I couldn’t think of a better excuse to start over for the new year. We had a decent offer on the domain, “theintercept.com”, so this will be the opportunity to roll out another blog exploring the hypocrisy and origins of the war on terror. Receive updates for the upcoming movie of the same name. The new domain will be www.americanterrorist.com. Join us or die!
James Corbett demonstrates the psuedo-progressive tendency to support the security apparatus. Rachel Maddow attempts to distract the public through race-baiting to discourage one of the most effective means of dealing with NSA abuses – Nullification. Stay tuned for a more in-depth look at the current state of web-based independent media. Check out www.corbettreport.com
Seeded by a country that only months earlier broadcast Boston citizens chanting “USA” repeatedly while their homes are subject to martial law, the imminent desperate plunder of Syria has left a visible impression on Ambassador Jafari. As the United States demonstrates its complete lack of legitimacy except through force, the United Nations followed suit and showed Jafari that it is nothing more than a criminal enterprise.
For the past seven years, Pima County used every conceivable legal maneuver to evade a simple audit and forensic exam of the 2006 RTA ballots. It’s time to abandon formalities and refer to this two billion dollar bond election for what it is: a fraud perpetrated by the County against the people.
Like the scandals we are inundated with on a national level, the hard lessons learned involve judicial corruption, selective justice and complicit media. “Operation Fast and Furious”, NSA surveillance and the National Defense Authorization Act caused the nation to witness a compliant judiciary, a retaliatory justice department, and a collaborative press. Regardless of how offensive or outrageous these crimes become, the nation remains in a state of stagnation or paralysis unable to restore any semblance of law and order. In Pima County, Arizona, citizens remain in a stupor as they watch the continued destruction and construction of roads and infrastructure funded by a regressive half percent sales tax that was likely never approved by the electorate.
In the past seven years, we’ve watched Pima County’s Superior Courts rule in direct opposition to the U.S. and Arizona Constitutions, refuse to comply with the appellate court ruling and deny requests that Pima County follow existing election laws.
You might remember when Superior Court Judge Kyle Bryson ruled in defiance of the Appellate court, claiming there was no jurisdiction to provide prospective relief for rigged elections.
As a result, the Libertarian Party was forced to make the same appeal with the same arguments to the same appellate court. Apparently, Pima County was not comfortable with that same argument being made to the same appellate court. In a convoluted series of events, Pima County advocates succeeded in gaming the system and forcing a change in the venue. By producing an amicus curiae brief through Republican party operatives, they managed to involve Sean Brearcliffe, a lawyer who was waiting to be selected by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer as a Superior Court judge. An amicus brief is a vehicle by which representatives of special interest groups are able to express opinions on matters before the Court. It’s never required by the Court, but is a voluntary option. Looking at the substance and timing of this brief, it’s clear that the intent of exercising this option was to force a change of venue for the upcoming appellate court decision in this case.
Sean Brearcliffe’s law firm, “Rusing, Lopez & Lizardi, PLLC”, recently acquired J. William Brammer, Jr. as a partner. Brammer served as an appellate court judge in Division Two until his recent retirement. Due to his law firm’s connection to Division Two’s appellate court, Brearcliffe’s involvement with this amicus brief created a conflict of interest and forced a move from Division Two (where the appellate court judges ruled in favor of prospective relief) to Division One. Brearcliffe received his appointment and is now a Superior Court judge.
In Division One, the case will be met with a whole new set of judges.
This could be history’s most contrived conflict of interest and serves as a reminder that somebody is truly sweating a forensic exam of the RTA ballots. If the state’s Attorney General was willing to do the dance, should we be surprised to find a new Superior Court judge directly involved with this disco? Let’s face it. Election integrity and Pima County’s Superior court judges just don’t mix. Let’s assume Maricopa’s appellate court suddenly decides that Arizona’s reputation as the “Methlab of Democracy” is unbecoming and they rule in favor of prospective relief in rigged elections just like Pima County’s appellate courts. Do you think Pima County’s Superior Court judges will abide by that decision? AUDIT AZ ‘s John Brakey would like to find out.
“Is this how judges are made? They have to prove their worth to the puppet masters? If we lose this appeal, the argument that Pima County and now the Republican Party is making about the finality of an election is much more important than stopping cheating in the future, will be locked into law,” Brakey said. “No candidate of any party will be able to ever challenge an election,” which Brakey states is basically the case already, but now would be sanctioned by the courts.
