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Old July 15, 2011, 10:51 AM   #626
C0untZer0
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^ when you ask questions like these, a question like "what were they attempting?" you touch on the issue of intent and perceptions.

One of the issues here is that when it comes to defining "bad guys" many of the people running BATFE think that my LGD and I are "bad" guys.
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Old July 15, 2011, 11:07 AM   #627
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What evidence do we have that Fast & Furious was an incompetent attempt to catch bad guys and what evidence do we have that it was an incompetent attempt to introduce new gun control restrictions? Was it one or the other?
I think it was a bit of both. Of course, the intent is largely irrelevant. The outcome is that our government has broken the law, and is responsible for a great deal of bloodshed to come.
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Old July 15, 2011, 11:29 AM   #628
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What evidence do we have that Fast & Furious was an incompetent attempt to catch bad guys and what evidence do we have that it was an incompetent attempt to introduce new gun control restrictions? Was it one or the other? Was it both? I'm not sure what to think at this point.
Well, in terms of evidence we have:

1. ATF Agent Forcelli testifying that he attempted to bring several cases against straw purchasers for prosecution; but the AUSA refused to prosecute. These cases were then taken to the Arizona AG who prosecuted and convicted on the same information that the AUSA found inufficient.

2. ATF is prohibited by law from sharing trace data with newspapers via the Tiahrt Amendment. This was done because the data was being misused by the papers so badly that even ATF was complaining about the twisted interpretation. As a result, it is now forbidden by law. Yet despite this, the Washington Post somehow managed to get access to who the top ten gun stores with guns traced to Mexico were.

3. At least three of the stores on the list (including the top two) were actively cooperating with ATF and made these sales at the request of the ATF. So even as they were assisting ATF with the investigation, somebody at ATF was illegally leaking that info to the Washington Post to make them look like the bad guys.

4. Two days after the Washington Post story was published, the Administration proposes the multile long gun reporting requirement.

5. A recent email from the ATF Assistant Director of Field Operations to William Newell, the agent in charge of the Phoenix office during Fast and Furious says "Bill-can you see if these guns were all purchased from same Ffl and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales."

6. Multiple ATF agents have testified that they had no way to track guns once they entered Mexico and basically would have to wait until they turned up at a crime scene.

7. Fast and Furious alone was responsible for THOUSANDS of guns to Mexico. So many that if you look at the ATF's dubious "70%" figure, the numbers from Fast and Furious alone could potentially account for over half of the what was actually traced back to U.S. FFLs.
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Old July 15, 2011, 12:03 PM   #629
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That's a great summary, Bartholomew Roberts. Do you mind if I pirate your summary with a link to another board?
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Old July 15, 2011, 01:08 PM   #630
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Based on the facts as presented I believe the BATFE could almost fall under the RICO act (I am not a lawyer).

The FFL dealers (according to some) were basically forced to make the illegal sales which would seem to be a type of extortion as they were forced to render services which the BATFE knew were in violation of federal law.

One can even make the case that the BATFE had to know these weapons were certainly going to be used to commit murder and was grossly negligent beyond all reason and thus accomplice to the crime. This would be a second qualification under RICO.

Further this was an operation done on an organizational level.

Now again I am not a lawyer so it could well be that the government cannot charge a governmental agency under these laws. But perhaps the most important way to look at this problem "IF" they are immune due to being a governmental agency is.....

If they were any other type of business or organization they would certainly be subject to the RICO laws, this would almost certainly be considered a criminal enterprise concerning this specific operation.

