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Archive for October, 2006

osama bin laden

Fuck you, Sheik Taj el-Dene Elhilaly. Seriously, fuck you. No, really. I mean it. Fuck you, you pustule on the ass of humanity. May you die a thousands deaths and spend an eternity in hell being gang raped by long-beared muslim men.

I know I’m over reacting. I mean, I don’t really wish that upon him, but the guy is a serious asshole. At the very least, it is my hope that the outcry for Elhilaly’s deportation is so great that Prime Minister Howard will have no choice but to kick his hate-mongering ass out of the country.

Fuck you, Sheik Taj el-Dene Elhilaly.

Imam justifies rape of unveiled women

Australian cleric compares victims to ‘uncovered meat’ that attracts cats

Australia’s top Muslim cleric rationalized a series of gang rapes by Arab men, blaming women who “sway suggestively,” wear make-up and don’t cover themselves in the tradition of Islam.


Sheik Ibrahim Mogra with Sheik Taj el-Dene Elhilaly. (Courtesy Sydney Daily Telegraph)

Sheik Taj el-Dene Elhilaly’s comments in a Ramadan sermon in a Sydney mosque have stirred a furor in the country with even Prime Minister John Howard weighing in with condemnation.

The cleric also said the judge in the case, who sentenced the rapists, had “no mercy.”

“But the problem, but the problem all began with who?” he said, referring to the women victims – whom he said were “weapons used by Satan.”

The victims of the vicious gang rapes are leading the national outcry – with some calling for deportation of the sheik. In a Sydney Daily Telegraph online poll, 84 percent of people said the Egyptian-born sheik should be deported.

“If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it … whose fault is it, the cats or the uncovered meat?” the sheik said in his sermon. “The uncovered meat is the problem. If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred.”

A 16-year-old girl, whose gang rape investigation was the subject of a secret police report, issued an open letter yesterday.

“You are a sad person who has no understanding of what really happens when these people inflict harm and degrading acts upon me or any other young girl,” she said.

Initially, the mufti of Australia would not back away from his comments. But today he apologized.

“I unreservedly apologize to any woman who is offended by my comments,” he said in a statement. “I had only intended to protect women’s honor.”

Howard said the sheik’s remarks were “appalling and reprehensible.”

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El Presidente Jorge W. Bush
Presidente Bush continues to do his best in order to placate the GOP and Republican voters by finally signing the U.S.-Mexican border fence bill that rubber-stamps the building of 700 miles of fencing somewhere along the southern American border. The signing ceremony was slightly meager, but ample enough to garner media, and consequently public attention in a time when the Republican leadership needs exposure the most–elections are but a scant two weeks distant.

During the signing, Bush spewed forth some drivel about how the United States has lost control of its borders. Here’s a quote from the succeeding linked story.

“Unfortunately the United States has not been in complete control of its borders for decades and therefore illegal immigration has been on the rise,” Bush said at a signing ceremony.

“We have a responsibility to enforce our laws,” he said. “We have a responsibility to secure our borders. We take this responsibility serious.”

He called the fence bill “an important step in our nation’s efforts to secure our borders.”

Of course, we all know Bush is talking out of his ass.  He doesn’t mean a single word of what he belched forth during todays signing ceremony, most evidenced by his following comments propagandizing his preposterous guest worker program that will in essence legalize at minimum 12 million illegal aliens.

For now though, Bush simply wants to avoid a crushing defeat of the GOP at the polls in a couple of weeks, which is why he also issued his timely atonement for the loss of lives in Iraq coinciding so near to the November elections.

Don’t fall prey to these obvious attempts at misdirection.  Bush does not want this fence, just as he does not want to leave Iraq.  What surprises me though is this concept of capitulation that Bush is adhering to concerning illegal aliens and the border fence.  The Republican Party has, at least in the past 60 years or so, consistently been tough on illegal immigration.  Even in the last couple of decades, whenever a candidate, Republican or not, takes a hard stand against illegal immigration, that candidate usually wins whatever post he was campaigning for.  Why then would Bush simply not follow this tried and true edict?  Why would he choose to legalize up to 20 million illegal aliens?  Why would he not want to secure our border?  Why is he so sympathetic to Mexican and Latin American people when many American citizens are in desperate need of help themselves?

