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Americas 090410 American guns in Mexico Numbers don‟t lie: They just lie around and get twisted like pretzels by Fred Edwards April 10, 2009 -- If Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tells reporters on a flight to Mexico City that 90 percent of the weapons used to commit crimes in Mexico come from the United States, it must be accurate, right? If CBS newsman Bob Schieffer refers to the same percentage while interviewing President Obama, it has to be correct, right? And if Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., says at a Senate hearing: "It is unacceptable to have 90 percent of the guns that are picked up in Mexico and used to shoot judges, police officers and mayors . . . come from the United States," then 90 percent of the guns must come from America, right? On top of all that, if William Hoover from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, tells the House of Representatives "there is more than enough evidence to indicate that over 90 percent of the firearms that have either been recovered in, or interdicted in transport to Mexico, originated from various sources within the United States," that ought to settle the issue, right? Well, think again. On April 2, William La Jeunesse and Maxim Lott of FOX News stated, “It's just not true.” They said that only 17 percent of guns found at Mexican crime scenes have been traced to the United States. They added that an ATF spokeswoman confirmed this by saying that over 90 percent of the guns that Mexico traces originated in the United States. Many aren‟t sent to the United States for tracing because their markings show they didn‟t come from the U.S. market. Let‟s look at the numbers. La Jeunesse and Lott stated that, in 2007 and 2008, the Mexican government reported recovering 29,000 guns at crime scenes. ATF Special Agent William Newell said that Mexico submitted only 11,000 guns to the ATF for tracing. Almost 6,000 were traced successfully, and 5,114 were determined to come from the United States. To put the numbers into perspective, of the 29,000 guns found at crime scenes, 5,114, or 17.6 percent were actually traced to the United States. That‟s a far cry from the 90 percent figure that has been tossed around. Where did all the other weapons originate? La Jeunesse and Lott documented an international armory, beginning with “fragmentation grenades from South Korea, AK-47s from China, and shoulder-fired rocket launchers from Spain, Israel and former Soviet bloc manufacturers.” Other sources on their list: * Russian criminal groups such as Poldolskaya and Solntsevskaya * The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), in league with the Tijuana cartel * Asia * Deserters from the Mexican Army * Guatemala Why this insistence on 90 percent versus 17.6 percent? Chris Cox of the National Rifle Association blames the media and anti-gun politicians, saying “The numbers are intentionally used to weaken the Second Amendment.” In line with La Jeunesse and Lott, he mentioned weapons found in Mexico that did not come from the United States, such as Russian, Chinese and Israeli guns, and weapons from Mexican army deserters. Although a look at the numbers discloses that they can be used to mislead Americans, the hard figure of 5,114 weapons traced to the United States in a two-year period remains a serious factor. But if the United States and Mexico are going to partner in this war that‟s spilling over our borders, let‟s keep American left-wing gun-control spin out of it. After all, law-abiding Americans living in the border states need their own guns now, more than ever. 090403 The Mexican monster: A many-headed Hydra by Fred Edwards April 3, 2009 -- Greek mythology holds that the Hydra monster had nine heads, but Heracles, who was challenged to kill the poisonous creature, couldn‟t keep track of the number because each time he cut off one, two grew it its place. Today, Mexico and the United States are confronting a Hydra of their own -- seven or more Mexican drug cartels operating transnationally, along with an unknown number of gangs that engage in kidnapping and other criminal activities. Known drug-related deaths in Mexico since last year number 7,200, while many killings by other criminals go uncatalogued. Fred Burton and Scott Stewart of Stratfor, a company that collects and analyzes worldwide political, economic and military intelligence, state that Mexico is in fact engulfed in three wars. The first is the battle among the cartels for control of the smuggling corridors, called plazas. For example, Ciudad Juarez offers access to America‟s I-10, I-20 and I-25 highways. The second is the war between the heavily armed cartels and Mexican security forces. And the third is a kidnapping and terror campaign against civilians by cartel members and other criminals. This third war includes counterfeiting, robbery, burglary, carjacking, extortion, and fraud. To top off the list, Burton and Stewart declare: “Mexico has become the kidnapping capital of the world.” The Mexican cartels have invaded the United States. But you might ask, “How can brown- skinned Mexican thugs operate here without being identified?” Consider that from 7 million to as many as 20 million illegal Hispanics reside in the United States. The actual number depends upon whose statistics you accept, but a hundred or so extras filtered in from the Mexican cartels would hardly register on the radar screen. In short, Mexico and the United States are facing a many-headed monster just as deadly as Heracles‟ Hydra. And even Canada is in the impact zone. Law enforcement authorities point to Vancouver, British Columbia, and