position:spokeswoman

  • Norwegian frigate collides with oil tanker off country’s coast, 8 injured (VIDEO) — RT World News
    https://www.rt.com/news/443399-tanker-frigate-incident-norway


    The Norwegian Navy frigate “KNM Helge Ingstad” after a collision with a tanker.
    ©NTB Scanpix- Marit Hommedal via REUTERS

    A Norwegian Navy frigate returning from a NATO exercise collided with an oil tanker off Norway’s coast. Eight people received light injuries in the incident while the warship started slowly sinking.
    The early morning collision, which involved the frigate KNM Helge Ingstad and the tanker Sola TS, happened off Norway’s western coast near an island chain on which the municipality of Øygarden is located.

    Unlike the warship, the tanker, which carries around 625,000 barrels of crude, was mostly undamaged in the incident and no signs of an oil spill were reported. The ship was still ordered to return to port for inspection.

    The frigate, which reportedly received a long tear in the hull’s starboard side, started to take on water and listed dangerously. A tank of helicopter fuel was damaged and leaked some of its content, local media say. The crew of 137 was ordered to abandon ship, which was moved closer to land to prevent it from capsizing.

    The incident also triggered the shut-down of several oil industry sites in the vicinity, including a North Sea crude export terminal, Norway’s largest gas processing plant and several offshore fields.

    • Pas d’infos précises,…

      Cette après-midi, la BBC sort des fuites sur les communications entre les deux navires avant la collision qui ont été enregistrées. Pas glorieux, semble-t-il pour la marine norvégienne. En tous cas, les dégâts sont impressionnants et l’échouage volontaire a très certainement évité un chavirage rapide que l’on voit se profiler sur la première vidéo, alors que le navire est déjà à la côte.

      Norway warship Helge Ingstad ’warned’ before collision - BBC News
      https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-46150048


      Chris Cavas — @CavasShips — 8 nov.
      Images of the damage caused to Norwegian frigate HELGE INGSTAD F313 from collision with tanker SOLA TS. Views are obviously before the ship partially sank. The below-water damage to the ship was more extensive than the photos can show.

      The tanker, which was heading northbound, contacted the frigate, heading southbound, to ask if they had a plan to safely pass them as they seemed to be on a collision course,” Kjetil Stormark, the editor of AldriMer.no told the BBC.
      Citing what he called key sources, he said: “The response was:We have everything under control.’”
      Lucky vessels
      The incident is undergoing investigation, both by the police and by the Accident Investigation Board Norway, officials told the BBC.
      Mr Stomark says that because the tanker was “slow, heavy and much larger”, it was the warship’s responsibility to move around it.

    • Version française, sans les informations sur les échanges radio.

      Frégate norvégienne : le point sur l’accident | Mer et Marine
      https://www.meretmarine.com/fr/content/fregate-norvegienne-le-point-sur-laccident


      Capture d’écran d’un direct de la télévision publique norvégienne
      © NRK

      C’est un accident spectaculaire qui risque bien de sceller le sort de la frégate norvégienne Helge Ingstad. À 3 heures 55 du matin, le pétrolier Sola TS a quitté le terminal pétrolier de Sture, près de Bergen, en direction du nord. Il était alors suivi du remorqueur Tenax. Huit minutes plus tard, le tanker entrait en collision avec le bâtiment de combat norvégien qui faisait route inverse. À 4 heures 50, la Marine norvégienne commençait l’évacuation des 137 membres d’équipage se trouvant à bord de la frégate, devenue incontrôlable.
       
      Heureusement, il n’y pas de victimes à déplorer pour les deux navires. Seuls huit marins de l’Helge Ingstad ont été légèrement blessés et c’est un miracle à la vue des images diffusées par les autorités. L’abordage a eu lieu sur tribord. Le pétrolier, probablement lourdement chargé de pétrole, a vu son écubier littéralement déchirer la coque de la frégate sur la moitié de sa longueur au niveau de la ligne de flottaison. Une importante voie d’eau n’a pas pu être maîtrisée. Sur les photos de la télévision publique norvégienne NRK1, on peut observer que le tanker a été très faiblement endommagé au niveau du bordé et de l’écubier tribord. Ce dernier est très proéminent sur ce bateau et est probablement renforcé pour soutenir son ancre et sa chaîne.

    • ça se confirme ; le centre de contrôle du trafic maritime avait également prévenu…

      Wrecked Norwegian Frigate Was Warned Prior to Collision
      https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/wrecked-norwegian-frigate-was-warned-prior-to-collision

      Prior to her collision with the Suezmax tanker Sola TS on Thursday, the Norwegian frigate KNM Helge Ingstad was repeatedly called over VHF, both by the approaching vessel and by the nearby Fedje VTS center, according to a new report. However, the bridge team on the frigate allegedly responded that they had the situation under control. The Ingstad and the Sola TS collided shortly thereafter. 

      Norwegian defense outlet Aldrimer first reported the radio exchange in an update Friday, citing “five sources” with independent knowledge of the accident.

      According to the report, the Sola TS spotted the Helge Ingstad visually shortly after departing the Sture petroleum terminal outside Bergen. The Ingstad was inbound, heading for the Haakonsvern Naval Base at Mathopen. The Sola’s bridge team called the Ingstad to determine her intentions. The Fedje VTS center also noted the situation and called the Ingstad repeatedly to warn that she was on a collision course. 

      Shortly after 0400 on Thursday, the two vessels collided. The impact tore a large hole in the Ingstad’s starboard side, spilling fuel, injuring eight crewmembers and rendering her unable to maneuver. Aldrimer’s sources reported that the Ingstad’s crew turned on her AIS transponder after the collision so that she could be easily located by rescuers, thereby corroborating the sudden appearance of her AIS signal on commercial tracking services shortly after the collision. 

      On Friday, Fedje Maritime Transport Center confirmed that it had played a role in a VHF exchange with the Ingstad. The Norwegian military declined requests for comment, citing an ongoing investigation.

    • Communiqué officiel de l’OTAN, le 8/11/18

      Allied Maritime Command - SNMG1 ship accident at sea
      https://mc.nato.int/media-centre/news/2018/snmg1-ship-accident-at-sea.aspx

      NORTHWOOD, United Kingdom (November 08, 2018) HNoMS Helge Ingstad was involved in a collision with the Maltese oil tanker Sola TS in Norwegian waters around 0400 this morning (8 Nov) while sailing inner Fjords for navigation training.

      Due to the damage to the frigate it was moved to a safe place and the crew was evacuated in a professional manner. There are no reports of damages or leaks from the oil tanker and no report of serious injuries, though eight crewmembers are being treated for minor injuries.

      The Norwegian Armed Forces are working with the Norwegian Coastal Authority to address the situation. The Norwegian frigate HNoMS Helge Ingstad is part of the Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1). The group was sailing in and around the Fjords, following their participation in exercise Trident Juncture 2018 which concluded on November 7th.
       
      The rest of SNMG1’s ships are positioned nearby at sea in the event that further assistance is required.  The Norwegian Armed Forces Press Office has lead for further information, contact at +47 40 43 80 83, info@njhq.no.

    • Plan de situation, histoire de ne pas perdre la main ;-)
      https://drive.google.com/open?id=1t_JjDMYnt3uLCIBt3wotJxemMltL87uI

      On remarquera que le lieu de l’échouage est à un jet de caillou du terminal d’Equinor (ex-Statoil)

      source de la localisation de l’échouage :
      We Have Located The Precise Spot Where Norway’s Half Sunken Frigate Lies (Updated) - The Drive
      http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/24795/we-have-located-the-precise-spot-where-norways-half-sunken-frigate-lies

    • Ça n’a pas trainé ! VesselTracker (l’autre site, celui que je n’utilise quasiment pas,…) a sorti l’animation basée sur les enregistrements AIS. La collision a lieu, sans doute, vers 0:18-0:19, le Helge Ingstad active son transpondeur AIS juste après. Le Vestbris manœuvre en catastrophe pour éviter le Solas TS

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izbXbQ1Shmk

      EDIT : pour mémoire, les sources indiquent un délai de 8 minutes de temps réel entre l’appareillage du Solas et l’abordage.

    • À l’instant, l’intégralité des échanges en VHF entre Fedje, Sola et Helge Ingstad avec visualisation des positions de tous les bâtiments (y compris après la collision). En norvégien,…

      Le locuteur en norvégien du Sola TS, navire de l’armement grec Tsakos, sous pavillon maltais et dont l’équipage est certainement cosmopolite a de grandes chances d’être le pilote, basé justement au centre de contrôle du trafic de Fedje qui assure (de tous temps, dit WP) le service de pilotes pour le fjord de Bergen.

      VGTV - Hør samtalen mellom skipene

      https://www.vgtv.no/video/167055/hoer-samtalen-mellom-skipene

    • Les fuites quant aux échanges radio étaient fausses :
      – dès la prise de contact (laborieuse…) le pétrolier demande une manœuvre,
      – ce que la frégate annonce accepter, apparemment, sans qu’il se passe grand chose,
      – presque tout de suite après, le Solas TS réclame, fermement !, tourne ! sinon, c’est la collision.
      – le Helge Ingstad n’a jamais indiqué contrôler la situation. En fait, il ne dit rien… Après la collision, il dit qu’il essaye de contrôler la situation.

      Hør samtalen mellom skipene

      Fedje VTS, det er Sola TS,

      Sola TS, hør

      Ja, jeg hørte ikke navnet. Vet du hvilken båt som kommer mot oss her ?
      jeg har den litt på babord

      (10 secondes)

      Nei, det er en en… Jeg har ikke fått noen opplysninger on den.
      Den har ikke rapportert til meg.
      Jeg ser bare den dukker opp på skjermen her.
      Ingen opplysninger om den, nei, nei.
      Nei, okey.
      Nei (?)

      (43 secondes)

      Sola til VTS ?

      Ja

      Det er mulig det er « Helge Ingstad »
      Han kom inn nordfra en stund tilbake. Det er mulig det er han som kommer her.

      Helge Ingstad, hører du Sola TS ?

      Helge Ingstad

      Er det du som kommer her nå ?

      Ja det stemmer.
      Ta styrbord med en gang.
      Da går vi for nærme blokkene.

      Svinge styrbord, hvis det er du som kommer.
      Altså, du har…

      (7 secondes)

      Jeg har et par grader styrbord nå vi har passert eh…
      Passert eh…
      (?) styrbord

      Helge Hingstad, du må gjøre noe. Du begynner å nærme deg veldig.
      Helge Hingstad, drei !
      Det blir en kollisjon her da.
      (15 secondes)
      Det kan være en krigskip. Jeg traff den.

      Det er mottatt.

      (16 secondes)

      Det er tauebåten. Over.

      Ja, tauebåten er her, ja.

      Jeg tror vi bare må kalle ut de…
      De andre tauebåtene.
      Får se på skadene her.

      Heldigvis er det et sett med de da. Vi må jo se…

      (?)

      (25 secondes)

      Fedje VTS til Sola TS ?

      Sola TS hører.

      Har du kontakt med vår DD krigskip ?
      Ingen kontakt ?

      Hei, dette er Helge Ingstad.

      Hei, Helge Ingstad. Dette er VTS.
      Hører du meg ?

      Ja, så godt jeg klarer.
      (on entend l’alarme en fond…)
      Vi ligger da… like ved… nord for…
      Nord for Vetlefjorden.
      Har slått alarm. Prøver å få kontroll på situasjonen.

      Ja, er det du som har vært i kollisjonen der ved Sture ?

      Ja, det er korrekt.

      OK.
      Hvor mange personer har du ombord ?

      Vi har 134 personer ombord.

      OK.
      Gi meg status om situasjonen så snart som mulig, da.

      Ja, jeg skal gjøre det.

      Etter kollisjonen går Helge Ingstad inn mot land i rund 5 knop.

      Fedje VTS til Sola TS ?

      Sola TS svarer.

      Hvor mange personer har du ombord totalt ?

      (10 secondes)

      23

      Hvor mange passasjerer ?

      23

      23, ok, 2, 3

      Få en status av deg når du vet litt mer.

      Kan du gjenta ?

      Vi må få høre hvordan det går med deg etter hvert som du får litt mer oversikt.

      Det er ikke noe spesielt her.
      Vi går fram og sjekker på bauen, da. Så stoppet vi her.
      Forelopig så ser det bra ut, men vi må frem og se, vi vet jo ikke skadene der fremme.

      Ja, ok.

      Helge Ingstad til VTS ?
      (30 secondes)
      Helge Ingstad til VTS ?

      Ferje TS, KNM Helge Ingstad.

      Helge Ingstad til VTS ?

      Vi har en situasjon.
      Vi har gått på et ukjent objekt.
      Vi har ikke fremdrift.

      Helge Ingstad har ikke fremdrift ?

      De har vært i en kollisjon med Sola TS, forstår jeg.
      De driver inn mot land uten fremdrift.
      Har du gått på grunn ?

      Det er foreløpig litt løst fra min side, men vi trenger umiddelbar assistanse.

      Trenger umiddelbar assistanse.

      (?) rett fram.

      Vi skal se om vi kan få tak i en tauebåt.

      (?)

      Ajax, Ajax til VTS ?

      Trauebåten Ajax blir sendt fra terminalen med en gang.

      Ajax, Ajax, jeg gjentar.

      Ja Ferdje VTS til Ajax.

      (?) Helge Ingstad. Han ligger like nord for deres.
      Han ligger uten framdrift.

      (?)

      Helge Ingstad til VTS ?

      Helge Ingstad.

      Tauebåten Ajax fikk beskjed. Den er på vei.

      (?)

      Den (?) om mer enn tre minutter.

      Ajax, Ajax, KNM Ingstad K16.

      Ajax til VTS ?

      Helge Ingstad, Ajax.

      Ajax, KNM Helge Ingstad K16. Vi er på vei.

      Vi har ingen framdrift, vi går på noe anker.
      Vi trenger assistanse fra taeubåt.

      note (quelques à peu près de gg:translate) :
      • tauebåt, ce n’est pas « bateau-feu » mais remorqueur (tugboat)
      • framdrift / uten framdrift, ce n’est pas « progrès / sans progrès », mais propulsion / sans propulsion

    • Article de Defense News quelques heures après la diffusion des échanges. La présentation de ceux-ci souffrent toujours des à peu près des commentaires initiaux.

      Warnings and confusion preceded Norwegian frigate disaster : here’s what we know
      https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2018/11/11/warnings-and-confusion-preceded-norwegian-frigate-disaster-heres-what-w

      The Royal Norwegian Navy was dealt a devastating blow in the early morning hours of November 10 when one of its five capital Nansen-class frigates collided with a fully loaded oil tanker more than 10 times its size while returning NATO’s Trident Juncture exercise.

      The frigate Helge Ingstad lost steering and drifted at five knots onto the rocky shore near Norwegian port of Sture, north of Bergen, saving the ship from sinking in the Fjord, according to media reports. The crew of 137 was forced to abandon ship. Ingstad is now resting on its side on three points while crews move to secure it.

      The disaster has far-reaching consequences for the Norwegian Navy, which is facing the loss of one of its premier warfighting assets,

      This is a huge blow to the Norwegian navy,” said Sebastian Bruns, who heads the Center for Maritime Strategy and Security at the University of Kiel in northern Germany. The loss of the $400 million ship, which appeared likely, leaves the Norwegian Navy with a 20 percent cut to its most advanced class of ship, Burns said.

      The situation is made all the more painful as evidence mounts that Ingstad was repeatedly warned to alter course before the collision and failed to take corrective action to avoid the collision.

      Local media reported that the Maltese-flagged tanker Sola TS identified Ingstad and tried to avoid the disaster. The reports also revealed details that show that Ingstad did not have a firm grasp of the surface picture it was sailing into.

      The disaster developed quickly, with Ingstad transiting the channel inbound at 17 knots and Sola TS traveling outbound at 7 knots.

      Sola TS raised the Ingstad multiple times and was discussing the emerging danger with shore-based Central Station, according to the Norwegian paper Verdens Gang. The responses from Ingstad appear confused, at one point saying that if they altered the course it would take them too close to the shoals, which prompted Sola TS to respond that they had to do something or a collision would be unavoidable.

      Contributing to the confusion, the Ingstad appears to have been transiting with its Automatic Identification System switched off. That seems to have delayed recognition by central control and the other ships in the area that Ingstad was inbound and heading into danger, the account in VG seems to indicate.

    • Mon interprétation, au vu des échanges – et des dégâts provoqués par la collision (la capture de la visualisation de l’écran radar n’est pas vraiment lisible) : il semblerait que le Helge Ingstad après avoir accepté d’infléchir sa trajectoire vers la droite (à tribord) ait, en fait, viré vers sa gauche, d’où l’impact à tribord, au deux tiers de sa flottaison.

      On voit la déchirure provoquée par l’écubier, il n’est pas possible de savoir si le bulbe du pétrolier a entrainé des dégâts sous la flottaison. Sans doute, non puisque le Solas TS a pu reprendre sa route sans trop de problème et à vitesse normale.

      Sous le choc (17 noeuds entrant vs 7 noeuds sortant, presque 45 km/h de vitesse relative) le Helge Ingstad a pivoté sur sa droite est s’est retrouvé, désemparé, sans propulsion, ni gouvernail, à dériver vers la côte à 5 noeuds ; la manœuvre n’a pas du tout été délibérée, mais entièrement subie.

    • Il y a 3 jours, Le Figaro reprenait les éléments de langage de l’armée norvégienne, rien depuis. Quant au Monde, aucun signe de l’affaire ; la dernière mention de la frégate norvégienne est de janvier 2014, où elle opérait à Chypre dans le cadre du contrôle des livraisons d’armes chimiques en Syrie…

      Norvège : une frégate menace de couler après une collision
      http://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/2018/11/08/97001-20181108FILWWW00059-norvege-7-blesses-legers-dans-une-collision-entre

      « La KNM Helge Ingstad a subi des dégâts au-dessus et en dessous de la ligne de flottaison. Les dégâts étaient tels que la frégate n’était plus stable et n’avait plus assez de capacité de flottaison », a déclaré Sigurd Smith, officier de la Marine norvégienne, lors d’une conférence de presse. « Il a par conséquent été décidé de l’échouer énergiquement sur le rivage », a-t-il expliqué. La Marine a refusé de se prononcer à ce stade sur les causes de la collision.

    • en Norvège, tout finit par des chansons,
      sur NRK, (vidéo sur FB, uniquement)
      https://www.facebook.com/NRK/videos/582039188932786

      Vi hadde en gang en båt,
      en feiende flott fregatt
      men plutsellig så gikk det galt en november-nat.

      å grøss og gru
      å grøss og gru
      Hva skjedde nu ?
      Jeg bare undres :
      Hva skjedde nu ?

      Fregatten Helge Ingstad så stolt og kry.
      Hal toppseil my boys, hit hoy,
      Kosta to milliarder da den var ny
      Hal toppseil my boys, hit hoy.

      Nå var hun på øvelse smekker og grå
      sonarer og radarer passet godt på
      men tankern med olje kom ut av det blå.
      Hal toppseil my boys, hit hoy,

      Hør skipsklokkens, klang
      noe galt er på gang
      men vi holder kursen som vi alt satt
      for dette er den norske marinen fregatt !
      Hal toppseil my boys, hit hoy,

    • Une version officieuse qui circule en défense de la marine norvégienne : le Sola TS n’était pas sur le rail du trafic sortant, il est plus à l’ouest. À quoi, il est répondu :
      • il venait d’appareiller, sa vitesse n’était que de 5 noeuds, alors que le flux sortant était à 10 noeuds,
      • pour appareiller, vu la situation, il a besoin de l’autorisation du centre de contrôle du trafic (Fedje VTS)

      … qui lui a, sans doute, été accordée (ce n’est pas dit). Et c’est là, que l’absence d’information AIS prend toute son importance. L’écho radar était visible, mais pas l’identification, ni la vitesse (17 noeuds, ce qui n’est pas rien dans un détroit (un fjord, en fait,…) Le centre de contrôle ne devait certainement pas suivre manuellement (à l’ancienne !…) l’écho radar, se reposant sur les informations visualisées.

      Sjøoffiser mener at tankskipet « Sola TS » hadde feil kurs før ulykken – NRK Norge – Oversikt over nyheter fra ulike deler av landet
      https://www.nrk.no/norge/sjooffiser-mener-at-tankskipet-_sola-ts_-hadde-feil-kurs-for-ulykken-1.14290245

      Hvorfor « Sola TS » ikke legger seg på samme linje som den andre trafikken, er ikke klart. Det er noe som besetningen om bord og losen sannsynligvis kan forklare.
      […]
      Den andre trafikken var skip som hadde større hastighet enn « Sola TS ». Ut fra AIS-data så er det klart at disse måtte vike dersom tankskipet hadde fortsatt mer mot øst før det tok svingen mot nord.

      […]

      – Tankskip som skal forlate en terminal kaller opp trafikksentralen med informasjon om at de er klar for avgang, og angir seilingsrute. Deretter blir det gitt seilingsklarering dersom det ikke er noe hinder for dette, skriver regiondirektør John Erik Hagen i Kystverket i en generell kommentar til NRK.

    • DN : Berging av fregatten « Helge Ingstad » kan koste opptil 300.000 kroner per dag - Forsvaret - Næringsliv - E24
      http://e24.no/naeringsliv/forsvaret/dn-berging-av-fregatten-helge-ingstad-kan-koste-opptil-300-000-kroner-per-dag/24490783

      Trondheim-selskapet Boa Management har fått oppdraget å løfte havarerte KNM «Helge Ingstad» på lekter og frakte båten til verft. Det melder Dagens Næringsliv.

      Skipsmeglere avisen har kontaktet anslår med noen forbehold at det kan koste 30.000-35.000 dollar per dag å leie inn taubåt og lekter som trengs for jobben. Altså mellom 250.000 og 300.000 kroner.

    • Le texte d’Aldrimer.no repris ci-dessus par la NRK.
      KNM Helge Ingstad fryktet å gå på grunn ‹ aldrimer.no
      https://www.aldrimer.no/knm-helge-ingstad-fryktet-a-ga-pa-grunn

      Il contient une vidéo d’animation des trajectoires AIS plus claire, avec un champ plus large.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6I1twpZVIY

      elle permet de suivre, p. ex. la trajectoire de l’Ajax qui a aidé à l’appareillage du Sola TS et qui repart immédiatement, comme on l’entend dans la transcription VHF, à la demande de Fedje VTS, dès l’abordage. Son trajet permet, en creux de suivre celui du KNM Helge Ingstad, sur laquelle viennent s’agglutiner les remorqueurs. Malgré la localisation AIS, du navire de guerre de l’OTAN, F313 qui apparaît brusquement (à 0’09"), après la collision, derrière le Sola pour ne plus bouger ensuite, la MàJ de la position ne se faisant plus.

    • RIP KNM Helge Ingstad !


      A shipwrecked Norwegian navy frigate “KNM Helge Ingstad” is seen in this Norwegian Coastal Administration handout picture in Oygarden, Norway, November 13, 2018.
      Jakob Ostheim/Norwegian Coastal Administration/Handout vis REUTERS

      Norwegian frigate now nearly submerged after collision
      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-norway-accident/norwegian-frigate-now-nearly-submerged-after-collision-idUSKCN1NI10Z


      A shipwrecked Norwegian navy frigate “KNM Helge Ingstad” is seen in this Norwegian Coastal Administration handout picture in Oygarden, Norway, November 13, 2018.
      Jakob Ostheim/Norwegian Coastal Administration/Handout vis REUTERS

      A Norwegian navy frigate that collided with an oil tanker last week was almost completely submerged on Tuesday despite efforts to salvage the sinking vessel, pictures taken by the Norwegian Coastal Administration showed.

      The ship’s plight off the Norwegian coast is, however, not disrupting the nearby Sture crude oil export terminal. “We are in normal operations,” said a spokeswoman for the plant’s operator, Equinor.

      The Norwegian military has been working since Thursday to salvage the ship by tethering it with several cables to the shore. Some of these had broken.

      The ship sunk a meter further and, as a result, two wires broke. They were replaced with two stronger ones. We worked until midnight on this. After midnight, we realized it was not safe for our staff to carry on the work further,” said Haavard Mathiesen, the head of the salvage operation for the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency.

      Around 0600 (0500 GMT), more wires broke and the ship sank further. It is now in deep water and stable,” he told a news conference.

      The ship was stranded off Norway’s west coast early last Thursday after it collided with the tanker that had left the Sture terminal. The facility was shut for several hours as a result.

      Eight Navy staff, out of a total crew of 137, were slightly injured in the incident.

    • L’édito de gCaptain.
      Pas de piste, pas d’hypothèse, un appel à la vigilance.

      Who Sunk The Battleship ? – gCaptain
      https://gcaptain.com/who-sunk-the-battleship

      Again. There was a collision at sea again.
      […]
      Take the time to read up on this seemingly textbook collision. Think about the other maritime incidents that have happened recently. Don’t think that these accidents only happen to other people – it only takes one misstep between a near miss and a catastrophe.

