politicalevent:presidential election

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

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

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

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

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

    Falize found his fight towards the end of the night.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “It started pissing blood,” he said.

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

    “We were Sieg-Heiling on the street.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Guillaume continued: “That is punishable by law.”


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


  • Avakov: Ukraine’s wall along Russian border nearly half complete

    Ukraine has built almost half of its 2,300-kilometer wall on the border with Russia, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on Nov. 24 during his visit to the border checkpoint in Kharkiv Oblast.

    “The project has been extended until 2021,” Avakov said. “The budget plan for the 2019 allocates Hr 400 million ($14.4 million) for it. But the head of the Border Guard Service hopes to receive additional funds.”

    The Kharkiv section of the Ukrainian-Russian wall has been almost completed with only 20 kilometers left, according to Avakov. The works will continue on the border sections in Sumy and Luhansk oblasts. It includes fortifications with a barbed wire fence, two-meter deep anti-tank trenches, 17-meter-high watchtowers, 40 border checkpoints as well as equipment with motion sensors, border security closed-circuit television (CCTV) and alarm systems.

    Overall, 47 percent of the 2,300-kilometer wall has been built, the minister said.

    In addition, starting from January, Ukraine has launched the biometric control system for Russian passport holders at all border-crossing checkpoints.

    Former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who is running for president in the upcoming March presidential elections, joined Avakov on the trip to the border in Kharkiv Oblast on Nov. 24.

    The ambitious project known as the European Wall was announced by then-Prime Minister Yatsenyuk in 2014 in the wake of the Russian military intervention in the Donbas. Ukraine lost control over parts of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts and 400 kilometers that border with Russia. The wall was designed to protect Ukraine from further attacks on its territory as well as to stop illegal flow of weapons from Russia.

    In the aftermath of the EuroMaidan Revolution that drove pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych from power on Feb. 22, 2014, Kremlin incited mass anti-government demonstrations in eastern Ukraine and occupied Crimean peninsula. In Donetsk and Luhansk, protesters “declared independence” from Ukraine which escalated into an armed conflict between Ukrainian forces and Kremlin-backed forces. In April 2014, pro-Russian protesters took over the Kharkiv administration and “declared independence from Ukraine” but the Ukrainian government managed to retain control over the region.

    The construction of the wall, however, halted due to lack of funding and a corruption scandal.

    In 2015-2017, the Border Guard Serviced received Hr 800 mln ($28.8 million) — less than a quarter of the total cost of the project estimated at over Hr 4 billion ($147.6 million).

    In November 2017, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau arrested eight people on embezzlement charges. NABU detectives found that the officials of the Border Guard Service in cahoots with local contractors had siphoned off Hr 16.68 million ($600,800) from the Project Wall funds.


    https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/interior-minister-ukraines-wall-along-russian-border-nearly-half-complete.

    #Ukraine #Russie #murs #frontières #barrières_frontalières


  • What’s Driving the Conflict in Cameroon?
    Violence Is Escalating in Its Anglophone Regions.

    In recent months, political violence in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon has escalated dramatically. So far, at least 400 civilians and 160 state security officers have been killed in the conflict between the government and an armed separatist movement that, just two short years ago, started as a peaceful strike of lawyers and teachers. How did such upheaval come to a country that has prided itself for decades as a bulwark of stability in a region of violent conflict? And why has it escalated so quickly?

    THE ROOTS OF THE VIOLENCE

    The Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon have a special historical legacy that sets them apart from the country’s other eight regions: between 1922 and 1960, they were ruled as a British trust or protectorate while the rest of the territory was administered by France. This is why today, 3 million residents of the Northwest and Southwest regions—roughly 20 percent of the Cameroonian population—speak primarily English, not French. These two regions also use their own legal and educational systems, inherited from the British, and have a unique cultural identity.

    Many analysts argue that the current conflict stems from the intractable historical animosity between Cameroon’s Anglophones and Francophones. Yet if that is the case, it is strange that the violence is only occurring now. Why not in 1972, when Ahmadou Ahidjo, the first president of Cameroon, ended the federation between the Anglophone and Francophone regions, forcing the Anglophones to submit to a unitary state? Or in 1992, when current President Paul Biya held Cameroon’s first multi-party elections, and narrowly won a heavily rigged contest by four percentage points against Anglophone candidate John Fru Ndi? Furthermore, if differences in identity are the primary driver of the conflict, it is quite surprising that Cameroon—one of the most ethnically diverse countries in Africa—has largely avoided ethnic conflict.

    Most Anglophones themselves say that they would be happy to put their national identity above their linguistic one if they weren’t systematically neglected and repressed by Cameroon’s central government. According to a survey from the Afrobarometer, an independent polling and research network, when asked whether they identify more as Cameroonians or more with their ethnic group, the vast majority of respondents in the Northwest and Southwest regions said they identified with these categories equally. Less than five percent said they identified more with their ethnic group. Nonetheless, members of this population have long felt themselves to be treated as second-class citizens in their own country. Anglophones who go to the capital city of Yaoundé to collect government documents, for example, often report being ridiculed or turned away by public officials because they cannot speak French. Separatists argue that this mistreatment and discrimination by Yaoundé, and Francophone Cameroonians more broadly, is grounds for secession.

    Yet regional neglect and mistreatment are not enough to explain the current wave of violence. If they were the root cause, then we should also be seeing separatist movements in Cameroon’s North and Far North regions, where state violence has become endemic in the fight against Boko Haram over the past four years. Moreover, in the North and Far North regions, the poverty rate is higher (more than 50 percent in each, compared to 15 percent in the Southwest and 25 percent in the Northwest) and state investment in public goods such schools, health clinics, and roads is lower than anywhere else in the country.

    To be sure, the Anglophones’ unique linguistic and cultural identity has played a role in the rebellion. But in order to understand why the escalating violence is taking place where and when it is, we must consider not only the Anglophone regions’ exceptional political isolation and relative economic autonomy from the rest of Cameroon, but also the increasing impatience of Africans living under non-democratic regimes.
    WHY THE ANGLOPHONE REGIONS?

    Biya, who last month won his seventh term in office, has been in power since 1982, making him one of the longest ruling leaders in the world. In fact, Cameroon has only had two presidents since gaining independence in 1960. Because the country’s median age is 18, this means that the majority of Cameroonians have only ever known one president. Yet the decline of Africa’s strongmen over the past two decades—most recently Blaise Compaoré in Burkina Faso, Yahya Jammeh in the Gambia, Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, José Eduardo dos Santos in Angola, and even Jacob Zuma in South Africa—has made Biya’s continued rule increasingly untenable. Democracy may have begun to lose its appeal in many parts of the world, but it remains important to most sub-Saharan Africans. Many Cameroonians with an education and a smart phone consider their president’s extended rule increasingly illegitimate. The political tide currently washing away the strongmen of Africa has made this moment an exceptional one for mobilizing people against the regime.

    In spite of these democratic headwinds, Biya has managed to maintain his legitimacy in some quarters through his cooptation of Francophone elites and control of information by means of the (largely Francophone) state-owned media. He has masterfully brought Francophone leaders into government, offering them lucrative ministerial posts and control over various government revenue streams. Importantly, he has not been excessively repressive—at least not before the current outbreak of violence—and has gone out of his way to uphold the façade of democratic legitimacy through holding regular elections, allowing a relatively unfettered (although weak) independent media, and having a general laissez-faire attitude toward governing.

    The state media and elites within the ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement are stalwart defenders of the president, operating whole-heartedly on the fictitious assumption that the regime is democratic. Many Cameroonians, especially those isolated from independent media, opposition parties, or information from outside of the country, earnestly believe this narrative. Another survey by the Afrobarometer conducted in 2015 before the outbreak of violence, showed that the presidency is the second most trusted institution of the state, after the army. It also showed that only ten percent of Cameroonian respondents believe that their country is not a democracy.

    In contrast, the Anglophone regions’ relative distance from both Biya’s networks of patronage and influence and the Francophone state media puts them in a unique position to see the autocratic nature of the regime and rebel against it. Although 75.4 percent of Francophone Cameroonian respondents said they trust Biya “somewhat” or “a lot,” in the Afrobarometer poll, only 45.5 percent of Anglophones felt the same way. Part of the reason for this is easier access to criticism of the Biya government. In electoral autocracies, opposition parties are often the only institutions that consistently voice the view that the regime is not truly democratic. The strongest opposition party in Cameroon—the Social Democratic Front (SDF)—is headquartered in the Northwest region, thus further exposing Anglophones to narratives of state repression. Other parts of Cameroon do not have occasion to become as familiar with opposition party politics. In the most recent 2013 elections for the National Assembly, for example, the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement ran completely unopposed in 13 of the country’s 83 electoral districts.

    In comparison to other parts of the country, such as the north, Cameroon’s Anglophone regions are also more economically autonomous from Yaoundé. They have a robust cross-border trade with Nigeria, successful plantations in the Southwest, and fertile farming land. They are not overly-reliant on the export of primary resources, such as oil or timber, which funnels through state-owned corporations. And they are not as poor as, for example, the northern regions, which face chronic food insecurity. The Anglophones thus have not only the will, but also the resources to rebel.

    THE SUCCESSION QUESTION

    Unfortunately, an end to the crisis is nowhere in sight. Last month, Biya won his seventh term as president with 71.3 percent of the vote. The already unfair election was marked by exceedingly low participation in the Anglophone regions—just five percent in the Northwest—due to security fears. Meanwhile, Biya has responded to the separatists with an iron fist. He refuses to negotiate with them, instead sending in his elite Rapid Intervention Battalion (trained by the United States and led by a retired Israeli officer), which has now been accused of burning villages and attacking civilians in the Northwest and Southwest. But as long as the violence does not spill over into the Francophone regions, the crisis will likely not affect the president’s legitimacy in the rest of the country. Moreover, Biya remains staunchly supported by the West—especially France, but also the United States, which relies strongly on Cameroon in the fight against Boko Haram. The separatists, meanwhile, remain fractured, weak, and guilty of their own atrocities against civilians. Apart from attacking security forces, they have been kidnapping and torturing teachers and students who refuse to participate in a school strike.

    It is extremely unlikely that Biya will make the concessions necessary for attacks from separatists to stop, and the fluid nature of the insurgency will make it difficult for state security forces to end the violence. The scorched earth tactics on both sides only work to further alienate the population, many of whom have fled to Nigeria. It seems likely that a resolution to the crisis can only happen once the questions of when Biya will step down and who will replace him are fully answered. Right now, there is only unsubstantiated speculation. Many assume he will appoint a successor before the next presidential elections, scheduled for 2025. But if there are any surprises in the meantime similar to the military move against Mugabe in Zimbabwe or the popular uprising against Compaoré in Burkina Faso, a transition may come sooner than expected. A post-Biya political opening might provide a way for Cameroon’ s Anglophones to claim their long-awaited autonomy.

    https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/cameroon/2018-11-08/whats-driving-conflict-cameroon?cid=soc-tw
    #Cameroun #conflit #Cameroun_anglophone #violence #différent_territorial #autonomie


  • With Brazil’s Bolsonaro, Israel finds another natural partner on the far-
    right

    https://mondoweiss.net/2018/11/brazils-bolsonaro-another

    The victory of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil’s presidential election last week has won Israel a passionate new friend on the international stage. The world’s fifth-most populous nation will now be “coloured in blue and white”, an Israeli official said, referring to the colours of Israel’s flag.

    The Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately called to congratulate Bolsonaro, a former army officer with a pronounced nostalgia for his country’s 20-year military dictatorship. Critics describe him as a neo-fascist.

    According to Israeli media reports, it is “highly probable” that Netanyahu will attend Bolsonaro’s inauguration on January 1.

    The Brazilian president-elect has already promised that his country will be the third to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem, after the United States and Guatemala. That will further undermine Palestinian hopes for an eventual state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

    Bolsonaro has told Israel that it can count on Brazil’s vote at the United Nations, and has threatened to close the Palestinian embassy in Brasilia.

    One might imagine that Netanyahu is simply being pragmatic in cosying up to Bolsonaro, given Brazil’s importance. But that would be to ignore an unmistakable trend: Israel has relished the recent emergence of far-right leaders across the Americas and Europe, often to the horror of local Jewish communities.

    Bolsonaro has divided Brazil’s 100,000 Jews. Some have been impressed by the frequent appearance of Israeli flags at his rallies and his anti-Palestinian stance. But others point out that he regularly expresses hostility to minorities.


  • Brazilian media report that police are entering university classrooms to interrogate professors

    In advance of this Sunday’s second-round presidential election between far-right politician Jair #Bolsonaro and center-left candidate Fernando Haddad, Brazilian media are reporting that Brazilian police have been staging raids, at times without warrants, in universities across the country this week. In these raids, police have been questioning professors and confiscating materials belonging to students and professors.

    The raids are part a supposed attempt to stop illegal electoral advertising. Brazilian election law prohibits electoral publicity in public spaces. However, many of the confiscated materials do not mention candidates. Among such confiscated materials are a flag for the Universidade Federal Fluminense reading “UFF School of Law - Anti-Fascist” and flyers titled “Manifest in Defense of Democracy and Public Universities.”

    For those worrying about Brazilian democracy, these raids are some of the most troubling signs yet of the problems the country faces. They indicate the extremes of Brazilian political polarization: Anti-fascist and pro-democracy speech is now interpreted as illegal advertising in favor of one candidate (Fernando Haddad) and against another (Jair Bolsonaro). In the long run, the politicization of these two terms will hurt support for the idea of democracy, and bolster support for the idea of fascism.

    In the short run, the raids have even more troublesome implications. Warrantless police raids in university classrooms to monitor professor speech have worrisome echoes of Brazil’s 1964-1985 military regime — particularly when the speech the raids are seeking to stop is not actually illegal.

    Perhaps the most concerning point of all is that these raids are happening before Bolsonaro takes office. They have often been initiated by complaints from Bolsonaro supporters. All of this suggests that if Bolsonaro wins the election — as is widely expected — and seeks to suppress the speech of his opponents, whom he has called “red [i.e., Communist] criminals,” he may have plenty of willing helpers.

    https://www.vox.com/mischiefs-of-faction/2018/10/26/18029696/brazilian-police-interrogate-professors
    #université #extrême_droite #Brésil #police #it_has_begun
    Je crois que je vais commencer à utiliser un nouveau tag, qui est aussi le nom d’un réseau : #scholars_at_risk

    • Brésil : à peine élu, Jair Bolsonaro commence la chasse aux opposants de gauche

      Les universités dans le viseur

      Enfin, toujours pour lutter contre l’opposition à gauche, Jair Bolsonaro entend faire pression sur les professeurs d’université qui parleraient de politique pendant leurs cours.

      Le président élu a récemment scandalisé une partie du monde éducatif en accusant des professeurs, cités avec leurs noms et prénoms, de défendre les régimes de Cuba et de Corée du Nord devant leurs élèves, dans une vidéo diffusée sur Internet.

