[News] US Finally Exacts Revenge on Iran/Contra Whistleblower
news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Nov 4 15:05:39 EST 2008
US Finally Exacts Revenge on Iran/Contra Whistleblower Cele Castillo
Conroy - November 1, 2008 at 9:20 pm
Celerino Cele Castillo III, a former DEA agent
who played a key role in exposing the U.S.
governments role in narco-trafficking as part of
the Iran/Contra scandal, is now a discredited man.
At least that is what the office of U.S. Attorney
Johnny House of Death Sutton in San Antonio,
Texas, who is a
friend of President George W. Bush, would like
us to believe. The black mark now affixed to
Castillos reputation courtesy of Suttons
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 Castillos
revelations which also were supported and
advanced by legendary investigative journalist
and a host of congressional inquiries in subsequent years.
United States Attorney Johnny Sutton announced
that in San Antonio yesterday [Oct. 22],
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, states a
release issued recently by Suttons office.
In other words, Castillo, a Vietnam veteran (an
expert marksman who was awarded the Bronze Star
for bravery) will spend the next three years of
his life in prison, even though he has no prior
criminal record, for the act of selling some
firearms (mainly hunting rifles and shotguns at
gun shows in South Texas) absent the proper
paperwork. The federal judge in San Antonio
ordered that Castillo be committed to a medical
facility due to his multiple medical problems,
including diabetes and heart problems.
I thought the judge was doing me a favor by
sentencing me to a medical facility, Castillo
says. But I recently talked to someone who just
got out of one of these medical facilities and he
said there isnt a day that goes by where someone
inside doesnt die because of a dose of the wrong
medication or maybe an overdose of chemo. So
maybe it is a death sentence. I cant tell you.
For those who have an aversion to guns and the
NRA, its important to remember that the Second
Amendment does protect an individuals right to
possess firearms as much as the First Amendment
protects an individuals right to protest the
Second Amendment. The governments role, as the
law is now constructed, is to regulate that right
to keep and bear arms but the regulations it
has created are byzantine in nature and subject
to many degrees of nuance in interpretation.
For example, the Gun Control Act distinguishes
between individuals who sell firearms as a hobby
and those who engage in the practice as a
business the latter requiring a license issued by the government.
Here is the wording from that
The term engaged in the business means
person who devotes time, attention, and labor to
dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade
or business with the principal objective of
livelihood and profit through the repetitive
purchase and resale of firearms, but such term
shall not include a person who makes occasional
sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for
the enhancement of a personal collection or for a
hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal
collection of firearms. [Emphasis added.]
The definition above is further rarified by a
host of complex case law developed at the expense
of accused violators over the years. So anyone
who is charged with a firearms violation is well
advised to find good legal counsel, since the law
can easily be twisted to the wrong ends by
over-zealous federal agents and prosecutors.
Castillo is honest about his activity in this
case, but whether the government actually had the
evidence that he crossed the line into committing
a crime is a bigger question. And even if
Castillo did broach that line, the question of
the punishment fitting the crime is now a matter
of an appeal filed in the case though Castillo
says he is still trying to find the money and an
attorney to handle that appeal.
Here is what Castillo says about the case against
him on his <http://www.powderburns.org/donation.html>Web Site:
Approximately three years ago, I started to
attend the Saxet Gun Show by selling my book,
"Powderburns. I found the experience
overwhelming because it turned out to be great
therapy for my PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder). To ease my "cutting edge" a bit, I was
back to wearing my Vietnam attire for the gun shows.
As time went on I started to collect Vietnam
vintage surplus to sell. But before long, I began
to do what most of the vendors were doing at the
gun show, selling and buying both used and new
guns without a license. Over half of the gun show
vendors are still doing what I got charged with.
However, I strongly believe that because of my
involvement as an "expert witness" and an
activist against certain actions of our
government, I obviously had become a target.
After all, I had been forewarned by a defense
attorney, that an AUSA Federal prosecutor had
advised him to instruct me that in some way,
shape or form, they were going to target me until
they got me. And that they did.
Castillo, while a DEA agent in Central America in
the 1980s, during the Reagan/Bush administration,
uncovered evidence that the CIA and the White
House National Security Council, through San
Antonio, Texas, native and national
counter-terrorism coordinator Lt. Col. Oliver
North and other CIA assets, were carrying out
illegal operations at two hangers at Ilopango
Airport in El Salvador. Those airport hangars,
Castillo contends, served as weapons and
narcotics transshipment centers for funding and
arming the U.S.-backed Contra counter-insurgency
against the government of Nicaragua.
From that moment forward, Castillo became a
target of those pulling the strings in that dirty war.
Cele became a household word inside DEA, says
Sandalio Gonzalez, a retired DEA commander who
worked in Latin America at the same time Castillo
was stationed in the region. They ruined his
reputation over the stuff that happened in El
Salvador [Iran/Contra] and he became a target. He
took on the Establishment, and it didnt come out so good for him.
investigation into the Ilopango operation was
eventually torpedoed via CIA interference and he
was subjected to a steady stream of retaliatory DEA internal investigations.
Castillo subsequently, after a 12-year career,
retired from the DEA, but to this day he has
remained an outspoken critic of the hypocrisy of
the war on drugs, penning a book about his
experiences in DEA, called Powderburns, and
appearing on numerous radio and TV shows most
recently in a Showtime series called
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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