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Why are Mexican officials more concerned about prosecuting Americans (i.e. the Ramos-Compean prosecution) than preventing their citizens from crossing over the border into the United States? This is particularly curious considering Mexico’s own stance on lawbreakers illegally entering their country–admirably strict. If only the Bush administration were as diligent as Mexico concerning illegal immigration.

But alas, we have a broken immigration and enforcement system and an impotent presidency that really should transfer illegal alien and border policing from the federal level to the local level. Considering California is eating millions of dollars worth of state money to house criminal aliens in our state and city prisons with no federal payback funds planned in order to reimburse the cost to accommodate those illegals, it’s an outrage that this state cannot deal with the out-of-control illegal immigration problem ourselves while refraining from demonizing border agents doing the jobs they were hired to perform (I’m looking at you Texas.)

Apparently Mexico has a nice tight hold on the ear of U.S. Prosecutor extreme, Johnny Sutton, particularly in the Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean case, but evidently in other cases involving American law enforcement officials as well. It’s obvious Sutton is an agent of Bush, but is he also an agent of the Mexican government?

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Mexico demanded U.S. prosecute sheriff, agents
Documents show role of consulate in cases of Gilmer Hernandez and Ramos-Compean


Posted: February 13, 2007
6:28 p.m. Eastern
By Jerome R. Corsi
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com


Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas

The Mexican Consulate played a previously undisclosed role in the events leading to U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton’s high-profile prosecution of Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, who are serving 11 and 12 year sentences for their role in the shooting of a drug smuggler, according to documents obtained by WND.

And Mexican consular officials also demanded the prosecution of Texas Sheriff’s Deputy Guillermo “Gilmer” Hernandez, who subsequently was brought to trial by Sutton, the documents reveal.

Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas – among a number of congressman who have fiercely opposed the prosecution of Ramos and Compean – told WND he has “long suspected that Mexican government officials ordered the prosecution of our law enforcement agents.”

“Mexico wants to intimidate our law enforcement into leaving our border unprotected, and we now have confirmation of it in writing,” Culberson said.

Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, was equally outraged.

“The Mexican government should do more to keep illegals from Mexico from crossing into the United States, especially drug dealers, rather than be concerned about our border agents,” he told WND. “The U.S. Justice Department should not be working for the Mexican government.”

The White House and Sutton’s office in El Paso, Texas, did not respond to calls from WND asking for comment.

Hernandez’s attorney Jimmy Parks of San Antonio, Texas, told WND the documents “prove that it is wrong for my client to be in jail.”

“The prosecution of my client sends a wrong message to criminal illegal immigrants who are being tempted to cross our borders with impunity,” he said.

Mexico intervenes

WND has obtained a copy of a letter written April 18, 2005, by Mexican Consul Jorge Ernesto Espejel Montes in Eagle Pass, Texas, demanding Hernandez be prosecuted for injuring a Mexican national, Marciela Rodriguez Garcia.

[Page 1 of the letter can be seen here and page 2 here.]

The first two paragraphs of the letter set out the facts of the case as understood by the Mexican consul. The letter is reproduced here as written:

I am addressing to you, regarding the case of the Mexican national, Ms. MARICELA RODRIGUEZ GARCIA (DOB 4-11-1979), who based on the information obtained by this Consulate, received a gunshot wound by an agent of the Sheriff Department of Edward County, that caused injuries in her face. As far aw we know, last April 15, 2005, the Mexican national was transported in first insistence to Val Verde Hospital in Del Rio, Tx, and then to San Antonio, Tx., where she was attended at the University Hospital. Today, Mr. Gabriel Salas a member of the staff of this office had the opportunity of interviewed Ms. RODRIGUEZ who confirms the facts of the incident.

The final two paragraphs contain the demands of the Mexican consul:

Based on the Consular Convention between Mexico and the United States and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the Consulate of Mexico is entitled to represent, protect and defend the rights of Mexican nationals in this country. Therefore, I would like to point out, that is the care of my Country that this kind of incidents against our nationals, do not remain unpunished. According to the information provided above, I would appreciate your kind assistance, so this Consulate can be informed of the current investigation, and your support, so you present and file a complaint with the necessaries arraignments.

