Friday, April 14, 2017

Straight From the Horse's Server

Sometimes the content of a leaked document is so on the nose in confirming your assumptions you have to wonder if it isn't a hoax. Which was the first reaction I had reading this document from Wikileaks' Hillary Clinton email archive, before I realized the archive was obtained directly from the State Department via FOIA request. Still, it's posted without
Iran's nuclear program and Syria's civil war may seem unconnected, but they are. For Israeli leaders, the real threat from a nuclear-armed Iran is not the prospect of an insane Iranian leader launching an unprovoked Iranian nuclear attack on Israel that would lead to the annihilation of both countries. What Israeli military leaders really worry about -- but cannot talk about -- is losing their nuclear monopoly. 
An Iranian nuclear weapons capability would not only end that nuclear monopoly but could also prompt other adversaries, like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, to go nuclear as well. The result would be a precarious nuclear balance in which Israel could not respond to provocations with conventional military strikes on Syria and Lebanon, as it can today. If Iran were to reach the threshold of a nuclear weapons state, Tehran would find it much easier to call on its allies in Syria and Hezbollah to strike Israel, knowing that its nuclear weapons would serve as a deterrent to Israel responding against Iran itself. 
Back to Syria. It is the strategic relationship between Iran and the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria that makes it possible for Iran to undermine Israel's security — not through a direct attack, which in the thirty years of hostility between Iran and Israel has never occurred, but through its proxies in Lebanon, like Hezbollah, that are sustained, armed and trained by Iran via Syria. 
The end of the Assad regime would end this dangerous alliance. Israel's leadership understands well why defeating Assad is now in its interests...
Bringing down Assad would not only be a massive boon to Israel's security, it would also ease Israel's understandable fear of losing its nuclear monopoly. Then, Israel and the United States might be able to develop a common view of when the Iranian program is so dangerous that military action could be warranted. Right now, it is the combination of Iran's strategic alliance with Syria and the steady progress in Iran's nuclear enrichment program that has led Israeli leaders to contemplate a surprise attack — if necessary over the objections of Washington. With Assad gone, and Iran no longer able to threaten Israel through its, proxies, it is possible that the United States and Israel can agree on red lines for when Iran's program has crossed an unacceptable threshold. In short, the White House can ease the tension that has developed with Israel over Iran by doing the right thing in Syria. [emphasis added]
That Israel and "tension" in the relationship drive policy and override our own national interest is a given. The prospect of refusing Israel outright is unthinkable. On our side it's all about negotiating a better deal in our share of improving Israel's position, as determined by Israel. In the case of Iran and Syria, that position is Israel's nuclear "monopoly"--why Pakistan doesn't count I don't know.

And we negotiate poorly, to say the least. Here we are on the verge of intervening directly in Syria after having provoked its civil war as part of the broader neocon project ("seven countries in five years)--Hillary's own contribution being the Libyan disaster, which is cited approvingly in this email from 2012--ultimately just to dissuade Israel from going off too soon on Iran, and setting off a broader war in the region, attacks on US troops and terrorist attacks in the US and Europe. The irony is that it's Israel's aggressive tendencies that threaten US interests and lives.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017


