+Mexico responds to CBS investigation
+Will Media Matters apologize to Gun Owners of America's Larry Pratt? (attacked re: Fox interview on ATF)
+Pennsylvania Police Blatantly Lie to Reporter About Wiretapping Laws
WikiLeaks exposes true origins of Mexican cartels' weaponry (Hint: It's not due to the "mythical" gun show loophole)
Submitted by cbaus on Thu, 02/24/2011 - 07:00.National Politics
by Jim Shepherd
The idea that we'd ever find WikiLeaks information relevant to the protection of United States citizens' gun rights wasn't anywhere on our radar when the NSSF's Larry Keane tipped us off to some disturbing information gleaned from leaked State Department documents.
According to State Department cables, the Mexican drug cartels are getting their weaponry from an international operation, with the cartels getting military weapons through various government channels. Some of those weapons did, in fact, come from the United States, but they weren't the result of the "gun show loophole" straw-man purchases or any of the other individual criminal acts anti-gun groups would have you believe.
Large quantities of those US weapons -everything from rifles to machine guns, grenade launchers, explosives and ammunition, came from purchases by the government of Mexico from the United States. As the underpaid, undermanned and undermined soldiers of the Mexican army skipped out on the military to put their training to work for the cartels, they took their issued-arms with them.
Others come from weapon buys from guerilla groups in South and Central America that are then smuggled into the country.
No specific numbers on how many of those guns "recovered in Mexico and traced back to the United States" were, in fact, military purchases, but the State Department cables indicate a portion of the fewer than 12 percent of the traceable weapons actually came from the United States in gun shop/individual type purchases. Remember, that's not 12 percent of the tens of thousands of weapons recovered - it's only 12 percent of the weapons recovered that were traceable. It's nowhere near the 12 percent figure that has been misquoted and used as evidence of the United State's "horrific" problem of illegal gun sales.
CBS News brings 'Project Gunrunner' scandal to the public
February 24th, 2011 11:54 am ET
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Last night the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric brought the ATF’s “Project Gunrunner” scandal, that involves the death of a U.S. Federal Agent, to the attention of the general public.
“Project Gunrunner” was an ATF operation supposedly designed to reduce the number of U.S. guns illegally smuggled into Mexico. The allegations now are that the ATF deliberately allowed thousands of guns into Mexico either to track the flow of guns or, as some believe, to artifically inflate the number of number of guns smuggled from the U.S. to Mexico to provide a reason to increase the ATF’s budget.
Whatever the reason, the consequences are clear: Two of the smuggled “Project Gunrunner” guns were involved in the murder of a U.S Federal Agent. On December 14, 2010, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in a shootout in Arizona close to the Mexican border. Two of the rifles found at the scene were traced to purchases made by an alleged gunrunner the ATF had under investigation. The allegations are that the ATF could have stopped these weapons from leaving the country, but chose not to do so.
This connection between the ATF operation and the death of Agent Terry was largley unknown until National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea and RKBA activist Mike Vanderboegh started investigating and reporting on the ATF operation shortly after Terry’s murder. Codrea and Vanderboegh developed sources inside and outside the ATF who laid out the details of the ATF operation and the controversy the decision to allow the guns to “walk” into Mexico created within the agency. Codrea and Vanderboegh have dubbed their investigation “Project Gunwalker” as a play on the official ATF operation name.
Codrea’s and Vanderboegh’s "Project Gunwalker" work brought the allegations to the attention of U.S. Senate Judiciary member Sen. Charles E. Grassley, who has launched his own investigation into the ATF’s operations.
Now, with the CBS news article, this story had moved beyond the circles of gun rights activists into the mainstream. None of this would have happened had it not been for the work of Codrea and Vanderboegh and the information provided to them by their sources who did not want to see the actions of the ATF covered up.
For a complete timeline and more information on Codrea’s and Vanderboegh’s investigation, including links to documents and letters, read Codrea’s article “A journalist’s guide to ‘Project Gunwalker."
Mexico responds to CBS News investigation
Posted by Sharyl Attkisson
Agent Brian Terry was shot and killed in December 2010.
Last night our CBS News investigation reported on ATF's Project Gunrunner and allegations that it included a secret operation near the border that intentionally allowed thousands of assault rifles and other weapons to hit the streets.
Will Media Matters apologize to Gun Owners of America's Larry Pratt?
February 24th, 2011 11:11 am CT
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Vindicated. After months of endless hard work, disdainful dismissals (some from ostensible gun rights advocates), and the like-pulling-teeth effort of getting "Authorized Journalists" to realize that there really is a (gargantuan) story here, National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea, and Sipsey Street Irregulars' Mike Vanderboegh, along with a few courageous, honorable whistleblowers within the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, have shepherded the "Project Gunwalker" story to the mainstream, with CBS Evening News having run a major story on the topic last night.
Actually, there is one more name that needs to be mentioned here. Gun Owners of America executive director Larry Pratt has, it is now revealed, quietly played a pivotal advisory and facilitative role in bringing the disinfectant power of sunlight to bear on the sordid mess of "Project Gunwalker."
