Sunday, November 22, 2015

Justice Scalia Predicts USA Internment Camps

Supreme Court justice predicts internment camps in America’s future

"You are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again," said Justice Scalia.

POLICE STATE USA | Posted on February 5, 2014 by  in History

Americans exit train cars and are "evacuated" into the fenced compounds that would be their new homes.  (Source: Dorthea Lange, 1944)
Americans exit train cars and are “evacuated” into the fenced
compounds that would be their new homes. (Lange, 1944)

A distinguished member of the U.S. Supreme Court gave a sobering reminder of how history can and likely will repeat itself when the conditions are right. Justice Antonin Scalia said that he would not be surprised if Americans were once again imprisoned in concentration camps by the federal government.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (Source:
H. Darr Beiser / USA Today)

The 77-year-old justice was answering questions after giving a classroom lecture to a group of law students in Honolulu. One student asked about the deplorable 1944 Korematsu v. United Statesdecision, in which the U.S. Supreme Court verified the constitutionality of the president ordering the mass-imprisonment of Americans in the name of national security.

Scalia cited the wartime “panic” as a reason Americans accepted President Franklin Roosevelt’s hostile treatment of citizens of his own country.

As the Associated Press reported:

“Well of course Korematsu was wrong. And I think we have repudiated in a later case. But you are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again,” Scalia told students and faculty during a lunchtime Q-and-A session.

Scalia cited a Latin expression meaning, “In times of war, the laws fall silent.”

“That’s what was going on — the panic about the war and the invasion of the Pacific and whatnot. That’s what happens. It was wrong, but I would not be surprised to see it happen again, in time of war. It’s no justification, but it is the reality,” he said.

The Korematsu case stemmed from President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, which divided the country into “Military Areas” and in a real sense instituted martial law in the United States. Control of civilian territory was granted to to military commanders and the Secretary of War, who were authorized to take any freedom-restricting actions they deemed necessary to secure the homeland.

A U.S. Soldier stands ready to shoot any

who would try to escape FDR’s concentration camps.

(Tule Lake, California)

In enactment of the order, several segments of the U.S. population were labeled as “enemies” or “enemy aliens.” They were: (1) people suspected of “subversive activities” (which included speaking against the war); (2) Japanese aliens; (3) American-born Japanese; (4) German aliens; and (5) Italian aliens.

These so-called enemy groups were ordered to report to military prison camps for an indefinite sentence — a process that was dubiously referred to as “relocation” or “evacuation.” The reality was that the targeted individuals were stripped from their homes, their lives, their jobs, their families, and their freedom and placed into cages surrounded by barbed wire and U.S. soldiers who were prepared to shoot them.

Fred Korematsu was born in the United States, and as such was considered a naturally-born U.S. citizen who had two parents who were from Japan. Even though his loyalty to the USA was not questioned, the President had labeled him (and 120,000 others) as an enemy. Korematsu, who resided in Military Area No. 1 (California), was one of the few who did not report to the prison camp to which he was assigned. The government’s response was to have Korematsu hunted down, arrested and convicted of disobeying military authorities.

The Supreme Court upheld his conviction, ruling that the 5th Amendment guarantee of “due process” did not apply, and that his conviction was allowed to stand. The needs of homeland security were considered to be preeminent over individual rights. To date, the decision has never been explicitly overturned.

Scalia’s statements would suggest that its legal precedence matters less than many would think. The Latin phrase he quoted, “Inter arma enim silent leges,“ dates back over 2,000 years and has been proven true in every culture since. During times of crisis — especially during great wars — people are naturally prone to embrace government efforts to empower itself in the name of security and order. Americans have proven this maxim to be true many times over, notably with the mass roundup of political prisoners during the American Civil War, World War 1, and World War 2.

“The reality,” as Scalia pointed out, is that the next time Americans feel great fear of a foreign threat or a terrorist, they will not only accept the destruction of civil rights — they will demand it.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

2013: Greece Imprisons Various Groups of People, Similar to Nazi Concentration Camps

Coming Here Soon: Greece Imprisoning Poor, Immigrants and LGBT in Internment Camps

A guard watches over illegal immigrants inside a newly-built detention camp at Amygdaleza suburb, the first such camp in the wider area of Athens

IMF imposed austerity measures have reduced Greek society to a shadow of its former self.  The resulting unemployment, poverty and homelessness has been hijacked by fascist elements to pit the poor against the poorer.  In the last year Greece has built a series of internment camps and launched raids on immigrant, addict and sex worker communities.  Now they are coming for poor and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) people too. Is this a preview of dark coming attractions for the UK?


