US Border Patrol scheme exposed for massive complex on sovereign Tohono O'odham land

In a secret scheme, the US Border Patrol plans to expand the militarization of Tohono O'odham land with a new massive complex

Article and photo copyright Brenda Norrell

Photo Angie Ramon at the site where her son was run over and killed by the US Border Patrol.

SELLS, Ariz. (Sept. 18, 2012) -- Ignoring human rights appeals and outrage over the abuse of Tohono O'odham by US Border Patrol agents, Homeland Security plans to construct a new massive US Border Patrol complex on sovereign Tohono O’odham land in Pisinemo District.

It would house 32 Border Patrol agents, with a helicopter launch pad, horses, dogs, and spy tower, according to federal documents just discovered late today.

As usual, a Finding of No Significant Impact was declared in August, even though the saguaro in the region are home to the federally protected species of the lesser long-nosed bat. Although the plan has been intentionally concealed, the public comment period ends today, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012. 

The proposed three-acre US Border Patrol complex would include a helicopter launch pad, housing, horse corrals, canine pens, offroad vehicles, and remote surveillance tower.

The site in Pisinemo District is an alternative because O’odham rejected the complex in the communities of Dirtburn and Kupk on Tohono O’odham land, according to the federal document.

In this area, there are Tohono O’odham culturally sensitive plants including saguaro, cholla, Palo Verde, prickly pear cactus, mesquite and wolfberry. See map of location at http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/09/exposed-us-border-patrol-plans-massive.html 

The massive complex would add to the noise and pose more risks to local O’odham from helicopters, increased pollution, increased water usage by the Border Patrol, and disturb the fragile land of the Sonoran Desert. Further, more O’odham land would be seized for the corridor for a separate electrical transmission line which would be constructed to the north, according to the documents.

O’odham are protesting the militarization, constant harassment and abuse by US Border Patrol agents here. An O’odham was beaten in front of school children at a school bus, and other agents have held O’odham women and elderly at gunpoint. Still other border agents have shined flashlights into O’odham women’s homes at night, stalked O’odham women, endangered O’odham lives with high rates of speed and destroyed the fragile desert with off road vehicles. Further, the constant spying and searches by federal agents have left many O'odham living in a state of fear.

Tohono O’odham Bennett Patricio, 18, was run over and killed by the US Border Patrol in this region. Bennett was crushed as he walked home at dawn. Bennett's family sought justice in federal court, all the way to the Ninth Circuit, and accused the US Border Patrol agents of intentionally murdering him. They believe Bennett walked upon the border agents involved in a drug transfer in the desert. The Border Patrol agents were never held accountable.

O'odham protesting the US Border Patrol say they can not depend on their tribal government to protect them because it has been co-opted by the US government.

Hundreds of US Border Patrol agents were arrested for drug trafficking, conspiracy and taking bribes during the past two years and the facts were revealed in testimony before Congress. The US ATF has already been exposed for Project Gunrunner, which supplied drug cartels with assault weapons since Project Gunrunner began in 2005 in Laredo, Texas, then expanded to the Arizona border.

For permission to repost this article brendanorrell@gmail.com

Also see:

On the Border Navajo Klee Benally, 'Tohono O'odham Border is Ground Zero for Colonial War against Indigenous Peoples'

http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/09/tohono-oodham-border-ground-zero-for_17.html 

About Brenda Norrell

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 32 years. She is publisher of Censored News, focusing on Indigenous Peoples, human rights and the US border. Censored News was created after Norrell was censored, then terminated, by Indian Country Today after serving as a longtime staff reporter. Now censored by the mainstream media, she previously was a staff reporter at numerous American Indian newspapers and a stringer for AP, USA Today and others. She lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, and then traveled with the Zapatistas. She covered the climate summits in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Cancun, Mexico, in 2010.

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About Brenda Norrell

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http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/

Biography

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 32 years. She is publisher of Censored News, focusing on Indigenous Peoples, human rights and the US border. Censored News was created after Norrell was censored, then terminated, by Indian Country Today after serving as a longtime staff reporter. Now censored by the mainstream media, she previously was a staff reporter at numerous American Indian newspapers and a stringer for AP, USA Today and others. She lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, and then traveled with the Zapatistas. She covered the climate summits in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Cancun, Mexico, in 2010.