A Person of Interest

Paul Craig Roberts
Aug. 28, 2002

Is a vote for a Republican a vote for a police state? Those who saw Dr. Steven Hatfill's Fox News press conference on Sunday, Aug. 25, must be asking themselves this question.

 Once again, the FBI and Department of Justice (so-called) are displaying what former Scripps Howard News Service editor Dan Thomasson calls "a callous disregard for a citizen's rights."

 Dr. Hatfill is getting the Richard Jewell treatment, only worse. Jewell was the security guard at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics who spotted the knapsack bomb and moved people away before the explosion. Lacking a suspect, the FBI theorized that Jewell planted the bomb himself in order to gain attention by becoming a hero.

 The FBI had no evidence whatsoever against Jewell, but neither ethics, professional integrity nor the lack of evidence prevented a steady stream of leaks to an obedient media insinuating that Jewell was the bomber.

 The FBI was never held accountable for its abuse of power. Consequently, the FBI feels free to treat Hatfill more brutally. FBI agents told Hatfill's fiancee and his associates that he was a murderer. FBI agents terrorized Hatfill's fiancee and ransacked her apartment, hoping that fear would cause her to end her ordeal by going along with FBI charges against Hatfill.

 Anyone familiar with Stalinist and Gestapo methods recognizes the technique.

 As in the Jewell case, the FBI has substituted a theory for evidence. The theory is that Dr. Hatfill, a patriotic American who serves his country, sent the anthrax letters in order to demonstrate America's lack of preparedness against terrorists.

 Hatfill evidently believes that taking his case to the media will protect him from a Justice Department frame-up. In relying on the media, he has chosen a weak reed.

 The American media functions primarily as a pimp for government. The liberal media will blast conservative Republicans but never the government. The small and dwindling conservative media refuses to "help criminals" by criticizing the "forces of law and order." Consequently, every prosecutor with a high-profile case relies on the media to pressure the target into a plea bargain.

 Rudolph Giuliani had no evidence against "junk bond king" Michael Milken. He had something better: pimps at the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. He used his media pimps first to destroy Milken's reputation and then to raise the stakes with leaks about a "98-count indictment" and a "superseding indictment" with 160 to 300 additional counts. The pressure built until Milken's lawyers convinced him to make a plea to six minor infractions in order to end the ordeal.

 Would a prosecutor as mean as Giuliani settle for a plea to six minor charges, none of which were among the alleged crimes leaked to the media, if he really had 98 to 300 counts?

 Today, the media is even less likely to protest prosecutorial abuse of civil rights. Only members of victim groups can turn to the media for help. As recent best sellers by media insiders make clear, feminists, minorities and homosexuals now dominate the American media. Most are indebted to government-enforced quotas for their jobs, and they view white heterosexual males, such as Hatfill, as members of a hegemonic "oppressor class." Why should they help one of their oppressors defend his rights?

 Hatfill bravely challenged the Department of Justice (so-called), but reporters who discussed his news conference on Fox News showed little inclination to investigate our government's abusive treatment of him. It would be work and unpopular, and the government might come after them. After all, prosecutors only need a theory.

 Americans had better wake up! It can happen to you. No federal agent was held accountable for murdering a mother and her child at Ruby Ridge. No federal agent was held accountable for the massacre of women and children at Waco, Texas. These same unaccountable and deadly forces have now been given unprecedented police powers in the name of "the war on terror."

 Some conservatives will not believe that the FBI would ever lie. These conservatives should acquaint themselves with the recent ruling by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that the FBI has made 75 misrepresentations in order to obtain espionage and terrorism warrants. Attorney General John Ashcroft takes exception to the court, demanding an expansive interpretation of the FBI's new powers. Ashcroft views our civil rights as justifiable "collateral damage" in the "war on terror."

 The war on terror is a war on the American people. This is now coming home to 17 U.S. senators. The entire Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and its staff have been ordered by the FBI to turn over phone records, appointment calendars and daily schedules. Someone leaked the fact that the government did not bother to translate an intercepted warning about Sept. 11 until the next day. The FBI wants to jail the U.S. senators who it suspects blew the whistle on the government's cover-up of that failure.

 The Senate has absolute authority to investigate and discipline its members if there is reason to believe that a leak has injured national security. By kowtowing to a police agency, the Senate has forever diminished its independence.

 If the U.S. Congress had any sense, it would abolish the FBI, demolish the building and sow the ground with salt before it has a real Gestapo on its hands.

Dr. Roberts' latest book, "The Tyranny of Good Intentions," has been published by Prima Publishers.
 



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