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    Le gouvernement veut activer à distance les téléphones portables pour surveiller la population « suspecte » / LaReleveEtLaPeste · 5 days ago - 13:49

Ces dix dernières années, toutes les mesures d’exception ont fini, d’une manière ou d’une autre, par entrer dans le droit commun et s’étendre à l’ensemble de la population. De l’état d’urgence de 2015 aux lois antiterroristes et de surveillance numérique adoptées sous les mandats d’Emmanuel Macron, cette règle s’est toujours confirmée.

Cet article Le gouvernement veut activer à distance les téléphones portables pour surveiller la population « suspecte » est apparu en premier sur La Relève et La Peste .

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    Pipeline Company Spent Big on Police Gear to Use Against Standing Rock Protesters / TheIntercept · 7 days ago - 10:45 · 18 minutes

Their protest encampment razed, the Indigenous-led environmental movement at North Dakota’s Standing Rock reservation was searching for a new tactic. By March 2017, the fight over the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline had been underway for months. Leaders of the movement to defend Indigenous rights on the land — and its waterways — had a new aim: to march on Washington.

Native leaders and activists, calling themselves water protectors, wanted to show the newly elected President Donald Trump that they would continue to fight for their treaty rights to lands including the pipeline route. The march would be called “Native Nations Rise.”

Law enforcement was getting ready too — and discussing plans with Energy Transfer, the parent company of the Dakota Access pipeline. Throughout much of the uprising against the pipeline, the National Sheriffs’ Association talked routinely with TigerSwan, Energy Transfer’s lead security firm on the project, working hand in hand to craft pro-pipeline messaging. A top official with the sheriffs’ PR contractor, Off the Record Strategies, floated a plan to TigerSwan’s lead propagandist, a man named Robert Rice.

An email from Off the Record Strategies, working for the National Sheriffs’ Association to plan information operations to influence the narrative around the Dakota Access Pipeline.

An email from Off the Record Strategies, working for the National Sheriffs’ Association to plan information operations to influence the narrative around the Dakota Access pipeline.

Public record via the North Dakota Private Investigation and Security Board

“Thoughts on a crew or a news reporter — or someone pretending to be — with a camera and microphone to report from the main rally on the Friday, ask questions about pipeline and slice together [sic]?” Off the Record CEO Mark Pfeifle suggested over email .

A security firm led by a former member of the U.S. military’s shadowy Special Forces, TigerSwan was no stranger to such deception. The company had, in fact, used fake reporters before — including Rice himself — to spread its message and to spy on pipeline opponents . The National Sheriffs’ Association’s involvement in advocating for a similar disinformation campaign against the anti-pipeline movement has not been previously reported.


After Spying on Standing Rock, TigerSwan Shopped Anti-Protest “Counterinsurgency” to Other Oil Companies

The email from the National Sheriffs’ Association PR shop was among the more than 55,000 internal TigerSwan documents obtained by The Intercept and Grist through a public records request. The documents, released by the North Dakota Private Investigation and Security Board, reveal how TigerSwan and the sheriffs’ group worked together to twist the story in the media so that it aligned with the oil company’s interests, seeking to pollute the public’s perception of the water protectors.

The documents also outline details of previously unreported collaborations on the ground between TigerSwan and police forces. During the uprising at Standing Rock, TigerSwan provided law enforcement support with helicopter flights, medics, and security guards. The private security firm pushed for the purchase, by Energy Transfer, of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of radios for the cops. TigerSwan also placed an order for a catalog of so-called less-lethal weapons for police use, including tear gas. The security contractor even planned to facilitate an exchange where Energy Transfer and police could share purported evidence of illegal activity .

Meanwhile, communications firms working for Energy Transfer and the National Sheriffs’ Association worked together to write newsletters , plant pro-pipeline articles in the media, and circulate “wanted”-style posters of particular protesters, the documents show. And the heads of both the National Sheriffs’ Association and TigerSwan engaged in discussions on strategy to counter the anti-pipeline movement, with propaganda becoming a priority for both the police and private security.

