AuthorTopic: The Official Refugee Thread  (Read 128387 times)

Offline RE

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The 600 are Knocking at the Door
« Reply #780 on: April 20, 2018, 04:26:17 PM »
1200 started, about 600 left in the main group, although other smaller groups continue the Journey to the Land of Good & Plenty.  Or so they want to believe.  Some have been offered asylum in Mejico.  This Tsunami is just a first wave.  There will be many more.


Caravan migrants start to reach US-Mexico border

About 50 people arrive in Tijuana, Mexico
Posted: 3:20 PM, April 20, 2018
Updated: 3:20 PM, April 20, 2018

MEXICO CITY (CNN) - The first migrants from a caravan that sparked the ire of President Donald Trump have started arriving at the US-Mexico border and asking for asylum, advocates say.

About 50 Central Americans have arrived in Tijuana, Mexico, according to Juventud 2000, an organization that assists migrants in that border city.
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Of those, about 10 have turned themselves in to US authorities at the border. Others are waiting for a larger contingent from the caravan to arrive before they head north, Juventud 2000 Director Jose Maria Garcia Lara said.

There are many questions looming about the group's next steps. Chief among them: What will happen once larger numbers reach the border?

Many of the migrants say they're fleeing violence and poverty in Central America. They're part of a caravan that convened at Mexico's southern border weeks ago, then trekked through the country as part of an annual pilgrimage organized to bring light to migrants' plights.

This year's journey got far more attention than usual, starting with a series of tweets on a Sunday morning from Trump. By the end of that week, Trump had ordered National Guard troops to deploy to the border in a memo warning of a security crisis there.

While political pressure over the caravan mounted north of the border, in Mexico the migrants continued their journey.

Some individuals and smaller groups have split off along the way. And the largest contingent is much smaller than it was at the outset. About 1,200 migrants from Central America began the journey. After a recent head count by organizers, the group numbered closer to 600.

The larger group is still days away from the border, according to organizers.

But some migrants from the caravan have started trickling into Tijuana, according to Juventud 2000, which is working with caravan organizers to help provide shelter to the arriving migrants.

The first caravan members arrived sporadically last week. Then a group of about 25 people arrived this week, Garcia Lara said.

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🌎 An Unsustainable World Managed With an Iron Fist
« Reply #781 on: April 27, 2018, 02:02:22 AM »

Tomgram: Todd Miller, An Unsustainable World Managed With an Iron Fist
Posted by Todd Miller   at 7:51am, April 24, 2018.
Follow TomDispatch on Twitter @TomDispatch.

Recently, President Trump declared war on undocumented immigrants heading for the southern border -- you know, all those marauding “rapists” and their pals -- and, as seems appropriate in any “war,” he promptly ordered the mobilization of the National Guard. Troops from its ranks were to be dispatched border-wards permanently, or at least until his Great Wall could be funded and built by someone or other. (“We are going to be guarding our border with our military. That’s a big step,” he said proudly, in announcing the move.) Up to 4,000 National Guard troops are officially to take on the task, except that so far only a scattered 900 or so from the states of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona have actually made it to the border -- with another 400 promised by California Governor Jerry Brown, as long as they fulfill none of the anti-immigrant duties that Trump has in mind for them. Are you with me so far? Add to this the fact that the troops going into battle will be doing so unarmed and with no authority to act directly in any way in relation to immigrants of any sort. (As the memo that Secretary of Defense James Mattis signed put it, the National Guard troops will not “perform law enforcement duties or interact with migrants or other persons detained by U.S. personnel.”)

Think of this as Syria in the Southwest.  In response to presidential tweets and boasts, the U.S. military is searching for a way to visually fulfill his promises -- oh, those missiles sent into Syria, more than twice as many as the last time! -- while actually doing as little as humanly possible to achieve his goals. Mission accomplished! In fact, those National Guard troops could essentially hit the border and twiddle their thumbs, while the endless advanced systems of high-tech surveillance implanted in our ever more fortified and militarized borderlands do most of the work for them. TomDispatch regular Todd Miller, author most recently of Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security, has been following all of this for years now and today offers a sense of how ordinary -- despite all the hype -- Trump’s military moves have actually been in the context of recent American border politics. It’s a grim tale without an end in sight. Fortunately, Miller is on the job. Tom

    The Border Fetish
    The U.S. Frontier as a Zone of Profit and Sacrifice
    By Todd Miller

    At first, I thought I had inadvertently entered an active war zone. I was on a lonely two-lane road in southern New Mexico heading for El Paso, Texas. Off to the side of the road, hardly concealed behind some desert shrubs, I suddenly noticed what seemed to be a tank. For a second, I thought I might be seeing an apparition. When I stopped to take a picture, a soldier wearing a camouflage helmet emerged from the top of the Stryker, a 19-ton, eight-wheeled combat vehicle that was regularly used in military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He looked my way and I offered a pathetic wave. To my relief, he waved back, then settled behind what seemed to be a large surveillance display mounted atop the vehicle. With high-tech binoculars, he began to monitor the mountainous desert that stretched toward Mexico, 20 miles away, as if the enemy might appear at any moment.

    That was in 2012 and, though I had already been reporting on the militarization of the U.S.-Mexican border for years, I had never seen anything like it. Barack Obama was still president and it would be another six years before Donald Trump announced with much fanfare that he was essentially going to declare war at the border and send in the National Guard. (“We really haven’t done that before,” Trump told the media on April 3rd, “or certainly not very much before.”)

    Operation Nimbus II, as the 2012 mission was called, involved 500 soldiers from Fort Bliss and Fort Hood and was a typical Joint Task Force North (JTF-N) operation. Those troops were officially there to provide the U.S. Border Patrol with “intelligence and surveillance.” Since JTF-N was tasked with supporting the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on the border, its motto was “protecting the Homeland.” However, it was also deeply involved in training soldiers for overseas military operations in ongoing American wars in the Greater Middle East.

    Only weeks before, 40 Alaskan-based Army airborne engineers had parachuted into nearby Fort Huachuca as if they were part of an invasion force landing in Southern Arizona. That border operation (despite the dramatic arrival, all they did was begin constructing a road) “mirrors the type of mission the 40 soldiers might conduct if they were deployed to Afghanistan,” JTF-N “project organizers” told the Nogales International. As JTF-N spokesman Armando Carrasco put it, "This will prepare them for future deployments, especially in the areas of current contingency operations."

    So seeing combat vehicles on the border shouldn’t have surprised me, even then. A “war” against immigrants had been declared long before Trump signed the memo to deploy 2,000-4,000 National Guard troops to the border. Indeed, there has been a continuous military presence there since 1989 and the Pentagon has played a crucial role in the historic expansion of the U.S. border security apparatus ever since.

    When, however, Trump began to pound out tweets on Easter Sunday on his way to church, Americans did get a vivid glimpse of a border “battlefield” more than 30 years in the making, whose intensity could be ramped up on the merest whim. The president described the border as “getting more dangerous” because 1,000 Central Americans, including significant numbers of children, in flight from violence in their home countries were in a “caravan” in Mexico slowly heading north on a Holy Week pilgrimage. Many of them were intending to ask for asylum at the border, as they feared for their lives back home.

    Fox & Friends labeled that caravan a “small migrant army” and so set the battlefield scenario perfectly for the show’s number one fan. The end result -- those state National Guards caravaning south -- might have been as ludicrous a response to the situation as a tank in an empty desert pointed at Mexico, but it did catch a certain reality. The border has indeed become a place where the world’s most powerful military faces off against people who represent blowback from various Washington policies and are in flight from persecution, political violence, economic hardship, and increasing ecological distress. (Central America is becoming a climate-change hot spot.) Yet these twenty-first century border “battlefields” remain hidden from the public and largely beyond discussion.

    The Fetish of the Border

    As I moved away from the Stryker that day, I wondered what that soldier was seeing through his high-tech binoculars. It’s a question that remains no less pertinent six years later as yet more National Guard troops head for the border. Even today, such forces aren’t likely to ever see a caravan of 1,000 refugees, only -- possibly -- tiny groups of crossers moving through the U.S. borderlands to look for work, reunite with family, or escape potentially grave harm. Such people, however, usually travel under the cover of night.

    Even less likely: anyone carrying drugs into the United States. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, the majority of illicit narcotics that cross the border into the world’s largest market (valued at approximately $100 billion per year) arrive through legal ports of entry. Least likely of all: a person designated as a “terrorist” by the U.S. government, even though that’s became the priority mission of Joint Task Force North and Customs and Border Protection. A flood of money has, in these years, poured into border budgets for just such a counterterrorism mission, yet no such person, not a single one, has been reported crossing the southern border since 1984. (And even that incident seems dubious.)

    Indeed, the most likely thing to glimpse along that divide is evidence of the countless billions of dollars that have been spent there over the last 30 years to build the most gigantic border enforcement apparatus in U.S. history. You would be quite likely, for instance, to see armed U.S. Border Patrol agents in their green-striped vehicles. (After all Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, the Border Patrol’s parent outfit, is now the largest federal law enforcement agency.) You might also catch glimpses of high-tech surveillance apparatuses like aerostats, the tethered surveillance balloons brought back from American battle zones in Afghanistan that now hover over and monitor the borderlands with long-range cameras and radar.

    Those binoculars wouldn’t be able to see as far as the small town of Columbus, New Mexico -- the very town that Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa so famously raided in 1916 -- but if they could, you might also see portions of an actual border wall, built with bipartisan support after the Secure Fence Act of 2006 passed, with votes from Democrats like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Chuck Schumer. Those 650 miles of walls and barriers cost an average of $3.9 million per mile to build and additional millions to maintain, money that went into the coffers of the military-industrial complex.

    In 2011, for example, CBP granted the former Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root (a company known for its profiteering in Iraq) a three-year, $24.4 million contract for border wall maintenance. And you can multiply that so many times over since, year after year, bigger and bigger budgets have gone into border and immigration enforcement (and so into the pockets of such corporations) with little or no discussion. In 2018, the combined budgets of CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement amount to $24.3 billion, a more than 15-fold increase since the early 1990s, and a $4.7 billion jump from 2017.

    So, in those desert borderlands, that soldier was really looking at a market, a profit zone. He was also viewing (and himself part of) what sociologist Timothy Dunn, author of the pioneering book The Militarization of the U.S-Mexico Border, 1978-1992, calls the “fetishization of the border.” That Stryker -- the “Cadillac of combat vehicles” made by General Dynamics -- fit the bill perfectly. The slick armored beast, which can travel at speeds up to 60 miles per hour, could track down just about anything, except the real forces that lay behind why people continually arrive at the border.

    Low Intensity Doctrine and the Hidden Battlefields

    In 2006, George W. Bush’s administration sent 6,000 National Guard troops to the border during Operation Jump Start, the largest military deployment there of the modern era. Those troops, however, were meant as no more than a placeholder for a post-9/11 enforcement apparatus still to be organized. Before then, as Timothy Dunn told me in an interview, there had normally been only 300 to 500 soldiers in border operations at any given time, whose justification then was the war against drugs.

