Monday, August 08, 2011

Week of Action for the Holy Mountain: brave and beautiful actionists, violent police, attempts at censorship, and the necessity of security culture

The Week of Action is continuing full force in Arizona. Brenda Norrell and activists on Twitter are continuing to provide vital, up to the moment coverage of this breaking story. Indigenous Action Media and are continuing to publish detailed reports of the actions and marches.

Sunday’s march joins four decades of sustained resistance to desecration of the Holy Peaks. Over the past three weeks since Snowbowl began clear-cutting, dozens of protest camps have been established on the mountain.

“The Week of Action is a culmination of efforts to directly address the lack of political will of the Forest Service and City Council to safeguard the community, public health and cultural rights,” said Nadia Del Callejo who was arrested while simply video taping the incident.

“The same profit driven push that has desecrated the Peaks, is the same sickness that has lead to the militarization of the border and is now trying to desecrate South Mountain, which is sacred to all O’odham.” said Alex Soto (Tohono O‘odham ) who was also arrested, “Sacred sites are under attack, but today we said no. Our solidarity in these struggles is re-establishing our traditional networks of support.”

Demonstrators invite everyone to join them
- Monday, August 8, 12:30 pm at the United States Coconino National Forest Service Office at 1824 S. Thomson St
- Wednesday, 12:30pm at High Desert Investment at 504 E Butler Ave
- Wednesday, 4:00pm at Flagstaff City Hall.

Protesters vowed to not stop until the desecration of the Peaks stops. “I am not afraid of what will happen to me if I protest, what I am more afraid of is what will happen if I do not stand up for what the Peaks are,” Stated Del Callejo.

Read the full story at Censored News

What is disturbing about the arrests at these actions is most of them are not your usual, orderly, Civil Disobedience arrests seen at many mass demonstrations or even lockdowns in the past. The police have dragged peaceful marchers out of the crowd for no apparent reason; the only reason seems to be they were recognized as some of the more central organizers, which in some cases would only be known via infiltration, informants, or lapses in security. In other cases, activists in roles that are usually respected as not violating any laws, and not risking arrest, such as police liasons and media personnel, are also being arrested.

It seems clear to me that the police are being ordered to stop these demonstrations - including the completely legal and peaceful marches - even at the risk of breaking the law themselves. Whether the harsh treatment of protestors is simply due to the patterns of racism we have seen in Arizona government, or due to the money thrown around by those who stand to profit from the desecration of the mountain, remains to be seen. I have my opinions in the matter, but will wait to hear more from the actionists on the front line.

Another pattern we're seeing is that Facebook, which is now thoroughly used by law enforcement for gathering intel, has been demanding unintelligible "captchas" of anyone posting links to certain blogs that are covering the actions. Sometimes four or more captchas in a row, and then the post will still not go through. Other activists have been mysteriously locked out of their accounts after posting links to the Save the Peaks coverage.

It is not the first time this has happened. A few months ago I was signing into my account, and for no apparent reason it asked me to identify pictures of people on my friends list. Every picture was of activists and spokespeople, and all of them were Indigenous. All of the pictures were of groups of people, and I was asked to identify the people pictured with my friends. I had never seen some of the pictures before. In one case I was asked to identify the elderly mother of an activist friend. I refused, and eventually Facebook stopped asking me.

If it was just a Facebook account security or social networking issue, Facebook could have asked me about any of the non-Native people on my friends list. There are plenty of them. But that's not what whoever was using FB for intel was interested in.

Learn about Security Culture and stay safe.

No comments: