Tunnelling borders, Bryan Finoki, opendemocracy.net, 26/11/2013
« The growing ubiquity of militarized borders has with it produced a subterranean network of cross-border tunnels. In tunnelling, global “urban burrowers” have begun to compose a new layer of multitude grounded in the struggles against global hegemony itself.
National borders are typically viewed as lines drawn with barbed wire, or fixed by concrete and steel. Politicians laud ‘walls’ as effective solutions to tides of foreign invaders aiming to steal jobs, terrorize populations, and dilute national identities. Beyond the ‘security theater’, walls are an architectural fallacy propped up by popular pretense and political fantasy, gross contractor profiteering, legal exception, institutional racism, and often brute colonization.
More recently, they have served as key infrastructure for a post-9/11 techno-militaristic opportunism, an internationalization of border security, and as a mock-hydrological system of surplus labor exploitation and incarceration. They also disguise a sub-political landscape of interlacing activities that operate through the wall in various shadowy vectors, many of which—due to increased migration criminalization, aerial surveillance, trade blockades, foreign occupation, and chronic bi-national corruption—have been forced to coalesce underground, driven further into both peril and “illegality.” But walls don’t merely sort or displace cross-border flows, rather they trigger informal tunneling as a way to compile unauthorized movements into a universal bottom class of extreme suspect. By forcing globalization’s “antagonists” to retreat underground it becomes a lot easier to treat their cause as its own kind of act of guerilla war, which only precipitates a legal rationale for warfare in retaliation.
Today, not only do walls beget tunnels they co-construct them as an intended by-product that forces a multitude of forbidden cross-border sub-agencies into self dug graves and abyssal legality. Rather than taking responsibility through progressive immigration and labor policy, or re-examining the failures of the War On Drugs, or preventing Israel’s annihilation of Palestinian statehood, national governments deploy a dehumanizing strategy of criminalization through forced tunnelization. »
BRYAN FINOKI, SUBTOPIA, 2007-2009 :
* Tunnelizing Migration : The Border Tunnel Capital of North America, 2009
(…) « Looks like the multi-billion dollar border fence aint working so well after all – what a surprise. In fact it seems to be causing as much disaster as it claims to be trying to prevent, evidenced in nearly every environmental impact review you will read of the fence (not to mention the DHS waived of over thirty environmental protection laws to build it). FAS recently pointed out that the proliferation of tunnels dug underneath the border had been casually categorized as an unintended consequence in a Congressional Research Service report (pdf) drafted last year.
You think? Come on, unintended? That’s such a bureaucratically passive way of putting it. Tunneling was hardly an unanticipated response to the fence – unintended (well, no shit) – the language sounds so desperately oblivious to me…sorry, but in an almost purposeful state of denial. Or, perhaps the Congress is just that plainly clueless about the situation. The researchers in the report go on to suggest:
A possible issue for Congress to consider as it debates expanding the existing border fencing is what the unintended consequences of this expansion could be. Given the re-routing of migration flows that have already occurred, are DHS and the relevant border communities prepared to handle the increased flow of illegal migration to non-reinforced areas? Is DHS prepared to deal with an increase in the phenomenon of cross-border tunnels and other attempts to defeat the purpose of the fencing? What will the impact on crime rates be along the unreinforced areas of the border? Will USBP agents be required to spend some of their patrolling time guarding the fence? – (Border Security: Barriers Along the U.S. International Border, CRS Report for Congress, Order Code RL33659, Updated May 13, 2008) »
Sounds like questions that should have been answered long before the fence was even started. Since its construction kicked into real gear a few years ago tunnels have sprung up everywhere along the southern border like leaks bursting in the stern of the USS Fortress America – which is only predictable. The DHS has in the past tried to use the detection of tunnels as proof the fence and other measures are working by driving the traffickers into more desperate zones of operation, which would corroborate the Congress’ research had they instead said the tunnels were a precisely intended outcome of the fence.
It’s the ‘show me a ten foot fence and I’ll show you an eleven foot ladder’ neologism making an even bigger nuisance of the fence’s impotence here via the tunnel. At this point, if the only thing you can say about close to 100 secret tunnels manifesting along your border in the last two decades is that they are an unintended consequence, then it just goes to show how out of touch the Congress is with the reality of a border fence altogether, since the fence is what primarily put them there. Not as if that point needs to be belabored any further – the fence is a complete waste in every aspect.
All you silly future security fence engineers out there take note – prepare for tunnels! »
* Tunnelizing Migration : From Headwalls to Super Walls, 2009
« It looks like the U.S. government is running a little back-to-basics sort of test in the nation’s backyard along the Arizona-Mexico border. They’ve selected a key 100-yard stretch of space right alongside the fence in Nogales to pack a concrete “headwall” 10-12 feet deep, 1-2 feet wide into the ground that will form essentially an invisible extension of the border fence below the surface.