“It is extremely dangerous to have private interests dictating and coloring the flow of administrative justice,” said Chase Iron Eyes, director of the media organization Last Real Indians and a member of the Oceti Sakowin people. Iron Eyes was active at Standing Rock and mentioned in TigerSwan’s files. “We learned at Standing Rock, law and order serves capital and property.”

Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, whose jurisdiction in Morton County, North Dakota, abuts the Standing Rock reservation, said collaboration with pipeline security was limited. “We had a cooperation with them in reference to the pipeline workers’ safety while conducting their business,” he said in an email. “TigerSwan was not to be involved in any law enforcement detail.” (TigerSwan, Energy Transfer, and the National Sheriffs’ Association did not respond to requests for comment.)

Rice, the TigerSwan propagandist, had posed as a news anchor for anti-protester segments posted on a Facebook page he created to sway the local community against the Standing Rock protests. But when Pfeifle, the sheriff group’s PR man, suggested pretending to be a reporter at the Native Nations Rise protest, Rice was unavailable. (Off the Record did not respond to a request for comment.) Pfeifle found another way to tell the pipeline and police’s story: a far-right news website founded by former Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Pfeifle wrote to Rice : “We did get Daily Caller to cover event yesterday.”

FILE--In this Oct. 27, 2016, file photo, protesters in the left foreground shield their faces as a line of law enforcement officers holding large canisters with pepper spray shout orders to move back during a standoff in Morton County, N.D. On the same day seven defendants celebrated acquittal in Portland, Ore., for their armed takeover of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, nearly 150 protesters camped out in North Dakota to protest an oil pipeline were arrested. (Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP, file)

Protesters shield their faces as a line of law enforcement officers holding large canisters with pepper spray shout orders to move back, in Morton County, N.D., on Oct. 27, 2016.

Photo: Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP

Law Enforcement Collaboration

The idea of working with police was baked into Energy Transfer’s arrangement with TigerSwan. The firm’s contract for the Dakota Access pipeline specifically assigned TigerSwan to “take the lead with various law enforcement agencies per state, county, state National Guard and the federal interagency if required.”

Cooperation between Energy Transfer’s security operation and law enforcement agencies, however, began even before TigerSwan arrived on the scene. A PowerPoint presentation from Silverton, another contractor hired by Energy Transfer, described its relationship with law enforcement as a “public private partnership.” The September 2016 presentation said that a private intelligence cell was “coordinating with LE” — law enforcement — “and helping develop Person of Interest packets specifically designed to aid in LE prosecution.”

Multiple documents make clear that part of the purpose of Energy Transfer’s intelligence collection was to support law enforcement prosecutions. A September 2016 document describing TigerSwan’s early priorities said, “Continue to collect information of an evidentiary level in order to further the DAPL Security effort and assist Law Enforcement with information to aid in prosecution.”

The collaboration extended to materiel. TigerSwan operatives realized soon after they arrived that local law enforcement officials lacked encrypted radios and could not communicate with state or municipal law enforcement agencies — or with Dakota Access pipeline security, according to emails. Energy Transfer purchased 100 radios, for $391,347, with plans to lease a number of them to law enforcement officers.

”We want them to go to LEO as a gift which represents DAPL’s concern for public safety,” wrote Tom Siguaw, a senior director at Energy Transfer, in an email.

During large protest events, TigerSwan and police worked together to keep water protectors from interfering with construction. On one day in late October 2016, the day of the protests’ largest mass arrest, Energy Transfer’s security personnel “held law enforcement’s east flank” and supported sheriffs’ deputies and National Guard members with seven medical personnel and two helicopters, named Valkyrie and Saber.

After the incident, TigerSwan planned to set up a shared drive , where law enforcement officials could upload crime reports and charging documents, and TigerSwan could share photographs and pipeline opponents’ social media. Documents show other instances in which TigerSwan set up online exchanges with law enforcement. In a February 2017 PowerPoint presentation , TigerSwan described plans to use another shared drive to post security personnel’s videos and photographs, taken both aerially and on the ground during a different mass arrest.

