Thursday, July 5, 2012

Borderline Psychosis Update- Nieto & PRI win Signals Shift? Abandoned Arms Cache Found in Arizona; ATF Sought to Punish Fast & Furious Whistleblowers

MEXICO- With nearly 100% of the ballots in Mexico's presidential elections counted, Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute has named the PRI's Enrique Peña Nieto as the winner in last weekend's balloting. Accusations of vote-buying from the PRI, which were circulating a month ago, increased shortly before last weekend's vote.
The count by the country's electoral authority will almost certainly become the target of legal challenges by leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who alleges Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, engaged in vote-buying that illegally tilted millions of votes.

The accusations began surfacing in June, but sharpened early this week as thousands of people rushed to grocery stores on the outskirts of Mexico City to redeem pre-paid gift cards worth about 100 pesos ($7.50). Many said they got the cards from supporters of PRI prior to Sunday's elections.

Simply giving away such gifts is not illegal under Mexican electoral law, as long as the expense is reported to electoral authorities. But giving gifts to influence votes is a crime, though is not generally viewed as grounds for overturning an election.
Although both leftist candidate Manuel Lopez Obrador and the former ruling PAN Party candidate have accused the PRI of vote-buying, PAN's Josefina Vazquez Mota stopped short of questioning the legitimacy of the election's outcome. While Nieto had an estimated 39% of the vote and Obrador followed up with 31%, Mota came in third with about 25% of the votes.

Until being defeated in the 2000 Mexican presidential election by PAN's Vicente Fox, the PRI had ruled Mexico for more than 70 years. Since then, the PRI operated as an opposition party, coming within 5% of a true majority in both the Senate and Chamber of Deputies only a few years of their 2000 loss of the presidential election.

However, in some states where PRI has retained power, governors, mayors and other PRI politicians have been accused of accepting drug money to allow certain cartels to operate with little to no police interference and some governors are accused of having cartel gunmen as part of their security detail. Tamaulipas is a particularly egregious example, with three of their former governors- all PRI- being investigated by Mexican federal prosecutors this year for corruption, accepting bribes and money laundering while in office. Some of the most high profile atrocities in Mexico's ongoing narcoinsurgency- such as the machine-gunning of more than 70 migrants on a rural ranch or more than 100 young men pulled off of intercity buses by masked gunment only to end up in a mass grave- have taken place in Tamaulipas within the last 2 years.

Without going into any specifics during his presidential campaign, Nieto promised a shift away from outgoing President Calderon's militarization of Mexico's anti-drug trafficking campaign. While the Beltran-Leyva and La Familia Michoacana organizations were effectively brought down on Calderon's watch the country has seen nearly 50,000 killed nationwide since 2006 and upstart organizations like New Generation and Caballeros Templar fill the void in territory once held by the defunct organizations.

Some observers have remarked that a PRI and Nieto victory is in fact a victory for the more powerful drug cartels. Prior to the election, there were theories that the PRI was going to embrace a 'most favored cartel' policy where a government crackdown on certain organizations would continue in exchange for one cartel providing intelligence and operational details on their rivals.

ARIZONA- A hiker in Southeastern Arizona's Coronado National Forest discovered a garbage bag filled with semiautomatic rifles last month. After receiving a report of the discovery on Wednesday, June 20, the Pima County Sheriff’s Office determined that the rifles were found in Santa Cruz County, and notified the local sheriff’s office.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputies then went to the site and recovered what turned out to be a stash of AK-47 assault rifles.

Lt. Raoul Rodriguez said the rifles were “badly rusted” and had “obviously been there for quite some time.” Four rifle magazines were also recovered.

Rodriguez said the weapons were taken to the sheriff’s office and secured.
It is unknown exactly how long the weapons have been there for or whether or not they were part of the ATF's disatrous Operation Fast and Furious gunwalking program.

ELSEWHERE IN ARIZONA- Arizona's former US Attorney and the author of the Clinton-era ban on semiautomatic weapons ban is also one of architechts of the ATF's Arizona-based Operation Fast & Furious.
Shortly after the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry on Dec. 15, 2010, Attorney General Eric Holder's deputy chief of staff, Monty Wilkinson, received an email from U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke telling him just that:

"The guns found in the desert near the murder(ed) BP officer connect back to the investigation we were going to talk about — they were AK-47s purchased at a Phoenix gun store."

It is an email that helps demonstrate that Holder, despite his congressional testimony — as vague, contradictory and misleading as it was — could not have been ignorant about Fast and Furious and its deadly consequences.

It also brings to light the name of Dennis Burke, a seldom-mentioned Obama campaign donor who oversaw Fast and Furious and helped convert it from a gun-interdiction to a gun-walking program.

Burke, who resigned shortly after the scandal became public, has long been a gun-ban architect for the Democratic Party.

As a lawyer for the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, he was behind the ineffectual 1994 "assault weapon" ban that sunset in 2004. Burke was also the chief of staff for Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano for a number of years before she became the secretary of homeland security.

Burke also is an Obama donor, a prime consideration in the staffing of the Obama administration. Federal Election Commission records show that on Jan. 9, 2008, while working for Napolitano, Burke contributed $2,000 to Sen. Barack Obama's presidential primary campaign. Since 1997, according to FEC records, Burke has given $16,350 to Democratic candidates.

Burke would leave that Gov. Napolitano post to join the Obama transition team. He was soon rewarded for his many contributions, monetary and otherwise, when on July 10, 2009, the president nominated him to be the U.S. attorney in Arizona. The Senate confirmed him that Sept. 15.

In July 2010, Burke told the Arizona Capitol Times there had "clearly been direction provided already by President Obama and Attorney General Holder as to what they want to be doing."

That's an interesting statement, considering what Burke would do and how Holder and Obama would claim they were out of the operational loop.
The report bolsters some claims that the Department of Justice's gunwalking program that was repsponsible for hundreds of casualties in Mexico and the death of at least one Border Patrol agent was motivated at least in part by blaming the ongoing drug violence in Mexico on American guns to create public opinion in favor of more gun control.

In other Fast & Furious related news, excerpts from a House oversight memo dated May 2012 indicate that two ATF field agents turned whistleblowers were placed under the direct supervision of a senior ATF official who promised retaliation shortly after they went public.
When the ATF whistleblowers, Special Agents John Dodson and Pete Forcelli, went public last year, Scot Thomasson headed up ATF Public Affairs. According to an eyewitness, Thomasson stated "We need to get whatever dirt we can on these guys (whistleblowers) and take them down." Now, Grassley and Issa say the agents have been put under the charge of ATF's Scot Thomasson who is Division Chief of the Firearms Operations Unit.

Thomasson was also allegedly heard to have said "ATF needs to f__k these guys." And when asked if the whistleblower allegations were true, Thomasson purportedly said he didn't know and didn't care. The accounts are contained in a May 3, 2012 House Oversight memo attached to Congress' draft contempt report against Attorney General Eric Holder.

Dodson went public about the agency's controversial gunwalking tactics in an interview with CBS News in February 2011. He later testified before Congress along with Forcelli.

"It is difficult to understand why ATF leadership would put two of these courageous whistleblowers at the mercy of an individual who made such reckless, irresponsible and inaccurate comments about them 18 months ago," say the members of Congress in today's letter to the Inspector General. The letter also asks "what steps, if any, are being taken to ensure that Thomasson does not use his new position to engage in a campaign of retaliation along the lines he expressed a desire to conduct last year."
After ignoring the story for the better part of 18 months, a Fortune article released before last week's conetmpt vote in the House of Representatives attempted to depict Special Agent Dodson and other whistleblowers as disguntled malcontents and troublemakers.

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