EU pays for surveillance in Gulf of Tunis
A new monitoring system for Tunisian coasts should counter irregular migration across the Mediterranean. The German Ministry of the Interior is also active in the country. A similar project in Libya has now been completed. Human rights organisations see it as an aid to „#pull_backs“ contrary to international law.
In order to control and prevent migration, the European Union is supporting North African states in border surveillance. The central Mediterranean Sea off Malta and Italy, through which asylum seekers from Libya and Tunisia want to reach Europe, plays a special role. The EU conducts various operations in and off these countries, including the military mission „#Irini“ and the #Frontex mission „#Themis“. It is becoming increasingly rare for shipwrecked refugees to be rescued by EU Member States. Instead, they assist the coast guards in Libya and Tunisia to bring the people back. Human rights groups, rescue organisations and lawyers consider this assistance for „pull backs“ to be in violation of international law.
With several measures, the EU and its member states want to improve the surveillance off North Africa. Together with Switzerland, the EU Commission has financed a two-part „#Integrated_Border_Management Project“ in Tunisia. It is part of the reform of the security sector which was begun a few years after the fall of former head of state Ben Ali in 2011. With one pillar of this this programme, the EU wants to „prevent criminal networks from operating“ and enable the authorities in the Gulf of Tunis to „save lives at sea“.
System for military and border police
The new installation is entitled „#Integrated_System_for_Maritime_Surveillance“ (#ISMariS) and, according to the Commission (▻https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2020-000891-ASW_EN.html), is intended to bring together as much information as possible from all authorities involved in maritime and coastal security tasks. These include the Ministry of Defence with the Navy, the Coast Guard under the Ministry of the Interior, the National Guard, and IT management and telecommunications authorities. The money comes from the #EU_Emergency_Trust_Fund_for_Africa, which was established at the Valletta Migration Summit in 2015. „ISMariS“ is implemented by the Italian Ministry of the Interior and follows on from an earlier Italian initiative. The EU is financing similar projects with „#EU4BorderSecurity“ not only in Tunisia but also for other Mediterranean countries.
An institute based in Vienna is responsible for border control projects in Tunisia. Although this #International_Centre_for_Migration_Policy_Development (ICMPD) was founded in 1993 by Austria and Switzerland, it is not a governmental organisation. The German Foreign Office has also supported projects in Tunisia within the framework of the #ICMPD, including the establishment of border stations and the training of border guards. Last month German finally joined the Institute itself (▻https://www.andrej-hunko.de/start/download/dokumente/1493-deutscher-beitritt-zum-international-centre-for-migration-policy-development/file). For an annual contribution of 210,000 euro, the Ministry of the Interior not only obtains decision-making privileges for organizing ICMPD projects, but also gives German police authorities the right to evaluate any of the Institute’s analyses for their own purposes.
It is possible that in the future bilateral German projects for monitoring Tunisian maritime borders will also be carried out via the ICMPD. Last year, the German government supplied the local coast guard with equipment for a boat workshop. In the fourth quarter of 2019 alone (▻http://dipbt.bundestag.de/doc/btd/19/194/1919467.pdf), the Federal Police carried out 14 trainings for the national guard, border police and coast guard, including instruction in operating „control boats“. Tunisia previously received patrol boats from Italy and the USA (▻https://migration-control.info/en/wiki/tunisia).
Vessel tracking and coastal surveillance
It is unclear which company produced and installed the „ISMariS“ surveillance system for Tunisia on behalf of the ICPMD. Similar facilities for tracking and displaying ship movements (#Vessel_Tracking_System) are marketed by all major European defence companies, including #Airbus, #Leonardo in Italy, #Thales in France and #Indra in Spain. However, Italian project management will probably prefer local companies such as Leonardo. The company and its spin-off #e-GEOS have a broad portfolio of maritime surveillance systems (▻https://www.leonardocompany.com/en/sea/maritime-domain-awareness/coastal-surveillance-systems).
It is also possible to integrate satellite reconnaissance, but for this the governments must conclude further contracts with the companies. However, „ISMariS“ will not only be installed as a Vessel Tracking System, it should also enable monitoring of the entire coast. Manufacturers promote such #Coastal_Surveillance_Systems as a technology against irregular migration, piracy, terrorism and smuggling. The government in Tunisia has defined „priority coastal areas“ for this purpose, which will be integrated into the maritime surveillance framework.
„ISMariS“ is intended to be compatible with the components already in place at the Tunisian authorities, including coastguard command and control systems, #radar, position transponders and receivers, night vision equipment and thermal and optical sensors. Part of the project is a three-year maintenance contract with the company installing the „ISMariS“.
Perhaps the most important component of „ISMariS“ for the EU is a communication system, which is also included. It is designed to improve „operational cooperation“ between the Tunisian Coast Guard and Navy with Italy and other EU Member States. The project description mentions Frontex and EUROSUR, the pan-European surveillance system of the EU Border Agency, as possible participants. Frontex already monitors the coastal regions off Libya and Tunisia (▻https://insitu.copernicus.eu/FactSheets/CSS_Border_Surveillance) using #satellites (▻https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-8-2018-003212-ASW_EN.html) and an aerial service (▻https://digit.site36.net/2020/06/26/frontex-air-service-reconnaissance-for-the-so-called-libyan-coast-guar).
#EUROSUR is now also being upgraded, Frontex is spending 2.6 million Euro (▻https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:109760-2020:TEXT:EN:HTML) on a new application based on artificial intelligence. It is to process so-called „Big Data“, including not only ship movements but also data from ship and port registers, information on ship owners and shipping companies, a multi-year record of previous routes of large ships and other maritime information from public sources on the Internet. The contract is initially concluded for one year and can be extended up to three times.
Cooperation with Libya
To connect North African coastguards to EU systems, the EU Commission had started the „#Seahorse_Mediterranean“ project two years after the fall of North African despots. To combat irregular migration, from 2013 onwards Spain, Italy and Malta have trained a total of 141 members of the Libyan coast guard for sea rescue. In this way, „Seahorse Mediterranean“ has complemented similar training measures that Frontex is conducting for the Coastal Police within the framework of the EU mission #EUBAM_Libya and the military mission #EUNAVFOR_MED for the Coast Guard of the Tripolis government.
The budget for „#Seahorse_Mediterranean“ is indicated by the Commission as 5.5 million Euro (▻https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2020-000892-ASW_EN.html), the project was completed in January 2019. According to the German Foreign Office (▻http://dipbt.bundestag.de/doc/btd/19/196/1919625.pdf), Libya has signed a partnership declaration for participation in a future common communication platform for surveillance of the Mediterranean. Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt are also to be persuaded to participate. So far, however, the governments have preferred unilateral EU support for equipping and training their coastguards and navies, without having to make commitments in projects like „Seahorse“, such as stopping migration and smuggling on the high seas.
#Golfe_de_Tunis #surveillance #Méditerranée #asile #migrations #réfugiés #militarisation_des_frontières #surveillance_des_frontières #Tunisie #externalisation #complexe_militaro-industriel #Algérie #Egypte #Suisse #EU #UE #Union_européenne #Trust_Fund #Emergency_Trust_Fund_for_Africa #Allemagne #Italie #gardes-côtes #gardes-côtes_tunisiens #intelligence_artificielle #IA #données #Espagne #Malte #business
Ajouté à cette métaliste sur l’externalisation des frontières :
Et celle-ci sur le lien entre développement et contrôles frontaliers :
La #Suisse sous couverture - Agents infiltrés (1/5)
En 1955, les #services_de_renseignement américains et l’entreprise suisse #Crypto_AG concluent un accord confidentiel qui permettra l’#espionnage des communications de 130 pays. Durant des décennies, un pan de l’industrie helvétique sera impliqué dans ces activités, malgré la « #neutralité » du pays et avec la bénédiction du Conseil fédéral.
#histoire #USA #guerre_froide #Crypto #William_Friedman #cryptographie #technologie #espions #renseignements #Boris_Hagelin #neutralité #espionnage #affaire_Buehler #Hans_Buehler #Nora_Makabee #BND #Siemens #Loèches #Valais
La Suisse sous couverture - Les grandes oreilles de la Confédération (2/5)
A #Loèche, #Swisscom, le Département fédéral de la défense et des entreprises privées proches de la #National_Security_Agency (#NSA) gèrent un parc d’antennes pour les communications satellitaires entre la Suisse et l’étranger. En l’an 2000, ce site stratégique devient la porte d’entrée privilégiée de Washington pour espionner les communications dans le monde entier.
#neutralité #télécommunication #satellites #ONYX #services_de_renseignement #USA #Etats-Unis #Jean-Paul_Rouiller #signalhorn #Treasure_Map serveurs_clandestins #déni
La Suisse sous couverture - #Genève, nid d’espions (3/5)
Des salons de l’#ONU truffés de micros, des antennes camouflées dans les missions diplomatiques et des agents russes ou américains infiltrés partout... A Genève, où Edward Snowden travaillait pour la #CIA, le petit monde du renseignement grenouille discrètement et les espions chassent en meute.
#Snowden #Nations_Unies #Special_collection_service (#SCS) #organisations_internationales #système_d'écoute #site_C #Wiesbaden #Fort_Meade #NSA #Russie
La Suisse sous couverture - Le secret bunker suisse (4/5)
Nos données numériques personnelles sont une mine d’or d’informations qu’il faut protéger des regards indiscrets. En Suisse, une législation déficiente – elle date de 1992 – permet à des puissances étrangères d’accéder à ces données. Dans le dossier du « big data », c’est la souveraineté de la Confédération qui est en jeu.
La Suisse sous couverture - Crypto révolution (5/5)
D’un côté, Google et consorts contrôlent les canaux et le stockage de l’information. De l’autre, une puissante mouvance de hackers tente de rendre cette information publique, en piratant des systèmes informatiques. L’enjeu de cette guerre ? La défense de libertés fondamentales, aussi bien sur internet que dans la société.
La CIA s’est servie d’une entreprise suisse pour espionner plus de 100 pays
Une affaire d’espionnage secoue la Suisse : pendant des décennies, les services de renseignement américains et allemands ont secrètement utilisé une entreprise suisse et sa technologie pour espionner de nombreux États. Que savaient les autorités suisses à ce sujet ?
Vue de l’extérieur, la firme zougoise Crypto AG était une entreprise suisse sérieuse, spécialisée dans la technologie de pointe. Elle fabriquait un produit peu utilisé par la plupart des gens : des appareils de chiffrement. Ses clients étaient des États ainsi que leurs armées et services secrets voulant rendre leurs communications secrètes illisibles, c’est-à-dire les crypter ou les chiffrer.
Cependant, Crypto AG n’était une entreprise normale et respectant les valeurs ayant cours en Suisse que côté pile. Côté face, elle possédait une structure cryptique – au sens propre – car ses propriétaires agissant dans l’ombre étaient, à partir de 1970, l’agence centrale de renseignement américaine (CIA) et le service de renseignement allemand (BND). Les deux services secrets firent en sorte que la technologie de cryptage « swiss made », réputée infaillible, soit munie d’une porte dérobée.
Grâce à ces manipulations ciblées, la CIA et le BND ont pu espionner 148 États – ennemis ou alliés – pendant des dizaines d’années. Tous ces pays avait investi des millions pour obtenir la technologie de ce pays neutre et digne de confiance qu’était la Suisse. Autrement dit, ils ont payé eux-mêmes les appareils qui les ont trahis.
Les faits ont été dévoilés à la mi-février par la télévision suisse alémanique SRF, la chaîne allemande ZDF et le « Washington Post » à l’issue d’une enquête commune. L’équipe de recherche s’est appuyée sur des dossiers de la CIA qu’on lui a fait passer en douce, et sur des entretiens avec d’anciens employés de Crypto AG et leurs proches.
L’ampleur du « coup du siècle des services secrets » – ce sont les termes de la CIA – paraît énorme. L’affaire met en lumière les tensions de l’époque de la guerre froide. La complicité de la CIA et du BND éclaire d’un nouveau jour bon nombre d’événements historiques de ces 50 dernières années. Jusqu’où faut-il réécrire l’histoire mondiale récente ? Seule une étude approfondie des CryptoLeaks le déterminera. L’histoire suisse doit-elle, elle aussi, être révisée ? C’est la question qui fait tant de vagues aussi en Suisse. On se demande ce que les autorités suisses savaient, et si l’État suisse était au courant des agissements des services de renseignement étrangers sur son sol et les a couverts.
« Le programme a dépassé les espérances les plus folles »
Dans quelle mesure les activités d’espionnage de la CIA et du BND, s’appuyant sur la technologie truquée de l’entreprise Crypto AG, ont-elles abouti ? Le succès des espions est toujours un échec pour ceux qui en sont victimes : la réponse dépend donc du point de vue adopté. Celui de la CIA, d’après les sources publiées, est le suivant : « Cela a été le projet d’espionnage à la fois le plus productif et le plus long depuis la Seconde Guerre mondiale. » Ainsi, entre 80 et 90 % des communications secrètes de l’Iran ont pu être déchiffrées. D’après la source de la CIA, « le programme a dépassé les espérances les plus folles de ses inventeurs. »
Ces écoutes ont permis aux États-Unis d’influencer l’issue de tous les grands conflits ou presque à leur profit. Un exemple : selon l’état actuel des sources, le coup d’État militaire au Chili (1973) a été soutenu par les États-Unis sur la base des écoutes. En même temps, la CIA et le BND ont épié les conversations du régime militaire alors parvenu au pouvoir et n’ont donc jamais rien ignoré des méthodes de persécution et de torture qui coûtèrent la vie à 30 000 opposants au régime.
Beaucoup de questions, premières réponses
Les révélations sur Crypto AG font beaucoup de vagues, mais il n’est pas encore possible d’en tirer des conclusions définitives. Les grandes questions qu’elles posent esquissent cependant la portée de l’affaire pour la Suisse.
Pourquoi la CIA et le BND ont-ils utilisé la couverture discrète d’une entreprise suisse ?
Crypto AG a été fondée en 1952 par le cryptologue suédois Boris Hagelin. Il n’a pas implanté son entreprise en Suisse par hasard : « Lorsqu’on travaillait dans un domaine aussi sensible que la cryptographie, il valait mieux rechercher la protection d’un pays neutre mais faisant preuve de peu de scrupules moraux », indique la source de la CIA. Boris Hagelin a vendu son entreprise en 1970 à une société-écran de la CIA et du BND.
Ce sont la CIA et le BND qui se sont livrés à ces activités d’espionnage. Pourquoi l’affaire est-elle perçue en Suisse comme un scandale « suisse » ?
Du point de vue suisse, il est déterminant de savoir si les autorités du pays connaissaient les intentions, le modus operandi et la portée des activités d’espionnage, et si elles les ont tolérées, voire même favorisées.
Des employés de Crypto AG soupçonnèrent que des puissances étrangères s’étaient immiscées dans les rouages de leur parfaite technique. Ils en ont informé la justice suisse. Que s’est-il passé ensuite ?
Il est prouvé qu’au milieu des années 1970, un employé a informé des instances officielles que les appareils vendus étaient « dotés de générateurs de clés manipulés permettant aux services d’espionnage allemands et américains de déchiffrer les messages » : c’est ce que dit une fiche des Archives fédérales du 24 juillet 1977. Le problème est que les dossiers relatifs à cette fiche ont en partie disparu…
La police fédérale suisse a enquêté sur la base de ces accusations, mais sans résultat. Des témoins de l’époque affirment aujourd’hui que les interrogatoires menés par la police ne l’ont été que « pour la forme »...
Toute l’affaire ne sent-elle pas un peu le réchauffé de l’époque de la guerre froide ?
Il est vrai que les premières accusations ont été lancées au milieu des années 1970. Et que Hans Bühler, ancien employé de Crypto, a accusé ouvertement son entreprise de collaborer avec des services secrets étrangers (Hans Bühler, soupçonné d’espionnage, a passé neuf mois dans une geôle iranienne, et a publié ses accusations dans un livre paru en 1994). Mais toute la portée de l’affaire n’éclate au grand jour que maintenant, car des preuves ont été fournies par des sources de la CIA. De plus, les activités d’espionnage ont perduré jusqu’en 2018, soit bien après la fin de la guerre froide. Le BND s’en est toutefois retiré en 1993 déjà, à la suite de la réunification de l’Allemagne.
Dans l’état actuel des connaissances, que savait le Conseil fédéral de ces activités d’espionnage ?
C’est une question clé. On ne sait pas encore dans quelle mesure des conseillers fédéraux étaient au courant de ces activités. Les documents de la CIA impliquent l’ancien conseiller fédéral Kaspar Villiger (PLR). Aujourd’hui âgé de 79 ans, ce dernier nie vigoureusement avoir été informé des détails.
Pourquoi est-ce si important de savoir si le Conseil fédéral était au courant des activités d’espionnage ?
S’il devait s’avérer que le Conseil fédéral, ou certains conseillers fédéraux, connaissaient ces activités d’espionnage, des questions sérieuses se posent : le gouvernement les a-t-il tolérées ? Ou les a-t-il couvertes ? A-t-il accepté que la neutralité suisse serve de leurre ? Et si la Suisse a été complice, a fermé les yeux ou couvert les faits : comment justifier l’espionnage contre des pays belligérants lorsqu’on affiche une politique de neutralité ?
Comment le Conseil fédéral et le Parlement réagissent-ils à l’affaire ?
La présidente de la Confédération, Simonetta Sommaruga, a dit très tôt que le gouvernement allait réunir tous les faits et était favorable à une enquête. La ministre de la Défense Viola Amherd a confirmé que son département abrite des documents laissant penser que son prédécesseur Kaspar Villiger était au courant. Désormais, l’affaire fait l’objet d’une enquête de la Délégation des Commissions de gestion des chambres fédérales. Cet organe de contrôle entend déterminer ce que la Suisse savait de ces activités d’espionnage, et si les renseignements suisses en ont même éventuellement même.
L’affaire des CryptoLeaks met-elle en péril le rôle actuel de la Suisse ?
La Suisse joue un rôle d’intermédiaire dans de nombreux conflits. Elle propose même ses « bons offices » dans les régions du monde sous tension. Ainsi, elle joue actuellement le « rôle du facteur » entre les États-Unis et l’Iran. La Suisse ne peut endosser ce rôle diplomatique que si sa crédibilité d’État neutre est intacte. C’est précisément cette crédibilité qui est en jeu maintenant. Ajoutons que l’Iran a été particulièrement touché par l’espionnage permis par la technologie « swiss made » truquée et vendue par le représentant de Crypto, Hans Bühler.
Ce sont les États-Unis et l’Allemagne qui ont espionné d’autres pays. Pourquoi la réputation de la Suisse en souffrirait-elle ?
L’avenir dira si la perception extérieure de la Suisse a subi des dommages. Mais la perception intérieure de la Suisse est de toute façon affectée : l’image de pays neutre à laquelle tiennent tant de Suisses est endommagée. L’affaire des CryptoLeaks pourrait jeter un discrédit total sur la neutralité suisse (voir aussi le commentaire de notre invité, p. 15).
Crédibilité, confiance, image de soi : ce sont des facteurs subjectifs. L’affaire menace-t-elle aussi des intérêts économiques tangibles ?