WND has learned the Mexican consul addressed separate copies of the letter to the following parties:

  • Don Lettsinger, Sheriff, Edward County, Rocksprings, Texas
  • Norman Townsent, Supervisor Senior Special Agent, FBI, Laredo, Texas
  • Bobby Smith, Texas Rangers, Del Rio, Texas
  • Fred Hernandez, District Attorney, Del Rio, Texas
  • J.A. Garcia, Attorney at Law, San Antonio,Texas
  • Lieutenant Gerónimo Gutiérrez Fernández, Subsecretario para América del Norte
  • Minister Miguel Gutiérrez Tinoco, Director General de Protección y Asuntos Consulares
  • Emb. Arturo Aquiles Dáger Gómez, Consultor Juridico
  • Emb. Carlos de Leaza, Embajador de México, Washington, D.C.
  • Emb. Martha I. Lara, Cónsul General de México, San Antonio, Texas

WND also has learned that on April 29, 2005, Sheriff Lettsinger in Edwards County advised that the Texas Rangers met with the district attorney in Del Rio and was told the state of Texas had been removed from the Hernandez case because the FBI and the federal government were taking over.

The Mexican national Rodriguez was in a Chevrolet Suburban van full of illegals that attempted to run over Hernandez after he had stopped the vehicle for running a stop sign April 14, 2005, in Rocksprings, Texas. Firing his weapon at the rear tires, a bullet fragment hit Rodriguez in the mouth, cutting her lip and breaking two teeth.

Hernandez, convicted of felony civil rights violations, is incarcerated in a Del Rio prison waiting sentencing.

In the case of agents Ramos and Compean, WND has obtained notes made by a congressional staff member who attended the Sept. 26, 2006, meeting with three investigators from the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General’s office.

The staff member’s notes indicate the Inspector General’s office briefed the congressmen that the Mexican consul had also intervened in the Ramos and Compean case.

According to the notes obtained by WND, the congressmen were told:

Several weeks later (after the February 17, 2005 event near Fabens, Texas), the Mexican Consulate contacted the U.S. Consulate in Mexico saying that they have a person who claims to have been shot by a Border Patrol agent. On March 4, 2005, the U.S. Consulate contacted the U.S. attorney.

DHS investigative reports filed by Special Agent Christopher Sanchez document that March 4, 2005, is the date on which DHS initiated the Ramos-Compean investigation.

WND can find no evidence the Border Patrol, DHS, or U.S. Attorney Sutton had started any investigation of Ramos or Compean concerning the events of Feb. 17, 2005, prior to March 4, 2005.

‘Dictating’ policy

“The Mexican government should not be dictating United States border policy,” Poe told WND after learning of the Mexican consul’s involvement in both cases.

Culberson agreed.

“We have it in writing,” he told WND, “a letter from the Mexican Consulate in the case of the deputy sheriff from Edwards County and verbal confirmation of the Mexican Consulate’s complaint in the case of Border Patrol agents Ramos and Compean.”

Culberson told WND it is “outrageous and unacceptable that our government is prosecuting U.S. law enforcement officials at the request of the Mexican government.”

The congressman said the revelations suggest national security may be at risk:

“U.S. national security interests in the war on terror must determine how we protect our border, not the opinions of the Mexican government,” he said.

Culberson called for a congressional investigation, telling WND, “We’ve now got to find out how many other Mexican government complaints have led to the prosecutions of our law enforcement officers on the border, and this intimidation must stop.”

Previous accounts in question

Sutton’s claim he learned about the identity of the drug smuggler in the Ramos-Compean case, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, through consular contacts originating in Mexico apparently contradicts his explanation in an exclusive interview with WND Jan. 19, Sutton said his office learned the identity of Aldrete-Davila from a lawyer in Mexico representing the drug smuggler.

