Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

September 25, 2015

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on September 25, 2015

William R. Cumming Forum

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print
  • LinkedIn

29 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 25, 2015 @ 12:36 am

My friend Claire Rubin has both written and talked on the topic WHAT KEEPS ME UP AT NIGHT!

Thoughts?

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 25, 2015 @ 12:43 am

Less than 30 crops provide all of humanity’s nutritional needs. Humanity will eat 70% more by 2050.

The world’s seed banks coordinate their work through the INTERNATIONAL SEED TREATY that became effective in 2004. It has been signed by 135 countries and the EU. It identifies 35 food crops as sp essential to global food security that their genetic diversity should be widely shared.

Climate change could accelerate fragile monoculture extinction.

That keeps me up at night!

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 25, 2015 @ 12:52 am

Is preservation of genetic diversity of crops an issue for HS?

What do you know about MAD COW disease? Is prion disease an HS issue?

And is an asteroid strike of planet earth an HS issue?

Who, what, where, when, and how are risks to humanity studied and evaluated, and analysis disseminated?

Has risk assessment been mentioned in any Presidential debate?

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 25, 2015 @ 12:57 am

My understanding is that traffic accidents now involve in over 50% of the instances cell phone usage at the time of the accident?

Should all cell phones have warning labels of risk?

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 25, 2015 @ 7:53 am

Personal readiness: How long can cell phones go without recharging?

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 25, 2015 @ 1:58 pm

Has the Chinese bubble burst?

No mention of China in the 27 page paper released by Fed Chair Yellen this week but just 10 days earlier the FED’s release discussed China as one reason to defer interest rate increase. What gives?

Comment by RecoveryDiva

September 25, 2015 @ 4:03 pm

What keeps me up at night recently is the topic of refugees. Near term the refugees from war zones, and long term those resulting from climate change.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 26, 2015 @ 5:28 am

Kudos to Concord (MA) in their preparedness:

By Henry Schwan
hschwan@wickedlocal.com

Posted Sep. 25, 2015 at 3:25 PM

CONCORD

They are the kinds of catastrophes that can unexpectedly strike any community — a hurricane, a hazardous waste spill, a devastating fire.
But Concord faces special challenges dealing with such disasters because it not only has its share of residences and businesses, but also a hospital, prison facilities, historical structures and senior living facilities.

“For a suburban community, there are a disparate amount of responsibilities to plan for and contingencies for all these important items, which adds to the town’s liability during serious disasters and events, and we have to plan for that,” said Concord Fire Chief Mark Cotreau.

Cotreau is the town’s emergency management director, in charge of coordinating preparations and responses to a variety of emergencies, involving agencies both in and outside of town, including federal and state emergency management agencies.

Preserving property and lives, including those in high-density facilities like Emerson Hospital or the Massachusetts Correction Institute/Concord, is the goal of the town’s emergency preparedness plan.

Cotreau said the plan has four parts — ongoing preparations, planning before an expected event, response and recovery — and the work can involve everything from evacuating people from their living quarters to keeping sewage at bay during a flood.
Cotreau said Concord’s emergency response plan lists resources and potential hazardous events and is updated regularly.

“The aim is to stay in focus on hazards so we can provide the best response possible. Some facilities are unique and we plan for those,” he said, citing places like the prison, where the population can’t be moved easily.
Training exercises are also part of ongoing preparations.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 26, 2015 @ 5:40 am

What keeps me up at night is the fact that good ‘ol Ms. Hillary as well as Barry Obama have not been placed in House arrest for — suspicion in breach of trust, treason — at the “Benghazi Massacre” and while all the Democrats and Republicans continue their charade and enable Barry Obama from his pulpit to continue to embarrass this nation and chide the “Donald” for his outlandish remarks….again, NO ONE is above the law and both Barry Obama and good ‘ol Ms. Hillary have been enabled by a populace who do not get it that because of this arrogance among those we have “entrusted” by precious vote no matter their political loyalties which to me in the 21st century are outdated and everyone should be truly independent in their openness to elect whoever is the candidate who will truly lead this once great nation, WE folks are headed for War and its will be nasty and far reaching to the extent that again we as humanity will look far more foolish than anything we may laugh about in the animal kingdom – and I am not kidding….

