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Mexico’s instability, drug wars, et. al.

Edward Campbell

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recceguy said:
And it doesn't help when the Obama administration and the BATF are supplying said gangsters with assault weapons through programs like Fast and Furious.

E.R. Campbell said:
images


CNN is reporting that US Attorney General Eric Holder is poised to resign over his handling of Fast and Furious.
 

Retired AF Guy

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Nemo888 said:
Problem is the Zeta Cartel is in bed with the government. Some concerned citizens have taken matters into their own hands though. At 41,000 dead war is the proper word to use.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/09/27/mexican-group-vows-to-eliminate-feared-zeta-drug-gang/#.ToJmNAadFhc.facebook

The Zetas are not a cartel in itself, but former military special forces personnel that went over to the dark side and are working for a specific cartel.

García Abrego’s downfall led to an internal contest for power between members of his own organization.40 After a series of clashes and betrayals, Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, a former quasi-official police informant, or madrina, emerged as the new leader of the organization.41 In 2001, Cárdenas succeeded in attracting new muscle by corrupting elite Mexican military personnel from the Army Special Forces Air and Amphibian units (known by their Spanish acronyms, GAFE and GANFE, respectively) that had been sent to capture Cárdenas. Becoming Gulf DTO enforcers, this group formed a masked commando brigade commonly known as Los Zetas, and fusing with the Gulf DTO to form an amalgam known simply as “La Compañia.”42

Source: DRUG TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATIONS AND COUNTER-DRUG STRATEGIES IN THE U.S.-MEXICAN CONTEXT by Luis Astorga and David A. Shirk. Page 39. This report gives a good overview on the history of the drug cartels in Mexico and the rise in violence that we have today.
 

cupper

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Retired AF Guy said:
The Zetas are not a cartel in itself, but former military special forces personnel that went over to the dark side and are working for a specific cartel.


Source: DRUG TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATIONS AND COUNTER-DRUG STRATEGIES IN THE U.S.-MEXICAN CONTEXT by Luis Astorga and David A. Shirk. Page 39. This report gives a good overview on the history of the drug cartels in Mexico and the rise in violence that we have today.

Question is when was this published?

Heard a recent discussion with a DEA expert that indicated the Zeta's started out as an enforcement arm for the cartel, but between 2010 and 2011 they made large moves against the cartel's higher ups and are now running the operations out right.

And just recently (within the past month) a new group has shown itself called the Zeta Killers, believed to be former followers of the dead cartel higher ups looking for revenge. They were suspected of being responsible for the dumping of 30 to 40 bodies in local houses in the same area that the Zetas dumped 35 bodies on the street in the middle of rush hour. Many of the victims in the second dumping were linked to or members of the Zetas organization.
 

Retired AF Guy

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cupper said:
Question is when was this published?
  April 2010. It was put out by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars - Mexican Institute.

Heard a recent discussion with a DEA expert that indicated the Zeta's started out as an enforcement arm for the cartel, but between 2010 and 2011 they made large moves against the cartel's higher ups and are now running the operations out right.
You may be right. The Wikipedia article on Los Zetas says that in the last year or so the Zetas' have branched out on their own. Other reports have said the same thing.

And just recently (within the past month) a new group has shown itself called the Zeta Killers, believed to be former followers of the dead cartel higher ups looking for revenge. They were suspected of being responsible for the dumping of 30 to 40 bodies in local houses in the same area that the Zetas dumped 35 bodies on the street in the middle of rush hour. Many of the victims in the second dumping were linked to or members of the Zetas organization.
 
A Google search indicates that there is some confusion as to who the Mata Zetas' actually are. This report says they are actually an arm of another drug cartel - Jalisco Cartel - New Generation (Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion - CJNG). Who knows?? [/quote]

While on the subject of the Los Zetas, reports are indicating that after a fierce gun battle one of its senior people has been arrested by Mexican authorities.
 

cupper

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I suspect that these groups will come and go, as they splinter off, reform or create new gangs. So trying to identify who's offing who isn't as critical as how do you solve the problem in the first place.
 

cupper

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This article makes me wonder why Rick Perry would want to run for President, when he already has his own personal army.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/americas/perry-deploys-his-forces-to-protect-texas-border/2011/10/10/gIQAJs1JkL_story.html

Alone among his Republican rivals running for president, the Texas governor has a small army at his disposal — and over the past three years, has deployed it along his southern flank in a secretive, military-style campaign that his supporters deem absolutely necessary, and successful, and his critics call an overzealous, expensive, mostly ineffective political stunt.
 

a_majoor

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How much worse is this going to get?

http://pjmedia.com/blog/gunwalkers-cousin-moneywalker/?singlepage=true

Gunwalker’s Cousin: ‘Moneywalker’?
Posted By Bob Owens On December 7, 2011 @ 12:00 am In Crime,Homeland Security,Immigration,Legal,US News | 15 Comments

Operation Fast and Furious and other alleged gunwalking operations run out of the Department of Justice have provided thousands of weapons to Mexican drug cartels, which have been traced to the murders of hundreds of Mexican nationals and two U.S. federal agents. It is a contender for worst political scandal in American history, despite a concerted effort by media to minimize or even apologize for the damage done.