      Et pour y remédier, il compte installer des pancartes devant les salles de cours pour appeler les étudiants à dénoncer leurs professeurs par le biais d’une « hotline » téléphonique dédiée à la question.

      https://www.bfmtv.com/international/bresil-a-peine-elu-jair-bolsonaro-commence-la-chasse-aux-opposants-de-gauche-

    • Au Brésil, vague de répression dans les universités à la veille du second tour

      Quelques jours avant le second tour de l’élection présidentielle brésilienne, qui voit s’affronter le candidat d’extrême droite Jair Bolsonaro et le candidat du Parti des travailleurs (PT) Fernando Haddad, les campus universitaires du pays ont fait face à une vague inédite de répression de la liberté d’expression. Jeudi 25 octobre, la police a investi 27 universités, à la demande des tribunaux électoraux, dont les juges sont chargés de faire respecter les règles de communication et de propagande électorales des partis en lice. Les forces de police étaient à la recherche de supposé matériel de propagande électorale illégale. En fait, ces opérations ont visé des banderoles antifascistes, de soutien à la démocratie, un manifeste en soutien à l’université publique, des débats et des cours sur la dictature, la démocratie et les « fakes news » – ces mensonges ayant été largement diffusés pendant la campagne, en particulier par l’extrême-droite… [1]

      À Rio, une juge a ainsi fait enlever une banderole du fronton du bâtiment de la faculté de droit de l’université fédérale Fluminense (UFF), sur laquelle était inscrit, autour du symbole antifasciste du double drapeau rouge et noir, « Droit UFF antifasciste ». À l’université de l’État de Rio, les agents électoraux ont retiré une banderole en hommage à Marielle Franco, l’élue municipale du parti de gauche PSOL assassinée en pleine rue en mars dernier.

      220 000 messages de haine en quatre jours contre une journaliste

      Dans une université du Pará, quatre policiers militaires sont entrés sur le campus pour interroger un professeur sur « son idéologie ». L’enseignant avait abordé la question des fake news dans un cours sur les médias numériques. Une étudiante s’en est sentie offensée, alléguant une « doctrine marxiste », et l’a dit à son père, policier militaire. Une enquête du journal la Folha de São Paulo a pourtant révélé mi-octobre que des entreprises qui soutiennent le candidat d’extrême droite avaient acheté les services d’entreprises de communication pour faire envoyer en masse des fausses nouvelles anti-Parti des travailleurs directement sur les numéros whatsapp – une plateforme de messagerie en ligne – des Brésiliens. L’auteure de l’enquête, la journaliste Patricia Campos Melo, et le quotidien de São Paulo, ont ensuite reçu 220 000 messages de haine en quatre jours ! [2] Le journal a demandé à la police fédérale de lancer une enquête.

      Mais ce sont des conférences et des débats sur la dictature militaire et le fascisme qui ont pour l’instant été interdits. C’est le cas d’un débat public intitulé « Contre la fascisme, pour la démocratie », qui devait avoir lieu à l’université fédérale de Rio Grande do Sul (la région de Porto Alegre). Devaient y participer l’ex-candidat du parti de gauche PSOL au premier tour de la présidentielle, Guilherme Boulos, un ancien ministre issu du Parti des travailleurs, des députés fédéraux du PT et du PSOL. « J’ai donné des cours et des conférences dans des universités en France, en Angleterre, au Portugal, en Espagne, en Allemagne, en Argentine, et ici, même pendant la dictature. Aujourd’hui, je suis censuré dans l’État, le Rio Grande do Sul, que j’ai moi-même gouverné. Le fascisme grandit », a réagi l’un des députés, Tarso Genro, sur twitter.

      Une banderole « moins d’armes, plus de livres » jugée illégale

      Dans le Paraíba, les agents du tribunal électoral se sont introduits dans l’université pour retirer une banderole où était simplement inscrit « moins d’armes, plus de livres ». « Cette opération de la justice électorale dans les universités du pays pour saisir du matériel en défense de la démocratie et contre le fascisme est absurde. Cela rappelle les temps sombres de la censure et de l’invasion des facultés », a écrit Guilherme Boulos, le leader du PSOL, sur twitter, ajoutant : « Le parti de la justice a formé une coalition avec le PSL », le parti de Bolsonaro. « De telles interventions à l’intérieur de campus au cours d’une campagne électorale sont inédites. Une partie de l’appareil d’État se prépare au changement de régime », a aussi alerté l’historienne française, spécialiste du Brésil, Maud Chirio, sur sa page Facebook.

      Dimanche dernier, dans une allocution filmée diffusée pour ses supporters rassemblés à São Paulo, Jair Bolsonaro a proféré des menaces claires à l’égard de ses opposants. « Ou vous partez en exil ou vous partez en prison », a-il dit, ajoutant « nous allons balayer ces bandits rouges du Brésil », et annonçant un « nettoyage jamais vu dans l’histoire de ce pays ». Il a précisé qu’il allait classer le Mouvements des paysans sans Terre (MST) et le Mouvement des travailleurs sans toit (MTST) comme des organisations terroristes, et menacé Fernando Haddad de l’envoyer « pourrir en prison aux côtés de Lula ».


      https://www.bastamag.net/Au-Bresil-vague-de-repression-dans-les-universites-a-la-veille-du-second-t

    • We deplore this attack on freedom of expression in Brazil’s universities

      107 international academics react to social media reports that more than 20 universities in Brazil have been invaded by military police in recent days, with teaching materials confiscated on ideological grounds

      Reports have emerged on social media that more than 20 universities in Brazil have been subjected in recent days to: invasions by military police; the confiscation of teaching materials on ideological grounds; and the suppression of freedom of speech and expression, especially in relation to anti-fascist history and activism.

      As academics, researchers, graduates, students and workers at universities in the UK, Europe and further afield, we deplore this attack on freedom of expression in Brazil’s universities, which comes as a direct result of the campaign and election of far-right President Bolsonaro.

      Academic autonomy is a linchpin not only of independent and objective research, but of a functioning democracy, which should be subject to scrutiny and informed, evidence-based investigation and critique.

      We call on co-workers, colleagues and students to decry this attack on Brazil’s universities in the name of Bolsonaro’s wider militaristic, anti-progressive agenda. We will not stand by as this reactionary populist attacks the pillars of Brazil’s democracy and education system. We will campaign vigorously in whatever capacity we can with activists, educators and lawmakers in Brazil to ensure that its institutions can operate without the interference of this new – and hopefully short-lived – government.
      Dr William McEvoy, University of Sussex, UK (correspondent)
      Dr Will Abberley, University of Sussex
      Nannette Aldred, University of Sussex
      Patricia Alessandrini, Stanford University, USA
      Dr Michael Alexander, University of Glasgow
      Steven Allen, Birkbeck, University of London
      Dr Katherine Angel, Birkbeck, University of London
      Pedro Argenti, University of Antwerp, Belgium
      Nick Awde, International Editor, The Stage newspaper, London
      Professor Ian Balfour, York University, Toronto, Canada
      Lennart Balkenhol, University of Melbourne, Australia
      Nehaal Bajwa, University of Sussex
      Dr Louis Bayman, University of Southampton
      Mark Bergfeld, former NUS NEC (2010-2012)
      Professor Tim Bergfelder, University of Southampton
      Dr Patricia Pires Boulhosa, University of Cambridge
      Dr Maud Bracke, University of Glasgow
      Max Brookman-Byrne, University of Lincoln
      Dr Conrad Brunström, Maynooth University, Ireland
      Dr Christopher Burlinson, Jesus College, Cambridge
      Professor Martin Butler, University of Sussex
      Professor Gavin Butt, University of Sussex
      Cüneyt Çakirlar, Nottingham Trent University
      Guilherme Carréra, University of Westminster
      Geoffrey Chew, Royal Holloway, University of London
      Dr Maite Conde, University of Cambridge
      Dr Luke Cooper, Anglia Ruskin University, UK, and Institute of Human Sciences, Vienna, Austria
      Dr Sue Currell, University of Sussex
      Professor Dimitris Dalakoglou, Vrije University, Amsterdam, Netherlands
      William Dalziel, University of Sussex
      Dr April de Angelis, Royal Holloway, University of London
      Dr Olga Demetriou, Durham University
      Dr Stephanie Dennison, University of Leeds
      Dr Steffi Doebler, University of Liverpool
      Dr Sai Englert, SOAS University of London
      James Erskine, University of Sussex and Birkbeck, University of London
      Professor Martin Paul Eve, Birkbeck, University of London
      John Fallas, University of Leeds
      Dr Lynne Fanthome, Staffordshire University
      Dr Hannah Field, University of Sussex
      Dr Adrian Garvey, Birkbeck, University of London
      Dr Laura Gill, University of Sussex
      Dr Priyamvada Gopal, University of Cambridge
      Bhavini Goyate, University of Sussex
      Dr Craig Haslop, University of Liverpool
      Professor Björn Heile, University of Glasgow
      Dr Phil Hutchinson, Manchester Metropolitan University
      Professor Martin Iddon, University of Leeds
      Dr Eleftheria Ioannidou, University of Groningen, Netherlands
      Dr Chris Kempshall, University of Sussex
      Andrew Key, University of California, Berkeley, USA
      Professor Laleh Khalili, SOAS University of London
      Dr Theodore Koulouris, University of Brighton
      Professor Maria Lauret, University of Sussex
      Professor Vicky Lebeau, University of Sussex
      Professor James Livesey, University of Dundee, Scotland
      Professor Luke Martell, University of Sussex
      Dr N Gabriel Martin, Lebanese American University, Lebanon
      Wolfgang Marx, University College, Dublin, Ireland
      Andy Medhurst, University of Sussex
      Professor Philippe Meers, University of Antwerp, Belgium
      Dr Shamira A Meghani, University of Cambridge
      Niccolo Milanese, CESPRA EHESS, Paris, France and PUC Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
      Dr Ian Moody, CESEM – Universidade Nova, Lisbon
      Professor Lucia Naqib, University of Reading
      Dr Catherine Packham, University of Sussex
      Professor Dimitris Papanikolaou, University of Oxford
      Mary Parnwell, University of Sussex
      Professor Deborah Philips, University of Brighton
      Dr Chloe Porter, University of Sussex
      Dr Jason Price, University of Sussex
      Dr Duška Radosavljević, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London
      Francesca Reader, University of Sussex and University of Brighton
      Naida Redgrave, University of East London
      Professor Nicholas Ridout, Queen Mary, University of London
      Professor Lucy Robinson, University of Sussex
      Dr Kirsty Rolfe, University of Sussex
      Dr Joseph Ronan, University of Brighton
      Dr Michael Rowland, University of Sussex
      Dr Zachary Rowlinson, University of Sussex
      Professor Nicholas Royle, University of Sussex
      Dr Eleanor Rycroft, University of Bristol
      Dr Jason Scott-Warren, University of Cambridge
      Dr Deborah Shaw, University of Portsmouth
      Dr Lisa Shaw, University of Liverpool
      Kat Sinclair, University of Sussex
      Sandrine Singleton-Perrin, University of Essex
      Despina Sinou, University of Paris 13 – Sorbonne Paris Cité, France
      Dave Smith, University of Hertfordshire
      John Snijders, Durham University
      Dr Samuel Solomon, University of Sussex
      Dr Arabella Stanger, University of Sussex
      Professor Rob Stone, University of Birmingham
      Bernard Sufrin, Emeritus Fellow, Dept of Computer Science, University of Oxford
      Dr Natasha Tanna, University of Cambridge
      Professor Lyn Thomas, University of Sussex
      Simon Thorpe, University of Warwick
      Dr Gavan Titley, Maynooth University, Ireland
      Dr Pamela Thurschwell, University of Sussex
      Dr Dominic Walker, University of Sussex
      Dr Ed Waller, University of Surrey and University of Portsmouth
      Dr Kiron Ward, University of Sussex
      Helen Wheatley, University of Warwick
      Ian Willcock, University of Herfordshire
      Professor Gregory Woods, Nottingham Trent University
      Dr Tom F Wright, University of Sussex
      Dr Heba Youssef, University of Brighton

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/01/we-deplore-this-attack-on-freedom-of-expression-in-brazils-universities
      #liberté_d'expression

    • Brazil Court Strikes Down Restrictions on University Speech

      Brazil´s Supreme Court issued an important decision striking down restrictions on political speech on university campuses in a unanimous ruling yesterday. Meanwhile, president-elect Jair Bolsonaro´s allies in Congress are pressing ahead with efforts to restrict what students and educators can discuss in the classroom.

      The court ruling overturned decisions by electoral court judges who recently ordered universities across the country to clamp down on what they considered illegal political campaigning. The orders were spurred by complaints from anonymous callers and, in a few cases, by members of conservative groups.

      For example, at Grande Dourados Federal University, court officials suspended a public event against fascism, according to the student group that organized it. At Campina Grande Federal University, police allegedly seized copies of a pamphlet titled “Manifesto in defense of democracy and public universities” and hard drives, said a professors´ association.

      At Rio de Janeiro State University, police ordered the removal of a banner honoring Marielle Franco, a black lesbian human rights defender and councilwoman murdered in March, despite not having a judicial order.

      The attorney general, Raquel Dodge, asked the Supreme Court to rule the electoral court judges´ decisions unconstitutional, and Supreme Court justice Cármen Lúcia Rocha issued an injunction stopping them. The full court upheld that decision on October 31.

      “The only force that must enter universities is the force of ideas,” said Rocha.

      “The excessive and illegitimate use of force by state agents … echoes somber days in Brazilian history,” said Justice Rosa Weber, referring to Brazil´s 1964 – 1985 military dictatorship.

      The ruling comes as Bolsonaro, who remains in Congress until he assumes the presidency on January 1, and his allies push a bill that would prohibit teachers from promoting their own opinions in the classroom or using the terms “gender” or “sexual orientation,” and would order that sex and religious education be framed around “family values.”

      A state representative-elect from Bolsonaro´s party has even called on students to film and report teachers who make “political-partisan or ideological statements.” Bolsonaro made a similar call in 2016. State prosecutors have filed a civil action against the representative-elect, alleging she instituted “an illegal service for the political and ideological control of teaching activities.”

      In his long career in Congress, Bolsonaro has endorsed abusive practices that undermine the rule of law, defended the dictatorship, and has been a vocal proponent of bigotry.

      More than ever, Brazil needs its judiciary to defend human rights within and outside the classroom.


      https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/11/01/brazil-court-strikes-down-restrictions-university-speech
      #cour_suprême #justice

    • Présidentielle au Brésil : relents de dictature militaire

      Présidentielle au Brésil : Bolsonaro et le « risque d’un retour à l’ordre autoritaire en Amérique latine »

      Porté par plus de deux cents universitaires, responsables politiques et citoyens d’Europe et du Canada, ce manifeste s’inscrit dans un mouvement mondial de soutien à la démocratie face à la violence déchaînée par la candidature de Jair Bolsonaro au Brésil. Il est ouvert aux démocrates de toutes les sensibilités politiques. Face au risque imminent d’un retour à l’ordre autoritaire en Amérique latine, la solidarité internationale est impérative.

      Nous, citoyens, intellectuels, militants, personnalités politiques vivant, travaillant et étudiant en Europe et au Canada, exprimons notre vive inquiétude face à la menace imminente de l’élection de Jair Bolsonaro à la présidence du Brésil le 28 octobre 2018.

      Le souvenir de la dictature militaire

      La victoire de l’extrême droite radicale au Brésil risque de renforcer le mouvement international qui a porté au pouvoir des politiciens réactionnaires et antidémocratiques dans de nombreux pays ces dernières années.

      Bolsonaro défend ouvertement le souvenir de la dictature militaire qui a imposé sa loi au Brésil entre 1964 et 1985, ses pratiques de torture et ses tortionnaires. Il méprise le combat pour les droits humains. Il exprime une hostilité agressive envers les femmes, les Afro-descendants, les membres de la communauté LGBT +, les peuples autochtones et les pauvres. Son programme vise à détruire les avancées politiques, économiques, sociales, environnementales et culturelles des quatre dernières décennies, ainsi que l’action menée par les mouvements sociaux et le camp progressiste pour consolider et étendre la démocratie au Brésil.

      L’élection de Bolsonaro menace les fragiles institutions démocratiques pour la construction desquelles les Brésilien·ne·s ont pris tant de risques. Son arrivée au pouvoir serait aussi un frein majeur à toute politique internationale ambitieuse en matière de défense de l’environnement et de préservation de la paix.

