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Archive for January, 2007

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While likely true a central aim of the kidnappers was to emulate the video taped beheadings of such western martyrs as Daniel Pearl and Ken Bigley, I think it is important to note as well from my understanding they are also drawing inspiration from Muhammad and the Qur’an.  Sure, they of course want a good deal of publicity for their barbarous act, but first and foremost, they are Muslims following the example set by the Prophet.

U.K. announces 9th arrest in alleged terror plot

Plot reportedly involved abduction and ‘Iraq-style’ execution of serviceman

British police guard house

Darren Staples / Reuters

Police officers stand guard outside a house in the central English city of Birmingham on Wednesday after a series of anti-terrorism arrests.

BIRMINGHAM, England – Counterterrorism police arrested nine men in an alleged kidnapping plot Wednesday — a plan that reportedly involved torturing and beheading a British Muslim soldier and broadcasting the killing on the Internet.

A ninth person was arrested just before police briefed reporters. The first group of arrests took place in the morning.

“The threat of terrorism has been growing over the years,” David Shaw, of the West Midlands Police, said in announcing the arrest.

Birmingham has been the site of several major terror raids in the past two years, including a plot uncovered in the summer that involved several suspects planning to use liquid explosives to blow up as many as 10 flights between Britain and the United States.

The alleged plot was to involve the kidnapping of a British serviceman in Britain, a government contact connected with security services told NBC News on condition of anonymity.

Media reports, citing unnamed sources, said police and MI5, Britain’s domestic spy service, had stopped a “major” terrorist plot in the latter stages of planning, or near fruition.

Sky TV, which said it knew the target’s identity, a man in his 20s, quoted sources as saying the intent was to mimic the abductions and beheadings of Westerners carried out by militants in Iraq and post a video of the killing on the Internet.

Such a murder would be similar to the fate of Briton Ken Bigley, who was kidnapped and later beheaded by al-Qaida’s then-leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in 2004, as well as other hostages.

The official who spoke to NBC News could not confirm the Sky TV report, but said the plot was being called an “Iraqi style” operation which had led people to surmise what might happen.

“This is big because it’s different,” he said, adding that he believed video was going to be an element.

“If they (the plotters) were going to kidnap someone, in their world there is no point unless you have publicity around it. Every event they do has to have a public element to it,” he said.

Late night raids
Officers raided several homes beginning at 4 a.m. in a predominantly Pakistani neighborhood in Birmingham.

Detectives said the suspected conspirators were held on “suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.”

The arrest operation was led by the Midlands Counterterrorism unit, supported by West Midlands Police and London’s Metropolitan Police.

A number of streets were sealed off in Birmingham, Britain’s second largest city and one of its most ethnically diverse, including a large Muslim population.

Last week, police arrested five people in terrorism investigations in the English cities of Manchester and Halifax.

Rizwan Ditta, 29, and Mohammed Dilal, 26, of Halifax were later charged with possession of information of use to terrorists.

Three men arrested by Greater Manchester Police remain in custody but have not been charged.

Last year the head of MI5 said that about 30 terrorism plots were being worked on and agents were monitoring around 1,600 suspects.

‘Real and serious’ terrorist threat
“This operation is a reminder of the real and serious nature of the terrorist threat we face,” the Home Office said Wednesday.

On July 7, 2005, Britain suffered its worst peacetime attack by militants when four British Muslims blew themselves up on London’s transport system, killing 52 people.

In August last year, detectives said they had foiled a suspected plot to blow up trans-Atlantic airliners bound for the United States using liquid explosives.

 

 

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In relation to Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, the below article from The Monitor is quite telling. It appears a former border patrol agent by the name of David Sipe, who had been found guilty of excessive force against an illegal alien and sentenced to prison back in 2001, has now been acquitted of that charge due to information and documentation that was being withheld by the prosecution for years.

HmmmSound familiar?

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Border patrol agent acquitted in excessive force case
January 27,2007

Monitor Staff Writer

BROWNSVILLE — A former U.S. Border Patrol agent was acquitted Friday of using excessive force to arrest an illegal immigrant in a retrial of a 2001 case.

A federal jury said David Sipe was not guilty of using excessive force against Jose Guevarra on April 5, 2000. The case was first tried in front of Judge Ricardo Hinojosa in McAllen’s U.S. District Court in 2001. At the time, a jury found Sipe guilty after a five-day trial.

But while preparing for sentencing in the 2001 case, Sipe’s attorney, Jack Lamar Wolfe, found evidence the U.S. Attorney’s Office had withheld information requested before the trial.

Wolfe cited in a motion for a new trial that prosecutors had not revealed at least four pieces of information:

l A government witness’ criminal background

l Testimony favorable to Sipe by one of his former co-workers

l Additional benefits given to witnesses, like Social Security cards and reimbursements

l Pictures of the victim re-enacting the arrest for investigators

Hinojosa granted the request for a new trial on April 11, 2003.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office appealed the decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which sided with the decision for a new trial on Nov. 19, 2004.

Sipe and Wolfe started preparing for a new trial, but Sipe applied for a change of venue in November last year. The case was subsequently moved to Brownsville’s U.S. District Court.

 

Verdict Reversal for Ex-Border Patrol Agent

David Sipe is a once convicted criminal who can honestly say he “didn’t do it.”

“Relief. Relief. After 7 years, it’s gone. It’s over.”

The ex-border patrol agent gets a 2001 guilty verdict overturned in his retrial for civil rights violations against a smuggler. The incident dates back to April of 2000 in Penitas.

“He was striking me in the side… he was very close to my weapon… and I had to do what I could to control the situation as fast as I could.”

Fearing for his life, David subdues the smuggler by hitting him with his flashlight. It results in staples to the smugglers head. A border patrol investigation is launched and deems his actions inappropriate– even illegal.

“I don’t know how they’re able to do that… but I don’t think that’s fair.”

Neither did a jury who overturns his conviction from the first trial against him.

David says the government, who he faithfully worked under for nearly 4 years, turns its back on him while rolling out the red carpet, as he puts it, for the illegals turned witnesses.

“They got to stay here and work in our country.”

The smuggler even gets a government settlement.

“80 thousand dollars… he now has his own ranch in Mexico.’

As for David– he doesn’t collect a thing. In fact, his life and family gets ripped apart.

“My house foreclosed on after having to file bankruptcy, my children having to live through this… of course my wife divorcing me.”

Through it all, he says, justice is served. And while most about David is forever changed one thing returns and it’s most important thing to him of all.

“I have my freedom back. I’m a man of honor again.”

What lead to this morning’s “not guilty” verdict reversal against the former border patrol agent? Turns out his attorney says the prosecution in the first trial supressed evidence and lied about benefits given to “Alien” witnesses.

Attorney Jack Wolfe explains.

“They with-held evidence about their witnesses who had prior convictions…they didn’t tell us… they were supposed to tell us. In fact, they told us that they had no witnesses with convictions.”

A new trial was granted and David Sipe’s conviction was thrown out. As a result, Sipe is a free man and fighting to get his job back.

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It is becoming more apparent with each passing day that former border patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean have been maliciously prosecuted by the United States government with U.S. District Attorney, Johnny Sutton as the primary malevolent force behind the unlawful suit and subsequent illegal detention of the two ex-agents in separate federal penitentiaries.

If, after having read this piece I posted last week, you are still unconvinced as to the evident innocence of Ramos and Compean, then you will likely remain obtusely stolid in your blind adherence to that belief–a belief that is crumbling as more passionate individuals than yourselves become involved, investigating, questioning, and bringing to light additional information for a case that was rotten to begin with. Your confidence in your government, in President Bush–a man who is purposefully opening our borders to illegals, and detrimentally expanding upon NAFTA through the Security & Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) in order to eventually create a North American Union–is alarming.

Yet there exist a large portion of the population who either know nothing about the plight of Ramos and Compean, or they callously and ignorantly side with officials who are on a massive PR push right now in order to deflect accusations of deception and wrong-doing on their part. To those who are savvy, it is obvious such people as Johnny Sutton and Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner are spinning and deceiving and hiding in order to obscure that fact that Ramos and Compean were railroaded by the government.

More comments from readers in this blog post

They shot an unarmed suspect (who they didn’t know was an illegal) in the back.
They tried to cover it up by picking up shell casings
They abandoned the shot man in the wilderness
They filed a false report about it.

Doing their jobs? Doesn’t sound like it.

and…

Looks like the President won’t be pardoning any criminals soon…

White House spokesman Tony Snow last week would not comment specifically on pardon proceedings, but he said the facts presented in court showed that Ramos and Compean tried to cover up what occurred.

U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton issued a statement in response to allegations the agents were prosecuted for “just doing their job,” saying “nothing could be further from the truth.”

“These agents shot someone who they knew to be unarmed and running away,” Sutton said. “They destroyed evidence, covered up a crime scene and then filed false reports about what happened. It is shocking that there are people who believe it is OK for agents to shoot an unarmed suspect who is running away.”

and finally, this last ignorant and cold comment…

If the President of the United States won’t even consider a pardon, why should I care about them?

While these are most likely comments from the same person, it is apparent that this person(s) has done very little investigation into the case of the border agents. Rather, he/she has relied upon the repetetive ramblings of Johnny Sutton to formulate his/her rash and uninformed beliefs in this matter.

But it is incumbent upon us, as those who proclaim the innocence of Ramos and Compean, to prove that innocence. There is no burden of proof upon those who believe they are guilty, as the commenter(s) above presume as truth due to the outcome of the original trial and the talking points of Sutton. However, and with confidence, I will say that due to people like Sara Carter of the The Daily Bulletin, Jerome Corsi, contributor for World Net Daily, and John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of the John and Ken Show on KFI, the political prisoners Ramos and Compean will be vindicated and released while people like Johnny Sutton will be brought up on charges and punished.

