External resources relating to Border militarisation

On the surface, Noor Noor and Terry Burns don't have much in common. The former is a 28-year-old student at Cambridge, getting a degree in environmental conservation that he plans to use back home in Cairo, Egypt. The latter sells lawn ornaments and homegrown vegetables out of her house in the rolling farmlands of Jamestown, Pennsylvania, population 617. They've never met.

But Noor and Burns are linked by the global trade in nonlethal weapons, a growing industry that burst into the headlines recently when the U.S. Border Patrol tear gassed asylum-seekers on the country's southern border. It's the most recent, high-profile incident in a decade that has seen rising use of tear gas around the world.

The lucky ones escaped with only their mobile phones smashed. Those less fortunate say they were beaten with sticks, taunted or attacked with dogs. Many allege they had large sums of money stolen.

According to the testimony of migrants and monitoring groups, the Croatian police force is engaging in a systematic campaign of violence and theft against migrants and refugees attempting to find a route to western Europe through the country.

The Guardian spoke to dozens of men in the Bosnian border towns of Velika Kladuša and Bihać, who said they had been subjected to violence at the hands of Croatian police after crossing into the country. Most women interviewed said they had not been targeted, but had witnessed attacks on men in their groups, although a minority of women said they had been beaten or strip-searched.

Palmer Luckey, the virtual reality pioneer, left Facebook in 2017, six months after it was discovered that he had secretly funded a pro-Trump campaign group dedicated to influencing the US election through “shitposting” and “meme magic”.

The 25-year-old Oculus founder now has a new venture, Anduril Industries, this time supporting Trump’s immigration policies directly through the creation of a surveillance system designed to detect unauthorised crossings of the Mexican border.

Anduril Industries is one of a growing number of companies playing on the fear of “bad hombres” to cash in on government contracts for hi-tech virtual alternatives to physical wall. From drones and sensors to AI-powered facial recognition and human presence detection, these surveillance systems promise cheaper border control but at what cost to civil liberties?

Climate change, increased global migration, and expanding border enforcement are three linked phenomena guaranteed to come to an explosive head in this century.

A police operation is under way on Manus Island, with Papua New Guinean police and immigration officers entering the former detention centre in an effort to move detainees out, more than three weeks into a deteriorating humanitarian crisis. Refugees inside the centre have reported large numbers of officers, including the paramilitary police mobile squad, have entered and given them an hour to leave. The officers shouted at detainees and demanded they hand over their phones.

One year after the Jungle eviction, the hunt against migrants in Calais is as vicious as ever. People keep arriving, hoping to cross the channel to the UK. They are now met with a zero tolerance policy: shelters destroyed, demonstrations broken up, people rounded up in the streets, as deportations are scheduled to vicious states like Sudan, and the death count continues to mount. These days even charity food distributions are being targeted by police and dispersed with tear gas.

The calaisresearch website is a collaborative project to gather and analyse information about the Calais border...

Police militarization and border militarization go hand-in-hand. It's important to recognize this connection in the wake of two decisions recently made by President Donald Trump: to restore a program that provides surplus military gear to local law enforcement agencies, and to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects young undocumented people who meet certain qualifications from being deported. Both decisions represent a reversing of course on policy enacted by President Barack Obama...

In April 2016, European Council President Donald Tusk wrote that the EU needed a harsher plan to counter "uncontrolled migration".

The "unrestricted flow of people" reaching the European continent, Tusk argued, must be stopped through the implementation of "tougher policies" and a stricter control on "who crosses our borders, where and when"...

This is the third in the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) series of global reports documenting the number of lives lost during migration.

This briefing updates the July 2016 report ‘Border Wars: the arms dealers profiting from Europe’s refugee tragedy’ . It shows that the European policy response to the refugee tragedy continues to provide a booming border security market for Europe’s arms and security firms, some of whom are involved in selling arms to the Middle East and North Africa and all of whom encourage European policies focused on keeping refugees out. It’s a win-win for the security corporations, but the cost is a deadly toll for migrants forced into ever more dangerous routes as they flee wars, conflict and oppression.

I crawl out of the back of the pickup with my rifle in hand. “Keep your weapons nice and tight,” Captain Pain orders. I am traveling light. Unlike the others, I don’t view southern Arizona as a war zone, so I didn’t put steel plates in my chest rig. Next to everyone else’s commando-style AR-15s, my Ruger Mini-14 with a wood stock is slightly out of place. But everything else is square—I’m wearing a MultiCam uniform, desert tan combat boots, and a radio on my shoulder. I fit in just fine.

The eviction of the Calais jungle is about to begin, but who does this act of brutality serve? On the one hand, cynical politicians looking to the French presidential election next year, desperately trying to cling onto power with a show of toughness. But also, it will boost the profits of a host of private companies who supply the rubber bullets and barbed wire, bulldozers and deportation buses.

Calais Research Network, a research group formed this August in which Corporate Watch is participating, has compiled an expanded list of over 40 companies profiting from the border regime. These companies have an interest in building up ‘security’ in Calais and beyond, part of a flourishing industry surrounding everything from the privatization of lorry inspections to the manufacturing of tear gas canisters, and the constantly proliferating fences and walls along the highway.