The substance of the brief approved by those claiming to be in charge of the Republican party is almost diversionary in its bizarre statements. They spend a great deal of time arguing that repeated cheating is less important than the “finality” of elections. That is quite an endorsement of Pima County by the Republican party especially when Pima County’s bureaucrats are more closely aligned with elected officials dominated by Democrats. Since Arizona is a party oversight state for elections, the ‘finality argument’ created by the Republican party inadvertently suggests that the Republican party would prefer to relinquish its power to oversee elections in favor of supporting the finality of the vote. It’s little wonder that Karen Shutte, the Chairman of the Republican Election Integrity Committee, resigned shortly after the brief was filed. It’s important to note that a number of familiar Republicans known for transcending partisan politics on behalf of election integrity were not involved in this amicus brief.
The state’s organizing body claiming to serve justice in Arizona treated Pima County much the same way Eric Holder coddled megabank HSBC. After admitting that he was aware that Pima County managed to access evidence in violation of a court order, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard refused to perform a forensic exam to make sure Pima County didn’t access the ballots during the years leading up to his investigation. In fact, Goddard’s possession of the ballots (without allowing party oversight of the chain of custody), involved merely counting the ballots to determine if the figure was close to the tabulated 2006 election result. A rudimentary audit characteristic of a white collar investigation comparing one set of numbers to another was certainly possible but refused by Arizona’s Department of Justice.
Poll tapes stored with the ballots could have served this auditing function. They were also handy for detecting electronic fraud involving the memory cards from which these poll tapes are printed. Goddard refused to examine the poll tapes despite requests by the Democratic party and a number of election integrity advocates. One year later, the Democratic party was finally able to find out why. Upon gaining access, they discovered that 44% of the poll-tapes were missing or didn’t match the final database and they happen to be closely matching the precincts suspected of foul play in the electronic data records.
What qualifies as more than just circumstantial evidence? Let’s consider DNA samples in a murder case. Whenever a DNA match is presented to the courts, prosecutors inform the jury about the probability of such a match occurring.
Why does it seem like only a pipe dream that someone may testify about the probability for the same precincts experiencing the same associated memory card errors correlating to the same missing poll tapes? Statements claiming a lack of evidence for a crime are false claims by those who may be considered accessories after the fact.
The Republican party’s amicus brief states “there is no competent evidence that there was anything illegal or inappropriate done with regard to any of the 2006 elections in issue.” One test of whether a judge is compromised or not is to see if he recognizes this statement as perjury. Legal violations surrounding the RTA election have already been established in the courts. Printing summary reports during elections is against the law. The printing of such reports was indicated in electronic data files admitted as evidence in a previous court case.
Electronic data files containing details of this crime were first recovered in the exchange after the Democratic Party won the records lawsuit. More detailed records remained in Pima County’s court vault until ten months later, when Pima County contractor John Moffatt somehow managed to obtain access to the remaining electronic data in violation of a court order. Ironically, this violation was another unlawful act surrounding the 2006 RTA election. In reality, this case is unique with the amount of evidence indicating that the 2006 RTA election was rigged. There is a simplified RTA Fraud Flyer covering the basics and a more detailed “Statement of Facts” indicating what the Libertarian party intends to present if they receive a favorable ruling by one of the new judges in the upcoming appellate court decision.
Local media reaction to this crime has proven to be almost as scandalous as the crime itself. We have provided past coverage showing how Pima County’s PR department uses taxpayer’s money to soak up employment slack as local media outlets shed their workforce in a failing local economy. This results in reporters letting fear of retaliation and diminishing job prospects undermine critical coverage of the local RTA election.
The extent of public misdirection over the RTA election is best illustrated by the local weekly that actually claims to be independent and intent on informing the public with alternative news. The Tucson Weekly’s editorial director at the time, Jim Boegle, published columns making dubious statements about a lack of evidence and chastising any public figure who suggested that the RTA election was rigged.
Their star political reporter, Jim Nintzel, actively sold the RTA plan to the public both before and after the plan had passed. Nintzel’s primary strategy was to dismiss all evidence of fraud by drawing the public’s attention to a set of opinion polls. Prior to our conducting a videotaped interview of pro-RTA advocate Steve Farley, Nintzel would pass along a copy of these polls hoping they would influence our discourse. The polls were commissioned by an advertising agency called “Zimmerman and Associates”, a firm hired to promote approval of the RTA plan.