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Memo casts doubt on agency’s assertions

Homeland Security won’t release papers on border agents’ case

By Sara A. Carter, Staff Writer

The Department of Homeland Security’s assertions that two El Paso Border Patrol agents knowingly shot an unarmed suspect appear to be countered by the department’s own documents, the Daily Bulletin has learned.

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, told the Daily Bulletin on Wednesday that Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner has refused to deliver documents confirming his office’s claims that Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean admitted they “were out to shoot Mexicans,” and knowingly shot Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, a drug smuggler, in a border incident nearly two years ago.McCaul and three other House members met with Skinner on Sept. 26, 2006, to discuss the agents’ case.

The Daily Bulletin obtained a confidential Office of Inspector General memo from an interview Compean gave to investigators on March 18, 2005.

The memo, dated April 4, 2005, supports the agent’s claim that he believed his life was in danger when he tried to apprehend the Mexican drug smuggler on Feb. 17, 2005.Special Agent Christopher Sanchez of the Inspector General’s office stated in the memo that Compean believed Aldrete-Davila was carrying a weapon when Compean fired at him. Sanchez was the main DHS investigator on the case.

“Compean said that Aldrete-Davila continued to look back over his shoulder towards Compean as Aldrete-Davila ran away from him,” Sanchez wrote. “Compean said that he began to shoot at Aldrete-Davila because of the shiny object he thought he saw in Aldrete-Davila’s left hand … Compean explained that he thought that the shiny object might be a gun and that Aldrete-Davila was going to shoot him because he kept looking back at him as he ran away … .”

According to McCaul and the other congressmen who met with Skinner – Reps. John Culberson, Kenny Marchant and Ted Poe, all Republicans who represent Texas – the inspector general told them during their meeting last fall that Ramos and Compean had confessed to knowingly shooting at an unarmed suspect.

The Daily Bulletin made five phone calls for comment to the Office of Inspector General on Thursday, and left the same number of messages again on Friday. None of the calls were returned.

“According to the inspector general, they had evidence that the agents said they were out to shoot Mexicans,” Poe said. “I found that hard to believe and asked if I could see that evidence. They never gave us what was promised.”

McCaul, a former federal prosecutor in Texas, said the Inspector General’s office has refused to provide any evidence thus far to support its claims.

He and his colleagues are now demanding that Skinner turn over documents related to the case or face a subpoena or contempt of Congress.

“I want to weigh the facts and the evidence in this case,” McCaul said. “Either it is total arrogance or gross incompetence on the part of the Inspector General’s office. If what (the DHS) told us was a lie, or if they misrepresented the facts on this case to members of Congress, we are going to hold them accountable.”

Full transcripts from Ramos and Compean’s trial last spring still have not been made available to Congress or the public. According to McCaul, repeated requests for the transcripts since November have been answered with excuses.

Ramos and Compean shot Aldrete-Davila on Feb. 17, 2005, after a foot chase along the Texas-Mexico border. Aldrete-Davila, who was struck in the buttocks, had fled a van the agents were pursuing; the van later turned out to be holding more than 700 pounds of marijuana. The smuggler was given immunity by the U.S. Attorney’s office and full medical treatment for his injuries to testify against the agents.

The agents were convicted of several charges related to the shooting, notably assault with a deadly weapon. Ramos received an 11-year prison sentence, Compean 12 years.

Aldrete-Davila is suing the U.S. Border Patrol for $5 million for his injuries.

Ramos said he testified during the trial that he saw Aldrete-Davila with something “shiny” in his hand, and told the Daily Bulletin he thought it was a gun.

According to the memorandum, seven other agents were on the scene at the time of the shooting, including two supervisors whom Ramos and Compean both stated knew about the incident.

No other agents at the scene that day were prosecuted, and some were given immunity to testify against Ramos and Compean.

Agents and supervisors are required to file a written report if they participate in or know of an incident, according to TJ Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, which represents nearly 11,000 Border Patrol agents.

“The steadfast refusal of the departments of Justice and Homeland Security to provide relevant information to Congress and the public about why Border Patrol agents Compean and Ramos were prosecuted causes people to wonder what they are trying to hide,” Bonner said.

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Ballistics data don’t support
charge against border agents

Investigator: U.S. attorney twisted evidence to fit case – ‘guilty of malicious prosecution’


Posted: January 28, 2007
10:45 p.m. Eastern

 

By Jerome R. Corsi
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com
Ballistics reports, used in the trial of Ignacio “Nacho” Ramos, one of two Border Patrol agents convicted of shooting fleeing drug dealer Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, do not support the prosecution’s claim the bullet was fired from Ramos’ gun, according to documents provided to WND from Andy Ramirez, chairman of the Friends of the Border Patrol. Despite the conclusion of a laboratory criminalist that he could not conclusively link the bullet removed from Aldrete-Davila with Ramos’ service weapon, a Department of Homeland Security agent swore, in an affidavit of complaint filed against Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean, that Aldrete-Davila was hit by a round fired by Ramos.


Andy Ramirez

“Johnny Sutton and his assistants are guilty of malicious prosecution,” Ramirez charged to WND. “The prosecutors lied to the jury and he twisted evidence to make it fit his case. And when he couldn’t twist the evidence, the government demanded that the court seal evidence which would have been exculpatory to the defense.”

Nearly two years after the conclusion of the trial, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas has yet to release a transcript of the trial.

WND asked Ramirez if he was aware of the seriousness of his charges.

“I am very aware and I am accusing Mr. Sutton of a felony,” Ramirez told WND, “but I am basing my conclusion on the evidence I have examined in this case and the refusal by the government to provide evidence to substantiate its claim to the Congress and the American people.”

“Back on Sept. 26, 2006, officials from the DHS Office of Inspector General made serious allegations against both agents Ramos and Compean to four members of Congress from the Texas delegation,” Ramirez said. “The Inspector General has subsequently refused to provide their evidence to substantiate their claims to Congress. So I am also accusing the DHS Office of Inspector General of making false statements to Congress in order to prevent a congressional inquiry. I am asking the U.S. Congress to subpoena all documents pertaining to this case including the full transcripts, sealed testimony, and the sealed indictment against Aldrete-Davila in order to get to the truth of this case once and for all.”

Sutton told WND that as far as he in concerned, the issue was settled at the trial. Both defendants and their attorneys stipulated the bullet that struck the drug smuggler came from Ramos’ gun.

Ramirez argues the border agents did not have the best legal assistance, due to a lack of funds.

WND previously reported Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, has accused DHS of stonewalling on the release of documents. Despite persistent requests to hand over promised internal reports, McCaul told WND Congress had not yet received the materials.

In the Sept. 26, 2006, meeting with the Texas Republican delegation, the Inspector General’s office claimed it had substantiating investigative reports that could back up their criminal charges against Ramos and Compean. Among the charges made by IG was that Ramos and Compean had stated Feb.17, 2005, the day of the Aldrete-Davila shooting, they “wanted to shoot a Mexican.”


Monica Ramos embraces her husband, former U.S. Border Patrol agent Ignacio Ramos, two days before he was sentenced to 11 years in prison (Courtesy El Paso Times)

WND also reported Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, last week filed a Freedom of Information Act request against the DHS Inspector General’s office to obtain those investigative reports. Poe took this action after DHS informed the Texas Republican delegation the documents would not be turned over to them because the Democrats were now in control of Congress and McCaul was no longer chairman of the Investigations Subcommittee of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

Ramirez has worked on the Ramos and Compean matter for nearly two years, investigating the facts of case and interviewing Ramos, Compean, their families and others knowledgeable about the proceedings. He shared two documents with WND that, he says, undermine the prosecution’s case against Ramos.

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.

The second document, a ballistics report completed by the Texas Department of Public Safety, interests Ramirez both because of the agency that did the testing and the results of the test.

“For some unexplained reason, U.S. Attorney Sutton had the ballistics test performed by the Texas Department of Public Safety in El Paso, rather than by the FBI,” he said. “This was a federal issue that should have gone to the FBI and only to the FBI. The Texas Department of Public Safety had no business running a ballistics report on a federal case. The FBI handles all shooting incidents, whether it involves assaults or otherwise, concerning federal agents. DPS should have refused the case and demanded that the bullet be picked up by the FBI for analysis.

“If you ask the Texas DHS how many shooting cases they handle involving federal agents, they would have said, ‘None’. Then, if you asked the FBI how many shooting cases they handle involving federal agents, they would have said, ‘All of them.’ Yet that isn’t how it went in this case. Nothing was done by the rules.”

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.

Correa’s report gives no indication the bullet submitted for analysis was disfigured or in fragments, despite having been supposedly extracted from Aldrete-Davila’s body after reportedly doing massive damage to his groin area and hitting bone.

“The problem was that the ballistics report did not match the bullet to Ramos’ gun,” Ramirez said. “The ballistics report said the bullet could have been fired by any one of four different makes of gun. So, the affidavit of complaint against Ramos and Compean made a statement that was not substantiated by the ballistics report. That is a big problem for the prosecution. Their evidence does not support their accusation.”

The arrest warrant issued for agent Ramos, a copy of which Ramirez also supplied WND, attests Ramos was charged with, “Intentionally assaulting a Mexican national, one O.A.D., resulting in serious bodily injury.” This conclusion is not supported by the ballistics letter written by Texas DPS specialist Correa.

WND has not investigated documents from the prosecutors which would establish the chain of evidence between the time the bullet was extracted from Aldrete-Davila’s groin and the time Carter of DHS presented it to Correa for analysis.

“How do we know that the prosecutors didn’t simply fire a round from Ramos’ gun into gel?” Ramirez asks. “That could explain the nearly pristine bullet the prosecutors presented for ballistics analysis.”