According to the article, the headwall was poured “where smugglers have made several attempts over the years to dig through to the United States.” The Border Patrol accompanied Mexican officials along the wash that runs parallel to International Street in Mexico where they get through “along a stretch that is covered by concrete.” » (…)
* Tunnelizing Migration : An Exploration in Void Reclamation, 2009
* On-border-tunnel-infill, 2007
(…) »In recent years nearly 50 tunnels have been discovered running under the border from San Diego to Arizona. Most are small, crudely constructed passages — called gopher holes — that are easily destroyed. For the larger passages, concrete plugs, Marosi tells us, usually close off the tunnels where crossers slip under the border at main entrance and exit points – still the areas in between remain largely intact. However, smugglers have used this concrete as re-purposed material for fortifying their own branch-off tunnels, and even just as markers of directions to dig away from. The tunnelers’ continued success has forced U.S. authorities to team with structural and civil engineers and geologists, who have devised a special type of concrete that they hope will cave in if smugglers use it for subterranean structural support. » (…)
Smuggling Tunnels: The Need for a Transnational Analysis, Terrance G. Lichtenwald , Frank S. Perri, 2011
« Tunnels present significant national security concerns to the United States of America because of the devastating consequences inherent in terrorist organizations using tunnels as conduits to bypass Department of Homeland Security measures. This paper outlines sources and methods used by Canada, Israel, and South Korea to combat smuggling tunnel excavation, communication methods, and security operations. Integrating Canadian, Israeli, and South Korean sources and methods into U.S. homeland security is considered. The research design for transnational analysis of smuggling tunnels with ongoing data collection for U.S. intelligence and law enforcement is proposed.
The Secure Border Initiative (SBI) is a multiyear, multibillion-dollar program that began in 2005 intended to secure U.S. borders and end illegal immigration (“The secure border,” 2009). Two years after the SBI was approved, the Tactical Infrastructure/Border Fence project, under the control of the Facilities Management and Engineering Office of the U.S. Border Patrol, completed the pedestrian and vehicle fence projects along the southwest border of the United States (“Tactical infrastructure,” n.d.). Security threats addressed in this paper, none of which are addressed by pedestrian or vehicle fences, are the growing number of tunnels found on the U.S. border and the similarity between smuggling tunnels found in the U.S.—one tunnel was large enough to drive a jeep through—and those found in the Middle East and the demilitarized zones of South and North Korea.
The Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency has begun to research the science and technology of tunnel detection in urban settings through the Science and Technology Directorate, which is the primary research and development arm of the Department of Homeland Security (“Tunnel vision,” 2009). The authors note that as of yet the Human Factors Behavioral Sciences Division has not addressed the social and behavioral sciences aspect of smuggling tunnels or the crime-terror nexus point of each (“High priority technology,” 2009). Likewise, the U.S. military’s Joint Task Force North, which conducted nine tactical missions last year to find underground tunnels using some of the technologies noted above, did not include the social and behavioral aspects presented in this paper during its tactical missions (Hettena, 2009). In this paper, the authors propose and outline a transnational tunnel analysis model that includes in-tandem assessment of hard-science tunnel construction and the social and behavioral aspects of the crime-terror nexus point.
Between 1990 and 2008, there had been at least 75 tunnels discovered along America’s border with Mexico, 63 of these since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (Elsworth, 2008). Another calculation surmised that between 1990 and fall 2009, the United States Border Patrol found a minimum of 109 tunnels along the California and Arizona sections of the United States-Mexico border (Medrano, 2009). In fiscal year 2009, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents stationed along the United States-Mexico border discovered 26 illegal tunnels—a 60% increase over the 16 tunnels authorities discovered in 2008 (Mora, 2010). Between 2006 and 2010, at least 51 tunnels—more than one per month—were found between two border cities: Sonora and Nogales, Arizona. Lacey (2010) states, “Some Nogales tunnels are short, narrow passageways that require those navigating them to slither. Others are long, sophisticated underground thoroughfares strung with electric cables and ventilation hoses.” » (…)
Source : Wall Street Journal, http://online.wsj.com/news/interactive/
Gaza : la destruction des tunnels, objectif complexe d’Israël, Hélène Sallon, lemonde.fr, 22/07/2014
(…) « La menace des tunnels avait été évoquée pour justifier, auprès de l’opinion publique israélienne et de la communauté internationale, cette opération qui s’annonçait d’emblée meurtrière. Israël anticipait une multiplication des tentatives d’infiltration par les mouvements palestiniens, après leur échec à infliger de lourdes pertes israéliennes par les tirs de roquettes. Après s’être circonscrite à une incursion sur deux kilomètres, dans des zones principalement inhabitées le long de la frontière, la campagne s’est muée dimanche en opération de grande envergure.
« Nous avons découvert que le réseau souterrain était bien plus sophistiqué que nous le croyions », explique une source militaire israélienne. Un véritable « Gaza souterrain » aurait été mis au jour. Côté défensif, il se compose d’un réseau complexe de tunnels reliés entre eux, qui permettent aux combattants d’évoluer sous la bande de Gaza et d’accéder aux postes de commandement, aux lanceurs de roquettes et aux entrepôts de munitions cachés sous terre.
L’opération au sol viserait principalement la partie « offensive » de cette infrastructure : des « dizaines de tunnels » pénétrant en territoire israélien, parfois jusqu’à des localités, permettant aux combattants de mener des attaques sans être détectés. Des tunnels fortifiés en béton armé, éventuellement raccordés à l’électricité et à une ligne téléphonique. » (…)
Carte de la bande de Gaza, 2014