Our nation’s greatest moral philosopher, Mark Twain, wrote that a man who won’t read is no better off than a man who can’t read. This explains the Trump administration’s stupidity, but does not explain its cruelty.
The United States is committing war crimes every day on our own soil. And that’s not the worst of it.
Deporting refugees to countries at war is a “grave breach” of the Geneva Conventions. Additional protocols to the conventions state that grave breaches are war crimes.
Every time the United States deports a refugee to Syria, to Yemen or Iraq, we are committing a war crime. Chiefly responsible for this are President Donald Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting director Thomas Homan, and every member of both houses of Congress.
No one can stop this except the voters of the United States, and we can’t do it for another 2½ years. So we are all complicit in this.
The U.S. Supreme Court could stop it if one of five of them gave a damn about U.S. war crimes. But they don’t.
A judge capable of issuing international arrest warrants for war criminals might be able to stop it. Spanish jurist Baltasar Garzón did such a thing 20 years ago when he issued an international arrest warrant for Augusto Pinochet, claiming universal jurisdiction for war crimes. Garzón managed to get Pinochet arrested in Britain, and scared Henry Kissinger away from our mother isle by asking that Kissinger be detained and questioned about his involvement in Pinochet’s murders and tortures.
Garzón ruled that even a head of state could be detained and questioned on foreign soil in cases of universal jurisdiction. It’s unlikely that any judge today would issue such an order against Trump, but it would be interesting to see what would happen should an international arrest warrant be issued for Sessions, Nielsen or Homan.
But all this, believe it or not, is a minor issue. So far as war crimes go, the major issue today is Sessions’ order to kidnap immigrant children, separate them from their parents and imprison them in jails hundreds of miles away from one another.
This is torture. Torture of children.
Sessions and his creatures have lost track of what happened to at least 1,475 children, many of them younger than 5. Despite this widely publicized fact, another 658 children were separated from their parents in a mere two weeks in May.
Imprisoning toddlers and separating them from their parents is abuse in itself, but immigration officers follow this up by physically and sexually assaulting the children.
Sessions claims he is prosecuting babies and their parents because the parents are body traffickers, smuggling their children into the United States.
Trump claims that he is separating toddlers from their parents and imprisoning them because of “a Democratic law” — though there is no such law, nor has he cited the law, nor has the press shown much interest in asking him what that law is. Nor is there such a creature as a Democratic Party law.
This is perverse. Body traffickers, or coyotes, smuggle people into the United States for a fee, which has risen from around $50 a head in the early 1980s to $5,000 today. Criminal charges are filed against coyotes for this.
To justify bringing a criminal charge against a mother who brings her toddler to the United States, fleeing war, murder, persecution and torture in Central America, Sessions would have to show she charged her baby for it.
This is ridiculous. Only a perverted and vicious mind could make such a claim.
The president and attorney general of the United States are doing it.
Let us not forget Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who said this week that the criminally defendant mothers who were separated from their toddlers were probably lying about being the babies’ real mothers.
Pardon my italics, but this is sick. It’s not only a perversion of justice and morality, it’s perversion itself: self-gratification through inflicting pain upon babies.
The ACLU filed a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of 429 children who were separated from their parents. In response this week, in a speech in Nashville, Trump revived his attacks on refugees, by shouting to his supporters that members of the MS-13 gang “want to cut people up into little pieces. They’re not human beings.”
“What was the name?” he asked his followers.
And the crowd hollered back, as one, “Animals!”
This is fascism. This is Hitlerism.
Now, MS-13 members are not good guys. But would you like to hear what happened to a journalist who reported on MS-13’s links to the Salvadoran government and police?
He fled his home to seek political asylum in the United States. We arrested him and sent him to a profit-seeking private prison in Adelanto, California, run by the GEO Group. There, according to a recent federal lawsuit, prison guards pepper-sprayed him and other asylum-seekers in their faces, then put them in solitary confinement for 10 days. Rather than, for instance, asking what they knew about MS-13: to help them, our allies, fight our common menace.
This is torture. This is fascism.