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Friday, August 10, 2012

Are Professors in Alabama Afraid to Speak the Truth About the Prosecution of Don Siegelman?

Wayne Flynt

Veteran academics are supposed to feel free to speak out on important matters. In fact, the general idea behind tenure is that professors should be able to examine controversial issues without fear of reprisal.

But we cannot help but wonder if fear is hanging over the professoriate in Alabama when it comes to the prosecution of former Governor Don Siegelman.

Why does that thought come to mind? For one, I worked as an editor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) for 19 years before being unlawfully terminated in spring 2008 because of my reporting about the Siegelman case on this blog. And that's not a guess on my part; a human-resources official at UAB told me in an audiotaped conversation that I was targeted because of the Siegelman-related content on Legal Schnauzer. (See video at the end of this post.)

For another, three Alabama academics recently made comments about the Siegelman case that are utter nonsense. These gentlemen are articulate and, best I can tell, highly respected. So why did their comments on the Siegelman matter come across as pablum?

Were they afraid to make statements that might be seen as critical of the federal officials who ramrodded the case? My guess is that the answer is yes. And given my experience at UAB, I would say those fears were well founded.

Let's consider the comments, as reported at al.com:

* Wayne Flynt, distinguished university professor of history, Auburn University--

Wayne Flynt, a former Auburn University history professor, said history will view Siegelman as a cautionary tale. The corruption case that brought him down rested at the intersection of two of the Democrat's trademarks--aggressive fundraising and his signature campaign issue to establish a state lottery to fund education.

Flynt said history likely will view Siegelman as a warning about ethics and ambition. . . . "I do not think there was a moment in his career when he thought to himself, 'What I am doing is illegal,'" Flynt said.

* William Stewart, professor emeritus of political science, University of Alabama--

"It's very much a mighty fall," said political scientist Bill Stewart. 
"What strikes me is the sadness of it, for the governor, his beautiful wife and family and the citizens. Unfortunately, it will also reinforce Alabama's reputation as a corrupt state," Stewart said.

* Brad Moody, professor of political science, Auburn University Montgomery--

"He was clearly, very, very, very ambitious. In some ways the irony is that his ambitions are what derailed him," said Brad Moody, a political scientist at Auburn University Montgomery.

One senses that Flynt and Stewart have warm feelings toward Siegelman and his family. Flynt suggests  that Siegelman did not know he was breaking the law and had no criminal intent. It's hard to tell about Moody, based on his one comment here. But in a 2002 interview, when the investigation of Siegelman had just begun, the Mobile Press-Register reported the following:

Auburn University Montgomery political scientist Brad Moody said Siegelman should not be surprised if the investigation has reached his personal finances, but said there may be some political motivation behind this week's revelations. "The timing is not coincidental," he said. "It is probably the case that there is some politics involved."

It seems likely that all three academics know Siegelman and codefendant Richard Scrushy were not guilty, were prosecuted for political reasons, or both. So why the inane comments? All three of these gentlemen have a reputation for being able to shine light on important events in our state. But what do we get on the Siegelman saga, which has engulfed Alabama for a dozen years or more? Not much.

My initial reaction to the comments went something like this: "Since when have we criminalized aggressive political behavior? Since when have we demonized ambition? Do we want government officials who don't have ambition, who don't think big thoughts and look for big solutions?

"If Siegelman was 'criminally ambitious,' why did that not become apparent when he served as secretary of state, attorney general, and lieutenant governor? Siegelman held statewide offices, and was subject to federal prosecution, under justice departments led by the following presidents--Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. Why was there never a whiff of scandal around Siegelman during those years? Why did Siegelman only become 'corrupt' when the U.S. Justice Department came under control of George W. Bush and his acolyte, Karl Rove?"

In the professors' defense, it's possible the reporter either misinterpreted their words or chose to leave out provocative material. It's also possible the reporter never asked the kind of questions that would elicit the professors' deeper insights on the case.

