position:spokesman

  • Ukrainian leader says Putin wants his whole country, asks for NATO help | Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-crisis-russia-idUSKCN1NY1K5

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Thursday of wanting to annex his entire country and called for NATO to deploy warships to a sea shared by the two nations.
    […]
    Ukraine’s border service said it would only allow Ukrainian citizens to travel to Crimea via its land border with the annexed territory, while the head of the Ukrainian navy said Kiev would try to get Turkey to close the Bosphorus Strait to Russian ships.

    There were further signs that Russia was pressing ahead with its plans to fortify Crimea and turn it into what Kremlin-backed media have called a fortress.

    Russia on Thursday deployed a new battalion of advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile systems in Crimea, its fourth such battalion, TASS news agency cited a spokesman for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet as saying.

    Citing a Crimean security source, Interfax news agency also reported Russian plans to build a new missile early-warning radar station in Crimea next year that would be able to track ballistic and cruise missiles from a long distance.

    Russia was also working on a new technical system to allow it to better track shipping around the peninsula in order to protect its maritime borders, Interfax said.

    En tous cas, il y en a qui n’ont peur de rien : demander à la Turquie de fouler au pied la #convention_de_Montreux, il faut oser !


  • Google abandons Berlin base after two years of resistance
    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/oct/24/google-abandons-berlin-base-after-two-years-of-resistance

    Kreuzberg residents were concerned about tech giant’s unethical practices and gentrification driving up rents Campaigners in a bohemian district of Berlin are celebrating after the internet giant Google abandoned strongly opposed plans to open a large campus there. The US firm had planned to set up an incubator for startup companies in Kreuzberg, one of the older districts in the west of the capital. But the company’s German spokesman Ralf Bremer announced on Wednesday that the 3,000 m2 (...)

    #Google #urbanisme


  • EU border ’lie detector’ system criticised as pseudoscience

    Technology that analyses facial expressions being trialled in Hungary, Greece and Latvia.

    The EU has been accused of promoting pseudoscience after announcing plans for a “#smart_lie-detection_system” at its busiest borders in an attempt to identify illegal migrants.

    The “#lie_detector”, to be trialled in Hungary, Greece and Latvia, involves the use of a computer animation of a border guard, personalised to the traveller’s gender, ethnicity and language, asking questions via a webcam.

    The “deception detection” system will analyse the micro-expressions of those seeking to enter EU territory to see if they are being truthful about their personal background and intentions. Those arriving at the border will be required to have uploaded pictures of their passport, visa and proof of funds.

    According to an article published by the European commission, the “unique approach to ‘deception detection’ analyses the micro-expressions of travellers to figure out if the interviewee is lying”.

    The project’s coordinator, George Boultadakis, who works for the technology supplier, European Dynamics, in Luxembourg, said: “We’re employing existing and proven technologies – as well as novel ones – to empower border agents to increase the accuracy and efficiency of border checks. The system will collect data that will move beyond biometrics and on to biomarkers of deceit.”

    Travellers who have been flagged as low risk by the #avatar, and its lie detector, will go through a short re-evaluation of their information for entry. Those judged to be of higher risk will undergo a more detailed check.

    Border officials will use a handheld device to automatically crosscheck information, comparing the facial images captured during the pre-screening stage to passports and photos taken on previous border crossings.

    When documents have been reassessed, and fingerprinting, palm-vein scanning and face matching have been carried out, the potential risk will be recalculated. A border guard will then take over from the automated system.

    The project, which has received €4.5m (£3.95m) in EU funding, has been heavily criticised by experts.

    Bruno Verschuere, a senior lecturer in forensic psychology at the University of Amsterdam, told the Dutch newspaper De Volskrant he believed the system would deliver unfair outcomes.
    A neuroscientist explains: the need for ‘empathetic citizens’ - podcast

    “Non-verbal signals, such as micro-expressions, really do not say anything about whether someone is lying or not,” he said. “This is the embodiment of everything that can go wrong with lie detection. There is no scientific foundation for the methods that are going to be used now.

    “Once these systems are put into use, they will not go away. The public will only hear the success stories and not the stories about those who have been wrongly stopped.”

    Verschuere said there was no evidence for the assumption that liars were stressed and that this translated to into fidgeting or subtle facial movements.

    Bennett Kleinberg, an assistant professor in data science at University College London, said: “This can lead to the implementation of a pseudoscientific border control.”

    A spokesman for the project said: “The border crossing decision is not based on the single tool (ie lie detection) but on the aggregated risk estimations based on a risk-based approach and technology that has been used widely in custom procedures.

    “Therefore, the overall procedure is safe because it is not relying in the risk on one analysis (ie the lie detector) but on the correlated risks from various analysis.”

    The technology has been designed by a consortium of the Hungarian national police, Latvian customs, and Manchester Metropolitan and Leibnitz universities. Similar technology is being developed in the US, where lie detection is widely used in law enforcement, despite scepticism over its scientific utility in much of the rest of the world.

    Last month, engineers at the University of Arizona said they had developed a system that they hoped to install on the US-Mexico border known as the #Automated_Virtual_Agent_for_Truth_Assessments_in_Real-Time, or Avatar.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/02/eu-border-lie-detection-system-criticised-as-pseudoscience?CMP=share_bt
    #wtf #what_the_fuck #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #technologie #expressions_faciales #Grèce #Hongrie #Lettonie #mensonge #abus #gardes-frontière #biométrie #biomarqueurs #corps #smart_borders #risques #université #science-fiction
    ping @reka @isskein

    • Smart lie-detection system to tighten EU’s busy borders

      An EU-funded project is developing a way to speed up traffic at the EU’s external borders and ramp up security using an automated border-control system that will put travellers to the test using lie-detecting avatars. It is introducing advanced analytics and risk-based management at border controls.

      More than 700 million people enter the EU every year – a number that is rapidly rising. The huge volume of travellers and vehicles is piling pressure on external borders, making it increasingly difficult for border staff to uphold strict security protocols – checking the travel documents and biometrics of every passenger – whilst keeping disruption to a minimum.

      To help, the EU-funded project IBORDERCTRL is developing an ‘intelligent control system’ facilitating – making faster – border procedures for bona fide and law-abiding travellers. In this sense, the project is aiming to deliver more efficient and secure land border crossings to facilitate the work of border guards in spotting illegal immigrants, and so contribute to the prevention of crime and terrorism.

      ‘We’re employing existing and proven technologies – as well as novel ones – to empower border agents to increase the accuracy and efficiency of border checks,’ says project coordinator George Boultadakis of European Dynamics in Luxembourg. ‘IBORDERCTRL’s system will collect data that will move beyond biometrics and on to biomarkers of deceit.’
      Smart ‘deception detection’

      The IBORDERCTRL system has been set up so that travellers will use an online application to upload pictures of their passport, visa and proof of funds, then use a webcam to answer questions from a computer-animated border guard, personalised to the traveller’s gender, ethnicity and language. The unique approach to ‘deception detection’ analyses the micro-expressions of travellers to figure out if the interviewee is lying.

      This pre-screening step is the first of two stages. Before arrival at the border, it also informs travellers of their rights and travel procedures, as well as providing advice and alerts to discourage illegal activity.

      The second stage takes place at the actual border. Travellers who have been flagged as low risk during the pre-screening stage will go through a short re-evaluation of their information for entry, while higher-risk passengers will undergo a more detailed check.

      Border officials will use a hand-held device to automatically cross-check information, comparing the facial images captured during the pre-screening stage to passports and photos taken on previous border crossings. After the traveller’s documents have been reassessed, and fingerprinting, palm vein scanning and face matching have been carried out, the potential risk posed by the traveller will be recalculated. Only then does a border guard take over from the automated system.

      At the start of the IBORDERCTRL project, researchers spent a lot of time learning about border crossings from border officials themselves, through interviews, workshops, site surveys, and by watching them at work.

      It is hoped that trials about to start in Hungary, Greece and Latvia will prove that the intelligent portable control system helps border guards reliably identify travellers engaging in criminal activity. The trials will start with lab testing to familiarise border guards with the system, followed by scenarios and tests in realistic conditions along the borders.
      A mounting challenge

      ‘The global maritime and border security market is growing fast in light of the alarming terror threats and increasing terror attacks taking place on European Union soil, and the migration crisis,” says Boultadakis.

      As a consequence, the partner organisations of IBORDERCTRL are likely to benefit from this growing European security market – a sector predicted to be worth USD 146 billion (EUR 128 bn) in Europe by 2020.

      Project details

      Project acronym: #iBorderCtrl
      Participants: Luxembourg (Coordinator), Greece, Cyprus, United Kingdom, Poland, Spain, Hungary, Germany, Latvia
      Project N°: 700626
      Total costs: € 4 501 877
      EU contribution: € 4 501 877
      Duration: September 2016 to August 2019


      http://ec.europa.eu/research/infocentre/article_en.cfm?artid=49726

    • AVATAR - Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time

      There are many circumstances, particularly in a border-crossing scenario, when credibility must be accurately assessed. At the same time, since people deceive for a variety of reasons, benign and nefarious, detecting deception and determining potential risk are extremely difficult. Using artificial intelligence and non-invasive sensor technologies, BORDERS has developed a screening system called the Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time (AVATAR). The AVATAR is designed to flag suspicious or anomalous behavior that warrants further investigation by a trained human agent in the field. This screening technology may be useful at Land Ports of Entry, airports, detention centers, visa processing, asylum requests, and personnel screening.

      The AVATAR has the potential to greatly assist DHS by serving as a force multiplier that frees personnel to focus on other mission-critical tasks, and provides more accurate decision support and risk assessment. This can be accomplished by automating interviews and document/biometric collection, and delivering real-time multi-sensor credibility assessments in a screening environment. In previous years, we have focused on conducting the basic research on reliably analyzing human behavior for deceptive cues, better understanding the DHS operational environment, and developing and testing a prototype system.

      Principal Investigators:
      #Aaron_Elkins
      #Doug_Derrick
      #Jay_Nunamaker, Jr.
      #Judee_Burgoon
      Status:
      Current

      http://borders.arizona.edu/cms/projects/avatar-automated-virtual-agent-truth-assessments-real-time
      #University_of_Arizona

    • Un #détecteur_de_mensonges bientôt testé aux frontières de l’Union européenne

      L’Union européenne va tester dans un avenir proche un moyen de réguler le passage des migrants sur certaines de ses frontières, en rendant celui-ci plus simple et plus rapide. Ce moyen prendra la forme d’un détecteur de mensonges basé sur l’intelligence artificielle.

      Financé depuis 2016 par l’UE, le projet iBorderCtrl fera bientôt l’objet d’un test qui se déroulera durant six mois sur quatre postes-frontière situés en Hongrie, en Grèce et en Lettonie. Il s’avère que chaque année, environ 700 millions de nouvelles personnes arrivent dans l’UE, et les gardes-frontières ont de plus en plus de mal à effectuer les vérifications d’usage.

      Ce projet iBorderCtrl destiné à aider les gardes-frontières n’est autre qu’un détecteur de mensonges reposant sur une intelligence artificielle. Il s’agit en somme d’une sorte de garde frontière virtuel qui, après avoir pris connaissance des documents d’un individu (passeport, visa et autres), lui fera passer un interrogatoire. Ce dernier devra donc faire face à une caméra et répondre à des questions.

      L’IA en question observera la personne et fera surtout attention aux micro-mouvements du visage, le but étant de détecter un éventuel mensonge. À la fin de l’entretien, l’individu se verra remettre un code QR qui déterminera son appartenance à une des deux files d’attente, c’est-à-dire les personnes acceptées et celles – sur lesquelles il subsiste un doute – qui feront l’objet d’un entretien plus poussé avec cette fois, des gardes-frontières humains.

      Le système iBorderCtrl qui sera bientôt testé affiche pour l’instant un taux de réussite de 74 %, mais les porteurs du projet veulent atteindre au moins les 85 %. Enfin, évoquons le fait que ce dispositif pose assez logiquement des questions éthiques, et a déjà de nombreux opposants  !

      L’IA a été présentée lors du Manchester Science Festival qui s’est déroulé du 18 au 29 octobre 2018, comme le montre la vidéo ci-dessous :
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fsd3Ubqi38

      https://sciencepost.fr/2018/11/un-detecteur-de-mensonges-bientot-teste-aux-frontieres-de-lunion-europee


  • #Angola : Les migrants africains en danger de mort

    Les autorités angolaises lancent « la chasse aux ressortissants sub-sahariens en situation irrégulière ». Une #opération dénommée « #expatriado » est en cours en ce moment. Elle vise à « expulser tous les immigrés en situation irrégulière en Angola ». Des ressortissants maliens témoignent des « cas d’#emprisonnement suivis de pires formes de #maltraitance et d’#humiliation ». Pour l’instant, difficile d’avoir des chiffres officiels sur le nombre de Maliens victimes. Mais ceux joints sur place appellent à l’aide des autorités maliennes.

    Selon certains Maliens, ces opérations d’expulsion ont débuté dans les zones minières. Elles se déroulent maintenant dans toutes les villes du pays, et concernent toutes les nationalités y compris les Maliens, qui sont parmi les plus nombreux. « Cela fait des jours que nous ne pouvons plus sortir pour aller au boulot par peur de nous faire arrêter », explique un ressortissant malien sur place. Selon lui, cette opération qui ne devrait concerner que les #sans-papiers, est aussi menée par les forces de l’ordre angolaises contre ceux qui sont en situation régulière. L’objectif, selon notre interlocuteur, est de soutirer de l’argent aux migrants.

    « Une fois entre les mains des autorités angolaises, il faut payer de l’argent ou partir en prison », témoignent certains migrants maliens, avant de confirmer que plusieurs d’entre eux sont actuellement en prison. En Angola certains Maliens ont l’impression d’être « laissés pour compte par les autorités maliennes ». Pour l’Association Malienne des Expulsés, « il est inacceptable qu’un pays membre de l’Union Africaine expulse d’autres africains de la sorte ». L’AME qui juge la situation « grave » en Angola, appelle les autorités maliennes à réagir.

    https://www.expulsesmaliens.info/Angola-Les-migrants-africains-en-danger-de-mort.html
    #migrations #asile #réfugiés #rafles #expulsions #renvois #chasse_aux_migrants #migrants_maliens

    • Briefing: Problems multiply in Congo’s Kasaï

      The Kasaï region in the Democratic Republic of Congo is struggling to recover from two years of intense conflict. The influx last month of more than 300,000 people from Angola, most of them long-standing migrant workers, has made a fragile humanitarian situation worse.

      Here’s our briefing on the risks for the region and the new challenges for the humanitarian response.
      What happened?

      In attempts to clamp down on what it called illegal diamond mining operations, Angola’s government ordered the expulsion of more than 360,000 Congolese nationals, forcing them to flee in October into the Kasaï region of neighbouring DRC.

      "This new shock is compounding an already dire situation in the same area that was the epicentre of the Kasaï crisis over the last couple of years,” explained Dan Schreiber, head of coordination in Congo for the UN’s emergency aid body, OCHA.

      Congolese migrants and officials said the crackdown was violent, telling Reuters that dozens of people were killed, with the worst attacks occurring in Lucapa in Angola’s diamond-rich Lunda Norte province. Angolan security forces denied the allegations.
      Where did they go?

      Most of those expelled crossed into Kamako in Kasaï province, where aid organisations are responding to the tail-end of the Kamuina Nsapu insurgency that first erupted in 2016. Some of the returnees include refugees who fled violence in Kasaï over the last two years, the Norwegian Refugee Council said.

      The NRC said conditions returnees face in Congo are “shocking”, including the risk of waterborne disease due to ineffective water and sanitation; thousands sleeping outdoors because of insufficient shelter; food prices tripling; and extortion of goods on both sides of the border.

      “Hundreds of thousands of people have been robbed of their right to a dignified existence,” said Ulrika Blom, NRC’s country director in DRC. “This is not a crisis that is about to begin, it is a full-blown emergency.”
      What has the reaction been?

      While local communities have generally been welcoming to the returnees, OCHA’s Schreiber said skirmishes erupted in certain villages, mainly over the strain on limited food resources.

      “Experience in the DRC does show that when you have a large influx of people arriving in an area it can generate tensions between host communities and the people who arrive,” he said.

      Schreiber said OCHA has seen most returnees wanting to move away from the border areas and toward other destinations inland, which could help ease the humanitarian strain in Kasaï, but he also warned that more returnees could arrive from Angola.

      “We don’t expect the first wave to be the last wave,” he said. “Expulsions from Angola are a cyclical phenomena that go all the way back to 2002-2003. It’s not a new phenomenon, but in this case we are seeing a major influx, and clearly the absorption capacity is not there.”
      Why is their arrival in Kasaï in particular such a problem?

      Kasaï was a relatively stable region in an unstable country – one currently dealing with multiple conflicts, an Ebola outbreak in North Kivu province, and one of the world’s most neglected displacement crises.

      The situation in Kasaï changed dramatically in 2016 when conflict erupted between the Kamuina Nsapu anti-government movement and Congolese security forces. The inter-communal clashes spread far and wide, soon engulfing the entire region.

      The conflict escalated in 2017, with massacres and mass graves, as well as general insecurity marked by banditry, and poor harvests that led to food insecurity and malnutrition.

      An estimated 5,000 people have since been killed and more than 1.4 million displaced.

      Toward the end of 2017 and into 2018, the crisis eased slightly, as national authorities regained control over large parts of the region. Despite isolated bouts of violence, aid groups say most militias have been formally disbanded and displaced communities are tentatively returning home.

      “But those returns are accompanied by many needs, because people are returning to burned villages, destroyed homes, and a lot of destruction,” said OCHA’s Schreiber.

      Two years of violence and displacement also mean locals have been unable to grow crops for three seasons, which has led to concerns over malnutrition. “We have really seen food insecurity skyrocket. So even in areas where returns have occurred, humanitarian needs have not come to an end,” Schreiber added.
      What are the risks?

      Although the current influx of people from Angola isn’t directly linked to the Kamuina Nsapu rebellion, aid groups are concerned about the implications of piling one problem on top of another in the same geographic area.

      For the most vulnerable groups, specifically women and children, the challenges that affect those displaced by the insurgency also pose risks for the new returnees from Angola.

