Monday, August 1, 2011

Troubled gun sting renews suspicions of U.S. role in Mexico's violence




By Tim Johnson | McClatchy Newspapers
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/07/31/118874/for-mexicans-fast-and-furious.html

MEXICO CITY — While a gunrunning sting known as Fast and Furious is drawing criticism in Congress for losing track of weapons that were smuggled into Mexico, Mexicans say the controversy only confirms their conviction that the U.S. gun industry profits off of bloodshed south of the border.

As new details of the U.S. undercover operation emerged last week in congressional hearings in Washington, a broad array of Mexicans said the scandal simply underscores the ease with which brutal crime gangs obtain large quantities of assault weapons from U.S. gun shops near the border.

Fast and Furious — the code name given by the Justice Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to its gun-smuggling investigation — allowed an estimated 2,000 weapons to enter Mexico unobstructed. That, however, accounts for only one-tenth of the weapons found at Mexican crime scenes in recent years that originated in the United States, according to available statistics.

The bureau's acting director, Kenneth Melson, wrote in a recent letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that of the 29,284 weapons recovered in Mexico in 2009 and 2010 and submitted for tracing, 20,504, or 70 percent, came from the United States.

"All of the available evidence shows that the weapons come from the U.S.," said Sergio Aguayo, an academic and newspaper columnist.

Mexicans have been closely following revelations about Fast and Furious. A congressional report made public last week said that on at least 48 occasions, Mexican investigators found Fast and Furious weapons at crime scenes. At hearings last week, it was revealed that one U.S. buyer obtained more than 700 firearms for the Sinaloa Cartel, believed to be Mexico's most powerful crime group.

The revelations have evinced an I-told-you-so attitude here about the role U.S.-based weapons play in Mexico's drug violence, and reinforced long-held Mexican beliefs that the gun trade retains a powerful sway over U.S. political life. Mexican commentators see the Fast and Furious political brouhaha — with no similar discussion of how to stop the flow of powerful weapons to the cartels — as a sign of that.

"It kind of reinforces the perception that U.S. policy in general is to support arms dealers around the world," said Ana Maria Salazar, a former Pentagon official who now is a security consultant in the Mexican capital.

Salazar said Mexicans see a double standard in Fast and Furious, in which U.S. agents allowed weapons to "walk" across the border in their quest to take down a major weapons trafficking ring even as it became apparent the guns were turning up at crimes.

"Would the United States have done this type of operation, for example, in Afghanistan knowing that there was a likelihood those guns would kill American soldiers? They would've never done it," she said.

Aguayo went further, saying the operation revealed "underlying racism."

"U.S. society and the U.S. government don't care about Mexican lives," he said. "I have studied U.S. foreign policy. One American life is worth more than 50,000 Mexican lives. This case is another ingredient in a cultural attitude of contempt toward Mexicans."

Pinning down the extent of illegal weapons trafficking from the United States to Mexico is a controversial endeavor. Advocates of tougher restrictions on U.S. gun sales say Mexican criminal gangs shop for most of their weapons in the United States. U.S. gun advocates say that's untrue.

New evidence continues to arise, however, that Mexican crime groups, whose battles over drug routes and other criminal activities have claimed 40,000 lives since 2006, shop north of the Rio Grande for their firepower. Their favored firearms are variants of the AK-47 and AR-15 assault weapons, legally available at U.S. gun shops near the border.

In a video released earlier this month, a Mexican army defector who allegedly rose to become No. 3 in the brutal and powerful syndicate known as Los Zetas was asked by a police interrogator where Los Zetas obtain their weapons.

"From the United States," Jesus Rejon Aguilar, who was arrested by Mexican authorities on July 4, told his off-camera questioner. "All weapons come from the U.S."

Arturo Zamora Jimenez, a legislator from the once-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, made it clear in a telephone interview that he understands that many Americans firmly believe that their guns can protect against tyranny, and that they have the right to own and purchase them under the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

But he said lax U.S. gun laws are priming violence in Mexico.