A diagram from TigerSwan showing the uses of a drive for law enforcement and Energy Transfer’s security operations to share purported evidence of illegal activity.

A diagram from TigerSwan showing the uses of a drive for law enforcement and Energy Transfer’s security operations to share purported evidence of illegal activity.

Public record via the North Dakota Private Investigation and Security Board

A Dakota Access Pipeline helicopter also supported law enforcement officials during one of the most notorious nights of the crackdown, in November 2016, when police unleashed water hoses on water protectors in below-freezing temperatures. By morning, police were in danger of running out of less-lethal weapons — which can still be deadly but are designed to incapacitate their targets. TigerSwan and Energy Transfer again stepped in.

TigerSwan founder James Reese, a former commander in the elite Army Special Operations unit Delta Force, reached out to a contact at the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. North Carolina had recently used TigerSwan’s GuardianAngel mapping tool to respond to uprisings in Charlotte, in the aftermath of the 2016 police killing of Keith Scott . (A spokesperson from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety said the agency does not currently have a relationship with TigerSwan.)

Reese sent a list of weaponry sought by North Dakota law enforcement to an officer from the Highway Patrol. The list included tear gas, pepper spray, bean bag rounds, and foam rounds. The official referred Reese to a contact at Safariland, which manufactures the gear.

“We will purchase the items, and gift them to LE,” Reese told the Safariland representative. “We need a nation wide push if you can help?”

Meanwhile, another TigerSwan team member sent the Minnesota-based police supply store Streicher’s an even longer list of less-lethal weapons and ammunition. “Please confirm availability of the following price and ship immediately with overnight delivery,” TigerSwan’s Phil Rehak wrote .

“I would be given an order by either somebody from TigerSwan or maybe even law enforcement, being like, ‘Hey, can you find these supplies?’”

Rehak told The Intercept and Grist that his job was to procure equipment — including for law enforcement. “I would be given an order by either somebody from TigerSwan or maybe even law enforcement, being like, ‘Hey, can you find these supplies?’” He said he doesn’t know if the less-lethal weaponry was ultimately delivered to the sheriffs.

“I am not aware of any radios for Morton County or any less lethal weapons from Tiger Swan,” Kirchmeier, the Morton County sheriff, told The Intercept and Grist in an email. “I dealt with ND DES for resources.” (Two other sheriffs involved with the multiagency law enforcement response did not answer requests for comment. Eric Jensen, a spokesperson for the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services, said the agency had no arrangement with TigerSwan or Energy Transfer to provide less-lethal weapons, and that they wouldn’t have knowledge of any arrangements between law enforcement and the companies.)

The “partnership” went both ways, with TigerSwan sometimes viewing law enforcement weapons as potential assets. In mid-October 2016, as senior Energy Transfer personnel prepared to join state officials for a government archeological survey to examine the pipeline route, three law enforcement “snipers” agreed to be on standby with an air team, according to a memo by another security company, RGT, that was working under TigerSwan’s management. A Predator drone was listed among “friendly assets” in the memo.

TigerSwan routinely shared what it learned about the protest movement with local police, but most of what the documents describe in the way of reciprocal sharing — from law enforcement to TigerSwan — came from the National Sheriffs’ Association.

In March 2017, the sheriffs’ group helped the South Dakota Legislature pass a law to prevent future Standing Rock-style pipeline uprisings, the documents say. To support the effort, the Morton County Sheriff’s Office sent along a “law enforcement sensitive” state operational update from the North Dakota State and Local Intelligence Center. National Sheriffs’ Association head Jonathan Thompson forwarded the document to TigerSwan executive Shawn Sweeney. Thompson recommended Sweeney look at the last page, which included a list of anti-pipeline camps across the U.S.

TigerSwan also recruited at least one law enforcement officer with whom it worked on the ground. In November 2016, Reese requested a phone call with Maj. Chad McGinty of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, who had acted as commander of a team from Ohio sent to assist police in North Dakota. By February 1, McGinty, who declined to comment for this story, was working for TigerSwan as a law enforcement liaison, earning more than $440 a day.

