position:minister

  • #Pro-savana

    Vision

    Improve the livelihood of inhabitants of #Nacala_Corridor through inclusive and sustainable agricultural and regional development.

    Missions

    1. Improve and modernise agriculture to increase productivity and production, and diversify agricultural production.

    2. Create employment through agricultural investment and establishment of a supply chain.

    Objective

    Create new agricultural development models, taking into account the natural environment and socio-economic aspects, and seeking market-orientated agricultural/rural/regional development with a competitive edge.

    Principles of ProSAVANA

    1. ProSAVANA will be aligned with the vision and objectives of the national agricultural development strategy of Mozambique, the “Strategy Plan for the Agricultural Sector Development – 2011 – 2020 (PEDSA)”,

    2. ProSAVANA supports Mozambican farmers in order to contribute to poverty-reduction, food security and nutrition,

    3. Activities of ProSAVANA, in particular those involving the private sector, will be designed and implemented in accordance with Principles of Responsible Agricultural Investment (PRAI) and Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests,

    4. Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security of Mozambique (MASA) and Local Government, in collaboration with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC), will strengthen dialogue and involvement of civil society and other appropriate parties,

    5. Appropriate consideration will be given for mitigation of the environmental and social impacts, which might be provided through the activities under ProSAVANA.

    Approaches of ProSAVANA

    1. Incorporate the results of relevant studies on the natural conditions and socio-economic situations, to support the establishment of appropriate agricultural development models,

    2. Increase agricultural productivity and production through appropriate measures, including improvement of farming systems, access to agricultural extension services including techniques and quality/quantity of inputs, value chain system and expansion of farmland,

    3. Promote diversification of agricultural production, based on research results to increase profitability,

    4. Provide opportunities to change from subsistence agriculture into a sustainable agriculture, with respect given to the farmers´ sovereignty,

    5. Strengthen the capacity and the competitiveness of farmers and farmers’ organisations,

    6. Enhance the enabling environment to promote responsible investments and activities, aiming to establish a win-win relationship between small-scale farmers and agribusiness firms,

    7. Promote and strengthen local leading farmers to disseminate and scale-up development impacts,

    8. Establish regional agricultural clusters and develop value chain systems,

    9. Promote public and private partnership as one of the driving forces for inclusive and sustainable agricultural development.

    http://www.prosavana.gov.mz
    #Pro_savana #land_grabbing #terres #Mozambique #accaparement_de_terres

    ping @odilon

    Apparemment, le programme a été arrêté avant d’être implémenté.
    Programme qui avait été promu par #Lula

    • What Happened to the Biggest Land Grab in Africa? Searching for #ProSavana in Mozambique

      What if you threw a lavish party for foreign investors, and no one came? By all accounts, that is what’s happening in Mozambique’s Nacala Corridor, the intended site for Africa’s largest agricultural development scheme – or land grab, depending on your perspective.

      The ProSavana project, a Brazilian-and-Japanese-led development project, was supposed to be turning Mozambique’s fertile savannah lands in the north into an export zone, replicating Brazil’s success taming its own savannah – the cerrado – and transforming it into industrial mega-farms of soybeans. The vision, hatched in 2009, but only revealed to Mozambicans in 2013, called for 35 million hectares (nearly 100 million acres) of “underutilized” land to be converted by Brazilian agribusiness into soybean plantations for cheaper export to China and Japan.

      In my two weeks in Mozambique, including one week in the Nacala Corridor, I had a hard time finding evidence of any such transformation. It was easy, though, to find outrage at a plan seen by many in the region as a secret land grab. That resistance, which has evolved into a tri-national campaign in Japan, Brazil, and Mozambique to stop ProSavana, is one of the reasons the project is a currently a dud.

      The new face of South-South investment?

      I came to look at ProSavana because, out of all the large-scale projects I studied over the course of the last year, this one sounded almost plausible. It wasn’t started by some fly-by-night venture capitalist, growing a biofuel crop he’d never produced commercially for a market that barely existed. That’s what I saw in Tanzania, and such failed land grabs litter the African landscape.

      ProSavana at least knew its investors: Brazil’s agribusiness giants. The planners also knew their technology: Brazil’s soybeans, which had adapted to the harsh tropical conditions of Brazil’s cerrado. And they knew their market: Japan’s and China’s hog farms and their insatiable appetite for feed, generally made with soybeans. That was already more than a lot of these grand schemes had going for them.

      I was also compelled by the sheer scale of the project. When first announced, ProSavana was to encompass 35 million hectares of land, an area the size of North Carolina. That would have made it the largest land acquisition in Africa.

      ProSavana also interested me because it was not the usual neo-colonial megaproject promoted by the Global North. It was a projection of Brazil’s agro-export prowess. This was South-South investment, the new wave of development in a multipolar world. Wouldn’t Brazil do this differently, I wondered, with the kind of strong developmental focus that had characterized the country’s ascendance under the leadership of the left-leaning Workers’ Party?

      ProSavana’s premise was that the soil and climate in the Nacala Corridor of Mozambique were similar to those found in the cerrado, so technology could be easily adapted to tame a region inhospitable to agriculture.

      Someone should have gone there before they issued the press releases.

      It turns out that the two regions differ dramatically. The cerrado had poor soils, which technology was able to address. That’s also why it had few farmers, and those that were there could be moved by Brazil’s then-military dictatorship. The Nacala Corridor, by contrast, has good soils, which is precisely why it is the most densely-populated part of rural Mozambique. (If there are good lands, you can bet civilization has discovered them and is farming them.)

      Mozambique also has a democratic government, forged in an independence movement rooted in peasant farmers’ struggle for land rights. So the country has one of the stronger land laws in Africa, which grants use rights to farmers who have been farming land for ten years or more.

      The disconnect between the claims ProSavana was making to its investors and the reality of the situation reached almost laughable proportions. Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco led sales visits to Mozambique, organized by Brazil’s Getulio Vargas Foundation, which had put together the agribusiness-friendly draft “Master Plan” that was leaked to Mozambican civil society organizations in March 2013. Brazil’s biggest farmers came looking for thousands of hectares of land, only to find three disappointments: they couldn’t own land in Mozambique; what land they could lease was by no means empty; and it was far from the ports, with no decent roads to transport their soybeans. Brazil’s soybean mega-farmers packed up their giant combines and went back to the cerrado, where there are still millions of hectares of undeveloped land.

      A kinder, gentler ProSavana

      There are a few large soybean farms in Gurue, producing for the domestic poultry industry; but nothing like the export boom promised by ProSavana. According to Americo Uaciquete of ProSavana’s Nampula office, Brazilian farmers came expecting 40,000 hectares free and clear. He told me no investor could expect that in the Nacala Corridor. The only foreign investors who will farm there, he said, are those willing to take 2,000 hectares and involve local farmers.

      To me, that sounded like a very quick surrender on the ProSavana battlefield. Couldn’t the Mozambican government open larger swaths of land?

      “Not without a gun,” Uaciquete said, clearly rejecting that path. “We are not going to impose the Brazilian model here.” He went on to describe ProSavana as a support program for small-scale farmers, based on its two non-investment components: research into improved locally adapted seeds, and extension services to improve productivity.

      In Maputo, the ProSavana Directorate did its best to polish up the new, development-friendly ProSavana. Jusimere Mourao, of Japan’s cooperation agency, had it down best. She lamented that ProSavana was “poorly timed” because its “announcement” (a leak) “coincided” with international concerns about land grabbing. Hmmm….

      After taking civil society concerns into account, she said, the program had issued a new “concept note” and the Master Plan is under revision. “Small and medium producers are the main beneficiaries of ProSavana,” she said. “We have no intention of promoting the taking of their land. It would be a crime.” It’s not about promoting foreign investment, she assured me; that is up to the Mozambican government.

      The turnaround was stunning, and welcome, if not quite believable. It certainly had not quieted the coalition calling for an end to ProSavana until farmers and civil society groups are consulted on the agricultural development plan for the Nacala Corridor.

      Luis Sitoe, Economic Adviser to the Minister of Agriculture, smirked when I told him I’d been in the region researching ProSavana. “Did you find anything?” For him, ProSavana had failed.

      But lest I think anything profound had been learned from that experience, he reassured me that the Mozambican government remains firmly committed to relying on large-scale foreign investment to address its agricultural underdevelopment.

      He pulled out a two-inch-thick binder to show me he was serious. It was the project proposal for the Lurio River Valley Development Project, a 200,000-hectare irrigation scheme right there in the northern Nacala Corridor. Was it part of ProSavana? Absolutely not. Had the communities been consulted on this ambitious project along the heavily populated river valley?

      “Absolutely not,” said Vicente Adriano, research director at UNAC, Mozambique’s national farmers’ union, which had just presented its own agricultural development plan, based on the country’s three million family farmers.

      The ProSavana directorate is still promising a new Master Plan for the project in early 2015. So it would be a mistake to think that ProSavana is dead. Large-scale land deals certainly aren’t, however they are branded. Investors may just be waiting for the Mozambican government to bring more to the table than just promotional brochures. Things like land, which turns out to be rather important for a successful land grab. In the Nacala Corridor, that land is anything but unoccupied.

      https://foodtank.com/news/2014/12/what-happened-to-the-biggest-land-grab-in-africa-searching-for-prosavana-i


  • France to deliver 6 boats to the Libyan Coast Guard in June

    France’s Defense Minister, Florence Parly, announced on Saturday that her country will provide the Libyan Coast Guard with six equipped boats, which will arrive in June.

    The announcement came during Parly’s meeting with Prime Minister of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez Al-Sarraj, in the margins of the Munich Security Conference.

    The French minister also approved a program for training and equipping the Libyan Coast Guard, which Parly praised its successes in the face of the problems of illegal immigration.

    At the end of the meeting, Al-Sarraj invited the French minister to Libya in the context of consolidating relations between the two countries.

    http://www.addresslibya.com/en/archives/41690
    #Libye #externalisation #France #gardes-côtes_libyens #asile #migrations #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers


  • Finland’s basic income trial boosts happiness but not employment | Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-finland-basic-income/finlands-basic-income-trial-boosts-happiness-but-not-employment-idUSKCN1PX0
    https://s4.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20190208&t=2&i=1354502227&w=1200&r=LYNXNPEF170XW

    HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland’s basic income scheme did not spur its unemployed recipients to work more to supplement their earnings as hoped but it did help their wellbeing, researchers said on Friday as the government announced initial findings.

    The two-year trial, which ended a month ago, saw 2,000 Finns, chosen randomly from among the unemployed, become the first Europeans to be paid a regular monthly income by the state that was not reduced if they found work.

    Finland — the world’s happiest country last year, according to the United Nations — is exploring alternatives to its social security model.

    The trial was being watched closely by other governments who see a basic income as a way of encouraging the unemployed to take up often low-paid or temporary work without fear of losing their benefits. That could help reduce dependence on the state and cut welfare costs, especially as greater automation sees humans replaced in the workforce.

    Finland’s minister of health and social affairs Pirkko Mattila said the impact on employment of the monthly pay cheque of 560 euros ($635) “seems to have been minor on the grounds of the first trial year”.

    But participants in the trial were happier and healthier than the control group.

    “The basic income recipients of the test group reported better wellbeing in every way (than) the comparison group,” chief researcher Olli Kangas said.

    Chief economist for the trial Ohto Kanniainen said the low impact on employment was not a surprise, given that many jobless people have few skills or struggle with difficult life situations or health concerns.
    Owner Sini Marttinen poses for a picture at her coffee shop she founded while benefitting from Finland’s basic income scheme in Helsinki, Finland January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Philip O’Connor

    “Economists have known for a long time that with unemployed people financial incentives don’t work quite the way some people would expect them to,” he added.
    PSYCHOLOGICAL BOOST

    Sini Marttinen, 36, had been unemployed for nearly a year before “winning the lottery”, as she described the trial.

    Her basic income gave her enough confidence to open a restaurant with two friends. “I think the effect was a lot psychological,” the former IT consultant told Reuters.

    “You kind of got this idea you have two years, you have the security of 560 euros per month ... It gave me the security to start my own business.”

    Her income only rose by 50 euros a month compared to the jobless benefit she had been receiving, “but in an instant you lose the bureaucracy, the reporting”, Marttinen said.

    Mira Jaskari, 36, who briefly found a job during the trial but lost it due to poor health, said losing the basic income had left her feeling more insecure about money.

    The center-right government’s original plan was to expand the basic income scheme after two years as it tries to combat unemployment which has been persistently high for years but reached a 10-year low of 6.6 percent in December.

    That followed the imposition of benefits sanctions on unemployed people who refused work.

    The basic income has been controversial, however, with leaders of the main Finnish political parties keen to streamline the benefits system but wary of offering “money for nothing”, especially ahead of parliamentary elections due in April.
    Slideshow (2 Images)
    TAX BIND

    Prime Minister Juha Sipila’s Centre Party has proposed limiting the basic income to poor people, with sanctions if they reject a job offer, while Conservative finance minister Petteri Orpo says he favors a scheme like Britain’s Universal Credit.

    The higher taxes that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) says would be needed to pay for basic income schemes might also be off-putting for voters.

    In a review of the Finnish scheme last year, the OECD warned that implementing it nationally and cost-neutrally for the state would imply significant income redistribution, especially towards couples from single people, and increase poverty.

    The researchers have acknowledged that the Finnish pilot was less than realistic because it did not include any tax claw-back once participants found work and reached a certain income level.

    Swiss voters rejected a similar scheme in 2016. Italy is due to introduce a “citizens’ wage” in April in a major overhaul of the welfare state, which will offer income support to the unemployed and poor.

    Trial participants were generally positive, however, with Tuomas Muraja, a 45-year-old journalist and author, saying the basic income had allowed him to concentrate on writing instead of form-filling or attending jobseekers’ courses.

    He said the end of the two-year trial, during which he published two books, had made it difficult again for him to accept commissions, because “I ... can earn only 300 euros per month without losing any benefits”.

    “If people are paid money freely that makes them creative, productive and welfare brings welfare,” Muraja told Reuters about his experience of the pilot.

    “If you feel free, you feel safer and then you can do whatever you want. That is my assessment.”

    ($1 = 0.8817 euros)


  • European Border and Coast Guard: Agreement reached on operational cooperation with Montenegro

    Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos and Minister of the Interior of Montenegro Mevludin Nuhodžić, initialled a status agreement that will allow European Border and Coast Guard teams to be deployed in Montenegro.

    Once the agreement enters into force, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency will be able to assist Montenegro in border management and carry out joint operations with Montenegro, in particular in the event of a sudden change in migratory flows.

    Today’s agreement is the fifth agreed with a partner country in the Western Balkans, marking yet another step towards the full operationalisation of the Agency.

    https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/news/european-border-coast-guard-agreement-reached-operational-cooperation-mont

    #Frontex #Monténégro #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #partenariat #accord
    ping @isskein


  • #Google erases #Kurdistan from maps in compliance with Turkish gov.
    http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/e6a0b65e-84fa-447b-9ed4-5df8390961d3

    ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Google incorporation removed a map outlining the geographical extent of the Greater Kurdistan after the Turkish state asked it to do so, a simple inquiry on the Internet giant’s search engine from Wednesday on can show.

    “Unavailable. This map is no longer available due to a violation of our Terms of Service and/or policies,” a note on the page that the map was previously on read. Google did not provide further details on how the Kurdistan map violated its rules.

    The map in question, available for years, used to be on Google’s My Maps service, a feature of Google Maps that enables users to create custom maps for personal use or sharing through search.

    Because the map was created and shared publicly by a user through their personal account, it remains unknown if their rights have been violated or if they will appeal.

    A Turkish lawmaker from the ultra-nationalist, opposition IYI (Good) Party revealed last week that he put a written question to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Cahit Turan, as to whether the Turkish government acted to make Google remove the Kurdistan map.

    Turan answered in affirmative, saying authorities were in touch with Google.

    The MP, Yavuz Agiralioglu, charged the map with “being at the service of terrorist organizations” in his question to the minister, referring to Kurdish armed groups fighting for different degrees of autonomy and recognition of cultural rights in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, modern nation-states Kurdistan was divided between a century ago.

    He also claimed the map violated the Turkish borders, although it showed modern borders superimposed by a non-standard red line that defined Kurdistan as “a geo-cultural region wherein the Kurdish people have historically formed a prominent majority population.”

    “The most dangerous Turk is the one looking at the map. We laid the Earth flat under our feet and only walked. We took our civilization, our justice, and our mercy to the countries we went. Let those who fancy dividing our country with fake maps look at our historical record,” the nationalist MP tweeted, in a veiled reference to the fate of the Armenian people which faced a genocide before the Ottoman Empire collapsed.

    Currently, the search “Kurdistan” on Google brings up results for the Kurdistan Region and its constitutionally-defined borders within Iraq and the Kurdistan Province in Western Iran.

    The use of the word “Kurdistan” is criminalized in Turkey, even at the parliament’s floors where lawmakers can be fined to pay up to several thousand Liras and be dismissed from at least two legislative sessions.

    Maps drawn by ancient Greeks, Islamic historians, Ottomans, and Westerners showing Kurdistan with alternative names such as “Corduene” or “Karduchi” have existed since antiquity.

    The use of the name “Kurdistan” was banned by the administration of Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in the immediate aftermath of the crushed Sheikh Said uprising for Kurdish statehood in 1925.

    Editing by Karzan Sulaivany

    #Turquie


  • Germany pulls out of Mediterranean migrant mission Sophia

    Germany is suspending participation in Operation Sophia, the EU naval mission targeting human trafficking in the Mediterranean. The decision reportedly relates to Italy’s reluctance to allow rescued people to disembark.
    Germany will not be sending any more ships to take part in the anti-people smuggling operation Sophia in the Mediterranean Sea, according to a senior military officer.

    The decision means frigate Augsburg, currently stationed off the coast of Libya, will not be replaced early next month, Bundeswehr Inspector General Eberhard Zorn told members of the defense and foreign affairs committees in the German parliament.

    The 10 German soldiers currently working at the operation’s headquarters will, however, remain until at least the end of March.

    The European Union launched Operation Sophia in 2015 to capture smugglers and shut down human trafficking operations across the Mediterranean, as well as enforce a weapons embargo on Libya. Sophia currently deploys three ships, three airplanes, and two helicopters, which are permitted to use lethal force if necessary, though its mandate also includes training the North African country’s coast guard. The EU formally extended Operation Sophia by three months at the end of December.

    The Bundeswehr reported that, since its start, the naval operation had led to the arrest of more than 140 suspected human traffickers and destroyed more than 400 smuggling boats.

    But Operation Sophia’s efforts have largely focused on rescuing thousands of refugees from unseaworthy vessels attempting to get to Europe. According to the Bundeswehr, Operation Sophia has rescued some 49,000 people from the sea, while German soldiers had been involved in the rescue of 22,534 people.

    European impasse

    The operation has caused some friction within the EU, particularly with Italy, where the headquarters are located, and whose Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has threatened to close ports to the mission.

    Salvini, chairman of the far-right Lega Nord party, demanded on Wednesday that the mission had to change, arguing that the only reason it existed was that all the rescued refugees were brought to Italy. “If someone wants to withdraw from it, then that’s certainly no problem for us,” he told the Rai1 radio station, but in future he said the mission should only be extended if those rescued were distributed fairly across Europe. This is opposed by other EU member states, particularly Poland and Hungary.

    Italy’s position drew a prickly response from German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who accused Sophia’s Italian commanders of sabotaging the mission by sending the German ship to distant corners of the Mediterranean where there were “no smuggling routes whatsoever” and “no refugee routes.”

    “For us it’s important that it be politically clarified in Brussels what the mission’s task is,” von der Leyen told reporters at the Davos forum in Switzerland.

    Fritz Felgentreu, ombudsman for the Bundestag defense committee, told public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk that Italy’s refusal to let migrants rescued from the sea disembark at its ports meant the operation could no longer fulfill its original mandate.

    The EU played down Germany’s decision. A spokeswoman for the bloc’s diplomatic service, the EEAS, told the DPA news agency that Germany had not ruled out making other ships available for the Sophia Operation in future, a position confirmed by a German Defense Ministry spokesman.

    Decision a ’tragedy’

    The decision sparked instant criticism from various quarters in Germany. Stefan Liebich, foreign affairs spokesman for Germany’s socialist Left party, called the government’s decision to suspend its involvement a “tragedy.”

    “As long as Sophia is not replaced by a civilian operation, even more people will drown,” he told the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.

