In October 2012, a US Border Patrol agent fired through the 20 foot steel fence separating Nogales, Arizona from Nogales, Mexico and killed an unarmed 16-year-old Mexican boy with 10 bullets through his body. This was not an isolated incident by a rogue agent, but just the latest in a string of cross-border shootings that raise serious questions about oversight and accountability of the Border Patrol. In the last three years, Border Patrol agents have killed 6 Mexican citizens on their native soil, firing through the border to threaten and injure even more. One man was shot while picnicking with his family on the banks of the Rio Grande. Another 15 year-old-boy was hit between the eyes with a bullet for allegedly throwing rocks. None of these cases has led to any known disciplinary action or criminal charges against the border police, and US courts have rejected claims made by victims’ families, asserting that Mexican citizens do not have the same constitutional protections as US citizens, effectively giving the agents carte blanche to act with impunity. In this episode, Fault Lines travels to the border town of Nogales – presently the nexus for this increasingly lawless law enforcement – to meet the Mexican families who have lost their young sons at the hands of US agents who many accuse of being immune from the law.
Premieres this Sunday, September 8, 2013 at 7:00 and 10p EST on Al Jazeera America. Episode will premier on Al Jazeera English in the coming week. Episode produced by Singeli Agnew with Wab Kinew as Correspondent.
Syria: 100,000 dead with no end in sight
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon marked a grim landmark in the ongoing Syrian civil war today. As attempts to get peace talks between the embattled regime of President Bashar Assad and the leaders of rebel forces continue to go nowhere, the death toll has hit 100,000.
The situation in Syria remains grim, as the two sides continue to battle through the country’s cities, the humanitarian crisis grows as more and more refugees pour out of the country and an external solution continues to appear to be unlikely.
Photos: Shaam News Network, Karam Jamal / AFP/Getty, SANA, Abdullah al-Yassin, Manu Brabo / Associated Press
Over the past decade, the US military has shifted the way it fights its wars, deploying more unmanned systems in the battlefield than ever before.
Today there are more than 7,000 drones and 12,000 ground robots in use by all branches of the military.
These systems mean less American deaths and also less political risk for the US when it takes acts of lethal force — often outside of official war zones.
But US lethal drone strikes in countries like Pakistan have brought up serious questions about the legal and political implications of using these systems.
Fault Lines looks at how these new weapons of choice are allowing the US to stretch the international laws of war and what it could mean when more and more autonomy is developed for these lethal machines.
Despite the frequency with which journalists are slain in Mexico, it is highly unusual for their families to be targeted. Lopez Velasco was killed with his wife, Agustina Solana, 53, and 21-year-old son, Misael, a student, state government officials and the newspaper said. Another of Lopez’s sons,…
Guerrero-2 on Flickr.
Tuba player at a graveside memorial in Guerrero.
Behind the scenes shots from an upcoming episode of Fault Lines on Al Jazeera English.
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Note: We’re ReTumbling this piece from Feb 2011 as background context for our upcoming episode.
MEXICO CITY (AP) - Mexican police on Friday discovered the bodies of three people related to a human rights activist who was killed last year in the volatile northern border state of Chihuahua.
The bodies of a sister and brother of Josefina Reyes and her sister-in-law were found in a remote area outside Guadalupe Distrito Bravos, southeast of Ciudad Juarez, said Carlos Gonzalez, spokesman for the state prosecutor’s office.
The three had been missing since Feb. 7, when witnesses reported that armed men forced the trio from a car.
Gonzalez said the bodies of Maria Magdalena Reyes Salazar, Elias Reyes Salazar and his wife, Luisa Ornelas, were found with messages alluding to organized crime. He did not immediately release further information.
Reyes was slain a year ago in Ciudad Juarez. She had led protests against alleged abuses by Mexican soldiers in the Juarez Valley, which sits across from El Paso, Texas.
Her death has been followed by attacks on her family and supporters.
In August, her brother Ruben was killed by unknown assailants. Earlier this month, the home of Reyes’ mother, Sara Salazar, was set on fire while she was protesting to demand that authorities solve the killings and disappearances of her children.
Relatives recently expanded their protest to Mexico City, where until Friday they had maintained a tent in front of the Senate to demand official action.
“The Reyes Salazar family, since the death of Josefina in 2010, has been the victim of a brutal harassment, partly by the state and partly by criminality,” a spokesman for the family, Adrian Fuentes, told MVS Radio. “The demand for justice will not stop.”
The Reyes family’s case has led organizations such as Amnesty International to urge Mexico to protect the safety of human rights activists.
Ciudad Juarez has been the scene of bloody drug cartel turf battles that have killed more than 6,000 people the past two years.