October 2, 2012

No Coverage at the Wires as Univision Exposes Wider Scope, Sickening Carnage of ‘Fast and Furious’

As of 2 PM ET, various searches at the national web site of the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press (on “furious“; on “Univision“), Reuters (“furious“; “fast and furious“; “univision“), and United Press International (“furious“; “Univision“) indicate that the three wire services have given no coverage to reports from Univision exposing the wider geographic scope and far more fatal fallout of the deliberately untrackable guns-to-cartels operation known as Fast and Furious.

I wonder how the leading U.S. Spanish network’s broadcasters and audience feel about getting the same treatment the establishment press gives center-right blogs? (A lengthy yet partial transcript of Univision’s broadcast with details which will shock all but those who have immersed themselves in the evolving scandal follows the jump.)

The special report (registration may be required) is called “Fast and Furious: Arming the Enemy.” Excerpts from the English subtitles (less than perfectly expressed in some cases, but relayed as seen):

… The agency (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) allowed the flow of nearly 2,000 guns towards Mexico in an effort to identify the cartel kingpins who would ultimately receive them. But everything went wrong … as part of secret operations.

… Sixteen young men were celebrating a birthday party.

… Seven vans blocked the streets so that nearly 20 hitmen from the Juarez cartel could unleash the bloodshed with R15 rifles and 9MM pistols.

(One eyewitness) “It looked like a war — a war in which only one side was shooting.”

… The death toll: 16 (including neighbors — Ed.)

… What no one in Mexico knew is that some of the weapons used in this massacre were part of a secret gun tracing operation ran by the ATF. According to this exclusive document obtained by Univision, it has been established that at least three weapons that came from North America were used in the events of Plaza de Juarez.

… The confession of Jose Antonio Torres Acosta, alias El Diego, the leader of the Juarez cartel hitmen, who admitted to being involved in over 1,500 murders, left no doubts about the authorship of the massacre. According to investigations, “El Diego” forms the link between this massacre (Note: a later massacre at a drug rehab clinic also used as a gang sanctuary — Ed.) and Fast and Furious.

When he was captured in Chihuahau in the Summer of 2011, he was found with weapons that the American government had allowed to enter Mexico.

Despite the commotion caused by these and other massacres, Operation Fast and Furious continued, and no one in the (U.S.) Department of Justice seemed to be opposed to it.

… One of the ATF agents that we interviewed told us that he couldn’t understand what was going on in the heads of his colleagues when they conceived Fast and Furious.

… If up to this point drug dealers could easily obtain and smuggle guns, the U.S. Government made it easier when Fast and Furious began in 2009. The ATF and Arizona (federal) prosecutors told store owners to sell weapons without restrictions to suspicious buyers. To establish who received the guns, they installed a Radio Shack tracking device in one of the walking weapons. But they were worried that the batteries would stop working before the guns reached their final destination. Finally, the highest ranking ATF official in Phoenix, William Newell, decided that the only way to track the guns was to wait for the weapons to be recovered in crime scenes in Mexico.

The straw purchasers left stores … after paying in cash for large amounts of weapons and lying to the store owner about the guns’ final destination. A camera installed by the ATF followed the buyers’ movements. And the weapons ended up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

… the death toll that this free flow of weapons by authorized ATF had in Mexico has not yet been tallied.

… Univision had access to the list of serial numbers for weapons used in Fast and Furious and to the list of guns seized in Mexico. After cross-referencing both lists it became clear that at least a hundred of them were used in crimes of all kinds. We found 57 weapons that were not mentioned in (the U.S.) Congress’s investigation.

… Fast and Furious was a covert operation not only to the general public but also for the ATF agents in Mexico.

All these facts suggest that the success of Operation Fast and Furious depended largely on a perverse and indolent calculation: If the weapons were used to kill in Mexico, then, in the crime scenes, could establish who acquired them.

The strategy of allowing guns to “walk” out of the country was not limited to Arizona, the main base of Fast and Furious. Univision has found leads about a less-known yet equally worrying (other program).

