External resources relating to France
France’s interior minister has described images of police breaking up a refugee camp in central Paris, chasing people down streets and attacking journalists and others with truncheons and teargas as “shocking”.
This new information appears to contradict a statement President Macron made during a January 2019 press conference with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, in which he said it was “very clear” French armored vehicles should be used for “exclusively military” purposes — in other words, that they should not be used by police, in whose hands they could become involved in the repression of Egypt’s own citizens. Human rights abuses by Egyptian police are well-documented.
France’s interior minister has asked the Paris police chief to explain a controversial riot police operation to remove climate activists from a bridge, after a video of officers using pepper spray and dragging protesters went viral on social media. The interior ministry said the police operation to clear the demonstrators was “necessary to restore traffic circulation in the centre of Paris”.
A gilets jaunes (yellow vests) demonstrator injured in the eye at a demonstration in Paris will be disabled for life, his lawyer has said.
Jérôme Rodrigues, a high-profile member of the protest movement, claims he was struck by a “flash-ball”, a launcher used by French riot police to fire large rubber pellets. They have been blamed for dozens of injuries, some serious, including the loss of an eye.
Yesterday (Wednesday 13th June), the Paris Police Prefecture carried out live demonstrations at the Eurosatory arms fair. The scenario was an anti-terrorist operation. There were also demonstrations by the National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (GIGN) and the Research and Intervention Brigade (BRI).
How did tear gas became the go-to weapon in riot control, what are its real health implications, and why should we trace the money when it comes to understanding the increase in crowd-control weapons around the world?
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.
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.
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.
Israel’s biggest military companies last year rang alarm bells over a decline in international contracts, citing smaller budgets, more competition, and less desire for Israeli-made products as among the reasons. Is this an indicator that Israel’s arms industry might not be as invincible as it seems? What led arms deals with Israeli companies to fall through? What was the role of the Palestinian-led movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), which has called for military sanctions as part of its campaign to promote human rights? 1
In this Al-Shabaka policy brief, Maren Mantovani and Jamal Juma analyze some of the trends facing Israel’s military industrial complex with a particular focus on the campaign against Elbit Systems. The brief examines the tough times facing the industry, the myth of Israeli technological superiority, the industry’s local and global shifts, and the alliances emerging to reverse the militarization and securitization of societies. Based on this analysis, they draw valuable lessons and identify avenues for the global Palestine solidarity movement to pursue.
Israeli military companies such as Elbit Systems appear invincible, yet Israel’s arms industry is more vulnerable than it seems. Al-Shabaka guest author Maren Mantovani and Policy Advisor Jamal Juma’ examine both national and global trends and identify avenues for human rights activists to pursue to hold Israel accountable under international law.
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.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced Wednesday that authorities had carried out more than 2,200 raids since a state of emergency was declared following the November 13 attacks that killed 130 people. Under the state of emergency, French police can raid any home without judicial oversight. In addition, police have held 263 people for questioning—nearly all have been detained. Another 330 people are under house arrest, and three mosques have also been shut down. The vast majority of those targeted in the raids have been Muslim. We speak with Yasser Louati, spokesperson and head of the International Relations Desk for the Collective Against Islamophobia in France.
The use of riot control agents (RCAs) as a method of warfare is prohibited under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The Convention, however, permits the employment of such chemicals for law enforcement including domestic riot control purposes, provided they are used in “types and quantities” consistent with such purposes.
Whilst CWC States Parties are prohibited from developing RCA munitions for use in armed conflict, they may manufacture, acquire and utilise delivery systems to disseminate appropriate “types and quantities” of RCAs for law enforcement. However, there is continuing ambiguity as to the nature and specifications of those means of delivery that are prohibited under the Convention. This ambiguity has potentially dangerous consequences, allowing divergent interpretations, policy and practice amongst States Parties to emerge.
Of particular concern – given the current research and development of unmanned systems - are the implications for the regulation of “remote control” RCA means of delivery. These are dissemination mechanisms incorporating automatic or semi-automatic systems where the operator is directing operation of the platform and/or RCA delivery device at a distance from the target. Certain “remote control” devices incorporate target activated mechanisms triggering automatic RCA dispersal, without realtime operational control, whilst others employ a “man in the loop” system, requiring human authorisation before the RCA is released.
This report highlights the ongoing development, testing, production and promotion by a range of State and commercial entities of a wide variety of “remote control” RCA means of delivery including: indoor fixed installation RCA dispersion devices; external area clearing or area denial devices; automatic grenade launchers; multiple munition launchers; delivery mechanisms on unmanned ground vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles.
At least 24 climate activists have been put under house arrest by French police, accused of flouting a ban on organising protests during next week’s Paris climate summit, the Guardian has learned.
One legal adviser to the activists said many officers raided his Paris apartment and occupied three floors and a staircase in his block.
French authorities did not respond to requests for comment but lawyers said that the warrants were issued under state of emergency laws, imposed after the terror attacks that killed 130 people earlier this month.
Police in Hungary used tear gas on refugees trying to cross into the country from Serbia on Wednesday — the latest in several recent incidents in which member states of the European Union used force against asylum seekers, in what experts say may be a violation of international law.
Hungarian politicians resolved to send mounted police, dogs and even helicopters to the area in order to stem the tide of refugees pouring in each day, mostly from Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea. Government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said the lawmakers would debate a possible military deployment next week.
Hungary is not the only European country to turn its refugee crisis into a law-enforcement issue...
Beefed-up security appeared to stem the number of migrants from a refugee camp in Calais traveling illegally to England via the Channel Tunnel on Thursday, as the British and French governments discuss emergency measures to stop them.
Police counted several hundred attempts to enter the premises of the Eurotunnel terminal in the French port city, down significantly from the roughly 2,300 registered the night before.
Authorities arrested about 300 of the roughly 800 to 1,000 migrants estimated to be present at the site...
From tracking online activity to cameras that see through walls, Israel's homeland security industry offers European states a range of options as they tackle the terrorists in their midst.
The following report highlights three local and international companies that manufacture “non-lethal” crowd control weapons. These weapons are currently used by Israeli authorities and security forces, mainly to suppress non-violent demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories, in violation of the right to freedom of expression and association. Despite the fact that they are often labeled as “nonlethal” weapons, they have already been proven as potentially lethal in different incidents around the world, when the use of these weapons led to the death of demonstrators.
The report focuses on three types of weapons as case studies: tear gas canisters, which are produces and marketed by Combined Systems, Inc. (CSI) and M.R. Hunter; “the Scream”, manufactured by Electro-Optics Research & Development (EORD) and LRAD; and “the Skunk”, which is manufactured by Odortec, with the supporting companies: Man and BeitAlfa Technologies. The report will highlight the harmful consequences of these weapons, including their potentially lethal effects. The occupied Palestinian territories are being used as a lab for testing new civil oppression weapons on humans, in order to label them as “proven effective” for marketing abroad.
Police and security guards secure the fences and fire the teargas. But many other organisations and individuals play just as essential roles in the Calais border regime. Click on the headings below to see profiles on some of the “key decision makers” involved...