[News] Rangel calls for an investigation into Puerto Rico raids

Anti-Imperialist News News at freedomarchives.org
Thu Feb 16 08:34:12 EST 2006

Congressman Demand Investigations
El Nuevo Día
February 15, 2005
By José A. Delgado (<mailto:Jdelgado at elnuevodia.com>Jdelgado at elnuevodia.com)

WASHINGTON - "Democrats in Congress will go to 
Puerto Rico to investigate FBI actions on the 
island if the Republican majority of the Judicial 
Committee of the House of Representatives refuses 
to intervene in this controversy," Congressman Charles Rangel said yesterday.

Rangel, elected by New Yorkers, made his 
statement Rangel, issued his warning as three 
Boricua members of Congress demanded that the 
Federal Bureau of Investigation (known as the FBI 
by their initials in English) order an 
independent inquiry into last Friday's operation 
in San Juan, where federal agents assaulted journalists.
The resident commissioner in Washington, Luis 
Fortuño didn't sign off on the letter by 
Democrats José Serrano, Luis Gutiérrez y Nydia 
Velázquez since he also complained, via telephone, with the White House.

We are going to make a formal petition to study 
this matter (in the Congress). If they deny it, 
we as Democrats will go there to investigate, 
said Rangel, who will formally channel his 
request through the lower chamber's Judiciary 
Committee, which is presided over by Republican  James Sensenbrener.

Sensenbrener, a conservative from Wisconsin, had 
already rejected last October a call to 
investigate the circumstances under which FBI 
agents allowed Filiberto Ojeda Ríos. the leader 
of the People Boricua Army (or the Macheteros) to 
bleed to death. Observers in Washington predict 
that the new solicitation by Rangel will once again be rejected.

But Rangel brought forward to El Nuevo Dia that 
Democrats will not stay with their arms crossed 
and that, at the very least, will find a way to 
denounced the attitudes of the FBI.

The three Puerto Rican with PLENOS in the lower 
chamber, for their part, requested that FBI 
director Robert Mueller (launch) an independent 
investigation over the aggression committed by 
the agents against journalists last Friday.

"In our democracy, the most fundamental 
obligation of law enforcement agencies is to 
uphold the constitutional rights of citizens as 
well as to protect the freedom of the 
press.  Even in Puerto Rico, where the Bureau and 
its agents have a reputation for behaving as if 
they are above the law, the FBI is not exempt 
from these duties," noted Democrats Serrano (New 
York), Gutiérrez (Chicago) and Velázquez (New York).

"We ask for an immediate independent 
investigation to determine if the Bureau's use of 
force was excessive or unwarranted,:" said the 
Boricua federal legislators, who considered the 
situation warranted their attention as was the 
case with Ojeda Rios, whose inquiry is in the 
hands of the Office of the Attorney General of 
the Department of Justice. The three Borrica 
members of Congress asked Mueller that they 
recieve a response to their request by the latest 
tomorrow, when they return to their districts.

"It seems to me that it was an atrocity," the 
form in which the FBI acted last Friday, in an 
operation in which they were they was supposedly 
looking for evidence on the Macheteros, said 
REangel, whose intervention arose after the 
Chaire of the Bronx Democratic Party, State 
Assemblyman José Rivera. Rangel said he hoped to 
talk last night with Serrano, Gutiérrez y Velázquez.

Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, on his part, 
yesterday telephoned Rangel to get ask that the 
he push for public hearings on the actions of the 
FBI in Puerto Rico. Acevedo Vilá, also mentioned 
that his interest in holding hearings in Puerto Rico.

"We discussed the possibility of carrying out 
visits here in Puerto Rico, in a form in which 
the members of Congress can receive testimony 
from those that suffered the consequences of the 
incident and where the FBI can have the 
opportunity to say to the members of COngress 
their version of what happened," said Acevedo Vilá.
In his statements to El Nuevo Día, Rangel, who 
arrived yesterday afternoon in Washington D.C., 
evaded details of his conversation with  Acevedo 
Vilá. But, he said that he would talk to the 
Boricua members of Congress and his good friend, 
the Ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, 
John Conyers, to insure that there is an investigation.
"If (the Republicans) don't consent to this, the 
Democrats will go there. It wouldn't be an 
official investigation, but we will do our jobs," 
pointed out Rangel, who is not a member of the 
Judiciary Committee but is very influential among 
the minority Democrats. Serrano, for his part, is 
one of the leaders on the Subcommittee of 
Assignments that examines the budget of the FBI.

El Caucus Hispano del Congreso, integrado por 
demócratas, efectuó en junio de 2001 una 
audiencia en torno a las denuncias de que la 
Marina de Guerra cometió abusos en contra de 
desobedientes civiles en Vieques, en momentos en 
que se avivaban las protestas en contra de las 
maniobras militares en esa isla municipio.

On that occasion, the Navy sent a spokesman to 
the hearings that refused to give details over 
the operations that were carried out against the 
acts of civil disobedience. Nevertheless, the 
members of Congress, received public testimonies in the halls of Congress.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Fortuño, announced that 
he communicated with the White House to demand 
that they force the FBI in Puerto to have respect 
for the job of the press. "The FBI office has 
failed to understand that (while) they have a role, so do the press,"

According to the Commissioner, White House 
officials -- which he didn't identify - said that 
they would bring the complaint to the FBI. In 
those moments, the U.S. Attorney General's 
Offices will examine the actions of the federal 
agents in the operation that culminated in the 
death of Ojeda Ríos on Sept. 23, 2005.

That investigation was the primary reason why 
Congressman Sensenbrener rejected the call for 
public hearings into that matter.

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