Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Attacks on a free press don't just involve Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia; Legal Schnauzer has been targeted in Alabama and Missouri -- and we urgently need your donations to stay in the battle

Jamal Khashoggi
(NoteLegal Schnauzer needs your help. Loyal readers have sustained this blog for years, and support is especially needed now that my wife, Carol, is recovering from a fainting spell, which led to a broken arm last week. The healing process has started for Carol, but her doctors indicate this likely was fallout from political thugs cheating both of us out of our jobs [and health insurance] in Birmingham -- and the stress of dealing with financial wreckage that comes with being targeted for right-wing attacks.  If you are able to help us along our journalism journey, please click on the yellow donation button to the right, under the "Support the Schnauzer" headline. We are deeply grateful for your support through the years.)

U.S. coverage on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has tended to have a "Yes, that is horrible, but it can't happen here" tone. That notion, however, is misplaced. It can happen here, and it has happened here. I know because I'm a U.S. journalist who has been targeted and abused, very much in the way Khashoggi was targeted.

Evidence suggests Alabama thugs intended to kill Carol and me -- and did not only because Carol managed to avoid capture. (See here, here, and here.) We still fear for our lives every day, just as Jamal Khashoggi did.

Roger Shuler mugshot
A free press is not attacked only in places like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Bulgaria. (Bulgarian journalist Viktoria Marinova was raped and murdered on Oct. 9.) It has been happening in the United States for a while, and the attacks -- along with associated court corruption -- have left us nearly destitute.

Abuse came for my wife, Carol, and me in two American states -- Alabama (where we lived as a married couple for 25 years) and Missouri (where we have been forced to live as refugees for more than four years) -- and it started between 2008 and 2013, long before Donald Trump took office. Alabama has an ugly history of being "ahead of the curve" on white privilege and extremism, and the Missouri Ozarks aren't much different; I refer to the southern half of the Show Me State as "Alabama with snowballs."

Neither Carol nor I has been beheaded or dismembered -- yet -- but we have the bruises and broken bones to show that American thugs mean business when they try to shut down a free press. In October 2013, Alabama deputies broke into our home in Birmingham, slammed me to a concrete floor three times (much like the "body slam" of a Montana journalist that Donald Trump celebrated to much laughter at a recent rally), doused me with pepper spray, and hauled me for a five-month stay at the Shelby County Jail -- making me the only U.S. journalist to be incarcerated since 2006, and likely the only journalist in U.S. history to be arrested over a preliminary injunction that has been an unlawful "prior restraint" under more than 230 years of First Amendment law.

Carol Shuler
This all was over a 100 percent civil matter -- with no criminal allegations -- involving a bogus defamation lawsuit that GOP political thug Rob "Uday" Riley and his "close friend," lobbyist Liberty Duke, filed in an effort to shut down this blog. To this day, my reporting on the Riley-Duke relationship never has been found to be defamatory, as a matter of law.

Here is some irony that hits close to home: Khashoggi was murdered while visiting the Saudi consulate in Turkey to obtain a document that would allow him to get married. His wife-to-be was waiting outside in a vehicle while Khashoggi, according to multiple reports from Turkish officials, was being dismembered alive inside the consulate. In essence, Saudi butchers used Khashoggi's desire to get married against him.

U.S. thugs have done much the same thing to Carol and me. Here in Missouri, thugs concocted an eviction that was unlawful in at least 10 ways as an excuse for throwing us on the streets and causing almost all of our possessions to be stolen. In the process, a thug-cop we call "Mr. Blue Shirt" viciously slammed Carol to the ground and yanked on her arms in an upward and backward motion, breaking her left arm so severely that it required eight hours of trauma surgery and almost six months of physical therapy.

Have the cops taken any responsibility for what they did? Hah, are you kidding? They brought bogus "assault of a law enforcement officer" charges against Carol, falsely hinted she broke her own arm by flailing about while handcuffed in the back seat of a patrol car, and stuck us with a bill of several thousand dollars for medical expenses.

Yes, you heard that right: In the U.S., cops can beat you up (when they had no lawful grounds to be on the property), break your arm, blame you for it, and leave you stuck with the bill. (More on that in an upcoming post.)

X-ray of Carol Shuler's
broken arm
The bottom line: Freedom of the press has been under assault in the United States for at least 10 years, especially in right-wing hot spots like Alabama and southern Missouri. As I've read about the Khashoggi case, it's been stunning to see how many similarities there are between his case and our experiences.

Carol and I believe it is possible to turn the situation in America around, to make this a country where constitutional rights and the rule of law are respected and protected. We plan to be part of the fight to make that happen, but we need a roof over our heads and a few of life's necessities, like food.

Your donations will be greatly appreciated.


Anonymous said...

If Trump is still in office this time next year, we might not recognize this country.

legalschnauzer said...

@9:57 --

I hear ya. That, of course, will be especially true if Republicans still control Congress, and we should know about that this time next week.

Anonymous said...

Hell, even the Saudi butchers had the decency not to break into Khashoggi's home. Alabama thugs couldn't manage that, and there thuggery came in 2013, long before the Saudi issue came up.

legalschnauzer said...

@10:09 --

I think I get your main point: We are getting more and more like Saudi Arabia.

Anonymous said...

Turkish officials are saying Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the consulate. I guess that's the "brawl" Saudis were talking about:

legalschnauzer said...