    The Green party, for its part, had a more mixed reaction. “We in the Green party have always spoken out against the military operation in the Mediterranean and have consistently rejected the training of the Libyan coast guard,” said the party’s defense spokeswoman, Agnieszka Brugger. But she added that Wednesday’s announcement had happened “for the wrong reasons.”

    Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, defense policy spokeswoman for the Free Democratic Party (FDP), called the decision a sign of the EU’s failure to find a common refugee policy.

    Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), meanwhile, defended the decision. “The core mission, to fight trafficking crimes, cannot currently be effectively carried out,” the party’s defense policy spokesman, Henning Otte, said in a statement. “If the EU were to agree to common procedure with refugees, this mission could be taken up again.”

    Otte also suggested a “three-stage model” as a “permanent solution for the Mediterranean.” This would include a coast guard from Frontex, the European border patrol agency; military patrols in the Mediterranean; and special facilities on the North African mainland to take in refugees and check asylum applications.

    https://www.dw.com/en/germany-pulls-out-of-mediterranean-migrant-mission-sophia/a-47189097
    #Allemagne #résistance #Operation_Sophia #asile #migrations #réfugiés #retrait #espoir (petit mais quand même)

    • EU: Italy’s choice to end or continue Operation Sophia

      The European Commission says it is up to Italy to decide whether or not to suspend the EU’s naval operation Sophia.

      “If Italy decides, it is the country in command of operation Sophia, to stop it - it is up to Italy to make this decision,” Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU commissioner for migration, told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday (23 January).

      The Italian-led naval operation was launched in 2015 and is tasked with cracking down on migrant smugglers and traffickers off the Libyan coast.

      It has also saved some 50,000 people since 2015 but appears to have massively scaled back sea rescues, according to statements from Germany’s defence minster.

      German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen was cited by Reuters on Wednesday saying that the Italian command had been sending the Germany navy “to the most remote areas of the Mediterranean where there are no smuggling routes and no migrant flows so that the navy has not had any sensible role for months.”

      Germany had also announced it would not replace its naval asset for the operation, whose mandate is set to expire at the end of March.

      But the commission says that Germany will continue to participate in the operation.

      “There is no indication that it will not make another asset available in the future,” said Avramopoulos.

      A German spokesperson was also cited as confirming Germany wants the mission to continue beyond March.

      The commission statements follow threats from Italy’s far-right interior minister Matteo Salvini to scrap the naval mission over an on-going dispute on where to disembark rescued migrants.

      Salvini was cited in Italian media complaining that people rescued are only offloaded in Italy.

      The complaint is part of a long-outstanding dispute by Salvini, who last year insisted that people should be disembarked in other EU states.

      The same issue was part of a broader debate in the lead up to a renewal of Sophia’s mandate in late December.

      https://euobserver.com/migration/143997

    • #Operazione_Sophia

      In riferimento alle odierne dichiarazioni relative all’operazione Sophia dell’UE, il Ministro degli Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale Enzo Moavero Milanesi ricorda che «L’Italia non ha mai chiesto la chiusura di Sophia. Ha chiesto che siano cambiate, in rigorosa e doverosa coerenza con le conclusioni del Consiglio Europeo di giugno 2018, le regole relative agli sbarchi delle persone salvate in mare». Infatti, gli accordi dell’aprile 2015 prevedono che siano sbarcate sempre in Italia, mentre il Consiglio Europeo del giugno scorso ha esortato gli Stati UE alla piena condivisione di tutti gli oneri relativi ai migranti.

      https://www.esteri.it/mae/it/sala_stampa/archivionotizie/comunicati/operazione-sophia.html


  • » Israeli Minister Calls for Expulsion of International Observers from Hebron
    IMEMC News - January 22, 2019 4:16 AM
    http://imemc.org/article/israeli-minister-calls-for-expulsion-of-international-observers-from-hebron

    Israel’s Minister of Internal Security, Gilad Erdan, has called for international observers to be expelled from Hebron, claiming the mission is “hostile to Israel rather than a neutral force, and harmful to both the Israeli soldiers stationed in Hebron and the Jewish settlers that live there”.

    Erdan sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, demanding that he end the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), sending him a secret police report “with data to back up his assertion”.

    The letter read:

    “It is no wonder that a force, composed of policemen from a hostile Islamic state such as Turkey and pro-Palestinian countries that sponsor boycotts [of Israel] such as Sweden and Norway, interferes with IDF soldiers and police, creates friction with the settlers, cooperates with radical organizations and promotes the delegitimization of Israel.”

    Erdan continued: “It is [therefore] right and proper for the Israeli government to prevent the continued activity of this ‘temporary’ force acting to harm Israel.”

    In November, Netanyahu said he would review the mission’s status in December.

    The TIPH – a civilian observer mission which has been present in Hebron since 1997 – has a mandate which is renewed every six months by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel. The mission’s current mandate ends in 14 days, which likely explains the timing of Erdan’s appeal. In doing so, he joins the right-wing campaign led by Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotovely, to pressure Netanyahu to end the mission’s mandate. It was formed in the aftermath of a massacre committed by Jewish extremist rabbi, Baruch Goldstein, who killed 30 Palestinian worshippers during their morning prayers at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron.


  • Netanyahu reportedly planning Saudi Arabia visit : Media - The Peninsula Qatar
    https://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/20/01/2019/Netanyahu-reportedly-planning-Saudi-Arabia-visit-Media

    Doha: Israeli Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly considering a visit to Saudi Arabia and meeting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

    This was reported by Fox Business a few days back. According to Fox News National Security Analyst Walid Phares, Netanyahu is very serious about the meeting as Saudi Arabia and Israel are scared about Iran and the rapprochement is in the works from 2015.

    According to the report, Saudi administration has prepared grounds for the visit among their civil society.

    This could be because of the numerous arrests of human rights activists and political commentators have sowed an atmosphere of terror.

    #deal_du_siècle


  • Un autre hiver... un de plus...
    Winter conditions add to migrant hardship in northern Greece

    Freezing weather is exacerbating difficult conditions for migrants in overcrowded refugee camps in northern Greece. Last week the cold spell led to a protest by dozens of migrants at a camp near Thessaloniki. Greek officials have blamed the number of people flooding into the camp from the islands and across the Turkish border. But could the situation have been prevented?

    Harsh winter conditions hit northern Greece a few days into the new year, bringing sub-zero temperatures, strong winds, snow and ice. In the Diavata refugee camp near the port city of Thessaloniki, several hundred people are struggling with basic survival. Yet every week, despite the weather conditions, more continue to arrive.

    “They don’t think about this kind of thing, they just want to move on,” said one man at Diavata after another Afghan family arrived in the snow. “They just think that in the next stage from Turkey, when they go to Greece, everything will be fine.”

    Camp protests

    When they reach Diavata, the migrants find the reality is different. The camp is full to capacity, with around 800 registered asylum seekers. On top of these, there are between 500 and 650 people living at the site without having been registered by migration authorities.

    “Most of them have built their own makeshift shelters and tents, which are not providing them with the protection needed,” says Mike Bonke, the Greece country director of the Arbeiter Samariter Bund (ASB), an NGO providing support services to Diavata. “They have no (safe) heating, washing and sanitation and cooking facilities.”

    Last week, the difficult conditions prompted around 40 migrants to hold a protest outside the camp, burning tires and blockading the road. A truck driver tried to get through the barricade resulting in a fight which left one man in hospital.

    The driver lost his patience and started swearing at the migrants, who threw rocks and broke his windscreen, reports said. The driver and four migrants were charged with causing grievous bodily harm, according to the Greek daily, Katherimini.

    Conditions create health concerns

    Diavata is just one of a number of migrant facilities in northern Greece to have been affected by the cold snap. An NGO contacted by InfoMigrants said that Orestiada, near the Evros river to the east, was covered in snow. Migrants in the critically overcrowded camps on the islands too are contending with snow, frozen water pipes and icy roads.

    According to the ASB, the refugee reception camps lack resources to cope with the current conditions. “Healthcare services at all (refugee reception) sites are not adequate,” Bonke says.

    Agis Terzidis, an advisor to the Greek Minister of Health and Vice-President of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) which coordinates healthcare provision to migrants and refugees, admits that the cold weather, in addition to the poor conditions and overcrowding in the camps, is exacerbating migrants’ health problems. “We have people living in conditions that are not acceptable for anyone,” he says.

    National health system must step up

    In response to the worsening situation, there are plans to boost EU-funded medical teams operating in camps throughout the country, including the islands, Agis Terzidis says. But he told InfoMigrants that from now on, more pressure would be put on the Greek national health system and local hospitals to tackle the problem, rather than medical staff in the camps themselves.

    Terzidis also insisted that fixing the situation in the camps was “not in the mandate” of the CDC, as it was chiefly a result of greater numbers of people arriving and consequent overcrowding.

    Instead, the CDC’s main priority remains vaccinating migrants to prevent outbreaks of hepatitis, measles and other infectious diseases. It also focuses on treating those suffering from chronic diseases, some of whom will likely succumb to the harsh winter conditions.

    Too many people

    With more bleak weather predicted, a vegetable garden is being planned in the Diavata camp, giving the residents something to look forward to. That will have to be abandoned if more people start to arrive when the weather improves.

    The camps continue to be under pressure from the large and unpredictable numbers of arrivals. Currently there are around 20 arrivals per week at Diavata, but that could quickly escalate to hundreds. So far, Greek authorities do not seem to have taken steps to limit how many end up at the camps seeking protection.

    I think we can all agree that this situation should have been solved by registering these refugees in the Greek Migration system and providing them with dignified and safe shelters.
    _ Mike Bonke, Greece country director, Arbeiter Samariter Bund

    As both government and army staff and their NGO colleagues in the camps remain powerless to solve the problem of overcrowding, their main task will be to protect migrants from harm and exposure as the winter enters its coldest months.

    http://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/14401/winter-conditions-add-to-migrant-hardship-in-northern-greece
    #Grèce #asile #migrations #réfugiés #camps_de_réfugiés #neige #froid #Salonique #Softex #Diavata #résistance #protestation


  • Il y a 100 ans, le 15 janvier 1919, #rosa_luxemburg et #karl_liebknecht étaient assassinés à Berlin.
    Germany remembers Rosa Luxemburg 100 years after her murder
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/15/germans-take-to-the-streets-to-celebrate-rosa-luxemburg-karl-liebknecht

    Recently, Andrea Nahles became the first leader of the SPD to come close to admitting her party’s role in the revolutionaries’ deaths, amid evidence that Gustav Noske, the minister of defence in the SPD-led fledgling Weimar government at the time, effectively signed off on the murders in an effort to crush the far left.

    “It is probable that Gustav Noske had a hand in the murders of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht,” she told the party faithful in November at an event to discuss the 1919 revolt.

    Noske was later involved in the farcical trials that followed the murders and that led to the acquittal of all but two of the suspects, who received paltry sentences.

    “The SPD has a very difficult relationship with the 1918-19 revolution,” said Jones. “While various party historians openly admit the SPD’s role in the events, others still want to defend it.”

    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosa_Luxemburg
    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Liebknecht


  • Rahaf al-Qunun lands in Toronto after long journey to safety | World news | The Guardian

    Voilà. Macron était trop occupé à montrer le sens de l’effort.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/12/rahaf-al-qunun-lands-in-toronto-after-long-journey-to-safety-saudi-teen

    The Saudi woman who barricaded herself in a Thai hotel room in a desperate attempt to flee abuse landed in Canada on Saturday, capping a tumultuous and uncertain journey towards safety.

    Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun arrived in Toronto, the country’s largest city, tweeting “OMG … I’m in Canada everyone” and posting a video of her plane touching down at Pearson International airport.

    As she entered the arrivals area, she was accompanied by Canada’s minister of foreign affairs, Chrystia Freeland, who has been a vocal critic of Saudi Arabia’s jailing of female dissidents.


  • Brazil Dissolves Its Ministry of Culture | Smart News | Smithsonian
    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/brazils-new-government-has-dissolved-countrys-culture-ministry-18097

    In the ten days since he was sworn into office, Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro has already enacted a rash of measures that have sparked concerns across the globe.

    Among his first orders of business, reports Gabriella Angeleti of the Art Newspaper, was dissolving the country’s ministry of culture, along with the ministries of sports and social development.

    All three ministries have been merged into a single department fronted by Osmar Terra, who served as the minister of social development under the previous government. By his own admission, Terra has little experience in cultural policy. According to Angeleti, he “was criticised by Brazilian arts leaders when he said his only cultural expertise is that he knows ‘how to play the berimbau,’ a single-string instrument played to accompany capoeira.”

    News about the dismantled culture ministry has fallen somewhat quietly amid Bolsonaro’s other reforms.

    #brésil #catastrophe #fascisme


  • Australia Starts Tackling Modern Slavery

    A new law in Australia requires companies of a certain size operating in Australia to publicly state the steps they are taking to keep their supply chains free from the worst forms of modern-day slavery. The law, which went into effect on January 1st, is aimed at ending child and forced labor as well as human trafficking.

    Companies will have to file annual statements on their modern slavery efforts according to a set of mandatory criteria, including a description of the company’s operations and supply chain, any risks for modern slavery in the supply chain, and a description of the steps the company is taking to address those risks. The first of these statements is likely to be due by mid-2020.

    A government-run database, accessible to the public and free of charge, will house these statements. One glaring gap is that the Australian law currently does not penalize companies for noncompliance, though the Minister for Home Affairs can make an inquiry if a company has not complied. If a company fails to respond, the minister may publicly disclose information about the company’s failure to comply.

    Australia joins the United Kingdom and France, who have implemented similar laws. Several other countries are contemplating modern slavery legislation, including Switzerland, Germany, and Canada.

    Subnational governments in other countries have also adopted similar laws, such as the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act. Additionally, last June the Australian state of New South Wales passed its own modern slavery law, making critical additions to the national law by creating an independent anti-slavery commissioner to monitor implementation and promote action against modern slavery. The law also creates a range of monetary penalties for companies with employees in New South Wales that fail to comply with the modern slavery statement requirements.

    Australia’s modern slavery law is an important initial step to ensuring that company supply chains are free from modern day slavery and trafficking, but the national or state governments government can go further to ensure compliance. Future legislative efforts, whether in Australia or in other countries, should include systems for monitoring as well as consequences for non-compliance – innovative and pioneering elements found in the New South Wales law.

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/01/08/australia-starts-tackling-modern-slavery

    #esclavage_moderne
    ping @reka


  • Pan Am Flight 103 : Robert Mueller’s 30-Year Search for Justice | WIRED
    https://www.wired.com/story/robert-muellers-search-for-justice-for-pan-am-103

    Cet article décrit le rôle de Robert Mueller dans l’enquête historique qui a permis de dissimuler ou de justifier la plupart des batailles de la guerre non déclarée des États Unis contre l’OLP et les pays arabes qui soutenaient la lutte pour un état palestinien.

    Aux États-Unis, en Allemagne et en France le grand public ignore les actes de guerre commis par les États Unis dans cette guerre. Vu dans ce contexte on ne peut que classer le récit de cet article dans la catégorie idéologie et propagande même si les intentions et faits qu’on y apprend sont bien documentés et plausibles.

    Cette perspective transforme le contenu de cet article d’une variation sur un thème connu dans un reportage sur l’état d’âme des dirigeants étatsuniens moins fanatiques que l’équipe du président actuel.

    THIRTY YEARS AGO last Friday, on the darkest day of the year, 31,000 feet above one of the most remote parts of Europe, America suffered its first major terror attack.

    TEN YEARS AGO last Friday, then FBI director Robert Mueller bundled himself in his tan trench coat against the cold December air in Washington, his scarf wrapped tightly around his neck. Sitting on a small stage at Arlington National Cemetery, he scanned the faces arrayed before him—the victims he’d come to know over years, relatives and friends of husbands and wives who would never grow old, college students who would never graduate, business travelers and flight attendants who would never come home.

    Burned into Mueller’s memory were the small items those victims had left behind, items that he’d seen on the shelves of a small wooden warehouse outside Lockerbie, Scotland, a visit he would never forget: A teenager’s single white sneaker, an unworn Syracuse University sweatshirt, the wrapped Christmas gifts that would never be opened, a lonely teddy bear.

    A decade before the attacks of 9/11—attacks that came during Mueller’s second week as FBI director, and that awoke the rest of America to the threats of terrorism—the bombing of Pan Am 103 had impressed upon Mueller a new global threat.

    It had taught him the complexity of responding to international terror attacks, how unprepared the government was to respond to the needs of victims’ families, and how on the global stage justice would always be intertwined with geopolitics. In the intervening years, he had never lost sight of the Lockerbie bombing—known to the FBI by the codename Scotbom—and he had watched the orphaned children from the bombing grow up over the years.

    Nearby in the cemetery stood a memorial cairn made of pink sandstone—a single brick representing each of the victims, the stone mined from a Scottish quarry that the doomed flight passed over just seconds before the bomb ripped its baggage hold apart. The crowd that day had gathered near the cairn in the cold to mark the 20th anniversary of the bombing.

    For a man with an affinity for speaking in prose, not poetry, a man whose staff was accustomed to orders given in crisp sentences as if they were Marines on the battlefield or under cross-examination from a prosecutor in a courtroom, Mueller’s remarks that day soared in a way unlike almost any other speech he’d deliver.

    “There are those who say that time heals all wounds. But you know that not to be true. At its best, time may dull the deepest wounds; it cannot make them disappear,” Mueller told the assembled mourners. “Yet out of the darkness of this day comes a ray of light. The light of unity, of friendship, and of comfort from those who once were strangers and who are now bonded together by a terrible moment in time. The light of shared memories that bring smiles instead of sadness. And the light of hope for better days to come.”

    He talked of Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” and of inspiration drawn from Lockerbie’s town crest, with its simple motto, “Forward.” He spoke of what was then a two-decade-long quest for justice, of how on windswept Scottish mores and frigid lochs a generation of FBI agents, investigators, and prosecutors had redoubled their dedication to fighting terrorism.

    Mueller closed with a promise: “Today, as we stand here together on this, the darkest of days, we renew that bond. We remember the light these individuals brought to each of you here today. We renew our efforts to bring justice down on those who seek to harm us. We renew our efforts to keep our people safe, and to rid the world of terrorism. We will continue to move forward. But we will never forget.”

    Hand bells tolled for each of the victims as their names were read aloud, 270 names, 270 sets of bells.

    The investigation, though, was not yet closed. Mueller, although he didn’t know it then, wasn’t done with Pan Am 103. Just months after that speech, the case would test his innate sense of justice and morality in a way that few other cases in his career ever have.

    ROBERT S. MUELLER III had returned from a combat tour in Vietnam in the late 1960s and eventually headed to law school at the University of Virginia, part of a path that he hoped would lead him to being an FBI agent. Unable after graduation to get a job in government, he entered private practice in San Francisco, where he found he loved being a lawyer—just not a defense attorney.

    Then—as his wife Ann, a teacher, recounted to me years ago—one morning at their small home, while the two of them made the bed, Mueller complained, “Don’t I deserve to be doing something that makes me happy?” He finally landed a job as an assistant US attorney in San Francisco and stood, for the first time, in court and announced, “Good morning your Honor, I am Robert Mueller appearing on behalf of the United States of America.” It is a moment that young prosecutors often practice beforehand, and for Mueller those words carried enormous weight. He had found the thing that made him happy.

    His family remembers that time in San Francisco as some of their happiest years; the Muellers’ two daughters were young, they loved the Bay Area—and have returned there on annual vacations almost every year since relocating to the East Coast—and Mueller found himself at home as a prosecutor.

    On Friday nights, their routine was that Ann and the two girls would pick Mueller up at Harrington’s Bar & Grill, the city’s oldest Irish pub, not far from the Ferry Building in the Financial District, where he hung out each week with a group of prosecutors, defense attorneys, cops, and agents. (One Christmas, his daughter Cynthia gave him a model of the bar made out of Popsicle sticks.) He balanced that family time against weekends and trainings with the Marines Corps Reserves, where he served for more than a decade, until 1980, eventually rising to be a captain.

    Over the next 15 years, he rose through the ranks of the San Francisco US attorney’s office—an office he would return to lead during the Clinton administration—and then decamped to Massachusetts to work for US attorney William Weld in the 1980s. There, too, he shined and eventually became acting US attorney when Weld departed at the end of the Reagan administration. “You cannot get the words straight arrow out of your head,” Weld told me, speaking of Mueller a decade ago. “The agencies loved him because he knew his stuff. He didn’t try to be elegant or fancy, he just put the cards on the table.”