    That Bush deployment was, as Dunn put it, “the first to have them out there in high-profile, explicitly for immigration enforcement.” Still, what those soldiers could do remained largely limited to reinforcing and supporting the U.S. Border Patrol, as has been the case ever since. As a start, the U.S. military operates under grave restrictions when it comes to either making arrests or performing searches and seizures on U.S. soil. (There are, however, loopholes when it comes to this, which means that National Guard units under state control should be watched carefully during the Trump deployments.) What those troops can do is perform aerial and ground reconnaissance, staff observation posts, and install electronic ground sensors. They can supply engineering support, help construct roads and barriers, and provide intelligence -- in all, Dunn reports, 33 activities, including mobile teams to train the Border Patrol in various increasingly militarized tactics.

    However, the Border Patrol, already a paramilitary organization, can take care of the arrests, searches, and seizures itself. It is, in fact, the perfect example of how the Pentagon’s low-intensity-conflict doctrine has operated along the border since the 1980s. That doctrine promotes coordination between the military and law enforcement with the goal of controlling potentially disruptive civilian populations. On the border, this mostly means undocumented people. This, in turn, means that the military does ever more police-like work and the Border Patrol is becoming ever more militarized.

    When Bush launched Operation Jump Start, Washington was already undertaking the largest hiring surge in Border Patrol history, planning to add 6,000 new agents to the ranks in two years, part of an overall expansion that has never ended. It has, in fact, only gained momentum again in the Trump era. The Border Patrol has increased from a force of 4,000 in the early 1990s to 21,000 today.  The Bush-era recruitment program particularly targeted overseas military bases. The Border Patrol, as one analyst put it, already operated like “a standing army on American soil” and that was how it was sold to future war vets who would soon join up. To this day, veterans are still told that they will be sent to “the front lines” to defend the homeland.

    The Border Patrol not only recruits from the military and receives military training, but uses military equipment and technology prodigiously. The monoliths of the military-industrial complex -- companies like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Elbit Systems -- have long been tailoring their technologies to homeland security operations. They are now deeply involved in the increasingly lucrative border market. As one vendor told me many years ago, “we are bringing the battlefield to the border.”

    Much like the military, the Border Patrol uses radar, high-tech surveillance, complex biometric data bases, and Predator B drones that fly surveillance missions across the Southwest, at the border with Canada, and in the Caribbean. Such forces operate in 100-mile jurisdictions beyond U.S. international boundaries (including the coasts), places where they essentially have extra-constitutional powers. As one CBP officer told me, “We are exempt from the fourth amendment.” Border zones, in other words, have become zones of exception and the DHS is the only department the federal government permits to ethnically profile people in such areas, a highly racialized form of law enforcement.

    By deploying heavily armed Border Patrol officers, building walls, and using surveillance technologies in urban areas that traditionally had been crossing spots for the undocumented, such migrants are now forced to traverse dangerous and desolate areas of the southwestern deserts. It’s a strategy that anthropologist Jason De Leon has described as creating “a remote deathscape where American necropolitics are pecked onto the bones of those we deem excludable.”

    Instances of overt violence on the border, the sort that might be associated with increased militarization, sometimes make the news, as in multiple incidents in which Border Patrol officers, deputized police, or even military troops have shot and killed people. Most border crossers, however, are now funneled away from the television cameras and reporters to those distant desertscapes where hidden “battles” with the elements remain unseen and so are no longer a political problem. According to Dunn, this is the low-intensity-conflict doctrine at work. 

    Along the U.S. border with Mexico, 7,000 corpses have been found since the early 1990s and a reasonable estimate of the actual death toll is triple that number. Thousands of families still search for loved ones they fear lost in what journalist Margaret Regan has termed the Southwest “killing fields.” Recently, while I was giving a talk at a New York state college, a young man approached me, having realized that I was from Arizona. He told me that he’d last seen his mother in the desert near Nogales and asked if I had any idea how he might search for her, his eyes brimming with tears.

    Globally, since 2014 the International Organization on Migration has recorded 25,000 migrant deaths -- a figure, the group writes, that “is a significant indicator of the human toll of unsafe migration, yet fails to capture the true number of people who have died or gone missing during migration.” On such hidden battlefields, the toll from the fetishization of the world’s borderlands remains unknown -- and virtually ignored.

    Securing the Unsustainable

    At a global level, the forecast for the displacement of people is only expected to rise. According to projections, when it comes to climate change alone, by 2050 there could be between 150 million and 750 million people on the move due to sea level rise, droughts, floods, super storms, and other ecological hazards. Former Vice President Al Gore’s former security adviser, Leon Fuerth, wrote that if global warming exceeded the two degree Celsius mark, “border problems” would overwhelm U.S. capabilities “beyond the possibility of control, except by drastic measures and perhaps not even then.”

    At the same time, estimates suggest that, by 2030, if present trends continue, the richest one percent of people on this planet may control 64% of global wealth. In other words, what we may have is an unsustainable world managed with an iron fist. In that case, an endless process of border militarization and fortification is likely to be used to control the blowback. If the booming border and surveillance markets are any indication, the future will be as dystopic as a Stryker in the beautiful desert highlands of New Mexico -- a world of mass displacements that leave the super-rich hunkered down behind their surveillance fortresses.

    Pouring billions of dollars into border zones to solve political, social, economic, and ecological problems is hardly a phenomenon limited to the United States. The border fetish has indeed gone global. Border walls now commonly zigzag between the global north and south and are being built up ever more as a rhetoric -- caught perfectly by the Trump administration -- focusing on criminals, terrorists, and drugs only ratchets up, while the huge forces that actually fuel displacements and migrations remain obscured.  Borders have become another way of making sure that nothing gets in the way of the sanctity of business as usual in a world that desperately needs something new.

    Todd Miller, a TomDispatch regular, has written on border and immigration issues for the New York Times, Al Jazeera America, and the NACLA Report on the Americas. His latest book is Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security. You can follow him on Twitter @memomiller and view more of his work at

    Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Alfred McCoy's In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power, as well as John Dower's The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II, John Feffer's dystopian novel Splinterlands, Nick Turse's Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt's Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

    Copyright 2018 Todd Miller


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Border fills to capacity as caravan of migrants arrives
« Reply #782 on: April 29, 2018, 08:24:12 PM »

Border fills to capacity as caravan of migrants arrives, officials say
The statement offered the first glimpse of a showdown the roughly 400 migrants had been preparing for with the Trump administration.
by Dennis Romero and Annie Rose Ramos / Apr.28.2018 / 2:50 PM ET / Updated Apr.29.2018 / 4:07 PM ET

Central American migrants traveling in the 'Migrant Via Crucis' caravan demonstrate at the U.S.-Mexican border at Tijuana's beaches Sunday in Baja California, Mexico.Guillermo Arias / AFP - Getty Images

Members of a migrant caravan seeking asylum in the United States reached Tijuana, Mexico, on Sunday, where U.S. immigration officials said that the port of entry had filled to capacity and that people without documentation may have to wait south of the border.

"As sufficient space and resources become available, CBP officers will be able to take additional individuals into the port for processing," Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said.

The statement offered the first glimpse of a showdown that the 400 or so migrants had been preparing for with the Trump administration.
Caravan of migrants readies for immigration showdown at U.S. border

Earlier, the migrants gathered at a wall in Tijuana for an emotional meeting with a few hundred supporters in San Diego's Friendship Park. The two groups couldn't come entirely face to face, but thet chanted back and forth to one another, separated by about 100 feet.

"We are immigrants. We are not criminals," some of the migrants chanted. "We are the hope of Latin America." Some climbed the fence, straddling the border to get a look at their supporters in the United States.

On the California side, demonstrators chanted: "We are all Latin American. Together, we are the dream of the future." Many held signs, and a kite reading "refugees welcome here" was flown over the border.

Five couples traveling with the group got married at the border on Sunday morning because they wanted to be married before they may face separation once they turn themselves in to immigration authorities.

The group was expected to walk a mile to the San Ysidro Point of Entry to cross into the United States later Sunday.

Nicole Ramos, a human rights lawyer with the nonprofit Al Otro Lado, told NBC News that lawyers were helping families seeking asylum with the final preparations. Then the group plans to walk together to the point of entry, where the "families will present themselves to U.S. authorities."
Image: Migrant caravan
Members of a caravan of migrants from Central America walk next to the border fence between Mexico and the United States in Tijuana, Mexico, on Sunday before a gathering in a park and preparations for an asylum request in the United States. Edgard Garrido / Reuters

Ramos said the lawyers have prepared strong cases for 115 to 185 people, a large majority of whom are children.

"The reason why the legal review is important is [so that] people who do not have a well-articulated asylum claim and no chance of winning do not needlessly subject themselves to a system that is designed to deport them — not protect them, deport them," she said.

The Trump administration has described the group as a threat, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the caravan as "a deliberate attempt to undermine our laws and overwhelm our system."

Nearly 20 lawyers from the United States were in the border city dispensing advice as a healthy slice of the nearly 400 people who ventured north through Mexico from Central America planned to ask for asylum on Sunday, according to Pueblo Sin Fronteras' Gina Garibo, who has been helping to guide the caravan.
Migrant caravan reaches U.S. border seeking asylum

The lawyers were warning asylum seekers to expect the worst, including possible separation from children and family members and months of detention as their cases are weighed.

"We are the bearers of horrible news," Los Angeles lawyer Nora Phillips said. "That's what good attorneys are for."

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump tweeted that the caravan "better be stopped before it gets there" to the border. He blamed Congress for what he described as "weak" immigration laws that encourage such migration.
Image: Migrants' caravan
Central American migrants traveling in the 'Migrant Via Crucis' caravan wait outside the Padre Chava's soup kitchen for breakfast and legal counseling Friday in Tijuana, Mexico.Guillermo Arias / AFP - Getty Images

The official stance of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is that the asylum seekers, who began their trek March 25 near the Guatemalan border, should have tried to settle in Mexico. But Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said their claims at the U.S.-Mexico border would be expedited "efficiently and expeditiously."

At the same time, she warned that anyone who helps an undocumented immigrant make false claims of asylum could be prosecuted.
Who's Pueblo Sin Fronteras, the group behind the migrant caravan that drew Trump's ire?

The trek south of the border was much more dangerous and taxing. A migrant who gave her name as Katerine sat in Tijuana with her baby girl, Ashley, on her lap. She told NBC News that she wants to get to North Carolina.

She said the pair went days without food and water and used the infamous freight train known as "the beast" to get part of the way through Mexico. "We've had exactly a month without sleeping in a bed," she said.

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Migrant Crisis 2.0 Might Come From Africa
« Reply #783 on: April 29, 2018, 08:45:32 PM »

 Africa, Chaosistan, Europe, Phenomenon of Terrorism
Migrant Crisis 2.0 Might Come From Africa

Written by Andrew KORYBKO on 28/04/2018
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A prominent UN official warned earlier this week that the next Migrant Crisis to crash into Europe might come from Africa and not the Mideast, and that its second iteration might be much more devastating than the first due to the sheer size of possible populations involved.