The lawlessness, the color of skin and somehow concessions are made for breaking the law whether immigration or other, well folks, the lawlessness you have permitted keeps me awake and while my doors are bolted, the alarm set and gun in hand for all lawful purpose, there is NO justification to hands up don’t shoot as the media so tainted has supported outright criminals, folks willing to dis the laws and have contempt for law enforcement and disregard the “family” and with God witness to all, let me say, all Life matters and enough is enough so that’s what keeps me awake and vigilant in a society which continues to spiral towards War! Read your Bibles and if you do not have one, best you start repenting and reading as quickly as you can as the pages are turning every so quickly these days towards a calamity for all mankind!

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 26, 2015 @ 6:41 am

I have been following this breaking story re good ‘ol Ms. Hillary’s emails so pertinent to the “Benghazi Massacre” and given the lawlessness we see from governing officials and such a failed and divisive government and a obviously overwhelming majority in populous so indifferent to our Judeo-Christian principals and to Constitution and evidently so blah….far to engrossed in texting for the most part of little importance to one another and such wasting of precious time when reading and learning should be one’s priority and this nation’s continued health and well being, the other day a Texan reminded me that when I have had enough of the blueness and clueless state of Massachusetts, the following: (lol)

“You May All Go To Hell And I Will Go To Texas”
Davy Crockett

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 26, 2015 @ 2:22 pm

So from here on “Main Street USA” when we are looking at the White House and Justice Department and Homeland Security from afar despite We the People supposedly being served by YOU, the following which causes alarm when we very much question leadership in any political party:

Subject: OBAMA: IT WAS YOU

OBAMA: IT WAS YOU

Mike Gallagher, a radio host and conservative political commentator is the host of The Mike Gallagher Show. Someone wrote an essay entitled “Obama, it was You”. Mike read it on his show, and then posted it on his FB page, at the request of many. It is eye-opening!

Here it is:

President Obama:

This is why you didn’t go to France to show solidarity against the Muslim terrorists:

* It was you who spoke these words at an Islamic dinner -“I am one of you.”

* It was you who on ABC News referenced – “My Muslim faith.”

* It was you who gave $100 million in US taxpayer funds to rebuild foreign mosques.

* It was you who wrote that in the event of a conflict -“I will stand with the Muslims.”

* It was you who assured the Egyptian Foreign Minister that – “I am a Muslim.”

* It was you who bowed in submission before the Saudi King.

* It was you who sat for 20 years in a Liberation Theology Church condemning
Christianity and professing Marxism.

* It was you who exempted Muslims from penalties under ObamaCare that the rest of us have to pay.

* It was you who purposefully omitted – “endowed by our
Creator” – from you recitation of The Declaration Of Independence.

* It was you who mocked the Bible and Jesus Christ’s Sermon On The
Mount while repeatedly referring to the ‘HOLY’ Quran.

* It was you who traveled the Islamic world denigrating the United States Of America.

* It was you who instantly threw the support of your administration
behind the building of the Ground Zero Victory mosque overlooking
the hallowed crater of the World Trade Center.

* It was you who refused to attend the National Prayer Breakfast, but
hastened to host an Islamic prayer breakfast at the WH.

* It was you who ordered Georgetown Univ. and Notre Dame to
shroud all vestiges of Jesus Christ BEFORE you would agree to go
there to speak, but in contrast, you have NEVER requested that the
mosques you have visited adjust their decor.

* It was you who appointed anti-Christian fanatics to your Czar Corps.

* It was you who appointed rabid Islamists to Homeland Security.

* It was you who said that NASA’ “foremost mission” was an outreach to Muslim communities.

* It was you who as an Illinois Senator was the ONLY individual who
would speak in favor of infanticide.

