Trump Retweets Prominent Alt-Right Conspiracy Theorist After Reluctantly Denouncing White Supremacists

from August 15, 2017 at 08:04AM http://bit.ly/2idtlJL

The president has been lambasted for his tepid response to Charlottesville.

Donald Trump on Monday retweeted a post by prominent alt-right activist Jack Posobiec, despite withering bipartisan criticism over his tepid response to a white supremacist attack in Charlottesville, Virginia that killed one and wounded 19 others.

Trump took two full days to unequivocally disavow the white supremacists who violently attacked counter-protesters over the weekend. His retweet is unlikely to quell bipartisan concerns that the president is not forceful enough in his condemnation of the white nationalists and neo-Nazis who helped elevate him to the presidency.

On Monday, Trump railed against the “fake news media” which he argued is full of “truly bad people” who will never be satisfied by his remarks in Charlottesville. With his decision to retweet Posobiec—who organized the alt-right DeploraBall, discredited anti-Trump protesters by planting a fake “rape Melania” and pushed the bogus “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory (among other controversies)—the president’s “fake news” tweet will likely prove a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Some reactions:

Read more at: Alternet http://bit.ly/1nDoAlo

Trump Retweets Alt-Right ‘Pizzagate’ Promoter After Condemning Hate Groups

from August 15, 2017 at 04:31AM http://bit.ly/2vLYWHd

A few hours after he delivered a statement condemning hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis, President Donald Trump retweeted a post by Jack Posobiec, an alt-right linked activist who promoted the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory.

Posobiec promoted the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, which culminated in a man bringing a gun into a Washington, D.C. restaurant. Recently, Posobiec was angered by the Anti-Defamation League’s decision to list him as a member of the “alt lite,” which the group described as a “loosely-connected movement whose adherents generally shun white supremacist thinking, but who are in step with the alt right in their hatred of feminists and immigrants, among others.”

In response, Posobiec posted a video from the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial saying, “It would be wise of the ADL to remember the history of what happened the last time people started going around making lists of undesirables.”

Following intense criticism for his initial response to the attack in Charlottesville that failed to condemn white nationalists, Trump on Monday gave remarks calling out those hate groups. It took him two days to clarify his comments.

Read more at: All TPM News http://bit.ly/1kKyqV3

Protesters Topple Confederate Statue In North Carolina

from August 15, 2017 at 04:00AM http://bit.ly/2wZljHU

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Protesters in North Carolina toppled a nearly century-old statue of a Confederate soldier Monday at a rally against racism.

Activists in Durham brought a ladder up to the statue and used a rope to pull down the Confederate Soldiers Monument that was dedicated in 1924. A diverse crowd of dozens cheered as the statue of a soldier holding a rifle fell to the ground in front of an old courthouse building that now houses local government offices.

Seconds after the monument fell, protesters began kicking the crumpled bronze monument.

“I was a little bit shocked people could come here and come together like that,” said Isaiah Wallace, who is black.

Wallace said he watched as others toppled the statue. He hopes other Confederate symbols elsewhere will follow.

“I feel like this is going to send shockwaves through the country and hopefully they can bring down other racist symbols,” he said.

The Durham protest was in response to a white nationalist rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. Authorities say one woman was killed Saturday after one of the white nationalists drove his car into a group of peaceful counter-protesters.

Although the violence in Virginia has prompted fresh talk by government officials about bringing down symbols of the Confederacy around the South, North Carolina has a law protecting them. The 2015 law prevents removing such monuments on public property without permission from state officials.

In response to the statue in Durham being torn down, Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper tweeted: “The racism and deadly violence in Charlottesville is unacceptable but there is a better way to remove these monuments.”

After the statue fell, several dozen protesters congregated on the street in front of the old courthouse. Some took pictures standing or sitting on the toppled soldier, in front of a pedestal inscribed with the words “In Memory of the Boys Who Wore The Gray.” Police cruisers blocked off the street, and officers looked on — some filming. As it got dark, rally participants began to peacefully disperse.

