Archive for April, 2011

District Attorney: NYPD Cops Made Fake 911 Call to Cover-Up Their Rape of Intoxicated Woman

April 13, 2011

By LAURA ITALIANO / New York Post of April 12, 2011

Jurors yesterday heard the most incriminating audio evidence in the so-called “Rape Cops” trial — what prosecutors say is one of the officers pretending to be a Canadian tourist while using an East Village pay phone to make a bogus 911 call about a “smelly” homeless man.

Accused rapist Officer Kenneth Moreno and accused lookout Officer Franklin Mata allegedly faked the call to buy themselves more time to make their second of four trips to a drunken woman’s apartment on an early morning in December 2008.

There, the victim has told prosecutors, she passed out facedown on her bed, only to be awakened by the Velcro-rip sound of Moreno removing his bulletproof vest before raping her.

“There’s a homeless guy . . . just sleeping there in the hallway,” the caller, who gives his name as “John Edwards,” says on the damaging 911 tape, his voice sounding more Northern Manhattan than Great White North.

“He smells really bad,” the caller says, going on to say, “He’s a homeless guy. You know, he didn’t bother anybody but, he’s like, right in the front door.”

Moreno and Mata would tell their bosses they spent from 2 to 2:30 a.m. dealing with the “smelly” nuisance who was supposedly sleeping in the foyer of a building at East 13th Street and First Avenue.

But for most of that half-hour, prosecutors say, the officers were actually a couple of doors down, in the apartment of the victim, a then-28-year-old fashion exec who’d been so drunk that her cabby had called for the cops’ assistance to get her out of the taxi.

The 911 call was made from a pay phone at that corner — precisely where the two officers claimed they were wrapping up a two-car fender bender, according to the official dispatch records.

“He’s sleeping, yeah,” the caller says. “He’s just in the hallway.” When the dispatcher asks, “And you want the police to do what?” the supposed Canadian answers, “To get him out before my girlfriend comes outside . . . I just don’t want her to get — to deal with it.”

When the dispatcher asks, “What’s your phone number?” there is a slight pause. Then “John” answers, “I’m actually from Canada, so I don’t have one.”

So intent were Moreno and Mata to “respond” to the homeless-man call that they can be heard on radio-dispatch tapes urgently shooing away another patrol car that was available to take it off their hands.

“Central!” Mata’s voice says on the tape, addressing NYPD central dispatch. “Don’t. Disregard, Central. We got it,” he says, then repeats, “We got it.”

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The CIA and Drugs

April 11, 2011

Introduction:

  1. One of the more astounding revelations of the recent investigations was the secret 1981 agreement between the Dept. of Justice and the CIA that specifically released the CIA from the requirement that the Agency report any drug-related activities by its agents and operatives to DOJ.
     
  2. A group of U.S. Congressmen submitted this documentary history of CIA collusion with drug traffickers into the Congressional Record.
     
  3. Volume 2 of the CIA Inspector General’s Report on Contra drug smuggling and CIA complicity was released late last fall (Fall ’98), and is additionally available here with additional commentary here. The CIA’s own Inspector General shows that from the very start of the US-backed war on Nicaragua the CIA knew the Contras were planning to traffic in cocaine into the US. It did nothing to stop the traffic and, when other government agencies began to probe, the CIA impeded their investigations. When Contra money raisers were arrested the Agency came to their aid and retrieved their drug money from the police. So, was the Agency complicit in drug trafficking into Los Angeles and other cities? It is impossible to read Hitz’s report and not conclude that this was the case.
     
  4. Gary Webb (author of the Dark Alliance series and book) provides an excellent synopsis of the IG Report’s contents, found here and here.
     
  5. The 1980’s CIA collusion with allied drug traffickers lead to the formation of a protected narcotics pipeline, resulting an increase in supply and drop in price. Former DEA agents have repeatedly pointed out that 50%-70% of the cocaine entering the U.S. went via drug cartels that enjoyed CIA protection.
     

