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Baylor University Responds to Racist Mexican Social Media Images Posted on Student’s Pages

This morning we talked with Lori Fogleman, Director of Media Communications for Baylor University, about a series of public social media images that were posted on the public Facebook and Instagram profiles of Baylor student Hannah Ray. These public images show five young women dressed in sombreros, sarapes, mustaches, displaying "Green Card" signs, wearing what appears to be black shoe polish on their faces, and scaling a "border fence." The pictures were public images available on both social networking sites, before they were taken down last Friday night.

Fogleman confirmed to us that Ray is a student at Baylor, and also said that Baylor has "no idea where these images came from, or where the party was held."

In addition, Fogleman added the following:

Without hesitation, Baylor is an academic community that does not and would not tolerate racism on our campus. If there is an offensive act on our campus and it's brought to our attention, we have established numerous processes for people to report anonymously issues of any kind. So if brought to our attention, then those alleged incidents are thoroughly investigated by the university.

Fogleman told us that she did not know if this specific story was reported through the processes that Baylor has implemented, and did reiterate that "if there is an offensive act that occurs on our campus and it is brought to our attention, through these mechanisms, then we do thoroughly investigate."

Located in Waco, Texas, Baylor is a private Christian university founded by Texas Baptists and charted by the Republic of Texas in 1845. It is a nationally recognized academic institution and one of Texas' most revered colleges. According to some reports, the university has had other isolated incidents surrounding race and ethnicity in the past few years.

Fogleman also added that the Baylor community is growing more and more diverse each year, and it is something that the Baylor community celebrates.

"Our student body this past semester was the most diverse in our history, and it continues to increase. Our minority enrollment is over 33%. Our Hispanic is up to 13% of our total student body, and it continues to rise, especially as Texas' demographics do. We fervently believe that a diverse campus community adds immeasurably to the richness of the conversation among our students."

Baylor's website includes two statements that echo what Fogleman shared with us. These statements and other information are shared with all students. One statement is the university's Statement on Multiculturalism:

Baylor University recognizes the changing demographics of our nation and how those changes will directly affect our University community. Therefore, Baylor is committed to a policy of inclusiveness, understanding, and acceptance of all regardless of race or ethnicity. Consistent with this statement, Baylor will continually strive to challenge and educate all members of the University community through cultural awareness programs and by precept and example.

The other is a statement about the General Expectations of Baylor Students:

Baylor University is controlled by a Board of Regents, operated within the Christian-oriented aims and ideals of Baptists, and affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, a cooperative association of autonomous Texas Baptist churches. It is expected that each Baylor student will conduct himself or herself in accordance with Christian principles as commonly perceived by Texas Baptists. Personal misconduct either on or off the campus by anyone connected with Baylor detracts from the Christian witness Baylor strives to present to the world and hinders full accomplishment of the mission of the University.

"We're so committed to enriching the fabric of our university," Fogleman said. "Our student body continues to change and we are the better for it."

Racist Mexican Images Surface on Public Facebook Profiles of Baylor Students

We got the following from a Tumblr fan who shared it with us on our Facebook page, proving once again that posting your racism on public searchable Facebook pages is not recommended. You would think that people would know by now.

This set of images comes from the profile of a person who is listed as a student of Baylor University and who decided to make an image of her and her friends dressed up in sarapes, sombreros, mustaches, black shoe polish and "Green Card?" signs into her public Facebook banner. When the blogger who encountered the image questioned the student, the image was changed and the profile became private.

And while you are it, why not have fun scaling a border fence while your college friends whoop it up? As the student's Instagram says of this pic (page is now deleted): "Best entrance ever #lodge #mexicans #hoppinthafence viva mexicooooo!!"

Hey, we understand that kids want to have fun, but when your ugly racism becomes searchable and available on the Internet, you might run into some problems, and this was one of those cases. Kids will be kids, but who thought that this was a good idea and who thought that posting it on Facebook on a public banner would be an even better idea?

Next time, wear togas and call it a night.

Racist Mexican Costume Controversy Goes Viral: Baylor University Will Now Investigate

One week. Who would have thought that the story we broke last Friday night about the public social media images posted on the profile of a Baylor University student would go viral and make it all the way to NBC's "Today" show? The quick summary is this: the two pictures below were posted and deleted on Friday night, but not before they were shared with us through some of our fans (original photos are here).

NBC's "Today" featured the photo we published on Nov 30.

NBC's "Today" ran the second image as well, which we published on Nov. 30

On Tuesday, we got the first comments from Baylor University, and we were just about to walk away from the story, when a story out of Penn State (ugh) showing a large group of Chi Omega sorority sisters flashing one happy (and racist) photo began to gain interest online. It created a perfect storm of Sorority Sisters Gone Racist. Soon enough, the Penn State story took off and then the Baylor story we did became the "second" story that gave the Penn State story additional context and background.

Then last night (maybe because the Penn State story was all over the place), Baylor finally said that it would investigate the initial story we published last week.

Here is what local Waco, Texas television reported:

Baylor University spokesperson Lori Fogleman said the university has no tolerance for racism at the school and thus they will continue to investigate the situation.

"We are currently investigating the incident. We are fully aware of it," Fogleman said. "We have identified the students involved in the incident and we are in the middle of having conversations with them through our student conduct process."

Here is the video from NBC about the Penn State. The Baylor story appears at the end.

Just another a day in the life of Rebelandia at

Penn State Sorority Under Investigation for Racist Mexican Costume Pictures

Looks like Halloween 2012 was the year of sorority sisters dressing up in racist Mexican costumes with sombreros, sarapes, mustaches, black shoe polish, and signs that say "Green Card," "I don't cut grass, I smoke it," and "Will mow lawn for weed and beer." Just as we were starting to file away a story from Baylor University involving the many of the aforementioned items (plus your very own border fence!), a story out of Penn State says that the college's chapter of Chi Omega sorority is now being investigated for the following photo, which appeared on Tumblr:

As Penn State's Daily Collegian reports:

Due to the discovery of an “offensive” photo by the Penn State Panhellenic Council, one sorority at Penn State is under investigation by the PHC's executive board, according to a statement released by the board.

Jessica Riccardi, the president of the Nu Gamma chapter of Chi Omega, confirmed that her sorority was under investigation by releasing an apology.

