Fast and Furious: DoJ-supplied guns used in Mexican lawyer’s murder


**Posted by Phineas

Well, ain’t that just dandy.

I’ve said before that the number of Mexican soldiers, federal agents, police and civilians killed by weapons allowed to “walk” over the border into Mexico under the Department of Justice’s “sting” operation has amounted to at least 300, per the Mexican Attorney General.

Here are some specifics, courtesy of Borderland Beat:

Firearms connected to Operation Fast and Furious were used in the 2010 slaying of the brother of the former Chihuahua state attorney general, according to a U.S. congressional report.

The report said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traced two of the weapons suspected in the murder of lawyer Mario González Rodríguez, but did not report this fact to the Mexican government until eight months after the tracing.


A video of Mario González Rodríguez’s “interrogation” by armed men was carried on YouTube. The body of the well-known Chihuahua City lawyer was found Nov. 5, 2010, in a shallow grave.

Then, Mexican federal authorities, following a shootout with drug cartel suspects, seized 16 weapons and arrested eight men in connection with Mario González Rodríguez’s murder.

The serial numbers on the seized weapons were run through an ATF database and, sure enough, two AK-pattern weapons were were flagged as “walked guns.” But it took eight months for the US government to tell Mexican authorities of their findings. When Carlos Canino, then the ATF attache in Mexico City, finally did bother to tell the Mexicans that, hey, some of our guns killed one of your citizens —our bad!— he gave the following explanation for the delay:

Canino feared an international incident might break out with Mexico if the information leaked out to the news media instead of being sent through government channels. He told U.S. lawmakers that he did not want to undermine the trust that U.S. law enforcement had developed with their Mexican counterparts in the war against the drug cartels.

Because, Lord knows, nothing builds trust like supplying automatic weapons and grenades to your ally’s enemies. Hate to see that spoiled.

When did I move to Bizarro World?

PS: Note to Mitt Romney, two words: Special. Prosecutor.

RELATED: Earlier entries for Operation Fast and Furious, aka “Gunwalker.”

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Gunwalker: Why is the White House “hiding” a key witness?


**Posted by Phineas

In an article last July about possible White House knowledge of Operation Fast and Furious, I quoted the following from a CBS report:

At a lengthy hearing on ATF’s controversial gunwalking operation today, a key ATF manager told Congress he discussed the case with a White House National Security staffer as early as September 2010. The communications were between ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix office, Bill Newell, and White House National Security Director for North America Kevin O’Reilly. Newell said the two are longtime friends. The content of what Newell shared with O’Reilly is unclear and wasn’t fully explored at the hearing.

It’s the first time anyone has publicly stated that a White House official had any familiarity with ATF’s operation Fast and Furious, which allowed thousands of weapons to fall into the hands of suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels in an attempt to gain intelligence. It’s unknown as to whether O’Reilly shared information with anybody else at the White House.

Congressional investigators obtained an email from Newell to O’Reilly in September of last year in which Newell began with the words: “you didn’t get this from me.”

“What does that mean,” one member of Congress asked Newell, ” ‘you didn’t get this from me?’ “

“Obviously he was a friend of mine,” Newell replied, “and I shouldn’t have been sending that to him.”

Newell told Congress that O’Reilly had asked him for information.

Now, however, the White House is blocking access to O’Reilly, hiding him behind claims of “executive privilege:”

White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler sent a letter Thursday to Republican lawmakers Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley, refusing their request to speak with Kevin O’Reilly, a former National Security staff member whose emails place him in the middle of the unfolding scandal. Issa and Grassley had written to Ruemmler on March 28, asking the White House to step aside and let O’Reilly talk to investigators.

Grassley is the GOP ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Issa chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, whose members include Chaffetz.

“[O’Reilly’s] personal attorney indicated that he’s more than willing to talk to the committee, on the record, under oath”” [Rep. Jake] Chaffetz told Kelly during her Friday afternoon broadcast. “It is only the White House and the White House Counsel that is saying they will not make him available.”


Ruemmler also cited executive privilege and confidentiality as reasons for denying the lawmakers’ request.

Anyone who remembers the Nixon administration is probably having flashbacks right now at the mention of executive privilege. Not that it doesn’t have its place –it’s necessary in order to let aides feel comfortable offering the president their best, most candid advice without fear of a congressional witch-hunt– but it has also been abused to hide embarrassing or even scandalous facts.

