Trump deports refugees to Iraq war


Iraqi woman denounces immigration raids in the USA

By Eric London and Niles Niemuth in the USA:

Immigration raids strike Detroit: Dozens rounded up for deportation to Iraq war zone

13 June 2017

In a series of raids Sunday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested as many as 100 Iraqi immigrants in the Detroit metro area, including Muslims and many Chaldean Catholics, some of whom were reportedly captured while leaving church services.

Family members of the arrestees told the World Socialist Web Site that the detainees were sent to a for-profit prison four hours away near Youngstown, Ohio, from where they face immediate risk of deportation to Iraq.

Protesters held a demonstration at the Mother of God Catholic Church in Southfield yesterday, where friends and family of the arrestees wept and screamed denunciations of Trump and immigration officials.

Relatives say that deportation will be a “death sentence” due to the ongoing war and sectarian strife that has enveloped Iraq since the US invasion of 2003. While ICE claims they are only deporting dangerous criminals, relatives say some of the arrestees were convicted for crimes as minor as marijuana possession and that many of the convictions are decades old.

The decision by the Trump administration to deport refugees to Iraq explodes the claims that the US wars in Iraq and Syria are “humanitarian” interventions aimed at protecting the population. In violation of international law, the US government is sending the arrestees into an active warzone in a region that it continues to bomb. Iraq has been laid to waste by 25 years of permanent US-led war. The death toll is in the millions.

As the ICE raids were taking place Sunday, the Department of Defense issued a press release announcing that the US military launched seven air strikes in Iraq, hitting Bayji, Kisik, Mosul, and Tal Afar in recent days.

Family members were informed that their relatives could be sent to the Iraqi city of Erbil, located less than two hours by car from Mosul, a city under active siege where the US has killed thousands of civilians and where the US-backed invasion force has been accused of using the chemical white phosphorous against the population.

Mosul, which has been largely demolished by the US siege, is the seat of a leading Chaldean Catholic Church diocese and the home of ethnic Chaldeans, an Assyrian population whose roots in Iraq date back over 5,500 years.

Although the Chaldean minority in Iraq was not targeted by the secular regime of Saddam Hussein, persecution grew after the Persian Gulf War of 1990-91 as the US stoked sectarian conflict in the country’s northern Kurdish region in an effort to destabilize the Ba’athist government.

A portion of the protest at Mother of God church in Southfield, Michigan

Conditions drastically worsened after the US invasion, which fueled sectarian warfare as the US military mobilized Shi’ite forces against insurgents in the majority Sunni areas, and both Islamic factions persecuted religious minorities like Yazidis and Chaldeans. Over 80 Chaldean churches have been bombed since the US occupation began.

Since the 2003 US invasion, Iraq’s total Christian population has fallen from 1.5 million to 400,000 due to death and emigration. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians fled to Syria after the US invasion, only to now find themselves trapped in the conflict raging there.

In order to stoke civil war and force the ouster of Bashar al-Assad in neighboring Syria, the US has backed an opposition dominated by Syria’s Al Qaeda affiliate, the Al Nusra Front, which has also carried out atrocities against Chaldeans in both Syria and Iraq. Al Qaeda is believed to be responsible for the 2008 assassination of Mosul’s Chaldean Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahno.

In the last three years, ISIS has routinely destroyed Chaldean churches, killed religious officials, and desecrated ancient ruins. The Islamist group developed in Iraq and emerged in Syria under conditions where the US’s deliberate policy was to fuel violent religious conflict. In Iraq, the purpose is to keep the population divided and more easily dominated by Washington. In Syria, the aim is to bring down Assad.

Sunday’s round-up is the product of a deal made in March by the Trump administration with the Iraqi government that removed the country from the administration’s revised executive order barring travel from seven predominantly-Muslim nations. Under the terms of the deal, Iraq agreed to take deportees from the US, something the country has not done for years.

Many Chaldeans at Monday’s demonstration told the WSWS they voted for Trump because he claimed he would protect Christians in Iraq and Syria. An older Chaldean man whose brother was arrested said, “I voted for Trump, it’s not fair. This is our home, where are we to go in Iraq? We have no country, that’s why we came to America!”

Steve said, 'If they took your brother, father, sister, or mother, how would you feel? What would you do?'

