Saturday, December 17, 2005

The New Sacco and Vanzetti: Alpizar and de Menezes

Editor and Publisher has printed a great story on the LIE told by federal authorities and perpetuated by an unquestioning media, that passenger Rigoberto Alpizar claimed he had a bomb before he was fatally shot by undercover marshals last week in Miami.

Here’s a snippet:
Fact Checking the Feds in Airport Shooting
Two air marshals gunned down an American citizen last week in Miami, and the press swallowed the government's now-flawed explanation of a "bomb threat" hook, line, and sinker.

Here’s the link:
  • Fact Checking the Feds in Airport Shooting

  • And if for some reason it doesn't work, here's the address:

    Be sure to check it out.

    Kudos to columnist James Bovard and Editor and Publisher.

    I’m glad to see E&P step up to the plate with this one. I myself began work almost immediately on research for an article on what I am not afraid to call the MURDER of an innocent civilian by overzealous authorities, and the subsequent efforts to cover their tracks.

    There are striking similarities between the murder of Jose de Menezes by British authorities following the London subway bombings last July. If you’ll recall, authorities claimed and the news media perpetuated the claim that de Menezes was dressed in baggy clothes (possibly carrying a bomb), jumped a turnstile, and ran from police before he was executed by 8 or 9 bullets at close range.

    Only it turned out none of the authorities claims about De Menezes behavior were true – in fact, de Menezes had tight-fitting clothes, swiped his subway card just like you’re supposed to, picked up a free newspaper, and walked calmly into a subway car before police officers slaughtered him.

    And there are many more suspicious circumstances with the de Menezes killing, such as why police would follow a suspected terrorist they believed to have a bomb for multiple blocks and fail to intervene until after he entered a subway station, walked all the way through, and got on the subway. Supposedly, part of the story has to do with a surveillance officer leaving his post to take a piss at the wrong time. Talk about cause and effect.

    But let us get back to the latest victim. Like de Menezes, it was a public execution and the official story is bunk.

    I’m sure most of you heard the official version of this latest tragedy, that this airline passenger named Rigoberto Alpizar freaked out and started running down the aisle of the plane shouting something about having a bomb. He was then shot multiple times by undercover air marshals on the jetway. The jetway is the connecting piece between the plane and the airport terminal.

    In my research when the story broke, I noticed one thing quite quickly: every claim of Alpizar saying the word “bomb” was made by the spokesperson of an agency, from the FAA to Homeland Security, with no supporting evidence or quotes. Often it was phrased as “passengers heard him shouting about a bomb.”

    Yet, in every story I could find (I searched the internet for several hours) in which the reporter spoke to passengers actually on the plane, those passengers never heard the word “bomb” or any such threat. Many recalled hearing Alpizar’s wife yelling that her husband was sick. In the notes from my initial research, I recorded these two quotes, although I did not record the source:

    She was yelling "That's my husband, that's my husband I need to get to my husband!" Mary Gardner said. "She said, 'My husband is bipolar. He didn't take his medicine.'"

    Mike Beshears heard her say, "'My husband is sick. I've got to get my bags.'" Then the shots rang out, and a flight attendant stopped her and guided her to a seat, he said.

    And compare and contrast these two excerpts:

    Miami-Dade police spokeswoman said Thursday that multiple witnesses reported that the 44-year-old was yelling that he had a bomb as he made his way down the aisle with a backpack slung across his chest. Later, the agency's chief of investigations insisted that Alpizar was yelling about a bomb but declined to say whether he was on the plane at the time.

    Seven passengers interviewed by the Orlando Sentinel--seated in both the front and rear of the main passenger cabin--said Alpizar was silent as he ran past them toward the exit. One thought he had taken the wrong flight. Another thought he was going to throw up.

    Many stories filed the day after the shooting made reference to the fact Alpizar was “agitated” before the flight and was heard to be singing “Go down Moses.” Some stories vaguely stated he was singing hymns. Perhaps both can be explained by the fact Alpizar and his wife were returning from a mission trip in South America. So they are obviously religious, thus the singing of the hymn. I learned “Go down Moses” is the song also known as “Let my People Go.” While on the trip, Alpizar had apparently run out of his medication. He did not want to board the plane. His wife coaxed him into doing so, but he obviously remained uncomfortable.

    Other intriguing information can be culled from the news reports, as I did in the days immediately following the incident.

    The shooting occurred shortly after 2 p.m. as Flight 924 was about to take off for Orlando with the man and 119 other passengers and crew, American spokesman Tim Wagner said.

    Passenger Mike Deshears, who works for the Marriott vacation club in Orlando area, said that as the couple ran, "a gentleman in a Hawaiian shirt immediately followed. ... It was a matter of seconds before there was six pops."

    He refused to surrender

    While running in a crazy panic

    We are now so afraid, that any abnormal or unexpected behavior is cause for the authorities to shoot you.

    The couple were on the last leg of their lengthy journey home to central Florida from a missionary trip to Ecuador, where he was handing out spectacles to the poor. Mrs. Buechner works for the Council on Quality and Leadership, a non-profit group focused on improving life for people with disabilities and mental illness.

    From the Chicago Tribune:
    "With all the advances that the U.S. has supposedly made in their war against terrorism, I can't conceive that the marshals wouldn't be able to overpower an unarmed, single man, especially knowing he had already cleared every security check," Carlos Alpizar said Thursday of his brother's death.

    "I will never accept that it was necessary to kill him as if he was some dangerous criminal," he said in a phone interview from Costa Rica. "And I want to make this distinction: He did not die. He was killed."

    But to federal authorities and security experts, Alpizar--mentally ill or not--was responsible for his own death.

    After the murder of Alpizar, police boarded the plane and made passengers exit at gunpoint with their hands behind their backs. They apparently laid out some bags on the tarmac, brought in dogs to sniff for explosives, and blew up at least two bags. They found no bomb.

    This next quote pretty well sums up the official stance. However, if one reads too much and thinks about the implications for too long, it starts to look like a real bad idea to go jogging with a backpack or talk back to an armed authority figure, uniformed or not. Especially if you’re a dark-skinned male.

    Taken in context of the recently announced expansion of the Air Marshals to the rest of the public transportation sector (planes, trains and buses; automobiles next), this is a very frightening philosophy. The first time federal air marshals have used weapons to defend America from terrorism, they killed an innocent man. And this is called a success. Say Hello to Police State 2006.

    John Amat, national operations vice president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association and a deputy with the US Marshals Service in Miami, said: "The bottom line is, we’re trained to shoot to stop the threat.”

    There is much more to be said on this story. I hope the American consciousness will pick it up.


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