Thursday, June 28, 2007

Arizona border: In the shadow of the spy tower

By Brenda Norrell

My friends and I drove out to one of the new spy towers that isn't working along the U.S./Mexico border.
All along the border, people are outraged that their right to privacy has been violated, as new spy towers are up, with cameras ready to capture their every move.
Border residents are scrambling to look for a draft environmental impact statement, if one exists, and information on how the microwaves will damage their health. They want to know how the radar will harm bats and other creatures that pollinate the delicate ecosystem of the desert.
The Secure Border Initiative, Project 28, is turning into one of the U.S. government's grandest fiasco's. And there's lots of competition there.
Suddenly, without Arizona land owners having an opportunity to comment, these spy cameras are ready to view everyone in the privacy of their backyards and backseats.
The U.S. contractor, Boeing, was able to keep one fact a secret along the border. The firm that is working with Boeing on this spy fence, Israeli-owned Elbit Systems, is the same one building the Apartheid Fence in occupied Palestine.
In a separate case, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen for torture flights to secret prisons.
At the same time on the Arizona border, the ancestors of Tohono O'odham were dug up and removed from tribal land for the border vehicle barrier on tribal land. Ofelia Rivas, O'odham Voice Against the Wall, says it was a violation of federal law and O'odham want their ancestors returned and reburied.
Needless, to say, everyone is looking for attorneys to file lawsuits.
Back at the spy tower, my friends and I had a little picnic of chocolates and grapes, in the shadow of the defunct spy tower, just as the final light of day disappeared in the desert mountains.
I should mention, that these friends are probably the only two people in the world that would do such a thing, calmly. We sat, as dark fell, having a picnic beneath a non-functioning border spy tower -- a tower that violates everything Americans have celebrated: human rights, respect, rights to privacy and the rights in the Constitution.
In the shadow of the spy tower, with its red light blinking in the desert night, the only thing we observed was a very nervous young guard sitting in his white truck at the spy tower.
Across the vast rolling hills, thunder clouds threatened.
We'll keep you posted.
--Brenda Norrell
Here's one document on the Secure Border Initiative that few people can find. We're still searching for that draft environmental impact statement, if one exists:
http://purl.access.gpo.gov/GPO/LPS80699
Here's another US document:
http://purl.access.gpo.gov/GPO/LPS80669

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