While Colorado’s pot shops are embracing wax as a popular, potent form of newly legal cannabis, the Drug Enforcement Administration is whipping up a drug panic in California. In a Yahoo News article, Gary Hill, assistant special agent in charge at the DEA’s San Diego office warned, “We have seen people have an onset of psychosis and even brain damage from that exposure to that high concentration of THC. Our concern is that this is going to spread before we get it under control.”
Agent Hill offered no studies or data to back up these claims.
But the DEA, once again, is too late. BHO has been around for at least a decade and now it is more available than ever—and the wax is here to stay.
After much anticipation from human rights advocates in the Southern Border Region, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report yesterday entitled, “U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Use of Force Training and Actions to Address Use of Force Incidents.”
The revelation of eye-witness footage documenting the beating and killing of San Diego resident, Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, by over a dozen border agents prompted a national outcry from the public as well as 16 members of Congress for oversight and accountability over Customs and Border Protection for their use of force cases. Since 2010, border guards have killed at least twenty people.
At the request of letters from 16 members of Congress, the Department of Homeland Security carried out a review of 2,000 records of alleged abuse (out of 21,000) that took place along the border between 2007 and 2012. They determined that nearly two-thirds (63%), or approximately 1,200 incidents, involved possible excessive use of force.
The Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC), a coalition of nearly 60 organizations from the southern border, has been documenting stories of abuse and has been at the forefront of pressing for accountability and oversight over CBP over the past 3 years. After reviewing the report, representatives of the SBCC issued these responses.
"This is an incomplete response to the question: Is Customs and Border Protection out of control?” said Andrea Guerrero, Executive Director of Alliance San Diego and co-chair of the SBCC. "While the report answers some questions, it doesn’t give us specifics on what steps are taken when agents are alleged to use excessive force and, given rash of incidents, what reforms or investigations are being undertaken. Where is the accountability and oversight of agents?"
"We need tracking of excessive use of force at the Department of Homeland Security and a formal process to evaluate and investigate force incidents." states Christian Ramírez, Director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition. "Without a clear mechanism to identify misconduct, investigate it, and hold agents accountable, the agency will continue to operate with impunity and endanger the lives of migrants and border residents and undermine our system of laws."
“If any metropolitan police department was involved in 19 fatal shootings in the span of two years, we would be appalled and would expect that that they would look at best practices from other agencies to reduce use-of-force incidents, like body-worn cameras for officers,” said Vicki B. Gaubeca, director of the ACLU of New Mexico’s Regional Center for Border Rights. “CBP, the nation’s largest law enforcement agency, should be doing the same, but there is little indication in this report that they are,” Gaubeca, co-chair of SBCC, continued.
Report does not address accountability and further erodes trust.
We request the California delegation to the United States Senate Amend S. 744 to mandate that all Border Patrol Agents in the field wear lapel cameras as stated in this press release.
There needs to be a reduction of excessive use of force by the Border Patrol, more protection of the public as well as agents, and it would be a clear form of accountability and oversight where none exists.
In the midst of recent national controversy surrounding government surveillance of the public, a recent Freedom of Information Act request to the Nebraska State Patrol has exposed evidence that TransCanada provided trainings to federal agents and local Nebraska police to suppress nonviolent activists protesting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline by arresting them on “anti-terrorism statutes.” The presentation slides, obtained by grassroots landowner advocacy group Bold Nebraska, target Tar Sands Blockade activists by name.
“This is clear evidence of the collusion between TransCanada and the federal government assisting local police to unlawfully monitor and harass political protestors,” said Lauren Regan, legal coordinator for Tar Sands Blockade and executive director of the Civil Liberties Defense Center. “These documents expose the truth that the government is giving the nod to unlawful corporate spying. By slinging false allegations against peaceful activists in this presentation, TransCanada puts them at risk of unwarranted prosecution.”