Illicit guns from other countries- not America- fuel drug cartels in Mexico

The battle for Mexico’s heart and soul has risen to the highest levels- not only is the country suffering from an explosive drug cartel battle, but Mexico’s very existence is embroiled in a narco-state clash.

The soul of a country lies within its citizenry and right now Mexico is losing the mêlée to the drug cartels. President Felipe Calderon has embarked on a noble quest and has promised to dethrone the powerful drug cartels from Mexico, yet in the past three years it’s the citizens who have lost 28,000 lives (and counting) to earth-shattering barbaric violence, like beheadings, perpetrated by mafia-type drug gangs.

Gone are the days of Poncho Villa as these thugs in Mexico are gaining the upper hand. They are replacing cartel leaders who have been killed or captured by the government with a more treacherous, vicious brand of brutality. The new drug cartel leaders must prove they mean business by exacting atrocious acts to garner fear and loyalty within Mexico’s borders.

The root of this evil is money – billions are made each year in Mexico from the drug trade. In an effort to capture those billions merciless drug cartels fight (with a plethora of military-grade weapons) to establish the shrinking smuggling routes into the heart of America.

The end result is a happy American drug consumer. Currently, America is home to more than Disneyland, it provides somewhere between 75 to 80 percent of the world’s drug consumption. Something Walt would not be proud of.

As with any national epidemic a message of propaganda must circulate to reveal the hero and villain. In this case the American politician and main stream media outlets have chosen guns as the villain. By spinning the web that guns are the root and American gun manufactures supply 90 percent of the weaponry to Mexican cartels; the U.S. is hit with a double whammy- a consumer and blame for the never-ending violence.

The media got it halfway right, America is the largest consumer of drugs and the cartels wouldn’t be in business if there wasn’t a demand for narcotics, but the guns are not coming from America.

In fact, a new paper out (Spring 2010) from George Mason’s School of Public Policy dispels this myth once and for all.

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) only 17 percent of the guns recovered by Mexican authorities are traceable to the United States a far cry from the 90 percent perpetuated by the MSM. It is worth pointing out that the Mexican government does a good job photographing the drugs, money and weapons it seizes and releases them to the public.

Below is a recent seizure slideshow, (about a month old) near the Mexico/Arizona border and the pictures speak volumes about the arsenal drug cartels are using.

“The guns are from China, South America, Russia and the USA. However the firearms from the USA were sent via operation ‘Blue Lantern’ under the Clinton administration. If I recall correctly America gave Mexico about $6 billion worth of guns, ammo, night vision, grenades, and (my favorite) training,” said Marc Halcon a leading gun industry proprietor and federally-recognized advanced law-enforcement training expert.

“The rifles shown in the slideshow are from China (most likely) or eastern block nations. They have never been manufactured in the USA. The pistols ‘may’ have been manufactured in the USA, but I must point out that many countries make a clone of the same pistol so it is hard to say for sure,” he explained.

In Halcon’s opinion the Mexican government should be more cooperative with the BATF and U.S. officials. “As we pursue the true source of the firearms in question and since we apparently can’t stop the flow of illegals into our country; how are we expected to stop the flow of firearms without the assistance from the Mexican government?”

Mexico’s President lashes out at America

Last week Mexican President Calderon took a direct shot at the U.S. for providing the guns that fuel the drug war.

“The American weapons industry is a voracious and vicious industry they create. It’s clear to me that they create a conflict in a poor country in Africa just to sell weapons. In the same way they are making money on the situation in Mexico.” He goes on to say America has not changed its yearly budget in its own battle with drug consumption.

Upon closer look at this statement it appears Mexico’s president is continuing the government propaganda that America is providing the majority of the weapons the cartels are using- again a falsehood that is repeated until many believe it to be fact.

“To fully understand what he is saying you only need to listen to one sentence where he states ‘the budget for the war on drugs has not changed,’” Halcon explains. “Essentially he is asking for the U.S. to give Mexico (him) money. This is a typical third-world shakedown in my opinion.”