It is worth briefly outlining the socio-economic catastrophe of Greek Austerity.
Greece accepted an £88bn loan from the IMF and the European Central Bank (and the Austerity measures attached) in order to bail out its banks and stay in the Euro.
The economy of Greece has shrunk every year for five years and the Austerity Programme has turned a financial crisis into a humanitarian crisis.
11% of the population now live in ‘Extreme Material Deprivation’ without enough food, heating, electricity or a telephone
Unemployment is now over 27% and continues to rise each month, while youth unemployment is now over 59%.
Unsurprisingly, crime has soared – with burglaries rising by 125% in 2011.
Yet, instead of the austerity induced poverty – it is the immigrants getting the blame.
As the gateway to Southern Europe, Greece is a popular destination for immigration.  However, with an immigrant population of 10%, Greece is equal to France and lower than Germany (13%), Luxembourg, Cyprus or Malta.
Nevertheless, with rising poverty level, a resurgent fascist movement spearheaded by the Golden Dawn party has diverted popular rage from the political and economic institutions that eviscerated their economy, onto immigrants – many of whom were simply escaping the previous evisceration of their own economies by those very same institutions.
Golden Dawn now have 18 of the 300 seats in Greek parliament, and have successfully mobilised a large portion of the Greek population.  Their flag contains a swastika like emblem and they recently marched tens of thousands through the streets of Athens, surrounded by the Swastika flags, chanting ‘Greece if for Greeks’.  They are neo-Nazis, and they are winning.
First They Came for the Immigrants
Not for the first time in even recent history, it was Greece’s immigrant population that became the whipping boy for public fury at the betrayal of their country’s interests by the mainstream institutions purported to defend them.
The Greek Police launched Operation Xenios Zeus last year as part of a crackdown on immigration.  This operation, named after the Greek God of Hospitality delivers anything but that to anyone on Greece’s streets who ‘doesn’t look Greek’.  In the first 7 months of the Operation, Greek police arrested more than 85,000 foreigners – yet only 6% were arrested for unlawful entry.  This means 94% of these people were lawful residents of Greece.  In many cases those being arrested suffer violent assault by the police in the process.  The operation has become nothing more than a means to vilify and bully foreign looking people.
Tourists to Greece have also been caught up in these arbitrary arrests.  In January this year, a Korean backpacker was seized by Greek police as an illegal immigrant, despite showing them his passport and itinerary.  When he asked for proof of identity of the police officer arresting him, he was punched in the face.
In the same month, Christian Ukwuorji, an African American travelling on a US passport was walking through Athens on his holiday when he was seized by police.  When he showed police his US passport, they confiscated it and beat him on three separate occasions on the way to the station. His final beating was so severe it left him unconscious – he woke in hospital with a concussion.
Immigrants are being routinely assaulted and killed in racially motivated attacks. In April this year, a group of 200 immigrant workers protesting six months of unpaid wages were fired upon by their bosses.  The assault left twenty eightwith gunshot wounds and it was a miracle that no one lost their life.
Further to the sweeping arrests, violence and murder – immigrants are now being rounded up and transferred tointernment camps.  The first series of camps are already open and operating inside Greece’s borders, and more than5,000 people languish behind their barbed wire perimeter.  The government has announced plans to build 30 more such facilities in the next few years.
This scale of human suffering is bad enough…but whilst the immigrants are the first group to join the ranks of Greece’s ‘undesirables’, they were not the last.
Then they came for the Sex Workers and the Addicts
The next group to face the wrath of a neo-Nazi resurgence were the sex workers and drug addicts.  Greece has previously enjoyed a low prevalence of HIV, but since the economic crisis new infections have sky rocketed; in 2010, the new infection rates shot up by 57%.
These rises were entirely attributable to the austerity crisis.  On drugs, austerity is driving ever more Greeks to addiction whilst cutting away the social safety nets that would manage their addiction.  In 2010, heroin use grew by 20%.  In areas of town where the state funded needle swap programmes were closed, HIV infections among drug users shot up1,450%.  As the social security and healthcare systems fail after 40% budget cuts, some desperate Greek addicts are deliberately infecting themselves with HIV in order to access just $890 of financial support each month and admittance to a drug rehabilitation centre.
Sex work is legal in Greece and largely managed through a ministry of state.  However, since the economic crisis began the sex industry in Greece has risen by 150% the least enfranchised Greek women resort to prostitution to make ends meet.  There are now a reported 20,000 unregistered, illegal prostitutes on Greece’s streets.  There has been a rise in sexually transmitted diseases during this time.
