TeleSur – Informed Comment Thoughts on the Middle East, History and Religion Wed, 30 Jan 2019 07:00:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Democrats To Deny Funding to Trump’s Muslim Visa Ban on 2nd Anniversary Wed, 30 Jan 2019 07:00:11 +0000 (TeleSur) – “We are dropping American made bombs on countries … the United States then made the decision to block those people inside those countries…”

Democratic members of the United States Congress rallied against President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban Monday which reached its second anniversary.

“I know first-hand how destructive this policy is to millions of people across the world who want to come to this country to seek a better life,” Ilhan Omar told a crowd of dozens of activists at a hall in the U.S. Capitol building.

Ironically, the Muslim-majority countries which face the strictest restrictions, including Yemen, Somalia, Iran, Syria, and Libya, are the ones invaded by the U.S. resulting in unending chaos and destruction.

“As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, one of the reasons I lose sleep at night over the Muslim ban is because I put it side by side with what we are doing in the nations from which we are denying entry to the United States,” said Senator Chris Murphy who is a vocal critic of the war in Yemen.

“Trump might not have gotten his border wall, but he’s created an invisible wall keeping out people around the world, based solely on their religion,” Omar said adding that the Trump administration has cut down the admission of Muslim refugees by 91 percent.

At the beginning of Trump’s term in 2017, he issued an executive order banning Muslims from certain countries from entering the United States. The arbitrary and unplanned nature of the of the order triggered widespread protests at airports all over the country with lawyers volunteering to help refugees and other innocent travelers that were already trapped in the air before the ban was issued.

An injunction then stopped the ban from being implemented for almost a year until June of 2018 when a 5-4 ruling by the Supreme Court effectivley allowed the ban.

The Democratic lawmakers pledged to stifle the ban financially by denying any funds for its implementation. Congresswoman Judy Chu and Senator Chris Murphy re-introduced a 2017 bill which would “prohibit the use of any funds or fees to implement” the ban.

“We are dropping American made bombs on countries, creating humanitarian nightmares in those places, and never before has the United States then made the decision to block those people inside those countries and throw away the key,” Senator Murphy commented.

Rashida Tlaib, the Palestinian-American Congresswoman also condemned the ban.

“It is an incredible, remarkable time that as our country was banning Muslims, that more Muslims – record numbers – were running for office,” Tlaib said.

Via TeleSur


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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Rips Trump For Systematic Attack On Immigrants | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Social Media Ridicule: Emirates’ Gender Equality Award Winners All Men Tue, 29 Jan 2019 05:39:19 +0000 The award was meant to promote female participation in government, however, this year only men were honored.

A storm of tweets bombarded the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after it was clear women had been completely excluded from this year’s gender-equality awards ceremony.

“Gender balance has become a pillar in our governmental institutions,” said UAE vice president, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, as he handed out medals and certificates to the delegation of men representing the finance ministry, the federal competitiveness and statistics authority and ministry of human resources.

“We are proud of the success of Emirati women and their role is central to shaping the future of the country,” he said, posing for a photo with the award winners.

Introduced as a means to promote female participation in governmental roles in 2015, the UAE Gender Balance Index awards are generally awarded to those who have risen over and above to encourage gender diversity.

As photos from the event began to surface, Twitter exploded with comment’s dripping with sarcasm.

Twitter User Rianne Meijer wrote, “I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you, but you forgot to invite WOMEN.”

Another comment read, “Wow really nailed the diversity there. One of those dudes was wearing grey.”

A former Middle East correspondent, Sophie McNeill, wrote, “You can’t make this s**t up – UAE’s gender equality awards won entirely by men.”

Another user wrote sarcastically, “”Best Gender Balance Awards Ever.”

Last year, the Office United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reported concerns over the United Arab Emirates’ level of discrimination and injustice demonstrated against women and foreign workers and torture of prisoner.

Via TeleSur


Bonus video added by Informed Comment:

RT: “UAE holds gender equality awards… where all recipients are men”

US Uses Migrant Children as ‘Bait’ to Catch Sponsors: Lawsuit Thu, 24 Jan 2019 05:37:19 +0000 Some 10,000 migrant children being held in Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) shelters are being denied due process rights as asylum seekers, the lawsuit argues.