Robin Williamson, who works downtown, arrived in the area about an hour after the statue came down. Williamson, who is black, said he can sympathize with people who are upset with the state of racial discourse in the country.

“People feel that with Donald Trump as leader, racists can be vocal,” he said.

He said that while Confederate monuments have been defaced in other cities, it was surprising to see an entire statue brought down by protesters.

“This is a little bit more intense because they took the whole statue down,” he said.

___

Follow Drew at http://www.twitter.com/jonldrew

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FBI, DHS Warned In May: ‘Persistent Threat’ Of White Supremacist Violence

from August 14, 2017 at 09:52AM http://bit.ly/2fThPlW

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security in May warned of the likelihood that white supremacist groups would “continue to pose a threat of lethal violence over the next year,” months before violence erupted Saturday at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In an unclassified joint intelligence bulletin obtained by Foreign Policy, titled “White Supremacist Extremism Poses Persistent Threat Of Lethal Violence,” the FBI and DHS reviewed “lethal and potentially lethal incidents” of violence committed by white supremacists from 2000–2016.

The FBI and DHS concluded that violence in 2017 would likely “continue to be spontaneous and involve targets of opportunity,” but did not rule out the possibility of “plot-derived mass-casualty violence.” They projected that such violence would “derive from the capabilities of lone offenders or small cells, rather than the resources of larger groups, due to the decentralized and often disorganized status of the WSE movement.”

Torch-bearing white supremacists descended on Charlottesville en masse over the weekend to protest the removal of a statue memorializing Confederate general Robert E. Lee. One person died after a driver rammed into a crowd of protesters, and dozens of people were injured.

President Donald Trump failed to condemn white supremacists in his statement responding to the violence, instead condemning “hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides.” As of midday Monday, he had not amended his statement or responded to backlash against his apparent equivocation.

Read the bulletin below, via Foreign Policy:

Read more at: All TPM News http://bit.ly/1kKyqV3

Backed by Police Unions, Legislators Stand by Laws to Protect Drivers Who Kill Protesters

from August 14, 2017 at 04:18PM http://bit.ly/2uZtGBv

In the aftermath of the murder of activist Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia, state legislators who had previously pushed to shield drivers who killed protesters with a moving vehicle are largely standing by their various efforts, arguing that their legislation would not have applied in this weekend’s attack.

Before the killing on Saturday, a swath of bills had been proposed around the country, largely in the South and primarily in response to Black Lives Matter and Dakota Access Pipeline related protests. The bills targeted leftist demonstrators who have increasingly shut down traffic by blocking roads and highways to bring attention to their cause.

Under the proposed laws, motorists who struck and killed such protesters would have special immunity in certain circumstances, as long as it wasn’t proven that they acted deliberately. Heyer was struck by a car allegedly driven by James Alex Fields Jr., a young man who is a supporter of white nationalist causes.

None of the proposed motorist immunity bills — debated in half a dozen states and backed by far-right personalities and law enforcement interests — have been made into law. Rather than backing away from the policy in light of the events in Charlottesville, legislators are doubling down.

In Texas, state Rep. Pat Fallon introduced a bill to limit the liability of motorists responsible for hitting individuals who are “blocking traffic in a public right-of-way while participating in a protest or demonstration.” The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, a statewide coalition of municipal and county police associations, lists Fallon’s bill among legislation supported by CLEAT. (Cleats are the spikes on the bottom of athletic shoes.)

In response to criticism over the weekend, Fallon doubled down on social media, implying that his critics don’t know the difference between legal and illegal protest (the Facebook status he links to has been deleted):

  

North Carolina’s version of the immunity bill, HB 330, passed the lower chamber of the legislature in April. The text of the bill says that a “person driving an automobile who is exercising due care and injures another person who is participating in a protest or demonstration and is blocking traffic in a public right-of-way is immune from civil liability for the injury.” The definition of “due care,” of course, would be highly debatable.

