Monday, May 30, 2011

Obama Comes for the Journalists

By Rory O'Connor

German theologian Martin Niemoller was a staunch anti-Communist who supported Hitler's rise to power -- at first. He later became disillusioned, however, and led a group of German clergymen opposed to Hitler. In 1937 Niemoller was arrested for the crime of "not being enthusiastic enough about the Nazi movement" and later was sent to concentration camps. Rescued in 1945 by the Allies, he became a leading post-war voice of reconciliation for the German people.
Niemoller is most famous for his well-known and frequently quoted statement detailing the dangers of political apathy in the face of repression. Although it described the inactivity of Germans following the Hitler's rise to power and his violent purging of group after group of German citizens, his statement lives on as a universal description of the dangers of not standing up against tyranny.

The text of the Niemoller's statement is usually presented as follows:
First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
 I was reminded of Niemoller recently when federal prosecutors issued a subpoena intended to force New York Times reporter James Risen, the author of a book on the Central Intelligence Agency, to testify at the criminal trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former C.I.A. officer. Sterling was charged as part of a wide-ranging Obama administration crackdown on officials accused of disclosing restricted information to journalists.
Now the Obama Justice Department is threatening to jail a journalist as well -- unless Risen tells them if Sterling or someone else leaked information about the CIA's efforts to sabotage the Iranian nuclear program.
The subpoena, as Charlie Savage reported recently in the Times, "tells Mr. Risen that 'you are commanded' to appear at federal district court in Alexandria, Va., on Sept. 12 to testify in the case. A federal district judge, Leonie M. Brinkema, quashed a similar subpoena to Mr. Risen last year, when prosecutors were trying to persuade a grand jury to indict Mr. Sterling."

Risen rightly says he will ask the judge to quash the new subpoena as well, stating forthrightly, "I will always protect my sources," and rightly that, "this is a fight about the First Amendment and the freedom of the press."
It's bad enough that ever since President Obama took office, he has repeatedly gone after whistleblowers like Sterling with a cold vengeance, charging more people in cases involving leaking information than "all previous presidents combined," as Savage noted.

But Obama administration officials are no longer content just with targeting whistleblowers like Sterling, former National Security Agency official Thomas Drake, (who goes on trial soon on charges of providing classified information to The Baltimore Sun) and of course Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst accused -- and already pronounced guilty by the president -- of passing classified documents to

Now they are coming for the journalists as well -- just as Bush Administration officials did before them. And if Risen's subpoena is not quashed and he still refuses to testify, he risks being held in contempt and imprisoned, just as Times reporter Judy Miller was for 85 days for her refusal to testify in connection with the Valerie Place Wilson leak in 2005.

Obama's prosecutors argue that the First Amendment doesn't give Risen any right to avoid testifying about his confidential sources in a criminal proceeding, and that the Pulitzer Prize winner should be compelled to provide information to a jury "like any other citizen."

Citizens as well as journalists need to stand up for Risen and against the sleazy, Bush-like tactics of the Obamacrats and the burgeoning national security state. Otherwise, if you don't speak out when they come, first for the whistleblowers, and then for the journalists, when they come for you, there will be no one left to speak out...
Filmmaker and journalist Rory O'Connor writes the 'Media Is A Plural' blog, accessible at

The unfairness of the trial of Syed Fahad Hashmi.

The Metropolitan Correctional Center.On Wednesday, an American citizen goes to trial, without the right to review all the evidence in his case and after three years of isolation. This is happening not in Guantanamo or even a military brig but in the Southern District of New York. Syed Fahad Hashmi, held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan, is charged with two counts of providing and conspiring to provide material support to al-Qaida and two counts of making and conspiring to make a contribution of goods or services to al-Qaida. If convicted, he faces 70 years in prison. His case represents the vast, baffling scope of this sort of criminal charge and the abuses committed in the name of fighting terrorism right here at home.

With all the attention that has gone to Guantanamo, much of the outcry over inhumane treatment and torture, the use of secret evidence, and denial of habeas rights has cast these as problems occurring largely outside U.S. shores and courts. Yet the conditions of Hashmi's pre-trial confinement are not more humane than those inflicted on many Guantanamo detainees. Nor has his right to a fair trial in New York been significantly more protected than those of foreign nationals facing U.S. military tribunals. And the transition from the Bush administration to the Obama administration has ameliorated none of this.

