Wednesday, February 7, 2007

UPDATED -- Set Nacho Libre!, or: Ramos and Compean: Casualties of the Bogus "War on Drugs"

Ignacio "Nacho" Ramos comforts his wife before heading to prison.

To the surprise of nobody – at least, no sober and serious observer of the case -- Former Border Patrol Agent of the Year nominee Ignacio “Nacho” Ramos has been attacked and seriously injured in prison. Ramos and his partner, Jose Alonso Compean, are serving 11 and 12 year terms, respectively, for trying to arrest a Mexican drug smuggler on the Texas border almost exactly two years ago.

The smuggler, Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, was driving a van laden with 800 pounds of marijuana when he was stopped by Agent Compean. A brief scuffle ended with Compean bloodied and in the dirt, and Aldrete fleeing on foot for Mexico. Ramos gave chase. When Aldrete appeared to assuming a shooter's stance, Ramos and Compean fired, wounding the smuggler in his Cheney.

Acting in tandem with the criminal syndicate ruling Mexico, the Bush regime spared no effort to imprison Ramos and Compean – seizing the exemplary Border Patrol Agents in paramilitary raids on their homes, concealing vital evidence, lying about purported confessions by the agents, and extending extraordinary immunity to Aldrete to use him as the star witness in the trial. Ramos and Compean were accused of violating Aldrete's rights by shooting him in the back as he fled.

The “Justice” Department, it should be pointed out, displayed no similar zeal in prosecuting the federal agents who shot and killed Sammy Weaver when the youngster was fleeing into his family's shanty (oh, forgive me -- “armed compound”) at Ruby Ridge. Federal sniper Lon Horiuchi, who admitted to blowing off the head of Vicky Weaver when she was “armed” only with a nursing baby, not only escaped prosecution, he was taken under federal protection.

Strikingly different priorities were at work in the case of Ramos and Compean.

The “Justice” Department and Department of Homeland Security even helped Aldrete file a $5 million civil suit against the Border Patrol, claiming that he was shot while unarmed, despite Ramos and Compean's insistence that he was carrying a gun. The suit, coupled with the federal prosecution of Ramos and Compean, created a unique condition of moral hazard: Aldrete's success in the lawsuit required that Ramos and Compean be found guilty, and the testimony offered by the plaintiff in the suit was the only evidence against the agents.

What this amounted to was federal witness-tampering, through the use of a $5 million bribe offered to a Mexican drug smuggler.

Mexican narcotics smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila: A favored pet of both Washington and Mexico City.

Adding insufferable insult to unbearable injury, Emperor Bush has pardoned numerous drug traffickers while stolidly refusing widespread requests (from both the public and political allies in Congress) to pardon Ramos and Compean. (William F. Jasper, whose work is a good and sufficient reason to subscribe to The New American, has compiled the relevant details in digestible form here.)

This case has understandably riled millions of conservatives who are just now tumbling to the fact that George W. Bush isn't the pillar of right-wing rectitude they had believed him to be. The rant-radio airwaves and right blogosphere resound with denunciations of Bush for yet another betrayal of our national sovereignty and those who defend it. That indictment is sound, as far as it goes, which isn't far enough.

The treatment of Ramos and Compean is typical of what we can expect as the cartelization of North America continues. This new architecture – officially called the Security and Prosperity Partnership, and unofficially called the North American Union – would fuse the US, Mexico, and Canada in one economic and political bloc, under the plenary authority of a single ruling elite that unites the criminal underworld and the political “overworld.”

As I pointed out just a few days ago, the Bush family has deep and significant connections to Mexico's dominant political criminal cliques. That relationship was described quite tidily in a 2000 expose by Julie Reynolds in El Andar:

Those who say that George W. Bush has scant knowledge of foreign affairs don’t understand his family’s relationship with Mexico. If one event could be said to make that relationship visible, it had to be the state dinner given eleven years ago by President Bush for Mexico’s president, Carlos Salinas. It was an elegant yet boisterous gala, where the biggest movers and shakers in Texas and Mexico congregated and celebrated. This group was to become W’s Mexican legacy, a gift of ties and connections passed on from the father to his son. What was not visible was that the group included two men with numerous links to drug cartel figures. These men helped George W. Bush win the Latino vote in Texas.”