My only answer to these questions–pessimism for the future of the United States.  Bush believes that protecting our borders is moot at this point to such a degree that the tide cannot be kept at bay.  Better to let it wash over us, drown us, turn us into a third world nation in order to ensure that those waves of illegals will remember that it was the GOP who allowed them to come into the country and exist legally, maintaining a hope that when future elections come, the Latino community will recognize who it was that granted them this great gift and vote Republican.

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Bush Signs U.S.-Mexico Border Fence Bill

Oct 26, 9:52 AM (ET)
By DEB RIECHMANN

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Bush signed a bill Thursday authorizing 700 miles of new fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, hoping to give Republican candidates a pre-election platform for asserting they’re tough on illegal immigration.

“Unfortunately the United States has not been in complete control of its borders for decades and therefore illegal immigration has been on the rise,” Bush said at a signing ceremony.

“We have a responsibility to enforce our laws,” he said. “We have a responsibility to secure our borders. We take this responsibility serious.”

He called the fence bill “an important step in our nation’s efforts to secure our borders.”

The centerpiece of Bush’s immigration policy, a guest worker program, remains stalled in Congress.

And a handful of House Republican are at the brakes, blocking negotiations with the Senate for a bill that includes the president’s proposal.

Still, Bush argues that it would be easier to get his guest worker program passed if Republicans keep their majorities in the House and Senate after the Nov. 7 elections. His proposal would allow legal employment for foreigners and give some of the estimated 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States a shot at becoming American citizens.

The measure Bush put into law Thursday before heading for campaign stops in Iowa and Michigan offers no money for the fence project covering one-third of the 2,100-mile border.

Its cost is not known, although a homeland security spending measure the president signed earlier this month makes a $1.2 billion down payment on the project. The money also can be used for access roads, vehicle barriers, lighting, high-tech equipment and other tools to secure the border.

Mexican officials have criticized the fence. Outgoing Mexican President Vicente Fox, who has spent much of his six years in office lobbying for a new guest worker program and a chance at citizenship for the millions of Mexicans working illegally in the U.S., calls the fence “shameful” and compares it to the Berlin Wall. (Hecubus note – Vicente, you ignorant person, you.  The Berlin Wall was designed to keep people in, not keep people out.  We want to keep people out.)

Others have doubts about its effectiveness.

“A fence will slow people down by a minute or two, but if you don’t have the agents to stop them it does no good. We’re not talking about some impenetrable barrier,” T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing Border Patrol agents, said Wednesday.

Customs and Border Protection statistics show that apprehensions at border crossings are down 8 percent nationally for the budget year that just ended, Bonner said. Apprehensions were up in the San Diego sector, he said, an area of the nearly 2,000-mile border that has the most fencing.

A spokesman for Customs and Border Protection would not confirm the statistics or discuss reasons for the increase in the San Diego sector.

Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison, both Texas Republicans, had wanted to amend the fence bill to give local governments more say about where fencing is erected. They lost that battle, but Republican leaders assured them the Homeland Security Department would have flexibility to choose other options instead of fencing, if needed.

Cornyn said he voted for the fence because he wanted to help demonstrate that Congress was serious about border security.

“The choice we were presented was: Are we going to vote to enhance border security, or against it?” Cornyn said. “I think that’s how the vote was viewed.”

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Most of those familiar with the railroading saga of ex-border patrol agents Jose Compean and Ignacio “Nacho” Ramos believe that the root of their prosecution came from the top, that being President George W. Bush. To any who have perused my blog, it will become crystal clear that I hold little credence in the concept of the conspiracy theory. That’s not to say that some conspiracy theories are valid, in fact some are. Most however are complete bunk, like 9/11 conspiracy theories for example. In the case of Ramos and Compean, I believe that our moron of a president made certain that these two border agents would see serious prison time.

This idea became even more evident yesterday when White House press secretary Tony Snow made it quite clear (at least to me) that C-grade President Bush does in fact want Ramos and Compean in jail. Snow’s response to a question concerning the two border agents was snarky, rude, and condescending (see below.)

