What Kind of Custody Is It When You Secretly Hold an American at a Military Base?

Here’s a fairly minor point about the Gregory Saathoff report on Manssor Arbabsiar, the Scary Iran Plotter.

For the 12 day period when he was being secretly interrogated without a lawyer, he was being held at a military base.

Although at times Mr. Arbabsiar smoked inside the room, he often was escorted outside and on at least one occasion took a walk with agents around the military base.

Let me be clear: Arbabsiar’s arrest was approved by a US Magistrate. He was clearly arrested under civilian law.

And I’m not surprised the government held the cousin of a Quds Force member on a military base while they prepared to make an international incident out of his case. I’m sure Arbabsiar was nowhere near the first American citizen interrogated while in civilian custody at a military base.

But it’s coupled with the other part of this where it begins to get unsavory: the part where Arbabsiar had no lawyer and his legal team is now contesting whether he legally waived his right to a lawyer and presentment (and as I’ll explain if I ever get around to writing that post, I think their claim may have more merit than I originally did). And the part where the government didn’t check in with the Magistrate or have Arbabsiar medically examined until a week after he had been arrested.

So if the defense arguments about coerced waivers hold up (remember, we’re still seeing just part of what they’re complaining about), while a busy Magistrate knew he was in custody, Arbabsiar was otherwise in a black hole on a military base (though likely a quite pleasant one, with his own apartment) for a week to 12 days.

During the debate about the NDAA, people insisted we would never see a hybrid kind of detention where US citizens get indefinitely held, but in civilian custody. That’s not what happened to Arbabsiar; again, his detention had been approved by a Magistrate. But we are clearly inching closer to that kind of hybrid.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

33 replies
  1. Jeff Kaye says:

    I think I can explain why Mansour may have been held at a military base, but it will take a few days to flesh out. It will have to do with the presence of a military connected observer who was there for a very specific purpose.

  2. emptywheel says:

    @Jeff Kaye: I suspect I know where you’re going.

    But it really ought to rekindle worries about floating boats with Americans being interrogated.

  3. harpie says:

    @emptywheel: [Marcy, I apologize for the O/T here, but I’ve been trying to get in touch with Jeff for a couple of days].

    Jeff, three things:

    An interview on Democracy Now which mentions the effects of Larium on US military personel.

    A comment of mine at The Guardian recording what happened in the NYT with words relating to a UK terrorism prisoner allegedly being awoken every hour by his guards. [I don’t know how long that will be there.]

    I think Larry James showed up here [see comments]

  4. OrionATL says:

    this may be a minor detail, but it is not a minor civil rights matter, as ew clearly understands.

    holding a citizen on a military base although that citizen was arrested under a civilian warrant is simply using civilian justice as a cover for military detention, as a means to rebutt criticism of the doj having created a jose padilla situation.

    that there are u.s. dept of justice prosecutors and officials who would endanger citizen’s rights by engaging in this sort of subterfuge is frightening. the u.s. dept of justice and, i suspect, it’s national security institute in particular, have become precisely the instrument of repression they could have been predicted by a vigilant congress to become.

    where is the protest against this behavior – in the congress, in the administration, from gov romney, in the media?

  5. OrionATL says:

    if the doj can hold a suspect in, say, solitary confinement in a civilian jail while interrogating him, why would they find need to detain him on a military base?

    i can imagine the conveniences of using a military base, but i cannot imagine a legitimate need that cannot be met by a civilian facility.

  6. thatvisionthing says:

    @harpie: o/t or not — I’ve been trying to connect to Craig Murray’s website since last night and haven’t been able to. I think it’s down.

    craigmurray.org.uk

    harpie, I noticed that one of your comments is in a Guardian story about the US presidential debates, and the last blog post I remember seeing at Craig Murray’s site was about the debates. He often goes away and lets his commenters keep the thread going until he comes back, but I don’t think he takes his website down. I can’t connect to it directly or through an old link to a specific post that I left in this comment in May:

    http://www.emptywheel.net/2012/05/07/nyt-covers-the-war-on-terror-drugs-with-no-mention-of-larger-context/#comment-347834

    Just me?

  7. thatvisionthing says:

    Maybe this is of interest. Recently I’ve had two comments disappear when I tried to post them. But when I took a link out, it would post. The second one was a couple of days ago, comments 3 and 4: http://www.emptywheel.net/2012/10/05/arsonist-burns-landmark-mosque/#comment-421382 The link that wouldn’t post was one I got from a bing image search; I did not know the website.

