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Issue 103 | August 2015

Militarisation of Borders

Of militarisation and violence: borders and bordering David Scheuing London:

(1) Nick Vaughan­Williams (2007): The Shooting of Jean Charles de Me­ nezes: New Border Politics? In: Alternatives 32 (2007), pp. 177–195.

(2) Ruben Andersson (2014): Illegality Inc. Clandestine Migration and the Business of Bordering Europe. Uni­ versity of California Press.

(4) Humane Borders: Arizona border deaths map project <­>, UNITED: Fortress Europe, Border death list <http://www.unitedagainstra­ urope_OWNI.htm>, <­>, (3) See: Anti­Raid Network UK <ht­ tps://>; see also: Christopher McMichael in this edition.

On my daily way back home I often pass by heavily armed police “safe”guarding citizens, infrastructure, life and economy: in the metro, at the station, always watch­ ful. Yet this vigilance is neither harmless, nor inno­ cent. It kills. This July has seen the 10th sad an­ niversary of Jean Charles de Menezes' killing on a stuffed metroline train in London's Stockwell Station. (1) Global North:

Every day people try to cross into the minority world of the Global North. Wherever they are and attempt to cross, they are being surveilled, analysed, digitized, and rendered “border of­ fenders”. (2) In the Arizona desert, the Mediterranean Sea, or the urban areas of Cape Town they become the “illegal immigrant” who has to be “resisted”, “deterred” and eventually troops will have to be deployed. President Obama (US) stepped up the National Guard at the southern border with Mexico, whereas the European prime ministers negotiated a military “rescue” mission in the Mediterranean Sea and thought about bombing the shores of another nationstate (Libya) to “hinder smugglers from boarding the waters”. Both of these accounts are tied together by a simple idea: borders and their “safety and se­ curity”. The logic is, that as long as the border is tight and secure, everyone and everything with­ in is safe – therefore a loose link in the chain can endanger everything. The paradox of bor­ ders is, that they are continuously crossed and thus no border can ever be “tight”. What is a border?

(5) cf. Graswurzelrevolution no. 226, 1998, <http://www.gras­>


What a border does is “borderwork” or “bor­ dering” ­ in and at the border, but also away from its institutional setup at the border checkpoint. Police searching for “illegals” and raiding homes and businesses (3), are as well border agents in that they try to divide the “citizen” from the “illegal”. Borders thus “filter” (never in a neut­ ral way) and lend strength and credibility to nationalism, racism, and other exclusionary ideologies. Borders are, however, a part of most people's common and daily life. Everybody faces them,

The Broken Rifle No 103, August 2015

but not everybody equally. They impact differentially on peoples' livelihoods, prevent and enable a variety of activ­ ities (prioritised access to white bodies for example), and are always an instrument of the state. The power of the state

States have in the last years increasingly fostered the mil­ itarisation of borders. They have rendered the border a military ground in many ways (some of them very tradition­ al means of the military). Wars are bordered – the lan­ guage of frontiers, fronts, advance and retreat work almost exclusively with the territorial mark­ er of the borderline. For almost 50 years after the end of the Second World War, Germany struggled to officially ac­ knowledge the borders to the East with Poland (Oder­Neisse­Linie) as they were, too many powerful (mostly nationalist, faschist and con­ servative) interests questioned the validity of this war outcome. This is the very general rela­ tion of the military and the border. However, also at untroubled and “peaceful” bor­ ders the bureaucratic nationstate has stepped up its military intelligence (physical and know­ ledge), its militarised police forces, but also its language. Watchtowers, electrostatic fences, armed border guards, security checks, border deaths in the thousands (4), and the language of dehumanising concern for humans at the borders: “they” are a “threat”, “they” need to be “deterred”, etc. Challenging hegemony

But borders do not exclusively belong to state power. Too many people's lives depend on the vast borderlands of the world, too many claim stakes in borderpost services (passport facilita­ tion, etc.), crossborder trade volumes or even petty smuggling. Too many people resist the easy divide of borders on a daily basis: by crossing rivers from India to Bangladesh and back, from Turkey into Greece and back, and so on. What this issue of The Broken Rifle hopes to highlight is how deep and interlinked with a number of other structural levels the militarisa­ tion of borders is. We hope to illustrate vividly how this is, has been and has increasingly so in the last years become an issue of global con­ cern. But we also want to shine a light on the numerous struggles and resistances across the globe which try to challenge this militarist status quo. What we ultimately strife for is a resound­ ing “NO”. Noone is illegal (5) and the war against people at the borders has to end – as all war is a crime against humanity.

Border militarisation

Levels of Militarisation 足 an essay in images assembled by David Scheuing

The Broken Rifle No 103, August 2015


Militarisation of Borders

The Walls andAbysses of Fortress North Léopold Lambert

(1) cf. Léopold Lambert, Weaponized Architecture: The Impossibility of Inno­ cence, Barcelona, dpr­barcelona, 2012, and The Funambulist Pamphlets Volume 6: Palestine, Brooklyn: punctum books, 2013.

The easiness of traveling within the Globalized North for its citizens only equals the difficulty for someone to access this part of the world. The map presented here attempts to illustrate this antagonism between Fortress North and the rest of the world. Schengen, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Israel, North Amer­ ica, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand form the Globalized North and their borders with other countries are militarized to insure the control of migration towards them. The follow­ ing list will briefly describe the numerous apparatuses that materialize borders, control bodies, and sometimes even see the latter die. United States – Mexico border:

The construction of a 14­foot high wall over 600 miles between both countries was ordered by the George W. Bush ad­ ministration in 2006 under the Secure Fence Act. Mi­ grants who manage to cross its securitarian line often have to cross dozens of miles of desert and risk being shot by civilian bor­ der vigilantes. Every year, about 500 people die dur­ ing their clandestine crossing of the border, most of them of dehydra­ tion. At its Western Bordered Beaches: The US­Mexico Border Fence near Tijuana extremity, the wall ends in the Pacific waters and thus separates the beach of Tijuana and the militarized Border Field State Park. Mediterranean Sea:

Invisible Border: European Navy vessel


The sea that separates Africa, the Middle East and Europe is an abyss where thousands of migrants die from trying to reach the coasts of Spain, Italy or Greece (about 22,000 deaths since 2004). The Mediterranean Sea is non­ etheless highly militarized; islands like Lampedusa or Malta have been historically used as Allies’ bastions in the control of North Africa during the Second World War. Between March and October 2011, NATO navy and air force also attacked the Qaddafi administration in Libya, as well as its support­ ers. The control of the sea is crucial for Fortress North, since it conditions the ac­ cess to the Suez Canal both for container and hydrocar­ bon ships from the Middle East and Asia, and for milit­ ary ships operating in the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf.

The Broken Rifle No 103, August 2015

Fortress Israel:

Israel operates as a militarized colonial out­ post of Fortress North in the Levant since 1948. Its borders operate under the paradox to be simultaneously rigid and malleable. Its army occupied the Sinai Peninsula from 1967 and 1982, as well as South Lebanon between 1982 and 2000. The fence that separates it from Syria is built in the Eastern parts of the Golan Heights, occupied since 1967. The in­ famous “Separation Wall,” also called Apartheid Wall, separates most Palestinians of the West Bank from the rest of Palestine, in­ cluding Jerusalem, while an important amount of Israeli civil settlements in the West Bank are situated on its Western side (where the malle­ able function becomes important).(1) As for the Gaza Strip, it is separated by a highly milit­ arized border from the rest of Palestine and Egypt, the Israeli Navy sealing the maritime border, thus condemning 1.8 millions of Palestinians to live in what has been rightfully called “the largest prison on earth.” Cyprus’s Demilitarized Zone (DMZ):

The United Nations demilitarized Buffer Zone in Cyprus has been imple­ mented in 1974 after the Turkish invasion that split the island into two parts, al­ though the Republic of Cypr us is st i

Border militarisation ll internationally recognized as legal sover­ eignty over the entirety of the territory. Like most demilitarized zones, its borders are very much militarized, including the British military base of Dhekelia in the East of the zone. Spanish Enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta:

and, Norway, and Switzerland, which do not belong to the E.U.) can be characterized by its contrastingly strict controls at its periphery. The Schengen strategy also includes a strong effort of “externalization” of its immigration policy to neighboring countries where migrant passages are important, like Ser­ bia or Bosnia Herzegovina. Essen­ tially these countries are offered applicants' status to the European Union if they first under­ take the sub­contracting task of controlling migration towards the Schengen area. The militarized architecture of Schengen’s borders is, however, less present in its border, than in its administrative system of detention and ex­ pulsion of migrants judged as “clandestines”. Whether in Lampedusa, Calais or Belgrade, the migrant detention centers are nothing less than a carceral environment with unhealthy conditions for the bodies they forcefully impris­ on.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ Fortress North is a complex architectural and administrative structure ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

The strait of Gibraltar presents the curious geopolitical characterist­ ics of being framed by the British enclave of Gibraltar in Spain and the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in Morocco. A bit further east along the Moroccan coast, we find another Spanish en­ clave, Melilla. Because of their particular geographical situation which is deemed to fa­ vour immigration, both Ceuta and Melilla are surrounded by high, policed fences punctuated by watchtowers. Despite the risk it represents, groups of African migrants occasionally at­ tempt to climb up without being caught by custom police patrols. As often in such abund­ ance of police/military technology and its architectural means, we can wonder if the budget allocated to them could not serve in­ stead to create the hospitality sought by refugees and migrants. Schengen Space:

Implemented in 1990, this European space without internal border controls that now counts 26 coun­ tries (in­ cludi ng Ic e­ l

Korea’s Demilitarized Zone (DMZ):

Created in 1953 fol­ lowing the Korean Armistice Agreement, this 250­km long and 4­km wide territory separates the Demo­ cratic People's Republic of Korea (North) and the Re­ public of Korea (South). Both borders Sporting a fence: Spanish territory in Melilla of this zone are heav­ ily militarized but the zone also counts special­status villages whose architecture ostensibly shows their supposed prosperity to the other side. Australia’s Maritime Barrier:

In its current immigration policy that aims to drastically reduce and criminalize clandestine arrivals in the country, Australia can count on its island territorial characteristics. In 2014, the Abbot administration started a large commu­ nication campaign paired with the military, Operation Sovereign Borders, in 17 languages to discourage any attempt by asylum seekers and undocumented migrants to reach the country. One poster and its video narrative by military commander of the operation, Angus Campbell, in particular shows a dangerous sea with the words “No Way. You Will Not Make Australia Home.” A graphic novel was also issued and it depicts the alleged story of an Afghan asylum seeker and the tumultuous fate of hardship that awaits him while trying to reach Australia. Like Schengen, the country counts many migrant detention centers, some of which are delocalized on remote islands, such as Christmas Island or Nauru Island, more than 1,000 kilometers from Australia. Fortress North is thus a territory on which the free circulation of its citizens strongly contrasts with the difficulty others experience to access The Broken Rifle No 103, August 2015


Militarisation of Borders it or inhabit it with an undocumented status. Al­ though the map presented here insists on its walled and abysmal borders, we should insist that the architecture of this fortress also inter­ venes within and beyond its territory. Asylum seekers centers, migrant detention facilities, and other administrative processing sites, where migrant bodies are condemned to wait for weeks or months, often in extremely pre­ carious conditions, are the main architectural embodiments of the internal fortress. However, we are missing the point if we do not add to them, the quasi­totality of the built environment whose walls make sure to implement the se­ gregation of included and excluded bodies.

