Music from the Sonoran Fence
diary entry 2/6/2008
It's 109 Fahrenheit (nearly 43 Centigrade) today in Sasabe at the Mexico/USA border fence in the Sonoran Desert. Sonora means literally "sonorous" and this magnificent desert is home to the sounds of 460 endangered species or migratory animals. Their chances of survival have been seriously reduced since Bush handed out billions of taxpayers' dollars to his mates at Boeing and other pillars of the industrial military complex to build an impenetrable fence along the border. The old fence was a porous rickety affair through which the local jaguar could prowl; the new fence has destroyed the habitat that affects the pronghorn, pygmy-owl, black hawk, and spotted owl to name but a few of the resident musicians who enjoy the Sonora. The fence is now lit at night thus causing maximum stress to the bats and other nocturnal creatures. It doesn't take much of a brain to figure out the direct traumatic results of helicopter, fighter jet and unmanned spy plane low-level flights on the avian species of the Sonoran Desert.
Glenn Weyant, resident of Tuscon, generously offered to be our guide here at the Sasabe section of the border fence. Glenn has been playing the Sonoran fence for some years through his Anta Project and is an anti-fence activist. We set up and start to play. Within minutes we are enjoying the company of Levi who is a security officer for the fence maintenance crew (the fence is in need of repair even after a year of service). Levi is cool and enjoys our concert. Not so cool is the helicopter that starts whirling around and buzzing us, ending with a full frontal charge along the fence. Not to be outdone for machismo by some gringo, a Mexican helicopter does a run along his side of the fence. It is quite a show of wasted resources. (Check Glenn's site for his video report of the music that we played).
Not only is Bush responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in his two terms as Chump-in-Chief but he is also indirectly responsible for the deaths of thousands of Mexicans. As the security at the main border crossings of Tiuana and Mexicali have been tightened up, hundreds of poor desperate Mexicans every week try to make it across the 50 mile-wide Sonoran Desert to the badly paid jobs that keep America's consumers happy. The desert is now littered with tons of often non-degradable junk that the illegal immigrants are made to throw away by their smuggler-handlers in the thirsty rush across the baking sands. Hats, empty bottles, backpacks, clothes, boots, torches - and the panties we saw probably tell another kind of horror story.
Of course the indigenous people of the Tohono O'odham Nation face new oppression, as their traditional lands exist on both side of the artificial border line. They can no longer ghost from one part of their territory to the other as there is a huge metal fence in their path - they are often arrested on sight by the white Border Patrol who are unable to distinguish between brown Mexicans and red Injuns.
Eight billion dollars has already been thrown to the Boeing dog-of-war to fantasize and experiment with the latest virtual fencing technologies. Ground sensors placed under spy rocks, infrared sensors, hidden video cameras, and a line of 30-meter-high towers parading along the desert skyline, bristling with every kind of hardware Boeing's scientists and their subcontractors (a list of who's who in electronic defence scams) can dream up. In keeping with the new outsourcing of war a la Halliburton and Blackwater, a bunch of hired nasties called Wackenhut round up the Mexican immigrants, load them onto buses, and transport them to Nogales for interrogation - singling out ringleaders for special confinement and treatment.
Also to be seen in the desert are blue flags indicating the site of emergency blue cans of Agua (water). These have been put there by US humanitarian groups such as The Border Action Network (BAN). As a stream of on line articles indicate, Boeing's virtual fence does not actually work very well. For this reason the super surveillance gear has been posted right next to the blue flags for cynical ease of alien detection.
Inadvertently our musicking has discovered a financial hole in the 3.6 meter high fence - well it certainly would make a good scam. The contract to build seven miles of new fencing near Sasabe was won by Sundt Incorporated for an easy $57 million. The iron fence poles (made in China) are embedded in concrete - thus muting most of the natural resonance. But what is this? At regular intervals the posts ring out like huge tubular bells indicating that they have NOT been set in concrete. Mmm...the missing concrete scam. Does this add up to thousands of tones of missing concrete fully and falsely audited by corporate accountants? Is the US tax payer paying? You betcha.
Miles away from the fence we are stopped by the famed border patrol. They are waving around some obsolete looking boxes.
They have been issued with Geiger counters.
To check suspects for radiation, Sir.
I'm convinced they are left overs from the Cold War US bases in Germany.
So the illegal Mexican immigrants now have nuclear bombs in their back pockets?
That's what we are here to find out, Sir.
As unlikely as it would be to find radiation at the Mexican/USA boder fence, our readings show that the authorities there are exhibiting high levels of imagination, not to say insanity.