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Archive for August, 2007

Does Chief Border Patrol Agent Work For Drug Cartel?

Posted by Casey on August 31, 2007

I’m starting to consider the possibility.

Whenever I talk about the border I always get someone who claims that there is a conspiracy. Not that someone is allowing our country to be conquered, but that high ranking Border Patrol and government officials are on the take. In other words … the reason they don’t stop illegals and the drugs coming across the border is that they are being paid off. Most likely by the drug cartels who not only smuggle drugs across the border, but people too.

To prove my point … I will link four major stories dealing with the current Border Patrol sector chief of Laredo, Carlos X. Carrillo.

Carrillo made headlines a couple of weeks ago when he proclaimed that it was not the Border Patrol’s job to stop illegal immigrants, or narcotics, from crossing the border. Naturally this was outrageous, yielded great criticism.

Carrillo’s comments soon became laughable as he went on to proclaim that the Border Patrol was not equipped to stop illegals or drugs … yet was somehow was equipped to stop terrorism.

I decided to go to the Border Patrol’s website to see if, in fact, their mission did not include illegals or drugs. I knew the answer, but it was still worth looking into. After I confirmed the Border Patrols mission, I decided to go the the Laredo sector’s webpage. What I found sent me into gut-busting laughter, and left me with tears running down my cheeks.

Only days after Laredo sector chief Carrillo said that immigration and drugs were not his problem … there it was. Right there on the Laredo sector’s page of the Border Patrol’s website was a letter written by, and signed by, Laredo sector chief Carlos X. Carrillo.


It contradicted everything Carrillo had said just days before. In the letter posted on the site, Carrillo says:

Our primary function is to enforce the immigration laws and prevent illegal entry of aliens into the country.

I ended my previous with a question. “I wonder what changed his mind,” I said.

Now, I think I have the answer, but more on that in a minute.

After Carrillo’s ludicrous comments, Republican presidential candidate, Tom Tancredo, called for Carrillo to be fired.

WND:

U.S. Border Patrol sector chief Carlos X. Carrillo should be removed from his post after telling a town hall meeting in Texas the agency’s job “is not to stop illegal immigrants,” says Republican presidential candidate Rep. Tom Tancredo.

Tancredo called on David Aguilar, the chief of the U.S, Office of Border Patrol, to remove Carrillo from his leadership position.

“I hope David Aguilar will repudiate Carrillo’s statements and remove him from a leadership position in the agency,” Tancredo said in a statement released by his office. “Anything less will leave doubts about the integrity of the agency’s top management and its commitments to controlling illegal entry into our country.”

To the surprise of many, Aguilar defended Carrillo’s statements.

Aguilar, however, defended Carrillo and said the comments were taken out of context. He said the Border Patrol’s mission “is to protect our country’s borders from all threats. Our highest priority is keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering our country.”

The problem with Aguilar’s defense of Carrillo is that they weren’t taken out of context at all, and Carrillo did not say that the Border Patrol’s job is to protect our border from all threats. He said:

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Border Patrol’s job is not to stop illegal immigrants. The Border Patrol’s job is not to stop narcotics � or contraband or narcotics � the Border Patrol’s mission is not to stop criminals. The Border Patrol’s mission is to stop terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the country.”

Kind of hard to take that out of context, isn’t it?

So far, Tancredo’s call for Carrillo’s job hasn’t come to fruition. However, a few days after Tancredo’s statements … Carrillo apologized.

Liberty Post:

A Border Patrol chief yesterday apologized for saying the agency’s mission is stopping terrorists, not illegal aliens or drug smugglers, a stance that outraged congressional lawmakers.

“It’s painfully obvious to me that I could have done a better job of articulating my talking points,” said sector Chief Carlos X. Carrillo, who made the controversial comments last week at a town hall meeting in Laredo, Texas.

The article goes on to describe the outrage of Republican lawmakers at Carrillo’s comments.

Carrillo also describes what he “really” said.

“It was a two-hour town hall meeting,” Chief Carrillo said. “One of the issues we discussed was illegal immigration. I said the Border Patrol cannot address the causes of illegal immigration. We’re not supposed to address it. Our focus is enforcement, our focus is enforcement at the border.”

A far cry different than what was reported.

Shortly after Carrillo’s apology, there was another big story about Laredo in the news.

The AP did an expose on the drug cartels in Laredo, and how violent they are.

Mexican drug lords locked in a bloody fight for control of a pipeline that runs from Mexico to Dallas and up through middle America have brazenly stationed hit squads and reconnaissance teams in Laredo.