      In May for instance, UNICEF reported that 400,000 children were “at risk of death” in the Kasaïs, because of food shortages.

      Yves Willemot, a spokesman for UNICEF in Congo, said the rate of severe acute malnutrition among children living in the region has improved slightly since earlier this year but “remains challenging”.

      “The security situation has clearly improved, but the impact on children is not ending in the short term,” he said.

      Among those newly returned from Angola are 80,000 children. They now are also at risk, forced to walk long distances while exposed to inclement weather, hunger, and the threat of violence. Willemot said basic services are lacking for them, including access to drinking water, schooling, and treatment for diseases like malaria and measles.

      Médecins Sans Frontières is among the NGOs initiating primary healthcare services for the recent arrivals, while also continuing interventions to assist the local population.

      In a recent report, MSF documented alarming levels of rape in the Kasaï region, saying it treated 2,600 victims of sexual violence between May 2017 and September 2018; 80 percent of those interviewed said armed men raped them.

      “The sexual violence committed in Kasaï was perpetrated largely by armed groups against non-armed people,” Philippe Kadima, MSF’s humanitarian advisor for the Great Lakes region, told IRIN. “Although the main conflict is over, we still see some violence happening in Kasaï.”

      For the more than 300,000 returnees, he said there are clear humanitarian concerns, but also the risk of insecurity. “The question is, how do you keep people secure?”

      “Displaced people become vulnerable, so it’s not that different to what the existing IDPs in Kasaï are going through… Security concerns, humanitarian needs, and risks of sexual violence are all factors when people become vulnerable,” he said.
      What about the longer-term challenges?

      Humanitarian needs remain critically underfunded in the Kasai region, said OCHA’s Shreiber, emphasising that beyond the immediate concerns are much broader needs in the region and the DRC as a whole.

      He added that the humanitarian response must help minimise the long-term impact of the crisis on those affected.

      “The longer we remain in this critical phase, the more we can expect to see humanitarian needs spiral out of control,” he said. “The current trigger of new humanitarian needs (the returnees from Angola) may be time-bound, but I think the impact will be lasting.”

      Schreiber said the Kasaï region remains vulnerable because it faces particular challenges, including decades of underdevelopment and inaccessibility as a result of poor road infrastructure, and he urged more development actors to get involved.

      “People in the Kasaïs are eager to rebound, to be back on their feet, and move on. There is no expectation that humanitarian assistance should continue forever in the Kasaï region,” he said. “People want to be autonomous, but what they need is support to build up their resilience and be able to move towards a situation where their most basic needs are met and they are able to think about their futures again.”


      http://www.irinnews.org/news-feature/2018/11/08/briefing-congo-kasai-angola-aid-conflict

    • Les violations des droits humains des migrants africains en Angola

      Les violations des droits humains des migrants africains en Angola

      Depuis un certain moment, la communauté africaine vivant sur le territoire angolais est l’objet de toute sorte de violation de ses droits les plus fondamentaux par les autorités de ce pays. La Charte Africaines des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples protège les droits des migrants dans tous ses aspects contre les violations des droits et l’Angola est justement membre de l’Union Africaine. Ainsi, ces violations se matérialisent par des arrestations musclées et arbitraires, des emprisonnements dans des conditions inhumaines et dégradantes (art.5 de la Déclaration Universelle des Droits de l’Homme et de la Charte Africaine des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples) de même que les expulsions collectives pourtant interdites par la Charte Africaine dans son article 12.5.

      L’AME est vivement préoccupée par les récentes arrestations, détentions et expulsions des centaines de milliers de migrants africains dont des maliens. Selon des informations recueillies auprès de nos sources sur place, une centaine de maliens sont concernés par cette situation qui évolue et change de jour en jour.

      Nous attirons l’attention de l’Union Africaine et de ses pays membres sur la situation inacceptable que vivent les étrangers sur la terre africaine d’Angola et rappeler que les droits de l’homme sont des droits inaliénables de tous les êtres humains, quels que soient leur nationalité, leur lieu de résidence, leur sexe, leur origine ethnique ou nationale, leur couleur, leur religion…

      L’Angola comme la plupart des pays africains s’est engagé à protéger, respecter et réaliser les droits de l’homme, non seulement de ses nationaux, mais de toute personne sous sa juridiction. Dans ce contexte, tous les étrangers se trouvant sur le sol angolais auraient dû bénéficier de la protection des autorités angolaises quelque soient les raisons qu’elles mettent en avant pour justifier ces expulsions.

      L’Organisation des Nations Unies (ONU) n’est pas resté silencieuse comme la plupart des pays africains, le Haut-Commissaire des Nations Unies aux droits de l’homme a mis en garde sur les conséquences des expulsions massives de réfugiés depuis l’Angola, au cours des trois dernières semaines de ce mois d’octobre.

      Par ailleurs, le Secrétaire Général des Nations Unies a rappelé le 19 septembre 2017 que : « tout pays a le droit de contrôler ses frontières. Mais cela doit se faire de telle sorte que les droits des personnes ‘en mouvement’ soient protégés ».

      Au regard de tout ce qui vient d’être évoqué :
      1. L’Association Malienne des Expulsés (AME) pour sa part, exhorte le gouvernement Malien à tout mettre en œuvre pour la sécurisation de nos compatriotes et de leurs biens dans les pays d’accueil ;
      2. Appelle le gouvernement à communiquer davantage sur cette situation en donnant beaucoup plus d’informations aux familles des maliens vivants en Angola ;
      3. Encourage le gouvernement de continuer à œuvrer pour le respect des droits des migrants maliens et aussi pour le développement d’une relation franche entre les Etats africains en vue de la réalisation de l’unité africaine comme le prévoit l’article 117 de la Constitution ;
      4. Invite l’Union Africaine à dénoncer et prendre des mesures contre les violations des droits humains dans les pays membres ;
      5. Invite également les Etats membres de l’Union Africaine à renoncer aux expulsions massives des ressortissants d’autres pays africains et à mettre fin sans délais aux opérations actuelles en cour ;
      6. Exhorte l’U.A et les Etats à une plus grande implication des organisations de la société civile aux différents processus pour la gestion de la migration.

      http://www.expulsesmaliens.info/Les-violations-des-droits-humains-des-migrants-africains-en-Angola


  • Somali returned to Libya under Italian policy sets himself on fire

    A Somali man set himself on fire in a Libyan detention centre on Wednesday, according to fellow detainees and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

    The man, who is in his late 20s, reportedly doused himself in petrol from a generator in the centre and lit it, after telling friends he had lost hope of being relocated to a safe country.

    Sources told The Irish Times the man carried out the action after being told he had little chance of evacuation by visiting officials from the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The UNHCR said it was trying to verify this.

    IOM spokesman Joel Millman said the detainee had set himself on fire as an “act of protest”.

    “He was admitted into the hospital yesterday in Tripoli in the burn centre for intensive medical care. Our medical team visited him and informed the management that they are willing to support if it is needed,” he said.

    However, a fellow detainee said he believed the Somali man had died. “All refugees have [a] very bad feeling. Today [we’re] not eating at all because so many people have died.” This would be the eighth death in Triq al Sikka centre this year, according to the detainee.

    Tens of thousands of refugees and migrants have been returned to Libya since February 2017, when the country’s UN-backed government entered into a deal with Italy to prevent migration to Europe. Italian politicians have called the deal a success, because it has reduced the number of people arriving on their shores.
    Rife with abuse

    However, for the men, women and children returned to Libya, the situation is bleak. More than a dozen detainees across Tripoli contacted by phone have described detention centres rife with abuse, where they’re fed once a day at most, forced to work, and sometimes beaten or raped. Overcrowding has led to the spread of infectious diseases like tuberculosis.

    A Somali man set himself on fire in a Libyan detention centre on Wednesday, according to fellow detainees and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

    The man, who is in his late 20s, reportedly doused himself in petrol from a generator in the centre and lit it, after telling friends he had lost hope of being relocated to a safe country.

    Sources told The Irish Times the man carried out the action after being told he had little chance of evacuation by visiting officials from the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The UNHCR said it was trying to verify this.

    IOM spokesman Joel Millman said the detainee had set himself on fire as an “act of protest”.

    “He was admitted into the hospital yesterday in Tripoli in the burn centre for intensive medical care. Our medical team visited him and informed the management that they are willing to support if it is needed,” he said.

    However, a fellow detainee said he believed the Somali man had died. “All refugees have [a] very bad feeling. Today [we’re] not eating at all because so many people have died.” This would be the eighth death in #Triq_al-Sikka centre this year, according to the detainee.

    Tens of thousands of refugees and migrants have been returned to Libya since February 2017, when the country’s UN-backed government entered into a deal with Italy to prevent migration to Europe. Italian politicians have called the deal a success, because it has reduced the number of people arriving on their shores.

    Rife with abuse

    However, for the men, women and children returned to Libya, the situation is bleak. More than a dozen detainees across Tripoli contacted by phone have described detention centres rife with abuse, where they’re fed once a day at most, forced to work, and sometimes beaten or raped. Overcrowding has led to the spread of infectious diseases like tuberculosis.

    Those detained include pregnant women and children of all ages.

    Sources in #Zintan, a detention centre 180km southwest of Tripoli, said that four detainees have died there within the past month. They say the poor conditions, including a lack of sanitation, have caused or contributed to the deaths.

    In Tripoli, detainees in two centres said their families at home are being forced to send money for them to buy food because managers in the Libyan department for combating illegal immigration (DCIM)-run centres say there is no other way for them to eat.
    Cross the Mediterranean

    Many detainees’ families have already paid ransoms of more than $2,000 to smugglers who held them prisoner, regularly torturing them, before allowing them to attempt to cross the Mediterranean.

    One man said the manager in his centre withholds food depending on his mood and whims. “If the leader of the detention centre gets happy by something in his own personal situation he tries to serve us food, if [he] not get happy he tries to stop it.”

    In September, the UNHCR updated its policy to say Libya is no longer a safe country to return people to. The organisation is currently registering detainees from countries including Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia, who cannot return home or are unwilling to because of conflict or fear of persecution. Many are hoping for evacuation from Libya, but the number of resettlement places currently offered by other countries is very limited.

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/africa/somali-returned-to-libya-under-italian-policy-sets-himself-on-fire-1.367
    #décès #mort #asile #migrations #réfugiés #réfugiés_somaliens #Italie #expulsions #renvois Libye #détention #centre_de_détention #suicide


  • Afghan, Pakistani forces clash over border fence

    Afghan and Pakistani border forces engaged in an armed clash over building a fence along the #Durand_Line on Sunday, local officials in southern Kandahar province said.

    Kandahar police spokesman, Zia Durani, told Pajhwok Afghan News that Pakistani forces tried this afternoon to fence a part of the Durand Line in Shorabak district of Kandahar, but Afghan border forces prevented their move.

    He said Pakistani forces in response attacked the Afghan forces and the clash was still underway. No one has so far been hurt in the battle. However, Pakistan closed down the friendship gate in #Spin_Boldak.

    A day earlier, Kandahar police chief, Gen. Abdul Raziq, said they had stopped Pakistan from fencing the Durand Line.

    He said that Pakistan started fencing the Durand Line in the southern region of the country but they stopped them.

    “Two weeks back, Pakistani forces started installation of fence on the border between Spin Boldak and #Shorabak districts of #Kandahar but border forces removed the fence and prevented them from doing so,” Raziq added.

    A year back, Afghan and Pakistani forces engaged in heavy clashes over fence installation in #Luqman and #Jahangir areas of Spin Boldak district and both the sides suffered casualties.

    Luqman and Jahangir areas are located in the zero point area of the border and they belong to Spin Boldak district.

    Pakistan forces last year conducted a population registration process in the two areas and claimed the areas belonged to Pakistan, but Afghan forces prevented them.

    The Afghan forces’ interference last year led to a fierce clash that continued for several hours, with both sides sustaining heavy casualties.

    After the clash, Afghanistan port with Pakistan was closed for 23 days that caused millions of afghanis losses to traders.


    https://www.pajhwok.com/en/2018/10/14/afghan-pakistani-forces-clash-over-border-fence
    #Pakistan #Afghanistan #murs #barrières_frontalières #frontières #disputes_frontalières

    #Ligne_durand:


    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ligne_Durand


  • The mad, twisted tale of the electric scooter craze
    https://www.cnet.com/news/the-mad-tale-of-the-electric-scooter-craze-with-bird-lime-and-spin-in-san-fran

    Dara Kerr/CNET

    For weeks, I’d been seeing trashed electric scooters on the streets of San Francisco. So I asked a group of friends if any of them had seen people vandalizing the dockless vehicles since they were scattered across the city a couple of months ago.

    The answer was an emphatic “yes.”

    One friend saw a guy walking down the street kicking over every scooter he came across. Another saw a rider pull up to a curb as the handlebars and headset became fully detached. My friend figures someone had messed with the screws or cabling so the scooter would come apart on purpose.

    A scroll through Reddit, Instagram and Twitter showed me photos of scooters — owned by Bird, Lime and Spin — smeared in feces, hanging from trees, hefted into trashcans and tossed into the San Francisco Bay.

    It’s no wonder Lime scooters’ alarm isn’t just a loud beep, but a narc-like battle cry that literally says, “Unlock me to ride, or I’ll call the police.”

    San Francisco’s scooter phenomenon has taken on many names: Scootergeddon, Scooterpocalypse and Scooter Wars. It all started when the three companies spread hundreds of their dockless, rentable e-scooters across city the same week at the end of March — without any warning to local residents or lawmakers.

    Almost instantly, first-time riders began zooming down sidewalks at 15 mph, swerving between pedestrians and ringing the small bells attached to the handlebars. And they left the vehicles wherever they felt like it: scooters cluttered walkways and storefronts, jammed up bike lanes, and blocked bike racks and wheelchair accesses.

    The three companies all say they’re solving a “last-mile” transportation problem, giving commuters an easy and convenient way to zip around the city while helping ease road congestion and smog. They call it the latest in a long line of disruptive businesses that aim to change the way we live.

    The scooters have definitely changed how some people live.

    I learned the Wild West looks friendly compared to scooter land. In San Francisco’s world of these motorized vehicles, there’s backstabbing, tweaker chop shops and intent to harm.

    “The angry people, they were angry,” says Michael Ghadieh, who owns electric bicycle shop, SF Wheels, and has repaired hundreds of the scooters. “People cut cables, flatten tires, they were thrown in the Bay. Someone was out there physically damaging these things.”

    Yikes! Clipped brakes

    SF Wheels is located on a quaint street in a quintessential San Francisco neighborhood. Called Cole Valley, the area is lined with Victorian homes, upscale cafes and views of the city’s famous Mount Sutro. SF Wheels sells and rents electric bicycles for $20 per hour, mostly to tourists who want to see Golden Gate Park on two wheels.

    In March, one of the scooter companies called Ghadieh to tell him they were about to launch in the city and were looking for people to help with repairs. Ghadieh said he was game. He wouldn’t disclose the name of the company because of agreements he signed.

    Now he admits he didn’t quite know what he was getting into.

    Days after the scooter startups dropped their vehicles on an unsuspecting San Francisco, SF Wheels became so crammed with broken scooters that it was hard to walk through the small, tidy shop. Scooters lined the sidewalk outside, filled the doorway and crowded the mechanic’s workspace. The backyard had a heap of scooters nearly six-feet tall, Ghadieh told me.

    His bike techs were so busy that Ghadieh had to hire three more mechanics. SF Wheels was fixing 75 to 100 scooters per day. Ghadieh didn’t say how much the shop was making per scooter fix.

    “The repairs were fast and easy on some and longer on others,” Ghadieh said. “It’d depend on whether it was wear-and-tear or whether it was physically damaged by someone out there, some madman.”

    Some of the scooters, which cost around $500 off the shelf, came in completely vandalized — everything from chopped wires for the controller (aka the brain) to detached handlebars to bent forks. Several even showed up with clipped brake cables.

    I asked Ghadieh if the scooters still work without brakes.

    “It will work, yes,” he said. “It will go forward, but you just cannot stop. Whoever is causing that is making the situation dangerous for some riders.”

    Especially in a city with lots of hills.

    Ghadieh said his crew worked diligently for about six weeks, repairing an estimated 1,000 scooters. But then, about three weeks ago, work dried up. Ghadieh had to lay off the mechanics he’d hired and his shop is back to focusing on electric bicycles.

    “Now, there’s literally nothing,” he said. “There’s a change of face with the company. I’m not exactly sure what happened. … They decided to do it differently.”

    The likely change? The electric scooter company probably decided to outsource repairs to gig workers, rather than rely on agreements with shops.

    That’s gig as in freelancers looking to pick up part-time work, like Uber and Lyft drivers. And like Nick Abouzeid. By day, Abouzeid works in marketing for the startup AngelList. A few weeks ago, he got an email from Bird inviting him to be a scooter mechanic. The message told Abouzeid he could earn $20 for each scooter repair, once he’d completed an online training. He signed up, took the classes and is ready to start.

    “These scooters aren’t complicated. They’re cheap scooters from China,” Abouzeid said. “The repairs are anything from adjusting a brake to fixing a flat tire to adding stickers that have fallen off a Bird.”

    Bird declined to comment specifically on its maintenance program, but its spokesman Kenneth Baer did say, “Bird has a network of trained chargers and mechanics who operate as independent contractors.”

    All of Lime’s mechanics, on the other hand, are part of the company’s operations and maintenance team that repairs the scooters and ensures they’re safe for riders. Spin uses a mix of gig workers and contract mechanics, like what Ghadieh was doing.
    Gaming the system

    Electric scooters are, well, electric. That means they need to be plugged into an outlet for four to five hours before they can transport people, who rent them for $1 plus 15 cents for every minute of riding time.

    Bird, Spin and Lime all partially rely on gig workers to keep their fleets juiced up.

    Each company has a different app that shows scooters with low or dead batteries. Anyone with a driver’s license and car can sign up for the app and become a charger. These drivers roam the streets, picking up scooters and taking them home to be charged.
    img-7477

    “It creates this amazing kind of gig economy,” Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden, who is a former Uber and Lyft executive, told me in April. “It’s kind of like a game of Pokemon Go for them, where they go around and try to find and gobble up as many Birds as they can.”

