Archive | November 23rd, 2019

UK Church “chills” free expression – and is (apparently) oblivious to the fate of Christianity in the Holy Land

Zio slave Bishop Mark Davies
By Stuart Littlewood

I’d seen confusing reports about Zionist interference forcing a two-day interfaith conference at Chester to hurriedly relocate to nearby Hoole and causing key speakers to drop out.

A Catholic church had been booked for the event, and the Jewish Chronicle reported that church authorities cancelled the booking after being contacted by the North West Friends of Israel. These complainers maintained that Gilad Atzmon’s past statements include “Jewish ideology is driving our planet into a catastrophe” and “I’m not going to say whether it is right or not to burn down a synagogue, I can see that it is a rational act”; and Revered Stephen Sizer had been reprimanded for sharing material suggesting Israel carried out the 9/11 attacks.

Atzmon was scheduled to talk about “Palestine under the Jewish state” and Stephen was to discuss ‘Christian Zionism: Roadmap to Armageddon?’. How utterly shocking!

The Jewish Chronicle quoted the Diocese of Shrewsbury as saying that it “condemns and opposes anti-Semitism in all its forms and will not allow such activities on its premises.

“When serious concerns about the nature of this event were brought to our attention appropriate steps were immediately taken,” it added.

So just how appropriate was caving in to such extremism?

It leaves the unfortunate impression that the Shrewsbury Diocese too easily surrenders to pressure.

A leading light in Friends of Israel then launched an attack on Rod Heather, Chairman of Hoole Community Trust, which allowed the conference to go ahead on their premises:

As a charity you facilitated an event organised by a person who claims there is a “Jewish lobby” (an anti-Semitic claim), which had a session on Israeli genocide (also anti-Semitic), hosted by a conspiracy theorist in Steven Sizer who claims that Jews planned and carried out 9/11 and has Gilad Atzmon, a known holocaust denier… and you think there is nothing wrong!

You, Mr Heather, are part of the problem and clearly have no issue with Jew hatred.

North West Friends of Israel quickly contacted the Diocese of Shrewsbury and we are grateful for the archbishop who cancelled the event immediately. Thank you!

When the pro Palestinian organiser was told of the cancellation his response was that the Church succumbed to “the Jewish lobby”! This says it all!

Thank you again to the Diocese of Shrewsbury for not tolerating anti-Semitism.

But Roderick Heather was more than equal to the challenge. He said he would never allow anyone a platform to express such ridiculous and extreme views as holocaust denial. But having attended much of the conference himself he said there had been no such talk and “nothing occurred that could be viewed as anti-Semitic”.

In a robust response he said:

Your intervention, and the various other coordinated extreme ones we received today, did nothing to help foster good community relations here in Chester or to improve the understanding of and sympathy for the Jewish cause nationally in the UK. The ill-informed and bigoted telephone and social media campaign that we have witnessed is a disgrace. It was unfounded and unnecessary and has done your cause much harm. Be aware that I am ensuring that as many people as possible (locally and nationally) are made aware of the vitriolic, verbal bullying we have been subjected to today.

So I emailed the Diocese asking:

Would the Diocese – and Bishop Mark [Davies – pictured above], please – care to comment on what happened and perhaps explain why Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 10 of our own Human Rights Act were not, apparently, at the forefront of their actions.

It would also be helpful to know the Church’s stance on the situation in the Holy Land where Christian communities are shrinking fast and there may soon be none left in the place where Christianity was born.

This was met by stony silence. After several days I wrote again asking if Bishop Mark Davies had anything to say. The question was totally ignored. It’s no surprise when one considers the weak-kneed performance of some senior churchmen in the West. But you don’t expect the Catholics to be quite so gormless when their brethren in Palestine are in the front line fighting the good fight in truly difficult circumstance and suffering all kinds of abuse.

Let’s remind ourselves what Article 19 says:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Of course, you mustn’t push it to the point where you risk stirring up hatred.

And Article 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998 says much the same thing:

Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.

Of course, it warns that exercising these freedoms carries duties and responsibilities such as respect for the reputation or rights of others.

And as Liberty explains:

… the right to free expression would be meaningless if it only protected certain types of expression. So Article 10 protects both popular and unpopular expression – including speech that might shock others – subject to certain limitations.

And when considering whether free expression should be limited, “courts will question whether doing so could have a ‘chilling effect’ on free speech…”

So thanks for the chill, Bishop.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, UKComments Off on UK Church “chills” free expression – and is (apparently) oblivious to the fate of Christianity in the Holy Land

Trump’s and Naziyahu’s pyrrhic victory

One State in Palestine
Trump’s and Netanyahu’s pyrrhic victory: US inadvertently stumbles into one-state solution for Palestine-Israel conflict

Gilad Atzmon writes:

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on 18 November that the US is softening its position on Israeli settlements in the West Bank. He repudiated the 1978 State Department legal opinion which stated that Jewish settlements in the occupied territories are “inconsistent with international law”.

It is hard to determine whether the move was intended to rescue Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s political career or to buy the Jewish lobby’s support for President Trump at a critical time. It is reasonable to assume that the policy was put forth to advance both aims.

Pompeo’s declaration was, predictably, welcomed by Netanyahu and denounced by Palestinian officials and anyone else who still advances the delusional two-state solution. As with Pompeo, I am far from an expert on international law, but it seems the notion of international law is vague or elastic enough to allow the Pompeo to (mis) interpret it in a radical manner. Yet, unlike most Palestinian solidarity campaigners, I see Trump, his administration and the recent move as a positive development.

However inadvertently, Trump has finally committed the US to the one-state solution. It is hard to deny that the area between the “[Jordan] River and the [Mediterranean] Sea” is a single piece of land. It shares one electric grid, one pre-dial telephone code (+972) and one sewage system. At present, the land is ruled over by a racist, tribal and discriminatory ideology through an entity that calls itself “the Jewish State”; and declares itself home for every Jew around the world; yet, is abusive, lethal and some would say genocidal towards the indigenous people of the land.

The 18 November move may buy Netanyahu some time and it may save Trump from being evicted from his current residence, but what it did most clearly was to redeliver a message to the Palestinians: In the battle for your liberation you are alone. America is not a negotiator, it has never been one. The USA has a side in the conflict and it is not your side.