The Executive Director of the UN World Food Program made global headlines a few days ago when he warned that terrorists might weaponize food scarcity in Africa in order to trigger a new Migrant Crisis in Europe, one which they hope to exploit in order to infiltrate the continent. These were David Beasley’s exact words to the UK Guardian:

“You are going to face a similar pattern of what took place years ago, except you are going to have more ISIS [Daesh] and extremist groups infiltrating migration. What we are picking up is that they are partnering with the extremist groups like Boko Haram and al-Qaeda to divvy up territory and resources and to continue to infiltrate and destabilize in the hope of creating migration into Europe where they can infiltrate and cause chaos.

If you [the Europeans] think you had a problem resulting from a nation of 20 million people like Syria because of destabilization and conflict resulting in migration, wait until the greater Sahel region of 500 million people is further destabilized. And this is where the European community and international community have got to wake up.”

Liberal-Globalists might salivate at what he said because they see it as an historic opportunity to socio-culturally re-engineer the essence of European society and fulfill their ideological objectives, while EuroRealist patriots might shudder because this scenario represents the end of traditional Western Civilization as the world knows it.
Helping For The Wrong Reasons

It’s still too early to say for certain that this dystopian vision of the future will materialize, but what’s for sure is that there are plenty of systemic risks in Western and Central Africa that make it very possible that something like this could happen in the coming years, though this potential eventuality could be offset by robust security measures in the Mediterranean and a forward-focused US-French-Italian military presence in the region.  It should be cautioned, however, that while there’s a chance that these three countries and others might market the future expansion of their African footprint on this populist basis, there are also many ulterior reasons behind this move other than the publicly stated one, which includes of course securing access to energy deposits (such as Niger’s uranium), monopolizing new markets, and altogether “containing” China.
Sahelian Destabilization

Looking beyond the failed (former) “state” of Libya that NATO destroyed in 2011, there are several other crises waiting to happen in Africa and which could serve as the trigger for a Migrant Crisis 2.0 on the scale that Beasley warned. The first one isn’t country-specific but deals with the continent’s woes in general, and that’s the connected threats of food insecurity and explosive population growth threatening several strategic countries, the most fragile of which is Niger. This landlocked state is predicted by the UN to have the fastest population growth in the world and will grow from around 20 million people today to roughly 200 million by the end of the century if the current trajectory holds. On top of that, Niger also has one of the world’s largest uranium reserves and is unsurprisingly the site of several French bases and even a massive American drone base that’s being built in middle of the desert right now.

Niger map

Niger is squeezed between Mali and Nigeria, both of which are experiencing profound terrorist destabilization at the moment from Al Qaeda- and Daesh-linked groups, the first of which grew out of a failed Tuareg separatist campaign in the aftermath of the NATO War on Libya while the second broke out shortly thereafter in the Lake Chad basin, and both continue as low-intensity conflicts to this day. The US and its new global partner France are coordinating their military activities across the broad swath of longitudinal space called the Sahel that stretches from the Senegalese Atlantic Ocean coast to the Sudanese Red Sea coast. Paris is leading the so-called G5 Sahel group of states in the western part of this region that are impacted by the Malian and/or Nigerian terrorist insurgencies, but the organization has yet to show any actual military effectiveness as France has struggled to “Lead From Behind” like the US is known for doing in these cases.
The “Arc Of Crisis” And “Chaos Belt”

This “Arc of Crisis” from Mali to Nigeria, which owes its origins to the NATO-led destruction of Libya, dangerously has the very real prospect of expanding into neighboring regions, to say nothing of coming together into an unprecedented “Chaos Belt” that would put Daesh’s 2014 “Syraq” campaign to shame. There are many large and poorly government (or in some cases, outright ungoverned) spaces in this transregional zone, with the most sparsely populated of them being fertile ground for quasi-states to flourish, whether “caliphates” or something else. Burkina Faso is already at risk of boiling over due to the Malian overspill, but this “domino effect” could spread into the neighboring region of Atlantic West Africa if the destabilization of that small landlocked state triggers a recurrence of violence in the northern Ivory Coast. This country is important because it’s part of the West African “quad” of interconnected coastal states together with Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, the latter two of which experienced vicious civil wars in the 1990s.

The regional security environment in some parts of Africa is such that unrest in one state could easily spill over into another, as was seen in Atlantic West Africa immediately after the Cold War as well as the highland nexus between East and Central Africa at that time too. The cascading civil wars in Rwanda and then immediately thereafter in Burundi produced what was called the “Great Lakes Refugee Crisis” and ultimately contributed to the two back-to-back Congo Civil Wars that altogether claimed the lives of over 5 million people through various means. Congo is once again on the brink of descending back into civil war, and the “destabilization” bridge between it and the “Arc of Crisis’” “Chaos Belt” that was described above is Nigerian-neighboring Cameroon and the Central African Republic that sits between them both. The first-mentioned is facing a multi-front Hybrid War against both Boko Haram and Anglophone separatists along the Nigerian border, while the latter is already embroiled in civil war.
Local patrol in north east Nigeria
Local vigilantes patrol communities in north east Nigeria to repel attacks by Boko Haram militants

Any serious intensification of the Boko Haram crisis in the Lake Chad region could push Cameroon over the edge and into collapse if the Anglophone separatists take advantage of this, possibly current with a Color Revolution succession crisis following the inevitable passing of elderly President Biya (which could be made all the worse if “Weapons of Mass Migration” continue streaming in from the Central African Republic). Although each nature of conflict across the “Chaos Belt” would differ from Islamist-driven violence in the west to its predominantly ethno-tribal counterpart along the eastern (Central African) edge of this zone, it’s possible to see the bigger picture of just how geographically broad the consequences of uncontrolled Hybrid War destabilization in Mali and the Lake Chad region can become if left unchecked, which isn’t even fully accounting for the unrest from the combination of growing food insecurity, explosive population growth, and dysfunctional resource export-dependent economies.
Poverty Inhibitors And NGO Facilitators

For as intimidating as these somewhat interlinked continental-wide security challenges may seem, both in general and definitely from the EuroRealist patriotic perspective of a native inhabitant wanting to avoid the dystopian Migrant Crisis 2.0 scenario that the Executive Director of the UN World Food Program outlined earlier this week, the cynical argument can be made that they won’t automatically (key word) lead to a massive outflow of millions upon millions of people up north simply because most of these victimized masses are much too poor to pay the smuggling fees that comparatively better-off Syrians were able to afford. The Sahara is so dangerous to cross that these people can’t do so without expert assistance, and while some are still paying to get across in the present day, these are probably the relatively “wealthier” members of society who can afford these costs (which might be footed by their families) and not the average impoverished citizen.

That shouldn’t however be taken to infer that a Liberal-Globalist “workaround” can’t be created in promoting “equal opportunity migration for all” through the Soros-led NGO network modelled off of the existing operations that are ongoing in helping illegal immigrants cross the Mediterranean as well as their Mexican counterparts involved in the so-called “caravan”. These organizations could either directly aid in Saharan crossings or contribute to subsidizing the journey at “discounted prices” in paying off professional smugglers. Either way, they’ll probably play a role in this process or at least attempt to, with the key variable being whether their homelands’ militaries deployed in the region will facilitate this or not. There could also be an interesting (and choreographed) interplay between these two actors whereby an increase in Western NGO smuggling activity is exploited to justify further military measures in Africa or vice-versa, with each of them “feeding” off of the other to result in more Western influence in the area in general.
Concluding Thoughts

When the Executive Director of the UN World Food Program spoke about the nightmare scenario of a Migrant Crisis 2.0 from Africa slamming into Europe’s shores in the coming years, this food-focused technocrat could hardly have known how geopolitically ominous his prediction was given the multitude of interconnected security challenges stretching across West and Central Africa. Close to 500 million people – or put another way, half a billion, which is approximately the size of the EU – could indeed be simultaneously pushed out of their homes by the consequences of state collapse and also be pulled into Europe by NGO facilitation, but the reality is that not every single one of those people will be able to afford the journey.

African migrants

Even if a “only” quarter of them flee, which is roughly equal to the percentage that left Syria, that’s still more than 125 million people (the combined population of France and Italy), many of whom will probably succeed in at least making it to Africa’s Mediterranean shoreline. The forward deployment of Western military forces in the region, whether publicly marketed to be on an anti-migration basis or otherwise, can only do so much to stem the tide, and a comprehensive policy involving Mediterranean naval units will have to be fully coordinated with the “frontline states” of Spain, France, Italy, Malta, and Greece if Europe is to stave off this civilizational onslaught. In addition, this state of affairs will expectedly be exploited by the Brussels bureaucracy for its own “integrational” advantage.

At this moment, it’s difficult to imagine how else the EU can survive amidst this towering threat, but the bloc’s possible reform into a “decentralized” collection of “Three Seas”-led EuroRealist states might present an alternate solution. Some degree of multilateral coordination is required to confront this existential challenge, but everything could be managed through new sub-regional integrational platforms (even if informal) instead of Brussels, with a future “European military” comprised of the maritime “frontline states’” forces and their hinterland allies (such as Poland and Hungary) taking the lead instead of NATO, though this might in effect end up being the same thing at the end of the day. Nevertheless, the accent is on retaining as much national sovereignty as possible and thwarting the Liberal-Globalists’ plot to take advantage of this situation in order to demolish the nation-state.

DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.

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🚢 Spain to accept disputed migrant ship Aquarius
« Reply #784 on: June 12, 2018, 12:23:28 AM »
More Pics & Vids at the BBC site.


Spain to accept disputed migrant ship Aquarius

    7 hours ago

Related Topics

    Europe migrant crisis

Media captionCharity workers look after migrants on the Aquarius

Spain's prime minister has said the country will take in a rescue ship stranded in the Mediterranean, to help avoid a humanitarian disaster.

Pedro Sánchez said he would give "safe harbour" to the Aquarius and the 629 people on board, after Italy and Malta both refused to let the ship dock.

The UN refugee agency and the EU had both called for a swift end to the stand-off between the two countries.

Mr Sánchez, who took office a week ago, said the ship would dock in Valencia.

The migrants aboard the Aquarius were picked up from inflatable boats off the coast of Libya at the weekend, in six different rescue operations, according to the NGO SOS Méditerranée.

"It is our duty to help avoid a humanitarian catastrophe and offer a safe port to these people, to comply with our human rights obligations," Mr Sanchez's office said.

The Council of Europe welcomed Spain's move, with the organisation's Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic, tweeting: "Saving lives at sea is an obligation that states must always uphold."

Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat tweeted his gratitude to Spain, saying Italy had broken international rules and caused a standoff.

He said Malta would be sending fresh supplies to the vessel, adding: "We will have to sit down and discuss how to prevent this from happening again. This is a European issue."

Spain's decision to take in the ship was hailed by Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini as a "victory" for his government's hardline immigration policy.
Who is on board the ship?

