Trayvon: 46 Days; Fast and Furious: 527 Days and CountingBy M. Catharine Evans
The Attorney General of the State of Arizona should charge the Attorney General of the United States with negligent homicide in the deaths of Agents Terry, Zapata and Mexican nationals.
Not really. The government sanctioned program of allowing convicted felons to sell guns to drug cartels without interdiction resulted in cold-blooded murder, yet no one has been charged. Contrast that with the frenzied rush to judgment in the Trayvon Martin case.
The 16-month Fast and Furious investigation has been virtually drip, drip, drip. In addition, the Mexican government has been eerily quiet about gun walking weapons used to kill its own citizens. Congressman Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, keeps threatening to get to the bottom of it and the mainstream media folks won't touch anything not approved by the regime.
But fortunately for us, the Obama administration decided to exploit the Trayvon Martin tragedy.
The barrage of protests, press conferences, high level official confabs and media headlines demanding George Zimmerman's arrest for the shooting of 17-year old Martin provide a sharp contrast to the last year and a half of perjured testimony, media blackouts and stonewalling by the DOJ in the gunwalking fiasco.
AG Eric Holder's minions made the laughable assertion on numerous occasions that Fast and Furious was a "political sideshow and witch hunt." But Rep. Issa and Sen. Grassley's efforts to 'hunt' higher-ups through the rule of law can't even compare to New Black Panther Mikhail Muhammad inciting others to go after Zimmerman and kill him.
Side by side timelines of the two situations bring to mind a recent comment by an ousted Venezuelan supreme court justice now seeking asylum in the United States in exchange for inside info on Hugo Chavez. Eladio Aponte described what it's like trying to dole out due process in his former country.
"Justice is nothing. Justice is a ball of putty because it can be molded for or against," said Mr. Aponte on the broadcast. "I don't think the [separation of powers] exists."
Sounds like Holder and Hugo Chavez look at justice the same way.
I. Trayvon Martin: 46 days
(Note: The timeline below from 2/26/12 to 3/21/12 is from Orlando Sentinel)
Police are called to 1231 Twin Trees Lane, Sanford, after a report of shots fired. They arrive to find Trayvon Martin, 17, shot dead. A press release that night says that "there was an altercation between the two males and shots were fired." George Zimmerman, though not named, is referred to as a "suspect."
A police spokesman publicly identifies Trayvon and Zimmerman, who is referred to as "the man who fired the gun."
Police confirm that Zimmerman was "serving in the role of neighborhood watch" when the shooting occurred. Trayvon, police say, "was here visiting friends of the family for the week."
Tracy Martin, Trayvon's father, holds a news conference in Orlando, calling on Sanford police to arrest Zimmerman for murder. "We feel justice hasn't been served," he tells reporters.
Members of the New Black Panther Party gather outside Sanford police headquarters to increase pressure on authorities. The party's southern regional minister calls the case a "miscarriage of justice."
Police complete their investigation, turning the case over to the State Attorney's Office for the 18th Circuit. A spokeswoman promises "a through, deliberate and just review."
Nearly 400 people, including many influential local civil-rights leaders and pastors, pack the Allen Chapel AME Church in Sanford to call for Zimmerman's arrest. Meanwhile, witness Mary Cutcher tells local a television station that police took only a short statement from her after the shooting and had ignored her calls. "I know this was not self-defense," she says.
Cutcher appears on CNN. Sanford police issue a statement calling her remarks in the media "inconsistent"with her sworn testimony. Zimmerman's father delivers a statement to the Orlando Sentinel, insisting that his son is not a racist and did not "follow or confront" Trayvon Martin.
Lawyers for Trayvon's family hold a news conference, once again demanding an arrest. They accuse police of siding with Zimmerman and trying to intimidate witnesses by discrediting Cutcher's remarks publicly.
That night, Sanford police release 911 calls from the night of the shooting. In one call, Zimmerman acknowledges following Trayvon and is told by the dispatcher not to continue doing so. One of the calls received that night also included the sound of screams for help, followed by at least one gunshot. Whether it's the voice of Trayvon or Zimmerman calling for help is in dispute.
Several hundred gather in Titusville for a rally at St. James AME Church, aiming to prod State Attorney Norm Wolfinger, whose office covers Seminole and Brevard counties, to file charges.
The Seminole County Sheriff's Office releases additional 911 calls made by Zimmerman in prior incidents. In four, he reports "suspicious" persons in or near the Retreat at Twin Lakes neighborhood.
