Operation “Fast and Furious” just jumped the rails

I haven’t really posted anything on this, because others are doing a much better job covering it – and keeping up with it – than I could.

Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson has gone “off the reservation”. Monday, he testified to Rep. Issa’s committee earlier than planned, and with his personal attorney rather than the ATF and DOJ attorneys as originally planned. There are some implications that the DOJ didn’t tell him the committee had offered this as a possibility, in an effort to hamper the investigation. From Rep. Issa and Sen. Grassley’s letter to the DOJ:

He appeared with his personal counsel, Richard Cullen of McGuire Woods LLP. His interview had originally been scheduled through the Justice Department to occur on July 13 in the presence of DOJ and ATF counsel. As you know, however, under our agreement Department witnesses who choose to attend a voluntary interview with their own lawyer are free to exercise that right rather than participate with counsel representing the Department’s interests.

After being made aware of that provision of our agreement, Acting Director Melson chose to exercise that right and appeared with his own lawyer. We are disappointed that no one had previously informed him of that provision of the agreement. Instead, Justice Department officials sought to limit and control his communications with Congress. This is yet another example of why direct communications with Congress are so important and are protected by law.

Melson has been previously quoted as saying he refuses to be the “fall guy” for this. Now he’s appearing with his own personal lawyer rather than the government lawyers he’s entitled to by his position, and appearing outside the timeline given by his superiors. Things are really starting to heat up, now. The big question – “How far up does this go?” – just got bigger.

Another thing to note: The surprise testimony of an acting head of a major federal agency involved in an international scandal (the core of which arguably constitutes an act of war against an allied nation), a scandal which could potentially reach the Cabinet level, if not the President himself, received little if any coverage by the mainstream media. Would a Republican president get this kind of treatment? More than likely, the headlines would have been screaming “How much did he know, and when did he know it?” long before this point.

We all owe a big thanks to David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh for their diligence in exposing this abomination, and to Senator Grassley and Representative Issa for pursuing it officially, openly, and aggressively.
END OF LINE
[Source: Examiner.com article by David Codrea, retrieved 7/6/11]

Quote of the Day – 2011-06-30 (Beverage warning!)

Tam, on the media “coverage” of Operation Fast and Furious.

When we said ‘Deep Throat’, we didn’t mean like that!

END OF LINE

The return of the Mexican Gun Canard – with a twist

Now Fox News is teaming with the Washington Post to put out a pro-gun-control piece (warning: the link goes to an auto-play video). The obvious intent is to drum up support for the ATF’s latest attempt to assert authority they don’t actually have.

This time, rather than distorted percentages of guns “traced” to the US, they’re giving a number – 60,000. Of course, they neglect to mention any kind of time frame (over how many years did those guns make their way to Mexico?), or how those guns got there (the trace data only covers the dealer and first purchaser – how many were stolen, how many were sold to another law abiding citizen and stolen from him, etc.?).

How many guns came from sources other than the US? This 60,000 figure seems like a pretty large number, but what does it tell us about where the problem is? What percentage of weapons that are recovered come from the US? Is it significant, or negligible? Would a sudden cessation of guns coming from the US (likely an impossibility no matter what*) actually make a difference, or would it not be noticed at all?

Bottom line: If you’re asking me forfeit my Rights for the benefit of someone else, you do need to show me that they would actually benefit from it before I’ll even begin to consider the idea.

—–
* Consider that the people we want to prevent getting these guns have made a career out of  smuggling or manufacturing things that are illegal. Do you really think they can’t get guns no matter what we do? Especially when you consider how easy it is to simply manufacture their own guns? Also keep in mind how deeply they have infiltrated the Mexican police and military – they have numerous other local sources for guns that also give them easy access to fully automatic weapons.

Mexican crime guns do come from the US

Because US dealers and manufacturers (with the US government’s permission) sell them to the Mexican government, where they are stolen from police arsenals in brazen, professionally conducted raids.

Around 02:00 on the morning of Monday, September 27, at least 6 men dressed in CIPOL state police uniforms with tactical gear & riding in a white Dodge Ram entered the State Security Complex (CIPOL compound) & raided the arsenal.

The group entered by the main (south) entrance. They first took control of the radio room. In the process, they disarmed 5 guards & handcuffed their hands & feet (one news source said it was 2 police & 3 security guards).

The commando then entered the arsenal after breaking 2 locks to get through the steel doors. They took 43 H&K G36 assault rifles (.223 caliber), 26 9mm pistols, bulletproof vests & grenades.

They left the way they came with no resistance. Official reports admitted there was insufficient security for the complex.

Hm. I wonder how many of those “3 out of 4″ Mexican crime guns traced to the US were sold to the Mexican government?