According to Reynolds, the mobbed-up figures were “the loyal `Amigos de Bush' from San Antonio: criminal defense lawyer Roy Barrera Jr. and car dealer Ernesto Ancira Jr.”

That same meeting, convened to celebrate progress toward the NAFTA pact (also known as the “Magna Carta for the drug cartels”) was Gary Jacobs of Laredo Bank. Jacobs became the chief US representative of Carlos Hank Rhon, the son of Carlos Hank Gonzalez – the John D. Rockefeller of Mexico. Carlos and his brother Jorge, the former mayor of Tijuana and aspiring governor of northern Baja, are deeply enmeshed in Mexico's narcotics industry. Jorge reportedly had something close to a hands-on role in the 1993 murder of Juan Jesus Posadas, the Bishop of Tijuana, on behalf of the Gulf Cartel. (He was seen sharing a first-class Aeromexico section with the murderers, Juan and Javier Arellano Felix, during their flight home immediately after Posadas was killed.)

While Jorge is an unreconstructed thug, Carlos is the relatively housebroken Hank brother, the one who knows which fork to use when dining with representatives of Citibank and Goldman Sachs. Carlos's minion, Gary Jacobs was a key contributor and advisor to George W. Bush during his Texas gubernatorial bids and his and presidential campaigns. Hank also retains the services of former Republican Senator Warren Rudman as a Capitol Hill lobbyist.

Bush's links to Mexico's ruling elites help explain his indifference to the plight of Ramos and Compean. There are other compromising connections at work here, such as those said to exist between Border Patrol Agent Rene Sanchez -- a naturalized American born in Mexico – and his childhood friend, Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila. It was reportedly Agent Sanchez who suggested to Aldrete that he file a lawsuit against the Border Patrol.

But for sheer, unalloyed, audacious corruption, nothing in the case of Ramos and Compean eclipses the role played by Johnny Sutton, the US Attorney for San Antonio who presided over the vindictive prosecution of the Border Patrol Agents.

Sutton served on the Bush-Cheney transition team and was Criminal Justice Policy Director for Texas during Bush's two terms as Governor. Before becoming the impassioned avenger of the wounded drug smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, Sutton – according to DEA whistle-blower Sandalio Gonzalez, recently retired as Special Agent in Charge of the Agency's El Paso office – helped cover up the “House of Death” mass murders in Ciudad Juarez.

Between August 2003 and mid-January 2004, about a dozen people were tortured, murdered, and then buried in the yard of a house in the Mexican border town” of Ciudad Juarez, recounts the Narco News, which broke the story. One of those directly involved in the murders was Jesus “Lalo” Contreras, a former Mexican Federal Police officer who infiltrated the Juarez Cartel as an informant for the US Department of Homeland Security (the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which oversees the Border Patrol).

The informant's handlers, agents and supervisors with the El Paso office of ICE were allegedly fully aware of Contreras's complicity in the murders, yet did nothing to stop the killing,” supposedly out of fear that they would ruin ongoing investigations. Each of the murder sessions was referred to as a carne asada, or barbecue.

Although “Lalo”'s handlers and supervisors – all the way up to Sutton – were aware that people were being murdered by their informant, they did nothing until the killings were discovered by a DEA agent on the ground in Juarez. This resulted in a hasty evacuation of all DEA employees and their families from the area.

Had the DEA agent not made that timely discovery, it's possible that he or one of his colleagues – or perhaps one of their dependents – would have been the featured entree at the next carne asada.

In a January 24, 2004 letter, Sandalio Gonzalez – then in charge of the DEA's San Antonio office -- confronted Sutton about his role in the cover-up. Predictably, his professional reputation was soon ruined and he was driven to an “early retirement.”

Given what Sutton, acting on behalf of his masters, did to Ramos and Compean, Sandalio Gonzalez could consider himself blessed.

Despite all the justified outrage generated by the patent injustice inflicted on Ramos and Compean and their families, I've yet to see anyone articulate the obvious lesson taught in this mess, which is: The "War on Drugs" is an unambiguous fraud.

Agent Jose Compean poses with confiscated marijuana. He's a good man, but trying to stop the flow of narcotics from Mexico is a bit like trying to dig the Grand Canyon with a thimble.

Even if diligent, incorruptible agents like Ramos and Compean were able to shut down the supply of narcotics coming into our country from Mexico (this would be like emptying the Rio Grande with an eyedropper), the criminal elites they serve wouldn't permit them to do so. Their mission is one of FedGov PR and price support for a commodity that's already the world's leading cash crop.