οχι ! ­ NO!

Fortress North is a complex architectural and administrative structure that controls move­ ment to the Global North and often prevents it, whether by exclusion or incarceration. Capital­ ism implemented the globalization of monetary and goods exchange in the world; it also facilit­

Paolo Novak

I write this as the results from the Greek refer­ endum on the bailout programme proposed by the Troika (EU, IMF and European Central Bank) make headlines in newspapers and bul­ letins (July 2015). The resounding NO (oxi) to austerity that the referendum results returned may seem somewhat detached from the con­ cerns of this TBR issue –and yet they are not, in a number of ways.

(1) See FRONTEX Archive of Opera­ tions online, URL: <­ s/archive­of­operations/?host=Greece> (2) European Commission (2013): Lampedusa follow up: concrete actions to prevent loss of life in the Mediter­ ranean and better address migratory and asylum flows. Press release. <ht­ tp://­release_IP­1 3­1199_en.htm> (3) These mines were buried in 1974 at the time of the Greek­Turkish standoff over Cyprus.


ated the movement of its beneficiary but prevented the migration of its subjects with the help of architectural and territorial apparatuses whose budget could arguably be used altern­ atively to allow or even foster it instead.

First, while the referen­ dum was often framed as a way to re­assert Greek sovereignty and democratic principles against the impositions of a finance­driven European order, political claims associated to the OXI campaign had little to say about migrants and the militarisation of Greek borders. Indeed, the anti­austerity plat­ form of the Tsipras government rests on a coalition between his own party, Syriza, and ANEL (Independent Greeks) a party from the right of the political spectrum, which advoc­ ates for a reduction in the number of migrants to be hosted on Greek soil. Syriza itself had little to say about migration, other than calling for an increased redistribution of migrants who arrived in Greece between the EU members. Clearly the financial crisis may have put aus­ terity and the negotiations with the Troika at the top of the agenda. The point however is: can we say NO to austerity within Europe without linking this "no" to the other side of the coin, i.e. to what happens outside Europe or at its borders? Can we say NO to neoliberalism without, at the same time, saying NO to bor­ der­related deaths?

The Broken Rifle No 103, August 2015

Greece has been at the frontline of the recent “migration emergency” across the Mediter­ ranean, with more than 50,000 migrants arriving at its shores through irregular means since the beginning of 2015 (i.e. since the elections that brought Syriza to power). While couched in a humanitarian narrative, European countries’ responses to the harrowing scenes of unseaworthy boats full of people and to the accounts of their wrecks have effectively resul­ ted in a (further) militarisation of its external border, with Greece a crucial site for im­ plementing these responses. Pos­ eidon Sea and Poseidon Land are two of the more than 20 FRONTEX Oper­ ations “hosted” by Greece since 2006, which aim at con­ trolling irregular migration flows to­ wards the territory of the Member States of the EU with “a de­ sired prevention effect, and to tackle cross­border crime” (1). According to the EU, border surveillance (read militarisation) helps saving lives (2), and yet the border minefields on the Greek side of the river Evros (marking the border with Turkey (3)), the unlawful push­backs in the Ae­ gean Sea, and the shipwrecks never reaching shore, have turned Greek borders into cemeteries for thousands of people attempting to seek a better life away from their place of habitual residence. Greece is not to be singled out in this respect. A recent IOM report suggests that the number of deaths in the Mediterranean in the period January to 1st‑July‑2015 amou­nts to 1,875

Border militarisation (one thousand eight hundred and seventy five), which make 70% of the total border­re­ lated deaths across the world during the same period. Since the year 2000, in ex­ cess of 30 thousand people have died try­ ing to reach Europe, and over 40 thousand across the world (4). Fences, walls, drones, and various military techniques and tech­ nologies have become the norm across the world in matters of border security and, as a consequence, a concrete aspect of migrants’ everyday life ­and death.

Second, while the 100 million Euros or so se­ cured for and spent in FRONTEX operations every year, or even the USD2.2 billion that, ac­ cording to an Amnesty report (5), were spent by the EU to secure its external borders between 2007 and 2013, are certainly dwarfed by the billions in financial debt at the heart of discussions between the Greek government and the Troika, this money is but one indicator confirming that, even in times of austerity, re­ sources for military operations are not scarce. Can we say NO to (our!) money being spent in this way? Can we say NO to budget alloca­ tions that privilege deterrence and surveillance to integration and solidarity? Finally, institutions like the IMF do not operate in Europe alone. Indeed, the Structural Adjust­ ment that is currently being negotiated with Greece has been "imposed" to developing countries for over four decades, with devastat­ ing consequences. The privatisation of land, the reduction of state provisions to its citizens and of agricultural and other subsidies, the sel­ loffs of national assets, the mining concessions granted to transnational corporations, and the many other measures associated to the neolib­ eral agenda (in other words, the establishment of market sovereignty across all domains of social life) have disrupted the livelihood mech­ anisms of millions of people around the world, and defined the material conditions pushing them to roam around in search of opportunities for a life in dignity. Can we say NO to recipes for economic growth that have produced so much poverty and have so much increased inequality? Can we say NO to the wars in the Middle East, Afghanistan and across various regions in Africa, which force people to leave their homes and seek refuge in Europe and which are, at the same time, a testimony of the historical and contemporary responsibilities of those same countries who prevent (through border militarisation) the possibility for these peoples to seek asylum? Sadly, we may well answer NO to all of the above questions, but we are never really asked. And this is not even the beginning of the problem.

The philosopher Etienne Balibar, amongst others, says that bor­ ders are the non­democratic pre­condition for democracy. We can have a demos only by differentiating who is in and who is out, and yet that choice has historically escaped any democratic con­ trol. This is a first democratic deficit. The second demo­ cratic deficit is evidenced by the above questions, which all point to a series of de­ cisions mostly escaping our democratic control. Herein lies the contradiction. We, as an un­democratically defined demos, should strive to bring decisions about financial austerity, budget allocations, border militarisation, etc., under democratic control. And yet in doing so, we, acting as such demos, simultaneously risk reinforcing the first democratic deficit. The mil­ itarisation of borders splashes this contradiction onto our faces. ***

By the time I write this last paragraph, more than a week has passed since the Greek refer­ endum. The resounding OXI it expressed does not seem to have produced the desired effects (or at least the effects that many of us outside Greece were hoping for) vis­à­vis the imposi­ tions of further austerity measures, the privatisation of state assets, and further reduc­ tions in state provisions. Is it all possible to address the second democratic deficit without tackling the first one head on? It is in that question, I believe, that our democratic future hinges upon.

(4) See: Missing Migrants Project of IOM. URL: <>

(5) Amnesty International (2014): The human cost of Fortress Europe. Human Rights violations against migrants and refugees at Europe's borders. URL: <­ files/eur_050012014_fortress_europe_c omplete_web.pdf>

International Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth 14­20 November 2015

Would you like to take action against the militarisation of youth? You can join War Resisters' International's week of action from 14­20 November (as an individual or as a group). War Resisters' International is organising the 2nd International Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth this year from 14­20 November. The week is a concerted effort of antimilitarist action across the world to raise awareness and challenge of the ways young people are militarised, and to give voice to alternatives.

Last year saw the first ever international Week of Action whose main focus was education and research. Many groups in various countries including Canada, Germany, South Korea, the state of Spain, the USA, Israel and the UK took action to call for an end to the military's role in education and research. This year we are expanding our theme from education to all other “public spaces” where we see military engagement to young people. If you would like to join the activists all around the world taking action against the militarisation of youth contact us via cmoy@wri­ Please visit www.antimili­ for updates and further information. The Broken Rifle No 103, August 2015


Militarisation of Borders

Violence along the Indo­Bangladesh Border Ranabir Samaddar

It has been rightly said that the twentieth cen­ tury will be remembered as a century of partitions. Partitioned borders that is to say borders produced out of partitions of countries (like Korea, erstwhile divided Germany, India) are violent borders. Military presence marks the borderlands. Partition leads to forced mi­ gration ­ refugee flows and flows of other types like immigrants from stranded minority com­ munities in homelands. Partition also makes the question of return cru­ cial. Do partition refugees have right to return? If they have the right to return, then what is the period within which they will enjoy the right of return to the countries they came from? Also, will there be certain conditions, in as much as we know that there may be forced return. This is the prism in which we can learn the histories of violence, bloodshed, and massive displace­ ment in the erstwhile united Ottoman Empire, Germany, Palestine, Korea, Ireland, and India. These are some of the major events to shape the story of forced migration in the last century. The present state system in South Asia, in par­ ticular the state system of the sub­continent, is a result largely of the partitions in the eastern and western parts of the erstwhile united India, giving birth to three states ­ India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The borders dividing these countries are markers of past bitter history, cur­ rent separate, distinct, and independent existence, and the sign of the territorial integ­ rity of these states. The bitterness of the past, the lack of mutual confidence at present, the security concerns of all these states, at the same time the existence of thousand and one linkages of the pre­parti­ tioned time make the South Asian borders unique. They are the lines of hatred, disunity, informal connections and voluminous informal trade, securitised and militarized lines, heavy para­military presence, communal discord, hu­ manitarian crisis, human rights abuses, and enormous suspicion, yet informal cooperation. While the Indo­Pakistan border (including the Line of Control) is in the eye of world attention, therefore closely monitored, the border in the East ­ Indo­Bangladesh border ­ remains neg­ lected in terms of attention. Security concerns overwhelm all other equally legitimate con­ cerns and values. Military security dominates over human security in the border region. As a result of this, States often forget that bor­ ders are not only lines to be guarded, they are also lines of humanitarian management, be­ cause borders are not lines but borderlands ­ that is to say these are areas where people live, pursue economic activities, and lead civil­ ian lives attuned to the realities of the borders. Human security in the borderlands would mean first security of the civilian population along the borderlines.


