Guard the Borders Blogburst
DIRTY TEXAS POLITICS: PART TWO
UPDATES TO THE BORDER PATROL CASE
By Heidi at Euphoric Reality
All audio files pertaining to this Border Patrol update are archived at Euphoric Reality. They are interviews with Congressman Ted Poe and investigative journalist Dr. Jerome Corsi as conducted by Houston & Dallas radio talk show hosts Edd Hendee and Pat Gray for KSEV and KVEC radio.
Quite a lot has been developing over the past two weeks, since GTB published a list of highly suspicious inconsistencies in the prosecution's case against Border Patrol agents Compean and Ramos. Namely, the prosecution's case is unraveling. And none too soon, since both agents have been incarcerated in federal prisons since the first week of January, one in Ohio and the other in Mississippi, far from loved ones.
Before we get into the details of new evidence recently come to light, I need to submit a correction to my previous coverage, and an update.
CORRECTION: First, I cited the irregularity of the court being unable to finish the transcripts for the case in the six months since the trial. (Usually, transcripts are completed within a matter of days.) In fact, it has not been six months since the trial, but six months since the sentencing. It has actually been 11 months since the trial was completed in March of 2006. During that time frame, the court's reason for the unfinished court transcripts has been that "the court transcriptionist has been sick." I submit to you that after 11 months of "illness" - so ill as to make moving one's fingers feebly across a keyboard impossible - someone needs to get that poor transcriptionist a doctor!
UPDATE: I had previously reported that Congressman Michael McCaul, Chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Investigations, had failed to subpoena documents concerning the case, and refused to hold a hearing to review the case, which was within his purview. I noted that Michael McCaul is a former employee of U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton. Since then, McCaul has made public statements in Houston, TX, that under the auspices of his position as Chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Investigations he repeatedly (four times) requested to review the documents concerning the case, and for months, he was stonewalled. He said he trusted his fellow Republicans, including the DHS-IG Richard Skinner and the DHS chief Michael Chertoff when they gave him every assurance that he would be provided with the trial documentation. He admits he made a mistake to trust them, when he sent letters instead of issuing a subpoena.
Unfortunately, now that McCaul is no longer chairman of that committee it is too late. After the Democrats took control in January, he’s been told by Richard Skinner, the Inspector General: “You’re not the chairman anymore. You’re in the minority. You’ll have to get the information through an FOIA request.”
Meanwhile, the feds have continued to stonewall a group of concerned U.S. Congressmen who have repeatedly requested the documentation surrounding the case. Below is audio of Congressman Ted Poe, citing the delay tactics and the unprecedented behavior of US Attorney Johnny Sutton. As well, Poe has already submitted an emergency FOIA request.
Poe expressed concern that he is not sure the jury in the Ramos and Compean case got all the information the government had concerning the relevant facts of the case.
"When the government does backroom deals with criminals, like this habitual drug offender from Mexico, the public, and especially the defendants, have an absolute right to know what the deal was and how it came about," he said. "Maybe the jury heard it, and maybe the jury didn't hear it, but we will find out."
Many of the factual aspects of the case are now being disputed by investigators, including the ballistics investigation into the weapons fired and the round subsequently extracted from the left buttocks and right groin of the drug smuggler by a U.S. Army doctor.
"For all we know," Poe commented, "the drug smuggler seemed to be pointing back at the Border Patrol agents with what could have been something in his hand based on the ballistics reports I am seeing. U.S. Attorney (Johnny) Sutton says the guy was shot in the buttocks. Well, now we find out that that isn't exactly accurate. The guy was shot from 'cheek-to-cheek,' or maybe from the side of his left buttocks to his right groin. There's a big difference in those two statements. You don't have to be a ballistics expert to understand that the body was turned if the bullet went from one cheek to the other cheek, or from the left cheek to the right groin."
Poe repeated that his office was determined to get to the bottom of these investigative questions. "In the big scheme of things, let's assume that the Border Patrol agents violated policy. Assume they didn't file a report even though the law says that they were only required to file an oral report to the supervisor," he asked. "There was no requirement in this instance that they file a written report. Okay, let's discipline the Border Patrol agents, you bet. Let's give them three-day's suspension like the rules call for."