Hashmi is a 30-year-old U.S. citizen who was born in Pakistan; grew up in Flushing, Queens, where his family still lives; and received his B.A. from Brooklyn College and his master's from London Metropolitan University. At Brooklyn College, in 2002, Hashmi was a student of mine in a seminar on civil rights. A critic of U.S. foreign policy and its treatment of Muslims, he held the rather optimistic view that you could change people's minds by talking and arguing with them. He could often be found in the hall before and after class debating other students. For my seminar, he wrote a research paper on the abridgement of the civil liberties of Muslim-American groups in the United States after 9/11. Now it is his rights that have been violated.


Since arresting him in 2006, the government has sought to prosecute Hashmi for providing material support to al-Qaida without accusing him of being a member of al-Qaida, of trying to help al-Qaida commit any act of terrorism or other crime, or of even having any direct contact with the group. Instead, the government's charges against Hashmi are based on the testimony of a cooperating witness named Junaid Babar, an acquaintance from Queens who stayed in his student apartment in London in 2004 for two weeks. The government claims that while Babar was in Hashmi's apartment, he had luggage containing raincoats, ponchos, and waterproof socks (what the government terms "military gear") and that later Babar delivered these materials to the third-ranking member of al-Qaida in South Waziristan, Pakistan. In addition, Babar borrowed Hashmi's cell phone and then allegedly used it to call other conspirators in terrorist plots. Babar was himself subsequently arrested on material support charges and has agreed to testify in a number of cases in exchange for a much-reduced sentence.

Material-support laws are the black box of domestic terrorism prosecutions, into which all sorts of constitutionally protected activities can be thrown and classified as suspect. The law defines material support as the knowing provision of "any service, training, [or] expert advice or assistance" to a group designated by the federal government as a foreign terrorist organization. The prosecution need not show an actual criminal act, just the knowing "support" to a group designated a terrorist organization. It's a prosecutor's dream: You don't need to show evidence of a plot or even a desire to help terrorists to win a conviction—a low bar the standards of traditional criminal prosecution would not allow.

Both the Bush and Obama administrations have relied on the statute's vague nature—what the Bush Department of Justice described as "strategic overinclusiveness"—to criminalize a wide range of activities. Operating by the logic of preventive prosecution, material-support charges often target small acts and religious and political associations, which take on sinister meaning as ostensible manifestations of forthcoming terrorism.

These laws have created a climate in which certain political and religious beliefs are deemed questionable and dangerous. In its prosecution of Hashmi, the government will likely focus on political statements Hashmi made about American foreign policy and the treatment of Muslims here and abroad. Hashmi drew the attention of Time and CNN in May 2002 as a student activist and potential homegrown threat; he was quoted at a 2002 Brooklyn College meeting as calling America "the biggest terrorist in the world." He was also a member of the New York political group Al Muhajiroun. The government has not designated Al Muhajiroun a terrorist organization nor deemed membership in the organization illegal, yet Hashmi's First Amendment protected speech and association with the group is being used against him.

Hashmi's pre-trial detention—nearly three years of solitary confinement—has been served in severe isolation under Special Administrative Measures imposed by the Bush administration and then renewed by the Obama administration. The federal government created SAMS in 1996, at first to target gang leaders and mafia bosses in cases where "there is a substantial risk that an inmate's communication or contacts with persons could result in death or serious bodily injury to persons." After 9/11, the DoJ relaxed the standard for imposing a SAM and expanded their use. In Hashmi's case, the government cited his "proclivity for violence" as the reason for these harsh measures—even though he has no criminal record and is not being charged with committing an act of violence.

The result is that Hashmi is allowed contact only with his lawyers and his immediate family—one visit by one family member every other week for one and a half hours. His cell is electronically monitored 24 hours a day, so he showers and relieves himself in view of the camera. He cannot receive or send mail except with his immediate family. He cannot talk to other prisoners through the walls or take part in group prayer. He is allowed one hour of exercise a day, in a solitary cage without fresh air. These conditions have degraded his health—in pre-trial hearings, he appears increasingly withdrawn and less focused—and have interfered with his ability to participate in his own defense.

Much of the evidence against Hashmi is classified under the Classified Information Procedures Act (originally enacted in 1981 to prevent U.S. intelligence officers under prosecution from threatening to reveal state secrets to manipulate the legal proceedings). His lawyers, who had to receive CIA-level security clearances, are able to review the evidence but may not discuss it with Hashmi or any un-cleared experts. This, too, blocks Hashmi from assisting with his defense.

Hashmi's case has attracted growing attention. More than 550 academics and writers signed a Statement of Concern about "the conditions of his detention, constraints on his right to a fair trial, and the potential threat his case poses to the First Amendment rights of others." Broadway actors, civil libertarians, Muslims, clergy, law students, anti-war activists, and Hashmi's own family have held weekly vigils outside MCC, where Hashmi is being held.

Many of these concerned New Yorkers planned to attend the trial. In response, the government filed a motion citing the public interest in the case as potentially dangerous. They asked for an "anonymous jury" with extra security. On Monday, Judge Loretta Preska granted this request. The U.S. attorney disparagingly wrote that "jurors will see in the gallery of the courtroom a significant number of the defendant's supporters, naturally leading to juror speculation that at least some of these spectators might share the defendant's violent radical Islamic leanings."

Promoting guilt by implication, this move by the prosecution signals to the jury that Hashmi is dangerous even before he steps into the courtroom and encourages jurors to view observers in court as suspicious as well. Compromised due process requires further secrecy. The politics of fear requires more fear. And so tomorow, Syed Fahad Hashmi goes to trial in a legal black hole right here in New York City.

The Torture of Bradley Manning

Tuesday 21 December 2010

by: Ralph Lopez | t r u t h o u t | News Analysis

The Torture of Bradley Manning
(Illustration: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t)

One peculiar outcome of the new clampdown on whistleblowers is the spectacle of Americans cheering on the destruction of their own rights, as in the case of avowed tough guys commenting in blogs that people like Bradley Manning "did the crime and now does the time," deserve no sympathy and merit the clear torture he is now undergoing. The tough consistently miss the point that while Manning has been accused of leaking classified military and State Department files to WikiLeaks, he has been convicted of nothing. The treatment he is undergoing has become the new norm in the case of high-profile cases purportedly involving national security.

The peerless Glenn Greenwald in this case gets it wrong when he says Manning's treatment is "possibly" torture. Isolation is torture and has been proven to be so. Hardened prisoners have said they would take almost any other punishment for misbehavior over isolation and its effects on the mind and the spirit. According to Greenwald, Manning has been kept in his cell without any human contact whatsoever for 23 out of 24 hours every day for six months, is prohibited from exercising in his cell, takes his meals alone and is being administered what he is told are anti-depressants by the prison doctor to keep his mind from snapping from the effects of the constant, steady quiet, the artificial light which makes it impossible to distinguish night from day and the aloneness with one's own thoughts. Hard as it may be to understand without experiencing it, interaction with other humans, even other accused, is a vital part of the touchstones with reality which frame our psyche. In testimony introduced at the trial of another prisoner accused of material assistance to terrorists, Fahad Hashmi,who was held in isolation for two years, doctors concluded that:

"after 60 days' solitary detention people's mental state begins to break down and gradually develops into psychosis as the mind disintegrates."

Prolonged isolation produces fear, anxiety and stress as lack of human contact denies the victim the opportunity to affirm the validity of what they are thinking. Victims hear voices and begin to question who they are. Stuart Grassian MD, wrote in "Psychiatric Effects of Solitary Confinement":

"over 400 published investigations of the effects of social isolation on primates show such deleterious effects as self-mutilation and disturbances in perception and learning. They found that in adult rhesus monkeys even brief periods of social isolation produce compromised cognitive processing."

Grassian also notes:

"McKinney, Suomi and Harlow (1971) produced symptoms of depression in rhesus monkeys by confining them for 30 days.... isolation-produced fear in dogs has been clearly demonstrated (Thompson & Melzack, 1956)."

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All this is taking place before Manning has been convicted of any crime. He has undergone, for six months, the punishment many convicts dread most, before setting foot in a courtroom. Greenwald reports that David House, who has visited Manning several times in Quantico, has described "palpable changes in Manning's physical appearance and behavior just over the course of the several months ... "

The trial balloon for holding accused "enemies of the state" in severe, enforced isolation, which means deliberate exposure to only artificial light around the clock without a peek at grass and sky, even through bars, was Jose Padilla. While his lawyers complained during Padilla's nearly four years in isolation before his trial that his mind was being destroyed, according to The Christian Science Monitor:

"his windows were covered over. There was a toilet and sink. The steel bunk was missing its mattress. He had no pillow. No sheet. No clock. No calendar. No radio. No television. No telephone calls. No visitors. Even Padilla's lawyer was prevented from seeing him for nearly two years ... . [Padilla's captors] punctured the extreme sensory deprivation with sensory overload, blasting him with harsh lights and pounding sounds."

At his trial four years later Padilla was docile and exhibited sudden facial tics. In his affidavit filed during Padilla's civilian trial, his attorney Andrew Patel said, "I was told by members of the brig staff that Mr. Padilla's temperament was so docile and inactive that his behavior was like that of 'a piece of furniture.'" At his trial, Dr. Angela Hegarty said Padilla "lacks the capacity to assist in his own defense" and that "during questioning, he exhibited 'facial tics, unusual eye movements and contortions of his body.'"

Padilla was found guilty and sentenced to 17 more years.

Among the charges against Manning is leaking of the gun video of an Apache helicopter during an attack in Baghdad in 2007, which was widely broadcast in the mainstream media and remembered for the graphic footage of a group of Iraqi men being blown apart and dismembered by the Apache's 30mm cannon. Less remarked upon, but critical, is the attack recorded soon afterward, upon a man wounded in the attack and other men attempting to evacuate him in a van. Manning called it "the van thing." Even on military blogs, there is broad agreement that although the first attack, as brutal as it seemed, was technically within the rules of engagement because a rocket launcher was found on the scene, the second attack constituted a clear war crime. Attacks on the wounded and those attempting to evacuate them are known by all soldiers to be illegal. The Marine Corps Study Guide reinforces Article 12 of the Geneva Conventions that:

"wounded or sick, shall be respected and protected in all circumstances. They shall be treated humanely and cared for by the Party to the conflict ... Any attempts upon their lives, or violence to their persons, shall be strictly prohibited; in particular, they shall not be murdered or exterminated ..."

The Marine Corp Guide states:

"Marines do not attack medical personnel, facilities, or equipment. Both friendly and enemy medical personnel are to be encouraged to come to the battlefield in safety to care for the wounded combatants."

It is in the second attack, upon the wounded man and those attempting to evacuate him, that the Apache gunner is heard champing at the bit and impatiently requesting permission to open fire. It is in this aftermath that Spc. Ethan McCord, now an outspoken opponent of the wars, discovers the children who have been wounded in the van and runs with them to an armored vehicle to get them to help, after another soldier runs away vomiting.

Apparently anything but naive about the carnage which happened in Iraq every day, Manning wrote to Adrian Lamo about the gunship video:

"At first glance it was just a bunch of guys getting shot up by a helicopter ... No big deal ... about two dozen more where that came from, right? But something struck me as odd with the van thing and also the fact it was being stored in a JAG officer's directory. So I looked into it."

The JAG is the judge advocate general, a military prosecutor. Yet, there are no charges pending against the Apache gunner or the ground controller who gave him permission to fire. Manning wrote to Lamo that his biggest worry if found out to be the leaker would be to "get my side of the story out, before everything was twisted around to make me look like Nidal Hassan (the Fort Hood shooter.)"

Manning did, as many point out, sign an agreement to not disclose classified materials. He also, however, swore a higher oath to uphold and defend the US Constitution, and his agreement did not include war crimes.

It is not known whether Manning is allowed reading materials, although the Army says he is allowed a prescribed time for watching television each day. Despite this amelioration, the pattern of total isolation without even these has been set in the cases of Hashmi and Padilla and there is no reason to believe the government intends to decrease, but rather increase, the severity of pre-trial isolation in cases it decides it must win. In the end, relinquishing the right to humane treatment before trial and allowing a new system of mind destruction to become a standard will make it that much easier for the government to prevent anyone from hearing any other side of a story, in any case involving any one of us.

Terrorism Warrants Served In Minnesota, Chicago: Anti-War Activist Among Them

MINNEAPOLIS — The FBI said it searched eight addresses in Minneapolis and Chicago as part of a terrorism investigation Friday. Warrants suggest agents were looking for connections between local anti-war activists and terrorist groups in Colombia and the Middle East.

FBI spokesman Steve Warfield told The Associated Press agents served six warrants in Minneapolis and two in Chicago.