Local free weekly Willamette Week reports on ICE coming after criminal "dreamers" in Portland:
The largest reported deportation sweep in the U.S. under President Donald Trump of previously sanctioned immigrants known as "Dreamers" took place last weekend in the Portland area. In the last week, federal immigration agents arrested three people who had been given limited amnesty under President Barack Obama, according to multiple sources. 
The three people had at one time all registered with the U.S. government under an Obama-era program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which allows undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children to legally remain here. 
One, Luis Gerado Zazueta, had not renewed his DACA paperwork, says his immigration attorney, Maria Zlateva. Another, Emmanuel Ayala, had gone in for fingerprinting to renew his DACA three days before his arrest, as first reported by local Spanish-language talk show Cita Con Nelly. 
The arrests of the Dreamers added to a growing sense that the White House is targeting so-called "sanctuary cities" like Portland for crackdowns on undocumented immigrants. Two of the DACA arrests came Sunday morning, a day before U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared his Justice Department would no longer award millions of dollars in grants to sanctuary cities that decline to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
I've never seen it mentioned but doubt it escaped Latino activists that daca means "hand it over" in Spanish. One of the dreamers detained because of a drunk driving conviction is a local activist with Latino Network, a city of Portland program to train Latino activists, indoctrinate city employees in Theory and steer city contracts. From the city's website:
Latino Network’s (LN) mission is to provide transformative opportunities, services and advocacy for the education, leadership and civic engagement of our youth, families and communities. LN’s Diverse Civic Leaders Academy works with young emerging Latino leaders to build leadership skills, organizing capabilities, and develop capacity. Trainings focus on the systems of oppression; gender justice; leadership skill building; conflict resolution;economic, environmental and social sustainability; civic engagement; and community organizing techniques such as volunteer recruitment, base-building, meeting planning, turn-out and facilitation. Workshop trainers from government, the non-profit, and private sector provide expertise and give participants the opportunity to learn first-hand from those with real-world leadership experience.
Additionally, participants work with the Center for Intercultural Organizing (CIO) and their PILOT immigrant and refugee participant group on a series of co-trainings to build a cross-cultural coalition. Puentes, or Bridges in Spanish, is an organizing project where we build capacity and develop leadership opportunities for low-income Latinos to be leaders who advocate for the health, well-being, safety, and quality of life of their community. Trainings are on civic engagement, capacity building, leadership development, and involvement in local government, such as testifying to City Council and participating in city and county commissions and boards. Additionally we hold Living Room Dialogues whereby communities work together to dissolve stereotypes, gain deeper understandings and increased collaboration. Dialogues take place between Latinos and members of the police force and between Latino immigrants and the Anglo community. Discussions took place with government officials on the ways to meet the community’s employment and contracting goal. This resulted in government agencies requiring interested prime contractors to attend a mandatory prebid meeting in the Cully neighborhood, the first time a mandatory prebid meeting has been held to support local hiring and minority business contracting.
Room for one more just opened up at the Diverse Civic Leaders Academy, at least. The activist's arrest moved the already worked-up ACLU and others to louder protests, but at this point their histrionics--it's amazing what happens with a little change in policy--can only fortify the deterrent effect of real enforcement:
Romeo Sosa, director of the Portland Voz Workers' Rights Education Project, which runs the day labor center on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., says the increase in reported ICE activity in public places spreads fear and encourages self-deportation. "It's an intimidation tactic," he says. By making its agents visible on the streets, ICE hopes "people will be afraid, and they'll pack their stuff and leave the country." Some, Sosa adds, have already done so.
Of the three arrested the activist has a drunk driving conviction, one has a minor weapons charge (brandishing a knife it appears) and one has a marijuana possession charge. It appears about a quarter of those arrested nationwide have no particular conviction cited by ICE. Recall President Trump seemed to soften on "dreamers" early on.

The Weekly:
ICE now labels Multnomah and Washington counties as "non-cooperative jurisdictions" and intends to publish a weekly report of how many immigrants wanted by the agency were not handed over by county jailers as a result of sanctuary policies approved by state and local elected officials. 
The first such report, released March 20, was a mess of jumbled statistics and drew swift criticism from local officials in counties labeled "non-cooperative." The ICE report named Washington County as one of the "highest volume" sanctuary jurisdictions, as it received seven ICE "detainer" orders demanding the transfer of immigrants in local custody during the week of Jan. 28 through Feb. 3. 
This seemed to imply the county protected seven foreign criminals from deportation that week—even though not all of those individuals had been convicted of a crime, nor had their immigration cases been adjudicated. The report also noted that because local law enforcement does not typically inform ICE when denying a detainer, the numbers essentially represented guesswork by ICE personnel. [emphasis added]
Well then, no shit, as they say, it's guesswork. It's also notable that before Trump the feds had simply given up issuing detainers to uncooperative jurisdictions in an environment of non-enforcement, making it a mystery just how many criminal aliens have been released by preening local authorities much less their impact. And it's beyond me what the point is in the following paragraph:
Two immigrants held in the Multnomah County Jail on charges of assault and amphetamine possession were listed in the report—although their alleged crimes were not necessarily any more serious than those of the approximately 1,200 other inmates in county custody on any given day.
And the city wants to help those mere muggers and meth heads:
City officials have taken actions, from creating a training program for city employees to providing $50,000 toward the legal defense of immigrants' cases. 
But that isn't enough for the sort of activists the city is employing at the Diverse Civic Leaders Academy:
But advocates argue the city could go further—by making fewer arrests for low-level offenses, for instance.
Law and order will have to be suspended until this law and order craze blows over.

plus ca change

If malice and vanity wear the coat of philanthropy, shall that pass? If an angry bigot assumes this bountiful cause of Abolition, and comes...