,

We All Fall Down: The American Mortgage Crisis

Written and Produced by Kevin Stocklin, directed by Gary Gasgarth

Tuesday, October 27, 2009
7:30pm – 10:00pm
Drexel East
2254 E Main St
Bexley, OH

Filmed over a twelve-month period, from Rochester, NY and Cleveland, to Seattle, Los Angeles and San Diego, WE ALL FALL DOWN also shows how an out-of-control "mortgage machine" has today led to home foreclosures nationwide, featuring interviews with families who have been devastated, as loan defaults and evictions spread from the poor to middle-class sectors of the populace, in turn creating millions of abandoned and disintegrating properties in neighborhoods and cities throughout the U.S. Their emotionally moving stories reveal the all-too-real personal consequences for Americans caught up in this financial spiral.

Click Here for Complete Screening Information Available on the Festival Website

This screening is co-sponsored by the Free Press, the Film Council of Greater Columbus and the Central Ohio Green Education Fund with the Drexel Theater.

Two events on Tuesday, October 20

Columbus International Film + Video Festival, Early Bird Festival Screening
“STRONG COFFEE”
October 20 – 7:00 – 8:00 PM.
Movie tells the story of Café Femenino-—a revolutionary idea that is helping people in need all over the world. Café Femenino beans are the first coffee beans grown entirely by women farmers. This film screening – co-sponsored by The Columbus International Film + Video Festival and Stauf’s.
Admission – $5.
Studio 35 Cinema & Draft House, 3055 Indianola Ave, Columbus, OH.
614-444-7460
http://www.chrisawards.org

After the movie, join us for a musical event:

We have a tremendous opportunity in Columbus, to hear
ANNE FEENEY – progressive singer/songwriter
ANNE FEENEY is a wonderful labor/feminist singer/songwriter in the Woody Guthrie mold (& there ain’t many of those)!! She is someone who doesn’t just write songs about the struggle for justice, she is there, on the picket lines, in the sit-downs, singing for the strikers, marching in the marches and standing up for what is just, regardless of the consequences.
Requested donation: $10.
In her only Columbus visit in many years, Anne will play at:
1021 E. BROAD ST, COLUMBUS, side door, parking in rear
October 20 – 7:30 pm.
253-2571
truth@freepress.org
http://www.annefeeney.com/

Why Wright State Is Wrong: The Controversial Appointment Of Dr. Larry James


by Bob Fitrakis

Who is Dr. Larry James? A man who in his biography claims responsibility for “Fixing Hell.” Whose hell did he fix? Or did he look the other way while the Devil’s work was done?

Between 2003 and 2007, Army Colonel Larry James served as Chief Psychologist of the Joint Intelligence Group and a senior member of the Behavioral Science Consultation Team (BSCT). James’ job was advising on interrogation and “behavior management” for the men and kids at the Guantanamo Bay detention center. In 2004, he functioned as the director of the Behavioral Science Unit at the Abu Ghraib prison.

That’s right. His past includes both the notorious Gitmo and Abu Ghriab, the infamous torture site in Iraq.

Having retired from the U.S. Army, James is currently the Dean of the Professional Psychology Department at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. James is licensed to practice psychology in Louisiana, Ohio, and Guam. Human rights advocates argue that Wright State is absolutely wrong in appointing James as Dean because of his questionable past.

Public records indicate that while James served at Gitmo in the spring of 2003, “…abuse and interrogations was widespread and cruel treatment was official policy,” according to the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR). The Center argued that James’ “conduct” at Gitmo should “warrant immediate investigation.”

“Detainee and government reports of abuse during the period of Dr. James’ first deployment include beatings, rape threats, religious and sexual humiliation and painful body positions,” the Center stated.

Under James’ tenure, Guantanamo developed and implemented the Camp Delta “Behavioral Management Plan.” The Plan called for treating new detainees in a way that would “enhance and exploit [their] disorientation and disorganization.” How was this accomplished? Prolonged periods of solitary confinement that are known to cause hallucinations, extreme anxiety, muscular atrophy, weight loss, and other physical conditions that may be irreversible, according to the Center.

