A Weekly View from the Foothills of Appalachia
November 22, 1998 #112
by: Doug Fiedor
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Copyright © 1998 by Doug Fiedor, all rights reserved
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Did Starr shine last Thursday at his presentation to the House Judiciary Committee? Maybe. But only if you forget about a few things.
Certainly, Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr made a very good showing of himself before that committee. Starr was exactly correct in his assertions against Clinton, so the disruptive Democrats had nothing of substance to say. Therefore, the dastardly Democrats conspired to do what confounded Democrats always do when they have nothing to support their point of view: attack someone. In this case, they went after Starr.
They threw a few jabs and hooks Starr's way, but Starr bobbed and weaved expertly enough and didn't get caught. He even countered with a few good return combinations from time to time. Funny thing about that encounter though: the only real punch of substance actually came from a Republican. Rep. Bob Barr caught Starr with a great uppercut when he asked why some witnesses in the filegate matter were not yet interviewed by Starr's investigators. That was the only big punch of the day, but few acted like they even noticed.
Starr proved to be a very capable attorney, and he seemed well prepared for the Hyde Committee hearing. Unfortunately, he was not as well prepared to be the chief independent counsel. That is, he was not prepared to be a leader of the team of investigators. It showed, too.
For instance, the same group of FBI agents who messed up the first investigation into the Foster death were allowed to conduct the second investigation. Is it any wonder that they regurgitated the same results?
Something really stinks with that investigation. Something smells of a cover up. We'll never know why, though. Neither will Starr. But we are willing to bet that the FBI does.
Then there's Filegate. Anyone expect Starr's FBI agents to jump right in and investigate the improper release of all those secret FBI files by their home office? Yeah, right! That would be a great career move, wouldn't it. No, what was expected was exactly what we got: a little snooping around the periphery and nothing else. Starr probably didn't even notice that he was stiffed on that one too, because he was not paying attention and/or his "investigators" did not wish to tell him the complete story.
The travel office firings may be an entirely different story, though. There's a very good chance Hillary may be prosecuted for that caper. And, if enough people push the issue, Hillary may even be prosecuted for possession of some of those FBI files. Just glancing at one would be enough to get her a couple years free room and board. Because, even though she seems to think "We are the President," there is zero law to back up that contention. She is nothing more than the spouse of a government official. There is no protection for her under the law. Therefore, anytime she viewed a classified document, she broke a national security law.
The sleaze promoting Democrats displayed themselves as the very sorry lot they are. But, the fact remains that Starr -- as honorable as he may be -- really does not have much to show after all that investigating. Worse yet, he may not even know why.
Chief Majority investigative counsel David P. Schippers was . . . well, David Schippers was David Schippers. As we reported last April (Issue #79), this organized crime and racketeering prosecutor from Chicago will not pull his punches. Schippers is not a Washington paper pusher lawyer. Rather, he is an inquisitor of the first order. If there is a section in law school textbooks on how to effectively browbeat a witness on the stand, don't be surprised if Schippers wrote it -- or is at least pointed to as the guiding example.
After nearly twelve straight hours in the witness chair, Ken Starr received a standing ovation. That was prompted, of course, by the masterful questioning of Schippers. Still, Starr deserved it. He made the idiot side of the Committee look as ignorant as a fifth grader trying to answer questions on a SAT test. Better yet, Starr showed real class.
The disruptive Democrats showed themselves as what they are: riffraff. So did the national media. By Friday afternoon, White House sycophants in the media had their polls and reports out. Most everything reported, of course, favored the administration. Not much news there.
Now, Mr. Starr, about that recommendation by Rep. Bob Barr. . . . .
PROSECUTORS OFTEN VIOLATE THE LAW
Justice in these United States is far different today than the justice experienced by Americans in the era of the Founding Fathers. In the early days of our country, the sheriff would arrest a perpetrator for cause. Any witnesses and evidence were soon thereafter presented in a court of law and the decision of a jury of the accused's neighbors was final. Often, local attorneys served sometimes as prosecutor and other times as defense. Almost always, both sides had equal facilities to prove their case before the court.
