July 30, 2012
everywhere - Nor any drop to drink.*
of the Ancient Mariner' by Samuel Taylor
Coleridge. Mariners are surrounded by a sea of water
they cannot drink.
A case of the government seeking money
and bondage from rural residents by purposely misconstruing an old
law & bending definitions.
Gary Harrington had no idea that he was a water criminal under an
obscure 1925 law until 2002 when state bureaucrats told him that his
three reservoirs were illegal collection devices that were a crime
against his community.
At first, Harrington complied and legally filed for three permits to
keep the rainwater run-off within his 170-acre property, including
one that had been on the property for 37 years.
However, it appears
that the Oregon government is adamantly against its citizens storing
and using their own source of water.
Although his permits were approved in
2003, the state court arbitrarily reversed their decision and was
subsequently backed up by a county Circuit Court judge who ruled
that he had illegally,
“withdrawn the water at issue from
appropriation other than for the City of Medford.”
Even if the city of Medford did
legitimately own all the water, Harrington has good standing when he
points out that the law mentions only streams and tributaries, not
water run-off formulated from the clouds.
Clearly, the Oregon government is sending the message that if a
resident wants water, it had better be with their approval and by
their means. But Oregon isn't the only place instituting rainwater
Western states such as Utah,
Colorado, and Washington have long outlawed the practice,
basically invoking the collectivist notion that the rainwater is
ultimately communal, and to store it (hoard it) is a crime.
Other countries have had uprisings over
this issue. In 1999 mega corporation,
Bechtel, the largest
construction contractor in the United States and winner of
rebuilding contracts after the leveling provided by Katrina and the
invasion of Iraq, privatized the public water system in Cochabamba -
Bolivia's third largest city.
As reported at the time:
This is a country where indigenous
farming communities previously had their own water rights, but
their water sources were converted into property to be bought
and sold by international corporations.
When the company refused to lower
rates, the people began to rise up and revolt against this
injustice; they confronted Bechtel during five months of
mobilization and managed to defeat them, breach the contract and
change the law.
A 17-year-old boy named Victor Hugo Daza was killed in the
protests along with four indigenous people from El Alto, while
hundreds were injured. It was this popular uprising in
Cochabamba that led to the election of their new president Evo
Morales, the first ever indigenous head of state in Bolivia.
Bechtel was thrown out of Bolivia, but months later they
moved to do the
exact same thing in Ecuador‘s largest city of
Guayaquil. And in November 2001, they filed a lawsuit against
Bolivia demanding $50 million, an amount which is just short of
what the corporation makes in a day.
The case will be decided behind
closed doors in a secret trade court at the World Bank
headquarters in Washington; it will tell whether the people of
South America’s poorest country will have to pay $50 million to
one of the world’s most wealthy corporations.
Update: In 2006, Bechtel dropped their case against Bolivia.
In the case of Ecuador, thousands showed
up to protest the corporate takeover of their innate right to use
the water that falls upon their land.
In some ways, what is happening in
Oregon and other Western states is even worse than the privatization
led by corporations like Bechtel.
Not only are resources and populations being exploited for financial
gain, but as Mike Adams correctly points out for NaturalNews:
sunlight and air also fall on your land, so where will this end if
people don't stand up in defense of their most basic rights?
It is the very spirit of American ownership of private property and
the right to self-determination that are being threatened. The
ideology of collectivism is seeking in myriad ways to upend the
foundation of America and criminalize independence.
Hat's off to Harrington who embodies the
spirit of true freedom and vows never to end the fight if his rights
continue to get trampled.
“When something is wrong, you just,
as an American citizen, you have to put your foot down and say,
‘This is wrong; you just can’t take away anymore of my rights
and from here on in, I’m going to fight it.”
There are several lines in the sand that
should not be crossed within any country claiming to be rooted in
Revolt has happened in other nations subjected to the same level of
tyranny who recognized that even without an American Constitution,
this is a human rights issue that in fact has no boundaries.
The words of water criminal Gary
Harrington ring clear that we'd do well to stand our ground on
fundamental issues, unless we wish to give away our spirit along
with our land:
They’ve just gotten to be big
bullies and if you just lay over and die and give up, that just
makes them bigger bullies. So, we as Americans, we need to stand
on our constitutional rights, on our rights as citizens and hang
This is a good country, we’ll prevail.