Archive | July 2nd, 2018

Overly Bureaucratic Procedures and Long Waits Cut Off Support to 22 Million Yemenis

NOVANEWS

As Yemen’s people struggle to survive amid what has been described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, the stranglehold by both government coalition forces and rebels over the country’s main ports of entry and distribution is cutting off a lifeline of support to 22 million people.

Amnesty International, in a report published on June 22 after seven months of extensive research, said that the Saudi-led government coalition are blocking the entrance of essential humanitarian aid, including food, fuel and medicines. And any distribution of this aid is slowed by Houthi rebels within the country.

“The core aspect highlighted by the report is that humanitarian aid finds it extremely difficult to reach destinations inside the country,” Riccardo Noury, communications director and spokesperson for Amnesty International in Italy, told IPS.

Aid workers described to Amnesty International the extent of delays, with one saying that it took up to two months to move supplies out of Sana’a, the country’s capital.

“The most difficult part was getting the aid out of the warehouse once it is in Yemen,” the aid worker was quoted as saying.

World’s Worst Humanitarian Crisis

Yemen’s war began after Houthi rebels took control of the country’s capital at the end of 2014, forcing the government to flee. In support of the government a coalition of states, led by Saudi Arabia, launched an offensive against the rebels. At least 10,000 Yemenis have been killed in almost three years of fighting, with the overall injured numbering 40,000.

The conflict has pushed Yemen, which was already known as the Middle East’s poorest country before 2014, to the verge of a total human, economic and social collapse.

Save the Children, an international non-governmental organisation that promotes human rights, estimates that 130 children in Yemen die every day from extreme hunger and disease.

It is estimated that three quarters of Yemen’s 27 million people are in need of assistance. A third require immediate relief to survive and more than half are food insecure – with almost 2 million children and one million pregnant or lactating women being acutely malnourished, the Amnesty International report said. About 8.4 million people face severe insecurity and are at risk of starvation, the report noted quoting figures from the World Food Programme and the United Nations Office of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).

Overly Bureaucratic Procedures and Long Waits for Clearance

Amnesty International examined the role of the two major parties in the conflict. On the one hand there is a blockade imposed by the Saudi-led coalition on the country’s air, road and harbour ports, while and on the other hand the slow bureaucracy and corruption of Houthi rebels compromises the flow of aid within Yemen.

Last November, the Saudi-led coalition blocked all Yemen’s ports after rebels fired missiles on neighbouring Saudi Arabia. The ports where opened weeks later but only to allow humanitarian aid into the country.

“However, humanitarian aid alone is not sufficient to meet the needs of the Yemeni population, who also rely on commercial imports of essential goods such as fuel, food and medical supplies,” the Amnesty International report said. It noted the restriction on commercial imports “impacted Yemenis’ access to food and exacerbated existing food insecurity.”

Whereas prior to the blockade more than 96 percent of the country’s food requirements were being met, as of April, “food imports were half (51 percent) of the monthly national requirement.”

Exacerbating the matter is the fact that this year Yemen only received 53 percent of required aid funding. According to the Financial Tracking Service database, which tracks humanitarian aid flows in areas of crisis, in 2018 Yemen received only $1.6 billion against a request of $2.9 billion. According to UNOCHA, Saudi Arabia has donated over half a billion dollars towards this aid.

While humanitarian aid is allowed into the country, the government coalition forces are accused of forcing aid vessels to wait for coalition clearance before being allowed to proceed to anchorage. This leads “to excessive delays and unpredictability that have served to obstruct the delivery of essential goods and humanitarian aid.”

However, even when aid eventually enters Yemen, its distribution is hindered by rebel forces.

Houthi rebels have to approve authorisation of movement of aid in the country. It is meant to take, at the most, two days. But sometimes it can take up to five days because of a shortage of officials.

“However, [aid workers] complained that overly bureaucratic procedures have caused excessive delays. They gave the example of the fact that permits provided to humanitarian organisations confine authorisation for movement to the specific day, time, and geographic location that was mentioned in the application.”

The consequence is that if aid workers “are not able for some reason to proceed to the operation on that day [they] have to put a request for a new permit and wait again,” the report said.

Houthi forces have been accused of extortion and interference in the distribution of aid and of “using their influence to control the delivery of aid, to influence who receives aid, and in which areas, and which organisations deliver it.”

One aid official told Amnesty International that they were “often told by Houthi forces to hand over the aid and that they [Houthi forces] would distribute it.”

The delays by both sides is against international humanitarian law, said Noury.

“All warring parties must facilitate the rapid distribution of impartial humanitarian assistance to all civilians in need. They also must ensure freedom of movement for all humanitarian personnel,” he added.

Human Rights in Yemen

Noury expressed deep concern for the human rights situation in the country.

“First of all, you have all this situation linked to violations of international humanitarian law, that deals with the conflict itself. This is a very dirty conflict, in which warring parties have used arms that are forbidden by international law, such as cluster bombs. Then, you have the countless attacks against civilians that were committed by the Saudi-led coalition, and then, obviously the issue of humanitarian aid flows,” he said.

Noury stated his concern over the freedom of expression in Yemen as activists from local NGO, Mwatana for Human Rights, are being arrested by both Houthi rebels or Saudi forces as they attempt to impartially report on crimes perpetrated by both warring parties.

Amnesty International have called for the UN to “impose targeted sanctions against those responsible for obstructing humanitarian assistance and for committing other violations of international humanitarian law.”

It’s called on the government coalition forces and rebel forces to end delays and allow prompt delivery of aid and the allowance of commercial flights into the country.


 

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WHAT DOES THE NAZI REGIME WANT?

NOVANEWS

Image result for NAZI REGIME CARTOON

JOE ROGAN TALKS WITH ABBY MARTIN
THE RACIST HOMICIDAL MADNESS THAT IS ISRAEL

Joe Rogan talks with Abby Martin about her experiences in Palestine.

This was filmed recently.

With the recent atrocities, Rogan has shown increasing interest in the topic.

Given that his individual shows often have 1 million+ downloads, he’s become the major outlet in the US for an intelligent, honest discussion on what is happening in Israel.

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Is there a “Jewish soul”?

NOVANEWS
Is there a Jewish soul?

By Uri Avnery

“As long as in the heart, within, a Jewish soul is yearning…” thus starts the official translation of Israel’s national anthem.