      Take away what you’ve observed from this – discuss it with your colleagues. Find ways to ever be improving. Awareness, procedures, re-design from lessons learned.

      Fair winds and following seas – if not that a strong hull and a cautious mariner.

      Note : la première partie de la dernière phrase est traditionnelle, la suite moins.
      https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/NHC/fairwinds.htm

    • L’amiral commandant les forces navales états-uniennes en Europe était à bord de la frégate. C’est lui qui était le responsable de l’exercice OTAN Trident Juncture

      Amerikansk offiser om bord da « Helge Ingstad » kolliderte - Bergens Tidende
      https://www.bt.no/article/bt-VRJjWV.html

      TOPPADMIRAL: Sjefen for de amerikanske marinestyrkene i Europa, admiral James G. Foggo III, var om bord på KNM «Helge Ingstad» fire dager før ulykken. Etter ulykken har Havarikommisjonen sendt en henvendelse til Foggos styrke. De vil ikke si hvorfor.
      FOTO: MARIUS VÅGENES VILLANGER / FORSVARET

      Amerikansk offiser om bord da Helge Ingstad kolliderte
      En amerikansk marineoffiser var om bord på KNM Helge Ingstad da det smalt, bekrefter Forsvarsdepartementet. Offiserens rolle blir nå etterforsket.

      James G. Foggo III - Wikipedia
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_G._Foggo_III

      James “Jamie” Gordon Foggo III (born September 2, 1959) is a United States Navy admiral who currently serves as commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe while concurrently serving as the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Africa and commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples.
      […]
      25 October to 7 November 2018, admiral Foggo is responsible for conducting the NATO exercise Trident Juncture.

    • De mauvais esprits font remarquer la très faible efficacité (!) des travaux entrepris tout de suite après l’échouage pour empêcher le naufrage de la frégate…

      La glissade au fond a englouti les composants à forte valeur qui étaient initialement récupérables (radar Aegis et système électronique hypersophistiqués, idem pour la propulsion par turbine)
      (on remarquera sur la photo ci-dessous qu’il en va à peu près de même pour le dispositif anti-pollution à en juger par les irisations de chaque côté des barrages flottants…)

      Lokale selskaper bak mislykket « Helge Ingstad »-sikring - VG
      https://www.vg.no/nyheter/innenriks/i/EoryO2/lokale-selskaper-bak-mislykket-helge-ingstad-sikring

      Ifølge Forsvaret ble den beste kompetansen i Norge hentet inn da bergingen av KNM « Helge Ingstad » ble satt i gang. Kritikere sier arbeidet fremstår uprofesjonelt. Nå står milliardfregatten under vann, og er i fare for å gli videre ut på dypet.

      Therese RidarMagnus NewthOda Leraan Skjetne
      Publisert:16.11.18 21:15

      Da KNM « Helge Ingstad » ble grunnstøtt etter kollisjonen forrige uke, ble fregatten sikret med ti stålvaiere festet til land. Sikringsjobben var ferdig lørdag morgen. Slik lå skipet fram til mandag kveld, da vaierne foran på skipet begynte å ryke. Tirsdag morgen hadde alle festepunktene foran på fartøyet røket, og « Helge Ingstad » sank nesten helt under vann.

      Den mislykkede sikringen av fregatten til en verdi av fire milliarder har fått hard kritikk i ettertid.

    • Voici donc mon #Thread concernant l’accident du #HelgeIngstad, cette frégate que la Norvège a perdu sans combattre il y a une semaine..

      François Narolles @FNarolles
      https://twitter.com/FNarolles/status/1063493033969287170

      signalé par @unagi, https://seenthis.net/messages/736408#message736413

      Mon analyse est très voisine, mais j’aurais tendance à augmenter la responsabilité du centre de contrôle du trafic.

      • la frégate va vite, très vite, trop vite : 17 noeuds, c’est pratiquement le double de la vitesse de l’ensemble des bateaux environnants, la vitesse de rapprochement est donc de 44 km/h, soit 11 m/s
      • son AIS est éteint, alors que le navire est en vue des côtes, dans un trafic dense, ça n’a pratiquement que des inconvénients (c’est une des conclusions des analyses des accidents des destroyers de la marine états-unienne l’année dernière). D’un autre côté, on comprend que l’état-major soit réticent à ce que tout le monde (y compris les méchants) puisse connaître en une connexion à MarineTraffic ou VesselFinder la position des navires de sa flotte, du moins ceux qui sont en eaux côtières

      • le centre de contrôle du trafic échoue totalement dans sa mission et commet une très lourde faute. Quand le pétrolier lui demande qui il a en face de lui, le VTS ne le sait pas d’emblée. C’est proprement ahurissant. Il est probable que cela vient du fait que le suivi des navires se fait uniquement sur la base de l’AIS ; position, cap et vitesse sont affichés automatiquement. Il n’y a probablement pas (ou alors pas au même endroit) de suivi manuel du navire sans AIS ; celui-ci mobilise une charge mentale intense, une grande concentration et génère un stress non négligeable (souvenirs précis de service militaire en Iroise,…)
      • d’après ce que j’ai lu, le VTS doit autoriser l’appareillage des navires du port pétrolier. Si c’est exact, alors il a donné un clear pour une situation qui ne l’était pas du tout et était hautement problématique. En demandant de retarder l’appareillage d’une demi-heure, ça laissait le temps à la frégate de défiler et de dégager le terrain

      • je ne vois pas trop ce que le Sola TS aurait pu faire d’autre, il est à 5 noeuds, en phase d’accélération pour atteindre les 10 noeuds qui lui permettront de s’injecter dans le rail sortant, ce qui fait qu’il est décalé vers l’ouest par rapport à ce rail, fermant une partie du passage pour le Helge Ingstad. Ses capacités de manoeuvre sont très limitées, c’est d’ailleurs pour ça qu’il a toujours un remorqueur au cul (le Tenax).
      • sans doute, lui aussi, pouvait (aurait pu…) maintenir une veille radar et suivre les échos, y compris sans AIS, – cf. supra – mais, il est possible que son radar ait été masqué par les structures du port et, donc, que la frégate n’ait pas été perçue au départ du quai (par ailleurs, elle était encore « loin ») et, surtout, c’est normalement le boulot du VTS.

      À mon sens, à partir du moment où le pétrolier a appareillé, la situation est plus que problématique et il aurait fallu un enchaînement exceptionnel pour éviter la catastrophe (perception ultra-rapide de la situation et de sa gravité, manoeuvre sans hésitation de la frégate dès la prise de contact radio).

    • Le rapport préliminaire d’enquête de la commission norvégienne d’enquête. On peut saluer la performance et la transparence : moins d’un mois après l’événement !

      Investigation of marine accident, collision outside the Sture Oil Terminal in Hjeltefjorden, Norway | aibn
      https://www.aibn.no/Marine/Investigations/18-968

      On the morning of Thursday 8 November 2018, the Accident Investigation Board Norway (AIBN) was informed of a collision between the frigate ’KNM Helge Ingstad’ and the Maltese registered tanker ’Sola TS’ in Hjeltefjorden, outside the Sture terminal in Øygarden Municipality in Hordaland County, Norway. The AIBN contacted the Defence Accident Investigation Board Norway (DAIBN) and it was decided to initiate a joint investigation into the accident, led by the AIBN. The AIBN then contacted the Marine Safety Investigation Unit of Malta (MSIU), which is also a participating party in the investigation; cf. Chapter 18 Section 474 of the Norwegian Maritime Code.

      29 November 2018 the AIBN publishes a preliminary report on the accident and two interim safety recommendations. This preliminary report is published to communicate the information obtained during the initial phase of the ongoing investigation. The purpose is to provide a brief update on how the investigation is progressing as well as a preliminary description of the sequence of events and disseminate safety-critical issues identified at this stage of the investigation. This preliminary report also identifies areas that need further investigation and describes lines of investigation that will be followed up.

      En lien, deux pdf
      • Preliminary report 29.11.201
      • Appendix : Interim safety recommendations 29.11.2018

    • De très utiles précisions :
      • le Sola TS avait laissé ses feux de ponts allumés le rendant difficile à distinguer des lumières du terminal pétrolier dont il s’éloignait doucement et ne permettant pas le repérage rapide de ses feux de navigation et donc la lecture de sa trajectoire
      • dans la version de la passerelle du KNM Helge Ingstad où venait de s’effectuer la passation de quart, cette masse lumineuse a été prise pour un obstacle fixe non identifié et c’est cette perception qui justifie l’absence de manoeuvre d’évitement vers la droite, justement pour éviter de percuter cet obstacle fixe

    • À noter surtout dans les recommandations préliminaires la mention d’un grave défaut de conception de ces frégates (et peut-être d’autres issues des chantiers espagnols Navantia.

      En effet, les dégâts provoqués par la collision ont noyé 3 compartiments étanches mettant en péril la stabilité du bâtiment mais lui permettant de se maintenir à flot, conclusion initiale à bord, conforme aux documents décrivant la stabilité du navire, ceux-ci mentionnant que l’envahissement d’un quatrième compartiment entrainait la perte du bâtiment.

      Or, l’eau s’est rapidement infiltré dans un quatrième compartiment en passant par les passages des arbres d’hélice, puis aux autres compartiments à travers les cloisons.

      To start with, flooding occurred in three watertight compartments on board KNM Helge Ingstad: the aft generator room, the orlob deck’s crew quarters and the stores room. There was some uncertainty as to whether the steering engine room, the aftmost compartment, was also filling up with water. Based on this damage, the crew, supported by the vessel’s stability documents, assessed the vessel as having ’poor stability’ status, but that it could be kept afloat. If more compartments were flooded, the status would be assessed as ’vessel lost’ on account of further loss of stability.

      Next, the crew found that water from the aft generator room was running into the gear room via the hollow propeller shafts and that the gear room was filling up fast. From the gear room, the water then ran into and was flooding the aft and fore engine rooms via the stuffing boxes in the bulkheads. This meant that the flooding became substantially more extensive than indicated by the original damage. Based on the flooding of the gear room, it was decided to prepare for evacuation.

      The AIBN considers the vessel’s lack of watertight integrity to be a safety issue relating to Nansen-class frigates and therefore issues the following two safety alerts.

    • Early report blames confused watchstanders, possible design flaws for Norway’s sunken frigate
      https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2018/11/29/early-report-blames-confused-watchstanders-possible-design-flaws-for-no

      In a statement to Defense News, Navantia spokesperson Esther Benito Lope stressed that the report is “very preliminary” and that the company has offered to work with Norway on the investigation.

      Navantia has offered, since the very beginning, its collaboration with the [Royal Norwegian Navy] in order to clarify the accident,” Benito Lope said. “Navantia will analyze all the possibilities, considering that some of the mentioned possibilities … are concluded from a very preliminary investigation.

      The statement went on to say that the company has not received any official notice or fielded any consultations about the cause of the accident.

      Navantia has not received any official communication, neither any consults about possible causes, nor participated in any action … in Norway,” Benito Lope wrote.

    • Navy divers arrive at KNM «Helge Ingstad» - Norway Today
      http://norwaytoday.info/news/navy-divers-arrive-at-knm-helge-ingstad

      The vessel is not lifted anytime soon. The vessel is filled with nearly 10,000 cubic meters of seawater, and a large part of this must be pumped out first, the Project Manager for the Salvage Operation, Commander Captain Arild Øydegard tells VG.

      We have great lifting capacity, but not to lift both a vessel of about 5,000 deadweight tonnes and another 10,000 metric ton of seawater. So this we have to get rid of underway – we have estimated that we might have 500 cubic metres left when we lift it up, he says.
      […]
      There is still no final decision as to whether the Frigate may be repaired. According to VG, two working groups have been established to assess that question; one who will try to salvage the material on board and one who is planning a possible repairing.

      Øydegard announces that the hull is relatively intact, except for the 45-metre tear that the Frigate sustained in the collision with «Sola TS».

      We have damage to the rudder and such, but this is a warship which hull has tolerated the stresses so far, Øydegard explains.

    • Grave problème d’étanchéité d’une frégate norvégienne construite par Navantia
      https://www.latribune.fr/entreprises-finance/industrie/aeronautique-defense/grave-probleme-d-etancheite-d-une-fregate-norvegienne-construite-par-navan

      Le Bureau d’enquête sur les accidents de la Norvège a identifié dans un rapport préliminaire des « problèmes de sécurité critiques », qui nécessitent une « attention immédiate ». Notamment des problèmes d’étanchéité entre les compartiments de la frégate KNM Helge Ingstad construite en 2009 par Navantia.

      Coup dur pour Navantia. Après la collision le 8 novembre entre une frégate norvégienne, un bâtiment moderne d’environ 5.000 tonnes construit par le chantier naval espagnol, et le pétrolier maltais Sola TV, le Bureau d’enquête sur les accidents de la Norvège (AIBN) a identifié dans un rapport préliminaire public daté du 29 novembre, des « problèmes de sécurité critiques », qui nécessitent une « attention immédiate ». L’AIBN a affirmé que le manque d’étanchéité entre les compartiments des frégates de la classe Nansen, est l’un de ces problèmes de sécurité. Il a déjà émis deux alertes de sécurité en attendant de poursuivre une enquête plus approfondie.

    • Frégate HNoMS Helge Ingstad : un rapport de la marine espagnole remet en cause la version norvégienne | Le portail des sous-marins
      https://www.corlobe.tk

      #C’était_à_prévoir : les critiques adressées au constructeur Navantia par le rapport préliminaire du bureau norvégien d’enquêtes sur les accidents maritimes ne passent pas en Espagne. La marine espagnole a rédigé son propre rapport qui dédouane complètement Navantia et conclut qu’une erreur humaine a été la cause principale de l’accident de la frégate Helge Ingstad.

      Ce rapport remet en cause la version des autorités norvégiennes : la semaine dernière, le bureau norvégien d’enquêtes sur les accidents maritimes avait pointé du doigt le chantier naval espagnol. Selon le rapport espagnol, « il existe des preuves claires que les dommages initiaux ont touché 4 compartiments étanches, et des indices que 5 aient été réellement endommagés dans la collision, ce qui dépasse les critères de survie fixés pour ce navire. »

      Le rapport interne de la marine espagnole explique que « la longueur de la déchirure visible sur les photos est de 15% de la longueur à la ligne de flottaison (18,2 m), soit 3 tranches contigües inondées. »

      Il ajoute aussi que l’avarie pourrait avoir aussi touché d’autres compartiments. « L’analyse des images indique que, probablement, sous la ligne de flottaison, un 4è compartiment étanche ait été éventré. »

      Pour la marine espagnole, une erreur humaine est la seule cause de l’accident. Une suite d’erreurs ont été commises : navigation à vitesse excessive (environ 17 nœuds), non-utilisation de l’AIS, non-respect du règlement international de prévention des abordages en mer, et non-prise en compte des avertissements du pétrolier.

      Le rapport conclut que « aucun navire ayant des caractéristiques similaires à la frégate n’aurait été capable de contrôler la voie d’eau et d’éviter le naufrage ».

      Remarque : que la cause de l’accident soit une erreur humaine ne fait guère de doute, ce qui est en cause est la suite, l’issue finale de l’accident : le naufrage…

    • Integrity of Nansen-class frigates questioned by Helge Ingstad investigation | Insurance Marine News
      https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/integrity-of-nansen-class-frigates-questioned-by-helge-ingstad-

      Meanwhile, during the weekend of December 1st and 2nd, the Coastal Administration continued monitoring the Helge Ingstad with daily inspections of the oil spill equipment. Patrol boat Bergen and anti-pollution vessel Utvær were in the area and had collected about 50m3 of oil mixture by December 1st. In total, about 90m3 of diesel mixed with water had been recovered by the Utvær.


  • Working Through the Pain at TeslaReveal
    https://www.revealnews.org/article/inside-teslas-factory-a-medical-clinic-designed-to-ignore-injured-worker

    Inside Tesla’s factory, a medical clinic designed to ignore injured workers
    By Will Evans / November 5, 2018

    When a worker gets smashed by a car part on Tesla’s factory floor, medical staff are forbidden from calling 911 without permission.

    The electric carmaker’s contract doctors rarely grant it, instead often insisting that seriously injured workers – including one who severed the top of a finger – be sent to the emergency room in a Lyft.

    Injured employees have been systematically sent back to the production line to work through their pain with no modifications, according to former clinic employees, Tesla factory workers and medical records. Some could barely walk.

    The on-site medical clinic serving some 10,000 employees at Tesla Inc.’s California assembly plant has failed to properly care for seriously hurt workers, an investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting has found.

    The clinic’s practices are unsafe and unethical, five former clinic employees said.

    But denying medical care and work restrictions to injured workers is good for one thing: making real injuries disappear.

    “The goal of the clinic was to keep as many patients off of the books as possible,” said Anna Watson, a physician assistant who worked at Tesla’s medical clinic for three weeks in August.

    Watson has nearly 20 years of experience as a medical professional, examining patients, diagnosing ailments and prescribing medications. She’s treated patients at a petroleum refinery, a steel plant, emergency rooms and a trauma center. But she said she’s never seen anything like what’s happening at Tesla.


    Anna Watson was a physician assistant at the medical clinic inside Tesla’s electric car factory in Fremont, Calif. She was fired in August after raising concerns. Credit: Paul Kuroda for Reveal

    “The way they were implementing it was very out of control,” said Watson, who was fired in August after she raised her concerns. “Every company that I’ve worked at is motivated to keep things not recordable. But I’ve never seen anybody do it at the expense of treating the patient.”

    Workers with chest pain, breathing problems or extreme headaches have been dismissed as having issues unrelated to their work, without being fully evaluated or having workplace exposures considered, former employees said. The clinic has turned away temp workers who got hurt on Tesla’s assembly lines, leaving them without on-site care. And medical assistants, who are supposed to have on-site supervision, say they were left on their own at night, unprepared to deal with a stream of night-shift injuries.

    If a work injury requires certain medical equipment – such as stitches or hard braces – then it has to be counted in legally mandated logs. But some employees who needed stitches for a cut instead were given butterfly bandages, said Watson and another former clinic employee. At one point, hard braces were removed from the clinic so they wouldn’t be used, according to Watson and a former medical assistant.

    As Tesla races to revolutionize the automobile industry and build a more sustainable future, it has left its factory workers in the past, still painfully vulnerable to the dangers of manufacturing.

    An investigation by Reveal in April showed that Tesla prioritized style and speed over safety, undercounted injuries and ignored the concerns of its own safety professionals. CEO Elon Musk’s distaste for the color yellow and beeping forklifts eroded factory safety, former safety team members said.

    The new revelations about the on-site clinic show that even as the company forcefully pushed back against Reveal’s reporting, behind the scenes, it doubled down on its efforts to hide serious injuries from the government and public.

    In June, Tesla hired a new company, Access Omnicare, to run its factory health center after the company promised Tesla it could help reduce the number of recordable injuries and emergency room visits, according to records.

    A former high-level Access Omnicare employee said Tesla pressured the clinic’s owner, who then made his staff dismiss injuries as minor or not related to work.

    “It was bullying and pressuring to do things people didn’t believe were correct,” said the former employee, whom Reveal granted anonymity because of the worker’s fear of being blackballed in the industry.

    Dr. Basil Besh, the Fremont, California, hand surgeon who owns Access Omnicare, said the clinic drives down Tesla’s injury count with more accurate diagnoses, not because of pressure from Tesla. Injured workers, he said, don’t always understand what’s best for them.

    “We treat the Tesla employees just the same way we treat our professional athletes,” he said. “If Steph Curry twists his knee on a Thursday night game, that guy’s in the MRI scanner on Friday morning.”

    Yet at one point, Watson said a Tesla lawyer and a company safety official told her and other clinic staff to stop prescribing exercises to injured workers so they wouldn’t have to count the injuries. Recommending stretches to treat an injured back or range-of-motion exercises for an injured shoulder was no longer allowed, she said.

    The next day, she wrote her friend a text message in outrage: “I had to meet with lawyers yesterday to literally learn how not to take care of people.”

    Tesla declined interview requests for this story and said it had no comment in response to detailed questions. But after Reveal pressed the company for answers, Tesla officials took time on their October earnings call to enthusiastically praise the clinic.

    “I’m really super happy with the care they’re giving, and I think the employees are as well,” said Laurie Shelby, Tesla’s vice president for environment, health and safety.

    Musk complained about “unfair accusations” that Tesla undercounts its injuries and promised “first-class health care available right on the spot when people need it.”

    Welcome to the new Tesla clinic
    Back in June, on stage at Tesla’s shareholder meeting, Musk announced a declining injury rate for his electric car factory.

    “This is a super important thing to me because we obviously owe a great debt to the people who are building the car. I really care about this issue,” Musk said to applause.

    It wasn’t long after that that Stephon Nelson joined the company. Working the overnight shift Aug. 13, Nelson got a sudden introduction to Tesla’s new model of care.

    He was bent over putting caulk inside the trunk of a Model X. Something slipped and the hatchback crunched down on his back. Nelson froze up in agonizing pain. He had deep red bruises across his back.

    “I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t sit down. I couldn’t even stand up straight,” said Nelson, who’s 30 and used to play semiprofessional football.

    He asked for an ambulance, but the on-call Tesla doctor said no – he could take a Lyft to the hospital instead.

    “I just felt heartbroken,” Nelson said. “What they was telling us in the orientation, that Tesla is a company that cares about their employees’ safety, it just seemed like it was just a whole reversal.”

    No one was allowed to call 911 without a doctor’s permission, said Watson and two medical assistants who used to work at the clinic under Besh’s direction. Anyone who did so would get in trouble, they said.

    “There was a strong push not to send anybody in an ambulance,” Watson said.


    “I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t sit down. I couldn’t even stand up straight,” Stephon Nelson says of what happened when he injured his back while working on a Tesla Model X. Credit: Paul Kuroda for Reveal

    It’s unclear why there was such a focus on avoiding 911, though some former employees thought it was to save money. Also, 911 logs become public records. And first responders, unlike drivers for ride-hailing services, are required to report severe work injuries to California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, the state’s workplace safety agency. Besh said ambulance use is based on “clinical judgment only.”

    The system was especially problematic on the night shift, as the factory continued churning out vehicles around the clock, but there were no doctors or nurses around, former employees said.

    Two medical assistants who used to work there said they often were left on their own – one on duty at a time – and struggled to tend to all the injured. Both had to do things such as take vital signs, which medical assistants aren’t allowed to do without on-site supervision, according to the Medical Board of California. Reveal granted them anonymity because they fear speaking out will hurt their careers. Besh said no one works alone.

    For a severely injured worker lying on the assembly line, it could take 10 to 15 minutes for a medical assistant to arrive and then contact on-call doctors, a medical assistant said. Getting a code for Tesla’s Lyft account was a drawn-out process that could take hours, she said.

    The medical assistants said they were alarmed and uncomfortable with the doctors’ orders to use Lyft because they worried some patients could pass out or need help en route. One worker directed to take a Lyft was light-headed and dizzy. Another had his fingers badly broken, contorted and mangled.

    Besh, who often serves as the on-call doctor, said anyone could call 911 in a life-threatening situation. He said he recommends using Lyft for workers who don’t need advanced life support.

    Besh gave the example of a worker who had the top of his finger cut off. He needed to go to the hospital, but not by ambulance, Besh said. He likened the situation to people at home who get a ride to the hospital instead of calling an ambulance.

    “We right-size the care,” he said. “Obviously, it’s all about the appropriate care given for the appropriate situation.”

    It’s a doctor’s judgment call to use Lyft, but many on the factory floor found it inhumane. In some cases, including the worker with an amputated fingertip, factory supervisors refused to put their employees in a Lyft and instead drove them to the hospital, according to a medical assistant.

    Injured workers sent back to work

    In Nelson’s case, he called his girlfriend to take him to the hospital. But he said his supervisor told him that he had to show up for work the next day or Nelson would get in trouble.

    Nelson needed the job, so he forced himself to come in. He shuffled slowly, hunched over in pain, to his department, he said. When it was clear he couldn’t do the job, he was sent to the Tesla health center, a small clinic on an upper level of the factory.

    Workers too injured to do their regular jobs are supposed to receive job restrictions and a modified assignment that won’t make the injury worse.

    But the health center wouldn’t give Nelson any accommodations. He could go home that day, but he had to report to work full duty the following day, he said.

    By law, work-related injuries must be recorded on injury logs if they require medical treatment beyond first aid, days away from work or job restrictions. The clinic’s practices were designed to avoid those triggers, said Anna Watson, the physician assistant.

    There was a clinic rule, for example, that injured employees could not be given work restrictions, Watson said. No matter what type of injuries workers came in with – burns, lacerations, strains and sprains – clinic staff were under instructions to send them back to work full duty, she said. Watson said she even had to send one back to work with what appeared to be a broken ankle.

    Medical clinics are supposed to treat injuries and keep workers safe, she said, “and none of that’s happening. So at the most acute time of their injury, they don’t have any support, really.”

    A medical assistant who formerly worked at the clinic remembered an employee who was sent back to work even though he couldn’t stand on one of his feet. Another employee passed out face down on the assembly line – then went back to work.

    “You always put back to full duty, no matter what,” said the medical assistant.

