Monday, June 30th, 2014 by Kyle Olson
Milwaukee has long been a hotbed for student activists assisted by teachers union leaders – mainly Milwaukee Public Schools teacher Bob Peterson.
Now with the major influx of immigrants from Central America, those student activists are escalating their tactics.
Workers World reports:
Activists led by “Youth Empowered in the Struggle” shut down the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in downtown here, June 19. At 6 a.m., 10 activists chained their arms together through PVC piping and sat in front of the building’s garage doors to block ICE vehicles from leaving to arrest more people.
Recently, the immigration raids have started somewhere between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. About 100 people rallied in support of the chained-together activists, in front of the garage doors.
This action was primarily in response to a large-scale sweep conducted by ICE in partnership with the Milwaukee Police Department on May 27, which resulted in the arrest of 22 people from their homes and workplaces. Over the last month a total of 49 people have been arrested in Milwaukee for being undocumented.
“We will defend our community as long as ICE keeps attacking us and until [President Barack] Obama grants deferred action for all,” said Oscar Hernandez, who was one of the 10 activists chained together.
Two of the activists were family members of one of the men arrested on May 27. The 11-year-old girl saw her father being taken away by ICE agents as he had been preparing the car to take her and her two sisters to school.
Activists chanted, “Undocumented and unafraid!” and “MPD shame on you, immigrants are people too!” as morning traffic began to flow through downtown. Though police threatened to arrest the chained activists, they backed off and watched the rally, which lasted over three hours.
nother two treated for ‘flu-like’ symptoms
by Adan Salazar | Infowars.com | June 30, 2014
Over the weekend two additional cases of the swine flu (H1N1) virus were confirmed among Central American illegal immigrant minors being detained in South Texas, and two more were found to be exhibiting “flu like symptoms,” compounding anxieties over communicable diseases being spread within the meager confines of overloaded detention facilities.
On Saturday, KGBT confirmed via a Border Patrol Union representative that two more cases of the H1N1 virus were detected in minors being held in two separate detainment facilities in Brownsville, Texas.
Chris Cabrera, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council #3307, “said both cases involve juveniles and both were confirmed on Friday by medical personnel located at both facilities,” reports ValleyCentral.com.
Cabrera also divulged approximately 120 people were being isolated due to exposure with the afflicted juveniles.
On Sunday, Cabrera revealed two more children at a Border Patrol station in Brownsville were also isolated after exhibiting “flu like symptoms,” however, H1N1 in those cases has not been confirmed.
“If someone is released and they are symptomatic, it could spread rapidly” Cabrera warned. “It’s contagious, we are transporting people to different parts of the state and different parts of the country,” he also expressed earlier this month, referring to the practice of transporting immigrants to other parts of the country.
With reports of sickness spreading in detention facilities, many contend the immigrant surge poses a serious risk to public health. Last week, we learned at least one H1N1 diagnosis cropped up at the makeshift immigrant processing center at the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.
On Friday, Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) also disclosed some Central American detainees were found to be harboring diseases such as tuberculosis, scabies and chicken pox, and that “according to Border Patrol, 4 or 5 of their agents have tested positive for those diseases.”
There are also increased worries immigrants hailing from Honduras could be infected with HIV, the AIDS-causing virus.
“Most of the border minors are being kept in overcrowded facilities ridden with poor hygiene,” Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet told Breitbart News last week, adding, “this is the ideal condition for a viral outbreak.”
With about 52,000 unaccompanied minors apprehended since October, border agents are at wit’s end processing, transporting, feeding and housing the immigrant surge. Along with the threat of dangerous gang members, agents are now also putting their lives on the line, screening, isolating and treating sick detainees with potentially deadly illnesses.
Despite numerous warnings of an impending health crisis, immigrants are still being sent to other parts of the country and government agencies still refuse to acknowledge the threat posed to public health.
As we reported Saturday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the governmental health agency that is “monitoring H1N1 in the U.S.,” has all but ignored border agents’ pleas for help containing the spread of disease.
By TOM RAUM
WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite an improving U.S. economy, retirement plans covering roughly 1.5 million workers are severely underfunded, threatening benefit cuts for current and future retirees, a federal watchdog agency warned Monday.
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) said multi-employer plans, which are collectively bargained retirement plans maintained by more than one employer, are most at risk. “Plan insolvencies … are now both more likely and more imminent than in our last report,” the report said.
At the same time, the agency said single-employer pension plans – covering just over 30 million participants – are on firmer financial footing and are likely to remain so at least over the next 10 years.
The report concluded that, as shaky as the situation is for the underfunded multi-employer plans, the outlook is slightly better than it was just a year ago as the nation’s economy gradually improves from the severe 2007-2009 recession.
“In the past year, economic conditions have improved significantly and most plans are projected to remain solvent,” said the agency, which was created under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).
But, it added, that research over the past year had made clear that, for some multi-employer plans, “even the improving economy will not be sufficient to maintain their solvency.”
If a company goes bankrupt and is forced to terminate its pension plan, the PBGC will generally take over making sure that retirees continue to draw pension benefits, at least up to certain limits. It’s a form of insurance. The maximum guaranteed amount paid by PBGC in 2013 was $4,789.77 per month, or $57, 477.24 per year. The agency does not pay the benefits directly to people covered by failed plans, but provides financial assistance to the plans themselves to enable them to continue providing benefits.
Employers pay a fee to the PBGC for each employee.
As more and more baby-boomers retire and begin drawing pension benefits, the PBGC comes under increasing financial strain.
