----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, March 21, 2009 7:14 AM
Subject: Re: Editorial on Pinon Canyon

Oh. And Jack. Forget to mention. This is my speculation - and my speculation alone - but - I do wonder if they (TNC) is seeking this for a TNC  "military base."
Sickeningly - I hate thinking these things, but.............
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2009 10:15 AM
Subject: Fwd: Editorial on Pinon Canyon

Begin forwarded message:

By David James Baker

Piñon Canyon is simply a land grab and horrible abuse of power. It’s damage
continues to be inflicted upon the
people of southern Colorado since the Army started taking their land in the
early 1980s.

What has become known as “Piñon Canyon” in Colorado is located near the
communities of La Junta and Trinidad. It
includes high mesa grasslands and deep red rock canyons. All were carved
and created over millions of years by the
slow flowing Purgatoire River. This is a recent example of how leaders of
an Army of the United States portends to
be the defender of a free people. It has become the latest ribbon-ladened
emblem of how our federal government
portends to serve the people who must obey its laws but who itself is far
above them. It has demonstrated this
clearly with its treatment of prisoners and its treatment of civilians in
southern Colorado.

If you have followed this ongoing situation you will see that average law
abiding Americans have been abused,
neglected, and intimidated by land speculators, defense contractors,
generals who relish in the glory of their
positions and similar thinking politicians now seek what they
euphemistically call “a deal” something that is much
smaller but still in the hundreds of thousands of acres.

A minority of political, military, and business elites with the use of our
money and its power have systematically
deceived and abused the people, cultures, customs and habitats of
southeastern Colorado. More importantly they
have on multiple occasion disobeyed the law and the will of the people.
What has happened in Piñon Canyon
demonstrates to this observer that apparently not even our Congress has the
power to reign in these moneyed

Several years ago official looking U.S. Army maps were apparently leaked.
These maps (available at
www.pinoncanyon.com) reveal the military’s interest that at one point was
considering up to 4.5 million acres of
private and public lands. This is an enormous swath of land that includes
the entire southeastern corner of
Colorado. In hindsight, one can only wonder did they actually think they
were going to get away with taking that? Or
were they like real estate agents who double their expectation before
setting on something significantly less but
unwilling or unable to be honest about its dealings, even when they include
its own citizenry?

One thing is for sure, the Army, the Bush Administration, and now officials
of a new administration are left practicing
the contemporary version of “duck and cover” as they respond to the
questions of skeptical members of congress
including Betsy Markey and John Salazar, both are democrats of Colorado.

The Army’s human face on Piñon Canyon has long been fuzzy to the general
public view. Whoever first thought of
the idea of taking huge swaths of public and ranch lands in Colorado and
giving it to the Army is likely far from the
picture. The military’s methods have become a kind of Chimera. It has
become an imaginary monster to those who
live there. It has unlimited funds, the upper hand of federal laws and is
made up of grotesquely disparate parts.
When one head is killed or dies another rises.

It was true under the Bush Administration and sadly it now appears to be
true under the Obama administration as
well. That is until our leaders manifest the will to stop this immediately
and forever.

The justification for a huge taking of the people’s land in Piñon Canyon
expansion took on new vigor under the
guise of a “War on Terror”. This is a term that the new administration has
thankfully retired. But the “terror on
terror” the Army has waged in Colorado is one of obfuscation that protects
its contractors and politicians with
uniformed blank stares looking over laptops that arrive from the Colorado
Springs “Green Zone” promising
economic growth for all who agree.

The Piñon Canyon chimera had its origin in the lies of the 1980s when the
Army first came to rural Colorado and
told the people there that the land they sought was a necessity for a
nation, that it would be good for the
community and that this one time deal would never be used for “live fire.”

Some people moved off their land in patriotic ways as personal sacrifice
for the defense of a nation. Twenty years
hence their patriotism is greatly subdued and as the lies they were told
have settled into truth that is as pointed as
cactus, as hard as the rock that lays at the bottom of this land in the
memories of what they have already lost.

The Army continues to skirt the will of the people that instituted a
funding ban on Piñon Canyon expansion. It skirts
that law because it knows it came from a grassroots movement not by those
who it feels compelled to answer to.

The Army’s lies in Piñon Canyon ring across the canyons, the grasslands,
and through the air that blows through the
sage. It does so in canyons that were once homes to the ancients, to Native
Americans, to Hispanics of New Spain
and Old Mexico and now to families of this region who unlike those who
receive bailouts and bonuses, these people
get up each morning trying to turn land into a way of sustaining life.

The Army on the other hand wants to turn this land into a vehicle for
destroying life. Like the earth in Piñion
Canyon, that truth appears to me as one that is hard as a rock. When the
Army says it is not compelled to obey the
funding ban, you can imagine that this latest clarion call rings especially
hard for ranchers and small town
Americans who by their nature are patriotic people. These are the people
Presidents call upon when they want to
invade foreign lands in the name of freedom and democracy. These are the
people who historically have taught their
children to salute a flag and enlist in the military. They will be less
inclined to do so under the leadership of a
military and civilian government they have been so abused by.

The chimera of Pinion Canyon Expansion is a virtual monster whose parts
include an Army that uses our tax dollars
infinitely against our will. This chimera is long on waves of publicity
that promise schools, hospitals, and airports to
poorer counties in Colorado. Its messengers arrive in SUVs like a drug
cartel that reaches into the poor states of
rural Mexico seeking to “make a deal” and to do favors. They say they will
help build hospitals and schools. In the
process they always takes the soul of the people these favors are allegedly
for. With blank stares under stylized
sunglasses these representatives of our government deliver an unsaid
message. You will never win, we are too big,
too powerful.

