U.S. court documents reveal immigrant children tortured — tied down, hooded, drugged, stripped, beaten, isolated, abused — starting with Obama administration

Obama’s Department of Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson declared that the jailing of Central American refugees seeking asylum, and the separation of parents and children, would have a positive effect in reducing the sudden influx of refugees in 2014. It was Terry McAuliffe, the longtime crony of Hillary Clinton, who presided over the torture of immigrant teenagers at Shenandoah from 2014 to 2017.

Global Research, June 24, 2018

Court documents made public in Virginia and Texas give a glimpse of the systematic brutality being meted out to immigrant children in both public and private jails. Children are strapped down, hooded and beaten, or drugged by force, as part of the everyday procedure in what can only be called the American Gulag.

An Associated Press report published Thursday gave details of the abuses committed last year against young Latino migrants at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center near Staunton, Virginia. Lawyers for the teenage victims sued the prison—a state facility run by a consortium of seven towns and cities in the Shenandoah Valley—and a court hearing is set for July.

According to a half-dozen sworn statements, given by the victims in Spanish and then translated for filing with the federal court for the Western District of Virginia, children as young as 14 were beaten while handcuffed, tied down to chairs while stripped naked and hooded, and held for long periods in solitary confinement, sometimes naked and cold.

All these are forms of torture practiced at Guantanamo Bay and at CIA torture prisons around the world. These techniques have been transferred back into the United States and unleashed on immigrant children, who have been demonized by the Trump administration.

The lawsuit filed by the nonprofit Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs declares that young Latino immigrants held at Shenandoah “are subjected to unconstitutional conditions that shock the conscience, including violence by staff, abusive and excessive use of seclusion and restraints, and the denial of necessary mental health care.” As a result of “malicious and sadistic applications of force,” the youth have “sustained significant injuries, both physical and psychological.”

A Honduran youth sent to Shenandoah when he was 15 said in his statement,

“Whenever they used to restrain me and put me in the chair, they would handcuff me… [They] strapped me down all the way, from your feet all the way to your chest, you couldn’t really move… They have total control over you. They also put a bag over your head. It has little holes; you can see through it. But you feel suffocated with the bag on.”

A 15-year-old from Mexico who spent nine months at Shenandoah described similar treatment.

“They handcuffed me and put a white bag of some kind over my head,” he said, according to his sworn statement. “They took off all of my clothes and put me into a restraint chair, where they attached my hands and feet to the chair. They also put a strap across my chest. They left me naked and attached to that chair for two and a half days, including at night.”

A 14-year-old Guatemalan youth reported frequent imprisonment in his tiny cell for up to 23 hours a day, as well as long periods of physical restraint.

“When they couldn’t get one of the kids to calm down, the guards would put us in a chair—a safety chair, I don’t know what they call it—but they would just put us in there all day,” he said in his sworn statement. “This happened to me, and I saw it happen to others, too. It was excessive.”

A 17-year-old who fled Mexico to escape an abusive father and drug cartel violence was arrested at the US border and passed through several detention centers before arriving at Shenandoah, one of three facilities in the United States with contracts from the Office of Refugee Resettlement, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, to provide “secure facilities” for young immigrants. The boy was frequently shackled, usually with cloth bindings, and reported at least one violent strip search and several beatings. He was driven to attempt suicide several times.

Other allegations include that the Latino youth received worse food and facilities than local juvenile prisoners, mostly white, and that meals were frequently cold and inadequate, leaving the children hungry.

The AP interviewed an unnamed child development specialist who had worked with teens at Shenandoah.

“The majority of the kids we worked with when we went to visit them were emotionally and verbally abused. I had a kid whose foot was broken by a guard,” she said. “They would get put in isolation for months for things like picking up a pencil when a guard had said not to move. Some of them started hearing voices that were telling them to hurt people or hurt themselves, and I knew when they had gotten to Shenandoah they were not having any violent thoughts.”

Because the children held at Shenandoah were unaccompanied minors, rather than separated from their families, there were some suggestions in the media that they had gang connections that somehow justified the brutal treatment. But according to the AP report, a program director at the facility said the youth had been screened for gang connections and were actually suffering from mental health issues resulting from trauma in their home countries.

The acts of torture involved multiple guards at the facility, which was run by a regional board but under the ultimate control of the state government, headed throughout this period by Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe. The new governor, Democrat Ralph Northam, who took office January 1, ordered a state investigation into the claims of abuse, but only after the AP report became public Thursday.

