Blast from the Past: Another Connection Between Anti-Semitic KPFK Host and La Voz de Aztlan
The article fleshes out Carreon's lunacy but also reveals another connection between La Voz and "La Causa," the anti-Semitic KPFK-FM 90.7 radio show that might or might not air tonight at 9:30 p.m. By Carreon's own admission, he served as webmaster to the Brown Berets, the paramilitary Chicano organization of which "La Causa" host Agustin Cebada (pictured, kind of his real name--more on that soon...) was a founder and still serves as "Minister of Information." "Those experiences," Ortega wrote, "inspired [Carreon] to launch La Voz de Aztlan."
We're through the looking glass, people!!! As I've written in previous posts, Cebada still treats La Voz as a legitimate news source and remains the only radio host in the United States on the mainstream airwaves to interview Carreon with respect instead of the howls of laughter he deserves. If ever there was more of a smoking gun, a silver bullet, connecting "La Causa" with La Voz de Aztlan, there you go.
Now, Ortega's article. Warning: it's long at 2,000 words but worth the read and invaluable:
January 10, 2002 Thursday
New Times Los Angeles
Anti-Semitism, Chicano style
Nasty screeds against judio judges and Washington interns
By Tony Ortega
In October the Syria Times, an online newspaper based in Damascus, published an article claiming that Israeli agents were to blame for America's anthrax attacks. Given the sort of conspiracy tales favored by some Arab news organizations following September 11, the piece, although lacking any credible evidence, probably surprised few.What was unusual, however, was the article's source.
Headlined "Anthrax Terrorists May Be Zionists," the item had originally appeared in La Voz de Aztlan, a "news service" operated out of the Whittier home of Hector Carreon, a Mexican-American activist.
Carreon's evidence that Zionists were sending deadly bacteria by mail? In July, he wrote, he had mysteriously come down with the sniffles after receiving an angry anonymous letter the same week he was attacked in print by the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. "I have had recurring flu-like symptoms ever since," he wrote.
By La Voz de Aztlan standards, the story was a rock-solid piece of investigative journalism.
Carreon has operated La Voz de Aztlan (The Voice of Aztlan) since January 1, 2000, publishing his own articles at its Web site (aztlan.org) as well as those of two other writers, Ernesto Cienfuegos and Miroslava Flores.
At first glance, the site seems to be the political outlet for a group of Mexican nationalists, the sort of radical Chicano politicos who speak wistfully of returning Aztlan -- a mythic name for the southwestern region of the United States that once belonged to Mexico -- to its indigenous inhabitants.
But it takes only a moment to scroll down and see that Carreon and his correspondents are far more obsessed with another subject. "Our increasing population and voting strength will, in the near future, collide with the interests of the Jews in Alta California, and for that matter, in the other regions of Aztlan," Carreon writes in an editorial.
Carreon's Web site is not unlike many others on the Internet that disseminate speculation and rumors in the guise of news stories. But it may be unique in its combination of Chicano rhetoric, cartoonish paranoia and virulent anti-Semitism.
Nearly every article drips with resentment for Israel, Judaism and American Jews. In piece after piece, hoary canards about coming world Jewish domination are trotted out, some with bizarre new Mexican themes.
Cinco de Mayo? It's a Jewish plot engineered by "the mostly Jewish owned alcohol industry."
Mexican President Vicente Fox's promised reforms? Hamstrung after Fox put Jews in his
cabinet as payback for their help in defeating the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.
The cause of Washington sex scandals? Was it coincidence that both Monica Lewinsky and Chandra Levy were, as Carreon puts it, "Jewess interns"?
Even before Carreon launched the site, his views had already drawn the attention of the Anti-Defamation League, which has been keeping an eye on his writings since at least 1998. Tamar Galatzan of the ADL's Los Angeles branch says her organization was surprised to hear bigoted denunciations coming from someone in L.A.'s Mexican-American population.
"That's how we became so interested in him. This was a little out of the ordinary. He's spouting the kind of hatred that we've heard from other parts of the community, but rarely from the Latino or Mexican-American community," Galatzan says. The ADL posts several pages of La Voz de Aztlan's more outrageous anti-Semitic screeds on its Web site.