I feel certain that all three of these gentlemen are smart enough and informed enough to have truly enlightened the public on the Siegelman case. I think all three of them could have said something like this:

The facts in this case strongly suggest that the federal government criminalized standard political behavior. The facts also suggest that Siegelman was targeted mainly because he was the most prominent Democrat in a right-leaning state, where Karl Rove and the Bush family have powerful connections. We also have signs that the prosecutor, the judge, and the jury were compromised--and the chief government witness was improperly coached and pressured. 
No matter what you think of Don Siegelman personally--and whether you liked or disliked his policy stances--we all should be deeply concerned that a public official and a contributor were targeted because of the official's political affiliation. 
It's well established that the question in a bribery case involving a campaign contribution is this: Did the official and the contributor engage in an "explicit agreement," did they have a "something for something" deal that amounts to a quid pro quo. The evidence in this case did not show such a deal, and the jury instructions did not require it, contrary to well-settled law. 
One also should consider this question: How are two men indicted in May 2005 for alleged acts that took place in summer 1999--when the statute of limitations is five years? How does that happen? 
Citizens who focus only on the jury's decision, and the alleged misconduct of Siegelman and Scrushy, are missing the bigger, and much more important, picture. A fundamental tenet of our justice system is that we prosecute crimes, not people. Powerful evidence suggests the Siegelman case was not handled in such a fashion. In fact, this case raises profoundly disturbing questions about our justice apparatus, from top to bottom. The case has emitted a Stalinesque smell from the outset, and citizens should not rest until a thorough Congressional investigation has peaked into some very dark corners.

Wayne Flynt, Bill Stewart, and Brad Moody are undoubtedly capable of making such a statement. But they had to know those words would bring them grief--and they chose not to walk that thorny path.

From my own experience in Alabama higher education, I can't say that I blame them.



Anonymous said...

How broke is a nation when it takes a young man named James Holmes and makes him a "mass murderer" when he is innocent and his father to be a hero for exposing FICO fraud to the "United States' Senate!!"

It's where we are in the world, Karl Rove and the BLACKWATER firm XE of the Bush family investments, see this,

10. Saudi Arabia's brutally repressive internal security apparatus is a creation of US advisers and operators. Its military, both covert and conventional, is also armed through astronomically large weapons sales (including a recent sale considered the largest in US history) by its Wall Street and London allies. The atrocities committed by the despotic Saud regime are directly facilitated by US advisers, operators, and arms. Saudi Arabia also hosts the US military, a sizable force until it was spread out amongst the orbiting despotic regimes of Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.

If you are from the GCC region, please contact LD at cartalucci@gmail.com with any information, issues, corrections or concerns. There may be a possible "International Observatory for Gulf State Despotism" created specifically to give voices to the people under the rule of the GCC. Please exercise good judgement and caution - as these are real despots and have put many people to death for questioning their undisputed rule or opposing the progress of their medieval machinations.

Tony Cartalucci is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Tony Cartalucci


Hacktivists aligned with the loose-knit Anonymous collective took credit for hacking Stratfor on Christmas Eve, 2011, in turn collecting what they claimed to be more than five million emails from within the company. WikiLeaks began releasing those emails as the Global Intelligence Files (GIF) earlier this year and, of those, several discussing the implementing of TrapWire in public spaces across the country were circulated on the Web this week after security researcher Justin Ferguson brought attention to the matter. At the same time, however, WikiLeaks was relentlessly assaulted by a barrage of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, crippling the whistleblower site and its mirrors, significantly cutting short the number of people who would otherwise have unfettered access to the emails. @RUSSIATODAY,

Anonymous said...

Scott Horton to Russia Today:

[photo] A helicopter belonging to the US security firm Blackwater is seen parked near Iraqi airway plane preparing to take off at Baghdad International Airport 18 September 2004.

‘Blackwater acted under auspices of US government’

Published: 10 August, 2012, 08:37

"... I think that’s right. I think one thing that comes out of this is that we get a really deep view into the way Blackwater was conducting business around the world, and its provision of arms and sophisticated communications equipment to other governments and not-quite-governments. One thing that comes out of these papers is that a lot of this is being done in a very, very close relationship with the United States – remember, Blackwater is a principal contractor for the Department of State. It appears that in many of these dealings the Department of State in opening the door for Blackwater and helping Blackwater sell its services to other governments. This has to do with one of those governments where Blackwater didn’t get approvals.

Academi, the group formerly known as Blackwater, must now fork out US$7.5 million to avoid criminal prosecution – an amount which is unlikely to do it any harm.

Redeye said...

"In the end we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." MLK, Jr.

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." FDR

"All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world if for good men to say nothing." Edmund Burke

"I always thought when I was growing up the worse thing a man could do was nothing." James Armstrong, The Barber of Birmingham

"We Shall Overcome Someday"

"Let us march on until victory is won."

jeffrey spruill said...

I do not think there was a moment in his career when he thought to himself, 'What I am doing is illegal,'" Flynt said.

I'm confused. Is he talking about Karl Rove?

Anonymous said...

Legal Schnauz, do not ever forget the words of Albert Einstein because you are the truth in his saying:

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."