Poe questioned the judgment of U.S. Attorney Sutton, asking "why does the federal government here have a choice to prosecute a guy bringing in a million dollars worth of drugs or prosecute Border Patrol agents who were doing their job, yet the government chose to prosecute the Border Patrol? "Why is the federal government spending so many federal taxpayer resources prosecuting federal Border Patrol agents trying to stop drug smugglers, especially when it means making deals with drug offenders?" he continued. "That's the bigger question in my mind."
Poe agreed the prosecution would put a chilling effect on other Border Patrol agents.
"That's a war zone on the Texas-Mexico border," he said. "It's an undeclared war that's taking place. You have aggressive Border Patrol agents like Ramos and Compean, who are protecting the country, and yet they are vilified and prosecuted by our own government. The next time you have a similar situation with a different Border Patrol agent, the Border Patrol agent will hesitate before they put their life or their career in danger."
Poe called the Ramos and Compean case "the best news drug dealers have ever heard."
Additionally, it is noted that White House press secretary Tony Snow has repeatedly dismissed questions surrounding the Border Patrol case and has said several times that if one were to "read the transcripts", one would see that the agents were properly charged and convicted. According to Tony Snow (read The White House), the Border Patrol agents were "the bad guys". However, since then, it has become obvious that Tony Snow has himself not read the court transcripts for one very simple reason - they do not exist! Tony Snow was bluffing!
Furthermore, Tony Snow and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) have both said that the "legal system has worked" in this case, as will the appellate process. That's all well and good, except that the process is broken! Did you know that the defense attorneys cannot file an appeal until they have all the facts of the case in hand? That includes the non-existent court transcripts. The Border Patrol agents, currently incarcerated, are being denied their right to an appeal, because the Western Texas court refuses to complete the court transcripts!
Below I list seven major inconsistencies (in addition to the ones already documented in our previous coverage) in the tainted case U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton crafted against the Border Patrol agents. Dr. Jerome Corsi, the author of Unfit For Command, has done some deep investigative work on this case and has presented his factual findings in a series of articles published by World Net Daily. I understand that some readers typically dismiss WND coverage as being "too conservative", but I challenge anyone to read the findings and try to find holes in Corsi's investigation. I haven't found any yet.
Audio of a local radio interview with Dr. Jerome Corsi is included in an .mp3 file below.
1. Johnny Sutton has claimed over and over, both in public statements and in his infamous fact sheet, that the drug smuggler was unarmed. Sutton has failed to prove that, yet continues to assert it as a fact of the case. It is NOT! Nor is it reasonable to believe a life-long criminal over two law enforcement officers, especially when the criminal is contradicted by statements from his own family, and by the known behavior of smugglers in the area. It is not reasonable.
2. Sutton has claimed that the drug smuggler, Aldrete-Davila, could not be tied to the van full of $1 million worth of dope. He also has said that the BP agents were unable to identify him.
Sutton told WND "there was no way we could prosecute" Aldrete-Davila.
"Ramos and Compean could not identify him," he said. "We found no fingerprints on the van, and he managed to escape, even though he had been shot in the behind by the agents."
Nevertheless, Sutton's office was able to track down Aldrete-Davila in Mexico and convince him to return to the U.S. to testify against Ramos and Compean. The bullet was removed from the smuggler's buttocks by a military physician in the U.S. so it could be introduced as evidence in the agents' trial.
How then, was Sutton able to later locate Aldrete-Davila in Mexico to offer him an immunity deal? If the drug smuggler could not be tied to the crime of smuggling drugs, how then could he be tied to the shooting incident with the BP agents?
3. Sutton claimed in court that BP agent Ramos was guilty of shooting Aldrete-Davila in the buttock. However, the ballistics analysis has been flagged as inconclusive, and contrary to Sutton's statements does not prove that the bullet came from Ramos' weapon.
WND: So, Compean shot 14 times and missed everybody, but Ramos shot one time and hit the drug dealer in the buttocks?
Sutton: That's correct.
WND: Is Ramos that much better a shot than Compean?
Sutton: Ramos is a marksman.
The results of the ballistics tests were reported in a letter written by Joseph J. J. Correa, a Criminalist IV with the Texas DPS El Paso Laboratory, March 18, 2005, and addressed to Brian D. Carter of DHS in El Paso.
