The Destruction of Liberty
Posted On March 11, 2020
This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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Freedom vs. Security
Many of us have not noticed what has been going on in our society over the last generation. Since the 911 attacks on our country, we have been slowly trading liberty for security. In the right hands, much of the information accumulated may never affect any of us. Until that information arrives in the hands of someone with the power to destroy your life.
I watched the new Clint Eastwood film yesterday, Jewell, and I came away with more than just an understanding of what had happened. In 1996, I had followed the story, because it was news, and also because I had lived there a few months earlier. It was news, it was compelling, and it was sad.
As a recap: The story centers around Richard Jewell, who found a bomb set off at the 1996 Olympics. At first, he was heralded as a hero. Until the FBI took hold of the moment. They were clearly left back on their heels and instead of gathering evidence to find suspects, they focused on a single person to pin this horrendous crime on. They focused on Richard Jewel as a prime suspect, because he fit a profile. The FBI was relentless, and in their pursuit, they destroyed his life.
Jewell is a typical citizen. He was respectful of law enforcement, he was forthright and forthcoming, answering every question honestly. He couldn’t imagine the FBI would ever consider him a suspect. While he fit the periphery of a profile, the FBI did look beyond the first person to come to mind. Then they had their mind made up and looked specifically for evidence that fits their scenario.
Then they ignored evidence that would exonerate him. It didn’t matter that he wasn’t looking for publicity. Quite irrelevant that he could not have found the bomb and have walked to the payphone in time to make the call. IT DID NOT MATTER.
Without his desire to protect the community and the citizens of Atlanta, the carnage that occurred could have been worse. No one else was looking for possible problems. Other than this hero by the name of Richard Jewell. To the FBI, he was guilty – they just could not prove it!
Can The FBI Use These Tactics?
What upset me were the tactics FBI used to lure Mr. Jewel. They knew they didn’t have evidence or probable cause. Instead of searching for evidence to find the real culprit, they entered into the case with the assumption of guilt. They stopped at nothing to have him incriminate himself. Mr. Jewel, slightly naïve, didn’t see it coming.
He believed all he needed to do was tell the truth. He was innocent, right? That should be enough, he surmised. The FBI used tactics which in the context of what has occurred over the last three years, was sickening. Sickened by how fast our liberties and our lives will be destroyed in the wrong hands. Just ask General Flynn.
In the Jewel case, he was a “person of interest”. Deceptively, they never revealed that to him. Instead, they asked him to come to the office and perform a “training video” of the tactics he used. While he did so, they asked him questions to try to get him to incriminate himself.
When they couldn’t get hard evidence of his guilt, they threw the tape away, asking him to start over. This time, they asked him to “pretend” that he was being interrogated. Starting with signing a document to begin his interrogation. Giving up his right to counsel. Stop for a moment.
Is It A Lie When There is Good Reason for It?
Jewel had enough knowledge of law enforcement to know that signing anything – even “pretending to sign” was not any kind of protocol. They continued and told him that it was OK and that he shouldn’t worry – these were LIES. Lies to get him to give up his right to incriminate himself. Fast-forward to January 2017 and General Flynn.
The FBI counterintelligence team asked to visit him for a “casual” conversation. Just like Jewell, why would Flynn have reason to believe that the FBI team was going to speak to him about anything nefarious? He hadn’t done anything wrong. As Comey admitted, they had the Trump Administration at a transition moment.
General Flynn was going to be National Security Advisor (NSA) to the President. Flynn had no idea that the Russian investigation, which was a farce to begin with, would be the reason for his conversation. Had he had communication with the Russians? – Absolutely! He was on the transition team. To the Obama administration, who bugged his calls, it was the excuse they needed. They wanted him to be stopped.
Flynn, like Jewell, was forthright and forthcoming. Strzok wrote he was “relaxed and jocular”, not unlike Jewell. In his role as NSA to the President, he had no idea he was being interrogated. They were all on the same team, right?
Flynn would tell the FBI about his conversation with the Russians. In his mind – like Jewel, he had nothing to hide. He did not reveal all, however. He also knew they had access to a transcript. In his role, he did not feel he needed to tell them all of the details.
Obviously, since he was not under investigation! He had no idea that he had committed any crime to be interrogated about. Gen. Flynn was not told he was being interrogated for a crime. He was not told he committed a crime. Nor was he ever advised of his rights.
On first blush, the FBI said that he was honest and forthcoming. However, his responses were inconsistent with the transcripts of the recorded conversations that were made. Why then would he tell the FBI about events that they were not privy to hear? They had him on lying to an FBI Agent.
