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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Media > Social Media > Did the Department of Homeland Security Hold a Roundtable Discussion with Fake Bloggers?

Did the Department of Homeland Security Hold a Roundtable Discussion with Fake Bloggers?

LatinaLista — Earlier this week, Latina Lista reported that the Department of Homeland Security, under the direction of Secretary Michael Chertoff, was tired of going through the legal channels to satisfy Texas border residents who are fighting the intent to build a wall along the southern U.S.- Mexico border.
So to speed things up he has decided to forego a few laws (30 of them) to get things moving.
In a transcript of a roundtable discussion that Sec. Chertoff had with some bloggers yesterday, he admits that the law is just in his way.

Question: Can you give us an update how things stand with the fence? I know there was some big news yesterday.
Secretary Chertoff: Well, we’ve got about 310 miles built — about 170 of pedestrian fence and about 140 of vehicle fence. We’re on track — I want to get 670 miles done by the end of the calendar year, of which 370 will be pedestrian and 300 will be vehicle.
To do that, although we want to be respectful of the environment, we cannot afford to get enmeshed in the kinds of litigation that have traditionally caused projects to take decades to complete…

Unfortunately, that’s what working through our judicial system means. Look how many innocent men have sat on death row waiting to be exonerated because of all the litigation that had to be endured to reach a just conclusion?
Yet, that’s not the most disturbing item from this transcript.


