CITY LODGE, a habitable work of art in the heart of berlin, whose wealth of ideas never fails to attract everyone into its gravitational field and to continue inspiring guests long afterwards. a magnet for creative individuals, those weary of consumption, those who see things differently, philosophers and seekers of perspective and vision. frequented by personalities from around the globe, this vision machine is a much-desired shooting site for photo sessions and video clips. is that perhaps the reason these rooms seem so familiar to you...?


      Albrecht-Achilles-Straße 58, 10709 Berlin

      #Berlin #Charlottenburg #Albrecht-Achilles-Straße #tourisme #art #aviation

    • Exemple de la méconnaissance d’Ayn Rand en France, et là j’avoue que c’est grave de chez grave !
      À la fin de l’émission de philo sur FC, Géraldine Mosna-Savoye demande à la productrice Adèle Van Reeth (censée en connaitre un rayon en matière de philo et d’idéologie)

      Haïe par certains qui voient en elle le mal incarné, elle est aussi portée aux nues par d’autres. En fait, la lire rend, au choix, euphorique ou répugne à souhait. Née il y a tout pile 113 ans, disparue en 1982, ses livres sont encore les plus lus aux Etats-Unis, après la Bible, même si elle reste pourtant une figure méconnue en France…

      Peu importe d’ailleurs car ce qu’elle a dit, fait ou pensé, imprègne l’imaginaire de notre époque, faite de capitalisme, de masse, avec l’égoïsme en porte-drapeau. Cette philosophe, Stéphane Legrand nous en fait un portrait à la fois drôle et effrayant, dans un livre paru aux éditions Nova, de qui s’agit s’agit-il Adèle ?
      – j’en sais rien.


    • Voir aussi:

      Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich
      Evan Osnos, The New-Yorker, le 30 janvier 2017

      Pourquoi les millionnaires de la Silicon Valley se préparent à la fin du monde
      Xavier de La Porte, France Culture, le 28 février 2017

      Why Silicon Valley billionaires are prepping for the apocalypse in New Zealand
      Mark O’Connell, The Guardian, le 15 février 2018

      La Spirale, le 14 août 2018

  • Peter Thiel Wants to Inject Himself With Young People’s Blood | Vanity Fair

    Given Thiel’s obsession with warding off death, it comes as no surprise that the Silicon Valley billionaire is interested in at least one radical way of doing it: injecting himself with a young person’s blood.

    #sang #capitalisme #vampires

  • #Donald_Trump et la #Silicon_Valley, « c’est compliqué »

    Donald Trump et #Peter_Thiel, le 14 décembre 2016 © Reuters Après avoir fait ouvertement campagne contre le candidat républicain, les entreprises du #Numérique doivent maintenant composer avec la nouvelle administration. Malgré les oppositions à la politique migratoire, certains plaident déjà pour des relations plus apaisées au nom du réalisme économique. D’autres, comme le PDG de PayPal, ont depuis longtemps rejoint le camp Trump et placent leurs pions.

    #International #Fil_d'actualités #Facebook #Mark_Zuckerberg #Palanthir

  • #Propriétarien

    1.6 L’idéologie de Facebook – ce n’est pas fait par un étudiant cool.

    En ces temps où on veut toujours nous faire croire que les débuts de l’internet étaient seulement portés par une idéologie californienne libératrice, il est salutaire de lire ou relire l’article de Tom Hodgkinson sur Facebook paru dans le Guardian en janvier 2008. Prémonitoire et on ne peut plus d’actualité près de [trois] ans plus tard, soit une éternité à l’échelle temporelle du web.

    Quelques extraits :

    « #Facebook est un projet bien établi, et les personnes derrière le financement sont un groupe de spécialistes du capital-risque de la #Silicon_Valley, qui ont clairement pensé l’idéologie qu’elles souhaitent diffuser dans le monde entier. (..)

    Bien que le projet ait été au départ conçu par le très médiatisé #Mark_Zuckerberg, le vrai dirigeant derrière Facebook est le philosophe #Peter_Thiel, spécialiste du capital-risque et futurologue de la Silicon Valley, âgé de 40 ans. Il y a seulement trois membres du conseil de direction sur Facebook : Peter Thiel, Mark Zuckerberg et #Jim_Breyer, appartenant au groupe de capital risque #Accel_Partners. (..)