WND: So, Aldrete-Davila ran away, and as you say, at the time you didn’t have any basis to know who he was and there were no fingerprints. But yet, you found the guy. If you found the guy to give him immunity, why couldn’t you have found the guy to punish him? SUTTON: The way we found him is that he came forward and was in Mexico with a lawyer. So, the only way to get him to testify was to give him immunity from being prosecuted. He wasn’t going to agree to come to the United States, he wasn’t going to agree to talk, unless he had some kind of immunity from being prosecuted for that load. So, that puts the prosecutor in the terrible choice of everyone goes free, we got no case against the dope dealer, we cannot make a case against the dope dealer because there’s no evidence, thanks to agents and other factors.

Sutton’s account also appears to contradict the March 14, 2005, memo from Special Agent Christopher Sanchez which claimed the government learned Aldrete-Davila’s identity from Border Patrol Agent Rene Sanchez in Willcox, Ariz.

As WND reported, Christopher Sanchez’s memo had claimed Rene Sanchez and Aldrete-Davila grew up together in Mexico. Rene Sanchez, the memo said, learned Aldrete-Davila was the drug smuggler involved in the incident with agents Ramos and Compean after his mother-in-law had a phone call with Aldrete-Davila’s mother in Mexico.

The memo also indicates the shooting was reported to the Mexican Consulate.

Rene Sanchez said that his mother-in-law Gregoria Toquinto went to Mexico to help her friend Marcadia take her son Osbaldo to the Mexican Consulate to report the shooting incident. However, Osbaldo declined to go. Marcadia advised Toquinto that Osbaldo did not want to report the incident, because he had actually been transporting a load of marijuana and was afraid the Mexican and/or U.S. authorities would put him in jail.

Staff notes WND obtained from the Sept. 26, 2006, meeting Poe, Culberson and two other Texas Republican congressmen had with three investigators in the Inspector General’s office indicate the Mexican Consulate knew all about Aldrete-Davila. That conflicts with Sutton’s claim the drug smuggler was so concerned about prosecution he was afraid to talk to the Mexican Consulate.

It also contradicts the DHS Report of Investigation released by Assistant Inspector General Elizabeth Redman to Congress in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by Poe. On a page numbered as “4 of 33,” the DHS report appears to have a heavily redacted version of the Rene Sanchez mother-in-law story.

Redman was one of three DHS investigators who attended the Sept. 26, 2006, meeting with the four Texas Republican congressman. The other two investigators were identified to WND as Tamara Faulkner and James Taylor.

As WND reported, DHS Inspector General Richard L. Skinner admitted under oath Feb. 6 that Redman and the other investigators had misled the Texas congressmen. Skinner was responding to questioning by Culberson before the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.

Skinner admitted, contrary to previous claims, DHS did not have investigative reports that would prove Ramos and Compean were rogue Border Patrol agents who told investigators they were “out to shoot some Mexicans” the day of the incident with Aldrete-Davila.

Culberson since has called for the resignation of the investigators.

Ramos-Compean trial

The Mexican consul’s role in revealing the identity of Aldrete-Davila also conflicts with prosecutor Debra Kanof’s opening statement to the jury in the Ramos-Compean trial.

According to a copy of the statement obtained by WND, Kanof explained the following to the jury Feb. 21, 2006:

Rene Sanchez is stationed in Willcox, Arizona. He’s actually from El Paso. And sometime in the last couple of days of February he got a phone call from his mother-in-law. And his mother-in-law lives in Mexico, in a little town on the outskirts of Juarez. And she told him that she had been talking to a friend of hers, a girlfriend of hers, and that that girlfriend had told her that her son, the girlfriend’s son, had been shot in back by a Border Patrol agent outside of El Paso, Texas, somewhere near San Elizario.

From there, Kanof explained how Rene Sanchez investigated.

So Rene Sanchez investigated. He made some phone calls to people he knew in El Paso and asked if there was a shooting. First he needed to find out, however, when that occurred and approximately where it occurred. So he immediately reported it to his supervisor in Willcox, Arizona, who told him to get more information, which he did by calling his mother-in-law. And he instructed his mother-in-law to take a cell phone – his mother-in-law actually lives in El Paso – to take a cell phone to Mexico, give that cell phone to the individual who was shot, and have them call me, so I can get some facts. And that, he did.

The individual who shot is an individual by the name of Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila. And Rene Sanchez spoke with him on the phone, and he gave him information about what occurred that day.