While James has denied responsibility, his critics have charged that he used his access to confidential medical records of detainees to target their “physical and mental vulnerabilities.”

At the recent August American Psychological Association (APA) conference in Toronto, the Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ) handed out fliers with the headline: “Department of Defense Ensures Psychologists’ Collusion in Torture.” Larry James was singled out as one of the psychologists in question.

Both the CCIJ and the CCR called upon the Minister of Public Safety in Canada, Peter Van Loan, to investigate James’ for possible war crimes. They included an 8-page Appendix extensively foot-noted including numerous references to admissions from James’ book, “Fixing Hell.”

The Appendix points out that while James frequently claimed he was reforming things, his actual accounts show he either turned a blind eye to torture, or may have facilitated it.

On page 50-51 of “Fixing Hell,” James writes the following:

“I saw Luther and three MPs wrestling with a detainee on the floor. It was an awful sight. I wanted to run back to my room and wash my eyes with bleach. The detainee was naked except for the pink panties I had seen hanging on the door earlier. He also had lipstick and a wig on. The four men were holding the prisoner down and trying to outfit him with the matching pink nightgown, but he was fighting hard. My first instinct was to rush in and start barking orders at the men, demanding they stop this ridiculous and abusive wrestling match. But I managed to quell that urge and wait.”

James admitted he went to have a cup of coffee and then intervened to urge the interrogators to build better relations with the man being tortured. James writes: “I never once said anything about the lingerie or interrogation. My purpose was to build a relationship with Luther, rather than to attack him as being wrong or as a human being.”

Hell hath been fixed.

When another prisoner was being abused by large MPs screaming in his face for three hours straight, James once again “fixed” hell by suggesting they might want to offer him a drink or a bathroom break.

While James was at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib, court records and affidavits indicate that prisoners were not only isolated, but their sleep cycles were deliberately disturbed, they were exposed to extremely hot and cold temperatures, forced to smell unpleasant odors and subject to “dietary manipulations.”

But what does that mean in practical terms? Allegations by one detainee claim that he went for 3-4 weeks without any solid food, living on Ensure and water. Reports by six other high-value detainees allege they were subject to the same liquid diets.

According to the Red Cross report, there was also the use of “prolonged diapering” to force the detainees to urinate and defecate on themselves. They were deprived of using a toilet. Six high-value detainees reported being repeatedly slammed against walls 20-30 times consecutively as an interrogation technique.

If James had the urge to go in and “bark orders” when confronting torture, he most likely had command authority over the torturers at Gitmo. Remember that the standard definition for torture is the deliberate infliction of physical or mental distress on detainees.

Under Canadian law, it is a war crime if any military personnel are found to be “committing outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.”

Dr. Trudy Bond, a Toledo psychologist, filed an extensive complaint against James with the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists (LSBEP). Bond’s complaint specifically charged that James violated his ethical duties as a licensed psychologist to keep his patients from harm, to protect confidential information, and to obtain their informed consent.

Bond filed her complaint on February 29, 2008. Within a month, the LSBEP chose not to investigate the matter. On June 19, 2008, Bond asked the Board to reconsider. In less than a week, the LSBEP reaffirmed their decision not to investigate.

Bond next turned to the courts, asking the 19th Judicial District Court for the Parish of East Baton Rouge to review the LSBEP’s decision on June 13, 2009. The Court ruled in favor of the Board. On August 6 of this year, Bond filed an appeal with the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals.

Bond has taken similar action in Ohio as well as with the American Psychological Association. On July 8, 2008, she filed a formal complaint against James with the Ohio State Board of Psychology for, among other things, that James’ conduct is an ethical violation because it “…substantially harmed or is likely to substantially harm a person.”

In her complaint to the American Psychological Association (APA), Bond cited the Report from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) published after their visit to Guantanamo. The Report documented behavior commonly regarded as torture prior to Bush and Cheney. The rest of the world still defines torture in the traditional sense.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has demanded that medical professionals including James be a “specific focus” of an investigation assessing whether the interrogations violated legal or medical ethics. Steven Reisner of PHR said, “The conclusions that these interrogation techniques cause no lasting harm is the equivalent of psychological practice.”

