Paul Watson is a controversial right-wing Infowars contributor, but he does make some good points. If you eliminate the hypocrisy this is what you get. He does use foul language.
Paul Watson is a controversial right-wing Infowars contributor, but he does make some good points. If you eliminate the hypocrisy this is what you get. He does use foul language.
The US Department of Homeland Security announced Monday that it is terminating Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for more than a quarter-million immigrants from El Salvador. The immigrants, a large majority of them poorer workers, have 18 months, until September 9, 2019, to leave the US or be arrested and deported.
Including the roughly 190,000 children of the 262,000 Salvadoran TPS recipients, the total population immediately affected is larger than the population of a city the size of Toledo, Ohio or New Orleans, Louisiana. Rounding up the TPS recipients for deportation will require Gestapo-type operations in the Washington DC metropolitan area, where 50,000 Salvadoran TPS recipients live; Los Angeles, where 40,000 live; and Houston and New York City, where a combined 50,000 reside.
The Salvadorans are the largest single group covered by the TPS program, under which the DHS secretary may allow people fleeing natural disasters or civil wars to stay in the United States for more extended periods of time than under traditional refugee status.
The Salvadoran TPS recipients constitute a significant section of the working class in the US, where most have put down deep roots. The average Salvadoran covered by TPS has been living in the US for 21 years. Those now facing deportation are primarily of middle age and have lived here for most of their adult lives. By one estimate, removing these workers will slash the US gross domestic product by nearly $110 billion over the next 10 years.
Some 190,000 were admitted before 1994 and all 262,000 entered the country before 2001, when several major earthquakes devastated El Salvador. Tens of thousands escaped the civil war that ravaged the country from 1980 to 1992, during which US-backed death squads razed villages and massacred the population, including the estimated 1,200 peasants murdered in the village of El Mozote 37 years ago last month in what is known as El Salvador’s My Lai.
The move is a death sentence for hundreds or even thousands of those who will be sent back to a country with one of the highest murder rates in the world, dominated by criminal drug gangs that operate with impunity, protected by a corrupt military that rakes in money from both narcotics trafficking and US military aid. According to a 2015 report in the Guardian, dozens of deported Salvadorans were murdered after being deported by Obama in 2014-2015 alone.
The decision to terminate TPS for Salvadorans signals the Trump administration’s determination to put an end to the program entirely. Previously, DHS Acting Secretary Elaine Duke terminated TPS for 2,500 immigrants from Nicaragua, giving them until January 5, 2019 to leave the United States, and for 57,000 immigrants from Haiti, whose TPS status is set to expire July 22, 2019.
But equal responsibility for the move lies with the Democratic Party, which paved the way for Trump’s mass deportation program during the Obama administration. President Obama deported 2.7 million immigrants, including hundreds of thousands when the Democratic Party controlled Congress in the first years of his administration.
This makes the phony statements of support for immigrants by leading Democrats all the more cynical. Barack Obama jailed tens of thousands of Salvadoran children and their mothers who crossed into the US during a flare-up of Central American violence in 2014.
As for Trump’s request for $15 billion more in funding for border “security,” the Democratic Party has long embraced the militarization of the border and has made clear it will back the allocation of additional billions to increase what is already a small army of border police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
The Democrats’ opposition to Trump’s demand for $18 billion to build a physical wall along the US-Mexico border is a political maneuver to divert attention from their basic agreement on stepping up the war against undocumented workers.
When the precursor to Trump’s wall was first proposed in the 2006 Secure Fence Act, signed into law by President George W. Bush, top Senate Democrats backed it, including then-senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joseph Biden, as well as Charles Schumer, now the Senate Democratic leader. As a result of this and other bipartisan border militarization measures, up to 27,000 immigrants have died crossing the desert in the last 20 years.
In 2013, the Democrats agreed to spend $40 billion on border security, doubling the number of Border Patrol agents to 40,000 and expanding the use of high-tech surveillance equipment, including sensors and drones. The Democrats also agreed to eliminate the visa lottery, exclude siblings of US citizens from family reunification visas, and expand visa offerings based on education levels and work expertise, along the lines demanded by US corporations seeking highly skilled labor. The bill was voted down by the Republicans.
