- The Washington Times - Monday, January 22, 2007

The Border Patrol case

In the article, “Prison ‘rewards’ border agents,” (Page 1, Thursday) Jerry Seper mischaracterizes the prosecution of Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean. The truth is that Agents Compean and Ramos committedserious federal crimes, including aggravated assault, making false statements and obstructing justice.

On Feb.17, 2005, Border Patrol AgentRamos was in pursuit of a van driven by Oswaldo Aldrete-Davila. Aldrete, a Mexican national unlawfully in the United States, would eventually abandon the van and run. Afterthepursuit, Aldrete attempted to surrender — approaching Agent Compean with his hands raised. When Agent Compean slipped and fell while attempting to strike Aldrete with the butt of his shotgun, Aldrete took off running. Then, Compean fired his pistol at Aldrete 14 times. Ramos fired his pistol once, striking Aldrete in the buttocks.

Following the shooting, the agentsbegan to cover-up theircrime by failing to report the shooting, throwing away the empty shell casings and filing a false investigative report. Only after the shooting did the agents discover Aldrete’s van contained more than 700 pounds of marijuana. Unfortunately, because of their actions, Agents Compean and Ramos had damaged any case we could have brought against Aldrete.

Contrary to media reports, this case was not about border issues. It was about two agents who unlawfully resorted to deadly force without a reasonable fear that they or others faced imminent death or serious injury. The law recognizes that agents have difficult and dangerous jobs and that they will make mistakes. But it does not give agents a license towillfully and intentionally use deadly forcewithout justification. After a two-and-a-half week trial, a jury of their peers convicted Agents Compean and Ramos for their crimes.

I and my office fully support the Border Patrol and vigorously prosecute the thousands of cases they bring each year. But when these agents violate the laws they are sworn to uphold, they must be held accountable.

JOHNNY SUTTON

U.S. Attorney

San Antonio

Many thanks for the extensive coverage of the prosecution of Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean (“Prison ‘rewards’ border agents,” Page 1, Thursday). This is far more than a personal tragedy for them and their families. It is a warning to other defenders of our borders that they are in the cross hairs of similar persecution if they fail to cross every “t” and dot every “i” in the bureaucratic handbook.

To local law officers, it is a warning that they are more alone than ever before in dealing with the crime and violence that tons of drugs bring to their communities.

To the parents and extended family of the nation’s millions who have been sucked into the meat grinder of addiction, it is just another reminder that the most powerful nation in the world continues to betray us all. We know that our living hell is just collateral damage in the policy of open borders to expedite cheap labor.

BARBARA VICKROY

Escondido, Calif.

Protecting the Serbs

Regarding the article “U.S. Troops to protect Serbs in Kosovo” (World, Sunday), I would hope that our troops do a better job than the Kosovo Force (KFOR) has done until now in protecting the minority Serbs.

Consider the fact that at one time, more than 40,000 Serbs lived in Pristina. Now, according to a former NATO commander in Bosnia, U.S. Army Gen. William Nash, approximately 150 Serbs remain. Most are elderly and too terrified to go out even in search of food without NATO escort for fear of being killed by Albanian mobs.

In one of his last visits to Pristina, New York Democrat Rep. Eliot Engel stood on the square in Pristina and told the Albanian crowds that he wanted to be the first U.S. ambassador to return to an independent Kosovo, thereby inciting anarchy.

If Kosovo Albanians get their independence, the congressman’s wish may come true. What also will come true is that an independent Kosovo will become another rogue jihadist state in the heart of Europe because the government has been taken over by war criminals, such as Agim Ceku.

A 1999 article by Jeffrey Benner titled “War Criminal, Ally, or Both?” states, “The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA)’s new chief of staff, Agim Ceku, has been linked to two of the grisliest episodes of brutality [against the Serbs] in the ongoing war in the former Yugoslavia, perhaps even worse than the current Serb campaign against ethnic Albanians. Now he’s on NATO’s side in the war for Kosovo.” This description of the warlord was confirmed in a 1993 Jane’s Defense Weekly. Today, Agim Ceku has achieved the high position of prime minister of Kosovo.

In an interview with The Washington Times’ correspondent David R. Sands (Embassy Row, Aug. 3), Bishop Artemije of Kosovo said that more than 200,000 Kosova Serbs — two-thirds — have been forced to flee the province since the war because of ethnic and religious intimidation and violence. In addition, he said that more than 150 Christian churches and monasteries have been destroyed, and the remaining Orthodox Serbs live in small, often isolated pockets surrounded by hostile Muslim neighbors.

I’m sure most Americans at this point are asking, “Why should U.S. troops be sent to Kosovo to protect the minority Serbs?” The Clinton administration and anti-Serb media propaganda so successfully demonized the Serbs that the mentality today in America is, “Well, after all, the Serbs deserve what they get.”

Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s minister of propaganda, would be green with envy.

STELLA L. JATRAS

Camp Hill, Pa.

Slavery and history

Though I substantially agree with Adrienne Washington’s excellent column on the subject of a formal apology from the General Assembly for Virginia’s part in the slave trade (“An apology may pave way for better tomorrow,” Metropolitan, Friday), I must note a few facts:

1) Her exclamation, “The gaul” should have been “The gall.” Gall is a synonym for nerve; Gaul is what Julius Caesar united after it was divided into three parts.

2) An apology from the West Coast African slave buyers, including Virginia, certainly is due, but what about the slave sellers? If someone is buying something, it stands to reason that someone is selling something — in this case, slaves. Those sellers of fellow Africans were, for the most part, coastal tribes who raided inland villages and took as plunder men, women and children to feed the slave trade. If Virginia owes the descendants of slaves an apology, what do West Coast African nations owe them?

3) America was not the last nation to make slavery illegal. In fact, legal slavery continued to exist in other parts of the world for many decades after the American Civil War — indeed, well into the mid-20th century. Do those nations owe any sort of apology to the descendants of those slaves?

If not, why not?

The pernicious institution of slavery has stained the reputation of our great nation, and an apology is certainly in order. But we must look at the issue in historical context and be aware of the fact that slavery has always been a human horror, not merely an endemic American horror.

MARK DORROH

Richmond

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