Weekly Update: Exclusive Reports on the Caravan Crisis!
OCTOBER 26, 2018
“Elaborately Planned” Caravan Attracts Human Traffickers and Gangbangers
Angry Young Men March to U.S. Yelling ‘Vamos Para Allá Trump!’
Judicial Watch Files Major Ethics Complaint Against Christine Blasey Ford’s Lawyers
The caravan moving north toward our border is a serious threat to the sovereignty of the United States. It is a blatant challenge to the rule of law. For this reason we sent our Director of Investigations and Research Chris Farrell and Judicial Watch Investigator Reporter Irene Garcia to Guatemala to uncover the truth about “caravan.” Here is their first report in our Corruption Chronicles blog.
The migrant caravan marching northbound through Central America is an “elaborately planned” movement that’s benefiting human smugglers and bringing disturbing numbers of violent gang members and other criminal elements through Guatemala, according to government sources in the capital city.
“MS-13 gang members have been detained and coyotes (human smugglers) are joining the march with clients who pay to get smuggled into the United States,” a Guatemalan official told Judicial Watch. People from Asian countries waiting to get smuggled into the U.S. through Central America are also integrating with poor Hondurans in the caravan, a high-level Guatemalan government source confirmed. Among them are nationals of Bangladesh, a south Asian Islamic country that’s well known as a recruiting ground for terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda Indian Subcontinent (AQIS). “There are lots of dirty businesses associated with this,” Guatemalan authorities told Judicial Watch. “There’s lots of human trafficking.”
Sandwiched between Honduras and Mexico, Guatemala has been overrun with the onslaught of migrants that began their journey last week in the northern Honduran city of San Pedro Sula. At last count around 7,000 have participated in the trek, a great deal of them rowdy, angry men ages 17 to 40. President Jimmy Morales has ordered the military and police to detain all of the migrants and facilitate their safe return back to Honduras, though thousands have already reached the Mexican border. In a morning interview with Judicial Watch at the Guatemalan Ministry of Defense, Secretary of Defense General Luis Miguel Ralda Moreno said more than 2,000 Hondurans have been sent back home on buses. “We’re doing everything possible to stop the caravan while still respecting human rights,” General Moreno said.
During an afternoon interview at the National Palace, President Morales said that Guatemala has absorbed the huge cost of mobilizing police and military to return thousands of people to Honduras. He would like the United States to help him find the organizers of the caravan so they can face legal consequences. “Mass immigration like this endangers lives,” Morales said. “This is unprecedented. We are in the process of investigating who is behind the caravan.” Morales assures that Guatemala is doing everything possible to curb illegal immigration and asked for cooperation from the United States.
It has been a delicate and complicated task, Guatemalan officials say, because the caravan is a very organized movement that has been well orchestrated. There are rest points along the route with food, water and shelter for the migrants as well as medical care in some areas. “It’s very strategic and extremely organized,” a Guatemalan government source told Judicial Watch. “It is very complex, not a simple march. There is nothing spontaneous about it.” During a visit to the Guatemalan-Honduran border this week Judicial Watch interviewed multiple migrants who repeated the same rehearsed line when asked who organized the caravan, insisting it was a spontaneous event even though there were clearly organizers shouting instructions in Spanish and putting select persons in front of cameras for interviews. All of them said the caravan was not about politics but rather poverty.
Guatemalan officials disagree, estimating that the caravan is a movement of radicalized forces to destabilize Central American countries. Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, a conservative, echoes that assessment. In a local newspaper report published last week Hernández asserted that leftist interests seeking to destabilize the country are manipulating migrants. Women and children are being used without regard to the risks to their lives, Hernández said. “The irregular mobilization was organized for political reasons to negatively affect the governance and image of Honduras and to destabilize the peace of neighboring countries,” the president said, adding that many have returned to the country after realizing they’ve been fooled.
Too much of the media and the open borders crowd are tying to fool Americans but this will be harder thanks to Judicial Watch’s educational efforts.
We have been reporting for years that many of those crossing our southern border aren’t innocent women and children, but rather hardened criminals and even terrorists. Why would this current caravan be any different? Our team on the scene in Guatemala (see above) has this disturbing exclusive report:
Besides gang members and mobs of young angry men, the Central American caravan making its way into the United States also consists of Africans, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans and Indians. Judicial Watch is covering the crisis from the Guatemalan-Honduran border this week and observed that the popular mainstream media narrative of desperate migrants—many of them women and children—seeking a better life is hardly accurate. Guatemalan intelligence officials confirmed that the caravan that originated in the northern Honduran city of San Pedro Sula includes a multitude of Special Interest Aliens (SIA) from the countries listed above as well as other criminal elements and gang members.