… (In Orlando, Florida, Hugh) Crumpler used these streets in Orlando to sell more than 1,000 guns that ended up in the hands of gangsters and drug traffickers in Honduras, Puerto Rico, and Colombia.

… (after months of following his movements) ATF agents suggest that he (Crumpler) start cooperating with them as the informant of Operation Castaway. The war veteran would become one of the best informants the agency has had in the 18 years, according to an agent of the organization.

… (He) soon discovered the ATF wasn’t playing fair. He says the agency allowed the weapons to leave the U.S., and reach the hands of criminal organizations in Latin America.

(Crumpler said) “they could not have followed me for two months like they said they did and not know the guns were going somewhere and not want for that to be happening. … They knew the guns were going to cartels and they wanted them to go to cartels.”

… The victims of the free flow of weapons were not only Mexicans and Colombians. There are American families who were also scarred by the tragedy.

… (in 2010) ATF established that at least two AK-47 rifles used by (the kidnapped Mario Angel) Gonzalez’s captors (and murderers) were linked to operation Fast and Furious. Despite the gravity of the crime, in Phoenix, agent Tonya English ask her supervisor David Voth … “not to release any information.”

Nonetheless, a few weeks later, another murder, this time of an American citizen in the Arizona desert, undid the secrecy of Fast and Furious and spurred a national scandal.

Brian Terry, a forty-year-old Border patrol agent, was murdered in a skirmish with armed men nearly 15 miles from the Arizona border. Two of the recovered guns were immediately linked to Fast and Furious. … Terry returned home (to his friends family near Detroit) in a coffin.

… (Andrew Selee of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington alleges that) everything seems to suggest that the Mexican government knew at an operative level about Fast and Furious. They had agents in law enforcement who did know that they weren’t all that they were consulted sometimes, but there were never any diplomatic communications about it.

… John Dodson, an ATF agent, who worked in Operation Fast and Furious, says that his superiors prevented him from arresting suspects. “We were ordered not to. I was ordered to stand down several times. I could not interdict. I could not arrest, I could not talk to anyone. All we do is surveil, watch, log.”

… (In the gang murder, while transporting material from the American consulate in Monterey to Mexico City, of Jaime Zapata and the wounding of Victor Avila, who remains in hiding,) after months of investigating, a surprising fact came to light: three of the weapons used in the attack were linked to a gun tracing program in Texas approved by the ATF.

… (Zapata’s sister) “those weapons that have been recovered it has been confirmed that they were weapons used in the shootout that killed Jaime Zapata and wounded Victor Avila.”

(Zapata’s father) “What mind would’ve thought out such a program first arming our enemies and then going to capture him afterwards?”

… Chaotic operation, unpunished massacres, drug dealers armed by the United States. What you have watched tonight is the manifestation of a crisis that won’t end with the sanctions of Fast and Furious agents.

There is an episode in the middle of the coverage where a known Mexican cartel member or affiliate with a strange ability to escape criminal prosecution is apprehended at the border. After six hours, an ATF agent, the aforementioned MacAllister, arrives and let him go in exchange for his “cooperation.” He’s never seen again. MacAllister “declined to talk to Univision.”

Perhaps predictably, Univision’s narrator wraps up his show with an attack on the Second Amendment, which, last I checked, contains nothing which authorizes agents of the federal government to arm the enemy.

In an excerpt from Univision’s September Grand Forum included in the “Arming the Enemy” broadcast, President Obama, when asked about Fast and Furious, only acknowledged that “ultimately, I’m responsible,” and expressed no visible or audible remorse for what has transpired.

But in at least a partial abdication of his assumption of responsibility, a full transcript of that Grand Forum interview shows President Obama falsely claiming that Fast and Furious “was a field-initiated program begun under the previous administration.” Univision above, and correctly, notes that the program “began in 2009.”

That Obama did not see fit to offer one word of regret or apology for the horrific loss of human life is shameful. What sort of man would fail to do that? What sort of fourth estate would fail to note that sickening absence?

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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