Armed vigilantes detain migrants –their leader is busted after NM governor calls the Feds


Paul Ratje/Getty

❝ Armed rightwing militia members detained a large group of migrants at the US-Mexico border and coordinated with US border patrol agents to have them arrested, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, in a series of actions the civil liberties organization called a “kidnapping” and a flagrant violation of the law….

❝ The so-called United Constitutional Patriots posted several live-stream Facebook videos this week that appeared to detail their activities at the border…

❝ Nora Meyers Sackett, the spokesperson for New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, told the Guardian her office was working with the attorney general to “verify what exactly happened regarding this group”, adding in an email, “If migrant families feel menaced or threatened at all when they arrive at our border, that’s completely unacceptable, and it should go without saying that regular citizens have no authority to arrest or detain anyone…”

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❝ The head of the militia group…was arrested Saturday by the FBI on charges of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition…

Larry Mitchell Hopkins, 69, who lives in the tiny village of Flora Vista in San Juan County, was arrested in Sunland Park, a border town near El Paso, the FBI said in a statement…

❝ “This is a dangerous felon who should not have weapons around children and families,” New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said of Hopkins in a statement issued Saturday. “Today’s arrest by the FBI indicates clearly that the rule of law should be in the hands of trained law enforcement officials, not armed vigilantes.”

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a Twitter message a day before Hopkins’ arrest, “We are actively working with @NewMexicoAOG as well as local and state police. Menacing or threatening migrant families and asylum-seekers is absolutely unacceptable and must cease.”

Just a few of the fascist-minded fools who infest rightwing America.

Climate change coming — corporate coppers are getting ready

❝ …Their statistical and tactical approaches (are) fundamentally connected. All businesses exposed themselves to risk, which had to be mitigated, insured or, more relevantly, defended against. Even if the Pinkertons couldn’t predict the specific risks of the future, they had a general sense of what it might look like — and what opportunities they might avail themselves of as it materialized.

According to the World Bank, by 2050 some 140 million people may be displaced by sea-level rise and extreme weather, driving escalations in crime, political unrest and resource conflict. Even if the most conservative predictions about our climate future prove overstated, a 1.5-degree Celsius rise in temperature during the next century will almost certainly provoke chaos, in what experts call climate change’s “threat multiplier”: Displacement begets desperation begets disorder. Reading these projections from the relative comforts of the C-suite, it wasn’t difficult to see why a company might consider enhancing its security protocols.

❝ For Pinkerton, the bet is twofold: first, that there’s no real material difference between climate change and any other conflict — as the world grows more predictably dangerous, tactical know-how will simply be more in demand than ever. And second, that by adding data analytics, Pinkerton stands to compete more directly with traditional consulting firms like Deloitte, which offer pre- and postdisaster services (supply-chain monitoring, damage documentation, etc.), but which cannot, say, dispatch a helicopter full of armed guards to Guatemala in an afternoon. In theory, Pinkerton can do both — a fully militarized managerial class at corporate disposal.

Better read this, folks! Our Fake President and the Republican Party of Pimps for corporate America have their side of this question already picked out. To them, mitigating the effects of climate change – much less reversal – aren’t especially critical to the class of profiteers who will own the cool breezes of mountaintop sanctuaries and any other calm, cool, company command posts (golf course included) they require. Folks who need jobs that pay well for ignoring who you kill and maim will not be in short supply.

Arming your drone is legal according to the Feds

…The FAA is currently asking a court in Connecticut to compel Austin Haughwout, a teenager in Connecticut who put a gun and a flamethrower on his homemade drones, to comply with a subpoena that would give them more information about his armed drones. The FAA has not formally accused Haughwout of any wrongdoing.

Jim Williams, the former head of the FAA’s drone office between 2012 and mid 2015, told me that’s because it’s likely he hasn’t done anything wrong. In fact, while he was with the FAA, his team was unable to find any statute that would have allowed them to pursue a legal case against Haughwout or any other pilots who modify their drones to shoot guns…

In December 2015, the FAA’s Office of the Chief Counsel put out a fact sheet for state and local legislators that noted that “prohibitions on attaching firearms or similar weapons to UAS” are “laws [that] are traditionally related to state and local police power.” Williams says that Congress hasn’t given the FAA authorization to specifically prohibit armed drones

Anyone think Congress is up to useful legislation on armed anything?