Zimmerman and Associate’s work included television commercials showing Steve Farley attempting to cross a busy intersection, an ambulance driver indicating how his precious cargo would continue to suffer if the RTA didn’t pass and a cluster of City and County employees pretending to voluntarily and spontaneously scream “Yes” in favor of the plan. Bill Risner, the attorney representing the Democratic party during the RTA records lawsuit, spoke with a colleague who shared office space on the same floor of the Pioneer Hotel. This colleague was involved with bundling the money from contributors for the RTA plan and passing the money onto the vendors. He was complaining to Risner about the pro-RTA group’s last minute scramble to obtain more funds due to claims that polls are indicating that the RTA election is too close to call.
The circumstances leading up to the election were truthfully related by the actual money handler for the RTA, but no hard copy of the polls prompting this last minute scramble ever surfaced. As a result, Nintzel adopted a strategy to discredit election integrity advocates by using a strawman technique which attempts to dismiss the more valid evidence by placing emphasis on this perceptively weaker link.
Zimmerman and Associates were the only organization that paid for opinion polling for the RTA election. Was the public privy to all the polling information provided to Zimmerman and Associates? Opinion polling has only peripheral relevance to the rest of the evidence indicating election fraud, but for those choosing to ignore all the other evidence to place so much emphasis on Zimmerman and Associate’s opinion polls, it’s only fair to present this account by Carolyn Campbell, the environmental activist working on the pro-RTA campaign:
Would election integrity activists have the opportunity to see just how far Pima County was willing to go to avoid transparency if they allowed Attorney General Terry Goddard’s recount to dissuade them? Probably not. Unfortunately for election integrity advocates, the opportunity to conduct a real investigation of the RTA ballots was a secondary goal. The most important accomplishment behind this pursuit was to prevent cheating in future elections. This case had implications for both Pima County and the rest of the country.
It appears for now that citizens will not be able to vote in the United States with confidence in an accurate outcome. Pima County advocates gaming the system to change the venue of the appellate court decision from Pima County to Maricopa County know integrity will likely be abandoned. There is some satisfaction, however, in watching Pima County jump through all these hoops just to avoid a simple investigation. No doubt the cost of cheating was certainly raised in this instance.
Obviously, Pima County’s efforts to prevent this litigation from proceeding would not be needed if the 2006 RTA election was not rigged. If the RTA was not rigged, Pima County only needed to make the effortless gesture of allowing a simple audit and forensic exam of the RTA ballots. Nothing undermines the legitimacy of elections more than way Pima County reacts to scrutiny.
Edward Snowden was interviewed over several days in Hong Kong by Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill.
Q: Why did you decide to become a whistleblower?
A: “The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.
“I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things … I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.”
Q: But isn’t there a need for surveillance to try to reduce the chances of terrorist attacks such as Boston?
A: “We have to decide why terrorism is a new threat. There has always been terrorism. Boston was a criminal act. It was not about surveillance but good, old-fashioned police work. The police are very good at what they do.”
Q: Do you see yourself as another Bradley Manning?
A: “Manning was a classic whistleblower. He was inspired by the public good.”
Q: Do you think what you have done is a crime?
A: “We have seen enough criminality on the part of government. It is hypocritical to make this allegation against me. They have narrowed the public sphere of influence.”
Q: What do you think is going to happen to you?
A: “Nothing good.”
Q: Why Hong Kong?
A: “I think it is really tragic that an American has to move to a place that has a reputation for less freedom. Still, Hong Kong has a reputation for freedom in spite of the People’s Republic of China. It has a strong tradition of free speech.”
Q: What do the leaked documents reveal?
A: “That the NSA routinely lies in response to congressional inquiries about the scope of surveillance in America. I believe that when [senator Ron] Wyden and [senator Mark] Udall asked about the scale of this, they [the NSA] said it did not have the tools to provide an answer. We do have the tools and I have maps showing where people have been scrutinised most. We collect more digital communications from America than we do from the Russians.”
Snowden is a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA
Q: What about the Obama administration’s protests about hacking by China?
A: “We hack everyone everywhere. We like to make a distinction between us and the others. But we are in almost every country in the world. We are not at war with these countries.”
Q: Is it possible to put security in place to protect against state surveillance?
A: “You are not even aware of what is possible. The extent of their capabilities is horrifying. We can plant bugs in machines. Once you go on the network, I can identify your machine. You will never be safe whatever protections you put in place.”
Q: Does your family know you are planning this?
A: “No. My family does not know what is happening … My primary fear is that they will come after my family, my friends, my partner. Anyone I have a relationship with …
I will have to live with that for the rest of my life. I am not going to be able to communicate with them. They [the authorities] will act aggressively against anyone who has known me. That keeps me up at night.”