Steve, another Chaldean protester whose brother was arrested, said, “Trump lied, he said he would go after people without legal papers, but everyone they arrested had papers. My brother went in for a regular check-up with immigration authorities, and he got picked up at home one week later. If they took your brother, father, sister, or mother, how would you feel? What would you do?”

Scenes like the one that played out in a church parking lot in Michigan on Monday afternoon are becoming increasingly common in the US. In the first three months following his inauguration, Trump’s administration arrested over 40,000 immigrants, an escalation from the already high numbers deported under Barack Obama.

Across the country, parents of all backgrounds are being torn from their children and from one another. Many, including those from the Middle East, Central America and Southeast Asia, will be sent back to impoverished disaster zones suffering from the impact of US imperialist intervention.

The number of lives shattered by these policies is in the tens of millions, and yet there is near total silence from the Democratic Party on Trump’s mass deportation program.

Instead, the Democratic Party is throwing its entire political energy behind advancing unsubstantiated neo-McCarthyite claims that Trump is an agent of Russia, amplified by highly publicized Senate hearings.

But the Democrats’ attempt to whip up public hysteria over “foreign meddling” may exacerbate xenophobic confusion, further poisoning the political climate and creating conditions in which “foreigners” and immigrants may find themselves the victims of physical attacks. The Democrats’ anti-Russian campaign is providing right-wing paramilitary groups and the Bannon-Miller faction of the Trump White House with a springboard to direct social anger against immigrants.

If public hearings were held on Trump’s deportation program, facts would emerge that would shock tens of millions and educate them on the horrific conditions immigrants face.

For example, the government is setting up a network of camps to house hundreds of thousands of immigrants, including those who have committed no crimes. The government has considered mobilizing 100,000 National Guard troops across 11 western and southwestern states to incarcerate millions of immigrants. ICE and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are filled with thousands of fascistic officers who describe beating and arresting immigrants as “fun”. Violations of immigrants’ due process rights are so routine they are treated as par for the course by immigration attorneys and judges.

The Democrats have not and will not demand hearings to investigate these widespread violations of democratic rights … The task of bringing the Trump administration to justice for the attacks on immigrants therefore falls to the working class.

The deportation of roughly 200 Iraqi nationals, predominantly Chaldeans, in the Detroit area was halted Monday when the Eastern Michigan District Court expanded a Detroit area stay to affect detained Iraqi immigrants nationwide. However, without a further decision deportations will resume on July 6: here.

A federal judge in Detroit, Michigan has halted the deportation of more than 1,400 Iraqi immigrants who were slated for immediate deportation. The ruling came Monday as US District Judge Mark Goldsmith granted a preliminary injunction request by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to block the deportation of any Iraqi citizen who is under a final removal order: here.

US-backed Iraqi forces began their siege of Mosul eight months ago. Since then, thousands of Iraqi civilians have died under US bombs, rockets and shells: here.

Not one Democratic senator sought to question Sessions about the actual policies of the Trump administration toward immigrants or victims of police violence: here.

VERSION OF TRAVEL BAN GOES INTO EFFECT “The Supreme Court has agreed to review President Donald Trump’s travel ban in October, allowing a limited version of the order to go into effect in the meantime. Individuals from the six Muslim-majority countries affected by the ban ― Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen ― who have a bona fide relationship with the United States aren’t blocked from entering the country.” [HuffPost]

The Trump administration is preparing to step up its attacks on immigrant workers, drafting new guidelines under which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would authorize “expedited removals” of hundreds of thousands of undocumented workers without any court proceedings: here.

As President Donald Trump boasted of “American pride and prestige” in a speech to sailors in Virginia on Saturday, an American nightmare was playing out in San Antonio, Texas. Nine immigrants are dead and 19 are in critical condition after being locked in a sealed semitruck trailer for 24 hours. The trailer was parked in the sun in a Wal-Mart parking lot in 100-degree weather: here.

