Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Venezuela erupts, possible coup near (oh, it is not...)

Widespread media reports suggest a possible or even probable coup in progress in Venezuela, by Juan Guiado.
Tim Pool has a video just out.

His video talks about how he was chased and targeted by leftist “revolutionaries” when he was there.
Maduro is using motorcycle thug gangs organized by Cuba to try to keep some sort of hold.  Gangs have run over pedestrians in the streets on camera as have white tanks.  This is as graphic as was Christchurch. 

John Bolton says “we want some peaceful transfer of power.”  Maduro’s “election” in May 2018 was seen as questionable and his term expired in January 2019 but he did not relinquish power.

Last week, News2Share filmed Maduro persons still at the Venezuelan embassy expecting to be kicked out by the Secret Service.  I paid an outdoor visit Friday.  The staff supported Maduro and his socialism in talking to me on Friday.

Independent journalist Alejandro Alvarez is at the Embassy now streaming. Ford Fischer reports also.

Eli Lake on Bloomberg explains that this is not a coup because Maduro's presence has been illegal since Jan.  Russia discouraged Maduro from escaping to Cuba (according to Pompeo).  Think now about Russia's recent meeting with Kim Jong Un. 

Monday, April 29, 2019

Apparently some non-relatives are allowed to "sponsor" release of some children in migrant shelters at the border; Trump wants to charge asylum seekers

NBC News reports that Trump wants to charge asylum seekers a fee so that all asylum claims can be resolved within 180 days.  This hardly sounds realistic.  Here is the story.  But Trump also wants to deny asylum work permits after the usual 180 days until their asylum is approved, if it still takes longer (it usually does, although there is LIFO), as per CNN. 

This idea would surely lead to fundraisers to pay the fees.

Susanne Gamboa reports a case where a family of non-relatives was finally allowed to “sponsor” a boy from an immigrant shelter after the father was returned to Guatemala.   This could lead to more similar cases and drives by non-profits to find non-relative sponsors.  This is still a murky area.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Venezuela embassy standoff and Putin-North Korea summit; will mainstream media connect the dots, please?

There are a couple of potentially serious things developing quickly.

Ford Fischer of News2Share was at the Venezuelan embassy last night as the “Embassy Protection Coalition” and Medea Benjamim braced for a possible Secret Service raid to remove remnants of the Maduro regime, if I recall properly. The Trump administration wants to recognize only Juan Guaido, as part of the MAGA "red line".

While one may despise Madura and the failure of Venezuela under communism, there is another practical complication.

Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un are meeting in a summit near Vladivostok, Russia, on the Pacific Ocean.

Putin has recently announced hypersonic missiles to be available in 2020 for Russia’s defense, and Kim Jong Un could feel emboldened to start missile testing again after meeting with Putin, given the breakdown of talks with Trump in Hanoi.

That, when you think about the possible EMP threat that James Woolsey has talked about before (discussed on these blogs previously) but that the mainstream media refuses to talk about much, could present a devastating risk to the US homeland given Trump’s volatile and unpredictable behaviors.  The Russian missile could also possibly create an undersea detonation and splatter US coasts with fallout. 

 CNN has a typical story. Fox news has an odd story about a “train mishap”.  (If you get an "access denied", copy the URL into your browser and click one more time and you will get the story. Or get it from Twitter, here.   This almost sounds like a perversion of the EU Article 11 "link tax" in the US since news stations don't have paywalls like newspapers do.)
The Washington Times (p. A9 Apr 25) in an article by Guy Sanger talks about Kim and Putin discussing North Korean laborers. 
David E. Sanger of the New York Times had talked about a “Red line” between the US and Putin over Venezuela on April 1. 
Of course, this is speculative, and we’ll have to see what verifiable facts come in if the media pays more attention.  This is all serious stuff.

As of 10 AM Thursday, CNN wasn't taking all this very seriously.  Just business as usual. A slight change in physics leverage. 

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Notre Dame donations from billionaires stirs more riots in Paris; horror in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday

Yellow Vest protests in France grow as rightist populists join with leftists in demanding expropriation of billionaire wealth, after offers to repair the Notre Dame.

A purification in France?
Sri Lanka has blocked most social media after massive coordinate bombing attacks that seemed to focus on Christians on Easter Sunday, and there have been arrests but little information, Time story. 
Trey Yingst has been covering Sri Lanka from Jerusalem, twitter video here

By Louis H. G. - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Militia group holding undocumented migrants broken, leader arrested by FBI

The FBI has arrested the leader of an armed militia holding undocumented migrants at gun point to turn them over to border patrol, as in the Buzzfeed News story Aldofo Flores. 

The “citizen’s arrest” idea is said not to apply to federal immigration law.  The actions were called kidnappings. 

United Constitutional Patriots funding attempts was cutoff by GoFundMe, Paypal, and probably other processors, whom they want the public to believe is trustworthy for fundraising.
Militias came to public attention back in the 1990s in connection with Timothy McVeigh.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

North Korea resumes "minor" missile testing

North Korea has tested a short range “tactical guided weapon” but not an ICBM, according to many news reports, such as this one on CNN 

This is the first test of anything since a meeting between Trump and Un in Hanoi broke up in February.

But there are more reports of railroad cars near a suspected site where HEU is manufactured.

And Kim Jong Un is expected to meet with Putin in eastern Russia soon.

