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146World Net Daily on Fox, Hernandez, Bush, Akin Gump...

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  • Alberto M. Giordano
    Feb 15, 2001
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      From World Net Daily
      February 15, 2001

      http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=21729

      President Fox guarding narco-hen house?

      By Tom Flocco
      � 2001 WorldNetDaily.com

      There's an intriguing story left virtually unreported by the mainstream U.S.
      media regarding a friendship between alleged Cancun drug-trafficker and
      banker Roberto Hernandez Ramirez and Mexican President Vicente Fox.
      This is especially strange when you throw in President Bush's Feb. 16
      meeting in Mexico with the nation's new leader.

      Few people have cued into the Mexican president's connections to Bush's own
      Dallas TV ad consultant, Robert Allyn. Along with consulting work for Bush,
      according to a July 9, 2000, Dallas Morning News report, Allyn worked
      secretly for three years on the election campaign of Vicente Fox and would
      have most likely known about the alleged connection between Fox and drug
      runners. The allegations were made specifically by three Yucatan newspapers:
      Por Esto! (Dec. 16, 1996), El Universal (July 8, 2000) and La Jornada (July
      9, 2000).

      Forbes Magazine reported that Roberto Hernandez, who could not afford an
      American Express card in 1980, today earns the largest annual salary in
      Mexico -- reported as $29 million per year -- and is a billionaire who runs
      Mexico's largest bank.

      Por Esto!'s evidence linking Hernandez to narcotics was so solid that a
      judge threw out Hernandez's libel suit against the newspaper and editor
      Mario Menendez because, as the Feb. 23, 2000, Village Voice reported, "all
      the accusations formed by [Menendez] were based on facts." Hernandez did not
      return the Voice's calls for comment, but Menendez added in an interview
      that Hernandez's "properties were found with cocaine. All of this is
      confirmed by the [Mexican] Air Force, thus, there is no possibility of
      libel."

      Fox's campaign consultant, Robert Allyn, had been the creator of a series of
      controversial ads during the Republican primaries for Bush's Dallas
      billionaire friend, Sam Wyly, a heavy campaign contributor. The TV spots
      defended Gov. Bush's environmental policies while questioning the eco record
      of Arizona Sen. John McCain.

      Presidential candidate Fox used the Bush-connected TV consultant --
      reportedly paid no salary, only ad production costs -- over a three-year
      period while he used fake names to avoid the media and ruling party aides.
      And Allyn made some 40 trips to Mexico, quietly consulting with Fox at his
      Guanajuato ranch.

      The Mexican president also visited Allyn whenever he was in Dallas. However,
      the Dallas Morning News report did not reveal who recommended Allyn to the
      Fox campaign, why Allyn was basically working for no compensation, or
      whether -- more importantly -- someone unidentified was paying him for his
      services to Fox.

      Open borders, borderline behavior

      Notwithstanding the drug issue, Fox has been controversial in the eyes of
      some U.S. lawmakers because of his call for an open U.S.-Mexican border,
      while declaring himself the leader of both Mexico's citizens and the
      estimated 18 million Mexicans and Mexican-Americans living in the United
      States. Bush himself has helped fuel this controversy. At a Feb. 7 White
      House press conference, Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer told the national
      media that Bush "thinks we should have fair trade with Mexico and that we
      should have borders that make that possible." No explanation came detailing
      Bush's actual border policy.

      Further complicating the drug issue, just two weeks ago, as the Washington
      Post reported, four senators -- Chris Dodd, D-Ct., John McCain, R-Ariz.,
      Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and Ernest Hollings, D-S.C. -- moved to cosponsor
      legislation to suspend the annual process under which the United States is
      required to assess Mexico's performance in combating narcotics trafficking.
      Continued certification brings $1.4 billion in U.S. financial assistance in
      the drug war.

      However, it seems that no one has questioned this legislation, when, at the
      same time, the Mexican press is reporting that Fox consorts with a
      narco-kingpin. Por Esto! refers to the controversial Roberto Hernandez
      Ramirez as "El Narcotraficante," while editor Mario Menendez claims that
      "U.S. authorities are managing the illegal drug trade in Mexico," according
      to a Feb. 23, 2000, report in the Village Voice.

      No mention was made whether the senators discussed how their bill addresses
      the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's continuing concern over
      narcotrafficking and corruption in Mexico. Moreover, Hernandez has hired
      Vernon Jordan's Washington law firm, Akin-Gump, to sue Mario Menendez in New
      York City, to further heighten the intrigue and, in effect, put the war
      against drugs literally on trial.