      "..Taken alone, one Contra drug ring, that of Rafael Caro Quintero and Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo (two Contra supporters based in Guadalajara, Mexico) were known by DEA to be smuggling four tons A MONTH into the U.S. during the early Contra war. Other operations including Manuel Noriega (a CIA asset, strongman leader of Panama), John Hull (ranch owner and CIA asset, Costa Rica), Felix Rodriguez (Contra supporter, El Salvador), Juan Ramon Matta Ballesteros (Honduran Military, Contra supporter, Honduras) along with other elements of the Guatemalan and Honduran military. Cumulatively, the aforementioned CIA assets were concurrently trafficking close to two hundred tons a year or close to 70% of total U.S. consumption. All of these CIA assets have been ascertained as being connected to CIA via public documentation and testimony."
  6. The CIA Inspector General’s 300 page report holds many revelations; however, it is was originally a 600 page document. Robert Parry (http://www.consortiumnews.com) did a story in the Fall of 1998 regarding the omitted sections of the report, particulary concerning a second CIA drug ring (distinct from the one examined in Dark Alliance) in South Central Los Angeles that existed between 1988 and 1991. And according to Parry, there was yet another drug ring in L.A. that remains classified, because it was run by a CIA agent who had participated in the Contra war. It remains classified purportedly because an ongoing CIA investigation devles further into the matter (leaving one to speculate whether the CIA will utter another word about this case).
     
  7. Looking back at the past 15 years, illicit cocaine trafficking saw a marked 90% decline in cocaine trafficking and consumption, noticably contemporaneous with the disbandment of the Contras and the end of the CIA’s covert actions against Nicaragua.
     
  8. The analysis section of this web delves into the problem of CIA alliances with criminal enterprises, the problem of quid-pro-quo arrangements, and the resulting fallout from such relationships:
     

      "..If U.S. policy entails expanding the realm of U.S. influence, and it has to be done covertly, then the CIA readily opts to forge alliances with regional criminal enterprises. That's the way of covert action and warfare.But for the CIA to gain any level of influence, a quid-pro-quo arrangement is required. In exchange for that criminal enterprise working for the CIA in some capacity, the CIA has to somehow protect or promote a criminal enterprises' interests.Since the market for illicit narcotics is international, and the interests of the CIA is international, then the relationship is inevitable..."

      "..It doesn't take a genius to tell you that if specific drug pipelines are protected [by the CIA] from interdiction, the resulting increase in drug volume will see a commensurate increase in drug addiction in the U.S. …”

To read more of this astounding information use this link:

http://ciadrugs.homestead.com/files/outline.html

Secret Ties Between CIA, Drugs Revealed

April 11, 2011
By Rosalind Muhammad, West Coast Bureau Chief  – Originally Published, 1996 (http://forum.davidicke.com/showthread.php?t=57775)

The Complete Archive of Gary Webb’s Explosive Series: “Dark Alliance” (NarcoNews)
LOS ANGELES (FinalCall.com) – New evidence has surfaced linking the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to the introduction of crack cocaine into Black neighborhoods with drug profits used to fund the CIA-backed Nicaraguan Contra army in the early 1980s.

This evidence has given credence to long-held suspicions of the U.S. government’s role in undermining Black communities.

According to a series of groundbreaking reports by the San Jose Mercury News, for the better part of a decade, a San Francisco Bay Area drug ring, comprised of CIA and U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agents and informants, sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles.

Millions of dollars in drug profits were then funneled to the Fuerza Democratica Nicaraguense (Nicaraguan Democratic Force), the largest of several anti-Communists commonly called the Contras. The 5,000-man FDN was created in mid-1981 and run by both American and Nicaraguan CIA agents in its losing war against Nicaragua’s Sandinista government, the Cuban-supported socialists who had overthrown U.S.-backed dictator Anastasio Somoza in 1979.

This CIA-backed drug network opened the first pipeline between Columbia’s cocaine cartels and the Black neighborhoods of Compton and Los Angeles, according to the Mercury News.

