Justice

Wife Walks Tall for Justice

Judy White is in a desperate struggle to get husband Gary medication critical to his well being. Gary White was convicted by Federal prosecutors for refusing to cooperate as a witness in one of the Don Siegelman trials in Alabama Federal Court. White, a Republican County Commissioner refused to testify in what he said was an unlawful prosecution. He was found guilty of “petty corruption” charges after refusing to cooperate despite the fact Siegelman’s conviction was recently vacated by the Supreme Court of the United States. Upon arrival at Federal prison in South Carolina on September 29, White’s prescription medication was confiscated. He has had no medication since.

Judy White says she doesn’t know the system but she’s gone public and written an open letter to President Barack Obama appealing for his help to save her husband’s health. The Bush era Alabama Federal prosecutors who convicted Wright in their relentless persecution of former governor Siegelman remain as Federal prosecutors to this day. Michael Collins
After the break…
Judy White Fights For Incarcerated Husband’s Access to His Prescriptions By Joan Brunwasser
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Justice Project Urges “No” Vote on Kagan

Justice Project Urges “No” Vote On Kagan

By Andrew Kreig |
Justice Integrity Project

The Senate should reject Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination because she seeks to expand executive branch authority at the expense of the public’s historic civil rights. Vote No on KaganShe is part of an Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) leadership team that has failed to redress unconstitutional lawbreaking by overzealous prosecutors and greedy judges.

The Justice Integrity Project (JIP), a bipartisan group I lead, announced on June 28 our opposition to Kagan, based especially on our core area of research in these areas of official misconduct.  I’m thrilled with the opportunity to share some of our findings here with American Daughter Magazine readers.  The implications of the current debate extend far beyond the politics of whether she’ll be confirmed.  We need to review the threat of this nomination to our core heritage, and work to conserve what’s best against threats that are almost unprecedented in their aggregate scope. (more…)

Reminder

Link

* Bush Accused of Tyranny and Murder at Impeachment Hearing  July 25, 2008
* The People, the Press, and the Case for Impeachment  July 29, 2008
* The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder:  An Interview with Vincent Bugliosi – Part 1  Aug. 8, 2008
* Bush, Manson, and the Media Blackout:  An Interview with Vincent Bugliosi – Part 2  Aug. 12, 2008
* White Paper Justifying Iraq War Written Three Months Before Intel Report Arrived  Aug. 25, 2008
* The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder by Vincent Bugliosi.  A Review by Michael CollinsMurder Trumps Torture Says Bugliosi   Apr. 9, 2009

Chris Dodd’s wife and derivatives trading – “all in the family”

Michael Collins

It’s all in the family! Senator Chris Dodd writes a financial reform bill but forgets to regulate derivatives, “financial weapons of mass destruction.” Then we find out that his wife works for the owners of two exchanges that will very likely benefit from Dodd’s “reform” legislation.

They make the rules. They take the money, all of it, and leave us with debt. And they tell us it’s all legal.

Here’s the story.
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Former Accused Iraqi Agent Susan Lindauer, Secret Charges and The Patriot Act in Action

Former Accused Iraqi Agent
Susan Lindauer, Secret Charges and

The Patriot Act in Action

The Executioner and Justice – John Heartfield

Susan Lindauer Interviewed by Michael Collins

‘Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” Herman Goering, Interview at Nuremburg Trials, April 14, 1946

“The Patriot Act was used against me in total contradiction to its stated purpose. Or perhaps it was the most logical use of the law, since it establishes a legal framework to crush free thinking and interrupt individual questioning of the government. It is the beginning of all dictatorship in America.” Susan Lindauer, March 9, 2009

By Michael Collins

In March, 2004 Susan Lindauer was arrested for allegedly acting as an “unregistered agent” for prewar Iraq.  She challenged the government’s assertion and sought the right to prove at Trial that she’d been a United States intelligence asset covering Iraq and Libya from the early 1990’s through 2003 (see articles).

In an unprecedented judicial ploy that lasted five years, federal prosecutors blocked Ms. Lindauer’s rights to trial or any other sort of evidentiary hearings that would test her story. For 11 months, she was confined at Carswell federal prison on a Texas military base and at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, without a conviction or plea bargain.

During the indictment, she was conveniently gagged from sharing her direct knowledge of Iraqi Pre-War Intelligence, which she gained as a primary asset covering the Iraqi Embassy at the United Nations from August, 1996 onwards. She was also silenced from talking about the advance warning she gave the Office of Counter-Terrorism and U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft’s private staff in August, 2001, about possible airplane hijackings and a reprise of the 1993 World Trade Center attack.

But there was more than the Sixth Amendment’s “right to a speedy trial” at stake.

Lindauer was one of the first citizens charged under special judicial provisions of the Patriot Act.  The exceedingly complex legislation, emerged from the desk of John Yoo just days after the 9/11 attack.  It passed the House 357 to 66 and the Senate 98 to 1.  The Patriot Act eviscerated long standing Constitutional protections.  It fundamentally altered how trials are conducted whenever provisions of the act are invoked in a court of law.

Lindauer’s indictment was an early domestic  test drives of the Patriot Act by the Bush-Cheney Department of Justice.  Her nightmare officially ended five days before the Obama Inauguration, when the prosecution dropped the case “in the interests of justice.”

In the current interviews, Susan Lindauer explains how the Patriot Act was used to quash her most fundamental rights of due process, which would otherwise have empowered her to repudiate the indictment and protect her reputation.

United States Department of Justice Criminal Resource Manual (Classified Information Procedures Act and FISA) Summary and original source

Secret Evidence is Slowly Eroding the Adversary System:  CIPA and FISA in the Courts. Ellen Yaroshefsky, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Summary and original source

Susan Lindauer Interviews by Michael Collins

Michael Collins:  Not many people know that you were arrested under provisions of the Patriot Act.  You were one of the fist U.S. citizens to experience the brutality of this legislation. How did it shape your case and treatment in the Courts?

Susan Lindauer: That’s right. Along with Jose Padilla, I will go down in history as one of the first and only non-Arab Americans ever indicted on the Patriot Act during the Bush Administration.

I believe that my case demonstrates why the Patriot Act should be repealed immediately to safeguard our country and our freedom.

I have always opposed war and advocated diplomacy to solve conflicts. The indictment accused me of “acting as an unregistered Iraqi Agent,” on the grounds that I delivered a letter forecasting the failure of the Occupation to my cousin, Andy Card, Chief of Staff to President George Bush.  That’s what used to be known as Freedom of Speech. The letter was not hostile or threatening. In fact, it proved tragically accurate. That did not matter to the Justice Department. Vocalizing opposition to Bush policy was treasonous. End of discussion.

Collins:  What happened when you got to court?

Lindauer: Once I got to Court, I discovered that the indictment also contained two “secret charges,” gratis of the Patriot Act. My attorney and I were given the dates for the two allegations, saying that I attended meetings with Iraqi officials in October, 1999 and October, 2001, but nothing more to explain what I had allegedly done wrong.

There was nothing unusual about the fact that those meetings had occurred. I visited the Iraqi Embassy at the United Nations about every three weeks for 7 years.  My handlers were fully informed, which explains how the government could have been tracking the dates in the first place. They got the dates from me.