Reading the transcript, which was released as a press release, and is only a partial transcript at that, not one blogger is identified.
The strangeness of this situation immediately waves red flags.
Before the government releases a bogus statement about protecting privacy, there exists something in the blogosphere that is an universal truth — no blogger wants to be anonymous, especially if they were lucky enough to score an interview with a high-profile individual like Chertoff.
Real bloggers would make that a headline post and it would have surely been “talked” about in the blogosphere. Strange that I ran across the item by accident doing a news seach on Chertoff.
Given the track record of this administration that sees nothing wrong in staging press conferences, I tend to believe that this may also have been the case – though I don’t have any proof but a lot of circumstantial evidence.
From the questions themselves, it shows these “bloggers” were not objective but almost seemed to be buddies with Chertoff.
There are a number of us who blog about the DHS exploits and yet, not one of us was invited or alerted to this roundtable discussion. Odd or maybe just a way for Chertoff to claim his department is reaching out but — not really.
If Chertoff and the DHS are serious about meeting with bloggers then they should contact those of us who have been blogging about what they do.
In this way, real questions will be asked because we’re still waiting for real answers.
>Originally, this post was going to be about a new effort the Texas border residents are undertaking to combat Chertoff’s waiver of those 30 laws and regulations. It is a letter that will be released tomorrow. I reproduce it below for your information. If you feel inclined to add your name, attach a comment to this post with name, city and organization you may be with, and I’ll forward it to the people organizing this effort so they may add your name:
April 4, 2008
The American People
U.S. Congressional Representatives
President George W. Bush
April 1, 2008 was the beginning of a very sad time for many of us here
on the border, in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, and
throughout the U.S. The Bush administration issued two waivers on
April 1 that circumvent dozens of U.S. environmental and other laws to
pave the way for wall construction to begin immediately on the Texas
border, and to continue on the New Mexico, Arizona and California borders.
With such an action, spearheaded by DHS Secretary Chertoff, the
Federal Government shows a major failure to work and consult with
border communities on the wall issue. Clearly, Chertoff is flexing
his muscle upon the border residents. Instead of dialogue and
consultation we, at the border, will receive imposition and
unconstitutionality.
We on the border know that a wall won’t work, and that it is not a
real solution. Many others know this also. We, the undersigned
individuals and organizations, are trying to educate the public and
elected officials about how the wall and militarization of the border
will profoundly impact the wildlife, the environment, our river and
the lives and rights of people on both sides of the border. The
executive branch of our government and the U.S. Congress, by their
actions, do not seem to care about any of that. But we believe that
Americans must realize before it is too late what their government is
doing in building an 18-foot-high barrier along sections of the
border, as well as in increasing the militarization of the border
communities.
We all now must endure an unimaginably difficult time during which our
nation’s fears are manifested in an ancient, ugly form — a wall —-
and manifested even more by increased militarization that vainly
attempts to close the border and limit the constitutional rights of
its people.
In China, Berlin, Israel, Palestine and Northern Ireland, WALLS DIDN’T
WORK. They definitely don’t work in the U.S. either. They,
primarily, decimate human rights and show intolerance and rejection.
They kill hundreds of people annually in the U.S. because they drive
people crossing the border to walk through more remote areas of desert
where many then die of dehydration and exposure.
After lessons are learned, most walls are taken down. Thereafter, the
wall builders are ridiculed, if they are acknowledged at all. Walls
have failed to keep people out (or in) but, however, have damaged both
human and riparian habitat permanently.
Everyone along the Texas border holds the Rio Grande very dear and a
very special place for many reasons. In New Mexico, California, and
Arizona, there are many special, even sacred, places along the border,
including wildlife refuges and tribal lands where a wall has already
been built, unbeknownst to most Americans. Many of us have lived,
farmed, and ranched along the border for generations. We urge the
American public to hold on to images of the border, its people, and
the environment as worth protecting, and to keep in mind that the wall
is temporary because it was born of a failed policy.
We the undersigned ask Americans not to let a wall divide our border
community. We remind Americans that the responsibility for this wall
rests on everyone. Even though the executive branch of the current
administration has exercised undue power to bring about the
construction, we the people must call, write and organize to stop the
wall. If it is built, we must demand that it be taken down. We ask
the American public to keep foremost in their minds the fact that the
border area encompasses one community that includes both sides.