[Source: Borderland Beat blog post, retrieved 9/29/10]
(h/t SayUncle, via Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hell]

So how’s that War on (Some) Drugs working out?

Not too well, it seems.

Report: Illegal drug use up sharply last year.

The rate of illegal drug use rose last year to the highest level in nearly a decade, fueled by a sharp increase in marijuana use and a surge in ecstasy and methamphetamine abuse, the government reported Wednesday.

Banning things doesn’t work. We learned that with Prohibition in the ’20′s, we see it with guns in Mexico and Afghanistan, and we are seeing it with the War on (Some) Drugs in the US today.

When will we learn?

[Source: AP article on Yahoo! retrieved 9/16/10]

The Return of The Mexican Gun Canard

Based on a “study” by Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

“We can say that there is enormous violence in Mexico and most of the killing is done with guns and most of the guns used in the killing are originally from gun dealers in the United States,” said Arkado Gerney, one of the report’s authors.

The study, based on Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) data and prepared by the advocacy group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, shows that three out of four guns used in crimes in Mexico and submitted for tracing were sold in the four U.S. states that border Mexico.

Notice the very important but understated qualifier in that second paragraph: “three out of four guns used in crimes in Mexico and submitted for tracing“. How many were not submitted to the US for tracing? I bet it’s significantly higher than 50%. Because if even close to 50% of the guns actually recovered could be traced to the US, they would certainly be plastering that number all over the news, too. Instead, they constantly fail to mention it. The most logical conclusion is that most of the guns actually recovered are so obviously from sources other than the US that they are not even bothering to submit them for tracing.

Notice what they’re not telling you in that article. How many guns were not submitted for tracing because it was obvious they did not come from the US? How many were not submitted for tracing for other reasons? Where did the rest of the recovered guns come from? How many of those guns were stolen? If I understand correctly, none of those states track non-dealer transfers, so how many hands did those guns pass through legitimately before they made their way to Mexico?

Also note the bias in the article. It first notes:

The report’s authors also analyzed the gun trace data on a per capita basis. The numbers showed that Arizona, Texas and New Mexico had an export rate 169 percent greater than any other states, which the authors suggest may be due in part to less-restrictive gun laws in those states.

Okay, AZ, TX, and NM do have less restrictive gun laws than some other states, and they are on the border. That may be a reasonable conclusion, right?

But wait! Later in the story, they give some numbers by state.

The top ten source states for supplying crime guns to Mexico in 2009 were Texas (2076 guns), California (1011), Arizona (690), New Mexico (173), Florida (113), Colorado (100, Oklahoma (90), Illinois (84), Nevada (56), and North Carolina (56).

Notice what the number two state is? That’s right, California! It beats both Arizona and New Mexico combined. In fact, more than half again as many guns were traced to CA as AZ, and CA beat NM by over five times as many guns. But they didn’t see fit to mention that when they were blaming the problem on “lax gun laws.” Probably because CA is one of the Brady’s top states for draconian and restrictive gun control laws.

Let’s look at that paragraph again, shall we?

Arizona, Texas and New Mexico had an export rate 169 percent greater than any other states

I have to wonder how they got that 169% figure, because I can’t get it from the numbers they’ve supplied. Adding AZ, TX, and NM together and comparing to CA (the highest state not included) gives 290%,  and comparing the total to TX (the highest state overall) gives 141%. The closest I got was comparing CA to AZ, which gives 160% (rounded up), but doesn’t actually have anything to do with their stated comparison.  So how did they manipulate the data to get that statistic – or did they just make it up? [See Update 3, below.]

So what do the top four states have in common, since it’s not the “lax” gun laws? How about the fact that they are all on the border with Mexico? In fact, if you look at a map, except for CA, the “export” rate follows the length of each state’s border with Mexico.  What’s different about CA? How about the fact that CA has more sanctuary cities than any other state except TX? Could that explain it? Could these facts possibly explain why these are the top 4 states, and why their number are so much higher than other states?

But they have to avoid mentioning California, because that doesn’t fit their narrative that we need tighter gun control to solve Mexico’s problem.

Another question they don’t bring up is how many of those guns that were “traced to the US” were sold to the Mexican government? The Mexican Army has a high desertion rate, and many of the deserters manage to take their issued weapons with them when they go join the drug gangs (or rejoin – the gangs like to have new members join the army for the training, then they pass that training on to other members).

So, based on a flawed study prepared by a group that is openly anti-gun, and ignoring other factors that contribute to the problem they claim to want to solve, they are pushing to restrict a Constitutionally guaranteed Right of Americans to “protect” Mexican citizens in Mexico from Mexican gangs that probably get most of their guns from sources in other countries.

NO.

