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  1. #1
    Senior Member FedUpinFarmersBranch's Avatar
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    May 2008

    Patrol watches Texas-Mexico border - from pub in Australia

    Patrol watches Texas-Mexico border - from pub in Australia
    Richard Luscombe
    Monday 23 March 2009

    The United States has unveiled an unlikely weapon in its battle against drugs gangs and illegal immigrants at the Texas-Mexico border - pub-goers in Australia.

    The drinkers are the most far-flung of a sizeable army of hi-tech foot soldiers recruited to assist the border protection effort.

    Anyone with an internet connection can now help to patrol the 1,254-mile frontier through a network of webcams set up to allow the public to monitor suspicious activity. Once logged in, the volunteers spend hours studying the landscape and are encouraged to email authorities when they see anyone on foot, in vehicles or aboard boats heading towards US territory from Mexico.

    So far, more than 100,000 web users have signed up online to become virtual border patrol deputies, according to Don Reay, executive director of the Texas Border Sheriffs' Coalition, which represents 20 counties where illegal crossings and drugs and weapons smuggling are rife.

    "We had folks send an email saying, in good Australian fashion, 'Hey mate, we've been watching your border for you from the pub in Australia'," he said.

    Since the first 15 of a planned network of 200 cameras went live in November, officials claim that emailed tips have led to the seizure of more than 2,000lb (907kg) of marijuana and 30 incidents in which "significant numbers" of would-be illegal immigrants were spotted and turned back. Some tips came from Europe, Asia and beyond, but most online watchers are based in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, three of the four US states that share a border with Mexico.

    The cameras, which are positioned on private land at locations along the border favoured by illegal immigrants and drug traffickers, were paid for by a $2m (£1.4m) state grant, which includes money for the accompanying website operated as a private-public partnership by social networking company BlueServo.

    Opponents have dismissed the project as "the perfect Google border" and say the cameras do little to deter criminal activity. "Border security deserves trained professionals, not pub-goers in Perth," said Eliot Shapleigh, a state senator from El Paso, Texas, who claims that the programme has resulted in only a handful of arrests. "It's wholly ineffective for the governor's stated goal of security, it panders to extremists for political purposes and it's not an effective use of $2m for just three apprehensions."

    Shapleigh said he and fellow Democratic party members plan to oppose the renewal of funding for the cameras later this year.

    But Bob Parker, a retired US coastguard captain who spends up to eight hours a day at his computer looking into Mexico, says it is important to keep eyes on the border. "It's wild country out there with all the drugs violence," he said. "It's just a question of time before that comes here."

    Webcam networks
    Texas Border Sheriff's Coalition

    Represents 20 counties along the state's 1,254-mile border with Mexico and operates a network of 15 fixed cameras accessible by anyone who registers their email address and becomes a "virtual deputy".

    Members of the public monitor known illegal land and river crossings and report suspicious activity in an email to local sheriff's departments or federal Border Patrol agents for further action.

    Cost: $2m
    Busts since November 2008: 2,000lb marijuana seized; "significant numbers" of illegal immigrants turned back.

    American Border Patrol

    Arizona-based volunteer group operates undisclosed number of webcams aimed up to a mile into Mexico. Only trained and registered members are allowed to monitor the cameras in 30-minute shifts.

    Some cameras are mobile and all can be manipulated by the user to rotate or close in on any suspicious movement along the 362-mile frontier. Operators call in tips directly to US Border Patrol.

    Cost: $100,000
    Busts since April 2008: Members claim to have repelled thousands of would-be illegal immigrants spotted attempting to cross the border on foot.

    Department of Homeland Security

    The US government's much-delayed Secure Border Initiative includes plans for video surveillance, radar and motion sensors to monitor activity along the border. Pilot programme was scrapped in 2007 after going over budget and using over-sensitive technology that reported windblown shrubs as border incursions.

    The main contractor Boeing is to begin wiring of first 50 miles of Arizona-Mexico border with sensors in April.

    Cost: Estimated $8bn
    Busts to date: None. ... -australia
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  2. #2
    Senior Member miguelina's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    We should be thanking the Aussies for the help. Doesn't matter where they are, every little bit helps in this invasion. Seems to me 2000 lbs of pot are worth more than 2 million on the streets? So how are those cameras not worth it?
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  3. #3
    Senior Member Rebelrouser's Avatar
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    Sep 2008
    Texas border sherriffs ass. is found at come join the party and help watch the border.

  4. #4
    Senior Member vmonkey56's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Tarheel State
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

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