Those saved include 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 younger children and seven pregnant women, SOS Méditerranée said.
Media captionFormer Aquarius volunteer: "The whole deck will be full of people"

The minors are aged between 13 and 17 and come from Eritrea, Ghana, Nigeria and Sudan, according to a journalist on the ship, Anelise Borges.

"Most of them are sleeping outside. They are obviously exhausted, they have been exposed to the elements, they have been at sea for 20 to 30 hours prior to their rescue," she told the BBC.

"They are fragile and we have yet to learn what's going to happen to them," she added.
Skip Twitter post by @AnneliseBorges

End of Twitter post by @AnneliseBorges
Why did Italy reject the ship?

Mr Salvini refused to let the ship in, saying: "Saving lives is a duty, turning Italy into a huge refugee camp is not."

"Italy is done bending over backwards and obeying - this time THERE IS SOMEONE WHO SAYS NO," he wrote on Twitter, with the hashtag #closethedoors.

Mr Salvini, leader of the right-wing League party, promised during Italy's recent general election to take a tough stance against migration.

    Reality Check: Claims about migrants arriving in Italy
    Desperate migrants rescued from the sea
    UN sanctions for people traffickers in Libya

He said Malta should accept the Aquarius, but it refused, arguing that it falls under Italy's jurisdiction.

Italy is the main entry point for migrants crossing from North Africa to Europe.

Mr Salvini has previously said he is considering action against organisations that rescue migrants at sea. He has accused them of being in cahoots with people-smugglers.
Media captionOn a visit to Sicily, Matteo Salvini said Italy must increase its deportations of migrants

On Sunday, he said that Italy was saying "no to human trafficking, no to the business of illegal immigration".

"Malta takes in nobody," he added. "France pushes people back at the border, Spain defends its frontier with weapons."

SOS Méditerranée said late on Sunday that the Aquarius had been instructed by the Italian Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre to stand by in its current position, 35 nautical miles (65km) from Italy and 27 nautical miles from Malta.

Despite Mr Salvini's stance, the mayors of Taranto and Naples had both offered to welcome the migrants, with Taranto's Rinaldo Melucci saying the Italian port city was "ready to embrace every life in danger".

    Is Europe seeing a nationalist surge?
    Populists take power in Italy: What comes next?
    Italy country profile

Naples mayor Luigi de Magistris tweeted that "if a minister without a heart leaves pregnant women, children, old people, human beings to die, the port of Naples is ready to welcome them".
A smart move by Spain's new prime minister

By Guy Hedgecoe, BBC News, Madrid

While Spain's willingness to take in the Aquarius has surprised many observers, for the new Spanish government it does make political sense for several reasons.

The move solves a potentially thorny problem for the European Union, bolstering Pedro Sánchez's hopes of becoming an influential leader within the bloc.

The new prime minister appears keen to distance himself from the legacy of his predecessor, Mariano Rajoy, whose international impact was discreet and who only took in a fraction of the refugees agreed upon in a 2015 accord with the EU.

In addition, this gesture is likely to impress left-leaning parties such as Podemos which were instrumental in voting the Socialist in to office on 1 June, and whose support he still needs.
What is the law on accepting ships?

Rules on disembarking and assisting rescue ships such as Aquarius are governed by international law.

The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea dictates that any ship learning of distress at sea must assist regardless of the circumstances.

It says that the country responsible for operations in that area has primary responsibility for taking them from the ship.

It also clearly states that the relevant government "shall arrange for such disembarkation to be effected as soon as reasonably practicable".
Image copyright SOS MEDITERRANEE
Image caption German charity SOS Méditerranée posted photos of rescued migrants
A big question for Spain: What happens to the next ship?

By Kevin Connolly, Europe Correspondent, BBC News

The European Union wrote its rules about how migrants should be handled in the 1990s when no-one could have imagined the collapse of Libya would create huge flows of desperate people heading across the Mediterranean from sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.

The rules say migrants are the responsibility of the first member state where they land - an overwhelming problem in countries like Greece and Italy where the election of a populist government is at least in part a response to the pressure. So the migrants are starting to shape the politics of Southern Europe.

And when Italy's Trumpish Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini proclaims "victory", he's telling his voters that the promise of a tougher line on immigration is real.

He's challenging the EU to find a proper solution too, based on forcing other member states to accept quotas of migrants - something it's failed to do so far. And he's incidentally created a big question for Spain. Will its offer to the Aquarius be extended to further ships in the future?

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🚢 Italy sends migrant convoy to Spain, has words with France
« Reply #785 on: June 14, 2018, 12:29:58 AM »

Top News
June 13, 2018 / 12:16 AM / Updated 21 hours ago
Italy sends migrant convoy to Spain, has words with France
Crispian Balmer, Steve Scherer

5 Min Read

ROME (Reuters) - Italy sent hundreds of migrants towards Spain in a small naval convoy on Tuesday after shutting its own ports to them, sparking a war of words with France that exposed EU tensions over immigration.
Migrants wait to disembark Italian Coast Guard's vessel "Diciotti" as they arrive at the Catania harbour, Italy, June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello

Some 629 migrants, including 11 children and seven pregnant women, have been afloat in the central Mediterranean aboard the Aquarius rescue ship since Sunday, when both Italy and Malta refused to let them dock.

Spain unexpectedly offered on Monday to take in the group of mainly sub-Saharan Africans, who were picked up off the Libyan coast over the weekend. But the Aquarius is heavily overcrowded, making the four-day trip to Spain particularly perilous.

To resolve the problem, two Italian boats moved alongside the Aquarius on Tuesday to share out the migrants before heading west through what are forecast to be stormy seas.

The convoy set sail at around 9 p.m. (1900 GMT), according to a spokeswoman for the Franco-German charity SOS Mediterranne which is operating the Aquarius.

It will take the Aquarius about 10 days to make the trip to Spain and back, leaving the Dutch-flagged Sea Watch 3 alone off the coast of Libya - a staging ground for people smugglers - looking out for migrant boats in distress.

The Sea Watch reported that a migrant shipwreck had claimed at least 12 lives. A U.S. Navy ship, Trenton, radioed Sea Watch on Tuesday to say it had picked up 12 bodies and 41 survivors from a sinking rubber boat.

“This shows what happens when there are not enough rescue assets at sea,” said Sea Watch spokesman Ruben Neugebauer.

Italy has taken in more than 640,000 mainly African migrants over the past five years. Other EU states have largely ignored pleas by Rome to take in some of the newcomers and share the cost of their care, heightening anti-European and anti-migrant sentiment in Italy.

Matteo Salvini, Italy’s new interior minister and head of the far-right League, has said his decision not to accept the migrant boat is aimed at forcing other European states to help bear the strain.

However, French President Emmanuel Macron denounced the decision to block the Aquarius, saying that under international law Italy should have taken the migrants in.

“There is a degree of cynicism and irresponsibility in the Italian government’s behaviour with regard to this dramatic humanitarian situation,” government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux quoted Macron as telling his cabinet.

Gabriel Attal, a spokesman for Macron’s party, went further, telling Public Senat TV: “The Italian position makes me vomit.”

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte responded angrily.

“Italy cannot accept hypocritical lessons from countries that have always preferred to turn their backs when it comes to immigration,” Conte said in a statement.

Italy also received backing from Hungary’s right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who is a friend of Salvini and is known for his fiercely anti-immigrant rhetoric.

“It was so depressing to hear for years that it is impossible to protect maritime borders,” Orban told reporters in Budapest. “Willpower has returned to Italy.”

Even as Italy dispatched the charity ship, an Italian coast guard vessel with 937 migrants aboard was heading north from the Libyan coast and was expected to dock in Sicily on Wednesday.

“No one should dare brand Italy or its government as inhumane or xenophobic,” Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli told Radio Capital.

The Sea Watch met the Trenton and was asked to pick up the survivors and bodies, but the group refused to bring them on board without a written guarantee from Italy.

“We have the capacity to take them on board, but we will only do so if there is a written statement by Italian authorities that we will be able to disembark them within 36 hours,” Neugebauer said. “We cannot go to Spain.”

Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which is operating the Aquarius alongside SOS Mediterranne, urged Rome to drop plans for the lengthy trip to Spain for its migrant passengers.

“This plan would mean already exhausted rescued people would endure four more days travel at sea,” it said on Twitter. “MSF calls for people’s safety to come before politics.”

Salvini’s League scored its best-ever result in March national elections, partly on pledges to deport hundreds of thousands of migrants and halt the flow of newcomers, and has formed a coalition with the anti-system 5-Star Movement.

Additional reporting by John Irish and Marine Pennetier in Paris, Gavin Jones in Rome; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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🚢 Concentration Camps for Kids
« Reply #786 on: June 15, 2018, 12:05:49 AM »
A Warm Welcome from Trumpovetsky.  ::)

They're running out of room, so the NEW plan is to build a Tent City in Brownsville.  Soon, South TX will look like the Turkish-Syria border.


Sobering photos show a Texas detention center where hundreds of immigrant children wait to be reunited with their families

Sobering photos show a Texas detention center where hundreds of immigrant children wait to be reunited with their families

child migrant shelter brownsville texas Administration for Children and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services
  • Images of a detention center for immigrant children show the conditions in which nearly 1,500 boys are sheltered in Brownsville, Texas.
  • Murals of presidential quotes could be seen inside, some of which feature quotes in both English and Spanish — including one of President Donald Trump saying, "Sometimes losing a battle you find a new way to win the war."
  • Children are allowed to leave the complex for only two hours each day. Many apparently have spent time inside watching the Disney animated film "Moana" and learning about US history.

Images of a detention center for immigrant children show the conditions in which nearly 1,500 boys are being sheltered in Brownsville, Texas.

A small group of reporters from outlets including MSNBC and The Washington Post were allowed to tour the facility on Wednesday. MSNBC correspondent Jacob Soboroff reported his observations and some pictures of the facility in a lengthy Twitter thread that evening.

The Administration for Children and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services shared the photos with Business Insider on Thursday.

Casa Padre, which used to be a Walmart, is operated by Southwest Key, a firm that runs more than a dozen shelters in Texas housing unaccompanied immigrant children, the San Antonio Express-News reports.

The organization is contracted by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, a division of HHS that manages minors suspected of crossing the US border illegally and oversees their transfer to family custody or foster care.

While some children cross the border illegally without family members, the Trump administration has also implemented what it calls a "zero-tolerance" policy with regard to illegal border crossings by immigrant families. The policy calls for adults to be criminally prosecuted, causing them to lose custody of the children accompanying them.

The policy has been deeply controversial and emotionally fraught.

Miguel Nogueras, an assistant federal public defender, told CNN that roughly 500 children had been separated from their parents since May.

Here are some photos of Casa Padre:

View As: One Page Slides

Inside the facility, called Casa Padre, are painted murals of presidents that feature quotes, including one in English and Spanish of Trump saying, "Sometimes losing a battle you find a new way to win the war."