The request to speak with O’Reilly resulted from requests and subpoenas demanding all communications between O’Reilly and his friend, Bill Newell. Ruemmler claims the White House has turned over everything it has, while Chaffetz says the emails were never delivered — in spite of the legally binding subpoena.

Hence the desire to speak to Mr. O’Reilly, who is himself willing to talk, if only the Obama White House would let him.

Ask yourself this: If there really is no scandal; if, as Ruemmler claims, the House and Senate investigators have all the documents they need; if O’Reilly has no damaging information to reveal… then why won’t they let him testify? What are they hiding? What are they afraid of?

Executive privilege won’t cut it; we’re not talking about confidential advice offered by a subordinate to the president or a cabinet member. O’Reilly was involved in communications about a program that, probably illegally, provided guns (and other weapons) to vicious criminal gangs in Mexico, arguably an act of war. Over 300 Mexicans and at least one, perhaps two, US federal agents have been killed with these weapons. “Walked” firearms are showing up at crime scenes in the United States. Executive privilege doesn’t cover being an accessory to murder.

Congress has every right under its oversight function to interview O’Reilly to hear what he has to say about Operation Fast and Furious, and the White House should drop its risible claims of privilege. If they don’t, it’s time for contempt proceedings.

The dead and their families are owed no less.

LINKS: More at American Thinker and Hot Air.

RELATED: Earlier posts on Operation Fast and Furious, aka “Gunwalker.”

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Saturday Links Fiesta


**Posted by Phineas

Time to clear out some backlogged links; I think you’ll find something worth reading under each category:


If you’ve ever doubted that the MSM is full of hypocritical cowards, this should clear things right up: BBC Chief admits Christianity treated worse than other religions. And by “other religions,” I don’t think they mean Judaism… (via Howie)


I’ve said before that the Democrats’ policies (“Quantitative easing,” aka “printing money;” a devotion to radical environmental agendas) will cause inflation, for example in the cost of gasoline. But the Consumer Price Index (CPI) pegs inflation at a modest 3.1%. So, was I wrong? No, I wasn’t. Real inflation for the things you buy everyday is at more than 8% for the previous year. And it will get worse. (via Fausta)

Meanwhile, James Pethokoukis rips into Treasury Secretary Geithner’s arrogance and financial ignorance. I’m so glad Turbo-Tax Timmy is watching our money. Aren’t you?


The One has warned Iran not to call his bluff over his opposition to their development of nuclear weapons. Ed Lasky asks “Why shouldn’t they?” Hey, it’s worked so well in the past!

In light of the coming election, George Will has argued that Republicans should concentrate on capturing Congress, making Obama a relative lame-duck with a limited opportunity to do harm for the next four years. While I agree we need to take Congress to implement much-needed reforms, I strongly disagree that Obama would be a gelded president. So does Bryan Preston, in a must-read article. Three words: Supreme Court appointments.

As part of his class-warfare campaign to get reelected, Obama likes to excoriate oil companies for the supposedly obscene profits they rake in. And gullible people lap it up. At Power Line, John Hinderaker shows how much ExxonMobil puts back in to the American economy, making them a good corporate citizen, not evil.


Here’s an excellent summary of what we know about “Gunwalker’ and the scandalous behavior of the administration, so far. Long, but very worthwhile. (via Moe Lane)

In what is one of the better examples of chutzpah I’ve seen in a while, Attorney General Eric Holder wants credit for stopping Fast and Furious. Really, this guy knows no shame.

CBS’ Sharyl Attkisson, one of the few MSM reporters giving Gunwalker serious coverage, reports that the gun used to kill ICE Agent Jaime Zapata in Mexico in 2010 also came from an ATF undercover operation. That is, it was ultimately supplied by our Department of Justice. That makes two US federal agents and over 300 Mexicans killed by “walked” guns.

I wonder if Eric Holder wants credit for that, too?

Oh, and as Mary Chastain points out, the gun that killed Mr. Zapata came from a second Gunwalker-style operation. Just how many of these fiascoes lie waiting to be discovered? Well…


A potentially larger problem than Operation Fast and Furious is the danger of our southern neighbor becoming a failed state, or, at the least, the Mexican government losing control of large swathes of its territory on our mutual border. Some say that’s overstating the problem. But, what if the warning is coming from the governor legislators of a Mexican state bordering Texas? “Nuevo Leon on the verge of collapse.”

But, that’s okay. Obama and Napolitano say the border is more secure than ever.