    In 1989, an old high school classmate, Robert Ross, who was chief of staff to then attorney general Richard Thornburgh, asked Mueller to come down to Washington to help advise Thornburgh. The offer intrigued Mueller. Ann protested the move—their younger daughter Melissa wanted to finish high school in Massachusetts. Ann told her husband, “We can’t possibly do this.” He replied, his eyes twinkling, “You’re right, it’s a terrible time. Well, why don’t we just go down and look at a few houses?” As she told me, “When he wants to do something, he just revisits it again and again.”

    For his first two years at so-called Main Justice in Washington, working under President George H.W. Bush, the family commuted back and forth from Boston to Washington, alternating weekends in each city, to allow Melissa to finish school.

    Washington gave Mueller his first exposure to national politics and cases with geopolitical implications; in September 1990, President Bush nominated him to be assistant attorney general, overseeing the Justice Department’s entire criminal division, which at that time handled all the nation’s terrorism cases as well. Mueller would oversee the prosecution of Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, mob boss John Gotti, and the controversial investigation into a vast money laundering scheme run through the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, known as the Bank of Crooks and Criminals

    None of his cases in Washington, though, would affect him as much as the bombing of Pan Am 103.

    THE TIME ON the clocks in Lockerbie, Scotland, read 7:04 pm, on December 21, 1988, when the first emergency call came into the local fire brigade, reporting what sounded like a massive boiler explosion. It was technically early evening, but it had been dark for hours already; that far north, on the shortest day of the year, daylight barely stretched to eight hours.

    Soon it became clear something much worse than a boiler explosion had unfolded: Fiery debris pounded the landscape, plunging from the sky and killing 11 Lockerbie residents. As Mike Carnahan told a local TV reporter, “The whole sky was lit up with flames. It was actually raining, liquid fire. You could see several houses on the skyline with the roofs totally off and all you could see was flaming timbers.”

    At 8:45 pm, a farmer found in his field the cockpit of Pan Am 103, a Boeing 747 known as Clipper Maid of the Seas, lying on its side, 15 of its crew dead inside, just some of the 259 passengers and crew killed when a bomb had exploded inside the plane’s cargo hold. The scheduled London to New York flight never even made it out of the UK.

    It had taken just three seconds for the plane to disintegrate in the air, though the wreckage took three long minutes to fall the five miles from the sky to the earth; court testimony later would examine how passengers had still been alive as they fell. Nearly 200 of the passengers were American, including 35 students from Syracuse University returning home from a semester abroad. The attack horrified America, which until then had seen terror touch its shores only occasionally as a hijacking went awry; while the US had weathered the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, attacks almost never targeted civilians.

    The Pan Am 103 bombing seemed squarely aimed at the US, hitting one of its most iconic brands. Pan Am then represented America’s global reach in a way few companies did; the world’s most powerful airline shuttled 19 million passengers a year to more than 160 countries and had ferried the Beatles to their US tour and James Bond around the globe on his cinematic missions. In a moment of hubris a generation before Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, the airline had even opened a “waiting list” for the first tourists to travel to outer space. Its New York headquarters, the Pan Am building, was the world’s largest commercial building and its terminal at JFK Airport the biggest in the world.

    The investigation into the bombing of Pan Am 103 began immediately, as police and investigators streamed north from London by the hundreds; chief constable John Boyd, the head of the local police, arrived at the Lockerbie police station by 8:15 pm, and within an hour the first victim had been brought in: A farmer arrived in town with the body of a baby girl who had fallen from the sky. He’d carefully placed her in the front seat of his pickup truck.

    An FBI agent posted in London had raced north too, with the US ambassador, aboard a special US Air Force flight, and at 2 am, when Boyd convened his first senior leadership meeting, he announced, “The FBI is here, and they are fully operational.” By that point, FBI explosives experts were already en route to Scotland aboard an FAA plane; agents would install special secure communications equipment in Lockerbie and remain on site for months.

    Although it quickly became clear that a bomb had targeted Pan Am 103—wreckage showed signs of an explosion and tested positive for PETN and RDX, two key ingredients of the explosive Semtex—the investigation proceeded with frustrating slowness. Pan Am’s records were incomplete, and it took days to even determine the full list of passengers. At the same time, it was the largest crime scene ever investigated—a fact that remains true today.

    Investigators walked 845 square miles, an area 12 times the size of Washington, DC, and searched so thoroughly that they recovered more than 70 packages of airline crackers and ultimately could reconstruct about 85 percent of the fuselage. (Today, the wreckage remains in an English scrapyard.) Constable Boyd, at his first press conference, told the media, “This is a mammoth inquiry.”

    On Christmas Eve, a searcher found a piece of a luggage pallet with signs of obvious scorching, which would indicate the bomb had been in the luggage compartment below the passenger cabin. The evidence was rushed to a special British military lab—one originally created to investigate the Guy Fawkes’ Gunpowder Plot to blow up Parliament and kill King James I in 1605.

    When the explosive tests came back a day later, the British government called the State Department’s ambassador-at-large for combating terrorism, L. Paul Bremer III (who would go on to be President George W. Bush’s viceroy in Baghdad after the 2003 invasion of Iraq), and officially delivered the news that everyone had anticipated: Pan Am 103 had been downed by a bomb.

    Meanwhile, FBI agents fanned out across the country. In New York, special agent Neil Herman—who would later lead the FBI’s counterterrorism office in New York in the run up to 9/11—was tasked with interviewing some of the victims’ families; many of the Syracuse students on board had been from the New York region. One of the mothers he interviewed hadn’t heard from the government in the 10 days since the attack. “It really struck me how ill-equipped we were to deal with this,” Herman told me, years later. “Multiply her by 270 victims and families.” The bombing underscored that the FBI and the US government had a lot to learn in responding and aiding victims in a terror attack.

    INVESTIGATORS MOVED TOWARD piecing together how a bomb could have been placed on board; years before the 9/11 attack, they discounted the idea of a suicide bomber aboard—there had never been a suicide attack on civil aviation at that point—and so focused on one of two theories: The possibility of a “mule,” an innocent passenger duped into carrying a bomb aboard, or an “inside man,” a trusted airport or airline employee who had smuggled the fatal cargo aboard. The initial suspect list stretched to 1,200 names.

    Yet even reconstructing what was on board took an eternity: Evidence pointed to a Japanese manufactured Toshiba cassette recorder as the likely delivery device for the bomb, and then, by the end of January, investigators located pieces of the suitcase that had held the bomb. After determining that it was a Samsonite bag, police and the FBI flew to the company’s headquarters in the United States and narrowed the search further: The bag, they found, was a System 4 Silhouette 4000 model, color “antique-copper,” a case and color made for only three years, 1985 to 1988, and sold only in the Middle East. There were a total of 3,500 such suitcases in circulation.

    By late spring, investigators had identified 14 pieces of luggage inside the target cargo container, known as AVE4041; each bore tell-tale signs of the explosion. Through careful retracing of how luggage moved through the London airport, investigators determined that the bags on the container’s bottom row came from passengers transferring in London. The bags on the second and third row of AVE4041 had been the last bags loaded onto the leg of the flight that began in Frankfurt, before the plane took off for London. None of the baggage had been X-rayed or matched with passengers on board.

    The British lab traced clothing fragments from the wreckage that bore signs of the explosion and thus likely originated in the bomb-carrying suitcase. It was an odd mix: Two herring-bone skirts, men’s pajamas, tartan trousers, and so on. The most promising fragment was a blue infant’s onesie that, after fiber analysis, was conclusively determined to have been inside the explosive case, and had a label saying “Malta Trading Company.” In March, two detectives took off for Malta, where the manufacturer told them that 500 such articles of clothing had been made and most sent to Ireland, while the rest went locally to Maltese outlets and others to continental Europe.

    As they dug deeper, they focused on bag B8849, which appeared to have come off Air Malta Flight 180—Malta to Frankfurt—on December 21, even though there was no record of one of that flight’s 47 passengers transferring to Pan Am 103.

    Investigators located the store in Malta where the suspect clothing had been sold; the British inspector later recorded in his statement, “[Store owner] Anthony Gauci interjected and stated that he could recall selling a pair of the checked trousers, size 34, and three pairs of the pajamas to a male person.” The investigators snapped to attention—after nine months did they finally have a suspect in their sights? “[Gauci] informed me that the man had also purchased the following items: one imitation Harris Tweed jacket; one woolen cardigan; one black umbrella; one blue colored ‘Baby Gro’ with a motif described by the witness as a ‘sheep’s face’ on the front; and one pair of gents’ brown herring-bone material trousers, size 36.”

    Game, set, match. Gauci had perfectly described the clothing fragments found by RARDE technicians to contain traces of explosive. The purchase, Gauci went on to explain, stood out in his mind because the customer—whom Gauci tellingly identified as speaking the “Libyan language”—had entered the store on November 23, 1988, and gathered items without seeming to care about the size, gender, or color of any of it.

    As the investigation painstakingly proceeded into 1989 and 1990, Robert Mueller arrived at Main Justice; the final objects of the Lockerbie search wouldn’t be found until the spring of 1990, just months before Mueller took over as assistant attorney general of the criminal division in September.

    The Justice Department that year was undergoing a series of leadership changes; the deputy attorney general, William Barr, became acting attorney general midyear as Richard Thornburgh stepped down to run for Senate back in his native Pennsylvania. President Bush then nominated Barr to take over as attorney general officially. (Earlier this month Barr was nominated by President Trump to become attorney general once again.)

    The bombing soon became one of the top cases on Mueller’s desk. He met regularly with Richard Marquise, the FBI special agent heading Scotbom. For Mueller, the case became personal; he met with victims’ families and toured the Lockerbie crash site and the investigation’s headquarters. He traveled repeatedly to the United Kingdom for meetings and walked the fields of Lockerbie himself. “The Scots just did a phenomenal job with the crime scene,” he told me, years ago.

    Mueller pushed the investigators forward constantly, getting involved in the investigation at a level that a high-ranking Justice Department official almost never does. Marquise turned to him in one meeting, after yet another set of directions, and sighed, “Geez, if I didn’t know better, I’d think you want to be FBI director.”

    The investigation gradually, carefully, zeroed in on Libya. Agents traced a circuit board used in the bomb to a similar device seized in Africa a couple of years earlier used by Libyan intelligence. An FBI-created database of Maltese immigration records even showed that a man using the same alias as one of those Libyan intelligence officers had departed from Malta on October 19, 1988—just two months before the bombing.

    The circuit board also helped makes sense of an important aspect of the bombing: It controlled a timer, meaning that the bomb was not set off by a barometric trigger that registers altitude. This, in turn, explained why the explosive baggage had lain peacefully in the jet’s hold as it took off and landed repeatedly.

    Tiny letters on the suspect timer said “MEBO.” What was MEBO? In the days before Google, searching for something called “Mebo” required going country to country, company to company. There were no shortcuts. The FBI, MI5, and CIA were, after months of work, able to trace MEBO back to a Swiss company, Meister et Bollier, adding a fifth country to the ever-expanding investigative circle.

    From Meister et Bollier, they learned that the company had provided 20 prototype timers to the Libyan government and the company helped ID their contact as a Libyan intelligence officer, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, who looked like the sketch of the Maltese clothing shopper. Then, when the FBI looked at its database of Maltese immigration records, they found that Al Megrahi had been present in Malta the day the clothing was purchased.

    Marquise sat down with Robert Mueller and the rest of the prosecutorial team and laid out the latest evidence. Mueller’s orders were clear—he wanted specific suspects and he wanted to bring charges. As he said, “Proceed toward indictment.” Let’s get this case moving.

    IN NOVEMBER 1990, Marquise was placed in charge of all aspects of the investigation and assigned on special duty to the Washington Field Office and moved to a new Scotbom task force. The field offce was located far from the Hoover building, in a run-down neighborhood known by the thoroughly unromantic moniker of Buzzard Point.

    The Scotbom task force had been allotted three tiny windowless rooms with dark wood paneling, which were soon covered floor-to-ceiling with 747 diagrams, crime scene photographs, maps, and other clues. By the door of the office, the team kept two photographs to remind themselves of the stakes: One, a tiny baby shoe recovered from the fields of Lockerbie; the other, a picture of the American flag on the tail of Pan Am 103. This was the first major attack on the US and its civilians. Whoever was responsible couldn’t be allowed to get away with it.

    With representatives from a half-dozen countries—the US, Britain, Scotland, Sweden, Germany, France, and Malta—now sitting around the table, putting together a case that met everyone’s evidentiary standards was difficult. “We talked through everything, and everything was always done to the higher standard,” Marquise says. In the US, for instance, the legal standard for a photo array was six photos; in Scotland, though, it was 12. So every photo array in the investigation had 12 photos to ensure that the IDs could be used in a British court.

    The trail of evidence so far was pretty clear, and it all pointed toward Libya. Yet there was still much work to do prior to an indictment. A solid hunch was one thing. Having evidence that would stand up in court and under cross-examination was something else entirely.

    As the case neared an indictment, the international investigators and prosecutors found themselves focusing at their gatherings on the fine print of their respective legal code and engaging in deep, philosophical-seeming debates: “What does murder mean in your statute? Huh? I know what murder means: I kill you. Well, then you start going through the details and the standards are just a little different. It may entail five factors in one country, three in another. Was Megrahi guilty of murder? Depends on the country.”

    At every meeting, the international team danced around the question of where a prosecution would ultimately take place. “Jurisdiction was an eggshell problem,” Marquise says. “It was always there, but no one wanted to talk about it. It was always the elephant in the room.”

    Mueller tried to deflect the debate for as long as possible, arguing there was more investigation to do first. Eventually, though, he argued forcefully that the case should be tried in the US. “I recognize that Scotland has significant equities which support trial of the case in your country,” he said in one meeting. “However, the primary target of this act of terrorism was the United States. The majority of the victims were Americans, and the Pan American aircraft was targeted precisely because it was of United States registry.”

    After one meeting, where the Scots and Americans debated jurisdiction for more than two hours, the group migrated over to the Peasant, a restaurant near the Justice Department, where, in an attempt to foster good spirits, it paid for the visiting Scots. Mueller and the other American officials each had to pay for their own meals.

    Mueller was getting ready to move forward; the federal grand jury would begin work in early September. Prosecutors and other investigators were already preparing background, readying evidence, and piecing together information like the names and nationalities of all the Lockerbie victims so that they could be included in the forthcoming indictment.

    There had never been any doubt in the US that the Pan Am 103 bombing would be handled as a criminal matter, but the case was still closely monitored by the White House and the National Security Council.

    The Reagan administration had been surprised in February 1988 by the indictment on drug charges of its close ally Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, and a rule of thumb had been developed: Give the White House a heads up anytime you’re going to indict a foreign agent. “If you tag Libya with Pan Am 103, that’s fair to say it’s going to disrupt our relationship with Libya,” Mueller deadpans. So Mueller would head up to the Cabinet Room at the White House, charts and pictures in hand, to explain to President Bush and his team what Justice had in mind.

    To Mueller, the investigation underscored why such complex investigations needed a law enforcement eye. A few months after the attack, he sat through a CIA briefing pointing toward Syria as the culprit behind the attack. “That’s always struck with me as a lesson in the difference between intelligence and evidence. I always try to remember that,” he told me, back when he was FBI director. “It’s a very good object lesson about hasty action based on intelligence. What if we had gone and attacked Syria based on that initial intelligence? Then, after the attack, it came out that Libya had been behind it? What could we have done?”

    Marquise was the last witness for the federal grand jury on Friday, November 8, 1991. Only in the days leading up to that testimony had prosecutors zeroed in on Megrahi and another Libyan officer, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah; as late as the week of the testimony, they had hoped to pursue additional indictments, yet the evidence wasn’t there to get to a conviction.

    Mueller traveled to London to meet with the Peter Fraser, the lord advocate—Scotland’s top prosecutor—and they agreed to announce indictments simultaneously on November 15, 1991. Who got their hands on the suspects first, well, that was a question for later. The joint indictment, Mueller believed, would benefit both countries. “It adds credibility to both our investigations,” he says.

    That coordinated joint, multi-nation statement and indictment would become a model that the US would deploy more regularly in the years to come, as the US and other western nations have tried to coordinate cyber investigations and indictments against hackers from countries like North Korea, Russia, and Iran.

    To make the stunning announcement against Libya, Mueller joined FBI director William Sessions, DC US attorney Jay Stephens, and attorney general William Barr.

    “We charge that two Libyan officials, acting as operatives of the Libyan intelligence agency, along with other co-conspirators, planted and detonated the bomb that destroyed Pan Am 103,” Barr said. “I have just telephoned some of the families of those murdered on Pan Am 103 to inform them and the organizations of the survivors that this indictment has been returned. Their loss has been ever present in our minds.”

    At the same time, in Scotland, investigators there were announcing the same indictments.

    At the press conference, Barr listed a long set of names to thank—the first one he singled out was Mueller’s. Then, he continued, “This investigation is by no means over. It continues unabated. We will not rest until all those responsible are brought to justice. We have no higher priority.”

    From there, the case would drag on for years. ABC News interviewed the two suspects in Libya later that month; both denied any responsibility for the bombing. Marquise was reassigned within six months; the other investigators moved along too.

    Mueller himself left the administration when Bill Clinton became president, spending an unhappy year in private practice before rejoining the Justice Department to work as a junior homicide prosecutor in DC under then US attorney Eric Holder; Mueller, who had led the nation’s entire criminal division was now working side by side with prosecutors just a few years out of law school, the equivalent of a three-star military general retiring and reenlisting as a second lieutenant. Clinton eventually named Mueller the US attorney in San Francisco, the office where he’d worked as a young attorney in the 1970s.

    THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY of the bombing came and went without any justice. Then, in April 1999, prolonged international negotiations led to Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi turning over the two suspects; the international economic sanctions imposed on Libya in the wake of the bombing were taking a toll on his country, and the leader wanted to put the incident behind him.

    The final negotiated agreement said that the two men would be tried by a Scottish court, under Scottish law, in The Hague in the Netherlands. Distinct from the international court there, the three-judge Scottish court would ensure that the men faced justice under the laws of the country where their accused crime had been committed.

    Allowing the Scots to move forward meant some concessions by the US. The big one was taking the death penalty, prohibited in Scotland, off the table. Mueller badly wanted the death penalty. Mueller, like many prosecutors and law enforcement officials, is a strong proponent of capital punishment, but he believes it should be reserved for only egregious crimes. “It has to be especially heinous, and you have to be 100 percent sure he’s guilty,” he says. This case met that criteria. “There’s never closure. If there can’t be closure, there should be justice—both for the victims as well as the society at large,” he says.

    An old US military facility, Kamp Van Zeist, was converted to an elaborate jail and courtroom in The Hague, and the Dutch formally surrendered the two Libyans to Scottish police. The trial began in May 2000. For nine months, the court heard testimony from around the world. In what many observers saw as a political verdict, Al Megrahi was found guilty and Fhimah was found not guilty.

    With barely 24 hours notice, Marquise and victim family members raced from the United States to be in the courtroom to hear the verdict. The morning of the verdict in 2001, Mueller was just days into his tenure as acting deputy US attorney general—filling in for the start of the George W. Bush administration in the department’s No. 2 role as attorney general John Ashcroft got himself situated.

    That day, Mueller awoke early and joined with victims’ families and other officials in Washington, who watched the verdict announcement via a satellite hookup. To him, it was a chance for some closure—but the investigation would go on. As he told the media, “The United States remains vigilant in its pursuit to bring to justice any other individuals who may have been involved in the conspiracy to bring down Pan Am Flight 103.”

    The Scotbom case would leave a deep imprint on Mueller; one of his first actions as FBI director was to recruit Kathryn Turman, who had served as the liaison to the Pan Am 103 victim families during the trial, to head the FBI’s Victim Services Division, helping to elevate the role and responsibility of the FBI in dealing with crime victims.

    JUST MONTHS AFTER that 20th anniversary ceremony with Mueller at Arlington National Cemetery, in the summer of 2009, Scotland released a terminally ill Megrahi from prison after a lengthy appeals process, and sent him back to Libya. The decision was made, the Scottish minister of justice reported, on “compassionate grounds.” Few involved on the US side believed the terrorist deserved compassion. Megrahi was greeted as a hero on the tarmac in Libya—rose petals, cheering crowds. The US consensus remained that he should rot in prison.

    The idea that Megrahi could walk out of prison on “compassionate” ground made a mockery of everything that Mueller had dedicated his life to fighting and doing. Amid a series of tepid official condemnations—President Obama labeled it “highly objectionable”—Mueller fired off a letter to Scottish minister Kenny MacAskill that stood out for its raw pain, anger, and deep sorrow.