A protestor is treated after being pepper sprayed by private security contractors on land being graded for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) oil pipeline, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, September 3, 2016. - Hundreds of Native American protestors and their supporters, who fear the Dakota Access Pipeline will polluted their water, forced construction workers and security forces to retreat and work to stop. (Photo by Robyn BECK / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

A protester is treated after being pepper sprayed by private security contractors on land being graded for the Dakota Access pipeline, near Cannon Ball, N.D., on Sept. 3, 2016.

Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

Spreading Stories

TigerSwan’s contract also mandated that the firm help Energy Transfer with telling its story. The firm was expected “to help turn the page on the story that we are being overwhelmed with over the past few weeks,” according to a document from mid-September 2016.

Energy Transfer’s image was in trouble early on. Critical media coverage of Standing Rock grew dramatically in early September after private security guards hired by the company unleashed guard dogs on protesters. A flood of reporters arrived on the ground to cover the protests. Social media posts routinely went viral. The narrative that took hold portrayed the pipeline company as instigating violence against peaceful protesters.

Energy Transfer recruited third parties to spread its messaging and counter the unfavorable storyline. At least two additional contractors — DCI and MarketLeverage — joined TigerSwan in trying to burnish Energy Transfer’s image. TigerSwan recruited retired Maj. Gen. James “Spider” Marks, who led intelligence efforts for the Army during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and served on TigerSwan’s advisory board, to write favorable op-eds and deliver commentary. (Marks did not respond to a request for comment.) With its veneer of law enforcement authority, the National Sheriffs’ Association would become Energy Transfer’s most powerful third-party voice.

Together, TigerSwan, the National Sheriffs’ Association, and the public relations contractors formed a powerful public relations machine, monitoring social media closely, convincing outside groups to promote pro-pipeline messaging, and planting stories.

Off the Record Strategies, the public relations firm working for the National Sheriffs’ Association, coordinated with the opposition research firm Delve to track activists’ social media pages, arrest records, and funding sources. The companies sought to paint the protesters as violent, professional, billionaire-funded , out-of-state agitators whose camps represented the true ecological disaster , as well as to identify movement infighting that might be exploited. Both companies were led by Bush administration alumni. (Delve did not respond to a request for comment.)

Framing water protectors as criminals was a key National Sheriffs’ Association strategy. ”Let’s start drumbeat of the worst of the worst this week?” Pfeifle, Off the Record’s CEO, suggested to the head of the sheriffs’ group in one email. “One or two a day? Move them out through social media…The out of state wife beaters, child abusers and thieves first… Mugshot, ND arrest date, rap sheet and other data wrapped in and easy to share?”

The result was “wanted”-style posters — called “Professional Protestors with Dangerous Criminal Histories” — featuring pipeline opponents’ photos and criminal records, which Pfeifle’s team circulated online and routinely shared with TigerSwan. The National Sheriffs’ Association repeatedly asked TigerSwan to help “move” its criminal record research on social media, and TigerSwan repurposed the sheriffs’ group arrest research for its own propaganda products.

Pfeifle also made summary statistics of protesters’ arrest records and a map of where they were from. The color-coded map came with a running tally of the number of protesters. The details collected by Pfeifle then began showing up in blogs and remarks by police to reporters. One piece by KXMB-TV , a television station in Bismarck, North Dakota, repeated almost verbatim statistics summarizing the number of protesters arrested and their criminal histories, noting that “just 8 percent are from North Dakota.”

“They make it harder for people to engage in peaceful protest. People are arrested and they say, ‘See, those people are criminals.’”

Naomi Oreskes, a science historian who has researched the fossil fuel industry’s communications strategies , said the attempt to frame environmental defenders as criminals was consistent with the long trend of attempts to discredit activists. However, it was also “particularly noxious,” she said, because the energy industry has pushed for stronger penalties against trespass and other anti-protest laws. “They make it harder for people to engage in peaceful protest,” said Oreskes. “People are arrested and they say, ‘See, those people are criminals.’”

