If truth tellers don't get the message, 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. I reported my conversation immediately to my Defense Intelligence handler, Paul Hoven. The Justice Department got this date from me.
It's unlikely the grand jury knew this, since the Justice Department has the prerogative to keep a grand jury in the dark. Under Patriot, 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 whistleblower 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 worse. The Patriot Act declares that a prosecutor has no obligation at all to show evidence of criminal activity to a jury. 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 deems 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 whistleblower'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" should never appear in their campaign propaganda without facing extreme public scorn -- never, ever again.
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.
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