That role became more visible Tuesday, when he appeared on FOX News, to be interviewed by Megyn Kelly, about opposition to President Obama's nomination of rabidly anti-gun Andrew Traver to be the next BATFE director. During that interview, Mr. Pratt suggested that the reason Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has indefinitely postponed Traver's confirmation hearings is that the administration has no desire to allow any senior BATFE officials to be put on the stand, under oath, where they could (and would) be asked some very uncomfortable questions about "Project Gunwalker"
The far-left (they call it "progressive") Media Matters took outraged exception to Mr. Pratt's having the temerity to raise such a taboo subject:
Pratt and the GOA have been advancing the accusation that "the ATF is actually helping to move illegal guns across the border."
By way of countering this accusation, Media Matters simply parroted the Department of Justice denial, as if no further examination were needed. They continue:
Pratt's accusation distracts from the role American-bought guns play in fueling cartel violence, and to discredit efforts by the ATF to clamp down on the southward flow of firearms. More then 65,000 guns recovered by Mexican law enforcement have been traced to the United States, so to suggest that American law enforcement -- and not Mexican cartels -- are behind this widespread trend is not only pure fantasy, but deeply dishonest.
Oh, please--again with the "[m]ore than 65,000 guns"? We've covered that--it's a bogus number. In fact, if we are to believe a study, funded by the virulently anti-gun Joyce Foundation, and intended to bolster the arguments (such as they are) for blocking importation of so-called "assault weapons," the number of Mexican "crime guns" recovered and traced back to the U.S. commercial gun market--over four years--is less than 3,000.
But wait a second--if 500 guns represents "17% the total guns recovered" . . . then that total is fewer than 3,000 guns, and this is over a period of four years--for an average of not quite 750 per year.
And now consider this, from the CBS Evening News story:
On the phone, one Project Gunrunner source (who didn't want to be identified) told us just how many guns flooded the black market under ATF's watchful eye. "The numbers are over 2,500 on that case by the way. That's how many guns were sold - including some 50-calibers they let walk."
That's from one case, and amounts to over 83% of the number of recovered Mexican "crime guns" the Joyce Foundation study claims to have been traced back to the U.S. market over the last four years.
Media Matters accuses Pratt of "espousing conspiracy theories," when he talks about the BATFE's latest (and very possibly largest) scandal. In light of last night's CBS News story, one cannot help but wonder if MM will either apologize to Mr. Pratt, or call Katie Couric and Sharyl Attkisson "right-wing conspiracy theorists."
Pennsylvania Police Blatantly Lie to Reporter About Wiretapping Laws
Police in Pennsylvania blatantly lied to a reporter who was videotaping from a public sidewalk, stating that the reporter was violating the state’s wiretapping laws with his camera.
The reporter informed the officer that it was not illegal to videotape from a public sidewalk.
So the cop quickly changed his tune, asserting that he was merely “asking” the reporter “as a courtesy” to stop recording.
The fact that the cop knowingly lied is not surprising anymore. We’ve seen it happen so many times before.
Unfortunately, most citizens would immediately shut their camera down because they would probably think the cop was telling them the truth.
The reporter was covering a group called Showing Animals Respect and Kindness that were protesting outside a pool store because the owner also runs a business where pigeons are tossed in the air and shot for sport.
Police were called to the scene after a confrontation between protesters and a group of men in an SUV who were videotaping them.
The protesters began following them in another car while videotaping them. The two cars stopped and both parties jumped out.
One of the men from the SUV tried to grab the camera from them.
The driver of the SUV also allegedly pointed a gun at them.
The protesters apparently recorded the incident, so they downloaded the clip on a laptop and drove it down to the police station.
Police ended up confiscating both the laptop and the camera.
Now the protesters are pissed because police are not returning the laptop.
According to The Intelligencer:
District Attorney David Heckler said he didn't know the details of the investigation and that there could be several reasons police seized the laptop and the camera. He said police will likely get the victim's personal property back as soon as the investigation allows.
The article doesn’t go into more details, but they should never have given up the laptop or the camera in the first place.
They should have just uploaded the video to Youtube, before sending the cops a link.
Police also ended up forbidding a reporter from entering the premises in an attempt to ask the owner questions.
Later when the reporter attempted to enter the business to ask the owner for comment two officers blocked the reporter's path and said the owner didn't want to comment. They insisted on obtaining the reporter's identification while an officer went inside the business and returned to say that the reporter was not permitted onto the property.
One thing I’ve noticed is that when cops' initial demands to stop recording go challenged, they resort to the old, “I’m just asking as a courtesy” technique in the hopes that you will feel like an asshole for continuing to record.
But next time they ask me that, which I know they will, I will ask them as a courtesy to respect my First Amendment rights to record on public property.
Sources told us many of the weapons ended up in the hands of Mexico's drug cartels. Two AK-47 type assault rifles turned up at the murder of border patrol agent Brian Terry on December 14th.
Sources also told us that ATF agents operating in Mexico were instructed not to alert Mexican authorities about the operation.
The Mexican government responded today. Ricardo Alday, spokesman for the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C. said Mexico intends to continue to work with the U.S. to enhance intelligence and information sharing, and that Mexico "will continue to encourage more aggressive interdiction efforts on the U.S. side of the border."
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Tags: project, gunrunner, scandal, atf, mexico, cbs, larry, pratt, fox, megyn, kelly, drug, cartel, weaponry, police, lie, PA, wiretapping
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