Chapo and the Narco-Spectacle…JACOBIN

I heard the author of this piece (posted below), Christy Thornton, on Democracy Now today. She presents an original and incisive analysis, both in her essay and in the Democracy Now interview…   For so long, I have cringed at the coverage of Mexico’s human rights catastrophe presented as a drug war telenovela. So much popular journalism presents this disaster that has cost the lives of at least 300,000 people, as a series of gory and funny anecdotes that depict the violence in Mexico as the product of “kingpins” and their entitled “juniors” who behave as evil clowns and spoiled rich kids.  This story should not be about the perpetrators, but about the hundreds of thousands of victims who are criminalized at the moment of their deaths. A lot of the mainstream coverage of these tales gets converted into the fictions of novels, movies, TV series’  that now @realdonaldtrump spews back at us as his warped reality…  https://www.vox.com/2019/1/27/18198729/women-duct-tape-trump-truck-border And: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/01/17/trumps-stories-taped-up-women-smuggled-into-us-are-divorced-reality-experts-say/?utm_term=.ee992d8b604d

As I’ve recommended here before, see the daily coverage by Keegan Hamilton at VICE NEWS, @keeganhamilton on twitter.  Also Alan Feuer of the New York Times @alanfeuer  and pieces in The Guardian by Ed Vulliamy, most recently: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/02/el-chapo-trial-revealed-betrayal-torture-bribe

 
Below: Christy Thornton

The full transcript is online at this link:

https://www.democracynow.org/2019/2/5/trial_of_el_chapo_highlights_failure

Trial of El Chapo Highlights Failure of U.S. War on Drugs, But Will U.S. Ever Be Held to Account?

El Chapo and the Narco-Spectacle

El Chapo’s trial continues this week, brimming with sordid tales of kingpins and cartels. But what the media spectacle can’t justify is a failing “war on drugs” that has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

FULL ARTICLE: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2018/11/el-chapo-trial-mexico-drug-war

_____

molly molloy

15 people killed in Juarez over the weekend…El Diario

Over the first three days of February there were 15 homicides in Juarez.  Added to the total for January of 108, there have now been 123 people murdered in the city in 2019. The dead include 4 bodies exhumed from a clandestine burial on Saturday along the Casa Grandes highway during a police search of the desert area. molly molloy

El mes de enero sumó 108 homicidios dolosos por lo que son 123 víctimas de este delito en lo que va del 2019

Staff
El Diario de Juárez
Lunes, 04 Febrero 2019 | 14:38

Ciudad Juárez.- Este fin de semana se sumaron 15 víctimas a la estadística oficial de homicidios con que cuenta la Fiscalía Zona Norte.

El viernes 1 de febrero cuatro personas murieron por asesinato, el sábado otras seis y ayer domingo se sumaron cinco más, dio a conocer Alejandro Ruvalcaba, vocero de la dependencia ministerial.

El recuento establece los cuatro cuerpos del sexo masculino localizados en una fosa clandestina en una brecha de la carretera a Casas Grandes, dijo el portavoz de Fiscalía.

El mes de enero sumó 108 homicidios dolosos por lo que son 123 víctimas de este delito en lo que va del 2019.

Localizan 4 cuerpos en carretera a Casas Grandes

Fueron encontrados en una fosa clandestina durante un rastreo

Staff
El Diario de Juárez
Lunes, 04 Febrero 2019 | 06:00

Ciudad Juárez— Elementos de la Fiscalía Zona Norte localizaron cuatro cadáveres en una fosa clandestina cerca de la carretera a Casas Grandes durante un rastreo efectuado el pasado sábado, informó la dependencia.

 

An American ‘crypto-anarchist’ fled the country. He was just killed in Mexico’s ‘murder capital.’

Article in Washington Post:
in which “John Galton” makes this deathly false assumption about the relative dangers of violence in Chicago and Acapulco…

A participant in last year’s events mourned Galton’s death — suggesting that he had been targeted by cartels because he was competing with them — but said he was not afraid to return to the resort town in the state of Guerrero, which had a homicide rate in 2017 of 64.2 per 100,000 inhabitants, more than twice that of Chicago.