On Monday morning, the bill’s co-sponsors, state Reps. Justin Burr and Chris Millis, released a joint statement defending their legislation and claiming it would not apply in the context of Charlottesville.

“It is intellectually dishonest and a gross mischaracterization to portray North Carolina House Bill 330 as a protection measure for the act of violence that occurred in Charlottesville this past weekend,” they wrote in a statement given to The Intercept. “Any individual who committed a deliberate or willful act, such as what happened this weekend in Charlottesville, would face appropriately severe criminal and civil liabilities.”

spokesperson for North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, said on Monday that the governor would veto the legislation if it reached his desk.

North Carolina Democratic Party Chair Wayne Goodwin lashed out at the bill on Monday. “This was a horrible and dangerous piece of legislation when Republicans introduced it, and it remains an unnecessary bill today,” he told The Intercept. “The right to peacefully demonstrate is a cornerstone of American democracy; however, with this bill, North Carolina Republicans are threatening that right by giving certain drivers a free pass to run over protesters without any fear of civil liability. After the events in Charlottesville, when a domestic terrorist murdered a peaceful protester with his car, it’s unconscionable that Republicans still think this is a worthy cause.”

Similar bills have been proposed in Rhode Island, North Carolina, Tennessee, and North Dakota. While it’s unclear if any major interest groups beyond law enforcement have supported the idea, police union support alone can provide publicity and legislative traction.

In Florida, state Sen. George Gainer sponsored SB 1096, a bill that limits liability for motorists responsible for the unintentional injury or death of protesters obstructing traffic. The Florida State Fraternal Order of Police, an association that represents 22,000 law enforcement personnel in the state, held a press conference to support the Gainer bill. The legislative newsletter sponsored by the Florida FOP features an image of law enforcement officers standing behind Gainer to pledge support for the measure.

The Florida FOP’s legislative newsletter features law enforcement standing in support of state Sen. George Gainer’s bill.

The Florida bill, however, died in committee before reaching a vote.

But the violence last weekend hasn’t prevented some law enforcement voices from continuing to press the issue.

In Massachusetts, a police officer cheered on Heyer’s death over the weekend, posting on Facebook, “Hahahaha love this, maybe people shouldn’t block road ways.”

And on YouTube and other platforms frequented by far-right voices, many have celebrated the effort to crack down on protests that block traffic. Donut Operator, a YouTube personality known for posting “Blue Lives Matter” videos in support of law enforcement, has published videos in support of the laws designed to limit the liability of motorists. In one such video in support of the North Carolina legislation, Donut Operator ends his monologue with a gleeful compilation of cars plowing through crowds of demonstrators.

Top photo: A motorist drives into a crowd of counter-protesters during the “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va. on Aug. 12, 2017.

The post Backed by Police Unions, Legislators Stand by Laws to Protect Drivers Who Kill Protesters appeared first on The Intercept.

Read more at: The Intercept http://bit.ly/1QabwCe

As Trump Adds Fuel to the Fire, Baltimore Removes Confederate Statues in Dead of Night

from August 16, 2017 at 06:48AM http://bit.ly/2wYqiIP

After President Donald Trump inflamed the national debate over monuments to the Confederacy on Tuesday, telling reporters that white supremacists willing to use deadly violence to defend a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville included some “very fine people,” the City of Baltimore removed four statues honoring the defenders of slavery in the early hours of Wednesday.

Witnesses to the late-night operation, which was completed by 5:30 a.m. local time, shared images and video of workers removing the statues, including a massive one of Lee and Stonewall Jackson in Baltimore’s Wyman Park Dell.

Baltimore’s mayor, Catherine Pugh, was spotted overseeing the operation just before 3 a.m. by Alec MacGillis, a Pro Publica reporter.

Pugh told The Baltimore Sun that her decision to act quickly was partly an effort to avoid the kind of violence sparked by neo-Nazi protests in Charlottesville, where an antiracist protester, Heather Heyer, was killed by a white supremacist.