No one should be above the law.... no one.....
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Old July 15, 2011, 01:09 PM   #631
Bartholomew Roberts
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Feel free to use anything I write to promote or protect the Second Amendment. In this case, I went back and added the links hoping it would make it more convenient for people who wanted to point out to others some of the details that were getting missed in mainstream media coverage, so I'd be pleased to see that post shared more widely.
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Old July 15, 2011, 01:12 PM   #632
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Thanks, BR
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Old July 15, 2011, 03:36 PM   #633
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It is, to say the least, amazing to me that no one on either side of the aisle has introduced legislation defunding BATFE. I wonder just how much more evidence of its malfeasance, lawlessness, and scorn for the Constitution as well as the rights of U.S. citizens is required before someone stands up and decides to do something. My own congressman (Kevin Brady, R-TX) has been utterly silent on the matter, despite my concerted efforts to get him to do something - anything - to rein these jackals in. It's especially troubling considering the runaway federal spending they're supposed to be attempting to rein in - yet not a word is breathed about defunding ATF. Very frustrating.
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Old July 15, 2011, 07:59 PM   #634
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The FFL dealers (according to some) were basically forced to make the illegal sales which would seem to be a type of extortion as they were forced to render services which the BATFE knew were in violation of federal law.
I've considered the RICO angle as well. The dealers would have to make a pretty good case for the idea that they felt threatened with retaliation if they failed to cooperate. It would have to go above and beyond a vague fear of increased auditing. They'd have to have quid pro quo statements, or some evidence on record.

If they could, then the gloves would be off.
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Old July 15, 2011, 08:15 PM   #635
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The dealers would have to make a pretty good case for the idea that they felt threatened with retaliation if they failed to cooperate.
With the "Ogre" nature of the ATF (is that a party store) that ought to be easier than many RICO claims in history!

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Old July 15, 2011, 08:43 PM   #636
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I could also see the fact that they knew these weapons would be used to commit murder as a kind of sanction to do so as I cant see any reasonable way they did not expect that to happen. In fact I am pretty sure that is exactly what they would hope would happen.

I dont even see a remote chance that they would find some reasonable way to track these back and make major bust in mexico. So the murder might fit the Rico law or possibly another option would be the fact that this would almost certainly be considered aiding terrorism as it resulted in death of a federal agent by a known criminal organization.

(Again, Im not a lawyer)
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Old July 15, 2011, 09:32 PM   #637
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With the "Ogre" nature of the ATF (is that a party store) that ought to be easier than many RICO claims in history!
Not really. If I were making such a claim, I'd need to prove one of two things:
  1. That Agent Smitty made specific, documented threats of retribution should I refuse to cooperate. Even a threat of greater scrutiny or more aggressive auditing would be unlikely to qualify, since those are within his duties, and within the law.
  2. That Agent Smitty made specific, documented promises of some reward should I cooperate.
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Old July 15, 2011, 09:52 PM   #638
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Gotcha... I thought the possibility of "implied threat" or "perceived threat" might fly considering the "licensed' nature of their vulnerability...

But yer the legal beagle!

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Old July 15, 2011, 11:35 PM   #639
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csmsss wrote: It is, to say the least, amazing to me that no one on either side of the aisle has introduced legislation defunding BATFE. I wonder just how much more evidence of its malfeasance, lawlessness, and scorn for the Constitution as well as the rights of U.S. citizens is required before someone stands up and decides to do something.
---------------------------------
Re the question of "how much more evidence ", a very high pile of evidence, I would think, for there is already ample evidence of ATF's misdeeds. They have, it seems, some interesting congressional protectors. Additionally, has there ever been serious movement in the direction of repeal of some/any of the laws that ATF so questionably "enforces". Not that I've noticed, but perhaps I've missed something. While there are serious problems with the ATF, there are perhaps more serious problems with our elected things.
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Old July 15, 2011, 11:40 PM   #640
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BGutzman wrote:

Based on the facts as presented I believe the BATFE could almost fall under the RICO act (I am not a lawyer).
--------------------

Possibly they, BATFE, would however who would bring prosecution, hardly our very own Department of Justice, and since not DOJ, who t5hen?
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Old July 15, 2011, 11:47 PM   #641
alan
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re Tom Servo's quote and writing:

Quote:
What evidence do we have that Fast & Furious was an incompetent attempt to catch bad guys and what evidence do we have that it was an incompetent attempt to introduce new gun control restrictions? Was it one or the other?

I think it was a bit of both. Of course, the intent is largely irrelevant. The outcome is that our government has broken the law, and is responsible for a great deal of bloodshed to come.
------------------------------

No doubt, "our government" did break the law, likely in such manner that neither the king's horses nor the king's men could put it together again.