"Our chapter of Chi Omega sincerely apologizes for portraying inappropriate and untrue stereotypes. The picture in question does not support any of Chi Omega’s values or reflect what the organization aspires to be," Riccardi (junior-marketing) said.

The Panhellic Council said the following in a statement, according to

“The Penn State Panhellenic Council recognizes the offensive nature of the photo and is therefore taking the matter very seriously. We are addressing the situation immediately with the members of the chapter in conjunction with their national headquarters. The Penn State Panhellenic Council does not condone any form of derogatory behavior from any of our members. Our Council and all its members strive to hold ourselves to a high standard and are disappointed by any failure to meet these expectations.” also ran a statement by Penn State's Mexican American Student Association:

The Mexican American Student Association is disappointed in the attire chosen by this sorority. It in no way represents our culture. Not only have they chosen to stereotype our culture with serapes and sombreros, but the insinuation about drug usage makes this image more offensive. Our country is plagued by a drug war that has led to the death of an estimated 50,000 people, which is nothing to be joked about.

UPDATE, December 5, 10:45 EST: Yahoo! News reported that it received a statement from Penn State. Here is what the statement said:

"This photo has been brought to our attention, and we have looked into the issue," Lisa Powers, director of public information at Penn State, said in a statement to Yahoo News.

"The students in the photo are within their First Amendment rights to express themselves in this way," Powers said.

"Although we are certainly appalled that they would display this level of insensitivity and lack of judgment."

Furthermore, Powers added, "These costumes and this group do not represent fraternity and sorority life at Penn State, nor the 95,000 students who attend our university. The Chi Omega sorority sisters have expressed deep remorse over this incident."

There are First Amendment rights, and then there is being ignorant. Ignorant people still have a right to free speech. Just don't post it on the public Internet if you don't want a reaction.

Ohvaur’s “A Memories Chase:” A Latino Taiwanese-American’s Voyage Through The World

So Timothy Den of the “Chicago-via-Miami band” Ohvaur reached out to us this week to share the news of his band’s latest album, “A Memories Chase.” We are thrilled that he did, since we were not only fortunate to listen to three of the album’s tracks (see below), but we also found out something very powerful about Tim’s life and the reason behind “A Memories Chase,” which will release on March 5.

Tim was undocumented for 20 years.

According to the release we received from the band’s publicist, “Tim was born in Taiwan, but at the age of 10, legally moved to Miami with his mother and sister, where they lived for seven years (with a good chunk of that time also spent in Ecuador) before a legal mess ensued, forcing them to return to Taiwan. They managed to make their way to Canada, and then back into the U.S., but were forced to live in fear and anonymity for nearly 20 years.”


Tim is no longer undocumented, and as he says about Ovhaur’s next release, “This is the story I’ve been waiting to tell since I started making music over 20 years ago.”

You Chose To Bury Love

A Memories Chase

Till I Won’t Surface

And if you want to know more about the story behind this album, here is a bilingual letter that Tim has posted.


Here is the English version.

A Memories Chase may be Ohvaur’s debut full-length, but it’s also a story I’ve waited over 20 years to tell. Up till now, I didn’t feel as if I had the musical or lyrical capabilities to tell it with clarity, nor the non-bias that would permit me to simply narrate instead of devolve into emotional nonsense. I’m still not sure if I’m at that point yet, but as the songs took shape, I realized there was just no avoiding it. So, here goes…

I was born in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. By the time I was five, my father left for South America and has been there ever since. My mother moved our family to Miami when I was 10 years old per my father’s request, even as their marriage was already beyond disintegration. My sister and I would spend our teenage years going between Ecuador and Miami, learning new languages (English and Spanish) and cultures. My father eventually remarried a kind Chilean woman and gave us a half sister when I was 12.

But before that, when my mother forced my father to admit that the marriage was over – with divorce papers – my father took me and my sister to Ecuador for the last time, without any paperwork or my mother’s consent. It was ruled a kidnapping in the States, eventually resulting in the temporary arrest of my father. Four years later, in a confusing legal train wreck, my mother, my sister, and I lost our U.S. visas and found ourselves stranded back in Taiwan, where we had returned in hopes of extending our visas. After fortuitously obtaining Canadian tourist visas, we stayed with my uncle’s family in Vancouver, Canada for two months as we tried to figure out a way to get back into the States. During this time, we exhausted what little savings we had back home, my mother’s restaurant business closed, my uncle struggled to support for the seven of us, and eventually my mother and I joined a Chinese migrant worker team that cleaned and packaged mushrooms in the mountains of British Columbia in order to help out financially. We worked 12-hour days. What I remember the most about the experience is eating my ham sandwich, crouched outside of the factory, and feeling my mother pat my head while she said “I’m sorry” repeatedly and cried. I turned 17 in Vancouver.

We tried crossing the border without any identification and were caught. We were warned that we would not be let go with just a warning next time. As fall began to turn to winter and the money was all but gone, we had no choice but to try again. Our second attempt was successful: we crossed the border into Seattle without being questioned by customs (this was way before 9/11, mind you). We got back to Miami, I finished my senior year of high school, and my mother got a job at Taco Bell in order to make ends meet. We ate nothing but the food she brought back from work for that entire year. My grandmother – my mother’s mother – died in Taiwan two days after we got back to Miami. My mother, obviously, was not able to go back. She wouldn’t be able to visit the grave until 17 years later.

I started at Boston University the fall of ’95, and was not asked to provide one evidence of my citizenship / residency (my father paid the tuition in full, as I was obviously ineligible for any scholarships). As my classmates got internships and graduated to good jobs during those four years, my status prohibited me from doing the same. So, I played in bands, toured, and made ends meet by waiting tables, cleaning houses, and working as a janitor. Upon graduation, I worked at bed and breakfasts for a year, moping floors and cleaning toilets. My friends didn’t and couldn’t understand. They thought I was too lazy to look for a “real job.” I was too paranoid about getting caught to tell most of them the truth. For the next 10 years, I lived off of around $1000 a month: a good chunk below the poverty line. For my entire adult life, I had reoccurring nightmares of accidentally stepping outside of the U.S. border and getting arrested.

Between 2001 and 2005, my then-band Kimone was signed to a start-up label in DC run by the former bassist of Burning Airlines. We had distro through Dischord (among others), worked and played with people we had idolized all our lives, and toured relentlessly. I moved to Chicago in 2004, started my own website (Transform Online), and managed to work for myself while remaining unseen from the eye of immigration. After going through 15 years of legal obstacles, our nightmares finally ended toward the end of the 2000s, allowing all of us to work legally, travel safely, and finally mend almost 20 years of wounds.