"These were search warrants only," Warfield said. "We're not anticipating any arrests at this time. They're seeking evidence relating to activities concerning the material support of terrorism."

The homes of longtime Minneapolis anti-war activists Mick Kelly, Jess Sundin and Meredith Aby were among those searched, they said. All three were subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury in Chicago: Aby on Oct. 5, Sundin on Oct. 12 and Kelly on Oct. 19.

"The FBI is harassing anti-war organizers and leaders, folks who opposed U.S. intervention in the Middle East and Latin America," Kelly said before agents confiscated his cell phone.

Sundin said she believes the searches are connected with the Minnesota Anti-War Committee's opposition to U.S. military aid to Colombia and Israel, as well as its opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It's kind of outrageous that citizens of the United States could be targeted like this," Sundin said.

In Chicago, the home of activists Joe Iosbaker and his wife, Stephanie Weiner, was searched by more than a dozen agents who carried out boxes full of their possessions – including their cell phones – and loaded them into a white van, the couple's attorney said.

Stepping outside his house briefly as FBI agents searched inside, Iosbaker was clearly shaken when he told The Associated Press: "I have done nothing wrong."

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Their attorney, Melinda Power, said the warrant cited possible support, in her words, "for unnamed terrorist organizations." Iosbaker and Weiner were summoned to testify before a grand jury on Oct. 5.

"These are people committed to social justice," Power said. "That is not a crime in this country."

As news of the raid spread around the neighborhood, friends and fellow activists gathered outside the house and several sang John Lennon's, "Give Peace a Chance."

"These people have been activists all their lives," said Bob Hearst, who said he was a family friend. "I can't imagine why the FBI would have any interest in them."

Warfield said he couldn't comment on whose homes were searched or give details on why because it was an ongoing investigation. "There's no imminent threat to the community," he said.

The Minneapolis searches were first reported by the Star Tribune.

The warrant for Kelly's home, provided by his attorney, sought evidence on travel he did as part of his work for the Freedom Road Socialist Organization and information on any travel to Colombia, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Syria or Israel. The warrant for Sundin's home was similar but included a slightly different list of targeted groups.

Kelly's warrant also said agents sought information on contact with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Hezbollah. The U.S. government considers those three groups terrorist organizations.

"It appears to be a fishing expedition," said Kelly's attorney, Ted Dooley. "It seems like they're casting a huge seine or net into the political sea and see what they can drag up on shore and dry out. There's no rhyme or reason to it in a free society."

The federal law cited in the search warrant prohibits "providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations."

"I'm having a hard time paying my rent," Kelly said. "There is no material support."

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a free-speech challenge to the law from humanitarian aid groups that said some provisions put them at risk of being prosecuted for talking to terrorist organizations about nonviolent activities.

Two groups use the name Freedom Road Socialist Organization, one based in Chicago and one in New York. They split several years ago, and the New York group said it was not targeted.

The website for the Chicago group, which describes itself as a "revolutionary socialist and Marxist-Leninist organization," shows Kelly and Sundin have been affiliated with it. Kelly edits FightBack!, a Minneapolis-based website and newspaper for the group.

Kelly's subpoena also commanded him to bring records he might have relating to the Middle East and Colombia, along with "all records of any payment provided directly or indirectly to Hatam Abudayyeh."

The subpoena did not further identify Abudayyeh, but FightBack has interviewed and carried articles by a Hatam Abudayyeh who's the executive director of the Chicago-based Arab American Action Network. Abudayyeh did not immediately return a phone message left at his office.

Kelly said he went to Lebanon two years ago for a Palestinian solidarity conference, and he's been on Colombian radio by phone from the U.S.

Sundin said she visited Colombia 10 years ago for a conference organized by a social movement there in opposition to U.S. military aid.

Aby said she went to Palestine in 2002 and Colombia in 2004 and 2006 to meet with activists. She said anyone who's an activist in those counties gets labeled as a terrorist.

Both Sundin and Kelly were organizers of a mass march on the first day of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul two years ago, and recently appeared at a news conference to announce plans for another protest if Minneapolis is selected to hold the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

Police estimated the peaceful march in 2008 drew 10,000 protesters; organizers put the figure at 30,000. Other protests were marked by destructive acts by anarchists. More than 800 people were arrested during the four days of the convention, including Sundin and Kelly.