a spate of shootings connected with cartel distribution of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs. And in the United States, officials have identified 230 cities in the web of Mexican cartels, including Anchorage, Atlanta, Boston, Billings, Mont., Birmingham, Ala., and Phoenix. Arizona wins the title of hub state because some 60 percent of cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine come through its international frontier. And it‟s paying for it with increases in violence related to the smuggling. The Atlanta area also rates as a hub, because of its network of highways and the ability of the traffickers to blend with the surge of Mexican immigrant workers who have gone to Atlanta in the past decade searching for work. So the many-headed Hydra wreaks havoc on both sides of the border. Furthermore, the cartels that smuggle an estimated 90 percent of illegal drugs entering the United States don‟t force Americans to take them. American customers want them, crave them, and pay for them. And all taxpayers foot the bill in one way or another. This problem, sometimes also called a war, is America’s problem, and we haven‟t found a way--through social, ethical, moral, psychological or legal means--to resolve it. Furthermore, Americans are arming the cartels with weapons. An estimated 17 to 90 percent -- depending upon the source you prefer -- of the weapons seized from drug traffickers or at crime scenes in Mexico come from the United States. This creates a new balance of payments. Americans make profits by selling guns destined for Mexico. In return, tens of billions of American dollars in drug money go to Mexico. American gun laws have turned the four border states into a weapons supermarket. Along the Mexican border, “straw buyers” with clean criminal records can simply purchase three or four high-powered rifles from one of more than 6,600 dealers and feed them to smugglers. On weekends, “gun enthusiasts” can attend weekend gun shows and buy battlefield rifles. A weapon here and a weapon there, and they begin to add up. Last year Mexican authorities seized 20,000 of them. So there‟s the Hydra: narco-terrorism, counterfeiting, robbery, burglary, carjacking, extortion, fraud, drug smuggling, and weapons smuggling. 090206 Guantanamo: Pandora‟s Box by Fred Edwards Feb. 6, 2009 -- Remember Pandora‟s Box, which contained all the evils of mankind? Considering some of the terrorists that are being considered for release from the U.S. Guantanamo detention facility, Gitmo contains a box crammed with evils. And President Obama opened the lid when he signed an executive order January 22 to close Gitmo. About 245 detainees remain at Gitmo, with 20 scheduled for trial and 60 deemed eligible for transfer or release. How do you decide who wears white hats and who wears black hats? We already know you can‟t simply declare a jihadist healed and put a white hat on him. Saudi Arabia tried that with Ali al-Shihri, who was released from Gitmo in 2007. Al-Shihri attended a Saudi rehabilitation program for jihadists, which supposedly qualified him for a white hat. But he resurfaced with al Qaeda in Yemen, which welcomed him publicly. Altogether, 11 Saudis who were released from Gitmo and went through the Saudi rehabilitation program are believed to have fled the country and joined terrorist groups. Another three were simply arrested upon their return to Saudi Arabia. How do you reverse any jihadist who has been brainwashed for years in an indoctrination program that teaches madness? Where do you keep the detainees before you decide whether they are white-hat material? The Geneva Convention and U.S. law forbid housing enemy combatants with military prisoners charged with criminal offenses. But this brings us to the still argued status of the detainees. Does the Geneva Convention apply to them, or are they to be given the same rights as American citizens in American courts? Meanwhile, the Obama team suggested sending them to military prisons in the continental United States. Not the Marine Corps Base at Camp Pendleton, Calif., wrote Republican Reps. Darrell Issa, Brian Bilbray and Duncan D. Hunter in a letter to defense secretary Gates January 13, warning that lodging them there “could seriously endanger” the base‟s mission. And forget Fort Leavenworth, Kan., say a host of officials in mid-America. Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, a Republican, said he had been told by officials from Muslim countries that they would no longer send officers to the Army Command and General Staff College if detainees came to Fort Leavenworth. "We've already heard from students from Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia that they will leave, or be pulled by their governments, if the detainees from Guantanamo are moved there," Brownback said. "It's where these relationships are built with foreign officers, particularly in the Islamic world. This really hurts us." In addition, the city, the local chamber of commerce, and Leavenworth County have taken public stands against making Leavenworth the new Guantanamo. "This is just not going to happen on our watch," said U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican. U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, a Republican whose district includes Leavenworth, perhaps said it best. The Gitmo detainees would come to Kansas "over my dead body.” What about courts? Susan Crawford, the Defense Department‟s convening authority for military commissions says that at least one detainee was tortured, and that interrogation practices probably have irreparably damaged the entire process. If they are tried and released on legal technicalities, what