Saturday, July 7, 2007

Corporate vultures at the border

By Brenda Norrell

NOGALES, Ariz. -- It is obvious that few members of Congress have spent any time along the Arizona border. What were they thinking? A multi-billion dollar border wall through impassable desert mountains?
Spy towers that depend on Wi-Fi? Anyone that uses Wi-Fi for their Internet connection will have a laugh about that. How about a couple of tin cans and a wire?
And sensors in remote no-man's land? Cows and coyotes could be arrested.
What about the U.S. building that border wall on Mexico's land, south of the state of New Mexico? Whoops, what's a few million here and there.
And what about those unmanned aerial vehicles that the Border Patrol stopped using after one crashed near Nogales last year? How many millions do those drones cost? There's also questions about the lasers carried by those drones, lasers that could harm people if the drones fly too low or crash, as one drone already has.
It is a high-tech disaster.
What about the border radar's effect on the bats, bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Without pollinators there will be no saguaro, yucca and desert plants.
What about the rare jaguars that cross here? These desert mountains are places of rare migrations of bats and jaguars.
They are also digging up graves. The remains of Tohono O'odham ancestors were dug up and removed for the border vehicle barrier on tribal land.
The U.S. says that in the name of national security, no federal laws apply. The Corporate U.S. can do anything it pleases.
Boeing has the Secure Border Initiative contract. That's the same Boeing whose subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan was providing torture flights to secret prisons, according to an ACLU lawsuit.
Now, Boeing has asked Elbit Systems, building the Apartheid Wall in occupied Palestine, to help with Arizona border security.
Meanwhile, once the U.S. stops all these people from entering the country -- and those who are here from working -- who is going to do America's dirty work?
I just took a train from northern California to the southern part of the state, stopping in Martinez, San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and Santa Monica.
Every waitress, restaurant owner, motel clerk, motel maid, taxi driver, street cleaner and bus driver that I encountered spoke Spanish as a first language.
I didn't check anyone's documents, but it is safe to say that if all the undocumented workers were deported from California, the entire state's economy would collapse. It would be similar in other states, with Arizona's construction industry hard hit.
So instead of granting Bush-friendly corporations a few more billions to play around with Wi-Fi in the desert mountains (really), cow-tripping sensors, crashing drones and death-inducing legislation, why not put money into real solutions.
We could begin by saying "thank you" to those cooking our meals, cleaning up after us, building our houses and caring for our children.
We could start by caring.
People are dieing in the Arizona desert. It is nearly 120 degrees out there in the Arizona desert. Americans are allowing people to die for want of a drink of water. Very few people seem to care.
The world is not holding America, self-proclaimed as the human rights champion of the world, accountable for allowing thousands of people to die in the desert.
They are dieing now; few even care to search for the bodies.
They wait for the vultures to signal them.
--Brenda Norrell

Photo: Migrant Desert Cage: Detention center on Tohono O'odham tribal land near the Arizona border. Photo Ofelia Rivas.

Photo: Jaguar, Sonora, Mexico. Defenders of Wildlife
Photo: El Tiradito Shrine in Tucson, with names of more than 4,000 dead in the Southwest desert, including men, women and children, who died from heat, dehydration and murder. Photo Brenda Norrell

UPDATE: CorpWatch: Boeing's high tech fence falters:

See the list of technology for the Secure Border Initiative, on Boeing's website.
Scroll down for specifics -- microwaves, lasers, iris and facial biometrics collections and unmanned aerial vehicles -- whose health risks and other dangers are still being researched:

UPDATE: Israel Elbit's contract at the Arizona border:

High-tech border network could fall prey to cyberattacks

More on the Wi-Fi security flaws at Boeing's secure border project:
Jeppesen: The CIA's No-Questions-Asked Travel Agent:,hentoff,76995,6.html

Boeing/Israeli spy towers aren't working at Arizona border:

Defenders of Wildlife: Protecting the jaguar at the border
Frankenstein Returns: Wackenhut takes over transporting migrants from Border Patrol: (Wackenhut is now Geo Group, but the transit buses which carry detained migrants in Arizona say "Wackenhut")

Halliburton's KBR $385 million to build migrant prisons:

(Feel free to post or reproduce)

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