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UPDATE #1 This blog post is informed and thorough. Really worth the read!

UPDATE #2 Paul DeMain, mentioned below, walked over to the armed guards and videotaped his interaction. It is interesting to watch: not only his friendliness at the end, but his way of getting the mercenary to answer some questions. The need to do this  has been mentioned in the comment threads numerous times. From my perspective, this is also an object lesson in the "banality of evil," which is not to claim that the guard is an evil person, but that the system allowing his deployment is insidious and indirect, and allows the immoral (threats of violence whether real or symbolic) to become amoral (this is just a job). It is interesting that the guard wishes that no photos are taken (too late for that, this has gone far and wide!) and that he won't give any information about his employers.

UPDATE #3 Here is information about his employers... (See also info in first update post):

Bps Brown Private Security Service
Category: Professional Services
10348 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90047
(323) 777-0108
I think your link has it.
Licensed, Bonded and Insured
AZ #1560831 Guard
AZ #1616264 Private Invest.
DUNS #113725555
SOT #2007149-XXX-035
Registered on CCR as a Small Business
+++++++++++++++++++(begin original diary)

I tell you, it is true. There are guys with guns standing guard where the drill testing is beginning, near the heart of the heart of the headwaters, the headwaters of the Bad River, the feeding waters for the legacy land of the Bad River Ojibwe. Thoughts like clouds take shape and evaporate. How do I do justice to the poetry of the water, to a kayak gliding silver smooth over a glass mirror with the sun sinking in gold spill, the lap-slap of paddle against living liquid, a heron overhead leaving for night roost, the splash of a fish that is not yet caught? How do I do justice to the Ojibwe and their land, to Band of Bad River Ojibwe Chairman Mike Wiggins and his own bio-poetry, his lament: "I knew when I became Tribal Chairman that I would have serious issues confronting me. I thought they would be invasives, like zebra and quagga mussels, or Purple Loosestrife. I never thought the invasives would be an out-of-state corporation that will kill the very land that is our home!"

I don't live there. I don't worry if the catch of autumn fish will last me through the winter. I don't hunt the land, drink the water. I don't soak in the fireside symphony of spring frogs, or feel the whirr of batwings as they swoop to deliver me from night bugs.

How do I do justice to the power of the drum, the PowWow in winter when we met Paul DeMain, Editor of Indian Country TV, who now - along with an Ojibwe man named Melvin - educates visitors at Lac Courte Oreilles' Harvest Camp, where you can go and stay for a while, kayak the Brule, check out the north woods, wade the waters of Lake Superior, and understand what it means to lose this to the future gash of the proposed world's largest low-grade iron mine. The mine will leave a basin of acid-leach rock, the trickle down of hundreds of years of extractive industry, water upon rock forever and forever, a murmuring apotheosis of our three hundred year crawl shivering from uncertain shores to the certainty of unrestricted plunder of rich white men. That acid drip drip drips through the years, leaving us suspecting that We the People are the mythic creation of someone else's story.

The mercenaries stand with automatic rifles, a few short miles from the Harvest Camp. They stand behind black masks, soldiers on patrol with automatic rifles, guarding the mud roads to the drill holes. They stand at attention with automatic rifles, facing the approach of people, of citizens, of ordinary folks who live there and care about the woods and water and animals and birds and fish and tadpoles and water striders and kingfishers and summer warblers. They stand with hands on their automatic rifles, waiting for something, maybe for the kids who went all civil disobedience on the drill site a month ago, adorned with their own black masks, stopping a bulldozer for a few hours, seizing a cell phone and throwing it into the bush. The medium is the message, and the message was lost. They were predictably excoriated as eco-terrorists in the press, foreshadowing, perhaps, a new level of State in the eternity of our State of Emergency.

So it comes down to this. A Harvest Camp to educate downlanders on the beauty of the north woods, the culture of gatherers, the way of life of still living cultures that did not arrive shivering on shores or offloading in airports. A short walk through the woods and mercenaries stand alert, hands on guns, ready and waiting for something.

So how do I do justice to these images and stories swirling in my head right now? The silent plunge of the kingfisher slipping without drip or splash into water and coming up with a silver minnow. The men in Madison passing laws that only serve their tenuous hold on power, yet never affect their own backyards. The stars above the beech and maple and birch brighter at night than any you have ever before seen, and the eternal drip drip flow of water trickling through future tailings. How do we look at the Purple Loosestrife and worry any more about its slow invasion of the native landscape. It is very pretty. How do we look at Buckthorn and worry anymore about its negative effect on native birds, as they shit the emetic berries too delicious to resist.

And how do we look at this mercenary soldier, locked, seemingly, and loaded: ready for some kind of action, and how do we not whisper the question:

"So… Who in the fuck are you hoping to kill?"

No Mines from Overpass Light Brigade on Vimeo.

Originally posted to noise of rain on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:47 PM PDT.

Also republished by Native American Netroots and Badger State Progressive.

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