7 years after, they continue to organize and demand justice.
Weekend Edition May 10-12, 2013
Sign the Petition to Remove Suazanne Nossel
Threatened with Censorship and Ouster by PEN’s Henchmen
by JOHN V. WALSH
In the vast and ever expanding firmament of Western Human Rights NGO’s, PEN, America Center, the writers’ organization, is far from the most luminous and ordinarily barely visible. But a dark side of PEN came clearly into view with the hiring of Suzanne Nossel as its executive director. And the same dark side is becoming all too apparent in organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, both of which have also employed Nossel in the past. Read more here.
Excellent opEd and open letter by Reporters Without Borders on the occasion of President Obama’s trip to Mexico, mentions Brad Will’s murder and urges the President act:
President Obama, what will you do to end the torment of Mexico’s journalists?
by Christophe Deloire
General Director, Reporters Without Borders
Dear President Obama,
Your official visit to Mexico on May 3 coincides with World Press Freedom Day. As the General Director of Reporters Without Borders, an international non-governmental organization that defends freedom of information, I hope the visit will result in a firm commitment by you to help restore the rule of law and civil liberties in this country.
Last Sunday, hundreds of journalists and human rights defenders staged marches in 14 Mexican states at the request of many NGOs, including ours, to demand an end to the barbarity that targets them, and an end to impunity for those responsible for the barbarity.
Continue Reading »
TAKE ACTION TAKE ACTION TAKE ACTION TAKE ACTION
OBAMA is going to MEXICO on Thursday
We demand ACCOUNTABILITY
for the MURDER of US JOURNALIST BRAD WILL NOW!
CALL Senator Leahy this morning or today: (202) 224-4242
As the second most Senior Senator and the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, Senator Leahy has the power to influence President Obama’s discussions with the President of Mexico, a major recipient of US military aid. He is very familiar with Brad Will’s case and will respond if he hears from enough of us.
He’s getting a lot of calls. Make one quick call asap to make sure he acts.
Tell Senator Leahy you want him to urge President Obama to do two things during his trip to Mexico:
1) Mention Brad Will’s name publicly: Raise to Mexican President Nieto publicly the lack of sound prosecution of the shooters who murdered Brad Will and
2) Demand accountability for the murder of Brad Will and other journalists: To insist that accountability for his murder, and the murder of other journalists, mostly Mexican, who had, before they were killed, been publishing stories of corruption and brutality by top Mexican government officials, be achieved promptly and transparently.
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SEATTLE (April 24th, 2013) – A priest from Honduras says the United States is repeating the same errors in Central America as it did in the 1980s, and his country is suffering as a result.
Jesuit Father Ismael Moreno, who directs Radio Progreso, a feisty activist station on the Caribbean coast of Honduras, recently told several gatherings in Oregon and Washington that U.S. intervention in his country, supposedly focused on drug trafficking, has undermined democracy and fostered corruption.
Shows what journalists contending with extensive government corruption in Mexico are up against and why it’s so important that we’re continuing to fight for accountability for the murder of Brad Will.
Five years ago we urged Amnesty International not to support militarization and to fight the “Durg War” based on its on-going and predictable future human rights impacts. They went with militarization.
“[D]rug control has received little attention from the mainstream human rights movement.”
“Just as we now view the war on terror through a human rights lens, we need to see drug control as a human rights concern. We need to acknowledge that not only are human rights abuses in the war on drugs widespread, but that they are systemic. They are an inevitable result of what governments do when they set repressive and unrealistic goals to eliminate supply and demand for widely available commodities and exhibit zero tolerance for human behavior.”
Read the entire piece by FERNANDO HENRIQUE CARDOSO, a former president of Brazil, is chairman of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, and RUTH DREIFUSS, a former president of Switzerland and minister of home affairs, a member of the commission, by clicking below.
On Tuesday, March 13, a student protest broke out at the opening ceremony for the Institute for Women’s Leadership in Latin America in Garrison Theater at Scripps College. As soon as former Mexican Presidential candidate for the National Action Party Josefina Vázquez Mota finished her speech, numerous students stood up and shouted to Scripps President Lori Bettison-Varga.
Shouts began as a declaration calling out to President Bettison-Varga about the lack of dialogue with faculty and students when the decision was made to bring the Institute to Scripps. As security closed in on close to thirty protesters, the chanting grew louder and was accompanied by drumming. Once ejected from the auditorium the group continued their chanting in the lobby of Garrison Theater. (NB: We are everywhere: more here).