    The first one, please look; after five tries, carrying over into the next day, I was finally able to make this comment post by removing a link.

    http://www.emptywheel.net/2012/08/27/now-legal-speech-in-michigan-cold-and-hungry-god-bless/#comment-391722

    I had gotten the (removed) link from a comment at Craig Murray’s website, and it was about US vets being arrested by police and involuntarily committed to psychiatric hospitals. The vet in question had posted anti-government lyrics on his Facebook page. I can’t go back to Craig Murray’s site now to get the link, but I can get it from e-mail and this is the story:

    Secret Psyc Ward Renditions — USMC Sgt. Brandon Raub Was Just One of Many, by Jim W. Dean at Veterans Today.

  8. thatvisionthing says:

    See if this posts: http colon doubleslash www dot v e t e r a n s t o d a y dot com / 2 0 1 2 / 0 8 / 2 4 / s e c r e t – p s y c – w a r d – r e n d i t i o n s – u s m c – s g t – b r a n d o n – r a u b – w a s – j u s t – o n e – o f – m a n y /

    Also, I noticed this when I was trying to post the link to the John Doe No. 2 image, and I did the spacing thing, on some characters the spacing would jump so you wouldn’t get one space, you wouild get two or more, backing up once to the back of the last letter and then spacing wouldn’t give you just one space. Maybe there’s a way to hide characters so there are invisible triggers? I make it all up, but it’s what I think of. iirc, in the John Doe link it was around the ~ character. In the VT link it’s between the o and d in “today” and maybe around the i in “[Rendi]tions” and around the hypehen and the o in “just-one” — the last two are complicated by the fact that they hit the end of the line in this comment box and so may invoke some kind of formatting caused by the box. Then again, it didn’t happen at every line ending.

  9. thatvisionthing says:

    Brandon Raub’s lawyer John Whitehead was interviewed by Scott Horton on his radio show (used to be Antiwar Radio) — you should be able to find it at http://scotthorton.org/all-interviews/ except I can’t connect there either. Can you? Raub wasn’t an isolated case, it’s happening by the hundreds or thousands.

  10. Jeff Kaye says:

    @harpie: That is interesting about Bowden’s book. We’ll have to wait until it comes out to see if we can figure out how James helped him. Or perhaps one can outright ask Bowden now (though I don’t know how to reach him). James has been, er, rehabilitated: license kept, dean of a psych school, nice intro to his book by Zimbardo, etc.

    I’m familiar with Pogany’s work and the issue of Lariam use among the troops. We mentioned Pogany, Mark Benjamin and Dan Olmstead’s work on Lariam use among troops (going back about 9-10 years now, in the articles Jason Leopold and I initially wrote on mefloquine (Lariam) at Guantanamo. Interestingly, Pogany never has anything to say about the Guantanamo issue re Lariam, and Amy Goodman never asks. She has never ever even alluded to the use of mefloquine at Guantanamo, even after the issue recently surfaced in a mainstream medical journal.

    As for al-Masri, I unfortunately had not more time to do than what you have done, read the papers and blogs about it. The same was true until recently on the Arbabsiar situation (though I had briefly looked at some of the psych reports and left a comment about it). Thanks to EW, that has changed. Something more than the usual flavor of strange is happening here.

  11. Jeff Kaye says:

    @thatvisionthing: By the thousands? If so, that is very serious, but can you document that by reference to some story or statistic? Cases like Raub’s? Is this a reference to the use of forced hospitalization? If so, then thousands is likely true, but the situation is not such an easy one to decide. That said, I would rather err on not hospitalizing, than giving the state the right to take away one’s freedom. Still, we must understand that means people will die or be hurt because individuals who are truly out of control with mental illness or despair will take their own lives, or sometimes the lives of others. Is that a cost we as a society can live with? I’ve stated what I think, but I see the rationale on the other side as well.

  12. emptywheel says:

    @OrionATL: To be fair, they went VERY rapport based (though w/some nasty coercion, IMO). That’s easier to do when your target has a bedroom and living room than in a real cell.

  13. thatvisionthing says:

    @Jeff Kaye:

    Jeff, I am now able to get to Scott Horton’s radio interviews, and you can listen to the Whitehead interview here: http://scotthorton.org/2012/09/06/9512-john-whitehead/ – it’s 20 minutes long.

    Meanwhile, I did a transcript, and Marcy can remove it if it’s not appropriate to post it here, but as I was typing it I thought the show had disappeared. How many vets does this affect? There’s confusion in the transcript between everyone who’s civilly committed and just vets who are civilly committed, but either way the numbers seem to be very large. Whitehead directs you to his website at rutherford.org, says you can see interviews, video of Raub being arrested, etc.