Actually, the Hebrew original says “the soul of a Jew”, but the translator probably got it right. It’s the Jewish soul that was meant.

But is there a Jewish soul? Is it different from the souls of other people? And if so, what is the difference?

Frankly, I don’t know what a soul is. But let’s assume that there is such a thing as a collective psychology, the general spirit of all the men and women who make up this collective – each of whom has a psychology of his/her own. What is it that differentiates it from that of other peoples?

Looking at the present day Israeli people, a stranger may well be perplexed. First of all, more than a fifth of Israelis are not Jewish at all, but belong to the Palestinian people, who presumably have a different “soul”. When people speak about Israelis, they generally really mean “Jewish Israelis”.

This, by the way, should have convinced Israelis long ago to change the national anthem and other symbols of statehood, to give the minority a sense of belonging. The Canadians did so. When they realised that the citizens of French descent were liable to secede and found a nation of their own, they changed their anthem and flag, so as to give the French minority a sense of belonging. As far as I can judge from afar, the operation was successful. But there is little chance of this happening here.

Inbuilt contradictions

Even when speaking about Israeli Jews only, our national psychology (or “soul”) is rather perplexing. It contains elements that are mutually exclusive, profound inbuilt contradictions.

On the one hand, most (Jewish) Israelis are immensely proud of the power of the state they have “built out of nothing”. One hundred and fifty years ago there were hardly any Jews in the land of Palestine, and these were completely powerless. Today, Israel is the most powerful state in the region, a nuclear power excelling in many fields of human endeavour – military, technological, economic, cultural, etc.

Yet listening to many Israeli outpourings, one might come to the conclusion that we may be wiped from the map at any moment. The world is full of people whose sole aim in life is to destroy us. Therefore, we must be ready at any moment to defend our very existence.

How do these two contradictory attitudes go together? No problem. They do very well.

Chosenness

First, there is the ancient belief that God chose us from all the peoples.

Why did God do that?

God knows. He does not have to explain.

The thing is a bit complicated. First the Jews invented God. There are also Egyptian and Mesopotamian claims, but Jews know better.

(It has been said that many Jews do not believe in God, but believe that God has chosen the Jews.)

Jews learn at a very tender age that they are God’s chosen people. Unconsciously, this knowledge remains anchored in their “soul” throughout their life, even though many of them become total atheists. True, many peoples on earth believe that they are better than other peoples. But they don’t have a Bible to prove it.

I am sure that many Jews are not even aware that they believe this, or why. The Jewish soul just knows it. We are special.

The language reflects this. There are Jews and there are the others. The Hebrew for all the others is goyim. In ancient Hebrew, goyim just means peoples in general, including the ancient Israelite people. But over the centuries a new definition has come into being: there are the Jews and there are all the others, the gentiles, the goyim.

According to legend, the Jews were a normal people living in their land, the Land of Israel, when the evil Romans conquered them and dispersed them throughout the world. In reality, the Jewish religion was a proselytising religion and expanded quickly throughout the empire. The Jews in Palestine were already a minority among the adherents of Jehovah, when the Romans evicted many of them (but far from all) from the country.

Christianity and Islam

Soon they had to compete with Christianity, an offshoot of Judaism, which also started to wildly gain adherents. Christianity was built around a great human story, the story of Jesus, and was therefore more apt to convert the masses of slaves and proletarians throughout the empire.

The New Testament also includes the story of the crucifixion – an unforgettable picture of “the Jews” demanding the execution of the gentle Jesus.

I doubt if a person who heard this story in their early childhood ever really loses the scene in their unconscious mind. The result is some kind of anti-Semitism, conscious or unconscious.

This was not the only reason for hating the Jews. The very fact that they were dispersed throughout the world was a huge advantage but also a huge curse.

A Jewish merchant in Hamburg could connect with a Jewish merchant in Thessaloniki, who was corresponding with a Jewish merchant in Cairo. Few Christians had such an opportunity. But the competition exposed Jews to innumerable pogroms. In one European country after another Jews were attacked, killed, raped and finally expelled.

In the Jewish soul all this created two conflicting trends: the conviction that Jews were special and superior and the conviction that Jews were in eternal danger of being persecuted and exterminated.

In the meantime, another offshoot of Judaism – Islam – came into being and conquered a large part of the world. Lacking a Jesus story, it was not anti-Jewish. Muhammad had his quarrels with Jewish tribes in the Arabian desert, but for long stretches of time Muslims and Jews worked closely together. Moses Maimonides, one of the greatest Jewish thinkers, was the personal physician of one of the greatest Muslim heroes, Salah-al-Din (Saladin). Until Zionism arose.

Jews did not change. While other European nations changed their forms of social structure – tribes, multi-tribal kingdoms, empires, modern nations,etc – Jews stuck to their ethnic-religious diaspora. This made them different, leading to pogroms and finally to the holocaust.

Zionism

Zionism was an attempt to turn the Jews into a modern European nation. The early Zionists were cursed by orthodox Rabbis in the most savage terms, but refused to be drawn into a culture war. They created the fiction that in Judaism religion and nation are the same.

Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, was a European colonialist through and through. He tried to win a European colonial power for his enterprise – first the German Kaiser, then the British imperialists. The Kaiser said to his aides, “It’s a great idea, but you can’t do it with Jews”. The British realised the potential and issued the Balfour Declaration.

That is where we are now. A domineering regional power and a global crybaby, ruling a colonised population deprived of all rights while being convinced that dark forces are out to exterminate us at any moment, considering ourselves a very special people and an eternal victim

The Arab populations of Palestine and the “Middle East” realised too late that their very existence was in danger. When they started to resist, Zionism built up modern military forces. Very soon, they became by far the most efficient military machine in the region, and the only local nuclear power.

That is where we are now. A domineering regional power and a global crybaby, ruling a colonised population deprived of all rights while being convinced that dark forces are out to exterminate us at any moment, considering ourselves a very special people and an eternal victim. All this quite sincerely. And all this together.

When somebody dares to suggest that anti-Semitism in the West is dying, and that anti-Islam is on the rise instead, the Jewish reaction is furious. We need anti-Semitism for our mental equilibrium. Nobody is going to steal it from us.

Almost 80 years ago, small groups of young Jews in Palestine had the idea of a separation between the communities: we Jews in Palestine were a new nation, all the others would remain just Jews. Rather like Americans and Australians, who were largely of British descent but not quite British anymore.

