Week of Action and Remembrance, NYC

Remembering Brad Will (1970-2006)
American journalist assassinated in Oaxaca, Mexico
by right-wing paramilitary death squads

Press conference on Tuesday, October 21, 2008
2 pm (NYC time) in front of U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton’s office: 780 Third Ave
between 48th & 49th St., Manhattan

FOLLOWED by a 4-day round-the-clock vigil and
Hunger Strike at Sen. Hillary Clinton’s office

Friends of Brad Will, including human rights advocates Robert Jereski and Harry Bubbins, will
be engaging in a 4-day vigil and fast as part of
an international “Week of Action and Remembrance”
of their friend Brad Will, to call attention to
the Mexican government’s cover-up of the U.S.
journalist’s murder and in opposition to Senator
Hillary Clinton’s support for U.S. funding for
Mexico’s military operations under Plan Mexico (the “Merida Initiative”) .

The vigil will last for 4 days and nights outside
Senator Clinton’s office. It is calling on Sen.
Clinton to order protection for witnesses who saw
Mexican government paramilitaries shooting at
demonstrators, including Brad Will, in Oaxaca,
and who are currently being threatened by Mexican Authorities.

Brad Will was assassinated while reporting and
filming the 2006 uprising in Oaxaca. Multiple
witnesses say he was shot by right-wing
paramilitaries who are seen in photos shooting
towards Will. The paramilitaries are: Juan Carlo
Soriano, municipal police officer; Manuel
Aguilar, council personnel chief; Able Santiago
Zarate; and Pedro Carmona, mayor of Felipe
Carrillo Puerto de Santa Lucia del Camino. (See
photo at http://www.rsf. org/article. php3?id_article= 19485)

The Mexican government’s own National Commission
for Human Rights issued a report a few weeks ago
which declared that the federal and state
attorneys general have violated human rights,
legality, judicial security and prevented access
to justice in their investigation of Brad Will’s
murder. (See this document at http://www.cndh. org.mx/recomen/ recomen.asp )

According to Robert Jereski, who is a human
rights advocate, former director of the New York
City-based International Forum for Aceh and the
author of several essays and articles, “Plan
Mexico is a secret ‘security pact’ supposedly
intended to expand the ‘drug war’ in Mexico, but
which would provide over a billion dollars of
U.S. taxpayer money in the next two years to
train and arm the notoriously brutal and corrupt
Mexican security forces with deadly equipment,
including helicopters and surveillance equipment, and lethal training.

“It is our duty to stand up for human rights in
solidarity with the victims of those security
forces, and not with the perpetrators of human
rights violations,” Jereski continued, explaining
that U.S. weaponry and training have been used by
Mexican officials to violently repress dissent
and leftist and indigenous movements ­ “the very
actions that journalist Brad Will was exposing.

“Plan Mexico is also being opposed by the United
Steelworkers union, Global Exchange, and Witness
for Peace because it imposes horrendous
conditions for workers in Mexico under the
pressure of the U.S. government,” Jereski concluded.

And Harry Bubbins, an environmental expert living
in the Bronx, adds that “the Jewish magazine
Tikkun and Jews for Racial & Economic Justice
also oppose Plan Mexico because under the guise
of the ‘war on drugs’ it has enabled the
unpopular right-wing Mexican President Calderon
to appoint members of the anti-semitic El Yunque movement to his cabinet.”

Bubbins explained that the vigil was called for
Sen. Hillary Clinton’s office in order to “demand
that New York State’s Democratic Party leaders
oppose the Bush militarization package bolstering
right-wing paramilitaries in Mexico, Central
America and the Caribbean, and declare a new era
of cooperation with the peoples of this
hemisphere and not with those who abuse human rights.

“We, friends of U.S. journalist Brad Will,”
Bubbins said, “are calling on Senator Clinton to
help us achieve justice and an end to impunity by
Latin American and Caribbean security forces for
the murders of Brad Will and many other
journalists and labor and indigenous activists.
We urge the Senator to oppose the failed
neo-conservative security model promoted by
President Bush and Mexican President Calderon by
speaking out against the Merida Initiative.”