“You gotta have common sense about it, but I’d say it’s safer than any big city I’ve lived in in the U.S., like way safer than Chicago or something like that,” Galton said in the March 2017 interview, titled “John and Lily on the Run.”

Mexican police said an American anarchist who went by the name “John Galton” was killed in a shooting attack Friday in Acapulco. (Screen shot via YouTube) (Screen grab via YouTube)

February 4 at 7:08 AM

Pentagon sending 3,750 extra U.S. forces to border with Mexico…Borders without doctors…

Never a dull moment.  This news came out last night.  I listened to Trump’s interview on CBS NEWS “Face the Nation” yesterday and he blamed Pelosi for careless spending and for somehow fomenting the ruination of the US because of the “invasion” of people across the border… He also spoke again of all the traffickers and women, though I don’t recall any mention of tape… At least for now, the large groups of Central Americans who arrive in southern New Mexico immediately turn themselves in to the Border Patrol, and many are in need of medical care.
See (and listen) below a report on medical care for people crossing in rural areas of New Mexico from Mallory Falk at KRWG.
Also, this excellent report from SEARCHLIGHT NEW MEXICO by Lauren Villagran: http://searchlightnm.com/2019/01/30/borders-without-doctors/
This forces us to ask: how much medical care for residents AND immigrants could be provided in rural areas of the border for the amount of tax-dollars spent on razor wire, wall, and troops? molly molloy

https://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFKCN1PS0MJ

FEBRUARY 3, 2019 / 1:31 PM / UPDATED 3 HOURS AGO

Pentagon sending 3,750 extra U.S. forces to border with Mexico

https://www.krwg.org/post/gila-regional-medical-center-treats-newly-arrived-migrant-patients

Gila Regional Medical Center Treats Newly Arrived Migrant Patients

By MALLORY FALK  1 HOUR AGO

A growing number of asylum seekers are crossing the border in the remote, southwest corner of New Mexico known as the Bootheel. Some need medical attention, and regional hospitals and clinics are tasked with taking on their care.

Borders without doctors

Medical services are hard to come by in the Bootheel, where migrants often arrive in need of care.

ANTELOPE WELLS, N.M. – Half a dozen children gazed up at the camera, their eyes wide beneath hats and hoodies, hands buried in their pockets or nuzzled in the necks of their mothers. Floodlights illuminated some faces and left others in darkness.

It was after midnight in New Mexico’s remote Bootheel region, and with the temperature hovering near freezing, a Border Patrol agent snapped the photo. Nearly 150 miles away, the tiny emergency room of the Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City – the nearest 24-hour hospital – was on notice. Some of the children would need medical care for illness, others for injury.

ICE force-feeding detainees on hunger strike in El Paso

Are there any proposals in Congress to reform the excessive cruelty of immigration detention in the USA?  This is not new.  My own experience with these systems goes back to the mid-1980s and Oakdale Federal Detention Center in Louisiana … We must reiterate whenever we can:  the vast majority of immigration detainees have committed NO CRIME. Many long-term (two years or more) detainees have presented themselves at ports of entry and asked for asylum (a right under US and international law), so they are not even guilty of entering the US illegally. So, this cruel treatment of prolonged detention, solitary confinement, and the attempt by detainees to resist by refusing food, and then to be subjected to force-feeding…an action that has been equated to torture at Guantanamo and other sites associated with the “war on terror…”  People who are refugees are now experiencing this torture at immigration detention centers… right here in our communities.  And the congressional bargaining over border security is most certainly going to consider adding thousands more “detention beds” … perhaps as some sort of exchange for less “wall…”  This is not a legitimate bargain. The privately-run, tax-payer funded, cruel and unusual detention of people seeking asylum in the US should never be expanded and it needs to be abolished.

Kudos to these AP reporters for revealing the conditions inside the El Paso detention center… What can be done?  molly molloy

https://apnews.com/c4b201dac8bf48eba17485a5c357b810?utm_source=Twitter&utm_campaign=SocialFlow&utm_medium=AP

Associated Press: ICE force-feeding detainees on hunger strike
By GARANCE BURKE AND MARTHA MENDOZA    today

Immigrants have gone on hunger strikes over the past month to protest conditions inside detention facilities, prompting officials to force-feed six of them through plastic nasal tubes at a Texas location, The Associated Press has learned.


