Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Introducing. . .


We would like to welcome our newest guest blogger, Randy Graf.

Randy has accepted our invitation to blog when he is able. And has already submitted his first article.

Unfortunately, I was not able to post it yet as an article, due to ongoing FTP difficulties. We will hopefully get this taken care of soon and posted with Frank's work. Here is Randy's submission:
-------------------------------------------------

Report on the American Freedom Riders Rally for BP Agents Ramos & Compean

by Randy Graf

Saturday, January 13th saw a rally in downtown Phoenix supporting and calling for a Presidential Pardon for Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean. The two are scheduled to report Wednesday to begin serving their sentences of eleven and twelve years respectfully after being prosecuted and convicted by the U.S. Department of Justice for shooting and supposedly wounding a drug dealer from Mexico who was escorting some 800 pounds of marijuana into the United States. The bizarre sequence of events that led to these convictions ended with full immunity for the drug dealer in his testimony against the agents.

Details of the incident and trial can be found on World Net Daily


A CNN Lou Dobbs report can be seen online at YouTube


Danny Smith of the American Freedom Riders organized the event which was coordinated with similar events in 22 cities across America. The event was held at the Federal Building and had a number of speakers including Minuteman Civil Defense Corp founder Chris Simcox. At 11:45 AM the American Freedom Riders, some sixty motorcycles strong, appeared escorting Border Patrol Agent Ignacio Ramos and his wife Monica. The honor of Agent Ramos and his wife’s appearance was due to Congressman Tom Tancredo who was able to get a travel permit allowing Mr. Ramos to leave the state of Texas

With over 200 people listening on, Agent Ramos thanked those attending and the thousands of Americans who have contacted him with support and prayers. Agent Ramos said that Tuesday is their final chance to hear from the White House. He said he will report to prison on Wednesday, as ordered, unless the pardon comes forward.

Personally I find this a travesty and a dangerous precedent. These men were hired, trained and put on the line by our federal government to guard our borders and protect our nation. They were also accused, prosecuted and convicted by this same federal government for doing that job. Within the last few weeks our National Guard has retreated from armed men who came across our border and we have had another Border Patrol Agent involved shooting, this time in Arizona and with a fatality. Hopefully these events along with Grassfire.org’s nearly 250,000 signatures to the White House and 55 Congressman signing a letter calling for pardons will get the job done.

P.S. The illegal alien drug dealer (who has since been caught smuggling drugs again) is suing the United States for $5 million because his civil rights were violated by Agents Ramos and Compean.


15 comments:

Bode Miller Jokes said...