Q: When did you decide to leak the documents?
A: “You see things that may be disturbing. When you see everything you realise that some of these things are abusive. The awareness of wrong-doing builds up. There was not one morning when I woke up [and decided this is it]. It was a natural process.
“A lot of people in 2008 voted for Obama. I did not vote for him. I voted for a third party. But I believed in Obama’s promises. I was going to disclose it [but waited because of his election]. He continued with the policies of his predecessor.”
Q: What is your reaction to Obama denouncing the leaks on Friday while welcoming a debate on the balance between security and openness?
A: “My immediate reaction was he was having difficulty in defending it himself. He was trying to defend the unjustifiable and he knew it.”
Q: What about the response in general to the disclosures?
A: “I have been surprised and pleased to see the public has reacted so strongly in defence of these rights that are being suppressed in the name of security. It is not like Occupy Wall Street but there is a grassroots movement to take to the streets on July 4 in defence of the Fourth Amendment called Restore The Fourth Amendment and it grew out of Reddit. The response over the internet has been huge and supportive.”
Q: Washington-based foreign affairs analyst Steve Clemons said he overheard at the capital’s Dulles airport four men discussing an intelligence conference they had just attended. Speaking about the leaks, one of them said, according to Clemons, that both the reporter and leaker should be “disappeared”. How do you feel about that?
A: “Someone responding to the story said ‘real spies do not speak like that’. Well, I am a spy and that is how they talk. Whenever we had a debate in the office on how to handle crimes, they do not defend due process – they defend decisive action. They say it is better to kick someone out of a plane than let these people have a day in court. It is an authoritarian mindset in general.”
Q: Do you have a plan in place?
A: “The only thing I can do is sit here and hope the Hong Kong government does not deport me … My predisposition is to seek asylum in a country with shared values. The nation that most encompasses this is Iceland. They stood up for people over internet freedom. I have no idea what my future is going to be.
“They could put out an Interpol note. But I don’t think I have committed a crime outside the domain of the US. I think it will be clearly shown to be political in nature.”
Q: Do you think you are probably going to end up in prison?
A: “I could not do this without accepting the risk of prison. You can’t come up against the world’s most powerful intelligence agencies and not accept the risk. If they want to get you, over time they will.”
Q: How to you feel now, almost a week after the first leak?
A: “I think the sense of outrage that has been expressed is justified. It has given me hope that, no matter what happens to me, the outcome will be positive for America. I do not expect to see home again, though that is what I want.”
“Citizen Koch,” a documentary about money in politics focused on the Wisconsin uprising, was shunned by PBS for fear of offending billionaire industrialist David Koch, who has given $23 million to public television, according to Jane Mayer of the New Yorker. The dispute highlights the increasing role of private money in “public” television and raises even further concerns about the Kochs potentially purchasing eight major daily newspapers.
The film from Academy Award-nominated filmmakers Carl Deal and Tia Lessin documents how the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision helped pave the way for secret political spending by players like the Kochs, who contributed directly and indirectly to the election of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in 2010 and came to his aid again when the battle broke out over his effort to limit collective bargaining.
Originally slated to appear on PBS stations nationwide as part of the “Independent Lens” series, “Citizen Koch” had its funding pulled after David Koch was offended by another PBS documentary critical of the billionaire industrialists.
“People like the Kochs have worked for decades to undermine public funding for institutions like PBS,” Deal told the Center for Media and Democracy. “When public dollars dry up, private dollars come in to make up for the shortfall.”
And that private funding can conflict with PBS’ “public” mission and its editorial integrity. The PBS distributor “backed out of the partnership because they came to fear the reaction our film would provoke,” Deal and Lessin said in a statement. “David Koch, whose political activities are featured in the film, happens to be a public-television funder and a trustee of both [New York PBS member station] WNET and [Boston member station] WGBH. This wasn’t a failed negotiation or a divergence of visions; it was censorship, pure and simple.”
“Park Avenue” Documentary Raised Koch Hackles
In November of last year, the New York PBS affiliate WNET aired a documentary by Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney, “Park Avenue,” that explored growing income inequality by contrasting the lives of residents in a luxury apartment building in Manhattan with individuals living on the other end of Park Avenue, in the Bronx. The film focuses on one of the apartment’s wealthiest residents, David Koch, and does not paint a particularly positive image of the billionaire industrialist and his brother, Charles.
