Fast and Furious

Fast and Furious
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

It started during the George W. Bush administration. Back then it was termed “Operation Wide Receiver.” The program later became known as “Gunwalking” and ended up being labeled “Fast and Furious.” An ill-conceived scheme from its outset, it eventually cost the lives of an unknown number of Mexican citizens and one U.S. Border Patrol agent.

US-Mexico border fence. Image from Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

The ill-conceived gun distribution project employed by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) allowed, even encouraged, licensed firearms dealers in the U.S. to sell large quantities of weapons to straw buyers. These individuals were known to be conduits for weapons that would end up in the hands of Mexican drug dealers. The scheme had as its ostensible goal the eventual arrests of Mexican drug lords and the collapse of their cartels.

Fast and Furious was supposed to make detection, arrest, and prosecution of drug lords easier. It relied in part on cooperation of law enforcement agencies in Mexico even though their rampant unreliability was no secret. At one point in the program’s life, a monitoring of its results showed that approximately 700 weapons had been recovered out of over 2,000 that had been allowed to be purchased and quickly transferred to Mexico. And no interruption in drug trafficking occurred.

Criticism of the operation rose rapidly among ATF agents and the legal U.S. gun dealers who cooperated with U.S. authorities. The guns sold in the program were used in crimes committed on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. In 2010, U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed and weapons that were made available to criminal gangsters via Fast and Furious were found at the scene of his death.

Spurred to take action after the death of Agent Terry, the U.S. Congress and the Department of Justice began investigating this growing fiasco. When Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder refused to cooperate with a legitimate inquiry in 2012, he became the first sitting member of a presidential Cabinet to be formally cited for criminal contempt of Congress. Simultaneously asked about this incredible program, President Obama invoked “executive privilege” and refused to cooperate with the congressional probers. These high U.S. officials were obviously hiding something.

The entire scheme seems now to have been created to have many guns in the hands of killers, drug lords, et al. and to become a stimulus for Congress to enact stricter gun laws for all Americans. The current Department of Justice is planning to reopen an investigation of Fast and Furious and its predecessors. This is long overdue.

The early years of the Obama administration featured Rahm Emanuel as the president’s Chief of Staff. He’s the man who famously stated, “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.” To that revealing assessment should be added what seems to have been the Obama/Holder policy, “If no crisis exists, create one.”

The U.S. government’s war on the ability of Americans to defend themselves must cease. Anti-Second Amendment partisans seem willing to stop at nothing to overcome the people’s right to defend themselves. The conduct of Obama administration officials including the president must fully become known. Agent Brian Terry’s death and the deaths of hundreds in Mexico should not be forgotten. And scheming to abolish the American peoples’ right to keep and bear arms must cease.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.

Some Climate Alarmists Refuse to Concede

Some Climate Alarmists Refuse to Concede
by JBS President John F. McManus

Writing in the Boston Globe, columnist Tom Keane’s recent column led with the headline, “Cool summer doesn’t invalidate climate change.” The type in his headline should have been upside-down because the logic surely was.

Keane admits that temperatures during the summer of 2014 were “well below normal.” He nevertheless clings to the ridiculous claims of fellow alarmists and insists that global warming, now almost universally labeled “climate change” because warming can’t be detected, is still a grave threat to the entire planet. But opposite views continue to come – almost in a flood like the one predicted by warming alarmists.

Matt Ridley, a member of England’s House of Lords, debunked the claims of the warmists in an op-ed column appearing in the Wall Street Journal. Claiming “it has been roughly two decades” since any marked upward change in the earth’s temperature has been recorded, Ridley noted that there was a slight upward tick in temperatures for about 20 years in late 20th century. But that period “was preceded by 30 years of slight cooling after 1940,” he continued. In other words, he claims what an increasing number have concluded – that fluctuations in temperature will occur naturally and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. And there’s nothing terribly ominous to worry about.

CNS News just published conclusions reached by Dr. Patrick Michaels, a veteran climatologist who is Director of the Cato Institute’s Center for the Study of Science. He says, “October 1st will mark the 19th year of no significant warming trend in surface average temperatures.” Michaels pointed to record amounts of Antarctic ice, as reported by the Polar Ice Research Center housed at the University of Illinois.