MYTH VS. REALITY--THE FACTS OF WHY THE GOVERNMENT PROSECUTED
AGENTS COMPEAN AND RAMOS
Myth: THE AGENTS WERE JUST DOING THEIR JOBS
Reality: Securing our nation’s borders can be a tough and dangerous job. Often, Border Patrol
agents find themselves in difficult and dangerous situations. We give them guns and allow them
to defend themselves. Border Patrol training allows for the use of deadly force when an agent
reasonably fears imminent bodily injury or death. An agent is not permitted to shoot an unarmed
suspect who is running away.
There was no credible evidence that the agents were in a life-threatening situation or that
Aldrete, the Mexican alien, had a weapon that would justify the use of deadly force. In fact,
Border Patrol Agent Juarez, who was at the scene, testified at trial that he did not draw his pistol
because he did not believe there was a threat. He also testified that Aldrete did not have a
weapon and was almost to Mexico when Agent Compean began firing at him.
In America, law enforcement officers do not get to shoot unarmed suspects who are running
away, lie about it to their supervisors and file official reports that are false. That is a crime and
prosecutors cannot look the other way.
Myth: THE GOVERNMENT LET A DRUG SMUGGLER GO FREE
Reality: My office would have much preferred to see Aldrete convicted and sent to prison for
his crimes. We are in the business of putting guys like Aldrete behind bars. In fact, this office
leads the nation in the number of drug smuggling cases we prosecute. Because the agents could
not identify him, found no fingerprints, could not tie him to the van and did not apprehend him
after shooting him, the case against Aldrete could not be proven.
Myth: THESE BORDER PATROL AGENTS SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN
PROSECUTED
Reality: The crimes committed by these agents rise to the level of felonies and are not mere
administrative oversights. This was not a simple case of discharge of a firearm that was not
reported. The truth of this case is that Agents Compean and Ramos shot 15 times at an unarmed
man who was running away from them and who posed no threat.
2
This office cannot ignore these agents’ crimes just because the person they shot turned out to be
a drug smuggler. Our system of justice requires that a person be tried in a court of law before he
is punished. We do not permit police officers to summarily punish those whom the officers think
have committed crimes. A police officer cannot shoot at an unarmed suspect who does not pose
an immediate serious threat to the life of the officer or a bystander.
In order to maintain the rule of law, federal prosecutors cannot look the other way when law
enforcement officers shoot unarmed suspects who are running away, then lie about it to their
supervisors and file official reports that are false.
Myth: ALDRETE HAS BEEN ARRESTED FOR SMUGGLING MORE DRUGS INTO
THE UNITED STATES
Reality: Aldrete has not been subsequently arrested for drug smuggling. Our office is in the
business of prosecuting drug traffickers and alien smugglers. We are on the front lines of this
battle and we aggressively prosecute these criminals every day in court. In fact, the Western
District of Texas leads the nation in the number of individuals we prosecute for illegally
smuggling drugs into this country. If we had a provable case against Aldrete, we would
prosecute him.
Myth: THE GOVERNMENT GAVE ALDRETE BLANKET IMMUNITY FOR HIS
CRIMES
Reality: Agent Compean failed to arrest Aldrete when he attempted to surrender; instead,
Compean tried to hit Aldrete with the butt of his shotgun, at which time Aldrete began to run
towards the border. The agents shot at him 15 times, hitting him once, knocking Aldrete to the
ground. Compean and Ramos chose not to walk over to the wounded Aldrete and arrest him;
rather, they re-holstered their guns, turned around and left the scene. When Aldrete then got
back to Mexico without having been apprehended and identified, there was no longer any way to
tie him to the load of marijuana, except through his own admissions.
Prosecutors promised Aldrete they would not use his truthful statements and testimony to
prosecute him for the events that occurred on Feb. 17, 2005. Prosecutors around the country
routinely make similar representations to obtain crucial testimony. This type of “use immunity”
does not give blanket immunity for any crimes he may have committed or may commit in the
future. If there were other admissible evidence besides his own statements sufficient to convict
him, he could be prosecuted for the offense he describes.
As a practical matter, the promise to Aldrete gave up very little since the case against him was
not prosecutable. There was no way to prosecute Aldrete while he was in Mexico. We could not
have forced him to come back to the United States to be prosecuted, and there was no evidence
against him until he agreed to cooperate.
Myth: ALDRETE HAD A GUN AND THE AGENTS ONLY FIRED IN SELF DEFENSE
3
Reality: Trial testimony from other Border Patrol agents who were at the scene and who arrived
shortly after the shooting shows that this is not true. Testimony further revealed that Agents
Compean and Ramos never took cover nor did they ever warn the other agents to take cover.
This action demonstrates that they did not perceive a threat. In his statement to investigators,