There are also large groups of men, some with criminal histories, aggressively demanding that the U.S. take them in. During a visit to the Guatemalan town of Chiquimula, about 35 miles from the Honduran border, Judicial Watch encountered a rowdy group of about 600 men, ages 17 to about 40, marching north on a narrow two-lane highway. Among them was a 40-year-old Honduran man who previously lived in the United States for decades and got deported. His English was quite good, and he said his kids and girlfriend live in the U.S. Another man in his 30s contradicted media reports that caravan participants are fleeing violence and fear for their life. “We’re not scared,” he said waving his index finger as others around him nodded in agreement. “We’re going to the United States to get jobs.” Others chanted “vamos para allá Trump!” (We’re coming Trump) as they clenched their fists in the air. “We need money and food,” said a 29-year-old man who made the trek with his 21-year-old brother.
All of the migrants interviewed by Judicial Watch repeated the same rehearsed line when asked who organized the caravan, insisting it was a spontaneous event even though there were clearly organizers shouting instructions in Spanish and putting select persons in front of cameras for interviews. A few claimed they heard about it on local news in Honduras. All of them said the caravan was not about politics but rather poverty. “I just want to get back to the U.S.,” said a 32-year-old man who admitted he has been deported from the U.S. twice. “We are all just looking for work.” The group radiated a sense of empowerment. One marcher, who appeared to be in his late teens, yelled “you go live in Honduras and see what it’s like!”
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, a conservative, said in a local newspaper report that leftist interests seeking to destabilize the country are manipulating migrants. Women and children are being used without regard to the risks to their lives, Hernández said. “The irregular mobilization was organized for political reasons to negatively affect the governance and image of Honduras and to destabilize the peace of neighboring countries,” the president said, adding that many have returned to the country after realizing they’ve been fooled.
Guatemala is overwhelmed with the sudden onslaught and immigration officials confirmed 1,700 migrants have been returned to Honduras on buses. The first wave of migrants totaled about 4,000, according to Guatemalan government sources, followed by a second, less organized group of about 2,000. The impoverished Central American nation needs help, including logistical, communications and civil affairs support to stop the human caravans. “There are only so many resources we can dedicate to this,” said Guatemalan Secretary of Strategic Intelligence Mario Duarte. Guatemalans are getting robbed and crimes are being committed by the people in the caravans, Duarte said.
You can be sure that Judicial Watch will use its resources to monitor and investigate the border crisis and give you the unvarnished truth about this existential threat to our sovereignty and the rule of law.
The Kavanaugh confirmation process was a travesty which saw the rules and the rule of law violated by the left for political gain. Even though Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court, there must still be accountability for these abuses.
To that end, Judicial Watch just filed a complaint to the Board of Professional Responsibility of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals alleged that Debra S. Katz, Lisa J. Banks, and Michael R. Bromwich for violating the rules of professional responsibility in their representation of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee during the hearings on the nomination of the Honorable Brett Kavanaugh.
We note that by not informing their client Dr. Ford that Sen. Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee offered in a letter to “fly female staff investigators to meet Dr. Ford … in California, or anywhere else, to obtain (her) testimony,” Katz, Banks, and Bromwich violated the following District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct:
Rule l.4(a) – A lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information.
Rule 1.4(b) – A lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.
I’ve inserted our full complaint for you below (with the citations omitted):
To the Office of Disciplinary Counsel:
Judicial Watch hereby files a disciplinary complaint against District of Columbia bar members Debra S. Katz, Lisa J. Banks, and Michael R. Bromwich in connection with their representation of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee [the “Committee”].
Rule l.4(a) of the District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct [“DC Rules”] states: “A lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information.” Rule 1 .4(b) provides: “A lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.”
In this case, Dr. Ford made well-publicized allegations of sexual misconduct involving Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, whose nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court was before the Committee. Her identity was first revealed in connection with these allegations on September 16, 2018. The next day, September 17, 2018, Ms. Katz went on several television shows asking that the Committee hold a public hearing so that Dr. Ford could offer her testimony.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, honored that request. In a letter sent on September 19, 2018, he informed Ms. Katz and Ms. Banks that the Committee was scheduling a hearing on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination for September 24, 2018, in order to “give Dr. Ford an opportunity to tell her story to the Senate and, if she chooses, to the American people.” Letter from Sen. Chuck Grassley, Chairman, S. Judiciary Comm., to Debra S. Katz and Lisa J. Banks (Sep. I 9, 2018) (available at https://goo.gl/ce3SVv).