      El Narcotraficante de Cancun

      The Dec. 16, 1996, charge made by Menendez and his paper -- incidentally,
      the country's third highest circulation newspaper -- was that Hernandez,
      Mexican national banker and No. 289 on the Forbes list of wealthiest men on
      earth, operated a key entry point for hundreds of tons of South American
      cocaine from his 22 miles of beachfront property south of Cancun.

      Reuters News Service reported on Aug. 8, 1998, that the Mexican newspaper
      Reforma said "nearly a third of the illegal drugs that pass through the
      Caribbean from South America to the United States enter Mexico near the
      popular tourist resort of Cancun." Reforma added that "ships -- some with a
      capacity of 300 tons -- unload their cargo on high-speed boats that land in
      Cancun or very near the luxury resort."

      Por Esto! reported stories of local fishermen describing what they called a
      huge cocaine trafficking operation protected by Hernandez. The fishermen
      also observed shark boats entering the estuaries by night and unloading
      cocaine which was then, the allegation goes, loaded onto small planes at the
      private airfield on Hernandez's beachfront ranch, before heading north
      toward the Texas border.


      The Por Esto! story included pictures of alleged narcotrafficker Hernandez's
      airfield, planes, plus stacks of cocaine and assorted shoreline garbage
      associated with drug-trafficking, such as glue containers, cocaine packaging
      and other products with labels naming Columbian drug-cartel cities of
      Medellin, Cali and Baranquilla. These same products were also found on
      seized Columbian shark boats, according to the Mexican newspaper, with
      cocaine on board.

      In 1997, the government began aggressively patrolling the waters around
      Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico's American tourist capital, in response to the
      newspaper reports. Then-President Ernesto Zedillo, however, ordered the
      armed forces not to enter Hernandez' beachfront estuary properties. And
      Zedillo was described as a frequent visitor to Hernandez's Punta Pajaros
      island ranch -- protected by armed guards 24 hours a day, according to El
      Universal.

      A Mexican Supreme Court judge threw out a 1997 suit filed by Hernandez
      against Por Esto!, its publisher, editor, reporter and photographer in
      September 1999 -- saying "the Por Esto! reports were based on facts."

      And drug-war authority Al Giordano reported on his NarcoNews.com website
      that more than 100 Yucatan Peninsula town councils, unions and church groups
      have passed resolutions denouncing the cocaine trafficking and the attacks
      on Por Esto!

      The other president

      But Zedillo was not the only president to visit or vacation on the property
      of the alleged "El Narcotraficante." President Clinton arrived in the
      Yucatan on Feb. 14, 1999, just two days after escaping impeachment, to hold
      an anti-drug meeting with Hernandez's friend, President Zedillo. At the
      narco-summit, Mexico was certified by Clinton as a trusted drug-war ally,
      and U.S. financial aid was released.
      U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Jeffrey Davidow, a long-time diplomat who gained
      valuable experience in Chile during the 1971-73 Gen. Pinochet-President
      Salvador Allende era, organized President Clinton's itinerary.

      The press corps covering the trip did not question why Davidow arranged to
      place Clinton in such a controversial position while all of the Yucatan was
      watching -- and reading the daily Por Esto! pieces.
      The New York Times reported that the Clinton-Zedillo "anti-drug" meeting was
      held at banker Roberto Hernandez Ramirez's island ranch near Cancun, but
      never printed that Hernandez was the most well-known alleged drug trafficker
      on the Yucatan Peninsula.

      To make sure the American press corps knew about Hernandez's drug ties, Por
      Esto! editor Menendez pulled out all the stops and ran a series of three
      supplement pieces -- including 350 column inches of text documented by 45
      photographs and maps tracing the route of the Columbian cocaine through
      Hernandez's properties -- beginning on Feb. 14, 1999, to coincide with
      Clinton's arrival in Cancun. Former Boston Phoenix writer Al Giordano called
      the series a "journalistic tour de force -- the culmination of a 26-month
      investigation. ..."

      However, American journalists never mentioned the Hernandez story or why
      President Clinton would agree to hold his anti-drug meeting at the ranch of
      a publicly accused cocaine trafficker. Giordano searched "Lexis-Nexis, the
      major dailies, wire services, etc;" however, he found that the Hernandez
      cocaine story was "neither published, promoted, criticized, nor rebutted."

      Covering the drug summit for his then-employer, the Boston Phoenix, Giordano
      said, "The White House press corps, along for the ride, was so meticulously
      controlled by their handlers, kept in luxury hotel rooms and restaurants
      that were guarded by U.S. Secret Service agents, offered junkets to Mayan
      ruins and beaches in exchange for not spending their time investigating or
      reporting."