WJLA7 reported this in Washington DC around 6:02 PM but there were no detailed stories online until around 7 PM when NBC had a story.  ABC News had mentioned it late in the Evening News at 6:30 PM EDT.

Will Ripley of CNN suggests that Kim Jong Un is trying to send a nudge to Trump to back off on the sanctions. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Trump administration orders detention of asylum seekers who enter illegally, even after passing credible fear interviews (90 day wait as DHS is overwhelmed now)

Attorney General William Barr has issued an order, to go into effect in 90 days, to allow the government to hold asylum seekers in detention if they entered the country illegally, even after passing the first credible fear interview.

Here is a typical story, on Slate, by Eliot Hannon. 

The order would seem to contradict the Flores settlement and would probably be litigated. But some experts say that Trump’s order is still legal if limited only to those who entered illegally to start.
Stephan Dinan of The Washington Times writes that migrants who have been released are overwhelming the border city of Yuma, AZ.  
DHS is certainly running out of detention space to enforce Barr’s order.

There remains a question as to whether private citizens could quasi-sponsor asylum seekers.  Recently, there have been special shelters opened (like Casa Ruby in Washington DC) and auto trips to Texas to bring back specific LGBT asylum seekers to several cities. But the mechanisms by which one volunteers to do this have not been made public. 

Some commentators still insist that Trump came up with the family separation last spring deliberately to get around the Flores rule. 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Assange hauled out of embassy in London, will face charges in U.S.; implications for journalists, and for Chelsea Manning

The U.S. DOJ has charged Julian Assange with helping Chelsea (previously Bradley) Manning with password cracking to steal classified documents, according to many news reports Thursday morning, for example, the Daily Beast, which links to its earlier story about London police hauling Assange out of the Ecuadoran embassy for jumping bail with regard to an earlier charge of sexual misconduct in Sweden.

Chelsea Manning has been jailed since early March in Alexandria, VA for refusing to testify to a grand jury about Assange.  Some of this time was in solitary confinement. Curiously, the LGBTQ  press doesn’t seem to be willing to cover the matter (while a battle over Trump’s partial transgender ban in the military plays out in the press).  Ford Fischer and his News2Share outlet has reported extensively on her confinement.

But Manning had been given clemency (not the same as a pardon) by President Obama before he left office.

It isn’t clear as of early Thursday what will happen with her confinement.

But a more disturbing question concerns the rights and responsibilities of journalists.  Reporters (and bloggers) may not break the law themselves (as apparently Assange may have). Most legal precedent suggests they may publish classified information sent to them. However, most reputable news outlets will not cross a certain line

In the years following 9/11, I contacted authorities several times when unusual information about possible (sometimes overseas) attacks was passed to me (as my website was quite visible in the early days of Web 1.0).  In at least one case, I later published the contact.   

Pool’s video talks about the responsibilities of journalists and talks about Greenwald and Snowden for comparison. Pool says his video was suppressed for a while.  I had no trouble viewing it.  He mentions the possibility of a "failsafe" release. 

Update: April 16

Lior Leser explains the "conspiracy" part of the US indictment against Assange, which actually failed. 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Trump keeps running afoul of the law on asylum seekers; now family separation is a "binary choice"

Trump’s fiasco with asylum seekers at the border changes with the hour.

A federal judge (Richard Seeborg in San Francisco) has ruled that Trump cannot keep asylum seekers in Mexico. 

We’ve already heard about the odyssey of Kirtsjen Nielsen, who resigned after cutting short a long trip (I know the feeling, it happened to me in 1976, with "New York deli service on the way back) to return because Trump thinks she isn’t tough enough.

Vox has the details here

We’ve also heard a lot today about the “binary choice” that Trump wants on family separation. It’s like “Sophie’s Choice”.  Keep families together in detention indefinitely, or let the children be released under Flores while the parents stay in jail. 

We also heard earlier today that Trump had been “planning” family separations since early in his term. That’s bound to lead to more angry demonstrations and protests.  Well, it has to.

Trump has also said, “we have no more room at the inn” for more asylum seekers. 

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Kim Jong Un visits father's birthplace; what kind of decision is forthcoming?

Kim Jong Un recently attended his father’s birthplace (in Samjiyon).

This has been said to be a warning that he will make an important decision soon.  This could mean, for example, launching a satellite or resuming a nuclear test.  Here is the CNN story

The Korea Times also has a story

A March 15 NYTimes story by Sang-Hoen suggests that Kim could resume playing with nuclear weapons if sanctions are not eased.  This is more than playing with matches. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Trump could close border and disrupt US economy.

I did talk to someone who spent four days in mid March in some border towns, especially McAllen and Brownsville-Matamoros.  It was a church group, and some of the time was spent in service events like cooking and serving meals. It seems as though there are host families in the area. There will be more followup on Wordpress soon.

But we also know that the crisis is increasing, and Trump has threatened to close the border, which could have economic threats, blocking the arrival of imports (like auto repair parts).  A lot of produce could become much more expensive.

Many people live across the border and commute legally. 

Stephanie Collinson explains for CNN, link

Trump also has threatened to cut off aid to Honduras and El Salvador. Trump argues that the governments of these countries allow gangs and cartels to run wild anyway.

Update: April 6

Trump now says he will give Mexico a year to stem the migration or else impose a tariff or then close the border.  He says that the asylum system should be scrapped because it doesn't work (CNN).

Picture, Wikipedia: 
By No machine-readable author provided. Dand8282 assumed (based on copyright claims). - No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY 2.5, Link