Martinelli & the poor: Kill them, maim them, dry them and fry them

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A policeman idly stands by while teenagers are burnt alive

AS if the massacre in Bocas last year wasn't enough for our bloodthirsty baby-killing narco-in-charge, we now have 7 teenagers with severe burnings in the Santo Tomás hospital.

This weekend there was a bit of an uprising in the Juvenile Correction Center in Tocumen, where minor delinquents are being held. They were angry, just like the entire population of the capital, because there is no potable water there as a result of government corruption, ineptness and because our water company IDAAN doesn't know how to produce potable water.

True to form, the pitbull killers of the National Police, headed by a former Noriega hitman, came in, not to bring water but "to prevent a mass escape". Somehow a cell was set on fire (reportedly by a teargas cannister they shot inside), the fire spread, the police refused firefighters entry, and seven of those teenagers are now maimed for the rest of their lives - which surely exceeds the term of their sentence.

Here's a video:

Of course, the police now investigates its own crimes. As was the case in Bocas, they'll find nothing wrong with what they did - even when every independent and government commission said they were responsible for the violence, the dead and the wounded.

The media are making these attempts at being "objective" about it, but that only helps the cover-up. There is nothing to be unbiased about when it comes to burning teens in a facility that clearly lacks security and no water to put out the fire. One wonders how long Panamanians will continue to put up with the corrupt and murderous bunch that runs this country.

Martinelli himself, meanwhile, is off to Paraguay, where they have showers.

UPDATE: One of the seven wounded died. Three victims have died. Eric Alexis Batista Mosquera was due to be released in just ten days, having finished his sentence for illegal possession of a firearm. He was going to be 18 next February 2nd.

Meanwhile, TVN reports that there are more victims, and that the Forensics Department claims they were not just burnt, but also beaten and showing wounds caused by handcuffs. In other words, some of these teenagers were handcuffed, then burnt. The ministers of Government and Security are openly fighting over the affair, each blaming the other. The Public Ministry has launched a murder investigation, for what that's worth.

13 thoughts on “Martinelli & the poor: Kill them, maim them, dry them and fry them

  1. Hmmmm. I wonder if a fire broke out in a ritzy high-rise in Paitilla, El Cangrejo, or Costa del Este would the response be the same? How reassuring it is to know that the National Police will respond in kind along wth the Bomberos. Water to fight the fire? Now thats a whole other story!

  2. Two Military type Crowd control Tear gas canisters where throw in through the holes in the wire mesh covering the window of their cell!

    SOURCE: Shown on Telemetro and TVN National Television Station in Panama City, Panama 10 Jan 2011!

    Two different National Police guards each though in one Military type Crowd control Tear gas canisters.

    These devises are ignited with a high heat fuse which burns and sets the crystals within the the tear gas Canister on fire to form the tear gas.

    These are not meant for confined area, such as Prison cells or small indoor rooms.

    Two of these Military type Crowd control Tear gas canisters in a very confined area such as a overcrowded prison cell with eight or more Prisoners will produce enough heat to burn your flesh and will easily set any thing combustible that can burn into flames, hence turn into a full blown fire.

    Closer to home over in Jamaica read below and the misuse of tear Gas.

    “Policeman’s irrational action caused fire that killed seven”

    KINGSTON, Jamaica, February 22, 2010 – A policeman who took “unlawful” action that led to a deadly fire at a correctional institution for girls in Jamaica in May last year and a top corrections official are now in the hot seat, based on a report compiled after an inquiry into the blaze.

    The report has not yet been officially released, but a local radio station this weekend broadcast the findings. The document was compiled by retired president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Paul Harrison, who listened to 32 days of testimony about the fire at the Armadale Juvenile Correctional Centre in which seven wards were killed.

    On the night of May 22nd, 2009 lawmen were called in to restore order at the facility after receiving reports that some of the wards were engaged in rowdy behavior. When they arrived stones and other objects were thrown at them and it was while trying to bring the situation under control, they noticed that a dorm was on fire. It was alleged that one of the girls set a mattress alight and there were counter allegations that the inferno was sparked when police threw a teargas canister into the building.

    Justice Harrison found that a Constable Lawrence Burrell had acted “impulsively” and reacted “irrationally” to the behavior of the girls who were cursing him and, without consulting his superior, went back to the police station and “returned to Armadale with the C S tear gas canister to chastise the girls in retaliation”.

    “He threw it into the Office Dormitory where it fell onto a bunk bed with a mattress of foam material, immediately starting the fire,” Justice Harrison said.