But that was then and this is now. Today, a prosecutor has the full backing of the facilities of local, state and national police agencies, the help of a team of attorneys and paralegals and often the seemingly unlimited budget of government. For instance, many millions of dollars of taxpayer's money was spent attempting to railroad Richard Jewell and Randy Weaver. Probably $100-million was spent by the federal government to prosecute the religious group at Waco. And today, at least another $100-million is being spent to pay a small army to apprehend a "suspect" named Eric Rudolph near the small town of Andrews, North Carolina.
Does today's defense team have anywhere near the same resources available to prosecutors to protect their client in a court of law? No. Of course not. Today, a defense attorney has whatever the accused can afford, and little else.
Worse yet, prosecutors have the ability to purchase testimony against the accused. Yet (except in very few circumstances), if the defense attempts to pay someone for beneficial testimony, the offense is called bribery.
However, it looks like things are about to change some. There ought to be a law, and there is. 18 USC 201(c)(2) is rather clear, too. It says:
Whoever . . . directly or indirectly, gives, offers or promises anything of value to any person, for or because of the testimony under oath or affirmation given or to be given by such person as a witness upon a trial, hearing, or other proceeding, before any court . . . authorized by the laws of the United States to hear evidence or take testimony . . . shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than two years, or both.
There's a slightly inconvenient problem there. When Congress passed that law, they did not exempt prosecutors. In other words, it is against the law for a prosecutor to "offer anything of value to any person" for testimony. That would include, of course, money paid to snitches, or giving a lesser sentence to codefendants for "cooperation."
Last July, in U.S. vs. Singleton, (97-3178) the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, ruled that:
Whoever completes the following elements commits a crime. First, the statute requires a gift, offer, or promise, either direct or indirect, to a person. Second, the gift, offer, or promise must be of value. Third, the gift, offer, or promise must be made for or because of the person's sworn testimony at a trial or other proceeding before an authorized court. The state of mind required to violate the statute is knowledge that the thing of value is given for or because of testimony. . . .
The anti-gratuity provision of § 201(c)(2) indicates Congress's belief that justice is undermined by giving, offering, or promising anything of value for testimony. If justice is perverted when a criminal defendant seeks to buy testimony from a witness, it is no less perverted when the government does so. Because § 201(c)(2) addresses what Congress perceived to be a wrong, and operates to prevent fraud upon the federal courts in the form of inherently unreliable testimony, the proscription of § 201(c)(2) must apply to the government.
The three judge Appeals Court panel unanimously agreed:
Promising something of value to secure truthful testimony is as much prohibited as buying perjured testimony. If justice is perverted when a criminal defendant seeks to buy testimony from a witness, it is no less perverted when the government does so.
The Justice Department argues, of course, that the 10th Circuit's decision would cripple law enforcement. Justice actually said publicly that Congress never intended bribery laws to apply to prosecutors. Ouch!
Today, especially in illegal drug cases, prosecutors often play "let's make a deal" and rely on the testimony of paid informants and codefendants cutting a deal for a shorter sentence. There are thousands of government snitches on the streets working off their prosecution by fingering others. The implied "payment" for these government paid crooks is that, as long as they produce people to be arrested, they will not themselves be prosecuted. Consequently, many of these government paid snitches make a habit of entrapping others who originally had no intention of breaking the law.
The Justice Department is already lobbying Congress for a bribery exception for prosecutors. One shame of today's system of justice is that they will probably get it. Meanwhile, this case goes before the full 12 member 10th Circuit, where the opinion will probably be upheld. From there, it's the Supreme Court, and that opinion should prove to be very, very enlightening.
Check out the U.S. vs. Singleton opinion at:
And, find the full bribery law in question at:
ENTANGLING MILITARY DANGERS
A few months ago, I had an opportunity to speak with a small contingent of French military personnel visiting our area. They came to the U.S. to learn about some new equipment and seemed to really enjoy their couple of weeks here.
Interestingly enough, two of the officers had been attached to a UN task force for a time. We all had a few laughs about that, as they humorously related that time in their lives to be a steady series of little more than bungled excursions. One problem was, as reported, that there was no good chain of command. Everyone wanted to be in charge. So, effectively, no one really was in charge.
NATO was also like that sometimes. It was essentially military command by committee. There was often little continuity between commands. Nor was there always consensus for exactly how a mission was to be accomplished. In fact, one major country (France) backed out of the whole NATO concept for a time and kicked representatives of all other NATO countries out of their country.
Nowadays, there is no more Soviet Union menace. Therefore, NATO is not really needed anymore. So, today's NATO is said to have transformed its role from a territorial defense to tasks like taking on an armed peacemaking mission in the Balkans.