    Theoretically, all scooters are supposed to be off city streets by nightfall when it’s illegal to ride them. That’s when the chargers are unleashed. To get paid, they have to get the vehicles back out on the street in specified locations before 7 a.m. the next day. Bird supplies the charging cables — only three at a time, but those who’ve been in the business longer can get more cables.

    “I don’t know the fascination with all of these companies using gig workers to charge and repair,” said Harry Campbell, who runs a popular gig worker blog called The Rideshare Guy. “But they’re all in, they’re all doing it.”

    One of the reasons some companies use gig workers is to avoid costs like extra labor, gasoline and electricity. Bird, Spin and Lime have managed to convince investors they’re onto something. Between the three of them they’ve raised $255 million in funding. Bird is rumored to be raising another $150 million from one of Silicon Valley’s top venture capital firms, Sequoia, which could put the company’s value at $1 billion. That’s a lot for an electric scooter disruptor.

    Lime pays $12 to charge each scooter and Spin pays $5; both companies also deploy their own operations teams for charging. Bird has a somewhat different system. It pays anywhere from $5 to $25 to charge its scooters, depending on the city and the location of the dead scooter. The harder the vehicle is to find and the longer it’s been off the radar, the higher the “bounty.”

    Abouzeid, who’s moonlighted as a Bird charger for the past two months, said he’s only found a $25 scooter once.

    “With the $25 ones, they’re like, ’Hey, we think it’s in this location, it’s got 0 percent battery, good luck,’” he said.

    But some chargers have devised a way to game the system. They call it hoarding.

    “They’ll literally go around picking up Birds and putting them in the back of their car,” Campbell said. “And then they wait until the bounties on them go up and up and up.”

    Bird has gotten wise to these tactics. It sent an email to all chargers last week warning them that if it sniffs out this kind of activity, those hoarders will be barred from the app.

    “We feel like this is a big step forward in fixing some of the most painful issues we’ve been hearing,” Bird wrote in the email, which was seen by CNET.

    Tweaker chop shops

    Hoarding and vandalism aren’t the only problems for electric scooter companies. There’s also theft. While the vehicles have GPS tracking, once the battery fully dies they go off the app’s map.

    “Every homeless person has like three scooters now,” Ghadieh said. “They take the brains out, the logos off and they literally hotwire it.”
    img-1134

    I’ve seen scooters stashed at tent cities around San Francisco. Photos of people extracting the batteries have been posted on Twitter and Reddit. Rumor has it the batteries have a resale price of about $50 on the street, but there doesn’t appear to be a huge market for them on eBay or Craigslist, according to my quick survey.

    Bird, Lime and Spin all said trashed and stolen scooters aren’t as big a problem as you’d think. When the companies launch in a new city, they said they tend to see higher theft and vandalism rates but then that calms down.

    “We have received a few reports of theft and vandalism, but that’s the nature of the business,” said Spin co-founder and President Euwyn Poon. “When you have a product that’s available for public consumption, you account for that.”

    Dockless, rentable scooters are now taking over cities across the US — from Denver to Atlanta to Washington, DC. Bird’s scooters are available in at least 10 cities with Scottsdale, Arizona, being the site of its most recent launch.

    Meanwhile, in San Francisco, regulators have been working to get rules in place to make sure riders drive safely and the companies abide by the law.

    New regulations to limit the number of scooters are set to go into effect in the city on June 4. To comply, scooter companies have to clear the streets of all their vehicles while the authorities process their permits. That’s expected to take about a month.

    And just like that, scooters will go out the way they came in — appearing and disappearing from one day to the next — leaving in their wake the chargers, mechanics, vandals and people hotwiring the things to get a free ride around town.

    #USA #transport #disruption #SDF


  • C.I.A. Drone Mission, Curtailed by Obama, Is Expanded in Africa Under Trump

    The C.I.A. is poised to conduct secret drone strikes against Qaeda and Islamic State insurgents from a newly expanded air base deep in the Sahara, making aggressive use of powers that were scaled back during the Obama administration and restored by President Trump.

    Late in his presidency, Barack Obama sought to put the military in charge of drone attacks after a backlash arose over a series of highly visible strikes, some of which killed civilians. The move was intended, in part, to bring greater transparency to attacks that the United States often refused to acknowledge its role in.

    But now the C.I.A. is broadening its drone operations, moving aircraft to northeastern Niger to hunt Islamist militants in southern Libya. The expansion adds to the agency’s limited covert missions in eastern Afghanistan for strikes in Pakistan, and in southern Saudi Arabia for attacks in Yemen.

    Nigerien and American officials said the C.I.A. had been flying drones on surveillance missions for several months from a corner of a small commercial airport in Dirkou. Satellite imagery shows that the airport has grown significantly since February to include a new taxiway, walls and security posts.

    One American official said the drones had not yet been used in lethal missions, but would almost certainly be in the near future, given the growing threat in southern Libya. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the secretive operations.

    A C.I.A. spokesman, Timothy Barrett, declined to comment. A Defense Department spokeswoman, Maj. Sheryll Klinkel, said the military had maintained a base at the Dirkou airfield for several months but did not fly drone missions from there.

    The drones take off from Dirkou at night — typically between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. — buzzing in the clear, starlit desert sky. A New York Times reporter saw the gray aircraft — about the size of Predator drones, which are 27 feet long — flying at least three times over six days in early August. Unlike small passenger planes that land occasionally at the airport, the drones have no blinking lights signaling their presence.

    “All I know is they’re American,” Niger’s interior minister, Mohamed Bazoum, said in an interview. He offered few other details about the drones.

    Dirkou’s mayor, Boubakar Jerome, said the drones had helped improve the town’s security. “It’s always good. If people see things like that, they’ll be scared,” Mr. Jerome said.

    Mr. Obama had curtailed the C.I.A.’s lethal role by limiting its drone flights, notably in Yemen. Some strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere that accidentally killed civilians, stirring outrage among foreign diplomats and military officials, were shielded because of the C.I.A.’s secrecy.

    As part of the shift, the Pentagon was given the unambiguous lead for such operations. The move sought, in part, to end an often awkward charade in which the United States would not concede its responsibility for strikes that were abundantly covered by news organizations and tallied by watchdog groups. However, the C.I.A. program was not fully shut down worldwide, as the agency and its supporters in Congress balked.

    The drone policy was changed last year, after Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director at the time, made a forceful case to President Trump that the agency’s broader counterterrorism efforts were being needlessly constrained. The Dirkou base was already up and running by the time Mr. Pompeo stepped down as head of the C.I.A. in April to become Mr. Trump’s secretary of state.

    The Pentagon’s Africa Command has carried out five drone strikes against Qaeda and Islamic State militants in Libya this year, including one two weeks ago. The military launches its MQ-9 Reaper drones from bases in Sicily and in Niamey, Niger’s capital, 800 miles southwest of Dirkou.

    But the C.I.A. base is hundreds of miles closer to southwestern Libya, a notorious haven for Al Qaeda and other extremist groups that also operate in the Sahel region of Niger, Chad, Mali and Algeria. It is also closer to southern Libya than a new $110 million drone base in Agadez, Niger, 350 miles west of Dirkou, where the Pentagon plans to operate armed Reaper drone missions by early next year.

    Another American official said the C.I.A. began setting up the base in January to improve surveillance of the region, partly in response to an ambush last fall in another part of Niger that killed four American troops. The Dirkou airfield was labeled a United States Air Force base as a cover, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential operational matters.

    The C.I.A. operation in Dirkou is burdened by few, if any, of the political sensitivities that the United States military confronts at its locations, said one former American official involved with the project.

    Even so, security analysts said, it is not clear why the United States needs both military and C.I.A. drone operations in the same general vicinity to combat insurgents in Libya. France also flies Reaper drones from Niamey, but only on unarmed reconnaissance missions.

    “I would be surprised that the C.I.A. would open its own base,” said Bill Roggio, editor of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Long War Journal, which tracks military strikes against militant groups.

    Despite American denials, a Nigerien security official said he had concluded that the C.I.A. launched an armed drone from the Dirkou base to strike a target in Ubari, in southern Libya, on July 25. The Nigerien security official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the classified program.

    A spokesman for the Africa Command, Maj. Karl Wiest, said the military did not carry out the Ubari strike.

    #Ubari is in the same region where the American military in March launched its first-ever drone attack against Qaeda militants in southern Libya. It is at the intersection of the powerful criminal and jihadist currents that have washed across Libya in recent years. Roughly equidistant from Libya’s borders with Niger, Chad and Algeria, the area’s seminomadic residents are heavily involved in the smuggling of weapons, drugs and migrants through the lawless deserts of southern Libya.

    Some of the residents have allied with Islamist militias, including Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which operates across Algeria, Mali, Niger and Libya.

    Dirkou, in northeast Niger, is an oasis town of a few thousand people in the open desert, bordered by a small mountain range. For centuries, it has been a key transit point for travelers crossing the Sahara. It helped facilitate the rise of Islam in West Africa in the 9th century, and welcomed salt caravans from the neighboring town of Bilma.

    The town has a handful of narrow, sandy roads. Small trees dot the horizon. Date and neem trees line the streets, providing shelter for people escaping the oppressive midday heat. There is a small market, where goods for sale include spaghetti imported from Libya. Gasoline is also imported from Libya and is cheaper than elsewhere in the country.

    The drones based in Dirkou are loud, and their humming and buzzing drowns out the bleats of goats and crows of roosters.

    “It stops me from sleeping,” said Ajimi Koddo, 45, a former migrant smuggler. “They need to go. They go in our village, and it annoys us too much.”

    Satellite imagery shows that construction started in February on a new compound at the Dirkou airstrip. Since then, the facility has been extended to include a larger paved taxiway and a clamshell tent connected to the airstrip — all features that are consistent with the deployment of small aircraft, possibly drones.

    Five defensive positions were set up around the airport, and there appear to be new security gates and checkpoints both to the compound and the broader airport.

    It’s not the first time that Washington has eyed with interest Dirkou’s tiny base. In the late 1980s, the United States spent $3.2 million renovating the airstrip in an effort to bolster Niger’s government against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, then the leader of Libya.

    Compared with other parts of Africa, the C.I.A.’s presence in the continent’s northwest is relatively light, according to a former State Department official who served in the region. In this part of Niger, the C.I.A. is also providing training and sharing intelligence, according to a Nigerien military intelligence document reviewed by The Times.

    The Nigerien security official said about a dozen American Green Berets were stationed earlier this year in #Dirkou — in a base separate from the C.I.A.’s — to train a special counterterrorism battalion of local forces. Those trainers left about three months ago, the official said.

    It is unlikely that they will return anytime soon. The Pentagon is considering withdrawing nearly all American commandos from Niger in the wake of the deadly October ambush that killed four United States soldiers.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/09/world/africa/cia-drones-africa-military.html
    #CIA #drones #Niger #Sahel #USA #Etats-Unis #EI #ISIS #Etat_islamique #sécurité #terrorisme #base_militaire

    • Le Sahel est-il une zone de #non-droit ?

      La CIA a posé ses valises dans la bande sahélo-saharienne. Le New-York Times l’a annoncé, le 9 septembre dernier. Le quotidien US, a révélé l’existence d’une #base_de_drones secrète non loin de la commune de Dirkou, dans le nord-est du Niger. Cette localité, enclavée, la première grande ville la plus proche est Agadez située à 570 km, est le terrain de tir parfait. Elle est éloignée de tous les regards, y compris des autres forces armées étrangères : France, Allemagne, Italie, présentes sur le sol nigérien. Selon un responsable américain anonyme interrogé par ce journal, les drones déployés à Dirkou n’avaient « pas encore été utilisés dans des missions meurtrières, mais qu’ils le seraient certainement dans un proche avenir, compte tenu de la menace croissante qui pèse sur le sud de la Libye. » Or, d’après les renseignements recueillis par l’IVERIS, ces assertions sont fausses, la CIA a déjà mené des opérations à partir de cette base. Ces informations apportent un nouvel éclairage et expliquent le refus catégorique et systématique de l’administration américaine de placer la force conjointe du G5 Sahel (Tchad, Mauritanie, Burkina-Faso, Niger, Mali) sous le chapitre VII de la charte des Nations Unies.
      L’installation d’une base de drones n’est pas une bonne nouvelle pour les peuples du Sahel, et plus largement de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, qui pourraient connaître les mêmes malheurs que les Afghans et les Pakistanais confrontés à la guerre des drones avec sa cohorte de victimes civiles, appelées pudiquement « dégâts collatéraux ».

      D’après le journaliste du NYT, qui s’est rendu sur place, les drones présents à Dirkou ressembleraient à des Predator, des aéronefs d’ancienne génération qui ont un rayon d’action de 1250 km. Il serait assez étonnant que l’agence de Langley soit équipée de vieux modèles alors que l’US Air Force dispose à Niamey et bientôt à Agadez des derniers modèles MQ-9 Reaper, qui, eux, volent sur une distance de 1850 km. A partir de cette base, la CIA dispose donc d’un terrain de tir étendu qui va de la Libye, au sud de l’Algérie, en passant par le Tchad, jusqu’au centre du Mali, au Nord du Burkina et du Nigéria…

      Selon deux sources militaires de pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest, ces drones ont déjà réalisé des frappes à partir de la base de Dirkou. Ces bombardements ont eu lieu en Libye. Il paraît important de préciser que le chaos existant dans ce pays depuis la guerre de 2011, ne rend pas ces frappes plus légales. Par ailleurs, ces mêmes sources suspectent la CIA d’utiliser Dirkou comme une prison secrète « si des drones peuvent se poser des avions aussi. Rien ne les empêche de transporter des terroristes de Libye exfiltrés. Dirkou un Guantanamo bis ? »

      En outre, il n’est pas impossible que ces drones tueurs aient été en action dans d’autres Etats limitrophes. Qui peut le savoir ? « Cette base est irrégulière, illégale, la CIA peut faire absolument tout ce qu’elle veut là-bas » rapporte un officier. De plus, comment faire la différence entre un MQ-9 Reaper de la CIA ou encore un de l’US Air Force, qui, elle, a obtenu l’autorisation d’armer ses drones (1). Encore que…

      En novembre 2017, le président Mahamadou Issoufou a autorisé les drones de l’US Air Force basés à Niamey, à frapper leurs cibles sur le territoire nigérien (2). Mais pour que cet agrément soit légal, il aurait fallu qu’il soit présenté devant le parlement, ce qui n’a pas été le cas. Même s’il l’avait été, d’une part, il le serait seulement pour l’armée US et pas pour la CIA, d’autre part, il ne serait valable que sur le sol nigérien et pas sur les territoires des pays voisins…

      Pour rappel, cette autorisation a été accordée à peine un mois après les événements de Tongo Tongo, où neuf militaires avaient été tués, cinq soldats nigériens et quatre américains. Cette autorisation est souvent présentée comme la conséquence de cette attaque. Or, les pourparlers ont eu lieu bien avant. En effet, l’AFRICOM a planifié la construction de la base de drone d’Agadez, la seconde la plus importante de l’US Air Force en Afrique après Djibouti, dès 2016, sous le mandat de Barack Obama. Une nouvelle preuve que la politique africaine du Pentagone n’a pas changée avec l’arrivée de Donald Trump (3-4-5).

      Les USA seuls maîtres à bord dans le Sahel

      Dès lors, le véto catégorique des Etats-Unis de placer la force G5 Sahel sous chapitre VII se comprend mieux. Il s’agit de mener une guerre non-officielle sans mandat international des Nations-Unies et sans se soucier du droit international. Ce n’était donc pas utile qu’Emmanuel Macron, fer de lance du G5, force qui aurait permis à l’opération Barkhane de sortir du bourbier dans lequel elle se trouve, plaide à de nombreuses reprises cette cause auprès de Donald Trump. Tous les présidents du G5 Sahel s’y sont essayés également, en vain. Ils ont fini par comprendre, quatre chefs d’Etats ont boudé la dernière Assemblée générale des Nations Unies. Seul, le Président malien, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, est monté à la tribune pour réitérer la demande de mise sous chapitre VII, unique solution pour que cette force obtienne un financement pérenne. Alors qu’en décembre 2017, Emmanuel Macron y croyait encore dur comme fer et exigeait des victoires au premier semestre 2018, faute de budget, le G5 Sahel n’est toujours pas opérationnel ! (6-7) Néanmoins, la Chine a promis de le soutenir financièrement. Magnanime, le secrétaire d’Etat à la défense, Jim Mattis a lui assuré à son homologue, Florence Parly, que les Etats-Unis apporteraient à la force conjointe une aide très significativement augmentée. Mais toujours pas de chapitre VII en vue... Ainsi, l’administration Trump joue coup double. Non seulement elle ne s’embarrasse pas avec le Conseil de Sécurité et le droit international mais sous couvert de lutte antiterroriste, elle incruste ses bottes dans ce qui est, (ce qui fut ?), la zone d’influence française.

      Far West

      Cerise sur le gâteau, en août dernier le patron de l’AFRICOM, le général Thomas D. Waldhauser, a annoncé une réduction drastique de ses troupes en Afrique (9). Les sociétés militaires privées, dont celle d’Erik Prince, anciennement Blackwater, ont bien compris le message et sont dans les starting-blocks prêtes à s’installer au Sahel (10).


      https://www.iveris.eu/list/notes_danalyse/371-le_sahel_estil_une_zone_de_nondroit__


  • Photos Show Confrontation Between USS Decatur and a Chinese Navy Warship in South China Sea – gCaptain
    https://gcaptain.com/photos-show-confrontation-between-uss-decatur-and-chinese-navy-warship-in-


    U.S. Navy photo showing a confrontation between the USS Decatur (left) and PRC Warship 170 (right) in the South China Sea on Sunday, September 30, 2018.
    U.S. Navy Photo

    gCaptain has just obtained photos showing a confrontation involving the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Decatur and a Chinese Navy warship in the disputed South China Sea over the weekend. 

    The U.S. Navy confirmed the incident on Tuesday, accusing China’s navy of conducting an “unsafe and unprofessional maneuver” that nearly led to a collision as the U.S. destroyer was underway “in the vicinity” of Gaven Reef in the #Spratly Islands on Sunday, September 30.

    According to a Navy spokesman, during the incident, the Chinese warship “approached within 45 yards of Decatur’s bow, after which Decatur maneuvered to prevent a collision.

