Former Ohio District 17 Democratic Congressman James Traficant, just released from seven years of Federal captivity on September 2nd, 2009, is unbowed, unbent, and unbroken. And he immediately launched a political offensive during a September 10th appearance with Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteren during her "On The Record" program. Van Susteren is the only mainstream media figure who has shown an interest in this story. Additional background information on Traficant can be found on Wikipedia and FreeTraficant.com.
During the interview, Traficant discussed his prison experiences, and the possibility of running for Congress again. Despite his Federal conviction, he's not barred from running for Congress, and said there's a 50-50 chance he would run again. He's concerned about the erosion of jobs in his district. He also expressed concern about the welfare of John Demjanjuk, who he may have saved from mistaken execution by the Israelis (by showing proof that Demjanjuk was NOT "Ivan the Terrible"). You can read the full transcript of the interview HERE.
But the most controversial part of the interview was when he discussed Israel. Traficant condemned the excessive influence of Israel on the United States, and claimed that the Israelis "own Congress and much of the media". The interview was divided into three parts for upload on YouTube
Part 1 of 3; Traficant discusses his prison experience, future political options, American workers losing pension benefits. Beginning around the 4:00 minute mark, he discusses John Demjanjuk and then shares his perspective on Israel:
Part 2 of 3; Traficant discusses health care:
And Part 3 of 3 embedded below:
And here's the transcript of the controversial part of the interview replicated below:
TRAFICANT: ... But I believe that Israel has a powerful stranglehold on the American government. They control both members of the House, the House and the Senate. They have us involved in wars in which we have little or no interest.
Our children are coming back in body bags. Our nation is bankrupt over these wars. And if you open your mouth, you get targeted. And if they don't beat you at the poll, they'll put you in prison.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, two quick things. One is the Israelis have released Demjanjuk back to the United States, right?
TRAFICANT: The Israeli supreme court. And I give them credit.
VAN SUSTEREN: Give them credit for that.
TRAFICANT: I give them credit, big-time.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. The second thing is, is Israel is a democracy and is our ally, right?
TRAFICANT: Yes, they are.
VAN SUSTEREN: So, you have no...
TRAFICANT: And they should be our ally. They are our friends over in that troubled part of the world.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK. So, explain to me what you see as -- you know, why you target or why you have a grudge against the Israelis.
TRAFICANT: The grudge is not necessarily a grudge. It's an objective assessment that no one will have the courage to speak about.
They're controlling much of our foreign policy. They're influencing much of our domestic policy.
Wolfowitz as undersecretary of defense manipulated President Bush number two back into Iraq. They've pushed definitely, definitely to try to get Bush before he left to move into Iran.
We're conducting the expansionist policy of Israel and everybody's afraid to say it. They control much of the media, they control much of the commerce of the country, and they control powerfully both bodies of the Congress. They own the Congress.
VAN SUSTEREN: Are you an anti-Semite?
TRAFICANT: No, I'm not. And that's exactly what they're going to say. And I expect that.
What I am is an American. You see, I think America comes first. And we have a one-sided foreign policy in the Mideast, and we've alienated Arabs who have no way of fighting.
So, what they've done -- and I predicted this on the House floor -- is they would export violence to America. And they have. They have no other way to fight.
I think President Obama knows this. I think he sees this. I think he wants to do something. I think his hands are tied, and I think he's dancing between the raindrops, trying to figure how I can politically machinate some scenario to mitigate these problems.
Greta, I'm saying this. America is in danger if America doesn't take back their government without foreign influence, interference.
And the public has not been shy about reacting. Hometown reaction is documented in the Youngstown (OH) Vindicator. As of this post, 181 comments have been posted to the GretaWire blog; nearly two-thirds have been supportive of Traficant. Reaction on the Vanguard News Network Forum and a 14-page Stormfront thread is overwhelmingly favorable.
Traficant was imprisoned from 2002-2009, first sent to Allenwood in August 2002 and transferred to a prison in Ray Brook, N.Y., in March 2004 and in December of that year to the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minn., where he served the rest of his time. In 2002, in a trial in which Traficant represented himself, he was convicted of 10 felony counts, including accepting bribes from businessmen and taking kickbacks from his own congressional staff. But many people believe Traficant was particularly targeted because he led a then-successful effort to prevent the expulsion of John Demjanjuk from the United States on bogus charges that he was supposedly "Ivan the Terrible" at a European concentration camp during World War II. In addition, the Feds may have been deliberately gunning for Traficant because he beat the government's rap in a mob trial in 1983 by claiming he ran a one-man sting of the Mafia, which paid him $163,000 in bribes. The acquittal vaulted him to Congress, where he served his district faithfully for 18 years.
As a result of his conviction, he was expelled from the U.S. House by a 420-1 vote in 2002. Only Gary Condit (D-CA) voted No. He was the second House member since the Civil War to be voted out for unethical behavior. However, not all House members joined the witch hunt. Nine House members voted Present, including Don Young (R-AK) Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), Michael Bilirakis (R-FL), Sonny Callahan (R-AL), Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN), John Hostettler (R-IN), C.L. "Butch" Otter (R-ID), Ron Paul (R-TX), and Mike Simpson (R-IN). Otter is now the Governor of Idaho.