Other Minnesota anti-war activists whose homes were searched included Anh Pham, Sarah Martin and Tracy Molm, Dooley said. He said he didn't know whose homes were searched in Chicago.

The FBI's spokesman in Chicago, Ross Rice, would only say two searches were conducted Friday in Chicago and there were no arrests.

Asked about the reports, the U.S. Attorney's office spokesman in Chicago, Randy Samborn, confirmed warrants were served in the city "in connection with a law enforcement investigation." He also declined to provide details.

Video of Twin Cities raids last year:

Obama White House pressured Spain to drop Bush torture prosecution, leaked cable shows

By Daniel Tencer

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 -- 10:42 pm

The Obama administration went to the mat to defend its predecessors from a torture prosecution in Spain last year, a leaked State Department cable shows.

The cable, released by WikiLeaks this week, shows that senior US diplomats teamed with Republican lawmakers -- including a former Republican Party chairman -- to put pressure on Spanish officials to drop a criminal investigation into the Bush administration's use of "enhanced interrogation techniques."

In the spring of 2009, Spanish Judge Balthasar Garzon launched an inquiry into six Bush officials linked to the torture policy. They were then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; Cheney adviser David Addington; Pentagon lawyer William Haynes; Pentagon official Douglas Feith; and Jay Bybee and John Yoo from the Office of Legal Counsel.

According to Mother Jones' David Corn, US officials began to put pressure on Spain almost as soon as the probe was announced.

Soon after the request was made, the US embassy in Madrid began tracking the matter. On April 1, embassy officials spoke with chief prosecutor Javier Zaragoza, who indicated that he was not pleased to have been handed this case, but he believed that the complaint appeared to be well-documented and he'd have to pursue it. Around that time, the acting deputy chief of the US embassy talked to the chief of staff for Spain's foreign minister and a senior official in the Spanish Ministry of Justice to convey, as the cable says, "that this was a very serious matter for the [US government]." The two Spaniards "expressed their concern at the case but stressed the independence of the Spanish judiciary."

Corn reports that Mel Martinez, an ex-Republican Party chairman, along with a US embassy charge d'affaires, met with Spanish Foreign Minister Angel Lossada to discuss the prosecution. They reportedly told the foreign minister that the case "would have an enormous impact" on US-Spanish relations.

"Here was a former head of the GOP and a representative of a new Democratic administration (headed by a president who had decried the Bush-Cheney administration's use of torture) jointly applying pressure on Spain to kill the investigation of the former Bush officials," writes Corn. "[A]s this WikiLeaks-released cable shows, Gonzales, Haynes, Feith, Bybee, Addington, and Yoo owed Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton thank-you notes."

"It becomes clear from these cables that Spanish authorities and US diplomats agreed to use this as a procedure to remove him from handling the Guantánamo torture cases, which is just astonishing," Horton told DemocracyNow's Amy Goodman.

Horton, who was among the first in the US to report on the existence of the Spanish investigation, says the cables show that the then-US ambassador to Spain, Eduardo Aguirre, had far too much access to the inner workings of the Spanish judiciary than a foreign diplomat should.

"We see in these cables he has been briefed in tremendous detail about everything that’s going on in these courts, which means he has sources of information that evidently include either judges or prosecutors or potentially both, and he’s actively involved in strategies to shut down these investigations. Now, if that were going on in the United States right now, a foreign ambassador were doing such thing, the foreign ambassador would probably, in short order, be invited to leave," Horton said.

He notes in an article that Spain has been in a furor for three days over the revelations.

The revelations have "created deep concern about the independence of judges in Spain and the manipulation of the entire criminal justice system by a foreign power," Horton writes.

Presidential assassinations of U.S. citizens

The Trail of Tears

In 1838 and 1839, as part of Andrew Jackson's Indian removal policy, the Cherokee nation was forced to give up its lands east of the Mississippi River and to migrate to an area in present-day Oklahoma. The Cherokee people called this journey the "Trail of Tears," because of its devastating effects. The migrants faced hunger, disease, and exhaustion on the forced march. Over 4,000 out of 15,000 of the Cherokees died.

This picture, The Trail of Tears, was painted by Robert Lindneux in 1942. It commemorates the suffering of the Cherokee people under forced removal. If any depictions of the "Trail of Tears" were created at the time of the march, they have not survived.