A mayoral commission appointed by Pugh’s predecessor had recommended last year that the statues of Lee and Jackson be removed, along with a monument to Roger Taney, the Supreme Court justice who wrote the notorious Dred Scott decision in 1857, ruling that African-Americans could not be American citizens.

Both of those monuments were removed overnight, along with one dedicated to Confederate women and another honoring Confederate soldiers and sailors, which had been doused in blood-red paint over the weekend.

Pugh acted after activists had vowed to destroy the monuments if the city delayed any longer.

Officials in Durham County, North Carolina, were less inclined to share the viewpoint of antiracist protesters, arresting a 22-year-old woman accused of helping to topple a Confederate statue there, and charging her with rioting and vandalism.

Trump’s intemperate defense of the white supremacists at a news conference in Trump Tower on Tuesday was widely condemned, but seemed to delight his neo-Nazi supporters, including David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, and Richard Spencer, who coined the term “alt-right” to rebrand white supremacy.

Trump’s latest defense of white supremacists reminded many close observers of his career that his father, Fred Trump, was reportedly arrested at a KKK rally in Queens in 1927.

Top photo: Workers removed a monument to Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson from Wyman Park in Baltimore early Wednesday morning.

The post As Trump Adds Fuel to the Fire, Baltimore Removes Confederate Statues in Dead of Night appeared first on The Intercept.

Read more at: The Intercept http://bit.ly/1QabwCe

Historic Settlement Reached on Behalf of CIA Torture Victims

from August 17, 2017 at 11:18AM http://bit.ly/2vLCCgN

Two victims of the CIA’s torture program have reached a historic legal settlement with the contract psychologists who designed and helped implement it. The U.S. government has never publicly compensated any of the men tortured in CIA custody, and this legal settlement — the terms of which are confidential — is the first of its kind.

Under former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the Justice Department repeatedly moved to block lawsuits at their early stages, arguing that court cases about government torture in clandestine prisons would reveal state secrets. In 2015, however, the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the two psychologists the CIA paid to create torture techniques.

The lawsuit argued that those techniques were later used on the plaintiffs in the case — Suleiman Abdullah Salim and Mohamed Ben Soud, who had been tortured in CIA custody before being released without charges, as well as the family of a third man, Gul Rahman, who was tortured to death in U.S. custody in 2002.

After overcoming multiple government attempts to dismiss the case, the suit was set to go to trial Sept. 5. Today, the ACLU announced the last-minute settlement. Because the settlement mandates confidentiality, lawyers for the ACLU declined to discuss the terms with The Intercept.

“Every previous case involving the CIA torture program was shut down before it even began,” said Dror Ladin, an ACLU attorney. “But our clients prevailed over three separate attempts to dismiss their claims, were able to force top CIA officials to answer questions under oath, and secured a first-of-its-kind settlement.”

Ben Soud told the New York Times: “I feel that justice has been served. Our goal from the beginning was justice and for the people to know what happened in this black hole that was run by the C.I.A.’s offices.”

As part of the settlement, the plaintiffs and defendants released a joint statement admitting that Salim and Ben Soud were subject to “coercive methods,” and that Mitchell and Jessen had “contemplated the use of specific coercive methods to interrogate certain detainees.” In the statement, Mitchell and Jessen maintain that they had no direct knowledge or involvement in the plaintiffs’ interrogations.

As the case had progressed, Mitchell and Jessen maintained that they were not the architects of the program, and that they were merely following government orders. In a bizarre legal defense, the psychologists’ lawyers compared their clients to the contractors who supplied the Nazis with Zyklon B, the poison gas used to murder millions of Jews and others during the Holocaust.

Senate investigators found that Mitchell and Jessen were intimately involved in the program’s formation, and even personally waterboarded Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee in CIA custody. Investigators also found that the psychologists later formed their own company to consult with the CIA, which was paid $81 million before the program was shut down in 2009.

In an opinion to deny a motion of summary judgment last week, Judge Justin Quackenbush dismissed Mitchell and Jessen’s claim that they were not the creators. “It is not credible to argue Defendants were paid $80 million for suggesting some techniques the Air Force … already knew about,” Quackenbush said. “It is also undisputed that defendants did not merely suggest [‘enhanced interrogation techniques’], they actually applied EITs to Zubaydah, interrogated Rahman, and participated in the program for several years.”