La Suisse possède une branche technologique en plein essor, qui dépend aussi de l’image de marque du pays. De plus, la Suisse souhaite se vendre comme une « place numérique propre », et promeut une initiative internationale dans le domaine de l’éthique. L’affaire des #CryptoLeaks tombe très mal.
Monitoring being pitched to fight Covid-19 was tested on refugees
The pandemic has given a boost to controversial data-driven initiatives to track population movements
In Italy, social media monitoring companies have been scouring Instagram to see who’s breaking the nationwide lockdown. In Israel, the government has made plans to “sift through geolocation data” collected by the Shin Bet intelligence agency and text people who have been in contact with an infected person. And in the UK, the government has asked mobile operators to share phone users’ aggregate location data to “help to predict broadly how the virus might move”.
These efforts are just the most visible tip of a rapidly evolving industry combining the exploitation of data from the internet and mobile phones and the increasing number of sensors embedded on Earth and in space. Data scientists are intrigued by the new possibilities for behavioural prediction that such data offers. But they are also coming to terms with the complexity of actually using these data sets, and the ethical and practical problems that lurk within them.
In the wake of the refugee crisis of 2015, tech companies and research consortiums pushed to develop projects using new data sources to predict movements of migrants into Europe. These ranged from broad efforts to extract intelligence from public social media profiles by hand, to more complex automated manipulation of big data sets through image recognition and machine learning. Two recent efforts have just been shut down, however, and others are yet to produce operational results.
While IT companies and some areas of the humanitarian sector have applauded new possibilities, critics cite human rights concerns, or point to limitations in what such technological solutions can actually achieve.
In September last year Frontex, the European border security agency, published a tender for “social media analysis services concerning irregular migration trends and forecasts”. The agency was offering the winning bidder up to €400,000 for “improved risk analysis regarding future irregular migratory movements” and support of Frontex’s anti-immigration operations.
Frontex “wants to embrace” opportunities arising from the rapid growth of social media platforms, a contracting document outlined. The border agency believes that social media interactions drastically change the way people plan their routes, and thus examining would-be migrants’ online behaviour could help it get ahead of the curve, since these interactions typically occur “well before persons reach the external borders of the EU”.
Frontex asked bidders to develop lists of key words that could be mined from platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. The winning company would produce a monthly report containing “predictive intelligence ... of irregular flows”.
Early this year, however, Frontex cancelled the opportunity. It followed swiftly on from another shutdown; Frontex’s sister agency, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), had fallen foul of the European data protection watchdog, the EDPS, for searching social media content from would-be migrants.
The EASO had been using the data to flag “shifts in asylum and migration routes, smuggling offers and the discourse among social media community users on key issues – flights, human trafficking and asylum systems/processes”. The search covered a broad range of languages, including Arabic, Pashto, Dari, Urdu, Tigrinya, Amharic, Edo, Pidgin English, Russian, Kurmanji Kurdish, Hausa and French.
Although the EASO’s mission, as its name suggests, is centred around support for the asylum system, its reports were widely circulated, including to organisations that attempt to limit illegal immigration – Europol, Interpol, member states and Frontex itself.
In shutting down the EASO’s social media monitoring project, the watchdog cited numerous concerns about process, the impact on fundamental rights and the lack of a legal basis for the work.
“This processing operation concerns a vast number of social media users,” the EDPS pointed out. Because EASO’s reports are read by border security forces, there was a significant risk that data shared by asylum seekers to help others travel safely to Europe could instead be unfairly used against them without their knowledge.
Social media monitoring “poses high risks to individuals’ rights and freedoms,” the regulator concluded in an assessment it delivered last November. “It involves the use of personal data in a way that goes beyond their initial purpose, their initial context of publication and in ways that individuals could not reasonably anticipate. This may have a chilling effect on people’s ability and willingness to express themselves and form relationships freely.”https://assets2.thebureauinvestigates.com/uploads/_storyImageSmall/GettyImages-migrants-charging-phones-budapest.jpg?mtime=20200422172653#.jpg
EASO told the Bureau that the ban had “negative consequences” on “the ability of EU member states to adapt the preparedness, and increase the effectiveness, of their asylum systems” and also noted a “potential harmful impact on the safety of migrants and asylum seekers”.
Frontex said that its social media analysis tender was cancelled after new European border regulations came into force, but added that it was considering modifying the tender in response to these rules.
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The two shutdowns represented a stumbling block for efforts to track population movements via new technologies and sources of data. But the public health crisis precipitated by the Covid-19 virus has brought such efforts abruptly to wider attention. In doing so it has cast a spotlight on a complex knot of issues. What information is personal, and legally protected? How does that protection work? What do concepts like anonymisation, privacy and consent mean in an age of big data?
The shape of things to come
International humanitarian organisations have long been interested in whether they can use nontraditional data sources to help plan disaster responses. As they often operate in inaccessible regions with little available or accurate official data about population sizes and movements, they can benefit from using new big data sources to estimate how many people are moving where. In particular, as well as using social media, recent efforts have sought to combine insights from mobile phones – a vital possession for a refugee or disaster survivor – with images generated by “Earth observation” satellites.
“Mobiles, satellites and social media are the holy trinity of movement prediction,” said Linnet Taylor, professor at the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology and Society in the Netherlands, who has been studying the privacy implications of such new data sources. “It’s the shape of things to come.”
As the devastating impact of the Syrian civil war worsened in 2015, Europe saw itself in crisis. Refugee movements dominated the headlines and while some countries, notably Germany, opened up to more arrivals than usual, others shut down. European agencies and tech companies started to team up with a new offering: a migration hotspot predictor.https://assets2.thebureauinvestigates.com/uploads/_fullWidthLarge/ESA-big-data-for-migration-study-2-Screen-Shot-2020-04-02-at-13.43.13.png?mtime=20200417130404#.jpg
Controversially, they were importing a concept drawn from distant catastrophe zones into decision-making on what should happen within the borders of the EU.
“Here’s the heart of the matter,” said Nathaniel Raymond, a lecturer at the Yale Jackson Institute for Global Affairs who focuses on the security implications of information communication technologies for vulnerable populations. “In ungoverned frontier cases [European data protection law] doesn’t apply. Use of these technologies might be ethically safer there, and in any case it’s the only thing that is available. When you enter governed space, data volume and ease of manipulation go up. Putting this technology to work in the EU is a total inversion.”
“Mobiles, satellites and social media are the holy trinity of movement prediction”
Justin Ginnetti, head of data and analysis at the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre in Switzerland, made a similar point. His organisation monitors movements to help humanitarian groups provide food, shelter and aid to those forced from their homes, but he casts a skeptical eye on governments using the same technology in the context of migration.
“Many governments – within the EU and elsewhere – are very interested in these technologies, for reasons that are not the same as ours,” he told the Bureau. He called such technologies “a nuclear fly swatter,” adding: “The key question is: What problem are you really trying to solve with it? For many governments, it’s not preparing to ‘better respond to inflow of people’ – it’s raising red flags, to identify those en route and prevent them from arriving.”
Eye in the sky
A key player in marketing this concept was the European Space Agency (ESA) – an organisation based in Paris, with a major spaceport in French Guiana. The ESA’s pitch was to combine its space assets with other people’s data. “Could you be leveraging space technology and data for the benefit of life on Earth?” a recent presentation from the organisation on “disruptive smart technologies” asked. “We’ll work together to make your idea commercially viable.”
By 2016, technologists at the ESA had spotted an opportunity. “Europe is being confronted with the most significant influxes of migrants and refugees in its history,” a presentation for their Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems Programme stated. “One burning issue is the lack of timely information on migration trends, flows and rates. Big data applications have been recognised as a potentially powerful tool.” It decided to assess how it could harness such data.
The ESA reached out to various European agencies, including EASO and Frontex, to offer a stake in what it called “big data applications to boost preparedness and response to migration”. The space agency would fund initial feasibility stages, but wanted any operational work to be jointly funded.https://assets2.thebureauinvestigates.com/uploads/_storyImageSmall/ESA-big-data-for-migration-study-Screen-Shot-2020-04-02-at-13.41.32.png?mtime=20200421160502#.jpg
One such feasibility study was carried out by GMV, a privately owned tech group covering banking, defence, health, telecommunications and satellites. GMV announced in a press release in August 2017 that the study would “assess the added value of big data solutions in the migration sector, namely the reduction of safety risks for migrants, the enhancement of border controls, as well as prevention and response to security issues related with unexpected migration movements”. It would do this by integrating “multiple space assets” with other sources including mobile phones and social media.
When contacted by the Bureau, a spokeswoman from GMV said that, contrary to the press release, “nothing in the feasibility study related to the enhancement of border controls”.
In the same year, the technology multinational CGI teamed up with the Dutch Statistics Office to explore similar questions. They started by looking at data around asylum flows from Syria and at how satellite images and social media could indicate changes in migration patterns in Niger, a key route into Europe. Following this experiment, they approached EASO in October 2017. CGI’s presentation of the work noted that at the time EASO was looking for a social media analysis tool that could monitor Facebook groups, predict arrivals of migrants at EU borders, and determine the number of “hotspots” and migrant shelters. CGI pitched a combined project, co-funded by the ESA, to start in 2019 and expand to serve more organisations in 2020.
The proposal was to identify “hotspot activities”, using phone data to group individuals “according to where they spend the night”
The idea was called Migration Radar 2.0. The ESA wrote that “analysing social media data allows for better understanding of the behaviour and sentiments of crowds at a particular geographic location and a specific moment in time, which can be indicators of possible migration movements in the immediate future”. Combined with continuous monitoring from space, the result would be an “early warning system” that offered potential future movements and routes, “as well as information about the composition of people in terms of origin, age, gender”.
Internal notes released by EASO to the Bureau show the sheer range of companies trying to get a slice of the action. The agency had considered offers of services not only from the ESA, GMV, the Dutch Statistics Office and CGI, but also from BIP, a consulting firm, the aerospace group Thales Alenia, the geoinformation specialist EGEOS and Vodafone.
Some of the pitches were better received than others. An EASO analyst who took notes on the various proposals remarked that “most oversell a bit”. They went on: “Some claimed they could trace GSM [ie mobile networks] but then clarified they could do it for Venezuelans only, and maybe one or two countries in Africa.” Financial implications were not always clearly provided. On the other hand, the official noted, the ESA and its consortium would pay 80% of costs and “we can get collaboration on something we plan to do anyway”.
The features on offer included automatic alerts, a social media timeline, sentiment analysis, “animated bubbles with asylum applications from countries of origin over time”, the detection and monitoring of smuggling sites, hotspot maps, change detection and border monitoring.
The document notes a group of services available from Vodafone, for example, in the context of a proposed project to monitor asylum centres in Italy. The proposal was to identify “hotspot activities”, using phone data to group individuals either by nationality or “according to where they spend the night”, and also to test if their movements into the country from abroad could be back-tracked. A tentative estimate for the cost of a pilot project, spread over four municipalities, came to €250,000 – of which an unspecified amount was for “regulatory (privacy) issues”.https://assets2.thebureauinvestigates.com/uploads/_storyImageSmall/GettyImages-migrant-camp-greece.jpg?mtime=20200422172910#.jpg
Elsewhere, efforts to harness social media data for similar purposes were proving problematic. A September 2017 UN study tried to establish whether analysing social media posts, specifically on Twitter, “could provide insights into ... altered routes, or the conversations PoC [“persons of concern”] are having with service providers, including smugglers”. The hypothesis was that this could “better inform the orientation of resource allocations, and advocacy efforts” - but the study was unable to conclude either way, after failing to identify enough relevant data on Twitter.
The ESA pressed ahead, with four feasibility studies concluding in 2018 and 2019. The Migration Radar project produced a dashboard that showcased the use of satellite imagery for automatically detecting changes in temporary settlement, as well as tools to analyse sentiment on social media. The prototype received positive reviews, its backers wrote, encouraging them to keep developing the product.
CGI was effusive about the predictive power of its technology, which could automatically detect “groups of people, traces of trucks at unexpected places, tent camps, waste heaps and boats” while offering insight into “the sentiments of migrants at certain moments” and “information that is shared about routes and motives for taking certain routes”. Armed with this data, the company argued that it could create a service which could predict the possible outcomes of migration movements before they happened.
The ESA’s other “big data applications” study had identified a demand among EU agencies and other potential customers for predictive analyses to ensure “preparedness” and alert systems for migration events. A package of services was proposed, using data drawn from social media and satellites.
Both projects were slated to evolve into a second, operational phase. But this seems to have never become reality. CGI told the Bureau that “since the completion of the [Migration Radar] project, we have not carried out any extra activities in this domain”.
The ESA told the Bureau that its studies had “confirmed the usefulness” of combining space technology and big data for monitoring migration movements. The agency added that its corporate partners were working on follow-on projects despite “internal delays”.
EASO itself told the Bureau that it “took a decision not to get involved” in the various proposals it had received.
Specialists found a “striking absence” of agreed upon core principles when using the new technologies
But even as these efforts slowed, others have been pursuing similar goals. The European Commission’s Knowledge Centre on Migration and Demography has proposed a “Big Data for Migration Alliance” to address data access, security and ethics concerns. A new partnership between the ESA and GMV – “Bigmig" – aims to support “migration management and prevention” through a combination of satellite observation and machine-learning techniques (the company emphasised to the Bureau that its focus was humanitarian). And a consortium of universities and private sector partners – GMV among them – has just launched a €3 million EU-funded project, named Hummingbird, to improve predictions of migration patterns, including through analysing phone call records, satellite imagery and social media.
At a conference in Berlin in October 2019, dozens of specialists from academia, government and the humanitarian sector debated the use of these new technologies for “forecasting human mobility in contexts of crises”. Their conclusions raised numerous red flags. They found a “striking absence” of agreed upon core principles. It was hard to balance the potential good with ethical concerns, because the most useful data tended to be more specific, leading to greater risks of misuse and even, in the worst case scenario, weaponisation of the data. Partnerships with corporations introduced transparency complications. Communication of predictive findings to decision makers, and particularly the “miscommunication of the scope and limitations associated with such findings”, was identified as a particular problem.
The full consequences of relying on artificial intelligence and “employing large scale, automated, and combined analysis of datasets of different sources” to predict movements in a crisis could not be foreseen, the workshop report concluded. “Humanitarian and political actors who base their decisions on such analytics must therefore carefully reflect on the potential risks.”https://assets2.thebureauinvestigates.com/uploads/_fullWidthLarge/GettyImages-migrants-frontex-malaga.jpg?mtime=20200422173312#.jpg
A fresh crisis
Until recently, discussion of such risks remained mostly confined to scientific papers and NGO workshops. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought it crashing into the mainstream.
Some see critical advantages to using call data records to trace movements and map the spread of the virus. “Using our mobile technology, we have the potential to build models that help to predict broadly how the virus might move,” an O2 spokesperson said in March. But others believe that it is too late for this to be useful. The UK’s chief scientific officer, Patrick Vallance, told a press conference in March that using this type of data “would have been a good idea in January”.
Like the 2015 refugee crisis, the global emergency offers an opportunity for industry to get ahead of the curve with innovative uses of big data. At a summit in Downing Street on 11 March, Dominic Cummings asked tech firms “what [they] could bring to the table” to help the fight against Covid-19.
Human rights advocates worry about the longer term effects of such efforts, however. “Right now, we’re seeing states around the world roll out powerful new surveillance measures and strike up hasty partnerships with tech companies,” Anna Bacciarelli, a technology researcher at Amnesty International, told the Bureau. “While states must act to protect people in this pandemic, it is vital that we ensure that invasive surveillance measures do not become normalised and permanent, beyond their emergency status.”
More creative methods of surveillance and prediction are not necessarily answering the right question, others warn.
“The single largest determinant of Covid-19 mortality is healthcare system capacity,” said Sean McDonald, a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, who studied the use of phone data in the west African Ebola outbreak of 2014-5. “But governments are focusing on the pandemic as a problem of people management rather than a problem of building response capacity. More broadly, there is nowhere near enough proof that the science or math underlying the technologies being deployed meaningfully contribute to controlling the virus at all.”https://assets2.thebureauinvestigates.com/uploads/_storyImageSmall/GettyImages-1doctors-phone-wuhan-china-coronavirus.jpg?mtime=20200422173149#.jpg
Legally, this type of data processing raises complicated questions. While European data protection law - the GDPR - generally prohibits processing of “special categories of personal data”, including ethnicity, beliefs, sexual orientation, biometrics and health, it allows such processing in a number of instances (among them public health emergencies). In the case of refugee movement prediction, there are signs that the law is cracking at the seams.
“There is nowhere near enough proof that the science or math underlying the technologies being deployed meaningfully contribute to controlling the virus at all.”
Under GDPR, researchers are supposed to make “impact assessments” of how their data processing can affect fundamental rights. If they find potential for concern they should consult their national information commissioner. There is no simple way to know whether such assessments have been produced, however, or whether they were thoroughly carried out.
Researchers engaged with crunching mobile phone data point to anonymisation and aggregation as effective tools for ensuring privacy is maintained. But the solution is not straightforward, either technically or legally.
“If telcos are using individual call records or location data to provide intel on the whereabouts, movements or activities of migrants and refugees, they still need a legal basis to use that data for that purpose in the first place – even if the final intelligence report itself does not contain any personal data,” said Ben Hayes, director of AWO, a data rights law firm and consultancy. “The more likely it is that the people concerned may be identified or affected, the more serious this matter becomes.”
More broadly, experts worry that, faced with the potential of big data technology to illuminate movements of groups of people, the law’s provisions on privacy begin to seem outdated.
“We’re paying more attention now to privacy under its traditional definition,” Nathaniel Raymond said. “But privacy is not the same as group legibility.” Simply put, while issues around the sensitivity of personal data can be obvious, the combinations of seemingly unrelated data that offer insights about what small groups of people are doing can be hard to foresee, and hard to mitigate. Raymond argues that the concept of privacy as enshrined in the newly minted data protection law is anachronistic. As he puts it, “GDPR is already dead, stuffed and mounted. We’re increasing vulnerability under the colour of law.”
#cobaye #surveillance #réfugiés #covid-19 #coronavirus #test #smartphone #téléphones_portables #Frontex #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #Shin_Bet #internet #big_data #droits_humains #réseaux_sociaux #intelligence_prédictive #European_Asylum_Support_Office (#EASO) #EDPS #protection_des_données #humanitaire #images_satellites #technologie #European_Space_Agency (#ESA) #GMV #CGI #Niger #Facebook #Migration_Radar_2.0 #early_warning_system #BIP #Thales_Alenia #EGEOS #complexe_militaro-industriel #Vodafone #GSM #Italie #twitter #détection #routes_migratoires #systèmes_d'alerte #satellites #Knowledge_Centre_on_Migration_and_Demography #Big_Data for_Migration_Alliance #Bigmig #machine-learning #Hummingbird #weaponisation_of_the_data #IA #intelligence_artificielle #données_personnelles
Les milliers de satellites propulsés pour fournir du #débit #Internet à tous risquent de transformer le ciel en #far_west
« On risque de perdre notre ciel simplement pour réduire la latence des jeux vidéo en ligne ou pour s’envoyer encore plus de photos de chats… » Eric Lagadec, vice-président de la Société française d’astronomie et d’astrophysique
Certains #projets ont déjà capoté – tel LeoSat (Luxembourg) – ou sont à l’arrêt – comme celui de Boeing qui prévoyait une #constellation de près de 3 000 unités –, mais il n’est pas impossible que l’on dénombre, à la fin de la décennie, plus de 50 000 nouveaux #satellites dans le #ciel. Un chiffre à comparer avec les quelque 8 000 engins envoyés en #orbite depuis le début de l’#ère_spatiale, en 1957.
