Death of an Unsung Hero

Image of Jim Traficant, unsung American Hero“Now cracks a noble heart.
Good night sweet prince:

And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!”

Hamlet, act 5, sc. 2

I discovered by chance that a true American hero died two years ago, in a tractor accident, on his farm in Ohio.

His name is Jim Traficant, an eight-time Congressman from the district of Youngstown, Ohio. His life and treatment by Congress, and by the establishment, are emblematic and symbolic of a frame of mind and a mode of thought current at large in the country.

That even his death was essentially ignored by the corporate media, confirms the latter’s corruption beyond the common degree of wickedness. For, knowing through long habituation that the greatest part of mankind have no other reason for their opinion than they are in fashion, the information industry imposes the fashion so as to mold the opinion. Traficant’s life was indeed ‘unfashionable’ according to the imposed standards.

This state of affairs is even more dramatically evident now, when the combined powers of the information industry and of the corporate lobbies are bent upon endorsing and enforcing the election as president of a woman “whose sole name blisters my tongue.”(1)

But I digress, for I wish to speak about Jim Traficant and show, by a brief narrative of his life and deeds, why he was a hero.

Elected sheriff for three counties in Northeastern Ohio from 1981 to 1985, he soon gave the public proof of his mettle. Three times he went to prison for “contempt of court.” The contempt? His refusal to evict three families from their respective homes, whose breadwinner had lost his job after industrial production had been moved to the Orient. We are in the rust-belt of America.

Another temporary sheriff executed the deed, while Traficant was jailed for refusing to grant the privilege of irresistible misery to families fallen victim of the hegemony of power.

Such acts of defiance made of Traficant a popular hero.

But dangerous is the defense of the downtrodden. The first revenge of the establishment was accusing Traficant of corruption, associated with an operation to infiltrate a crime syndicate. At the trial, Traficant, without lawyers and only relying on his evidence and innocence, was totally exonerated and absolved. This was an event without precedent in the history of the Judicial Department of the USA.

Shortly later, Traficant was elected as Congress representative for his district and re-elected eight times. During one of the legislations, he took up a challenge that would entail, as we will see, political suicide, but he won. Instinctively, Traficant knew that valour is the chiefest virtue and most dignifies the haver.” (2). I think it is worthwhile to tell the story.

The very powerful American-Zionist lobby had identified in the Ukrainian John Demjanjuk, one of the cruel guards at the concentration camp of Treblinka in Poland during WWII. Stripped of his US nationality, America shipped him to Israel where he was condemned to death.

Demjanjuk’s wife and son had knocked on the door of several Midwest congressmen, but none had even acceded to see them.

When they called on Traficant’s office, his secretary told them that the Congressman was not in the office and that he wouldn’t return that day. Having heard the exchange from his office, Traficant called in the secretary and asked for explanations. The secretary implored Traficant not to even speak with the two Demjanjuks, for that, by itself, would be political suicide.

But Traficant received them, and the Demjanjuks tried to convince him that the accusation to their relative was an error of identification. He was not the “monster of Treblinka.”

Traficant told them he would investigate their claim. The subsequent developments are worthy of a novel but I must shorten the narrative in this blog.

Though a congressman, Traficant found the door (of information) shut everywhere he knocked at the Department of Justice and the CIA. But he succeeded, via somewhat adventurous circumstances, to obtain an important secret document. It was the deposition, taken in Germany, of a German bureaucrat who had been employed at Treblinka. In his deposition, the bureaucrat had shown, with photos and other documents, that Demjanjuk could not be the “monster of Treblinka,” due to differences between him and the real culprit, in height, body shape, color of hair.

However, shortly later and for reasons unknown, the same bureaucrat had changed his testimony and pointed to Demjanjuk as the monster the American Jewish Organization was looking for. Meanwhile the original deposition had been made secret, and it’s only through some jamesbondish ploy that Traficant managed to obtain it.

Armed with which, Traficant flew to Israel and delivered it to the Israeli Justice authorities. Not only, but in an interview on NBC from Israel, he said that if Israel executed an innocent man, the funds that the US passes on to Israel yearly would be in jeopardy.

Next day the Israelis delivered Demjanjuk to Traficant, who flew with him back to America. The snag was too much for the Zionists, who, in time, found some other reasons to have Demjanjuk banned to Germany, where he died shortly later.

But now Traficant was in the cross-hair. For, not only he had the gall to check Zionist power but, alone among all US senators and congressmen, had the courage to state publicly that Israel controls the US Congress against the interests of the American people – and that American soldiers are sacrificed in the Middle East on the altar of Israeli interests. Traficant had played with fire.