"We know that the manufacture and sale of guns is a major economic activity for the people of the United States," he said. "But when these guns are used by rival organized crime groups abroad, the situation really changes because they are used in crimes that affect the lives and property of many people."

How much the Mexican government knew about the Fast and Furious operation remains unclear. Alejandro Poire, the top security spokesman for Mexican President Felipe Calderon, insisted last week that his government was not aware of the operation.

"If we had known about it, it would have been stopped," Poire told reporters.

But the federal Attorney General's office acknowledged that it had been informed of aspects of Fast and Furious.

"This gives you an idea of the lack of coordination within the Mexican government as well," said Javier Oliva, a national security expert at the National Autonomous University.

Opposition legislators are pressing for a further accounting of how much Calderon's government knew.

"It is lamentable that with the weapons brought into the country through this operation, there are thousands of dead Mexicans and the federal government can't give an explanation of its responsibility," said Dolores Padierna Luna, the secretary general of the leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party.

36 comments:

  1. Fast & Furious was/is a colossally idiotic move by our (US) gov't. However, the ones the Mexicans should be mad at most are the murdering thugs that pull the triggers. Just because you have access to a gun doesn't mean you are a killer, I put the blame on the character of the criminals most.

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  2. The blame should not be directed to one group only. It should be directed to all parties involve in the illegal activities. Our government should be beyond ashame of their actions. Before you judge me, be advised that I have served my country patriotically in the military and currently work with border patrol.

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  3. ThT guy is from reynosaa jaja and everyone knows that us. Suplies zetas w/ weapons...

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  4. In countries without guns, they machete each other to death. Do not blame the fire-arms.

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  5. I would also say that the Majority of guns being used by the Narco's are of the AK-47 variety. Now is anyone going to blame Russians, Chinese, and other pre soviet block countries still selling these arms to third world nations?? No I dont think so because they all know thise countries dont give a rats turd for either the people or the country. So who do they try and place all the blame on.....of course the US.

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  6. LL RIGHT ALL READY STOP BEATING A DEAD HORSE!

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  7. it is funny how everybody takes his word as gospel, a man who is a punk fucking thug for a career...credibility is ZERO

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  8. Anything to deflect responsibility and get people talking about something else. It is "lamentable" that Mexico is so thoroughly corrupt. Now the politicians will play the blame game endlessly.

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  9. Don't blame the firearm, true. But you have to blame our goverment for allowing these guns to be moved for tracking purposes. (Assuming this is all true) If indeed that happened, and it sounds very plausible, then you have to question (once again) the intelligence, and competence of those making the decisions for the US. A high school moron could tell you allowing known killers to handle guns just to see where they end up...IS JUST DUMB, as evidence shows when these guns show up at bloody crime scenes. Hey ATF...did you really not see that coming? Who calls the shots for you, and what upside down logic did they study? Embarrassing.

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  10. So you're saying you can't buy an AK-47 in the US?

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  11. USA is bankrupt so in order to earn money USA sells guns to Mexico.In next year Obama will borrow money from El Chapo.I think that there should be legalisation of all drugs in USA.It would be grait incentive for US economy.After drugs legalisation USA could compete with China.It would be once again strongest country in this world.

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  12. @Aleric
    I love how gun nuts really think that the zetas gulfos any cartel get their AK's from Russia and China. Isn't there a place a little closer where they can arm themselves with such weapons? Texas I think they call it. Maybe you've heard of it.

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  13. Obama Launches Gun Grab

    Placing suspicion on the purchase of more than two guns, filling out purchaser profile reports and making visits to customer homes all chill the notion that gun ownership is still “legal” and “a right.” A type of martial law has been imposed upon the entire Southwest zone in the name of fighting cross-border drug gangs, restricting 2nd Amendment rights and placing the burden of proof upon the seller. Obama’s newly issued Executive Order #13581 ‘Blocking Property of Transnational Criminal Organizations‘ declares a national emergency, nominally going after drug gangs like Las Zetas, yet is written vaguely enough that nearly any entity could be seized if a link is suspected. One such likely target here are the gun shops that ATF and Justice Department have repeatedly tried to link to gun violence. Will dealers who either fail to comply with this paperwork or who are suspected of supplying guns that are later sold across the border be shut down and seized?

