Editor’s Note: Kay Stevenson is a guest contributor to Winter Watch who lives four miles from the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona.
By Kay Stevenson
The federal government has not paid U.S. Border Patrol agents since the partial government shutdown began on Dec. 22.
My first conversations with Border Patrol agents confirmed that the shutdown ruined their holiday vacations. Now, many struggle to pay their mortgage, let alone holiday credit excess.
Along the nearly unpopulated areas of the international line, Border Patrol agents and their families are the core local economic bulwark. Some 54,000 jobs are now unpaid with mandatory 16-hour shifts — no sick leave or holiday pay –- and it’s carving a financial gulch. Small-fry businesses — such as hair salons, hot dog vendors and pet handlers — feel the local economy screeching to a bouncy drag.
There is talk about shutting down the legal international border-crossing points between the U.S. and Mexico. An estimated one million Mexicans cross the U.S. border legally every day for work, and an estimated $1.4 billion worth of legal goods and services cross the border in both directions, Mexico News Daily reports. In the short term, shutting down legal ports of entry as a response to illegal immigration could be the economic equivalent of applying a tourniquet to a major artery.
In areas like southern Cochise County (about the size of Israel and all but uninhabited in most parts), Arizona, the ubiquitous white and green Border Patrol vehicles are scattered amid the high desert landscape by the hundreds — or is it thousands? The numbers are not readily available as Border Patrol public relations offices are conveniently muzzled by the shutdown. But talk to anyone wearing a Border Patrol uniform and learn how morale is eviscerated.
The late Al Martin — an Iran-Contra insider, whistle blower and author of “The Conspirators” — claimed years ago that the border wall was never intended to be finished, that its core purpose was psy-op and pork barrel for defense contractors. After all, if the wall were finished, the defense giants’ siphon into the treasury would be history.
The great international jack fence today is a rickety-looking structure that a fat person could easily straddle.
The jack fence straddles across the spine of the continental divide amid the craggy Animas Mountains, which are preferred corridors for drug “mule” runners to cross, not peons. Mexicans warn not to even stop your vehicle along the highway for a nature call at summits. People are slain there all the time for their naivety.
Then there’s Douglas, Arizona, a mecca for Border Patrol agents, as well as Department of Homeland Security and every species of security agency. The town is flanked by a 12-foot iron wall. But just beyond the line of sight of the U.S. public, the iron wall gives way to jack fence. There are infamous “no-hassle zones” and sudden stretches with no Border Patrol vehicles. Although Border Patrol includes significant horseback patrol, the absence of patrol vehicles cannot always be explained by terrain.
Local construction juggernaut Maddux & Sons, Inc., in Douglas may have done a billion in wall business in early 2016, attaching giant quadrangles to the original wall that were wide enough for a semi to do a U-turn, and they suggest weed-choked 12-foot high open-air detention camps. (From the you-cant-make-it-up department: This may have been to correct what Trump fumes about — vertical versus horizontal construction with giant beams — maybe because he learned that the previous horizontal version featured smooth top sides facing the U.S., their cleats welded together on the sunny side to form a handy step ladder.) Though Maddux has reasonably level access to the Animas Mountains foothills, not a spade has struck ground there in all the years touting the wall. Why not?
The Invisible Wall?
After five years spent living on rural land about 10 miles outside Douglas and roughly four miles north of the wall, we came to the conclusion that a lot of the wall money must be directed toward development of weaponry and surveillance systems – all kinds of research at the forefront of applied physics.
Our innocent-looking neighbor Cochise College, which serves as a satellite campus for Ft. Huachuca (famous for teaching torture), turned out to be something of a front for the defense contracting giants. Northrop Grumman held a tenancy at the back of the college. Mexican maps still bear obsolete highway numbers depicting how Route 666 originates by the campus. The college’s aviation school claims to have trained two of the 19 terrorists allegedly responsible for 9/11.
Some puzzles have cleared up, so to speak — specifically, the huge cigarette-shaped nanoparticulate haboob that hovered directly above and parallel with the border day in and day out, never moving an inch despite increasingly frequent violent gusts that one neighbor described as “microwave winds.” A perennial anomaly slicing otherwise blue skies apart at the border, the local mountains disappearing in a veil of something that looked like very white smoke. The huge “D” painted onto the face of a hill previously visible for almost 20 miles nowadays is hardly visible from town.
Was it a nano-particulate surveillance blanket rendering manpower obsolete, or a plasma experiment? Does anyone know?
For several hours each evening after sundown, there were flash-bomb-like explosions from about eight points in the distant hills along the border, always the same few points like some monotonous cartoon background. Neighbors have reported that tiny drones have flown into their homes, and their dogs bark at them. Is our community turning into an open laboratory? Is this the real wall?
Embedded deep in the dissembling heave-ho are mentions of the development of border “technology.” Is a defense contractor feeding frenzy at the heart of the funding quarrel — a final spending gala to develop a robotized surveillance systems and perfect occasion to develop invisible weaponry as a police state straitjacket for the fading republic? Is Douglas, Arizona, the canary in the coal mine?
One has to wonder if the true intent of the Washington, D.C. shutdown showdown is to provoke Border Patrol agents to quit, to get them to move over for a high-tech border dragnet. Nothing else comes close to explaining the contemptible disregard for those guarding the front lines of domestic national security.