Compean admitted that Aldrete had attempted to surrender with both hands open and in the air.
Had Agents Compean and Ramos truly believed Aldrete was a threat, they would not have
abandoned him after the shooting and they would have warned their fellow agents who arrived at
the scene to stay out of the open while an armed suspect was on the loose. If the agents had
believed that the shooting was justified then they would have left the crime scene undisturbed
and let the investigation absolve them. The agents knew that Aldrete did not have a weapon and
they knew he posed no threat to them as he fled. Agent Juarez also testified that Aldrete was
surrendering to Compean with his hands open and empty palms turned to Compean.
Myth: THE AGENTS WERE NOT SURE OF WHAT THEY SAW BECAUSE IT WAS IN
THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT
Reality: The events of Feb. 17, 2005, occurred at approximately 1:00 P.M MT.
Myth: JOHNNY SUTTON IS AN OVERZEALOUS PROSECUTOR WHO IS ON THE
WRONG SIDE OF THE LAW
Reality: These agents were found guilty by a unanimous jury in a United States District Court
after a trial that lasted more than two and a half weeks.
The two agents were represented by experienced and aggressive trial attorneys, both of whom
vigorously challenged the Government’s evidence through cross examination.
Both agents told their stories from the witness stand and had full opportunities to explain their
version of events and to offer their own evidence. The jury heard everything including the
defendants’ claims of self defense. The problem for Agents Compean and Ramos is that the jury
did not believe their stories because they were not true.
Myth: THESE AGENTS ARE FACING TOO MUCH TIME IN FEDERAL PRISON
Reality: Congress determined the penalties imposed on Compean and Ramos by setting the
punishment for discharging a firearm during a crime of violence at a mandatory minimum of ten
years (on top of any other sentence imposed). Congress did not make an exception for law
enforcement officers
Myth: THE DRUG SMUGGLER WAS AWARDED A GREEN CARD
Reality: Aldrete was not given a green card which would enable him to have permanent legal
resident status in this country. A military physician in the United States removed the bullet from
Aldrete because it was an important piece of evidence and because the law requires the
government to render such assistance. In order to have the bullet removed, meet with federal
4
investigators and to testify in court in El Paso, he was entitled to come into the United States on a
limited basis within a limited geographical area and only for those purposes. The last time he
was legally allowed to enter the United States was in February 2006.
Myth: ALDRETE NEVER HAD HIS HANDS UP AND WAS NOT ATTEMPTING TO
SURRENDER
Reality: In their sworn testimony, Agent Compean and Agent Juarez both testified that Aldrete
did have his hands in the air in an effort to surrender.
Myth: COMPEAN WAS BLOODIED FROM A STRUGGLE WITH ALDRETE
Reality: Trial testimony showed that the only blood on Agent Compean was between his thumb
and forefinger and was a result of him improperly holding his weapon. When asked if he was
injured, he said “no” and when further asked if he wanted to file a report for his injury, he again
said “no.”
Myth: THESE AGENTS DID NOT REPORT THE SHOOTING TO SUPERVISORS
BECAUSE THE SUPERVISORS WERE ON THE SCENE OF THE SHOOTING
Reality: The trial testimony of the defendants, fellow Border Patrol agents who were on the
scene and who arrived shortly thereafter, as well as taped radio communications showed that
there were no supervisors at the scene at the time of the shooting. The agents knew they must
report any discharge of a firearm and had just received training to this effect the day before this
shooting. Further, Agent Ramos was a Border Patrol firearms instructor and a member of the
evidence recovery team. He was well aware of this requirement as he had taught this to other
agents. They did not report the discharge because they knew the shooting was not justified.
Furthermore, based on their training and experience, they were aware of what law enforcement
resources would be dispatched to the crime scene to investigate a shooting, including sector
evidence team, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and state and local law enforcement.
Myth: ILLEGAL ALIENS DO NOT HAVE ANY CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
Reality: The courts have held that the 4th Amendment to the Constitution protects all persons in
the United States whether they are here legally or illegally. It is a violation of the 4th
Amendment to shoot an unarmed person who poses no threat to the shooter. This law applies
regardless of immigration status.
Myth: AGENT RAMOS CLAIMS THAT THE BULLET EXTRACTED FROM
ALDRETE MIGHT NOT HAVE COME FROM HIS SERVICE REVOLVER
Reality: Agent Ramos stipulated and agreed before trial that the bullet extracted from Aldrete
came from his service weapon. Independent forensic analysis also showed that the bullet
extracted from Aldrete matched Agent Ramos’ weapon.
Myth: AGENT RAMOS WAS BORDER PATROL AGENT OF THE YEAR
5
Reality: Agent Ramos has never received any formal recognition or award for being the Border
Patrol Agent of the year. In fact, he has been arrested on at least two occasions for domestic
abuse and was formally disciplined for conduct unbecoming a federal officer.
###

