About Bill Conroy

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Bill Conroy's Comments

US Government Accused of Seeking to Conceal Deal Cut With Sinaloa “Cartel”
Oct 5 2011 - 6:38pm
U.S.-Backed Programs Supplying the Firepower for Mexico’s Soaring Murder Rate
Apr 20 2011 - 7:46pm
U.S. Private Sector Providing Drug-War Mercenaries to Mexico
Apr 13 2011 - 8:11pm
Tahrir and Beyond: Ten Days That Shook My World
Mar 26 2011 - 1:06am
Why Is TeleSur a Flop? Look No Farther than Its Libya Coverage
Feb 24 2011 - 11:39pm

Illegal immigrants awarded ranch in border-justice twist

Back in the spring of 2003, an Arizona ranch owner stood guard along the U.S./Mexican border in South Texas.

He was there to protect his land from the onslaught of illegal immigrants who might cross the border to work on ranches like his, or maybe in the exoburb homes of wealthy people further north.

The rancher was standing his ground with like-minded zealots participating in the xenophobic militia-like group called Ranch Rescue. If the wrong person "invaded" America, he and his cadre of armed "patriots" were prepared to take the law into their own hands.

And it seems the rancher from Arizona got his man – and then reportedly bashed him with his gun.

Authentic journalism knocking on U.S. Supreme Court's door

A story first reported by Narco News has shown up in a Supreme Court petition filed recently by Sibel Edmonds, a former FBI translator who is seeking to take on the White House over a national-security nuclear option known as state secrets privilege.  

Edmonds was fired from her job after blowing the whistle on alleged espionage being carried out by a fellow FBI employee. She is now being prevented from pursuing a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit filed in 2002 (based on alleged violations of her civil rights) because of the state secrets privilege claim. The claim essentially shuts down her ability to present evidence in the case under the smokescreen that it would jeopardize national security.

Edmonds’ petition for review, called a writ of certiorari, states the following:

Petitioner Sibel Edmonds, a former translator for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who was terminated in retaliation for reporting serious security breaches and potential espionage within the FBI’s translation unit, seeks review of the judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia affirming the dismissal of her retaliatory termination case on the basis of the state secrets privilege. Petitioner (Edmonds) also seeks review of the Court of Appeals’ … exclusion of the press and the public from appellate argument.

Has media been duped by Homeland Security, FBI `turf war'?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees agencies like U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, often seems to be knocking heads with the FBI over turf when it comes to issues of national security, such as terrorism investigations.

At times, these pitched jurisdictional battles would come off as comical farces -- material for a 21st Century version of the Keystone Cops -- if it were not for the gravity of what’s at stake: Human lives.

But maybe these territorial tiffs are really not about something as abstract as agency “turf wars,” as we have been lead to believe by the spate of media reports on the issue. After all, there’s a certain sense of integrity implied by the use of that term — that somehow in the “patriotic” race to protect the nation, the FBI and DHS are just extremely competitive. And of course, in America, competition is always a good thing, right?

But what if that line of reasoning is a big ruse? What if instead we are dealing with the more concrete notion of “career monopoly” –- the decidedly greedy desire by an individual or group of individuals to control the whole board.

New State Department stats contradict media's narco-war hype

A recent editorial in the San Antonio Express-News begins like this:

In this dusty town torn by violence, walking down the street is an act of courage.

It could be Baghdad, where calm is defined as the gap between suicide bombings.

But it is not; it is Nuevo Laredo, and the violence grows every day.

How clever to draw an analogy between Baghdad and Nuevo Laredo. Baghdad is already brimming with U.S. troops fighting a “terrorist insurgency.” Maybe it’s now time to send soldiers into Nuevo Laredo, to protect U.S. citizens from the “narco-terrorists” -- or so seems the subtle message of the analogy.

But is this picture being painted for us based on hype or facts?

Posada Carriles deportation case turns into Bay of Pigs sparnfarkel

Accused terrorist Luis Posada Carriles failed to make his case to be set free on bond today. Posada, as you recall, has been in federal custody for a couple months now pending a ruling on his request for asylum.

Of even greater interest, however, is the fact that the Associated Press reports that the federal immigration judge hearing Posada’s case “asked lawyers involved in the deportation case … to provide briefs on whether the Bay of Pigs invasion could be considered an act of terrorism.”

That’s right, U.S. prosecutors and Posada’s attorneys will now have to duke it out over whether the U.S. government engaged in an act of terrorism against the Cuban government in the early 1960s. And the irony is that it will be to the benefit of U.S. prosecutors to argue that it was terrorism, since it would seem to bolster the government’s case against granting Posada asylum.

Hispanic federal agents send letter to Bush

The Federal Hispanic Law Enforcement Officers Association (FHLEOA) has taken its concerns over the federal government’s anemic record of hiring Hispanics directly to the Big Cheese in the White House.

The U.S. government’s dire hiring track record was exposed in a recent report to the president issued by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The report shows that Hispanics -- one of the fastest growing minority populations in the country -- represent only 7.3 percent of the federal workforce, while they represent nearly 13 percent of overall U.S. workforce.