As “colorful” as the backstory is, A Memories Chase is not a chronicle of these times. It is my effort at conveying a bigger theme: of identity, hometown, ethnicity, and – of course – immigration. It is me tracing my own steps, as well as those of my parents and grandparents, through the places we’ve been, the events we’ve experienced, the towns we’ve lived in, and how we define “home.” My grandparents dug through the fog of war for years in order to escape Communist China; my father went to South America at the age of 35 without speaking a word of Spanish, sleeping on park benches but unwavering in his ambition and decision to leave his family behind for “success;” I find myself, at 35, a product of three cultures and multiple cities, yet unable to identify or find a sense of belonging anywhere. We are not the only ones with stories like these: migration is as old as human history, and at the heart of every migrant lie reasons why s/he’s where s/he is and how it changes his/her perspective as to who s/he is and where s/he belongs. These are the reasons and perspectives that I’ve learned on this road.

– Timothy Den

Y ahora en español.

A Memories Chase puede ser que sea el álbum debut de Ohvaur, pero también es una historia que he esperado más de 20 años para contar. Hasta ahora, no me sentía musicalmente o líricamente capaz para contarla con claridad, ni tenía la libertad de sin perjuicio que me permitiría simplemente narrar en lugar de delegar en un absurdo emocional. Aún no estoy seguro si estoy a ese punto, pero mientras las canciones tomaron forma, me di cuenta de que no se podía evitar. Pues, aquí vamos…

Nací en Kaohsiung, Taiwán. Cuando tenía cinco años, mi padre se fue a Sudamérica y ha estado allí desde entonces. Mi madre mudó la familia a Miami cuando yo tenía 10 años por petición de mi padre, aún cuando su matrimonio ya estaba casi desintegrado. Mi hermana y yo pasamos la adolescencia entre Ecuador y Miami, aprendiendo nuevos idiomas (Inglés y Español) y culturas. Mi padre eventualmente se volvió a casar con una chilena amable y nos dio una hermanastra cuando yo tenía 12 años.

Pero antes de eso, cuando mi madre obligó a mi padre a admitir que el matrimonio se terminó ya – con los papeles del divorcio – mi padre nos llevó a mí y mi hermana a Ecuador por la última vez, sin ningún papeleo o el consentimiento de mi madre. Se dictaminó un secuestro en los Estados Unidos, eventualmente culminando en la detención temporal de mi padre. Cuatro años después, en una horrible confusión legal, mi madre, mi hermana, y yo perdimos nuestras visas de EE.UU. y nos encontramos atrapados en Taiwán, donde habíamos regresado con la esperanza de alargar nuestras visas. Después de la obtención fortuita de visas turísticas canadienses, nos quedamos con la familia de mi tío en Vancouver, Canadá por dos meses, mientras tanto tratando de encontrar una manera de volver a los Estados Unidos. Durante este tiempo, gastamos los pocos ahorros que teníamos en Miami, el negocio de mi madre (restaurante) se cerró, mi tío luchó con el peso de cuidar a los siete de nosotros, y, finalmente, mi madre y yo nos unimos con un equipo chino de trabajadores migrantes que limpian y embalan hongos en la montañas de la Columbia Británica, a fin de ayudar financieramente. Trabajábamos 12 horas al día. Lo que más recuerdo de la experiencia es comiendo mi sandwich de jamón, agazapado fuera de la fábrica, y sintiendo mi madre acariciar mi cabeza mientras diciendo “lo siento” repetidamente y llorando. Cumplí 17 años en Vancouver.

Tratamos de cruzar la frontera sin ningún tipo de identificación y fuimos capturados. Nos avisaron que la próxima vez no nos liberarían con una sola advertencia. Mientras el otoño se transformó al invierno y el dinero estaba básicamente acabado, no tuvimos más remedio que intentarlo de nuevo. Nuestro segundo intento tuvo éxito: cruzamos la frontera hacia Seattle sin ser cuestionados por la aduana (esto fue mucho antes de 9/11). Regresamos a Miami, terminé mi último año de escuela secundaria, y mi madre consiguió un trabajo en Taco Bell para llegar a fin de mes. Comimos nada más que la comida que ella trajo del trabajo ese año. Mi abuela materna murió en Taiwán dos días después de que llegamos a Miami. Mi madre, por supuesto, no fue capaz de volver. Ella no sería capaz de visitar la tumba hasta 17 años después.

Empecé en la Universidad de Boston el otoño del ‘95, y no se me pidió que proporcione ninguna evidencia de mi ciudadanía / residencia (mi padre pagó la matrícula en su totalidad porque, obviamente, yo no era elegible para cualquiera beca). Mientras mis compañeros de clase obtuvieron pasantías y se graduaron a buenos empleos durante esos cuatro años, mi estado me prohibió hacer lo mismo. Por lo tanto, tocaba en bandas, giraba con ellas, y llegaba a fin de mes siendo mozo, limpiando casas, y trabajando como conserje. Después de graduación, trabajaba en hostales por un año, trapeando pisos y limpiando inodoros. Mis amigos no sabían y no podían entender. Ellos pensaban que yo era demasiado perezoso para buscar un “trabajo de verdad.” Yo estaba demasiado paranoico sobre ser atrapado para decirles la verdad. Durante los siguientes 10 años, viví de cerca de $ 1000 por mes: una buena parte debajo de la línea de pobreza. Por toda mi vida adulta, tenía pesadillas de pisar accidentalmente fuera de la frontera de EE.UU. y ser arrestado.

Entre 2001 y 2005, mi banda en ese tiempo, Kimone, firmó con una compañía discografía pequeña en Washington, DC dirigido por el ex-bajista de Burning Airlines. Teníamos distribución a través de Dischord (entre otros), trabajábamos y tocábamos con la gente que habíamos idolatrado toda nuestra vida, y girábamos sin descanso. Me mudé a Chicago en 2004, comencé mi propio sitio web (Transform Online), y trabajaba para mí mismo sin ser visto por el ojo de la inmigración. Después de pasar por 15 años de obstáculos legales, nuestras pesadillas finalmente terminaron a finales de los 2000s, permitiéndonos a trabajar legalmente, viajar con seguridad y, finalmente, reparar casi 20 años de heridas.