We all went “native”. On reaching the age of 18, we all exchanged our Jewish names for Hebrew names. (That’s how Uri Avnery came into being.) We started to think of ourselves as a new nation, with a new “soul”, connected to Judaism, sure, but mainly historically.

But when the full extent of the holocaust became known, all these ideas died. The Jewish past was glorified. Now Israel calls itself the “Jewish State”, with all the attributes of being Jewish, including the double soul.

So, Israelis will continue to sing at football matches “As long as a Jewish soul…

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How They Do It– I$raHell takes in 6 Syrians hurt in latest fighting, 4 of them newly-orphaned kids

NOVANEWS

Army says injured were brought over in ‘unique, complicated medical operation’ on Friday night, received first aid from soldiers before being moved to Israeli hospital

ed note–as we intellectually process this latest ‘human interest’ piece conjured up by Judea Inc’s hasbara department, perhaps first we should just take a short pictorial stroll down memory lane and recall a few other memes that paint an entirely different picture altogether about what the true nature of the Jewish state is, to wit–

Times of Israel

The Israeli military brought six wounded Syrian nationals, four of them reportedly newly orphaned children, into the country for treatment in a local hospital late Friday night, in a “unique and complex medical operation,” the army said.

The six Syrians were among those injured in Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s renewed offensive against the remaining rebel holdouts in southwestern Syria. Earlier on Friday evening, local leaders in the area made contact with Israel in order to transfer the injured, the Israel Defense Forces said on Saturday night.

“In a unique and complex medical operation by the Bashan Division, six moderately to severely injured Syrian were received and treated last Friday night, including four children. According to reports from the Syrian side, the families of the children were killed in bombings during the fighting in Syria, and the children were rushed to Israel to receive treatment,” the IDF said in a statement.

Once the Israeli troops made contact with the injured Syrians, they provided them with first aid in order to stabilize their conditions, before bringing them to an undisclosed hospital in northern Israel, the army said.

The children ranged in age from six to 14, according to the IDF. In addition, a 19-year-old and a 25-year-old man were also transferred to Israel for treatment, the army said.

Most of the injuries were from shrapnel. A 10-year-old girl was brought in with injuries to her head and limbs. A seven-year-old girl sustained a head injury as well as shrapnel wounds throughout her entire body. A six-year-old girl sustained a serious head injury and was unconscious. A 14-year-old boy had a stomach wound and injuries caused by shrapnel throughout this body. The 19-year-old man sustained shrapnel wounds to his leg. The 25-year-old had a significant wound to his left leg.

On Friday, the IDF also announced that it had provided several tons of humanitarian aid to southwestern Syria, but would not be accepting the tens of thousands of refugees from the area that had begun streaming toward the Israeli border.

“The IDF is monitoring what is going on in southern Syria and is prepared for a variety of scenarios, including continuing to provide humanitarian aid to fleeing Syrians. The IDF will not allow Syrian refugees into Israeli territory and will continue to act to protect Israel’s security interests,” the military said in a Hebrew-language statement on Friday.

The operation lasted “several hours,” the army said, in which some 300 tents, 13 tons of food, 15 tons of baby food, three pallets of medical supplies, and 30 tons of clothes and shoes were delivered to the refugees.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said following the aid operation that Israel was “prepared to provide any humanitarian assistance to civilians, women, and children,” but stressed that “we will not accept any Syrian refugees into our territory.”

Since the renewed attacks by pro-regime forces began earlier this month in the Daraa province, tens of thousands of Syrian civilians have been streaming to the nearby Israeli and Jordanian borders, seeking refuge.

A number of camps have been set up in the area, but these generally lack access to fresh water, electricity, and other basic needs. In many cases, these camps are overflowing, and do not have sufficient shelters. Some Syrians are reportedly sleeping outside at night.

The army said it shipped the supplies to four camps simultaneously in the southern and central Syrian Golan Heights.

“In these camps, located near the border, there are several thousand Syrians living in deteriorating conditions, without access to water, electricity, food sources, or basic necessities. In recent days, there’s been an increase in the number of Syrians living in these camps,” the IDF said.

The refugees along the border are fleeing an offensive by Syrian government forces seeking to reclaim the strategic region that extends along the border with Jordan and the Israeli Golan Heights, and which was until recently part of a US-backed and negotiated truce.

Airstrikes pounded rebel-held areas in southwestern Syria on Thursday, killing at least 17 civilians in an underground shelter and driving thousands more from their homes, as scores of displaced people protested near the Israeli border, demanding international protection.

Signaling that the humanitarian crisis is likely to deepen, UN officials said that because of the fighting, no aid has entered from Jordan to reach the estimated 50,000 people displaced since Tuesday. Jordan, which is already hosting 660,000 registered refugees, says it cannot accept any more and has sealed its border, despite appeals from aid groups.

Near the Golan Heights, scores of the newly-displaced raised banners in protest. Thousands have fled to the area, saying they thought the proximity to Israeli forces would deter Syrian air raids. One activist said the camps are about three kilometers (two miles) from the border.

Israel has been providing aid to southwestern Syria since 2013, including treating chronically ill children who have no access to hospitals, facilitating the construction of clinics in Syria, and supplying hundreds of tons of food, medicine, and clothing to war-ravaged villages across the border.

Since Syria disintegrated into a brutal civil war in 2011 that has left hundreds of thousands dead and millions displaced, Israel has struggled with how to deal with the humanitarian disaster taking place on its doorstep, a dilemma made even more complicated by the fact that Israel and Syria remain officially at war.

Israel initially responded by providing medical treatment to Syrians wounded in the war who arrived at its border, treating more than 4,800 people in field hospitals on the border and in public hospitals, mostly in northern Israel, since 2013.

According to the army, approximately half of those treated have been children, one-third were men, and the remaining 17 percent were women.

In addition, Israel also worked with international aid organizations to open a clinic along the border in 2017. Since its opening last year, the clinic has treated some 6,000 Syrian patients.

Last year, the army also revealed that since June 2016 it has quietly been working on Operation Good Neighbor, a massive, multi-faceted humanitarian relief operation to keep thousands of Syrians who live along the border from starving or falling ill due to the lack of food and basic medical care.

The hundreds of tons of food, medical equipment, and clothing that was sent across the border were clearly labeled in Hebrew and came from Israeli companies.