Donald Trump has pledged to build a ‘beautiful wall’ – but America’s frontier with Mexico is already aggressively defended by the drones and fences of the US border patrol. It’s a strategy that is causing ever more migrants to die in hostile terrain.

The refugee crisis facing Europe has caused consternation in the corridors of power, and heated debate on Europe’s streets. It has exposed fundamental faultlines in the whole European project, as governments fail to agree on even limited sharing of refugees and instead blame each other. Far-right parties have surged in popularity exploiting austerity-impacted communities in putting the blame for economic recession on a convenient scapegoat as opposed to the powerful banking sector. This has been most potently seen in the UK, where leaders of the ‘Leave EU’ campaign unscrupulously amplified fears of mass migration to successfully mobilise support for Brexit.   Refugees fleeing terrible violence and hardship have been caught in the crossfire; forced to take ever more dangerous routes to get to Europe and facing racist attacks in host nations when they finally arrive.

However there is one group of interests that have only benefited from the refugee crisis, and in particular from the European Union’s investment in ‘securing’ its borders. They are the military and security companies that provide the equipment to border guards, the surveillance technology to monitor frontiers, and the IT infrastructure to track population movements.

This report turns a spotlight on those border security profiteers, examining who they are and the services they provide, how they both influence and benefit from European policies and what funding they receive from taxpayers. The report shows that far from being passive beneficiaries of EU largesse, these corporations are actively encouraging a growing securitisation of Europe’s borders, with some willing to provide ever more draconian technologies to do this.

The refugee crisis facing Europe has caused consternation in the corridors of power, and heated debate on Europe’s streets. It has exposed fundamental faultlines in the whole European project, as governments fail to agree on even limited sharing of refugees and instead blame each other. Far-right parties have surged in popularity exploiting austerity-impacted communities in putting the blame for economic recession on a convenient scapegoat as opposed to the powerful banking sector. This has been most potently seen in the UK, where leaders of the ‘Leave EU’ campaign unscrupulously amplified fears of mass migration to successfully mobilise support for Brexit.   Refugees fleeing terrible violence and hardship have been caught in the crossfire; forced to take ever more dangerous routes to get to Europe and facing racist attacks in host nations when they finally arrive.

However there is one group of interests that have only benefited from the refugee crisis, and in particular from the European Union’s investment in ‘securing’ its borders. They are the military and security companies that provide the equipment to border guards, the surveillance technology to monitor frontiers, and the IT infrastructure to track population movements.

This report turns a spotlight on those border security profiteers, examining who they are and the services they provide, how they both influence and benefit from European policies and what funding they receive from taxpayers. The report shows that far from being passive beneficiaries of EU largesse, these corporations are actively encouraging a growing securitisation of Europe’s borders, with some willing to provide ever more draconian technologies to do this.

As a part of measures to increase security on its border with Syria, Turkey begins building smart military towers that can warn and fire automatically.

On March 30 of this year, the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) endorsed Donald Trump, effectively backing his bid for the presidency of the United States. NBPC president Brandon Judd heads the organization, which describes itself online as “the exclusive representative of approximately 18,000 Border Patrol Agents and support personnel assigned to the U.S. Border Patrol.” Judd himself published the NBPC’s pro-Trump communiqué, asserting that “if we do not secure our borders, American communities will continue to suffer at the hands of gangs, cartels and violent criminals preying on the innocent. The lives and security of the American people are at stake… There is no greater physical or economic threat to Americans today than our open border.”

Who Profits Research Center and the Coalition of Women for Peace have joined together to publish this up-to-date position paper on Palestinian women’s struggle against the Israeli control of population, manifested in the checkpoint industry. The following paper sheds light on both government and corporate practices and their repercussions on the ground. This will also be reflected through recent testimonies of Palestinian women confronting checkpoints on a day-to-day basis.

While many Civil Society Organizations have been addressing the political context that governs women’s lives under occupation, the economic factors that engineer the political system and perpetuate the power relations at hand are still in need of greater attention. The Israeli checkpoints, as military structures, have been a symbol of the Israeli control of the Palestinian population. Yet, underneath these structures lies an economic infrastructure generated by corporate profit. The vast checkpoints industry includes the construction of checkpoints, security personnel and equipment provided by Israeli and international companies.

The following pages address the checkpoint industry in the occupied West Bank as a case study of the integral part played by corporate stakeholders in oppressing Palestinian population and women specifically.

Idomeni: Macedonian police fire tear gas and rubber bullets at refugees trying to break through Greek border (video).