    Mais Thiel est plus qu’un capitaliste intelligent et avare. C’est un philosophe du futur et un activiste des néoconservateurs. Il est diplômé de philosophie à Stanford, en 1998 il coécrit un livre appelé « Le mythe de la diversité », qui est une attaque détaillée sur l’idéologie multiculturelle qui domine Stanford. Il estime que le multiculturalisme a conduit à une diminution des libertés individuelles. Alors qu’il était étudiant à Stanford, Thiel fondait un journal de droite, encore en service actuellement, appelé « Que la lumière soit ». Thiel est un membre de #TheVanguard.Org, un groupe de pression néoconservateur sur Internet, qui a été créé pour attaquer MoveOn.org, un groupe de pression de gauche qui travaille sur le Web. (..)

    L’Internet [personnification étrange…]fait immensément appel aux néoconservateurs tels que Thiel, parce qu’il promet une certaine forme de liberté dans des relations humaines et dans les affaires : absence de droits nationaux embêtants, suppression des frontières, etc. L’ #Internet est le cheval de Troyes du libre-échange et de l’expansion du laissez faire. Peter Thiel semble également soutenir les paradis fiscaux en mer, et réclame que 40 % de la richesse du monde réside dans les endroits tels que Vanuatu, les Îles Cayman, Monaco et les Barbade. Je pense qu’il est réaliste d’indiquer que Thiel, comme Rupert Murdoch, est contre l’impôt et les taxes. Il aime également la mondialisation de la culture numérique parce qu’elle rend les banquiers mondiaux difficiles à attaquer. « Vous ne pouvez pas avoir une révolution des ouvriers contre une banque, si la banque est domiciliée au Vanuatu, » estime t-il… (..)

    Ainsi, Peter Thiel essaye de détruire le monde réel, qu’il appelle aussi « nature », pour le remplacer par un monde virtuel, et c’est dans ce contexte que nous devons regarder le succès de Facebook. Facebook est une expérience délibérée dans la manipulation globale, et Peter Thiel est une lumière pleine de promesse pour les néoconservateurs, avec un penchant pour les folies utopiques de la technologie. Pas vraiment quelqu’un que je souhaite aider à devenir riche pour ses projets…(..)"

    • With friends like these ...

      Although the project was initially conceived by media cover star Mark Zuckerberg, the real face behind Facebook is the 40-year-old Silicon Valley venture capitalist and futurist philosopher Peter Thiel. There are only three board members on Facebook, and they are Thiel, Zuckerberg and a third investor called Jim Breyer from a venture capital firm called Accel Partners (more on him later). Thiel invested $500,000 in Facebook when Harvard students Zuckerberg, Chris Hughes and Dustin Moskowitz went to meet him in San Francisco in June 2004, soon after they had launched the site. Thiel now reportedly owns 7% of Facebook, which, at Facebook’s current valuation of $15bn , would be worth more than $1bn. There is much debate on who exactly were the original co-founders of Facebook, but whoever they were, Zuckerberg is the only one left on the board, although Hughes and Moskowitz still work for the company.

      Thiel is widely regarded in Silicon Valley and in the US venture capital scene as a libertarian genius. He is the co-founder and CEO of the virtual banking system PayPal, which he sold to Ebay for $1.5bn, taking $55m for himself. He also runs a £3bn hedge fund called Clarium Capital Management and a venture capital fund called Founders Fund. Bloomberg Markets magazine recently called him “one of the most successful hedge fund managers in the country”. He has made money by betting on rising oil prices and by correctly predicting that the dollar would weaken. He and his absurdly wealthy Silicon Valley mates have recently been labelled “The PayPal Mafia” by Fortune magazine, whose reporter also observed that Thiel has a uniformed butler and a $500,000 McLaren supercar. Thiel is also a chess master and intensely competitive. He has been known to sweep the chessmen off the table in a fury when losing. And he does not apologise for this hyper-competitveness, saying: “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.”

      But Thiel is more than just a clever and avaricious capitalist. He is a futurist philosopher and neocon activist. A philosophy graduate from Stanford, in 1998 he co-wrote a book called The Diversity Myth, which is a detailed attack on liberalism and the multiculturalist ideology that dominated Stanford. He claimed that the “multiculture” led to a lessening of individual freedoms. While a student at Stanford, Thiel founded a rightwing journal, still up and running, called The Stanford Review - motto: Fiat Lux ("Let there be light"). Thiel is a member of TheVanguard.Org, an internet-based neoconservative pressure group that was set up to attack MoveOn.org, a liberal pressure group that works on the web. Thiel calls himself “way libertarian”.