Kanof said nothing to the jury suggesting the information about Aldrete-Davila actually came from the Mexican consul, who contacted the American Consulate in Mexico, who in turn contacted DHS and prosecutor Sutton’s office.

While Ramos and Compean are in federal prison, Aldrete-Davila has found an American lawyer and plans to sue the Border Patrol for $5 million for allegedly violating his civil rights.

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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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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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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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Since I discovered Jihadwatch.org (and sister-site Dhimmiwatch) several months back, I have found it the most reliable collated source presenting Islamist current events and coextensive opinion on the subject of Islam and jihadist machinations, albeit one-sided. Of course I wouldn’t want it any other way from writer and Islamic scholar, Robert Spencer–a man more than proficient in Islamic law and theology, and the violent and imperialistic proclivities of Muhammad’s religion of peace intolerance.

This may explain why I link to Jihadwatch more and more frequently. Too many other news outlets dull information on Islam today, particularly here in the west, with an overabundance of politically correct, honey-coated proselytizing and apologizing for a faith based around a basic concept of convert or die. I don’t need politically correct platitudes on this subject. Honest truth is more important to me, even if that means alienating a few friends and acquaintances along the way due to unpopular ideas–it’s not necessarily good holiday conversation.

Anyway, here’s an opinion by Mr. Spencer concerning a Washington Post article about the swearing in of Representative Keith Ellison. Or rather, the swearing in of Representative Keith Ellison with the Qur’an rather than the traditional use of The Bible. Further, Ellison will be swearing in on Thomas Jefferson’s personal copy of the Qur’an.

There’s nothing constitutionally that claims one cannot be sworn into office with anything other than The Bible, nor do I believe should there be. To me this is sort of a non-issue that rings only slightly alarmist by traditionalists and southern-conservatives. Despite the fact that the United States is a country that tends to stand by tradition, there have been several public office holders throughout the history of this country who have taken the oath of office on The Bible in spite of their beliefs as non-Christians. Counter to that, several non-Christians and Christians alike have opted to swear on nothing at all for their oath of office.

Still, Spencer makes a succinct and reasoned (as always) point on the tradition of using The Bible versus the tradition (or lack of tradition) of the Qur’an. And as usual, Spencer encourages much needed open discussion on what Islam teaches and how it fits into our society minus the ad hominem cries of “racist” or “bigot” that CAIR and its ilk often ignorantly belch forth.

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But It’s Thomas Jefferson’s Koran! (Jihadwatch.org)

In the Washington Post (thanks to Davida), Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts report breathlessly that Keith Ellison will be using Thomas Jefferson’s own copy of the Qur’an for his swearing-in photo op.

This is allegedly a political masterstroke by Ellison, but it really just begs the question. Thomas Jefferson, obviously, was not a Muslim. In his famous statement on religious freedom he wrote about whether one’s neighbor believed in one god or twelve “neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” But what no one is willing to discuss here is whether the Qur’an and Islam really fit into that framework. When I have mentioned that it sanctions lying to unbelievers (3:28 and 16:106, in the mainstream understanding of those verses by Islamic theologians and schools of jurisprudence; cf. Ibn Kathir and many others), people have responded that the Bible is full of nasty stuff as well. But people aren’t swearing on the Bible because it is full of nasty stuff, or endorsing any of it that might actually be there. The idea of swearing on the Bible arises from Christian belief and is buttressed by Christian theology — Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant — that requires honesty and eschews all dishonesty as coming from the “Father of Lies.” The permissions to be dishonest in the Qur’an are not mitigated by Islamic belief, tradition, and theology, but are in fact reinforced — by Muhammad’s statements that “war is deceit” and that lying is permissible in wartime, and more.

In short, to swear on the Bible is to affirm, among other things, that one is part of a tradition, and to swear on the Qur’an does not amount to an affirmation of the same tradition, no matter how much Glenn Beck or Ed Koch or anyone wishes it does or assumes it does. Islamic teachers daily use the Qur’an to establish principles that differ radically from those of Judeo-Christian tradition. These questions need to be discussed in a forthright and honest manner by Ellison and by the mainstream media, instead of being swept under the rug or condemned as bigotry.