Why the quantum internet should be built in space - MIT Technology Review
And that raises an interesting question: How should scientists and engineers go about the task of building a quantum internet that spans the globe?
Today we get an answer thanks to the work of Sumeet Khatri and colleagues at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. This team has studied the various ways a quantum internet could be built and say the most cost-effective approach is to create a constellation of quantum-enabled satellites capable of continuously broadcasting entangled photons to the ground. In other words, the quantum internet should be space-based.
So another option is to create the entangled pairs of photons in space and broadcast them to two different base stations on the ground. These base stations then become entangled, allowing them to swap messages with perfect secrecy.
In 2017, a Chinese satellite called Micius showed for the first time that entanglement can indeed be shared in this way. It turns out that photons can travel much further in this scenario because only the last 20 kilometers or so of the journey is through the atmosphere, provided the satellite is high in the sky and not too close to the horizon.
Khatri and co say that a constellation of similar satellites is a much better way to create a global quantum internet. The key is that to communicate securely, two ground stations must be able to see the same satellite at the same time so that both can receive entangled photons from it.
At what altitude should the satellites fly to provide coverage as broad as possible? And how many will be needed? “Since satellites are currently an expensive resource, we would like to have as few satellites as possible in the network while still maintaining complete and continuous coverage,” say Khatri and co.
To find out, the team modeled such a constellation. It turns out there are a number of important trade-offs to take into account. For example, fewer satellites can provide global coverage when they orbit at a high altitude. But higher altitudes lead to greater photon losses.
Also, satellites at lower altitudes can span only shorter distances between base stations, because both must be able to see the same satellite at the same time.
Given these limitations, Khatri and co suggest that the best compromise is a constellation of at least 400 satellites flying at an altitude of around 3,000 kilometers. By contrast, GPS operates with 24 satellites.
Beaucoup de gonflette dans cet article. En fait, la distribution quantique de clés (ce que l’article appelle « Internet quantique ») est en général une mauvaise idée. ►https://www.bortzmeyer.org/communication-quantique.html
Le récent rapport de la députée Forteza notait bien les limites de cette technique... tout en recommandant son déploiement rapide !
Brussels and Antwerp at Night
The brilliant lights of Belgium shine in this nighttime photograph taken from the International Space Station.
Astronaut photographs ISS039-E-9383 and ISS039-E-9933 were acquired on March 5, 2014 with a Nikon D3S digital camera, and are provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The images were taken by the Expedition 39 crew.
NASA Visible Earth
City Lights of Africa, Europe, and the Middle East
The business of building walls
Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Europe is once again known for its border walls. This time Europe is divided not so much by ideology as by perceived fear of refugees and migrants, some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
Who killed the dream of a more open Europe? What gave rise to this new era of walls? There are clearly many reasons – the increasing displacement of people by conflict, repression and impoverishment, the rise of security politics in the wake of 9/11, the economic and social insecurity felt across Europe after the 2008 financial crisis – to name a few. But one group has by far the most to gain from the rise of new walls – the businesses that build them. Their influence in shaping a world of walls needs much deeper examination.
This report explores the business of building walls, which has both fuelled and benefited from a massive expansion of public spending on border security by the European Union (EU) and its member states. Some of the corporate beneficiaries are also global players, tapping into a global market for border security estimated to be worth approximately €17.5 billion in 2018, with annual growth of at least 8% expected in coming years.
It is important to look both beyond and behind Europe’s walls and fencing, because the real barriers to contemporary migration are not so much the fencing, but the vast array of technology that underpins it, from the radar systems to the drones to the surveillance cameras to the biometric fingerprinting systems. Similarly, some of Europe’s most dangerous walls are not even physical or on land. The ships, aircrafts and drones used to patrol the Mediterranean have created a maritime wall and a graveyard for the thousands of migrants and refugees who have no legal passage to safety or to exercise their right to seek asylum.
This renders meaningless the European Commission’s publicized statements that it does not fund walls and fences. Commission spokesperson Alexander Winterstein, for example, rejecting Hungary’s request to reimburse half the costs of the fences built on its borders with Croatia and Serbia, said: ‘We do support border management measures at external borders. These can be surveillance measures. They can be border control equipment...But fences, we do not finance’. In other words, the Commission is willing to pay for anything that fortifies a border as long as it is not seen to be building the walls themselves.
This report is a sequel to Building Walls – Fear and securitization in the European Union, co-published in 2018 with Centre Delàs and Stop Wapenhandel, which first measured and identified the walls that criss-cross Europe. This new report focuses on the businesses that have profited from three different kinds of wall in Europe:
The construction companies contracted to build the land walls built by EU member states and the Schengen Area together with the security and technology companies that provide the necessary accompanying technology, equipment and services;
The shipping and arms companies that provide the ships, aircraft, helicopters, drones that underpin Europe’s maritime walls seeking to control migratory flows in the Mediterranean, including Frontex operations, Operation Sophia and Italian operation Mare Nostrum;
And the IT and security companies contracted to develop, run, expand and maintain EU’s systems that monitor the movement of people – such as SIS II (Schengen Information System) and EES (Entry/Exit Scheme) – which underpin Europe’s virtual walls.
The flow of money from taxpayers to wall-builders has been highly lucrative and constantly growing. The report finds that companies have reaped the profits from at least €900 million spent by EU countries on land walls and fences since the end of the Cold War. The partial data (in scope and years) means actual costs will be at least €1 billion. In addition, companies that provide technology and services that accompany walls have also benefited from some of the steady stream of funding from the EU – in particular the External Borders Fund (€1.7 billion, 2007-2013) and the Internal Security Fund – Borders Fund (€2.76 billion, 2014-2020).
EU spending on maritime walls has totalled at least €676.4 million between 2006 to 2017 (including €534 million spent by Frontex, €28.4 million spent by the EU on Operation Sophia and €114 million spent by Italy on Operation Mare Nostrum) and would be much more if you include all the operations by Mediterranean country coastguards. Total spending on Europe’s virtual wall equalled at least €999.4m between 2000 and 2019. (All these estimates are partial ones because walls are funded by many different funding mechanisms and due to lack of data transparency).
This boom in border budgets is set to grow. Under its budget for the next EU budget cycle (2021–2027) the European Commission has earmarked €8.02 billion to its Integrated Border Management Fund (2021-2027), €11.27bn to Frontex (of which €2.2 billion will be used for acquiring, maintaining and operating air, sea and land assets) and at least €1.9 billion total spending (2000-2027) on its identity databases and Eurosur (the European Border Surveillance System).
The big arm industry players
Three giant European military and security companies in particular play a critical role in Europe’s many types of borders. These are Thales, Leonardo and Airbus.
Thales is a French arms and security company, with a significant presence in the Netherlands, that produces radar and sensor systems, used by many ships in border security. Thales systems, were used, for example, by Dutch and Portuguese ships deployed in Frontex operations. Thales also produces maritime surveillance systems for drones and is working on developing border surveillance infrastructure for Eurosur, researching how to track and control refugees before they reach Europe by using smartphone apps, as well as exploring the use of High Altitude Pseudo Satellites (HAPS) for border security, for the European Space Agency and Frontex. Thales currently provides the security system for the highly militarised port in Calais. Its acquisition in 2019 of Gemalto, a large (biometric) identity security company, makes it a significant player in the development and maintenance of EU’s virtual walls. It has participated in 27 EU research projects on border security.
Italian arms company Leonardo (formerly Finmeccanica or Leonardo-Finmeccanica) is a leading supplier of helicopters for border security, used by Italy in the Mare Nostrum, Hera and Sophia operations. It has also been one of the main providers of UAVs (or drones) for Europe’s borders, awarded a €67.1 million contract in 2017 by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to supply them for EU coast-guard agencies. Leonardo was also a member of a consortium, awarded €142.1 million in 2019 to implement and maintain EU’s virtual walls, namely its EES. It jointly owns Telespazio with Thales, involved in EU satellite observation projects (REACT and Copernicus) used for border surveillance. Leonardo has participated in 24 EU research projects on border security and control, including the development of Eurosur.
Pan-European arms giant Airbus is a key supplier of helicopters used in patrolling maritime and some land borders, deployed by Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania and Spain, including in maritime Operations Sophia, Poseidon and Triton. Airbus and its subsidiaries have participated in at least 13 EU-funded border security research projects including OCEAN2020, PERSEUS and LOBOS.
The significant role of these arms companies is not surprising. As Border Wars (2016), showed these companies through their membership of the lobby groups – European Organisation for Security (EOS) and the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD) – have played a significant role in influencing the direction of EU border policy. Perversely, these firms are also among the top four biggest European arms dealers to the Middle East and North Africa, thus contributing to the conflicts that cause forced migration.
Indra has been another significant corporate player in border control in Spain and the Mediterranean. It won a series of contracts to fortify Ceuta and Melilla (Spanish enclaves in northern Morocco). Indra also developed the SIVE border control system (with radar, sensors and vision systems), which is in place on most of Spain’s borders, as well as in Portugal and Romania. In July 2018 it won a €10 million contract to manage SIVE at several locations for two years. Indra is very active in lobbying the EU and is a major beneficiary of EU research funding, coordinating the PERSEUS project to further develop Eurosur and the Seahorse Network, a network between police forces in Mediterranean countries (both in Europe and Africa) to stop migration.
Israeli arms firms are also notable winners of EU border contracts. In 2018, Frontex selected the Heron drone from Israel Aerospace Industries for pilot-testing surveillance flights in the Mediterranean. In 2015, Israeli firm Elbit sold six of its Hermes UAVs to the Switzerland’s Border Guard, in a controversial €230 million deal. It has since signed a UAV contract with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), as a subcontractor for the Portuguese company CEIIA (2018), as well as contracts to supply technology for three patrol vessels for the Hellenic Coast Guard (2019).
Land wall contractors
Most of the walls and fences that have been rapidly erected across Europe have been built by national construction companies, but one European company has dominated the field: European Security Fencing, a Spanish producer of razor wire, in particular a coiled wire known as concertinas. It is most known for the razor wire on the fences around Ceuta and Melilla. It also delivered the razor wire for the fence on the border between Hungary and Serbia, and its concertinas were installed on the borders between Bulgaria and Turkey and Austria and Slovenia, as well as at Calais, and for a few days on the border between Hungary and Slovenia before being removed. Given its long-term market monopoly, its concertinas are very likely used at other borders in Europe.
Other contractors providing both walls and associated technology include DAT-CON (Croatia, Cyprus, Macedonia, Moldova, Slovenia and Ukraine), Geo Alpinbau (Austria/Slovenia), Indra, Dragados, Ferrovial, Proyectos Y Tecnología Sallén and Eulen (Spain/Morocco), Patstroy Bourgas, Infra Expert, Patengineeringstroy, Geostroy Engineering, Metallic-Ivan Mihaylov and Indra (Bulgaria/Turkey), Nordecon and Defendec (Estonia/Russia), DAK Acélszerkezeti Kft and SIA Ceļu būvniecības sabiedrība IGATE (Latvia/Russia), Gintrėja (Lithuania/Russia), Minis and Legi-SGS(Slovenia/Croatia), Groupe CW, Jackson’s Fencing, Sorhea, Vinci/Eurovia and Zaun Ltd (France/UK).
In many cases, the actual costs of the walls and associated technologies exceed original estimates. There have also been many allegations and legal charges of corruption, in some cases because projects were given to corporate friends of government officials. In Slovenia, for example, accusations of corruption concerning the border wall contract have led to a continuing three-year legal battle for access to documents that has reached the Supreme Court. Despite this, the EU’s External Borders Fund has been a critical financial supporter of technological infrastructure and services in many of the member states’ border operations. In Macedonia, for example, the EU has provided €9 million for patrol vehicles, night-vision cameras, heartbeat detectors and technical support for border guards to help it manage its southern border.
Maritime wall profiteers
The data about which ships, helicopters and aircraft are used in Europe’s maritime operations is not transparent and therefore it is difficult to get a full picture. Our research shows, however, that the key corporations involved include the European arms giants Airbus and Leonardo, as well as large shipbuilding companies including Dutch Damen and Italian Fincantieri.
Damen’s patrol vessels have been used for border operations by Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Portugal, the Netherlands, Romania, Sweden and the UK as well as in key Frontex operations (Poseidon, Triton and Themis), Operation Sophia and in supporting NATO’s role in Operation Poseidon. Outside Europe, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey use Damen vessels for border security, often in cooperation with the EU or its member states. Turkey’s €20 million purchase of six Damen vessels for its coast guard in 2006, for example, was financed through the EU Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), intended for peace-building and conflict prevention.
The sale of Damen vessels to Libya unveils the potential troubling human costs of this corporate trade. In 2012, Damen supplied four patrol vessels to the Libyan Coast Guard, sold as civil equipment in order to avoid a Dutch arms export license. Researchers have since found out, however, that the ships were not only sold with mounting points for weapons, but were then armed and used to stop refugee boats. Several incidents involving these ships have been reported, including one where some 20 or 30 refugees drowned. Damen has refused to comment, saying it had agreed with the Libyan government not to disclose information about the ships.
In addition to Damen, many national shipbuilders play a significant role in maritime operations as they were invariably prioritised by the countries contributing to each Frontex or other Mediterranean operation. Hence, all the ships Italy contributed to Operation Sophia were built by Fincantieri, while all Spanish ships come from Navantia and its predecessors. Similarly, France purchases from DCN/DCNS, now Naval Group, and all German ships were built by several German shipyards (Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft, HDW, Lürssen Gruppe). Other companies in Frontex operations have included Greek company, Motomarine Shipyards, which produced the Panther 57 Fast Patrol Boats used by the Hellenic Coast Guard, Hellenic Shipyards and Israel Shipyards.
Austrian company Schiebel is a significant player in maritime aerial surveillance through its supply of S-100 drones. In November 2018, EMSA selected the company for a €24 million maritime surveillance contract for a range of operations including border security. Since 2017, Schiebel has also won contracts from Croatia, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. The company has a controversial record, with its drones sold to a number of countries experiencing armed conflict or governed by repressive regimes such as Libya, Myanmar, the UAE and Yemen.
Finland and the Netherlands deployed Dornier aircraft to Operation Hermes and Operation Poseidon respectively, and to Operation Triton. Dornier is now part of the US subsidiary of the Israeli arms company Elbit Systems. CAE Aviation (Luxembourg), DEA Aviation (UK) and EASP Air (Netherlands) have all received contracts for aircraft surveillance work for Frontex. Airbus, French Dassault Aviation, Leonardo and US Lockheed Martin were the most important suppliers of aircraft used in Operation Sophia.
The EU and its member states defend their maritime operations by publicising their role in rescuing refugees at sea, but this is not their primary goal, as Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri made clear in April 2015, saying that Frontex has no mandate for ‘proactive search-and-rescue action[s]’ and that saving lives should not be a priority. The thwarting and criminalisation of NGO rescue operations in the Mediterranean and the frequent reports of violence and illegal refoulement of refugees, also demonstrates why these maritime operations should be considered more like walls than humanitarian missions.
The major EU contracts for the virtual walls have largely gone to two companies, sometimes as leaders of a consortium. Sopra Steria is the main contractor for the development and maintenance of the Visa Information System (VIS), Schengen Information System (SIS II) and European Dactyloscopy (Eurodac), while GMV has secured a string of contracts for Eurosur. The systems they build help control, monitor and surveil people’s movements across Europe and increasingly beyond.
Sopra Steria is a French technology consultancy firm that has to date won EU contracts worth a total value of over €150 million. For some of these large contracts Sopra Steria joined consortiums with HP Belgium, Bull and 3M Belgium. Despite considerable business, Sopra Steria has faced considerable criticism for its poor record on delivering projects on time and on budget. Its launch of SIS II was constantly delayed, forcing the Commission to extend contracts and increase budgets. Similarly, Sopra Steria was involved in another consortium, the Trusted Borders consortium, contracted to deliver the UK e-Borders programme, which was eventually terminated in 2010 after constant delays and failure to deliver. Yet it continues to win contracts, in part because it has secured a near-monopoly of knowledge and access to EU officials. The central role that Sopra Steria plays in developing these EU biometric systems has also had a spin-off effect in securing other national contracts, including with Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Romania and Slovenia GMV, a Spanish technology company, has received a succession of large contracts for Eurosur, ever since its testing phase in 2010, worth at least €25 million. It also provides technology to the Spanish Guardia Civil, such as control centres for its Integrated System of External Vigilance (SIVE) border security system as well as software development services to Frontex. It has participated in at least ten EU-funded research projects on border security.
Most of the large contracts for the virtual walls that did not go to consortia including Sopra Steria were awarded by eu-LISA (European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice) to consortia comprising computer and technology companies including Accenture, Atos Belgium and Morpho (later renamed Idema).
As research in our Border Wars series has consistently shown, through effective lobbying, the military and security industry has been very influential in shaping the discourse of EU security and military policies. The industry has succeeded in positioning itself as the experts on border security, pushing the underlying narrative that migration is first and foremost a security threat, to be combatted by security and military means. With this premise, it creates a continuous demand for the ever-expanding catalogue of equipment and services the industry supplies for border security and control.
Many of the companies listed here, particularly the large arms companies, are involved in the European Organisation for Security (EOS), the most important lobby group on border security. Many of the IT security firms that build EU’s virtual walls are members of the European Biometrics Association (EAB). EOS has an ‘Integrated Border Security Working Group’ to ‘facilitate the development and uptake of better technology solutions for border security both at border checkpoints, and along maritime and land borders’. The working group is chaired by Giorgio Gulienetti of the Italian arms company Leonardo, with Isto Mattila (Laurea University of Applied Science) and Peter Smallridge of Gemalto, a digital security company recently acquired by Thales.
Company lobbyists and representatives of these lobby organisations regularly meet with EU institutions, including the European Commission, are part of official advisory committees, publish influential proposals, organise meetings between industry, policy-makers and executives and also meet at the plethora of military and security fairs, conferences and seminars. Airbus, Leonardo and Thales together with EOS held 226 registered lobbying meetings with the European Commission between 2014 and 2019. In these meetings representatives of the industry position themselves as the experts on border security, presenting their goods and services as the solution for ‘security threats’ caused by immigration. In 2017, the same group of companies and EOS spent up to €2.65 million on lobbying.
A similar close relationship can be seen on virtual walls, with the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission arguing openly for public policy to foster the ‘emergence of a vibrant European biometrics industry’.
A deadly trade and a choice
The conclusion of this survey of the business of building walls is clear. A Europe full of walls has proved to be very good for the bottom line of a wide range of corporations including arms, security, IT, shipping and construction companies. The EU’s planned budgets for border security for the next decade show it is also a business that will continue to boom.