“We have over 10,000 children in custody right now because this administration is using them as bait. This deplorable, deliberate policy means that these children are languishing in detention for months at a time,” said the deputy legal director for the legal center’s Immigrant Justice Project, Mary Bauer.

An anti-immigration memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed last April founds the base of the lawsuit which forces the ORR to share private sponsors’ information, such as addresses, fingerprints, and biographic information, with Immigration and Customs officers.

Ofelia Martinez Torres, a former immigration legal assistant, told teleSUR, “The children that are being detained at the border, they are now beginning to prosecute them with the immigrant parents. That’s how they found them.’”

“Children have to be picked up by their parents or guardians, whatever their status is, it’s in question. Even if they live with their aunt and uncle, Ice will put them on their list and investigate them,” she said.

Although the state has defended its memorandum as a means to protect children, Bauer notes that since the file was leaked, some 170 potential sponsors have been arrested by ICE, while others have been earmarked for “criminal prosecution.”

Bauer said, “If the President is really interested in taking on a crisis in regard to the immigration situation — this is one he has the power to solve, since his Administration created it.

A legal team from at least three different immigration advocacy organizations will appear for the case’s first court hearing on Feb.15.

Legal director for the Legal Aid Justice Center, Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg, says the team hope to ease sponsor’s fears and put an end to the MOA between ICE and the ORR. The immigration attorneys are also pushing for transparency and standards surrounding the reunification process.

Via TeleSur


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Trump Gov’t Separated ‘Thousands’ More Immigrant Children Than Originally Reported Sat, 19 Jan 2019 05:27:23 +0000 The administration of President Trump implemented a ‘zero tolerance’ policy to criminally prosecute and jail all illegal border crossers even those traveling with their children.

The U.S. government may have separated “thousands” more immigrant children from their parents than previously known but inadequate record-keeping means the exact number is still unclear, an internal watchdog said on Wednesday.

The Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said the agency had identified many more children in addition to the 2,737 that were included as part of a class action lawsuit challenging the separations brought by the American Civil Liberties Union last year.

The administration of President Donald Trump implemented a ‘zero tolerance’ policy to criminally prosecute and jail all illegal border crossers even those traveling with their children, leading to a wave of separations last year.

But the auditor said in a report that prior to the officially announced policy the government had ramped up separations for other reasons related to a child’s safety and well-being, including separating parents with criminal records or lack of proper documents. Those separations were only tracked informally, making it impossible for the auditor to know the exact number.

The policy sparked outrage when it became public, and the backlash led Trump to sign an executive order reversing course on June 20.

But separations have continued since then, the report said. HHS, which runs the Office of Refugee Resettlement that is responsible for the children’s care, told the auditor that at least 118 had been separated between July 1 and Nov. 7, 2018.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that 65 of those 118 children were separated because the parents had a criminal history but in some cases, the agency did not provide the details of that history.

The auditor raised concerns that the government is still not adequately counting separation cases.

“It is not yet clear whether recent changes to ORR’s systems and processes are sufficient to ensure consistent and accurate data about separated children,” the report said.

The news comes at a time when a new migrant caravan has left Central America including many families with children as they flee violence and drug wars in their countries, which has been made worse by decades of U.S. policies and interference in the region, seeking a better life and safety in Mexico and the United States.

The Migrant Exodus as its members calls it is the second wave of migration north this year.

Via TeleSur


Bonus video added by Informed Comment:

ABC News: “More kids separated from parents at border: Report”

Congress trying to de-fund Trump/Saudi War in Yemen Thu, 17 Jan 2019 05:15:40 +0000 (TeleSur) – United States President Donald Trump is expected to face a new vote, this time in the U.S. House of Representatives, which could limit his authority to continue waging war in Yemen. The action is limited by internal politics and the option of a presidential veto.

In December last year, the U.S. Senate passed a measure which called on the 1973 War Powers Resolution, by a 56 to 41 vote, marking a historic move to end military support for the Saudi-led coalition waging war in Yemen.

The House of Representatives, now controlled by Democrats, is leading the same effort to curtail the president’s authority to continue to fuel the backing of the Saudi-led military campaign.

Specifically, the measure would serve to cut off “U.S. refueling, logistical support, intelligence, and special forces operations” to Saudi allies, according to Reuters.