    Places you particularly might want to notice are the part about forced medication, rubberstamp hearings:

    John Whitehead: And, like I said, if Brandon’s mom hadn’t a got on the internet, he’d still be there, there’s no doubt. And he knows that.

    In fact, the last day he was in the institution, about 30 minutes before we got the court order releasing him, he called me and said, “I’m pretty scared.” I said, “What’s up?” He said a psychiatrist had actually come into his room and slid a chair up to him and said, “I’m going to brainwash you. I’m going to force meds on you.” He said, “What do I do?” And I said, “Hey. You have to have a court order in Virginia to force someone to take medication. So you tell the guy he’s violating the law and the Constitution.” Which he did. Thank God, 30 minutes later we got him out. But I guarantee, in a lot of those cases, the people will take the medications and they’re gone. They’re just in the hospital for a long time. [crosstalk, inaudible]

    Scott Horton: Yeah, they’re just tranquilized so that it doesn’t even occur to them to call a lawyer.

    John Whitehead: They don’t have a lawyer. That’s the point.

    Scott Horton: Yeah.

    John Whitehead: They get a court-appointed lawyer who shows up at their hearing, maybe raise a few issues, and off they go. I mean, it’s just very much rubber stamp. And I’m getting that from other veterans across the country who have been committed. They say their hearing was just, no one seemed to be listening to what they were saying. They were just told, “Okay, we’re sending you off,” and that was it. And the legal system pushes it through.

    And when Whitehead went to the VA Hospital with a court order for Raub’s release, the VA Hospital lied and denied he was there:

    John Whitehead: The word is kidnap. Yeah. And, like I said, he had a very brief hearing and they sent him away, 3½ hours away from his lawyers, his mom, to lower Virginia, southern Virginia, away. And again, we had to – and when we got him out, we just had the court order, and we took the court order to the VA Hospital and said “Release this man.” The response from the Veterans Administration Hospital was, “There’s no one here by that name.” They actually told us that.

    Scott Horton: What, are you kidding me?

    John Whitehead: We, we happened to have a veteran who was in the hospital who had called us. He went up and got him out of the psych ward with the court order. But they wouldn’t even release him. They were saying that he wasn’t there, although he was sitting in a room waiting to leave.

    Scot Horton: Wow.

    And:

    John Whitehead: I mean, I’ve said this on camera. This is the first case I’ve handled in my 35-year history that’s given me the creeps. They can come to your house, kidnap you, and you disappear. In the United States.

    ———————

    Okay, here’s the whole transcript:

    SCOTT HORTON INTERVIEWS JOHN WHITEHEAD,
    LAWYER FOR BRANDON RAUB
    SEPTEMBER 5, 2012

    SCOTT HORTON: All right, y’all. Welcome back. I’m Scott Horton. My website is scotthorton.org. I keep all of my interview archives there. And our next guest on the show today is John Whitehead from the Rutherford Institute, and he’s an attorney. He’s written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. He’s the founder of the Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit civil liberties and human rights organization. Welcome to the show. How’s it going?

    JOHN WHITEHEAD: Hey, thanks. How’s it going with yourself?

    SH: I’m doing real good. I appreciate you joining us here. There is a very important case, I think probably many people have heard of it, the case of Brandon Raub (“Rowb”) – am I saying his name right?

    JW: Raub (“Rob”), Brandon Raub.

    SH: Okay, Raub. And he’s your client?

    JW: Like Rob, Rob Roy.

    SH: He’s your client, correct?

    JW: That’s correct.

    SH: And you guys are suing who all and for what?

    JW: Well, we’re getting ready – we’re deciding that now. I mean, it seems like we’re probably going to be suing all the federal authorities, but we don’t know who all they are, by the way. When the police and the federal agents showed up, some said they were from the Secret Service. We’re doing research. We’re looking at the Veterans Hospital as a possible defendant in a lawsuit. So we’re looking at, basically it’s going to be state and federal officials that were connected to this so-called civil commitment of Brandon Raub.

    SH: Right. Now, I think the reason that you’re so involved in this, and got so involved in this, is pretty apparent in a few of your media appearances. You think that the government’s abduction of this young man was somehow a kind of earth-shattering, precedent-setting move, and you want to move to set a precedent in the courts that, oh no you don’t, right now – is that correct?

    JW: Well, under civil commitment statutes – they’re all across the country; all fifty states have them. Just in Virginia alone last year over 20,000 people were civilly committed, which means that the majority of them, some kind of authority such as police showed up, took them away from their home and put them in a mental institution.

