Donald Trump’s lethal prisons for immigrants


Dead immigrant Johana Medina Leon, via Facebook: diversidadsinfronteraz (Diversidad Sin Fronteras)

By Niles Niemuth in the USA:

Three immigrants die in US custody in three days

6 June 2019

Three immigrants died in US custody in the three days between Saturday, June 1, and Monday June 3.

There is far more involved in these and many other deaths of immigrants than tragic oversights by individual agents or mismanagement by particular detention centers. It is US government policy that innocent people—men, women and children—should suffer and die in order to discourage others fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries from seeking refuge in the United States. The risks are calibrated to outweigh any “pull factors” that attract workers to make the harrowing and often deadly trek through Central America and across the Mexican desert into the US.

Johana Medina Leon, a 25-year-old transgender asylum seeker from El Salvador, died Saturday at the Del Sol Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, after being held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody for nearly two months. Medina Leon had been held at the Otero County Processing Center in New Mexico, a detention facility half an hour north of El Paso operated on behalf of the federal government by the for-profit Management and Training Corporation (MTC). The Otero facility is notorious for reports of assault, sexual harassment and medical neglect.

According to the Nation, Medina Leon had spent months in Juarez on the Mexican side of the border waiting for her asylum claim to be heard. She was forced to remain in limbo in Mexico due to new restrictions implemented by the Trump administration before she was finally admitted to the US on April 11 by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and transferred to ICE custody several days later.

Despite repeated complaints of ill health, Medina Leon did not receive medical attention until she complained of chest pains and requested an HIV test on May 28. She tested positive for the disease and was transferred to the hospital. ICE quickly processed her case and approved her for release on parole. Four days later she was dead.

Early Sunday morning, a 33-year-old man from El Salvador died after being detained by CBP agents near the border in Roma, Texas. An official statement notes that agents called Emergency Medical Services after the man began to suffer from what appeared to be a seizure. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

On Monday, a 40-year-old woman from Honduras died after she was arrested by CBP officers for crossing the border in Eagle Pass, Texas, outside the official port of entry. The woman collapsed at a Border Patrol facility and an ambulance was called to take her to a hospital, where she died.

Medina Leon and the still unidentified man and woman join six immigrant children who have died in federal detention since September. They are all victims of the Trump administration’s war on immigrants.

Internal ICE documents published this week by the Young Turks news website show that agency administrators were aware that multiple deaths in ICE custody were entirely preventable. They show, for example, that ICE agents have repeatedly failed to treat detainees for drug and alcohol withdrawal, leading to unnecessary suffering.

A memo sent on December 3, 2018, by an ICE supervisor to acting Deputy Director of ICE Matthew Albace outlines 18 cases where detainees where subjected to preventable harm, resulting in three deaths. ICE Health Service Corps “is severely dysfunctional and unfortunately preventable harm and death to detainees has occurred,” the supervisor noted.

The supervisor wrote that many detainees with serious mental illness were simply ignored, highlighting the case of Efrain De La Rosa, who committed suicide after a dozen notifications that he was suffering from suicidal ideation and psychosis. Such reports were routinely ignored, the memo’s author noted. Despite the warnings, De La Rosa was not given any medication and instead placed in solitary confinement, resulting in his death. The memo stated that De La Rosa “could have been saved.”

Immigrants are being subjected to inhumane treatment all along the line, guaranteeing that there will be more deaths.

A Department of Homeland Security inspector general’s report found that 900 immigrants had been crammed into a facility designed to hold just 125 people. At the Paso Del Norte Processing Center in Texas, detainees in one cell were seen to be standing on the toilet in order to get breathing space and make room for others.

Meanwhile, children are being forced to sleep on concrete floors in cells designed for adults or on the ground outside at Border Patrol stations as they await transfer to detention centers run by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). NBC News reported this week that 37 migrant children spent between 23 and 39 hours in a van last July as they waited to be reunited with their parents after having been torn from them as part of the Trump administration’s family separation policy.

