DHS Chief is Confronted With ProPublica Tape of Wailing Children Separated from Parents


by Stephen Engelberg

Minutes after ProPublica posted a recording of crying children begging for their parents, Kirstjen Nielsen stepped up to the podium in the White House briefing room to answer questions from reporters, as well as a growing chorus of criticism from Democrats and Republicans.

Nielsen, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, blamed Congress for the Trump administration’s policy of separating children detained at the border from their parents. Nielsen said the administration would continue to send the children to temporary detention centers in warehouses and big box stores until Congress rewrites the nation’s immigration laws.

At one point, a reporter from New York magazine, Olivia Nuzzi, played the tape ProPublica obtained from inside a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility, according to tweets she posted.

I played the audio of children separated from their parents at a US Customs and Border Protection facility that was published by @ProPublica today at the White House briefing. Officials failed to adequately and truthfully answer questions about the policy.

I would have waited until I was called on to play it, but I was not being called on. After another reporter’s phone began loudly ringing with a melodic jingle, I figured the briefing room could probably deal with a more important disturbance.

It’s unclear if Nielsen heard the recording, which consists mostly of the sounds of weeping children calling for their mothers and fathers. Reporters attempted to ask her questions about the material in the recording — including “How is this not child abuse?” — but she did not respond directly. Asked if the recordings, along with pictures and more that have emerged in recent days, are an unintended consequence of the administration’s approach, she said, “I think that they reflect the focus of those who post such pictures and narratives.”

Richard Tofel, ProPublica’s president, said the decision to post the recording and accompanying story reflected a focus on providing a fuller accounting of what’s happening in facilities that are closed to public view.

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“Our agenda is to bring the American people facts for their consideration,” he said.

The separation of these Central American children from their parents was triggered by the administration’s decision to bring criminal charges against adults who enter the country without permission. That move, which is discretionary, brings into play regulations that prevent parents facing criminal prosecution from being imprisoned with their children.

Nielsen denied that the policy change was intended to pressure Congress.

“The children are not being used as a pawn,” she said. “We’re trying to protect the children, which is why I’m asking Congress to act.”


Army extends administrative detention of Palestinian feminist lawmaker

Khalida Jarrar, a Palestinian parliamentarian known for her human rights activism, has been imprisoned indefinitely and without charges since July 2017.  

By +972 Magazine

Palestinian lawmaker member Khalida Jarrar (PFLP) who was imprisoned by Israel is seen alongside Joint List head Ayman Odeh upon her release from an Israeli prison, Jabara checkpoint near the West Bank town of Tulkarem, June 3, 2016. (Haytham Shtayeh/Flash90)

Palestinian lawmaker member Khalida Jarrar (PFLP) who was imprisoned by Israel alongside Joint List head Ayman Odeh upon her release from an Israeli prison. Jabara checkpoint near the West Bank town of Tulkarem, June 3, 2016. (Haytham Shtayeh/Flash90)

The Israeli army extended the administrative detention of feminist Palestinian lawmaker Khalida Jarrar by four months on Sunday, following her arrest in July 2017. Her detention was last extended for the first time last December, after the army determined that the parliamentarian and human rights activist continued to pose a risk.


This is not the first time Israel has put Jarrar under administrative detention, a practice in which detainees are held indefinitely without charge or trial — and with out any way to defend themselves — on the basis of secret evidence. Such orders can be renewed indefinitely for up to six months at a time. They can also be used to extend the jail time of someone who has finished serving their sentence.

Jarrar was first arrested in April 2015 and placed under administrative detention for six months, after she refused to follow an internal expulsion order demanding she move to Jericho within 24 hours for a period of 1.5 years. Following her arrest, Jarrar was placed under administrative detention and accused of being a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) — a party she represents in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) — and which is outlawed by Israel.

Her detention led to a worldwide campaign advocating for her release. She was eventually released from administrative detention and put on trial, where she faced 12 charges, the majority of which involved her parliamentary work and activism: including her association with the PFLP, participation in protests, giving speeches and interviews to the media, a visit to a solidarity tent for Palestinian prisoners, and incitement to kidnap Israeli soldiers. In December 2015, Jarrar was sentenced to 15 months in prison as part of a plea bargain.



She was released in June 2016, only to be re-arrested a year later in July 2017. She has been in detention ever since.

Jarrar was elected to the PLC in January 2006, following years of political activism in support of women and prisoners. She is married, has two daughters, and is the first woman to be elected to the PLC on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Between 1993 and 2005, she headed the Palestinian NGO Addameer, a Palestinian NGO that supports Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli and Palestinian prisons, and remained a member of the PFLP’s managing committee even after her election.

Beyond her parliamentary work, Jarrar has been a left-wing and feminist activist for years. She was previously involved in the Palestinian Authority’s bid to the International Criminal Court over allegations of Israeli war crimes against Palestinians, which many claim is the real reason for her arrest and continued detention.

