American Cassandra: Susan Lindauer's Story
An Exclusive Interview with Bush Political Prisoner Susan Lindauer
Cassandra's reward for accurate predictions
"I am furious about the
abuse that I have suffered. I regard this as a Soviet-style
attack on my rights to dissent from the
American Cassandra: Susan Lindauer's Story
"Scoop" Independent News
On March 11, 2004, Susan Lindauer was shocked to find FBI Agents pounding on the door of her Takoma Park house in Maryland with a warrant for her arrest. She was more shocked to discover that she was accused of acting as an "unregistered agent" of the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein.
It's been four years since her federal indictment. On June 17, Lindauer will have her first pre-trial hearing, where she will be allowed to call witnesses to disprove the allegations.
Lindauer has never been tried in a court of law—nor allowed any pre-trial hearing to call witnesses to validate claims that she worked as an Asset supervised by U.S. intelligence for 9 years. Instead, she was forced to submit to a psychological evaluation inside a prison on a Texas military base, where she was held for seven months before getting transferred to New York. In all, she was detained for 11 months without a conviction or a guilty plea. Pro se motions for a hearing to prove the authenticity of her claims were ignored.
The psych evaluation culminated in a finding that she was incompetent to stand trial, on the grounds that she was "deluded" into believing that she had worked as a U.S. asset or would not get convicted. The coup de gras was a formal request by federal prosecutors to forcibly drug Lindauer with Haldol in order to cure her of those claims and beliefs, so that she could stand trial. She would be formally cured when she stopped declaring that witnesses would substantiate her story.
This interview follows an article yesterday summarizing the case to date and the critical June 17, 2008 hearing in federal court, Southern District, Manhattan before Judge Preska. The hearing is open to the public at the defendant's request.
Previous "Scoop" coverage of Susan Lindauer's ordeal:
Collins: When you were indicted there was a broad range of media covering your story. After about a month, things seemed to go dark with the mainstream media. How has your story stayed alive?
Lindauer: I am shocked and disappointed that the mainstream media has failed to cover developments in this story. I hope that's going to change after this hearing, because a functional media is vital to protecting citizens from arbitrary and tyrannical government decisions. By contrast, the bloggers, have kept me alive. During my incarceration, friends like JB Fields (now deceased) smoked the blogs with outrage. He urged folks to write Judge Mukasey. To his own credit, Judge Mukasey actually called a court meeting when JB's readers sent letters and papers to the Court contradicting the official Psych evaluations. Judge Mukasey wanted to know why that documentation was available on the internet but not in his courtroom. He demanded a formal explanation from the Prosecutor and my own attorney, accounting for the discrepancies in their psych reporting. JB Fields blog – and all the other bloggers who picked it up-- saved my life and my freedom. No question.
Collins: You've been in court at least 15 times over four years regarding this case. What's different about this hearing?
Lindauer: The other meetings are called "status meetings." It's a formality to show that I'm still in the system. This is the first time I have been granted the right to call witnesses into court to authenticate my story. The Prosecutor has said that I am incompetent to stand trial because I am convinced of my innocence and cannot grasp that I might be convicted. Specifically, the Prosecution has used psychiatry to argue that my belief that I worked as an Asset for the U.S. Government constitutes delusional thinking. In a bizarre legal twist, the Prosecutor has argued that since I am delusional, I should be denied the right to call witnesses to prove that I am telling the Truth. Allegedly, my belief in the existence of witnesses is a function of my delusional belief in my innocence. Is that crazy or what? Talk about Kafkaesque!
Carswell's report was significant in one way
that must be noted: Their staff testified that I suffer no
depression, no bipolar disorder, no schizophrenia, no
hallucinations or hearing voices. They said that I was
socially interactive and my behavior was appropriate to the
detention. Dr. Vas testified before Judge Mukasey, "that he
looked really hard, but he couldn't find anything" after 7
Collins: Of all the affronts and stress you've experienced in this open ended prosecution, what's been the most offensive element?
Lindauer: I am furious about the abuse that I have suffered. I regard this as a Soviet-style attack on my rights to dissent from the government. After my arrest, I was ordered to attend weekly psych meetings for a year, during which we discussed articles in the Washington Post—and nothing else. After Carswell, I spent another year in court-ordered psych meetings. The only point of conversation was how psychology has grievously harmed my life, depriving me of freedom, damaging my reputation, and terrorizing me by interfering with my rights to call participatory witnesses, who could straighten out the matter within minutes. Beyond that, the court quack surfed the internet looking for clothes and weekend entertainment for her daughter. Since August, 2007, I have refused to go back. I told the Court the game is over. Go to trial or drop the charges, which are ridiculous anyway. They don't have a case, and they know it..
Psychiatry was corrupt enough to help the Bush White House out of a jam, which says a lot. Forensic psychiatry is a profitable business. In my opinion they are charlatans and court prostitutes who are abusing their access to the Courts in order to get money out of the state and federal budgets. They have little or no value. For myself, I have never engaged in therapy or counseling. I would never confide personal affairs to them, or listen to anything they have to say. In a weird twist, anything I say could get reported to pre-trial services. It's not private. They were a huge waste of my time, burning the clock on my 6th Amendment rights.
Collins: How do you react to your treatment by the prosecution and their mental health experts?
Lindauer: Psychiatrists are terrified of witness testimony to the point of psychotic reaction. They're so insecure as to be deeply threatened that reality will impose limitations on their phony authority in the courtroom.
The consequence for due process of law is quite terrifying. One horrific shrink—Dr. Robert L. Goldstein, a Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University-- actually testified that the depth of my belief in witness testimony confirmed the "seriousness of my mental illness." He said the Court must be patient and tolerant of my requests to call witnesses. He said it showed I was still very sick, and the Court should pity me for not understanding that these people were a figment of my imagination.
