Aletho News


Minnesota mom faces up to 2 years in prison for saving son’s life with cannabis oil


Trey Brown in the hospital due to his brain injury
Police State USA | January 9, 2015

MADISON, MN — A mother has been criminally charged for the efforts she took to save her son’s life with cannabis oil, and could spend up to two years in prison if convicted.

In 2011, eleven-year-old Trey Brown suffered a traumatic brain injury. Trey was struck in the skull with a baseball and put into a coma due to bleeding in his brain. When he finally awoke, he was “a shell of himself” and suffered from chronic pain, seizures, learning disabilities, and suicidal thoughts.

“I cry like every day before I go to bed,” Trey, now 15 years old, told CBS News. “Like my brain is about to blow up, cause there is so much pressure.”

Trey’s mother, 38-year-old Angela Brown, searched for ways to alleviate her son’s agony. He was put on 18 different pharmaceutical drugs but the problems persisted, and the side effects made him even more suicidal. He told his mother that he “didn’t want to live anymore.”

Mrs. Brown saw one final option: cannabis oil. Recently approved for medical use in a number of states, the oil has shown remarkable results in patients with pain and seizures. A doctor recommended the family seek the treatment in Colorado. So, in March of 2014, the family took a trip to Boulder, Colorado, to obtain a bottle of cannabis oil legally from one of the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries.

The results were incredible. Trey’s pain subsided and the migraines went away. The muscle spasms stopped, too. Trey was finally able to do better in school.

“It was a miracle in a bottle,” his mother said.

Trey continued taking the oil for about a month. The family’s good fortunate was soon stamped out by oppressive forces in their home state. Trey’s school became inquisitive about how the teen had shown so much improvement at school. Mrs. Brown — who describes herself as “an open book” — eagerly told his teachers about the successful treatment.

“I said ‘Well, I gave him an oil that we’d gotten from Colorado,’” Angela recalled to CBS. “‘It’s derived from a marijuana plant.’ And then you could feel the tension in the room.”

School administrators wasted no time in reporting Ms. Brown to law enforcement. She had technically broken the law by returning to Minnesota with the forbidden oil. The Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department arrested Angela Brown and she was charged with two gross misdemeanors, including child endangerment due to substance possession (609.378) and criminal jurisdiction which contributes to the need for child protective services (260C.425).

Trey’s oil was confiscated and his treatment ceased. The agonizing pain, swelling, and muscle spasms returned. “School was really hard again,” he said.

Ironically, the problem is not a refusal of the Minnesota state legislature to ease up on cannabis patients. In May 2014, Minnesota became the 22nd state to pass a medical marijuana law. The problem is that it doesn’t go into effect until July 2015.

But with Trey’s constant suicidal thoughts, Angela Brown said that her son could not wait for relief.

“I stupidly opened my mouth to the wrong people and I got turned in,” she said. “When people ask me questions, I’m an open book. It got me in trouble. The only thing I did wrong was open my mouth.”

The two gross misdemeanor charges could land Mrs. Brown in prison for up to two years and result in a $6,000 fine. Her children could also be taken away.

* * * * *


The Brown family is now embroiled in legal problems and preparing to defend Angela’s actions in court.  Supporters have shown up to court hearings but the district attorney refused to drop the charges.

“This simply is not a situation where someone has endangered their child,” said attorney Michael Hughes, who filed a motion to dismiss on behalf of Mrs. Brown.  The judge reportedly has 90 days to decide whether to grant the motion.

“We are good hard working people that were just trying to save our son’s life. It has been a living hell since his injury and this just adds to our ever growing stress,” the Brown family stated on their GoFundMe Page — set up to raise funds for the Angela’s legal defense.

The family has indicated that they plan to move to Colorado to resume Trey’s treatment with cannabis oil. Whether Angela will be able to join them remains to be seen.