Having noted that, whom might it be that will bring prosecution, badly needed as it is?
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Old July 16, 2011, 06:38 AM   #642
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alan @639,

You raise a very good point and prove that government rarely decreases in size....it only continues to grow and "eat out our substance".

In my opinion, ATF should have been un-funded long ago. Yet here we are in the midst of a "budget crisis" and not one of these elected things can raise the issue of cutting funding for an agency that has repeatedly demonstrated a callous disregard for the rule of law.
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Old July 16, 2011, 07:07 AM   #643
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In my opinion, ATF should have been un-funded long ago. Yet here we are in the midst of a "budget crisis" and not one of these elected things can raise the issue of cutting funding for an agency that has repeatedly demonstrated a callous disregard for the rule of law.
There's always hope that it could be defunded after August 2nd.
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Old July 16, 2011, 07:31 AM   #644
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What evidence do we have that Fast & Furious was an incompetent attempt to catch bad guys and what evidence do we have that it was an incompetent attempt to introduce new gun control restrictions?
The attempt to catch cartel kingpins by allowing these straw sales then waiting for the guns to show up at Mexican crime scenes is unbelievably incompetent. As in, too incompetent to be believed.

The attempt to introduce new gun control restrictions actually worked fairly well, right up until Agent Terry was killed. There were quite a few media stories about the problems with 90% of the guns in Mexican crimes being sold by US dealers along the border, things like that. Although the number has been dropped to 70% (and is still wildly inaccurate) those stories and the various calls for more gun control resulting from this operation persist. The new ATF rule on long gun sales and a press conference yesterday by pro-gun control Representatives are both responses to the Mexican situation.

I'd say that an attempt that continues to function after such a crippling scandal is at least competent, not incompetent.
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Old July 16, 2011, 07:35 AM   #645
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Follow up email to Gunwalker Bill Newell



What did he say on January 25th in a press conference again? Wasn't that when he lied and said there was never any gunwalking? Great job indeed.
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Old July 16, 2011, 01:46 PM   #646
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I have no comment on the possible program in FL but Faux "News" is the propaganda arm of the extremely right wing Republican party. Given their complete lack of any attempt to be fair to Democrats and the current Administration and it's no wonder the White House isn't playing footsy with Faux "News". Not Nixon type tricks, mind you.
I see.... unlike the NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, Time, PBS, Knight-Ridder papers, CNN, ABC news and NBC news who never tow the Democrat party line? I'm omitting shows like MSNBC's Chris "tingle up my leg" Matthews, just to be fair.

------------------------------------------
Quote:
What evidence do we have that Fast & Furious was an incompetent attempt to catch bad guys and what evidence do we have that it was an incompetent attempt to introduce new gun control restrictions? Was it one or the other? Was it both? I'm not sure what to think at this point.
Evidence that it was an inept, incompetent attempt to catch "big fish" gunrunners can be found in...
  • the DOJ's inspector general report that chastises ATF for pursuing FFL audits and straw-purchasers instead of "major players" in gunrunning.
  • Agents have also stated the purpose of this felony stupid plan was to have straw buyers lead them to "higher level players" and potentially cartel members.
  • Statements by DOJ/ATF heads that it was a plan to shut down gunrunning.
Of course, when one looks at the methodology this whole rationale starts to look like an inept excuse to get the guns to Mexico. US agents are forbidden by treaty from operating in Mexico without the express consent and assistance of the MEXGOV. So, if they follow the guns to a house where the guns stay and the straw buyers leave, why not stake out the house and watch for the guns to move? Then interdict them before crossing the border? That would get you a "higher level" gunrunner. He could give you names in Mexico (possibly). Instead, ATF let the guns cross the border with no tracking. With no notification to the MEXGOV there was no chance to follow the flow, interdict the transfer or stop the transfer to illegal dealers in Mexico.