“a. On or about October 14, 1999, Susan Lindauer — met with an officer of the Iraq Intelligence Service (“IIS”) in Manhattan.

“c. In or about October 2001, SUSAN LINDAUER — accepted a task given to her in Manhattan by an officer of the IIS.”  USA v. Lindauer.  S2 03 Cr. 807 (MBM)

No, the government was claiming that something unusual took place during those specific meetings. Under the Patriot Act, the Prosecution was not required to tell us what those offensive actions were. Nor was the Court allowed to tell us what type of laws might have been violated by those actions.

We were only told that conviction on either of the “secret charges” would get me five years in federal prison.

Collins:  Please help readers understand more about “secret evidence.”  Were you and your lawyer denied access to evidence, because it was considered “secret” or “classified”?  How did this work under the Patriot Act?

Lindauer: It’s unbelievable, isn’t it? As if “secret charges” were not terrible enough, there was also “secret evidence” which could be applied to those “secret charges.”

The Prosecution had the right to ask a jury to convict me of those two undisclosed charges without revealing a shred of evidence to support the charges whatsoever. The Patriot Act authorized the prosecutor to ask a jury to “take it on faith” that some unspecified evidence would prove that some unspecified law had been broken.

If a judge so instructed before deliberations, the jury could be required to ignore the lack of presentation of evidence in weighing whether to convict me. The Judge could simply instruct a jury that the Justice Department regarded the evidence as “sufficient” to constitute a crime and that would be “sufficient knowledge” for their review. That kind of instruction practically requires a jury to convict a defendant.

The fundamental question of “guilty beyond reasonable doubt” is shattered. To say the least, it drastically undercuts protections in the jury system of the United States.

Conversely, evidence that might exonerate me, and prove my innocence, could be considered “secret and classified” as well. My attorney and I could be prohibited from knowing of its existence or using it in my defense. Even if that evidence or witness statements tossed out the whole case, and saved me from years in prison, I would not be entitled to know of its existence or present it to the jury.

Collins:  This sounds like Franz Kafka’s “The Trial” combined with the Queen of Hearts in “Alice in Wonderland.”  How did you conceptualize your experience at the time?

Lindauer: The outstanding blog, Welcome Back to Pottersville published a headline that I loved: Franz Kafka, Meet Susan Lindauer.

Oh yes, I was floored. I know the Constitution. I cherish it, in fact. I could not believe such a thing would happen to somebody like me, with my education from Smith College and the London School of Economics, and all of my community resources. I mean, if the government could do this to somebody like me, what could they do to somebody who has nothing?  It’s a frightening thought.

Above all, I despised the Assistant US Attorney, Edward O’Callaghan, who prosecuted my case. Numerous times I correctly told the Court that the FBI had verified my story and Mr. O’Callaghan was falsifying his claims about the availability of witnesses to authenticate my story. He flat out lied about my identity and activities to a senior federal judge. I mean, come on. We interviewed those witnesses, too. We know what they told the FBI.

And so I kept challenging the Court that nobody had to take my word for anything.           I challenged the Court to subpoena the witnesses and question them directly under oath. For FIVE YEARS, I told the Court that all questions could be cleared up in ten minutes, with a simple pre-trial evidentiary hearing.

(Part three of this interview focuses on that issue.)

Collins:  Back to the “secrecy rules,” How did those work in trial preparation?

Lindauer: Within the category of “secret evidence,” the law pretends to establish a safeguard for defendants by allowing two levels of secrecy.

Under the main category of secrecy, both the attorney and defendant are prohibited from laying eyes on evidence or witness statements. The Prosecutor always retains the right to deny access on the grounds of national security.

A sub-section of the Patriot Act allows the defense attorney to petition the government for a security clearance in order to review some parts of the “secret evidence.” In reality, the process drags out for many months, while most defendants languish in prison waiting for trial. (And because the case involves the Patriot Act, they’re frequently detained in solitary confinement.) Getting clearance can take six months to a year, costing the Defense valuable time to review the evidence or plan a rebuttal.

A security clearance does not automatically guarantee access to evidence, however. Depending on their backgrounds, different attorneys qualify for different levels of security clearances. For example, an activist attorney with a history of pro bono cases involving the ACLU or something equally subversive, like Greenpeace, might qualify for a very low security clearance, because their career choices and previous cases might be perceived to threaten the State.  So one attorney might have more or less access to secret evidence than another. But you can’t know until the security clearance review is completed.

Hope is vain, however. That safeguard is mostly irrelevant and procedural.

To illustrate that point, in five years under indictment, I had two separate attorneys with very different levels of security clearances, including a former federal prosecutor, the outstanding Mr. Brian Shaughnessy of Washington, DC, who regularly handles the most high level and complicated security cases.  Neither attorney was ever able to determine what those two “secret charges” were. Neither attorney ever saw the “secret evidence.”

More disturbingly, the attorney is strictly prohibited from revealing any part of that “secret evidence” to the Defendant. The Defendant cannot see it or know about it, and therefore cannot provide an effective response to the attorney to rebut it. Thus, ironically, the Patriot Act handicaps the defendant’s ability to assist in the preparation of their Defense strategy.

Thus, it renders the Defendant INCOMPETENT TO STAND TRIAL.

Ah, the plot thickens.

CollinsIt does in a very major way.   What actions could be so serious as to deny your constitutional rights?  Did you ever figure out what those “secret charges” might have been?  Surely you know what you were doing in October, 1999 and October, 2001.

Lindauer: Oh yeah. And I’ll bet your readers think those accusations must be very serious! Wouldn’t you think? I must have done something far too horrible for the government to whisper aloud! Wanna bet?

In five years, we could only guess about those two charges. We surmised that in October 1999, I was indicted for blocking the Iraqi Government in Baghdad from making financial campaign contributions to the George W. Bush Presidential Campaign.

That’s right. With immediate assistance from my U.S. Intelligence contacts, I stopped Iraq from making illegal campaign contributions to the 2000 Bush Election campaign–at least through my channels.

We have speculated that perhaps Saddam gave money to the Bush Campaign in 2000 through somebody else and some other channel. And the Republicans don’t want anybody to know about it. Perhaps I was indicted to stop the Democrats from investigating campaign contribution records.

Consider that Andy Card was warned of Iraq’s attempts in two progress reports on March 1, 2001 and December 2, 2001. The Republican leadership that attacked me was very much aware that this question of illegal campaign contributions was hanging out there. And I was indicted for stopping it from happening.

Collins:  What about the second “secret charge”?

That was allegedly in October, 2001. We’re still in the dark on that one; however, we think it involves my efforts to collect health statistics from Baghdad regarding depleted uranium left behind by the United States in the first Gulf War.

Depleted Uranium has resulted in a spike in Iraqi birth defects and cancer rates from long-term exposure. They say Iraqi children suffer cancer “like the flu,” it’s so common.

Tragically, exposure to depleted uranium might seriously harm American soldiers and their future unborn children, too! I suspect it will become a major health risk for soldiers who return from repeated tours of duty in Iraq. When they start having families back home, we’re going to hear about this.

That’s probably all it took to categorize the documents as “secret evidence” and “secret charges.” They didn’t want my case to raise the profile of that health risk for Americans in Iraq. None of that health information was ever returned to me in discovery.

For knowing something so unpleasant about the government’s responsibilities, the Justice Department actually wanted me to serve five years in prison. It’s unbelievable.