Maybe, just maybe it’s not so brazen if the sector chief of the Border Patrol doesn’t feel it’s in his job description to deal with drug cartels.

Over the past few years, the Mexican Gulf Cartel and its rival Sinaloa Cartel have carried out a terrifying bloodbath in Nuevo Laredo, where the traffickers have a saying: “Plata o plomo” — “Silver or lead.” So far, the worst of the violence has been confined to Mexico.

“Our mission is to make sure it doesn’t cross over,” said Jesse Guillen, a Laredo prosecutor who obtained guilty pleas from Reta and another hitman for the Gulf Cartel earlier this year. “Is it under control? Let’s see.”

Unlike many other drug-related killings, the Laredo slayings often involve careful planning, explicit orders and surveillance of law enforcement officers, Guillen said. And arrests aren’t easy: In most cases, the killers flee back across the border.

Gee, if only we had an agency to prevent them from going back and forth across the border. Too bad sector chief Carrillo has better things to do … like hunt Osama bin Laden.

Gone also is the grudging respect once accorded U.S. law enforcement. Holdridge said he and his wife have occasionally been followed by suspected cartel members as they drive around town.

You can’t respect people you’ve paid off, can you?

Hitmen were paid $500 a week, according to Laredo police. When a job was done, they could get a bonus of $10,000 and two kilos of cocaine, police said in court documents.

The cartels have studied U.S. law enforcement procedures and know how to stymie officers.

Yeah, with cold, hard cash.

Cartels sometimes send out “suicide loads” — smaller piles of marijuana or cash that traffickers know will get caught by local law enforcement. Such busts tie up officers with paperwork for hours, giving traffickers time to drive a bigger load through unnoticed, Holdridge said.

I left that last part in there to illustrate what may have happened in the Ramos, Compean case.

Is Carrillo on the take? I don’t know, but his behavior is dubious at best. Tancredo’s calls for him to be removed are correct, and should go without saying. We need sector chiefs that don’t double-talk, and contradict themselves. We need tough, smart agents who will not allow Laredo to turn into killing fields. Regardless of if Carrillo is corrupt … he has shown he can not get the job done in his sector.

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Sen. Craig … & Why Innocent People Plead Guilty

Posted by Casey on August 31, 2007

Now that you’ve heard the audio of Sen. Craig’s interrogation … do you believe he’s innocent, or guilty? Take the poll at the top right of this page.

If you haven’t heard the interrogation yet … go here (about 8 minutes).

I’ve been talking about this the past couple of days on my show, and found that many people now believe Craig to be innocent after I played the interrogation for them. For me the most important part is what is said in the first 1 1/2 minutes.

From the beginning Craig proclaims his innocence, but expresses that he does not want to fight the cop in court, and he must make that flight. The cop makes it very clear that if he pleads guilty this will go away quietly, and he won’t contact the media.

Whether Craig is innocent, I don’t know. However, it was a poor decision to plead guilty because there is no way in hell he would have been found guilty in any court of law. There is no evidence at all against him … other than his plea … which really doesn’t mean much (I’ll explain in a bit).

One thing I’ve been saying since this story broke is that at best this is shotty police work, and extremely unprofessional. Law enforcement never conducts a sting without any form of audio or video confirmation that there was a crime. Yet no standard police tactics used in sting operations were used in this case. I find this highly suspect. The officer could have been fitted with a camera to record the “foot taps” which would have proven his case. Instead, it’s down to the word of these two men with no concrete evidence.

There was also, literally, no law broken. That scares me. People have been saying we are moving towards a “Minority Report” society for some time, and cases like this prove them correct.

There was no illegal exposure, or solicitation. Even prostitution stings require video, and for the ‘John’ to provide money. Merely asking for sex is not enough to arrest. It is not against the law to ask someone if they’d like to have sex (if that’s what happened) … there is only a law against them having sex in a public place, or offering to pay for sex … neither of which happened. So Sen. Craig may have potentially broken the law had he found a willing partner, but he also may have taken his partner back to a hotel room. We just don’t know, and he broke no law. Yet he was forced to decide to fight this publicly or plea when he committed no crime.

For those of you who find it impossible that an innocent person would plea guilty … I have a reality check for you. Innocent people plead guilty ALL THE TIME! Case in point …

Truth In Justice:

A defendant’s actual innocence is more important than a guilty plea, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled today in siding with a man who admitted to sexual assault only to later produce evidence that would exonerate him.