The IDF also facilitated the construction of two clinics within Syria, which are run by locals and NGO workers. This includes logistical coordination and sending over building materials and medical equipment, the army has said.

The clinics are meant to support 80,000 Syrians living in the area near the Syrian city of Quneitra, just across the border.

As part of the operation, the army has also stepped up the amount of humanitarian aid it transfers to Syria, in some cases dramatically.

According to IDF figures, the quantity of food sent to Syria increased tenfold last year, from a few dozen tons between 2013 and 2016, to 360 tons from 2016 to 2017.

The quantity of clothes, baby formula, medical supplies, diesel fuel, and generators being transferred to Syrians have also significantly increased in that time, though it has reportedly slowed since then.

Israel has also sent hundreds of tons of flour, oil, sugar, salt, canned beans, and dry goods, as well as several cars and mules.

Most of the aid was donated by NGOs over the years, the army says, but some were also provided by the Israeli government directly.

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Yahweh’s Chosen Pedophiles and Perverts–Jewess wanted for sex abuse in Australia

NOVANEES

Yahweh’s Chosen Pedophiles and Perverts–Jewess wanted for sex abuse in Australia now accused of molesting children in ‘Israel’

Resident of Emmanuel, where ultra-Orthodox former school principal Malka Leifer resided, claims she behaved inappropriately with his daughter

Times of Israel

An Australian school principal facing extradition from Israel over allegations she molested schoolchildren has been accused of continuing to sexually assault children while in Israel.

Although Malka Leifer has not been formally accused of a sex crime in Israel, one man claims she molested his daughter and cautions that she has been privately tutoring other children in the ultra-Orthodox West Bank settlement of Emmanuel, where she has been living.

In a story published by the Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday, the father, identified only as Daniel, further claimed that Leifer’s husband had admitted to him that she “likes to touch” because she is “loving,” but that even he is wary of leaving her alone with children.

Leifer, who left Australia for Israel in 2008 shortly after molestation accusations against her surfaced, skipped several extradition hearings in Israel because she had committed herself into psychiatric institutions for short periods coinciding with the court dates. She is wanted for questioning in Australia in connection with 74 instances of molestation, including rape, of several teenage girls at the Adass school in Melbourne. Many of the alleged crimes were committed during private tutoring sessions with the girls.

Australian authorities first filed a request for her extradition in 2014. Leifer, was arrested in the country at the time but later released to house arrest.

In 2016 she, her husband, and their 10 children went to live in Emmanuel.

Daniel, an Emmanuel resident, said that at the time, residents of the community knew nothing of Leifer’s past or the accusations against her.

Shortly after arriving in the settlement, the former principal offered to tutor Daniel’s daughter Sarah in religious studies. he said. The report did not say how old the girl was at the time.

Sarah later told her father that Leifer had pulled at her clothes, pulling down her skirt and “started to touch” her.

“Her childhood was over from that moment,” he said.

Concerned over what his daughter had told him, Daniel said he hired a private investigator to watch the woman as she visited other children in their homes and lured “troubled, disadvantaged kids” into her own home by offering them food and free tutoring.

Widespread deprivation in the community made the offer of something to eat effective bait, Daniel noted.

“There is a lot of poverty, with families struggling to buy food,” he said.

On one occasion Daniel claims he saw Leifer “grab this young-looking blonde girl, pushing her, grabbing her boobs and ass. She was all over her, crazy-like.”

Daniel claimed that he spoke to Leifer’s husband about the alleged assaults.

“I asked him about his ‘handsy’ wife,” he said of her husband. “He said, ‘She likes to touch but that’s all she does, because she’s a loving person… but we did try not to leave her alone with kids.’”

Despite his complaints, Leifer would continue to send her son to their home with instructions to bring Daniel’s daughter for more sessions, the father said.

His daughter has since moved to a boarding school in the nearby town of Petah Tikva, he said.

Daniel began researching the former principal, who had been living in Israel with no restrictions on her freedom, and discovered her past and the accusations in Australia. He blasted Emmanuel community leaders for allowing the woman to live freely among residents, accusing them of not doing enough to protect children from.

“She carried on molesting children here after she was freed!” he told the newspaper. “They let her return here, to my home. To my town!”

The report described a tightly closed community living under the rule of ultra-Orthodox leaders who prefer to suppress reports of child abuse rather than involve authorities and deal with the unwanted attention.

“The issue became well known here in Emmanuel,” one resident was quoted as saying, “but it was comfortable for [her] to manage her life here because it’s a small town where nobody looks for trouble.”

Local residents said that community leaders were well aware of Leifer’s past but had failed to deal with the matter.

“They definitely knew she did what she’s been accused of, that’s why they told her not to teach young girls, and at the beginning, she obeyed those demands, things started to blow up after she volunteered to teach [Daniel’s daughter],” one source was quoted as saying.

The woman’s defense lawyer Yehuda Fried declined to comment on the accusations, saying that unless charges were filed he had no response to give, according to the report.

Daniel claimed that Leifer’s story is just a part of a much broader problem in the community that is being hushed up by leaders.

“It’s Sodom and Gomorrah in Emmanuel,” he said. “Child abuse, pedophilia… it’s rampant.”

The father vowed to campaign until the community addressed the issue.

“The Catholics went through the exposé of such crimes,” he said. “Now it’s our turn to address the big problem.”

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Another Fatal Blow to The West’s Precious White Helmets Narrative

NOVANEWS

Image result for White Helmets CARTOON

“Too many times we’ve seen the same child in photographs, year after year, always covered in dust,” says Hersh, adding that the White Helmets “do engage in anti-Assad [activities].”

He added that such a propaganda tactic is “very easy” because Assad is “hated” by so many in the West now.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh exposes NATO war crimes and exerted a damning scepticism of the official line on Syria and the alleged ‘chemical attacks’ trumpetted by western media, as well as a damning indictment of the western-backed NGO the White Helmets, as Going Underground host Afshin Rattansi discusses Hersh’s new book “Reporter – A Memoir”. Watch:

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Response to “Janus”: Take Their Intellectual “Property”

NOVANEWS

For the last four decades, the right has been actively working to rig the rules to undermine progressives both politically and economically. They aren’t just interested in winning an election; they want to destroy any basis for progressive change.

This is why they have been so intent on attacking unions. Unlike many centrist Democrats, the right realizes that the labor movement has been at the center of most progressive change in the last century. This is why Reagan made it a priority to weaken labor at the beginning of his administration.