Tan “vistosa” como es esta historia, A Memories Chase no es una crónica de estos tiempos, sino mi esfuerzo en transmitir un tema mayor: el de la identidad, hogar, etnia, y – por supuesto – la inmigración. Estoy trazando mis propios pasos, así como los de mis padres y abuelos, por medio de los lugares en que hemos estado, los eventos que hemos experimentado, las ciudades en que hemos vivido, y cómo se define “hogar.” Mis abuelos se escaparon de la niebla de la guerra por años con el fin de escapar de la China comunista; mi padre se fue a Sudamérica a la edad de 35 años sin hablar una palabra de español, durmiendo en los bancos del parque pero firme en su ambición y su decisión de dejar atrás a su familia por el “éxito;” me encuentro, a la edad de 35, un producto de tres culturas y ciudades múltiples, pero incapaz de identificar o encontrar un sentido de pertenencia en cualquier lugar. No somos los únicos con historias como estas: la migración es tan antigua como la historia humana, y en el corazón de cada migrante existen las razones por las que él(la) está donde está y cómo le cambia su perspectiva sobre quién él(la) es y de dónde él(la) pertenece. Estas son las razones y perspectivas que he aprendido en este camino.

– Timothy Den

VIDEO: Democracy Now! Explores Pope Francis’ Past with Argentine Journalists

Yesterday we shared details about a piece that Argentine journalist Horacio Verbitsky wrote chronicling Pope Francis’ past and Argentina’s Dirty War.


Verbitsky also made an appearance on Democracy Now! to discuss this topic and others surrounding the Argentine pontiff.

Here is the rush transcript that Democracy Now! published:

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: For more on the new pope, we turn now to one of Argentina’s leading investigative journalists, Horacio Verbitsky, who has written extensively about the career of Cardinal Bergoglio and his actions during the military dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983. During that time, up to 30,000 people were kidnapped and killed. A 2005 lawsuit accused Jorge Bergoglio of being connected to the 1976 kidnappings of two Jesuit priests, Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics. The lawsuit was filed after the publication of Verbitsky’s book, The Silence: From Paul VI to Bergoglio: The Secret Relations Between the Church and the ESMA. ESMA refers to the former navy school that was turned into a detention center where people were tortured by the military dictatorship. The new pope has denied the charges. He twice invoked his right under Argentine law to refuse to appear in open court to testify about the allegations. When he eventually did testify in 2010, human rights activists characterized his answers as evasive.

AMY GOODMAN: Horacio Verbitsky joins us on the phone now from his home in Buenos Aires, an investigative journalist for the newspaper Página/12Page/12, it’s called in English. He is also head of the Center for Legal and Social Studies, an Argentine human rights organization.

We welcome you to Democracy Now! I wanted to just begin by you laying out for us what you believe is important to understand about the new pope, Pope Francis.

HORACIO VERBITSKY: The main thing to understand about Francis I is that he’s a conservative populist, in the same style that John Paul II was. He’s a man of strong conservative positions in doctrine questions, but with a touch for popular taste. He preaches in rail stations, in the streets. He goes to the quarters, the poor quarters of the city to pray. He doesn’t wait the people going into the church; he goes for them. But his message is absolutely conservative. He was opposed to abortion, to the egalitarian matrimony law. He launched a crusade against the evil when Congress was passing this law, and in the very same style that John Paul II. This is what I consider the main feature on the new pope.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, now, Horacio Verbitsky, that would be true of many of the cardinals elevated during the period of John Paul and now also of Benedict XVI, this basic conservatism. But in the case of Bergoglio, there’s also the issue, as you have documented and many—and several other journalists in Argentina, of his particular role or accusations about his involvement in the dirty wars in Argentina. Could you talk about that and some of the things that—because you’ve been a leading investigative reporter uncovering the relations between the church and the government in terms of the dirty wars?

HORACIO VERBITSKY: Of course. He was accused by two Jesuit priests of having surrendered them to the military. They were a group of Jesuits that were under Bergoglio’s direction. He was the provincial superior of the order in Argentina, being very, very young. He was the younger provincial Jesuit in history; at 36 years, he was provincial. During a period of great political activity in the Jesuits’ company, he stimulated the social work of the Jesuits. But when the military coup overthrow the Isabel Perón government, he was in touch with the military that ousted this government and asked the Jesuits to stop their social work. And when they refused to do it, he stopped protecting them, and he let the military know that they were not more inside the protection of the Jesuits’ company, and they were kidnapped. And they accuse him for this deed. He denies this. He said to me that he tried to get them free, that he talked with the former dictator, Videla, and with former dictator Massera to have them freed.

And during a long period, I heard two versions: the version of the two kidnapped priests that were released after six months of torture and captivity, and the version of Bergoglio. This was an issue divisive in the human rights movement to which I belong, because the president founding of CELS, Center for Legal and Social Studies, Emilio Mignone, said that Bergoglio was a accomplice of the military, and a lawyer of the CELS, Alicia Oliveira, that was a friend of Bergoglio, tell the other part of the story, that Bergoglio helped them. This was the two—the two versions.

But during the research for one of my books, I found documents in the archive of the foreign relations minister in Argentina, which, from my understanding, gave an end to the debate and show the double standard that Bergoglio used. The first document is a note in which Bergoglio asked the ministry to—the renewal of the passport of one of these two Jesuits that, after his releasing, was living in Germany, asking that the passport was renewed without necessity of this priest coming back to Argentina. The second document is a note from the officer that received the petition recommending to his superior, the minister, the refusal of the renewal of the passport. And the third document is a note from the same officer telling that these priests have links with subversion—that was the name that the military gave to all the people involved in opposition to the government, political or armed opposition to the military—and that he was jailed in the mechanics school of the navy, and saying that this information was provided to the officer by Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio, provincial superior of the Jesuit company. This means, to my understanding, a double standard. He asked the passport given to the priest in a formal note with his signature, but under the table he said the opposite and repeated the accusations that produced the kidnapping of these priests.

AMY GOODMAN: And these priests—can you explain, Horacio, what happened to these two priests, Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics?

HORACIO VERBITSKY: Yes. Orlando, after his releasing, went to Rome.

AMY GOODMAN: How were they found?


AMY GOODMAN: How were they found? In what condition were they? What had happened to them?

