October 21, 2017
An Army of One?
Photos and captions from Arizona Sonoran News: Glenn's War Erik Kolsrud/Arizona Sonora News -- October 18, 2017
Sierra Vista --- Glenn Spencer is a general fighting a one-man war.
It's a war that, according to him, the American government doesn't want but one he is duty-bound to wage.
His battlefield is the border and his soldiers are drones, guided by seismographs. His is an almost-fanatical drive to develop a cheaper, more-secure system to “lock down” the U.S. Mexican borderland.
Spencer's enemies are elusive, wily, and to him, alien. They are Latino border crossers, and whether they are children fleeing conflict, families seeking a better life, or suspected drug smugglers makes no difference. Spencer believes they constitute a threat large enough to warrant years of his life struggling to combat.
Fifteen years into the project, Spencer spends his time fine-tuning a drone system capable of snaring crossers. He claims his combative stance and skepticism about the U.S. government has alienated the U.S. Border Patrol, Customs and Border Enforcement, and his local congresswoman Martha McSally.
Any alienation might be well earned. The Southern Poverty Law Center lists Spencer as an extremistand the group he formed, American Border Patrol, as a hate group.
“I am fighting for my country and they call me a racist for it,” Spencer said. “It's been effective. Nobody wants to talk to a racist.
That fight, Spencer claims, has been a nonviolent one. His drone system (called SEIDARM) uses seismographs to listen for seismic tremors of human movement, then dispatches a drone to scan the landscape while a human operator identifies the person moving. Spencer doesn't chase or confront anyone he finds crossing the border --- and doesn't report them to Border Patrol, either.
“We won't report to the Border Patrol, we report to the people,” Spencer said.
By that, he means that he takes photos and videos of the suspected border crossers and uploads them to YouTube and his website, in an effort to demonstrate the supposed ineffectiveness of the U.S. Border Patrol.
“We are a threat to [the Border Patrol's] system, their entire operation, their big money bags. We are at war with their management.”
This front is but one part of Spencer's larger conflict. He believes that the Border Patrol's “digital border” of Integrated Fixed Towers --- giant radar/thermal/camera towers that watch the southern border --- are overpriced at best and a scam at worst.
The Border Patrol disagrees. The towers have been part of an ongoing effort to modernize the border, and include a system of unmanned aircraft as well. On the issue, the Border Patrol released a statement saying it listens to all citizen concerns and that its tower system remains effective in Arizona.
Spencer believes he is engaged in a feud with Border Patrol and that it led to a media blackout against him, quashing any sort of coverage of SEIDARM or the issues that he feels are important to the border and how it is managed. One such issue was Operation B.E.E.F. in 2009, his effort to document the types of barriers on the U.S. Mexican border and provide photos of what it looks like in the more remote sections of the border.
He's also tried to demonstrate his perceived uselessness of the IFT system by flying drones up to the cameras on the towers. When Border Patrol didn't hunt him down, Spencer felt vindicated. He asserts that this proves his accusation that a number of the towers in Southern Arizona don't actually work. He claims that nobody from Border Patrol called him back about his supposed muckraking.
More: Glenn's War
Glenn Spencer Comment
In his report, Eric Kolsrud says: "Spencer's enemies are elusive, wily, and to him, alien. They are Latino border crossers,...-- I have fought this battle for twenty-five years and never have I said the enemy is Latino border crossers. I challenge anyone to find where I have taken that position in the thousands-upon-thousands of my online postings. -- The enemy happens to be those who have decided against our will to keep our borders open, including many within the Republican Party. -- The real enemies are globalists, communists, leaders of the Mexican Reconquista movement, vote-seeking Democrats, the Catholic Church and greedy exploiters of cheap labor --- not Latino border crossers.