In his first three months in office, he picked a fight with the conservative air traffic controllers’ union (one of the few which supported his election) and set a new trend in which employers fired rather than negotiated with striking workers. He then created a logjam at the National Labor Relations Board that made it virtually useless as a mechanism for protecting workers’ right to organize.

These policies, along with anti-labor, trade and monetary policies, were a punch in the gut of private sector unions. Over the next three decades, the unionization rate in the private sector fell from almost 20 percent to just 7 percent.

Since unionization rates in the public sector were little changed over this period, it was inevitable that the right would turn their focus to this bastion of support for progressive policy change. When Republicans gained control of historically progressive states like Wisconsin and Michigan, they quickly moved to weaken the public sector unions.

Now they are looking to do this on a national basis with the Janus ruling. Just to be clear, this has nothing to do with individual freedom. It is a question of whether workers can have a contract that imposes conditions on employment.

No one disputes that the employer can impose conditions on employment. For example, the court would have no problem if the state of California requires its employees to pay 5 percent of their wage to a health insurer of its choosing. If you don’t like that health insurer, the Republican justices say you should just work somewhere else.

What the Republican court said is that the workers can’t have a contract that puts a condition on employment by requiring a representation fee to the union that they have chosen to represent them. This has absolutely zero to do with individual rights; it is entirely about the court limiting the power of workers to sign effective contracts.

This is a big victory for the enemies of working people. We should certainly look to fight it directly, but we should also take a lesson from the bad guys: undermine their base of power.

There are ways this can be done if we are creative. The Trump administration has given us a great opportunity with its trade war with China. One of the big issues it is fighting over is China’s alleged theft of US intellectual property.

While this is an area where the media have been chiming in support of the idea that we all have a stake in the intellectual property of Merck, Microsoft and Disney (go home team!), the reality is that the vast majority of us stand to benefit from China not respecting their claims. As any trade economist can tell you, if China doesn’t pay these companies what they think they are owed, American consumers will be able to save on goods and services produced in China. Why should US workers want to pay more money to make these huge companies richer?

Trump’s trade war gives workers a great opportunity to undermine one of the main mechanisms through which income has been redistributed upwards in the last four decades. Without patent and copyright protection on Microsoft’s software, Bill Gates would still be working for a living. Moreover, the rest of us would be saving hundreds of billions of dollars annually from cheap drugs, medical equipment and software. (Yes, we have to pay for innovation, but there are more efficient mechanisms that don’t redistribute as much money upwards, see Rigged, chapter 5.)

There are other ways in which we can look to weaken the economic power of labor’s enemies directly. For example, relatively progressive states can pass rules of corporate governance that make it more difficult for CEOs to take home paychecks in the tens of millions of dollars. They can also deny tax-exempt status to nonprofits that pay top management high six-figure or seven-figure salaries.

These and other proposals are discussed in more detail in my (free) book Rigged. The point is that we should be thinking of ways to take the battle to their home court and not continually playing defense. Reversing the ways in which they have rigged the market over the last four decades and taking away their money will not be easy, but it is the only reasonable route forward. If all our battles are defensive, then the only uncertainty is how much we lose.

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Puerto Ricans Battle Disaster Capitalism to Achieve Self-Determination

NOVANEWS

In 2007, Naomi Klein challenged the neoliberal notion of competitive economic growth in her book Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. In that book, she documents the economic forces that take advantage of catastrophes to institute corporate economies with the most minimal of regulations. “Disaster capitalism” is premised on radical laissez-faire goals that are essentially two-fold: 1) to achieve corporate privatization and windfall profits; and 2) to diminish the public commons and social safety nets through austerity.

Puerto Rico has always had a colonial relationship with the United States, since when it was acquired by the US as a territory in the Spanish-American War of 1898. However, in 1950, it became a commonwealth and since then it has been teetering between a colony, a state and independence, as far as holding plebiscites. Nonetheless, its relationship to the US remains essentially colonial in terms of its limited political power and its economic dependence on Congress, as well as US economic pressure and manipulation.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in the fall of 2017, the financial vultures moved in in full force. They are nicknamed “Puertopians” by Klein. Their goal, she explains in her new book, The Battle for Paradise: Puerto Rico Takes on the Disaster Capitalists, is to create a utopia for the super-rich at the expense of the island’s residents. “Rather than transforming [the] infrastructure so that it truly serves the public interest,” Klein writes, “they argue for selling it off at fire-sale prices.” As in other examples of disaster capitalism, the economic libertarian wants to squash a system “in which the wealth of the island is carefully managed by its people.”

The book consists of essays from The Intercept on Klein’s post-Maria travels to Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria left a catastrophe as it lashed through Puerto Rico, but it also left the island as a target for the vulture capitalists. Invited to the island by a group dedicated to creating a sustainable society, Klein found the sides were drawn: the for-profit centralized exploiters vs. the advocates for a decentralized sustainable economy. She discovered a strong “desire for people to exercise collective sovereignty over their land, energy, food and water.” Aligned against that populist economic notion are forces determined to consolidate the economy in favor of the rich.

The Financial Oversight and Management Board was created by Congress in 2016 to oversee the reduction of more than $70 billion worth of debt in Puerto Rico. It consists of seven people with presidential appointments, but only one of them lives in Puerto Rico. The board has authority that supersedes the Puerto Rican State House, particularly on economic affairs and debt repayments. It has gained increased power to favor Wall Street, hedge funds and the super wealthy, and to impose austerity measures on the populace. Klein points out that those who live on the island do not have any representation in Congress and cannot vote for president unless they live on the mainland. The economic decisions are being made as they would be in a colonial relationship.

Unlike a state, Puerto Rico cannot declare bankruptcy. Instead, Congress and the Financial Oversight and Management Board treat the island like an experiment in Ayn Randian economics. The wealthy and corporations get huge tax breaks, plus vulture capitalism and privatization opportunities. The 3.5 million people of Puerto Rico get austerity.

When a disaster causes massive loss and upheaval, it creates new opportunities for vultures. In this case, it involves the status of the Puerto Rican water system post-Maria:

Previous attempts by Wall Street financiers and government officials to privatize Puerto Rico’s water system have produced “disastrous results,” but private equity vultures are exploiting the death and destruction caused by Hurricane Maria to plow ahead with yet another privatization effort — one that environmentalists warn could further imperil the island’s public water infrastructure.