He informed Ms. Katz and Ms. Banks that the hearing could be public or private, and that Dr. Ford could also choose to have a public or private staff interview with Committee staff, either by phone or in-person. “To that end,” Chairman Grassley continued, “Committee staff has attempted to contact you directly by phone and e-mail several times to schedule a call at a time convenient for you and your client. We thus far have not heard back from you with regard to that request.” He reiterated that “my staff would still welcome the opportunity to speak with Dr. Ford at a time and place convenient to her.”
On September 21, 2018, Chairman Grassley wrote another letter to Ms. Katz, where he stated that “[t]he Chairman has offered the ability for Dr. Ford to testify in an open session, a closed session, a public staff interview, and a private staff interview. Press Release, Senate Judiciary Committee, Ford ‘Wasn’t Clear’ Committee Offered California Interview in lieu of Public Washington Hearing (Oct. 2, 2018) (available at https://goo.gl/6dmNJd). The Chairman is even willing to fly female staff investigators to meet Dr. Ford and you in California, or anywhere else, to obtain Dr. Ford’s testimony.”
When the hearing finally took place on September 27, 2018, however, the following exchange took place between Dr. Ford, under oath, and counsel for the Committee, Rachel Mitchell:
“MITCHELL: May I ask, Dr. Ford, how did you get to Washington?
FORD: In an airplane.
MITCHELL: OK. It’s – I ask that, because it’s been reported by the press that you would not submit to an interview with the committee because of your fear of flying. Is – is that true?
FORD: Well, I was willing – I was hoping that they would come to me, but then I realized that was an unrealistic request.
MITCHELL: It would’ve been a quicker trip for me.
FORD: Yes. So that was certainly what I was hoping, was to avoid having to get on an airplane, but I eventually was able to get up the gumption with the help of some friends, and get on the plane.”
Nomination of the Honorable Brett M Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (Day 5): Hearings before the Comm. on the Judiciary., 115th Cong. (2018) (emphasis added).
Mitchell’s questioning at the hearing continued:
“MITCHELL: Was it communicated to you by your counsel or someone else, that the committee had asked to interview you and that – that they offered to come out to California to do so?
BROMWICH: We’re going to object, Mr. Chairman, to any call for privileged conversations between counsel and Dr. Ford. It’s a privileged conversation …
GRASSLEY: Would – could – could we – could you validate the fact that the offer was made without her saying a word?
GRASSLEY: Is it possible for that question to be answered without violating any counsel relationships?
FORD: Can I say something to you – do you mind if I say something to you directly?
FORD: I just appreciate that you did offer that. I wasn’t clear on what the offer was. If you were going to come out to see me, I would have happily hosted you and had you – had been happy to speak with you out there. I just did not – it wasn’t clear to me that that was the case.
Thus, it is clear, by Dr. Ford’s own testimony, that her attorneys did not communicate the Committee’s multiple offers to take her testimony in California, despite the fact that this was Dr. Ford’s preferred option. In fact, Dr. Ford testified that she “wasn’t clear on what the offer was” and regarded the possibility of investigators taking her testimony in California as “unrealistic”-when in fact it had been specifically offered. [Emphasis added]
Despite knowing of Dr. Ford’s strong preference to not travel to Washington, D.C., it was inexcusable that Dr. Ford’s attorneys should have neglected to inform her of the fact that the Committee investigators were willing to meet her in California. Dr. Ford was thus deprived of the ability to “participate intelligently in decisions concerning the objectives of the representation and the means by which they are to be pursued.” D.C. Rules of Prof I Conduct r. 1.4(b) cmt. 1.
The misconduct of Ms. Katz, Ms. Banks, and Mr. Bromwich noted above has been widely reported. It appears likely that they knowingly subordinated their client’s interest in avoiding the publicity of a Senate hearing and avoiding travel to Washington, D.C. to the desire of Democratic Senators on the Committee to have such a hearing take place in Washington, D.C. Their failure to inform their client of the offer to have Committee staff investigate Dr. Ford in California was dishonest at worst and careless at best. Either way, it is inexcusable, and raises substantial questions about their character and fitness to practice law. It warrants a full investigation by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.
We are concerned that ethics rules were violated by Dr. Ford’s attorneys during the Kavanaugh confirmation and have taken action to get accountability. We already filed a Senate ethics complaint against Sen. Cory Booker over his admitted rule breaking and are considering additional steps to address the misconduct committed by Justice Kavanaugh’s opponents.
Until next week….