IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776 The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Some Breaking News: DC and Moscow Editions

There’s some ongoing events that we should probably take note of. The first is that the Vice President was recalled to the White House this morning requiring that he cancel his attendance at an opioid crisis event in New Hampshire. There are conflicting reports as to whether he was already in the air and Air Force 2 had to be turned around to return to Joint Base Andrews or whether he was still en route to Andrews and his convoy was turned around and he drove immediately back.

White House communications personnel are claiming there is no issue with the Vice President’s, a member of his family’s, or the President’s health, however, and unfortunately, because the White House communications team, as well as other White House staffers lie so often, no one is taking these statements at face value.

The other important breaking news comes from Russia. The Russians have lost fourteen sailors to what is being reported as a fire aboard their naval “research” submarine Losharik. The scare quotes around research is because while the officially disclosed mission of the Losharik is deep sea research, the reality is that its real mission is espionage.

There were reports yesterday that a Russian submarine was poking around a NATO anti-submarine naval exercise, so who knows if this is or is not related. Especially as the Russian government is not particularly forthcoming with the truth either.

So that’s what has occurred this morning. Now we have to wait to try to figure out what actually has happened and why.

Open thread!


Watching the Disinformation and Influence Operation Being Made In Real Time

A congressional delegation (CODEL) went to visit several Customs & Border Patrol (C&BP) facilities today. John just put up a post about it here at Balloon Juice Actual. But we weren’t the only ones tracking on it. Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks, as well as her just being part of the CODEL, set off the expected firestorm. The highly credulous, fabulist Anna Giaritelli, who poses as The Washington Examiner‘s Homeland Security reporter, and who was not on site covering the CODEL, decided to report, first by tweet and then in the Examiner, that Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez threw a pair of temper tantrums during the visits. This was picked up by Students for Trump* on twitter and put on blast. Townhall, Breitbart, The Daily Caller, and The Blaze all picked up Giaritelli’s disinformation and published their own stories around it. So while there are at least five articles about this in the conservative news media, four of them simply refer back to Giaritelli’s original reporting, which hasn’t been confirmed by any of the reporters actually in attendance with the CODEL.

Giaritelli, known for her greatest hit of barbering the written quotation of a video interview she conducted with a rancher to make it seem as if discarded Muslim pray rugs had been found in New Mexico by the Border Patrol and other ranchers, has already been called out by a reporter who was actually on site and who live streamed significant portions of the CODEL’s visits. It is unclear if Giaritelli was on site, as she didn’t indicate in her reporting where she was reporting from. Also, all of her sources for this reporting are, of course, anonymous.

Giaritelli, of course, has doubled down. She’s also accusing Congresswoman Escobar, in whose district the facility was located, of also throwing a temper tantrum.

I expect that by the evening the disinformation will have fully spread throughout the Republican, conservative, alt-right, and white supremacist information ecosystems. It’ll finish making the rounds of Twitter and Facebook, jump to Gab, the Chans, and the sub-reddits. From there it will be amplified. Most likely by the President’s caddy, Dan Scavino, who runs the President’s social media feeds, Jr, and other of the President’s social media surrogates, as well as the Russian troll and bot networks will pick it up and kick it into high gear. And, if we were able to actually monitor the direct messages of Scavino, Jr, Giaritelli, whomever is running the Students for Trump twitter account, as well as a variety of other Presidential surrogates, including those in the conservative news media, I would be very surprised to find that there isn’t widespread coordination going on between the players on these disinformation and influence operations.

There are two purposes to this disinformation campaign. The first is to dirty up Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, Congresswoman Escobar, and any of the other Democratic members of Congress on today’s congressional delegation. The second is to use this information to influence those who ingest it. To change the story from the President, on the advise of his senior policy advisor Stephen Miller, and with the avid support of his evangelical Christian base, Republican members of the House and Senate, and the Border Patrol Union, establishing an immoral, evil policy of closing ports of entry to meter claims of asylum, thereby slowing them down; separating families when they do make it to the US and attempt to claim asylum; and ongoing, egregious violations of the Flores agreement under which the US government cannot detain undocumented minors, nor treat them in the manner it currently is to Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez is a hot headed train wreck who abuses the Federal law enforcement officers of the Border Patrol and who now seeks to exact revenge by having the officers at the sites she visited today investigated for no good reason.

We got to watch this disinformation and influence operation in real time today. Out in the open where everyone could see. Imagine what is being done in private?

Updated at 12:15 AM EDT

We now have information regarding what Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez actually did from a reliable source who was with the CODEL.

Open thread.

* Obligatory:


If You Ever Wonder How Revolutionaries, Insurgents, and Terrorists Are Created, This Is One of the Ways

We will be paying the price for this maliciously, amoral, immoral, evil stupidity for years and years to come. Fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, cousins, and the children themselves will seek vengeance for what we’re doing to them. And when they do, we’ll act surprised and plead that we’re the innocent victims of unhinged fanatics that hate us for our way of life. We’ll use their attempts to seek vengeance to justify more perpetual and forever war. And to whittle away whatever is left of our constitutional rights and liberties.