In categorical terms, Pompeo’s declaration repeats Trump’s earlier decision to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. On 6 December 2017 Trump announced that the United States recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ordered the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. No doubt, the move bought Trump support from the Jewish lobby in America, and political gain for Netanyahu in the Jewish State, it was also an unambiguous message to the Palestinians: There is no prospect of a harmonious and peaceful solution for your plight.

For the Palestinians, the move also exposed the misleading and dangerous nature of their “solidarity” movement. Jewish “anti’-Zionist institutions have undertaken a relentless effort to suppress the Palestinians’ right of return and replace it with watery alternatives such as “end of occupation” or  “the right to BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions]. Trump’s move forces the Palestinians to acknowledge that they are alone in their battle and to finally accept that the right of return is the core and the essence of their plight. Less than four months after Trump’s Jerusalem decision, on 30 March 2018, thousands of Gazans gathered on the Israeli border to demand a return to their land.

That clumsy decision by Trump, intended to serve some immediate political purpose to do with Jewish support, has matured into a vast awakening for the Palestinians. Week after week, for almost three years, Gazans have arrived at the Gaza border in their thousands to bravely confront the Israeli army’s merciless snipers, tanks and air force. The Hamas movement owes a big thank you to Trump who has managed to fuel and unite the Palestinians with a renewed spirit of fearless resistance. Israeli military analysts and commanders admit that the situation at the Gaza border is pretty much out of control. They agree that Israel’s power of deterrence is literally a matter of  nostalgia. Accordingly, Palestinian resistance organisations do not hesitate to retaliate against Israel. Last week Israel was hit by some 400 rockets fired over the course of only two days in response to  Israel’s assassination of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant.

Pompeo’s declaration provides an explicit and necessary message to the Palestinians in general and in the West Bank in particular. The conflict is not progressing towards a peaceful resolution. Those among the Palestinians who advocated the “two-states solution” will have to hide now. Pompeo has affirmed that there is one Holy Land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. From now on, the battle over this disputed land is whether it will be subject to the racist discriminatory ideology implied by the notion of “the Jewish state” and its “National Bill“, or if it will transform itself into a “state of its citizens” as is inherit in the notion of one Palestine.

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The story of Nazi apartheid stalwart Meir Shamgar

The story of Israeli apartheid stalwart Meir Shamgar

Israeli racist Meir Shamgar
By Lawrence Davidson

A local legal “hero”: Meir Shamgar

On 19 October 2019 Meir Shamgar died. He was 94 years old. Shamgar is not exactly a household name here in the West, but he was renowned in Israel. He was given a state funeral that was attended by most of Israel’s top Zionist leaders. Binyamin Netanyahu eulogised Shamgar as the man responsible for “strengthening the foundational principles of justice and the law, and guaranteeing individual and national freedoms”. Others described him as a “great man of towering intellect and deeply held ethical values”.

Shamgar reached this status and accomplished these tasks in his roles as Israel’s military advocate-general, attorney-general, Supreme Court member and then finally as the president of Israel’s Supreme Court. He was obviously a capable legal mind with real administrative talents. Yet, as he went about shaping Israel’s liberal-for-Jews national legal environment, he simultaneously undermined international law and human rights for non-Jews. He therefore can be seen as threatening civilised legal standards both at home and in the international arena. 

Denier of human rights: Meir Shamgar

Here is how Michael Sfard, an Israeli attorney who specialises in international and human rights law, describes Shamgar’s legal treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories:

As a judge, he handed down rulings that legalised almost every draconian measure taken by the defence establishment to crush Palestinian political and military organisations, and to establish Israeli control over the occupied people and their land for generations. Demolition of suspects’ houses (rendering their families homeless); wholesale use of administrative detentions against Palestinian activists; expropriation of lands and the establishment of settlements; undemocratic appointments of mayors; and the imposition of curfews and taxes – Shamgar sanctioned them all.

Sfard is accurate in this description. However, he also thinks that Shamgar personifies a “paradox” that lies at the heart of Zionism – Israel’s national ideology. He tells us that this is “the paradox of a movement that is based on the moral ideal that every nation has the right to political freedom… And yet, has denied those same freedoms to millions of people who belong to another nation.”

I am afraid Sfard has this part wrong, at least as far as the Zionist belief in a “moral ideal” that every nation has a right to freedom. There is no historical evidence that the Zionist movement ever asserted such an ideal except as a brief bit of useful post-World War I propaganda. Quite the contrary, Zionist nationalism was pursued as an extension of European colonialism. Early on Zionist leaders hitched their national ambitions (via the Balfour Declaration) to British imperialism – which, under no circumstances, espoused the national rights of the peoples they ruled. Thus, the Zionists turned on the British when they no longer needed their patronage, in order to force them out of Palestine. Just so, according to the latest biography of David Ben Gurion (Tom Segev’s A State at Any Cost), modern Israel’s founding father always understood the movement of European Jews into Palestine as one of “conquest”. 

Thus, it is much more accurate to say that Zionists reserved, and still reserve, the ideal of national freedom in Palestine solely to themselves. And they do so without the “dissonance” Sfard claims is engendered by a simultaneous belief in a universal right of national freedom. Indeed, any such ideal that might support rights of any kind for the Palestinians on an equal basis with Israeli Jews is anathema to most Zionists. It is within this context that Meir Shamgar could at once be the nation’s legal hero and simultaneously deny the application of universal human rights and international law in Israel’s occupied territories.

The broader lesson

We can understand this disparity more broadly once we realise that ethics, or value-systems generally, are locally generated. This means that while, in principle, each value-system might have concepts such as fairness, honesty, humaneness, that have universal character, they have traditionally, that is historically, been put into practice in a more narrow way for the benefit of particular in-groups. Over time these in-groups have gotten larger until today the largest of them is now the nation state. However, the nation state has also been a source of world wars and large scale atrocities. After World War II, and the experience of a number of genocides, efforts were made to establish a set of transnational values laid out in international law and in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was hoped that nation-states could be persuaded (by the memory of the horrors of World War II, if nothing else) to adhere to humane international laws that transcended national in-groups.

Despite the historically proven fact that an in-group approach to ethics has encouraged racism and other forms of bigotry as well as horrific war, there still continues a struggle between those who would apply ethical standards universally and those who would hold to the traditional in-group exceptionalism. Meir Shamgard and the Zionists followed this latter approach.

The road they have chosen has certainly generated exclusive ethics and values reserved for just their in-group. Inevitably, this has resulted in a highly discriminatory Israeli environment which many (including some Israelis) see as creating an apartheid society. Apartheid is a form of racism recognised under international law as a crime against humanity.