“While the water system urgently needs repairs and upgrades following the destructive Hurricane Maria, privatization is not the answer,” declared Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter on Tuesday after Puerto Rico’s Public-Private Partnerships Authority officially kicked off the process of partially privatizing the Puerto Rico Aqueducts and Sewers Authority (PRASA), a government-owned entity responsible for water quality and management.

“Responsible, public control of the system is the best way to ensure that every person on the island has access to safe and affordable water and that PRASA operates in the service of the people, not in the service of profits,” Hauter added. “With the privatization of Puerto Rico’s water authority, we expect Wall Street profiteers and corporate water operators will seek to extract wealth without addressing the long-standing issues with the commonwealth’s water system.”

This, in essence, represents the onslaught of predators Puerto Rico faces on a number of fronts. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), which is $9 billion in debt, is a prime target for privatization. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, who is friendly with the powers in Washington, DC, and Wall Street, supports making the privatization move.

For those stalwarts promoting renewable energy, this presents a formidable obstacle, as Klein comments: “After all, private companies from Nevada to Florida have successfully pressured their state governments to put up roadblocks to renewables, since a market in which your customers are also your competitors (able to generate their own power and sell it back to the grid) is distinctly less profitable. Rosselló’s fiscal plan already floats the idea of a new tax that would penalize communities that set up their own renewable micro-grids.”

Installation of local solar energy offers an example of creating self-sufficiency on an island of abundant sun, symbolized by the work of a nearly 40-year-old organization, Casa Pueblo. Meanwhile, Organización Boricuá de Agricultura Ecológica de Puerto Rico “is a 28-year-old grassroots organization that works and promotes agroecology within the food sovereignty struggle.” It is focused on the work of creating a largely self-sustaining Puerto Rico, Klein details. In her excursions, she found other people and groups working to create an island that is sustainable from the bottom-up. In fact, during her stay in Puerto Rico, she was part of a gathering that formed the JuntaGente network to unite the various groups battling for a Puerto Rico that can decide its own destiny.

Even Klein, however, qualifies that “the trouble is that movements, unlike capital, tend to move slowly.” She also notes, “The tremendous impact of the storm has disassembled life for millions of people, making the reconstruction of the pre-storm, anti-austerity coalition a herculean challenge.” Klein is inspired, nonetheless, that in Puerto Rico, they “are not beginning to build this movement for self-determination” from scratch.

The harm done to Puerto Rico before and after Hurricane Maria has a long history, as Klein observes: “Colonialism itself is a social experiment, a multilayered system of explicit and implicit controls designed to strip colonized peoples of their culture, confidence, and power. With tools ranging from the brute military and police aggression used to put down strikes and rebellions, to a law that once banned the Puerto Rican flag, to the dictates handed down today by the unelected fiscal control board, residents … have been living under that web of control for centuries [including the years as a colony of Spain].”

Certainly, Donald Trump’s minimal assistance to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, as compared to his aid to communities hit by recent hurricanes on the mainland, embodies this colonial attitude. His contempt for the crushing needs of the island and whirlwind visit to San Juan in which he tossed out paper towels further emphasized his disdain — and racism.

There is a high-stakes conflict at play, Klein writes,

The Puertopians dream of a radical withdrawal into their privatized enclaves. [JuntaGente and its supporters] dream of a society with far deeper commitments and engagements — with each other, within communities, and with the natural systems whose health is a prerequisite for any kind of safe future …

For now, these diametrically opposed versions of utopia are advancing in their own parallel worlds, at their own speeds — one on the back of shocks, the other in spite of them.

Klein was clearly captivated by the long-term commitment and passion of Puerto Ricans who want to regain control over the island’s destiny. However, a vast powerful array of predators specializing in disaster capitalism are assembled against them.

Will the islanders defeat the odds of the “shock doctrine”?

Posted in Puerto RicoComments Off on Puerto Ricans Battle Disaster Capitalism to Achieve Self-Determination

As the North Korean Deal Crumbles, Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy Looks Worse Than Ever

NOVANEWS

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

Before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea. President Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem. No longer – sleep well tonight!

He was very excited about his “agreement” and couldn’t stop praising Kim for weeks afterward, apparently convinced by his braying sycophants that he was a shoo-in for the Nobel Peace Prize. It was obvious that he had offered up the cancellation of American military exercises without consulting anyone (which we later found out was on the advice of Vladimir Putin) and had gotten nothing but vague, empty promises in return.

But I think even the most cynical among us assumed Trump had probably bought some time with his pomp and pageantry if nothing else. Surely, there would at least be a short pause, with North Korea giving some space to the South Koreans and the Chinese to ratchet down the tension and give the real negotiators a chance to put together some kind of agreement more in line with those that had been done in the past.

But it appears that Kim sized up Trump as an inexperienced and uninformed buffoon who would allow him to carry on his nuclear program and simply tell the public that it wasn’t happening rather than admit that his “deal” was a sham. (He didn’t actually have to meet him to know that: After all Trump is one of the only people in history who went bankrupt running casinos.) And that is exactly what’s happening.

I mentioned last week that satellite analysis showed that North Koreans were building up their nuclear research facility. But that’s not all. The Wall Street journal reported this on Sunday:

North Korea is completing a major expansion of a key missile-manufacturing plant, said researchers who have examined new satellite imagery of the site, the latest sign Pyongyang is pushing ahead with weapons programs even as the US pressures it to abandon them.

The facility makes solid-fuel ballistic missiles — which would be able to strike US military installations in Asia with a nuclear weapon with little warning — as well as re-entry vehicles for warheads that Pyongyang might use on longer-range missiles able to hit the continental US.

NBC reported last week that more than a dozen intelligence sources confirmed to them that “North Korea has increased its production of fuel for nuclear weapons at multiple secret sites in recent months — and that Kim Jong Un may try to hide those facilities as he seeks more concessions in nuclear talks with the Trump administration.” They see “a regime positioning itself to extract every concession it can from the Trump administration — while clinging to nuclear weapons it believes are essential to survival.” Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported that Kim has asked Chinese President Xi Jinping for early relief of sanctions and Xi told him he would make the “utmost effort” to help out.

It’s all working out quite well for North Korea. Sanctions are being relaxed, the US is pulling back militarily and the regime is continuing to build up its nuclear arsenal. Kim must have read “The Art of the Deal” before the summit.