DCI, which got its start “ doing the dirty work of the tobacco industry ” and helped found the tea party movement, was also a key player influencing media coverage, placing and distributing op-eds. In one exchange between DCI partner Megan Bloomgren, who would later become a top Trump administration official, and Reese, Bloomgren sent a list of 14 articles “we’ve placed that we’ve been pushing over social media.” The articles ranged from opinion pieces in support of the pipeline in local newspapers to posts on right-wing blogs.

Oreskes said using opinion articles in this way is a common strategy pioneered by the tobacco industry, among others. “You push that out into social media to make it seem as if there’s broad grassroots support for the pipeline,” said Oreskes. ”The reader doesn’t know that this is part of a coordinated strategy by the industry.”

MarketLeverage, another Energy Transfer contractor, also spent a considerable amount of its resources tracking social media and boosting pro-pipeline messages. In the weeks following the dog attacks, for instance, Shane Hackett, a top official with MarketLeverage, suggested highlighting a Facebook post by Archie Fool Bear, a Standing Rock tribal member who was critical of the NoDAPL movement. “We need to exploit that shit immediately while we have a chance,” a TigerSwan operative wrote in response to an email from their colleague Rice, the chief propagandist. (Neither DCI nor Market Leverage responded to requests for comment.)

Hackett suggested creating a graphic out of the tribal member’s post and having “other accounts share his post with the same hashtags.” Rice provided the social media text and hashtags, including, “Respected Tribe Members Call Attention to Standing Rock Leadership Lies and Failures #TribeLiesMatter #NoDAPL #SiouxTruth.” Obscure social media accounts then repeated the exact language.

“These people who are trained to use whatever publicity they can for their advantage, they’re going to do what they want anyway,” Fool Bear told The Intercept and Grist. “They don’t live in my shoes, and they don’t believe in what my beliefs are. If they’re going to take what I say and manipulate it, I can’t stop them.”

CANNON BALL, ND - NOVEMBER 30:  Military veterans, most of whom are native American, confront police guarding a bridge near Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on November 30, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Native Americans and activists from around the country have been gathering at the camp for several months trying to halt the construction of the  Dakota Access Pipeline. The proposed 1,172 mile long pipeline would transport oil from the North Dakota Bakken region through South Dakota, Iowa and into Illinois.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Protesters confront police guarding a bridge near Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation on Nov. 30, 2016, outside Cannon Ball, N.D.

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Sheriffs vs. Indigenous and Environmental Justice

Off the Record Strategies and the National Sheriffs’ Association didn’t just focus on issues of law-breaking. The association parroted some of the same messages that TigerSwan — as well as climate change deniers in Congress — were trafficking. Notable among them was a right-wing conspiracy theory that the environmental movement was “ directed and controlled ” by a club of billionaires.

The National Sheriffs’ Association also tried to undermine the credibility of well-known advocates Bill McKibben and Jane Kleeb, who founded the environmental organizations and Bold Alliance, respectively. Pfeifle circulated memos on the two movement leaders. “McKibben is a radical liberal determined to ‘bankrupt’ energy producers,” said one , adding, “McKibben will join any protest because he enjoys the fanfare.” Another memo said, “Kleeb admitted her pipeline opposition was about political organization and opportunity, not the environment.”


Indigenous Water Protectors Face Off With an Oil Company and Police Over a Minnesota Pipeline

Kleeb and McKibben expressed bemusement at TigerSwan and the sheriffs’ association’s fixation on their work. “It’s all pretty creepy,” McKibben, a former Grist board member, said in an email. “I live in a county with a sheriff, and it seems okay if he tracks the speed of my car down Rte 116, but tracking every word I write seems like… not his job.”

The sheriffs’ group also listed the nonprofit organizations Center for Biological Diversity, Rainforest Action Network, and Food & Water Watch as “ Extremist Environmental Groups ” — a pejorative used by some authoritarian government officials, including from the Trump administration.