Even younger children were targeted for abuse at a Texas facility operated under contract with the Office of Refugee Resettlement, according to a report published by the Center for Investigative Reporting and the Texas Tribune Tuesday. The allegations were further detailed in a court suit filed by the Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law.

The lawsuit charges that the Shiloh Treatment Center in Manvel, Texas administered psychotropic drugs to immigrant children, who in some cases were separated from their parents at the border. Neither the children, some as young as nine years old, nor the parents gave consent to the treatment, and in some cases, children were forcibly drugged as they fought and screamed.

One report reads:

“Some children held at Shiloh reported being given up to nine different pills in the morning and six in the evening, including antipsychotic drugs, antidepressants, Parkinson’s disease medication and seizure medications. They were told they would remain detained if they refused drugs, the lawsuit said. Children also said that after taking the drugs, they experienced side effects that rendered them fatigued and incapable of walking.”

The lawsuit charges:

“ORR routinely administers children psychotropic drugs without lawful authorization… When youth object to taking such medications, ORR compels them. ORR neither requires nor asks for a parent’s consent before medicating a child, nor does it seek lawful authority to consent in parents’ stead. Instead, ORR or facility staff sign ‘consent’ forms anointing themselves with ‘authority’ to administer psychotropic drugs to confined children.”

The seven pills named in the court filings—clonazepam, duloxetine, guanfacine, Geodon, olanzapine, Latuda and divalproex—are medications used to control depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, bipolar disorder, mood disorders, schizophrenia and seizures. This treatment amounted to applying “chemical straitjackets” to subdue the children, rather than meeting medical needs, the lawsuit charges.

According to the investigative reporting, the ORR paid $3.4 billion to private organizations to hold immigrant children, and nearly half of this, $1.5 billion, went to 13 companies that had been accused of hundreds of serious violations of their responsibility to provide care. These included failure to obtain medical treatment for accidents or illness, “inappropriate contact” between children and staff (apparently of a sexual nature), and neglect.

These reports of horrific treatment of innocent children do not just expose the savagery and sadism of individual guards, administrators and other officials, or the greed of corporate bosses seeking to join in the orgy of profiteering from federal contracts for the detention and abuse of immigrants. What is revealed above all is the criminal character of the American political elite, both Democrats and Republicans, who have deliberately encouraged an atmosphere of brutality and terror as their preferred method of “deterring” immigrants from crossing the US-Mexico border. The responsibility, moreover, rests not just with the sociopathic bully in the White House today, but also with his Democratic predecessor, responsible for more deportations than any previous president.

Obama’s Department of Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson declared that the jailing of Central American refugees seeking asylum, and the separation of parents and children, would have a positive effect in reducing the sudden influx of refugees in 2014. It was Terry McAuliffe, the longtime crony of Hillary Clinton, who presided over the torture of immigrant teenagers at Shenandoah from 2014 to 2017.

The shift from Obama to Trump has not fundamentally changed the policy of the US ruling class towards immigrants, which has always been of an anti-democratic and brutal character. But in the hands of Trump and his fascistic aide Stephen Miller, the brutality has become more systematic, and it is accompanied by a campaign aimed at whipping up anti-immigrant racism and hysteria over the purported danger that the United States will be “overrun,” as Trump claimed in his speech Wednesday night to a rally in Minnesota.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal Thursday, the Trump administration awarded multiple contracts involving tens of millions of dollars earlier this year to build detention facilities for children. This confirms that the mass separation of children from their parents, which followed the announcement of the “zero tolerance” policy by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, was not an unexpected byproduct of the new policy, but was planned and deliberate. It is a premeditated crime, the state kidnapping of more than 2,400 children, for which Trump, Sessions, Stephen Miller, Kirstjen Nielsen and other top officials should be prosecuted and jailed.

Far from abandoning this policy—as media reports on the executive order issued by Trump Wednesday suggested—the White House is preparing to accelerate the mass detention of immigrants, including children. A Pentagon spokesman said Thursday that military bases in Texas and Arkansas had been reviewed as possible locations for housing as many as 20,000 immigrant children, double the number currently in custody.

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Featured image is from Countercurrents.

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Video: Truth about $21 trillion missing at the Pentagon

From Global Research

June 24, 2018

First video below is a 20 minute interview David DeGraw had with Lee Camp.

They discussed the latest news on the unaccounted for $21 Trillion and the insanity of dropping 121 bombs a day by the US.