    “Over the years I have been a prosecutor, and recently as the Director of the FBI, I have made it a practice not to comment on the actions of other prosecutors, since only the prosecutor handling the case has all the facts and the law before him in reaching the appropriate decision,” Mueller began. “Your decision to release Megrahi causes me to abandon that practice in this case. I do so because I am familiar with the facts, and the law, having been the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the investigation and indictment of Megrahi in 1991. And I do so because I am outraged at your decision, blithely defended on the grounds of ‘compassion.’”

    That nine months after the 20th anniversary of the bombing, the only person behind bars for the bombing would walk back onto Libyan soil a free man and be greeted with rose petals left Mueller seething.

    “Your action in releasing Megrahi is as inexplicable as it is detrimental to the cause of justice. Indeed your action makes a mockery of the rule of law. Your action gives comfort to terrorists around the world,” Mueller wrote. “You could not have spent much time with the families, certainly not as much time as others involved in the investigation and prosecution. You could not have visited the small wooden warehouse where the personal items of those who perished were gathered for identification—the single sneaker belonging to a teenager; the Syracuse sweatshirt never again to be worn by a college student returning home for the holidays; the toys in a suitcase of a businessman looking forward to spending Christmas with his wife and children.”

    For Mueller, walking the fields of Lockerbie had been walking on hallowed ground. The Scottish decision pained him especially deeply, because of the mission and dedication he and his Scottish counterparts had shared 20 years before. “If all civilized nations join together to apply the rules of law to international terrorists, certainly we will be successful in ridding the world of the scourge of terrorism,” he had written in a perhaps too hopeful private note to the Scottish Lord Advocate in 1990.

    Some 20 years later, in an era when counterterrorism would be a massive, multibillion dollar industry and a buzzword for politicians everywhere, Mueller—betrayed—concluded his letter with a decidedly un-Mueller-like plea, shouted plaintively and hopelessly across the Atlantic: “Where, I ask, is the justice?”

    #USA #Libye #impérialisme #terrorisme #histoire #CIA #idéologie #propagande


  • Atlantik-Brücke and the ACG
    http://www.transatlanticperspectives.org/entry.php?rec=133
    Des fois que vous nauriez jamais compris pourquoi l’Allemagne est le meilleur ami des USA en Europe voici le résumé de la thèse d’Anne Zetsche

    Transatlantic institutions organizing German-American elite networking since the early 1950s

    Author » Anne Zetsche, Northumbria University Published: November 28, 2012 Updated: February 28, 2013

    The Cold War era witnessed an increasing transnational interconnectedness of individuals and organizations in the cultural, economic and political sphere. In this period, two organizations, the Atlantik-Brücke and the American Council on Germany, established themselves as influential facilitators, enabling German-American elite networking throughout the second half of the twentieth century and beyond. The two organizations brought together influential politicians and businesspeople, as well as representatives of the media and the academic world.

    Efforts in this regard commenced in the early days of the Cold War, only a few years after the end of World War II. In 1949, two American citizens and two Germans began developing the plan to found the Atlantik-Brücke in West Germany and a sister organization, the American Council on Germany (ACG), in the United States. Their plan was to use these two organizations as vehicles to foster amicable relations between the newly founded Federal Republic of Germany and the United States of America. Only a few years prior, Americans and Germans had faced each other as enemies during World War II and many segments of German society, including West German elites, held strong, long-standing anti-American sentiments. The U.S. public in turn was skeptical as to whether Germans could indeed be denazified and convinced to develop a democratic system. Thus, in order to forge a strong Western alliance against Soviet Communism that included West Germany it was critical to overcome mutual prejudices and counter anti-Americanism in Western Europe. It was to be one of the central tasks of the Atlantik-Brücke and the ACG to achieve this in West Germany.

    Individuals at the Founding of the Atlantik-Brücke and the ACG

    One of the founders of the Atlantik-Brücke and the ACG was Eric M. Warburg. He was a Jewish-American banker originally from Hamburg where his ancestors had founded the family’s banking house in 1798. Due to Nazi Aryanisation and expropriation policies, the Warburg family lost the company in 1938 and immigrated to the United States, settling in New York. In spite of the terror of the Nazi regime, Eric Warburg was very attached to Hamburg. He became a vibrant transatlantic commuter after World War II, living both in Hamburg and in New York. In the intertwined histories of the Atlantik-Brücke and the ACG, Warburg played a special role, becoming their leading facilitator and mediator.

    Not long after his escape from the Nazis, Warburg met Christopher Emmet, a wealthy publicist and political activist who shared Warburg’s strong anti-communist stance and attachment to pre-Nazi Germany. On the German side of this transatlantic relationship, Warburg and Emmet were joined by Marion Countess Dönhoff, a journalist at the liberal West German weekly Die Zeit, and by Erik Blumenfeld, a Christian Democratic politician and businessmen. There were two main characteristics shared by the original core founders of the Atlantik-Brücke and the ACG: firstly, each one of the founding quartet belonged to an elite – economic, social or political – and was therefore well-connected with political, diplomatic, business and media circles in both the United States and Germany. Secondly, there was a congruence of basic dispositions among them, namely a staunch anti-communist stance, a transatlantic orientation, and an endorsement of Germany’s integration into the West.

    The Western powers sought the economic and political integration of Western Europe to overcome the devastation of Europe, to revive the world economy, and to thwart nationalism and militarism in Europe after World War II. Germany was considered Europe’s economic powerhouse and thus pivotal in the reconstruction process. West Germany also needed to be on board with security and defense policies in order to face the formidable opponent of Soviet Communism. Since the Federal Republic shared a border with the communist bloc, the young state was extremely vulnerable to potential Soviet aggression and was at the same time strategically important within the Western bloc. Elite organizations like the Atlantik-Brücke and the ACG were valuable vehicles to bring West Germany on board for this ambitious Cold War project.

    Thus, in 1952 and 1954 respectively, the ACG and the Atlantik-Brücke were incorporated and granted non-profit status with the approval of John J. McCloy, U.S. High Commissioner to Germany (1949-1952). His wife Ellen McCloy was one of signatories of the ACG’s certificate of incorporation and served as its director for a number of years. The Atlantik-Brücke (originally Transatlantik-Brücke) was incorporated and registered in Hamburg.

    Transatlantic Networking

    The main purpose of both organizations was to inform Germans and Americans about the respective other country, to counter mutual prejudices, and thus contributing to the development of amicable relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States in the postwar era. This was to be achieved by all means deemed appropriate, but with a special focus on arranging personal meetings and talks between representatives of both countries’ business, political, academic, and media elites. One way was to sponsor lectures and provide speakers on issues relating to Germany and the United States. Another method was organizing visiting tours of German politicians, academics, and journalists to the United States and of American representatives to West Germany. Among the Germans who came to the U.S. under the sponsorship of the ACG were Max Brauer, a former Social Democratic mayor of Hamburg, Willy Brandt, the first Social Democratic Chancellor and former mayor of West Berlin, and Franz Josef Strauss, a member of the West German federal government in the 1950s and 1960s and later minister president of the German federal state of Bavaria. American visitors to the Federal Republic were less prominent. Annual reports of the Atlantik-Brücke explicitly mention George Nebolsine of the New York law firm Coudert Brothers and member of the International Chamber of Commerce, and the diplomats Henry J. Tasca, William C. Trimble, and Nedville E. Nordness.

    In the late 1950s the officers of the Atlantik-Brücke and the ACG sought ways of institutionalizing personal encounters between key Americans and Germans. Thus they established the German-American Conferences modeled on the British-German Königswinter Conferences and the Bilderberg Conferences. The former brought together English and German elites and were organized by the German-English Society (later German-British Society). The latter were organized by the Bilderberg Group, founded by Joseph Retinger, Paul van Zeeland and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. Those conferences began in 1954 and were informal, off-the-record meetings of American and West European representatives of business, media, academia and politics. Each of these conference series was important for the coordination of Western elites during the Cold War era. Bilderberg was critical in paving the way for continental European integration and the German-British effort was important for reconciling the European wartime enemies.

    From 1959 onwards, the German-American Conferences took place biennially, alternating between venues in West Germany and the United States. At the first conference in Bonn, 24 Americans came together with 27 Germans, among them such prominent individuals as Dean Acheson, Henry Kissinger, and John J. McCloy on the American side, and Willy Brandt, Arnold Bergstraesser (considered to be one of the founding fathers of postwar political science in Germany), and Kurt Georg Kiesinger (third Christian Democratic Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany and former minister president of the federal state Baden-Württemberg) on the German side. By 1974 the size of the delegations had increased continuously, reaching 73 American and 63 German participants.

    A central goal in selecting the delegations was to arrange for a balanced, bipartisan group of politicians, always including representatives of the Social and Christian Democrats (e.g. Fritz Erler, Kurt Birrenbach) on the German side and both Democratic and Republican senators and representatives (e.g. Henry S. Reuss, Jacob Javits) on the American side, along with academics, journalists, and businessmen. Prominent American academics attending several of the German-American conferences included Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski. Representatives of major media outlets were Marion Countess Dönhoff of Germany’s major liberal weekly Die Zeit, Kurt Becker, editor of the conservative daily newspaper Die Welt, and Hellmut Jaesrich, editor of the anticommunist cultural magazine Der Monat. The business community was prominently represented by John J. McCloy, the president of the Chase Manhattan Bank, and Herman Georg Kaiser, an oil producer from Tulsa, Oklahoma. From Germany, Gotthard von Falkenhausen and Eric Warburg represented the financial sector and Alexander Menne, a member of the executive board of Farbwerke Hoechst, represented German industry.

    Officers of the Atlantik-Brücke and the ACG were mainly in charge of selecting the delegates for the conferences. However, Shepard Stone of the Ford Foundation also had an influential say in this process. In the late 1950s and 1960s he was director of the foundation’s international program and thus responsible for allocating funds to the ACG to facilitate the German-American conferences. Shepard Stone was deeply attached to Germany as he had pursued graduate studies in Berlin in the Weimar period, earning a doctoral degree in history. After World War II he returned to Germany as a public affairs officer of the U.S. High Commission. Stone’s continuing interest in German affairs and friendship with Eric Warburg and Marion Dönhoff regularly brought him to Germany, and he was a frequent participant in the German-American conferences.

    The German-American Conferences and Cold War Politics

    All matters discussed during the conferences stood under the headline “East-West tensions” in the earlier period and later “East-West issues” signaling the beginning of détente, but always maintaining a special focus on U.S.-German relations. The debates from the late 1950s to the early/mid-1970s can be categorized as follows: firstly, bilateral relations between the U.S. and the FRG; secondly, Germany’s relation with the Western alliance; thirdly, Europe and the United States in the Atlantic Alliance; and last but not least, relations between the West, the East, and the developing world. The conferences served three central purposes: firstly, developing a German-American network of elites; secondly, building consensus on key issues of the Cold War period; and thirdly, forming a common Western, transatlantic identity among West Germans and Americans.

    Another emphasis of both groups’ activities in the United States and Germany was the production of studies and other publications (among others, The Vanishing Swastika, the Bridge, Meet Germany, a Newsletter, Hans Wallenberg’s report Democratic Institutions, and the reports on the German-American Conferences). Studies aimed at informing Germans about developments in the United States and American international policies on the one hand, and at informing the American people about West Germany’s progress in denazification, democratization, and re-education on the other. The overall aim of these activities was first and foremost improving each country’s and people’s image in the eyes of the counterpart’s elites and wider public.

    The sources and amounts of available funds to the ACG and the Atlantik-Brücke differed considerably. Whereas the latter selected its members very carefully by way of cooptation especially among businessmen and CEOs to secure sound funding of its enterprise, the former opened membership or affiliation to basically anyone who had an interest in Germany. As a result, the ACG depended heavily, at least for its everyday business, on the fortune of the organization’s executive vice president Christopher Emmet. Emmet personally provided the salaries of ACG secretaries and set up the organization’s offices in his private apartment in New York’s upper Westside. In addition, the ACG relied on funds granted by the Ford Foundation especially for the biannual German-American conferences as well as for the publication of a number of studies. The Atlantik-Brücke in turn benefitted immensely from public funds for its publications and the realization of the German-American conferences. The Federal Press and Information Agency (Bundespresse- und Informationsamt, BPA) supported mainly publication efforts of the organization and the Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt) regularly granted funds for the conferences.

    Politics, Business and Membership Growth

    Membership of the Atlantik-Brücke grew from 12 in 1954 to 65 in 1974. Among them were representatives of companies like Mannesmann, Esso, Farbwerke Hoechst, Daimler Benz, Deutsche Bank, and Schering. Those members were expected to be willing and able to pay annual membership fees of 3000 to 5000 DM (approx. $750 to $1,250 in 1955, equivalent to approx. $6,475 to $10,793 today). Since the business community always accounted for the majority of Atlantik-Brücke membership compared to members from academia, media and politics, the organization operated on secure financial footing compared to its American counterpart. The ACG had not even established formal membership like its German sister organization. The people affiliated with the ACG in the 1950s up to the mid-1970s were mostly academics, intellectuals, and journalists. It posed a great difficulty for ACG officers to attract business people willing and able to contribute financially to the organization at least until the mid-1970s. When Christopher Emmet, the ACG’s “heart and soul,” passed away in 1974, the group’s affiliates and directors were mostly comprised of Emmet’s circle of friends and acquaintances who shared an interest in U.S.-German relations and Germany itself. Emmet had enlisted most of them during his frequent visits to the meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations. Another group of prominent members represented the military. Several leading figures of the U.S. occupying forces and U.S. High Commission personnel joined the ACG, in addition to ranking politicians and U.S. diplomats. The ACG’s long term president, George N. Shuster had served as Land Commissioner for Bavaria during 1950-51. In 1963, Lucius D. Clay, former military governor of the U.S. zone in Germany, 1947-49, joined the ACG as honorary chairman. George McGhee, the former ambassador to Germany prominently represented U.S. diplomacy when he became director of the organization in 1969.

    Although the Atlantik-Brücke had initially ruled out board membership for active politicians, they were prominently represented. Erik Blumenfeld, for example, was an influential Christian Democratic leader in Hamburg. In 1958 he was elected CDU chairman of the federal city state of Hamburg and three years later he became a member of the Bundestag.In the course of the 1960s and 1970s more politicians joined the Atlantik-Brücke and became active members of the board: Kurt Birrenbach (CDU), Fritz Erler (SPD), W. Alexander Menne (FDP), and Helmut Schmidt (SPD). Thus, through their members and affiliates both organizations have been very well-connected with political, diplomatic, and business elites.

    Besides individual and corporate contributions, both organizations relied on funding from public and private institutions and agencies. On the German side federal agencies like the Foreign Office, the Press and Information Agency, and the Chancellery provided funding for publications and supported the German-American conferences. On the American side additional funds were provided almost exclusively by the Ford Foundation.

    Although both groups were incorporated as private associations with the objective of furthering German-American relations in the postwar era, their membership profile and sources of funding clearly illustrate that they were not operating at great distance from either public politics or official diplomacy. On the contrary, the Atlantik-Brücke and the ACG represent two prominent actors in a transnational elite networking project with the aim of forging a strong anti-communist Atlantic Alliance among the Western European states and the United States of America. In this endeavor to back up public with private authority, the Atlantik-Brücke and the ACG functioned as major conduits of both transnational and transcultural exchange and transfer processes.

    #Europe #Allemagne #USA #politique #guerre #impérialisme #élites


  • MSC Zoe Loses Up to 270 Containers Overboard in North Sea - PHOTOS – gCaptain
    https://gcaptain.com/dutch-coastguard-msc-zoe-loses-hundreds-of-containers-overboard-in-north-s

    The Dutch Coastguard has issued a navigational warning after an ultra-large containership lost scores of containers while underway in the North Sea.

    The ship, MSC ZOE, was in German waters when it lost the containers in heavy seas between Vlieland, Netherlands and the German Bight in the southeastern North Sea on New Year’s Day.

    The Coastguard initially reported about 30 containers lost. However, an update Wednesday morning said it now understands that a whopping 270 containers went overboard.

    Photos released Wednesday by Germany’s Havariekommando shows toppled boxes both fore and aft of the ship’s superstructure:


    Photo : Havariekommando

    The Coastguard is warning ships in the vicinity keep an eye out for containers floating in the water.

    At least 21 containers with loose goods have washed up on the Dutch islands of Vlieland, Terschelling and Ameland.
    […]
    The contents of all lost containers has not been confirmed, however at least three are reported to contain hazardous materials.

    The Coastguard is warning the public not to handle or approach any of the containers.

    #Îles_de_la_Frise-Occidentale

    • Dutch authorities demand clean-up costs from Swiss shipping line | Reuters
      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-netherlands-shipping-containers-idUSKCN1OY19N


      A handout photo made available by the central command for maritime emergencies Havariekommando on their website on January 3, 2019 shows containers onboard the MSC ZOE vessel. Up to 270 containers had fallen off the Panamanian-flagged MSC ZOE, one of the world’s biggest container ships, in rough weather near the German island of Borkum and floated southwest toward Dutch waters.
      Havariekommando/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. MANDATORY CREDIT

      Dutch authorities will hold Swiss shipping line MSC liable for the cost of cleaning up debris from more than 270 cargo containers that fell off one of its vessels and washed up on shore, officials said on Friday.

      The Dutch coastguard said a criminal investigation had been launched by prosecutors into the incident, one of the largest of its kind off the coast of the Netherlands.

      The containers, some holding hazardous chemicals, fell off one of the world’s largest container ships, the MSC Zoe, during a North Sea storm on Wednesday in German waters near the island of Borkum.

      Roughly 35 containers have been located and the remainder were lost at sea, Water Management Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen wrote in a letter to parliament. “Those responsible (MSC) will be held liable,” she wrote.

      Among the lost goods were car parts, refrigerators, toys and furniture, she wrote. “Several containers of hazardous materials were onboard. It is unclear how many fell off,” it said.

      At least one container load of organic peroxide, a strong bleaching agent that can cause injury on contact with skin, was lost, the letter said. Residents were told not to touch 25-kg bags found on the shore.

    • Rough weather hampers clean-up of North Sea container spill | Reuters
      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-netherlands-shipping-containers-idUSKCN1P31SQ


      A handout aerial photo made available by the Dutch Coastguard on January 3, 2019 shows floating container that have fallen from the container ship MSC ZOE.
      Dutch Coastguard/Handout via REUTERS

      Clean-up efforts after a container ship spill off the Dutch coast are being hampered by rough weather although progress is being made, the Swiss based vessel’s owner MSC said on Wednesday.

      In one of the worst incidents off the coast of the Netherlands, more than 250 containers - some holding hazardous chemicals - fell off the MSC Zoe, one of the world’s largest container ships, during a North Sea storm on Jan. 2.

      This week, a storm is impacting the area being cleaned and unfortunately this will interrupt some operations,” MSC said on Wednesday. The accident happened in German waters near the Dutch island of Borkum.

      MSC, the world’s no. 2 container shipping group, said it had made significant progress on the Dutch islands of Terschelling, Vlieland, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog in the Wadden Sea and on the mainland, with a total of 1,220 tonnes of debris collected so far.

    • Questions on #stowage as enquiries begin into how MSC Zoe spilled 281 boxes - The Loadstar
      https://theloadstar.co.uk/questions-on-stowage-as-enquiries-begin-into-how-msc-zoe-spilled-281-

      There have also been questions about the stowage plan of the 23,000 teu containership – in particular, the lashing of rows seven, eight and nine, from where the boxes fell overboard.

      The former managing director of salvage company Smit, Tak Klaas Reinigert, now resident on Schiermonnikoog, one of the islands affected by spills of styrene and other particles, told The Loadstar that, while the north-west force nine wind in the area may have been a hazard for small coasters,it should not have been a problem for a vessel as large as the MSC Zoe.

      He also suggested the speed of the MSC Zoe when the incident occurred needed to be investigated, as well as the lashing of containers on top of the vessel. These fell off the midship, which he said was “odd”.

      Meanwhile, Dr Bart Kuipers, port economist at Erasmus University, Rotterdam, said more thorough research needed to be carried out into the possible hazards involved in deploying ultra-large container vessels (ULCVs).

      Dutch Coast Guard pictures show the containers which landed in the sea had not been not secured by lashing rods.

      Niek Stam, an official at the FNV trade union, said it was hard to secure containers in rows seven, eight and nine in such way.

      Vessels can be loaded according to an automated loading scheme. Only the top rows are manually loaded.  As a rule, #lashing is done by well-trained men, but not in every port,” he added.