Defense attorneys hailed the ruling as critical to keeping the justice system open to defendants who are convicted but can later prove their innocence.

The court had already determined that a defendant can appeal when new evidence contradicts a guilty verdict during trial. But it hadn’t decided what to do with someone who pleads guilty to a crime. The court ruled 5-4 on a case from Dallas County. The defendant’s new claim of innocence, with the evidence to back it up, outweigh his previous guilty plea, the court said.

Punishing an innocent person violates due process, the court majority said in an opinion written by Judge Tom Price. “The purpose of criminal proceedings is to separate the guilty from the innocent,” Price wrote. “The guilty plea process is not perfect.” Wesley Ronald Tuley went to trial on aggravated sexual assault charges in 1997.

It is not only sad that this man was forced to plea guilty to a crime he didn’t commit, but it is more sad that 4 judges were not willing to overturn his guilty plea after he proved his innocence.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

In the criminal justice system, defendants in federal court can be convicted one of two ways — by pleading guilty or after a trial.

Those who choose to admit their guilt are often “rewarded” with lesser sentences.

Those who choose to take advantage of their Constitutional right to trials are often “penalized” with harsher sentences.

Prosecutors argue that guilty pleas are essential, and without them the system would be crippled by thousands of cases backlogged for trial. Further, they think that defendants who take responsibility for their crimes deserve to benefit.

Defense attorneys and some academics, though, argue that the system is so skewed that most clients are forced to accept pleas, knowing that if they take their chances at trial and lose, they will face sentences that are at least 25 percent higher.

Some view it as a “trial penalty.” Others look at it as a “plea reward.”

“However you prefer to frame it, if you go to trial [and lose], closer to the full wrath of the law will be brought down upon you,” said John H. Kramer, a former director of the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

The article then provides an example of a couple who were charged with a crime. One plead guilty, and was sentenced to six months house arrest. The other went to trial, and was given 33 months in prison … big difference.

Would you plead guilty to avoid 33 months in prison when you know you will only face 6 months at home? You likely would, but just in case you are telling yourself that you wouldn’t … take into account that 1/6 juries get the verdict wrong in this country. Did that change your mind?

By pleading guilty, a defendant receives an automatic sentence reduction of at least two levels, and sometimes three. In some cases, that means a 35 percent reduction in prison time before anything else is even considered — like cooperating with the government or other mitigating circumstances.

A 35% reduction in punishment is pretty enticing if you have a family, and good job.

Carmen Hernandez, first vice president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, calls guilty pleas “the bane of our existence.”

“As a defense attorney, you’re caught between a rock and a hard place,” she said.

Defendants often weigh the consequences they face — even if they are not guilty — and choose to plead just to avoid the possibility of an increased prison term, she said.

“The incentive is so great that it’s hard to stand on principle and say ‘I’m not going to do it,’ ” Ms. Hernandez said.

She also thinks that by avoiding jury trials, there’s less of an effort to “keep the system honest.”

“If the government had to try every case, maybe they’d be more selective in the cases they prosecute,” said Ms. Hernandez, who worked as a federal public defender for 16 years.

And when defendants plead to the charges against them, prosecutors are not forced to prove their cases beyond a reasonable doubt, she added.

Nationally, for fiscal year 2004, 95.5 percent of the 51,666 (federal, not state) convictions were reached through guilty pleas. That means that only 2,316 U.S. District Court cases across the country went to trial.

95.5% of all convictions are guilty pleas, and we know for a fact that several of them are innocent. Most will never be allowed to prove their innocence, however, because unlike the Texas case mentioned above … most guilty pleas are permanent.

Mr. Kramer, who now teaches at Penn State University, believes the American court system has been acclimated to processing guilty pleas.

“It’s a perfectly laughable system,” he said. “The prosecutors love it. The message is any sane defendant, guilty or innocent, ought to do the prosecutor’s bidding.”

Congress keeps increasing possible criminal penalties and establishing mandatory minimum sentences, which in turn give prosecutors more leverage to convince defendants to plead guilty, Mr. Alschuler said.

“We keep jacking up penalties to induce guilty pleas,” he said.

“We have built up an opportunity for prosecutors to pile on,” added Mr. Kramer. “It is a significant armament in the prosecution.”

Naturally, the prosecutors disagree, and like the system. The defense attorneys also go too far in saying that all cases should go to trial. We just don’t have the resources for that. That ruling in Texas has the right idea. You should be free to plea guilty if you don’t have the evidence to defend yourself in court, but you should be allowed to retract that plea once you do have the evidence so you can defend your innocence. That is the only fair way of doing things.