I feel reassured, don’t you?

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

It’s about time: Arizona to launch investigation of Operation Fast and Furious


**Posted by Phineas

It’s bad enough when states have to act to enforce federal law that Washington itself refuses to enforce, as did Arizona and other states when they passed tough anti-illegal immigration laws. But what is a state or local government supposed to do when the federal government is not just refusing to enforce the law, but may itself be one of the lawbreakers?

Answer: Start your own investigation.

Arizona’s state legislature will open its own investigation into the Obama administration’s disgraced gun-running program, known as “Fast and Furious,” the speaker of the state House said Friday.

Speaker Andy Tobin created the committee, and charged it with looking at whether the program broke any state laws — raising the possibility of state penalties against those responsible for the operation.


Mr. Tobin will announce the committee’s jurisdiction at a press conference in Phoenix on Monday. The committee is charged with looking into the facts about the program, what impact it had on Arizona and whether any of the state’s laws were broken.

A report is due back by March 30.

To recap, Operation Fast and Furious (aka “Gunwalker”) was a program that fed thousands of heavy-duty firearms to Mexican drug cartels, without the knowledge of the Mexican government. Guns were purchased by “straw buyers” who were allowed to walk the firearms over the border into Mexico. The originator of this scheme was the United States Department of Justice, which, through its subordinate law-enforcement agencies, pressured legitimate gun dealers in Arizona to sell these weapons knowing that these sales were likely violations of federal statutes and regulations.

The ostensible purpose was to trace these weapons back to their cartel users, though how that was supposed to work given that the weapons were untraceable until they showed up at Mexican and US crime scenes is unknown.

What is known, however, is that over 300 Mexican military, federal agents, police officers, and civilians are dead from weapons obtained via Gunwalker. In addition, at least one and maybe two US federal officers also were killed with “walked” guns. And the Department of Justice is stonewalling congressional investigating committees, to the extent that –and it appalls me to have to write this– a high-ranking DOJ official is now “pleading the Fifth.” (1)

So, having had enough, the State of Arizona is launching its own inquiry, with the possibility of criminal action down the road.

I wish our neighbors to the East good hunting.

via Big Government

RELATED: Hot Air has news video on the Arizona investigation. See these earlier Gunwalker posts for background links.

(1) Probably because he wants a deal and refuses to be the fall guy. Rats and sinking ships, and all that.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Dear Iran: “Of course you know, this means war!” — Updated


**Posted by Phineas

Or, it would, if we had an administration with the spine of a Warner Bros. cartoon character.

ABC broke the news yesterday of an Iranian assassination plot foiled by the FBI and the DEA:

The new case, called Operation Red Coalition, began in May when an Iranian-American from Corpus Christi, Texas, approached a DEA informant seeking the help of a Mexican drug cartel to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, according to counter-terrorism officials.

The Iranian-American thought he was dealing with a member of the feared Zetas Mexican drug organization, according to agents.

The DEA office in Houston brought in FBI agents as the international terror implications of the case became apparent.

The Iranian-American, identified by federal officials as Manssor Arbabsiar, 56, reportedly claimed he was being “directed by high-ranking members of the Iranian government,” including a cousin who was “a member of the Iranian army but did not wear a uniform,” according to a person briefed on the details of the case.

Arbabsiar and a second man, Gohlam Shakuri, an Iranian official, were named in a five-count criminal complaint filed Tuesday afternoon in federal court in New York. They were charged with conspiracy to kill a foreign official and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, a bomb, among other counts. Shakuri is still at large in Iran, Holder said.

Holder identified Shakuri as an Iran-based member of the Quds force, a much feared special unit in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. The Treasury sanctions named several other members of the Iranian Quds force as well.

Arbabsiar, a naturalized U.S. citizen, expressed “utter disregard for collateral damage” in the planned bomb attacks in Washington, according to officials.

The complaint describes a conversation in which Arbabsiar was allegedly directing the informant to kill the Saudi ambassador and said the assassination could take place at a restaurant. When the informant feigned concern about Americans who also eat at the restaurant, Arbabsiar said he preferred if bystanders weren’t killed but, “Sometimes, you know, you have no choice, is that right?”

BTW, that same restaurant is known to be frequented by US senators. But, hey, sometimes “you have no choice.” Argentina was also discussed as a target, a country Iran has attacked before in their desire to kill Jews.

