World Affairs Brief, February 21, 2003 Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted. Cite source as Joel Skousen’s World Affairs Brief.
SYSTEMATIC CORRUPTION LINKS US AND MEXICAN GOVERNMENTS
One of the most obvious contradictions in the Bush administration’s claims to ensure Homeland Security is the government’s consistent refusal to shut down illegal immigration and drug running between Mexico and the US. DEA, INS and Homeland Security officials give hundreds of technical excuses for why they don’t have the resources or the political will to do what is necessary, but these are, I’m convinced, simply cover stories and lies.
There are tens of federal whistleblowers who tell a completely different story: that federal employees in these agencies are given direct and indirect orders by their superiors not to surveil selective areas or prosecute certain individuals. These whistleblowers also attest that when employees complain about these restrictions to higher officials in Washington, the cover-ups and stonewalling intensify. In other words, the problem is not that of a few rogue agents corrupted by bribes, as the Bush administration would have us believe. The problem is at the top, where systematic collusion is managed and covered up.
In this briefing, I will attempt to give my readers an overview of how the system works, why there is official collusion at high levels and what the ultimate purposes are. As to the specific evidence, there are numerous books and websites detailing examples of corruption and collusion by officials in the US and Mexico. Since I do not have the space to detail all of this evidence I will give you some samples plus specific references for further study. I encourage you to read enough of these accounts to understand the magnitude of the problem, keeping in mind that these stories represent only the tip of the iceberg.
Evidence of Government Collusion in Drug Running
Both the CIA/DEA and the Mexican government have been deeply involved with drug running for years. The Mexican system operates seamlessly (but compartmentalized) from the President down to border guards. Major participants in the system include the largest political party (PRI), federal and local police forces (where bribery is rampant), and the Mexican military. US Border Patrol agents have been fired upon on various occasions (on the US side of the border) by Mexican military personnel driving US-supplied Hummer all terrain vehicles, whose job it is to clear the path for drug runners crossing remote parts of the US border. Appeals by the DEA to Washington to intervene with Mexico to stop these illegal military intrusions are met with excuses and delay tactics.
On the US side, elite units within the CIA and DEA run their own joint drug pipelines to finance black budget (dark side government) operations – all the while pretending to be in support of the war on drugs. The four most common infiltration routes are: 1) South America, Cuba, to Florida; 2) South East Asia, Panama (via Chinese vessels), to Mexico; 3) South America, Central America (CIA aircraft pipeline), to Mexico. From Mexico, major CIA routes into the US are: McAllen/Brownsville to Corpus Christi, Texas; Laredo to San Antonio, Texas; El Paso, Texas to Las Cruces, NM; Nogales to Tucson, Az; Calexico to El Centro, Ca; and Tijuana to Chula Vista, Ca. Naturally, small time independent cartels use human carriers all along the uninhabited desert portions of the US/Mexican border.
Almost all the “success stories” of drug busts you read about in the media are DEA and Customs forces interdicting the drug pipelines of independent competitors to secret government drug operations. Publicizing these success stories allows the US to maintain credibility and cover for their own black operations. Whenever CIA drug operations are exposed, the DEA falls back on the cover story that the drugs involved were part of a sting operation.
One of the most common ways in which large quantities of drugs are imported across the border by the CIA are via sealed long haul tractor-trailer rigs. Corrupt Mexican customs officials in charge of truck inspection depots on the Mexican side of the border certify and seal the cargos of these trucks prior to their crossing the border, ensuring that they will not be inspected on the US side. Ostensibly, this is to facilitate border crossings for “drug free” trucks, but the certifying system is in fact an integral part of the illegal drug trade. On a regular basis, handlers of drug sniffing dogs at the border crossings notice that their dogs go wild as the “certified” trucks drive past. When these same guards have requested that the DEA perform spot checks on sealed trucks for compliance, DEA officials have consistently refused. Washington backs them up, citing language in the NAFTA agreement. The law was designed to ensure this kind of “free pass.”