TRUMP BACKS BILL TO DRAMATICALLY SLASH IMMIGRATION President Donald Trump said he supports a Senate bill that would slash the number of legal immigrants in half — including a dramatic cut to the number of refugees the U.S. accepts each year. [HuffPost]

GIVE ME YOUR… OH, NEVER MIND White House aide Stephen Miller argued Wednesday that “The New Colossus” — the famous poem inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty — has no relevance to how the U.S. has typically thought about immigration because it was added after the statue was erected. [HuffPost]

BORDER PATROL TOLD NOT TO TALK TO MEMBERS, LAWYERS, PRESS Documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request show that high-level Homeland Security officials directed their staff at airports around the country not to talk to congressional representatives, or lawyers, or the press in the hours following the implementation of Trump administration’s travel ban. [Daily Beast]

A FLORIDA DMV IS TURNING AWAY LEGAL IMMIGRANTS The office says they have too many customers and their parking lot is too full, so they can no longer help people who aren’t U.S. citizens. [HuffPost]

ICE agents have shown up at California labor dispute cases looking to apprehend undocumented construction workers who brought claims against their bosses: here.

Having already capped the number of refugees to be admitted to the United States at 50,000—less than half the previous quota—the Trump administration is preparing to slash the number even further as part of its “America First” program promoting right-wing nationalism and xenophobia: here.

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Rosa Parks’ home in Berlin, saving it from destruction by Detroit’s mayor


This video from the USA is called The Rosa Parks Story.

The mayor of Detroit in the USA not only threatens a graffiti artist with fifteen years in prison for graffiti art.

There is also this.

By Mary Papenfuss from the USA:

04/10/2017 03:27 am ET

What Is Rosa Parks’ House Doing In Berlin?

Detroit planned to demolish the home, so now it’s in artist’s yard in Germany.

If you want to visit the home where civil rights legend Rosa Parks lived, you’ve got a trip ahead of you — all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. That’s because her home is in the backyard of an American artist living in Germany.

It seems like back-of-the-bus treatment for the black woman who had the guts in 1955 to refuse to give up her seat to a white man in Alabama and go to the back of the bus. Instead, she gave birth to the civil rights movement.

Why is her home in Berlin? Short answer? Detroit planned to destroy it.

When Parks’ niece Rhea McCauley found out, she purchased the home for $500 and cast around for ways to save it. She reached out to artist Ryan Mendoza, who happened to be in Detroit at the time. Though they both appealed to Detroit’s mayor to protect the building, they said he had no interest. So they dissembled the home, packed it in shipping containers, transported it to Germany, and put it back together in an expensive operation that took several months, reported Deutsche Welle.

“It is something that is precious,” McCauley told The Associated Press. “It is priceless, yet it is being mistreated. That’s what I saw and that’s how it felt. So when I met Ryan and he said, ‘Let’s bring it to Berlin and restore it,’ I said yes.”

Mendoza, who was born in New York, is stunned that Germany ended up with what he considers a treasure. “The Rosa Parks house should actually be a national monument and not a demolition project,” he told Deutsche Welle.

“The basic question, the fundamental question I ask myself: ‘Is the house worthless or is the house  priceless?’ For the American institutions so far the house has been deemed worthless,” he told Agence France-Presse. “It was put on a demolition list; that’s not a detail.”

Mendoza believes it’s apt that the house stands in a country that tore down a wall, and has left a nation planning to build a wall.

Hundreds of people turned out to see the official unveiling of the home in Berlin last week. The interior still needs some work, but Mendoza has installed a sound exhibit for the home including a telephone interview with Parks.

McCauley said she hopes one day the U.S. will “grow up” and ask for its treasure back.

15 years jail for graffiti art in Detroit, USA?


Gabriela June Gibson, graffii artist

By Tyler Van Dyke in the USA:

Detroit woman faces 15 years in prison over graffiti incident

8 April 2017

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and his administration continue to pursue vindictive penalties in cases involving graffiti. Dozens of charges have been laid against graffiti artists since Duggan, a Democrat, took office in 2014.

In the most recent incident, Gabriela Gibson, 27, faces three felony charges carrying 15-year prison sentences. She is charged with lying under oath when questioned about the tagging of a long abandoned building on Detroit’s east side. Her license plate information was allegedly captured by an eyewitness while driving away from the scene after spray-painting faces on the building.

Prosecutors claim to have found information about other graffiti incidents while searching Gibson’s phone and text messages. Two other individuals, Nathan Koorhan and Craig Kowalski, face similar charges. Both face up to 10 years in prison for breaking and entering, and “malicious destruction” of one of Detroit’s many abandoned schools.

Detroit, America’s largest poor city, has been a target of graffiti for decades.

The three defendants are the latest victims of the crackdown against non-violent crimes by city officials.

