Censored Blog Brenda Norrell 2004 --2006


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Media Spin: Censored and under-covered news

Photo Ofelia Rivas
Migrant detention center/Tohono O'odham land

Migrant detention center on Tohono O'odham tribal land violates fundamental beliefs
Border wall facts denied two years ago
The federal government's migrant detention center, on Tohono O'odham tribal land, is a violation of the Himdaag, the fundamental beliefs of the Tohono O'odham people, said Ofelia Rivas, organizer of O'odham Voice Against the Wall.
The detention center near "The Gate" and San Miguel, Ariz., near the border, was approved by the tribal government, which also created a law making it a criminal offense to aid migrants by transporting them.
Mike Wilson, Tohono O'odham who puts out water for migrants, said it is a crime against humanity to let people die in need of a drink of water. The tribe's Baboquivari District has one of the highest rates of migrant deaths, from dehydration and deaths from heat and cold from extreme temperatures in summer and winter.
Rivas and Jose Matus, Yaqui, held a press conference to oppose the United States' planned border wall in 2004. Rivas said it will violate traditional ceremonial routes.
Matus, Yaqui ceremonial leader designated to bring spiritual leaders across for ceremonies, pointed out the increase in human rights abuses because of the militiarization of the border. Matus said many of those crossing the border, desperate to feed their families or buy medicine, are Indigenous Peoples from Central and South America.
Tohono O'odham Chairwoman Vivian Juan-Saunders adamantly denied the U.S. had plans to build a border wall after the press conference in 2004. Now, more than two years later, the truth is out about the multi-billion dollar planned wall. Finally, Juan-Saunders has spoken out against the wall.
Earlier, Derechos Humanos cochair Isabel Garcia confirmed there were plans to build the wall and had a copy of the proposal. While Derechos Humanos opposed the plan, the Border Patrol attempted to keep it secret.
FACT: Homeland Security awarded Halliburton's Kellogg, Brown and Root with a $385 million contract to build migrant detention centers (Jan. 2006.)
Recently, Congress revealed that Halliburtion was among the rebuilders and private security contractors who squandered $10 billion in Iraq.
The $10 billion that can't be accounted for could have done a great deal in the U.S. for the homeless, working mothers, hungry children and the tens of thousands who live without running water and electricity, including Navajos.


Most censored in 2004: Stop Lewis and Clark Movement

Stop Lewis and Clark link

PHOTO: Deb White Plume, Lakota, gives the Lewis and Clark Expedition a symbolic blanket of small pox in South Dakota and tells them to turn around and stop the expedition. Photo Brenda Norrell.

When Lakota met with the Lewis and Clark Expedition in South Dakota, and told them to halt, most media ignored the story. The Expedition members, however, did not. One of the Expedition leaders resigned after hearing the Lakotas. However, most media chose to publish only romanticized accounts of Lewis and Clark.

National news reporters ignore Indigenous border and uranium summits
With the Arizona border one of the hottest news topics of 2006, only two reporters attended and covered the Border Summit of the Americas in San Xavier on Tohono O'odham tribal land, Sept. 29 -- Oct. 2, 2006.
The three-day Indigenous gathering, opposing militarization and the border wall, was covered by reporters Hernan Rozeberg of the San Antonio Express-News and this reporter (Brenda Norrell) writing for the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report, Native American Review magazine and the International Relations Center of the Americas.
Even the local Arizona Daily Star of Tucson, with their offices just down the road, was a no-show.
Thanks to Earthcycles.net, the summit was broadcast live on the radio locally and around the globe on the Internet.
Later, the Navajo World Uranium Summit Nov. 29 -- Dec. 3, attracted Indigenous and others from 14 countries. However, national newspapers including the New York Times and Indian Country Today, were a no-show. Only local news reporters and this reporter attended the summit. (Some newspapers used short AP reports or rewritten press releases for articles.)
The Los Angeles Times preceded the uranium summit with an excellent series on unreclaimed uranium mines on the Navajo Nation.
Former Navajo Chairman Peter MacDonald and the rest of the story
Although the trials of former Navajo Chairman Peter MacDonald were carried widely in the media when he was on trial in tribal and federal court, few people heard the rest of the story from a federal court hearing years later.
Real estate twister Byron "Bud" Brown led everyone to believe that MacDonald received millions from a flip sale of the Big Boquillas Ranch.
Not so, Brown admitted years later in a federal court hearing in Phoenix. Brown kept all those millions for himself and could not be prosecuted because he had earlier entered into a plea agreement with federal prosecutors. The plea agreement meant Brown would testify against MacDonald and walk away a free man.
Brown stashed those millions in an overseas account. Federal prosecutors attempted to prosecute Brown for giving false statements -- telling those lies -- but were prevented by the plea agreement.
Eventually, one of the concealed reasons that the federal government pushed for MacDonald's removal became apparent. The federal government entered into a water rights agreement with the Navajo Nation, which disregarded the Winters Doctrine, as did many Arizona Indian tribes.
MacDonald was pardoned after serving more than ten years in tribal jail and federal prison. From his home in Tuba City, MacDonald pressed for the tribe to pursue its expansive water rights under the Winters Doctrine.
However, recently non-Indian attorneys played a role in convincing the tribe otherwise. MacDonald said the Navajo Nation's recent water rights agreement resulted in a vast loss of water rights for future generations of Navajos.