It seems like all the anti-gun crowd has left to support their position is lies. Realistically, lies are all they’ve ever had, but now we have the evidence to counter the lies and the public support to fight them.

Update: Over at SayUncle’s post that linked back to this post (yay!), commenter divemedic noted:

So, the states with the highest numbers of Mexicans also have the highest numbers of Mexican criminals. This is my shocked face.

Yet another factor the anti’s continually fail to account for, because it doesn’t support their approved narrative. Also, the whole “border like a sieve” issue may have something to do with it, too.

Update 2 – 9/9/10: Uncle-anche! Up to 198 visitors at 2223 today – 159 on this very post! Welcome!

Update 3 – 9/10/10: Welcome reddit readers!

A couple of commenters at reddit have pointed out that the 169% I was questioning is based on per capita figures, not the actual total numbers I was looking at. I did miss that. I will point out, however, that while the ABC article I was looking at does say per capita, they did not include the per capita figures, and I did not (and still do not) see a link to the original report that does have those figures. I’ve gotten the link to that report from a comment at reddit. I do question if comparing per capita rates is better than comparing the per state numbers for the purpose of an objective report.

(h/t SayUncle)

[Source: Story from ABC News website, retrieved 9/8/10]

More on that slideshow

You know that slideshow [Content warning! Not for the squeamish!] I mentioned that Robb Allen found and that Jay G found a totally unrelated picture in? Well, it looks like there are more questions being raised about it. In a comment in the original post at Robb’s James R. Rummel notes that, after a little Google research he has found both a news report and a State Department report that directly contradict the slideshow’s account of events.

The slideshow claims this was a static, 2+ hour battle between two rival, well equipped and trained Mexican drug gangs. The news and State Department reports both state that it was actually several battles, and that they were between a Mexican drug gang and the Mexican Army.

My original position was that, because we found one picture that was totally unrelated to the events of the slideshow – which was presented as being a summarized after-action report – we needed to take the details and conclusions with a grain of salt, but that we shouldn’t discount the report or its conclusions. Trust but verify.

Now, however, we have official reports that directly contradict the slideshow’s version of what actually happened – something the single out-of-place picture did not do. At this point, barring some evidence that the news and State Department reports are wrong and the slideshow is right, I have to discount the entire thing. What it says happened is not what actually happened, and the factual support for the conclusions it draws has been completely undermined. There may be some interesting and useful facts in it, but the bigger lie means that they cannot be believed.

Robb’s original thread got pretty long, and mildly heated, so he has created a new post clarifying his position and asked for the discussion to move over there. In this new post, he says:

At the end, I made a snarky comment about how our lax controls of our border won’t stop this kind of violence from spilling over.

That comment, snarky as it is, still holds absolutely true regardless of the veracity, or lack thereof, of the slideshow. In fact, the new reports underscore that point, because now we see that these gangs are willing to get into dynamic gun battles with an actual national military force. That’s a pretty scary thought, because if they are willing and able to fight the Mexican Army like that, imagine what they could do to a local police force in an American bordertown.

Go read, enjoy, and join in the discussion.

You know that little voice?

The one that says “Something’s odd about this?” Well, sometimes it pays to listen to it. Jay G did, and found something interesting.

There’s this slideshow [Warning: the slideshow is NOT for the squeamish! - Jake] going around purporting to be some Law Enforcement thing taken from a gun battle in the Nuevo Laredo area between warring drug cartels. In discussions in Gunblogger Conspiracy, a link was posted and someone asked about what round could have caused the damage to the Suburban shown in this montage:

[...]

The Suburban in question is in the second row on the right. Well, that picture looked eerily familiar. I remembered a story from a couple years back about some guys in a Suburban who wandered onto a range where F16s were making practice runs, and found this picture in a forum devoted to off-roaders:

[...]

Same Suburban. Same picture. Makes me wonder about the rest of the slideshow…

I stumbled on the slide show by way of Sharp as a Marble. Something about that picture did strike me as both odd and familiar, but I had to go back to work and it got pushed out of my mind. But as soon as I read Jay’s post I remembered it clearly.

Somebody’s trying to pull something with this slideshow. The question now is who, and what?

Miscellanies

Not much today, just a couple of links.

Jenn at A Conservative Shemale linked to my Chicago Shenanigans post.

Courtesy of Weer’d Beard, we find the Periodic Table of Meat.

Northern Mexico is still a war zone.

PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Mexico – Gunmen stormed a party in northern Mexico on Sunday and massacred 17 people, authorities said.

The gunmen arrived at the party in Torreon in several cars and opened fire without saying a word, the Coahuila state Attorney General’s Office said in statement. At least 18 people were wounded.

That’s all I’ve got, right now.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25 other followers

%d bloggers like this: