Susan Lindauer: Citizen to Spy to Psychotic

I could spend my time whining about the Cubs 6-game losing streak or the fact that they’ve scored all of 9 runs over their last 9 games. In the grand scheme of things, though, their troubles mean nothing.

On the other hand, the real and tragic case of Susan Lindauer is worth a few paragraphs at the very least, if even one person takes note of her plight and its implications for the rest of us.

Summary: Susan was a journalist and Congressional staffer who just happens to be a second cousin to Andy Card, the former White House Chief of Staff. Between 2001 (prior to 9/11) and 2003, she wrote a number of letters to Card, Dick Cheney, and Colin Powell to promote an end to sanctions against Iraq.

For that, and for accepting travel expenses from agents of the government of Saddam Hussein to visit Iraq, she’s now in federal custody without having been tried, much less found guilty. She may remain in custody for the rest of her life.

Worse, in a development that sounds like it was scripted by Koontz, King, or Craven, she may spend her remaining days in a facility for the criminally insane, medicated against her will.

The picture I came away with is that we have a prison system, run by for-profit enterprises, and a forensic psychology industry run by drug companies. The psychiatrists who testified seemed to be people who had only worked within the prison system or within academic circles. I heard nothing about any of their own patients who had ever been healed by their intended therapies. Their responses to the risks of side-effects for medication, some of which it turns out can be fatal or result in additional paranoia and distrust, were clearly disingenious and evasive.

It seemed to me there was a hunger, among the professionals testifying, for Susan to become a patient. The opinion of many, including some with direct experience in federal mental facilities, is that if Susan gets sent to Carswell it is likely she will die there. The parallels with Martha Mitchell, during Watergate, are just numbing.

Read the latest on Susan’s ongoing battle with the federal government at the blog of her tenant and friend, J Fields. Then consider that over the last five years, our government has quietly assumed the power to spy on us, search through our homes, and arrest us without warrants.

And then remember Susan Lindauer. Even though I don’t agree with her politics, when I look at her I wonder: What rights do American citizens really have left?

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