Homeland Security targets Tohono O'odham land with massive US spy towers
Tohono O'odham government kept secret resolution for US spy towers, while O'odham human rights activists battle militarization and Border Patrol abuse
By Brenda Norrell
Photo US spy tower on Tohono O'odham Nation 2007
The US Border Patrol has targeted the Tohono O’odham Nation with spy towers at 14 potential sites in three districts, according to a tribal resolution that opened the door for a massive network of US spy towers on tribal land.
Tohono O’odham members fighting against the militarization of their lands, and abuse of O’odham by US Border Patrol agents, say they were never told of the tribal resolution which initiates the process of these US spy towers on sovereign Tohono O'odham land.
The Tohono O’odham government passed a resolution in April granting access to US Border Patrol officials for initial site visits in three districts. Since the Tohono O’odham Council does not allow outside news reporters in its council sessions, information often remains secret.
The April tribal resolution describes the Integrated Fixed Tower Program. The resolution says the towers would remain subject to the laws of both the US and the Tohono O’odham Nation. These laws include environmental, cultural resources, realty and other laws.
However, during the building of the border wall vehicle barrier on the Tohono O’odham Nation, all federal laws were waived, including US environmental and cultural laws. The remains of O’odham were dug up and removed by Boeing workers.
This is the second time that Homeland Security approved spy towers on the US/Mexico border and on Tohono O'odham land. The first $1 billion boondoggle on the border was halted when Homeland Security said the wifi and surveillance towers did not work. Those towers were contracted to Boeing, with a subcontract to the Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems who also provides spy technology and security at another border known for Apartheid, the Palestine border.
A plan to build a massive US Border Patrol complex on Tohono O'odham land -- with agent housing, helicopters, horses and dogs -- was also kept secret until a draft environmental impact statement was discovered in September.
Read more about the tribal resolution at http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/10/tohono-oodham-government-kept-secret.html
copyright Brenda Norrell