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France and UK to take ‘urgent action’ on English Channel migrants | Euronews


British Home Secretary Priti Patel has promised more joint action between the UK and France to prevent migrants crossing the English Channel.

Patel met her French counterpart Christophe Castaner in Paris on Thursday, soon after dozens of migrants were intercepted on five boats off the British coast, and one boat made a landing on a beach in Sussex.

Over 900 migrants have successfully made the crossing between the UK and France in 2019, with the Home Office returning at least 65 people.

Meanwhile, legal proceedings brought against a number of smugglers. In July and June, two men were jailed for assisting unlawful immigration to the UK, one in Britain and the other in France. In May, a French national was jailed for selling 39 boats to migrants.

Read More: A flipper and a plastic bottle float: the story of one Iraqi man’s deadly asylum bid

In January, the UK and France agreed a joint action plan which included £6 million in new security equipment including CCTV coverage of beaches and ports. The two countries also agreed to return migrants that make the crossing.

“We’ve been working extremely closely with our French colleagues to tackle the use of small boats but we both agreed more needs to be done,” Patel said.

“It’s vital we ensure our collective expertise is used to stop the boats from leaving French shores and dismantle the criminal networks driving this activity.”

But Catherine Woollard, secretary general of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles, told Euronews that the numbers of migrants crossing the Channel remained “very small”.

“An alarmist approach on the part of UK politicians and media is likely to contribute to the growing xenophobia in the country, as well as generating the risk of disproportionate action,” she said.

At its narrowest, the stretch of water between the UK and France is just 33 kilometres. But poor weather conditions and a huge amount of commercial shipping makes the English Channel a dangerous crossing even for experienced navigators.

Many of the boats being used by migrants and smuggling gangs are small inflatable dinghies, which are often overcrowded to maximise profits for smugglers.

On August 23, the body of an Iraqi national – Niknam Masoud – was found off the Belgian coast after it is believed he attempted to swim to the UK from France.

 

Source: France and UK to take ‘urgent action’ on English Channel migrants | Euronews

Trump’s fans think he’s a macho he-man — he’s really a moral weakling who preys on women and kids | Salon.com


Donald Trump’s fans are obsessed with the idea that their hero is the pinnacle of manliness, here to restore the supposed greatness of American masculinity after its alleged assault at the hands of feminism and “political correctness.” His fans paint semi-erotic art portraying Trump as handsome and virile, either with a couple of dozen pounds shaved off his waistline or as an over-muscular he-man. They are so sure that Trump radiates a vibrant masculinity that Trump fanboy and convicted criminal Dinesh D’Souza recently posted a picture of Trump sitting next to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with the caption, “Masculinity in the twenty first century: which one is YOU?” The implicit assumption was that the orange-tinted primate, hunched over in a poorly-fitted suit was obviously more of a studly macho man than the suave young Canadian.

To outsiders, the idea that Trump is a model of desirable masculinity is just plain bizarre, as he lacks not just the positive markers of traditional manhood — stoicism, strength and virility — but any positive human qualities at all. But this past month has offered a strong reminder of what, exactly, Trump fans believe makes Trump such a harbinger of restored masculine greatness: His viciousness and cruelty.

Forget the handsome knight in shining armor protecting the weak of chivalric myth. Trump’s “manhood” is strictly about punching down and targeting those who are most vulnerable, with a particular sadism reserved for women and children.

Two of the biggest stories competing for headline space right now are a new allegation from journalist E. Jean Carroll that Trump raped her in the 1990s and reports from border towns in Texas that refugee children separated from their families have been crammed into cages in horrific conditions. But really, both stories are of a piece, illustrating Trump’s baseline impulses, which thrill his fans. He tries to make himself feel tough and powerful by inflicting pain on those who are smaller and unable to protect themselves.

Picking on someone your own size is, in Trump’s terms, for losers. “Winners,” in TrumpWorld, are the men who torture children and overpower women.

00:00

Trump’s already unconvincing denials in the face of Carroll’s rape allegation got worse on Monday evening, when he told a reporter for the Hill, “She’s not my type,” a response that suggests he would have no problem raping someone he found attractive.

This response is one of Trump’s go-to responses to the many, many accusations of sexual harassment and sexual violence that have been made against him. He once told a rally crowd, in response to reporter Natasha Stoynoff’s allegations that he assaulted her, “Look at her … I don’t think so.”

This is nonsense, of course. E. Jean Carroll was a beauty queen and looked, at the time Trump allegedly assaulted her, very much like Trump’s first two wives. He resorts to this same line for exactly the same reason men commit rape in the first place: To dominate and humiliate women.

Trump’s “denial,” then, only serves to confirm that he has the capacity for cruelty and misogyny that fuels the crime of rape. It is yet another reminder that the issue isn’t so much that his followers don’t believe the accusations against him — after all, he’s on tape bragging about how he enjoys sexual assault — as that they thrill to his unconcealed malice. They mistake his willingness to hurt vulnerable as strength and feel that by siding with a sadist, they will somehow be more powerful and manly for it.

Grown women have some power to fight back, however, as evidenced by Carroll’s own telling of her escape mid-rape. Children, on the other hand, make even better targets for Trump and his supporters, as they can do almost nothing to resist the abuses of those who need to overpower the vulnerable to feel good about themselves.

This, I think, goes a long way to explaining the horrific situation on the border, where reports are streaming out of migrant children being forced to sleep on cold concrete and not allowed to shower or brush their teeth. Lawyers and reporters say that children are being left in soiled clothes and babies are handed off to older children to be cared for. CNN, for instance, spoke to a 14-year-old who was crammed in a cell with a 4-year-old stranger and an 11-year-old boy, caring for a toddler who was sick and covered in filth.

