Migrants Are Stranded on a U.S. Warship With Nowhere to Go

On Tuesday, the Trenton, a Spearhead-class high-speed transport that is part of ongoing 6th Fleet military operations off the coast of Libya, came upon a migrant boat in distress and disintegrating. People were in the water. Several corpses were floating nearby. The Trenton called for help and, along with the German non-governmental organization Sea Watch whose ship was patrolling nearby, the American crew carried out the rescue of 40 African migrants and observed what appeared to be 12 people in the water who had died. The living are all on the American ship. The anonymous dead were left to the mercy of the elements.

A spokesperson for the U.S. 6th Fleet says that the rescue boats deployed apparently could not find the bodies that had been seen at first, but if they had, the ship would have had enough refrigerated space to store them.

“On June 12, 2018 USNS Trenton, in accordance with its obligations under international law, rendered assistance to mariners in distress that it encountered while conducting routine operations in the Mediterranean Sea,” the Sixth Fleet said in an earlier statement. “Forty people have been recovered and are being provided food, water, and medical care on board Trenton. U.S. authorities are coordinating with our international partners to determine their ultimate disposition.”

…On Wednesday, Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini made it very clear that Italy’s ports would remain closed to all but Italian-flagged ships if they carry rescued migrants.

The political wrangling puts the Trenton in a particularly problematic situation. The German-flagged NGO that helped with the rescue is worried that if it agrees to take the migrants off the Americans’ hands, it could end up in a standoff like the Aquarius.

…On Thursday, the Trenton got tired of waiting for the Italian Coast Guard central command to tell it what to do with the survivors and it left the area. The fate of the 40 survivors on board remains undetermined.

This week Spain is seen as a savior for taking in the people aboard the Aquarius, but only a year ago it was condemned because it used armed force to keep migrants off its shores. And Italy, which has taken in far more African migrants than any other European country, is now seen as the bad guy for saying, “No more.”

But none of that political posturing helps the human beings afloat on the Mediterranean. Some will make it to safety in Europe. Some will be returned to Africa. Many will die, pawns sacrificed in a global game.

Migrants Are Stranded on a U.S. Warship With Nowhere to Go

the (in)humanity….


Inside the Former Walmart That is Now a Shelter for Almost 1,500 Migrant Children

At least 13 deficiency citations have been filed against the shelter at the former Walmart in Brownsville, which seemingly overnight became a symbol of the housing scramble after a Democratic lawmaker, Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, showed up unannounced to take a tour but was turned away by police escort. Mr. Merkley’s attempt to gain entry this month, captured on Facebook Live by a member of his staff, put national attention on the shelter, which is run by a nonprofit group that contracts with a federal agency.

…The shelter, called Casa Padre, is a world all its own, much of it invisible to outsiders. The few windows are covered in black mesh; in the parking lot, yellow-painted wooden barricades read, “Keep Out.”

…The industry for sheltering young migrants had run into trouble here even before the latest boom. Hundreds of shelter workers in the Rio Grande Valley were laid off at the end of March, after several sites run on contract to the federal government by a private organization, International Educational Services, suddenly shut down. The organization, known as I.E.S., lost its federal financing and shuttered its shelters and other facilities, for reasons that federal officials have yet to publicly explain.

Inside the Former Walmart That is Now a Shelter for Almost 1,500 Migrant Children – The New York Times


California is on the verge of three important steps toward police accountability

Californians have lost much of their former ability to monitor the performance of police officers and agencies, due in large part to a series of unfavorable court rulings and to the timidity of elected leaders who repeatedly bowed to pressure from law enforcement labor unions. The Legislature now has taken up a modest yet valuable bill that would allow the public to learn which officers fired their weapons, used other serious force or lied about their actions.

…Without such data, it is nearly impossible to learn which officers account for disproportionate injuries, deaths and public liability. Nor is it possible to determine whether agencies operate effective internal investigations and unbiased disciplinary systems. That leaves police departments shockingly free of real oversight from the public they serve.

…Unlike teachers and sanitation workers, though, law enforcement officers take up badges and weapons and are uniquely granted the authority to arrest or even kill in the name of the law. In return, some modicum of access to police records is required to prevent abuse of that enormous power.

The bill, authored by Democrat Nancy Skinner of Berkeley, is so measured that the state’s district attorneys have dropped their opposition. It would make public the currently confidential reports that police departments prepare on a variety of incidents involving officers, including discharging a firearm or using a Taser or other electroshock weapon, striking a person on the head or neck or taking any action that results in serious injury or death.

Access also would be granted to records that show an officer sexually assaulted a member of the public, or lied or falsified evidence in the course of a police investigation or criminal prosecution.

California is on the verge of three important steps toward police accountability

Oversight and access to compromising information about officer performance and malfeasance? I’ll believe it when I see it in action.