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But It’s Thomas Jefferson’s Koran! (WashingtonPost.com)

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Wednesday, January 3, 2007; C03

Rep.-elect Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, found himself under attack last month when he announced he’d take his oath of office on the Koran — especially from Virginia Rep. Virgil Goode, who called it a threat to American values.

Yet the holy book at tomorrow’s ceremony has an unassailably all-American provenance. We’ve learned that the new congressman — in a savvy bit of political symbolism — will hold the personal copy once owned by Thomas Jefferson.

“He wanted to use a Koran that was special,” said Mark Dimunation, chief of the rare book and special collections division at the Library of Congress, who was contacted by the Minnesota Dem early in December. Dimunation, who grew up in Ellison’s 5th District, was happy to help.

Jefferson’s copy is an English translation by George Sale published in the 1750s; it survived the 1851 fire that destroyed most of Jefferson’s collection and has his customary initialing on the pages. This isn’t the first historic book used for swearing-in ceremonies — the Library has allowed VIPs to use rare Bibles for inaugurations and other special occasions.

Ellison will take the official oath of office along with the other incoming members in the House chamber, then use the Koran in his individual, ceremonial oath with new Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “Keith is paying respect not only to the founding fathers’ belief in religious freedom but the Constitution itself,” said Ellison spokesman Rick Jauert.

One person unlikely to be swayed by the book’s illustrious history is Goode, who released a letter two weeks ago objecting to Ellison’s use of the Koran. “I believe that the overwhelming majority of voters in my district would prefer the use of the Bible,” the Virginia Republican told Fox News, and then went on to warn about what he regards as the dangers of Muslims immigrating to the United States and Muslims gaining elective office.

Yeah, but what about a Koran that belonged to one of the greatest Virginians in history? Goode, who represents Jefferson’s birthplace of Albemarle County, had no comment yesterday.

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Who knows whether this will help or not, but it can’t hurt. Go here and sign the petition that will likely do nothing to help pardon former border patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean. But as I said, it doesn’t hurt.

I’ve already covered in-depth the unfortunate plight of Ramos and Compean. Needless to say the ineptitude of our government goes beyond the Iraq fiasco. It often hits home. In this case, it struck wildly and with extreme malice at Compean and Ramos and their families.

Keep these men and their wives and their fathers and mothers and children in your thoughts this holiday season. If we move beyond the holiday season and a pardon has not been granted, continue to keep them in your thoughts. This indisputable travesty of the United States judicial system should not be allowed to meet the conclusion George Bush, Michael Chertoff, Katheel Cardone, and et. al. obviously wish it to meet.

Ignacio “Nacho” Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean should not go to jail.

Border agents plead for ‘Christmas pardon’
Congressman hosts rally asking Bush to stop ‘miscarriage of justice’


Posted: December 20, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Art Moore
© 2006 WorldNetDaily.com


Former U.S. Border Patrol agent Ignacio Ramos embraced his wife, Monica Ramos, two days before he was sentenced to 11 years in prison (Courtesy El Paso Times)

A Border Patrol agent sentenced to prison along with his partner for shooting and wounding a man smuggling drugs into the U.S. will appear with a congressman tomorrow at a rally asking President Bush to offer a pardon.

Jose Alonso Compean and Ignacio Ramos, were sentenced to 12 years and 11 years, respectively, in October by U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen Cardone in El Paso, Texas. The drug smuggler was granted immunity for his testimony.

Compean will be joined by family; Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R, Calif.; Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist; and members of other border-security groups such as Friends of the Border Patrol at the courthouse in Santa Ana, Calif., at 1:30 p.m. Pacific time tomorrow.

Rohrabacher, noting the president already has received a letter about the case from more than 50 Congress members, is asking Americans to sign petitions and send e-mails and letters to the White House requesting a “Christmas pardon.”

Grassfire.org has an online petition calling on Bush to pardon the agents, with more than 130,000 signatures.

“This is the greatest miscarriage of justice that I’ve seen in my career,” Rohrabacher told WND. “Two brave Border Patrol agents trying to enforce the president’s nonsensical border policy ending up being sent to prison, while an illegal alien drug smuggler is given immunity and walks free.”

