[Ppnews] Filiberto Ojeda Rios - US agents altered scene of assassination

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Aug 26 13:23:09 EDT 2009



Jesús Dávila (Translation by Jan Susler)
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, August 19, 2009 (NCM) – 
Agents of the United States altered the scene of 
the death of the Macheteros commander Filiberto 
Ojeda on September 24, 2005, in the presence of 
functionaries of the government of Puerto Rico , 
according to newly available statements from witnesses to the bloody event.
The revelations are not limited to the manner in 
which they removed objects from the home on the 
day after they killed the commander of the 
Boricua Popular Army–Macheteros, with the 
forensic investigators doing nothing to avoid it 
or include it in the final report. In addition, 
an expert witness said that the flow of blood 
indicated that the body was moved before taking 
photographs de rigueur prior to removing the body.

The new information emerges, however, in moments 
when the thorny topic has become a sort of taboo 
for various sectors of the country. The lack of 
interest is illustrated by the Bar Association— 
which at one point conducted its own 
investigation into the event— and which has 
maintained silence in the face of a request for a 
reaction to the verified fact that the Department 
of Justice altered the final investigation report 
to eliminate the part where its attorneys affirmed that it was a murder case.
But the new revelations, as well as the silences, 
indicate that the case of Ojeda’s death is a very 
volatile matter, the evocation of which continues 
to inflame passions among many people in this 
island nation which has been a colony of the U.S. 
since 1898. These passions also emerge when the 
White House maintains contacts with the pro U.S. 
parties to review the political condition of 
Puerto Rico, and there are no indications that 
independentistas are included in the consults taking place in Washington .
All this contrasts with the Latin American scene, 
where the figure of Filiberto Ojeda continues to 
be a convening force, and as recently as this 
month served as one of the motives for the 
emergence of the first committee to support the 
independence of Puerto Rico by citizens of 
Nicaragua. This marks a change, as normally such 
independentista committees outside of Puerto Rico 
are formed mainly by Puerto Ricans in the diaspora.
Currently, the only official investigation in 
progress into Ojeda’s death is the one being 
conducted by the governmental Civil Rights 
Commission, but this entity has made no 
announcement to indicate whether it has had 
access to new witnesses. What little is known is 
that the CRC continues making efforts to bring to 
Puerto Rico an expert in ballistics, which would 
indicate that they are still trying to figure out 
the trajectory of the fatal bullet shot by the 
agent identified only as “Brian,” of the commando 
group that assaulted Ojeda’s house on September 23, 2005.
One of the key pieces for the prosecutors to be 
able to determine that it was an assassination 
was the decision that from the beginning of the 
operation, Brian was seeking the angle for the 
fatal shot, and that he fired the three shots 
into the front door of the house during the first 
shooting. Establishing with certainty the 
trajectory of the last shots could clarify many 
of the aspects which still remain unexplained.

The attack of the Federal Bureau of 
Investigation’s HRT (Hostage Rescue Team) 
commando group aborted a process of dialogue 
which Ojeda had been having for several years 
through the Catholic church, in which he was 
exploring the possibility of a pacific procedure 
for the U.S. to concede independence to Puerto 
Rico . The Catholic prelate responsible for the 
dialogue made this known to the FBI.
Ojeda suffered a slow agony and bled to death, 
while the agents who surrounded his house refused 
to allow assistance. His body was found by Puerto 
Rican forensic experts who entered the house the 
next day, accompanied by FBI agents. At that 
time, photos were taken of Ojeda, face down with 
his head next to the living room door.

The new expert testimony reveals the detection of 
significant blood flow toward the back, instead 
of toward the chest, which indicates that during 
his agony he could have been face up, and not how 
he was found when the FBI allowed the forensic photographer to enter.

The second testimony is equally if not more 
serious. According to the source who had direct 
access to the statements, the witnesses said that 
when it was already assumed that the scene was 
sealed for forensic examination, members of the 
U.S. ERT (Evidence Recovery Team) began to remove 
objects from inside the house, right in front of 
the Puerto Rican investigators.

There were so many objects removed that, 
according to the source, it has become virtually 
impossible to determine where the shots landed inside the house.

The preservation of a crime scene is a basic, 
routine procedure of forensic investigation, and 
even more so if police agents are the object of 
the investigation of the case. In fact, the 
Puerto Rico Department of Justice took 
responsibility for assuring, in presenting its 
final report on the case, that it had been 
determined that the scene was not altered by U.S. agents.

One of the most delicate aspects in the entire 
affair is determining exactly what was the Puerto 
Rico government’s participation in the whole 
case, as in February of 2005, it delivered to the 
FBI the investigative file, which noted the exact 
coordinates of the place where Ojeda’s house was 
located. During the assault, the Puerto Rican 
government used its police forces to set up a 
perimeter of protection for the FBI agents, and 
cut the electricity to the sector, among other logistical support.

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