Meanwhile, a source close to the investigation confirms to the Orlando Sentinel that the gun that killed Martin was fired only once on the night of the shooting, contradicting family attorneys' claims that Zimmerman fired a "warning shot."
The U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division and the FBI decide to investigate the killing of the Miami Gardens teenager.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott asks the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to offer "appropriate resources" in the case.
A girl identified as Trayvon Martin's girlfriend speaks to ABC News. She says she was talking to the teen in the lead up to the shooting. Trayvon, she says, told her "some man was watching him." Later, she said she heard what sounded like Zimmerman pushing Trayvon.
At a rally in Sanford, the NAACP calls for the firing of Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Jr. The rally was followed by a march to the Sanford Police Department.
State Attorney Norm Wolfinger's office announced a Seminole County grand jury will investigate the shooting, about 12 hours after the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it will review the case for any possible civil rights violations.
Rep. Corrine Brown and Sanford city leaders meet with U.S. Department of Justice representatives.
A Sentinel investigation reveals new details about Zimmerman's past, including money problems and issues involving domestic violence in a previous relationship.
That night Sanford City Commission votes "no confidence" in embattled police Chief Lee.
Martin's parents attend a 'million hoodie march' in New York City. Trayvon's father TraceyMartin states "we will not stop until we get justice for Trayon."
Angela Corey appointed as special prosecutor by Florida Governor Rick Scott.
Barack Obama addresses Martin shooting in the White House Rose Garden. Relays a message to the parents. "If I had a son he would look like Trayvon." Then says, "I'm glad that not only the Justice Department is looking into it, I understand now that the governor of the State of Florida has formed a task force to investigate what is taking place.
New Black Panther Party (NBPP) offers a $10,000 reward for the capture of George Zimmerman. Group hands out 'Wanted: Dead or Alive' posters on steps of Sanford City Hall. Also calls for 5,000 black men to organize and search for the Neighborhood Watch volunteer.
NBPP southern regional director Mikhail Muhammad appears on CNN with Anderson Cooper. Says when "the people find him [Zimmerman] he may not be alive."
George Zimmerman arrested on 2nd degree murder charges. Corey holds live press conference. She promises "those sweet parents" she will get justice for Trayvon. Confirms Zimmerman is in custody.
II. Brian Terry, Jaime Zapata, Mexican citizens: 527 days and counting
ATF leadership in Mexico started noticing an "abnormal" number of weapons flowing from Phoenix into Mexico as early as the end of 2009. The guns were being "beelined" straight to drug cartels. Mexican authorities began to seize Fast and Furious guns at violent crime scenes.
Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson goes to Mexico; tells Mexican ATF personnel the Phoenix operation is essentially going well. ATF agents in Mexico tell Melson about the high number of weapons found at crime scenes being traced back to Phoenix.
The Department of Justice's Office of Enforcement Operations (OEO) approved wiretap applications in this case signed on behalf of Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division DOJ Lanny Breuer.
Michael Walther, the director of the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), wrote three memos to Holder in which he mentions Operation Fast and Furious.
Lanny Breuer, the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division DOJ met with ATF personnel in Mexico. The agent recalled Breuer said they had "a good case" out of Phoenix. According to the agent's statements Breuer clearly was referring to Fast and Furious.
Concerned ATF agents are told the case would be shut down in August, 2010.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is contacted by whistleblowers within ATF about the tactics used in Operation Fast and Furious.
December 14, 2010
Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry along with three other agents in Peck Canyon, near Rio Rico, Arizona, encountered a group of five suspected drug smugglers carrying weapons. The lawmen identified themselves as federal agents. The suspects did not drop their guns; at least one of them fired at the agents and fatally wounded Terry.
December 15, 2010
Emails exchanged between ATF agents at 7:45PM confirm two of the weapons found at the scene of Terry's murder were purchased by straw buyer Jaime Avila as part of Operation Fast and Furious.
December 22, 2010
Head of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano attends Brian Terry's funeral in Detroit Michigan. Promises "swift justice for those responsible for his death."
Grassley meets with Holder and DOJ officials to discuss the whistleblower allegations.
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is shot while meeting with constituents in Tucson. ATF agents were worried she might have been shot by a gun sold through Operation Fast and Furious. This turned out not to be the case. A group supervisor with the ATF Phoenix Field Division told congressional investigators that after the Terry murder agents were nervous. "And then there was a sense like every other time, even with Ms. Giffords' shooting, there was a state of panic, like, oh, God, let's hope this is not a weapon from that case."
