From the August 15 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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From the August 12 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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Last month, we documented how right-wing media used the Norway terrorist attack to push for more lenient gun laws. They're at it again, now using the riots in the United Kingdom as their hook.
Today, Andrew Breitbart's Big Government published a blog post by AWR Hawkins headlined "If We Let the Government Take Our Guns, We'll Have To Run and Hide Like Londoners." Hawkins claimed that "because England banned the private ownership of handguns the "criminals are confident the citizenry is thoroughly unarmed" and are "going into homes and business ... taking whatever they want." They then attempt to strike fear into readers by suggesting "if we ever let the government take our guns, it won't be long till we'll be scrambling under tables like Londoners."
He punctuated that post with this picture, although it's unclear if this is supposed to be a picture of the rioters or those running in fear because they don't have guns:
Not to be outdone, Fox News soon got into the act.
On Friday, America's Newsroom hosted National Rifle Association (NRA) executive vice president Wayne LaPierre to discuss an NRA lawsuit that challenges a rule requiring gun dealers along the southwest border to report purchases of two or more rifles, like AK-47s. LaPierre only spoke briefly about the lawsuit and instead used most his appearance to push the myth that America is not a significant source of firearms for Mexican cartels.
The facts on U.S. guns going to Mexico are straight forward. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' (ATF) has seized more 10,000 firearms and more then 1.1. million rounds of ammunition headed to the southwest border since 2006. On the Mexican side of the border, 20,504 or 70 percent of the total firearms seized and submitted for tracing in the last two years were from the United States. Undeterred by the facts LaPierre continues to push the idea that U.S. guns play a minimal role in arming Mexican cartels.
LaPierre began by suggesting that State Department cables, released by Wikileaks, support his theory:
LAPIERRE: Everyone now admits the drug cartels in Mexico are getting their guns from Russia, China, defections from the Mexican army, the international black market and largely through Central America. The Wikileaks cables from our own State Department prove that. They went to Congress [Crosstalk]
ALISYN CAMEROTA: So are you saying that no semiautomatic guns from the U.S. and from the southwest border are falling into the hands of Mexican criminals?
LAPIERRE: There may be a small time operator coming in, trying to break the law, they ought to be prosecuted. But our own State Department cables say the Mexican drug cartels are not getting their guns from the U.S., they're getting from Central America. They're not getting them from the U.S. dealers.
Richard Andrew Poplawski was convinced in early 2009 that America was secretly controlled by a Jewish cabal that was moving fast to eradicate free speech and use the military to enslave the American people. Naturally, federal agents and law enforcement officers would first have to seize all privately owned firearms, he believed.
According to the Anti-Defamation League Alex Jones' website Infowars.com was among Poplawski's "favorite" venues for conspriracy theories:
One of Poplawski's favorite places for such conspiracy theories was the Web site of the right-wing conspiracy radio talk show host Alex Jones. Poplawski visited the site, Infowars, frequently, shared links to it with others, and sometimes even posted to it. One of his frustrations with the site, though, was that it didn't focus enough on the nefarious roles played by Jews in all these conspiracies. "For being such huge players in the endgame," he observed in a March 29, 2009 posting to Infowars, "too many 'infowarriors' are surprisingly unfamiliar with the Zionists." Another time he was more hopeful, noting that "racial awareness is on the rise among the young white population." *
Less than a week later, Poplawski ambushed and shot to death three Pittsburgh police officers who responded to a domestic disturbance call at his residence.
One might think that such a tragic outcome would give Alex Jones pause before he started another round of promoting his wild-eyed theories about the U.S. government coming to take our guns.
Alas, Jones is up to his old tricks. A "bunch of Hitlers," he says, are running the country, and they're just itching to douse us with Ebola and nerve gas.
In an August 1, 2011, video posted on PrisonPlanet.com, Alex Jones states:
I have confirmed through two Texas gun dealers and through someone in my office that when you buy two rifles, and by the way it's in this letter, or two handguns, revolver or pistol, that you get an ATF or FBI visit to your house. And they demand to come in your home and see your guns without a warrant. It's a chilling effect, it's intimidation, just like in Nazi Germany.
The system does not want armed citizens, they want to set a precedent. And as our country goes into designed banker depression, as we implode, they are coming after our guns.
The system is having the police and military start a fight where they know gun-owning constitutionalists are not going to along with it. They are going to start responding as things degenerate. And they are going to be called terrorists. The system, the social engineers, are sending the ATF and the Feds on a collision course with law abiding patriotic Americans so they can kick off a civil war in America.
Addressing a rally in April 2011, white nationalist lawyer William Johnson lamented the media scrutiny he drew with his recent failed campaign for a judgeship in California.
|White nationalist lawyer William Johnson at San Juan Capistrano rally
"Ron Paul endorsed me for Superior Court judge, and I was on my way," Johnson said. "No sooner than I'd put my hat in the ring than ... it came out that Johnson is a white nationalist, that Johnson wants to create a separate white ethno-state, that Johnson supports the 14 words of [white power domestic terrorist] David Lane, that 'We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children,' and the media went wild with all of that, and Ron Paul withdrew his endorsement of me...because he did not believe in a separate white ethno-state and he didn't know that I did."