A YouTube video sparks a mass student movement protesting against newly elected President of Mexico Enrique Pena Nieto
Excellent introduction to the #132 Movement, one of the anti-corruption and accountability/transparency movements in Mexico which has much in common with those fighting against the “war on drugs” in the U.S.
This is happening now!
Also, a longer interview, entitled After Historic Votes Legalizing Marijuana, Colorado & Washington Prepare for Federal Gov’t Showdown, on Democracy Now! provides insights into the major changes that have occurred and continue to take place, challenging D.C. politicians continuation of the failed ‘war on drugs’.
It’s worth checking out! We’re winning!
The two career law enforcement officers interviewed on October 25th here are two of many speaking out against the criminalization of drugs and the failed ‘drug war’ policy pursued by Bush and now even with more vigor, President Obama.
Interviewed in above linked video are the following:
Jim Gierach is a former Assistant State’s Attorney of Cook County, Illinois. He spent more than twenty years fighting drug prohibition as a candidate for Cook County State’s Attorney and Illinois governor in primary elections. As an author and speaker, he has debated drug-policy issues with the former head of the DEA and drug advisors to the White House. Richard Van Wickler is the superintendent for the Cheshire County, New Hampshire Department of Corrections. Richard served three years in the active component of the U.S. Army and retired in December 2006 after 26 years of military service. Richard also teaches Justice Studies at Keene State College.
Excellent interview of two police officers, on the front lines of the ‘war on drugs’ for decades, who founded Law Enforcement Against Prohibition because of the failure of this policy. When will President Obama actually take a stand for post-partisan practical policies on drugs that these first responders describe compellingly here? The call for an end to the ‘war on drugs’ is being made across the political spectrum, from libertarian supporters of Paul Ryan to liberals who support Obama and beyond. It is also being supported by economists, public health advocates, and fiscal conservatives worldwide.
New Film Recounts How U.S. Intervention Caused Mass Latin American Migrations
Discussion provides a context to Obama policy in Latin America and why Brad Will’s murder has not been a priority for the U.S. government for 5 years.
Great ten part series mentioned here.
View an interview with the author, Mark Karlin, by Paul Jay, editor of the Real News Network here.
Again, where are our much-touted great human rights leaders and organizations, like Senator Leahy, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the American Friends Services Committee, when a policy that has so clearly failed for several decades continues to spread suffering and authoritarian power (albeit in the interest of US economic elites not working class people)!? Where are they to join the spreading call for decriminalizations and an end to Prohibition?
This piece by Laura Carlsen, Director, Mexico City-based Americas Program of the Center for International Policy; columnist, Foreign Policy in Focus, is an excellent summary of the failure of the ‘drug war’. Unfortunately no mention is made of the widespread recognition of this by Republican Party libertarians and by sizable portions of the electorate across the political spectrum. Nevertheless, a solid piece.
It potentially affects half the U.S. population, men and women whose lives could be disrupted forever from one day to the next. It costs billions of dollars, at a time when schools are closing down and essential public services disappearing. It deepens the nation’s racial divide and tears families apart. It kills tens of thousands of people, in the U.S. and abroad. Continue Reading »
by Blanche Petrich Moreno, an award-winning veteran journalist in Mexico, is a member of La Jornada’s WikiLeaks investigative reporting team.
This article appeared in the August 13-20, 2012 edition of The Nation.
Some of the cables can undoubtedly be found on Wkleaks site (after they weather the current denial-of-service attack). The one entitled “Mexico Offered US Free Access to Intelligence System” (May 25, 2011) seems key.
Also looks like La Jornada’s collection of 100 essays, features etc on the State Department cables are very important reading.
For The Nation article In Spanish:
El largo brazo de la guerra contra las drogas
by Tom Hayden
Published in the Nation magazine on August 7, 2012
A new peace movement to end the US-sponsored drug war begins with buses rolling and feet marching from the Tijuana–San Diego border on August 12 through twenty-five US cities to Washington, DC, in September. (for the rest of this piece, click here).
Weird that this Caravan (or this article) would give billing to the Washington Office on Latin America after their role facilitating the expansion of Bush’s War on Drugs and their running interference for the Obama/Clinton policy supporting the Honduras Coup. But good that it is happening; if only groups like WOLA listen and change their policies in support of USG funding of security forces in Mexico.
“Using the “war on drugs” as justification, what this type of law does is control the social and political opposition – all types of opposition to the Honduran state.”