In time, the cocaine that flooded Los Angeles helped spark a “crack explosion” in urban America and provided the cash and connections needed for Los Angeles’s gangs to buy Uzi sub-machine guns, AK-47 rifles, and other assault weapons that would fuel deadly gang turf wars, drive-by shootings, murders and robberies — courtesy of the U.S. government, according to the article.

“While the FDN’s war is barely a memory today, Black America is still dealing with its poisonous side effects. Urban neighborhoods are grappling with legions of homeless crack addicts. Thousands of young Black men are serving long prison sentences for selling cocaine — a drug that was virtually unobtainable in Black neighborhoods before members of the CIA’s army started bring it into South Central in the 1980s at bargain basement prices,” wrote Mercury News reporter Gary Webb, in the first installment of the shocking series of reports.

Although the Mercury News details the activities of numerous Nicaraguan and American informants and ties involved in the drug-gun trade, three men are cited as key players: Norwin Meneses, a Nicaraguan smuggler and FDN boss; Danilo Blandon, a cocaine supplier, top FDN civilian leader in California, and DEA informant; and Ricky Donnell Ross, a South Central Los Angeles high school dropout and drug trafficker of mythic proportions, who was Mr. Blandon’s biggest customer.

According to the Mercury News article, for the better part of a decade, “Freeway Rick,” as he was nicknamed, was unaware of his supplier’s military and political connections.

But together, the trio was directly and indirectly responsible for introducing and selling crack cocaine as far away as Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Dayton and St. Louis.

Ricky Ross’ street connections, ability to obtain cocaine at low prices and deals that allowed him to receive drugs from Contra-CIA operatives with no money upfront helped him to undercut other dealers and quickly spread crack. He also sold crack wholesale to gangs across the country, said the Mercury News report.

Most of the information surrounding the CIA’s involvement in the crack trade came from testimony in the March drug trafficking trial of Mr. Ross, 36, who, along with two other men were convicted of cocaine conspiracy charges in San Diego.

A federal judge indefinitely postponed Mr. Ross’s Aug. 23 sentencing to grant his lawyer time to try to show that federal authorities misused DEA agent Mr. Blandon to entrap Mr. Ross in a “reverse” sting last year. Mr. Ross could receive life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Records show that Mr. Ross was still behind bars in Cincinnati in 1994, awaiting parole, when San Diego DEA agents targeted him for the reverse sting– one in which government agents provide the drugs and the target provides the cash.

Though Mr. Blandon has admitted to crimes that have sent others away for life, the U.S. Justice Department turned him loose on unsupervised probation in 1994 after only 28 months behind bars and has paid him more than $166,000 since, court records show.

Mr. Blandon’s boss in the FDN’s cocaine operation, Norwin Meneses, has never spent a day in a U.S. prison, even though the federal government has been aware of his cocaine dealings since at least 1974, according to the Mercury News article.

For years, writers, authors, activists, gang members and others have implicated the U.S. government in the deadly crack cocaine-gun trade.

Many have charged the U.S. government with supplying gang members with these tools in an effort to undermine and eradicate the Black community through wanton murder, drug addiction and crime.

Some believe crack did not become an “American problem” until the drug began hitting white neighborhoods and affecting white children.

On Aug. 23, the Los Angeles City Council, responding to pressure by the Los Angeles Chapter of the Black American Political Association of California (BAPAC), asked U.S. Atty. Janet Reno to investigate the government’s involvement in the alleged sale of illegal street drugs in Los Angeles’ Black community to support the CIA-backed Contras.

BAPAC vice chairman Glen Brown told The Final Call that a federal agency monitored by a civilian advisory board is one way the government could investigate the matter because “we can’t have people who are responsible for this investigate themselves.”

BAPAC, a statewide coalition of political activists, has also demanded that the U.S. government provide the necessary funding, materials and labor to rebuild urban areas destroyed by crack cocaine, as well as the necessary medical care, education, counseling, and vocational training to restore shattered lives.

