From the Washington Post:
“In Puerto Las Ollas, a mountain village of 50 people in the southern state of Guerrero, residents recounted how soldiers seeking information last month stuck needles under the fingernails of a disabled 37-year-old farmer, jabbed a knife into the back of his 13-year-old nephew, fired on a pastor, and stole food, milk, clothing and medication.”
The U.S. government has praised, and funded Calderón’s risky strategy of using the army to fight the cartels rather than do something “crazy” like legalize marijuana and take away 75% of their profits.
“However,” the WaPo continues. “U.S. officials warned that the abuse allegations could lead Congress to withhold more than $100 million in anti-narcotics assistance.”
Crimes in Puerto Las Ollas and Tijuana are now being investigated by the National Human Rights Commission. So far they have documented at least 26 cases of abuse, 17 of which involved torture, about 140 a month this year. Some of the allegations include asphyxiation, rape, and the application of electric shocks to the genitals of drug suspects.
The State Department’s human rights report will be delivered to Congress within weeks, and that report will determine if 15% of the $1.4 billion (about $90.7 million) counter-narcotics package that President George W. Bush requested in June 2007 will be witheld from Mexico or not. $24 million also depends on Mérida’s human rights conditions according to the supplemental budget package that President Obama signed on June 24.
“Many Mexican human rights activists do not support the conditions, noting that they were imposed by a U.S government widely accused of torturing prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.”
Kristen Bricker of CounterPunch reports:
“Exactly one day after George Bush signed the first year of the $1.6 billion Plan Mexico into law–giving Mexican military and police US training, armament, and resources–videos surfaced showing Mexican police undergoing torture training in León, Guanajuato. The torture training is directed by a British man from an unidentified US private security company.
The videos show the English-speaking contractor directing and participating in the torture of members of the Special Tactical Group (GET in its Spanish initials) of the León municipal police force during a 160-hour training over twelve days in April 2006. Alvar Cabeza de Vaca, the Secretary of Public Security in León, says the participants volunteered to be tortured as part of the training.”
Also important to note in the above article:
“This is not the first time US defense contractors have directed torture in foreign countries. During the 2003-2004 Abu Ghraib prison torture scandal in Iraq, US soldiers claimed that defense contractors who ran the prison directed them to torture inmates. Four former Abu Ghraib inmates recently filed lawsuits against CACI International Inc. of Arlington, Va., and New York-based L-3 Communications Corp., formerly Titan Corp., for torturing them.”
The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims covered the story of one girl, who’s tale is definitely rated mature, and not for the faint of heart if you’d like to check it out here.
“The 23-year-old arts student Norma Aide Jiménez Osorio is one of the women who was sexually assaulted, beaten and intimidated with several death threats by police officers during her arrest and transfer from San Salvador Atenco to the prison. In a personal testimony, which the IRCT publishes under her request, she tells about the brutality she endured:
“The police beat me with a shield and I fell to the floor. Once on the floor two police officers punched me and beat me with nightsticks. They grabbed by my hair, pulled me on my feet and forced me to run, even though my right leg was numb because of the beating. They continued punching me in my stomach and when I told them that I could not run because my leg hurt, they beat my leg. They said that they would rape and kill me and began asking questions about my mother’s name, saying that I would never see my family again because they would make sure that I would disappear forever.”
Amnesty International published Violence against women and justice denied in the Mexico State, (AI Index: AMR 41/02/2006), a report documenting the sexual violence against 26 of the women that were arrested.
“In Guerrero state, the army began a crackdown in December after traffickers kidnapped nine soldiers and left their severed heads in the parking lot of a Sam’s Club in Chilpancingo, the state capital.
On June 9, on the other side of the state, soldiers stormed into the village of Puerto Las Ollas, situated on a mountain in the middle of one of the state’s most fertile poppy and marijuana-growing regions. The area is also home to the Revolutionary Army of Insurgent People, a guerrilla organization that the government has linked to drug traffickers. The group denies any connection.”
Now this is a rural town, a scene very much like those nightmare scenarios we’ve heard about from Vietnam. Three Humvee full of soldiers pull up and lay waste to the town. After they claim that these villagers fired the first shot, which the villagers deny. And when I say village, really think village, because these people have like ten houses all together with dirt floors and tin roofs. Now when these people hear a car coming in the distance, they call out, and the men run for their lives to the wilderness and hide. This is inexcusable.
Here’s the toll free number for the congressional switchboard
You don’t even have to know who your rep is, just call up and tell them your zip code. Or if you want to get your rep’s info go to the office of the clerk here and scroll down the list.
Let them know what you think about whether or not the rest of the funds should be released.