Inside the facility, called Casa Padre, are painted murals of presidents that feature quotes, including one in English and Spanish of Trump saying, Administration for Children and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services

Nearly every room in the facility houses five children, even though rooms were constructed to house four.

Nearly every room in the facility houses five children, even though rooms were constructed to house four. Administration for Children and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services

Source: MSNBC


The average amount of time children spend at the facility is 49 days.

The average amount of time children spend at the facility is 49 days. Administration for Children and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services

Casa Padre is licensed to house only older children, aged 10 to 17. Shelter staff estimated that 10% of the children currently housed at Casa Padre were separated from their parents at the border — the remaining likely arrived in the US unaccompanied.

Casa Padre is licensed to house only older children, aged 10 to 17. Shelter staff estimated that 10% of the children currently housed at Casa Padre were separated from their parents at the border — the remaining likely arrived in the US unaccompanied. Administration for Children and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services

Children were allowed to leave the complex for only two hours each day. Apart from that, they remain indoors, spending time on activities like watching the Disney animated film "Moana" and learning about US history.

Children were allowed to leave the complex for only two hours each day. Apart from that, they remain indoors, spending time on activities like watching the Disney animated film Administration for Children and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services

Source: MSNBC

Their artwork and drawings can be seen scattered throughout the facility, placed atop shelves and hanging above beds.

Their artwork and drawings can be seen scattered throughout the facility, placed atop shelves and hanging above beds. Administration for Children and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services

The children are served food by shelter employees out of the part of the building that used to be a McDonald's.

The children are served food by shelter employees out of the part of the building that used to be a McDonald's. Administration for Children and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services

They reportedly eat meals such as chicken, vegetables, fruit cups, burgers, and fries.

They reportedly eat meals such as chicken, vegetables, fruit cups, burgers, and fries. Administration for Children and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services

"This place is called a shelter, but effectively these kids are incarcerated," Soboroff said on MSNBC, pointing to photos he took during a tour supervised by HSS.

Administration for Children and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services

Source: MSNBC

Unidentified children can be seen in the photos with barcodes attached to their wrists — here's one boy having his scanned as he stands in line with a tray of food.

Unidentified children can be seen in the photos with barcodes attached to their wrists — here's one boy having his scanned as he stands in line with a tray of food. Administration for Children and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services

One of the first things a shelter employee reportedly asked the visiting journalists to do was to smile at the kids because they would otherwise feel like animals locked up in a cage.

One of the first things a shelter employee reportedly asked the visiting journalists to do was to smile at the kids because they would otherwise feel like animals locked up in a cage. Administration for Children and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services

Source: MSNBC

To accommodate the growing influx of children, Southwest Key is retrofitting some of its facilities with smaller rooms and appliances, such as bathrooms and sinks, the founder and executive Juan Sanchez said.

To accommodate the growing influx of children, Southwest Key is retrofitting some of its facilities with smaller rooms and appliances, such as bathrooms and sinks, the founder and executive Juan Sanchez said. Administration for Children and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services

"We're trying to do the best that we can taking care of these children. Our goal ultimately is to reunite kids with their families," Sanchez said. "We're not a detention center ... What we operate are shelters that take care of kids. It's a big, big difference."

Administration for Children and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services

SEE ALSO: The Trump administration is reportedly considering housing migrant children in 'tent cities' near the border

DON'T MISS: A journey along the entire 1,933-mile US-Mexico border shows the monumental task of securing it


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🌎 No easy path: Complex mass migration reshapes globe
« Reply #787 on: June 21, 2018, 01:22:20 AM »

No easy path: Complex mass migration reshapes globe
By LORI HINNANT and COLLEEN BARRY | Associated Press

PARIS –  Lined up before dawn, dozens of migrants outside a government office in Italy jostled to be one of the handful allowed inside to request asylum Wednesday.

The journeys that brought them to Rome and the sleepless nights wondering if they would be allowed to stay was being repeated in cities and countries around the world on World Refugee Day as millions of people sought to flee persecution, violence, war and poverty.

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The Rohingya Muslims forced out of Myanmar to Bangladesh; teenagers from Mexico and Central America seeking safety in the United States; Syria's war refugees; men from South Sudan and Nigeria crossing the Mediterranean Sea to feed their families — they are among the human wave roiling every continent.

"The international community must work with shared and long-term political choices to manage a phenomenon that involves the entire world," Italian President Sergio Mattarella, whose country is on the receiving end of Europe's immigration front line, said in a World Refugee Day message.

While migration to the world's 35 richest countries dropped slightly last year for the first time since 2011, asylum claims rose by 26 percent in the United States, according to a new report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which represents the wealthy nations.

Meanwhile, the United Nations refugee agency reported this week that nearly 69 million people were forcibly displaced in 2017, a record for the fifth straight year.

OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria insisted that since migration is here to stay, countries need to work to integrate newcomers and to prepare their native-born populations to welcome foreigners instead of resent them. Migration disproportionally affects young men, and he called for support policies, particularly in terms of training and skills development, according to the report.

"The absence of the policy is what's creating this cacophony," Gurria said.

In Europe, leaders of European Union member countries are trying anew to come up with continent-wide solutions to a mass migration crisis that has pitted nations and politicians against each other.

The interior minister in Italy's new populist government, Matteo Salvini, refused a port of entry this month to a rescue boat operated by two nonprofit groups that carried 630 people who were picked up while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea from Libya.

Italy has been the arriving place of the bulk of migrants who attempt the dangerous sea crossing for a variety of reasons — as seen in the discouraged line outside the Rome immigration office. Salvini is pressing other EU members to share the burden.

Migrants and refugees who were swept off the streets of Paris in recent weeks now occupy a gymnasium, all of them wishing Wednesday to be somewhere else.

Nasir Ahmad, an Afghan living in the Paris gym, spent a year in Germany and has been in France for two years, hoping to get the documents he needs to make France his home.

"I have good energy. I have good energy to do for the work, but nobody used me," he said. "Nothing changed. Only I changed. I get old."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who faces constant criticism and mounting pressure over her decision to open Germany to refugees in recent year, said how to handle the sheer number of people fleeing violence and persecution is "a central global question of our time."

Some 700,000 Rohingya fled brutal attacks by government forces and mobs last year in Myanmar, pouring across the border into crowded makeshift refugee camps in Bangladesh. Monsoon rains have begun sweeping through the camps, often leaving the refugees to wade through rivers of mud and water.

At the Kutupalong refugee camp outside of Cox's Bazaar, Bangladesh, more than 100 Rohingya marched Wednesday to highlight their suffering, demanding that international organizations hold the Myanmar government accountable for the attacks that drove them into exile.

Many wore T-shirts and paper hats proclaiming they are "Not Bengali." In Myanmar, the Rohingya are often derided as illegal migrants from Bangladesh.

Abdu Shukkur, a 44-year-old refugee, denounced the Myanmar government for refusing to recognize the Rohingya as an ethnic minority and for denying them "the right to citizenship and its privileges."

In Lebanon, Syrian refugees have begun building lives in similar camps intended to be temporary way-stations. Turkey remains the country with the largest number of Syrian refugees, but tiny Lebanon holds the highest concentration per capita of refugees in the world.

Em Mohammed, a Syrian refugee from Idlib, supports her three children working as a tailor in Lebanon.

"I won't return because here there is assistance, there are many camps, I can sew, and I can sustain myself," she said. "There (in Syria), there are no camps, no people and they have no money to buy. They don't even have places to sleep there."


Barry reported from Rome. Jeffrey Schaeffer in Paris also contributed.

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From Nazi Germany to Japanese Interment Camps: Here's The Disgusting History Behind Trump's 'Infest'
Donald Trump's defenders will say he didn't mean to dehumanize immigrants when he said they're "infesting" the United States. He did.
By Elizabeth Preza / AlterNet
June 19, 2018, 9:43 AM GMT

Donald Trump on Tuesday elected—nay, made the political calculus—to use the word “infest” while describing real, human beings (“illegal immigrants”) who allegedly “pour” into our country and presumably must be stopped.

“Democrats are the problem,” the president wrote in Twitter. “They don’t care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13.”

“They can’t win on their terrible policies, so they view them as potential voters!” he exclaimed.
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Critics were quick to jump on Trump’s use of the word “infest,” which typically refers to insects or animals and immediately conjures images of disease and death. And with good reason; using such dehumanizing language to describe living, actual human beings has precursors in Nazi Germany and World War II Japanese Internment Camps, among other instances of human rights abuses.

Writing for Forward, columnist Aviya Kushner notes of the 1940 German Nazi propaganda Film “Der Ewige Jude” (“The Eternal Jew”), “one of the film’s most notorious sequences compares Jews to rats that carry contagion, flood the continent, and devour precious resources.”

Kushner adds:

    What is happening now is “defining the enemy. Substitute “continent” for “Country,” capitalized, and you get the picture. The roots of the particular word “infest” are also telling. The English word comes from the French infester or Latin infestare ‘assail’, from infestus ‘hostile’. So yes, it’s a word rooted in hostility.

David Livingstone Smith, the director of the Institute for Cognitive Science and Evolutionary Psychology at the University of New England and author of the 2011 book “Less Than Human,” told NPR the Nazis explicitly referred to their victims as Untermenschen (“subhumans”) to make it easier to carry out atrocities against them.
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“It's wrong to kill a person, but permissible to exterminate a rat,” Smith explained. “To the Nazis, all the Jews, Gypsies and others were rats: dangerous, disease-carrying rats.”

In a 2008 article on the dehumanization of Muslims following the 9-11 terror attacks, professors Erin Steuter and Deborah Wills explained the role of language in presenting the enemy as “less than human” and thus making it “psychologically acceptable to engage in genocide or other atrocities.”

“Historical precedents include Nazi propaganda films that interspersed scenes of Jewish immigration with shots of teeming rats," Steuter and Willis write. “Jews were also compared to cross-bred mongrel dogs, insects and parasites requiring elimination; Nazi propaganda insisted that “in the case of Jews and lice, only a radical cure help.”

According to Steuter and Willis, the human-beings-as-pests metaphors “have antecedents in Western media treatment of the Japanese in WWII, who were also systematically presented as vermin, especially rats, bats and mosquitoes - representations that were expanded from Japanese soldiers to include Japanese citizens.”

“Perhaps inevitably, the rhetoric of pest and infestation slipped into the rhetoric of extermination and eradication, as in the popular poster found in U.S. West Coast restaurants during World War II that proclaimed, ‘This restaurant poisons rats and Japs,’” they note.
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Remarkably, the comparisons aren’t just metaphorical; as Steuter and Willis explain, the creators of chemical insecticides used against infestations “also created poison gas” and led “to the use of chemical defoliants as weapons"—the literal extermination of humans.

The process of dehumanization is essential to "to overcome the very deep and natural inhibitions they have against treating other people like game animals or vermin or dangerous predators,” Smith explained to NPR.

"We all know, despite what we see in the movies that it's very difficult, psychologically, to kill another human being up close and in cold blood, or to inflict atrocities on them,” Smith said.

