Lulzsec files: Operation Gunrunner weapons of choice

By Brenda Norrell

Also see breaking news: Journalist found decapitated in Veracruz:

http://cpj.org/2011/07/journalist-found-decapitated-in-mexico.php  

 

PHOENIX -- When the ATF Operation Gunrunner's Fast and Furious allowed weapons to "walk" into Mexico, supposedly as part of a sting operation, the weapons landed in the hands of drug cartels. Two US agents have been killed by these weapons, and an unknown number of people in Mexico were murdered.

When hacktivists Lulzsec exposed the Arizona Department of Public Safety files, they released from the bowels of these police files a report titled "ATF Southwest Border Strategy, Project Gunrunner Weapons of Choice." This report describes the weapons of choice, from pistols and rifles to AK47s. The date on the report states that this Gunrunner report was revised in Feb. 2008.

So far, the Arizona media has failed to expose the contents of this report. The Arizona media has also missed other facts in these files, including a Tucson police chief candidate who was defined as a "stalker," in the files of the Fraternal Order of Police in Tucson. In Phoenix, the Fraternal Order of Police removed another police officer that is a sex offender.

In the hacked files of the Chinga La Migra releases, there is also the description of a roping ranch, where police go near Nogales. Arizona police roping at the ranch were warned by the cartels. A message to the police said they "are expecting for them to look the other way when not in uniform, and not in service." Further, the source said the cartels "have a sniper in position that oversee's the drug loads."

 While some of Arizona's media provided information on the heavily-armed off-duty US Marines patrolling the border, and stalking migrants, there was much more in these files. Arizona police described a plan, as told to agents, that a team of heavily-armed mercenaries were funded to come to Sasabe. Sasabe, located southwest of Tucson and alongside the Tohono O'odham Nation, has been heavily-trafficked by armed white supremacist patrols for many years. The earlier Minutemen were followed by the current Blue Lights and heavily-armed "concerned citizens" who patrol the desert border.

In Tucson, where students are fighting the State of Arizona to save their ethnic studies programs, the exposed files revealed a school cop reporting the diversity studies class to the Arizona Attorney General. Apparently the school cop didn't believe that Native Americans were actually the victims of genocide.

Meanwhile, it came as no surprise to people who live on the border that the US government was supplying assault weapons to the drug cartels in Mexico. Where else would they come from?

The report, ATF Southwest Border Strategy, Project Gunrunner Weapons of Choice, states the weapons of choice in 2008. The list includes a variety of pistols, long guns and rifles. The guns included are AK47s, Romarm Romak rifles, Romaram WASR rifles, Poly Tech AKS rifles, AR-15 Type rifles, Bushmaster XM15 rifles, Colt Sporter rifles, Rock River Arms LAR-15 rifles, and others.

The agents killed with these weapons, placed in the hands of drug cartels were: Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, killed near Nogales, Arizona, and Immigration agent Jaime Zapata, killed in northern Mexico, south of Texas.

Read more on Operation Gunrunner at Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Gunrunner
Controversy
ATF Project Gunrunner has a stated official objective to stop the sale and export of guns from the United States into Mexico in order to deny Mexican drug cartels the firearms considered "tools of the trade".[16] However, since September 2009 under Project Gunrunner, operation "Fast and Furious", did the opposite by ATF permitting, encouraging and facilitating 'straw purchase' firearm sales to traffickers, and allowing the guns to 'walk' and be transported to Mexico. This has resulted in the death of US border agent Brian Terry and considerable controversy.[17][18][19]
Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-IA) initiated an investigation with a letter to ATF on 27 January 2011,[20] and again on 31 January 2011. ATF responded through the Department of Justice by denying all allegations.[21] Senator Grassley responded with specific documentation supporting the allegations in letters to U.S. Attorney General Holder on 9 Feb 2011[22] and 16 Feb 2011.[23] ATF refused to answer specific questions in a formal briefing to Senator Grassley on 10 Feb 2011.
Indictments filed in federal court, documentation obtained by Senator Grassley, and statements of ATF agents obtained by Senator Grassley and CBS News, show that the ATF Phoenix Field Division allowed and facilitated the sale of over 2,500 firearms (AK-47 rifles, FN 5.7mm pistols, AK-47 pistols, and .50 caliber rifles) in 'straw man purchases' destined for Mexico. [17][24][25][26][27][28]According to ATF agents, Mexican officials were not notified, and ATF agents operating in Mexico were instructed not to alert Mexican authorities about the operation.[29] Some ATF agents and supervisors strongly objected, and gun dealers (who were cooperating with ATF) protested the sales, but were asked by ATF to complete the transactions to expose the supply chain and gather intelligence.[17][30] However, there are accusations that the ATF was attempting to boost statistics to 'prove' that American guns are arming the Mexican drug cartels and to further budget and political objectives.[31]
Many of these same guns are being recovered from crime scenes in Arizona[32] and throughout Mexico,[33] which is artificially inflating ATF's eTrace statistics of U.S. origin guns seized in Mexico. One specific gun, recovered at the scene, is alleged to be the weapon used to murder Customs and Border Protection Agent Brian Terry on December 14, 2010.[34 

About Brenda Norrell

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 34 years. She is publisher of Censored News, focusing on Indigenous Peoples, human rights and the US border. Censored News was created after Norrell was censored, then terminated, by Indian Country Today after serving as a longtime staff reporter. Now censored by the mainstream media, she previously was a staff reporter at numerous American Indian newspapers and a stringer for AP, USA Today and others. She lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, and then traveled with the Zapatistas. She covered the climate summits in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Cancun, Mexico, in 2010.

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About Brenda Norrell

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http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/

Biography

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 34 years. She is publisher of Censored News, focusing on Indigenous Peoples, human rights and the US border. Censored News was created after Norrell was censored, then terminated, by Indian Country Today after serving as a longtime staff reporter. Now censored by the mainstream media, she previously was a staff reporter at numerous American Indian newspapers and a stringer for AP, USA Today and others. She lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, and then traveled with the Zapatistas. She covered the climate summits in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Cancun, Mexico, in 2010.