The failure of the prosecution ballistics reports to link the bullet with agent Ramos’ weapon directly challenges a claim made by Sutton to WND in an exclusive interview. In that interview, Sutton claimed that agent Ramos hit Aldrete-Davila:

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.

WND has further learned the bullet was not extracted from Aldrete-Davila’s body until DHS special agent Christopher R. Sanchez brought him back from Mexico, at some unspecified time after the February 17, 2005 incident in which Aldrete-Davila was supposedly wounded by agent Ramos’ fire.

A doctor in Mexico had inserted a catheter to reverse the damage done to Aldrete-Davila’s urethra, but did not extract the bullet.

The bullet was extracted by a U.S. Army doctor, at government expense. According to the physician, the bullet entered Aldrete-Davila’s left buttock from the left side, traversed his groin, damaged the urethra, hitting bone in the process, and lodged in his right thigh. The bullet was extracted from Aldrete-Davila’s right groin and he received reconstructive surgery for the damage done to his groin and urethra and a catheter was reinserted.

WND has obtained the post-operative release form for the U.S. operation. That document specifies that Aldrete-Davila was released to the custody of DHS special agent Christopher Sanchez. WND has not been able to obtain evidence regarding where Sanchez took Aldrete-Davila next, or why.

The Army doctor’s description of the wound directly contradicts U.S. Attorney Sutton’s repeated claim that agents Ramos and Compean shot Aldrete-Davila in the back.

The doctor clearly stated that the wound he observed was consistent with Aldrete-Davila turning to assume a “bladed position” with his left arm extended back toward the officers. This corroborates agent Ramos and Compean’s claim they observed Aldrete-Davila turning back toward them while fleeing, extending his arm and holding an object in his hand that they took to be a weapon.

Aldrete-Davila is left-handed, consistent with the bullet entering his left buttock laterally as he fled and turned back toward the officers, possibly pointing a weapon at them.

“The doper after the surgery was transferred back to the personal custody of DHS special agent Sanchez,” Ramirez said. “So Christopher Sanchez has both the doper and the bullet. Aldrete-Davila was not transferred to a hotel, escorted by federal marshals. Aldrete-Davila wasn’t escorted from Mexico by the Mexican government. Everything involving Aldrete-Davila was left to the personal custody of Christopher Sanchez. Anything could have happened and who would know?”

WND is left to ask the following questions, which the Texas DPS ballistics analysis does not resolve:

  • How did Aldrete-Davila continue running far enough to cross the Rio Grande back into Mexico after he had been hit by a round that passed through his left buttock from the side and damaged his urethra before lodging in his right thigh?

  • How do we know that the bullet extracted from Aldrete-Davila could not have been fired into him during an unrelated incident in Mexico subsequent to Feb. 17, 2005, by a weapon among those of the type described in Correa’s report?

Conceivably, agents Ramos and Compean did not hit fleeing drug smuggler Aldrete-Davila on Feb. 17, 2005, despite firing multiple rounds at him.

“Johnny Sutton and his office have intentionally distorted and misrepresented the facts in this case,” Ramirez charged. “There’s something clearly wrong in the federal prosecutor’s office in El Paso. The Ramos and Compean case is a witch hunt. Every law enforcement agent on the border from Border Patrol agents to ICE agents to deputy sheriffs and sheriffs have gotten the message.”

What’s the message, WND asked?

“The message is simple,” Ramirez replied. “Enforce our drug laws aggressively on the border and you risk going to jail, not the drug dealers. We have a drug war going on along the Texas border and the U.S. government has backed off to the benefit of the drug lords.

Ramirez ended the interview with WND by noting: “After the Ramos and Compean case, no U.S. law enforcement officer on the border will ever again draw a weapon against a Mexican illegal transporting drugs without worrying that effort to enforce our laws may place him in jail, not the doper.”

On Aug. 17, 2006, Ramirez gave sworn testimony on the Ramos and Compean case to the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, a copy of which is posted on his website.

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Last week, I went back and forth several times with a commenter who offered the below statements (and my responses) to this piece I posted back on October 24, 2006. It is indicative of and mirrors the argument that U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton used as one of the central assertions to convict former border patrol agents, and currently interred federal inmates, Ignacio “Nacho” Ramos and Jose Compean.

First reader comment:

The officers shot at a man they knew was unarmed and had committed no wrong doing that they knew about at that point other than refusing to stop his van and then fleeing back toward the Mexican border. The officers knew he was without a weapon and that there was absolutely no threat to their lives. The man held up his hands in surrender yet he was fired at. Not only that but they attempted to cover up their mistakes and failed to report the incident; a clear case of obstruction of justice. How could anyone reasonably call these men heroes?

My response:

The central issue I have with your comment is your statement that Ramos and Compean knew the illegal alien didn’t have a weapon. How do you know that? They claim they thought he had a gun in their testimony.

The lawyers for the illegal would like you to believe that the officers shot wily-nily knowing he didn’t have a gun, but they can’t prove what someone believes, in this case, whether the officer in question believed the alien had a weapon and was going to use it against him. Testimony during the trial stated the officers believed the alien might have had a weapon in his hand, and that he was turning to use it. What would you do in that situation? Wait to see if what he had expelled a bullet in your direction? I would not.

His response to my response:

They said that they believed he had a gun but other than their testimony that he appeared to be reaching back for a weapon, absolutely nothing indicated that he was armed. The evidence suggests that the officers knew there was no gun: [U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton] …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.’” If they truly thought he had a gun they would have properly responded by hitting the ground or taking cover.

The fact that agents attempted to collect all of the shells fired and did not report the incident gives further creedence to the idea that they knew they had acted rashly because the man was unarmed.

I’m just shocked that so many people are defending these guys. Not only did these men make a mistake but they attempted to cover it up as well and filed a false report.

Their sentence, by federal law, must be 10 years at least. I would hope that they could at least be kept in partial isolation away from other prisoners to avoid harm coming to them in that manner, but frankly, they don’t deserve a full pardon. Their actions were beyond incompetent; they were deliberately deceitful.

And my final response to his response to my response to his comment:

Your statement is an almost identical quote of Sutton’s interview last week on a San Diego radio station. Of course, the concept that ‘absolutely nothing indicated that he [Davila] was armed’ is what the prosecution wanted everyone to believe as part of their case, but you simply cannot tell the border agent that the alien did not have a gun if he, the agent, felt otherwise. Period.

I do not discount the fact that the agents acted improperly by collecting shells and filing false paperwork, but any amount of jail time for a paperwork violation is preposterous. At the most, these men should simply have lost their jobs for their dishonesty (sort of like what should have happened to President Bush for lying to the American people in order to get us into Iraq–unfortunately, Bush is still our President.) The fact of the matter remains that Davila did not ship that particular van-load of drugs because of the efforts of Ramos and Compean. Thank god for their diligence.

The only part of my last response I would change is the statement that Ramos and Compean at most should have lost their jobs due to their perceived cover-up by collecting shells and not filling a proper report. I now believe they should only have been given possible suspensions. Even losing their jobs is too harsh a punishment for the supposed crime they committed, as will be discussed by Jerome Corsi more eloquently and in more detail via the World Net Daily story below.

Stampeding forward on “conspiracy” violations, as Sutton has explained ad nauseum in dozens of interviews–at the root, the agents picking up shells, and not filing proper paperwork–has been discovered, in actuality, a falsehood. Ramos and Compean did in fact provide an oral report to their commanding officer. The border patrol manual states agents are not required to de facto file physical paperwork as long as they provide an accurate oral report of the incident in question, which is what Ramos and Compean did, even disclosing the shooting of Davila. Unfortunately, their supervising officer did not submit a written report based upon the statements provided to him by the two border agents. Too bad for them.

So all those who view Johnny Sutton as the beacon of truth and justice in the case against Ramos and Compean should here realize that Sutton himself is the one who is lying, at least concerning the accusations of false reporting and false paperwork. The agents conducted themselves properly in this matter according to border patrol policies. Sutton, on the other hand, seems to have conducted himself rather inappropriately. The fact that Sutton in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security are stonewalling the release of investigative documents that could markedly assist Ramos and Compean in their case is quite telling–they are hiding something

But what about the shooting of illegal alien drug-smuggler Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila? Isn’t that the axial reason for putting Ramos and Compean behind bars? Yes. Didn’t they act malapropos by firing their gun and shooting Davila? No.

The former agents did not act unreasonably nor did they mishandle the confrontation with the illegal alien drug-smuggler by discharging their weapons at him and subsquently striking him in the ass. The law used to try Ramos and Compean was apparently either misconstrued by Sutton and his team, or it was intentionally perverted in order to ensure two men and their families would be destroyed–guaranteed maximum jail time for the former agents. The border agents were charged with 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c) which states the following:

Whoever, during and in relation to any crime of violence or drug trafficking crime (including a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime which provides for an enhanced punishment if committed by the use of a deadly or dangerous weapon or device) for which he may be prosecuted in a court of the United States, uses or carries a firearm, shall, in addition to the punishment provided for such crime of violence or drug trafficking crime, be sentenced to imprisonment for five years, and if the firearm is a short-barreled rifle, short-barreled shotgun, or semiautomatic assault weapon, to imprisonment for ten years, and if the firearm is a machinegun, or a destructive device, or is equipped with a firearm silencer or firearm muffler, to imprisonment for thirty years. In the case of his second or subsequent conviction under this subsection, such person shall be sentenced to imprisonment for twenty years, and if the firearm is a machinegun, or a destructive device, or is equipped with a firearm silencer or firearm muffler, to life imprisonment without release. (FOOTNOTE 1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the court shall not place on probation or suspend the sentence of any person convicted of a violation of this subsection, nor shall the term of imprisonment imposed under this subsection run concurrently with any other term of imprisonment including that imposed for the crime of violence or drug trafficking crime in which the firearm was used or carried.