This is also a deadly business. The heavy militarisation of Europe’s borders on land and at sea has led refugees and migrants to follow far more hazardous routes and has trapped others in desperate conditions in neighbouring countries like Libya. Many deaths are not recorded, but those that are tracked in the Mediterranean show that the proportion of those who drown trying to reach Europe continues to increase each year.
This is not an inevitable state of affairs. It is both the result of policy decisions made by the EU and its member states, and corporate decisions to profit from these policies. In a rare principled stand, German razor wire manufacturer Mutanox in 2015 stated it would not sell its product to the Hungarian government arguing: ‘Razor wire is designed to prevent criminal acts, like a burglary. Fleeing children and adults are not criminals’. It is time for other European politicians and business leaders to recognise the same truth: that building walls against the world’s most vulnerable people violates human rights and is an immoral act that history will judge harshly. Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is time for Europe to bring down its new walls.
#business #murs #barrières_frontalières #militarisation_des_frontières #visualisation #Europe #UE #EU #complexe_militaro-industriel #Airbus #Leonardo #Thales #Indra #Israel_Aerospace_Industries #Elbit #European_Security_Fencing #DAT-CON #Geo_Alpinbau #Dragados #Ferrovial, #Proyectos_Y_Tecnología_Sallén #Eulen #Patstroy_Bourgas #Infra_Expert #Patengineeringstroy #Geostroy_Engineering #Metallic-Ivan_Mihaylov #Nordecon #Defendec #DAK_Acélszerkezeti_Kft #SIA_Ceļu_būvniecības_sabiedrība_IGATE #Gintrėja #Minis #Legi-SGS #Groupe_CW #Jackson’s_Fencing #Sorhea #Vinci #Eurovia #Zaun_Ltd #Damen #Fincantieri #Frontex #Damen #Turquie #Instrument_contributing_to_Stability_and_Peace (#IcSP) #Libye #exernalisation #Operation_Sophia #Navantia #Naval_Group #Flensburger_Schiffbau-Gesellschaft #HDW #Lürssen_Gruppe #Motomarine_Shipyards #Panther_57 #Hellenic_Shipyards #Israel_Shipyards #Schiebel #Dornier #Operation_Hermes #CAE_Aviation #DEA_Aviation #EASP_Air #French_Dassault_Aviation #US_Lockheed_Martin #murs_virtuels #Sopra_Steria #Visa_Information_System (#VIS) #données #Schengen_Information_System (#SIS_II) #European_Dactyloscopy (#Eurodac) #GMV #Eurosur #HP_Belgium #Bull #3M_Belgium #Trusted_Borders_consortium #économie #biométrie #Integrated_System_of_External_Vigilance (#SIVE) #eu-LISA #Accenture #Atos_Belgium #Morpho #Idema #lobby #European_Organisation_for_Security (#EOS) #European_Biometrics_Association (#EAB) #Integrated_Border_Security_Working_Group #Giorgio_Gulienetti #Isto_Mattila #Peter_Smallridge #Gemalto #murs_terrestres #murs_maritimes #coût #chiffres #statistiques #Joint_Research_Centre_of_the_European_Commission #Mutanox
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La costruzione di muri: un business
Trent’anni dopo la caduta del Muro di Berlino, l’Europa fa parlare di sé ancora una volta per i suoi muri di frontiera. Questa volta non è tanto l’ideologia che la divide, quanto la paura di rifugiati e migranti, alcune tra le persone più vulnerabili al mondo.
Riassunto del rapporto «The Business of Building Walls» :
Chi ha ucciso il sogno di un’Europa più aperta? Cosa ha dato inizio a questa nuova era dei muri?
Ci sono evidentemente molte ragioni: il crescente spostamento di persone a causa di conflitti, repressione e impoverimento, l’ascesa di politiche securitarie sulla scia dell’11 settembre, l’insicurezza economica e sociale percepita in Europa dopo la crisi finanziaria del 2008, solo per nominarne alcune. Tuttavia, c’è un gruppo che ha di gran lunga da guadagnare da questo innalzamento di nuovi muri: le imprese che li costruiscono. La loro influenza nel dare forma ad un mondo di muri necessita di un esame più profondo.
Questo rapporto esplora il business della costruzione di muri, che è stato alimentato e ha beneficiato di un aumento considerevole della spesa pubblica dedicata alla sicurezza delle frontiere dall’Unione Europea (EU) e dai suoi Stati membri. Alcune imprese beneficiarie sono delle multinazionali che approfittano di un mercato globale per la sicurezza delle frontiere che si stima valere approssimativamente 17,5 miliardi di euro nel 2018, con una crescita annuale prevista almeno dell’8% nei prossimi anni.
È importante guardare sia oltre che dietro i muri e le barriere d’Europa, perché i reali ostacoli alla migrazione contemporanea non sono tanto le recinzioni, quanto la vasta gamma di tecnologie che vi è alla base, dai sistemi radar ai droni, dalle telecamere di sorveglianza ai sistemi biometrici di rilevamento delle impronte digitali. Allo stesso modo, alcuni tra i più pericolosi muri d’Europa non sono nemmeno fisici o sulla terraferma. Le navi, gli aerei e i droni usati per pattugliare il Mediterraneo hanno creato un muro marittimo e un cimitero per i migliaia di migranti e di rifugiati che non hanno un passaggio legale verso la salvezza o per esercitare il loro diritto di asilo.
Tutto ciò rende insignificanti le dichiarazioni della Commissione Europea secondo le quali essa non finanzierebbe i muri e le recinzioni. Il portavoce della Commissione, Alexander Winterstein, per esempio, nel rifiutare la richiesta dell’Ungheria di rimborsare la metà dei costi delle recinzioni costruite sul suo confine con la Croazia e la Serbia, ha affermato: “Noi sosteniamo le misure di gestione delle frontiere presso i confini esterni. Queste possono consistere in misure di sorveglianza o in equipaggiamento di controllo delle frontiere... . Ma le recinzioni, quelle non le finanziamo”. In altre parole, la Commissione è disposta a pagare per qualunque cosa che fortifichi un confine fintanto che ciò non sia visto come propriamente costruire dei muri.
Questo rapporto è il seguito di “Building Walls - Fear and securitizazion in the Euopean Union”, co-pubblicato nel 2018 con Centre Delàs e Stop Wapenhandel, che per primi hanno misurato e identificato i muri che attraversano l’Europa.
Questo nuovo rapporto si focalizza sulle imprese che hanno tratto profitto dai tre differenti tipi di muro in Europa:
– Le imprese di costruzione ingaggiate per costruire i muri fisici costruiti dagli Stati membri UE e dall’Area Schengen in collaborazione con le imprese esperte in sicurezza e tecnologia che provvedono le tecnologie, l’equipaggiamento e i servizi associati;
– le imprese di trasporto marittimo e di armamenti che forniscono le navi, gli aerei, gli elicotteri e i droni che costituiscono i muri marittimi dell’Europa per tentare di controllare i flussi migratori nel Mediterraneo, in particolare le operazioni di Frontex, l’operazione Sophia e l’operazione italiana Mare Nostrum;
– e le imprese specializzate in informatica e in sicurezza incaricate di sviluppare, eseguire, estendere e mantenere i sistemi dell’UE che controllano i movimento delle persone, quali SIS II (Schengen Information System) e EES (Entry/Exii Scheme), che costituiscono i muri virtuali dell’Europa.
Dei budget fiorenti
Il flusso di denaro dai contribuenti ai costruttori di muri è stato estremamente lucrativo e non cessa di aumentare. Il report rivela che dalla fine della guerra fredda, le imprese hanno raccolto i profitti di almeno 900 milioni di euro di spese dei paesi dell’UE per i muri fisici e per le recinzioni. Con i dati parziali (sia nella portata e che negli anni), i costi reali raggiungerebbero almeno 1 miliardo di euro. Inoltre, le imprese che forniscono la tecnologia e i servizi che accompagnano i muri hanno ugualmente beneficiato di un flusso costante di finanziamenti da parte dell’UE, in particolare i Fondi per le frontiere esterne (1,7 miliardi di euro, 2007-2013) e i Fondi per la sicurezza interna - Fondi per le Frontiere (2,76 miliardi di euro, 2014-2020).
Le spese dell’UE per i muri marittimi hanno raggiunto almeno 676,4 milioni di euro tra il 2006 e il 2017 (di cui 534 milioni sono stati spesi da Frontex, 28 milioni dall’UE nell’operazione Sophia e 114 milioni dall’Italia nell’operazione Mare Nostrum) e sarebbero molto superiori se si includessero tutte le operazioni delle guardie costiera nazionali nel Mediterraneo.
Questa esplosione dei budget per le frontiere ha le condizioni per proseguire. Nel quadro del suo budget per il prossimo ciclo di bilancio dell’Unione Europea (2021-2027), la Commissione europea ha attribuito 8,02 miliardi di euro al suo fondo di gestione integrata delle frontiere (2021-2027), 11,27 miliardi a Frontex (dei quali 2,2 miliardi saranno utilizzati per l’acquisizione, il mantenimento e l’utilizzo di mezzi aerei, marittimi e terrestri) e almeno 1,9 miliardi di euro di spese totali (2000-2027) alle sue banche dati di identificazione e a Eurosur (il sistemo europeo di sorveglianza delle frontiere).
I principali attori del settore degli armamenti
Tre giganti europei del settore della difesa e della sicurezza giocano un ruolo cruciale nei differenti tipi di frontiere d’Europa: Thales, Leonardo e Airbus.
– Thales è un’impresa francese specializzata negli armamenti e nella sicurezza, con una presenza significativa nei Paesi Bassi, che produce sistemi radar e sensori utilizzati da numerose navi della sicurezza frontaliera. I sistemi Thales, per esempio, sono stati utilizzati dalle navi olandesi e portoghesi impiegate nelle operazioni di Frontex.
Thales produce ugualmente sistemi di sorveglianza marittima per droni e lavora attualmente per sviluppare una infrastruttura di sorveglianza delle frontiere per Eurosus, che permetta di seguire e controllare i rifugiati prima che raggiungano l’Europa con l’aiuto di applicazioni per Smartphone, e studia ugualmente l’utilizzo di “High Altitude Pseudo-Satellites - HAPS” per la sicurezza delle frontiere, per l’Agenzia spaziale europea e Frontex. Thales fornisce attualmente il sistema di sicurezza del porto altamente militarizzato di Calais.
Con l’acquisto nel 2019 di Gemalto, multinazionale specializzata nella sicurezza e identità (biometrica), Thales diventa un attore importante nello sviluppo e nel mantenimento dei muri virtuali dell’UE. L’impresa ha partecipato a 27 progetti di ricerca dell’UE sulla sicurezza delle frontiere.
– La società di armamenti italiana Leonardo (originariamente Finmeccanica o Leonardo-Finmeccanica) è uno dei principali fornitori di elicotteri per la sicurezza delle frontiere, utilizzati dalle operazioni Mare Nostrum, Hera e Sophia in Italia. Ha ugualmente fatto parte dei principali fornitori di UAV (o droni), ottenendo un contratto di 67,1 milioni di euro nel 2017 con l’EMSA (Agenzia europea per la sicurezza marittima) per fornire le agenzie di guardia costiera dell’UE.
Leonardo faceva ugualmente parte di un consorzio che si è visto attribuire un contratto di 142,1 milioni di euro nel 2019 per attuare e assicurare il mantenimento dei muri virtuali dell’UE, ossia il Sistema di entrata/uscita (EES). La società detiene, con Thales, Telespazio, che partecipa ai progetti di osservazione dai satelliti dell’UE (React e Copernicus) utilizzati per controllare le frontiere. Leonardo ha partecipato a 24 progetti di ricerca dell’UE sulla sicurezza e il controllo delle frontiere, tra cui lo sviluppo di Eurosur.
– Il gigante degli armamenti pan-europei Airbus è un importante fornitore di elicotteri utilizzati nella sorveglianza delle frontiere marittime e di alcune frontiere terrestri, impiegati da Belgio, Francia, Germania, Grecia, Italia, Lituania e Spagna, in particolare nelle operazioni marittime Sophia, Poseidon e Triton. Airbus e le sue filiali hanno partecipato almeno a 13 progetti di ricerca sulla sicurezza delle frontiere finanziati dall’UE, tra cui OCEAN2020, PERSEUS e LOBOS.
Il ruolo chiave di queste società di armamenti in realtà non è sorprendente. Come è stato dimostrato da “Border Wars” (2016), queste imprese, in quanto appartenenti a lobby come EOS (Organizzazione europea per la sicurezza) e ASD (Associazione delle industrie aerospaziali e della difesa in Europa), hanno ampiamente contribuito a influenzare l’orientamento della politica delle frontiere dell’UE. Paradossalmente, questi stessi marchi fanno ugualmente parte dei quattro più grandi venditori europei di armi al Medio Oriente e all’Africa del Nord, contribuendo così ad alimentare i conflitti all’origine di queste migrazioni forzate.
Allo stesso modo Indra gioca un ruolo non indifferente nel controllo delle frontiere in Spagna e nel Mediterraneo. L’impresa ha ottenuto una serie di contratti per fortificare Ceuta e Melilla (enclavi spagnole nel Nord del Marocco). Indra ha ugualmente sviluppato il sistema di controllo delle frontiere SIVE (con sistemi radar, di sensori e visivi) che è installato nella maggior parte delle frontiere della Spagna, così come in Portogallo e in Romania. Nel luglio 2018, Indra ha ottenuto un contratto di 10 milioni di euro per assicurare la gestione di SIVE su più siti per due anni. L’impresa è molto attiva nel fare lobby presso l’UE. È ugualmente una dei grandi beneficiari dei finanziamenti per la ricerca dell’UE, che assicurano il coordinamento del progetto PERSEUS per lo sviluppo di Eurosur e il Seahorse Network, la rete di scambio di informazioni tra le forze di polizia dei paesi mediterranei (in Europa e in Africa) per fermare le migrazioni.
Le società di armamenti israeliane hanno anch’esse ottenuto numerosi contratti nel quadro della sicurezza delle frontiere in UE. Nel 2018, Frontex ha selezionato il drone Heron delle Israel Aerospace Industries per i voli di sorveglianza degli esperimenti pilota nel Mediterraneo. Nel 2015, la società israeliana Elbit Systems ha venduto sei dei suoi droni Hermes al Corpo di guardie di frontiera svizzero, nel quadro di un contratto controverso di 230 milioni di euro. Ha anche firmato in seguito un contratto per droni con l’EMSA (Agenzia europea per la sicurezza marittima), in quanto subappaltatore della società portoghese CEIIA (2018), così come dei contratti per equipaggiare tre navi di pattugliamento per la Hellenic Coast Guard (2019).
Gli appaltatori dei muri fisici
La maggioranza di muri e recinzioni che sono stati rapidamente eretti attraverso l’Europa, sono stati costruiti da società di BTP nazionali/società nazionali di costruzioni, ma un’impresa europea ha dominato nel mercato: la European Security Fencing, un produttore spagnolo di filo spinato, in particolare di un filo a spirale chiamato “concertina”. È famosa per aver fornito i fili spinati delle recinzioni che circondano Ceuta e Melilla. L’impresa ha ugualmente dotato di fili spinati le frontiere tra l’Ungheria e la Serbia, e i suoi fili spinati “concertina” sono stati installati alle frontiere tra Bulgaria e Turchia e tra l’Austria e la Slovenia, così come a Calais e, per qualche giorno, alla frontiera tra Ungheria e Slovenia, prima di essere ritirati. Dato che essi detengono il monopolio sul mercato da un po’ di tempo a questa parte, è probabile che i fili spinati “concertina” siano stati utilizzati presso altre frontiere in Europa.
Tra le altre imprese che hanno fornito i muri e le tecnologie ad essi associate, si trova DAT-CON (Croazia, Cipro, Macedonia, Moldavia, Slovenia e Ucraina), Geo Alpinbau (Austria/Slovenia), Indra, Dragados, Ferrovial, Proyectos Y Tecnología Sallén e Eulen (Spagna/Marocco), Patstroy Bourgas, Infra Expert, Patengineeringstroy, Geostroy Engineering, Metallic-Ivan Mihaylov et Indra (Bulgaria/Turchia), Nordecon e Defendec (Estonia/Russia), DAK Acélszerkezeti Kft e SIA Ceļu būvniecības sabiedrība IGATE (Lettonia/Russia), Gintrėja (Lituania/Russi), Minis e Legi-SGS (Slovenia/Croazia), Groupe CW, Jackson’s Fencing, Sorhea, Vinci/Eurovia e Zaun Ltd (Francia/Regno Unito).
I costi reali dei muri e delle tecnologie associate superano spesso le stime originali. Numerose accuse e denunce per corruzione sono state allo stesso modo formulate, in certi casi perché i progetti erano stati attribuiti a delle imprese che appartenevano ad amici di alti funzionari. In Slovenia, per esempio, accuse di corruzione riguardanti un contratto per la costruzione di muri alle frontiere hanno portato a tre anni di battaglie legali per avere accesso ai documenti; la questione è passata poi alla Corte suprema.
Malgrado tutto ciò, il Fondo europeo per le frontiere esterne ha sostenuto finanziariamente le infrastrutture e i servizi tecnologici di numerose operazioni alle frontiere degli Stati membri. In Macedonia, per esempio, l’UE ha versato 9 milioni di euro per finanziare dei veicoli di pattugliamento, delle telecamere a visione notturna, dei rivelatori di battito cardiaco e sostegno tecnico alle guardie di frontiera nell’aiuto della gestione della sua frontiera meridionale.
Gli speculatori dei muri marittimi
I dati che permettono di determinare quali imbarcazioni, elicotteri e aerei sono utilizzati nelle operazioni marittime in Europa mancano di trasparenza. È dunque difficile recuperare tutte le informazioni. Le nostre ricerche mostrano comunque che tra le principali società implicate figurano i giganti europei degli armamenti Airbus e Leonardo, così come grandi imprese di costruzione navale come l’olandese Damen e l’italiana Fincantieri.
Le imbarcazioni di pattugliamento di Damen sono servite per delle operazioni frontaliere portate avanti da Albania, Belgio, Bulgaria, Portogallo, Paesi Bassi, Romania, Svezia e Regno Unito, così come per le vaste operazioni di Frontex (Poseidon, Triton e Themis), per l’operazione Sophia e hanno ugualmente sostento la NATO nell’operazione Poseidon.
Al di fuori dell’Europa, la Libia, il Marocco, la Tunisia e la Turchia utilizzano delle imbarcazioni Damen per la sicurezza delle frontiere, spesso in collaborazione con l’UE o i suoi Stati membri. Per esempio, le sei navi Damen che la Turchia ha comprato per la sua guardia costiera nel 2006, per un totale di 20 milioni di euro, sono state finanziate attraverso lo strumento europeo che contribuirebbe alla stabilità e alla pace (IcSP), destinato a mantenere la pace e a prevenire i conflitti.
