RightWing militias get to work with real coppers

In late February, the self-proclaimed commander of a rightwing militia group based in northern New Mexico issued an urgent proclamation to listeners of the group’s YouTube radio show.

“We have 2,500 people getting ready to come across at [the] El Paso-New Mexico state line,” said Larry Mitchell Hopkins, speaking under the alias Johnny Horton Jr., of the United Constitutional Patriots. “They are from South America, and MS-13, a very large group. … We are deploying men right now through the border, and we need more boots on the ground, we need all the help we can get, folks.”

In another radio broadcast days later, after Hopkins relocated to the state’s southern half, he bragged that the militia was working directly with Border Patrol agents: “We are working with the Border Patrol. They are working great with us. All their supervisors have been here. They check on us. They’ve given us a sector of work with them, and they’re really doing a good job.”…

In at least a few videos, militia members are shown speaking with Border Patrol agents, who allow the group to film their apprehensions of would-be immigrants. Hopkins told his radio listeners on March 1 that his group was working “hand-in-hand” with Border Patrol

…A network of local humanitarian charities and volunteers in El Paso, Las Cruces, and Albuquerque are coordinating to welcome hundreds of asylum seekers passing through daily. And as these efforts go forward, the local right seethes with resentment, buoyed by a white nationalist president who legitimizes and indulges their worst impulses on a near-daily basis.

Coercion, intimidation by threats of violence by gun-toting fools are the stock in trade of bigots and reactionaries for decades. They’re even wrongly characterized as vigilantes. More like lynch mobs would be closer to accurate.

Trump paid $13.6 million so far to recruit thousands of Border Patrol agents — they’ve hired 2


Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

The Trump administration paid $13.6 million this year to a private company that increased Border Patrol staffing by just two agents, according to a new federal watchdog report.

Customs and Border Protection hired Accenture to hire and recruit 7,500 agents within the next five years. But just 10 months into the contract, only two accepted job offers have been processed, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General…

Accenture, a global management consulting company headquartered in Ireland, was awarded a $297 million contract to achieve the hiring goal…But the report said $13.6 million has been spent in the last 10 months, and CBP “risks wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on a hastily approved contract that is not meeting its proposed performance expectations.”

Sounds like they perfectly match the standards we’ve come to expect from the Fake President and what’s rapidly become the Fake Republican Party.

America’s new concentration camps


Paul J. Richards/AFP

❝ [In June], New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez referred to US border detention facilities as “concentration camps,” spurring a backlash in which critics accused her of demeaning the memory of those who died in the Holocaust. Debates raged over a label for what is happening along the southern border and grew louder as the week rolled on. But even this back-and-forth over naming the camps has been a recurrent feature in the mass detention of civilians ever since its inception, a history that long predates the Holocaust.

❝ At the heart of such policy is a question: What does a country owe desperate people whom it does not consider to be its citizens?…From the Fourth Geneva Convention protecting civilians in 1949 to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the international community established humanitarian obligations toward the most vulnerable that apply, at least in theory, to all nations…

In addition to the total of detainees held by Border Patrol, an even higher number is detained at centers around the country by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency: on a typical day at the beginning of this month, ICE was detaining more than 52,500 migrants. The family separation policy outraged the public in the 2018, but despite legal challenges, it never fully ended. Less publicized have been the deaths of twenty-four adults in ICE custody since the beginning of the Trump administration; in addition, six children between the ages of two and sixteen have died in federal custody over the last several months. It’s not clear whether there have been other deaths that have gone unreported.

RTFA. Please. It is a thorough and current essay on what has been done in our name, time and again.

Our state capital, Santa Fe, was the site of one of those so-called internment camps during WW2. It’s a lovely neighborhood, nowadays, with few remembering the political aberration of 80 years ago. What our politicians are doing along the southern border will not be easy for anyone with a conscience to forget.

Border Patrol loses thousands of license plate photos at Canadian border

Hackers have stolen thousands of photos of travelers and their license plates from a subcontractor of Customs and Border Protection, the agency announced on Monday. A source told the Washington Post that the data was collected at a particular port of entry on the Canadian border…

❝ CBP says it learned of the breach on May 31, and the organization stated that its own network was not compromised. The agency says that the subcontractor violated agency policies when it copied the photos to its own network, making them more vulnerable to hacking.

“CBP takes its privacy and cybersecurity responsibilities very seriously and demands all contractors to do the same,” the agency said.

It just does a crap job of checking to see if “responsible” standards are implemented and maintained.

Trump’s flunkies demand 20 years in prison for humanitarian aid

❝ A United States federal court is weighing in on the case of volunteer Scott Warren, who is on trial and facing 20 years in prison on “smuggling” charges for aiding a pair of undocumented migrants in Arizona.