A white ethno-state? The 14 words?
Johnson sounded like he was at a neo-Nazi conference, as in 1986 when he addressed the Aryan Nations World Congress. But the banner hanging over the stage was not a Swastika flag. It read: "Tax Day Tea Party."
The April 16 rally in San Juan Capistrano, California, corresponded with more than 100 Tea Party rallies scheduled across the country for that Saturday. It was promoted on the website of Tea Party.org, also known as 1776 Tea Party, one of six well-established Tea Party umbrella groups. Its true organizers, however, were from American Third Position, or A3P, a white nationalist political party founded by racist skinheads. A3P did not respond to repeated inquiries for this article. Neither did 1776 Tea Party.
Since April 2010, A3P members have organized, co-sponsored or freely distributed literature at no fewer than 10 Tea Party rallies in six states, including Augusta, Georgia; Harrison, Arkansas; Baton Rogue, Louisiana and throughout California, where A3P was founded in May 2009 by Freedom 14, a racist skinhead crew seeking to establish a more respectable-seeming political front group.
Although it would be unfair to characterize the Tea Party movement on the whole as white nationalist, it's clear that large gatherings of angry, conservative, predominately white Americans are viewed with relish by groups like A3P.
"The Tea Parties are fertile ground for our activists," said A3P Pennsylvania Chairman Steve Smith. "Tea Party supporters and the A3P share much common ground with regard to our political agendas."
Yesterday Naser Abdo was arrested for what local Police Chief Dennis Baldwin suggested was likely a terror plot against soldiers at Fort Hood. Abdo's alleged actions highlight the threat of lone wolf and suicide militia attacks using conventional weapons such as the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
Abdo's shopping list suggests he was likely planning a combination of shooting and bombing somewhat like the recent Norway attack. Since 2009, Al Qaeda has increasingly encouraged terrorists to ditch complicated hijacking and bombing plots instead use easily obtainable firearms and explosives.
The National Counterterrorism Center's 2009 report on terrorism noted, that Mumbai style attacks have been on the up swing around the globe:
Most attacks in 2009 were perpetrated by terrorists applying conventional fighting methods such as armed attacks, bombings, and kidnappings. Drawing on the lessons learned from the Mumbai attack in 2008, Sunni extremist elements used suicidal militia style attacks in numerous large scale attacks in 2009.
Last month Al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn instructed would be terrorists in the United States to visit gun shows where they can bypass the usual background check for individuals buying a gun. Being on the terrorist watch list doesn't disqualify individuals from purchasing a gun and at gun shows private sellers can bypass conventional background checks.
Fortunately Abdo's suspicious behavior led vigilant Fort Hood area gun store clerk Greg Ebert to contact the police. Unfortunately not every gun seller has shown the responsibility that Ebert displayed, some of the worst have even been caught selling to buyers that said they couldn't pass a background check.
Last night, Investor's Business Daily published an editorial which claimed that a chain of emails indicate that a White House staffer sought and received information about the ATF's failed Operation Fast and Furious from the ATF special agent who oversaw the initiative. According to the editorial, this proves that "the White House knew" about the operation. Unfortunately for IBD, this claim evaporated before the paper hit the newsstands after the Los Angeles Times got ahold of the emails in question and reported that they reveal nothing of the sort.
Detailing the exchange between William Newell, ATF special agent in charge of the Phoenix office, and his longtime friend Kevin O'Reilly, a National Security Council staffer, IBD wrote in typical conspiratorial fashion:
Newell sent O'Reilly the requested information with the caveat, "You didn't get this from me."
Why was a National Security Council staffer asking about an operation that no one in the upper echelons of the administration was supposed to be aware of? We find it hard to believe it was for O'Reilly's personal amusement. Why would Newell request that he not be acknowledged as the source?
Administration officials have taken the Sgt. Schultz "we knew nothing" approach to any inquiries, only to be tripped up by their own words and actions.
Newell's email to O'Reilly is evidence that at least one person in the White House did.
After reviewing the actual email chain, LAT's Richard Serrano wrote: "The ATF's field supervisor on the Southwest border sent a series of emails last year to a top White House national security official detailing the agency's ambitious efforts to stop weapons trafficking into Mexico, but did not mention that a botched sting operation had allowed hundreds of guns to flow to drug cartels."
Indeed, the emails show O'Reilly reaching out to Newell for information about the ATF's Gun Runner Impact Team (GRIT), a separate initiative that deployed scores of agents to Arizona and New Mexico on a short term basis. According to ATF, "GRIT special agents initiated 174 firearms trafficking-related criminal investigations and seized approximately 1,300 illegally-trafficked firearms and 71,000 rounds of ammunition, along with drugs and currency." O'Reilly was seeking information about GRIT in order to brief White House counterterrorism advisor John Brennan about the operation in preparation for a meeting with Mexican officials.