I suppose Bush is reveling in his lack of popularity. He seems to love it. Even with the coming, and likely changing tides of the November elections, Bush just wants to ensure that the Republicans cede as many seats as possible to the Democrats. Unfortunately, like Bush, most of the Dems are illegal alien lovers themselves, very much in favor of open border policies that overwhelm and strain our economy even more than it already is. California has all but returned to Mexico. Texas is close behind with Arizona and New Mexico close on its’ heels.

Make no mistake. This is what Bush wants–more voters for the Republican party, regardless if they can legally vote or not.

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Snow says question on agents’ prison time ‘nonsensical’
Bush spokesman turns back inquiry about jail for officers who injured fleeing smuggler

Asking whether two U.S. Border Patrol agents sentenced to prison for shooting a drug-smuggling suspect in the buttocks is “nonsensical,” according to a White House spokesman, even if it is something of high interest among WND readers.

Yesterday Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent at the White House, asked Bush spokesman Tony Snow whether Bush would use his power of pardon to free the agents.

“That’s an unanswerable question, Les. The president is the person who is responsible for pardons. You can tell the network, which made you ask that question, that it is nonsensical,” Snow said.

The question referenced the terms of 11 years and 12 years handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen Cardone in El Paso, Texas, last week. She gave Jose Alonso Compean 12 years in prison and Ignacio Ramos 11 years and one day despite a plea by their attorney for a new trial after three jurors said they were coerced into voting guilty in the case, the Washington Times reported.

As WND has reported, a federal jury convicted Compean, 28, and Ramos, 37, in March after a two-week trial on charges of causing serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, discharge of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence and a civil rights violation.

Ramos is an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Naval Reserve and a former nominee for Border Patrol Agent of the Year.

WND readers have been asking the same question posed to Snow. On a newly-created WND Forums site, which was set up to allow reader input to the WND website, and even to the president, several readers wondered about the situation.

“You should give the both of them a full pardon and inform the judges that they have no [jurisdiction] over the invasion of this country,” wrote cliffhanger. “Also why have you not closed the [border]?”

Keith Lehman also weighed in.

“The rules of engagement should apply. Whether the officer only perceived to see (sic) a weapon, the fleeing criminal had attacked one officer and the other thought that his partner was injured by the fleeing criminal. And as far as the ‘victim’ criminal: When you break the law, you are subject to whatever comes your way – especially when attacking a law enforcement officer,” he said.

“The Border Patrol agents convicted need a pardon yesterday. They then should be returned to their duty, if they so desire, and be reinstated with their record wiped clean and receive all back pay lost to them during this fiasco they call justice.”

Drummerboy simply said the question needs to be answered: will there be a pardon? “Good question, drummerboy,” said squidly.

Ramos, last Feb. 17, responded to a request for back up from Compean, who noticed a suspicious van near the levee road along the Rio Grande River near the Texas town of Fabens, about 40 miles east of El Paso. A third agent also joined the pursuit.

Fleeing was an illegal alien, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila of Mexico. Unknown to the growing number of Border Patrol agents converging on Fabens, Aldrete-Davila’s van was carrying 800 pounds of marijuana.

Aldrete-Davila stopped the van on a levee, jumped out and started running toward the river. When he reached the other side of the levee, he was met by Compean who had anticipated the smuggler’s attempt to get back to Mexico.

“We both yelled out for him to stop, but he wouldn’t stop, and he just kept running,” Ramos told California’s Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

“At some point during the time where I’m crossing the canal, I hear shots being fired,” Ramos said. “Later, I see Compean on the ground, but I keep running after the smuggler.”

At that point, Ramos said, Aldrete-Davila turned toward him, pointing what looked like a gun.

“I shot,” Ramos said. “But I didn’t think he was hit, because he kept running into the brush and then disappeared into it. Later, we all watched as he jumped into a van waiting for him. He seemed fine. It didn’t look like he had been hit at all.”

In a move that still confuses Ramos and Compean, the U.S. government filed charges against them after giving full immunity to Aldrete-Davila and paying for his medical treatment at an El Paso hospital.

“This is the greatest miscarriage of justice I have ever seen,” said Andy Ramirez of the nonprofit group Friends of the Border Patrol. “This drug smuggler has fully contributed to the destruction of two brave agents and their families and has sent a very loud message to the other Border Patrol agents: If you confront a smuggler, this is what will happen to you.”