A member of the humanitarian group, No More Deaths, Warren was taken to trial Tuesday on three felony charges: two for allegedly harboring an immigrant couple and one for conspiring to transport them.

❝ The thirty-six-year-old man was arrested on Jan. 17, 2018 after Border Patrol agents set up surveillance around one of the organization’s humanitarian aid shelters in Ajo, Arizona.

❝ “It is life or death here. And a decision not to give somebody food or water could lead to that person dying,” Dr. Scott Warren said, adding that he has shared food, water, and shelter to dozens of people braving the deadly desert outside his home…

“It is scary to be intimidated like this and to be targeted but there really is no choice,” said Warren, who believes that the state may be expanding their definition of “harbor.”

State governments and the Feds are no strangers to arbitrarily changing definitions to suit the politics of the moment. With a thug in the White House who campaigned on illegal migrants being subhuman and criminal in the eyes of his supporters – anyone who offers life-preserving aid to folks in Southwestern deserts must be equally criminal.

This is what our government and the contemptible snobs who adore our fake president would have us be.

Detained by the Border Patrol in Montana — for speaking Spanish


He has a badge and a gunDifferent incident; but, you get the idea!

❝ Two Montana women are suing US Customs and Border Protection officers for detaining them at a gas station last year because they were speaking Spanish

Ana Suda and Martha Hernandez were questioned in May by a uniformed officer as they waited in line to buy eggs and milk at a convenience store in Havre, Montana — a tiny town 35 miles from the US border with Canada. The officer then detained the two women, who are American citizens, for 30 to 40 minutes outside by his patrol car.

Suda filmed the heated encounter on her cellphone

❝ Detaining someone solely for speaking Spanish is the same thing as stopping someone solely because of their race — which is illegal.

Not that I would expect everyone with a badge and a gun to know the law or respect the law. I know many who do. I have also confronted some who don’t care about anything but their sense of power – and personal bigotry.

Trump Admin Ignores Human Rights in Border Patrol Beating Death

❝ Attorneys for the family of a man killed by Border Patrol agents said Monday the Trump administration will “lose badly” for failing to respond to the family’s petition regarding their loved one’s death at the border.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights took up a petition filed by the family of Anastasio Hernandez-Rojas in May claiming human rights abuses over Border Patrol agents’ extrajudicial killing of the San Diego man and what the family says was a botched investigation by U.S. government officials.

❝ The U.S. government had until Aug. 10 to respond to the petition but has remained silent – breaking decades of tradition of cooperating with the human rights agency even with regard to abuse of prisoners kept at Guantanamo Bay.

Because the government has not responded to the petition, the commission can enter a default judgment against the United States – accepting the family’s claims as true.

❝ Earlier this year, the United States did not participate in hearings before the commission. Roxanna Altholz, associate director at UC Berkeley Law School’s International Human Rights Law Clinic and one of the attorneys on the Hernandez-Rojas case, said the government’s refusal to participate is unprecedented…

Hernandez-Rojas was beaten by Border Patrol agents in 2010 when he was caught crossing the border. The beating put him in a coma before Hernandez-Rojas’ family decided to take him off life support.

The Feds have already agreed to a large settlement in the civil case brought by Rojas family; but, they still would like justice to be determined – charging the agents who beat Rojas. Understandable.

Doesn’t seem to affect our fake president’s comprehension of law and justice.

Border Patrol Easing Lie Detector Exams To Boost Hiring

❝ For the past three years, the U.S. Border Patrol has been using recruitment videos and job fairs to fill a gap in its ranks. It’s the largest law enforcement agency in the country but is still shy nearly 2,000 people from a target of 21,000.

That was the case even before President Donald Trump’s mandate that it bring in 5,000 more…rejection rates are high and it takes about 200 applicants to finally fill one position.

❝ “One of the things we do: we go to job fairs. We partner up with colleges and universities to look for candidates that are within the demographic of agents that we’re looking for,” Vicente Paco, a spokesman for the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector, said.

The Border Patrol also looks for military veterans and former police officers. But some agency critics said its strict lie detector tests are part of the reason it has such a hard time filling vacancies…

❝ Customs and Border Protection officials said a 2010 anti-corruption law requires it to administer these exams…The agency does appear to be trying to ease the application process by waiving the polygraph for applicants who have already worked in sensitive jobs such as certain military positions…

❝ Kevin McAleenan, the acting CBP commissioner…wrote that the Border Patrol receives 60,000 to 75,000 applications a year and since 2013, has hired an average of 523 agents a year but lost 904 agents a year to attrition.

McAleenan wrote that the agency will need to hire 2,729 agents a year to achieve the president’s order within five years.

Reliability of lie detectors is questionable. Results are still not admissible AFAIK in courts of law in the United States.

The chuckle remains – does anyone think Trump could pass a lie detector test. For anything?