    As was reported over the weekend, the USS Decatur on Sunday conducted the U.S. Navy’s latest #freedom_of_navigation operation in the South China Sea, coming within 12 nautical miles of the Gaven and Johnson Reefs claimed by China.

    China issued a statement Tuesday accusing the U.S. of violating its “indisputable sovereignty” over the #South_China_Sea islands. “We strongly urge the U.S. side to immediately correct its mistake and stop such provocative actions to avoid undermining China-U.S. relations and regional peace and stability,” a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Tuesday in a statement.

    #Spratleys #mer_de_Chine_Méridionale


  • Vandalism forces New Zealand council to remove Captain Cook statue

    A year ahead of 250th anniversary of explorer’s arrival, monument will be replaced by ‘cultural designs’

    A statue of Captain Cook in New Zealand that has been repeatedly defaced and daubed with graffiti is to be removed by the council a year out from the 250-year anniversary of his arrival in the country.

    The statue of Cook in Gisborne has been repeatedly targeted by vandals amid a heated debate about the portrayal of the town’s complex colonial history.

    The Cook statue has had red paint smeared on its face and coat, and a bikini and a pair of thongs have also been painted on.

    With the 250th anniversary of Cook’s landing in New Zealand only a year away, tensions are high in the city which lies 350km south-east of Auckland.

    Many residents have posted on social media describing Cook as a “murderer” and “crooked Cook”.

    Cook and the crew of the Endeavour landed in Gisborne’s Poverty Bay in 1769 and the first significant meetings of Europeans and Māori took place nearby.

    Nick Tupara, spokesman for the #Ngati_Oneone tribe, said according to historical records, Cook’s crew shot nine #Maori men of his tribe, including Tupara’s ancestors. Six of the men are believed to have died.

    Ngati Oneone has long opposed having the controversial statue of Cook placed on the sacred mountain of #Titirangi, and on Monday the #Gisborne district council said it would be moved to the Tairawhiti Museum instead.

    The council said the mountain would now be adorned with “iwi [tribal] stories and cultural design elements can be shared from this significant location”.

    The council would also consult with the local community regarding the renaming of the Cook Plaza on top of Titirangi, as well as various walking tracks and sites on the mountain.

    Meredith Akuhata-Brown, a local councillor, told Maori Television the removal of the statue would allow a more nuanced and “honest” story about New Zealand’s history to emerge.

    Discussions are under way in the Gisborne region for Poverty Bay – so named by Cook in 1769 – to be replaced by its Māori name, or given a dual name.
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    Akuhata described the name of Poverty Bay as “horrendous” and said it was particularly painful as the region had numerous social and economical challenges it was working to overcome.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/02/vandalism-forces-new-zealand-council-to-remove-captain-cook-statue?CMP=
    #mémoire #Cook #Nouvelle_Zélande #post-colonialisme #vandalisme #histoire #colonialisme #James_Cook #musée #espace_public #toponymie (même si je ne sais pas si la place s’appelle Cook, mais c’est pour retrouver l’article) #peuples_autochtones
    ping @reka

    • Il faudrait que je retrouve le nom d’un film superbe (australien je crois) qui mets en scène aborigènes et communautés allochtones, et dans lequel une actrice aborigène lance l’insulte suprême « Tu n’es qu’un fils batard du capitaine Cook ! »


  • ‘Criminal negligence’ or disregard to Russia-Israel ties : MoD details chronology of Il-20 downing — RT World News
    https://www.rt.com/news/439151-russia-israel-il-20-negligence

    A minute-by-minute account of the Il-20 downing shows Israel’s culpability and either its military bosses’ lack of appreciation of relations with Moscow, or their control of commanding officers, the Russian defense ministry said.

    We believe that the blame for the Russian Il-20 aircraft tragedy lies entirely with the Israeli Air Force,” said spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov, before revealing a detailed account of events leading to the downing of the Russian Il-20 military aircraft on September 17. The plane was shot down by the Syrian air defense units as Israeli’s F-16s effectively used it as a cover during the attack on its neighbor.

    The report featured previously undisclosed radar data and details of communications between Russian and Israeli militaries, and concluded that “the military leadership of Israel either has no appreciation for the level of relations with Russia, or has no control over individual commands or commanding officers who understood that their actions would lead to tragedy.

    On the evening of September 17, the Russian Ilyushin IL-20 with 15 crew on board was circling over the Idlib de-escalation zone on a special reconnaissance mission, when four Israeli F-16 fighter jets left their country’s airspace and flew over the neutral Mediterranean waters towards the Syrian coast. The Israeli Air Force gave the Russian side less than a minute’s warning before dropping the precision-guided glide bombs, leaving virtually no time for any safety maneuvers, Konashenkov said, calling such actions “a clear violation of the 2015 Russian-Israeli agreements.

    Moreover, the Israeli military failed to provide the location of their jets or properly specify their targets, claiming they were going to attack several ’industrial facilities’ in northern Syria, close to the Il-20’s area of operation. The misinformation prompted the Russian Command to order the recon plane back to the Khmeimim air base. The Israeli jets, however, instead almost immediately attacked the western Syrian Latakia province.

    • RUSSIA’S IL-20 DOWNING RESPONSE - THIS IS WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN NEXT - Fort Russ
      (article paru avant la conférence de presse du ministère de la Défense russe)
      https://www.fort-russ.com/2018/09/russias-il-20-downing-response-this-is-what-needs-to-happen-next

      It would seem that there were two significant contributory factors here: i) the Israeli ‘bad-faith’ abrogation of the proper protocols for communication between themselves and the Russian Military, in order to attain a deliberate advantage for carrying out their attack; and ii) the regrettable features of outmoded air-defence hardware which ultimately lead to the shoot-down.

      The solution to the second issue is rather straightforward: Russia had earlier proposed selling S-400 systems to Syria – a move which wound up effectively ‘veto’d’ by Israel stating in no uncertain terms that they would carry out airstrikes against any such systems before they had been fully installed, regardless of whether they were still Russian crewed at that point. Given Israeli airstrikes are presently causing Russian casualties anyway; as well as the fact that the Russians have already had their own advanced SAM systems for Russian defence set up in Syria for some time now, in the present situation of Israeli diplomatic weakness created by Monday’s events, now is the ideal time to engage in such technology-transfer directly to Syria with an explicit view to ensuring that Monday’s events do not recur thanks to half-century old hardware malfunctioning.

      The first issue is much more complex, as I would be rather surprised if Russia genuinely wanted to seriously contemplate abandoning its significantly close relationship with Israel – although it may potentially be convinced to ‘downgrade’ it somewhat, assuming that we do not see a repeat of what happened following Turkey’s downing of a Russian military aircraft in 2015 (ironically, a seeming catalyst for the two countries beginning to work more closely together than ever before). Whether Russia chooses to remain on ‘friendly’ ‘terms with Israel in a militaristic sense or not, the plain reality is that the Israelis have demonstrated that they cannot and should not be trusted to behave in an up-front manner when it comes to the communication and co-ordination protocols essential to allowing them to continue to operate with relative impunity above Syrian airspace.

      Russia should therefore suspend this facility they have provided to the Israelis forthwith – and openly state that future instances of Israeli military aircraft turning up unannounced above Syria will simply be treated as hostile, and dealt with accordingly. After all, from the perspective of that IL-20 crew, what else characterizes the Israeli conduct than this designation? Certainly not the actions of something approaching a ‘trusted’ ally! The net effect of this would be to impose a ‘no-fly zone’ of sorts over Syria – thus allowing operational freedom for Russian and Syrian air assets, and denying precious, vital air-cover to the extremist forces which theoretically everybody agrees need to be wiped out.

    • Avec, au passage, l’utile rappel de la possibilité de perte de contrôle des vieux missiles anti-aériens S-200.
      C’était il y a longtemps, le 4/10/2001 époque où il y avait encore des manœuvres communes russo-ukrainiennes.

      Vol 1812 Siberia Airlines — Wikipédia
      https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vol_1812_Siberia_Airlines

      Un rapport préliminaire russe confirma les évaluations de responsables militaires américains faites à titre privé : le missile S-200 avait dépassé sa cible téléguidée qui avait été détruite avec succès par un S-300 tiré au même moment. Au lieu de s’autodétruire, le missile S-200 prit pour cible le long courrier qui se trouvait à près de 200 kilomètres ; le projectile explosa en projetant des billes d’acier (shrapnel) 15 mètres au-dessus de l’avion.

      Les responsables militaires ukrainiens nièrent d’abord que leur missile avait abattu l’avion ; ils déclarèrent que le S-200 avait été lancé vers la mer et qu’il avait réussi à s’autodétruire. Le porte-parole du ministère de la Défense Konstantin Khivrenko affirma que « ni la direction ni la portée (des missiles) ne correspondaient à l’endroit réel ou théorique où l’avion avait explosé. » Toutefois, les responsables ukrainiens admirent par la suite que c’était bien leur armée qui avait abattu l’avion de ligne.


  • Venezuela : arrivée à La Guaira du navire hôpital chinois Hé Píng Fāng Zhōu (ou Arche de la Paix)

    Buque Chino llegó a Venezuela para «iniciar operación estratégica»
    http://www.el-nacional.com/noticias/politica/buque-chino-llego-venezuela-para-iniciar-operacion-estrategica_252868


    Foto: @ArmadaFANB

    Este sábado arribó al Puerto de La Guaira, estado Vargas, el Buque Hospital chino «Arca de la Paz».

    Bienvenidos. Sigamos estrechando nuestros lazos de amistad y cooperación, para la paz”, escribió Vladimir Padrino López, ministro de Defensa, en su Twitter.

    El ministro detalló que el “Arca de la Paz” atenderá a personas de todas las nacionalidades, incluyendo a 1.200 colombianos.

    La visita de este buque hospital también se inscribe en una operación defensiva estratégica. Va a ser muy satisfactorio tener este buque en Venezuela”, precisó.

    El Ministerio de Comunicación e Información detalló que el buque tiene 500 camas, 35 unidades de ciudados intensivos y 12 quirófanos.

    «Sus equipos permiten atender problemas cardiovasculares, ginecología, odontología, oftalmología, pediatría y medicina interna, entre otros», informó el Ministerio en su página web.

    • Pour l’opposition, ce sont les conseils communaux qui désigneraient («  choisiraient  ») les patients à traiter à bord du navire chinois.

      Le ministre de la Défense répond qu’il va (même !…) soigner 1200 Colombiens…
      Rocío San Miguel : Consejos comunales « escogerán » pacientes del buque chino
      http://www.el-nacional.com/noticias/politica/rocio-san-miguel-consejos-comunales-escogeran-pacientes-del-buque-chino

      Rocío San Miguel, abogada y defensora de Derechos Humanos, denunció este sábado que los consejos comunales «escogerán» a los pacientes que recibirán atención médica por parte del buque hospital chino «Arca de la Paz».

    • Durée du séjour non précisé dans l’article. Lors de son escale à Papeete fin août, il était précisé qu’il repasserait à Tahiti le 22 décembre.

      Le He Ping Fang Zhou a accosté au port de Papeete | La Dépêche de TAHITI
      http://www.ladepeche.pf/he-ping-fang-zhou-a-accoste-port-de-papeete


      Photo : Yan Roy

      Le navire hôpital chinois, He Ping Fang Zhou, était attendu mardi dans la rade de Papeete. Il a finalement accosté ce vendredi matin dans le port de Papeete, après avoir passé près de trois jours au large de Tahiti, pour des raisons administratives. Cependant, le bâtiment militaire ne va pas s’attarder dans nos eaux. Il repartira dès 20 heures ce vendredi soir, après avoir refait le plein en carburant. À noter qu’un retour du navire est prévu le 22 décembre prochain, selon le calendrier des arrivées du Port autonome de Papeete.

      Pour rappel, cette « arche de la paix » a déjà pris en charge 90 000 patients, et intervient principalement dans les zones de guerre, peu équipées ou nécessitant une aide humanitaire. Le navire comprend à son bord une pharmacie, une salle de radiothérapie, un scanner, huit salles d’opération, un laboratoire d’analyses, une salle d’examens, une zone de stérilisation des instruments, des services gynécologiques, stomatologie, ophtalmologie, pédiatrie, médecine interne,…

    • Double nom, double lecture évidente : #soft_power ou #bâtiment_de_soutien_d'assaut_amphibie.

      Mystery Chinese Hospital Ship : What’s It For ? | WIRED
      (article de novembre 2008)
      https://www.wired.com/2008/11/mystery-chinese

      Late last month, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) accepted its first purpose-built floating hospital, the 10,000-ton “Ship 866.” While seemingly innocuous on the surface, ships like this are windows into an evolving military strategy for an emerging world power. Hospital ships can be used for a wide range of missions, from supporting full-scale amphibious assaults against heavily defended targets, to humanitarian “soft-power” expeditions winning hearts and minds.

      The question is: what is Ship 866 intended for? I asked two leading naval analysts for a new piece in World Politics Review.

      • It’s for #soft_power, contends Bob Work, from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. He says Ship 866 has its roots in the 2004 tsunami. Many world powers sent ships to help out in the aftermath of the storm, which killed more than 200,000 people in countries bordering the Indian Ocean. But not China: the PLAN didn’t have any ships capable of assisting. “The tsunami embarrassed them,” he says. “The Chinese respond to embarrassments in very focused ways.” In this case by building a hospital ship.

      • John Pike from Globalsecurity.org disagrees. He says Ship 866 is probably intended to support the growing Chinese amphibious fleet, which in turn is meant for enforcing China’s claim to South China Sea oil reserves. It’s a far cry from humanitarian soft-power missions.

      Of course, intentions are only intentions. Regardless of the original motive, the PLAN now has a ship capable of both humanitarian missions and supporting amphibious assaults. The Chinese are still decades from matching the U.S. Navy’s huge amphibious and humanitarian fleet, but it’s a start.

      Pour mémoire, la marine états-unienne dispose de 2 navires-hôpitaux (3 fois plus gros)
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USNS_Mercy_(T-AH-19)

      La France ne peut se payer ce luxe et utilise ses navires de soutien amphibie (à coque grise donc) pour ces missions humanitaires, les 3 BPC de la classe Mistral qui ont succédé aux 2 TCD de la classe Foudre.

      cf. Irma en septembre 2017
      Ouragan Irma : première mission humanitaire | colsbleus.fr : le magazine de la Marine Nationale
      http://www.colsbleus.fr/articles/10267

      A la fois bâtiment amphibie, porte-hélicoptères, bâtiment de commandement et navire hôpital, le bâtiment de projection et de commandement (BPC) présente une polyvalence exceptionnelle dont le déploiement du Tonnerre aux Antilles a montré une nouvelle fois. Mis en alerte le 8 septembre, après le passage de l’ouragan Irma, le Tonnerre a appareillé, avec un préavis très court, dès le 12 septembre, pour apporter son soutien aux populations de l’île sinistrée de Saint-Martin. Retour sur cette mission.

      Le module de rétablissement sommaire sur la plage à Saint-Martin

    • Tiens, d’ailleurs, après l’ouragan Maria à Porto-Rico en septembre-octobre 2017…

      Navy Hospital Ship USNS Comfort Will Deploy to Colombia to Care for Venezuelan Refugees - USNI News
      (article du 20/08/2018)
      https://news.usni.org/2018/08/20/35918


      The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) arrives in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Oct. 3, 2017. Comfort will help support Hurricane Maria aid and relief operations.
      US Air Force photo.

      The Navy’s hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) is being deployed to Colombia this fall to provide medical care to a growing regional humanitarian crisis, as Venezuelans steadily pour over the border to escape a deteriorating health and political climate.

      While visiting Colombia late last week, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced he was sending Comfort at the request of Colombia’s government. The hospital ship will assist the Colombian medical services network in providing medical care to what has been reported as an influx of more than 1 million Venezuelans into neighboring Colombia.

      The plan is for that hospital ship, USNS Comfort, to deploy this fall,” Col. Robert Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, said during a Monday media briefing. “The details are being worked out as far as a detailed timeline.

      A departure date has not been set, and medical staffing needs aboard the ship are still being determined, Manning said.


  • Origins of an Epidemic: Purdue Pharma Knew Its Opioids Were Widely Abused - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/29/health/purdue-opioids-oxycontin.html

    Prosecutors found that the company’s sales representatives used the words “street value,” “crush,” or “snort” in 117 internal notes recording their visits to doctors or other medical professionals from 1997 through 1999.

    The 120-page report also cited emails showing that Purdue Pharma’s owners, members of the wealthy Sackler family, were sent reports about abuse of OxyContin and another company opioid, MS Contin.
    Image
    “We have in fact picked up references to abuse of our opioid products on the internet,” Purdue Pharma’s general counsel, Howard R. Udell, wrote in early 1999 to another company official. That same year, prosecutors said, company officials learned of a call to a pharmacy describing “OxyContin as the hottest thing on the street — forget Vicodin.”

    A spokesman for Purdue Pharma, Robert Josephson, declined to comment on the allegations in the report but said the company was involved in efforts to address opioid abuse.

    Suggesting that activities that last occurred more than 16 years ago are responsible for today’s complex and multifaceted opioid crisis is deeply flawed ,” he said in a statement.

    La famille sacquer savait, dès le début...

    In May 1996, five months after OxyContin’s approval, Richard Sackler and Mr. Udell were sent an older medical journal article describing how drug abusers were extracting morphine from MS Contin tablets in order to inject the drug , prosecutors reported. A Purdue Pharma scientist researched the issue and sent his findings to several Sacklers, the government report states.
    “I found MS Contin mentioned a couple of times on the internet underground drug culture scene,” the researcher wrote in that 1996 email. “Most of it was mentioned in the context of MS Contin as a morphine source.”

    #Opioides #Sackler


  • Inside Italy’s Shadow Economy

    #Home_work — working from home or a small workshop as opposed to in a factory — is a cornerstone of the #fast-fashion supply chain. It is particularly prevalent in countries such as India, Bangladesh, Vietnam and China, where millions of low-paid and predominantly female home workers are some of the most unprotected in the industry, because of their irregular employment status, isolation and lack of legal recourse.

    That similar conditions exist in Italy, however, and facilitate the production of some of the most expensive wardrobe items money can buy, may shock those who see the “Made in Italy” label as a byword for sophisticated craftsmanship.

