Monday, April 5

Ask how criminals profit from remittances for real story of huge US border crossings

 Two reports from the John Batchelor Show on CBS Audio Network, Pacific Watch segment with Jeff Bliss, Special Edition:

"Two million migrants --including 200,000 unaccompanied children and 1.1 million single males -- encountered at the border by the end of the year" (Audioboom Podcast)

"Mexican Cartels use China's Tik Tok to recruit US-based human traffickers" (Audioboom Podcast)

Big business, yes? I believe you can get an idea of how big from a May 31, 2019 Forbes report written by Kenneth  Rapoza, a Forbes Senior Contributor (emphasis mine): 
Central American Migrant Remittances Breaking Records, Beats Foreign Investment

Either migrants are making more money than ever before, or their numbers are increasing even as economists like Paul Krugman insist the border crisis only exists in President Donald Trump's head.

Central Americans are sending home billions of dollars, giving poor governments there little incentive to improve social safety nets for the working class leaving for the U.S.

In 2017, El Salvador brought in a record $792 million from foreign direct investment, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, or UNCTAD. It is unclear if that includes remittances from their people living abroad. If it did, or if it did not it doesn't matter here. El Salvadoreans sent home a record breaking $534.2 million as of December 2018, according to that country's central bank.

Guatemala FDI was $1.14 billion in 2017. That's chump change compared to what their foreign workers are sending home to family. Last year, they sent a record breaking $9.3 billion in remittances, according to the Bank of Guatemala.

And then there's Honduras, the next group of Central American countries populating migrant caravans heading to the U.S. border in numbers never before seen.

FDI to Honduras was $1.18 billion in 2017, according to UNCTAD. Remittances were $427 million in December after hitting a record 12-month high of $456 million in May.

The dependence of these small nations on migrants to sustain the livelihood of some of the population has led these countries to do little to stop an ever increasing outflow from Central America. There is very little political will to solve this crisis. Trump's "tough love" policy at least gets nations thinking about it.

According to the World Bank, remittances accounted for 21.1% of El Salvador's GDP, 19.9% of Honduras' GDP, and 12.1% of Guatemala's. By comparison, remittances are only 3% of Mexico's GDP and 0.2% of Brazil's.

Mexico's trade relationship with the U.S. helps. And it's large domestic market cannot be compared to tiny Central American countries. For instance, Mexico brought in $22.8 billion in FDI in 2017, based on UNCTAD's numbers while their all-time remittance high, reached in 2018, was $9.05 billion, according to their central bank.

Mexico's remittances are worth more than Pemex oil and gas sales.


I think the Forbes report could explain the mystery of why the crime cartels are now outfitting 'migrants' with wristbands that contain too much data to simply identify whether the banded 'migrant' has passed through a cartel checkpoint on the way to the U.S. southern border. The governments of the Central American nations, who seem by now to be almost openly in league with the cartels, would need to keep close track of who is entering the USA. They would want an estimate of the remittances they can expect from migrants who get work in USA.  If they're doing more than keeping tabs -- using gang members to remind workers with jobs in the U.S. and their families to keep up the remittances,  the workers would be in effect slave labor.             


Friday, April 2

Weaponized mass migrations across southern U.S. border, a narco-terror elite in Honduras

 The New John Batchelor Show on CBS Audio Network has been chronicling the latest mass incursions across the U.S. southern border, most of which are passing through Mexico from Central American countries. 

A JBS segment from the other night is headlined, Honduras said to be dominated by narco-terror-linked elite led by the presidency. John's discussion with Joseph Humire and Colombian Senator Maria Fernanda Cabal highlights that U.S. authorities have been seeing "more and more high-ranking officials in Latin America being involved with drug trafficking." 

Humire explains that U.S. authorities are aware of the connection between the narco-crime wave in Honduras (and other Central American states) and the mass incursions across the American southern border. 

Humire also mentions indications that the migrations are now "weaponized," and that the U.S. military is well aware of this. Listen to the discussion for more explanation but in brief the weaponization of mass migration means the incursions are being constructed and used by foreign entities as a weapon against the United States.

My concern is that the weaponization aspect will fix U.S. attention to a militarized response to the mass incursions happening over and above the million legal immigrants to America annually.  

I see weaponization, along with other factors usually cited. as causing the incursions -- extreme poverty, corruption, and cartel/gang violence -- as consequences of farmland theft that has been steadily escalating in Latin America for at least two decades. With regard to the land grabs in Honduras, a 2017 article reported:
According to Tanya Kersson, author of Grabbing Power: The New Struggles for Land, Food and Democracy in Northern Honduras, a few powerful landowners grabbed more than 21,000 hectares in a short period between 1990 and 1994. This accounted for 70 percent of peasant lands in the Lower Aguan Valley, one the most fertile areas in the country and the site for much of the land conflict in Honduras.
Land grabs and violence against rural Hondurans have gotten worse since the 1990s. The 2009 military coup gave the large landholders even more flexibility in expelling small landholders from their land.