The agency noted that for many years, the single-employer program was more likely to be seriously underfunded than the multi-employer plans: “That situation is now reversing.”
“Some multi-employer plans are deteriorating and PBGC’s multi-employer program is more likely than not to run out of money within the next eight years,” the agency said.
The agency said many participants in the troubled multi-employer plans are employed by small companies in the building and construction industries. Also many workers in retail food, garment manufacturing, entertainment, mining and truck and maritime industries could feel the consequences.
Number of potential U.S. targets in the region –- meaning U.S. military personnel — has increased
By Richard Esposito, Robert Windrem and Tom Winter
ISIS, the Islamist terror group that now controls much of Syria and Iraq, poses an “extremely high” terror threat to U.S. targets, and has the bomb-making skills and foreign fighters needed to strike U.S. and other Western interests, according to multiple U.S. intelligence officials.
“While trying to rank threats or compare them to previous threat periods is a hazardous endeavor,” said one former U.S. counterterrorism official, “the current threat coming out of ISIS — and Syria more broadly — is extremely high.” While the opposition in Syria and Iraq is diverse, said the official, there are “sub elements” within it that are “especially worrisome because of their commitment to attack the West.”
Another senior counterterrorism official added that in recent weeks, “ISIS has accumulated tens of millions in wealth, large amounts of military equipment and ordnance, and has expanded the safe haven in which it operates.” During this same period, the number of potential U.S. targets in the region –- meaning U.S. military personnel — has increased.
Both officials noted, however, that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is currently preoccupied with building an Islamic state across a broad swath of Iraq and Syria, not attacking the U.S. at home or abroad. “It’s not his focus right now,” said the second official, even though “al-Baghdadi’s rhetoric alone would suggest that he does have … international ambitions.”
And Rep. Peter King, R.-New York, who sits on the House Committee on Homeland Security, said there was no known “immediate threat” to the U.S. homeland from ISIS, though the global terror threat is mounting as more and more groups like ISIS pop up in Africa and the Middle East.
U.S. officials tell NBC News that about 70 Americans have traveled to Syria to fight alongside opponents of the Assad regime and about a dozen are currently active. Some have returned to the U.S.
The FBI tells NBC News that it is investigating “a handful” of individuals who have traveled to Syria from the Minneapolis region.
British officials say their concern about domestic terrorism from ISIS and other foreign fighters in Syria is higher due to the larger number of British residents who have traveled back and forth to Syria. They estimate 400 to 500 British “foreign fighters,” including Muslim converts, have gone to Syria, and about two thirds have come back to the U.K.
Image: A fighter of the ISIS holds a flag and a weapon on a street in Mosul Reuters
A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) holds an ISIL flag and a weapon on a street in the city of Mosul on June 23, 2014.
“The threat picture here is even greater than the U.S. and it creates a situation that is difficult, complex and of great concern,” said one British official. The official noted that the threat needed to be viewed as one that impacted all of Europe.
If ISIS were to attack Western targets, the job is made easier by access to the huge quantity of military supplies now available in Iraq and Syria, and access to the kind of potential attackers – passport holders in Western countries — who can move unnoticed in the U.S. and Europe.
Said one expert, “The number of potential attackers is significantly greater than we have seen from any other safe haven since 9/11.”
ISIS has also not been degraded by the kind of military action, including drone strikes, that has killed militants in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia.
“The lack of U.S-led disruptive activity means that elements in Syria and Iraq have greater freedom to plot than in any other safe haven,” said the expert.
Previously undisclosed files leaked to the media by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden now show that the United States National Security Agency has been authorized to spy on persons in all but four countries.
The Washington Post published on Monday official documents provided by Mr. Snowden that shows new proof concerning the extent of the NSA’s vast surveillance apparatus.
One of the documents—a file marked “top secret” from 2010 and approved by the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court—shows that the NSA has been authorized to conduct surveillance on 193 foreign government, as well as various factions and organizations around the world, including the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“Virtually no foreign government is off-limits for the National Security Agency, which has been authorized to intercept information from individuals ‘concerning’ all but four countries on Earth, according to top-secret documents,” journalists Ellen Nakashima and Barton Gellman wrote for the Post.
The reporters write that the NSA’s ability to target the communications of foreign persons and parties is “far more elastic” than previously known, and that documents suggest the agency can acquire conversations that may not involve an intelligence target directly, but concern that individual or entity to a certain degree by relying on provisions contained within the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Unless, of course, that person of interest is a citizen of one of the ‘Five Eyes’ nations that, together with the US, are involved in a global surveillance partnership of sorts.
According to the Post, the NSA’s computers automatically filter out phone calls from Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand that would otherwise be collected using FISA. Even those nations, however, aren’t entirely sparred.
Nakashima and Gellman go on to acknowledge that the list contains 28 sovereign territories, including the British Virgin Islands, where the NSA reportedly still does permit intelligence gathering filtering out those country codes would otherwise slow the system down.
One former senior defense official who spoke to the journalists on condition of anonymity said that the broad authority is allowed so that the US government is able to assess any developing situations around the world at the drop of a hat.
“It’s not impossible to imagine a humanitarian crisis in a country that’s friendly to the United States, where the military might be expected on a moment’s notice to go in and evacuate all Americans,” the official said. “If that certification did not list the country,” the source suggested, then the NSA could not gather intelligence under the FISA Amendments Act, which allows for the interception of such communications.
“These documents show both the potential scope of the government’s surveillance activities and the exceedingly modest role the court plays in overseeing them,” Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union, told the Post.