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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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America’s Political Prisoners: Ignacio Ramos & Jose Compean

The date was February 17, 2005.  Two U.S. Border Patrol agents were doing their duty patrolling El Paso County, Texas’ violent border with Mexico.  Both men were experienced agents; Ignacio Ramos was a 10-year veteran and a former nominee for “Agent of the Year”.  Jose Alonso Compean had served for five years and is a Navy veteran.

About midday, the two agents spotted a known drug smuggler, Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, and attempted to stop him and check his vehicle.  Aldrete-Davila ran from his vehicle toward the Mexican border.  The agents pursued him on foot.  According to Ramos and Compean, Aldreta-Davila turned pointing at them with something shiny in his hand.  It was very reasonable to assume that a known drug dealer, who was illegally crossing into our country, was about to shoot at the two agents.  They fired 15 rounds at the smuggler at intervals, but were unable to capture him before he crossed back into Mexico.

Border Patrol supervisors and 12 other agents came to the scene.  Since their supervisors and fellow agents were all familiar with the incident, Ramos and Compean did not file a report on the shooting because they assumed the smuggler had not been injured and filing a written report is not a department requirement in such an incident.  The drug smuggler’s abandoned vehicle contained 743 pounds of marijuana.

A couple of weeks later, Aldrete-Davila’s mother complained to a friend in the U.S. that her son had been shot.  A Department of Homeland Security investigator contacted Aldrete-Davila and verified that he had been shot in the rear end.  The investigator contacted Johnny Sutton, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, who was appointed to his current U.S. Attorney post by President Bush.

Sutton decided that the agents had violated the rules which require an officer to believe he is subject to the threat of deadly force before using deadly force.  Sutton then granted Aldrete-Davila a “humanitarian visa” and immunity from the drug-smuggling charge if he would return to the U.S. and testify against Ramos and Compean.  Sutton then filed criminal charges against the agents for assault with a deadly weapon, inflicting serious bodily injury and violating Aldrete-Davila’s civil rights.

When Aldrete-Davila accepted Sutton’s offer and returned to the U.S., he received medical treatment at taxpayer expense from the William Beaumont Army Hospital in El Paso.  Aldrete-Davila then, using his “humanitarian visa” to cross the border, was caught twice smuggling almost a ton of drugs.  (This was not reported during the trial.)

The jury was told that Aldrete-Davila had never smuggled drugs before. The jury was told he was trying to raise $2000 for surgery his mother needed, and he didn’t even know what he was transporting.  The prosecution knew this was a lie. The prosecution did not mention that he had been caught smuggling drugs two more times before the trial and did not share this information with the defense attorneys.  Sutton secured convictions against Ramos and Compean based on Aldrete-Davila’s claim that he was unarmed (and his sterling reputation, of course). Ramos and Compean were sentenced to 11 and 12 years in prison, respectively. Both men are married and have three children, each.  Meanwhile, Aldrete-Davila filed a $5-million lawsuit against the U.S. government for violating his civil rights.

Representatives Duncan Hunter and Dana Rohrabacher, among others, have defended the agents and called on President Bush to commute the sentences.

Senate Republicans and Democrats did respond to this injustice by holding hearings on the case.  After the hearings, the President was called on to commute the agents’ sentences.

The Bush administration continues to do nothing for the two Hispanic law enforcement agents.  Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila was finally sentenced to nine years in prison.  He will do less time than either Border Patrol agent.  This has all the appearance of someone trying to make a political statement at the expense of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean’s lives.  These men are guilty of nothing but doing their duty to defend our country from Mexican drug smugglers.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)

I urge you to email President Bush and respectfully ask him to pardon Ramos and Compean at this web site.

Moscow Rules

This is an excellent brief analysis of why Georgia was invaded by Russia from Investor’s Business Daily.  The guys from the old KGB have consolidated control over the new mother Russia.

Russia‘s attack on neighboring Georgia over two tiny separatist provinces is really about something much bigger-Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s desire to restore the former USSR‘s might. Russia‘s ill intentions clearly are on display in Georgia. In a fit of nationalist fury, it wants to teach Georgia and other former satellite countries that once made up the Soviet Bloc that its pro-Western rapprochement days are over. What better way than to invade a former republic, humiliate its leaders and then taunt the West for failing to come to its aid? As if that wasn’t enough, Russia immediately began threatening its other neighbors. A top Russian diplomat ominously warned Monday that Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Poland would ‘pay’ for criticizing Russia’s ‘imperialist’ policy toward Georgia. Russia‘s claim to support independence from Georgia of tiny South Ossetia and even tinier Abkhazia is simply phony. Georgia, with its strategically important oil pipeline, has grown close to the U.S. -even sending troops to Iraq. Putin, furious at growing U.S. and NATO ties with Eastern Europe, wanted to emasculate Georgia‘s military while deposing its pro-American President Mikheil Saakashvili. With his attack, it looks like he’s succeeding. The symbolism of the invasion, coming at the start of the Beijing Olympics, is unmistakable. This is Russia‘s wake-up call to all of us. Communism may be dead, Putin is saying, but Russia isn’t.” (Investor’s Business Daily)

It is truly disturbing that the invasion of Georgia was obviously well planned and required much time to amass the troops, tanks, and supplies close enough to cross into Georgia so quickly.  Where were our intelligence gathering services during this time that we seem to be so completely caught off-guard?

The Russian government has once again clearly proven to the international community that it cannot be trusted.  We may be living in the time of a new Russia, but some things remain the same.  Some on the political left have been saying that our foreign policy provoked Russia into this invasion because of our interest in welcoming former USSR states, such as Georgia and the Ukraine, into NATO.  Such comments reflect the philosophy of appeasement so prevalent prior to World War II.

The truth of the matter is that the former KGB masters that rule the new Russia have never lost the historical Russian desire for empire.  It is sad that we cannot give more support to the blossoming democracy in Georgia.  We have forgotten what Ronald Reagan demonstrated so well:  Bullies cannot be stopped by weak cries for restraint; their power can only be broken by firm moral resolve from a position of strength.

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