dr woooo on Tue, 3 Jul 2001 01:44:32 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> for border resist@nce and for the environment

this is an interesting article for the u.s earth first movement who
originally had a very reactionary and racist, anti-immigration politics.  
This article could be a good start to a discussion of anti-border politics
and weaving environmental concerns into this critique of nations and
capitalism.  the focus is on the border in the americas but the wider
arguement could be useful for strengthening and building a better
anarchist/autonomist no-borders arguement for australia, europe and

Please help in spreading this article to anti-capitalist,
anti-authoritarian, no-border groups.

  Borders Drawn in Blood
                       Juan Dolor

Borders Drawn in Blood
                  Juan Dolor

                 The Euro-American-imposed border separating the United
States from the rest of the Americas further serves to widen the gap
between the haves and have-nots of the Earth. Gold and land-thirsty
conquistadors of times past now manifest themselves as the racist and
greedy corporate elite who use the force of their Border Patrol and
military to protect their interests. Historically, US policies have
defined Latin America as its backyard for dumping wastes and for
expropriating cultures, labor and environmental resources. Modern “free
trade” policies equate to policies of death; deaths caused by the
increased militarization of the US/Mexico border. “Free trade” means that
the border becomes more open to the flow of merchandise, resources and
money, and it becomes more closed to the people and wildlife that are
displaced because of these policies. The Border Patrol’s current policies
of forcing immigrants into remote and dangerous desert regions are
directly responsible for the hundreds of immigrant deaths that occur every
year. The death toll is expected to rise as US economic policies and
international trade agreements such as NAFTA, GATT, WTO and possibly the
upcoming FTAA, increasingly destroy the lives and livelihoods of hundreds
of millions of people in Mexico, Central America and South America. The
“war on drugs” is a convenient excuse to further militarize the border and
wage low intensity war on immigrants, Mexican/Chicano border communities
and the environment. Established in 1989, Joint Task Force-6 (JTF-6) is a
military operation engaged in low intensity warfare, comprised heavily of
Army and Marine personnel, whose official mission is to aid local law
enforcement agencies in fighting the “war on drugs.” Unofficially, JTF-6
is also one of the government’s main weapons in the “war on immigrants”
from Mexico and Central America. The work of JTF-6 includes military
exercises (usually reserved for other parts of the globe) such as
development of ground troops, training of local law enforcement agencies
and SWAT teams in military tactics, building of walls, construction of
roads, surveillance and intelligence training. While JTF-6’s jurisdiction
now includes the entire continental US and Puerto Rico, the bulk of its
operations occur along the border region in the Southwestern states of
California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Federal military units and
militarized law enforcement agencies have no respect for the environment,
people and communities in which they patrol. The so-called protection of
the border has often resulted in massive environmental destruction from
manual and mechanical defoliation with habitat destruction resulting from
widespread use of chemical and biological agents. Because of this,
sensitive riparian habitat along the Rio Grande in Texas is threatened, as
well as endangered species habitats in many other border areas. The
escalating militarization of the 2,000-mile long US/Mexico border, headed
by JTF-6 and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), threatens
the ecological integrity and viability of this diverse and beautiful
region. Road building, low-level helicopter flights, troop training and
deployment, fence and wall construction and high intensity light
surveillance fragment wildlife habitat, obstruct migration routes, prevent
proper feeding and breeding patterns and directly kill many animals. These
effects are worsened by the fact that nearly all of the land along the
border is dry and fragile desert, especially susceptible to human impacts.
The enormous number of species in need of government protection reflects
this fragility. The Arizona border region alone harbors 107 threatened,
endangered or other special management species. Among the more charismatic
borderland species that are threatened are the magnificent large cats:
jaguar, ocelot, jaguarundi, mountain lion and bobcat. True denizens of
both Mexico and the US, these species symbolize the uniqueness, cultural
diversity and interconnectedness of the border region. Unfortunately, the
very existence of these species north of the border is threatened by JTF-6
and INS activities, especially considering the hundreds of missions
involving fence construction and vegetation clearing. The extremely
imperiled Sonoran pronghorn antelope, of which only 150 remain in Arizona,
is also highly threatened by JTF-6 and INS missions and is in danger of
becoming extinct in the next 50 years. At the heart of this threat are
low-level helicopter flights at less than 200 feet, which have been
scientifically shown to separate antelope fawns from their mothers. JTF-6
and the INS affect an incredible array of habitats. From the rare vernal
pools of Southern California, to gallery stands of cottonwoods along the
Rio Grande in southern Texas,the Southwestern border environment is being
sacrificed to the altar of the war against drugs and the war against
immigrants. For example, recent fence and road building missions conducted
by JTF-6 and the INS near Nogales, Arizona, severely impacted several
riparian areas—ecologically critical streamside habitats that comprise
less than one percent of the total land areas in the Southwest. Threatened
and endangered species adversely affected by this degradation include the
lesser long-nosed bat and the Sonoran chub. While not as well known as
species such as the jaguar and the pronghorn, these species are just as
valuable and integral to our borderland ecosystem. The effects of
increased militarization on the border are subtle. This is due to the fact
that JTF-6 and INS missions are often small in scale, usually involving a
few miles of road construction, temporary troop deployments or fence
constructed in isolated, rural environments. However, since their
inception 11 years ago, literally thousands of these missions have been
carried out, usually with little or no environmental analysis. The number
of missions continues to proliferate.

