Court Slams Laredo National Bank
October 25th Court Report Protects Defendant Donald Schulz
By Al Giordano
November 1, 2002
Publisher’s Commentary: The attack by Laredo National Bank, its president Gary Jacobs, and the notorious Hank family empire of Mexico (subject of Federal Reserve Board actions regarding the Laredo bank) against press freedom and against various journalists has been one of the stories Narco News has covered extensively.
On October 25th, US Court Magistrate Judge Nancy A. Vechiarelli DENIED all motions by Laredo National Bank to compell professor Donald Schulz to turn over information to the Bank. Schulz has been accused by the bank of leaking US government documents that may implicate the bank and the Hank family in alleged money laundering and narco-trafficking.
For the past two years, the Hanks and/or Jacobs’ Laredo National Bank have engaged in a campaign of terrorism against Press Freedom, sending a threatening demand for silence and $10 million in alleged “damages” to journalist Julie Reynolds of El Andar magazine, suing and harrassing journalist and investment banker Chris Whalen, suing and harrassing professor Donald Schulz, and even attempting, in vain, to subpoena reporters from the Washington Post and El Financiero. Attempts by Laredo National Bank to subpoena Dolia Estevez, Washington bureau chief of El Financiero in Mexico City, and force her to testify about her news sources were defeated by US Magistrate Judge Welton Curtis Sewell last spring, who declared the attempted subpoena “appears to be nothing more than a fishing expedition.”
Gary Jacobs’ campaign of litigious terrorism against the press and its news sources is coming unglued. The latest development: an October 25th court recommendation that all of Laredo National Banks harrassing motions in the case against Schulz be denied, and the suggestion that the bank may have engaged in a “frivolous” lawsuit – opening the door for a countersuit by Schulz (and, by natural extension, by Chris Whalen). The Court states: “Laredo… has not discussed the merits of a single claim of the complaint or the elements necessary to prove a single count – or even made a colorable showing that its claims are not frivolous.” The new Court ruling will also probably mean the end of Laredo National Bank’s efforts to toy with the First Amendment by attempting to subpoena Dolia Estevez and other reporters.
The court controversy regards a joint report by five law enforcement agencies – the result of 56 DEA investigations, 28 FBI criminal investigations, 140 IRS investigations, and “criminal investigations” by the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency – titled “White Tiger” about narco-trafficking and money-laundering by powerful Mexican and U.S. business and political interests.
The Court reviewed the secret document “in camera” (behind closed doors), and concluded: “The White Tiger’s purpose is to analyze methods for the eradication of the drug trafficking and money laundering reportedly responsible for the flow of about 70% of the cocaine and 18% of the heroin into the United States.”
Efforts by Gary Jacobs and Laredo National Bank to squash this document, and to harrass a college professor alleged to have distributed it, have certainly raised eyebrows about what exactly Jacobs, a major Bush campaign contributor, and the Laredo National Bank don’t want the press or public to see. The United States government – always hypocritical and arbitrary in its selective prosecutions in the drug war and its continued protection of white collar narco-traffickers while focusing its activities against small-time drug users and dealers – has also joined the Court melee, with motions to squash the release of this too-hot-to-handle document. Those motions were granted by the Court recommendation.
Although former Attorney General Janet Reno, under pressure from Hank family friend and White House advisor former GOP Senator Warren Rudman of New Hampshire, claimed to the press that the “White Tiger” report did not reflect the position of the US government, the Court, after reading the document, stated: “The Court finds the White Tiger paper contains factual and substantial evaluative information pertaining to criminal investigations and potential targets of criminal investigations… The White Tiger paper contains factual and evaluative information about various individuals and entities, their relationships, finances, developing and anticipated future activities, and methods and techniques of operations.”
The October 25th Court order is a clear victory for professor Schulz, and a stunning defeat for Gary Jacobs and Laredo National Bank. But it is a mixed bag in terms of wider press freedom issues, because while the Court sticks it to the banker plaintiffs, it also recommends that professor Schulz return the White Tiger documents to the US government, which means that the public that paid for the more than 224 investigations regarding the highest levels of narco-trafficking will probably never be allowed to see the results of the investigation.
The public’s interest – not a party to this lawsuit – and right to know are thus, once again, thrown overboard.
Therefore, I repeat my invitation, previously made on these pages, to publish the entire White Tiger document in full on Narco News, uncensored, no matter who opposes disclosure of the facts, because if so many competing powers don’t want you, the public, to see this document, that suggests strongly that the information within is very important to the public’s rights and abilities to know and to make informed decisions on important public policy issues – like the hypocritical and selectively prosecuted “war on drugs” – that impact our daily lives.
This just in: Former U.S. Custom’s agent John Carman has now posted some of the “White Tiger” documents online that the U.S. government and Laredo National Bank don’t want you to see:
In any case, you can now read the Court decision here on Narco News, byclicking this link.
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