    Increased pressure from #globalization and growing competition at all levels of the market mean that the assumption implicit in the luxury promise — that part of the value of such a good is that it is made in the best conditions, by highly skilled workers, who are paid fairly — is at times put under threat.

    Though they are not exposed to what most people would consider sweatshop conditions, the homeworkers are allotted what might seem close to sweatshop wages. Italy does not have a national minimum wage, but roughly €5-7 per hour is considered an appropriate standard by many unions and consulting firms. In extremely rare cases, a highly skilled worker can earn as much as €8-10 an hour. But the homeworkers earn significantly less, regardless of whether they are involved in leatherwork, embroidery or another artisanal task.

    In #Ginosa, another town in Puglia, Maria Colamita, 53, said that a decade ago, when her two children were younger, she had worked from home on wedding dresses produced by local factories, embroidering gowns with pearl paillettes and appliqués for €1.50 to €2 per hour.

    Each gown took 10 to 50 hours to complete, and Ms. Colamita said she worked 16 to 18 hours a day; she was paid only when a garment was complete.

    “I would only take breaks to take care of my children and my family members — that was it,” she said, adding that she currently works as a cleaner and earns €7 per hour. “Now my children have grown up, I can take on a job where I can earn a real wage.”

    Both women said they knew at least 15 other seamstresses in their area who produced luxury fashion garments on a piece-rate basis for local factories from their homes. All live in Puglia, the rural heel of Italy’s boot that combines whitewashed fishing villages and crystal clear waters beloved by tourists with one of the country’s biggest manufacturing hubs.

    Few were willing to risk their livelihoods to tell their tales, because for them the flexibility and opportunity to care for their families while working was worth the meager pay and lack of protections.

    “I know I am not paid what I deserve, but salaries are very low here in Puglia and ultimately I love what I do,” said another seamstress, from the attic workshop in her apartment. “I have done it all my life and couldn’t do anything else.”

    Although she had a factory job that paid her €5 per hour, she worked an additional three hours per day off the books from home, largely on high-quality sample garments for Italian designers at roughly €50 apiece.

    “We all accept that this is how it is,” the woman said from her sewing machine, surrounded by cloth rolls and tape measures.
    ‘Made in Italy,’ but at What Cost?

    Built upon the myriad small- and medium-size export-oriented manufacturing businesses that make up the backbone of Europe’s fourth largest economy, the centuries-old foundations of the “Made in Italy” legend have shaken in recent years under the weight of bureaucracy, rising costs and soaring unemployment.

    Businesses in the north, where there are generally more job opportunities and higher wages, have suffered less than those in the south, which were hit hard by the boom in cheap foreign labor that lured many companies into moving production operations abroad.

    Few sectors are as reliant on the country’s manufacturing cachet as the luxury trade, long a linchpin of Italy’s economic growth. It is responsible for 5 percent of Italian gross domestic product, and an estimated 500,000 people were employed directly and indirectly by the luxury goods sector in Italy in 2017, according to data from a report from the University of Bocconi and Altagamma, an Italian luxury trade organization.

    Those numbers have been bolstered by the rosy fortunes of the global luxury market, expected by Bain & Company to grow by 6 to 8 percent, to €276 to €281 billion in 2018, driven in part by the appetite for “Made in Italy” goods from established and emerging markets.

    But the alleged efforts by some luxury brands and lead suppliers to lower costs without undermining quality have taken a toll on those on those operating at the very bottom of the industry. Just how many are affected is difficult to quantify.

    According to data from Istat (the Italian National Institute of Statistics), 3.7 million workers across all sectors worked without contracts in Italy in 2015. More recently, in 2017, Istat counted 7,216 home workers, 3,647 in the manufacturing sector, operating with regular contracts.

    However, there is no official data on those operating with irregular contracts, and no one has attempted to quantify the group for decades. In 1973, the economist Sebastiano Brusco estimated that Italy had one million contracted home workers in apparel production, with a roughly equal figure working without contracts. Few comprehensive efforts have been made to examine the numbers since.

    This New York Times investigation collected evidence of about 60 women in the Puglia region alone working from home without a regular contract in the apparel sector. Tania Toffanin, the author of “Fabbriche Invisibili,” a book on the history of home working in Italy, estimated that currently there are 2,000 to 4,000 irregular home workers in apparel production.

    “The deeper down we go in the supply chain, the greater the abuse,” said Deborah Lucchetti, of #Abiti_Puliti, the Italian arm of #Clean_Clothes_Campaign, an anti-sweatshop advocacy group. According to Ms. Lucchetti, the fragmented structure of the global manufacturing sector, made up of thousands of medium to small, often family-owned, businesses, is a key reason that practices like unregulated home working can remain prevalent even in a first world nation like Italy.

    Plenty of Puglian factory managers stressed they adhered to union regulations, treated workers fairly and paid them a living wage. Many factory owners added that almost all luxury names — like Gucci, owned by Kering, for example, or Louis Vuitton, owned by #LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton — regularly sent staff to check on working conditions and quality standards.

    When contacted, LVMH declined to comment for this story. A spokesman for MaxMara emailed the following statement: “MaxMara considers an ethical supply chain a key component of the company’s core values reflected in our business practice.”

    He added that the company was unaware of specific allegations of its suppliers using home workers, but had started an investigation this week.

    According to Ms. Lucchetti, the fact that many Italian luxury brands outsource the bulk of manufacturing, rather than use their own factories, has created a status quo where exploitation can easily fester — especially for those out of union or brand sightlines. A large portion of brands hire a local supplier in a region, who will then negotiate contracts with factories in the area on their behalf.

    “Brands commission first lead contractors at the head of the supply chain, which then commission to sub-suppliers, which in turn shift part of the production to smaller factories under the pressure of reduced lead time and squeezed prices,” Ms. Lucchetti said. “That makes it very hard for there to be sufficient transparency or accountability. We know home working exists. But it is so hidden that there will be brands that have no idea orders are being made by irregular workers outside the contracted factories.”

    However, she also called these problems common knowledge, and said, “some brands must know they might be complicit.”

    The ‘Salento Method’

    Certainly that is the view of Eugenio Romano, a former union lawyer who has spent the last five years representing Carla Ventura, a bankrupt factory owner of Keope Srl (formerly CRI), suing the Italian shoe luxury behemoth Tod’s and Euroshoes, a company that Tod’s used as a lead supplier for its Puglian footwear production.

    Initially, in 2011, Ms. Ventura began legal proceedings against only Euroshoes, saying that consistently late payments, shrinking fee rates for orders and outstanding bills owed to her by that company were making it impossible to maintain a profitable factory and pay her workers a fair wage. A local court ruled in her favor, and ordered Euroshoes to pay the debts, which, after appealing unsuccessfully, the company did.

    Orders dried up in the wake of those legal proceedings. Eventually, in 2014, Keope went bankrupt. Now, in a second trial, which has stretched on for years without a significant ruling, Ms. Ventura has brought another action against Euroshoes, and Tod’s, which she says had direct knowledge of Euroshoes’ unlawful business practices. (Tod’s has said it played no role in nor had any knowledge of Euroshoes’ contract issues with Keope. A lawyer for Euroshoes declined to comment for this article.)

    “Part of the problem down here is that employees agree to forgo their rights in order to work,” Mr. Romano said from his office in the town of Casarano, ahead of the next court hearing, scheduled for Sept. 26.

    He spoke of the “Salento method,” a well-known local phrase that means, essentially: “Be flexible, use your methods, you know how to do it down here.”

    The region of Salento has a high unemployment rate, which makes its work force vulnerable. And although brands would never officially suggest taking advantage of employees, some factory owners have told Mr. Romano that there is an underlying message to use a range of means, including underpaying employees and paying them to work at home.

    The area has long been a hub of third-party shoemakers for luxury brands including Gucci, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo and Tod’s. In 2008, Ms. Ventura entered into an exclusive agreement with Euroshoes to become a sub-supplier of shoe uppers destined for Tod’s.

    According to Ms. Ventura’s lawsuit, she then became subject to consistently late payments, as well as an unexplained reduction in prices per unit from €13.48 to €10.73 per shoe upper from 2009 to 2012.

    While many local factories cut corners, including having employees work from home, Ms. Ventura said she still paid full salaries and provided national insurance. Because the contract required exclusivity, other potential manufacturing deals with rival brands including Armani and Gucci, which could have balanced the books, could not be made.

    Production costs were no longer covered, and promises of an increased number of orders from Tod’s via Euroshoes never came, according to the legal papers filed in Ms. Ventura’s case.

    In 2012, orders from Tod’s via Euroshoes stopped completely, one year after Ms. Ventura first took Euroshoes to court for her unpaid bills. Ms. Ventura said that eventually put Keope on the road to bankruptcy, according to legal documents. Ms. Ventura was declared insolvent in 2014.

    When asked for comment, a Tod’s spokeswoman said in a statement:

    “Keope filed a lawsuit against one of our suppliers, Euroshoes, and Tod’s, to recover damages related to the alleged actions or omissions of Euroshoes. Tod’s has nothing to do with the facts alleged in the case and never had a direct commercial relationship with Keope. Keope is a subcontractor of Euroshoes, and Tod’s is completely extraneous to their relationship.”

    The statement also said that Tod’s had paid Euroshoes for all the amounts billed in a timely and regular manner, and was not responsible if Euroshoes failed to pay a subcontractor. Tod’s said it insisted all suppliers perform their services in line with the law, and that the same standard be applied to subcontractors.

    “Tod’s reserves the right to defend its reputation against the libelous attempt of Keope to involve it in issues that do not concern Tod’s,” the spokeswoman said.

    Indeed, a report by Abiti Puliti that included an investigation by Il Tacco D’Italia, a local newspaper, into Ms. Ventura’s case found that other companies in the region sewing uppers by hand had women do the work irregularly from their homes. That pay would be 70 to 90 euro cents a pair, meaning that in 12 hours a worker would earn 7 to 9 euros.

    ‘Invisible’ Labor

    Home working textile jobs that are labor intensive or require skilled handiwork are not new to Italy. But many industry observers believe that the lack of a government-set national minimum wage has made it easier for many home workers to still be paid a pittance.

    Wages are generally negotiated for workers by union representatives, which vary by sector and by union. According to the Studio Rota Porta, an Italian labor consultancy, the minimum wage in the textile industry should be roughly €7.08 per hour, lower than those for other sectors including food (€8.70), construction (€8) and finance (€11.51).

    But workers who aren’t members of unions operate outside the system and are vulnerable to exploitation, a source of frustration for many union representatives.

    “We do know about seamstresses working without contracts from home in Puglia, especially those that specialize in sewing appliqué, but none of them want to approach us to talk about their conditions, and the subcontracting keeps them largely invisible,” said Pietro Fiorella, a representative of the CGIL, or Italian General Confederation of Labour, the country’s largest national union.

    Many of them are retired, Mr. Fiorella said, or want the flexibility of part-time work to care for family members or want to supplement their income, and are fearful of losing the additional money. While unemployment rates in Puglia recently dropped to 19.5 percent in the first quarter of 2018 from nearly 21.5 percent in the same period a year ago, jobs remain difficult to come by.

    A fellow union representative, Giordano Fumarola, pointed to another reason that garment and textile wages in this stretch of southern Italy have stayed so low for so long: the offshoring of production to Asia and Eastern Europe over the last two decades, which intensified local competition for fewer orders and forced factory owners to drive down prices.

    In recent years, some luxury companies have started to bring production back to Puglia, Mr. Fumarola said. But he believed that power is still firmly in the hands of the brands, not suppliers already operating on wafer-thin margins. The temptation for factory owners to then use sub-suppliers or home workers, or save money by defrauding their workers or the government, was hard to resist.

    Add to that a longstanding antipathy for regulation, high instances of irregular unemployment and fragmented systems of employment protection, and the fact that nonstandard employment has been significantly liberalized by successive labor market reforms since the mid-1990s, and the result is further isolation for those working on the margins.

    A national election in March swept a new populist government to power in Italy, placing power in the hands of two parties — the Five Star Movement and the League — and a proposed “dignity decree” aims to limit the prevalence of short-term job contracts and of firms shifting jobs abroad while simplifying some fiscal rules. For now, however, legislation around a minimum wage does not appear to be on the agenda.

    Indeed, for women like the unnamed seamstress in Santeramo in Colle, working away on yet another coat at her kitchen table, reform of any sort feels a long way off.

    Not that she really minded. She would be devastated to lose this additional income, she said, and the work allowed her to spend time with her children.

    “What do you want me to say?” she said with a sigh, closing her eyes and raising the palms of her hands. “It is what it is. This is Italy.”


    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/20/fashion/italy-luxury-shadow-economy.html
    #fashion #mode #industrie_textile #travail #exploitation #Italie #esclavage_moderne #Pouilles #made_in_Italy #invisibilité #travail_à_la_maison #mondialisation #luxe #MaxMara #Gucci #Kering #Louis_Vuitton #LVMH #Salento #Carla_Ventura #Keope_Srl #CRI #Euroshoes #Tod's #Salento_method #Prada #Salvatore_Ferragamo

    via @isskein


  • Russia detects missile launches from French frigate off Syria’s coast in Mediterranean — RT World News
    https://www.rt.com/news/438676-french-frigate-mediterranean-missiles


    © French Navy

    Russian airspace control systems registered missile launches from a French frigate in the Mediterranean on Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry reported.
    The French Navy’s newest frigate, FS Auvergne, fired rockets at around 8pm GMT on Monday, the Russian military said. “Airspace control has recorded rocket launches from the French frigate ’Auvergne,’” the ministry’s statement read. The ’Auvergne’ is deployed in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Syria.

    Paris denied “any involvement in [the] attack,” a French army spokesman said, as cited by AFP.

    It is a ’European multi-purpose frigate’ (FREMM) which entered the service of the French Navy in February this year. Prior to its official commissioning, the Aquitaine-class warship underwent deployment across the globe, including the Mediterranean Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf, the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean.

    The launch was detected at around the same time that air traffic controllers at Khmeimim Airbase “lost contact” with a military Il-20 aircraft during an attack by Israeli F-16 fighters on Latakia. Some 14 people were on board the plane at the time of the disappearance. A search and rescue mission is underway.

    The IDF has refused to comment on the report. Despite the fact that Israel rarely acknowledges striking specific targets inside Syria, earlier this month the IDF admitted hitting at least 202 “Iranian targets” in the country.

    As tensions over Idlib rise, Turkey and Russia on Monday agreed to establish a “demilitarized zone” between militants and government troops as part of an effort to clear the remaining jihadists from Syria.


  • L’article d’une DJ israélienne à propos des annulations récentes. Quelques points à noter :
    1) elle n’est pas surprise de l’annulation de Lana del Rey
    2) elle est surprise en revanche de l’annulation de DJs, car ce milieu n’était pas touché par la politique et BDS, et elle se demande si ce n’est pas le début de quelque chose...
    3) elle cite Gaza, la loi sur l’Etat Nation, les arrestations d’activistes à l’aéroport, mais aussi la proximité entre Trump et Netanyahu, qui influence surtout les artistes américains
    4) on apprend que tout le monde sait qu’il y a des artistes, et non des moindres, qui même s’ils ne le disent pas ouvertement, ne viendront jamais en israel : Beyoncé, The Knife, Grizzly Bear, Arcade Fire, Deerhunter, Sonic Youth, Lil Yachty, Tyler the Creator, Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper, Vince Staples, Moodymann, Kyle Hall, the Martinez Brothers, Ben UFO, DJ Ricardo Villalobos, Matthew Herbert, Andrew Weatherall... C’est ce qu’on appelle le boycott silencieux...
    5) il y a aussi le cas de ceux qui ne viennent que si les concerts sont organisés par des Palestiniens : Acid Arab et Nicolas Jaar
    6) même si cela me semble faux, le fait d’accuser certains artistes de boycotter parce que c’est à la mode est un aveu que BDS a le vent en poupe dans le milieu de la musique

    The Day the Music Died : Will BDS Bring Tel Aviv’s Club Scene to a Standstill ?
    Idit Frenkel, Haaretz, le 7 septembre 2018
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-the-day-the-music-died-will-bds-halt-tel-aviv-s-club-scen

    Lana Del Rey should have known better. And if not Del Rey herself, then at least her managers, PR people and agents.

    As the highest-profile artist who was scheduled to appear at the Meteor Festival over the weekend in the north, it was clear she’d be the one caught in the crossfire , the one boycott groups would try to convince to ditch an appearance in Israel. That’s the same crossfire with diplomatic, moral and economic implications that confronted Lorde, Lauryn Hill and Tyler, the Creator: musicians who announced performances in Israel and changed their minds because of political pressure.

    Del Rey, however, isn’t the story. Her cancellation , which included some mental gymnastics as far as her positions were concerned, could have been expected. Unfortunately, we’ve been there many times and in many different circumstances.

    Tsunami of cancellations

    The ones who caught us unprepared by drafting an agenda for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict turned out to be DJs like Shanti Celeste, Volvox, DJ Seinfeld, Python and Leon Vynehall, who also dropped out of Meteor. Why was this unexpected? Because Israel’s nightlife and clubbing scene – especially in Tel Aviv – had been an oasis regarding cultural boycotts, an extraterritorial hedonistic space with no room for politics.

    The current tsunami of cancellations, while it might sound trivial if you’re untutored in trance music, could reflect a trend with effects far beyond the Meteor Festival. In the optimistic scenario, this is a one-off event that has cast the spotlight on lesser-known musicians as well. In the pessimistic scenario, this is the end of an era in which the clubbing scene has been an exception.

    Adding credence to the change-in-direction theory are the cancellations by DJs who have spun in Tel Aviv in recent years; Volvox, Shanti Celeste and Leon Vynehall have all had their passports stamped at Ben-Gurion Airport. And those times the situation wasn’t very different: Benjamin Netanyahu was prime minister, the occupation was decades long and there were sporadic exchanges of fire between the sides.

    Moreover, two of the DJs spearheading the struggle on the nightlife scene regarding Mideast politics – the Black Madonna and Anthony Naples – have been here, enjoyed themselves, been honored and promised to return, until they discovered there’s such a thing as the occupation.

    Americans and Brits cancel more

    So what has changed since 2015? First, there has been a change on the Gaza border, with civilians getting shot. These incidents have multiplied in the past three months and don’t exactly photograph well.