La vendita di imbarcazioni Damen alla Libia mette in evidenza l’inquietante costo umano di questo commercio. Nel 2012, Damen ha fornito quattro imbarcazioni di pattugliamento alla guardia costiera libica, che sono state vendute come equipaggiamento civile col fine di evitare la licenza di esportazione di armi nei Paesi Bassi. I ricercatori hanno poi scoperto che non solo le imbarcazioni erano state vendute con dei punti di fissaggio per le armi, ma che erano state in seguito armate ed utilizzate per fermare le imbarcazioni di rifugiati. Numerosi incidenti che hanno implicato queste imbarcazioni sono stati segnalati, tra i quali l’annegamento di 20 o 30 rifugiati. Damen si è rifiutata di commentare, dichiarando di aver convenuto col governo libico di non divulgare alcuna informazione riguardante le imbarcazioni.
Numerosi costruttori navali nazionali, oltre a Damen, giocano un ruolo determinante nelle operizioni marittime poiché sono sistematicamente scelti con priorità dai paesi partecipanti a ogni operazione di Frontex o ad altre operazioni nel Mediterraneo. Tutte le imbarcazioni fornite dall’Italia all’operazione Sophia sono state costruite da Fincantieri e tutte quelle spagnole sono fornite da Navantia e dai suoi predecessori. Allo stesso modo, la Francia si rifornisce da DCN/DCNS, ormai Naval Group, e tutte le imbarcazioni tedesche sono state costruite da diversi cantieri navali tedeschi (Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft, HDW, Lürssen Gruppe). Altre imprese hanno partecipato alle operazioni di Frontex, tra cui la società greca Motomarine Shipyards, che ha prodotto i pattugliatori rapidi Panther 57 utilizzati dalla guardia costiera greca, così come la Hellenic Shipyards e la Israel Shipyards.
La società austriaca Schiebel, che fornisce i droni S-100, gioca un ruolo importante nella sorveglianza aerea delle attività marittime. Nel novembre 2018, è stata selezionata dall’EMSA per un contratto di sorveglianza marittima di 24 milioni di euro riguardante differenti operazioni che includevano la sicurezza delle frontiere. Dal 2017, Schiebel ha ugualmente ottenuto dei contratti con la Croazia, la Danimarca, l’Islanda, l’Italia, il Portogallo e la Spagna. L’impresa ha un passato controverso: ha venduto dei droni a numerosi paesi in conflitto armato o governati da regimi repressivi come la Libia, il Myanmar, gli Emirati Arabi Uniti e lo Yemen.
La Finlandia e i Paesi Bassi hanno impiegato degli aerei Dornier rispettivamente nel quadro delle operazioni Hermès, Poseidon e Triton. Dornier appartiene ormai alla filiale americana della società di armamenti israeliana Elbit Systems.
CAE Aviation (Lussemburgo), DEA Aviation (Regno Unito) e EASP Air (Paesi Bassi) hanno tutte ottenuto dei contratti di sorveglianza aerea per Frontex.
Airbus, Dassault Aviation, Leonardo e l’americana Lockheed Martin hanno fornito il più grande numero di aerei utilizzati per l’operazione Sophia.
L’UE e i suoi Stati membri difendono le loro operazioni marittime pubblicizzando il loro ruolo nel salvataggio dei rifugiati in mare. Ma non è questo il loro obiettivo principale, come sottolinea il direttore di Frontex Fabrice Leggeri nell’aprile 2015, dichiarando che “le azioni volontarie di ricerca e salvataggio” non fanno parte del mandato affidato a Frontex, e che salvare delle vite non dovrebbe essere una priorità. La criminalizzazione delle operazioni di salvataggio da parte delle ONG, gli ostacoli che esse incontrano, così come la violenza e i respingimenti illegali dei rifugiati, spesso denunciati, illustrano bene il fatto che queste operazioni marittime sono volte soprattutto a costituire muri piuttosto che missioni umanitarie.
I muri virtuali
I principali contratti dell’UE legati ai muri virtuali sono stati affidati a due imprese, a volte in quanto leader di un consorzio.
Sopra Steria è il partner principale per lo sviluppo e il mantenimento del Sistema d’informazione dei visti (SIV), del Sistema di informazione Schengen (SIS II) e di Eurodac (European Dactyloscopy) e GMV ha firmato una serie di contratti per Eurosur. I sistemi che essi concepiscono permettono di controllare e di sorvegliare i movimenti delle persone attraverso l’Europa e, sempre più spesso, al di là delle sue frontiere.
Sopra Steria è un’impresa francese di servizi per consultazioni in tecnologia che ha, ad oggi, ottenuto dei contratti con l’UE per un valore totale di più di 150 milioni di euro. Nel quadro di alcuni di questi grossi contratti, Sopra Steria ha formato dei consorzi con HP Belgio, Bull e 3M Belgio.
Malgrado l’ampiezza di questi mercati, Sopra Steria ha ricevuto importanti critiche per la sua mancanza di rigore nel rispetto delle tempistiche e dei budget. Il lancio di SIS II è stato costantemente ritardato, costringendo la Commissione a prolungare i contratti e ad aumentare i budget. Sopra Steria aveva ugualmente fatto parte di un altro consorzio, Trusted Borders, impegnato nello sviluppo del programma e-Borders nel Regno Unito. Quest’ultimo è terminato nel 2010 dopo un accumulo di ritardi e di mancate consegne. Tuttavia, la società ha continuato a ottenere contratti, a causa del suo quasi monopolio di conoscenze e di relazioni con i rappresentanti dell’UE. Il ruolo centrale di Sopra Steria nello sviluppo dei sistemi biometrici dell’UE ha ugualmente portato alla firma di altri contratti nazionali con, tra gli altri, il Belgio, la Bulgaria, la Repubblica ceca, la Finlandia, la Francia, la Germania, la Romania e la Slovenia.
GMV, un’impresa tecnologica spagnola, ha concluso una serie di grossi contratti per Eurosur, dopo la sua fase sperimentale nel 2010, per almeno 25 milioni di euro. Essa rifornisce ugualmente di tecnologie la Guardia Civil spagnola, tecnologie quali, ad esempio, i centri di controllo del suo Sistema integrato di sorveglianza esterna (SIVE), sistema di sicurezza delle frontiere, così come rifornisce di servizi di sviluppo logistico Frontex. L’impresa ha partecipato ad almeno dieci progetti di ricerca finanziati dall’UE sulla sicurezza delle frontiere.
La maggior parte dei grossi contratti riguardanti i muri virtuali che non sono stati conclusi con consorzi di cui facesse parte Sopra Steria, sono stati attribuiti da eu-LISA (l’Agenzia europea per la gestione operazionale dei sistemi di informazione su vasta scale in seno allo spazio di libertà, di sicurezza e di giustizia) a dei consorzi di imprese specializzate nell’informazione e nelle nuove tecnologie, tra questi: Accenture, Atos Belgium e Morpho (rinominato Idemia).
Come testimonia il nostro report “Border Wars”, il settore della difesa e della sicurezza, grazie ad una lobbying efficace, ha un’influenza considerabile nell’elaborazione delle politiche di difesa e di sicurezza dell’UE. Le imprese di questo settore industriale sono riuscite a posizionarsi come esperti della sicurezza delle frontiere, portando avanti il loro discorso secondo il quale la migrazione è prima di tutto una minaccia per la sicurezza che deve essere combattuta tramite mezzi militari e securitari. Questo crea così una domanda continua del catalogo sempre più fornito di equipaggiamenti e servizi che esse forniscono per la sicurezza e il controllo delle frontiere.
Un numero alto di imprese che abbiamo nominato, in particolare le grandi società di armamenti, fanno parte dell’EOS (Organizzazione europea per la sicurezza), il più importante gruppo di pressione sulla sicurezza delle frontiere.
Molte imprese informatiche che hanno concepito i muri virtuali dell’UE sono membri dell’EAB (Associazione Europea per la Biometria). L’EOS ha un “Gruppo di lavoro sulla sicurezza integrata delle frontiere” per “permettere lo sviluppo e l’adozione delle migliori soluzioni tecnologiche per la sicurezza delle frontiere sia ai checkpoint che lungo le frontiere marittime e terrestri”.
Il gruppo di lavoro è presieduto da Giorgio Gulienetti, della società di armi italiana Leonardo, Isto Mattila (diplomato all’università di scienze applicate) e Peter Smallridge di Gemalto, multinazionale specializzata nella sicurezza numerica, recentemente acquisita da Thales.
I lobbisti di imprese e i rappresentanti di questi gruppi di pressione incontrano regolarmente le istituzioni dell’UE, tra cui la Commissione europea, nel quadro di comitati di consiglio ufficiali, pubblicano proposte influenti, organizzano incontri tra il settore industriale, i policy-makers e i dirigenti e si ritrovano allo stesso modo in tutti i saloni, le conferenze e i seminari sulla difesa e la sicurezza.
Airbus, Leonardo e Thales e l’EOS hanno anche assistito a 226 riunioni ufficiali di lobby con la Commissione europea tra il 2014 e il 2019. In queste riunioni, i rappresentanti del settore si presentano come esperti della sicurezza delle frontiere, e propongono i loro prodotti e servizi come soluzione alle “minacce alla sicurezza” costituite dall’immigrazione. Nel 2017, queste stesse imprese e l’EOS hanno speso fino a 2,56 milioni di euro in lobbying.
Si constata una relazione simile per quanto riguarda i muri virtuali: il Centro comune della ricerca della Commissione europea domanda apertamente che le politiche pubbliche favoriscano “l’emergenza di una industria biometrica europea dinamica”.
Un business mortale, una scelta
La conclusione di questa inchiesta sul business dell’innalzamento di muri è chiara: la presenza di un’Europa piena di muri si rivela molto fruttuosa per una larga fetta di imprese del settore degli armamenti, della difesa, dell’informatica, del trasporto marittimo e delle imprese di costruzioni. I budget che l’UE ha pianificato per la sicurezza delle frontiere nei prossimi dieci anni mostrano che si tratta di un commercio che continua a prosperare.
Si tratta altresì di un commercio mortale. A causa della vasta militarizzazione delle frontiere dell’Europa sulla terraferma e in mare, i rifugiati e i migranti intraprendono dei percorsi molto più pericolosi e alcuni si trovano anche intrappolati in terribili condizioni in paesi limitrofi come la Libia. Non vengono registrate tutte le morti, ma quelle che sono registrate nel Mediterraneo mostrano che il numero di migranti che annegano provando a raggiungere l’Europa continua ad aumentare ogni anno.
Questo stato di cose non è inevitabile. È il risultato sia di decisioni politiche prese dall’UE e dai suoi Stati membri, sia dalle decisioni delle imprese di trarre profitto da queste politiche. Sono rare le imprese che prendono posizione, come il produttore tedesco di filo spinato Mutinox che ha dichiarato nel 2015 che non avrebbe venduto i suoi prodotti al governo ungherese per il seguente motivo: “I fili spinati sono concepiti per impedire atti criminali, come il furto. Dei rifugiati, bambini e adulti, non sono dei criminali”.
È tempo che altri politici e capi d’impresa riconoscano questa stessa verità: erigere muri contro le popolazioni più vulnerabili viola i diritti umani e costituisce un atto immorale che sarà evidentemente condannato dalla storia.
Trent’anni dopo la caduta del muro di Berlino, è tempo che l’Europa abbatta i suoi nuovi muri.
How the arms industry drives Fortress Europe’s expansion
In recent years, rising calls for deterrence have intensified the physical violence migrants face at the EU border. The externalization of the border through deals with sending and transit countries signals the expansion of this securitization process. Financial gains by international arms firms in this militarization trend form an obstacle for policy change.
In March, April, and May of this year, multiple European countries deployed military forces to their national borders. This was done to assist with controls and patrols in the wake of border closures and other movement restrictions due to the Covid-19 crisis. Poland deployed 1,460 soldiers to the border to support the Border Guard and police as part of a larger military operation in reaction to Covid-19. And the Portuguese police used military drones as a complement to their land border checks. According to overviews from NATO, the Czech Republic, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands (military police), Slovakia, and Slovenia all stationed armed forces at their national borders.
While some of these deployments have been or will be rolled back as the Corona crisis dies down, they are not exceptional developments. Rather, using armed forces for border security and control has been a common occurrence at EU external borders since the so-called refugee crisis of 2015. They are part of the continuing militarisation of European border and migration policies, which is known to put refugees at risk but is increasingly being expanded to third party countries. Successful lobbying from the military and security industry has been an important driver for these policies, from which large European arms companies have benefited.
The militarization of borders happens when EU member states send armies to border regions, as they did in Operation Sophia off the Libyan coast. This was the first outright EU military mission to stop migration. But border militarization also includes the use of military equipment for migration control, such as helicopters and patrol vessels, as well as the the EU-wide surveillance system Eurosur, which connects surveillance data from all individual member states. Furthermore, EU countries now have over 1,000 kilometers of walls and fences on their borders. These are rigged with surveillance, monitoring, and detection technologies, and accompanied by an increasing use of drones and other autonomous systems. The EU also funds a constant stream of Research & Technology (R&T) projects to develop new technologies and services to monitor and manage migration.
This process has been going on for decades. The Schengen Agreement of 1985, and the subsequent creation of the Schengen Area, which coupled the opening of the internal EU borders with robust control at the external borders, can be seen as a starting point for these developments. After 2011, when the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ led to fears of mass migration to Europe, and especially since the ‘refugee crisis’ of 2015, the EU accelerated the boosting and militarising of border security, enormously. Since then, stopping migration has been at the top of the EU agenda.
An increasingly important part of the process of border militarization isn’t happening at the European borders, but far beyond them. The EU and its member states are incentivizing third party countries to help stop migrants long before they reach Europe. This externalising of borders has taken many forms, from expanding the goals of EUCAP missions in Mali and Niger to include the prevention of irregular migration, to funding and training the Libyan Coast Guard to return refugees back to torture and starvation in the infamous detention centers in Libya. It also includes the donation of border security equipment, for example from Germany to Tunisia, and funding for purchases, such as Turkey’s acquisition of coast guard vessels to strengthen its operational capacities.
Next to the direct consequences of European border externalisation efforts, these policies cause and worsen problems in the third party countries concerned: diverting development funds and priorities, ruining migration-based economies, and strengthening authoritarian regimes such as those in Chad, Belarus, Eritrea, and Sudan by providing funding, training and equipment to their military and security forces. Precisely these state organs are most responsible for repression and abuses of human rights. All this feeds drivers of migration, including violence, repression, and unemployment. As such, it is almost a guarantee for more refugees in the future.
EU border security agency Frontex has also extended its operations into non-EU-countries. Ongoing negotiations and conclusions of agreements with Balkan countries resulted in the first operation in Albania having started in May 2019. And this is only a small part of Frontex’ expanding role in recent years. In response to the ‘refugee crisis’ of 2015, the European Commission launched a series of proposals that saw large increases in the powers of the agency, including giving member states binding advice to boost their border security, and giving Frontex the right to intervene in member states’ affairs (even without their consent) by decision of the Commission or Council.
These proposals also included the creation of a 10,000 person strong standing corps of border guards and a budget to buy or lease its own equipment. Concretely, Frontex started with a budget of €6 million in 2005, which grew to €143 million in 2015. This was then quickly increased again from €239 million in 2016 to €460 million in 2020. The enormous expansion of EU border security and control has been accompanied by rapidly increasing budgets in general. In recent years, billions of euros have been spent on fortifying borders, setting up biometric databases, increasing surveillance capacities, and paying non-EU-countries to play their parts in this expansion process.
Negotiations about the next seven-year-budget for the EU, the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027, are still ongoing. In the European Commission’s latest proposal, which is clearly positioned as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the fund for strengthening member states’ border security, the Integrated Border Management Fund, has been allotted €12.5 billion. Its predecessors, the External Borders Fund (2007-2013) and the Internal Security Fund – Borders (2014-2020), had much smaller budgets: €1.76 billion and €2.70 billion, respectively. For Frontex, €7.5 billion is reserved, with €2.2 billion earmarked for purchasing or leasing equipment such as helicopters, drones, and patrol vessels. These huge budget increases are exemplary of the priority the EU attaches to stopping migration.
The narrative underlying these policies and budget growths is the perception of migration as a threat; a security problem. As researcher, Ainhoa Ruiz (Centre Delàs) writes, “the securitisation process also includes militarisation,” because “the prevailing paradigm for providing security is based on military principles: the use of force and coercion, more weapons equating to more security, and the achievement of security by eliminating threats.”
This narrative hasn’t come out of the blue. It is pushed by right wing politicians and often followed by centrist and leftist parties afraid of losing voters. Importantly, it is also promoted by an extensive and successful industrial lobby. According to Martin Lemberg-Pedersen (Assistant Professor in Global Refugee Studies, Aalborg University), arms companies “establish themselves as experts on border security, and use this position to frame immigration to Europe as leading to evermore security threats in need of evermore advanced [security] products.” The narrative of migration as a security problem thus sets the stage for militaries, and the security companies behind the commercial arms lobby, to offer their goods and services as the solution. The range of militarization policies mentioned so far reflects the broad adoption of this narrative.
The lobby organizations of large European military and security companies regularly interact with the European Commission and EU border agencies. They have meetings, organise roundtables, and see each other at military and security fairs and conferences. Industry representatives also take part in official advisory groups, are invited to present new arms and technologies, and write policy proposals. These proposals can sometimes be so influential that they are adopted as policy, almost unamended.
This happened, for instance, when the the Commission decided to open up the Instrument contributing to Security and Peace, a fund meant for peace-building and conflict prevention. The fund’s terms were expanded to cover provision of third party countries with non-lethal security equipment, for example, for border security purposes. The new policy document for this turned out to be a step-by-step reproduction of an earlier proposal from lobby organisation, Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD). Yet, perhaps the most far-reaching success of this kind is the expansion of Frontex, itself, into a European Border Guard. Years before it actually happened, the industry had already been pushing for this outcome.
The same companies that are at the forefront of the border security and control lobby are, not surprisingly, also the big winners of EU and member states’ contracts in these areas. These include three of the largest European (and global) arms companies, namely, Airbus (Paneuropean), Leonardo (Italy) and Thales (France). These companies are active in many aspects of the border security and control market. Airbus’ and Leonardo’s main product in this field are helicopters, with EU funds paying for many purchases by EU and third countries. Thales provides radar, for example, for border patrol vessels, and is heavily involved in biometric and digital identification, especially after having acquired market leader, Gemalto, last year.
These three companies are the main beneficiaries of the European anti-migration obsession. At the same time, these very three companies also contribute to new migration streams to Europe’s shores through their trade in arms. They are responsible for significant parts of Europe’s arms exports to countries at war, and they provide the arms used by parties in internal armed conflicts, by human rights violators, and by repressive regimes. These are the forces fueling the reasons for which people are forced to flee in the first place.
Many other military and security companies also earn up to hundreds of millions of euros from large border security and control projects oriented around logistics and transport. Dutch shipbuilder Damen provided not only many southern European countries with border patrol vessels, but also controversially sold those to Libya and Turkey, among others. Its ships have also been used in Frontex operations, in Operation Sophia, and on the Channel between Calais and Dover.
The Spanish company, European Security Fencing, provided razor wire for the fences around the Spanish enclaves, Ceuta and Melilla, in Morocco, as well as the fence at Calais and the fences on the borders of Austria, Bulgaria, and Hungary. Frontex, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), and Greece leased border surveillance drones from Elbit and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). These are Israeli military companies that routinely promote their products as ‘combat-proven’ or ‘battlefield tested’ against Palestinians.
