The Congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious has gone cold. This despite the fact that “on Thursday, June 28, 2012, [Attorney General Eric] Holder became the first sitting member of the Cabinet of the United States to be held in criminal contempt of Congress by the House of Representatives for refusing to disclose internal Justice Department documents in response to a subpoena.” Wikipedia’s entry for “ATF gunwalking scandal” tells the sad tale of the Obama administration’s coverup of the ATF’s extra-legal anti-gun-running gun-running program, that armed the Mexican rip crew who gunned down US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. That coverup continues. The reason for F&F remains shrouded in mystery. But TTAG’s original theory seems increasingly likely with news that . . .
the U.S. State Department traded U.S. Visas for Sinaloa drug cartel members in exchange for information about their rivals. This squares with the real reason behind Fast & Furious: to support the Sinaloa drug cartel over Los Zetas, to weaken the Zetas. Hence the ATF let American gun store guns walk across the border to Sinaloa cartel members. Hence the DEA letting tens of millions of dollars in Sinaloa cash motor across the border (as reported by the New York Times and TTAG). Hence God knows what.
Note: this does not mean that the alternative alternative theory is wrong. That Uncle Sam wanted to encourage/enable/create an “iron river” of U.S. gun store gun to Mexico to justify a ban on “assault rifles” in the U.S. Indeed, we’re still left with the legacy of that maneuver: the ATF’s border state long gun registry. But I reckon we’re looking at one of those Murder on the Orient Express multiple motivation deals.
You did notice the words “State Department” above, yes? Guess who was the head of the U.S. State Department at the time of this “visas for drug thugs” program. Presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton. Did Hillary also know about the gun-walking aspect of Operation Fast and Furious, which violated international law? What do you think? Meanwhile, here’s the borderlandbeat.com story of the visa scandal. Go figure . . .
On March 13, 2010, gunmen deployed by the Juárez cartel took up their positions as guests filtered out from a child’s birthday party.
Many of the guests worked at the United States consulate in Juárez.
A Chihuahua state police officer named Jorge Alberto Salcido, whose wife was a Mexican citizen employed by the consulate, left the party with his children, ages 4 and 7. One team of gunmen went after Salcido. He was shot to death; his children survived.
At about the same time, U.S. consulate employee Lesley Ann Enriquez and her husband, Arthur Redelfs, a detention officer at the El Paso County jail, were murdered.
Now documents show the motive for the killings was the Juárez cartel’s belief that the United States was actively helping their enemies in the Sinaloa Federation by issuing visas to Sinaloa members in exchange for intelligence on the Juárez cartel.
The evidence suggests the consulate killings were part of a tapestry of events that some people believe is traceable to U.S. law enforcement’s decision to work with one set of criminals in
Juárez at the expense of another.
Matalon also speaks with College of William & Mary Professor George Grayson the co-author with Sam Logan of “The Executioner’s Men” Los Zetas, Rogue Soldiers, Criminal Entrepreneurs and the Shadow State They Created.”
Grayson has chronicled other examples of U.S. authorities paying informants inside the Mexican underworld.
McGahan’s research in Juárez led him down a path where he kept hearing the same question. Here’s the introduction to his story:
In the Mexican border city of Juárez the question persists: What kind of involvement did the United States government have, or not, with the turf war between drug cartels that claimed thousands of lives only a short drive across the Rio Grande from El Paso? Three years after the worst of the carnage, details about the U.S. role gradually are beginning to surface.
McGahan and Grayson describe the risks inherent in using paid informants who often want it both ways; the immunity that being an informant affords, at least temporarily and the income that comes with being a major drug trafficker.
McGagan describes another incident that came to light in April as a Sinaloa cartel prosecution was adjudicated in federal court in Chicago.
The son of another Sinaloa kingpin made headlines alleging in court in Chicago that his father’s cartel received “carte blanche” from the United States government to continue to smuggle illegal cocaine by the ton into the country. U.S. officials denied this.
The Feds also deny unconfirmed claims arising from the case in Chicago that they permitted informants from the Sinaloa cartel to attend meetings where the cartel was discussed, or warned them of anti-drug operations planned in the cartel’s territory. By way of proof, they point to the plethora of top Sinaloa leaders captured and prosecuted in recent times, culminating with the arrest of El Chapo.
El Chapo is Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera, the leader of the Sinaloa cartel and the alleged intellectual author of the most gruesome murders of police in Juárez between 2007-2010, at the same time the United States was paying some of El Chapo’s subordinates for information.
While it is true that Sinaloa operatives have been captured or killed recently, a review of arrest records released in Mexico shows a pattern that clearly favors Sinaloa over any of its rivals.
Grayson expands on the notion that there are unpredictable consequences when the U.S. decides to pay Mexican nationals of questionable repute for information.
Given that violence in Juárez rose while U.S. visas were issued to Sinaloa operatives, the questions remains; what the did the U.S. gain by striking deals with criminals in Mexico?
Here’s McGahan’s take:
El Chapo was arrested by a special contingent of Mexican Marines in February. Although the carnage in the Juárez area has diminished, on May 25 two armed men entered the law office of the ex-president of the local bar association and gunned him down along with a municipal judge who was with him at the time. Border security analysts interpret the murders as a settling of old scores by the Juárez cartel, which has gained in strength and boldness and apparently intends to retake the territory it lost in the war with El Chapo and the ICE.