Demand charges be dropped against Angela Brown.Chippewa County District Attorney’s Office (Montevideo, Minnesota)
D.A. David Gilbertson
Phone: (320) 269-7138

Provide feedback to the police for coldly enforcing unjust laws.

Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department (Montevideo, Minnesota)
Phone: (320) 269-2121
Email: Contact Form

(Photo Credit: Angela Brown)

January 10, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 1 Comment

Planted ID card exposes Paris false flag

By Kevin Barrett | Press TV | January 10, 2015

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says the terrorists who attacked Charlie Hebdo would never have been caught had they not made one fatal mistake: They conveniently left an ID card in their abandoned getaway car.

Since when did criminals leave their identification cards in abandoned getaway cars?

An ordinary citizen, taking no precautions, might accidentally leave a wallet or purse in their parked car. I have driven automobiles approximately 50,000 times in my life, and I think my wallet might have slipped out of my pocket and fallen into the crack between the driver’s seat and the door…once.

What are the odds that skilled terrorists who have just carried out an ultra-professional special-forces style attack will accidentally leave their ID card in the abandoned getaway car? Answer: Effectively zero.

So why are police reporting an event that cannot have happened?

Assuming that French police really did find “terror suspect” Said Kouachi’s ID card in an abandoned getaway car, that ID card must have been planted by someone wishing to incriminate Kouachi. Even the legendary French idiot detective, Inspector Clouseau, could not fail to make this thunderingly obvious inference.

The discovery of Kouachi’s ID does not implicate him; it exonerates him. It shows that he is an innocent patsy who is being framed by the real perpetrators of the attack.

Police and intelligence agencies routinely plant evidence to support false narratives, convict innocent people, and exonerate themselves. American police who kill unarmed citizens often plant a gun on the corpses to support their claims of having killed in self-defense. Such throw-down guns, which the police call “ham sandwiches,” are kept in police locker rooms and carried in police cars in case they are needed.

Likewise, throw-down ID cards and other “incriminating” documents are routinely used by the military, intelligence, and special forces professionals who orchestrate false flag operations. Consider the ludicrously-obvious planted evidence used in the mother of all false-flag operations: the September 11th, 2001 inside job.

Intelligence agents planted not just one, but two “magic suitcases” designed to incriminate Mohamed Atta, the innocent patsy framed for the crimes of September 11th. According to Der Spiegel’s book Inside 9/11: What Really Happened, the first Atta suitcase was handed to German police by a self-described “good Samaritan burglar.” The so-called burglar claimed to have stolen Atta’s suitcase during the course of a burglary and discovered terrorism-related information in it. As an honorable citizen, this kind-hearted burglar felt compelled by his conscience to deliver the suitcase to the authorities.

According to Der Spiegel, the German police, not being fools, knew that the self-styled burglar was not really a burglar at all, but an intelligence agent planting fake evidence against Atta. Der Spiegel quotes German police as saying: “The only question is, which intelligence agency was he working for?” (“CIA and Mossad,” answered former German Intelligence Minister Andreas Von Bülow in his book The CIA and September 11th.)

Despite its absurd origins, this suitcase full of fabricated documents provides virtually the only purported evidence supporting the official story of Atta’s supposed terrorism-related activities in Germany. Aside from the good Samaritan burglar’s suitcase, it seems that the original Egyptian Atta – the one in Germany – was a gentle, shy, sensitive, soft-spoken architecture student with no connections to terrorism of any kind. Yet the “Atta” who made a spectacle of himself in Florida before 9/11, staging memorable public scenes while all but wearing an “I am an al-Qaeda terrorist” sign around his neck, was a coarse, obscene, violent loudmouthed braggart who dated strippers, disemboweled kittens, and spoke fluent Hebrew.

The Hebrew-speaking Atta’s second and better-known “magic suitcase” was the one he allegedly checked in on his early morning flight from Portland, Maine to Boston on September 11th, 2001. According to the 9/11 Commission Report, the suitcase was miraculously preserved and delivered to the authorities when it somehow failed to make the transfer from Atta’s Portland-to-Boston commuter flight onto Flight 11, which Atta supposedly piloted into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Had the suitcase been transferred as it should have been, we are told, it would have been destroyed in a fireball at the World Trade Center.

This magic suitcase provided the only evidence allowing authorities to identify the alleged 19 hijackers within 24 hours of the event. (None of the 9/11 passenger lists contained any Arab names; no airline employees remember having ticketed or boarded any of the alleged hijackers; and none of the hundreds of security cameras at Boston’s Logan Airport, Washington D.C.’s Dulles Airport, or Newark Airport took a single authenticated frame of any of the 19 Arabs blamed for 9/11.)

This suitcase not only contained a list of the 19 patsies, but also Atta’s supposed last will and testament. (Why would a suicide hijacker check his will onto a doomed plane?) Britain’s dean of Middle East journalism Robert Fisk has ridiculed Atta’s alleged will, pointing out that it begins with a botched bismillah: “In the name of God, myself, and my family…” No Muslim would ever write such a thing. As Fisk suggests, the document purporting to be Atta’s will must have been forged by an incompetent intelligence agent. The suitcase was obviously planted.

And that is not just Robert Fisk’s opinion. Seymour Hersh, the dean of American investigative journalism, quotes a senior US intelligence source as saying, with regard to Atta’s magic suitcase: “Whatever trail was left was left deliberately—for the FBI to chase.”

Atta’s two magic suitcases are not the only examples of clumsily-planted 9/11 evidence. Another is the “magic passport” of alleged 9/11 hijacker Satam al-Suqami. That passport, looking as pristine as the “magic bullet” of the JFK assassination, was allegedly discovered by an anonymous individual, with no chain of custody, near the two flat spots of smoking ground where two 110-story towers somehow exploded into very fine dust.

But Atta’s magic suitcases, the magic passport, beside the most pathetically-planted 9/11 item of them all: The “Fatty Bin Laden confession video” supposedly discovered in December 2001 by an anonymous US soldier in Jalalabad, and delivered with no chain of possession to be brandished by the Bush Administration as supposed proof of Bin Laden’s guilt.

Professor Bruce Lawrence, a respected expert on Bin Laden, has categorically stated of this video: “It’s bogus!” Lawrence adds that his many acquaintances in the US intelligence community’s Bin Laden units know that the video is bogus – but are afraid to say so in public, because they are afraid of the implications of Bin Laden’s innocence.

These and other examples show that the intelligence agents who orchestrate false-flag terror spectacles often do not even bother to disguise the blatantly-fabricated nature of the planted evidence used to implicate patsies.

So we should not be terribly surprised when the French police tell us – with a straight face – that a highly professional fleeing terrorist would leave his ID card in an abandoned getaway car.

January 10, 2015 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | | 4 Comments

Framing North Korea

The US Still Cannot be Rational When Dealing with North Korea

By Stansfield Smith | CounterPunch | January 9, 2015

When it comes to North Korea, for the US government and its media, time stands still. They remain fixated in the 1950s Joe McCarthy worldview: the Red-Yellow peril, a monster capable of unimaginable evil, threatens our civilization and freedoms. North Korea’s Kim family is presented as three reincarnations of a Communist Dr. Fu Manchu.

The US makes a racist comedy about murdering a foreign head of state, and with a straight face, calls it an issue of “artistic” freedom. Obama showed himself happy to push this line, and pressed for its distribution after Sony withdrew it.

What war hysteria would grip the US political elites if Putin endorsed a Russian comedy about murdering Obama, or if Iran made one about killing Netanyahu!