Your writing wakes up Alabama and certainly with the new mass shooter there, running amok, there must be the modern day Paul Revere to be a giver and not a taker, you give the people the truth.

The takers, Karl Rove ET AL, well America had best look in a rear view mirror and ask why more terrorism sold by Hollywood's mediocre minds.

Any and all that come and post a comment that is other than thanking and praising your work, here ..

Well no one has ever gotten to Carnegie Hall by not practicing the scales of hard time in the growing-up, into a master of life in earth that can be heaven, or hell, we choose in what we choose to do for our humanity.

Anonymous said...

The Alabama nightclub massacre is the third mass shooting the United States has seen in only the last month. On July 20, 12 people were killed at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater after a gunman believed to be 24-year-old James Holmes opened fire; in a separate incident, investigators have identified Wade Michael Page as their sole suspect in a shooting last weekend at a Sikh temple outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin that took the lives of a dozen more.

Russia Today, 8.10.12

legalschnauzer said...

If readers take home only one point from this post, I hope it is this:

Don Siegelman served in public office under U.S. Justice Departments led by four presidents--Carter, Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton. Through more than 20 years of public service, those DOJs never considered any of Siegelman's actions criminal.

Why did Siegelman suddenly become a criminal when Bush II took office? And Republicans wonder why thinking people suspect Karl Rove is behind this?

jeffrey spruill said...

Anon@7:43 AM

Blackwater provided the US government plausible deniabilty in domestic terrorism or wherever that CIA groupie & coward- Erik Prince was sent.


Anonymous said...

R/T,link.fstv, are gaining popularity,as real news, as apposed to msm.gov,ie: when stories have totaly apposing accounts of same time event, when one says (film at 11.00, and the other (faux news) says, we the good guys are winning, when in reality were arming the bad guys.Its a very big puzzle, that makes the big picture,known by the makers,and sometimes before completed by the insightful player, .thnx LS, and other progressive thinkers.

Anonymous said...



jeffrey spruill...

Anon@7:43 AM

Anonymous said...

Regarding Don Siegelman, my take home is,

-- There is a conspiracy and the alchemy of any and / or all "theory/ies" are in the indisputable facts.

Don was and is a target.

His standing for a long time in "government," FACTS, and now to prison, FACT, when he is innocent.

The guilty in these times and perhaps this is why he is to be punished, are not about to admit the crimes committed. Why, the news media which sells us our reality has already determined how we experience "America."

Strip the theory fully from the conspiracy and what do we discover? Has not been accomplished or Don wouldn't be headed back to "doing time in the bucket," no, not by any stretch of the real US law. Rove's masters are in control, these are the true criminal minds behind Don's toxic shame for not doing ? exactly ?

Anonymous said...


Iran seeks judicial redress for citizen mistreated in US jail: Ambassador

Mir-Qolikhan was arrested in the US in December 2007, after being forced to return to the States from a vacation in Cyprus.

Her former husband, Mahmoud Seif, had been accused of trying to export night-vision goggles to Iran from Austria in violation of US sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

She was detained and sentenced to five years in prison by a Florida federal court in the absence of her husband. Mir-Qolikhan consistently denied any wrongdoing.

She gave several interviews to Press TV during her time in prison speaking of her terrifying ordeal and mistreatment at the hands of prison staff. She said that she had been harshly treated and tortured by the prison officials.

“I am disgusted… by these people and their treatment. I would rather die than being in this garbage can one more day,” she told Press TV in one of her telephone interviews from the prison.

Anonymous said...

... No one would write such bullshit even though it reflects the facts just as well as the ISAF manipulated version copied by western media. This again shows how neutral reporting was buried by the "embedded with the military" mindset that came with the the twenty-first century ....

About Moon Of Alabama

The name of the original Whiskey Bar was taken from Bertolt Brecht's Alabama Song where the first line goes:
"Show me the way to the next whiskey bar".

choggs said...

Another fantastic post...thanks Roger

Anonymous said...

John lennon imagine, the world will be as one, well drastic measures for drastict change , the worlds oil will bring peace, and the end requires sacrifice through the means. for the common good u fools!!. dems and repububs need this equalilbrium! vote romney!

James Greek said...

You know, I heard this saying: "What is it about higher education that encouraged political idiocy?"

Anonymous said...

You claim to moderate your comments, but lot of what's posted here is ridiculousness and completely unrelated to the topic.

It's difficult to scroll through the garbage for the thoughtful comments.

Could you please screen the tangential ones out? Please?