Long-term Los Angeles activists Chilton Alphonse, founder of the Community Youth Sports & Arts Foundation, which aids former gang members, said he briefly assisted Ricky Ross when the drug dealer was paroled from prison inn October 1994, after serving about half of a 10-year prison sentence in Cincinnati in exchange for his testimony against corrupt Los Angeles police detectives.

“He came back to Los Angeles and tried to get his life together,” Mr. Alphonse said. “Rick was a legend in the streets. But he flipped (testified against law enforcement officers). He said they used him to skim money from him.”

Mr. Alphonse was referring to Mr. Ross’s 1991 testimony against Los Angeles Police Department narcotics detectives who had been fired or indicted along with dozens of deputies from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s elite narcotics squads for allegedly beating suspects, stealing drug money and planting evidence.

Mr. Alphonse, who now resides in Alabama, said he has warned for years that the flood of crack cocaine and assault weapons into the Black community was not the doing of the Bloods and Crips.

“Inner city youth don’t have the resources to manufacture cocaine or ship in guns,” Mr. Alphonse said.

Others agree.

In December 1989, while head of the NAACP Los Angeles Chapter, Anthony A. Samad (then Anthony Essex) announced his findings that some Bloods and Crips members had implicated the U.S. government in the ruthless crack and assault weapons trade among Los Angeles street gangs. Mr. Samad said that he learned this after extensive interviews with gang members housed in Los Angeles County Jail. But he was largely ignored by Black elected officials, he said who sided with law enforcement.

“Gang members charged then that gang rivalry and drug wars were being perpetuated by the police and the government,” said Mr. Samad, who is now president of Samad & Associates, a consulting firm.

Henry Stuckey, of Stop the Violence/Increase the Peace, said that government involvement in community drug trafficking was common knowledge in some circles.

“Obviously African American males didn’t have planes and boats to move the guns and narcotics into the Black community.” Mr. Stuckey said.

Mr. Stuckey said that Black and Latino youths must be appraised of the government’s involvement in order to understand that their communities will continue to be the dumping grounds for guns and drugs unless the youths “do for self.”

“I do think that the blame that was laid on the gangs was wrong,” Mr. Stuckey said. “But I can’t say that it vindicates them for their actions because they had a choice in the matter. (Still) it’s horrible that the government targeted our youth.”

Roland Freeman, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Chapter of the International Campaign to Free Geronimo Pratt, is a former member of the Black Panther Party. The BPP was targeted and ultimately nullified by FBI counterintelligence programs.

Mr. Freeman said he knows firsthand of the deceit of which the government is capable; a government, he said, that tries to “set itself up as if it’s higher than God when really it’s lower than the devil.”

“(They put) small pox in the Indian’s blankets and gave them fire water,” Mr. Freeman said. “They make drugs available to Blacks and other minorities. It only surprises me that (the CIA) got caught.”

 

CIA ADMITS TIES TO CONTRA DRUG DEALERS

April 11, 2011

This information is from The Congressional Record, Page H5847 (House of Representatives – July 17, 1998)

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Waters) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Ms. WATERS: Today I renew my call on CIA Director George Tenant to immediately release the CIA Inspector General’s classified report on the allegations of CIA involvement with Contra drug trafficking. I also call, once again, on the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Porter Goss), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, to hold prompt public hearings on the findings of these reports.

Today’s New York Times, front page, put it bluntly. `CIA says it used Nicaraguan rebels accused of drug tie.’ The times reported that, and I quote again, `The Central Intelligence Agency continued to work with about two dozen Nicaraguan rebels and their supporters during the 1980s despite allegations that they were trafficking in drugs.’

The Times finally reported the explosive truth that the Senate investigators and investigative journalists alike have been telling the American people for nearly 15 years.

This front page confirmation of CIA involvement with Contra drug traffickers evidently came from a leak of the still classified CIA review of the allegations stemming from Gary Webb’s 1996 Dark Alliance series. Webb’s series and his recent book details the CIA’s involvement with Contra drug trafficking, including ties to south central Los Angeles’ largest crack cocaine network. Until today, the CIA has vehemently denied the charges. But, apparently, even the CIA is having trouble hiding the truth from the American people.

