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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

Homeland Security memo reveals terrorism records are being sanitized

A memo leaked to Narco News by some brave soul within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offers a revealing insight into the so-called war on terrorism. In short, the memo seems to show that for at least one federal law-enforcement agency, investigating terrorism is not unlike the childhood game of “Duck, Duck, Goose.”

The memo, issued on March 28 by a high-ranking official with DHS’ Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), essentially orders supervisors in the field to sanitize terrorism-related case files maintained in a major law-enforcement computer system called TECS. All told, TECS contains about 12,000 terrorism-related “records,” of which about 4,000 have been generated by ICE, according to the memo.

ICE supervisors, per the memo’s instructions, are to "modify or remove all ICE-generated TECS records designated as ‘terrorist.’”

In other words, the memo instructs ICE supervisors to ensure that if they come across a goose in the game of find-the-terrorist, then they should call it a duck.

As a result, based on the memo’s instructions, existing records originated by ICE and deemed to be terror-related are to be purged from the TECS computer system by reclassifying them to make them appear to be unrelated to terrorism. The deadline for completing this 4,000-record sanitizing task is April 11, two weeks from the issue date of the memo.

FOIA documents in House of Death case now online at Narco News

DEA supervisor Sandalio Gonzalez fired off a letter in February 2005 to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in El Paso, Texas, that blew the whistle on an alleged cover-up within the U.S. justice system.

The letter exposed federal agents’ complicity in multiple murders in the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juárez. The homicides were tied to an investigation into Heriberto Santillan-Tabares, who U.S. prosecutors claim is a top lieutenant in Vicente Carrillo Fuentes’ Juárez drug organization.

Santillan has been charged with cocaine and marijuana smuggling along with five counts of murder. His case is currently pending in federal district court in San Antonio, Texas, and is slated for trial in May.

Watchdog agencies asleep at the House of Death

The first major sign that DEA supervisor Sandalio Gonzalez had hit a nerve with his letter of protest over the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s handling of the House of Death murders materialized in May 2004.

The blowback came at him through a legal case he has pending against DEA. In 2002, Gonzalez filed a discrimination lawsuit against the agency in federal court in Miami. The case, which is still pending, stems from a stash of cocaine that came up missing after a 1998 raid of a house in suburban Miami.

Prior surveillance of the house indicated there should have been about 32 kilograms of cocaine on the premises, but the total amount accounted for after the search fell 10 kilos short of that mark.

Gonzalez suspected foul play. He says the same Miami-Dade Police team involved in the raid was responsible for “compromising three prior drug cases.”

Former DEA supervisor's letter opens new door on House of Death

Narco News has uncovered a well-kept secret through a recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

Following is the list of government agencies who don’t want you to know this secret, and which have to date, to one degree or another, contributed to keeping it covered up: The U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Antonio, the DEA, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and at least two agencies charged with investigating corruption in federal law enforcement -- the U.S. Office of Special Counsel and the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General.

But before revealing the details of the secret, some background is in order. Last month, Narco News reported the following:

A startling claim has surfaced in a document filed in federal court by a former DEA supervisor. The claim raises serious questions about a U.S. Attorney’s handling of evidence in the case of accused murderer and drug-trafficker Heriberto Santillan-Tabares.

Hispanic federal agents back Conrad for Commish

Mark Conrad, a former supervisory special agent with U.S. Customs, has landed a major endorsement in his bid for a top post within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The Federal Hispanic Law Enforcement Officers Association (FHLEOA) is now officially in Conrad’s corner. FHLEOA describes itself as “a network of federal law enforcement professionals committed to finding positive and creative solutions to the challenges facing the federal Hispanic law enforcement community in the United States.”

In an endorsement letter, send to White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, FHLEOA’s national president states the following:

State Dept. homicide stats put Narco-bogeyman scare on ice

In late January, only a few weeks into the new year, the U.S. State Department issued a travel warning to U.S. citizens that urged them to avoid the border area in Mexico because of escalating violence due to narco-trafficking activities.

Few in the media questioned the veracity of the warning. After all, if the government says it’s so, it must be so. But what do the numbers tell us?

If U.S. citizens are facing a greater risk to their safety along the border, shouldn’t there be a way of measuring that increased risk, an accounting of the increase in murders, kidnappings and disappearances?

The State Department warning began as follows:

House of Death exploded by former DEA supervisor's revelation

A startling claim has surfaced in a document filed in federal court by a former DEA supervisor. The claim raises serious questions about a U.S. Attorney’s handling of evidence in the case of accused murderer and drug-trafficker Heriberto Santillan-Tabares.

Former DEA agent Sandalio Gonzalez drops the bombshell on the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Antonio in one short paragraph tucked into the pleadings of an employment discrimination case he has pending against the Department of Justice.

Gonzalez, who, until his retirement last month, oversaw the DEA’s El Paso field office, makes the following assertion in a motion filed earlier this week in federal district court in Miami:

On August 20, 2004, Defendant (the Department of Justice) continued to retaliate against Plaintiff (Gonzalez) for exercising his protected rights by issuing him a Performance Appraisal Record that was a downgrade from his previous outstanding appraisal due to Defendant’s unfounded allegations that Plaintiff exercised “extremely poor judgment” when Plaintiff issued a letter to the Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), El Paso, Texas Field Office, and the Office of the United States Attorney (USAO), Western District of Texas, expressing his “frustration and outrage” at the mishandling of an informant in a drug investigation that resulted in several preventable murders in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and endangered the lives of DEA Special Agents and their families assigned to duty in Mexico.

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.

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