Angry Mom: Hiding the Trumpian Genocide’s Records

When I think can’t get any angrier at this miserable excuse for governance, the Trump administration proves there isn’t a limit to how low they will go.

Sleazy, unlawful executive action without adequate oversight followed by a fog of obfuscation and prevarication is bad enough. The administration will now double down now to hide what it’s done and hope like hell nobody notices.

It doesn’t help that members of Congress, journalists, and the public still haven’t grasped the true nature of the crimes before them.

The Trump administration hasn’t merely ignored or broken existing U.S. laws on handling of asylum seekers. See 8 U.S. Code § 1158:

(a) Authority to apply for asylum
(1) In general
Any alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States (whether or not at a designated port of arrival and including an alien who is brought to the United States after having been interdicted in international or United States waters), irrespective of such alien’s status, may apply for asylum in accordance with this section or, where applicable, section 1225(b) of this title.

(2) Exceptions
(A) Safe third country
Paragraph (1) shall not apply to an alien if the Attorney General determines that the alien may be removed, pursuant to a bilateral or multilateral agreement, to a country (other than the country of the alien’s nationality or, in the case of an alien having no nationality, the country of the alien’s last habitual residence) in which the alien’s life or freedom would not be threatened on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, and where the alien would have access to a full and fair procedure for determining a claim to asylum or equivalent temporary protection, unless the Attorney General finds that it is in the public interest for the alien to receive asylum in the United States.

(B) Time limit
Subject to subparagraph (D), paragraph (1) shall not apply to an alien unless the alien demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that the application has been filed within 1 year after the date of the alien’s arrival in the United States.

There’s more but the key part in boldface above. The “zero tolerance” approach to border protection violated this code. Asylum seekers do not have to apply from outside the country; they can apply once inside the country. I’m not a lawyer but I don’t see anything here that indicates asylum seekers are suddenly not eligible to apply for asylum because they crossed the border.

And nothing in the entirety of 8 U.S. Code § 1158 indicates the government may take custody of asylum seekers’ minor children with or without force.

Note also where the asylum seekers may apply — they are NOT limited to designated ports.

DHS Secretary Nielsen’s claim that border crossers had not applied through ports of entry is a lie because it wasn’t required of them.

What happens to the children appears to fit the description of kidnapping (18 U.S. Code § 1201), including section (a)(3), an “act against the person is done within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States as defined in section 46501 of title 49” for those children who are flown by aircraft to other destinations in the U.S. out of their parents’ physical custody. It’s no wonder carriers like United Airlines and American Airlines wrote and published letters yesterday telling DHS to stop using their services for moving the children across the country.

The conditions in which many of the children have been placed also appear to be abusive; based on the children seen so far there are reports of not enough food, sedation, restraints, disruption to sleep habits, etc.

But that’s not the end of it. The entire separation of children from their families appears to be genocide under The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide which the U.S. has signed (1948) and ratified (1988):

Article 2
In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed
with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious
group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about
its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

We have not yet seen evidence of child deaths, but section (b) is likely and (e) of Article 2 is definite — the children are now in custody of the United States government and disbursed to others’ care.

Wednesday’s executive order does nothing to remedy the situation. It doesn’t even stop the separation of children from families due to its murky wording. It exacerbates the problem by foisting some of the responsibility on the military, placing the Defense Department at odds with the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S. Code § 1385) as the EO expects the military to perform a domestic function — DHS’ border patrol and immigration services — which is not in response to a natural disaster.

(Oh, this is definitely a disaster, but it is human made.)

Ordering the military to provide assistance also draws defense resources away from where they may be needed, potentially creating security risks.

And yet this is not enough insult. DHS’ Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) asked the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) last year if it could change its record retention practices, according to The Memory Hole:

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has asked for permission to destroy all its documents about the deaths of detained immigrants in custody 20 years after a case is “closed.” (Deaths in ICE custody are almost always investigated by ICE itself. A minority are investigated by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General. [report])

Similarly, ICE wants to destroy all its documents about sexual assaults of detained immigrants in custody. The time frame is 20 years after a case is “closed.” (Again, ICE almost always investigates itself in these cases. The Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General investigates around 1% of complaints/reports. [article]) NARA argues that this information is “sensitive,” implying that documents containing the identities of victims and the accused should not be kept indefinitely. ICE itself did not offer this (or any) justification.