Increasing the hardships faced by children, the administration has directed the HHS to end services in migrant shelters which are “not directly necessary for the protection of life and safety”, including English language courses, free legal aid and recreation programs.

Pastor Betty Rendón

Less than a month after being held at gunpoint and kidnapped in her home by Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) agents, Betty Rendón, a grandmother, wife and aspiring Lutheran pastor was deported to Colombia last Tuesday, May 28, along with her husband, Carlos Hincapié. The couple had resided in their Chicago home for over 10 years before ICE agents detained them last month: here.

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Saudi regime beheading moderate Sunni Moslims


This 25 May 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Saudi Arabia Sentences 3 Moderate Sunni Scholars To Death

Three prominent moderate Saudi Sunni scholars held on multiple charges of “terrorism” will be sentenced to death and executed shortly after Ramadan, two government sources and one of the men’s relatives have told Middle East Eye.

The most prominent of these is Sheikh Salman al-Odah, an internationally renowned scholar known for his comparatively progressive views in the Islamic world on sharia and homosexuality.

Read more here.

This 20 February 2019 video is called Saudi scholar Salman al-Odah facing the death penalty.

SAUDIA ARABIA WANTS TO EXECUTE ANOTHER TEEN As a boy, Murtaja Qureiris participated in demonstrations and expressions of dissent in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province during the 2011 Arab Spring. Three years later, Saudi authorities arrested Qureiris, then just 13 years old. Now 18, he faces the death penalty. [CNN]

Donald Trump attacks LGBTQ people


This 3 May 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Trump Turns Back the Clock on LGBT Rights (w/ Jason Baumann)

50 Years after the Stonewall riots set the stage for the LGBT movement, Donald Trump is coming after the rights of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgender people.

What can we learn from the Stonewall Uprising? Marsha P. Johnson and other early leaders and moments in the fight for queer liberation? Jason Baumann, author of the Stonewall Reader joins the Thom Hartmann program to discuss.

Trump’s US Supreme Court helps Trump’s transphobia


This 23 January 2019 video from the USA sdays about itself:

Laverne Cox: Trump’s Military Ban Is Part of Larger, Years-Long Attack on Transgender People

The pioneering trans actress and activist Laverne Cox responds to the Supreme Court’s revival of President Donald Trump’s plan to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. military. She spoke on Tuesday at the National Day of Racial Healing as part of a conversation moderated by Amy Goodman.

By John Burton in the USA:

Supreme Court reinstates Trump’s ban on transgender troops

25 January 2019

On Tuesday, the US Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, issued terse orders staying two trial court injunctions that had prevented the Trump administration from reinstating a ban on transgender personnel in the United States military. No explanation was given for the ruling and no opinion was filed by any of the dissenting justices.

Usually, cases work their way through the trial and appellate courts before the Supreme Court takes any action. In this instance, however, the Supreme Court intervened at the request of the Trump administration before the intermediate appellate court, the Ninth Circuit, could rule.

Starting in the early 1960s, the US Department of Defense formally banned all transgender personnel. That changed in 2015, when President Barack Obama’s secretary of defense, Ashton Carter, announced that the ban would be repealed to make the US military “as attractive as possible to the best people in our country.”

After formal measures were implemented in 2016 to undo the ban, many of the estimated 4,000 active and reserve transgender members came out publicly. Multiple studies confirmed that ending the ban would have no measurable effect on the US military’s ability to rain death and destruction on people and societies standing in the way of the US corporations and oligarchs whose interests it promotes.

Following a series of Trump tweets in July 2017, the ban was reinstated. As the WSWS wrote, “The move to expel transgender soldiers from the military is anti-democratic and oriented toward stoking up the most backward and fascistic elements. Moreover, it has ominous implications for transgender people in other aspects of society, legitimizing discrimination in jobs, education and access to services.”

One might add that irrational discrimination against any segment of the population opens the door for discrimination against others and works against the unification of the working class.

The transgender members of the armed services who came out publicly, relying on the changed policy, have now been exposed to retaliation and expulsion.

Lawsuits were filed by affected persons and organizations representing them. Two federal district courts, both located in the western United States, issued preliminary injunctions preventing Trump from reimposing the ban. Before those rulings could be reviewed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, Trump administration lawyers took the unusual step of filing petitions for certiorari, asking the Supreme Court to step in immediately.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court issued the stay on the lower court injunctions but declined to review the merits of the underlying cases, sending them back to the lower courts. The effect of these rulings is to reinstate the ban for at least one or two more years while the cases are resolved by the federal courts of appeals.

These two perfunctory and premature rulings reveal that the current five-justice majority, which includes Trump appointees Neal Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, will take extraordinary measures to clamp down on independent judicial actions that restrain the Trump administration’s increasingly autocratic measures.

Tuesday’s rulings are a shot across the bow of lower courts inclined to rule against constitutional deprivations by the executive branch. Similar actions will no doubt occur in the future to prevent lower courts from blocking executive measures of dubious constitutionality, especially those intended to suppress the growing resistance of the working class to war and social inequality.

The lack of any explanation for the Supreme Court’s action is also telling. Courts, when issuing injunctions and stays, usually analyze which side is likely to succeed on the merits, the probability that irreparable harm may result if immediate action is not taken, the balance of equities and the public interest.

When granting the lead injunction on December 11, 2017, for example, United States District Judge Marsha Pechman of Seattle, Washington found that the plaintiffs were likely to prevail because the ban violates the principle of “equal protection” by classifying individuals “based on transgender status and gender identity.” Rejecting the claim that the cost of additional medical services justifies the ban, Judge Pechman explained that “the cost to discharge transgender service members is estimated to be more than 100 times greater than the cost to provide transition-related health care.”

Judge Pechman also found “a likelihood of success” for those appealing the ban on the grounds that “substantive due process protects fundamental liberty interests in individual dignity, autonomy, and privacy from unwarranted government intrusion,” including “the right to make decisions concerning bodily integrity and self-definition central to an individual’s identity.”

By issuing the stays without explanation and without accepting any of the cases for a decision on the merits, the Supreme Court is acting undemocratically and as the direct agent of the Trump administration.

Donald Trump’s war on transgender people, continued


This 23 January 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

ACLU: Trump’s Anti-Trans Ban Has No Military Justification, Is Driven by Animus & Discrimination

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court revived President Donald Trump’s plan to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. military. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court lifted two lower court rulings that had blocked the ban from going into effect on constitutional grounds. Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented. A third injunction remains in place for now. We speak to Chase Strangio, staff attorney at the ACLU, which is challenging the Trump administration’s ban on servicemembers who are transgender.

Women’s March in Dutch Groningen


The Women's March in Groningen, the Netherlands. Photo by Martin Drent | RTV Noord

This photo shows the Women’s March in Groningen, the Netherlands, today. In front on the right a bag of the FNV trade union federation, and a sign saying Oprutte!; meaning right-wing Dutch Prime Minister Rutte, resign!

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Just like in many cities abroad, this afternoon Groningen women also took to the streets to demonstrate against physical and psychological violence. About 150 people marched along. Among them were dozens of boys and men who are concerned about violence against LGBTQ people. …

Nashville Statement

The organization decided to see the theme more broadly than just violence against women. There was also attention for violence against LGBTQ people, partly due to the news about the [homophobic misogynist fundamentalist religious] Nashville Statement and the Dutch signatories of it.

“If we keep quiet, then we can not achieve anything, and if we march along, then we can achieve more”, says a boy who joins the Women’s March.

Trump

The Women’s March began in January 2017 in the United States, after the inauguration of Donald Trump as president. Hundreds of thousands of women took to the streets. Since that time demonstrations around the world have been organized on 19 and 20 January. In the Netherlands this happened today only in Groningen. However, a Women’s March in Amsterdam is scheduled for March 9th.