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Censored Blog Brenda Norrell 2004 --2006

Navajo corn, Raytheon and Cuba

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Navajo corn, Raytheon and Cuba

By Brenda Norrell

With the Navajo Nation Council considering expanding the Raytheon Missile plant, where the tribe grows corn and potatoes for commercial crops, it is a good time to ponder again why Indian Country Today, where I served as staff writer for the Southwest, demanded that I never write about this.

It happened this way, in the summer of 2006. When Navajo Agricultural Products Industries, south of Farmington, N.M., announced it was negotiating with Cuba to sell its food crops, the newspaper asked me to cover it.

I told the editors that I was already researching the Navajo farm (NAPI) and environmental concerns since missile parts were being produced alongside the corn and potatoes.

The Indian Country Today editors demanded that I not write about Raytheon Missiles at NAPI. I asked if I could report this  in a separate article. The editors demanded that I not report on this in any article.

The negotiations with Cuba were going on as Castro became ill.

Meanwhile, Navajo workers at Raytheon on the Navajo farm said their pay was so low, they questioned why the Navajo Nation is investing millions into the Rayteon facility for a small number of low-paying jobs.

Other Navajos question why Navajos are participating in producing missiles and bomb parts, like those for laser-directed bombs. They point out that those missiles and bombs kill Indigenous Peoples, and innocent women and children, in other parts of the world.

My research also led me to Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi, who was pressing for expansion of the Raytheon Missiles plant on the Navajo farm. It turned out that Renzi has a background in military intelligence. It turns out that his father works at ManTech, which provides military intelligence, along with other things, at Fort Huachuca in Arizona.

Fort Huachuca has long been linked to teaching torture practices used in Latin America and more recently at Guantanamo Bay. Two priests were arrested in a peaceful protest there recently over the torture.

The New York Times said Congressman Renzi was under investigation in matters related to the military base and water levels in a nearby river. Further, a Phoenix news service said a federal prosecutor there was recently fired after beginning a probe into Congressman Renzi.

Meanwhile, Renzi was selected cochair of the Congressional Native American Caucus. Obviously, Renzi has made lots of friends, including some news reporters who write glowing reports. (See related article on this website: San Carlos Apache protest of Renzi censored in 2004.)

Meanwhile, I was terminated just after my research on NAPI and Renzi. About the same time, one of my articles, on Donald Rusmfeld profiteering from the sale of the bird flu medication Tamiflu, was censored and distorted by Indian Country Today editors and turned into an advertisement for Tamiflu. The published article which has my name on it is not the one I wrote.

Also, important to Indian readers, is the fact that one of the managing editors demanded that I stop writing about "grassroots people and the genocide of American Indians."

If it were not for the blogs and the Internet, this bit of history would be lost.

Brenda Norrell

brendanorrell@gmail.com