The cost here is not just the injustice done to the Palestinians. There is also a serious undermining of both international law and the moral integrity of the Jewish people. One wonders if Meir Shamgard ever thought of his legal rulings and administrative reforms in this way? Or, for him, was there nothing beyond a narrow version of the ethnic nation-state, where the rule of law was a sole possession of a sub-group of citizens. Of course, great men of “towering intellect and deeply held ethical values” should not think and act in such exclusionary ways. However, those who would readily sacrifice the well-being of millions do.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on The story of Nazi apartheid stalwart Meir Shamgar

The Nazi occupation wages a campaign of arrests in the occupied West Bank

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 Nazi Occupation Forces (IOF ) arrested at dawn today two young men from Al-Shawawra village east of Bethlehem, and arrested a university student yesterday evening as he crossed the Container checkpoint.

According to local sources that the Nazi occupation forces arrested Munir al-Daraawi, aged 28 years, and Iyad Abdullah Ghawarneh, 44 years old, after raiding and searching their homes in the town of Shawawra.

The Nazi occupation forces arrested on Thursday evening a student at Hebron University Mohammed Jawdat Melhem, a 22-year-old resident of the city of Halhoul, north of Hebron, while crossing the barrier.

Also in Hebron, the Israeli occupation forces arrested yesterday evening, 60-year-old Idris Awad Ghaith and his 18-year-old son Ahmed, from the southern area of ​​the city, after searching their house.# Occupation# Arrest

Will the Rafah Hospital be completed soon?

Palestinians injured by Nazi Jewish settlers in Hebro

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on The Nazi occupation wages a campaign of arrests in the occupied West Bank

As Arguments Begin, Civil Rights Leaders Urge Supreme Court to Uphold One of the Nation’s Oldest Anti-Discrimination Statutes

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments that pit Comcast (CMCSA), America’s biggest cable provider, against National Association of African American-Owned Media and Entertainment Studios Networks, Inc., and more importantly one of the Nation’s oldest anti-discimination statutes, Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866.

Section 1981 prohibits intentional race discrimination in contracting, and protects African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities from discrimination in the workplace and marketplace.  The law applies to all private and public actors and prohibits retaliation. It has been one of the cornerstones of the oldest and most storied pieces of civil rights laws for over 150 years.

Comcast is asking the Supreme Court to  rule that intentional race discrimination claims brought under Section 1981 should be dismissed if plaintiffs are unable to show that race was the reason behind a discriminatory action, as opposed to a reason. 

Civil rights leaders urge the Supreme Court to affirm the lower court’s ruling that intentional race discrimination claims under Section 1981 are viable if the plaintiff is able to show that race played a role in the challenged discriminatory decisions. A ruling by the Supreme Court requiring plaintiffs to prove that race was the but for reason of a discriminatory decision would make it nearly impossible for litigants to prevail in their cases, and would result in meritorious cases being dismissed at the earliest stages of litigation. 

Leaders representing the Lawyers’ Committee For Civil Rights Under law, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), NAACP, and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, submitted “friend of the court” briefs in the case pending before the Supreme Court, Comcast v. National Association of African American-Owned Media and Entertainment Studios Networks, Inc. 

 “This is the most important racial justice case that will be heard by the Supreme Court this term,” said Kristen Clarke, president & executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “An adverse ruling by the Court stands to impose a burdensome pleading standard in Section 1981 cases that would shut the courthouse door on victims of discrimination all across the country. Section 1981 is one of the oldest civil rights statutes that provides core protection from groups otherwise beyond the reach of civil rights statutes including independent contractors and gig economy workers. The Court should reject this challenge to help ensure that victims of discrimination get their day in court and have the opportunity to be heard.”

“Section 1981 is one of our nation’s oldest civil rights laws, specifically intended to end racial discrimination in contracting,” said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “Every person, no matter who they are or what their race, should have fair and equitable access to opportunity and economic mobility. The Supreme Court must not weaken the vital protections of this historic civil rights statute.”

“All eyes should be on this critical case,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. “An adverse decision by the Supreme Court could imperil the integrity of section 1981 as a tool for protecting the full economic and legal rights of Black people.”

“The case that sits before the Supreme Court is one of monumental importance to the protection and continuation of Black businesses and contractors, said Derrick Johnson,” President and CEO, NAACP. “The attempt to turn back the clock on one of the most vital civil rights protections is a grave threat to the very fabric of the nation — we will continue to fight so that section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 is preserved for generations to come.”

Background

The case contends that both Comcast and Charter Communications violated Section 1981 after minority-owned Entertainment Studios attempted have the two cable systems carry its networks and were denied.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and NAACP LDF argue in their briefs that the position taken by Comcast is inconsistent with the plain text of Section 1981, and would frustrate the fundamental purpose of the provision—to place African Americans on equal footing as white citizens in our nation’s economy. Comcast urges the Supreme Court to hold that Section 1981 requires “but-for” causation if there are non-racial justifications, and that the telecom company’s claim should be dismissed without discovery or trial. If successful, Comcast’s arguments would, in many cases, impose an impossible pleading burden on victims of discrimination and prevent them from vindicating meritorious claims.

The Lawyers’ Committee brief is joined by The Leadership Conference, NAACP and over 20 other organizations and can be read here. The NAACP Legal and Educational Defense Fund’s brief is joined by 10 other organizations and can be read here.

Listen to the audio from our press call for the filing of the briefs here

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Death by Oligarchy

When those on the bottom and in the middle of the social pyramid lose their voice and agency, when the society exists only to serve the greed of the rich, when income inequality reaches the levels it has reached in the United States, the social fabric is torn apart and the society destroys itself.

by: Chris Hedges

The corporate coup orchestrated by the ruling oligarchs over the past few decades gave us Donald Trump. If this coup is not reversed, far worse will follow. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The corporate coup orchestrated by the ruling oligarchs over the past few decades gave us Donald Trump. If this coup is not reversed, far worse will follow. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Oligarchs are blinded by hubris, wealth and power. Their cloying sense of entitlement sees them outraged by even the most tepid reforms or mildest of criticisms. They lack empathy and compassion, along with remorse or guilt, for what is done to those outside of their tiny, elitist circles. Privilege does strange and unpleasant things to human beings. I saw these distortions among my rich classmates as a scholarship student at prep school and at Harvard University, an institution designed, like all elite schools, to perpetuate the plutocracy. Living in privilege spawns callousness, even cruelty, to those less fortunate and feeds a bottomless greed.

