Fast and furious throw-downs

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Operation Fast and Furious was all about carrying throw-down weapons from America to Mexico. When will most news organs realize that?

What is Operation Fast and Furious?

Operation Fast and Furious was (is?) a program by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE, or ATF). Under this program, known criminals would walk into gun stores in the region around Phoenix, Arizona, and buy several guns at once. (Under US law, a person may buy a gun for himself but not for someone else.) ATF told the gun dealers to go ahead and sell those guns. These were semiautomatic guns—the kind that you can fire again immediately after you fire one round. (A fully automatic gun will fire continuously as you hold the trigger down.)

When the criminals carried those guns back to Mexico, other ATF agents told their supervisors. Those supervisors told them to keep quiet and let it happen; it was all part of a plan. Criminals bought and carried literally hundreds of guns into Mexico by this route.

That much we know. Now the major media organs are finally talking about Operation Fast and Furious.. They say, or at least quote ATF as saying, that ATF did it to help capture some drug cartel leaders. But we cannot believe what ATF says. The reason: ATF told no one about this program. They didn’t even tell, much less coördinate with, authorities in Mexico. until something happened that ATF could not ignore.

What went wrong?

Kenneth Melson, acting ATF director. Was he the architect of Operation Fast and Furious?

Kenneth Melson, acting ATF director and possible sacrificial lamb for Operation Fast and Furious. Photo: BATFE.

On December 14, 2010, Agent Brian A. Terry of the US Border Patrol shot it out with some smugglers near the border at Nogales, AZ, and died in that battle. A few days later, the first whispers began that the gun that killed Terry was one of those guns carried across the border in Operation Fast and Furious.

The cover-up began almost at once. But the whispers, and then more than whispers, kept coming. David Codrea, the National Gun Rights Examiner, kept a log of all the revelations. The log was so big that he published it in three parts. Codrea had help from the operator of the blogs “Sipsey Street Irregulars” and “CleanUpATF.” Codrea called the plan “Project Gunwalker,” and the name has stuck.

The whispers have not come from the usual suspects—the militiamen, the libertarian anarchists, or even the Tea Party. They have come from ATF agents whose concept of ATF’s mission clearly differs from that of their top bosses. Operation Fast and Furious was their breaking point.

What are those agents saying?

Any law-enforcement agency has three kinds of agents: honest agents, small-time bullies, and would-be tyrants. Agencies like ATF attract more than their share of tyrants—men who believe that their fellow human beings are not fit for freedom. The reason: whether an agency like ATF is even constitutional is an open question.

The Second Amendment reads:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The would-be tyrants don’t believe in the Second Amendment, and believe that no one, other than a law-enforcement officer or an armed serviceman or -woman, should have a firearm. And the would-be tyrants will always rise to the top in any organization. That is what tyrants want to do: boss people around.

The whispers against Operation Fast and Furious are coming from the low-level agents who still believe that ATF has an honest mission—to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. When they see guns falling into the hands of criminals, try to tell their bosses about it, get orders to shut-up, and then watch as a fellow officer in a sister agency dies in the line of duty, naturally they want to talk.

These agents probably think that all that has happened is that a major operation has gone horribly wrong and gotten a good family man killed. But an agency does not let people break the law hundreds of times, and take no action, and not even warn people likely to get hurt from these acts, just to “nab” some “big fish.” (Reports have since come out that criminals using these guns have killed several Mexican LEOs and civilians.) They clearly have another, further-reaching agenda.

The throw-down agenda

A throw-down weapon is one that a police officer places in the hand of someone he has just hurt or killed. He does this to pretend that his target posed a deadly threat to him. A few cases in which police have planted throw-downs have occurred.

One notorious incident took place in Houston, Texas, in 1981. Randy Webster stole a van out of an automobile dealer’s showroom. He led police on a high-speed chase before they cornered him. But after Randy surrendered to them, an officer started to whip him with his service gun—which went off, killing Randy. That officer’s squad mates brought a gun from the Houston Police evidence room and placed it in the young man’s hand. Their story fell apart when an autopsy clearly showed that the fatal bullet had entered the back of Randy’s skull. (See Webster v. City of Houston, 81-2007, 5th Cir. Ct. of Appeals. Full disclosure: your editor lived in Houston while this case went down, read about it in The Houston Chroncle, watched it play out on KHOU-TV, and then saw the movie. Recently the FBI sought a copy of a surveillance tape showing what happened to Randy Webster.)

People have accused the ATF of planting evidence before—in Waco in 1993. But the Fast and Furious weapons are a new kind of throw-down. The ATF did not set out to kill Brian Terry, or see him killed. They didn’t care. They did want to make it seem that gun runners were buying large quantities of automatic and semiautomatic weapons in the USA and carrying them into Mexico. And that current US law was powerless to stop this.

The motive for these throw-downs is twofold:

  1. ATF, and current Attorney General Eric Holder, do not believe in the Second Amendment.
  2. The Obama administration wants to negotiate and carry out a United Nations Small Arms Treaty that would make pistols and rifles more difficult to make, buy, or carry.

The spectacle of large quantities of guns crossing from America into Mexico might seem the perfect excuse. But not if ATF told certain people to sell guns in a way contrary to law, and told certain agents to look the other way. That is what ATF did in Operation Fast and Furious.

The unraveling

The ATF cover-up of Operation Fast and Furious has been unraveling almost since the day it began. But even Fox News Channel and CBS News did not report on it until the last two weeks. Their conclusion is still that Operation Fast and Furious was a well-meaning sting gone wrong.

But earlier this week, Investors Business Daily asked: Who authorized Operation Fast and Furious, and what did he hope to gain? The next day, IBD flatly accused the ATF of the throw-down motive.

The story got more interesting yesterday. The ATF has only an acting director. Hearings in the House and Senate seemed to single out one man, Acting Director Kenneth Melson, as the man at fault. The government expected him to resign quietly. But now he will not resign. Furthermore, he is ready to talk to Congress about what he knows.

Actually, General Holder has another reason to get Melson out of the way. The man he really wants as head of ATF, one Andrew Traver, is even more of a would-be tyrant than Melson.

Still: why are Investors Business Daily and two members of Examiner.com the only professional or semi-pro journalists willing to name the true motive? The history of ATF should make that motive very easy to believe. And that the major media have taken so long even to report ATF’s role in this disgraceful affair ought to trouble everyone.

Featured image: the Constitution. Photo: National Archives.