* It was you who was the first President not to give a Christmas Greeting
from the WH, and went so far as to hang photos of Chairman Mao on the WH tree.

* It was you who curtailed the military tribunals of all Islamic terrorists.

* It was you who refused to condemn the Ft. Hood killer as an Islamic terrorist.

* It is you who has refused to speak-out concerning the horrific
executions of women throughout the Muslim culture, but yet, have
submitted Arizona to the UN for investigation of hypothetical
human-rights abuses.

* It was you who when queried in India refused to acknowledge the true
extent of radical global Jihadists, and instead profusely praised
Islam in a country that is 82% Hindu and the victim of numerous
Islamic terrorists assaults.

* It was you who funneled $900 Million in U.S. taxpayer dollars to Hamas.

* It was you who ordered the USPS to honor the MUSLIM holiday with a
new commemorative stamp.

* It was you who directed our UK Embassy to conduct outreach to help
“empower” the British Muslim community.

* It was you who embraced the fanatical Muslim Brotherhood in your quest
to overthrow the Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak.

* It was you who funded mandatory Arabic language and culture studies in
Grammar schools across our country.

* It is you who follows the Muslim custom of not wearing any form of
jewelry during Ramadan.

* It is you who departs for Hawaii over the Christmas season so as to
avoid past criticism for NOT participating in seasonal WH religious events.

* It was you who was un-characteristically quick to join the chorus of the
Muslim Brotherhood to depose Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, formerly
America’s strongest ally in North Africa; but, remain muted in your
non-response to the Brotherhood led slaughter of Egyptian Christians.

* It was you who appointed your chief adviser, Valerie Jarrett, an Iranian,
who is a member of the Muslim Sisterhood, an off-shoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The above provides the basis for virtually everything Obama does.

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 26, 2015 @ 9:55 pm

GAO on Wildland Fire Management [thanks to Recovery Diva]:

http://www.gao.gov/assets/680/672579.pdfNoting that we are now only 1/2 way through the California fire season.

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 26, 2015 @ 9:56 pm

CORRECTION:

http://www.gao.gov/assets/680/672579.pdf

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 27, 2015 @ 2:56 am

Extreme Weather Events and Government
Compensation
09/22/2015
On May 1, 2015, developments in two courts sent the same signal: a government sometimes has to compensate land
owners for “takings” of their property rights under the Constitution when government measures and extreme weather
events such as hurricanes or droughts intersect. One case, from Louisiana, involves too much water; the other, from
Texas, too little.
The Louisiana case dealt with the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet, popularly referred to as MR GO (spoken as “Mister
Go”). MR GO is a 76-mile navigational channel authorized by Congress and built and operated by the Corps of
Engineers to facilitate vessel traffic between New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. Following Hurricane Katrina in
2005, owners of flooded land in and near the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans alleged that the Army Corps of
Engineers had constructed, expanded, and operated MR GO in a manner that significantly increased storm surge up the
channel, resulting in flooding of their properties during Hurricane Katrina and subsequent hurricanes and storms.
Based on such allegations, they sought compensation in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (CFC) for a taking of their
property.
Initially, the CFC stayed the takings case while several hundred tort claims against the United States also based on
Hurricane Katrina flooding were adjudicated in federal district court. Once those claims were denied by the Fifth
Circuit, the CFC reactivated the takings claims. Relying heavily on the Supreme Court’s recent flooding/taking opinion
in Arkansas Game & Fish Comm’n v. United States, the CFC held in St. Bernard Parish Gov’t v. United States in May
that the Corps’ involvement with MR GO over the decades had effected a temporary physical taking of plaintiffs’
properties by the aforementioned flooding. If upheld on appeal, this decision will underscore that government water
projects that contribute to damage caused by extreme weather events may result in takings liability. And this liability,
based as it is on the Constitution, trumps any applicable exemptions from the Federal Tort Claims Act’s waiver of
sovereign immunity and even the explicit Flood Control Act bar on federal liability for flood waters.
The Texas case involves the Edwards Aquifer, which supplies groundwater for irrigation, municipal, and industrial uses
in south central Texas. Under Texas law, withdrawals of groundwater require a permit, obtained from the Edwards
Aquifer Authority established by the state in 1995. In the majority of states, regulatory restrictions on groundwater
withdrawal create little possibility of the state having to compensate the landowner for a “taking” of property rights:
while courts traditionally have treated groundwater rights as constitutionally protected, they have also seen them as
only conditional rights of use and thus have resisted allowing compensation for government limitation of groundwater
withdrawals. In 2012, however, the Texas Supreme Court in Edwards Aquifer Auth. v. Day adopted the view that a
land owner owns the groundwater beneath his land outright (subject to the right of capture), analogizing to the state’s
law for oil and gas. Accordingly, Day enhanced the possibility of “takings” requiring compensation when the
Authority did not grant permits for all the groundwater a land owner might desire. And that was precisely the result the
following year, 2013, in Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Bragg. There, a commercial pecan grower was denied a
groundwater withdrawal permit for one orchard over the Edwards Aquifer, and granted a limited permit for a second
one. The Texas intermediate appellate court found a regulatory taking of the grower’s groundwater withdrawal rights,
even while noting that, for land over the Edwards Aquifer, “demand [for groundwater] exceeds supply” and
“[r]egulation is essential to [groundwater’s] conservation and use.” On May 1, 2015, the Texas Supreme Court denied
petitions for review, letting this decision stand.
The Bragg decision from the intermediate appellate court is striking in that it directed the state to compensate the land
owners without any finding by the court that the groundwater allocation scheme at issue was unreasonable or not
needed. On the other hand, Texas, as mentioned, follows the minority view of outright ownership of groundwater. In
the majority of states, where groundwater rights are more conditional, courts are likely to continue finding that in
general the government does not have to pay when reasonably regulating groundwater withdrawals.