The letter states Correa examined one fired copper-jacketed bullet presented to him by Carter on March 17, 2005. The letter identifies the victim shot by the bullet as "Osvaldo Aldrete."
In the letter, Correa notes that he was asked to determine the manufacture of the firearm that fired the submitted bullet.
Correa could not positively identify Ramos's weapon as the one that fired the submitted bullet. His report concludes:The copper-jacketed bullet was fired from a barrel having six lands and grooves inclined to the right. The manufacturer of the firearm that fired the copper-jacketed bullet is unknown, but could include commonly encountered models of .40 S&W caliber FN/Browning, Beretta, Heckler & Koch, and Ruger pistols.
Despite the impossibility of identifying the weapon the bullet was fired from - it could've been any number of pistols from FOUR major arms manufacturers - DHS agent Christopher Sanchez lied under oath in an affidavit filed by DHS March 15, 2005, with the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Texas. Special agent Christopher R. Sanchez swore the following:
Ballistics testing confirms a government-issued weapon belonging to U.S. Border Patrol Agent Ignacio "Nacho" Ramos, a 96D Beretta .40 caliber automatic pistol, serial number BER067069M, fired a bullet (a .40 caliber Smith & Wesson jacketed hollow point) which hit the victim in the left buttocks while he was attempting to flee to Mexico.
4. Sutton repeatedly has said there was no evidence at the scene that would have permitted his office to investigate, find, and prosecute Aldrete-Davila. He has also repeatedly claimed that no fingerprints were found inside the van. I noted in our previous coverage that that was highly unlikely - even impossible. Now, a DHS memo reveals that eleven fingerprints were found inside the van. The memo also documents that no fingerprint search was conducted on the vehicle until a full month after the Feb. 17, 2005, incident! That indicates no serious effort on Sutton's part to identify the driver of the van (thus identifying the criminal) and as well, highlights egregious mishandling of the chain of evidence.
5. Sutton cannot keep his own lies straight. He has recently stated that a Mexican lawyer brought Aldrete-Davila forward, without revealing the drug smuggler's identity, but would not cooperate until immunity had been granted. However, according to Sutton's own previous statements, Aldrete-Davila was identified by his family and life-long friend BP agent Rene Sanchez.
DHS investigative memos make clear that Border Patrol agent Rene Sanchez in Wilcox, Ariz., identified Aldrete-Davila only days after the Feb. 17, 2005 incident, obtaining his information through family connections. Sanchez grew up with Aldrete-Davila in Mexico.
The information about Aldrete-Davila's identity was then passed on by Sanchez to DHS special agent Christopher Sanchez, who went to Mexico and found Aldrete-Davila.
This Christopher Sanchez is the same DHS special agent the DHS memo on the fingerprints says received the videotape of the El Paso Police Department fingerprint search on the drug smuggler's abandoned vehicle.
6. Sutton has claimed that Compean and Ramos attempted to "cover-up" the fact that they discharged their weapons and has made a big deal out of the fact that they policed their spent shell casings and filed fraudulent paperwork. However, that is not true. There were at least five BP agents on the scene that day, and all of them knew of the shooting. As well, Compean and Ramos made a verbal report to their supervisor. They did not file a written report.
7. The latest reports coming out of West Texas are that the agents actually present during the shooting incident do not match the agents presented by Sutton to the court as witnesses. I will update this allegation further as more information becomes available.
Finally, this week, despite the total lack of a court transcript, some long-awaited incident reports regarding the case were delivered to Congress but have been classified secret from the general public. The Congressional Homeland Security Subcommittee on Management, Investment and Oversight obtained the report after submitting an emergency Freedom of Information Act request for the documents.
Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, said he will not review the classified documents until they are made available to the public. Poe expects a redacted version will be made available.
Lastly, if you are touched by the plight of these agents and would like to do something to help, a labor union, the National Border Patrol Council, is soliciting donations on its website.
All donations that are designated for Agents Ramos and Compean will be used to fund their legal defense and assist their families in their hour of need. Donations to the fund can be made by check payable to 'BPA Legal Defense & Relief Fund.' Checks should be mailed to: BPA Legal Defense & Relief Fund, P.O. Box 47208, Tampa, FL 33647.
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