I was a prisoner in shackles at the time. I experienced a total state of shock that this corrupt quack could actual testify that my requests for due process demonstrated my incompetence to stand trial. As a "professional psychiatrist"—who had never spoken to me OR my witnesses, Goldstein nonetheless assured the Court that he would stake his professional reputation on their non-existence.
It was the most terrifying and Kafkaesque experience of my life. Truly it proves that psychiatry is out of control in the Courts. They invent and fabricate, and if the truth contradicts them, they don't even care. As Dr. Vas at Carswell put it, "we'll just tell the Court you made it up. Who do you think the Judge is going to believe? You or me? I am a doctor!"
I am firmly convinced that Congress must change the laws so that defendants can file for punitive damages against this sort of quackery. Judges should have the right to file sanctions against psychiatrists who blatantly lie to the Court—which would have to be reported to other Judges, if they testify in other cases. In the most extreme cases of outright perjury, wherein the psychiatrist verifies the truthfulness of a defendant's story and then lies about it as a so-called expert witness, then the matter should be turned over to a grand jury for indictment. I have no mercy for this garbage.
Collins: The wheels of justice grind slowly for you. It's been almost four years and there hasn't even been an evidentiary hearing. How could the process have been simplified?
Lindauer: If the Court wanted to know if my witnesses would validate my story, the Judge could very easily have set a hearing date & called everybody into Court to answer questions. Authenticity would have been established, one way or the other, within the first 15 minutes of testimony. Then the question would be answered. Finished. That's Due Process 101.
What does this say about psychology in the court-room???
In my experience, court psychology is rife with corruption and fraud. Immediately after my arrest four years ago, the psychologist referred me to himself, and then was shocked to find out that I was wholly disinterested in anything he had to say. I told him that I had no intention of changing anything about myself. In one year I intended to be exactly the same person that I was when I walked into his office.
I took a cook-book to the first meeting and forced him to listen to recitations of recipes, sans commentary. When he asked if I intended to cook any of the recipes, I assured him that I would never do such a thing. I said that I consider his insights to be as useless as a recipe that I would never bake.
He had the sense to be embarrassed. From that day on, he always had a copy of the Washington Post, and we discussed news articles and current affairs. That continued for a year. He might have enjoyed it. I didn't. I don't recall that we discussed anything except my complaints about how our court-ordered psych meetings interfered with my employment, since the bail order stopped me from working full time. I had to take a part-time job, which killed me financially. I made perfectly clear that he was wasting my time.
After almost a year of this, I told him point blank that I refused to continue. I told him that he contributed nothing to my life, except to stop me from buying groceries, paying my utilities, and forcing me to borrow money to pay my mortgage and my property taxes-- because he was so selfish as to persist in interfering with my employment, so he could make money off the court.
Collins: What happened after this period of "freedom" after your initial hearings.
Lindauer: Life got to be good again until the fateful day when i was ordered to go to Carswell.
I was told that I would be held for no more than 120 days. That's 4 months. And Judge Mukasey's clerk assured my uncle, who attended the court date, that more likely I would be home within 60 days, because the Judge expected the psych evaluation to be finished rapidly. Then it would be over. Ok, I could do that. I'm a pretty tough lady.
I went in on October 3, 2005 and waited for my release. I got tons of letters of encouragement from friends. I stayed active, walking four to six miles a day on the track, reading lots of books, working at the law library and entertaining myself with NYT crossword puzzles.
Only the prison staff on the Texas military base had other plans. They didn't want to let me go home. They actually argued for the right to detain me indefinitely, and forcibly drug me until I could be cured of claiming that I had ever worked as a U.S. asset.
I was released after 11 months. Judge Mukasey retired on the day of my release. I want to be clear that the man is my hero. Though I was detained, he issued a lengthy and well considered decision that blocked the Prosecution from forcibly drugging me. It's a decision that deserves to be considered in other cases in the future. I am profoundly grateful to Judge Mukasey. He has a great and formidable legal mind.
To this day, I am still pre-trial. I have never been convicted of a crime, nor accepted a guilty plea. All of my most fundamental rights under the precious Constitution of the United States have been revoked because a crooked psychiatrist made up a bullshit story & lied to a federal judge.
Collins: What did you do to get things moving with the court?
In August, 2007, I refused to go back to the Court-ordered meetings. Judge Loretta Preska is now hearing the case. In August I stopped attending the meetings, and told the Court that it's time to drop the charges or go to trial. If the Prosecutor wants to pretend that I'm delusional, I would gladly call witnesses for a pre-trial hearing on competency, at the earliest possible date, to smash his arguments all to hell.
In September, October and November, the Prosecutor desperately tried to get my bail revoked and get me sent back to Carswell. That motivated friends to cough up the legal fees for my new attorney. Everybody was terrified that he might prevail and the Court might actually send me back to Carswell.
I refused to let them intimidate me into backing down.
My mother would be proud if she was still alive.
Collins: What will you try to prove in court on June 17, 2008 and where do you go from there?
I am confident that my
witnesses will establish that I most definitely worked as
long-time asset supervised by individuals in U.S.
intelligence. At that point, I hope the Justice Department
would seize the opportunity to end the case before we have
to go into the specifics of my work. It would be hugely
embarrassing for politicians in Washington, if a trial
exposes how badly the politicians have mismanaged
opportunities to engage the U.S. in counter-terrorism. They
are not the innocent of bystanders of intelligence failures
that they pretend to be. They made serious mistakes in
leadership that they have refused to acknowledge.
Assets like me are just the scapegoats for bad policy decisions.
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