Category Archives: Fast and Furious
As new information surfaces about last year’s attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and as the National Security Agency scandal continues to swirl throughout the media, the Obama administration has come out with a worldwide warning about the possibility of serious terrorist attacks.
Please forgive my skepticism. The news media need to dig into the timing and motivation of these warnings, coming as they do against the backdrop of scandals, particularly when the administration has created what it thinks is a win-win situation. Simply put, if the attacks fail to occur, President Obama’s team can claim that they thwarted them. If the attacks do occur, the administration can say it provided fair warning. But that’s a fool’s bargain when dealing with terrorists who can simply strike another day.
In an hour-long broadcast Tuesday, “The Truth About Benghazi,” CNN reported that dozens of CIA operatives were on the ground in Benghazi on Sept. 11 — something the agency has apparently tried to cover up. That’s the night Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed.
Such information brings the Benghazi issue — one the administration thought had lost significant traction — back into public view. If the CIA had people on the ground, why were Stevens and the three others essentially left to die?
The Department of Justice filed a sealed indictment against a Libyan militia leader on the same day CNN broadcast its report on the Benghazi attack. Amazing coincidence? Please forgive my skepticism again.
By promoting its efficiency in picking up the chatter about possible terrorist attacks, the intelligence community may believe it can quiet critics outraged by the revelations of the NSA’s widespread domestic surveillance programs — information leaked by onetime NSA contractor Edward Snowden to Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian.
Once again, pardon my skepticism. The NSA scandal is unlikely to die down anytime soon, despite the terrorist threat taking over the news for this week. And think about it for a moment. Do you honestly believe that the leader of al Qaeda communicates with his right-hand man in Yemen without considering how many other sets of ears may be listening? I strongly doubt it.
Now is the time for reporters to look to their confidential sources about the nature of the terrorist threats. One problem exists — one you might have missed last week. The Justice Department won a key victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals to force a reporter for The New York Times to reveal his confidential sources about information he published in a book on the Iranian nuclear program. That decision creates a significant chill among sources who might want to talk about severity of the current threat.
I spent a decade reporting about Middle East terrorism for Newsweek and ABC News. Terrorists typically have several objectives. One is to inflict death and destruction. Another is to create fear among the civilian population of a stronger adversary, such as the United States, and its allies.
By closing 22 embassies and consulates throughout the Middle East and North Africa and keeping 19 of them shut for the rest of the week, the Obama administration has already given the terrorists a major public relations victory.
Remember during the campaign when Mr. Obama constantly said al Qaeda was on the run? Maybe he wanted to use intelligence information back then to get re-elected. Now maybe he and his administration want intelligence information to provide cover for a variety of scandals. The dots really don’t need to be connected; the connections are all too obvious.
• Christopher Harper is a professor at Temple University. He worked for more than 20 years at the Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and “20/20.” He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @charper51.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) The criminality and illegitimacy of the federal government continues to grow, this time with the disclosure that a former U.S. attorney intentionally released a document aimed at discrediting a whistleblower in the “Operation Fast and Furious” scandal.
A new report from the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General has confirmed that Dennis Burke, former U.S. attorney for Arizona, leaked a document that was intended to smear John Dodson, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Department of Justice agency which launched the operation that saw thousands of semi-automatic, military-style rifles purchased in the U.S. by straw buyers fall into the hands of Mexican drug gangs.
From the report:
On July 8, 2011, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) received information from an attorney representing John Dodson, a Special Agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), concerning the alleged unauthorized disclosure of sensitive ATF information. According to Dodson’s attorney, Dodson had received an e-mail from a Fox News producer asking for comment about excerpts from an internal ATF investigative memorandum that Dodson had drafted and which described a proposed undercover operation for an ATF firearms investigation…
Dodson’s attorney alleged that officials within the DOJ had disclosed the memorandum to retaliate against Dodson for his criticism of the conduct of the firearms trafficking investigation referred to as Operation Fast and Furious. On June 15, 2011, shortly before the alleged unauthorized disclosure, Dodson and other ATF agents had expressed their concerns about Operation Fast and Furious during testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Sorry – it was just a ‘mistake’
The DOJ IG report went on to state that the office launched an investigation shortly after receiving the complaint.
According to details of the investigation, on Aug. 16, 2011, Burke contacted an IG investigative counsel by phone to say he had indeed released the memorandum to the media, adding that the reporter “seemed to be familiar with the contents of the … memorandum before Burke provided it to him,” the report said.
