Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Fast and Furious still front and center in Washington, Mexico City
Yesterday congressional Republicans called on attorney general Eric Holder to resign, and urged president Obama to give him the boot if he doesn't. Holder appeared before a Senate panel last week and admitted that Wide Receiver, a 2006-2007 ATF program directly authorized by the Bush administration, and Fast and Furious, a 2009-2011 DEA plan of which both Obama and Holder claim to have had no knowledge until earlier this year, were serious operational errors. Holder told senators that the programs "should never had happened," and acknowledged that the United States "is losing the war against arms trafficking." Some Republicans have accused Holder of lying to Congress about when he first learned of the secret sales. President Obama has said that he stands by his attorney general.
Meanwhile, Mexico's Senate is demanding the extradition of those responsible for the two operations (presumably that does not include former president George W. Bush, who is said to have personally authorized the transfer of 350 firearms to drug cartels as part of Wide Receiver).
Mexican senator Adriana González -- a member of PAN, no less -- has been a vocal proponent of extradition. "We're going after the people and agencies behind these U.S. operations, to make an example of them so that this never happens again. The unilateral transfer of weapons from the U.S. to our country has been responsible for the killings of innocent civilians, as well as police and soldiers," said González. "There is a lack of control in the U.S. (over weapons), and these operations simply fed the arms trade, arms which are still killing people. The senator called Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious "absolute failures and a violation (of Mexican law)."
In a formal report to Mexico's Camara de Diputados (house of representatives) today, chief prosecutor Marisela Morales sought to placate concerned legislators. "In the U.S. people have the right to buy and acquire almost any firearm," she said, "but in Mexico we will prosecute anybody who violates our national sovereignty by bringing in (prohibited) weapons." She said that Mexico has already requested the extradition of several U.S. nationals who sold assault weapons to criminals in border areas of California and Texas. Those cases involve private individuals not connected with either Wide Receiver or Fast and Furious, however.
Eric Holder's testimony before Congress: http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/11/us-ag-to-congress-furious-and-furious.html.
64,000 machine guns later: http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/11/64000-us-made-weapons-have-been-used-by.html.
Did Mexico really know all about U.S. secret arms sales?: http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/11/mexicos-chief-prosecutor-knew-about.html
at 1:23 PM