then? And what do you do with informants like Yasim Muhammed Basardah, a former Taliban fighter who has been given special privileges at Guantanamo? If the U.S. government does not grant them asylum, can it find a country to accept them? Can it send them to their countries of origin under protective arrangements like the United States does with its witness protection program? Will their “countries of origin” even want them? Indeed, can you send any home? The first question is how to keep them from going right back to the fight, like al-Shihri did after graduating from the rehab program in Saudi Arabia. The next question is whether their countries of origin will accept them. For example, German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has declared the detainees to be America's problem. The Saudi rehabilitation program must prove to be successful if more detainees are to be released to Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, almost half of the detainees at Gitmo are Yemeni, and Yemen hasn‟t yet created a rehabilitation program. It only took 19 jihadists to kill almost 3,000 Americans on 9/11. How many absolute jihadists are going to escape legally from Gitmo when Pandora‟s Box opens, those that former Gitmo commander Maj. Gen. Jay W. Hood says are fundamentally opposed to you, who you are, your way of life, your beliefs your freedom, your liberties -- and are completely intolerant of who you are -- are likely to kill a few thousand -- or perhaps a few hundred thousand -- innocent Americans? 090130 Guantanamo: The other side of the story by Fred Edwards Jan. 30, 2009 -- We‟ve heard tales of torture at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo in Cuba. We‟ve seen videos of detainees being led like sheep to some slaughter. And we‟ve been bombarded with shibboleths like “civil rights,” “habeas corpus,” and the like. After years of this, we might begin to think that the United States sent the most vicious, sadistic people in uniform to Guantanamo. Well, it‟s time for the other side of the story. It comes from Army Maj. Gen. Jay W. Hood. The following is what he told almost a hundred leaders and spouses of the Military Officers Association of America in Florida January 24. “I have absolutely no hesitation to tell people . . . I commanded the joint task force at Guantanamo Bay, and was responsible for the men under U.S. detention there from March 2004 to March 2006. “I am intimately familiar with the men that were held in U.S. custody there. And I‟m extraordinarily proud of the 8,000 Americans that served with me during that time period. While I was there, no American under my command ever did anything that he was embarrassed to show the American people, any lawyer, or the Lord. “In fact, we treated the men in U.S. custody there with greater dignity, respect, kindness and compassion than any enemy that has been held in captivity by any army in the history of warfare. And if you have not been there and have not seen it, I‟ll tell you that there has been a great . . . fallacy . . . propagated, largely by U.S. and international media about the nature of the Americans who were there. “I never tortured anybody. I never hurt anybody meaningfully. I treated those that I dealt with, with respect. No man died in my custody, ever. And, I followed the oath I took when I took office. “There were very clearly some very dangerous men we were holding there, some of which will find their way back into the fight. If you believe our intelligence community, a fairly significant number of them already have. I can tell you with absolute certainty that if you read the New York Times, (there was an article about) a Saudi detainee that was held in U.S custody there that was returned to Saudi Arabia and subsequently re-entered the fight as the deputy al-Qaeda commander in Yemen, and recently perpetrated an attack on the U.S. embassy there that resulted in several Yemeni deaths. I can tell you, that -- almost certainly -- is an extraordinarily accurate report. General Hood, now chief of staff of U.S. Central Command, did not name the terrorist, but the New York Times article identified him as Ali al-Shihri, who was released to Saudi Arabia in 2007. Al-Shihri attended a Saudi rehabilitation program for former jihadists, which presumably was supposed to convert him to a peaceful Muslim. He resurfaced with al-Qaeda in Yemen. His status was announced by the Yemeni jihadist group and was confirmed by an American counterterrorism official, who insisted on anonymity because he was discussing an intelligence analysis. Hood continued with carefully chosen words: “There are some dangerous fellows there. And quite rightly, some very bright folks from the Department of Justice and in our intelligence agencies must sort out what they‟re going to do. I need to ask, „What do you wish to do with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the man who masterminded the 9/11 attacks and was responsible for 3,000 deaths, What do you wish to do with a couple of his principle henchmen?‟ We have them in U.S. custody and somebody is going to have to figure that out. Again Hood paused, searching for accurate words. And he found them: “How genuine the young men and women that served with me there were. If you‟d seen the genuine kindness that they had showed some men who were fundamentally opposed to you, who you are, your way of life, your beliefs your freedom, your liberties -- completely intolerant of who you are, you‟d probably be amazed at how often an American turned another cheek. Fascinating. Truly fascinating.” That, fellow Americans, is the other side of the story.
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