Which brings us back to Trump’s use of the word “infest,” a calculated attempt to mitigate reasonable concerns over his administration’s barbaric “zero tolerance policy” by lumping in the innocent children of undocumented asylum seekers with the "vermin" Americans so desperately want to keep out.

Defenders of the president will say it’s just a word; they’ll say he meant only to dehumanize the real, living people who rape and murder and steal as opposed to the real, living people fleeing poverty and violence and death. They’ll feign outrage over comparisons to Nazi Germany or Japanese Internment camps like they feigned outrage over the accurate description of children in “cages.”

But words have meaning and historical context and historical significance. One can only hope that when Trump takes his rightful place in the history books, we’ll be reminded of who the real vermin are.

Elizabeth Preza is the Managing Editor of AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @lizacisms.

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🚢 Global Refugees Reaches New Peak: What The World Has Forgotten
« Reply #789 on: June 24, 2018, 12:42:16 AM »

Global Refugees Reaches New Peak: What The World Has Forgotten
21st June 2018 / GlobaL

By TruePublica: Wars, violence and conflict were the main drivers that uprooted record numbers of men, women and children worldwide last year, making a new global refugees crisis more critical than ever, according to a UNHCR report published yesterday. But have we forgotten what Middle-Eastern countries did for European refugees after WW2?


The UN Refugee Agency’s annual Global Trends study found 68.5 million people had been driven from their homes across the world at the end of 2017, more people than the population of Gt Britain or France.

Refugees who fled their countries to escape conflict and persecution accounted for 25.4 million. This is 2.9 million more than in 2016, also the biggest increase UNHCR has ever seen in a single year.
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    New displacement is also growing, with 16.2 million people displaced during 2017 itself. That is an average of one person displaced every two seconds.


Overwhelmingly, it is developing countries that are most affected.

Contrary to what many believe, four out of five refugees globally remain in countries next door to their own and 85% of the population of the wealthy global north do not contribute or support them in any way.

Breaking some of the numbers down reveals some other statistics.

Of the 25.4 million refugees on the run from conflict, just over 5 million are Palestinians under the care of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees or UNRWA.

Two-thirds of all refugees come from just five countries with Turkey being the world’s leading refugee hosting country in terms of absolute numbers, with a population of 3.5 million refugees, mainly Syrians. In all, 63 per cent of all refugees under UNHCR’s responsibility were in just 10 countries.


To put this in context. The greatest calamity in human history was World WarII. That event created 40 million refugees. Today, there are 70 per cent more refugees than in 1945. In 1950 there were still over 11 million refugees displaced. Around the same time, 750,000 Palestinians became refugees with the establishment of the state of Israel.

From there, wars and conflict continued over the decades to create millions more refugees.

The partition of India and Pakistan created 14 million refugees, the Bangladeshi war of Independence in 1971 created 11 million refugees. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 created 6.3 million and a further 5.7 million were displaced in the 1992 Mozambique civil war. The conflict following the breakup of Yugoslavia and Bosnia in 1995 caused 2.5 million to become refugees. Rwanda created 3.5 million more in 1994.

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 saw millions of ethnic Russians flow into Russia from the newly independent states and there were many more such as East Temor, 540,000, Kosovo 350,000, Vietnam 800,000, civil wars in Central America over a decade saw 2 million. Georgia, Croatia, Armenia – the list goes on. We have become desensitised to all this despair and hardship.


The archival record provides limited information on the demographics of World War II refugee camps in the Middle East. The information that is available, however, shows that camp officials expected the camps to shelter more refugees over time. Geographic information on location of camps come from records of the International Social Service, American Branch records, in the Social Welfare History Archives at the University of Minnesota.

What We Have Forgotten

In World WarII there were many desperate people from Europe trying to escape the bloodiest conflict ever. At the height of that conflict, the Middle East Relief and Refugee Administration (MERRA) operated camps in Syria, Egypt and Palestine where people from across Europe sought refuge.

MERRA was part of a growing network of refugee camps around the world that were operated in a collaborative effort by national governments, military officials and domestic and international aid organizations. Social welfare groups including the International Migration Service, the Red Cross, the Near East Foundation and the Save the Children Fund all pitched in to help MERRA and, later, the United Nations to run the camps.

Once registered, recent arrivals wound their way through a thorough medical inspection. Refugees headed toward what were often makeshift hospital facilities — usually tents. They were inspected and washed until officials believed they were sufficiently healthy enough to join the main population without bringing disease.


After medical officials were satisfied refugees were split up into living quarters for families, unaccompanied children, single men and single women.

Naturally, food was an essential part of refugees’ daily lives. Refugees in MERRA camps during World War II typically received a half portion of Army rations each day. Officials acknowledged that when possible, rations should be supplemented with foods that reflected refugees’ national customs and religious practices.


Greek refugees who lived in a refugee camp in Moses Wells, Egypt from 1945 to 1948 reunite with family members on their island home of Samos.

Camps that weren’t pressed for space were able to provide room for refugees to prepare meals. In Aleppo, for example, a room was reserved in the camp for women to gather and make macaroni with flour that they received from camp officials.

Camp officials did try to create opportunities for refugees to use their skills in carpentry, painting, shoemaking and wool spinning so that they could stay occupied and earn a little income from other refugees who could afford their services.

Some camps even had opportunities for refugees to receive vocational training. At El Shatt and Moses Wells, hospital staff was in such short supply that the refugee camps doubled as nursing training programs for Yugoslavian and Greek refugees and locals alike.

The head nurses of the training program hoped they could eventually garner formal accreditation so that anyone who finished the program would be licensed to practice nursing after leaving the camps — at the time, nursing students in refugee camps were only able to treat patients because they were “emergency nurses” operating by necessity in wartime.


Rows of tents in a World War II refugee camp in Nuseirat, Palestine

MERRA officials agreed that it was best for children in refugee camps to have regular routines. Education was a crucial part of that routine. For the most part, classrooms in Middle Eastern refugee camps had too few teachers and too many students, inadequate supplies and suffered from overcrowding. But there was a global war raging at the time.

And Yet

Today, it should not be forgotten that it was the global north that caused this latest massive migration of human misery by attacking Afghanistan then Iraq, Libya and Syria and not intervening in other conflicts for good and proper humanitarian reasons such as Yemen and Somalia.

The Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi warned repeatedly in 2010-11 that the country acted as a cork to the African migration bottle and must not be attacked – but Britain, France and America through NATO decided that oil was more important. How wrong they were. On September 15th, 2011, David Cameron and French leader Sarkozy arrogantly declared victory in Tripoli, which triggered a refugee crisis and aided the rise of Isis that then led to a wave of terrorist attacks across Europe.

The migration of people from these countries has since completely destabilised the European Union, helped Brexit become a reality and divided Western populations as seen through the appointment of hard-right political leaders in places like Italy, Austria, Poland and Hungary.

And yet, through all this, we, in the global north have completely forgotten what Middle Eastern countries such as Syria and Palestine did for Europeans who were on the run from fascists and Nazis not so long ago. We have forgotten how Europeans were treated given the appalling lack of post-war resources, certainly better than the other way round. The vast majority of Europeans were, of course, repatriated to their homelands in the end, but as mentioned earlier, in 1950, there were still over 11 million refugees displaced from their homes and families. Europeans were treated like human beings by Muslim host nations and irrespective of your personal feelings about the current refugee crisis, we should not forget that it was our tax dollars/pounds/euros that caused much of the misery we have in the world today – and we should bear some of that responsibility. That doesn’t mean Europe should be accepting millions of refugees where they can barely look after their own citizens, but it does mean that safe harbour and dignified treatment should be the very minimum provided in some meaningful way.


WATCH (35 seconds) – Global refugee flows 2000 – 2016


    Information and images from the WW2 refugee camps was produced by the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota.
    Data from 75 years of major refugee crisis across the world via Washington Post
    Main image – European refugee camps, Syria 1945

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Immigration Thread
« Reply #790 on: June 26, 2018, 02:46:30 PM »

The Real Reason & Solution to the Immigration Crisis You Won’t Hear from Democrats or Republicans

In regard to illegal immigration, the left and the right are at extreme odds when it comes to how to deal with those crossing over into the United States. The left wants to subsidize them using taxpayer funds while the right wants to subsidize the prison industrial complex by locking them up. Meanwhile, however, those of us not blinded by the political divide are looking at why they are crossing over in the first place and proposing solutions to fix it that don’t require subsidizing anyone.

The reality of the situation is that the recent spike in immigrants coming into the United States from the Southern border are fleeing the inevitable results of the bipartisan policy carried out by multiple federal agencies on a global scale. The overwhelming majority of migrants coming from countries like El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala are fleeing violence created by the US federal government’s own war on drugs.

But how does American policy create violence in Honduras, you ask? The answer is simple, supply and demand.

Because making something illegal does nothing to curb the demand for it, the war on drugs acts as fuel to the fire of gang violence and crime in these South and Central American countries by creating an incentive for criminals to capitalize on the constant demand.

Gangs and cartels form to meet this constant demand because they are the only ones willing to break the law to fill it. The void in demand created by the war on drugs is filled with society’s worst who have no qualms about murdering innocents to protect their supply chain and keep the blood money and illegal drugs flowing.

Because the United States has no legal supply of these drugs, cartels willing to break the law bribe politicians in their own country to grow them and then smuggle their products into ours. As a result, the US is actively incentivizing crime thus fueling a refugee crisis.

To show just how closely related gang violence and the drug war are, we can look at the effects that legalization of marijuana in only a few states has had on gang violence and trafficking throughout the US and Mexico.

A study earlier this year showed that marijuana legalization led to a drastic drop in violent crime in US states that border Mexico.

According to the study, Is Legal Pot Crippling Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations? The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on US Crime, when a state on the Mexican border legalized weed, violent crime fell by 13% on average. According to the study, homicides specifically related to the drug trade fell by an astonishing 41%.

Just seven cartels control the illegal marijuana trade into the US and even with legalization, they still supply most of the weed consumed in America.

But legalizing pot and allowing it to be grown inside the United States is crippling the cartels and putting them out of business, according to the study.

“These laws allow local farmers to grow marijuana that can then be sold to dispensaries where it is sold legally,” said economist Evelina Gavrilova, one of the study’s authors. “These growers are in direct competition with Mexican drug cartels that are smuggling the marijuana into the US. As a result, the cartels get much less business.”

Because there is less business for cartels, drug-related violence plummets.

“The cartels are in competition with one another,” Gavrilova explained. “They compete for territory, but it’s also easy to steal product from the other cartels and sell it themselves, so they fight for the product. They also have to defend their territory and ensure there are no bystanders, no witnesses to the activities of the cartel.

“Whenever there is a medical marijuana law we observe that crime at the border decreases because suddenly there is a lot less smuggling and a lot less violence associated with that.”

Currently, marijuana is only recreationally legal in just 9 states, yet the effect of this legalization is felt across the country. Imagine what will happen to the cartels when the other 80 percent of the country stops kidnapping and caging people for this plant.