By our actions and our words, we must hold to peace along the border
and we ask others’ help in that. Compassion, understanding and hope
must inform the struggle that is by necessity taking place on many
levels right now along the U.S.-Mexico border. We demand that our
border communities not be devastated by a wall and by militarization.
We will not remain silent as our country’s constitutionally-guaranteed
freedoms and even its laws are swept aside in the name of greed, fear
and anti-immigrant fervor under the guise of “improving national
security.” Our country was founded on Constitutional protections as
well as immigration, both of which are historically the very basis of
what makes us American.
Americans need to wake up to the fact that signs of tyranny and
imposition now exist in the United States of America, in the form of a
Cabinet member, Michael Chertoff, who is allowed to use his
legislatively-granted power to waive all U.S. law in order to
implement a failed anti-immigrant policy. That cannot be allowed to
go on any longer.
We the undersigned ask that Americans write their Congressional
Representatives as well as their President and demand that the impacts
of wall-building and militarization of the border be fully studied and
fully acknowledged, and that humane, wise and workable solutions be
found and implemented instead.
Very sincerely,
Fernando Garcia, Director, Border Network for Human Rights,
El Paso, Texas
Eve Trook, co-founder, No Wall – Big Bend Coalition and member,
Veterans for Peace, Alpine, Texas
Adrienne Evans, co-founder, No Wall – Big Bend Coalition,
Terlingua, Texas
Luissana Santibanez, immigrant rights activist, Grassroots
Leadership Austin, Austin, Texas
MEChA Austin
Iris Rodriguez, La Nueva Raza
C. Denby Swanson, writer, Austin, Texas
Joe Ely, musician/artist, Austin, Texas
Sharon Ely, artist, Austin, Texas
Alice Guynn, poet, Austin, Texas
Antonio Diaz, Spokesperson, Texas Indigenous Council, San
Antonio, Texas
Ruben Solis, Spokesperson, Southwest Workers Union
Anne M. Goodwin, San Antonio, Texas
Peter and Sherry Dana, immigrant activists, Georgetown, Texas
Elizabeth H. Mealy, Ph.D., Georgetown, Texas
Scott Nicol, professor and co-founder, No Border Wall Coalition, and
member, Lower Rio Grande Valley Sierra Club Group Executive
Committee, Weslaco, Texas
Stefanie Herweck, co-founder, No Border Wall Coalition, Weslaco,
Texas
Martin Hagne, Executive Director, Valley Nature Center, Weslaco,
Texas
E. Elizabeth Garcia, co-founder and spokesperson, CASA (Coalition
of Amigos in Solidarity and Action), Brownsville, Texas
Jay J. Johnson-Castro, Sr., Border Ambassador and Freedom
Ambassador, Del Rio, Texas
Sarah Boone, Border Ambassador and Freedom Ambassador, Del
Rio, Texas
Don Dowdey, Chair, Big Bend Regional Sierra Club, Alpine, Texas
Fran Sage, Member, Big Bend Regional Sierra Club, Alpine, Texas
Bill Guerra Addington, environmental activist, rancher, and
co-founder of Sierra Blanca Legal Defense Fund, and member, El
Paso Regional Group of the Sierra Club, Sierra Blanca, Texas
Heather McMurray, environmental activist, teacher, and member, El
Paso Regional Group of the Sierra Club, El Paso, Texas
Briana Stone, Director, Paso del Norte Civil Rights Project, El Paso,
Texas
Guillermo Glenn, Director, Asociacion de Trabajadores Fronterizos,
El Paso, Texas
Dr. Kathleen Staudt, Professor and community activist, El Paso,
Texas
Ruben Garcia, Director, Annunciation House, El Paso, Texas
Veronica Escobar, El Paso County Commissioner, Precinct 2, El Paso,
Texas
Jose Rodriguez, El Paso County Attorney, El Paso, Texas
Martha Ryan Stafford, public school teacher, Terlingua, Texas
Diane Walker, public school teacher, Terlingua, Texas
Kassi Williams, public school teacher, Terlingua, Texas
Butch Hancock, songwriter/artist, Terlingua, Texas
Joanne James, clergywoman, Terlingua, Texas
Sally Bergmann Cervenka, Terlingua, Texas
Mimi Webb Miller, Terlingua, Texas – Los Angeles CA
Allison K. Fullwood, artist, Terlingua, Texas
Gary Oliver, cartoonist, Marfa, Texas
Andrew Stuart, journalist, Marfa, Texas
Verena Zbinden, Marfa, Texas
Evelyn Luciani, citizen of Marfa, Texas
Eleanor Taylor, Ft. Davis, Texas
Jan Woodward, CFO, Woodward Ranch, Brewster County, Texas
Simone Swan, founder, Adobe Alliance, Presidio, Texas
Jesusita Jimenez, Project Manager, Adobe Alliance, Presidio, Texas
Mary Schwartze, mother of two and nature enthusiast, Alpine, Texas
Linda Shank Eller, mother, grandmother, CPA, Alpine, Texas
Redford Citizens Committee For Justice, Redford, Texas
The Rev. Melvin Walker La Follette, Redford, Texas
Barbara J. Baskin, Redford, Texas
Dallas Baxter, journalist, Alpine, Texas
Jerry Mitchell, contractor, Alpine, Texas
Hiram and Liz Sibley, Alpine, Texas
Rachel and Chris Sibley, Austin, Texas
Roger Siglin, Alpine, Texas
Susan Curry, citizen activist, Alpine, Texas
Tom Curry, artist/builder, Alpine, Texas
Dee Perkins, Alpine, Texas
Glen Perkins, builder, Alpine, Texas
Judy Ford, Alpine, Texas
Molly Walker, Alpine, Texas
Dr. Marilyn Dell Brady, Alpine, Texas
Karen Nakakihara, Alpine, Texas
James Wightman, Tax Consultant, Alpine, Texas
Patricia Manning, Environmental Science Technician, Alpine, Texas
Michael Stevens, guitar builder, Alpine, Texas
Alice Stevens, Plant Nursery owner, Alpine, Texas
Gaylan Corbin, Alpine, Texas
Amelie Urbanczyk, Alpine, Texas
Mary Ann Matteson, Alpine, Texas
Wendy Lynn Wright, artist, Casa Piedra, Texas
Mary Goodwin, Apple Valley, Minnesota
Maya Zniewski, mom, Minneapolis, Minnesota
D. A. Vickers, Media Credit Manager, Detroit, Michigan
Brian Cutean, human being, Portland, Oregon
__._,_.___