The leaked CIA report remains classified, sitting at the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, because the CIA refuses to declassify a report full of what are being described as devastating revelations of CIA involvement with known Contra drug traffickers.

I have repeatedly called for the public release of these CIA reports, and I applaud Senator Kerry in calling for the immediate public release of the CIA Inspector General’s reports. Senator Kerry has worked for 15 years to bring truth, having chaired the Senate investigation that first uncovered the sordid details of Contra drug trafficking in the 1980s.

There is no conceivable reason to keep this report classified. It is tantamount to protecting drug dealers. This administration should call on the CIA to immediately release the report of the Contra drug network. The Contras were a creation of the Reagan-Bush administration and run by Reagan’s CIA and Oliver North. This administration can and should reveal the truth and put an end to this terrible affair. I cannot understand why a CIA report which details the illegal efforts of Reagan-Bush administration officials to protect the involvement of top-level Contras in drug trafficking should continue to be protected.

Although today’s New York Times story is somewhat confusing to follow, the story includes some explosive details. Perhaps the most amazing revelation from these leaks is the admission that the CIA knew of drug trafficking allegations against the infamous Legion of September 15 Contra organization.

This group included the key Contra military commanders, including the Contra’s top military commander Enrique Bermudez, and was the core of the most famous of the Contra armies, the FDN. They were comprised of a group of violent ex-bodyguards of Nicaraguan dictator Somoza. And they had proven themselves among the worst human rights violators in the entire Contra-era war.

The Times somewhat inaccurately reported this organization was disbanded, they said, in 1982. Of course, the Legion of September 15 had, by then, been merged into the FDN. That is the Contra army. So we now know that the CIA knowingly worked with Contra rebels involved in drug dealing, including the core of the FDN.

We also know that the CIA and Attorney General had a secret Memorandum of Understanding that allowed drug trafficking by CIA assets to go unreported to law enforcement. This, of course, was confirmed in documents I submitted for the Record in May. And we know that CIA officials at the highest levels knew of the Contra drug trafficking activities. What we do not know yet are the many damaging details of the 500-plus-page CIA report. The American people must be able to see this report for themselves.

We forced these investigations. A lot of people said, oh, there was nothing to it. The first half of the CIA reports were unleashed, and that is when we determined the Memorandum of Understanding existed that they did not have to report drug trafficking.

[Page: H5848]

 

British Detectives Probe Burglary — at Police Station

April 10, 2011

Wed. Apr 6, 2011

LONDON (Reuters) – British detectives said on Wednesday they were hunting for thieves who broke into one of their own police stations and stole their uniforms and radios.

The crooks burgled the police station in Uddingston, not far from Glasgow in Scotland, in the early hours of Tuesday morning when the office was shut.

“At no time has the safety of the public or any officer been jeopardized as a result of this break-in,” said a spokeswoman for Strathclyde Police.

She declined to say how the audacious criminals had got into the building but added the radios had been disabled and could no longer be used.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Steve Addison)

‘Feds Radiating Americans’? Mobile X-Ray Vans Hit US Streets

April 9, 2011

Using the Z Backscatter Van, officials detected drugs hidden in the body of this pickup truck.

As an anti-terror measure, the US government has deployed mobile X-ray technology to randomly scan cars and trucks. But the measure is riling privacy proponents.

By Patrik Jonsson, Christian Science Monitor Staff writer / September 29, 2010

For many living in a terror-spooked country, it might seem like a great government innovation: Use vans equipped with mobile X-ray units to scan vehicles at major sporting events, or even randomly, for bombs or contraband.

But news that the US is buying custom-made vans packed with something called backscatter X-ray capacity has riled privacy advocates and sparked internet worries about “feds radiating Americans.”

“This really trips up the creep factor because it’s one of those things that you sort of intrinsically think the government shouldn’t be doing,” says Vermont-based privacy expert Frederick Lane, author of “American Privacy.” “But, legally, the issue is the boundary between the government’s legitimate security interest and privacy expectations we enjoy in our cars.”