Deliberately unmentioned in the noise around North Korea is the long history of US intervention in Korea. In 1945, the US, divided the Korean peninsula in two, with no Korean input, even though Koreans were allies in the struggle against the Japanese occupation. The US then pushed for separate elections in the South in 1948, and then invaded the country to back its ruthless dictator Syngman Rhee. During most of the Korean War, the United States held near-total aerial superiority, which it used, according to General Curtis LeMay, to kill one quarter of the north’s population, and to raze every city and structure in the north. An estimated four million Koreans has been killed, seventy percent of whom were civilians. In spite of that genocide, Koreans fought on, inflicting on the US its first post-World War II defeat. In the US the war is referred to as “The Forgotten War,” whereas in North Korea, no one is able to forget.

The inflammatory twist to the comedy, The Interview, blowing the head off evil enemy No. 1 Kim Jong Un, came from the CIA. An email from Sony’s senior vice president Marisa Liston, indicated that it came from Sony through the intelligence agency. “They mention that a former CIA agent and someone who used to work for Hilary [sic] Clinton looked at the script.” Sony CEO Michael Lynton reveals that he checked with ” someone very senior in State” who, confidentially, encouraged him to finish this film representation of the assassination of a living head of state, a first in U.S. film history.

Sony emails also show that Ambassador Robert King, incredibly enough, called “U.S. Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights” provided advice on the film.

Who knows if King was instrumental in bringing the report to the UN Security Council that claimed North Korean prison guards were accused of cooking a prison inmate’s baby and feeding it to dogs, a story reminiscent of those the Nazis spread about Jews. Other abuses claimed to have taken place in North Korean prisons sound identical to what we have learned of US conduct in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.

After Sony was hacked and embarrassed by what was revealed, the FBI quickly determined, based on secret information only they possess and cannot share with us (for our own safety) that the DPRK was behind this evil deed. Then, Obama denounced North Korea and declared there will be consequences for threatening our freedoms and national security.

It is remarkable how fast they operated here, compared to the laboriously slow – and unfinished – process the US government took over the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, or the case of Troy Davis.

And let’s recall that North Korea has been dubbed a “black hole” by former CIA director Robert Gates, and “the longest-running intelligence failure in the history of espionage” according to ex-CIA Seoul station chief and former U.S. ambassador to South Korea Donald Gregg.

A variety of computer analysts have disputed the claim that North Korea was involved in the hacking, but the Obama administration brushed it off with claims of safeguarding their “sensitive information” that allegedly proves North Korea’s guilt.

In response to the US accusations, The Korean Central News Agency of the DPRK said on December 20,

“They, without presenting any specific evidence, are asserting they can not open it to public, as it is ‘sensitive information.’ Clear evidence is needed to charge a sovereign state with a crime. … We propose the U.S. side that we conduct a joint investigation into the case, given that Washington is slandering Pyongyang by spreading unfounded rumors.”

A sensible request.

They add, “We have a way to prove that we have nothing to do with the case without resorting to torture as the CIA does.”

But it was beneath the dignity of civilized and freedom-loving America to even respond. The story given to us by the corporate U.S. media was clear: North Korea was responsible for the hack because the government said it was.

More than a few have noted the similarity of Obama’s story of North Korean hacking to Lyndon B. Johnson’s concocted Gulf of Tonkin incident, which led to sharply escalating the disastrous Vietnam war, and to Colin Powell’s just-so story to the United Nations Security Council about Saddam Hussein’s hidden stashes of chemical weapons, which led to the present disastrous wars in the Middle East.

While claiming to be indignant about threats to the internet, in a move that only the US does not find to be utter hypocrisy, the US then proceeded to disrupt North Korea’s internet system and cell phone service.

President Obama then escalated that unjustified provocation by imposing new sanctions on North Korea, which the Treasury Department claimed was a response to that country’s “efforts to undermine U.S. cyber-security and intimidate U.S. businesses and artists exercising their right of freedom of speech.” Lost on them is that the US is doing exactly this, to North Korea.

And meanwhile, the actual guilty party, a woman ex-employee of Sony, gets off scott free. Such is the manner in which the US government “protects” our internet freedoms.