    Second, news reports about the nation-state law and the discrimination that comes with it have done their bit. Third, the arrests and detentions of left-wing activists entering Israel haven’t remained in a vacuum.

    Fourth, and most importantly, is Donald Trump’s presidency and his unconditional embrace of Netanyahu, including, of course, the controversial opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. As in the case of Natalie Portman’s refusal to accept a prize from the state, the closeness between the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government – under the sponsorship of evangelical Christians – has made Israel a country non grata in the liberal community, of which Hollywood is one pole and nightlife the other.

    It’s no coincidence that the DJs canceling are either Americans or Brits on the left; that is, Democrats or Jeremy Corbyn supporters in Labour – people who see cooperation with Israel as collaboration with Trump and Britain’s Conservative government.

    Different from them is Honey Dijon, the black trans DJ from Chicago who in response to the protest against her appearance at the Meteor Festival tweeted: “All of you people criticizing me about playing in Israel, when you come to America and stand up for the murder of black trans women and the prison industrial complex of black men then we can debate. I play for people not governments.” Not many people tried to argue with her. Say what you will, contrarianism is always effective.

    The case of DJ Jackmaster

    Beyond the issue of values, at the image level, alleged collaboration can be a career killer, just as declaring a boycott is the last word in chic for your image nowadays. That’s exactly what has happened with Scotland’s DJ Jackmaster, who has gone viral with his eventual refusal to perform at Tel Aviv’s Block club. He posted a picture of the Palestinian flag with a caption saying you have to exploit a platform in order to stand up for those who need it. The flood of responses included talk about boycotting all Tel Aviv, not just the Block.

    Yaron Trax is the owner of the Block; his club is considered not only the largest and most influential venue in town but also an international brand. Trax didn’t remain silent; on his personal Facebook account he mentioned how a few weeks before Jackmaster’s post his agent was still trying to secure the gig for him at the Block.

    “Not my finest hour, but calling for a boycott of my club at a time when an artist is trying to play there felt to me like crossing a line,” Trax says. “Only after the fact, and especially when I saw how his post was attracting dozens of hurtful, belligerent and racist responses – and generating a violent discourse that I oppose – did I realize how significant it was.”

    Trax talks about the hatred that has welled up in support of Jackmaster’s Israel boycott – just between us, not the sharpest tool in the shed and someone who has recently been accused of sexual harassment. As Trax puts it, “The next day it was important to me to admonish myself, first off, and then all those who chose to respond the way they responded.”

    In a further well-reasoned post, Trax wrote, “I have always thought that people who take a risk and use the platform that is given to them to transmit a message they believe in, especially one that isn’t popular, deserve admiration and not intimidation or silencing.” Unsurprisingly, the reactions to this message were mostly positive.

    Notwithstanding the boycotters who have acceded to the demands of Roger Waters and Brian Eno – the most prominent musicians linked to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement – there are plenty of superstar musicians like Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake and the Rolling Stones who have come to Israel as part of their concert tours, even though they suffered the same pressures. The performers most vocal about their decision to appear in Israel have been Radiohead and Nick Cave.

    At a press conference on the eve of his concert, Cave expressed his opinion on the demand to boycott Israel: “It suddenly became very important to make a stand, to me, against those people who are trying to shut down musicians, to bully musicians, to censor musicians and to silence musicians.”

    Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke took the message one step further and tweeted: “Playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing its government. We’ve played in Israel for over 20 years through a succession of governments, some more liberal than others. As we have in America. We don’t endorse Netanyahu any more than Trump, but we still play in America.” As Yorke put it, music, art and academia are “about crossing borders, not building them.”

    There’s a lot of truth in Yorke’s declaration, but whether or not musicians like it, appearances in Israel tend to acquire a political dimension; any statement becomes a potential international incident. Thus, for example, after Radiohead’s statement, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan saluted the band, and after Cave’s press conference, Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon tweeted “Bravo Nick Cave!”

    The trend continues when we step down a league from the A-listers, like Beyoncé, who doesn’t intend to perform in Israel despite her annual declaration that she’ll come “next year.” There’s the second level, the cream of international alternative rock and pop – refusals to appear in Israel by bands “of good conscience” like the Knife, Grizzly Bear, Arcade Fire and Deerhunter.

    The most prominent voice from this territory is that of former Sonic Youth guitarist and vocalist Thurston Moore. Yes, he appeared with his band in Tel Aviv 23 years ago, but since then he has become an avid supporter of BDS, so much so that he says it’s not okay to eat hummus because it’s a product of the occupation.

    ’Apartheid state’

    At the next level of refusers are the major – and minor – hip-hop stars. In addition to Lil Yachty and Tyler, who canceled appearances, other heroes of the genre like Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper and Vince Staples have refused from the outset to accept invitations to Israel. It’s quite possible that the connection between BDS and Black Lives Matter is influential. As early as 2016, Black Lives Matter published a statement supporting BDS and declaring Israel an “apartheid state.”

    Which brings us to electronic music and the cultural phenomenon that goes with it – the club culture. In numerical terms, club culture is smaller, but the information that flows from it on the ground or online flows much faster.

    Moreover, not only is club culture more sensitive to changes and far more alert to ideas and technological advances, its history is marked by struggles by oppressed groups. It can be said that African-Americans, Hispanics and gay people were the first to adopt the “night” way of life, back in the days of New York’s clubs and underground parties in the ‘70s. Accordingly, these groups have been the ones to nurture this lifestyle into today’s popular culture. Hence also the association with movements like BDS.

    Boiler Room Palestine

    Indeed, the current trend points to a step-up in the discourse; in the past year the top alternative culture magazines – of which the electronic music magazines play a key role – have published articles surveying musical and cultural happenings in Palestinian society.

    The online music magazine Resident Advisor has had two such stories, the first about a workshop for artists with the participation of the Block 9 production team, musicians Brian Eno and Róisín Murphy (formerly of Moloko) and American DJ the Black Madonna. The workshop, which included tours, discussion groups and joint musical work, was held at the Walled Off Hotel in Ramallah, also known as Banksy’s hotel because of the street artist’s involvement in its planning in the shadow of the separation barrier.

    The second article surveyed the Palestinian electronic scene and its leading players – promoters, DJs and producers who are operating despite the restrictive military regime. In addition, the writer accompanied the production of Boiler Room Palestine in Ramallah in June. (The wider Boiler Room franchise has been the world’s most popular pop party for the past five years.)

    Another example includes the style magazine Dazed, which wrote about the cultural boycott movement immediately after the cancellation of Lorde’s concert, and just last month New York Magazine’s culture supplement Vulture set forth its philosophy on the boycott (also in the context of Lana Del Rey). It predicted that the awakening we’re seeing today is only in its infancy.

    This partial list isn’t a clear declaration about “taking a stance” – after all, progressive media outlets in culture laud Israeli artists (for example Red Axes, Moscoman and Guy Gerber) or local venues, like the Block club. But if you add to these the scores of Facebook battles or Twitter discussions (like the one Del Rey found herself in), you’ll get noise. And noise generates questions, which generate more noise and raise consciousness. And from there to change on the ground is a modest distance.

    ’These are people who slept on my sofa’

    Refusals of invitations or cancellations of concerts in Israel by artists didn’t begin with BDS or the increasing volume of the past two years. After all, a visit to Israel all too often requires an intrusive security check. It’s hard to complain about a DJ who isn’t keen to have his underwear probed.

    Also, there’s a stratum of artists who’ve appeared in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem or Haifa and have decided to stop coming – unless there’s a Palestinian production. Two examples are the French band Acid Arab (Parisians Guido Minisky and Hervé Carvalho) and the American producer – and darling of the hipster community – Nicolas Jaar . Jaar appeared in Tel Aviv a bit under a decade ago, just before he became a star, while Acid Arab not only performed in Tel Aviv but was also involved in projects with Israeli musicians – so plenty of people called the duo hypocrites.

    “I have no problem with strong opinions, but in the case of Acid Arab it annoyed me at the personal level – these are people who slept on my sofa, recorded with local musicians, and the day they put up their post announcing they wouldn’t play in Tel Aviv, they also asked me to send them some music,” says Maor Anava, aka DJ Hectik.

    “I have no problem with people changing their minds on the go; it’s clear to me that a visit to the separation fence can do it, but what bothered me is that it’s entirely a PR and image move, apparently at the advice of their agent,” he adds.

    “We’ve reached a situation in which a boycott of Israel is the trendiest thing and situates you in the right place in the scene – as a supporter of the Palestinian freedom fighters against the terrible Zionist occupier, something that can get you to another three big festivals. If you performed in Tel Aviv, apparently they’d do without you.”

    Thus at the end of last year, Acid Arab and Nicolas Jaar appeared in Haifa and Ramallah at parties produced by Jazar Crew, the only electronic collective in Israel that isn’t afraid to mix in politics.. So it surprised no one when Jazar received laudatory – and justified – coverage not only in Bar Peleg’s Haaretz piece but also in Resident Advisor.

    Is the party over?

    So are we seeing the onset of the electronic boycott of Tel Aviv, one of the world’s clubbing capitals? Well, the city is still a flourishing center of parties and club events every week. “ As of today it hasn’t yet happened that we’ve directly encountered an attempt by the cultural boycott to influence artists who are slated to appear at the club,” Trax says.

    “But we’re definitely seeing a change in the surrounding behavior. Nasty responses that people are leaving for a DJ who announced an upcoming gig with us have led to fewer famous DJs announcing appearances at the Block – even those who always promote themselves.”

    He notes a slowdown in the past two years. “A number of DJs who used to appear with us – Moodymann, Kyle Hall, the Martinez Brothers – have announced they won’t be returning, ” Trax says, referring to three American acts. “But there isn’t any set reason why. If the cultural boycott has an influence here I wouldn’t be surprised, because the Detroit junta is very political. And this also applies to UFO,” a successful British DJ and a high-profile voice in the European underground arena.

    Not all DJs who have chosen not to come to Israel have taken their stance amid the strengthening of the BDS movement. Some of the top people in the dance industry – including star Chilean-German DJ Ricardo Villalobos and British DJs and producers like Matthew Herbert and Andrew Weatherall – have for years been refusing to spin in Israel. They’ve made clear that this is their way of opposing Israel’s activities in the territories.

    Another great DJ, Tunisian-born Loco Dice who lives in Germany, is also considered a vocal opponent of Israel. But in December he played at the Block, and Trax doesn’t recall any signs that his guest was hostile to the country. This shows that a change of awareness works both ways.

    There’s a similar story: the decision by DJ Tama Sumo of the Berghain club in Berlin to play in Israel after a long boycott. She and her partner DJ Lakuti, a pillar of the industry, donated the proceeds of her Tel Aviv set to an organization for human rights in the territories.

    “As of now I don’t feel that the names who have decided to stop coming will change anything regarding the Block, because our lineup of VIPs isn’t based on them,” Trax says. “But if the more commercial cream of the clubs – DJs like Dixon, Ame and Damian Lazarus, or the big names in techno like Nina Kraviz, Ben Klock, Jeff Mills or Adam Beyer – change their minds, that will be a real blow to us, and not just us.”

    Amotz Tokatly, who’s responsible for bringing DJs to Tel Aviv’s Beit Maariv club, isn’t feeling much of a change. “The cancellations or refusals by DJs and artists based on a political platform didn’t begin just this year. I’ve been encountering this for many years now. There are even specific countries where we know the prevailing mood is political and tending toward the boycott movement. For example England. The rhetoric there is a priori much stronger,” Tokatly says.

    “But take Ben UFO, who has played in Tel Aviv in the past. When we got back to him about another spinning gig he said explicitly, ‘It simply isn’t worth it for me from a public relations perspective, and it could hurt me later on.’ DJs like him make their own calculations.”

    Tokatly doesn’t believe in a “Meteor effect” that will send the visiting DJ economy to the brink of an abyss. “I’m giving it a few weeks to calm down, and in the worst case we won’t be seeing here the level of minor league DJs who have canceled due to the circumstances,” he says.

    “In any case, they’re names who would have come here – if at all – once a year. Regarding artists who have a long-term and stable relationship with the local scene, we haven’t seen any change in approach yet.”

    Unlike Trax and Tokatly, Doron “Charly” Mastey of the techno duo TV.OUT and content director at Tel Aviv’s Alphabet Club says the recent goings-on haven’t affected him too much; his club is unusual in that doesn’t base itself on names from abroad.

    “I don’t remember any case of a refusal or cancellation because of political leanings,” he says. “But with everything that’s happening now regarding Meteor, and if that affects the scene down the road and the airlift to Tel Aviv stops, I’m not at all sure that’s a bad thing.”

    Mastey has in mind the gap between the size of the audience and the number of events, parties and festivals happening in Israel right now. “The audience is tired, and indifferent,” he says.. “And if this kick in the pants – of cancellations – is what’s going to dismantle the scene in its current format, then it will simply rebuild itself. I hope in a way that’s healthier for everyone.”

    In any case, if the rest of the world has realized that it’s impossible to separate politics from anything, and definitely not from club culture, which started out as a political and social movement, then the best thing we can do is try to hold the discussion in an inclusive a way as possible. An Israeli DJ working in Berlin who requested anonymity thinks that these ideas should be taken one step further.

    “Nowadays, for artists who want to go to Israel, two proposals are on the table,” he says. “Support the boycott or support the occupation. These two things are depicted even if they aren’t accurate, and between the two options there are a thousand more levels.”

    He believes there is scope for taking action. “The local scene must know how to fill the vacuum and craft alternatives to the boycott’s demands,” he says. “For example, by showing artists other ways to take a stand, whether by cooperating with Palestinians or suggesting that they donate the proceeds of their Tel Aviv appearances to a human rights group.”

    The voices calling for a cultural boycott of Israel, whether in sports, concerts or the subfield of electronic music, aren’t going to disappear. If anything, they’re only going to grow louder.

    Moreover, if we take into account the complexity of the conflict, maybe we should seek to communicate these insights in a way that drops the imagery of absolutes like left-right, bad-good, Zionist-anti-Semitic. The club culture exists to connect extremes, not separate people. Our demand to continue a vibrant electronic scene is just as legitimate as that of the boycott supporters’ attempts to create awareness.

    Even if we don’t agree with the idea of the boycott, it’s still possible to accept the realization that there are people who think differently – who want to perform for the other side as much as they want to perform for us. This doesn’t make them an existential danger.

    Moreover, as the Israeli DJ working in Berlin says, the Israeli scene needs an arsenal of proposals for constructive activism; it must provide alternatives to the BDS call to boycott – and not automatically flex an insulted patriotic muscle. This might not be the easiest thing to do, but hey, this is Israel. It’s not going to be easy.

    #Palestine #BDS #Boycott_culturel


  • Did IDF admit giving weapons to Islamists in Syria? Explosive Israeli news report vanishes — RT World News
    https://www.rt.com/news/437677-israel-weapons-jerusalem-post-idf

    One of at least seven groups believed to have received weapons from Israel, Fursan al-Joulan, or ‘Knights of Golan,’ reportedly participated in the Israeli-led operation to evacuate hundreds of members of the controversial White Helmets group out of Syria. The group is also believed to have received upwards of $5,000 per month from Israel.

    The deleted report comes on the heels of another major disclosure: On Monday the IDF announced that Israel has carried out more than 200 strikes in Syria in the past year and half.

    The Israeli military usually declines to comment on missile strikes attributed to Israel, although Tel Aviv has repeatedly claimed that it has the right to attack Hezbollah and Iranian military targets inside Syria. Damascus has repeatedly claimed that Israel uses Hezbollah as a pretext to attack Syrian military formations and installations, accusing Tel Aviv of “directly supporting ISIS and other terror organizations.”

    Le lien vers l’article en cache : https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:5JDOiVV-EgUJ:https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/IDF-confirms-Israel-provided-light-weapons-to-Syrian-reb

    #israël #syrie

    • Le Wall Street Journal en parlait l’an dernier,
      https://www.wsj.com/articles/israel-gives-secret-aid-to-syrian-rebels-1497813430

      Report: Israel Gives Secret Aid to Syrian Rebels | Israel Defense
      http://www.israeldefense.co.il/en/node/30036

      “Israel stood by our side in a heroic way,” a spokesman for the rebel group #Fursan_al-Joulan, or Knights of the Golan, Moatasem al-Golani, told the Journal. “We wouldn’t have survived without Israel’s assistance.”

      Abu Suhayb, a nom de guerre of the commander who leads the group, told the newspaper he receives approximately $5,000 a month from Israel. According to the report, the group made contact with Israel in 2013 after a raid on regime forces and turned to Israel for help with its wounded. The group said it was a turning point as Israel then began sending funds and aid, assistance soon extended to other groups.

      In response to the Wall Street Journal report, the IDF said Israel was “committed to securing the borders of Israel and preventing the establishment of terror cells and hostile forces… in addition to providing humanitarian aid to the Syrians living in the area.”


  • 2.3 million Venezuelans now live abroad

    More than 7% of Venezuela’s population has fled the country since 2014, according to the UN. That is the equivalent of the US losing the whole population of Florida in four years (plus another 100,000 people, give or take).

    The departing 2.3 million Venezuelans have mainly gone to neighboring Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, and Peru, putting tremendous pressure on those countries. “This is building to a crisis moment that we’ve seen in other parts of the world, particularly in the Mediterranean,” a spokesman for the UN’s International Organization for Migration said recently.

    This week, Peru made it a bit harder for Venezuelans to get in. The small town of Aguas Verdes has seen as many as 3,000 people a day cross the border; most of the 400,000 Venezuelans in Peru arrived in the last year. So Peru now requires a valid passport. Until now, ID cards were all that was needed.

    Ecuador tried to do the same thing but a judge said that such a move violated freedom-of-movement rules agreed to when Ecuador joined the Andean Community. Ecuador says 4,000 people a day have been crossing the border, a total of 500,000 so far. It has now created what it calls a “humanitarian corridor” by laying on buses to take Venezuelans across Ecuador, from the Colombian border to the Peruvian border.

    Brazil’s Amazon border crossing in the state of Roraima with Venezuela gets 500 people a day. It was briefly shut down earlier this month—but that, too, was overturned by a court order.

