This column is archived at http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com/c2007/cbarchive_20070131.html
There was someone in the gallery during President George W. Bush's State of the Union speech that he would not dare publicly recognize. Even though he knew she was there, I'm confident he never even bothered to look up at Gallery 5, Row B, Seat 9, because sitting in that seat was Monica Ramos, the wife of imprisoned former Border Patrol agent Ignacio Ramos. She was the invited guest of Republican California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.
Representative Rohrabacher is incensed at Bush's Justice Department for imprisoning Ramos and former Border Patrol agent Jose Alonso Compean for their actions in the shooting and wounding of a Mexican drug smuggler.
In case you missed the story, the two BP agents intercepted a Mexican drug smuggler who brought more than 700 pounds of marijuana (that we know of) across the border into the United States. In the process of attempting to capture the criminal, he pointed something at the agents, and they opened fire. He was apparently hit in the buttocks, as he turned to run. However, the smuggler appeared to not be injured, as he continued to run swiftly back into Mexico and into a waiting van. Both van and smuggler raced out of sight. The smuggler's weapon was not found.
Why, you ask, were the two agents imprisoned (for a term of more than 11 years each, no less)? For firing their weapons and not filing the proper paperwork. You read it right.
"TJ Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing 1,500 agents, argued failure to report the discharge of a firearm is an administrative offense that, at the most, merits a five-day suspension," reports World Net Daily.
"How that translates into 11-and 12-year prison terms is beyond me," Bonner said.
Making matters worse, the Mexican drug smuggler was even granted full immunity by the Justice Department and brought back at U.S. taxpayers' expense to testify against the agents. He is even being allowed to sue the two agents for over $5 million for having his "civil rights" violated. No, he is not an American citizen. He is a Mexican criminal who entered the United States illegally for the express purpose of smuggling drugs.
More than 70 lawmakers signed a petition pleading with President Bush to pardon the two agents. To no avail. Agents Ramos and Compean began their prison terms on January 17.
Representative Rohrabacher called President Bush a "disgrace" for refusing to pardon the two BP agents. About Bush, he said, "This is the worst betrayal of American defenders I have ever seen." He further said, "He [Bush] obviously thinks more of his agreements with Mexico than the lives of American people and backing up his defenders."
Rep. Joe Wilson said, "Convicting Ramos and Compean is a slap in the face to every American who respects the rule of law and expects our government to enforce its own laws."
However, the story gets even more bizarre. Writing for World Net Daily, Jerome Corsi reports, "New evidence suggests prosecuting U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton of El Paso lied about how the government found the fleeing illegal alien Mexican drug smuggler, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, according to a Border Patrol advocate closely following the case of former agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Campean.
"Contrary to claims, no Mexican attorney was involved as an intermediary offering to reveal the identity of the drug smuggler and bring him back to the U.S. in exchange for given immunity to testify against Border Patrol, contended Andy Ramirez, chairman of Friends of the Border Patrol.
"'It's shocking how much lying Johnny Sutton has done about Aldrete-Davila,' he told WND."
Ramirez said emphatically, "If the truth about how the government got their hands on Aldrete-Davila had been told to the jury, there is no way the jury would have believed a word of his story that he was unarmed."
Obviously, much of the prosecutor's cased hinged on the testimony of the drug smuggler that he was not armed. In the end, the jury had to decide in favor of a U.S. Attorney and a Mexican drug smuggler or the two Border Patrol agents. Pathetically, they chose to believe the Mexican criminal and the collaborating U.S. Attorney.
Worse still, President Bush ignored the pleas of members of Congress and the thousands of American citizens begging him to pardon the two agents.
In response to Bush's decision to leave the two BP agents behind bars, Rohrabacher's spokeswoman, Tara Setmayer, said that the "lives of two brave men, her husband Ignacio Ramos and Border Patrol agent Jose Compean, have been destroyed by an inexplicable policy of open borders and amnesty this administration has toward our southern border.
"If the Bush administration cared about securing our borders, these two law enforcement officers would not be behind bars, and U.S. prosecuting attorneys wouldn't be prosecuting Border Patrol agents while drug smugglers go free."
Congressman Rohrabacher even went so far as to say, "He [President Bush] talks about being a Christian, but he has shown no Christian charity." He went on to say that because of the decision of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and President Bush to prosecute the two Border Patrol agents, "The word is out that the southern border is undefended. Border agents won't dare to draw their weapons, and the drug cartel will double their effort to drive a wedge in our border."
Makes one wonder whose side George W. Bush is on, doesn't it?