The repugnant characteristics of the rich are skillfully masked by armies of lawyers and publicists, a servile and intimidated press, good manners and the fig leaf of philanthropy. Jeff BezosJamie DimonBill GatesJimmy WalesPeter ThielJohn Mackey and the late Steve Jobs and David Koch—whatever their carefully packaged public image—champion or championed economic and social models that are designed to create a new form of serfdom for the working class and further consolidate the concentration of wealth and power into the hands of the oligarchs. When a society falls into the death grip of an oligarchic class, the result is always catastrophic.

Oligarchs, because they live insulated lives surrounded by obsequious courtiers that cater to their bottomless narcissism and hedonism, wield power based on fantasy. They propagate ruling ideologies, such as neoliberalism and the intellectually and morally bankrupt writings of Ayn Rand, which are not economically rational but justify their privilege. Their mantra, first uttered by a notorious serial killer and enthusiastically embraced by Rand, is: “What Is Good for Me Is Right.” All our institutions—the press, the courts, legislative bodies, the executive branch and academia—have been perverted to serve the oligarch’s narrow, selfish interests while an oppressed citizenry, struggling to survive, is seething with mounting rage and frustration. The corporate coup orchestrated by the ruling oligarchs over the past few decades gave us Donald Trump. If this coup is not reversed, far worse will follow.

The political reformers, such as Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, who could save the system from self-destruction are demonized in the same way the Russian oligarchs demonized Alexander Kerensky, the socialist revolutionaries and Mensheviks, paving the way for the tyrannical Bolsheviks under Vladimir Lenin. 

The oligarchs are the last to understand the consequences of their moral depravity. The political reformers, such as Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, who could save the system from self-destruction are demonized in the same way the Russian oligarchs demonized Alexander Kerensky, the socialist revolutionaries and Mensheviks, paving the way for the tyrannical Bolsheviks under Vladimir Lenin. When the end comes, and the end will come, most probably in our case with a tyranny imposed by Christian fascists, the oligarchs will be blissfully unaware, gorging themselves at their palatial estates or on their mega yachts like the clueless French or Russian aristocrats on the eve of their revolutions.

“We are in the midst of a major global, political, economic, social and cultural transition—but we don’t know which way we’re headed,” writes Lisa Duggan in “Mean Girl: Ayn Rand and the Culture of Greed.” “The incoherence of the Trump administration is symptomatic of the confusion as politicians and business elites jockey with the Breitbart alt-right forces while conservative evangelicals pull the strings. The unifying threads are meanness and greed, and the spirit of the whole hodgepodge is Ayn Rand.”

This spirit of meanness corrupts the far right and the far left. It defines the Christian fascists and the alt-right as it defines many in antifa and the black bloc, although unlike their fascist opponents the far left in the United States is a marginal, poorly organized, ideologically bankrupt and ineffectual political force. As societies polarize, the attempts by reformers and moderates such as Sanders and Warren to halt the disorder, defuse the mounting hatreds and antagonisms that are increasingly expressed through violence and salvage democratic norms prove fruitless. The oligarchs do not respond to their appeals and eventually the disenfranchised lose patience with the impotence of the moderates.

Lenin’s ruthlessness and rule by decree and terror, enforced by death squads run by the Cheka, reflected the ruthlessness and terror employed by the Russian aristocracy and the Okhrana. The Committee for Public Safety, which assumed dictatorial power from September 1793 to July 1794 during the French Revolution, reflected the ruthlessness and terror employed by the French nobility. Extremists, no matter what their political platform, are remarkably similar once in power. And it is almost always extremists who inherit power in failed democracies.

The oligarchs, who spent $1 billion in 2016 to deny Sanders the Democratic Party nomination and try to put Hillary Clinton in the White House, learned nothing from the debacle. If they can’t shove Joe Biden down our throats, how about Pete Buttigieg or Michael Bloomberg? And should Warren or Sanders miraculously become the Democratic candidate, which the oligarchs are working hard to prevent, they will reluctantly back Trump. Trump may be vulgar, corrupt and inept, he may have turned the United States into an international pariah, but he slavishly serves the financial interests of the oligarchs.

No battle to accrue profit is too small for oligarchs. The election for City Council in Seattle saw Bezos, the world’s richest man, spend $1.5 million to flip the council to serve his business interests. Bezos was incensed by a council decision last year to tax Amazon, which in 2018 paid no federal income tax, and other businesses to help provide housing for the city’s 11,000 homeless. Amazon got the city’s tax repealed within a month. Bezos in this election targeted his nemesis, the socialist City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, who thankfully was re-elected, and pushed a slate of pro-business candidates for the council. Bezos failed, this time, to seize control of the council. No doubt, the next round of elections will see him triple or quadruple his investment. The 2016 elections had a price tag of $6.5 billion, but as Hamilton Nolan points out in the Guardian, “for a group that exercises total control over a federal budget of more than $4 trillion, that’s a real bargain.”

Oligarchs, freed from outside oversight and regulation, wantonly pillage the political and economic institutions that sustain them.

Oligarchs, freed from outside oversight and regulation, wantonly pillage the political and economic institutions that sustain them. They run up huge government deficits by slashing taxes on the rich. This forces an underfunded government to borrow from the banks, further enriching the oligarchs, and impose punishing austerity programs on the public. They privatize traditional government services, including utilities, intelligence gathering, large parts of the military, the police, the prison system and schools to make billions in profits. They create complex financial mechanisms that ensure usurious interest rates on mortgages, personal and student loans. They legalize accounting fraud and suppress wages to keep the public trapped in a crippling debt peonage. They loot trillions in taxpayer money when their speculative bubbles burst.

They are no longer capitalists, if we define capitalists as those who make money from the means of production. They are a criminal class of financial speculators that rewrite the laws to steal from everyone, including their own shareholders. They are parasites that feed off the carcass of industrial capitalism. They produce nothing. They make nothing. They manipulate money. And this gaming of the system and seizure of political power by finance capital is why the wealthiest 1% of America’s families control 40% of the nation’s wealth.

Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase with an estimated worth of $1.4 billion, is the poster child for corporate greed and criminality. He directed JPMorgan Chase to underwrite fraudulent securities in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crash. He overcharged members of the military on mortgages and mortgage refinancing transactions. He overcharged customers for overdraft fees. He manipulated bidding on California and Midwest electricity markets. He overcharged homeowners for flood insurance. He billed customers for nonexistent credit card monitoring services. He charged minorities higher rates and fees on mortgages than those paid by white borrowers. He failed to pay overtime to company workers.  Yes, JPMorgan Chase had to pay more fines than any other financial institution in the country, but the profits more than offset its fraudulent and criminal activity.