Israel’s different responses to Jewish and Palestinian stone throwers

Jewish settlers who throw stones at Israeli forces hardly face serious consequences. For Palestinian stone throwers, the consequences can mean death. 

Israeli police forces clash with people in the Jewish settlement outpost of Netiv HaAvot in Gush Etzion, which the Supreme Court ruled was partially built on privately owned Palestinian land, and would be demolished therefore. June 12, 2018. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Israeli police forces clash with religious nationalist youth in the Jewish settlement outpost of Netiv Ha’avot in Gush Etzion in the occupied West Bank. June 12, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In the West Bank, the consequences for throwing stones at Israeli soldiers differ dramatically, depending on who’s doing the throwing. The same act, when carried out by Jews in the West Bank, is met — often literally — with a soft-gloved hand. When carried out by Palestinians, the punishment can be as severe as death.


Israeli forces routinely raid Palestinian homes in the middle of the night to arrest children suspected of stone throwing. In many instances, Israeli soldiers have responded to stone throwing by Palestinians with tear gas, rubber bullets, and even live ammunition. “Stones kill,” said Education Minister Naftali Bennett after Israeli forces shot and killed 17-year-old Mohammed al-Casbah for throwing stones at Israeli soldiers in 2015. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked has said that “anyone who throws stones is a terrorist.”

When Jewish settlers throw stones at Israeli soldiers, however, a different set of rules apply. Two weeks in June show the deadly, gaping disparity between what Palestinians who throw rocks face — and what faces Jews who do the same.

When Israeli police, unarmed and dressed in special t-shirt uniforms, arrived at the illegal outpost of Tapuach West to evict 10 buildings on Sunday, they were met by hundreds of right-wing settler protesters who threw stones, bleach and other objects at them. Eleven officers were reportedly wounded, and police arrested just six right-wing activists.

Settler youth clash with Israeli police during the eviction of Netiv HaAvot. June 12, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Settler youth clash with Israeli police during the eviction of Netiv HaAvot. June 12, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Five days earlier, during the eviction of 15 houses in the illegal outpost of Netiv Ha’avot, hundreds of religious nationalist protesters similarly occupied the homes and threw stones and other objects at the police. Six police officers were reportedly injured during the eviction, including one officer who was hit in the head by a rock. Just three protesters were arrested; they were later released. The others returned to their homes safely after police dragged them out of the houses they had been occupying.

Six days before that and roughly 60 kilometers north, in the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh, 21-year-old Izz ad-Din Tamimi joined a group of Palestinian teenagers throwing rocks at heavily armed Israeli soldiers. According to the IDF, Tamimi approached the soldiers and threw a rock, hitting one of them, who opened fire. Tamimi was shot twice — in the neck and chest — from a distance of roughly 50 meters, witnesses said.

Two men hold Izz ad-Din's Tamimi bloody shoot in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. June 6, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Two men hold Izz ad-Din’s Tamimi bloody shoot in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. June 6, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The IDF reported that no soldiers were injured. Izz ad-Din’s body was transferred to the hospital in Ramallah later that day, in preparation for his funeral. However, Israeli forces blocked the funeral procession and reportedly deployed “skunk” water cannons along the road leading to the village. Izz ad-Din eventually returned home in a shroud, to be buried.

The settler youth who threw stones and bleach — and injured Israeli forces — mostly got off with a slap on the wrist, while Izz ad-Din lost his life. Izz ad-Din, like many other Palestinians, was not arrested, tried, or sentenced for stone-throwing — he was shot and killed on the spot.

Hamas suppresses anti-division protest in Gaza

PNN/ Gaza/

Members of the ruling Hamas movement on Monday assaulted citizens who took part in a rally headed by Prisoners and ex-prisoners Committee  and factions in the strip,  on the 11th anniversary of the Hamas coup against the Palestinian Authority.

The protest called for the end of the division between the two major Palestinian parties, Hamas and Fatah, calling for a national unity.

According to eyewitnesses, at 11:30 in the afternoon, dozens of Hamas members wearing black shirts  entered the protest area and tried to approach the center of the gathering, despite the participants’ assertion that the movement is Patriotic, attacked the platform, broke it, and cracked the speakers.

Hamas forces attacked the protesters, who included representatives of prisoners, journalists, employees, and representatives of the national action and civil society organizations from all the provinces.

For its part, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leftist movement praised the masses  that demanded end of the division and the abolition of PA punitive measures imposed on the Gaza Strip.

In a related context, the Democratic Front strongly condemned Hamas attacking the protesters, and demanded security services to bring justice and protect the people and their freedom of expression in accordance with the Basic Law, which affirms freedom of expression and peaceful demonstration.