“One leading cybersecurity firm, Norse Corp., said Monday it has narrowed its list of suspects to a group of six people — including at least one Sony veteran with the necessary technical background to carry out the attack, according to reports… Kurt Stammberger, senior vice president at Norse, said he used Sony’s leaked human-resources documents and cross-referenced the data with communications on hacker chat rooms and its own network of Web sensors to determine it was not North Korea behind the hack.”

“All the leads that we did turn up that had a Korean connection turned out to be dead ends,” he said. The information found by Norse points to an employee or employees terminated in a May restructuring and hackers involved in distributing pirated movies online that have been pursued by Sony, Stammberger told Bloomberg.

Obama in his last press conference of the year, did use the occasion to push for the release of this racist comedy The Interview, using this issue to divert attention from the recently released report on CIA torture and his own refusal to prosecute the US terrorists-in-chief. The US then moved to reinstall North Korea on its “State Sponsors of Terrorism” list.

Simultaneous with an Obama press conference attacking the DPRK, in actual real news from Korea, unmentioned here, the South Korean government banned the United Progressive Party, the only party advocating peace, reunification, and social justice, claiming “it was under orders from North Korea to subvert the South Korean state through violent revolution.”

Sometimes North Korean editorials go over the top, as the December 27 one after Obama held a news conference and pushed for the release of the film belittling North Korea and assassinating Kim Jong Un: “Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest.” Yet US leaders themselves have a long history of habitually depicting North Koreans in a racist and sub-human manner.

The DPRK statement did go on to say:

“We’d like to ask if somebody made a film concerning terror, and if somebody intends to instigate terror, can Obama talk about freedom of expression and value of modern civilization? We take this opportunity to clearly announce once again: the hacking attack on Sony Pictures has nothing to do with us. We make it clear that our target is not such individual corporations as Sony Picture but the US imperialist brigands who keep a grudge against our entire nation. If the US intends to insist that we are the hacking attackers they must present evidence now. But the United States unconditionally connects the disastrous hacking attack with us, without evidence [and] without clear grounds. Actually, the big United States shamelessly began to obstruct the internet operations of major media of the DPRK. We have already warned them not to act in the way of shaking a fist after being hit by somebody.

“Of course, we do not expect our warning would work on the brigands because it is the United State that makes the truth recognized by all people into a falsehood, triggers wars of aggression, and unhesitatingly intervenes in the internal affairs of a sovereign state if it is to satisfy their aggressive ambitions… It [was] none other than the United States that ignited an aggressive war in Korea… [that] triggered off the aggressive Vietnamese war and that conquered Iraq, by fabricating a groundless conspiratorial farce, called ‘removal of weapons of mass destruction.’ If the US persists in American-style arrogant, high-handed and gangster-like arbitrary practices despite [the DPRK’s] repeated warnings, the US should bear in mind that its failed political affairs will face inescapable deadly blows.”

These are words that would strike one as worth consideration, if it were not that the US public remained so mired in Joe McCarthy’s worldview on Korea, where we are still the world good guys, and they, the evil red-yellow peril, are so evil that no one dare murmur that North Korea be taken seriously.

January 10, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Leave a comment

North Korea suspends nuclear tests if US cancels maneuvers with South

Press TV – January 10, 2015

North Korea says it is ready to suspend its future nuclear tests if the United States calls off its annual joint military drills with South Korea this year.

Pyongyang has called on Washington to contribute to easing tension on the Korean peninsula by scrapping all of this year’s joint military exercises in South Korea “and its vicinity,” North Korea’s KCNA news agency reported on Saturday.

The news agency said the message had been passed to US authorities through “a relevant channel” on Friday.

Pyongyang “is ready to take such a responsive step as temporarily suspending the nuclear test over which the US is concerned,” KCNA said.

North Korea conducted a series of rocket and missile tests last year in response to large-scale military drills South Korean and US forces conduct every year. Pyongyang has repeatedly renounced the exercises as “rehearsals for invasion.”

Last week, South Korea’s Defense Ministry claimed that Pyongyang had probably achieved a “significant” level of technology to miniaturize a nuclear warhead for mounting on a ballistic missile.