      TheVanguard is run by one Rod D Martin, a philosopher-capitalist whom Thiel greatly admires. On the site, Thiel says: “Rod is one of our nation’s leading minds in the creation of new and needed ideas for public policy. He possesses a more complete understanding of America than most executives have of their own businesses.”

  • #Peter_Thiel, fondateur de PayPal et #libertarien, rêve d’un monde sans politique

    grand admirateur de l’Académicien français René Girard et de sa théorie du désir mimétique, il débat régulièrement avec des philosophes et a été, dans sa jeunesse, un des meilleurs joueurs d’échec des Etats-Unis.

  • Lunch Talk mit Peter Thiel | Alexander von Humboldt Institut für Internet und Gesellschaft

    21. Januar 2015 | 13:00 Uhr, Einlass 12:30 Uhr
    Kalkscheune, Raum Galerie, Johannisstraße 2, 10117 Berlin


    Peter Thiel über Rocket: „Nicht die Art von Firma, in die ich investieren würde“ | Gründerszene

    Was denkt der erfolgreichste deutschstämmige Tech-Investor eigentlich über Deutschlands erfolgreichste Internet-Firmenfabrik? Die Frage drängt sich bei der einstündigen Veranstaltung an diesem Mittwoch förmlich auf. Und Thiels Antwort lässt wenig Raum für Interpretation: Der Inkubator stehe nicht für „die Art von Firmen, in die ich persönlich investieren oder die ich gründen wollen würde“.

    Thiel kann seine Abneigung auch theoretisch untermauern, er hat im ersten Kapitel seines im vergangenen Jahr veröffentlichten Buches „Zero to One“ dazu die Unterscheidung zwischen zwei Formen von Fortschritt getroffen: Fortschritt durch Technologie und durch Globalisierung. Im ersten Fall handle es sich um vertikalen oder intensiven Fortschritt, doing new things. Im zweiten Fall gehe es um horizontalen oder extensiven Fortschritt, copying things that work. Thiel beschreibt damit eigentlich makroökonomische Megatrends, aber keine Frage: Rocket Internet ist für ihn ein Beispiel für die zweite Kategorie.

    Peter Thiel über Religion, Fortschritt und Hoffnung für die Menschheit | Gründerszene

    Weniger bekannt ist, dass sich der Star-Investor auch intensiv mit religiösen Themen auseinandersetzt – er wuchs als evangelikaler Christ auf. Auf einem Podium der Stiftung Veritas Forum in San Francisco gab Thiel nun einen tiefen Einblick in sein eigenes Verhältnis zur Religion – und was das Christentum seiner Ansicht nach mit dem schwindsüchtigen technologischen Fortschritt zu tun habe.

    Sowohl der Silicon-Valley-Kosmos als auch das Christentum, so legt Thiel in einem spannenden und tiefschürfenden Gespräch mit dem britischen Theologien N.T. Wright dar, teilten demnach die Hoffnung auf eine bessere Zukunft. „Beide sind der Ansicht, dass die Zukunft sich sehr stark von der Gegenwart oder der Vergangenheit unterscheiden werden.“ Hingegen herrsche heute ein Blick auf die Welt vor, der nicht optimistisch sei, sondern fortschrittskritisch, zynisch und resigniert.

    Das gesamte anderthalbstündige Gespräch unter dem hochtrabenden Titel „Gibt es Hoffnung für die Menschheit?“ gibt es hier im Video:



    So wettert Thiel mit gewohnt klaren Thesen gegen Investoren, die lieber wenig Geld in viele verschiedene Startups investieren, anstatt mit viel Geld vereinzelte Unternehmen zu unterstützen: „Das ist eine Einstellung, die ich sehr schlecht finde. Denn ich finde, dass man andere Leute und ihre Firmen nicht wie Lottoscheine behandeln sollte“, machte der Stanford-Dozent dem jungen Publikum klar. „Das ist auch psychologisch gesehen schlecht. Denn wenn man denkt, dass man Lotto spielt, geht man schon irgendwie davon aus, dass man das Geld verlieren wird.“

    In seinen Bann zieht Thiel seine Zuhörer auch mit einer Facebook-Story von 2006: Yahoo habe damals Mark Zuckerberg eine Milliarde für Facebook geboten – Zuckerberg sei von Anfang an klar gewesen, dass er nicht verkaufen würde. Was er denn mit dem Geld machen solle, habe er Thiel gefragt, er würde wahrscheinlich nur ein neues soziales Netzwerk gründen. Also entschied sich der damals 22-jährige Zuckerberg, der mit dem Deal 250 Millionen verdient hätte, Facebook lieber noch größer zu machen und die Konkurrenz abzuhängen.

