- Most Americans believe they understand the dangers of
the Patriot Act, which Congress has vowed to extend 4 more years in a vote
later this week. Trust me when I say, Americans are not nearly frightened
- Ever wonder why the truth about 9/11 never got exposed?
Why Americans don't have a clue about leadership fraud surrounding the
War on Terror? Why Americans don't know if the 9/11 investigation was really
successful? Why the Iraqi Peace Option draws a blank? Somebody has known
the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden--- or his grave-for the past 10 years.
But nobody's talking to the people.
- In significant part, that's because of the Patriot Act---
a law that equates free speech with sedition. It's got a big agenda, with
7,000 pages of Machiavellian code designed to interrupt individual questioning
of government policy. In this brave new world, free speech under the Bill
of Rights effectively has been declared a threat to government controls
for maintaining stability. And the Patriot Act has become the premiere
weapon to attack whistle blowers and dissidents who challenge the comfort
of political leaders hiding inconvenient truths from the public. It's all
the rage on Capitol Hill, as leaders strive to score TV ratings, while
demogauging their "outstanding leadership performance" on everything
from national security to environmental policy.
- Truth Has Become Treason
- But wait---Congress assures us the Patriot Act only targets
foreigners, who come to our shores seeking to destroy our way of life through
violent, criminal acts. Good, law abiding Americans have nothing to fear.
The Patriot Act restricts its powers of "roving wiretaps" and
warrantless searches to international communications among "bad guys."
Congress has sworn, with hand on heart, it's only purpose is breaking down
terrorist cells and hunting out "lone wolf" mad men.
- That's what they told you, right? And you believed them?
You trust the government. Well, that was your first mistake. With regards
to the Patriot Act, it's a fatal one. Would the government lie to you?
You betcha! And they have.
- The Patriot Act reaches far beyond terrorism prevention.
In my home state of Maryland, State Police invoked the Patriot Act to run
surveillance on the Chesapeake Climate Action Network dedicated to wind
power, recycling and protection of the Chesapeake Bay. They infiltrated
the DC Anti War Network, suggesting the group might be a front for "white
supremacists," and Amnesty International, claiming to investigate
"civil rights abuses." Opponents of the death penalty also got
targeted (in case they got violent).
- Bottom line: truth tellers who give Americans too much
insight on any number of issues are vulnerable to a vast arsenal of judicial
weapons typically associated with China or Mynamar. In the Patriot Act,
the government has created a powerful tool to hunt out free thinking on
the left or right. It doesn't discriminate. Anyone who opposes government
policy is at risk
- How do I know all this? Because I was the second non-Arab
American ever indicted on the Patriot Act. My arrest defied all expectations
about the law. I was no terrorist plotting to explode the Washington Monument.
Quite the opposite, I had worked in anti-terrorism for almost a decade,
covering Iraq and Libya, Yemen, Egypt and Malaysia at the United Nations.
At the instruction of my CIA handler, I had delivered advance warnings
about the 9/11 attack to the private staff of Attorney General John Ashcroft
and the Office of Counter-Terrorism in August, 2001. FBI wire taps prove
that I carried details of a comprehensive peace framework with Iraq up
and down the hallowed corridors of Capitol Hill for months before the invasion,
arguing that War was totally unnecessary.
- I delivered those papers to Democrats and Republicans
alike; to my own second cousin, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card;
and to Secretary of State Colin Powell, who lived next door to my CIA handler.
Gratis of the Patriot Act, we had the manila envelope and my hand written
notes to Secretary Powell, dated a week before his infamous speech at the
United Nations. My papers argued that no WMDs would be found inside Iraq,
and that the peace framework could achieve all U.S. objectives without
firing a shot.
- In short, I was an Asset who loudly opposed War with
Iraq, and made every effort to correct the mistakes in assumptions on Capitol
- Then I did the unthinkable. I phoned the offices of Senator
Trent Lott and Senator John McCain, requesting to testify before a brand
new, blue ribbon Commission investigating Pre-War Intelligence. Proud and
confident of my efforts, I had no idea Congress was planning to blame "bad
intelligence" for the unpopular War.