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 27, 2015 @ 3:01 am

My comment immediately above from CRS LEGAL FOOTOTES!

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 27, 2015 @ 3:36 am

Although technically NOT an entitlement program federal disaster relief comes close to being the most important federal program for the COMMONWEALTH OF PUERTO RICO.

Given the recent CRS report on emergency funding by the FEDERAL RESERVE now suggest that the FED may want to take over the disaster relief federal activity.

See extract below from CRS report:

“Summary

The worsening of the financial crisis in 2008 led the Federal Reserve (Fed) to revive an obscure
provision found in Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act (12 U.S.C. 344) to extend credit to nonbank financial firms for the first time since the 1930s. Section 13(3) provides the Fed with greater flexibility than its normal lending authority. Using this authority, the Fed created six
broadly based facilities (of which only five were used) to provide liquidity to “primary dealers” (i.e., certain large investment firms) and to revive demand for commercial paper and asset-backed securities. More controversially, the Fed provided special, tailored assistance exclusively to four
firms that the Fed considered “too big to fail”—AIG, Bear Stearns, Citigroup, and Bank of America

Credit outstanding (in the form of cash or securities) authorized by Section 13(3) peaked at $710
billion in November 2008. At present, all credit extended under Section 13(3) has been repaid with interest and all Section 13(3) facilities have expired. Contrary to popular belief, under Section 13(3), the Fed earned income of more than $30 billion and did not suffer any losses on
those transactions. These transactions exposed the taxpayer to greater risks than traditional lending to banks through the discount window, however, because in some cases the terms of the
programs had fewer safeguards.
The Fed’s use of Section 13(3) in the crisis raised fundamental policy issues: Should the Fed be
lender of last resort to banks only, or to all parts of the financial system? Should the Fed lend to
firms that it does not supervise? How much discretion does the Fed need to be able respond to unpredictable financial crises? How can Congress ensure that taxpayers are not exposed to losses? Do the benefits of emergency lending outweigh the costs, including moral hazard? How
can Congress ensure that Section 13(3) is not used to “bail out” failing firms? Should the Fed tell
Congress and the public to whom it has lent?