Like the Jewell case, the FBI had come in with a presumption of guilt, not innocence. Flynn was guilty because, at that moment in time, everyone in the Trump Administration was guilty of colluding with Russia. Peter Strzok conducted the interview – we all know his role in the Russia farce. Sally Yates was the Obama Administration holdover doing everything in her power to undermine the Trump administration.
Names were doxxed, and orders ignored. The FBI at the same time was beginning a coup of a duly elected President. General Flynn was clearly not a traitor to his country. Yet removing this trusted official, who consulted with the administration, setting policy, was a prime target. Ask yourself WHY?
The Presumption of Innocence Has Disappeared
In the last generation, We The People have witnessed the erosion of our 4th and 6th Amendment rights (due process and searches) before our very eyes. Our Government, without debate, has removed the presumption of innocence. One of the greatest hallmarks of our Constitution has given way to automatic guilt by accusation. The LEO’s that I once revered and honored have been systematically removing our freedoms and liberties.
All in the name of “Safety” and their warped sense of “Justice”. I want to make one thing clear, I am not a Constitutional scholar. However, I can see something is not right. We the citizens must demand that something should be done to fix it. It will not take a Constitutional amendment to fix it. We need to understand the ramifications if we don’t.
In today’s Twitter world, Twitter bullies have amassed an army to brand people criminals – despite a lack of ANY evidence. The case of General Flynn and Justice Kavanaugh are prime examples. What crime was General Flynn interrogated under? Justice Kavanaugh was accused of attempting to rape a young girl, with no recollection of time or place some 20 years after the fact.
What evidence was there of a crime in either case? Can anyone say what crime was committed in the Flynn case that needed to destroy his life, bankrupt him and throw him aside? What evidence existed that Richard Jewell did anything but his job? Their only crime was to “believe” they were on an equal level to the FBI.
Fortunately for Atlanta, Jewell did his job. Trained agents paid to protect us, didn’t protect the citizens of Atlanta. Their reason to focus on Jewell was an embarrassment of their own inability to secure the protection of the people. Their reason to remove Gen Flynn was to disrupt the new Government in the process of forming. To stop the newly elected President in his tracks.
The Constitution is Designed to Protect the People From The Tyranny of the Government
Our Constitution is a strange and wonderful document. It clearly outlines the rights of the people OVER the rights of the government. It was designed to protect the people from the tyranny of Government. That same benevolent Government that has the power to give us anything, can take away everything.
We may believe as citizens that we should cooperate with those we think are looking out for us. What we have learned from each of these scenarios, is how the government can use the information to turn their entire weight against a single person. There is no person with the resources of a Federal prosecutor on a vendetta. In the Mueller investigation, there was enough exculpatory evidence on DAY 1 to stop the investigation.
However, un-elected officials and the Deep State, as well as zealous prosecutors looking for a crime, were dissatisfied. They did not like the result of an election. They chose to take matters into their own hands, and reverse the election results. Gen. Flynn was just collateral damage.
Presumption of Innocence Is the Foundation for Liberty
We live in the greatest country in the world. A country that believes in the presumption of innocence. However, when that right disappears, as in the Kavanaugh hearings, General Flynn interrogation, Roger Stone indictment, and the Richard Jewell case, we lose our liberty in an instant. Where is liberty when judges allow zealous prosecutors to sit on exculpatory evidence?
Is there any liberty when self-righteous Senators seek to destroy the life of a good man without a shred of evidence? Viperous prosecutors on a vendetta to take down citizens – just for the sake of embarrassing a President they disagree with. When evidence, fabricated and presented as fact, is designed to destroy the lives of people, then our entire nation’s liberty is at risk. It’s dangerous when people realize that those trying to keep us safe can shift their roles. Former protectors turn and destroy people based upon their ideology or political belief. If this happens, then our entire liberty, who are as a nation, is at a tipping point.
Removing Rights Because They are Inconvenient
Our country was founded on inalienable rights. Those are rights that come from our creator. Rights that cannot be abridged. Some of our leaders today truly believe that they can usurp and bend those rights. Mostly just because the moment serves them, or it promotes their agendas. Those rights must never be bent – because once bent they will be beyond repair. It is then that our country will no longer remain a beacon of light.
Frank D'Onofrio is a writer for NRN. He's is a passionate patriot. D'Onofrio has been a technology manager for over 25 years, and has traveled the world. He believes in the future of America. He believes our children should be taught to believe in American exceptionalism, that comes from our founders, and those who fought and died to maintain our freedoms.