    It’s an epidemic problem. We had a writer from Los Angeles call and say that 80,000 people alone in Los Angeles County last year were civilly committed. It’s a huge problem.

    Veterans groups across the country have called me and say they believe veterans are being targeted. And I think that’s pretty obvious, because most of the cases I see are with the veterans or somebody connected with the armed forces.

    So I think before you show up and take somebody away, you at least need to have clear evidence that they’re a threat. They didn’t have it in the Brandon Raub case. And if we hadn’t got involved, he would still be in the mental hospital.

    SH: Okay, so when you talk about all these standards, or all these different, you know, statutes throughout the union here, they all have some kind of standard, right, that there must be – a judge has to agree that there’s a threat to someone else, or before he’s going to commit suicide, or some kind of thing, right? They can’t just nab you over, say, for example, political speech.

    JW: Yeah, they can nab you over political speech. That’s what happened to Brandon Raub. It’s, it’s – all it takes is, well, here they have a community standards board. All it takes is some board members who think that you’re a danger. So if someone on that board did not like you, for example, and got a few other board members to agree, they could lock you away for a long time. Yes.

    [crosstalk, inaudible]

    SH: …the statutes are not…

    JW: It isn’t a judge, by the way. In Virginia it’s a lawyer that works with the government. It’s basically rubber stamp. The – I mean, the people at the hearing for Brandon Raub, the lawyer that showed up, called a special justice, had trouble hearing what Brandon Raub was saying. He was aged, and he brought his own homemade tape recorder. So it’s not very well done. These are basically rubberstamp procedures.

    SH: It’s like an Article Two court, in a sense. Like, within the executive –

    JW: Yeah, well, it’s worse than that. In an Article Two court you probably get more due process, which means a fair hearing, so.

    SH: That’s like a traffic ticket, right? [crosstalk] You don’t get any kind of –

    JW: They assume, no they assume that you’re crazy when you get there.

    [crosstalk]

    SH: So you’re telling me –

    JW: No, you don’t really –

    SH: – is that –

    JW: [inaudible]

    SH: – this is all really a major scandalous crisis all across the country right now, how easy it is for people to be committed.

    JW: Yes.

    SH: In this case it just really sticks out like a sore thumb because the guy was complaining about politics on his Facebook page is what got him that.

    JW: Yep. I did an interview with him – people can go and see it. I mean, he’s a very lucid, very intelligent young man. He’s 26 years old, a decorated Marine. If they go to rutherford.org, Rutherford dot o-r-g, you can actually see the interview I did with him on camera, and you’ll see he’s – he’s as sane as anybody I’ve ever talked to. So, he just got caught up in this. But I’m afraid, with the hundreds of thousands of people that are going in these mental institutions across the country – the veterans groups, as I said, call me on the phone, a lot of them, presidents and lawyers of veterans groups, and say they’re really concerned, what could they do, you know? And so what we’re doing is looking at the legislation, at least in Virginia, and hopefully can build in better safeguards so that – there’s got to be some kind of threshold here. I mean, he didn’t threaten anybody specifically. He just – he was quoting song lyrics from a group called Swollen Members, it’s a rap group out of Canada, that got him in trouble.

    SH: (laughs) Yeah, you’d think these cops would have learned by now to google it and check, you know?

    JW: Well, you know, what cops do – yeah, they do. And they don’t, that’s what – you just said something important. They don’t google. If they would have checked, they’d have saw this man didn’t even have a permit for a firearm. He doesn’t even own a weapon. I mean, so – (laughs)

    SH: Is it clear whether the cops were just trolling around his Facebook page, or did someone turn him in?

    JW: He doesn’t think that that’s what happened. He said when he got to the police station, somebody said, “Do you have any friends that might be concerned?” So they were trying to give him name– he said he gave them some names, and at his hearing those are the same names they gave back. I think – I don’t know if someone might have complained, but what it was, they were doing a private Facebook game. It was his brother, his sister and him, and they were quoting song lyrics and saying goofy things, probably had a couple beers, and somehow the government got into that, you know? And the Facebook, by the way – and these large corporations are notorious for giving information over to the government. They got into his private account and read what he said and came and got him. And this is the weird thing. At his hearing, some of the statements that they said he said, were actually said by his brother. They didn’t even have their facts straight.

    SH: Hmm.

    JW: But you know, you have the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, all these people show up at his door and take him away. They handcuffed him. You can actually see the film of the handcuffing at his arrest on our website. It’s – if this can happen in America, I got a lot of good friends are saying now, “Is this really America anymore?” We see these things happening.