Some of the aspects of the situation of forced The Broken Rifle No 103, August 2015

migration along the Indo­Bangladesh border are:

1. Many immigrants are prima facie accused of illegal entry and do not get due recourse to law; 2. The border security forces on both sides en­ gage in forcible push­backs ­ extreme harsh methods of deportation resulting in loss of limbs, lives, money, and dignity; 3. The daily economic activities of segments of population like fishermen fishing in river­bor­ ders are hampered greatly resulting in sustained distress; 4. Long and undue detention at jails and sub­ jails; 5. Rampant sexual abuses, and killings in no man's land by border guards; 6. Undue harassment of immigrants on the suspicion of being terrorists; 7. Extortion of money of the ordinary people al­ legedly working as part of smuggling; 8. Distress of inhabitants of border enclaves; 9. Boundaries running through villages and consequent harassment of villagers; 10. Fencing and electrifying the fence with high voltage; 11. Forcibly stranded people on the no­man's land as security forces on both sides refuse to accept them; 12. Communalisation of border villages and subsequent killings of apprehended immig­ rants; 13. Shifting river­borders 14. Different types of boundaries in different sectors (river, village, train line, no natural de­ marcation, hills, etc. 15. Existence of stateless population 16. Widespread trafficking in labour, sex, anim­ als, and goods Four main themes pertaining to human rights and humanitarian protection of the victims of border violence emerge out of these issues: (a) border violence and civilian life around the Indo­Bangladesh border; (b) the vulnerability and insecurity of life of the people in Indo­ Bangladesh Enclaves, and (c) rights of the so­ called illegal immigrants, particularly women in prisons, and the related issues of dignity, rights, and humanitarian protection; and finally (d) the ways in which floods, disasters, and in­ creasing salinity of land and water contribute to forced migration across the border. In order to appreciate the enormity of the ab­ uses of the rights of the migrants, we have to trace the historical perspective of the current situation marked by the realities of push back, trafficking, groups of population in protracted displacement situation, and violence of the border forces. The situation that the world faces in the form of repeated boat disasters in the Mediterranean is the same that we face along the Indo­Bangladesh border.

Border militarisation

SouthAfrica: Borders, State Militarism & Xenophobia

Christopher McMichael

The South African government’s official policy on borders and immigration is coached in the lan­ guage of human rights and opening up colonial era boundaries in Africa. But the reality is more authoritarian and brutal – economic migrants and asylum seekers, particularly from other African countries, are regular targets for violent harass­ ment by the police, are illegally denied access to basic services like hospitals or sent to detention facilities.

State officials are heavily invested in rhetoric about border security and constantly make omin­ ous statements about foreign threats to the South African homeland, from transnational drug smuggling to rhino poaching. Of course, this is not novel or particular to South Africa. States have historically used physical borders and viol­ ence to delineate outsiders from citizens, while also combining military operations outside their territory with domestic policing. This is becoming even more apparent with the modern wars on drugs and terror, in which wars and operations abroad are combined with the extension of sur­ veillance and restrictions on civil liberties. The media regularly repeats alarmist, unsubstan­ tiated figures about illegal immigrations making Malthusian claims about how scarce jobs and services are being stolen. It has become increas­ ingly acceptable to blame South Africa’s problems, such as massive inequality, huge rates of unemployment and pervasive violent crime, on migrants. The rhetoric used in the media and government were crudely, but accurately, mirrored by the par­ ticipants in the xenophobic pogroms which last erupted in April 2015­ “they’ take our jobs, “they” bring crime. But simultaneously, the government expects the rest of Africa to welcome the expan­ sion of South African big business with open arms. South Africa’s self­image is of a hegemon­ ic force on the continent, sealed off from poorer and less stable countries, a thinking which un­ derpins much of border strategy.

The state response to xenophobic attacks in April 2015, which saw armed mobs hunting for­ eigners and attacking their small businesses in several cities, was to launch the national Opera­ tion Fiela (which depending on the translation means to sweep the streets/sweep the dirt). The police and military flooded the streets of trouble spots with armoured personal carriers and made mass arrests. But in practise, undocumented mi­ grants were as much of a target as suspects implicated in xenophobic violence, and Govern­ ment officials bragged about how many hundreds they had apprehended. However the state has vigorously denied that the Operation has become an attack on often des­ perately poor migrants, claiming that anyone abiding the law would have nothing to fear. But on the ground a more sordid picture emerged of the arrested being denied access to lawyers, tor­ ture in police custody and families rounded up on dark winter mornings. Even people with legal documentation to be in the country were simply arrested without explanation. This Kafkaesque

situation, in which even being on the right side of the law provided no protection from the security services, is further evident in how officials refute that this has any xenophobic intent, while making inflammatory comments about foreign criminality. In a press conference parliamentarian Tekoetsile Motlashuping claimed that there was no evid­ ence that the April attacks were xenophobic but then threatened that anyone in the country illeg­ ally would be arrested “without mercy…. They (foreigners) roam; they go to townships to oc­ cupy the economic space”. The phrase ‘no mercy’ is common in South African political lan­ guage, with officials using it to underscore their ruthless approach towards both foreign and do­ mestic enemies. This bellicose rhetoric is operationalized in regular mass raids and clamp­ downs, highly theatrical undertakings which in practise primarily serve to criminalise the poor.

In the last two years, for instance, the city of Jo­ hannesburg held an ‘Operation Clean Sweep’ which attempted to purge the city of street traders and ‘Operation Ke Molao’ (It is the Law) which extended to vagrants, including police showing ‘no mercy’ by arresting blind beggars and impounding their crutches. In all these oper­ ations, nationality is less of a factor than class­ the state will assault and arrest any poor people considered to be a social nuisance regardless of which papers they do or do not hold. Operation Fiela itself has now acquired a grandi­ ose subtitle – Reclaim 2015, and alongside immigration will ‘address’ “drug dens, prostitution rings’’ and the illegal occupation of land and building by squatters. The last one indicates how the state’s solution to informal settlement of land, a popular response to the countries severe housing shortage, is to bring down the iron fist rather than to negotiate. Such a de facto militar­ ised response integrates external border policy with domestic social control. The promotion of regime of border surveillance and domestic sanitation operations can be un­ derstood as part of a deepening authoritarianism within the South African state. Although this pre­ ceded the presidency of Jacob Zuma regime, under his rule the government has become at once more secretive and more enabled to get away with often extreme violence against ‘secur­ ity’ threats, most notably in the case of the Marikana massacre where police gunned down striking miners. Simultaneously, the Zuma years has seen the strengthening of conservative forces, with a lot more overt ethnic chauvinism and nationalist demagoguery entering the political discourse.

At the very least the current hard­line border ap­ proach is just a matter of scapegoating foreigners for the structural inequality and poverty of daily life in the country, an easy source of frustration. However it seems more likely to encourage worse violence down the road, with the state viewing even more of both its citizen­subjects and people from elsewhere as ‘dirt’ to be swept away with an iron broom.

The Broken Rifle No 103, August 2015


Militarisation of Borders

How is power being exercised through theApartheid wall in Palestine? Adele Jarrar

The militarization of borders has occurred since ancient times, and locating 'political' frontiers has been a necessary condition all along, for instance, The Great Wall of China, of which Emperor Qin Shi Huang started its earlier sections In 220 BC as a defensible wall against Northern invasions. In the modern era, we can find several examples of militarized borders, such as the Pakistan / India borders, USA / Mexico, and 'Israel' / Palestine. Actually the obsession with 'frontiers' has developed to an extent that we can now even find 'autonomous' agencies whose aim is managing the cooperation with foreign borders guards, including questions of illegal immigration, human trafficking and 'terrorist infiltration', such as "FRONTEX", the EU border agency, which was established in 2004 (FRONTEX, 2007). In this article, however, I will discuss the Apartheid wall in Palestine. The segregation wall Palestine/ 'Israel'

The work on the wall started in 2002,though the idea of separating the 'Israelis' from the Palestinians arose in 1992, when Yitzhak Rabin, who had suggested this idea before he won the election for Israel's Prime Minister. So far, the construction has cost 3 billion US dollars and is considered as one of the most expensive projects in the history of 'Israel'. The Ministry of defense was put in charge of the project together with the Department Of Regional and Strategic Planning. The 'Israeli' government argued that the "The Security Fence", as they call it, "is being built with the sole purpose of saving the lives of the 'Israeli' citizens who continue to be targeted by the terrorist campaign that began in 2000." (MOD, 2004) The length of the wall is 832 km, which is double the length of the Green Line (the agreed borders of 1967). See figure 3. The wall barely follows this line, to an extent that actually only 6% of the wall will be within 100 meters of the 1967 borders. Figures 1 & 2 shows the wall


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and barrier sections.