      In the case of the MSC Zoe, the last port of call prior to its arrival at Bremerhaven was Sines, in Portugal, and Mr Stam questioned whether the containers that went overboard had been loaded there.

      Nobody talks about the origin of those,” he told The Loadstar.

      #arrimage #saisine

    • Swiss shipping line starts clean up of Dutch waters after container spill | Reuters
      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-netherlands-shipping-containers-idUSKCN1P60BC


      A handout aerial photo made available by the Dutch Coastguard on January 3, 2019 shows the container ship MSC ZOE. Up to 270 containers had fallen off the Panamanian-flagged MSC ZOE, one of the world’s biggest container ships, in rough weather near the German island of Borkum and floated southwest toward Dutch waters.
      Dutch Coastguard/Handout via REUTERS

      Swiss shipping line MSC has started cleaning up Dutch sea waters, ten days after it lost nearly 300 containers from one of its largest cargo vessels in a storm.

      The clean up will likely take months”, Dutch water authorities spokesman Edwin de Feijter said on Saturday. “The largest part of the debris has been located, but there are still parts missing.

      291 containers, some holding hazardous chemicals, fell off one of the world’s largest container ships, the MSC Zoe, on Jan. 2 in German waters near the island of Borkum during a North Sea storm.

      Two salvage ships left the harbor at IJmuiden, near Amsterdam, on Friday night, heading towards a container north of the tiny Rottumerplaat island, which is blocking an important shipping route between Germany and the Netherlands.

      Work was planned to start at midday on Saturday, but rough weather looked set to delay the operation, De Feijter said, adding that 238 objects had been identified in the water so far.

      Those objects are not all entire containers, they can also be part of the cargo lost from broken ones.

      Seventeen containers washed up on shore on the Dutch islands of Terschelling, Vlieland, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog, with the debris of many others littering the islands’ beaches.

      MSC, the world’s no. 2 container shipping group, on Wednesday said it had made significant progress on the Dutch islands, with a total of 1,220 tonnes of debris collected so far.

      Dutch authorities last week said they would hold MSC liable for the cost of cleaning up the waters.

      Roughly 100 soldiers joined the clean-up operation last week, while local authorities and volunteers had already gathered up tonnes of waste from several kilometers (miles) of coastline.

    • MSC Zoe Incident : Lost Container Count Jumps to 345 – gCaptain
      https://gcaptain.com/msc-zoe-incident-lost-container-count-jumps-to-345

      The estimated number of containers lost from the MSC Zoe during a North Sea storm in early January has risen to at least 345, more than 50 containers more than initially thought, the Dutch agency Rijkswaterstaat said Wednesday following a report from the shipowner. 

      The new assessment comes after more of remaining containers on board the MSC Zoe, one of the world’s largest containerships, have now been unloaded at the Port of Gdansk in Poland.
      […]
      While many of the containers sank, about two dozen washed up on the shores of the Wadden Islands, an island chain in the northern Netherlands
      […]
      The number of containers with hazardous substances remains unchanged, the agency said.[…] Rijkswaterstaat says it expects a final count of the number of containers lost from the shipowner next week.


  • ’We are transforming our university into a place where talent once again feels valued and nurtured’

    Our university should once again belong to the academics, rather than the bureaucracy, writes the rector of #Ghent_University, Rik Van de Walle.

    Ghent University is deliberately choosing to step out of the rat race between individuals, departments and universities. We no longer wish to participate in the #ranking of people.

    It is a common complaint among academic staff that the mountain of paperwork, the cumbersome procedures and the administrative burden have grown to proportions that are barely controllable. Furthermore, the academic staff is increasingly put under pressure to count publications, citations and doctorates, on the basis of which funds are being allocated. The intense competition for funding often prevails over any possible collaboration across the boundaries of research groups, faculties and - why not - universities. With a new evaluation policy, Ghent University wants to address these concerns and at the same time breathe new life into its career guidance policy. Thus, the university can again become a place where talent feels valued and nurtured.

    We are transforming our university into a place where talent once again feels valued and nurtured.

    With the new career and evaluation model for professorial staff, Ghent University is opening new horizons for Flanders. The main idea is that the academy will once again belong to the academics rather than the bureaucracy. No more procedures and processes with always the same templates, metrics and criteria which lump everyone together.
    We opt for a radically new model: those who perform well will be promoted, with a minimum of accountability and administrative effort and a maximum of freedom and responsibility. The quality of the individual human capital is given priority: talent must be nurtured and feel valued.
    This marks the end of the personalized objectives, the annual job descriptions and the high number of evaluation documents and activity reports. Instead, the new approach is based on collaboration, collegiality and teamwork. All staff members will make commitments about how they can contribute to the objectives of the department, the education programmes, the faculty and the university.
    The evaluations will be greatly simplified and from now on only take place every five years instead of every two or four years. This should create an ’evaluation break’.

    We opt for a radically new model: those who perform well will be promoted, with a minimum of accountability and administrative effort and a maximum of freedom and responsibility. At the same time, we want to pay more attention to well-being at work: the evaluations of the supervisors will explicitly take into account the way in which they manage and coach their staff. The model must provide a response to the complaint of many young professors that quantitative parameters are predominant in the evaluation process. The well-known and overwhelming ’publication pressure’ is the most prominent exponent of this. Ghent University is deliberately choosing to step out of the rat race between individuals, departments and universities. We no longer wish to participate in the ranking of people.
    Through this model, we are expressly taking up our responsibility. In the political debate on the funding of universities and research applications, a constant argument is that we want to move away from purely competitive thinking that leaves too little room for disruptive ideas. The reply of the policy makers is of course that we must first do this within the university itself. This is a clear step in that direction, and it also shows our efforts to put our own house in order.
    With this cultural shift, Ghent University is taking the lead in Flanders, and we are proud of it. It is an initiative that is clearly in accordance with our motto: ’#Dare_to_Think'. Even more so, we dare to do it as well.
    A university is above all a place where everything can be questioned. Where opinions, procedures and habits are challenged. Where there is no place for rigidity.

    I am absolutely convinced that in a few years’ time we will see that this new approach has benefited the overall quality of our university and its people.


    https://www.ugent.be/en/news-events/ghent-university-talent-rat-race-transformation-career-evaluation-model.htm
    #université #alternative #résistance #Ghent #Belgique #bureaucratie #bureaucratisation #compétition #collaboration #carrière #évaluation #liberté #responsabilité #performance #publish_or_perish #publication #pression_à_publier #travail

    Je rêve que mon université fasse aussi un grand pas en cette direction, mais je crains que ça restera un rêve...

    • THE developing ranking based on #Sustainable_Development_Goals

      New league table will be first to measure global universities’ success in delivering on UN targets

      Times Higher Education is developing a new global university ranking that aims to measure institutions’ success in delivering the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

      The 17 goals – which include providing inclusive and equitable quality education, achieving gender equality and fostering innovation – were adopted by the UN in 2016 and provide a framework for developing the world in a sustainable way.

      The first edition of the ranking will include metrics based on 11 SDGs, but the long-term goal is to measure performance against all 17 goals.

      Data will be collected from universities and Elsevier to produce an overall ranking of universities based on the best four or five SDGs per university. Individual rankings of the universities that are best achieving the 11 SDGs will also be published.

      The ranking will be open to all accredited universities that teach undergraduates, and the first edition will be launched at THE’s Innovation and Impact Summit in South Korea in April 2019. Data collection will begin this autumn.

      Metrics currently being explored include the number of graduates in health professions, the proportion of women in senior academic positions, and policies and practices regarding employment security.

      An initial draft of the metrics will be developed in partnership with Vertigo Ventures, an organisation that works with leading research institutions globally to help them identify, capture and report the impact of their work, and there will be a workshop on the first iteration of the methodology at THE’s World Academic Summit in Singapore later this month.

      Phil Baty, THE’s editorial director of global rankings, said that THE originally planned to launch an impact ranking based primarily on universities’ economic impact – examining their interactions with business and their development of commercially exploitable ideas – but has decided to expand its approach to cover a much wider definition of impact, based on feedback from the sector.

      While some national systems were trying to gather evidence on universities’ role in achieving the SDGs, the new ranking will be the first global attempt at measuring this activity and “moves well beyond established ranking parameters of research and reputation”, he added.

      Mr Baty said that the new table will also provide an opportunity for institutions that do not usually appear in the THE World University Rankings to feature.

      “We are working to develop metrics that enable universities across the world to evidence their impact – not just those that are located in more developed nations,” he said.

      https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/developing-ranking-based-sustainable-development-goals

      #SDGs

    • The English Trojan horse destroying Dutch universities

      In December, the Dutch Inspectorate of Education published the results of an investigation which suggest that in May last year the association ‘Beter Onderwijs Nederland’ (BON or Better Education Netherlands) had perfectly good reasons for filing a lawsuit against two Dutch universities and the inspectorate of education itself in an attempt to stop the unbridled anglicisation of higher education in the Netherlands.

      Had the results of the inspectorate’s investigation been available at that point, BON might perhaps have won the case by framing the arguments in their legal brief somewhat differently.

      Beyond any doubt, the investigation shows that many institutions of higher education in the Netherlands violate the Dutch Higher Education Law. In addition, it suggests that the inspectorate has failed in its task of monitoring whether these institutions comply with the relevant articles in the law (WHW 1.3 and 7.2).

      If it had indeed followed developments regarding internationalisation, as it says in the very first sentence of the investigation report’s summary, shouldn’t it – or the minister responsible – have acted accordingly years ago when all the official figures about degree programmes taught entirely in English indicated that the law was being massively ignored?

      So what does the law, issued in 1992, state with respect to the language of instruction in Dutch higher education and how does the incidence of English-only degree programmes fare against this legislation?

      Article 1.3 of the WHW dictates that institutions of higher education should advance the Dutch language proficiency of all Dutch students. The related article 7.2 states that instruction and examinations should be in Dutch, except if (a) the degree programme in question specifically aims to help them acquire another language; (b) a lecture is given by a visiting lecturer who doesn’t speak Dutch, or (c) the specific nature, organisation or quality of teaching or the origin of the students necessitates the use of a language other than Dutch.

      If 7.2c applies, the necessity of using another language should be explained in a code of conduct that is adopted by the institution’s executive board. Beyond all doubt, the law supports the idea that the default language in Dutch higher education is Dutch.

      Reaching a tipping point

      In view of the unmistakable intent of the WHW to safeguard the position of Dutch, the figures concerning the number of degree programmes completely taught in English in Dutch universities are downright stunning, and higher than anywhere else in Europe.

      In the academic year 2017-18, 23% of all bachelor degree programmes and 74% of all masters degree programmes offered by Dutch universities were entirely in English.

      Nevertheless, the anglicisation process continues. The latest numbers, issued in December 2018, show that this academic year there has been an increase of 5% for bachelor degree programmes and 2% for the masters programmes that are conducted entirely in English.

      Tipping point reached

      With these new figures, the tipping point has been reached of more programmes being taught in English than in Dutch. At the University of Twente and Maastricht University, the two universities that BON summoned to court in 2018, English saturation is nearly complete, including in bachelor degree programmes.

      The percentages of all-English programmes show that universities clearly do not act in the spirit of WHW articles 1.3 and 7.2. But do they actually violate the law?

      The inspectorate’s investigation points out that many Dutch institutions of higher education, including a couple of universities, are indeed breaking the law.

      The inquiry focused on the code of conduct mentioned in article 7.2c, such a code being obligatory in all cases where English (or any other language) instead of Dutch is used as the language of instruction. It is even required if English is the language of instruction in only part of a programme and it should always explain the need to use a language other than Dutch.

      Two of the main questions addressed in the investigation therefore were whether institutions of higher education that offer at least one programme entirely or largely in English actually have a code of conduct and, if so, whether its content complies with legal requirements.

      Seventy-seven of the 125 Dutch higher education institutions fulfilled the criteria for inclusion in the investigation, among them publicly funded research universities, universities of applied science (‘hogescholen’) and non-publicly funded institutions. Remarkably, only 43 of these 77 actually had a code of conduct so the other 34 thus clearly violated the law.

      Equally noteworthy is the fact that the need for instruction in English was not substantiated by weighty arguments in any of the 43 codes of conduct as article 7.2c requires.

      It is extremely puzzling that in about one-third of the codes of conduct a different principle than the clear ‘Dutch unless’ standard is adopted, including its opposite, the ‘English unless’ principle – and the reasons for deviating from Dutch as the default language are often not explained.

      In view of the fact that the law was issued in 1992, a final noteworthy outcome of the inspectorate’s inquiry is that half of the codes of conduct date from 2017 and 2018. One cannot help suspecting that the institutions in question may have drawn them up to retroactively legitimise their language policy, possibly responding to growing public concern about English rapidly replacing Dutch in Dutch higher education.

      Impact on internationalisation

      The main motive for providing all-English programmes is that these are strong magnets for foreign students, who, in an increasing number of programmes, outnumber their Dutch peers.

      For example, the percentage of international students among first-year psychology students at the University of Twente, Maastricht University and the University of Amsterdam rose, respectively, from 50% to 80%, from 52% to 86% and from 3% to 57% the year entire programmes were first offered in English.

      Dutch (research) universities have seen their student numbers expand substantially over the last couple of years, mainly due to the increasing influx of international students. Just this academic year the student population increased by 5%. Since 2000 universities have seen their student population grow by 68% without any proportional rise in funding.

      They have now reached a point at which they can no longer cope with the influx – there are more than 1,000 first-year students bursting out of the lecture halls in some fields of study.

      Ironically, in an attempt to gain control over the inflow of international students, the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) is trying to get the minister’s approval for a cap on enrolment on all-English programmes in order to secure the educational quality that is jeopardised by universities’ uncontrollable growth.

      Fluency risk

      Another reason why educational quality is at risk on all-English programmes is that proficiency in a second language is generally lower than in a native language. This also applies to the Dutch, who tend to greatly overestimate their fluency in English. This lower proficiency in English impedes students’ knowledge acquisition and academic development and hampers the transfer of knowledge and skills by lecturers.

      In view of the fact that WHW article 1.3 clearly aims to foster students’ Dutch language proficiency and protect the position of Dutch in general, all-English instruction also adversely affects educational quality because it results in the opposite: a declining Dutch language proficiency in students enrolled on such programmes and the gradual disappearance of Dutch as a scientific and cultural language.

      Let there be no mistake. The opponents of anglicisation of higher education in the Netherlands do not object to the prominent presence of English in education next to Dutch. Many would even welcome the balanced presence of Dutch and English on truly bilingual programmes.

      What they instead oppose is the complete replacement of Dutch by English, as happens on all-English programmes. It is by offering these programmes on such a large scale that Dutch universities have built a Trojan horse that is now defeating them within their own walls.

      https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=20190121062548730
      #anglicisation #anglais #langue #cheval_de_Troie


  • And Yet We Move - 2018, a Contested Year

    Alarm Phone 6 Week Report, 12 November - 23 December 2018

    311 people escaping from Libya rescued through a chain of solidarity +++ About 113,000 sea arrivals and over 2,240 counted fatalities in the Mediterranean this year +++ 666 Alarm Phone distress cases in 2018 +++ Developments in all three Mediterranean regions +++ Summaries of 38 Alarm Phone distress cases

    Introduction

    “There are no words big enough to describe the value of the work you are doing. It is a deeply human act and it will never be forgotten. The whole of your team should know that we wish all of you health and a long life and the best wishes in all the colours of the world.” These are the words that the Alarm Phone received a few days ago from a man who had been on a boat in the Western Mediterranean Sea and with whom our shift teams had stayed in touch throughout the night until they were finally rescued to Spain. He was able to support the other travellers by continuously and calmly reassuring them, and thereby averted panic on the boat. His message motivates us to continue also in 2019 to do everything we can to assist people who have taken to the sea because Europe’s border regime has closed safe and legal routes, leaving only the most dangerous paths slightly open. On these paths, over 2,240 people have lost their lives this year.

    While we write this report, 311 people are heading toward Spain on the rescue boat of the NGO Proactiva Open Arms. The travellers called the Alarm Phone when they were on a boat-convoy that had left from Libya. Based on the indications of their location, Al-Khums, the civil reconnaissance aircraft Colibri launched a search operation in the morning of the 21st of December and was able to spot the convoy of three boats which were then rescued by Proactiva. Italy and Malta closed their harbours to them, prolonging their suffering. Over the Christmas days they headed toward their final destination in Spain. The successful rescue operation of the 313 people (one mother and her infant child were flown out by a helicopter after rescue) highlights the chain of solidarity that activists and NGOs have created in the Central Mediterranean Sea. It is a fragile chain that the EU and its member states seek to criminalise and tear apart wherever they can.

    Throughout the year of 2018, we have witnessed and assisted contested movements across the Mediterranean Sea. Despite violent deterrence policies and practices, about 113,000 people succeeded in subverting maritime borders and have arrived in Europe by boat. We were alerted to 666 distress situations at sea (until December 23rd), and our shift teams have done their best to assist the many thousands of people who saw no other option to realise their hope for a better future than by risking their lives at sea. Many of them lost their lives in the moment of enacting their freedom of movement. Over 2,240 women, men, and children from the Global South – and probably many more who were never counted – are not with us anymore because of the violence inscribed in the Global North’s hegemonic and brutal borders. They were not able to get a visa. They could not board a much cheaper plane, bus, or ferry to reach a place of safety and freedom. Many travelled for months, even years, to get anywhere near the Mediterranean border – and on their journeys they have lived through hardships unimaginable for most of us. But they struggled on and reached the coasts of Northern Africa and Turkey, where they got onto overcrowded boats. That they are no longer with us is a consequence of Europe’s racist system of segregation that illegalises and criminalises migration, a system that also seeks to illegalise and criminalise solidarity. Many of these 2,240 people would be alive if the civil rescuers were not prevented from doing their work. All of them would be alive, if they could travel and cross borders freely.

    In the different regions of the Mediterranean Sea, the situation has further evolved over the course of 2018, and the Alarm Phone witnessed the changing patterns of boat migration first hand. Most of the boats we assisted were somewhere between Morocco and Spain (480), a considerable number between Turkey and Greece (159), but comparatively few between Libya and Italy (27). This, of course, speaks to the changing dynamics of migratory escape and its control in the different regions:

    Morocco-Spain: Thousands of boats made it across the Strait of Gibraltar, the Alboran Sea, or the Atlantic and have turned Spain into the ‘front-runner’ this year with about 56,000 arrivals by sea. In 2017, 22,103 people had landed in Spain, 8,162 in 2016. In the Western Mediterranean, crossings are organised in a rather self-organised way and the number of arrivals speaks to a migratory dynamism not experienced for over a decade in this region. Solidarity structures have multiplied both in Morocco and Spain and they will not be eradicated despite the wave of repression that has followed the peak in crossings over the summer. Several Alarm Phone members experienced the consequences of EU pressure on the Moroccan authorities to repress cross-border movements first hand when they were violently deported to the south of Morocco, as were several thousand others.

    Turkey-Greece: With about 32,000 people reaching the Greek islands by boat, more people have arrived in Greece than in 2017, when 29,718 people did so. After arrival via the sea, many are confined in inhumane conditions on the islands and the EU hotspots have turned into rather permanent prisons. This desperate situation has prompted renewed movements across the Turkish-Greek land border in the north. Overall, the number of illegalised crossings into Greece has risen due to more than 20,000 people crossing the land border. Several cases of people experiencing illegal push-back operations there reached the Alarm Phone over the year.

    Libya-Italy/Malta: Merely about 23,000[1] people have succeeded in fleeing Libya via the sea in 2018. The decrease is dramatic, from 119,369 in 2017, and even 181,436 in 2016. This decrease gives testament to the ruthlessness of EU deterrence policies that have produced the highest death rate in the Central Mediterranean and unspeakable suffering among migrant communities in Libya. Libyan militias are funded, trained, and legitimated by their EU allies to imprison thousands of people in camps and to abduct those who made it onto boats back into these conditions. Due to the criminalisation of civil rescuers, a lethal rescue gap was produced, with no NGO able to carry out their work for many months of the year. Fortunately, three of them have now been able to return to the deadliest area of the Mediterranean.

    These snapshots of the developments in the three Mediterranean regions, elaborated on in greater detail below, give an idea of the struggles ahead of us. They show how the EU and its member states not only created dangerous maritime paths in the first place but then reinforced its migrant deterrence regime at any cost. They show, however, also how thousands could not be deterred from enacting their freedom of movement and how solidarity structures have evolved to assist their precarious movements. We go into 2019 with the promise and call that the United4Med alliance of sea rescuers has outlined: “We will prove how civil society in action is not only willing but also able to bring about a new Europe; saving lives at sea and creating a just reception system on land. Ours is a call to action to European cities, mayors, citizens, societies, movements, organisations and whoever believes in our mission, to join us. Join our civil alliance and let us stand up together, boldly claiming a future of respect and equality. We will stand united for the right to stay and for the right to go.”[2] Also in the new year, the Alarm Phone will directly engage in this struggle and we call on others to join. It can only be a collective fight, as the odds are stacked against us.

