Chapter 95: Pat Tillman

Previous: Nary A Word

Pat Tillman doing a handstand
on the roof of his parents' home
[photo: Mary Tillman]
"Yes indeed," said Fred. "From the government's point of view, it is absolutely essential that 'pinsetters' such as Chrisman be written out of the stories, and that 'pins' such as Shareef be kept quiet."

"Clearly," said Holmes, "the pinsetters must be kept loyal and quiet as well. But it must be difficult, for some at least, to remain loyal to such a crooked mess. Do you know of any instance where a pinsetter has publicly repudiated a setup?"

"I am not aware of it happening in my country, sir," replied Fred, "although something of the sort did happen in Canada."

"What happened?" asked Holmes.

"A bogus 'terror cell' was apparently created by one pinsetter," said Fred, "and infiltrated by another. The core group put on a 'training session' disguised as a 'camping trip.' This trip was so well disguised that some of the young men who attended it had no idea it was about anything else. And one of them was selected for prosecution as 'Canada's first terrorist.'

"The defendant had no bombs, no weapons of any kind. He had not participated in any paramilitary training, nor had he been involved in planning any sort of attack. The Crown didn't have any evidence showing that he had been party to any discussion at all in which terrorism was mentioned. But he was convicted, regardless.

"A remarkable thing happened after the trial, when the chief pinsetter and star witness for the prosecution said, "I don't believe he was a terrorist. I don't believe he should have been put through what he was put through. But that's our system."

"And then what happened?" asked Holmes.

Pat Tillman at Arizona
State University [source]
"Nothing!" replied Fred. "The man was convicted, and his conviction remains in place! He couldn't deny he'd come along on the camping trip. It didn't matter that the pinsetter had billed the trip as a religious retreat. The fact that other people on that same trip may have talked about potentially mounting a terrorist attack was enough, apparently.

"What sort of a jury would fall for that?" asked Holmes.

"Given the wording of the law," replied Fred, "the jury may not have fallen for anything! Guilt by association is the law of the land now. The prosecution does not have to prove the defendant knew about any particular plot, or even that any plot existed.

"And yet, the jury may well have been very carefully assembled," continued Fred. "We're seeing more and more evidence of prosecutors vetting jury lists without the knowledge of the defense. So the guilty verdict may have been assured from the beginning.

"Furthermore, the pins are never wealthy, so they are almost always represented by public defenders. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that some of the latter are double-crossing their clients, and actually trying to get them convicted."

"Do you think this was the case with Derrick Shareef?" asked Holmes.

"I can't be certain," said Fred. "But if he is not secretly complicit in the prosecution, any public defender in a 'terrorism' case will feel pressure. He may be reminded of instances when lawyers have been jailed simply for defending their 'terrorist' clients. The potential for warping the path of 'justice' is immense.

"But to straighten it out, or to level it, so to speak, is an enormous task. The transformation of the legal system serves many powerful interests.

Pat Tillman of the
Arizona Cardinals [source]
"There doesn't seem to be any way to stop the government from sending out agents to create bogus terror cells using methods formerly regarded as entrapment. And yet, can we simply sit back and allow it to happen?"

"What if someone highly respected, who knew the fraud from the inside, were willing to speak out against it?" asked my companion.

"The danger would be enormous," replied Fred. "He would need to be exceptionally honest, remarkably brave, and just a bit too naive for his own good. He would risk character assassination, physical assassination, and possibly both. Pat Tillman comes to mind.

"Do you know the story? No? Well, Pat Tillman was a prince, with a one-in-a-million combination of assets. He was bright, handsome, and athletic: a born leader. He became a brilliant football player: a smart, fast, and utterly fearless defender. After starring for Arizona State University, he went on to play for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League.

"Then came September 11, 2001. Like many Americans, Pat Tillman swallowed the story the government and the news media told us about what happened that day. Pat chose Country over Fame and Fortune. He and his brother, Kevin, joined the Army and became Rangers, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Pat Tillman,
US Army Ranger [source]
"Pat had always been a voracious reader, and an outspoken, independent thinker, and now he was finding out through experience that the so-called War On Terror was not what it was made out to be. But meanwhile he was being used as a poster boy to support the war. Critics of the war were reminded of Tillman's enormous personal sacrifice in not-so-subtle ways, even as Tillman was coming to the conclusion that the war was quite illegal, although he used a stronger phrase.

"In 2004, Tillman set up an interview with America's leading dissident, or leading pseudo-dissident, Noam Chomsky. But the interview never took place. Before it could happen, Tillman's unit got split up in a confusing maneuver deep in Afghanistan, and by the time the dust had cleared, Pat Tillman was dead.

"He was found with three bullet wounds through the forehead. His diary and his uniform were burned. Pat's parents and his brother Kevin were lied to repeatedly by the very government Pat and Kevin had been serving.

"The lies about Pat's death consigned the Tillman family to a private hell, while an utterly fictional story was presented to the public. But what else could be done? The poster boy for the war could not be allowed to become an anti-war hero, could he?

"In the long view, Pat Tillman appears to have been exceptionally honest and courageous, but just a bit too naive. He didn't see that the official story of 9/11 was untenable, and instead of questioning it, he rushed to serve his country. When he saw that he had been duped, he was honest enough to accept the evidence in front of him, and courageous enough to try to do something about it. But he was too naive to know that arranging an interview with Noam Chomsky was not the best thing to do.

"According to the story that's been told, his final words, when he realized he was about to he hit by 'friendly fire,' were 'I'm Pat Tillman!'

"Do you have to be crazy to think that was his last mistake?"

"Target identification confirmed?" said Holmes.

"Exactly," replied Fred.