      Premiers signataires : Martine Aubry , maire de Lille, ancienne ministre (PS) ; Luc Boltanski , sociologue, directeur d’études, EHESS ; Peter Burke , historien, professeur émérite à l’université de Cambridge ; Roger Chartier , historien, directeur d’études EHESS/Collège de France ; Mireille Clapot , députée de la Drôme, vice-présidente de la commission des affaires étrangères (LRM) ; Laurence Cohen , sénatrice du Val-de-Marne (PCF) ; Didier Fassin , professeur de sciences sociales, Institute for advanced study, Princeton ; Carlo Ginzburg , professeur émérite à UCLA et à l’Ecole normale supérieure de Pise ; Eva Joly , députée européenne (groupe Verts-ALE) ; Pierre Louault , sénateur d’Indre-et-Loire (UDI) ; Paul Magnette, bourgmestre de Charleroi, ex-ministre président de la Wallonie, ex-président du Parti socialiste belge ; Thomas Piketty , directeur d’études à l’EHESS.

      http://jennifer-detemmerman.fr/index.php/2018/10/23/presidentielle-au-bresil-relents-de-dictature-militaire

    • Une pétition qui a été lancé avant l’élection...
      Defend Democracy in Brazil. Say No to Jair Bolsonaro

      Defend Democracy in Brazil,

      Say No to Jair Bolsonaro

      We, citizens, intellectuals, activists, politicians, people living, working, and studying in Europe and Canada, wish to express our growing alarm at the imminent threat of Jair Bolsonaro’s election to the presidency on October 28, 2018. The potential victory of a far-right radical in Brazil would reinforce a dangerous international trend of extremely reactionary and anti-democratic politicians gaining state power in recent years.

      Bolsonaro explicitly defends the Brazilian military dictatorship that ruled the country from 1964-85 and praises torture and torturers. He condemns human rights efforts. He has expressed aggressive and vile hostility toward women, people of African descent, the LGBT+ community, indigenous people, and the poor. His proposed policies would effectively undo all of the political, social, economic, labor, environmental, and cultural gains of the last four decades, efforts by social movements and progressive politicians to consolidate and expand democracy in Brazil. A Bolsonaro presidency also threatens to undermine the still fragile democratic politics that people throughout Brazil have risked so much to build.

      His election would seriously hamper any ambitious international effort for environmental protection, against climate change and for the preservation of peace.

      Adapted version of the text « Defend Democracy in Brazil, Say No to Jair Bolsonaro! »

      https://www.change.org/p/association-pour-la-recherche-sur-le-br%C3%A9sil-en-europe-pour-la-d%C3%A9fe


  • I Bought Used Voting Machines on eBay for $100 Apiece. What I Found Was Alarming | WIRED
    https://www.wired.com/story/i-bought-used-voting-machines-on-ebay

    I reverse-engineered the machines to understand how they could be manipulated. After removing the internal hard drive, I was able to access the file structure and operating system. Since the machines were not wiped after they were used in the 2012 presidential election, I got a great deal of insight into how the machines store the votes that were cast on them. Within hours, I was able to change the candidates’ names to be that of anyone I wanted. When the machine printed out the official record for the votes that were cast, it showed that the candidate’s name I invented had received the most votes on that particular machine.

    This year, I bought two more machines to see if security had improved. To my dismay, I discovered that the newer model machines—those that were used in the 2016 election—are running Windows CE and have USB ports, along with other components, that make them even easier to exploit than the older ones. Our voting machines, billed as “next generation,” and still in use today, are worse than they were before—dispersed, disorganized, and susceptible to manipulation.


  • One building, several facades: political showcasing in contemporary Turkey.
    https://www.opendemocracy.net/mrag-p-z-k/one-building-several-facades-political-showcasing-in-contemporary-tur

    The state of emergency was lifted shortly after the presidential elections, and a new system secured a permanent state of exception, whereby Erdoğan, as president, has consolidated and expanded his administrative powers. Denouncing those who opposed the demolition of AKM and the Gezi protesters as “terrorists” was a reminder of his power and commitment to smash any dissent.

    The struggle over the AKM reveals one permanent aspect of political contention in contemporary Turkey, formed traditionally through leader-embodied ideologies. Meanwhile, solidarity networks and grass-roots initiatives promise today more ways to communicate and interact than ever. These may one day inspire our thinking and acting beyond the usual paradigms.


  • A Cambridge Analytica Alum Launches a New Data Firm
    https://www.wired.com/story/data-propria-data-cambridge-analytica

    The last two years have been a rollercoaster ride for Matt Oczkowski. On the night of the 2016 presidential election, he sat inside then-candidate Donald Trump’s San Antonio campaign headquarters, where he led a team of anxious data scientists crunching numbers throughout the day before an unexpected victory party at a local bar much later that night. The former Scott Walker aide spent the following year speaking to the press and at conferences around the world about the Trump team’s winning (...)

    #CambridgeAnalytica #DataPropria #algorithme #élections #manipulation #données #publicité #BigData (...)

    ##publicité ##profiling



  • Exposing Cambridge Analytica : ’It’s been exhausting, exhilarating, and slightly terrifying’
    https://www.theguardian.com/membership/2018/sep/29/cambridge-analytica-cadwalladr-observer-facebook-zuckerberg-wylie

    Observer reporter Carole Cadwalladr on her investigation into the firm at the centre of a data breach that shamed Facebook and exposed foul play in the EU referendum campaign and US presidential election Earlier this year, The Observer and The Guardian broke the story that became the Cambridge Analytica scandal. It was the result of a year-long investigation in which Carole Cadwalladr worked with ex-employee turned whistleblower Christopher Wylie to reveal how the data analytics firm that (...)

    #AggregateIQ #CambridgeAnalytica #Facebook #algorithme #élections #manipulation #données (...)

    ##BigData


  • The State of Israel vs. the Jewish people -
    Israel has aligned itself with one nationalist, even anti-Semitic, regime after another. Where does that leave world Jewry?
    By Eva Illouz Sep 13, 2018
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-the-state-of-israel-vs-the-jewish-people-1.6470108

    Orban, left, and Netanyahu, in Jerusalem in July 2018. DEBBIE HILL / AFP

    An earthquake is quietly rocking the Jewish world.

    In the 18th century, Jews began playing a decisive role in the promotion of universalism, because universalism promised them redemption from their political subjection. Through universalism, Jews could, in principle, be free and equal to those who had dominated them. This is why, in the centuries that followed, Jews participated in disproportionate numbers in communist and socialist causes. This is also why Jews were model citizens of countries, such as France or the United States, with universalist constitutions.

    The history of Jews as promoters of Enlightenment and universalist values, however, is drawing to a close. We are the stunned witnesses of new alliances between Israel, Orthodox factions of Judaism throughout the world, and the new global populism in which ethnocentrism and even racism hold an undeniable place.

    When Prime Minister Netanyahu chose to align himself politically with Donald Trump before and after the U.S. presidential election of 2016, some people could still give him the benefit of doubt. Admittedly, Trump was surrounded by people like Steve Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News, who reeked of racism and anti-Semitism, but no one was sure of the direction the new presidency would take. Even if Trump refused to condemn the anti-Semitic elements of his electoral base or the Ku Klux Klan, which had enthusiastically backed him, and even if it took him a long time to dissociate himself from David Duke – we were not yet certain of the presence of anti-Semitism in Trump’s discourse and strategies (especially since his daughter Ivanka was a convert to Judaism).

    But the events in Charlottesville in August 2017 no longer allowed for doubt. The neo-Nazi demonstrators committed violent acts against peaceful counter-protesters, killing one woman by plowing through a crowd with a car (an act reminiscent in its technique of terrorist attacks in Europe). Trump reacted to the events by condemning both the neo-Nazis and white supremacists and their opponents. The world was shocked by his conflation of the two groups, but Jerusalem did not object. Once again, the indulgent (or cynical) observer could have interpreted this silence as the reluctant obeisance of a vassal toward his overlord (of all the countries in the world, Israel receives the most military aid from the United States). One was entitled to think that Israel had no choice but to collaborate, despite the American leader’s outward signs of anti-Semitism.

    This interpretation, however, is no longer tenable. Before and since Charlottesville, Netanyahu has courted other leaders who are either unbothered by anti-Semitism or straightforwardly sympathetic to it, and upon whom Israel is not economically dependent. His concessions go as far as participating in a partial form of Holocaust denial.

    Take the case of Hungary. Under the government of Viktor Orban, the country shows troubling signs of legitimizing anti-Semitism. In 2015, for example, the Hungarian government announced its intention to erect a statue to commemorate Balint Homan, a Holocaust-era minister who played a decisive role in the murder or deportation of nearly 600,000 Hungarian Jews. Far from being an isolated incident, just a few months later, in 2016, another statue was erected in tribute to Gyorgy Donáth, one of the architects of anti-Jewish legislation during World War II. It was thus unsurprising to hear Orban employing anti-Semitic tropes during his reelection campaign in 2017, especially against Georges Soros, the Jewish, Hungarian-American billionaire-philanthropist who supports liberal causes, including that of open borders and immigration. Reanimating the anti-Semitic cliché about the power of Jews, Orban accused Soros of harboring intentions to undermine Hungary.

    Whom did Netanyahu choose to support? Not the anxious Hungarian Jewish community that protested bitterly against the anti-Semitic rhetoric of Orban’s government; nor did he choose to support the liberal Jew Soros, who defends humanitarian causes. Instead, the prime minister created new fault lines, preferring political allies to members of the tribe. He backed Orban, the same person who resurrects the memory of dark anti-Semites. When the Israeli ambassador in Budapest protested the erection of the infamous statue, he was publicly contradicted by none other than Netanyahu.

    To my knowledge, the Israeli government has never officially protested Orban’s anti-Semitic inclinations and affinities. In fact, when the Israeli ambassador in Budapest did try to do so, he was quieted down by Jerusalem. Not long before the Hungarian election, Netanyahu went to the trouble of visiting Hungary, thus giving a “kosher certificate” to Orban and exonerating him of the opprobrium attached to anti-Semitism and to an endorsement of figures active in the Shoah. When Netanyahu visited Budapest, he was given a glacial reception by the Federation of the Jewish Communities, while Orban gave him a warm welcome. To further reinforce their touching friendship, Netanyahu invited Orban to pay a reciprocal visit to Israel this past July, receiving him in a way usually reserved for the most devoted national allies.

    The relationship with Poland is just as puzzling. As a reminder, Poland is governed by the nationalist Law and Justice party, which has an uncompromising policy against refugees and appears to want to eliminate the independence of the courts by means of a series of reforms that would allow the government to control the judiciary branch. In 2016 the Law and Justice-led government eliminated the official body whose mission was to deal with problems of racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance, arguing that the organization had become “useless.”

    An illustration depicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shaking hands with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in Auschwitz. Eran Wolkowski

    Encouraged by this and other governmental declarations and policies, signs of nationalism multiplied within Polish society. In February 2018, president Andrzej Duda declared that he would sign a law making it illegal to accuse the Polish nation of having collaborated with the Nazis. Accusing Poland of collusion in the Holocaust and other Nazi atrocities would be from now prosecutable. Israel initially protested the proposed legislation, but then in June, Benjamin Netanyahu and the Polish prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, signed an agreement exonerating Poland of any and all crimes against the Jews during the time of the German occupation. Israel also acceded to Poland’s move to outlaw the expression “Polish concentration camp.” Moreover, Netanyahu even signed a statement stipulating that anti-Semitism is identical to anti-Polonism, and that only a handful of sad Polish individuals were responsible for persecuting Jews – not the nation as a whole.

    A billboard displaying George Soros urges Hungarians to take part in a national consultation about what it calls a plan by the Hungarian-born financier to settle migrants in Europe, in Budapest. ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP

    Like the American, Hungarian and Polish alt-right, Israel wants to restore national pride unstained by “self-hating” critics. Like the Poles, for two decades now, Israel has been waging a war over the official narrative of the nation, trying to expunge school textbooks of inconvenient facts (such as the fact that Arabs were actively chased out of Israel in 1948). In order to quash criticism, Israel’s Culture Ministry now predicates funding to creative institutions on loyalty to the state. As in Hungary, the Israeli government persecutes NGOs like Breaking the Silence, a group whose only sin has been to give soldiers a forum for reporting their army experiences and to oppose Israeli settlers’ violence against Palestinians or the expropriation of land, in violation of international law. Purging critics from public life (as expressed in barring the entry into the country of BDS supporters, denying funding to theater companies or films critical of Israel, etc.) is an expression of direct state power.

    When it comes to refugees, Israel, like Hungary and Poland, refuses to comply with international law. For almost a decade now, Israel has not respected international conventions on the rights of refugees even though it is a signatory of said conventions: The state has detained refugees in camps, and imprisoned and deported them. Like Poland, Israel is trying to do away with the independence of its judiciary. Israel feels comfortable with the anti-democratic extreme right of European states in the same way that one feels comfortable with a family member who belches and gossips, losing any sense of self-control or table manners.

    More generally, these countries today share a deep common political core: fear of foreigners at the borders (it must be specified, however, that Israelis’ fears are less imaginary than those of Hungarians or Polish); references to the nation’s pride untainted by a dubious past, casting critics as traitors to the nation; and outlawing human rights organizations and contesting global norms based on moral principles. The Netanyahu-Trump-Putin triumvirate has a definite shared vision and strategy: to create a political bloc that would undermine the current liberal international order and its key players.

    In a recent article about Trump for Project Syndicate, legal scholar Mark S. Weiner suggested that Trump’s political vision and practice follow (albeit, unknowingly) the precepts of Carl Schmitt, the German legal scholar who joined the Nazi Party in 1933.

    “In place of normativity and universalism, Schmitt offers a theory of political identity based on a principle that Trump doubtless appreciates deeply from his pre-political career: land,” wrote Weiner. “For Schmitt, a political community forms when a group of people recognizes that they share some distinctive cultural trait that they believe is worth defending with their lives. This cultural basis of sovereignty is ultimately rooted in the distinctive geography… that a people inhabit. At stake here are opposing positions about the relation between national identity and law. According to Schmitt, the community’s nomos [the Greek word for “law”] or sense of itself that grows from its geography, is the philosophical precondition for its law. For liberals, by contrast, the nation is defined first and foremost by its legal commitments.”

    Netanyahu and his ilk subscribe to this Schmittian vision of the political, making legal commitments subordinate to geography and race. Land and race are the covert and overt motives of Netanyahu’s politics. He and his coalition have, for example, waged a politics of slow annexation in the West Bank, either in the hope of expelling or subjugating the 2.5 million Palestinians living there, or of controlling them.

    They have also radicalized the country’s Jewishness with the highly controversial nation-state law. Playing footsie with anti-Semitic leaders may seem to contradict the nation-state law, but it is motivated by the same statist and Schmittian logic whereby the state no longer views itself as committed to representing all of its citizens, but rather aims to expand territory; increase its power by designating enemies; define who belongs and who doesn’t; narrow the definition of citizenship; harden the boundaries of the body collective; and undermine the international liberal order. The line connecting Orban to the nationality law is the sheer and raw expansion of state power.

    Courting Orban or Morawiecki means having allies in the European Council and Commission, which would help Israel block unwanted votes, weaken Palestinian international strategies and create a political bloc that could impose a new international order. Netanyahu and his buddies have a strategy and are trying to reshape the international order to meet their own domestic goals. They are counting on the ultimate victory of reactionary forces to have a free hand to do what they please inside the state.

    But what is most startling is the fact that in order to promote his illiberal policies, Netanyahu is willing to snub and dismiss the greatest part of the Jewish people, its most accepted rabbis and intellectuals, and the vast number of Jews who have supported, through money or political action, the State of Israel. This suggests a clear and undeniable shift from a politics based on the people to a politics based on the land.