Before last summer, Hugh Crumpler III was best known in central Florida as a professional bass guide.
But for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) he was a big fish.
|Guns confiscated from Hugh Crumpler III. Photo Courtesy ATF|
Crumpler, 64, was a key player in a major international gun smuggling network. It was taken down by the Tampa Field Division of the ATF with Operation Castaway, a six-month investigation that federal prosecutors called "the most significant firearms trafficking investigation in Central Florida history."
Nothing in the more than 500 pages of Operation Castaway court documents, which are public records, indicate anything other than a textbook operation culminating in the interdiction of a large shipment of firearms bound for Honduras. Eight traffickers including Crumpler were convicted and sentenced to between two and a half and seven years in federal prison.
Despite this winning outcome, Operation Castaway is under attack from right-wing bloggers and Fox. These critics are disregarding basic standards of fact checking in their rush to link the Tampa investigation to Operation Fast and Furious, the failed ATF initiative in which agents knowingly allowed firearms to be trafficked across the border into Mexico.
In one typical example, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs branded Operation Castaway "a second version of the botched operation Fast and Furious" during his July 11 broadcast.
From the July 26 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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Following the July 22 attack on Norway's Utoya Island by Anders Breivik, right-wing personalities have begun to advocate for more lenient gun laws, claiming that "if somebody did [have a gun], they might have been able to take this crazy guy out before he did all of this damage." In fact, Norway, despite having stricter laws on handgun ownership than the United States, has a much lower rate of deaths related to gun homicides.
On his radio show, Glenn Beck fearmongered about violence along the U.S.-Mexico border to suggest that the government will confiscate Americans' guns. In fact, the Justice Department has simply issued regulations putting in place a reporting requirement for multiple purchases of certain kinds of rifles, and, furthermore, violence in areas on the U.S. side of the border is dropping.
From the July 19 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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This morning Fox & Friends hosted former Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) to discuss the failed ATF Fast and Furious program, which Tiahrt stated was part of a "conspiracy" to "eliminate the sales of firearms in America."
After Fox & Friends began with a categorically false explanation of what Tiahrt's gun trace amendment does, Tiahrt advanced the baseless claim that Fast and Furious and efforts to change the Tiahrt amendment were part of a "conspiracy" to ban guns.
Co-host Molly Line teased the segment with a flagrantly inaccurate description of the Tiahrt amendment:
LINE: Hundreds of American guns sold to Mexican drug cartels, but law enforcement is only allowed to know about it because of a small budget amendment. The amendment's original sponsor is here next to talk about that.
The Tiahrt amendment does the opposite of what Fox and Friends is suggesting, it suppresses gun trace data. As Tiahrt originally wrote it, the legislation suppressed data sharing even among law enforcement agencies. Tiahrt's data sharing prohibition currently bars House Oversight Committee members from getting gun trace data from the ATF.
The Justice Department is trying to protect its political appointees from the Fast and Furious scandal by concealing an internal "smoking gun" report and other documents that acknowledge the role top officials played in the program that allowed firearms to flow illegally into Mexico, according to the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
A review of the Issa-Grassley letter, which includes excerpts from ATF acting director Kenneth E. Melson's testimony to congressional investigators, utterly debunks Serrano's claim.
According to the letter, Melson did not say that there is "an internal 'smoking gun' report... acknowledg[ing] the role top officials played" in the ATF's Operation Fast and Furious. Here's what Melson said about the "smoking gun" (emphasis from the Issa-Grassley letter):
I assigned a task force of agents to read through all the [Reports of Investigation or ROIs] to determine whether or not the allegations that were being made by individuals in CBS and Senator Grassley were true or not, because frankly we didn't think they were true.
They did a review of those and found nothing that would indicate that that was true, then asked them to bring to me all the ROIs that pertained to [one defendant] in particular and I read through those and found ROIs that indeed suggested that interdiction could have occurred, and probably should have occurred, but did not occur.
And it was at that point that I took that ROI and gave it to our people and the Department.
In fact, we briefed and gave it to [the Associate Deputy Attorney General with responsibility for ATF] in particular, because to me that was a smoking gun that we really needed to look at the rest of this particular case.
Melson's "smoking gun" deals with the failed strategy behind Fast and Furious, not who knew about that strategy. It consisted of reports generated by ATF agents on the ground which "suggested that interdiction could have occurred, and probably should have occurred, but did not occur." It informed him that "we really needed to look at the rest of this particular case," not that "top officials" were involved in the program. Indeed, Melson indicates that he himself was unaware of the particulars of the program before it had been reported on in the media.
While the Issa-Grassley letter calls on DOJ to produce the ROIs Melson cites, it does not suggest that the "smoking gun" details the involvement of "top officials":
The Department should produce the documents identified by Mr. Melson months ago for the Deputy Attorney General's Office as critical to his understanding that the allegations in this case raise valid concerns. Specifically, the Department should not be withholding what Mr. Melson described as the "smoking gun" report of investigation or Mr. Melson's email regarding the wiretap applications.