“Campaigning against corporations driving our climate crisis and human rights violations is not extremist,” said Rainforest Action Network Executive Director Ginger Cassady. Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said the association’s flyer contained “categorically false” information about the organization — a sentiment repeated by others mentioned throughout TigerSwan’s other records.

“We would urge the Sheriffs’ Association to focus on its own responsibilities instead of attempting to undermine well-meaning organizations like ours,” added Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch’s executive director.

Both the National Sheriffs’ Association and TigerSwan took pride in meddling in tribal affairs. Reese enthusiastically encouraged his personnel to spread a story that the Prairie Knights Casino, run by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, was discharging sewage into the Missouri River watershed. Meanwhile, the sheriffs’ association worked with TigerSwan to push a story about a drop in revenue at the casino. In an email to TigerSwan’s Rice, Pfeifle noted that the issue had been raised at a recent Standing Rock tribal council meeting.

“We moved this story on front page of Sunday Bismarck Tribune and in SAB blog Friday, playing perfectly into the ‘get-out’ narrative going into next week,” Pfeifle wrote to Rice a few days later, referring to the conservative Say Anything Blog. “Please help echo and amplify, if possible.”

Using newsletters and news-like web sites to discredit pipeline opponents’ concerns as “ fake news ” was a top tactic for both TigerSwan and the National Sheriffs’ Association. The irony of the strategy was not lost on its protagonists.

Over WhatsApp , in June 2017, Rice, the propagandist, chatted with Wesley Fricks, TigerSwan’s director of external affairs, about a possible response to a Facebook video in which an unnamed reporter described recently published news reports on TigerSwan’s tactics. They would post it on one of the astroturf sites Rice created and describe it as “fake news.”

“That will cause a few people’s brains to explode,” Rice wrote in a WhatsApp message. “fake news calling fake news fake which is calling other news fake?”

Frick replied, “One big circle.”

The post Pipeline Company Spent Big on Police Gear to Use Against Standing Rock Protesters appeared first on The Intercept .

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    A Hate Crime Narrative Takes Hold Around a Tragedy in Texas / TheIntercept · Friday, 12 May - 16:19 · 8 minutes

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS - MAY 7: A man lights a candle at a memorial for eight migrants that were run over and killed today waiting at a bus stop on May 7, 2023 in Brownsville, Texas. George Alvarez was arraigned on eight counts of manslaughter and 10 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after the SUV he was driving ran a red light,  lost control and flipped on its side, striking 18 people, according to published reports.  (Photo by Michael Gonzalez/Getty Images)

A man lights a candle at a memorial for eight migrants that were struck by a car and killed waiting at a bus stop on May 7, 2023 in Brownsville, Tex.

Photo: Michael Gonzalez/Getty Images

The man who crashed into a group of mostly Venezuelan migrants in Brownsville, Texas, on Sunday — killing eight of them — sounds in the media like a cipher, if not a monster. A video of the collision shows his vehicle knocking people down like matchsticks. A reporter I know told me that human gore and bone lay in the grass for hours afterward, putrefying in the heat and reeking. On Democracy Now! , a human rights activist called the killings a hate crime.

The driver was identified as George Alvarez. The police charged him with manslaughter, and they are investigating whether he committed hate crimes or acted intentionally. During a press conference, Brownsville Police Chief Felix Sauceda pointed to a list of Alvarez’s numerous criminal priors. One was “assaulting a public servant.”

Sauceda failed to clarify that it was Brownsville police who assaulted Alvarez years ago, not the other way around. For contesting that false claim in court, Alvarez was once considered a civil rights hero. (More about this later.) Meanwhile, the narrative around the killings has ignored details about history and current conditions in Brownsville — about animus against people like Alvarez that spans generations. That hostility may bode badly in the coming weeks and months, in Texas and throughout the country as we reach the end of Title 42.

Title 42 is an obscure regulation that allows the U.S. to turn back people at borders during public health emergencies. Former President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant Rasputin, Stephen Miller, revived it in 2020 during the Covid crisis, to keep people from applying for asylum. President Joe Biden has since used it to excuse his administration’s fear of aggressively crafting policy to help millions of asylum-seekers from South and Central America to move north to safety. On Thursday night, the rule expired. With its end and without robust federal assistance to help settle an anticipated wave of refugees, local communities are susceptible at worst to murderous hostility fueled by the right, and at best to pathological indifference.