    SH: Well, but, so I’m trying to – you know, just a speculation here, trying to fill in the gaps, but it seems like what happened here, right, was the cops had a conversation which said, “Well, we can’t really arrest him for anything, because he didn’t do anything illegal that we can charge him with, right?” He didn’t make a terroristic threat directed at anyone specific, like you said, it was just lyrics. Like this, “Well, we can’t really call him a material witness,” because, I don’t know, maybe the judge in their neighborhood doesn’t like that kind of thing, the abuse of the material witness thing. “So what can we do? Well, we’ll we turn him over to the mental hospital. Well let’s do that.” They decided that, and they’re basically looking for a way, fishing for a way to have an excuse to take him away, rather than enforcing the law, which is actually their charge.

    JW: Yeah, it was the thing. As soon as we got the case, we called the FBI and we called the police and said, “What are you charging him with?” Their response was, “Nothing. He didn’t commit a crime. (laughs) But they handcuffed him, put him in a police car. They wouldn’t let him put his clothes on. He asked. You’ll see it on camera. He says, “Can I get my shirt?” He was in his shorts. They said no. And they shove him – and one of the police officers actually shoved him into a fence. This is a decorated Marine, twice overseas in Afghanistan and Iraq, served his country well, a combat engineer. This is how we treat him. This is America. So it’s pretty scary –

    SH: Well, yeah, and they go from our idols to something very scary, right? Because in truth they’ve all been betrayed and they’ve all been sent on these no-win wars and they come home to an economy that’s destroyed because all the money was spent on the wars, and so the government, they have all these FBI and Homeland Security reports, “Be on the lookout for the next McVeigh, the next disgruntled veteran, who, actually, we taught him how to fight.” So they’re constantly on their toes for that kind of thing.

    JW: Yeah, I think you’re right about that. Again, it’s like I say, the veterans groups are greatly concerned and – I mean, right now, I think, just because of this case, we’ve had at least 300 calls from vets saying this happened to them, where they were taken away, you know? And just for kind of crazy things. But – [crosstalk]

    SH: Right, and he has the resources to represent them all.

    JW: That’s it. Very few people won’t even get near these cases. In fact, his mother, Kathleen Thomas, she was very good. She got on Facebook and the internet when he was arrested and taken away and started screaming about it. And someone called us and I called her and talked to her. But the thing she said to me when I called her and said we may want to help, she says, “Thank God. I’ve called everybody. No one wants to help.” And so we got involved. We got him out in a week. We found a judge who had some good common sense and got him out. But like I say, if we hadn’t gotten involved, he would still be there. [crosstalk, inaudible]

    SH: And that’s just really lucky for him that his mom thought, “I have to make a news story out of this immediately or it’s going to get away from us.” [crosstalk] That was really bright of her to do that.

    JW: Yeah. And I think that’s what we do today. You know, although the government’s watching the internet, and you know the massive scrutiny, see downloads, a billion point six pieces they say at least from the internet everyday, watching people. This is the national security – it goes in electronic files. The internet’s the last hope we have getting news out there. So if you see this happening to a neighbor or a friend, I tell people and your listeners should do as well, scream about it on the internet, alert us, alert groups like us, and otherwise, like I say, well, a reporter called me from the county that Brandon Raub was taken away and he said, “John, you realize there were twenty other cases just in this county alone in August.” So this is happening a lot. And I don’t know where all these people are going, so. We’re researching it now, trying to figure out what’s happening, but. If we have that many crazy people in the United States, we’re (laughs) we’re really in deep doo-doo, that’s all I can say.

    SH: Well, I mean, this is actually a great way for the military to get out of treating soldiers.

    JW: Yeah.

    SH: They say, “Well you have a personality disorder, and if you do, well it must be congenital, or you must have” – I think that’s the right use of that word – “you must have always been like this. Which means you deceived us when you said you were sane when you joined the Marine Corps in the first place, so now, out on your ass and no healthcare for you.”

    JW: Yes.

    SH: Joshua Kors has written a great series about this for The Nation, and it’s a widespread thing. “Whatever’s wrong with you, you have a personality disorder,” which of course everybody’s got one of those.

    JW: Yes, that’s true. The thing is, a lot of the veterans groups that work with the VA are really disgruntled about the VA. They say that they can’t get help for the vets. I have wives of veterans call me saying, “My husband is fighting just to get basic benefits from the Veterans Administration.”

    SH: Yeah, and then think of that, they use, “Well, no, we accuse you of being mentally ill,” as their excuse to not really treat you, but then they can turn right around and use that as any excuse to kidnap you. And – [crosstalk]

    JW: That’s basically it.

