Press Advisory: Protest of Sham Congressional Hearing on Bush's proposed Plan Mexico

Update: Friends of Brad Will ejected from public Congressional Hearing on Plan Mexico

For immediate release:

What: Reminding Chairman Engel of the impunity with which U.S. journalist Brad Will was murdered over a year ago, Friends of Brad Will activist Henry Ruben and others are forcefully removed from public hearing.

Time: 10:50 a.m., February 7th

Details:
Congressional Rep. Engels called for Capitol police as Ruben and other activists demanded that opponents of Plan Mexico like the United Steelworkers union, Global Exchange or Witness for Peace be invited to testify. Challenging the series of unbalanced Congressional hearings in which only boosters of the Bush/Calderon ‘security pact’ were invited to testify, Ruben warned that Engel’s committee had shown no interest in widespread opposition to Plan Mexico in the U.S. and Mexico and that this risked green-lighting a lethal aid package which would have harmful impacts on human rights activists, workers, and dissidents in Mexico if it were to pass.

Press Contact: Robert Jereski: 212.973.1782; Charlene Debentour: 718.435. 0908

Call with questions re. Detention of Mr. Ruben and others:

Representative Eliot Engel
Chair, Subcommittee on Western Hemispheric Affairs
202-225-2464

Subcommittee on Western Hemispheric Affairs
202.226.9980

Please call both numbers and urge Engel to:

i. Say ‘NO!’ to Plan Mexico;

ii. Have released from Capitol Police custody Henry Ruben and other activists of Friends of Brad Will who were ordered by Engel to be ejected from a public Congressional (sham) hearing on Plan Mexico. 3rd one without opponents to the Bush ‘drug war’ initiative!

For Immediate Release

What: Protest of Sham Congressional Hearing on Bush’s proposed Plan Mexico
When: Thursday 10am at Rm 2212 of the Rayburn House Office Building

Press Advisory: Friends of murdered U.S journalist and activist, Brad Will Challenge Bush Administration Plan Mexico
– Protest Third Congressional Hearings Featuring only Supporters of the Secretive Bush/Calderon initiative

CONTACT: Robert Jereski, 212.973.1782; Harry Bubbins at 646-641-5788

Friends of murdered U.S journalist and activist, Brad Will are challenging the Bush Administration’s secretive Plan Mexico. President Bush is trying to obtain Congressional approval of the $1.5 billion military aid package to Mexico under the pretext of fighting the widely criticized “war on drugs.”

The Friends of Brad Will – a network of friends and family of the U.S. journalist, murdered covering demonstrations by teachers and their supporters in the Southern Mexican state of Oaxaca – are seeking accountability for his murder in October 2006 and justice for other civilians and activists killed by the same security forces and covered up by the same government institutions that would be rewarded by the $1.5 billion package of lethal aid paid for with U.S taxpayer revenue.

On Thursday, February 7, 2008 at 10:00 a.m, a congressional subcommittee in D.C will convene to discuss “U.S. Obligations under the Merida Initiative.” Congressman Eliot Engel – Chair of the House Subcommittee on Western Hemispheric Affairs – has again chosen to listen only to supporters of the Bush Administration initiative. Details of the secretive plan have not even been revealed to the members of the relevant Congressional Committees thereby preventing Congress from exercising effective oversight of the multi-year $1.5 billion spending package.

Members of Friends of Brad Will will attend the hearing to demand fair Congressional hearings which consider the many voices in opposition to this security pact. Harry Bubbins, a former colleague of Brad Will and an organizer with Friends of Brad Will declared that “these (Congressional) hearings are a sham. You have no person representing the serious public concerns about the dangers of Plan Mexico. But you have 6 Administration officials reading from a script about how it’s not going to be like Plan Colombia!”

“What happened to Congressional oversight and co-equal branches of government the Constitution requires?” said Priya Reddhy, a journalist and former colleague of Brad Will. “The Steelworkers have come out against the Plan but we don’t see them here because they weren’t invited!”

In November, 2007, the United Steelworkers union declared their opposition to the pact, joining human rights and fair trade/economic development advocates like Friends of Brad Will and Global Exchange. Recently the Latin American watchdog organization – Witness for Peace – urged their members to contact relevant Congress people to allow popular concerns about the proposed agreement to inform Congressional inquiry.

Friends of Brad Will demands that serious reforms of the Mexican judiciary and police forces precede any military aid being proposed to Mexican government institutions. The organization also demands that the murderers of Brad Will – caught on his own video camera and witnessed in broad daylight by many journalists and others – be brought to justice along with innocent Mexicans murdered by security forces before any lethal aid is extended to Mexican government institutions.

Mexican security forces are notorious for the impunity they enjoy for the murders of human rights abuses across Mexico.

Background

PM is a secret “security pact” supposedly intended to expand the ‘drug war’ in Mexico, but which would provide lethal equipment – including
helicopters, surveillance equipment, and lethal training to brutal Mexican security forces and corrupt government institutions. US weaponry and training has been used by Mexican officials to repress violently dissent and leftist and indigenous movements.

Much more information is available: http://www.friendsofbradwill.org/category/plan-mexico/

Expose Plan Mexico/Oaxaca Murders- Washington, DC

SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE
Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Chairman

No to Plan Mexico! Accountability for the murder of US journalist Brad Will and other innocents killed by the same security forces and covered up by the same government institutions which would be rewarded by this Bush/Calderon “human insecurity” pact.

TO: MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
You are respectfully requested to attend the following OPEN hearing of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, to be held in Room 2212 of
the Rayburn House Office Building:
DATE: Thursday, February 7, 2008
TIME: 10:00 a.m.
SUBJECT: U.S. Obligations under the Merida Initiative
WITNESSES: The Honorable Thomas A. Shannon
Assistant Secretary
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
U.S. Department of State
more…
NOTE: Witnesses may be added.
By Direction of the Chairman

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