Kinsolving also asked Snow about the situation in the race for the Ohio governor’s office, in which the Cincinnati Enquirer reported an Ohio state Republican spokesman said that Democratic Congressman Ted Strickland should have known a man arrested for exposing himself to children was on his congressional payroll.

“Does the president believe it was wrong for this Republican state spokesman to bring up what most of the national media is refusing to report, even as they so repeatedly report the case of Congressman Foley?” Snow was asked.

“I’m just going to refer that one back to the Ohio Republican Party,” Snow said.

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Former U.S. Border Patrol agent Jose Alonso Compean left the United States Court House on Thursday after being sentenced to 12 years in prison. Compean’s wife, Patty Compean, is in the wheelchair. The woman at left is unidentified.

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Well, thanks to the pathetic U.S. justice system, border patrol agents and commended illegal immigration heroes Ignacio “Nacho” Ramos and Jose Compean were sentenced to federal prison yesterday–Ramos for 11 years and Compean for 12.

How could this happen? Why did this happen? I wonder if professional slime-bitch prosecutor, Debra Kanof even knows why she ruined the lives of these two men. I doubt it. It seems apparent that she was only doing as she was told–destroy Ramos and Compean. As a lawyer, her ethics are questionable to anyone who followed the trial. As a human being, Kanof has proven she wants nothing to do with us, which is fine by me. My only hope is that she’s never allowed to do something this despicable again.

In the meantime, Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean are thankfully not required to report for incarceration until the 17th of January, 2007. In that time, their appeals process will likely begin. It is hoped that they will be allowed to remain out of prison while appeals take place. If the convictions eventually get overturned, then Ignacio and Jose won’t have to spend a moment in jail. Here’s hoping.

Former U.S. Border Patrol agent Ignacio Ramos, center, left the United States Court House on Thursday with his wife, Monica Ramos, after being sentenced to 11 years in prison. Former Border Patrol agent Jose Alonso Compean got 12 years. (Photos by Mark Lambie / El Paso Times)

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Agents sentenced, hope to stay out of prison during appeal

 

By Louie Gilot / El Paso Times

The former Border Patrol agents convicted of shooting a drug smuggler in the buttocks last year were sentenced Thursday — Ignacio Ramos to 11 years in prison and Jose Alonso Compean to 12 years in prison — but allowed to remain free on bond at least until mid-January.The agents and their families, who had prepared themselves for the possibility that the agents would be taken to jail after Thursday’s hearing, breathed a sigh of relief.

“I’m happy to be going home to my family right now,” Ramos said.

“That was the biggest concern, that the six kids would have to spend Christmas without their fathers,” said Joe Loya, Ramos’ father-in-law.

Ramos and Compean each have three children.

The agents must surrender Jan. 17, but they hoped that they would be allowed to continue to stay free on bond until their appeal.

On Feb. 17, 2005, Ramos chased a van loaded with marijuana to a ditch near Fabens, where the van’s driver, Osvaldo Aldrete Davila, abandoned his vehicle and ran toward Mexico.

According to court testimony, agent Compean tried to block his path, but Aldrete continued running toward the Rio Grande. Compean and Ramos then shot at Aldrete and a bullet from Ramos’ gun hit the smuggler in the buttock. Aldrete made it to Mexico, wounded. The agents did not report the shooting, and Compean picked up his shell casings.The agents, who will be officially fired now that they have been sentenced, said in court that they thought Aldrete had a gun.

They were convicted of various charges, including violating the Aldrete’s civil rights and tampering with evidence. The case has become a cause celebre among conservatives, especially in California.

After the sentencing Thursday, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, Border Patrol AssistantÊChief Robert Boatright and Jay Smith, the special agent in charge of the Office of the Inspector General at Homeland Security,Êpraised prosecutors for their work on an unpopular case.

Sutton said that the Border Patrol badge is not “a license to shoot people, especially unarmed suspects who are running away from you, lie to your superior and write a false report.”

Sutton took to task radio talk shows and cable news shows for presenting only one side of the story.

