The head of the European Jewish Congress condemned the “racist” killing of an immigrant in Athens last week, saying it was a result of Greece’s tolerance of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party.
“We are witness to an increasing violence against foreigners and minorities in Greece which is the natural result of inaction by the authorities against racist and anti-Semitic hate speech and violent attacks,” EJC President Moshe Kantor said in a statement issued Tuesday.
The victim, a Pakistani immigrant, was pulled off his motorbike and stabbed to death in downtown Athens by two men in an attack that Greek police said appeared racially motivated.
The killing sparked large anti-racism protests in Athens over the weekend.
The two suspects have been arrested and police found Golden Dawn pamphlets in the house of one of them.
“Racist violence and murder does not exist in a vacuum,” Kantor said.
Curt Linusson has meanwhile stated that he has no intention of succumbing to the Sweden Democrats demand and will formally sit as an independent.
In an interview with the Expressen daily, Linusson described himself as a “nationalist”.
“I have never been a real Nazi, one could say. When it comes to Nazism and National Socialism, I suppose I m a part of that, but I am a nationalist. I don’t want Lidköping to become an immigrant ghetto,” he told the newspaper.
Linusson is credited by the newspaper with having started the Legion Wasa paramilitary organisation in 1999 and having signed up to fight in Iraq in defence of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
In 2005 he was convicted of hate speech after he carried a swastika during an NSF demonstration.
The only step which remains before Carl Linusson can claim the SD seat on the council is the formal approval of the county administrative board’s legal unit.
Immigrants have served with honor in the U.S. armed forces since the Revolutionary War. But in what is believed to be a first, the Army has crowned as its top soldier and an enlistee who was not a U.S. citizen at birth.
The honoree, Sgt. Saral Shrestha, 24, grew up wanting to serve in the police or the military in his native Nepal. According to news accounts, he instead immigrated to the United States at his mother’s urging to further his education. After studying computer science at Bellevue University in Nebraska, he joined the Army in 2009 through a pilot program designed to recruit highly skilled immigrants for positions requiring special medical and language skills. (Shrestha speaks five languages, including Urdu, which is spoken in much of Pakistan.)
For immigrants, a prime benefit of the program is the ability to naturalize after completing basic training—although they can lose their citizenship if they fail to complete a designated number of years in service. Although Shrestha will soon be eligible for discharge, he reportedly has no plans to leave the Army. He instead hopes to obtain a master’s degree in computer science, attend officer training school, and become a member of the Army’s Special Forces.
Read it all here.
A group of vigilantes have evicted a group of Roma (Gypsies) from a Marseille housing estate and burnt down their camp, French media report.
There were no reports of violence when the 35 Roma people were forced out of the city’s Creneaux estate.
Furniture and other items were set on fire at the camp, which was erected on wasteland at the beginning of the week.
Residents had reportedly complained to their mayor, blaming the Roma for burglaries in the area.
Caroline Godard, a member of a Roma rights group called Rencontres Tsiganes, said she was “horrified” by news of the expulsion, Le Monde newspaper reports.
It appears that residents went to the authorities on Thursday morning, before the vigilantes took the law into their own hands.
Marseille has a recent history of tension between residents and Roma who have set up camps there, often just tents erected on patches of bare ground.
The 15th arrondissement of the southern port city, where the Creneaux estate is located, is one of its poorest districts, with a large immigrant population.
At 19:30 (17:30 GMT) on Thursday, a group of about 30 vigilantes ordered the Roma to leave.
By the time police arrived in Creneaux, they found the Roma leaving and no evidence of any violence, a source close to the inquiry told Le Monde.
Roma camps have seen around Marseille
Officers were only able to record the incident without reporting any crime, according to La Provence newspaper. However, images from the scene clearly show property being burnt.
J.T. Ready, the neo-Nazi border vigilante who killed himself and four others in a domestic dispute in May, was twice caught forcibly detaining immigrants in the Arizona desert last year, but federal prosecutors declined to bring charges against him, according to newly released documents.
The documents were posted online today by Talking Points Memo, which obtained them under the Freedom of Information Act. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix has declined comment.
“The new documents from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection paint a picture of some of the things that caused federal agents concern,” writes Nick R. Martin on the TPM Muckraker blog. “Ready not only routinely caused headaches for the real U.S. Border Patrol but also sparked some volatile and potentially dangerous situations.”
The U.S. Border Patrol referred reports of the two incidents to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix for possible prosecution. While no charges were brought, the FBI agent who heads the agency’s Phoenix office said after Ready’s death on May 2 that he had been under investigation for activities related to domestic terrorism.
In the first desert incident, on Feb. 26, 2011, Border Patrol agents responded to a call from Ready and found that “a suspected illegal alien had been flex cuffed behind his back,” the documents say. The immigrant told the agents that he and another man had become separated from a group of about 10 others. While one fled when he saw Ready and another member of Ready’s vigilante group, the U.S. Border Guard, the other man walked toward Ready “because he had no water and was tired. J.T. Ready and [redacted] told him in broken Spanish to get on the ground and he complied.”
The immigrant told authorities that even though Ready and his friend were armed, they never pointed their guns at him and that he never felt threatened or mistreated.
During his rise to political prominence, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) frequently repeated a compelling version of his family’s history that had special resonance in South Florida. He was the “son of exiles,” he told audiences, Cuban Americans forced off their beloved island after “a thug,” Fidel Castro, took power.