Collins:  It must have been terrifying. The government figuratively tied you to a chair and challenged you to a 15 round boxing match.  Did you ever consider pleading guilty to stop the beating?

Lindauer: Never! I’m a helluva boxer myself, Mike! They must have been surprised to find I could go 15 rounds. I’m strong and tenacious to this day!

No, I had my entire legal strategy mapped out in the first couple of hours after my arrest. I could see mistakes in the indictment, and I quickly identified which witnesses and evidence would be necessary to repudiate the whole lot.

My witness list was outstanding. It included international attorneys from the Lockerbie Trial, former Congressional staffers, even a couple of international journalists. One of Scotland’s finest Solicitors, Edward MacKechnie, who won acquittal for his Libyan client in the Lockerbie Trial, immediately promised to travel at his own expense to testify for me as to the identity and credentials of Dr. Richard Fuisz, my CIA handler. I have the emails to prove it. His participation was beyond dispute.

There was no question that I had an outstanding defense. What’s more, I have outstanding bona fides to go with it. I took perverse satisfaction in knowing that once the jury received witness corroboration of my extensive credentials dealing with Libya and Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Syria/Hezbollah and Malaysia for 9 years from 1993 to 2002, they would be appalled by the prosecution’s arguments to convict me.

Any jury would recognize that I had legitimate reason for participating in the 9/11 investigation as a “first-responder,” not to mention that I’m one of the few individuals who openly warned about 9/11 for several months before the attack. I still think a New York jury would have applauded me.

The public just didn’t know who I was– yet– or the extensive work that put me on the cutting edge of anti-terrorism for so many years.

That would change with witness testimony at trial. It would not be boring.

Collins:  What was your reaction to getting arrested in March, 2004?

I was disgusted and perversely amused. At my home, while FBI agents were handcuffing me, I asked what I was charged with. That’s a natural question when FBI agents come pounding on your door.

They wouldn’t tell me. That’s the Patriot Act for you. The arresting FBI agent said that I could read the indictment when I got to Baltimore– Not Washington D.C. or Greenbelt, Maryland, which are 15 minutes from my home. They processed me in Baltimore, a city that’s 45 minutes away and out of the sphere of Washington media. All through the drive, the FBI agent only told me that I would be extradited to New York. I had no idea why I’d been arrested at all.

When I finally got to read the indictment, I was purple with outrage. After 9 years of hard work and devotion to Anti-Terrorism as an Asset for the U.S. government, I was now accused of acting as an “unregistered Iraqi agent” and “conspiracy with the Iraqi Intelligence Service.” Oh My!

I told the arresting FBI agent, “This is bullshit. This is political. You want me out of the way so you can lie about Iraq and 9/11 during the (2004) election.”

Collins:  You were arrested in March 2004, when President Bush was locked in a tight race with John Kerry and appeared to be losing. Do you think presidential campaign politics was involved in your indictment?

Lindauer: There was never any question that it was a cheap, political indictment engineered by ruthless White House staff, including my own cousin, Andy Card, afraid of losing Bush’s re-election.

A few weeks before my arrest, I contacted the offices of Senators Trent Lott and John McCain and asked to testify before the new blue-ribbon Presidential Commission on Iraqi Pre-War Intelligence. As part of that testimony, I would have detailed Iraq’s efforts to cooperate with the 9/11 investigation, and, before 9/11, our threats to bomb Baghdad in April and May, 2001 if they failed to serve up any fragments of intelligence relating to a new conspiracy involving airplane hijackings. I, personally, bickered with Iraqi diplomats at the United Nations for several months seeking that information. Iraq had nothing to give us.

Under the circumstances, arresting me must have presented an irresistible temptation.

Collins: How so?

Lindauer:  They saw that I would be sidelined in legal wrangling until after the November election. I would be gagged from telling the full and accurate story of Iraqi Pre-War Intelligence and the government’s advance warnings of a 9/11 style attack. This gave Republicans a significant advantage over the Democrats, shielding them from criticism during their campaigns.

After November, the charges against me would be declared bogus, and the case would be dismissed for lack of merit. I would ultimately win, whereas American voters would have lost an opportunity to make informed decisions about which candidates to support. They would be flying blind just the way politicians wanted.

Collins:  What was some of the most devastating information that you would have shared?

Lindauer: Imagine if American voters had known that the 9/11 strike was not a surprise to U.S. Intelligence! Would it have changed any votes if Americans had known the truth? That throughout the summer of 2001, there were extensive discussions about possible airplane hijackings and a reprise of the 1993 World Trade Center attack, specifically?

In August 2001, we thought the attack was “imminent.” At the instruction of my CIA handler, Dr. Richard Fuisz, I personally alerted the private staff of U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Office of Counter-Terrorism at the Justice Department about our fears, asking for their cooperation in issuing an emergency alert throughout all agencies for any fragment of intelligence or suspicious activity that might help us pre-empt a conspiracy to hijack and/or bomb airplanes.

Would any of that have made a difference in the voting booth? Would Americans still think the “War on Terror” was a success?  That’s the kind of wild card that campaign staff hate during a tight election.

Collins:  Do you have any parting words on the Patriot Act?

Lindauer: It strikes me as ironic that the Patriot Act, which Congress passed after 9/11 to empower law enforcement to hunt down terror suspects, was first used to suppress and punish an American citizen who spent a life-time opposing violence in terrorism or war, and who gave advance warning about the 9/11 attack in specific detail.

I’m obviously a very dangerous woman! My indictment provides a classic example of a fearful incumbent — a dictator — arresting his political opponents on trumped up charges so that he can remove obstacles to staying in power, and intimidates others into silence when they would otherwise speak against him.

It’s what you’d expect from Chile under Pinochet in the 1970s, the El Salvadoran juntas in the 1980s, Egypt today. It’s Myanmar and Tibet. And it’s what happened to me.

Collins: Part three of this interview explores the intense and chilling abuse Ms. Lindauer suffered when confined to the Carswell federal prison facility housed in the Carswell U.S. Air Force base near Ft. Worth Texas.  At the same time, Lindauer will describe how federal law enforcement officials associated with her case manipulated proceedings and falsified reports about her life and activities.

END

Permission to reproduce in part or whole with attribution of authorship and a link to this article

Feds Drop Case Against Accused Iraqi Agent

Feds Drop Case Against Accused Iraqi Agent

“the Government has determined that continued prosecution of this case as to LINDAUER would not be in the interests of justice.”

Michael Collins

“Scoop” Independent News

(Jan. 16, Wash. DC) The Department of Justice entered a motion to drop all charges against Susan Lindauer yesterday morning, Jan. 15, 2009.  The filing at the federal district court in lower Manhattan ends the government’s attempt to prosecute her for allegedly acting as an “unregistered agent” for Iraq.  Since her arrest in early 2004, she has repeatedly asked for a trial to present evidence that she had been a United States intelligence asset since the early 1990’s.

By filing this order, the government surrendered forever its ability to prosecute Lindauer as an “Iraqi foreign agent” and for lesser charges contained in the indictment, including a one week trip to Baghdad in March, 2002.

Lindauer made the following statement today, Jan 16, 2009:  “I am disgusted by this case.  They think that they have defeated me by denying my day in court.  It could not be more wrong.  If we can’t have a criminal trial, we’re going to have a civil trial for damages.”