Halcon continues to add that “the U.S. government has supplied billions of dollars in firearms, ammunition, training, etc to the Mexico. The real issue facing Americans is that between 120 and 150 of the Mexican military troops defect to the dark side every month. When they leave they are taking their equipment, guns and training with them.”

So far under President Calderon’s watch the government has confiscated more than 70,000 weapons from the drug cartels.

Propaganda spoken by U.S politicians and main stream media

Chris Cox, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association, blames the main stream media and uninformed politicians in the U.S. for misrepresenting where Mexican drug cartel weapons originate. “Reporter after politician after news anchor just disregards the truth on this,” Cox contends. “The numbers are intentionally used to weaken the Second Amendment.”

American talking heads are not the only members spouting incorrect numbers. Auturo Sarukhan, the Mexican ambassador to the U.S., claims Mexico seizes about 2,000 guns a day from America. However that number adds up to 730,000 a year. The ambassador misses the real number by 700,000. The real number is 30,000 for all of 2007/08, according to the Mexican attorney general’s office.

Here is what the political leaders, federal agency heads and main stream media spokespeople are saying about the war next door. The following is a list of those who repeated that 90 percent of drug cartel guns come from America;

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeated it to reporters on a flight to Mexico City; CBS anchorman Bob Schieffer referred to the falsehood while interviewing President Obama; Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said 90 percent of the guns are used to kill judges, police officers and mayors at a Senate hearing; William Hoover, assistant director for field operations of ATF, testified to Congress that “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.”

Apparently the ATF did not send out an intra-agency memo articulating that the 90 percent of traced weapons from America and that the majority of the firearms seized are clearly not even made or sold in the United States.

“Not every weapon seized in Mexico has a serial number on it that would make it traceable, and the U.S. effort to trace weapons really only extends to weapons that have been in the U.S. market,” Matt Allen, special agent of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported.

Furthermore Mexican officials seized more than 30,000 guns in 2007/2008, but only submitted about 11,000 to ATF for tracing. Of the 6,000 of those traced, only 5,114 were traced to US sources. That number represents 90 percent of the 6,000 traced, but represents only 17 percent of all seizures, so again, the 90 percent number is supported by empirical evidence, but is not representative of the truth that only 5,115 of the 30,000 weapons seized were traced to US sources.” The true percentage of 17 percent does not present such a compelling argument for clamping down on American gun manufacturing as does the distorted 90 percent number does.

Some weapons, firearm dealers say, are legitimately shipped to Mexico, by Colt, from the United States. These sales are approved by the U.S. government for use by the Mexican military. Clearly these guns end up in Mexico and are not smuggled in across the river.

Firearm experts contend the remainder of the weapons that find their way into the ruthless cartels come from a variety of places

The black market in Mexico is a virtual arms variety store, with grenades from South Korea, AK-47s from China, and shoulder-fired rocket launchers from Spain, Israel and former Soviet bloc manufacturers.

Another large source is the Russian crime syndicates. In fact, Interpol claims Russian Mafia are actively trafficking drugs and arms into Mexico.

And don’t forget South America. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) established a clandestine arms smuggling and drug trafficking partnership with Mexican cartels after Pablo Escobar’s demise left a vacuum of weapons and drug addiction.

According to a 2006 Amnesty International Report, China provided arms to countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Of these weapons Chinese assault firearms and Korean explosives have been recovered in Mexico’s war on cartels.

Another major contributor is the Mexican military itself as more than 150,000 soldiers have deserted to the cartels in the last six years, according to Mexican Congressman Robert Badillo. Most deserters take their uniforms and weapons with them, including the standard issue M-16 assault rifles.

The Mexican government reports that it has seized 2,239 grenades in the last two years, but the grenades and the rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) confiscated are not available in U.S. gun shops. The grenades used in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey and a TV station in January came from South Korea.

Hilary Clinton accepts responsibility for Americans

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on a recent visit to Mexico, said that America’s inability to prevent weapons being smuggled across the border is causing the deaths of Mexican police officers, soldiers and civilians.