There’s no doubt this is a casus belli — “a cause of war.” The Iranian government has been caught red-handed organizing a terrorist operation on US soil, an operation that would not only have killed foreigners under our protection but, very likely, American citizens. And the flippant dismissal of the prospect of killing government officials makes this an attack on our government, too. While there’s no direct evidence that Khamenei or Ahmadinejad knew about this in advance, well… yeah, right. Their prime foreign covert operations agency, the Quds Force, plans an attack on the territory of the Great Satan (that’s us), and the Big Nuts in the Iranian fruitcake don’t know about it?

Like I said, “yeah, right.”

But, don’t worry, the Obama Administration is not planning any military retaliation, true to its “September 10th” values:

That a foreign government would plot to kill a foreign leader on American soil could be seen as an act of war, but Obama administration officials say the path the U.S. government will purse will align with American interests – and a military response and possible armed conflict with a third Muslim nation would not be part of that. (Though, it should be noted, the official White House position is “no option is off the table.”)

This afternoon the Treasury Department announced further sanctions against Iran, and in coming days diplomats at the United Nations and elsewhere will discuss further ways to isolate Iran, while American officials will spread far and wide throughout the region that the Iranian government was planning to kill an Arab leader.

In other words, we’re going to treat this as a law-enforcement matter, lay down sanctions, and run around telling the Arabs what they already know: that the mullahs are a bunch of dangerous psychos.

That’ll have Tehran quaking in its boots. Probably from laughing at us.

It may seem odd for me to quote Osama bin Laden, but one thing he said was very true, at least as far as life in the Muslim world goes:

“When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse.”

This is us playing the weak horse, whining when someone uses our land to carry out terror attacks. Other dictators around the world (and the people who have to live under or near them) will see this and act accordingly, as Iraq is now doing.

Let’s be honest: Iran has been at war with us since 1979, but we’ve failed to recognize this and act accordingly. Even a president as great as Reagan had a blind spot when it came to Iran and thought he could reach a grand bargain, and Bush failed to take strong action against Syria and Iran when they sponsored the guerrilla war against us in Iraq from 2004-2008. So Obama isn’t the first to naively believe that restraint would be seen as anything other than weakness.

But it’s time for it to stop.

The naked truth is that Iran is killing our soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. Whether directly or indirectly, it doesn’t matter. Their puppets Hizbullah and Hamas attack our ally, Israel. They are waging war against us (this attack was meant as much to humiliate us as to strike at the Saudis) and have taken that war to our homeland. It’s time to stop wagging our fingers in disapproval and instead punch back — hard.

Lest someone accuse me of being a warmonger, I’m not advocating invading Iran or sinking their navy in retaliation, as emotionally satisfying as that might be. We don’t have to in order to defeat them. As Michael Ledeen has often pointed out (most recently here), the Iranian regime’s grip on power is brittle; their people hate them; they face frequent rebellion and acts of sabotage. If we simply had the moral clarity and political courage to provide the peoples of Iran with the political, propaganda, and logistical support to wage their own struggle against the tyrants, as Reagan did in Poland against the Soviets, we could win without firing a shot.

Instead, we do the diplomatic equivalent of writing them a speeding ticket.

That’s no way to win a war.

CYNICAL THOUGHT: Funny how this news breaks just as AG Holder and the administration are facing close scrutiny for the Gunwalker scandal. There’s no evidence I’ve seen that this plot had gone operational and had to be stopped now. Hmmm….

LINKS: Three mustread articles at The Long War Journal and Threat Matrix. JustOneMinute thinks Holder learned a lesson. Fausta talks about the mounting threat in Latin America from Hizbullah, an Iranian cats-paw. Let’s not forget, the Iranians tried to run this plot through Mexican drug cartels. Still think that border is secure, Mr. President? Power Line notes the “axis of evil” between Iran and Los Zetas. This isn’t just about immigration — this is a national security issue.

UPDATE: Former federal prosecutor (And no fan of Obama and Holder) Andy McCarthy puts my cynical thought to rest — a frame-up makes no sense.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Things you don’t expect to see on your commute


**Posted by Phineas

Such as a drug gang dumping 35 bodies on the highway:

Suspected drug traffickers dumped 35 bodies at rush hour beneath a busy overpass in the heart of a major Gulf coast city as gunmen pointed weapons at frightened drivers. Mexican authorities said Wednesday they are examining surveillance video for clues to who committed the crime.

