Mexico: Brad Will Case Transferred to “Crimes Against Journalists” Office On First Anniversary of His Murder

According to the Netroots, “Oaxaca paramilitaries were merely firing into the air” on the day Brad Will of Indymedia was killed. This guy looks to be firing right at YOU, blog monkey. Brad Will was a New Yorker. The NMMist is a New Yorker. New Yorkers are not hot on terrorists who kill other New Yorkers (whether we especially like the politics of those other New Yorkers or not). We also happen live in a part of the world that still has quite a bit of trouble with policemen who moonlight for death squads. And assassinate journalists. Our colleagues. We are not so very keen on that phenomenon, either.

On November 15, state prosecutor Lisbeth Cañas Cadeza threw the investigation for a loop when she reported that the bullets that killed will were fired by an APPO member at the barricade, as part of “a conspiracy to internationalize the conflict, and the product of a planned action.” This was the “point-blank bullet” hypothesis.Expert testing showed that both bullets were fired from the same weapon.

Other evidence presented include photos and videos shot by journalists and taken from 30 meters away, approximately, which show images of men firing pistols at the demonstrators. Five of them have been identified: Carmona and Zárate, Orlando Manuel Aguilar Coello, the local chief of police, and Juan Carlos Soriano and Juan Sumano, local police officers. All remain at large.

Justicia, no carpetazo, piden los familiares de Brad Will: La Jornada (Mexico) interviews the Mexican attorney representing the family of Indymedia photojournalist Brad Will.

Though the official position of the Mexican federal attorney is that investigations into the case “are nearly complete,” the attorney begs to differ, and explains why.

David Sasaki of Global Voices Online had reported that “fear and misinformation abound” in the case — in a post, like so much of the nonsense churned out by these people, that promoted the notion that all hypotheses were equally probable.

Global Voices Online, a project of the Berkman Center for the Internet Society, won the Knight-Ridder prize for “innovations in journalism” in 2006.

Sasaki’s “coverage” of the Oaxaca incident at the time — which provided equal time to what a minimal amount of fact-checking would have revealed as likely to be deliberate disinformation — suggests to me that the “innovation” for which GVO was feted consists mainly of pious, disingenuous logic-chopping nonsense.

“Journalism” that rejects, in principle, the possibility of clarifying the facts, is not journalism at all.

It is, at best, a form of mental masturbation and a waste of the reader’s time. If I want to be fed bullshit and kept in the dark, I will read what comes down the press release wire from our federal government.

At worst, it was an attempt to obfuscate the fact that which a genuine journalist, working to gather reliable information on the scene — rather than gisting Fox News, and press releases from the people who fund their little propaganda and marketing venture, in their Harvard dorm rooms, and calling themselves “innovation journalists” — was murdered.

This is a principal reason why I find the entire project there at Harvard Law so deeply fucking offensive.

Apenas el viernes 19 de octubre la averiguación fue atraída por la Fiscalía Especial para la Atención de Delitos contra Periodistas (FEADP), que tendrá que confrontar y agotar las dos hipótesis que se manejan en torno a esta muerte. Una, que el informador murió por los disparos hechos a 30 metros de distancia por policías y funcionarios municipales que trataban de hacer retroceder a balazos a los activistas apostados en la barricada. Dos, que alguno de los activistas situados al lado de Will le disparó a una distancia de dos metros. Esta última línea fue privilegiada por la Procuraduría General de Justicia de Oaxaca, mientras el caso estuvo en su ámbito.

Only on October 19, 2007 did the Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Journalists (FEADP) attrat the Bradley ill case. The FEADP will have to compare and exhaustively investigate two hypotheses in the case: (1) That Bradley Will died from gunshots fired from 30 meters’ distance by policemen and municipal employees who were trying to force activists to retreat from their barricaded positions with gunfire, and (2) that some of the activists situated alongside Will shot him from a distance of two meters. The latter line of investigation was privileged by the state prosecutor of Oaxaca when the case was still under its jurisdiction.

La primera línea que surgió inmediatamente después del enfrentamiento en Santa Lucía del Camino, donde resultaron heridas dos personas más, fue que Brad Will murió por los disparos hechos por los policías y funcionarios del municipio contra manifestantes de la APPO y periodistas a unos 30 metros de distancia. Incluso dos de ellos, Santiago Zárate, escolta del presidente municipal, y Pedro Carmona, policía local, fueron detenidos 48 horas después y liberados un mes más tarde por falta de pruebas.