FHLEOA wants to make sure President gets the message that it’s not sufficient for the government to just talk about leaving no Hispanic behind. The Administration actually has to make sure the government is hiring them first.

So Sandalio Gonzalez, national president of FHLEOA, sent Bush the following letter (which can also be found on the organization’s Web site.)

Law enforcer indicted after exposing abuse of illegal immigrants

A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official just sent me a copy of a story that appeared in an Arizona newspaper recently. The story is about a Border Patrol agent who has been indicted for “harboring an illegal immigrant.”

The DHS official was somewhat suspicious about the case, in that the agent arrested had last year blown the whistle on U.S. government abuse of illegal immigrants.

A recent story in the Tucson Citizen reports the following about the case:

A U.S. Border Patrol officer who lodged complaints about alleged illegal immigrant abuse has been indicted on five charges of transporting and harboring an illegal immigrant.

The indictment charges that Douglas agent Ephraim Cruz, 32, knowingly brought into the country an illegal immigrant, Maria De Socorro Terrazas-Orozco, on Jan 22 (2005).

Last year, Cruz complained in several internal memos obtained by the Tucson Citizen that migrants were going up to 24 hours without food and were unnecessarily crowded into cells.

Given the U.S. government’s record of retaliation against whistleblowers, the concern that this indictment might be an act of reprisal can’t be dismissed out of hand.

FOIA documents shed light on puzzling FBI case

Sometimes, the quest for justice is like playing with a Rubik’s Cube. It can take a lot of turns and time to get all the colors to line up in a row.

In the case of an Iranian family convicted of insurance fraud some six years ago in the wake of a controversial FBI investigation, those colors are still lining up. The latest twist of the cube came in the form of a couple hundred pages of documents released recently as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

The FOIA documents reveal some startling information about the way the FBI conducted its investigation of the Lampazianies, who were born in Iran and later emigrated to the United States. They eventually became U.S. citizens — changing their family name from Tabib to Lampazianie, in part, some family members say, to avoid the persecution that often comes with being identified as Iranian in the United States.

The FOIA records obtained by Narco News show that the insurance-fraud case brought against Lampazianies was started not by the FBI, but rather by a private company, an insurance-industry-funded group called the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

The FOIA documents also reveal that employees of the private-sector NICB participated with FBI agents in interrogating witnesses and that an NICB employee even accompanied FBI agents in the search-warrant raid of the Lampazainies’ now-defunct health care clinic — The Pain Therapy Clinic of San Antonio, Texas.

U.S. government continues to leave Hispanics behind

The Federal Hispanic Law Enforcement Officers Association (FHLEOA) has posted some dismal statistics on its Web site with respect to the Bush Administration’s track record on hiring Hispanic federal employees.

The figures are taken from a semi-annual report to the president prepared by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The report provides data on Hispanic employment and hiring in the federal government.

From the report:

In FY 2004, the permanent Federal workforce included 123,207 Hispanics compared to 115,600 in FY 2003. This represents a 6.6 percent increase in the number of Hispanics government-wide. In terms of representation, Hispanics represented 7.3 percent of the Federal workforce in FY 2004, compared to 7.0 in FY 2003.

… The percentage of Hispanic new hires decreased from 9.7 percent in FY 2003 to 8.5 percent in FY 2004. The number of Hispanics hired decreased from 9,090 in FY 2003 to 7,896 in FY 2004. This trend is partly explained by the decrease in the total number of government-wide new hires in FY 2004.

What isn’t explained, though, is why only 7.3 percent of federal employees are Hispanic, up a paltry .3 percent from the prior year, when Hispanics represent nearly 13 percent of the work force overall nationwide.

Posada Carriles may well choke on Bush's pickle

Accused anti-Castro terrorist Luis Posada Carriles will have to sit in a jail cell in El Paso, Texas, a bit longer. His bail hearing before U.S. immigration judge Lee Abbott has been postponed until July 25, according to news reports.

Strangely, the major mainstream media outlets have been slow to pick up on the news.

If you recall, Posada Carriles was arrested in Miami in mid-May after allegedly entering the United States illegally via the Texas/Mexico border. He then claims to have taken a bus from Texas to Miami.

Well that tall tale may be coming back to haunt the long-time CIA operative who is accused of blowing up a Cuban airliner in 1976, snuffing out the lives of some 73 innocent people. Of course, that is just the tip of the ice pick in terms of the crimes Posada Carriles stands accused of in the eyes of the world. Venezuela, in particular, wants justice served up to Posada Carriles and is seeking his extradition in connection with the airline bombing.

The 77-year-old Posada Carriles is a native of Cuba but later also became a citizen of Venezuela, where the airline-bombing plot was allegedly masterminded. Now, he is seeking to wrap himself in the U.S. flag in a bid for political asylum – part of a desperate attempt to protect himself from the fate his past deeds have thrust upon his future.

But it’s tough to beat fate when you’re playing against the house.

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