This statute was erroneously used to convict Ramos and Compean for discharging their weapons against the illegal alien drug-smuggler, Davila. While this statute applies to criminals who use weapons whilst committing a crime, it only applies to officers of the law if they use their service weapons in the process of committing a crime (robbery, rape, murder, etc.) Since Ramos and Compean were simply performing their job with no extraneous outrageous actions on their part, 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c) cannot be applied to their particular case, and Sutton’s continued, parrot-like ramblings that the law applies equally all the time is false.

Regardless, we are at day nine of the Ramos/Compean political imprisonment. Their straight-to-jail railroading to me, is a clear message from Bush and his administration (of whom Sutton was a member, including the White House transitional team, when Bush was governor of Texas, even though Bush has claimed he doesn’t know Sutton.) The President wants to eradicate any willingness on border agents to do their job. He has ensured that Ramos and Compean would be the poster-boys for the border patrol–do your job and you will see serious jail time, but let the illegals flow over the border unfettered, and you will be fine.

If this comes back on Sutton though, which could happen, he could see some serious charges brought against him.

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WND Exclusive Commentary


Wrong law used to convict Border agents


Posted: January 22, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern
What crime is committed when two Border Patrol agents shoot in the buttocks a fleeing drug smuggler who has abandoned a van containing 743 pounds of marijuana?

Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., has on record a letter written to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Oct.11, 2006, charging that Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean were charged under a statute that did not apply to the facts of the case. As previously reported by WND, the interview I conducted on Friday, Jan. 17, 2007 with the prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, adds strong support to Rep. Jones’s contention.

Jones notes that Ramos and Compean were convicted of violating 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c). This statute was written to increase the penalties when a violent criminal, such as a drug trafficker or a rapist, carries or uses a weapon during the commission of the crime. Law enforcement officers, including Border Patrol agents, are issued weapons by the Border Patrol to carry in the normal pursuit of their duties.

Ironically, Ramos and Compean were trying to apprehend an escaping suspect who was a drug smuggler. How is it that a law meant to punish armed drug smugglers is applied to prosecute the two Border Patrol agents who attempted to apprehend a person U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton properly characterizes as a drug-dealing ”dirt-bag?”

Jones notes that 18 U.S.C. Section 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c) has only been applied to law enforcement officers who themselves commit heinous crimes, such as sexual assault, outside the scope of their official duties. As Jones writes, ”Ramos and Compean were within the scope of their official duties when they fired at an illegal drug smuggler they believe to be armed and dangerous.”

Besides, Sutton never argues that Ramos and Compean were committing a crime they aggravated by discharging weapons. Sutton’s contention is that Ramos and Compean’s crime was that they discharged weapons at all. This is a distinct fact situation from the one 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c) was passed to involve.

Consider this exchange from my interview with Sutton:

WND: But one of the things here is that the law was passed, as I understand it, to basically punish criminals who in the process of committing crimes also fire weapons. The law was never intended to punish law enforcement officers who may have fired their weapons inappropriately when somebody else was committing a crime.

Sutton: The law applies to everyone. And there is no exception for law enforcement officers made.

Sutton misses the point. Sure, 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c) applies to law enforcement officers, but only when law enforcement officers themselves smuggle drugs or commit rapes and carry a firearm in the commission of those crimes. 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c) was never written to define the rights and responsibilities of officers who carry weapons in the normal course of their law enforcement duties and decide to discharge those weapons at fleeing drug dealers.

Again, let’s examine the next exchange in the interview with Sutton:

WND: But the original intent of that law, as I understand it, was to increase the punishment for criminals who when perpetrating their crimes discharge weapons. Is that not correct?

Sutton: I can’t speak to what the Congressional intent was. All I can speak to is what the law says and the law says what it says, and it doesn’t make any exception for law enforcement officers. It says that if you commit a crime of violence and you use a firearm during a crime of violence, it’s ten year mandatory minimum stacked on top of what time you already have. No exception is made for law enforcement officers. The judge applied the law and if people want to change the law, then you can talk to their representatives.

What crime were Ramos and Compean committing, during which they decided to fire their weapons? Surely, Sutton does not consider it a crime for Border Patrol agents to stop and seek to arrest a person they suspect of smuggling drugs across the border.

As Jones rightly concludes, ”The application of Section 924(c) in this case is overly broad, setting a dangerous precedent of application to law enforcement officers trying to act within the scope of their official duties.” Jones is correct. On appeal, the convictions should be dismissed because the prosecutor charged these Border Patrol agents under a law whose scope was clearly misapplied.

The real issue in this case should have been whether Ramos and Compean had justification for discharging their weapons in this situation. The applicable law would seem to first involve the INS Firearms Policy. In that policy, there appears to be the following.

Section 7(A). Discharging a firearm shall be done only with the intent of stopping a person or animal from continuing the threatening behavior which justifies the use of deadly force. When deadly force is justified, an officer may use any level of force necessary up to and including deadly force.

Section 7(B). Firearms may be discharged under the following circumstances:

(1) When the officer reasonably believes that the person at whom the firearm is to be discharged possesses the means, the intent, and the opportunity of causing death or grievous bodily harm upon the officer or another person.

Again, my interview with Sutton was informative. In explaining why agent Compean discharged 14 rounds and failed to hit the fleeing suspect, Sutton explained that agent Compean was experiencing a heightened physiological reaction that is commonly identified as a normal physical response to a perceived sense of imminent danger:

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.

WND: And Compean doesn’t seem very competent?

Sutton: Well, get your adrenalin pumping some day and go to the target range one day and try to hit the target. It’s sometimes harder than you think.

If the Border Patrol agents experienced adrenalin pumping, it is reasonable to conclude that they felt the drug smuggler, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, was armed and dangerous. The pumping adrenalin that Sutton admits impaired the aim of agent Compean should be prima facie evidence that agent Compean was experiencing an emotional response that could reasonably be associated with fear that the fleeing suspect yet possessed a weapon.

Moreover, in the interview, Sutton repeats almost as a litany a series of faults he has with the Border Patrol agents’ conduct, including Sutton’s conclusion that since Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila had his arms up at one point in the exchange, evidently wanting to surrender, the suspect must have been unarmed. Yet, when agent Compean slips in the mud, Aldrete-Davila takes off trying to escape. Simply because Aldrete-Davila did not fire a weapon back at the agents does not allow us to conclude that he did not have a concealed weapon at the time.

Maybe Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila had a concealed weapon he decided not to use, thinking that he only had a brief window where he could flee the scene and it would be better to keep running than to stop so he could shoot back at the agents.

Maybe Aldrete-Davila judged that if he had stayed to engage in a gun battle with the Border Patrol, he might have been himself killed or injured in the gun fire.

Certainly, Aldrete-Davila had reason to fear he was going to prison if he got apprehended. Sutton himself accepts this conclusion as evidenced by the interview:

Question: Why did Aldrete-Davila run?

Sutton: I’m sure he ran because he didn’t want to go to jail. He’s like all these other dirt-bag drug dealers; they don’t want to get caught. We catch them every day and they know that when we catch them, they’re going to go to prison.

How much time in the dirt and bush on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande did Aldrete-Davila feel he had before other Border Patrol agents would have an increased opportunity to apprehend him? Maybe it was simply better to keep running than to take the time to shot back at the agents.

An additional indisputable conclusion we must finalize is this: Since Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila managed to run away and escape back into Mexico across the border and was never apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol, truthfully nobody will ever know if he did or did not have a concealed weapon on him at the time.

From that conclusion follows this corollary: Because Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila got away, there is no argument the government can make that would prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Aldrete-Davila was unarmed.

If Border Patrol Agents Ramos and Compean had properly been prosecuted under the relevant provisions of the INS Firearms Policy, the issue before the jury would have been limited to an investigation of the reasonableness of their firing at a fleeing suspect they had reason to believe was an armed drug dealer. Let’s face it – how many drug dealers smuggle drugs unarmed?

The trial testimony shows that electronic sensors had warned Compean that Aldrete-Davila’s van had crossed the Rio Grande illegally and was headed into the United States. Why was Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila driving a suspicious van on a route the Border Patrol agents knew from previous experience was a route routinely used by drug smugglers along our largely wide-open border with Mexico?

Next, why did Aldrete-Davila turn his vehicle around after Border Patrol Agent Oscar Juarez began pursuing him if his goal wasn’t to try to escape back to Mexico on the dirt farm roads that headed back to the river?

How many job-seeking illegal aliens drive their cars into the U.S., only to turn and lead a wild pursuit along back roads in a desperate attempt to get across the Rio Grande before they’re arrested?

Instead of presuming that Border Patrol Agents Ramos and Compean were guilty of criminal behavior, as the indictment suggested, the inquiry at the trial should have focused on how reasonable their assumption was that they were pursuing an armed and dangerous drug smuggler who had tried to escape first in his van, then on foot.

Clearly, this was not the case where experienced Border Patrol agents such as Ramos and Compean would have thought they were dealing with an obviously unarmed Mexican who crossed the Rio Grande illegally only because he wanted to get work to feed his starving family. Yet, from the trial record, this preposterous theory was what the government wanted the jury to presuppose. The government dared to suggest to the jury with a straight face that Aldrete-Davila might have been a harmless, unarmed Mexican who crossed the Rio Grande merely to find work. Moreover, the prosecution proposed that in running from the vicious Border Patrol, all Aldrete-Davila wanted to do was to go back home to his poor family. As ridiculous as these assertions seem, there are statements in the trial where the prosecutors asserted exactly this, virtually word for word. Too bad for the prosecutors that Aldrete-Davila just happened to run away from and leave behind a van with the 743 pounds of dope packed inside, instead of newspapers with ”Help Wanted” ads circled.

