Friday, July 8, 2011

Washington: Unreliable Ally

La Jornada Mexico 7/7/2011 Editorial

Washington: Unreliable Ally

According to the information provided yesterday by Darrel Issa, chairman of the legislative committee examining the scope of Operation Fast and Furious, by which the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) allowed delivery of thousands of high-powered weapons to Mexican cartels, besides officials at different levels of the agency aforementioned, the FBI and DEA also participated in the operation. According to Issa, the illegal movement of weapons which, supposedly, was to “monitor” the supply of U.S.-origin weapons to Mexican drug trafficking organizations was carried out by means of paying smugglers to act as informants for the DEA and the FBI.
In previous weeks, Issa-led investigations established that the highest officials of the ATF, including its acting director, Kenneth Melson, received weekly reports of the development of fast and furious, allowing illegal entry to our country of about 2,000 assault rifles, fifty sniper rifles and an undetermined amount of ammunition.
It seems unlikely that the Attorney General of the neighboring country, Eric Holder, had not been aware of the participation of three police and security agencies of such importance to the U.S. government and therefore, the allegations in his favor made by President Barack Obama seem not very plausible. If Fast and Furious was a government decision, it would be extremely serious for the White House to hide it. On the other hand, if the highest echelons of U.S. public power had no idea of these illegal activities of the ATF, DEA and FBI, that ignorance would suggest an egregious lack of control in Washington’s actions against drug trafficking.
With regard to Mexico, it is clear that the U.S. government can not be considered a reliable partner in fighting crime and public safety, much less as a solicitor of coordination by Mexican security forces, a function violating the Constitution, and that, nevertheless, has emerged as a result of the dissemination of diplomatic cables obtained from the State Department by WikiLeaks and released in Mexico by this newspaper.
By itself, the costs of the war declared by the Calderón government since its inception — and continued and accentuated, according to the information available, by U.S. pressure — cast extremely asymmetric and unjust costs for both countries: while ours has been the loss of more than 40 000 lives; the social fabric and the economy of entire regions has been destroyed; civil and military institutions show inevitable breakdown, and in many institutions there has been a true collapse of public security and the rule of law, the conflict has brought the United States a vast market in which to place its production of arms, a great quantity of money laundering which reports astronomical earnings for financial institutions in the neighboring country and, last but not least, a good excuse to multiply and deepen its interventionist actions in our country.
In this context, the fact that three police and security agencies of the neighboring country have participated in the supply of weapons to cartels which they are trying to defeat constitutes an intolerable fact that should lead to radical questioning of bilateral cooperation in the matter and a thorough review of the implications this has for Mexico. At present, the Fast and the Furious operation should lead the Mexican legislature to demand a profound reformulation of the Merida Initiative, the North American Alliance for Security and Prosperity and other bilateral instruments on matters of security and fighting crime.

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