Rather that addressing the root causes of these issues, the government has instead demonised the sex workers and drug addicts themselves.
Greek police began raiding brothels and forcing sex workers to undergo HIV tests.  Last February, the police published the names and photographs of 17 sex workers arrested and testing positive for HIV, branding them a danger to public health.  One of the sex workers committed suicide as a result of the public shaming, unable to face her family.
The government have since passed legislation making it legal for police to arrest and detain all suspected illegal sex workers and test them for HIV without their consent. Any woman walking the streets can be arrested on suspicion of illegal prostitution, forced to undergo a HIV test and publicly named and shamed if found to suffer any sexually transmitted diseases.
Since then police have extended the same tactics used in Operation Zeus to sex workers, drug addicts and the homeless – who have been rounded up and sent off the internment camps with the immigrants.
Then They Came for the LGBTs
The LGBT community was next to be singled out as ‘undesirable’ in the new, fascist Greece.  The Bishop of Thessaloniki (Greece’s second city) came out in strong and public opposition to the city’s second Gay Pride festival in June this year.  He denounced Pride as ‘an unholy and unnatural event’ and garnered nineteen and a half thousand signatures for a petition calling for the event to be cancelled.  The adverts for Pride across Greece were censored after the inclusion of a lesbian kissed was deemed ‘undesirable’.  This comes after the October 2012 decision by Greek State TV to censor a kiss between two male characters on Downton Abbey.
Things are getting worse rather than better for the gay men, lesbians and bisexual population of Greece.  They have become even worse for the Trans community.
Greek Police are using the sex worker legislation to target Trans people.  The Greek Transgender Support Association states:
“According to written complaints filed by our members who live in Thessaloniki, it is clear that from 30 May 2013 onwards, the police have been carrying out purges and arrests of transgender citizens on a daily basis. The same complaints state that those arrested are being taken to the police headquarters in Thessaloniki in Dimokratia Square, where the victims are waiting for at least three or four hours to be identified under the pretext that the authorities should establish whether the particular person was not a prostitute,”
Greek News Outlet GR Reporter records the following:
“The Association stresses that the police behaviour during the arrests was offensive, humiliating and that it was intended to undermine the dignity of transgender persons. In three of the complaints, the victims note that traffic policemen had stopped transgender women while they were driving their cars without any proof or suspicion of any fault or violation of the law. Later, they were taken to the police station in order for their identity to be verified.
The testimonies of a large number of victims suggest that before being released from custody, the policemen threatened transgender women, warning them that if they did not “return to normal”, legal proceedings against them would be initiated for indecent behaviour in public places.”
Then They Came for the Poor
Now the full machinery of the Greek State is being turned on the poor, as they become the newest addition to the ‘undesirables’.  The Greek parliament is passing legislation to turn a military camp into a prison for poor Greeks.
Since last February, any Greek falling more than €5000 in debt to the state can be imprisoned to work off their debt.  The government is now planning to roll this out more systematically, with a specific prison camp dedicated to holding poor Greeks while they work for free for the state.  This would conventionally be referred to as a Labour Camp – the tool of many a totalitarian state, including Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany.
Coming Here Soon
We should not only stand against this disintegration of Greek Democracy as a matter of principle, but out of sheer self-interest.  Greece is just a few years and policies ahead of the UK in the ideological austerity agenda – and these are the results.
Anyone nursing the mistaken hope that British society is somehow immune to this sort of thing needs to think again.  The waves of attacks on mosques and Muslims after Woolwich, a flurry of anti-immigrant legislation, the rise of the UKIP vote and the fact that hate crime against disabled people shot up 25% last year, as the government launched the new ATOS ‘fit to work’ assessments suggesting people claiming disability were ‘faking it’ – all these point to a society beginning to buckle under the pressure of relentless propaganda blaming undesirable elements of the society for all our ills.
If the UK is resorting to this behaviour, all be it milder than Greece, while unemployment is at 8%, we can still use our health service free at the point of use, schools and community services are still open – how is it going to be once austerity enters its next phase and the these all go south?
Well – that is down to you, me and all of us.  We must keep our heads, and keep our eyes on the true causes of our troubles, and not be side-tracked into scapegoating whoever the state decides to brand as our ‘undesirables’.

