Bush pardons border agents, but not his administration

This video from the USA says about itself:

Bye Bye Bush.

This is a farewell to George Bush.

By Kate Randall in the USA:

Bush commutes sentences of two US Border Patrol agents

George W. Bush commuted the sentences of two former US Border Patrol agents on January 19, his last full day as president. However, Bush left office without granting clemency to any higher-profile figures or government officials facing liability over administration policies.

Jose Alonso Compean and Ignacio Ramos were convicted in the 2005 shooting of an unarmed Mexican immigrant attempting to flee across the US-Mexican border. The campaign for their freedom had become a cause célèbre for right-wing commentators and anti-immigrant groups and had won the support of Congressional Republicans as well as Democrats.


3 thoughts on “Bush pardons border agents, but not his administration

  1. Bush rejected clemency for Michael Milken and ‘Duke’ Cunningham

    The Justice Department confirms that on his last full day as president, Bush also denied clemency for John Walker Lindh and Leonard Peltier.

    By Josh Meyer
    January 28, 2009

    Reporting from Washington — On his last full day in office, President Bush formally struck down the clemency petitions of junk-bond financier Michael Milken and some high-profile former politicians, including Randy “Duke” Cunningham and Edwin Edwards, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

    The former president also denied petitions for two men who became polarizing symbols of their eras. One was John Walker Lindh, the young American serving 20 years in prison for aiding the Taliban in Afghanistan at a time when it was fighting U.S. military forces just after the Sept. 11 attacks.

    The other was Leonard Peltier, a Native American activist sentenced to two consecutive life terms in the slayings of two FBI agents during a 1975 shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. His standing application has been under consideration since 1993, current and former Justice Department officials said.

    Those were among the 1,729 pardon applications and 7,498 requests for commuted prison sentences that Bush denied during his presidency. Bush left hundreds of cases for the next administration.

    Such denials can be a serious setback for those intent on winning clemency. After denial, a petitioner must wait two years to reapply for a pardon and one year for a commutation of a prison sentence — although they can circumvent the Justice Department and appeal directly to the White House whenever they want. A presidential denial also may make it politically more difficult for the next administration to approve the request, several current and former administration officials involved in the pardon process said.

    Milken long has been interested in a presidential pardon, and his supporters nearly succeeded in obtaining one from President Clinton at the end of his second term in 2001.

    Milken virtually created the junk-bond market, which helped fuel a wave of takeovers and mergers during the 1980s. He was convicted of securities fraud and spent less than two years in prison in the 1990s.

    The former mogul from Encino has used his vast fortune to transform himself into a philanthropist. After surviving prostate cancer, Milken became a community leader in helping others understand and fight the disease. He also created the Milken Institute, which describes itself as an independent think tank devoted to creating a more democratic and efficient global economy.

    Through it all, federal authorities remained steadfast in their opposition to a pardon.

    Last summer, Milken retained Theodore B. Olson to press his case. A former Bush administration solicitor general, Olson also was Bush’s lawyer in the Supreme Court case that stopped the Florida recount and assured his election in 2000.

    Months ago, the odds of Milken getting a pardon had appeared to be in his favor, said some current and former Bush officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the process. But the mounting number of Wall Street and mortgage lending scandals may have made it politically unpalatable. Others said Bush simply did not want to pardon anyone convicted of financial crimes.

    Milken had no comment Tuesday.

    “He wants to keep his focus on his medical research initiatives, preparations for the upcoming Milken Institute Global Conference and several impending speeches to medical groups,” said Geoffrey Moore, a senior advisor to Milken.

    Bush did not make formal rulings on some other well-known figures, leaving their petitions alive.

    The list includes former Illinois Gov. George Ryan; I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, onetime chief of staff to former Vice President Dick Cheney; Jonathan Pollard, a U.S. Navy analyst convicted of spying for Israel; media mogul Conrad Black; and telecommunications executives Bernard Ebbers and John Rigas.

    In December, Bush also denied clemency for Justin Volpe, the New York police officer convicted of sodomizing Haitian immigrant Abner Louima in 1997, Justice Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney said.

    The chief of the Justice Department’s office of the pardon attorney, Ronald Rodgers, confirmed the clemency denials through a spokeswoman in response to queries from The Times’Washington bureau.

    Bush granted far fewer clemency petitions than many presidents in recent history — 189 pardons and 11 commutations. For the most part, those went to obscure federal offenders — not the high-profile, politically connected applicants who had success with President Clinton and some of his predecessors.

    Bush shortened the sentences of two former Border Patrol guards involved in a controversial shooting of a drug smuggler.

    “He seems to go out of his way to deny the high rollers, the prominent people,” one U.S. official familiar with the pardon denial list said of Bush.

    The former president was “very proud” of not issuing pardons to the politically well-connected, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said in an interview with CNN’s Larry King.

    “He said people who have gotten pardons are usually people who have influence or know friends in high places,” a route that is “not available to ordinary people,” she said, recounting an Inauguration Day conversation she had with Bush.