The scope of the scandal may have gotten significantly worse. Reports have emerged that while the FBI and ATF were arming cartels, the DEA was laundering and smuggling [1] millions of dollars in drug profits:

    Undercover American narcotics agents have laundered or smuggled millions of dollars in drug proceeds as part of Washington’s expanding role in Mexico [2]’s fight against drug cartels [3], according to current and former federal law enforcement officials.

    The agents, primarily with the Drug Enforcement Administration [4], have handled shipments of hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal cash across borders, those officials said, to identify how criminal organizations move their money, where they keep their assets and, most important, who their leaders are. …

    Agency officials declined to publicly discuss details of their work, citing concerns about compromising their investigations. But Michael S. Vigil, a former senior agency official who is currently working for a private contracting company called Mission Essential Personnel, said, “We tried to make sure there was always close supervision of these operations so that we were accomplishing our objectives, and agents weren’t laundering money for the sake of laundering money.”

    Another former agency official, who asked not to be identified speaking publicly about delicate operations, said, “My rule was that if we are going to launder money, we better show results. Otherwise, the D.E.A. could wind up being the largest money launderer in the business, and that money results in violence and deaths.”

    Those are precisely the kinds of concerns members of Congress have raised about a gun-smuggling operation known as Fast and Furious, in which agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed people suspected of being low-level smugglers to buy and transport guns across the border in the hope that they would lead to higher-level operatives working for Mexican cartels. After the agency lost track of hundreds of weapons, some later turned up in Mexico; two were found on the United States side of the border where an American Border Patrol agent had been shot to death.

Understandably, DEA officials are trying to quash any comparisons between the DEA’s “Moneywalker” operation and the Gunwalker scandal already enveloping the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security, Treasury, and the White House.

Both the gunwalking and money-laundering operations would seem to require multi-agency coordination across several cabinet-level departments. Both appear to be in clear violation of federal criminal statutes, especially if the correct waivers were not obtained. And it appears neither scheme could have been approved without high level approval from within the Justice Department, probably coordinated at a high level with Treasury and Homeland Security.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa has been at the forefront of investigating Operation Fast and Furious, and was quick to notice the parallels between that operation and the DEA’s money laundering. He is now expanding the probe [5] to encompass the money-laundering operation as well:

    In a Monday letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Issa announced he’s investigating the allegations made against the DEA in the New York Times article.

    “As you are fully aware, since March of this year, I have been investigating the reckless tactics — in particular gunwalking — used in ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious,” Issa wrote. “That operation, which you personally acknowledged was ‘fundamentally flawed,’ failed spectacularly to meet its objective of bring down Mexican drug cartels. Precisely because the ends do not justify the means, the law limits the conduct alleged in this story.”

    “Apparently, this same goal of dismantling Mexican drug cartels motivated the Drug Enforcement Administration in aiding and abetting these same cartels in laundering millions of dollars in cash,” Issa continued. “In fact, The New York Times reports that agents needed to seek Department approval to launder amounts greater than $10 million in any single operation.”

    Issa wrote that, according to the report, many agents said the $10 million requirement was frequently “waived” because it was treated more like a guideline. He said that means “hundreds of millions of dollars” could’ve been “laundered” into the hands of drug cartels by the Obama administration and Holder’s Justice Department.

Several thousand guns were provided to cartels in ten alleged gunwalking operations, and hundreds of millions of dollars were potentially laundered on their behalf. All of it was orchestrated in the Justice Department, apparently at the highest levels. This strongly suggests that not only does Eric Holder bear responsibility for these operations, but so does much of the DOJ’s long-term bureaucracy as well. The attorney general can certainly approve such operations, but the volume of guns walked and dollars laundered could not have taken place without the direct knowledge of long-term, high-level DOJ managers.

When the nation’s cops have become criminals, where can you turn?

Article printed from PJ Media: http://pjmedia.com

URL to article: http://pjmedia.com/blog/gunwalkers-cousin-moneywalker/

URLs in this post:

[1] laundering and smuggling: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/04/world/americas/us-drug-agents-launder-profits-of-mexican-cartels.html?_r=3&pagewanted=all

[2] Mexico: http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/mexico/index.html?inline=nyt-geo

[3] drug cartels: http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/mexico/drug_trafficking/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier

[4] Drug Enforcement Administration: http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/d/drug_enforcement_administration/index.html?inline=nyt-org

[5] expanding the probe: http://dailycaller.com/2011/12/05/issa-demands-info-from-holder-after-report-that-justice-smuggled-millions-to-cartels/
 

cupper

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Zetas are using their military experience to develop their approach to business apparently. Setting up their own comms.

Mexico Busts Drug Cartels' Private Phone Networks

http://www.npr.org/2011/12/09/143442365/mexico-busts-drug-cartels-private-phone-networks

The Mexican military has recently broken up several secret telecommunications networks that were built and controlled by drug cartels so they could coordinate drug shipments, monitor their rivals and orchestrate attacks on the security forces.

A network that was dismantled just last week provided cartel members with cellphone and radio communications across four northeastern states. The network had coverage along almost 500 miles of the Texas border and extended nearly another 500 miles into Mexico's interior.

Soldiers seized 167 antennas, more than 150 repeaters and thousands of cellphones and radios that operated on the system. Some of the remote antennas and relay stations were powered with solar panels.