One week ago, hundreds of Palestinians held a protest in Ramallah  demanding the Palestinian Authority to cancel its sanctions against Gaza, describing these measures as punitive measures against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

The demonstration was organized by a group called “Movement for lifting  sanctions imposed  on Gaza”, a large movement of academics, journalists, writers, artists, prisoners, activists and citizens who decided to break the  silence towards the measures imposed by the Palestinian Authority on the Gaza Strip since March 2017, in addition to ending the Palestinian division and achieving reconciliation.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has called on Hamas on 21/3/2018 to transfer control of the Gaza Strip to Ramallah government saying it was prepared to assume its full responsibilities there, as tensions between the two factions continue to rise, according to the Wafa news agency.

The statement on 21 of march 2018 came a day after PA President Mahmoud Abbas suggested he would cut all budgets allocated to Gaza, estimated to amount to some $100 million, if the PA was not awarded full control of the coastal enclave

Opinion | What Happens When Prosecutors Break the Law? – The New York Times

Most recently, in February, a man named Shaun Laurence was exonerated of murder and freed from a sentence of 75 years to life after the district attorney’s office discovered that Mr. Kurtzrock had concealed 45 different items of exculpatory evidence at trial — with the presiding judge declaring that the prosecutor’s misconduct was “absolutely stunning.” So what’s happened to Mr. Kurtzrock? Nothing. Thirteen months after his public firing, and five murder cases overturned because of his illegal actions, Mr. Kurtzrock hasn’t been charged with a single crime. Not fraud, not tampering with government records, not contempt of court.

AT&T, Comcast Try to Weaken California Net Neutrality Law –


AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon lobbyists are working in concern to try and weaken California’s tough new net neutrality law before it can pass through the state legislature. California State Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 822 was recently approved by the California Senate Energy Committee and now moves on to the Judiciary Committee. The proposal has been called the “gold standard” by groups like the EFF, and goes notably further than even the modest FCC rules did by addressing things like “zero rating” (using usage caps anti-competitively).

Federal FCC net neutrality rules expired as of June 11 after a historically unpopular lobbying power play by major ISPs, and many states are now rushing it to try and protect consumers.

Needless to say, AT&T, Verizon and Comcast lobbyists and executives don’t much like that, and according to a new report by the EFF are engaged in a last-minute bid to weaken the rules before it can pass.

“California s legislature has so far opted to ban discriminatory users of zero rating and prevent the major wireless players from picking winners and losers online,” notes the EFF. “But new and increased resistance by the ISP lobby (led by AT&T and their representative organization CALinnovates) unfortunately has legislators contemplating whether discriminatory zero rating practices should remain lawful despite their harms for low-income Internet users.”

“In fact, AT&T and their representatives are even going so far as to argue that their discriminatory self-dealing practices that violate net neutrality are actually good for low income Internet users,” says the EFF.

The idea that usage caps, overage fees and zero rating help poor people is something AT&T lobbyists (and their friends like FCC boss Ajit Pai) have been insisting for years. Of course AT&T’s goal has always been anti-competitive: especially since it exempts its own content from usage caps while penalizing competitors like Netflix, in the process driving up costs for users that veer too far away from AT&T’s own content or services.

In fact the last FCC clearly stated that AT&T’s usage of zero rating is anti-competitive. However, their realization that usage caps could be used anti-competitively came too late, and once Trump was elected the new FCC declared such arbitrary limits and gamesmanship was perfectly acceptable. Whether California lawmakers can be bribed cajoled into buying into AT&T’s logic remains to be seen.

“Upholding S.B. 822 means upholding a free, open Internet for all Californians,” the EFF notes. “Without it, ISPs may have free rein to create two Internets that will be premised on how much income you have to the benefit of their own services and partners. With AT&T’s recent victory in the courts over the Department of Justice and the expiration of federal net neutrality rules, S.B. 822’s net neutrality protections have become more important than ever.”

Kaliningrad photos appear to show Russia upgrading nuclear weapons bunker


Satellite images from Baltic outpost and World Cup venue are latest sign of Russian emphasis on nuclear arms

Russia appears to have upgraded a nuclear weapons storage bunker in its Kaliningrad enclave, in the latest sign of Moscow’s increased emphasis on nuclear arms in its standoff with Nato, according to a new report.

The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) has published satellite images which the group says show a storage facility in the Baltic coast enclave between Poland and Lithuania being deepened and then covered with a new concrete roof in recent months.

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Nazis separated me from my parents as a child. The trauma lasts a lifetime | Yoka Verdoner | Opinion | The Guardian

My grief and anger about today’s southern border come not just from my personal life. As a retired psychotherapist who has worked extensively with victims of childhood trauma, I know all too well what awaits many of the thousands of children, taken by our government at the border, who are now in “processing centers” and foster homes – no matter how decent and caring those places might be. We can expect thousands of lives to be damaged, for many years or for ever, by “zero tolerance”. We can expect old men and women, decades from now, still suffering, still remembering, still writing in the present tense. What is happening in our own backyard today is as evil and criminal as what happened to me and my siblings as children in Nazi Europe. It needs to be stopped immediately.

Source: Nazis separated me from my parents as a child. The trauma lasts a lifetime | Yoka Verdoner | Opinion | The Guardian