Mexican Math Disputed on Weapons Flow from US, Big Rift with
Small Arms Survey
June 14 -- Mexico's claim
that 90% of guns enter its country
from the United States was questioned at the UN on Monday. Inner
Press asked the managing director of the Small Arms Survey, Eric
Berman, about what percentage of guns in Mexico come from the United
here, from Minute 23:12.
that contrary to Mexico's 80% to 90% figures, "there's a little
problem in how the numbers are determined." He said the Mexican
government has seized thousands of weapons, they selected a subset to
send to the US... Another subset, those able to be determined by
serial numbers, leads to a percentage 'from the US.' But the headline
"skews the information."
have "shared the information with the government of Mexico."
Press asked Mexican spokespeople in Washington and at the UN. The
request to DC based spokesman and former UN correspondent for Notimex
Ricardo Alday was answered by the Mexican Mission's hard working
Marco Morales, in the midst of an "informal consultation"
with North and South Korea. Morales wrote:
have been corroborated on various occasions by the US
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, even at hearings
at the US Congress.
remains that more than 90% of small arms enter Mexico through
our Northern border, regardless of whether they are US-made or
there seems to
be a stark dispute, between this Small Arms Survey and the numbers
used by Mexico's government and Mission to the UN. How to resolve the
UN's Ban and Calderone, US guns not shown (goal
due to UK keeper)
Writing in The
New Yorker of May 31, William Finnegan
("Silver or Lead," Plata o Plomo)
tried this nuance: "More
than eighty percent of the weapons that have been seized in Mexico
and that could be traced originated in the US."
Berman of the
Small Arms Survey said that was at least one more screen -- it was a
percentage of (1) weapons seized in Mexico that (2) Mexico sent to
the US for identification and that (3) could be traced. And
Berman specifically disputed the 80% figure.
Survey was presented to UN member states on June 14. Apparently,
Mexico wasn't there. Now what? Can each side simply use their own
numbers? Whatever happened to that old saw of debating, you are
entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts? Watch this
* * *
at UN, LaHood Dodges Mexican Trucks, Names Taiwan as a Country
May 19 -- In one of the stranger press stakeouts at the UN
of late, US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood appeared Wednesday to
talk about distracted driving. Even during a four second text
message, he said, a car travels the length of a football field.
asked LaHood about a controversy in the news, the US's refusal to
allow Mexican trucks into the country, contrary to NAFTA. LaHood
replied that "Mexican trucks have nothing to do with distracted
driving." Video here,
Minute 21:16. But the issue is sure to arise during President
Calderon's state dinner with Barack Obama. And LaHood went on to praise
prohibiting truck drivers from texting.
of Focus Driven had also denounced the use of "handsfree"
devices while driving, Inner City Press asked if Wednesday's call
also targeted this form of distraction. "All are distractions,"
General Ban Ki-moon, who did not stay to answer any questions, had
announced an Administrative Instruction prohibiting UN personnel from
texting while driving. But when Inner City Press later asked Ban's
spokesman how this would be enforced, what the penalties were, the
spokesman said the AI is not yet in place. Nor could he answer about
UN staff in Cyprus causing a crash that killed two Bulgarians.
asked questions, more than a dozen were present, drawn by
the presence of US Ambassador Susan Rice and Russia's Vitaly Churkin,
hoping one or both might speak about Iran. She did not.
spoke of anti-texting legislation in "countries including...
Taiwan," Ambassador Rice reacted. In the UN, it's "Taiwan
Province of China." LaHood did not clarify. Video here.
fact, even a
question addressed to Ambassador Churkin, LaHood stepped in to
answer, touting the Obama administration's spending. Afterwards,
Churkin said that while LaHood had promoted Obama's agenda, he
Churkin would now speak for the international community.
day after the US's
sponsoring of a draft resolution to impose sanctions on Iran was
met by a Brazilian vow not to engage, and similar skepticism by
Turkey, the US's showing at the driving stakeout seemed, in a word,
UN's Ban and LaHood, Susan Rice, Vitaly Churkin
speakers waited for LaHood to arrive, and just after Inner City Press
had asked Ban Ki-moon about the report on
the UN's role in Sri Lankan
war crimes put out by the
International Crisis Group, Samantha Power
approached Mr. Ban to mention the various Sergio de
Mello projects and to introduce her husband Cass Sunstein, the
administration's regulatory guru. (His reaction to the proposed
Consumer Financial Protection Agency being weakened, and to the BP
oil spill, were not able to be inquired into.)
his hat to the couple in his remarks. But what does Ms. Power, who
literally wrote the book on genocide, have to say about the UN's and
US Mission's positions on Sri Lanka, compared to the ICG report?
While like Mexican trucks not related to distracted driving, these
are questions needing answers. Watch this site.