The canary in the coal mine for these risks might be the chokehold. We’ve heard much about it lately in New York City, following the fatal strangulation of Black subway entertainer Jordan Neely , who had a history of mental illness, by white former Marine Daniel Penny, assisted by other riders. We’ve heard less about the chokehold’s use against people like Alvarez, in Texas.

Brownsville is an antique city. Downtown, it looks Caribbean the way New Orleans does, with French Quarter-style architecture dating from the 19th century. True to its appearance, the city’s history is Southern. It served as a cotton-smuggling port for the Confederacy during the Civil War, and a monument to Jefferson Davis stood in a park until 2020 .

The city is 94 percent Latino, mostly Mexican American. Its poverty rate is over twice the national average. It is filled with Border Patrol and ICE agents, who take these jobs because they pay well over twice the local per capita income. In Brownsville, almost every Mexican American has a relative who is an immigration agent.

I lived there during the Trump administration. I reported on endemic dehumanization of poor people by law enforcement, and not just against immigrants. In the whirlpool of my nice gym in a nice part of town, I used to hear muscled men and well-coiffed women joke about this injustice, particularly when it came to migrants. A small crew of local rights activists resisted this generalized nastiness, but they barely made a dent.

I knew about the Ozanam Center , a nonprofit shelter for unhoused people and the site of Sunday’s tragedy. The eight migrants were staying there before they were killed. It’s been operating for decades. When I first moved to Brownsville to do reporting on immigration, an activist suggested that I go to Ozanam and offer some Hondurans $20 an hour plus lunch to help unload the moving van. I did so. After that, I heard nothing about the place. It was low key and out of the way.

Ozanam lies on the corner of Houston Road, which, along with nearby Travis and Crockett roads, are named after leaders of the 1835 Texas independence war with Mexico. Historians now concur that the rebellion was started by U.S. Southerners eager to import their Black chattel into Texas — where importation was illegal because Mexico owned Texas, and Mexico outlawed slavery.

Crossing Houston Road is Minnesota Avenue, not far from Iowa, Indiana, and North Dakota avenues. Midwestern whites migrated to Brownsville in the early 20th century and leveled the Latino ranching economy, replacing it with agribusiness fruit and vegetable farms. Along with their crops, they institutionalized the segregation of Mexican Americans, whom they derided as mixed-race “ mongrels .”

Today, Alvarez lives in this neighborhood, where the houses near Ozanam are cramped and run-down. A friend who knows the area calls it “a very sad place.”

As a ninth-grade special-education student in 2005, Alvarez was arrested on suspicion of burglarizing a vehicle. He’d just turned 17 and, according to a later court filing, already was having problems with substance abuse. In his cell, he became frustrated about a broken phone and banged it. An officer who weighed 200 pounds threw 135-pound Alvarez to the ground and put him in a chokehold, with other officers assisting, the filing states. Alvarez was then charged with assaulting a public official, a major felony.

The incident had been captured on video, but the recording was never given to internal investigators. In a legal complaint he filed years later, Alvarez said he had feared that if he went to trial he would be convicted on the officer’s word and given a long sentence. Still a minor, he pleaded guilty and agreed to eight years of probation. Within months, he’d lapsed into drug addiction and violated probation. He was sent to state prison for eight years.

A few years later, according to court documents, another man, accused of the same crime by the same officer, found the recording of his own stay in detention, which proved the officer had lied and perpetrated the assault himself. Alerted that recordings existed, Alvarez demanded and received his and discovered the same lie. A judge ordered him freed after four years of hard time. He sued the city of Brownsville in federal court, a jury awarded him $2.3 million, and his case was listed in the University of Michigan’s National Registry of Exonerations .

