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Anti-Militarism: News & Updates
January 9, 2020
An officer tasked with separating migrant children from their parents under that pilot program speaks out — offering a rare public criticism of the initiative from within Border Patrol’s own ranks. “That was the most horrible thing I’ve ever done,” Wesley Farris, a high-ranking officer with El Paso’s Border Patrol Union, tells FRONTLINE’s Martin Smith in the above excerpt. “You can’t help but see your own kids.” “It was a young boy. I think he was about two. The world was upside down to that kid,” Farris says. “So when the contractor tried to take him away, he reached for me and he climbed up on me again, and he was holding on to me. So that that one got me a little bit.”
January 5, 2020
The spaghetti dinner is an IRTF staple and, this year, Quin and Paul are looking to add a bit of intrigue by expanding the evening to include TRIVIA—every brainiac's favorite time to show off how very much stuff they have crammed into their noggins!
December 25, 2019
We are extremely concerned about the continuing threatsfrom the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the paramilitary Gaitanistas Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGC). ELN and AGC armed groups operating in Bojayá, are causing at least 2,250 people to live under forced confinement and life-threatening risk. Hostile actions include deployed landmines in the few areas with telephone coverage, which is restricting communities’ access to healthcare, food, water, and communication.
December 23, 2019
We are quite concerned about the safety of staff and members of the human rights organization dhColombia (Asociación Red de defensores y defensoras de derechos humanos). Since the beginning of November, members of dhColombia have been surveilled by unknown men outside their homes and office. Prior to this, in August a member of dhColombia faced communication espionage, theft of sensitive information, and death threats. dhColombia made a request on October 4 for protection measures from the National Protection Unit (UNP); to our knowledge, they have not received a response.
December 23, 2019
Customs and Border Protection, the parent agency of the U.S. Border Patrol, has purchased 33 million rounds of ammunition for its new handgun and may buy more than 300 million additional rounds over the next five years. Customs and Border Protection agreed to pay $9.89 million for Winchester Ammunition. Another five-year contract for ammunition is expected to be awarded late next year, with its value estimated at between $80 million and $100 million. According to the agency, on a typical day it apprehends more than 1,000 people and seizes around 4,600 pounds of narcotics, along with $290,000 of undeclared or illicit currency. But the criminal misconduct by border officers recently reached a five-year high, an internal government report obtained by Quartz revealed. CBP is among the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies, and more than 50,000 CBP employees are authorized to carry sidearms.
December 22, 2019
We are shocked at three assassinations that occurred during the national strike that started on November 21. December 2 - Two unidentified attackers killed Manuel Santos Yatacue as he walked with his partner near the Elvira reincorporation zone in Buenos Aires in Cauca Department. Elvira is one of 24 areas where former members of FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) are based as they transition to civil society under the terms of the 2016 peace agreement. Manuel Santos Yatacue was a member of one of the local collectives establishing coffee production. Illegal armed groups, opposed to the peace process, are still vying for control over the illegal gold mining activities that continue there.
December 19, 2019
December 18 is International Migrants Day. IRTF and SOA Watch stand in solidarity with all displaced peoples across the world. Violence and death--too often consequences of US foreign policy--push migrants to leave their homes in Central America. We are concerned about many current developments, such as the report that the Border Patrol is buying 33 million rounds of bullets from Winchester. Weaponizing our immigration enforcement officers is intensifying conflict instead of ensuring peace.
December 18, 2019
The logistical challenges were daunting, but as luck would have it, Immigration and Customs Enforcement already had a partner on its payroll: McKinsey & Company, an international consulting firm brought on under the Obama administration to help engineer an “organizational transformation” in the ICE division charged with deporting migrants who are in the United States unlawfully. ICE quickly redirected McKinsey toward helping the agency figure out how to execute the White House’s clampdown on illegal immigration. McKinsey, the firm’s presentations show, pursued “detention savings opportunities” in blunt ways. The consultants encouraged ICE to adopt a “longer-term strategy” with “operational decisions to fill low cost beds before expensive beds.” In practice, that meant shunting detainees to less expensive — and sometimes less safe — facilities, often rural county jails. “There’s a concerted effort to try to ship folks ICE sees as long-term detainees to these low-cost facilities run by local sheriffs’ offices where conditions are abysmal,” said Eunice Cho, a senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union who focuses on issues involving the detention of immigrants. McKinsey also looked to cut costs by lowering standards at ICE detention facilities, according to an internal ICE email and two former agency officials.
December 13, 2019
Two months after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) rescinded fines ranging between $300,000 – $500,000 against seven women living in Sanctuary in churches across the country, ICE has sent letters threatening renewal of the civil fines and potential criminal prosecution. Until now the only thing preventing ICE from carrying out an enforcement action at a place of worship has been a “sensitive locations” memorandum issued years ago. “The fines and the threat of criminal prosecution are an extreme form of retaliation against people whose lives are in danger if they are deported. This tactic is consistent with the Trump administration’s unlawful campaign to end asylum and deport immigrants of color.”
December 13, 2019
Michael Joseph is the UCC Global Ministries Mission Co-Worker in Colombia.The violence related to Colombia’s war was on the rise in the early 2000s when church and human rights partners in Colombia became concerned about a huge increase in U.S. military aid that they feared would add more fuel to the fire. They decided to document, as best they could, the impact of this war on the Protestant church in Colombia. Michael joined this documentation program after going to Colombia with Global Ministries in 2007. Today, twelve years later, this human rights documentation program has recorded over 10,000 human rights violations. In 2020 he will transition to working at the Nojolo'on Peace Center in Mexico as a Global Ministries Global Associate.