American Science & Engineering, a Billerica, Mass.-company, tells Forbes it’s sold more than 500 ZBVs, or Z Backscatter Vans, to US and foreign governments. The Department of Defense has bought the most for war zone use, but US law enforcement has also deployed the vans to search for bombs inside the US, according to Joe Reiss, a company spokesman, as quoted by Forbes.

On Tuesday, a counterterror operation snarled truck traffic on I-20 near Atlanta, where Department of Homeland Security teams used mobile X-ray technology to check the contents of truck trailers. Authorities said the inspections weren’t prompted by any specific threat.

The mobile X-ray technology works by bouncing narrow X-ray streams off an object like a car and then analyzing the scatter rate of the returning rays. Operators can then locate less-dense objects that could be bodies or bombs.

Backscatter X-ray is already part of an ongoing national debate about its use in so-called full body scanners being deployed in many US airports. In that case, US officials have said they will not store or share the images and will use masking technology to avoid revealing details of the human body. Nevertheless, information security advocates have filed suit to stop their deployment, citing concerns about privacy.

Security experts say expanding the X-ray technology for use on American streets is a powerful counterterror strategy. They also point out the images do not not offer the kind of detail that would be embarrasing to anyone. Moreover, law enforcement already has broad search-and-seizure powers on public highways, where a search warrant is often not needed for officers to instigate a physical search.

But others worry that radiating Americans without their knowledge is evidence of gradually eroding constitutional protections in the post-9/11 age.

“Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum of national security … you have to be realistic that this is another way in which the government is capturing information they may lose control over,” says Mr. Lane. “I just have some real problems with the idea of even beginning a campaign of rolling surveillance of American citizens, which is what this essentially is.”

Related stories

Department of Defense Briefing of President Obama

April 9, 2011


They told President Obama that 2 Brazilian soldiers were killed in   Iraq                                    .
To everyone’s surprise, he collapsed onto his desk, head in his hands, visibly shaken, almost in tears.

Finally, he composed himself and asked, ‘Just how many is a brazilian?’

This is not surprising, since he obviously has no understanding of billion or trillion either.

Discovery of More Mexican Mass Graves Add Fuel to Public’s Anger Over Drug War

April 8, 2011

United Nations Openly Criticize Mexican President’s Use of Military Tactics to Combat Drug Cartel Violence

By Sara Miller Llana and Nacha Cattan – The Christian Science Monitor of April 7, 2011

Mexico City – The US-Mexico border is at the center of another gruesome scene in Mexico’s drug war.

Nearly 60 bodies were discovered by authorities this week about 80 miles from Brownsville, Texas – not far from where 72 US-bound migrants were found dead in a massacre last August.

Authorities have arrested eight people in connection with the killings and officials say the suspects are members of the Zetas, one of Mexico’s most violent drug gangs.

This week’s discovery comes in the wake of criticism from the United Nations of Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s military approach to the country’s battle with organized crime. It was also made public the same day Mexicans gathered in marches across the country demanding solutions to rising insecurity, highlighting the concerns of an increasingly weary public.

How well do you know Mexico? Take our quiz.

“[Authorities] have not done enough to end corruption within the system. There is a lack of investigation and impunity,” says Alberto Xicotencatl, the director of a migrant shelter in Saltillo in northern Mexico who works to help kidnapped migrants. “If there are not people held responsible, [criminals] know they can continue to operate.”

It is unclear who the victims are in the most recent mass graves discovered: migrants or drug rivals or others. According to the Associated Press, Mexican authorities found the bodies in the state of Tamaulipas while searching for passengers missing from buses along the route frequented by migrants heading to the US.

There are also no arrests so far. But President Calderón issued a statement condemning the attack and blaming it on drug traffickers. It “underlines the cowardliness and total lack of scruples of the criminal organizations that cause violence in our country,” he said in a statement.