A statement released by the organization,
“Friends of Brad Will,” asks “Why has Senator
Clinton ignored the murder of a U.S. journalist
by Mexican government-backed paramilitaries? Why
has she said nothing about the cover-up by
Mexican State and Federal civilian authorities?
And why has she agreed to fund additional lethal
training and armaments to Latin American
governments which routinely target their own
civilians, especially labor and indigenous rights
activists? Is this how she honors the life of a
U.S. citizen who lived and worked in New York?”

A press conference will be held in front of Sen.
Hillary Clinton’s Manhattan office at 2 pm on
Tuesday, October 21, to kick-off the vigil, fast,
and week of action and remembrance.

DEMANDS

1) That Hillary Clinton issue a public statement
demanding the protection of the witnesses to
Brad’s murder, the arrest of the government
agents on film shooting at him, and a public
statement opposing the Merida Initiative (Plan Mexico).

2) When Brad was killed, the people photographed
firing guns at the protesters were police, police
commanders, and operatives and bodyguards for the
PRI party, including Pedro Carmona, Able Santiago
Zarate aka “El Chino,” Juan Carlo Soriano aka “El
Chapulin,” Commander Manuel Aguilar Coello, and
Juan Sumano. They are directly linked to the
corrupt Governor Ulises Ruiz. We demand their arrest.

3) Since Brad’s death, Ulises Ruiz’ government
has been attempting to bring charges for Brad’s
killing against Brad’s friends, APPO people,
witnesses, and those who risked their lives
trying to get Brad to a hospital. We join the
National Commission on Human Rights, and
Reporters Without Borders in finding these
attempts to be an absurd attempt to divert
attention from the real killers. We demand an end
to this smokescreen and the punishment of
innocent people including Juan Manuel Martínez Moreno and Octavio Perez Perez.

4) Brad is only one of dozens of activists,
reporters, civilians, and unarmed people killed
by the State response to the Oaxacan movement for
justice and freedom. Friends of Brad Will not
only demands justice for them, but demands what
they demand: the end of corrupt brutal rule by Ulises Ruiz.

5) Marcella Sali Grace Eiler, an international
solidarity activist working with CIPO, Colectivo
Mujer Nueva and with the witnesses of Brad’s
death, was found brutally raped and murdered
September 26th 2008 in San Jose del Pacifico in
the state of Oaxaca. Her death is part of an
escalation of violence against women in an era of
neo-liberal trade agreements and drug wars. We
join in solidarity with the friends and family of
Sali and demand an end to NAFTA, CAFTA, and Plan Puebla Panama.

6) A year almost to the day after Brad was
murdered, the Bush Administration announced the
Merida Initiative (aka Plan Mexico), providing at
least $1.6 billion in US armament, training, and
resources to the same police and military forces
that killed Brad and many other activists and
journalists in Mexico and Central America under
the pretense of stopping narco-trafficking.
Already the weapons have been used in massacres
and repression of activists in Morelos and
Chiapas. Along with the AFL-CIO, the United
Steelworkers, Tikkun, Wespac, Witness for Peace,
Cispes, and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice,
The Friends of Brad Will demand an end to the Merida Initiative.

———— ——— ——— ——— ——–
About the initiators:

Robert Jereski’s publications include a monograph
entitled The Conflict in Aceh, and U.S. Interests
in Promoting A Free Market, Stability and Human
Rights in South East Asia – An Examination of the
Context and Impacts of ExxonMobil’s Security
Arrangements with the Indonesian Armed Forces,
viewable at
http://preventconfl ict.org/portal/ main/research/ jereski.htm
. He was also a 2004 Democratic Party candidate
for Congress in New York City’s 14th Congressional District.

Harry Bubbins is a New York City based
environmental and human rights advocate who was
named the 2001 Bronx Activist of the Year. He has
presented at numerous forums from DC to NYC,
including Columbia University’s School of
International and Public Affairs. He has directed
a theater piece, “Bush Invades Mexico”, on the
impact of United States Latin American policy on
human rights in Mexico at the Martin Siegal
Theatre of the City University of New York:
http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=79rFpfMYRdo. His
most recent performance was featured on Democracy
Now! at: http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=_RItQbTvKcE

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s