    SH: [inaudible] “– you’re not guilty of anything, but we’re going to hold you.”

    JW: The word is kidnap. Yeah. And, like I said, he had a very brief hearing and they sent him away, 3½ hours away from his lawyers, his mom, to lower Virginia, southern Virginia, away. And again, we had to – and when we got him out, we just had the court order, and we took the court order to the VA Hospital and said “Release this man.” The response from the Veterans Administration Hospital was, “There’s no one here by that name.” They actually told us that.

    SH: What, are you kidding me?

    JW: We, we happened to have a veteran who was in the hospital who had called us. He went up and got him out of the psych ward with the court order. But they wouldn’t even release him. They were saying that he wasn’t there, although he was sitting in a room waiting to leave.

    SH: Wow.

    JW: So that’s what it’s like.

    SH: Well now – [crosstalk]

    JW: And you know I have a lot – a lot of good veterans that I work with that work with the VA, and they’re shocked at the poor treatment, and that, you know, just trying to get in the doors of the VA sometimes, you know. Pretty tough. That’s how we treat our veterans. And you’re right. We send them all to those crazy wars overseas. They come back. We pigeonhole them. We make them look crazy. And then, and when they treatment, they can’t get it. So.

    SH: Well, they’re dying now from more suicides than IEDs in Afghanistan.

    JW: That’s true.

    SH: That’s how bad it is.

    JW: That’s true. And we’re not treating them, yeah.

    SH: Hey, and there are still tens of thousands, 80,000 something, soldiers in Afghanistan out there playing the IED lottery, so that’s a lot. You know, it’s not like that war is almost over or anything.

    JW: No, it’s going to be going on for a long time. I think that major reform obviously needs to occur. But I think we have to watch these civil commitment statutes, because anybody – I mean, me or you. It depends on, if the government doesn’t like you. I mean, to be honest with you, if someone came in my– if you came in my office today and talked to me, and I called the – and I know FBI agents. I could call an FBI agent and say, “He looked like he had a gun in his pocket and he was saying crazy things like he wanted to kill someone.” They would pick you up and you would be put in a mental institution. That’s all it would take.

    SH: Wow.

    JW: So it’s, there’s not a lot of safeguards. So what we’re going to try to do in our case, when we sue the government, is force them to put safeguards in these civil commitment laws, because they shouldn’t be arriving at your door kidnapping you when you’ve not committed a crime. And you go into a procedure where it’s basically rubber stamp, you just pass through and you’re in the mental institution.

    And, like I said, if Brandon’s mom hadn’t a got on the internet, he’d still be there, there’s no doubt. And he knows that.

    In fact, the last day he was in the institution, about 30 minutes before we got the court order releasing him, he called me and said, “I’m pretty scared.” I said, “What’s up?” He said a psychiatrist had actually come into his room and slid a chair up to him and said, “I’m going to brainwash you. I’m going to force meds on you.” He said, “What do I do?” And I said, “Hey. You have to have a court order in Virginia to force someone to take medication. So you tell the guy he’s violating the law and the Constitution.” Which he did. Thank God, 30 minutes later we got him out. But I guarantee, in a lot of those cases, the people will take the medications and they’re gone. They’re just in the hospital for a long time. [crosstalk, inaudible]

    SH: Yeah, they’re just tranquilized so that it doesn’t even occur to them to call a lawyer.

    JW: They don’t have a lawyer. That’s the point.

    SH: Yeah.

    JW: They get a court-appointed lawyer who shows up at their hearing, maybe raise a few issues, and off they go. I mean, it’s just very much rubber stamp. And I’m getting that from other veterans across the country who have been committed. They say their hearing was just, no one seemed to be listening to what they were saying. They were just told, “Okay, we’re sending you off,” and that was it. And the legal system pushes it through.

    I’ve been practicing constitutional law for like 35 years, and I’ll tell you, one thing people have to realize, in America, that we have very few courts of justice. We have courts of order. And they’re there to keep order of the judges, most of them. Not give you justice. They don’t want to take a chance of allowing anybody out that may be a bit dangerous, so the easy thing is to do is to slide everybody into either a jail cell or a prison or a mental institution. [crosstalk]

    SH: Well, one thing [inaudible] have to do –

    JW: You realize America has the highest incarceration rate in the world of any civilized country.

    SH: Yeah.

    JW: We have more people in prisons and mental institutions than any country in the world.