Civipol, a French public-private company owned by the state, and several large arms producers (including Thales, Airbus, and Safran), run a string of EU-/member state-funded border security projects in third party countries. This includes setting up fingerprint databases of the whole populations of Mali and Senegal, which facilitates identification and deportation of their nationals from Europe. These are just a few examples of the companies that benefit from the billions of euros that the EU and its member states spend on a broad range of purchases and projects in their bid to stop migration.
The numbers of forcibly displaced people in the world grew to a staggering 79.5 million by the end of last year. Instead of helping to eliminate the root causes of migration, EU border and migration policies, as well as its arms exports to the rest of the world, are bound to lead to more refugees in the future. The consequences of these policies have already been devastating. As experts in the field of migration have repeatedly warned, the militarisation of borders primarily pushes migrants to take alternative migration routes that are often more dangerous and involve the risks of relying on criminal smuggling networks. The Mediterranean Sea has become a sad witness of this, turning into a graveyard for a growing percentage of refugees trying to cross it.
The EU approach to border security doesn’t stand on its own. Many other countries, in particular Western ones and those with authoritarian leaders, follow the same narrative and policies. Governments all over the world, but particularly those in the US, Australia, and Europe, continue to spend billions of euros on border security and control equipment and services. And they plan to increase budgets even more in the coming years. For military and security companies, this is good news; the global border security market is expected to grow by over 7% annually for the next five years to a total of $65 billion in 2025. It looks like they will belong to the very few winners of increasingly restrictive policies targeting vulnerable people on the run.
#industrie_militaire #covid-19 #coronavirus #frontières_extérieures #Operation_Sophia #Eurosur #surveillance #drones #technologie #EUCAP #externalisation #Albanie #budget #Integrated_Border_Management_Fund #menace #lobby_industriel #Instrument_contributing_to_Security_and_Peace #conflits #paix #prévention_de_conflits #Aerospace_and_Defence_Industries_Association_of_Europe (#ASD) #Airbus #Leonardo #Thales #hélicoptères #radar #biométrie #identification_digitale #Gemalto #commerce_d'armes #armement #Damen #European_Security_Fencing #barbelé #European_Maritime_Safety_Agency (#EMSA) #Elbit #Israel_Aerospace_Industries (#IAI) #Civipol #Safran #base_de_données
Pour @etraces :
Civipol, a French public-private company owned by the state, and several large arms producers (including Thales, Airbus, and Safran), run a string of EU-/member state-funded border security projects in third party countries. This includes setting up fingerprint databases of the whole populations of Mali and Senegal, which facilitates identification and deportation of their nationals from Europe
GUARDING THE FORTRESS. The role of Frontex in the militarisation and securitisation of migration flows in the European Union
The report focuses on 19 Frontex operations run by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (hereafter Frontex) to explore how the agency is militarising borders and criminalising migrants, undermining fundamental rights to freedom of movement and the right to asylum.https://www.tni.org/files/styles/content_full_width/public/af_infografia_frontex_eng_0.jpg?itok=en5KE_zd#.jpg
This report is set in a wider context in which more than 70.8 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced, according to the 2018 figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (UNHCR, 2019). Some of these have reached the borders of the European Union (EU), seeking protection and asylum, but instead have encountered policy responses that mostly aim to halt and intercept migration flows, against the background of securitisation policies in which the governments of EU Member States see migration as a threat. One of the responses to address migration flows is the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (hereafter Frontex), established in 2004 as the EU body in charge of guarding what many have called ‘Fortress Europe’, and whose practices have helped to consolidate the criminalisation of migrants and the securitisation of their movements.
The report focuses on analysing the tools deployed by Fortress Europe, in this case through Frontex, to prevent the freedom of movement and the right to asylum, from its creation in 2004 to the present day.
The sources used to write this report were from the EU and Frontex, based on its budgets and annual reports. The analysis focused on the Frontex regulations, the language used and its meaning, as well as the budgetary trends, identifying the most significant items – namely, the joint operations and migrant-return operations.
A table was compiled of all the joint operations mentioned in the annual reports since the Agency was established in 2005 up to 2018 (see annexes). The joint operations were found on government websites but were not mentioned in the Frontex annual reports. Of these operations, we analysed those of the longest duration, or that have showed recent signs of becoming long-term operations. The joint operations are analysed in terms of their objectives, area of action, the mandates of the personnel deployed, and their most noteworthy characteristics.
Basically, the research sought to answer the following questions: What policies are being implemented in border areas and in what context? How does Frontex act in response to migration movements? A second objective was to analyse how Frontex securitises the movement of refugees and other migrants, with the aim of contributing to the analysis of the process of border militarisation and the security policies applied to non-EU migrants by the EU and its Member States.
Pour télécharger le rapport_
#Frontex aircraft : Below the radar against international law
For three years, Frontex has been chartering small aircraft for the surveillance of the EU’s external borders. First Italy was thus supported, then Croatia followed. Frontex keeps the planes details secret, and the companies also switch off the transponders for position display during operations.
The European Commission does not want to make public which private surveillance planes Frontex uses in the Mediterranean. In the non-public answer to a parliamentary question, the EU border agency writes that the information on the aircraft is „commercially confidential“ as it contains „personal data and sensitive operational information“.
Frontex offers EU member states the option of monitoring their external borders using aircraft. For this „Frontex Aerial Surveillance Service“ (FASS), Frontex charters twin-engined airplanes from European companies. Italy first made use of the service in 2017, followed a year later by Croatia. In 2018, Frontex carried out at least 1,800 flight hours under the FASS, no figures are yet available for 2019.
Air service to be supplemented with #drones
The FASS flights are carried out under the umbrella of „Multipurpose Aerial Surveillance“, which includes satellite surveillance as well as drones. Before the end of this year, the border agency plans to station large drones in the Mediterranean for up to four years. The situation pictures of the European Union’s „pre-frontier area“ are fed into the surveillance system EUROSUR, whose headquarter is located at Frontex in Warsaw. The national EUROSUR contact points, for example in Spain, Portugal and Italy, also receive this information.
In addition to private charter planes, Frontex also uses aircraft and helicopters provided by EU Member States, in the central Mediterranean via the „Themis“ mission. The EU Commission also keeps the call signs of the state aircraft operating there secret. They would be considered „sensitive operational information“ and could not be disclosed to MEPs.
Previously, the FOIA platform „Frag den Staat“ („Ask the State“) had also tried to find out details about the sea and air capacities of the member states in „Themis“. Frontex refused to provide any information on this matter. „Frag den Staat“ lost a case against Frontex before the European Court of Justice and is now to pay 23,700 Euros to the agency for legal fees.
Real-time tracking with FlightAware
The confidentiality of Frontex comes as a surprise, because companies that monitor the Mediterranean for the agency are known through a tender. Frontex has signed framework contracts with the Spanish arms group Indra as well as the charter companies CAE Aviation (Canada), Diamond-Executive Aviation (Great Britain) and EASP Air (Netherlands). Frontex is spending up to 14.5 million euros each on the contracts.
Finally, online service providers such as FlightAware can also be used to draw conclusions about which private and state airplanes are flying for Frontex in the Mediterranean. For real-time positioning, the providers use data from ADS-B transponders, which all larger aircraft must have installed. A worldwide community of non-commercial trackers receives this geodata and feeds it into the Internet. In this way, for example, Italian journalist Sergio Scandura documents practically all movements of Frontex aerial assets in the central Mediterranean.
Among the aircraft tracked this way are the twin-engined „DA-42“, „DA-62“ and „Beech 350“ of Diamond-Executive Aviation, which patrol the Mediterranean Sea on behalf of Frontex as „Osprey1“, „Osprey3“ and „Tasty“, in former times also „Osprey2“ and „Eagle1“. They are all operated by Diamond-Executive Aviation and take off and land at airports in Malta and Sicily.
„Push-backs“ become „pull-backs“
In accordance with the Geneva Convention on Refugees, the EU Border Agency may not return people to states where they are at risk of torture or other serious human rights violations. Libya is not a safe haven; this assessment has been reiterated on several occasions by the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees, among others.
Because these „push-backs“ are prohibited, Frontex has since 2017 been helping with so-called „pull-backs“ by bringing refugees back to Libya by the Libyan coast guard rather than by EU units. With the „Multipurpose Aerial Surveillance“, Frontex is de facto conducting air reconnaissance for Libya. By November 2019, the EU border agency had notified Libyan authorities about refugee boats on the high seas in at least 42 cases.
Many international law experts consider this practice illegal. Since Libya would not be able to track down the refugees without the help of Frontex, the agency must take responsibility for the refoulements. The lawyers Omer Shatz and Juan Branco therefore want to sue responsibles of the European Union before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Frontex watches refugees drown
This is probably the reason why Frontex disguises the exact location of its air surveillance. Private maritime rescue organisations have repeatedly pointed out that Frontex aircrafts occasionally switch off their transponders so that they cannot be tracked via ADS-B. In the answer now available, this is confirmed by the EU Commission. According to this, the visibility of the aircraft would disclose „sensitive operational information“ and, in combination with other kinds of information, „undermine“ the operational objectives.
The German Ministry of the Interior had already made similar comments on the Federal Police’s assets in Frontex missions, according to which „general tracking“ of their routes in real time would „endanger the success of the mission“.
However, Frontex claims it did not issue instructions to online service providers to block the real-time position display of its planes, as journalist Scandura described. Nonetheless, the existing concealment of the operations only allows the conclusion that Frontex does not want to be controlled when the deployed aircraft watch refugees drown and Italy and Malta, as neighbouring EU member states, do not provide any assistance.
#avions #Italie #Croatie #confidentialité #transparence #Frontex_Aerial_Surveillance_Service (#FASS) #Multipurpose_Aerial_Surveillance #satellites #Méditerranée #Thermis #information_sensible #Indra #CAE_Aviation #Diamond-Executive_Aviation #EASP_Air #FlightAware #ADS-B #DA-42 #DA-62 #Beech_350 #Osprey1 #Osprey3 #Tasty #Osprey2 #Eagle1 #Malte #Sicile #pull-back #push-back #refoulement #Sergio_Scandura
Walls Must Fall: Ending the deadly politics of border militarisation - webinar recording
This webinar explored the trajectory and globalization of border militarization and anti-migrant racism across the world, the history, ideologies and actors that have shaped it, the pillars and policies that underpin the border industrial complex, the resistance of migrants, refugees and activists, and the shifting dynamics within this pandemic.
- #Harsha_Walia, author of Undoing Border Imperialism (2013)
- #Jille_Belisario, Transnational Migrant Platform-Europe (TMP-E)
- #Todd_Miller, author of Empire of Borders (2020), Storming the Wall (2019) and TNI’s report More than A Wall (2019)
- #Kavita_Krishnan, All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA).
Le business meurtrier des frontières
Le 21ème siècle sera-t-il celui des barrières ? Probable, au rythme où les frontières nationales se renforcent. Dans un livre riche et documenté, publié aux éditions Syllepse, le géographe Stéphane Rosière dresse un indispensable état des lieux.
Une nuit du mois de juin, dans un centre de rétention de l’île de Rhodes, la police grecque vient chercher une vingtaine de migrant·e·s, dont deux bébés. Après un trajet en bus, elle abandonne le groupe dans un canot de sauvetage sans moteur, au milieu des eaux territoriales turques. En août, le New York Times publie une enquête révélant que cette pratique, avec la combinaison de l’arrivée aux affaires du premier ministre conservateur Kyriakos Mitsotakis et de la diffusion de la pandémie de Covid-19, est devenue courante depuis mars.
Illégales au regard du droit international, ces expulsions illustrent surtout le durcissement constant de la politique migratoire de l’Europe depuis 20 ans. Elles témoignent aussi d’un processus mondial de « pixellisation » des frontières : celles-ci ne se réduisent pas à des lignes mais à un ensemble de points plus ou moins en amont ou en aval (ports, aéroports, eaux territoriales…), où opèrent les polices frontalières.
La fin de la fin des frontières
Plus largement, le récent ouvrage de Stéphane Rosière, Frontières de fer, le cloisonnement du monde, permet de prendre la mesure d’un processus en cours de « rebordering » à travers le monde. À la fois synthèse des recherches récentes sur les frontières et résultats des travaux de l’auteur sur la résurgence de barrières frontalières, le livre est une lecture incontournable sur l’évolution contemporaine des frontières nationales.
D’autant qu’il n’y a pas si longtemps, la mondialisation semblait promettre l’affaissement des frontières, dans la foulée de la disparition de l’Union soviétique et, corollairement, de la généralisation de l’économie de marché. La Guerre froide terminée annonçait la « fin de l’histoire » et, avec elle, la disparition des limites territoriales héritées de l’époque moderne. Au point de ringardiser, rappelle Stéphane Rosière, les études sur les frontières au sein de la géographie des années 1990, parallèlement au succès d’une valorisation tous azimuts de la mobilité dans le discours politique dominant comme dans les sciences sociales.
Trente ans après, le monde se réveille avec 25 000 kilomètres de barrières frontalières – record pour l’Inde, avec plus de 3 000 kilomètres de clôtures pour prévenir l’immigration depuis le Bangladesh. Barbelés, murs de briques, caméras, détecteurs de mouvements, grilles électrifiées, les dispositifs de contrôle frontalier fleurissent en continu sur les cinq continents.
L’âge des « murs anti-pauvres »
La contradiction n’est qu’apparente. Les barrières du 21e siècle ne ferment pas les frontières mais les cloisonnent – d’où le titre du livre. C’est-à-dire que l’objectif n’est pas de supprimer les flux mondialisés – de personnes et encore moins de marchandises ni de capitaux – mais de les contrôler. Les « teichopolitiques », terme qui recouvre, pour Stéphane Rosière, les politiques de cloisonnement de l’espace, matérialisent un « ordre mondial asymétrique et coercitif », dans lequel on valorise la mobilité des plus riches tout en assignant les populations pauvres à résidence.
De fait, on observe que les barrières frontalières redoublent des discontinuités économiques majeures. Derrière l’argument de la sécurité, elles visent à contenir les mouvements migratoires des régions les plus pauvres vers des pays mieux lotis économiquement : du Mexique vers les États-Unis, bien sûr, ou de l’Afrique vers l’Europe, mais aussi de l’Irak vers l’Arabie Saoudite ou du Pakistan vers l’Iran.
Les dispositifs de contrôle frontalier sont des outils parmi d’autres d’une « implacable hiérarchisation » des individus en fonction de leur nationalité. Comme l’a montré le géographe Matthew Sparke à propos de la politique migratoire nord-américaine, la population mondiale se trouve divisée entre une classe hypermobile de citoyen·ne·s « business-class » et une masse entravée de citoyen·ne·s « low-cost ». C’est le sens du « passport index » publié chaque année par le cabinet Henley : alors qu’un passeport japonais ou allemand donne accès à plus de 150 pays, ce chiffre descend en-dessous de 30 avec un passeport afghan ou syrien.
Le business des barrières
Si les frontières revêtent une dimension économique, c’est aussi parce qu’elles sont un marché juteux. À l’heure où les pays européens ferment des lits d’hôpital faute de moyens, on retiendra ce chiffre ahurissant : entre 2005 et 2016, le budget de Frontex, l’agence en charge du contrôle des frontières de l’Union européenne, est passé de 6,3 à 238,7 millions d’euros. À quoi s’ajoutent les budgets colossaux débloqués pour construire et entretenir les barrières – budgets entourés d’opacité et sur lesquels, témoigne l’auteur, il est particulièrement difficile d’enquêter, faute d’obtenir… des fonds publics.
L’argent public alimente ainsi une « teichoéconomie » dont les principaux bénéficiaires sont des entreprises du BTP et de la sécurité européennes, nord-américaines, israéliennes et, de plus en plus, indiennes ou saoudiennes. Ce complexe sécuritaro-industriel, identifié par Julien Saada, commercialise des dispositifs de surveillance toujours plus sophistiqués et prospère au rythme de l’inflation de barrières entre pays, mais aussi entre quartiers urbains.
Un business d’autant plus florissant qu’il s’auto-entretient, dès lors que les mêmes entreprises vendent des armes. On sait que les ventes d’armes, alimentant les guerres, stimulent les migrations : un « cercle vertueux » s’enclenche pour les entreprises du secteur, appelées à la rescousse pour contenir des mouvements de population qu’elles participent à encourager.
« Mourir aux frontières »
Bénéfices juteux, profits politiques, les barrières font des heureux. Elles tuent aussi et l’ouvrage de Stéphane Rosière se termine sur un décompte macabre. C’est, dit-il, une « guerre migratoire » qui est en cours. Guerre asymétrique, elle oppose la police armée des puissances économiques à des groupes le plus souvent désarmés, venant de périphéries dominées économiquement et dont on entend contrôler la mobilité. Au nom de la souveraineté des États, cette guerre fait plusieurs milliers de victimes par an et la moindre des choses est de « prendre la pleine mesure de la létalité contemporaine aux frontières ».
Sur le blog :
– Une synthèse sur les murs frontaliers : ►http://geographiesenmouvement.blogs.liberation.fr/2019/01/28/lamour-des-murs
– Le compte rendu d’un autre livre incontournable sur les frontières : ▻http://geographiesenmouvement.blogs.liberation.fr/2019/08/03/frontieres-en-mouvement
– Une synthèse sur les barricades à l’échelle intraurbaine : ►http://geographiesenmouvement.blogs.liberation.fr/2020/10/21/gated-communities-le-paradis-entre-quatre-murs
How Private Security Firms Profit Off the Refugee Crisis
The UK has pumped money to corporations turning #Calais into a bleak fortress.
Tall white fences lined with barbed wire – welcome to Calais. The city in northern France is an obligatory stop for anyone trying to reach the UK across the channel. But some travellers are more welcome than others, and in recent decades, a slew of private security companies have profited millions of pounds off a very expensive – an unattractive – operation to keep migrants from crossing.
Every year, thousands of passengers and lorries take the ferry at the Port of Calais-Fréthun, a trading route heavily relied upon by the UK for imports. But the entrance to the port looks more like a maximum-security prison than your typical EU border. Even before Brexit, the UK was never part of the Schengen area, which allows EU residents to move freely across 26 countries. For decades, Britain has strictly controlled its southern border in an attempt to stop migrants and asylum seekers from entering.
As early as 2000, the Port of Calais was surrounded by a 2.8 metre-high fence to prevent people from jumping into lorries waiting at the ferry departure point. In 1999, the Red Cross set up a refugee camp in the nearby town of Sangatte which quickly became overcrowded. The UK pushed for it to be closed in 2002 and then negotiated a treaty with France to regulate migration between the two countries.
The 2003 Le Toquet Treaty allowed the UK to check travellers on French soil before their arrival, and France to do the same on UK soil. Although the deal looks fair on paper, in practice it unduly burdens French authorities, as there are more unauthorised migrants trying to reach the UK from France than vice versa.