Let’s look at a few specific cases of individuals who have been directly involved in government drug running. In 1995, DEA whistleblower John Carman [www.corruptcustoms.com] was interviewed by NBC’s Dateline about his charges that Customs officials had deliberately undermined enforcement efforts in San Diego where he was stationed. Carman corroborated the claims of another Customs whistle-blower, Mike Horner, who had alleged (in the June 1994 Reader’s Digest) that Customs officials routinely delete computer files on known drug smugglers. Horner was later pressured by government officials to retract his testimony. He now says he fabricated his evidence. I doubt that. He was made an “offer he couldn’t refuse.” Carman himself has compiled extensive evidence on his own that the TECS II drug tracking computer system had been deliberately compromised. For instance, Carman was once ordered not to enter the name of Jorge Hank-Rhon in the agency’s watch list computer files. Hank is a notorious member of one of Mexico’s well-connected crime families. He was also friends with DEA officials. Carman claims as well that key Mexican officials with links to drug families had been given the secret passwords to access the TECS II program. “According to an internal affairs source, former Assistant Customs Commissioner Mike Lane was in charge of communications during that time and may have been responsible for this set up in Mexico through U.S. Customs District Director Alan J. Rappoport who has special contacts in Tijuana, Mexico.” Rappoport was later forced to resign when allegations of his corruption were made public. Carman told NewsMax.com (www.newsmax.com) on Jan 20, 2000 that “the situation has gotten so bad he now suspects that some Customs officials are actually acting as double agents. ‘District directors themselves who are tied in with these drug cartels are asking us whom we know and what we know,’ said Carman.”
As the drug corruption charges mounted in the mid 90’s, President Clinton brought in New York City Police Commissioner (always an insider, corrupted position) Raymond Kelly to cover up these scandals, naming him as Under Secretary for Enforcement of the Treasury Department. Carman immediately noticed that Kelly was “firing people left and right…Anybody who complains about illegal activity – especially if you’re not a manager or a GS-12 supervisor or higher – Kelly’s getting rid of them.” In his interview Carman said the Customs chief had fired a few people who should have been prosecuted. “That means they beat the rap before they were exposed. Customs will do anything it can to avoid indicting these people.”
NewsMax.com also reports, “the Mexican drug kingpin and his own supervisor, John ‘Jack’ Maryon, actually met for lunch on a weekly basis. Carman’s website features a photo of another Customs official, Supervisor Jerry B. Martin, fraternizing with the smiling Mexican drug-mob chieftain.”
Then there is the case of William Gately, a DEA official who ran a drug sting operation called Operation Casablanca. He was instructed by higher-ups to kill the operation after they found out the drug pipeline was connected to Mexico’s president Ernesto Zedillo. Despite what the Clinton administration knew, it acted as if Mexico was still acting in good faith as a US partner in the “war on drugs.” Secretary of State Madeleine Albright continued to certify to Congress that Mexico was in compliance with agreed upon drug interdiction plans. Perhaps she was right — assuming the interdiction plan includes allowing CIA drugs to pass through!
The case of Guillermo González Calderoni has even more intrigue. Tim Weiner, writing for the New York Times, reported that Calderoni was a powerful drug agent for the Mexican authorities who walked a tight rope between the Mexican and US authorities and played ball at times with the drug lords as well. Here are some excerpts from Weiner’s report.
“Thirty years ago, [Calderoni] became a Mexico drug policeman. By 1985, he was a unnaturally powerful one. By then, he had crossed the line so many times no one was sure which side he was on…Some battle-scarred American drug warriors knew and loved Mr. Calderoni from the days when their war was the most important thing in the world down here… They say he took a million dollars from one drug lord, Amado Carillo Fuentes, to murder another one, Pablo Acosta.…None of this really mattered to the American agents. What mattered was the Enrique Camerena case.
“Enrique Camerena, an agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration known as Kiki, was captured, tortured and killed by Mexican drug dealers in 1985. The investigation into the killing ‘reached into the highest levels of the Mexican political apparatus,’ said Mr. Berrellez… ‘Mr. Calderoni broke the Camerena case for the United States. Nothing else counted.’ In their eyes, he became the most trusted police commander in Mexico — admittedly, not a long list.