Robber recognizes victim from prison — hands wallet back

A Kansas robber who helped seize a man’s cell phone and wallet at gunpoint recognized the victim as an ex-convict he had served time with and gave the possessions back

A Wichita, Kansas man reported that two young men approached him on the street late on Wednesday, one of them brandishing a large semi-automatic handgun, Wichita police Sergeant Joe Schroeder said.

The gunman demanded the victim’s phone and took his wallet while the second man searched his pockets, Schroeder said.

“Then, he (the second man) realized he spent some time in prison with him. He apologized, shook hands and walked away,” Schroeder said.

Although the victim went to police and said he knew one of the robbers in prison, the man said he did not think he could identify them in a suspect line-up…

Turn about is fair play.

The drone blowback delusion

Recent revelations that the White House keeps a secret terrorist kill list, which it uses to target al Qaeda leaders, have spurred a debate over drone warfare…As the political drama unfolds in Washington, however, the United States is intensifying its drone campaign in the arid mountains and remote plateaus of Yemen…

Critics argue that drone strikes create new adversaries and drive al Qaeda’s recruiting. As the Yemeni youth activist Ibrahim Mothana recently wrote in The New York Times, “Drone strikes are causing more and more Yemenis to hate America and join radical militants; they are not driven by ideology but rather by a sense of revenge and despair.” The Washington Post concurs…The ranks of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have tripled to 1,000 in the last three years, and the link between its burgeoning membership, U.S. drone strikes, and local resentment seems obvious…

Opposite conclusions appear among journalists, activists, politicians on the ground in Yemen.

Yemeni journalists, particularly…shared this view: “I opposed the drone campaign until I saw what al Qaeda was doing in Jaar and Zinjibar,” an independent reporter in Aden said. “Al Qaeda hates the drones, they’re absolutely terrified of the drones … and that is why we need them.”

My interviewees also offered deeper insight into the sentiments described by Western journalists and Yemeni activists. In their view, public opposition to drones had little to do with a desire for revenge or increasing sympathy for al Qaeda. Instead, they argued, ordinary Yemenis see the drones as an affront to their national pride. “Drones remind us that we don’t have the ability to solve our problems by ourselves,” one member of the Yemeni Socialist Party said. “If these were Yemeni drones, rather than American drones, there would be no issue at all…”

None of these reactions address the legal dimensions of drone warfare….First, as long as drones target legitimate terrorists, Yemenis grudgingly acknowledge their utility. And second, the more Yemenis perceive the United States as a serious partner, the less drones will pique their national pride.

This research also offers another lesson. Despite deeper engagement and closer coordination, Americans and Yemenis are fighting the same war from different premises.

RTFA for the interviews and anecdotal briefs highlighting these conclusions. You may have to register to have free access to this article and more. It’s worth it. Christopher Swift and his peers are a valuable starting point for folks who want to construct an informed opinion.

Doing something useful with a drone – in North Dakota

Armed with a search warrant, Nelson County Sheriff Kelly Janke went looking for six missing cows on the Brossart family farm on June 23. Three men brandishing rifles chased him off, he said.

Janke knew the gunmen could be anywhere on the 3,000-acre spread in eastern North Dakota. Fearful of an armed standoff, he called in reinforcements from the Highway Patrol, a regional SWAT team, a bomb squad, ambulances and deputy sheriffs from three counties.

He also called in a Predator B drone.

As the unmanned aircraft circled 2 miles overhead, its sensors helped pinpoint the suspects, showing they were unarmed. Police rushed in and made the first known arrests of U.S. citizens with help from a Predator, the spy drone that has helped revolutionize modern warfare.

That was just the start. Police say they have used two unarmed Predators based at Grand Forks Air Force Base to fly at least two dozen surveillance flights since then. The FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration have used Predators for other domestic investigations, officials said…

The drones belong to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which operates eight Predators on the country’s borders to search for illegal immigrants and smugglers. The previously unreported use of its drones to assist local, state and federal law enforcement has occurred without any public acknowledgment or debate.

Previously unreported in this newspaper – aiding local law enforcement. I blogged about them in February, 2009.

