Wednesday, December 12, 2007

New security guards oppress at Texas border hearing

This just in from the protest of Homeland Security's seizure of the land in Texas for the border wall
By Brenda Norrell
Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2007
BROWNSVILLE, Texas --- There's nothing new about Homeland Security's oppression and silencing of the people. There was, however, a new private security firm on the scene for the so-called Environmental Impact Statement hearing in Brownsville.
Who were those private security guards? They would not identify themselves. "We don't have to tell you who we are," was the response when Texas residents asked them.
Some of the private security guards said they were hired in a package by Homeland Security, while others said they worked for the company hired to produce the EIS. This company is e2M, headquarted in Denver with offices in San Antonio and San Diego.
Already outraged over Homeland Security's plan to seize private lands in Texas to build the border wall, by way of the law of eminent domain, residents said the secrecy and oppression tonight was meant to send a signal.
"This is our government at its sleaziest," said human rights activist Jay Johnson-Castro, in a telephone call at the conclusion of the meeting.
"It was meant to diffuse the opposition.
It was shocking and alarming. They tried to numb us."
At the so-called hearing, Texas residents were seated at separate tables to give their testimony to stenographers with translators. There was no open forum for speakers.
"There was no opportunity to cheer on great speakers like Elouisa Garcia Tamez, Lipan Apache. This was the divide and conquer approach.
"It was sort of like 'meet the teacher,' a real grade-schoolishness to the whole thing."
The so-called EIS hearings going on in Texas now, didn't happen in Arizona. In Arizona, it was difficult to even locate a copy of the pitiful environmental assessment for the border wall. When the Sasabe border wall was being built, the community had not even seen the environmental assessment, which this reporter located tucked away in the Arivaca library.
"There's no consistency," Johnson-Castro said, referring to the mish-mash of assessments and border walls being strung across the US. All federal laws were voided by Homeland Security in Arizona, including environmental laws protecting endangered species and laws protecting American Indian remains.
But, in Texas, border residents, including mayors, are ready to fight. Referring to tonight's pitiful hearing, Johnson-Castro said, "Homeland Security didn't do this in Arizona because there is no solidarity in the opposition there."
Tonight, Texas residents want to know who were the private security guards.
"They sure looked like mercenaries, hired guns. Why were they paying guards with US tax dollars when they could have used the Border Patrol?" Johnson-Castro said, pointing out that there are thousands of Border Patrol agents in the region.
Johnson-Castro said tonight's scenario was the sign of things to come: More profiteering at the US/Mexico border.
It is another drain of US tax dollars, accompanying the US privatized prisons now being packed with captured migrants with a price on their heads.

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Censored News is published by censored journalist Brenda Norrell. A journalist for 27 years, Brenda lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, writing for Navajo Times, AP, USA Today, Lakota Times and other American Indian publications. After being censored and then terminated by Indian Country Today in 2006, she began the Censored Blog to document the most censored issues. She currently serves as human rights editor for the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report at the Hague and contributor to Sri Lanka Guardian, Narco News and CounterPunch. She was cohost of the 5-month Longest Walk Talk Radio across America, with Earthcycles Producer Govinda Dalton in 2008:
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