    Just as drug war border zones extending 100 miles from the border are sold as “Constitution free zones” where rights can be violated, the ATF has effectively obligated gun dealers in 4 states to preemptively report on its customers, despite existing background checks under the FBI. Meanwhile the Justice Department, ATF, FBI & Co. based in Phoenix ran a false flag under Operation Fast & Furious to arm drug gangs to frame sellers in the Southwest border zone. A similar false flag was run in Austin in 2010 where the ATF and local police staged an arrest and declared a ban on private sales in effort to shut down Texas Gun Shows, a favorite target of gun grabbers longing to close “loopholes.”

    If Barack Obama, seeking to ban guns “under the radar,” can get away with this bureaucratic tyranny through executive policy under his Presidential agencies, then the executive branch can get away with anything (powers that will also extend to the next GOP stooge in the Oval Office). President Obama “the Constitutional scholar” has dangerously ruled by decree far too many times already: waging war with Libya while arrogantly saying he doesn’t need to consult Congress; taxing carbon dioxide through the EPA when Congress wouldn’t pass legislation; ignoring the Constitution by taking foreign titles under the U.N. and more. Now, after refusing to secure the border, Obama will cynically wage ‘war’ on the drug gangs (openly backed by top Wall Street banks and armed by the executive branch) in order to attack the second amendment by proxy. Gun dealers, induced to inform on their customers, will be painted with fault as firearm restriction sets in– unless we say no.

    http://www.infowars.com/obama-launches-gun-grab/

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  14. I agree that an american life is the most valuable, because I am an american and I love my country. Perhaps if mexicans valued life and valued their country a little more this would happen. I don't hear lots of reports of american guns turning up at canadian crime scenes. Why not? Oh ya cuz they have rule of law over there, like any civilized country

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  15. I am what most of you would refer to as a "gun nut". I have always accepted the fact that most of the guns that end up in Mexico do come from the U.S. The way I see it it's an all out war between the cartels over millions and millions of dollars, they are going to get weapons regardless of U.S laws. If the liberals were ever to succeed in banning guns, nothing would change. Cartels would simply switch sources and continue arming themselves. I still firmly believe that all those who were involved in F&F should be left to rot inside a jail cell.

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  16. Being able to protect my family, and neighbors if need be doesn't make me a "gun nut"' It makes me a intelligent and responsible. I am also valuable asset to those around me. If guns were the problem why do we have LESS violent crime than mexico? I don't know of any city in the U.S where 25 people or more are found murdered in a day. THINK ABOUT THAT STUPID.

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  17. @ 9:39; thats because nobody in the US has to worry about fighting eachother to smuggle drugs, people in the US are too busy getting high off the drugs.

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  18. @ 9:39.... you just made my point...GUNS ARE NOT THE PROBLEM...SMUGGLERS ARE! ..IMAGINE THAT.

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  19. Thats funny. I have 10 guns in my closet and none of them has ever jumped up and killed anyone.

    I believe it has more to do with the intentions of the user.

    Lets face it. When it comes to people that will cut off your head, having a gun or not having one will not change the black souls inside.

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  20. Hey everybody, get off ATF's back. If it were not for this program we would never have found out about the whole town of Columbus NM being controlled by cartels. There is no doubt a lot more intelligence these guys gathered that we don't know about yet.

    Also keep in mind that they did not send these straw buyers into gun stores to buy guns, they simply watched and learned. A very necessary step in eradicating these monsters.

    Dig deep and you will see that the loudest complainers of this op are people with interests on the wrong side of the investigation, or are trying to gain political points.

    Plenty of the enemy are now infiltrating our government and media.