Space does not allow for a listing of the many renowned climate scientists who consider the claims of the warming lobby to be pure bunk. But The New American (a JBS-affiliate) has listed prominent defectors from such absurdity. They include Dr. Judith Curry from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Dr. Patrick Moore who was a co-founder of Greenpeace, and Dr. Denis Rancourt, a Green activist who nevertheless sees through the claims of climate change activists. These scientists are now allied with fellow warming debunkers from the U.S., Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, England, Germany, and elsewhere. An organization known as “Climate Depot” has published a 321-page report containing challenges from more than 1,000 scientists who disagree with the UN’s International Conference of Climate Change.

In what appears to be his bid to replace Al Gore as our nation’s leading fright-peddler, Secretary of State John Kerry says that climate change is as great a threat as the problems created by ISIS, Ebola and terrorism in general. He claims that “97 percent of scientists have confirmed that climate change is happening and human activity is to blame.” He stated that climate change is “the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.” Growing numbers of trained scientists disagree.

The truth is that the polar ice isn’t melting; polar bear numbers are increasing not declining; the oceans and seas aren’t rising; and there’s no need to do away with the internal combustion engine as proposed by Al Gore. Nor is there any need to cease producing electricity by burning coal as proposed by the Obama administration.

What is needed is more people who understand the foolishness of commentators like Tom Keane, who admits that the climate isn’t warming but wants to apply drastic corrective measures that will truly harm the Earth’s people.

The New American has attended many of the Heartland Institute’s annual International Conference on Climate Change for years. See some of the video interviews with leading staff and presenters.

Mr. McManus joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966 and has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.

Stonewalling About Fast and Furious Will Soon End

Stonewalling About Fast and Furious Will Soon End
by JBS President John F. McManus

On September 23rd, federal district judge John D. Bates ruled that documents related to the federal government’s Fast and Furious operation that led to the slaying of U.S. Border Control agent Brian Terry, could no longer remain secret. The judge gave the Department of Justice until October 22nd to submit the documents, explain why they were being withheld, and indicate how their release could supposedly harm someone. Two days later, Attorney General Eric Holder announced his resignation from the high office he has held for almost six years.

Fast and Furious was a program carried out by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF). It purposefully allowed firearms dealers in the U.S. to sell weapons to individuals known to be planning to ship them to Mexican drug cartel leaders. The BATF claimed that this “gun running” would enable its agents to track down and arrest Mexican drug pushers and gun-trafficking individuals. During the operation, however, U.S. Border Agent Brian Terry became a victim of one of the guns found at the scene of the crime. An estimated 2,000 weapons changed hands during Fast and Furious and only 700 were ever recovered. In simple terms, the program was a colossal and deadly failure.

The Obama administration has insisted that documents pertaining dealing to the operation must be kept from view. More than two years ago in the midst of his consistent stonewalling, Attorney General Holder refused to cooperate with a congressional investigation of the matter and, as a result, became the first sitting member of the U.S. Cabinet in history to be formally declared in contempt of Congress. But that didn’t stop him from continuing his efforts to keep secret the documents that now must be produced.

Fast and Furious began on October 31, 2009 when an Arizona gun dealer reported that four individuals purchased a quantity of AK-47-style rifles. Another suspicious gun purchaser bought 244 weapons within a two-month period. But BATF agents were required to do nothing. Some eventually complained about the scheme but were ignored as guns fell into the hands of people they knew were about to commit crimes. Some agents have even reported that they were ordered by high-ranking personnel within the Attorney Generals’ office to look the other way at this increase in gun-trafficking. Soon, even BATF agents stationed in Mexico were voicing their complaints about the program.

When agent Terry and his companion agents spotted suspected illegal immigrants on that fateful night, they fired non-lethal beanbag guns as a warning. But the suspects responded with rifle fire and a firefight resulted with Terry being killed. Four of the suspects were arrested and two of the seized AK-47 rifles were immediately traced to a Phoenix gun store involved in the Fast and Furious operation.

For several years, Eric Holder and President Obama have steadfastly refused congressional requests to release DOJ documents related to this fiasco. The President claimed executive privilege to impede the investigation. One can only conclude that the two surely have something to hide. As of October 22, 2014, there will be no more secrecy. Thanks are due to Judge Bates for his decision and to the Judicial Watch organization that has doggedly pursued this matter and finally won in their demands for an end to the stonewalling.

The founders were clear on the point of an individual’s right to keep and bear arms. The John Birch Society believes that gun-control laws and agencies do nothing but control the responsible individual and aid criminals. Also, the JBS opposes a monopoly of power on the part of government.

Mr. McManus joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966 and has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.