HORACIO VERBITSKY: Well, he was released—both of them were released, drugged, confused, transported by helicopter to—in the outskirts of Buenos Aires, were abandoned, asleep by drugs, in very bad condition. They were tortured. They were interrogated. One of the interrogators had externally knowings about theological questions, that induced one of them, Orlando Yorio, to think that their own provincial, Bergoglio, had been involved in this interrogatory.

AMY GOODMAN: He said that—he said that Bergoglio himself had been part of the—his own interrogation, this Jesuit priest?

HORACIO VERBITSKY: He told me that he had the impression their own provincial, Bergoglio, was present during the interrogatory, which one of the interrogators had externally knowledge of theological questions. And when released, he went to Rome. He lived seven years in Rome, then come back to Argentina. And when coming back to Argentina, he was incardinated in the Quilmes diocesis in Great Buenos Aires, where the bishop was one of the leaders of the progressive branch of the Argentine church opposite to that of Bergoglio. And Orlando Yorio denounced Bergoglio. I received his testimony when Bergoglio was elected to the archbishop of Buenos Aires. And Bergoglio—I interviewed Bergoglio also, and he denied the charges, and he told me that he had defended them.

And Orlando Yorio got me in touch with Francisco Jalics, that was living in Germany. I talked with him, and he confirmed the story, but he didn’t want to be mentioned in my piece, because he told me that he preferred to not remember this sad part of his life and to pardon. And he was for oblivion and pardon. That he was, during a lot of years, very resented against Bergoglio, but that he had decided to forgot and forget. And when I released the book with the story, one Argentine journalist working for a national agency, [inaudible], who has been a disciple of Jalics, talked with him and asked him for the story. And Jalics told him that he would not affirm, not deny the story.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Horacio—Horacio Verbitsky, I’d like to ask you about another priest who was involved in the dirty wars, Christian von Wernich, who was a former chaplain of the police department in Argentina and also later was convicted of being involved—

HORACIO VERBITSKY: He was convicted—he was convicted, and he’s in jail, in a common jail, but the Argentine church, during the tenure of Bergoglio, hasn’t punished him, in canonical terms. He was convicted by the human justice, but by the church standards, he’s always a priest. And this tells something about Bergoglio and the Argentine church also.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And von Wernich was involved in murders, tortures and kidnappings. Could you detail some of the crimes that he was convicted of committing?

HORACIO VERBITSKY: Bergoglio involved in the crimes of von Wernich?

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: No, no, von Wernich. Von Wernich, I said.

HORACIO VERBITSKY: Oh, von Wernich was part—was active part in torture and killings, and he was convicted not as an accomplice, but as a participant in the crimes. He was present during the torture sessions, von Wernich. And there is not the just one chaplain; there are some others that are under trial in this moment. Chaplain Regueiro is under house arrest because he’s an older man. A Chaplain Zitelli in Santa Fe province, for being present during torture sessions. So, there are a lot of them that were part of the dirty war.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to read, Horacio, a part of a State Department cable released by WikiLeaks that references, well, the Roman Catholic priest Christian von Wernich, who you were just talking about, convicted in 2007 of being an accomplice in several cases of murder, torture and illegal imprisonment in Argentina during the military dictatorship. It notes the conviction came, quote, “at a time when some observers consider Roman Catholic primate Cardinal Bergoglio to be a leader of the opposition to the Kirchner administration because of his comments about social issues, the Von Wernich case could also have the effect, some believe, of undermining the Church’s (and, by extension, Cardinal Bergoglio’s) moral authority or capacity to comment on political, social or economic questions,” unquote. That was a State Department cable that was released by WikiLeaks. Horacio, could you respond?

HORACIO VERBITSKY: We can go attack this paper by parts. First of all, the State Department considered that Bergoglio was the chief of the position to the Kirchner government. And I agree with this statement. The State Department tells also that the conviction of Father von Wernich can be directed to undermine Bergoglio’s position. This is not true, to my understanding. The conviction of Father von Wernich is a consequence of a trial that started much before the Kirchners arriving to power and has its own judicial logic and not a political timetable.

AMY GOODMAN: Horacio, are you still there?


AMY GOODMAN: Ah, let me ask you a question. We thought we lost you for a minute. We’re talking to Horacio Verbitsky, a leading Argentine investigative journalist, well known for his human rights investigations. I wanted to ask you about this issue of hiding political prisoners when a human rights delegation came to Argentina. Can you tell us when this was, what are the allegations, and what was the role, if any, of Bergoglio, now Pope Francis?

HORACIO VERBITSKY: No, in this episode, Bergoglio has no intervention. The intervention was from the cardinal that in that time was the chief of the church in Buenos Aires. That is the position that Bergoglio has in the present. But in that time, he was not archbishop of Buenos Aires. When the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights came into Argentina to investigate allegations of human rights violations, the navy took 60 prisoners out of ESMA and got them to a village that was used by the Cardinal Aramburu to his weekends. And in this weekend property were also the celebration each year of the new seminarians that ended their studies. In this villa in the outskirts of Buenos Aires were the prisoners during the visit of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. And when the commission visited ESMA, they did not find the prisoners that were supposed to be there, because they were—

AMY GOODMAN: ESMA being—ESMA being the naval barracks were so many thousands of Argentines were held. So where were they?

HORACIO VERBITSKY: Yes, but Bergoglio has no intervention in this—in this fact. Indeed, he helped me to investigate a case. He gave me the precise information about in which tribunal was the document demonstrating that this villa was owned by the church.

AMY GOODMAN: He said that they were hidden in a villa that was owned by the Catholic Church?

HORACIO VERBITSKY: Yes. And the prisoners were held in a weekend house that was the weekend house of the cardinal archbishop of Buenos Aires in that time. And Bergoglio gave me the precise information about the tribunal in which were the documents affirming this relationship between this property and the archbishop of Buenos Aires.

AMY GOODMAN: We have to break, and then we’re going to come back to Horacio Verbitsky, as well as our guest in studio named Ernesto Semán, who is a historian at New York University, former reporter for the Argentine newspaper, both the same as Horacio’s newspaper, Página/12, and Clarín, where he reported on politics and human rights, as well as, well, Father Bergoglio, now Pope Francis. This is Democracy Now! We’ll be back in a minute.