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Comment(16)

  • Frank
    April 3, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    “In China, Berlin, Israel, Palestine and Northern Ireland, WALLS DIDN’T
    WORK. They definitely don’t work in the U.S. either. They,
    primarily, decimate human rights and show intolerance and rejection.
    They kill hundreds of people annually in the U.S. because they drive
    people crossing the border to walk through more remote areas of desert
    where many then die of dehydration and exposure.”
    First of all the Great Wall of China is still standing it has always served it’s purpose. Second the Berlin Wall also worked and served it’s purpose until it was torn down. WALLS DO WORK!
    If they don’t work then why do most of us have fences/walls around our homes? Why is there a fence around the White House?
    How is this fence a violation of human rights? It is merely setting a boundary between two seperate countries. Intolerance and rejection? My those are mighty dramatic words for a country just trying to secure it’s border and retain it’s soveirgnty.
    Fences and walls don’t kill people. Stupid people put their own lives in jeapardy. What happened to personal responsibility? So let’s see, we should keep our borders wide open to terrorists and every Tom, Dick and Jose who wants to wander in here for “a better life” even though it detrimentaly effects our lives? Laws don’t mean crap either? I really fear for this country’s future with this kind of mindset living in our country who care so little about our own country and it’s citizens.

  • Horace
    April 3, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    Actually, although far from an apt and just analogy, the Berlin wall was quite successful judging by the small numbers who escaped. It was more than a wall, as it had a no-mans land, armed guards and guard towers every hundred yards and mines in the no-man’s land. The Berlin wall was constructed to keep East Germans from crossing into West Berlin, not to keep people from crossing into the Russian zone. It was morally questionable, as opposed to the fence which is not. Every nation has as a right to control immigration across its borders. If citizens of another do not respect that right, then constructing a wall is the option of the offended nation. The wall is not the fault of the US, but that of the Mexican government, due to its inability to provide social justice for its people and prevent a criminal element from crossing.
    Let’s do a rewrite of this article along the following lines: It’s a truly a shame that such a wall should be built. It would be easy to blame the US, but for the strong culpabililty that Mexico holds in provoking that country into taking the necessary measures to define its national sovereignty. We must hold Mexico accountable for its perferdy towards its citizens and force it to abide by international norms in providing proper education, medical care and work for its people. Once this is done, maybe the shameful mass migration north will end and the fence ultimately dismantled.
    There, doesn’t that seem more just?

  • laura
    April 3, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    Interesting observation, Marisa!
    Now why would I believe that Michael “Katrina” Chertoff is capable of a fake blogger roundtable? Would anyone in the George “‘W’MD” Bush administration even consider such a thing?

  • Texano78704
    April 4, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    It appears nothing is beyond the present administration. If their lips are moving… you know they are lying.

  • Jonah Czerwinski
    April 4, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    I was one of the bloggers at this meeting with Secretary Chertoff. Thought I’d help dispel some of the misunderstandings, so here goes:
    >>Reading the transcript, which was released as a press release, and is only a partial transcript at that, not one blogger is identified.
    The transcript I saw is the entire transcript. Everything we said as in there. Do you have another copy with more than what was released? If so, I want to link to it from my blog.
    >>there exists something in the blogosphere that is an universal truth — no blogger wants to be anonymous, especially if they were lucky enough to score an interview with a high-profile individual like Chertoff.
    So true, but this is the second roundtable I’ve been at with the Secretary and the stenographer always identifies questioners as “QUESTION.” I wish our names were on the transcript, too, but instead we all blogged about.
    >>Real bloggers would make that a headline post and it would have surely been “talked” about in the blogosphere. Strange that I ran across the item by accident doing a news seach on Chertoff.
    Like I said, we all blogged about it. You can see the half a dozen posts I’ve written on http://www.HLSwatch.com about these blogger roundtables and see links to all the other attending bloggers who wrote about it.
    >>Given the track record of this administration that sees nothing wrong in staging press conferences, I tend to believe that this may also have been the case – though I don’t have any proof but a lot of circumstantial evidence.
    Now that fake FEMA press conference was ridiculous. But this was not fake.
    >>From the questions themselves, it shows these “bloggers” were not objective but almost seemed to be buddies with Chertoff.
    Read the posts on HLSwatch.com. Transcripts are just that. A record, not an analysis.
    >>There are a number of us who blog about the DHS exploits and yet, not one of us was invited or alerted to this roundtable discussion. Odd or maybe just a way for Chertoff to claim his department is reaching out but — not really.
    >>If Chertoff and the DHS are serious about meeting with bloggers then they should contact those of us who have been blogging about what they do.
    This blog’s tagline is that its about “anything and everything from a Latina perspective.” It might be the case that the DHS organizers of these roundtables aren’t aware that Latina Lista is a homeland security blog.

