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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

Is DHS mired in bureaucratic despotism?

A memo issued today to Department of Homeland Security employees by DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff takes a bold stance against discrimination and in defense of whistleblowers within the massive bureaucracy.

From the memo:

Discrimination and reprisal have no place at DHS. It is a Prohibited personnel practice to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of his or her race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability. In keeping with the No Fear Act, managers and supervisors found responsible for violating civil rights or whistleblower protection laws will be disciplined accordingly.

I firmly believe that employees who are aware of these protections will be more confident in coming forward to report possible violations.

Strangely, or maybe predictably — given DHS bungled response to Hurricane Katrina — another end of DHS doesn’t seem to be on the same page with Chertoff when it comes to protecting whistleblowers.

So is Chertoff's pledge to protect whistleblowers sincere?

Welcome to the cronies ball in America

If there was ever any doubt that New Orleans was only a train derailing on a track leading to no where when it comes to inside-the-Beltway political mechanizations, then read on.

From the Washington Post:

The Bush administration is seeking to appoint a lawyer with little immigration or customs experience to head the troubled law enforcement agency that handles those issues, prompting sharp criticism from some employee groups, immigration advocates and homeland security experts.

The push to appoint Julie Myers [36] to head the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] agency, part of the Department of Homeland Security, comes in the midst of intense debate over the qualifications of department political appointees involved in the sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina.

… After working as a federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, N.Y., for two years, Myers held a variety of jobs over the past four years at the White House and at the departments of Commerce, Justice and Treasury, though none involved managing a large bureaucracy.

So why is she in line to oversee ICE, a law enforcement agency with some 20,000 employees and a $4 billion annual budget?

We can't win this battle with 'white papers'

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) recently published an 84-page white paper called "Homefront Confidential: How the War on Terrorism Affects Access to Information and the Public's Right to Know."

This edition of the white paper, which was first released six months after Sept. 11, 2001, takes a look at what the federal government has done since the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., to  “limit the ability of journalists to do their jobs.”

"Since the 5th edition was released a year ago, it has become clear to us that secrecy has nasty byproducts," said Reporters Committee Executive Director Lucy Dalglish in a prepared statement marking the release of the white paper earlier this month. "When more secrets are kept, journalists are forced to report using confidential sources, which, unfortunately leads to more subpoenas served on journalists. The trend toward journalists like Judy Miller of the New York Times going to jail will only escalate unless Congress adopts a federal shield law."

A proposed shield law and the Judy Miller case are not the only ground covered in the report. The RCFP white paper also zeroes in on Narco News and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

National whistleblower group calls on Congress to probe House of Death

A national organization representing government whistleblowers has stepped forward to back a former DEA official who is demanding a congressional investigation into the House of Death mass-murder case.

Helicópteros enviados para ayudar a los damnificados del huracán terminaron sirviendo a los medios

Según Mark Conrad, un ex supervisor de asuntos internos para la Aduana, las tripulaciones de tres helicópteros Blackhawk de la aduana de EU estacionadas en el Aeropuerto “Crestview” de la Florida están “lívidas”, luego de descubrir que no han sido enviadas a apoyar los esfuerzos, llevados a cabo en la región costera del Golfo de México, para ayudar a las víctimas del huracán Katrina.

U.S. Customs' hurricane-relief Blackhawks pulling press duty

The crews for three U.S. Customs Blackhawk helicopters stationed at Crestview Airport in Florida are "livid" because they have not been directed to provide full-time support for the ongoing hurricane-relief effort in the nation's Gulf Coast region, according to Mark Conrad, a former regional Internal Affairs supervisor for U.S. Customs.

Conrad says instead of helping people left desperate in the wake of Katrina's wrath, the Blackhawk's actually were slated to transport a CNN news crew to take video shots of those people.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection leadership in Miami is behind the press-play strategy, Conrad says.

"They have three Blackhawk helicopters and crew just sitting there doing nothing, just so they can look good for CNN. The crew is livid," Conrad says. "They made one trip earlier and flew over Biloxi, (Mississippi) where there are dead bodies everywhere. Those are highly trained crews and Blackhawk helicopters can carry a lot of food and water. They could be doing something."

Recompensan a inmigrantes ilegales con rancho en giro extraño de la justicia en la frontera

En la primeravera de 2003 el propietario de un rancho en el sur de Texas hacía guardia sobre la frontera de México con Estados Unidos.

Se encontraba ahí para proteger su tierra de un súbito ataque de inmigrantes ilegales que podrían cruzar la frontera para trabajar en ranchos como en suyo, o quizá en los hogares de los suburbios de personas ricas más al norte.

El ranchero protegía su territorio junto a sus compañeros fanáticos que participaban en el grupo paramilitar xenófobo Ranch Rescue. Si la persona equivocada “invadía” América, él y su escuadrón de “patriotas” armados estarían preparados para tomar la ley en sus propias manos.

Y al parecer el ranchero de Arizona capturó a su hombre y según los reportes lo golpeó con su pistola.

Enlodando el legado de una vaca sagrada del periodismo

Esto llegó recién, calientito de la máquina de cables de PRNewswire:

Knight Ridder (NYSE: KRI - News) anunció hoy que Jerry Ceppos, vicepresidente de noticias, ha sido elegido para obtener el retiro anticipado, efectivo a partir de agosto 31.

Ceppos, de 58 años, ha estado en su actual empleo desde 1999. En él, ha supervisado las operaciones noticiosas de todos los diarios de Knight Ridder, en la oficina de la compañía en Washington (junto a Tribune Co.), para los Servicios de Información Knight Ridder/Tribune. De 1995 a 1999, fue editor ejecutivo en el San Jose Mercury News. Previamente, pasó 23 años en varios puestos de noticias en el Miami Herald y el Mercury News.

Es el mismo Ceppos que movió el piso debajo de Gary Webb luego de que escribiera su señera serie de investigaciones para el Mercury News, exponiendo la suave cobertura de esta nación a la guerra contra las drogas.

Muckraking the legacy of a journalism sacred cow

This just in, hot off the PRNewswire spin machine:

Knight Ridder (NYSE: KRI - News) announced today that Jerry Ceppos, vice president/news, has elected to take early retirement, effective Aug. 31.

Ceppos, 58, has been in his current job since 1999. In it, he has had oversight of the news operations for all of Knight Ridder's daily newspapers, for the company's Washington Bureau and (with Tribune Co.) for the content of Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services. From 1995 until 1999, he was executive editor of the San Jose Mercury News. Prior to that, he had spent 23 years in various news positions at The Miami Herald and the Mercury News.

This is the same Ceppos that pulled the rug out from under Gary Webb after he penned his groundbreaking investigative series for the Mercury News exposing the soft underbelly of this nation’s war on drugs.

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.