Thankfully The Memory Hole followed up and asked for status on ICE’s request, to which NARA replied:

No final action has been taken on this schedule. NARA appraisal staff have reviewed the comments received, and held several meetings with ICE records management and program staff regarding the records being scheduled.

Proposed changes to the schedule are being reviewed internally by NARA stakeholders for internal concurrence, after which NARA will inform ICE of the required changes. NARA will then publish a follow-up Federal Register notice responding to the public comments we received. This notice will be open for public comment for 15 days from the date of publication.

But it is not yet impossible that records related to the current human-made disaster affecting thousands of children may be destroyed prematurely, depriving them of justice.

There’s simply no way that ICE should be allowed to change its records retention given the scale of the separated families disaster. And yet I have a horrible, angry feeling the Trump administration will do whatever it can to hide its role in this genocidal activity along the U.S. southwest border.

EDIT — 5:45 P.M. EDT —

I meant to add one more thing to this post. It’s imperative I add this now that the White House has tried to change the subject by using FLOTUS as a human shield with a target literally painted on her back. Do not be derailed by their bullshit. Keep asking:

Where are the girls?

Where are the babies?

Where are ALL the bodies???

43 replies
  1. greengiant says:

    The administration seems as incompetent at law as it is in understanding essential human needs, organization and arithmetic. Ignorance touted as a feature? Really now. This is similar to other cults I have seen including the Pete Peterson fiscal responsibility road show. Loyalty oaths and leader worship indeed. Thieves, racists and incompetents attract and hire others of their ilk. The same when they capture a corporation. My words can’t do justice to the moral, ethical and human rights violations of the administration down the line. These cults tend to be thin organizationally, prone to overreach, and require people to go along. Damn Hitler gave an existence proof. Surprised that they found Border patrol executives to separate and take custody of small children even for a few hours. They admit no lists with ages, only a head count. I write this searching for some hope the wheels will come off of Trump’s train.

  2. Chetan Murthy says:

    My understanding is that crimes against humanity enjoy “universal jurisdiction” — that is, any government can prosecute them.  Is it true for these crimes?  could a state government prosecute the ICE for violating this treaty, and then perhaps imprison all ICE employees in-state as being part of a RICO?


    • zizeksdad says:

      My understanding of universal jurisdiction is that, broadly, it applies to: crimes against humanity, genocide, slavery, piracy and war crimes. There may be some others in there I’m not aware of. If the Trump administration was guilty of any of these then officials responsible for the policy could in theory be arrested.

      What the author of the above piece, however, does miss is the key component of the genocide crime is not the genocidal act – we can, I hope, all agree here that the acts of the Trump administration have a genocidal effect. The difficulty in proving genocide is the intent to destroy part. I’m not a lawyer or anything – just postgrad – but I feel that the Trump administration would have a defense specifically to any charge of genocide by saying the intent was border security.

      Crimes against humanity, though, is a different matter. That’s a much broader standard.

      • Rayne says:

        “Intent to destroy” may not be clear to some looking at the documents we’ve seen so far which refer to “zero tolerance” with regard to border crossing.

        But “zero tolerance” can mean “total destruction” — destroy who tries to cross the border, though both international human rights law and U.S. law do not support this. “Total destruction” may not mean death on sight but excision of cultural identity; if some of these children are being mentally and spiritually damaged in camps, if they are being “lost” in a nebulous system, if they are being adopted without the consent of their parents or guardians, they are being destroyed. The actions speak to intent when taken as a whole.

        And asylum seekers who are deterred in one way or another from applying for asylum, punished by having their children stripped from them, who end up going back to violence in their country of origin are likewise being destroyed whether mentally, spiritually, physically by proxy.

        My personal bet is that there is documentation or communications we haven’t seen which spells out this administration’s intent to destroy. It’s probably not limited to asylum seekers or their children, either.

        • zizeksdad says:

          That is a moral argument with which I agree but which is not relevant to the question of whether the Trump administration has committed genocide. Genocide is the highest international crime and has a very difficult burden of proof – “destruction” relates to physical destruction and/or forced sterilisation aiming to wipe out the racial, ethnic, political, religious, national group.

          To say something is probably not genocide but could fall under the definition of crimes against humanity is still a pretty harsh condemnation of the policy.

          • Rayne says:

            I think you are looking for absolutes — an express intent to totally annihilate a culturally/ethnically distinct group — when genocide can act on a much smaller scale and in very casual ways. Like Puerto Rico.

