Bush Accused of Treating Terrorists Better Than Imprisoned Border Patrol Agents
by Jim Kouri, CPP
In a biting letter, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) blasted President George W. Bush and his administration for treating terrorists better than they treat the two convicted Border Patrol agents, Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.
Rep. Rohrabacher called on the Bush administration to conduct a thorough review of the harsh treatment the two decorated border agents are receiving while in solitary confinement.
The popular conservative wrote to President Bush that for 10 months Ramos and Compean have been in conditions more severe than experienced by terrorists held by the US at the Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Rohrabacher told the news media in a statement that he has written a letter to Manhattan federal trial judge Michael Mukasey, Bush's nominee to replace Alberto Gonzales as US Attorney General, demanding that upon confirmation Mukasey conduct an unbiased review of the agents' prosecution.
"Given the close personal relationship between the prosecuting US Attorney Johnny Sutton, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and President Bush, past requests for inquiries into prosecutorial misconduct in this case have been ignored," Rohrabacher claimed in his statement.
"Conflicting statements made by Mr. Sutton during Senate testimony in July and to the press have yet to be clarified," Rohrabacher continued, "and newly obtained information regarding the treatment of the officers in solitary confinement for the last 10 months reveals conditions that are harsh and unnecessarily punitive in nature."
"This is once again an example of how US citizens are treated in comparison to terrorists, illegal aliens and foreign nationals," said New York Police Officer Edna Aguayo.
"Who can forget incidents such as the massacre at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas? Does anyone believe the Clinton Administration -- including his Attorney General Janet Reno -- would have avoided prosecution if the people murdered by federal cops were illegal aliens or suspected terrorists? Political leaders know they can abuse white, American citizens with impunity," said the 15-year veteran of the NYPD.
Ramos and Compean received prison sentences of more than 10 years each for their involvement in the shooting and wounding of Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, a Mexican illegal who was fleeing across the Mexican border and resisting arrest after having smuggled 750 pounds of marijuana into the US
In a fact sheet comparison of Gitmo Camp 4, the medium-security terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, and the solitary confinement experienced by Ramos and Compean under the US Bureau of Prisons, Rohrabacher claims the former border agents spend 23 hours per day in their cells, with only one hour permitted outdoors per day.
Camp 4 Gitmo detainees, according to Rohrabacher's fact sheet, are allowed to live in a communal setting that permits up to nine hours per day in outside exercise and recreational facilities that included covered picnic tables and ping-pong tables, as well as access to soccer fields and volleyball courts.
Rohrabacher's assertions are backed up by a US Bureau of Prisons program statement issued in 1987, which defines the solitary confinement standards for the detention of prisoners who are isolated for their own safety. Usually such treatment is afforded law enforcement officers who are convicted and imprisoned.
According to conservative strategist Michael Baker, the two former border agents are being brutalized.
"For instance, last February, Ramos was severely beaten by fellow prison inmates at the Federal Correctional Complex in Yazoo City, Miss., where he was initially placed in general prison population," said Baker.
"The attack came immediately after the airing of a segment on Ramos and Compean by the America's Most Wanted television show," he said.
The White House, according to Baker, attempted to cover-up the attack on Ramos, but federal prison officials told the news media that the assault occurred on February 6. Ramos and Compean began serving their sentences on January 17, 2007 and so far their appeals have been denied.
According to Congressman Rorhrabacher, an Armed Forces Press Services news article reveals that Gitmo detainees have privileges that include culturally sensitive food, periodic visits from a designated librarian, popular books translated into Arabic, electric fans in the bays, ice water available around the clock and plastic tubs with lids for detainees to store personal items. The detainees also are issued white uniforms, considered a more culturally respected color than the orange suits typical of many prisoners in the US.
While Gitmo detainees get frequent ice cream parties and access to Subway or McDonald's meals, Rohrabacher's fact sheet says Ramos and Compean receive no special meals or extra food privileges. At one point, Ramos lost 30 or more pounds and his family was concerned he was not receiving needed prescription medications, according to Rohrabacher.
"During the last presidential election in 2004, most police organizations and unions endorsed President Bush. However, it didn't take long for Bush to disappoint law enforcement officers across the nation," said a former NYPD detective who now runs a private security firm in Manhattan.
"While Bush fooled many into believing he's a conservative, he has shown his true colors. He's no different than people like Clinton, Kerry and others who treat American citizens worse than criminals and terrorists," he added.
Critics -- especially conservatives and law enforcement officers -- point out the fact that the Bush administration refused to intervene on behalf of Ramos' and Compean's bond request, in sharp contrast to the president's decision to commute the sentence of convicted White House aide Scooter Libby before he spent a day in federal prison.
With the current AG, Alberto Gonzales, being replaced, several leaders including Rep. Rohrabacher hope to force the new AG to investigate the case against the two Border Patrol agents.
"If [the] new Attorney General is unwilling to look into this, he doesn't deserve to be Attorney General," Rohrabacher proclaimed.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.