The state as enemy of the people
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The state as enemy of the people by The Girl who kicked the hornets nest video/trailer
Fiction delivers justice that reality rarely approaches. Victims endure suffering and emerge as victors after overcoming incredible challenges. Stieg Larsson's gripping Millennium Trilogy weaves a story of revenge and triumphs for Lizbeth Salander, locked away in a mental institution and sexually abused for years. When Salander got out and threatened to go public about a high level sexual exploitation ring, the perpetrators sought to lock her up again. In the final installment, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Salander found some justice. (Image)
Susan Lindauer's autobiography, Extreme Prejudice, tells a story with certain broad similarities. In her case, however, the hornet's nest kicked back with a real vengeance. After over a decade as a U.S intelligence asset, Lindauer was privy to information about pre war Iraq that threatened to serve up a huge embarrassment to the Bush-Cheney regime. She hand delivered a letter to senior Bush administration officials in hopes of averting what she predicted would be the inevitably tragic 2003 US invasion of Iraq. Those officials, unnamed in the indictment, were her second cousin, then White House chief of staff Andy Card, and Colin Powell.
After the invasion failed to find weapons of mass destruction (WMD), Lindauer went to Congress offering to testify about the quality of prewar intelligence. In early 2004, she met with staffers in the offices of Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Trent Lott (R-MS) in February 2004. Shortly after those visits and other offers to testify in public, Lindauer was indicted on March 11 for serving as an "unregistered agent" for pre war Iraq and promptly arrested. .
The Crime That Wasn't
And what did Lindauer do as an alleged unregistered foreign agent, a charge the government was never willing to try in open court? According to then US District Court Judge Michael B. Mukasey, who handled the case for a period, the "high-water mark" of government's case was based entirely on the letter that Lindauer delivered to her second cousin, then White House chief of staff, Andrew Card. Lindauer had written Card on at least ten other occasions since the 2001 Bush Inauguration. She wrote:
"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's last letter to Andrew Card, January 6, 2003 in American Cassandra: Susan Lindauer's Story, Oct 17, 2007
This letter was based on extensive contacts with Iraqi diplomats at the United Nations in New York and a prewar trip that she took to Iraq with the knowledge of her intelligence handlers.
Before she could stand trial, in 2005, Judge Mukasey accepted the opinions of court appointed experts that Lindauer might be delusional and ordered her locked her up for an extended psychiatric evaluation and observation. She was placed in the Carswell federal prison facility at the very secure Carswell Air Force Base in Ft. Worth, Texas.
Mukasey's conclusion was contradicted by evidence not considered (see below) covering fourteen months (March 2004-April 2005) of court ordered evaluation and psychological services in Maryland that consistently reported that Lindauer was functioning well and not delusional. The order allowed 120 days, the legal maximum detention period. She was at detained for seven months at Carswell and another four months in a Manhattan lockup.
When Lindauer refused to take strong psychotropic medication as part of her evaluation, Assistant US Attorney Ed O'Callaghan sought a court order from Judge Mukasey to force the medication on her either orally or by injection. Remarkably, it appears that Mukasey was not informed that the professional staff at Carswell had recommended against forced medication. Based on his detailed opinion and order of September 6, 2006 denying the Assistant US Attorney's request, Mukasey was also not aware of direct evidence from Carswell professional staff that Lindauer's behavior was well with the normal range, particularly considering the circumstances.
Five years after her indictment, Susan Lindauer never got the trial she repeatedly requested. On September 15, 2009, Assistant US Attorney O'Callaghan convinced US District Court Judge Loretta Preska that Lindauer was not mentally competent to stand trial. Judge Preska dismissed the case at the request of O'Callaghan's replacement on January 15, 2010. This was done against Lindauer's wishes and ignored credible witnesses who testified to her role as an intelligence asset.
Lindauer's second attorney, Brian Shaughnessy, a former federal prosecutor in Judge John J. Sirica's court and distinguished Washington, DC defense counsel, noted that this was the only case that he'd ever heard of in which prosecutors argued that a defendant was mentally incompetent to stand trial
O'Callaghan went on to serve as legal advisor for then Governor Sarah Palin's scandal defense team in Alaska. Judge Preska received an appointment from President Bush to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit six days before ruling that Lindauer was incompetent to stand trial. Andy Card pursued a successful career in the private sector. And Colin Powell retained is good name and status despite misleading the United Nations about Iraq's alleged chemical weapons programs and his active participation in "choreographed" torture sessions for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and lesser known detention venues.
Despite her efforts and willingness to go public for the benefit of the country, Lindauer was systematically attacked by the federal government and denied her repeated requests for an open trial in federal court. For her, there were no movies or best sellers, no award or promotions, and no happy endings. She was left at the side of the road with only her story and evidence to challenge the charges that the government steadfastly refused to try in open court for over five years.
Lindauer's case was so strong that her second and final attorney, Brian Shaughnessy, took the extraordinary step of issuing a statement that her claims were supported by the extensive evidence that he reviewed. He said, "I " assure you that Ms. Lindauer's story is shocking, but true. It's an important story of this new political age, post-9/11." Her uncle, attorney Thayer Lindauer, offered an affidavit on his research which confirmed Lindauer's role as a US intelligence asset.