He also questioned the agents’ claim that they thought the smuggler had a gun.

“The evidence reflects something completely different,” he said. “The agents did not take cover and did not tell other agents to ‘Get down. Someone has a gun.’ ”

Sutton said that he felt no sympathy for Aldrete, whom he called a “piece of dirt.”

Aldrete did not appear in court Thursday. But his lawyer, Walter Boyaki, who represents him in a lawsuit against the government, spoke. Boyaki said that his client, a truck driver by trade, was incapacitated by the bullet, which shattered his urethra, and cannot work.

“I was expecting at least one of them (agents) to say, ‘I’m sorry,’ ” Boyaki said. “I know Aldrete Davila would say he was sorry, too.”

The agents chose not to make statements to the court and presented no witness Thursday.

Compean’s lawyer, Chris Antcliff, blamed Aldrete, saying, “Had he stopped like any normal citizen, we wouldn’t be here today. É This case is a little bit upside down in my mind.”

He called his client, “a good man in a really bad situation.”

U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone said that she took into account the risk to the agents in prison and the conduct of the victim when deciding on lenient sentences on most charges, but that she could not reduce the 10-year mandatory, consecutive sentence mandated by federal law when a gun is discharged in the commission of a crime.

The agents were not ordered to make restitution to Aldrete.

Outside the United States Courthouse, dozens of family members and friends of the agents who couldn’t fit inside the small courtroom waited three hours to hear the sentence. About five volunteers with the Texas Minutemen were also there, carrying signs in support of the agents. The Minutemen are in the Fabens area for a patrol operation this month.

Family members said the fight was not over.

“It’s going to be step by step,” said Ramos’ brother Hector Ramos. “The first step is going to get him home. It’s a process.”

Also Thursday, Judge Cardone denied the defense’s motion for a new trial on the basis that three jurors said they were misled by theÊ jury foreman and voted guilty because they thought they were not allowed to have a hung jury.

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In keeping with the living nightmare that Ingacio Ramos and Jose Compean have been and are bearing, especially today with their sentencing, here is an interview with Compean that was aired on CNN recently that goes fairly in-depth into what happened and what is happening with the two border patrol agents predicament.

Even Lou Dobbs is visibly repulsed at what the United States government has perpetrated upon Ramos and Compean and their families.  If this does not make you angry at our current administration and those who participated in the railroading of these two border agents, then please check out of the human race.  We don’t want you.

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Former U.S. Border Patrol agent Ignacio Ramos embraced his wife, Monica Ramos, on Tuesday, two days before he is set to be sentenced. Ramos could receive up to 15 years in prison for shooting a drug smuggler who was entering the United States illegally. (Mark Lambie / El Paso Times)

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After the injustice perpetrated upon Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, who in their right mind would even consider pursuing a career as a United States border agent? Additionally, are there any current border agents familiar with this incredibly tragic story who will not pause to reflect, as they spy illegals entering the U.S. from Mexico, what performing their job might net them–serious jail time? I wouldn’t blame them. I will blame our president.

But this is what George Bush, and all those who agree with him, wants–open borders and free access to cheap labor. Because he is a short-sighted and unintelligent man, he desperately wishes to devalue American schools, shut down our emergency rooms, and generally spread the 3rd world throughout this country–this country that is doomed to die from the inside out as if we’re one giant rotten apple. The old adage states that “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” It also wasn’t destroyed in a day. It died under the overwhelming weight of immigrants it simply wasn’t able to adequately accommodate. It became rotten.

Bush has expressed his desire to grant amnesty to the already 20 million illegal aliens currently residing in the United States. If we’re truly at 20 million (everyone agrees no lower than 12 million), then the number of illegal aliens residing in this country is far more than “all of the Germans, Italians, Irish, and Jews who ever came to American in the 400 years of our history on this continent.“* In the same vein, according to research conducted by Time magazine, “…the number of illegal aliens flooding into the U.S. this year will total 3 million–enough to fill 22,000 Boeing 737-700 aircraft, or 60 flights every day for a year.”

Pushing aside ideas of MEChA and Aztlan, if you’re one who doesn’t believe we are being invaded then you’re a moron. If you’re too worried that you might step out of the boundaries of political correctness and be labeled a “racist” then you’re a coward. Both ways, you’re simply ignorant, and this country will cave in upon itself from the weight of the ever growing illegal population.