    Developments in the Central Mediterranean

    In December 2018, merely a few hundred people were able to escape Libya by boat. It cannot be stressed enough how dramatic the decrease in crossings along this route is – a year before, 2,327 people escaped in December, in 2016 even 8,428. 2018 is the year when Europe’s border regime ‘succeeded’ in largely shutting down the Central Mediterranean route. It required a combination of efforts – the criminalisation of civil search and rescue organisations, the selective presence of EU military assets that were frequently nowhere to be found when boats were in distress, the closure of Italian harbours and the unwillingness of other EU member states to welcome the rescued, and, most importantly, the EU’s sustained support for the so-called Libyan coastguards and other Libyan security forces. Europe has not only paid but also trained, funded and politically legitimised Libyan militias whose only job is to contain outward migratory movements, which means capturing and abducting people seeking to flee to Europe both at sea and on land. Without these brutal allies, it would not have been possible to reduce the numbers of crossings that dramatically.

    The ‘Nivin case’ of November 7th exemplifies this European-Libyan alliance. On that day, a group of 95 travellers reached out to the Alarm Phone from a boat in distress off the coast of Libya. Among them were people from Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Eritrea. Italy refused to conduct a rescue operation and eventually they were rescued by the cargo vessel Nivin. Despite telling the rescued that they would be brought to a European harbour, the crew of the Nivin returned them to Libya on November 10th. At the harbour of Misrata, most of the rescued refused to disembark, stating that they would not want to be returned into conditions of confinement and torture. The people, accused by some to be ‘pirates’, fought bravely against forced disembarkation for ten days but on the 20th of November they could resist no longer when Libyan security forces stormed the boat and violently removed them, using tear gas and rubber bullets in the process. Several of the protestors were injured and needed treatment in hospital while others were returned into inhumane detention camps.[3]

    Also over the past 6 weeks, the period covered in this report, the criminalisation of civil rescue organisations continued. The day that the protestors on the Nivin were violently removed, Italy ordered the seizure of the Aquarius, the large rescue asset operated by SOS Méditerranée and Médecins Sans Frontières that had already been at the docs in France for some time, uncertain about its future mission. According to the Italian authorities, the crew had falsely labelled the clothes rescued migrants had left on the Aquarius as ‘special’ rather than ‘toxic’ waste.[4] The absurdity of the accusation highlights the fact that Italy’s authorities seek out any means to prevent rescues from taking place, a “disproportionate and unfounded measure, purely aimed at further criminalising lifesaving medical-humanitarian action at sea”, as MSF noted.[5] Unfortunately, these sustained attacks showed effect. On the 6th of December, SOS Med and MSF announced the termination of its mission: “European policies and obstruction tactics have forced [us] to terminate the lifesaving operations carried out by the search and rescue vessel Aquarius.” As the MSF general director said: “This is a dark day. Not only has Europe failed to provide search and rescue capacity, it has also actively sabotaged others’ attempts to save lives. The end of Aquarius means more deaths at sea, and more needless deaths that will go unwitnessed.”[6]

    And yet, despite this ongoing sabotage of civil rescue from the EU and its member states, three vessels of the Spanish, German, and Italian organisations Open Arms, Sea-Watch and Mediterranea returned to the deadliest area of the Mediterranean in late November.[7] This return is also significance for Alarm Phone work in the Central Mediterranean: once again we have non-governmental allies at sea who will not only document what is going on along the deadliest border of the world but actively intervene to counter Europe’s border ‘protection’ measures. Shortly after returning, one of the NGOs was called to assist. Fishermen had rescued a group of travellers off the coast of Libya onto their fishing vessel, after they had been abandoned in the water by a Libyan patrol boat, as the fishermen claimed. Rather than ordering their rapid transfer to a European harbour, Italy, Malta and Spain sought out ways to return the 12 people to Libya. The fishing boat, the Nuestra Madre de Loreto, was ill-equipped to care for the people who were weak and needed medical attention. However, they were assisted only by Proactiva Open Arms, and for over a week, the people had to stay on the fishing boat. One of them developed a medical emergency and was eventually brought away in a helicopter. Finally, in early December, they were brought to Malta.[8]

    Around the same time, something rare and remarkable happened. A boat with over 200 people on board reached the Italian harbour of Pozzallo independently, on the 24th of November. Even when they were at the harbour, the authorities refused to allow them to quickly disembark – a irresponsible decision given that the boat was at risk of capsizing. After several hours, all of the people were finally allowed to get off the boat. Italy’s minister of the interior Salvini accused the Maltese authorities of allowing migrant boats to move toward Italian territory.[9] Despite their hardship, the people on the Nuestra Madre de Loreto and the 200 people from this boat, survived. Also the 33 people rescued by the NGO Sea-Watch on the 22nd of December survived. Others, however, did not. In mid-November, a boat left from Algeria with 13 young people on board, intending to reach Sardinia. On the 16th of November, the first body was found, the second a day later. Three survived and stated later that the 10 others had tried to swim to what they believed to be the shore when they saw a light in the distance.[10] In early December, a boat with 25 people on board left from Sabratha/Libya, and 15 of them did not survive. As a survivor reported, they had been at sea for 12 days without food and water.[11]

    Despite the overall decrease in crossings, what has been remarkable in this region is that the people escaping have more frequently informed the Alarm Phone directly than before. The case mentioned earlier, from the 20th of December, when people from a convoy of 3 boats carrying 313 people in total reached out to us, exemplifies this. Detected by the Colibri reconnaissance aircraft and rescued by Proactiva, this case demonstrates powerfully what international solidarity can achieve, despite all attempts by EU member states and institutions to create a zone of death in the Central Mediterranean Sea.
    Developments in the Western Mediterranean Sea

    Over the past six weeks covered by this report, the Alarm Phone witnessed several times what happens when Spanish and Moroccan authorities shift responsibilities and fail to respond quickly to boats in distress situations. Repeatedly we had to pressurise the Spanish authorities publicly before they launched a Search and Rescue (SAR) operation. And still, many lives were lost at sea. On Moroccan land, the repression campaign against Sub-Saharan travellers and residents continues. On the 30th of November, an Alarm Phone member was, yet again, arrested and deported towards the South of Morocco, to Tiznit, along with many other people. (h https://alarmphone.org/en/2018/12/04/alarm-phone-member-arrested-and-deported-in-morocco/?post_type_release_type=post). Other friends in Morocco have informed us about the deportation of large groups from Nador to Tiznit. Around the 16th of December, 400 people were forcibly removed, and on the 17th of December, another 300 people were deported to Morocco’s south. This repression against black residents and travellers in Morocco is one of the reasons for many to decide to leave via the sea. This has meant that also during the winter, cross-Mediterranean movements remain high. On just one weekend, the 8th-9th of December, 535 people reached Andalusia/Spain.[12]

    Whilst people are constantly resisting the border regime by acts of disobedience when they cross the borders clandestinely, acts of resistance take place also on the ground in Morocco, where associations and individuals are continuously struggling for the freedom of movement for all. In early December, an Alarm Phone delegation participated at an international conference in Rabat/Morocco, in order to discuss with members of other associations and collectives from Africa and Europe about the effects of the outsourcing and militarisation of European borders in the desire to further criminalise and prevent migration movements. We were among 400 people and were impressed by the many contributions from people who live and struggle in very precarious situations, by the uplifting atmosphere, and by the many accounts and expressions of solidarity. Days later, during the international meeting in Marrakesh on the ‘Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration’, the Alarm Phone was part of a counter-summit, protesting the international pact on migration which is not meant to reduce borders between states, but to curtail the freedom of movement of the many in the name of ‘legal’ and ‘regulated’ migration. The Alarm Phone delegation was composed of 20 activists from the cities of Tangier, Oujda, Berkane, Nador and Fes. One of our colleagues sums up the event: “We have expressed our ideas and commitments as Alarm Phone, solemnly and strongly in front of the other organisations represented. We have espoused the vision of freedom of movement, a vision without precedent. A vision which claims symbolically all human rights and which has the power to help migrants on all continents to feel protected.” In light of the Marrakesh pact, several African organisations joined together and published a statement rejecting “…the wish to confine Africans within their countries by strengthening border controls, in the deserts, at sea and in airports.”[13]

    Shortly after the international meeting in Marrakesh, the EU pledged €148 million to support Morocco’s policy of migrant containment, thus taking steps towards making it even more difficult, and therefore more dangerous for many people on the African continent to exercise their right to move freely, under the pretext of “combating smuggling”. Making the journeys across the Mediterranean more difficult does not have the desired effect of ending illegalised migration. As the routes to Spain from the north of Morocco have become more militarised following a summer of many successful crossings, more southern routes have come into use again. These routes, leading to the Spanish Canary Islands, force travellers to overcome much longer distances in the Atlantic Ocean, a space without phone coverage and with a heightened risk to lose one’s orientation. On the 18th of November, 22 people lost their lives at sea, on their way from Tiznit to the Canary Islands.[14] Following a Spanish-Frontex collaboration launched in 2006, this route to the Canary Islands has not been used very frequently, but numbers have increased this year, with Moroccan nationals being the largest group of arrivals.[15]
    Developments in the Aegean Sea

    Over the final weeks of 2018, between the 12th of November and the 23rd of December, 78 boats arrived on the Greek islands while 116 boats were stopped by the Turkish coastguards and returned to Turkey. This means that there were nearly 200 attempts to cross into Europe by boat over five weeks, and about 40 percent of them were successful.[16] Over the past six weeks, the Alarm Phone was involved in a total of 19 cases in this region. 6 of the boats arrived in Samos, 3 of them in Chios, and one each on Lesvos, Agathonisi, Farmkonisi, and Symi. 4 boats were returned to Turkey (3 of them rescued, 1 intercepted by the Turkish coastguards). In one distress situation, a man lost his life and another man had to be brought to the hospital due to hypothermia. Moreover, the Alarm Phone was alerted to 2 cases along the Turkish-Greek land border. While in one case their fate remains uncertain, the other group of people were forcibly pushed-back to Turkey.

    Thousands of people still suffering in inhuman conditions in hotspots: When we assist boats crossing the Aegean Sea, the people are usually relieved and happy when arriving on the islands, at least they have survived. However, this moment of happiness often turns into a state of shock when they enter the so-called ‘hotspots’. Over 12,500 people remain incarcerated there, often living in tents and containers unsuitable for winter in the five EU-sponsored camps on Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Kos, and Leros. In addition to serious overcrowding, asylum seekers continue to face unsanitary and unhygienic conditions and physical violence, including gender-based violence. Doctors without Borders has reported on a measles outbreak in Greek camps and conducted a vaccination campaign.[17] Amnesty International and 20 other organizations have published a collective call: “As winter approaches all asylum seekers on the Aegean islands must be transferred to suitable accommodation on the mainland or relocated to other EU countries. […] The EU-Turkey deal containment policy imposes unjustified and unnecessary suffering on asylum seekers, while unduly limiting their rights.”

    The ‘humanitarian’ crisis in the hotspots is the result of Greece’s EU-backed policy of containing asylum seekers on the Aegean islands until their asylum claims are adjudicated or until it is determined that they fall into one of the ‘vulnerable’ categories listed under Greek law. But as of late November, an estimated 2,200 people identified as eligible for transfer are still waiting as accommodation facilities on the mainland are also severely overcrowded. Those who are actually transferred from the hotspot on Lesvos to the Greek mainland are brought to far away camps or empty holiday resorts without infrastructure and without a sufficient number of aid workers.

    Criminalisation along Europe’s Eastern Sea Border: A lot has been written about the many attempts to criminalise NGOs and activists carrying out Search and Rescue operations in the Mediterranean. Much less publicly acknowledged are the many cases in which migrant travellers themselves become criminalised for their activist involvement, often for protesting against the inhuman living conditions and the long waiting times for the asylum-interviews. The case of the ‘Moria 35’ on Lesvos was a case in point, highlighting how a few individual protesters were randomly selected by authorities to scare others into silence and obedience. The Legal Centre Lesvos followed this case closely until the last person of the 35 was released and they shared their enquiries with “a 15-month timeline of injustice and impunity” on their website: “On Thursday 18th October, the last of the Moria 35 were released from detention. Their release comes one year and three months – to the day – after the 35 men were arbitrarily arrested and subject to brutal police violence in a raid of Moria camp following peaceful protests, on July 18th 2017.” While the Legal Centre Lesbos welcomes the fact that all 35 men were finally released, they should never have been imprisoned in the first place. They will not get back the 10 to 15 months they spent in prison. Moreover, even after release, most of the 35 men remain in a legally precarious situation. While 6 were granted asylum in Greece, the majority struggles against rejected asylum claims. Three were already deported. One individual was illegally deported without having exhausted his legal remedies in Greece while another individual, having spent 9 months in pre-trial detention, signed up for so-called ‘voluntary’ deportation.[18] In the meantime, others remain in prison to await their trials that will take place with hardly any attention of the media.

    Humanitarian activists involved in spotting and rescue released after 3 months: The four activists, Sarah Mardini, Nassos Karakitsos, Panos Moraitis and Sean Binder, were released on the 6th of December 2018 after having been imprisoned for three months. They had been held in prolonged pre-trial detention for their work with the non-profit organization Emergency Response Center International (ERCI), founded by Moraitis. The charges misrepresented the group as a smuggling crime ring, and its legitimate fundraising activities as money laundering. The arrests forced the group to cease its operations, including maritime search and rescue, the provision of medical care, and non-formal education to asylum seekers. They are free without geographical restrictions but the case is not yet over. Mardini and Binder still face criminal charges possibly leading to decades in prison.[19] Until 15 February the group ‘Solidarity now!’ is collecting as many signatures as possible to ensure that the Greek authorities drop the case.[20]

    Violent Pushbacks at the Land Border: During the last six weeks, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two groups at the land border separating Turkey and Greece. In both situations, the travellers had already reached Greek soil, but ended up on Turkish territory. Human Right Watch (HRW) published another report on the 18th of December about violent push-backs in the Evros region: “Greek law enforcement officers at the land border with Turkey in the northeastern Evros region routinely summarily return asylum seekers and migrants […]. The officers in some cases use violence and often confiscate and destroy the migrants’ belongings.”[21] Regularly, migrants were stripped off their phones, money and clothes. According to HRW, most of these incidents happened between April and November 2018.[22] The UNHCR and the Council of Europe’s Committee for Prevention of Torture have published similar reports about violent push backs along the Evros borders.[23]
    CASE REPORTS

    Over the past 6 weeks, the WatchTheMed Alarm Phone was engaged in 38 distress cases, of which 15 took place in the Western Mediterranean, 19 in the Aegean Sea, and 4 in the Central Mediterranean. You can find short summaries and links to the individual reports below.
    Western Mediterranean

    On Tuesday the 13th of November at 6.17pm, the Alarm Phone was alerted by a relative to a group of travellers who had left two days earlier from around Orán heading towards Murcia. They were around nine people, including women and children, and the relative had lost contact to the boat. We were also never able to reach the travellers. At 6.46pm we alerted the Spanish search and rescue organization Salvamento Maritimo (SM) to the distress of the travellers. For several days we tried to reach the travellers and were in contact with SM about the ongoing rescue operation. We were never able to reach the travellers or get any news from the relative. Thus, we are still unsure if the group managed to reach land somewhere on their own, or if they will add to the devastating number of people having lost their lives at sea (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1085).

    On Thursday the 22nd of November, at 5.58pm CET, the Alarm Phone received news about a boat of 11 people that had left Nador 8 hours prior. The shift team was unable to immediately enter into contact with the boat, but called Salvamento Maritimo to convey all available information. At 11.48am the following day, the shift team received word from a traveler on the boat that they were safe (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1088).

    At 7.25am CET on November 24, 2018, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat of 70 people (including 8 women and 1 child) that had departed from Nador 3 days prior. The shift team was able to reach the boat at 7.50am and learned that their motor had stopped working. The shift team called Salvamento Maritimo, who had handed the case over to the Moroccan authorities. The shift team contacted the MRCC, who said they knew about the boat but could not find them, so the shift team mobilized their contacts to find the latest position and sent it to the coast guard at 8.55am. Rescue operations stalled for several hours. At around 2pm, the shift team received news that rescue operations were underway by the Marine Royale. The shift team remained in contact with several people and coast guards until the next day, when it was confirmed that the boat had finally been rescued and that there were at least 15 fatalities (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1087).

    On Friday the 7th of December 2018, we were alerted to two boats in distress in the Western Mediterranean Sea. One boat was brought to Algeria, the second boat rescued by Moroccan fishermen and returned to Morocco (see for full report: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1098).

    On Saturday, the 8th of December 2018, we were informed by a contact person at 3.25pm CET to a boat in distress that had left from Nador/Morocco during the night, at about 1am. There were 57 people on the boat, including 8 women and a child. We tried to establish contact to the boat but were unable to reach them. At 4.50pm, the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo (SM) informed us that they were already searching for this boat. At 8.34pm, SM stated that this boat had been rescued. Some time later, also our contact person confirmed that the boat had been found and rescued to Spain (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1099).

    On Monday the 10th of December, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to three boats in the Western Med. Two had left from around Nador, and one from Algeria. One boat was rescued by the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo, one group of travellers returned back to Nador on their own, and the boat from Algeria returned to Algeria (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1101).

    On Wednesday the 12th of December the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted two boats in the Western Med, one carrying seven people, the other carrying 12 people. The first boat was rescued by the Spanish search and rescue organization Salvamento Maritimo (SM), whilst the second boat was intercepted by the Moroccan Navy and brought back to Morocco, where we were informed that the travellers were held imprisoned (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1102).

    On December 21st, 2018, we were informed of two boats in distress in the Western Mediterranean Sea. The first had left from Algeria and was probably rescued to Spain. The other one had departed from Tangier and was rescued by the Marine Royale and brought back to Morocco (for full report, see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1110).

    On the 22nd of December, at 5.58pm CET, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat of 81 people (including 7 women) that had left the previous day from Nador. The motor was not working properly. They informed that they were in touch with Salvamiento Maritimo but as they were still in Moroccan waters, Salvamiento Maritimo said they were unable to perform rescue operations. The shift team had difficulty maintaining contact with the boat over the course of the next few hours. The shift team also contacted Salvamiento Maritimo who confirmed that they knew about the case. At 7.50pm, Salvamiento Maritimo informed the shift team that they would perform the rescue operations and confirmed the operation at 8.15pm. We later got the confirmation by a contact person that the people were rescued to Spain (see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1111).

    On the 23rd of December 2018, at 1.14am CET, the Alarm Phone received an alert of a boat with 11 men and 1 woman who left from Cap Spartel at Saturday the 22nd of December. The Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to this rubber boat in the early hours of Sunday the 23rd of December. The shift team informed the Spanish Search and Rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo (SM) at 4:50am CET about the situation and provided them with GPS coordinates of the boat. SM, however, rejected responsibility and shifted it to the Moroccan authorities but also the Moroccan Navy did not rescue the people. Several days later, the boat remains missing (see for full report: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1112).
    Aegean Sea

    On Saturday the 17th of November the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to two boats in the Aegean Sea. The first boat returned back to Turkey, whilst the second boat reached Samos on their own (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1086).

    On the 19th of November at 8.40pm CET the shift team was alerted to a boat of 11 travelers in distress near the Turkish coast on its way to Kos. The shift team called the Turkish Coastguard to inform them of the situation. At 9.00pm, the Coastguard called back to confirm they found the boat and would rescue the people. The shift team lost contact with the travelers. At 9.35pm, the Turkish coast guard informed the shift team that the boat was sunk, one man died and one person had hypothermia and would be brought to the hospital. The other 9 people were safe and brought back to Turkey (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1090).

    On the 20th of November at 4.07am CET, the shift team was alerted to a boat with about 50 travelers heading to Samos. The shift team contacted the travelers but the contact was broken for both language and technological reasons. The Alarm Phone contacted the Greek Coastguard about rescue operations. At 7.02am, the shift team was told that a boat of 50 people had been rescued, and the news was confirmed later on, although the shift team could not obtain direct confirmation from the travelers themselves (see:http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1089).