The administration is attempting to play off this horror show as the result of overcrowding due to a rapid influx of migrants. But all the evidence suggests instead that the government is deliberately abusing small children to satisfy the sadism of Trump and his supporters. As CNN has reported, “officials at the border seem to be making no effort to release children to caregivers — many have parents in the US — rather than holding them for weeks in overcrowded cells at the border.”

Within minutes, reporters were themselves able to locate the desperate parents of a second-grader who was languishing in a cell, abandoned by officials who were unwilling to pick up the phone and call a number the little girl was carrying with her.

The sense that this is being done deliberately was only compounded when it was reported that concerned citizens in the El Paso area keep showing at a Border Patrol holding facility with diapers, toothbrushes and other items to help the children and are being turned away. The Trump administration could help these children. It is deliberately choosing to neglect and abuse them.

There are political reasons for this, as Trump and his allies at Fox News are clearly hoping to exploit concerns about the children’s welfare, while arguing that the solution is to repeal people’s legal right to apply for political asylum. In that sense, this is straightforward hostage-taking by the Trump administration. Except that as some people who have been held hostage by Somali pirates or the Taliban are pointing out, at least they got toothbrushes and soap.

But I’d argue this is about more than Trump’s use of brinksmanship and hostage-taking as his primary political strategy. It’s also about he and his supporters making themselves feel big and powerful by picking on those who are weak and helpless. The word “bully” feels too small to capture what’s going on, but it does capture the pettiness at the heart of Trumpism. When Trump’s fans speak of making America “great,” this is what they mean: Finding someone smaller and more vulnerable and inflicting abuse on them, just because you can.

AMANDA MARCOTTE

Amanda Marcotte is a politics writer for Salon. Her new book, “Troll Nation: How The Right Became Trump-Worshipping Monsters Set On Rat-F*cking Liberals, America, and Truth Itself,” is out now. She’s on Twitter @AmandaMarcotte

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Source: Trump’s fans think he’s a macho he-man — he’s really a moral weakling who preys on women and kids | Salon.com

Two migrant teens brutally executed in Tijuana as asylum cases pile up – VICE News


TIJUANA, Mexico — David, a 17-year-old Honduran teen who arrived here as part of a migrant caravan in November, was supposed to be in the U.S. by now. But on Dec. 15, he and two friends were kidnapped and tortured in this Mexican border city.

David, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, managed to escape. But his friends — two boys, 16 and 17, who had also fled Honduras — did not. Two days later they were found dead, dumped in an alley with stab wounds and signs of strangulation.

David returned “screaming and crying nonstop,” said Uriel Gonzalez, director of the Tijuana shelter where the boys were staying. “He let [my deputy] know they have killed the other two guys. That they slaughtered them in front of him.”

The boys are believed to be the first homicide victims among the estimated 6,000 people who joined so-called “migrant caravans” in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala and arrived in Tijuana in November. President Trump, without offering evidence, has described the caravans as an “invasion” of “hardened criminals” and tweeted that it was a “national emergency.” In October, he ordered more than 5,000 active-duty troops to the border, and in December proposed a policy requiring migrants to remain in Mexico while they await an asylum hearing.

 

Source: Two migrant teens brutally executed in Tijuana as asylum cases pile up – VICE News

ACLU files lawsuit against Florida sheriff’s office for nearly deporting U.S. citizen – ThinkProgress


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced Monday that it had filed a lawsuit in conjunction with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) against a Florida sheriff’s office for unlawfully detaining and nearly deporting a U.S citizen.

Peter Sean Brown was born in Philadelphia and has lived in Florida for the last 10 years. According to the complaint, Brown reported to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in April for violating his probation for a low-level marijuana offense and was subsequently detained longer than was required at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

ICE believed Brown was a Jamaican undocumented immigrant of the same name, and was intent on deporting him. Despite his repeated pleas that he was a U.S. citizen with a birth certificate and a Florida driver’s license, Monroe County jail officers told him he was being sent to a country he had only been to once on a cruise.

“I am and have always been a citizen of the United States,” Brown said in a video released by the ACLU. “I did not even realize what ICE was at the time and reading through it I realized it had something to do with immigration, and at that point, I made a comment of, ‘There must’ve been a mistake.’”

Source: ACLU files lawsuit against Florida sheriff’s office for nearly deporting U.S. citizen – ThinkProgress

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission offered on Tuesday to shoulder the cost of taking in migrants from boats in the Mediterranean, seeking to entice more governments to shoulder the burden after Italy’s new government closed the country’s ports to rescue vessels.

 

Source: We’ll pay if you take in migrants, Brussels tells EU governments : Reuters

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1.Mohamed Al-A;  2. Nazar Al-J; 3. Mohammed Al-T; 4. Alaa Al-J;  5. Hader Al-A; 6. Mustafa Al-J; 7. Nael Al-J; 8. Marwan Al-J; 9. Sabah Al-J.

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Source: Trump wants you to fear refugees and migrants. Here are eight books that push back. – The Washington Post

Counterpunch on NATO’s Preparations for War with Russia


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Okay, I’ve already blogged about one Counterpunch article today, by Garikai Chengu tracing the history of British imperial domination in Iraq. This is another article from the same magazine that needs to be read. It’s about the NATO conference yesterday and today, and the continuing build up of NATO forces along the borders with Russia. NATO troops, including British squaddies, are being sent to reinforce Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, against possible Russian aggression.

The 1980s Cold War

This was on the BBC news yesterday, which reported that there were fears about a possible Russian threat following Russian attempts to fly military aircraft over Estonian airspace. This is all extremely frightening, as it is all too much like the Cold War those of us, who are now middle aged, grew up under in the 1980s. It was a time when Thatcher and Reagan were ranting about the Soviet Union being…

View original post 1,408 more words

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