AMY GOODMAN: Our guests are Horacio Verbitsky, an Argentine investigative journalist for the newspaper Página/12, orPage/12. He has reported extensively on the church’s involvement in Argentina with the military junta that once ruled Argentina, specifically on the role of Father Bergoglio, who is now Father—who is now Pope Francis. Among his books, The Silence: From Paul VI to Bergoglio: The Secret Relations Between the Church and the ESMA. ESMA refers to the former Navy school that was turned into a detention center where people were tortured. Verbitsky also heads the Center for Legal and Social Studies, an Argentine human rights organization. You can also go to our website at, where we broadcast from Buenos Aires several years ago, talking about these issues, including the children who were taken from dissidents who were then killed and handed to military families to be raised, which we’ll talk about.

Ernesto Semán is with us, as well. Semán, the historian at New York University, former reporter for the Argentine newspapers Página/12 and Clarín, where he reported on politics and human rights, as well as Father Bergoglio.

As we continue this conversation, Ernesto Semán, can you underscore what Horacio is saying, what you think we know at this point about Pope Francis, what we don’t?

ERNESTO SEMÁN: Yeah, I think that what Horacio Verbitsky wrote during these several years is he’s tried to uncover what is this kind of social conservatism, that you were trying to describe at the beginning of the program. It’s not—in terms of the discourse, it’s not the kind of Catholic conservatism that you’re going to find in the United States, with this emphasis on the individual salvation, on government crushing individual liberty and economic activity, and because it’s much more socially loaded. But the paradox—and I think that that’s the most important point of Horacio Verbitsky’s work—is how this same discourse, with a lot of emphasis on social justice and on equality, at the same time has worked to undermine the work who had tried to solve those same problems.

The case of this complicity of Bergoglio with human rights violations during the dictatorship is by far the most important episode. But during the last decade, he did, as the State Department implicitly suggests, the opposition to the government, in a decade in which Argentina lived the largest and fastest reduction of poverty and inequality, as in most of all Latin American countries. So that kind of paradox between the kind of social conservatism and an opposition to social agenda that has been pretty successful during the last years is very important.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I wanted to ask you about that, precisely, and the parallels, it seems to me, in terms of the cardinals selecting John Paul II, when he was elevated to pope, he coming out of Poland, where there was a Solidarity movement and in opposition to the previous government, that, in essence, his elevation helped to fortify that movement. I’m wondering whether there’s some parallel now with the changes in Latin America now to the elevation of a very conservative cardinal from that region, might help to bolster forces that are opposed to continuing this enormous change that’s occurring in Latin America.

ERNESTO SEMÁN: You might say so. The problem that you have there is to what extent that’s going to make the gap between the church and the Catholic followers even deeper. In the case of Argentina and some of the social issues that happened over the last decade, you see that in a country that 75 percent of people consider themselves Catholic, has been a strong support to some of the social decisions made by the Kirchner administration that Bergoglio opposed. The last and most important one was the same marriage law—that is, matrimonio igualitario in Argentina, egalitarian marriage.

AMY GOODMAN: Yeah, and let’s talk about this—


AMY GOODMAN: —because Bergoglio really took on the Argentine president in a major way. This was 2010. Then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio led the opposition against Argentina’s law that gives same-sex couples the right to marry and adopt children. Before the law passed, Bergoglio wrote a letter, and addressed the monasteries in Argentina, in which he asked monks to pray fervently about a, quote, “situation whose outcome can seriously harm the family. … At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts. … Let us not be naive: this is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan,” he said—

ERNESTO SEMÁN: Yeah, yeah. I think—yeah, I think [inaudible]—

AMY GOODMAN: —about what President Cristina Kirchner was pushing for, which was—


AMY GOODMAN: —legalization of gay marriage.

ERNESTO SEMÁN: Cristina—Cristina Kirchner promoted this, but it was a movement by the LGBT movement that had been going on for many years. It’s an extensive social movement that the government took and put into law. And after that, Bergoglio called to a holy war, una guerra de Dios, against this evil’s move.

AMY GOODMAN: Is he saying that President—

ERNESTO SEMÁN: In the same level.

AMY GOODMAN: —Kirchner represented that evil?

ERNESTO SEMÁN: That the law was an evil’s move. So, some degree of ambiguity. But it was clearly that kind of conservative message in relation to a law that, A, was passed overwhelmingly after two months of very open and public debate, and, B, that polls suggested that between 60 and 70 percent of people had no problem whatsoever with this kind of law. So that shows you—and he was personally involved and clearly involved in leading the opposition to this.

It was the last point of several other issues, including abortion and contraception, in which Bergoglio took the side of an opposition to the administration. The most important, one of the most—one of the most famous ones was when the military chaplain in 2005 said that the minister of health, because of the contraception policy, had to be thrown into the sea. And the government—

AMY GOODMAN: Bergoglio said the—

ERNESTO SEMÁN: No, no, no, no, the military chaplain—

AMY GOODMAN: Oh, the military chaplain.

ERNESTO SEMÁN: —said that the government immediately asked for his remotion, and Bergoglio refused to do so and has just waited until the priest had to retire because of his age. But this shows you the kind of—how this emphasis on social justice and equality goes along with the very, very conservative stance in cultural and social issues that makes the work of the church and the relation with the followers much more, much more difficult. And it’s a challenge for them in Latin America.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Horacio Verbitsky, I’d like to ask you—you’ve interviewed the former Cardinal Bergoglio many times. You have a sense of him, not only his political role, but his personality. Do you have any expectations that, now that he’s been elevated to pope, that he may have some change in his perspectives on some of these issues? Or do you expect him to maintain the same populist conservatism that you say have marked his rise through the church hierarchy?

HORACIO VERBITSKY: I do believe that he is a man—he is the man he is, and he will not change. His first days as a pope show perfectly this attitude of humility. He refused the limousine and took the bus. He asked the people to pray for him, instead of praying him for them. These kind of gestures would be common in his tenure as a pope. And it’s possible that he would be revered by the masses because of this different attitude that seems more democratic and less monarchical than that of the former Benedicto XVI.

But in doctrinary questions, he would be tied to conservative, and this is the thing that I wait. And I believe that he can play, concerning Latin America and the populist governments of the region, the same role that Pope John Paul played against East Europe during the first years of his tenure.