Earlier in 2013, North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, said, “Our nuclear strength is a reliable war deterrent and a guarantee to protect our sovereignty.”

North and South Korea remain technically at war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace deal.

January 10, 2015 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

‘Use of Force’ Training Videos of Phoenix Activist Exposed as Police Propaganda

By Jay Syrmopoulos | The Free Thought Project | January 9, 2015

Phoenix, AZ – A Phoenix, Arizona activist who has been an outspoken critic of police abuse of force, Reverend Jarrett Maupin, recently underwent a change of heart after being invited to, and taking part in, a use of force exercise with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office.

Maupin agreed to go through a force on force training segment with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. He went through three scenarios where one has to decide to shoot, or not to shoot, according to FOX 10.

This is what Maupin had to say in the aftermath of his training exercise.

“I didn’t understand how important compliance was, but after going through this, yeah my attitude has changed. This is all unfolding in 10-15 seconds, people need to comply with the order of law enforcement officers for their own safety,” said Maupin.

But what was billed as a change of his feelings toward police use of force, due to experiencing the alleged “real-world” scenarios police regularly face, left many feeling as if they had just watched a propaganda video meant to forward a specific police agenda with Maupin as the innocent dupe.

As you watch the videos of Maupin there are some things that are immediately apparent and call this entire endeavor into question.

My first thought was where is his backup? While certainly there will be rare instances of not waiting for backup, protocol would dictate these as abnormal circumstances from the start.

Going into potentially volatile situations without backup isn’t a very safe or intelligent move for an officer to make, especially in non-urgent interactions such as the given scenarios the activist faced.

The second thing that comes to mind is; where are his options for less than lethal force, such as a baton, pepper spray or tazer?

Officers in the street have a wide range of options at their disposal; so why was Maupin only given a gun?

In essence, they took a citizen off the street with virtually no training, offered them no backup or less-than-lethal force options with which to stop someone, but want to sell this to the public as “what officers are facing.”

The more critical thinking one does about the video and the scenarios the more disillusioned one becomes at the farcical nature of this propaganda piece.

In contrast to a Reverend activist off of the street, officers should have extensive training in the use of force spectrum, hand to hand combat, in addition to many other advantages their months of training should provide them, above that of a layman off the street with no training.

In an interview with The Free Thought Project, whistleblower cop Alex Salazar gives important insight into this video when he explains,

“These scenarios are designed to make any person fail and to cause them to believe there are no other options. He had no taser, baton or other less than lethal weapons. What about kicking the big guy in the nuts, waiting for backup, or tasering him.

The profession of law enforcement is difficult at times, but the excessive brainwashing on a daily basis taking place, that you may die, is too extreme and gives many the belief it is OK to use deadly force. In many of these situations, Tamir Rice or Andy Lopez comes to mind, these officer’s just wanted to plain shoot and kill.”

Salazar went on to say,

“It’s a brainwashing mechanism to get you over to their side, to start thinking about killing. In what they call the ‘FATS simulator’ (firearms and training simulator), you are automatically designed to DIE… Yes it’s a game and useful for training. But here they put a citizen off the street with no training and a newscaster in pre-designed scenarios, which are psychologically made to make you think and perceive things differently. It has nothing to do with training. Every recruit, I don’t care if they’re an ex-badass Navy Seal… everyone dies.

Think about that for a moment. There is no way to “win,” either you die or you kill. The outcome in these training exercises is always death.

Salazar made clear that the manner in which the entire training session and video was done, shows that it was simply pro-police propaganda and conditioning meant for public consumption.

“YouTube FATS training presented by the Pasadena PD, the officer’s have less than lethal weapons at their disposal. They don’t have to kill the people like the Phoenix channel led people to believe. There are viable alternatives. Numerous years of working undercover in South Central Los Angeles and I only had to use my 9mm once.