More reporting by Bob Moore in Texas Monthly:

Citing Inhumane Conditions, Detained Asylum Seekers in El Paso Go On Hunger Strike

109 homicides in Juárez, January 2019

The Washington Post reports today that the Department of Homeland Security is preparing to implement its “Remain in Mexico” (or, as officially known by its Orwellian name, Migrant Protection Protocols) at the El Paso/Juárez border crossing. Under this policy now in effect at the San Diego/San Ysidro border crossing, people who have passed a credible fear interview are being returned to violent border cities to wait indefinitely for a hearing in immigration court in the United States, with no procedures in place for how asylum seekers will meet with U.S. immigration lawyers, or how they will survive in a dangerous foreign country where human traffickers and violent gangs flourish on extortion, kidnapping, and street-level drug dealing.

There were 109 homicides in Juárez in January 2019, according to the statistics compiled by the Fiscalia of the state of Chihuahua for the Northern Zone. In January 2018, there were 70 homicides, so this is a 55.7 percent increase from the beginning of last year.  Last month, December 2018, ended with 100 homicides.

According to the report, victims in January 2019 included 94 men, 11 women, and 4 children (one girl and 3 boys)…
The lead prosecutor, Jorge Nava Lopez said that most (75 percent) of the homicides occurred in the southeastern area of the city where conflicts between the Artistas Asesinos and Mexicles gangs generate the violence.  The most violent day was January 28, when 9 people were killed in different areas of the city.   molly molloy

Ejecuciones aumentan 55%

Staff/
El Diario de Juárez
Viernes, 01 Febrero 2019 | 06:00

El mes de enero terminó con 109 homicidios dolosos, de acuerdo con cifras de la Fiscalía General del Estado (FGE) en la Zona Norte.

La estadística indica que respecto al mismo mes del año pasado, ese delito se incrementó en un 55.7 por ciento, al registrarse entonces 70 asesinatos.

El recuento de víctimas de enero de 2019 es de 94 hombres y 11 mujeres, así como cuatro menores de edad, entre ellos una niña de 5 años apuñalada en su casa del fraccionamiento Sierra Vista Sur el pasado día 16, junto con su hermano de 11 años.

De los homicidios, 62 fueron con arma de fuego

En enero de 2019 la Fiscalía registró cuatro menores de edad asesinados, 94 hombres y cuatro mujeres.

De los 109 homicidios cometidos en el mes que acaba de terminar, 62 fueron con arma de fuego, 11 con arma blanca y cinco a golpes.

La autoridad ministerial tomó conocimiento de dos cuerpos decapitados, cuatro asesinatos mediante la asfixia y dos calcinados, así como el hallazgo de una cabeza humana.

De acuerdo con el fiscal en la Zona Norte, Jorge Nava López, un 75 por ciento de los crímenes de este tipo ocurrió en el sector suroriente de la ciudad, donde el detonante habría sido una disputa territorial por dos grupos de la delincuencia organizada.

En esa zona están ubicadas las pandillas “Artistas Asesinos” y “Mexicles”, según identifica la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública Municipal en detenciones.

Servicios Periciales de la FGE levantó de la vía pública los cadáveres de 13 personas envueltos en cobijas, se informó oficialmente. Otros cuatro cuerpos se localizaron maniatados.

El lunes 28 fue el día más violento de enero, cuando en se registraron nueve homicidios dolosos en diferentes partes de la ciudad, de acuerdo con el seguimiento oficial. (Staff / El Diario)

redaccion@redaccion.diario.com.mx

 

 

 

The U.S. sends thousands of deportees each month to Mexico’s most dangerous border areas…WaPo

I am going to nitpick some numbers here… What a surprise! I don’t see any mention of the homicide rate in Ciudad Juarez in this article. Juarez is also a major border city where people are repatriated. And where thousands of migrants and refugees from Central America and other world regions wait to cross the border legally to ask for asylum. According to the numbers reported by the Chihuahua state Fiscalia (and my own tally from local media), there were about 1,250 homicides in Juarez in 2018, an increase from 772 in 2017. To get the murder rate (# of homicides per 100,000) you divide the city’s population (Juarez = about 1.3 million) by 100,000 = 13. Then divide the # of homicides by that number. 1,250 / 13 = 96. So the murder RATE in Juarez last year was 96. For comparison, during the worst year of the hyperviolence in Juarez, the rate was between 200 and 300, so things are not as bad as they were in 2010.

