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Disruption at Plan Mexico Hearing in DC

February 7th, 2008 – kirby writes: Soon after a panel of representatives from Homeland Security, the Border Patrol, and other US officials was introduced at today’s Congressional hearing on Plan Mexico, a member of Friends of Brad Will stood up to challenge this plan to send weapons, counter-insurgency training, and other resources to the Mexican government. After a representative demanded that he be silent, he was carried by Capitol Police out of the crowded hearing room and arrested.

Friends of murdered U.S journalist and activist, Brad Will are working to expose the Bush administration’s plan to get Congress to approve a 1.5 billion dollar military aid package to Mexico under the pretext of fighting the widely criticized “war on drugs.” The “Merida Initiative” or Plan Mexico is a secret “security pact” to expand the?‘drug war’ in Mexico and would provide weapons – including helicopters, (previously used by Mexican police forces to shoot civilians at protests) and surveillance equipment, and lethal “counter-insurgency” training to brutal?Mexican security forces and corrupt government institutions that have been widely condemned for human rights abuses. Much more information is available at friendsofbradwill.org

Today, at 10:00 a.m, a congressional subcommittee in D.C convene to discuss “U.S. Obligations under the Merida Initiative.” Americans are not aware of Plan Mexico, which must be made fully public. Friends of Brad Will demands fair Congressional hearings that actually provide opportunities for serious public concerns about the dangers of Plan Mexico to inform Congressional inquiry. Serious reforms of the Mexican judiciary and police forces must precede any military aid being given to Mexican government institutions.

How you can help stop Plan Mexico- Call relevant U.S. committee chairs to demand accountability for the murder of Brad Will and the murders of many Mexican teachers and civilians. Accountability must precede any U.S. taxpayer-funded lethal aid to Mexican security forces that have enjoyed impunity for murders of leftists, and numerous other human rights abuses.

Contact:

Congress member Elliot Engel
Chair of Western Hemispheric Affairs Subcommittee: 202-225-2464?

Congress member Tom Lantos
Chair of Foreign Affairs Committee: 202-225-3531?

Congress member Nita Lowey
Chair of Foreign Operations Subcommittee: 202-225-6506

source: dc.indymedia.org

By El Enemigo Común

A bilingual website in solidarity with social movements in Mexico. // Un sitio web bilingüe en solidaridad con los movimientos sociales en México.

3 replies on “Disruption at Plan Mexico Hearing in DC”

SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE OF THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Chair Tom Lantos)

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, ie Plan Mexico
WITNESSES: The Honorable Thomas A. Shannon

Assistant Secretary
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
U.S. Department of State
more…

NOTE: Witnesses may be added. Lobbying/Meeting suggestions:

view:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfImBQGg6RM

Give Engel/Lowey’s local office a call and say you’d like to meet w/her/him or their respective foreign policy staffer.

Get a folder and make a few copies of articles about Plan Mexico and a statement from the Steelworkers against it. Also a copy of the action alert on friendsofbradwill targeting lantos (w/his face on it).

Whatever else you can put in there that seems important (some Amnesty reports on corruption/abuse in Mexico have been particularly damning).

Ask whether they are satisfied with the investigation of U.S. journalist Brad Will’s murder by the Mexican authorities. Tell them that Bush’s negotiation of plan mexico to give $ and weapons to the unaccountable Mexican police/military is exactly the wrong signal to give the Mexican Government after a year during which they’ve refused to arrest and put on trial those seen killing a u.s. journalist.

Why should it matter that these were police offices and the mayor of a town who killed him? These members of institutions Bush wants to support w/’drug war’ money should not be above the law.

Tell them we expect them to be out front of this issue, showing leadership and making sure other Democrats recognize:

i. Accountability for the murder of a u.s. journalist must precede any u.s. taxpayer funded military aid/weaponry/training;

ii. The security initiative – plan mexico – is part of a failed ‘drug war’ policy which will spread violence w/out addressing demand. Its contents should be MADE PUBLIC and it should be introduced as a stand-alone bill and voted on on its own merits;

iii. Reforms of the mexican judiciary and police should precede any lethal aid; otherwise, Bush would be gambling w/people’s lives.

Show us an end to impunity and corruption – the arrest and conviction of Brad Will’s murderers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfImBQGg6RM

Plan Mexico was hatched by Presidents Bush and Calderon without any consultation from the US or Mexican congresses.