According to the original lawsuit, Salim and Ben Soud were both subjected to beatings, starvation, stress positions, confinement in coffin-like boxes, and various forms of water torture. Both had suffered lasting physical and psychological damage. In November 2002, Rahman was stripped naked, beaten, immersed in cold water, and put in an isolation cell overnight, where he died from hypothermia.

Although the government was not a defendant in the case, Mitchell and Jessen likely had access to CIA coffers to cover their legal fees. In 2013, Senate investigators found that Mitchell and Jessen had signed a multimillion-dollar indemnification contract with the CIA, saying that the government would foot their legal bills through 2021 if they were ever sued or prosecuted.

After Obama shut down the CIA’s torture program in 2009, his administration was widely criticized by human rights groups, who argued that the administration’s failure to prosecute officials involved in the program opened the door for future administrations to ignore the law and practice torture again.

Top photo: From left, Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Gul Rahman, and Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud.

The post Historic Settlement Reached on Behalf of CIA Torture Victims appeared first on The Intercept.

Read more at: The Intercept http://bit.ly/1QabwCe

Conditions Worsen for ICE Detainees Following Hunger Strike

from August 14, 2017 at 02:03AM http://bit.ly/2vLS4cS

(Capital & Main)

Omar Rivera Martinez during an interview at Adelanto Detention Facility

Capital & Main is an award-winning publication that reports from California on economic, political and social issues. The American Prospect is co-publishing this piece.

Nine Central American immigrants sat at a table in their dormitory at the troubled Adelanto Detention Facility and asked an officer to deliver a list of their demands to higher-ups. The officer at the for-profit facility in Adelanto, California, in the high desert, north of San Bernardino, refused and ordered them to return to their bunks for an inmate count. Instead, the men linked arms and refused to budge.

“We wanted to be heard,” said Josue Lemus Campos, 24, from El Salvador. He said he and his fellow protesters had been quiet and peaceful during their June protest. But when the men refused to move, the officer immediately called for reinforcements who rushed in, armed with pepper spray. They began shouting orders in English, a language the men don’t fully understand. Minutes later, the guards doused the nine with pepper spray, aiming at their faces.

“We were crying and the guards were laughing,” said Omar Rivera Martinez, 37, also from El Salvador. “I felt like I was going to die. We were suffocating. They pulled us out, beating us, scratching us, throwing us against the wall.” His nose was broken, he said, and a tooth and gold dental crowns were knocked out. “They threw me against the wall four times,” he said. “The most terrible part was they put us in the shower.” He said he was the only one of the nine who refused to bathe in the scalding hot water, which intensified the pain of the pepper spray. The other detainees “were jumping and shouting,” he said. “They were afraid.”

Rivera Martinez said he visited the detention center’s clinic where a doctor refused to treat him. Lemus Campos said he saw a practitioner for a shoulder injury he said guards inflicted during the incident. Several weeks ago, he was told he needed x-rays, but as of mid-July, he hadn’t had them yet.

Lemus Campos said the men now face retaliation and fear for their safety inside the facility operated for Immigration and Customs Enforcement by the Geo Group, one of the two largest for-profit prison companies in the United States. Eight of the nine immigrants who launched the protest remain in custody. One has been deported.

All are asylum seekers who had hoped to fight their cases on the outside. But they say their bonds, between $15,000 and $35,000, are too high for people with no money and few connections in the United States. The steep cost of bail led the list of issues the men had hoped to raise with ICE officials, along with political asylum, better food, and clean water.

Following the pepper-spray incident, the men were placed in two-person disciplinary segregation cells for ten days. Hussain Turk, an attorney who visited Rivera Martinez and Lemus Campos a week after the incident, described what he saw in a sworn declaration.