    Among those whose influence did not help them win clemency was Cunningham, the former San Diego-area Republican congressman who pleaded guilty to accepting at least $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors. In 2006, he was sentenced to eight years and four months in prison.

    Another was Edwards, the colorful four-term governor of Louisiana who was sentenced to 10 years in prison on racketeering charges in 2001.


  2. Attorney General Eric Holder: Please Appoint a Special Prosecutor

    President Obama’s choice for Attorney General, Eric Holder, was confirmed by the Senate yesterday and sworn in today. In another proud historic first, Mr. Holder will be our first African American Attorney General.

    During his confirmation hearings, Mr. Holder declared unequivocally, “Waterboarding is torture.” This terrified Republicans because it means Holder must prosecute George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, and other top officials who authorized waterboarding and the rest of the “Bush System of Torture,” as Keith Olbermann calls it.

    Republicans pressured Mr. Holder to promise not to prosecute the torturers, but Mr. Holder refused. He said, “No one is above the law.” That’s exactly what President Obama said when ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked him our question on January 11.

    Of course Mr. Holder must also end eight years of absolute corruption under John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales, and Michael Mukasey. He must reverse George Bush’s criminal policies on torture, habeas corpus, secret government, and warrantless wiretapping. How can Mr. Holder do it all?

    The best solution would be for Mr. Holder to quickly appoint a Special Prosecutor to focus exclusively on Bush’s crimes. That would take these crimes off Mr. Holder’s desk entirely, and ensure a thorough and nonpartisan investigation.

    In December, we launched a petition drive with our friends at Docudharma.com. Over 20,000 activists have already urged Mr. Holder to appoint a Special Prosecutor. Please join them:


    If you already signed, please user our petition form to encourage friends to sign.

    You can also call Mr. Holder’s office at 202-514-2001 and leave a simple message: “Appoint a Special Prosecutor for George Bush’s crimes.”

    Thanks for all you do!

    Bob Fertik

  3. Take Action to demand racist, anti-immigrant Maricopa County AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio be REMOVED IMMEDIATELY!

    Fill in the Online Petition at http://www.may1.info/arpaiopetition.shtml to send a message to the Homeland Security Department, President Obama, Arizona Governor Brewer, Congressional leaders, the Arizona Congressional Delegation, the Arizona Legislature and members of the media telling them you want ARPAIO REMOVED IMMEDIATELY and the Homeland Security 287(g) contract with his office cancelled at once!
    And on May 1 join thousands and thousands to demonstrate for worker and immigrant rights in cities throughout the country! For more information, go to http://www.may1.info
    Text of the online petition message follows:
    To: Janet Napolitano, Secretary, Homeland Security; Esther Olavarria, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy; ICE Director Torres; Arizona Governor Brewer
    cc: President Obama, Attorney General Holder, U.N. Secretary-General Ban, Arizona Congressional Delegation, Congressional leaders, Arizona legislature and members of the media

    Dear Janet Napolitano, Secretary, Homeland Security and Esther Olavarria, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Homeland Security, ICE Director Torres, Arizona Governor Brewer, Arizona legislators and Congressional leaders:

    Remove Anti-Immigrant Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio from office NOW!

    Cancel the Homeland Security Department’s 287(g) contract with Seriff Arpaio’s office IMMEDIATELY!

    The entire country is appalled and outraged at the racist, anti-immigrant actions of Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Phoenix, Arizona.

    Arpaio’s racist history and abuse are well documented.

    * At his “Tent City” jail, temperatures can reach a deadly 150 degrees in the summer.
    * His practice of feeding prisoners just twice a day with spoiled food, his reinstatement of the chain gang and his cruel treatment of inmates–including those awaiting trial who have not been convicted of any crime–have already cost Maricopa County more than $46 million in lawsuit settlements.
    * His latest stunt of parading the victims of his racial profiling shackled and dressed in striped prison clothes, through the streets of Phoenix from the County Courthouse to his Tent City jail — a public humiliation — is reminiscent of slaves being paraded to the auction block, and is the latest and last outrage that the people of Arizona should have to endure.

    The actions of Sheriff Arpaio in Phoenix, Arizona extend the militarization of the border to the entirety of Maricopa County. The actions of Sheriff Arpaio and his posse have declared open season on all people of color, including documented and undocumented immigrants, as well as people born in the U.S.

    The 287(g) Agreement now in place between the Sheriff of Maricopa County and the federal government has been implemented in violation of the constitutional right of Equal Protection and with blatant discriminatory enforcement tactics by Sheriff Arpaio.

    I call upon the people of Maricopa County, the local and federal government, and all politicians to stop these perpetrators of hate and fear.

    I call for the removal of Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio and for the end to the systematic practice of racial profiling and other discriminatory policies that have fostered a racist and hostile environment against immigrant and indigenous people.

    (your signature appended here).
    Fill in the Online Petition at http://www.may1.info/arpaiopetition.shtml

    May 1st Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights
    55 West 17 Street, #5C, New York, NY 10011
    c/o Teamsters Local 808, 22-43 Jackson Ave., Long Island City, NY 11101 Tel: (212) 561.1744

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