    For the majority of Jews outside Israel, human rights and the struggle against anti-Semitism are core values. Netanyahu’s enthusiastic support for authoritarian, anti-Semitic leaders is an expression of a profound shift in the state’s identity as a representative of the Jewish people to a state that aims to advance its own expansion through seizure of land, violation of international law, exclusion and discrimination. This is not fascism per se, but certainly one of its most distinctive features.

    This state of affairs is worrisome but it is also likely to have two interesting and even positive developments. The first is that in the same way that Israel has freed itself from its “Jewish complex” – abandoning its role as leader and center of the Jewish people as a whole – many or most Jews will now likely free themselves from their Israel complex, finally understanding that Israel’s values and their own are deeply at odds. World Jewish Congress head Ron Lauder’s August 13, 2018, op-ed in The New York Times, which was close to disowning Israel, is a powerful testimony to this. Lauder was very clear: Israel’s loss of moral status means it won’t be able to demand the unconditional loyalty of world Jewry. What was in the past experienced by many Jews as an inner conflict is now slowly being resolved: Many or most members of Jewish communities will give preference to their commitment to the constitutions of their countries – that is to universalist human rights.

    Israel has already stopped being the center of gravity of the Jewish world, and as such, it will be able to count only on the support of a handful of billionaires and the ultra-Orthodox. This means that for the foreseeable future, Israel’s leverage in American politics will be considerably weakened.

    Trumpism is a passing phase in American politics. Latinos and left-wing Democrats will become increasingly involved in the country’s politics, and as they do, these politicians will find it increasingly difficult to justify continued American support of Israeli policies that are abhorrent to liberal democracies. Unlike in the past, however, Jews will no longer pressure them to look the other way.

    The second interesting development concerns Europe. The European Union no longer knows what its mission was. But the Netanyahus, Trumps, Orbans and Morawieckis will help Europe reinvent its vocation: The social-democrat bloc of the EU will be entrusted with the mission of opposing state-sanctioned anti-Semitism and all forms of racism, and above all defending Europe’s liberal values that we, Jews and non-Jews, Zionists and anti-Zionists, have all fought so hard for. Israel, alas, is no longer among those fighting that fight.

    A shorter version of this article has originally appeared in Le Monde.

    • Eva Illouz : « Orban, Trump et Nétanyahou semblent affectionner barrières et murs »
      https://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2018/08/08/eva-illouz-israel-contre-les-juifs_5340351_3232.html?xtor=RSS-3208
      Dans une tribune au « Monde », l’universitaire franco-israélienne estime que l’alliance du gouvernement israélien avec les régimes « illibéraux » d’Europe de l’Est crée une brèche au sein du peuple juif, pour qui la lutte contre l’antisémitisme et la mémoire de la Shoah ne sont pas négociables.

      LE MONDE | 08.08.2018 à 06h39 • Mis à jour le 08.08.2018 à 19h18 | Par Eva Illouz (directrice d’études à l’Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales)

      Tribune. Un tremblement de terre est tranquillement en train de secouer le monde juif. Lorsque le premier ministre israélien, Benyamin Nétanyahou, choisit de soutenir Donald Trump avant et après l’élection présidentielle américaine de 2016, certains pouvaient encore donner à ce dernier le bénéfice du doute. Certes, Trump s’était entouré de gens comme Steve Bannon dont émanaient des relents antisémites, certes, il refusait aussi de condamner sa base électorale sympathisante du Ku Klux Klan, mais personne n’était encore sûr de la direction que prendrait sa nouvelle présidence.

      Les événements de Charlottesville, en août 2017, n’ont plus permis le doute. Les manifestants néonazis commirent des actes de violence contre des contre-manifestants pacifiques (tuant une personne en fonçant dans la foule avec une voiture), mais Trump condamna de la même façon opposants modérés et manifestants néonazis.

      Le monde entier fut choqué de cette mise en équivalence, mais Jérusalem ne protesta pas. L’observateur indulgent (ou cynique) aurait pu interpréter ce silence comme l’acquiescement forcé du vassal vis-à-vis de son suzerain : de tous les pays du monde, Israël est celui qui reçoit la plus grande aide militaire des Etats-Unis.

      Cette interprétation n’est désormais plus possible. Il est devenu clair que Nétanyahou a de fortes sympathies pour d’autres dirigeants qui, comme Trump, front preuve d’une grande indulgence vis-à-vis de l’antisémitisme et dont il ne dépend ni militairement ni économiquement.
      Une statue à Budapest

      Prenons l’exemple de la Hongrie. En 2015, le gouvernement y annonça son intention de dresser une statue à la mémoire de Balint Homan, ministre qui joua un rôle décisif dans la déportation de 600 000 juifs hongrois. Quelques mois plus tard, en 2016, il fut question d’ériger à Budapest une statue à la mémoire d’un des architectes de la législation antijuive durant la seconde guerre mondiale, György Donáth....


  • Reality Winner, who pleaded guilty to leaking secret U.S. report, gets 63-month sentence

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/reality-winner-sentenced-pleaded-guilty-to-leaking-secret-u-s-report-today-2018-08-23/?ftag=CNM-00-10aab7e&linkId=55922192

    A former government contractor who pleaded guilty to mailing a classified U.S. report to a news organization was sentenced to more than five years Thursday as part of a deal with prosecutors, who called it the longest sentence ever imposed for a federal crime involving leaks to the media. 

    Reality Winner, 26, pleaded guilty in June to a single count of transmitting national security information. The former Air Force translator worked as a contractor at a National Security Agency’s office in Augusta, Georgia, when she printed a classified report and left the building with it tucked into her pantyhose. Winner told the FBI she mailed the document to an online news outlet.

    In court Thursday, Winner apologized and acknowledged that what she did was wrong.

    Authorities never identified the news organization. But the Justice Department announced Winner’s June 2017 arrest the same day The Intercept reported on a secret NSA document. It detailed Russian government efforts to penetrate a Florida-based supplier of voting software and the accounts of election officials ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The NSA report was dated May 5, the same as the document Winner had leaked.

    U.S. intelligence agencies later confirmed Russian meddling.

    #Reality_Winner


  • Seychelles meetings probed by Mueller included several Russians : exclusive | NJ.com
    https://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2018/07/seychelles_meetings_probed_in_mueller_investigatio.html

    Several Russians, some linked to the Kremlin, participated in meetings in the Seychelles in January 2017 and are subjects of an ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, according to the island’s aircraft data and sources with knowledge of the meetings.

    Special Counsel Robert Mueller is examining a series of meetings that took place in the Seychelles, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, as part of a broader investigation into Russian meddling. The inquiry into the meetings suggests there is growing interest by the Mueller team into whether foreign financing, specifically from Gulf states, has influenced President Donald Trump and his administration.

    Much speculation has centered on one particular meeting between Erik Prince, founder of the security company Blackwater; Kirill Dmitriev, the director of one of Russia’s sovereign wealth funds; and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the effective ruler of the United Arab Emirates, also known as “MBZ.”

    La presse arabe (http://www.alquds.co.uk/?p=976231) s’intéresse bien entendu à la présence de MBZ....


  • Russian agents allegedly used Bitcoin to fund the DNC hack - MIT Technology Review
    https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/611648/russian-agents-allegedly-used-bitcoin-to-fund-the-dnc-hack

    Among the many new details in today’s indictment (PDF) of 12 Russian intelligence officers for cyberattacks meant to interfere with the US presidential election in 2016, one in particular should stand out to techies: the defendants allegedly used Bitcoin to fund the operation.

    A web of dark money: According to the US Department of Justice’s indictment, the defendants “conspired to launder” more than $95,000 “through a web of transactions structured to capitalize on the perceived anonymity of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.” They allegedly mined coins and acquired them “through a variety of means to obscure the origin of the funds,” which were used to finance cyberattacks against Democratic party officials, members of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and others.

    Cat and mouse: Though the indictment says they used hundreds of different e-mail accounts with fake names to handle Bitcoin payments and cover their tracks, investigators linked messages from “several dedicated email accounts” to corresponding transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain. According to the indictment, the defendants also sometimes facilitated Bitcoin payments on the same computers they used to “conduct their hacking activity.”

    The takeaway: If you weren’t convinced that cryptocurrencies are a magnet for would-be money launderers, this should help. Beyond that, though: Bitcoin is not anonymous! Using clues from outside the internet, which the Mueller team clearly had, it’s quite possible to follow the money on the blockchain and root out individuals behind the transactions (see “Criminals thought Bitcoin was a perfect hiding place, but they thought wrong”).

    #Bitcoin #Argent_sale #Cybersécurité


  • Netanyahu’s dark deal with Europe’s radical right -

    Netanyahu likes to boast about the foreign relations he has nurtured in Eastern Europe because these ties help him block EU decisions against the occupation, but there are no free lunches in politics

    Nitzan Horowitz
    Jul 09, 2018 4:32 AM
    | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-pm-s-dark-deal-with-e-europe-condones-anti-semitism-and-occupation

    Netanyahu’s Polish romance, much like his Hungarian romance, is part of a much bigger story. For years, Netanyahu has been promoting all sorts of ties with the radical right in Europe. He has some passionate fans there: A long list of anti-democratic movements and governments that consider Bibi’s Israel an optimal partner. The Israeli government has no problem with these entities, because they are essentially quite similar. The basis of the connection derives from overlapping interests and ideological closeness.
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    Immigration is a prominent example. The right’s anti-immigration efforts (there and here) became fused with the Israeli-Arab conflict and made Israel an ally in the fight against Islam. “The Jews are our brothers in arms in the war against Islam,” Filip Dewinter, leader of a far right Flemish party in Belgium, explained a decade ago. In that same interview with this newspaper, DeWinter also argued that there was no need for laws against Holocaust denial.
    The far-right political movements, some of which are the descendants of Holocaust-era political parties and regimes, understood years ago that they had to change their image if they wanted to grow stronger. And that one way to do this was to enlist Jewish communities in Israel and around the world as a source of political legitimacy and seal of approval. Many far-right parties in Europe have chosen to distance themselves from anti-Semitism, in their public declarations at least. The open anti-Semitism has been replaced with crude Islamophobia. But the Jewish communities still aren’t buying it. Just scratch the surface and the real character of these groups is revealed.
    Last year, when tension was rising in the French presidential election, Marine Le Pen showed the face she’d been trying to hide. She asserted that France bore no responsibility for the persecution of French Jews, defying a two-decades-long national effort to acknowledge the terrible responsibility borne by French fascism and the Vichy regime for the murders of tens of thousands of Jews.

    Netanyahu likes to boast about the foreign relations he has nurtured, especially in Eastern Europe. These ties help him to block EU decisions against the occupation and the settlements. But there are no free lunches in politics. These relations come with a price, and Israel is paying it: refraining from criticizing these countries over anti-Semitism, xenophobia and anti-democratic legislation, even when Jews worldwide are appalled, as happened in the George Soros affair. This is a two-way deal: Forgive me my anti-Semitism and I’ll forgive your occupation.
    >> Yad Vashem vs. Bibi: When there’s nothing to celebrate, Netanyahu runs from the cameras || Analysis >>
    But diplomatic interests are just part of the picture. The Israeli government isn’t reluctantly being forced to swallow the various anti-democratic political trends in return for diplomatic gain – because it basically agrees with these trends. Essentially, Israel’s current government has no fundamental moral dispute with this dark trend in Europe.

    The profound political shift in Israel over the last generation is moving it from the side that upholds universal human and civil rights to the side that upholds a nationalist, ethnocentric view opposed to social welfare policy. This is where the far right can always be found, and where the Israeli right can increasingly be found now. This is a Putinist-Trumpist worldview characterized by social ruthlessness, racism and unabashed scorn for liberal democracy, all expressed by aversion to international institutions, nostalgia for the greatness of an imagined past, adulation of power, derision of the media and hatred of minorities.
    And it’s totally reciprocal: Many in Europe’s far right talk about “shared values” with Israel and view it as a nationalist role model. Thus we see more and more right-wing Israeli figures unashamedly pursuing ties with the European fascists, and the latter touting their friends in Israel. Now, for the most part, it is only the memory of the Holocaust combined with strong resistance from the world’s Jewish communities that prevents Israel from plunging deeper into this European morass.


  • The Rise and Fall of the Latin American Left | The Nation
    https://www.thenation.com/article/the-ebb-and-flow-of-latin-americas-pink-tide

    Conservatives now control Latin America’s leading economies, but the region’s leftists can still look to Uruguay for direction.
    By Omar G. Encarnación, May 9, 2018

    Last December’s election of Sebastián Piñera, of the National Renewal party, to the Chilean presidency was doubly significant for Latin American politics. Coming on the heels of the rise of right-wing governments in Argentina in 2015 and Brazil in 2016, Piñera’s victory signaled an unmistakable right-wing turn for the region. For the first time since the 1980s, when much of South America was governed by military dictatorship, the continent’s three leading economies are in the hands of right-wing leaders.

    Piñera’s election also dealt a blow to the resurrection of the Latin American left in the post–Cold War era. In the mid-2000s, at the peak of the so-called Pink Tide (a phrase meant to suggest the surge of leftist, noncommunist governments), Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador, and Bolivia, or three-quarters of South America’s population (some 350 million people), were under left-wing rule. By the time the Pink Tide reached the mini-state of Mexico City, in 2006, and Nicaragua, a year later (culminating in the election of Daniel Ortega as president there), it was a region-wide phenomenon.

    It’s no mystery why the Pink Tide ran out of steam; even before the Chilean election, Mexican political scientist Jorge Castañeda had already declared it dead in The New York Times. Left-wing fatigue is an obvious factor. It has been two decades since the late Hugo Chávez launched the Pink Tide by toppling the political establishment in the 1998 Venezuelan presidential election. His Bolivarian revolution lives on in the hands of his handpicked successor, Nicolás Maduro, but few Latin American governments regard Venezuela’s ravaged economy and diminished democratic institutions as an inspiring model. In Brazil, the Workers’ Party, or PT, was in power for 14 years, from 2002 through 2016, first under its founder, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, between 2003 and 2011, and then under his successor and protégée, Dilma Rousseff, from 2011 to 2016. The husband-and-wife team of Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of the Peronist Party governed Argentina from 2003 to 2015. Socialist Michelle Bachelet had two nonconsecutive terms in office in Chile, from 2006 to 2010 and from 2014 to 2018.

    Economic turmoil and discontent is another culprit. As fate would have it, the Pink Tide coincided with one of the biggest economic expansions in Latin American history. Its engine was one of the largest commodities booms in modern times. Once the boom ended, in 2012—largely a consequence of a slowdown in China’s economy—economic growth in Latin America screeched to a halt. According to the International Monetary Fund, since 2012 every major Latin American economy has underperformed relative to the previous 10 years, with some economies, including that of Brazil, the region’s powerhouse, experiencing their worst recession in decades. The downturn reined in public spending and sent the masses into the streets, making it very difficult for governments to hang on to power.

    Meanwhile, as the commodity boom filled states’ coffers, leftist politicians became enmeshed in the same sorts of corrupt practices as their conservative predecessors. In April, Lula began serving a 12-year prison sentence for having accepted bribes in exchange for government contracts while in office. His prosecution, which in principle guarantees that he will not be a candidate in this year’s presidential race, was the high point of Operation Car Wash, the biggest anti-corruption dragnet in Brazilian history. Just after leaving office, in 2015, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was indicted for fraud for conspiring with her former public-works secretary, José López, to steal millions of federal dollars intended for roadwork in Argentina. The “nuns and guns” scandal riveted the country, with the arrest of a gun-toting López as he hurled bags stuffed with millions of dollars over the walls of a Catholic convent in a suburb of Buenos Aires. In Chile, Bachelet left office under a cloud of suspicion. Her family, and by extension Bachelet herself, is accused of illegal real-estate transactions that netted millions of dollars.