Compean’s sister, of Huntington Beach, lives in Rohrabacher’s Southern California district.

The White House has not responded to the letter, according to Rohrabacher, and did not follow up a request from WND for comment. Press secretary Tony Snow has said he cannot comment on presidential pardons.

Gilchrist said what has happened to the two agents is “atrocious,” with “their lifes being ruined, their families being put in turmoil.”

“We would expect the president to give a full and unconditional pardon to these two wrongly arrested, wrongly accused, wrongly convicted members of law enforcement,” he told WND, “and retroactive pay and benefits they’ve lost over the past two years since they were originally arrested.”

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


Agent Jose Alonso Compean. Courtesy of KFOX-TV

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

On Feb. 17, 2005, Ramos responded to a request for back-up from Compean, who noticed a suspicious van near the levee road along the Rio Grande River near the Texas town of Fabens, about 40 miles east of El Paso. A third agent also joined the pursuit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The U.S. government filed charges against Ramos and Compean after giving full immunity to Aldrete-Davila and paying for his medical treatment at an El Paso hospital.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas issued a statement in September arguing “the defendants were prosecuted because they had fired their weapons at a man who had attempted to surrender by holding his open hands in the air, at which time Agent Compean attempted to hit the man with the butt of Compean’s shotgun, causing the man to run in fear of what the agents would do to him next.”

The statement said, “Although both agents saw that the man was not armed, the agents fired at least 15 rounds at him while he was running away from them, hitting him once.”

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

The letter to Bush included the signatures of Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla., Rep. Gary Miller, R-Calif., Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Va. and Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., the chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus.

“We ask that a full investigation of this case be ordered immediately,” the letter said. “We are confident that during such an investigation you will find that these Border Patrol agents were acting within the scope of their duty and were unjustly prosecuted. Also, we ask that you use your power of presidential pardon, as granted by the United States Constitution in Article II, Section 2, to pardon these two Border Patrol agents. We understand these requests usually are for those that have already completed their sentences; however, we feel in this case it would be a miscarriage of justice to send these two Border Patrol agents to prison for protecting our nation’s borders from an illegal drug smuggler.”

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“Politicians are dumb everywhere. There are very few smart, well-meaning politicians.”
– Hecubus

That is a quote from little old me from this story concerning Chicago’s ban on The Nativity Story advertising. As much as I believe that statement, little did I predict that a politician would emerge this quickly and demonstrate so thoroughly his lack of knowledge in matters he had better well have a near-expert understanding. Please meet your new Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Silvestre Reyes, Democrat from Texas, a man who possesses an obvious flair for the obtuse.

Below is an interview conducted by Jeff Stein for the Congressional Quarterly. In his time with the incoming HIC Chairman, Stein asked some fairly basic, and fairly simple questions concerning Islam, Iraq, Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda. Reyes’ mental acuity is shocking–not in what he knows, but in what he doesn’t (but certainly should) know.

[Of course, Republicans prooved just as moronic in a previous interview under similar circumstances, but they don’t head the House Intelligence Committee either. ]

Now you may say to yourself, “Well, I don’t know all the answers,” or “those are some pretty tough questions.” That’s fine. But your job doesn’t likely require you to know all of the answers to the questions posed by Stein. It’s disturbing that the soon to be leader of the House Intelligence Committee, whose job it is to be intimately familiar with subjects and issues such as Islam, Iraq, Shiites vs. Sunnis, and al-Qaeda, has barely a clue as to what those concepts and entities entail. Reyes doesn’t even do a passable job stumbling his way through the interview with the typical politicized pat answers that all politicians practice religiously when standing in front of a mirror.

But in all honesty, the questions in the interview are not difficult to anyone who keeps up with current world events, and I found myself becoming very angry with Reyes and the intellectual vacuum in which he resides . This man has no clue, and he has no right to sit as Chairman for a committee whose expertise lies in the areas in which he was queried.

Oh well, Nancy Pelosi picks another winner to lead the nation. She would have been much better off choosing Reps. Jane Harman (Calif.), who does have the understanding and expertise necessary for the Chairman post, but Pelosi’s personal issues with Harman prevented her from making the right choice. Way to go, Pelosi.