He said he saw at least 30 scratches on Rivera Martinez, who was brought to the meeting in handcuffs. “His nose is visibly fractured and off-set to the left side of his face by several millimeters,” Turk wrote in his statement. “He appeared frightened and in pain.” Turk said when he asked an officer why his client was handcuffed, the guard made “an exaggerated air-quote gesture” and said, “For inciting a group protest.” Turk wrote that he “perceived his tone and gesture to imply a skepticism regarding the underlying violation for which Rivera Martinez was being disciplined.” Turk was also concerned that he wasn’t permitted a private visit with Lemus Campos. The two men spoke by phone and were separated by a glass pane with a guard present on Lemus Campos’s side.

Part 1 of Rivera Martinez interview at Adelanto Detention Center from CAPITAL & MAIN on Vimeo.

Part 2 of Rivera Martinez interview at Adelanto Detention Center from CAPITAL & MAIN on Vimeo.

GEO Group spokesman Pablo Paez declined to comment on the detainees’ allegations, and in an email referred questions on the incident to ICE.

ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice acknowledged that Rivera Martinez lost his dental crown in the incident, but wrote in an email that the nine men involved were examined by medical personnel and none were injured. “The claim a detainee suffered a fractured nose is simply untrue,” she wrote. A required review of the use of force was conducted, she wrote, and “it was determined that proper policies and procedures were followed.”

Still, Rivera Martinez insisted that he and his fellow detainees were mistreated during their protest and in its aftermath. He said guards have hurled profanity at him, and he and Lemus Campos say phone calls to their attorney are blocked, an action the men’s attorney maintains is illegal. On July 19, Rivera Martinez reported the blocked calls to the ICE officer who escorted him to an interview with Capital & Main inside the facility.

Lemus Campos and Rivera Martinez say they need to confer with their lawyer about their pending asylum cases. Rivera Martinez said he fears for his safety inside the facility, and he and Lemus Campos have expressed fear of returning to their country.

Rivera Martinez, who worked paving roads in San Salvador, said he saw MS-13 gang members murder his brother and sister-in-law. Last fall, he and his wife were kidnapped and held for about 29 days before their captors released them, he said. His daughter had been raped by gang members, became pregnant, and had a child by her attackers, he said. Lemus-Campos declined to have his interview videotaped because he fears for himself and family members who remain in El Salvador, a country he fled to avoid pressure to join criminal gangs.

“I don’t want any of that,” he said. “I don’t want to get involved in bad things. I came here to find peace.”

Lemus Campos said he made a nearly month-long trek from his country through Guatemala and Mexico before arriving in Tijuana in mid-May. He said he and Rivera Martinez joined a large caravan of migrants in Tapachula, Mexico—on the border with Guatemala—for safety on the journey.

The two men are among the fortunate detainees who are represented by counsel. Many asylum seekers, including some of the former Adelanto hunger strikers, are not. Several immigrant-rights groups have championed their cause. However, calls to investigate the protest and the alleged retaliation, including detainees’ inability to communicate with their lawyers, have largely fallen on deaf ears.

Attorney Nicole Ramos, who represents Rivera Martinez and Lemus Campos, complained in July to the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, protesting that her clients’ telephone access to her had been blocked. She wrote that GEO officials didn’t respond to her calls, but she noted that TelMate, the company that provides pay phone service to Adelanto, confirmed that the detention facility blocked the calls. She argued that the detention center’s actions violate a court order that specifically requires the Department of Homeland Security to protect the rights of Salvadorans, like her clients, who are eligible to apply for asylum, including their right to adequate telephone access.

She wrote that she was concerned that the calls were blocked “after counsel filed a civil rights complaint against ICE and the facility” in connection with the guards’ attack on Rivera Martinez and Lemus in June.

ACLU of Southern California attorney Michael Kaufman wrote to the director of ICE’s Los Angeles office citing case law and the agency’s own detention standards to argue that GEO guards used excessive force in violation of ICE’s policy and the constitutional rights of the detainees. Kaufman also wrote that the guards have engaged in a pattern of retaliation against the detainees, including blocking phone calls to their attorney, for exercising their First Amendment right to peacefully protest. He called for an end to the “ongoing retaliation” and for the staff to be disciplined for assaulting the detainees and continuing to retaliate against them. He also asked for a meeting with GEO, ICE, the detainees, and their lawyers to discuss the mistreatment and the grievances that led to the hunger strike.