Italy Using Fences and Prison-Like Conditions in Refugee Camps

Refugees Face Fences and Force 

in 'Prison-Like' European Hotspots

Italy will allow a "proportionate" use of force to obtain fingerprints from asylum-seekers, which it has not done regularly in the past


Asylum-seekers in Italy will be relocated to other member states.
(Photo: Carlos Spottorno/British Red Cross)

So-called refugee "hotspots"—touted by European leaders as a key strategy to deal with the ever-growing influx of people seeking to escape war and poverty in their home countries—are being described as "prison-like," raising fresh concerns about the humanitarian dimension of the crisis.

At last month's emergency summit in Brussels, European heads of state agreed to funnel at least €1.1 billion to help refugees and establish processing centers—"hotspots"—in Greece and Italy, where the largest numbers of asylum-seekers are arriving. From the start, the proposal raised "the disturbing specter of internment camps dotted around Greece and Italy," as the Associated Press wrote last week.
While details about the hotspots remain murky, what is clear is that the facilities will be used to register and fingerprint refugees before they are either assigned to one of the 25 European Union countries that have agreed to host them, or deported.
Describing the Pozzallo facility in Sicily, EurActiv writes:
It will be one of Italy's brand new hotspots for identifying newly-arrived migrants—but as the Pozzallo reception centre in Sicily prepares its fingerprinting kits, the EU-led plan for these facilities is still plagued with unresolved issues. 
For now, the vast hangar overlooking the sea in southern Italy hosts the majority of migrants landing here each week, giving them time to wash and rest, before they are sent on to more permanent centres to file asylum requests. 
[...] When Pozzallo becomes an official hotspot at the end of November, new arrivals will instead be obliged to provide their fingerprints as part of an asylum request, or be taken to a detention centre to await expulsion from Italy. 
The hotspots will be closed-door centres, sharply reducing the chance that people can flee and head north off their own backs.
What's more, Reuters reported this week, Italy will allow a "proportionate" use of force to obtain fingerprints, which it has not done regularly in the past, "to the extent that it is compatible with Italian law."
Reuters continued:
If a migrant agrees to be fingerprinted and wants to seek asylum, he or she will be moved from the hotspot to an immigration centre whose tenants can come and go as they like while their applications are processed. 
If instead a migrant refused to be fingerprinted or does not plan to ask for asylum, he or she will be sent to "Centres for Identification and Expulsion" (CIE), to be—if possible—deported. In the CIE, migrants can be held under lock and key for up to three months.
Meanwhile, the European border agency Frontex launched a call on Friday for 775 additional guards to be deployed at the external borders of the European Union—the largest number of border guards Frontex has ever requested in the history of the agency.

But a more comprehensive approach is needed, wrote analyst Nina Perkowski on Friday—one that emphasizes humanity over harsh tactics. 

"'More Frontex' cannot be the answer to this crisis," she argued. "Rather than investing millions more in fences, patrols, and an EU Border Guard, we need the courage to accept that the policies of exclusion have failed."

"After more than two decades of attempting to 'seal' EU borders, of increasing Frontex’s funding and powers, building new fences, and making it ever more difficult for the poor, marginalised, and persecuted to reach EU territory, it is time to realise that this is not working," Perkowski concluded. "Rather than 'more Frontex,' we need policies and practices that recognize the humanity of those seeking safety and livelihood for themselves and their families and allow them to do so also here in Europe, rather than keeping them 'away' from 'us' at all costs."