Channel surfing sunday night after watching my favorite show "Breaking Bad" I came upon a CNBC gem, "Mexico's Drug Wars." Sounded important and I love to watch investigative journals/documentaries any day of the week. It started out with some background narrative on how President Calderon has waged a 6 year war against the various cartels without much to show fo it. There was some file footage of some shootouts, assasinations, and described acid baths given to rival drug dealers of Joaquin "El Chapo's Guzman, number 38 on Forbes's most powerful list. Then came the wopper. The British reporter for CNBC asked a A.T.F agent (in the backdrop of a weapons evidenence room, which had M-16s, M-4s, Shotguns with pistol grips, and just about every imanginable scary firearm you could think of) how many of the weapons came from America? The A.T.F. agent seemed to either not hear the question or didn't want to answer it. Anyway she rephrased the question, " What percentage of these weapons can be traced back to the United States?" He answered 90%, and without so much as a word it went straight to commercial with no explanation.
I stayed through the commercial to see if the A.T.F. agent would be abel to explain the 90% figure, since over the last few years I've haerd the breakdown of that 90% and It's much more favorable towards the U.S. to say the least. The inflated number has been repeated over and over again by reporters such as CBS's Bob Schieffer of their sunday morning show Face the Nation, Democratic Senataor of California Diane Feinstien, and it reaches to the top levels of government, Hillary Clinton repeated the number to a group of reporters on a flight to Mexico City. Then probably the most important political voice of our times chimed in at a concert he was giving at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. Before U2 played the song "Pride" Bono had a few words to say:
I want you to send a message of love along the border to the good and great people of the United States of America...I want you to send a message to people of conscience.
Ask them to answer the question. Why is it that all we hear on the news is how drugs are smuggled through Mexico to the United States?
And we don't hear about all the automatic weapons that are being smuggled into Mexico from the United States. Nine thousand registered arms dealers on the other side of the border, nine thousand.
Most of the murders commited here are from weapons sold in the United States of America.
We sing this song for the innocents who have lost their lives in the violence here...
In a report filed by Fox New's William La Jeunesse and Maxim Lott on April 2, 2009 named "The Myth of 90%: only a small fraction of Guns in Mexico come from the U.S." they explain the 90% number of weapons found at crime scenes in Mexico that come from the United States is at the very least misleading. First, there were 29,000 firearms found at crime scenes in Mexico's drug war, of those 29,000 confiscated, the Mexican government deemed that only 11,000 could be sent to our government to be traced due to lack of evidence regarding the weapons namely serial numbers. Of the 11,000 possibly "traceable" guns only 6,000 were fully traced, and the final count traced back to the United States was 5,114. My math is horrible but that's not 90%.
What's truly shocking is that the William La Jeunesse and Maxim Lott story was filed on April 2, 2009 and here I am in late July of 2011 and the grossly false statistic of 90% of guns coming from the United States commiting crimes in Mexico is still being repeated by a major news channel for a second time in documantary form within a six month period along with radio stations, news anchors, and federal employees.
Where are the weapons in Mexico's Drug War coming from? Mexico is a vitual arms bazaar, with grenades from South Korea, AK-47s from China, shoulder-fired rocket launchers from Spain. Israeli and former Soviet Bloc manufacturers. After the fall of the Soviet Union the Russian Mafia with groups like Poldolskaya and Moscow based Solntsevskaya looted the Russian military's arsenal and sold to the highest bidder. In 2006 Amnesty International reported China provided assault weapons to many countries including Mexico.
During the late 1990s, The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (Farc) established a clandestine arms smuggling partnership with the Tiajuana Cartel according to a federal research division report from the Library of Congress.
According to Mexican Congressman Robert Badillo more that 150,000 soldiers have deserted in the last 6 years, most of which retained their M-16 issued assault rifle made in Belgium.
2,239 grenades siezed in the last two years were from Guatemala along with many rocket propelled grenades. These grenades and RPGs are unavailable to U.S. citizens.
So I could give you more statistics but what would be the point. I think you know why certain news agencies, reporters, government employees, and entertainers are leaving out the important facts. It's purely ideological and these people who are lying to you about the facts know that most of you aren't going to check. Americans have busy lives so we tend to take people like Hillary Clinton, Sec. of State at their word and if you're not real hot on guns, it's easy to swallow when Bono goes on a political rant at a concert when you've had a couple beers and paid a couple hundred bucks for the night, you could be looking for Bono to say something profound that reassure your general beliefs.
The problem is that if we don't get to the actual facts we could damage our reputation around the world or create bad legislation off of bogus statistics. Think about how many Mexican citizens that Bono told at his concert that we were the ones most responsible for the weapons in Mexico that are killing Mexican citizens. That has a huge affect. And then to air a documentary two times totally after we knew the truth behind the numberss, well there's something really wrong with CNBC.