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

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.

The twist and turns of Homeland Security justice

The TV “news” show Dateline NBC featured an interview tonight with a “respected” supervisory agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

On the nationally broadcasted segment, Joseph Webber, special agent in charge of ICE’s Houston office, blasted the FBI, claiming the Bureau had jammed up one of his investigations by holding up a wire tap on someone he suspected of raising money for terrorists. Webber didn't provide any specific details on the case, however, for fear it might “compromise” the investigation.

The Dateline report made it clear that Webber’s turf battle with the FBI has been going on for at least four months or so. U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, was interviewed during the segment as well. Grassley indicated he had talked to FBI Director Robert Mueller about the case and the senator is now requesting a formal investigation.

Strangely, Webber is not the type of ICE employee who might be expected to become a whistleblower, according to sources who have talked to Narco News. In fact, those sources say Webber is more adept at fostering the kind of workplace conditions that create whistleblowers.

 In any event, he is due to retire soon -- unexpectedly, according to sources inside DHS.

Zetas burn media's script in war on drugs

The violence plaguing the border town of Nuevo Laredo, sister city of Laredo, Texas, has led to travel advisories being issued by the State Department and dire warnings from U.S. officials that narco-traffickers are on the hunt for U.S. citizens.

The truth is that the violence in Nuevo Laredo is a direct byproduct of narco-capitalism. Sure, if you happen to be on the wrong street corner when a gunfight breaks out, you are in danger, just like you would be in any inner city in the states when rival gangs pull out their pieces and start shooting at each other.

In addition, just like in any big city in the states, you have to be careful of the company you keep.

“Narcotics is the underlying reason (for the violence) but not for those caught in the middle,” explains one federal law enforcer who works the border near Nuevo Laredo. “I am sure some of the victims were just too friendly with bad people and were taken somewhere for a good time, and it got out of hand, and they were killed. But it seems the majority of them were indeed linked to narcotics, since guns, paraphernalia were found. It’s too much of a coincidence that they disappear without a trace and then are later found in deep-concreted holes in the back of narco’s houses. Sad but true.”

Nuevo Laredo: a case study in macro narco-economics

The border town of Nuevo Laredo, sister city to Laredo, Texas, has been the scene of an intense turf battle between rival drug organizations over the past couple years.

The showdown is supposedly between the armed soldiers of two Mexican narco-traffickers who are waging a battle to gain control of the lucrative trade route that runs from Nuevo Laredo, across the border into Laredo, and north along Interstate Highway 35 to San Antonio, then Dallas – from where it spokes out into the rest of the United States.

The two rival drug lords at the center of the turf war are allegedly Osiel Cardenas Guillen and Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Cardenas, who has been in jail on drug charges in Mexico since 2003, reportedly oversees his narco-trafficking organization from prison. His group, often referred to in the mainstream press as the “Gulf cartel,” has controlled the Nuevo Laredo market for years.

Cardenas’ primary enforcers are the Zetas, a group composed of former elite Mexican military commandos who deserted their posts to take up arms as mercenaries in the narco-market.

However, in recent years, Guzman has made inroads into the Nuevo Laredo market by waging a bloody street war against the Cardenas organization and the Zetas.

Another Travesty of Justice in "House of Death" Case

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Antonio has done it again. In what can only be seen as an effort to tie off all the loose ends in the cover-up in the House of Death mass murder case, U.S. federal prosecutors have decided not to pursue Mexican state judicial police comandante Miguel Loya Gallegos.

State Department claims the zombies are back again!

Most of us have watched at least one of those B-rated zombie movies, like “Night of the Living Dead.”

So we all know that no matter how many zombies are put out of their misery, there are always more of them in the shadows coming up out of the ground.

Well, it seems U.S. State Department officials have lifted their Mexico travel-warning script right out those zombie-movie plots.

On Tuesday, only a few days after a giant march in Mexico City in support of popular presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador -- who is not a favorite son of the Bush administration -- the U.S. State Department reissued a travel warning for the Mexico border region. The warning cites the continuing threat of violence against U.S. citizens due to violent narco-traffickers.

Is U.S. Marshal guilty of murder or of being black?

Arthur Lloyd, 53, is driving his SUV down a wide boulevard, Rockville Pike, in Montgomery County, which is in Maryland near Washington, DC. His entire family – wife and five children – are packed in the vehicle with him. They are heading to Mid-Pike Plaza in Rockville to buy a toy for one of his daughters.

It is only days before Halloween, and the roadway is packed with afternoon rush-hour traffic. Somewhere in the course of his trip to the shopping center, Lloyd did something to annoy Ryan Stowers, a 20-year-old who had only recently enlisted in the Navy. Stowers, who is from Redding, Calif., is driving a Chevy Camaro.

Maybe Lloyd cut in front of Stowers when he was switching lanes, maybe Lloyd came up to close to Stowers' bumper at some point, or maybe Stowers mistakenly blamed Lloyd for something another driver did. Whatever set Stowers off that day is not clear, but what he did next set in motion a chain of events that ultimately cost him his life.

U.S. prosecutors cut deal to bury the House of Death

U.S. Department of Justice officials have taken the predictable path in the House of Death mass-murder case. They have allowed the snake to swallow its tail.

U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton in San Antonio, Texas, announced earlier this week that his office cut a plea bargain with Heriberto Santillan-Tabares, who U.S. prosecutors claim is a top lieutenant in Vicente Carrillo Fuentes’ Juárez drug organization.

Santillan had been charged with cocaine and marijuana smuggling along with five counts of murder. His case was slated to go to trial this May in federal district court in San Antonio.

The plea deal caps more than a year-long effort by federal prosecutors and ICE officials to keep a lid on the U.S. government’s complicity in multiple murders in the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juárez.

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