- Over night I became Public Enemy Number One on Capitol
- Thirty days later I awoke to hear FBI agents pounding
on my door. My nightmare on the Patriot Act lasted 5 years--- Four years
after my arrest, the Court granted me one morning of evidentiary testimony
by two supremely credible witnesses. Parke Godfrey verified my 9/11 warnings
under oath. Otherwise, I never got my day in Court.
- The Patriot Act's Arsenal To Stop Free Speech
- If you care about America and the traditions of freedom,
whether you're progressive or conservative, you should be angry about this
- First come the warrantless searches and FBI tracking
surveillance. My work in anti-terrorism gave me no protection. I got my
first warrantless search after meeting an undercover FBI agent to discuss
my support for free elections in Iraq and my opposition to torture and
sexual humiliation of Iraqi detainees. (Sorry guys, body wires don't lie.)
- If truth tellers don't get the message to shut their
mouths, the Justice Department ratchets up the pressure. Defendants face
secret charges, secret evidence and secret grand jury testimony. Throughout
five years of indictment, my attorneys and I never got to read a single
FBI interview or grand jury statement. Under the Patriot Act, the whistleblower/defendant
has no right to know who has accused him or her of what criminal activities,
or the dates of the alleged offenses, or what laws got broken.
- Of course, I was able to piece together my activities.
I knew that "sometime in October, 2001" an Iraqi diplomat gave
me the English translation of a book on depleted uranium, which showed
how cancer rates and birth defects had spiked in Iraqi children.
- And I was quite certain that on October 14, 1999, an
Iraqi diplomat asked me how to channel major financial contributions to
the Presidential Campaign of George Bush and Dick Cheney. The Justice Department
got the date from me, since I reported my conversation immediately to my
Defense Intelligence handler, Paul Hoven.
- It's unlikely the grand jury knew that, since the Justice
Department has the prerogative to keep a grand jury in the dark. In this
brave new world, a grand jury can be compelled to consider indictments
carrying 10 years or more in prison, without the right to review evidence,
or otherwise determine whether an individual's actions rise to the level
of criminal activity at all.
- That's just the beginning. Once Congress scores an indictment
against a political opponent, the Justice Department can force Defense
attorneys to undergo protracted security clearances, while the whistle
blower cum defendant waits in prison--- usually in solitary confinement
or the SHU. After the security clearance, prosecutors have an ironclad
right to bar attorneys from communicating communications from the prosecution
to the defendant, on threat of disbarment, stiff fines or prison sentence.
- Scared yet? Once you get to trial, the situation gets
much worse. The Patriot Act declares that a prosecutor has no obligation
to show evidence of criminal activity to a jury at all. And the Defense
can be denied the right to argue a rebuttal to those secret charges, because
it requires speculation that might mislead the jury-or might expose issues
that the government considers, well, secret. After all that a Judge can
instruct a jury that the prosecution regards the secret evidence as sufficient
to merit conviction on the secret charges. The Jury can be barred from
considering the lack of evidence in weighing whether to convict.
- Think I'm exaggerating? You would be wrong. That's what
happened to me. All of it-with one major glitch. All of this presumes the
whistle blower's lucky enough to get a trial. I was denied mine, though
I fought vigorously for my rights. Instead, citing the Patriot Act, I got
thrown in prison on a Texas military base without so much as a hearing-and
threatened with indefinite detention and forcible drugging, to boot.
- Americans are not nearly afraid enough.
- Neither is Congress. As of this week, members of Congress
should be very afraid. Anyone who votes to extend the Patriot Act should
expect to pack their bags in 2012. They will be targeted for defeat. Above
all, the words "freedom" and "Constitution" will never
appear in their campaigns without suffering extreme public scorn-never,
- Susan Lindauer is the author of Extreme
Prejudice: The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of
9/11 and Iraq, which reveals details of her CIA team's 9/11 warnings
and a comprehensive peace option with Iraq.