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Cele Castillo- American DEA Hero- Scapegoat for 'Fast and Furious'?Tim King Salem-News.com
America's habit of making enemies out of former allies turns inward with the conviction of a decorated DEA Agent in a crime the U.S. ATF itself committed.
(SALEM) - The conduct the U.S. is willing to commit to quiet its opponents is shocking. Questions surround the conviction of retired DEA Agent Celerino "Cele" Castillo III- a front line agent for 12 years in the Drug Enforcement Administration. Today he's serving a 37-month prison sentence, and the feds wouldn't have their feelings hurt if Americans believed Castillo was convicted in connection with the recently exposed Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF&E) gun walking operation to Mexican drug cartels.
U.S. Attorney Johnny “House of Death” Sutton in San Antonio, Texas sent out a news release in 2008 stating:
The headline in retrospect, seems to implicate Castillo as having involvement in the ATF&E's 'Fast and Furious' gun walking program, as it specifically involved straw purchasers, however this is a program that was ordered into effect on Eric Holder's watch and it truly
Castillo's questionable conviction is gaining attention as Darrell E. Issa (R - CA) tries vigorously to gather facts surrounding the case. Obama, Holder and federal officials seem to be doing everything they can to deter his progress.
United States Attorney Johnny Sutton announced in San Antonio on 22 October 2008, that the 58-year-old former Drug Enforcement Administration agent Celerino “Cele” Castillo, III, of McAllen, Texas, was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for his role in dealing firearms without a license." (press release)
Bill Conroy of the narcosphere has published many reports on the gunrunning operation and his 2008 article, U.S. government finally exacts revenge on Iran/Contra whistleblower Cele Castillo , published well before the exposure of 'Fast and Furious', spells out the fact that there are big questions surrounding the case against Castillo spearheaded by U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton.
"The black mark now affixed to Castillo’s reputation courtesy of Sutton’s office, however, is a thin conceit on the eve of a presidential election that is expected to usher in a sea change in American politics that might well lead to a re-examination of Castillo’s revelations — which also were supported and advanced by legendary investigative journalist Gary Webb and a host of congressional inquiries in subsequent years."
A statement advocating for Castillo on the Powderburns Website states:
"Cele Castillo (a former War hero, and DEA/Iran Contra whistle-blower) is being held by the Federal Government for selling a gun (LEGAL IN TEXAS) to a BATF snitch! The information on this site should be used to obtain his immediate release! But, we need your help. Donate, Call Gov. Perry and Eric Holder and lay this information at their doorsteps, and demand Cele's freedom. It's not US that sends guns to Mexican drug lords...It's the BATF."
Growing World Interest
Anyone who thinks America remains isolated in its own fishbowl has another thing coming. People everywhere are paying attention to this embarrassing botched gunrunning operation that placed weapons in the hands of the deadliest people on earth, right on the doorstep of the United States. In the June 2011 article, Exposed: The Secret Guns Sting That Backfired On The U.S. BATF Guy Adams with the Independent UK says America's firearms watchdog allowed weapons to flow in, but failed to catch ringleaders, then tried a cover-up.
Adams writes, "The lethal fallout from a botched operation by the US Department of Justice which allowed almost 2,000 illegally purchased firearms to be transported from the streets of Arizona to drug gangs in Mexico has been laid bare in a scathing Congressional report, which concludes that it resulted in countless deaths."
The writer suggests it is a mixture of arrogance, over-confidence, and staggering ineptitude by the Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives [ATF] that ultimately was outlined in a 51-page investigation by two Republican members of a House panel charged with getting to the bottom of what went wrong during a two-year operation called "Fast and Furious". The lethal fallout of the failed and now exposed weapons deal led to a scathing Congressional report, which concludes that it resulted in countless deaths.
The Congressional report explains how between 2009 and this year, the ATF instructed agents to look the other way with respect to the sale and transportation of hundreds of AK-47 assault rifles, sniper rifles, and revolvers that were purchased from gunshops in Phoenix and taken to Mexico. It was revealed that the ATF believed they would eventually recover the weapons from crime scenes, from which they could build a complex conspiracy case in hopes of taking down major drug cartel leaders.
As it turns out, Adams explains, "the operation resulted in the arrest of a handful of small-time crooks. But it exacerbated an already-huge spike in violence on both sides of the border. Two of the guns allowed to "walk" into the hands of criminals were used in a shoot-out that killed a US border patrol agent, Brian Terry."
The agent's death was deemed "a preventable tragedy", and it reveals how many agents in the ATF who knew about Fast and Furious, spoke out over what they viewed as the "reckless" nature of the operation. They said from the start that it conflicted with all known protocol, they didn't believe it was legal. Those who spoke out faced "punishment and retaliation" from their superiors. This will be Obama and Holder's legacy, they are dirty and more dirt keeps getting piled on to hide the part at the bottom, that is starting to rot uncontrollably.
The Congressional report as Adams relates, "also highlights the symbiotic nature of the deadly drug trade between the US and Mexico, which has resulted in approximately 38,000 deaths since 2007. Cartels make their money smuggling cocaine and cannabis north from Mexico, and simultaneously equip their private armies with assault weapons purchased thanks to America's notoriously relaxed gun laws."
The report states that, "Both line agents and gun dealers who co-operated with the ATF repeatedly expressed concerns". It went on to say, "But ATF supervisors did not heed those warnings. Instead, they told agents to follow orders because this was sanctioned from above."
John Dodson is the special agent from Phoenix who eventually blew the whistle on 'Fast and Furious'. He said that when he questioned the potential loss of life, an ATF boss told him: "if you are going to make an omelette, you need to scramble some eggs."