  3. Dev Null says:

    Perhaps I am confused or misremembering, but I thought that one of the BIG problems is that there is neither liaison nor process between DHS and HHS in this regard.

    You needn’t destroy records if they don’t exist.

  4. Rugger9 says:

    OT but important: Dr. Drew is infesting our airwaves here (KGO) and just now mentioned some “report” that Mueller (then head of the FBI) was instrumental in denying 9-11 families their opportunities to sue Saudi Arabia (it apparently started from Rand Paul).  Sounds like BS to me.  Could someone check it out?  FWIW, there is no way that Mueller on his own (i.e. without at least approval from if not directed by the Shrub Administration who was running things then) would be able to decide something like this. Apparently there is a Harper’s interview with Steven Moore to back this up. It’s clearly a hatchet job, noting that the families are still pursuing KSA liability.


    Bonus On Topic rant generator from Melania’s whitewash tour today:

  5. Dev Null says:

    Daily Beast reportage on the Admin’s plans to escape state oversight: concentration camps on military bases.

    The big new deal is that by putting children on federal land, the Admin can avoid state oversight.

    h/t Noah Shachtman’s twitter feed via EW’s twitter feed.

    Also, too: Трамп confirms that the plan is to resume separation after 20 days.

    Which is to say, Josh Marshall was spot on.

    Fourth tweet, big font.

    h/t bmaz twitter feed.

    (let me know if I shouldn’t be posting from front-pager twitter feeds… they’re at the bottom of each page, but perhaps not everyone reads them… I didn’t.)


  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Jefferson Beauregard may know SFA about the law, immigration or otherwise.  His staff know a lot about it.  Ignorance is no excuse, not for a criminal defendant and certainly not for the Attorney General.

    I wonder what opinions OLC has on this topic.  It should have been asked for them.  Thing is, one of the suppositions is that this program was designed to fail, to allow Trump and Miller to blame the courts for stabbing MAGA in the back, and to keep the issue on the boil for November.

  7. Mary McCurnin says:

    I just read this on FB.  Maybe this answers the questions about where the children are. It also explains why evangelicals support Trump. I almost hesitate to post it but it seems rational and well informed.

    Emm Paul
    June 19 at 4:51 PM

    I just wanted to post this for my friends who are not in the adoption rights and reform community to let you know why this separation of families is additionally alarming to us.

    Although my mother made an adoption plan, many babies of my era were not relinquished voluntarily. That shameful time in American history is known as the Baby Scoop Era, which went from POST-WWII to the passing of Roe v. Wade in 72.

    This is what I commented on a friend’s page:
    Those of us in the adoption reform and rights community have been worried about this for awhile.
    There is only 1 birthmother to like 36 want-to-be adopters, many MANY of them evangelicals. They don’t want children from the foster system, because they are considered to be damaged goods and many countries won’t let Americans adopt because of corruption. Those that do are incredibly expensive.

    Only in America is the adoption industry a billion dollar business. Paying enormous sums (which don’t go to the birthparents) is not allowed in other nations. It’s considered to be human trafficking. The industry in the US has a huge, well-funded lobbying group.
    We’re afraid that the US is going to start terminating some of these parents rights’ to feed the industry. It’s frightening.

    And that might be why we are not seeing photos of infants, toddlers, and girls.

    Update added 6/20:
    Many children have been sent to Michigan to be under the care of Bethany Christian Services. It is an adoption agency with ties to Betsy DeVos.
    This is from Laura Ingraham’s show on Monday. She is the single adoptive mother of 3 from Guatemala.

    “And we should make adoption easier for American couples who want to adopt these kids who are true candidates for adoption because our policies don’t allow that. So let’s put our hearts out there for the kids in the right way. Take care of them the right way. Open your hearts and your homes to them.”

    These children HAVE families. They didn’t come here all by themselves.
    They aren’t orphans. This is kidnapping.
    Carolyn D’Agostino writes: Pro adoption evangelical white savior cultist Craig Juntunen told Huffington Post in 2012 that his mission was to create a “culture of adoption” and bring in 50000 children a year. He is backed by evangelical leaders. Problem was, no sane country wanted to comply and shut down their markets. This is a calculated political move by the Trump administration to throw candy in the form of helpless children to the evangelical base.
    Mirren Kara Theiding writes “ I see the adoption industry all over this separation of families at the border, and I suspect (because Bethany is involved) that the babies and girls we are not seeing are already being put up for adoption without parental consent. Pence is a mouthpiece for the adoption industry lobby, and this fits. They are making money from detention, and they will make money from children they shouldn’t be taking. These parents have not consented to ANYTHING.”