But Brownsville appealed the decision, and the case went to the notoriously conservative 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in New Orleans. Judges there overturned the jury’s verdict, reasoning that prosecutors do not have to reveal exculpatory evidence if a defendant pleads guilty. Alvarez’s lawyer went to the Supreme Court, which in 2019 declined to consider the case. Alvarez was denied a financial win that might have changed his life.

According to his lawyer , he now works at an industrial sandblasting company and has six children. But he is covered with tattoos that mark a brown man on the border as a lumpen, a pariah. He’s had additional arrests for driving while intoxicated and for assaulting other people, though most charges have been misdemeanors and most have been dismissed. He seems angry if not broken.

On Tuesday the Brownsville police said that toxicology tests were still being done on Alvarez, but early findings documented cocaine and marijuana in his system, as well as benzodiazepines — the ingredient in Valium, Xanax, Ativan, and Klonopin. These are highly addictive sedatives used to treat conditions including anxiety, panic attacks, insomnial, and bipolar disorder. They alter reflexes and can make driving dangerous. High doses of cocaine can cause agitation, paranoia, aggression, and dizziness.

At about 8:29 on Sunday morning, Alvarez was driving a mile from his home. He ran a red light and barreled into the migrants. He himself was injured, and witnesses said he seemed disoriented. Some survivors kicked and beat him as he yelled anti-immigrant epithets. In subsequent interviews, some migrants cited these slurs as evidence that Alvarez committed a hate crime, and the press has pushed that narrative. Yet police have presented no evidence that Alvarez was motivated by hate, and none of his insults surpass the border shit talking I used to hear from the good citizens of Brownsville in the whirlpool.

Alvarez’s carnage may well turn out to have been an accident, and its location by a migrant shelter simply a horrible coincidence. Even so, publicity surrounding the crimes has suddenly turned Ozanam into a hate magnet. According to management, some people have blamed the organization’s sheltering of migrants for the killings. Earlier this week a young man tried to enter the parking lot while brandishing a handgun . Police charged him with reckless driving and drug possession.

Meanwhile, Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott warns of a migrant “ invasion ” and is sending 450 National Guard members to the border. Biden is sending 1,500 troops, even as he announced this week that migrants will not be allowed to apply for asylum if they traversed another country first and did not apply there. Several border cities have issued disaster declarations .

In the north, New York City Mayor Eric Adams this week suspended “right to shelter” entitlement for asylum seekers. He has said New York City has no more resources for migrants. Until a few weeks ago, he’d averred that they were welcome. In the face of his new coolness, will ordinary New Yorkers cool too? Will they grow hateful?

Such questions bring us back to chokeholds. The mayor has lately scared straphangers about subway passengers with mental illness and argued that increased policing is necessary to control them. A civilian fatally choked Neely. But despite strong evidence that the killer acted as a vigilante, the district attorney’s office did not announce until 10 days later that he would be criminally charged — and only for manslaughter.

Across the country, anti-immigrant rhetoric is hardening into policy. Policy is churning out more rhetoric. Both are pushing people to the brink who are already addled and enraged. Under such pressure, will we be able distinguish anymore between hate crimes and accidents? Is there even a difference?

The post A Hate Crime Narrative Takes Hold Around a Tragedy in Texas appeared first on The Intercept .

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La Cour de cassation a estimé, ce vendredi, les conditions réunies pour que la justice française poursuive deux ressortissants syriens mis en cause pour des actes commis en Syrie àl’égard de la population syrienne.
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Le Parquet national financier a demandé, dans un réquisitoire définitif signé le 10 mai, le renvoi devant le tribunal correctionnel de treize personnes, dont l’ancien président de la République et ses ex-ministres Claude Guéant, Brice Hortefeux et Éric Woerth, dans l’affaire des financements libyens, révélée en 2011 par Mediapart.
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L’ex-députée et membre du bureau exécutif de LREM était jugée pendant deux jours devant le tribunal judiciaire de Paris après la plainte de six ex-collaborateurs pour harcèlement moral. Si elle dément l’intégralité des accusations révélées à l’époque par Mediapart, les débats ont donné lieu à quelques aveux.
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