In tracking down the details of the disclosure, investigators solicited sworn statements from 150 of 152 employees who had been identified by the Justice Department as having had access to documents provided to congressional panels looking into the failed operation. Of that figure, the IG’s office singled out five for additional interviews because they had indicated some knowledge of the memorandum’s release.
In its report, the IG concluded that indeed “Burke’s conduct in disclosing the Dodson memorandum to be inappropriate for a Department employee and wholly unbefitting a U.S. Attorney.”
“We are referring to OPR our finding that Burke violated Department policy in disclosing the Dodson memorandum to a member of the media for a determination of whether Burke’s conduct violated the Rules of Professional Conduct for the state bars in which Burke is a member,” the IG report said.
Burke eventually resigned his position as U.S. Attorney following the incident, in August 2011. He became the first major Justice Department official to leave his or her position in the Fast and Furious scandal.
In interviews with congressional investigators after the fact, Burke said he now views his leaking of the memorandum as a “mistake.”
Besides uncovering Burke’s involvement in leaking the document, the IG investigation also turned up emails between senior Department of Justice officials in which they discussed smearing Dodson.
One of those officials was Tracy Scmaler, director of the Justice Department’s Office of Public Affairs. She resigned her position at DOJ “after emails uncovered through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request showed that she worked with left wing advocacy group Media Matters for America to smear whistleblowers and members of Congress and the media who sought to investigate DOJ scandals under Attorney General Eric Holder,” Breitbart News reported.
Rule by executive fiat
Obama is being blamed for many of these scandals and, as president and head of the Executive Branch of government, he is certainly culpable.
But only to an extent.
Granted, Obama has worked overtime to expand the power of the presidency, but he inherited an office whose role had already been enlarged far beyond anything the founding fathers envisioned for the Executive Branch. But Congress is culpable as well, for the Legislative Branch has, over the past century, relegated its lawmaking authority to the plethora of federal bureaucracies it has created.
And the president controls them.
Decrying bureaucracy and advocating for smaller government shouldn’t be a political slogan. It should be a demand of every freedom-minded, liberty loving American. That’s because we are no longer being “represented” by our elected leaders, we are being “ruled” by federal agencies.
That is not the “republican form of government” our Constitution guarantees.
19.11.2012 By Xavier Lerma
Putin in 2009 outlined his strategy for economic success. Alas, poor Obama did the opposite but nevertheless was re-elected. Bye, bye Miss American Pie. The Communists have won in America with Obama but failed miserably in Russia with Zyuganov who only received 17% of the vote. Vladimir Putin was re-elected as President keeping the NWO order out of Russia while America continues to repeat the Soviet mistake.
After Obama was elected in his first term as president the then Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin gave a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January of 2009. Ignored by the West as usual, Putin gave insightful and helpful advice to help the world economy and saying the world should avoid the Soviet mistake.
Recently, Obama has been re-elected for a 2nd term by an illiterate society and he is ready to continue his lies of less taxes while he raises them. He gives speeches of peace and love in the world while he promotes wars as he did in Egypt, Libya and Syria. He plans his next war is with Iran as he fires or demotes his generals who get in the way.
Putin said regarding the military,
“…instead of solving the problem, militarization pushes it to a deeper level. It draws away from the economy immense financial and material resources, which could have been used much more efficiently elsewhere.”
Well, any normal individual understands that as true but liberalism is a psychosis . O’bomber even keeps the war going along the Mexican border with projects like “fast and furious” and there is still no sign of ending it. He is a Communist without question promoting the Communist Manifesto without calling it so. How shrewd he is in America. His cult of personality mesmerizes those who cannot go beyond their ignorance. They will continue to follow him like those fools who still praise Lenin and Stalin in Russia. Obama’s fools and Stalin’s fools share the same drink of illusion.
Reading Putin’s speech without knowing the author, one would think it was written by Reagan or another conservative in America. The speech promotes smaller government and less taxes. It comes as no surprise to those who know Putin as a conservative. Vladimir Putin went on to say:
“…we are reducing taxes on production, investing money in the economy. We are optimizing state expenses.
The second possible mistake would be excessive interference into the economic life of the country and the absolute faith into the all-mightiness of the state.
There are no grounds to suggest that by putting the responsibility over to the state, one can achieve better results.
Unreasonable expansion of the budget deficit, accumulation of the national debt – are as destructive as an adventurous stock market game.