    • Dev Null says:

      Posted this link (not the text) in comments on Rayne’s previous thread, but hey, the more the merrier. There’s beaucoup circumstantial evidence for kiddie trafficking, but none of it is definitive, and The Very Sensible Spousal Unit™ thinks I’m nuts to talk about this even sotto voce. (In fairness, more than ten years ago my GOP mother (may she rest in peace) told me I was nuts to describe the GOP as a criminal conspiracy. How did that work out for ya?)

      Check out Rayne’s previous “Angry Mom” post for my additional “evidence” (in comments, near the bottom of the page).

      FWIW I looked at the Juntunen post at HuffPo; on a quick skim didn’t see anything particularly nefarious, but I’m not a close reader.

      Another piece of “evidence” (for some definition of ‘evidence’) is Трамп’s 1990s associations with Jeffrey Epstein, “notorious registered sex offender”. Lots of dirt alleged at dKos, search for “SwedishJewFish” (I kid you not) or use this link. Another dKos writer (don’t remember the name) has made similar claims.

      I don’t remember the details, but Gloria Allred had a client all lined up in mid-to-late 2016 to testify that Трамп raped her when she was a minor, but the client backed out minutes before the scheduled start of the press briefing.

    • posaune says:

      Mary McCurnin @ 7:14: I agree with you.   This is human trafficking.   No one involved should EVER pass a child protective clearance review. They are all child abusers and kidnappers.  They are would be slave-traders, transporting babies and children for commercial purposes.

      And the adoption industry?  A huge case for alarm.   I don’t know how any prospective adoptive parent could, in sound mind, file a petition for adoption for one of these children, without consideration of their biological parents rights. Nor how any agency could place one of these children for adoption, with parental rights in dispute.

      And the Innocenti?   If Bethany’s customers (i.e. adoptive parents) believe that finding an infant, toddler or little girl, will ensure a their adoption of child with no issues, or a child with normal development, guess what?    These children will likely become far more traumatized than those in domestic foster care (whom these prospective adopters consider “damaged”).   These little children will experience a full traumatic disruption in child development according to the Neurosequential Model (Child Trauma Academy, Bruce Perry, PhD).  Everything about their development will be impacted:  language, motor skills, vision, balance, auditory processing, and most importantly, emotional regulation.    Any such child who is placed for adoption by Bethany or any other agency will require 24/7 full time therapeutic parenting and full comprehensive medical and therapeutic services multiple times per week, and health insurance coverage beyond belief.   For life.

      • Dev Null says:

        You might check the links I posted in comments at Rayne’s previous post.

        You’re thinking “caring, responsible” adoptive parents.

        I could be wrong, but I think the model is instead “unpaid house drudges and servants for my spawn. Hey, I’m doing these subhumans a favor by introducing them to Jesus, what are they complaining about?”

        We had a case in our area 10-15 years ago where the parents had 3-4 natural kids, and adopted another ten … if I am remembering this correctly (no link, sorry … this might even have been early Internet days, 20+ years ago, so caveat emptor) the adoptees were expected to earn their keep and serve the Master Race spawn. Almost feudal.

        Indentured servants.

        IIRC, when this came out, child protection removed the adoptees from the adopters.

  8. Valley girl says:

    Rayne, thanks for this, and earlier post on subject, and also to all commentators except the troll.  (Yes, it’s me, VG) I tried twice and got “403 error- forbidden content” or such.  One link, can’t see why forbidden.  This has happened to me before.  Last time, I kept trying multiple times, by when it was finally accepted, it was no longer so “up to date.”  Any ideas what’s going on?  Feel free to email if you want to.

    [Check your email. ;-) / ~Rayne]

  9. Valley girl says:

    T-Mobile Adviser Mocks 10-Year-Old With Down Syndrome Seized at U.S. Border
    “I read today about a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome who was taken from her mother and put in a cage…” Democratic strategist Zac Petkanas said on Fox News.
    Petkanas was then interrupted by Lewandowski, who replied,“Womp, womp,” a game-show noise that means failure, loss, or loser.
    trying w/o the link- just the title

    p.s. I did say that this is an aside to all else mentioned here.