So far that day has not yet arrived. The people who know this land or are
aware of this fight have come to realize a
very real multi-headed enemy. One that has the power to take the people’s
money and use it for their own political
and economic gain.

If it is true that we have waged war in other countries and swept up
innocent people as “enemy combatants” and
detained them indefinitely, it is also the case that the people of southern
Colorado have been swept up into a larger
tide of abuse by the U.S. Army, Department of Defense and military
contractors who profit most in times of war.

The people of southern Colorado are now themselves detained indefinitely on
land they have worked, inherited, or
purchased over many generations and with tired eyes and worn hands. Even
when the slow and encumbered wheels
of our republic’s democracy said “no” the Army and its benefactors continue
on with blank stares and worked to
make “deals” all historical indications suggest will change as soon as that
deal is made.

While many Americans want always to “support the troops.” This phrase and
its genesis has been masterfully
manipulated by certain Presidents, politicians and defense contractors.
They Army’s conduct in Southern Colorado is
deplorable. It cannot help but cause the people of this land to realize
they are experiencing a more tragic example
of money and power manipulated name of protecting freedom and democracy for

In the name of freedom and democracy and the call for  an accountable
government, we have no choice but to
support those who have steadfastly stood up to and opposed this gross abuse
of power. With a new president we
must force him and the federal, military, and defense contractors whose
existence depends upon us that what our
Army and Federal Government is doing in Southern Colorado must stop now and

You can find some of these people at: www.piñoncanyon.com

The chimera, a mythological fire-breathing animal composed of multiple
parts, is said to have had the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the
tail of a serpent. In human beings, the chimeric phenomenon manifests as a
person with two genetically different types of cells. For this issue, we
propose the chimera as a metaphor for the creature of the border, for which
two different forms of blood can exist in one body.

 by its own bureaucracy and the delays that money from a huge defense
industry provides to elected representatives
and their constituencies.

It was supposed to be the week the Army made the dramatic announcement that
it had found a landowner willing to
lease it 70,000 acres south of the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site.

When news of the potential lease agreement with Denver businessman Craig
Walker was reported in The Pueblo
Chieftain early last week, Colorado lawmakers jumped hard on the Army —
particularly Reps. John Salazar and Betsy
Markey, who said they would oppose the Army spending any money on leasing
or purchasing land as long as local
ranchers opposed the expansion.

As a result, when Keith Eastin, Army assistant secretary for installations,
came to Fort Carson on Friday, he said,
"We are talking to a number of landowners (south of Pinon Canyon) who are
interested, but I have no deal."

For his part, Walker has denied that he had reached any agreement or even
received an offer.

Yet, Salazar, the Democrat whose 3rd Congressional District includes Pinon
Canyon, told the newspaper that only
two weeks ago Eastin asked him to endorse a lease agreement of Walker's
land, which makes up most of the
100,000 acres the Army has targeted for acquisition. When Salazar learned
the Army was going ahead with the
agreement, he announced Tuesday he would use  his seat  on  the  House
Appropriations Committee to stop it. "I'm
not going to support any expansion of Pinon Canyon until the ranchers in
that region come on board and agree to
it," he said.

Markey, the Democrat who represents the 4th District, was also quick to
challenge the Army. On Friday, she and
Salazar asked the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to
investigate how the Army is able to keep
working on the expansion when Congress put language in the 2008-09 budget
saying the Army couldn't spend any
money on the effort.

"Today's announcement that the Army is proceeding with negotiations to
acquire private land around Pinon Canyon
is unconscionable," she said in a statement. Her letter to the House
committee charges the Army has "decided to
skirt clearly defined congressional intent."

The Army insists the funding ban, authored by Salazar and former Rep.
Marilyn Musgrave, only applies to military
construction funds, leaving it free to use other money to solicit
landowners. That's a technical argument that
Colorado Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, also Democrats, brushed aside
last week.

"The Army's action violates the expressed intent of Congress that no effort
at expansion take place under the
moratorium," Udall's spokesman said last week.

When the pending agreement was reported last week, the Army would neither
confirm nor deny its existence, but
acknowledged Eastin was coming to Southern Colorado for a two-day visit to
talk to "stakeholders" in the dispute.

By Friday, that visit had been cut to a single day and Eastin stayed at
Fort Carson, his trip to Trinidad canceled.

For his part, Eastin said the Army is now encouraging a lease agreement to
acquire the land it wants. A lease would
let the rancher graze cattle on the land when it wasn't being used, retain
ownership and keep the property on the
Las Animas County tax rolls. In the past, Fort Carson officials have said
they did not believe that part-time grazing
was feasible.

Also, the Army still wants to build new training ranges on the bigger Pinon
Canyon. Eastin said that should produce
about 100 new jobs and a construction budget of $140 million.

While the ranchers opposing the expansion appear to have kept a united
front in the three-year-fight, Eastin said he
has had continuing talks with individual landowners and local officials
about possibly finding financial help for
Trinidad's hospital, airport and other assistance.

"We're certainly willing to do that if we can find the right vehicle," he
said Friday.

Lon Robertson, a Kim rancher and president of the Pinon Canyon Expansion
Opposition Coalition, challenged Eastin's
statements Friday, saying the Army has been claiming for years that it is
talking to "willing sellers." In particular,
Robertson said the half-dozen landowners caught between Pinon Canyon and
the Walker property still are opposed
to the expansion.

"I don't know where the Army gets the gall to simply stand in front of
Congress and defy our lawmakers," Robertson
said. "I don't know what else they can do except call for Mr. Eastin's

Eastin, a Bush administration appointee, said he would only stay in his job
until President Barack Obama's
administration replaces him, which he expects to happen in the
not-too-distant future.

"But I don't see the Army policy on Pinon Canyon changing with the new
administration," he said.