During the time of the Soviet Union the role of the state in economy was made absolute, which eventually lead to the total non-competitiveness of the economy. That lesson cost us very dearly. I am sure no one would want history to repeat itself.”
President Vladimir Putin could never have imagined anyone so ignorant or so willing to destroy their people like Obama much less seeing millions vote for someone like Obama. They read history in America don’t they? Alas, the schools in the U.S. were conquered by the Communists long ago and history was revised thus paving the way for their Communist presidents. Obama has bailed out those businesses that voted for him and increased the debt to over 16 trillion with an ever increasing unemployment rate especially among blacks and other minorities. All the while promoting his agenda.
“We must seek support in the moral values that have ensured the progress of our civilization. Honesty and hard work, responsibility and faith in our strength are bound to bring us success.”- Vladimir Putin
The red, white and blue still flies happily but only in Russia. Russia still has St George defeating the Dragon with the symbol of the cross on its’ flag. The ACLU and other atheist groups in America would never allow the US flag with such religious symbols. Lawsuits a plenty against religious freedom and expression in the land of the free. Christianity in the U.S. is under attack as it was during the early period of the Soviet Union when religious symbols were against the law.
Let’s give American voters the benefit of the doubt and say it was all voter fraud and not ignorance or stupidity in electing a man who does not even know what to do and refuses help from Russia when there was an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Instead we’ll say it’s true that the Communists usage of electronic voting was just a plan to manipulate the vote. Soros and his ownership of the company that counts the US votes in Spain helped put their puppet in power in the White House. According to the Huffington Post, residents in all 50 states have filed petitions to secede from the Unites States. We’ll say that these Americans are hostages to the Communists in power. How long will their government reign tyranny upon them?
Russia lost its’ civil war with the Reds and millions suffered torture and death for almost 75 years under the tyranny of the United Soviet Socialist Republic. Russians survived with a new and stronger faith in God and ever growing Christian Church. The question is how long will the once “Land of the Free” remain the United Socialist States of America? Their suffering has only begun. Bye bye Miss American Pie! You know the song you hippies. Sing it! Don’t you remember? The 1971 hit song by American song writer Don McLean:
“And, as I watched him on the stage my hands were clenched in fists of rage.
No angel born in Hell could break that Satan’s spell
And, as the flames climbed high into the night to light the sacrificial rite, I saw…
Satan laughing with delight the day the music died
He was singing, bye bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good ol’ boys were drinking whiskey and rye, singing…
This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die
So, the question remains:
How long will America suffer and to what depths?
- Pravda: Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie… The Communists Won in America With Obama (thegatewaypundit.com)
- Pravda: Obama re-elected by ‘illiterate society’ (wnd.com)
- Soviet Media “Pravda” Lectures US on Its Choice of Obama (usdailyreview.com)
- Pravda: ‘Communist’ Obama Reelected By ‘Illiterate Society’ (mikesright.wordpress.com)
- Obama’s Soviet Mistake (english.pravda.ru)
- Irony: Russian News Claims ‘Communists Won In America With Obama’ (freedomoutpost.com)
Posted on October 17, 2012 by Nick Leghorn
Thanks to last night’s little cage match, there’s now renewed talk of an “Assault Weapons Ban,” and before people start making wild statements about firearms and their uses, I wanted to step in and try to give a little context to that term. What exactly is an “Assault Weapon?” Are they really all that dangerous? And is an Assault Weapons Ban going to be effective? Just like everything else we publish here, I won’t be pulling any punches . . .
Sometime after World War II, the powers that be started investing in the production of smaller, lighter, higher capacity firearms than those used during the war. Bolt action firearms like the Mosin Nagant m1891/30 and semi-automatic battle rifles like the M1 Garand were sufficient for earlier conflicts, but with the advent of the machine gun and submachine guns, the need for increased firepower in the hands of the individual soldier was fairly apparent.
The designers wanted something that combined the best features of both of those categories — something small enough to carry like a submachine gun, but with the firepower of a full size machine gun. The eventual design that came from all that was what’s now being called the assault rifle.
The term “assault rifle” comes from the literal translation of the name given to the first weapon that fit the definition. The MP-44, or Sturmgewehr as it was dubbed by Adolf Hitler (literally “assault rifle” in German), was a rifle designed by the Nazis in 1944 that delivered the firepower of a machine gun in a man-portable sized package.