 

a_majoor

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A retired General's view (part 1):

http://www.michaelyon-online.com/mexico-a-very-interesting-talk-by-general-ret.-barry-mccaffrey.htm

Mexico: Drugs, Crime and the Rule of Law

Barry R, McCaffrey, General, USA (Retired)

Presentation to:

The US Army War College Center for Strategic Leadership and George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute

“The Hybrid Threat: Crime, Terrorism, and Insurgency in Mexico”

Let me thank you for the kind introduction. That was very generous. And more importantly, let me thank you for the opportunity to be here. I really came because I wanted to hear the two panels. You have brought together a number of people I have enormous respect for and who really understand the issues.

To set up remarks for the remainder of the session today, I must confess a bias. In my mind, the most important nations to the U.S. today in terms of economic health, in terms of political realities, in terms of our future—are Canada and Mexico. With us, they constitute this giant economic basket. To a very large extent, we have enjoyed a tradition of open borders, allowing for the free movement of goods and services across a huge economic zone that was formalized by NAFTA[1]. I would also tell you that, when we examine our relationship with Canada and Mexico, we are taking into account 100 million-plus people who are central to our economic well being.

When you look at the United States, 307 million people who comprise the wealthiest society in the history of the world, and you look internally at how we keep this unprecedented prosperity going, a lot of it is based on immigration. Whether it is Nigerian petroleum engineers, Russian bridge engineers, Polish aviation engineers—we reap the benefit of a huge amount of intellectual talent that comes by way of immigration into the United States. They arrive just like many of our forbearers, with little else than hope and talent…and like those forbearers, they have done, and will do, okay.

But the inescapable fact is that 10 to 12 million of those migrants (depending upon the numbers you want to believe) are here illegally. And the majority of those are Central American and Mexican laborers. They are growing our food, providing for the foundation of our construction industries, and running our daycare centers. Increasingly they are getting Green Cards[2], gaining U.S. citizenship and voting. They are buying businesses. That is all to their credit. To our shame too many of these people incapable of going to the police and asking for protection, not receiving minimum wage, not working under OSHA[3] safety standards, and are unable to wire money home to their mother (which is why they came here in the first place). All while carrying a significant portion of our economic vitality on their backs.

These things figure prominently when we start talking about counterterrorism or counterdrug activities or border control, because until you recognize that you have a million people a day crossing the border from Mexico—legally or illegally—we’re still talking about a half-million or more moving across the frontier. So, we have to regularize immigration, without which very little of the discussion that follows makes much sense.

In that discussion, I will tell you that I am an unabashed friend of Mexico’s. When you look inside Mexico, filled as it were with a hardworking, humble, spiritual people—terrific businessmen, terrific friends—we find a culture that has permeated much of the United States. This is true in terms of food, music, and language; in fact, the only language (other than English) you can speak in the United States—freely, anywhere in the country, and be answered immediately—is Spanish. The inter-penetration of our two cultures that has been beneficial to both of our peoples.

Our response and interaction on a people-to-people basis is extremely positive. There is an enormous affinity shared between the Mexican and American people, both along the border and throughout the country. But on an official level, for hundreds of years, there has been a tremendous anxiety—bordering on paranoia, on the part of Mexico. The classic saying, “Poor Mexico: So far from God… So close to the United States,” is indicative of this “official divide” that is not manifested in a “personal divide” between us. And I think a corresponding position on the part of official Mexico calls for a frank discussion of the political realities will be a harmful thing because it will negatively affect foreign investment and tourism.

So the dialogue between the United States and Mexico, outside of the last ten years, has been based upon a combination of U.S. ignorance and arrogance, and Mexican paranoia…and that does not lead to sensible policy. And the problem is exacerbated by chasing policies that are based on what I consider to be a misnomer. What we are facing now in Mexico is not a “war on drugs.” It goes well beyond that. What’s happening in Mexico is a struggle to establish the rule of law; not just on a police and military level, but also on a cultural level. We are struggling with a contradiction: on the one hand, you are trying to create a society that is internally democratic and self-governing; on the other hand, a significant element of that society has operated with impunity under the law. The short-term problem—chief among the realities they’re facing in Mexico—is that somewhere between $19-$35 billion a year of drug-related commerce is being generated there. The numbers vary depending on your source, but the impact is clear. That amount of money is a blowtorch that melts democratic institutions. It establishes a level of violence…a sophistication of violence…that is perpetuated in and among 120,000 people directly involved with the drug cartels.

Some of them are organized in platoon- and company-sized units—and I use those phrases provocatively to tell you that we are dealing with 50 to 70 people with automatic weapons, RPGs[4], other military-grade grenades, machine guns, and 50-caliber anti-aircraft guns, who will engage in direct firefights and engagements with Mexican Marines and Soldiers. And they will abduct squad-sized units of the Army and the Federal Police, torture them to death, decapitate them, and leave them as provocative gestures. And they will abduct Mexican general officers and murder them, and leave them with a sign around their necks. They have created an internal atmosphere of intimidation that is so pronounced that, in some ways, it has become impossible for local police (and to some extent state police) to deal with it. It is some kind of threat.

How many people have died at the hands of these elements? Again, the numbers vary with the sources you choose; but one could safely posit 42,000 murders during the current struggle to establish the rule of law.

To reiterate, it’s more than just drugs. It’s also prostitution, abuse of women in the immigrant population, violation of commercial control laws, and potentially (although I don’t think this is a dominant concern) it bears an associated threat with terrorism.