Congress first authorized Customs and Border Protection to buy unarmed Predators in 2005. Officials in charge of the fleet cite broad authority to work with police from budget requests to Congress that cite “interior law enforcement support” as part of their mission…

Former Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., who sat on the House homeland security intelligence subcommittee at the time, said no one ever discussed using Predators to help local police serve warrants or do other basic work. Using Predators for routine law enforcement without public debate or clear legal authority is a mistake, Harman said…

In 2008 and 2010, Harman helped beat back efforts by Homeland Security officials to use imagery from military satellites to help domestic terrorism investigations. Congress blocked the proposal on grounds it would violate the Posse Comitatus Act, which bars the military from taking a police role on U.S. soil.

Military units often serve as saviors in my neck of the prairie – especially in search and rescue missions. The ARNG Blackhawk unit stationed at the Santa Fe Municipal Airport is often called out to supplement state police helicopter missions aiding folks in trouble here in the Southern Rockies or needing help on the plains in dire weather conditions.

Food drops to people trapped or animals snowed in – in the Navajo Nation – are common every winter. The ARNG Blackhawk detachment has saved more than one life in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains or Sandia Crest and the Manzanos. When the sectarian flavor of local peacenik starts to holler about their presence based at the municipal airport I consider it part of responsible peace activism to differentiate between peaceful, positive deployment of military personnel and crap assignments on behalf of Imperial Washington.

It ain’t that difficult to understand, folks.

Thanks, Ursarodina

Turkey will provide armed escort for Gaza humanitarian aid

Turkey has set the stage for a potential naval confrontation with Israel by announcing that Turkish ships attempting to breach the maritime blockade of Gaza will be given an armed escort…

Incensed by Israel’s refusal to apologise for its deadly raid on a Gaza bound aid flotilla last year, which led to the deaths of nine Turkish activists on board the MV Mami Marmara, Mr Erdogan has announced a series of sanctions against the Israeli government in recent days…

“Turkish warships will be tasked with protecting the Turkish boats bringing humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the Arabic television network Al Jazeera.

From now on, we will no longer allow these ships to be the targets of attacks by Israel like the one on the Freedom Flotilla, because then Israel will have to deal with an appropriate response…”

He did not reveal whether Turkish naval vessels would enter the territorial waters of either Israel or Gaza. The raid on the Mavi Marmara took place in international waters just outside the blockaded zone.

The saddest commentary of all is that an armed escort is needed to bring humanitarian aid to a region under the thumb of Israeli military occupation.

Cop/clown kills robber with his own gun

An off-duty Chicago police officer dressed up as a clown for a South Side fundraiser shot and killed a teen who held him at gunpoint tonight after the event, authorities said.

The officer…was in his clown outfit for a fundraiser for a day-care business. The event, attended by a group of 50 children, was near West 87th Street and South Damen Avenue.

At 10:10 p.m. after the event ended, the officer went to his car and a teen approached him, asking him for money, authorities said. When the officer said he had no money, the teen pulled a gun on him, authorities said.

During a struggle with the teen, the officer grabbed hold of the gun, opened fire and killed him.

The officer sustained minor injuries, according to a release from police News Affairs.

Don’t carry a gun unless you’re prepared to use it. Don’t pull a gun on someone unless you’re capable of using it. Don’t get close enough to let someone take your gun away – and use it on you.

In this case – I’d say instant justice was meted out.

Anti-Terrorist coppers roust 12-year-old at school


A threat to UK Homeland Security?

The mother of a 12-year-old boy has criticised Thames Valley police for taking her son out of lessons because he was planning to picket David Cameron’s constituency office today.

Nicky Wishart, a pupil at Bartholomew School, Eynsham, Oxfordshire, organised the event on Facebook to highlight the plight of his youth centre, which is due to close in March next year due to budget cuts.

The protest, which was due to take place today, has attracted over 130 people on Facebook, most of whom are children who use youth centres in Cameron’s constituency, Whitney.

Wishart said that after the school was contacted by anti-terrorist officers, he was taken out of his English class on Tuesday afternoon and interviewed by a Thames Valley officer at the school in the presence of his head of year. During the interview, Wishart says that the officer told him that if any public disorder took place at the event he would be held responsible and arrested…

Wishart, who describes himself as a “maths geek” said he was frightened by the encounter. “I was really scared. Normally I’m a confident speaker but I lost all my confidence. My mum was worried, and I was worried and I didn’t know what to do.”

Young Wishart plans on going ahead with his protest. I really doubt that armed police will be needed to maintain law and order, to protect the future course of Western Democracy and Freedom.

What little is left.