    Venezuela is suffering from severe food shortages—the UN said more than 1 million of those who had fled since 2014 are malnourished—and hyperinflation. Things could still get worse, which is really saying something for a place where prices are doubling every 26 days. The UN estimated earlier this year that 5,000 were leaving Venezuela every day; at that rate, a further 800,000 people could leave before the end of the year (paywall).

    A Gallup survey from March showed that 53% of young Venezuelans want to move abroad permanently. And all this was before an alleged drone attack on president Nicolas Maduro earlier this month made the political situation even more tense, the country’s opposition-led National Assembly said that the annual inflation rate reached 83,000% in July, and the chaotic introduction of a new currency.

    https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/08/venezuela-has-lost-2-3-million-people-and-it-could-get-even-worse
    #Venezuela #asile #migrations #réfugiés #cartographie #visualisation #réfugiés_vénézuéliens

    Sur ce sujet, voir aussi cette longue compilation initiée en juin 2017 :
    http://seen.li/d26k

    • Venezuela. L’Amérique latine cherche une solution à sa plus grande #crise_migratoire

      Les réunions de crise sur l’immigration ne sont pas l’apanage de l’Europe : treize pays latino-américains sont réunis depuis lundi à Quito pour tenter de trouver des solutions communes au casse-tête migratoire provoqué par l’#exode_massif des Vénézuéliens.


      https://www.courrierinternational.com/article/venezuela-lamerique-latine-cherche-une-solution-sa-plus-grand

    • Bataille de #chiffres et guerre d’images autour de la « #crise migratoire » vénézuélienne

      L’émigration massive qui touche actuellement le Venezuela est une réalité. Mais il ne faut pas confondre cette réalité et les défis humanitaires qu’elle pose avec son instrumentalisation, tant par le pouvoir vénézuélien pour se faire passer pour la victime d’un machination que par ses « ennemis » qui entendent se débarrasser d’un gouvernement qu’ils considèrent comme autoritaire et source d’instabilité dans la région. Etat des lieux d’une crise très polarisée.

      C’est un véritable scoop que nous a offert le président vénézuélien le 3 septembre dernier. Alors que son gouvernement est avare en données sur les sujets sensibles, Nicolas Maduro a chiffré pour la première fois le nombre de Vénézuéliens ayant émigré depuis deux ans à 600 000. Un chiffre vérifiable, a-t-il assuré, sans toutefois donner plus de détails.

      Ce chiffre, le premier plus ou moins officiel dans un pays où il n’y a plus de statistiques migratoires, contraste avec celui délivré par l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM) et le Haut-Commissariat aux Réfugiés (HCR). Selon ces deux organisations, 2,3 millions de Vénézuéliens vivraient à l’étranger, soit 7,2% des habitants sur un total de 31,8 millions. Pas de quoi tomber de sa chaise ! D’autres diasporas sont relativement bien plus nombreuses. Ce qui impressionne, c’est la croissance exponentielle de cette émigration sur un très court laps de temps : 1,6 million auraient quitté le pays depuis 2015 seulement. Une vague de départs qui s’est accélérée ces derniers mois et affectent inégalement de nombreux pays de la région.
      Le pouvoir vénézuélien, par la voix de sa vice-présidente, a accusé des fonctionnaires de l’ONU de gonfler les chiffres d’un « flux migratoire normal » (sic) pour justifier une « intervention humanitaire », synonyme de déstabilisation. D’autres sources estiment quant à elles qu’ils pourraient être près de quatre millions à avoir fui le pays.

      https://www.cncd.be/Bataille-de-chiffres-et-guerre-d
      #statistiques #guerre_des_chiffres

    • La formulation est tout de même étrange pour une ONG… : pas de quoi tomber de sa chaise, de même l’utilisation du mot ennemis avec guillemets. Au passage, le même pourcentage – pas si énorme …– appliqué à la population française donnerait 4,5 millions de personnes quittant la France, dont les deux tiers, soit 3 millions de personnes, au cours des deux dernières années.

      Ceci dit, pour ne pas qu’ils tombent… d’inanition, le Programme alimentaire mondial (agence de l’ONU) a besoin de sous pour nourrir les vénézuéliens qui entrent en Colombie.

      ONU necesita fondos para seguir atendiendo a emigrantes venezolanos
      http://www.el-nacional.com/noticias/mundo/onu-necesita-fondos-para-seguir-atendiendo-emigrantes-venezolanos_25311

      El Programa Mundial de Alimentos (PMA), el principal brazo humanitario de Naciones Unidas, informó que necesita 22 millones de dólares suplementarios para atender a los venezolanos que entran a Colombia.

      «Cuando las familias inmigrantes llegan a los centros de recepción reciben alimentos calientes y pueden quedarse de tres a cinco días, pero luego tienen que irse para que otros recién llegados puedan ser atendidos», dijo el portavoz del PMA, Herve Verhoosel.
      […]
      La falta de alimentos se convierte en el principal problema para quienes atraviesan a diario la frontera entre Venezuela y Colombia, que cuenta con siete puntos de pasaje oficiales y más de un centenar informales, con más de 50% de inmigrantes que entran a Colombia por estos últimos.

      El PMA ha proporcionado ayuda alimentaria de emergencia a más de 60.000 venezolanos en los departamentos fronterizos de Arauca, La Guajira y el Norte de Santander, en Colombia, y más recientemente ha empezado también a operar en el departamento de Nariño, que tiene frontera con Ecuador.
      […]
      De acuerdo con evaluaciones recientes efectuadas por el PMA entre inmigrantes en Colombia, 80% de ellos sufren de inseguridad alimentaria.

    • Migrants du Venezuela vers la Colombie : « ni xénophobie, ni fermeture des frontières », assure le nouveau président colombien

      Le nouveau président colombien, entré en fonction depuis hier (lundi 8 octobre 2018), ne veut pas céder à la tentation d’une fermeture de la frontière avec le Venezuela.


      https://la1ere.francetvinfo.fr/martinique/migrants-du-venezuela-colombie-xenophobie-fermeture-frontieres-a
      #fermeture_des_frontières #ouverture_des_frontières

    • Fleeing hardship at home, Venezuelan migrants struggle abroad, too

      Every few minutes, the reeds along the #Tachira_River rustle.

      Smugglers, in ever growing numbers, emerge with a ragtag group of Venezuelan migrants – men struggling under tattered suitcases, women hugging bundles in blankets and schoolchildren carrying backpacks. They step across rocks, wade into the muddy stream and cross illegally into Colombia.

      This is the new migration from Venezuela.

      For years, as conditions worsened in the Andean nation’s ongoing economic meltdown, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans – those who could afford to – fled by airplane and bus to other countries far and near, remaking their lives as legal immigrants.

      Now, hyperinflation, daily power cuts and worsening food shortages are prompting those with far fewer resources to flee, braving harsh geography, criminal handlers and increasingly restrictive immigration laws to try their luck just about anywhere.

      In recent weeks, Reuters spoke with dozens of Venezuelan migrants traversing their country’s Western border to seek a better life in Colombia and beyond. Few had more than the equivalent of a handful of dollars with them.

      “It was terrible, but I needed to cross,” said Dario Leal, 30, recounting his journey from the coastal state of Sucre, where he worked in a bakery that paid about $2 per month.

      At the border, he paid smugglers nearly three times that to get across and then prepared, with about $3 left, to walk the 500 km (311 miles) to Bogota, Colombia’s capital. The smugglers, in turn, paid a fee to Colombian crime gangs who allow them to operate, according to police, locals and smugglers themselves.

      As many as 1.9 million Venezuelans have emigrated since 2015, according to the United Nations. Combined with those who preceded them, a total of 2.6 million are believed to have left the oil-rich country. Ninety percent of recent departures, the U.N. says, remain in South America.

      The exodus, one of the biggest mass migrations ever on the continent, is weighing on neighbors. Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, which once welcomed Venezuelan migrants, recently tightened entry requirements. Police now conduct raids to detain the undocumented.

      In early October, Carlos Holmes Trujillo, Colombia’s foreign minister, said as many as four million Venezuelans could be in the country by 2021, costing national coffers as much as $9 billion. “The magnitude of this challenge,” he said, “our country has never seen.”

      In Brazil, which also borders Venezuela, the government deployed troops and financing to manage the crush and treat sick, hungry and pregnant migrants. In Ecuador and Peru, workers say that Venezuelan labor lowers wages and that criminals are hiding among honest migrants.

      “There are too many of them,” said Antonio Mamani, a clothing vendor in Peru, who recently watched police fill a bus with undocumented Venezuelans near Lima.
      “WE NEED TO GO”

      By migrating illegally, migrants expose themselves to criminal networks who control prostitution, drug trafficking and other rackets. In August, Colombian investigators discovered 23 undocumented Venezuelans forced into prostitution and living in basements in the colonial city of Cartagena.

      While most migrants are avoiding such straits, no shortage of other hardship awaits – from homelessness, to unemployment, to the cold reception many get as they sleep in public squares, peddle sweets and throng already overburdened hospitals.

      Still, most press on, many on foot.

      Some join compatriots in Brazil and Colombia. Others, having spent what money they had, are walking vast regions, like Colombia’s cold Andean passes and sweltering tropical lowlands, in treks toward distant capitals, like Quito or Lima.

      Johana Narvaez, a 36-year-old mother of four, told Reuters her family left after business stalled at their small car repair shop in the rural state of Trujillo. Extra income she made selling food on the street withered because cash is scarce in a country where annual inflation, according to the opposition-led Congress, recently reached nearly 500,000 percent.

      “We can’t stay here,” she told her husband, Jairo Sulbaran, in August, after they ran out of food and survived on corn patties provided by friends. “Even on foot, we must go.” Sulbaran begged and sold old tires until they could afford bus tickets to the border.

      Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has chided migrants, warning of the hazards of migration and that emigres will end up “cleaning toilets.” He has even offered free flights back to some in a program called “Return to the Homeland,” which state television covers daily.

      Most migration, however, remains in the other direction.

      Until recently, Venezuelans could enter many South American countries with just their national identity cards. But some are toughening rules, requiring a passport or additional documentation.

      Even a passport is elusive in Venezuela.

      Paper shortages and a dysfunctional bureaucracy make the document nearly impossible to obtain, many migrants argue. Several told Reuters they waited two years in vain after applying, while a half-dozen others said they were asked for as much as $2000 in bribes by corrupt clerks to secure one.

      Maduro’s government in July said it would restructure Venezuela’s passport agency to root out “bureaucracy and corruption.” The Information Ministry didn’t respond to a request for comment.
      “VENEZUELA WILL END UP EMPTY”

      Many of those crossing into Colombia pay “arrastradores,” or “draggers,” to smuggle them along hundreds of trails. Five of the smugglers, all young men, told Reuters business is booming.

      “Venezuela will end up empty,” said Maikel, a 17-year-old Venezuelan smuggler, scratches across his face from traversing the bushy trails. Maikel, who declined to give his surname, said he lost count of how many migrants he has helped cross.

      Colombia, too, struggles to count illegal entries. Before the government tightened restrictions earlier this year, Colombia issued “border cards” that let holders crisscross at will. Now, Colombia says it detects about 3,000 false border cards at entry points daily.

      Despite tougher patrols along the porous, 2,200-km border, officials say it is impossible to secure outright. “It’s like trying to empty the ocean with a bucket,” said Mauricio Franco, a municipal official in charge of security in Cucuta, a nearby city.

      And it’s not just a matter of rounding up undocumented travelers.

      Powerful criminal groups, long in control of contraband commerce across the border, are now getting their cut of human traffic. Javier Barrera, a colonel in charge of police in Cucuta, said the Gulf Clan and Los Rastrojos, notorious syndicates that operate nationwide, are both involved.

      During a recent Reuters visit to several illegal crossings, Venezuelans carried cardboard, limes and car batteries as barter instead of using the bolivar, their near-worthless currency.

      Migrants pay as much as about $16 for the passage. Maikel, the arrastrador, said smugglers then pay gang operatives about $3 per migrant.

      For his crossing, Leal, the baker, carried a torn backpack and small duffel bag. His 2015 Venezuelan ID shows a healthier and happier man – before Leal began skimping on breakfast and dinner because he couldn’t afford them.

      He rested under a tree, but fretted about Colombian police. “I’m scared because the “migra” comes around,” he said, using the same term Mexican and Central American migrants use for border police in the United States.

      It doesn’t get easier as migrants move on.

      Even if relatives wired money, transfer agencies require a legally stamped passport to collect it. Bus companies are rejecting undocumented passengers to avoid fines for carrying them. A few companies risk it, but charge a premium of as much as 20 percent, according to several bus clerks near the border.

      The Sulbaran family walked and hitched some 1200 km to the Andean town of Santiago, where they have relatives. The father toured garages, but found no work.

      “People said no, others were scared,” said Narvaez, the mother. “Some Venezuelans come to Colombia to do bad things. They think we’re all like that.”

      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-migration-insight/fleeing-hardship-at-home-venezuelan-migrants-struggle-abroad-too-idUSKCN1MP

      Avec ce commentaire de #Reece_Jones:

      People continue to flee Venezuela, now often resorting to #smugglers as immigration restrictions have increased

      #passeurs #fermeture_des_frontières

    • ’No more camps,’ Colombia tells Venezuelans not to settle in tent city

      Francis Montano sits on a cold pavement with her three children, all their worldly possessions stuffed into plastic bags, as she pleads to be let into a new camp for Venezuelan migrants in the Colombian capital, Bogota.

      Behind Montano, smoke snakes from woodfires set amid the bright yellow tents which are now home to hundreds of Venezuelans, erected on a former soccer pitch in a middle-class residential area in the west of the city.

      The penniless migrants, some of the millions who have fled Venezuela’s economic and social crisis, have been here more than a week, forced by city authorities to vacate a makeshift slum of plastic tarps a few miles away.

      The tent city is the first of its kind in Bogota. While authorities have established camps at the Venezuelan border, they have resisted doing so in Colombia’s interior, wary of encouraging migrants to settle instead of moving to neighboring countries or returning home.

      Its gates are guarded by police and officials from the mayor’s office and only those registered from the old slum are allowed access.

      “We’ll have to sleep on the street again, under a bridge,” said Montano, 22, whose children are all under seven years old. “I just want a roof for my kids at night.”

      According to the United Nations, an estimated 3 million Venezuelans have fled as their oil-rich country has sunk into crisis under President Nicolas Maduro. Critics accuse the Socialist leader of ravaging the economy through state interventions while clamping down on political opponents.

      The exodus - driven by violence, hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicines - amounts to one in 12 of the population, placing strain on neighboring countries, already struggling with poverty.

      Colombia, which has borne the brunt of the migration crisis, estimates it is sheltering 1 million Venezuelans, with some 3,000 arriving daily. The government says their total numbers could swell to 4 million by 2021, costing it nearly $9 billion a year.

      Municipal authorities in Bogota say the camp will provide shelter for 422 migrants through Christmas. Then in mid January, it will be dismantled in the hope jobs and new lodgings have been found.


      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-migration-colombia/no-more-camps-colombia-tells-venezuelans-not-to-settle-in-tent-city-idUSKCN

      #camps #camps_de_réfugiés #tentes #Bogotá #Bogotà


  • Libya’s oil crescent region is bracing for new armed conflict
    https://www.libyaobserver.ly/news/libyas-oil-crescent-region-bracing-new-armed-conflict

    The former chief of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) Ibrahim Jodran and Moamar Gaddafi’s tribal loyalists as well as Chadian rebels have been teaming up for a new alliance to carry out a military operation to control not only the oil crescent region but also many more areas in the country, The New Arab reported, citing Ajdabiya military sources.

    The commander of the self-styled army in eastern Libya Khalifa Haftar sent more troops to the oil crescent region and reports said Al-Saiqa Force’s units were seen moving toward the southwestern region, especially to Ghat, yet Al-Saiqa spokesman Miloud Al-Zway denied the reports.

    “Jodran met with former Haftar’s forces leader in western Libyan district of Wershiffana, Omar Tantoush, and other military officers who are loyal to Gaddafi in order to form a brigade of Gaddafi loyalist from different tribes in southern Libya.” The New Arab reported.

    Tantoush defected from Haftar’s so-called army months ago.


  • Israel Violence from God -

    Amira Hass

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-violence-from-god-1.6427708

    The IDF spokesman did not miss the target and proved what we have known for a long time. In other words, his employer, the army, is a willing captive of the settlement enterprise and the settlers.
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    In a response after the attack on six activists from Ta’ayush by about a dozen or more Israelis, (Jews), at the Mitzpeh Yair settlement outpost on the holy Sabbath of the 14th of the Jewish month of Elul, 5778, the IDF spokesman lied twice: “Friction” – that’s what he called the brutal attack, after which four of the victims required treatment in the hospital. He also claimed that the soldiers declared a closed military zone. If they did, the activists didn’t hear it.

    Soldiers evacuating an injured activist after the attack in South Hebron Hills, August 25, 2018.B’Tselem
    There is no group of Israeli Jewish activists that has been and is being exposed to physical attacks by the settlers more than Ta’ayush. For almost 20 years the activists of this left-wing group have been going out to the battlefields: the pastures, fields and orchards that the settlers have their eyes on.


  • This European Border Is Still Open. But for How Long?

    The border between Austria and Slovenia runs through Armin Tement’s backyard. Literally.

    Not that you would know it. Neat rows of vines march up and down the valley like military columns with no regard for a frontier laid down by man, why here, no one can quite remember. The Slovene wine workers speak German. The Austrians speak Slovenian, or at least try.

    As for the wine, well, says Mr. Tement, 32, “it tastes exactly the same on both sides.”

    When Mr. Tement’s family started making wine back in the 19th century, there was no border here. The region of Styria, straddling what is now southeastern Austria and northeastern Slovenia, was part of the Hapsburg Empire.

    When the empire was broken up after World War I, Upper Styria became Austrian and Lower Styria became part of Yugoslavia — until the 1990s, when that country, too, was broken up and Slovenia gained its independence.

    The border, a hundred years old this year, was briefly eliminated by advancing Nazi armies, then heavily policed during the Cold War, before vanishing in all but name when Slovenia joined the European Union’s passport-free travel zone in 2007.

    “It was a great moment,” recalled Janez Valdhuber, 53, a winemaker on the Slovenian side. To celebrate, he grabbed his young children, climbed the steep vineyard opposite his house to the top where the border runs, and unfurled a European flag.