As Frank (Cilluffo) mentioned, we have just been through a Congressional hearing[5] surrounding a report I recently released[6] with (Major General–Retired) Bob Scales. As the hearing progressed the focus shifted to the cartel’s cross-border drug activity. There were a lot of sparks flying, with U.S. Congressmen in denial over this situation; but basically, I think, there is an unwillingness to accept the fact that the problem is not just internal to Mexico.
 

a_majoor

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Part 2:

http://www.michaelyon-online.com/mexico-a-very-interesting-talk-by-general-ret.-barry-mccaffrey.htm

You have to start with the fact that there are seven major cartels and forty or so subsidiary groups which, combined, represent a peril to the United States. Yes, Stupid, they do. There are 280 some-odd cities in the United States whose dominant organized crime activity is Mexican cartel. They have associates in more than a thousand cities. I just did a seminar for the Portland (Oregon) Police. They are facing a Mexican cartel activity. I participated in the Alameda County “Urban Shield” exercise. They house another Mexican cartel activity. The cartel and their gang foot soldiers are all over the country. They are armed, they are dangerous, and instinctively (because they are a business) they don’t want to confront the FBI.

You and I ought to thank God for the FBI, because the other threat to U.S. democracy associated with the ones we are dealing with here is corruption. You know, when you are talking about the amount of money being offered at this level, it’s not “silver or lead” being thrown up against a U.S. Border Patrol agent—it’s silver. And we’ve had some problems because of it.

Some of our institutions are almost impossible to penetrate: not totally impossible, of course; but when you consider the Coast Guard, the FBI, the Marshall Service, the U.S. Air Force (with regard to radar operators)—it’s pretty hard to penetrate our institutions. That impenetrable nature keeps those institutions from crumbling.

But that cross-border threat from Mexico is real, and—as I said—is using gangs in America as its foot soldiers. There are 30,000 gangs in America, with a million gang members in them. In Texas alone there are 18,000 gang members. And unwittingly, we are contributing to their numbers. The United States has some 2.1 million people in our prisons—nearly the highest incarceration rate on the face of the Earth. Within those prisons we are providing a means for these gangs to socialize, recruit and expand. When the incarcerated leave the prisons (and we turn out a half million every year) many of them are schooled and prepared to enter into the Mexican cartels’ activities. We have found that to be particularly true along the southwest border. And the ranks of the foot soldiers grow, with guns and power distributed from the rural communities of the southwest to the streets of our major metropolitan areas.

And by the way, these are not hierarchical organizations. This is not an ideological struggle. This isn’t a religious struggle. It’s a criminal struggle. And that’s the threat we are facing.

Now we put something in the report that raised ire and anxiety in the law enforcement community.  We said the conditions along the Texas border are like “working in a war zone.” That doesn’t mean El Paso, that island of tranquility that stands as the Geneva of the Southwest. The zone we are talking about is at “the end of the fence,” where people are crossing the border in gangs of 20 or 30 people with automatic weapons, cutting fences, intimidating ranchers, and abducting people. We had a wonderful Texas veterinarian rancher, Dr. Mike Vickers, testifying at the hearing, and he said, “Well, you know, in my county alone there were maybe 600 homicides in the last several years, primarily Mexican migrants crossing that frontier—absent the protection of U.S. law.”

We have completely, inadequately resourced the control of our own frontiers with federal law enforcement. This isn’t a military operation…that “working in a war zone” comment didn’t come from me—it came from a Texas Ranger…and a similar comment came from one of the border communities’ Sheriffs. If you put together those border counties in Texas, and said “you are now a state,” it would be the poorest state in the union, bar none. And it would rank number 1 in federal crimes recorded. We’ve got a struggle going on in the frontier. And the frontiers are inadequately resourced.

We’re doing better. Thank God for Janet Napolitano and Judge Chertoff and Tom Ridge who have led the building of a Department of Homeland Security that is effectively the third largest department in the government. We have consolidated law enforcement organizations. We have put $40 billion-plus a year into their works. So a lot of good has happened. When Mark Coomer[7]—who intellectually propped me up through several assignments in life—and I were working on the Colombia issue, we had—I think—approximately 4,000 people on the U.S. Border Patrol. That was it. And now we are up, I think, to 19,000[8]. I tell people that the right answer is 45,000 people on the U.S. Border Patrol…and the Attorney General—for budget reasons and programmatic issues—will ask, “Well, General, what are the analytical underpinnings to your argument calling for that number?” Underpinnings? I just made the number up out of whole cloth! 45,000 was the high water mark number of the NYPD and its civilian component.[9] They’re protecting 8 million Americans. How would you expect to control 5,000 miles of Canadian frontier, a couple of thousand miles of Mexican border, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Gulf Coast states with less than that number?

Nonsense. We have not yet created the institutions of domestic security that we need along the borders. And by the way, you can’t just count on uniformed officers of the law. You have to include the justice system in the ultimate equation, along with detention capabilities and a host of other functions. If you end up with a Mexican family being used as surrogate mules for drug smuggling, you can’t just turn them back to Mexico…you have to have some legal resolution that will incorporate all these functions and more. We haven’t built that capacity yet.