Militarized borders/ mechanism of power "security state"

Michel Foucault's lectures on "Security, Territory, Population" (1977­1978) will serve me in this part in this part to analyze the political strategies of power at the segregation wall and borders in general. However, Foucault defined three types of power, that can be applied on multiple phenomena:­ sovereignty, discipline, and "bio­power". Sovereignity/Territory power

Foucault in his lectures explained that sovereignty1 in the classical ages meant mainly to have control over land. ''Sovereignty" as Foucault said, creates a "territorial pact, and guaranteeing borders is the major function of it". Foucault in addition to that explained that sovereign power is "exercised within the borders of a territory." (Foucault, 2009)Hence, erecting militarized borders, does clarify and strengthen the territorial identity/body of any new state in specific and any state in general. In Palestine, the total area of the West Bank is 5,640 km², the Israeli wall acquired 724 km² of these, totaling the area of Palestinian land losses at 1864 km² (33% of the area of the West Bank) (Lands and tenures research center, 2014), because the 'Israeli' wall, settlers by­pass roads, security­closed areas, and the 200m wide security barrier after the wall on the Palestinian side. Frantz Fanon once said that "For a colonized people the most essential first and foremost the land: the land which will bring them bread and, above all, dignity.” (Fanon, 1963) The land and geographical contiguity of territory is not available for the Palestinian state (Figure 3 & figure 5) the Palestinian lands are floating among the C areas 'Israeli' lands like islands, not to mention the geographical disruption between West bank and Gaza, which makes it impossible to build a Palestinian state in the current situation. Discipline

Foucault talked about "discipline and punish" as a ceremony of sovereignty, He explained that discipline is just one way of many other ways that power can be exercised. Foucault illustrated that discipline mechanism means the society is being watched all the time by surveillance methods, and the behavior of the society is being corrected by police for example. (O'Farrell, 2007) sovereignty cannot be acquired only by erecting a concrete wall and, here lies the importance of discipline and surveillance which is exercised by CCTV cameras, radar stations, Aerial systems, smart sensors and extremely light­flooded areas combined with the concrete wall/electrified fences, patrol roads and deep trenches, (figure 1&2) making the whole­picture of a live prison,

and a willful 'criminalization' of an entire nation behind its walls (figure 4). Any 'infiltrator' or farmer is threatened with shooting or arrest, accusing them of approaching the barrier, not to mention the ecological, environmental, economical, educational and agricultural discipline. According to the World Bank, agriculture generates 8% of the overall Palestinian income (B'tselem, 2011). However, the Wall at least doubled the cost and the length of travel time for farmers to reach their lands, with the result, the income from agriculture is extremely insufficient. (Abu­ Eisheh, 2004) The environmental effects which result from the wall, include the deterioration of water quality, depletion of natural resources, land degradation, air and noise pollution, deterioration of nature, biodiversity, landscape and aesthetic distortion, and extreme threats to the cultural and historical heritage. Biopower defines "Bio­power" as a term to the practice of modern nation states and their regulation of subjects through "an explosion of numerous and diverse techniques for achieving the subjugations of bodies and the control of populations ". Simply, Bio­power is a way that someone can exert complete and total power over someone else. Foucault gave historical examples of 'bio­power', the treatment of leprosy, plague, and smallpox and apparatuses of security and disciplinary mechanisms that were used (Foucault, 2009), for instance, medical quarantine of villages and towns, and the treatment of mental illness, and the problem of asylums. He explained how a group of (doctors, psychiatric, military force...etc) put themselves in a socially higher positions, allowing them to imprison or isolate a group of people, insisting that this group of people deserves being trapped like mice. Concerning the Palestinian case, the wall is trapping 89.5% of the Palestinians in it for 'security reasons', whilst simultaneously annexing 88.6% of settlers on the 'Israeli' side of the wall! This is a powerful way to express how the wall is snaking through Palestinian land to annex settlements and regulating bodies on a radicalized basis. (palst­, 2004) At the time of finishing the wall approximately 249,000 Palestinians will be living isolated between the Wall and the Green Line and 20,000 of them are living in the “closed zone.” (palst­, 2004)

the recalcitrance of the will and the intransigence of freedom” (Dreyfus & Rabinow, 1982).

Border militarisation


Abu­Eisheh, S., 2004. The Impacts of the Segregation Wall on the Sustainability of Transportation Systems and Services in the Palestinian Territories. 18(2, 2014). B'tselem, 2011. Separation barrier. Available at: DREYFUS, H. L. & RABINOW, P., 1982. Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics. 2nd edition ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press Books. Fanon, F., 1963. The Wretched of the Earth. first ed. s.l.:Grove/Atlantic, Inc.,.

Foucault, M., 2009. Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the Collège de France 1977­­1978. NY: Picador.

FRONTEX, 2007. Available at:­ frontex/mission­and­tasks/

Lands and tenures research center, t. a. s. s., 2014. Occupation in the West Bank, facts and numbers 2014, s.l.: Lands and tenures research center , DOC file.. MOD, 2004. Available at: G/questions.htm O'Farrell, C., 2007. Key concepts. Available at: http://www.michel­

palst­, 2004. Facts on the Israeli "Security" Wall. Available at: http://www.palst­

At the same time, the West Bank in general is surrounded by the security 'fence' transferring the historical Palestine of 27,000 km2 to small disconnected islands of agglomerations. The three types of power that we talked about, territorial power, discipline power and biopower can be applied to any oppressed social class, gender, race, religious minority. Every oppressing power sets a "binary division" as Foucault said, between the oppressed and the oppressors, between who is included and who is excluded. The settler­colonization in Palestine uses the Apartheid wall as a major tool to construct a hegemonic network, trapping the Palestinians in it. However, as Foucault said: “At the very heart of the power relationship, and constantly provoking it, are The Broken Rifle No 103, August 2015


Militarisation of Borders

Disputed borders: growing militarisation of theAsia­ Pacific region Peter D Jones

Since the end of the Cold War, the dream of a peace dividend has disappeared as militarisation simply shifts its focus to find new areas of conflict. In the Asia­Pacific region, where nation states are a relatively new feature of history, border disputes have inevitably resurfaced. In the 21st century, it is not only land borders that are the subject of disputes but sea boundaries as nations jockey for control of underwater resources. At the same time, the USA has opted to shit its geostrategic focus from Europe to Asia, and new nations and alliances have emerged, as we have become a multi­polar world rather than one with just two superpowers, then only one. In addition, a number of developing nations are using their new wealth to build up and modernise their armed forces, especially in the Asia­Pacific region. Two factors now seem to be driving a regional arms race in the Asia­Pacific region. One is over disputed borders on land and at sea, the other reflects the current pivot of the US military focus away from Europe and towards the Asia­Pacific region. The latter is mainly driven by a desire to contain growing Chinese naval expansion and claims to reefs and islands in the South China Sea. Here old historical claims come up against the 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zones (formally established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982), which allows control of potential underwater oil and gas reserves while China also claims its expansion is driven by a desire to protect its sea lanes for its growing maritime trade. Interesting new alliances are being forged, some bringing together former old enemies like Japan and countries it occupied during the Pacific War (1941­45) while Viet Nam is developing new links with the United States and Australia, reflecting its old fear of Chinese expansion. Cynics observe that there is nothing new about Chinese claims to some of the islands and reefs in the South China Sea and that measured against the US military presence on islands across the entire Pacific Ocean, the US raising alarm bells about Chinese naval expansion sounds somewhat hypocritical. China has land borders with seventeen countries and has a number of ongoing border disputes with several of them as well as seeking to emphasise its claim to islands in the East China Sea and the South China Sea. In the South China Sea, six countries (Malaysia, Brunei, Viet Nam, Taiwan and the Philippines as well as China) have conflicting claims where sea borders overlap. A new official map of China produced in June this year emphasised the disputed waters far more than previous maps, saying it is designed for the Chinese public, but it indicates that China claims over 90% of the South China Sea area. The Philippines in turn exhibited 60 ancient


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maps of Asia in Manila going back to 1136, arguing that none of them back up China’s claim to any maritime territories beyond Hainan Island. Particularly at stake is the Scarborough Shoal just off the coast of the Philippines where Chinese fishermen were caught ‘poaching’ in 2012. Recent photos also show that China has been dredging sand to construct an airstrip on the Fiery Cross Reef and has reclaimed 2,000 acres of sea in the Spratly Islands although there is nothing new about creating artificial islands. China claims that they are only doing construction work on islands that they physically possess anyway, arguing that other countries like Viet Nam are active on more islands than China. China is also involved in a dispute with Japan over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea, again with underwater resources at stake. In addition Japan has unresolved claims over the southern Kurile islands with Russia, never resolved after the Pacific War finished in 1945. Another geo­strategic shift since the Cold War ended, is that India has become part of this growing alliance against China in addition to its its continuing border dispute with Beijing in the Himalayas, with both countries publishing maps showing the disputed areas as part of their own territory. Behind these border disputes is growing militarisation of the region, as countries expand their military budgets and buy new combat hardware or are developing their own ships and submarines. Both China and India are building missile carrying SSBNs and aircraft carriers while India aims to have a 200 ship navy by 2027. Its submarines initially came from Germany and Russia but it is currently discussing the purchase of submarines from France. Malaysia has two Scorpene class submarines built by the French DCN Compagnie and Spanish Navantia while South Korea, also engaged is a territorial dispute with Japan over the Liancourt Rocks in the Sea of Japan (rich fishing grounds are at stake here), has nine type 214 submarines brought from Germany’s HDW GMbH in Kiel. Singapore’s submarines are Swedish while Viet Nam has bought three Kilo class submarines from Russia (with three more on order) and has ordered fifty land­attack missiles with a range of 300 kms. Thailand, Bangladesh and Pakistan have ordered their submarines from China. The hawkish Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, in addition to increasing the military budget, has persuaded his Cabinet to allow the Japanese Self Defence Force to engage in military operations to protect its allies, a policy that was previously banned by Article 9 of the 1947 Peace Constitution forced on Japan by the United States after the end of the war. He has also lifted Japan’s weapons export ban

and in May this year, Japan hosted its first international arms exhibition since the war, organised by British security company, MAST. In June, a Japanese P3­C Orion surveillance plane with a Philippines aircraft flew over the South China Sea, ostensibly as practice for potential humanitarian coordination, while Japanese engineers are assisting Filipinos build a naval base on Palawan Island facing the South China Sea. Here China claims islands close to the Philippines while asserting they have always been Chinese. Japan is also working to strengthen its alliance with the USA and Australia, and is engaged in a bid to build Australia’s next generation of twelve to fifteen submarines, though Australia’s main domestic concern is that they are built in South Australia. Here the Australian Submarine Corporation has 2,000 workers depending on new orders and growing unemployment is a major state issue. To strengthen the alliance with the United States, 2,500 Marine Corps personnel are being rotated through the northern port city of Darwin which constitutes a ‘lily­pad’ or a ‘not really a base’ forming part of the Pentagon’s pivot to Asia.