CIA Operational History
Like our Photojournalist, Robert 'Tosh' Plumlee, Cele's one of the federal operatives who refused to be involved with an agency that smuggled drugs in return for weapons shipments, in a program that is ultimately remembered as the Iran-Contra scandal.
We've known for a long time from operations of this nature, that the U.S. government had a tendency to throw its best people under the train. All that is required is sufficient corruption and a burning need to bury real facts.
The Website FreeCeleCastillo.com explains how during his career, Castillo became known for busting organized drug rings on the east coast, raiding jungle cocaine labs in the Amazon, conducting aerial eradication operations in Guatemala, and assembling trained anti-narcotics units in several countries.
It also lays out the bizarre and unexpected scenario that confronted Castillo in El Salvador, he was told to investigate possible drug smuggling by Nicaraguan Contras operating from the Ilopango Air Force Base.. It didn't take long for Cele to realize that pilots with the right-wing U.S. supported Contra militants, were engaged in a narcotics smuggling operation that delivered the highly addictive street drugs into the United States.
He says they used the same pilots, aircraft and air facilities that the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council used, under the direction of Lt. Col. Oliver North, the disgraced former Marine officer who oversaw covert supply operation to the Contras.
Salem-News.com's Robert Plumlee, was one of the pilots who flew the C-130's loaded with contraband back and forth to South and Central America. When Plumlee realized the extent of what was taking place, he too turned against the operation and blew the whistle, two years before a particular plane crash exposed the Reagan-era operation to the entire world.
In a sudden turnabout over the last year, the U.S. State Dept. told Border Patrol agents to arrest Plumlee if he crossed the border into Mexico without using a standard port of entry. This, after Plumlee had already been working closely for years with Task Force Seven AMSOG (American Mexico Specialized Operations Group) during drug fighting operations in Mexico.
Calling that suspicious barely scratches the surface, especially when considering that Plumlee tried to expose the federal gunrunning operation long before it went public,- as he exposed the existence of the U.S.-Mexico inter-military operation. The necessity for that came about because a separate entity in the U.S. government was compromising Task Force 7's operations. It is very sinister. Now people in the federal government are doing all they can to silence and discredit men who put their lives on the line for years in service to the U.S. government. It should come as no surprise that Plumlee and Castillo have known each other for a long time.
Robert Plumlee says those who are really interested in injustice, should become familiar with this case.
"I worked with Celle in Central America and in the Iran-contra. There is no doubt in my mind and that of others that Celle was set up to cover the sins of two administrations and the CIA Mexico drug for guns affair... of which very few Americans really know the truth of those secret operations." Strong words for someone whose involvement in U.S. foreign affairs dates back to the late 1950's, Plumlee was part of a crew that had to abandon a CIA airplane in Cuba in '58. He ultimately spent time with Fidel Castro though the Revolutionary leader had no idea that Plumlee was associated with the C.I.A.
Hoping his words might spark a process of public involvement of anyone that is interested in aiding Celle in his personal fight to obtain Justice from what he views as a very corrupt system.., and his freedom, Tosh Plumlee said:
"I'll put my life on the line for my friends and colleagues.., that's all us Ops boys have left in the political corruption of these days."
A Soiled Reputation
It's sure been a bumpy road for the Obama administration as more and more Americans associate the president and his attorney general Eric Holder, with the illegal gun running program that delivered deadly tools of the trade to Mexican drug cartels, which were in turn used to kill U.S. federal agents.
The federal government scored a dirty victory with the conviction of Castillo, that is true, but what they really did is imprison a veteran drug agent regarded by many as a national hero.
It is widely believed that Cele Castillo proved who he is during his career and that he is nothing more than a scapegoat, serving a three year plus prison sentence for gun sales that Castillo says had absolutely nothing to do with the now infamous 'Fast and Furious' gunrunning operation, but were in fact simple, legal gun sales on south Texas.
Castillo had never been arrested before in his life, however he did serve his nation honorably in the Vietnam War as a combat soldier, before joining the federal law enforcement community.
One might think that type of national service would be taken into consideration. For many, the situation is enough to make a person truly question which side the U.S. government is actually on.
It seems we are the opposite of what we see ourselves to be as Americans, that is if our government truly represents us at all.
The United States has a distinct history of befriending the leaders of other nations, and then after years, sometimes decades of approval and support, turning our back on them.
Suddenly people who cooperated with U.S. presidents and interests, like Ho Chi Minh, Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Manuel Noriega; find themselves in the gun sights of American ambition. It appears the old habit affects those within the United States also, and in Cele's case they attacked a man with an otherwise impeccable record.
John Pilger gives the very best description of the United States' behavior over the last half century in Central and South America. It is humbling for an American to watch The War on Democracy for the first time and few programs available today are more important for students of accurate U.S. history.
One interesting piece of information that is slowly emerging, places Texas Gov. Rick Perry in a suspicious proximity to some of Mexico's known cartel leaders.
This is not a proven allegation, but it is a hard fact that billions of dollars worth of top end U.S. military equipment is now in the hands of Mexico's drug cartels, someone with large ties and political connections has been funneling the weapons and accepting payments from cartels, perhaps Perry's name will keep coming up.
As if there isn't a plethora of deadly weapons inside Mexico, Mr. Plumlee says all of the U.S. weapons initially taken to Nicaragua that were supposedly 'lost' and 'written off' were never in fact lost. They are now securely in the hands of Mexican drug cartels. The most dangerous and largest cartel, Los Zetas, emerged as a rogue band of highly trained Mexican special forces officers. The weapons we are talking about Plumlee says, include anti-personnel weapons like RPG's, and anti-aircraft guns, and are in the hands of trained professionals who want to control all of Mexico, and you know what comes after that...
Men like Plumlee and Castillo are among the most valuable Americans who have ever lived.
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