Past Features

November 1, 2017

Breakthrough -- Glenn Spencer
in the news!

Glenn Spencer stands beside one of his drones on his ranch south of Sierra Vista that butts up against the U.S./Mexican border. (Photo by Erik Kolsrud/Arizona Sonora News)
AZ Capitol Times. -- October 17, 2017
Sierra Vista man in long fight with border crossers, U.S. government
    Sierra Vista -- Glenn Spencer is a general fighting a one-man war that, according to him, the American government doesn't want to wage.
    His battlefield is the border and his soldiers are drones, guided by seismographs and an almost-fanatical drive to develop a cheaper, more-secure system to “lock down” the U.S./Mexican borderland. [...]
    After 15 years on the project, Spencer has finally built a drone system capable of locating crossers and tracking them down. His combative stance and skepticism over government has supposedly alienated the United States Border Patrol, Customs and Border Enforcement, and his local congresswoman.
    That might have something to do with the fact that the Southern Poverty Law Center lists Spencer as an extremist and 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 the seismic tremors of human movement, then dispatches a drone to scan the landscape while a human operator works to identify the person moving. Spencer doesn't chase or confront anyone he finds crossing the border --- and he doesn't report them to Border Patrol, either.

Glenn Spencer -- November 1, 2017
A change in how the media covers the border?
    I wish to thank Arizona Sonora News Service for having the courage to run a story about me and my work. As Sonora News Service is a publication of the School of Journalism at the University of Arizona, I am pleased that the story didn't elicit student demonstrations. That is progress.
    While I strongly disagree with the opinion of the author that I look upon Latino border crossers as my enemy --- see my comment here ---on balance the report was fair. Importantly, the story was later carried by he Arizona Capitol Times, thereby reaching a much larger audience that Sonoran News alone.
    My statement as reported by reporter Kolsrud - “We won't report to the Border Patrol, we report to the people,” - is out of context. I explained to Kolsrud that we have reported suspicious activity to the Border Patrol in the past, however, last year, after we had aided in the pursuit of suspects - one appeared to be injured --- using the SEIDARM system, U.S. Border Patrol officials would not talk to us about the results. It was at that point that we decided to report just to the people.
    I was pleased that the issue of the Integrated Fixed Towers has been raised in public. I just hope this coverage leads to more inquiry by the media.
    The original tile of the Sonoran News story was “Glenn's War”. “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 is true. I have criticized CBP management for the original Boeing virtual fence.
    I ran Operation BEEF that showed they were lying about what kind of fence they were building.
    And, I have demonstrated that CBP has refused to accept the legal definition of its job to avoid accountability.
    I have not been at war just with CBP management, I have been at war with the media who have refused to tell the true story about the border.
    With the ground-breaking work of Erik Kolsrud and Sonora News, maybe that will change.