    All this said, largely overlooked in obituaries of the Pink Tide is the right-wing backlash that it provoked. This backlash aimed to reverse the shift in power brought on by the Pink Tide—a shift away from the power brokers that have historically controlled Latin America, such as the military, the Catholic Church, and the oligarchy, and toward those sectors of society that have been marginalized: women, the poor, sexual minorities, and indigenous peoples. Rousseff’s impeachment in 2016 perfectly exemplifies the retaliation organized by the country’s traditional elites. Engineered by members of the Brazilian Congress, a body that is only 11 percent female and has deep ties to industrial barons, rural oligarchs, and powerful evangelical pastors, the impeachment process was nothing short of a patriarchal coup.

    In a 2017 interview, Rousseff made note of the “very misogynist element in the coup against me.… They accused me of being overly tough and harsh, while a man would have been considered firm, strong. Or they would say I was too emotional and fragile, when a man would have been considered sensitive.” In support of her case, Rousseff pointed out that previous Brazilian presidents committed the same “crime” she was accused of (fudging the national budget to hide deficits at reelection time), without any political consequence. As if to underscore the misogyny, Rousseff’s successor, Michel Temer, came into office with an all-male cabinet.

    In assessing the impact of the Pink Tide, there is a tendency to bemoan its failure to generate an alternative to neoliberalism. After all, the Pink Tide rose out of the discontent generated by the economic policies championed by the United States and international financial institutions during the 1990s, such as privatizations of state enterprises, austerity measures, and ending economic protectionism. Yet capitalism never retreated in most of Latin America, and US economic influence remains for the most part unabated. The only significant dent on the neoliberal international order made by the Pink Tide came in 2005, when a massive wave of political protests derailed the George W. Bush administration’s plan for a Free Trade Area of the Americas, or FTAA. If enacted, this new trade pact would have extended the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to all countries in the Americas save for Cuba, or 34 nations in total.

    But one shouldn’t look at the legacy of the Pink Tide only through the lens of what might have been with respect to replacing neoliberalism and defeating US imperialism. For one thing, a good share of the Pink Tide was never anti-neoliberal or anti-imperialist. Left-wing rule in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Chile (what Castañeda called the “good left”) had more in common with the social-democratic governments of Western Europe, with its blend of free-market economics and commitment to the welfare state, than with Cuba’s Communist regime.

    Indeed, only in the radical fringe of the Pink Tide, especially the triumvirate of Chávez of Venezuela, Evo Morales of Bolivia, and Rafael Correa of Ecuador (the “bad left,” according to Castañeda), was the main thrust of governance anti-neoliberal and anti-imperialist. Taking Cuba as a model, these self-termed revolutionaries nationalized large sectors of the economy, reinvigorated the role of the state in redistributing wealth, promoted social services to the poor, and created interstate institutions, such as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, or ALBA, to promote inter-American collaboration and to challenge US hegemony.

    Second, the focus on neoliberalism and US imperialism obscures the Pink Tide’s biggest accomplishments. To be sure, the picture is far from being uniformly pretty, especially when it comes to democracy. The strong strand of populism that runs through the Pink Tide accounts for why some of its leaders have been so willing to break democratic norms. Claiming to be looking after the little guy, the likes of Chávez and Maduro have circumvented term limits and curtailed the independence of the courts and the press. But there is little doubt that the Pink Tide made Latin America more inclusive, equitable, and democratic, by, among other things, ushering in an unprecedented era of social progressivism.

    Because of the Pink Tide, women in power are no longer a novelty in Latin American politics; in 2014, female presidents ruled in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. Their policies leave little doubt about the transformative nature of their leadership. In 2010, Fernández boldly took on the Argentine Catholic Church (then headed by present-day Pope Francis) to enact Latin America’s first ever same-sex marriage law; this was five years before same-sex marriage became the law of the land in the United States. A gender-identity law, one of the world’s most liberal, followed. It allows individuals to change their sex assigned at birth without permission from either a doctor or a judge. Yet another law banned the use of “conversion therapy” to cure same-sex attraction. Argentina’s gay-rights advances were quickly emulated by neighboring Uruguay and Brazil, kick-starting a “gay-rights revolution” in Latin America.

    Rousseff, who famously referred to herself with the gender-specific title of a presidenta, instead of the gender-neutral “president,” did much to advance the status of women in Brazilian society. She appointed women to the three most powerful cabinet positions, including chief of staff, and named the first female head of Petrobras, Brazil’s largest business corporation; during her tenure in office, a woman became chief justice of the Federal Supreme Court. Brutally tortured by the military during the 1970s, as a university student, Rousseff put human rights at the center of Brazilian politics by enacting a law that created Brazil’s first ever truth commission to investigate the abuses by the military between 1964 and 1985. She also signed laws that opened the Brazilian Army to women and that set into motion the corruption campaign that is currently roiling the Brazilian political class. These laws earned Rousseff the enmity of the military and conservatives.

    Bachelet, the last woman standing, made news when she entered office, in 2006, by naming the same number of men and women to her cabinet. After being term-limited, she became the first head of the newly established UN Women (formally known as the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women), before returning to Chile to win a second term at the presidency in 2014. During her second term, she created the Ministry of Gender Equality to address gender disparities and discrimination, and passed a law that legalized abortion in cases of rape, when there is a threat to the life of the mother, or when the fetus has a terminal condition. Less known is Bachelet’s advocacy for the environment. She weaned Chile off its dependence on hydrocarbons by building a vast network of solar- and wind-powered grids that made electricity cheaper and cleaner. She also created a vast system of national parks to protect much of the country’s forestland and coastline from development.

    Latin America’s socioeconomic transformation under the Pink Tide is no less impressive. Just before the economic downturn of 2012, Latin America came tantalizingly close to becoming a middle-class region. According to the World Bank, from 2002 to 2012, the middle class in Latin America grew every year by at least 1 percent to reach 35 percent of the population by 2013. This means that during that time frame, some 10 million Latin Americans joined the middle class every year. A consequence of this dramatic expansion of the middle class is a significant shrinking of the poor. Between 2000 and 2014, the percentage of Latin Americans living in poverty (under $4 per day) shrank from 45 to 25 percent.

    Economic growth alone does not explain this extraordinary expansion of the Latin American middle class and the massive reduction in poverty: Deliberate efforts by the government to redistribute wealth were also a key factor. Among these, none has garnered more praise than those implemented by the Lula administration, especially Bolsa Família, or Family Purse. The program channeled direct cash payments to poor families, as long as they agreed to keep their children in school and to attend regular health checkups. By 2013, the program had reached some 12 million households (50 million people), helping cut extreme poverty in Brazil from 9.7 to 4.3 percent of the population.

    Last but not least are the political achievements of the Pink Tide. It made Latin America the epicenter of left-wing politics in the Global South; it also did much to normalize democratic politics in the region. With its revolutionary movements crushed by military dictatorship, it is not surprising that the Latin American left was left for dead after the end of the Cold War. But since embracing democracy, the left in Latin America has moderated its tactics and beliefs while remaining committed to the idea that deliberate state action powered by the popular will is critical to correcting injustice and alleviating human suffering. Its achievements are a welcome antidote to the cynicism about democratic politics afflicting the American left.

    How the epoch-making legacy of the Pink Tide will fare in the hands of incoming right-wing governments is an open question. Some of the early signs are not encouraging. The Temer administration in Brazil has shown a decidedly retro-macho attitude, as suggested by its abolishment of the Ministry of Women, Racial Equality, and Human Rights (its functions were collapsed into the Ministry of Justice) and its close ties to a politically powerful evangelical movement with a penchant for homophobia. In Argentina, President Mauricio Macri has launched a “Trumpian” assault on undocumented immigrants from Bolivia, Paraguay, and Peru, blaming them for bringing crime and drugs into the country. Some political observers expect that Piñera will abridge or overturn Chile’s new abortion law.

    But there is reason for optimism. Temer and Macri have been slow to dismantle anti-poverty programs, realizing that doing so would be political suicide. This is hardly surprising, given the success of those programs. Right-wing governments have even seen fit to create anti-poverty programs of their own, such as Mexico’s Prospera. Moreover, unlike with prior ascents by the right in Latin America, the left is not being vanished to the political wilderness. Left-wing parties remain a formidable force in the legislatures of most major Latin American countries. This year alone, voters in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia will have presidential elections, raising the prospect that a new Pink Tide might be rising. Should this new tide come in, the Latin American left would do well to reform its act and show what it has learned from its mistakes.

    Latin American leftists need not look far to find a model to emulate: Uruguay. It exemplifies the best of the Pink Tide without its excesses. Frente Amplio, or Broad Front, a coalition of left-wing parties in power since 2005, has put the country at the vanguard of social change by legalizing abortion, same-sex marriage, and, most famously, recreational marijuana. For these reasons alone, in 2013 The Economist chose “liberal and fun-loving” Uruguay for its first ever “country of the year” award.

    Less known accomplishments include being one of only two countries in Latin America that enjoy the status of “high income” (alongside Chile), reducing poverty from around 40 percent to less than 12 percent from 2005 to 2014, and steering clear of corruption scandals. According to Transparency International, Uruguay is the least corrupt country in Latin America, and ranks among the world’s 25 least corrupt nations. The country also scored a near perfect 100 in Freedom House’s 2018 ranking of civil and political freedoms, virtually tied with Canada, and far ahead of the United States and neighboring Argentina and Brazil. The payoff for this much virtue is hard to ignore. Among Latin American nations, no other country shows more satisfaction with its democracy.

    Omar G. EncarnaciónOmar G. Encarnación is a professor of political studies at Bard College and author of Out in the Periphery: Latin America’s Gay Rights Revolution.

    #politique #amérique_latine #impérialisme


  • Bosnian police block 100 migrants from reaching Croatia

    Bosnian border police on Monday stopped about 100 migrants from reaching the border with European Union member Croatia amid a rise in the influx of people heading through the Balkans toward Western Europe.

    Police blocked the migrants near the Maljevac border crossing in northwestern Bosnia, which was briefly closed down. The group has moved toward Croatia from the nearby town of #Velika_Kladusa, where hundreds have been staying in makeshift camps while looking for ways to move on.

    Migrants have recently turned to Bosnia in order to avoid more heavily guarded routes through the Balkans. Authorities in the war-ravaged country have struggled with the influx of thousands of people from the Mideast, Africa and Asia.

    Peter Van der Auweraert, from the International Organization for Migration, tweeted the attempted group crossing on Monday was a “very worrying development that risks” creating a backlash.

    Van der Auweraert told The Associated Press that the migrant influx has already put pressure on Bosnia and any incidents could further strain the situation, making Bosnians view migrants as “troublemakers” rather than people in need of help, he said.

    Migrants arrive in Bosnia from Serbia or Montenegro after traveling from Greece to Albania, Bulgaria or Macedonia.

    Also Monday, a migrant was stabbed in a fight with another migrant in an asylum center in southern Bosnia, police said.

    The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said Monday that more than 5,600 migrants have reached Bosnia and Herzegovina so far this year, compared with only 754 in all of 2017.

    Hundreds of thousands of people passed through the Balkans toward Europe at the peak of the mass migration in 2015. The flow eased for a while but has recently picked up a bit with the new route through Bosnia.

    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/article213373449.html
    #Bosnie #fermeture_des_frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Croatie #frontières #route_des_Balkans #Bosnie-Herzégovine

    • Migrants en Croatie : « on ne nous avait encore jamais tiré dessus »

      Le 30 mai, la police croate ouvrait le feu sur une camionnette qui venait de forcer un barrage près de la frontière avec la Bosnie-Herzégovine. À l’intérieur, 29 migrants. Bilan : deux enfants et sept adultes blessés. Reportage sur le lieu du drame, nouvelle étape de la route de l’exil, où des réfugiés désœuvrés errent dans des villages désertés par l’exode.

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Migrants-en-Croatie-nulle-part-ailleurs-on-ne-nous-avait-tire-des
      #police #violences_policières

    • Refugees stranded in Bosnia allege Croatian police brutality

      Croatian officers accused of physical and verbal abuse, along with harassment including theft, but deny all allegations.

      Brutally beaten, mobile phones destroyed, strip-searched and money stolen.

      These are some of the experiences refugees and migrants stranded in western Bosnia report as they describe encounters with Croatian police.

      The abuse, they say, takes place during attempts to pass through Croatia, an EU member, with most headed for Germany.

      Bosnia has emerged as a new route to Western Europe, since the EU tightened its borders. This year, more than 13,000 refugees and migrants have so far arrived in the country, compared with only 755 in 2017.

      In Velika Kladusa, Bosnia’s most western town beside the Croatian border, hundreds have been living in makeshift tents on a field next to a dog kennel for the past four months.

      When night falls, “the game” begins, a term used by refugees and migrants for the challenging journey to the EU through Croatia and Slovenia that involves treks through forests and crossing rivers.

      However, many are caught in Slovenia or Croatia and are forced to return to Bosnia by Croatian police, who heavily patrol its EU borders.

      Then, they have to start the mission all over again.

      Some told Al Jazeera that they have attempted to cross as many as 20 times.

      The use of violence is clearly not acceptable. It is possible to control borders in a strict matter without violence.

      Peter Van der Auweraert, Western Balkans coordinator for the International Organization for Migration

      All 17 refugees and migrants interviewed by Al Jazeera said that they have been beaten by Croatian police - some with police batons, others punched or kicked.

      According to their testimonies, Croatian police have stolen valuables and money, cut passports, and destroyed mobile phones, hindering their communication and navigation towards the EU.

      “Why are they treating us like this?” many asked as they narrated their ordeals.

      “They have no mercy,” said 26-year-old Mohammad from Raqqa, Syria, who said he was beaten all over his body with batons on the two occasions he crossed into the EU. Police also took his money and phone, he said.

      “They treat babies and women the same. An officer pressed his boot against a woman’s head [as she was lying on the ground],” Mohammad said. “Dogs are treated better than us … why are they beating us like this? We don’t want to stay in Croatia; we want to go to Europe.”

      Mohammad Abdullah, a 22-year-old Algerian, told Al Jazeera that officers laughed at a group of migrants as they took turns beating them.

      "One of them would tell the other, ’You don’t know how to hit’ and would switch his place and continue beating us. Then, another officer would say, ’No, you don’t know how to hit’ and would take his place.

      “While [one of them] was beating me, he kissed me and started laughing. They would keep taking turns beating us like this, laughing,” Abdullah said.

      Croatia’s Interior Ministry told Al Jazeera that it “strongly dismisses” allegations of police brutality.

      In an emailed statement, it said those attempting to cross borders know they are acting outside of the law, and claimed that “no complaint so far has proved to be founded.”

      At a meeting in late August with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised Croatia for its control over its borders.

      “You are doing a great job on the borders, and I wish to commend you for that,” Merkel said.

      But according to a new report, the UNHCR received information about 1,500 refugees being denied access to asylum procedures, including over 100 children. More than 700 people reported violence and theft by Croatian police.

      Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify all of the claims against police, because many of the refugees and migrants said their phones - which held evidence - were confiscated or smashed. However, the 17 people interviewed separately reported similar patterns of abuse.

      Shams and Hassan, parents of three, have been trying to reach Germany to apply for asylum, but Croatian authorities have turned them back seven times over the past few months.

      Four years ago, they left their home in Deir Az Zor, Syria, after it was bombed.

      Shams, who worked as a lawyer in Syria, said Croatian policemen strip-searched her and her 13-year-old daughter Rahma on one occasion after they were arrested.

      The male officers handled the women’s bodies, while repeating: “Where’s the money?”

      They pulled off Shams’ headscarf, threw it on the ground and forced her to undress, and took Rahma into a separate room.