That is why I see no problem with Craig retracting his guilty plea to defend himself. He clearly states several times during the interrogation that he wants this to go away, and the cop tells him it will … if you plead guilty. Well, it went away for 3 months, but is very public now. Therefore, Craig should be allowed to withdraw his plea, and take his chances in court. Given the release of the interrogation … Craig would win his innocence in such a case.

Michael Vick fans should also watch the Craig case closely. If Craig succeeds … you may see Vick withdraw his guilty plea at some point in the future to fight his charges.

Note:

I am not saying Vick is innocent, or guilty. Frankly, I would not be surprised either way. I do have many questions about the case, and I’m not convinced that Vick is guilty. Other than the word of 3 people (some already back in jail on other charges) that now only face 25% of their original sentence because they are fingering Vick … there isn’t any concrete evidence. At least not made public. That may mean that Vick will take his chances in court at a later date, if Craig is successful, as long as he can build his own case.

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Poll Results On If You’d Vote For A Muslim Candidate

Posted by Casey on August 30, 2007

The other day I did this topic on my show. By the end of the program only two votes made up the difference on whether people would vote for a Muslim candidate, or not. That night more people said they would have no problem voting for a Muslim. Mainly because Reid is not well liked here anymore, and Nevadans will do just about anything to get him out of office.

The poll on this site, however, had a completely different result. 78% of you said that you would never vote for a Muslim candidate. Only 8% said you would vote for a Muslim. 13% of you would vote for a Republican Muslim, but no one said they would vote for a Muslim Democrat.

Thanks again for everyone’s participation.

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Soldiers Honor Iraqi Who Sacrificed Himself To Save Them

Posted by Casey on August 30, 2007

Remember the Iraqi who was killed by a homicide bomber, and saved US troops and Iraqi civilians last week?

Today, the troops he saved with his courageous actions paid their respects.

MNF-I:

Leaders of 3rd HBCT, the Iraqi National Police and Jisr Diyala leaders met with the father to acknowledge his sacrifice and thank him for his son’s actions.

Both Barth and Kane were present at the ceremony to offer support to their friend and to provide security.

The father was given a plaque and a ceremonial pair of spurs from Lt. Col. John Kolasheski, of Louden, Tenn., commander of 3-1 Cav. Regt.

“You cannot put a price on a life, but we would like to give you a few tokens of appreciation for your sacrifice,” Kolasheski said. “This is a tragic event we are recognizing, but it represents an outstanding change in this area.”

Barth admits it has been difficult talking with the family because of the pain they are experiencing. He has thanked the family for their sacrifice.

“They will always be friends,” Barth said. “This tragedy has strengthened that.”

Berner has relied on the experience of members of his platoon to help him with the incident.

“I’ve talked with Sgt. Kane about it,” he said. “He helped me put in perspective. Being younger, I don’t have the life experience to really understand it. He has been a big help. It’s just one of things that I will never forget.”

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Final South Korean Hostages Freed

Posted by Casey on August 30, 2007

At last the nightmare is over for the hostages, but a new nightmare is about to begin now that the Taliban has been emboldened.

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Test – How Much Do You Know About The War In Iraq?

Posted by Casey on August 30, 2007

I made a 13 answer quiz online about the war.

You can take it here. Just click the ‘do the test’ button, and you are on your way. Let me know what you think, and spread it around. I’m doing a case study on it.

Note: This post is sticky … scroll down for new posts.

Update:

So far 757 people have taken the quiz, and the results are getting better. After initial problems with people passing the test … now 61% of you have scored 80% or better, and 69% of you have said the test was very good.

Thanks again for the participation, and good luck on the exam.

Update 2:

Over 1000 people have now taken the test in a little over a day. The class curve is dropping somewhat again after making a resurgence yesterday evening.

59% of you have answered 80% or more of the questions right, but 68% still say the test is very good.

Update 3:

Wow, the test is really taking off! 1245 people have taken the test as of this moment. 58% of you have received 80-100% of the questions right, and 68% of you said the test was very good. There is a small group of people who say the test is very bad, but these are hacks who won’t ever bother to check out the facts I gave in the answer explanation.

Update 4:

Almost 1400 people have taken the test! I can’t believe how popular it has been, and I haven’t even posted it on some of the major bookmark sites yet. The stats are about the same as the last update.

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Less Than Half Of Published Scientists Endorse Global Warming

Posted by Casey on August 29, 2007

So much for the “consensus” eh?