Open thread!

Let’s Put an End To This Stupidity Right Now: They’re Concentration Camps

We are very fortunate that the US Holocaust Museum has spent the time, money, and effort to compile an Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945.

Auschwitz, Dachau, the Warsaw Ghetto… These are names that resonate with anyone who knows the story of the Holocaust. Most people are shocked, however, to learn just how many camps, ghettos, and other sites of detention, persecution, forced labor, and murder the Nazis and their allies ran: over 42,000. Likewise, few people know much about the conditions in those places, or how broad the range of prisoner experiences was.

In order to fill this vast gap in our knowledge, the Museum and Indiana University Press are compiling and publishing an Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945. Specifically, the work aims to answer basic questions about as many individual sites as possible; to provide scholars with leads for additional research; and to memorialize the places where so many millions of people suffered and died.

Work on this enormous project began in 1999; it involves a small team of editors, writers, and researchers at the Museum, plus hundreds of volunteers and scholars from all over the world. Three volumes have already appeared, and four more are in preparation. When it is complete, the Encyclopedia will be the most comprehensive and up-to-date guide to the Nazi camp system in existence.

Volume one entitled, Early Camps, Youth Camps, and Concentration Camps and Subcamps under the SS-Business Administration Main Office (WVHA), focuses on (emphasis mine):

This volume contains entries on 110 early camps, 23 main SS concentration camps (including Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Dachau), 898 subcamps, 39 SS construction brigade camps, and three so-called youth protection camps. Introductory essays provide broader context, while citations and source narratives offer the basis for additional research.

From Volume I (pps. 1525-1526 and emphasis mine):


The idea of establishing a separate prevention institution (Bewahranstalt) or assembly camp (Sammellager) for the “difficult or impossible to educate” youth, who had become noticed because of their stubborn and deviant behavior, was not new. From the mid-1920s, youth welfare workers, lawyers, medical practitioners, psychiatrists, and adherents of the “racial hy- giene” movement had been demanding such institutions to deal with the high level of care (and thus expense) for such youths. Without any further education, they would be held for an indefinite period of time in such institutions with their labor being exploited. Those advocating such a policy were not successful during the Weimar Republic, but this changed from 1933 with the assumption of power by the National Socialists and the establishment of the concentration camp system.

A series of decrees and orders from 1937 set the legal and institutional basis for the struggle against youth de- generation. A decree dated October 14, 1937, on “preventive criminal measures” established what was regarded as “asocial behavior,” which was “someone who acts against the community, even if such actions were not criminal, but showed that he or she did not want to be part of the community.”1 This decree formed the basis for the persecution of anyone who deviated from National Socialist norms and ideals. In 1938, there followed a further series of decrees and regulations that dealt with the treatment of asocials and called for the “protective custody” of whole families as well as suggesting the registration and police surveillance of asocials.

Following a circular decree by the Reich Ministry of the Interior (RMdI) on May 24, 1939, the Reich Center for Combating Youth Criminality (Reichszentrale zur Bekämpfung der Jugendkriminalität) was established as a department of the Reich Criminal Police Office (Reichskriminalpolizeiamt, RKPA). This authority was tasked with the police surveillance of youths and the power to use force, including sending youths to closed reform institutes. Later, it would be in charge of the “police youth protection camps” (polizeiliche Jugendschutzlager). In actuality, they were concentration camps for youths. On December 22, 1939, at a conference on “degenerate youth,” Reinhard Heydrich demanded the establishment of reform camps for youths (Jugenderziehungslagern). This demand was supported in the following months by Hermann Göring and Heinrich Himmler. On June 26, 1940, the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA) issued a circular announcing that the confinement of youths to police youth protective custody camps could begin within a short period of time. In the end, three such camps opened: Morin- gen (for boys) in August 1940, Uckermark (for girls) in June 1942, and Litzmannstadt (for Polish juveniles) in December 1942. All remained in operation almost until the end of the war.

Youths were admitted to the Jugendschutzlager on racial, religious, or political grounds. They included the so called Hamburg Swing Youth (Swing Jugend), who were accused of establishing a dangerous clique even though they only wanted to listen to jazz, then regarded as un-German, and had formed their own subcultures to do so. The authorities also confined homosexuals, Sinti and Roma (Gypsies), Jews, and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Youths in the camps were subjected to military drill, euphemistically termed “community training” (Gemeinschaftserziehung). The stated aim was character education, focusing on cleanliness, order, punctuality, discipline, and above all, work. The inmates worked on agricultural estates, at armaments firms, and at workshops of various sorts. Living arrangements were primitive, the food and clothing inadequate, and the punishments severe. Death rates were not as high as in some of the adult concentration camps, but prisoners did die in significant numbers.

SOURCES Sources on the youth protection camps can be found in the individual camp entries.

Jürgen Harder


1. Quoted in Detlef Peukert, Volksgenossen und Gemein- schaftsfremde. Anpassung, Ausmerze und Aufbegehren unter dem Nationalsozialismus (Cologne, 1982), p. 250.

They’re concentration camps.

Open thread.