Fast and furious throw-downs

The Constitution, which sets forth the principle of rule of law, defines what is unconstitutional, and guarantees freedom of speech and other liberties of a Constitutional republic, and also describes the impeachment power. (How many know of the Jewish roots of this document?) Hypocrisy threatens Constitutional government. Could Israel use a constitution like this? More to the point: would a Convention of States save it, or destroy it? (Example: civil asset forfeiture violates the Constitution.) Quick fixes like Regulation Freedom Amendments weaken it. Furthermore: the Constitution provides for removing, and punishing, a judge who commits treason in his rulings. Furthermore, opponents who engage in lawfare against an elected President risk breaking the Constitution.
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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.

Editor-in-chief at | + posts

Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

5 Responses to Fast and furious throw-downs

  1. Camille says:

    First of all, preventing gun-smuggling to Mexico is not at all related to gun control in the USA.

    Second, I agree that this operation was an embarrassing failure.

    Third, while the mainstream media may not have covered it, Jon Stewart did so, if that’s any comfort to you (he covered using clips from the mainstream media, though. Guess they covered it after all).

  2. John says:

    “why are Investors Business Daily and two members of Examiner.com the only professional or semi-pro journalists willing to name the true motive?”

    Likely because they’re only seeing half of the story. When you see the big picture, the conspiracy you’ve set up becomes kind of ridiculous, and unimportant in the context of the larger story. Yes, the ATF *could* be involved in trying to restrict the ease of purchasing a gun (which shouldn’t be the end of the world since regulation of fire arms is what they’re hired to do), but more likely this is just a sting operation gone wrong, as you’ve said.

    Currently Mexico is in a state of war, where drug cartels are fighting each other as well as the Mexican government. These cartels are winning this war, and at this point, some have their own paramilitary groups that are so well armed that they have body armor, grenade launchers, and trucks with mounted machine guns.

    Here’s how the trade goes: Americans take guns to the cartels for drugs. Due to the fact that America has let its assault weapons ban expire (put in place to prevent well armed gangs from doing exactly what they’re doing now), it is quite easy for an American to get the type of weapons that the cartel wants. America gets flooded with drugs, and the cartels get that much stronger, on a daily basis.

    Attempting to show how this trade works, by giving the cartel’s guns, this is basic investigatory work. The ATF has to know and prove that this is what is happening in order to due their job. Given that the cartels are already so well armed, the ATF feeding them a few guns to see what leaks they can spot in the cartel for intelligence is reasonable, perhaps not prudent, but reasonable. The Border Patrol agent would likely have been killed anyways. The ATF is not the sole source of guns into Mexico, and likely not even one of the major sources.

    I will agree that this is unlikely to cause any major change, but I don’t think that law enforcement like this is the answer to begin with. The cartels have already beaten the police. The border towns in this country, the police in those towns are alive only because the cartel hasn’t decided they’re worth murdering. On the other side of the border, there are no police because they’re all dead.

    The only way to break the cartels is to break their source of power: the war on drugs. If America legalized drugs, even just marijuana, that would cut the funding of the drug cartels in a big way (as well as generate billions in taxes and stop the growth of the American prison-industrial complex).

    By taking this one legislative action, not only will we break the cartels, we will restore personal freedoms that have been stripped from Americans for a long time. Nobody has to lose their guns, except the cartels, who won’t be able to afford to buy them anymore.

    We can win this war, not with a hail of bullets, but with the stroke of a pen.

  3. Daryl G says:

    Legalizing marijuana has it’s merits after all the drug is not near as harmfull as other drugs that are allowed such as alcohol. Didn’t we learn during another stupid move called prohibition that you will not keep people from drinking and the law not only created but sustained an organized crime problem that was out of hand. DEA are you reading this! I don’t use drugs but the use of pot in it’s place just like alcohol causes far less of a problem than we contend with today. What a concept how about we legalize pot and tax it’s use just like we do with alcohol what would that with the reduction in enforcement costs that go with it’s illegal use would go a long way torwards reducing our debt. Then our officials could fight real criminal activity here in our country. Then we could fight something else that is smuggled from Mexico as in illegal aliens how because of crimminal records and activity cannot come here legally.
    The use of firearms for a sting in a problem area like Mexico defies all logic and anybody with a thought process knows this would blow up in somebodies face. No matter what the reteric out of Washington this in time would have been used solely to try to restrict law abiding gun ownership here in the US, that is or was the ultimate goal, nothing else could have been gained buy this program. Show me where the buyers were told to come back the next day so the firearms could be settup for tracking, that didn’t happen and the authorities lost track of the firearms. Even though the dealers we told against their will to sell these firearms they would have been the targets if this had gone on, show me where a democrat has done anything different!
    China is the largest manufacturer of AK 47 rifles in the world yet the people there cannot own a firearm that makes them the largest exporter of firearms in the world those guns make it to the highest bidder not matter who the bidder is China doesn’t care
    When you eliminate the revenue from an illegal activity you eliminate the illegal activity a little history lesson into a failed policy called prohibition proves that.

  4. […] short, ATF was moving “throw-down weapons” into Mexico. They did this to justify the United Nations Convention on Small […]

  5. […] Fast and furious throw-downs […]

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