Anonymous said...

anon 1:26 pm, information is a process of understanding, how-to, unravel how confusing the world is?

you do not appear interested in the deep contemplation that can be accessed, in a blog where Roger has provided a report that investigated a specific "idea?"

that "idea" and / or "topic" is like a thread in a tapestry.

many threads connecting in the most simple and complex, co-creation of a "work of art," HUMANS doing the best we can to unravel and therefore, understand, our serious cognitive dissonance or call it bees buzzing in our brains.

Romney chooses Ryan:

After serving as a principal speechwriter for Kemp during his ill-fated run for the Vice-Presidency in 1996, Ryan felt inspired and ran for Congress in 1998.

In right-wing circles it is well known that Ryan is a longstanding member of the ultra-conservative Atlas Society based at the Objectivist Center. Self-described as a splinter movement that broke away from the Ayn Rand Institute over disputes about the core values of the objectivist movement, Ryan is a slavish devotee of the radical ideologue Ayn Rand. Addressing a memorial celebration of Rand in 2005, Ryan stated: “The reason that I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.”

In Congress, Ryan is the leading ideologue of the objectivist clique that only remains viable within the radical right-wing of the Republican Party/Tea Party. In 1999, Ryan voted for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, a keystone of depression-era legislation that prevented large-scale financial speculation and limited financial activities between commercial banks and security firms. Many economists and financial analysts have argued that the repeal of Glass-Steagall initiated the process that led to financial instability and resulted in the Meltdown of 2008 as well as the ensuing Bush Recession.

In Congress, Ryan is most noted for his work on the federal budget. Over the past three years, Ryan has proposed a smorgasbord of ultra-conservative economic and reactionary tax reform. For example, Ryan proposed a top US tax rate of 25%; a Consumption-Value Added Tax (VAT) of 8.5% and a voucher system for Medicare that would require beneficiaries to buy their own insurance from 2021 leaving them partially uninsured. A creative Randian economist, Ryan has proposed opt-outs for taxpayers who could simply pay a flat tax rate of 10% up to $100,000 and 25% above that figure.

The Romney- Ryan Ticket: Running the Radical Republican Right-Wing

by Michael Carmichael, Global Research, August 11, 2012

jeffrey spruill said...

Mr. Schnauzer:

Do you suppose tangential ones is code for speaking truth to power?

I wonder if Anon@1:26 PM belongs to one of those CREEPY government agencies---CIA,FBI,ATF,DEA.... If so, I consider it cowardly for hiding behind anonymity.

Anonymous said...

"... Suppressed Details of 9/11 Criminal Insider Trading lead directly into the CIA`s Highest Ranks.

CIA Executive Director "Buzzy" Krongard managed Firm that handled "put" Options on UAL.

Although uniformly ignored by the mainstream U.S. media, there is abundant and clear evidence that a number of transactions in financial markets indicated specific (criminal) foreknowledge of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. That evidence also demonstrates that, in the case of at least one of these trades -- which has left a $2.5 million prize unclaimed -- the firm used to place the "put options" on United Airlines stock was, until 1998, managed by the man who is now in the number three Executive Director position at the Central Intelligence Agency. Until 1997 A.B. "Buzzy" Krongard had been Chairman of the investment bank A.B. Brown. A.B. Brown was acquired by Banker's Trust in 1997. Krongard then became, as part of the merger, Vice Chairman of Banker's Trust-AB Brown, one of 20 major U.S. banks named by Senator Carl Levin this year as being connected to money laundering. Krongard's last position at Banker's Trust (BT) was to oversee "private client relations." In this capacity he had direct hands-on relations with some of the wealthiest people in the world in a kind of specialized banking operation that has been identified by the U.S. Senate and other investigators as being closely connected to the laundering of drug money.

Krongard (re?) joined the CIA in 1998 as counsel to CIA Director George Tenet. He was promoted to CIA Executive Director by President Bush in March of this year. BT was acquired by Deutsche Bank in 1999. The combined firm is the single largest bank in Europe. And, as we shall see, Deutsche Bank played several key roles in events connected to the September 11 attacks. by Michael C. Ruppert

Global Research, August 13, 2012
- 2001-10-20

Global Research Editor's note

As September approaches, we are reminded that the anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11 will soon be upon us once again. 11 years laters, are we any closer to the truth about what really happened on that fateful day?

For the next month until September 11, 2012, we will be posting on a daily basis important articles from our early archives pertaining to the tragic events of 9/11. The following text by Michael C. Ruppert published in October 2001 brings to the forefront the issue of foreknowledge and insider trading pertaining to airline listings on the Chicago Board Options Exchange including united Airlines and American Airlines.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, August 13, 2012