    Peter Thiel: „Manchmal muss man nicht um Erlaubnis fragen, sondern nachher um Vergebung“ | Gründerszene

    Für Thiel geht es um die großen Ideen und die Zivilisation. Künstliche Intelligenz etwa oder das Altern. Ob er ewig leben wolle? Zumindest müsse in dieser Hinsicht „viel mehr gemacht werden“. Die Frage nach künstlicher Intelligenz sei indessen eine politische, keine unternehmerische. „Die liegt allerdings noch 100 Jahre in der Zukunft, im Moment mache ich mir wenige Gedanken darüber.“


    „You have to be ten times better than second best“ – Eight insights from Peter Thiel

    “If nothing goes wrong, you’re probably not trying hard enough”

    When it comes to failure, Thiel’s outlook seems to reflect his American upbringing rather than his German roots. His attitude is pragmatic – failure isn’t good but “if nothing goes wrong, then you’re probably not trying hard enough”. (Berlin could do with a bit more of that Silicon Valley attitude.)

    “You have to be 10 times better than second best”

    Innovative and ambitious thinking is important but founders need to follow-through. “Big thinking is aways a bit dangerous because you have to do something no one else is doing and much better,” Thiel said. “We want to see companies that we can somehow measure and see are 10 times better than what’s second best. It’s no good if you’re one or 10 per cent better.” So if you’re looking for investment from Thiel, better make sure your product is up to scratch.

    Berlin has “the most potential of all cities in Europe”

    Maybe he’s biased because of his German heritage, maybe he just thinks there are great companies here – either way, Thiel named Berlin as the European city with the biggest startup potential. Already an investor in Berlin-based science network ResearchGate (alongside Bill Gates), this may mean Thiel is on the lookout for more funding opportunities in the German capital. He did make the point that Silicon Valley is still his favourite, though.

    #transhumanisme #religion #startup #peter_thiel

  • CIA-backed #Palantir valued at $9bn - FT.com
    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/996fa9e0-5dde-11e3-b3e8-00144feabdc0.html #paywall

    Palantir’s initial funding came from #In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s not-for-profit venture capital firm, and it has received several rounds of funding from the Founder’s Fund, a venture capital fund run by former PayPal chief executive and Facebook backer #Peter_Thiel. Other venture capital investors include Glenn Capital Management and Ulu Ventures.
    The company raised almost $200m in a fundraising round less than three months ago, and then also would not disclose the identity of the investors. Founded by #PayPal alumni and #Stanford computer scientists in 2004, the company has raised almost $800m in total.

    The CIA and the FBI use the Palantir platform to seek patterns in large amounts of disparate data which can be used to help guide their actions, for example, in the tracking of terror suspects, drug trafficking or cyber crime.

    But Palantir’s work for the private sector is the fastest growing part of the business, and now makes up more than 60 per cent. It offers companies anti-fraud services, warnings about insider trading threats and programmes which promise to help accelerate the research and development process in the pharmaceuticals industry.

  • Amazon and the “profitless business model” fallacy — Remains of the Day

    #Amazon wants to eat global retail. (...) Given that giant mission, Amazon has decided to continue to invest to arm itself for a much larger scale of business. (...) the amount of capital required to grow a business that has to ship millions of packages to customers all over the world quickly is something only a handful of companies in the world could even afford. (...)

    Amazon has seen that lowering its shipping costs and increasing the speed of shipping items to customers is like a shot of adrenaline to customer’s propensity to buy from them, and so it has doubled down on building more and more fulfillment centers around the world. When I joined Amazon it had one fulfillment center. Today it has dozens just in the US alone, and I would not be surprised if it has more than 100 fulfillment centers worldwide now. 

