"From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products
in August” said' Andrew Card, center, former Bush Chief of Staff, referring
to the public relations campaign to attack Iraq. 9/2002
Part 1 of a 2 part series
By Michael Collins
“Scoop” Independent News
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*
Susan Lindauer sent her eleventh and last letter on the Iraqi political situation to then Bush chief of staff Andrew Card on January 6, 2003, just two months before General Franks gave the command to invade on March 20, 2003. She’d sent ten other letters on Iraq to Card, her second cousin, over a two year period.
In her final letter she made a prophetic plea to head off the war. Through Lindauer’s back channel contacts at the Iraqi United Nations mission, Lindauer said that she’d gathered a great deal of information. She had good reasons to believe that the Iraqis were ready to offer huge concessions on inspectors and on other United States demands.
As the opening quotation shows, she correctly predicted what other knowledgeable observers believed. While the U.S. efforts in Afghanistan had al Qaeda on its knees, an Iraqi military defeat would lead to a civil chaos. This would provide the basis for a resurrection of bin Laden’s operation and then revive the al Qaeda terrorist risk to the United States.
Lindauer was arrested on March 17, 2004, fifteen months after the last letter to Andy Card and two years after the trip to Baghdad referenced in the indictment. She was charged with “conspiring to act and acting as an unregistered agent of the government of Iraq” and “forbidden financial transactions” with Iraq totaling $10,000 relating to those acts. The charges cover the period of October, 1999 through February 2004.
She denies acting as an Iraqi agent and says that she’d been recruited by the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency to open a back channel for contact with Middle Eastern nations that lacked formal diplomatic ties the U.S. She asserts that CIA was overseeing her contacts with Iraq and that the U.S. government was fully informed of her activities.
She was very specific when she said that she had no knowledge of or contact with the two Iraqis named in her indictment. In his final ruling on the case, Judge Mukasey observed that:
It bears emphasis here that it was never the government's theory that Lindauer participated in such conduct, or indeed that she even knew the Al-Anbuke brothers. Rather, she and they were charged together only because both allegedly conspired with IIS. Judge Michael B. Mukasey, Opinion and Order, September 6, 2006.
At her preliminary hearing, she was remanded for trial in federal court, Southern District, New York, and placed on $500,000 bail
Another 18 months passed without action until the prosecution requested that Lindauer undergo a psychiatric evaluation. The prosecution argued that she was unfit to stand trial for two reasons: she believed that she was not guilty and she was therefore unable to contribute to her defense since she didn’t understand that she might be convicted. Her failure to accept guilt by denying what the prosecution called delusions somehow proved mental incompetence.
Based on the psychiatric evaluation, Judge Mukasey ordered Lindauer to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, Federal Medical Center (Carswell FMC), Ft. Worth, located on the grounds of Carswell Air Force Base. Lindauer reports considerable distress at confinement and the condition of her fellow female inmates.
Lindauer has consistently maintained her innocence throughout this entire affair. After seven months at FMC Carswell, she had a hearing with Judge Mukasey in early May 2006. The psychiatrists at the federal prison facility wanted to force her to take psychotropic medication, a position strongly supported by the U.S. Attorney prosecuting the case. She vigorously objected to this, which was the basis for the May hearing. The government’s rationale for forced medication and the treatment at Carswell FMC will be discussed in more depth in the second part of this series.