It is Dimon, along with fellow oligarchs Gates and the billionaire investor Leon Cooperman, who has recently led the attack on Warren. Dimon chastised her for her “wealth tax” plan and for allegedly vilifying “successful people.” Cooperman accused Warren of seeking to wreck the American dream. Gates also denounced her wealth tax plan, although if he did have to pay the tax, he would still be worth $6 billion. When questioned, Gates refused to say whether, if Warren becomes the Democratic nominee, he would support Trump.

Greed is bottomless. It is the disease of the rich. The more the oligarchs accumulate the more they want. This is the dark side of human nature. It has always been with us. All societies are plagued by social inequality, but when those on the bottom and in the middle of the social pyramid lose their voice and agency, when the society exists only to serve the greed of the rich, when income inequality reaches the levels it has reached in the United States, the social fabric is torn apart and the society destroys itself. Aristotle warned about the danger of oligarchies nearly 2,500 years ago. We stand on the cusp of social and political disintegration, bequeathed to us by oligarchs who have seized total power. The ruling oligarchs will stymie all attempts at reform. This makes a crisis inevitable. Once we enter this crisis, the oligarchs will become the most potent enablers of despotism.

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Trump Applauds Bolivia’s Military Coup As US Establishment Media Blame Morales For Turmoil

Right-wing opposition forces, and their supporters in the U.S. government, benefited from the sheer ignorance of the electoral process in Bolivia, which was weaponized to further destabilize the country.

by: Kevin Gosztola

Moments after Trump’s statement praising the Bolivian military, Mexico announced it had granted Morales political asylum. Around two dozen lawmakers and officials from Bolivia already had sought refuge from Mexico. (Photo: Flickr)

Moments after Trump’s statement praising the Bolivian military, Mexico announced it had granted Morales political asylum. Around two dozen lawmakers and officials from Bolivia already had sought refuge from Mexico. (Photo: Flickr)

President Donald Trump celebrated a military coup in Bolivia that forced President Evo Morales, who recently won a fourth term, to resign on November 10.

“After nearly 14 years and his recent attempt to override the Bolivian constitution and the will of the people, Morales’ departure preserves democracy and paves the way for the Bolivian people to have their voices heard,” Trump declared. “The United States applauds the Bolivian people for demanding freedom and the Bolivian military for abiding by its oath to protect not just a single person, but Bolivia’s constitution.”

“These events send a strong signal to the illegitimate regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua that democracy and the will of the people will always prevail. We are now one step closer to a completely democratic, prosperous, and free Western Hemisphere,” Trump added.

Moments after Trump’s statement praising the Bolivian military, Mexico announced it had granted Morales political asylum. Around two dozen lawmakers and officials from Bolivia already had sought refuge from Mexico.

Senator Bernie Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate, and Representatives Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were some of the few American progressive politicians to condemn recent developments, but their statements did not have the same clarity as British Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s condemnation.

Corbyn reacted, “To see Evo Morales who, along with a powerful movement, has brought so much social progress forced from office by the military is appalling. I condemn this coup against the Bolivian people and stand with them for democracy, social justice and independence.”

General Williams Kaliman, leader of Bolivia’s armed forces, urged Morales to resign on November 10. Nonetheless, the State Department, as well as the vast majority of the establishment press, contend Morales was not overthrown in a coup. They describe current events as a “power void” or “power vacuum.”

On November 10, the New York Times wrote, “A leftist who had served longer than any other current head of state in Latin America, Mr. Morales lost his grip on power amid violent protests set off by a disputed election.” A CNN headline read, “Bolivian President Evo Morales steps down following accusations of election fraud.”

Similarly, NPR went with the headline, “Bolivian President Evo Morales Resigns Amid Widespread Protests Over Election Fraud.” The Washington Post, which has made “opposing” the death of democracy in the darkness a part of their corporate brand, attributed Morales’ resignation to a “scathing election report.”

“Morales’ stunning fall after nearly 14 years in office came hours after the Organization of American States said it had found ‘clear manipulation’ of the vote last month in which the elder statesman of the Latin American left claimed victory,” according to the Post.

But a statistical analysis conducted by the Center for Economic Policy and Research (CEPR) debunked the OAS Electoral Observation Mission’s report, which failed to prove there were  “widespread or systematic irregularities in the elections of October 20, 2019.”

News media like the Post unquestionably repeated the allegation that the “last five percent of the vote counting was especially ‘unusual’” because it “showed a significant increase for Morales and a sharp decrease” for right-wing challenger, Carlos Mesa.

As CEPR described, In Bolivia’s elections over the last decade and a half, votes from rural and peripheral areas of the country have tended to disproportionately favor Morales and the   MAS-IPSP [Movimiento al Socialismo]. Because of logistical, technological, and possibly other limitations, these votes end up being computed later in the counting process.”

“This is true of both the quick and the official counts, which are both affected by the same geography and infrastructure. Rural and poorer places, which have tended to heavily favor Morales, are slower to transmit data or send tally sheets to the electoral tribunals,” CEPR’s analysis added.

Right-wing opposition forces, and their supporters in the U.S. government, benefited from the sheer ignorance of the electoral process in Bolivia, which was weaponized to further destabilize the country.

Bolivia uses what is known as a quick count. It involves a procedure that was adopted after OAS recommended Latin American countries implement such a system. The quick count allows the civil registry service to count the vast majority of nationwide votes so the public may be swiftly informed of the outcome, however, due to logistical limitations, it is not possible for this count to reflect 100 percent of the votes.

There is an official count—a second vote-counting system—that CEPR notes is the only count that is “legally binding under Bolivian law.” It is precise, more thorough, and takes longer.

To win an election, a presidential candidate “must win 50 percent of the vote or garner at least 40 percent of the vote with a 10 percentage point lead over the runner-up in the first round.”

“In these elections, the results of the official count generally coincided with those of the quick count, which ended once 95.63 percent of tally sheets were counted, with Morales having a lead of 46.86 percent to Mesa’s 36.72,” according to CEPR. “The final official count, with 100 percent of votes counted, resulted in Morales winning the election in the first round with 47.08 percent, to Mesa’s 36.51 percent.”

