Series in Critical Security 5
"Shadow Wolves are summoned units on a timer which lasts 60 seconds. Shadows Wolves have Critical Strike and are invisible except when they are attacking." - Quote from Warcraft III Handbook.In this series, one of the most important questions to ask is, "How is something/someone governed?" The technique, practice, personnel, training, materials, and skills are important to understanding what "affect" the act of governance is to have on a population and territory (to use the language of governmentality). The Shadow Wolves are another example of how "ethnic state security maps" racialize and construct ethnicity in order to produce particular "national security" outcomes. The Shadow Wolves are a select group of men from the Tohono O'Odham nation located in Southern Arizona along the border. The enlistment of Native American "trackers" for service in the Bureau for Immigration and Customs Enforcement presses many interesting issues of security discourse to the foreground, but for this post I'll be addressing the issue of security discourse and Native American identity.
Before I say more, please watch this video from a special edition of "COPS" from the FOX network highlighting the service of the Shadow Wolves.
Right from the start, the host, Harry L. Newman Sr., displays the "thickness" of security discourse in contemporary politics. Let's take a closer look,
Ever since 9/11, the big question in this country is, how safe are our borders. Well, the job of keeping our borders secure has fallen on a new organization called ICE. Now, we've been riding along with them in the main battle zone of this war. Let me tell ya', sometimes the fight still makes the place feel like the wild wild West.So, again we have the obscuration of the history of national security regulating immigration through racial designations. Second, safety is used rhetorically in the question, "how safe are our borders?" but the borders have always been maintained with violence making them deadly places. Third, the rhetorical question is answered with adjective secure, making a leap in logic to change the definition of safety, as in "free from harm", to "complete containment." This is an important leap of logic because it makes the people from the "outside" dangerous, while allowing the "inside" to remain uncontaminated. Fourth, Mr. Newman (or Mr. Newman's writers) labels the border a "battle zone" of a "war." Which war is he talking about? Is he talking about the Mexican-American War, the War on Terror, or just plain old racial violence. One needs to ask this question of "which war?", because Mr. Newman still thinks it's the "wild wild west."
The "thickness" of Harry's introduction to the Shadow Wolves sets the tone for the rest of the episode. Although, the main message of the episode seems to be, "See, Indians are active members in National Security. We're not all white! Plus all Indians are "natural" trackers, born with a "special connection to nature." A connection which allows them to "hunt" out the bad guys." Mr. Newman and Roger Applegate from ICE go on to say,
The This episode seems to present the Tohono O'odham nation as completely supportive of federal immigration policy decisions. In fact, naturally inclined, to the particular techniques required by federally legislated law. Instead, I would argue that the Shadow Wolves are much more like the description in the Warcraft Handbook.
The shadow wolves bring a special insight to that job [border security], becasue they are all Native American. They bring with them a whole host of skills that they bring with them, in being members of a tribe. The skills have been passed down to them through thier ancestry. The ability to track, is one of the major assests that they have now.
- Valuable when "summoned" for a particular service
- Playtime is limited to a short duration
- They should not be used frivolously, the "Critical Strike" is your opportunity to command the battle field.
- Disposible, Invisible, Harmless
Operation Gatekeeper, designed to crack down on illegal immigration in the San Diego area, diverted migrants to the less crowded Sonoran Desert and Tohono O'odham land. Within a year or two, hundreds of tribe members "started calling the vice chairman's office because they were being stopped and asked for documents," says tribal general counsel Margo Cowan. "Some of them were roughed up-dragged out of their cars, spoken to with profanity, told they had to get documents or they would be arrested and deported. Some were arrested. Some were deported."During the Immigrant-Rights marches earlier this year in May, Tohono O'odham Indians were side by side with Mexicanos and other immigrant groups denouncing the effect that national security has on thier lives.
There is too much here in the Shadow Wolves case to get into for one post, so I'll save some for another time. Meanwhile check out these links to other Shadow Wolf contributions to security discourse. Tell me what you think. I haven't had time to check them all out, yet.
Other Contributions to National Security Discourse
Shadow Wolves Unofficial Web Site HERE
Small Regional News and Local Business Article HERE
Smithsonian Article on "People & Culture" HERE
Customs and Border Protection Newsletter HERE
Shadow Wolves Train Moldovian Police Forces HERE