UN report criticizes Calderón’s government

His strategy came under fire in a recent UN report, which apart from recommending that the military be removed from the fight also pointed to human rights abuses, including 11,333 migrants kidnapped in a six-month period between April and September of last year, according to Mexico’s National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH). CNDH also issued a statement on April 2 stating that since 2006 the organization has registered 5,397 missing persons.

The latest incident has renewed calls from human rights groups to pay more attention to insecurity and abuses by authorities.

“The mass graves found yesterday once again show the Mexican government’s failure to deal with the country’s public security crisis and reduce criminal violence which has left many populations vulnerable to attacks, abductions and killings,” Rupert Knox, researcher on Mexico at Amnesty International, said in a statement.

The discovery of the mass graves was made as thousands gathered in 20 Mexican cities, summoned by prominent poet Javier Sicilia after his son and six others were found murdered in the city of Cuernavaca.

At the march in Mexico City, most expressed exasperation of Calderón’s strategy, perhaps taking a cue from Mr. Sicilia, who wrote an open letter to the government and to drug gangs lamenting “this badly planned, badly carried out, and badly led war” and suggesting a cease-fire be arranged with drug cartels.

“You cannot stop the violence with more violence,” says Mario Hernandez, an administrator in the federal government’s Agriculture Ministry who was at the march yesterday.

There were calls to remove the Army from the streets, and even the occasional shout to remove the president from office.

Some say the president is being unfairly blamed for the situation.

“This [march] is totally politicized and far from the reason why we came here, to stop the violence in our country,” says Silvia Amaranta Guerrero, a Mexico City lawyer, who dropped out of the demonstration. “They make it sound like [Calderón] is the only one responsible for the fact there is violence and drug trafficking in our country. I think the whole society is responsible and the option to do something is in all of our hands.”

José Rosario Maroquin, communications and analysis coordinator at the Mexico City-based Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Human Rights Center, says that the timing of the march with more gruesome news is telling. “It is ironic that yesterday, as sectors of society were demonstrating against violence, suddenly we get more news that this violence has not ended.”

Mexican Investigators find 72 Bodies in Hunt for Bus Passengers

April 8, 2011

By OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ, Associated Press Writer

MATAMOROS, Mexico – Investigators have uncovered 13 more bodies in mass graves in the violent northern state of Tamaulipas, where 59 dead were exhumed earlier this week, officilas said Friday. Families and authorities from across Mexico contacted the morgue in search of those who have vanished in the country’s drug-war.

People wait to know if missing relatives since Nov. 2010, are among the 59 bodies found Wednesday in a mass grave in front of the local morgue in  Mat

AP – People wait to know if missing relatives since Nov. 2010, are among the 59 bodies found Wednesday in …

Seventy-two bodies have now been discovered since authorities began chasing reports in late March that gunmen had kidnapped people off of passenger buses headed toward the U.S. border.

Nine of the bodies were discovered in one newly found grave and four in another on Thursday near the city of San Fernando, state Interior Secretary Morelos Canseco said Friday. The total now matches the number of migrants who died in a massacre near that town last August.

Canseco said investigators are searching for yet more graves in the area.

Families came to the morgue in the border city of Matamoros across from Brownsville, Texas, looking for loved ones not seen for a couple of weeks, others a few months — some as long as three years. Canseco said he has heard from officials in the central states of Guanajuato and Queretaro searching for residents who disappeared on buses traveling through Tamaulipas or to U.S. border.

Guanajuato attorney general spokeswoman Susana Montero said 17 missing people rode an Omnibus de Mexico company bus to northern Mexico in March. The bus route and exact date were unknown, but Montero said they were apparently travelling to the United States.

In the western state of Michoacan, the attorney general’s office said it also was working with Tamaulipas to determine if any of the 59 people missing from that state in the last 12 months were killed and buried in northern Mexico.

Canseco told the Milenio television channel that he had yet to hear from other countries, particulary those in Central America, the origin of thousands of migrants who cross Mexico each year on their way to the U.S.

The victims of the August massacre were from from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Ecuador and Brazil. Survivors said they were killed for refusing to work for the Zetas drug cartel.

