About Bill Conroy

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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

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.

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.

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