Media Repression in Honduras Speaks to U.S. Congress, but is anyone Listening?
View report here.
From the Real News Network.
July 19, 2012
Mass Protests Against Mexican Election Results
Student movement takes to the streets to reject what they call election fraud
by the Real News Network.
Thousands of Mexicans Protest Alleged Elections Fraud
James Cockcroft: Mexican Elite will not allow Andres Lopez Obrador to be President
Why establishment media in the US is covering the Mexican election as if it was not stolen by the corporate-militarist right-wing candidate (b/c the establishment media in the US also skews election coverage to make the most money off of elections rigged by their coverage).
“. . .the student movement literally came out in the streets to protest against this TV channel, Televisa, and its candidate, Peña Nieto, saying that it was basically misreporting the news and leading people to vote for Peña Nieto because they didn’t know what López Obrador really stood for.
JAY: And part of the challenge—excuse me. Part of the challenge, if I understand correctly, from López Obrador is that this indirectly violated campaign financing laws. It amounted to, you know, millions of dollars of free advertising.”
And another reason why most NYTimes and other establishment media coverage of the ‘drug war’ is so skewed towards supporting on-going militarization (b/c establishment corporate and military interests of both corporate parties and the parties themselves (see Walter Karp’s excellent book, Indispensable Enemies – The Politics of Misrule in America) are benefited by this undemocratic system).
Continue Reading »
published in the Latin American Herald Tribune, July 10th, 2012
MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s electoral courts will be asked later this week to annul or declare the July 1 presidential election invalid on the grounds that 5 million votes “were bought” for the winning Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Monday. Continue Reading »
By EDUARDO PORTER
Published in the New York Times Business Section, July 3, 2012
Now that the New York Times has come out against the ‘war on drugs’ perhaps Amnesty International will. If you’re a member, you could give them a call and see what they say. . .
Quote: “. . .the presidential elections on both sides of the border offer a unique opportunity to re-examine the central flaws of the two countries’ strategy against illegal narcotics. Its threadbare victories — a drug seizure here, a captured kingpin there — pale against its cost in blood and treasure. And its collateral damage, measured in terms of social harm, has become too intense to ignore.
Most important, conceived to eradicate the illegal drug market, the war on drugs cannot be won. Once they understand this, the Mexican and American governments may consider refocusing their strategies to take aim at what really matters: the health and security of their citizens, communities and nations.”
Read entire OpEd here.
Can we expect the corporate mainstream media (NY Times or Washington Post) to advocate for an end to militarization under the guise of the ‘drug war’ even though the ‘war on drugs’ has been an abject failure (at least as regards its explicit purposes)?
Here is a brief expose of the distortions of the Wash Post on NAFTA and the Mexican economy:
The Washington Post Still Can’t Talk Honestly About Mexico’s Economy
Sunday, 01 July 2012 07:20
The Washington Post is heavily invested in NAFTA. At the time of the debate it abandoned any pretext of being an objective newspaper, allowing both its opinion and news pages to be overwhelmingly dominated by proponents of the agreement. Since its passage the Post has refused to acknowledge that the agreement has had the intended effect in the United States of lowering the wages of manufacturing workers. (This is textbook economics. By putting U.S. manufacturing workers into more direct competition with their low-paid counterparts in Mexico, the result is that wages of manufacturing workers in the United States fall.)
Reporters without Borders/Reporteros sin Fronteras
Press release/Comunicado de prensa
June 29, 2012/29 de junio de 2012
There has been absolutely no let-up in a decade-old wave of terror against journalists in the final run-up to the presidential election on Sunday (1 July). The federal offensive against drug trafficking (http://en.rsf.org/mexique-basta-de-sangre-no-sangre-campaign-11-02-2011,39540.html) of the past six years has only increased the danger posed by the drug cartels and by their infiltration of virtually all branches of the state.
Continue Reading »
Anthropology Professor Dr. Pine of American University is interviewed here on the Real News Network and provides a fascinating and thorough background and analysis of ‘drug war’ militarization and its impacts in Honduras.
On June 7, 40 Honduran scholars, supported by 300 academics from 29 countries, sent a letter to President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demanding the following:
cease all U.S. support for Honduran military and police training—and sent the message that the war on drugs is not a rationale for supporting a regime that is violently suppressing its own people.
No response as of yet from our democracy-loving political leaders!