The restrictions in Section 13(3) placed few limits on the Fed’s actions in 2008. However, in 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (P.L. 111-203) added more restrictions to Section 13(3), attempting to ban future assistance to failing firms while
maintaining the Fed’s ability to create broadly based facilities. The Dodd-Frank Act also required
records for actions taken under Section 13(3) to be publicly released with a lag and required the
Government Accountability Office (GAO) to audit those programs for operational integrity, accounting, financial reporting, internal controls, effectiveness of collateral policies, favoritism, and use of third-party contractors.
Some Members of Congress believe that the Dodd-Frank Act did not sufficiently limit the Fed’s discretion. In the 114th Congress, legislation—including H.R. 2625, H.R. 3189, and S. 1320—has been introduced that would further modify Section 13(3). On July 29, 2015, H.R. 3189 was
ordered to be reported by the House Financial Services Committee. It would raise the threshold
for using Section 13(3), tighten the definition of solvency, limit borrowers to financial firms, and
provide a formula for setting the interest rate. A Fed governor has opposed further reducing the
Fed’s discretion under Section 13(3) on the grounds that the Fed needs “to be able to respond flexibly and nimbly” to future threats to financial stability. Although Section 13(3) must be used “for the purpose of providing liquidity to the financial system,” some Members of Congress have
expressed interest in—while others have expressed opposition to—the Fed using Section 13(3) to
assist financially struggling entities, including states, municipalities, and territories of the United
States.

This report does not discuss lending to banks under the Fed’s normal authority or other actions taken by the Fed or federal government during the financial crisis.”

IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT EVEN IF THE PRESIDENT DOES NOT WAIVE THE COST SHARE REQUIREMENTS FOR DISASTERS AND EMERGENCIES UNDER THE STAFFORD ACT FEMA ALMOST NEVER RECOVERS THE ADVANCED FEDERAL PORTION OF THE STATE COST SHARE.

And in my opinion the current federal cost share under the Stafford Act is detrimental to saving lives and property as proved by Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina.

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 27, 2015 @ 12:48 pm

Could someone update me since the unclassified MASS IMMIGRATION EMERGENCY plan called DISTANT SHORE was released in the early nineties signed off by DoD and DoJ and before DHS created?

What exactly is the US Plan for MASS IMMIGRATION EMERGENCIES?

Comment by Vicki Campbell

September 27, 2015 @ 3:35 pm

Bill, are you talking about the Operation Vigilant Sentry mass migration response plan?

http://www.floridadisaster.org/documents/CEMP/2010/MASS%20MIGRATION%20ANNEX.pdf

http://www.piersystem.com/go/doc/1038/148670/FACT-SHEET-Operation-Vigilant-Sentry

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 28, 2015 @ 1:47 am

Thanks Vicki! Perhaps this is the new one!

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 28, 2015 @ 1:50 am

DHS Logo

Fact Sheet

Date: March 2, 2007
Contact: HSTF-SE Joint Information Center

FACT SHEET – Operation Vigilant Sentry

Operations Plan Vigilant Sentry (OVS) is the Department of Homeland Security’s comprehensive plan for a Caribbean mass migration. OVS was developed in 2003 by Homeland Security Task Force Southeast (HSTF-SE) under the requirements of Homeland Security Presidential Directive number five, and was signed by the Secretary of Homeland Security in 2004.

HSTF-SE was established by the Secretary of Homeland Security, as a standing task force that is in effect at all times, although full-activation of the task force does not happen until the mass migration plan is implemented. Pursuant to the Secretary’s direction, the Commandant of the Coast Guard designated the Coast Guards Seventh District Commander, Rear Admiral David W. Kunkel, as the Director of the HSTF-SE. The Director designated the sector Border Patrol Chief Patrol Agent, Paul Blocker, as his Deputy.

A mass migration has the potential to overwhelm independent agency action, and threaten the safety and security of the United States. Since no single agency has the capability or resources to respond effectively to this contingency, an organizational plan and structure that can rapidly and effectively combine DHS forces with those of other federal, state and local agencies is necessary.