However, even if Trump is curtailed, he cannot be completely stopped as he can overrule the measure and continue fueling the aggressors. It is unlikely that his opponents will be able to get the necessary two-thirds majorities in both houses to override a presidential veto, according to The Guardian.

In context, a group led by independent Senator Bernie Sanders introduced the bill in the Senate but to a different mix of lawmakers. The upper house’s composition changed after the recent election and so the measure would need to be reintroduced.

Factions in the U.S. Congress have bowed to pressure on the Khashoggi murder in order to give bipartisan support to measures aimed toward ending the promotion of the Saudi-led war.

In addition, it appears that the compromise to curtail Trump’s backing for the Saudi war in Yemen is conditioned by the ebbs of the conflict in Yemen, which has no clear end in sight. Specifically, “the legislation could be held back,” in the event that the cease-fire concerning the Yemeni port of Hodeidah is successfully upheld, and if the Saudis show more transparency over the brutal assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Reuters reported.

The Yemeni war started in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and 12 regional allies formed a coalition to restore the pro-Saudi government into power after the Houthi movement took over the capital Sanaa. Saudi Arabia and its allies, who have received logistic and intelligence support for the intervention in Yemen, have been accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity over intentionally targeting civilians as well as allegations of torture.

The country has also spiraled into one of the most catastrophic humanitarian disasters of the 21st century. More than 24 million people, representing three-quarters of the population, are in need of assistance and protection, and 20 million people lack access to food, according to the United Nations.

Via TeleSur


Bonus video added by Informed Comment:

PBS: “Yemen’s ongoing civil war creates a life of loss for children”

Tucker Carlson’s ‘Daily Caller’ Photoshop-shames AOC to Preserve Male Chauvinist Plutocracy Fri, 11 Jan 2019 05:53:08 +0000 Far-right media has been attacking Ocasio-Cortez by posting old videos and fake nude photos.

Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) has come out against news organizations who are working hard to discredit or embarrass her.

Far-right and right-wing media outlets and random social media trolls have been ramping up their attacks against progressive candidates and politicians, and are especially targeting AOC based on her outspoken support for social and economic justice. Several attacks by media outlets have run the gamut from pictures of a younger AOC dancing in college to fake photos of a nude woman attributed to the congresswoman.

In one incident, a far-right newsgroup, the Daily Caller, reposted false photos of freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC). She has proven to be a favorite target of far-right circles because of her outspokenness on social and economic justice.

“Here’s the photo some people described as a nude selfie of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” was the headline of the article by Daily Caller which circulated the fake photo.

She also wrote, “Completely disgusting behavior from Conservative outlets. No wonder they defended Kavanaugh so fiercely.”

AOC wrote on Twitter Thursday night, “women in leadership face more scrutiny. Period.”

She also criticized the Daily Mail for going to her “boyfriend”s relative’s homes” in search of stories in exchange of cash.

Last week a Twitter user dug up an old college video of AOC dancing with her fellow collegemates as a mean to discredit her and her politics. She replied by dancing in front of her office at the U.S. Congress.

Along with trying to shame a young woman representative, these far-right outlets are also discouraging women from running for offices by scrutinizing, spreading fake photos, and constantly rummaging AOC.

Daily Caller which published AOC’s fake photo is financed by far-right Tucker Carlson. Carlson is a far-right commentator for the pro-Donald Trump Fox news.

“Many have recognized that @FoxNews has crossed a line beyond conservatism and into outright bigotry with their financing of Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham. Tucker finances the @DailyCaller, which posted fake nudes of me,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a tweet responding to the news.

Via TeleSur


Bonus video added by Informed Comment:

Inside Edition: “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Slams Website Over Fake Nude Photo”

Saudi Men can no Longer Divorce Wives without Telling Them Mon, 07 Jan 2019 05:06:51 +0000 Saudi courts now have to inform wives by text message that their husbands want a divorce in a bid to end surprise separations on the part of their husbands.

Starting Sunday, courts in Saudi Arabia are required to notify wives by text on any rulings confirming their divorces. However, women still remain subject to male guardianship laws within the Islamic monarchy.

“The new measure ensures women get their [alimony] rights when they’re divorced,” Saudi lawyer Nisreen al-Ghamdi told Bloomberg. “It also ensures that any powers of attorney issued before the divorce are not misused.”