Garrett O'Hara said...

Nope, that wasn't copied and pasted...

Bode Miller Jokes said...

Hehe. Can't argue with the truth!

AZAce said...

Ah, the power of blogs. You don't find this stuff in the newspaper, do you?

Bode Miller Jokes said...

The only reason I found out about this story was when I was at Faux News' website a couple days ago. Other than that it's pretty much a media blackout on this. Not sure why; it's got controversy, hot-button political issues, high emotion and drama -- which I would think would be all the markings of good tabloid TV.

sirocco said...

The reason you don't see more made of it out in the mainstream is pretty much because all the "controversy" is essentially manufactured by the extreme-anti-immigration faction.

That response you cut-and-paste was put together by one of the lawyers in the prosecutor's offfice, and essentially washes away all the mud the Ramos/Compean supporters attempted to throw out there to obscure the actual actions of their "heros".

That same information (the response) has been available for some time. News outlets are aware of it, and realized for all the smoke being generated by a few rabid screamers there was, in fact, no fire. It's not a story when there is no fire.

Bode Miller Jokes said...

I would also add that the owner of this blog is incorrect in his original entry; his postscript alleges a widely-repeated talking point that "the illegal alien drug dealer has since been caught smuggling drugs again." This is false, and the fact sheets bear this out. I urge everyone to read the actual record in this case instead of relying on hysteria and hyperbole.

Let's put this to rest once and for all.

-BMJ

Framer said...

Sirocco,

Not to be flippant, but have you seen the news lately. "smoke being generated by a few rabid screamers" seems to characterize a large portion of the news. That being said, this story is newsworthy on its face, even if you believe the worst about the agents. It is interesting that there has been a blackout of coverage.

I would guess this has more of a "don't show people jumping from the WTC because it might cause passions to run high" feel to it. Good thing thing the media has the wisdom to be able to filter those things for us.

Bode Miller Jokes said...

Framer,

If your hypothesis bears out, then why the lack of coverage on even the most tabloid and sensationalist of news networks, Fox News?

I think Sirocco's point is a fair one -- and that even Faux News has some sense of responsibility in its reporting.

(Now watch FNC jump on this story and flagellate it 24/7...) :)

Framer said...

Perhaps Fox news isn't as "rabid" as you might think. I'm not aware of their using false records or stringers to forward their stories.

Look, again, even if everything alleged about these agents is true, don't you think this is a bit newsworthy? I find it odd that this appeared briefly on Lou Dobbs, then went away.

Reporting by the major networks is NOT a great indicator of actual value for a story. Did you follow the Valarie Plame story much. Psst. . . it was Armitage, and the investigator knew that from day one.

On the other hand, look at what has happened the past few years with the United Nations, has that been covered
as much as it deserves? Why not?

I think you have a story that no one knows how to cover correctly either way. Obviously it is important, and if this is the only place someone hears about it, all the better. We keep an open comments section for a reason. We attract a good audience from all sides of the political spectrum, and encourage debate in a fair, hopefully non-hostile manner.

I hope you stick around.

Bode Miller Jokes said...

Will do. If the MSM won't cover it, the blogs certainly will!

I am right there with you desiring some media attention to this story, because, while there is way too much hysteria and knee-jerk emotions surrounding it, it's a very unusual story. And the fact is that two US Border Patrol agents were arrested and jailed -- that right there should warrant at least SOME news coverage due to the precedent it presents.

And really, there are dozens upon dozens of other examples of stories with just as much -- if not more -- controversy as this story that the media DOES cover ad nauseum.

I could go on a rant about the state of the media, but I'm sure I'd just be preaching to the choir. :)

Bode Miller Jokes said...

If you read today's White House press briefing, Tony Snow pretty much ruled out a presidential pardon. He said, as do I, that if people read the fact sheets released by the DOJ, "they would take a much different approach to this particular incident."

Time to give it up, people.

Ann said...

WOW! I can say this has enlightened me. I am so frustrated with the lack of honest attention to the issue of illegal entry, I am so tired of the term "immigration"...it needs a different name. Drug smugglers do not want to immigrate, they want to illegally enter, go back to get more drugs, start all over again.

I can only imagine how frustrating it would be to be a Border Patrol agent in the middle of the fray day after day. But to shoot an unarmed man, leave him wounded and unattended, fail to report it, and lie about the details..... the end does not justify the means.

This is a very sad story and an example of just how deeply fractured our country is because of the failure to do the right thing at the border and within.

Bode Miller Jokes said...

Thank you for coming to the correct conclusion in this case. The truth is that these men belong in jail, and that the immigration debate is irrelevant to the fact that a human being had his rights violated.

I hope more people can read the facts and come to the proper conclusion.

Thank you for reading!

romel said...

More Graf? WHY???
May the one focus Grafites rest in peace.
Randy, stop stirring the pot with half-truths...get a job!