The Trump administration, OAS, and the right-wing opposition politicized the electoral observation process, despite the fact that the “legally binding official vote count did not stop for any significant period of time,” and trends reflected “well-known voting patterns that occur based on geography.”

In Brazil, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and now Bolivia, the world has witnessed coup attempts and violent opposition protests that reflect how the Trump administration has fully restored America’s Cold War policy of backing right-wing candidates and meddling in the politics of Latin American countries.

Another argument deployed focused on the fact that the electorate defeated a referendum in 2016, which would have allowed Morales to run for a fourth term. The country’s high court later tossed out restrictions against seeking another term, which paved the way for his re-election campaign.

In an article for The Atlantic, Yascha Mounk, who previously was executive director of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change’s “Renewing the Center” team, called the ruling “bizarre” because it allowed Morales to “defy” average citizens fed up with his “authoritarianism.”

Jonah Shepp of New York Magazine wrote, “This unseemly end serves as a cautionary tale of what happens when world leaders remain in office for too long.”
Shepp offered a neo-colonial lecture, “Running a country for more than a decade has a tendency to make people more susceptible to authoritarian impulses, whether or not they started their careers as dictators. In recent decades, the world has witnessed both left-wing and right-wing leaders, elected in semi-democratic systems, grow increasingly paranoid and repressive after getting a little too comfortable in the presidential palace.”

“Pretty soon, the democratic institutions through which they came to power are eroded and disfigured to prevent their rivals from unseating them,” Shepp added.

The only problem is the lack of evidence in a widely manipulated OAS report that any kind of erosion of democratic institutions occurred in Bolivia to spark Morales’ downfall.

In a statement drafted by left-wing scholars and published by Verso Books, they make clear, “For weeks, rightwing protesters have targeted Morales’ party, the Movement Toward Socialism (or MAS in Spanish). They have burned down party members’ homes and offices, attacking their supporters.”

They continued, “Patricia Arce, mayor of Vinto, was kidnapped by a mob. They cut her hair, threw paint over her body, and forced her to walk barefoot, publicly humiliating her. The mob has blockaded the headquarters of Bolivia TV and the Patria Nueva radio station. At the time of this writing, right wing forces are ransacking and burning President Morales’ home and are trying to arrest him.

“No one resigns with a gun to their head,” the scholars stated. “Bolivia’s political and economic elite support this violence, as part of a resurgence of the far right in Latin America. Activists on the ground are currently getting smashed by these forces.”

In Brazil, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and now Bolivia, the world has witnessed coup attempts and violent opposition protests that reflect how the Trump administration has fully restored America’s Cold War policy of backing right-wing candidates and meddling in the politics of Latin American countries.

As Common Dreams’ Eoin Higgins highlighted, the Bolivia coup may be linked to a decision by Morales on November 4 to cancel a “December 2018 agreement with Germany’s ACI Systems Alemania (ACISA) came after weeks of protests from residents of the Potosí area. The region has 50 percent to 70 percent of the world’s lithium reserves in the Salar de Uyuni salt flats.”

Morales canceled the contract while Western press spread allegations that election fraud occurred in Bolivia. Industry players that rely on Bolivia’s lithium were apparently confident that “political calmness” would be restored soon enough, and they would return to business as usual.

Posted in BoliviaComments Off on Trump Applauds Bolivia’s Military Coup As US Establishment Media Blame Morales For Turmoil

When the US Supports It, It’s Not a Coup

The media message from the Bolivia case is clear: A coup is not a coup if we like the outcome.

by: Alan MacLeod

His policies drew the great ire of the US government, Western corporations and the corporate press, who function as the ideological shock troops against leftist governments in Latin America. (Photo: CBS/Screenshot)

His policies drew the great ire of the US government, Western corporations and the corporate press, who function as the ideological shock troops against leftist governments in Latin America. (Photo: CBS/Screenshot)

Army generals appearing on television to demand the resignation and arrest of an elected civilian head of state seems like a textbook example of a coup. And yet that is certainly not how corporate media are presenting the weekend’s events in Bolivia.

NYT: Bolivian Leader Evo Morales Steps Down

When the military forces the elected president to “step down” (New York Times, 11/10/19), there’s a four-letter word for that.

No establishment outlet framed the action as a coup; instead, President Evo Morales “resigned” (ABC News11/10/19), amid widespread “protests” (CBS News11/10/19) from an “infuriated population” (New York Times11/10/19) angry at the “election fraud” (Fox News11/10/19) of the “full-blown dictatorship” (Miami Herald11/9/19). When the word “coup” is used at all, it comes only as an accusation from Morales or another official from his government, which corporate media have been demonizing since his election in 2006 (FAIR.org5/6/098/1/124/11/19).

The New York Times (11/10/19) did not hide its approval at events, presenting Morales as a power-hungry despot who had finally “lost his grip on power,” claiming he was “besieged by protests” and “abandoned by allies” like the security services. His authoritarian tendencies, the news article claimed, “worried critics and many supporters for years,” and allowed one source to claim that his overthrow marked “the end of tyranny” for Bolivia. With an apparent nod to balance, it did note that Morales “admitted no wrongdoing” and claimed he was a “victim of a coup.” By that point, however, the well had been thoroughly poisoned.

CNN (11/10/19) dismissed the results of the recent election, where Bolivia gave Morales another term in office, as beset with “accusations of election fraud,” presenting them as a farce where “Morales declared himself the winner.” Time’s report (11/10/19) presented the catalyst for his “resignation” as “protests” and “fraud allegations,” rather than being forced at gunpoint by the military. Meanwhile, CBS News (11/10/19) did not even include the word “allegations,” its headline reading, “Bolivian President Evo Morales Resigns After Election Fraud and Protests.”

Delegitimizing foreign elections where the “wrong” person wins, of course, is a favorite pastime of corporate media (FAIR.org5/23/18). There is a great deal of uncritical acceptance of the Organization of American States’ (OAS) opinions on elections, including in coverage of Bolivia’s October vote (e.g., BBC11/10/19Vox11/10/19Voice of America11/10/19), despite the lack of evidence to back up its assertions. No mainstream outlet warned its readers that the OAS is a Cold War organization, explicitly set up to halt the spread of leftist governments. In 1962, for example, it passed an official resolution claiming that the Cuban government was “incompatible with the principles and objectives of the inter-American system.” Furthermore, the organization is bankrolled by the US government; indeed, in justifying its continued funding, US AID argued that the OAS is a crucial tool in “promot[ing] US interests in the Western hemisphere by countering the influence of anti-US countries” like Bolivia.