This is not an issue of racism unless certain unsavory groups or peoples make it that way. I don’t blame poor Mexicans their desire, their need to break our immigration laws and try to make better lives for themselves in the United States. I blame our impotent administration for failing to secure our borders. While the analogy may not be all that flattering, equating America to the Roman Empire, at least in this respect, is not far off the target. And like all once mighty empires, the United States will fall, but not from wars. We will fall because our government refuses to address the issue that is slowly killing us–illegal immigration.

It all starts at the border. Go ahead, refuse to secure it. Neuter our border agents and send them to jail for doing the right thing, and that will be the beginning of the end. Am I overreacting? Ignacio “Nacho” Ramos and Jose Compean, good hardworking family men and former border patrol agents, will be sentenced this Thursday, October 19th, to no less than 10 years in a maximum security prison for doing their jobs. This is a travesty. It is a severe injustice. It fills me with shame that my government would allow this to happen. It fills me with a great sadness for these two men and their families who will be without husbands, fathers, and sons for potentially the rest of their lives. This must not be allowed.

Shame on George Bush. Shame on Michael Chertoff. Shame on Alberto Gonzales. Shame on Debra Kanof.

Former U.S. Border Patrol agent Ignacio Ramos hugged his mother, Virginia Orwig, at her home Tuesday. His lawyer is seeking a new trial for Ramos. (Mark Lambie / El Paso Times)

 

 

Congressman ask Justice Department to review law that convicted Ramos

Sara A. Carter, Staff Writer

In an eleventh-hour plea, a half-dozen congressmen are asking the Justice Department to review the federal law used to convict two Border Patrol agents of shooting a Mexican drug smuggler. Congressman Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., circulated a letter Thursday among his colleagues that slammed federal statute 924(c), which addresses discharging a firearm in relation to a crime of violence. Conviction under the statute carries a minimum 10-year sentence in federal prison.

Jones and five other members of the caucus — including California Reps. Gary Miller (R-Brea), Dana Rohrbacher (R-Huntington Beach) and Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) — contend in the letter that El Paso, Texas, Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean should not have been charged under the statute because carrying a firearm was a necessary part of their jobs, and that they used the firearms while on duty.

“Yesterday (Tuesday), a motion to delay sentencing for Ramos and Compean was denied. Sentencing is now scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 19,” the letter reads. “We urge you to take any action you can to either delay this sentencing or have the … charges dropped.”

Border agent’s family waits, worries

Sentencing only a day away for convicted pair

Sara A. Carter, Staff Writer

EL PASO, Texas — Virginia Orwig stood in the kitchen, preparing homemade apple and cherry pies. With each turn of the crust, tears fell from her eyes. Cooking is her therapy.

She was baking for her son, Border Patrol Agent Ignacio “Nacho” Ramos, and his family. It might be more than 10 years, even as many as 20, before she bakes for him again, and before the family reunites.

Ramos and his co-worker, Jose Alonso Compean, are to be sentenced Thursday for the nonfatal shooting of a Mexican national, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, who allegedly was trying to smuggle nearly $1 million in marijuana into the United States on Feb. 17, 2005, when he was shot.

For more than 20 months, the families of the two El Paso Border Patrol agents have been struggling to cope with what they believe was an unjust prosecution and conviction. Both men have proclaimed their innocence.

Ramos’ family is numb. At Orwig’s home Tuesday, their faces were somber from worry and lack of sleep.

Orwig shuffled through stacks of letters she had written to local, state and federal leaders, pleading for her son’s life. Many yielded only canned responses. She also made more than 50 phone calls to her local congressman, Sylvester Reyes, R-El Paso, and never got a return call.

Photos of better times hang from the walls of the home, almost mocking the family with memories of times when life was simpler and sweeter.

Orwig smiled at pictures of Nacho when he was in elementary school. Then she shook her head in disbelief, and held her husband Wes — Ignacio’s stepfather — close.

Just then, Ramos’ three children came through the front door, their voices carrying from the downstairs to the upstairs kitchen.