Finally—what do you do about it all? If I was running for public office I would want to now proceed to tell you whatever you wanted to hear. But since this is such a complicated issue involving such a broad diversity of people, you can’t offer a quick message with a single solution. I think that one of the things you have to do is to hit upon a decent strategy to approach the complexities. When we used to talk about complicated strategies of these sorts at the Kennedy School in Harvard, we sought after an architectural framework on which to hang our policies. The framework would necessarily include the resources that will be required to carry out the concepts you are trying to convey and apply, and the ends you are trying to achieve. I make no argument against Iraq, Afghanistan and other foreign terrorist operations we have undertaken; but right now the economic “burn rate” in Afghanistan is $10 billion a month. We are running 300 to 1,000 killed and wounded a month. And it’s a pretty primitive and desperate struggle being executed 7,000 miles away from home, with 150,000 NATO troops. Compare that to the expenditures being devoted to the requirements we are addressing here.

The Merida Initiative[10] is the biggest slice of those expenditures to date. All told, it has cost $1.3 billion over the last three years. We have given the Mexicans 11 helicopters so far. Are we kidding ourselves? Colombia has experienced a night-and-day change—primarily because of the courage of the Colombian people, the Colombian National Police, and the Colombian Armed Forces. President Santos Calderón had me down there a year ago to witness the change. The last time I was there in public office in 2001 there were a couple thousand people in my security detachment, because it would have been considered embarrassing to have had me “whacked” on my farewell visit. When I visited last year, there were a dozen of these professional security officers. You could drive all over the country. The ELN[11], a goofy group of Marxists, is coming apart…they’re disappearing. The FARC[12] is overwhelmingly repudiated by the Colombian people. The Plan Colombia story is a good one…but a lot of the reason is that we stood with them, often to the tune of a billion dollars a year for several years. We gave, for instance, 250 aircraft and other means that allowed the Colombian national police to establish the rule of law across the one-third of the country where it had been lacking.

It is a success story. Earlier some of us were reminiscing over the work that we had done in support of the Plan. Once I was at a Congressional hearing, with 14 Representatives who spanned from the far-left to the far-right. All of them badgered me and whined and sniveled for the entire four-hour hearing; and then all of them voted for Plan Colombia. Afterwards we went with a bi-partisan delegation down to Colombia, with the Republican Speaker of the House and the President of the United States on hand to sign that treaty.

There is a similarity here. And what I am suggesting is that, besides immigration reform, besides border control, I think what we need to do is to provide better support to the government of Mexico. There is no danger of a failed state there—in spite of alarms to the contrary. You are not going to be able to take down the Mexican Marines and Army in a firefight with 70 narco-terrorists. That’s not going to happen.

But the question is, when the new Administration comes in—whether the PAN[13] or the PRI[14]—are they going to come to an accommodation with these criminals and dismiss our concerns as a “gringo problem, not our problem”?

That would, of course, constitute a disaster for the rule of law in Mexico…but it would also be a huge problem for us. So we need, it seems to me, to demonstrably stand with these brave men and women in Mexico—to include the media, local police, local mayors, business leaders—all of whom now stand on the edge.

It is time for us to come out of the state of denial. Some of this is normal, bureaucratic behavior. If you come in with a critical evaluation of any issue, the tendency of an Administration—U.S., Mexican or what have you—is to roll up in a ball and deny the critique. In the hearing last week I called for a coherent strategy for border security. There is no unifying strategy for the border. We are better off with DHS, thank God; having an agency that is overseeing and coordinating the issues is essential. But you still run into these bizarre things; for instance, where the Border Patrol for the longest time was forbidden to set foot on Department of the Interior land. Now I think they have to “negotiate” their arrival to the same one to three days ahead of the requirement. What are we thinking? I recently heard that the Border Patrol responded directly to an unnamed television media inquiry having to do with the situation on the border by saying “I’m sorry we can’t take you out there. We’re not allowed to demonstrate that the 2011 Department of Justice threat report is valid.” We’re in denial. And we have to get over it.

We have got to decide what is important to America; and that, it seems to me, is to work coherently with both Canada and Mexico on a range of these inter-related issues. And I think we will.

So again, Frank, thanks to you and Bert for allowing me to make these opening comments, and I look forward to learning from the subsequent discussions.

[1] North American Free Trade Agreement

[2] The “Green Card” is issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Its holder is someone who has been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis.

[3] Occupational Safety and Health Administration, of the United States Department of Labor

[4] Rocket Propelled Grenades

[5] House of Representatives Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Management, “A Call to Action: Narco-Terrorism’s Threat to the Southern U.S. Border,” 14 October, 2011

[6] “Texas Border Security: A Strategic Military Assessment,” Barry R. McCaffrey, Robert H. Scales, September 2011, commissioned by the Texas Department of Agriculture

[7] Mark C, Coomer, COL, USA(RET), currently the Director of Homeland Security and Defense Business Development, ITT Corporation

[8] There are currently over 20,000 agents in the U.S. Border Patrol

[9] The number of uniformed police officers in the NYPD peaked in October 2000 with 40,800 officers

[10] The Merida Initiative is described by the Department of State as the multi-year program demonstrating “the United States' commitment to work in partnership with governments in Mexico, the nations of Central America, the Dominican Republic and Haiti to confront criminal organizations whose illicit actions undermine public safety, erode the rule of law, and threaten the national security of the United States.” To date, some $465 million in equipment and training has been delivered under Merida.  In 2011 roughly half a billion dollars in equipment and capacity building programs will be delivered.