    On the 23rd of November at 7.45pm CET, the Alarm Phone was contacted regarding a group of 19 people, (including 2 women, 1 of whom was pregnant, and a child) who had crossed the river Evros/ Meric and the Turkish-Greek landborder 3 days prior. The shift team first contacted numerous rescue and protection agencies, including UNHCR and the Greek Police, noting that the people were already in Greece and wished to apply for asylum. Until today we remained unable to find out what happened to the people (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1091).

    On the 26th of November at 6:54am CET the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a group of 30 people (among them 7 children and a pregnant woman) who were stranded on the shore in southern Turkey, close to Kas. They wanted us to call the Turkish coastguard so at 7:35am we provided the coastguard with the information we had. At 8:41am we received a photograph from our contact person showing rescue by the Turkish coastguard (see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1092).

    On the 29th of November at 4am CET the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat carrying 44 people (among them 19 children and some pregnant women) heading towards the Greek island of Samos. Shortly afterwards the travellers landed on Samos and because of their difficulties orienting themselves we alerted the local authorities. At 9:53am the port police told us that they had rescued 44 people. They were taken to the refugee camp (see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1093).

    On Monday, the 3rd of December 2018, the Alarm Phone was alerted at 5.30am CET to a boat in distress south of Chios, with 43 people on board, among them 14 children. We were able to reach the boat at 5.35am. When we received their position, we informed the Greek coastguards at 7.30am and forwarded an updated GPS position to them ten minutes later. At 8.52am, the coastguards confirmed the rescue of the boat. The people were brought to Chios Island. On the next day, the people themselves confirmed that they had all safely reached Greece (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1095).

    On Tuesday the 4th of December 2018, at 6.20am CET, the Alarm Phone was alerted to a boat in distress near Agathonisi Island. There were about 40 people on board. We established contact to the boat at 6.38am. At 6.45am, we alerted the Greek coastguards. The situation was dangerous as the people on board reported of high waves. At 9.02am, the Greek coastguards confirmed that they had just rescued the boat. The people were brought to Agathonisi (see for full report: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1096).

    On Wednesday the 5th of December 2018, at 00:08am CET, the Alarm Phone was alerted by a contact person to a boat in distress near Chios Island, carrying about 50 people. We received their GPS position at 00.17am and informed the Greek coastguards to the case at 00.30am. At 00.46am, we learned from the contact person that a boat had just been rescued. The Greek authorities confirmed this when we called them at 00.49am. At around 1pm, the people from the boat confirmed that they had been rescued (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1097).

    On Friday the 7th of December 2018, the Alarm Phone was contacted at 5.53am CET by a contact person and informed about a group of 19 people who had crossed the Evros river to Greece and needed assistance. We assisted them for days, but at some point contact was lost. We know that they were returned to Turkey and thus suspect an illegal push-back operation (see for full report: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1109).

    On Thursday the 13th of December the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to two boats in the Aegean sea. In both cases we were not able to reach the travellers, but we were in contact with both the Turkish and Greek coast guard and were in the end able to confirm that one boat had arrived to Lesvos on their own, whilst the others had been rescued by Turkish fishermen (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1100).

    On the 17th of December, 2018, at 6.39am, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat of 60 travellers. Water was entering the boat, and so the travelers were in distress. Though the shift team had a difficult time remaining in contact with the boat, they contacted the Greek Coastguard to inform them of the situation and the position of the boat. Although the team was not able to remain in contact with the travelers, they received confirmation at 8.18am that the boat had been brought to Greece (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1103).

    On the 18th of December at 2.11am CET, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two boats. The first, of 29 travellers, had landed on the island of Symi and needed help to exit the place of landing. The second was a boat of 54 travellers (including 16 children, and 15 women) that was rescued by the Greek Coastguard later (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1104).

    On the 21st of December, our shift teams were alerted to 2 boats on the Aegean. The first boat was directed to Chios Island and was likely rescued by the Greek Coastguard. The second boat was in immediate distress and after the shift team contacted the Greek Coastguard they rescued the boat (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1105).

    On the 23rd of December 2018 at 6am CET, the Alarm Phone received information about a boat in distress heading to Samos with around 60 travellers (including 30 children and 8 women, 4 pregnant). The shift team made contact with the boat and was informed that one of the women was close to giving birth and so the situation was very urgent. The shift team then called the Greek Coast Guard. At 8.07am, the shift team received confirmation that the boat had been rescued (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1106).
    Central Mediterranean

    On Monday the 12th of November at 6.57pm, the Alarm Phone was called by a relative, asking for help to find out what had happened to his son, who had been on a boat from Algeria towards Sardinia, with around 11 travellers on the 8t of November. Following this, the Alarm Phone was contacted by several relatives informing us about missing people from this boat. Our shift teams tried to gain an understanding of the situation, and for days we stayed in contact with the relatives and tried to support them, but it was not possible to obtain information about what had happened to the travellers (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1094).

    On November 23rd at 1.24pm CET, the Alarm Phone shift team was called by a boat of 120 travelers that was in distress and had left the Libyan coast the night before. The shift team remained in touch with the boat for several hours, and helped recharge their phone credit when it expired. As the boat was in distress, and there were no available NGO operations near the boat, the shift team had no choice but to contact the Italian Coast Guard, but they refused to engage in Search and Rescue (SAR) activities, and instead told the Libyan Coastguard. The boat was intercepted and returned to Libya (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1107).

    On December 20th, 2018, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to two cases in the Central Mediterranean Sea. The first was a boat of 20 people that was intercepted and brought back to Libya. The second concerned 3 boats with 300 people in total, that were rescued by Open Arms and brought to Spain (for full report see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1108).

    https://alarmphone.org/en/2018/12/27/and-yet-we-move-2018-a-contested-year/?post_type_release_type=post


  • Migrants: Tunisia rejects practice of forced repatriations

    Tunisia ’’categorically refuses forced expulsions of its irregular migrants from their respective hosting countries’’, Tunisian Social Affairs Minister Mohamed Trabelsi said, opening a seminar in Tunis on migration in relation to objectives of sustainable development.

    The minister added that the Tunisian government supports the right to access basic services and integration projects in hosting countries and does not accept for its migrants to return unless they are willing to do so.

    In his address, Trabelsi denounced the use of unilateral measures by some hosting countries, stressing that irregular migration can only be tackled with the help of conventions and international agreements.

    Trabelsi said an estimated 200,000 Tunisians are residing abroad without regular documents.

    He announced the presentation of a national strategy on migration to Parliament in 2019 with the objective of institutionalizing the system of migration, asylum and residence in Tunisia.

    Trabelsi continued by recalling that the majority of illegal migrants are fleeing war, human rights abuses and difficult economic conditions, insisting that the migration dossier should be handled with more responsibility and equality between northern and southern Mediterranean countries. He said the world economic system should be fairer. Lorena Lando, head of the mission of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), spoke about the relation between migration and sustainable development targets in the UN’s 2030 agenda, noting that a national strategy could be one of the possible solutions for Tunisia to tackle the migration dossier.

    According to IOM, there are an estimated 60,000 undocumented migrants in Tunisia, while Tunisian migrants living abroad without regular documents are about 1.3 million.

    http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/news/sections/politics/2018/12/19/migrants-tunisia-rejects-practice-of-forced-repatriations_e3320c3f-a2fc-45
    #résistance #migrants_tunisiens #réfugiés_tunisiens #Tunisie #expulsions #renvois #renvois_forcés
    ping @_kg_


  • 430,000 flee Cameroon’s restive Anglophone areas, says group

    An international refugee agency says that more than 430,000 people have fled violence in Cameroon’s restive English-speaking regions and are hiding in rural areas with few resources.

    The Norwegian Refugee Council, one of several humanitarian organizations offering support, said Wednesday it is assisting the displaced by providing shelter and supplies to needy families. David Manan, the Norwegian group’s country director for Cameroon, called for more international aid.

    He said there are too few agencies on the ground to provide the amount of aid needed. He said many people are hiding in the bush.

    Cameroon’s English-speaking separatists have been protesting since 2016 against what they claim is discrimination by the French-speaking majority. Their protests were initially peaceful, but in response to a government crackdown some separatists are waging a violent campaign.

    https://www.thestate.com/news/nation-world/world/article223306000.html
    #Cameroun #Cameroun_anglophone #asile #migrations #réfugiés #COI #IDPs #déplacés_internes

    • Conflict in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions forces 430,000 people to flee

      The number of people displaced as a result of the crisis in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions has spiked to more than 430,000 during the last months. Many people are hiding in the bush with no support, warns the Norwegian Refugee Council.

      “We are deeply worried by the ongoing conflict and the increasing displacement figures. Parties to the conflict must ensure that civilians in the area are protected and are able to safely access life-saving assistance,” said David Manan, Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council in Cameroon.

      The number of people displaced from their homes in Cameroon’s Anglophone Southwest and Northwest regions and in neighbouring Littoral and West regions has reached 437.000, according to the latest UN estimates.

      NRC is assisting people displaced by this crisis. However, many people are left without any support, as insecurity is hindering organisations from accessing many areas. People are without proper shelter and sanitation facilities, clean water, food and access to medical care.

      “The needs we are witnessing in the Southwest and Northwest regions are alarming and there are too few agencies on the ground to provide the necessary aid due to limited funding. We call for more donors to prioritise this crisis to allow more agencies to respond so that we can stem the rising tide of suffering and displacement,” said Manan.

      “Displaced families who receive our assistance have told us that they share it or give it to their relatives who did not yet receive any assistance and desperately need help. Many people are hiding in the bush with no support, fearing for their lives,” added Manan.

      “This is the first time I am being helped since I fled,” said Annoh, who received essential household items, including materials to build a shelter. “I will share what I have received with my husband who is hiding in the bush. He has nothing but the clothes he was wearing when he fled,” she added.

      NRC is distributing household items, shelter and hygiene kits in Northwest and Southwest regions with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA) and European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).


      https://www.nrc.no/news/2018/december/conflict-in-cameroons-anglophone-regions-forces-430000-people-to-flee

    • A generation of unschooled Cameroonians, another generation of conflict?

      “As we trekked, they kept on telling us that they don’t want us to go to school again,” says 15-year-old Martha Lum, four weeks after being released by the armed gunmen who kidnapped her along with 78 other children and staff members in Cameroon.

      Lum’s story is becoming common across the country’s Northwest and Southwest regions, where the conflict between anglophone separatists and francophone armed forces that’s claimed hundreds of lives has made schools a battlefield.

      Since the anglophone conflict escalated in late 2017, more than 430,000 people have been forced to flee their homes. In May, the UN’s emergency aid coordination body, OCHA, said approximately 42,500 children were out of school. However, local rights groups estimate that number has now increased fourfold following frequent abductions.

      Some 20,000 school-age children now live in the bush. With no learning materials or trained teachers, they have no access to a formal education. Parents and local officials worry that the children could be driven to take up arms, becoming a lost generation that perpetuates the conflict and the humanitarian crisis.

      “Imagine that these children miss school for five or 10 years because of the fighting, hearing the sound of guns every day, and seeing people being killed; what will become of them?” says 45-year-old mother of four *Elizabeth Tamufor.

      “We have been hiding in the bush for more than a year,” she tells IRIN. “I am sure the children have forgotten what they were taught in school. You think in five years they will still be hiding here? They will probably pick up guns and start fighting.”

      The fear of schoolchildren and young students joining the armed separatists is already a reality for some. *Michael, 20, used to be a student before the conflict started. He joined the separatists when his friend was killed by government forces.

      “I replaced books with the gun since then. But I will return to school immediately we achieve our independence,” he says.
      Right from the start

      The roots of Cameroon’s anglophone conflict can be traced back to education. The separatists fighting for independence from French-majority Cameroon say the current school system symbolises the marginalisation of the English language and culture.

      After years of discontent, in November 2016, anglophone teachers began an indefinite strike to protest what they said amounted to systematic discrimination against English-speaking teachers and students. In response, government security forces clamped down on protests, arresting hundreds of demonstrators, including children, killing at least four people and wounding many more.

      This caused widespread anger across the Southwest and Northwest regions, which a year later led to the rise of the armed separatist groups now fighting for independence and a new English-speaking nation called “#Ambazonia”.

      Although the majority of teacher trade unions called off their strike in February 2017, separatists continue to impose curfews and abduct people as a means to push the local population to refrain from sending children back to school.

      As a result, tens of thousands of children haven’t attended school since 2016. Local media is awash with stories of kidnappings of children and teachers who do not comply with the boycott, while rights groups say the disruption of education puts children at risk of exploitation, child labour, recruitment by armed groups, and early marriage.

      “Schools have become targets,” a July 2018 Human Rights Watch report notes. “Either because of these threats, or as a show of solidarity by parents and teachers with the separatist cause, or both, school enrollment levels have dropped precipitously during the crisis.”

      In June, Amnesty International said at least 42 schools had been attacked since February last year. While latest statistics are not available, it is believed that at least 100 separate incidents of school kidnapping have taken place since the separatist movement turned violent in 2017. More than 100 schools have also been torched and at least a dozen teachers killed or wounded, according to Issa Tchiroma, Cameroon’s minister of communication.
      The separatist view

      Speaking to IRIN last month in Bali, a town neighbouring Bamenda – the capital of Northwest region – armed separatist leader *Justin says his group is enforcing the school boycott started by the teacher trade unions.

      “They (teachers) started a strike action to resist the ‘francophonisation’ of the anglophone system of education, and the evil francophone regime arrested and detained their colleagues, shot dead schoolchildren, and you expect us to sit down and watch them killing our people?”

      “We don’t want the schoolchildren of Ambazonia to be part of the corrupt francophone system of education,” he said. “We have designed a new school programme for them which will start as soon as we achieve our independence.“

      *Laba, who controls another group of armed separatists, is more categorical. “When we say no school, we mean no school,” he says emphatically. “We have never and will never kill a student or teacher. We just want them to stay home until we get our independence and begin implementing our own system of education.”

      There are about 20 armed separatist groups across the two English-speaking regions. They operate independently, and separatists have publicly disagreed on the various methods of imposing the school boycott.

      Both Justin and Laba accuse the government of staging “some” of the school abductions in order “to discredit the image of the separatists internationally”. But they also admit that some armed separatist groups are guilty of kidnapping and killing children and teachers.

      “We don’t kidnap schoolchildren,” Justin says. “We just impose curfews to force them to stay home.”

      But for many parents and schoolchildren, staying at home for this long is already having devastating consequences.
      School children in uniforms walk on the street toward camera.

      ‘Everything is different’

      Parents who can afford it have enrolled their children in schools in the French-speaking part of the country – mostly Douala and Yaoundé. But the influx has caused fees to rise in the francophone zones. Tuition fees that normally cost $150 annually have now more than doubled to $350.

      Beyond the costs, parents also need to transport their children from the troubled regions, along a very insecure highway, to apply for enrollment.

      When they get there, success is far from guaranteed. A lot of the francophone schools are now at full capacity and have stopped accepting students from anglophone regions, meaning many children will likely have to stay home for yet another year.

      Those studying in a new environment can also take quite a while to adapt.

      George Muluh, 16, had been at a school in the Southwest region before the conflict but is now attending Government Bilingual High School Deido in Douala.

      “Everything is just different,” he says. “I don’t understand French. The classrooms are overcrowded. The teaching method is different. I am getting more and more confused every day. I just want the conflict to end so I can go back to the Southwest to continue my studies.”

      It might be a long while before George has that opportunity. To the Cameroonian government, the teachers’ grievances have already been solved.

      “The government has employed 1,000 bilingual teachers, allocated two billion CFA ($4 million) to support private education, transferred teachers who could not speak French and redeployed them to French zones. These were the demands of the teachers. What do they want again?” asks Tchiroma, the minister of communication.

      But Sylvester Ngan, from the Teachers Association of Cameroon (TAC), which defends the rights of English-speaking teachers in the country, says most of these measures are cosmetic and don’t solve key issues related to French-only exams and francophone teachers in English schools.
      Leave the children alone

      While the government and teachers’ unions argue about who is right and what education system to implement, the war is ongoing, people are dying, and tens of thousands of children are not in school.

      “No reason can be advanced to justify the unwarranted attacks on children in general and pupils who are seeking to acquire knowledge and skills,” says Jacques Boyer, UNICEF representative in Cameroon. “All children in the regions must be able to go to school in peace.”

      President Paul Biya, 85, who just won another seven-year term after 36 years in power, has ignored calls for an inclusive dialogue to end the conflict. The first related measure he undertook after the October election was the creation of a commission to disarm and reintegrate former armed separatists.

      Cameroonian political analyst Michael Mbah describes the move as “a joke”, saying that a ceasefire and dialogue must precede any serious attempt at disarmament and reintegration.

      Meanwhile, the next year looks bleak for children like Lum whose futures are being decided by a war beyond their control. “I have always wanted to become a medical doctor,” Lum tells IRIN, but she now fears her dream will be shattered by the persistent conflict.

      “Leave the children alone,” says *Raymond, a father of four whose offspring haven’t been able to study for close to two years now.

      “We, parents, cannot afford to raise a generation of illiterates,” he says. “The future of the children is being sacrificed, just like that.”

      *Names changed at the request of the interviewees for security reasons.

      https://www.irinnews.org/news-feature/2018/12/19/cameroon-generation-unschooled-children-could-fuel-long-term-conflict
      #éducation #droit_à_l'éducation #école #scolarisation #enfants #enfance #conflit

    • République d’#Ambazonie

      « Le nom Ambazonia a été préféré à Southern British Cameroons afin de ne pas confondre cette zone avec la région territoriale du sud (Southern Cameroon). Les « autonomistes ambazoniens » avaient à cœur de trouver un nom local afin de bannir « Cameroun » qu’ils considéraient comme le symbole du lourd fardeau de l’héritage colonial. Pour cela, ils ont fouillé dans les livres d’histoire et inventé le nom Ambazonia. Celui-ci dérive d’Ambas, nom donné à la région de l’embouchure du fleuve Wouri. Ce site, en forme de baie, avait alors reçu le nom anglais Baie d’Ambas1. »

      https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%A9publique_d%27Ambazonie


  • Avec une régularité d’horloge, un officiel israélien fait des menaces extrêmement violentes contre le Liban, et tout le monde s’en fout.
    https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israeli-press-review-new-poll-shows-rampant-racism-israel-227749167

    Israel minister threatens Lebanon

    An senior Israeli minister and member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet says he is confident that once the Israeli army has a pretext for a war with its neighbour to the north, it “will return Lebanon to the Stone Age”, Channel 10 News reported.

    Responding to a panelist who questioned whether the recent alleged discovery of tunnels on the Israeli side of the border with Lebanon might mean that Israeli deterrence power has decreased, Construction Minister Yoav Galant threatened to destroy Lebanon itself – not only Hezbollah.

    “I presume that when we have the reasons, then we will know what to do,” said Galant, a former top general in the Israeli army. “I propose that we trust in the IDF and in its power; we know what to do. That doesn’t mean that we want a battle or a war everyday. But if, regretfully, we get to war, we will return Lebanon to the Stone Age – no less than that.”

    Asked if he meant Lebanon, the country, or Hezbollah, Galant said: “Both of them. It is unacceptable [that] Israeli citizens, Israeli children, Israeli women are threatened in our cities, and in Lebanon, it’s business as usual. When I say to return the Stone Age, I mean what I say.”

    When the show’s host pivoted to Galant’s political patronage, the minister affirmed he was still number two on the list of the Kulanu faction of the government, but hinted that he might switch to Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party, since he shares its hawkish views on security.

    “I never hid that my opinions on politics and security are identical to those of the Likud. And by the way, I’m the not the only one in the Kulanu party who holds those views,” Galant said.

    Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz similarly threatened to send Lebanon back to “the Stone Age” in 2014 and to “the age of cavemen” in April of this year, according to Israeli reports.


  • Israel’s New War of Attrition on Jerusalem’s Palestinians - Antiwar.com Original
    https://original.antiwar.com/cook/2018/12/04/israels-new-war-of-attrition-on-jerusalems-palestinians

    The settlers have their own underhand methods. With the authorities’ connivance, they have forged documents to seize Palestinian homes closest to Al Aqsa. In other cases, the settlers have recruited Arab collaborators to dupe other Palestinians into selling their homes.

    Once they gain a foothold, the settlers typically turn the appropriated home into an armed compound. Noise blares out into the early hours, Palestinian neighbors are subjected to regular police raids and excrement is left in their doorways.

    After the recent sale to settlers of a home strategically located in the Old City’s Muslim quarter, the Palestinian Authority set up a commission of inquiry to investigate. But the PA is near-powerless to stop this looting after #Israel passed a law in 1995 denying it any role in Jerusalem.