Based on the numbers provided for Reynosa in the WaPo article below, there were 225 homicides in a city of 600,000. So, 225/6 = 37.5. That means the murder rate in Reynosa is 37.5. Thus, Juarez is 2.5 times more violent than Reynosa… Yet according to the article, Reynosa is the most violent city on the border. That is simply not true. Although, it is generally believed that the media in Tamaulipas has been threatened into virtual silence in terms of reporting the criminal violence in the city, so it is possible that the place is more violent than the official numbers indicate.

Facts are difficult to come by on many border issues. I don’t disagree with the main thrust of the article. While Trump and co. holler about the chaos and crisis and disaster on the US side of the border, the real issue of the security crisis on the Mexican side of the border (that primarily affects Mexican citizens and migrants and refugees) is underreported and misunderstood. US border towns, cities and counties experience practically zero cross-border violence. The homicide rate in El Paso is generally one of the lowest in the United States…about 2.5. For other comparisons, Chicago has a murder rate of about 24. St. Louis (one of the most violent cities in the US) has a murder rate of about 60.

I have effectively reached the limit of my mathematical ability. But I think these numbers are important. molly molloy

The U.S. sends thousands of deportees each month to Mexico’s most dangerous border areas

Detention camps for immigrant children…

The story of Tornillo continues to get more disturbing. How is this not an internment camp?  Just in terms of the lack of legal representation, think about the implications of thousands of detained children and teenagers, 40+ miles from the nearest city where immigration lawyers might be found…and even then, only the lawyers from one agency in the region are allowed to represent the children?  Notwithstanding the good work and professional intentions of DMRS, how can that possibly be any kind of real representation? When there are more than 2000 people interned at this camp.
I have been at the court in El Paso when these kids are brought to court. They fill up the several dozen seats in the waiting room. They wear uniforms. They are not allowed to speak to anyone. The workers escorting them also say they are not allowed to answer questions or speak to anyone.

Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 14.48.28.png

I know several attorneys and at least one other non-profit who have asked to be allowed in to interview and possibly represent the children, but as far as I know, they have not been admitted.
This facility is in the US, although just barely, as it sits at the Tornillo-Guadalupe Port of Entry. Imagine the barriers to providing legal assistance to the asylum seekers “REMAINING IN MEXICO” if this proposal from Trump and the Mexican government goes forward. An attorney discusses this here:
How will lawyers find their clients if they are living on the Mexican side of the border? I assume that if this happens, the people will be allowed to apply for asylum affirmatively since they are not present in the US and thus cannot be considered “in removal proceedings…”  But even if USCIS asylum officers go to Mexico to interview people, how will the applicants get asylum forms (the i589 form can only be submitted in English…all documentation including identification documents, police reports, medical reports, news articles, human rights reports, etc. must be translated into English)? Where will applicants find translators, or the money to pay them, while living in Mexico? Where will they even get access to the internet to get the information they need from US government websites? Where and how will they be able to pay for internet, printing, computers, etc.  No one can submit an asylum claim online.  In the immigration system, everything is still filed on paper.  Even a basic asylum application can be 50 or more pages with copies of documents, translations, etc.
If a USCIS officer denies the claim, will the people have the right to appear before a judge, as they would if they were on US soil? If the people must REMAIN IN MEXICO, do they have any of the constitutional rights that people applying from inside the US have?  Do the Mexican and US governments plan to create a “Guantanamo-type” of extra-constitutional zone for asylum? Isn’t this a complete denial of both US and international law?
Perhaps I see things in the extreme…
And “REMAIN IN MEXICO” is not the Guantanimization of asylum in the United States… But when I wrote about prison camps for immigrant families, there were perhaps 300 kids at Tornillo. Now we are told there are 2,300 with room for 3,500…  I did not mean for that to happen. I just predicted it.  molly molloy
______
GO TO LINK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS…

TORNILLO, Texas – About 40 miles southeast of El Paso, past the billboards for fast food joints and rugged desert hills, residents of this small community sometimes can see the lights of the nearby detention camp glowing in the night.