But marijuana is only the beginning. Other similar studies show that countries like Portugal, who decriminalized all drugs in 2001, have seen drug usage rates sharply decline as well as violent crime.

To curb violence in countries south of the border—thereby stifling the massive influx of refugees and solving a major problem—the United States should end the war on drugs—all of them.

The results of such a move would be immediately evident. It would even serve to lessen the flow of dangerous synthetic drugs from China which are used to replace the far safer, but already illegal versions of other drugs in America.

To be clear, no one here is advocating that the US end the drug war and then start promoting drugs. In fact, if government simply spent a tiny fraction of the money it spends on enforcing the drug war, on educating children, and health and treatment programs instead, the results would be incredible.

The evidence is there and some states are already considering it. Last year, as TFTP reported, Oregon proposed legislation to decriminalize all drugs, including heroin, cocaine, meth, and ecstasy—because they can see how throwing people in cages for these substances only makes things worse.

Sadly, however, there are far too many people in high places who profit from the prohibition of these substances. The crime created by the drug war is used to justify the need to constantly grow police departments across the country. The drug war has allowed police departments the ability to steal property from otherwise innocent people, making themselves rich in the process.

The illegal drug trade is also used to warrant spending massive amounts of money on people and equipment in the government which do nothing to curb drug use but do everything to oppress citizens. Case in point: the current opioid crisis’ existence in spite of the largest police state in US history.

What’s more, cartels need drugs to be illegal so they can maintain their monopolies on distribution and cultivation to enrich themselves while oppressing citizens around them. The government needs drugs to be illegal so they can rationalize the ever increasing police state.

Big pharma needs drugs to be illegal because many of these illegal drugs are far safer and far more effective than their patented chemical compounds and they hate competition. And theprison industrial complex needs drugs to be illegal so they can enjoy the massive taxpayer-funded windfall they receive from throwing users and small-time dealers in cages.

Unfortunately, neither the left nor the right is able to see this and take proper action. Until we overcome this massive hurdle of state and corporate sponsored prohibition, we can expect to see more children being taken from their parents and thrown in cages and more cartels which in-turn will keep increasing illegal immigration—adding to the vicious and inhumane cycle of violence and bureaucracy.
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
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Re: Immigration Thread
« Reply #791 on: June 26, 2018, 04:31:29 PM »
We already have a Refugees & Immigration official thread.  I will merge this into that thread.


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Re: Immigration Thread
« Reply #792 on: June 26, 2018, 05:22:16 PM »
We already have a Refugees & Immigration official thread.  I will merge this into that thread.


Thanks, wasn't sure.
What table ?
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

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Refugee Thread - Why Do They Flee
« Reply #793 on: June 29, 2018, 10:47:59 AM »

By William Blum

June 26, 2018 “Information Clearing House” –  The current mass exodus of people from Central America to the United States, with the daily headline-grabbing stories of numerous children involuntarily separated from their parents, means it’s time to remind my readers once again of one of the primary causes of these periodic mass migrations.

Those in the US generally opposed to immigration make it a point to declare or imply that the United States does not have any legal or moral obligation to take in these Latinos. This is not true. The United States does indeed have the obligation because many of the immigrants, in addition to fleeing from drug violence, are escaping an economic situation in their homeland directly made hopeless by American interventionist policy.

It’s not that these people prefer to live in the United States. They’d much rather remain with their families and friends, be able to speak their native language at all times, and avoid the hardships imposed upon them by American police and other right-wingers. But whenever a progressive government comes to power in Latin America or threatens to do so, a government sincerely committed to fighting poverty, the United States helps to suppresses the movement and/or supports the country’s right-wing and military in staging a coup. This has been the case in Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua and Honduras.

The latest example is the June 2009 coup (championed by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) ousting the moderately progressive Manuel Zelaya of Honduras. The particularly severe increase in recent years in Honduran migration to the US is a direct result of the overthrow of Zelaya, whose crime was things like raising the minimum wage, giving subsidies to small farmers, and instituting free education. It is a tale told many times in Latin America: The downtrodden masses finally put into power a leader committed to reversing the status quo, determined to try to put an end to two centuries of oppression … and before long the military overthrows the democratically-elected government, while the United States – if not the mastermind behind the coup – does nothing to prevent it or to punish the coup regime, as only the United States can punish; meanwhile Washington officials pretend to be very upset over this “affront to democracy” while giving major support to the coup regime. (1) The resulting return to poverty is accompanied by government and right-wing violence against those who question the new status quo, giving further incentive to escape the country.
Talk delivered by William Blum at the Left Forum in New York, June 2, 2018

We can all agree I think that US foreign policy must be changed and that to achieve that the mind – not to mention the heart and soul – of the American public must be changed. But what do you think is the main barrier to achieving such a change in the American mind?

Each of you I’m sure has met many people who support American foreign policy, with whom you’ve argued and argued. You point out one horror after another, from Vietnam to Iraq to Libya; from bombings and invasions to torture. And nothing helps. Nothing moves these people.

Now why is that? Do these people have no social conscience? Are they just stupid? I think a better answer is that they have certain preconceptions. Consciously or unconsciously, they have certain basic beliefs about the United States and its foreign policy, and if you don’t deal with these basic beliefs you may as well be talking to a stone wall.

The most basic of these basic beliefs, I think, is a deeply-held conviction that no matter what the US does abroad, no matter how bad it may look, no matter what horror may result, the government of the United States means well. American leaders may make mistakes, they may blunder, they may lie, they may even on many occasions cause more harm than good, but they do mean well. Their intentions are always honorable, even noble. Of that the great majority of Americans are certain.

Frances Fitzgerald, in her famous study of American school textbooks, summarized the message of these books: “The United States has been a kind of Salvation Army to the rest of the world: throughout history it had done little but dispense benefits to poor, ignorant, and diseased countries. The U.S. always acted in a disinterested fashion, always from the highest of motives; it gave, never took.”

And Americans genuinely wonder why the rest of the world can’t see how benevolent and self-sacrificing America has been. Even many people who take part in the anti-war movement have a hard time shaking off some of this mindset; they march to spur America – the America they love and worship and trust – they march to spur this noble America back onto its path of goodness.

Many of the citizens fall for US government propaganda justifying its military actions as often and as naively as Charlie Brown falling for Lucy’s football.

The American people are very much like the children of a Mafia boss who do not know what their father does for a living, and don’t want to know, but then they wonder why someone just threw a firebomb through the living room window.

This basic belief in America’s good intentions is often linked to “American exceptionalism”. Let’s look at just how exceptional America has been. Since the end of World War 2, the United States has:

    Attempted to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically-elected.
    Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries.
    Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.
    Attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries.
    Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries.
    Led the world in torture; not only the torture performed directly by Americans upon foreigners, but providing torture equipment, torture manuals, lists of people to be tortured, and in-person guidance by American teachers, especially in Latin America.

This is indeed exceptional. No other country in all of history comes anywhere close to such a record. But it certainly makes it very difficult to believe that America means well.

So the next time you’re up against a stone wall … ask the person what the United States would have to do in its foreign policy to lose his or her support. What for this person would finally be TOO MUCH. Chances are the US has already done it.

Keep in mind that our precious homeland, above all, seeks to dominate the world. For economic reasons, nationalistic reasons, ideological, Christian, and for other reasons, world hegemony has long been America’s bottom line. And let’s not forget the powerful Executive Branch officials whose salaries, promotions, agency budgets and future well-paying private sector jobs depend upon perpetual war. These leaders are not especially concerned about the consequences for the world of their wars. They’re not necessarily bad people; but they’re amoral, like a sociopath is.

Take the Middle East and South Asia. The people in those areas have suffered horribly because of Islamic fundamentalism. What they desperately need are secular governments, which have respect for different religions. And such governments were actually instituted in the recent past. But what has been the fate of those governments?

Well, in the late 1970s through much of the 1980s, Afghanistan had a secular government that was relatively progressive, with full rights for women, which is hard to believe, isn’t it? But even a Pentagon report of the time testified to the actuality of women’s rights in Afghanistan. And what happened to that government? The United States overthrew it, allowing the Taliban to come to power. So keep that in mind the next time you hear an American official say that we have to remain in Afghanistan for the sake of the women.

After Afghanistan came Iraq, another secular society, under Saddam Hussein. And the United States overthrew that government as well, and now the country has its share of crazed and bloody jihadists and fundamentalists; and women who are not covered up properly are sometimes running a serious risk.

Next came Libya; again, a secular country, under Moammar Gaddafi, who, like Saddam Hussein, had a tyrant side to him but could in important ways be benevolent and do some marvelous things. Gaddafi, for example, founded the African Union and gave the Libyan people the highest standard of living in Africa. So, of course, the United States overthrew that government as well. In 2011, with the help of NATO, we bombed the people of Libya almost every day for more than six months.

Can anyone say that in all these interventions, or in any of them, the United States of America meant well?

When we attack Iran, will we mean well? Will we have the welfare of the Iranian people at heart? I suggest you keep such thoughts in mind the next time you’re having a discussion or argument with a flag-waving American.
In case you haven’t noticed

No evidence of “Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election” has yet been presented. And we still await even a believable explanation of how the supposedly advanced American nation of 138 million voters could be so crucially influenced by a bunch of simplistic, often-crude, postings on Facebook and elsewhere on the Internet.

In May, the House Intelligence Committee began releasing the text of numerous of these postings as evidence of Russian interference. The postings dealt with both sides of many issues, including football players who knelt during the national anthem to bring attention to issues of racism, and pro- and anti-Trump and Clinton messages. Most did not even mention Trump or Clinton; and many were sent out before Trump was even a candidate.

So what did any of this have to do with swaying the result of the election? The committee did not say. However, Cong. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the top Democrat on the committee, stated: “They sought to harness Americans’ very real frustrations and anger over sensitive political matters in order to influence American thinking, voting and behavior. The only way we can begin to inoculate ourselves against a future attack is to see first-hand the types of messages, themes and imagery the Russians used to divide us.”

Aha! So that’s it, dividing us! Imagine that – the American people, whom we all know are living in blissful harmony and fraternity without any noticeable anger or hatred toward each other, would become divided! Damn those Russkis!

Many of the Facebook postings were done well after the presidential election. That alone should have made the congressmen think that perhaps the ads had nothing to do with the US election, but that is not what they wanted to think.

This all lends credence to the suggestion that what actually lay behind the events was a so-called “click-bait” scheme wherein certain individuals earned money based on the number of times a particular website is accessed. The mastermind behind this scheme is reported to be a Russian named Yevgeny Prigozhin of the Internet Research Agency of St. Petersburg, which is referred to by the House committee as “Kremlin-sponsored”, without explanation. (2)

The organization has been named in an indictment issued by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigating committee, but as the Washington Post reported: “The indictment does not accuse the Russian government of any involvement in the scheme, nor does it claim that it succeeded in swaying any votes.” (3)

In the new Cold War, as in the old one, the powers-that-be in America seldom miss an opportunity to make Russia look bad, even to the point of farce. Evidence is no longer required. Accusation is sufficient.
Another charming example of American exceptionalism

The Washington Post coverage of the football World Cup in Russia couldn’t allow all the joy and good vibes to go unchallenged of course. So they found “a pipe worker named Alexander” who had a joke to tell: “An adviser comes to Putin and says, ‘I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you were elected president. The bad news is that no one voted for you.’”

