Ayotzinapa parents rebel, tests debunk gov’t claim

Two major developments to report in the ongoing controversy 26 September 2014 disappearances of 43 students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College in the state of Guerrero [previously].

First, parents of the missing students, frustrated with the government’s self-evident coverup of events surrounding the mass kidnaping, have broken off talks with officials of the government of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto

From teleSUR English:

Relatives of the 43 Ayotzinapa students who disappeared are cutting off all dialogue with the Mexican government after the lead investigator resigned for allegedly tampering with evidence—and was then awarded with a promotion.

Thomas Zeron de Lucio was the former director of criminal investigations responsible for overseeing the Ayotzinapa case. He resigned Wednesday but Ayotzinapa relatives accuse President Enrique Peña Nieto of rewarding Zeron with a higher paying position as technical secretary of the National Security Council. That comes after a new independent study debunked the government narrative on the disappearance of the students in Guerrero.

“Enough, no more lies or simulations,” Felipe de la Cruz, spokesperson for the families, said during a press conference on Thursday in Mexico City. “That’s the requirement. Until it is completed—until Thomas Zeron de Lucio is investigated and punished—the parents will not be returning to the talks.”

The government’s official version says local police apprehended the students, who had commandeered a bus to travel to a protest, and handed them over to a gang known as Guerreros Unidos.

“It is outrageous that after having an open investigation he is rewarded with a higher charge. It’s nothing but a joke to the 43 parents—a mockery to all Mexicans,” said Mario Gonzalez, whose son is one of the missing students.

Confirmation of the coverup

The official government version of events declares that the students were ambushed by members of the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel in collusion with corrupt local police, acting on the believe that the students, who lived in dorms without beds or other furnishings, were engaged in major legaue drug trafficking.

Absurd on its face, the government scenario has been rejected by parents and by numerous NGOs which have been conducted their own independent investigation.

Keystone of the government’s theory is the allegation that the bodies of the students were incinerated in a mass cremation at a trash dump in a ravine.

But that theory has been rejected by internation scientists, most recently in experiments conducted by Australian fire scientist José Torero of the University of Queensland, St. Lucia, in Brisbane.

Torrero conducted his own tests, using pig carcasses, burning as many as four at a time on pyres.

From Science:

Torero’s experiments “are one more element that says the so-called ‘historical truth’”—how a former attorney general labeled the government’s theory of the crime—“is impossible,” says Francisco Cox Vidal, a lawyer and member of an expert group (known in Spanish as the GIEI) convened by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights in Washington, D.C., to examine the disappearance and the official inquest. Deputy Attorney General for Human Rights Eber Betanzos Torres did not respond to requests for comment.


Born in Peru and trained at the University of California, Berkeley, Torero has investigated many high-profile fires, including those that brought down the Twin Towers. The cartel members had testified that they incinerated the bodies on a pyre of wood and tires in the open air. Torero’s calculations suggested that fully incinerating 43 bodies in the manner the cartel described would have required a staggering amount of wood: between 20,000 and 40,000 kilograms. He also doubted that it would be possible to nearly eliminate organic matter from the remains with an open-air fire, rather than with a furnace. And when he visited the Cocula dump in July 2015, he saw no evidence of a massive fire. He concluded that it was impossible the students had been burned there.

In an 8 June report, the Attorney General’s office called for experimental verification. Torero independently took up the challenge. He and a dozen students simulated the alleged pyres at Cocula in a field at his university’s Gatton campus, outside Brisbane. They used bone-dry wood, stacked precisely, and left out tires, which would have made the fire less efficient. The experimental set-up, Torero says, represented “the ideal scenario.”
Scientist José Torero working with fire in his lab.

His team systematically burned pig carcasses. Even when using 630 kg of wood for a single 70-kg pig, 10% of the pig’s flesh remained after the fire burned out, Torero told Science. Forty-three bodies of a similar weight, therefore, would have required over 27,000 kg of wood, and organic matter would have survived the fire. Even if the cartel had been able to find that much wood in Cocula, the intense bonfire would have scarred nearby tree trunks, Torero says. Visiting the dump 10 months after the disappearances, he saw no such scars.

Torero also burned up to four pig carcasses at once to explore whether body fat would fuel the fire and promote total incineration. Each added carcass weakened fire intensity, the team found. Burning 43 bodies together, therefore, would require much more wood than burning each separately. “Bodies are a large percent water,” says Lentini. “They’re not great fuel.”

One casualty of Torrero’s investigation has been Tomás Zerón de Lucio, director of the national government’s Agency of Criminal Investigations, who resigned Wednesday.

With the government’s case up in flames, the mystery of just what happened to the missing students remains an open case in the eyes of the world.

Sadly, news media in the U.S. had been neglecting the story. We hope that changes.


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