(Fwd) Release: Texas & Ruby Ridge killings (fwd)

Jim Burnes jim.burnes at ssds.com
Wed Aug 20 13:28:42 PDT 1997

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
Date:          Tue, 19 Aug 97 14:36:32 PDT
From:          announce at lp.org
Subject:       Release: Texas & Ruby Ridge killings
Reply-to:      announce at lp.org
To:            announce at lp.org (Libertarian Party announcements)


2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 100
Washington DC 20037
For release: August 19, 1997
For additional information:
George Getz, Deputy Director of Communications
Phone: (202) 333-0008 Ext. 222
E-Mail: 76214.3676 at CompuServe.com

Bring Marine and FBI killers to justice,
demands outraged Libertarian Party

        WASHINGTON, DC -- It's now legal for Marines to use
high-powered M-16 assault rifles to kill American high school students
and for FBI sharpshooters to gun down mothers holding their infant
daughters -- without worrying about any criminal penalties, the
Libertarian Party charged today.

        "In America today, your innocence is no guarantee that you
won't be killed by your own government," said the party's national
chairman, Steve Dasbach. "And incontrovertible proof of guilt is no
guarantee that military personnel or FBI agents will be charged with
any crime."

        Dasbach's comments were part of an outpouring of outrage that
followed the decision late last week by a grand jury in Texas not to
prosecute a Marine corporal who shot dead an 18-year-old high school
student, and by the Justice Department not to file charges against four
FBI agents involved in the killing of Vicki Weaver at Ruby Ridge,
Idaho, in 1992.

        "These two decisions show that the government is more concerned
about protecting the military and the FBI from justice than protecting
innocent civilians from death," charged Dasbach.

        The two cases -- while separated by five years and involving
different government agencies -- are graphic examples of why so many
Americans fear their government, said Dasbach.

        In Redford, Texas, Esequiel Hernandez, Jr. -- a "shy,
hard-working" young man, according to neighbors -- was gunned down by a
four-man squad of U.S. Marines in May as he grazed his herd of 45 goats
on his family's farm. He was the first American killed by U.S. soldiers
on U.S. soil as part of the War on Drugs.

        The grand jury ruled that the Marines were acting in
self-defense when they shot Hernandez -- despite overwhelming evidence
that the high school sophomore never saw the camouflaged Marines in the
first place.

        "This grand jury has sent a deadly message: Anything goes in
the War on Drugs," said Dasbach. "This so-called war has become a
military shooting war -- with M-16 assault rifles pointed directly at
American citizens."

        The grand jury's ruling caused a firestorm of criticism;
charges of a military cover-up; and demands for a Justice Department
investigation because of numerous inconsistencies in the "official"
version of the events.

        The military claims that Hernandez opened fire with his
antique .22 rifle on the four Marines, who were lurking in the scrub
brush while on a covert drug-surveillance mission.

        In response, they stalked Hernandez for several hundred yards,
and Marine Corporal Clemente Banuelos killed him with a single shot
from a high-powered M-16 assault rifle. According to Texas Rangers,
Hernandez was shot in the side, while facing away from the Marines.

        Hernandez lay bleeding -- his red blood pouring into the dusty
gray hillside near the Rio Grande River -- for 22 minutes before the
Marines called for emergency aid. The young victim had never been
suspected of or arrested for any criminal or drug-related activity.

        After the shooting, the Pentagon pulled 240 military personnel
from the border area, and said the policy of using the U..S. military in
covert anti-drug efforts on American soil was "under review."

        "Was the military upset over the death of an innocent
civilian?" asked Dasbach. "No. The Pentagon was concerned because the
Marines might face criminal penalties for gunning down a high school

        In fact, after the grand jury was convened, Pentagon spokesman
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Scott Campbell complained that counter-drug operations
"are not fair to the members of our armed forces," because it exposes
them to "legal liability."

        In response, the Pentagon said it will ask border states like
Texas, California, Arizona, and New Mexico to sign "status of forces"
agreements with the federal government, which limit U.S. troops'
liability to local criminal law. Such an agreement would be similar to
those the U.S. government signs with foreign nations where American
troops are stationed.

        The case involving the FBI dates back to 1992 -- to the bloody
shootout at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, between the FBI and white separatist
Randy Weaver. During that standoff, an FBI sharpshooter killed Vicki
Weaver as she stood in the doorway of their mountain cabin, holding her
11-month-old daughter in her arms.

        After Randy Weaver surrendered, FBI officials destroyed
documents that detailed the bureau's unorthodox "shoot to kill" orders,
and one agent currently faces jail time for that cover-up.

        But the Justice Department ruled last week that it would not
bring criminal charges against four other senior FBI officials, and
ruled that the FBI gunman who fired the fatal bullet did not commit a
"civil rights" violation by killing Vicki Weaver.

        "No wonder Americans are so concerned about violent crime,"
said Dasbach. "They see criminals in our Armed Forces and in the FBI
committing murder and walking away without punishment -- while their
victims lie in their graves.

        "But Esequiel Hernandez, Jr. and Vicki Weaver aren't the only
victims here. The belief that in America, justice will prevail has also
been mortally wounded. The only cure: For the judicial system to take
immediate steps to bring the killers of these innocent Americans to
justice," he said.

        In addition, Dasbach said the federal government should
immediately demilitarize the War on Drugs, to make sure that another
Redford, Texas-style killing does not occur. Specifically, he

        * Decommission the 8,000 military personnel and thousands of
National Guard troops who are participating in anti-drug missions on
U.S. soil, or reassign them to national defense tasks.

        * Immediately terminate all military spending on the War on

        * Demilitarize the U.S./Mexico border.

        * File criminal negligence charges against the military
commanders who sent heavily armed, poorly trained Marines onto private
property, putting American civilians at risk of death.

        "By taking these steps, some good can come from the tragic
death of Esequiel Hernandez, Jr.," said Dasbach. "The U.S. government
can use this opportunity to stop waging war against its own citizens --
and, instead, wage a war for justice."

Version: 2.6.2


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