      “My daughter was very afraid,” Shams said. "They told her to take off all her clothes. She was shy, she told them, ’No.’

      "They beat her up and stripped her clothes by force, even her underwear.

      “She kept telling them ’No! No! There isn’t [any money]!’ She was embarrassed and was asking them to close the window and door so no one would see her. [The officer] then started yelling at her and pulled at her hair. They beat her up.”

      Rahma screamed for her mother but Shams said she couldn’t do anything.

      “They took 1,500 euros ($1,745) from me and they took my husband’s golden ring. They also broke five of our mobiles and took all the SIM cards … They detained us for two days in prison and didn’t give us any food in the beginning,” Shams said, adding they cut her Syrian passport into pieces.

      “They put my husband in solitary confinement. I didn’t see him for two days; I didn’t know where he was.”

      A senior policeman told Shams that she and her children could apply for asylum, but Hassan would have to return to Bosnia.

      When she refused, she said the police drove the family for three hours to a forest at night and told them to walk back to Bosnia.

      They did not have a torch or mobile phone.

      She said they walked through the forest for two days until they reached a small town in western Bosnia.

      “No nation has the right to treat people this way,” Shams said.

      In another instance, they said they were arrested in a forest with a group of refugees and migrants. All 15 of them were forced into a van for two hours, where it was difficult to breathe.

      “It was closed like a box, but [the officer] refused to turn on the air conditioning so we could breathe. My younger son Mohammad - he’s eight years old - he has asthma and allergies, he was suffocating. When we knocked on the window to ask if he could turn on the air conditioning, [the officer] beat my husband with the baton,” Shams said.

      No Name Kitchen, a volunteer organisation that provides assistance to refugees and migrants on the Balkan route, has been documenting serious injuries on Instagram.

      In one post, the group alleges that Croatian police twice crushed a refugee’s orthopaedic leg.

      Peter Van der Auweraert, the Western Balkans coordinator for the International Organization for Migration, says he has heard stories of police brutality, but called for an independent investigation to judge how alleged victims sustained injuries.

      “Given the fact that there are so many of these stories, I think it’s in everyone’s interest to have an independent inquiry to see what is going on, on the other side of the border,” Van der Auweraert said.

      “The use of violence is clearly not acceptable. It’s not acceptable under European human rights law, it’s not acceptable under international human rights law and it is to my mind also, not necessary. It is possible to control borders in a strict matter without violence.”

      Shams’ family journey from Syria was traumatic from the get-go, and they have spent and lost several thousand euros.

      While travelling in dinghies from Turkey to Greece, they saw dead bodies along the way.

      “We call upon Merkel to help us and open the borders for us. At least for those of us stuck at the borders,” she said. “Why is the EU paying Croatia to prevent our entry into the EU, yet once we reach Germany, after spending a fortune with lives lost on the way, we’ll be granted asylum?”

      “We have nothing,” said her husband Hassan. “Our houses have been destroyed. We didn’t have any problems until the war started. We had peace in our homes. Is there a single country that accepts refugees?”

      “There are countries but there’s no way to reach them,” Shams replied. “This is our misery.”


      https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/refugees-stranded-bosnia-report-campaign-police-brutality-180915100740024

    • Le Conseil de l’Europe somme la Croatie d’enquêter sur les violences policières

      Le Commissariat aux droits de l’Homme du Conseil de l’Europe a appelé la Croatie à ouvrir rapidement des enquêtes sur les allégations de violences policières et de vol à l’encontre de « demandeurs d’asile et autres migrants », ainsi que sur les cas d’expulsions collectives.

      Dans un courrier publié vendredi 5 octobre et adressé au Premier ministre croate Andrej Plenkovic, la commissaire aux droits de l’Homme du Conseil de l’Europe, Dunja Mijatovic, a déclaré être « préoccupée » par les informations « cohérentes et corroborées » fournies par plusieurs organisations attestant « d’un grand nombre d’expulsions collectives de la Croatie vers la Serbie et vers la Bosnie-Herzégovine de migrants en situation irrégulière, dont de potentiels demandeurs d’asile ».

      Elle s’inquiète particulièrement du « recours systématique à la violence des forces de l’ordre croates à l’encontre de ces personnes », y compris les « femmes enceintes et les enfants ». La responsable s’appuie sur les chiffres du Haut-Commissariat de l’ONU aux réfugiés (UNHCR), selon lesquels sur 2 500 migrants expulsés par la Croatie, 700 ont accusé la police de violences et de vols.

      « Consciente des défis auxquels la Croatie est confrontée dans le domaine des migrations », Dunja Mijatovic souligne cependant que les « efforts pour gérer les migrations » doivent respecter les principes du droit international. « Il s’agit notamment de l’interdiction absolue de la torture et des peines ou traitements inhumains prévue à l’article 3 de la Convention européenne des droits de l’homme et l’interdiction des expulsions collectives », qui s’appliquent « aux demandeurs d’asile comme aux migrants en situation irrégulière », écrit-elle.

      Une « violence systématique » selon les associations

      Pour la commissaire, Zagreb doit « entamer et mener rapidement à leur terme des enquêtes rapides, efficaces et indépendantes sur les cas connus d’expulsions collectives et sur les allégations de violence contre les migrants ». Elle somme également le gouvernement croate de « prendre toutes les mesures nécessaires pour mettre fin à ces pratiques et éviter qu’elles ne se reproduisent ».

      « Aucun cas de mauvais de traitement policier à l’encontre de migrants (...) ni aucun vol n’ont été établis », s’est défendu le ministre croate de l’Intérieur Davor Bozinovic dans une lettre de réponse au Conseil de l’Europe.

      Pourtant, dans un rapport intitulé « Games of violence », l’organisation Médecins sans frontières MSF alertait déjà en octobre 2017 sur les violences perpétrées par les polices croates, hongroises et bulgares envers les enfants et les jeunes migrants.

      Sur sa page Facebook, l’association No Name Kitchen a également rappelé qu’elle documentait les cas de violences aux frontières croates depuis 2017 sur le site Border violence.
      En août dernier, cette association qui aide les réfugiés à Sid en Serbie et dans le nord-ouest de la Bosnie expliquait à InfoMigrants que la violence était « systématique » pour les migrants expulsés de Croatie. « Il y a un ou deux nouveaux cas chaque jour. Nous n’avons pas la capacité de tous les documenter », déclarait Marc Pratllus de No Name Kitchen.


      http://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/12518/le-conseil-de-l-europe-somme-la-croatie-d-enqueter-sur-les-violences-p

    • Bosnie-Herzégovine : des réfugiés tentent de passer en force en Croatie

      Alors que les températures ont brutalement chuté ces derniers jours, des réfugiés bloqués en Bosnie-Herzégovine ont tenté de franchir la frontière croate. Des rixes ont éclaté, des policiers croates ont été blessés, des réfugiés aussi.

      Environ 150 à 200 réfugiés ont essayé, mercredi après-midi, de traverser en force le pont reliant la Bosnie-Herzégovine au poste-frontière croate de Mlajevac. Des échauffourées ont éclaté entre la police et les réfugiés, parmi lesquels des femmes et des enfants. Au moins deux policiers croates ont été blessés par des jets de pierres, selon le ministère croate de l’Intérieur. Les réfugiés ont depuis organisé un sit-in devant la frontière, dont ils demandent l’ouverture.

      « Les réfugiés se sont déplacés jusqu’à la frontière croate où la police leur a refusé l’entrée, illégale et violente, sur le territoire », a rapporté le ministère croate de l’Intérieur. « Les réfugiés ont ensuite jeté des pierres sur les agents de la police croate, dont deux ont été légèrement blessé et ont demandé une aide médicale. »

      Après avoir passé la nuit près de la frontière de Velika Kalduša – Maljevac, les réfugiés s’attendaient à pouvoir entrer en Croatie depuis la Bosnie-Herzégovine et ont franchi un premier cordon de la police bosnienne aux frontières. « La police croate n’a pas réagi après que les réfugiés eurent passé le premier cordon de police en direction de la Croatie, car il y avait un second cordon de la police bosnienne », a déclaré la cheffe du département des relations publiques du ministère croate de l’Intérieur, Marina Mandić, soulignant que la police croate, en poste à la frontière, n’est intervenue à aucun moment et n’a donc pas pénétré sur le territoire de la Bosnie-Herzégovine, comme l’ont rapporté certains médias.

      Selon l’ONG No Name Kitchen, la police bosnienne aurait fait usage de gaz lacrymogènes. Au moins trois réfugiés ont été blessés et pris en charge par Médecins sans frontières.

      Mardi, plus de 400 réfugiés sont arrivés à proximité de la frontière où la police a déployé une bande jaune de protection pour les empêcher de passer en Croatie. Parmi les réfugiés qui dorment dehors ou dans des tentes improvisées, on compte beaucoup de femmes et d’enfants. Ils ont ramassé du bois et allumé des feux, alors que la température atteint à peine 10°C.

      Le commandant de la police du canton d’Una-Sana, en Bosnie-Herzégovine, Mujo Koričić, a confirmé mercredi que des mesures d’urgence étaient entrées en vigueur afin d’empêcher l’escalade de la crise migratoire dans la région, notamment l’afflux de nouveaux réfugiés.

      Mise à jour, jeudi 25 octobre, 17h – Environ 120 réfugiés stationnent toujours près du poste-frontière de Velika Kalduša–Maljevac après avoir passé une deuxième nuit sur place, dehors ou dans des tentes improvisées. La police aux frontières de Bosnie-Herzégovine assure que la situation est sous contrôle et pacifiée. La circulation est toujours suspendue. Des enfants portent des banderoles avec des inscriptions demandant l’ouverture de la frontière.

      En réaction, le secrétaire général aux Affaires étrangères de l’UE, l’autrichien Johannes Peterlik, a déclaré jeudi 25 octobre en conférence de presse : « Les migrations illégales ne sont pas la voie à suivre. Il y a des voies légales et cela doit être clair ».

      Le nombre de migrants dans le canton d’Una-Sana est actuellement estimé à 10500.


      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Bosnie-Herzegovine-des-refugies-tentent-un-passage-en-force-en-Cr
      #violence

      v. aussi :

      Sulla porta d’Europa. Scontri e feriti oggi alla frontiera fra Bosnia e Croazia. Dove un gruppo di 200 migranti ha cercato di passare il confine. Foto Reuters/Marko Djurica

      https://twitter.com/NiccoloZancan/status/1055070667710828545

    • Bleak Bosnian winter for migrants camped out on new route to Europe

      Shouting “Open borders!”, several dozen migrants and asylum seekers broke through a police cordon last week at the Maljevac border checkpoint in northwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina and tried to cross into Croatia.

      After being forced back by Croatian police with teargas, they set up camp just inside Bosnian territory. They are in the vanguard of a new wave of migrants determined to reach wealthier European countries, often Germany. Stalled, they have become a political football and face winter with little assistance and inadequate shelter.

      The old Balkan route shut down in 2016 as a raft of European countries closed their borders, with Hungary erecting a razor-wire fence. But a new route emerged this year through Bosnia (via Albania and Montenegro or via Macedonia and Serbia) and on to Croatia, a member of the EU. The flow of travellers has been fed by fresh streams of people from the Middle East and Central and South Asia entering Greece from Turkey, notably across the Evros River.

      By the end of September, more than 16,000 asylum seekers and migrants had entered Bosnia this year, compared to just 359 over the same period last year, according to official figures. The real number is probably far higher as more are smuggled in and uncounted. Over a third of this year’s official arrivals are Pakistani, followed by Iranians (16 percent), Syrians (14 percent), and Iraqis (nine percent).

      This spike is challenging Bosnia’s ability to provide food, shelter, and other aid – especially to the nearly 10,000 people that local institutions and aid organisations warn may be stranded at the Croatian border as winter begins. Two decades after the Balkan wars of the 1990s, the situation is also heightening tensions among the country’s Muslim, Serb, and Croat communities and its often fraught tripartite political leadership.

      How to respond to the unexpected number of migrants was a key issue in the presidential election earlier this month. Nationalist Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, who won the Serb seat in the presidency, charged that it was a conspiracy to boost the country’s Muslim population. The outgoing Croat member of the presidency, Dragan Čović, repeatedly called for Bosnia’s borders to be closed to stem the migrant flow.

      Maja Gasal Vrazalica, a left-wing member of parliament and a refugee herself during the Bosnian wars, accuses nationalist parties of “misusing the topic of refugees because they want to stoke up all this fear through our nation.”
      “I’m very scared”

      Most migrants and asylum seekers are concentrated around two northwestern towns, Bihać and nearby Velika Kladuša. Faris Šabić, youth president of the Bihać Red Cross, organises assistance for the some 4,000 migrants camped in Bihać and others who use the town as a way station.

      Since the spring and throughout the summer, as arrivals spiked, several local volunteers joined his staff to provide food, hygiene items, and first aid. But now, as winter draws in, they fear the scale of the crisis is becoming untenable.

      “I have to be honest, I’m very scared,” Šabić told IRIN, examining a notebook filled with the names of new arrivals. “Not only for migrants, I’m scared for my locals as well. We are a generous and welcoming people, but I fear that we will not be able to manage the emergency anymore.”

      The Bihać Red Cross, along with other aid organisations and human rights groups, is pushing the government to find long-term solutions. But with an economy still recovering from the legacy of the war and a youth unemployment rate of almost 55 percent, it has been hard-pressed to find answers.

      Hope that the end of the election season might improve the national debate around migration appears misguided. Around 1,000 Bihać locals staged protests for three consecutive days, from 20-22 October, demanding the relocation of migrants outside the town centre. On the Saturday, Bihać residents even travelled to the capital, Sarajevo, blocking the main street to protest the inaction of the central government.

      The local government of the border district where most migrants and asylum seekers wait, Una-Sana, complains of being abandoned by the central government in Sarajevo. “We do not have bad feelings towards migrants, but the situation is unmanageable,” the mayor of Bihać, Šuhret Fazlić, told IRIN.

      To begin with most residents openly welcomed the migrants, with volunteers providing food and medical help. But tensions have been growing, especially as dozens of the latest newcomers have started occupying the main public spaces in the town.

      “They turned our stadium into a toilet and occupied children’s playgrounds,” said Fazlić. “I would like to understand why they come here, but what is important at the moment is to understand where to host them in a dignified manner.”
      Beatings and abuse

      Those camped near the Croatian border have all entered Bosnia illegally. Each night, they wait to enter “The Game” – as they refer to attempts to cross the frontier and strike out into dense forests.

      Most are detained and pushed back into Bosnia by the Croatian police. Some reach Slovenia before being deported all the way back. Abuse is rife, according to NGOs and human rights groups. Those who have attempted to cross say Croatian police officers destroy their phones to prevent them from navigating the mountains, beat them with electric batons, unleash dogs, steal their money, and destroy their documents and personal belongings. Croatia’s interior ministry has strongly denied allegations of police brutality.

      No Name Kitchen, a group of activists that provides showers, soap, and hygiene products to migrants in Velika Kladuša, has been documenting cases of violence allegedly committed by the Croatian police. In August alone the organisation collected accounts from 254 deportees. Most claimed to have suffered physical violence. Of those cases, 43 were minors.

      Croatian media has reported cases of shootings, too. In late May, a smuggler’s van bringing migrants and asylum seekers from Bosnia was shot at and three people including a boy and a girl, both 12, were wounded.

      A report earlier this year from the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, collated accounts from 2,500 refugees and migrants allegedly pushed back from Croatia to Serbia and Bosnia. In more than 1,500 cases – 100 of them relating to children – asylum procedures were denied, and over 700 people made allegations of violence or theft.
      Winter housing needed

      In Velika Kladuša, two kilometres from the Maljevac border checkpoint, around 1,000 people live in a makeshift tent camp that turns into a swamp every time it rains. Temperatures here will soon plummet below zero at night. Finding a new place for them "is a race against time and the key challenge,” said Stephanie Woldenberg, senior UNHCR protection officer.