The U.S. Army doctor who removed the bullet testified at the trial that the drug smuggler was not shot from behind, but that he removed the bullet from the side, with the bullet piercing the left side of his left buttock and traveled to his right groin. The doctor stated that Aldrete-Davila was in a running position when he was shot, consistent with pointing back toward the agents with his left arm and hand when the bullet hit him in the rear end. This is consistent with the testimony of the agents that they saw Aldrete-Davila pointing something back at them which they believed to be a gun.

Moreover, why would Ramos or Compean have any reason to believe Aldrete-Davila was hit by any of their shots? From the testimony at the trial, Aldrete-Davila got across the Rio Grande and disappeared into the tall, thick brush along the river. A short time later, Border Patrol agents observed Aldrete-Davila running across the dry river bed where he jumped into a waiting vehicle with two other suspects.

Yet, from the get-go, Sutton cleverly reframed the issue to bias the trial in the government’s favor. This was the point of charging Ramos and Compean inappropriately under 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c). The statute presumes those charged, namely Border Patrol Agents Ramos and Compean, were involved in the commission of a crime when they fired their weapons. This is totally inaccurate and misleading given the facts of the case. Yet, the presumption of 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c) – that criminal behavior was already being conducted by the accused – appears precisely suited to the impression Sutton wanted to create. The criminals here, according to Sutton, are the law enforcement officers. Every presumption Sutton made was sympathetic to the drug dealer in this case.

If any criminal action were ever to be brought in this issue, an unbiased prosecutor would have brought charges accusing the Border Patrol defendants of discharging their weapons inappropriately under the provisions of the INS Firearms Policy, not for violating 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c). The suggestion in the indictment itself was that the Border Patrol agents were somehow already criminals when they fired their weapons.

By charging the agents under an inappropriate statute, prosecutor Sutton focused the inquiry on the supposed criminal behavior of the agents, rather than on the narrow issue of whether the Border Patrol agents had reasonable cause to believe the fleeing suspect was a drug-smuggling criminal who most likely did have a concealed weapon on his person.

There is a long and involved body of law that has evolved over decades concerning whether law enforcement agents are justified in discharging their weapons at fleeing suspects. The limits of credibility are stretched in this case to believe that Border Patrol Agents Ramos and Compean acted in a criminally inappropriate manner, especially when the fleeing perpetrator (described now by the prosecutor as ”scum”) was found to have driven a van with 743 pounds of marijuana across our border with Mexico.

There is nothing in this case, except the subtle presumption framed by the indictment, to suggest that Aldrete-Davila was anything but a criminal perpetrator. How can anyone fail to notice that the U.S. Attorney’s office has in this case managed to transform a drug-smuggling perpetrator into the victim?

We should also note that one reason the prison terms of 11 and 12 years served up to Ramos and Compean respectively seem excessively harsh is because 10 years is the mandatory prison term attached to violations of 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c), as my interview with Sutton also made clear. This is the added penalty which the legislators who wrote 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c) felt anyone already committing a serious crime, such as drug smuggling or rape, should have to pay as an add-on for the additional offense of carrying or discharging a firearm in the omission of the drug smuggling offense or rape. In other words, the excessive jail terms given Ramos and Compean is additional evidence that prosecutor Sutton brought the indictments under an inappropriate statute.

Sutton had the option of investigating in Mexico to find the perpetrator, even if the evidence on the scene was minimal. Again, a section of the interview with Sutton is relevant.

Question: People are going to say that 700 pounds of marijuana is a serious offense.

Sutton: Absolutely. This is what my office is dedicated to. We think smuggling drugs into this country is a serious crime. We prosecute those cases every day. We are one of the highest producing U.S. Attorneys offices in the United States, if not the highest for drug prosecutions. We are very aggressive. We prosecute drug smugglers every day. I’d much prefer to be having that discussion, but unfortunately, the criminal behavior of these two agents brought us to this point.

Earlier in the interview, Sutton had mentioned in passing during the interview that Department of Homeland Security investigators were involved with Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila’s family. We are separately told that Homeland Security’s Christopher Sanchez was in Mexico investigating Aldrete-Davila when the U.S. Attorney’s office decided it was best to give him immunity. What was that all about?

Clearly, the drug cartels knew who Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila was. Where did Aldrete-Davila get the drugs in the first place? We can imagine that a different prosecutor who was totally focused on stopping drug trafficking from Mexico could have used the facts of this case to begin a sweeping investigation into the Mexican drug traffic. But U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton chose not to go that route.

That Sutton was drawn to the presumption that the Border Patrol agents in this case were the bad guys weighs heavily upon the credibility of the Bush administration to be serious about protecting U.S. citizens by securing our border. We strongly believe that with Ramos and Compean in prison, U.S. Attorney Sutton has given Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila the upper hand in suing the Border Patrol for $4 million for violating his civil rights.

If Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, a drug smuggling ”dirt bag” from Mexico, ends up being rewarded $4 million while Border Patrol Agents Ramos and Compean are in federal prison, we believe President George W. Bush will once and for all lose the sympathy and credibility of the American people on the issue of border security.

We will then rightly conclude that George W. Bush has always had only one intention and that is to do anything necessary to force another ”guest-worker amnesty” down the throat of the American people. This is the bill the Bush administration supported in the 109th Congress and it is the bill we suspect the Bush administration will force once more in the 110th Congress.

Meanwhile, the clever attorneys for Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila will be preparing to collect by calling the U.S. Attorney’s office forward to testify as they pursue their client’s claim for damages against the imprisoned Border Patrol agents.

US Attorney Johnny Sutton

Johnny Sutton

 

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Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

 

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Arab gentleman sand surfing in dunes outside Dubai

There’s nothing more to be said here. The below piece by blogger Fjordman is simply stunning. The writer eloquently encompasses what I feel concerning the West and western civilization and culture. Enjoy.

Marxism or Decadence? The Cause of Western Weakness

I sometimes am criticized for being too focused on the left-wing of the political spectrum and ignoring the problems caused by right-wing parties. First of all, the line of separation between what constitutes “Left” and “Right” in politics now tends to become blurred. And second of all, only a fool believes that everybody on one side is always right, and everybody on the other side is always wrong. I have been consistent in pointing out that the European Union, which I loathe, cannot be explained simply as a one-sided Leftist endeavor. It also contains elements of Big Business interests, political corruption and the general desire of politicians and bureaucrats to rid themselves of the restrictions imposed on them by a democratic society.

Angela MerkelAt the time I write this, the conservative German chancellor Angela Merkel continues to push for the implementation of the awful EU Constitution, and I just read a column by a free-market activist who champions continued mass-immigration, including from Muslim countries, because his ideological convictions lead him to conclude that free migration is always good and beneficial.

It is also true that not all those who undermine Western civilization through support for Multiculturalism and mass immigration do so out of a hidden political agenda. Some do it out of plain stupidity and vanity. “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s most open-minded of them all?” It’s a beauty contest for bored, Western intellectuals who use immigrants as a mirror to reflect their own inflated egos, a sport where they can nurse their vanity in the mistaken belief that denigrating your own cultural heritage is a sign of goodness and lack of prejudice.

I suspect that part of the craziness on display now stems from feelings of guilt because of affluence. I hear so many of these open border activists talk about “solidarity,” but in reality it’s all about me, me, me. They don’t show much solidarity with their own children and grandchildren who are going to inherit the Balkanized nightmare they leave behind. It’s all about making them feel good about themselves right now, without regard for future consequences of their actions. So their “solidarity” is really an extreme form of egotism and holier-than-thou self-exaltation. Besides, many of them have lived sheltered lives for so long that they honestly don’t understand that something bad can ever happen to them. They’ve never had to fight for their freedom or their prosperity, which had been ensured by others.

So yes, there is a component of decadence, materialism, hedonism and nihilism without any specific ideological agenda at work here. But still, even if I try to be as objective as possible, it is difficult to avoid seeing that a disproportionate amount of our problems come from political left-wingers and that elements of it are indeed ideological. Besides, it is sometimes difficult to define where decadence ends and cultural Marxism begins. The Marxist-inspired “revolution” of the 1960s and 70s, which both at the time and in hindsight has been viewed as a watershed in Western history, was staged by people who had enjoyed unprecedented economic growth throughout their entire lives.

I can see no connection between Islamic terrorism and poverty, but maybe there is a connection between wealth and politically correct nonsense. Western Europe has enjoyed decades of affluence and welfare state boredom, and is crazier than any civilization before it in history, even paying its own enemies to colonize it and thinking happy thoughts about cultural diversity as it is being wiped out. Is cultural Marxism caused by boredom, which is again caused by affluence created by capitalism? It would be sort of ironic if that is the case.

To quote The True Believer by Eric Hoffer:

Eric Hoffer“The poor on the borderline of starvation live purposeful lives. To be engaged in a desperate struggle for food and shelter is to be wholly free from a sense of futility. The goals are concrete and immediate. Every meal is a fulfillment; to go to sleep on a full stomach is a triumph; and every windfall a miracle. What need could they have for ‘an inspiring super individual goal which could give meaning and dignity to their lives?’ They are immune to the appeal of a mass movement.”