    That is a gargantuan investment, billions of dollars worth, and it takes a significant bite out of Amazon’s free cash flow.

    (...) There are very few people in technology and business who are what I’d call apex predators. Jeff is one of them, the most patient and intelligent one I’ve met in my life. An apex predator doesn’t wake up one day and decide it is done hunting. Right now I envision only one throttle to Jeff’s ambitions and it is human mortality, but I would not be surprised if one day he announced he’d started another side project with #Peter_Thiel to work on a method of achieving #immortality.

    hé hé ! #disruption te voilà…

    If I were an Amazon competitor, I’d actually regard Amazon’s current run of quarterly losses as a terrifying signal. It means Amazon is arming itself to take the contest to higher ground. The retail game is about to become more, not less, punishing.

  • Au rayon ma #startup deviendra grande, l’étrange histoire de Skype.

    “How can they be so good?”: The strange story of #Skype | Ars Technica via @opironet

    On August 29, 2003, Skype went live for the first time. By 2012, according to Telegeography, Skype accounted for a whopping 167 billion minutes of cross-border voice and video calling in a year—which itself was a stunning 44 percent growth over 2011. That increase in minutes was “more than twice that achieved by all international carriers in the world, combined.” That is to say, Skype today poses a serious threat to the largest telcos on the planet. It also made Jaan Tallinn and other early Skypers rich.

    #internet_traffic #tech_companies

  • How A ’Deviant’ Philosopher Built #Palantir, A CIA-Funded #Data-Mining Juggernaut - Forbes

    The biggest problem for Palantir’s business may be just how well its software works: It helps its customers see too much. In the wake of NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s revelations of the agency’s mass surveillance, Palantir’s tools have come to represent privacy advocates’ greatest fears of data-mining technology — Google-level engineering applied directly to government spying. That combination of Big Brother and Big Data has come into focus just as Palantir is emerging as one of the fastest-growing startups in the Valley, threatening to contaminate its first public impressions and render the firm toxic in the eyes of customers and investors just when it needs them most.

    “They’re in a scary business,” says Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Lee Tien. ACLU analyst Jay Stanley has written that Palantir’s software could enable a “true totalitarian nightmare, monitoring the activities of innocent Americans on a mass scale.”

    Karp, a social theory Ph.D., doesn’t dodge those concerns. He sees Palantir as the company that can rewrite the rules of the zero-sum game of privacy and security. “I didn’t sign up for the government to know when I smoke a joint or have an affair,” he acknowledges. In a company address he stated, “We have to find places that we protect away from government so that we can all be the unique and interesting and, in my case, somewhat deviant people we’d like to be.”

    Palantir has explored work in Saudi Arabia despite the staff’s misgivings about human rights abuses in the kingdom. And for all Karp’s emphasis on values, his apology for the WikiLeaks affair also doesn’t seem to have left much of an impression in his memory. In his address to Palantir engineers in July he sounded defiant: “We’ve never had a scandal that was really our fault.”

    AT 4:07 P.M. ON NOV. 14, 2009 Michael Katz-Lacabe was parking his red Toyota Prius in the driveway of his home in the quiet Oakland suburb of San Leandro when a police car drove past. A license plate camera mounted on the squad car silently and routinely snapped a photo of the scene: his off-white, single-floor house, his wilted lawn and rosebushes, and his 5- and 8-year-old daughters jumping out of the car.

    Katz-Lacabe, a gray-bearded and shaggy-haired member of the local school board, community activist and blogger, saw the photo only a year later: In 2010 he learned about the San Leandro Police Department’s automatic license plate readers, designed to constantly photograph and track the movements of every car in the city. He filed a public records request for any images that included either of his two cars. The police sent back 112 photos. He found the one of his children most disturbing.

    “Who knows how many other people’s kids are captured in these images?” he asks. His concerns go beyond a mere sense of parental protection. “With this technology you can wind back the clock and see where everyone is, if they were parked at the house of someone other than their wife, a medical marijuana clinic, a Planned Parenthood center, a protest.”

    ... it’s clear that #Alex_Karp does indeed value privacy–his own.

    His office, decorated with cardboard effigies of himself built by Palantir staff and a Lego fortress on a coffee table, overlooks Palo Alto’s Alma Street through two-way mirrors. Each pane is fitted with a wired device resembling a white hockey puck. The gadgets, known as acoustic transducers, imperceptibly vibrate the glass with white noise to prevent eavesdropping techniques, such as bouncing lasers off windows to listen to conversations inside.