The two main features that contributed to the benefit of the firearm on the battlefield were select fire capability and a detachable magazine.
Select fire gave the soldier the ability to either fire a single round of ammo when they pressed the trigger (called “semi-automatic” fire) or fire continuously until the soldier took his finger off the trigger or the gun ran out of ammunition (“fully automatic” fire). This enabled the soldier to either place a single precise shot on target like with the common battle rifles of the day or spray lead, providing a “weight of fire” that was intended to keep the enemy from advancing or taking action.
A detachable magazine gave the soldier the ability to fire longer and quickly replenish the firearm (a magazine is a mechanical device that feeds ammunition into a firearm, often incorrectly referred to as a “clip”). Previous firearms like the M1 Garand only held 8 rounds in an internal magazine that was relatively slow to reload.
But detachability gave the soldier the ability to use a larger 20 or 30 round mag that could be exchanged when empty for a full one in just a couple of seconds. The extended capacity allowed the soldiers to fire continuously for longer, and the ability to quickly change the magazine allowed them to replenish their ammunition supply and keep firing for extended periods of time.
The two most popular designs to be adapted from the MP-44 for use by the modern military were the AK-47 or Avtomat Kalashnikova (automatic rifle Kalashnikov) developed by a team led by Mikhail Kalashnikov and including features from other similar projects of the time, and the M-16 designed by Eugene Stoner. Both were based on the MP-44 design and included select fire capability and took detachable magazines, but the manner in which they accomplished that was very different.
Naturally, while these weapons were originally intended for military use, just like every other firearm designed before them, they were adapted for sale on the civilian market. However, in the United States, the firearms being sold were subject to the National Firearms Act of 1934 and were generally sold without the ability to fire in full-auto mode. Those that were sold to civilians with the fully automatic option still operational were registered under the National Firearms Act and are still tracked by the ATF to this day. They only pass from one owner to the next after a thorough
anal exam background check and ATF approval.
NOTE: There have been only two murders ever committed with a legally owned fully automatic machine gun, one by a police officer in 1988 and the other in 1994. No murders have been committed since then.
Once these rifles started to gain popularity with both the military and the civilian shooting population, the mechanical improvements that made them possible began to be implemented in other firearms designs — firearms with fixed, relatively small capacity magazines now had the same basic operating mechanism as an AK-47 running the firearm, for example. And the military firearms began to be adopted and modified to do everything from deer and hog hunting to target shooting.
These days, the AR-15 design (the civilian version of the M-16) is one of the most popular firearm designs in the United States. The reason for that is not its high magazine capacity or its rate of fire, but its modularity. The rifle is the firearms equivalent of a Lego set — it can be changed, reconfigured and tweaked very easily by the end user to exactly suit their use. For everything from short range target shooting to hunting to long range precision shooting, the AR-15 can be quickly modified to suit that role.
As the features of the MP-44 and its derivatives began to filter into other firearms designs, the public wanted a term that could encompass all of these designs into a single class of firearm for the purposes of discussion. Using the original “Sturmgewehr” name of the first such weapon as a base, the term that has generally been used to describe firearms of this type has become “assault weapon.”
Of course, the adoption of this term has been fought tooth and nail by those who legally own and enjoy these guns, as the word “assault” carries a negative connotation and colors the way in which these firearms are viewed. The rising term that has become more acceptable among such populations is “modern sporting rifle” since the mechanics of these types of firearms have been adopted into almost every new firearm being produced and used today and these types of firearms are currently the most popular design of rifle in the US.
While the ability to fire in full-auto mode is generally not available to civilians, the fact is that the detachable mags still allow them to fire longer without reloading. And semi-automatic allows the gun to be fired as fast as the shooter can pull the trigger. These two facts have raised some alarm — particularly among the anti-gun community — with some concerned that the features of these weapons enable someone to commit a “mass shooting” like the recent one in Aurora, Colorado.
The desire to keep these weapons out of the hands of people who intend to do harm to innocent civilians is one that’s shared by both sides of the gun control debate. However, the manner in which that should be accomplished differs greatly. While those who are generally termed “pro-gun” believe the current system of background checks for firearms purchases required by the Brady bill for every sale of a firearm from a gun store is sufficient, there’s a vocal minority generally referred to as the “gun control advocates” who believe the only solution to keeping these weapons out of the hands of evil people is a nation-wide ban of their sale and manufacture.
That option is known as an “Assault Weapons Ban,” and has some issues.
