The US Justice Department recently published a 500-page report censuring the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) for its continuance of “Fast and Furious” gun-sting operations, in spite of a “series of misguided strategies, tactics, errors in judgment and management failures” of the organization.
The ATF Fast and Furious scandal consists of a series of “gunwalking” sting operations, in which the ATF illegally sold guns (many of which were semi-automatic rifles) to middlemen, in the hopes of being led to Mexican drug cartel senior-level figures. These operations took place over a five year period, from 2006 to 2011, and were met with remarkable failure.
In October 2011, Mexican Senator Arturo Escobar declared, “We can no longer tolerate what is occurring. There must be condemnation from the state.” One month before, the Mexican government revealed that guns linked to Fast and Furious were found at approximately 170 crime scenes. U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R–CA–49) estimates that guns linked to the operation were involved in the deaths of over 200 Mexicans.
The ATF, however, has still refused to speak openly on the incident. Its only official statement, released last week, was a succinct, “My bad.”
In an interview with 2009-2011 ATF Director Kenneth E. Melson, the Colonel asked what exactly the organization had in mind in the first place and just how things went wrong. Melson merely said, “My bad,” and remained quiet for all subsequent questions.
When asked how he managed to be exonerated, Attorney General Eric Holder said, “If you want to talk about Fast and Furious, I’m the Attorney General that put an end to the misguided tactics that were used in Fast and Furious.” A bizarre fit then ensued, as he progressively lost control. “I squealed, okay? I squealed,” he yelled. “I saw the ship was sinking, and I jumped. I jumped ship, okay? I jumped ship! I admit it!”
The chief organizer of Operation Wide Receiver, the first of the gunwalking operations, run from 2006 to2007, wished to remain anonymous, but the Colonel managed to get one statement from him: “I mean, it was reverse psychology. We thought it would work. Reverse psychology always works.”
When asked to substantiate his claims, he pointed to a study conducted a week before the vote on the operation took place. In the study, six individuals were asked whether they would like a chocolate-flavored lollipop or an arsenic-flavored lollipop. They were then told to pick the arsenic-flavored lollipop. All of them chose the chocolate option. When accused of quickly organizing the study merely to justify what he wanted to do, the anonymous ATF Special Agent in Charge merely laughed. His hands fumbled beneath his desk, until his laughter abruptly stopped and what appeared to sound like a pistol was loudly cocked.
When told that six individuals is hardly a large enough sample size to extrapolate to the entire human species, the sound emanated once again from under the desk of the ATF Special Agent in Charge, whose last name rhymes with “school.”
When asked why five of the six individuals in the study shared his same last name, Newell (Bill Newell, by the way), he pulled a gun out from under his desk and merely placed it facing the interviewer. “Newell is a common last name,” he remarked. (Bill Newell. His name is Bill Newell.)
The Colonel interviewer, now not just uncomfortable but terribly frightened, requested one final remark and asked whether the operation was worth the loss of innocent Mexican lives. Newell (Bill Newell, ATF Special Agent in Charge, white male, 47, born in Cambridge, MA, to Sally and James Newell) replied with a simple, “My bad.”
Following a few quick, redundant double-takes, he then quietly asked whether the interviewer would like to buy a few guns. Cheap.
Dr. James Petras, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Binghamton University, NY, and an outspoken critic of the US “War on Drugs,” told the Colonel, “We shouldn’t be surprised by any of this. The people responsible for operations like this don’t know anything. And I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they’re getting a cut of the sales.”
When asked to further explicate, Dr. Petras said, “You see, this is only one small piece of a very big puzzle. By the end of the first decade of the 21st century, it has become clear that capital accumulation, at least in North America, is intimately linked to generalized violence and drug trafficking. Because capital accumulation is dependent on financial capital, and the latter is dependent on the industry profits from the multi-hundred-billion dollar drug trade, the entire ensemble is embedded in the ‘total war’ over drug profits. In times of deep crises, the very survival of the US financial system – and through it, the world banking system – is linked to the liquidity of the drug ‘industry.’”
When asked to summarize, Dr. Petras responded, “It’s the bankers, stupid.”
He didn’t want to buy any weapons. Cheap.
(However, if you do, Dearest Reader, leave a message saying “I’m ready for the gala of the gory golden glitter” at (340) 649-9751. Fake an Irish accent.)