      Giordano quoted Por Esto! as charging that "the U.S. government has wide and
      deep knowledge of Hernandez's drug-trafficking activities." No reporter or
      member of Congress, however, has questioned either former President Clinton
      or President George W. Bush about connections to Fox, Hernandez, Robert
      Allyn, or what they know about small planes flying north toward Texas and
      Florida from the Hernandez ranch after Columbian boats off-load their
      cocaine cargos.

      Drug war on trial

      In March 2000, Por Esto!'s Menendez was invited to present his evidence of
      official complicity in cocaine trafficking to the Columbia University Law
      School in New York City. However, Roberto Hernandez, through Banamex, has
      hired D.C. law giant Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld -- the 7th largest
      firm in the U.S. -- to file civil action for libel against both Por Esto!
      editor Menendez and NarcoNews.com's Al Giordano.

      The legal powerhouse is "waging a battle to discredit media reports that
      [Banamex President], Roberto Hernandez Ramirez, is a drug trafficker whose
      activities are allegedly protected by powerful politicians in both Mexico
      and the United States," according to Metroland News Service.

      Thomas McLish, a lawyer with Akin, Gump, said, "Roberto Hernandez is a man
      of the highest moral character," according to the Village Voice. And in
      November 2000, "Menendez retained Martin Garbus, the legendary First
      Amendment lawyer," who said, "I represent a newspaper and a journalist
      accused, and from what I understand, they have a good defense of the libel
      claim." Moreover, Village Voice reporter Cynthia Cotts says Garbus finds it
      "very significant" that Hernandez's libel claims were thrown out in Mexico.

      But Akin, Gump may have another type of problem in attempting to convince a
      judge that their client Roberto Hernandez has no drug-trafficking
      connections. The Washington Post, in a piece dealing with drug kingpins
      buying congressional influence through Washington lobbyists, reported that
      "another major D.C. law firm, Akin, Gump, et. al., recently began lobbying
      on behalf of Glossco Freezone, an Aruba business controlled by the Mansur
      family, some of whose members have been indicted in the United States on
      charges of conspiracy to launder drug trafficking proceeds, congressional
      sources said. ... Barney J. Skladany Jr., the Akin, Gump partner
      representing Glossco, did not return repeated telephone calls for comment."

      From Coca-Cola to coke?

      On July 2, Vicente Fox won the Mexican presidential election and met with
      U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Davidow in Mexico City on July 7. Giordano's Narco
      News Bulletin reported that "Fox then met with former U.S. Ambassador James
      Jones, former employee of a company backed by alleged drug trafficker Carlos
      Hank Gonzalez (Forbes List billionaire) and recently hired by the Washington
      law firm of Mannatt and Phelps, owned by the U.S. Narco-Ambassador to the
      Dominican Republic and former U.S. Democratic Party chairman Charles
      Mannatt."

      Mexican newspaper La Jornada reported that "President-elect Vicente Fox
      returned to Mexico City to restart his activities after vacationing this
      weekend at the residence of his friend Roberto Hernandez, president of the
      banking group Banamex." Narco News added that "after meeting with two U.S.
      operatives, Fox hops on a plane, then a helicopter, and according to Mexican
      paper El Universal, heads for Punta Pajaros on the Cocaine Peninsula as
      guest of Narco Banker Roberto Hernandez Ramirez."
      Questions remain this week as to whether President Bush will support the
      aforementioned senators in attempting to suspend drug-war performance
      assessment recertification each year for Mexico, thereby freeing Vicente Fox
      to conduct the drug war in his own way.

      And just recently, according to Metroland News Service, Mexican newspapers
      have reported that "Roberto Hernandez Ramirez hosted a private reception at
      his ranch this year that was attended by newly elected Mexican President
      Vicente Fox, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Jeffrey Davidow and President
      Clinton."

      Nationally syndicated Mexican columnist Isabel Arvide said in Letras de
      Cambio, "Already they've rubbed it in our faces by at least saying who
      hosted [President Vicente] Fox at his personal island to rest up from the
      campaign. ... This is what millions of Mexicans voted for?" Then she added,
      "The vote of refusal against the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party)
      served so that Roberto Hernandez can continue enjoying his personal island
      -- with or without 'snow' of all flavors and types. ... We voted in favor of
      the drug traffickers' choice?"

      And what about political ad consultant Robert Allyn? His introduction of
      sage counsel into the Fox campaign, a more "visual" Mexican candidate, focus
      groups, satellite paging and Mexican spin-doctors -- for three years with no
      compensation -- all served notice that a busy Washington press corps might
      have reason to question the campaign aide about potential benefactors,
      possibly in both Mexico and the United States, who really wanted to see the
      ex-Coca Cola executive assume office. Or could Mr. Allyn have been working
      for three years out of the goodness of his heart?

      Tom Flocco is a freelance writer who lives in Pennsylvania.
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