Despite proposed increases in spending on personnel and equipment for border enforcement, the complex geography of border militarization and the violence it produces require further examination. We take a geographical perspective to determine the role of violence in both its official forms, such as the incarceration and punishments experienced by undocumented migrants, as well as through abuses and violence perpetrated by agents in shaping border and immigration enforcement. By drawing on the Migrant Border Crossing Study (MBCS), which is a unique data source based on 1,110 surveys of a random sample of deportees, as well as research with family members and return migrants in Puebla, Mexico, we provide an innovative and robust account of the geography of violence and migration. Identifying regional variation allows us to see the priorities and strategic use of violence in certain areas as part of enforcement practice. We assert that understanding the role of violence allows us to explain the prevalence of various forms of abuse, as well as the role of abuse in border enforcement strategies, not as a side effect, but as elemental to the current militarized strategies.

King Abdullah II of Jordan is meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House on Wednesday, for working talks that the Jordanian Embassy describes as covering "the strategic partnership" between the two countries. In addition to discussing the flood of Syrian refugees into Jordan — there are now 750,000 of them — the Embassy also says that the two will "tackle global efforts to combat terrorism and extremism across the Middle East, Africa, and the world." The White House mentions the talks in the president's daily schedule, noting the two will discuss "efforts to counter ISIL (and) resolve the Syrian conflict," using the US government's favorite acronym for the Islamic State group.

But that's a very reductive description of what the monarch and the president are likely to talk about. There's a major war going on across the Hashemite Kingdom's northern and eastern border, and much about Jordan's military role in that war won't likely be the subject of press releases. But the border is undoubtedly somewhere buried in the briefing books. The Obama administration is spending close to a half a billion dollars to build a sophisticated electronic fence along Jordan's northern and eastern borders, a wall which US strategic planners hope will stem the flow of refugees and also wall off the increasingly important American base from the disintegration of Syria and Iraq.

The refugee crisis has illuminated how “Fortress Europe” acts as the complementary side of a neoliberal, deeply antidemocratic, and authoritarian “European integration.” It has killed the hopes of a left which believed it was possible to break from neoliberalism within the framework of the EU, as “European values” became an alibi for the display of imperialist violence and hypocrisy.

The Mediterranean’s role as the graveyard of Fortress Europe — and southern Europe’s role as its guards — is not new. The “externalization” of the EU border started in the early 1990s and acts as the indispensable supplement to the “free movement of capital, goods, and people” inside the EU — with the movement of “people” always posing the most problems.

Concretely, externalization means the militarization of the border, with the support of increasingly sophisticated electronic surveillance; and the transformation of the external and the internal periphery of the EU into a vast “buffer zone” which acts as a lethal barrier, a filter, and a prison for all those lives excluded from the full humanity of the white, European, Western citizenry...

Abstract: While the democratic paradigm of governance and its constituent political processes are well established in Australia, consistently negative media representations of people seeking asylum may be viewed as justification for institutional decisions allowing continued punitive treatment of people seeking asylum on Australian shores. Historically, notions of Australian sovereignty exist as a changing discourse with reference to land claims and the Australian Indigenous population (O’Dowd 2011; Due 2008). However, in terms of contemporary political claims about Australia’s need to enforce border protection policies, notions of sovereignty are consistently framed through the themes, images and language of military discourses. Media scholar, John Street suggests that although there is disagreement about whether specific political outcomes can be attributed to press influence, the role of television in politics has been more comprehensively established as shaping broader world views in regards to ideas, values and practices that are considered ‘common-sense’ (Street 2011; Craig 2013). This paper argues that the increasing role of the military in the treatment and processing of people seeking asylum may be justified, through repetitive negative media representations of asylum seekers which secures public support for such practices, thereby undermining the very principles of the democratic paradigm, and indeed the role of the media or ‘fourth estate’(Schultz 1998) in a functioning democracy.

Under the severe military regime that has been in place in the occupied territories since 1967, some three and a half million Palestinians are denied basic rights and liberties and subjected to repressive violence by Israeli security forces and Israeli settlers, under the protection of different security bodies. The power of the Israeli authorities over the Palestinian people is imposed, among other means, by restrictions on the movement of Palestinians through various mechanisms, such as checkpoints, curfews and detentions.

In the West Bank, over two million Palestinians are divided between dozens of fragmented enclaves, which are surrounded by a system of roadblocks, walls and checkpoints, as well as by Israeli settlements and roads designated for the exclusive use of Israelis. The Palestinians who live in these enclaves are deprived of basic rights and needs, such as the right to have a home and a family and the right to work, acquire an education and have access to basic healthcare services. Large areas of the West Bank are either closed off to Palestinian movement altogether or require extremely rare entry permits.

The Israeli control over the occupied Palestinian territory (hereinafter: oPt) is implemented through various security and police forces. In recent decades, many military responsibilities were handed over to private civilian companies, turning the private security industry into one of the fastest growing industries in Israel. Private security companies guard settlements and construction sites in the oPt, and some are also in charge of the day-to-day operation, security and maintenance of Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank and Gaza.

This report aims to expose and describe the involvement of private security companies in West Bank and East Jerusalem checkpoints and settlements. The report analyzes the privatization of the checkpoints, mainly along the Separation Wall, the operation of checkpoints and the outsourcing process in West Bank settlements. It highlights the role of private security guards in the systematic oppression of the Palestinian population.