Sunday, March 05, 2006

The amazing story of Susan Lindauer

In bopping about the internets early this morning I stumbled across the absolutely incredible story of former journalist and congressional aide Susan Lindauer.

Ms. Lindauer is accused of being an unregistered agent of the Iraqi government during the leadup to the Iraq war. She is the 2nd cousin of white house chief of staff Andrew Card. She sent two letters to Mr. Card interceding on behalf of the Iraqi government. The 2nd letter still is not publicly available, but the 1st letter offers several concessions from the Iraqi government in order to forestall an invasion.

The administrations response to the overture by the Iraqis from Mr. Cards cousin was to have her investigated and arrested. Media reports at the time described her as a traitorous spy for the Iraqi government. However her ties to the Iraqis were never hidden. Indeed it would have made no sense for her to approach her relative in the administration if she were not somehow able to make representations from the Iraqis, and she made her connections clear.

Despite the overblown media representations at the time, the charges against Ms. Lindauer basically come down to being an unregistered lobbyist for the Iraqi government. The government claims she was paid $10,000 during a trip she made to Iraq, and this in turn breaks a law forbidding financial transactions with organizations that support(ed) international terrorism. This charge however hardly amounts to spying on behalf of the Iraqis. If anything, given 20/20 hindsight, we now would be far better off if the administration had pursued back channels to insure Saddam remained contained in Iraq, without having to embark on a disastrous war to remove him.

The story does not end with her arrest however. She was released on bail, but in September of 2006 a federal judge in New York ordered her held for psychiatric observation. The order specified that she was to not be held for longer than 40 days, but the deadline passed in February without her release. Indeed according to a call from Ms. Lindauer to a friend, the doctors are threatening to keep her until she agrees to be medicated. According to recipients of calls from Ms. Lindauer:
"I got a call from her Feb. 4," says [friend JB] Fields. "They are talking about forcibly medicating her. She sees women around her, in Carswell [federal medical center in Fort Worth, Texas], who can't hold their own silverware to eat because of medications, and she doesn't see how such treatments make anyone more fit for trial. Seems a lot like the way the Soviets used to treat dissidents." Lindauer told another friend she was being guarded like a terrorist at Carswell, and a relative of Lindauer who recently attempted to visit her was turned away, Fields says.
Without speculating on Ms. Lindauers mental state, one can only wonder how one would bear up if they were to face the same set of circumstances she finds herself in. She passionately believed and worked for avoiding a war and the deaths of innocent thousands, but for that work she has been accused of being a traitor. She then finds herself incarcerated in a mental health facility, with apparently no recourse for release in spite of an express order from a federal judge without first agreeing to medications which she thinks will only worsen her predicament. To be honest I think it would take a very strong person to deal with all this and not show the signs of the pressure on their mental state.

Check out Jays Politics for more on this incredible story, and keep checking back with him as I'm sure he will have details as they develop. In the meantime lets do what we can to make sure this woman is not forgotten.

[update: If you would like to write Susan here is her address. Susan Lindauer, RN: 56064-054 FMC Carswell -- Satellite Camp Box 27137 Fort Worth, TX 76127]

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