“‘He was the only one who truly helped us in the Camerena case.’ Mr. Berrellez said. ‘And he was the only one who stood up the Salinas government and exposed their corruption. His information caused [president] Carlos Salinas to have to leave Mexico.’ That information included accusations of large cash payments by drug lords to President Salinas’s brother Rául. Carlos Salinas left Mexico after his term ended in 1994 and lives in a kind of self-imposed exile, mostly in Ireland. Raúl is in prison on charges including murder.
“Mr. Calderoni himself fled Mexico for McAllen a decade ago, pursued by charges of corruption and torture filed by the Salinas government. In 1994, Mr. Berrellez, among others, convinced a federal judge in Texas that the charges were bogus. Mr. Calderoni settled in McAllen, married a Mexican beauty queen and started a second family. By all accounts, he was a happy man…[This year] An assassin walked up to his silver Mercedes in McAllen on Feb. 5 and shot him right there on the sidewalk. He was 54. The McAllen police, who have identified no suspects, think it was a professional job. He was under the threat of death from Carlos Salinas, the president of Mexico at the time, his American friends testified.” [End of Weiner quote.]
One of the most comprehensive yet concise sources about US secret drug running, extending beyond the Mexican connection, is Drugging America by Rodney Stich [www.druggingamerica.com]. In his book Stich details the eye witness testimonies of dozens of CIA, DEA and military pilots who discovered that what they were doing was illegal and who turned on their government handlers. The following accounts, among many others, are covered in this book:
1) A former FBI undercover agent discovered CIA-Mafia drug links and suffered severe retaliation when he discovered official attempts to cover up his reports, going as high as the Justice Department.
2) A veteran agent of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and chief of the New York City Anti-Smuggling Unit, uncovered considerable evidence of Dominican drug trafficking along the northeast section of the United States, which was being covered up by New York and federal law enforcement officials. He suffered severe retaliation when he continued to track drug smugglers, including those that funded terrorist cells in New Jersey and New York (among which were the terrorists responsible for the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993).
3) A veteran INS agent, after reporting a drug trafficking operation by a DEA agent in Mexico and the murder of a Mexican national by that agent, witnessed his reports covered up by both US officials, and subsequently President Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico. The agent suffered severe retaliation when he persisted in pursuing the matter.
4) A former contract undercover pilot working for US Customs was about to disrupt a major Colombian drug cartel’s operation of Pablo Escobar, but suffered Justice Department retaliation that protected Escobar. Escobar later came under disfavor with the CIA and was killed.
5) Terry Reed, author of Compromised, is a former head of a CIA proprietary airline who described in great detail the drugs that his aircraft carried for the CIA, how the CIA set up his airline, how the CIA funded the operation, and how Department of Justice officials retaliated against him when he shut down the airline in protest over CIA drug trafficking. Reed details the corruption of Judge Theis who ruled all evidence of CIA involvement inadmissible in the resulting case against Reed. (One of the most conclusive indicators of collusion between fiduciary elements of government to cover up darkside activities is the disallowance in court of evidence of government management of these activities.)
6) Military personnel described to Stich the conduction of drug trafficking by the CIA at military bases where these individuals were stationed. Many pilots who flew drugs for the CIA and DEA in Mexico and elsewhere, lay out specific details of those operations in this book.
7) The book also includes evidence that deep-cover CIA agents helped set up the Medellin and Cali cartels, making it easier for the CIA to obtain the drugs that were smuggled into the United States through Panama and Mexico. The US eventually got into drug turf wars with both these Colombian cartels as well as with Manuel Noriega, the CIA’s front man in Panama. Noriega was brought to America for prosecution. Again, the judge, William H. Hoeveler, ruled that Noriega’s evidence documenting his connections with the CIA was ruled inadmissible. Standard procedure in a cover-up of government secret operations!