Narco News' House of Death coverage is often imitated, sometimes misappropriated
Did “investigative journalist” Kimberly Dvorak really unveil the cover-up in the House of Death?
Over the past six years since Narco News has been covering the House of Death case (in which an ICE-paid informant is accused of assisting, even participating, in multiple murders in Juarez, Mexico) a number of mainstream media publications have picked up on the story.
Often, those mainstream publications, most recently NPR, fail to acknowledge Narco News for its efforts in advancing the story, even as these media outlets borrow heavily from government documents uncovered by Narco News, seek out assistance from Narco News’ correspondents, and refer to the case by the very name [the House of Death] assigned to it originally by Narco News.
But be that as it may, there has not been an overt example of plagiarism in the House of Death coverage, at least known, by these many mainstream journalists. They have at least managed to lift and retell the story in their own words.
However, recently, an aspiring mainstream writer appears to have crossed that line. The writer, Kimberly Dvorak, is billed as an investigative reporter. She has been “writing for … the Washington Times and a number of smaller publications” as well as making regular appearances on a conservative talk radio shows, according to her bio on the conservative blog Red County.
Since last November, Dvorak has written about a half dozen or so stories on the House of Death, with headlines such as “House of death: U.S. Government cover-up unveiled,” and most recently, “House of Death ICE Informant escapes deportation charges to Mexico.” Those stories appeared in a conservative online publication called the Examiner.com.
In none of these House of Death stories does Dvorak mention Narco News’ coverage, yet she seems to be quite well versed, literally, on that coverage. And what's interesting about Dvorak’s sudden attraction to the House of Death is her particular interest in the informant, a Mexican citizen who, by his own admission, was a dope smuggler and accomplice to murder.
Dvorak’s coverage, in words sometimes borrowed, is obsessed with chastising the U.S. government (the Obama administration) for its alleged shoddy treatment of the informant — who is being held in a jail cell (as part of a larger cover-up initiated during the Bush administration). He has been confined to prison, pending the outcome of his immigration case, for half a dozen years now [far longer than Dvorak’s quite recently discovered interest in the case].
And the reason Dvorak’s passionate defense of the informant is interesting is because she has expressed, in the past, a clear aversion to Mexican citizens who have been deemed “illegal aliens” — such as the informant.
From a prior story Dvorak penned for Red County, in which she defends the actions of the San Diego Minutemen — identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as being among a group of “ ‘nativist extremist’ organizations, meaning that they target individual immigrants rather than immigration policies”:
Well-funded illegal alien activists in Southern California have found a new way to attack Americans fighting for secure borders and enforcement of current immigration laws. The fight has moved from the streets where they wave the their Mexican flag to America's civil courtrooms.
… It is a sad commentary that the civil court system is filled with well-funded foreign interests who hire activist lawyers to gain control of the country for their illegal clients.
The Minutemen vow to keep fighting no matter how many lawsuits La Raza activists file against them. ...
And then there is this item, from the San Diego Minutemen Web site:
… Outstanding rally at the San Diego Embarcadero yesterday next to the USS Midway. About 200 Patriots from all over Southern California came out to hear some great speakers and candidates. Most groups from the SoCal Patriot Coalition were represented, led by Barbara Coe and CCIR! www.SocalPatriots.com. We had dozens of new SDMM signups and it was great meeting all of you. See you all again soon! Spread the word. We're taking back our country!
Chelene Nightengale, Candidate for Governor
Michael Crimmins, Candidate for Congress, 51st Dist.
Jeff Schwilk, SDMM
Jimmy Valentine, Former Producer for Roger Hedgecock
Kimberly Dvorak, Investigative Reporter
Neil Turner, San Diego Christians for Secure Borders
Francisca G., Mexican immigrant fighting illegal immigration
More info at www.AgainstAmnesty.com
The Big Why
So why would Dvorak, who by all appearances stands against the very thing the House of Death informant represents [an illegal alien, with a history of admitted criminal activity, who is seeking protection within U.S. borders] suddenly become such a strident advocate for that informant?
Is it because she really wants justice for the informant, or to prompt an investigation into the former Bush administration officials who authorized the informant’s continued use even after becoming aware of his murderous activity?
Or is there another motive, possibly focused on causing heartburn for the Obama administration just as the immigration reform battle begins to heat up once again in Washington?
