- Some things are unforgivable in a democracy. A bill moving
through Congress, authorizing the military to imprison American citizens
indefinitely, without a trial or hearing, ranks right at the top of that
- I know-I lived through it on the Patriot Act. When Congress
decided to squelch the truth about the CIA's advance warnings about 9/11
and the existence of a comprehensive peace option with Iraq, as the CIA's
chief Asset covering Iraq, I became an overnight threat. To protect their
cover-up scheme, I got locked in federal prison inside Carswell Air Force
Base, while the Justice Department battled to detain me "indefinitely"
up to 10 years, without a hearing or guilty plea. Worst yet, they demanded
the right to forcibly drug me with Haldol, Ativan and Prozac, in a violent
effort to chemically lobotomize the truth about 9/11 and Iraqi Pre-War
- Critically, because my legal case was controlled by civilian
Courts, my Defense had a forum to fight back. The Judge was an independent
arbiter. And that made all the difference. If this law on military detentions
had been active, my situation would have been hopeless. The Patriot Act
was bad enough. Mercifully, Chief Justice Michael B. Mukasey is a preeminent
legal scholar who recognized the greater impact of my case. Even so, he
faced a terrible choice -declaring me "incompetent to stand trial,"
so my case could be killed-or creating dangerous legal precedents tied
to secret charges, secret evidence, secret grand jury testimony and indefinite
detention-from the Patriot Act's arsenal of weapons against truth tellers-that
would impact all defendants in the U.S. Courts.
- It was a hideous choice-The judicial farce was more ugly
because it stamped me a "religious maniac" for believing in God-a
ludicrous argument. It lined up beautifully, however, with Congress' desire
to bastardize the "incompetence" of Assets engaged in Pre-War
Intelligence. Anything to escape responsibility for their own poor decision
- To this day, it scorches my heart with rage and betrayal.
It was unforgivable on so many levels.
- And it had nothing to do with fighting terrorism. This
was about fighting truth-and protecting powerful leaders in Washington
determined to glorify themselves with phony patriotism and media fireworks
in the War on Terrorism-a fantasy if there was one.
- Those of us with the facts at our fingertips, who could
expose leadership fraud and deceptions, had to be destroyed. I had three
strikes against me. First off, I had personal knowledge of the CIA's advance
warnings about 9/11, and how Republican leaders thwarted efforts to preempt
the attack. Secondly, I had direct knowledge of Iraq's contributions to
the 9/11 investigation, and how Republican leaders rejected financial documents
on early Al Qaeda figures like Ramzi Youssef and Sheikh Abdul Rahmon of
Egypt and Sheikh al Zawahiri -who replaced Osama bin Laden as Al Qaeda's
leader. That would have shut down the financial pipeline for terrorism,
if Washington cared about results. Finally, my team had successfully negotiated
a peace framework with Baghdad that would have achieved all objectives
in Iraq without firing a shot.
- Oh I was a threat to the Washington elite, no doubt.
Without the Patriot Act, the Cover Ups of 9/11 and Iraq would have failed.
Given normal due process, I would have shouted truth from the rooftops
and exposed them all.
- Let's not mince words. Members of Congress who support
laws like the Patriot Act and Military Detentions fear the American people
deeply. They hate what America stands for. Above all they fear exposure
of their mediocrity as our leaders. They are desperate to hide their leadership
failures. And so they commit Treason against us- savaging the liberties
enshrined in our Constitution to safeguard their access to power, weakening
our ability to challenge them openly, building a society of fear.
- They ply us with buzzwords-like "anti-terrorism"
and "national security." But they are the greatest threat facing
our nation today. They are traitors among us.
- Terrorism is a buzz-word to quiet outrage over this shredding
of the Constitution. Most Americans don't understand that the Patriot Act
has expanded the scope of terrorism to cover any free political speech
that challenges Institutions of Authority. Acts of violence are not necessary.
The possibility that free speech could weaken public trust in leadership
qualifies as the New Sedition. Any political speech that provokes the People
to think and question authority can be squashed as a threat to political
- I was no Traitor. My whole life was dedicated to non-violence.
My bona fides in anti-terrorism were the best anywhere. I gave advance
warning about the 9/11 attack, the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen,
and the 1993 World Trade Center attack. When the FBI cracked open my computer,
they found proof that my team had run one of the very first investigations
of Osama bin Laden in 1998, before the Dar es Salaam/Nairobi bombings.
I started negotiations for the Lockerbie Trial with Libya, and preliminary
talks on resuming weapons inspections in Iraq.
- I was a very real threat, however. I was guilty of possessing
inconvenient knowledge powerful enough to persuade voters to throw a lot
of deceptive politicians out of Congress.
- Military detentions would push America farther into the
abyss. First, it eliminates the need for charges against political defendants
altogether. And secondly, it transfers decisions about a defendant's fate
away from the oversight of a civilian Judge to a military Sentry and base
commander. It's a complete negation of the Courts.
- At a practical level, there are consequences that Americans
would never dream possible:
- · There's no requirement for Military Officers
to acknowledge that a prison exists inside a military base. Nor can Military
officers be compelled to identify individuals who might be detained on
- · There's no guarantee an attorney would be assigned
to the accused. Indeed, the Sentry and Commanding Officer would have full
authority, individually, to decide whether attorney visits shall be allowed
at all. Access to an attorney would be a matter of military discretion,
including frequency and duration. The Military Commander or sentry could
decide to prohibit an attorney from entering the base altogether, without
specifying a reason.
- This must be underscored. Civilian Judges provide a fail-safe
for defendants under military auspices. Under the proposed law, that protection
would be removed. The Commanding Officer of the military base would assume
full authority of the Court. The accused inmate would have nowhere to protest
any aspect of the detention, or to move towards resolution.