[Incidentally, and for what it's worth, today's installment is the 100th essay published in this space since August 16, 2006.]

Update (2/8) --

Some Republican lawmakers are reportedly discussing the possibility that George W. Bush could be impeached over the imprisonment of Agents Ramos and Compean. This case does offer ample cause for an impeachment proceeding. It should be remembered, however, that the Bushling and his adult handler Dick Cheney commit a half-dozen impeachable offenses before breakfast every day, and most of them involve offenses against people who are not government employees.

It's typical of the Republican leadership, and the activist groups who are content to bob in the GOP's wake like rubber ducks, to fixate on an injustice done to members of the tax-consuming class, rather than on the manifold and ever-increasing offenses committed by the Bush regime against the rights of those facing the "business end of government."

Aggressive war by presidential decree? Using presidential "signing statements" to nullify laws? Summary detention and torture of innocent suspects? Destruction of the foundation principle of due process, habeas corpus? All of this is unexceptionable -- as long as the President doesn't countenance, or connive in, the mistreatment of Border Patrol Agents. Or so it would seem to the GOP leadership and those seeking to curry favor with them.

If we're looking for an exemplary case on which to build an impeachment campaign, how about that of the innocent Canadian citizen Mahrer Arar, who was "rendered" by the Bush Regime into Syrian custody for nearly a year of imprisonment and torture?

Make sure to visit The Right Source, a genuinely independent news portal for freedom-minded people.


dixiedog said...

Good piece overall, Will. I'm also thankful that you made particular mention of the dichotomy in regards to when/if federal officials are held to account and for what purpose. The dearth of prosecutions of federal agents, particularly Lon Horiuchi, for shooting the fleeing Sam Weaver in the back and the unarmed Vicki Weaver in the head are more than noteworthy.

Your quote of Julie Reynolds from her expose in the magazine, El Andar, is also noteworthy:

What was not visible was that the group included two men with numerous links to drug cartel figures. These men helped George W. Bush win the Latino vote in Texas.

Should I grok from this that the ordinary Chicano serf, in essence, is only meaningfully influenced by narcotics gangsters? In this case, by the thuggish twosome who endorsed Dubya for governor? I guess no otherwise "clean-handed" Latino figure in Texas, by endorsing Dubya., would of been significantly influential to attract the Latino vote? Hmm, that's an eye-opener ain't it?

Will, in light of your posting here, what do you make of the numerous Ami ex-pats who have set up house in Mexico since Mexico, as you explicitly point out, is rife with narcotics, not to mention ruled by underworld kingpins, and is otherwise a cauldron full of corruption? The immediate individual who comes to mind in this context is Fred Reed, since I often read and do often agree with his pieces, which are focused upon the travails of America, naturally, but rarely if ever Mexico. There are other ex-pats who howl similarly as well, of course. Just sayin'...

But why would that be, I wonder? Are these ex-pats deluded? I mean, one has to wonder if they really believe that Mexico is genuinely more pro libertate than America (no pun intended)? Hmm, that seems to indicate that these folk are also, like most, quite clueless and ignorant of the collusion between the political wing of Gringo Federales, the Mexican Federales, and their brotherhood of narco thugs.

Even if diligent, incorruptible agents like Ramos and Compean were able to shut down the supply of narcotics coming into our country from Mexico (this would be like emptying the Rio Grande with an eyedropper), the criminal elites they serve wouldn't permit them to do so.

I gather then that the demand is insatiable among the serf stooges in this (wasted) land, as I said in a previous thread? I still can't understand the logic of repealing the 18th Amendment in 1933 after 13 long and immensely profitable years of government-induced gangsterism when there's an even greater and more intense demand for booze than for narcotics. Was it perhaps because, unlike the more modern narco affinity between the two, during Prohibition the private gangsters and the public gangsters weren't collaborating and working hand in hand? Or could it have been because, indeed, the demand for booze by serfs dwarfed their demand for narcotics and hence government had to bow down and remove the prohibition?

