August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Sunday, December 9, 2007

CounterPunch: Seize the land, Chain the Peace Activists

From Border Bullies to Prosecutors

Seize the land, Chain the Peace Activists

CounterPunch Edition
The Gate, Tonoho O'Odham Nation (Arizona)

While Homeland Security announced the forced occupation and takeover of Lipan Apache lands in Texas for the border wall, I was at the Arizona border once again being bullied by the US Border Patrol.
All along the border, Homeland Security's Border Patrol is intimidating and harassing the people who have lived here all their lives.
The Tohono O'odham have lived here since time immemorial. Now their land has been seized and taken over by the Border Patrol, the contractor Boeing and the invading National Guardsmen, for construction of the border wall. The graves of O'odham ancestors have been dug up, according to the traditional O'odham now speaking out against the militarization and abuse.
All along the border, young people are intimidated and harassed constantly. Tailgating police, excessive force by police and Nazi-style prosecutors push young people into rage and jails.
At the same time in Tucson, a judge has declared peace activities opposing US torture in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo, as a "danger to the community" and jailed them.
The United States government has become the terrorist it claims to oppose.
In Texas, Margo Tamez, Lipan Apache/Jumano Apache, called for immediate support, when Homeland Security announced the occupation of lands where Apache land title holders are refusing to sign NSA waivers for the border wall.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the United States will seize private lands in south Texas for the border wall, using the law of eminent domain.
Tamez said, "We need your help on our continuing efforts to protect and keep safe the elders of our struggle against U.S. tyranny."
Chertoff announced plans to force occupation of South Texas families who refuse to allow the government access to their lands.
Tamez said, "'Refusers' such as the Lipan Apache Land Grant Women Defense, led by my mother, Dr. Eloisa Garcia Tamez (Lipan Apache,Basque-Apache), in the rancheria of El Calaboz, have frustrated the NSA, Border Patrol and Army Corps of Engineers officials for over two years, and increasingly in the last two months.

Reader Comment
Dear Ms. Norrell,
Thank you for your commentary on Counterpunch web site this weekend.
Let me say that this aged former Marine, Vietnam veteran is OUTRAGED that "our" government" is putting peaceful protesters in jail until their trial. You are 100% correct saying that "our" government has now become THE terrorists!
It is actions like the ones you describe in your commentary that make me damned ashamed to be an American. Now perhaps more people will understand why I fly my American flag wrong side up. I will continue to do so until OUR democratic republic is restored or I die, which ever comes first.
Please excuse my "Marine" language, but this sort of shit has got to stop! How much more do the "powers that be" think that the American people will put up with before something breaks?
Shame on the government for these tactics.Thank you for letting us know what is really happening along OUR border. Thank you also for your valuable time reading this reply.
semper fi
charlie eflen

p.s. I am permanently disabled, but if you email me a postal address I will try to send you what I can for aid to the activists in jail.

NOTE: For contact info of jailed activists, please see
Semper fi means "always faithful"

PHOTOS: Border wall, with new layer of barbed wire, at The Gate at San Miguel on the Tohono O'odham Nation. Outside federal court in Tucson, peace activists say "No to Torture," during the recent trials of two priests, Frs Steve Kelly and Louie Vitale, now in prison for kneeling in prayer outside Fort Huachuca. Photos Brenda Norrell
Read more about this week's protest in Brownsville, Texas, over Homeland Security's seizure of private lands for the border wall:

1 comment:

the Nuclear Resister said...

hi Brenda,
I'm glad Charlie Eflen wrote to you - he sent a donation for Torture on Trial & a similar note to us & mentioned reading your story. I was going to mention it when I see you next time.
I visited Jerry & Felice visited Louie this week - they and the other two, Betsy and Steve, are all feeling strong and doing well, despite the environment. all but Steve are getting regular visits. Steve is in the SHU at Taft C.I. near Bakersfield, not particularly popular with the regime there. But he is doing OK and has a nice view out a relatively big window, he writes.

Thanks for your blog & photos!