Horrified motorists grabbed cell phones and sent Twitter messages warning others to avoid the area near the biggest shopping mall in Boca del Rio, part of the metropolitan area of Veracruz city.

The gruesome gesture marked a sharp escalation in cartel violence in Veracruz state, which sits on an important route for drugs and Central American migrants heading north.

The Zetas drug cartel has been battling other gangs for control of the state.

Prosecutors said it’s too soon to draw conclusions from the surveillance video.

“We’re not going to confirm or deny anything,” Veracruz state Attorney General Reynaldo Escobar Perez told the Televisa network Wednesday. “We’re looking at it in different ways, we’re seeing different numbers, that’s why we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.”

Escobar said the bodies were left piled in two trucks and on the ground under the overpass near the statue of the Voladores de Papantla, ritual dancers from Veracruz state. He said some of the victims had their heads covered with blackplastic bags and showed signs of torture.

Authorities said each of the victims (including apparently a cop who had gone missing) had criminal ties, so this looks like one gang, maybe the Zetas, taking out the soldiers of another gang and throwing it in their rivals’ faces.

But it’s also a slap in the face to the Mexican federal and state governments, mocking their authority and denying their sovereignty. Doing this while the city hosts a major judicial conference says, in no uncertain terms, “We rule here, not you. Fear us.” And that’s exactly what the people do, as they lose faith with each atrocity in Mexico’s ability to protect them and render justice.

These aren’t just bodies; these are thirty-five more milestones on the road to a failed state.

RELATED: Was this a message to Los Zetas from a new cartel? (Graphic pic warning.)

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Mexican police operating from US soil


**Posted by Phineas

At some point, someone in authority is going to have to admit there is a war going on in Mexico and that our national security is at stake, because we’re already fighting it:

The Obama administration has expanded its role in Mexico’s fight against organized crime by allowing the Mexican police to stage cross-border drug raids from inside the United States, according to senior administration and military officials.

Mexican commandos have discreetly traveled to the United States, assembled at designated areas and dispatched helicopter missions back across the border aimed at suspected drug traffickers. The Drug Enforcement Administration provides logistical support on the American side of the border, officials said, arranging staging areas and sharing intelligence that helps guide Mexico’s decisions about targets and tactics.

Officials said these so-called boomerang operations were intended to evade the surveillance — and corrupting influences — of the criminal organizations that closely monitor the movements of security forces inside Mexico. And they said the efforts were meant to provide settings with tight security for American and Mexican law enforcement officers to collaborate in their pursuit of criminals who operate on both sides of the border.

Although the operations remain rare, they are part of a broadening American campaign aimed at blunting the power of Mexican cartels that have built criminal networks spanning the world and have started a wave of violence in Mexico that has left more than 35,000 people dead.

Many aspects of the campaign remain secret, because of legal and political sensitivities. But in recent months, details have begun to emerge, revealing efforts that would have been unthinkable five years ago. Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderón, who was elected in 2006, has broken with his country’s historic suspicion of the United States and has enlisted Washington’s help in defeating the cartels, a central priority for his government.

American Predator and Global Hawk drones now fly deep over Mexico to capture video of drug production facilities and smuggling routes. Manned American aircraft fly over Mexican targets to eavesdrop on cellphone communications. And the D.E.A. has set up an intelligence outpost — staffed by Central Intelligence Agency operatives and retired American military personnel — on a Mexican military base.

Two things I’ll say about this. The first is that I’m glad it’s happening. For too long Mexico has hidden behind a chest-thumping nationalism (1) and refused almost any serious cooperation. That the Calderon administration is changing this policy, albeit quietly, at great political risk to itself shows they recognize the serious problem they have, that it’s also a military and no longer just a law-enforcement problem, and that they need help. While Mexico is not yet a failed state, the danger signs are there.

Second, while I’m glad we’re cooperating with the Mexicans and giving them help, it would be really nice if our own government would admit there is a serious security problem on our southern border and make a credible effort to secure it, including fencing where appropriate and Border Patrol forward operating bases (FOBs) in others.

And if the US government really wants to help Mexico, maybe it should stop helping to arm the cartels.

So, when do we resume cavalry patrols?

via Big Peace

(1) Just because of that little dust-up in 1846 that cost them half their country. Jeez, what grouches.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Mexico: their pain is our gain?