Scroll down for the abridged version.

<iframe width=”690″ height=”400″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/0KfJO8Irjyo&#8221; frameborder=”0″ allow=”autoplay; encrypted-media” allowfullscreen><!–iframe>

Source: Redacted Tonight

Second video below is an abridged version of the discussion.

Source: Changemaker Media

The original source of this article is Global Research

U.S. State Department ‘deeply troubled’ over Syrian operations in…Syria! Against ISIS and Al Qaeda!

Global Research, June 22, 2018

State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert released a statement today warning the Syrian government to cease and desist from its final military push against ISIS and al-Qaeda groups in southwest Syria. The United States is “deeply troubled by reports of increasing Syrian regime operations in southwest Syria” because such operations are within the “de-escalation zone negotiated between the United States, Jordan, and the Russian Federation last year and reaffirmed between Presidents Trump and Putin in Da Nang, Vietnam in November,” the statement says.

What a strange warning. The United States, which illegally occupies territory of a country nearly 6,000 miles away, is warning Syria, the country it partly occupies, not to conduct military operations against terrorist organizations within its own borders!

Aside from the absurdity of Nauert’s press release, there is the important matter that the whole statement is a lie.

First, the “deconfliction zone” to which she refers has been unilaterally declared by the United States. Syria never agreed to cease military operations within its own borders. Suggesting that Damascus is violating some agreement when it was never party to the agreement is shockingly dishonest.

Second, even the “de-escalation zones” agreed between Russia, Iran, and Turkey in Astana, Kazakhstan, in May, 2017, exempted UN-recognized terrorist groups from the deal. So even if Syria was a party to the US-claimed “de-escalation” agreement, its current advance on ISIS and al-Qaeda controlled territory would not be a violation.

Third, the State Department’s claims on the “Da Nang” agreement between Presidents Putin and Trump are purposely misleading. The very first sentence of the “Da Nang” statement affirms the two leaders’ “determination to defeat ISIS in Syria,” demonstrating the high priority placed on fighting ongoing terrorist occupation of parts of Syria.

So why now, seven months later, is the US warning Syria against completing the very task that Trump and Putin made a top priority?

Also, the “Da Nang statement” discusses the “de-confliction” areas explicitly in the context of the fight against ISIS:

The Presidents agreed to maintain open military channels of communication between military professionals to help ensure the safety of both US and Russian forces and de-confliction of partnered forces engaged in the fight against ISIS. They confirmed these efforts will be continued until the final defeat of ISIS is achieved.

So, again, why is the US objecting to the Syrian government’s actions to achieve a goal — defeat of ISIS — reiterated by the US government?

The “Da Nang” statement also made it clear that when it comes to Syrian territory, that country’s sovereignty must be respected:

The Presidents affirmed their commitment to Syria’s sovereignty, unity, independence, territorial integrity, and non-sectarian character…

How can the US be committed to Syria’s sovereignty when it violates that sovereignty by occupying Syrian territory and warning the Syrian government against attacking al-Qaeda and ISIS-dominated areas of Syria?

The United States — which maintains hundreds of US troops illegally in Syria — warns Syria about conducting military operations within its own borders against internationally-recognized terrorist groups, citing the “Da Nang” agreement, which:

…reinforces the success of the ceasefire initiative, to include the reduction, and ultimate elimination, of foreign forces and foreign fighters from the area…

But those “foreign fighters” they agreed to eliminate by definition must include the US military itself! So actually it is the US that is violating the agreement by remaining in Syria, not the Syrian government by fighting al-Qaeda!

As an astute colleague wrote today,

have also been rumors in Washington that the Administration is preparing for something ‘big’ in Syria, possibly related to warnings from the Pentagon that Syrian forces have been threatening the unilaterally declared “de-escalation zone” in the country’s southeast.”

Nauert’s release may be one big lie, but the US threat against Syria is looking to be deadly serious.

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Featured image is from the author.

121 bombs a day: Trump’s military drops a bomb every 12 minutes, and no one is talking about it – Lee Camp

June 21, 2018

By Lee Camp

We live in a state of perpetual war, and we never feel it. While you get your gelato at the hip place where they put those cute little mint leaves on the side, someone is being bombed in your name.

While you argue with the 17-year-old at the movie theater who gave you a small popcorn when you paid for a large, someone is being obliterated in your name. While we sleep and eat and make love and shield our eyes on a sunny day, someone’s home, family, life and body are being blown into a thousand pieces in our names.