    The interrogations at the border stopped, and Mr. Valdhuber’s car trunk was no longer searched when entering Austria.

    But some worry Europe’s open borders might slowly be closing again, one checkpoint at a time.

    This month, Germany announced that at its Bavarian border, it would turn back asylum seekers registered in other European Union countries, a move reintroducing a hard border of sorts with Austria.

    Austria, now run by a conservative government in coalition with the far right, threatened to do the same on its southern border with Italy, Europe’s busiest north-south trade route. And as if to demonstrate its resolve, Austria briefly resurrected checkpoints at the Brenner Pass this month.

    The border at Spielfeld, an Austrian town with barely 1,000 inhabitants, became a stop on the migrant route in 2015, and for a few traumatic weeks that year, tens of thousands of refugees came through.

    Since then, Austrian soldiers have returned.

    They ride in military jeeps along the “Wine Route,” a winding country road that zigzags back and forth across the border. They have built a fence along a small border stretch near Spielfeld and set up makeshift checkpoints in the hills — only sporadically manned, but there — on otherwise deserted lanes.

    No one here reports having seen any refugees in more than two years, and so far the border checks are relatively rare.

    But this month, the Austrian military and police staged a high-profile military exercise, simulating another mass arrival of migrants.

    A platform was set up for the photographers. Two Black Hawk helicopters circled overhead. Two hundred students from the police academy were enlisted as “refugees.” Later, the defense ministry released a video.

    “It feels a bit like we’re backsliding into the old days,” said Marko Oraze, a member of Austria’s Slovene-speaking minority who runs the Council of Carinthian Slovenes.

    Mr. Oraze lives in Austria but gets his car fixed in Slovenia. Many of his friends commute across the border every day.

    “More and more of them are stopped at the border on their way to work,” he said.

    Some in Spielfeld applaud the tougher stance taken by Austria.

    “It’s about time,” said Walpurga Sternad, who runs a restaurant with her husband near the highway connecting Austria and Slovenia. “They should just close all the borders in Europe, go back to what we used to have,” she said, as a group of friends nodded in approval.

    Ms. Sternad remembers the day in October 2015, when some 6,000 migrants poured over the border in Spielfeld, filling the motorway and spilling into her own front yard. “It was scary,” she said. “So many people. They kept coming.”


    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/24/world/europe/austria-slovenia-border-migrants-spielfeld-schengen.html#click=https://t.co/YWlazq9xGU
    #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Autriche #Slovénie #fermeture_des_frontières #Schengen (fin de -) #militarisation_des_frontières #armée #frontière_sud-alpine

    • Anti-immigration mood drives fear of racist profiling on EU borders

      Europe’s passport-free area under pressure as calls grow for tougher migrant controls.

      Police spot checks have become a part of Fahad’s annual summer holiday when driving through the snow-topped mountains of southern Bavaria.

      “This usually happens,” said the Kuwaiti father of three, when his silver people-carrier with his wife and children was stopped by German border officers in the idyllic Alpine town of #Kiefersfelden.

      Fahad and his family had to wait for more than half an hour at the border post, until they were given a pass to drive from Austria into Germany. During the FT’s three-hour stay at the checkpoint, non-white drivers made up about 70 per cent of cars selected for further checks. Fahad was one of a few drivers with beards, while others included women wearing headscarves and motorists who at first sight did not look like white Europeans. All were waved through once their IDs were checked, vehicle boots searched and luggage examined.

      Racial profiling at Europe’s internal borders is forbidden under EU law. But with a fresh wave of anti-immigrant governments calling for tougher controls on migrant movements, there are concerns that non-white people will come under increasing suspicion when travelling in the continent.

      Europe’s passport-free Schengen zone — an area made up of 26 European states that abolished passport control at their mutual borders — has buckled under twin pressures: Europe’s biggest influx of refugees since the second world war, and a growing number of anti-immigrant governments pushing to crack down on irregular migration flows. “There is such a fear that Schengen won’t survive that countries are being given the discretion to do whatever they can to keep it alive,” said Elizabeth Collett, director of the Migration Policy Institute Europe think-tank.

      Although the number of migrants entering the EU has dropped dramatically since the height of the migration crisis in 2015, emergency powers still allow border controls across 20,000km inside the Schengen zone. Kiefersfelden, a popular skiing destination, has become one of Schengen’s pinch points: it is home to one of three emergency police controls along Germany’s 820km border with Austria.

      Every car travelling on the A12 autobahn through Kiefersfelden must pass a police border stop where officers select vehicles for extra spot checks. The cars that are picked are sent to a tented zone, where drivers and passengers must show valid ID documents.

      Border police said they are told to look for signs of undocumented migrants and people smugglers crossing into Germany from Austria. So far this year, an average of 900 illegal migrants per month have been detained on the Austro-German border, down from 1,120 per month in 2017.

      As racial profiling is outlawed, it is the responsibility of European governments to ensure their police forces carry out checks at random. Rainer Schafer, spokesman for the federal police overseeing the Kiefersfelden controls, said race and ethnicity “can be among the indicators” officers look for when deciding to pull over a vehicle for extra checks.

      “But there are no rules that we just pick out the people who look like they are coming from Africa,” he said. Other factors include registration plates (Italian or eastern European plates draw officers’ attention), blacked-out windows, and the number of passengers, he said.

      Police checks in Bavaria are expected to intensify after the region’s conservative local government last month requested tougher migration controls.

      Horst Seehofer, Germany’s interior minister, has also called on the government to break two decades of EU-wide co-operation on migration and unilaterally send people away at Germany’s internal borders. Observers fear that other Schengen countries, like Austria, could in turn erect their own emergency border controls — and that the EU’s principle of free movement of people is at risk of becoming a privilege enjoyed only by white Europeans.

      A report from La Cimade, a French non-governmental organisation, found French border police “systematically check the identity documents of people who do not have the right skin colour” on inbound trains from Italy.

      Inga Schwarz, a researcher at the University of Freiburg, said Europe’s internal border crossings are becoming “increasingly racialised spaces, constructed not only by border guards profiling according to race, but also by European citizens who witness these racialised control practices”.

      In Kiefersfelden, the majority of the non-white drivers selected for checks were tourists in people-carriers and expensive cars — mostly from the Gulf — and were waved through in less than 15 minutes. Uruj, a 27-year-old teacher from Kuwait, her husband and young daughter waited for nearly an hour in their white Mercedes.

      Although they had valid visa documents, police took away their passports and only permitted the family to continue to their holiday destination in Austria once they had obtained a car seat for their three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Wafah. Uruj, who was wearing a pink headscarf, said, “I don’t think they liked the look of us.”


      https://www.ft.com/content/fac891a6-93f9-11e8-b67b-b8205561c3fe?segmentid=acee4131-99c2-09d3-a635-873e61754
      #contrôles_frontaliers #profiling #Allemagne #Autriche #contrôle_au_faciès

    • Réfugiés : la #Slovénie veut toujours plus de #barbelés sur sa frontière avec la #Croatie

      Les autorités slovènes se veulent rassurantes : la sécurité des frontières est assurée et personne n’a d’information sur l’éventuelle réouverture massive de la « #route_des_Balkans ». Pourtant le nouveau gouvernement ne semble pas avoir l’intention d’infléchir la politique migratoire de son prédécesseur et songerait même à étendre les barbelés qui coupent la Slovénie de son voisin croate.

      Par Charles Nonne

      La question des réfugiés semble ces dernières semaines avoir déserté le débat public en Slovénie. Le contrat de coalition signé le 28 août 2018, lapidaire, dédramatise : « Nous élaborerons une stratégie migratoire exhaustive, basée sur la coopération intergouvernementale. Nous protègerons les frontières de l’espace Schengen avec davantage d’efficacité et nous démonterons les obstacles techniques [barrières et panneaux] dès que les circonstances le permettront. »

      Pourtant, les passages de la frontière se poursuivent, notamment dans la région de la Bela Krajina, au sud-est du pays, où la rivière Kolpa sépare Slovénie et Croatie. Selon la police de Novo Mesto, entre le 1er janvier et le 31 septembre 2018, plus de 2400 ressortissants étrangers auraient illégalement franchi la Kolpa, soit douze fois plus qu’en 2017.

      Fin septembre, en marge d’un déplacement dans le centre régional de Črnomelj, le nouveau ministre de l’Intérieur, Boris Poklukar, avait affirmé vouloir maintenir les barrières en l’état, tout en garantissant que la police était préparée à une augmentation des passages frontaliers. Pour la maire de Črnomelj, Mojca Čemas Stjepanovič, « pour le moment, la sécurité est garantie et nous n’avons aucune raison de nous inquiéter. » Dans les communes les plus exposées, le gouvernement a promis l’érection de nouveaux « obstacles techniques » : sur les 670 kilomètres de frontière slovéno-croate, plus de 160 sont parcourus par des barbelés et 56 par de véritables barrières.

      En Slovénie, c’est notamment les tensions à la frontière entre la Bosnie-Herzégovine et la Croatie qui préoccupent. Si le gouvernement se prépare à plusieurs scénarios, il affirme n’avoir « aucune information laissant penser à une augmentation prochaine des flux », indique le ministre Boris Poklukar. Au nord, l’Autriche a d’ores et déjà annoncé qu’elle ne diminuerait pas la surveillance de sa frontière lors des six prochains mois.

      Au-delà du strict contrôle frontalier, d’autres questions divisent : des inquiétudes pèsent notamment sur la possible installation de centres d’accueil, comme à Debeli Rtič, sur la côte slovène, et à Brežice, à 40 kilomètres de Zagreb. La directrice du bureau gouvernemental pour la prise en charge de l’intégration des migrants, Mojca Špec Potočar, a tenu à indiquer qu’« il n’y [aurait] aucune installation permanente de réfugiés. »

      La question secoue également les rangs de la coalition : l’ancienne ministre de l’Intérieur, Vesna Györkös Žnidar, « faucon » régulièrement critiqué par les défenseurs des droits de l’homme, vient de claquer la porte de son parti, le Parti du centre moderne (SMC) de l’ancien Premier ministre Miro Cerar, en raison de désaccords profonds sur les questions migratoires.

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Slovenie-le-gouvernement-poursuit-lentement-le-renforcement-de-sa
      #fermeture_des_frontières #murs #barrières_frontalières


  • i24NEWS - Flottille/Gaza : la Norvège exhorte Israël à s’expliquer
    Mis à jour le 01/08/2018 11:34:08
    https://www.i24news.tv/fr/actu/international/moyen-orient/180717-180801-bateau-intercepte-a-gaza-la-norvege-demande-des-explications-a

    (...) Le ministère norvégien a indiqué dans un communiqué que ses diplomates en Israël avaient fourni une assistance consulaire à cinq Norvégiens qui faisaient partie des 22 passagers et membres d’équipage à bord du navire « Awda » (« Retour », en arabe) qui battait pavillon norvégien, arraisonné par la marine israélienne.

    « Nous avons demandé aux autorités israéliennes de clarifier les circonstances concernant l’interception du navire et de fournir les bases juridiques de l’intervention », a déclaré le porte-parole du ministère norvégien.

    « Il s’agit du premier navire norvégien envoyé à destination de Gaza pour aider les Palestiniens. C’est un bateau pacifique, en aucun cas il ne menace la sécurité d’Israël », a estimé le chef de ’Ship to Gaza Norway’ qui a organisé l’expédition, Torstein Dahle. (...)

    #Flottille #Gaza

    • Norway Demands Explanation for Israeli Seizure of Gaza-bound Boat
      August 2, 2018
      http://imemc.org/article/norway-demands-explanation-for-israeli-seizure-of-gaza-bound-boat

      Reuters reported, according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency, that Norway has asked the Israeli government to explain the legal grounds for detaining a Norwegian-flagged fishing boat seized, while activists tried to sail with aid to the Gaza Strip, Norway’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

      The ministry said its diplomats in Israel had been providing consular assistance to five Norwegians who were among the 22 passengers and crew detained onboard the vessel Kaarstein, on Sunday. Two Israelis on board were quickly released.

      ”We have asked the Israeli authorities to clarify the circumstances around the seizure of the vessel and the legal basis for the intervention,” the spokesman for the Norwegian foreign affairs ministry in Oslo said. A spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment.

      Torstein Dahle, head of the group Ship to Gaza Norway which organized the shipment, said it was the first Norwegian aid vessel to attempt to breach the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

      The captain had been struck on the head by Israeli soldiers who ordered him to sail for Israel, but no one was seriously hurt, Dahle said.

      “This is a peaceful boat; it’s impossible that it can threaten Israel’s security,” he said.

    • La Norvège demande des réponses sur la saisie d’un bateau à destination de Gaza
      Les activistes de la flottille disent que les soldats les ont frappés ; Tsahal répond qu’il « a fait preuve d’un usage raisonnable de la force pour maîtrise les passagers résistants »
      Par Times of Israel Staff 1 août 2018, 14:24

      https://fr.timesofisrael.com/la-norvege-demande-des-reponses-sur-la-saisie-dun-bateau-a-destina

      (...) Tsahal a justifié l’usage de la force pendant la prise du navire, déclarant dans un communiqué cité par Hadashot TV qu’ »une enquête sur l’incident a montré que lors de la prise du bateau un usage raisonnable de la force avait été employé afin de maîtriser les passagers résistants ».

      Audun Lysbakken, le chef du parti Socialiste d’opposition de Norvège, a appelé le ministère des Affaires étrangères du pays à protester contre le « piratage » du navire par Israël, déclarant que les marins avaient le droit de protester contre le blocus et demandant la libération des activistes.

      Le ministère des Affaires étrangères d’Israël a déclaré qu’il allait répondre aux plaintes de la Norvège plus tard dans la semaine.

      Le « Retour » était le premier des deux navires dans la « Flottille de Liberté » à essayer de forcer le blocus maritime qu’Israël impose à Gaza.

      A bord de ce bateau, on pouvait notamment retrouver le Professeur Ismaïl Nazari, président de la campagne de boycott contre Israël en Malaisie, le Suédois Charlie Andreason, qui a été détenu en Israël pour son rôle sur le Marianne, un chalutier battant pavillon suédois qui conduisait une flottille de bateaux en juin 2015, l’activiste juif espagnol Zohar Shamir Chamberlain et Heather Milton-Lightening, une activiste de la cause des indigènes canadiens.

    • Minister of Foreign Affairs fails to address the issues
      https://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com/2018/07/31/minister-of-foreign-affairs-fails-to-address-the-issues

      Kia Ora Gaza has finally received a reply from Rt Hon Winston Peters, minister of Foreign Affairs, to our letters calling for our government to demand that Israel end the illegal blockade of Gaza, and allow safe and unhindered passage for the international Freedom Flotilla to Gaza, with New Zealand human rights advocate and union leader, Mike Treen on board. After the flotilla boat was unlawfully hijacked by Israeli forces in international waters on Sunday night, we asked Mr Peters to also demand the immediate release of the boat and its passengers and cargo of medical aid.
      Unfortunately Mr Peter’s reply failed to address any of the issues we raised. Here is his letter received today, followed by our response reiterating our requests:


  • Elbert Howard, a Founder of the Black Panthers, Dies at 80 - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/26/obituaries/elbert-howard-a-founder-of-the-black-panthers-dies-at-80.html?emc=edit_th_1

    Elbert Howard, who was a founder of the Black Panther Party and, as its spokesman, in the thick of some of the most tumultuous events of the late 1960s and early ’70s — but who was most enthusiastic about its social-service and community-organizing work — died on Monday in Santa Rosa, Calif. He was 80.

    His wife, Carole Hyams, confirmed the death. She said he had been ill for some time but did not specify a cause.

    Mr. Howard, widely known as Big Man because of his linebacker’s build, did not have the high profile of the Panther leaders Bobby Seale, Huey P. Newton or Eldridge Cleaver as the group, which was formed in Oakland, Calif., in 1966, went national and took on issues like police brutality and racial injustice.

    As the group’s deputy minister of information, Mr. Howard was often quoted when the more prominent party figures were on trial or in the news for other reasons. (The minister of information, Mr. Cleaver, was in exile overseas.)

    But in a 2004 interview with the website of the PBS documentary series “POV,” when Mr. Howard was asked to name something people did not appreciate about the Black Panthers, he replied:

    “People didn’t understand what our survival programs really meant: schoolchildren’s breakfasts, feeding the hungry. Those programs helped immediate problems. They were also organizing tools.

    “The Panthers themselves weren’t the only ones in those programs,” he continued. “We got the community involved, teaching them how to become self-reliant, whereas the government wouldn’t help with problems. It was about us helping ourselves.”

    #Black_Panthers #Politique_USA


  • Navy Seeks $30 Million to Fix Gear That Hobbled Its New Carrier - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-25/navy-seeks-30-million-to-fix-gear-that-hobbled-its-new-carrier

    The Navy is asking Congress to shift $30 million from other accounts to start repairing a damaged gear on the service’s costliest warship, the Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier.

    The request for funds to repair the $13 billion carrier is part of a Pentagon package asking congressional approval to shift $4.7 billion in previously approved Army, Air Force and Navy funding into new programs or higher-priority projects. The package must be approved by all four congressional defense committees, where it’s pending.

    The $30 million is needed to pay for repairs to the propulsion-system gear while the carrier’s builder, Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc., “seeks compensation from the original manufacturer for warranty defects,” Naval Sea Systems spokesman William Couch said in an email.

    The Ford was forced to return to port after the failure in January of a “main thrust bearing” that’s a key propulsion system component. It returned to sea after the damage was contained. The defective gear was the result of “machining errors” by a General Electric Co. unit, according to Navy documents. Full repairs will take place during the vessel’s current yearlong shakeout period.


  • Bavaria says its mandatory crosses aren’t religious, so there should be no problem hanging them upside-down, right? / Boing Boing
    https://boingboing.net/2018/06/04/kreuzpflicht.html

    The only alteration I made to the crosses was to place the hanging hook on the bottom edge, a small detail which would force the crucifix to be hung upside down. But that shouldn’t matter, since Söder said the cross was “not a religious symbol” and Bavarian Interior Ministry spokesman Oliver Platzer said “We are happy about every cross that is hung up,” and that each state authority “should hang up the cross as they think best”.

    #Allemagne #Bavière #religion