“My biggest concern is for the children,” said Orwig of her grandsons — 6, 9 and 13 — as she continued to bake pies. The house was filling up with family.

“What is left of their childhood?” Orwig cried. “Can you imagine what my son must feel, knowing that he will not be around them to watch them grow up, to share their lives together?

“What has happened to us is more than an injustice. It is a nightmare.”

Just then, Ignacio Ramos walked through his mother’s front door. He walked up to the kitchen, saw his mother baking pies, and hugged her.

“It will be OK,” he said.

His wife, Monica Ramos, came in shortly after.

It was Tuesday. Only two days left before the sentencing. For everyone close to Ignacio, it was as though death was waiting around the corner.

The kitchen fell quiet.

‘WE’RE STILL HERE’

Ignacio Ramos relived the day when he went to help his co-worker, Compean, pursue a vehicle that had tripped Border Patrol sensors near the Rio Grande in Fabens, Texas, just 40 miles southwest of El Paso.

Ramos doesn’t second-guess himself about leaving his lunch behind to help Compean when the call came through on his radio. Ramos said he had no choice but to protect his partner and himself from Aldrete-Davila, who had what Ramos believed to be a weapon in his hand after ditching the van filled with marijuana.

During the ensuing foot pursuit, as the smuggler reached the Rio Grande, Ramos said Aldrete-Davila turned and pointed what Ramos believed to be a weapon at him. Ramos fired one shot. He hit Aldrete-Davila in the buttocks, but the smuggler made his way back into Mexico and fled in a van on the other side.

“No matter how hard this has been, no matter what anybody has said or thought, we are still here,” said Ramos, looking at his wife. “Nobody’s thoughts or ideas about that day have torn us apart as a family. Nobody will ever break us — we’re still here.”

Ramos remembers seeing Compean on the ground after a scuffle with the smuggler. He didn’t know if Compean was injured. Ramos’ first thought when the smuggler turned to him was of his wife and three young sons. He shot at the smuggler to save his life and his partner’s, he said.

What he couldn’t have known is how that day would change the rest of his life, and his family’s. And what he doesn’t understand is why the Texas U.S. Attorney’s office was so adamant about prosecuting him, and why the U.S. government went to such lengths to grant immunity to a drug smuggler to testify against him.

In the past few weeks, Ramos has not slept more than a few hours every night. The lack of sleep is evident on his face, where heavy lines are visible.

His heart is breaking, he said.

He can’t look at his children without feeling a flood of tears well in his eyes. His voice becomes choked.

“I know I’m going to have to talk to them soon,” he said. “The boys know what’s going on, but I don’t have it in my heart to look at them and tell them. I have to tell them that now they’ll only have each other.”

For Monica Ramos, the emptiness has been almost unbearable. Her love for her husband is evident in the way she looks into his eyes and touches his hand.

For months, they haven’t even had an hour alone, she said. The children have become so dependent on them that even staying at their grandparents’ for the night has ended. Their 9-year-old — whose name and the names of his brothers is being withheld to protect their identities — broke down in tears after football practice last week and asked his mother: “Are they really going to take Daddy away? I don’t want Daddy going to prison.”

“Our son is withdrawing,” Monica Ramos said. “He’s becoming very quiet. We try to stay as positive as we can around them. But they know that time is drawing near. Nobody can understand the pain we are feeling as a family.”

Monica now is the sole provider for her family. They have almost lost their home on several occasions, they no longer have medical insurance, and most of the money raised for them will go to attorneys when they appeal the case on Thursday.

Their families have helped keep them afloat. Joe and Ernestina Loya have taken loans against their home and stopped plans for retirement to provide for their daughter and grandchildren. Ramos’ mother quit her job at Raytheon Corp. to help her son with the children. Times have never been tighter for the families.

“This is almost worse than a family death,” said Ernestina Loya as she stood next to Orwig in the kitchen. “In death there is closure. This is more like torture, to take innocent men and condemn them for doing their jobs.”

Threats from associates of Aldrete-Davila have left the Ramoses fearful for their children’s safety. The El Paso Sheriff’s Department has had deputies monitoring the Ramos home since the threats came by e-mail and phone.