Those of us who follow the issue already know that there is clearly no consensus, and most of the scientists that support man-made global warming aren’t in a field that would qualify them to make such claims.

Daily Tech:

In 2004, history professor Naomi Oreskes performed a survey of research papers on climate change. Examining peer-reviewed papers published on the ISI Web of Science database from 1993 to 2003, she found a majority supported the “consensus view,” defined as humans were having at least some effect on global climate change. Oreskes’ work has been repeatedly cited, but as some of its data is now nearly 15 years old, its conclusions are becoming somewhat dated.

Medical researcher Dr. Klaus-Martin Schulte recently updated this research. Using the same database and search terms as Oreskes, he examined all papers published from 2004 to February 2007. The results have been submitted to the journal Energy and Environment, of which DailyTech has obtained a pre-publication copy. The figures are surprising.

Of 528 total papers on climate change, only 38 (7%) gave an explicit endorsement of the consensus. If one considers “implicit” endorsement (accepting the consensus without explicit statement), the figure rises to 45%. However, while only 32 papers (6%) reject the consensus outright, the largest category (48%) are neutral papers, refusing to either accept or reject the hypothesis. This is no “consensus.”

The figures are even more shocking when one remembers the watered-down definition of consensus here. Not only does it not require supporting that man is the “primary” cause of warming, but it doesn’t require any belief or support for “catastrophic” global warming. In fact of all papers published in this period (2004 to February 2007), only a single one makes any reference to climate change leading to catastrophic results.

These changing viewpoints represent the advances in climate science over the past decade. While today we are even more certain the earth is warming, we are less certain about the root causes. More importantly, research has shown us that — whatever the cause may be — the amount of warming is unlikely to cause any great calamity for mankind or the planet itself.

Schulte’s survey contradicts the United Nation IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (2007), which gave a figure of “90% likely” man was having an impact on world temperatures. But does the IPCC represent a consensus view of world scientists? Despite media claims of “thousands of scientists” involved in the report, the actual text is written by a much smaller number of “lead authors.” The introductory “Summary for Policymakers” — the only portion usually quoted in the media — is written not by scientists at all, but by politicians, and approved, word-by-word, by political representatives from member nations. By IPCC policy, the individual report chapters — the only text actually written by scientists — are edited to “ensure compliance” with the summary, which is typically published months before the actual report itself.

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Zogby: Most Americans Say Iraq War Not Lost

Posted by Casey on August 29, 2007

File this under obvious.

54% of Americans in this poll say the war in Iraq is not lost. Of course, it splits down party lines. 66% of Dems, and 9% of Reps say it is lost (because they aren’t paying attention).

It is impossible for our troops to lose this war because we already won it. Our war was with the Iraqi government who surrendered to us already. The mission now is simply to make sure that the Iraqis aren’t conquered again by a dictator.

I had an argument with someone about this last night on my show.

If we left Germany or Japan after WWII, and the government we wanted them to have collapsed … would that then mean we lost the war? Would their surrenders suddenly mean nothing?

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John Edwards Asks: Is Cuba’s Healthcare System Run By The Government?

Posted by Casey on August 29, 2007


H/T: Newsbusters

As reported by ABC …

When an Iowa resident asked former senator John Edwards Thursday whether the United States should follow the Cuban healthcare model, the 2004 vice presidential contender deflected the question by saying he didn’t know enough to answer the question.

“I’m going to be honest with you – I don’t know a lot about Cuba’s healthcare system,” Edwards, D-N.C., said at an event in Oskaloosa, Iowa. “Is it a government-run system?

Newsbusters astutely points out that it is difficult to believe than any adult, let alone a former senator and presidential candidate, would not know that Cuba runs their own healthcare.

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U.S. Releases Iranian Diplomats Captured In Raid

Posted by Casey on August 29, 2007

News of the captures broke yesterday, and we were waiting for details on the capture. Now it seems the Iranians will be released.

Newsday:

Eight Iranians, including two diplomats, were released by U.S. forces Wednesday after being detained because unauthorized weapons were found in their cars, the U.S. military said. An adviser to the top U.S. general in Iraq called the detentions “regrettable.”

There has already been other cases of Iranians bringing things into Iraq, that are not authorized, with the permission of the Iraqi government. Somehow, no one informs the US of such moves.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said the Iranian delegation was in Baghdad to hold talks with Iraqi officials on building a power plant.

Hmmmm, what kind of power plant?

The only reason there were arrests was because the Iraqi security detail didn’t have any permits for their weapons.

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