    He’s reminiscing about a more carefree time in his life–years before Palantir–and has put down his Rubik’s cube to better gesticulate. “I had $40,000 in the bank, and no one knew who I was. I loved it. I loved it. I just loved it. I just loved it!” he says, his voice rising and his hands waving above his head. “I would walk around, go into skanky places in Berlin all night. I’d talk to whoever would talk to me, occasionally go home with people, as often as I could. I went to places where people were doing things, smoking things. I just loved it.”

    “One of the things I find really hard and view as a massive drag … is that I’m losing my ability to be completely anonymous.”

    It’s not easy for a man in Karp’s position to be a deviant in the modern world. And with tools like Palantir in the hands of the government, deviance may not be easy for the rest of us, either. With or without safeguards, the “complete anonymity” Karp savors may be a 20th-century luxury.

    Karp lowers his arms, and the enthusiasm drains from his voice: “I have to get over this.”

    #surveillance, la préservation de la #vie_privée consideree comme un #luxe

    • un peu de #censure sur #facebook
      un #trader #philanthrope
      et de la #disruption

      [Sean Parker] s’installe à New York et devient célèbre pour ses fêtes extravagantes.
      En 2006, il rejoint le Founders Fund, le fonds d’investissement de #Peter_Thiel, cofondateur de Paypal et de Facebook, et a carte blanche pour miser sur de nouvelles start-up. Il investit dans Spotify, un site de musique en ligne considéré comme l’héritier naturel de #Napster, et des start-up moins connues comme Airtime, une plateforme de chat vidéo. Ses admirateurs comme ses détracteurs reconnaissent qu’il a plus qu’une touche de génie. Thiel a déclaré à Vanity Fair : “J’ai dit à Sean qu’il devait être le petit-fils du célèbre magnat Howard Hughes – c’est un entrepreneur génial qui est en train de transformer les Etats-Unis mais que la société ne comprend pas.”

  • Chiens de garde d’hier et d’aujourd’hui

    Un article qui mélange tout

    [Ci-gît une vidéo de C. Ockrent interrogée sur sa participation à Bilderberg sur France 2 le 2 février 2013] C’est ainsi que le Collège international de philosophie ou l’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, à l’instar des #revues @Vacarme ou Multitudes, sont littéralement trustés par les disciples enamourés de l’auteur de Surveiller et punir. Sous les dehors de la subversion, ces nouveaux chiens de garde relaient les principales thématiques agitées par les bourgeoisies européennes, de l’éloge d’une liberté abstraite à celui du nomadisme (aujourd’hui rebaptisé « mobilité ») quand ils ne se livrent pas, tout simplement, à la célébration du #néolibéralisme le plus chimiquement pur.

    ... #cax #journalisme #entre_soi #bilderberg #critique_médias (pseudo)#philosophie #nizan #foucault etc.

    Sur Ockrent : http://seenthis.net/messages/113868

  • Le manifeste de l’égoïsme

    John Galt Speech


    I am the man who loves his life. I am the man who does not sacrifice his love or his values. I am the man who has deprived you of victims and thus has destroyed your world, and if you wish to know why you are perishing - you who dread knowledge - I am the man who will now tell you.


    Atlas Shrugged, published in 1957, was Rand’s magnum opus.
    The novel includes elements of romance,[60][61] mystery, and science fiction,[62] and it contains Rand’s most extensive statement of Objectivism in any of her works of fiction, a lengthy monologue delivered by Galt.

    Si vous voulez entrer dans le cerveau, dans l’esprit, enfin dans l’essence de ce qui constitue un #capitaliste de la #rupture moderne, il faut que vous lisiez cet extrait d’Atlas Shrugged. Le discours de John Galt explique ce drôle de mélange d’idées qui servent de fil d’Ariane aux nouveaux entrepreneurs comme #Peter_Thiel.

    Since life requires a specific course of action, any other course will destroy it. A being who does not hold his own life as the motive and goal of his actions, is acting on the motive and standard of death. Such a being is a metaphysical monstrosity, struggling to oppose, negate and contradict the fact of his own existence, running blindly amuck on a trail of destruction, capable of nothing but pain.