At the same time, joint war games continue with Operation Talisman Sabre currently (July) under way in the Northern Territory and Queensland, involving 30,000 troops from the USA, Australia and New Zealand. This exercise is held every two years and lasts for twenty days. Local peace groups have organised protests, including the Quaker Grannies holding a tea party on the training area, and a number of activists have been arrested. Not surprisingly, Australia, like other US allies. has also ordered up to 75 of the new Lockheed­Martin F­35 Joint Strike Fighters, despite technological problems with its development.

Border militarisation

Some US commentators have forecast war against China within ten years while China sees itself as simply reasserting its historic role as the Middle Kingdom after two centuries of national humiliation. What is certain is that the rapid force modernisation of so many countries in the region will lead to growing instability and by contrast with Europe, the peace movement only really exists in a few countries in the region like Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and to a limited extent, India and South Korea.

The Business of Militarized Borders in the European Union

Theodore Baird

A number of scholars, journalists, and activists have argued that we may be witnessing the development of a ‘security­industrial complex’ in Europe which resembles the earlier ‘military­ industrial complex’ of the Cold War. The border security­industrial complex refers to the relations between military, security, and private industry within a global market for the design and implementation of border security technologies. The main actors are governments, suppliers of security technologies, and security forces demanding use of new technologies for controlling and managing state borders. The types of industrial actors which supply border security technology range from general and specialized equipment providers (small and medium enterprises primarily) to larger systems integrators (transnational defence firms such as Thales, Finmeccanica, Sagem, Airbus, Indra Sistemas, BAE Systems, among others). The larger companies have experience as defence firms working to develop military and aerospace capabilities. Customers are primarily governments (and their associated security apparatuses), as the industry is dependent on economies of scale (from smaller, local economies of police or gendarmerie units to larger, regional economies such as the European Union). Many companies re­purpose military technology for use in border control and surveillance, even when the effect of such ‘dual­use’ technologies on civilian mobile populations is unknown. The global market for border management (including only land and maritime borders) was worth approximately 29.33 billion USD in 2012, with North America possessing the highest ex­ penditure.(1) The European market for land

border security had an estimated value of 4.5­ 5.5 billion EUR in 2009, while the aviation and maritime security sectors of Europe have a market value of approximately 1.5­2.5 billion EUR each(2). The scale of the market for border security is expanding in Europe and the world, with total growth expected to exceed 56.52 billion USD for land and maritime borders by 2022(3). Even with the growth in markets for border security, the social effects of such practices and technologies are underexplored, raising a number of political and ethical concerns. Transparency and Deliberative Democracy

As the industry for border security expands, and EU integration continues, relations between the EU institutions, EU Member States, academia, consultancies, industry, and industrial lobbyists are being forged into policy networks. Security industrial lobbies such as the European Organization for Security (EOS) are expending resources to influence the EU institutions, and large defence corporations may be having an impact on migration politics in ways which we must be critically aware of. A major political question surrounding the border management industry has been the question of transparency and accountability of democratic institutions tasked with designing security, establishing norms, and executing law. With recent accusations that Airbus has engaged in corrupt dealings in their border surveillance contracts in Romania and Saudi Arabia, we must be attuned to the lack of transparency of industry in their dealings with states and the potential distortions this causes to democratic politics and European integration.

Some parts of this article will appear in Italian in inTrasformazione in October 2015. php/intrasformazione

(2) Ecorys Research and Consulting (2009) Study on the Competitiveness of the EU security industry, Framework Contract for Sectoral Competitiveness Studies – ENTR/06/054, Client: Directorate­General Enterprise & Industry, Brussels, 15 November 2009. Available online at: ecurity/files/study_on_the_competitiven ess_of_the_eu_security_industry_en.pd f. [Last accessed 27.05.2015]

(3) Frost & Sullivan, supra

(1) Frost & Sullivan (2014) Global Border and Maritime Security Market Assessment, by Frost & Sullivan. M965­ 16, February 2014. Available online at: ostSullivan/GlobalBorderandMaritimeSe curity.pdf. [Last accessed 27.05.2015]

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Militarisation of Borders

(6) Council of the European Union (2015) “Council launches EU naval operation to disrupt human smugglers and traffickers in the Mediterranean,” Press release 482/15, 22 June 2015. Available online at: s/press­releases/2015/06/22­fac­naval­ operation/. [Last accessed 24.06.2015]

(7) Neuger, J. (2015) “EU to Deploy Drones, Warships Against Human Traffickers,” BloombergBusiness, 22 June 2015. Available online at: /2015­06­22/eu­to­deploy­drones­ warships­against­mediterranean­ traffickers. [Last accessed 24.06.2015]

(4) Gammeltoft­Hansen, T. (2013) “The rise of the private border guard: Accountability and responsibility in the migration control industry,” in T. Gammeltoft­Hansen & N. N. Sorensen (eds.) The Migration Industry and the Commercialization of International Migration, Routledge: Abingdon and New York.

Accountability and Rights Protections

In parallel, a number of questions are raised concerning the accountability of private industry when abuse against migrants is committed. The functions of deterring migration at the border, interning migrants in detention centers, and deporting migrants have each been partially or fully privatized. A number of abuses involving private contractors have been recorded in detention centers (e.g. Yarl’s Wood in the UK) and during deportation (the case of Jimmy Mubenga and G4S). Militarizing and privatizing EU borders has little effect in deterring migration, but has important consequences for human rights. In an environment of limited transparency and emerging legal norms, it may be difficult to hold abusive actors accountable for abuse. The privatization of migration control means distancing the state from liability for harms and abuse against those subject to control functions. “Lifting the corporate veil,” by creating institutions tasked with monitoring corporations and holding them to account for human rights abuses, may provide us a first step at increasing accountability for harms and abuse(4). Other abuses may occur at the border – such as push­backs and violations of the principle of non­refoulement – which may involve technologies or practices of military defence firms – raising questions about the accountability of private companies who produce technology for border control but may be distant from abuse at the border. Recent missions in the Mediterranean (such as Mare Nostrum or Operation Triton) and ongoing anti­ human smuggling operations raise some of these questions. Militarizing Smuggling

(5) Reuters (2015) “Libya’s air force warns Europe over naval plan for migrants,” Reuters, 23 June 2015. Available online at: 3/us­europe­migrants­libya­ idUSKBN0P312B20150623. [Last Accessed 24.06.2015]






In early May 2015 the European Union asked the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) to approve a multi­phase military mission to ‘combat’ migrant smuggling networks in Libya. The so­ called EUNAVFOR Med mission is modelled on anti­piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden, which is a strategic error: migrant smugglers are not pirates, and are not organized nor act as such. Both of Libya’s competing governments (the Tripoli­based General National Congress and the Tobruk­based Council of Deputies) are opposed to the EU’s proposal. The Libyan Air Force (controlled by the internationally recognized government in Tobruk) has even warned that EU vessels entering Libyan waters will be targeted by air­ strikes(5). Rather than search for protection solutions or peaceful alternatives to migration,

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the EU is trying to heat things up through ag­ gression.

In mid­June 2015 the EU launched the first phase of EUNAVFOR Med, which involves surveillance and does not need approval from the UNSC, but sets the stage for future combat. The shared costs of EUNAVFOR Med are around 12 million EUR for the first two months and lasting for a 12 month mandate(6). A number of military assets will be used, including five warships, two submarines, three reconnaissanc e planes, three helicopters, and two drones(7). Militarizing anti­smuggling operations is unprecedented , as most anti­ smuggling operations are led by civilian police forces. Actively engaging smugglers with military practices and technologies will have unknown and paradoxical effects which will likely be harmful to migrants and local fishing communities on the Libyan coast, and may escalate into outright conflict with the two Libyan governments. Resisting the EU Border Security Industrial Complex

The EU’s response to increased migration in the Mediterranean has been to prevent migration and attack migrant smugglers with the support of technologies and systems designed by a robust and growing border security industry. However, those displaced by conflict or climate change will continue to be forced to migrate to safer areas, and the militarization of migration control will only serve to exacerbate problems of forced displacement rather than ameliorate them. Rather than investing in new security and surveillance technologies or taking an aggressive, militant stance against migrant smugglers, the EU should devise new legal avenues for migration and create innovations in protection solutions which value human dignity, rights, and sustainability over surveillance, industrialized control, and aggression.

Europe is at war against an imaginary enemy

Border militarisation

“Europe is at war against an imaginary enemy” ­ this is Frontexit’s campaign slogan regarding the respect of migrants’ human rights at the borders of the European Union. Usually addressed from a humanitarian angle (guilty of negligence to basic migrant rights) or a political one (the question of migratory flux management and distribution), the subject is rarely connected to the European arms market. And yet… Brussels is the European capital and second largest city after Washington in terms of its current numbers of lobbyists who represent the interests of different industries such as cigarette manufacturing, finance... and arms. Their mission? To do everything in their power to influence current and future EU policies. And companies such as Thales Group, BAE Systems and Finmeccanica, considered to be the jewels of the European arms industry, are making efforts. A bit of background information:

Thales Group, first of all, is a company which stemmed from France’s partial privatisation of the arms industry and is very active in the domain of lobbying in Brussels. Its turnover for 2013 was €14.2 billion. Thales Group, in collaboration with the Spanish company Aerovision, introduced its new surveillance system for coastal and marine borders in 2012 ­ a drone called FULMAR which was specifically introduced and tested during a three day demonstration for FRONTEX (Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union). Thales Group’s press release said the following “The surveillance and control of borders are essential to guarantee the internal security of a nation. With the increase in risks and threats (clandestine immigration, drug trafficking, terrorist threats, etc.), governments are demanding higher levels of security for their borders.”