"They consider us a special nuisance, I guess," Carreon retorts when he's asked about the ADL's interest.
Contacted through his Web site, the former civil engineer and real estate agent agreed to an interview, but only if he could call the reporter. He didn't want New Times to know his phone number or Whittier address. Someone had recently tried to intimidate him, demanding in a phone call that he shut down his Web site, Carreon said. The caller recited Carreon's home address and phone number, and later mailed a surveillance photo of him. Carreon says Whittier police are investigating. He admitted that the threat unnerved him, and he was now trying to take measures to protect himself.
"We believe the mainstream media is controlled [by Jews], and we're the only ones who dare to print a certain point of view," he said. "And now we're paying the price."
On the other hand, he pointed out, he's in a good position to fend off attempts to silence him. After a second career in real estate and a third in webmastering, Carreon said, he's amassed enough money that he doesn't have to worry about offending an employer with his Web articles.
"Thank God I am financially independent," he said.
Carreon said he was born in Ciudad Juarez in the state of Chihuahua in northern Mexico, and at age five crossed the border to El Paso with his widowed mother. Eventually, he came to California and attended Cal State Long Beach, where his budding activism led him to start a campus organization for Mexican-American engineering students. After graduating with a civil engineering degree, Carreon did a two-year stint in the Army, became a U.S. citizen, and then in 1973 landed a job in his field with the City of Buena Park.
At the time, he said, affirmative action was just beginning, and it had caused a lot of resentment on the part of his white colleagues. "They made my life miserable," he claimed. "Some of my subordinates in particular. The rednecks resented a Mexican-American with a degree. But I didn't take their jokes lightly." Carreon filed a federal lawsuit claiming discrimination, which he lost along with his job.
"The judio judge did me in," said Carreon, later calling the jurist a "fucking Jew."
That incident seemed to have been the beginning of a longstanding resentment.
"Those judio judges, you have to watch out for them. They take care of their own, man. Why do you think the prisons are filled with just Chicanos and blacks? It took me a long time to find out what's really going on. And now I'm speaking out through La Voz de Aztlan."
After losing his Buena Park job, Carreon never again worked as a civil engineer. He spent several years doing technical work at Rockwell International and Northrop, and then in the early 1980s began selling real estate. He also began taking an interest in local politics, and held several fund-raisers for candidates in his home. One of those fund-raisers benefited county supervisor Gloria Molina.
Molina returned the favor in 1991 by naming Carreon to the county's real estate management commission. The panel is made up of five citizens, one appointed by each supervisor, who are charged with reviewing county property leases and making recommendations to the board. About halfway into his second four-year term, Carreon stopped attending meetings. He had become disgusted with them, he said.
"Out of the five commissioners, four were judios. County government is puro judio, did you know that?" he asked.
"The guy's a nut," said Milton Gordon, who has been on the panel for 12 years. One of two Jews on the commission -- the other two, despite Carreon's belief, weren't Jewish --
Gordon wonders if Carreon's anti-Semitism was either sparked or amplified by their run-ins.
"I'm afraid the beginning of his hatred for Jews may have started with me," he said. "He was disruptive and confrontational. Every time a lease came up, he was always looking for a problem where someone was trying to steal something or pull a fast one. Strange guy. He seemed fairly successful, but he was an absolute nut."
Ken Ruby, who's been a commissioner for 23 years, said that when Carreon joined the body, he seemed under the impression that his appointment would be a lucrative one.
"The first thing he was unhappy about was that there was no per diem or car allowance. He appeared to be looking to make some money off the deal, we believed. But the only thing we'd been getting was a stipend of $50 for meetings, which is the same since I joined the commission in 1978.
"He didn't know a damn thing about real estate. At all. He was a loose cannon," said Ruby. "He was just such a nasty person, no one had anything to do with him."
Carreon said that after he stopped attending meetings, he complained to Molina about the Jewish plot he believed was poisoning the panel's work. "I told Gloria what was going on, and then I finally resigned," he said.