    Chacun qui refuse d’accepter cette soi-disant réalité et se décide contre l’égoïsme, se place au même niveau qu’une plante - un être vivant qui n’est qu’une ressource pour ceux qui possèdent la capacité de prendre la bonne décision en luttant pour leur propre survie au dépens des autres. C’est bien fait pour votre geule si vous en souffrez. Le capitaliste se définit en tant que nouveau Übermensch . On ne s’étonne pas quand on découvre qu’une entreprise issue du cercle d’amis de Thiel a choisi de s’appeller Uber (sans l’imprononçable « Ü » bien sûr) après avoir compris que Uber-Taxi sonnait vraiment trop bizarre. http://www.uber.com

    On ne doit pas critiquer Ayn Rand sans mentionner les défenseurs de l’individu qui acceptent la solidarité et la convivialité. Je pense surtout au précurseur des existentialistes Max Stirner dont l’oeuvre Der Einzige und sein Eigentum fut largement intégrée et pervertie par l’héroïne des néo-libéraux. Stirner se place du côté des opprimés et exploités. Il prononce le refus de donner aux riches et puissants, à l’église et à l’état.

    A son époque ces institutions constituaient encore des outils indispensables pour la construction et l’exercice du pouvoir exploitant, alors qu’actuellement ce ne sont plus que des formes particulières d’organisation sociale dont les frais de gestion et de transaction représentent un élément peu profitable pour les nouveaux capitalistes.

    Devinez qui je préfère lire un dimanche matin.

    And now for something completely different :
    Saudis in Audis



  • The #PayPal_mafia - Fortune, Nov. 14, 2007


    It’s been nine years since Thiel and Levchin first dined together at Hobee’s, near Stanford University. Levchin had an idea for a company, and Thiel wanted to invest. In short order Thiel joined as a co-founder, and together they set out to “create the new world currency.”

    #peter_thiel mais aussi Elon Musk évoqué là notamment http://seenthis.net/messages/93066

    Il y a aussi la « #Google mafia » http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/28/business/28vc.html?&pagewanted=all (28.12.07) mais elle n’a pas de page Wikipedia :) (faudrait voir ce qu’ils sont devenus) #entre_soi #tech_companies

  • The end of “disruption” » Nieman Journalism Lab

    Bah non, pas déjà, on commençait à peine à s’amuser :) #disruption via @hubertguillaud

    For a long time now, “disruption” has been the go-to buzzword in commentary about journalism. Pundits and consultants love to say “disruption” because the word tends to attract money and attention. But the word is starting to ring hollow. Throwing it around today seems more like a way to avoid hard thinking than to engage in it. Maybe 2013 will be the year when we finally stop talking about “disruption.” I hope so, because then we can start giving as much consideration to what endures as to what changes.

    Apparemment ce terme énerve beaucoup @evgeneymorozov

    Forget MOOCs and disruption: for Shirky, Napster explains our primate instincts (!). This is “Shirky’s Napster Theory of Everything”.

    Can someone create a Shirky twitter bot so that every time someone mentions “disruption,” it responds with “Look at Napster”?

    “Maybe 2013 will be the year when we finally stop talking about ’disruption’” says Carr. He sure prefers “interruption”

    Lequel Evgeny finit par copier seenthis, cf. http://seenthis.net/messages/102541

    “Disruption” as a keyword seems to take off sometime in the 1960s http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=disruption&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoot

    Marrant cette fixette sur Napster, parce que précisément dans Social Network à 1h30 de film environ, Sean Parker de Napster évoque "l’ange investisseur" qui va permettre à Facebook de "franchir le cap", j’ai nommé : #Peter_Thiel [je mettrai l’extrait audio bientôt sur cette page]. cc @fil

  • Le #logiciel dévore le monde… depuis les États-Unis | L’Âge de la multitude

    Le logiciel est aux acteurs de l’économie traditionnelle ce que Wal-Mart est à ses fournisseurs : un rouleau compresseur qui réduit à néant la marge d’exploitation et force la délocalisation des chaînes de production dans des pays où le prix de la main-d’oeuvre est plus faible. Dans le partage de la valeur entre les activités traditionnelles et les nouveaux maillons logiciels, ce sont les seconds qui se tailleront la part du lion.

    mots-clés : #disruption #peter_thiel (pour ceux qui suivent…)

    #industrie #stratégie