As soon as you start trying to define exactly what constitutes an assault weapon, you start getting into some thick weeds. Assault weapons don’t have a single defining feature that puts a firearm into this category.
The defining features of a true assault rifle are the ability to accept detachable magazines and the ability to fire either semi-automatic or fully-automatic. But the number of firearms in civilian hands with select fire capability are statistically insignificant and detachable magazines are now a standard feature of many slow firing guns. Just like Justice Potter Stewart’s definition of obscenity, most people tend to define firearms in this category using the “I know it when I see it” test. But while that might work for pornography, when legally categorizing a firearm, more objective definitions are required.
When the original national “Assault Weapons Ban” was enacted in 1994, the following criteria were used to determine prohibited guns:
Semi-automatic rifles able to accept detachable magazines and two or more of the following:
- Folding or telescoping stock
- Pistol grip
- Bayonet mount
- Flash suppressor, or threaded barrel designed to accommodate one
- Grenade launcher (more precisely, a muzzle device that enables launching or firing rifle grenades, though this applies only to muzzle mounted grenade launchers and not those mounted externally).
Semi-automatic pistols with detachable magazines and two or more of the following:
- Magazine that attaches outside the pistol grip
- Threaded barrel to attach barrel extender, flash suppressor, handgrip, or suppressor
- Barrel shroud that can be used as a hand-hold
- Unloaded weight of 50 oz (1.4 kg) or more
- A semi-automatic version of a fully automatic firearm.
Semi-automatic shotguns with two or more of the following:
- Folding or telescoping stock
- Pistol grip
- Fixed capacity of more than 5 rounds
- Detachable magazine.
Because the actual defining feature of an assault rifle is generally absent (full auto), the politicians decided to base their definition on a set of cosmetic features that generally had no impact on the operation of the firearm. Weapons banned under this “Assault Weapons Ban” or AWB were no more dangerous that weapons legally permitted under the AWB…they just looked scarier.
Another issue raised with an AWB is determining if it will actually be effective. The entire point of such a ban is to reduce the number of fatalities and improve the quality of life, but it only makes sense if these types of firearms are actually being used in crimes. Thankfully, the National Institute of Justice published a report in 2003 as the ’94 AWB was getting ready to expire that indicated that assault weapons accounted for, on average, 2% of firearms used in crimes [source], with the highest estimates at no more than 13%. Of those, the vast majority were assault pistols rather than rifles, which are handguns with some of the features listed above.
In reality, the AWB was fueled more by fear and the political desire to “do something” than by fact. A mass murder or attack with an assault weapon, as defined, is what we in the risk analysis business call a “low probability, high consequence” event. One where it will probably never ever happen to you, but it will suck if it does. This is the same reaction we have to every mass shooting, and one I talked about at great length here. It’s an emotional reaction that is disproportionate to the actual risk posed by the situation.
So-called assault rifles are the most popular design for firearms in the country. They’re used for everything from hunting to target shooting to competitions. “Assault weapons” account for somewhere between 2% and 13% of all guns used in crimes, the overwhelming majority being handguns. And distinguishing between a modern hunting rifle and a “military style assault weapon” as these have been called by gun controllers is almost impossible.
In other words, an Assault Weapons Ban would be an ineffective deterrent to crime, detrimental to the economy in terms of manufacturing and hunting and almost impossible to enforce given the ability to change firearms designs to circumvent regulations.
Or, put bluntly, it sucks. And that’s the truth.
You may also like –
- Media Matters (Wrongly) Thinks Cosmetic Differences Matter for an Assault Weapons Ban
- Details of Diane Feinstein’s Upcoming Assault Weapons Ban Proposal Begin Leaking
- Details of Dianne Feinstein’s Upcoming Assault Weapons Ban Proposal Begin Leaking
- Question of the Day: Is President Obama Blowing Smoke on an AWB?
- How Do We Know an ‘Assault Weapon’ Ban Would Not Have Stopped Adam Lanza? Because It Didn’t. (reason.com)
- The Truth About the Guns Used in the Newtown School Shooting (thetruthaboutguns.com)
- Details of Dianne Feinstein’s Upcoming Assault Weapons Ban Proposal Begin Leaking (thetruthaboutguns.com)
- New York Daily News Proposes New Definition of ‘Assault Weapon’ (reason.com)
- Senator Feinstein’s Assault Weapons Ban: Give Us Your Guns, No Exceptions (2ndamendmentright.org)