AMY GOODMAN: Horacio Verbitsky, do you think that Cardinal Bergoglio would have become Pope Francis if he hadn’t played the role he did during the dirty wars, if he had sided with these two Jesuit priests, who were speaking up for the poor at the time and who were great proponents of liberation theology?

HORACIO VERBITSKY: He was against liberation theology. He was a man, during his tenure in the Jesuit company—the publication of the Jesuit company are full of articles, of pieces, against liberation theology. Being among the poor doesn’t mean to be for the poor. I remember a very funny thing that happened during the trial to the first military junta in 1985. The French government sent in 1979 an emissar to investigate the disappearance of French citizens in Argentina. This man, François Cherome, talked with Almirante Chamorro that was the chief of the main concentration camp of the navy, ESMA. And this Admiral Chamorro told François Cherome, who told the story to the justices in 1985, that also the church was infiltrated by communism. And as a demonstration, he cited that the new pope was Polish. Well, in the same meaning, Bergoglio is a Third World pope. He comes from the Third World, but he is not a partisan of the liberation theology, in the same sense in which John Paul came from Poland but wasn’t communist.

AMY GOODMAN: We are going to have to leave it there. We want to thank Horacio Verbitsky for spending this hour with us, Argentine investigative journalist for Página/12, or Page/12, the newspaper in Argentina, has reported extensively on the church’s complicity with the military junta during the dirty wars in Argentina. And Ernesto Semán, historian at New York University, former reporter for the Argentine newspaper Clarín, as well as Página/12, where he reported on politics, human rights, as well as Bergoglio.

What Happened in Mexico Yesterday: #1DMx

As with any story that is covered online and fed quickly through social media, there is always a desire to get as much accurate information as possible. Stories that organically grow and spread through online circles will always be that way. It is the new journalism, an uneasy balance between on-the-ground tweets, pics, videos, and posts, and official news outlets. In this day and age, where news can happen with a smart phone, we find that immediacy of news is a reality that will not go way, but at the same time a combination of different sources will always give as full of a picture as possible.

Such is the case of #1DMx, the hashtag that was used for the marches against allegations that Mexico's newest President, Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), was fraudulently elected. Much has been written about that, and as with any story, you will have those who believe that the PRI's return to power after 12 years is just an example of democracy in action (the PRI ruled Mexico for 71 consecutive years) and those who believe that the PRI's will revive the party's ugly history of political repression and control. Both of those opinions and the gray areas between those opinions are being published and played out online, not only through social media, but through media outlets. It is a battle of opinions, and those opinions have been quite strong, no matter where you look.

We will try here to share what a few of those organizations outlets are reporting and let readers decide about the information that is being shared. As with any story that is constantly moving online, there will be always be quick reactions and more information. Social media plays a role in that, and the speed of information is just the new normal. Consider this post a pause from the barrage of information that is getting shared right now. 

  • The #YoSoy132 movement, which has been protesting against Peña Nieto since early this spring, has been quick to condemn and distance itself from many of the violent acts that were reported yesterday. The movement's focus has been to share the news about claims that the Mexican government has repressed many protesters, how some protesters are missing, and how many have been injured. Sources like continue to provide constant updates about recent events, and they continue to move rather quickly. For example, it was originally reported that a protester had died last night, when in fact he is still alive but in grave condition. That is what happens when news is shared so quickly.
  • A lot of photos are being uploaded and it can feel overwhelming. This #1DMx source provides many of the more popular ones being shared. Some photos show peaceful demonstrations, while other photos are more troubling. Images are indeed powerful, and they are open for interpretation, both good and bad. Another fact of social media reporting.
  • As with any movement or event that is now being covered online, there are many sources that report the information. As with any story or movement, bias is everywhere. All media is biased, no matter how independent it claims to be. For us, besides checking out the YoSoy132 pages, we also tend to check out Proceso, which presents a full picture in Spanish about yesterday's events here (15 civilians wounded, 20 uniformed police wounded and 65 arrested), as well as La Jornada and Milenio to see how else the news is being reported. We tend to look at these outlets with a critical eye, as we do with anything we read and share. 
  • American news outlets appear to be showing just a small slice of the story, as the Associated Press lumps all the protesters as "vandals," also  reporting that "at least 76 people were treated for injuries, including 29 who hospitalized, as the result of clashes between protesters and tear-gas firing police, the Red Cross said. City officials said 103 people were detained, including 11 minors." The New York Times this morning barely made mention of the protests, focusing instead of Peña Nieto's speech, but it did report the following: "Later, outside the national palace, scores of mostly young masked people, shouting anti-PRI slogans, clashed with the police, set fires, threw rocks and vandalized hotels and stores along several blocks. More than 90 were arrested and several were injured, and Mayor Marcelo Ebrard later blamed anarchist groups for the trouble."
  • The Occupy movement is also covering the news from Mexico and it reported the following: "the protesters marched on Congress in Mexico City and were met with large squadrons of riot police, enormous barricades, rubber bullets, tear gas, and gas bombs. Reports claim approximately 30 people have been injured, several critically." The Occupy page also shared several links on social media that are sharing the story.

There is saying that there are two sides to every story, and that the truth is somewhere in between. So, while the AP posts this video without any context, other videos, like the ones that follow, are being shared on YouTube.

AP's video

Other Videos from YouTube. There are so many, we have lost count.

We would expect that anyone who is interested in what is happening in Mexico continue to check different reports and sources. Our page does not claim to be the definitive source (and it never will). Anyone who expects that will be disappointed. What we can promise is that we will try to curate content that seems interesting and newsworthy so that our readers can decide and determine for themselves what they think about these recent developments.

As for us? We do think that the current political system in Mexico is a quasi-oligarchy and that true democracy is still a pipe dream there (many would say that this is the case of the United States as well). Events like #1DMx bring out the worst and best in people, but at least people are talking and sharing opinions. Will such dialogue lead to change, and if so, what will that change look like? Those questions continued to be asked, but have yet to be answered.

Why Ann Coulter Doesn’t Care

Yes, the Latino digital space is burning with columns, analysis, and posts from both sides of the aisle about Ann Coulter's "Tipping Pointo" piece, which basically was full of so much ignorance and hate about US Latinos, that we can't even begin to address it.