Lindauer was arrested in March, 2004 shortly after offering to testify before a Bush appointed blue ribbon commission evaluating U.S. pre-war intelligence on Iraq.  In late February, she informed the offices of two commission members, Sen. McCain (R-AZ) and Trent Lott (R-MS), that she could testify that U.S. pre-war intelligence was proactive and effective, not a popular view at that time.

Lindauer has adamantly maintained her innocence of all charges since her arrest.  In addition to the “unregistered agent” charge, the government alleged that she had taken an unauthorized trip to Baghdad, and attended meetings with Iraqi intelligence agents at the Iraqi Embassy at the United Nations.  Lindauer planned an aggressive defense with evidence that showed both government knowledge and authorization of her activities plus a history of activity on behalf of U.S. intelligence.

Lindauer offered an affidavit concerning the Lockerbie bombing in 1998.   Her statement was based on her discussions with Dr. Richard Fuisz, whom she named as her CIA handler.  Dr. Fuisz was said to be “a major operative in the Middle East in the 1980s.”  Since then the Scottish Criminal Cases Justice Commission has since uncovered irregularities in the evidence against the two Libyans convicted of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

The initial indictment charged Lindauer with trying to influence United States policy by sending this letter to her second cousin, then Bush chief of staff Andrew Card.  From 2000 until her arrest in 2003, Lindauer provided Card with 11 letters detailing the progress of talks to resume the U.N. weapons inspections and anti terrorist cooperation offered with the United States by Iraq.  The last of this series of letters to Card was the sole basis of the charge that Lindauer attempted to influence U.S. government policies, while acting as an “unregistered agent” for pre war Iraq.

The Card letter was the “high water mark” of the government’s charge of acting as a foreign agent according to former chief judge of the Southern District, Manhattan federal court, now Attorney General, Michael B. Mukasey.  In that letter, Lindauer urged the Bush administration to stop plans to invade Iraq and to seek engagement through negotiation.  Lindauer wrote that U.S. soldiers would face stiff opposition based on Iraqi hostility resulting from a lethal ten year embargo and daily bombing during the 1990’s.

She also advised Card that an invasion would create a new wave of terrorists threatening the security of the United States.  This letter was hand delivered to Card with a copy, also hand delivered, provided to then Secretary of State Colin Powell.

“Above all, you must realize that if you go ahead with this invasion, Osama bin Laden will triumph, rising from his grave or seclusion. His network will be swollen with fresh recruits, and other charismatic individuals will seek to build upon his model, multiplying those networks. And the United States will have delivered the death blow to itself. Using your own act of war, Osama and his cohort will irrevocably divide the hearts and minds of the Arab Street from moderate governments in Islamic countries that have been holding back the tide. Power to the people, what we call “democracy,” will secure the rise of fundamentalists.”  Susan Lindauer to Andrew Card, January 6, 2003*

Lindauer has consistently maintained that she had been acting as a United States intelligence asset from the mid 1990’s until the invasion, supervised by handlers for the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency.

In the only open hearing on the case, award winning investigative reporter and former Congressional chief of staff, Kelly O’Meara, testified that she observed Lindauer meeting with Paul Hoven on a weekly basis over a period of 16 months.  Lindauer maintains that Hoven was her second handler for the Defense Intelligence Agency.  Investigative reporter Leslie Cockburn wrote that Hoven had “an enormous range of contacts in the murky world of special – i.e., clandestine – operations.”

At the same hearing, Parke Godfrey, PhD, an associate professor of computer science at York University, Toronto, testified that Lindauer had warned him on several occasions that a major attack would take place in Southern Manhattan in the fall of 2001.  Dr. Godfrey claimed her warnings specified that the attack would most likely involve airplane hijackings and a reprise of the 1993 World Trade Center attack. She came to this conclusion based on work she describes with Richard Fuisz.

The Department of Justice argued that Lindauer was “delusional” for claiming a role as a U.S. asset.  Lindauer described this as “guilt by pleading innocent.”  In October, 2005, former Judge Mukasey ordered Lindauer to a federal prison facility at Carswell Air Force Base in Ft. Worth Texas for psychiatric evaluation to see if she would be competent to stand trial. Lindauer was confined for seven months, and then formally declared incompetent without a hearing, over her strongest objections.  The allowable period for such evaluations is four months according to U.S. Federal Code.

Carswell staff acknowledged that there were no external symptoms of mental illness. However, they proposed that Lindauer should be detained indefinitely and drugged with Haldol until whatever time she could be “cured” of claiming that she had worked as a U.S. asset in counter-terrorism. Lindauer refused, and a lengthy court battle ensued.  She was transferred to Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.

After four months confinement in Manhattan, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward O’Callaghan sought an order from Mukasey to incarcerate her for another four months and the use physical force to administer doses of Haldol or similar medications.  This was despite an internal staff report by Carswell that there was no reason to justify forcible drugging since Lindauer was not a threat to herself or anyone else.  Mukasey denied the prosecution request and ordered Lindauer to be released on bond on June 6, 2006.

Lindauer hired former prosecutor and Washington DC criminal attorney Brian W. Shaughnessy as counsel in mid 2008.  Shaughnessy filed a motion to overturn the governments finding that she was incompetent to stand trial.   Shaughnessy argued that Lindauer’s record of doing well on her own before and after her arrest and her direct involvement in her defense made the government’s continual claim of an inability to stand trial moot.

Bush appointee, Judge Loretta Preska ruled to uphold the government’s position on Lindauer’s competence on Sept. 15, 2009.  Preska had been nominated for the federal appellate bench on Sept. 9, 2009.

Just a few weeks after Dr. Godfrey testified about Lindauer’s warnings on the 9/11 attack, Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward O’Callaghan left the District Attorney’s office to join the McCain presidential campaign.  He began assisting Sarah Palin’s legal team in Alaska.  Dr. Godfrey testified that he had told the FBI her claims were truthful a full year before the Justice Department detained her at Carswell.

Ms. Lindauer’s Attorney, Brian W. Shaughnessy pointed out that he could find no other instance where federal, state or local prosecutors have ever argued for a defendant’s incompetence to stand trial over the objections of the defendant and defendant’s Counsel, when that defendant was a successfully functioning member of the community and a full participant in her defense.

Lindauer lives in the DC metropolitan area where she is rebuilding her career and undertaking some writing projects.

END

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Filing to Drop Case Jan. 15, 2009

* Susan Lindauer to Andrew Card, January 6, 2003

Previous “Scoop” coverage on USA v. Susan Lindauer:

American Cassandra: Susan Lindauer’s Story   Michael Collins 17 October 2007

Bush Political Prisoner Gets her Day in Court  Michael Collins June 11, 2008

An Exclusive Interview with Bush Political Prisoner Susan Lindauer  Michael Collins June 2008

911 Predictions Revealed at Susan Lindauer Competency Hearing  Michael Collins June 17, 2004

Did Justice Order Forced Psychiatric Medication?  Michael Collins, Sept. 12, 2008.