    SH: One thing about judges, though, is if you can, you know, get them in the right circumstance, they like to grandstand, you know, like on a case like this where it’s already gotten out of their control. And, you know, so I wonder if, you know, say for example at y’all’s last hearing, did the judge act like he was outraged at all by what the government had done here? Because that’s really, you know, when you want your precedent set on some more safeguards here, something like that, it’s really going to come down to whether the judge likes you. Isn’t it?

    JW: Well, too. Another thing you’re seeing is press. There was a lot of press here. Brandon Raub got a lot of favorable press. Judges read newspapers and they watch TV. We were all over the news for a week and a half. That affects it. Plus, he said here, and he looked at the record, the government had not proven their case. That was the key. And that’s why he got out. So. And here’s the – I’ll go back and say it again. If most people in these cases I think would have lawyers, they’d either have a very short time in a mental institution or they’d be out like Brandon Raub. So, most of them don’t even have lawyers, that’s the point, who make appeals. They’re just stuck there. So this is what’s happened to the country. So it’s a very, very dangerous trend. I mean, I’ve said this on camera. This is the first case I’ve handled in my 35-year history that’s given me the creeps. They can come to your house, kidnap you, and you disappear. In the United States.

    SH: Well, you know, Thomas Szasz, the great libertarian kind of anti-psychiatry activist and author, he likes to point out that really psychiatry was invented by the state in order to have an excuse to imprison their critics. That’s really where it all comes from in the first place is, “Hey, this is the consensus, and if you’re outside the consensus, especially if you’re, say, hopping mad about the consensus, then there’s something wrong with you.” [crosstalk, inaudible]

    JW: Well, too, but you know Brandon Raub –

    SH: – define what that is.

    JW: Brandon’s very open with his views, Brandon Raub. He’s a 9/11 truther, and I have – you know, people I talk to, a lot of people think that anybody believes that is crazy. So you’re facing that right off the bat. So, it’s – see the First Amendment [crosstalk] is there to protect people who have strong –

    SH: They’re going to have lock up a huge percentage of the population. I don’t think that’s crazy, I just think it’s – [crosstalk] not quite right. (laughs)

    JW: No, I agree with you. But, you know, you can have – the First Amendment protects people who have extreme viewpoints. That’s the purpose of the First Amendment. And, because you have a strong viewpoint doesn’t mean you’re crazy, or I’d say 80% of the clients that I represent are crazy. And I don’t think they are. [crosstalk] They just have strong viewpoints.

    SH: Sure, well, I mean, and there’s different uses of the word “crazy,” too. I mean, you could say “This is crazy, that’s crazy, and I went skateboarding with my friend and he ollied over this thing, it was crazy.” But then there’s, when you really need it is when you’re arguing in court and when it counts is whether someone gets their rights taken away from them or not. You know?

    JW: Yep. So, again, it comes down to definitions, and like I say, there are s– I know of some good psychiatrists and I know bad psychiatrists, why we call ones that think everybody’s crazy. So, once you get in that, you’re lost. [crosstalk] And that’s what happened to Brandon Raub.

    SH: Well, that’s the thing, is on that, the standard form. There is no checkbox for sane. Everybody’s – [crosstalk]

    JW: I agree with that.

    SH: – a little bit of a narcissist, right? Something.

    JW: Well, you know, I have a psychologist friend. He said, “John, you suffer from one of the big psychological diseases, ODD.” And I said, “What’s ODD?” He said, “Oppositional Defiant Disorder.”

    SH: Right!

    JW: People who defy authority. Well I said that the Founding Fathers were crazy. And he says, “You’re right.” (laughs)

    SH: Yeah. No. I have been recently diagnosed with that very same condition. For some reason, I’m not ashamed and I’m not seeking medical attention. But maybe [crosstalk]

    JW: Well, you know, Mar– Martin Luther King – Martin Luther King had it and a lot of other folks had it.

    SH: Right. Yeah. Well, he was a notorious troublemaker.

    JW: Yep.

    SH: All right. Hey, listen, we got to go. Thank you so much for your time, John, I really appreciate it, and good luck to you and your client there.

    JW: Thank you sir.

    SH: All right, everybody. That is John Whitehead from the Rutherford Institute. That’s rutherford.org. Check out his piece on lewrockwell.com today about Minority Report and the Department of Pre-Crime.

  14. thatvisionthing says:

    Also, this is news to me though I see it’s two years old and I’m sure you know it. I was checking the spelling of Joshua Kors’ name and this link showed up — we use forced sleep deprivation on our own soldiers to coerce them:

    http://mountainsageblog.com/2010/11/12/joshua-kors-video-of-torture-hearing-released-video/

    Joshua Kors: Video of Torture Hearing Released (VIDEO)

    Some of war’s most disturbing moments don’t happen on the battlefield. Such was the case when Sergeant Chuck Luther sat before a Congressional committee and described how he was tortured by U.S. Army officials.

