My Posts about Raif Badawi & Saudi Arabia

Raif Badawi is always in imminent danger of his punishment being resumed. He still awaits 950 lashes with a whip. Saudi Arabia’s thought-police know that any news about a prisoner can be one more form of punishment for his family. Raif Badawi is always in imminent danger. The mental torture never ceases.

When his story grows more prominent, as it has since the arrest of his sister, Samar Badawi, on July 30, 2018, that torture only becomes sharper. It becomes exquisitely more difficult to find hope.

For Raif—and for his lawyer and brother-in-law Waleed Abulkhair, who is also in prison in Saudi Arabia in a gross violation of his own human rights—and for their two brilliant and courageous wives, Ensaf Haidar and Samar Badawi, today is another challenging day. Each one is. Each day, news or none, is spent weighing the choice between daring to dream of freedom or to not expend energy in the risky business of dreaming.

Saudi Arabia arrested and imprisoned Samar Badawi on July 30, possible charges and location unknown as of this writing.

This post lists the articles I wrote over the last three-plus years about Raif Badawi, a young writer whom Saudi Arabia has punished for his essays, and whose story is finally an international matter this week in a conflict between Saudi Arabia and Canada. I will file a more current post tomorrow.

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ICE Arrests Green Card Holder; Community Responds

UPDATED, April 29: When a GoFundMe page was established to help the family of Joel and Jessica Guerrero of New Paltz, New York, some 400 people donated $16,165 to the family of Joel and Jessica Guerrero within days. The community grew from immediate neighbors and family to the rest of the nation and beyond borders. When we remember that we are all cousins, the world shrinks in happy ways.

The fundraiser was closed at the start of April, but Joel remains in federal custody, detained by ICE. A petition on Change.org to free Joel has attracted almost 1000 signatures and many more are needed: “Please Stand With Joel & Jessica Guerrero.”

My column from March 5, 2017, with some corrections (thank you, Jessica Guerrero):
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Breaking a Family Apart

When Will We Know?”—an ongoing series

NEW PALTZ, NEW YORK: Joel Guerrero, a New Paltz, New York, resident arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at his biannual check-in with ICE on March 1, is being held at the Hudson County Correctional Facility in Kearney, New Jersey.

ICE arrested Guerrero at his appointment on the grounds that Joel had once missed a court date—in 2011. He was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana at that time. Because of that conviction, under the rules for immigrants, Guerrero was mandated to check in with ICE two times a year, which is a rule he complied with. Guerrero legally immigrated from the Dominican Republic two decades ago and has his green card. He has kept his papers up-to-date.

Guerrero has attended every court date since that missed one, but ICE yesterday put a deportation order in effect for the single court appearance that he missed five years ago, nonetheless.

He was accompanied on his regularly scheduled appointment in New York City with ICE by his wife Jessica, a U.S. citizen and New Paltz native who is six months pregnant with their first child.
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The New DOJ: Protect the Violent from Their Victims

When Will We Know?”—an ongoing series

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No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.—Title IX

The new U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) thinks that the larger problem in society is not the scourge of rape and sexual assault but the reporting of it. The authors of a new, leaked, memo from the Department of Justice appear the think that the quickest way to reduce sexual violence is to report it less.

A Justice Department draft memorandum that proposes “recommendations on the interpretation and enforcement of Title IX” was leaked on February 20 by one of the many online accounts of government employees who have “gone rogue” and are hard at work sharing with the world all the changes that have been introduced since the new presidential administration took the reins of power. Three days later, the document was confirmed to me as legitimate by a source.

The Twitter account that published the document, @ALT_USCIS, is operated by insiders who claim to be employed at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, and it has been a reliable source for information about the “ICE Raids” that took place the last three weeks and quite a few other things.

The thrust of the leaked draft memo is to change operational procedures in our nation’s schools and law enforcement from what has been a history of protecting victims of sexual assault to a new standard in which those accused of sexual assault are to be protected.
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New DHS Policies, Predicted Weeks Ago

When Will We Know?”—an ongoing series

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today released two memos from Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly that explain how the department will detain and prosecute undocumented immigrants and criminal immigrants. For any readers who follow the “rogue” Citizenship and Immigration Service Twitter account @ALT_USCIS, the publication of the memos—and details inside them—comes eleven days after that account supplied those details. (CNN and other news outlets reported the existence of the memos two days ago.)

There are many online accounts of government employees (including at least two accounts whose writers claim to be inside the White House itself) who have “gone rogue” and are hard at work sharing with the world all the changes that have been introduced since the new presidential administration took the reins of power. @ALT_USCIS is a must-read account as of right now. If journalism is the first draft of history, this Twitter account is supplying the previews.
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A New Interpretation of Title IX?

UPDATE, February 24: A source in the federal government confirmed to this website last night that the leaked memo from the Department of Justice that is discussed below is legitimate.

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When Will We Know?”—an ongoing series

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No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.—Title IX

A U.S. Department of Justice draft memorandum that proposes “recommendations on the interpretation and enforcement of Title IX” was leaked today by one of the many online accounts of government employees who have “gone rogue” and are hard at work sharing with the world all the changes that have been introduced since the new presidential administration took the reins of power.

The Twitter account that published the document three hours ago, @ALT_USCIS, is operated by insiders who claim to be employed at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, and has been a reliable source for information about the “ICE Raids” that took place the last two weeks. That reliability is the reason I am sharing the documents here.

The main thrust of the leaked draft memo is to change operational procedures in our nation’s schools and law enforcement from what has been a history of protecting victims of sexual assault to a new standard in which those accused of sexual assault are to be protected.
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Putting Help on I.C.E.

When Will We Know?”—an ongoing series

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed on February 10 that ICE agents this week raided homes and workplaces across the nation in an immigration enforcement crackdown code-named “Operation Cross Check.”

The Washington Post reported that the search for undocumented immigrants became “unusually intense” this week and listed the locations as: Vista, Pomona and Compton, California; Austin, Dallas, and Pflugerville, Texas; Alexandria and Annandale, Virginia; Charlotte and Burlington, North Carolina; Plant City, Florida; the Hudson Valley region of New York; and Wichita, Kansas.

(I live in the Hudson Valley. The local media has not yet identified the location of any ICE raids that took place in the Hudson Valley.)

ICE does not usually release statements about its activities before a mission is completed, but many rumors proliferated about Operation Cross Check, so an ICE official, Virginia Kice, reported that any numbers of arrested individuals that the bureau might announce are “preliminary given that the five-day operation concluded only hours ago”—which confirmed that the raids were taking place and that the operation was finished—and that more would be revealed on Monday.

Kice told The Daily Beast that thirty-eight were arrested in the Los Angeles area on February 9 alone, and multiple sources report that as many as 160 individuals (one source old me the number is “200+”) were arrested in the operation. Also detained by ICE and its affiliates this week was any ability to get help to those being held, as several human rights activists have learned.

Here is that story:
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