- · Since the military alone decides who enters
the base, the Sentry would have the power to reject visits by Family or
Journalists, if they so choose.
- · In straight violation of the 8th Amendment of
the Constitution, accused civilians would be denied the right to petition
- · Military prisoners might have limited rights
to send letters or make phone calls to family or attorneys, at the discretion
of the Commanding Officer. The military would have the right to keep a
defendant totally incommunicado from the world.
- · An accused person would have no automatic rights
to recreation outside of the cell. Prisoners could be locked in a 10 X
12 room 24-7, and denied the rights to exercise for one hour in a prison
yard. That would be "indefinite," too.
- · Like Bradley Manning, they could be forced to
sleep almost naked with the lights on, under 24 hour surveillance, even
in the absence of suicide threats.
- Don't bother arguing about it. One of the high points
of my legal drama occurred when my fantastic and beloved Uncle Ted Lindauer-a
family member- who happened to have 40 years of senior legal experience-
jumped into my legal fray in a Herculean effort to restore my freedom.
- Three Times Tenacious Uncle Ted Drove 700 Miles (1,000
kms) in Each Direction-from southern Illinois to Fort Worth, Texas. He
carried proper identification and proof of his legal standing. He was registered
on my visitor's list, and prison authorities understood that he was functioning
as Co-Counsel for my Defense.
- On the first and second visits, Ted Lindauer arrived
on the weekend during normal visiting hours. Nevertheless, the Sentry swore
up and down that there was no prison inside Carswell Air Force Base, and
I was not an inmate-
- Horrified, Ted Lindauer requested to speak with the Commanding
Officer on duty.
- Confronted with letters mailed from the prison and Court
documents signed by Judge Mukasey, nevertheless, the Sentry and Commanding
Officer refused to back down. Both stubbornly denied that I was housed
anywhere on their military base.
- On the second visit, the Sentry and Commanding Officer
had a new excuse. Yeah, there was a prison on Carswell Air Force Base.
But there were no visiting hours on weekends. Other prison families stood
close by. One after the other, the sentry granted them access to the base
to visit their relatives detained at the prison. Yet when Ted Lindauer,
a 70 year old man with silver hair, stepped forward, the sentry guard refused.
- Ted was furious. He warned the Sentry that my family
knows some Generals, too! He insisted on the sanctity of my rights to attorney
access, and promised to file a complaint with Judge Mukasey to compel the
military to allow this attorney visit to occur.
- Ted swore that he would return with U.S. Marshals. And
by God, he was coming onto that base.
- Thankfully, there was a civilian Judge to back him up.
Judge Mukasey raised hell. On the third visit, he did indeed order U.S.
Marshals to flank Ted Lindauer at the front gates of Carswell Air Force
- Judge Mukasey waited in his Chambers in New York ready
to give the order. Only when U.S. Marshals stood before them, ready to
forcibly enter the base, did Carswell back down. They stopped pretending
there was no prison, that I was not an inmate, and granted my Uncle-a family
member and attorney- access to his client.
- It's a cautionary tale. The military is not equipped
to handle this type of responsibility. It flies against all of their structure.
And it illustrates poignantly why a Civilian Judge is critical to protecting
a defendant's rights when the military has physical jurisdiction.
- All of this was occurring at a critical juncture. At
that moment, citing the Patriot Act, the Justice Department was arguing
that I should be detained "indefinitely" up to 10 years-with
no right to a trial or hearing. More horribly still, the Justice Department
was demanding the right to forcibly drug me with Haldol-a rhinoceros tranquilizer-until
I could be "cured" of knowing the real facts about Iraq and 9/11
and serious leadership failures in the War on Terrorism.
- Witness had already told the FBI about my work as an
Asset-and my team's all important advance warnings about 9/11. The Feds
understood very precisely what they were hiding-and who would be the losers
in Washington, if my story was told.
- Because I was denied the right to a hearing, I was blocked
from providing that validation to the Court--- or the American public-something
Republicans on Capitol Hill feared desperately. Without a hearing, the
Feds had free rein to savage my reputation with fantastic embellishments,
portraying me as a religious maniac. (I freely confess that I have rock
solid faith in God. However, the Justice Department played fast and loose
with descriptions of my spirituality).
- By the end of it, all of my Constitutional rights had
been savagely violated- My 1st Amendment rights to freedom of speech and
religion; my 4th Amendment protections against illegal searches of my home;
my 5th Amendment rights not to be forcibly interrogated by surrogates for
the prosecution; my 6th Amendment rights to a speedy trial by a jury of
my peers, with the rights to face my accusers and rebut accusations in
a public Court of law. The Justice Department even violated my 8th Amendment
protections against threats of torture, (forcibly drugging definitely qualifies).
- To this day, I cannot believe such abuse could be possible
in the United States. I'm a fighter, and I could not stop them. All the
Constitutional protections that should have saved me were stripped away.
It horrifies me.
- No American really understands the preciousness of Liberty
until more powerful individuals in the government fight to take away those
rights. Then in a blinding flash, you are awed by the magnificence of the
Founding Fathers' vision. What they gave us was extraordinary. It must
be protected from tyrants like those in Congress today. They are tyrants
who fear and despise us. There is no ambiguity. They are against us.
- President Obama must veto this bill or confess his hypocrisy
as a champion of liberty. And members of Congress who support military
detentions or the Patriot Act must be targeted for defeat in 2012.
- They are the greatest threats facing this country today.
- They are traitors to freedom. They are Enemies of the
Constitution. And they deserve to be branded Enemies of the State.
- Susan Lindauer is the author of Extreme Prejudice:
The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of 9/11 and Iraq.