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Hullabaloo


Saturday, August 09, 2014

 
Militias on the border

by digby

What could go wrong?
Masked militias have arrived in South Texas with semi-automatic rifles and tactical gear, causing a stir not only in border communities, but also among state officials.

News of the militias has spread at a time when the border has grown more militarized in response to an influx of Central American immigrants, many of them families and children who made the crossing unaccompanied — more than 57,000 since October.

Gov. Rick Perry activated 1,000 National Guard troops last month, drawing from the Texas State Guard as well as Texas Air and Army National Guard. That activation came on top of a state Department of Public Safety border surge, bringing the state’s total monthly cost to more than $17 million.

Perry has so far said the troops do not have arrest powers, although it appears they could if authorized by the state. Immigrant advocates and some local officials oppose granting them arrest powers.

Additional militia members started arriving on the Texas border in recent weeks to assist as part of a deployment they called Operation Secure Our Border: Laredo Sector. The effort entails creating a training command near San Antonio and rotating groups south to patrol private ranch land on the border with the permission of ranch owners.

The early groups included Oathkeepers, Three Percenter’s Club and Patriots. Then the Minutemen announced that they, too, were deploying.

An online controversy flared after a militia member appeared on YouTube advising members to confront and intimidate those caught crossing the border illegally. There also have been tensions between militia groups, but no major clashes have been reported.

Response to the groups has been mixed.

Supporters of the militias are planning a weeklong convoy from Murrieta, Calif. — site of recent anti-immigrant protests — to the border city of McAllen, Texas. The convoy, scheduled to start Saturday, will be “stopping to support citizen border patrols along the way.”

Mike Morris, who works with Three Percenter’s, told the Los Angeles Times that several militia groups were invited to South Texas by ranchers who face regular break-ins and “incursions” by migrant groups. 
“It is a dangerous situation,” he said.

Morris said there were numerous militias operating without a central command, some armed. While some groups “observe and report,” he said, others saw the need to be armed in remote areas because if a threat arises, “the Border Patrol are stretched so thin — they may not respond.”

“Some parts of the border these days, Border Patrol has pulled back and it’s not safe,” Morris said.
Here's one of the masked men now:


Oh wait, that was Rick Perry's riverboat costume party. My mistake.

Here are some of the real ones:




More than 30 photos obtained by the San Antonio Express-News show dozens of members carrying semi-automatic rifles and wearing masks, camouflage and tactical gear, providing a first glimpse of the militias.

The armed individuals are seen posing at campsites, walking along the Rio Grande while speaking with Border Patrol agents, and pointing rifles and pistols out of frame.

A spokesperson for the group provided the photos under the condition that members' faces be blurred because of fear of being identified by "cartel and gang members."
Here's info on one of the leaders:
The Texas militia, known as "Operation Secure Our Border," is being led by Chris Davis, a 37-year-old truck driver who was discharged from the Army in 2001 "under other than honorable conditions in lieu of trial by court martial," according to a summary of Davis' military service obtained by the San Antonio Express-News.

The details of Davis' discharge are protected from public view through the Privacy Act of 1974. Davis, originally from Florida, served in the Army from 1996-2001 as a mechanical systems operator-maintainer and was ranked as a private at the time of his discharge.

He does not appear to have any arrests, according to public record sources. Last year, Davis was one of three men in the group Open Carry Texas cited by the San Antonio Police Department for disorderly conduct while openly carrying rifles outside a Starbucks. The incident sparked an open carry rally at the Alamo that drew hundreds of armed protesters.

The militia groups has set up a "command post" in Von Ormy, about 20 miles south of downtown San Antonio, Davis told KRGV on Tuesday. Von Ormy Mayor Art Martinez de Vara did not immediately return a request for comment.

"We have patriots all across this country who are willing to sacrifice their time, money even quit their jobs to come down and fight for freedom, liberty and national soveringhty," Davis said in the interview.

Davis deleted his Facebook and YouTube accounts, including a 21-minute video in which he describes plans for "securing the border:" "How?" he asked on the video. "You see an illegal. You point your gun dead at him, right between his eyes, and you say, 'Get back across the border or you will be shot.' "

Davis, who provided an interview with the Express-News on Monday, did not return requests for comment.

"The commander (Davis) has gone black because of security threats," said Barbie Rogers, founder of the Patriots Information Hotline, which offers 24-hour service and is helping the group organize.
It occurs to me that mighty warriors like this are being wasted confronting groups of small, unarmed kids who are looking for authorities so they can turn themselves in. These fearsome macho soldiers should be in Iraq fighting ISIS. Only the ocean separates us you know.

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