      Already, life is difficult.

      “Nights here are unsustainable,” Emin, a young Afghan girl who tried twice to cross the border with her family and is among those camped in Velika Kladuša, told IRIN. “Dogs in the kennel are treated better than us.”

      Bosnian police reportedly announced last week that migrants are no longer allowed to travel to the northwest zone, and on 30 October said they had bussed dozens of migrants from the border camps to a new government-run facility near Velika Kladuša. Another facility has been set up near Sarajevo since the election. Together, they have doubled the number of beds available to migrants to 1,700, but it’s still nowhere near the capacity needed.

      The federal government has identified a defunct factory, Agrokomerc, once owned by the mayor of Velika Kladuša, Fikret Abdić, as a potential site to house more migrants. Abdić was convicted on charges of war crimes during the Balkan wars and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. He became mayor in 2016, after his 2012 release. His local government is strongly opposed to the move and counters that the migrants and asylum seekers should be equally distributed throughout Bosnia.

      For now, around 800 people live inside a former student dormitory in Velika Kladuša that is falling apart due to damage sustained during the Bosnian wars. Holes in the floor and the absence of basic fixtures and of a proper heating system make it highly unsuitable to house migrants this winter. Clean water and bathing facilities are scarce, and the Red Cross has registered several cases of scabies, lice, and other skin and vector-borne diseases.

      Throughout the three-storey building, migrants and asylum seekers lie sprawled across the floor on mattresses, waiting their turn to charge their phones at one of the few electrical sockets. Many are young people from Lahore, Pakistan who sold their family’s homes and businesses to pay for this trip. On average they say they paid $10,000 to smugglers who promised to transport them to the EU. Several display bruises and abrasions, which they say were given to them by Croatian border patrol officers as they tried to enter Croatia.

      The bedding on one mattress is stained with blood. Witnesses told IRIN the person who sleeps there was stabbed by other migrants trying to steal his few belongings. “It happens frequently here,” one said.


      https://www.irinnews.org/news-feature/2018/10/31/bleak-bosnian-winter-migrants-camped-out-new-route-europe

    • ’They didn’t give a damn’: first footage of Croatian police ’brutality’

      Migrants who allegedly suffer savage beatings by state officials call it ‘the game’. But as shocking evidence suggests, attempting to cross the Bosnia-Croatia border is far from mere sport.

      As screams ring out through the cold night air, Sami, hidden behind bushes, begins to film what he can.

      “The Croatian police are torturing them. They are breaking people’s bones,’’ Sami whispers into his mobile phone, as the dull thumps of truncheons are heard.

      Then silence. Minutes go by before Hamdi, Mohammed and Abdoul emerge from the woods, faces bruised from the alleged beating, mouths and noses bloody, their ribs broken.

      Asylum seekers from Algeria, Syria and Pakistan, they had been captured by the Croatian police attempting to cross the Bosnia-Croatia border into the EU, and brutally beaten before being sent back.

      Sami, 17, from Kobane, gave the Guardian his footage, which appears to provide compelling evidence of the physical abuses, supposedly perpetrated by Croatian police, of which migrants in the Bosnian cities of Bihac and Velika Kladusa have been complaining.

      The EU border agency, Frontex, announced on Wednesday that this year is likely to produce the lowest number of unauthorised migrants arriving into Europe in five years.

      Frontex said that approximately 118,900 irregular border crossings were recorded in the first 10 months of 2018, roughly 31% lower than the same period in 2017.
      Advertisement

      Despite this steady decline in numbers, many states remain embroiled in political disputes that fuel anti-migrant sentiment across Europe.

      Frontex also noted that, while entries are declining, the number of people reaching Europe across the western Mediterranean, mostly through Spain from Morocco, continues to rise. Nearly 9,400 people crossed in October, more than double the number for the same month last year.

      But the brutality of what is happening on Europe’s borders is not documented. Every night, migrants try to cross into Croatia. And, according to dozens of accounts received by the Guardian and charities, many end up in the hands of police, who beat them back to Bosnia.

      No Name Kitchen (NNK), an organisation consisting of volunteers from several countries that distributes food to asylum seekers in Serbia, Bosnia and Italy, registers 50-100 people a week who have been pushed back by the Croatian authorities. Roughly 70% of them claim to have been beaten.

      “In the last months our team in Bosnia and Herzegovina has regularly treated patients – sometimes even women and small children – with wounds allegedly inflicted by state authorities when attempting to cross into Croatia and Slovenia, where, according to their testimonies, their claims for asylum and protection are regularly ignored,” says Julian Koeberer, humanitarian affairs officer in the northern Balkans for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).
      Advertisement

      Since the turn of the year, the Bosnian authorities have registered the entry of about 21,000 people, coming from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran or Syria. Of these, an estimated 5,000 remain in the country.

      Of 50 people to whom the Guardian spoke, mostly from Pakistan, 35 said they had been attacked by Croatian police. The majority of them arrived in Bosnia through Turkey, hoping to reach Slovenia, a Schengen country, before heading to Italy, Austria or Germany.

      ‘‘The Iranian police broke all my teeth, the Croatian ones broke my nose and ribs,” says Milad, 29, an Iranian asylum seeker who since September has lived in Bihac. “Yet everyone talks about the violence in Iran and nobody talks about the violence perpetrated by a European country.”

      Adeel, 27, from Pakistan, claims he had his ankle broken with a truncheon. ‘‘Where are the human rights?” he asks.

      Anees, 43, also from Pakistan, says he begged the police not to beat him after he was stopped in the woods on the border with Velika Kladusa. ‘‘I have a heart disease, I told them to stop because they could have killed me,’’ explains Anees, whose medical conditions are detailed in a clinical file.

      On 9 June 2018, he had heart surgery at the Zdravstveni centre hospital in the Serbian city of Uzice. After the operation, he continued his journey. He struggles to breathe as he tells his story: ‘‘I told him I was sick, I showed them the clinical file. They did not give a damn. They started beating me and sent us back to Bosnia. But it does not matter. Tomorrow I will try the game again.’’

      That’s what migrants call it: ‘the game”. But there is nothing fun about it. They set off in groups: 70 or 80 people, or sometimes as few as five to 10. Police, armed with truncheons, pistols and night vision goggles, patrol Europe’s longest border between Bosnia and Croatia. According to accounts provided by more than 10 migrants, some officers wear paramilitary uniforms with a badge depicting a sword upraised by two lightning bolts. This is the badge of Croatian special police.

      “They stop us and, before beating us, they frisk us”, says Hamdi, 35, An Algerian language teacher. “If they find money, they steal it. If they find mobile phones, they destroy them to avoid being filmed or simply to stop us from contacting our friends. And then they beat us, four or five against one. They throw us to the ground, kick us, and beat us with their truncheons. Sometimes their dogs attack us. To them, we probably don’t seem much different from their dogs.”

      Hamdi is one of three men traveling with Sami. The screams in the video are his. His face is covered in blood when he reaches his friends. His nose is broken, his lips swollen.

      “After repeatedly being pushed back or forced to return to Bosnia on their own, asylum seekers find themselves in unsanitary, improvised settlements such as open fields and squats while formal government camps are full,” says Koeberer.

      “Those sites still offer alarmingly inadequate conditions due to only slow improvement in provision of winter shelter (food, hygiene, legal status and medical care), and these inhumane living conditions have severe impact on people’s physical and mental health. In winter, the lives of those who are forced to remain outside will seriously be at risk.’’

      At the camp in Velika Kladusa, where Hamdi lives, dozens of people sit in the mud and on piles of rubbish, awaiting the arrival of the doctors. On man has a cast on his arm and leg, the result, he says, of a police beating. Others show black eyes, bruises on their backs and legs, lumps and wounds on their heads, split lips, and scars on their legs.

      ‘‘There have been cases in which migrants claimed to have been stripped and forced to walk barefoot with temperatures below freezing,” said Stephane Moissaing, MSF’s head of mission in Serbia. “Cases where asylum seekers have told how police would beat children in front of their parents. From the information we have, up until now, it is a systematic and planned violence.”

      Karolina Augustova, an NKK volunteer, says violence has increased since October protests in which hundreds of asylum seekers marched from the north-western town of Velika Kladusa towards Croatia to object against pushbacks that violate the rights of people to seek asylum in Europe.

      The Bosnian police appear to be aware of the assaults. A Bosnian police agent guarding the camp in Velika Kladusa, who prefers to remain anonymous, points out a bruise on a boy’s leg. “You see this bruise?” he says. “It was the Croatian police. The Bosnian police know, but there is no clear and compelling evidence, just the accounts of the refugees and their wounds.”

      The majority of Bosnians live in peace with migrants and view them as refugees. The scars from the war that ravaged this area in the early 1990s are everywhere, in the abandoned homes riddled with machine gun fire and in the collective memory of Bosnians. People from Bihac and Velika Kladusa know what it means to flee from war. The minarets of the numerous mosques along the border are a reminder that Bosnia is the closest Muslim community in Europe.

      “I feel sorry for these people,’’ says the policeman on guard. ‘‘They remind me of the Bosnians when the war devastated our country.’’

      MSF, NNK and a number of other organisations have repeatedly reported and denounced violence perpetrated by the security forces in the Balkans, but Croatian police deny all the allegations.

      The Guardian has contacted the Croatian interior minister, the police and the Croatian government for comment, but has received no response.

      Abdul, 33, recently arrived in Velika Klaudusa after a journey that lasted over a year. He comes from Myanmar and has lost everything: his wife and children were killed, and he has no news of his father, mother and sisters. Abdul has heard about the violence and is worried. The migrants around him, with bandaged legs and noses and bleeding mouths, cause fear.

      “I lost everything, yes, it’s true,” he says. “But I have to get to Europe, one way or another. To make sense of what I lost. I owe it to my dead children. To my wife who was killed. To those who have not had the good fortune to have arrived here safe and sound.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/nov/14/didnt-give-a-damn-refugees-film-croatian-police-brutality-bosnia

    • A la frontière bosno-croate, des matraques pour les migrants

      Les policiers croates violentent les exilés bloqués entre les deux pays, nouveau point de passage de la route des Balkans. Mais dans la région, la #solidarité s’organise.

      L’intervention de la police bosnienne est fixée à 18 heures au poste frontière de Maljevac, entre la Bosnie-Herzégovine et la Croatie. Des dizaines de riverains s’y sont massées, ce jour-là, pour assister à cette opération qui va déloger les migrants qui campent depuis une semaine à 300 mètres de la douane. « Je n’ai rien contre les réfugiés, mais 200 personnes ne peuvent pas bloquer toute une ville », explique un Bosnien d’une cinquantaine d’années. Deux heures plus tard le passage est rouvert. Nous sommes à Velika Kladusa, dans le canton d’Una-Sana, dans le nord-ouest de la Bosnie, le long de la dernière déviation de la « route des Balkans ». Depuis le début de l’année, plus de 21 000 personnes (venant du Pakistan, d’Afghanistan ou encore d’Iran) ont choisi de traverser la Bosnie-Herzégovine dans l’espoir d’atteindre l’ouest de l’Europe. Et alors que 5 000 d’entre eux seraient toujours bloqués dans le pays, Sarajevo a enregistré ces dernières semaines une hausse des arrivées, avec environ 1 000 nouvelles entrées hebdomadaires.

      Sachets à emporter

      Dans ce petit bourg, la situation a dégénéré fin octobre lorsque des centaines de migrants ont tenté d’entrer de force en Croatie, avant d’être repoussés par les policiers. A la suite de ces heurts qui ont fait plusieurs blessés, Zagreb a décidé de suspendre pendant une semaine le transit à Maljevac : une très mauvaise nouvelle pour cette ville qui vit du commerce avec la Croatie et dont les habitants commencent à s’agacer d’une situation qui s’enlise. « La Croatie est à moins de 2 kilomètres dans cette direction », indique Asim Latic en pointant du doigt la plaine qui s’étend derrière les buissons. Avant d’ajouter : « Mais les réfugiés, eux, passent par les bois, et cela prend plusieurs jours de marche. » Ce restaurateur de Velika Kladusa, propriétaire de la pizzeria Teferic, fait partie des habitants qui se sont engagés dans l’aide aux migrants dès février, lorsque des dizaines, puis des centaines de personnes sont arrivées dans ce coin de la Bosnie.

      Pendant neuf mois, il a offert chaque jour 400 repas à autant d’exilés. Début novembre, après une chute des dons de la communauté locale, il a bien cru devoir mettre la clé sous la porte. « Les Bosniens ont aussi connu la guerre, mais ils sont fatigués », explique ce grand gaillard que les réfugiés appellent « papa ». De temps en temps, il leur prépare de la nourriture dans des sachets à emporter, « pour qu’ils survivent dans la forêt ». Le chemin des bois est emprunté par tous ceux qui ne peuvent pas se permettre les tarifs des passeurs : 2 000 euros ou plus pour aller en voiture à Trieste en Italie, 1 200 euros pour descendre à Split en Croatie. A pied, il faut marcher environ une semaine, assurent les migrants : 80 kilomètres en Croatie, puis, une fois entrés en Slovénie, on se dirige vers l’Italie ou l’Autriche. Mais c’est sans compter sur l’intervention de la police croate, véritable inconnue dans le game - nom donné ici aux tentatives de passage de la frontière.

      Non loin de la séparation bosno-croate, Aadi a décidé de planter sur sa tente le drapeau bleu et jaune de la Bosnie-Herzégovine. « Les Bosniens sont des gens accueillants. Ce sont les policiers croates qui nous posent problème », dit-il. « Les policiers m’ont violemment frappé avec une matraque. Les conditions hygiéniques de ce camp ont fait le reste », renchérit Gabdar, un jeune Irakien qui arbore une plaie infectée à la main droite, où du pus s’est formé sous les croûtes. Youssef, un Tunisien trentenaire, se plaint que la police croate n’a pas seulement détruit son smartphone, mais aussi la powerbank, cette batterie externe indispensable à ceux qui passent de longs mois sur les routes.

      Ecrans brisés

      « Police, problem » est un refrain mille fois entendu. Dès que l’on mentionne les forces de l’ordre croates, les migrants sortent leurs portables. La multitude d’écrans brisés et les connecteurs d’alimentation rendus inutilisables avec des tournevis sont la preuve - disent-ils - des abus des policiers. Une accusation difficile à prouver, mais qui a attiré l’attention du Conseil de l’Europe (CoE). Début octobre, la commissaire aux droits de l’homme Dunja Mijatovic a invité Zagreb à faire la lumière sur ces allégations.

      D’après le CoE et le Haut Commissariat des Nations unies pour les réfugiés, la Croatie aurait expulsé collectivement 2 500 migrants depuis le début de 2018, « parmi eux, 1 500 personnes ont affirmé n’avoir pas pu soumettre une demande d’asile, tandis que 700 disent avoir été victimes de violences ou de vols de la part des policiers croates ». Joint par mail, le ministère de l’Intérieur de Zagreb assure que la police agit « dans le respect de la loi et des traités internationaux » et que « les vérifications effectuées jusque-là n’ont prouvé aucun cas de violence ».

      Au centre de Bihac, à 60 kilomètres au sud de Velika Kladusa, Ali, un Pakistanais de 17 ans se jette dans l’eau glaciale de la rivière Una et entreprend de se savonner les cheveux. Sur les bancs du parc alentour, d’autres migrants tuent le temps, cigarette ou smartphone à la main. La scène est devenue courante dans cette ville de 60 000 habitants, et la situation qui s’éternise agace certains locaux. Plusieurs pétitions ont fait leur apparition et quelques manifestations ont rassemblé un millier de personnes à Bihac, demandant aux autorités de trouver une solution à la présence des migrants en centre-ville.

