Friday, October 27, 2006

Oaxaca, Mexico: TV news footage of fatal shooting shows someone steal the reporter's pants.

Ambassador Garza has confirmed that Bradley Will was an American and that American officials are trying to find and notify his family. I'll stop posting photos of him out of respect for his family which may not yet know of his death. I was about to post one that clearly shows his face but that doesn't seem especially appropriate now.

Note: I've got a guy sliding pool photos to me even before Notimex gets them but Notimex can post them much faster than I.

The Indymedia reporter who was fatally shot today was fully dressed in black tee shirt, grey parachute pants, tennis shoes and carrying a batterypack on his back when he was shot. TV news footage from both TV Azteca and Televisa clearly show him in the middle of the APPO blockade. Then, as two or three bystanders attempt to administer to him after he was shot, a guy in a white tee shirt and cowboy hat strips off his pants and runs away. There do not appear to be any paramedics treating him in any of the photos that I have seen.

In the TV news footage there were a number of masked APPO personnel throwing rocks at a building, which is not in the film, prior to the gunfire. It must have been close because I could clearly hear the rocks striking something metallic. I say it was a building because they seemed to be throwing the rocks at something far taller than a car or pickup truck. Later news footage shows them lobbing rocks over a building.

The TV footage shows a guy launch a homemade rocket down the street towards the shooters. Then an APPO operative begins backing a large dumptruck down the street towards the shooters with a contingent of about 20 using the truck for cover. However, the shooters continue moving forward and the dump truck driver gets cold feet, throws the truck into a forward gear and accelerates back towards his own people. At this point everybody started running like hell to both avoid getting shot and run over by the dumptruck.

The TV news footage does not show the burning pickup truck but does clearly show the faces of at least two of the shooters. Check that: I just saw additional footage of a burning SUV, not a pickup truck. The newsman on Televisa said that the Oaxacan authorities had not been able to identify the shooters. That would mean that they are not holed up in the Municipal Palace as was being reported earlier.

The Televisa newscaster showed his film several times and pointed out that the shooters appeared to have arrived and then waited some distance away. Televisa had cameras both behind and in front of the shooters. They are shown looking back over their shoulders several times and then suddenly moving forward in concert. The newscaster said that this indicated that they were awaiting a command from someone. He may or may not be right about that. It is apparent that two of the shooters move forward simultaneously as though on command. TV newscasters are appealing to the public to help identify the shooters.

The TV Azteca newscaster has just interviewed Governor Ruiz Ortiz live on the air. He pointedly asked the governor, "Were those your men who did the shooting?" The governor replied that no, all of the state's policemen are confined to their barracks and have been for a month to avoid just such a confrontation and subsequent result. He blamed the shooting on pro APPO forces vs con APPO forces and said that it was a result of the environment of general lawlessness that exists today in Oaxaca. He clearly blames APPO for all of the violence just as APPO blames the governor for it all.

The governor did repeat his call for federal intervention. He said that he has repeatedly asked for federal preventive police and that only their presence in the city could return order to the streets.

I don't know if these were the governor's men or not. It is not correct to blame the governor for all of the violence just as it would not be correct to blame APPO. However, it is APPO personnel and APPO followers who are manning the barricades, burning buses, cars and trucks, throwing rocks and waving Molotov cocktails around.

What I do know is that if federal forces do not enter the city to restore order, today's bloodshed is just the begining. I just cannot understand President Fox's hesitancy. Felipe Calderon takes office on December 1 and it would be a travesty if Fox handed this off to the new president. This insurgency has now cost the second poorest Mexican state, and eventually the federal government, more than a billion dollars. Maybe Americans can afford to toss around the odd billion as though it were cabfare but the Mexicans don't have that kind of money.

What strikes me as very odd is the fact that there were so many cameras filming at the time of this confrontation. Indymedia, TV Azteca and Televisa all have film shot at the location (Televisa both in front of and behind the shooters) and in both the TV Azteca and Televisa footage there are at least two other camermen visible with cameras and battery backpacks. Why so many newsmen at this particular site? I dunno. It's almost like this was set up by someone. I'll try to find out. Don't hold your breath because, if this runs true to form, after an incident like this everyone gets really closed mouthed for a time.

Note: There is still some ongoing confusion over the name of the dead reporter. I believe that his name was Bradley Will. In the initial posting, I referred to him as Bradley Wheyler. So says Indymedia New York.

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