The first line of investigation, which emerged immediately after the confrontation in Santa Lucia del Camino, where two other persons were wounded, was that Brad Will died from gunshots fired by police and city employees at APPO demonstrators and journalists from 30 meters away. One of these, Santiago Zárate, a security guard for the mayor of the city, and Pedro Carmona, a local policeman, were detained 48 hours after the incident, and later released for lack of evidence.

A mediados de noviembre del año pasado, las autoridades del gobierno de Ulises Ruiz hicieron circular la versión de que después del primer disparo que recibió Will de frente, a la altura del esternón y que le provocó la muerte de forma casi inmediata, recibió un segundo “para rematarlo” en el trayecto entre Santa Lucía y la Cruz Roja de Oaxaca.

In mid-November 2006, officials of the Ruiz state government started a rumor that Will, who was shot first from the front, in the area of his sternum, causing almost immediate death, received a second bullet, a coup de grace, during the trip from Santa Lucia and the Red Cross in Oaxaca.

El 15 de noviembre del año pasado, la procuradora de Justicia de Oaxaca, Lizbeth Cañas Cadeza, dio un giro a la investigación, al declarar que las balas que mataron a Will fueron disparadas por un miembro de la APPO en la barricada, como parte “de una conspiración para internacionalizar el conflicto, producto de una acción concertada”. Esta es la “hipótesis del tiro a corta distancia”.

On November 15, state prosecutor Lisbeth Cañas Cadeza threw the investigation for a loop when she reported that the bullets that killed Will were fired by an APPO member at the barricade, as part of “a conspiracy to internationalize the conflict, and the product of a planned action.” This was the “short-range bullet” hypothesis.

“No hay un solo peritaje concluyente en este sentido”, refuta De los Santos. “Desde el inicio de la investigación, desde la misma autopsia, detectamos irregularidades. Más adelante vimos que el manejo que se le dio a la investigación pretendía sesgarla en favor de la hipótesis del disparo cercano. Pero nuevas investigaciones y los elementos probatorios con los que contamos hasta ahora no demuestran esa versión”.

“Not a single medical report supports this conclusion,” De los Santos says. “Since the beginning of the investigation, we have detected irregularities. Later we saw that the way investigation was being handled was intended to slant it in favor of the “short-range” hypothesis. But new investigations and evdience we have obtained do not support this theory.”

Hasta ahora, la defensa de la familia Will ha centrado su estrategia en la recopilación de testimonios de las personas que estuvieron ese día (27 de octubre de 2006), a esa hora (cerca de las tres de la tarde), en la calle Benito Juárez, en Santa Lucía del Camino.

Until now, the Will family has focused its strategy on gathering witness statements from people were present on the day (October 27, 2006) at the time in question (around 3:00 pm) on Benito Juárez Street in Santa Lucia de Camino.

“Primero logramos que se descartara la versión de que el segundo disparo (que entró en sedal en el costado izquierdo del periodista) fue hecho lejos del lugar del enfrentamiento, en el trayecto hacia la Cruz Roja”, lo que hacía recaer la responsabilidad en el grupo de jóvenes que intentaron poner a salvo al estadunidense. “Presentamos fotografías y videos que muestran la segunda herida de bala desde los primeros momentos en que Brad fue abatido. Esa versión fue desvirtuada, totalmente, y la procuraduría ya la desechó”.

“The first thing we managed to do was rule out the theory of the second shot (which entered the left side of the journalist’s back), supposedly fired far from the scene of the confrontation, en route to the Red Cross,” which placed the blame on a group of young men who tried to save the American. “We presented photos and videos that showed the second bullet wound was present from the moment Brad was struck down. The ‘second shot’ theory was completely discredited, and the prosecutor’s office has now abandoned it.”

De los Santos asegura: “No estamos convencidos de que la hipótesis del disparo cercano pueda ser demostrada. No hay una sola prueba concluyente”.

De los Santos states: “We are not convinced that the ‘short-range shot’ can be proven. There is not a single piece of conclusive evidence [to support it].”

Por el contrario, tratan de demostrar, a partir de las declaraciones ministeriales de periodistas y activistas que estuvieron al lado de Brad Will a la hora de su muerte, que los disparos que le costaron la vida fueron hechos de frente y a una distancia de unos 30 metros. “Todos nuestros testigos coinciden en afirmar, sin lugar a dudas, que los disparos provenían del otro lado de la barricada; nadie vio disparar a ninguno de los miembros de la APPO”, afirma el abogado, quien admite que sería posible que los testigos no se hubieran percatado del primer tiro, pero que es imposible que no hubieran visto nada en una segunda detonación si el autor de ésta hubiera estado situado cerca de ellos. También presentaron fotografías y videos que demuestran lo anterior.