    Dr. Basil Besh said patients are given work restrictions when appropriate. He said those hurt at night get first aid and triage, followed by an accurate diagnosis from a physician the next day.

    “There’s always going to be somebody who says, ‘No, I shouldn’t be working,’ ” he said. “But if you look objectively at the totality of the medical examination, that’s not always the case.”

    Four days after Nelson’s injury, Watson herself sent him back to work with no restrictions, according to medical records he provided. Nelson said this happened repeatedly as he hobbled in pain.

    But Watson did what she could to help: She referred him to Access Omnicare’s main clinic, about 5 miles from the auto factory. It was allowed to give work restrictions, Watson said. But most workers aren’t sent there, and it can take a while to get an appointment.

    Eight days after his injury, the outside clinic diagnosed Nelson with a “crushing injury of back,” contusions and “intractable” pain. He finally was given work restrictions that said he shouldn’t be bending, squatting, kneeling, climbing stairs or lifting more than 10 pounds.

    Even after that, the health center at one point sent Nelson back to his department in a wheelchair, he said.

    “And I’m rocking back and forth, just ready to fall out of the wheelchair because I’m in so much pain,” he said.

    In September, Nelson got a warehouse job at another company. It was a pay cut, but he quit Tesla right away. “I feel like it’s really not safe at all,” he said.

    Besh said he couldn’t comment on a specific case without a signed release from the patient. But, he said, “a physician examined that patient and saw that there was not a safety issue.”

    Besh was named chairman of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ Board of Councilors this year. A Tesla spokeswoman set up and monitored his interview with Reveal.

    There’s been a “culture shift” at the health center since Tesla hired him to take over, he said.

    “So culturally, there were folks in the past who were expecting that any time they come to the clinic, they would be taken off of work,” he said. “And when we told them, ‘No, we really want to do what’s best for you’ … it’s taking some time to get buy-in.”

    In the end, Tesla counted Nelson on its injury logs, which is how Reveal identified him. That’s another reason the system didn’t make sense to Watson: Some workers whose injuries were so serious that they eventually would have to be counted still were denied proper care when they needed it most, she said.

    Many more injured workers never were counted, she said. Tesla’s official injury logs, provided to Reveal by a former employee, show 48 injuries in August. Watson reviewed the list for the three weeks she was there and estimated that more than twice as many injuries should have been counted if Tesla had provided appropriate care and counted accurately.

    Other ways Tesla’s clinic avoids treating workers
    The clinic seemed geared toward sending workers away instead of treating them, Watson said. The culture of the clinic, she said, was to discount workers’ complaints and assume they were exaggerating.

    The clinic would look for reasons to dismiss injuries as not work-related, even when they seemed to be, former employees said.

    Watson recalled one worker who had passed out on the job and went to the hospital because of her exposure to fumes in the factory. Even though a work-related loss of consciousness is required to be counted, no such injury was recorded on Tesla’s injury logs.

    Temp workers hurt on the production line also were often rebuffed by the clinic, said former clinic employees. At one point, there was a blanket policy to turn away temps, they said.


    Tracy Lee wears a brace to help with a repetitive stress injury she developed while working at Tesla’s factory. She says the in-house health center sent her away without evaluating her because she wasn’t a permanent employee. Credit: Paul Kuroda for Reveal

    Tracy Lee developed a repetitive stress injury over the summer when a machine broke and she had to lift car parts by hand, she said. Lee said the health center sent her away without evaluating her because she wasn’t a permanent employee.

    “I really think that’s messed up,” said Lee, who later sought medical treatment on her own. “Don’t discriminate just because we’re temps. We’re working for you.”

    By law, Tesla is required to record injuries of temp workers who work under its supervision, no matter where they get treatment. But not all of them were. Lee said her Tesla supervisor knew about the injury. But Lee’s name doesn’t appear on Tesla’s injury logs.

    Besh pushed back on the claims of his former employees.

    He said the clinic didn’t treat some temp workers because Access Omnicare wasn’t a designated health care provider for their staffing agencies. About half of the agencies now are able to use the clinic, and the rest should be early next year, he said.

    Besh said a physician accurately and carefully determines whether an injury is work-related and the clinic is not set up to treat personal medical issues. He said the clinic is fully stocked.

    As for prescribing exercises, Besh said the clinic automatically was giving exercise recommendations to workers who were not injured and simply fixed the error.


    These sample Work Status Reports, posted in Tesla’s health center, show how clinic staff were instructed to handle different situations. The document on the left, labeled “Work Related,” is marked “First Aid Only” and “Return to full duty with no limitations or restrictions,” scenarios that would mean Tesla wouldn’t have to count the injury. Those were the only options, says Anna Watson, a physician assistant who used to work there. One document for contract employees such as temp workers (center) and another for non-occupational injuries (right) both say to refer the patients elsewhere. Credit: Obtained by Reveal

    Clinic source: Tesla pressured doctor
    Access Omnicare’s proposal for running Tesla’s health center states that Tesla’s priorities include reducing recordable injuries and emergency room visits, according to a copy obtained by Reveal.

    It says Access Omnicare’s model, with more accurate diagnoses, reduces “un-necessary use of Emergency Departments and prevents inadvertent over-reporting of OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) recordability.”

    Even before Access Omnicare took over the on-site health center in June, Tesla sent many injured workers to its main clinic as one of the automaker’s preferred providers.

    Tesla exercised an alarming amount of pressure on the clinic to alter how it treated patients in order to keep injury rates down, said the former high-level Access Omnicare employee.

    “There was a huge, huge push from Tesla to keep things nonrecordable,” said the former employee.

    A Tesla workers’ compensation official routinely would contact the clinic to intervene in individual cases, said the former employee. Tesla would take issue with diagnoses and treatment decisions, arguing that specific workers should be sent back to work full duty or have their injuries labeled as unrelated to work. The clinic gave Tesla what it wanted, the former employee said.

    For example, Bill Casillas’ diagnosis suddenly was changed by Access Omnicare after discussions with Tesla.

    In December, Casillas was working in Tesla’s seat factory. When he touched a forklift, he felt an electric shock jolt him back. Later that shift, it happened again. He said he felt disoriented and found he had urinated on himself.

    Casillas said he hasn’t been the same since. He struggles with pain, tingling and numbness. At 47, he’s unsteady, uses a cane and hasn’t been able to work, he said.

    A doctor at Access Omnicare diagnosed a work-related “injury due to electrical exposure” and gave him severe work restrictions and physical therapy, medical records show.

    Then, nearly two months after his injury, another Access Omnicare physician, Dr. Muhannad Hafi, stepped in and dismissed the injury.

    “I have spoken again with (the workers’ compensation official) at Tesla and he informed that the forklift did not have electric current running. With that said, in my medical opinion, the patient does not have an industrial injury attributed to an electrical current,” he wrote.

    Hafi, who’s no longer with Access Omnicare, didn’t respond to questions. Besh said he can’t discuss patient details.

    The co-worker who was in the forklift during the second shock, Paul Calderon, said he disagrees with the Tesla official but no one asked him. He backed up Casillas’ account and said Tesla “tried to really downplay what happened to him.”

    Hafi’s January report noted that Casillas said he was “miserable,” used a cane and had pain all over his body. But he discharged him back to work full duty, writing, “No further symptoms of concern.”

    A Tesla safety team manager informed Casillas last month that his injury was not counted because it was “determined to not be work-related.” Casillas is still a Tesla employee, but he’s off work because of his injury. His workers’ comp claim was denied based on Hafi’s report, but his lawyer, Sue Borg, is seeking an independent medical evaluation.

    Besh said Tesla does not pressure him to dismiss injuries.

    “What Tesla pressures us on is accurate documentation,” he said. “What they want is their OSHA log to be as accurate as possible, so what they’ll push back on is, ‘Doctor I need more clarity on this report.’ And we do that for them.”

    “They are not in the business of making clinical determinations at all,” he said. “We make those clinical determinations only based on what the patient needs.”

    State regulators not interested
    By late August, Watson, the physician assistant, reached her breaking point. She got into an argument with Besh, who fired her for not deferring to doctors.

    Afterward, she filed a complaint to Cal/OSHA, California’s workplace safety agency.

    “I just see the workers at Tesla as having absolutely no voice,” she said. “I do feel extra responsible to try to speak up for what’s going on there.”

    Watson thought Cal/OSHA would put an immediate stop to the practices she witnessed. But the agency wasn’t interested.

    Cal/OSHA sent her a letter saying it folded her complaint into the investigation it started in April after Reveal’s first story ran. The letter said it had investigated and cited Tesla for a recordkeeping violation.

    But Cal/OSHA already had closed that investigation two weeks before Watson’s complaint. The agency issued a fine of $400 for a single injury it said was not recorded within the required time period. Tesla appealed, calling it an administrative error.

    Reveal had documented many other cases of injuries that Tesla had failed to record. But the agency had only about six months from the date of an injury to fine a company. By the time Cal/OSHA concluded its four-month investigation, the statute of limitations had run out.

    After Reveal reported that the time limitation makes it difficult to hold employers accountable, state legislators passed a bill giving investigators six months from when Cal/OSHA first learns of the violation. It was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, but it was too late for the Tesla investigation.

    A Cal/OSHA spokeswoman said the investigation found four other “injury recording violations that fell outside of the statute of limitations.” Even if those other violations had been included, the spokeswoman said Cal/OSHA would have had to combine them in a single $400 citation.

    Tesla, meanwhile, inaccurately cites Cal/OSHA’s investigation as vindication.

    “We do get these quite unfair accusations,” Musk said on his October earnings call. “One of them was that we were underreporting injuries. And it’s worth noting that OSHA completed their investigation and concluded that we had not been doing anything of the sort.”

    Watson called Cal/OSHA officials to insist they investigate her complaint. She told them that she had detailed knowledge of a system that undercounted injuries by failing to treat injured workers.

    But Cal/OSHA officials told her that it wasn’t the agency’s responsibility, she said. They suggested contacting another agency, such as the medical board or workers’ compensation regulators.

    As Watson kept pushing and Reveal began asking questions, a Cal/OSHA spokeswoman said her complaint now is being investigated.

    Watson has a new job at an urgent care clinic. She said she just wants someone to make sure that Tesla workers get the care they need.

    “You go to Tesla and you think it’s going to be this innovative, great, wonderful place to be, like this kind of futuristic company,” she said. “And I guess it’s just kind of disappointing that that’s our future, basically, where the worker still doesn’t matter.”

    #USA #Tesla #Arbeit #Krankheit


  • Apple News’s Radical Approach: Humans Over Machines - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/25/technology/apple-news-humans-algorithms.html

    Apple has waded into the messy world of news with a service that is read regularly by roughly 90 million people. But while Google, Facebook and Twitter have come under intense scrutiny for their disproportionate — and sometimes harmful — influence over the spread of information, Apple has so far avoided controversy. One big reason is that while its Silicon Valley peers rely on machines and algorithms to pick headlines, Apple uses humans like Ms. Kern.

    The former journalist has quietly become one of the most powerful figures in English-language media. The stories she and her deputies select for Apple News regularly receive more than a million visits each.

    Their work has complicated the debate about whether Silicon Valley giants are media or technology companies. Google, Facebook and Twitter have long insisted they are tech entities and not arbiters of the truth. The chief executive of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, and others have bet heavily on artificial intelligence to help them sort through false news and fact-based information. Yet Apple has unabashedly gone the other direction with its human-led approach, showing that a more media-like sensibility may be able to coexist within a technology company.

    There are ambitious plans for the product. Apple lets publishers run ads in its app and it helps some sign up new subscribers, taking a 30 percent cut of the revenue. Soon, the company aims to bundle access to dozens of magazines in its app for a flat monthly fee, sort of like Netflix for news, according to people familiar with the plans, who declined to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. Apple also hopes to package access to a few daily-news publications, like The Times, The Post and The Wall Street Journal, into the app, the people said.

    Apple’s executives grandly proclaim that they want to help save journalism. “There is this deep understanding that a thriving free press is critical for an informed public, and an informed public is critical for a functioning democracy, and that Apple News can play a part in that,” Ms. Kern said.

    But there are early signs that Apple is not the industry’s savior. Many publishers have made little on ads in Apple News, and Apple’s 30 percent cut of subscriptions it helps sell does not help. Having experienced Google’s and Facebook’s disruption of their industry, many publications are wary of Apple, according to conversations with executives from nine news organizations, many of whom declined to comment on the record for fear of upsetting the trillion-dollar corporation. Some were optimistic that Apple could be a better partner than other tech giants, but were leery of making the company the portal to their readers.

    The rise of Google and Facebook in news was partly driven by algorithms that provided enormous scale, enabling them to surface millions of articles from thousands of sources to their billions of users. The algorithms were largely designed to keep users engaged and clicking, meaning they tended to promote posts that drew clicks and shares, which often meant the sensational. That elevated fringe and partisan sites that produced intentionally misleading, highly partisan or downright false content.

    (A Google spokeswoman said the company aimed to avoid misinformation by screening publishers before letting them into Google News. She added that Google this year began helping news organizations sell subscriptions. A Facebook spokeswoman said the company helps publishers reach more readers, earn ad revenue and sell subscriptions. She said Facebook’s algorithm recently decreased the visibility of pages that share clickbait.)

    Into that environment came Apple. In late 2015, the iPhone maker released a free news app to match users with publications they liked. People selected their interests and favorite publications, and the app returned a feed of relevant stories.

    The announcement attracted little fanfare. Three months later, Apple announced an unusual new feature: humans would pick the app’s top stories, not algorithms.

    Not all of the stories in Apple News are handpicked. Algorithms still deliver stories based on which new sources or topics users have followed, such as sports, cars or entertainment. Algorithms also pick the five prominent “trending” stories below Ms. Kern’s team’s curated stories. Those items tend to focus on Mr. Trump or celebrities. Making the list on Oct. 2: a People magazine headline reading “Kate Middleton Is Back from Maternity Leave — with a New Haircut and Old Boots!”

    Daniel Hallac, chief product officer for New York Magazine, said traffic from Apple News has doubled since December to now account for nearly 12 percent of visits to the magazine’s website. Traffic from Facebook has dropped about a third, to 8 percent of visits, while Google’s share has increased slightly to nearly half of the site’s traffic. “I’m optimistic about Apple News,” he said.

    But in return for that traffic, publishers are stuck with Apple’s less-than-ideal terms. Apple News readers typically stay in Apple’s app, limiting the data that news organizations learn about them and curbing their ad revenues. Slate reported last month that its Apple News readers had roughly tripled over the past year but that, on average, it earned more money on 50,000 views on its site than the six million views it averaged per month in Apple News.

    Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president who oversees its services push, said publishers can run their own ads alongside their stories in Apple News and keep all of the revenue. “That’s very rare,” he said. He noted most major publishers take advantage of that feature. Apple also places ads for publishers for a 30 percent cut.

    But news publishers said selling ads for Apple News is complicated, and that advertisers’ interest was limited because of the lack of customer data. Slate also attributed its issues to minuscule revenue from the ads Apple placed. Apple recently made it easier for publishers to place their own ads, but Mr. Cue conceded Apple is not terribly good — or interested — in advertising.

    #Apple #Journalisme #Médias #Apple_news #Editorialisation


  • 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


  • 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


  • La vie de désespoir des réfugiés relégués par l’Australie sur une île du Pacifique

    La femme du Somalien Khadar Hrisi a tenté plusieurs fois de se suicider. R, une Iranienne de 12 ans, a voulu s’immoler par le feu : à Nauru, minuscule caillou du Pacifique, des réfugiés relégués par l’Australie racontent à l’AFP une vie sans perspective, sans soins et sans espoir.

    Nauru, le plus petit pays insulaire du monde, vient d’accueillir le Forum des îles du Pacifique (Fip) mais a interdit aux journalistes l’accès aux camps de rétention où Canberra refoule les clandestins qui tentent de gagner l’Australie par la mer.

    L’AFP a toutefois réussi à y pénétrer et à rencontrer des réfugiés dont la quasi totalité ont souhaité l’anonymat pour des raisons de sécurité.

    A Nauru, près d’un millier de migrants dont une centaine d’enfants, sur 11.000 habitants, vivent dans huit camps financés par Canberra, certains depuis cinq ans, selon leurs récits.

    Dans le camp numéro 5, que l’on atteint au détour d’un chemin sous une chaleur écrasante, dans un paysage hérissé de pitons rocheux, le Somalien Hrisi veut témoigner à visage découvert.

    Il n’a plus peur, il n’a plus rien. Sa femme ne parle pas, son visage est inexpressif.

    M. Hrisi la laisse seule le moins possible, à cause de sa dépression. Elle a tenté plusieurs fois de se suicider ces derniers jours, raconte-t-il.

    « Quand je me suis réveillé, elle était en train de casser ça », dit-il en montrant des lames de rasoir jetables. « Elle allait les avaler avec de l’eau ».

    – Problèmes psychologiques -

    M. Hrisi affirme qu’ils sont allés plusieurs fois à l’hôpital de Nauru financé par l’Australie mais que celui-ci refuse de les prendre en charge. L’autre nuit, « ils ont appelé la police et nous ont mis dehors ».

    Le camp numéro 1 traite les malades, expliquent les réfugiés. Mais il n’accueille qu’une cinquantaine de personnes car l’endroit croule sous les demandes. Or beaucoup de migrants vont mal et souffrent de problèmes psychologiques liés à leur isolement sur l’île.

    Les évacuations sanitaires vers l’Australie sont rares selon eux.

    Les ONG ne cessent de dénoncer la politique d’immigration draconienne de l’Australie.

    Depuis 2013, Canberra, qui dément tout mauvais traitement, refoule systématiquement en mer tous les bateaux de clandestins, originaires pour beaucoup d’Afghanistan, du Sri Lanka et du Moyen-Orient.

    Ceux qui parviennent à passer par les mailles du filet sont envoyés dans des îles reculées du Pacifique. Même si leur demande d’asile est jugée légitime, ils ne seront jamais accueillis sur le sol australien.

    Canberra argue qu’il sauve ainsi des vies en dissuadant les migrants d’entreprendre un périlleux voyage. Les arrivées de bateaux, qui étaient quasiment quotidiennes, sont aujourd’hui rarissimes.

    Le Refugee Council of Australia et l’Asylum Seeker Resource Centre ont dénoncé récemment les ravages psychologiques de la détention indéfinie, en particulier chez les enfants.

    « Ceux qui ont vu ces souffrances disent que c’est pire que tout ce qu’ils ont vu, même dans les zones de guerre. Des enfants de sept et douze ans ont fait l’expérience de tentatives répétées de suicide, certains s’arrosent d’essence et deviennent catatoniques », écrivaient-ils.

    R, une Iranienne de 12 ans rencontrée par l’AFP, a tenté de s’immoler. Elle vit à Nauru depuis cinq ans avec ses deux parents de 42 ans et son frère de 13 ans.

    Les enfants passent leurs journées prostrés au lit. La mère a la peau couverte de plaques, elle dit souffrir et ne recevoir aucun traitement.

    – Essence et briquet -

    Le père a récemment surpris sa fille en train de s’asperger d’essence. « Elle a pris un briquet et elle a crié +Laisse-moi seule ! Laisse-moi seule ! Je veux me suicider ! Je veux mourir !+ ».

    Son fils sort lentement de son lit et confie d’une voix monocorde : « Je n’ai pas d’école, je n’ai pas de futur, je n’ai pas de vie ».

    Non loin de là, entre deux préfabriqués, une cuve est taguée du sigle « ABF » et d’une croix gammée. L’Australian Border Force est le service australien de contrôle des frontières, honni par les réfugiés.

    Ces derniers se déplacent librement sur l’île car la prison, ce sont ses 21 kilomètres carrés.

    Khadar reçoit un ami, un ancien gardien de buts professionnel camerounais qui raconte avoir secouru un voisin en train de se pendre. Son meilleur ami a été retrouvé mort, le nez et les yeux pleins de sang, sans qu’il sache la cause du décès.

    Pas de perspectives, et pas de soins. Au grand désespoir d’Ahmd Anmesharif, un Birman dont les yeux coulent en permanence. Il explique souffrir aussi du cœur et passe ses journées sur un fauteuil en mousse moisie, à regarder la route.

    Les défenseurs des droits dénoncent des conditions effroyables et font état d’accusations d’agressions sexuelles et d’abus physiques.

    Les autorités de l’île démentent. Les réfugiés « mènent leur vie normalement, comme les autres Nauruans (...) on est très heureux de vivre ensemble », assurait ainsi lors du Fip le président de Nauru, Baron Waqa.

    Mais les réfugiés soutiennent que leurs relations avec les Nauruans se détériorent.

    « Ils nous frappent toujours, ils nous lancent toujours des pierres », accuse l’adolescent iranien.

    – Economie sous perfusion -

    Un autre Iranien, un mécanicien qui a réussi à monter un petit commerce, crie sa colère. Il vient de se faire voler « la caisse, les motos, les outils ». « La police ne retrouve jamais rien quand ce sont les Nauruans qui volent les réfugiés », assène-t-il.

    Si les conditions sont vétustes dans les camps, où la plupart des logements sont des préfabriqués, beaucoup d’habitants de Nauru semblent vivre dans des conditions plus précaires encore.

    Bon nombre habitent des cabanes de tôle, les plages sont jonchées de détritus. Ils disent ne pas comprendre de quoi se plaignent les migrants.

    En attendant, les camps sont cruciaux pour l’économie de l’île, exsangue depuis l’épuisement des réserves de phosphate qui avait contribué à l’opulence du siècle dernier.

    Selon les chiffres australiens, les recettes publiques sont passées de 20 à 115 millions de dollars australiens (12 à 72 millions d’euros) entre 2010-2011 et 2015-2016, essentiellement grâce aux subventions australiennes liées aux camps.

    « Si on enlève les réfugiés, Nauru est morte : c’est pour ça que le président tient à ce que nous restions », juge le Camerounais.

    Mais tous les réfugiés rencontrés souhaitent partir, n’importe où pour certains.

    « Au XXIe siècle, les gens pensent en secondes, en instants. Le gouvernement australien a volé cinq ans de notre vie... qui s’en soucie ? », regrette le père de la petite Iranienne.


    https://actu.orange.fr/monde/la-vie-de-desespoir-des-refugies-relegues-par-l-australie-sur-une-ile-du-pacifique-CNT0000016r391/photos/un-refugie-du-sri-lanka-a-anibare-sur-l-ile-de-nauru-dans-le-pacifique-l
    #Nauru #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Australie #photographie
    via @marty
    cc @reka

    • The #Nauru Experience: Zero-Tolerance Immigration and #Suicidal_Children

      A recent visit to Nauru revealed the effects of Australia’s offshore #detention_policy and its impact on #mental_health.

      The Krishnalingam family on the roof of an abandoned mansion in Ronave, Nauru. The family applied for resettlement in the #United_States after fleeing Sri Lanka and being certified as #refugees.

      CreditCreditMridula Amin

      TOPSIDE, Nauru — She was 3 years old when she arrived on Nauru, a child fleeing war in #Sri_Lanka. Now, Sajeenthana is 8.

      Her gaze is vacant. Sometimes she punches adults. And she talks about dying with ease.

      “Yesterday I cut my hand,” she said in an interview here on the remote Pacific island where she was sent by the Australian government after being caught at sea. She pointed to a scar on her arm.

      “One day I will kill myself,” she said. “Wait and see, when I find the knife. I don’t care about my body. ”

      Her father tried to calm her, but she twisted away. “It is the same as if I was in war, or here,” he said.

      Sajeenthana is one of more than 3,000 refugees and asylum seekers who have been sent to Australia’s offshore #detention_centers since 2013. No other Australian policy has been so widely condemned by the world’s human rights activists nor so strongly defended by the country’s leaders, who have long argued it saves lives by deterring smugglers and migrants.

      Now, though, the desperation has reached a new level — in part because of the United States.

      Sajeenthana and her father are among the dozens of refugees on Nauru who had been expecting to be moved as part of an Obama-era deal that President #Trump reluctantly agreed to honor, allowing resettlement for up to 1,250 refugees from Australia’s offshore camps.

      So far, according to American officials, about 430 refugees from the camps have been resettled in the United States — but at least 70 people were rejected over the past few months.

      That includes Sajeenthana and her father, Tamil refugees who fled violence at home after the Sri Lankan government crushed a Tamil insurgency.

      Sajeenthana, 8, with her father after describing her suicidal thoughts and attempts at self-harm in September.CreditMridula Amin and Lachie Hinton

      A State Department spokeswoman did not respond to questions about the #rejections, arguing the Nauru refugees are subject to the same vetting procedures as other refugees worldwide.

      Australia’s Department of Home Affairs said in a statement that Nauru has “appropriate mental health assessment and treatment in place.”

      But what’s clear, according to doctors and asylum seekers, is that the situation has been deteriorating for months. On Nauru, signs of suicidal children have been emerging since August. Dozens of organizations, including #Doctors_Without_Borders (which was ejected from Nauru on Oct. 5) have been sounding the alarm. And with the hope of American resettlement diminishing, the Australian government has been forced to relent: Last week officials said they would work toward moving all children off Nauru for treatment by Christmas.