Otherwise, the logic is faulty. Yes, I understand the drug "war" is hopelessly corrupt because the Feds have naturally utilized it to effectively centralize control of state and local law enforcement, sanction the theft of a family's material possessions via tied-in draconian forfeiture measures, and other ends. Even so, why it is even called a "WAR" to start with is telling about the whole affair. I mean, why is it that government can ban just about anything or any behavior (except mindless hedonism and depravity) and there's no WAR that commences because of it?

It would be comedic, if it weren't so sad to ponder the following: They can ban us walking across a street with an MP3 player, a cellphone, or whatever they deem dangerous while walking across a city street. They can ban smoking tobacco anywhere and everywhere. They can ban praying, Bibles, and/or just plain religion altogether as they define it for us. They can take away our firearms or otherwise ban them on a whim. They can require us to be licensed to perform any private service for the public, etc. And we mostly respond with....s-i-l-e-n-c-e and a shrug. We meekly and obediently follow those new rules, regulations, and laws wherever and whenever they are imposed.

No WAR? Oh...I see.

But...if our crank, crack, acid, coke, or weed is banned, "it just don't matter, man, because I gots to have ma sh*t, man, whatevah da consequences!"

Hmmm, I guess that should be eye-opening as well. After all, we can certainly conclude from this we should be thankful that the Feds haven't effectively managed to somehow fashion a twisted "WAR" out of the aforementioned laws.

It all depends on how the serfs aggregately view the given law, obviously. Or am I mistaken?

The only way I can agree with all the yack about drug laws or any other laws about anything is if, and only if, ALL the laws dealing with restricting freedom of association and disassociation were rescinded.

What do I mean by this? Simple. If I can hire and fire, I can rent or refuse to rent to, I can serve or choose not to serve, whomever I want to without any "except on the basis of....." restrictions, then I'd agree with all the libertines without hesitation.

I'm sure you can grok the obvious distasteful connection I'm making here. The point is that that kind of across the board action would never happen.

Oh well, the way I see it Will is that the faster the polity crumbles into ruin the better. At this stage, it would be infinitely better to burn down the whole termite-infested, rickety building and perhaps rebuild anew from the ash heap rather than hopelessly attempt a feeble repair of the massive damage. Perhaps there's a chance, however minute, that a genuine freedom phoenix could arise from the ashes.

Anonymous said...

Usually I agree with you, but you are wrong in this case. These two thugs broke the law and then attempted to cover it up. Just because Horiuchi has not been held accountable for his crimes, yet, does not mean that these two should receive a get out of jail free card. All government employees should be held to every standard of the law. If anything they should be held to a higher standard. Prison is the proper place for government thugs who break the law.

Anonymous said...

From the AP on 7 Feb 2007 :

EL PASO, Texas -- A federal report released Wednesday on the shooting of a suspected drug smuggler by Border Patrol agents concurs with prosecutors that the men failed to report the shooting, destroyed evidence and lied to investigators.

What part of "failed to report the shooting, destroyed evidence and lied to investigators" points to innocence? This case is not about the person who was shot, it is about two government thugs thinking they are above the law. How would two taxpaying citizens been treated in the same sitution? They would be under the prison now, never to see the light of day again.

Captain Kirk said...


As always an excellent piece. This whole case just smells rotten. In essence, I’m probably restating what you have already said. The thing that really sticks out in my mind as twisted is that we are supposed to be involved in a war on terror. The Border Patrol (or whatever it is called now) is charged with interdicting any attempt at illegal ingression into our country. Ramos and Compean do their job, stop an illegal intrusion AND intercept 800 pounds of mota; as such their reward is a long stretch in a federal prison.

Let’s assume for a moment that the two agents were truly guilty as charged. Why have they been incarcerated in a federal prison in the general population, a population I might add rife with illegals convicted on drug charges. Someone wants these two agents dead, in my opinion. In terms of the civil suit, why hasn’t the government invoked the doctrine of In Pari Delicto? This mule is guilty of a number of felonies and misdemeanors directly related to the case. The fact that the government has given immunity in terms of a criminal case should have no bearing in a civil case. If the mule hadn’t been trying to smuggle a million dollars worth of weed into our country, then he wouldn’t have been subject to what happened to him.


Anonymous said...

Agents Compean and Ramos submitted a verbal report of the incident to their superiors, a procedure which clearly follows US Border Patrol protocol. The opposite is true; The agents told no lies and destroyed no evidence, but the federal investigators lied and covered-up evidence themselves to secure a politicized case against them. Read Jerome Corsi's reports on the case.