ICE has not answered his letter, Kaufman said.

“It’s troubling now that ICE doesn’t want to respond to serious allegations,” Kaufman said. “We just hope the agency would take these concerns more seriously and be more transparent about what they’re doing to address them.”

Kice didn’t directly address allegations that detainee calls to their attorneys were blocked, but she said detainees have 24-hour access to call anyone they choose, including attorneys and reporters.

Immigrant-rights advocates say working on behalf of detainees has always been tough, but it may be even harder under the Trump administration. Alejandra Gonza of the University of Washington law school has been helping detainee advocates take their cases to international bodies like the United Nations and the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights when they’ve received little response from ICE and other U.S. authorities. The international groups have no enforcement power, but they do bring public attention to alleged abuses, Gonza said.

In California, the state government may soon be the best hope for both challenging detention conditions and making them more transparent. The legislature is considering Senate Bill 29, which would give the attorney general and local district attorneys the right to enforce ICE detention standards. Additionally, in June the Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 103, a budget bill that requires the attorney general to review ICE detention conditions and report to the governor and legislature. AB 103 places a moratorium on expanding immigration detention facilities and prohibits California counties and cities like Adelanto from entering into new detention contracts with ICE. SB 29 would prohibit cities from renewing or entering contracts with for-profit detention centers.

Inside Adelanto, Rivera Martinez vowed to continue pushing for an investigation into GEO Group’s officers’ use of force against him and other detainees, noting that the facility’s cameras likely caught all of it on tape.

“We’re not lying,” he said. “We’re not exaggerating. We want the video.”

Read more at: The American Prospect http://bit.ly/1l0Tly6

Right-Wing Website Quietly Removes Writings of Neo-Nazi March Organizer from Its Archives

from August 16, 2017 at 11:08AM http://bit.ly/2wpxnnV

Before the Unite the Right rally, Jason Kessler was a contributor to the Daily Caller.

Before he organized the recent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA, Jason Kessler wrote for The Daily Caller and the white nationalist site VDare and appeared as a purported expert on Alex Jones’ Infowars network.

Kessler was the organizer for the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville that featured white supremacists and neo-Nazis. President Donald Trump responded to the violence by issuing a generic condemnation of problems "on many sides" and declining to specifically call out white supremacists — behavior that fits his history of emboldening the white nationalist movement.

Right-wing media outlets like The Daily Caller have also played a role in cultivating white supremacist organizers like Kessler.

The Daily Caller contracted with Kessler “to contribute reportage to” the right-wing site this spring. He wrote two pieces in April with the headlines “Trump Supporters Vow To Rally In Berkeley Without Ann Coulter” and “Uncle: MS-13 Gangsters Mutilated Va. Teenager’s Body In Grisly Murder.” Both pieces promoted Kessler’s organization Unity and Security for America and his Twitter account.

Kessler then wrote a May 14 piece about white supremacists Richard Spencer and Sam Dickson rallying in front of Confederate monuments. ProPublica subsequently reported that the Caller failed to disclose that Kessler “is supportive of white supremacist groups, and on the day of the march had himself made a speech to the protesters in which he praised fascist and racist organizations, thanked a prominent Holocaust denier, and declared the beginnings of a cultural ‘civil war.’” While the Caller suspended its relationship with Kessler, Executive Editor Paul Conner defended Kessler’s work:

“The story is factually accurate and plainly states what happened at the event,” said Paul Conner, executive editor of The Daily Caller. “But in light of his activism on the issue, we have mutually agreed to suspend our freelance relationship with him.”

Asked about the substance of Kessler’s speech in Charlottesville, Conner offered no comment on Kessler’s statements. In an email, he said only, “We pay writers for journalism, not their opinions.”