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  21. The only "gun industry" left in the US is a company called Cerberus. It is run by such impartial folks as Donald Rumsfeld, fmr Sec of Defense, John Snow, fmr sec. of the Treasury. All under GW Bush.

    I dont know why the media have never noticed.

    They own Chrysler, GMAC, Remington, Marlin, Winchester, Bushmaster Firearms, Panther Arms, Advanced Armament Corporation, Cobb Manufacturing, and a nice little company called DynCorp International that is involved in many good wholesome activities around the world. Like training people for war. DynCorp has now sent trainers to Mexico.

    Thats just the tip of the Iceberg.

    Study how John Snow owned 7 of the largest ports and 3 of the largest railroads in the country and divested himself to GW's Harken Energy when he became Sec. of Treasury.

    Harken Energy is a direct descendant of GW's "Spectrum 7" that was started with a grant from Osama bin Ladens brother.

    Now recall how just after 911, GW was trying give all of these 7 ports to the United Arab Emirates in a secret deal that got outed at the last moment and was scrapped due to the exposure and subsequent public outcry.

    You will also see that Cerberus companies received most of the 700 billion dollar bailout money.

    Cerberus is also behind the large scale public prison building going on in America.

    The list goes on and on. Needs its own study for sure.

    For all of the documentaries Michael Moore has done on Bush, even he has missed this connection.

    If there is an "Illuminati", here they be.

    Research it! But don't stop at the obvious, dig deeper into the interpersonal relationships of every character. It just gets deeper and deeper.

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  22. Texcoco Mex said

    Anon August 1, 2011 3:48 PM You are right Mex needs to be more civilised the murder rate is crazy from 2006 to 2011 more than 50000 murders I wished we were like U.S The total number of murder's in the U.S.A. for 2006 ( 17,030 ) 2007 ( 16,929 ) 2008 ( 16,442 ) and 2009 ( 15,241 ) . At this point in time the murder stats for 2010 have not been released yet total from 2006 to 2009 is 65642.

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  23. Texcoco Mex said

    Anon August 1, 2011 9:39 PM You are right I don't know of any city in the U.S where 25 people or more are found murdered in a day, but did you know in 1991 U.S had 24700 murders so that was like 67 murders a day and 2009 it was 41 murders a day in the U.S.

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  24. Can I trust this source: http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/mexico/110729/mexico-murder-rate-safety-violence ?

    "A report handed quietly to the nation’s Congress earlier this month found that in the first five months of 2011, a staggering 18,468 homicides had been reported"

    Holy shit if that's true, total from 2006 could be close to 100k dead?! Becouse I don't believe official counts are anything else than minimum.

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  25. "The bureau's acting director, Kenneth Melson, wrote in a recent letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that of the 29,284 weapons recovered in Mexico in 2009 and 2010 and submitted for tracing, 20,504, or 70 percent, came from the United States."
    Repeat this "stat" as much as you want it is still not true. Less than 2000 guns were submitted for tracing.
    Count the arms entering Mexico from South America, Eastern Europe and China.

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  26. Texcoco Mex said

    Anon August 2, 2011 7:02 AM I added from 2001 to 2011 this of course 18000 for 2011 and I come up with only 62976 murders in Mexico.

    Murders in the U.S from 2001 to 2009 is a total of 147324 they don't have the numbers for 2010 and 2011 on www.disastercenter.com but we can add 2000 (15586) and 1999 (15522) murders to compared 10 years of murder in Mexico 62976 and 10 years of murder in U.S.A 178432.

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  27. Texcoco Mex said

    Anon August 2, 2011 9:03 AM Come on men is all about logistics, South America don't have good weapons and guns laws are too strict. Eastern Europe and China is to far away and any of the weapons they have you can buy next door in the friendly U.S.A and I think buying in U.S is cheaper.

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  28. As American peons and citizens, this is none of our business. If federal agencies choose to engage in commercial relationships with foreign groups, it is outside of our control entirely.