      At least 92 children have been moved since August — Sajeenthana was evacuated soon after our interview — but as of Tuesday there were still 27 children on Nauru, hundreds of adults, and no long-term solution.

      The families sent to Australia for care are waiting to hear if they will be sent back to Nauru. Some parents, left behind as their children are being treated, fear they will never see each other again if they apply for American resettlement, while asylum seekers from countries banned by the United States — like Iran, Syria and Somalia — lack even that possibility.

      For all the asylum seekers who have called Nauru home, the psychological effects linger.
      ‘I Saw the Blood — It Was Everywhere’

      Nauru is a small island nation of about 11,000 people that takes 30 minutes by car to loop. A line of dilapidated mansions along the coast signal the island’s wealthy past; in the 1970s, it was a phosphate-rich nation with per capita income second only to Saudi Arabia.

      Now, those phosphate reserves are virtually exhausted, and the country relies heavily on Australian aid. It accounted for 25 percent of Nauru’s gross domestic product last year alone.

      Mathew Batsiua, a former Nauruan lawmaker who helped orchestrate the offshore arrangement, said it was meant to be a short-term deal. But the habit has been hard to break.

      “Our mainstay income is purely controlled by the foreign policy of another country,” he said.

      In Topside, an area of old cars and dusty brush, sits one of the two processing centers that house about 160 detainees. Hundreds of others live in community camps of modular housing. They were moved from shared tents in August, ahead of the Pacific Islands Forum, an intergovernmental meeting that Nauru hosted this year.

      Sukirtha Krishnalingam, 15, said the days are a boring loop as she and her family of five — certified refugees from Sri Lanka — wait to hear if the United States will accept them. She worries about her heart condition. And she has nightmares.

      “At night, she screams,” said her brother Mahinthan, 14.

      In the past year, talk of suicide on the island has become more common. Young men like Abdullah Khoder, a 24-year-old Lebanese refugee, says exhaustion and hopelessness have taken a toll. “I cut my hands with razors because I am tired,” he said.

      Even more alarming: Children now allude to suicide as if it were just another thunderstorm. Since 2014, 12 people have died after being detained in Australia’s offshore detention centers on Nauru and Manus Island, part of Papua New Guinea.

      Christina Sivalingam, a 10-year-old Tamil girl on Nauru spoke matter-of-factly in an interview about seeing the aftermath of one death — that of an Iranian man, Fariborz Karami, who killed himself in June.

      “We came off the school bus and I saw the blood — it was everywhere,” she said calmly. It took two days to clean up. She said her father also attempted suicide after treatment for his thyroid condition was delayed.

      Seeing some of her friends being settled in the United States while she waits on her third appeal for asylum has only made her lonelier. She said she doesn’t feel like eating anymore.

      “Why am I the only one here?” she said. “I want to go somewhere else and be happy.”

      Some observers, even on Nauru, wonder if the children are refusing to eat in a bid to leave. But medical professionals who have worked on the island said the rejections by the Americans have contributed to a rapid deterioration of people’s mental states.

      Dr. Beth O’Connor, a psychiatrist working with Doctors Without Borders, said that when she arrived last year, people clung to the hope of resettlement in the United States. In May, a batch of rejections plunged the camp into despair.

      Mr. Karami’s death further sapped morale.

      “People that just had a bit of spark in their eye still just went dull,” Dr. O’Connor said. “They felt more abandoned and left behind.”

      Many of the detainees no longer hope to settle in Australia. #New_Zealand has offered to take in 150 refugees annually from Nauru but Scott Morrison, the Australian prime minister, has said that he will only consider the proposal if a bill is passed banning those on Nauru from ever entering Australia. Opposition lawmakers say they are open to discussion.

      In the meantime, Nauru continues to draw scrutiny.
      ‘I’m Not Going Back to Nauru’

      For months, doctors say, many children on Nauru have been exhibiting symptoms of #resignation_syndrome — a mental condition in response to #trauma that involves extreme withdrawal from reality. They stopped eating, drinking and talking.

      “They’d look right through you when you tried to talk to them,” Dr. O’Connor said. “We watched their weights decline and we worried that one of them would die before they got out.”

      Lawyers with the National Justice Project, a nonprofit legal service, have been mobilizing. They have successfully argued for the #medical_evacuation of around 127 people from Nauru this year, including 44 children.

      In a quarter of the cases, the government has resisted these demands in court, said George Newhouse, the group’s principal lawyer.

      “We’ve never lost,” he said. “It is gut-wrenching to see children’s lives destroyed for political gain.”

      A broad coalition that includes doctors, clergy, lawyers and nonprofit organizations, working under the banner #kidsoffnauru, is now calling for all asylum seekers to be evacuated.

      Public opinion in Australia is turning: In one recent poll, about 80 percent of respondents supported the removal of families and children from Nauru.

      Australia’s conservative government, with an election looming, is starting to shift.

      “We’ve been going about this quietly,” Mr. Morrison said last week. “We haven’t been showboating.”

      But there are still questions about what happens next.

      Last month, Sajeenthana stopped eating. After she had spent 10 days on a saline drip in a Nauruan hospital, her father was told he had two hours to pack for Australia.

      Speaking by video from Brisbane last week (we are not using her full name because of her age and the severity of her condition), Sajeenthana beamed.

      “I feel better now that I am in Australia,” she said. “I’m not going back to Nauru.”

      But her father is less certain. The United States rejected his application for resettlement in September. There are security guards posted outside their Brisbane hotel room, he said, and though food arrives daily, they are not allowed to leave. He wonders if they have swapped one kind of limbo for another, or if they will be forced back to Nauru.

      Australia’s Home Affairs minister has said the Nauru children will not be allowed to stay.

      “Anyone who is brought here is still classified as a transitory person,” said Jana Favero, director of advocacy and campaigns at the Asylum Seeker Resource Center. “Life certainly isn’t completely rosy and cheery once they arrive in Australia.”

      On Monday, 25 more people, including eight children, left the island in six family units, she said.

      Those left behind on Nauru pass the days, worrying and waiting.

      Christina often dreams of what life would be like somewhere else, where being 10 does not mean being trapped.

      A single Iranian woman who asked not to be identified because she feared for her safety said that short of attempting suicide or changing nationality, there was no way off Nauru.

      She has been waiting two years for an answer to her application for resettlement in the United States — one that now seems hopeless given the Trump administration’s policies.

      Each night, often after the power goes out on Nauru, she and her sister talk about life and death, and whether to harm themselves to seek freedom.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/05/world/australia/nauru-island-asylum-refugees-children-suicide.html


  • The sexual misconduct allegations against Donald Trump – the full list | US news | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2017/nov/30/donald-trump-sexual-misconduct-allegations-full-list?

    A growing list of powerful men have faced serious consequences for sexual misconduct allegations but the most powerful one of all has faced none. Instead Donald Trump’s official position, as his spokeswoman Sarah Sanders recently clarified in a White House press briefing, is that the 20 women accusing him of assault and harassment are lying. Trump has also suggested some were not attractive enough for him to want to sexually assault. As the conversation around sexual conduct continues to evolve, and new abusers are revealed, here are the cases against the president.


  • #Google_Maps Says ‘the East Cut’ Is a Real Place. Locals Aren’t So Sure.

    For decades, the district south of downtown and alongside #San_Francisco Bay here was known as either #Rincon_Hill, #South_Beach or #South_of_Market. This spring, it was suddenly rebranded on Google Maps to a name few had heard: the #East_Cut.

    The peculiar moniker immediately spread digitally, from hotel sites to dating apps to Uber, which all use Google’s map data. The name soon spilled over into the physical world, too. Real-estate listings beckoned prospective tenants to the East Cut. And news organizations referred to the vicinity by that term.

    “It’s degrading to the reputation of our area,” said Tad Bogdan, who has lived in the neighborhood for 14 years. In a survey of 271 neighbors that he organized recently, he said, 90 percent disliked the name.

    The swift rebranding of the roughly 170-year-old district is just one example of how Google Maps has now become the primary arbiter of place names. With decisions made by a few Google cartographers, the identity of a city, town or neighborhood can be reshaped, illustrating the outsize influence that Silicon Valley increasingly has in the real world.

    The #Detroit neighborhood now regularly called #Fishkorn (pronounced FISH-korn), but previously known as #Fiskhorn (pronounced FISK-horn)? That was because of Google Maps. #Midtown_South_Central in #Manhattan? That was also given life by Google Maps.

    Yet how Google arrives at its names in maps is often mysterious. The company declined to detail how some place names came about, though some appear to have resulted from mistakes by researchers, rebrandings by real estate agents — or just outright fiction.

    In #Los_Angeles, Jeffrey Schneider, a longtime architect in the #Silver_Lake_area, said he recently began calling the hill he lived on #Silver_Lake_Heights in ads for his rental apartment downstairs, partly as a joke. Last year, Silver Lake Heights also appeared on Google Maps.

    “Now for every real-estate listing in this neighborhood, they refer to it,” he said. “You see a name like that on a map and you believe it.”

    Before the internet era, neighborhood names developed via word of mouth, newspaper articles and physical maps that were released periodically. But Google Maps, which debuted in 2005, is updated continuously and delivered to more than one billion people on their devices. Google also feeds map data to thousands of websites and apps, magnifying its influence.

    In May, more than 63 percent of people who accessed a map on a smartphone or tablet used Google Maps, versus 19.4 percent for the Chinese internet giant Alibaba’s maps and 5.5 percent for Apple Maps, according to comScore, which tracks web traffic.

    Google said it created its maps from third-party data, public sources, satellites and, often most important, users. People can submit changes, which are reviewed by Google employees. A Google spokeswoman declined further comment.

    Yet some submissions are ruled upon by people with little local knowledge of a place, such as contractors in India, said one former Google Maps employee, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak publicly. Other users with a history of accurate changes said their updates to maps take effect instantly.

    Many of Google’s decisions have far-reaching consequences, with the maps driving increased traffic to quiet neighborhoods and once almost provoking an international incident in 2010 after it misrepresented the boundary between Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

    The service has also disseminated place names that are just plain puzzling. In #New_York, #Vinegar_Hill_Heights, #Midtown_South_Central (now #NoMad), #BoCoCa (for the area between Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens), and #Rambo (Right Around the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) have appeared on and off in Google Maps.

    Matthew Hyland, co-owner of New York’s Emily and Emmy Squared pizzerias, who polices Google Maps in his spare time, said he considered those all made-up names, some of which he deleted from the map. Other obscure neighborhood names gain traction because of Google’s endorsement, he said. Someone once told him they lived in Stuyvesant Heights, “and then I looked at Google Maps and it was there. And I was like, ‘What? No. Come on,’” he said.

    In Detroit, some residents have been baffled by Google’s map of their city, which is blanketed with neighborhood monikers like NW Goldberg, Fishkorn and the Eye. Those names have been on Google Maps since at least 2012.

    Timothy Boscarino, a Detroit city planner, traced Google’s use of those names to a map posted online around 2002 by a few locals. Google almost identically copied that map’s neighborhoods and boundaries, he said — down to its typos. One result was that Google transposed the k and h for the district known as Fiskhorn, making it Fishkorn.

    A former Detroit city planner, Arthur Mullen, said he created the 2002 map as a side project and was surprised his typos were now distributed widely. He said he used old books and his local knowledge to make the map, approximating boundaries at times and inserting names with tenuous connections to neighborhoods, hoping to draw feedback.

    “I shouldn’t be making a mistake and 20 years later people are having to live with it,” Mr. Mullen said.

    He admitted some of his names were questionable, such as the Eye, a 60-block patch next to a cemetery on Detroit’s outskirts. He said he thought he spotted the name in a document, but was unsure which one. “Do I have my research materials from doing this 18 years ago? No,” he said.

    Now, local real-estate listings, food-delivery sites and locksmith ads use Fishkorn and the Eye. Erik Belcarz, an optometrist from nearby Novi, Mich., named his new publishing start-up Fishkorn this year after seeing the name on Google Maps.

    “It rolls off the tongue,” he said.

    Detroit officials recently canvassed the community to make an official map of neighborhoods. That exercise fixed some errors, like Fiskhorn (though Fishkorn remains on Google Maps). But for many districts where residents were unsure of the history, authorities relied largely on Google. The Eye and others are now part of that official map.

    In San Francisco, the East Cut name originated from a neighborhood nonprofit group that residents voted to create in 2015 to clean and secure the area. The nonprofit paid $68,000 to a “brand experience design company” to rebrand the district.

    Andrew Robinson, executive director of the nonprofit, now called the East Cut Community Benefit District (and previously the Greater Rincon Hill Community Benefit District), said the group’s board rejected names like Grand Narrows and Central Hub. Instead they chose the East Cut, partly because it referenced an 1869 construction project to cut through nearby Rincon Hill. The nonprofit then paid for streetlight banners and outfitted street cleaners with East Cut apparel.

    But it wasn’t until Google Maps adopted the name this spring that it got attention — and mockery.

    “The East Cut sounds like a 17 dollar sandwich,” Menotti Minutillo, an Uber engineer who works on the neighborhood’s border, said on Twitter in May.

    Mr. Robinson said his team asked Google to add the East Cut to its maps. A Google spokeswoman said employees manually inserted the name after verifying it through public sources. The company’s San Francisco offices are in the neighborhood (as is The New York Times bureau), and one of the East Cut nonprofit’s board members is a Google employee.

    Google Maps has also validated other little-known San Francisco neighborhoods. Balboa Hollow, a roughly 50-block district north of Golden Gate Park, trumpets on its website that it is a distinct neighborhood. Its proof? Google Maps.

    “Don’t believe us?” its website asks. “Well, we’re on the internet; so we must be real.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/02/technology/google-maps-neighborhood-names.html
    #toponymie


  • By Stifling Migration, Sudan’s Feared Secret Police Aid Europe

    At Sudan’s eastern border, Lt. Samih Omar led two patrol cars slowly over the rutted desert, past a cow’s carcass, before halting on the unmarked 2,000-mile route that thousands of East Africans follow each year in trying to reach the Mediterranean, and then onward to Europe.

    His patrols along this border with Eritrea are helping Sudan crack down on one of the busiest passages on the European migration trail. Yet Lieutenant Omar is no simple border agent. He works for Sudan’s feared secret police, whose leaders are accused of war crimes — and, more recently, whose officers have been accused of torturing migrants.

    Indirectly, he is also working for the interests of the European Union.

    “Sometimes,” Lieutenant Omar said, “I feel this is Europe’s southern border.”

    Three years ago, when a historic tide of migrants poured into Europe, many leaders there reacted with open arms and high-minded idealism. But with the migration crisis having fueled angry populism and political upheaval across the Continent, the European Union is quietly getting its hands dirty, stanching the human flow, in part, by outsourcing border management to countries with dubious human rights records.

    In practical terms, the approach is working: The number of migrants arriving in Europe has more than halved since 2016. But many migration advocates say the moral cost is high.

    To shut off the sea route to Greece, the European Union is paying billions of euros to a Turkish government that is dismantling its democracy. In Libya, Italy is accused of bribing some of the same militiamen who have long profited from the European smuggling trade — many of whom are also accused of war crimes.

    In Sudan, crossed by migrants trying to reach Libya, the relationship is more opaque but rooted in mutual need: The Europeans want closed borders and the Sudanese want to end years of isolation from the West. Europe continues to enforce an arms embargo against Sudan, and many Sudanese leaders are international pariahs, accused of committing war crimes during a civil war in Darfur, a region in western Sudan.

    But the relationship is unmistakably deepening. A recent dialogue, named the Khartoum Process (in honor of Sudan’s capital) has become a platform for at least 20 international migration conferences between European Union officials and their counterparts from several African countries, including Sudan. The European Union has also agreed that Khartoum will act as a nerve center for countersmuggling collaboration.

    While no European money has been given directly to any Sudanese government body, the bloc has funneled 106 million euros — or about $131 million — into the country through independent charities and aid agencies, mainly for food, health and sanitation programs for migrants, and for training programs for local officials.

    “While we engage on some areas for the sake of the Sudanese people, we still have a sanction regime in place,” said Catherine Ray, a spokeswoman for the European Union, referring to an embargo on arms and related material.

    “We are not encouraging Sudan to curb migration, but to manage migration in a safe and dignified way,” Ms. Ray added.

    Ahmed Salim, the director of one of the nongovernmental groups that receives European funding, said the bloc was motivated by both self-interest and a desire to improve the situation in Sudan.

    “They don’t want migrants to cross the Mediterranean to Europe,” said Mr. Salim, who heads the European and African Center for Research, Training and Development.

    But, he said, the money his organization receives means better services for asylum seekers in Sudan. “You have to admit that the European countries want to do something to protect migrants here,” he said.

    Critics argue the evolving relationship means that European leaders are implicitly reliant on — and complicit in the reputational rehabilitation of — a Sudanese security apparatus whose leaders have been accused by the United Nations of committing war crimes in Darfur.

    “There is no direct money exchanging hands,” said Suliman Baldo, the author of a research paper about Europe’s migration partnership with Sudan. “But the E.U. basically legitimizes an abusive force.”

    On the border near Abu Jamal, Lieutenant Omar and several members of his patrol are from the wing of the Sudanese security forces headed by Salah Abdallah Gosh, one of several Sudanese officials accused of orchestrating attacks on civilians in Darfur.

    Elsewhere, the border is protected by the Rapid Support Forces, a division of the Sudanese military that was formed from the janjaweed militias who led attacks on civilians in the Darfur conflict. The focus of the group, known as R.S.F., is not counter-smuggling — but roughly a quarter of the people-smugglers caught in January and February this year on the Eritrean border were apprehended by the R.S.F., Lieutenant Omar said.

    European officials have direct contact only with the Sudanese immigration police, and not with the R.S.F., or the security forces that Lieutenant Omar works for, known as N.I.S.S. But their operations are not that far removed.

    The planned countertrafficking coordination center in Khartoum — staffed jointly by police officers from Sudan and several European countries, including Britain, France and Italy — will partly rely on information sourced by N.I.S.S., according to the head of the immigration police department, Gen. Awad Elneil Dhia. The regular police also get occasional support from the R.S.F. on countertrafficking operations in border areas, General Dhia said.

    “They have their presence there and they can help,” General Dhia said. “The police is not everywhere, and we cannot cover everywhere.”

    Yet the Sudanese police are operating in one unexpected place: Europe.

    In a bid to deter future migrants, at least three European countries — Belgium, France and Italy — have allowed in Sudanese police officers to hasten the deportation of Sudanese asylum seekers, General Dhia said.

    Nominally, their official role is simply to identify their citizens. But the officers have been allowed to interrogate some deportation candidates without being monitored by European officials with the language skills to understand what was being said.

    More than 50 Sudanese seeking asylum in Europe have been deported in the past 18 months from Belgium, France and Italy; The New York Times interviewed seven of them on a recent visit to Sudan.

    Four said they had been tortured on their return to Sudan — allegations denied by General Dhia. One man was a Darfuri political dissident deported in late 2017 from France to Khartoum, where he said he was detained on arrival by N.I.S.S. agents.

    Over the next 10 days, he said he was given electric shocks, punched and beaten with metal pipes. At one point the dissident, who asked that his name be withheld for his safety, lost consciousness and had to be taken to the hospital. He was later released on a form of parole.

    The dissident said that, before his deportation from France, Sudanese police officers had threatened him as French officers stood nearby. “I said to the French police: ‘They are going to kill us,’” he said. “But they didn’t understand.”

    European officials argue that establishing Khartoum as a base for collaboration on fighting human smuggling can only improve the Sudanese security forces. The Regional Operational Center in Khartoum, set to open this year, will enable delegates from several European and African countries to share intelligence and coordinate operations against smugglers across North Africa.

    But potential pitfalls are evident from past collaborations. In 2016, the British and Italian police, crediting a joint operation with their Sudanese counterparts, announced the arrest of “one of the world’s most wanted people smugglers.” They said he was an Eritrean called Medhanie Yehdego Mered, who had been captured in Sudan and extradited to Italy.

    The case is now privately acknowledged by Western diplomats to have been one of mistaken identity. The prisoner turned out to be Medhanie Tesfamariam Berhe, an Eritrean refugee with the same first name as the actual smuggler. Mr. Mered remains at large.

    Even General Dhia now admits that Sudan extradited the wrong man — albeit one who, he says, admitted while in Sudanese custody to involvement in smuggling.

    “There were two people, actually — two people with the same name,” General Dhia said.

    Mr. Berhe nevertheless remains on trial in Italy, accused of being Mr. Mered — and of being a smuggler.

    Beyond that, the Sudanese security services have long been accused of profiting from the smuggling trade. Following European pressure, the Sudanese Parliament adopted a raft of anti-smuggling legislation in 2014, and the rules have since led to the prosecution of some officials over alleged involvement in the smuggling business.

    But according to four smugglers whom I interviewed clandestinely during my trip to Sudan, the security services remain closely involved in the trade, with both N.I.S.S and R.S.F. officials receiving part of the smuggling profits on most trips to southern Libya.

    The head of the R.S.F., Brig. Mohammed Hamdan Daglo, has claimed in the past that his forces play a major role in impeding the route to Libya. But each smuggler — interviewed separately — said that the R.S.F. was often the main organizer of the trips, often supplying camouflaged vehicles to ferry migrants through the desert.

    After being handed over to Libyan militias in Kufra and Sabha, in southern Libya, many migrants are then systematically tortured and held for ransom — money that is later shared with the R.S.F., each smuggler said.

    Rights activists have previously accused Sudanese officials of complicity in trafficking. In a 2014 report, Human Rights Watch said that senior Sudanese police officials had colluded in the smuggling of Eritreans.

    A British journalist captured by the R.S.F. in Darfur in 2016 said that he had been told by his captors that they were involved in smuggling people to Libya. “I asked specifically about how it works,” said the journalist, Phil Cox, a freelance filmmaker for Channel 4. “And they said we make sure the routes are open, and we talk with whoever’s commanding the next area.”

    General Dhia said that the problem did not extend beyond a few bad apples. Sudan, he said, remains an effective partner for Europe in the battle against irregular migration.

    “We are not,” he said, “very far from your standards.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/22/world/africa/migration-european-union-sudan.html
    #Soudan #externalisation #asile #migrations #contrôles_frontaliers #frontières #réfugiés #police_secrète #Europe #UE #EU #processus_de_Khartoum
    signalé par @isskein

    • Sudan : The E.U.’s Partner in Migration Crime

      The first part of our new investigation finds key individuals in the Khartoum regime complicit in #smuggling and trafficking. Reporting from Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea and the Netherlands reveals security services involved in a trade they are meant to police.


      https://www.newsdeeply.com/refugees/articles/2018/01/19/sudan-the-e-u-s-partner-in-migration-crime
      #soudan #migrations #réfugiés #asile #EU #Europe #complicité #UE #trafic_d'êtres_humains #traite #processus_de_khartoum #Shagarab #Omdurman #Rapid_Support_Forces #RSF #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #Free_Lions

    • Inside the EU’s deeply flawed $200 million migration deal with Sudan

      The EU has allocated over $200 million to help Sudan stem migration since 2015
      Asylum seekers allege Sudanese officials are complicit in abuse, extortion
      Traffickers said to hold people for weeks, beat and torture them for money
      Arrivals in Italy from Horn of Africa fell to a fraction in 2017, but new routes are opening up
      Crackdown has seen asylum seekers rountinely rounded up, taken to Khartoum to pay fines or be deported
      The EU insists strict conditions govern the use of its money and it is monitoring for abuses

      https://www.irinnews.org/special-report/2018/01/30/inside-eu-s-deeply-flawed-200-million-migration-deal-sudan-0

    • Enquête sur les dérives de l’aide européenne au Soudan

      En l’absence d’une prise en compte des causes profondes des migrations, seuls les officiels corrompus et les trafiquants tirent bénéfice de la criminalisation des migrants. Alors que des millions de dollars de fonds de l’Union européenne affluent au Soudan pour endiguer la migration africaine, les demandeurs d’asile témoignent : ils sont pris au piège, et vivent dans un état perpétuel de peur et d’exploitation dans ce pays de transit.

      https://orientxxi.info/magazine/enquete-sur-les-derives-de-l-aide-europeenne-au-soudan,2298

      Traduction française de cet article :
      https://www.irinnews.org/special-report/2018/01/30/inside-eu-s-flawed-200-million-migration-deal-sudan

    • L’Europe collabore avec un dictateur pour mieux expulser vers le Soudan

      Migreurop demande l’arrêt immédiat de toutes les collaborations initiées par l’Union européenne et ses Etats membres avec la dictature d’Omar El-Béchir et avec tout Etat qui bafoue les droits fondamentaux.

      Lorsqu’il s’agit d’expulser des étrangers jugés indésirables, rien ne semble devoir arrêter l’Union européenne (UE) et ses États membres qui n’hésitent pas à se compromettre avec Omar el-Béchir, le chef d’État du Soudan qui fait l’objet de deux mandats d’arrêt internationaux pour génocide, crimes contre l’Humanité et crimes de guerre.