“I feel very strongly we have a co-responsibility,” Clinton told reporters on her Mexico City trip a day after the Obama administration implied it would send more money, technology and manpower to secure the border and assist Mexico battle the drug cartels.

“Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade,” she said. “Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians.”

Mexico appreciated Clinton’s admission of U.S. responsibility regarding the war on drugs.

“We want to address together the challenges that we are facing,” Foreign Minister for Mexico Patricia Espinosa said.

That being said, Mexico says it will never allow U.S. troops to operate inside the country and the fact that U.S. is deploying National Guard troops to the border is causing anxiety.

“It is seen as a very delicate issue,” said Espinosa.

Under former President Bill Clinton’s administration, an effort was also made to fight the drug cartels. It was called “Operation Blue Lantern.” In the mid 1990s, Clinton spent millions of dollars a year to curb the cartels.

In February of 1997, the Clinton Administration announced the Mexican government was a “full ally” in the war on drugs. In doing so Clinton’s Drug Czar, Army General Barry McCaffrey, described Mexican General Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo, who led the Mexican National Institute to Combat Drugs (INCD) as a “man of absolute unquestioned character.”

Shortly after McCaffrey’s announcement, Rebollo was arrested for taking bribes from one of the largest drug cartels in Mexico and he had been present at numerous secret meetings involving the White House, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

The blame game continues in Mexico

Taking exception to President Calderon’s direct shot at the U.S. government and U.S. gun manufactures for promoting the drug war in Mexico is recently retired ICE agent John Sakelarides.

“In a transparent attempt to shift the blame from Mexico to the United States for cross border incursions to include the flow of drugs, weapons, humans and money, President Felipe Calderon is claiming the guns being used by the cartels are coming from the United States. As such, he is accusing the United States of interfering in Mexican internal affairs by accusing the U.S. is somehow allowing the cartels to send guns from the U.S. to Mexico arming the cartels.”

“Excuse me? Let me get this straight- President Calderon. Your countrymen are smuggling not only narcotics, but human beings into this country at an alarming rate, in violation of America’s territorial sovereignty, and your countrymen who run the cartels, are smuggling guns into your country, and somehow this is our fault? Your government, and those before yours, have repeatedly, knowingly, intentionally and maliciously, interfered in the internal affairs of the United States. So much so, Mexican citizens, both legal and illegal alike, who are not U.S. citizens are voting in American elections- violating U.S. laws.”

“You support the flow of illegal aliens and narcotics into the United States, either tacitly or openly. You deny us our sovereign right to control our borders and to enforce our laws, claiming that doing so is somehow racist. However, you certainly support the flow of American dollars into Mexico in the form or remittances. Please, have the decency to not lecture America about how to run our country given the fact that Mexico is now a defacto narco-state.”

“Perhaps this behavior is acceptable in Mexico. But this kind of anarchy will not be tolerated in America. Mexico is like the neighbor who complains about his neighbor’s children playing in their yard, while he allows his children to run amok in the neighborhood. You sir, are a hypocrite.”

The mounting problems the Mexican government and President Calderon are having in controlling the drug cartels, lawlessness, and escalating violence is forcing Mexico to look elsewhere for blame, but little of the blame rests with the U.S. government, but more directly with the insatiable appetite Americans seem to have for Mexico’s “recreational drugs.”

“Recreational drugs” are killing thousands (more than 28,000 in three years) of Mexicans, destroying the Mexican economy, and inhibiting the government’s ability to govern has forced President Calderon’s hand to explore the legalization of illegal drugs as a distinct possibly. This concept was immediately acclaimed by former Mexican President Vicente Fox as a good solution to the drug cartel lawlessness.
The collapse of the Mexican government would have disastrous effects on the US, including the unabated flow of drugs through Mexico to the US and an influx of illegal immigrants in numbers never even imagined.

As this reporter has previously written, what happens in Mexico matters.

For more stories;
Slideshow: An example of weapons captured along the Arizona/Mexico border

About thekdreport

Investigative journalist

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