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Michigan National Guard troops were reportedly fed undercooked meals, some with metal fragments inside

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Michigan National Guard troops who are protecting the U.S. Capitol have been fed undercooked and underwhelming meals, according to reports from over the weekend.

These new complaints from soldiers come after similar reports dating back to last month.

The complaints from National Guard troops reached members of the Michigan delegation and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), whose office said she called Acting Secretary of the Army John E. Whitley about the problem on February 17 as soon as the first reports of the food were received, as The Detroit News explained.

The governor was assured the problem would be corrected, and guard officials last week told lawmakers the issue had been resolved, according to the publication. Another round of complaints cropped up over the weekend of poorly prepared and undercooked food again, Whitmer’s office said.

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ABC News affiliate WXYZ Detroit reported Monday about the complaints regarding the quality of the meals, with one staff sergeant on Sunday telling the station’s Brian Abel that “metal shaving” were found in meals.

“Yesterday for instance, there were 74 different meals found with raw beef in them,” the unnamed staff sergeant said. “Just yesterday, […] soldiers had found metal shavings in their food.”

Following dozens of soldiers being put on sick call due to undercooked food, with some being sent to the hospital, the complaints climbed up the chain of command and changes were made to the boxes, WXYZ reported.

MORE ON NATIONAL GUARD: Trump said he requested 10k National Guardsmen at the Capitol on Jan. 6

“They said alright we’re going to make sure we spot check them. And we’re also going to start having them add temperatures to it,” the staff sergeant also said. “At 140, you cook that chicken, undercook it to 140, and now […] you’re telling us that it’s… 30-minute drive. But these meals are, and this is what they say on the little placard that’s (inaudible) good for four hours. No it’s not. It wasn’t good from the start and now it’s had hours to become even more dangerous.”

On Monday, following the new round of meal complaints, WXYZ reported that soldiers are being given dry MREs meals for the next few days.

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The Michigan National Guard on Monday issued a statement regarding meal complaints and slammed the soldiers’ apparent conditions, saying, “The firsthand accounts and pictures of undercooked food being served clearly shows that what is being given to Michigan’s service members is unacceptable.”

“It’s not only a Michigan guard problem. I stop and talk to all the guard out there, and they said it’s improved, but still far from perfect,” said Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), who has been visiting the soldiers every couple of days, according to The Detroit News. “Ultimately, it’s the National Guard that hired the contractor — not those of us on the Hill.”

The office of Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.) similarly reported about soldiers’ complaints over the weekend of metal shavings being found and of at least 74 meals being tossed out and subsequently replaced by MREs, according to the publication.

There are also complaints, according to The Detroit News, of lunch arriving many hours late, a lack of options for vegetarians, and breakfasts consisting of a piece of fruit and a hard roll without any protein, a detail which WXYZ also reported. Vegetarians were instructed to remove the meat and to eat the sides served with the meals, the publication reports.

Following the violent January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol that resulted in five deaths, about 1,000 troops from the Michigan National Guard are assisting in providing security at the complex. Of the 5,200 guard soldiers and airmen helping civilian law enforcement at the Capitol, 20% originate from Michigan, according to The Detroit News.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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REPORT: China has vast network of covert police stations around the world

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China has a vast network of covert police stations abroad, according to a recent report by Safeguard Defenders, an NGO that focuses on human rights violations in China and other Asian countries. These police stations serve consular functions, but are also used by China to crack down on what the CCP deems “illegal” activity of Chinese nationals abroad. The police stations include at least 38 run by the Fuzhou City police, and 22 run by the Qingtian City police. Cities housing these police stations include New York, Toronto (which has three stations), London (two), Paris (three), Buenos Aires, Rio De Janeiro, and Tokyo.

Key findings of the report are below.

“Persuaded to return”

According to China, China has “persuaded to return [to China]” 230,000 Chinese nationals living aboard from April 2021 to July 2022 alone to face charges of fraud and telecommunications fraud. A Yangxia police station set up in Mozambique, for example, persuaded a Chinese national to return to China after being accused of stealing money from his employer. Chinese authorities also put pressure on the accused family to convince the accused to surrender.

Roughly 54,000 Chinese nationals were persuaded to return from northern Myanmar alone, in the first nine months of 2021. In July 2022, the government of Wenchang City warned that its citizens living in northern Myanmar must check in with their local police stations or face multiple penalties including blocking their children from attending urban schools back in China. Similarly, in February 2022, the government of Liayang City stated that Chinese “illegally staying” in northern Myanmar must return or the bank accounts of their immediate family members could be frozen.

The Nine Forbidden Countries

China has claimed that nine countries contain serious levels of fraud and telecom fraud perpetrated by Chinese nationals. Since November 2021, China has declared that Chinese citizens living in these nine countries must return to China immediately unless they have an “emergency reason” or a “strict necessity” to travel or stay in those countries. Those countries are: Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, the UAE, and Turkey. However, the report questions whether these countries are truly awash in such fraud, as most of China’s oversees police stations are in the West, and only one of the nine countries (Cambodia) has such a police station. Chinese staying in the nine forbidden countries, as well as threats to family members as stated above, creates a “guilt-by-association” atmosphere intended to repatriate the Chinese nationals.

Conclusion

According to the report, Chinese police stations abroad serve to bypass “bilateral extradition treaties or other mechanisms of judicial cooperation” to cooperate with CCP-linked NGOs which effectively “[sets] up an alternative policing and judicial system within third countries.” Instead of using international judicial cooperation, which establishes due process, the presumption of innocence, and the right to a fair trial, China uses the above “persuade-to-return” methods and transnational police stations to circumvent international law and coerce Chinese nationals to return to China for trials. These policies show the power of China’s long-arm oppression over its own subjects.

You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic

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