    Luther had been confined to a closet at Camp Taji, Iraq. He was held there for over a month, under enforced sleep deprivation, until he agreed to sign documents saying his mortar fire wounds were caused by a pre-existing condition, making him ineligible for benefits.

  15. Jeff Kaye says:

    Btw, my take on the escorts around the base was that they were calculated to show Arbabsiar what a big man he was. He was taken without handcuffs, a sign of respect for his importance. They played off his grandiosity.

  16. Frank33 says:

    @emptywheel:
    As I recall, then, a public campaign was launched to declare that Lindauer was “nuts”. A distant relative, Andrew Card, a Bushie functionary, turned her in, to the “intelligence authorities”. And they tried to use the Patriot Act for indefinite detention.

    She seems to keep a relatively low profie. Her topics are controversial, Lockerbee bombings, 1993 WTC attack, and so on. Here is one of the more recent interviews with her.

  17. OrionATL says:

    @thatvisionthing:

    thanks for making and posting this transcript.

    the more detailed facts available, the better my confidence in my understanding of what likely happened.

    take away line:

    roughly this,

    “jw: i talked with him. he is as sane as you or i.”

    p.s. it is beginning to look as if the ew weblog stumbled upon a hidden facet of our budding police state while in the process of trying simply to understand the details of a baffling and, on it’s surface, trivial game of spy v spy. somehow, this arbabsiar matter, involving a slightly goofy naturalized citizen whose happens to be the cousin of an iranian spy chief, keeps investigating journalists stepping into fbi/cia spoor no matter which direction they turn and walk.

  18. thatvisionthing says:

    @OrionATL: Thanks. It’s all the more remarkable in that I got started on it by following a commenter’s link on a UK website.

    I still can’t connect to Craig Murray’s website.

  19. emptywheel says:

    @Jeff Kaye: Agree. And while it probably ISN’T West Point, it could be. Imagine if you “cooperate” with your guards on the premiere military academy? Plus, it’s gorgeous.

  20. JThomason says:

    @Frank33:

    The problem with Lindauer’s story is that there is inherently great difficulty in working up through levels of deniability and cover associated with a field asset for the CIA. Lindauer claims she was an intelligence asset and that her handler was Dr. Richard Fuisz. Fuisz is a manufacturer with his latest product being a digital encoding/decoding watch. His CV is a business CV with no ostensible direct connection to the CIA. The exposure of the kinds of oligarchic defense cartels that Sibel Edmonds raised certainly suggests questions about the public or legal capacity to pierce certain operative veils, not to mention the suggestions of the nature of CIA cover activities suggested in the exposure of Brewster Jennings.

    I think its a bit much to think that a federal court is going to exact a piercing exposure of the chains and levels of covert intelligence operations. In fact someone who is basing a defense on the requirment of this level of CIA compromise might in fact be considered crazy. /q-sn*. Lindauer found her self with few options once she began to level these accusations of high level treason. Its all a matter of a point of view. Judge Mukasey did save Lindauer from the lobotomizing cocktail of psychotropic medication that the Fedearal Prosecutor was seeking to have administered to Lindauer.

    CIA assets insulated in deniability might could expect that the going could get tough. Thing is that Lindauer, who has the background and credentials that would make her participation in the murky world of carrying back channel signals, seems sane and credible.

    *quasi-snark

  21. thatvisionthing says:

    Morning update: I still can’t connect to Craig Murray’s website, and I couldn’t send an e-mail either:

    Sorry for the inconvenience.

    We’re sorry, but att.net Mail has encountered a temporary error. You can try again shortly, or visit our Help pages for ways you might be able to fix the issue yourself (Temporary Error 2).

    Thanks,
    The att.net Mail Team

  22. karenjj2 says:

    this is the “naturalized” in 2010 “citizen” that was known to have all the Iranian trips, etc., etc. in your previous article, right!?

    it truely has become a “mad, mad, mad world.”

  23. thatvisionthing says:

    Morning update: Craig Murray is back up,

    Outage

    by craig on October 9, 2012 9:09 am in Uncategorized

    Apologies for the outage, which was purely technical and non-sinister and to do with the domain name expiring yesterday, but having to be renewed the Friday before because yesterday was a public holiday in San Francisco…

    and my AT&T “Temporary Error 2” persists. I haven’t clicked it, it hasn’t fixed itself. Not so temporary.

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