After all, if the informant is freed from prison, critics of Obama can paint him as soft on “illegal aliens,” because he is allowing a known murder and drug dealer to be released to live in an American suburb somewhere.
That is something to keep an eye on going forward. But for now, it’s important to present the evidence of Dvorak’s less-than-original reporting on the House of Death.
• From a Narco News story published March 24, 2010 [emphasis added in all excerpts to follow]:
After some five years of battling in the immigration courts, … the BIA has finally ruled in Ramirez Peyro’s favor.
From a Dvorak story published March 25, 2010, by the Examiner.com:
After more than five years of battles in the immigration courtroom…. The Appeal’s board ruled in Guillermo Eduardo Ramirez Peyro or ‘Lalo’s’ favor ….
• From a Nov. 2, 2009, story in the Examiner.com:
This murderous rampage went on for more than six months and nearly cost the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) lives as well as immediate family members.
From a Dec. 8, 2005, story published by Narco News:
Between August 2003 and mid-January of 2004, a dozen people were kidnapped, tortured and butchered at the House of Death in Juarez …. When the informant’s role came to light, after his activities nearly cost the lives of a DEA agent and his family ….
• Again, from the Nov. 2, 2009, Examiner.com story:
… Unfortunately for ICE the car is pulled over by a marked Juarez police car, which leads to Santillan calling Lalo to check on the identity of the occupants in the car. …
From an April 14, 2008, Narco News story:
The DEA agent’s car was pulled over a short time later in Juarez by a marked municipal police car. … Santillan wanted the informant to check out the driver, to determine his real identity, ...
• From a Feb. 2, 2010, story published by the Examiner.com:
… To this day the JAT report has been buried in Washington D.C. and the back and forth inside the judicial system and obvious judge shopping is further proof the U.S. government doesn’t want Lalo to testify.
From an Aug. 25, 2007, story published by Narco News:
To this day, a joint DEA/ICE investigation into the House of Death, called the JAT report, has been suppressed by both agencies…. [ICE and DEA, both, interestingly, based in Washington, D.C.]
• And probably the most egregious example of Dvorak’s penchant for borrowing the words of others in her House of Death coverage is on display in a Feb. 17, 2010, story published by the Examiner.com:
Emails posted on FBI Watch in March of 2006/07, quote the cover memorandum to the DEA/ICE Joint Assessment Team (JAT) Report prepared in connection with the House of Death debacle. The memo is directed to John Clark, ICE Director of Investigations, and Michael Ferguson, DEA Chief of Operations, from; (name redacted) Special Agent in Charge Buffalo and Rodney Benson ASAC, DEA Boston Field Division.
… (Link- FBI Watch 4th post down
However, if you go to that link, you find yourself on a reader forum site sponsored by the San Diego Union-Tribune. And the fourth comment on that page, as indicated by Dvorak, is a post by a user named “fruhmenschen” who has cut and pasted a number of long excerpts from House of Death stories published by Narco News.
So Dvorak, rather than acknowledge that the information was published by Narco News, instead credits “emails posted on FBI Watch” and proceeds to cut and paste whole sections of Narco News’ House of Death coverage [which was reposted without permission on the forum by fruhmenschen] into her own story, seemingly without a second thought.
• And in that same Feb. 17, 2010, story published by the Examiner.com, Dvorak lifts a passage penned by the Narco News’ correspondent and wrongly attributes it, using quotation marks, to a Narco News source in that same story.
From the Examiner.com story authored by Dvorak:
… Bill Weaver, a law professor at the University of Texas at El Paso who has written extensively about the murder case, stated that a letter from DEA in December 2006 stated, “that his FOIA request for the JAT is being jammed up because some documents are in South America and due to national security concerns.”
From the Narco News story, published Jan. 6, 2007:
The NSWBC’s Weaver, who is a university professor with a law degree, also smelled a foul deed afoot after receiving the DEA’s Dec. 6, 2006, letter informing him that his FOIA request for the JAT is being jammed up because some documents are in South America and due to national security concerns.
Well, kind readers, you be the judges in this case.
Is Dvorak deserving of credit for groundbreaking, authentic investigative journalism in her House of Death coverage to date, or has she engaged in outright theft of intellectual property for her own personal aggrandizement, and possibly on behalf of some larger political agenda yet to be revealed in full?