Koch is also a board trustee and major donor to WNET. And WNET’s president called him before the documentary aired to alert Koch to the critical content — and took the nearly unprecedented step of airing a disclaimer from Koch following the film calling it “disappointing and divisive.” WNET also replaced the original introduction to the film, which had been narrated by actor Stanley Tucci, with one calling the film “controversial” and “provocative.”
“They tried to undercut the credibility of the film, and I had no opportunity to defend it,” the film’s director Gibney told Mayer. “Why is WNET offering Mr. Koch special favors?”
Independent Television Service (ITVS), an arm of PBS that funds and distributes independent films, had funded “Park Avenue,” and aired it as part of ITVS’ popular “Independent Lens” series that runs on dozens of PBS member stations. ITVS also funded “Citizen Koch” and it was also slated to be aired on the Independent Lens series.
But “Citizen Koch” got caught in the blowback.
Fearing Koch Backlash, Funding Pulled on “Citizen Koch”
ITVS was excited about the “Citizen Koch” documentary before “Park Avenue” aired. In April 2012, the company informed Deal and Lessin their film would receive $150,000, and that “Everyone here at ITVS looks forward to working with you on your very exciting and promising program.”
But once “Park Avenue” aired, WNET blamed ITVS for impacting its relationship with David Koch and not providing advance notice of the film’s contents. Mayer writes:
“[WNET President Neal] Shapiro acknowledged that, in his conversations with ITVS officials about ‘Park Avenue,’ he was so livid that he threatened not to carry its films in the future. The New York metropolitan area is the largest audience for public television, so the threat posed a potentially mortal blow to ITVS.”
ITVS got the message, and quickly changed its tune on “Citizen Koch.”
Lessin and Deal began receiving pressure from ITVS executives to change the title and de-emphasize the Kochs’ political influence. One executive told the filmmakers the title was “extremely problematic” and that “we live in a world where we have to be aware that people with power have power.”
On a conference call in January, ITVS executives acknowledged the push-back from WNET over the “Park Avenue” film, and again urged the filmmakers to change the storyline. Sources told Mayer that what their message was “Get rid of the Koch story line … Because of the whole thing with the Koch brothers, ITVS knew WNET would never air it.”
“It is always a struggle for documentaries to get out there,” Deal told CMD. “That’s why PBS and ITVS are so important: they support independent filmmakers to say new things on the public airwaves.” But because of funding pressures, “we won’t have access to that audience now,” he said. “We’re disappointed.”
PBS Reaction to “Citizen Koch” Proved the Film’s Point: Money Talks
“Citizen Koch,” which premiered at Sundance in January and competed for Best Documentary, followed the activism and struggles of former Republicans who felt betrayed by Walker’s union-busting move (which he never mentioned on the campaign trail). The film documents the role of Koch-funded entities like Americans for Prosperity, which spent $10 million aiding Walker in his recall election. The film’s final scene shows an Americans for Prosperity official making the incredible claim the group is “just like the Red Cross, just like any other nonprofit.”
In April of this year, one day after the film had its Dairy State premiere at the Wisconsin Film Festival, ITVS informed Lessin and Deal it had “decided not to move forward with the project.”
In a statement, the filmmakers said this is an ironic turn: “It’s the very thing our film is about—public servants bowing to pressures, direct or indirect, from high-dollar donors.”
ITVS wrote in a prepared statement: “ITVS commenced negotiations to fund the film ‘Citizen Corp’ based on a written proposal. Early cuts of the film did not reflect the proposal, however, and ITVS ceased negotiations.” The filmmakers disagreed. “The film we made is identical in premise and execution to the written and video proposals that ITVS green-lit last spring,” they said in a statement.
“I don’t believe there was a concerted conspiracy to keep ‘Citizen Koch’ off of public television, with David Koch as a ringleader,” Deal told CMD. “Instead, Koch’s presence and role in that world created an environment that was hostile to our message. And that was enough.”
Just before Mayer’s New Yorker article was published, on May 16, David Koch resigned from WNET’s board. The resignation was the result, a source told Mayer, “of his unwillingness to back a media organization that had so unsparingly covered its sponsor.”
As has been widely reported, the Kochs are now considering a purchase of eight major daily newspapers currently owned by the Tribune Companies. And that has Deal worried.
“For anybody who says the owner or funder of an outlet doesn’t have an impact on what gets published, I hope they’ll think again.”
This article has been updated.
A high-ranking Mexican drug cartel operative currently in U.S. custody is making startling allegations that the failed federal gun-walking operation known as “Fast and Furious” isn’t what you think it is.