But a review of documents — including naturalization papers and other official records — reveals that Rubio’s dramatic account of his family saga embellishes the facts. The documents show that Rubio’s parents came to the United States and were admitted for permanent residence more than 21 / 2 years before Castro’s forces overthrew the Cuban government and took power on New Year’s Day 1959.
The supposed flight of Rubio’s parents has been at the core of the young senator’s political identity, both before and after his stunning, tea-party-propelled victory in last year’s race for the U.S. Senate. Rubio — now considered a prospective 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee and a possible future presidential candidate — mentions his parents in the second sentence of the official biography on his Senate Web site. It says Mario and Oriales Rubio “came to America following Fidel Castro’s takeover.” And the 40-year-old senator with the boyish smile and prom-king good looks has drawn on the power of that claim to entrance audiences captivated by the rhetorical skills of one of the more dynamic stump speakers in modern American politics.
The real story of his parents’ migration appears to be a more conventional immigrant narrative, a couple who came to the United States seeking a better life. In the year they arrived in Florida, the future Marxist dictator was in Mexico plotting a quixotic return to Cuba.
Rubio’s office on Thursday confirmed that his parents arrived in the United States in 1956 but noted that “while they were prepared to live here permanently, they always held out the hope and the option of returning to Cuba if things improved.” They returned to Cuba several times after Castro came to power to “assess the situation with the hope of eventually moving back,” the office said in a statement.
In a brief interview Thursday, Rubio said his accounts of the family’s migration have been based on family lore. “I’m going off the oral history of my family,” he said. “All of these documents and passports are not things that I carried around with me.”
“They were from Cuba. They wanted to live in Cuba again. They tried to live in Cuba again, and the reality of what it was made that impossible,” he said of his parents.
There are big agendas in state legislatures across the nation this summer, and some of it’s highly controversial. Here’s a pointer at what’s happening in California:
Assembly Bills 130 and 131 by Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles: Allows undocumented students at California’s public colleges to get private and public financial aid.
The debate: Anti-immigration groups and some lawmakers warn of $30 million in new costs to the state, a lower amount of aid to documented students and a rise in illegal immigration as people travel to California to take advantage. Brown supports the concept behind the bills, although he has not taken a position on these specific measures.
Assembly Bill 144 by Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge: Makes it a misdemeanor to carry an unloaded weapon in public.
The debate: Law enforcement officials want to curtail open-carry events that they say are intimidating to unarmed citizens. Gun owners consider this another step toward taking away their rights to bear arms.
Online sales tax
Assembly Bill 155 by Assemblyman Charles Calderon, D-Whittier: Raises an estimated $83 million by requiring companies, such as amazon.com, that don’t have a physical presence in California but control a California subsidiary to collect a tax on purchases.
The debate: The proposal is one of three pending in the Legislature to force out-of-state companies to collect sales tax from Californians shopping online. But keeping California companies competitive could drive Amazon and others to drop in-state ties or file a legal challenge.
Three former Pennsylvania police officers who were accused of conspiring to cover up the beating death of a Mexican immigrant two years ago were cleared on Thursday of the most serious charges against them. But the verdict did not absolve them of any wrongdoing.
The officers were accused of altering official statements of witnesses, concealing evidence and helping two high school boys and their families create a story to hide the racial nature of the attack and shift a measure of blame in the beating death. Former Shenandoah police chief Matthew Nestor and two other officers, William Moyer and Jason Hayes, were found not guilty on Thursday of conspiracy to obstruct a federal investigation.
However, Moyer, described by his defense attorney as the “Barney Fife of Shenandoah,” was found guilty of lying to the FBI, and Nestor was found guilty of falsifying police reports. Hayes, whose fiancé is the mother of one of the men involved in the death of Luis Ramirez in July of 2008, was acquitted of both charges against him.
Early this week, Todd, a Republican who represents District 95, was discussing prenatal healthcare with state officials during a fiscal review committee hearing with other state representatives.
An official had responded to his question about citizenship checks for pregnant immigrants, “Under the guidance that was provided to states, under the previous administration, there is a technical guidance letter that states that for covering the unborn child, we are not permitted to determine citizenship, because the child, once born, is a U.S. citizen.”
Todd replied, “Well, they can go out there like rats and multiply, then, I guess.”
The comment drew fire from advocacy groups. “Such remarks are deeply troubling and offensive coming from an elected official in a public hearing. Rep. Todd’s words dehumanize immigrant children born in this country and send a message of intolerance and bigotry,” said the Tennessee Equality Project.
Recently Sheiff Joe arrested a civil rights leader in Maricopa who has since been released.
“Last Friday, Sheriff Arpaio’s deputies arrested Salvador Reza, a leader of immigrant-rights protests, for reasons that a prosecutor later could not explain. Video shows Mr. Reza standing quietly in a parking lot, a good distance from a protest across the street, when a cordon of armed officers surrounds, handcuffs and hauls him off. It was a scene from another decade or country.
“Thomas Saenz, the president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, links Arizona’s struggle to the civil rights era. He calls the state’s politicians the new nullifiers, descendants of the southern segregationists who fought for Jim Crow with the debased theory that states had the power to invalidate federal law. It took federal action and protesters stirring the nation’s conscience to make the point: You cannot treat people this way.”