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"Criminal Aliens" Vs. The West's Crimes Against Humanity

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  • There is not enough space to catalogue all the crimes committed collectively by western countries that now feel besieged by migrants of color.
  • Related: Jennifer Harbury: Today’s Refugee Crisis Is Blowback from U.S.DirtyWars  in Central America.

James Thindwa, Portside

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July 4, 2018 | tragic consequence of Donald Trump’s fixation with crimes committed by individual undocumented immigrants is that it overshadows crimes against humanity committed by the United States and its western allies. It is also deepening western denial about its long history of criminality against black and brown people in the Global South and the world over. When Bill O’Reilly challenged him about why he indulges murderous autocrats Donald Trump, in a rare moment candor by an American president pushed back: “What, you think our country is so innocent?” But he went further, “There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers.” But to hear Trump talk about immigration, white westerners are the victims of invasion and criminality by “illegal” immigrants. This newfound victimology is in sharp contrast to the reality of who has benefited most from the long history of western criminal invasion and economic subjugation that goes back to the Transatlantic slave trade. 
 
It is not clear what examples Trump had in mind, but I would like to offer a
shortcatalogue of western criminal culpability. How about: The aforementioned enslavement of 20 million Africans; the near extermination of Native Americans; violent colonial invasions and economic domination of the black and brown world; U.S. sanctioned bloody coups against democratically elected regimes in Chile, Iran and Congo, among others; the 2014 American-endorsed coup in Honduras; the invasion of Iraq under false pretense and the resulting in the death of nearly a million people; and the invasion of Libya and killing of Muammar Qaddafi. To be sure the crimes listed here were committed against individuals—witness Nelson Mandela’s long incarceration, the murders of Chile’s Salvador Allende, Congo’s Patrice Lumumba and Qaddafi, and the massacre of civilians by government forces in South Africa (Sharpeville and Soweto) other repressive regimes backed by the U.S.—but fundamentally, they were crimes against humanity, a term born out of the Nuremberg Trials. 

James Thindwa is a community organizer in the Chicago, Illinois, area. He heads Chicago Jobs with Justice, where he organizes for workers rights.

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Related:

Jennifer Harbury: Today’s Refugee Crisis Is Blowback from U.S. Dirty Wars  in Central America. Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!

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 Mr. Fish

  • In our special broadcast from the U.S.-Mexico border, we speak to human rights lawyer Jennifer Harbury, who has lived here in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas for over 40 years and has been active in the response to the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy. Her husband, Efraín Bámaca Velásquez, was a Mayan comandante and guerrilla who was disappeared after he was captured by the Guatemalan army in the 1980s. After a long campaign, she found there was U.S. involvement in the cover-up of her husband’s murder and torture. Now she continues to work with people fleeing violence in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
  • Related: Column - Sorting out facts and fears in the immigration debate

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