Today, they are proposing to go above and beyond their previous anti-immigrant pledges. The move to deport TPS recipients comes as the Democratic Party and Trump are engaged in Kabuki theater negotiations over the fate of 800,000 young people brought to the US as children who are enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program enacted during the Obama administration. Trump rescinded the DACA order, effective March 5, at which point mass roundups of former DACA recipients could begin, using the information they supplied to the government as part of their applications for DACA.
The White House is also demanding cuts in legal immigration as part of a “compromise” on DACA, including the elimination of the visa lottery program and so-called “chain migration,” which allows US citizens and legal residents to sponsor family relations for entry.
Last week, Senator Schumer made clear in advance of talks on DACA that he supported further measures to militarize the US-Mexican border. Senator Bernie Sanders reiterated his support for stepped-up attacks on undocumented workers in an appearance Sunday on the ABC program “This Week.” Sanders declared that while he opposed Trump’s border wall, “I don’t think there’s anybody who disagrees that we need strong border security. If the president wants to work with us to make sure we have strong border security, let’s do that.”
Sanders, in line with the trade union bureaucracy, echoes Trump’s economic nationalism and pseudo-populist attempts to pit American workers against their class brothers and sisters in other countries.
The vast majority of Americans disagree with the anti-immigrant nationalism of Trump, with nine in 10 believing the government should give citizenship to immigrants who have lived in the US for a number of years. Mass protests broke out at airports across the country in January and February 2017 after Trump announced his initial travel ban. Since then, the Democratic Party has worked systematically to divert and suppress popular opposition to Trump’s anti-immigrant, pro-corporate and pro-war program. It has instead promoted reactionary, anti-democratic campaigns.
These include the so-called “Me Too” movement, which rejects basic democratic principles such as the presumption of innocence and due process in order to promote the feminism of privileged layers of the middle class; the anti-Russia campaign, which seeks to shift American foreign policy to an even more aggressive military posture against Russia; and the campaign against “fake news,” which is being used to justify censorship of the Internet and social media.
In December, the Supreme Court allowed a revised version of Trump’s travel ban to take effect shortly after House Democrats voted two-to-one against a move by a Democratic congressman to introduce articles of impeachment citing Trump’s mass deportation program.
Socialists reject the entire reactionary framework of the so-called “debate” over immigration “reform.” The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) rejects the position of Democrats and Republicans alike that undocumented workers are guilty of a crime and must be made to “pay” in one fashion or another for their supposed misdeeds.
The SEP upholds the right of workers from every corner of the globe to live and work in whatever country they choose with full citizenship rights, including the right to return to their home countries without the threat of being barred from re-entry to the US and being separated from their families.
The total number of people who work in the same factories, construction sites and other industries alongside the 262,000 Salvadoran TPS recipients number in the millions or tens of millions. The attack on them is an attack on the entire working class.
Only the power of the working class—united across race and nationality—can block the drive to destroy the lives of hundreds of thousands of Salvadoran workers living in the US.
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Between Dec. 11 and 13 of the year 1981, soldiers from the the Atlacatl Battalion — a Salvadoran death squad trained at the U.S. military’s School of Americas — massacred nearly all of the residents of El Mozote, a small village whose residents were suspected Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) sympathizers.
Between 900 and 1,200 villagers were massacred without mercy, the majority of them women, children and the elderly.
El Salvador at the time was two years into a civil war between the FMLN— a coalition of left-wing guerrilla groups — and a vicious military government backed by Washington.
It was not until many years later that bodies began to be exhumed. For years, successive national governments that came after the bloody episode denied having any role in the massacre. But in 2012, the government of President Mauricio Funes acknowledged the state’s role and apologized to the victims’ families.
El Mozote became synonymous with the U.S. government’s support for atrocities in a brutal campaign to stave off left-wing and communist movements in Latin America and the rest of the developing world.
With permission from
James Steele: America’s Mystery Man in Iraq
The main purpose of this documentary is to expose the paramilitary death squads Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld created in Iraq. Their ultimate was to suppress the Sunni insurgency which formed in early 2003 to oppose the US occupation.