The Duggan administration has also been issuing thousands of tickets to property owners in Detroit, giving them only seven days to remove graffiti from their buildings or be fined. Some residents, caught in the bureaucratic morass of the deeply underfunded and understaffed city, have been fined without being adequately warned about removing the graffiti.

Retired postal worker Freddie Jones, Jr. told the Detroit Free Press that the city had sent a crew to remove the tags off the side of his building and fined him $1,121 just three days after being warned.

“They’re doing it to get money,” Jones told the Free Press, “Had I been given an opportunity I would’ve done it no problem. I wasn’t even allotted the opportunity to clean up my own property.”

Another small business owner, Roosevelt Hendrix, barely avoided paying a $1,500 fine. He told the Free Press, “We just got lucky, man. I think we got lucky by doing it ourselves because $1,500–who has $1,500 for some graffiti, man? … $1,500 for nothing?”

Buildings where graffiti has been removed will often be tagged again in a matter of days.

The Duggan administration continues to try and present itself as “returning democracy to Detroit,” while working behind closed doors to turn the city of Detroit into a haven for big investors and speculators.

Duggan is up for re-election this year and will no doubt use his bullying policing tactics as an example of how he has helped the city by cracking down on petty crime. This is known as “broken window policing” or “quality of life policing,” the premise of which is that if small crimes are responded to harshly this will deter more serious crimes from occurring. The unconstitutional “stop-and-frisk” program in New York City is associated with this approach.

Duggan, a longtime proponent of “broken window policing,” said in 2003, when he was Wayne County prosecutor, “I consider these quality-of-life crimes serious issues,” and commented further that “They will have a ripple effect on other crimes.”

The “theory,” of course, is both unfair and anti-democratic and has no essential effect on conditions and crime rates that are the product of the overwhelming decay and devastation of America’s inner cities.

As great numbers of people realize full well, the true “vandals” in Detroit, guilty of “malicious destruction” on a vast scale, are the auto and other giant corporations that have destroyed hundreds of thousands of decent-paying jobs over the past 35 years, reducing the city’s population to levels of misery seen in so-called Third World countries. Duggan and the Democrats have presided over the social carnage, acting with one goal in mind: to suppress popular anger and protect the wealth of the city’s elite.

The imposition of tougher penalties for petty crimes, including the brutal treatment of Gibson, is intended to intimidate the population and muzzle potential opposition. Both the graffiti artists and the property-owners threatened with fines are victims of the same social process.

Duggan has received wide bipartisan support for his re-election bid, with many politicians and corporate figures already announcing support for him.

Health insurance corporation Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s political action committee, BluesPAC, sent out a letter in late February to “more than 1,000 Blue Cross employees … asking for donations of $1,000 for corporate officers, $500 for vice presidents, $250 for directors and $100 from managers and others to support the Mike Duggan for Detroit Committee,” according to Crain’s Detroit Business .

Duggan served as Wayne County Prosecutor from 2001 to 2004. Soon after leaving that office he took a position as president and CEO of the Detroit Medical Center. After DMC was sold to Vanguard Health Systems in 2010, Duggan walked away with more than $2.4 million, along with sizeable stock options.

After an attempt to run for mayor of suburban Livonia in 2011, Duggan decided to campaign for mayor of Detroit in 2014. Because of his reputation as a cost cutter, Duggan secured the backing of major sections of Detroit’s ruling elite.

Among those donating the nearly $2 million to the 2014 Duggan mayoral campaign were political action committees associated with Quicken Loans CEO Dan Gilbert; Ford executive Bill Ford; Compuware founder Peter Karmanos; Roger Penske and executives from Vanguard Health Systems. All of these firms and individuals have continued to prosper under Duggan’s administration.

Detroit, USA students about Trump and war


This video from the USA says about itself:

On Thursday, November 17 2016, members of the International Youth and Students for Social Equality at Wayne State University, led by Jerry White, the Socialist Equality Party’s 2016 US presidential candidate, visited Cass Technical High School in downtown Detroit. Students spoke on the election of Trump, the growing protest movement sweeping the nation, and the danger of war and dictatorship.

Jeff Sessions Was Deemed Too Racist To Be A Federal Judge. He’ll Now Be Trump’s Attorney General. He once joked that he only took issue with the KKK’s drug use and referred to civil rights groups as “un-American”: here.

