Category Archives: National Security vs Police State

Investigating the investigative reporters: Bad news from Down Under

Australian federal police entering the Australian Broadcast Company headquarters on June 5, 2019. A.B.C. screenshot from videotape

Michael J. Socolow, University of Maine

Sometimes the best journalism tells us the worst news.

The United States has a tradition of learning troubling news through extraordinary reporting efforts from combat zones. During the Vietnam War, award-winning journalism revealed the slaughter of Vietnamese civilians by American soldiers at My Lai. More recently, reports describing the torture and abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq embarrassed the U.S. government.

Such investigative reporting ultimately helped American citizens hold accountable those charged with acting in their name. But that didn’t mean the news was welcome, or even appreciated, at the time. Continue reading

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DHS Agents Treat Undocumented Immigrants as Criminals in Hospitals, Shackling Them to Beds and Impeding Care, Study Finds

“I couldn’t think of the rationale of chaining someone who is so sick he almost died.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-10-2019

Photo: Pride Immigration

Doctors at hospitals near the U.S.-Mexico border report that border patrol agents regularly treat undocumented immigrants like convicted criminals when taking them to receive medical care after apprehending them.

Dozens of asylum-seekers and migrants arrive at hospitals near the border every day in the custody of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents, often dehydrated and suffering from other complications from their trek across the desert from their home countries. Continue reading

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“This Is What Fascists Do”: Trump Attempted to Suppress State Dept Analyst’s Testimony on Climate Crisis

“This is as damning as it is shameful.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-9-2019

State Department intelligence analyst Rod Schoonover’s testimony was nearly suppressed last week by the Trump administration. Schoonover testified before a House committee about the national security risks posed by the climate crisis. (Photo: Environmental Change and Security Program/Flickr/cc)

The Trump administration issued one of its most blatant attacks on climate science this past week when it tried to stop a State Department employee from testifying on the climate crisis, reports showed on Saturday.

As the Washington Post reported, intelligence analyst Rod Schoonover’s testimony was submitted to the White House for approval ahead of his planned appearance before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. His remarks focused on the national security risks posed by the climate crisis. Continue reading

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Journalist killings, arrests and assaults climb worldwide as authoritarianism spreads

Reuters reporters Wa Lone, left, and Kyaw Soe Oo after being freed from prison, in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. Ann Wang/Pool Photo via AP

Randy Covington, University of South Carolina

Myanmar, nudged by the conscience of the world, recently released two Reuters journalists imprisoned for more than 500 days – good news in what otherwise has been a dismal period for media freedom.

The 2019 Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders shows how hatred of journalists has degenerated into violence and created “an intense climate of fear” worldwide. Continue reading

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‘Beyond Barbaric’: Internal Govt Report Reveals Migrants Forced to Stand on Toilets for Breathing Space at Overcrowded US Detention Center

“This is insane. Not only can they not move, they can’t breathe, they can’t eat, they can’t do anything like this. Children have died and will continue to die if this is not stopped now.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-31-2019

A not-yet released report by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General, reported CNN on Friday, has found “dangerous overcrowding” and unsanitary conditions at an El Paso, Texas, Border Patrol processing facility following an unannounced inspection. (Photo: Department of Homeland Security/IG Office/via CNN)

A federal immigrant detention facility in El Paso, Texas is so unsanitary and overcrowded that migrants held by the Trump administration were forced to wear “soiled clothing for days or weeks” at a time and stand on toilets to find breathing space in their cells.

That’s according to a not-yet-released report by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general, which was obtained exclusively by CNN on Friday. Continue reading

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Venezuelan Government Denounces US Seizure of Embassy, Arrest of Peace Activists as Violation of Vienna Convention

“We do not authorize any of the coup leaders to enter our embassy in Washington D.C.,” said deputy foreign minister on behalf of Maduro government

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-16-2019

Peace activists lived at the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, D.C. for more than a month in hopes of blocking the Trump administration from turning it over to supporters of an effort to oust the country’s elected president. (Photo: Jeremy Bigwood)

Venezuelan Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Ron on Thursday urged the Trump administration not to hand over the country’s embassy in Washington, D.C. to leaders of an attempted coup after U.S. law enforcement forcibly removed peace activists who have lived there since last month as guests of President Nicolás Maduro’s government.

“We denounce these arrests, as the people inside were there with our permission, and we consider it a violation of the Vienna Conventions,” Ron said in a statement. Continue reading

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Objections by Nielsen and Others to Trump Plan for Mass Arrests Were ‘Logistical and Technical,’ Report Shows, Not Moral or Ethical

“To be clear, the heads of DHS/ICE had no issue with the depravity of the plan, they just wanted it to be better organized.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-14-2019

Then-Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen visiting the south Texas border on November 14, 2018. (Photo: Customs and Border Protection, Flickr)

In the weeks before they were fired, top officials in the Trump administration reportedly raised concerns about a White House plan to deport whole families in a proposed show of force against migrants in the country—not for ethical reasons, but because such a plan could raise logistical and technical difficulties.

Former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and former Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Ronald Vitiello both found the administration’s plan unworkable and stopped the plan due to what reporting from The Washington Post described as a “lack of preparation” and “the risk of public outrage and worries that it would divert resources from the border.” Continue reading

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Trump’s “Deal of the Century” Will Use Sanctions, Military Threats to Force Palestinian Acceptance

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By Whitney Webb. Published 5-8-2019 by MintPress News

President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel at the United Nations General Assembly. Photo: White House

The Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom, owned by top Trump donor Sheldon Adelson, has published in Hebrew a leaked draft of the Trump administration’s “Deal of the Century” for the Israel-Palestine conflict. The draft was given to the newspaper by an official from Israel’s Foreign Ministry, which is currently headed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The plan, which has been drafted by President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, is expected to be released this June after the conclusion of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, according to Mondoweiss.

The draft plan published by Israel Hayom, while in keeping with many of the details that have been leaked to the press in past weeks and months, contains several new and troubling claims, including the Trump administration’s plan to force Palestinian leadership to accept the plan through threats of economic strangulation and military force. Continue reading

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Despite International Law Which Would Make It Illegal, Pompeo Claims US Attack on Venezuela “Would Be Lawful”

“Attacking [Venezuela] for any reason,” warned one legal expert, “would violate the most fundamental of all international law.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-5-2019

U.S. Secretary of State appearing on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday morning. “Attacking [Venezuela] for any reason,” warned international law scholar Mary Ellen O’Connell earlier this year, “would violate the most fundamental of all international law — the prohibition on the use of force. International law permits force in response to an armed attack in self-defense, but not for regime change, to secure oil or even to distribute food.” (Photo: ABC/This Week)

After U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday morning that President Donald Trump has a “full range of options” when it comes to possible next moves against Venezuela, anti-war critics are wondering what the Democrats in Congress are prepared to do in order to curtail the administration’s ongoing threat of using military force to overthrow the government of President Nicolas Maduro – an effort international legal experts say would be a violation of international law.

“We have a full range of options that we’re preparing for,” Pompeo said on ABC’s “This Week.” Continue reading

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Central American women fleeing violence experience more trauma after seeking asylum

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Many of these female asylum-seekers have already been abused before they cross the border.AP Photo/Gregory Bull

Laurie C. Heffron, St. Edward’s University

The number of Central American women who make difficult, often harrowing, journeys to the United States to flee domestic and gang violence is rising.

I’m a social science researcher and a social worker who has interviewed hundreds of women after they were detained by immigration authorities for my research about the relationship between violence against women and migration. I find that most female asylum seekers experience trauma, abuse and violence before they cross the U.S. border seeking asylum. Continue reading

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