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Antony Blinken

September 23, 2021

US special envoy to Haiti resigns over White House’s “inhumane” policies

The US special envoy to Haiti resigned after only two months over the Biden administration’s “inhumane treatment of migrants.” The move marks the sharpest instance of internal criticism over the White House’s handling of the ongoing migrant crisis. Daniel Foote wrote a letter of resignation to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“I will not be associated with the United States’ inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti, a country where American officials are confined to secure compounds because of the danger posed by armed gangs to daily life,” Foote wrote.

“Our policy approach to Haiti remains deeply flawed, and my recommendations have been ignored and dismissed, when not edited to project a narrative different from my own.”

Foote was appointed special envoy for Haiti in July following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. In his letter, Foote outlined the country’s poverty and gang violence problems.

“The collapsed state is unable to provide security or basic services, and more refugees will fuel further desperation and crime,” he wrote.

Foote criticized the US for its involvement in the political fallout following Moïse’s assassination, backing the de facto prime minister, and warned that such interventions have “consistently produced catastrophic results.”

“The hubris that makes us believe that we should pick the winner — again — is impressive,” Foote wrote.

Foote’s scathing resignation letter comes after 14,000 Haitian migrants gathered in an impromptu camp under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) flew hundreds out every day without the opportunity to seek asylum.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price responded to Foote’s letter in a statement.

“It is unfortunate that, instead of participating in a solutions-oriented policy process, Special Envoy Foote has both resigned and mischaracterized the circumstances of his resignation,” Price said.

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US envoy to Haiti resigns over ‘inhumane’ decision to deport migrants

September 14, 2021

Senator demands to know ‘who is in charge’ after Biden cut off mid-sentence

Sen. James Risch (R-ID) wants to know who is really “calling the shots” in the White House. Risch addressed his concerns on Tuesday during Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s hearing before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations regarding the controversial US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“One of the things we need to get to the bottom to is who is responsible for this? Who made the decisions?” Risch said. “[Biden] can’t even speak without someone in the White House censoring it or signing off on it.”

“This is a puppeteer act, if you would, and we need to know who’s in charge and who is making the decisions.”

Risch referred to an incident on Monday where the White House abruptly ended the feed of President Joe Biden’s briefing on wildfires, cutting him off mid-sentence.

“Somebody in the White House has authority to press the button and stop the president, cut off the president’s speaking ability and sound. Who is that person?” the senator said Tuesday.

“There is no such person,” Blinken responded. He added that the president “speaks very clearly and very deliberately for himself. No one else does.”

This isn’t the first time questions were raised about Biden potentially answering to someone else. During a speech last week, Biden referenced orders he was “supposed” to follow.

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 Senator demands to know ‘who is in charge’ at White House after Biden cut off mid-sentence

Photo credit: “Vice President Joe Biden visit to Israel March 2016” by U.S. Embassy Jerusalem is licensed under CC BY 2.0

September 9, 2021

Secretary Blinken admits that the Taliban are blocking evacuation flights

Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged that the Taliban are preventing evacuation flights out of Afghanistan— an apparent contradiction from his comments a day before where he denied that the extremist group was holding Americans hostage.

“As of now, the Taliban are not permitting the charter flights to depart. They claim that some of the passengers do not have the required documentation,” Blinken said Wednesday. “While there are limits to what we can do without personnel on the ground, without an airport with normal security procedures in place, we are working to do everything in our power to support those flights and to get them off the ground.”

The White House came under fire for not doing more to pressure the Taliban to allow flights to depart amid reports that six planes were sitting on the tarmac at the Mazar-i-Sharif airport.

“We are not aware of anyone being held on an aircraft or any hostage life situation in Mazar-i-Sharif,” Blinken had said Tuesday.

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Blinken acknowledges that Taliban are blocking Afghanistan rescue flights

September 8, 2021

Afghanistan evacuees plea for help: ‘We are in some kind of jail’

American veterans groups say several dozen Americans, and a much larger number of green card holders and family members, are being prohibited from leaving Afghanistan.

“We think we are in some kind of jail,” said one Afghan woman in Mazar-e-Sharif. She said elderly American citizens are among those blocked from boarding evacuation planes.

The woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, works for a US-based nonprofit that works with Afghan women and girls. She said the Taliban are blocking them from the airport, even though they have valid passports and visas.

“I am scared if they split us and not let us leave,” she said. “If we can’t get out of here, something wrong will happen. And I am afraid of that.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday the US was working with the Taliban to reach a resolution.

“We’ve been assured all American citizens and Afghan citizens with valid travel documents will be allowed to leave,” Blinken said.

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Evacuees plead for action: ‘We are in some kind of jail’

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