    The same measure is now being vigorously enforced against the few residents trying to stop the settler banditry.

    Adnan Ghaith, Jerusalem’s governor and a Silwan resident, was arrested last week for a second time and banned from entering the West Bank and meeting PA officials. Adnan Husseini, the Palestinian minister for Jerusalem, is under a six-month travel ban by Israel.

    Last week dozens of Palestinians were arrested in Jerusalem, accused of working for the PA to stop house sales to the settlers.

    It is a quiet campaign of attrition, designed to wear down Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents. The hope is that they will eventually despair and relocate to the city’s distant suburbs outside the wall or into the West Bank.

    What Palestinians in #Jerusalem urgently need is a reason for hope – and a clear signal that other countries will not join the US in abandoning them.

    #vol #pillage #banditisme #crimes #impunité



    • t’as aussi Yellow Vests ailleurs.
      https://seenthis.net/messages/740447
      No homeless, pensions, maximum salary… Discover the list of claims of the “yellow vests”

      The movement sent a press release to the media and MPs with about 40 demands on Thursday.
      The claims of the “yellow vests” now officially go beyond the issue of fuel prices alone. In a lengthy statement sent to the media and members of parliament on Thursday 29 November, the movement’s delegation listed a series of demands it wanted to see implemented.

      “Deputies of France, we inform you of the people’s directives so that you can transpose them into law (…). Obey the will of the people. Enforce these instructions”, write the “yellow vests”. Delegation spokespersons are to be received on Friday at 2 p.m. by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Minister of Ecological Transition François de Rugy.

      Increase of the minimum wage to 1,300 euros net, return to retirement at age 60 or abandonment of withholding tax…. The list includes many social measures, but also measures concerning transport, such as the end of the increase in fuel taxes and the introduction of a tax on marine fuel and kerosene. Here is a non-exhaustive list of claims:

      – Zero homeless : URGENT.

      – More progressiveness in income tax, i.e. more brackets.

      – Smic at 1,300 euros net.

      – Promote small businesses in villages and town centres. Stop the construction of large commercial areas around large cities that kill small businesses and more free parking in city centres.

      – Large plan of Insulation of the dwellings to make ecology by making savings to the households.

      – Taxes: that BIG companies (MacDonald’s, Google, Amazon, Carrefour…) pay BIG and that small companies (craftsmen, very small SMEs) pay small.

      – Same social security system for all (including craftsmen and self-employed entrepreneurs). End of the RSI.

      – The pension system must remain united and therefore socialized. No point retreat.

      – End of the fuel tax increase.

      – No retirement below 1,200 euros.

      – Any elected representative will be entitled to the median salary. His transport costs will be monitored and reimbursed if justified. Entitlement to a meal ticket and a holiday voucher.

      – The salaries of all French people, as well as pensions and allowances, must be indexed to inflation.

      – Protecting French industry: prohibit relocations. Protecting our industry means protecting our know-how and our jobs.

      – End of seconded work. It is abnormal that a person working in France does not enjoy the same salary and rights. Anyone authorised to work on French territory must be on an equal footing with a French citizen and his employer must contribute at the same level as a French employer.

      – For job security: further limit the number of fixed-term contracts for large companies. We want more permanent contracts.

      – End of the CICE. Use of this money to launch a French hydrogen car industry (which is truly ecological, unlike the electric car.)

      – End of the austerity policy. We stop paying interest on the debt that is declared illegitimate and we start paying down the debt without taking money from the poor and the less poor, but by collecting the $80 billion in tax evasion.

      – That the causes of forced migration be addressed.

      – That asylum seekers are treated well. We owe them housing, security, food and education for minors. Work with the UN to ensure that reception camps are opened in many countries around the world, pending the outcome of the asylum application.

      – That rejected asylum seekers be returned to their country of origin.

      – That a real integration policy be implemented. Living in France means becoming French (French language courses, French history courses and civic education courses with a certificate at the end of the course).

      – Maximum salary set at 15,000 euros.

      – That jobs be created for the unemployed.

      – Increase in disabled benefits.

      – Limitation of rents. More affordable housing (especially for students and precarious workers).

      – Prohibition to sell property belonging to France (dam, airport…)

      – Substantial resources granted to the judiciary, police, gendarmerie and army. Whether law enforcement overtime is paid or recovered.

      – All the money earned by motorway tolls will be used for the maintenance of France’s motorways and roads as well as for road safety.

      – As the price of gas and electricity has risen since privatisation took place, we want them to become public again and prices to fall significantly.

      – Immediate end of the closure of small lines, post offices, schools and maternity hospitals.

      – Let us bring well-being to our seniors. Prohibition to make money on the elderly. White gold is over. The era of grey well-being is beginning.

      – Maximum 25 students per class from kindergarten to high school.

      – Substantial resources brought to psychiatry.

      – The popular referendum must be incorporated into the Constitution. Creation of a readable and effective website, supervised by an independent control body where people can make a legislative proposal. If this bill obtains 700,000 signatures, then this bill must be discussed, supplemented and amended by the National Assembly, which will have the obligation (one year to the day after obtaining 700,000 signatures) to submit it to the vote of all French people.

      – Return to a 7-year term of office for the President of the Republic. The election of deputies two years after the election of the President of the Republic made it possible to send a positive or negative signal to the President of the Republic regarding his policy. This helped to make the voice of the people heard.)

      – Retirement at age 60 and for all persons who have worked in a profession that wears out the body (e. g. bricklayer or boner) entitled to retirement at age 55.

      – A 6-year-old child not caring for himself, continuation of the PAJEMPLOI assistance system until the child is 10 years old.

      – Encourage the transport of goods by rail.

      – No withholding tax.

      – End of presidential lifetime benefits.

      – Prohibition to make merchants pay a tax when their customers use the credit card. Tax on marine fuel oil and kerosene.

      https://www.francetvinfo.fr/economie/transports/gilets-jaunes/zero-sdf-retraites-superieures-a-1-200-euros-salaire-maximum-a-15-000-e


      #yellow_vests


  • Hunger and survival in Venezuela

    The government continues to deny the existence of a humanitarian crisis, blaming power failures on Venezuela’s proximity to the sun and suggesting people buy gold nuggets and plant medicinal herbs in their gardens to ward off poverty and disease.

    Inflation continues its dizzying ascent. It has reached an eye-watering 800,000 percent and is on target, according to the International Monetary Fund, to surge to 10 million percent next year – driving severe hunger, shortages of basic goods, and accelerating the exodus from the country.

    At least 2.3 million people are estimated to have fled Venezuela since 2015. One in 12 Venezuelans is now thought to have left the country.

    As those abroad build new lives where shelves are laden with food and medicine, many of those IRIN encountered during two weeks of reporting across Venezuela – from the once-thriving fishing and sugar-producing areas of Cumana and Cariaco in the east to once-opulent and wealthy Maracaibo in the west – face a daily battle for survival.

    Residents tell of children starving to death, of forming human chains to block roads to hijack trucks just to get food. They tell of hiding provisions – toilet paper even – in cemeteries, and of concealing their supplies in buckets under layers of trash.​ They tell of being prisoners in their own homes, frightened to leave for fear of looters, who don’t come for their televisions and computers – no one wants those any more – but for basic foodstuffs and medicine.

    While some Venezuelans abroad paper social media with pictures of themselves posing jubilantly in front of powdered milk and shampoo, those who remain grind guava leaves with baking soda to make deodorant, and boil ash from the fire to make soap. It leaves people “itching all day long like gorillas,” says Leidis Vallenilla, explaining how the term violin has become a euphemism for body odour. “We have a whole orchestra here,” she laughs.

    There is pride here, too.

    “The inventive part of us has really been activated,” says Vallenilla.
    The road holds secrets

    Lined with lush foliage and mango trees, dotted with the occasional home, the road from Cumana to Carupano in Venezuela’s eastern state of Sucre winds gently, every now and then rising to give a glimpse of the sea.

    Pilongo – 23-year-old José Gregorio’s nickname, acquired from a cartoon he loved as a baby – leans into the windscreen and squints, staring closely into the verges. He’s looking for vehicles hiding in the bushes, where they wait to ambush cars.

    As the crisis has deepened, so has the threat. This road is a main artery to the east; seemingly bucolic, it is one of the most dangerous in the country.

    Hunger is behind most everything here.

    Hunger was behind the widespread protests that roiled the country in 2015 and precipitated the flight of millions of Venezuelans from the country.

    Then, shortages of essential foodstuffs – milk, butter, sugar, pasta, flour, oil, rice, beef, and chicken – were estimated at 80-90 percent.

    It has only gotten worse since.

    By 2018, according to a report produced by three Venezuelan universities, only one in 10 Venezuelans could afford enough daily food. Hunger has blanketed the country.

    Cumana was once the fourth largest tuna processing town in the world. Nearby, around Caraico and Carupano, was a major sugar-producing area. Not any more. Now, people are starving.

    Government food trucks travel the road carrying President Nicolás Maduro’s signature boxes of subsidised food.

    Named CLAP – after the Spanish acronym for Local Committees for Supply and Production – Maduro rolled them out in 2016 in order, he declared, to circumvent the “economic war” being waged on Venezuela by the United States and his opponents.

    These boxes, the government claims, will feed a family of four for one week. They are supposed to be delivered once a month to all those who have signed up for the “Carnet de la Patria” – a controversial ID card that grants holders access to subsidised food.

    However, according to those who get the CLAP boxes, the food arrives spoiled or past its sell-by date, is nowhere near enough to last even a week, and never comes more than, if you’re lucky, once every six weeks. Around Cumana, seven hours east of the capital Caracas, people say the boxes arrive once every three to four months.

    Pilongo, Vallenilla, and other locals say the trucks still barrel through here daily – in convoys of as many as 40 – laden with precious food and never stopping for angered, hungry people. They recall how people started coating the road with oil so the trucks would skid into a ditch and then everyone would swarm around and loot them.

    “A population which is not well fed become thieves and will steal any food no matter what.”

    When the truck drivers wised up and took a diversion, people got metal strips with sharp teeth and laid them across the other road. Tires would blow out and trucks would still be looted. When the National Guard came and confiscated the metal strips, the community protested that they belonged to them. After a fight, the mayor agreed and returned the strips.

    As hunger grew around the country so did the number of incidents like these, leading Maduro to issue an edict that armed National Guards must accompany the government food trucks. This has given greater license to the much-feared National Guard, who locals accuse of being behind the bodies they say have been turning up on nearby beaches.

    The threat hasn’t stopped people. They just choose different trucks.

    “Malnutrition is the mother of the whole problem,” says Pilingo’s former teacher, Fernando Battisti Garcia, 64, talking from his home in the town of Muelle de Cariaco. “A population which is not well fed become thieves and will steal any food no matter what.”

    People call it “the Maduro diet”.

    “As soon as people see a big truck coming with supplies,” explains Pilingo, “they go into the street – men, women, even children – and stop the truck and take the supplies.”

    It happened just a few days ago, he says, adding that the National Guard has begun searching people’s houses and if they find anything – food, toilet paper, supplies – they take you to jail.

    So people have started hiding the goods in tombs in cemeteries, or lowering them in buckets into water tanks.

    “Everyone is just so desperate,” Pilingo shrugs.

    With their erratic and infrequent delivery of meagre, often spoiled goods, CLAP boxes have done little to address hunger. What they have done, however, is line the pockets – and secure the loyalty – of military and government officials.

    The US treasury estimates as much as 70 percent of the CLAP programme is victim to corruption, while accusations of military and government officials siphoning off millions of dollars and creating a lucrative food trafficking business and thriving black market have led to sanctions and intensifying international scrutiny.

    The CLAP boxes have also succeeded in creating dependency. As inflation continues to spiral upwards and poverty escalates – jumping from 81.8 to 87 percent between 2016 and 2017 – more and more desperate people have become reliant on them to supplement their impoverished diets. In 2018, one in two Venezuelans say CLAP boxes are an “essential” part of their diet, while 83 percent of pro-Maduro voters say that CLAP is their main source of food.
    Malaria and death

    Vallenilla, 60, sits in a folding chair in her shop on the main road passing through Cerezal, a town of 1,000. Dozens of the colourful fabric dolls she makes and sells bob overhead hung from the ceiling, but she admits it has been a long time since she has had any customers.

    It has been a long time too since anyone around here has been able to get any medicine. And it has been even longer since people had enough food.

    “We have lost a lot of kids here to malaria and hepatitis,” says Vallenilla. “You can see people whose eyes and lips have turned orange. But worst of all is malnutrition. Malnourished children are dying here – yes, in my community they are starving to death.

    “The vice-president (Delcy Rodríguez) says there is enough food to feed three countries the size of Venezuela, but the truth is the malnourished kids, the elderly – that is what is real; that is what is the truth.”

    Vallenilla nods across the street where a rail-thin woman is sitting in her doorway. “That woman used to weigh 230 pounds,” she confides. She gestures down the street. “And a woman lost her three-year-old to malnutrition last week, a few streets down….”

    But those women won’t talk about it, says Vallenilla. No one here speaks out, she says. Everyone is scared; scared of losing their CLAP box; scared of the bodies turning up; scared of the repercussions of being identified through the Carnet de la Patria; scared of being reported to Maduro’s security forces; scared full stop.

    “The vice-president (Delcy Rodríguez) says there is enough food to feed three countries the size of Venezuela, but the truth is the malnourished kids, the elderly – that is what is real; that is what is the truth.”

    But Vallenilla isn’t scared. She is angry.

    “About two months ago, malaria was in fashion here – everyone here was trembling from fever,” she seethes, fury rising in her voice. “We had to block the road for two days. We made a trembling chain of people just to force the government to bring us treatment.”

    But even then, the government didn’t bring the full treatment. They brought only half a dose. Half treatments mean malaria will recur. Half treatments risk mosquitos building immunity. Half treatment is the best anyone can hope for these days across Venezuela. And, if they even get that, they can consider themselves lucky.

    “This is why people die,” Vallenilla bellows. “How can you play with people’s health like that? Kids’ health? It is inhuman!

    ‘‘The most sacred thing is your child. Having to put your child in the ground, having your child die? It is the worst thing. How must a mother feel?”

    Her brown eyes glare under the placid smiles of her handmade dolls overhead.

    “I cannot change my feelings – I will not change my feelings for a bone!’ she says. “No matter how many bones they throw to me, I will not be silenced!’

    Vallenilla’s thin neighbour across the street shrinks into the shadows at the sound of the raised voice.

    “This is like a curse, a spell cast on the population,” Vallenilla sighs.
    Electrocution and amputation

    On a sunny Saturday afternoon, there is not a soul to be seen in Cariaco, a town of supposedly 22,000 souls in the east of Venezuela. It is eerily empty. Shops are shuttered and there is no one visible behind the fences barricading the single-storey pastel houses topped with several rows of electrified wires.

    ‘‘You used to be able to walk anywhere, anytime,’’ Pilingo reminisces.

    No more. People are home. They all say they just don’t dare leave their homes for fear they will get broken into when they go out. Vallenilla says she even slaughtered her 17 ducks as she knew they would be taken otherwise.

    The night before, someone had broken into a local house just to steal some clothes.

    “Hunger is taking over in most towns,” Garcia, the former teacher, observes. ‘‘If people have the possibility of one or two meals in a day, they consider it like providence.”

    “People go too long without food,” Leidis concurs. “You can’t blame them looting and hijacking.”

    The consequences are showing up in unexpected ways.

    Music blares from speakers mounted on a flatbed truck as it drives slowly through the small village of Pantonó, leading a young crowd surrounding a wooden coffin hoisted high by the cluster of men carrying it.

    This is the funeral of a 13-year-old boy, a member of the local baseball team who was electrocuted when he tried to go through an electrified fence in the rain – it is thought, to find food.

    There were virtually no cases of electrocution before the crisis, says Dr. Dora Colomenares, a surgeon at University Hospital in Maracaibo. Now it is a common occurrence as people breach electric fences hunting for food, medicine, and electricity sources to wire off to their homes.

    An unprecedented number of children are also arriving at hospital with broken bones. Doctors told IRIN many injuries were hungry children left alone by parents to go out searching day in and day out for food and medicine, even children who had fallen out of fruit trees they had scaled ever higher searching for something to eat.

    This desperation is also reflected in the thriving business of herb selling, as people across the country turn to traditional remedies in the absence of standard medicine.

    Louisa Lopez, 54, the lone vendor in her row, is packing up the medicinal herbs and leaves she sells. Slits of light coming through the corrugated roof dapple the darkness, bouncing off empty stalls in nearby Cariaco market hall.

    Lopez didn’t have this business before the crisis, but when medicine became scarce she anticipated that people would turn to traditional and homemade remedies. After doing her research on the internet, she set up a stall.

    Her instinct has proven spot on. “Business,” she smiles, “is booming.”

    But so is death.

    Needless, pointless, avoidable. Deaths that would have been unimaginable even five years ago.

    One man in Cumana is eager to talk but fearful of losing his job and CLAP box for speaking out. He asks that his real name not be used and steps inside his pastel-coloured home, where a framed photo of a middle-aged man is sat shrine-like under a vase of lilies atop a decorative lace tablecloth on a round table.

    This, he explains, was his uncle “Alberto M” – a chef. He had died two weeks earlier of hypertension and diabetes, a failure of herbal medicine. The man picks up the photo and studies it in silence. His uncle’s warm smile and kind eyes beam back, blissfully unaware of the fate that would needlessly, avoidably befall him.

    “There is a death daily around here,” says the man, placing the photo back on the table before reeling off a list of recent deaths in the neighbourhood: children from malnutrition; a mother and her unborn baby – more failures of herbal medicine – dead from a urine infection; a brother-in-law, shot, his family charges, by the police and whose body washed up on a nearby shore.

    “But,” he says after a long pause, “we don’t even have coffins. The morgue is stacked high with dead bodies as people can’t find coffins.”

    He explains how people have taken to bringing the body home and praying it doesn’t explode – as happened the week before just down the street – before they find a way to bury it.
    Depression and anger

    This endless struggle just to survive exacts a huge emotional toll.

    “You see people who walk around feeling betrayed, with low spirits, sad – many who don’t want to live, because of the issue of food,” says Garcia, shaking this head, his eyes sad.

    “The biggest psychiatric problem in the world is in Venezuela,” says Colomenares, the surgeon in Maracaibo. “Why? Because there are many depressed people, people who have lost hope. Melancholy and all these things mix with the problems the people are already going through, and they don’t know how to cope with it.”

    Yet, as more and more people are driven to the brink, psychiatric wards are closing. The number of people attended to in public psychiatric facilities has dropped from 23,000 to 3,500 and those that are still working have neither food nor medicines, according to a report published by the Cuatro Por Venezuela Foundation in September.

    Suicide has surged throughout the country.

    Official statistics are hard to come by, but a psychiatric nurse at a large eastern hospital whispers in confidence, scared of losing his job for speaking out, that in his ward alone there were 10 suicides between January and July this year. By comparison, in 2017, there were only three or four. Before then, there were virtually none, he says.

    Venezuelan children’s rights group CECODAP released a study that reported an 18 percent rise from 2017 in adolescents committing suicide in 2018, while Bloomberg found there were 131 suicides in Caracas alone in June and July, a large increase on the normal monthly rate.

    Anger is growing at the seeming indifference of Maduro and his government – a government that refuses to acknowledge the scale of death and sickness of its own citizens.

    "How can you not curse the government straight out? This damn government! This damn government!”

    "I insist here there is no humanitarian crisis; there is a war on the country,” Diosdado Cabello, president of the National Constituent Assembly, said last month, before claiming: “Those who speak of humanitarian crisis are the ones who have created war against our country.”

    Over a lunch of thin soup at his mission in the west of Venezuela, Friar Nelson Sandoval describes the scene in the summer when his whole village was overcome by malaria and there was no medicine. “It was like an apocalyptic film where people were so desperate; they were literally in the street having convulsions.”

    He pounds his fist on the table. “How can you not curse the government straight out? How terrible it is when the electricity is out; when you’re hungry and yet food gets spoiled; when you’re tired as you couldn’t sleep as it was too hot? How do you give Mass? How can you not curse the government straight out? This damn government! This damn government!”

    Emails to the government media department and the Minister of Information for comment on the widespread hunger, the hijacking of food trucks, and the lack of medicines were unanswered at time of publication.

    https://www.irinnews.org/special-report/2018/11/21/hunger-and-survival-venezuela
    #survie #crise #Venezuela #faim #alimentation #malnutrition