  10. Rugger9 says:

    OT but not important: Bye, Charles, but I wish you could have atoned for your sins as Lee Atwater tried to do.  He put the “me” in mean-spirited.  Pulitzer prize notwithstanding, he will not really be missed by anyone with a conscience outside of his family, and he was a de facto palace lackey (supported all of its policies) even before Kaiser Quisling was on the political radar.

  11. orionATL says:

    i found this article fascinating for its connection between previous family immigration and current opposition to others immigrating. the number of prominent rightwing anti-immigration political/media personalities is telling:

    this HTML class. Value is https://www.huffingt  wtf???

    see instead:  huffington post, 6/21/18 9:44am, l.belkin.

    [Not certain what you tried to do here — please try to reshare in a fresh comment. Thanks! / ~Rayne]

    • orionATL says:

      i think the explanation for this behavior may be similar to that for religious converts, they want to demonstrate to others that they are truly believers in their new religion.

        • orionATL says:

          indeed i did. tx so much.

          don’t know why i have the above problem. sometimes the cite is posted w/out any problems; sometimes i get the above reason. didn’t use to have this problem with this browser (samsung ‘internet’) ever. i don’t use chrome much, but it gives the same problem similarly intermitantly. it seems like something may get cleared or reset at the ew site.

          • Dev Null says:

            I run half a dozen ad-blockers and privacy extensions, which cause all sorts of problems, so I sympathize …

            … but not this problem. Dunno. You might try posting from an incognito window or a guest persona, but I’m just spit-balling… it’s a way to try to isolate the offending component.

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    If the National Enquirer allowed Michael Cohen to screen and edit stories about Trump and his political opponents during the 2016 campaign, as reported by the WaPo, that sounds a helluva lot like a campaign contribution.  Intentional, undeclared, of considerable value.

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Nikki Haley blasted the UN human rights rapporteur for his scathing critique of US income inequality and wealth disparities, a country where the top three people own more assets than the bottom half of the entire population.

    Haley seemed deeply committed to the idea of US exceptionalism when she commented that, “‘it is patently ridiculous for the United Nations to examine poverty in America’” – which prompted puzzlement as [Rapporteur] Alston carried out his investigation at the formal invitation of the Trump administration.”

    Senator Bernie Sanders defended the UN’s decision to evaluate income and wealth inequality in America, “given that 40 million people in the US still live in poverty, more than 30 million have no health insurance, and 40% of Americans cannot afford $400 in an emergency.”

    Haley has an accounting degree and experience as a state governor, but had no prior international experience before Trump appointed her as UN ambassador. But she is loyal to Trump. She defended US goals and “progress”, while avoiding the report’s facts. The rapporteur’s conclusion: “There is a fear that this is part of a broader [Trump] attack on human rights and multilateralism.” Sounds right to me.

  14. Rugger9 says:

    E of H:
    Given that the Enquirer is owned by a close personal friend of Kaiser Quisling, and also noting that the rag also spiked several other stories, the evidence more likely than not would support some action on campaign finance violations. However, setting a precedent for prosecution on ideological grounds (since we all know the RWNMachine will go there) may not be the wisest move even though justified.

  15. Dev Null says:

    Yeah, I wonder the point is legal implications for Pecker. Seems somewhat more likely a priori that Mueller is looking for the information that Pecker could provide on Трамп … but not being a lawyer, I’m just guessing.

  16. orionATL says:

    whether formal law or not, this republican government is ignoring one of the most basic of human rights – not to be seperated from one’s children, nor children from parents, as a specific form of political punishment.

    further, ignoring both u. s. and international law as written on fundamental matters of the u. s. government’s treatment of human beings, citizen or non-citizen, such as:

    – “… The Trump administration hasn’t merely ignored or broken existing U.S. laws on handling of asylum seekers. See 8 U.S. Code § 1158:

    (a) Authority to apply for asylum….”


    – “… The entire separation of children from their families appears to be genocide under The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocidewhich the U.S. has signed (1948) and ratified (1988):

    Article 2
    In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed
    with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious
    group, as such:… ”

    reminds me of another american, republican government which ignored controlling federal law and international law, the bush-cheney administration ignoring the laws governing torture. from iraq and abu graib, to thailand, to poland, to guantanamo with many of its inmates unlawfully, capriciously detained and tortured for purely domestic political reasons.

    how much more evidence needs to accumulate for the citizenry to conclude that our current republican party has become an extremely dangerous, destructive entity in the midst of our society of which the trump presidency is just the latest, and most lawless, manifestation.

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