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Democrats’ New Intelligence Chairman Needs a Crash Course on al Qaeda

Forty years ago, Sgt.
Silvestre Reyes was a helicopter crew chief flying dangerous combat missions in South Vietnam from the top of a soaring rocky outcrop near the sea called Marble Mountain.

After the war, it turned out that the communist Viet Cong had tunneled into the hill and built a combat hospital right beneath the skids of Reyes’ UH-1 Huey gunship.

Now the five-term Texas Democrat, 62, is facing similar unpleasant surprises about the enemy, this time as the incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

That’s because, like a number of his colleagues and top counterterrorism officials that I’ve interviewed over the past several months, Reyes can’t answer some fundamental questions about the powerful forces arrayed against us in the Middle East.

It begs the question, of course: How can the Intelligence Committee do effective oversight of U.S. spy agencies when its leaders don’t know basics about the battlefield?

To his credit, Reyes, a kindly, thoughtful man who also sits on the Armed Service Committee, does see the undertows drawing the region into chaos.

For example, he knows that the 1,400- year-old split in Islam between Sunnis and Shiites not only fuels the militias and death squads in Iraq, it drives the competition for supremacy across the Middle East between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia.

That’s more than two key Republicans on the Intelligence Committee knew when I interviewed them last summer. Rep.
Jo Ann Davis, R-Va., and
Terry Everett, R-Ala., both back for another term, were flummoxed by such basic questions, as were several top counterterrorism officials at the FBI.

I thought it only right now to pose the same questions to a Democrat, especially one who will take charge of the Intelligence panel come January. The former border patrol agent also sits on the Armed Services Committee.

Reyes stumbled when I asked him a simple question about al Qaeda at the end of a 40-minute interview in his office last week. Members of the Intelligence Committee, mind you, are paid $165,200 a year to know more than basic facts about our foes in the Middle East.

We warmed up with a long discussion about intelligence issues and Iraq. And then we veered into terrorism’s major players.

To me, it’s like asking about Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland: Who’s on what side?

The dialogue went like this:

Al Qaeda is what, I asked, Sunni or Shia?

“Al Qaeda, they have both,” Reyes said. “You’re talking about predominately?”

“Sure,” I said, not knowing what else to say.

“Predominantly — probably Shiite,” he ventured.

He couldn’t have been more wrong.

Al Qaeda is profoundly Sunni. If a Shiite showed up at an al Qaeda club house, they’d slice off his head and use it for a soccer ball.

That’s because the extremist Sunnis who make up a l Qaeda consider all Shiites to be heretics.

Al Qaeda’s Sunni roots account for its very existence. Osama bin Laden and his followers believe the Saudi Royal family besmirched the true faith through their corruption and alliance with the United States, particularly allowing U.S. troops on Saudi soil.

It’s been five years since these Muslim extremists flew hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center.

Is it too much to ask that our intelligence overseers know who they are?

Civil War

And Hezbollah? I asked him. What are they?

“Hezbollah. Uh, Hezbollah…”

He laughed again, shifting in his seat.

“Why do you ask me these questions at five o’clock? Can I answer in Spanish? Do you speak Spanish?”

“Poquito,” I said—a little.

“Poquito?! “ He laughed again.

“Go ahead,” I said, talk to me about Sunnis and Shia in Spanish.

Reyes: “Well, I, uh….”

I apologized for putting him “on the spot a little.” But I reminded him that the people who have killed thousands of Americans on U.S. soil and in the Middle East have been front page news for a long time now.

It’s been 23 years since a Hezbollah suicide bomber killed over 200 U.S. military personnel in Beirut, mostly Marines.

Hezbollah, a creature of Iran, is close to taking over in Lebanon. Reports say they are helping train Iraqi Shiites to kill Sunnis in the spiralling civil war.

“Yeah,” Reyes said, rightly observing, “but . . . it’s not like the Hatfields and the McCoys. It’s a heck of a lot more complex.

“And I agree with you — we ought to expend some effort into understanding them. But speaking only for myself, it’s hard to keep things in perspective and in the categories.”

Reyes is not alone.