In a report issued by PHR in 2009, they categorically concluded, that “Health professionals played central roles in developing, implementing, and providing justification for torture.”

While the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association have come out unequivocally against the interrogation techniques used at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib, the APA has waffled on the issue.

In 2005, the APA’s Board endorsed the role of psychologists involved in interrogations as consistent with APA ethics, if it was done for the purpose of making the interrogations “safe, legal and effective.” In 2008, the APA passed another resolution against its members being present in any facility where U.S. and international law was being violated unless they were working for the benefit of the detainees.

James is at the center of this ongoing debate, and now so is Wright State University.

Whether James is qualified to be licensed in Ohio or to be a Dean at Wright State is probably best decided after a careful reading of “Fixing Hell.” One of the most telling passages from the book reads as follows: “Sex was a complicated factor in much of our work at Abu Ghraib. I came to know several single women at Abu Ghraib who got pregnant, received adverse legal action, and were sent home. Private Jenni Nelson was a short, fat, seriously ugly young lady. She looked as though she was crying all the time. Nevertheless, she got a boyfriend, got pregnant, and was promptly sent home by her company commander. Did she do it on purpose to get out of Abu Ghraib? Probably. And I’m sure she wasn’t the first.”

One wonders why Wright State University would hire a man as their Professional Psychology Department Dean who has so little sensitivity to Private Nelson, as well as the prinsoners he was charged to protect. The reality is Private Nelson took action to get out of Abu Ghrai, and not be charged with war crimes. James stayed and wrote a book insulting Nelson and covering-up crimes against humanity.

Was he fixing hell? Human rights advocates say he helped create it for his patients and they are doing everything to hold him accountable for his admitted actions. Bond is currently re-filing an ethics complaint against James in Ohio. There’s an ongoing campaign by the Center for Constitutional Rights called “When Healers Harm” demanding that we “hold health professionals accountable for torture.”

Bob Fitrakis is the Editor of the freepress.org and is the author of the forthcoming book, Cops, Coverups, and Corruption.

Bob Bytes Back Archive: 10/01/1996 Keeping The Faith

10/01/1996
by Bob Fitrakis

There’s a peculiar lawsuit pending in Franklin County: Fox Investigation, Inc. vs. Linda Leisure.
Linda Leisure first met death row inmates during her volunteer work as a prison minister in Ohio. Inspired by President Bush’s call for “volunteerism” she worked up the nerve to visit men she feared, yet wanted to help. Not unlike the Susan Sarandon character in Dead Man Walking, she listened to their stories and ministered to their needs.

One of those man’s needs, it turned out, involved helping the wife of death-row inmate John Spirko prove that her husband was not guilty. The Spirko case peaked Leisure’s interest in investigating murder cases. She felt her talents might be better used in ensuring that justice was being done in individual cases rather than preaching to the condemned. Leisure took a job with Fox Investigation, Inc., a private investigating firm headed by Richard H. Smith, an ex-Columbus police officer and an ex-investigator at the Ohio Public Defender’s Office (OPDO). Fox Investigation often did contract work for the OPDO investigating the cases of death row inmates.

Little did Leisure know the reasons why Smith was no longer a cop or state investigator. But she quickly found out why. Soon after going to work at Fox, Leisure claims that Smith “wanted me to falsify time records and interviews on these murder cases.” Appalled, she left Fox Investigation, convinced that certain death row inmates were being denied basic “due process” guaranteed them under the Constitution. And even more frightening, that as a result, some innocent American citizen might be executed. This spurred her into action.

On October 25, 1994 Leisure sent a letter to Common Pleas Judge James O’Grady outlining the above allegations against Smith. On November 14, Leisure voluntarily took and passed a polygraph exam substantiating her charges. But it was politics as usual in the Franklin County Courts and nobody took her accusations seriously, as Smith continued to do business.

Fortuitously, Leisure shared the same attorney as Chester “Briss” Craig, former deputy investigator at the OPDO. Craig informed her that he had been Smith’s boss at the OPDO and had complained to the Ohio Inspector General with similar concerns. In January 1992, Craig charged “…that some of the investigators were turning in false reports and were not providing the support services to the attorneys as required.” Leisure tracked down the state investigative report that essentially verified Craig’s allegations.