Some of them have brought gifts for the roughly 2,300 children inside, only to be turned away by guards.

Months after the government erected a tent city in the desert, most of what happens inside the encampment remains hidden, even from curious neighbors in the nearby town of 1,600 residents. The only images of the minors in the camp, standing outside in an orderly line or playing soccer, have been released by the Department of Health and Human Services.

GO TO LINK FOR FULL STORY FROM REVEAL: https://www.revealnews.org/article/no-one-on-the-inside-can-talk-about-whats-happening-at-the-tent-city-for-migrant-kids/

Clarification… Re: Border apprehensions 2000-present

A bit more clarification on these numbers as the media continues to report that the numbers of FAMILIES crossing the border is higher than ever…

See for example:
These reports seem to contradict what I reported yesterday in terms of the fact that much higher numbers of people came in the early 2000s than are coming now…

The keyword is FAMILIES.  As I said before many more PEOPLE were apprehended in earlier years… in the early 2000’s there were more than 1 million for several years in a row.  But by far, most of those were individuals and most were men.  At that time, very few women with children or unaccompanied children came… When families (including children) cross together, they are counted separately as family units and also the total number of individuals. So the number of people crossing in these family groups is now higher than it ever has been on a monthly basis, at least according to the CBP numbers.  

When families with children are arrested or detained at the border (whether they cross illegally and are caught or whether they cross at a POE and ask for asylum) they can only be detained for 20 days (mas o menos), according to law and a legal settlement (the Flores settlement) from the 1990s that Trump is trying to get overturned. But for now, the government can hold only about 3000 family units in a few special detention centers. When more families keep coming, they have to release them because they do not have space to keep them in detention. They are not releasing them to be reasonable or kind. They are releasing them because they don’t currently have enough detention space. That is why I’ve been harping on the fact that we will be seeing a huge expansion of new detention facilities in the near future.  [See: Prison camps for immigrant families ]
It is important to note that SINGLE men and women are still being detained.  I worked recently with a boy from Guatemala who was 18 when he crossed the border. He applied for asylum and he has been detained since Dec 2017 in Otero. He lost his case last week and he is still detained and will soon be deported. He decided not to appeal his case because he could not stand being locked up any longer. It will probably be close to a year in the prison for him before he is deported back to the life-threatening situation he left. I know many people in detention here who spend more than a year detained. Some even win their cases and are released, sometimes after more than two years imprisoned.
While families and children get most of the media attention, there are still tens of thousands of adults detained for these long periods and many have horrific asylum claims and they still lose and get deported. I know another man who has been detained at Otero since September 2016–more than 2 years. He is from Venezuela and presented himself for asylum at the El Paso POE. He did not commit any crime or any kind of illegal crossing. He lost his asylum case, but he has kept fighting through appeals–after more than two years behind razor wire in the Otero County, New Mexico detention center.
There is certainly some truth to what is said that people come with their children because they think it will keep them from long term detention. At least for now, it is true. But this government will not allow the situation to continue. They will either try to keep the people from crossing, or they will drastically increase long-term detention capacity… or both.  These things are already underway…
There was a good piece on NPR this week that at least mentioned this difference…a couple of excerpts are posted below.

BURNETT: Well, a Homeland Security spokesperson told me that they’re compiling the year-end figures right now, and she says the numbers of immigrant families arriving at the border will likely break records on a monthly basis. Now, it’s important to keep this in context, Mary Louise, because back in 2000, they were arresting 1 1/2 million undocumented immigrants a year. So far this year, it’s been under 400,000. But still the Trump administration is upset and frustrated. They continue to blame everything on Congress for allowing what they call catch and release loopholes in the law. The DHS spokesman told me that the agency is examining all options to secure the border.

….