And later Hoffer points out that “There is perhaps no more reliable indicator of a society’s ripeness for a mass movement than the prevalence of unrelieved boredom. In almost all the descriptions of the periods preceding the rise of mass movements there is reference to vast ennui; and in their earliest stages mass movements are more likely to find sympathizers and support among the bored than among the exploited and oppressed.”
– – – – – – – – – –
In The Weekly Standard, Michel Gurfinkiel notes that indeed, there are intellectuals “who relish the prospect of a new French Revolution, and welcome the suburban rioters as its spearhead. Nothing is more revealing, in this respect, than the success of a feverish political novel, Supplément au Roman National (A Sequel to the National Narrative), by 28-year-old author Jean-ric Boulin. Published two months ago, it forecasts a ‘social and racial’ revolution in France in 2007. First a wave of suicide bombings in Paris. Then martial law. Then, finally, the great rebellion of the French poor: the native underclass, the Arabs, and the blacks, who unite under the green flag of Islam and the tricolor of France and march on Paris — as a sort of Commune in reverse. Boulin gallantly supports such an outcome.”

The French RevolutionThere is, admittedly, something special about France and their love of revolts and mayhem. The French still haven’t recovered from their great Revolution of 1789. It is strange that a modern nation can celebrate as their national day the birth of a bloody upheaval which paved the way for mass-murder and authoritarian rule. But the fascination with Islamic movements is far from limited to France. It is partly based on hatred of the West and a belief that the world must be “liberated” from Western civilization, which is the cause of global injustice.

Elin BrodinNorwegian author Elin Brodin wrote an essay entitled “Western values are the worst.” According to her, “Modern Westerners are the most bigoted, self-righteous and deaf-blind creatures that have ever walked the earth’s crust. This goes for the left-wing and the feminists just as much as for everybody else. We really have to change our attitudes, not just our clothes, because now the question is whether this civilization should be transformed or fall. Because the West neither can nor should endure in its present form.”

City on FireIf you want to see a really nasty example of the hatred against Western civilization on display, here’s a link from Danish blog Uriasposten. Thyra Hilden and Pio Diaz projected video images of flames onto 1,000 square-metre glass screens in a museum in the central Danish town of Aarhus. The “art” exhibition was called “City on Fire – Burning the roots of western culture.” The artists assured us that “It is not actual fire that destroys actual buildings – but the idea of fire that destroys the historical and ideological roots of Western culture.” Part of their vision was “to create an aesthetic image of the deconstruction of the cultural roots of the Western world,” because as they said, Western culture was “very aggressive,” while Islamic culture has been far less so.

Bruce Thornton writes about Robert Conquest’s book Reflections on a Ravaged Century. especially his chapter on Soviet Myths and the Western Mind:

“As Conquest documents, many Western intellectuals and academics were delusional about the reality of the communist threat. For a host of reasons — a quasi-religious faith in utopian socialism, neurotic hatred of their own culture, vulnerability to an ideology that dressed itself in scientific garb, an adolescent romance with revolution, and sheer ignorance of the facts — many professors, pundits, politicians, and religious leaders refused to believe that Soviet leaders meant what they said about revolution and subversion.” Because of this, “throughout the Cold War, the Western resolve to resist Soviet expansionism was undercut by ‘peace’ movements, nuclear disarmament movements, calls for détente and ‘dialogue,’ and claims of moral equivalence between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.”

According to Thornton, other parallels between Cold War Sovietophiles and today’s rationalizers for Jihad present themselves. The academic establishment for most of the Cold War “was predisposed to leftist ideology.”

Arne TreholtUnfortunately, the Soviet-appeasers never had to endure the consequences of their actions. In Norway, I heard recently several left-wingers state that Arne Treholt, a senior diplomat who was convicted of high treason in the 1980s for spying for the Soviet Union, was actually a misunderstood hero who wanted “dialogue” with the Communists. A former member of the Labor Party, he was reprieved by the Labor government in 1992. He has always claimed his innocence, but admitted later that he was both careless and negligent and “drifted into some questionable areas” when he turned over confidential state documents to Soviet representatives and accepted money for them in return.

Ban the Bomb!When US President Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980, after Jimmy Carter had made a mockery out of the presidency and his inaction contributed to the success of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, the massive Soviet military machinery placed medium-range SS-20 nuclear missiles to intimidate Western Europe and split NATO. They also encouraged massive demonstrations and campaigns within the West for unilateral Western disarmament. Yet Reagan chose to up the ante by deploying new U.S. nuclear missiles in Europe. He denounced the Soviet Union as the “Evil Empire” and engaged the Soviets in a military build-up that bankrupted their fragile economy. Reagan, who dared to challenge blackmail from one of the most brutal regimes in human history, was reviled and ridiculed by the leftist intelligentsia, and is still hated even a generation after the Cold War ended. Yet a man such as Mr. Treholt, who appeased the same regime, is viewed in positive terms.

Sadly, conservatives demsontrated negligence after the Cold War. We never properly denounced Marxism as an ideology as well as discredited those individuals who had supported it, the way it was done with Fascism after WW2. That was a mistake. We had a massive fifth column of left-wingers during the Cold War who sapped our strength and appeased our enemies. These very same groups have been allowed to continue their work uninterrupted, and went straight from appeasing Soviet Communism to appeasing Islamic Jihad.

The Seventh WarThe book The Seventh War, by Israeli journalists Avi Yisacharov and Amos Harel, is based on interviews with Hamas Islamic terrorist leaders in Gaza and Israeli prisons. Hamas leaders told them clearly: “It was the Israeli left and your peace camp that ultimately encouraged us to continue with our suicide attacks. We tried, through our attacks, to create fragmentation and dissention within Israeli society, and the left-wing’s reaction was proof that this was indeed the right approach.”

The West and Westerners in general are treated as the “global oppressive class” by our Marxist-inspired academic elites. From historical experience, in Socialist societies, those deemed a part of the “oppressive class” have at best been deprived of their property, at worst been physically eliminated. Western Leftists really believe their own rhetoric about the West being the cause of most of the problems of the world, and want to “liberate” the planet by bringing down the oppressive class, aka the West.

We could go into long debates as to whether this is compatible with the doctrines of classical Marxism, since most Islamic and Third World nations are far from industrialized. It is true that Karl Marx initially stated that capitalism was a necessary transitional stage for Socialism. Most Socialists before WW1 believed that the Marxist revolution would start in Germany, precisely because it was a more advanced capitalist and industrialized economy. But Lenin decided to start in Russia after the opportunity provided by the first revolution in 1917, despite the fact that it was far from a developed capitalist economy at that point. Marxist strategies have thus changed considerably during the past century. By far the one element that has remained most consistent is the tendency to view society primarily in economic terms, through the prism of groups exploiting other groups. In general, Marxist tools for analysis have survived far better than their practical solutions and are still influential.

Karl MarxIt is, in my view, impossible to understand Multiculturalism without taking into account this profound influence of Marxist thinking. Marxism states that culture is only of minor or secondary importance, while the primary moving factor is the struggle between the oppressed and the oppressors. This leads to treating cultural differences as insignificant, and thus the conclusion that major differences in performance between groups are caused by poverty and exploitation. This is exactly the picture we are presented by our media as the source of the difficulties in the Islamic world.

Moreover, the very idea that it is ok to stage massive and risky social experiments involving millions of people is one that was passed on from Marxism to Multiculturalism. As Friedrich von Hayek warned: “We must shed the illusion that we can deliberately ‘create the future of mankind.’ This is the final conclusion of the forty years which I have now devoted to the study of these problems.”

Antonio GramsciThe Frankfurt school of cultural Marxism, with such thinkers as Antonio Gramsci and Georg Lukacs, aimed at overthrowing capitalist rule by undermining the hegemonic culture. According to Gramsci, the Socialist revolution, which failed to spread following the Russian Revolution in 1917, could never take place until people were liberated from Western culture, and particularly from their “Christian soul.” As Lukacs said in 1919, “Who will save us from Western Civilization?” This could be done through breaking down traditional Judeo-Christian morality and family patterns and undermining the established institutions from within. In 2007, we can see clearly that this strategy has been quite successful in Western media and academia, which are not only neutral or lukewarm in defending our civilization, but are in many cases actively aiding our enemies. The irony is that most Westerners have never heard of Gramsci, yet ideas similar to his have had a huge impact on their lives.

In Scandinavia, it is a well-documented fact that journalists are much more left-leaning than the general populace. In France during the Muslim riots in 2005, several journalists stated openly that they downplayed the problems caused by immigrants in order not to boost the support for “right-wing parties,” and in Britain, leading figures from the BBC readily admitted that they actively champion Multiculturalism in their coverage. Even British Prime Minister Tony Blair, himself from the Labour Party, complained in the January 2007 issue of Foreign Affairs magazine about relations with Muslims that “many in Western countries listen to the propaganda of the extremists and accept it. (And to give credit where it is due, the extremists play our own media with a shrewdness that would be the envy of many a political party.)”

Daniel Pipes notes that “Significant elements in several Western countries – especially the United States, Great Britain, and Israel – believe their own governments to be repositories of evil, and see terrorism as just punishment for past sins. This ‘we have met the enemy and he is us’ attitude replaces an effective response with appeasement, including a readiness to give up traditions and achievements. Osama bin Laden celebrates by name such leftists as Robert Fisk and William Blum. Self-hating Westerners have an out-sized importance due to their prominent role as shapers of opinion in universities, the media, religious institutions, and the arts. They serve as the Islamists’ auxiliary mujahideen.”

Pipes warns that “Pacifism, self-hatred and complacency are lengthening the war against radical Islam and causing undue casualties. Only after absorbing catastrophic human and property losses will left-leaning Westerners likely overcome this triple affliction and confront the true scope of the threat. The civilized world will likely then prevail, but belatedly and at a higher cost than need have been. Should Islamists get smart and avoid mass destruction, but instead stick to the lawful, political, non-violent route, and should their movement remain vital, it is difficult to see what will stop them.”

In short: You know you live in a Western country when the media is cheering for your enemies, when your schools and universities teach your children that your civilization is evil and when your politicians think it’s a sign of “extremism” if you want to protect your nation’s borders.

Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir once said that “Peace will come when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.” Perhaps we will win this struggle for liberty only when Western left-wingers decide that love their children more than they hate Western civilization. If they have children in the first place, that is.

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Condoleezza Rice.jpg

While I’m obviously not a fan of Bush and his underlings (I’d go so far as to say they’re the worst and most despicable administration to have polluted the hallowed halls of the White House in over a century), I do not have a problem taking a part from the whole, occasionally admiring the diamond in the rough who is Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.

My perception of Rice is sort of akin to Michael Corleone in the first Godfather film–an intelligent, well-meaning, good natured, fairly honest human being who simply and unfortunately, and with skewed fore-knowledge, managed to get caught up in the underworld of his fathers’ crime syndicate even though he was timidly reluctant to do so. Right or wrong, he became swept up in the nefarious turmoil of his family business because of a sincere desire to protect his father from harm. Michael is an unapologetic character, but that does not make him unsympathetic. On the contrary, his initial inclination to remain outside of the Corleone clans’ chosen vocation makes him an entirely sympathetic individual of quality who willingly made sacrifices that would haunt him for the rest of his days.

Similarly and unfortunately Condoleezza Rice was simply drawn into the wrong crowd–the bad kids on the block. The respect I might have had for her had she not been a major participant in the Bush administration would be, I’m sure, much higher than it is today–you’re judged by the quality of your friends.

Still, I couldn’t help feeling a bit sad for her while she sat in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week, understandably receiving a deserved pummeling on Iraqi policy and the President’s scheme to deploy 20,000 additional troops into the midst of the Sunni / Shi’a civil war (totally discounting our own state senator, the ridiculously out-of-touch simpleton, Barbara Boxer who managed to place the entirety of her leg in her mouth when addressing Rice by making the comment, “Now the issue is, who pays the price? Who pays the price? I’m not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You’re not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family. So, who pays the price? The American military and their families. And I just want to bring us back to that fact.” Wow, Boxer! Way to retrogress the feminist movement to the dark ages.)

Condoleezza Rice is an exceptionally intelligent and talented person. She’s a classically trained pianist, having played with the likes of famed Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Mustafa Fuzer Nawi. Fluent in Russian, she also speaks German, French, and Spanish. She received her Ph.D in political science from the Graduate School of International Studies at the University Of Denver, Colorado.

From Wikipedia…

Rice was hired for her first academic position by Stanford University as an Assistant Professor in Political Science (1981–1987). She was granted tenure and promoted, first to Associate Professor (1987–1993), and then (she was off-campus from 1989–1991) to Provost, the chief budget and academic officer of the university (1993–2000), and full Professor (1993–present). In addition to being the first female and first minority to hold the position of Provost at Stanford, Rice was the youngest Provost in Stanford’s history. She was also named a Senior Fellow of the Institute for International Studies, and a Senior Fellow (by courtesy) of the Hoover Institution. She was a specialist on the former Soviet Union and gave lectures on the subject for the Berkeley-Stanford joint program led by UC Berkeley Professor George Breslauer in the mid-1980s.

To say Rice is a highly educated, intelligent person would be an understatement. But a high degree of intelligence is not all-pervasive. The Secretary of State, along with Bush and his minions as well as much of the general populace of the United States and the world, simply have very little understanding of Islam, the Qur’an, Muslims, and the Middle-east. Of course, I’m not an expert on the subject either, but I understand what she does not–the continued rift and subsequent and inevitable violence between Sunnis and Shi’ites benefits non-Muslims throughout the world by fueling divisive chaos and disorganization between two separate and dangerous religiopolitical theocratic sects bent on brutal imperialistic expansionism.

Of course, my understanding pales in comparison to Islamic scholar and regular Jihadwatch.org contributor, Hugh Fitzgerald who writes an impassioned and reasoned response to Rice’s comment.

My understanding of Islam is in it’s infancy. Fitzgerald’s is not.

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Fitzgerald: Rice and worse than Rice

The Secretary of State recently stated that the Middle East will have to “overcome” the tendency to see things in Sunni-Shi’a terms. There are two things wrong with the statement of Condoleeza Rice.

The first is the o’erweening, history-ignoring idea that Sunni-Shi’a rivalries and hostilities can “be overcome.” The Sunni-Shi’a split long ago transcended the initial quarrel over succession. Now there are differences in the organization of the Shi’a and Sunni variants of Islam: in organization (the power of the Shi’a ayatollahs and other Shi’a clergy has nothing similar in Sunni Islam); in ritual (the Shi’a Ashoura, with its emphasis on self-flagellation); and practice (the Shi’a shrines and visits to those shrines, so offensive to austere Sunnis, especially to the most austere of all, the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia).

The belief that somehow deeply-held beliefs and attitudes can be “overcome” seems to approach all this as if it were a question of civil rights in the South. One of the silliest and most harmful aspects of American governments is the belief that many things are susceptible of change, or of change that will come quickly. “Let’s have self-determination now” or “Let’s end poverty the way Jeffery Sachs says we can” or “Let’s just get right in there and reform Islam.” A blend of naivete, ignorance, and arrogance, which yields a most unappetizing brew.

The second thing wrong with Rice’s statement is that apparently she cannot conceive of why this Sunni-Shi’a split is a good thing for Infidels. She cannot conceive of why chaos and confusion and endless hostility between the two main branches or sects of Islam is something to be exploited, not to be deplored. It appears that American governments want always to take the side of this or that plausible group of Muslims. First, it was the Shi’a in exile who managed to woo and win so many in the American government with their tales of WMD (Chalabi and his group), and others who confidently predicted that once the Americans “liberated” Iraq they would be greeted, those Americans, with an outpouring of joy and presumably permanent gratitude that “would make the liberation of Kabul look like a funeral procession.” It would cost, according to Wolfowitz and others, nothing like what it cost to maintain those sanctions — possibly a few tens of billions of dollars. And then it would be over. A “cakewalk,” wrote Kenneth Adelman (sometime purveyor of Shakespeare to corporations so that the tycoons and tycoonettes can apply “Shakespeare to the business world).

Many have in this farce, on all sides, in the government, and in the press, been weighted and found wanting.

Meanwhile, there’s something just over here, freshly scribbled on this wall, that I’d like to show our rulers and our pundits:

“Mene, mene, tekel upharsin.”

Do you think they’ll be able to make it out?

Yet Rice is not the worst. She is far superior to others who preceded her. If she invites comparison with two former and still nattering-away National Security Advisers, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, Condoleeza Rice only gains by the comparison. But that should not be the point of comparison. She, and all others in the government, should be spending their days and nights studying Islam, studying not only the texts — Qur’an, Hadith, Sira — but how those texts are naturally received by, not all, but almost all, Muslims, and figure out on what side the textual authority lies. They should learn about taqiyya. They should learn about the history of Islamic conquest and about the subjugation of non-Muslims — which is not only a matter of history, but can be seen today in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iraq, Sudan, Saudi Arabia (where the non-Muslims are to found only among the expatriate wage-slaves). They must learn what is so misleading about the phrase “moderate Muslim” — misleading and unhelpful. They must learn to detect the plausible from the true, to discover the smyler with the knyf under his cloke, as Chaucer emblemized the figure of Treachery he found in Boccaccio, well in advance.

They must learn to understand it all, and to understand not only the texts and the history, but the other attitudes that naturally arise in Islam: aggression, violence, inability to compromise, susceptibility to the most primitive conspiracy theories, blaming of non-Muslims for all the ills that should rightly be attributed to Islam but of course cannot be, and so on.

These are the things she, and so many others, including all of the would-be Presidents now eagerly seeking our support, must learn. Now, not in five or ten years. Now.

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I must admit, my knowledge of Representative Keith Ellison continues to be somewhat limited at this point. In essence, I don’t feel that I am competently educated about the man to create a cogent or informed opinion of who he is. However, since this is not the New York Times, but in fact a blog, I will endeavour to do my best.

I know about as much concerning Ellison as Ellison knew of the Symbionese Liberation Army when, back in 2000, he was passionately defending convicted terrorist and former SLA member, Kathleen Soliah, more mundanely known as Sarah Jane Olsen. From the proceeding article…

Before finishing his speech, Ellison admitted his knowledge of the SLA was deficient.

My point is that I remember the SLA. I was 12 years old when it hit the news in 1974. I remember the name, I remember the made-for-TV movie with Patty Hearst, who was ‘taken away by the SLA’ and by this black guy named Cinque, who strutted around and was real scary. And clearly these people were ‘bad to the bone.’ And as I began to read about the SLA, they were talking about rights for poor people. … I mean I’m not trying to say the SLA is – I don’t even know enough about the SLA to tell you about the SLA, but I can tell you what they stated … they were in favor of: It had to do with fighting poverty and fighting racism and stuff like that. I’m not even here to tell you how they did it, because I don’t know.”

Is this what Minnesota can expect from its congressman–a man who conducts no research into the subjects with whom he is championing? If I didn’t know better, I’d get the impression that Ellison supported what the SLA did; if I didn’t know better. Of course, what’s even more depressing is the fact that Ellison is simply more of the same in regards to America’s politicians–uninformed and uninterested.

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Muslim congressman called for terrorist’s release in 2000
Ellison spoke at fund-raiser for woman from group that tried to kill Feinstein


Posted: January 21, 2007
7:00 p.m. Eastern
By Jay Baggett
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com
When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Minnesota freshman Rep. Keith Ellison for his recent swearing-in ceremony, the controversy over his taking the oath of office on the Quran overshadowed his earlier role in supporting a terrorist whose group tried to kill policemen and allegedly twice tried to murder Pelosi’s fellow San Francisco lawmaker Sen. Dianne Feinstein. On Feb.12, 2000, Ellison joined Bernadine Dohrn, one of the founders of the 1960s radical group the Weather Underground, and several other speakers at a fundraiser for recently arrested Kathleen Soliah, a.k.a. Sara Jane Olson.