The report was none too kind to her old boss, Mr. Smith. During his tenure from April 1983 to November 1988 at the OPDO, Smith was fond of referring to black defendants as “niggers” and white ones as “scumbags.” These “niggers” and “scumbags” were the very clients Smith was hired to work for and investigate their claims of innocence.

Smith told several of his fellow investigators that he didn’t like “working for a nigger,” referring to Craig. Smith admitted in the report that he had arranged for police friends to arrest Deputy Director Craig on a drunk driving charge. “I don’t consider it a conspiracy at all. I was just going to let the man expose himself,” Smith said of Craig.

Speaking of exposing oneself, it turns out that Smith had been forced off the Columbus Police force for doing just that with his most private parts to seven different women, including five minors on October 9, 1981. He had previously been reprimanded many times for various acts of misconduct, including engaging in sex while on duty, and showing up drunk and threatening his ex-wife at her house.

Who was exposing who?

Leisure tried desperately to take the story to the press, with no luck. Depressed and nearly defeated, she picked up a copy of the now-defunct Columbus Free Press, which I edited at the time. She claims God spoke to her and told her that I would publish the story. Who was I to argue with God, particularly when he sends me such a hot story?

Anyway, Leisure’s story appeared on the cover of the January 1995 Free Press. Happy ending? Alas, hardly.

Leisure began to receive harassing and threatening phone calls; someone mailed drugs to her house; and Fox Investigation and Richard Smith sued Linda Leisure for $150,000 in damages due to his loss of reputation. Leisure’s been unable to hold a steady job and had to re-mortgage her home in order to pay an attorney.

After perusing Mr. Smith’s Columbus police files, Leisure’s attorney recently wrote to Smith’s attorney: “Quite frankly, after review of such file, I believe Mr. Smith would have great difficulty proving to a jury that any action by Miss Leisure caused damage to his reputation.” Standard legal principle: one must first have a reputation before it can be damaged.

Leisure was moved by the spirit, driven by her fund.

Two upcoming events not to miss: The Cove and Second Saturday Salon

Drexel Theatres is pleased to announce the opening of the Award-Winning new film THE COVE, for a special limited engagement starting this Friday, October 9 
In  THE COVE, a crack team of divers and activists infiltrate a secret cove in Japan which is the largest supplier of dolphins in the world.  Using disguised hi-def underwater cameras, specially made microphones and state-of-the-art covert techniques the team uncovers how a small seaside village serves as horrifying microcosm of the massive ecological crimes happening worldwide.  Winner of the Audience Award at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

      

” VERY POWERFUL…. the footage is staggering!  Passionate, exciting and frightening. ”  –Roger Ebert

                      “RIVETING ….. a classic espionage tale!”   – Peter Knegt, Indiewire

 THE COVE  starts Friday, October 9 at the Drexel Theatre, 2254 E. Main St.  For more information, Showtimes and
Special Group Discount Ticket Information – contact Drexel Theatres at (614) 231-1050, (showtimes -614 231-9512) or
visit www.drexel.net

Special Discount Offer:  Save up to $8 on tickets to see THE COVE  – See the attached
coupon
or use coupon below….
——————————————————————
 $2 OFF Any General Admission Ticket or $1 OFF any Matinee(before 6p.m.)
or Student/Senior Ticket.  Coupon valid for up to 4 Discounted Tickets.   Not valid Mondays
or any performance before 12 noon.   Expires 10/22/09.
     PRESENT THIS COUPON FOR ” THE COVE”  TO THE DREXEL THEATRE , 2254 E. Main St.
     SHOWTIMES – (614) 231-9512 or visit www.drexel.net 

——————————————————————————————–

Saturday, October 10
6:30pm-midnight
Free Press Second Saturday Salon

Join progressive friends for food, drink, music, art, and a presentation by CURE-OHIO on:
– the insane over-incarceration in the U.S.
– some of the horrors of the Ohio prisons
– the Parole Board and old-law inmates
– the incredible racial and ethnic disproportion in incarceration
– and what you can do to help!
1021 E. Broad St., side door, parking in rear
253-2571, truth@freepress.org