Along US border, a growing opposition to military deployment

he amount of militarization that we already experience on a daily basis and that we are currently living under is like living in a waking nightmare, says border resident. (The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP)
Updated 09 November 2018
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Along US border, a growing opposition to military deployment

  • I find the fact that the military is being deployed absolutely terrifying: Arivaca resident
  • The military expects to have most of the over 7,000 troops planned for the mission deployed by Monday

PHOENIX: Amy Juan drove two hours north from her remote community on the US-Mexico border in Arizona to rally against the deployment of troops there.
She’s one of many residents of the Southwest who oppose and are speaking out against President Donald Trump’s deployment of over 5,000 military troops to the border to fend off a slow-moving caravan of Central American migrants headed to the US
In El Paso, Texas, a march is planned to protest the deployment this weekend. In Laredo, the city’s mayor released a statement referring to the deployment as “false efforts” that will “harm morale and damage the economy of our region.”
“Even though our communities are all very different and diverse, we all experience the same thing, which are the effects of militarization at the border,” said Juan, who was one of several speakers at a news conference in Phoenix on Thursday. “Having an increased presence of military is scary, you know. It’s scary.”
Juan is a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation, which sits on about 75 miles along the international border. Residents of the reservation have long had a complicated relationship with the US Border Patrol, and its leadership has been vocal about its opposition to the president’s plans for a border wall.
“I find the fact that the military is being deployed absolutely terrifying. The amount of militarization that we already experience on a daily basis and that we are currently living under is like living in a waking nightmare,” said Eva Lewis, a resident of the small town of Arivaca just north of the US-Mexico border.
Many residents of Arivaca have spent years battling the Border Patrol’s checkpoints, which require everyone who cross them to stop and declare whether they are citizens. Trips to school or the grocery store require passing through checkpoints, and many residents say that agents discriminate against Latinos in the area, a claim the agency denies.
In Nogales, Arizona, which shares a name with its neighbor to the south, residents said they were distressed, confused and shocked when the military showed up on election day to install barbed wire on a border fence, according to the Nogales International newspaper.
As of Thursday, there are over 5,600 troops deployed at the border. There are 2,800 in Texas, while 1,500 are in Arizona and another 1,300 are in California.
The military expects to have most of the over 7,000 troops planned for the mission deployed by Monday. A spokesperson for the Department of Defense could not be reached Thursday.
But not everyone opposes the military presence.
Jim Chilton, an Arizona border rancher and staunch Trump supporter, said in a news release to the AP this week that he looks forward to the arrival of more troops. Chilton said the 25 miles of international border in Arivaca is poorly secured and actively sees drug smuggling and human trafficking.
“The lack of access and infrastructure, cartel scout presence, and rough terrain and inefficient ‘defense in depth’ strategy creates a de facto ‘no man’s land’ in which border ranchers live and work,” Chilton said.
Despite rhetoric about the Central American migrant caravan, illegal immigration to the US is at historic lows, with only a fraction of arrests made by the Border Patrol — and twice the number of agents — made this year compared with 2000, at the height of illegal activity.


PM Khan launches scathing attack on Trump after his “tirade”

Updated 15 min 21 sec ago
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PM Khan launches scathing attack on Trump after his “tirade”

  • Says US needs to stop making Pakistan a “scapegoat” for its failures
  • Insists Islamabad spent $123bn in war on terror compared to $20bn aid provided by Washington

ISLAMABAD: A day after US President Donald Trump claimed that Pakistan does not do “a damn thing” for Washington, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday took to Twitter to set the record straight by telling him to quit using Islamabad as a “scapegoat” in his “tirade” against the country.
In a four-point tweet, Khan explained why Trump’s comments were unjustified, reasoning that “No Pakistani was involved in 9/11 but Pakistan decided to participate in the US war on terror” nevertheless.
He added that while Pakistan suffered 75,000 casualties in the war and incurred losses of more than  $123 billion to the economy, the aid provided by the US was “a minuscule $20 billion”.
Elaborating on the catastrophic effect that the war on terror had on Pakistan’s tribal region and on the lives of its ordinary citizens, he said: “Our tribal areas were devastated and millions of people uprooted from their homes. The war drastically impacted the lives of ordinary Pakistanis.”
In his concluding remarks PM Khan said that instead of making “Pakistan a scapegoat for their failures, the US should do a serious assessment of why, despite 1,40,000 NATO troops plus 250,000 Afghan troops and reportedly $1 trillion spent on the war in Afghanistan, the Taliban today are stronger than before.”
He ended his statement by asking Trump is he could “name another ally that gave such sacrifices”.
In an interview with Fox News aired on November 18, Trump justified the cancelation of $300 million in military aid to Pakistan by saying that “We’re supporting Pakistan, we’re giving them $1.3 billion a year — which we don’t give them any more, by the way, I ended it because they don’t do anything for us, they don’t do a damn thing for us.”
Talking about slain Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden who was found hiding in Pakistan, a short distance away from the country’s prestigious military academy, Trump added that “everybody in Pakistan knew he was there”.
Federal Minister for Human Rights, Dr. Shireen Mazari, issued a statement on Monday terming “Trump’s tirade against Pakistan” a lesson for all those Pakistani leaders “who kept appeasing the US especially after 9/11!”
She added that the “loss of Pakistani lives in the US war on terror, the free space for Raymond Davis and other operatives, the illegal killings by drone attacks — the list is endless…once again history shows appeasement does not work”.
“Whether China or Iran, the US policies of containment and isolation do not coincide with Pakistan’s strategic interests,” she said.
Former Senate Chairman, Raza Rabbani, termed Trump’s remarks “contrary to the facts” and reminded the US president that his “language regarding a sovereign state was aggressive”.
“He should be careful; Pakistan is not a state or colony of the US,” Rabbani said, further reminding Trump that “the US killed Pakistanis in unauthorized drone attacks, the US-sponsored terrorism in Kabul, and a drug industry was created on the Pak-Afghan border for the financial assistance of the US”.
“The Pakistani nation is paying the price of political and economic instability due to its alliance with the US,” he said.
Former Foreign Minister, Khawaja Asif, also took to Twitter to rebuff the US president’s remarks saying, “We continue to pay in blood for what we did for the USA.”
The already strained relations between the United States and Pakistan took another dip in January this year when Trump suspended security assistance to Islamabad over the alleged presence of Afghan militant groups in Pakistan’s tribal belt — a claim rejected by Islamabad.