In contrast, there was no coverage at all in US corporate media of the detailed new report from the independent Washington-based think tank CEPR, which claimed that the election results were “consistent” with the win totals announced. There was also scant mention of the kidnapping and torture of elected officials, the ransacking of Morales’ house, the burning of public buildings and of the indigenous Wiphala flag, all of which were widely shared on social media and would have suggested a very different interpretation of events.

CEPR: What Happened in Bolivia's 2019 Vote Count?

Corporate media ignored CEPR’s finding (11/19) that “neither the OAS mission nor any other party has demonstrated that there were widespread or systematic irregularities in the elections.”

Words have power. And framing an event is a powerful method of conveying legitimacy and suggesting action. “Coups,” almost by definition, cannot be supported, while “protests” generally should be. Chilean President Sebastian Piñera, a conservative US-backed billionaire, has literally declared war on over a million people demonstrating against his rule. Corporate media, however, have framed that uprising not as a protest, but rather a “riot” (e.g., NBC News, 10/20/19Reuters11/9/19Toronto Sun11/9/19). In fact, Reuters (11/8/19) described the events as Piñera responding to “vandals” and “looters.” Who would possibly oppose that?

Morales was the first indigenous president in his majority indigenous nation—one that has been ruled by a white European elite since the days of the conquistadors. While in office, his Movement Towards Socialism party has managed to reduce poverty by 42% and extreme poverty by 60%, cut unemployment in half and conduct a number of impressive public works programs. Morales saw himself as part of a decolonizing wave across Latin America, rejecting neoliberalism and nationalizing the country’s key resources, spending the proceeds on health, education and affordable food for the population.

His policies drew the great ire of the US government, Western corporations and the corporate press, who function as the ideological shock troops against leftist governments in Latin America. In the case of Venezuela, Western journalists unironically call themselves “the resistance” to the government, and describe it as their No. 1 goal to “get rid of Maduro,” all the while presenting themselves as neutral and unbiased actors.

The media message from the Bolivia case is clear: A coup is not a coup if we like the outcome.

Posted in BoliviaComments Off on When the US Supports It, It’s Not a Coup

After Morales Ousted in Coup, the Lithium Question Looms Large in Bolivia

The overthrow of the elected leader cannot be understood without a glance at the nation’s massive reserves of this crucial mineral.

by: Vijay Prashad

Supporters of Bolivian ex-President Evo Morales, take part in a march in downtown La Paz on November 12, 2019, after he left in exile to Mexico. - Bolivia's Evo Morales was en route to exile in Mexico on Tuesday, leaving behind a country in turmoil after his abrupt resignation as president. The senator set to succeed Morales as interim president, Jeanine Anez, pledged to call fresh elections to end the political crisis. (Photo: Aizar Raldes/AFP via Getty Images)

Supporters of Bolivian ex-President Evo Morales, take part in a march in downtown La Paz on November 12, 2019, after he left in exile to Mexico. – Bolivia’s Evo Morales was en route to exile in Mexico on Tuesday, leaving behind a country in turmoil after his abrupt resignation as president. The senator set to succeed Morales as interim president, Jeanine Anez, pledged to call fresh elections to end the political crisis. (Photo: Aizar Raldes/AFP via Getty Images)

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales was overthrown in a military coup on November 10. He is now in Mexico. Before he left office, Morales had been involved in a long project to bring economic and social democracy to his long-exploited country. It is important to recall that Bolivia has suffered a series of coups, often conducted by the military and the oligarchy on behalf of transnational mining companies. Initially, these were tin firms, but tin is no longer the main target in Bolivia. The main target is its massive deposits of lithium, crucial for the electric car.

Over the past 13 years, Morales has tried to build a different relationship between his country and its resources. He has not wanted the resources to benefit the transnational mining firms, but rather to benefit his own population. Part of that promise was met as Bolivia’s poverty rate has declined, and as Bolivia’s population was able to improve its social indicators. Nationalization of resources combined with the use of its income to fund social development has played a role. The attitude of the Morales government toward the transnational firms produced a harsh response from them, many of them taking Bolivia to court.

“The idea that there might be a new social compact for the lithium was unacceptable to the main transnational mining companies.”

Over the course of the past few years, Bolivia has struggled to raise investment to develop the lithium reserves in a way that brings the wealth back into the country for its people. Morales’ Vice President Álvaro García Linera had said that lithium is the “fuel that will feed the world.” Bolivia was unable to make deals with Western transnational firms; it decided to partner with Chinese firms. This made the Morales government vulnerable. It had walked into the new Cold War between the West and China. The coup against Morales cannot be understood without a glance at this clash.

Clash With the Transnational Firms

When Evo Morales and the Movement for Socialism took power in 2006, the government immediately sought to undo decades of theft by transnational mining firms. Morales’ government seized several of the mining operations of the most powerful firms, such as Glencore, Jindal Steel & Power, Anglo-Argentine Pan American Energy, and South American Silver (now TriMetals Mining). It sent a message that business as usual was not going to continue.

Nonetheless, these large firms continued their operations—based on older contracts—in some areas of the country. For example, the Canadian transnational firm South American Silver had created a company in 2003—before Morales came to power—to mine the Malku Khota for silver and indium (a rare earth metal used in flat-screen televisions). South American Silver then began to extend its reach into its concessions. The land that it claimed was inhabited by indigenous Bolivians, who argued that the company was destroying its sacred spaces as well as promoting an atmosphere of violence.

On August 1, 2012, the Morales government—by Supreme Decree no. 1308—annulled the contract with South American Silver (TriMetals Mining), which then sought international arbitration and compensation. Canada’s government of Justin Trudeau—as part of a broader push on behalf of Canadian mining companies in South America—put an immense amount of pressure on Bolivia. In August 2019, TriMetals struck a deal with the Bolivian government for $25.8 million, about a tenth of what it had earlier demanded as compensation.

Jindal Steel, an Indian transnational corporation, had an old contract to mine iron ore from Bolivia’s El Mutún, a contract that was put on hold by the Morales government in 2007. In July 2012, Jindal Steel terminated the contract and sought international arbitration and compensation for its investment. In 2014, it won $22.5 million from Bolivia in a ruling from Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce. For another case against Bolivia, Jindal Steel demanded $100 million in compensation.

