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16 Dec, 2014 09:39

Mexico feds directly involved in student massacre, witness torture – independent probe

Mexico feds directly involved in student massacre, witness torture – independent probe

An investigative report by the Mexican media outlet has allegedly uncovered new evidence in the case of the 43 massacred students. It claims that the Federal Police was directly involved in the attack, contrary to the authorities’ statements.

The investigation conducted with help from the Investigative Reporting Program of UC Berkeley and published in Proceso magazine claims that state and federal authorities were tracking the students’ movements on September 26 in real-time, and did nothing to prevent their abduction and consequent murder. In fact, police directly attacked the youths, the report claims.

People protest demanding justice and clarification of the disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa, on December 6, 2014 at the revolution monument in Mexico City. (AFP Photo/Yuri Cortez)

The Proceso probe, so far unconfirmed, is based on documents from an initial state-level investigation before it was taken over by the Feds in October. The student’s movements were allegedly tracked by a government information command post – known as a C4, Control, Command, Communications and Computer Center. Reporters Anabel Hernandez and Steve Fisher also reviewed hundreds of government documents that they say indicate federal police were in Iguala and allegedly shot at the students.

According to the leaked documents by Guerrero state authorities that was delivered to Mexico’s Secretary of the Interior, the logs from the C4 indicade that the 43 students have left their campus from Ayotzinapa towards Iguala at 17:59 on September 26.

By 20:00 federal and state authorities arrived at a road where the students were holding a fundraiser for the protest, the report said. At 21:22 federal agents were told the students entered a bus station. At 21:40 the first shots were fired.

Protesters march demanding justice and clarification of the disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa, on December 6, 2014 in Mexico City. (AFP Photo/Yuri Cortez)

“We have information that proves the federal government knew what was happening in the moment it was happening, and participated in it,” Hernández, the lead reporter for the Proceso, told the Huffington Post. “The government has tried to hide this information.”

“When we see that the federal government and the state government were following the students since they left the college in Ayotzinapa, it becomes very difficult to think that everything else that happened was an accident,” she told MCS Noticias radio station.

As part of the investigation, Proceso magazine included a video allegedly recorded by the students while they were being shot at.

The new revelations contradict the official version of the investigation which states that the police authorities had no prior knowledge of the plot to abduct the students. Investigative version stipulated that the students were attacked by order Iguala’s mayor, Jose Luis Abarca, and his wife, María de los Angeles Pineda Villa, before being transferred to the cartel Guerreros Unidos.

Furthermore, according to Proceso the attack on the students was directed at the ideology Normal School of Ayotzinapa, as some of the students were part of the Student Action Committee with 10 of the victims were “political activists in training” of the Comité de Orientación Política e Ideológica (Committee on Political and Ideological Orientation).

“It was surprising to see how much information was available to the government and yet they chose to directly put the blame on the municipal police and the mayor,” Fisher told BuzzFeed News. “There are people within the federal government and within the military that should be investigated.”

People shout slogans during a protest march at Tecoanapa, in Guerrero State, Mexico (AFP Photo / Pedro Pardo)

The documents also detail signs of torture on the bodies of witnesses giving testimony in the initial investigation – they include black eyes, neck marks and bruising on the body, while one witness had red marks everywhere, indicating that he/she was given an electric shock.

It follows that “the version given by the federal government, by the attorney general’s office, is based solely on testimony by presumed drug traffickers,” according to Hernandez. "What we found is that, in at least five cases, these testimonies were obtained using torture.”

This would make evidence in the case inadmissible, as torture is prohibited under Mexican law, casting further doubt on the validity of the entire official investigation.

Spanish-language news source Univision.com on Saturday wrote a scathing comment on the latest findings, saying that “there’s no way the Pena Nieto government can say they didn’t know what was happening.”

After the disappearances, Pena Nieto pledged to bring corrupt local authorities under the “rule of law.” He addressed congress with a 10-point plan on reforming local authorities, who are often ill-controlled in the country’s municipalities.

The measure is aimed at stopping the collusion between local governments, police and gangs. The plan involves redefining powers in the penal code and adopting a special crime-battling law. He also wants to get rid of municipal police and substitute it for a federal force to fight crime in the heavily crime-infested states and towns.

Mexicans don’t believe him. The country continues to firmly occupy the position of one of the most dangerous places to be: kidnappings, gun violence, drug crime and carnage are commonplace. People have been coming out in droves since the students’ abduction and the subsequent discoveries of mass graves.