      « Je n’ai rien contre les réfugiés, mais ces gens ne viennent pas de pays en guerre, ce sont des migrants économiques », affirme Sej Ramic, conseiller municipal à Bihac et professeur d’art, modérateur du groupe Facebook « Stop invaziji migranata ! Udruženje gradjana Bihaća » (« Stop à l’invasion des migrants ! Collectif de citoyens de Bihac »). Un argumentaire devenu habituel au sein de l’Union européenne, mais qu’on avait moins l’habitude d’entendre en Bosnie, pays lui-même marqué par une forte émigration.

      Face à cette opposition grandissante, le gouvernement du canton a entrepris d’arrêter les bus et les trains en provenance de Sarajevo et de renvoyer vers la capitale tous les migrants qui en descendent. Et dans le centre-ville de Biha, les policiers renvoient les migrants qui traînent vers le Dacki Dom. Cet ancien dortoir étudiant abandonné, dont la carcasse de béton nu se dresse au milieu des bois, héberge environ 1 000 personnes dans des conditions très précaires. Des centaines d’autres sont logées dans les environs, dans une ancienne usine de réfrigérateurs et dans un hôtel fermé depuis de nombreuses années. D’autres campent ou squattent des maisons abandonnées des alentours. L’objectif de l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM) est « d’atteindre, dans les prochains jours, une capacité d’hébergement de 5 000 personnes sur l’ensemble du territoire bosnien », indique Peter Van der Auweraert, coordinateur de l’OIM pour les Balkans occidentaux. Cependant, « si le flux actuel de 1 000 entrées par semaine devait continuer, nous serons bientôt dans une situation très compliquée », poursuit-il, et note qu’avec l’hiver qui arrive, « ce qui coince, c’est le timing ».

      L’UE a récemment débloqué 7,2 millions d’euros pour aider la Bosnie, l’un des pays les plus pauvres des Balkans, à gérer le flux migratoire. Alors qu’à Bihac les ouvriers s’affairent à sécuriser les bâtiments et que les ONG tentent de reloger les centaines de personnes toujours dans des tentes, Van der Auweraert souligne le manque de volonté politique des autorités locales. L’imbroglio institutionnel bosnien, hérité des accords de Dayton, complique davantage le processus décisionnel.

      Il est midi à Velika Kladusa, et la pizzeria Teferic est en pleine distribution. Des dizaines de migrants patientent pour s’asseoir devant une assiette de macaronis. Dans la cuisine, Halil et Refik - « c’est lui qui a arrêté le chauffeur de Mladic pendant la guerre », nous glisse Asim - s’affairent autour d’une énorme casserole. Deux jeunes Indiens et un Pakistanais de passage prêtent main forte à la petite équipe. Après neuf mois de travail bénévole dans la pizzeria, Asim est fatigué « physiquement et mentalement ». S’il a trouvé de l’aide auprès de l’association néerlandaise Lemon Foundation, l’avenir de leur activité reste fragile. Tout en contemplant le va-et-vient des migrants à l’extérieur, il secoue la tête : « Mais que vont faire ces gens ? »

      https://www.liberation.fr/planete/2018/11/20/a-la-frontiere-bosno-croate-des-matraques-pour-les-migrants_1693271


  • Erdoğan’s Persistent Popularity - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
    http://carnegieendowment.org/sada/76588?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWXpnek9EZ3lNekZtTW1WaSIsInQiOiJ2WEhtWTFPTEp

    On the eve of early parliamentary and presidential elections on June 24, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appears poised to claim yet another victory, with enduring popularity even beyond Turkey’s borders. What is more surprising is that Erdoğan managed to sustain his appeal in the face of Turkey’s growing authoritarianism and rapidly deteriorating human rights record.

    A recent survey sheds some empirical light on the various dynamics that underlie Erdoğan’s regional popularity, with notable implications for the relationship between religion and politics.1 The survey data show Erdoğan’s popularity is particularly strong among some segments of the population. Respondents who ideologically self-identified as Islamist, favored a prominent role for religious leaders in politics, and considered religion to be important in their lives trusted Erdoğan the most as an authority on religious matters. By contrast, respondents with a college education or who had a monthly income over $1,000 were less likely to trust Erdoğan.



  • China retreats from U.S. #sorghum probe amid global market havoc | Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trade-china-sorghum/china-drops-anti-dumping-probe-of-u-s-sorghum-imports-idUSKCN1IJ06Y

    China dropped its anti-dumping probe into imports of U.S. sorghum on Friday, beating a hasty retreat from a dispute that wreaked havoc across the global grain market and raised concerns about rising costs and financial damage at home.

    The move was seen as a goodwill concession as Chinese Vice Premier Liu He was in Washington for talks aimed at resolving trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

    The end of the investigation came as a huge relief to U.S. sorghum growers, who saw sales to the top grain buyer come to a halt and prices plummet over the past month.
    […]
    China has taught a lesson to the United States and showed how it can hurt U.S. exports,” said Ole Houe, director of advisory services at brokerage IKON Commodities in Sydney.

    Now they are showing goodwill by halting its anti-dumping investigation into sorghum imports, but it is a cheap way of showing goodwill as the U.S. does not have much sorghum left to export. The next U.S. sorghum crop will be harvested in August.

    Agricultural products are considered one of the most powerful weapons in Beijing’s arsenal because a strike against farm exports to China would hurt farmers in U.S. Midwestern states that backed Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

    The United States accounts for more than 90 percent of total sorghum shipments to China, with the American imports worth just over $1 billion last year.

    #sorgo #guerre_commerciale #guerre_douanière


  • Ad Scammers Need Suckers, and Facebook Helps Find Them - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-03-27/ad-scammers-need-suckers-and-facebook-helps-find-them

    They’d come to mingle with thousands of affiliate marketers—middlemen who buy online ad space in bulk, run their campaigns, and earn commissions for each sale they generate. Affiliates promote some legitimate businesses, such as Amazon.com Inc. and EBay Inc., but they’re also behind many of the shady and misleading ads that pollute Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the rest of the internet.
    Robert Gryn says users of his tracking software place about $400 million worth of ads a year on Facebook.
    Photographer: Angie Smith for Bloomberg Businessweek

    The top affiliates—virtually all of them young men—assemble a few times a year to learn the latest schemes and trade tips about gaming the rules set by social networks and search platforms. They think of themselves as kin to the surfers-slash-bank-robbers of the 1991 movie Point Break, just more materialistic, jetting from nightclub to Lamborghini race while staying a step ahead of the authorities. One San Diego crew took in $179 million before getting busted last year by the Federal Trade Commission for violating three laws governing online conduct.

    It was hard to believe that Facebook would cozy up to disreputable advertisers in mid-2017 as it was under intense scrutiny from lawmakers and the media over revelations that Russian trolls had used the platform to influence the 2016 presidential election. Officially, the Berlin conference was for aboveboard marketing, but the attendees I spoke to dropped that pretense after the mildest questioning. Some even walked around wearing hats that said “farmin’,” promoting a service that sells fake Facebook accounts.

    Granted anonymity, affiliates were happy to detail their tricks. They told me that Facebook had revolutionized scamming. The company built tools with its trove of user data that made it the go-to platform for big brands. Affiliates hijacked them. Facebook’s targeting algorithm is so powerful, they said, they don’t need to identify suckers themselves—Facebook does it automatically. And they boasted that Russia’s dezinformatsiya agents were using tactics their community had pioneered.

    Tiens, un exemple encore de pratiques qui commencent avec le commerce et migrent vers la surveillance politique.

    The basic process isn’t complicated. For example: A maker of bogus diet pills wants to sell them for $100 a month and doesn’t care how it’s done. The pill vendor approaches a broker, called an affiliate network, and offers to pay a $60 commission per sign-up. The network spreads the word to affiliates, who design ads and pay to place them on Facebook and other places in hopes of earning the commissions. The affiliate takes a risk, paying to run ads without knowing if they’ll work, but if even a small percentage of the people who see them become buyers, the profits can be huge.

    Affiliates once had to guess what kind of person might fall for their unsophisticated cons, targeting ads by age, geography, or interests. Now Facebook does that work for them. The social network tracks who clicks on the ad and who buys the pills, then starts targeting others whom its algorithm thinks are likely to buy. Affiliates describe watching their ad campaigns lose money for a few days as Facebook gathers data through trial and error, then seeing the sales take off exponentially. “They go out and find the morons for me,” I was told by an affiliate who sells deceptively priced skin-care creams with fake endorsements from Chelsea Clinton.

    Gryn found the affiliates at a moment when they were discovering social media. They’d begun applying tricks on Facebook that had been invented by email spammers, who’d in turn borrowed the tactics of fax spammers in the 1980s and ’90s. New forms of media have always been hijacked by misleading advertising: 19th century American newspapers were funded in part by dishonest patent medicine ads. Within days of Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration, the makers of Bellingham’s Onguent were placing ads claiming the president had used their product to grow his trendy whiskers.

    #Facebook #Publicité #Arnaques


  • How #blockchain can solve the #facebook problem
    https://hackernoon.com/how-blockchain-can-solve-the-facebook-problem-bb05ffc4159e?source=rss---

    Maybe you’ve heard. Facebook has a problem. Quite a few of them.It all started with the ads Russia bought to tip the 2016 presidential election.It culminated with the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The data of about 87 million users has been exposed without their consent.And in-between, there were revelations about Facebook retaining users’ deleted videos, the whole “fake news” controversy, the systematic scanning of photos shared on Messenger, Zuck’s superpower to delete his own messages from other people’s inboxes, and so on.These scandals seem to come from all places. But they have one thing in common. They show how powerful Facebook has become, and how Facebook is making use of its power: to benefit Facebook first and foremost. Most often to the detriment of its own users. Some even argue, (...)

    #advertising #ico #cambridge-analytica


  • How Egyptians’ attitude toward voting has changed over 7 years | MadaMasr

    https://www.madamasr.com/en/2018/03/31/feature/politics/how-egyptians-attitude-toward-voting-has-changed-over-7-years

    Mohamed*, a 53-year-old taxi driver, roams the streets of Dokki on the second day of Egypt’s presidential election, cringing every time a pick-up truck drives by blasting songs produced especially to support current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as he runs for a second term in office. The excitement with which Egyptians took to polling stations after the 2011 revolution seems a distant memory to Mohamed as he weighs his options: to participate in an election he considers a farce in order to express his disapproval, or to abstain from voting and lose his chance at voicing his opinion.

    Mohamed insisted on voting even before the revolution, in former President Hosni Mubarak’s rigged elections, in hopes that change would come. However, he now struggles to find the motivation to head to the polling stations.

    “I feel that it won’t make a difference whether I vote or not,” he says.

    As the polls opened on March 26, the atmosphere in Egypt was a far cry from the festive scene apparent during the constitutional referendum of March 2011, the first vote after the 18-day revolt in January of that year that toppled Mubarak. At the time, the excitement was not about the constitutional amendments as much as it was about voters celebrating their right to finally participate in a poll they believed would make a difference.


  • Sugar, rice and everything nice: Mobilizing voter turnout in Egypt’s presidential election | MadaMasr

    https://www.madamasr.com/en/2018/03/28/feature/politics/sugar-rice-and-everything-nice-mobilizing-voter-turnout-in-egypts-presiden

    While President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and members of his campaign have spoken sparsely on his sole competitor in the current presidential election, much has been said about the importance of securing a high turnout.

    Preparing to embark on his second presidential term after the election results, widely presumed to be predetermined, Sisi has called on citizens to head to the polls in order to send a message to the world. State bureaucrats, businessmen and private institutions are working together to ensure that this message is successfully delivered by providing the electorate with an array of incentives in exchange for their vote.

    Ink for wages
    Officials across a number of state institutions have put measures in place to ensure employees’ participation in the 2018 presidential election. Several companies divided their workforce into three groups, with each going to vote on one of the three election days, in order to guarantee that employees’ trips to the polls do not hamper productivity.

    Management at the state-owned Petrotrade company had the employees whose turn it was to go to the polls sign in their attendance to work in the morning, then head to cast their votes, Salma*, an employee at the company, told Mada Masr. The employees were told that their time away from the workplace would only be counted as a paid workday if they proved their vote by showing their ink stained fingers. Phosphorous ink is used in polling stations across the country to ensure that no one votes twice.

    Throughout the past few weeks, the company encouraged its employees to attend events organized by the Sisi campaign. Members of staff were offered an out-of-office work assignment wage for two days if they attended the events, Salma said. However, employee attendance at the last conference held before voting began was obligatory, she added.

    Meanwhile, Samy*, who works in the Zagazig Public Hospital, told Mada Masr that the local health directorate notified management at several public hospitals to divide doctors into two groups to go vote, with each group heading to the polls on either the first or second day of voting.

    A representative from a local education directorate in Gharbiya was filmed threatening to cut teachers’ wages during the three-day election period if they could not prove that they voted, given that schools had assigned these days as paid leave.

    In a video circulated on Facebook on Monday, the representative tells teachers that they must print the phosphorous ink from their fingertips directly onto cards distributed to them by the education directorate. These cards should then be sent to the directorate so authorities there can track the teachers who cast their votes.


  • Life Inside S.C.L., Cambridge Analytica’s Parent Company | The New Yorker
    https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-the-uk/life-inside-scl-cambridge-analyticas-parent-company

    There were times during our conversation when the employee seemed as bemused as anybody that a company that was started in the early nineteen-nineties with some intuitive but eccentric ideas about group psychology—one of Oakes’s first ventures was selling aromas to stores, to persuade customers to buy more—was now at the center of a transatlantic conversation about voter rights, data privacy, and the integrity of the world’s most important social network. But the employee was also clear that access to big data, particularly in the form of Facebook, combined with S.C.L.’s long interest in psychological profiling and audience segmentation, had been able to equip political campaigns with digital weapons that most voters were unaware of. “You can get philosophical about this and say that Facebook being an advertising platform masquerading as a social platform is the start of the rot and the tool was always there,” the employee said. S.C.L.’s executives were the wrong people who came along at the wrong time. “There were always going to be dodgy fuckers willing to work for rich people, and the S.C.L. was just an example of the dodgy fucker.” (S.C.L. did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the company claims that it destroyed the Facebook data, in October, 2015, and that it played no role in the Presidential election.)

    The employee welcomed the current attention on S.C.L.’s methodology and behavior, whether it was illegal, or whether it should have been. The leaders of the company were not interested in these questions. “Alexander is not constrained by the sort of worries we are seeing expressed right now,” the employee said. “It really is about getting money together.” The employee continued, “What is wonderful about now is this bit of it is being opened, and I think it is bloody important, because something as catastrophic as Brexit and Trump—the technical possibility of that—is achieved through this dark shit. And this dark shit can be done by fucking cowboys. And, for lots of people who worked for the organization, it wasn’t supposed to be this way.”

    Some of S.C.L.’s methods had merit. Oakes’s insight in forming the B.D.I. was to aim messages at social groups—rather than at individuals—and to place a low expectation on persuading people to change their minds. In a “classic S.C.L. project,” the employee explained, the company would use subcontractors, survey companies, and academics in the run-up to an election to create what it called a “super sample.” “We would speak to sixty thousand people, and we wouldn’t say, ‘Who are you going to vote for?’ ” the employee said. “We would say, ‘How do you feel about life?’ ” S.C.L.’s data concentrated on local concerns, such as housing, water shortages, or tribal conflict. “With all of that, we would delineate a strategy for them to win by focussing on targeted groups that we had identified within the population,” the employee said. “It is not so much, let’s make these people do this thing; it is, can we take this thing in such a way that the people who should get it do get it?”

    #Facebook #Cambridge_analytica