[11] National Liberation Army (Ejército de Lieberación Nacional)

[12] Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia)

[13] The National Action Party (Partido Acción Nacional)

[14] Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional)
 

Fishbone Jones

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Of course, he didn't speak to Obama's administration arming these gangsters and thugs with automatic weapons that the BATF and Homeland Security bought in the US and then sent across the border to the Mexican cartels. He also didn't speak about the US Border Service guards that have been killed with these same guns.

I hate it that 'Fast and Furious' is not gaining any traction in the States, either in the MSM or in Congress. :rage:
 

a_majoor

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Furiously tapdancing around the issue and trying to keep "Fast and Furious" buried:

http://pjmedia.com/blog/fast-and-furious-three-questions-not-asked/?print=1

Fast and Furious: Three Questions Not Asked
Posted By Bob Owens On February 6, 2012 @ 12:01 am In Uncategorized | 87 Comments

Attorney General Eric Holder provided a sixth unsatisfactory performance in front of Congress this past week, dodging questions about the nation’s deadly gunrunning scandal.

To date, the media has largely buried the story of the Department of Justice scheme that contributed to the deaths of a federal agent and more than 300 Mexican citizens. Such a story would have held front-page, top-of-the-hour focus until answers were provided and officials had been hounded out of office or imprisoned had it occurred under a Republican administration.

But Barack Obama is a Democrat, and black. Also, Eric Holder is a Democrat, and black. It is inconceivable for the mainstream media to grill the decisions, motives, or goals of black Democrats for fear of being “racist” according to their own definition of the term, which is criticism of a minority member who professes the “correct” political ideology. Radically different rules apply for minority Republicans.

Whether Operation Fast and Furious was a legitimate law enforcement operation, as the Department of Justice claims, or was part of a plot to impose gun control, it was radically different from all other border gun operations in one crucial way. Operation Fast and Furious was the only border gun operation that was undertaken with the full intention of the straw-purchased guns leaving the control of law enforcement officers and reaching the armories of drug cartel murderers. That fact alone should lead to the impeachment or administrative removal of everyone, from field agents to political appointees and elected officials that knew or should have known about the plot.

But that is only half of the horror story.

Operation Fast and Furious was specifically conceived so that “walked” guns would be recovered at crime scenes in Mexico. Their serial numbers would be provided to the ATF by Mexican authorities for tracing. Regardless of motive, the entire operation was premised on weapons being recovered at crime scenes in Mexico, and law enforcement agencies are well aware that criminals primarily abandon weapons only after they’ve been used in serious felony crimes such as murder or attempted murder.

Operation Fast and Furious was conceived knowing that Mexican nationals would be sacrificed in significant numbers if the tracing operation had any chance of working.

Operation Fast and Furious allowed more than 2,000 weapons to “walk,” indicating that those in charge of the operation were willing to let thousands of Mexican nationals die in an effort to identify the ringleaders of a cartel’s weapon acquisition team.

The Department of Justice claims that they did this so that they could trace the weapons to higher-ups in the cartels and take down entire gun-smuggling networks. Decent people can disagree on many aspects of crime fighting and the amount of risk we should be willing to absorb to fight crime, but we should all agree that no criminal network is worth sacrificing the lives of hundreds or thousands of victims.  Yet that is precisely the way Operation Fast and Furious was designed to work.

The first question is obvious, and yet remains unasked by the media and unanswered by the Obama administration and Department of Justice:

Who conceived this radical departure from normal law enforcement practices? Who conceived an operation that depended upon the deaths of hundreds or thousands of Mexican nationals for its success?

But as disturbing as the conception of the plot was, it was merely an idea, if one that most would agree is objectively evil in design. It should have died stillborn on the proverbial drawing board. Somehow, this idea was not just allowed, but someone with significant political and operational clout within the Justice Department was able to shepherd this high-risk and inarguably lethal program from idea through planning and budgeting into execution. This strongly suggests high-level sponsorship within the Department of Justice. This demands answers to a second question:

Which Department of Justice officials saw that Operation Fast and Furious was dependent on hundreds or thousands of firearms being given to the cartels and recovered at the scenes of crimes, knew that the crimes in question were likely to be murders of Mexican nationals or U.S. citizens along the Mexican border where the cartels operate, and approved the operation anyway?

We know that Operation Fast and Furious depended entirely upon hundred or thousands of walked weapons being recovered at crime scenes so that weapons could be traced, and that those crime scenes would almost certainly be murders. We know that such a high-risk, low-reward program could not have been conceived or approved at a local level, and that it must have had high-level sponsorship within Justice. It is reasonable to make the assumption, unless proven otherwise, that such approval could only come from the level of a deputy attorney general or higher.

President Barack Obama is the very definition of a “political creature,” vaulting through local and state politics to the U.S. Senate and into the presidency at phenomenal speed. He knows that liabilities are to be relentlessly purged, and he did so repeatedly to separate himself from old allies and even mentors in his 2008 political campaign. Sentimental he is not.

He is also well aware that an ongoing, long-term political scandal is just the kind of public relations nightmare he does not need as he enters his reelection campaign season in earnest. Once the Republican primary battle is over and the stage is set for the general election battle, the political and legal spectacle of Operation Fast and Furious will be brought to the forefront by the Republican challenger or by one of the super PACs. Operation Fast and Furious is a serious and unresolved problem that endangers his second term as seriously as a problematic economy.