**Posted by Phineas

Well, it apparently is at least in Deep South Texas in the Rio Grande Valley, whereto many Mexican businesses are relocating to escape the violence just south of the border:

“If you think about South Texas, we’re like a big thumb sticking into Mexico. We have access to the port, through rail; it’s an ideal place to be,” says state Rep. Aaron Pena.

Our thumb has a giant shield.

“It’s about security, and it’s about proximity to markets,” says Pena.

Pena says he has seen a change in the Rio Grande Valley. Manufacturing workers don’t want to go south of the Rio Grande.

“What’s great here is that we provide the security of our state, our military, our institutions. They’re all here. It makes it a better place,” says Pena.

“It is disturbing to go through this on a daily basis; it’s almost like working for a funeral home,” says Miguel, who worked at a maquiladora.

The cost of business is more than what is in the bottom line. Cartels cut off supply routes and hijack drivers. Companies have to pay different organizations to move their goods. It’s no longer worth the risk.

“They think that maybe the things will get better over in Mexico, but in the meantime, they’re put their roots here,” says state Rep. Veronica Gonzales.

Even the lower cost of labor in Mexico is less and less able to make up for the lack of security. And while it’s to the benefit of McAllen and other parts, it also points to a spiraling problem in Mexico: as the jobs leave, those left without work will either have to go to other parts of the country to find a job, come north (probably illegally), or make what money they can in their own region, perhaps by working for the cartels.

I honestly don’t think this is to the long-term benefit of the American side of the Valley, either. If you think of the border region as a neighborhood with the actual boundary being the street running down the middle, then “broken windows” on one side are eventually going to degrade the other. And we’re already seeing plenty of incidents of cartel crime and violence on “our side of the street.”

The failure of the Mexican state to provide security along their northern border leaves the gunmen as the only real winners.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

One reason why visiting Mexico may be a not-good idea


**Posted by Phineas

That little problem of being caught in the middle:

A Valley mother says night terrors and fear are all she has left after armed men stole her sense of security. The woman says she’s trying to stay strong for her seven children.

She ran the gates, breaking them, at the Donna International Bridge to get away. The hardest part for the mother is that her 8-year-old daughter watched as a man pointed a rifle at her. She promised the girl they weren’t going to die.

“My life changed and I want to be the same person that I was, you know?” the woman says.

Apparently Mom and daughter had stumbled across a gang robbing the bridge crew. Wisely, the mother decided not to wait around to see if there was a “no witnesses” policy in force; she jumped the median and crashed her van through the gates on the US side of the bridge. My assumption is that surprising the Mexican gunmen like this probably is what saved her and her child’s life.

Though I have to ask: For what reason, barring an emergency, would anyone cross the border into Mexico these days, when violence is rampant and government authority barely exists in the border region? And why on Earth take your child?

(Guessing: She has relatives on the other side and thought it would be safe.)

Take a look at this map: the bridge is just east of McAllen, site of the Border Patrol station that was the subject of an excellent book, Patrolling Chaos. On the other side is the, to put it nicely, “troubled” city of Reynosa, a primary battleground between the Zeta and Gulf cartels, and occasionally the Mexican military. There have been grenade attacks; a nearby town was abandoned because of cartel violence.

Pardon me, ma’am, but while I admire your bravery and while I sympathize with your fear, your common sense leaves a little to be desired.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

OMG! Laredo invaded!!


**Posted by Phineas

This time (1), by a Mexican Army helicopter that got a wee bit lost:

A Mexican military helicopter landed Saturday afternoon at Laredo International Airport by mistake, said a spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Mucia Dovalina, the uniform public affairs officer for the Laredo Port of Entry, said the helicopter landed about 3 p.m., but she couldn’t share details such as the number of occupants or whether they were armed.

Dovalina said that, following protocol, CBP officers checked out the helicopter’s occupants, then allowed them to return to Mexico in the aircraft.

“The only thing that I can tell you is that they did land here,” she said. “It was by mistake. They were processed and they were returned to Mexico.”

As the article points out, this isn’t the first time the Mexican Army has crossed the border. This time the incident seems far less suspicious; the Mexican government was concluding armed operations against the Zetas cartel in a region near the poorly demarcated border, and these chuckleheads just lost their bearings. No harm, no foul, and so CBP sent them home.

Besides, they should know that the only proper way is to sneak across at night, like everyone else does.

(1) Referring to last summer’s near-panic on the on Internet on reading rumors that ranches near Laredo had been taken over by the Zetas, rumors fed by shoddy journalism and bloggers who should have known better.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)