‘IT DOESN’T SEEM REAL’

The wind howled Tuesday afternoon, its force almost frightening, the feeling of winter hanging in the air.

Ramos can barely stand to think of the upcoming holidays. He’s already told his wife what he would like to give the children if they can manage to scrape up the money, he said.

“I didn’t want them to wake up Christmas morning without anything personal from me,” he said. “It doesn’t seem real. Everything feels like it’s slipping from my hands.”

His closest cousin, Peter Valdez of Austin, drove to El Paso this week to be with Ramos. Valdez said his biggest concern is for Ramos himself.

“I really feel that the government has made him a scapegoat for a dysfunctional system,” Valdez said. “They have ruined his life.

“But my concern is mainly for Nacho right now. … I fear for my cousin’s safety if he goes to prison. I fear for his safety even if he doesn’t go. He is dealing with very powerful criminal forces — and how will his life ever go back to being what it was?”

Ignacio and Monica understand this as well. They have already written their wills, fixed power of attorney papers and spent months transferring documents into Monica’s name.

And although what has happened to them doesn’t seem real, their love for each other is unquestionable.

In Orwig’s kitchen, they looked into each other’s eyes, not saying a word. Their eyes did not move. Each was transfixed, as though appreciating a special gift.

Then Ignacio, Monica’s hand in his, smiled.

“I was never willing to sign my life away for anything,” he said. “There is nothing they can do to tear this family apart. We have not given up, and we will never give up.

“My children and my wife will always know in their hearts that I did the right thing.”

Sentencing looms for agents, jurors say they were misled

Agents’ lawyer seeks new trial in shooting case

By Louie Gilot / El Paso Times

 

Three members of the jury that convicted two former El Paso Border Patrol agents of shooting a drug smuggler in the buttocks last year said they were misled into finding them guilty, according to a motion filed late Tuesday, two days before the agents are to be sentenced.Mary Stillinger, the lawyer for one of the agents, Ignacio Ramos, thought the jurors’ statements should be grounds for setting the verdict aside and ordering a new trial for Ramos and fellow agent Jose Alonso Compean.

The men are scheduled to be sentenced Thursday and face a 10-year mandatory sentence.

It was not known Tuesday night whether U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone would consider the motion for a new trial before the sentencing. Officials of the U.S. attorney’s office said they had not reviewed the new motion and could not comment on it.The three jurors, identified in court documents as Robert Gourley, Claudia Torres and Edine Woods, said they voted not guilty almost to the end of two days of deliberations.

“I did not think the defendants were guilty of the assaults and civil rights violations,” Woods wrote in a sworn affidavit.Compean and Ramos were found guilty of assault with serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, discharge of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, a civil-rights charge and obstruction of justice in the Feb. 17, 2005, shooting of Osvaldo Aldrete Davila near Fabens.

Stillinger said she saw some jurors crying after the guilty verdict and later got in touch with them.

Gourley, a Northeast special- education teacher, and Torres said in affidavits that the foreman of the jury told them that Judge Cardone would not accept a hung jury. And Woods said an affidavit that she heard the same statement but could not remember which juror said it.

“Essentially … they conceded their votes, believing that they did not have the option to stick to their guns and prevent a unanimous verdict,” Stillinger wrote in the motion.

Gourley said that he thought the foreman was relating something he heard directly from the judge, and when he found no mention on hung juries in the court’s printed instructions, “I had no reason to doubt the foreman,” he said in the affidavit.

After the trial, Gourley told reporters that he felt pressured by other jurors who wanted to resume their normal lives after more than two weeks of trial. He also said he thought 10 years in prison was a grossly inappropriate punishment for the agents.

“Had we had the option of a hung jury, I truly believe the outcome may have been different,” he said in the affidavit.

Flores said in her affidavit that she believed the foreman because, “he was very experienced in serving on juries. I felt like he knew something about the judge that we did not know. É I did not think that Mr. Ramos or Mr. Compean was guilty of the assaults and civil rights violations.”

The third juror, Woods, wrote in an affidavit, “I don’t remember exactly what it was that made me change my vote to guilty on these charges, but I know I was very influenced by my belief, based on the other juror’s statement, that we could not have a hung jury. I think I might not have changed my vote to guilty if I had known that was an option.”

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