Any competent political operative within the Obama campaign would want the scandal surrounding Operation Fast and Furious resolved as quickly as possible to remove it as a weapon against Obama’s election. Fair or foul, cutting your losses is how the game is played, and it is miraculous that Attorney General Eric Holder still retains the president’s support after the allegations of Operation Fast and Furious and various other scandals that are emerging at precisely the wrong time.

This leads us to a third question:

Knowing that Operation Fast and Furious could be the political and criminal albatross that drives away moderates and Latino voters and destroys his chances of winning a second term, why does President Obama refuse to appoint a special prosecutor or, at the very least, call for Eric Holder and his direct reports to resign?

Considering the president’s close relationship with the attorney general, it is possible that Mr. Obama simply does not want to turn on a friend and political ally. There is also the possibility, however, that Mr. Holder is quite well below the person who approved the operation and was aware of it. Evidence suggests that White House officials may have been briefed on the operation. It is conceivable that the attorney general holds evidence that assures he will not be forced out.

These are intriguing questions, and each demands a thorough explanation.

If the media were interested in some sort of objective view of reality that most non-ideologues could easily confuse with something akin to truth, they would only need to relentlessly seek the answers to these three questions on which a presidency may indeed turn.

Article printed from PJ Media: http://pjmedia.com

URL to article: http://pjmedia.com/blog/fast-and-furious-three-questions-not-asked/
 

tomahawk6

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The story is out and its not likely to get buried.Congress will continue to keep this alive throughout the year.Alot of people feel that this operation started in the White House and Holder is the link.If they can get hard evidence then the President is in a real tight spot having committed an impeachable offense.In reality without a Republican majority in the Senate impeaching Obama isnt going to happen.
 

cupper

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Overlooking the fact that Fast & Furious was the 6th such operation carried out by ATF dating back to 2006 (or earlier).

There are only two reasons this is even a story.

1. It's an election year with a Democrat in the Whitehouse.

2. An ATF agent was killed with the same weapons that were being "walked".

If the second reason hadn't occurred, this wouldn't be a story.
 

Rifleman62

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http://www.military.com/news/article/navy-seal-named-military-attache-to-mexico.html?ESRC=topstories.RSS

Navy SEAL Named Military Attache to Mexico

March 13, 2012
Houston Chronicle|by Dudley Althaus

MEXICO CITY -- The U.S. government has dispatched a career Navy SEAL and anti-terrorism expert to the U.S. embassy in Mexico City to serve as liaison with Mexican troops waging war on gangsters.

Rear Adm. Colin Kilrain, a former senior commander of the U.S. Navy's special forces who last year worked on anti-terrorism for the National Security Council, recently took up the post of military attache. He arrives amid a rising debate over the role and effectiveness of Mexico's military in President Felipe Calderon's anti-gangster campaign.

"It is an interesting choice," U.S. political scientist Roderic Camp, who has specialized in Mexico's military, said of Kilrain's appointment. "From the U.S. point of view, it is placing someone there who has special skills and experiences complementary to battling the cartels."

A champion wrestler at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, Kilrain joined the SEALs after graduating in the early 1980s. Since 2001, he's been involved in counterterrorism activities, serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere.

Prior to his assignment at the National Security Council, Kilrain was commander of Naval Special Warfare Group Two in Norfolk, Va., which coordinates SEAL activities in Europe and the Americas. Married to a former Navy flier and NASA astronaut, he was promoted last year to rear admiral.

While they report to an ambassador, U.S. military attaches are managed by the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency. Their job is to monitor a country's armed forces, said Army Lt. Col. Robert Kirkland, who wrote a book about Cold War-era U.S. military attaches in Latin America.

Future uncertain

Generals or admirals traditionally have been assigned as embassy attaches only in Russia and China, Kirkland said. For that reason alone, Kilrain's posting to Mexico "is significant," he said.

Kilrain will serve in Mexico under Ambassador Anthony Wayne, who arrived here last summer after a stint as second-in-command of the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan.

"It's a development that is part and parcel of the larger concern and focus on Mexico by the United States," said Kirkland, who teaches military science at the University of Southern California.

Under the Merida Initiative begun under the Bush Administration, the U.S. government has committed $1.6 billion to support Calderon's anti-crime efforts. Most of that aid has been earmarked for military-style equipment and training for Mexico's federal security forces.

Calderon leaves office Dec. 1. The three candidates vying to replace him have all signaled they favor scaling back, if not ending, military involvement in gang wars. The drug war carnage has claimed more than 50,000 lives -- most in gangland-style executions and shootouts -- since Calderon unleashed troops against the criminal syndicates five years ago.

Shock troops

With Mexico's local and state police often bought off or otherwise overwhelmed by the gangsters, as many as 60,000 Mexican soldiers and marines have been deployed against the criminal gangs. In the past several years, elite units of Mexico's naval infantry, or marines, have been used as shock troops against the gangsters, especially priority targets.

The marines killed top gang boss Arturo Beltran Leyva in December 2009 in a U.S.-assisted operation in Cuernavaca, 50 miles from Mexico City.