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, writes a letter to ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson requesting a briefing due to allegations that ATF greenlighted the sale of hundreds of assault weapons through straw purchasers. Two of the guns were allegedly involved in Brian Terry's death according to the ATF whistleblowers
Four days later Grassley writes another letter saying whistleblowers are being targeted by agency.
February 4, 2011
DOJ sends a letter to Grassley; denies that the ATF would knowingly sell assault weapons to straw purchasers and that the agency makes every effort to prevent weapons from going to Mexico. Information in the letter, later found to be false, leads to the resignation of U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke and chief of Arizona's criminal division Patrick Cunningham.
February 15, 2011
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata shot to death while driving on a highway near the northern city of San Luis Potosi. Guns retrieved at the crime scene were later traced to an ATF gun walking operation out of Texas similar to Fast and Furious.
February 23 2011
More than 1,000 Mourners attend Zapata's funeral including Janet Napolitano, Eric Holder and ICE Director John Morton.
Holder asks the DOJ's Inspector General to investigate Operation Fast and Furious.
Holder questioned about the gun walking program by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison at a Committee hearing.
Rep Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) sends first letter to ATF's acting-director Kenneth Melson requesting documents pertaining to the origin of Fast and Furious and who authorized it. Issues first subpoena on Fast and Furious to DOJ for documents he requested earlier.
President Obama is asked about Fast and Furious on Univision. Says "there may be a situation here in which a serious mistake was made. If that's the case, then we'll find -- find out and we'll hold somebody accountable."
May 3, 2011
Holder testifies before the House Judiciary Committee saying, "I'm not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks."
June 15, 2011
The House Oversight Committee questioned ATF agents about the tactics used under the operation and their efforts to stop them. Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich testified that the DOJ was doing everything in its power to assist Issa with his investigation.
June 29, 2011
Asked about the gun walking investigation, President Obama says he will not comment because the matter is still pending.
Melson meets with Issa and Grassley and his personal attorney. The next day Issa and Grassley send a letter to Eric Holder. Recapping Melson's testimony they asserted Melson told them the DOJ was muzzling ATF leadership. ATF agents had witnessed the transfer of weapons to straw purchasers to third parties without interdiction and ATF agents were operating Fast and Furious under the direction of the Arizona U.S. Attorney's office.
Issa and Grassley release a joint staff report on The Department of Justice's Operation Fast and Furious Fueling Cartel Violence.
Holder transfers Melson out of his position as acting director and Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke resigns.
A Friday night document dump reveals communications between ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Office Bill Newell who led Fast and Furious and former White House National Security Staffer Kevin O'Reilly. O'Reilly recently assigned to Iraq was not available for comment.
President Obama says he has full confidence in Attorney General Eric Holder on Fast and Furious.
November 8, 2011
Holder testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Blames the lack of adequate gun control laws for the operation. Lawmakers should strengthen "statutory tools" to stop guns going into Mexico. Regrets Agent Terry's death, does not offer outright apology.
Holder testifies at a House Judiciary Committee on December 8. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner threatens impeachment.
CBS releases report suggesting Fast and Furious linked to gun control. Cites a July 14, 2010 email from ATF Field Ops Assistant Director (later reassigned) to ATF Special Agent in Charge Bill Newell (later reassigned) looking for "anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales."
FBI Director denies a third gun was recovered at the scene of Brian Terry's murder.
Chief of the Arizona U.S. Attorney's Office criminal division Patrick Cunningham becomes the first Fast and Furious official to plead the fifth. Late in the month he resigns.
Congressman Issa sends 4-page letter to Eric Holder threatening contempt charges if he does not hand over tens of thousands of documents by February 9.
February 1, 2012
Parents of Agent Brian file a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice and its Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms seeking $25 million in compensation for their son's death.
February 2, 2012
Holder testifies before Issa's Committee on Oversight. Denies cover-up, states investigation has become "political."
Los Angeles Times reports federal agents including Phoenix Special Agent Hope MacAllister stopped Manuel Celis-Acosta, the operation's main target seven months after Fast and Furious began and then let him go.
Issa and Grassley send a letter to White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler asking to speak directly to O'Reilly.
Ruemmler sends letter to Issa and Grassley refusing their request to speak with O'Reilly. Some reports suggest Fast and Furious connection to White House getting stronger after rejection letter.
Congressman Issa and Senator Grassley address an NRA convention promising the investigation will not end until the "full truth" is known and those responsible including Eric Holder are held accountable.
George Zimmerman released on bond, awaiting trial.
No charges and no arrests to date for the killings resulting from gun walking program.
Read more M. Catharine Evans at Potter Williams Report
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