    Why are we even talking about it?

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  29. @Texcoco Mex,
    Nice murder stats for Mexico...but how accurate do you think they really are? I mean they are finding mass graves with dozens to hundreds of bodies..and those are just the ones they found, you think those murders made the stats? Also, the U.S. has a little over 3x Mexico's population (+100 million to +360 million). Plus, there is no American city that compares to Juarez, Mexico, as far as the murder rate is concerned..

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  30. @August 2, 2011 12:13 PM

    I don't know why the hell you are arguing with Texcoco. The US is known for being one of most violent countries in the world with some of the highest crime rates. And that is a fact. But its also a fact that crime in the US has been going down in the past decade too. Experts also think that for these next years, crime in the US will go up due to recession.

    -Majoring in Criminal Justice.

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  31. Texcoco Mex said

    Anon August 2, 2011 12:13 PM I understand the difference in population on the same token you should understand Mexico is on a all out cartel war is similar to what USA had from 1986 to 1995 year after year more than 20000 murders up to 24700 to a total 224689 in 9 years alone remember the drive by shooting era that to me was like war on the streets time. I'm sure things will change in Mexico it took the U.S more than 20 years to lower the murder rate from 24700 a year to 15241 a year.

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  32. this proves that the US goverment IS either RACIST MONEY HUNGRY or does not care about mexicans being slaughter by druged up SCUMBAGS if they wanted to trace those guns they should of put a chip or tracking device on them THEY DID NOT therefore they are responsible for the murders of the people those guns killed i wont get into THE US GOING INTO ANOTHER COUNTRY AND DOING WHATEVER THEY WANT NOT RESPECTING LAWS I,LL JUST REMIND YOU YOU ARE NOT GOD WISH WE COULD GO BACK TO THE GOOD ALL DAYS AND BE ABLE TO FIGHT FAIR REMEMBER THE ALAMO WOMEN CHILDREN AND SOME MEN BEAT YOUR POWERFUL ALMIGHTY TROOPS WITH BROOM HANDLES STICKS STONES AND LOT OF COJONES\

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  33. @majoring in criminal justice,
    First, I'm just interjecting my opinion, as you did..so, I'm not arguing, just simply adding/engaging in a conversation. Second, I wouldn't put much stock into "expert" projections and opinions, simply because there a great number of countries, who do not accurately report or under report their crime rates and stats..Mexico for sure is one. Russia and China for example, as now as during the "cold war," you think these countries participated in sharing their countries criminal statistical data, to the world or to the experts..uh no! Fact, Russia at the fall of the USSR, was the most dangerous/violent place in the world!!

    But hey you and Texcoco can continue to sugarcoat the events in Mexico...and look up and quote meaningless expert statistics..but that don't mean shit to the people of let's say Juarez, who live in fear. Good luck with your degree...

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  34. @08/03/11-7:30AM,
    Wow..you must be stuck on stupid! Calling the U.S. racist is ridiculous considering the diverse ethnic makeup of the country. Also, it's Mexicans killing Mexicans in Mexico? What bout them..what are you calling them? Dumbass, the U.S. gov't hasn't murdered anyone in Mexico rather Mexicans, who are "money hungry" are ones doing the killing...As far as respecting another countries laws..what a joke..there is no law in Mexico, as clearly illustrated by the DTO's. I'll tell you what..the day criminal organizations in the U.S. start openly killing/assassinating people in public (hanging people from highly visible bridges, spreading dismembered body parts in public areas, beheading people on video, killing police officers on a mass scale, kidnapping public officials, etc...) than I'll give your comment some serious thought..The Alamo..wtf..is that about?

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  35. Want to blame someone for your gun problem Mexico? Blame yourselves, you all don't even guard your northern border. Then blame ATF for their yet to date stupid agenda, then blame Eric Holder, and the person who appointed him, aka Obama. How about that?

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  36. The us has something great coming for it, in gods eyes us is no better, you play with fire you get burned

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