The film goes a long way towards debunking the propaganda Bush and the corporate media dispensed to the American public that the US enemy in Iraq was an international terrorist organization called al Qaeda. The military force responsible for suicide bombings and roadside IEDs (improvised explosive devices) was actually a spontaneous uprising in response to the US invasion and occupation. It was largely organized by Sunni troops and public servants who served in Saddam Hussein’s government and were stripped of their occupations and careers by Bush’s disastrous de-Baathification program.
Cheney and Rumsfeld knew the guerrillas fighting the occupation represented a genuine insurrection. Determined to preserve their puppet Baghdad government at all costs, they called in James Steele, their foremost counterinsurgency expert. Steele, a retired military officer, had extensive experience creating and managing local paramilitary death squads in Vietnam and El Salvador.
In Iraq, Steele organized death squads out of Shia militias who had been brutally oppressed by Saddam Hussein and were eager for revenge. What resulted was a bloody civil war between Shia and Sunni-led fighters. The civil war was responsible for 3,000 deaths a day prior to the withdrawal of US troops in 2011.
The film starts by interviewing embassy and DEA officials who worked directly with Colonel Steele when he was running El Salvador’s paramilitary death squads out of the US embassy in San Salvador. The preponderance of evidence suggests it was Steele who oversaw the massacre of 25,000 Salvadoran civilians and most likely the assassination of human rights advocate Archbishop Oscar Romero (in 1980 while he was saying mass) and the 1980 rape and murder of four American nuns (Jean Donovan, Dorothy Kazel, Maura Clark and Ita Ford).
Reportedly it was Cheney who recruited Steele to implement the “Salvadoran option” in Iraq. As an ex-military civilian, Steele’s official cover was “energy consultant.” Nevertheless the Iraq commanders who worked with him leave no doubt he was in charge of the specially trained 5,000-strong police commando group formed from Shia militias.
The filmmakers also interview a number of Iraqis who worked in Iraqi prisons and interrogation centers and directly witnessed the torture overseen by Steele. Several members of the Oregon National Guard (deployed to an Iraqi prison detail) were so horrified by one torture session they tried to intervene to stop it. When their military superiors ordered them to stand down and forget what they had seen, they went straight to a local Oregon newspaper. The resulting scandal would lead to the withdrawal of Steele, Coffman and Petraeus from Iraq and the sacking of Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense.
El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have some of the world’s highest homicide rates – and their attempts to tackle them have had mixed consequences.
Associate Head of School, Coventry University
March 7, 2016
Cracking down on gangs in San Salvador. EPA/Oscar Rivera
Gang violence continued to worsen last year in the three countries that make up Central America’s so-called Northern Triangle – Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. According to police data, these countries collectively saw 17,422 murders in 2015, 11% more than in 2014. However, there are signs that security challenges are changing, both in the Northern Triangle and across Central America as a whole.
The homicide rate in El Salvador increased by 67% between 2014 and 2015: its 6,657 annual murders equate to around 103 per 100,000 inhabitants. This is among the highest in the world, and higher even than Honduras, which has had the highest homicide rate in the region for years. Indeed, the 2014 murder rate in Honduras fell from 68 to 57 per 100,000 people.
Guatemala’s murder rate was relatively stable, at 30 per 100,000 in 2015 compared to 38 per 100,000 in 2014 – but in the other two countries, the data suggests that the focus of the violence has been shifting.
El Salvador’s sharp spike in murders has its origins in May 2013 with the formal breakdown of a truce between two main gangs, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Mara 18 (also known as Calle 18). These two groups had negotiated a 2013 peace agreement with help from the ruling Farabundo Marti Liberation Front, itself a former guerrilla movement, and the Catholic church.
In return for ceasing hostilities, gang members were moved out of maximum security prisons into minimum security facilities closer to their families. This was an important move, as prisons are important administrative hubs for the gangs.
For a while, the truce appeared to be working and El Salvador’s homicide rate was 4% lower in 2013 than in 2012 – although gangs continued to extort businesses and engage in other criminal activity in their strongholds. However, a change of government led to a change of strategy, and gang members were moved back into maximum security detention. The truce soon broke down, unleashing the high levels of violence that led to the homicide rate jumping 56% in 2014.
During the truce, the focus for violence shifted to Honduras, where rivalry between MS-13 and Mara 18 traditionally has been particularly intense. In addition, the country is a transit point for much of the cocaine being shipped from South America to the US, which has led to turf wars involving two Mexican cartels, the Sinaloa cartel and the Zetas. The city of San Pedro Sula in particular has become a hub for mara (gang) involvement in cartel activity.
Central America’s various maras have long been a transnational problem. They have their roots among the young Salvadorans displaced to Los Angeles during El Salvador’s civil war in the 1980s; they acquired significant knowhow both from other gangs and from fellow inmates in prison.
When the US began large-scale deportations of convicted criminals back to El Salvador in the 1990s, the gang threat grew. El Salvador sought to deal with it robustly, deploying the military and taking a punitive approach to gang members who were caught. While the leaders of MS-13 and Mara 18 remained in the US, both gangs’ activities spread into Honduras and Guatemala.
The latest shift of violence back to El Salvador following the breakdown of the truce there raises the question of whether the maras are becoming more transnational. Violence had increased in Honduras after the truce. Traditionally, while gangs operated across multiple countries, there was little cross border co-ordination, and most leadership was at a local level.
In addition, there have been signs of increased collaboration between the maras and the Mexican cartels. One consequence of this is that that organisation of the maras has become more sophisticated, with cells co-ordinating more closely. In part, this facilitates mara involvement in drug trafficking, but undoubtedly it also internationalises their operations. Therefore, it is no coincidence that a decline in gang violence in one Northern Triangle country leads to an increase in another.
But it’s important not to overstate the internationalisation of the maras and their role in Central America’s cocaine trade. Plenty of domestic factors are implicated in the changing homicide rates; the truce meant urban tensions expressed though violence were pent-up, so its collapse inevitably led to a spike in violence. There was also a rise in political violence following the 2009 coup in Honduras that ousted Manuel Zelaya from the presidency.
There is little doubt that the Northen Triangle’s murder rates will remain exceptionally high, and extortion and other gang activity are going nowhere any time soon. There is every chance that homicide rates will continue to fluctuate across El Salvador and Honduras. In addition, there have been signs that the maras are increasingly active in Costa Rica, which previously was a relative safe haven.
Governments keep returning to tough and punitive approaches to the problem. These have failed in the past, and they won’t suddenly start working now. A better bet would be meaningful co-ordination and co-operation between countries. There have been some moves towards this, albeit led by the US. Nonetheless, a lack of resources means that there is little prospect that regional security forces are going to be made more effective – and all the while, the violence they need to tackle is changing shape and spreading.
by Julie Wilson
October 27th, 2015
The University of Washington’s Center for Human Rights (UWCHR) said its office was recently burglarized just three weeks after it filed a contentious lawsuit against the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), alleging it trained and installed a Salvadoran colonel suspected of massacring tens of thousands of innocent civilians in the 1980s.
The culprits stole a desktop computer and hard drive with “sensitive details” about their lawsuit against the CIA, reports Court House News Service. Human Rights director Angelina Godoy said her office was the only one broken into and that there were no signs of forced entry.
Coincidentally, CIA director John Brennan happened to be in town speaking at the University of Washington on the Friday proceeding the weekend the information was stolen.
Center for Human Rights leaders said the hard drive contained “about 90 percent of the information relating” to their research into the Salvadoran massacres under Col. Sigifredo Ochoa Perez, which took place under President Ronald Reagan, whose administration gifted nearly $17 million in military aid to the South American country between 1946 and 1979, according to Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States.
Military leaders installed by CIA massacred tens of thousands of Salvadorans in the 80s’
After reports spread that the government massacred peasants in several villages in January 1982, the following day Reagan audaciously asserted that “the Salvadoran government was making progress in human rights.”
Three days later, “soldiers stormed the homes of poor people in San Salvador, dragged out twenty people, and killed them,” wrote Zinn.