A secret memo from the Mexico City embassy, published 15 months ago by WikiLeaks, was critical of the Mexican army's performance in anti-gang operations while praising naval efforts. The memo, written by the embassy's recently departed second in command, reportedly infuriated Mexican army commanders. Then-U.S. Ambassador Carlos Pascual's was removed last year at Calderon's request.
 

a_majoor

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Fast and Furious begins unwinding to its inevitable messy conclusion. Read carefully the limited set of circumstances that "executive privilage" can legally be invoked, and you can see lots of people may fear being tossed under the bus now that the issue is gaining traction:

http://news.investors.com/article/615584/201206201901/obama-asserts-fast-and-furious-executive-privilege.htm

Obama's Executive Privilege Has The Stench Of Cover-Up
Thu, Jun 21 2012 00:00:00 E A12_ISSUES

Posted 06/20/2012 07:01 PM ET

Scandal: The president illegally asserts executive privilege to protect an attorney general who's either a clueless political hack, malevolent or both, withholding answers of who is responsible for a Border Patrol agent's death.

President Obama's contempt for the rule of law hit a new low when, on the eve of a vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, he granted his AG's 11th-hour request to hide sought-after documents on Operation Fast and Furious under the cover of executive privilege.

"I write now to inform you that the president has asserted executive privilege over the relevant post-Feb. 4, 2011, documents," Deputy Attorney General James Cole says in a letter that GOP Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa received just before Wednesday's hearing and vote, a letter that apparently was not mentioned in a last-minute meeting between Issa and Holder Tuesday night.

Or maybe it wasn't the 11th hour at all, but just a long-planned final gambit in the cover-up of who made the decisions in a federally sponsored effort to provide Mexican drug cartels with sophisticated American firearms and who is ultimately responsible for the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry with these weapons?

As Fox News anchor Brit Hume recently noted, speaking of Fast and Furious on the web-exclusive "Panel Plus" segment of "Fox News Sunday," "The stench of cover-up on this gun-running operation is very strong indeed."

Executive privilege, as Issa noted in his opening remarks, can only be asserted when it involves direct presidential decision-making and communications. It cannot be invoked, legally, to prevent others in the chain of command from explaining their actions or responding to requests for information on their decisions in which the president is not involved.

Back in February 2011, Assistant Attorney General Ron Welch, in response to the investigations by Rep. Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley of the Fast and Furious gun-"walking" program run out of ATF's Phoenix office, wrote a letter stating that the "allegation that ATF 'sanctioned' or otherwise knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons ... is false."

Later, Deputy Attorney General Cole, in another letter to Congress, wrote: "Facts have come to light during the course of this investigation that indicate the Feb. 4 letter contains inaccuracies." In other words, the Department of Justice lied to Congress. The cover-up continues with the invocation of executive privilege.

Committee member Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., spoke in written remarks about the active intimidation of ATF agents and potential witnesses in the Fast and Furious probe by high officials at the Department of Justice. As we have reported, some ATF agents have already testified that Fast and Furious and its variants were no accident.

"Allowing loads of weapons that we knew to be destined for criminals — this was the plan," ATF Agent John Dodson told Issa's committee. "It was so mandated." ATF agent Olindo James Casa said that "on several occasions I personally requested to interdict or seize firearms, but I was always ordered to stand down and not to seize the firearms."

Fast and Furious has become worse than Watergate. No one died at Watergate. Just what is in those documents that Obama and Holder so desperately want to hide? Brian Terry's family and the American people deserve answers.
 

cupper

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But by invoking it, and the GOP taking the bait, it diverts the talk away from the economy. And it also kicks the can down the road, as it will all be moot after the election anyway.

But David Frum makes a good point here: Perhaps the GOP should start talking to people other than their own supporters.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/06/21/fast-and-furious-inside-joke.html
 

a_majoor

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Huge graphic but well worth downloading:

http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/07/13/mexican-drug-cartels-spreading-influence-graphic/
 

a_majoor

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Mexican civilians rise up and take back their villages. Civilization takes another point against barbarism. More proof *we* need to receate or strengthen high trust neighbourhoods wherever we live and work:

Clip from Instapundit, full article behind subscriber wall at the WSJ

WELL, TO BE FAIR, WHAT HAS THE LAW DONE FOR THEM, LATELY? Mexico’s Masked Vigilantes Defy Drug Gangs—And the Law.

A dozen villages in the area have risen up in armed revolt against local drug traffickers that have terrorized the region and a government that residents say is incapable of protecting them from organized crime.

The villages in the hilly southern Mexican state of Guerrero now forbid the Mexican army and state and federal police from entering. Ragtag militias carrying a motley arsenal of machetes, old hunting rifles and the occasional AR-15 semiautomatic rifle control the towns. Strangers aren’t allowed entry. There is a 10 p.m. curfew. More than 50 prisoners, accused of being in drug gangs, sit in makeshift jails. Their fates hinge on public trials that began Thursday when the accused were arraigned before villagers, who will act as judge and jury.

Crime is way down—for the moment, at least. Residents say kidnapping ceased when the militias took charge, as did the extortions that had become the scourge of businessmen and farmers alike. The leader of one militia group, who uses the code name G-1 but was identified by his compatriots as Gonzalo Torres, puts it this way: “We brought order back to a place where there had been chaos. We were able to do in 15 days what the government was not able to do in years.”

It’s not as pretty as the orderly function of a bourgeois liberal society. But that wasn’t among the options. . . .
 
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