Once every 12 minutes.

The United States military drops an explosive with a strength you can hardly comprehend once every 12 minutes. And that’s odd, because we’re technically at war with—let me think—zero countries. So that should mean zero bombs are being dropped, right?

Hell no! You’ve made the common mistake of confusing our world with some sort of rational, cogent world in which our military-industrial complex is under control, the music industry is based on merit and talent, Legos have gently rounded edges (so when you step on them barefoot, it doesn’t feel like an armor-piercing bullet just shot straight up your sphincter), and humans are dealing with climate change like adults rather than burying our heads in the sand while trying to convince ourselves that the sand around our heads isn’t getting really, really hot.

You’re thinking of a rational world. We do not live there.

Instead, we live in a world where the Pentagon is completely and utterly out of control. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the $21 trillion (that’s not a typo) that has gone unaccounted for at the Pentagon. But I didn’t get into the number of bombs that ridiculous amount of money buys us. President George W. Bush’s military dropped 70,000 bombs on five countries. But of that outrageous number, only 57 of those bombs really upset the international community.

Because there were 57 strikes in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen—countries the U.S. was neither at war with nor had ongoing conflicts with. And the world was kind of horrified. There was a lot of talk that went something like, “Wait a second. We’re bombing in countries outside of war zones? Is it possible that’s a slippery slope ending in us just bombing all the goddamn time? (Awkward pause.) … Nah. Whichever president follows Bush will be a normal adult person (with a functional brain stem of some sort) and will therefore stop this madness.”

We were so cute and naive back then, like a kitten when it’s first waking up in the morning.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported that under President Barack Obama there were “563 strikes, largely by drones, that targeted Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. …”

It’s not just the fact that bombing outside of a war zone is a horrific violation of international law and global norms. It’s also the morally reprehensible targeting of people for pre-crime, which is what we’re doing and what the Tom Cruise movie “Minority Report” warned us about. (Humans are very bad at taking the advice of sci-fi dystopias. If we’d listened to “1984,” we wouldn’t have allowed the existence of the National Security Agency. If we listened to “The Terminator,” we wouldn’t have allowed the existence of drone warfare. And if we’d listened to “The Matrix,” we wouldn’t have allowed the vast majority of humans to get lost in a virtual reality of spectacle and vapid nonsense while the oceans die in a swamp of plastic waste. … But you know, who’s counting?)

There was basically a media blackout while Obama was president. You could count on one hand the number of mainstream media reports on the Pentagon’s daily bombing campaigns under Obama. And even when the media did mention it, the underlying sentiment was, “Yeah, but look at how suave Obama is while he’s OK’ing endless destruction. He’s like the Steve McQueen of aerial death.”

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UK PM’s husband’s Capital Group is largest shareholder in BAE, shares soared after Syrian airstrikes

From RT
April 18, 2018

Philip May, husband of the UK prime minister, works for a company that is the largest shareholder in arms manufacturer, BAE Systems, whose share price has soared since the recent airstrikes in Syria.

The company, Capital Group, is also the second-largest shareholder in Lockheed Martin – a US military arms firm that supplies weapons systems, aircraft and logistical support. Its shares have also rocketed since the missile strikes last week.

The fact has not gone unnoticed by some on Twitter, who agree that BAE Systems has done very well out of the UK-US-France allied airstrikes on Syria, which were sanctioned by Theresa May. It has been reported that the UK’s contribution to military strikes was to fire eight ‘Storm-Shadow’ missiles at an alleged chemical weapons facility, each of which cost £790,000 ($1.13 million) – totaling £6.32 million ($9 million). The missiles were manufactured by BAE Systems.

Theresa May’s husband has worked as a relationship manager for the research investment company Capital Group since 2005. The Tory-BAE links go even deeper, however. The former chancellor of the exchequer and present editor-in-chief at the Evening Standard, George Osborne’s other employer Black Rock is the fifth-largest shareholder in BAE System.

Figures revealed as of March 31, 2018 reveal that the Capital Group has amassed over 360,000 shares in the company, up over 11 percent on the previous quarter, which may have contributed to a hefty rise in BAE’s share price, which currently stands at around 600p.

For the full article:

https://www.rt.com/uk/424392-may-husbands-capital-group/

See also:

https://www.rt.com/uk/430566-trump-detention-philip-may/

Philip May and family profit from Trump’s caging of children in detention centers