The best argument for needing to understand who’s what in the Middle East is probably the mistaken invasion itself, despite the preponderance of expert opinion that it was a terrible idea — including that of Bush’s father and his advisers. On the day in 2003 when Iraqi mobs toppled the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, Bush was said to be unaware of the possibility that a Sunni-Shia civil war could fill the power vacuum, according to a reliable source with good White House connections.

If President Bush and some of his closest associates, not to mention top counterterrorism officials, have demonstrated their own ignorance about who the players are in the Middle East, why should we expect the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee to get it right?
Trent Lott, the veteran Republican senator from Mississippi, said only last September that “It’s hard for Americans, all of us, including me, to understand what’s wrong with these people.”

“Why do they kill people of other religions because of religion?” wondered Lott, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, after a meeting with Bush.

“Why do they hate the Israelis and despise their right to exist? Why do they hate each other? Why do Sunnis kill Shiites? How do they tell the difference?

“They all look the same to me,” Lott said.

Haunting

The administration’s disinterest in the Arab world has rattled down the chain of command.

Only six people in the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad are fluent in Arabic, according to last week’s report of the Iraq Study Group. Only about two dozen of the embassy’s thousand employees have some familiarity with the language, the report said.

The Iraq Study Group was amazed to find that, despite spending $2 billion on Iraq in 2006, more wasn’t being done to try “to understand the people who fabricate, plant and explode roadside bombs.”

Rare is the military unit with an American soldier who can read a captured document or interrogate a prisoner, my own sources tell me.

It was that way in Vietnam, too, Reyes says, which “haunts us.”

“If you substitute Arabization for Vietnamization, if you substitute . . . our guys going in and taking over a place then leaving it and the bad guys come back in. . . .”

He trails off, despairing.

“I could draw many more analogies.”

Yet Reyes says he favors sending more troops there.

“If it’s going to target the militias and eliminate them, I think that’s a worthwhile investment,” he said.

It’s hard to find anybody in Iraq who thinks the U.S. can do that.

On “a temporary basis, I’m willing to ramp them up by twenty or thirty thousand . . . for, I don’t know, two months, four months, six months — but certainly that would be an exception,” Reyes said.

Meanwhile, the killing is going on below decks, too, within Sunni and Shiite groups and factions.

Anybody who pays serious attention to Iraq knows that.

Reyes says his first hearings come January will focus on how U.S. intelligence can do a better job helping the troops in Iraq.

It may be way too late for that.

“Stop giving me tests!” Reyes exclaimed, half kidding.

“I’m not going to talk to you any more!”

Queries Vex New Chair of Intelligence

Reuters
Tuesday, December 12, 2006; Page A07

The incoming Democratic chairman of the House intelligence committee could not describe Hezbollah and incorrectly described al-Qaeda‘s Islamic roots in a recent interview.

Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Tex.), whom incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) named earlier this month to chair the panel, formally known as the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, was asked by a reporter from Congressional Quarterly whether al-Qaeda was Sunni or Shiite. “Predominantly — probably Shiite,” Reyes replied.

From Osama bin Laden down, al-Qaeda’s leadership is comprehensively Sunni and subscribes to a form of Sunni Islam known for not tolerating theological deviation.

In fact, U.S. officials blame al-Qaeda’s late leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, for the surge in sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites.

Asked to describe the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, according to a story published online Friday, Reyes responded “Hezbollah. Uh, Hezbollah” and then said, “Why do you ask me these questions at 5 o’clock?”

The Texas congressman later added: “Speaking only for myself, it’s hard to keep things in perspective and in the categories.”

Reyes, a former Border Patrol agent and an opponent of the Iraq war, was chosen for the intelligence committee post over the panel’s two top-ranking Democrats, Reps. Jane Harman (Calif.) and Alcee L. Hastings (Fla.).

Reyes’s office issued a statement yesterday noting that the interview covered a wide range of topics.

“As a member of the intelligence committee since before 9/11, I’m acutely aware of al-Qaeda’s desire to harm Americans. The intelligence committee will keep its eye on the ball and focus on the pressing security and intelligence issues facing us,” Reyes said in the statement.

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