It wasn’t about tracking guns, it was about supplying them — all part of an elaborate agreement between the U.S. government and Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa Cartel to take down rival cartels.
The explosive allegations are being made by Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, known as the Sinaloa Cartel’s “logistics coordinator.” He was extradited to the Chicago last year to face federal drug charges.
Zambada-Niebla claims that under a “divide and conquer” strategy, the U.S. helped finance and arm the Sinaloa Cartel through Operation Fast and Furious in exchange for information that allowed the DEA, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other federal agencies to take down rival drug cartels. The Sinaloa Cartel was allegedly permitted to traffic massive amounts of drugs across the U.S. border from 2004 to 2009 — during both Fast and Furious and Bush-era gunrunning operations — as long as the intel kept coming.
This pending court case against Zambada-Niebla is being closely monitored by some members of Congress, who expect potential legal ramifications if any of his claims are substantiated. The trial was delayed but is now scheduled to begin on Oct. 9.
Zambada-Niebla is reportedly a close associate of Sinaloa Cartel kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and the son of Ismael “Mayo” Zambada-Garcia, both of which remain fugitives, likely because of the deal made with the DEA, federal court documents allege.
Based on the alleged agreement ”the Sinaloa Cartel under the leadership of defendant’s father, Ismael Zambada-Niebla and ‘Chapo’ Guzman, were given carte blanche to continue to smuggle tons of illicit drugs into Chicago and the rest of the United States and were also protected by the United States government from arrest and prosecution in return for providing information against rival cartels which helped Mexican and United States authorities capture or kill thousands of rival cartel members,” states a motion for discovery filed in U.S. District Court by Zambada-Niebla’s attorney in July 2011.
A source in Congress, who spoke to TheBlaze on the condition of anonymity, said that some top congressional investigators have been keeping “one eye on the case.” Another two members of Congress, both lead Fast and Furious Congressional investigators, told TheBlaze they had never even heard of the case.
One of the Congressmen, who also spoke to TheBlaze on the condition of anonymity because criminal proceedings are still ongoing, called the allegations “disturbing.” He said Congress will likely get involved once Zambada-Niebla’s trial has concluded if any compelling information surfaces.
“Congress won’t get involved in really any criminal case until the trial is over and the smoke has cleared,” he added. “If the allegations prove to hold any truth, there will be some serious legal ramifications.”
Earlier this month, two men in Texas were sentenced to 70 and 80 months in prison after pleading guilty to attempting to export 147 assault rifles and thousands of rounds of ammunition to Mexico’s Los Zetas cartel. Compare that to the roughly 2,000 firearms reportedly “walked” in Fast and Furious, which were used in the murders of hundreds of Mexican citizens and U.S. Border Agent Brian Terry, and some U.S. officials could potentially face jail time if they knowingly armed the Sinaloa Cartel and allowed guns to cross into Mexico.
If proven in court, such an agreement between U.S. law enforcement agencies and a Mexican cartel could potentially mar both the Bush and Obama administrations. The federal government is denying all of Zambada-Niebla’s allegations and contend that no official immunity deal was agreed upon.
To be sure, Zambada-Niebla is a member of one of the most ruthless drug gangs in all of Mexico, so there is a chance that he is saying whatever it takes to reduce his sentence, which will likely be hefty. However, Congress and the media have a duty to prove without a reasonable doubt that there is no truth in his allegations. So far, that has not been achieved.
Zambada-Niebla was reportedly responsible for coordinating all of the Sinaloa Cartel’s multi-ton drug shipments from Central and South American countries, through Mexico, and into the United States. To accomplish this, he used every tool at his disposal: Boeing 747 cargo planes, narco-submarines, container ships, speed boats, fishing vessels, buses, rail cars, tractor trailers and automobiles. But Guzman and Zambada-Niebla’s overwhelming success within the Sinaloa Cartel was largely due to the arrests and dismantling of many of their competitors and their booming businesses in the U.S. from 2004 to 2009 — around the same time ATF’s gun-walking operations were in full swing. Fast and Furious reportedly began in 2009 and continued into early 2011.
According Zambada-Niebla, that was a product of the collusion between the U.S. government and the Sinaloa Cartel.
The claims seem to fall in line with statements made last month by Guillermo Terrazas Villanueva, a spokesman for the Chihuahua state government in northern Mexico who said U.S. agencies ”don’t fight drug traffickers,” instead “they try to manage the drug trade.”