Al-Ghamdi and other lawyers hope the new policy measure will end so-called secret divorces where men end a marriage without telling their wives, says the BBC.

The mandate seeks to eliminate cases where women made aware of their divorces last minute, having to appeal them through lengthy and expensive court battles.

Oftentimes, wives would lose the alimony they were rightfully entitled to because their husbands divorced them without their prior knowledge, in a sort of ‘ghosting’-style legal separation.

Though Saudi women are allowed to drive and enter sports arenas starting last year, they are still unable to legally perform a list of other functions without permission from their husbands, fathers or brothers, including:

Applying for passports
Traveling abroad
Getting married
Opening a bank account
Starting certain businesses
Getting certain surgeries
Leaving prison

Local Saudi media said that there were over 53,600 registered divorces in 2017.

Via TeleSur


Bonus video added by Informed Comment:

CBC News: “Saudi women to get text messages confirming divorces”

Germany: MSM won’t Tell you White Nationalist Drove into Muslim Refugees Wed, 02 Jan 2019 05:24:21 +0000 A 50-year-old driver injured Syrian and Afganistan migrants and shouted racist comments as he was being arrested.

A 50-year-old man has been arrested after driving his car into a crowd of people in Germany in what police say appears to be a racist attack.

A group of migrants from Syria and Afghanistan was attacked in the town of Bottrop, an area of western Germany. According to official reports, the driver shouted xenophobic and racist comments while he was being arrested.

In the early hours of January 1, the driver had first tried unsuccessfully to hit a pedestrian. He then headed downtown, driving into a crowd of Syrian and Afganistan migrants, injuring four.

The suspect then headed towards the city of Essen, where he attempted to drive his silver Mercedes into another group of people waiting at a bus stop.

“Investigators suspect it was a deliberate attack that may be linked to the xenophobic views of the driver,” the police said.

Police said the attack was premeditated and that one of the victims is still in hospital receiving treatment. A spokesperson for the Meunster police, Angela Leuttmann, could not confirm if the driver was German, but said he came from Essen.

Horst Seehofer, Germany’s federal interior minister, told Bild newspaper the case would be carefully investigated, along with an incident in Bavaria on Saturday in which four asylum-seekers were arrested on suspicion of attacking a dozen people.

“It is a matter of political credibility to pursue both cases decisively and aggressively,” Seehofer told the newspaper.

Via TeleSur


Bonus video added by Informed Comment:

EuroNews: “A man with an openly racist background runs over people in Bottop

Europe, UK, France & Turkey Reject Israel’s Plans for new Squatter Homes in Palestine Sun, 30 Dec 2018 05:55:15 +0000

Israel’s settlements in the West Bank are a violation of the 4th Geneva Convention, according to the United Nations.

France, the United Kingdom (UK), the European Union (EU) and Turkey have rejected Israel’s newly approved expansion of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

“The European Union’s position on Israeli settlement construction and related activities is clear and remains unchanged: all settlement activity is illegal under international law,” a statement from the organization declared.

On Friday Turkey’s Foreign Ministry also issued a statement, saying Israel’s “illegal decision… carelessly continues to violate international law, especially the relevant United Nations resolutions and the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

Israel’s settlements in the West Bank are a violation of the 4th Geneva Convention, according to the United Nations, which forbids states from transferring their citizens to occupied land.

Additionally, the Union stressed that Israel’s decision undermines the viability of the desired two-state solution and the possibility of lasting peace.

“The settlements endanger the two-state solution, which is the only solution that would allow for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” the French Foreign Ministry also added in a release. “We call on Israeli authorities to reconsider this decision.”

Israel’s Higher Planning Committee announced that approval has been given for the construction of an additional 2,191 housing units in the disputed settlements, on December 25 and 26.

The UK said the recent decision is “unacceptable and disappointing,” warning Israel to stop the illegal edicts.

Though some 61% of the units will be built in isolated settlements, the EU considers all Jewish building over the pre-1967 lines to be illegal whether the region is unoccupied or not.

“Such actions are illegal under international law and call into question Israel’s commitment to any future peace agreement with the Palestinians,” Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt stated.

The planning committee’s expansion plan follows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announcement of early elections for April 2019.

Via TeleSur


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France 24 English: “Israeli settlements and the encirclement of East Jerusalem”