OVS describes the basic organization and structure by which HSTF-SE will deploy resources and direct multi-agency operations to address a potential or full-scale mass migration event. Additionally, this plan provides guidance for four, broad mass-migration activities: (1) at sea rescue and interdiction operations in response to a mass migration from Cuba, Haiti, or other Caribbean nations; (2) deterrence and dissuasion; 3) land-based-law enforcement operations; and (4) migrant processing, protection, and detention procedures.

Comment by Vicki Campbell

September 28, 2015 @ 9:31 am

Obama’s speaking now before the UN. He’s honestly never sounded so disconnected from reality to me, or more full of empty ideology and rhetoric. Just one more guy who can’t admit or face how badly he’s screwed up. I am so over this guy….

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 28, 2015 @ 11:31 am

Thanks to SECRECY NEWS, Steve Aftergood and FAS:

DEFENSE SUPPORT OF CIVIL AUTHORITIES, UPDATED

Before the Department of Defense can use an unmanned aerial system within the United States for domestic operations such as search and rescue missions or disaster response, specific authorization from the Secretary of Defense is necessary.

However, if DoD wants to use a UAS to help control domestic civil disturbances (such as a riot or insurrection), then further authorization from the President of the United State is required.

The patchwork of legal authorities and requirements for domestic military missions is presented in a newly updated DoD manual on Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA).

Military support to civil authorities may be prompted by a variety of natural disasters and emergencies, including wildfires, earthquakes, floods, chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear accidents or attacks, and — a new addition — cyber incidents. But such domestic missions have their own peculiar characteristics.

“Operations conducted by the US military in the homeland and US territories are very different from operations conducted overseas,” the DoD manual says, particularly since they are executed “under the authority and within the limitations of federal, state, and local laws.”

In particular, “For fear of military encroachment on civil authority and domestic governance, the PCA [Posse Comitatus Act] and policy limit DOD support to LEA [Law Enforcement Agencies],” the manual says.

More specifically, “DOD directives prohibit interdicting vehicles, searches and seizures, arrest, and similar activities (e.g., apprehension, stop, and frisk). Furthermore, engaging in questioning potential witnesses; using force or threats to do so, except in self-defense or defense of others; collecting evidence; forensic testing; and surveillance or pursuit of individuals or vehicles is prohibited.”

On the other hand, “the Insurrection Act permits the POTUS [President of the United States] to use armed forces under a limited set of specific circumstances and subject to certain limitations.”

(The President has used the authority under the Insurrection Act twice in recent history. In September 1989 the President ordered federal troops to the US Virgin Islands to restore order in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo. In April 1992 the President ordered federal troops to restore order in Los Angeles during riots following the Rodney King verdict.)

The updated manual includes a new appendix presenting a matrix of domestic military missions along with the relevant approval authority and policy guidance.

For the first time, the manual includes “cyberspace-related incidents” among the circumstances that may trigger military involvement in domestic matters.

“Large-scale cyber incidents may overwhelm government and private-sector resources by disrupting the internet and taxing critical infrastructure information systems. Complications from disruptions of this magnitude may threaten lives, property, the economy, and national security…. State and local networks operating in a disrupted or degraded environment may require DOD assistance.”

See Multi-Service Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA), Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, September 2015.

The authorized use of DoD unmanned aerial systems in domestic operations is described in Guidance for the Domestic Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Policy Memorandum 15-002, February 17, 2015.

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 29, 2015 @ 9:10 am

Hoping all watch the i hour 40 minute interview of Putin by Charlie Rose.

My take on Russian stake in Syria, long have they coveted an opening on the MED!

Could be wrong of course.

And Israel completely flummoxed by Russia in Syria.

Comment by Vicki Campbell

September 29, 2015 @ 12:24 pm

From the Editorial Board of the NYTimes today:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/28/opinion/the-need-for-an-accountable-border-patrol.html?_r=2
_________________________________________________________

The Need for an Accountable Border Patrol

José Antonio Elena Rodríguez was 16 when he was gunned down on a street in Nogales, Mexico, in October 2012. He was shot several times in the back by a United States Border Patrol agent, firing through the fence from Nogales, Ariz. The boy was unarmed; his family said he had been walking home from a basketball game.