BAE Systems is the biggest arms manufacturer in the UK and Europe, and the second biggest in the world, with 95% (€30 billion) of its turnover coming from selling weapons. In 2010 BAE Systems received €2.3 million contract to develop a “Serious Crime and Immigration Information Management System (SCIIMS)”. Finmeccanica is the second largest Italian company with a turnover of €14.6 billion . The company, through its branch Selex and with Thales Group, is part of the OPERAMAR project whose aim is to establish relations between the European Union and those employed under the national maritime surveillance. OPERAMAR, along with several other projects, forms the backbone for EUROSUR (European Border Surveillance System). EUROSUR was introduced by the European Commission with the following words: “Our aim with EUROSUR is to avoid illegal border crossing, to reduce the number of immigrants dying at sea and to reinforce the European Union’s internal security by contributing to the prevention of transborder crime”. Finmeccanica signed a contract with Gadaffi’s Libya in 2009 to install a surveillance system which could stop migrants coming to Italy via Libya. These three companies, plus Airbus Group (formerly EADS) form what is called “the great four” ­ the four biggest companies in the European arms industry. And from time to time they publicly address the decision­ makers; in 2003 the CEOs of Thales Group, BAE Systems and EADS wrote an open letter (which was published in several national European newspapers) to call for the creation of the European Defence Agency. This was created in July 2004 thanks to intense lobbying from the arms industry… and to the tenacious work of the consulted experts in its development. Experts who work for BAE Systems and EADS and whose work has never been made public. The Broken Rifle No 103, August 2015


Militarisation of Borders

One of the European Defence Agency’s duties is “to establish a global and systematic approach to define the needs of European Security and Defence Policy and to respond to these needs”. In other words, this agency must define the needs of the European Defence Policy while at the same time being under the influence of lobbyists from the same sector! The European Defence Agency is now integrated into the European External Action Service (the European Minister for Foreign Affairs) where the main decisions are made by the Council, that is to say the leaders of the EU member states, and as such by the national governments who are heavily implicated in the arms industry themselves. The aforementioned projects have benefited from financial aid which has come from FP7, an EU fund which is used to help businesses finance their research in high technology. In 2010 the amount allocated to adopt military surveillance techniques for Europe’s border was estimated to be around €50 million. As public money is not to be used for military­ orientated projects, businesses devise programmes with a dual purpose ­ civil and military ­ which is allowed. In 2014, the European Space Agency launched the satellite Sentinel (the first in a series of satellites whose launches will be clear in 20 years) for a planet observation mission. The images are readily available to citizens, scientists and businesses...It’s about “better protecting our planet and improving our citizens’ lives”, but “the images from Sentinel will also be crucial in maintaining Europe’s maritime security” (e.g. fishery, drug trafficking, border control). The fight against illegal immigration, by boat, for example, is not the aim of Sentinel’s images, but these images can be used to help national systems to control borders. In order for funds to be allocated to projects which fulfil the EU’s needs, the European Commission needs to correctly identify the flaws. Affected by a chronic deficit of internal experts, the Commission regularly consults external ones. The Security Advisory Group is composed of 32 people, a third of whom come from the arms industry (Airbus Group, Finmeccanica, Thales Group). This group must indicate the flaws regarding the EU’s security technology…. then these experts will reprise their roles within the weapons industry and work on a project which, after being financed by Horizon 2020, will lead to a finished product (drone, satellite, armoured personal carrier)... which will be commercialised and benefit the company in question. Just like in the European Defence Agency’s case, there is an obvious conflict of interest. The group consultants for security have met in Brussels a good twenty times which has resulted in an increase in European border security. “Europe is at war with an imaginary enemy” then. An enemy, the migrant, systematically described as “illegal” and presented by the arms industry itself as a package of problems that needs resolving in the same way as crime, terrorism or drugs. In order to resolve “this migratory and security problem”, specialists and external experts, who have come directly from the defence industry, are called upon for


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assistance. They transform this “problem” into a fault that rapidly needs fixing by the EU and produce adequate products which, after being financed by European public money, will go to line the pockets of companies such as Thales Group, Finmeccanica and BAE Systems. The arms industry is not and will never be a business like others ­ it is able to to produce policies which justifies risking migrants’ lives, an economy which justifies this policy, and weapons which carry it out.

The Tension between Militarisation of Maritime Borders and the Human Rights of Migrants at Sea

Border militarisation

Daniel R. Mekonnen Introduction

The European Union (EU) has one of the most dangerous borders in its southern tip, across the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. In recent years, this maritime border, particularly the Italian Peninsula, has become a mass grave of migrants by reason of tragic boat accidents that took place time and again, often times in distances so close to coastal towns that they could have provided timely interventions of rescue. This issue has caused a great deal of embarrassment on the part of some European institutions, as it is happening partly due to lack of an effective intervention strategy on the part of the EU. This points out that legal security and the provisions that safeguard human rights are in stark contrast to the militarised security of the borders. Another embarrassing aspect of this crisis is that it is a result of a narrow political interest that gives priority to securitization of maritime borders at the expense of the “human rights of migrants at sea.”(1) By taking some latest calamities of the Mediterranean Sea, that come as hideous blots on the annals of modern European history, this short contribution argues for a robust seal of the gap between human rights protection and militarised “security” along the sea borders of Europe. Despicable tragedies of extraordinary scale

Admittedly, the details of the numerous tragic sea accidents that have taken place in the Mediterranean Sea in recent years are too long to be recounted in a short piece like this one. I here make a cautious choice of the two most important examples, selected mainly on account of the global coverage they have received, and the concomitant uproar they have instigated. I believe that by discussing two of the most representative cases some sort of justice can be done in propagating the call for accountability with regard to all such injustices the world has witnessed in recent years.

The two examples are the “left­to­die­boat” (LTDB) of March 2011 and the Lampedusa Tragedy of October 2013. They stand out as some of the most important examples in demonstrating existing gaps in the protection of the human rights of migrants at sea at the European level. The LTDB accident involves the danger faced by some seventy­ two migrants, who departed Tripoli on the night of 27 March 2011, in an overcrowded boat. The migrants were stranded on the sea for about two weeks, severely hit by hunger and thirst. The journey ended up with the tragic death of all but nine passengers. The majority of the sixty­three people died during this period, for lack of timely rescue operations. When the boat finally landed in Ziltan (southeast of Tripoli), drifted by sea wave, only eleven migrants were still alive. Two of them died shortly thereafter. Sadly, this tragic “accident” took place at a time when there was heavy military presence in the Mediterranean Sea in relation to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) military operations against the regime of former Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi(2). The second example is that of the Lampedusa Tragedy, which took place on 3 October 2013. This involves the capsizing of an overcrowded migrant boat at the coast of Lampedusa, about less than a quarter­mile from the island, at least according to media reports. The fact that the accident happened at such a close distance to the coast of Italy was interpreted by many as an outcome of a dismal failure by Italian authorities, tacitly condoned by the rest of Europe.

This contribution is an abridged version of a full length academic paper submitted to the workshop on “Justifying the European Border Regime and Holding It To Account: Ideational Versus Material Dimensions?,” European University Viadrina (Frankfurt/Oder), 26­ 27 March 2015. The original title of the full paper version was “Balancing the Tension between Security and Human Rights in EU’s Southern Maritime Borders.”

(1) See in general: (2) This account is largely based on a summary of events presented by the Forensic Architecture Project, available at: http://www.forensic­­die­boat/

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Militarisation of Borders

(3) Ibid.

The two tragedies discussed above have garnered heightened international attention, exposing colossal failures on the part of some EU member states and NATO. In the case of the LTBD in particular, core issues of accountability remain unanswered as the accident took place in spite of the fact that the migrant boat was actually spotted in an early stage of the crisis by a military helicopter and several vessels (civilian and military) that were navigating in the area. The military aircraft and vessels allegedly belonged to NATO and some other European states. Matter­of­factly, a distress call that was sent from the migrant boat was duly received by the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Rome, and was subsequently transmitted to several vessels in the area, including the NATO headquarters allied command in Naples. No action was taken to save the lives of the migrants at sea(3). Although there is a fairly adequate international legal framework that safeguards the human rights of migrants at sea, the colossal failures in the two examples discussed above took place partly due to apparent institutional gaps that should have given life to the existing international legal framework. This legal framework is based on the relevant provisions of international maritime treaties and the broad body of what is generally known as international human rights law. The existing institutional gap calls for a robust action aimed at strengthening the fairly

adequate international legal framework, with a view to providing effective protection to the human rights of migrants at sea. At the core of such action rests ensuring legal accountability and responsibility for wrongful actions committed by powerful international organisations or entities, such NATO.

At the EU level, there is also an urgent need to reevaluate existing EU border enforcement policies, with a view to enhancing an approach that takes into consideration not only the maritime security (militarisation) concerns of Europe but also the human rights of migrants as sea. Without leaving the burden to coastal states, which remain disproportionately affected by an over­growing influx of ‘boat’ migrants, the EU as a regional block needs to come up with a solution that addresses this problem in a holistic approach. Without undermining some of the positive on­going deliberations at the EU level, it is important to highlight that stringent accountability measures also need to be put in place in order to avoid the kind of colossal failures seen in the case of the LTDB and the Lampedusa Tragedy. In the end, it is not militarised security of borders that nurtures a safe and better world, but immigration policies anchored in the need to give top priority to the security of the human person: regardless of the fact that such a person is a migrant or non­migrant.