Most of the time I would kick the person strategically or pepper spray. There is very rarely a reason to kill, and many police officers go their entire lifetime without having to draw their weapons,” said Salazar.

This entire activity is an exercise in psychological warfare as there are only two possible outcomes in these training activities given the aforementioned factors.

Outcome 1: You shoot and kill the suspect, which then shows how police violence is necessary.

Outcome 2: The suspect ends up killing you, which shows how dangerous the job of law enforcement is.

In either case it is a false dichotomy, meant to facilitate a false sympathy towards law enforcement by showing the job they do in a very misleading light given the major advantages an officer on the beat has vs. a citizen off the street participating in this exercise.

Follow Jay Syrmopoulos on Twitter @sirmetropolis

January 10, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

If David Petraeus is actually charged, all of DC will finally find out how incredibly unjust the Espionage Act is

By Trevor Timm | Freedom of the Press Foundation | January 9, 2015

In a surprising development, the New York Times reported late Friday that the FBI and Justice Department have recommended felony charges against ex-CIA director David Petraeus for leaking classified information to his former biographer and mistress Paula Broadwell. While the Times does not specify, the most likely law prosecutors would charge Petraeus under is the same as Edward Snowden and many other leakers: the 1917 Espionage Act.

It remains to be seen whether Petraeus will actually be indicted (given how high-ranking government officials so often escape punishment), and the decision now sits on Attorney General Eric Holder’s desk. But this is a fascinating and important case for several reasons.

First, all of Petreaus’s powerful D.C. friends and allies are about to be shocked to find out how seriously unjust the Espionage Act is—a fact that has been all too real for many low-level whistleblowers for years.

By all accounts, Petraeus’s leak caused no damage to US national security. “So why is he being charged,” his powerful friends will surely ask. Well, that does not matter under the Espionage Act. Even if your leak caused no national security damage at all, you can still be charged, and you can’t argue otherwise as a defense at trial. If that sounds like it can’t be true, ask former State Department official Stephen Kim, who is now serving a prison sentence for leaking to Fox News reporter James Rosen. The judge in his case ruled that prosecutors did not have to prove his leak harmed national security in order to be found guilty.

It doesn’t matter what Petraeus’s motive for leaking was either. While most felonies require mens rea (an intentional state of mind) for a crime to have occurred, under the Espionage Act this is not required. It doesn’t matter that Petraeus is not an actual spy. It also doesn’t matter if Petraeus leaked the information by accident, or whether he leaked it to better inform the public, or even whether he leaked it to stop a terrorist attack. It’s still technically a crime, and his motive for leaking cannot be brought up at trial as a defense.

This may seem grossly unfair (and it is!), but remember, as prosecutors themselves apparently have been arguing in private about Petraeus’s case: “lower-ranking officials had been prosecuted for far less.” Under the Obama administration, more sources of reporters have been prosecuted under the Espionage Act than all other administrations combined, and many have been sentenced to jail for leaks that should have never risen to the level of a criminal indictment.

Ultimately, no one should be charged with espionage when they didn’t commit espionage, but if prosecutors are going to use the heinous Espionage Act to charge leakers, they should at least do it fairly and across the board—no matter one’s rank in the military or position in the government. So in one sense, this development is a welcome one.

For years, the Espionage Act prosecutions have only been for low-level officials, while the heads of federal agencies leak with impunity. For example, current CIA director John Brennan, former CIA director Leon Panetta, and former CIA general counsel John Rizzo are just three of many high-ranking government officials who have gotten off with little to no punishment despite the fact we know they’ve leaked information to the media that the government considers classified.

So hopefully Eric Holder does the right thing and indicts Petreaus like he has so many others with far fewer powerful connections. As Petraeus himself once said after CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou was convicted for leaking: “There are indeed consequences for those who believe they are above the laws.”

But if Petraeus does get indicted, perhaps we should start a new campaign: “Save David Petreaus! Repeal the Espionage Act!”

January 10, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 2 Comments