On the contrary, the Wills are trying to show, based on sworn statemetns from journalists and activists who were beside Brad Will at the time of his death, that the shots that struck him cam from in front and were fired from a distance of 30 meters. “All our witnesses agree, with no room for dobt, that the shots came from the other side of the barricade; no one say any APPO members firing,” the lawyer says. He admits it might be possible for witnesses not to have noticed the first shot, but say it is impossible that they would not have seen anything in the event of a second shot if the shooter had been located near them. The Wills have also presented photos and viedos to demonstrate this point.

Se ha demostrado pericialmente que ambas balas procedieron de la misma arma.

Expert examinations show that both bullets were fired from the same weapon.

Entre los testimonios está el de Osvaldo Ramírez, fotógrafo del diario Milenio, quien resultó herido por la misma andanada de disparos que venían del lado opuesto de la barricada 10 minutos antes de los dos tiros fatales contra Brad Will. Ramírez sostiene que al recibir un impacto fue retirado del lugar y que, mientras lo atendían a varios metros de distancia, siguió oyendo disparos que venían de la misma dirección.

Among the witnesses are Osvaldo Ramírez, photograph from the Milenio daily, who was wounded in the same series of gunshots from the other side of the barricade, 10 minutes before the shots that killed Brad Will. Ramírez maintains that when he was struck he was take away from scene to receive medical attention some meters away, he continued to hear gunshots coming from the same direction.

“Estamos trabajando para corroborar estos testimonios, que tienen sentido y lógica evidente”, aclara el asesor legal.

“We are working to corroborate these witness statements, which have an evidence sense and logic,” said the legal advisor to the Will family.

This story could use at least an attempt to get comment from Oaxaca state authorities. Let me see if Jornada made any attempt to do so, perhaps in a sidebar.

Howard y Cathy Will, padres de Brad, y su hermano Craig, quienes residen en Estados Unidos, viajaron a Oaxaca en marzo para conocer de primera mano el desarrollo de las investigaciones. Justo en esos días el caso fue atraído por la Procuraduría General de la República. En ese momento se informó que la FBI había ofrecido asesoría a los investigadores mexicanos y que su colaboración fue rechazada. Al concluir su visita, la familia Will expresó su decepción por la falta de avances en la averiguación.


Otras pruebas presentadas por la defensa son videos y fotografías de periodistas tomadas a una distancia de 30 metros, aproximadamente, que lograron captar imágenes de hombres disparando con pistolas contra los manifestantes. Cinco de ellos han sido identificados: Carmona y Zárate, Orlando Manuel Aguilar Coello, comandante de la policía municipal, y Juan Carlos Soriano y Juan Sumano, elementos de la policía local. Todos están libres.

Other evidence presented include photos and videos shot by journalists and taken from 30 meters away, approximately, which show images of men firing pistols at the demonstrators. Five of them have been identified: Carmona and Zárate, Orlando Manuel Aguilar Coello, the local chief of police, and Juan Carlos Soriano and Juan Sumano, local police officers. All remain at large.

La FEADP tiene, en el caso de Brad Will, “la oportunidad de demostrar que puede ser un mecanismo eficaz para la defensa de la integridad de los periodistas. Pero sólo si lleva a cabo esta investigación con imparcialidad, objetividad y profundidad, y arroja resultados convincentes”, opinó Miguel Ángel de los Santos. Pese a las presiones de la procuraduría estatal por cerrar la instrucción y adelantar conclusiones, la defensa insiste en que la averiguación aún está en la fase de desahogo de pruebas. “Estamos en la idea de presentar nuestros propios estudios periciales”, informó.


En cuanto al apoyo brindado por la embajada de Estados Unidos, De los Santos comentó que “hasta donde he percibido, dentro de sus limitaciones, la misión diplomática mantiene una actitud de colaboración. Sí hay interés en aclarar los hechos y el embajador Antonio O. Garza personalmente se mantiene pendiente”.


El día que murió Brad Will otras tres personas fueron asesinadas en enfrentamientos similares en otras barricadas: Emilio Alonso Fabián, Esteban Ruiz y Esteban López Zurita. Ninguno de estos crímenes se ha aclarado.



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