By Monica Showalter
Most people don’t quite know what to make of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s alarm about Manhattan prosecutors’ decision to throw President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, into Rikers Island prison. It was an unprecedented move. Yet she’s hardly a supporter of people connected to President Trump – she actually wants the president impeached. But she’s right about what she’s reading:
And she didn’t back down, either.
She gets a day off the idiot list for this principled political opposition. And whether she knows it or not, she’s taking on a very sick political situation quite correctly.
Manafort was convicted earlier and is doing time in Pennsylvania for white collar crimes around taxable income and foreign agent registration. These are crimes few are ever prosecuted for, but they were real enough. Now he’s a wedge player in a new and very dirty deep-state political game. The Manhattan district attorney’s office is throwing the elderly, now wheelchair-bound former campaign manager into Rikers Island prison, not because of any Rikers Island-worthy thuggery he could have done, but because they want to pressure him to cooperate with them to deliver Trump’s head on a platter to them.
What we are seeing is Manafort now becoming a political prisoner. Which is insane, yet part of a believable continuum of fourth-world events coming from Trump’s enemies. We have just come off an attempted coup d’etat attempt by the Deep State, which went down in flames after the Mueller investigation and report. Yet this same Deep-State left, with its hands still on the levers of state power in an area outside Trump’s chain of command, is now responding with a new bid to Get Trump through its Manhattan district attorney’s office prosecutors. This measure against Manafort is a bid to secure his cooperation to take down Trump in unrelated real estate cases, and Dershowitz cites a quote from a judge stating exactly that. Manafort may not even have much information anyway, given that he was Trump’s campaign manager only for a few months. But that doesn’t matter to them, they want Manafort there to put the screws on. And they are willing to take hostages — political prisoners — to do it.
And like any political prisoner operation from a fourth-world banana republic, they’re putting him through torture – from a nightmarish insanity-inducing solitary confinement, which is the de facto condition that Manafort is going to get “for his own protection,” to the heat of the summer without air conditioning or ice water in the confined space with only a wall slot for food deliveries. Rikers, remember, is the prison where at least one prisoner, Jerome Murdough, died in a 2014 heat wave. It’s a jail so bad prisoners plea guilty to crimes they didn’t commit in order to be sent to real prisons just to escape the Rikers conditions. It’s so bad the entire complex is set for destruction based on human rights considerations. The Manhattan prosecutors doing this to Manafort, who is in ailing health anyway, may well kill him, and we know they may be trying to kill him. That’s based on widespread knowledge of the incarceration complex’s conditions, coupled with their unneccessary act of moving him from a Pennsylvania complex where he is serving time for unrelated crimes, to be available for them – and to pressure, pressure, pressure him based on the execrable conditions.
What does this have an uncomfortably strongly parallel to? The Sergei Magnitsky case, which now forms the basis of many U.S. sanctions heaped onto Russia. In the Russian authorities’ bid to get a hedge fund manager named Bill Browder, they went after his accountant, a decent young man named Sergei Magnitsky, threw him into prison, subjected him to a barrage of deprivations in a bid to get him to cooperate – and then beat him to death. After that, they lied about it. Browder back in London was so affected by the horror he vowed to pressure the U.S. and the entire West to enact sanctions on the disastrous act of state inaccountability in the passage of the 2012 Magnitsky Act.
Well, it’s going on now, and Russia’s Putin administration must be smiling in disgust at the U.S. hypocrisy, doing to Manafort exactly what the Russians did to Magnitsky and then haughtily placing sanctions onto the Russians as a human rights issue. And they didn’t even know Manafort, Manafort’s earlier crimes involved Ukraine, not Russia.
We are looking at a travesty of justice here, based on a deep state still way out of control. Ocasio-Cortez has put her finger on something important and for once, she’s right.