PBS’ “Need to Know” Continues Series on Alleged Abuses by US Border Patrol

The latest from the PBS Need to Know series about alleged abuses by the United States Border Patrol continues this Friday, November 30. For local listings, click here. To catch previous episodes of this series, click here.


"In the rush to stem the tide of undocumented immigrants, has Border Patrol committed widespread abuse on American soil?"

AP Reports That Border Agent Shootings in Arizona Could Have Been “Friendly Fire”

This past Tuesday morning two US Border agents were shot five miles from the US-Mexico border in Arizona. One agent, 30-year-old Nicholas Ivie, was killed while the other agent was wounded. As with any border incident, the quick conclusions suggested that the agents were shot from Mexican drug traffickers. Apparently, just three days after the incident occurred, a new story is emerging.

According to the Associated Press, there is not a possibility that the shootings were a result of friendly fire. The AP story reports the head of the Border Agents' union aid that friendly fire could be the cause of this:

George McCubbin, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing about 17,000 border agents, said Friday that he has learned new details that make him believe friendly fire could have played a part in the shooting.

"The only thing I can say is that the possibility of friendly fire is a higher likely scenario," McCubbin said, declining to elaborate on the new details.

The story also included two law enforcement sources who confirmed that the FBI is currently investigating a friendly fire scenario.

Now, the AP could have stopped the story right there, but at the end of the article, reporter Pete Yost had to make sure that the following was reported:

Ivie's death marked the first fatal shooting of an agent since a deadly 2010 firefight with Mexican bandits that killed U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010 and spawned congressional probes of a botched government gun-smuggling investigation.

We know that the Fast and Furious program is and was a mess and Terry's death was tragic. We also know that loss of life anywhere (whether it is the 26 Border Agents who have been killed since 2002, according to the AP, or the 50,000+ dead from the current "war on drugs" in Mexico) is still a growing problem. The militarization of the border speaks to a larger problem that is being seriously discussed. And you know why? Because instead of trying to explore the complexities of this problem, reporters like Yost chose to sensationalize and use the power of the AP to amplify. The use of "Mexican bandits" in this copy is troubling. Bandits? What is this, the 19th century? Bandits?

“Crossing the Line” PBS Segment Raises Troubling Questions About US Border Security

We are wondering what the nativists who have dehumanized those "goddamn illegals" will say about the following video at the end of this post.

From the PBS Need to Know YouTube channel:

In partnership with the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute, Need to Know investigates whether U.S. border agents have been using excessive force in an effort to curb illegal immigration. Watch a preview. The full segment will air on Friday, April 20, 2012 | CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS FOR TIMES AND CHANNELS

You can also find out more by clicking here. Here is the trailer of the segment's preview. Yes, all you patriotic Americans, real lives are at stake here.

In the meantime, a Presente.org petition addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder has already generated more than 10,000 signatures.