And yes, Coulter doesn't care. Because as long as her media friends (like the following clips below will attest) worship her for speaking out, she will still find an audience. The key to fighting Coulter is to drown out her more amplified voice with our own new voices. Coulter wouldn't last five minutes engaging anyone who actually knows what they are talking about, but if Coulter can get her own media niche, then it is time for US Latinos to do the same. Don't wait for it. Go for it. We think that time is now, and we truly believe that in a year or two Coulter will feel the "Tipping Pointo" push her away from the limelight.

Because like we said, Ann Coulter doesn't care. To make Coulter irrelevant, you have to defeat her at her own game. Who's in? Because to be honest with you, she is one tough opponent.

The Five Dumbest “Mayan Apocalypse” Ad Campaigns


This December 21 we plan to just not be online, because it is getting ridiculous already. Before we continue with this post, we just need to say the following, and say it kind of loudly: the world is not coming to an end this Friday. But that isn’t stopping brands from contaminating this message and pretty much making a mockery of ancient Mayan traditions. Because in the age of Honey Boo Boo, TMZ, La Comay, and Jersey Shore, let’s just keep dumbing down the intellect, right, all for a quick buck?

So, even though we should be CELEBRATING what could in essence be the “a next great world that is possible,” we are being inundated with stupidity. We will say it again: the Maya never predicted the end of the world this Friday, and any brand that is exploiting this for the sake of getting attention gets a major #NoMames.

Here are five brands that just should keep it quiet and move on, because there is nothing light-hearted or silly about it. This is just pure exploitation just because it is the thing you should be doing right now. Hey, it’s hip, and the kids will really like it. We are here to tell you that this is amateur hour 101.

So here they are, the Five Dumbest “Mayan Apocalypse” Campaigns:


Jell-O Pudding: Yup, we are not messing with you. Jell-O Pudding has gone all Mayan Apocalypse on us. Because in the end, that is such a great a natural connection, right? The brand has basically bombarded the Internet with the following campaign: JELL-O to Save the World From Mayan Apocalypse.

As the release reads: ” JELL-O®, one of America’s most beloved and iconic brands, will try to save the world from the Mayan-predicted apocalypse by appeasing the gods with an unexpected and fun offering of delicious JELL-O Pudding. In lieu of traditional, boring vegetable offerings to the Mayan gods, JELL-O is offering a fun sacrifice of pudding in an attempt to save the world from the impending apocalypse. Today, JELL-O will share their big plans with 60- and 30-second TV spots called “Fun to the Rescue,” created by CP+B. JELL-O will also sponsor apocalypse-themed programming on cable networks throughout the week, all part of the goal to “fun things up.” WTF. WTF. WTF. Wait, can we say WTF like 10 more times?

Kraft Dinner: Kraft in Canada has already created a hashtag called #kdapocalypse, which, by the way, no one is actually using and resonating with. Just another forced idea that should never have been executed.

T.G.I. Friday’s: What better way to mock it all on Friday than going to an “Apocalypse Party? Why wouldn’t you when you read amazing things such as the following: “T.G.I. Friday’s restaurants in a half-dozen U.S. cities (Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Los Angeles, Chicago, and D.C.) are throwing “Last Friday” parties featuring Mayan decor, photo booths, music, and a Mayan Margarita. Also they’ll be raffling off an ‘End of the World Survival Kit,’ which is just like a cocktail shaker, bottle opener, and an energy drink.”

Old Spice and Dikembe Mutombo: We don’t even have words for this one. Let’s just say #NoMames and play the video. Talk about a forced campaign that is trying REALLY HARD to be hip and “viral.”

National Geographic Mundo: What perplexes us about this one is that it is a Spanish-language brand and it uses actual Latino pages to promote it. In this campaign, there was a Twitter chat that discussed how people are getting “preparados” for the end of the world. We really wonder if the following image got people excited about going on Twitter and “engaging” a brand about the end of the world because hey, the Mayans say it would be happening! Fail. And the brand also gets a double #NoMames for actually reaching out to Latino pages, who thought this was a great idea. Psst, it wasn’t. You are just perpetuating the ignorance and disrespecting traditions.

We can understand brands like Jell-O and Kraft mocking Mayan traditions because they have no clue, but when you have Latino pages doing the same thing, it is even sadder. But wait, we shouldn’t be so critical, since there were actual prizes being handed out. Our bad.


Here is the problem with all these ads and campaigns—they just mock culture and history. And they lower the bar to a place we don’t want to be at. You know what would have gotten our attention? A brand that actually made people aware of what the Maya really said about December 21. But we guess that might have been too hard for agencies and brands. Too much thinking.

ICE Raids Wrong Home: Leaves Oklahoma Family Shaken and Angry

The following story from Oklahoma is the latest example of an immigration system that is broken. According to the following video reports, a family from Moore, Oklahoma was mistakenly raided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office (ICE) agents.

Carlos Estrada Barrintos and his family have every right to be upset and visibly shaken. The part that got to us? This one from the original news story:


With guns drawn in the home he’s lived in for over 10 years, Estrada says agents realized after about five minutes they had the wrong guy. But he says he was kept in handcuffs for another 40 minutes to be fingerprinted. He says he was even asked for his green card.

“I saw my kids and my wife,” said an emotional Estrada.

Carlos says he’s done nothing but try to do what’s right and obey the law. He’s been a legal U.S. citizen since 1988.

“I get my insurance and everything, because I know, I need to respect the laws,” says Estrada wiping tears from his face. “I tell my kids every time, you got to do this, you got to do that, we need to be good citizens.”

He was told he had been under surveillance by ICE agents for three years and was showed a picture of himself at his job in 2010.

“My understanding is, the subject they were actually looking for was arrested in 2000, 2008,” said Estrada’s nephew, Eric Martinez. “They would have a little more recent photos compared to what Carlos looks like. They look nothing alike.”

“We just don’t want that to happen again, mistakes like that,” said Estrada.

What is even more classic is the statement ICE gave the news station that broke the story:

On Jan. 8 at about 6 a.m., officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and District 21 Task Force in Oklahoma executed a search warrant issued by a District Court judge at a Moore, Okla., residence.

Shortly after entering the residence, ICE officers interviewed the alleged target and noted a discrepancy between the residence owner’s social security number and that of the target of the investigation.

Officers conducted an on-site electronic fingerprint comparison which confirmed that the residence owner was not the target of the investigation, even though they both have the same name.

Officers apologized and departed the residence. ICE immediately began investigating this incident, which is ongoing. The investigation into the original target is also ongoing.