    “The discharge of the tear gas canister into the dormitory by Constable Burrell was harsh and unnecessary. No use of such force, even in light of the insulting language used and the excrement thrown by some of the girls, should have attracted such a response. It was an unlawful use of force by the police officer.”
    Additionally, Justice Harrison chastised Commissioner June Spence-Jarrett for housing the girls in circumstances that did not comply with the National Building Code’s requirement that in institutional buildings, open wards and dormitories, the minimum occupancy should be one person for each 50 square-foot floor area.
    “I find that in March 2008 Mrs Spence-Jarrett, then deputy commissioner, unwisely did make the fateful decision to house the 23 girls in the Office Dormitory measuring 20 feet by 12 feet and with seven double bunk beds only, containing 14 mattresses,” he said, noting that the decision was a “patent breach of the duty to promote the best interests of children, violated the statutory requirements and was accordingly negligent in all circumstances”.

    Justice Harrison also criticized other correctional staff, suggesting that they didn’t seem bothered by the conditions under which the girls lived.

    These juvenile inmates here where not throwing rocks or Projectiles at any one!

    When you get eight to ten individuals incarcerated and confined in a room ten by fifteen square feet problems will surely arise!

    Panama does not train it own National Police to be Police they are becoming a standing army.

    Just look at Bocas del Toro to how they miss handled and maimed citizens of this Republic just because they could, now the whole sale maiming with fire of juveniles just because they could!

    “Panama is quickly becoming unsafe on any and all economic level!

    Panama has no money to repair or build new prisons, let alone train deceit law abiding Policemen.

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  4. These members of the police act as if they graduated from the school of assassins (SOA), founded by the USA to maim and murder civilians, in order to sow fear in entire populations preemptively.
    There are many ways to end a riot without inflicting harm or damage and from that perspective the police once again showed incompetence.

    The other perspective is that of creating more work in the “security sector”: acting like US soldiers in Iraq shooting innocent civilians as the means to make sure more violence is guaranteed, if just to revenge the death of the civilians. IOW creating violence to justify perpetual occupation / martial law.

    More violence not only in Panama is likely because the price of oil continues to rise (the US$ is devaluating). So food and everything else depending on oil for production will rise too, whereas wages stay unchanged, and wages of Panamanian workers are low already.

    So one might wonder if plans to declare martial law exist, and if there’s a cable from a US ambassador in Panama on the issue of “US military assistance in the struggle to maintain freedom and democracy”.

    In every capitalist country, also when a tragedy or massacre happens, one has to investigate “who benefits (most) from it?”.

    Alas, gone are the days that despite graduation from the SOA, conscience couldn’t be silenced. One of the best examples is the late Omar Torrijos, who according to John Perkins was assassinated by the CIA (plane crash).

  5. What amazes me is the photo of this cop doing nothing. What normal person would stand 20 yds back when people are burning to death in front of them? The normal reaction would be to pull at the bars or try to direct or consol those inside. However futile may be ones attempts to do something it just isn’t normal to stand back as this policeman does. It seems so callous.

  6. @Faustino, you should see some of the TV footage. One of the highlights was the voice of one of the prison guards, yelling, “quémense, ¿no son machitos?” Meanwhile the police was seen idly standing by.

  7. @JanB: I don’t see John Perkins as a serious source on Torrijos or anything else Panamanian. The way he portrayed that dictator was so void of any facts and full of misguided admiration – he basically went with whatever Graham Greene told him – that I had trouble taking the rest of his book seriously.

    Theories on how Torrijos died differ. As you say, one way of looking at it is asking, “who benefits?” In this case, that would be Noriega. The US already had the Canal Treaty they wanted, there is little logic to why they’d kill Torrijos who at that time was basically a harmless drunk.

  8. @ The Editor: There has been another link, with Perkins narrating on his meeting with Torrijos but it has disappeared. It is true that the locals I spoke about the issue all depicted Torrijos as a ruthless dictator.

    Long ago at the university I was member of an international students club where I met sons, nephews and other relatives of Latin American dictators. But some members were political refugees from the same countries and surprisingly what were supposed to be adversaries, could get along very well.

    The explanation was that the elites had no choice but to stick to their role or else… eventually, assassination by forces faithful to Washington. This was confirmed by the refugees.

    It brings up the issue of blackmail and retaliation in case a head of state tries to improve the fate of the population more than allowed by Washington. A recent case could have been that of Zelaya (Honduras) who had promised to increase the minimum wage from $1 to $1.60 / hour.

    Thanks to WikiLeaks these issues now are public and although such a threat of retaliation hasn’t been published regarding Central America yet, there is one aimed at France (indirectly, at the EU):
    (first half of the video)

    So if such a threat happens to the economically powerful EU, I wouldn’t be surprised if presidents in the small Central American countries would be (have been) subjected to far greater pressure. Someone like Perkins, economic hitman, could have known the procedure rather well – professionally.

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  10. Your article requires an uptdate. There are 4 dead young men now.
    And there is an interesting video from Frenadeso about this. Another video which shows how at least one burned guy was breaten with a baton when he got out eventually has miraculously disappeared. But the fact has been confirmed by the hospital doctors.

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