Evidence of "some other reason" --
  • The lack of tracking by the ATF by letting the guns go to Mexico.
  • The approval and authorizing of illegal straw-buys, in some cases, hundreds of guns to one individual alone- knowing they would not follow or interdict the guns.
  • The lack of explanation how ATF would connect-the-dots from straw-buy guns to cartel usage to indict anyone except the straw-buyers.
  • No explanation of how they planned to indict foreign nationals (cartel members) even if they were found with smuggled guns in Mexico.
  • The "giddy" elation of some Phoenix agents when US-made "Fast and Furious" guns turned up at Mexican crime scenes.
  • Knowing that the MEXGOV agents would use the spanish-language e-Trace to track those guns back to US origins.
  • The fact that "Fast and Furious" was a semi-covert operation not reported in DOJ/ATF budgets but "hidden" under the umbrella of the successful Project Gunrunner.
  • The aboslute stonewalling by DOJ/ATF when congress asks for briefings on the operation and/or details.
  • The fact that DOJ/ATF has not (that we know of yet) any concrete document detailing the planning of Fast and Furious and who authored and who authorized the plan.
  • Certain knowledge that guns smuggled into Mexico would be used for illegal purposes, including murder of civilians and/or government personnel.

Re: RICO charges...
It would require at least one or two dealers to come forward with allegations of coercion and threats that failure to participate would have dire consequences for them. Courts might reject threats of increased scrutiny and audits. However if the dealers claim those threats were made along with a statement like "we'll make up charges if we have to" then it might go somewhere. Especially if a dealer who opted out early found himself on the short end of some "compliance audit".

I think it's worth pointing out that the dealers who met with the ATF and AUSA's regarding their own liability were never given any letters validating their cooperation. I know that at least one dealer was told that they would NOT talk to him if his lawyer was present. While dealers were given assurances verbally, none of it was written down or in any way evidence that they were cooperating. Imagine if no one blew the whistle. Right now we could be hearing how these same dealers had a "known record" of illegally selling guns to straw-buyers to feed the Mexican drug cartels. By the time a court hearing comes up, the ATF agents and AUSA's could deny any such "agreement" existed or that such an agreement was a blanket immunity from prosecution.

Let's remember that BATF has a track record of luring citizens into making technical violations of the law unknowingly or unwittingly so they could "prove" their worth. That was the basis for the warrant against Randy Weaver. In the 70's and early 80's, over 75% of their cases were such "crimes". Enforcement against organized gunrunning and illegal sales amounted to less than 15% of their cases up through the 1980's.

Let's also remember than in the 70's ATF agents were filmed removing guns from a gunstore by jamming the guns into plastic trash cans and then throwing the cans into the back of a rental truck. Some agents were even filmed slamming stocks against the truck walls to break the stocks.
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Old July 16, 2011, 03:14 PM   #647
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I suppose there is a chance that someone in the ATF might have been working for a drug cartel. Lord knows enough Mexican government officials have been bribed.
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Old July 16, 2011, 03:19 PM   #648
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This operation could only have been approved at the highest levels of government. It could not have been conducted by lower level managers.

Approvals would have been required by:

The US Attorney General, Sec of State, Director of Homeland Security, their counter parts on the Presidents Staff and ultimately POTUS himself.

Given the international issues involved, and the possible change in the Legislator, it is possible that Obama will join Nixon on the trash heap of presidential politics.
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Old July 16, 2011, 04:22 PM   #649
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I don't understand how it's reasonable to expect the majority of the guns would end up in Mexico. Smuggling, requires two sides of a border. They had to know whatever violence they were exporting to Mexico, was also going to happen here. The weapon's tracking often stopped on this side of the border according to the agents.
Total chaos, was what they wanted. Here and there. It is what it is.
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Old July 16, 2011, 04:30 PM   #650
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Total chaos, was what they wanted. Here and there.
I agree and with great weight of consideration and serious though I have to agree that there was zero chance of this operation working as a law enforcement tool. This is absolute power run amok and done so with the malice of forethought to create chaos, regardless of the standing RICO laws this was a criminal enterprise in every sense of the word.

I am greatly disturbed to write such a paragraph but the truth is self-evident and I take no pleasure in it.... I take great pride in our nation but I cannot condone this action.
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