Abarrier in between Mexico and the United States: insecurity, poverty, and isolation Ainhoa Ruiz Benedicto

The 3,169 km of the US­Mexico border line has become an insurmountable, heavily militarised and controlled barrier. The deployment of security forces, border controls and weaponry is very similar to that of two countries in a state of armed tension. There is not a single section of this boundary that is free of steel fences, surveillance cameras, blackhawk helicopters, Predator drones; or border patrol, immigration and customs protection officers, whose presence has doubled in the last six years to reach 25,000 agents. Every year the militarisation of the border increases. In 2014 the US government approved the deployment of up to 1,000 officers of the National Guard, that functions as a state militia, especially in the area of the Rio Grande, the


The Broken Rifle No 103, August 2015

natural barrier that marks the division between the two countries. The decision is justified by the government of the United States on the ground of the necessity to fight drug trafficking. This year the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, approved a new law that embedded this military component. The HB11 law has led to an increased control of the area, with an intended budget of up to 800 million dollars for training and for the purchase of technology and equipment. These conditions have raised strong protests from the government of Mexico, bolstering international tensions aside from the social impact for communities on both sides of the barrier that see their homes and their streets turned into increasingly militarised zones.

Border militarisation

What is going on along the US border with Mexico for such control measures to take place?

The answer goes beyond the concept of security issued by the states, the fight against drugs or the control of migration flows. To understand the role of the barrier it is necessary to deepen our understanding of the social situation on both sides of the border and beyond it, as well as its raison d'etre as a dam for contention and for maintaining the status quo through the use of force.

The figures of the Human Development Index for regions separated only by few kilometres throughout the border tells us a lot about the situation in both countries. According to the Human Development Report published by the Development Programme of the United Nations, the regions of the US side neighbouring the barrier have the lowest HDI of the country, which, nevertheless, turns out to be higher than across regions on the other side, which have the highest HDI of Mexico. That is to say, that while turning away from the barrier on one side promises improvements for the development of the person, on the other side it promises more precariousness. This not only serves to explain the evident direction of the migration flows, but also, the way in which the barrier establishes a model of social and political relations in between the North and the South, according to the economic interest necessary for the survival of the neoliberal and capitalist state. (Source: UNDP, 2009. 9/hdr_2009_en_complete.pdf)

These relationships become evident along the Mexican border through the massive growth of job insecurity that is fed by the flow of immigrants from the southern parts of the country. In the region we can witness the presence of maquiladoras (assembly centres that produce export products in which cheap labor is the common rule), almost non­existent taxes and very lax authorities in charge of implementing the laws that protect labour rights. All this just a few kilometres from the major world power. Established in Mexico since the 1960s, the maquiladoras are expanding strongly since the late twentieth and in the early twenty­first century, mainly to satisfy the cheap labor needed to meet the free trade agreement between the US and Mexico (NAFTA), which came into force in 1994. With this trade agreement US multinationals can transfer their production to Mexican maquiladoras.

The workers in a maquiladora live in a state of absolute insecurity and necessity, with a salary that barely reaches 45 euros per week, 80% of them have no union and labour rights are almost non­existent.

happened due to the recent economic crisis, unemployment multiplies. And 3) containment through a highly militarised barrier that keeps the precariousness away from the reach of stricter laws and regulations. Nation states build walls around their frontiers to protect themselves against excessive border liberalism. From the neoliberal perspective, poverty is criminalised, in this case, in the form of immigration, which is seen as a threat to the more developed countries as a force capable of generating collapse and conflicts. And that is why the need to invest millions of dollars to gain control ­ always by the use of force ­ whilst on the other hand, the flow of capital has no barriers and is legally established by agreements that reproduce poverty. The militarised border situation creates a humanitarian apartheid scenario that is not unique to this geographical area, where in just a few kilometres two realities, that at the same time feed and repel each other, converge. The neoliberal state needs the existence of precariousness, but always under its control, and, if possible, beyond its geographical scope. Countries reproduce their borders the same kind of actions that they undertake within, inside their territory, among their own populations: the precariousness is swept toward the edges and peripheries. In this case the borders do not exist as such and are much more porous; therefore, they also require militarisation and control, security agents and riot police. This trend is becoming more common, overrides the social, economic and political cooperation between states and directs us to an increasing militarisation of the borders, not only between states, but between social realities and humanitarian crises, generating a model of containment through the use force that leaves little space for social cooperation and peace.

Thus, the relationship is established in three ways: 1) job insecurity and cheaper labour to meet the expansive targets of US production, 2) economic and social dependence of Mexico to its neighbour, so that if production falls, as The Broken Rifle No 103, August 2015


Organizing for border justice and against the militarization of US­Mexico border communities Militarisation of Borders

Pedro Rios

On May 28, 2015, in San Diego, California, hundreds gathered for an evening rally and march to commemorate the National Day of Action to Stop Border Brutality. The San Diego activity was part of a coordinated set of non­ violent actions where organizations at nine cities across the United States convened various events to raise their voices against increased impunity by border agents who have been implicated in at least 39 deaths since 2010. Led by the Southern Border Communities Coalition, comprised of over 65 organizations working along the US­ Mexico border, the coordinated rallies, marches, and film screenings also highlighted the 5th year anniversary of the death of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, a father of five who in 2010 was tortured to death by over a dozen border agents at the San Ysidro Port­of­ Entry in San Diego. Coincidently, May 28 also marked the 91st anniversary since the US Border Patrol was established in 1924. Since its foundation, no documented case exists of any Border Patrol agent being held accountable for incidents where their actions have resulted in loss of life. In recent years, these incidents include the shooting of unarmed individuals, including minors, in their back, shooting across the border into Mexico, Tasering and beating people to death, and placing themselves in dangerous situations to justify the use of lethal force. In most cases, public scrutiny is adamantly discouraged or obstructed, allowing border agents to get away with murder. The deaths of people at the hands of border


The Broken Rifle No 103, August 2015

agents is part of a larger historic and complex problem, one that involves a process by which communities along the US­Mexico divide have undergone a systemic militarization process, and that increasingly debilitates constitutional protections and exacerbates violations of human rights. The Migration Policy Institute found that as of January 2013, $187 billion has been spent on immigration enforcement since 1986. The Border Patrol has seen a quadrupling of its force since the 1990s, reaching over 21,000 agents, largely concentrated along the border with Mexico. Anyone driving through roads along the borderlands will be forced to drive through a Border Patrol checkpoint and questioned about their immigration status, sometimes beyond the 100­mile threshold that regulates where agents can operate. The exaggerated build­up of enforcement resources designated for border communities follows an alarming trend whereby policies of war have defined border priorities for the US­ Mexico border region. Irrespective of party affiliation, the war framework conveniently permits policymakers to scapegoat over 6 million people living in the States of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas for their political and economic gain. Over the past four decades, the war framework has guided policy structures in the borderlands under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. Often the policies include extensive coordination with the Department of Defense. Multi­agency taskforces have included formal agreements between local and federal law enforcement agencies, focused initially on drug interdiction programs and enforcement of immigration laws, but also that respond to the national security industrial complex. In the 1980s, President Reagan permitted modifying the Posse Comitatus statute by expanding the role of the US military in domestic affairs as part of the effort to combat the War on Drugs. In 1997, a platoon of Marines involved in a covert drug interdiction program shot and killed 18 year­old Esequiel Hernandez in Redford, Texas, one mile from the US­Mexico border. The four marines who stalked Esequiel before they shot him were never indicted for criminal conduct. In the aftermath of the grand jury investigation, documents revealed that every resident of Redford, Texas was considered a threat. It was during the Reagan years that border enforcement agencies acquired a surplus of military equipment, including magnetic ground sensors, infrared night­vision scopes, Javelin missile sights, Black Hawk and Huey helicopters, and Humvees. In the 1990s, border and immigration policies capitalized on the War on Drugs by changing course and targeting lower­income communities in a “tough on crime” approach to social policy. Though crime rates were down in

the 1990s, criminal penalties became increasingly punitive and promoted a “war on crime” outlook on immigration issues. California’s anti­ immigrant Proposition 187 state ballot initiative, which sought to deny social, medical, and educational services to those “suspected” of being undocumented, galvanized hate groups that would hold “Light Up the Border” rallies along the border. Those crossing the border in search of jobs were deemed criminals, and responses from white supremacist organizations included a youth group dressed in military garb and armed with pellet guns that would “hunt for illegals” in the marshlands of the western­most edge of the San Diego border with Tijuana.

The anti­immigrant fervor in California went national and in 1996, President Clinton signed into law a retroactive and punitive immigration law that criminalized migrants. Two years prior, his Administration adopted border­wide militarization measures that sought to push migration flows into hostile mountainous and desert terrain. Consequently, since 1994, over 7000 men, women, and children have perished in the borderlands in their attempts to enter the US without inspection. The context for this is that the US liberalized trade under a neoliberal free­trade policy that destabilized local economies in Mexico, further generating conditions for people to migrate. Following the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US, the “War on Terror” led to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, and a new set of policies under a new mandate focused all of immigration enforcement priorities on preventing terrorist acts on US soil and interests. “Every migrant is a potential terrorist” was a common refrain from DHS spokespersons, and on­the­ground operations demonstrated a general disregard for civil rights protections, and a surge of interests in militarizing border communities even further.

Border militarisation

apartheid wall in the occupied West Bank, was contracted by DHS for $145 million to erect surveillance systems to monitor crossings along the US­Mexico border. The panorama has not changed significantly under President Obama. Record deportations have already tarnished President Obama’s integrity on his commitment for favorable immigration policies. With over one thousand daily deportations, border enforcement priorities continue to focus on failed border policies that push people to remote areas where they succumb to the elements and die horribly. Many of these individuals were long­ time US residents, despite not having proper immigration status. However, human rights organizations and communities along the US­ Mexico border continue to shift the narrative with some advances. It is not as easy for policymakers to pass on as truth the tired and erroneous story that the border is open terrain for militarization projects. Border residents continue to organize, to demand justice, and to speak truth to power in courageous and creative ways, despite what at times might appear as an insurmountable challenge. Ultimately it is a vision for de­militarizing their communities what border residents strive for, where there dignity is respected and where basic human rights are upheld.