The Border Patrol has insisted that the agent was defending himself from rock-throwers on the Mexican side. But a federal grand jury on Wednesday charged the agent with second-degree murder. The indictment lends credence to what José Antonio’s family and activists on both sides of the border have long insisted: that this was another senseless killing by a member of an agency notorious for the reckless use of deadly force.

The agent’s union has asked the public to withhold judgment, a fair request. But it is fair, too, for others to demand openness and accountability from the Border Patrol in this and other cross-border shootings of unarmed civilians, in which basic information and answers have been sorely lacking.

In José Antonio’s case, the agent’s claim of self-defense would seem implausible to anyone who visits the spot in hilly Nogales where the teenager fell. It is hard to imagine him throwing anything across the road, up a 25-foot embankment and then over the fence and hitting, much less hurting, anybody. A major leaguer might be able to hurl a baseball that far, but a 16-year-old boy with a dangerous rock? No.

There are a number of other cases where border agents were said to have taken dubious and lethal action. A critical 2013 report by the Police Executive Research Forum, a law enforcement policy group, seriously questioned the Border Patrol’s policies on deadly force — it found that agents would deliberately stand in the way of fleeing cars, to justify shooting at them. It urged the agency to stop that, and to forbid agents to shoot at people “throwing objects not capable of causing serious physical injury or death to them” — that is, teenagers with rocks. It said both such changes would be “significant departures from current practice.”

Gil Kerlikowske, the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, which includes the Border Patrol, took office promising greater transparency from his troubled agency, which continues to be dogged by reports of misuse of force and other abuses.

He has a difficult job in building the confidence of border communities that have been demanding accountability and justice. A federal indictment, with an overdue airing of facts in one disturbing case, may be one step in that direction.

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 30, 2015 @ 12:11 am

Vicki! Is there any link to any national standard applicable to US law enforcement on use of deadly force?

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 30, 2015 @ 12:34 am

Wiki extract:

Training

All Border Patrol agents spend a minimum of 13 Weeks at the Border Patrol Academy (if they are fluent in Spanish) in Artesia, New Mexico, which is a component of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC). Those who are not fluent in Spanish spend an additional eight weeks at the Academy for a total of 21 weeks. Border Patrol Agent Trainees are instructed in courses including; criminal law, nationality law, and administrative immigration law, police sciences, self-defense and arrest techniques, firearms training with pistol, shotgun and rifle, police vehicle driving, and other Border Patrol / federal law enforcement subjects.

Once they arrive back at their duty station, Trainees then must graduate from the Field Training Officer (FTO) program, an on-the-job training program, which varies in length from a minimum of 12 weeks to a maximum of over 16 weeks long, depending on the practical demands of the duty station and local management. They must also successfully complete the Post Academy Training Program, an extension of the Border Patrol Academy where Trainees complete additional classroom-based training over the course of their first nine months back at their duty station.

The marksmanship skills of Border Patrol agents ranks among the best in the United States. At the National Police Shooting Championships in 2012, Border Patrol agents placed first, second or third in each of the 29 shooting matches.

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 30, 2015 @ 6:23 am

With over 40% of all single family houses subject to natural hazards any good links to how building codes need updates and how little HUD does to mitigate and protect its “decent, safe. sanitary” housing [its statutory mission!] from natural hazards?

BTW its Minimum Building Standards rescinded under President Clinton.

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 30, 2015 @ 2:39 pm

While he talked the talk he did not walk the walk–referring of course to the highly restrictive and small dollar outlays of PROJECT IMPACT. Can you guess who?

Comment by William R. Cumming

October 1, 2015 @ 2:25 pm

USA has largely failed to invest in updating hurricane protection models. Europe’s models better and predicting no land fall for hurricane J.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>