About Bill Conroy

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

Now showing: The Narco-Bogeyman eats Mexico!

The media manipulation continues on the narco-bogeyman front. Here’s the plot as I see it coming into form.

Mexico is heading into a presidential election in 2006. A populist mayor out of Mexico City, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, is emerging as a major contender. A rise in populism in Mexico is not in the interest of the Bush administration or Mexico’s oligarch, so the powers that be have to smear the leading social-reform candidates while at the same time propping up the forces more in line with U.S. interests, neoliberal forces now aligned through the presidency of Vicente Fox.

However, since Fox is technically prohibited from seeking re-election in 2006 under the Mexican constitution, the Bush administration’s task is a bit trickier, as they not only have to disable the emerging popularity of Mexico’s grassroots democracy movement, but also manufacture a suitable neoliberal candidate.

Well, the smear campaign is well underway. Lopez Obrador is now facing the possibility of being barred for running for the presidency because of a plan afoot to charge him criminally over a minor land-use dispute – something about building a road to a hospital over “private property.”

Drug-war agency ICE short 5,000 bulletproof vests, whistleblowers claim

In recent weeks, the U.S. mainstream press has trumpeted warnings issued by Washington bureaucrats that narco-traffickers in Mexico are kidnapping and murdering U.S. citizens in Mexico and that law enforcers along the border are being targeted by the “cartels.”

The hype resulted in the State Department issuing an advisory for U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico. The FBI also issued a bulletin – which was leaked to the mainstream press – advising law enforcers along the border of an alleged plan by narco-traffickers to kidnap and murder federal agents.

The nature of these bureaucratic warnings, however, is highly suspicious, given that narco-traffickers don’t kidnap and murder innocent U.S. citizens unless there is money to be made, and there has been no sudden rash of ransom demands being made by drug organizations. And the FBI, only days after issuing its “internal” bulletin, admitted that the alleged kidnapping and murder scheme was not credible.

Narco News recently contacted the U.S. embassy in Mexico City asking for figures that would back up the State Department’s claims that narco-traffickers are increasingly targeting U.S. citizens. Strangely, those figures could not be produced.

“We don’t have figures to respond to this question at this time,” said Diana Page, assistant press attaché for the U.S. Embassy Mexico. “The consular section is working on helping Americans, so getting statistics together has to wait.”

FBI claims narcos want to nab cops?

The FBI has now weighed into the “drug cartel” problem along the U.S.-Mexico border by issuing a bulletin claiming there is an “immediate threat to law-enforcement personnel,” according to a front page story in today’s San Antonio Express-News.

From the story:

MEXICO CITY — The FBI warned all federal agents Friday that a Mexican drug cartel has 250 armed men on the border near Matamoros and is planning to kidnap two federal agents in the United States and smuggle them into Mexico where they will be murdered.

The FBI office in San Antonio declined to discuss the source of the information, but issued a written bulletin warning of an "immediate threat to law-enforcement personnel."

The bulletin goes on to say the "extremely violent" drug-smuggling organization known as the Gulf Cartel already sent a contingent that are believed to have valid visas to enter the United States.

"Due to the nature of this immediate threat, all law-enforcement personnel are being cautioned to ensure appropriate measures are taken as well as to keep a high degree of vigilance," the bulletin states.

Rene Salinas, a spokesman for the FBI in San Antonio, said the information is "uncorroborated," but that federal agents and police are being told to use extra caution.

The Underground Press: A Mosaic History

I thought some folks might enjoy this, and it might serve as a jumping off point for discussion about the history of the “free press” – and its future. Strangely, in putting the following excerpts together, I find that history isn’t really that long ago after all.

Anyway, I’m not going to drag on here. Following are passages from a collection of books and publications about the history of the Underground Press of the 1960s. They are like pieces of a mosaic. So read through them all, if you’re so inclined, to get the whole picture.

(The sources are at the end of the tale.)

“Without freedom of speech I might be in the swamp.” – Bob Dylan

The Underground Press: A Mosaic History

An understandable world was coming apart at the “seems” – appearance could not be trusted. The assassinations made no sense. Symbols of security against a communist threat – the CIA and the FBI – increasingly seemed a menace themselves. They were a source of anxiety and insecurity, not only for radical students, but for moderate legislators. Even President Lyndon Johnson was persuaded that the CIA was implicated in John Kennedy’s murder. Even the American flag changed its meaning and became more a partisan than a national symbol. (3)

Homeland Security again accused of racial profiling

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is being called on the mat for racially profiling Hispanics and Haitians in South Florida, according to a recent report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

ICE officials deny the allegations, but they are hard to dismiss out of hand, given the fact that Hispanic federal agents themselves have a class-action discrimination lawsuit pending against the agency. ICE is part of the Department of Homeland Security, which is the massive 200,000-employee bureaucracy created in the wake of 9/11 to safeguard the security of the nation.