Congress passed policies to erect hundreds of miles of border walls at the expense of dozens of labor, environmental, and civil rights regulations and treaties. Contracting agencies have included Boeing, and Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and General Dynamics have vied for contracts to construct border walls. The Israeli company Elbit Systems, responsible for building the The Broken Rifle No 103, August 2015


The water and energy conflict in CentralAsia Militarisation of Borders

Sanzhar Saidov

One of the significant factors impeding the process of integration between Central Asian countries is the question of water and energy resources of this region. The historical prerequisites of the present­day situation go back to the times of the former Soviet Union. In this era, the region relied upon a united water, energy and socio­economic system on an all­ union scale; the division of all significant resources, including both water and energy resources from the direction of the so­called Centre ­ in other words Moscow. The collapse of this centralised system, with the countries of Central Asia acquiring national independence, changed not only the socio­economic status but also the geopolitical situation in the region. This shows the huge importance of state borders that acquired a new meaning following the breakup of the USSR. The previously unified systems have now taken on a transboundary character. The water (the trans­ border Rivers of Amu Darya and Syr Darya) and energy conflicts of the countries of the region serve as a clear example of this. This partly serves the growth of militarisation (especially along the borders) and sometimes open confrontation between the states of Central Asia. For example, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan on the one hand, and Uzbekistan on the other, are continuing to wage a conflict over the construction of the Rogunsk and Kambaratinsk (Kambarata­1) Hydro Power Plant. Whilst Tajikistan places the main emphasis on the location of the hydroelectric power station and

its right to build the hydroelectric sites to solve the country’s energy problems, the Uzbek side is constantly confirming that its position is fully in accordance with the standards of international law. This is why in Uzbekistan’s official position, reference is often made to the UN Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes of 17 March 1992 and the Law of the [Non­ Navigational] Uses of International Watercourses of 21 May 1997. The Rogunsk question made Uzbekistan activate its participation in international organiations that are involved in a search to solve water problems on a global scale, like the World Water Council and the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD). Officially, Tashkent has also activated the organisation and holding of various regional and international water conferences in Uzbekistan. The current phase of this water and energy dispute began in 2008, and since then Tashkent and Dushanbe (officially Bishkek is less active) have been making significant diplomatic efforts to initiate international discussions about the problems of the gigantic hydroelectric power stations. Such diplomatic efforts have been accompanied by an information war waged by one neighbouring state against the other. The following examples speak of the attempts by each state involved to attract the support of a third party in order to solve the conflict. The parties are continuing the confrontation and at the same time, militarisation and border incidents in the region are on the rise. For example, border incidents occurred in February 2010 between the Uzbek and Tajik and in December 2011 the Uzbek and Kyrgyz borders. These events acutely exacerbated the difficult relations between the neighbouring republics. Apart from this, there has recently been a constant rise in the military budgets of the countries of the region. Uzbekistan allocates the most to defence, with a military budget that exceeds 10% of the country’s GDP and is around 2 billion US dollars. On 17 March 2010 at a press conference on the results of the official visit of the President of Kazakhstan to


The Broken Rifle No 103, August 2015

Uzbekistan, the presidents of the two countries spoke against the construction of the Rogunsk Hydro Power Plant in Tajikistan and the Kambarata­1 Hydro Power Plant in Kirghizia without calling on international expert opinion. At the same time, the parties make assurances that if they received a positive conclusion of the experts of these projects, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan may enter a consortium for the construction of these large energy sites. Speaking at the session of the UN General Assembly on questions of the International Decade for Action ‘Water for Life’ ­ 2005 ­ 2015, the Uzbek and Tajik delegations voiced opposing positions on the problem of the Aral Sea. During his visit to Dushanbe in January 2010, Pierre Morel (the EU Special Representative on the countries of Central Asia),, announced Brussels' willingness to allocate 60 million dollars to Tajikistan, in order for Tajikistan to build a few, small hydroelectric power stations instead of one big one. 2 The crucial moment in this war of national diplomacies came on 25 March 2010, when the World Bank declared its intention to conduct an independent expert appraisal of the technical justifiability, ecological and social risks and expected benefits of the Rogunsk Hydro Power Plant. In its declaration, the World Bank emphasised that the participation of the World Bank in the proposed hydroelectric power plant construction project depended on the confirmation of the technical, economic, ecological and social expediency and viability of the project, as well as the consultations being held properly with the interested states in the Aral Sea Basin.

energy disputes of the region. We consider that the demand of the Uzbek side about the need to call on independent international expert opinion of the planned hydro projects on the transboundary rivers of the region is appropriate.

Border militarisation

Nevertheless, we should not deny the objective need of the peoples of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan for energy resources either; mutually beneficial interests between the countries of Central Asia, diplomacy and respect for international law, as well as each other’s rights should become the guidelines in solving the accumulated issues.

If we do not adhere to the above indicated conditions, the conflict of interests that has arisen is capable of destroying the fragile socio­economic and political situation in Central Asia and could lead to the disintegration of the region.

Despite this, the water and energy dispute still remains unresolved. Bishkek and Dushanbe do not intend to turn down their projects to construct the Kambaratinsk and Rogunsk Hydro Power Plants, although the governments of these countries have agreed to call on international expert opinion, having thereby partially agreed with Tashkent’s position. Then Tashkent was also compelled to turn down its tone a little, making a new declaration about the fact nobody intended to deny the rights of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to construct the hydroelectric power plants, but these sites must only be built if there is a positive conclusion of international independent expert opinion. In our opinion, the effective and peaceful resolution of the water and energy disputes of the region of Central Asia must include the following components:

Disputes between states cannot be allowed to develop into armed conflict. Armed incidents on the state borders of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan having become more frequent recently, and there is a noticeable acceleration in the rate of militarisation of the countries of Central Asia, which points to a reduction in the chances of the peaceful settlement of this issue. All disputing parties must unite in a common conciliation commission set up under the auspices of one of the existing authoritative international organisations. This commission should be empowered to develop a mutually acceptable way to resolve the water and The Broken Rifle No 103, August 2015


Militarisation of Borders


Theodore Baird is a post­doc at VU University Amsterdam. He currently researches issues of border security and surveillance in Europe as part of the project "The Human Costs of Border Control." You can read his current commentaries published at openDemo­ cracy here:­baird

Léopold Lambert is a Paris­based architect and editor of The Funambulist ( and its podcast, Archipelago (ht­ tp://the­ that both attempts to raise questions around the politics of the built environment in relation to the bodies. He is the author of Weaponized Architecture: The Impossibility of Innocence (dpr­barcelona, 2012), and Politique du Bulldozer (B2, forth­ coming 2015). In September 2015, he will launch the first issue of The Funambulist Magazine. Christopher McMichael has recently completed a post­doctorate at the University of the Witwatersrand. His research interests in­ clude war, state power and organised crime. Mail: mcmichaelchristopher48[at]

Paolo Novak teaches in the Development Studies department at SOAS. His research is concerned with the relation between migra­ tion, borders and development, with particular reference to Afghanistan/Pakistan, India/Bangladesh and the Mediterranean. His research appears in Transnational Legal Theory, Journal of Refugee Studies, Geopolitics, Development in Practice. Mail: pn4[at] Adele Jarrar is an Architecture student and an Art director assistant at Birzeit University Museum. She has recently assisted in the "Ramallah, 66" exhibition. Adele has recently published a paper on "The effect of the colonial planning on the Palestinian urban context of Jerusalem." She will also be a participant of the "ICCG 2015", the seventh International Conference of Critical Geography.

Ranabir Samaddar has worked on issues of forced migration, the theory and practices of dialogue, nationalism and post­colonial statehood in South Asia. This work has culminated in the much­acclaimed "The Politics of Dialogue", as well as his recent "The Materi­ ality of Politics" (2007), and "The Emergence of the Political Subject" (2009) challenging prevailing accounts of the origins of states and signaling a new turn in critical postcolonial thinking. He is currently the Director of the Calcutta Research Group. Mail: ranabir[at] Sanjar Saidov is a political scientist and historian currently employed at Urgench State University, Uzbekistan. He has a longstanding relation to questions of energy security, armed forces reform and diversified democracies. His most current research focusses on the rise and development of civil society in Uzbekistan.

Stephanie Demblon campaigns against the arms trade "i stop the arms trade", and protests against nuclear weapons and for freedom of movement.

Ainhoa Ruiz Benedicto has specialised in social and armed conflict at masters level, and has participated in educational projects in Peru, as well as activism in Palestine and conflict resolution projects with gangs in Colombia. She is collaborating with Centro Dalás on various peace campaigns, and is a social activist in Barcelona. Daniel Mekonnen is an Eritrean human rights scholar and practicer. Having recently relocated from Oslo, he his a visiting scholar at the Centre for Migration Law, University of Neuchâtel (Switzerland). His latest academic publication is The African Garrison State: Hu­ man Rights and Political Development in Eritrea (James Currey, 2014), co­authorship with Kjetil Tronvoll. Mail: danielrezene[at] Pedro Rios is director of the American Friends Service Committee's US/Mexico Border Program, based in San Diego California. He oversees a program that documents abuses by law enforcement agencies and accompanies migrant families in organizing for self­ determination. Pedro has published essays on how border militarization impacts border communities in various publications.


The Broken Rifle No 103, August 2015

Border militarisation

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The Broken Rifle

The Broken Rifle is the news­ letter of WRI, and is published in English, Spanish, and Ger­ man. This is issue 103, August 2015. Online edition: www.wri­­home.htm

This issue of The Broken Rifle was produced by David Sch­ euing, Andrew Dey, Hannah Brock, and Semih Sapmaz.

With thanks to authors Theodore Baird, Leopold Lam­ bert, Christopher McMichael, Paolo Novak, Adele Jarrar, Ranabir Samaddar, Sanjar Saidov, Stephanie Demblon, Ainhoa Ruiz Benedicto, and Daniel Mekonnen for their con­ tributions, and to Manuel Torres, Lewis Sinkala and Justin Hoff­ man for their translation work. Find us on facebook and twitter

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