From the report, much of the expulsion has been done through legalistic machinations against farmers who for generations didn't have or need written proof they owned their property. When farmers and their activist supporters organize protests against the chicanery, they are murdered. 

So my suggestion is that actually stopping the cross-border incursions depends on returning dispossessed farmers and their families to their rightful lands. Unless this is done, militarized tactics and bribing corrupt or outright criminal regimes with 'development' projects will produce only the most temporary relief from the incursions. Focusing entirely on the land grabs would be too much to ask of the American government and indeed of all Americans who want action now. Yet unless the root cause of the incursions is dealt with, they will continue.   

But is the solution I propose doable? I'd say it's more doable than continuing to go in circles, which has been the American response for years to what is obviously a crisis, both for the U.S. and the countries the émigrés are fleeing.  

For now, listen to what John Batchelor and his guests have to say about the mass migrations. Another JBS segment on the crisis is PacificWatch: Special Report: San Diego refuge at $6500 per child per day (Audioboom podcast). There are additional recent podcasts on the border incursions. See the JBS Audioboom page.

I'd also recommend that you read the entire 2017 article I quoted above. The caveat is that the title of the report states the land grabs are "partly" to blame for the "skyrocketing" violence that has driven so many Hondurans to flee their country. Yet I think the article itself makes clear there is a direct, cause-and-effect link between the violence and large-scale ousting of Honduran landholders.


A chance of Ethiopia's return to greatness but a threat from the Congo Basin could destroy it

 John Batchelor of the New John Batchelor Show at CBS Audio Network and Gregory Copley, Editor and Publisher of Defense & Foreign Affairs, in discussion last night about "Fragile Egypt and the Red Sea Wars of Somalia, Ethiopia, Tigray and Eritrea" (Audioboom free podcast). 

Gregory outlines the war situation and then explains that Ethiopia and Eritrea are talking about reunification; that is, the rump of Ethiopia and Eritrea rejoined. If this happens some of the Middle East's biggest problems will be resolved and Ethiopia will restore to a greatness it hasn't seen since the days of Emperor Haile Selassie.  

I hate to cast a pall over such hopeful news but I'm still in shock from revelations that relate to the Biotic Pump theory. With regard to Ethiopia I'll return to the June 2020 Science Magazine report I published March 31 headlined, "A controversial Russian theory claims forests don’t just make rain—they make wind:"


Two years ago, at a meeting of the United Nations Forum on Forests, a high-level policy group on which all governments sit, David Ellison, a land researcher at the University of Bern, presented a case in point: a study showing that as much as 40% of the total rainfall in the Ethiopian highlands, the main source of the Nile, is provided by moisture recycled from the forests of the Congo Basin.
Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia are negotiating a long-overdue deal on sharing the waters of the Nile. But such an agreement would be worthless if deforestation in the Congo Basin, far from those three nations, dries up the moisture source, Ellison suggested.

“Interactions between forests and water have been almost entirely ignored in the management of global freshwater resources.”

The biotic pump would raise the stakes even further, with its suggestion that forest loss alters not just moisture sources, but also wind patterns. The theory, if correct, would have “crucial implications for planetary air circulation patterns,” Ellison warns, especially those that take moist air inland to continental interiors.

I'll interject that the Russian government wasted precious years ignoring the Biotic Pump theory so while the theoretical physicists who proposed it are Russian, it's a grim irony that the Science Magazine editor termed the theory Russian. Well the government has finally awakened from its slumber, we learn from the Science Magazine report.

The question with regards to Gregory's report, and Ethiopia's fate, is whether governments in the Congo Basin region will also awaken. They make quite a long list. From Wikipedia's article:

Congo is a traditional name for the equatorial Middle Africa that lies between the Gulf of Guinea and the African Great Lakes. It contains some of the largest tropical rainforests in the world.

 Countries wholly or partially in the Congo region:

I understand from Gregory's discussion that Ethiopia's government has a lot on its plate but I'd say they need to emphasize to Congo governments of a gravest danger that might not be fully apparent to them at this time, or one that they've pushed to the bottom of the list in favor of 'development' and 'modernization' projects. This is not about modernization. This is life or death.  


Thursday, April 1

I think weaponization of mass migration is red herring UPDATED 5PM ET

This post is under repair. I'll be publishing an edited version under a different title, I hope by 4 PM ET.


I've published the edited version under the title Weaponized mass migrations across southern U.S. border, a narco-terror elite in Honduras