American Kafka:  Susan Lindauer Demands “The Trial”  Michael Collins, Oct. 4, 2008

From the People Who Brought Us Judith Miller and George Bush

From the People Who Brought Us
Judith Miller & George Bush

Former New York New York Times reporter, Judith Miller, who wrongly
claimed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and her president.
(Images left, right)

The New York Times “Covers” the Susan Lindauer Hearing

Michael Collins
“Scoop” Independent News
Washington, DC

The New York Times disgraced itself and betrayed the citizens of the United States when it repeatedly headlined misleading stories by reporter Judith Miller that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The paper issued a meandering apology well after the 2003invasion prompted by the inaccurate reporting of Miller, the self-styled “Miss Run Amok” reporter, and others. But it was too little and too late to correct the damage. And it seems the Times is still running amok at the expense of what’s in the public interest.

One has to wonder if the New York Times and the White House coordinated efforts on the WMD matter. They certainly worked very well together, propping up in tandem the fear-based prophecy of a menacing Saddam who would deliver his nuclear filled hate to our shores. This was total nonsense, to put it kindly.

We know that the Bush administration and the New York Times editor, William Keller, communicated about a very sensitive matter before the 2004 election. New York Times reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau had discovered that the Bush administration had been illegally wiretapping citizens since Sept. 11, 2001. “Internal discussions about drafts of the article had been ‘dragging on for weeks’ before the Nov. 2 election, Mr. Keller acknowledged,” according to an article by Times public editor Byron Calme Instead of publishing the story, Times editor Keller killed and barred the story from public release until December 16, 2006, 13 months after the 2004 election.

Was this a coincidence? Not at all. Bush requested the story be killed for “national security” reasons. Forgetting the paper’s shining moment when it released the Pentagon Papers, Keller willingly complied.

This was the election that would determine if Mr. Bush would have another four years to work the magic that’s brought the nation to its current state of peril. When the story finally broke, it created a wave of negative reaction across the political spectrum.

Thanks to the New York Times’ deliberate delay, we’ll never know how the public would have responded just weeks before the 2004 vote. Based on the public response when the story was released, it may well have created enough of a shift to render the dirty tricks of Ohio and elsewhere meaningless.

The false WMD reports represented propaganda of the most frightening type. It came from reporter Miller who had relied largely on one source, Ahmad Chalabi. He was on the Defense Department payroll at the time that reporter Miller gained the WMD information from him. Without any doubt, the New York Times was a major enabler of the Iraq invasion and occupation.

By withholding a most devastating indictment of the lawless regime in power, namely illegal wiretapping of U.S. citizens, the New York Times denied citizens the option of a fully informed choice in 2004 and it played a major role in returning Bush-Cheney to power.

Four thousand U.S. deaths, tens of thousands of life long injuries to U.S. troops, 1.2 million dead Iraqis due to civil strife triggered by the war, 5 million Iraqi orphans, and the loss of United States’ prestige on a massive scale: this is the shared legacy of the New York Times coverage leading up to the Iraq invasion. A nation on the verge of bankruptcy, foreclosures at epidemic rates, national debt so out of control it is difficult to even measure and a deep recession with possibly worse down the road: this is just a part of the legacy of the New York Times’ coverage of the 2004 election.

How low will they sink?

Even on a smaller scale, their depths are without limits, it would seem.

The most recent example is the New York Times’ coverage of the competency hearing on June 17, 2008 in the Susan Lindauer versus the United States in the Federal District Court, Southern District of New York, in lower Manhattan. Antiwar Activist Returns to Court for Iraq Spy Case, Alan Feuer, New York Times, June 18, 2008.

The headline betrays the first major problem with the New York Times coverage. Susan Lindauer has claimed all along that she was an anti-war and anti-sanctions activist as well as a U.S. asset. However, no one who has read the indictment or the informed coverage would refer to Lindauer as an accused “spy.” She is charged with being an “unregistered foreign agent.” The “high water mark” of the indictment, as Judge Mukasey called it, is the charge that Lindauer attempted to influence U.S. policy on behalf of pre-war Iraq through the delivery of this January 2003 letter to Andrew Card, then chief of staff for President Bush, and Colin Powell, then secretary of state.

The New York Times story opens with this curious statement:

“She rolled her eyes. She stuck her tongue out at the prosecutor. It was decidedly not the usual courtroom demeanor. Then again, it was not the usual federal case.” New York Times, June 18, 2008 (NYT)

I attended the hearing and sat in the front row of the courtroom. Of all the spectators, I had one of the best views of defendant Susan Lindauer and the witnesses. With regard to “rolling her eyes,” that was simply not visible from the public seating since Lindauer faced the judge showing spectators only her back except when she turned and was visible in profile. As for “sticking out her tongue,” I saw no such behavior and Lindauer denies the reporter’s claim vigorously. The alleged gesture was not reported by the New York Daily News, Associated Press, and New York Metro. Nor did I report it in this article on the hearing.

Why would the reporter begin a news story with such an inflammatory unverified charge?

If we skip to the end of the article, we might find an answer. The reporter closed the story with this statement by Lindauer from her post hearing press conference in the hall just outside Judge Loretta Preska’s courtroom.

“She angrily contested an accusation in her indictment that she had illegally lunched with Iraqi intelligence operatives.

“You want to send me to prison because I had a cheeseburger,” she said, “even though I’m not the person who actually ate the cheeseburger.” NYT

The reporter plucked out of context a random remark about cheeseburgers to characterize Lindauer’s denial of serious charges as weak and less than serious.

Lindauer was arguing that the indictment was both flawed and incorrect. She denied these charges, pointed out that she had not been in the city on the dates alleged, and asserted that she can prove it. Then she illustrated what she clearly believed to be the absurdity of the charges with the cheeseburger remark. By lifting this quotation out of context, an entirely different meaning is implied.

The New York Times reporting on the facts of the case is also notably wanting. The reporter echoed the prosecutors claim that “a half-dozen doctors claimed Lindauer suffered from paranoia and delusions of grandeur.” Lindauer, the subject of these professionals, questioned the accuracy of the prosecutor’s statement.

The story leaves out the psychiatrist who examined Lindauer just after her arrest and found no such thing. It fails to mention the two psychotherapists who saw Lindauer over a period of months and failed to report any of this. Observation and interaction over an extended period are powerful tools for diagnosis.

The reporter also failed to note the completed report submitted to the court by a distinguished Washington, D.C. area psychiatrist and academic which reportedly says that Lindauer is competent to stand trial. The psychiatrist is scheduled to appear on Lindauer’s behalf at the next hearing before Judge Preska on July 7, 2008. But discovering this would require that the reporter actually talk to the defendant.

This was, after all, a competency hearing on the mental capacity of Lindauer to stand trial. Wouldn’t you expect the New York Times to cover both sides of the story?

The New York Times described the last hearing of former judge, now U.S. Attorney General Mukasey, on the prosecution’s request to have Lindauer forcibly drugged. He said that “Judge Mukasey declined to rule on the request, saying that the case would be assigned to a new judge — which turned out to be Loretta A. Preska — and that she would eventually have to decide.” NYT

That’s entirely incorrect. In his “Opinion and Order” of Sept. 6, 2006, Mukasey wrote: “Based on the evidence presented at a Sell hearing on May 4 and May 9, 2006, for the reasons explained below, the government has failed to carry this burden — Accordingly, the motion is denied.” (Author’s emphasis)

The New York Times article referred to the defense witnesses’ testimony as “suggestively odd.” Why would the Times make that inference?