The Morales government seized three facilities from the Swiss-based transnational mining firm Glencore; these included a tin and zinc mine as well as two smelters. The mine’s expropriation took place after Glencore’s subsidiary clashed violently with miners.

Most aggressively, Pan American sued the Bolivian government for $1.5 billion for the expropriation of the Anglo-Argentinian company’s stake in natural gas producer Chaco by the state. Bolivia settled for $357 million in 2014.

The scale of these payouts is enormous. It was estimated in 2014 that the public and private payments made for nationalization of these key sectors amounted to at least $1.9 billion (Bolivia’s GDP was at that time $28 billion).

In 2014, even the Financial Times agreed that Morales’ strategy was not entirely inappropriate. “Proof of the success of Morales’s economic model is that since coming to power he has tripled the size of the economy while ramping up record foreign reserves.”

Lithium

Bolivia’s key reserves are in lithium, which is essential for the electric car. Bolivia claims to have 70 percent of the world’s lithium reserves, mostly in the Salar de Uyuni salt flats. The complexity of the mining and processing has meant that Bolivia has not been able to develop the lithium industry on its own. It requires capital, and it requires expertise.

The salt flat is about 12,000 feet (3,600 meters) above sea level, and it receives high rainfall. This makes it difficult to use sun-based evaporation. Such simpler solutions are available to Chile’s Atacama Desert and in Argentina’s Hombre Muerto. More technical solutions are needed for Bolivia, which means that more investment is needed.

The nationalization policy of the Morales government and the geographical complexity of Salar de Uyuni chased away several transnational mining firms. Eramet (France), FMC (United States) and Posco (South Korea) could not make deals with Bolivia, so they now operate in Argentina.

Morales made it clear that any development of the lithium had to be done with Bolivia’s Comibol—its national mining company—and Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos (YLB)—its national lithium company—as equal partners.

Last year, Germany’s ACI Systems agreed to a deal with Bolivia. After protests from residents in the Salar de Uyuni region, Morales canceled that deal on November 4, 2019.

Chinese firms—such as TBEA Group and China Machinery Engineering—made a deal with YLB. It was being said that China’s Tianqi Lithium Group, which operates in Argentina, was going to make a deal with YLB. Both Chinese investment and the Bolivian lithium company were experimenting with new ways to both mine the lithium and to share the profits of the lithium. The idea that there might be a new social compact for the lithium was unacceptable to the main transnational mining companies.

Tesla (United States) and Pure Energy Minerals (Canada) both showed great interest in having a direct stake in Bolivian lithium. But they could not make a deal that would take into consideration the parameters set by the Morales government. Morales himself was a direct impediment to the takeover of the lithium fields by the non-Chinese transnational firms. He had to go.

After the coup, Tesla’s stock rose astronomically.

Posted in BoliviaComments Off on After Morales Ousted in Coup, the Lithium Question Looms Large in Bolivia

Causing ‘Profound’ Trauma, Trump Administration Detained Record-Breaking 70,000 Children in 2019

“Does the U.S. provide mental health services for separated families who ask to be deported in order to reunite?”

by: Eoin Higgins,

A young migrant girl sits on the floor as her father, recently released from federal detention with other Central American asylum seekers, gets a bus ticket at a bus depot on June 11, 2019, in McAllen, Texas.

A young migrant girl sits on the floor as her father, recently released from federal detention with other Central American asylum seekers, gets a bus ticket at a bus depot on June 11, 2019, in McAllen, Texas. (Photo: Loren Elliott/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S. held a record 69,550 migrant children in detention facilities in 2019, a Tuesday report from The Associated Press and PBS Frontline found, leading to major psychological and physiscal harm and lasting trauma. 

“No other country held as many immigrant children in detention over the past year as the United States—69,550,” said AP tech reporter Frank Bajak in a tweet promoting his colleagues’ work. “The physical and emotional scars are profound.”

The story lays out in excrutiating detail the emotional pain of victims of President Donald Trump’s child separation policy, focusing on, among others, a Honduran father whose three-year-old daughter can no longer look at him or connect with him after being separated at the U.S. border and abused in foster care. 

“I think about this trauma staying with her too, because the trauma has remained with me and still hasn’t faded,” the father told AP

The 3-year-old Honduran girl was taken from her father when immigration officials caught them near the border in Texas in March 2019 and sent her to government-funded foster care. The father had no idea where his daughter was for three panicked weeks. It was another month before a caregiver put her on the phone but the girl, who turned four in government custody, refused to speak, screaming in anger.

“She said that I had left her alone and she was crying,” said her father during an interview with the AP and Frontline at their home in Honduras. “‘I don’t love you Daddy, you left me alone,'” she told him. The father agreed to speak about their case on condition of anonymity for safety reasons.

The AP/Frontline report also includes testimony from a number of teenagers who told their own harrowing tales. 

“We can’t allow this cruelty to continue,” Texas immigrant rights group RAICES said on Twitter. 

The number of children held by the U.S. in 2019 exceeded that of any other country.

“Donald Trump is a record setting president,” tweeted Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), a frequent critic of the administration’s immigration policies.

In a statement, Families Belong Together chair Jess Morales Rocketto decried the abusive policies.

“The U.S. threw 70,000 children into cages under Donald Trump’s administration, detaining more children than any other country in the world,” said Rocketto.

Taken altogether, the children in U.S. detention this year could fit into a football field.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement is responsible for the welfare of the children.

In a statement, HHS spokesperson Mark Weber said that those concerned over the White House policies “must give credit to the Office of Refugee Resettlement and the shelter network staff for managing a program that was able to rapidly expand and unify the largest number of kids ever, all in an incredibly difficult environment.”

But critics of the White House and HHS pointed out that the treatment of children by the administration as reported prompts questions on abuse and called for Congressional action to end the policy.

“Thousands have been traumatized, ripped away from their families, and at least six children have died preventable deaths in custody—all while the government lawyers argued they weren’t worthy of soap or toothbrushes,” said Families Together’s Rocketto. “They cannot be trusted with the welfare of children and families—Congress must act to end these abuses immediately.”

NBC News reporter Leigh Ann Caldwell wondered if the U.S. would take any responsibility for the grave harm it is doing to the victims of its border policies.

“My question,” tweeted Caldwell. “Does the U.S. provide mental health services for separated families who ask to be deported in order to reunite?”

Posted in USA, Human RightsComments Off on Causing ‘Profound’ Trauma, Trump Administration Detained Record-Breaking 70,000 Children in 2019

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