That Israel has a stranglehold on Congress, the media, the entertainment and the banking industry is common knowledge. And before being accused of anti-semitism, among Americans whom I admire most are three Jews, Howard Zinn, author of the “People’s History of the United States, Prof. Finkelstein, stripped of his university chair for his research on the holocaust, and the peace activist Miko Peled.

As many readers will know, the Israeli lobby openly admits of being able to unseat any member of Congress in odor of heresy. As it happened, for example, to Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, for having protested against the horrors in Gaza. Or to the octogenarian, presidential-elections reporter Helen Thomas, fired the day after having said in an interview that Palestine belongs to the Palestinians.

But returning to Traficant, in the last vendetta by the Zionist lobby, he was accused of corruption. The accusation was risible. I remember that one of the charges was that he used the help of an office employee to milk his cows. You can imagine the others. All but one voted to expel him, hence to condemn him, behaving like the Shakespearean “village curs, who bark when their fellows do.” (3)

Think about it – 537 senators and congressmen voting to expel a very popular congressman, eight times elected, who managed to have enacted legislation of significant import and benefit to the people.

For example, one of the Traficant-drafted and enacted laws states that the IRS must prove their accusations when charging a citizen. Before Traficant’s law, it was up to the citizen to prove his innocence against the IRS’ accusation. Stated so simply, the reader may wonder what is the difference, but the effect was dramatic. Prior to the law, the IRS almost always won, afterwards, very often lost. In the case of confiscated houses, prior to the law, the IRS confiscated about one thousand homes per year, after the law, 57.

Traficant’s final address to Congress surges to the level of a tragedy by Euripides. “You have and hold among you a member who raped one of his pages, and another who raped an underage girl. There is more corruption here than holes in a colander. And you have the gall of expelling me, well knowing of the false accusations…”

To save the honor of the House the only dissenting vote was Paul Ryan’s.

The prosecutor offered Traficant a plea bargain, if he admitted his guilt. In line with his character, Traficant replied, “Your pardon, stick it up your ass!”

Traficant was condemned and spent seven and a half years in prison. There is evidence suggesting that they wanted him dead in prison. He was an opponent of illegal immigration and at first they put him among criminal illegal immigrants. For his safety, he asked and had to be secluded to an an isolation cell.

Then, during a routine medical visit, they told him that he had a twisted aorta and needed an urgent operation. Traficant refused, also remembering an advice given him by an illustrious inmate, the son of the famous John Gotti, “Do not take any medicine they give you” – Gotti told him. Anyway, during another medical visit in another prison, they found no evidence of a twisted aorta or similar.

Incidentally, even while he was in prison, and notwithstanding the insulting and demeaning posture of the media against him, his district still gave him 15% of the vote.

Finally free, Traficant had promised to wage a legal war and exact his revenge against the Department of Justice. Many wanted him to run again for Congress.

When he died, Traficant was alone on his tractor and it was very early in the morning. His death was an accident, but some of  his followers and admirers have doubts.

Finally, one last example to illustrate who controls America. Traficant collected in a book all his speeches in Congress, famous for lasting no longer than one minute/each. No publisher dared touch his book. Eventually he managed to publish it himself, with the title, “America’s Last Minuteman.” For our international readers, the title is a play on words. “Minutemen” were the legendary civilian fighters in the American war of independence, and Traficant’s speeches lasted one-minute.

For lack of shelf space, I must strictly limit the number of books added to my collection. Often, before deciding to buy a book, I get it first through the library, to have an idea of what it is.

Do you know how many copies of Traficant’s book are found  in the about 120,000 libraries of the US, including Hawaii and Alaska? Two, as in the number ‘2’. In other words it is as if it had been banned. By now the patient reader who read so far, can reach his conclusions.

We can say of Jim Traficant, “After life’s fitful fever, he sleeps well.” (4) But he is surely missed, especially by those who value courage over servility, and integrity over power.

As for Traficant’s “condemnation” by his fellow congressmen we may recall the lines,

“I shall not want false witness to condemn me,
Nor store of treasons to augment my guilt;
The ancient proverb will be well effected, –
A staff is quickly found to beat a dog.”

The only change in the quote is at the end. For rather than a dog, Traficant was a lion.

And comparing Traficant’s courage with the abominable charade of the current presidential elections, we may also soberly reflect that when there is no vision, there is only power. And where there is only power, there is no break from the past. And where the present remains the same, there is no future.

PS. Here are three links to interviews with Jim Traficant.

The third interview, with Kerry Cassidy, is about 40-minute long, but for him who is patient, it gives a well-rounded picture of the man and his character.

** (1) (4) Macbeth
** (2) Comedy of Errors
** (3) King Henry VIII
** (5) King Henry VI, part 2

In the play (starting quote). Horatio’s comment soon after Hamlet dies.

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