The problem is, NATO has not stopped many people from being killed in the Balkans. Most of their interference came after the fact. Nor does NATO even have much of an official presence in the Balkans. Much of the military in that "police action" is under UN command. Which means, according to my French military friends, under a very uncoordinated command. Perhaps that accounts for the recent distressing news reports.
On a parallel mission with the 14 European members of NATO is an agreement called the Western European Union (WEU). WEU is made up of 28 (10 major members, 18 associates) European countries, most of which have military forces at the ready. The WEU has been in existence for 45 years. For the most part, it has taken a back seat to NATO, but it is still a viable organization.
Now comes the European Union, and things are starting to get a bit complicated. The European Union recently decided that it should create a European defense presence of its own. Early reports say that they want the EU military to be complementary to NATO, but capable of independent action. According to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the challenge for the EU is to create an effective operational defense capability from this jumble of overlapping structures, one that will enable the EU to "act militarily on its own when the United States is not engaged."
And herein lies the crux of the problem: Each of these organizations -- NATO, WEU, UN, and EU -- want the ability to "act militarily on its own." Meanwhile, each individual country has its own military forces and may also act unilaterally.
But there's more. There's a code of conduct that applies to most military forces in Europe -- and which most American veterans may also remember. Simply put, if for any reason other than training, a uniformed foreign military person bears arms against a resident of another country, they are said to be making war.
It's a simple concept, understood throughout the world. If any foreign military personnel come here to the United States, in uniform and bearing arms, we American citizens may class them as being at war with us and treat them as such. What we Americans sometimes wish to disregard is the fact that the very same concept applies if we send our military under arms to another country.
That is not to say that we cannot welcome uniformed visiting foreign military personnel. Most countries do. But, it must be understood that they are here only as visitors, not police. And thus, these "visitors" must never be armed, except on military reservations, and then only for training. To be armed and in uniform in public, or to act as police, is to be committing war.
Korea and Vietnam are very good examples of misdirected police actions on our part. Now we're starting essentially the same thing in the Balkans and the Middle East.
Accounts of the actual number of personnel vary, but there are well equipped UN "police action" forces here, within the United States. When our French military friends were asked (over drinks) if they knew why UN equipment and personnel would be in the United States, the reply was simply, "No. Not for certain." When asked if such equipment and personnel would be allowed on duty within the borders of France, the reply from the most senior gentleman was a well thought out: "No. I do not think that would be acceptable."
Then, when asked about the relationship and mix of the French military with NATO, WEU, UN, and now the EU military, the look on the most senior military officer's face turned contemplative. "This is getting to be a problem, isn't it . . ." he said in a low voice. "I do not know what is next."
As a young man, he too was taught of the "entangling alliances" that helped ignite the First World War. More people need to study that history. History is repeating again.
BIG BROTHER'S TASK FORCE
[Click here for documentary photos.]
Rumors abound, but let's stick with verified fact. There are about 200 federal officers camping out in and near the town of Andrews, North Carolina. Some local business owners are saying it's almost like an "extended tourist season." That is, most motels are full, the restaurants are doing a good business and area liquor sales increased by about seventy percent.
The downside is that these are mostly all men, and many of these men are passing their free time by drinking and hitting on the local women. Also, all of these men are well armed, some with fully automatic assault weapons.
Needless to say, not everyone around Andrews is happy with this huge task force setting up temporary shop there. Especially at night, residents are not happy. These men can be quite noisy at night. They brought military and police helicopters with them, which they often fly low at night -- directly over people's homes, while shining bright searchlights downward.
This paramilitary task force is searching for a man named Eric Rudolph. Rudolph is accused of bombing an abortion clinic. And the key word here is "accused." Rudolph is but a "suspect," and therefore presumed innocent until proven guilty. He may or may not be guilty, we do not know at this time. Anyway, since he was the only available "suspect" at the moment, the FBI also decided to accuse him of several outstanding odds and ends they haven't been able to solve. Besides, murder and mayhem play good in the press and help to justify the existence of their expensive task force. The FBI ploy worked as expected. As with Jewell, Rudolph is presented by the media to be guilty.
As is their normal way, some (not all) of the FBI agents attempted to intimidate the people of Andrews with threats and bullying. That did not go over very well with the peaceful residents. Consequently, this disrespect has alienated many of the local people, making them resentful and uncooperative. One local report is that if Eric Rudolph walked down the main street of Andrews in the middle of the afternoon, probably no one would pick up the telephone and turn him in.
According to the Justice Department, the area within a hundred mile radius of Andrews contains more well-armed Citizen Militia groups than anywhere else in the United States. In other words, to the federal government, most of the local folks are classed as extremists. Therefore, they are available to be hassled, rousted and intimidated. And they are.
Doors have been kicked in, working folks stopped, searched and (roughly) apprehended without cause. There's a report that, at one point, the task force even asked to search a local elementary school while classes were in session. The principal refused, of course. While the adults were talking, the report says, one of the kids "spotted" them with a little laser pen. When the commander ordered his men to hit the deck, the kids started laughing. That got the kids a scolding.
Another problem is that these federal agents are not in uniform. Therefore, they are not easily discernible from anyone else. When area hunters meet up with these guys in the field, the federal agents stop them and demand identification. As often as not, hunters refuse and demand to see the agent's identification. Needless to say, all it will take is one belligerent agent to touch off some kind of incident with a group of hunters. While on duty, all police officers belong in an easily identifiable police uniform. Else, preventable problems can arise.
This task force converged on the western North Carolina community months ago, looking for one lone person. No one has seen Eric Rudolph for many weeks, yet the federal task force keeps searching. Agents disparagingly call Rudolph a "survivalist," and report that they cannot find him because he "knows those hills and caves like the back of his hand." In the beginning, Rudolph was wanted only for questioning, but now, simply because they can't find him, he has become public enemy number one.
That is what justified using millions of dollars of taxpayer's money to build two command bases, complete with helicopter pads. That is what justified calling in the National Guard for back up, as well as requesting support from active military personnel. That is what justifies perimeter guards with automatic weapons, backed up by hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of sophisticated surveillance equipment. That is what justified bringing in untrained out-of-state prison guards to act in this federal posse. And that was enough to violate the peaceful tranquillity of thousands of American citizens who want nothing more from their government than to be left alone.
That's what the Justice Department thinks, anyway. We have a slightly different opinion: First, we believe this to be a potentiality explosive situation of national importance that could possibly ignite into a minor confrontation. Second, we believe these federal officers are desperately in need of retraining -- preferably in Texas. Because, in the words of one fine old officer of the Texas Rangers we knew many years ago: "One riot, one Ranger." Sending in an uncoordinated armed mob is inappropriate.
Photos posted as documentary evidence: Chopper1. Chopper2. Ground Plan. Guard Post.
THE WINTER OF OUR DISCONTENT
By: Craig M. Brown
We have indeed fallen upon sad times. Our Republic is at risk as never before and the enemy that threatens us looms heavy and ominous before those who have eyes to see. It is the vague, but real villain known as ignorance. This is not the casual, innocent ignorance that afflicts most of us when we forget a reading assignment or cut a class. This is carefully implanted by a handful of elitists who would change the course of our nation.
The ignorance I refer to here surrounds the real reasons for the impeachment of President Clinton. The vast majority of Americans have been lulled to sleep with the belief that the President's misdeeds go no further than lying about his sex life. The truth about the Clinton administration's selling out our country's national security to China has been well documented by Larry Klayman's Judicial Watch and has been delivered to the media and every member of both houses of Congress. For reasons that defy credibility, most members of Congress and media have remained closed mouthed about Presidential conduct that is nothing short of treason.
Herein lies the tragedy of our times. What has become of the love we used to have for our country? While it is likely that an investigation into Chinese campaign contributions will set in motion a far flung net, entrapping friend and foe alike, only a few will be found to have assisted in betraying our country. By remaining silent on treason as an impeachment issue, the 105th Congress is marking its place in history. In time the truth will come out and it will be written that President William Jefferson Clinton callously betrayed his country. Unless the members of the current Congress find the courage to stand up and follow their conscience, they will be remembered as the Congress that watched and did nothing.
In signing the declaration of our independence, our founding fathers pledged their lives, their property and their sacred honor. We now ask you, our members of Congress, to consider your "sacred honor" when you vote on impeachment. You might also consider what you will tell your neighbors when you return to your districts.
Copyright © 2002 by Doug Fiedor, all rights reserved
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