Here’s an excerpt of this excellent 10 minute interview:
JAY: Now, we know a lot of the Mexican drug operations have moved to Central America, and a lot of them apparently are moving to Honduras. So if that’s true, doesn’t the administration have to cooperate and support this regime in order to deal with the drug invasion of Honduras?
PINE: Well, the problem with that logic is that this regime is deeply complicit in the drug trade, and so cooperating and supporting this regime is in effect cooperating with and supporting the drug traffickers themselves. Some of the known drug traffickers—and this has come out in WikiLeaks reports. For example, Miguel Facussé, who is a land holder in the Bajo Agúan region, who himself is responsible (and he’s admitted this on national TV) for the killings of numerous peasants in the region with whom he has land conflicts, in a WikiLeaks cable it’s admitted by the State Department that they know he is a drug trafficker as far back as—I think that was in 2004 or 2005.
Go to the Real News Network here for the whole interview.
Note: We all know: If there’s so much law enforcement cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico, why haven’t the murderers of Brad Will been brought to justice after they killed him in broad daylight in front of witnesses? Instead we got a Senator Leahy-supported ‘independent expert’ investigation by ex-RCMP guys who didn’t even interview witnesses (oh, wait, they didn’t even speak Spanish). No public outrage by the supposed “human rights Senator” from Vermont once this became well-publicized.
The following repost to the DailyKos exposes the bipartisan theater which is our government and corporate media, which requires that media to stick to the script and ignore the truth. This pays corporate media ‘news’ dividends in election $$$ and indulgent regulation but requires ignoring pretty glaring contradictions like this one in the recent hullabaloo about Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious.
Both sides of the aisle are pro-Merida Initiative (i.e. pro-corruption, pro-impunity, and pro-drug cartel). Bi-partisan ‘drug war’ boosters: Bush and Obama; Pelosi and Boehner; Rep Issa and Senator Leahy. And the corporate media is just amplifying the nonsense and distracting from what ‘our’ government is doing in Mexico, Honduras and elsewhere in Latin America. became well-publicized.
Here’s the key question raised at the end of this well-referenced piece:
“My questions: Why hasn’t anyone in the media connected Project Gunrunner to Darrell Issa’s yes vote to fund Project Gunrunner and why hasn’t anyone in the media connected Project Gunrunner to Merida Initiative?
Even though I posted this Diary earlier this week — I am only re-posting it today in an effort to have Sunday Talk Show hosts bring up Issa’s own involvement in Funding Project Gunrunner.”
Or legalization. (Though Governor Cuomo’s proposal and Mayor Bloomberg’s (original) one both continue the destructive and cartel-empowering Prohibitions approach.) Can’t we evolve to a pragmatic and civil liberties-respecting altenative:
Re “Police and Mayor Back Plan to Curtail Marijuana Arrests” (front page, June 5):
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s call to end the criminalization of the possession in public view of small amounts of marijuana could end a serious injustice in New York’s criminal justice system. Many critics of the current law point out that it is counterproductive and wastes police and court resources. It also results in blatantly discriminatory arrests.
Each year, tens of thousands of blacks and Hispanics acquire a criminal record for marijuana possession, while whites walk around with marijuana in their pockets knowing they are unlikely to feel the heavy hand of the law.
United States obligations under international human rights law may not prohibit drug arrests that defy common sense, but they do prohibit those that are racially discriminatory.
Senior Adviser, United States Program
Human Rights Watch
New York, June 5, 2012
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I salute Justice Gustin L. Reichbach for his courageous act of civil disobedience and his willingness to admit publicly his use of marijuana for medical purposes.
Anyone who has personally suffered or has seen a friend or family member suffer from debilitating pain that traditional remedies do not sufficiently help knows that it does not permit a person to function productively. It is hard to engage in the everyday activities, like eating, sleeping, playing with children, and enjoying the company of friends and family, that make life worthwhile. One’s life becomes entirely focused on the pain.
The judge’s plea to legalize marijuana for medical purposes comes from both his head and his heart. Legally, it does not make sense to criminalize a treatment when the decision should best be left to the discretion of a patient and his doctor.
Why should a person be punished for seeking relief using a drug that is known to alleviate suffering, while causing no side effects and no harm to others? Why should his friends be exposed to arrest for their altruistic response? It seems cruel for a civilized society to withhold available help.
I hope that the New York State Legislature acts, as many other states have already done, to change the law. No more unnecessary suffering. Let’s make a person’s final days as comfortable as possible.
Brooklyn, May 17, 2012
The writer is a professor at Touro Law School.
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