The treaty effectively moved the UK border onto French territory, but people still need to cross the channel to request asylum. That’s why thousands of refugees from conflict zones like Syria, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Sudan and Somalia have found themselves stranded in Calais, waiting for a chance to cross illegally – often in search of family members who’ve already made it to the UK. Many end up paying people smugglers to hide them in lorries or help them cross by boat.
These underlying issues came to a head during the Syrian crisis, when refugees began camping out near Calais in 2014. The so-called Calais Jungle became infamous for its squalid conditions, and at its peak, hosted more than 7,000 people. They were all relocated to other centres in France before the camp was bulldozed in 2016. That same year, the UK also decided to build a €2.7 million border wall in Calais to block access to the port from the camp, but the project wasn’t completed until after the camp was cleared, attracting a fair deal of criticism. Between 2015 and 2018, the UK spent over €110 million on border security in France, only to top it up with over €56 million more in 2018.
But much of this public money actually flows into the accounts of private corporations, hired to build and maintain the high-tech fences and conduct security checks. According to a 2020 report by the NGO Care4Calais, there are more than 40 private security companies working in the city. One of the biggest, Eamus Cork Solutions (ECS), was founded by a former Calais police officer in 2004 and is reported to have benefited at least €30 million from various contracts as of 2016.
Stéphane Rosière, a geography professor at the University of Reims, wrote his book Iron Borders (only available in French) about the many border walls erected around the world. Rosière calls this the “security-industrial” complex – private firms that have largely replaced the traditional military-industrial sector in Europe since WW2.
“These companies are getting rich by making security systems adaptable to all types of customers – individuals, companies or states,” he said. According to Rosière, three-quarters of the world’s border security barriers were built in the 21st century.
Brigitte, a pensioner living close to the former site of the Calais Jungle, has seen her town change drastically over the past two decades. “Everything is cordoned off with wire mesh," she said. "I have the before and after photos, and it’s not a pretty sight. It’s just wire, wire, wire.” For the past 15 years, Brigitte has been opening her garage door for asylum seekers to stop by for a cup of tea and charge their phones and laptops, earning her the nickname "Mama Charge”.
“For a while, the purpose of these fences and barriers was to stop people from crossing,” said François Guennoc, president of L’Auberge des Migrants, an NGO helping displaced migrants in Calais.
Migrants have still been desperate enough to try their luck. “They risked a lot to get into the port area, and many of them came back bruised and battered,” Guennoc said. Today, walls and fences are mainly being built to deter people from settling in new camps near Calais after being evicted.
In the city centre, all public squares have been fenced off. The city’s bridges have been fitted with blue lights and even with randomly-placed bike racks, so people won’t sleep under them.
“They’ve also been cutting down trees for some time now,” said Brigitte, pointing to a patch near her home that was once woods. Guennoc said the authorities are now placing large rocks in areas where NGOs distribute meals and warm clothes, to prevent displaced people from receiving the donations. “The objective of the measures now is also to make the NGOs’ work more difficult,” he said.
According to the NGO Refugee Rights Europe, about 1,500 men, women and minors were living in makeshift camps in and around Calais as of April 2020. In July 2020, French police raided a camp of over 500 people, destroying residents’ tents and belongings, in the largest operation since the Calais Jungle was cleared. An investigation by Slate found that smaller camps are cleared almost every day by the French police, even in the middle of winter. NGOs keep providing new tents and basic necessities to displaced residents, but they are frustrated by the waste of resources. The organisations are also concerned about COVID-19 outbreaks in the camps.
As VICE World News has previously reported, the crackdown is only pushing people to take more desperate measures to get into the UK. Boat crossings reached record-highs in 2020, and four people have died since August 2020 while trying to cross, by land and sea. “When you create an obstacle, people find a way to get around it,” Guennoc said. “If they build a wall all the way along the coast to prevent boat departures, people will go to Normandy – and that has already started.” Crossing the open sea puts migrants at even greater risk.
Rosière agrees security measures are only further endangering migrants.“All locks eventually open, no matter how complex they may be. It’s just a matter of time.”
He believes the only parties who stand to profit from the status quo are criminal organisations and private security firms: “At the end of the day, this a messed-up use of public money.”
À Calais, la ville s’emmure
Financing Border Wars. The border industry, its financiers and human rights
This report seeks to explore and highlight the extent of today’s global border security industry, by focusing on the most important geographical markets—Australia, Europe, USA—listing the human rights violations and risks involved in each sector of the industry, profiling important corporate players and putting a spotlight on the key investors in each company.
Migration will be one of the defining human rights issues of the 21st century. The growing pressures to migrate combined with the increasingly militarised state security response will only exacerbate an already desperate situation for refugees and migrants. Refugees already live in a world where human rights are systematically denied. So as the climate crisis deepens and intersects with other economic and political crises, forcing more people from their homes, and as states retreat to ever more authoritarian security-based responses, the situation for upholding and supporting migrants’ rights looks ever bleaker.
States, most of all those in the richest countries, bear the ultimate responsibility to uphold the human rights of refugees and migrants recognised under International Human Rights Law. Yet corporations are also deeply implicated. It is their finance, their products, their services, their infrastructure that underpins the structures of state migration and border control. In some cases, they are directly involved in human rights violations themselves; in other cases they are indirectly involved as they facilitate the system that systematically denies refugees and migrants their rights. Most of all, through their lobbying, involvement in government ‘expert’ groups, revolving doors with state agencies, it becomes clear that corporations are not just accidental beneficiaries of the militarisation of borders. Rather they actively shape the policies from which they profit and therefore share responsibility for the human rights violations that result.
This state-corporate fusion is best described as a Border Industrial Complex, drawing on former US President Eisenhower’s warning of the dangers of a Military-Industrial Complex. Indeed it is noticeable that many of the leading border industries today are also military companies, seeking to diversify their security products to a rapidly expanding new market.
This report seeks to explore and highlight the extent of today’s global border security industry, by focusing on the most important geographical markets—Australia, Europe, USA—listing the human rights violations and risks involved in each sector of the industry, profiling important corporate players and putting a spotlight on the key investors in each company.
A booming industry
The border industry is experiencing spectacular growth, seemingly immune to austerity or economic downturns. Market research agencies predict annual growth of the border security market of between 7.2% and 8.6%, reaching a total of $65–68 billion by 2025. The largest expansion is in the global Biometrics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) markets. Markets and Markets forecasts the biometric systems market to double from $33 billion in 2019 to $65.3 billion by 2024—of which biometrics for migration purposes will be a significant sector. It says that the AI market will equal US$190.61 billion by 2025.
The report investigates five key sectors of the expanding industry: border security (including monitoring, surveillance, walls and fences), biometrics and smart borders, migrant detention, deportation, and audit and consultancy services. From these sectors, it profiles 23 corporations as significant actors: Accenture, Airbus, Booz Allen Hamilton, Classic Air Charter, Cobham, CoreCivic, Deloitte, Elbit, Eurasylum, G4S, GEO Group, IBM, IDEMIA, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin, Mitie, Palantir, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Serco, Sopra Steria, Thales, Thomson Reuters, Unisys.
– The border security and control field, the technological infrastructure of security and surveillance at the border, is led by US, Australian, European and Israeli firms including Airbus, Elbit, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin, Airbus, Leonardo and Thales— all of which are among the world’s major arms sellers. They benefit not only from border contracts within the EU, US, and Australia but also increasingly from border externalisation programmes funded by these same countries. Jean Pierre Talamoni, head of sales and marketing at Airbus Defence and Space (ADS), said in 2016 that he estimates that two thirds of new military market opportunities over the next 10 years will be in Asia and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Companies are also trying to muscle in on providing the personnel to staff these walls, including border guards.
- The Smart Borders sector encompasses the use of a broad range of (newer) technologies, including biometrics (such as fingerprints and iris-scans), AI and phone and social media tracking. The goal is to speed up processes for national citizens and other acceptable travellers and stop or deport unwanted migrants through the use of more sophisticated IT and biometric systems. Key corporations include large IT companies, such as IBM and Unisys, and multinational services company Accenture for whom migration is part of their extensive portfolio, as well as small firms, such as IDEMIA and Palantir Technologies, for whom migration-related work is central. The French public–private company Civipol, co-owned by the state and several large French arms companies, is another key player, selected to set up fingerprint databases of the whole population of Mali and Senegal.
– Deportation. With the exception of the UK and the US, it is uncommon to privatise deportation. The UK has hired British company Mitie for its whole deportation process, while Classic Air Charter dominates in the US. Almost all major commercial airlines, however, are also involved in deportations. Newsweek reported, for example, that in the US, 93% of the 1,386 ICE deportation flights to Latin American countries on commercial airlines in 2019 were facilitated by United Airlines (677), American Airlines (345) and Delta Airlines (266).
- Detention. The Global Detention Project lists over 1,350 migrant detention centres worldwide, of which over 400 are located in Europe, almost 200 in the US and nine in Australia. In many EU countries, the state manages detention centres, while in other countries (e.g. Australia, UK, USA) there are completely privatised prisons. Many other countries have a mix of public and private involvement, such as state facilities with private guards. Australia outsourced refugee detention to camps outside its territories. Australian service companies Broadspectrum and Canstruct International managed the detention centres, while the private security companies G4S, Paladin Solutions and Wilson Security were contracted for security services, including providing guards. Migrant detention in third countries is also an increasingly important part of EU migration policy, with the EU funding construction of migrant detention centres in ten non-EU countries.
- Advisory and audit services are a more hidden part of public policies and practices, but can be influential in shaping new policies. A striking example is Civipol, which in 2003 wrote a study on maritime borders for the European Commission, which adopted its key policy recommendations in October 2003 and in later policy documents despite its derogatory language against refugees. Civipol’s study also laid foundations for later measures on border externalisation, including elements of the migration deal with Turkey and the EU’s Operation Sophia. Since 2003 Civipol has received funding for a large number of migration-related projects, especially in African countries. Between 2015 and 2017, it was the fourth most-funded organisation under the EU Trust Fund. Other prominent corporations in this sector include Eurasylum, as well as major international consultancy firms, particularly Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers, for which migration-related work is part of their expansive portfolio.
Financing the industry
The markets for military and border control procurement are characterized by massively capital intensive investments and contracts, which would not be possible without the involvement of financial actors. Using data from marketscreener.com, the report shows that the world’s largest investment companies are also among the major shareholders in the border industry.
– The Vanguard Group owns shares in 15 of the 17 companies, including over 15% of the shares of CoreCivic and GEO Group that manage private prisons and detention facilities.
- Other important investors are Blackrock, which is a major shareholder in 11 companies, Capital Research and Management (part of the Capital Group), with shares in arms giants Airbus and Lockheed Martin, and State Street Global Advisors (SsgA), which owns over 15% of Lockheed Martin shares and is also a major shareholder in six other companies.
- Although these giant asset management firms dominate, two of the profiled companies, Cobham and IDEMIA, are currently owned by the private equity firm Advent International. Advent specialises in buyouts and restructuring, and it seems likely that it will attempt to split up Cobham in the hope of making a profit by selling on the component companies to other owners.
- In addition, three large European arms companies, Airbus, Thales and Leonardo, active in the border security market, are partly owned by the governments of the countries where they are headquartered.
In all cases, therefore, the financing depends on our money. In the case of state ownership, through our taxes, and in terms of asset management funds, through the way individual savings, pension funds, insurance companies and university endowments are directly invested in these companies via the giant Asset Management Funds. This financing means that the border industry survives on at least the tacit approved use of the public’s funds which makes it vulnerable to social pressure as the human rights costs of the industry become ever more clear.
Human rights and the border industry
Universal human rights apply to every single human being, including refugees and migrants. While the International Bill of Human Rights provides the foundation, including defining universal rights that are important in the context of migration, such as the right to life, liberty and security of person, the right to freedom from torture or cruel or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, and freedom from discrimination, there are other instruments such as the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention or Geneva Convention) of 1951 that are also relevant. There are also regional agreements, including the Organisation of African Unity Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) that play a role relevant to the countries that have ratified them.
Yet despite these important and legally binding human rights agreements, the human rights situation for refugees and migrants has become ever more desperate. States frequently deny their rights under international law, such as the right to seek asylum or non-refoulement principles, or more general rights such as the freedom from torture, cruel or inhumane treatment. There is a gap with regard to effective legal means or grievance mechanisms to counter this or to legally enforce or hold to account states that fail to implement instruments such as the UDHR and the Refugee Convention of 1951. A Permanent Peoples Tribunal in 2019 even concluded that ‘taken together, the immigration and asylum policies and practices of the EU and its Member States constitute a total denial of the fundamental rights of people and migrants, and are veritable crimes against humanity’. A similar conclusion can be made of the US and Australian border and immigration regime.
The increased militarisation of border security worldwide and state-sanctioned hostility toward migrants has had a deeply detrimental impact on the human rights of refugees and migrants.
– Increased border security has led to direct violence against refugees, pushbacks with the risk of returning people to unsafe countries and inhumane circumstances (contravening the principle of non-refoulement), and a disturbing rise in avoidable deaths, as countries close off certain migration routes, forcing migrants to look for other, often more dangerous, alternatives and pushing them into the arms of criminal smuggling networks.
– The increased use of autonomous systems of border security such as drones threaten new dangers related to human rights. There is already evidence that they push migrants to take more dangerous routes, but there is also concern that there is a gradual trend towards weaponized systems that will further threaten migrants’ lives.
– The rise in deportations has threatened fundamental human rights including the right to family unity, the right to seek asylum, the right to humane treatment in detention, the right to due process, and the rights of children’. There have been many instances of violence in the course of deportations, sometimes resulting in death or permanent harm, against desperate people who try to do everything to prevent being deported. Moreover, deportations often return refugees to unsafe countries, where they face violence, persecution, discrimination and poverty.
- The widespread detention of migrants also fundamentally undermines their human rights . There have been many reports of violence and neglect by guards and prison authorities, limited access to adequate legal and medical support, a lack of decent food, overcrowding and poor and unhealthy conditions. Privatisation of detention exacerbates these problems, because companies benefit from locking up a growing number of migrants and minimising costs.
– The building of major migration databases such as EU’s Eurodac and SIS II, VIS gives rise to a range of human rights concerns, including issues of privacy, civil liberties, bias leading to discrimination—worsened by AI processes -, and misuse of collected information. Migrants are already subject to unprecedented levels of surveillance, and are often now treated as guinea pigs where even more intrusive technologies such as facial recognition and social media tracking are tried out without migrants consent.
The trend towards externalisation of migration policies raises new concerns as it seeks to put the human costs of border militarisation beyond the border and out of public sight. This has led to the EU, US and Australia all cooperating with authoritarian regimes to try and prevent migrants from even getting close to their borders. Moreover as countries donate money, equipment or training to security forces in authoritarian regimes, they end up expanding and strengthening their capacities which leads to a rise in human rights violations more broadly. Nowhere are the human rights consequences of border externalisation policies clearer than in the case of Libya, where the EU and individual member states (in particular Italy and Malta) funding, training and cooperation with security forces and militias have led to violence at the borders, murder, disappearances, rape, enslavement and abuse of migrants in the country and torture in detention centres.
The 23 corporations profiled in this report have all been involved in or connected to policies and practices that have come under fire because of violations of the human rights of refugees and migrants. As mentioned earlier, sometimes the companies are directly responsible for human rights violations or concerns. In other cases, they are indirectly responsible through their contribution to a border infrastructure that denies human rights and through lobbying to influence policy-making to prioritize militarized responses to migration. 11 of the companies profiled publicly proclaim their commitment to human rights as signatories to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), but as these are weak voluntary codes this has not led to noticeable changes in their business operations related to migration.
The most prominent examples of direct human rights abuses come from the corporations involved in detention and deportation. Classic Air Charter, Cobham, CoreCivic, Eurasylum, G4S, GEO Group, Mitie and Serco all have faced allegations of violence and abuse by their staff towards migrants. G4S has been one of the companies most often in the spotlight. In 2017, not only were assaults by its staff on migrants at the Brook House immigration removal centre in the UK broadcast by the BBC, but it was also hit with a class suit in Australia by almost 2,000 people who are or were detained at the externalised detention centre on Manus Island, because of physical and psychological injuries as a result of harsh treatment and dangerous conditions. The company eventually settled the case for A$70 million (about $53 million) in the largest-ever human rights class-action settlement. G4S has also faced allegations related to its involvement in deportations.
The other companies listed all play a pivotal role in the border infrastructure that denies refugees’ human rights. Airbus P-3 Orion surveillance planes of the Australian Air Force, for example, play a part in the highly controversial maritime wall that prevents migrants arriving by boat and leads to their detention in terrible conditions offshore. Lockheed Martin is a leading supplier of border security on the US-Mexico border. Leonardo is one of the main suppliers of drones for Europe’s borders. Thales produces the radar and sensor systems, critical to patrolling the Mediterrean. Elbit Systems provides surveillance technologies to both the EU and US, marketed on their success as technologies used in the separation wall in the Palestinian occupied territories. Accenture, IDEMIA and Sopra Steria manage many border biometric projects. Deloitte has been one of the key consulting companies to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency since 2003, while PriceWaterhouseCoopers provides similar consultancy services to Frontex and the Australian border forces. IBM, Palantir and UNISYS provide the IT infrastructure that underpins the border and immigration apparatus.
Time to divest
The report concludes by calling for campaigns to divest from the border industry. There is a long history of campaigns and movements that call for divestment from industries that support human rights violations—from the campaigns to divest from Apartheid South Africa to more recent campaigns to divest from the fossil fuel industry. The border industry has become an equally morally toxic asset for any financial institution, given the litany of human rights abuses tied to it and the likelihood they will intensify in years to come.
There are already examples of existing campaigns targeting particular border industries that have borne fruit. A spotlight on US migrant detention, as part of former President Trump’s anti- immigration policies, contributed to six large US banks (Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Fifth Third Bancorp, JPMorgan Chase, SunTrust, and Wells Fargo) publicly announcing that they would not provide new financing to the private prison industry. The two largest public US pension funds, CalSTRS and CalPERS, also decided to divest from the same two companies. Geo Group acknowledged that these acts of ‘public resistance’ hit the company financially, criticising the banks as ‘clearly bow[ing] down to a small group of activists protesting and conducting targeted social media campaigns’.
Every company involved or accused of human rights violations either denies them or says that they are atypical exceptions to corporate behavior. This report shows however that a militarised border regime built on exclusion will always be a violent apparatus that perpetuates human rights violations. It is a regime that every day locks up refugees in intolerable conditions, separates families causing untold trauma and heartbreak, and causes a devastating death toll as refugees are forced to take unimaginable dangerous journeys because the alternatives are worse. However well-intentioned, any industry that provides services and products for this border regime will bear responsibility for its human consequences and its human rights violations, and over time will suffer their own serious reputational costs for their involvement in this immoral industry. On the other hand, a widespread exodus of the leading corporations on which the border regime depends could force states to change course, and to embrace a politics that protects and upholds the rights of refugees and migrants. Worldwide, social movements and the public are starting to wake up to the human costs of border militarisation and demanding a fundamental change. It is time now for the border industry and their financiers to make a choice.
