Wednesday, August 31, 2011

SNAFU: Fast and Furious

This post is about our longest contiguous declared war: the war on drugs. I find it always amusingly amazing that we talk about a war on terror and a war on drugs as if they could possibly be real things. Wars, by definition, I think, are between armed parties. So really, drugs and terror being ubiquitous and eternal, are perfect for funneling money into the hands of an elite group of criminals.

But I digress.

Try to work your way to the end of this post, because that's where the real outrage IMO lies.

The acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Kenneth Melson took the fall for the ill-conceived Fast and Furious gun tracing program on Tuesday. But his departure is far from a clean break between the Obama administration and an operation that allowed over 2,000 guns to "walk" from US gunshops into the hands of Mexican cartels.


"There’s a lot of blame to go around," said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) of Iowa. "As our investigation moves forward, and we get to the bottom of this policy, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more fall out beyond the resignations and new assignments announced today."

The two officials reassigned by the Justice Department were Dennis Burke, the US attorney in Arizona who had been involved with the operation, and another Arizona investigator who was demoted from criminal case work to civil litigation.

Christian Science Monitor

This goes way beyond mere “blowback” – the CIA’s terminology for actions that produce unintended and unpleasant consequences. Because it’s hard to fathom exactly what was intended – unless it was the desire to sow chaos in Mexico and create a new threat to US citizens in the border states.


I’ve heard the official explanation – this was supposedly a plan to somehow entrap drug cartel chieftains – but it rings false when one realizes that this “mandate” involved the smuggling of thousands of guns, including assault rifles. Enough to equip a small army.


The US government has a horrific record in Latin America, and this history is well-known: during the cold war era, Washington armed and trained “death squads” throughout South and Central America, whose well-documented massacres must turn the stomach of any civilized human being. The “contras,” the Salvadoran rightist gangs, as well as our favored caudillos – all received shipments of arms, as well as other assistance, from their US patrons. How is “Operation Fast and Furious” any different?


It turns out that the arms benefited the Sinaloa cartel [...] another indication that the “entrapment” explanation is a cover story, and a not very believable one at that. If the idea was to entrap Mexican drug lords in a “sting” operation, then why focus on the Sinaloa gang to the exclusion of all others?


The embattled Mexican government has barely been able to keep order, as the cartels rampage through the country, slaughtering thousands and dominating entire provinces: dead bodies keep turning up in droves, and it seems like a day hardly passes without some spectacular display of violence in a major Mexican city. Whole police forces are deserting, not out of disloyalty but out of fear – fear that the government is losing its grip and the drug cartels are about to take over.

In this context, to put thousands of weapons in the hands of highly-organized criminals is inconceivable – unless the plan is to bring the Mexican government down and create chaos.

Justin Raimondo

I have to admit, he has a point.

The best place to investigate this that I know of is Narco News…

Fast and Furious has come under fire because, as part of a strategy aimed at targeting higher-ups in the weapons- and narco-trafficking business, it allegedly allowed some 2,000 or more firearms illegally purchased in the U.S. to “walk” (or be smuggled under ATF’s watch) across the border, where they helped to fuel the murder rate in Mexico, ATF whistleblowers contend.


At a minimum, it seems clear that the Fast and Furious tactic of allowing guns to be purchased and smuggled into Mexico was designed, even if seriously flawed, to snare higher-ups in the Mexican narco-trafficking organizations, which is in line with the larger DOJ Southwest Border Strategy advanced by [former U.S. Attorney General David] Ogden — and which he presented to Congress in his March 2009 testimony. It would seem Congressional leaders, as part of their oversight responsibilities, had a duty at that time to question Ogden about the tactics that would be used to implement the border strategy.


Ogden became Deputy Attorney General (and the top gun of OCDETF program] on March 12, 2009. He stepped down from the post to re-enter private law practice at WilmerHale in Washington, D.C., effective Feb. 4, 2010.


At a minimum, it seems Ogden, the second-highest-ranking official at DOJ when ATF’s Fast and Furious kicked off, should be a person of interest within the sweep of any investigation into the operation, yet his name has not surfaced in that light, to date, in the mainstream media coverage of the scandal.

Narco News / Bill Conroy

Narco News as far back as June of 2010 reported that a special forces US task force had “boots on the ground” in Mexico assisting the Mexican military in tracking down the top capos of Mexico’s major drug “cartels” – such as the Juarez, Beltran Leyva, Zetas and La Familia organizations. (The Sinaloa organization’s top leadership, however, has been left largely untouched, and by design if you believe the recent US court pleadings of Vicente Zambada Niebla, a Sinaloa leader now imprisoned in Chicago who claims a quid pro quo deal has been struck between the Sinaloa drug syndicate and the US government.)


So it should be no surprise that information is now surfacing from reliable sources indicating that the US government is once again employing a long-running counter-insurgency strategy that has been pulled off the shelf and deployed in conflicts dating back to Vietnam in the 1960s, in Latin America in the 1980s and 1990s, and beyond, and in more recent conflicts, such as in Iraq.


An obscure figure in Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa drug-trafficking organization is key to the US government’s alleged deal with its leadership — a pact that supposedly provided the "cartel's" chief narcos with immunity in exchange for them providing US authorities with information that could be used to target other narco-trafficking organizations.

That key player central to the informant pact is a Mexican lawyer named Humberto Loya Castro, who is described in US legal documents as “a close confidante of Joaquin Guzman Loera (Chapo),” the supposed leader of the Sinaloa organization.

Loya Castro’s name surfaces in legal pleadings filed recently in US federal court in Chicago by Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla, the son of Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada Garcia, another of the purported top leaders of the Sinaloa drug-trafficking organization.


The stunning allegations, published first by Narco News and days after that reported in the US mainstream media, should prompt serious questions about the veracity of the drug war, raising the specter that it is little more than an ugly pretense designed to protect the interests of a powerful elite at the expense of democracy and the mass of people in both the US and Mexico.

Narco News

Now, the deal with the Sinaloa gang made ostensibly to entrap other gangs (Jesus, how many times?) is not the only thing that could be problematic for President #Compromise. It is also being alleged that the Sinaloa gang was granted rights to smuggle tons of drugs into Chicago. Yes, I do believe it.

The son of a heavy hitter in a powerful Mexican drug trafficking organization has filed explosive legal pleadings in federal court in Chicago accusing the US government of cutting a deal with the the “Sinaloa Cartel” that gave its leadership “carte blanche to continue to smuggle tons of illicit drugs into Chicago and the rest of the United States.”


[Jesus Vicente] Zambada Niebla also claims to be an asset of the US government.


The latest allegations being advanced by Zambada Niebla, who is now being held in solitary confinement in a jail cell in Chicago, are laid out in motions filed late this week in federal court. Those pleadings spell out the supposed cooperative relationship between the US Department of Justice and its various agencies, including DEA and the FBI, and the leaders of the “Sinaloa Cartel” — including Zambada Niebla.

Narco News

Mr. Zambada will not live long if I’m any judge of these kinds of things. And we will never get the real story about why “Fast and Furious” was implemented. Just its name leads me to believe it was perpetrated by people no smarter than the ones who thought taking over Iraq would be “a cakewalk.”

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. There may be some delay before your comment is published. It all depends on how much time M has in the day. But please comment!