An editor’s note was appended to Kessler’s article after ProPublica reached out to the Caller about the piece, stating: “The author notified The Daily Caller after publication that he spoke at a luncheon May 14 on behalf of an effort to preserve the monument.”

Media Matters contacted Daily Caller editors this morning about the outlet’s relationship with Kessler, whether the editors regretted publishing him, and if they would consider publishing him in the future. Shortly afterward, the publication removed Kessler’s author page and all his pieces on the site. Media Matters followed up by asking for a clarification about why the site deleted those pieces. The Caller did not respond to a request for comment by publication time.

 

Screenshots of Kessler’s Daily Caller work

 

Infowars has also had a role in promoting Kessler and his racist work.

Editor Paul Joseph Watson, who himself has a history of racism, aired a roughly 30-minute interview with Kessler in January to “discuss the insanity of the left and how they have lost all grip on reality.” The interview is featured on Alex Jones’ Youtube channel with the headline “Jason Kessler: Anti-White Racism Must End.” Infowars also posted a roughly 20-minute April interview with Kessler during which he warned Infowars viewers that there’s a “very pressing danger with these people” who are trying to take down Confederate statues. Both interviews promoted Kessler’s nonprofit and Twitter account.

Alex Jones aired a roughly 15-minute interview with Kessler on August 13, the day after the Saturday rally. During the segment, Jones complained that the media is “penalizing this guy because he’s saying one-third of the racist stuff that I disagree with against the [George] Soros group that’s a total cutout, just make us fight with each other. So how does media say he caused all the violence when clearly antifa was the ones attacking?” (Infowars has been claiming that philanthropist and one-time Media Matters donor George Soros has been purposely funding the Charlottesville violence.) Jones later said during the interview that Kessler walked into a “trap” set by Kessler’s enemies by being at the Charlottesville rally this past weekend.

Kessler wrote three pieces for the “alt-right” affiliated outlet GotNews from January through March. Trump has reportedly received news from that outlet, which is headed by racist troll Charles C. Johnson.

Kessler has also written several posts for the anti-immigrant white nationalist site VDare. A June 19 post (his most recent) concludes that the “governments of the West are waging a campaign of slow extermination against their own core populations. It is white genocide.”

VDare recently announced that it will host a conference next year at Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs, CO. The 2018 event will feature VDare Editor Peter Brimelow, Breitbart.com columnist and former Republican Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, and writer John Derbyshire, who describes himself as a “mild and tolerant” “homophobe” and “racist.”

Brimelow has also contributed op-eds for The Daily Caller. His website posted a defense of the rally on August 12 by “Charlottesville Survivor,” which concluded that “it’s not Unite The Right that is ‘dividing’ America. Whites who aren’t comfortable with being dispossessed in every single Western country, or with seeing the symbols of their heritage wiped out, gathered to protest peacefully. … Why should Unite The Right apologize for anything? Indeed, how can the ‘Far Right’ be regarded as anything other than an incredibly moderate protest movement against a deliberate campaign of genocide?” (The white supremacists did not actually “protest peacefully.”)

 

Read more at: Alternet http://bit.ly/1nDoAlo

Trump Disbands Business Advisory Councils Rather Than Face the Humiliation of Its Members’ Resignations

from August 16, 2017 at 01:51PM http://bit.ly/2vQLzDS

Just this week, he called departing CEOs "grandstanders."

Under increasing pressure, Trump’s best buddies—all the CEOs he hangs with and considers his peers—were getting ready to disband the White House advisory councils they sit on and save face. Because imagine being the last CEO to leave the group. 

But the Donald has decided to pre-empt them.

Remember just back to yesterday when he was attacking them as “grandstanders”? Now he’s quitting them before they can quit him. And he has to be absolutely enraged. These are his people who have completely abandoned him. The tweetstorm in the wee hours tomorrow morning will be epic. Now all he has is the white supremacists. And most of the Republican Congress.

Read more at: Alternet http://bit.ly/1nDoAlo