Officially known as the Merida Initiative, Plan Mexico,is immediately likened to the failures and violence of Plan Colombia that has led to an increase in human rights violations and cocaine production.

Stopping Plan Mexico has been named by the Center for International Policy as one of the top three challenges to protect attempts to build more just and peaceful societies in Latin America.

The United Steelworkers came out against it in November and issued a statement demanding public hearings about it after the police crackdowns on miners in Mexico last week.

Plan Mexico would provide $1.5 billion in US Taxpayer monies and equipment to the Mexican military, police, and intelligence services.

None of the aid contemplated in this first package of a proposed 3 year deal goes where it’s most needed: addiction prevention and rehabilitation in America, and local development financing in México.

Sending equipment to the Mexican police and military in the context of unprosecuted human rights violations encourages impunity.

Is this what Americans want our government to do with our tax money?

Increased surveillance, secret police and paramilitary activities endangers the civil liberties of the general population at risk, especially activists, union leaders, indigenous peoples.

The invasion by U.S. military companies such as Blackwater, and direct U.S. involvement in Mexican military would lead to a client state relationship that compromises Mexican national sovereignty and would lead to increased U.S. interventionist and even imperial foreign policy.

This “security” initiative is proposed in the context of opening up the Mexican economy to further privatization and exploitation by multinational corporations.

Plan Mexico, emphasizes interdiction and as such expands the failed drug war in Colombia. Yet, a study conducted by the conservative RAND Drug Policy Research Center for the U.S. Army … found that treatment is 10 times more cost effective than interdiction…”.

Plan Mexico imagines anti-terrorist measures to confront an international threat that does not exist in Mexico, and would reinterpret migration as organized crime.

Mexico needs and deserves U.S. support, in the form of fair trade agreements which prioritize labor, indigenous and other human rights & environmental protections; Instead our government sends jobs oversees where Mexican workers and farmers rights are abused under rapacious free trade that reduces wages and decimates the environment. The proposal to expand militarization of Mexican society is a step in the wrong direction.

Plan Mexico is a dangerous ploy by the Bush administration to intervene in the affairs of Mexico for decades to come, while ignoring the need to create good paying jobs at home.

Tell Congress to Stop Plan Mexico.

If approved, the FY 2008 Mexico funding will include $306 million for counter-narcotics, counter-terrorism and border security; $56.1 million for public security and law enforcement; and about $100 million for revamping the operations of the Mexican Attorney General’s office.

The funding would constitute a tenfold increase in current U.S. anti-narcotics aid to Mexico.

However, only $15.1 million-a mere 3%-has been requested for drug demand reduction activities, which are an essential-if not the only proven-means for successfully curbing illegal drug production and consumption. There has been no announcement from the Bush Administration of any complementary plan for reduction of domestic demand in the U.S.

The Context

The proposed $1.4 billion Merida Initiative is no isolated proposal, nor is it the whole story on funding for Mexico’s new drug war. Mexico plans to put up the majority of the funding: a whopping $7 billion, making the Merida Initiative an $8.4 billion program. Neither the Bush Administration nor the Mexican government has disclosed how the rest of the funds will be allocated.

It is clear, however, that the U.S. would be augmenting a militarized Mexican anti-narcotics campaign that has already resulted in a number of unaddressed human rights abuses. Moreover, funds could be used to violently repress social movements, as evidenced by the recent federal crackdowns on popular protests in San Salvador Atenco and Oaxaca.

But concerns do not stop there, as this plan appears to be one part of a much broader U.S. security agenda. The Merida Initiative is a direct result of closed-door planning within the framework of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP), an extra-legislative coalition of Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. heads-of-state and representatives from private industry and the military-industrial complex. Anti-narcotics programs are only one facet of an agenda that is primarily concerned with establishing an integrated North American security zone in which government bolsters the interests of transnational companies, furthers the privatization and extraction of natural resources (especially energy resources), and controls political opposition in the name of counter-terrorism. The SPP agenda is worrisome on the levels of human rights, violations of civil liberties, unregulated private interest, and transparency of government. But if all Congress and the public considers is the narrowness of the Merida Initiative’s counter-narcotics strategy, the main bulk of the security agenda iceberg will remain, as they say in Mexico, bajo el agua (under the water).

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!

Remember to be polite but firm, please. It will be more effective.

Cheers,
Rob

Robert Jereski
Congressional Liaison
Friends of Brad Will (NYC Chapter)
http://www.friendsofbradwill.org

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