The first witness, Kelly O’Meara, was a former reporter for the Washington Times and Insight Magazine and a senior congressional staffer for over two decades. She established a strong connection between Lindauer and an individual reported to be a part of U.S. intelligence, a relationship that endured over time.

The second witness, Dr. Parke Godfrey, was deliberate and thoughtful. He is a long time associate of Lindauer’s and a PhD level associate professor of computer science with a solid academic record. He told of Lindauer’s anti-war activism and also of her warnings about 911.

“Appearing for the defense, Dr. Godfrey testified under oath that Lindauer told him of her specific concerns about an attack on the United States. She told him that a “massive” attack would occur in the southern part of Manhattan, involving airplanes and possibly a nuclear weapon. The witness said that she mentioned this in the year 2000, which coincided with the Lockerbie trial. And then in 2001, Lindauer also mentioned the anticipated attack in the spring, 2001 and then August 2001. Godfrey said, at that time, Lindauer thought an attack was “imminent” and that it would complete what was started in the 1993 bombing (the original World Trade Center bombing).” “Scoop” Independent News, Michael Collins, June 18, 2008

The Associated Press covered the 9/11 portion of the testimony but not the New York Times.

The New York Times coverage of this story opens with an inflammatory personal attack verified only by the reporter – the claim that Lindauer stuck her tongue out. It ends with a quotation clearly out of context leading to a negative view of Lindauer’s coherence. Combined, the two inflammatory aspersions have the effect of presenting an unstable individual. Is the reporter qualified to make this assessment from the gallery? Is this some new form of remote diagnosis?

The story erred by ignoring Mukasey’s highly significant “opinion and order” that denied the government the ability to physically force drugs on the defendant. The reporter jettisoned the facts by claiming that Mukasey simply passed that issue along to Lindauer’s current judge, a factually incorrect statement.

The story ignored mental health reports that are the crux of the competency issue and favorable to Lindauer’s claim, instead relying solely on the prosecutor’s characterization of the government’s evidence.

The New York Times blithely extended the personal attack on Lindauer to her witnesses by calling their testimony “suggestively odd.” Both witnesses presented calm, considered demeanors, described relevant information, and gave every appearance, in my opinion, of being open and cooperative with the hearing process.

What is the New York Times up to? Was this just the product of a bad day by a reporter who preferred to be somewhere else? Is the New York Times entering a new realm of coverage that includes highly subjective personal attacks? Are we seeing the birth of a new deductive journalism in which the facts are tailored to create a story that the paper prefers?

These are the people who brought us Judith Miller’s fatal distortions and covered up George Bush’s illegal surveillance activities from consideration in the 2004 election.

They continued that tradition in the article on the Lindauer competency hearing by inflammatory claims that would lead uninformed readers to a significant bias against the defendant and factual errors about the history of the case that are less than helpful.

The reporter from the New York Times characterized Lindauer in a derisive and mocking tone. If he truly believed the prosecutor’s experts with regard to Lindauer’s mental state, he would be guilty of behavior that is simply not acceptable in almost any circle. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and presume that he had another motive for his characterizations.

Stories like this are not only unbalanced and biased. They promote injustice to citizens who deserve an opportunity to achieve justice through a fair trial.

END

Previous “Scoop” coverage of the Susan Lindauer case:

American Cassandra: Susan Lindauer’s Story by Michael Collins 17 October 2007
Bush Political Prisoner Gets her Day in Court by Michael Collins June 11, 2008

An Exclusive Interview with Bush Political Prisoner Susan Lindauer by Michael Collins June 2008

911 Prediction Revealed at Susan Lindauer Competency Hearing by Michael Collins June 17, 2004

Acknowledgments to Susannah Pitt and K. Stone for their very helpful assistance

This material may be reproduced in whole or part with attribution of authorship, a link to this article, and acknowledgment of image use information.

A Memorial for Habeas Corpus

A Memorial to Habeas Corpus

We celebrate Memorial Day to honor those who fought for the quest for civil rights and civil liberties for all. If that sounds idealistic, that’s what memorials are about.

When I wrote Polite Fascism Contracts the Right to Vote, I included an extended footnote which I’m sure few read. I decided to achieve a slightly wider reader base.

It is fitting that we memorialize Sept. 28, 2006, the day the 109th Congress willingly surrendered habeas corpus in the “Military Commissions Act.”

We will remember and those accountable will need to explain their votes. There is no reading of the Act better than Rep. David Wu (D-OR). I provide a short introduction.

ARBITRARY DETENTION AND TORTURE
MADE POSSIBLE FOR U.S. CITIZENS
THROUGH SUSPENSION OF HABEAS CORPUS IN
THE “MILITARY COMMISSIONS ACT”

Michael Collins

Habeas corpus protects citizens from arbitrary detention by placing the burden on the state to justify and defend any detention. The state must show cause and allow the jailed citizen access to legal consul to challenge the detention. This protection is a right that has evolved over nearly 800 years. It had been desired, no doubt, since the beginning of recorded history. The principle was established in 1215 in the Magna Carta and codified in 1679 in the Habeas Corpus Act 1679.

It is so vital; the United States Constitution offers clear protection: “The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it.” Congress is the only branch of government empowered to suspend the writ.

The 109th Congress suspended habeas corpus when it passed the Military Commissions Act. Thanks to that historic surrender, the executive branch can declare any citizen, you for example, an “enemy combatant.” They can put you in jail indefinitely, refuse a trial, and refuse to even tell you why you’re in jail. The same techniques approved for the “enhanced interrogation” (i.e., torture) of alien enemy combatants can be used on you, if someone in the executive branch simply puts your name on a list.

All of this follows from the simple declaration of your status by a Pentagon bureaucrat or politician. You cannot appeal the decision. But you do have the right to suffer indefinitely for an unspecified crime brought by an anonymous source, all in the secrecy of a prison here or abroad.

==============================

Congressional Record: September 27, 2006 (House)

Page H7522-H7561

MILITARY COMMISSIONS ACT OF 2006

Statement of the Hon. David Wu, (D, OR)

Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 1042, I call up the bill (H.R. 6166) to amend title 10, United States Code, to authorize trial by military commission for violations of the law of war, and for other purposes, and ask for its immediate consideration.

The Clerk read the title of the bill.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 1042, the amendment printed in House Report 109-688 is adopted and the bill, as amended, is considered read.

The text of the bill, as amended, is as follows:

H.R. 6166

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

Mr. WU. “Mr. Speaker, I want to focus like a laser beam on the right of habeas corpus and the untoward effect of this legislation on habeas corpus. This is an ancient doctrine that has been with us since at least the days of Charles I. It has presented difficulties to many American Presidents from Jefferson to Lincoln to Grant to Roosevelt.

‘We have the power to do much in restricting habeas corpus; but we should do so very, very carefully because it is the protection from tyranny that our forebears sought in the Revolution.

“Congress here is entering upon dangerous constitutional shoal waters, and it is, in my belief, unconstitutionally limiting access to habeas corpus. The courts have repeatedly ruled in a restricted fashion whenever Congress or the Presidency has restricted access to habeas corpus and each of us, not just the Supreme Court, but we in the Congress and those in the executive branch, we all take an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, and this act, by restricting habeas corpus, will not serve America well.