  • Marisa Treviño
    April 4, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    Jonah, Thank you for clarifying things. Could you identify the other bloggers and how often does Chertoff have these roundtable meetings?
    Thank you again.

  • Hran
    April 6, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    “They, primarily, decimate human rights and show intolerance and rejection.”
    Sorry if it seems like intolerance and rejection to resist being ethnically cleansed (since that’s what the Mexican invasion amounts to) but we will not remain passive. I don’t think Latinos quite understand this. From the perspective of Americans of European descent, it is the Mexicans who are intolerant.

  • Frank
    April 7, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    They certainly are intolerant and rejecting OUR laws, aren’t they?

  • Alex
    April 8, 2008 at 9:48 am

    You are rejecting God’s Laws. Which is worst? The consequences of your hateful and vile actions will condemn you.

  • Frank
    April 8, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    I am not rejecting God’s law. His laws are against stealing, lying and not respecting other’s property and not obeying the laws of the land.
    Again, you are twisting God’s compassion sermons by taking personal responsibility away from the sinner. I say give em a loaf of bread and send them back to their own countries. It would teach them to stand on their own two feet and have the guts to change their own countries. God respects heroes not cowards.

  • Alex
    April 8, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    You know Frankie, actually Jesus said something like blessed are the humble, blessed are the poor, blessed are the oppressed, the persecuted. If they are blessed, the ones causing that affliction to them, like you and the hate groups you belong to, are the damned ones.

  • Frank
    April 8, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Alex, these aren’t humble people, they are law breakers. Mexico for the most part is the one you should be blaming not American citizens.
    Stop accusing me of belonging to hate groups because I don’t! Does God approve of your false accusations of others?

  • Frank
    April 8, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    By the way Alex, making false accusations of others is called “blasphemy”. It is a sin according to God.

  • Frank
    April 8, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    Oh and here is another point to make.
    Yes, I guess that would pretty much sum up the problem. Illegals are only concerned with what is BEST FOR THEM and not concerned about the damage they are doing to Americans, the depressed wages of Americans, the costs involved with illegal immigration to Americans, the diminishing quality of life of Americans. It is all about “THEIR NEEDS” and we are going to hell if we think about our needs and that of our children and grandchildren. Self-centered are they not?
    I think it is time for their own leaders and elites to think about their own fellow citizens and let us worry about our own.

  • Alex
    April 13, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    Frank, Do you belive yourself to be Deity or devine being? Looking down on people who are not like you makes you feel that way? Is that why you disregard Our Lord’s mandate and incite hate towards people who just want to feed their families and which only “crime” (which is not in the eyes of God)is not having papers to provide for their families? Blasphemy is irrespectful remarks or prophane acts, words concernig God or a sacred entity. How pathetic. You really need help, and soon. Starting to believe in being a deity might be a symptom of madness or another mental illness.

  • Frank
    April 14, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    Alex, how am I looking down on certain people because of their ethnicity? I am not doing that so don’t put words into my mouth. It is dishonest!
    As I said in another thread, we Americans cannot take in the whole world’s poor and Mexicans are not the poorest either. You want us to commit national suicide by inviting billions of the world’s poor into our country? Where is your common sense in all of this?
    I never said I was God. I am merely interpreting what makes sense to me in what God would expect of us. It is the same thing you do. Except you leave common sense out of it and interpret his word to mean that we should put our own family’s welfare in jeopardy all in the name of compasssion for law breakers.
    Do you think that God would approve of your personal attacks and insults of others in here who honor and respect our laws? You are one of the fakest bible thumpers I have ever encountered.

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