                  While Department of Defense officials may argue that
individual projects do not jeopardize border ecosystems, the cumulative
effects of these missions are staggering. Among the wide variety of abuses
heaped on our desert environments are rock mining, livestock grazing, off
road vehicle abuse and groundwater pumping.The militarization of the
borderland may present the greatest threat facing the desert today.

                  The militarization of the border has always been
justified by the “war on drugs,” and from the beginning it has bled over
into immigration enforcement. Since the early ‘80s, interdiction
techniques ostensibly deployed to detect drug smuggling have been used to
track and detain immigrants as well. This shows little respect for human
and civil rights, as the vast majority of immigrants crossing the border
are not drug traffickers. In fact, the vast majority of drug traffic
passes through “legal” ports of entry, so the ongoing militarization and
destruction of the border environment represents a complete misallocation
of funds at the very least—unless, of course, the real target is
immigrants, forced out into the desert by the Border Patrol. The overlap
of these missions has profound social, as well as environmental, impacts
in remote areas subject to new immigrant flows. Low Intensity Conflict
(LIC) creates a climate of fear, wherein people who are subjected to it
are too afraid of the oppressive government apparatus to resist it.
Moreover, such a climate of fear deteriorates the quality of life for
people living in and moving through the border region. This climate of
fear has led the Tohono O’odham Indian Nation to expel JTF-6, due to
ongoing harassment, physical and psychological abuse. Such abuse is
inherently a part of LIC strategy, part and parcel of the war mentality.
Everyone who crosses or helps someone else cross is seen as the enemy and
treated accordingly. Through the use of this strategy, border residents
are made to fear those who cross (due to the war propaganda of
dehumanizing and misleading rhetoric), as well as to fear the
ever-increasing military occupying forces. LIC has consistently resulted
in an increase in violence against women, including physical and sexual
assaults and verbal abuse, as its foot soldiers engage in a campaign of
terror with little accountability. An anything-goes, warlike atmosphere is
imposed along the border. Along with low intensity war along the border,
it is the government’s policy to develop and share intelligence among
various agencies, even if it overlaps into immigration enforcement.

                  The complete lack of accountability and the sensitivity
of low profile, rotating military units also contributes to border abuses.
LIC has consistently employed the tactic of creating armed paramilitary
groups that work in collaboration with government security forces to
further the propagation of fear. These groups operate with impunity as
they engage in human rights abuses on behalf of security forces, which are
afforded a measure of deniability for the worst transgressions of their
policy. We are already seeing this along our border, with racist vigilante
groups routinely violating people’s rights. These same racist vigilante
groups scapegoat immigrants, blaming them for the many problems within our
borders, including environmental degradation. When in fact, it is they and
the militarized border enforcement units, who are responsible for these
problems. The border guards exist to enforce the separation not only of
nations, but also of skin colors. They exist to clean up the fallout of
fascist neoliberal policies of Earth exploitation. The same policies give
corporations the “rubber stamp” to continue the plunder and genocide of
Latin America. Their corporate agenda comes full circle when they create a
large population of displaced people heading north, with which they can
flood prisons and fuel the growing trend of immigrant prison
privatization. The vicious corporate cycle becomes complete, leaving in
its wake, a devastated environment and a broken people. For more info,
visit www.resistmilitarization.org.

                  For more info, visit www.resistmilitarization.org.

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