In an interview with Fox Business News’ Maria Bartiromo on Sunday, Trump reassured his followers for the hundredth time that he had great “chemistry” with Kim and said, “I made a deal with him. I shook hands with him. I really believe he means it.” He finally shrugged, reluctantly admitting that it “may not work out,” as if it were a development deal for some hotel in Miami Beach rather than the possible annihilation of millions of people.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seems to be feeding Trump’s delusional thinking by saying things like, “[Kim] made a personal commitment. His reputation is on the line in the same way that we are, that says we’re going to create a brighter future for North Korea and denuclearize as quickly as we can achieve that.” That sounds suspiciously like the neocon fever dreams that led to the Iraq war, but perhaps in this case it’s the only thing keeping Trump from doing something truly crazy.

The Bartiromo interview also featured more of Trump’s Euro-bashing, which seems to be ratcheting up in advance of the upcoming NATO meeting and his summit with Putin in Helsinki.

Fox News@FoxNews

“The European Union is possibly as bad as China but smaller.”

WATCH: @MariaBartiromo‘s full interview with President @realDonaldTrump on – Part 3. https://fxn.ws/2lMAJLb 

Trump told Bartiromo that he didn’t want to single out China on trade, which was surprising to say the least. He also reiterated his how much he likes Xi personally, noting that he’s “president for life, you can call him the king, right?” Which clearly sounds great to him.

As for the big Putin summit, Trump tweeted last week that Russia continues to insist it had nothing to do with any interference in the 2016 election. But apparently he will grudgingly bring it up again:

Aaron Rupar@atrupar

Trump downplays possibility that North Korea won’t actually denuclearize, instead touts getting hostages back and return of Korean War veterans’ remains.

“I made a deal with [Kim Jong Un]. I shook hands with him. I really believe he means it.”

Then pivots to threatening Iran. pic.twitter.com/7on247m6Th

Aaron Rupar@atrupar

Trump says he will “mention” election meddling during upcoming summit w/Putin, but then immediately pivots to Hillary’s emails.

“I’m going to mention it. I would like to see some answers as to why we didn’t take the server, why the FBI didn’t take the server from the DNC.” pic.twitter.com/Ul7jvmKEdO

It was national security adviser John Bolton who made real news about the Helsinki summit on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, when he confirmed that Trump is seriously thinking of recognizing Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. He did this in an especially weird way:

Aaron Rupar@atrupar

BRENNAN: Trump’s own intel chiefs say Russia is still meddling. When you met w/Putin, did you confront him?

BOLTON: “What Putin said was…there was no meddling in 2016 by the Russian state”

BRENNAN: Little happens w/o Putin’s blessing

BOLTON: “That’s an interesting statement” pic.twitter.com/jVrMLqL0Bq

Aaron Rupar@atrupar

Bolton indicates Trump is open to recognizing Crimea, which was illegally invaded by Russia in 2014, as part of Russia.

After Brennan points out that “that’s shocking for our European allies,” Bolton says, “the president makes the policy, I don’t make the policy.” pic.twitter.com/GKEXg6Y122

That’s not something you hear someone in Bolton’s position say every day. The above-referenced exchange about Putin seems equally odd. Perhaps there is trouble brewing again in Trump’s national security team?

The upshot of this interview was that Trump is planning on rewarding Putin’s interference in the 2016, and potentially in the 2018 midterms as well, by starting a trade war with Europe, degrading the NATO alliance and deciding to let bygones be bygones when it comes to the incursion into Crimea.

No word on what Trump might ask for from the Russian leader in return. If it’s anything like the North Korea deal, since Putin and Trump have such “chemistry,” we can assume it will be nothing.

Bolton told “Fox News Sunday” that people shouldn’t “have a case of the vapors over discussions we have in NATO or the G7 versus discussions we have with Putin or Kim Jong Un,” because they’re “very different.” Actually, they’re not. Trump responds positively to flattery from anyone, but gives away the store to strongmen and treats allies like dirt.

Bolton is proving to be just as much over his head as Trump is.

Oh, and by the way, Axios reported on Sunday night that Trump is also considering a unilateral withdrawal from the World Trade Organization. He’s had draft legislation drawn up called the “United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act,” which “provides Trump a license to raise US tariffs at will, without congressional consent and international rules be damned.”

The acronym for that bill would the US FART Act. What can I say?

Posted in USA, North KoreaComments Off on As the North Korean Deal Crumbles, Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy Looks Worse Than Ever

In Upholding Muslim Ban, the Supreme Court Ignored International Law

NOVANEWS

The Supreme Court’s opinion in Trump v. Hawaiiaffirming Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, allows the United States to act in flagrant violation of international law.

Under the guise of deferring to the president on matters of national security, the 5-4 majority disregarded a litany of Trump’s anti-Muslim statements and held that the ban does not violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, which forbids the government from preferring one religion over another. Neither the majority nor the dissenting opinions even mentions the US’s legal obligations under international human rights law.

The travel ban violates two treaties to which the United States is a party: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. It also runs afoul of customary international law.

Both of these treaties and customary international law prohibit the government from discriminating on the basis of religion or national origin. Trump’s Muslim ban does both.

Trump v. Hawaii “signals strongly that international law in general, and international human rights law in particular, no longer binds the United States in federal courts,” Aaron Fellmeth, professor at Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, wrote in an email. “Fortunately, it does not squarely hold that, but the effect may prove to be the same. For now, the Supreme Court appears determined to be complicit in U.S. human rights violations and cannot be relied upon as a check on the Executive Branch.”

The case that the Supreme Court ruled on this week involved the legality of Trump’s third travel ban. Issued by Trump in a “Proclamation” on September 24, 2017, the third iteration of the ban restricts travel by most citizens of Libya, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia and North Korea. The ban forbids everyone from Syria and North Korea from obtaining visas. Nationals from the other six countries have to undergo additional security checks. Iranian students are exempted from the ban. The ban also forbids Venezuelan government officials and their families from traveling to the US.

More than 150 million people, roughly 95 percent of them Muslim, are affected by the ban.

Two prior iterations of the ban restricted travel of citizens from only Muslim-majority countries. After federal courts struck them down, Trump cosmetically added Venezuela and North Korea to avoid charges of religious discrimination.