But if they put it into practice, the question is, where would they detain all these families? Currently there are a little over 3,000 spots for family members in what are called special family residential centers. But you’re talking about thousands of these immigrant families that are arrested every week at the Southwest border these days. The government doesn’t have enough detention beds. So for the foreseeable future, you’ll see the continuation of families being arrested. They’re processed for a few days. And then most are released with ankle monitors with their kids to show up for immigration court. And that’s what’s been bedeviling the Trump administration all along. 

I hope this explanation is helpful in terms of the hyperbolic Trump and media pronouncements about the “huge numbers” of people crossing our border.

Molly Molloy

 

Border apprehensions 2000-present

Someone pointed out the contradiction between what I have said in previous postings on the Frontera List, that is, that the numbers of people crossing the border illegally now are actually much lower than in past years.  This certainly seems out of whack with the border crossing hysteria coming from the White House. But it also seems to contradict what people here in the border region are experiencing in terms of large numbers of people being released by ICE and needing shelter. Much of the shelter is provided by a network of church groups in the region and they are struggling to receive more than 1,000 migrants and refugees each week–numbers that are much higher than in recent years.

So how to resolve this contradiction and what data am I citing?  Here’s my attempt to answer this:
I’m using the data provided by CBP and posted online.  Back in the early 2000’s many more people were apprehended, but most of them were Mexicans, most were single men crossing to work. Those apprehended were generally not detained for a long time, but were just sent back. They did not go to immigration court. They would often cross again and try to evade the Border Patrol and many of them succeeded after several tries. The numbers during those years were as high as 1.6 million apprehensions in 2000; 1.2 million in 2005; 723,000 in 2008; 463,000 in 2010; 486,000 in 2014; 310,000 in 2017…
Fewer of the people apprehended in the early 2000’s were going through a long term process to seek asylum and fewer people came as family units or came with children. In 2017, the total apprehensions were about 310,000 [compared to 1.6 million in 2000]. This decrease is often attributed to the “Trump effect” as people making the journey held off in reaction to the threats from the new POTUS.  But, as we know, the conditions of violence and extreme poverty have continued to get worse in Central America and more people have been coming to the border to seek asylum since the beginning of 2018.
These days, more people who are apprehended are prosecuted criminally for crossing the border illegally and then they are detained before being deported. If the people are seeking asylum, and especially if they have children, they cannot be detained for long periods. The people now being released and being sheltered by volunteer groups in our region and in Arizona, the Rio Grande Valley, etc… are mostly family units who cannot (at least for now) be detained long term. And since many are seeking asylum, they must go through a lengthy court process before they can be deported.  What is happening now is that many more family units are coming and ICE is releasing them because they do not have enough long-term detention space (YET). As I’ve written here and elsewhere…
 
…I think that the government is seeking to expand detention space as quickly as possible. But to continue to hold families and children long term, they will also have to change some law. And they are trying to do that also. 

You can see many more border apprehension and other Border Patrol statistics here: https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/media-resources/stats?title=Border+Patrol
The monthly apprehensions (including a separate chart for FAMILY UNITS) are reported at this site.
 
The latest now online are from August 2018. But just yesterday the Washington Post reported a big increase in the family units in September. Those numbers should be updated online soon…
From the Washington Post:
Border Patrol agents arrested 16,658 family members in September, the highest one-month total on record and an 80 percent increase from July, according to unpublished Department of Homeland Security statistics obtained by The Washington Post.      https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/record-number-of-families-crossing-us-border-as-trump-threatens-new-crackdown/2018/10/17/fe422800-c73a-11e8-b2b5-79270f9cce17_story.html?utm_term=.d189ac2851a5
 
In comparison to the 16,658 family members apprehended in September and reported yesterday, the number in August was 12,774. So the increase is big and getting bigger.  But, still nowhere near the total apprehension numbers in the early 2000s.  The difference is that most of the people coming now are claiming asylum, they are being detained for a short time and then released, many to shelters in the border region before they can join family members in the US.  Of course, if they are single adults seeking asylum, they are likely to remain detained for the duration of the immigration court proceeding, sometimes more than a year.
The total SW border apprehensions as of August were 355,106. So that is already much higher than the 310,000+ in 2017.
I’ve probably missed something here, but this is my best explanation of the differences in the apprehension numbers, past and present.  Corrections/comments welcome.  molly molloy