      Il y a longtemps que l’UE a fait le choix de sous-traiter à des pays tiers, sous couvert d’un partenariat inéquitable et avec des fonds issus du développement, la lutte contre l’immigration irrégulière et même la gestion de la demande d’asile. Ce processus d’externalisation, qui s’accompagne de la délocalisation de la surveillance des frontières européennes très en amont de leur matérialisation physique, a été encore renforcé à la suite de la si mal nommée « crise des réfugiés » [1].

      Ainsi, dans le cadre du Processus de Khartoum, initié par l’UE en 2014 et consolidé suite au Sommet de La Valette de fin 2015, les régimes les plus répressifs, tels que le Soudan et l’Erythrée – que des dizaines de milliers de demandeurs d’asile cherchent à fuir – bénéficient de subsides pour retenir leur population et « sécuriser » leurs frontières… sans que l’UE ne se préoccupe des atteintes dramatiques portées aux droits humains dans ces pays.

      Dans ce domaine, l’UE et les États membres agissent de concert. Ainsi, de nombreux pays européens n’hésitent pas à renvoyer vers Khartoum des ressortissants soudanais - peu importe qu’il puisse s’agir de demandeurs d’asile - et à collaborer avec les autorités locales pour faciliter ces expulsions.

      Dernièrement, c’est dans un parc bruxellois que des émissaires soudanais procédaient à l’identification de leurs nationaux en vue de leur retour forcé, semant la terreur parmi les personnes exilées qui y campaient [2].

      Si l’affaire a suscité de vives réactions, le gouvernement belge s’est retranché, pour se justifier, derrière l’exemple donné par ses voisins et continue de programmer des expulsions de ressortissants soudanais [3].
      En France, une coopération similaire existe ainsi depuis 2014 : des représentants de Khartoum auraient visité plusieurs centres de rétention pour identifier des ressortissants soudanais et faciliter leur renvoi [4]. Selon les chiffres dont disposent les associations qui interviennent dans les CRA français, 9 personnes auraient été renvoyées vers le Soudan depuis 2015 et environ 150 remises à l’Italie et exposées au risque d’un renvoi vers Khartoum depuis le territoire italien.

      Par ailleurs, des retours forcés vers le Soudan ont eu lieu depuis l’Allemagne, l’Italie et la Suède, grâce notamment à des accords de police bilatéraux, souvent publiés uniquement à la suite des pressions exercées par la société civile [5] . L’Italie, à l’avant-garde de la vision sécuritaire en matière de collaboration dans le domaine des migrations, a ainsi conclu en août 2016 un accord de coopération policière avec le Soudan, dans le cadre duquel 48 personnes, originaires du Darfour, ont été refoulées à Khartoum. Celles qui ont pu résister à leur renvoi depuis l’Italie ont demandé et obtenu une protection, tandis que cinq des personnes refoulées ont porté plainte auprès de la Cour européenne des droits de l’Homme [6].

      Ces accords et pratiques bafouent en effet toutes les obligations des pays européens en matière de respect des droits humains (droit d’asile, principe de non-refoulement, interdiction des expulsions collectives et des traitements inhumains et dégradants, droit à la vie, etc…) et révèlent le cynisme qui anime l’Union et les États-membres, prêts à tout pour refuser aux exilés l’accès au territoire européen.

      Il faut le dire et le répéter : toute forme de coopération avec les autorités soudanaises bafoue les obligations résultant du droit international et met en danger les personnes livrées par les autorités européennes au dictateur Omar el-Béchir.

      Le réseau Migreurop et ses membres demandent en conséquence l’arrêt immédiat des expulsions vers le Soudan et de toute démarche de coopération avec ce pays.

      http://www.migreurop.org/article2837.html


  • Opioid Makers Sued for Premium Hikes in First-of-Kind Cases - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-02/opioid-makers-sued-over-rising-premiums-in-first-of-kind-cases

    The companies are accused of conspiring, racketeering and creating a public nuisance. Opioid abuse has killed more than 350,000 people since 1999, while costing private businesses and American governments $500 billion annually.

    The drug manufacturers said they’ve tried to address the crisis.

    “Our actions in the marketing and promotion of these medicines were appropriate and responsible,” Janssen Pharmaceuticals said in an emailed statement. “The allegations made against our company are baseless and unsubstantiated.”

    Purdue Pharma is “deeply troubled by the prescription and illicit opioid abuse crisis, and we are dedicated to being part of the solution,” said Bob Josephson, a company spokesman.

    Kristin Hunter Chasen, a spokeswoman for McKesson Corp., said the company is “deeply concerned” about the impact the opioid epidemic is having across the country. “We’ve offered a number of impactful policy solutions and support programs and partnerships that we believe can have a meaningful impact on this challenging issue, including the formation of a foundation dedicated to combating the crisis.”

    #Opioides #Pharmacie #Marketing


  • University lecturers must remain educators, not border guards

    The increasingly stringent control of student migration by the Home Office is damaging both the integrity of our relationships as teachers with students and the future of our universities. It was for this reason that 160 academics signed a letter published in The Guardian against the ways in which this crackdown corrodes relationships of trust that are essential to learning.

    https://theconversation.com/university-lecturers-must-remain-educators-not-border-guards-23948

    #home_office #frontières #frontières_mobiles #université #UK #Angleterre #gardes_frontières (#flexibilisation_introvertie, pour utiliser un concept de Paolo Cuttitta)

    Article de 2014, mais qui reste de très forte actualité !

    • UK academics oppose visa monitoring regime for foreign staff

      UK academics oppose visa monitoring regime for foreign staff
      UK university leaders are being urged to review their attitudes towards foreign staff and students, following fresh reports of visa holders being “unfairly monitored” and even threatened with home visits by nervous administrators.

      Institutions say that efforts to record the whereabouts of international employees and students on sponsored visas are necessary to comply with Home Office regulations, but union representatives argue that the requirements are being misinterpreted and create a “hostile environment” for foreign workers.
      One foreign academic employed by the University of Birmingham told Times Higher Education that they had become “confused and scared” after being told that they must report their attendance weekly or “risk deportation”.

      “I feel like I am not trusted, that I can’t do my job, that I’m assumed [to be] a criminal,” said the academic, who chose to remain anonymous. “Being constantly monitored in this way makes me feel like I don’t really want to be here…if I had an opportunity somewhere else I would consider leaving the UK.”

      A letter issued by Birmingham’s human resources department to international staff and seen by THE states that any individual who fails to report their attendance as well as any time spent off campus on a weekly basis will have their “name passed to the UK Border Agency”.

      Failure to comply may result in “disciplinary action and/or withdrawal of your certificate of sponsorship, and thereby your eligibility to remain in the UK”.

      Birmingham had to operate “within the requirements set out by the Home Office”, a university spokesman said. “Our priority is ensuring that we are supporting staff to remain in the UK.”

      Meanwhile, staff at the University of Sussex launched a petition last week calling on vice-chancellor Adam Tickell to “end the hostile environment” found towards “migrants, people of colour and Muslims” on campus, which they said had been made worse as a result of “immigration monitoring”.

      The Sussex branch of the University and College Union said that managers at the institution had chosen to interpret Home Office guidelines in a needlessly stringent manner. “Staff and students are made aware that if they are not able to attest to their whereabouts for 80 per cent of the semester, they risk having their [immigration] status withdrawn,” a spokesman said. “This is not necessary."

      Those on Tier 2 and Tier 5 visas were at one stage told to “expect home visits” if they chose to work out of the office, but the university has since admitted that this approach is “not feasible”, the UCU spokesman added.

      An email sent from one head of department on 10 April informs Sussex staff they must have “complete records of their movements at any given time” recorded via “electronic calendars, so if auditors turn up at any given time we can point to it”.

      “I found this procedure extraordinary,” said one academic, “and I am sure there would be revolt if this were imposed on everyone in the department.”

      A University of Sussex spokeswoman said that Professor Tickell was aware of the petition, and had “already clarified with members of our community why and how the university needs to comply with statutory regulations”.

      “Our policies and procedures are informed by UK and EU legislation, statutory regulations and duties and best practice,” she added.

      Separately, staff at UCL have written to the institution’s president, Michael Arthur, expressing “serious concerns” over rules that require staff to have “physical check-ins” with international students every three weeks in order to monitor visa compliance.

      The policy takes up staff time “in bureaucracy that is irrelevant”, “builds a culture of mistrust” and creates “added pressure...at a time when we have increasing evidence about risks to student wellbeing and mental health”, the letter says.

      A Home Office spokeswoman said it remained “the responsibility of individual sponsors to develop their own systems to ensure they meet their reporting responsibilities”.

      https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/uk-academics-oppose-visa-monitoring-regime-foreign-staff


  • Indigenous Women Have Been Disappearing for Generations. Politicians Are Finally Starting to Notice.

    https://theintercept.com/2018/05/31/missing-and-murdered-indigenous-women

    Aux États-Unis comme au Canada

    Women on the Yakama Indian Reservation in Washington state didn’t have any particular term for the way the violent deaths and sudden disappearances of their sisters, mothers, friends, and neighbors had become woven into everyday life.

    “I didn’t know, like many, that there was a title, that there was a word for it,” said Roxanne White, who is Yakama and Nez Perce and grew up on the reservation. White has become a leader in the movement to address the disproportionate rates of homicide and missing persons cases among American Indian women, but the first time she heard the term “missing and murdered Indigenous women” was less than two years ago, at a Dakota Access pipeline resistance camp at Standing Rock. There, she met women who had traveled from Canada to speak about disappearances in First Nations to the north, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s administration launched a historic national inquiry into the issue in 2016.

    #nations_premières #états-unis #canada #féminicide

    • #NotInvisible: Why are Native American women vanishing?

      The searchers rummage through the abandoned trailer, flipping over a battered couch, unfurling a stained sheet, looking for clues. It’s blistering hot and a grizzly bear lurking in the brush unleashes a menacing growl. But they can’t stop.

      Not when a loved one is still missing.

      The group moves outside into knee-deep weeds, checking out a rusted garbage can, an old washing machine — and a surprise: bones.

      Ashley HeavyRunner Loring, a 20-year-old member of the Blackfeet Nation, was last heard from around June 8, 2017. Since then her older sister, Kimberly, has been looking for her.

      She has logged about 40 searches, with family from afar sometimes using Google Earth to guide her around closed roads. She’s hiked in mountains, shouting her sister’s name. She’s trekked through fields, gingerly stepping around snakes. She’s trudged through snow, rain and mud, but she can’t cover the entire 1.5 million-acre reservation, an expanse larger than Delaware.

      “I’m the older sister. I need to do this,” says 24-year-old Kimberly, swatting away bugs, her hair matted from the heat. “I don’t want to search until I’m 80. But if I have to, I will.”

      Ashley’s disappearance is one small chapter in the unsettling story of missing and murdered Native American women and girls. No one knows precisely how many there are because some cases go unreported, others aren’t documented thoroughly and there isn’t a specific government database tracking these cases. But one U.S. senator with victims in her home state calls this an epidemic, a long-standing problem linked to inadequate resources, outright indifference and a confusing jurisdictional maze.

      Now, in the era of #MeToo, this issue is gaining political traction as an expanding activist movement focuses on Native women — a population known to experience some of the nation’s highest rates of murder, sexual violence and domestic abuse.

      “Just the fact we’re making policymakers acknowledge this is an issue that requires government response, that’s progress in itself,” says Annita Lucchesi, a cartographer and descendant of the Cheyenne who is building a database of missing and murdered indigenous women in the U.S. and Canada — a list of some 2,700 names so far.

      As her endless hunt goes on, Ashley’s sister is joined on this day by a cousin, Lissa, and four others, including a family friend armed with a rifle and pistols. They scour the trailer where two “no trespassing” signs are posted and a broken telescope looks out the kitchen window. One of Ashley’s cousins lived here, and there are reports it’s among the last places she was seen.

      “We’re following every rumor there is, even if it sounds ridiculous,” Lissa Loring says.

      This search is motivated, in part, by the family’s disappointment with the reservation police force — a common sentiment for many relatives of missing Native Americans.

      Outside, the group stumbles upon something intriguing: the bones, one small and straight, the other larger and shaped like a saddle. It’s enough to alert police, who respond in five squad cars, rumbling across the ragged field, kicking up clouds of dust. After studying the bones, one officer breaks the news: They’re much too large for a human; they could belong to a deer.

      There will be no breakthrough today. Tomorrow the searchers head to the mountains.

      _

      For many in Native American communities across the nation, the problem of missing and murdered women is deeply personal.

      “I can’t think of a single person that I know ... who doesn’t have some sort of experience,” says Ivan MacDonald, a member of the Blackfeet Nation and a filmmaker. “These women aren’t just statistics. These are grandma, these are mom. This is an aunt, this is a daughter. This is someone who was loved ... and didn’t get the justice that they so desperately needed.”

      MacDonald and his sister, Ivy, recently produced a documentary on Native American women in Montana who vanished or were killed. One story hits particularly close to home. Their 7-year-old cousin, Monica, disappeared from a reservation school in 1979. Her body was found frozen on a mountain 20 miles away, and no one has ever been arrested.

      There are many similar mysteries that follow a pattern: A woman or girl goes missing, there’s a community outcry, a search is launched, a reward may be offered. There may be a quick resolution. But often, there’s frustration with tribal police and federal authorities, and a feeling many cases aren’t handled urgently or thoroughly.

      So why does this happen? MacDonald offers his own harsh assessment.

      “It boils down to racism,” he argues. “You could sort of tie it into poverty or drug use or some of those factors ... (but) the federal government doesn’t really give a crap at the end of the day.”

      Tribal police and investigators from the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs serve as law enforcement on reservations, which are sovereign nations. But the FBI investigates certain offenses and, if there’s ample evidence, the U.S. Department of Justice prosecutes major felonies such as murder, kidnapping and rape if they happen on tribal lands.

      Former North Dakota federal prosecutor Tim Purdon calls it a “jurisdictional thicket” of overlapping authority and different laws depending on the crime, where it occurred (on a reservation or not) and whether a tribal member is the victim or perpetrator. Missing person cases on reservations can be especially tricky. Some people run away, but if a crime is suspected, it’s difficult to know how to get help.

      “Where do I go to file a missing person’s report?” Purdon asks. “Do I go to the tribal police? ... In some places they’re underfunded and undertrained. The Bureau of Indian Affairs? The FBI? They might want to help, but a missing person case without more is not a crime, so they may not be able to open an investigation. ... Do I go to one of the county sheriffs? ... If that sounds like a horribly complicated mishmash of law enforcement jurisdictions that would tremendously complicate how I would try to find help, it’s because that’s what it is.”

      Sarah Deer, a University of Kansas professor, author of a book on sexual violence in Indian Country and member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, offers another explanation for the missing and murdered: Native women, she says, have long been considered invisible and disposable in society, and those vulnerabilities attract predators.

      “It’s made us more of a target, particularly for the women who have addiction issues, PTSD and other kinds of maladies,” she says. “You have a very marginalized group, and the legal system doesn’t seem to take proactive attempts to protect Native women in some cases.”

      Those attitudes permeate reservations where tribal police are frequently stretched thin and lack training and families complain officers don’t take reports of missing women seriously, delaying searches in the first critical hours.

      “They almost shame the people that are reporting, (and say), ’Well, she’s out drinking. Well, she probably took up with some man,’” says Carmen O’Leary, director of the Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains. “A lot of times families internalize that kind of shame, (thinking) that it’s her fault somehow.”

      Matthew Lone Bear spent nine months looking for his older sister, Olivia — using drones and four-wheelers, fending off snakes and crisscrossing nearly a million acres, often on foot. The 32-year-old mother of five had last been seen driving a Chevy Silverado on Oct. 25, 2017, in downtown New Town, on the oil-rich terrain of North Dakota’s Fort Berthold Reservation.

      On July 31, volunteers using sonar found the truck with Olivia inside submerged in a lake less than a mile from her home. It’s a body of water that had been searched before, her brother says, but “obviously not as thoroughly, or they would have found it a long time ago.”

      Lone Bear says authorities were slow in launching their search — it took days to get underway — and didn’t get boats in the water until December, despite his frequent pleas. He’s working to develop a protocol for missing person cases for North Dakota’s tribes “that gets the red tape and bureaucracy out of the way,” he says.

      The FBI is investigating Olivia’s death. “She’s home,” her brother adds, “but how did she get there? We don’t have any of those answers.”

      Other families have been waiting for decades.

      Carolyn DeFord’s mother, Leona LeClair Kinsey, a member of the Puyallup Tribe, vanished nearly 20 years ago in La Grande, Oregon. “There was no search party. There was no, ’Let’s tear her house apart and find a clue,’” DeFord says. “I just felt hopeless and helpless.” She ended up creating her own missing person’s poster.

      “There’s no way to process the kind of loss that doesn’t stop,” says DeFord, who lives outside Tacoma, Washington. “Somebody asked me awhile back, ’What would you do if you found her? What would that mean?’... It would mean she can come home. She’s a human being who deserves to be honored and have her children and her grandchildren get to remember her and celebrate her life.”

      It’s another Native American woman whose name is attached to a federal bill aimed at addressing this issue. Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, 22, was murdered in 2017 while eight months pregnant. Her body was found in a river, wrapped in plastic and duct tape. A neighbor in Fargo, North Dakota, cut her baby girl from her womb. The child survived and lives with her father. The neighbor, who pleaded guilty, was sentenced to life without parole; her boyfriend’s trial is set to start in September.

      In a speech on the Senate floor last fall, North Dakota Democrat Heidi Heitkamp told the stories of four other Native American women from her state whose deaths were unsolved. Displaying a giant board featuring their photos, she decried disproportionate incidences of violence that go “unnoticed, unreported or underreported.”

      Her bill, “Savanna’s Act,” aims to improve tribal access to federal crime information databases. It would also require the Department of Justice to develop a protocol to respond to cases of missing and murdered Native Americans and the federal government to provide an annual report on the numbers.

      At the end of 2017, Native Americans and Alaska Natives made up 1.8 percent of ongoing missing cases in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database, even though they represent 0.8 percent of the U.S. population. These cases include those lingering and open from year to year, but experts say the figure is low, given that many tribes don’t have access to the database. Native women accounted for more than 0.7 percent of the missing cases — 633 in all — though they represent about 0.4 percent of the U.S. population.

      “Violence against Native American women has not been prosecuted,” Heitkamp said in an interview. “We have not really seen the urgency in closing cold cases. We haven’t seen the urgency when someone goes missing. ... We don’t have the clear lines of authority that need to be established to prevent these tragedies.”

      In August, Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, asked the leaders of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs to hold a hearing to address the problem.

      Lawmakers in a handful of states also are responding. In Montana, a legislative tribal relations committee has proposals for five bills to deal with missing persons. In July 2017, 22 of 72 missing girls or women — or about 30 percent — were Native American, according to Montana’s Department of Justice. But Native females comprise only 3.3 percent of the state’s population.

      It’s one of many statistics that reveal a grim reality.

      On some reservations, Native American women are murdered at a rate more than 10 times the national average and more than half of Alaska Native and Native women have experienced sexual violence at some point, according to the U.S. Justice Department. A 2016 study found more than 80 percent of Native women experience violence in their lifetimes.

      Yet another federal report on violence against women included some startling anecdotes from tribal leaders. Sadie Young Bird, who heads victim services for the Three Affiliated Tribes at Fort Berthold, described how in 1½ years, her program had dealt with five cases of murdered or missing women, resulting in 18 children losing their mothers; two cases were due to intimate partner violence.

      “Our people go missing at an alarming rate, and we would not hear about many of these cases without Facebook,” she said in the report.

      Canada has been wrestling with this issue for decades and recently extended a government inquiry that began in 2016 into missing and murdered indigenous women. A report by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police concluded that from 1980 to 2012 there were 1,181 indigenous women murdered or whose missing person cases were unresolved. Lucchesi, the researcher, says she found an additional 400 to 500 cases in her database work.

      Despite some high-profile cases in the U.S., many more get scant attention, Lucchesi adds.

      “Ashley has been the face of this movement,” she says. “But this movement started before Ashley was born. For every Ashley, there are 200 more.”

      Browning is the heart of the Blackfeet Nation, a distinctly Western town with calf-roping competitions, the occasional horseback rider ambling down the street — and a hardscrabble reality. Nearly 40 percent of the residents live in poverty. The down-and-out loiter on corners. Shuttered homes with “Meth Unit” scrawled on wooden boards convey the damage caused by drugs.

      With just about 1,000 residents, many folks are related and secrets have a way of spilling out.

      “There’s always somebody talking,” says Ashley’s cousin, Lissa, “and it seems like to us since she disappeared, everybody got quiet. I don’t know if they’re scared, but so are we. That’s why we need people to speak up.”

      Missing posters of Ashley are displayed in grocery stores and the occasional sandwich shop. They show a fresh-faced, grinning woman, flashing the peace sign. In one, she gazes into the camera, her long hair blowing in the wind.

      One of nine children, including half-siblings, Ashley had lived with her grandmother outside town. Kimberly remembers her sister as funny and feisty, the keeper of the family photo albums who always carried a camera. She learned to ride a horse before a bike and liked to whip up breakfasts of biscuits and gravy that could feed an army.

      She was interested in environmental science and was completing her studies at Blackfeet Community College, with plans to attend the University of Montana.

      Kimberly says Ashley contacted her asking for money. Days later, she was gone.

      At first, her relatives say, tribal police suggested Ashley was old enough to take off on her own. The Bureau of Indian Affairs investigated, teaming up with reservation police, and interviewed 55 people and conducted 38 searches. There are persons of interest, spokeswoman Nedra Darling says, but she wouldn’t elaborate. A $10,000 reward is being offered.

      The FBI took over the case in January after a lead steered investigators off the reservation and into another state. The agency declined comment.

      Ashley’s disappearance is just the latest trauma for the Blackfeet Nation.

      Theda New Breast, a founder of the Native Wellness Institute, has worked with Lucchesi to compile a list of missing and murdered women in the Blackfoot Confederacy — four tribes in the U.S. and Canada. Long-forgotten names are added as families break generations of silence. A few months ago, a woman revealed her grandmother had been killed in the 1950s by her husband and left in a shallow grave.

      “Everybody knew about it, but nobody talked about it,” New Breast says, and others keep coming forward — perhaps, in part, because of the #MeToo movement. “Every time I bring out the list, more women tell their secret. I think that they find their voice.”

      Though these crimes have shaken the community, “there is a tendency to be desensitized to violence,” says MacDonald, the filmmaker. “I wouldn’t call it avoidance. But if we would feel the full emotions, there would be people crying in the streets.”

      His aunt, Mabel Wells, would be among them.

      Nearly 40 years have passed since that December day when her daughter, Monica, vanished. Wells remembers every terrible moment: The police handing her Monica’s boot after it was found by a hunter and the silent scream in her head: “It’s hers! It’s hers!” Her brother describing the little girl’s coat flapping in the wind after her daughter’s body was found frozen on a mountain. The pastor’s large hands that held hers as he solemnly declared: “Monica’s with the Lord.”

      Monica’s father, Kenny Still Smoking, recalls that a medicine man told him his daughter’s abductor was a man who favored Western-style clothes and lived in a red house in a nearby town, but there was no practical way to pursue that suggestion.

      He recently visited Monica’s grave, kneeling next to a white cross peeking out from tall grass, studying his daughter’s smiling photo, cracked with age. He gently placed his palm on her name etched into a headstone. “I let her know that I’m still kicking,” he says.

      Wells visits the gravesite, too — every June 2, Monica’s birthday. She still hopes to see the perpetrator caught. “I want to sit with them and say, ‘Why? Why did you choose my daughter?’”

      Even now, she can’t help but think of Monica alone on that mountain. “I wonder if she was hollering for me, saying, ‘Mom, help!’”

      _

      Ash-lee! Ash-lee!! Ash-lee! Ash-lee!!

      Some 20 miles northwest of Browning, the searchers have navigated a rugged road lined with barren trees scorched from an old forest fire. They have a panoramic view of majestic snowcapped mountains. A woman’s stained sweater was found here months ago, making the location worthy of another search. It’s not known whether the garment may be Ashley’s.

      First Kimberly, then Lissa Loring, call Ashley’s name — in different directions. The repetition four times by each woman is a ritual designed to beckon someone’s spirit.

      Lissa says Ashley’s disappearance constantly weighs on her. “All that plays in my head is where do we look? Who’s going to tell us the next lead?”

      That weekend at the annual North American Indian Days in Browning, the family marched in a parade with a red banner honoring missing and murdered indigenous women. They wore T-shirts with an image of Ashley and the words: “We will never give up.”

      Then Ashley’s grandmother and others took to a small arena for what’s known as a blanket dance, to raise money for the search. As drums throbbed, they grasped the edges of a blue blanket. Friends stepped forward, dropping in cash, some tearfully embracing Ashley’s relatives.

      The past few days reminded Kimberly of a promise she’d made to Ashley when their mother was wrestling with substance abuse problems and the girls were briefly in a foster home. Kimberly was 8 then; Ashley was just 5.

      “’We have to stick together,’” she’d told her little sister.