Skull and Bones and Sithe Global

Dirty coal and power on the Navajo Nation

Navajos continue their vigil against the proposed Desert Rock Power Plant

The power plant company Sithe Global is primarily owned by the Blackstone Group, whose founder Stephen Schwarzman is a member of Skull and Bones.

The Yale secret society of Skull and Bones includes Bush family members and former presidential candidate John Kerry. The group's team players seek global domination. Grandfather Prescott Bush, both Bush presidents and Jonathan Bush are members of the small group.

(Schwarzman was previously affiliated with Lehman Brothers. Lehman Brothers was previously a parent company of Peabody Coal. Earlier, Navajo, Hopi and Lakota protested to Lehman Brothers stockholders in New York about the destruction on Black Mesa. It was among the most censored articles by the media. Arlene Hamilton died in a car crash after buying a small amount of stock in Lehman Brothers so the Native delegation could address Lehman Brothers.)

The following website shows the Skull and Bones members and the company affiliations:


According to Sithe Global's website:

"Sithe Global is affiliated with Blackstone Capital Partners, an affiliate of The Blackstone Group (which owns approximately 80% of the company) and the Reservoir Capital Group (which owns approximately 20% of the company). "



CENSORED IN US: Bogus war in Iraq

Navajo leaves Marines for spiritual healing path:


CENSORED by most media: American Indians, Chicanos, blacks and poor whites continue to be targeted by military recruiters for Iraq.

While Bush family members are not serving in Iraq, the president is now sending more youths to face death there.

Western Shoshone Carrie Dann said Bush's war in Iraq is not a war that American Indians should be fighting.

''It is a war against Indigenous People of that land for one reason, for the petroleum, for the oil."

Dann said the same colonized government of the United States that once slaughtered Indian people in systematic genocide, is now using Indian people in their military to kill others in Iraq.
Dann said it is a war to benefit the "corporation" that the U.S. has become.
Montana Governor censored by ICT on Iraq war

When the Montana governor spoke out against the war in Iraq at the National Congress of American Indians annual convention, during his address to the convention in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2005, Indian Country Today censored his comments from the lead paragraph of the article.


Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer told the National Congress of American Indians that the war in Iraq is about oil, attracting applause at NCAI’s 62nd annual convention.

   Gov. Schweitzer said the reason the United States waged a war in Iraq is because the country is in the center of the oil-producing world.



Earth First! trial in Prescott, Arizona
It has been more than a decade since the Earth First! trial in Prescott, Arizona. But it was a turning point in how I viewed federal prosecutions.
There are a few things that are carved in my memory:
--The so-called "monkey wrenchers" didn't have a ride to the place where they were arrested for their supposed crime of tampering with power and water equipment. The undercover FBI agent had to offer them a ride and drive them there.
Peg Millet outran the SWAT Team (and later turned herself in.)
--Every time these guys made a joke on the phone it was considered a conspiratorial plot.
--One of the defendants was the victim of the federal government's covert operation. Her former boyfriend was put in her home as a snitch and a babysitter. He bugged the bedroom of the woman and her new boyfriend, with a listening device for evidence.
The federal prosecutor said in response: Everyone knows that "snitches are sleazes."
--The federal marshals played sports with the so-called eco-terrorists during free time during the trial.
--Publisher Michael Lacey, also covering the trial, wrote in "New Times" in Phoenix a totally fictitious, but unforgettable description of the up-tight federal prosecutor.
It was something along the lines of: She "grabbed her balls and shot the judge a 'high five.'" Lacey tried to make amends after the trial; he sent her flowers and she sent them back.
Still, it was a good summary statement of the trial.
Several defendants spent years in jail.
It was long before the days when we knew we were all tapped and listened to. But for me, as a news reporter, it was my first exposure to how entrapment doesn't matter.

Uncensored news sites:
U.N. OBSERVER & International Report
Independent Media
http://www.indymedia.org  (Click on "open publishing" for more articles) 
Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter covering Indian country for 23 years. She previously served as a staff writer for Navajo Times and Indian Country Today, a correspondent for USA TODAY and was a stringer for Associated Press for five years. During those years, she also covered federal courts, environmental issues in the west and Indigenous rights in Mexico.

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