#Accenture #Airbus #Booz_Allen_Hamilton #Classic_Air_Charter #Cobham #CoreCivic #Deloitte #Elbit #Eurasylum #G4S #GEO_Group #IBM #IDEMIA #Leonardo #Lockheed_Martin #Mitie #Palantir #PricewaterhouseCoopers #Serco #Sopra_Steria #Thales #Thomson_Reuters #Unisys
#contrôles_frontaliers #surveillance #technologie #Jean-Pierre_Talamoni #Airbus_Defence_and_Space (#ADS) #smart_borders #frontières_intelligentes #iris #empreintes_digitales #réseaux_sociaux #IT #Civipol #Mali #Sénégal #renvois #expulsions #déportations #Mitie #Classic_Air_Charter #compagnies_aériennes #United_Airlines #ICE #American_Airlines #Delta_Airlines #rétention #détention_administrative #privatisation #Broadspectrum #Canstruct_International #Paladin_Solutions #Wilson_Security #Operation_Sophia #EU_Trust_Fund #Trust_Fund #externalisation #Eurasylum #Deloitte #PricewaterhouseCoopers #Vanguard_Group #CoreCivic #Blackrock #investisseurs #investissement #Capital_Research_and_Management #Capital_Group #Lockheed_Martin #State_Street_Global_Advisors (#SsgA) #Cobham #IDEMIA #Advent_International #droits_humains #VIS #SIS_II #P-3_Orion #Accenture #Sopra_Steria #Frontex #Australie
Outsourcing oppression. How Europe externalises migrant detention beyond its shores
This report seeks to address the gap and join the dots between Europe’s outsourcing of migrant detention to third countries and the notorious conditions within the migrant detention centres. In a nutshell, Europe calls the shots on migrant detention beyond its shores but is rarely held to account for the deeply oppressive consequences, including arbitrary detention, torture, forced disappearance, violence, sexual violence, and death.
– The European Union (EU), and its member states, externalise detention to third countries as part of a strategy to keep migrants out at all costs. This leads to migrants being detained and subjected to gross human rights violations in transit countries in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, West Asia and Africa.
– Candidate countries wishing to join the EU are obligated to detain migrants and stop them from crossing into the EU as a prerequisite for accession to the Union. Funding is made available through pre-accession agreements specifically for the purpose of detaining migrants.
– Beyond EU candidate countries, this report identifies 22 countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, the Balkans and West Asia where the EU and its member states fund the construction of detention centres, detention related activities such as trainings, or advocate for detention in other ways such as through aggressively pushing for detention legislation or agreeing to relax visa requirements for nationals of these countries in exchange for increased migrant detention.
- The main goal of detention externalisation is to pre-empt migrants from reaching the external borders of the EU by turning third countries into border outposts. In many cases this involves the EU and its member states propping up and maintaining authoritarian regimes.
– Europe is in effect following the ‘Australian model’ that has been highly criticised by UN experts and human rights organisations for the torturous conditions inside detention centres. Nevertheless, Europe continues to advance a system that mirrors Australia’s outsourced model, focusing not on guaranteeing the rights of migrants, but instead on deterring and pushing back would-be asylum seekers at all costs.
- Human rights are systematically violated in detention centres directly and indirectly funded by the EU and its member states, including cases of torture, arbitrary and prolonged detention, sexual violence, no access to legal recourse, humanitarian assistance, or asylum procedures, the detention of victims of trafficking, and many other serious violations in which Europe is implicated.
- Particularly horrendous is the case of Libya, which continues to receive financial and political support from Europe despite mounting evidence of brutality, enslavement, torture, forced disappearance and death. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), implement EU policies in Libya and, according to aid officials, actively whitewash the consequences of European policies to safeguard substantial EU funding.
- Not only does the EU deport and push back migrants to unsafe third countries, it actively finances and coercively pushes for their detention in these countries. Often they have no choice but to sign ‘voluntary’ agreements to be returned to their countries of origin as the only means of getting out of torturous detention facilities.
- The EU implements a carrot and stick approach, in particular in its dealings with Africa, prolonging colonialist dynamics and uneven power structures – in Niger, for example, the EU pushed for legislation on detention, in exchange for development aid funding.
– The EU envisages a greater role for migrant detention in third countries going forward, as was evidenced in the European Commission’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum.
- The EU acts on the premise of containment and deterrence, namely, that if migrants seeking to reach Europe are intercepted and detained along that journey, they will be deterred from making the journey in the first place. This approach completely misses the point that people migrate to survive, often fleeing war and other forms of violence. The EU continues to overlook the structural reasons behind why people flee and the EU’s own role in provoking such migration.
– The border industrial complex profits from the increased securitisation of borders. Far from being passive spectators, the military and security industry is actively involved in shaping EU border policies by positioning themselves as experts on the issue. We can already see a trend of privatising migrant detention, paralleling what is happening in prison systems worldwide.
pour télécharger le rapport :
#externalisation #rétention #détention #détention_arbitraire #violence #disparitions #disparitions_forcées #violence #violence_sexuelle #morts #mort #décès #Afrique #Europe_de_l'Est #Balkans #Asie #modèle_australien #EU #UE #Union_européenne #torture #Libye #droits_humains #droits_fondamentaux #HCR #UNHCR #OIM #IOM #dissuasion #privatisation
Panique astronomique face à la constellation de satellites d’Elon Musk
Envahissante la constellation Starlink de satellites de SpaceX, s’inquiète la communauté des astronomes.
Si le ciel est dégagé mercredi soir, vous verrez peut-être défiler dans le ciel une chaîne de 60 points brillants, les premiers satellites de la constellation Starlink mise en orbite jeudi dernier par SpaceX, la société d’Elon Musk. C’est justement le fait qu’ils soient aussi visibles, et que le patron ait l’intention d’en envoyer 12.000 en tout afin de fournir le globe en internet à haut débit, qui fait souffler un vent de panique dans la communauté des astronomes depuis quelques jours.
Les satellites Starlink font environ 227 kilogrammes et étaient particulièrement brillants peu après leur lancement jeudi dernier, à environ 440 km d’altitude, car ils sont plats, et ont un grand panneau solaire reflétant la lumière. La brillance dépend de l’angle des panneaux, et de celle de l’orbite.
Un astronome néerlandais, Marco Langbroek, avait anticipé la trajectoire et a réussi à filmer vendredi le « train » bien droit des satellites, comme une armée extraterrestre. Depuis, chaque soir, des astronomes tentent d’observer la longue traîne, qui s’allonge et met plus de dix minutes à traverser le ciel.
Pollution radio et débris orbitaux
Cela soulève encore un autre problème, non pas la pollution lumineuse, mais la pollution radio : ces constellations ont pour but de garantir un accès internet sur tout le globe, et les ondes qu’elles utilisent pour y parvenir risquent de gêner les radio-télescopes installés par les observatoires. Tout cela sans parler de la question des débris orbitaux. On estime aujourd’hui à 21 000 le nombre d’objets d’une taille supérieure à 10 centimètres en orbite autour de la Terre. La multiplication d’objets en orbite basse de la Terre augmente donc le risque de la collision entre un débris et l’un de ces satellites. Cela entraînerait la création de nouveaux débris, dans une réaction en chaîne. Au-delà d’un certain seuil, un tel scénario rendrait tout simplement impossibles l’exploration spatiale et l’envoi de nouveaux satellites ; il y aurait trop de risques qu’ils soient détruits par des fragments d’engins en orbite, dans ce qu’on appelle lesyndrome de Kessler.
Revealed : new evidence of China’s mission to raze the mosques of Xinjiang | World news | The Guardian
Another major community mosque, the Yutian Aitika mosque near Hotan, appears to have been removed in March of last year. As the largest in its district, locals would gather here on Islamic festivals. The mosque’s history dates back to 1200.
Facebook’s Plans for Space Lasers Revealed - IEEE Spectrum
PointView is the company that IEEE Spectrum revealed last year to be a previously unknown subsidiary of Facebook working on an experimental satellite called Athena. In April, PointView sought permission from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to test whether E-band radio signals could “be used for the provision of fixed and mobile broadband access in unserved and underserved areas.”
That application was still pending at the FCC before the current U.S. federal government shutdown took effect, but it and other public documents and presentations now strongly suggest that PointView is planning to utilize laser technology, possibly both in Athena and future spacecraft.
Facebook has long been interested in free space optical, or laser, communication technology. Lasers are able to support much higher data rates than radio transmitters for a given input power, and their signals are largely immune to interference or hacking, although clouds can be problematic.
Although Facebook developed millimeter-wave E-band links for its stratospheric Aquila drones, it was also experimenting with air-to-ground laser communications before it canceled its drone program last June. The laser tests, which used technology supplied by German company Mynaric, succeeded in establishing 10-gigabit-per-second links between a ground station and a light aircraft flying overhead.
“We proved that a link could be re-established near instantaneously without any discernible downside,” Paul Cornwall, a Mynaric spokesperson, told Spectrum. “That’s pretty key for people looking to establish [high altitude or satellite] constellations.” However, the company would neither confirm nor deny that it was still working with Facebook.
Perhaps coincidentally, PointView’s application for its Athena satellite contains confidential redacted sections that PointView claimed “specifically concern the use and implementation of technologies that are not regulated by the [FCC]… [and]… information controlled by the Export Control Regulations.” A laser tracking system would fulfill both requirements.
The geostationary setup Aniceto describes would differ considerably from the laser system Facebook tested with Mynaric. On the plus side, using a geostationary satellite would mean that ground-based observatories would not need to track rapidly moving objects, such as drones or satellites in low Earth orbit. However, even tightly focused laser signals would spread out and become weaker on the long 36,000-kilometer journey from a geosynchronous orbit.
“The light from an optical beam… would actually spread to encompass a fraction of a city,” said Aniceto. “[And] if the satellite and the laser communication were off pointing this beam by even just one degree, it would completely miss the planet.”
Although the system Aniceto described may differ from the one Facebook is developing, she concluded her speech by saying: “Join me as I continue to develop new technology or as I find alternative ways to use existing technology to make the greater impact of connecting the unconnected.”
Zac Manchester, an assistant professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University, told Spectrum that he has no knowledge of any Facebook satellites but is aware that the company has been working on laser communications. “I’ve seen some of their work in the area,” he said. “It’s very cool.”
Les arpenteurs de la Terre | ARTE
Si au départ l’être humain se servait des étoiles pour s’orienter, l’humanité peut compter aujourd’hui sur les progrès de la science pour mesurer la Terre au millimètre près. Car l’#arpentage de la planète bleue bat toujours son plein. #Satellites, #caméras ou #drones : les dernières avancées technologiques permettent aux scientifiques d’explorer ses moindres recoins. Ils peuvent ainsi mesurer les océans, les volcans ou même l’atmosphère. Mais les chercheurs marchent sur une corde raide, tiraillés entre leur désir de recueillir de plus en plus d’informations et une population soucieuse de divulguer le moins de #données_personnelles possible. Ce #documentaire nous donne un aperçu de l’état actuel de la recherche scientifique et interroge de nombreux chercheurs sur la nécessité de l’arpentage dans leur domaine spécifique.
Le #Phare des Baleines de l’île de Ré, mémoire des transitions énergétiques
C’est probablement l’inverse : l’énergie primaire utilisée par les #technologies_de_l’information n’est pas directement visible comme l’étaient l’huile de baleine ou le charbon hissé au sommet des anciens phares. Mais elle est élevée car l’imagerie satellite implique toute une infrastructure consommatrice d’#énergie_grise. Surtout, le guidage par satellite permet de multiplier les usages finaux et contribue à la croissance très rapide de la navigation maritime : l’une des sources d’émission #CO2 qui augmente le plus rapidement dans le monde !
Newest NOAA weather #satellite suffers critical malfunction | Ars Technica
The “make the best of a bad situation” scenario is far from ideal, though. If GOES-17 doesn’t fully come online this fall as planned, it’s not like US weather forecasters will be in the dark—the #satellites currently covering that portion of the globe are in good shape. That said, GOES-17 was set to be a shiny new toy for forecasters, and any hitch in the satellite succession plan is potentially costly. So here’s hoping GOES-17 can just chill.
War in space may happen soon, but it won’t be what you expect | New Scientist
orbital conflict won’t be a battle of spaceships and bombs
the US space force already exists. The Air Force Space Command has been around since 1982 and employs more than double the number of people at NASA, the US civilian space agency, to operate and protect military satellites. The space force proposal for Congress wasn’t really about creating a new branch of the military, but part of a long-running push to move the space command out from under air force leadership, making space a higher priority.
a space war is most likely to be waged more discreetly, with jamming, spoofing and hacking
The #Outer_Space_Treaty prohibits deploying weapons of mass destruction in space
This is cyberwarfare on a new stage, and international law has yet to catch up. “In terms of legal restrictions on war in space, there is precious little,” says Frans von der Dunk at the Nebraska College of Law. The Outer Space Treaty prohibits deploying weapons of mass destruction in space, but it doesn’t have any specific rules about regular weaponry. More importantly, because it was drafted in 1967, it doesn’t say anything about cyberwarfare.
FCC Accuses Stealthy Startup of Launching Rogue Satellites - IEEE Spectrum
If confirmed, this would be the first ever unauthorized launch of commercial satellites.
Under surveillance: satellites, cameras, and phones track us
#Kazakhgate : nouvelle perquisition chez #Airbus
Les policiers de l’office anticorruption ont perquisitionné vendredi 24 novembre les locaux du groupe Airbus à Suresnes dans l’affaire de #Corruption présumée liée à la vente de #satellites et d’hélicoptères au Kazakhstan entre 2009 et 2011.
#Kazakhgate : la commission occulte qui inquiète #Airbus
Les juges d’instruction ont trouvé la trace d’une commission suspecte de 8,8 millions d’euros versée par Airbus dans le cadre d’une vente de #satellites au Kazakhstan. Le PDG du groupe, Thomas Enders, a été entendu comme témoin par les policiers de l’office anticorruption.
Les mystères des deux #satellites-espions marocains | Telquel.ma
Pour la première fois, un officiel marocain commente le lancement du premier satellite marocain d’observation qui aura lieu le 8 novembre en Guyane. Les applications concrètes, militaires et civiles, de ces deux bijoux de technologies restent néanmoins un mystère.
Le 8 novembre, une fusée de type Vega décollera depuis Kourou en Guyane. À son bord, Moroccan EO Sat1 : le premier satellite marocain d’observation, ou « espion » selon les points de vue. Il s’agit de la première composante d’un système d’imagerie spatiale baptisé Pleiades et capable de fournir des clichés de n’importe quel point du globe en moins de 24 h. Il est constitué de deux satellites placés sur la même orbite à 694 kilomètres de la Terre, qui fournissent des photographies aux acteurs civils et militaires en très haute résolution (70 centimètres). Un second satellite sera donc mis en orbite au début de l’année 2018 pour rendre le dispositif pleinement opérationnel. En Afrique, seules l’Égypte et l’Afrique du Sud sont dotées d’une telle technologie.
Humans have been trying to capture pictures of Earth since the invention of the camera in the 1800s. The earliest aerial photographs were taken from the tops of tall buildings, from kites and balloons, and even from cameras attached to pigeons in flight. In 1946, just after World War II, American scientists strapped a camera to a captured German V2 rocket and launched it into space.
Study links most Amazon deforestation to 128 slaughterhouses
A new study by the NGO Imazon finds that just 128 slaughterhouses process 93 percent of cattle raised in the Brazilian Amazon. The areas of influence supplying the herds to those plants coincide with where the most Amazon deforestation occurs.
le reportage original en portugais
et le rapport de l’ONG Imazon
L’Europe en retard d’une guerre industrielle
Ces nouveaux rapports de forces se retrouvent dans #Airbus Group (nouveau nom d’#EADS), mais aussi dans Arianespace, où l’influence des Français diminue. Comme le constatent en privé certains hauts cadres, le nouveau patron d’Airbus Group, l’Allemand Thomas Enders, « s’américanise de plus en plus ». En 2016, il a ainsi placé un Américain au poste de directeur de la recherche et de la technologie : M. Paul Eremenko, ancien cadre dirigeant de la Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (#Darpa), l’organisme d’État qui, aux États-Unis, oriente tous les crédits en matière de recherche et développement, notamment dans la défense. Un peu comme si Boeing recrutait un ancien patron de la direction générale de l’armement française. Airbus Group, faut-il le rappeler, fabrique les missiles de la force de frappe française.
Même évolution chez Arianespace. Pour la mise en orbite des #satellites européens, ses lanceurs se trouvent systématiquement en compétition avec ceux des Russes et des Américains. Or ceux-ci, avec le soutien de leurs gouvernements, cassent les prix. L’Allemagne a choisi l’américain #SpaceX pour trois de ses satellites. Certes, les Européens ont finalement mené à bien le programme #Galileo, un service de géolocalisation par satellites concurrent du GPS américain. Mais dix-huit ans se sont écoulés entre le lancement du projet et son achèvement, en décembre 2016. Bilan : au moins six ans de retard, un doublement du budget et d’innombrables psychodrames entre les pays participants, certains ne restant pas insensibles aux pressions américaines.
Dans les industries de défense, les coopérations ont bien souvent tourné court (c’est le cas du char franco-allemand). Dans les avions de combat, la France a fait cavalier seul avec son #Rafale, tandis que les Allemands et les Britanniques fabriquaient leur Eurofighter. Les deux avions se concurrencent à l’exportation, certains pays européens, dont le Royaume-Uni, l’Italie et les Pays-Bas, préférant même acheter le F-35 américain, jet militaire le plus cher de l’histoire de l’aéronautique.
Mais c’est dans le numérique que l’échec se révèle le plus cuisant. Depuis trente ans, avec la complicité tacite de la plupart des États, Bruxelles a systématiquement bloqué tout projet visant à créer des champions européens. Un tel laisser-faire contraste avec les initiatives prises par les Chinois et même par les Russes. Pourquoi développer une offre européenne puisque les #Gafam (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft) le font pour nous ?…
Des monopoles échappant à tout contrôle dans le secteur des données sensibles : face à ce danger, une prise de conscience semble toutefois émerger à Bruxelles. D’où la mise en accusation de Google pour atteinte à la concurrence par la Commission européenne, en juillet 2016. Installé en Irlande, le groupe américain bénéficiait d’une fiscalité très avantageuse. Mais cette réprimande — très médiatisée — n’est qu’un acte isolé que Dublin, attaché à un régime qui lui permet d’attirer les entreprises, a vivement déploré. La tentation de se soumettre aux géants américains demeure grande. Fin janvier 2017, le ministre des affaires étrangères danois, M. Anders Samuelsen, a ainsi annoncé la nomination d’« ambassadeurs » de son pays auprès des Gafam : « Ces entreprises sont devenues de nouvelles nations. À l’avenir, nos relations bilatérales avec Google seront aussi importantes que celles que nous entretenons avec la Grèce. » Si cette attitude — semblable à celle de l’Irlande, qui se voit plus que jamais en porte-avions des #multinationales américaines — se confirme, c’est le sens même du projet européen qui est atteint.
-- Jean-Michel Quatrepoint, @mdiplo, juin 2017.
On l’avait noté quelque part ici cette décision de la Suède, mais je ne retrouve pas.
Although this tutorial covered the process on a single image manually, much of this can be automated from the command line with relative ease. A few tools I recommend: