It is encouraging to finally see the subject of illegal torture abroad by our government brought to light and addressed. This is a stain on what little remains of our national honor. But why is the press also so mum about daily torture of unconvicted U.S. citizens here in the Homeland?
It is a very well-kept secret, but it happens every day. My personal efforts over the years to expose this judicial and government crime have been snubbed by media outlets. I must suppose our remaining (five) mainstream purveyors shy away from such subjects out of fear of retaliation by government (or not getting their next big merger approved), but torture of innocent American citizens does occur every day, under color of law, on U.S. soil. No one seems to be talking about it, though many of the torture techniques are precisely the same as suffered by the victims of the CIA's clandestine operations abroad.
Public prosecutors allow and/or prompt such illegal conduct, and the former prosecutors sitting on the bench as judges, condone and suborn it, though both parties are in violation of federal criminal statutes 18 USC section 241 and 242 (deprivation of constitutional rights under color of law, and conspiracy to deprive). Were we still a nation of laws rather than men, these criminal acts would place these judges and prosecutors in prison for many years.
So why doesn't such criminal behavior get punished? Why do judges and prosecutors seemingly never suffer penalty for their constant and daily crimes against We the People?
Primarily, because there is no one to charge them with these crimes. Prosecution has become the prosecutors' sole prerogative in post-constitutional America. Our founding fathers never heard of a "public prosecutor." These hired guns are unlikely to charge themselves or their co-conspirators on the bench for criminal conduct and at present, there is no one else to do it. Worse, the courts granted themselves immunity from prosecution back in 1967 (in a string of questionable Supreme Court decisions beginning with Pierson v. Ray) and this slide into complete lawlessness by prosecutors and judges has worsened now to the point of being a daily occurrence. There is no penalty for their crimes, as long as they are at work when they commit them, and their only oversight is what is known as peer review.
Most jails with which I am familiar have some form of a sleep deprivation program where non-compliant citizens (who do not agree to plead guilty to uncommitted crimes or are trying to prepare for trial) are only allowed to sleep...on the floor....for no more than 4 hours per day. The rest of the 24 hour period, the unconvicted citizen is required to stand or sit up straight. The temperature is kept in the 50-62 degree Fahrenheit range. The unconvicted citizens are dressed in skimpy prison pajamas, with 24 hour lighting, making sleep even four hours a day nearly impossible. Government's victims becomes zombie-like after just a few days of this torture.
Diesel therapy, as it is known, is another common torture of unconvicted American citizens who do not want to plead guilty. Government's victims are simply ridden around at taxpayer expense between jails and prisons all over America to break them down, while concurrently keeping innocent-until-proven-guilty citizens from their attorneys and support of family, just to elicit government's desired outcome of a guilty plea without trial. Taking a defendant out of the federal district or division of charge is also a federal crime on the part of the judge and prosecutor who order this to be done (see Rules 18 and 20, F.R.Crim.P. and 18 USC sections 3232 and 3234), though the judge in the case is the only party who can order such criminal conduct.
The worst and most common crime committed by judges and prosecutors every day, however, is simply holding citizens illegally who have not been tried within 70 days, as is required by the Sixth Amendment and 18 USC section 3161(c). Absent a legally excludable delay (and there are only seven such reasons), a trial has to commence within 70 days of arrest, or the case can be dismissed (see 18 USC section 3162(a)(2)), but I've never seen this law followed on a single occasion or in a single case, state or federal, though it is a constitutional right under the Sixth Amendment. I've also never seen the court follow this law when a motion for dismissal was filed. Attorneys are now sanctioned for doing so.
Worse, any citizen not yet tried in 90 days, must be released on bond (see 18 USC section 3164(c)). This law applies to the state courts as well, according to Article Six of the U.S. Constitution (as well as Amendment Six), but I have never seen this law followed by any court, federal or state, either. These criminals of bench and bar continue to get away with it because they suffer no penalty for their crimes and there is no independent authority over them, other than Congress, which has been asleep at the wheel on this issue for a century or more.
The Fourteenth Amendment demands that all of us be treated equally under the law. So how is it that this elite group of common criminals in pinstripes and black robes who violate federal statutes and constitutional law every day are immune from penalty of law themselves? Good question, and one that should be asked of every member of Congress.
It is not just Guantanamo Bay and CIA torture rooms around the globe that are violating law and human rights, friends, and it is certainly not just so-called "terrorists" who are suffering these abuses. These crimes occur to some extent in almost every jail and prison across America every day. The victims are unconvicted American citizens, and the criminals are judges and prosecutors who took an oath to uphold the laws they violate.
Doubt me? Don't. I personally suffered each torture described above, during 29 illegal moves between jails and prisons all over America during 87 months of illegal incarceration. This criminal government conduct was committed, ordered, and suborned by a still-sitting senior federal judge in Raleigh, North Carolina (who had no more jurisdiction over the case than you or me) and two Assistant U.S. Attorneys. None of these criminals were ever charged or punished for their violations of federal law, though it was reported to the highest echelons of government.
No one can tell me it doesn't happen, nor are protections in place to keep it from happening, because I have lived it and seen it first hand, but like Jan Karski, the famous Polish officer who warned President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill of the Holocaust, no one is listening or taking action. The press has its head in the sand, and those tasked with preventing such government crimes are complicit in them through willful blindness.
CIA and foreign torture? Criminal and horrible. Domestic torture of unconvicted American citizens? Criminal and unforgivable.
I say let's get back to the United States Constitution which precludes all of this government lawlessness both abroad and at home, and let these dark criminals of bench, bar, and spookdom get their just reward. It won't take many of them being put in jail and prison for the word to spread around that We the People have had enough.
Yes. That's the answer. Let's devolve back to the rule of law and U.S. Constitution, where none of these perpetrators are above the law! Back to our Constitution! That's the answer.
Viva la devolución!
Howell W. Woltz
Born in North Carolina and educated at the University of Virginia, Wake Forest University and Caledonian University in Scotland, Howell now lives in Warsaw, Poland with his wife, Dr. Magdalena Iwaniec-Woltz. Howell is the European Correspondent for The Richardson Post and Chairman of The International Centre for Justice.