“And by so restricting habeas corpus, this bill does not just apply to enemy aliens. It applies to all Americans because, while the provision on page 93 has the word “alien” in it, the provision on page 61 does not have the word “alien” in it.

“Let us say that my wife, who is here in the gallery with us tonight, a sixth generation Oregonian, is walking by the friendly, local military base and is picked up as an unlawful enemy combatant. What is her recourse? She says, I am a U.S. citizen. That is a jurisdictional fact under this statute, and she will not have recourse to the courts? She can take it to Donald Rumsfeld, but she cannot take it across the street to an article 3 court.

“This bill applies to every American, regardless of citizenship status.”

Full Bill and debate

Return to article “Polite Fascism”

Front Page Election Fraud News & The Money Party

Election Fraud in Pennsylvania?

Election Fraud in Pennsylvania?

(Image Source – Diebold Variations)

They’ve got a Secret

Michael Collins
“Scoop” Independent News
Washington, D.C.

The Pennsylvania primary could lock up the Democratic nomination process once and for all. The campaign that Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean asked to be finished by July 1 could be over this Tuesday. Regardless of your candidate or party, you’re probably like the vast majority of citizens who insist on fair elections that are open to the public for examination.

Citizens want to know that the candidate taking office is the same candidate who won a majority or a plurality of the votes. A 2006 Zogby poll of 1018 registered voters nationwide found that 92% believed that they, as citizens, have the right to witness vote counting for the election of their paid public servants.

That will not be the case in Pennsylvania any more than it was the case in Florida, Ohio, California, South Carolina, and most other primary states. Almost all states bar any real inspection of vote counting, the process that determines the election result. Even if they did allow you to watch the count, all you would see is a whirring third-rate computer system run by a private company that won’t allow anyone to take a comprehensive look inside.

Post election audits are either absent or randomly selected by the people who run the election. Recounts require an exceptionally close election, less than a 1% difference typically. And citizen recounts after the election, where paper records exist, are barred by law in Florida and Virginia and barred almost everywhere else by bureaucratic fiat.

Even if you got to examine each and every ballot, the chain of custody of those paper records will likely be compromised at several key points. Ballots collected by unaccountable individuals, driven around in the trunks of cars, unsupervised, plus other election board customs, mean you can’t track the chain of custody of ballots from collection at precincts to delivery at counting locations. Post-election storage oftentimes reflects little concern for real security. If you can’t track the chain of custody, you can’t know if the ballots recounted or examined are the original voted ballots, if ballots have been replaced, altered, etc.

We elect people who pass laws that are enforced by bureaucrats who then tell us to take a hike when we want to closely examine an election.

“The results are what we say they are,” say the keepers of the vote, our so-called public servants. “Move along, there’s nothing to see here” is the prevailing attitude toward inquiring citizens.

Potential Election Fraud in Pennsylvania

When you build any system that conducts “mission critical business,” like electing a president, you need to create enough safeguards to make sure that the process is secure. How secure is the voting process in Pennsylvania?

Almost 90 percent of Pennsylvanians will vote using touch screen voting machines that have no paper record of votes cast. Once you touch the screen, the machine can count your vote any way it’s programmed. It can even give you a receipt indicating you voted for Smith and count your vote for Jones. These touch screens total their own votes, invisibly and without any outside checks. We can’t watch and even if we could, we wouldn’t know what to look for. Our election boards routinely sign contracts agreeing that the computer programs that count our votes are the trade secrets of the e-voting machine companies, no peeking. The companies even “refuse to promise that their products will work.”

Our election process is not a serious one when you examine it to any degree but it is very popular with the politicians and the election boards that they populate.

Computer scientists at Princeton University and others have been able to hack touch screen voting machines successfully on repeated occasions. A candidate in Florida’s 13th congressional district lost at least 14,000 votes and a seat in Congress in 2006 in a county with touch screens only, while surrounding counties had nothing like these vote losses. Congress promised a vigorous investigation but never delivered.

The situation in Pennsylvania is so bad that Common Cause rated the state at “high” risk for election problems in the 2008 election. In addition, a citizens’ group in Pennsylvania is suing the state to decertify touch screen voting machines because they fail to provide an accurate vote count. The case was allowed by the Pennsylvania courts and is proceeding through the system.

Those citizens prefer optical scanners because optical scan machines count voter marked paper forms. However, unfortunately for those well intended citizens, optical scanners are no solution for these reasons. While the paper forms are marked by voters, they are counted by optical scanners, computers operating with programs that are “trade secrets.” Pennsylvania allows automatic recounts in only races with a 0.5% or less victory margin and lacks a uniform guarantee for citizen examination of any paper trail that may exist. Optical scanners are computers just like touch screens and can be manipulated with detection extremely difficult. Finally, other than the vendors or contractors that sell and maintain the machines, there’s no guaranteed access to the inner workings of these e-voting devices, none at all.

Will there be election fraud in Pennsylvania? We’ll never know for all of the above reasons. It’s all a secret. They have it. We, the citizens, don’t


Bethlehem Steel (above) used to be a world leader as was Pittsburgh’s U.S. Steel. The mills were closed, the companies gone, and the workers callously strewn along the highway of lost dreams. Pittsburgh’s population in 1950 was 700,000.Today it’s 300,000. atomische.com (cc)

Actual Election Fraud in Pennsylvania

Anyone who doubts the existence of massive election fraud needs to look no further than this primary. Failing to address real needs and issues of citizens is the biggest election fraud of all. Just turn on the television or pick up the newspaper.

The state faces real issues and the voters have very real concerns. The industrial base for the state left the country some time ago. Nothing replaced it except all those “new jobs” from NAFTA. As a result, there was major loss of well paying jobs for the working class and all the benefits that go with that, not the least of which is health insurance.

There are over a million uninsured in Pennsylvania. There are many more underinsured. In the rural areas and small towns, unemployment is a major concern. The tax base has taken a major hit. The state needs roads, bridges, and other vital structures and there’s not enough money.

But what are the two hottest topics from this primary election? Obama got slammed for saying small town Pennsylvanians are “bitter” about getting screwed by their “public servants” for the last two or three decades. He was then attacked as an “elitist” and chastised for “talking down” to small town citizens. Instead of pointing out that heroin is more common than hope in too many small towns, Obama backed off and apologized.

The second big item in terms of press coverage is the mockery of a presidential primary debate in Philadelphia. The condescending Charles Gibson of CBS and flighty George Stephanopoulos of ABC spent over an hour talking about totally irrelevant issues. They wasted the time of both Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama by forcing the dialog into the three ringed circus of strange mainstream media preoccupations.

While neither Clinton nor Obama openly objected during the debate, the crowd inside the debate hall did. They booed Charles Gibson which puts him in the company of Sean Hannity of Fox News who was pursued by angry Ron Paul supporters. Who needs Nielson ratings?

No Respect for Citizens

The election system in Pennsylvania is not available for inspection by the public, that 92% who said they’d like the option to observe vote counting. The machines don’t allow that, they’re computers. There’s nothing to watch. The laws prevent that. It’s a secret that only the election boards and the private contractors who count the vote get to see. The security of voting machines is in serious question and election oversight is conducted by the same people who created the system.

It’s all a magic show, a series of illusions that can be manipulated by the entertainers, also known as politicians, or anyone well placed and determined enough to manipulate a system with few if any real safeguards.