Now let’s imagine an American adviser coming to President Trump and saying: “I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you were elected president. The bad news is that you didn’t get the most votes.”

This has now happened five times in the United States, five times that the “winner” received fewer popular votes than any of his opponents; this insult to democracy and common sense has now happened twice within the most recent five presidential elections.

And I find the worst news is that a year and a half after Trump’s election I haven’t heard or read a word of anyone in the US Congress or a state legislature who has taken the first step in the process of modifying the US Constitution to finally do away with the stupid, completely outmoded Electoral College system. If it’s such a good system, why doesn’t the United States use it for local and state elections? Why doesn’t it exist anywhere else in the world? Is it to be regarded as part of our beloved “American exceptionalism”?
The other “n” word is even more prohibited

The city of Seattle on June 12 voted to repeal a tax hike on large employers that it had instituted only weeks before. The new tax would have raised $48 million annually to combat Seattle’s homelessness and affordable-housing crisis. The Seattle area has the third-largest homeless population in the country.

The plan had passed the City Council unanimously but was fiercely opposed by and much of the city’s business community.

Many American cities are sincerely struggling to deal with this problem but are faced with similar insurmountable barriers. The leading causes of homelessness in the US are high rents and low salaries. A report released June 13 by the National Low Income Housing Coalition stated that there is nowhere in the country where someone working a full-time minimum-wage job could afford to rent a modest two-bedroom apartment. Not even in Arkansas, the state with the cheapest housing. More than 11.2 million families wind up spending more than half their paychecks on housing. (4)  How did America, “the glorious land of opportunity” wind up like this?

The cost of rent increases inexorably, year after year, regardless of tenants’ income. Any improvement in the system has to begin with a strong commitment to radically restraining, if not completely eliminating, the landlords’ profit motive. Otherwise nothing of any significance will change in society, and the capitalists who own the society – and their liberal apologists – can mouth one progressive-sounding platitude after another as their chauffeur drives them to the bank.

But to what extent can landlords be forced to accept significantly less in rents? Very little can be done. It’s the nature of the beast. Rent control in some American cities has slowed down the steady increases, but still leaving millions in constant danger of eviction or crippling deprivation. The only remaining solution is to “nationalize” real estate.

Eliminating the profit motive in various sectors, or all sectors, in American society would run into a lot less opposition than one might expect. Consciously or unconsciously it’s already looked down upon to a great extent by numerous individuals and institutions of influence. For example, judges frequently impose lighter sentences upon lawbreakers if they haven’t actually profited monetarily from their acts. And they forbid others from making a profit from their crimes by selling book or film rights, or interviews. It must further be kept in mind that the great majority of Americans, like people everywhere, do not labor for profit, but for a salary. The citizenry may have drifted even further away from the system than all this indicates, for American society seems to have more trust and respect for “non-profit” organizations than for the profit-seeking kind. Would the public be so generous with disaster relief if the Red Cross were a regular profit-making business? Would the Internal Revenue Service allow it to be tax-exempt? Why does the Post Office give cheaper rates to non-profits and lower rates for books and magazines which don’t contain advertising? For an AIDS test, do people feel more confident going to the Public Health Service or to a commercial laboratory? Why does “educational” or “public” television not have regular commercials? What would Americans think of peace-corps volunteers, elementary and high-school teachers, clergy, nurses, and social workers who demanded well in excess of $100 thousand per year? Would the public like to see churches competing with each other, complete with ad campaigns selling a New and Improved God? Why has American Airlines just declared “We have no desire to be associated with separating families, or worse, to profit from it.”

William Blum is an author, historian, and U.S. foreign policy critic. He is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II and Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, among others.

    See Mark Weisbrot, “Top Ten Ways You Can Tell Which Side The United States Government is On With Regard to the Military Coup in Honduras.” Also see William Blum, Killing Hope, chapters on Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador.
    Moon of Alabama, “Mueller Indictment – The ‘Russian Influence’ Is A Commercial Marketing Scheme”, February 17, 2018
    Washington Post, June 23, 2018
    Washington Post, June 9 and 16, 2018
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

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Repugnant Righties really care about Families.  Except if they are Brown Families.


More Than 450 Migrant Parents May Have Been Deported Without Their Children

Elsa Ortiz was deported to Guatemala from the United States in June after being separated from her 8-year-old son.CreditMarian Carrasquero/The New York Times

By Miriam Jordan and Caitlin Dickerson

    July 24, 2018

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration told a federal court on Tuesday that more than 450 migrant parents whose children were separated from them are no longer in the United States, raising questions about whether the parents fully understood that they were being deported without their children.

The parents — nearly one-fifth of the 2,551 migrants whose children were taken from them after crossing the southwest border — were either swiftly deported or somehow left the country without their children, government lawyers said.

The exact number, 463, is still “under review,” the lawyers added, and could change. However, the disclosure was the first time the government has acknowledged that hundreds of migrant families face formidable barriers of bureaucracy and distance that were unforeseen in the early stages of the government’s “zero-tolerance” policy on border enforcement.

The government’s previous estimate of the number of such cases was just 12, though that applied only to parents of the youngest children.


“We are extremely worried that a large percentage of parents may already have been removed without their children,” said Lee Gelernt, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, which is challenging the government’s handling of migrant children in a lawsuit. He said further clarification was needed to understand just what has happened.

Facing a court-ordered deadline of Thursday, federal agencies must reunite more than 1,500 migrant parents with their children within about 48 hours. Those parents are just a portion of the total number who were separated: those who have been deemed eligible after a background check and a confirmation of where they are in the United States or abroad.

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Returning children even to eligible parents has been messy and has revealed challenges facing the government as it complies with the judicial order. For example, reunifications at the Port Isabel detention center in South Texas screeched to a halt on Sunday after it was locked down for five hours, according to Carlos Garcia, an immigration lawyer who was prevented from entering the building to meet with his clients. The lockdown resulted from an accidental miscounting of detainees there, Mr. Garcia said.

It was only the latest hiccup at Port Isabel, where parents, children and their advocates have had to wait for hours, or even days, for reunification. “It’s a mess,” a person familiar with the reunification process said on Tuesday, adding that “the wait times have been enormous.”

The person said that the children’s escorts have had to request hotel rooms, which have been approved by the Health and Human Services Department, the agency that oversees care of the separated children.
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Among the migrants inside Port Isabel during Sunday’s lockdown was Irma, a 35-year-old woman from Honduras separated for more than two months from her two teenage sons, Fernando and Jonatan.

Irma, who asked that only her first name be used, hadn’t thought a reunion would happen. A federal official had told her she would never see the boys again.

“It was horrible, horrible,” Irma said through tears on Tuesday, inside the airport in McAllen, Tex. The family was about to board a flight to Baltimore.

The hurdles that remain in the reunification process were discussed at a status hearing on Tuesday, where little more was explained about the number of parents who appear to have left or have been sent out of the country without their children.

The judge who ordered the reunifications, Dana M. Sabraw of Federal District Court in San Diego, called the situation the “unfortunate” result of a policy that was introduced “without forethought to reunification or keeping track of people.”

Some immigrant advocates said many of the migrant parents had agreed to be deported quickly, believing that doing so would speed up reunification — and perhaps not understanding that they would be leaving their children behind.

“Our attorney volunteers working with detained separated parents are seeing lots of people who signed forms that they didn’t understand,” said Taylor Levy, a legal coordinator at Annunciation House in El Paso, which assists migrants. “They thought the only way they would see their child again is by agreeing to deportation.”


“It is particularly problematic for indigenous Guatemalans who are not fluent in Spanish and were not given explanations in their native languages,” Ms. Levy added.

Border authorities are pressuring people to accept speedy deportation, immigration lawyers and advocates say.

“We are aware of instances in which parents have felt coerced and didn’t fully understand the consequences of signing or did not feel they had a choice in the matter,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, which represents migrants.

In an attempt to stanch the flow of undocumented immigrants, the Trump administration in May launched a policy under which every adult caught entering the country illegally was subject to criminal prosecution. As part of the crackdown, some 3,000 children were removed from their parents.

Following an international outcry, President Trump signed an executive order on June 20 halting the separations. Judge Sabraw then issued an order that all the families be reunified within about 30 days — a deadline that expires on Thursday.

The authorities have been transporting parents and children to staging areas in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. After reunification, a variety of nonprofit organizations help the families reach various destinations around the country to await further hearings in immigration court. Hundreds of volunteers are involved in the effort, which includes offering temporary accommodation, airfare and other assistance.

But the swift pace of reunifications has also prompted concerns that the legal cases, health or safety of the parents and children could suffer. The Legal Aid Society of New York filed habeas petitions on Tuesday preventing nine separated children from being moved out of New York until they and their lawyers can contact their parents to determine what’s best for the children. The petitions were transferred to San Diego and combined with the lawsuit there over family separation.


The court filings explained the cases of four siblings who want to be reunited with their mother, but not if it would lead to them all being deported to Honduras, where they fear for their lives. The filings also tells of a 9-year-old girl from El Salvador who does not want to return to a detention center where she was traumatized after being made to eat spoiled food, and of the mother of a 9-year-old boy from Honduras, who fears that if he joins her in detention, he won’t get his medication for hyperactivity.

The filings, which claim the rights of the children are being denied, were made because of a lawsuit Legal Aid filed last week in Federal District Court in Manhattan that ordered immigration authorities to give 48 hours’ notice to lawyers before moving clients. That case, too, was moved to federal court in San Diego.

Judge Sabraw last week temporarily suspended the deportation of reunited families, but immigration lawyers have reported that many of their clients have been funneled to family detention facilities rather than released, which indicates that they could be deported once the judge’s stay is lifted.

A spokesman for the Justice Department said the government does not comment on ongoing litigation.

Immigration officials have said that all the parents who were deported without their children made an informed decision to do so, and had agreed in writing to leave their offspring in the United States. The administration said that bilingual workers and interpreters are on hand to help.

Some Central American migrants are illiterate. And many migrants from the highlands of Guatemala, where several dialects are spoken, do not speak Spanish.

The government said in its filing that it has reunited 879 parents with their children. Another 538 parents have been cleared for reunions and are still awaiting transportation.

In accordance with the court order, the administration first began by reunifying 102 parents whose children are 5 or younger. It is currently reunifying the larger group, which includes minors age 5 to 17.

In cases where parents choose to leave the country without their child, they appoint a sponsor — typically a relative — to care for the child. The sponsors undergo extensive background checks before they can take custody. In the meantime, the minors remain in shelters.

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Liz Robbins contributed reporting from New York, Manny Fernandez from Falfurrias, Tex., and Mitchell Ferman from McAllen, Tex.


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