@10:13 --

Thanks for sharing that new information. Very important. This might wind up being one of the ugliest stories of all time.

Anonymous said...

Never have figured how you could have much of a brawl if the numbers are something like 15 against 1.

Anonymous said...

@10:19 --

You make a sobering point. I might add that Saudi butchers did not target Khashoggi's fiance; best I can tell, they left her alone. In Alabama, the Rob Riley Gang targeted Mrs. Schnauzer, too, and I agree with LS that suggests murder was in the plans.

legalschnauzer said...

Looks like the Khashoggi story has been broken mostly by UK-based newspapers. There is a report now from NBC News:

legalschnauzer said...

Speaking of Trump, there is a fascinating story brewing about a scheme to smear Robert Mueller with false sexual-harassment claims:

legalschnauzer said...

Natasha Bertrand, of the Atlantic, apparently broke the Mueller-smear story. Here is URL to her original:

Anonymous said...

Big surprise. Trump conspiracy theorists appear to be behind the Mueller smear campaign . . .

The woman identifying herself as Parsons told journalists in an email, a copy of which I obtained, that she had been offered roughly $20,000 by a man claiming to work for a firm called Surefire Intelligence—which had been hired by a GOP activist named Jack Burkman—“to make accusations of sexual misconduct and workplace harassment against Robert Mueller.”

Surefire Intelligence was incorporated in Delaware less than three weeks ago, according to online records, and describes itself as “a private intel agency that designs and executes bespoke solutions for businesses and individuals who face complex business and litigation challenges.” Surefire’s domain records list an email for another pro-Trump conspiracy theorist, Jacob Wohl, who began hyping a “scandalous” Mueller story on Tuesday morning. Wohl told The Daily Beast that Burkman had hired Surefire to assist with his investigation into Mueller’s past, but denied knowing anything about the firm’s involvement in an alleged plot to fabricate allegations against Mueller when asked why his email address appeared in the domain records. He did not respond when asked by NBC why a telephone number listed on Surefire’s website referred callers to another number that’s listed in public records as belonging to Wohl’s mother.

Anonymous said...

Aboard the Eliza Battle the crew was gathered for John and Thomas Yancey's bed-time story. The Captain informed them that he would read the "Bernstein Bears and the Truth". Thomas Yancey said that he wanted to hear one Of Captain Marshall's stories instead. Ms Chapelle added,"Don't let The Truth prevent you from telling one of your stories Captain". The Captain replied that he would tell the story of how Minda acquired the Crosseyed Thoroughbred. He began that Minda grew up in Ashland Al where there were great Ash tree forests. Her daddy made his fortune making axe handles from the Ash trees. One day Minda's brother wanted to cut down a Ask tree and present it as a present to his Pop. After observing her brother cut at the tree for two hours with a Homelite chain saw, Minda took the saw and gave the starting rope a quick pull. Rob jumped back and shouted,"What's that noise". Minda revved the saw and cut down the tree. Ole Bob ran to the front porch and saw his prized Mock Orange Tree laying on the ground. Ole Bob bellowed,"Who cut down my orange tree". Rob replied "Minda". Minda replied,"I can not tell a lie. I cut down your orange tree". Ole Bob rewarded his daughter with a thoroughbred colt and his son with a pitchfork. Minda named her colt "The Truth". After John and Thomas Yancey were tucked in bed, Ms Chapelle and Captain Marshall retreated to the galley for a glass of Dr Foreman's famous wine. Ms Chapelle asked the Captain what the clue, The Four Musketeers, meant. The Captain replied that Keith Baker was one of four brothers that were FBI Agents. Mc Chapelle exclaimed,"That's interesting, but how does it relate to the Inspector General's Report". The Captain replied that we learned from the horse shoe, the crosseyed thoroughbred lost, that the FBI Agent investigating McGregor was by-passing the normal procedure of going thru the local Federal Prosecutor's office. Missouri Deputy Jeremy Lynn gave the clue that the FBI Agent that broke Carol's arm was by-passing the local Federal Prosecutor's office in Missouri by teaming up with the local Circuit Attorney. Ms Chapelle gasped and asked what the clue was. The Captain replied that Lynn had testified at Carol's Trial that Roger was writing a anti-government blog. Officer Lynn thought the eviction was a counterespionage raid to retrieve Government secrets. One of the FBI Agents fired was the Chief of the FBI Counterespionage Section.

legalschnauzer said...

This probably tells all you need to know about the scheme to smear Mueller:

Burkman, a conservative radio host, is known for spreading conspiracy theories. He launched his own private investigation into the murder of the Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, dangled uncorroborated claims of sexual harassment against a sitting member of Congress, and earlier this year offered $25,000 to FBI whistle-blowers for any information exposing wrongdoing during the 2016 election. He also promoted legislation that he authored—despite not being a member of Congress—that would ban gays from playing in the NFL. And he’s hosted two fund-raisers for Rick Gates—the former Trump-campaign official who was indicted by Mueller late last year.

legalschnauzer said...

@11:21 --

Great to have a hot take from aboard the Eliza Battle. Always interesting analysis.

BTW, I've heard some interesting news related to Minda. Might be best if we share it by phone.

Bev said...

Just Donated to your amazing journalism, and to the bravery of both of you and Carol. I wish it were more. Thank you so much.

Everyone Vote so that the truth in journalism and science can lead to problem solving for a survivable future.