The failure to discuss real issues is an insult to all citizens. It might explain why a majority fail to vote in primary elections and why 35% to 40% consistently fail to vote in the general elections for president. A common refrain among those who refuse to participate is “Why bother, they’re all a bunch of crooks.” Among those who do vote, there are huge doubts about the honesty of elections. A 2006 Zogby poll of 707 likely voters in Pennsylvania asked this question: “Do you think the 2004 election was stolen?” Forty percent said yes.

The public officials who control elections behave as though the people are stupid and ignorant of the questionable practices of secret vote counting and outsourced elections. Wrong! The citizens of Pennsylvania know what the story is. Just add the 40% of likely Pennsylvania voters who thought 2004 was stolen with the 35% to 40% who routinely stay home because they doubt the system. That produces a majority of citizens who have serious doubts about a system created to serve the elected and not the electors.

The news media act like the people are a bunch of sheep who buy whatever the media put out because some people actually watch the news. They fail to note that in polls on public respect for various professions, the television news media gets a 16% approval rating. The people who booed debate anchor Gibson are a perfect reflection that attitude.

The politicians showed their respect for citizens after the 2006 election, when the message was clear. Get out of Iraq. They have their excuses. But the reality of the charade was made crystal clear in at the Philadelphia presidential primary debate. While enduring an hour when no real issues were discussed, did you hear either candidate criticize the news people for their inane questions? Not a word.

Wouldn’t it be nice if one or both candidates said something like this?

Charles and George, didn’t your networks ignore all the public evidence that the Iraq war was based on lies, evidence available before the Iraq War Resolution and the invasion? Didn’t your networks give Alan Greenspan a pass in 2004 when he told people to go out and get an adjustable rate mortgage because things were looking so good even though many told Greenspan he was totally off base starting in 2001?

Gentlemen, what good are you if you can’t even spot the obvious scams?

How about some decent questions?

But even if one or both had said something like this and changed the tone of the campaign, it wouldn’t be enough. We would still have to contend with outsourced elections conducted beyond the public view. Our elections are shielded by federal and state law to protect the true elitists; those people who tell us who we elected while they do everything that they can to hide the election process from us.

END

Resources:

“Loser Take All” – Edited by Mark Crispin Miller
Coalition for Voting Integrity (of Bucks Co. Penn.)
The Myth of Verified Voting
Election 2004: The Urban Legend
Notes from the Underground

Special thanks to Jill Hayroot for her contributions

Permission to reprint in part or whole granted with attribution of authorship and a link to this article. See links with images for reproduction rights.

M. Collins: Forget the Torture Tapes


Caravaggio

Michael Collins
“Scoop” Independent News
Washington, D.C.

There’s a reflexive tendency to think the worst of the Bush-Cheney administration when scandals like the torture tapes emerge. This tendency is well justified.

This administration’s defining moment was the Iraq invasion. Over time, it caused death to 1.2 million civilians and the injuries of 1.1 million noncombatants. Just last week we found out that there are now five million orphans in Iraq.

How can the administration and their enablers ever top that? Why shouldn’t we expect the worst immediately when we hear yet another accusation of criminal or unethical conduct?


Opinion Research Group Sept. 2007
Iraqi anti corruption board Dec 15, 2007

Have you heard or read that 9% or Iraq’s population is either dead or injured to date due to the 2003 invasion? This is rarely addressed by U.S. media or politicians.

The announcement that 19% of Iraq’s population now consists of orphans hasn’t hit mainstream media’s radar yet. This shocker seems destined for the same fate as the death and injury figures.

Snuff Tapes and One Dead Terrorist Dominate Coverage

Odd isn’t it? All this emphasis on the CIA’s destruction of Abu Zubaydah torture tapes instead of the pervasive and ongoing human loss and suffering visited on Iraq by Bush and Cheney?

Let’s take a quick look at the tape controversy and see if there’s some relationship to the dismissal and denial of the infinitely larger outrage.

Abu Zubaydah was either a terrorist kingpin or a seriously disturbed individual with multiple personality traits. He either provided a wealth of information or he was a useless informant. His torture was conducted either with or without the full knowledge of Bush-Cheney. The destruction of the torture tapes was either approved by Bush-Cheney in advance or it became known to them after the fact. We’re either seeing a major cover up or flawed White House public relations in the wake of Rove’s departure.

By applying “the law of subsumption,” (i.e., thinking the worst of Bush-Cheney is almost always correct given prior performance) this side show can be wrapped up promptly.

Bush and Cheney were desperate to justify their disastrous Iraq adventure. There were no WMDs, there never had been any connection between Saddam and 911, and the excuse of bringing democracy to Iraq had no legs. Why are we there? How do we explain the Iraqi resistance? What if the people discover it was really all about oil?

Simple and Grotesque at the Same Time

A justification for this insanity was both essential and time-critical. Voila! We’ve captured Abu Zubaydah! Isn’t he a top al Qaeda operative?

But there was a deal killer right from the start. The FBI’s top al-Qaeda expert, Dan Coleman, didn’t mince words: “This guy is insane, certifiable, split personality.” In Zubaydah’s long term diary, he named his personalities: “‘hani 1, hani 2, and hani 3,’ – a boy, a young man and a middle-aged alter ego.” Coleman’s CIA counterpart came to the same conclusion. (This is all documented by Ron Suskind in The One Percent Solution.)

This analysis was quickly discarded and replaced by a self serving political fantasy. The key al-Qaeda operative was now in custody! A fourth personality was created for Zubaydah when Bush described his special prisoner as “one of the top operatives plotting and planning death and destruction on the United States.”

Bush blew the war that never should have been. He was desperate. Abu Zubaydah experienced the very worst timing in his life and wound up as a key excuse for the program of illegal detention and torture. Next outrage.

Who knows why they taped the torture? What difference does it make? How much more evidence do we need to demonstrate the absolute betrayal of the United States by a cult of supreme narcissists? We can grasp that these are “high crimes” even if our elected representatives can’t.

The relationship between this “key operative’s” story and the media and political blackout about the death and suffering of millions may be this simple. Keep people involved in appalling minutiae and avoid the larger charges which nearly everyone would see as an utter outrage.

In a sense, it’s the same strategy employed by the media and politicians in presidential campaigns. Never mention the real problems, the overwhelming challenges. Keep it focused on “experience,” the “horse race,” polls, and who apologized to whom. But never address the salient issues. That would be telling.

I Still See Dead People

As interesting as all this tape business is, what difference does it make in the larger context – the tragedy that is and will continue to be Iraq? The thought of five million orphans in a nation of 26 million people is simply too appalling to fully comprehend. An equivalent number in the United States would be 57 million orphans. Can you imagine that?

Video taping torture, the destruction of evidence, and the exact role of the White House in the entire affair are indicative and emblematic of the larger problems. These acts represent a gruesome metaphor. But it’s just more of the same outrageous behavior we’ve seen for years.

The overriding crime is over a million deaths plus the suffering and abandonment of millions more, all due to a foreign policy based on lies and deception. This was done against the prevailing views of the military and the people of the United States.

Millions of Iraqi civilians are dead, suffering and abandoned.

How will they vote in their new democracy?

END

Permission to reprint in part or whole with attribution of authorship and a link to this article