Innocent Detroit, USA teenager released after eight years in prison


This video from Detroit in the USA says about itself:

9 June 2016

Davontae Sanford speaks with the media a day after being released from prison where he was sent after being wrongfully convicted of murder.

By Tom Hall in the USA:

Wrongfully convicted Detroit teenager released after eight years in prison

10 June 2016

On Wednesday, 23-year-old Davontae Sanford was finally released from prison after a Michigan judge vacated his sentence in a quadruple homicide that he did not commit.

Sanford, a mentally handicapped youth who is blind in one eye, was 14 at the time of the shooting in his Detroit neighborhood. He had served eight years in state prison based solely on a false confession coerced out of him by police.

Police took Sanford in for questioning for the murder, which occurred in a drug house in Sanford’s neighborhood, and interrogated him over the course of two days without the presence of a lawyer or his parents. Sanford finally agreed to confess to the crime when police told them that he could leave if he would “just tell them something,” according to the Detroit News.

Sanford’s confession contained numerous factual inconsistencies. He was unable to correctly name the type of gun he had allegedly used to carry out the murders, and all of those who he named as accomplices had alibis.

In flagrant violation of protocol, Sanford’s confession was not videotaped by the police. A second confession was staged and recorded by police, this time with more accurate details of the crime scene, which were almost entirely fed to him by the interrogating officer.

Based upon this confession, along with incompetent legal representation by a lawyer who told Sanford that the police had an airtight case, Sanford was convicted in 2008 and sentenced to between 37 and 90 years in prison. During the trial, then-deputy police chief James Tolbert perjured himself on the stand, falsely claiming that Sanford had drawn an accurate diagram of the crime scene under questioning.

Only two weeks after Sanford was sentenced, a known hit man, Vincent Smothers, confessed to the murders and provided detailed and accurate information about the crime to police. Smothers, currently serving a 50 to 100 year sentence for eight other murders, has repeatedly stressed Sanford’s innocence in sworn affidavits.

For eight years, however, prosecutors insisted against overwhelming contrary evidence, that the right person had been convicted. According to Smothers’ attorney, police studiously avoided interviewing him about his role in the Sanford case. “He’s been willing to testify Davontae Sanford had nothing to do with the killings,” Smothers’ lawyer told the press before Sanford was released. “Come on, now: He’s a very savvy guy; there’s no way he’d bring a 14-year-old disabled kid to help him with a hit.”

While in prison, a despondent Sanford attempted to commit suicide but was stopped by guards. While attempting to restrain him, Sanford allegedly “spit on one guard and kicked another,” according to a prosecutor. He was convicted of two counts of misdemeanor assault and sentenced to an additional year in prison or a $2,500 fine. In spite of having his prior conviction thrown out on Tuesday, Sanford would have had to have spent an extra year in prison, but family lawyers found someone to pay the fine.

Tuesday’s ruling came after the release of an 11-month review of Sanford’s case by Michigan state police. The report concluded that Sanford played no role in the shootings and recommended murder charges be brought against Smothers. It also recommended that Tolbert be charged with perjury.

The day after Sanford’s release, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy gave a press conference in which she refused to apologize to the Sanford family and whitewashed her office’s stonewalling of the case for eight years. She attacked “people who have perpetuated the myth that somehow we found out about evidence in an earlier year and that nothing happened until just recently,” and defended the police’s conduct during Sanford’s interrogation. Incredibly, she claimed that her office had not found Smothers’ confession credible, despite his intimate knowledge of the facts of the case and the obvious inconsistencies in Sanford’s own confession.

Speaking to the media after the case, Sanford’s family attorney Valerie Newman said, “The reality is there is a lot of injustice in the criminal justice system, and this case puts that on full display … about how a 14-year-old child can be coerced into giving a false confession. Confessions are coerced more often than people think. Confessions are not the be-all and end-all. That’s the lesson to learn here.”

Speaking to the Detroit News, Sanford’s mother, Taminko Sanford-Tilmon, expressed her frustration over her family’s ordeal. “I know all cops aren’t bad. But do I say the system is fair? Mmmm, I’m not going to say yes.”

The United States, which has a prison population of over 2.2 million, by far the largest in the world, imprisons tens of thousands of children every year. More than 50,000 children were in detention centers or other forms of “residential placement” in 2013. In Michigan alone, more than 20,000 children were convicted as adults between 2004 and 2014, according to the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency.