26 February 2017

New US Deportation Scheme: The Icing on the Cake of Alienation

TeleSUR English

While sojourning in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato back in 2005, I became friends with a young Venezuelan man who was subsequently detained by immigration officials on account of an expired Mexican visa.

As I had little else to do, I was tasked with frequenting the local immigration office in short skirts in order to plead for his release — which eventually saw him deported to Venezuela. From my visits to the office I learned about various other activities overseen by Mexico’s immigration outfit, including the regular transport to the Mexican-Guatemalan border of busloads of Guatemalan migrants apprehended en route to the U.S.
One official informed me that many of the deportees were victims of rape and other crimes that continue to be par for the migrant course.
This, incidentally, was more than a decade prior to the dawn of the Donald Trump era, lest anyone assume that forcing Mexico to do the United States’ dirty work is somehow a novel policy.
Barack Obama’s singlehanded deportation of 2.5 million people from the U.S. further underscores the fact that pathological xenophobia and counter-empathy are national traditions long predating Trump.
On the current dirty work front, Trump’s unilateral proposals have ranged from making the Mexicans pay for his monstrous wall-fantasy on the U.S-Mexico border to a new brainchild that would entail re-depositing in Mexico undocumented migrants who enter the U.S. from Mexican territory — regardless of their nationality.
According to a fact sheet emitted on Feb. 21 by the Department of Homeland Security, the “returning (of) aliens to contiguous countries” means that “DHS detention and adjudication resources” can be saved “for other priority aliens.” Never mind that the Mexican government might also have resources it would rather use for its own projects.
The non-priority aliens, meanwhile, get to hang out in Mexico “pending the outcome of removal proceedings” in the U.S. In other words, the game plan is essentially for Mexico to serve as a holding pen for extremely vulnerable migrants who are in many cases criminalized for the mere act of fleeing economic oppression and violence — two interrelated phenomena that have been greatly exacerbated in Central America and elsewhere by none other than the United States. READ MORE AT TeleSUR ENGLISH.

13 February 2017

A gazillion reasons to look at BuzzFeed and say: 'This Israeli wrong'

Middle East Eye

recent tweet from the state of Israel’s official Twitter channel - managed by the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s “Digital Diplomacy Team” - announces: “If you THINK you know everything there is to know about Israel, you should have a look at this list.”
The list in question is a 2014 BuzzFeed dispatch titled “51 Facts About Israel That Will Surprise You”. The photograph accompanying the tweet is of a bikinied blond woman floating in the Dead Sea.
As for why the list is being resurrected three years after the fact, there’s presumably nothing like a bit of digital diplomacy to distract international audiences from land grabs, home demolitions, the gradual pulverisation of the Gaza Strip, and other contemporary Israeli activities.
BuzzFeed, which advertises itself as “a cross-platform, global network for news and entertainment that generates seven billion views each month,” is known especially for its production of items along the lines of “21 Animals Who Were Born With Swag” or “22 Stunning Photos That Will Make You Want A Septum Ring”.
BuzzFeed’s list of 51 alleged “facts” about Israel - which could just as easily have been titled “51 Ways Apartheid Is Awesome” - is a typical compendium of Israeli state propaganda marketing the country as a paradise for, among others, entrepreneurs, women, blind people, sushi eaters, gay and transgender folks, birdwatchers, beach lovers, rollerbladers, Eurovision fans, and even chess grandmasters.
Other endearing trivia is also thrown in, such as that “an Israeli company has developed the world’s first jellyfish repellent” and that Israel “was the first country to ban underweight models".
Never mind that Israel has had no problem putting Palestinians on blockade diets - or killing them outright, for that matter.
Indeed, BuzzFeed’s publication of the 51 “surprising facts” coincidentally took place the very same year that the Israeli military managed to eliminate 2,251 Palestinians in Gaza - including 299 women and 551 children - in a matter of 51 days. Unfortunately, mass slaughter by said military has become somewhat less than surprising. READ MORE AT MIDDLE EAST EYE.

08 February 2017

What's behind the Great Wall of America?

Al Jazeera English

On the Tuesday after Donald Trump's January inauguration as president of the United States, journalist Jonathan Katz tweeted in reference to the unfolding spectacle: "First they came for the Latinos, Muslims, women, gays, poor people, intellectuals and scientists, and then it was Wednesday."
The days continue to progress in similar fashion. On the one hand, there's been the rapidly evolving horror of the Muslim ban. And on the Latino front, it seems that not even Mexicans in Mexico proper may be safe from Trump's reach.
According to the Associated Press, Trump recently informed Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto that "you have a bunch of bad hombres down there" whose bad behaviour is not being properly addressed: "I think your military is scared. Our military isn't, so I just might send them down to take care of it."
Nothing like a casual threat of invasion to keep folks on their toes.
One finds oneself wondering whether a new and improved border wall might not be a fine idea indeed - but as a defensive measure against US incursions. READ MORE AT AL JAZEERA ENGLISH.