On Tuesday the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General released a report on overcrowding at US detention centers. Buzzfeed ran photos from the report.
Inspectors detailed how, when they visited several the facilities earlier this month, they found adults and minors with no access to showers. Many adults were only fed bologna sandwiches, and detainees were seen banging on cell windows — pressing notes to the windows that detailed their time in custody.
Inspectors described the conditions as "dangerous" and "prolonged." Some adults were held in standing-room-only conditions for a week. There was little access to hot showers or hot food for families and children in some facilities.
The inspectors said the overcrowding and prolonged detention for the single adults represented a security risk for detainees, agents, and officers. Adults purposely clogged toilets with Mylar blankets and socks in order to be released from their cells, while some refused to return to cells after they had been cleaned. Others tried to escape.
Anna Lind-Guzik ("a writer, attorney, and scholar of Soviet history, international law, and human rights, with degrees from Duke University, Harvard Law School, and Princeton") has written an essay defending Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's use of the term "concentration camps" to describe the facilities in which America has imprisoned brown-skinned asylum seekers who have presented themselves at the nation's border. Read the rest
China's Xinjiang province is home to the country's Uyghur ethnic minority and other people of Turkic Muslim descent; it has become a living laboratory for next-generation, electronically mediated totalitarianism; up to 1,000,000 people have been sent to concentration/torture camps in the region, and targets for rendition ot these camps come via compulsory mobile apps that spy on residents in every conceivable way (naturally, war criminal Eric "Blackwater" Prince, brother of billionaire heiress Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, is into this stuff up to his eyeballs, as are other American collaborators). Read the rest
One of my mottoes is that the important thing about tech isn't what it does, it's who it does it to, and who it does it for; this is especially important in discussions of "smart city" tech, which can easily be turned to systems of population-scale surveillance, control and oppression. Read the rest
We've talked about the fact that the Trump administration wants to house thousands of asylum seekers, refugees and other legal migrants within what amount to modern-day concentration camps, inside the secure perimeter of military installations. Doing so will not only ensure that the migrant's chances of finding their way to freedom is significantly hampered, but also keep the detainees far from the prying eyes of protesters and the media. For a nation once renown for fighting to ensure freedom and democracy at home and abroad, this is bullshit. Worse still, it spits in the eye of every solider who join the military with those ideals in mind; those who come from immigrant or migrant families (that'd be most of us) and anyone who wears the uniform whilst carrying a moral compass. As The Daily Beast reports, many veterans and those still serving are very not ok with this:
Read the rest
Active-duty and retired U.S. military officers and enlisted personnel are expressing a sense of moral emergency over the Defense Department setting up detention camps for undocumented immigrants on military bases.
“It smacks of totalitarianism,” said Steve Kleinman, a retired Air Force colonel and military intelligence officer.
Raf Noboa, an Iraq War veteran and former Army sergeant, said he was astounded by the “enormous moral offense” the camps represent and which the military will be ordered to support.
“America’s military once liberated people from concentration camps,” Noboa told The Daily Beast. “It beggars the mind and our morality that it might be used to secure them.”
“I knew something bad was going to happen.
A while back, I wrote about Faces of Auschwitz: a website dedicated to telling the stories of the prisoners of the Auschwitz concentration camp. It’s a passion project I’ve been collaborating on with photo colorist extraordinaire Marina Amaral, the Auschwitz Memorial & Museum and an amazing team of academics, videographers and other specialists.
For the past few months, we’ve been hard at work preparing content for the site while the good people at WordPress built us a fabulous online home. This past week, it all came together. The Faces of Auschwitz website is now live. You can check it out, here.
At a time when the politics of hate have once again found sway on the world stage and concentration camps have sprung into being at an alarming speed, we need to talk about how hate, bigotry and fear of the other can lead to tragedy on an unimaginable scale. It’s my opinion that one of the best ways to do this is to cite examples from the past.
KL Auschwitz did not start as a death camp, though all through its history, people did indeed die there. Located in Nazi-occupied Poland, it was initially used to contain Polish political prisoners, Russian POWs and other groups that the Nazis thought were a risk to their bullshit ideologies that they deserved to head up a new world order based on their racial supremacy. Of course, with Nazis being Nazis, it wasn’t long before other groups soon began to arrive at the camp: the Jews, of course, but also, religious leaders, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholics, intellectuals, homosexuals, the Roma, and perhaps, worse of all, children. Read the rest
'Disease outbreaks and a lack of medical personnel await those imprisoned in Victorville, California.' Prison staff in Victorville say immigrant detainees are treated like 'cockroaches.' There's already an outbreak of scabies and a case of chicken pox among the detainees. Read the rest
At Ursula, an immigration facility in McAllen, TX, 500 children separated from their families are crammed 20 to a cage. It's home to kids of all ages, from toddlers to young teens (once a teen turns 18, they are magically converted into a criminal and moved to the adult facility). Read the rest
You may have heard about Nauru on a recent This American Life episode: the tiny Pacific island that was stripped of all vegetation and made virtually uninhabitable by phosphate mining, then turned into an international pariah by its desperate practice of selling citizenship to crooks, now an offshore detention centre for people seeking asylum in Australia, where cruelty and abuse are legendary. Read the rest