After leaving the commission, Carreon continued his involvement in Chicano activism. He took over something called Impacto2000, which a UC Riverside professor had started in the early '90s to address Latino issues in the new millennium. Carreon also began getting more involved in the Internet, and was for a time the webmaster for two Chicano organizations, the Brown Berets and the Nation of Aztlan. Those experiences, he said, inspired him to launch La Voz de Aztlan.
He claimed that he had no plans to focus on Judaism or Israel when he started. Instead, the "news service" began as just one of many nascent online political newsletters.
Thomas Saenz, a vice president at the Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund, said he didn't think much about it when he was put on the La Voz e-mail list and began receiving regular messages from Carreon. But he was surprised and offended when, in March 2000, Carreon warned in an e-mailed editorial that Jewish interests were keeping Chicanos from attaining their goals.
"I'm not saying it wasn't a radical newsletter," Saenz said, "but at least until that March it didn't seem to have the anti-Semitic paranoia that it has today."
What set Carreon off, he admitted, was his inability to be taken seriously by Democratic National Convention organizers. When his request for press credentials was turned down by DNC chief executive officer Lydia Camarillo, he was enraged. "I applied early. I went to an initial press walk-through of Staples Center. But gradually they started to ignore me," he said. "So I called Camarillo, but they told me to talk to some Jewish woman. This judia just told me to go to hell." Later, Carreon said, he found out that Camarillo is married to a man named Michael Antonio Cohen, and he began to believe that he had, once again, been the victim of a Jewish plot.
Asked why Jewish political organizers would be so interested in targeting him, he replied: "You tell me. I don't know."
Saenz was one of several La Voz de Aztlan readers who reacted to Carreon's editorial. He fired off a calm but stern e-mail condemning the editorial and asked to be removed from La Voz de Aztlan's subscriber list. "As one involved in the struggle for Latino civil rights, I cannot ignore the strict obligation to avoid racism and intolerance directed toward others," he wrote.
Carreon had a field day with Saenz's response.
Carrying a newswire-like dateline to make it seem more legitimate, as well as the weighty headline "MALDEF sends threat to La Voz de Aztlan over article on La Raza/Jewish Relations," a hyperbolic account of Saenz's response appeared on La Voz de Aztlan on April 2. Claiming that Saenz's calm e-mail had somehow been a dire threat, Carreon said that the MALDEF official was targeting him on behalf of Jewish interests. "Sending 'vendido' [sell-out] hispanics to do their dirty work is a favorite ploy of Jews
in Los Angeles," Carreon wrote.
After that article, La Voz de Aztlan increasingly focused on only one subject: Carreon's claims that Jews are secretly behind nearly every terrorist attack or political move.
"They're tricky as hell. But they have a history of it," he said.
Anti-Semitic broadsides posted on the site have also appeared under the bylines of Ernesto Cienfuegos and Miroslava Flores. Carreon said they are the real names of two correspondents, and that Cienfuegos is a professor of sociology. But he would not say where Cienfuegos teaches.
An Internet search revealed that, besides the appearance of Carreon's article in the Syrian newspaper, La Voz de Aztlan stories are being picked up by many other online sources, some of them run by white supremacists.
Carreon conceded that there's some irony in this. "Sometimes white supremacists get on our case," he said. He's received angry e-mails from white racists who don't like the Web site's references to Aztlan and Chicano advocacy. On the other hand, his pieces denouncing Jews have been praised by the same right-wing groups. Carreon said he doesn't mind the pats on the back.
"Being quoted by white supremacists? No, it does not make me uncomfortable. Because some of the things they are saying -- but not all -- are true." Mostly, he's happy about the growing attention being paid to his writings.
"La Voz de Aztlan is an experiment. It's really been quite a ride," he said.
The ADL's Galatzan, however, is not amused. "If you look over the last several years, even these kind of fringe characters who don't seem to have much of a following and don't seem to be taken seriously by others have done some pretty big damage," she said. "You can't tell if a Web site is being run by one guy in his Whittier living room or by an entire movement. That's both the beauty and the danger of the Internet... So for that reason we need to be vigilant of people in the business of
spewing hatred and bigotry.
"We're going to keep an eye on him."