Federal security spokesman Alejandro Poire announced Thursday that 14 suspects linked to the killings had been arrested by Wednesday. Those arrests apparently led authorities to the pits.

The suspects belonged to a “criminal cell,” Poire said, but he did not specify which gang they may have belonged to.

State authorities are still not sure about the origin of the victims found in the pits, but suspect at least some had been abducted from buses.

One man waiting Thursday outside the morgue in this border city — who refused to give his name for fear of reprisals — said his uncle and a cousin left their hometown of Ciudad Valles in the central state of San Luis Potosi on March 25. They were traveling by bus to Rio Bravo in Tamaulipas state but haven’t been heard from.

He said they were supposed to arrive in Rio Bravo on March 26 for a two-week job watering sorghum fields.

“They never made it,” he said, adding that he was afraid to say anything else. “Here one is afraid to talk, here we don’t talk about what happens, but we are desperate to know what happened to them.”

Most of those gathering outside the morgue were desperate for a shred of evidence — even for confirmation of their worst fears.

“I just want to know if he is dead or alive so I can have peace,” said Flor Medellin, her eyes watery as she waited with her husband.

Medellin said her 43-year-old brother last checked in with family last September while hauling cattle in neighboring Nuevo Leon state, like Tamaulipas a border state plagued with drug gang violence.

“They never found the cattle or the trailer truck. They found no traces of him,” Medellin, a 41-year-old laundry manager, said.

“It’s really sad what we’re going through,” she added.

Medellin said her brother often drove on a dangerous highway in Tamaulipas connecting Matamoros to the state capital, Ciudad Victoria. It goes through San Fernando, where the clandestine graves were found at a spot about 80 miles (130 kilometers) south of Brownsville, Texas.

“We think he was intercepted and that they stole everything from him and we don’t know what happened after that. One always has hope that he is alive, but all we want is to know what happened to him,” said Medellin’s husband, Felipe Valadez.

By Thursday, investigators had identified a few victims of the latest killings as Mexicans, not transnational migrants. They did not say if they were connected to 12 official missing-person reports from the buses.

Authorities interviewing witnesses on the bus abductions calculated that from 65 to 82 people went missing, Tamaulipas state Interior Secretary Morelos Canseco said.

Although federal authorities launched an offensive in the region in November seeking to regain control of territory from the warring Gulf and Zetas cartels, criminals have become so brazen they apparently kidnapped the bus passengers in a stretch of open desert that locals say lay between two military checkpoints. Mexico’s military would not comment on the location of roadblocks for security reasons.

Authorities speculate the men pulled off the buses fell victim to ever more brutal recruiting efforts to replenish cartel ranks. But one local politician, who didn’t want to be quoted by name for safety reasons, said there were rumors that the Gulf cartel was sending buses of people to fight the Zetas, who control that stretch of road and who began boarding buses in search of their rivals.

Whether the victims found in the pits were innocents caught up in the violence, migrants or drug traffickers executed by rivals, there are many more missing in San Fernando, the politician said, adding “If they keep looking they’ll find more and more mass graves.”

Raleigh, NC Police, Wake County Schools Seek Cause of Teacher’s Illness

April 8, 2011
By T. Keung Hui – Staff writer / Raleigh News & Observer

RALEIGH — Raleigh Police and Wake County school officials are investigating what caused a Leesville Road High School teacher to become ill on campus Thursday.

In a voice-mail message sent to parents Thursday, Leesville Road High Principal Scott Lyons said a female teacher had an apparent medical reaction to something she ingested. EMS was called and the teacher was taken to the hospital as a precaution.

The teacher is fine but took today off from the North Raleigh school, according to Michael Evans, a Wake schools spokesman.

Lyons said that because they didn’t know what had caused the reaction, they contacted Wake security staff and Raleigh police to help them investigate the case. Several students were interviewed.

The investigation is still ongoing. Evans said they’re not sure if the teacher became ill from something she ate or drank and whether a student may have been involved.