The Sun-Sentinel reports the following:

"Many victims of the immigration sweeps have told us they were racially profiled," said Cheryl Little, director of the Miami-based Florida Immigration Advocacy Center. "They were stopped simply because of the way they looked or the language they spoke or because they had an accent."

Shooting the messenger in the war on drugs

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark, N.J., recently announced that Jorge Reyeros was slated to be sentenced in April of this year for conspiring with his brother, Juan, and their Colombian contacts to smuggle 150 kilos of cocaine into the United States in 1999.

Jorge Reyeros also was convicted of accessing a U.S. Customs Service computer without authorization. He is facing a prison sentence for his crimes of up to 30 years, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

On the surface, there is nothing remarkable about Reyeros’ story. He appears to be just another number in the war on drugs. But according to former U.S. Customs inspector John B. Conroy, Reyeros’ indictment in 2000 for his crimes should have happened some four years earlier – which is when Conroy first blew the whistle on his activities.

For Conroy, the Reyeros case is emblematic of how law enforcement itself has been corrupted by the war on drugs.

Homeland Security softens secrecy directive, slightly

Narco News reported earlier this year that The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) -- the government monolith created in the wake of 9/11 -- had adopted a draconian secrecy classification scheme for any information it deems sensitive.

In a directive issued in May 2004, DHS created a new “For Official Use Only” (FOUO) classification process covering a wide range of information that the government bureaucracy deems “sensitive but unclassified.”  

The directive required DHS employees and private contractors to sign non-disclosure agreements prior to being given access to FOUO information.

However, Secrecy News, an e-mail bulletin put out by the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy, reports that DHS has now eliminated the non-disclosure agreement mandate for DHS employees.

Running out of minutes in the war on terror


Do you feel safer since 9/11?

Apparently the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) thinks we’re back to business as usual. How else can we explain the new national cell-phone contract recently put into place within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)?

Remember, ICE is one of the DHS agencies on the front lines of the so-called wars on terror and drugs. But according to sources within DHS, federal bureaucrats apparently don’t want ICE agents to do much talking among themselves, or with their confidential informants, in the course of going into the battlefield in those wars.

Portrait of a dope-smuggling cowboy

Don Henry Ford Jr. is a polite fellow. He’s likely to end most sentences with “sir” or “ma’am” and has all the mannerisms of a down-to-earth Texas cowboy.

And like many cowboys I’ve run across, Ford has a knack for telling stories. But in this cowboy’s case, the stories are true.

Ford has a love for nature, for ranching, for growing crops, herding cattle and tending to horses. He’s ridden bucking broncos that can break your back, stared down bulls that will rip open your abdomen and delivered foals in the open range. Ford also can make refried beans from scratch, serve up a mouth-watering plate of Texas barbeque, raise crops on the scorched earth of West Texas and find water in the parched desert of northern Mexico.

Yes, he is a true cowboy, who spent a good part of his youth on a ranch in West Texas along the Pecos River, where he learned that the only cash crop in that part of the world is the one that takes money out of a rancher’s pockets.

That economic reality helped drag Ford into the heart of the drug war. That is Ford’s story, which he tells from the heart in his new book: Contrabando, Confessions of a Drug-Smuggling Texas Cowboy.

Connecting the dots in the House of Death

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a press release earlier this month announcing a plea agreement had been reached with an accused cigarette smuggler, Jorge Abraham. What the press release does not mention is that the Abraham case is linked to another major smuggling case involving Heriberto Santillan-Tabares, who, U.S. prosecutors allege, is a top lieutenant in Vicente Carrillo Fuentes’ Juárez drug organization.

Santillan is charged with cocaine and marijuana smuggling along with five counts of murder allegedly carried out as part of a continuing criminal enterprise – a crime that can get him a death sentence in the U.S. justice system. A confidential informant, who allegedly had attained high standing within the Juarez organization, played a critical role in snaring Santillan.

The informant’s name is Jesus Contreras, who is also known by the nickname “Lalo.”

Narco News published a major exposé in late April of this year (called The House of Death) that revealed Contreras, as part of his role in infiltrating the Santillan organization, was implicated in a series of murders in Ciudad Juárez -- located just across the border from El Paso, Texas.

Between August 2003 and mid-January 2004, about a dozen people were tortured, murdered and then buried in the yard of a house in the Mexican border town. Contreras, according to sources, participated in many of those murders.

User login

Navigation

Reporters' Notebooks

name) { $notebooks[] = l($row->name, 'blog/' . $row->uid); } } print theme('item_list', $notebooks); ?>