As Justice Sonya Sotomayor, joined by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, wrote in her dissent, “it is of no moment” that Trump included “minor restrictions” on North Korea and Venezuela – two non-Muslim-majority countries. Travel by North Korean nationals was already restricted and the ban only bars travel by Venezuelan officials and their families.

Court Did Not Address International Law Claims

All of the justices on the Supreme Court ignored significant international law arguments in their majority and dissenting opinions in spite of an amicus brief signed by 81 international law scholars, including this writer, and a dozen non-governmental organizations. The amicus brief drew attention to the travel ban’s violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, both of which the United States has ratified.

Ratification of a treaty not only makes the United States a party to that treaty, its provisions also become part of US domestic law under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, which says treaties “shall be the supreme law of the land.”

Customary international law arises from the general and consistent practice of states. It is part of federal common law and must be enforced in US courts, whether or not its provisions are enshrined in a ratified treaty. Courts have a duty to rein in federal executive action which conflicts with a ratified treaty.

In Trump v. Hawaii, the high court concluded that the ban did not violate the Immigration and Nationality Act. We argued in our amicus brief:

The Immigration and Nationality Act and other statutes must be read in harmony with these international legal obligations pursuant to the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution and long established principles of statutory construction requiring acts of Congress to be interpreted in a manner consistent with international law, whenever such a construction is reasonably possible.

But the Court did not construe the legality of the travel ban in light of US treaty obligations and customary international law.

The primary thrust of the ban is to prohibit Muslims from entering the United States and thus constitutes religious discrimination. By singling out specific countries for exclusion, the ban also makes a prohibited distinction on the basis of national origin.

Muslim Ban Violates International Covenant

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights prohibits distinctions based on religion or national origin, which have “the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by all persons, on an equal footing of human rights and fundamental freedoms,” the United Nation Human Rights Committee, which monitors compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, has said.

Although the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights does not generally “recognize a right of aliens to enter or reside in the territory of a State party …  in certain circumstances an alien may enjoy the protection of the Covenant even in relation to entry or residence, for example, when considerations of non-discrimination, prohibition of inhuman treatment and respect for family life arise,” the Human Rights Committee opined.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights prohibits discrimination against the family. “The family is the natural and fundamental group of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.” Immigrants and refugees flee their countries of origin and come to the United States to reunify with their families. The covenant protects them against discrimination based on religion or national origin. They need not be physically present in the United States to enjoy these protections.

The non-discrimination provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights also constitute customary international law. In 1948, the United States approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is part of customary international law. The declaration forbids discrimination based on religion or national origin, guarantees equal protection of the law, and shields family life against arbitrary interference.

Ban Violates Convention Against Discrimination

The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination also prohibits discrimination based on religion or national origin and doesn’t confine its non-discrimination provisions to citizens or resident noncitizens. While the convention “does not speak specifically to restrictions on entry of nonresident aliens,” our amicus brief states, “the general language of [the Convention Against Racial Discrimination] expresses a clear intention to eliminate discrimination based on race or national origin from all areas of government activity.”

States parties to the convention “shall not permit public authorities or public institutions, national or local, to promote or incite racial discrimination.” Parties are required to outlaw speech that stigmatizes or stereotypes noncitizens, immigrants, refugees and people seeking asylum.

Evidence of the Discriminatory Nature of the Travel Ban

Even though the Supreme Court majority held that the ban did not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, much evidence exists to the contrary.

The Establishment Clause says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” That means “one religious denomination cannot be officially preferred over another,” according to Supreme Court case law.

After quoting a few of Trump’s anti-Muslim statements, Roberts noted, “the issue before us is not whether to denounce the statements” but rather “the significance of those statements in reviewing a Presidential directive, neutral on its face, addressing a matter within the core of executive responsibility.” Roberts added, “we must consider not only the statements of a particular President, but also the authority of the Presidency itself.”

Roberts wrote that the Court could consider the president’s statements “but will uphold the policy so long as it can reasonably be understood to result from a justification independent of unconstitutional grounds.” Courts must give great deference to the president in immigration matters and will uphold his policy if it has any legitimate purpose, Roberts noted. “The entry suspension has a legitimate grounding in national security concerns, quite apart from any religious hostility.” The text doesn’t specifically mention religion, so Roberts wrote it was “neutral on its face.”

Sotomayor spent seven of the 28 pages of her dissent listing more than a dozen statements by Trump denigrating Muslims. She cited the policy’s initial purpose as a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” in Trump’s words. But that policy “now masquerades behind a façade of national security concerns,” Sotomayor wrote.

She quoted a Trump adviser who said, “When [Donald Trump] first announced it, he said, ‘Muslim ban.’” Sotomayor also listed Trump’s declarations that “Islam hates us,” “we’re having problems with Muslims coming into the country,” and “Muslims do not respect us at all.”

Trump said President Franklin D. Roosevelt “did the same thing” with his internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, Sotomayor noted. Trump told a story about General John J. Pershing killing a large group of Muslim insurgents in the Philippines with bullets dipped in pig’s blood. When he issued his first ban, Trump explained that Christians would be given preference for entry as refugees into the United States. He also retweeted three anti-Muslim videos.

“Taking all the relevant evidence together,” Sotomayor wrote, “a reasonable observer would conclude that the Proclamation was driven primarily by anti-Muslim animus, rather than by the Government’s asserted national security justifications.” The Proclamation, she added, “is nothing more than a ‘religious gerrymander.’”

Looking Ahead

There is hope that the most abhorrent effects of this case can be mitigated. Yale law professor Harold Hongju Koh wrote on Scotusblogthat transnational actors — including nation-states, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, multinational enterprises and private individuals — will invariably file litigation in international fora based on international law to lessen the impact of the ruling in Trump v. Hawaii:

[A]s they have done against other Trump policies, other transnational actors will invoke what I have called “transnational legal process” to contest and limit the impact of the court’s ruling. As they did after losing the Haitian interdiction case at the Supreme Court 25 years ago, litigants will surely seek out international fora to make arguments against the travel ban based on international law.

The Constitution’s Take Care Clause requires the president to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Trump has a constitutional duty to comply with US legal obligations under both treaty and customary international law.

By enacting a travel ban aimed at excluding from the United States people from six Muslim-majority countries, Trump has violated both the Constitution and international law.


READING LIST

 

 

Posted in USAComments Off on In Upholding Muslim Ban, the Supreme Court Ignored International Law


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