      “I told her I would never leave her. And if she was going to go anywhere, I would find her.”


      https://apnews.com/cb6efc4ec93e4e92900ec99ccbcb7e05

    • Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operational Overview

      Executive summary

      In late 2013, the Commissioner of the RCMP initiated an RCMP-led study of reported incidents of missing and murdered Aboriginal women across all police jurisdictions in Canada.

      This report summarizes that effort and will guide Canadian Police operational decision-making on a solid foundation. It will mean more targeted crime prevention, better community engagement and enhanced accountability for criminal investigations. It will also assist operational planning from the detachment to national level. In sum, it reveals the following:

      Police-recorded incidents of Aboriginal female homicides and unresolved missing Aboriginal females in this review total 1,181 – 164 missing and 1,017 homicide victims.
      There are 225 unsolved cases of either missing or murdered Aboriginal females: 105 missing for more than 30 days as of November 4, 2013, whose cause of disappearance was categorized at the time as “unknown” or “foul play suspected” and 120 unsolved homicides between 1980 and 2012.
      The total indicates that Aboriginal women are over-represented among Canada’s murdered and missing women.
      There are similarities across all female homicides. Most homicides were committed by men and most of the perpetrators knew their victims — whether as an acquaintance or a spouse.
      The majority of all female homicides are solved (close to 90%) and there is little difference in solve rates between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal victims.

      This report concludes that the total number of murdered and missing Aboriginal females exceeds previous public estimates. This total significantly contributes to the RCMP’s understanding of this challenge, but it represents only a first step.

      It is the RCMP’s intent to work with the originating agencies responsible for the data herein to release as much of it as possible to stakeholders. Already, the data on missing Aboriginal women has been shared with the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains (NCMPUR), which will be liaising with policing partners to publish additional cases on the Canada’s Missing website. Ultimately, the goal is to make information more widely available after appropriate vetting. While this matter is without question a policing concern, it is also a much broader societal challenge.

      The collation of this data was completed by the RCMP and the assessments and conclusions herein are those of the RCMP alone. The report would not have been possible without the support and contribution of the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics at Statistics Canada.

      As with any effort of such magnitude, this report needs to be caveated with a certain amount of error and imprecision. This is for a number of reasons: the period of time over which data was collected was extensive; collection by investigators means data is susceptible to human error and interpretation; inconsistency of collection of variables over the review period and across multiple data sources; and, finally, definitional challenges.

      The numbers that follow are the best available data to which the RCMP had access to at the time the information was collected. They will change as police understanding of cases evolve, but as it stands, this is the most comprehensive data that has ever been assembled by the Canadian policing community on missing and murdered Aboriginal women.

      http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/missing-and-murdered-aboriginal-women-national-operational-overview
      #rapport

    • Ribbons of shame: Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women

      In Canada, Jessie Kolvin uncovers a shameful record of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Examining the country’s ingrained racism, she questions whether Justin Trudeau’s government has used the issue for political gain.
      In 2017, Canada celebrated its 150th birthday. The country was ablaze with pride: mountain and prairie, metropolis and suburb, were swathed in Canadian flags bearing that distinctive red maple leaf.

      My eye was accustomed to the omnipresent crimson, so when I crossed a bridge in Toronto and saw dozens of red ribbons tied to the struts, I assumed they were another symbol of national honour and celebration.

      Positive energy imbued even the graffiti at the end of the bridge, which declared that, “Tout est possible”. I reflected that perhaps it really was possible to have a successful democracy that was progressive and inclusive and kind: Canada was living proof.

      Then my friend spoke briefly, gravely: “These are a memorial to the missing and murdered Indigenous* women.”

      In a moment, my understanding of Canada was revolutionised. I was compelled to learn about the Indigenous women and girls – believed to number around 4,000, although the number continues to rise – whose lives have been violently taken.

      No longer did the red of the ribbons represent Canadian pride; suddenly it signified Canadian shame, and Indigenous anger and blood.

      At home, I Googled: “missing and murdered Indigenous women”. It returned 416,000 results all peppered with the shorthand “MMIW”, or “MMIWG” to include girls. The existence of the acronym suggested that this was not some limited or niche concern.

      It was widespread and, now at least, firmly in the cultural and political consciousness.

      The description records that her sister, Jane, has “repeatedly called for a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.”

      The oldest is 83, the youngest nine months. A random click yields the story of Angela Williams, a mother of three girls, who went missing in 2001 and was found dumped in a ditch beside a rural road in British Columbia.

      Another offers Tanya Jane Nepinak, who in 2011 didn’t return home after going to buy a pizza a few blocks away. A man has been charged with second-degree murder in relation to her disappearance, but her body has never been found.

      The description records that her sister, Jane, has “repeatedly called for a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.”

      According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Native American women constitute just 4.3% of the Canadian population but 16% of homicide victims. It isn’t a mystery as to why.

      Indigenous peoples are less likely than white Canadians to complete their education, more likely to be jobless, more likely to live in insecure housing, and their health – both physical and mental – is worse.

      Alcoholism and drug abuse abound, and Indigenous women are more likely to work in the sex trade. These environments breed vulnerability and violence, and violence tends to be perpetrated against women.

      Amnesty International has stated that Indigenous women in particular tend to be targeted because the “police in Canada have often failed to provide Indigenous women with an adequate standard of protection”.

      When police do intervene in Indigenous communities, they are often at best ineffectual and at worst abusive. Indigenous women are not, it appears, guaranteed their “right to life, liberty and security of the person” enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

      It didn’t take me long to realise that many of these problems – Indigenous women’s vulnerability, the violence perpetrated against them, the failure to achieve posthumous justice – can be partly blamed on the persistence of racism.

      Successive governments have failed to implement substantial change. Then Prime Minister Stephen Harper merely voiced what had previously been tacit when he said in 2014 that the call for an inquiry “isn’t really high on our radar”.

      If this is believable of Harper, it is much less so of his successor Justin Trudeau. With his fresh face and progressive policies, I had heralded his arrival. Many Native Americans shared my optimism.

      For Trudeau certainly talked the talk: just after achieving office, he told the Assembly of First Nations that: “It is time for a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations peoples, one that understands that the constitutionally guaranteed rights of First Nations in Canada are not an inconvenience but rather a sacred obligation.”

      Trudeau committed to setting up a national public inquiry which would find the truth about why so many Indigenous women go missing and are murdered, and which would honour them.

      https://lacuna.org.uk/justice/ribbons-of-shame-canadas-missing-and-murdered-indigenous-women
      #disparitions #racisme #xénophobie


  • World Food Programme Vessel ’VOS Theia’ Attacked Off Yemen – gCaptain
    http://gcaptain.com/world-food-programme-vessel-vos-theia-attacked-off-yemen


    M/V VOS Theia.
    Photo : Vroon Offshore

    Unidentified forces attacked a U.N. aid vessel off the main Yemeni port of Hodeidah at the weekend and started a fire in the engine room, port authorities said on Monday.

    The United Nations aid chief, Mark Lowcock, confirmed there had been an incident but said it was now over and everyone was safe, without elaborating.

    The vessel used by the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) was attacked after delivering a shipment at Hodeidah, Yemen’s Red Sea Ports Corporation said. The port is held by the Iranian-aligned armed Houthi movement which has taken large parts of the country in a three-year-old war.

    A WFP spokeswoman said an unidentified armed group “aboard a skiff had opened fire and attempted to take over” the vessel that was some 60 km (38 miles)) off the coast of Hodeidah.

    Both the crew and the vessel are safe, with no injuries or obvious damage to the vessel,” spokeswoman Bettina Luescher said in a statement sent to Reuters.

    The ship was waiting in anchorage for permission to leave from a Saudi-led military coalition, the Ports Corporation added. The coalition is fighting the Houthis and controls the nearby Zubair island.


  • Pentagon Warns Syria’s Assad against Attacking Washington Allies | Asharq AL-awsat
    https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1287576/pentagon-warns-syria%E2%80%99s-assad-against-attacking-washington-allies

    The Pentagon on Thursday warned Head of Syrian regime Bashar al-Assad not to carry out an offensive against Kurdish and Arab forces backed by the Washington that control the country’s north-east.

    Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie, director of the joint staff, said during a press conference on Thursday: “Any interested party in Syria should understand that attacking US Forces or our coalition partners will be a bad policy.

    Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White later stated that US is in Syria only to fight ISIS.

    She added that the “US did not want to get involved in Syria’s civil war.

    Assad told Russian broadcaster RT in an interview that the “only problem left in Syria is the SDF.”

    Assad said there were only “two options" to deal with SDF.

    The first one: we started now opening doors for negotiations. Because the majority of them are Syrians."

    Otherwise, "we’re going to resort... to liberating those areas by force,” he added.

    SDF continue to fight against ISIS in part of oil-rich province of Deir Al Zour.


  • US Condemns Syria’s Decision to Recognize 2 Breakaway #Georgia Regions | Asharq AL-awsat
    https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1284956/us-condemns-syria%E2%80%99s-decision-recognize-2-breakaway-georgia-regions

    The United States condemned on Wednesday the Syrian regime for recognizing two breakaway regions in Georgia and establishing diplomatic ties with them.

    “The United States strongly condemns the Syrian regime’s intention to establish diplomatic relations with the Russian-occupied Georgian regions of #Abkhazia and #South_Ossetia,” US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

    It added that it fully backed Georgia’s independence and reiterating its call for Russia to withdraw from the area.

    “_These regions are part of Georgia. The United States’ position on Abkhazia and South Ossetia is unwavering,” the statement said.

    On Tuesday [29/05/18], Georgia said it would sever diplomatic relations with Syria after Damascus moved to recognize the two regions as independent states.

    With this act the Assad regime declared its support for Russia’s military aggression against Georgia, the illegal occupation of Abkhazia and (South Ossetia) regions and the ethnic cleansing that has been taking place for years,” Georgia said.

    Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru previously recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which broke away from Georgia following the collapse of the Soviet Union.


  • Russia says only Syrian army should be on country’s southern border with Israel

    Israel believes Russia may agree to withdrawing Iranian forces and allied Shi’ite militias from Israel-Syria border

    Noa Landau and Reuters May 28, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/syria/russia-says-only-syrian-army-should-be-on-country-s-southern-border-1.61198

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that only Syrian government troops should have a presence on the country’s southern border which is close to Jordan and Israel, the RIA news agency reported.
    Lavrov was cited as making the comments at a joint news conference in Moscow with Jose Condungua Pacheco, his counterpart from Mozambique.
    Meanwhile, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman will leave on Wednesday for a short visit to Russia. He is scheduled to meet with his counterpart, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shvigo, the ministry said in a statement on Monday. Lieberman is expected to discuss with his hosts the recent events in the Middle East, primarily the tension between Israel and Iran over the Iranian military presence in Syria.
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the Knesset Monday, saying that “there is no room for any Iranian military presence in any part of Syria.”
    Lieberman said that “these things, of course, reflect not only our position, I can safely say that they reflect the positions of others in the Middle East and beyond the Middle East.”
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    On Sunday, Haaretz reported that Israeli political and military officials believe Russia is willing to discuss a significant distancing of Iranian forces and allied Shi’ite militias from the Israel-Syria border, according to Israeli officials.
    The change in Russia’s position has become clearer since Israel’s May 10 military clash with Iran in Syria and amid Moscow’s concerns that further Israeli moves would threaten the stability of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.
    Russia recently renewed efforts to try to get the United States involved in agreements that would stabilize Syria. The Russians might be willing to remove the Iranians from the Israeli border, though not necessarily remove the forces linked to them from the whole country.
    Last November, Russia and the United States, in coordination with Jordan, forged an agreement to decrease the possibility of friction in southern Syria, after the Assad regime defeated rebel groups in the center of the country. Israel sought to keep the Iranians and Shi’ite militias at least 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the Israeli border in the Golan Heights, east of the Damascus-Daraa road (or, according to another version, east of the Damascus-Suwayda road, about 70 kilometers from the border).

    FILE – Iran’s Army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, left, in Aleppo, Syria, in photo provided October 20, 2017/AP
    According to Israeli intelligence, in Syria there are now around 2,000 Iranian officers and advisers, members of the Revolutionary Guards, around 9,000 Shi’ite militiamen from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, and around 7,000 Hezbollah fighters. Israel believes that the Americans are now in a good position to reach a more effective arrangement in Syria in coordination with the Russians under the slogan “Without Iran and without ISIS.”
    The United States warned Syria on Friday it would take “firm and appropriate measures” in response to ceasefire violations, saying it was concerned about reports of an impending military operation in a de-escalation zone in the country’s southwest.
    Washington also cautioned Assad against broadening the conflict.
    “As a guarantor of this de-escalation area with Russia and Jordan, the United States will take firm and appropriate measures in response to Assad regime violations,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement late on Friday.
    A war monitor, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reported on Wednesday that Syrian government forces fresh from their victory this week against an Islamic State pocket in south Damascus were moving into the southern province of Deraa.
    Syrian state-run media have reported that government aircraft have dropped leaflets on rebel-held areas in Deraa urging fighters to disarm.
    The U.S. warning comes weeks after a similar attack on a de-escalation zone in northeastern Syria held by U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. U.S. ground and air forces repelled the more than four-hour attack, killing perhaps as many as 300 pro-Assad militia members, many of them Russian mercenaries.
    Backed by Russian warplanes, ground forces from Iran and allied militia, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah, have helped Assad drive rebels from Syria’s biggest cities, putting him in an unassailable military position.


  • A Palestinian vineyard annihilated with chainsaws, with a chilling message in Hebrew
    Gideon Levy, Alex Levac | May 24, 2018 | 6:53 PM
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-farm-terror-palestinian-vineyard-annihilated-with-chainsaws-1.6115

    The grapes are shriveled. The vineyard is dead. Reduced to a large, dried-out, yellowing stain in the heart of the verdant region along Highway 60 where the road runs past the town of Halhoul, north of Hebron. The “yellow wind” that David Grossman wrote about 30 years ago is a dying vineyard here. Two plots of land, with hundreds of vines that were slashed, their stems and shoots sawed off – and within a week everything here had withered and died.

    This is a particularly horrible sight because all the damage was wrought by the hand of man. A wicked, loathsome hand that hates not only Arabs but despises the land itself. In fact, we can assume that it wasn’t just one individual who raided and destroyed this vineyard late Tuesday night last week. To saw off that many plants in such a short time requires a few pairs of nasty hands. And someone also had to smear the threatening words in Hebrew on a rock: “We will reach everywhere.” All before first light illuminated the dark deed.

    When dawn broke, the owner of the vineyard, Dr. Haitham Jahshan, a hematologist, arrived and couldn’t believe his eyes. His vines had been ravaged. First he saw one sawed trunk, then another and another – a sea of butchered vines, whose grapes were grown to be eaten, not for wine – until the full scale of the calamity hit home.

    For his part, Musa Abu Hashhash, a field researcher for the B’Tselem human rights organization, says he’s never seen an act of so-called agricultural crime on this scale.

    When we visited on Monday, Highway 60 was as busy as ever: As the major traffic artery running the length of the West Bank, it serves both Palestinians and settlers. The vineyard lies right next to the road, which has very narrow shoulders at that point. West of the highway looms a fortified Israel Defense Forces observation tower, an Israeli flag flapping above it, where soldiers are present day and night to protect all the local residents and safeguard their property. A network of security cameras covers the road from all directions – yet apparently no one saw anything on that night last week, no one heard the insidious infiltrators or the sounds of the sawing.

    The butchery was obviously done with electric saws – the cuts are precise and sharp, from trunk to trunk, from shoot to shoot, nothing was left untouched, probably to ensure that nothing would remain. Almost all the slashing was done at the same height, about 40 centimeters (15 inches) above ground. A professional job. Many of the trunks look whole, but on closer examination, they too turn out to be cleaved. Some sway between heaven and earth, hanging in space, cut off from their bottom sections and roots. Wounded, scarred, cut in two – nearly 400 slashed vines, according to the owner, Jahshan.

    We follow him, bending over as we pass through row upon row of truncated vines, beneath a ceiling of low iron lattices on which they are tangled and twined. There’s no way to raise your head here, no way to stand up. The soil is clear of stones and has been plowed: Those tending the land here turned the earth over using an all-terrain vehicle on the day after the spoliation, hoping a miracle would occur and the vineyard would begin to revive itself. But the miracle hasn’t happened. It’s clear now that it will be necessary to uproot the entire vineyard and to plant a new one in its place. It will then take three to five years for the first fruits to appear, and some 15 years – the age of the destroyed vineyard – for the crop to reach its optimal yield.

    Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, and so did Dr. Jahshan.

    Though he lives in Halhoul today, Jahshan, 42, studied medicine in Jordan and from 1999 to 2006 did his residency in hematology and molecular genetics at the Hadassah Medical Center and the Herzog Medical Center, both in Jerusalem. Now he runs a blood-disease clinic at Al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron, but also devotes time to working the land from which his family earns a living. The vineyard covered five dunams, 1.25 acres – 5,000 square meters, he explains.

    During the days that passed between the mutilation of the vineyard and our visit, everything withered, shriveled up. The leaves crumble between one’s fingers, the buds have been reduced to dust. This week’s hot, dry winds finished everything off.

    On his cellphone, Jahshan shows us a photograph of the vineyard from last week, on the day after the assault: still green, like the vineyards to the left and right of his property.

    Last Tuesday, Jahshan, together with his father, uncle and two of his brothers, sprayed the vineyard with pesticides, working from early in the morning until the early evening. They didn’t manage to complete the job and decided to return at first light. They left at about 6 that evening and were back at 6 the next morning – only to be dumbstruck by a sight that they will never forget.

    An empty bag of chocolate milk from the Kibbutz Yotvata dairy lies on the ground amid the vines; perhaps the vandals drank chocolate milk as they savaged the vineyard, sucking and slashing. Their car must have been parked on the narrow shoulders of the highway, visible to everyone and seen by the security cameras.

    In one part of the vineyard the raiders left a row of vines intact, perhaps fearful of being seen and caught. By the time they reached the southern section of it they were more confident, and wreaked total havoc. Great hatred must have driven them, complete meanness of spirit. The closest settlements are a few kilometers from here – Karmei Tzur to the north, Kiryat Arba and Givat Haharsina to the south. The immediate suspicion falls on their residents.

    This is the highest spot in the West Bank and the terroir is excellent, the physician-vine grower tells us; he only watered the vineyard once or twice a year from a well at its edge, otherwise depending on rainfall. A few types of grapes were grown here, white and dark. From each sundered trunk, the yield was usually 10-15 cartons of fruit, about 150 kilos of grapes.

    We take refuge from the heat in the shade of a peach tree in a nearby plot that has begun to yield fruit. “It was a vineyard at the height of its yield: 10 tons of grapes a year,” Jahshan tells us. In the years ahead, he won’t be harvesting the leaves, either, which sell for 25 shekels ($7) a kilo in the Hebron market. The harvest was due to begin in September – it starts later here, in the Hebron Hills – but now it’s been postponed indefinitely.

    “Maybe I’ll plant pakos [Armenian cucumbers] instead of grapes,” he muses, and then immediately corrects himself. “Of course I’ll plant grapes again.” If he or someone from his family come to the vineyard after dark, he adds, the army or the police arrive within minutes: “They see everything, but somehow they didn’t see the vandals.”

    Jahshan estimates the damage done to him and his family at about 250,000 shekels ($70,000), though it’s quite clear that the money is not his prime concern. He feels that there is no one to protect him and his property.

    When he and his relatives arrived Wednesday morning they didn’t see anything amiss at first. The vineyard was still green. Even after he saw one vine cut, he never imagined that the whole vineyard had been ruined. They went immediately to the Halhoul Municipality, and from there called the Israeli-Palestinian District Coordination and Liaison Office to file a complaint. They called the police and the Israel Defense Forces, too, and were asked to go back to the vineyard, where police and army officers met them to survey the damage at about 11 o’clock.

    A tracker examined footprints, photographs were taken, and Jahshan and the others were asked to go to the Kiryat Arba police station to file a complaint. It was the police who discovered the black inscription, “We will reach everywhere,” hidden amid the rocks. Jahshan hadn’t noticed it. Since then he hasn’t heard anything from the authorities.

    Shlomit Bakshi, spokeswoman of the Judea and Samaria District of the Israel Police, told Haaretz, “Upon receiving the complaint, the police launched an investigation and several actions were taken. At this stage, the investigation is still underway.”

    Jahshan comments drily that he hopes the police will find the culprits and bring them to justice, but adds, “If a child here had thrown a stone, they would have caught him already.”

    Perhaps the intensive investigation will get an essential boost from Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who on Tuesday tweeted, “Ratcheting up the uncompromising war on agricultural crime. No longer mild punishment without deterrence Yesterday, a bill I sponsored was passed [by the Knesset] in the first vote [of three], stipulating that a police officer can levy a stiff fine in offenses involving agricultural crime. That way the criminal will receive immediate painful economic punishment.”

    Agricultural crime, stiff and painful punishment – Shaked was undoubtedly referring also, perhaps even mainly, to the ongoing, routine agricultural terror perpetrated by Jewish vandals against Palestinian farmers.


  • U.S. Navy’s Costliest Warship Suffers New Failure at Sea - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-08/carrier-suffers-new-failure-at-sea-as-u-s-navy-seeks-more-funds

    The Gerald R. Ford, the U.S. Navy’s costliest warship, suffered a new failure at sea that forced it back to port and raised fresh questions about the new class of aircraft carriers.

    The previously undisclosed problem with a propulsion system bearing, which occurred in January but has yet to be remedied, comes as the Navy is poised to request approval from a supportive Congress to expedite a contract for a fourth carrier in what was to have been a three-ship class. It’s part of a push to expand the Navy’s 284-ship fleet to 355 as soon as the mid-2030s.
    […]
    The Naval Sea Systems Command said the Ford experienced “an out of specification condition” with a propulsion system component. Huntington Ingalls determined it was due to a “manufacturing defect,” the command said, and “not improper operation” by sailors. The defect “affects the same component” located in other parts of the propulsion system, the Navy added.
    […]
    Couch and Huntington Ingalls spokesman Beci Brenton declined to say who made the bearing that failed.

    But General Electric Co. is responsible for the propulsion system part, and the Navy program office said in an assessment that an inspection of the carrier’s four main thrust bearings after the January failure revealed “machining errors” by GE workers at a Lynn, Massachusetts, facility “during the original manufacturing” as “the actual root cause.”

    Deborah Case, a GE spokeswoman, said in an email that “GE did produce the gears for the CVN-78. However, we are no longer producing gears for CVN-78” and “we cannot comment on the investigation.


  • Des demandeurs d’asile soudanais torturés dans leur pays après avoir été expulsés par la #France

    Une enquête du New York Times a révélé dimanche soir que plusieurs demandeurs d’asile soudanais renvoyés par la France, l’#Italie et la #Belgique, avaient été torturés à leur retour dans leur pays d’origine.

    https://www.lejdd.fr/international/des-demandeurs-dasile-soudanais-tortures-dans-leur-pays-apres-avoir-ete-expuls
    #torture #asile #migrations #réfugiés #renvois #expulsions #réfugiés_soudanais #Soudan

    via @isskein sur FB

    • Et ici l’article du New York Times, repris par Lejdd :

      By Stifling Migration, Sudan’s Feared Secret Police Aid Europe

      At Sudan’s eastern border, Lt. Samih Omar led two patrol cars slowly over the rutted desert, past a cow’s carcass, before halting on the unmarked 2,000-mile route that thousands of East Africans follow each year in trying to reach the Mediterranean, and then onward to Europe.

      His patrols along this border with Eritrea are helping Sudan crack down on one of the busiest passages on the European migration trail. Yet Lieutenant Omar is no simple border agent. He works for Sudan’s feared secret police, whose leaders are accused of war crimes — and, more recently, whose officers have been accused of torturing migrants.

      Indirectly, he is also working for the interests of the European Union.

      “Sometimes,” Lieutenant Omar said, “I feel this is Europe’s southern border.”

      Three years ago, when a historic tide of migrants poured into Europe, many leaders there reacted with open arms and high-minded idealism. But with the migration crisis having fueled angry populism and political upheaval across the Continent, the European Union is quietly getting its hands dirty, stanching the human flow, in part, by outsourcing border management to countries with dubious human rights records.

      In practical terms, the approach is working: The number of migrants arriving in Europe has more than halved since 2016. But many migration advocates say the moral cost is high.
      To shut off the sea route to Greece, the European Union is paying billions of euros to a Turkish government that is dismantling its democracy. In Libya, Italy is accused of bribing some of the same militiamen who have long profited from the European smuggling trade — many of whom are also accused of war crimes.

      In Sudan, crossed by migrants trying to reach Libya, the relationship is more opaque but rooted in mutual need: The Europeans want closed borders and the Sudanese want to end years of isolation from the West. Europe continues to enforce an arms embargo against Sudan, and many Sudanese leaders are international pariahs, accused of committing war crimes during a civil war in Darfur, a region in western Sudan

      But the relationship is unmistakably deepening. A recent dialogue, named the Khartoum Process (in honor of Sudan’s capital) has become a platform for at least 20 international migration conferences between European Union officials and their counterparts from several African countries, including Sudan. The European Union has also agreed that Khartoum will act as a nerve center for countersmuggling collaboration.