Kathleen Soliah, a.k.a. Sara Jane Olson

Soliah – who along with a small band of Bay Area radicals took in Bill and Emily Harris and Patty Hearst, the last surviving members of the Symbionese Liberation Army following the May 17, 1974, shootout in Los Angeles – had been on the run since the three SLA “soldiers” were captured in September 1975.

Initially charged with planting pipe bombs under two police cars in Los Angeles in August 1975, Soliah was later charged in Sacramento for the murder of a bank customer killed in an April 1975 holdup after the victim’s son exerted pressure through the media to reopen the case. Hearst, in her 1981 book, “Every Secret Thing,” described the bungled robbery as an SLA operation in which she, Soliah, the Harrises and several others participated.

Soliah, arrested in St. Paul, Minn., in June 1999 and living under the name Sara Jane Olson, initially denied being Soliah or a member of the SLA. The upper-middle class doctor’s wife was described by friends – several of whom were members of the state legislature – as an actress in community theater, a gourmet cook and a soccer mom who read books to the blind. People Magazine even did an article on her, featuring her well-appointed Highland Park home, and casting her as a Martha Stewart-type homemaker.

But as the long-forgotten story of the SLA was resurrected in the media and as the Los Angeles district attorney began to present the voluminous evidence, stored for over 25 years, Soliah-Olson shed the Martha Stewart image and presented herself as the victim of a politically motivated “witch hunt” and surrounded herself with SLA attorneys, ’60s radicals and their sympathizers.

On Feb. 12, 2000, Soliah-Olson and her supporters held a forum and auction fundraiser for her defense in St. Paul. Among the speakers was Keith Ellison, a local criminal defense attorney, activist and radio talk-show host.

His speech is still preserved on an archived copy of the now-defunct Soliah-Olson defense website.

Ellison, who frequently defended black gang members in his practice, linked the prosecution of Soliah-Olson to notable radicals Geronimo Pratt and Mumia Abu Jamal.

“For the people who want to incarcerate Sara Jane Olson, ain’t nothing changed,” said Ellison. “As a matter of fact, they want to settle scores with Sara Jane Olson and others who were fighting for freedom in the ’60s and ’70s.

“… And like many of my clients, Sara Jane Olson has a public defender. Do you understand what I’m saying? Because she cannot afford to pay for her defense all by herself. Do you understand what I’m saying? I mean, the reality is, Sara Jane Olson, basically – is a black gang member – as far as I can see.

“… I think, just like the people who want to come together and lock up Sara, we need to come together and free Sara. And all the Saras, because she’s not the only one.”

Ellison, crediting the speech given by Dohrn earlier that evening, continued.

“This is not about justice,” he said. “This is not about accountability, this is not about public safety. This is about symbolism. This is about making a point. This is about saying to you and to me that we are going to get you if you ever try to stand against what we’re about. We’re going to get you. And we’re going to lock you up and we don’t care how long it takes, we’re going to get you.”

Before finishing his speech, Ellison admitted his knowledge of the SLA was deficient:

“My point is that I remember the SLA. I was 12 years old when it hit the news in 1974. I remember the name, I remember the made-for-TV movie with Patty Hearst, who was ‘taken away by the SLA’ and by this black guy named Cinque, who strutted around and was real scary. And clearly these people were ‘bad to the bone.’ And as I began to read about the SLA, they were talking about rights for poor people. … I mean I’m not trying to say the SLA is – I don’t even know enough about the SLA to tell you about the SLA, but I can tell you what they stated … they were in favor of: It had to do with fighting poverty and fighting racism and stuff like that. I’m not even here to tell you how they did it, because I don’t know.

“… And so, I just want to welcome you for your contribution to the struggle and thank those of you who have been maintaining the struggle over the years, and say, “Hey, free Sara!”

Thirty-three months after Ellison’s call for Soliah-Olson’s release, she, the Harrises, and Michael Bortin, pleaded guilty to the shotgun murder of Myrna Opsahl, the bank customer killed in the SLA robbery. Soliah-Olson also pleaded guilty to placing pipe bombs under LAPD police cars. A fifth member, James Kilgore, was later captured in South Africa and sentenced for bomb possession and Opsahl’s murder.

The focus on the SLA in Soliah-Olson’s trial distracted attention from her own violent history before and after coming into contact with the group that kidnapped Patty Hearst. Over a year before the SLA came into existence, Soliah, her brother, Bortin and Kilgore were questioned in connection with a bomb factory discovered in a Berkeley garage. Bortin and a second man were arrested in connection with the bomb lab and convicted and sentenced for possessing an ammonium-nitrate bomb. Based on information developed by the Alameda County district attorney, the pair was suspected of 10 bombings in 1971 and one in 1972, the latter involving a tack-grenade bomb – housed in a beer can – tossed into a bar across the street from the San Francisco Hall of Justice frequented by police officers and court personnel.

During the latter half of 1974, when the Harrises and Hearst were hiding out on a Pennsylvania farm, Kathleen Soliah, her brother, Kilgore and Bortin were setting off bombs in the Bay Area under the banner of the New World Liberation Front, a name announced in the first SLA communique after the Harrises and Hearst came under the protection of Soliah in June 1974.

Vin McLellan and Paul Avery, in their 1977 book “The Voices of Guns,” documented more than 10 Bay Area bombings by Soliah’s NWLF in late 1974 and 1975:

  • Aug. 6, 1974: Bomb failed to explode at Burlingame office of General Motors Acceptable Corporation;

  • Sept. 3, 1974: Bomb exploded in the San Francisco office of Dean Witter and Company;

  • Sept. 13, 1974: Bomb exploded at the Palo Alto office of Dean Witter and Company;

  • Sept. 28, 1974: Bomb exploded in a warehouse of an ITT subsidiary in San Leandro;

  • Oct. 2, 1974: Bomb exploded in a women’s restroom of the ITT-owned Sheraton-Palace Hotel in San Francisco;

  • Oct. 30, 1974: Bomb exploded at the Los Altos Hills home of retired ITT president Robert Halleck;

  • Nov. 6, 1974: Seven meter maid three-wheeled motorcycles blown up in a Berkeley parking lot;

  • Dec. 19, 1974: Bomb exploded in the San Francisco office of General Motors Corporation;

  • Feb. 3, 1975: Bomb exploded at the San Jose office of General Motors Corporation;

  • Feb. 4, 1975: Double bombing at Pillar Point Air Force Radar Station near Half Moon Bay and the Vulcan Foundry in Oakland;

  • Feb. 6, 1975: Pipe bomb exploded at KRON-TV station in San Francisco;

  • Aug. 4, 1975: Three NWLF fire bombs exploded in the carport of the Woodside home of Charles de Brettville, chairman of the Bank of California, a director of Pacific Gas and Electric, Shell Oil, Western Union and Safeway Stores, Inc;

  • Aug. 14, 1975: The NWLF claimed credit for bombing of an Emeryville police cruiser.

By February 1975, the Bay Area was averaging one bombing every 16 days. The NWLF was linked to more than 70 bombings by authorities, mostly in Northern California.


FBI wanted poster

McLellan and Avery wrote:

“The NWLF messages had a standing invitation to other groups to adopt the name, and there were apparently one or more independent ‘NWLF’ units that became active in bombings – but according to Hearst’s FBI confessions, it was Bill Harris and the ‘second team’ who were behind most of the two dozen NWLF bombings over the following nine months. (‘The Harrises were the g*****n NWLF!’ said one Patty-briefed source, mixing admiration and exasperation.)”

After the FBI dragnet that caught Hearst and the Harrises failed to capture Soliah in September 1975, she and Kilgore continued setting off bombs under the name of the NWLF. On Feb 12, 1976, 24 years to the day before Ellison’s plea to “free Sara,” authorities say Soliah and Kilgore set off a bomb at the historic Hearst Castle on California’s central coast, causing $1 million in damage. The pair were identified from photographs by tourists who escaped the blast. The NWLF communique that followed demanded the Hearst family contribute $250,000 to the defense of the Harrises.

The following night, a deputy sheriff patrolling near Woodside in the south Bay Area was shot by two gunmen as he investigated suspicious activity beneath an electric transmission tower adjacent to the freeway. The officer interrupted the pair’s efforts before the bomb they were setting could be exploded. The NWLF took credit for shooting the officer.

One of the NWLF’s better-known targets in 1976 was then-San Francisco Supervisor Dianne Feinstein.

In 1995, Feinstein, by now a U.S. senator, testified at Senate hearings on terrorism where she explained why she carried a concealed weapon:

“Because less than 20 years ago I was the target of a terrorist group. It was the New World Liberation Front. They blew up power stations and put a bomb at my home when my husband was dying of cancer. And the bomb didn’t detonate. … I was very lucky. But, I thought of what might have happened. Later the same group shot out all the windows of my home. “And, I know the sense of helplessness that people feel. I know the urge to arm yourself, because that’s what I did. I was trained in firearms. I’d walk to the hospital when my husband was sick. I carried a concealed weapon. I made the determination that if somebody was going to try to take me out, I was going to take them with me.”

Last week, Ellison was named to the House Judiciary Committee, which has oversight over civil liberties, immigration and the courts. He said he would like to see a ban on racial profiling and will work to restore civil liberties he says have been rolled back by the Bush administration, Associated Press reported.

Jon Opsahl, son of the woman killed by the SLA, told WND: “It does seem to confirm that, unfortunately, intelligence and integrity are not prerequisites for political office in this country in general and in Minnesota in particular.”

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