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Monday, December 16, 2013

Killer Border Patrol Agents Face No Repercussions

Since 2005, on-duty Border Patrol agents and Customs and Border Protection officers have killed at least 42 people, including 13 Americans. According to an in-depth investigation by the Arizona Republic, not a single officer has ever faced consequences for killing someone, even though in only five such cases were border patrol agents fired upon first.

And while the report suggests the majority of the nearly 43,000 Border Patrol agents and Customs and Border Protection officers respond to conflict without violence, officers who did kill often did so under circumstances which mirror the hundreds of encounters that other agents resolved without lethal force and without serious injuries to either side.

Russian Authorities Kill Militants

According to the Russian National Anti-Terrorist Committee, Federal Security Service forces killed four militants in a private residence in the Kabardino-Balkaria province near Mount Elbrus, including Arsen Khandokhov, the leader of a small cadre believed to be responsible for attacks on tourists and ski facilities throughout the North Caucasus. Authorities say they found “large amounts of weapons and ammunition“, as well as a homemade bomb laboratory in the home’s basement. An FSS bomb squad defused two time bombs that authorities suggest were equivalent to 20 and 25 kg of TNT. Kabardino-Balkaria lies roughly halfway between Chechnya and the resort town of Sochi, where Russia will host the 2014 Winter Olympics in February.

Fire Fight in Brazzaville

Marcel Ntsourou, the Republic of Congo’s former deputy intelligence chief, was arrested today after an intense gun battle which left at least seven people dead. Colonel Jules Monkala Tchoumou, security director for Congo’s national police force, told Reuters officials obtained a search warrant after a vehicle, carrying people who shot at police yesterday, was traced to Ntsourou’s residence. Soldiers began massing around Ntsourou’s home early this morning, according to what Ntsourou himself told French radio RFI. “The army is attacking my home. They’ve been concentrating troops around my home since last night … We are resisting.”

Ntsourou is perhaps most notable for being found guilty of “involuntary responsibility” for the explosion at the Mpila arms depot two years ago, which killed more than 280 people. President Denis Sassou Nguesso’s administration was heavily criticized at home and abroad for leaving the cache of heavy weaponry in such a densely populated area in the country’s largest city. Ntsourou, then a close ally of the president, was one of roughly 20 soldiers and officials arrested for negligence. While he was given a comparatively light five-year suspended sentence, Ntsourou has since been witheringly critical of President Sassou.

EU Offered ‘Unprecedented’ Aid to Israel, Palestine

European Union foreign ministers offered Palestine and Israel significant aid and economic access, should the waring countries resolve their long-simmering bloody feud. “The EU will provide an unprecedented package of European political, economic and security support to both parties in the context of a final status agreement,” they said in a statement today. “Current talks represent a unique opportunity which must be seized by both parties.” The ministers went on to suggest they would proffer Israel and a future Palestinian state a “special privileged partnership,” granting them greater access to European markets, as well as more trade and investment and closer scientific and cultural ties.

Israeli—European relations have grown increasingly fraught in recent years, with EU officials frequently condemning the Israeli government for building settlements on occupied Palestinian land. Since 2009, EU foreign ministers have issued an escalating series of barbed statements ending this year with the publication of strict regulations on how EU funds might be disbursed to Israeli organizations.

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