      While no European money has been given directly to any Sudanese government body, the bloc has funneled 106 million euros — or about $131 million — into the country through independent charities and aid agencies, mainly for food, health and sanitation programs for migrants, and for training programs for local officials.

      “While we engage on some areas for the sake of the Sudanese people, we still have a sanction regime in place,” said Catherine Ray, a spokeswoman for the European Union, referring to an embargo on arms and related material.

      “We are not encouraging Sudan to curb migration, but to manage migration in a safe and dignified way,” Ms. Ray added.

      Ahmed Salim, the director of one of the nongovernmental groups that receives European funding, said the bloc was motivated by both self-interest and a desire to improve the situation in Sudan.

      “They don’t want migrants to cross the Mediterranean to Europe,” said Mr. Salim, who heads the European and African Center for Research, Training and Development.

      But, he said, the money his organization receives means better services for asylum seekers in Sudan. “You have to admit that the European countries want to do something to protect migrants here,” he said.

      Critics argue the evolving relationship means that European leaders are implicitly reliant on — and complicit in the reputational rehabilitation of — a Sudanese security apparatus whose leaders have been accused by the United Nations of committing war crimes in Darfur.

      “There is no direct money exchanging hands,” said Suliman Baldo, the author of a research paper about Europe’s migration partnership with Sudan. “But the E.U. basically legitimizes an abusive force.”

      On the border near Abu Jamal, Lieutenant Omar and several members of his patrol are from the wing of the Sudanese security forces headed by Salah Abdallah Gosh, one of several Sudanese officials accused of orchestrating attacks on civilians in Darfur.

      Elsewhere, the border is protected by the Rapid Support Forces, a division of the Sudanese military that was formed from the janjaweed militias who led attacks on civilians in the Darfur conflict. The focus of the group, known as R.S.F., is not counter-smuggling — but roughly a quarter of the people-smugglers caught in January and February this year on the Eritrean border were apprehended by the R.S.F., Lieutenant Omar said.

      European officials have direct contact only with the Sudanese immigration police, and not with the R.S.F., or the security forces that Lieutenant Omar works for, known as N.I.S.S. But their operations are not that far removed.

      The planned countertrafficking coordination center in Khartoum — staffed jointly by police officers from Sudan and several European countries, including Britain, France and Italy — will partly rely on information sourced by N.I.S.S., according to the head of the immigration police department, Gen. Awad Elneil Dhia. The regular police also get occasional support from the R.S.F. on countertrafficking operations in border areas, General Dhia said.

      “They have their presence there and they can help,” General Dhia said. “The police is not everywhere, and we cannot cover everywhere.”

      Yet the Sudanese police are operating in one unexpected place: Europe.

      In a bid to deter future migrants, at least three European countries — Belgium, France and Italy — have allowed in Sudanese police officers to hasten the deportation of Sudanese asylum seekers, General Dhia said.

      Nominally, their official role is simply to identify their citizens. But the officers have been allowed to interrogate some deportation candidates without being monitored by European officials with the language skills to understand what was being said.

      More than 50 Sudanese seeking asylum in Europe have been deported in the past 18 months from Belgium, France and Italy; The New York Times interviewed seven of them on a recent visit to Sudan.

      Four said they had been tortured on their return to Sudan — allegations denied by General Dhia. One man was a Darfuri political dissident deported in late 2017 from France to Khartoum, where he said he was detained on arrival by N.I.S.S. agents.

      Over the next 10 days, he said he was given electric shocks, punched and beaten with metal pipes. At one point the dissident, who asked that his name be withheld for his safety, lost consciousness and had to be taken to the hospital. He was later released on a form of parole.
      The dissident said that, before his deportation from France, Sudanese police officers had threatened him as French officers stood nearby. “I said to the French police: ‘They are going to kill us,’” he said. “But they didn’t understand.”

      European officials argue that establishing Khartoum as a base for collaboration on fighting human smuggling can only improve the Sudanese security forces. The Regional Operational Center in Khartoum, set to open this year, will enable delegates from several European and African countries to share intelligence and coordinate operations against smugglers across North Africa.

      But potential pitfalls are evident from past collaborations. In 2016, the British and Italian police, crediting a joint operation with their Sudanese counterparts, announced the arrest of “one of the world’s most wanted people smugglers.” They said he was an Eritrean called Medhanie Yehdego Mered, who had been captured in Sudan and extradited to Italy.

      The case is now privately acknowledged by Western diplomats to have been one of mistaken identity. The prisoner turned out to be Medhanie Tesfamariam Berhe, an Eritrean refugee with the same first name as the actual smuggler. Mr. Mered remains at large.

      Even General Dhia now admits that Sudan extradited the wrong man — albeit one who, he says, admitted while in Sudanese custody to involvement in smuggling.

      “There were two people, actually — two people with the same name,” General Dhia said.

      Mr. Berhe nevertheless remains on trial in Italy, accused of being Mr. Mered — and of being a smuggler.

      Beyond that, the Sudanese security services have long been accused of profiting from the smuggling trade. Following European pressure, the Sudanese Parliament adopted a raft of anti-smuggling legislation in 2014, and the rules have since led to the prosecution of some officials over alleged involvement in the smuggling business.

      But according to four smugglers whom I interviewed clandestinely during my trip to Sudan, the security services remain closely involved in the trade, with both N.I.S.S and R.S.F. officials receiving part of the smuggling profits on most trips to southern Libya.

      The head of the R.S.F., Brig. Mohammed Hamdan Daglo, has claimed in the past that his forces play a major role in impeding the route to Libya. But each smuggler — interviewed separately — said that the R.S.F. was often the main organizer of the trips, often supplying camouflaged vehicles to ferry migrants through the desert.

      After being handed over to Libyan militias in Kufra and Sabha, in southern Libya, many migrants are then systematically tortured and held for ransom — money that is later shared with the R.S.F., each smuggler said.

      Rights activists have previously accused Sudanese officials of complicity in trafficking. In a 2014 report, Human Rights Watch said that senior Sudanese police officials had colluded in the smuggling of Eritreans.

      A British journalist captured by the R.S.F. in Darfur in 2016 said that he had been told by his captors that they were involved in smuggling people to Libya. “I asked specifically about how it works,” said the journalist, Phil Cox, a freelance filmmaker for Channel 4. “And they said we make sure the routes are open, and we talk with whoever’s commanding the next area.”

      General Dhia said that the problem did not extend beyond a few bad apples. Sudan, he said, remains an effective partner for Europe in the battle against irregular migration.

      “We are not,” he said, “very far from your standards.”

      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/22/world/africa/migration-european-union-sudan.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSo
      #externalisation

    • Soudan : des demandeurs d’asile torturés après avoir été expulsés par la France

      Un dissident politique du #Darfour, expulsé par la France fin 2017, affirme notamment avoir été électrocuté, battu et frappé avec des tuyaux en métal pendant dix jours.
      En Belgique, c’est un scandale. En France, le silence est... assourdissant. Dans une grande enquête, publiée dimanche 22 avril, le « New York Times » révèle que des demandeurs d’asile soudanais renvoyés par la France, l’Italie et la Belgique, ont été torturés à leur retour dans leur pays.

      Une enquête de Streetpress, publiée en octobre dernier, révélait déjà que la police française collaborait étroitement, et depuis 2014, avec la dictature soudanaise, et favorisait « le renvoi à Khartoum d’opposants politiques réfugiés en France ». Le titre de Streetpress parlait de lui-même : « Comment la France a livré des opposants politiques à la dictature soudanaise ».
      Le quotidien américain a de son côté retrouvé des demandeurs d’asile et a publié les témoignages de quatre d’entre eux. Ils ont été arrêtés dès leur retour puis torturés par le régime soudanais. Un dissident politique du Darfour expulsé par la France fin 2017, affirme ainsi avoir été électrocuté, battu et frappé avec des tuyaux en métal pendant dix jours. Il affirme qu’avant son expulsion, des officiers de police soudanais l’ont menacé en présence d’officiers français :
      ""Je leur ai dit : ’Ils vont nous tuer’, mais ils n’ont pas compris.""
      Des policiers soudanais dans des centres de rétention

      Interrogé par le « New York Times », le régime du général Omar el-Béchir dément. Le dictateur, qui dirige depuis 28 ans le Soudan, est visé par un mandat d’arrêt en 2008 de la Cour pénale internationale pour génocide, crimes contre l’humanité et crimes de guerre, comme le rappelle « le Journal du dimanche ».

      Comme l’écrit le quotidien américain, la Belgique, la France et l’Italie ont autorisé des « officiels soudanais » à pénétrer dans leurs centres de rétention et à interroger des demandeurs d’asile soudanais. Ces « officiels » étaient en réalité des policiers soudanais. Selon le « New York Times », les entretiens dans les centres de rétention entre les « officiels » soudanais et les demandeurs d’asile se seraient faits « en l’absence de fonctionnaire capable de traduire les propos échangés ».

      En Belgique, les révélations sur les expulsions de demandeurs d’asile soudanais ont provoqué de vives tensions. En septembre dernier, le Premier ministre belge Charles Michel a reconnu devant une commission d’enquête de son Parlement que les polices de plusieurs pays européens collaboraient étroitement avec la dictature soudanaise d’Omar el-Béchir.

      https://www.nouvelobs.com/monde/20180424.OBS5650/soudan-des-demandeurs-d-asile-tortures-apres-avoir-ete-expulses-par-la-fr

    • Et, signalé par @isskein sur FB, un communiqué de Migreurop qui date d’il y a une année. Rappel :

      L’Europe collabore avec un dictateur pour mieux expulser vers le Soudan

      Migreurop demande l’arrêt immédiat de toutes les collaborations initiées par l’Union européenne et ses Etats membres avec la dictature d’Omar El-Béchir et avec tout Etat qui bafoue les droits fondamentaux.

      http://www.migreurop.org/article2837.html


  • Pentagon reports number of contractors employed in Syria for first time
    https://www.militarytimes.com/news/2018/04/17/pentagon-reports-number-of-contractors-employed-in-syria-for-first-ti

    The Pentagon is employing 5,508 contractors in Iraq and Syria — 2,869 of whom are U.S. citizens, 760 of whom are locals and the rest of whom are third country nationals — according to a quarterly report released in April.

    This is the first time the Pentagon has reported contractor numbers for Syria, according to past reports within the archives of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Logistics & Materiel Readiness.

    “As the mission has grown and continued in Syria, [the DoD] is including those numbers in regular reporting, as well,” Heather Babb, a Pentagon spokeswoman, told Military Times.

    #syrie #mercenaires #contras


  • Before the CIA, There Was the Pond | Newsmax.com
    https://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/US-Spy-Agency-The-Pond/2010/07/29/id/366034

    The head of the Pond was Col. John V. Grombach, a radio producer, businessman and ex-Olympic boxer who kept a small black poodle under his desk. He attended West Point, but didn’t graduate with his class because he had too many demerits, according to a U.S. Army document. His nickname was “Frenchy,” because his father was a Frenchman, who worked in the French Consulate in New Orleans.

    The War Department had tapped Grombach to create the secret intelligence branch in 1942 as a foundation for a permanent spy service. Grombach said the main objectives were security and secrecy, unlike the OSS, which he said had been infiltrated by allies and subversives and whose personnel had a “penchant for personal publicity.” It was first known as the Special Service Branch, then as the Special Service Section and finally as the Coverage and Indoctrination Branch.

    To the few even aware of its existence, the intelligence network was known by its arcane name, the Pond. Its leaders referred to the G-2 military intelligence agency as the “Lake,” the CIA, which was formed later, was the “Bay,” and the State Department was the “Zoo.” Grombach’s organization engaged in cryptography, political espionage and covert operations. It had clandestine officers in Budapest, London, Lisbon, Madrid, Stockholm, Bombay, Istanbul and elsewhere.

    Grombach directed his far-flung operations from an office at the Steinway Hall building in New York, where he worked under the cover of a public relations consultant for Philips. His combative character had earned him a reputation as an opportunist who would “cut the throat of anyone standing in his way,” according to a document in his Army intelligence dossier.

    In defining the Pond’s role, Grombach maintained that the covert network sought indirect intelligence from people holding regular jobs in both hostile countries and allied nations — not unlike the Russian spies uncovered in June in the U.S. while living in suburbia and working at newspapers or universities.

    The Pond, he wrote in a declassified document put in the National Archives, had a mission “to collect important secret intelligence via many international companies, societies, religious organizations and business and professional men who were willing to cooperate with the U.S. but who would not work with the OSS because it was necessarily integrated with British and French Intelligence and infiltrated by Communists and Russians.”

    On April 15, 1953, Grombach wrote that the idea behind his network was to use “observers” who would build long-term relationships and produce far more valuable information than spies who bought secrets. “Information was to be rarely, if ever, bought, and there were to be no paid professional operators; as it later turned out some of the personnel not only paid their own expenses but actually advanced money for the organization’s purposes.”

    The CIA, for its part, didn’t think much of the Pond. It concluded that the organization was uncooperative, especially since the outfit refused to divulge its sources, complicating efforts to evaluate their reports. In an August 1952 letter giving notice that the CIA intended to terminate the contract, agency chief Gen. Walter Bedell Smith wrote that “our analysis of the reports provided by this organization has convinced us that its unevaluated product is not worth the cost.” It took until 1955 to completely unwind the relationship.

    Mark Stout, a former intelligence officer and historian for the International Spy Museum in Washington, analyzed the newly released papers and said it isn’t clear how important the Pond was to U.S. intelligence-gathering as a whole. “But they were making some real contributions,” he said.

    Matthew Aid, an intelligence historian and author of “The Secret Sentry: The Untold History of the National Security Agency” who has reviewed some of the collection, said there was no evidence the Pond’s reports made their way to decision-makers. “I’m still not convinced that Grombach’s organization was a worthwhile endeavor in World War II and even less so when it went off the books,” he said.

    What it may have lacked in quality and influence, however, the Pond certainly made up with chutzpah.

    One of the outfit’s most unusual informers was a French serial killer named Marcel Petiot, Grombach wrote in a 1980 book.

    The Secret Intelligence Branch, as he referred to the Pond, began receiving reports from Petiot during the war. He was a physician in Paris who regularly treated refugees, businessmen and Gestapo agents, but he also had a predilection for killing mostly wealthy Jews and burning their bodies in a basement furnace in his soundproofed house. He was convicted of 26 murders and guillotined in 1946.

    Nevertheless, Grombach considered him a valuable informer because of his contacts.

    One cable discovered among the newly released papers appears to confirm the Pond was tracking Petiot’s whereabouts. In the undated memo, the writer says Petiot was drawn by a Gestapo agent “into a trap to be arrested by the Germans.” Petiot was briefly arrested in 1943 by the Gestapo.

    Such sources were often feeding their reports to top operatives — often businessmen or members of opposition groups. But there were also journalists in the spy ring.

    Ruth Fischer, code-named “Alice Miller,” was considered a key Pond agent for eight years, working under her cover as a correspondent, including for the North American Newspaper Alliance. She had been a leader of Germany’s prewar Communist Party and was valuable to the Pond in the early years of the Cold War, pooling intelligence from Stalinists, Marxists and socialists in Europe, Africa and China, according to the newly released documents.

    But it was the help from businesses in wartime that was essential to penetrating Axis territories.

    The Philips companies, including their U.S. division, gave the Pond money, contacts, radio technology and supported Grombach’s business cover in New York. Philips spokesman Arent Jan Hesselink said the company had business contacts with Grombach between 1937 and 1970. He added that they could not “rule out that there was contact between Philips and Grombach with the intention of furthering central U.S. intelligence during the war.”

    The Pond laid the groundwork and devised a detailed postwar plan to integrate its activities into the U.S. Rubber Co.’s business operations in 93 countries. It is unknown if the plan was ever carried out. The Pond also worked with the American Express Co., Remington Rand, Inc. and Chase National Bank, according to documents at the National Archives.

    American Express spokeswoman Caitlin Lowie said a search of company archives revealed no evidence of a relationship with Grombach’s organization. Representatives of the other companies or their successors did not respond to requests for comment.

    The Pond directed its resources for domestic political ends, as well.

    In the 1950s, Grombach began furnishing names to McCarthy on supposed security risks in the U.S. intelligence community. By then, the Pond was a CIA contractor, existing as a quasi-private company, and the agency’s leadership was enraged by Grombach’s actions. It wasn’t long before the Pond’s contract was terminated and the organization largely ceased to exist.

    #histoire #USA #espionnage #CIA


  • Separating children and parents at the border is cruel and unnecessary

    The Trump administration has shown that it’s willing — eager, actually — to go to great lengths to limit illegal immigration into the United States, from building a multi-billion-dollar border wall with Mexico to escalated roundups that grab those living here without permission even if they have no criminal record and are longtime, productive members of their communities. Now the administration’s cold-hearted approach to enforcement has crossed the line into abject inhumanity: the forced separation of children from parents as they fight for legal permission to remain in the country.

    How widespread is the practice? That’s unclear. The Department of Homeland Security declined comment because it is being sued over the practice. It ignored a request for statistics on how many children it has separated from their parents, an unsurprising lack of transparency from an administration that faces an unprecedented number of lawsuits over its failure to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests for government — read: public — records. But immigrant rights activists say they have noticed a jump, and in December, a coalition of groups filed a complaint with Homeland Security over the practice.
    When parents and children cross the border and tell border patrol agents they would like to apply for asylum, they often are taken into custody while their request is considered. Under the Obama administration, the families were usually released to the care of a relative or organization, or held in a family detention center. But under President Trump, the parents — usually mothers traveling without their spouses — who sneak across the border then turn themselves in are increasing being charged with the misdemeanor crime of entering the country illegally, advocates say. And since that is a criminal charge, not a civil violation of immigration codes, the children are spirited away to a youth detention center with no explanation. Sometimes, parents and children are inexplicably separated even when no charges are lodged. Activists believe the government is splitting families to send a message of deterrence: Dare to seek asylum at the border and we’ll take your child.

    http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-immigrants-border-asylum-ice-201802305-story.html
    #frontières #unité_familiale #séparation #enfants #enfance #parents #asile #migrations #réfugiés #USA #Etats-Unis #détention_administrative #rétention #dissuasion

    • Familias rotas, familias vaciadas

      Es delgada y pequeña. No rebasa el 1.60. La habitación en la que duerme —en el segundo piso del albergue para veteranos deportados que creó Héctor Barajas— tiene una cama con un oso de peluche que ella misma confeccionó y una mesa para cuatro personas. La sonrisa que a veces asoma en su rostro nunca llega a sus ojos, oscuros y con marcadas ojeras. Se llama Yolanda Varona y tiene prohibido, de por vida, entrar a Estados Unidos, el país donde trabajó 16 años y donde viven sus dos hijos y tres nietos.


      https://www.revistadelauniversidad.mx/articles/d2c0ac01-e2e8-464f-9d4e-266920f634fc/familias-rotas-familias-vaciadas

    • Taking Migrant Children From Parents Is Illegal, U.N. Tells U.S.

      The Trump administration’s practice of separating children from migrant families entering the United States violates their rights and international law, the United Nations human rights office said on Tuesday, urging an immediate halt to the practice.

      The administration angrily rejected what it called an ignorant attack by the United Nations human rights office and accused the global organization of hypocrisy.

      The human rights office said it appeared that, as The New York Times revealed in April, United States authorities had separated several hundred children, including toddlers, from their parents or others claiming to be their family members, under a policy of criminally prosecuting undocumented people crossing the border.

      That practice “amounts to arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child,” Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, based in Geneva, told reporters.

      Last month, the Trump administration announced a “zero tolerance” policy for illegal border crossings, saying that it would significantly increase criminal prosecutions of migrants. Officials acknowledged that putting more adults in jail would mean separating more children from their families.

      “The U.S. should immediately halt this practice of separating families and stop criminalizing what should at most be an administrative offense — that of irregular entry or stay in the U.S.,” Ms. Shamdasani said.

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      The United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki R. Haley, clearly showed American irritation with the accusation in a statement released a few hours later.

      “Once again, the United Nations shows its hypocrisy by calling out the United States while it ignores the reprehensible human rights records of several members of its own Human Rights Council,” Ms. Haley said. “While the High Commissioner’s office ignorantly attacks the United States with words, the United States leads the world with its actions, like providing more humanitarian assistance to global conflicts than any other nation.”

      Without addressing the specifics of the accusation, Ms. Haley said: “Neither the United Nations nor anyone else will dictate how the United States upholds its borders.”
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      The administration has characterized its policy as being about illegal immigration, though many of the detained migrants — including those in families that are split apart — enter at official border crossings and request asylum, which is not an illegal entry. It has also said that some adults falsely claim to be the parents of accompanying children, a genuine problem, and that it has to sort out their claims.

      On Twitter, President Trump has appeared to agree that breaking up families was wrong, but blamed Democrats for the approach, saying that their “bad legislation” had caused it. In fact, no law requires separating children from families, and the practice was put in place by his administration just months ago.

      The Times found in April that over six months, about 700 children had been taken from people claiming to be their parents.

      The American Civil Liberties Union says that since then, the pace of separations has accelerated sharply. Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the group’s immigrant rights project, said that in the past five weeks, close to 1,000 children may have been taken from their families.

      Last year, as Homeland Security secretary, John F. Kelly raised the idea of separating children from their families when they entered the country as a way to deter movement across the Mexican border.

      Homeland Security officials have since denied that they separate families as part of a policy of deterrence, but have also faced sharp criticism from President Trump for failing to do more to curb the numbers of migrants crossing the border.

      For the United Nations, it was a matter of great concern that in the United States “migration control appears to have been prioritized over the effective care and protection of migrant children,” Ms. Shamdasani said.

      The United States is the only country in the world that has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, she noted, but the practice of separating and detaining children breached its obligations under other international human rights conventions it has joined.

      “Children should never be detained for reasons related to their own or their parents’ migration status. Detention is never in the best interests of the child and always constitutes a child rights violation,” she said, calling on the authorities to adopt noncustodial alternatives.

      The A.C.L.U. has filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court in San Diego, calling for a halt to the practice and for reunification of families.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/05/world/americas/us-un-migrant-children-families.html

    • U.S. policy of separating refugees from children is illegal, horrific

      Somewhere in #Texas, a 3-year-old is crying into her pillow. She left all her toys behind when she fled Guatemala. And on this day the U.S. government took her mother away.

      When we read about the U.S. administration’s new policy of trying to stop people from crossing its borders by taking away their children, we too had trouble sleeping.


      https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2018/06/05/us-policy-of-separating-refugees-from-children-is-illegal-horrific.html

    • What’s Really Happening When Asylum-Seeking Families Are Separated ?

      An expert on helping parents navigate the asylum process describes what she’s seeing on the ground.

      Everyone involved in U.S. immigration along the border has a unique perspective on the new “zero tolerance” policies—most notably, the increasing number of migrant parents who are separated from their children. Some workers are charged with taking the children away from their parents and sending them into the care of Health and Human Services. Some are contracted to find housing for the children and get them food. Some volunteers try to help the kids navigate the system. Some, like Anne Chandler, assist the parents. As executive director of the Houston office of the nonprofit Tahirih Justice Center, which focuses on helping immigrant women and children, she has been traveling to the border and to detention centers, listening to the parents’ stories. We asked her to talk with us about what she has been hearing in recent weeks.

      This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

      Texas Monthly: First, can you give us an overview of your organization?

      Anne Chandler: We run the Children’s Border Project, and we work with hundreds of kids that have been released from ORR [Office of Refugee Resettlement] care. We are not a legal service provider that does work when they’re in the shelters. To date, most of our work with that issue of family separation has been working with the parents in the days when they are being separated: when they’re in the federal courthouse being convicted; partnering with the federal public defenders; and then in the adult detention center, as they have no idea how to communicate or speak to their children or get them back before being deported.

      TM: Can you take me through what you’ve been seeing?

      AC: The short of it is, we will take sample sizes of numbers and individuals we’re seeing that are being prosecuted for criminal entry. The majority of those are free to return to the home country. Vast majority. We can’t quite know exactly because our sample size is between one hundred and two hundred individuals. But 90 percent of those who are being convicted are having their children separated from them. The 10 percent that aren’t are some mothers who are going with their children to the detention centers in Karnes and Dilley. But, for the most part, the ones that I’ve been working with are the ones that are actually being prosecuted for criminal entry, which is a pretty new thing for our country—to take first-time asylum seekers who are here seeking safe refuge, to turn around and charge them with a criminal offense. Those parents are finding themselves in adult detention centers and in a process known as expedited removal, where many are being deported. And their children, on the other hand, are put in a completely different legal structure. They are categorized as unaccompanied children and thus are being put in place in a federal agency not with the Department of Homeland Security but with Health and Human Services. And Health and Human Services has this complicated structure in place where they’re not viewed as a long-term foster care system—that’s for very limited numbers—but their general mandate is to safeguard these children in temporary shelters and then find family members with whom they can be placed. So they start with parents, and then they go to grandparents, and then they go to other immediate family members, and then they go to acquaintances, people who’ve known the children, and they’re in that system, but they can’t be released to their parents because their parents are behind bars. And we may see more parents that get out of jail because they pass a “credible fear” interview, which is the screening done by the asylum office to see who should be deported quickly, within days or weeks of arrival, and who should stay here and have an opportunity to present their asylum case before an immigration judge of the Department of Justice. So we have a lot of individuals who are in that credible fear process right now, but in Houston, once you have a credible fear interview (which will sometimes take two to three weeks to even set up), those results aren’t coming out for four to six weeks. Meanwhile, these parents are just kind of languishing in these detention centers because of the zero-tolerance policy. There’s no individual adjudication of whether the parents should be put on some form of alternative detention program so that they can be in a position to be reunited with their kid.

