Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Navajo corn, Renzi and military intelligence

With the Navajo Nation Council considering expanding the Raytheon Missile plant, where the tribe grows corn and potatoes for commercial crops, it is a good time to ponder again why Indian Country Today, where I served as staff writer for the Southwest, demanded that I never write about this.
It happened this way, in the summer of 2006. When Navajo Agricultural Products Industries announced it was negotiating with Cuba to sell its food crops, the newspaper asked me to cover it. I told the editors that I was already researching the Navajo farm (NAPI) and environmental concerns since missile parts were being produced alongside the corn and potatoes.
The editors forbid me to mention this in the article.
I asked if I could report on it in a separate article. The editors prohibited it.
The negotiations with Cuba were going on as Castro became ill. Meanwhile, Navajo workers at Raytheon on the Navajo farm said their pay was so low, they questioned why the Navajo Nation is investing millions into the facility for a small number of low-paying jobs. Other Navajos question why Navajos are participating in producing missiles and bomb parts, like those for laser-directed bombs. They point out that those missiles and bombs kill Indigenous Peoples, and innocent women and children, in other parts of the world.
My research also led me to Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi, who was pressing for expansion of the Raytheon Missiles plant on the Navajo farm. It turns out that Renzi has a background in military intelligence. It turns out that his father works at ManTech International Corporation, which provides military intelligence, along with other things, at Fort Huachuca in Arizona. Fort Huachuca has long been linked to teaching torture practices used in Latin America and more recently at Guantanamo Bay. Two priests were arrested in a peaceful protest there recently over the torture.
The New York Times said Congressman Renzi was under investigation in matters related to the military base and water levels in a nearby river, all related to his father's intelligence firm. Further, a Phoenix news service said a federal prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton, was recently fired after beginning a probe into Congressman Renzi.
Meanwhile, Renzi was selected cochair of the Congressional Native American Caucus.
Obviously Renzi has made lots of friends, including some news reporters and editors who continue to censor the issues.
Below is a link to an article I wrote of the San Carlos Apache protest of Renzi. The article, exposing Renzi's hearing to dilute environmental laws, was censored in 2004.
I was terminated just after my research on NAPI and Renzi in 2006. Shortly before I was fired, one of my articles, on Donald Rumsfeld profiteering from the sale of the bird flu medication Tamiflu, was censored and distorted by the Indian Country Today editors and turned into an advertisement for Tamiflu. The published article, with Rumsfeld new fortune censored, is not the one that I wrote.
For Navajos, the Tamiflu scenario had played out before. Manufacturers of Ribavirin attempted to profiteer from the sale of Ribavirin after the Hantavirus deaths on the Navajo Nation in the 1990s. The attempt was halted by the Navajo Nation Council.
Also, important to Indian readers, is the fact that one of ICT's managing editors repeatedly demanded that I stop writing about "grassroots people and the genocide of American Indians."
If it were not for the blogs and the Internet, this bit of history would be lost.
--Brenda Norrell
Related Updates: Renzi Copper Mine Opposed by Apaches:
http://www.indianz.com/News/2007/002591.asp
US Attorney Charlton fired during Congressman Renzi probe:
http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/0321usattorney0321.html
FBI Probe Launched, Renzi Steps Down from Congressional Committee/March, 2007:
http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/amid-fbi-investigation-renzi-steps-down-from-2-more-panels-2007-04-24.html
Renzi, Renzi's father, the San Pedro River and ManTech:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/25/washington/25inquire.html?ex=1319428800&en=41a50dd7e23d4e04&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
CENSORED in 2004: San Carlos Apache Protest Renzi
http://bsnorrell.tripod.com/id102.html

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