      TM: So, just so I make sure I understand: the parents come in and say, “We’re persecuted” or give some reason for asylum. They come in. And then their child or children are taken away and they’re in lockup for at least six weeks away from the kids and often don’t know where the kids are. Is that what’s happening under zero tolerance?

      AC: So the idea of zero tolerance under the stated policy is that we don’t care why you’re afraid. We don’t care if it’s religion, political, gangs, anything. For all asylum seekers, you are going to be put in jail, in a detention center, and you’re going to have your children taken away from you. That’s the policy. They’re not 100 percent able to implement that because of a lot of reasons, including just having enough judges on the border. And bed space. There’s a big logistical problem because this is a new policy. So the way they get to that policy of taking the kids away and keeping the adults in detention centers and the kids in a different federal facility is based on the legal rationale that we’re going to convict you, and since we’re going to convict you, you’re going to be in the custody of the U.S. Marshals, and when that happens, we’re taking your kid away. So they’re not able to convict everybody of illegal entry right now just because there aren’t enough judges on the border right now to hear the number of cases that come over, and then they say if you have religious persecution or political persecution or persecution on something that our asylum definition recognizes, you can fight that case behind bars at an immigration detention center. And those cases take two, three, four, five, six months. And what happens to your child isn’t really our concern. That is, you have made the choice to bring your child over illegally. And this is what’s going to happen.

      TM: Even if they crossed at a legal entry point?

      AC: Very few people come to the bridge. Border Patrol is saying the bridge is closed. When I was last out in McAllen, people were stacked on the bridge, sleeping there for three, four, ten nights. They’ve now cleared those individuals from sleeping on the bridge, but there are hundreds of accounts of asylum seekers, when they go to the bridge, who are told, “I’m sorry, we’re full today. We can’t process your case.” So the families go illegally on a raft—I don’t want to say illegally; they cross without a visa on a raft. Many of them then look for Border Patrol to turn themselves in, because they know they’re going to ask for asylum. And under this government theory—you know, in the past, we’ve had international treaties, right? Statutes which codified the right of asylum seekers to ask for asylum. Right? Article 31 of the Refugee Convention clearly says that it is improper for any state to use criminal laws that could deter asylum seekers as long as that asylum seeker is asking for asylum within a reasonable amount of time. But our administration is kind of ignoring this longstanding international and national jurisprudence of basic beliefs to make this distinction that, if you come to a bridge, we’re not going to prosecute you, but if you come over the river and then find immigration or are caught by immigration, we’re prosecuting you.

      TM: So if you cross any other way besides the bridge, we’re prosecuting you. But . . . you can’t cross the bridge.

      AC: That’s right. I’ve talked to tons of people. There are organizations like Al Otro Lado that document border turn-backs. And there’s an effort to accompany asylum seekers so that Customs and Border Patrol can’t say, “We’re closed.” Everybody we’ve talked to who’s been prosecuted or separated has crossed the river without a visa.

      TM: You said you were down there recently?

      AC: Monday, June 4.

      TM: What was happening on the bridge at that point?

      AC: I talked to a lot of people who were there Saturdays and Sundays, a lot of church groups that are going, bringing those individuals umbrellas because they were in the sun. It’s morning shade, and then the sun—you know, it’s like 100 degrees on the cement. It’s really, really hot. So there were groups bringing diapers and water bottles and umbrellas and electric fans, and now everyone’s freaked out because they’re gone! What did they do with them? Did they process them all? Yet we know they’re saying you’re turned back. When I was in McAllen, the individuals that day who visited people on the bridge had been there four days. We’re talking infants; there were people breastfeeding on the bridge.

      TM: Are the infants taken as well?

      AC: Every border zone is different. We definitely saw a pattern in McAllen. We talked to 63 parents who had lost their children that day in the court. Of those, the children seemed to be all five and older. What we know from the shelters and working with people is that, yes, there are kids that are very young, that are breastfeeding babies and under three in the shelters, separated from their parents. But I’m just saying, in my experience, all those kids and all the parents’ stories were five and up.

      TM: Can you talk about how you’ve seen the process change over the past few months?

      AC: The zero-tolerance policy really started with Jeff Sessions’s announcement in May. One could argue that this was the original policy that we started seeing in the executive orders. One was called “border security and immigration enforcement.” And a lot of the principles underlying zero tolerance are found here. The idea is that we’re going to prosecute people.

      TM: And the policy of separating kids from parents went into effect when?

      AC: They would articulate it in various ways with different officials, but as immigration attorneys, starting in October, were like, “Oh my goodness. They are telling us these are all criminal lawbreakers and they’re going to have their children taken away.” We didn’t know what it would mean. And so we saw about six hundred children who were taken away from October to May, then we saw an explosion of the numbers in May. It ramped up. The Office of Refugee Resettlement taking in all these kids says that they are our children, that they are unaccompanied. It’s a fabrication. They’re not unaccompanied children. They are children that came with their parents, and the idea that we’re creating this crisis—it’s a manufactured crisis where we’re going to let children suffer to somehow allow this draconian approach with families seeking shelter and safe refuge.

      TM: So what is the process for separation?

      AC: There is no one process. Judging from the mothers and fathers I’ve spoken to and those my staff has spoken to, there are several different processes. Sometimes they will tell the parent, “We’re taking your child away.” And when the parent asks, “When will we get them back?” they say, “We can’t tell you that.” Sometimes the officers will say, “because you’re going to be prosecuted” or “because you’re not welcome in this country” or “because we’re separating them,” without giving them a clear justification. In other cases, we see no communication that the parent knows that their child is to be taken away. Instead, the officers say, “I’m going to take your child to get bathed.” That’s one we see again and again. “Your child needs to come with me for a bath.” The child goes off, and in a half an hour, twenty minutes, the parent inquires, “Where is my five-year-old?” “Where’s my seven-year-old?” “This is a long bath.” And they say, “You won’t be seeing your child again.” Sometimes mothers—I was talking to one mother, and she said, “Don’t take my child away,” and the child started screaming and vomiting and crying hysterically, and she asked the officers, “Can I at least have five minutes to console her?” They said no. In another case, the father said, “Can I comfort my child? Can I hold him for a few minutes?” The officer said, “You must let them go, and if you don’t let them go, I will write you up for an altercation, which will mean that you are the one that had the additional charges charged against you.” So, threats. So the father just let the child go. So it’s a lot of variations. But sometimes deceit and sometimes direct, just “I’m taking your child away.” Parents are not getting any information on what their rights are to communicate to get their child before they are deported, what reunification may look like. We spoke to nine parents on this Monday, which was the 11th, and these were adults in detention centers outside of Houston. They had been separated from their child between May 23 and May 25, and as of June 11, not one of them had been able to talk to their child or knew a phone number that functioned from the detention center director. None of them had direct information from immigration on where their child was located. The one number they were given by some government official from the Department of Homeland Security was a 1-800 number. But from the phones inside the detention center, they can’t make those calls. We know there are more parents who are being deported without their child, without any process or information on how to get their child back.

      TM: And so it’s entirely possible that children will be left in the country without any relatives?

      AC: Could be, yeah.

      TM: And if the child is, say, five years old . . .?

      AC: The child is going through deportation proceedings, so the likelihood that that child is going to be deported is pretty high.

      TM: How do they know where to deport the child to, or who the parents are?

      AC: How does that child navigate their deportation case without their parent around?

      TM: Because a five-year-old doesn’t necessarily know his parents’ information.

      AC: In the shelters, they can’t even find the parents because the kids are just crying inconsolably. They often don’t know the full legal name of their parents or their date of birth. They’re not in a position to share a trauma story like what caused the migration. These kids and parents had no idea. None of the parents I talked to were expecting to be separated as they faced the process of asking for asylum.

      TM: I would think that there would be something in place where, when the child is taken, they’d be given a wristband or something with their information on it?

      AC: I think the Department of Homeland Security gives the kids an alien number. They also give the parents an alien number and probably have that information. The issue is that the Department of Homeland Security is not the one caring for the children. Jurisdiction of that child has moved over to Health and Human Services, and the Health and Human Services staff has to figure out, where is this parent? And that’s not easy. Sometimes the parents are deported. Kids are in New York and Miami, and we’ve got parents being sent to Tacoma, Washington, and California. Talk about a mess. And nobody has a right to an attorney here. These kids don’t get a paid advocate or an ad litem or a friend of the court. They don’t get a paid attorney to represent them. Some find that, because there are programs. But it’s not a right. It’s not universal.

      TM: What agency is in charge of physically separating the children and the adults?

      AC: The Department of Homeland Security. We saw the separation take place while they were in the care and custody of Customs and Border Protection. That’s where it was happening, at a center called the Ursula, which the immigrants called La Perrera, because it looked like a dog pound, a dog cage. It’s a chain-link fence area, long running areas that remind Central Americans of the way people treat dogs.

      TM: So the Department of Homeland Security does the separation and then they immediately pass the kids to HHS?

      AC: I don’t have a bird’s-eye view of this, besides interviewing parents. Parents don’t know. All they know is that the kid hasn’t come back to their little room in CBP. Right? We know from talking to advocates and attorneys who have access to the shelters that they think that these kids leave in buses to shelters run by the Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement Department of Unaccompanied Children Services—which, on any given day there’s like three thousand kids in the Harlingen-Brownsville area. We know there are eight, soon to be nine, facilities in Houston. And they’re going to open up this place in Tornillo, along the border by El Paso. And they’re opening up places in Miami. They’re past capacity. This is a cyclical time, where rates of migration increase. So now you’re creating two populations. One is your traditional unaccompanied kids who are just coming because their life is at risk right now in El Salvador and Honduras and parts of Guatemala, and they come with incredible trauma, complex stories, and need a lot of resources, and so they navigate this immigration system. And now we have this new population, which is totally different: the young kids who don’t hold their stories and aren’t here to self-navigate the system and are crying out for their parents. There are attorneys that get money to go in and give rights presentations to let the teenagers know what they can ask for in court, what’s happening with their cases, and now the attorneys are having a hard time doing that because right next to them, in the other room, they’ve got kids crying and wailing, asking for their mom and dad. The attorneys can’t give these kids information. They’re just trying to learn grounding exercises.

      TM: Do you know if siblings are allowed to stay together?

      AC: We don’t know. I dealt with one father who knew that siblings were not at the same location from talking to his family member. He believes they’re separated. But I have no idea. Can’t answer that question.

      TM: Is there another nonprofit similar to yours that handles kids more than adults?

      AC: Yes: in Houston it’s Catholic Charities. We know in Houston they are going to open up shelters specific for the tender-age kids, which is defined as kids under twelve. And that’s going to be by Minute Maid Stadium. And that facility is also going to have some traditional demographic of pregnant teenagers. But it’s going to be a young kid—and young kids are, almost by definition, separated. Kids usually do not migrate on their own at that age.

      TM: That’s usually teens?

      AC: Teens. Population is thirteen to seventeen, with many more fifteen-, sixteen-, and seventeen-year-olds than thirteen- and fourteen-year-olds. They’re riding on top of trains. You know, the journey is very dangerous. Usually that’s the age where the gangs start taking the girls and saying “you’re going to be my sex slave”–type of stuff. I’ve heard that it’s going to be run by a nonprofit. ORR does not hold the shelters directly. They contract with nonprofits whose job it is to provide essential food, mental health care, caseworkers to try to figure out who they’re going to be released to, and all those functions to nonprofits, and I think the nonprofit in charge of this one is Southwest Key.

      TM: So how long do the kids stay in the facility?

      AC: It used to be, on average, thirty days. But that’s going up now. There are many reasons for that: one, these facilities and ORR are not used to working with this demographic of young children. Two, DHS is sharing information with ORR on the background of those families that are taking these children, and we’ve seen raids where they’re going to where the children are and looking for individuals in those households who are undocumented. So there is reticence and fear of getting these children if there’s someone in the household who is not a citizen.

      TM: So if I’m understanding correctly, a relative can say, “Well, I can pick that kid up; that’s my niece.” She comes and picks up the child. And then DHS will follow them home? Is that what you’re saying?

      AC: No. The kid would go to the aunt’s house, but let’s just imagine that she is here on a visa, a student visa, but the aunt falls out of visa status and is undocumented and her information, her address, is at the top of DHS’s files. So we’ve seen this happen a lot: a month or two weeks after kids have been released, DHS goes to those foster homes and arrests people and puts people in jail and deports them.

      TM: And then I guess they start all over again trying to find a home for those kids?

      AC: Right.

      TM: What is explained to the kids about the proceedings, and who explains it to them?

      AC: The Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement goes through an organization called the Vera Institute of Justice that then contracts with nonprofit organizations who hire attorneys and other specialized bilingual staff to go into these shelters and give what they call legal orientation programs for children, and they do group orientation. Sometimes they speak to the kids individually and try to explain to them, “This is the process here; and you’re going to have to go see an immigration judge; and these are your rights before a judge; you won’t have an attorney for your case, but you can hire one. If you’re afraid to go back to your country, you have to tell the judge.” That type of stuff.

      TM: And if the child is five, and alone, doesn’t have older siblings or cousins—

      AC: Or three or four. They’re young in our Houston detention centers. And that’s where these attorneys are frustrated—they can’t be attorneys. How do they talk and try to console and communicate with a five-year-old who is just focused on “I want my mom or dad,” right?

      TM: Are the kids whose parents are applying for asylum processed differently from kids whose parents are not applying for asylum?

      AC: I don’t know. These are questions we ask DHS, but we don’t know the answers.

      TM: Why don’t you get an answer?

      AC: I don’t know. To me, if you’re going to justify this in some way under the law, the idea that these parents don’t have the ability to obtain very simple answers—what are my rights and when can I be reunited with my kid before I’m deported without them?—is horrible. And has to go far below anything we, as a civil society of law, should find acceptable. The fact that I, as an attorney specializing in this area, cannot go to a detention center and tell a mother or father what the legal procedure is for them to get their child or to reunite with their child, even if they want to go home?

      And my answer is, “I don’t think you can.” In my experience, they’re not releasing these children to the parents as they’re deported. To put a structure like that in place and the chaos in the system for “deterrence” and then carry out so much pain on the backs of some already incredibly traumatized mothers and fathers who have already experienced sometimes just horrific violence is unacceptable.

      https://www.texasmonthly.com/news/whats-really-happening-asylum-seeking-families-separated

      Mise en exergue d’un passage :

      The child goes off, and in a half an hour, twenty minutes, the parent inquires, “Where is my five-year-old?” “Where’s my seven-year-old?” “This is a long bath.” And they say, “You won’t be seeing your child again.”

    • Why the US is separating migrant children from their parents

      US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has defended the separation of migrant children from their parents at the border with Mexico, a measure that has faced increasing criticism.

      The “zero-tolerance” policy he announced last month sees adults who try to cross the border, many planning to seek asylum, being placed in custody and facing criminal prosecution for illegal entry.

      As a result, hundreds of minors are now being housed in detention centres, and kept away from their parents.
      What is happening?

      Over a recent six-week period, nearly 2,000 children were separated from their parents after illegally crossing the border, figures released on Friday said.

      Mr Sessions said those entering the US irregularly would be criminally prosecuted, a change to a long-standing policy of charging most of those crossing for the first time with a misdemeanour offence.

      As the adults are being charged with a crime, the children that come with them are being separated and deemed unaccompanied minors.

      Advocates of separations point out that hundreds of children are taken from parents who commit crimes in the US on a daily basis.

      As such, they are placed in custody of the Department of Health and Human Services and sent to a relative, foster home or a shelter - officials at those places are said to be already running out of space to house them.

      In recent days, a former Walmart in Texas has been converted into a detention centre for immigrant children.

      Officials have also announced plans to erect tent cities to hold hundreds more children in the Texas desert where temperatures regularly reach 40C (105F).

      Local lawmaker Jose Rodriguez described the plan as “totally inhumane” and “outrageous”, adding: “It should be condemned by anyone who has a moral sense of responsibility.”

      US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials estimate that around 1,500 people are arrested each day for illegally crossing the border.

      In the first two weeks of the “zero-tolerance” new approach, 658 minors - including many babies and toddlers - were separated from the adults that came with them, according to the CBP.

      The practice, however, was apparently happening way before that, with reports saying more than 700 families had been affected between October and April.

      Not only the families crossing irregularly are being targeted, activists who work at the border say, but also those presenting themselves at a port of entry.

      “This is really extreme, it’s nothing like we have seen before,” said Michelle Brané, director of Migrant Rights and Justice at the Women’s Refugee Commission, a New York-based non-governmental organisation that is helping some of these people.

      In many of the cases, the families have already been reunited, after the parent was released from detention. However, there are reports of people being kept apart for weeks and even months.

      Family separations had been reported in previous administrations but campaigners say the numbers then were very small.
      Whose fault is it?

      Mr Trump has blamed Democrats for the policy, saying “we have to break up the families” because of a law that “Democrats gave us”.

      It is unclear what law he is referring to, but no law has been passed by the US Congress that mandates that migrant families be separated.

      Fact-checkers say that the only thing that has changed is the Justice Department’s decision to criminally prosecute parents for a first-time border crossing offence. Because their children are not charged with a crime, they are not permitted to be jailed together.

      Under a 1997 court decision known as the Flores settlement, children who come to the US alone are required to be released to their parents, an adult relative, or other caretaker.

      If those options are all exhausted, then the government must find the “least restrictive” setting for the child “without unnecessary delay”.

      The case initially applied to unaccompanied child arrivals, but a 2016 court decision expanded it to include children brought with their parents.

      According to the New York Times, the government has three options under the Flores settlement - release whole families together, pass a law to allow for families to be detained together, or break up families.

      It is worth noting that Mr Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly - who previously served as the head of Homeland Security - said in 2017 that the White House was considering separating families as a means of deterring parents from trying to cross the border.
      What do the figures show?

      The number of families trying to enter the US overland without documentation is on the rise. For the fourth consecutive month in May, there was an increase in the number of people caught crossing the border irregularly - in comparison with the same month of 2017, the rise was of 160%.

      “The trends are clear: this must end,” Mr Sessions said last month.

      It is not clear, though, if the tougher measures will stop the migrants. Most are fleeing violence and poverty in Central American countries like El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and staying, for many, could mean a death sentence.

      Human rights groups, campaigners and Democrats have sharply criticised the separations, warning of the long-term trauma on the children. Meanwhile the UN Human Rights Office called on the US to “immediately halt” them.

      But Mr Sessions has defended the measure, saying the separations were “not our goal” but it was not always possible to keep parents and children together.
      What is the policy in other countries?

      No other country has a policy of separating families who intend to seek asylum, activists say.

      In the European Union, which faced its worst migrant crisis in decades three years ago, most asylum seekers are held in reception centres while their requests are processed - under the bloc’s Dublin Regulation, people must be registered in their first country of arrival.

      Measures may vary in different member states but families are mostly kept together.

      Even in Australia, which has some of the world’s most restrictive policies, including the detention of asylum seekers who arrive by boat in controversial offshore centres, there is no policy to separate parents from their children upon arrival.

      Meanwhile, Canada has a deal with the US that allows it to deny asylum requests from those going north. It has tried to stem the number of migrants crossing outside border posts after a surge of Haitians and Nigerians coming from its neighbour. However, there were no reports of families being forcibly separated.

      “What the US is doing now, there is no equivalent,” said Michael Flynn, executive director of the Geneva-based Global Detention Project, a non-profit group focused on the rights of detained immigrants. “There’s nothing like this anywhere”.

      Republicans in the House of Representatives have unveiled legislation to keep families together but it is unlikely to win the support of its own party or the White House.

      https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44503514?platform=hootsuite

    • Les récits de la détresse d’enfants de migrants créent l’émoi aux Etats-Unis

      Plus de 2000 enfants ont été séparés de leurs parents depuis l’entrée en vigueur en avril de la politique de « tolérance zéro » en matière d’immigration illégale aux Etats-Unis. Ces jours, plusieurs témoignages ont ému dans le pays.

      http://www.rts.ch/info/monde/9658887-les-recits-de-la-detresse-d-enfants-de-migrants-creent-l-emoi-aux-etats-

    • Etats-Unis : quand la sécurité des frontières rime avec torture d’enfants mineurs

      Au Texas, dans un centre de détention, un enregistrement audio d’enfants migrants âgés entre 4 à 10 ans pleurant et appelant leurs parents alors qu’ils viennent d’être séparés d’eux, vient de faire surface.

      Cet enregistrement a fuité de l’intérieur, remis à l’avocate Jennifer Harbury qui l’a transféré au média d’investigation américain ProPublica. L’enregistrement a été placé sur les images filmées dans ce centre. Il soulève l’indignation des américains et du monde entier. Elles sont une torture pour nous, spectateurs impuissants de la barbarie d’un homme, Donald Trump et de son administration.

      Le rythme des séparations s’est beaucoup accéléré depuis début mai, lorsque le ministre de la Justice Jeff Sessions a annoncé que tous les migrants passant illégalement la frontière seraient arrêtés, qu’ils soient accompagnés de mineurs ou pas. Du 5 mai au 9 juin 2018 quelque 2’342 enfants ont été séparés de leurs parents placés en détention, accusés d’avoir traversé illégalement la frontière. C’est le résultat d’une politique sécuritaire dite de “tolérance zéro” qui criminalise ces entrées même lorsqu’elles sont justifiées par le dépôt d’une demande d’asile aux Etats-Unis. Un protocol empêche la détention d’enfants avec leurs parents. Ils sont alors placés dans des centres fermés qui ressemblent tout autant à des prisons adaptées.

      https://blogs.letemps.ch/jasmine-caye/2018/06/19/etats-unis-quand-la-securite-des-frontieres-rime-avec-torture-denfants

    • Aux États-Unis, le traumatisme durable des enfants migrants

      Trump a beau avoir mis fin à la séparation forcée des familles à la frontière, plus de 2 000 enfants migrants seraient encore éparpillés dans le pays. Le processus de regroupement des familles s’annonce long et douloureux.


      https://www.courrierinternational.com/article/aux-etats-unis-le-traumatisme-durable-des-enfants-migrants
      #caricature #dessin_de_presse


  • Twitter Followers Vanish Amid Inquiries Into Fake Accounts - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/01/31/technology/social-media-bots-investigations.html

    More than a million followers have disappeared from the accounts of dozens of prominent Twitter users in recent days as the company faces growing criticism over the proliferation of fake accounts and scrutiny from federal and state inquiries into the shadowy firms that sell fake followers.

    The people losing followers include an array of entertainers, entrepreneurs, athletes and media figures, many of whom bought Twitter followers or artificial engagement from a company called Devumi. Its business practices were detailed in a New York Times article on Saturday describing a vast trade in fake followers and fraudulent engagement on Twitter and other social media sites, often using personal information taken from real users. Twitter said on Saturday that it would take action against Devumi’s practices. A Twitter spokeswoman on Tuesday declined to comment about whether the company was purging fake accounts.

    “I don’t think your user handle or profile has to reflect your actual name or picture,” Mr. Cuban said. “I do think Twitter would benefit from requiring every account(s) being tied back to an individual. If someone wants to run a bot account, great, but identify a person behind it.”

    Some federal and state lawmakers have called for more stringent laws regulating social media companies, in part to combat the epidemic of fake accounts. Many fake accounts are deployed by Russia and other countries seeking to influence American politics, but others are used by marketing companies to influence consumers and even policymakers.

    Marc Levine, a California state assemblyman from outside San Francisco, introduced legislation on Monday that would require social media companies doing business in California to link every account to a human being. The legislation would also require that social media companies allow only human account holders to place advertisements on their platforms.

    #Twitter #Faux_comptes #Followers


  • #Swedish ship to be sent to #Gaza in May 2018 to help break decade-long blockade

    The boat they already bought has been named after the prominent Irish activist Mairead Maguire from Northern Ireland, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976.

    Maguire took part in several voyages aimed at breaking the siege; she was on board the Mavi Marmara in 2010 when Israeli commandos boarded the ship and killed nine Turks.

    Spokeswoman for the Ship to Gaza Foundation, Ellen Hansson added that the small vessels taking part in the campaign will be launched from France while the big ones will head to Gaza via the ocean.

    She pointed out that the International Freedom Flotilla also intends to join the campaign.

    Hansson denounced the US president Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel saying, “This decision will bring tears, not peace, to Jerusalem.”


    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170724-ship-from-sweden-set-to-break-siege-on-gaza